Category Archives: News

News happenings at The College of New Jersey

Student squats in the bushes

  • On Sunday, Aug. 24 at 11:50 p.m., Campus Police responded to a C.A. report of a controlled dangerous substance at Centennial Hall. A student told the floor’s C.A. her roommate had left marijuana on a desk, which the roommate said “was probably turf from the football field.” When police arrived, they detected an “odor of marijuana” in the air and the student admitted she was in possession of marijuana. The student was placed under arrest and issued a complaint summons and court date.
  • At 11 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 21, Campus Police responded to a report of intoxication at the Brower Student Center. They met with EMS and went outside to find a student squatting in the bushes, according to Campus Police, who said he was “hiding from them.” The student admitted to consuming vodka an hour before the incident, and was issued a summons for consumption of alcohol.
  • A bike was stolen from outside the Student Center on Thursday, Aug. 21, around 10 p.m., according to Campus Police. The victim, a local resident, said he put his bike on the bike rack and went into the Student Center for “a few minutes.” Whe the resident came back, his bike was gone. The bike was not secured with a lock or chain.
  • On Aug. 26 at 12:10 a.m.,  a C.A. on the fourth floor of Wolfe Hall reported underage consumption of alcohol to Campus Police. A girl on the floor had told the C.A. two males had inadvertently attempted to enter her room. When police arrived, they found one student was in his own room on a bed and had vomited on the sheets. The parties were issued summons for consumption of alcohol.
  • On Saturday, Sept. 6, at 10 p.m., a C.A. reported there were two intoxicated males on the sixth floor of Travers Hall. The students had been uncooperative, according to the C.A., who had made them pour their alcohol out before police arrived. Campus Police reported their speech was slurred, and both were issued summons for underage drinking and advised of court dates.
  • On Saturday, Aug. 23, at 2:55 a.m., Campus Police responded to a report of an intoxicated person on the second floor of Travers Hall. A C.A. said a resident knocked on her door out of concern for a friend vomiting in the men’s room, and police observed the person sitting in the shower still vomiting. EMS arrived and, at 3:46 a.m., transported the student to Capital Health Systems. The student was issued a summmons for consuming an alcoholic beverage underage.
  • On Wednesday, Sept. 3, Building Services reported there was a damaged ceiling and faucet in a women’s bathroom at Armstrong Hall. A representative of Building Services said the incident occurred between Tuesday, Sept. 2 at 9 p.m. and Wednesday, Sept. 3 at 6 a.m. Both parties were unable to determine a suspect for the incident.

Grant recognizes stellar student services

The College’s EOF programs receive a $3,000 grant. (Photo courtesy of the Investors Bank for the Educational Opportunity Fund)
The College’s EOF programs receive a $3,000 grant. (Photo courtesy of the Investors Bank for the Educational Opportunity Fund)

The College is home to one of the best Educational Opportunity Fund programs in New Jersey, according to the College’s Director of the Educational Opportunity Fund Tiffani Warren,  and as a result was honored with a $3,000 grant from Investors Bank on Wednesday, Aug. 27.

For 46 years, the EOF program has ensured the academic and personal achievements for students through helpful outlets such as tutoring, financial aid management, student-faculty guidance and more.

The Investors Bank, based in New Jersey, New York City and Long Island, supports unique educational, non-profit organizations that create stimulating and diverse communities.

“The support of Investors Bank allows us to fulfill our mission of providing students the tools to achieve academic and professional success, while ensuring that they have the financial resources necessary to complete their undergraduate educations,” Warren said. “The students are worth the investment, and we are so grateful to have such a strong partnership with Investors Bank.”

The EOF program has created a strong bond between the faculty and its students.

“Simply described, the EOF program is a big family — almost its own community,” said sophomore biology major and EOF student Maria Badilla. “EOF helps its students not only financially, but by providing the support specific to each student that will help us succeed in our personal, academic and professional lives.”

The grant money will be used toward enhancing the benefits the EOF program offers.

“The grant money helps fund programs that assist students with closing the full cost of attendance gap, adjusting to college life and addressing academic preparedness through guided advisement, financial support and innovative academic support services,” Warren said.

Working alongside the College’s Office of Development/Division of College Advancement, the EOF program continually searches for grant and donation opportunities through the EOF Promise Award Program. The success of accepted gifts and donations to the program are due to the efforts of two key players: Charles Wright, Associate Vice President for Development, and Angela Winterrowd, Major Gifts Officer, according to Warren.

