All posts by Signal Contributor

‘Amazin’ Mets make it to postseason

By Connor Smith

Mets fans have been through enough turmoil and heartache to last a lifetime. Ever since Carlos Beltran took strike three to put a sudden halt to the Mets’ 2006 playoff  run, the team had struggled being anything short of a laughing stock. After compiling two major September collapses and six losing seasons — the Mets are finally relevant. Having all but locked down a National League Division Series (NLDS) matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team must now prove to the world that they aren’t just a product of a weak division.

Young pitching and late inning heroics have been the calling card of this lively young Mets squad who lead the National League in RBIs, homeruns and slugging percentage since the All-Star break.

Granderson continues to keep the Mets alive. (AP Photo)
Granderson continues to keep the Mets alive. (AP Photo)

The Mets owe their recent success to a handful of trade-deadline acquisitions that bolstered the Mets’ lineup with the likes of Yoenis Cespedes, Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe. These Major League hitters helped take the pressure off Curtis Granderson who kept the team afloat until July. The Mets have since seen the return of injured captain, David Wright, and young hitting catcher, Travis d’Arnaud. Continue reading

Social media may harm mental health

Social media might hurt users’ self-esteem.  (AP Photo)
Social media might hurt users’ self-esteem. (AP Photo)

By Greg Lepore

Social media has hijacked my generation. However, no one can dispute that it does come with some unique benefits for personal and social growth. Personally, we can access up to-the-second-news of every kind, be enlightened by thought provoking memes and entertain ourselves with the most relevant jokes and videos.

Socially, we can connect to the entire world. We’re kept up-to-date with what is going on in the lives of our friends, family, and colleagues, and we keep them all up-to-date with what is going on in ours. Continue reading

El Salvadoran crime rates, corruption on the rise

By Tom Ballard                                                                                                             Staff Writer

Human rights in El Salvador and the way the world views them were the main topics of discussion at this week’s Fall Politics Forum at the College.

Bullock discusses human rights in El Salvador and the growing concern over increasing violence and the lack of police protection.
Bullock discusses human rights in El Salvador and the growing concern over increasing violence and the lack of police protection.

Held on Friday, Sept. 25 in the Social Sciences Building, the presentation, entitled “Human Rights and Social Violence in Central America,” was hosted by Noah Bullock, executive director of Foundation Cristosal, a “faith-based human rights and community development organization,” according to their website.

At the beginning of his presentation, Bullock dabbled into the contemporary history of human rights in El Salvador and the rest of Central America.

“El Salvador, in this year, has sort of passed Honduras and become the most violent country in the world,” Bullock said. “But El Salvador is different from Guatemala and Honduras because there is no social protest movement.” Continue reading

College students should have some thrifty spending and saving tricks on hand to keep their finances in check. (AP Photo)

Lions’ Financial: 7 Ways College Students Can Save

By Padma Radhakrishnan

  1. Use alternative forms of transportation.
    Try taking the loop bus (which is free) or using the Enterprise Car Share service  (where rates start at $7.50 an hour) on campus to go out on the weekends with friends. This is more economical than having a car on campus because you don’t have to pay unintended expenses like gas or maintenance.
  1. Check the balance of your Get It Points/Carte Blanche Points
    College students should have some thrifty spending and saving tricks on hand to keep their finances in check. (AP Photo)
    College students should have some thrifty spending and saving tricks on hand to keep their finances in check. (AP Photo)

    systematically.It’s a good idea to check the balance on your card in order to stay under the points limit. One way to check the balance on your card is to swipe your card at the kiosk in the library.

  1. Organize your credit card receipts in one area.
    This helps you have easy access to track of all the credit card expenses because you can use your receipts to verify your purchases at the end of the month. It also helps you to watch your spending and stick to your budget.

