All posts by Signal Contributor

Alumni return to discuss women’s reproductive rights

By Meghan Coppinger
Correspondent

Graduates of the Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) Department at the College were invited back to their alma mater for an open discussion on reproductive health and rights. The event was an opportunity for students to network and learn more about what the future could hold with a degree in WGS.

Two graduates explain how the WGS Department has helped shape their futures. (Kim Iannarone / Staff Photographer)
Two graduates explain how the WGS Department has helped shape their futures. (Kim Iannarone / Staff Photographer)

The four alumni included Kelly Baden, director of state advocacy for the Center of Reproductive Rights; Ria Rodney, research assistant for the Domestic Violence Enhanced Home Visit Program (DOVE) at Johns Hopkins University; Leah Chamberlain, the administrator of Philadelphia Women’s Center; and Kristen Daskilewicz, a research coordinator for Global Health Network who was Skyping from Cape Town, South Africa.

“It was great to see women that took gender studies and made it not only into a career, but a way to continue their activism and passions,” senior psychology major Samantha Dooley said.

Only two questions were asked of the four panelists, but they elicited in-depth discussion and information. Janet Gray, WGS professor and event moderator, advised the audience to “hear about their journeys and envision your own future.”

The first question asked the graduates about their work and their paths from the College to where they are now. All four women chose different careers that echoed similarities in advocacy and activism in reproductive health across the world.

Baden, who works in advocating for women’s reproductive rights, learned “all of the skills (she) could,” including reading litigation, creating press releases, helping pass local-level policies and improving reproductive rights.

Daskilewicz discussed her journey from being raised on conservative reproductive health views to becoming “incredibly passionate” about abortion rights. She worked in Philadelphia as a hotline counselor for CHOICE-Hotline, where she learned to talk about sexual health issues. Daskilewicz was impacted by “hearing people be vulnerable and hearing their stories.”

Going with this year’s theme of justice during Women’s History Month at the College, the second question asked the panelists how their personal and work experiences has enhanced their ideas of justice.

“Justice, that’s huge,” said Chamberlain, who noted that thinking of the bigger picture when helping women one-on-one is vital to justice.

Baden agreed, adding that is is “fundamentally ‘effed-up’ that a woman in Mississippi has a different set of rights than a woman in California.” She incorporates reproductive justice into her job by partnering with reproductive organizations to “lift up their voices” by using technology and social media.

Daskilewicz described some challenges when thinking about justice in her area of work. Although Cape Town, in theory, has liberal abortion laws, she said there can be trouble for women trying to access proper abortion care.

“There is extreme economic inequality here,” Daskilewicz said, adding it took a long time to find pro-choice and feminist movements in the community.

Rodney spoke of finding many pathways to justice in her line of work while interacting with pregnant women experiencing domestic violence. One, she noted, was finding “strange bedfellows” to help accomplish goals in justice.

She recalled feeling apprehensive when working with other advocacy groups that she felt had nothing in common with her work. But finding a common space can “create an alliance” with people who can help make a difference.

“Together, you will accomplish so much,” Rodney said.

After the panelists shared their experiences, the floor was opened for student discussion and questions.

The four women realized their careers truly intersected when a student asked how to stay passionate after years of working.

“You can’t be a single-action person,” Chamberlain said.

Although Daskilewicz admitted to feeling “burnt out” at a stage in her career, she agreed with Chamberlain that “finding an activist space outside of a job” was important to refuel the energy and desire for change.

“Seeing that they have made a difference in the lives of many women on both an individual and community level was inspiring,” Dooley said.

When a student inquired about which skills learned from being a WGS major at the College were applicable in the real world, Rodney credited “having stellar relationships with faculty” and connecting with individuals who can act as role models for your career.

The College’s Chair of the WGS Department, Ann Marie Nicolosi, expressed to the alumni how proud the department is to say these four women belong to it.

“You’ve gone so beyond what we imagined what our graduates would do,” Nicolosi said.

Freshman Anil Salem voted the College’s top talent

By Jessa Gianotti

Staff Writer

The College is known for having its quirky traditions: jumping in the fountain, having a beer at The Rat, being greeted by Eve Cruz at Eickhoff. But the new tradition has formed around the annual “TCNJ’s Got Talent” show, held for the sixth time this year on Wednesday, March 11, and presented by representatives from each grade’s student class council.

“It’s a TCNJ legacy event,” said Brian Garsh, president of the class of 2015. “It’s meant to build unity and pride on our campus.”

This year, a theater full of students came together in Kendall Hall to see nine different acts perform in the show.

Cruz, speaking of, was one of the judges at this year’s show, along with Liz Bapasola, advisor to Student Government, and Ryan Quindlen, the winner of the show two years ago.

“The show was so fun,” junior biology major Radhika Ragam said. “It was cool to see how many talented and brave people we have at TCNJ.”

Anil Salem, a freshman at the college, won the competition this year for his performance of an original song on guitar called “Sky.” The performance that lasted nearly eight minutes had the entire audience in awe.

“He was incredible,” Ragam said. “I got the chills throughout his performance. Everyone was floored at the precision and speed at which he was playing, and the fact that it was an original song just made it that much better.”

The second place title went to Grace Nielsen, who sang an aria and in Latin, no less. In third place was the pair of Priscilla Nunez and Fernanda Morales, who did a sign-language rendition of “Where Is The Love” by The Black Eyed Peas.

Rishi Kapoor and Levi Klinger-Christiansen performed a medley of contemporary songs including “Jealous” by Nick Jonas and “Best I Ever Had” by Drake, in which they both sang as Klinger-Christiansen played guitar. The act was narrated by Kapoor, who told a love story about a fictitious friend of his and a girl he met at a coffee shop to piece together a theme between the songs.