“I think the most beneficial part (of EOF) is definitely all the resources the program provides,” said an EOF student who chose to remain anonymous. “The advisors always have their doors open, and I know I can turn to them if I ever need any advice, help with my schedule or if I just need to talk.” 

The New Jersey EOF program was founded in 1968 with the objective to allow ambitious and determined, but financially struggling, students to reach higher education. 

“The Promise Award ensures improved retention and graduation rates of EOF students,” Warren said. 

The Promise Award, a critical part of EOF’s success, was established in 2004. It is calculated to meet the full cost of attending college by providing extra economic services to students and parents. 

“Through the EOF program, I have been given the opportunity to attend such a prestigious institution without worrying about the burden that loans and debt can cause one to feel,” the student said. “Also, through the five-week summer program, not only did I make some of my best friends, but I am now ahead in my classes.” 

The EOF program is currently running on a new “On Track” model. This new model supports students’ “academic, financial, personal/social and professional success,” according to Warren. The College’s EOF program guides over 370 students annually and has a growing number of students attending graduate school, according to Warren.

“The EOF program is one of the best programs I’ve been a part of on campus,” the student said. “Not only do they ensure student success through tutoring, advisors and student mentors, but this program is also a great network of people from all different backgrounds who bond through the summer program and create everlasting friendships.”

College launches new homepage: TCNJ Today

By Mylin Batipps
News Assistant

Students, staff and faculty of the College will have their own separate platform for campus news, thanks to the newly launched TCNJ Today website.

The homepage will provide access to campus resources for students and update the campus community with events that have passed and will take place. The College’s original homepage will still be intact, but will only be intended for an outside audience — including parents and prospective students.

The original homepage presented a problem because it tried to appeal to both internal and external audiences, according to David Muha, vice president of communications, marketing and brand management.

“Communication is most effective when you know and are speaking directly to your audience,” Muha said. “The more audiences, the more challenging it becomes.”

Muha explained, for example, that last year the College conducted a campus climate survey, in which students and staff were provided an opportunity to give feedback on their experiences with working on campus. The survey was a feature on the College’s homepage, but since most visitors of the page are parents and people outside the campus community, the survey reached the wrong audience.

“The climate survey wasn’t relevant to them, and because that promo was there, we missed an opportunity to greet them from the moment they landed on the page with content that highlighted the college and the excellence of our faculty, staff and students,” Muha said.

Another issue, according to Muha, is that there is no prominent site for news for the campus community. Students and staff are being kept in the loop with “TCNJ Official Email” messages, but those messages only highlight select pieces of news. A campus newsletter initiative was launched last year but quickly fell.

Muha added that while he would like TCNJ Today to “fill that void” by becoming the campus’s main source of news, he would also like for the site to provide a platform for celebration.

“I think we can have some fun with it. The ‘Take A Bow’ column, for instance, can be used to share achievements that might not warrant a full news story but are important to celebrate nonetheless,” Muha said.

On Wednesday, Oct. 1, students will no longer be able to access resources like PAWS, Canvas and Gmail through the main webpage and will have to go on TCNJ Today’s webpage to access them. Senior business management major David Plishka approves of the new page.

“I think it’s a benefit,” Plishka said. “It’s nice to have the links on the top of the page that are readily accessible.”

Junior nursing major Jordan Stefanski said he will gladly use the new website as long as students will be guided on how to use it.

“As long as they (the administration) can provide an adequate tutorial on its operation, unlike what they did for Canvas, I don’t mind,” Stefanski said.

Muha is hoping that the launch of TCNJ Today will not only inform people, but also bring them together.

“By giving faculty, staff and students a home page of their own, we’re hoping that we can help foster a greater awareness of all the great things happening on our campus, provide a venue for the timely sharing of campus announcements and, ultimately, contribute to a greater sense of community,” Muha said. “It is this last aspect that I’m most excited about.”

Students work in New Orleans to help rebuild homes damaged and destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Pagliaro)

The College volunteers in ‘The Big Easy’

By Courtney Wirths
Features Editor  

It has been over nine years since Hurricane Katrina and the city of New Orleans filled the front page headline. Even almost a decade after the tremendous wind and rain, the city remains damaged and in need of assistance. Recognizing the need for volunteers, the College’s Alternative Break Club takes trips south during winter, spring and summer breaks to help rebuild the Mardi Gras city. 

