All posts by Signal Contributor

Alumni share passions for the College and art (Photo by Samantha Selikoff)

Alumni share diverse skills in new art exhibit

By Noor Azeem

A once-empty room in the Art and Interactive Multimedia Building now features art using all sorts of mediums lining the walls, sitting with refined poise on the ground or hanging from the ceiling. College alumni, students and staff fillled the room for the opening reception of the 2014 Art Alumni Exhibition on Wednesday, Sept. 3.

With more than a few pops of color, there certainly wasn’t a shortage of people in the room, all exuding a similar energy of excitement.

Art in the gallery ranges from small to large. (Photo by Samantha Selikoff)
Art in the gallery ranges from small to large. (Photo by Samantha Selikoff)

The staff, in particular, seemed to be proud of all they had accomplished. 

Multiple decades is right — some of the alumni are from the 1970s, while others graduated just last spring with the class of ’14. One alumna, Angela Winterrowd, who also served as a staff member, recollected that “this building didn’t exist when (she) was a student.”

 Even though they may be from different times, all the alumni seem to share a drive for creativity, which led to a cohesive exhibit.

The variety displayed in the pieces kept attendees moving about, looking for the next piece to excitedly point out to the person with whom they came.

One piece, created by ’79 graduate Helene Plank, was the image of a rose made entirely of buttons. Katie Petrillo, from the class of ’11, designed a digital print where the viewer was able to look inside the image to see another one.

Various pieces were canvas paintings, some with added touches like gold leaf or graphite. A charcoal on paper piece dominated one wall. There were even some that utilized TV screens and video.

Art gallery director Emily Croll spoke about arranging all the pieces and deciding exactly what went into putting this together.

Gallery features diverse art. (Photo by Samantha Selikoff)
Gallery features diverse art. (Photo by Samantha Selikoff)

“I always try to arrange the works so they talk to each other,” she said. She further explained how sometimes the pieces would need to be moved around to improve the aesthetics of the gallery. If two video pieces were too close, for example, they would be moved so they didn’t “speak to each other too much.”

“It’s a diverse group of art, but I think it came together well,” Croll said. She gave credit to Sara Reisman, the juror of the art exhibition and a well-established curator.

The artists who contributed to the exhibition and the staff who made it possible were honored in a short 10-minute speech in which a few people welcomed the alumni and the guests to the gallery.

“It really gives me a lot of pleasure to be able to welcome back a lot of our talented alumni to this department,” said Lee Ann Riccardi, chair of the department of Art and Art History. It was a sentiment many seemed to share.

Not only are the alumni talented, as Riccardi pointed out, but they are diverse as well. From art education majors to psychologists and art therapists, the alumni showcased in the gallery have found niches in all walks of life.

Alumni share passions for the College and art (Photo by Samantha Selikoff)
Alumni share passions for the College and art (Photo by Samantha Selikoff)

An alumna from 1990, Elisa Hirvonen, has her own clay studio, while ’13 graduate Frank Sung recycles words and images for projects in photography, cinematography, music and writing.

 Even those who haven’t graduated yet are aiming to make a mark on the art gallery — two hallways feature photography from current students at the College, who may very well be featured artists in more art exhibits down the road.

The energy of the room was almost as loud as the energy of the pieces, and it was clear that the art inspired many who attended. The Art Alumni Exhibition seems like it won’t lose momentum, swinging until it’s very last day on Thursday, Oct. 9.

Echoes: A Budapest reflection

The two classes of the Corvinus University summer program in front of the Main Building
A reflection of the Corvinus University of Budapest Summer Program by Petra Kovacs, junior international studies major (Photo courtesy of Petra Kovacs)

By Petra Kovacs

My adventure started when I entered an old hostel with a scary concrete front. I went in to retrieve my room key and got ready to settle in for two weeks. It was pouring rain outside, but I opened my room window anyway and peered out from the sixth floor. I could see the Danube River from my window. I went to see what the floor looked like and who my floor mates were. We had communal sinks and showers, which was interesting in the mornings.

Hostel in Budapest (Photo courtesy of Petra Kovacs)
Hostel in Budapest (Photo courtesy of Petra Kovacs)

My roommate arrived later that night. She was from Belgium and the next day we ventured out into the city of Budapest to find breakfast. We had breakfast right in front of the school we were about to enter, Corvinus University of Budapest. After breakfast it was time to find our classroom. We were enrolled in a class called “International Trade and Global Economy.” The class was taught by a Hungarian professor, but it was taught in English. There were people from all over the world in our class. I had the chance to meet three people from Ethiopia, four people from Switzerland, three people from China, one person from Denmark, and of course one person from Belgium. It was great doing class projects and having different views of the global economy; it made class discussions very interesting!

