Highlights from BYU Colleges: Economics expert weighs in on gas prices, students find diverse stories using social media

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College of Family, Home and Social Sciences

BYU economics professor Christian vom Lehn explained that since the price of oil started to decline from its peak in the first week of March, there are a few indicators that suggest prices may start to slowly come down. (Unsplash)

BYU economics professor Christian vom Lehn talked to the School of Family, Home and Social Sciences and answered questions about the recent rise in gas prices since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine.

“Gas prices have been rising for some time now, but the recent surge is clearly related to the violence in Ukraine, as they rise when there’s any expectation of future disruption to the energy supply,” vom Lehn said.

vom Lehn explained that since the price of oil started to decline from its peak in the first week of March, there are a few indicators that suggest that prices may start to slowly come down.

According to vom Lehn, products in Utah that have also increased in price include cars, meat products, and some appliances and electronics.

“To the extent that you can shift your spending patterns toward other products until prices stabilize and incomes adjust, you can possibly reduce your exposure to the rising prices in the economy right now,” he said.

Marriott School of Business

A group of BYU students used social platforms to find individuals who share personal stories of living in underrepresented communities.

They do this with Video Volunteers, a nongovernmental organization that originally started in India. The team of students scours social media for those sharing their experiences with topics such as disabilities, discrimination, homelessness and displacement.

“Having this experience with Video Volunteers and having more empathy for others has been eye opening for me,” BYU advertising student Annabelle Peterson said. “I thought I knew about multiple social issues, but after doing a little bit of research, I realized I did not know as much as I thought, so I feel like I am truly learning.”

College of Humanities

Ex-convict and writer Jimmy Baca talked to BYU students about his literary works and the issues with the criminal justice system. (College of Humanities)

Award-winning poet and novelist Jimmy Baca talked to BYU students during an English Reading Series presentation this semester.

Baca discussed his experiences being abandoned by his parents at age two, serving a six-year prison sentence for smuggling drugs and being released to transition from convict to writer.

In addition to sharing poems and passages from his novels, Baca also commented on social issues especially regarding the criminal justice system.

“Everything in this society — religion, economic, culture, art — everything is conceived with prison in the background,” Baca said. “You’ve got to fill the quotas in those jail cells, and they don’t fill them with people with money or privilege, they fill them with brown people.”

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