Category Archives: News

News happenings at The College of New Jersey

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AMPD club is music to SG’s ears

Four clubs were approved by Student Government at the general body meeting on Wednesday, April 16.

The first club — the Association for Music Production and Discussion, or AMPD — seeks to create an environment for music discussion, music production collaboration and recording.

The group was previously derecognized, mainly owing to loss of access to the on-campus recording studio as it underwent renovation, but even so, AMPD continued to co-sponsor events such as The Drop, a biannual electronic music event.

“We had The Drop last year and we brought in DJs from outside, but we also showcased some students’ music,” AMPD executive board member Chris Flannery said.

Governmental Affairs unanimously voted in favor of the organization, believing it will be a creative addition to campus.

SG is impressed by the Arabic Club and ACLU. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

SG is impressed by the Arabic Club and ACLU. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

The next group that presented was the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, a non-partisan group that hopes to create awareness about issues such as on-campus housing equality, Internet privacy, LGBTQ rights and an understanding of the student code of conduct.

GA was impressed with the initial programming ideas for the club.

Next to present was the Student Alliance to Facilitate Empathy, or SAFE, an organization meant to bring disability awareness to campus.

The group will offer a stigma-free environment and supportive, student-run meetings.

Finally, the Arabic Club was approved after GA recognized the lack of Arabic representation on campus.

The club plans to focus on raising awareness of various Arabic customs and allowing members to practice the Arabic language, along with hosting film screenings, Arabic cooking classes and guest speakers.

“Many people have been comparing the Arabic Club with the Muslim Students Association already on campus,” freshman class council member Javier Nicasio said, “but not everyone of Arabic descent is Muslim. That’s exactly why we need this club on campus, to educate people about Arabic culture.”

 

Rwanda in retrospect, 20 years ago

By Connor Donnelly
Correspondent

This April recognizes the 20th anniversary of one of the most horrific atrocities in recent history, the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.  

On April 7, 1994, a 100-day killing-spree of Tutsi Rwandans began in the tiny country of Rwanda, which left about 800,000 people dead to ethnic conflict.

History professor from the College Matthew Bender gave a special lecture to a large group of students on Monday, April 14, in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. Bender, whose specialty centers on African history, featured an introduction on the topic followed by the screening of the documentary film “Ghosts of Rwanda” as part of the lecture.  

“I like to think of Rwanda as a case study of the best and worst of humanity,” Bender said in his introduction.  

Appropriately, “Ghosts of Rwanda” showcased Bender’s point as to why Rwanda would be a case study for the worst of humanity. 

The film focused on the days leading up to the genocide, the days during the genocide and the days after the genocide by giving the students a true idea of the horror. Through images and interviews with witnesses and victims, the film retold the atrocity in a harrowing visual format.

Although many of the students in attendance already had some knowledge of the genocide, the images and stories from the film seemed to shock every person in attendance.

“I found the film and the lecture overall to be very interesting and shocking,” freshman communication studies major Michael D’Angelo said. “The images in the film really gave me a better idea of how horrible this was.” 

After the film, Bender answered questions from the students in the audience, many of whom were curious to hear more about the subject.  

“Along with the Holocaust, Rwanda is one of the best examples of genocide,” he said.

The lecture made students appreciate just how safe the United States is today and made them aware of how tragic and horrible the genocide really was. Its impact still shocks and appalls 20 years later.

 

Students go ‘All In’ for fundraising

By Christine Aebischer
Staff Writer

The campaign raises money for scholarships and campus developments. (Julie Kayzerman / News Editor)

The campaign raises money for scholarships and campus developments. (Julie Kayzerman / News Editor)

When choosing a college to attend, students weigh many factors, but when it comes down to making a final decision, the one that weighs most heavily is money — how much tuition costs and what scholarships are being offered. Besides the low tuition at the College, three out of four students also receive some kind of scholarship, according to Donna Green, director of annual giving.

The College’s newest initiative, known as the “All In” campaign, aims to gain the support of the entire College community to continue raising funds for scholarships and other campus developments.

“TCNJ is a place to be proud of and excited about,” Green said. “(The ‘All In’ campaign) is another way for people to be engaged with the campus.”

“All In” is directed at the entire community, including current and future students, faculty and staff, alumni and parents. Donations from these groups not only directly benefit students and the school, but they also help the College receive outside donations from businesses and corporations, according to John Donohue, vice president of college advancement.

“It’s really about growing a sense of ownership and loyalty to their alma mater,” Donohue said.