Class at Corvinus University of Budapest (Photo courtesy of Petra Kovacs)
Class at Corvinus University of Budapest (Photo courtesy of Petra Kovacs)

Besides going to class, we also went on sightseeing trips or had our own excursions. Budapest is absolutely beautiful! We visited places like the famous Szechenyi Thermal Baths and the gorgeous New York Café. We even made a day trip to the Balaton Lake, and it was a really great time bonding more with our class. Then at night time we explored the crazy European nightlife.

Szechenyi Thermal Baths (Photo courtesy of Petra Kovacs)
Szechenyi Thermal Baths (Photo courtesy of Petra Kovacs)
budapest ny cafe
New York Café in Budapest (Photo courtesy of Petra Kovacs)
Chain Bridge lit up at night, picture taken at the Buda Castle (Photo courtesy of Petra Kovacs)
Chain Bridge lit up at night, picture taken at the Buda Castle (Photo courtesy of Petra Kovacs)

The program was only two weeks long, but I wish it was longer because I had such a great time. Meeting new people, eating great Hungarian food, exploring a city with breathtaking architecture, and learning more in my area of study is something I would gladly do again. Hungary might not be anyone’s first choice, but if you ever have the chance to visit the country, make sure to try the goulash soup!

Issues inherent to Ice Bucket Challenge

By Jonathan Steinklein
Class of 2014

APTOPIX Shaw ALS FootballRecently, my mother was challenged by her friend to complete the infamous Ice Bucket Challenge in support of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) research.

If you have not heard about it already, nominees are challenged to record themselves dumping a bucket of ice water over their heads to raise awareness for ALS or donate to the ALS foundation.

Then, the individual is supposed to nominate three other people to do the challenge and the awareness spreads. The numbness and shortness of breath caused by the ice water is supposed to show people without ALS how it feels to have the disease for just a moment.

The challenge has gotten lots of high profile support from celebrities and politicians — like Chris Pratt, Charlie Sheen and Chris Christie — and has raised over $94 million for the ALS foundation.

My mother, however, decided against doing the challenge or donating money. She gives to so many other organizations that are important to her that she does not feel she has to give money to the ALS foundation as well. Honestly, I feel somewhat similarly. I was also nominated for the Ice Bucket Challenge by a friend and declined to do it or give money.

Here’s why: Every once in a while, a social issue will gain momentum, become extremely popular for a little while, then interest will die down and another issue will come to the forefront. It is a familiar cycle — looking back, the same thing happened with issues such as Kony, abortion rights, marriage equality and breast cancer awareness. The meme culture fostered by the Internet has seemingly spilled into charity and activism. In the same way that the majority of people became really excited and then forgot about Gangnam Style and Scumbag Steve, those same people get excited and then forget about different causes.

With that, I have no real qualms with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. If you choose to donate your money and time to supporting ALS, good for you. People express their love for their fellow human in many ways. I think how people decide to care so much about certain causes shows that many people are altruistic despite living in a world that promotes narcissism at every corner.

However, I do not think it is right for individuals to shame other people into giving any money  causes. I think that is what a good amount of this Ice Bucket Challenge is, and that is regretful. It is horribly classist to assume people even have money to give in the first place. And let’s be honest — the dumping of ice water over one’s head is unnecessary now. The awareness is already at it’s peak. Instead, it seems like many people simply complete the challenge to show to their friends on social media that they are participating in a good cause.

There are people out there who are fully dedicated to a select few causes all the time. But in this kind of culture, caring about one or a few things all the time is a kind of long-term gamble. If you wait long enough, the collective online consciousness will hopefully choose your cause to rain down money and support long enough for it to gain some progress.

But for every dollar you have, there is another charitable hand asking for donations for its cause. Should you be shamed for not supporting organizations X, Y or Z even though you supported ALS or donated to another group? I think not.

Do not shame others for their choice in activism. Whatever organizations they choose to donate to or not, it is nobody’s business but their own.

Quick start earns the Lions an opening win

Sophomore Jaclyn Douglas picks up a hat trick in field hockey’s 7-2 win this Friday. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)
Sophomore Jaclyn Douglas picks up a hat trick in field hockey’s 7-2 win this Friday. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

By Otto Gomez

As students, we are told to get ahead early in the year so we do not fall behind. Professors want us to start doing well right from the beginning of the semester — in this way, we gain confidence as the year goes on, leading to our success.

The same metaphor can be applied to sports, and the field hockey team executed the plan perfectly. With seven quick goals before halftime, the Lions built an insurmountable lead that they kept until the end of the game, eventually finishing off the Stevens Institute of Technology Ducks 7-2 on Friday, Aug. 29.

Coach Sarah Pfluger was enthusiastic about their quick start.