Simran Arjani and Arun Madari sang a duet to “My Love” by Adele, and Gabe Rojas also performed an original hip-hop song that had the entire audience clapping and rapping along with him at the chorus.

For the second act of the show, all of the lights shut off as the Circus Club performed a hula-hooping, juggling and dancing act in the dark with light-up props that awed the whole room.

Afterward, Brett Celenz continued to keep the audience smiling with his stand-up comedy routine.

Christine Levering also performed a juggling act, literally and figuratively, in which she removed an item of clothing every time she dropped a ball while simultaneously telling jokes that left everyone in stitches — including Eve Cruz, whose laugh you could hear across Kendall when Levering did an impression of her.

And the juggling acts weren’t the only comic relief during the show. Hosts Ryan Boyne and Chris Drabik, both seniors at the College, kept the audience laughing between every act.

“It really was a fun time and a great show for everyone involved,” Drabik said.

The show not only emphasized talent, but brought the entire campus community together to support their fellow peers.

Baby Wants Candy performs improvised musical

By Brandon Agalaba
Correspondent

There is no topic or joke off-limits when an improv group takes the stage — and the College’s own Mixed Signals know this well. The student improv group left their audience in stitches on Tuesday, March 24, in the Mayo Concert Hall, while opening for professional musical-improv group, Baby Wants Candy.

The Mixed Signals, comprised of a group of talented student performers, played five, energetic games to warm up the crowd. The members of the group had an audience member shout out a random word, which served as inspiration for the following scene. One audience member shouted the word “salami,” and what followed was a hilarious game in which two of the members discussed the difference between bologna and salami while making world-famous sandwiches.

Baby Wants Candy performs an original musical, ‘Grand Budapest Motel 6.’ (Samantha Selikoff / Photo Editor)
Baby Wants Candy performs an original musical, ‘Grand Budapest Motel 6.’ (Samantha Selikoff / Photo Editor)

The games also involved a character named “Peanut,” despised by his family, and a series of short jokes about diabetes. All throughout, the Mixed Signals played various characters with gusto and enthusiasm, and the games were funny and engaging.

“My favorite part of the show was either the ‘Peanut’ part or the ‘Diabetes’ part,” freshman finance major Ziyi Wang said.

When the members of Baby Wants Candy perform, they create completely improvised musicals, and they are backed by a pianist that plays fitting music to their actions. However, the group started their show in an unorthodox way — by interviewing a student, senior community and career studies major Matthew Ianacone. Various facts were revealed about him over the course of the interview, such as his participation in scavenger hunts and his plans for the future. After the interview, the group did a skit that detailed various adventures from a man being late to a race to going on rides in Disneyland. 

Next, they encouraged audience members to give them ideas for a musical to do. Shows from the past included “You’re a Good Man, Justin Bieber” and “Build Me a 200 Ft. Sigourney Weaver,” while the title they chose for the night was “Grand Budapest Motel 6.”

In “Grand Budapest Motel 6,” the story followed the adventures of a talkative  but endearingly goofy motel worker named Shelley and two teenagers as they tried to solve a mystery that involves missing friends and ghosts. Other characters introduced were an uncle and his niece who worked at the motel. Scenes from the musical included Shelley’s actions on her first day as a motel worker and the uncle revealing his evil nature. The musical ended with the uncle being defeated, and Shelley, the teens and the niece owning the motel.

The Mixed Signals pump up the crowd with a hilarious opening set. (Samantha Selikoff / Photo Editor)
The Mixed Signals pump up the crowd with a hilarious opening set. (Samantha Selikoff / Photo Editor)

Baby Wants Candy’s show was zany, wild and full of energy. Even though the musical was improvised, it was just as professional and entertaining as a scripted musical. The actors’ performances were fantastic and full of gusto. There was a lot of humor in the show, and the songs accentuated the lively experience. In particular, a memorable song called “Mohell” was significant for the musical, as the uncle sang about wanting to marry his niece and trying to keep guests inside the motel forever. “Mohell” was sung in a hilarious but simultaneously unsettling way, and it was a highlight of the musical.

“It was my first time coming to TCNJ,” said Jen Connor, a member of Baby Wants Candy. “But it is really fun to do college shows.”

The Mixed Signals and Baby Wants Candy contributed to a fun night that was full of jokes, memorable moments and fun for the College community.

‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ is a smash Netflix hit

By Julia Woolever
Staff Writer

It is perhaps fate that “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” made its premiered on Netflix less than a month after the finale of the beloved “Parks and Recreation,” because Kimmy Schmidt is here to fill the Leslie Knope-sized hole in your heart.

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” follows the adventures of the titular heroine, a young woman who was held captive in an underground bunker for 15 years by the megalomaniac leader of a post-apocalyptic cult. Upon being rescued and discovering that the world has most certainly not ended,  Kimmy, played by Ellie Kemper of “The Office,” decides to make a new life for herself in New York City.

The grim setup is an unlikely premise for a comedy, but it works because the show does not avoid this grimness. Kimmy constantly struggles with leaving behind her traumatic past and forging a new identity outside of the cult.

In fact, it is in these moments of personal crisis that Kimmy shines the brightest. Spurred on by the belief that the worst event of her life has already happened, Kimmy takes on the challenges of living in New York City with an optimism that gives Knope a run for her money.

Seen through the eyes of Kimmy, the city is an explosion of color and an arena of unlimited opportunity. The first season sees Kimmy get a job, go on a date and enroll in GED classes, all of which naturally go awry at one point or another. Through it all, Kimmy’s spirit truly proves unbreakable — and infectious, at that.