The “All In” campaign stresses participation more than anything else, meaning a donation of any size makes a difference. The amount of people who donate, not the amount of their donations, is what makes a difference, both for potential outside donors and for college rankings.

“It’s not the size of the gift that matters,” Green said. “It’s about participation, commitment and the idea to pay it forward. Every gift truly does make a difference — it’s not just something we say.”

The campaign also allows participants to choose where they would like their gift to go, meaning they can designate their gift to a specific school, department or athletic team — anywhere they would like to support.

“We want to keep people engaged in the life of the institution,” Donohue said.

The campaign also intends to grow the culture of giving by getting students in the habit now to give back. Alumni typically do not start donating until about 10 years post-graduation, according to Donohue, so the campaign is also meant to get them engaging with their alma mater sooner. While Donohue acknowledged that it can be difficult for students to donate, their participation in the program is significant.

“Part of the reason (current students) are enjoying their experiences is because of people before them doing the same thing,” he said. “Even a small amount drives our numbers up.”

Besides raising money, “All In” is meant to increase the energy and enthusiasm on campus.

“It’s a good time to celebrate TCNJ as a community,” Green said.

Increase in special apps for SFB budget

Members of Student Government traveled to the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton for the General Body meeting on Wednesday, April 9.

SG held its weekly meeting at the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton. (AP Photo)

SG held its weekly meeting at the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton. (AP Photo)

Senator of Humanities and Social Sciences Emily Reyes introduced Assemblymen Raj Mukherji and Gary Schaer who took time to speak with the Student Government.

Student Government President Tyler Liberty opened by explaining that the main agenda item of the statehouse meeting was to endorse the Student Finance Board’s budget for next year.

Brian Hurler, the executive director of the  Student Finance Board, presented the budget to the General Body as members asked about the changes that are being made for the upcoming year.

One of the biggest changes to the budget will affect Greek life on campus.

Greek life organizations and many other non-SAF funded clubs are now encouraged to apply to use the special appropriations fund.

Special appropriations are applications to propose funding for events on campus.

There is an increase in funds apportioned for special apps on campus since SFB anticipates an increase in presentations for funds from these organizations.

Vice President of Equity and Diversity Sadia Tahir informed members that the third and final issue of Diversity University will be released on Monday, April 21.

Finally, Junior Class Council President Brian Garsh announced that the junior class will be having a fundraising night at Applebee’s on Monday, April 21, and Sophomore Class Council President Shap Bahary informed members that the class is selling $5 sunglasses that say “TCNJ” and have a paw print on them.

A call to arms for Eickhoff volunteers

By Sarah Holland
Correspondent

Ask any student at the College about their favorite employee at Eickhoff Hall and they’ll more than likely respond with enthusiastic praises for Big Larry or Eve, two of the most animated ID swipers.

Whether Team Larry or Team Eve, anyone would agree that the reason for the popularity of these beloved workers is their friendliness. Waiting in a slow-moving line that trails all the way out the door of the dining hall becomes totally worthwhile after getting a high five from Big Larry or a cheerful grin from Eve.

“When Big Larry says ‘hi’ to me, it makes my day,” freshman special education and Spanish dual major Jenna Finnis said.

Her fellow students were passionately in agreement.

“Eve is an angel,” freshman open options humanities and social sciences major Megan Vantslot said.

One sincere greeting from a pleasant  Eick worker is enough to make a student’s day. But what students may often forget is that it’s a two-way street. They don’t consider that their own greetings could have the same effect, potentially making an employee’s day with just one friendly conversation.

That’s why dozens of students participate in Siked for Eick, a program in which volunteers help clean the dining hall at closing time and chat with the employees. With the extra help, the cleaning gets done faster and the employees are able to go home earlier. As the volunteers eagerly return week after week, they become more familiar with the dining hall staff and eventually form lasting relationships with them.

Junior biomedical engineering majors Adriana Chisholm and Anasha Green have been volunteering at Siked for Eick since its formation two years ago. Chisholm recalls talking with Green their freshman year, before the program was created,  about how kind the dining hall workers are and wanting to do something in return for their hard work.

Unbeknownst to the girls, another student on campus had the same desire. Yohan Perera, Class of 2013, proposed the idea of an Eick outreach ministry within the College’s InterVarsity chapter, New Jersey Christian Fellowship (NJCF). Perera was a leader in the fellowship. Chisholm and Green were thrilled.