Continue reading

GOP presidential candidate showdown

Carly Fiorina ‘wins’ last week’s debate.
Carly Fiorina ‘wins’ last week’s debate. (AP Photo)

By Tom Ballard

Carly Fiorina: The businesswoman and former HP CEO stood out during her first prime time debate as she was able to go toe-to-toe with Donald Trump himself. She came across as very presidential, dismissing Trump’s infamous insult about her face and providing passionate answers on Planned Parenthood and drug addiction. In her first appearance in the main debate, she came across as strong and personable. Fiorina showed the audience that she was more than just a presidential candidate, she was also a human.

Marco Rubio: Normally, the Florida senator was heard and then quickly forgotten, but Rubio came across strong on foreign policy. He handled himself relatively well by being careful not to ignite any conflict between him and his fellow Republican hopefuls. It is still left to see if he has the ability to get his poll numbers up, but, nonetheless, he had a strong debate showing.

Ben Carson: The mild-mannered neurosurgeon stayed true to his promise of continuing to be himself during the debate. He came across as charismatic and calm, except for his ideas on minimum wage reformation. This was also evident with his quick reaction calling Trump “an OK doctor” after Trump gave his opinion on administering vaccinations. Carson’s statements were strong, but not memorable.

Ronald Reagan: So he might not have been a candidate on the stage, but the location of the debate, with Air Force One in the background, made it difficult for the GOP contenders not to invoke his most holy and sacred name during the debate.

George Pataki: Full disclaimer: Pataki is currently the candidate that I am backing in the race. The former New York governor received a bump of publicity after he said that he would have fired the controversial Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis, who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Maybe his polling will go up from 1 to 2 percent and he will move up to the prime time debates… perhaps I can keep dreaming.

Donald Trump: In spite of the fact that I’ve yearned to put Trump in this category for a while, the billionaire genuinely deserves it after this debate. Trump just wasn’t Trump, even though he took jabs at other candidates, such as Rand Paul, and continued to flaunt about his wealth and strong poll numbers. However, he wasn’t the flamboyant force of outspokenness that he has  made himself out to be. Could it have been a strategy to mild his temper or was the three-hour long contest just too long? Being called out on his failed business ventures surely didn’t help this businessman, who has declared bankruptcy four times in the past.

Chris Christie: The New Jersey governor had a breakthrough moment by yelling at Trump and Fiorina for talking about their business records instead of discussing the real issues. After his 30 seconds of fame, the debate went promptly back to discussing both political and business records.  

Mike Huckabee: Mike Hucka — who? The former Arkansas governor lacked flare and excitement during the debate. If it wasn’t for his passionate defense of Kim Davis and so called “religious liberties,” it would have been incredibly easy to forget who the once Fox News host was in California, let alone the debate stage.

Jeb Bush: Poor Bush. The one thing that Trump did succeed in doing throughout the night was getting under Bush’s skin. The former Florida governor kept getting successfully cut off by the businessman and eventually confessed to smoking marijuana in his youth (which he quickly apologized to his mother for on Twitter). I know this wasn’t how it was supposed to be, Bush — winning the nomination was supposed to be easy — but at least try to defend yourself.

Rick Santorum: The former Pennsylvania senator who won 12 states in the last set of Republican primaries found himself trying to claw his way out of the B-rate debate. Despite his argumentative spirit last Wednesday, I doubt he did much to get himself out of his current rut.

Jim Gilmore: If the name doesn’t sound familiar, it’s OK. The former Virginia governor failed to meet the requirement of averaging at least 1 percent in one of three polls that CNN looks at to determine which candidates got to take the stage. But at least his performance was not damaged on debate night — but the same cannot be said for some of the candidates who actually participated.


Students share opinions around campus

Ricardo Rigodon, junior computer science major.
Ricardo Rigodon, junior computer science major.




“I have a dislike for Republicans in general. I disagree with tax (breaks) for the rich. I am not a fan of the two-party dynamic. It’s not enough to describe the beliefs everyone has.”





Sean Reis, sophomore journalism major.
Sean Reis, sophomore journalism major.



“I have a love-hate relationship with Donald Trump… I’m indifferent about Jeb… he’d be a one-term president. He’d be like his brother, but (he’d) be more liberal than his brother… (but) a lot of things would stay the same. We need some changes.”