Come to the show for Kimmy, but stay for the equally wonderful cast of supporting characters. Jacqueline Voorhees, played by Jane Krakowski of  “30 Rock,” is a Manhattan socialite, Kimmy’s boss and caricature of all the worst things about the ultra-rich: she has a refrigerator devoted to bottled water and runs a charity where she donates her old monogrammed towels to poor people with the same initials as her.

But it turns out that Jacqueline is not so different from Kimmy after all. With a mysterious past and a struggle to define herself apart from her cheating husband, Jacqueline’s journey is parallel to Kimmy’s, which creates a far more complex character than expected. The bond formed by the two is an awesome testament to the importance of friendship and identity for women in the 21st century.

The star attraction, at least in his own eyes, is Titus Andromedon, Kimmy’s roommate and the requisite sassy gay black friend. Stereotypical as that may be, Titus is one of the funniest sitcom characters in recent history. Played by Tituss Burgess, he is a struggling stage actor whose single goal in life is to become wildly famous. In pursuit of this goal, he embarks on endeavors such as creating a one-man revival of “The Lion King,” taking a job as a werewolf in a theme restaurant, and attempting to create a viral video. In regards to the latter, you will never be able to think about pinot noir again without singing about Roseanne Barr and caviar.

As with Kimmy and Jacqueline, Titus has a surprising complexity as he comments on social issues. The show attempts to use humor to highlight darker issues. Titus pines that he is treated with less suspicion when fully dressed as a werewolf than he is as a typical black man walking down a New York street. He only half-jokes that he wouldn’t know whether to check off “black” or “gay” on a hate-crime form.

Of course, none of this would work if “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” wasn’t as hilarious as it is. Head writers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock flood the script with jokes and asides, many of which revolve around Kimmy’s lack of knowledge of 2015, which she can’t stop calling “the future.” She proudly shows off her first selfie saying “hash brown, no filter.” Topping off the show is several cameos that are too great to spoil, but they continue to add to the fun.

With a vibrant heroine, a humor all its own and an insanely catchy theme song, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is a total delight. The best part? All 13 episodes are available to binge-watch right now. So clear your schedule and get ready to meet your new best friend.

Reapproaching sexism and rape in the law

By John Irvine
Staff Writer

“Rape” and “consent.” These are two words that generally bring to mind clear-cut meanings.

However, perhaps they’re not as straightforward as we’ve been led to believe, according to Hank Fradella, a professor in and associate director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University. And perhaps the laws that surround these words aren’t so straightforward, either.

“What if the female consents to initial penetration, then withdraws her consent during an act of intercourse, but the male continues against her will?” Fradella asked. “Would this be considered rape?”

Such questions were not only fuel for discussion, but they also highlighted laws that can’t always capture the intricacies of each situation in Fradella’s talk “Sex, Sexuality, Crime, and (In)Justice: A Look at the Evolution of the Social Control of Rape,” which he delivered on Thursday, March 26, in the Education Building. 

“We need to do a better job of improving civic understanding of the law,” Fradella said. “Everyone is presumed to know the law on their 18th birthday, but that’s not the case.”

And so the problem is compounded. We are dealing with imperfect laws, which many people do not have a full grasp of in the first place.

Students take part in a group discussion following the lecture. (Photo courtesy of Jade Mannheim).
Students take part in a group discussion following the lecture. (Photo courtesy of Jade Mannheim)

“Our brains are not even fully developed until our mid ’20s, yet we hold people to the standards of the law at 18,” said Fradella, who majored in psychology as an undergraduate student at Clark University before acquiring a J.D. from The George Washington University and a Ph.D. from Arizona State University in interdisciplinary justice studies.

It is our job as citizens in a democracy, Fradella suggested, to begin intellectual discussions as often as possible. Just by making people more aware of these issues, of the nuances in the meanings of the words “rape” and “consent” and of the laws around them, do we move one step closer to eliminating these problems. 

Education, it seems, can be one answer to mitigating sexism, racism, ageism and homophobia, among other issues — not just from our laws but more simply from our world. And this is not a five-year program with heavy research and a dissertation education. This is the education that anyone can provide: an intellectual discussion at the end of which two or more people are more knowledgeable about these issues. 

“We will never stomp out racism and sexism in the law, but (we) can make it so that these things are the exception and not the rule,” Fradella said.

The talks that Fradella delivers, mostly on college campuses owing to their notoriety for rape, are his way of getting these discussions started. He hopes that those who attend will leave as more educated individuals who can then start their own discussions as educators themselves. 

Caitlin Wiesner, a senior history and Women’s and Gender Studies double major who attended Fradella’s talk, now finds herself much more informed on some of these complicated topics.

“Fradella’s talk gave me a historical context of what constitutes as a rape with a more structural breakdown from a criminology perspective,” Wiesner said. “I was given some new things to think about that I never figured into my definition of it.”

Wiesner said the talk also made her reconsider how she defines consent.

“It made me realize how difficult it is to prove things like consent in the courtroom,” Wiesner said. 

Fradella hopes this cycle of education will perpetuate itself, and help people to steer clear of breaking the laws. But for the laws themselves, we must work to combat sexism there as well.

“We can definitely do better at dealing with sexism in the law, but that’s already too late … eliminating sexism needs to start with uteri,” Fradella said. 

In other words, sexism must be countered in each individual and at the roots of culture, not merely when an issue arises in the courtroom.

Members of Circle K accept their awards for excellent volunteer work. (Photo courtesy of Daniel Kaplan)

Circle K wins big, secures seven awards

By Sara Torres
Correspondent

Circle K stole the show at the 51st Annual District Convention Awards Ceremony, taking home awards for Distinguished Editor, Distinguished Secretary, Distinguished Vice President, Distinguished President and Distinguished Newsletter. The club was also honored with the William Paterson Outstanding Club Achievement Award, as well as $5,000, collectively, in scholarships.

