‘Avatar’ voice actor Dante Basco visits the College

By Colleen Murphy
News Editor

Some recognized his voice as the title character of “American Dragon: Jake Long” while most others remembered him as Prince Zuko from “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” If it wasn’t the voice that people knew, it was the face — either as the red-mohawked Rufio, the leader of the Lost Boys from “Hook,” or Ramos, a boy from detention, from “Take the Lead.” But regardless of how they knew of him, students came to see a crowd-pleaser in the Education Building on Wednesday, Nov. 12.

Dante Basco, an actor, dancer and poet, spent some time during his talk “geeking out” over his role as the Fire Nation’s prince with the audience, some of whom were wearing “Avatar” shirts or holding Prince Zuko figurines. But Basco’s main reason for speaking to students was to discuss the lack of Asian Americans in the media and how that can be changed in the event sponsored by the Asian American Association.

Basco, a Filipino-American, has been an actor for over 30 years, and in those years, he has played all sorts of ethnicities, including Latino, Native American and a slew of Asian roles. He doesn’t consider Hollywood racist, though. Instead, he looks at it like a business that aims to fit its actors into ethnic boxes. And so, Basco was cast into roles in which he could ethnically pass off.

“We’re not really these characters,” Basco said. “We’re just a character in the storytelling.”

He did point out, however, that for every 100 roles a white person can play, there is only one an Asian can play. It is Basco’s goal to get more Asians Americans in the media because they “need to try telling more stories.”

“When you’re in (the industry) for a few decades, you start to realize, ‘Wow, it’s time for us to start to figure out what we’re going to do for this next generation (of Asian American artists),’” Basco said.

And according to Basco, it is on the Asian American community itself, not Hollywood, to help employ the next generation of its artists. In fact, Basco’s idea for a movie geared toward Asian Americans was shot down by a company because, as they put it, Asian Americans have already assimilated, meaning everything the company promotes to America’s white majority, Asians will buy.

“So why do we need to promote to them? Why spend another dollar on a community we already have?” Basco was asked.

Basco said he realized the man was right, and since then, he’s made it his mission to employ the rising generation of Asian-American artists. To do so, he created “We Own the 8th,” a conglomerate of production companies which releases new media — both traditional and digital media — on the eighth day of every month in hopes that an Asian genre will form.

“We are the arbitrators of taste for ourselves,” Basco said. “Why is it important to have a voice? Because our stories are just as important as (anybody else’s) stories. We are part of this fabric that is America and it’s on us to tell those stories. Is it (for us by us)? No, it’s by us, for all.”            

Sophomore physics and secondary education double major Brianna Santangelo — a huge fan of Basco’s work, especially as Jake Long, Prince Zuko and General Iroh from “The Legend of Korra” — said it was interesting to hear his thoughts on making a system for Asian Americans.

“I honestly loved the talk,” Santangelo said. “His ideas for bringing old and new school media together are well thought-out and definitely seem like it will cause a lot of change in the entertainment industry.”

Jessica Perez, a senior applied mathematics major and the president of the Asian American Association, said that Basco was the perfect speaker to have. Not only does he regularly advocate for more Asian representation in the media, but he also appeals to a wide audience. As such, Perez believes what Basco had to say was important to hear.

“Asians are underrepresented in today’s media, and many times, when they appear in mainstream media, they are heavily stereotyped,” Perez said. “Media can greatly affect people’s perspectives on different types of people, so it’s important that there be more positive representation of Asians.”

Most of all, it seems as though Basco’s efforts to encourage more Asian Americans to enter and continue in the arts are working.

“It’s very hip to be Asian in America right now,” Basco said. “It’s happening.”

Blinder analyzes 2008’s Great Recession

By Tom Kozlowski
Managing Editor

When the 2008 financial crisis threatened the survival of the American economy, the ideology of many Americans conflicted with their pragmatism. Those who maintained a Reagan-era commitment to limited government and free-market reign began asking the government to intervene, a political about-face that traded principles for action.

Americans got what they wanted: The Obama administration, fresh in office, delivered a series of policies to fight unemployment and bail out a capsizing banking industry. But according to famed economist and Princeton University professor Alan Blinder, what Americans initially asked for became what they ultimately railed against, a paradox that has loomed over the Obama administration ever since.

“There’s a lot to say about the backlash against what were generally well-executed policies by the government,” Blinder said. “They were bold, comprehensive and effective policies that were highly interventionist, but Americans, despite asking for them, largely didn’t like them.”

Taking a retrospective look at the 2008 financial crisis and the interaction between government policy and public response, Blinder spoke to the College on Wednesday, Nov. 12, approving of the government’s actions but criticizing how effectively it persuaded the public those actions worked.

Blinder, one of the most prolific economists of his generation, served on President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers and as vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 1994 to 1996. His most recent work has focused heavily on monetary policy and central banking, with contributions appearing regularly in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other major publications.

Now, with his latest book “When the Music Stopped,” Blinder has turned his attention to the recession and its sluggish recovery, bringing his own distinct analysis to the College. To guide his analysis of the crisis, Blinder offered a three-pronged approach to understanding the responses of both government and polity: first, the policy paradox that followed the crisis; second, the multifaceted backlash to the policies the Obama administration helped spearhead; and third, some lessons to be learned from the government’s Keynesian experiment.