Student utilizes summer for political internship

Bhatti learns more about elections. (AP Photo)
Bhatti learns more about elections. (AP Photo)

By Bunyad Bhatti

After completing my first year as a political science student at the College, I started learning the foundation of politics and how competitive the major can be. Between all of the cookouts, pool parties and roller coasters this past summer, I was able to squeeze in an internship experience that has become my first step toward a career. Continue reading

A ‘Mix’ of improv and physical comedy

By Khadijah Yasin

It wouldn’t be a Mixed Signals show unless someone pretended to be an inflatable watermelon. During their first show of the semester, the College’s improv comedy troupe enacted many wacky tales on Sunday, Sept. 13, in the Library Auditorium.

Members utilize student feedback during skits. (Heiner Fallas / Staff Photographer)
Members utilize student feedback during skits. (Heiner Fallas / Staff Photographer)

The Mixed Signals always come up with completely original material for each of their performances. Made up of 10 members ranging from sophomores to seniors, the troupe found the perfect balance of sarcasm and humor. Their energy was contagious and livened up the room immediately.

Very little is off limits at one of their shows — a memorable skit of the night occurred when a cast member pretended to be a drunken grandchild cleaning barnacles from a boat. More importantly, they always kept their skits interesting and allowed the crowd to get involved.

They utilized crowd feedback and based entire skits off words shouted out by audience members. Continue reading

CUB Alt hosts first soloist night of the semester

By Morgan Lubner

Nervous student performers and antsy friends gathered in the Brower Student Center on Friday, Sept. 18, for the first student soloist night of the semester.

Hosted by CUB Alt, the event gives aspiring musicians the chance to gain experience performing in a supportive, relaxing environment. Three soloists signed up to perform and showcase their various talents in front of peers and parents, some for the first time ever.

Avallone performs on stage for the first time in front of his peers. (Kim Iannarone / Photo Editor)
Avallone performs on stage for the first time in front of his peers. (Kim Iannarone / Photo Editor)

The first artist was Jade Tungul, a freshman communications major who sang and played her guitar for the crowd. She performed six songs in total, five covers and one original piece she wrote just the week before. Continue reading


Student skits come down to the ‘Wire’

By Annette Espinoza

With an army of 50 plus students split into five teams, an aggressive council of seven arbiters running on caffeine and a 24-hour deadline, students at the College put together and performed several plays that made for yet another wacky night at WIRED.

Students write and perform in skits based on popular websites like (Kim Iannarone / Photo Editor)
Students write and perform in skits based on popular websites like (Kim Iannarone / Photo Editor)

The biannual event, which was held in the Decker Social Space on Saturday, Sept. 19, expressed unique collaborative work from a dynamic group of student writers, eccentric actors and directors willing to sacrifice a whole 24 hours to craft six plays from scratch and then perform them on stage in front of a live audience.

This troupe of brave students compete to the theatrical death in hopes to win best actress, director, writer and stage manager. This year’s theme was based on websites and included a subgenre of the five senses. Outrageous twists were incorporated into the skits such as a “Gossip Girl” scandal, tweets from arbiters’ Twitter accounts and even treating a normal word like a curse word.

Who knew “Dalai Lama” was such a great filler for an insult?

“We spend weeks in advance thinking of really out-of-the-box things” said arbiter Cat Janis, a sophomore psychology major. Continue reading

Assemblyman analyzes Constitution

By Kyle Elphick                                                                                       Correspondent

Instead of enjoying the summer weather, many students at the College buzzed excitedly, armed with pens, pencils, notebooks and laptops in the Library Auditorium. These students were waiting to see Democratic Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, a representative of New Jersey’s 15th district, which includes Trenton. His lecture on Friday, Sept. 18, in the auditorium, tackled hot-button issues, such as birthright citizenship and marriage equality.

Gusciora speaks to students about the perception of the Constitution.
Gusciora speaks to students about the perception of the Constitution.