“We always want to get off to a strong start,” she said. “We were just clicking tonight and our team did really well. I’m real proud of them. We are lucky enough to have a lot of our players back from last year and that’s going to really help us this year.” 

The team brings back impact seniors Erin Waller, Lindsey Hatch and Erin Healy, among others. Healy, with her goal on Friday, is now one point away from becoming the 17th player in the College’s history to score 100 points for the field hockey team.

The Lions started strong on Friday, with Jaclyn Douglas scoring three goals in the first 10 minutes of play. Douglas, a returning sophomore, said their goal was to go up early and to never look back. 

“The entire team plays like this. That was our goal,” Douglas said when asked about her three quick goals. “We want to score in the first 30 seconds of the game. We want to move everyone up and have our backfield be right there too. Tonight, we executed, and as a team, we were working.” 

After the first three goals, the Lions proceeded to score four more in the next 10 minutes — two of which were sunk by Waller, with Healy and Hatch scoring a goal apiece. As the half ended, the Lions began making substitutions to give some of the younger players minutes and, more importantly, to have them face decent competition early in the season.

 The team also had extra motivation after a devastating loss against Steven’s last year when they were defeated 2-1. Pfluger made a point to her team that it was important for them to avenge themselves and set the tone for the rest of the division and the rest of the conference. The team faces Manhattanville College at home on Tuesday, Sept. 2, at 7:30 p.m.

‘Boyhood’ breaks cinematic boundaries

By Tristan Laferriere

Filmmaker Richard Linklater has been an important face in America’s independent cinema for the past 20 years. However, up until only a few months ago, many may have still labeled him as the guy who brought us “Dazed and Confused.”If you have been fortunate enough to have made your way to any of the limited theaters across the nation that Linklater’s latest 12-year project is being shown in, you may be seeing what many critics are already considering Oscar bait. The name of the film is “Boyhood,” and Richard Linklater has truly broken boundaries with the idea of filmmaking.

Starring Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke — and featuring one of the best movie soundtracks since “Pulp Fiction” — “Boyhood” follows the seemingly ordinary life of Mason from the ages of six through 18, over a span of 12 years. Rather than change actors to portray this one character, Linklater has tried something unheard of in the film industry. He used the same actors from the first day of shooting in 2002 until filming wrapped up in the fall of last year. And while this at first might seem like a gimmick just to draw an audience in to watch, it definitely adds to the story.

‘Boyhood’ is shot over a 12-year period. (AP Photo)
‘Boyhood’ is shot over a 12-year period. (AP Photo)

I actually went to see “Boyhood” with lower expectations than I should have. The idea of viewing a film that took 12 years to make was probably what prompted me to see it in the first place, so yes — I was a victim of the “gimmick.” Well, all I can say is that only minutes after the first images of “Boyhood” flashed across the big screen, I was taken aback by this work of art.

The plot is simple enough: An eight-year-old boy, Mason, is shown growing up with his older sister, Samantha, and his struggling single mother as they move from place to place throughout Texas. Mason battles issues with relationships, sibling rivalry, bickering parents, high school and almost all other clichés of a boy growing up in contemporary American society. However, this isn’t to say that “Boyhood” is a cliché. In fact, it is the exact opposite. The reason this movie is so special is that we as an audience are looking at ourselves and become completely haunted by what we see. It is as if we’re looking back at our own childhoods through the story of Mason and comparing it constantly to our own life decisions.

The true beauty of “Boyhood” comes from the incredible performances. The performance by Patricia Arquette is definitely one of the better in all of cinema. The role of the single mother struggling to make a happy and healthy home for herself and her children has been done before, but Arquette has created a character that is so real that at times we wonder if she is really acting. To add to the realistic quality of this picture, I couldn’t help but notice that it seemed like almost none of the actors were wearing makeup. Yes, this is a small detail, but a crucial one at that. This is a movie showing real people and what real people truly look like.

Coltrane is a strong actor in his debut film. (AP Photo)
Coltrane is a strong actor in his debut film. (AP Photo)

All in all, “Boyhood” is truly unlike anything I have ever seen before on film, yet it is something that almost all of us have seen in real life.  Linklater’s modern tale of an ordinary family makes an unordinary sort of picture in which the actors seem to be playing themselves, and the audience is seeing themselves on the big screen for the first time without the boundaries of Hollywood fakeness. If you want to see a memorable film, “Boyhood” is a masterpiece and surely bound to be Linklater’s next classic.

‘Love Letters’ is a captivating debut novel

By Kayla Whittle

English assignments can sometimes spark the imagination, and Ava Dellaira’s debut novel, “Love Letters to the Dead,” is a testament to those inspiring classroom activities. 