In the economic boom of the middle Bush years, Blinder, along with many of his colleagues, believes the free market ran amok. The financial industry thrived off toxic derivative sales and faulty loans while the housing bubble inflated. There was a fundamental “abdication of regulatory authority,” according to Blinder. But when the bubble burst and the proverbial roof fell in, the financial industry, a traditional advocate of laissez-faire economics, turned to the government for help.

This presented an even larger rift among the public, which wanted the government to fight rising unemployment and economic instability while simultaneously staying out of the free-market. Blinder recounted how one citizen embodied the paradox perfectly, standing before a town hall meeting and proclaiming, “Keep your government hands off my Medicare.” The example represented a broader American consensus, though, one committed to a conservative, if not neoliberal ideology but desirous of government support.

“Ideologically, they were an anti-government populous. But pragmatically, they were pro-government,” Blinder said.

As a result, Americans transferred their economic frustrations to a backlash against the Federal Reserve, Congress, the Democratic Party and Obama himself. Former President George W. Bush, whose administration presided over the crisis’s origins, “got out just in time,” according to Blinder. But no matter which party was in charge at the time of the collapse, Blinder predicted that the government would inevitably receive the brunt of public anger.

In response, the government employed a number of highly experimental Keynesian policies in order to stimulate the economy, but Americans correlated these measures to big government and big spending. House Majority Leader John Boehner (OH-R) went so far as to repeatedly call them “job-killing government spending.” But Blinder found these accusations absurd.

“The government can either buy things from businesses, which they did in massive quantities that I believe were effective, or they can spend money to stimulate the economy,” Blinder said. “These do not kill jobs.”

Americans remained unpersuaded. Rising budget deficits and unorthodox monetary policy by the Federal Reserve fed into the lasting backlash, one that the Obama administration failed to control when it was implementing its post-crisis policies. Moreover, Blinder believes Obama took on too many social issues too soon, such as healthcare and education reform, amidst the “mandatory need for action” in the tanking economy. Because of both ill explanation and a stretched agenda, the government faced what Blinder called “massive confusion in the body politic and lots of inchoate anger.”

Looking forward, Blinder offered several steps to combat the next, perhaps inevitable financial crisis — but from a public relations standpoint. He suggested the government stick to a concise agenda, explain their actions and persuade the electorate, use down-to-earth language, set expectations low, be mindful of the public’s perception of fairness and, to be safe, repeat these steps as many times as possible. These communicative measures may not prevent a financial collapse, but they can ease the government’s task of picking up the pieces.

Applying behavioral economics to drinking

By Shellen Arora

When many students think of college, they imagine parties with endless amounts of beer, “jungle juice” and hard liquor. Colleges’ notorious image of drinking and partying perpetuates the notion that it is easy to access and obtain alcohol. The easier access there is to alcohol, the easier it can be to engage in binge drinking as well. Students’ consumption of alcohol has adverse effects like hangovers, legal sanctions, fatalities and can inhibit one from making smart decisions. Nevertheless, the consequences of drinking can be curbed with the study of behavioral economics: how alcohol price relates to consumption.

In Dr. Margaret P. Martinetti’s talk, “From Dollar Bud Bottles to Cristal Champagne: Behavioral Economics of Alcohol Consumption in American College Students,” she explored the relationship between price and alcohol consumption using college-age subjects at the College and Université de Picardie in France.

Her sabbatical research project consisted of running two experiments. One experiment that was administered tested Alcohol Purchase Talk (APT) — asking students how many drinks they would purchase if each drink costs “x amount” of dollars — for American and French college students separately. There was another APT given to these students for non-alcoholic beverages. Additional measures like Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), Drug Use Questionnaire (DUG), consumption score and dependence score added to the significance of comparing the drinking patterns of American and French college students.

The results of the first experiment reveal that U.S. students consume more alcohol and use more marijuana. The access to non-alcoholic beverage alternatives mitigates the alcohol demand, and that APT may be effective for examining the overall alcohol demand in France. Additionally, cross-cultural differences — drinking in America versus drinking in Europe — display that Americans exhibit less sensitivity to the price of alcohol. In other words, American students would display more persistence to buy expensive alcohol than French students would.

Martinetti’s second experiment entails the replication of the basic APT findings in U.S. and French samples, specifically aiming to evaluate patterns of drinking, cigarette use, drinking motives and family history of alcohol problems. A similar sample to that of the initial experiment was utilized. Demographics, basic APT, Daily Drinking Questionnaire, Family Tree Questionnaire and Drinking Motive Questionnaire measures were administered to assess the sample.

According to the results, Americans consume more alcohol on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Meanwhile, French students consume more alcohol on Fridays, Saturdays and Thursdays. Additionally, females within the American student population smoke more while males within the French student population smoke more. The overall study of alcohol consumption in relation to its price reveals that American students would pay more — $6 on average — for alcohol than French students — $5.25 on average.

Martinetti’s study demonstrated the application of behavioral economics to determine how college students’ change of drinking pattern can be influenced by the mere change of its price. A slight increase or decrease in price can spur a remarkable increase or decrease in the demand of the product. Thus, when alcohol becomes more expensive, college students will feel less discouraged to purchase the product, reducing the measured consequences of drinking.

These principles of behavioral economics could potentially alter drinking culture and patterns of college students for the future.