“Disasters can only get better if something is done to bring it back up,” said junior elementary education and iSTEM major Toni D’Amato. D’Amato has been involved in the club since her freshman year and has gone of two of the club’s summer trips to New Orleans. 

Students work in New Orleans to help rebuild homes damaged and destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Pagliaro)
Students work in New Orleans to help rebuild homes damaged and destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Pagliaro)

During her first summer volunteering, D’Amato’s group helped to rebuild the home of an elderly man named Wendell.

“He would stop by to give us food and help out while we were rebuilding his home,” she said. “ He always taught us his church songs on break time and really gave us a feel of the culture of New Orleans.”

This past summer, the group had the opportunity to return to Wendell’s new home, take a tour of the finished house and listen to the thank-you speech he gave at the home’s dedication.

“It brought so many people together to have the greatest feelings of hope,” D’Amato said.

The Alternative Break Club spent this summer on Desire Street in New Orleans. 

Students who travel with the College’s ABC developing lasting friendships on just one trip of volunteering together. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Pagliaro)
Students who travel with the College’s ABC develop lasting friendships on just one trip of volunteering together. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Pagliaro)

“Our homeowner was an older blind man who was living in this large two story house all by himself,” junior nursing major Elena Shupak said. “ The downstairs was completely empty, with only studs and beams, and he was living on the second story with no running water and hardly any electricity.”

The club worked for the entire week installing hardwood floors on the second floor and finishing some of the construction that needed to be completed down on the first floor, she explained. 

The locations for the clubs trips are ultimately chosen by the ABC’s executive board, but members of the club can provide input if they wish, according to club member and sophomore finance major Jonathan Sheridan. Due to the tremendous need for volunteers, however, the club plans to continue returning to New Orleans in the future. 

“A group of 20 TCNJ students got in cars to drive over a thousand miles barely knowing each other,” he said. “And when we go in the cars to come back to N.J., I knew I had made some life-long friends.”

In addition to the experience of volunteering, travelling to a new city and making new friends, the club’s members emphasize that it’s the people of the city that have made the most impact on their lives while they have been in the away. 

“They teach you through not just their words, but with  their actions that nothing in life is ever too tragic to recover from,” Shupak said. “Their positive spirits shine through in the darkest of moments, and that is something I never forget to take home with me when I leave Louisiana.”

Leave it to beavers to be back in Britain

By Frank Saverino
Columnist

Last Friday, two deer halted rush-hour traffic in three lanes on the Golden Gate Bridge, running from the southern entrance across the bridge into Marin County. Animal-control authorities were called to the scene, but the deer had swiftly exited the bridge before their arrival.

Two deer hold up the Golden Gate. (AP Photo)
Two deer hold up the Golden Gate. (AP Photo)

Recently deceased and infamous comedian and actress Joan Rivers had a serious love for animals. She was an activist for the animal rights organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). She led a movement with other PETA members that pushed the New York City council to create policies that banned chaining dogs in public spaces and endorsements for spaying and neutering. 

After a recent sighting in Otter St. Mary, British environmentalists are frazzled over the reappearance of Eurasian beavers. Being that the last report on beavers in Britain was made in 1789. Over 500 years ago, the English government enacted systematic efforts to hunt down Eurasian beavers from British waters both for trading their fur and protective environmental efforts. A surprise return for beavers has left environmentalists scratching their heads. Some fear that beavers, because of their tree-eating and dam-building habits, will cause a disruption in water patterns if their population re-booms. 

Back in the U.S., a maximum-security prison in Lancaster, California, is using a group of rescued dogs from a shelter in part of a rehabilitation plan for inmates. “Paws for Life”  –  a program partnering with Karma Rescue, a non-profit shelter that has saved over 6,000 dogs in California – and Los Angeles County Prisons has seen tremendous psychological benefits to inmates that applied for positions to take care of and rehabilitate dogs that have been lost, abandoned or abused. One inmate from Lancaster, Jack, reflected in an interview: “It’s a pleasure to simply observe dogs and to be observed by them. Caring for them is an opportunity and a privilege to openly display caring and compassion, and at times let my inner child out when playing with the dogs.”

In China, a retired basketball star is the face of a campaign to stop the ivory trade from places like Kenya and South Africa, where ivory is still legal to trade, and his home country. The former Houston Rockets player, Yao Ming has partnered up with WildAid and appears in their new documentary, “The End of the Wild.” His “Say No to Ivory” campaign ads requesting that the government ban its part in the trade are already airing on television and on billboards in China. WildAid has estimated that about 30,000 elephants are killed in the ivory trade every year.