In the story, one teacher asks the class to write a letter addressed to a deceased person. Laurel, a student, takes the assignment and runs with it, telling snippets of her present life as well as giving peeks into the tragedies of her past in letters to celebrities like Kurt Cobain, Amelia Earhart and Heath Ledger. This trio is only a handful of the deceased addressed throughout the novel which is told completely through Laurel’s letters. This stylistic decision forces the reader to imagine what Laurel is leaving out of her letters and what happens in her life between the times she chooses to sit down and pen a message to the dead.

What Laurel finds so captivating about communicating with people who are gone, particularly those lost so tragically, is obvious. Her older sister, May, has recently passed away. Not only can she hardly accept that truth or write about how it happened, but Laurel also has a secret — one she struggles to comes to terms with in her personal letters. Her writing mimics the attitude and skill of a young woman finding her place in the world to a degree that reveals Dellaira’s talent and bodes well for her future as an inspiring author.

While some might think that the setup of the text could be used as a gimmick to draw in unsuspecting readers, Dellaira’s writing is beautiful and poised enough to stand on its own. It’s fascinating to see how Laurel’s letters change and develop throughout the novel as she grows older and her emotions fluctuate. At times, she seems ready to stop the project entirely, though luckily, she sees us through to the novel’s tear-inducing conclusion.

The captivating text coincides wonderfully with a uniquely flawed cast of characters. Laurel sometimes makes decisions that might make readers dislike her and also blatantly refuses to deal with her grief. She continuously wears her sister’s clothes and embraces all situations in the way she thinks May would have reacted. By keeping her characters realistic and forcing them into the same family dynamic and relationship drama that might affect anyone Laurel’s age, Dellaira pulls readers into the believable world she has created.

This book will leave you with a fatal mixture of sadness and happiness. You’ll be content with how the novel ends but want much more from Laurel’s point of view, or simply wish to get another taste of this author’s work. To placate this urge, you’ll need to read “Love Letters to the Dead” again, at least until Dellaira publishes her next novel.

SolarKick accepts the Mayo Business Plan award and $16,500 toward its business plan. (Courtney Wirths / Features Editor)

Big plans for SolarKick after Mayo win

By Olivia Rizzo

SolarKick accepts the Mayo Business Plan award and $16,500 toward its business plan. (Courtney Wirths / Features Editor)
SolarKick accepts the Mayo Business Plan award and $16,500 toward its business plan. (Courtney Wirths / Features Editor)

Imagine being able to charge your smartphone, laptop, tablet and MP3 player without needing a wall charger or chords. All of that may soon be possible thanks to last year’s Mayo Business Plan Competition winner SolarKick. Senior electrical engineering major Eric Blow, alumnus Greg Fitz, senior mechanical engineering major Luke Capritti and alumnus Steven Lemingthe, the students behind SolarKick, were awarded first place and $16,500 toward its business plan. The group debuted its first prototype, a solar panel that can be attached to an iPhone case to charge the phone while the user is away, during the business competition. SolarKick plans to make similar solar charging devices for all different types of electronic devices.  

Just a few months after its contest win, the SolarKick team was extended the opportunity to be a part of the pilot program Uncommon Individual Foundation, a mentor program that strives to create strong and personal mentor to protégé relationships in order to help the protégé succeed. Additionally, the team has been able to meet with Innovative Mechanical & Electrical Technology Corporation, a circuit board manufacturing company whose president is an alumnus of the College. SolarKick has also begun to consult with an attorney in order to file as a limited liability company and are in the process of meeting with a patent lawyer. 

“It has been a very exciting experience,” Fitz said. “While studying for exams, participating in clubs and preparing for full-time jobs and internships, it was a surreal experience being able to compete (in) and win the Mayo Business Plan Contest.” 

The SolarKick team recommends participating in the Mayo Business Plan Contest because it allows you to put what you learn in class toward something you are passionate about. The contest allows groups of students to come up with real business plans and try to make it to the final round where a panel of judges determines the winning business plan.

“It is exciting to learn new skills while applying what we learned from TCNJ,” Fitz said as he reflected on his experience with the business competition. 

Fitz also noted how every possible new employer that he interviewed with, whether it was just for an internship or a full-time job, was always interested in the idea behind SolarKick and the business competition itself. 

The competition has been a great way for all members of the SolarKick team to get their foot in the door of the business world while gaining some good real-world experience. 

Fitz is currently working as a Credit Analyst at New Jersey Economic Development Authority, and is in the process of studying for the GMAT’s and will be applying for graduate school. Leming is working at KPMG, a tax audit and advisory firm, and has successfully passed the first part of the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. Capritti and Blow are finishing their senior years at the College. Capritti will be working on the SAE Supermileage for his senior project, and Blow will be working on RF Photonic Neuron Network.

The next step for SolarKick is to apply for a full patent. This is an expensive endeavor so the team is weighing its options carefully as they go forward to pursue the patent. They look forward to being mentored by Uncommon Individual Foundation and are planning on producing market ready prototypes if their upcoming meetings go well.