‘Mayday Parade’ approved for $35,370.50

By Jonathan Edmondson
Arts & Entertainment Editor

The Student Finance Board meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 12, featured one high-volume request and four new clubs hoping to become funded through the Student Activities Fund.

The first request came from the College Union Board, which proposed for its annual Welcome Back Concert. The organization sent out a survey to the campus community asking which bands and artists they would like to see perform at the College. According to CUB, over 3,000 students took the survey, and the organization was able to brainstorm ideas based on both student requests and the typical budget allocated to the Welcome Back Concert.

CUB aims to get Mayday Parade as a headliner with Misterwives opening. Other possible headliners include Ingrid Michaelson, Nico and Vinz and Say Anything. Options for openers also include Four Year Strong, Ace Enders and This Century.

The event was allocated funds of $35,370.50 and is scheduled to take place sometime between Thursday, Jan. 29, and Saturday, Jan. 31, in Kendall Hall.

The first club to request recognition from SFB was the Student New Jersey Education Association (SNJEA). As stated in its constitution, the purpose of the club “is to bridge the gap between the many education groups on campus and provide them with resources that all education majors can use in their daily and professional lives.” In the past, they have offered events such as iPad workshops and panels on special education. With funding, they hope to do more of these events to benefit the campus community.

Following its presentation, the club was picked up as an SAF-funded organization.

The second club was Net Impact, whose purpose is “to foster and inspire a new generation of students who use their education to tackle the world’s toughest problems; to apply their business skills to make a difference in every sector of business … and promote Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.”

Net Impact was picked up as an SAF-funded organization, as well.

The Students for Disability Awareness (SDA) club was also recognized as an SAF-funded organization. Its purpose is to raise awareness of “the harmful social and medical constructs associated with people who have disabilities” to both the students of the College and the members of our community.

Finally, The Society of Creative Endeavors — which strives to create a “fun, interesting and educational environment for those interested in the pop culture of Japan, including anime, manga and video games” — was the last club to be picked up as an SAF-funded organization at the meeting.

Aikido booted from wrestling room

By Kimberly Ilkowski
Review Editor

Senseis work with limited space on the Rec Center tennis courts.
Senseis work with limited space on the Rec Center tennis courts.

At the beginning of each practice, members of the College’s storied Kokikai Aikido Club dress in proper attire, set up mats and go through a series of stretches and warm-ups. The Senseis discuss what will be addressed in practice before students work on their training, technique and form, just like they have for the last 28 years — with one crucial difference. For the first time in the club’s history at the College, the Aikido Club is practicing in the Rec Center tennis courts rather than the Packer Hall wrestling room.

This has been a source of conflict and tension between the wrestling program and Aikido Club, which has been offering free defensive martial arts classes since 1986. Aikido — a form of self-defense  —  is overseen by psychology professor Arthur Hohmuth, and the club has been practicing on the same days and times for years, with hundreds of students and faculty members.

“It’s not only about the community for me, now it’s the love for the art itself. The things I’ve learned in Aikido have become guiding principles for my own life,” class of ’11 alumnus Lloyd Woods said. “I walked in my freshman year and saw the amazing things people could do to others twice their size.”

The Aikido Club may be permanently prevented from returning to the wrestling room, though, as the wrestling team’s concern with skin rashes has become more pronounced under head Coach and Assistant Director of Athletics Joseph Galante.

After being relocated to the Rec Center, the club was not allowed to keep its Monday and Wednesday practice schedule times. And when intramural basketball season started and the groups’ schedules overlapped, Aikido was forced to change yet again to accommodate another organization. This resulted in unworkable scheduling conflicts for the Aikido club, preventing a fifth of its members from being able to attend meetings, according to Hohmouth. The club also lost the instruction of beloved Sensai Anchuing “Chewie” Wang, class of ’06 alumnus and third degree black belt, who can no longer lead practices around his work schedule.

“The basketball team has to share the courts, the swimming team has to share the pools,” Wang said. “The wrestlers own the mats, but not the room.”

When the Aikido Club asked the wrestling team what caused this change in policy, they were told “times have changed” — in other words, the priorities of the wrestling team had been adjusted since longtime head coach Dave Icenhower retired in 2011.

“Coach Icenhower was here for 35 years,” Galante said. “He was a wrestling coach. He was also assistant director of athletics, and a wrestling coach gets competitions — they sign you up, they train the guys, go to the competitions, come back, train them again and on and on and on. This is a different job now: It’s about making money, reaching out to alumni and making sure that everyone is involved, so I kind of understand the pieces a little bit differently than he understood them.”

Due to the alleged health risks of having an outside club in the space, Galante is not sure “if they should have been in there in the first place.” Before the Aikido Club began using the mats which the Student Finance Board purchased for them, they were using wrestling mats purchased by the team itself, which posed a question of safety and cleanliness for Galante.

“(We’re) mopping the mats at eight each morning, Sunday through Saturday,” Galante said. “At the beginning of practice, we hold skin checks where the wrestlers form a line, take off their shirt, hold out their arms to both sides (and) we check their skin for any open cuts, lesions or bacterial infections. After practice we mop the mats again at 6 p.m.”

The club had seen a steady incline in membership over the past several years until this semester, when numbers dropped. Thirty-one students signed up for the first interest session following the fall activities fair, only to be met with three practice mats and insufficient space to allow everyone to safely participate.