Clubs to create new missions

Student Center renovations are briefly discussed. (Michael Cort / Photo Assistant)
Student Center renovations are briefly discussed. (Michael Cort / Photo Assistant)

By Sydney Shaw
Opinions Editor

Student Government is back in action as of Wednesday, Sept. 3, when the organization conducted its first general body meeting of the year.
In his first meeting as the Student Government president, Matthew Wells introduced the organization’s new advisor, Amy Hecht.

Hecht discussed the installation of new equipment in the Physical Enhancement Center, as well as new rims for the basketball nets in the Recreation Center. She noted that “although it isn’t perfect yet, it’s getting there.”

Hecht also confirmed that the proposed $20 charge for fitness classes at the Rec Center will no longer be going into effect this semester.

“We are still looking at it for the future, though,” she said.
Hecht also touched on the upcoming renovations in the Brower Student Center that are scheduled to take place later in the year, but did not go into detail.

VP of Advancement Sarah Drozd announced that Student Government is looking for a new Webmaster.

“If you or anybody you know is interested in filling the position, reach out to us,” she said.

Later, VP of Student Services Navid Radfar announced that the organization is co-sponsoring “TCNJam.” Comparable to Penn State’s “Thon,” it is a dance-a-thon to support the B+ Foundation, which works to help children battling cancer. It is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 8, from noon to midnight.

VP of Governmental Affairs Jess Glynn told members about a new mission for clubs at the College.

“We want to know if they are active. We want to review their constitutions and we want to get a record for SG to keep on file,” Glynn said. “It’s a big project that we anticipate will span several years.”

Before the meeting adjourned, Student Trustee Ryan Boyne and Alternate Student Trustee Kevin Kim announced that Student Government elections will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 23.

Fitness Center offers free classes again

By Colleen Murphy
News Editor

Students and faculty can continue to attend their Zumba, Yoga, Pump Up the Pulse and Kickboxing classes without opening their wallets — at least for now.

“We postponed the fees because there was a misunderstanding, and we are still in the midst of figuring out what we need to do, budget-wise, with higher jurisdiction,” junior Fitness Center manager and Zumba instructor Kristina Kondakji said. “Also, we realized that students’ views of a good time does not involve emptying their piggy banks.”

As reported in the Wednesday, Sept. 3, issue of The Signal, the Fitness Center instituted membership fees for the first time in three years in order to enhance the center with more classes and updated equipment. Students would have had to pay $20 per semester, while faculty would have had to pay $50 per semester.

Students and faculty who already paid their fees will be reimbursed. However, according to Kondakji, not many people had signed up for a membership. While she is unsure of the exact number, she said that she could probably count the amount on her two hands.

Students and faculty are told to enjoy the free classes while they are here, because it is uncertain whether the fee will be put into effect once again this semester or in the spring.

“Hopefully it stays free all semester long — and even better if we could stretch it to all year long,” Kondakji said. “As of right now, I am not entirely sure when they will be reinstated, and if they will be at all, this year. My guess is the fall semester will remain free since it already started. But if we can keep it free, we sure as heck are going to.”

Timber — a dead tree goes down

By Natalie Kouba
Editor-in-Chief

A sudden quake in the sidewalk and startling boom of a large, hollow falling tree left several students quickly scurrying off the pathway lining a small patch of trees as they made their way to and from class. The dead tree collapsed onto the Music Building, injuring no one in the area, but scraping off a few bricks and fracturing the sidewalk below with ease. Catching their breath and clutching their hands to their racing hearts, all the students in the area safely lingered by the fallen sickly tree in awe, without missing a beat to take pictures on their phones and inform the College community at large.

Alyssa Scull, a junior sociology student, dodged the massive tree by a narrow margin as it fell perpendicular to the pathway. 

“I was walking down the path toward the Social Sciences Building, and I heard a loud cracking sound,” she recalled. “I didn’t even see the tree falling since it was right next to me, but the next thing I knew, there were branches and leaves all around me.”

No one was injured when the tree fell on Tuesday, Sept. 2, around 3:20 p.m.. However, the inability of an arborist to accurately asses the potential danger of some of the trees could cause concern for an unpredictable environment on campus. 

“As any arborist knows, one cannot visually see or know when a tree is hollow unless one performs some type of mechanical drilling or utilizes a tool to measure density,” said David Muha, vice president of communications, marketing and brand management at the College. “Even so, some degree of hollowness in the trunk does not necessarily make the tree a threat.”