Summer recap of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

By Zach Kahn

On July 30, CNN reported that roughly 5,000 rockets had been fired between both Israel and Hamas during the past few months. And unless something changes soon, that number will continue to

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discusses the future of Israel.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discusses the future of Israel. (AP Photo)


Throughout the summer, there has been a steep death toll. Sixty-four Israelis and roughly 2,000 Palestinians have been confirmed dead as of Aug. 21, according to CNN. While these numbers may seem lopsided, there is more to this story than what meets the eye.

According to a CNN report, Hamas has fired roughly 3,500 rockets into Israel as opposed to the 1,300 air strikes from the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). With the fate of the country at stake, Israel was forced to make a move. On July 8, Israel initiated Operation Protective Edge. The goal of the operation was to deter rocket attacks from Gaza and the West Bank.

Part of this protective action was the creation of an air-defense system called the Iron Dome. The Iron Dome has intercepted many of Hamas’s rockets in the air that would have inflicted damage on the citizens and properties of Israel.

With the constant threat of an attack, the IDF retaliated. Consequently, in an effort to eliminate Hamas, there have been a substantial amount of Palestinian casualties.

In response to global scrutiny regarding killing innocent Palestinians, there have been reports that a substantial amount of the deaths came when civilians acted as human shields.

“The policy of people confronting the Israeli warplanes with their bare chests in order to protect their homes has proven effective against the occupation,” Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri told a Palestinian television station. “We in Hamas call upon our people to adopt this policy in order to protect the Palestinian homes.”

Still, the world remains polarized about Hamas’s activities in the Middle East. According to CNN, many governments, including those of Israel, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Jordan, Egypt, Australia and Japan, consider Hamas a terrorist organization. In contrast, Iran, Russia, Turkey, China, South Africa and many Arab nations have not condemned Hamas, which took over Gaza in 2007.

With Hamas currently at large, a wide range of opinions exist regarding how to stitch peace in the region.

“Hamas needs to be removed from power — they are known as a terrorist organization internationally that is intent on destroying Israel,” junior psychology major Michael Levi said. “(Palestinian President) Mahmoud Abbas should take control of the region since, in the past, he has shown a desire for peace.”

At the moment, however, neither side is budging. There have been numerous cease-fire agreements, but each one has been violated by Hamas. In response, Israel will keep defending itself until peace is achieved or until there is no more Israel left to defend.

Football hopes to improve on past record

By Anthony Caruso

The College’s football team is entering its second year under head coach Wayne Dickens. The Lions had to rush to learn his system last year just six weeks prior to the season.

The Lions are preparing to improve on their 5-5 record from last season. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)
The Lions are preparing to improve on their 5-5 record from last season. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

“Football is a team sport, and everyone has to do his job to be successful,” senior offensive captain Ryan Baranowsky said. “Having (another) year within the system has definitely benefited our offense. We are miles further than we were at this point last season.”

The Lions are looking to improve on their 5-5 record from last season. At one point during last season, the team was on a four-game win streak, which last occurred during the 2010 season.

Earlier this month, they were picked to finish sixth within the conference. Only William Paterson and Southern Virginia were picked to finish behind the College. Last season, the Lions were 4-3 in conference play.

“NJAC is a tough conference, but it motivates us to work hard every single day,” Baranowsky said. 

The Lions last won the New Jersey Athletic Conference in 2007. They shared the championship with SUNY Cortland that year following a 9-3 season, before ultimately losing to Mount Union in the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs. 

The College last won the conference outright in 1998. That season, the Lions went 8-3 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament, where they lost 26-2 to Rowan University.

“This year, our main goal is to win the NJAC,” senior defensive captain Joseph Urciuoli said. “If we are able to reach this goal, then we would also like to make some noise in the playoffs.”

Last season, the Lions averaged 14.6 points per game while the opponents averaged 16.6. 

The offense is going to be led at quarterback by Sam Paladino and Chris Spellman. 

Spellman started four games and went 47-of-112 for 680 yards and five touchdowns to 11 interceptions. Paladino started six games, while completing 39 of 81 passes for 329 passes. He threw three touchdowns to five interceptions. 

“We are lucky enough to have four or five quarterbacks who are capable of getting the job done,” Baranowsky said. “Competition is healthy on a football team, and I believe Coach Dickens will make the right decision for the team.”

Both leading rushers are back for their junior campaigns. Victor Scalici had 151 rushes for 647 yards and five touchdowns. Brad Young added 138 rushes for 528 yards and two touchdowns. 

The Lions lost two key receivers to graduation in Frederick Sprengel and Kyle Janeczek, who is now a student assistant coach for the team. Baranowsky and Jeff Mattonelli are returning after having double-figure receptions last season. 