“The wrestling room is much bigger and allows them to do much more and go into more complicated techniques,” said Hohmuth, who has been practicing Aikido for more than 40 years.

The Aikido Club has been joining forces with other organizations to promote self-defense techniques. The club already held two self-defense courses with sororities in the past, and on Wednesday, Nov. 12, they held an open invitation with the TCNJ Off-Campus Student Organization and the Brazilian Ju Jitsu club on-campus.

The Aikido Club goes through a series of warmups before practice.
The Aikido Club goes through a series of warmups before practice.

“With the school’s ongoing concerns with the safety of their students, you would think they would know the importance of mixed martial arts training,” said Rachel Alderman, the club’s secretary.

Along with the previously stated precautionary measures, the wrestling team also has a trainer in practice each day to stop, clean up and cover any bleeding that occurs, as well as high-power, high temperature washers that are used each day to clean the teams practice clothes.

“It is an NCAA violation if you were to wrestle with any type of skin infection and we do have these skin checks everyday and along with these skin checks if we go out on a mat and have a skin infection we automatically get disqualified and not allowed to step on the mat,” sophomore wrestler Patrick Schinder said. “Is this Aikido Club going through the same process?”

Due to the room only being used by wrestlers this semester Galante said, “ringworm, MRSA, infantigo, staff — we don’t see issues with that nearly as much as last year.”

“If we’re fundraising and making the dollars, and if our dollars are going into what we’re doing, we’re a little more apprehensive of just inviting someone in if it’s going to cost us possible health problems.”

However, the Aikido Club was caught off guard by the skin allegations, as Hohmuth said there have been no recorded skin rashes in the club’s history.

“First and foremost, we aspire to (have) a clean, safe environment to practice, from the mat to uniforms and clothing, personal hygiene, including covering cuts or abrasions, clipping nails and limiting offensive odors as well as perfume,” said Bryan Gibbons, the lone remaining Aikido instructor at the College. “If blood is found on the mat or a uniform all practice stops, all students are checked, cleaned, covered and mitigated.”

This is not the first time the group has been disallowed from using the wrestling room. For an entire semester in 2011, the group lost access to the room without warning. Members were forced to scavenge for any open areas on campus to practice, like the Sundial Lawn, Hausdoerffer and Ely, Allen and Brewster lounges — all places that were not properly equipped and were considered a safety hazard.

“When we were previously in the wrestling room, we were able to sweep and mop to our hearts content,” Gibbons said. “We had the perfect practice space. Then ousted and eventually moved to the North Gym, we were confronted with carpeted mats used by the cheerleaders, dance and anybody else that walked in. There was no oversight with all sorts of outdoor traffic and debris on the mats with no program for properly cleaning them.”

A lack of proper communication between organizations may be to blame for the inconsistent cleaning policies of both groups.

“For 25 of the 26 years that we used the wrestling room, the room was swept and disinfected prior to each class,” Hohmuth said. “In the summer of 2013, Coach Galante told us not to disinfect, that he would take care of that if we would sweep. I don’t know why he did not want us to disinfect, but last year we did not.”

With Galante’s new measures, concerns of cleanliness arose for the Aikido Club.

“In 2013, back in the wrestling room … our biggest issue with cleanliness continue(d) — outdoor shoes on the mat,” Gibbons added. “Now unable to clean them, we face a reality that there are others using these mats with outdoor shoes — and in this case, shoes that have likely walked from the locker room via the bathrooms.”

In response to the Aikido Club losing access to the wrestling room, Rob Simels, head of the Office of Recreation and director of Club Sports and Intramurals, said, “I’m a big safety, risk management person personally, so to me right now it’s best.”

At the moment, he cannot help them directly because he only oversees athletic clubs.

It is unclear whether both organizations will be able to compromise on the issues at hand.

“I would not mind working with Aikido or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on coming up with the correct skin procedures and policies,” Galante said. “Does that mean that even if they have them I’m just going to allow them to come right back into the room or ask them to come right back into the room? No, because I still think they should be using their own mats, still think they should be following their policies and procedures, and if we’re not there to monitor those, its going to be very, very difficult.”

Lion’s Playlist: Pop Nostalgia Playlist

By Susan Pereny

As a senior, it’s hard not to feel nostalgic all the time, from thinking about Welcome Week to reminiscing about middle school.  Well gang, get out your NOW CD’s and your flared rhinestone jeans because the throwback playlist has officially arrived.

These songs are guaranteed to bring you back to a certain moment in your life years back.  Do you remember recording any of these from the radio to your cassette tapes?  I definitely do.  Admittedly though, that could just be because I was way behind on the times — you might have even had them on CD, you tech savvy person you!

#tbt and all that jazz.

OutKast – “Ms. Jackson”

Arguably one of their catchiest choruses ever, although surprising the two-word “Hey Ya” is pretty close up there.

‘N Sync Feat. Nelly – “Girlfriend (Neptunes Remix)”

Probably the best intro to any ‘N Sync (which I thought was stylized *NSYNC, but okay) single complete with references to their other songs.  Also, the premise of this song is basically the same as the Avril Lavigne hit of the same name.

Nelly – “Ride Wit Me”

Might as well throw another Nelly song in here.  Although not as popular as the legendary “Hot In Herre” (can’t forget that extra “r,” that’s very important), I would argue that this is in fact a much catchier song.