The driving force behind the talk was an analysis and interpretation of the United States Constitution. The talk coincided with Constitution Day, a federal observance celebrated on Thursday, Sept. 17, the day before the event took place. Federal legislation that created Constitution Day mandates that all publicly-funded educational institutions deliver Constitution-related

teachings on or near this day. In the eyes of many students, Gusciora’s lecture went above and beyond meeting this requirement for the College.

The group of students who attended the event shared some common characteristics.  These include a passion for American government and a love of politics and law. Yet, it was individual interest that drew each person to the talk.

“I’m personally concerned with equality in this country,” junior political science major Luke Hertzel said. Continue reading

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For the Love of Learning: The Wonderful World of Pre-K

By Brianna Dioses

Today I had the absolute pleasure and privilege to enter the amazing world of Pre-K, better known as preschool. This being a rarity in TCNJ practicum placements, I was thrilled to be able to take advantage of such an opportunity. Before the clock struck 3:30, I had saved a princess from a dragon, had five cups of coffee, five salads, five eggs, and I single-handedly hosted a pirate birthday party. In this wonderful world, all of this and more is possible. Contrary to popular belief, four-year olds sometimes problem-solve and categorize better than the average adult. The three- and four- year olds I worked with today made probably close to 500 choices. Although some choices resulted in not-so-nice timeouts and insincere apologies, all of those students were able to learn from those choices, and I can say that today I learned much more than I have in the past. This time around, I learned how to treat the students as individuals and how to nurture and love them so that they don’t lose sight of their own imaginations.

Preschool students are more insightful than adults give them credit for. (AP Photo)
Preschool students are more insightful than adults give them credit for. (AP Photo)

Here are some tips and tricks I learned from my first day at East Amwell Elementary School:

  1. There is no hitting in preschool. Unfortunately, a student struck me today after I told him he couldn’t drag another friend around on her bike just because she had the bike and he wanted his turn right then and there. (Yeah, I know: how dare I!) The student, with lots of coaxing, apologized and the teacher’s aid made it quite clear to him—there is no hitting in preschool, and hands need to be kept to themselves—a lesson that never really gets old.
    Continue reading

Album reflects rapper’s maturity

By Ryan Quindlen

Forget everything you know about Mac Miller. If you don’t know anything about him, even better. Now’s the time to pay attention. The 23-year-old rapper from Pittsburgh, Pa., has come a long way since enthusiastically chanting “there’s a party on fifth ave,” over and over until it was stuck in your head for weeks. The once “frat rap” star has done a lot of growing up in recent years, resulting in his most recent release, “GO:OD AM.”

“GO:OD AM,” his first major label release, departs from the melancholy nature of his past two releases (the addiction-fueled album “Watching Movies With the Sound Off” and the underrated tale of recovery, “Faces”), bringing us a new tale of optimism and ambition.

New songs focus on recovery and showcase a new side of Miller. (
New songs focus on recovery and showcase a new side of Miller. (

I had the privilege of interviewing Mac Miller when he performed at the College in April 2013 — right before his album “Watching Movies” showed the world his darker side. It took a little while to understand him through the drug-induced slurring, but I was taken aback by his intelligence, enthusiasm and kind-hearted spirit. Two years later, Miller has decided to share this side of himself with all of us. Continue reading

‘Mistress’ is a classic coming-of-age story

By Gail Schulman

Director Noah Baumbach reveals the quirky yet ever-so-fitting relationship between two soon-to-be stepsisters in “Mistress America.” At the launch of her college career, the shy and naïve Tracy (Lola Kirke) attempts to recreate the life-changing freshman experience that every young adult anticipates upon high school graduation. As an aspiring writer, she submits her story to the elite writer society at her school. However, as depicted through all too familiar situations of prolonged awkwardness, disappointment and rejection, she quickly discovers the true freshman fantasy façade.