Already active members of NJCF, the two best friends saw Siked for Eick as an opportunity to serve the people who work so hard to serve the students each day. They eagerly participated every single week.

“We loved it so much,” Chisholm said.

Chisholm said that her and Green’s involvement started as cleaning tables, but eventually it became “more than just cleaning, and (they) got to know the workers behind the counters.”

The following semester, the ministry was in need of a new leader. Since Chisholm and Green were so involved, they were jointly asked to helm the program. Now as a junior, Chisholm leads the ministry on her own, gathering the eager volunteers on the second-floor Eickhoff lounge every Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. for conversation and prayer before heading into the dining hall.

Since its inception, the ministry has grown tremendously. Volunteers include students who are already members of NJCF, but also “random people who saw us cleaning and wanted to join,” Chisholm said.

TCNJ Circle K, a student-led community service group, cleans up Eick after hours. (Julie Kayzerman / News Editor)

TCNJ Circle K, a student-led community service group, cleans up Eick after hours. (Julie Kayzerman / News Editor)

Not only has the Wednesday night group grown from five or six to 10 or 15 regular volunteers, but also other groups on campus got involved. Now, there are students doing Eick cleanup four nights a week, each night organized by a different on-campus group.

“It was really great to see it get this big all of a sudden,” Chisholm said. “Being able to collaborate is really cool.”

But Chisholm strives to make NJCF’s involvement in the program unique among all the groups.

“We want to stand out apart from the group, by doing things like praying and making cards for the workers,” she said.

These acts of kindness are part of furthering Chisholm’s mission for the ministry.

“The purpose is not only to show appreciation through cleaning and giving back, but also show Christ’s love by being in relationships with (the dining hall staff) and having conversations with them,” she said.

Now, when Chisholm gets meals at Eick throughout the week, she’s able to relate to the workers on a personal level.

“It was cool to go from barely knowing the workers to knowing all of them by name,” she said.

Chisholm has advice for students at the College looking to show appreciation to the Eick workers.

“Ask them about their day, and it turns into a 20-minute conversation — ask them about their families and their kids, (and) they really appreciate someone caring about them,” Chisholm said. “Saying ‘hi’ with a big smile makes a difference. They notice that.”

Old sports: earning gold medals in golden years

He doesn’t take any medication. He’s won several gold medals and awards in tennis, and his motto is, “whatever happens, you just have to roll with the punches.” Roger Gentilhomme looks forward to competing in the next National Senior Olympics, as he’s just made the finals in the current Games.

At the next Games, he will be 102 years old.

Roger Gentilhomme maintains his health and competitive spirit even at age 100. (Photo courtesy of ageofchampions.org)

Roger Gentilhomme maintains his health and competitive spirit even at age 100. (Photo courtesy of ageofchampions.org)

As a part of Careers in Aging Week, the film, “Age of Champions,” documenting senior citizens participating in the National Senior Olympic athletics games, was presented in Roscoe West on Wednesday, April 9. The event was hosted by nursing assistant professor Connie Kartoz and sophomore nursing major Angela Ning.

“This week is intended to bring greater awareness to career opportunities in the field of aging and aging research,” Ning said. “We hope to garner interest in gerontology around campus.”

The College’s first Careers in Aging Week was held from Sunday,  April 6, to Saturday, April 12, and was sponsored by the Gerontological Society of America. The Gerontological Society of America promotes progressive research and education in the Gerontology field. The week also included an interactive career panel on Thursday, April 17, discussing professional opportunities in Gerontology discipline.

“We wanted the movie to inspire people to take charge of their health at any age,” Ning said. “You can always live an active lifestyle, even as an 80-year-old.”

The PBS award-winning documentary, “Age of Champions,” takes its viewers on the journey of five senior citizens athletes training for the National Senior Olympics. The film followed 100-year-old tennis player Roger Gentilhomme, a 70-year-old women’s basketball team, The Tigerettes, brothers Bradford, 88, and John, 90, Tatum swimmers, and track/pole vaulting Earl Blassingame, 88, and Adolph Hoffman, 86.

In the documentary, Roger Gentilhomme proceeded to the final round of tennis in the National Senior Olympics, though he ultimately lost to his 94-year-old opponent whom he referred to as “a youngster.”

The Tigerettes struggled through a difficult final game and ultimately won for the sixth consecutive time on a three-pointer buzzer shot.

“When little kids found out we won nationals, they look at us not as grandmas, but active senior adults,” a Tigerettes player said.