Maroon 5 – “This Love”

Maroon 5 has had so many hits over the years it’s hard to keep track of them, but I would say that aside from “Harder to Breathe,” this is when Adam Levine first waltzed into our lives.

‘N Sync – “Pop”

The boy band’s very tribute to the genre itself.

Britney Spears – “Toxic”

Definitely the most expertly produced Britney song ever, not to mention all of those rhinestones/diamonds in the video that were oh-so-controversial.

R. Kelly- “Ignition (Remix)”

Can’t say I’m a fan of R. Kelly, but this song will always be fun to listen to.

kim's d squirrel

Kim’s Declassified: 30 Thoughts Everyone Has While Walking To Class

By Kimberly Ilkowski
Review Editor

I know classes can be boring and stressful, but just getting there is half the battle. Walking to class is like trying to beat a level in a video game: dodge the service vehicles, hide from the deer, avoid obstacles like construction zones, just to defeat the villain by snagging the best seat in the back of the room. If you’re walking alone you may go through immense inner turmoil between trudging forward or turning right back around for a nap. And if you’re walking with a friend, convincing yourselves to skip and do something fun becomes all the more easy. But battle on! We all think the same things while walking through campus, even from the moment we emerge from our dorm rooms, like…

  1. I’m blinded by the sun after being in my dark cave of a room all night.
  2. Leaves are falling, birds are chirping, ah nature… Nope not doing that today.
  3. This wind chill? I’m just not about it.
  4. Why do people insist on walking five people deep?
  5. Nah, it’s not like I wanted to get to class on time or anything.
  6. Maybe if I just go around them…
  7. Now I have to resort to a light jog just to get ahead of them.
  8. I may have looked like a maniac, but at least I’m back on track.
  9. (Absent-mindedly stares at cellphone out of boredom)
  10. (Consciously stares at cellphone out of fear someone I pass will say hi)

    kim's d phone
    Don’t look at me. Don’t look at me. Don’t look at me. Don’t look at me or my outdated phone. (Photo courtesy of flickr.com/photos/whiteafrican)
  11. (Exudes the concentration of a brain surgeon while staring at my phone to avoid interaction with someone I hate)
  12. All right, I think I’m safe, I can look up again.
  13. Oh, great, another white van on the sidewalks driving right towards me.
  14. Maybe if it just gently bumps into me I won’t have to go to class…
  15. They should install traffic lights at all major sidewalk intersections.
  16. Man, at least the squirrels seem happy, frolicking in the leaves.
  17. Stepping on this crispy, crunchy leaf will unfortunately be the high point of my day
  18. There may be more squirrels on this campus than students.

    kim's d squirrel
    Sweet and adorable or plotting to take over campus? (Photo courtesy of flickr.com/photos/astronomyblog)
  19. I still have time, I can turn right around and go back to bed.
  20. My warm, comfy, cozy bed…
  21. In a room filled with endless snacks…
  22. But instead I’ll be in a cold room listening to a lecture.
  23. In an all white room…
  24. With a flickering fluorescent light…
  25. Is this college or an insane asylum?
  26. We’re all just hungry and cold and need a nap or two.
  27. Or 12 or 30…
  28. I could sleep for the next two months straight and still wake up tired.
  29. Well, I’ve almost reached my certain doom.
  30. No no no no no no no no no no.
kim's d testing
Defeat. (Photo courtesy of flickr.com/photos/pagedooley)

Echoes: Barcelona and beyond

By Christina Madsen

More than halfway through my study abroad adventure, I feel as though I finally know my way around the city pretty well. With that said, I feel like I am stuck somewhere between “no longer a tourist,” yet “not quite a local.” I certainly use “vale” (the Spanish equivalent of “OK”) a lot and even find myself sneaking it into English conversations too. (Oops!) I sometimes have a hard time wrapping my head around how much I have seen and done in just under two months in this incredible city. I could probably write a book covering everything I have done here so far, but instead I am going to share a few highlights from the last few weeks here in Barcelona!

As someone who loves to cook, I jumped at the chance to take a Catalan cooking class. For starters, we made gazpacho (a chilled tomato soup), tortilla española (a Spanish omelet), and pam amb tomàquet (toasted bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil and tomato). For the main entree we all pitched in and made paella and for dessert we had chocolate ganache, snuggled between two crackers, and topped with orange slices.

As my family was just visiting, I got to revisit Barcelona’s 17th century fortress, Castell de Montjuïc, which overlooks the city’s harbor. We also took a train to Montserrat, a monastery nestled in the peaks of a mountain about 30 miles west of Barcelona. Montserrat had incredible views, lots of free cheese tasting, and a beautiful basilica. With only a little over a month left, I can’t wait to see where the rest of my trip abroad takes me!cooking class 10800340_10204709612847426_714874147_o Montjuic

Fair admits HS students to historically black colleges

By Mylin Batipps
News Assistant

Students from almost a hundred high schools in New Jersey accepted scholarships and were admitted on-site to institutions during the Iota Gamma Chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity’s 10th annual Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Fair.

Representatives from 40 different historically black institutions attended the fair, which was held on Sunday, Nov. 16, in the Brower Student Center. The College’s Iota Gamma Chapter partnered with several organizations to plan the fair, including the New Jersey Department of Education, Wells Fargo and PNC.

