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WITH EVERY DECADE THAT GOES BY, THERE seems to be a handful of employee benefits that either dominate the human resource scene or become the latest topics of debate.

In the 1970s, HMOs made their debut, along with individual retirement accounts. In the 1980s, employee assistance programs began helping people with personal issues that could affect their job performance. In the 1990s, health and wellness programs took off , featuring everything from weight control classes to walking programs featuring podcasts that identify native plants.

On May 7, 2007, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported:

"To Frank Loncorich, there's nothing wrong with the trips that are paid partly or fully by the preferred providers of college loans to St. Cloud State University students.

"The St. Cloud State financial aid director has attended several conferences in Florida and two in California, at which lenders paid for his lodging. And there are the annual weekends in Bayfield, Wis., and excursions on the St. Croix River.

IN FRONT OF A WIDE WINDOW IN PRESIDENT Donna Shalala's ground floor office at the University of Miami, two picture frames make perfect bookends for the latest chapters in her remarkable career.

IT IS CERTAINLY MORE RARE than common for a university's actions, such as taking down a cross at a campus chapel or investing in companies that do business in Darfur, to directly affect donations, but that relationship-between behavior and endowments-is evolving, and some say the link may strengthen in the future.

<b>Community colleges are spreading the sustainability message and putting smart practices to use.</b>

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