The Tatum brothers lived in a supportive D.C. community their entire lives. As each brother won the gold, they cheered, “Mission accomplished!”

The brothers commented that as children, they were not allowed to swim in the white community pools due to the color of their skin, therefore they swam in the fountain in front of the memorial. Bradford Tatum said it had been an amazing witnessing segregation to experiencing the election of the first black President of the United States.

With Blassingame always finishing in second and Hoffman in first, both men — residents of Texas — have sparked a friendly competition with one another over years.

“Adolph is the best athlete I’ve ever seen,” Blassingame said. “He’s just terrific.”

The film portrayed vibrant and active life possibilities that older adults may have. Careers in Aging Week promotes the professional application of creating new progressive opportunities for older adults.

“We hope to see this grow year by year and for more students to become interested in a possible career in gerontology,” Blassingame said.

Going the distance for charity

Franc celebrates his finish at last year’s NJ marathon with the executive race director Joe Gigas (left) and his father (right), who also ran. Photo courtesy of Gabe Franc)

Franc celebrates his finish at last year’s NJ marathon with the executive race director Joe Gigas (left) and his father (right), who also ran. Photo courtesy of Gabe Franc)

By T.J. von Bradsky
Correspondent

For many, running a marathon is something that is simply talked about in the abstract. Maybe it’s even put on the bucket list. But this is not the case for junior interactive multimedia major Gabe Franc.

Franc decided to take action toward achieving the grueling task of running 26.2 miles in one sitting.

“I wanted to do it as a challenge and to push myself by accomplishing something that is fairly unique,” he said.

But Franc is helping others overcome their own personal challenges in the process.

Franc has raised thousands of dollars for brain cancer research through The Kortney Rose Foundation. He ran his first race, the annual New Jersey marathon, as a 17-year-old high school senior in 2011. Since then, he has completed each New Jersey marathon, as well as participating in the Philadelphia Half-Marathon.

Franc knew he wanted to help others, so he began searching the New Jersey Marathon website for potential charities. The Kortney Rose Foundation stood out to him, so he began his first 26.2-mile-long journey with a purpose.

“I felt attached to the Foundation since brain cancer is really terrible and since it is affecting children who are innocent,” he said.

organization itself was created by the parents of Kortney Rose, a 9-year-old girl who passed away from a rare brain tumor in 2006, according to the Kortney Rose Foundation website. It is a nonprofit charity with the goal of raising awareness and money for pediatric brain cancer research.

Brain tumors are among the most commonly diagnosed tumors in children. On average, about nine children a day are told they have a brain tumor, according to the Kortney Rose Foundation website. But funding for research is not nearly up to par with other common diseases. In fact, money available for childhood brain cancer research has decreased every year since 2003, the website says.

Knowing this, Franc continues to do his best for the cause. He will be competing once again in the New Jersey Marathon later this month.

The inspiration he draws from children like Kortney Rose helps him to stay motivated and consistently place amongst the top runners in his age group. He runs six days a week preparing for marathons. In the past two races, he has been one of the top-three finishers in his age group and finished last year’s marathon in three hours and nine minutes.

“The sense of accomplishment with a challenge like a marathon is definitely fulfilling,” Franc said.

Franc identifies with the extremely long process that the Kortney Rose Foundation is undergoing in helping to find a cure. Marathons are 26.2-mile-long expeditions that require a tremendous amount of persistence, just like the fight for a cure.

“As I start to get closer and closer to the finish line, I think back about how far my journey has been to get to that point,” Franc said.

Pediatric brain cancer research may be stalling, but Franc is helping it pick up its pace. After all, he is a pretty good candidate for the job.

Copper pipe crime swipe

On Thursday, April 10, at 1:35 p.m., the window of an off-campus house was broken and several hundred feet of copper pipes were stolen. According to Campus Police, a routine property check found the basement window broken, copper piping on the floor and a small amount of water. After notifying TCS Corporation, officials observed that 60 feet of 3/4” piping, 80 feet of 12” piping and 100 feet of 2” piping were removed, valuing a total of $1,685. 

A female student was observed to be intoxicated at Townhouses South on Friday, April 11, at 2:08 a.m. Campus Police said the suspect was being assisted by someone, as the suspect could not walk by herself. The odor of alcohol was present on her breath, and she visibly swayed as she stood. According to Campus Police, the student said she had been drinking at a friend’s house off campus, and a Horizontal Nystagmus Test confirmed the student had indeed been drinking. Lions EMS was called to further assist in treating her.