“Over 500 students benefitted from the fair,” said Edward Bannister-Holmes, communications studies major and president of the Iota Gamma Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Admissions were determined by the students’ transcripts and test scores they brought to the fair.

For 10 years, the College’s chapter incorporated two of its four cardinal principles to the planning and implementation of the HBCU Fair: “Scholarship” and “Uplift.” The Iota Gamma Chapter has aimed to spread advocacy for education, in addition to helping students achieve education by presenting opportunities for aid and admission.

Virginia State University awarded $112,000, $40,000 and $20,000 scholarships to high school students during the fair, according to Angela Diggs, senior counselor of recruiting for the university. Representatives of the university also admitted some students on-site.

“We really just wanted to spread the word about what we have to offer from each individual institution,” Diggs said.

Jaré Amolé, a representative from Tuskegee University in Alabama, said that the College is just one of many colleges and universities that he and representatives of different institutions attend.

“We travel between New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania,” Amolé said. We recruit about a little over 15,000 students to attend historically black colleges and universities from all over the country. It’s a great opportunity for kids to get a look at schools that they may never have the opportunity to go to or may have no interest or even knowing about.”

Parents accompanied the students to the fair and benefitted almost equally from the experience, according to Bannister-Holmes.

“It was such an honor to hear pleased parents talk about how much they’ve learned about the college entry process, hear students discuss which colleges and universities that are their top choices, and hear recruiters happily educating so many people about their schools,” he said.

After around a million dollars being awarded to students, one could say the 10th annual HBCU fair was a success. The Omega Psi Phi looks to continue the tradition for as long as it can.

“At the end of the day, we just want to give students and parents valuable learning tools that are crucial for scholars seeking post-secondary education,” Bannister-Holmes said. “We are greatly looking forward to next year.”

Students debate topics in biannual ‘War of the Words’

By Ellie Schuckman
News Assistant

Sisko moderates the comical yet heated debates at the fifth biannual ‘War of the Words.’ (Kyle Bennion / Photo Editor)
Sisko moderates the comical yet heated debates at the fifth biannual ‘War of the Words.’ (Kyle Bennion / Photo Editor)

There were several fierce debates between the College’s Society for Parliamentary Debate and members of the Philosophy Society at the fifth biannual “War of the Words.” There were some serious topics, but most debates centered on funny topics, including the highly anticipated kittens vs. mittens.

The event, which took place in the Social Science Atrium on Monday, Nov. 10, saw heated arguments in favor and opposed to topics such as pride vs. humility, atoms vs. void and talent vs. effort.

“It is better in such a debate setting and in such a confined time-frame to debate something silly, because you don’t need to actually go in-depth, you just throw out a few reasons on both sides, then see who can rebut them better,” said Joey Worthington, a sophomore history major who argued in favor of mittens. “You are given the opportunity to just have some fun, make some jokes and try to win the audience.”

Following the debates, winners for the best arguments were announced, each of whom received a $25 gift card. Participants had two minutes each to discuss a view initially and then make a new argument after the other had spoken. Of the invited speakers, junior history and philosophy double major Steven Rodriguez and Worthington took the top crowns, while junior history and classical studies double major Zachary Bradley Elliott, junior philosophy major Kimberly Feldman, sophomore chemistry major Marc Casale and junior biology major Mitch Vaughn won from the floor.

“(The topics) were very interesting,” Vaughn said. “It is a challenge picking two things barely related and comparing them.”

The topics were contrived by both the debate and philosophy societies and ultimately selected by John Sisko, professor of philosophy, religion and classical studies and the moderator and judge of the debates.

In the two and a half years that the debates have taken place, the setting has always been more relaxed, with the “look of a pop-up event,” thus encouraging more individuals and those simply passing by to partake in the discussions, Sisko said.

“It’s about placing important emphasis on oral skills,” he said. 

In the talent vs. effort debate, questions arose on whether the two can exist without each other, with the debaters questioning the legitimacy of what the other had to say.

“It is hard to really justify why talent or effort, humility or pride, or atoms or void is more important, since they require the other to be useful at all,” Worthington said. “Neither of those is particularly useful on their own, so it becomes difficult to really have a good argument to justify one of them being better than the other.”

The event had about 60 students in attendance, according to Sisko.

Pokémon and robots are coming to campus

By Sydney Shaw
Opinions Editor

The College now has more opportunities to host tournaments on campus, whether it be one robot pitted against another or Kirby vs. Charizard in a match of “Super Smash Bros.,” as the Robotics Club and Competitive Gaming Club were officially recognized by Student Government at the general body meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 5.

The Robotics Club, headed by Dean of Engineering Steven Schreiner, aims to help students develop skills in engineering by teaching them to build and program robots.

Schreiner has already provided a few Nao (pronounced “now”) robots for the club. Nao is a humanoid robot about two feet tall, developed by the French company Aldebaran Robotics.

“They can talk and interact with each other,” junior Robotics Club president Sarah Dresher said.

Dresher explained that the club plans to engage the College community by having talking robots at different events around campus.

“We want to have the Nao robots at Accepted Students Day,” Dresher said. “We can program them to give prospective students a tour of Armstrong Hall, for example.”