Baranowsky had 17 receptions for 235 yards and a touchdown. Mattonelli contributed 13 receptions for 235 yards and a touchdown. 

There are also many other receivers who are expected to see increased time this season. 

“We have depth at every skill position,” Baranowsky said. “I don’t feel any more pressure for that reason. I’m confident everyone will execute his job.”

On the defensive side, the Lions lost their top three tacklers in Nick Bricker, Ryan Lowe and Sean Clark. Bricker had 117 tackles, while Lowe added 81 and Clark contributed 43. 

Urciuoli is the lone defender returning who started every game last season. Defensive lineman Thomas Masi started nine games, while Sean Kley started eight games. Shaun O’Donnell also started two games. 

Martin Flatley, Zack Vasilenko, Jeff Skomsky and Adelraham Ragab are expected to get increased time. Flatley, Vasilenko and Skomsky each saw time in nine games last season, while Ragab played in two games. 

Flately had 12 tackles, while Vasilenko chipped in six tackles and a tackle for a loss. 

Skomsky had three tackles and a fumble recovery, while Ragab had three tackles. 

“Although we did sustain some losses to graduation on our defense, we have a lot of guys returning who either started or had extensive experience in seven of the positions on our defense,” Urciuoli said. “We expect all of our returners to improve and play a bigger role than (we) did last year, and also are looking forward to having some new faces step in for us.”

The Lions will kick off their season at home against Ursinus College on Sept. 5, at 7 p.m. This will be one of six home games that will be at Lions Stadium over the next several months. 

The biggest game of the season will come against national powerhouse University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on Sept. 20, at 2 p.m. Wisconsin-Whitewater has won five National Championships in the Stagg Bowl in Salem, Virginia since 2007. 

They defeated Mount Union 52-14 to win the championship last year.

“To be the best, you have to play the best,” Urciuoli said. “Wisconsin-Whitewater has been dominant in D3 football in the past and are seeded at No. 1 in the country in preseason polls. Our team looks forward to the opportunity to put TCNJ’s name on the map, and put our training to the test against a team of its caliber.” 

The Lions will host William Paterson University on Homecoming Oct. 25, at 1 p.m. 

Since 2010, the College has split wins and losses on this special day, having won twice in the past three years. 

The regular season finale will be on Nov. 15 against Rowan University at 12 p.m. 

This will also be Senior Day, with a pre-game ceremony to recognize those playing in their final game at Lions Stadium.

‘The Fault in Our Stars’ shines with honesty

By Lauren Del Turco

“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.”

Sound familiar? If you follow any females on Facebook or Twitter or have ever spoken to a high school or college-aged girl, you’ve probably heard this quote or read it somewhere online.

That is exactly why I resisted reading The Fault in Our Stars until well after the film rendition hit theaters.

For once, peer pressure did me well. John Green’s novel was enchanting. His writing was casual enough that each page read like a conversation with a friend. But these casual words carried profound emotion, simultaneous light-as-air humor and crushing darkness.

Much like the protagonist Hazel’s quote about falling in love with fellow cancer-ridden teenager Augustus Waters, you fall in love with “The Fault in Our Stars” in such a way that you do not feel its presence until you are buzzed off champagne in Amsterdam with Hazel and Augustus just moments before Green drops the bomb that jolts the trajectory of the novel.

Elgort and Woodley showcase acting chops with raw performances. (AP Photo)

The characters are painfully real. The scenes are ordinary yet spectacular, and you leave the novel both full of immense love and leaden with sadness.

Once the novel had won me over, I was curious as to whether the film would be able to do the same. Yet again, I was pleasantly surprised. The film honored the casual intimacy of the novel. Hazel’s voice often narrated over the scenes, and the ordinary moments so beloved in the novel are maintained on-screen.

Shailene Woodley’s acting exceeded expectations, but Ansel Elgort embodied Augustus with such natural sincerity that his performance stood out among the rest. Elgort and Woodley’s chemistry was quirky and charmingly awkward.

One of the shining aspects of the film was its soundtrack. Subtle, a little unconventional and tasteful, the music complimented emotional moments without melodrama. The soundtrack reflected the tone of most of the film: understated. Little was over-acted or drawn out.

As with many other cases, the film didn’t quite live up to the novel. The novel’s narrative was too interior to translate perfectly to the screen. I was satisfied, as a fan of the novel, because of my familiarity with the characters. And thus my final advice: while the film does an adequate job, read the novel.

Lions Playlist: The finals week playlist

By Susan Pereny

It seems like I was just writing a playlist for the beginning of the semester, but somehow this time is already upon us.  With the end of the year approaching, I feel as though I still have some unanswered questions about my classes.  For example, why are you assigning a huge paper and having a final too?  Do you enjoy watching me suffer?  The only thing good about finals are the reading days.  Or reading day since there’s really only Friday.  Thanks school!