This tree in particular was, however, on the College’s radar, as it was next on the list to be removed. Several years ago, Nelson Tree, the College’s arborist, reportedly discovered a significant crack going up the tree when it was alive and suggested the upper third of the tree be cut down. According to Muha, the tree died sometime this past year, but the

The dead tree nearly hits a student on its way down. (Tom Kozlowski / Managing Editor)
The dead tree nearly hits a student on its way down. (Tom Kozlowski / Managing Editor)

 

still alive when the arborist came to assess it. The College scheduled to remove the tree in the coming year, as indicated by the red band hugging the base of the trunk, but the tree fell before the College had a chance to have the tree safely removed. 

Within the next hour, the College removed the dead tree, leaving a jagged perimeter of bark around the decaying stump, which had been so hollowed out with age and rot among the shrubbery. Several bricks, knocked from their places on the academic building, lay on the grass and the area was cordoned off.

Repairs as a result of the damage caused by the dead tree are expected to amount to $30,000, and the College hopes to have the building and sidewalk repaired as soon as possible, according to Muha. The College has already begun to repair the exterior of the Music Building, but how the College can further prevent such incidents in the future is somewhat unclear. 

“The College has a proactive tree management program where trees are inspected each year by our arborist, and those that are dead or unsafe are removed,” Muha said. “There are no measures that can ensure that every tree is healthy and safe, unfortunately.”

Recent thunderstorms in the Ewing area last week might have initially been suspected to cause the already weak tree to collapse. After evaluation, however, Muha said that there was no evidence that weather conditions fell the tree.

“The tree was dead and hollow at the base although this could not be seen from the outside,” he said. “It is only visible now that the tree has fallen and one can see inside. There is no evidence of physical damage associated with adverse weather conditions.”

Fortunately, no one was injured as a result of the falling tree, and it was only the Music Building and sidewalk which took a hit. But the incident caused a stir on campus and unpredictable scare for many students going about their typical college routine. 

“I didn’t get hurt, but it was way too close and so scary,” Scull said. “Someone could have been seriously injured.”

* Tom Kozlowski, Managing Editor, and Courtney Wirths, Features Editor, contributed to reporting.

Students explore clubs on campus

By Lily Kalczewski
Correspondent

Over 175 student organizations table the Activities Fair. (Michael Cort / Photo Assistant)
Over 175 student organizations table the Activities Fair. (Michael Cort / Photo Assistant)

Crowded and hot, but filled with excitement and enthusiasm for the start of a new semester, the Activities Fair was a hit. There was a myriad of students swarming the roughly 175 student organizations’ tables lining the pathway from Alumni Grove to the Social Sciences Building on Wednesday, Sept. 3. Among the organizations at the fair were club sports, Greek Life, volunteer organizations and other student organizations, ranging from Student Government and Club Bowling to German Club and Treblemakers a Capella group.
The upbeat tunes 91.3 FM played upbeat tunes and other clubs handed out candy and fliers to prospective new-comers, but the Alpha Chi Ro fraternity got passersby attention with the company of its dog, Lucy, attracting the students. The fraternity and sorority tables appeared to be the most populous area of the pathway, but, nonetheless, all the clubs had a significant amount of potential members signing up at their tables.

Though all the students have their own reasons for joining multiple clubs, freshman nursing major Nikki Huang said she signed up for the Student Nurses’ Association to gain more knowledge about her area of study. In addition, Huang joined the Asian American Association to learn more about her own culture.

Students also joined clubs to satisfy their desires to volunteer and create a better community.

“I joined She’s the First because I had an interest in a service organization,” said junior elementary education and math double major Daniel Hardaker. Students at the College typically get involved in a few different organizations. Hardaker is also a member of PRISM.

Sophomore Maureen Hudson, an elementary urban education and STEM double major, found that, similarly to Hardaker, she joined a club based around her personal values.

“I joined The Circle of Compassion because I liked the message of compassion being the underlying meaning of all religions,” Hudson said.

The College’s clubs, including TCNJ Crew, line the walkway. (Michael Cort / Photo Assistant)
The College’s clubs, including TCNJ Crew, line the walkway. (Michael Cort / Photo Assistant)

She has been a member since last year, and this semester she’s the one looking to recruit prospective members.

The same goes for senior Danny Kaplan, a secondary education and history double major, who has been a member of Circle K for two years now. He joined to make friends and to become more involved in the community, as clubs are a great way to meet people and create friendships.