If designing tour-giving robots sounds like an overwhelming project, have no fear: The club hosts special workshop meetings to inform students who might not be so savvy regarding microprocessors, IR sensors — which measure distance — and other information necessary to construct and use their own robots.

“There are firefighting robot competitions where robots are programmed to find a candle in a maze and extinguish it,” Dresher said. “In the robo-waiter competition, the robot has to deliver a tray of food.”

The club has competed in the Micromouse Competition before, during which small robot mice solve a 16 square- inch maze.

Governmental Affairs found no weaknesses with Robotics Club and voted unanimously in favor.

Competitive Gaming Club serves to create a community of passionate gamers to participate in “League of Legends,” “Super Smash Bros.,” “Starcraft” and other tournaments.

President Mitch Vaughn plans to analyze and teach game strategy during club meetings. “We want to provide gamers the opportunity to test their skill against their friends and other students at tournaments,” he said. “‘Super Smash Bros.’ is incredibly popular on campus right now.”

Vaughn wants to add Pokémon to the list of tournaments once the club is up and running.

Competitive Gaming Club did not seek out club status to obtain Student Finance Board funding, but wants to use its new recognition to book rooms for meetings and tournaments and to advertise with flyers around campus.

Governmental Affairs voted all in favor with one abstention.

Later in the meeting, Vice President Mike Chiumento announced that Dean of Recreation Rob Simels will be speaking next week about the recreation organization. On Tuesday, Nov. 18, Simels is hosting a Wellness event at 6:30 p.m. in Roscoe 201, at which people will be sharing personal stories and connecting with others.

Vice President of Equity and Diversity Javier Nicasio announced that PRISM’s World AIDS Day Vigil will be held on Monday, Dec. 1. First held in 1988, World AIDS Day is an opportunity for individuals worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for those living with the virus and to remember the more than 3.5 million people who have died from the disease.

Urine big trouble if you keep your door open

By Peter Fiorilla
News Editor

• Campus Police were dispatched to the third floor of Travers Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 3:50 a.m., in response to a report of an intoxicated student. They found a student seated on the floor by the elevators being attended to by Lions EMS. The student said he consumed various kinds of alcohol earlier in the evening, according to Campus Police, and that while looking for a friend in Travers Hall, he had accidentally walked into another room. The room’s residents told Campus Police they had left their door unlocked when they went to sleep and were awoken by the sound of the door opening. One of the residents said the intoxicated student “entered the room, sat on her desk chair and began urinating on the chair and floor.” Both residents told the student to leave, and he told them to “go back to sleep.” The intoxicated student was charged with consumption of alcohol in a public place.

• A student met with Campus Police on Monday, Nov. 10, at 2:45 p.m., to file a report on a forged check. The student said a check from the College, issued in Sept. 2013 for about $4,000 had been forged and cashed without his authorization, and he had not reported it stolen since. Campus Police are conducting an ongoing investigation.

  A student told Campus Police on Monday, Nov. 10, that $40 had been stolen from his wallet on Friday, Oct. 31, at around 5 p.m. When the student left his room to use the bathroom, his wallet —  which he left on a desk — contained $42 as well as a $10 Canadian bill. When the student returned, he said $40 was missing. The victim does not wish to file criminal charges and has been advised to contact Ewing Court if he wishes to file at a later date.

Breaking down the midterm election results

By Annabel Lau
Web Editor

Republicans have won big in this year’s midterm elections, but it’s not as surprising as many pundits contest, according to political science professor Daniel Bowen. Bowen delivered a timely lecture, “The 2014 Midterm Elections: What Happened, Why, and Where Do We Go From Here?” on Tuesday, Nov. 11, as the final installment of the Political Science Department’s semester-long politics forum.

“It’s very likely that the GOP will control more seats in the House in any time since Hoover was president,” Bowen said. “What this means is the Republicans control more House seats than nearly any time in American politics.”

In addition, the Republicans have won many seats in the Senate as well as state legislatures.

“The states are where the action is,” Bowen said. “The GOP picked up 11 legislative chambers, and what this means is that they have unified control of 23 state governments when you add in the states that were able to flip the governor’s office.”

This might pose a challenge for Democrats in state governments, Bowen said.

“Democratic-controlled states dropped down to seven,” Bowen said. “Now the Democrats don’t have the ability to really push policy. They’ll have a few states where they can, but in many of the large states where they would be traditionally looking for policy innovation … they’re not going to be able to do that.”

The GOP now controls approximately 4,100 of the nearly 7,400 state legislative seats — “the greatest number of seats that Republicans have controlled in a state legislature since 1920,” according to Bowen.

But despite the major Republican gains this year, the results are neither surprising nor concerning, Bowen said, who identifies as a moderate.

“These historic numbers (aren’t really surprising) because Republicans had just an amazing year,” Bowen said. “It’s really about consolidating gains over the last couple of years. They did really well in 2010. They didn’t lose that much in 2012.”

He also attributes the election results to two well-known theories in political science: referendum voting and “surge and decline.”

Explaining the theory of referendum voting, Bowen said that “if times are good and people like the president, then his or her party will do better in midterm elections.”

“The president’s party in Congress sees a surge during election years, because the president, in order to run a national campaign, needs to get this big, broad coalition together that has high mobilization efforts,” Bowen said. “(The president has) an advantage in the presidential year and then (has) a disadvantage in the following midterm election.”