Here are some songs to help you get through the worst time of the semester:

The Ark- “One of Us Is Gonna Die Young”

Seriously, either this essay is going to be really great and I’ll be dead, or it will be mediocre and I get to live the rest of my life.

The Beatles- “I’m So Tired”

Enough said.

Buddy Holly- “Everyday”

For when you need a song to cheer you up and remind you that this isn’t forever.  Buddy Holly soothes with this sunny song.

Bright Eyes- “Let’s Not Shit Ourselves (To Love and Be Loved)”

Let’s remember that we WILL get through this miserable week.  Also, bonus — this song makes fun of tests.

Cake- “I Will Survive”

And you will!  This sexy cover of the famous Gloria Gaynor hit packs a little more punch than the original, with some alterations to the lyrics such as “I should have changed my fucking lock.”

Elvis Costello – “Wave a White Flag”

You may feel like waving a white flag, but don’t.  Like we already decided, you will survive!  Warning: this song is focused on domestic abuse.

Fun. – “It Gets Better”

“This is really happening / you never looked so bored.”  Yes, the final is actually in front of you, but no, you don’t really feel like writing all of those essays…Don’t worry, it gets better.

Kid Cudi & Kanye West- “Erase Me”

PSA: Remember if you’re second guessing yourself regarding an answer on a test, your gut is usually correct.  Don’t erase! Or should you?

Billy Joel- “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)”

You did it and now you’re leaving!  My condolences if you’re one of the people such as myself doomed to have two finals the day of move out.

The Lime Correspondent: The fate of the American lime industry

By Patrick Gallagher

Currently, North America is suffering from one of the greatest lime shortages in recorded history, due to a number of reasons already mentioned in previous articles. These reasons, may they be disease or organized crime, are prevalent mostly in Mexico, the nation that exports the majority of limes consumed by Americans. While today we rely on Mexico for the majority of our limes, there was a time when the United States produced its own limes, and had an industry of its own.

What's the fate of the American lime industry? (
What’s the fate of the American lime industry? (

Back in the 1940s and 1950s, there was a booming lime business in Homestead, Fla., a major agricultural hub in southern Florida. The hot, humid weather made for the perfect conditions to grow limes, which are, of all citrus, the most susceptible to the cold. Florida today is known for its oranges, but 60 years ago, a great number of limes were grown there. This successful boom of limes caused the American appetite for the citrus to amplify. Combined with an influx of immigrants from Latin America, whose cuisines make ample use of the fruit. As the demand for the fruit grew, the supply could not keep up.

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew ripped its way through Florida, and caused much devastation. Among many other things, the lime orchards in Florida were torn apart and had to be replanted. During this time, lime production in Mexico stepped up to meet American demand, and a vacuum was created. American-grown limes would have made a comeback as orchards were re-grown after Andrew, but disease spread throughout Florida, killing citrus trees off. Lime trees were not to be grown in order to contain the spreading of citrus canker, a devastating disease to citrus. Farmers have since then gone on to other crops, unable to risk another loss of trees due to disease, and unable to compete with cheaper Mexican labor.

But now that Mexico is hit by hard lime-times, is this the moment for the American lime industry to resurge? Much citrus disease is already affecting Florida orange groves, and most of the climate in the United States is not conducive to growing limes. There is potential of growing them in Hawaii, but the import costs would not be worth it. However, scientists are starting to think that the damage done by disease years ago can be reversed, and new strains of citrus can emerge resistant. The fate of the citrus industry in general relies on such research, as places such as Mexico have become affected by disease.

Over the semester, I have done research to inform not just the TCNJ community, but all readers of this blog, about the impact that limes have on the world. This started as a humble student blogging about his favorite fruit, but it has turned into something much more than that. As I started writing these articles, a sudden lime shortage occurred. When this news arose, I knew to do my best to spread this knowledge to my peers. I want to thank you, the readers, for staying informed about the current state of limes in the world. I hope you learned a few new things, and have a newfound appreciation for this citrus.


Michigan schools nix Affirmative Action

By Matthew DeFeo

In April, The Great Lakes State ignited a legal debacle by bringing up the question of Affirmative Action. Michigan universities can now choose to not use race as a method of accepting potential students, and the decision also opened up the opportunity for any other state to hold a vote and do the same. Honestly, I could not be happier.Justice Anthony Kennedy says voters eliminated racial preferences and deemed them unwise. (AP Photo)

Justice Anthony Kennedy says voters eliminated racial preferences and deemed them unwise. (AP Photo)

The institution of Affirmative Action was put in place originally to right past wrongs involving racial discrimination. In a time when the overwhelming majority of the workforce was white and male, accepting a quota of minority students in retrospect seems like it was a sensible option to give minorities a fair chance. Checked boxes next to specific races seemed to pave the way for equality.