The awards ceremony was held on Saturday, March 21, as part of a weekend-long event for the 10 chapters of Circle K across the state, at the Hotel Somerset-Bridgewater in Somerset, N.J.

Circle K President Daniel Kaplan is thrilled with the club’s accomplishments.

“I think we officially came away with the second most (awards), but we won a lot of the top ones, the big ticket items,” the senior secondary education and history double major said.

Vice President Kerrin McLaughlin, a junior interactive multimedia major, said the club was not only celebrating its own accomplishments, but also those of notable member Dawn Kreder.

Kreder, a senior sociology major at the College, served as District Governor during the past year, presiding over each New Jersey Circle K club.

Members of Circle K accept their awards for excellent volunteer work. (Photo courtesy of Daniel Kaplan)
Members of Circle K accept their awards for excellent volunteer work. (Photo courtesy of Daniel Kaplan)

“We were just celebrating her great year, as well,” McLaughlin said.

Kreder was awarded the Kiwanis Centennial Award, one of the largest donations for an award in the organization, in recognition of her accomplishments as District Governor. As the 57th recipient internationally, the reward signifies that $1,500 is donated in her name toward The Eliminate Project, an initiative to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus.

“To see every club receive awards at District Convention for everything that they had accomplished this past year was incredible,” Kreder said. “It is at this event, where we celebrate the old and new, that I believe CKI members remember why they joined and realize the impact that they are making on a local and global level through their actions.”

Kreder describes the experience winning the Centennial Award as truly humbling.

“It showed that the people around me, that support me each and every day, thought I was worthy of receiving it,” she said.

Members of Circle K at the College engage in two kinds of service projects, one being weekly on-campus projects such as Eickhoff cleanup, wrapping utensils for the soup kitchen and tutoring, according to Kaplan. Larger scale projects are done in collaboration with other clubs in the overarching organization Kiwanis Service Leadership Programs, such as 5K runs for Autism and benefit dinners.

Reflecting on his experiences in Circle K, Kaplan said his favorite project has been volunteering during Eickhoff cleanup, an initiative that the organization started two years ago.

“It’s a way to give back to the campus directly. All of us have eaten at Eick, and it’s nice to return the favor now that we have the chance,” he said. “And it’s just so fun.  It’s a really good time.”

McLaughlin said she has most enjoyed their work with the Ronald McDonald House Charities, which provides a home away from home for family members of patients being treated in hospitals in locations far from where they live. Circle K members helped by cleaning the space and cooking dinner for the families.

Kaplan said he joined Circle K during his sophomore year when he was simply looking for a way to get involved.

“(Kreder), who lived on my freshmen floor, actually dragged me along to a meeting, and I just kind of instantly fell in love with the club,” Kaplan said. “As crazy as it sounds, it really is like a family. There’s something really special about the passion that everyone in Circle K shares for community service.”

Kaplan says that the involvement opportunities in Circle K immediately impressed him when he joined. 

“It’s always amazing when members are proposing new service projects or presenting an idea or just saying something they want to see in the club, because one thing that drew me to the club is that it’s very democratic,” he said. “If you present an idea like that, it’ll come to life, and I guess that blew my mind as a sophomore. It kind of continues to blow my mind now.”

McLaughlin said she knew Circle K was something she wanted to join since she had been a member of Key Club in high school, an affiliate of the Kiwanis Service Leadership Programs. The junior will fill the position of Circle K’s president starting next week.

“I think it includes the most genuine people on campus,” McLaughlin said. “There are other organizations where people have a service requirement, but I think that the people in our club are there for the service because they want to be doing it, not because it’s required of them.”

Meanwhile, Kreder is grateful for the ways in which her involvement in Circle K has enriched her experience in college, as well as her future.

“This weekend was a fantastic way to end my four years in this organization,” Kreder said. “CKI has helped me grow as a leader to myself, others and the community, and without these experiences, I am not sure what I would be doing with my life. Certainly, I would have missed out on a lot of opportunities I’ve been lucky to have, and friends that I’ve met.”

Students interested in Circle K can visit its website at http://circlekattcnj.weebly.com/.

A ‘Joyride’ for punks — Transit revisits the Rat

By Kris Alvarez

Staff Writer

On Friday, March 13, the Rathskeller buzzed with swarms of fans eagerly awaiting the return of Transit, a four-piece alternative/pop-punk ensemble from Boston. New Jersey’s own Cross Town Train, along with Rat veterans Save Face, accompanied the headliner and helped amplify the rowdy atmosphere of the overall performances.

Boynton of Transit crowd surfs during an engaging show. (Kimberly Ilkowski / Features Editor)
Boynton of Transit crowd surfs during an engaging show. (Kimberly Ilkowski / Features Editor)

Transit fans tend to bring a significant amount of liveliness to the table when it comes to being an active audience. As anticipated, the pace of the night’s show remained consistent throughout, from the crowd pushing front stage for the microphone to Transit frontman Joe Boynton stage diving into the open arms of the audience mid-song.

“Seeing a band like Transit in an up-close and personal venue like the Rat is always exciting,” junior marketing major Mike Smeaton said. “When people can get that close and energized, it really brings out the best in the show.”

Most of Transit’s set featured fresh tracks such as “The Only One” and “Too Little, Too Late,” but the band did not shy away from showcasing some of their senior material like “Skipping Stone” and “Long Lost Friends” from their album “Listen & Forgive.” The band also played “Nothing Lasts Forever” from their previous full-length “Young New England.”