On Sunday, April 13, at 7 p.m., a student reported property stolen after an overnight guest slept in her room. The student housed the guest from Saturday into Sunday in New Residence Hall, driving her home the following morning, Campus Police said. However, upon returning at 6 p.m., the student found cigarettes missing from her cigarette box, which she showed to the guest, and $140 in cash missing from a pouch in the same drawer.

Mayo Business Plan won by solar iPhone panels

An iPhone case that charges your phone with solar panels, an app and website for keeping track of student meal points, and a barber shop to go in Campus Town were the three final business models competing in the third annual Mayo Business Plan Competition on Wednesday, April 9.

“This competition is a lot harder than you may think,” dean of the College’s School of Business William Keep said.

Keep said that 36 teams had signed up for the competition, but only 22 were able to even submit a business plan by the due date.

“It’s very exciting,” he added.

Team Solar Kicks takes home the top prize this year. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

Team Solar Kicks takes home the top prize this year. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

The three final student teams had one last chance to impress a panel of judges with a 30-minute presentation, as well as answers to the judge’s many questions. The judges for the competition were all alumni of the College with various business backgrounds.

“Students come out of school … go to their job and are asked to make decisions and judgments under uncertainty, and that’s what this competition fosters,” judge and alumnus of the College Eric Szabo said.

The winning team, Solar Kicks, designed a prototype case that used a solar panel attached to an iPhone case with a hinge — working in conjunction with piezoelectric crystals, the case will charge a phone while sitting with a user on a table or while she goes for a jog.

Team members, senior finance major Gregory Fitzgerald, junior mechanical engineering major Luke Capritti, junior electrical engineering major Eric Blow and senior accountancy major Steven Leming, were awarded $16,500 toward their business. The second-place team, Barber by Touch, received $9,000 and the third-place team, TCNJBudget, was awarded $4,500.

“I want to thank Professor Mayo for coming to me three years ago and saying, ‘Hey, why don’t we do this?’” Keep said of the competition.

This year, the competition awarded a total of $30,000 to finalists, $10,000 more than previous years. Money for the competition is donated by Herbert Mayo, a finance professor at the College, and by Eric Szabo, an alumnus from the class of 1997.

TCNJBudget’s presentation opened with a video of students in the C-store guessing how many points they had and then looking at their actual balance upon receiving a receipt. Most of the students’ guesses were off by a considerable amount.

The app and website designed by the students would not only display how many remaining meals a student has with Get-It Points, but would also provide graphs showing where points are spent and on what items.

The team, consisting of senior accounting major Howard Telson, senior finance major Steven Schrum, senior accounting major Alexander Pacione and senior English major Chad Berman, explained that the website will also help to teach students personal finance.

“Those points will quickly turn into bills,” the team members explained.

Barber by Touch closed out the competition. The team walked in to the cool sounds of jazz, waving and winking to one another as they sauntered their way to the front of the room.

“We believe that when you look good, you feel good,” sophomore biomedical engineering major Peter Okoh said in the opening of the team’s presentation.

Barber by Touch, to be opened in one of the Campus Town rentable spaces, would offer males cuts, shaves, manicures and pedicures. What was unique about the team’s plans for the shop, however, was that it would also be a social outing. The shop would have televisions for sports, a billiards table, magazines and an open layout to promote good conversation.

Barber by Touch was a team of three students. Okoh was joined by sophomore finance major Ashwin Tatikola and sophomore economics major Karthik Sunkesula.

When the final presentation came to a close, the judges left the room to deliberate and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the three presentations.

“This was the toughest year by far,” Szabo said. “Every idea is viable.”

The final deciding factor — beyond the details of each plan — was the passion each team showed. The judges felt that Solar Kick showed the most enthusiasm and dedication to their product.

“You won’t mind if you fail,” Szabo said. “But you are going to try and succeed like hell.”

Theorist talks US trust and transparency

By Jenna Rose 
Correspondent

Presenting his lecture “Trust vs. Transparency in Modern Democracy” to the College, famed communications theorist Michael Schudson filled the Education building on Thursday, April 10.

Schudson is an accomplished writer of multiple books and articles dealing with history and sociology of American news media, advertising, pop culture and cultural memory. He is currently a professor at Columbia University.

Schudson gave real-life examples depicting the non-existence of transparency in the United States during the 1960s.