Overall, involvement in student organization can truly add to a college experience, and it appears students at the College agree based on the long list of names filling club sign-up sheets. Student Organizations provide a sense of belonging, and by becoming a member, students can find friendships, comfort, creative release and enjoyment. Whether a student is a chemist, soccer player, singer or future politician, at the College, students are able to find an organization suitable for them, since there are so many to choose from — there’s even a club for those rare out-of-state students. 

Whether it’s learning more about your culture, finding people with the same interests or just wanting to help out, clubs are a great way to enhance your college experience.

Tree falls on campus walkway, no one injured

By Courtney Wirths and Tom Kozlowski
Features Editor and Managing Editor

A large tree fell across the walkway behind the Music Building on Tuesday, Sept. 2, striking the building and narrowly missing several students on their way to afternoon classes.

Students gather around to observe the fallen tree. (Photo courtesy of Natalie Kouba)
Students gather around to observe the fallen tree. (Photo courtesy of Natalie Kouba)

“I was walking down the path toward the Social Sciences Building, and I heard a loud cracking sound,” junior sociology major Alyssa Scull said. “I didn’t even see the tree falling since it was right next to me, but the next thing I knew, there were branches and leaves all around me.”

fallen tree 2
The tree caused damages to the Music Building. (Photo courtesy of Natalie Kouba)

The tree broke into several pieces upon making contact with the corner of the Music Building, and branches littered the pathway. The impact of the tree caused the sidewalk to crack and bricks on the building to chip.

 

As for the tree itself, rotting wood had spread across the trunk, but its presence only became apparent to observers after its collapse.

“The tree was dead and hollow at the base, although this could not be seen from the outside,” said David Muha, vice president of communications, marketing and brand management at the College. “It is only visible now that the tree has fallen and one can see inside. There is no evidence of physical damage associated with adverse weather conditions.”

Fortunately, no students were harmed by the tottering tree.

“I didn’t get hurt, but it was way too close and so scary,” Scull said. “Someone could have been seriously injured.”

Although it is difficult to gauge the health of trees around campus from an outside view, a local arborist, Nelson Tree, has recently been on campus to address tree concerns, according to Muha. The arborist measures the decay of trees using mechanical drilling and other tools to assess their density and hollowness. Those that pose a danger to surrounding buildings and populated areas are then marked to be cut down.

fallen tree 3
Rotting wood was determined to be the cause of the fallen trunk. (Photo courtesy of Natalie Kouba)

The fallen tree near the Music Building had been assessed by Nelson Tree several years ago. The arborist noted a vertical crack coursing through the tree and recommended a 1/3 to be cut in order to reduce the “weight and potential for damage,” according to Muha. While still alive, the trunked was marked by a red ribbon for scheduled cutting. The College further labeled the tree for removal this year, but the tree had died before it could be taken down.

fallen tree 4
Scheduled for removal, the tree fell before it could be cut down. (Photo courtesy of Natalie Kouba)

“This tree would have been next on the list,” Muha said. “The grounds department had a plan to act, but unfortunately, the tree fell before the plan could be implemented. Most importantly, we’re thankful that no one was injured this afternoon.”

Students immediately posted the incident to social media, taking photos of the fallen tree sprawled across the pathway.

Google will join Amazon in obtaining drone permit

By Courtney Wirths
Features Editor

• California is sacking plastic bags. A new piece of legislation passed through the state legislature last week that would ban the use of plastic bags for purchases in grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores and other businesses. The bill is now headed to the Governor’s desk. Gov. Jerry Brown has not stated his position on what would be the nation’s first statewide plastic bag ban. The bill would allow reusable plastic bags to be sold in stores as well as paper bags for a minimum price of 10 cents.

• Google unveiled a plan to receive permits to fly commercial drones in the United States. The plan comes just months after Amazon revealed its plans to potentially use unmanned drones to deliver packages. Others in the industry (technology and defense) are encouraged by Google’s entrance into the field because the company has the resources, cash and experience to make a difference when lobbying for legislation changes. As of right now, the Federal Aviation Administration effectively bans all commercial drone use in the United States.

• A stabilization in coal prices may signal long-awaited relief for many small coal-mining towns across the world. Coal makes up about 40 percent of the worlds electricity generation, making it the largest source of energy globally. The stabilization is due to a combination of demand increase in countries, such as China and India, as well as pit shutdowns finally beginning to impact supply.