Since the band’s previous show at the Rathskeller last winter, where they performed an all-acoustic set, Transit has put out their fifth studio LP  “Joyride” off Rise Records. The October 2014 release features the single “Rest To Get Better,” which the band put out a music video for on in September of the same year.

“I think (the Rat) has a lot going on,” Boynton said. “It’s just as fun as it’s ever been. The magic’s still there.”

Prior to Transit’s set, local punk outfit Save Face played a similarly eclectic collection of songs for fans both new and old. Pieces from the band’s preceding EP, “I Won’t Let This Take My Life,” encompassed much of Save Face’s set, with the exception of “Dog Years,” off their split EP with Brightener and a cover of “Gut Rot” by Such Gold.

Save Face plays to a packed audience. (Kimberly Ilkowski / Features Editor)
Save Face plays to a packed audience. (Kimberly Ilkowski / Features Editor)

Save Face is made up entirely of students at the College and has opened for bands like Transit, Major League and Such Gold at the Rat in previous years. The group is in the process of recording new music and is looking to go back on tour this summer.

“We are so grateful for all of these opportunities,” said Tyler Cranden, guitarist of Save Face and senior marketing major at the College. “I honestly never thought I’d ever be on the same stage as these bands. These shows are so helpful for smaller name bands like ourselves because they help bring out new, first-time listeners that otherwise would have never heard of us.”

Being their first show in four months, members of Cross Town Train brought plenty of energy on stage to make up for lost time. Their set included several new tracks to be featured off the band’s next studio release, which they have recently started recording.

After this semester, the Rat’s reign as a haven for musical pandemonium will come to an end due to the Brower Student Center renovations. However, it’s safe to say that Transit and the band’s two openers have created yet another lasting memory for students to remember the venue by.

TownGown aims for better relations

By Elena Tafone
Correspondent

Leaders and residents of the Ewing Township community, along with students from the College, met in the Education Building on Monday, March 9, to review developments in the town, on campus and in areas where the two worlds intersect.

Following a closed council meeting, the open-public session included discussion of upcoming on-campus events as well as off-campus safety and community outreach.    

These meetings started back in October 2012 after the school administration received a flood of complaints about the off-campus conduct of students. Administrators hoped a public forum would help foster communication and improve the sometimes turbulent relationship between Ewing residents and students.

It’s an approach that appears to be paying off — in terms of incident reports, this past year’s Homecoming was “the best year in 15 years,” according to Ewing Police Department Det. Michael Pellegrino.

Student Government President Matt Wells says this year’s successful Homecoming showed how the relationship between the College and the surrounding community has improved over the years.

“I think students are starting to recognize their impact on the community and the community’s impact on them,” Wells said. “We’re entitled to have events on campus and such, but at the same time, (we have to) be mindful of the community around us.”

It’s not only Homecoming weekend that has seen improvement, but the rest of the academic year, as well. While weekends are still when most disturbances occur, there has been a noticeable decrease in Tuesday night incidents. This can be attributed to new class scheduling, according to Vice President of Student Affairs Amy Hecht.

However, a more pressing concern has been the increase of break-ins in the area, mostly in student-rented houses. With many people coming and going and students visiting home during long breaks, off-campus housing can make for an easy target.

“If you can, keep a couple of cars in the driveway,” Pellegrino said. “I know that students have to take their cars home, but if there’s any way they can carpool, especially if it’s over a long weekend or something like that, it’s always best.”

He also recommended keeping lights on timers, making sure that doors and windows close and lock correctly and taking home valuables.

It’s this kind of vigilance that will only help to improve the Ewing community, making it a place in which both residents and students want to live.

Lecture weighs law versus ethics in economics

By Mark Marsella
Correspondent

As part of its Exploring Economic Justice series, the College invited Kurt Rotthoff, an economist and professor of economics and finance at Seton Hall University, to discuss the hidden meanings of fluctuating market prices and what they say about human behavior on Friday, March 13.

“The Information in Prices,” sponsored by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities and the Koch Foundation, focused on how the rising and falling prices of anything — especially gas, food and clothing — not only affect how individuals behave but also how they reveal other information about the individuals themselves. Rotthoff started off by dispelling a few myths about economists, saying that most people think economists are greedy and only care about wealth and the stock market. Instead, he said, economists study human behavior.

“Economists may talk about money and prices, but life isn’t about having more money — it’s about having more happiness,” Rotthoff said. “When we study the human individual, what we find is people are seeking happiness. One of the ways they seek happiness is through having money.”

Rotthoff first illustrated that when consumers buy what makes them happy, they affect major economic decisions, such as the type and quantity of products that companies produce. Rotthoff used farmers as an example — when the price of corn goes up, farmers know they should plant more corn. What caused the price of corn to rise in the first place is usually because the demand has increased. In other words, people want more corn.

Examining the reasons why people want more corn, or any product, is the way economists can gather information from fluctuating prices, according to Rotthoff. Prices can reflect cultural shifts and trends, the health of the economy and even natural disasters. 

One real-world application of this principle is the production of hybrid, turbo, electric and diesel car engines, Rotthoff said. Automakers have noticed that more people are buying these expensive eco-friendly cars.

“In response, Ford has just created a whole line of turbo-charge cars that they call ‘eco-boost,’ and Dodge is starting to produce eco-diesel engines,” Rotthoff said. “The price signal has told these automakers that they should respond by increasing their production of eco-friendly cars.”

Rotthoff also discussed what happens when the demand for certain products suddenly skyrockets during natural disasters, such as the demand for generators during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Usually during these emergencies, price gouging — when sellers raise prices to unreasonable levels during emergencies to make more money — becomes illegal. Most people think this is fair. However, Rotthoff argued that during Hurricane Sandy, it discouraged people outside New Jersey from traveling here to sell their generators because they couldn’t raise the price to make up for travel costs.