In an effort to form some sort of relationship before the union of their parents, or more so in an effort to escape another night of solitude, Tracy meets Brooke (Greta Gerwig), the daughter of her mother’s fiancé. The role, performed by Gerwig, who also co-wrote the film, is equally as eccentric and lively as their initial meeting ground — Times Square.

‘Mistress America’ follows the extravagant life of Brooke, a New York City social butterfly. (AP Photo)
‘Mistress America’ follows the extravagant life of Brooke, a New York City social butterfly. (AP Photo)

As Tracy struggles to find her place in school, Brooke artfully and effortlessly fluctuates between people, places and social scenes. The youthful 30-year-old adds charm and adventure to each scene. Tracy takes a quick liking to the confident and self-assured Brooke and ultimately stitches herself into Brooke’s many escapades. Continue reading

Asian Culture Night showcases student performances

By Abigail Wooldridge

The cold, gray weather couldn’t put a dampener on the energy of Asian Culture Night on Saturday, Sept. 12. Delicious food, exciting performances and a slew of engaging activities made the event, hosted by the College’s Barkada, both an excellent introduction to the enthusiasm and dedication of the organizations for prospective members as well as a fun get-together for current members.

The event was held in the Lion’s Den, which was buzzing with laughter, music and lively conversation from the crowd. Most organizers commented that the turn- out was as good as, if not better than, last year. This was quite a feat considering the unappealing construction that discourages passersby from entering the Brower Student Center. Additionally, Barkada Vice President and senior psychology major Alicia Lalicon noted that this year more people were “actually staying and getting involved in the different activities, instead of just passing through.”

Organizations give out food at tables set up along the Lion’s Den. (Photo courtesy of Ana Veloso)
Organizations give out food at tables set up along the Lion’s Den. (Photo courtesy of Ana Veloso)

Represented alongside Barkada, which focuses mainly on Filipino culture and heritage, were the majority of the College’s Asian culture organizations, including the Chinese Student Association (CSA) and their traditional dance ensemble, Dragonflies. Also represented at the event was Taiko, a Japanese ensemble drum team, and the Asian American Association.

Much of the event was centered on the various routines and activities from the different organizations on campus.

Six members of Taiko, in ceremonial hapi coats and tabi shoes, performed a complex drum routine that had the crowd cheering.

“We’re really a team,” Taiko Presi- dent and senior marketing major Julianna Hessel said of the group, which is small but highly committed.

Students learn the tinikling folk dance. (Photo courtesy of Ana Veloso)
Students learn the tinikling folk dance. (Photo courtesy of Ana Veloso)

Later on, members of Barkada performed the tinikling, a folk dance involving two painted bamboo sticks, placed parallel on the floor, which function somewhat like jump ropes. The sticks are slid and clapped together in rhythm as dancers jump in and out in a rapid, intricate routine. Members did one main performance to music, and then invited bystanders to try. Amidst much laughter and even more mistakes, the audience learned enough to make a go at it. It’s clear that doing this dance well takes a lot of practice.

Additionally, there was Chinese lantern making at the CSA booth, some improvisational tutorials on dancing with fans and scarves at the Dragonflies booth, and, at the end of the night, a big group line dance. Line dancing is very popular in the Philippines.

In between performances and activities, visitors could enjoy a streaming of last year’s “Mystique of the East,” an annual multicultural show sponsored by the Pan Asian Alliance.

For food, the Asian American Association booth offered tasty dumplings and fortune cookies, while CSA had sweet doughnuts that went quickly. Barkada brought trays of “puto,” a spongy rice cake that is a popular Filipino snack, in two delectable flavors: “ube,” or purple yam; and “pandan,” or aromatic leaf.

Yet the true highlight of the evening was not the delicious food, exciting performances or even engaging activities, but rather the warm, welcoming atmosphere. The College’s Asian culture groups are all marked by dedication, enthusiasm, and familiarity, and these excellent sentiments were reflected in the event’s ambiance.

Barkada’s mission statement is to “create a sense of friendship and family among their members and with other organizations,” and this promise was certainly evident in Asian Culture Night.

Continue reading