Despite the GOP’s big wins this year, Bowen doesn’t believe there will be major changes to federal policy.

“Republicans aren’t going to be able to pass any substantive policy to the Senate without a large number of Democrats helping them,” Bowen said.

And regardless of what is portrayed by the media, Bowen is not shocked by the results.

“I think this is a boring midterm election where the president’s party loses seats,” Bowen said. “They lose seats because of the reasons why the presidential party always loses seats in the midterm election. They don’t have the mobilization effect of the president on the ballot and the strength of the economy and the presidential approval, (which) weighs down those congressional Democrats, in this case.”

Junior international studies major Nick Macri appreciated Bowen’s balanced explanation of the election results.

“You hear a lot of things in the news about how it was a landslide and (about) low voter turnout,” Macri said. “You hear a lot of stereotypes and media panic. Usually there’s not a lot of basis to it, so it’s cool to see what really happened.”

Although the Republican victory was no surprise to senior international studies major Theja Varre, she still questioned the implications of the election results.

“Even though (Bowen) said that the results from this past election aren’t surprising, there’s something unnerving about the fact that the last time something like this happened was around the Great Depression,” Varre said.

Still, Bowen thinks it was a victory that was waiting to happen, so the results should come as no surprise.

Getting politically active while in college

By Gabrielle Beacken
News Assistant

Young Democratic leaders of New Jersey gathered together to form a discussion panel for the event “Forging the Future: Stories of Success from New Jersey’s Young Democratic Leaders” on Wednesday, Nov. 12, to discuss the critical participation of young people in politics. The event was hosted by the College Democrats and College Democrats of New Jersey.

“Political engagement is at the core of building a better future,” said Sam Fogelgaren, junior history and urban studies double major and president of TCNJ College Democrats. “College occupies a unique period of time in our lives in which we are strongly encouraged to constantly question, develop and learn.”

The moderator, Jeannine LaRue, introduced the panel, including Daniel R. Benson, Tennille McCoy, Milly Silva, Chris James and Vin Gopal.

“I really wanted to be the change I talked about,” said LaRue, reminiscing about the beginning of her long political career. The purpose of the event was to teach young students how to get involved in politics to create the type “of change that you want to see,” LaRue said.

LaRue’s long political resume includes serving as deputy chief of staff for former New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine.

“There are so many areas … where you can make change,” LaRue said. “There are so many things, so many options.” LaRue stressed that running for political office is simply one path to generating change. 

“At the end of the day, I want to do something, not just be something,” New Jersey District fourteen Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson said.

Benson, former member of Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders and Hamilton Township Council, depicted the inception of his political career as knocking on doors and making phone calls.

“You see a campaign you don’t like? Speak up,” Benson said. Benson emphasized that calling citizens on the phone for hours a day is extremely significant, as “you are asking people to make an investment in you.”

“Putting in the time and getting rejected — it’s just part of the business,” Benson said. “It’s getting through it.”

Tennille McCoy, who has worked under four governors, agreed with Benson.

“It’s not something easily done,” McCoy said. “But at the end of the day, I agree with the sentiment.”

McCoy has learned that “it’s really about knowing the opportunity and what you’re able to do.”

If someone asked Milly Silva if she would run for public office a year ago, she would’ve responded with a clear “no.” However, now she says, “never say never.”

Barbara Buono chose Silva as the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor in the 2013 New Jersey Governor election.

“Each and every one of us has an opportunity to identify that space where we can come together,” Silva said. “You have to feel passionate about something — you can’t fake it.”

After over 20 years of experience building various organizations, Silva has interacted with a wide variety of people who wish to make New Jersey a better place to live.

“You connect with people from where they stand, not where you think they stand,” Silva said. “Whatever you do, take advantage of what you’re going to learn from it.”

Chris James, executive director of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, suggested that students look into the issues in their area, find what interests them and then reach out to their legislators.

Growing up in politics, James initiated his interests by volunteering, which he suggested students to do the same.

“If you don’t try and are not willing to take a little bit of risk — you won’t get a lot of reward,” said Vin Gopal, chairman of Monmouth County Democrats and co-owner of My Community Publications.

Panels, like this one, offering advice to students interested in politics is a great networking opportunity, Gopal said.

The panel, as a whole, expressed that connecting and interacting with the community is a central step in the process of change.

“At the end of the day we’re all people, and we’re all looking for similar things: access to opportunities, kind treatment by others and a sense of purpose,” said Fogelgaren, who has been involved in several Trenton political campaigns such as that of current Mayor Eric Jackson and Congresswoman-elect Bonnie Watson-Coleman. “I believe community involvement is the key to a better future because it is our best fight against ignorance.”

“I learned that you should start young, regardless of experience or major,” junior marketing major Missy Bove said. “Start young if you want to make a change.”

Many students studying political science who wish to enter the political arena found the panel helpful, according to sophomore international studies major and College Democrats secretary Ambica Avancha.

“Also, the panelists were really cool and inspiring,” she said.

Fogelgaren encouraged students to become involved in the Trenton political community and disregard their preconceived notions of the state capital. According to Fogelgaren, there are numerous organizations that produce good work that are understaffed are in need of help.

“The idea behind the panel is: let’s get college students to hear the voices of passionate young leaders, so that this experience and the information presented can question their beliefs,” Fogelgaren said. “But that’s just the beginning.”

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