“If you’re not allowed to sell generators for more than their usual price, are you going to take the extra effort to drive to New Jersey? No,” Rotthoff said. “When we invoke price-gouging laws, what we’re fundamentally saying is that because the price cannot go up, we don’t want people to go out of their way to supply us with more generators. And that is scary.”

For freshman Dan Apicella, an open options pre-law major, Rotthoff’s stance on price gauging helped him look at the issue in a different way.

“It’s really interesting to rethink something you usually think is unethical,” Apicella said.

Another example Rotthoff used was a hurricane in North Carolina, when the demand for ice dramatically increased. When an ice truck from another state drove to North Carolina to sell ice — priced higher than usual to make up for the cost of gas — police locked up the truck for price gouging.

“The police sat and literally let all the ice melt when there were people who had to keep insulin and other medication cold. They needed ice to live,” Rotthoff said. “The price sends a signal, and the signal is, ‘We need as much as possible of this product in our area right now, regardless of cost.’ So when you say price gouging is unethical, I actually say that invoking the law to me seems unethical.”

Sophomore philosophy major John Felder was able to look at the law in a new light after Rotthoff’s presentation.

“I never really thought about economics and price gouging from this point of view,” Felder said. “It’s cool how much information economics can reveal about people.”

Byrne teaches several communications classes at the College. (Photo courtesy of Brandon Magown)

Terry Byrne takes the long road to the College

Brandon Magown
Correspondent

It is not everyday that a serious car accident can change someone’s life in a positive way. For Terry Byrne, a professor of communications at the College, that’s exactly what happened – his life was shaped by a drunk driving accident.

Byrne, known by his students as just Terry, has worked at the College since 1987. His many years of working in the entertainment industry have not only given him a surplus of knowledge to pass on to his students, but has also given him priceless anecdotes.

“You can tell he not only knows what he is talking about, but that he truly enjoys teaching it,” said Jacqueline Ilkowitz, a senior communications major who has taken five classes with Byrne.

Had it not been for the traumatic car crash, Byrne may have never found his place at the College as a noteworthy professor. It would be a long road to get there, but certainly one Byrne is glad he traveled on.

Byrne teaches several communications classes at the College. (Photo courtesy of Brandon Magown)
Byrne teaches several communications classes at the College. (Photo courtesy of Brandon Magown)

Born in eastern Kansas in 1950, Byrne spent most of his childhood throughout parts of the west and eventually in Denver, Co.

When it came time to go off to college, Byrne headed back East. After attending several different undergrad schools, he finished at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee with a degree in technical theater. He went on to attend Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa. to obtain his master’s of Fine Arts in production design and lighting.

Byrne scored his first job out of college at Marymount Manhattan College.

“I was the resident designer for the college,” Byrne said. “I designed and lit plays as well as taught one class a semester.”

After a few years, Byrne left to freelance around Manhattan and ended up in corporate theater. Byrne and a production team created set designs and lighting for product launches ranging anywhere from new cars to computers.

“That was one of the more fun jobs that I had,” Byrne said. “We got to travel a lot, (and) we always flew first class and stayed in nice hotels and never paid a penny for it.”

As much fun as the job was, Byrne soon left it for an even more exciting adventure — a job in Europe.

This new step in his career, however, was one that started years before with the horrible car accident.

One night during his days in graduate school, Byrne and a few friends were out to dinner celebrating their graduation from Carnegie Mellon. On their way home, they were broadsided by a drunk driver, which left Byrne in a coma for three days.

“The accident happened on a Friday night and the next thing I knew I woke up and it was Tuesday,” Byrne said.

Luckily, he and his friends all made it out alive, and years later Byrne received a $9,000 check as part of the settlement from the accident.

“My wife and I decided to go to Europe on that money because we felt like it would be wrong to spend it wisely,” Byrne said jokingly.

One of their stops across Europe included Ireland, a place that had deep significance to Byrne.

In the same year Byrne graduated from Carnegie Mellon, his father passed away. One thing his father left him was a letter from his great aunt which included what she knew about the Irish side of their family, including their genealogy and history. There was no question that Byrne would visit Ireland and track down his ancestors during his trip.

While in Dublin in 1976, Byrne met people at The Abbey, the national theater of Ireland, and asked them, “If I wanted to live in Ireland, how would I go about it?”

He was told he should get a job at the television studio RTE, the national television and radio broadcast company of Ireland. So just like that, he went and had an informal interview with them before coming back to America.

Four years later in 1980 while doing a product launch, Byrne received a phone call from RTE offering him a job. Byrne didn’t hesitate to quit his job and a month later he and his wife were living in Dublin.

Like many of his previous jobs, Byrne did not stay at RTE long. By 1986, he was already back in the States, though he had a variety of interesting experiences along the way.

“I started off by designing sets for news programs, like the evening news or interview shows, but after that I got shifted to what they called the light entertainment department,” Byrne said. “I did a talent show, a weird sort of road show and finally a serial drama, which is really just a soap opera. The show was called ‘Glenroe,’ which was the biggest show in the whole country, everybody watched it.”

The job Byrne enjoyed the most was working for “The Late Late Show,” which was the Irish equivalent of “The Tonight Show.”

“That job was very cool because they had some really top name talent on there like Van Morrison, Robert Plant and Tom Waits,” Byrne said.

Like all good things, there came an end to his time in Europe.

“Things kind of fell apart at RTE and a whole bunch of people left around 1985 and 1986,” Byrne said.