• T-Mobile US’s game of playing hard-to-get is paying off. The French telecommunications company, Iliad SA, said it would continue to pursue the cell company and is currently looking into taking on partners to form a more enticing bid for the US’s fourth largest mobile operator by subscribers. The company has received several bids over the past year, including one from Sprint Corp.

* All information according to the Wall Street Journal.

Paying the price for exercise

Fitness classes return to the fee-based policy of three years ago,  providing additional funds for newer equipment and more classes. (Photo courtesy of TCNJ Fitness Center)
Fitness classes return to the fee-based policy of three years ago, providing additional funds for newer equipment and more classes. (Photo courtesy of TCNJ Fitness Center)

If students and faculty want to get fit with either the Zumba, Yoga, Pump Up the Pulse or Kickboxing classes the Fitness Center offers in the Recreational Center, there is a price they will now have to pay. 

Popular among many students, the Fitness Center classes allows students to exercise in a fun, welcoming environment with their friends while being taught by certified student instructors — these classes, however, have undergone recent changes. 

Instead of classes being free for faculty and students, there is now a semester membership fee: $20 per student and $50 for faculty. The Fitness Center is re-implementing the membership fee that was revoked three years ago.

“The fee has been put back in place to provide TCNJ with extra funds to help enhance the fitness center,” sophomore yoga instructor Gina Costanzo said. “We are hoping to be able to offer more classes and updated equipment.”

All of the revenue from the fees will go back into improving the Fitness Center and its programs.

“In no way do we profit from any of this,” said junior Fitness Center manager and Zumba instructor Kristina Kondakji. “We use all the money to add to the Fitness Center, including equipment, more hours of operation, space availability and the like. The fitness team wants to really blossom and make a mark in the TCNJ community.”

According to David Muha, the vice president for communication, marketing and brand management, “the College plans to increase the offerings at the center and the additional funds will be used to help support that.”

“A new recreation director will be starting soon, and students should expect to begin to see some of these changes shortly thereafter,” Muha said. 

The fees could be barriers to some students enjoying the classes, though, as yet one more cost to college life.

“As a college student, we all try to save money,” sophomore special education major Julia McKinnies said. “Therefore, if I can go exercise on my own for free, I would rather do that than have to pay for classes.”

With all the other financial requirements of which college students have to attend, paying for fitness classes may not be considered a high priority, according to McKinnies. 

“I’m sure this will make a lot of people think twice about signing up for these classes,” she said.

Kondakji, however, believes that the new and enhanced program will be a success. 

“I think as far as attendance goes, I don’t really think we will be hindered all that much,” Kondakji said. “I have gotten a lot of e-mails from students eager to come down and take classes.”

Students, surprised to hear about the new membership fee, question why this new price was implemented.

“I don’t think its right to now have to pay for classes — something that was originally a free and fun way to stay fit,” sophomore special education major Heather Weinberg said.

Sophomore psychology major Beth Strumpf, a frequent attendee of Fitness Center classes, accepts the new Membership Fee, yet still questions the decision.

“Last semester, I took a lot of classes there and I loved the concept of a free Fitness Center. It was really great coming and going as I wanted,” Strumpf said. “The $20 fee makes sense because of all the new equipment, but I think that my $30,000 tuition should cover that. Especially since once I pay the $20 fee, I’ll feel obligated to go more often and not just when I want to.”

Students express their confusion over the new price adjustment as they wonder where the proceeds go.

“If the funds were going towards paying the instructors (who are students) — that I guess (would make it) not as bad,” sophomore special education major Kelly Springer said.

“I think it’s a bit ridiculous to charge students  we are paying to go and use the facilities here already,” Springer said. “It seems a little unnecessary.”

Costanzo understands the student’s initial skepticism about the membership fee and was even originally worried about class attendance. “I was a little concerned at first about the fee affecting how many students will take advantage of the fitness classes at the Rec Center, but I think it may actually encourage more students to come and try different classes since they will want to get their money’s worth.”

Costanzo adds that this membership fee is a low-cost compared to other professional fitness studio classes. Fitness Center Manager Kondakji, too, agrees with Costanzo’s reasoning.

“The system we have is easy too — you just swipe your card and that’s all. No more signing in or the hassle of waiting in a line. I think this will improve the center and pave the way for new beginnings, more bright and potential beginnings.”

“I think that at first people may be a little displeased that they now have to pay to take fitness classes,” Costanzo said. “But hopefully everyone will see that it will actually benefit them by helping to improve the program and enabling us to give students the best fitness experience.”