Except for one issue my race isn’t listed, and I know plenty of individuals who share the sentiment.

I am merely lumped in with “Caucasian,” and yet when I was young, I would sit at my grandfather’s feet and feel dismayed. My doldrums filled with stories of his inability to go to school without being called a “dago wop guinea” by his own teachers, as well as being chased around town as a young man by police officers who believed that he was up to no good because he was Italian.

According to the Library of Congress, our name belongs to the biggest mass lynching in American History.  Eleven Italian Americans were hanged under the stereotypical suspicion that they were in the mafia. Yet, the government thinks they can cherry-pick which wrongs need to be ameliorated.

A more modern interpretation of Affirmative Action exists, citing diversity as a positive ideal to strive for in employment and academic contexts.

Diversity — now there is a fuzzy concept.

I would make the argument that an African American and a Caucasian who grew up in the same town, went to the same school and had the same level of income would have a fundamentally similar experience and would offer a somewhat similar view on life in an academic context.

So why is a student with a race that is in the minority automatically given certain spots to fill?

I like to think that I am diverse. My father’s family is from the Greater Naples area, and my mother is an immigrant from Sicily. I can speak the nationalized tongue of Italy, as well as my mother’s rustic southern dialect. I have met a myriad of Italians that come from different areas of Italy, speak a different dialect, have completely different food and grew up differently than I did.

If diversity is the issue, why not make decisions based on hair and eye color, height, weight and other factors that might also impact our experiences of life?

Diversity is an interesting ideal and I would agree that it is worth striving for. However, this process appears to work better if it is naturally implemented — i.e. funding the educational systems of inner cities to make them more competitive.

Turning down students who have the grades, public service and well roundedness to be accepted into a school because all of the non-minority seats are filled is discrimination.  If every student accepted into an institution based on these criteria are white, then so be it — that would speak to a greater societal problem. Giving seats away for better representation is not the answer.

Virtual Pride Center to be opened for campus

By Alonah Gill

For the last few weeks, the Women’s Leadership and Social Change capstone has been hard at work creating a safe space for the students here at the College.

When physical Pride Center hits a roadblock, students push for a virtual solution in its place.  (AP Photo)
When physical Pride Center hits a roadblock, students push for a virtual solution in its place. (AP Photo)

A couple of weeks ago, the class held an open forum on its Pride Center.  The class talked about where the space would be located, who will be able to come to the space and why they are creating it.

About a week after this forum, the classmates were informed that a physical space for their Pride Center would just not be foreseeable for this coming year. The miscommunication between the administration and the members of the capstone left them confused but more determined than ever to manifest their mission.

Although the physical space was taken away, this women’s and gender studies capstone refused to give up.

“As a committee, we tried to hear voices from different on-campus organizations, individual students and faculty in order to make sure our center would be as inclusive as possible,” said senior early childhood education and women’s and gender studies double major Lauren Wescott. “Our class only contains 20 of the many experiences and viewpoints of the campus. We hope that our center has something for everyone.”

Instead of dwelling on the fact that their semester long project was now turned upside down, the students decided to one step up the loss and create a bigger and better solution — a Virtual Pride Center.

 For the last two weeks, the students of the capstone have been hard at work looking to the College community for support on their efforts for a physical space. Through petitions, donations and fundraising efforts, the students in this class have shown the College this space isn’t just a class project — it is a campus-wide one. But until this vision comes to fruition, all of the supporters can access the Virtual Pride Center.

This Virtual Pride Center includes links to LGBTQ staff supporters, LGBTQ focused clubs, LGBTQ friendly organizations and resources that will help others get a better understanding of the LGBTQ community.

“We wanted to make a website that’s easy to navigate and contains a wide range of LGBTQ resources that other on-campus organizations may not offer or have on their website,” senior English major and member of the design committee Samantha Pena said. “We also ensured that the website (could) be found by both current and prospective students … We wanted every present and future student who associates with the LGBTQ community to know that … even if it’s a virtual one for now, there is a safe space on campus.”

Despite the many problems that this group has faced while trying to execute its vision, it will be hosting an opening day on Monday, April 28, at 1 p.m. in the Education Building, room 115, where they will be showcasing their Virtual Pride Center.

The initiators of this project — seniors Lauren Wescott, Amanda Castro, Rose Samonsi, Katherine Inoa and Victoria Swift — have stayed on top of every aspect of this project, along with the help from the other members of the capstone.

The vision of just one group has created a domino effect on the rest of the community inside and outside the College’s campus. Already gaining support from local restaurants like Momma Flora’s and schools like Rutgers University, the vision of the Pride Center here at the College can become a reality.