After coming back to America in 1986, Byrne held a temporary teaching job while he searched for something more permanent. That’s when he found the College.

“An opening here came up and so I came out and interviewed for it,” Byrne said. He was offered the job and started in 1987 and has worked for the College ever since.

Over the years Byrne has taught a number of different classes, ranging from hands on production, to classes on film critique. It is the latter in which Byrne has come to really enjoy.

“As I have spent more time here I have gravitated more towards classes about history and theory,” Byrne said. “Those are a lot of fun, because I did not know a lot of film history. I mean I did not grow up in a film culture. The only performing art I was exposed to was theater.”

Having a deep interest and passion for what he teaches makes his classes that much more valuable.

His students describe his classes as very laid-back and an environment that is easy to learn in.

“He is a very relaxed and cool professor and takes the time to get to know all of his students on a personal level,” Ilkowitz said. “He takes the time to learn what all of his students want to accomplish and then helps them reach those goals.”

New study breaks down gender stereotypes: Kids’ futures often determined by gendered hobbies

Pla is breaking barriers by playing football, a male-dominated sport.
Pla is breaking barriers by playing football, a male-dominated sport.

By Jackie Basile

Many often question whether boys or girls perform better academically, and some may even wonder who typically excels when it comes to extracurricular activities. But is the categorization of the two genders to blame for a recent study claiming that females outperform males in the three core subject matters?

According to a US News and World Report article from Thursday, March 5, a study from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development shows that male students are more likely than female students to underperform academically and thus hurt the future economy.

This raises concern over the often cruel gender stereotypes.

For years, it was argued that girls were just meant to be at home, taking care of the kids and household chores, while men were allowed to further their education by attending college because of their gender and “mental superiority.” Now that females are also widely attending colleges and such absurd accusations have been disproven, are women in fact better at certain subjects than men? 

Of course not.

The article details how the study showed a 19-point score difference between girls and boys in mathematics. Girls were more likely than boys to have “lower self-confidence in their math skills and (were) more likely to feel anxious about math.” It was also noted how those tendencies extend into college, as well, with 14 percent of females who began college in 2012 choosing a science-related field compared to 39 percent of men.

It is as if girls are taught from a young age that doing well in science and math is a bad thing, thus affecting their career goals. Boys who choose to major in science or math, however, are viewed as “intellectual,” and oftentimes, more worthy than girls.

This has got to stop.

The study highlighted that boys spend less time and effort on their homework due to videogames and other entertaining hobbies, negatively affecting how they perform in school. However, no mention was made about females being preoccupied with extracurriculars, as well.

Once again, boys are viewed differently than girls and are being categorized by their supposed hobbies. These norms are learned from a young age, whether it is realized or not. Ultimately, such views have an effect on how children grow up, and what they decide for their future.

Young girls play sports just as young boys do, and they often participate in the same games, especially at a young age. More and more, girls are seen breaking the barrier of sports often deemed for boys.

In Pennsylvania, for example, sixth grader  Caroline Pla has been playing football with the boys since she was five, and as the only girl in her division, 11-year-old Sam Gordon has outperformed the boys on her youth football team, according to U-T San Diego and ESPN, respectively.

A video of Gordon went viral last year, showing her dominating other players. Since then, she has been a representation of girls breaking into male-centric sports.

What gender somebody is no longer defines the achievements they can reach — neither academically nor in extracurriculars. It is important that, as a society, the value of an equal education, without any gender stereotypes categorizing someone, is taught from a young age.

Both women and men are equally smart and capable, and there is no accurate study that could possibly show how one gender outweighs another.

Students give a strong performance in all four one acts. (Courtney Wirths / Business Manager)

ACT shows just how far one act can go

Students give a strong performance in all four one acts. (Courtney Wirths / Business Manager)
Students give a strong performance in all four one acts. (Courtney Wirths / Business Manager)

By Priyanka Navani

Correspondent

From murder to philosophy to suicide to swizzle sticks, freshman elementary education major Emma Young can best describe All College Theatre’s presentation of “An Evening of Shorts” as “an emotional roller coaster.” Set on a small, intimate stage in Don Evans Black Box on Saturday Feb. 28, an “Evening of Shorts” was a four-play production entirely student-directed, including three plays that were also student written. Each play, though distinct in theme, all offered the same amount of quality acting, creative direction and thought-provoking ideas.

The first play, appropriately titled “ALeX,” after its main character who happens to be an android, told the story of true friendship, as seen through ALeX’s murder trial. Accused of shooting a pharmaceutical company CEO — who killed a subject during a risky surgery done to advance the company — a judge is hesitant to convict ALeX of a crime he had no motive to commit. As it turns out, ALeX was only covering for the friend of the killed subject. This proved he had an element of humanity despite his android programming.

Co-written by sophomore interactive multimedia major  Kathleen Fox and sophomore English major Emily Albright (who also directed the production), “ALeX” was a light and touching play that left the audience laughing with every bang of the gavel.

Next up was “Dead American Writers,” written and directed by sophomore English major Jake Burbage. “American Writers” provided a look into the shared space of Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac and Sylvia Plath and the disagreements that came with such individual intelligence.

Filled with intense discussion, fist fights and plenty of crude jokes, the acting displayed in the play was truly impressive with the script often calling for one-liners, spit-fire debate and a severity found only in philosophical writing. With each esteemed writer advocating his or her view on what is real, Terra Heinzel-Nelson, a freshman psychology major, described this production as her favorite because she “had a lot to think about” after it finished. The audience, who was completely silent as the lights dimmed on the production, seemed to agree with Heinzel-Nelson.