STEM building to be built on Holman ground

 

Between 75 and 80 percent of Holman Hall's scraps were recycled. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)
Between 75 and 80 percent of Holman Hall’s scraps were recycled. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)
Where Holman Hall once stood is now an area of grass — the future site of the College’s STEM building. (Colleen Murphy / News Editor)
Where Holman Hall once stood is now an area of grass — the future site of the College’s STEM building. (Colleen Murphy / News Editor)

By Gabrielle Beacken
News Assistant

Once seen as the building on campus with quite the history behind it, Holman Hall, now demolished and soon beginning reconstruction, is one part of the College’s new STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) restoration project. 

The new building will host the computer science department as well as other “multi-use instructional laboratories and multi-use event space,” according to TCNJ Magazine

Renovations of Holman Hall, Armstrong Hall, the Chemistry building and the Science Complex are all a part of the College’s new STEM Complex project. According to the College’s Campus Planning webpage, the College presented this new STEM Complex proposal through the Building Our Future Bond Act. The act allows state-issued bonds to become grants for public and private New Jersey universities and colleges to build new academic buildings.

According to an article in The Star-Ledger from March 27, the new STEM project will cost an estimated $94.2 million upon completion. While approximately half the money will be derived from state funds, the College will borrow the other $47.2 million  to complete the project.

Upon completion, the STEM building will host the School of Engineering and School of Science. Armstrong Hall, the Chemistry Building and the Science Complex will receive renovations as well, according to the College’s Campus Planning webpage.

The Chemistry Building will receive a $10 million expansion, the Science Complex will receive $18.2 million worth of renovations and Armstrong Hall will receive $15 million worth of renovations, according to The Star-Ledger

But the rubble from the 87,000 square foot building will not go to waste. Certain materials, such as copper pipes, ductwork, glass railings, steel and metal doors, were extracted from the building before demolition and will be recycled. 

“Right now, we expect between 75 percent and 80 percent of the building waste will be recycled,” director of campus construction Bill Rudeau told The Star-Ledger.

Holman Hall has allegedly had its own rich history. According to a Signal article from Nov. 1, 2011, it is campus legend that Holman Hall is buried on top of an “Indian burial ground.” The article references Robert Reeder Green’s book, “The Land Along the Shabakunks,” which details the revolution of the Shabakunks creeks to Ewing and to the College campus. 

These chapters of the book claim Holman Hall’s haunted location. According to the article, the description provided in Green’s book coincides with the Lenni-Lenape burial techniques. The article shares that the Lenni-Lenape tribe in fact resided in present day Trenton and Ewing. According to the Trenton Times, Lenni-Lenape artifacts were found in Ewing in 2011.

Still, these suspicious Holman Hall tales have never been verified, but rather kept as one of the College’s notorious stories.

Holman Hall has certainly come a long way: first, haunted, then demolished and, finally, to be renovated. As for now, the first phase of the College’s exciting new STEM Complex is on its way.

TIPS limits high-risk drinking at College

Ti{SFive years ago, the College implemented Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS) to enable students to respond to challenging alcohol-related situations. More recently, the College was awarded the 2014 TIPS Award of Excellence as one of just five chosen institutions out of the 1,200 colleges and universities that offer TIPS programs, according to an article posted on the College’s website on Monday, Aug. 11.

The College was chosen based on several factors, including the amount of students certified, the feedback from TIPS trainers and the community leaders involved in the program. 

A free, two-hour program for students, TIPS aims to lessen high-risk drinking behavior among students. Drunk driving accidents, serious injuries and academic flops are just a few of the negative effects that college students face as potential consequences of binge drinking.  According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website, “more than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape,” and “about 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers and receiving lower grades overall.”

  TIPS has been a platform for the College to educate students about issues such as binge drinking. Over 700 students at the College have been certified since TIPS was established on campus.   

“I learned the dangers of a level one, two and three drunk,” junior chemistry major Daniel King said, who was trained through TIPS. 

During Greek Week, members from each organization within Fraternity and Sorority Life attend TIPS training. The Department of Student Affairs, the Alcohol and Drug Education Program, and Student Conduct and Residential Education also host TIPS sessions for students. 

“I think (TIPS is) very beneficial for the student body,” junior communication studies major Jared Sokoloff said.  “As an issue that hits close to home for me, I applaud its current successes and future implementation.” 

In future years, the College hopes to train even more students through TIPS.