Following a short intermission, senior English and secondary education major Blaire Deziel showcased her production of “Hometown Glory,” the story of lesbian couple Jo and Cassidy who dated throughout high school. After committing suicide, Cassidy continued to play ghost to Jo, who was subsequently unable to come to terms with her death. This changes during the night of their high school reunion, where the two finally discuss their feelings, allowing them to part amicably and for good.

“I wanted to write a show that inspired hope in spite of such negativity,” Deziel said. Reflecting on her own experiences and stories she read as a “queer young adult,” Deziel wanted her audience to know that “it will get better. Even if it’s not better right now, there is potential. It will get better.”

The final play, “For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls,” was a welcome laugh written by Christopher Durang and directed by sophomore communications major Brooke Buonauro. Set in the home of a wonderfully strange Southern family, “Belle” describes the life of a mother who desperately wishes her two sons were normal. Her oldest son, Tom, brings home Ginny, a practically-deaf warehouse worker who has no interest in men; the younger son, Lawrence, can’t seem to focus on anything but playing with and naming his collection of swizzle sticks. Adding humor to the show was the lovely Southern accent with which  each actor spoke and the natural stage presence each seemed to have.

Co-production manager and junior English secondary education major Rachel Friedman, who also starred in “Belle,” appeared proud of this year’s productions.

“It’s an amazing time for students to really take the lead and choose the shows,” said Friedman, who also noted the large amount of proposals All College Theatre (ACT) received this year for a spot in the production. Having acted in six shows for ACT, Friedman spoke with passion when she described the impact of the organization. She believes ACT provides an outlet for “students to use the skills that they wouldn’t ordinarily get to show in professional productions.

Another thing out of the ordinary was the absolutely flawlessly rehearsed nature of the entire production. Not one line was dropped in any of the four plays. Indeed, Saturday proved to be a job well done for all involved in “An Evening of Shorts.”

Fight for equal rights strengthens

Yousafzai preaches the importance of equality.
Yousafzai preaches the importance of equality.

By Melissa Carter                                                                                                President of Vox: Voices for Planned Parenthood

Twenty years ago, in 1995 at the World Conference on Women in Beijing, governments made a promise to women and solidified the concept that so-called “women’s rights” are about much more than women.

The conference marked a truly significant and vital turning point for gender equality, as 189 governments each signed a progressive blueprint for advancing women’s rights — and justice for all. Since then, we’ve seen a number of global milestones marking progress in achieving justice for all. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became the first female president of an African country. The United Nations now formally recognizes the human rights of LGBTI people. A safe abortion protocol was enacted for the first time ever in Peru. The Green Belt Movement in Kenya has now empowered thousands of women to conserve the environment. The list goes on and on.

Today, the fight for women’s rights looks nothing like it did when our mothers and grandmothers were fighting it. Feminists from Malala Yousafzai to Janet Mock, from Emma Watson to Planned Parenthood Youth Peer Providers across Africa and Latin America, are revolutionizing the fight for women’s rights.  And all of them have one thing in common: They are all 30 years old or younger.

At the organization Planned Parenthood, young activists just like us believe in a world where health has no borders. From New York City to Guatemala and beyond, our young health educators, activists and providers are committed to working with many different communities to ensure that everyone, regardless of race, class, nationality or gender, has access to the healthcare they need. They provide information, clinic referrals and even condoms to thousands of people. They meet with government representatives and organize campaigns to make sure that leaders are accountable so that no one is left behind, when it comes to access to sexual and reproductive health.

This International Women’s Day, we stand strong with our fierce allies in shaping the most diverse movement for women’s rights yet. We are now doubling down on our commitment to guarantee that our government does its part to completely fulfill its 20-year-old promise to women.

Want to join us? Spread the news about where things stand for global women’s rights. Tell your senator to support the Global Democracy Promotion Act, which would benefit women and families around the world by ending the global gag rule and is expected to be reintroduced in early March in honor of International Women’s Day.

Learning life lesson on assumptions

By Samantha Selikoff                                                                                                Photo Editor

Like any other job seeker, one researches the company who he or she is applying for and any possible interview questions the employer may ask. There are standard questions that can typically be expected like, “Tell me about yourself” or “Why do you think you are a good candidate for the job?”

I went on an interview the other day, and one of the questions that surprised me was, “Describe one person that was different from you that you met since coming to college. How did they change you?” I always replay interviews in my head to reflect on what I can improve on. I thought a lot about this question after the interview. It was not until almost a week and a half later that I found the answer from six amazing girls.

This week at CAPS Peer Educator’s National Eating Disorders Association monologues, not only did I hear women speak about their eating disorders, but I heard them speak about their personal power, showing that they are strong individuals who can now overcome anything. By looking at these women, you would never guess the difficult battles they overcame with not only their mind, but their body, as well.

I have to admit, some of the women that spoke surprised me because I knew them. I did not expect to see them there, let alone speaking. Even knowing them and being in organizations with a few of them, I would have never been able to tell what they were going through.

Many people, including society as a whole, make seeking help for an addiction or disorder a negative thing. However, in reality, it takes a lot of bravery and courage to take those steps. Even being a best friend or family member, where you think each of you know his or her deepest darkest secrets, you may never know what a person is going through. It may not even be on purpose, but they may be living in denial with him or herself.

If I were to answer the question, “Describe one person that was different from you that you met since coming to college” again, I would have answered it like this. I had the honor of hearing six incredible women speak about their eating disorders. These powerful women were some of which I see on a daily basis and thought I knew, but as it turns out, I did not really know them at all or what they were going through. Everyone is taught, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but not everyone is able to connect with it. After attending the NEDA Monologues and hearing their stories, I learned that nothing is ever as it appears. Never make assumptions, and most importantly, always be kind.