“In 1960, in the dark ages, there was a land where both the press and the public were unable to learn how their representatives in the national legislature voted on,” Schudson said. “In this same land, 90 percent of doctors of patients who had cancer did not tell their patients … Cartons of milk were stamped with a ‘do not sell after’ date in a code so that store employees would know and so that the consumers would not.”

Other examples Schudson cited from the “dark ages” prior to transparency being a common practice include the lack of books written about women’s health by women for the intended purpose of educating women and the ability for lenders to hide information about loans from customers.

“There was no uniformity that would allow consumers to make comparisons,” Schudson said.

Schudson’s lecture expanded from there by discussing the rapid changes that America underwent in 15 years. He explained that by 1975, transparency increased dramatically.

Though he cited multiple factors, key individuals and businesses that catalyzed this shift to transparency, Schudson and other scholars are still trying to find the actual specific roots to these changes.

Giant, the supermarket conglomerate, was an example of a major player in the movement for transparency. The chain was one of the first supermarkets to partake in showing expiration dates and nutrition facts on their goods.

The speaker remarked that over time, journalists also came to show more distrust in government leaders, which also pushed for more transparency.

The discussion shifted from transparency to a talk focusing on trust. Schudson said that the American people have a great amount of trust in ordinary people in democracy to vote the correct people into office but a great amount of distrust for authority and individuals who hold elected positions.

Schudson explained that the intentions of the founding fathers were not for America to be a democracy. In his research, Schudson discovered that the Founding Fathers wanted the American people to never question their elected leaders and allow them to act in the way that they thought was best for the people.

Schudson elaborated on this topic by referencing the First Amendment, which states that “Congress shall make no law limiting the freedom of speech, press, assembly, or religion,” but explained that the Founding Fathers meant to grant these powers to the states to limit these rights instead.

Schudson himself was personable and generally regarded as a remarkable speaker.

“At major conferences, he’s a rock star — he fills rooms to (their) capacity,” said communication studies professor John Pollock, who spent the day with Schudson. “He was very humble and just as accessible interpersonally as he was in his presentation.”

According to Pollock, Schudson even joked that his best-selling book was his Harvard dissertation and that “it’s been downhill ever since.”

Pollock believes that the lecture was beneficial for students because it not only enlightened them on the issue of transparency, but also showed that individuals could truly make a difference and mentioned the importance of journalists in the shift for more transparency.

Students found the lecture to be enjoyable and valuable as well. Freshman Brooke Buonauro was surprised by much of the information presented to her.

“It seemed ridiculous to me that things like finding out which foods had the most calories or grams of sugar was not something that people had access to,” Buonauro said.

And so the question of trust and transparency has been sparked in a new generation.

Google reaches outerspace

• Google has been expanding into the sky, agreeing to buy Titan Aerospace, a small company specializing in the production of high-altitude drones. The drones are solar-powered and are expected to fly without stopping for several years. The drones will likely be used to bring Internet access to areas of the world without cell phone service or telephone wires, according to the Wall Street Journal.

• The Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Prosecuters are allegedly investigating Harbalife Ltd. The company is also currently in the midst of a civil investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. The commission looks into potential unfair or deceptive trade practices, according to the Wall Street Journal 

• Sarah Palin, former Governor of Alaska and Vice Presidential Candidate in 2008, is coming back on TV. She won’t be participating in political debates or interviews, however. She is launching a new reality series on the Sportsman Channel called “Amazing America,” featuring interesting adventures and tales taking place in the great outdoors, as she refers to it, according to the Wall Street Journal.

• Twitter currently has 974 registered accounts and while that’s a tremendous number of users, a new report shows that only 44 percent of those accounts have ever sent a tweet. The social media giant argued that one does not have to tweet to find twitter useful (they can just read others’ tweets), but Twitter’s ad revenue is largely driven by user participation via tweets, favorites and retweets, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

Earth Week events funded

The Art Students Association was fully funded for two requests during the Student Finance Board meeting on Wednesday, April 9.

SFB funds ASA  for two requests this past week. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

SFB funds ASA for two requests this past week. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

SFB allocated $233.50 to ASA for its Wearable Art Workshop.

“I like it a lot and I think it’s cool,” programming director Brian Green said. “(ASA’s president Sophie Kay) always does a good job with all of her events,” Green said.

The event will allow students to paint tote bags and T-shirts and is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, April 30, at 12 p.m. in AIMM 125.

It was also allocated $100 to pay for the fee to use the wall oustide of the Brower Student Center for its previously funded event, Street Art Workshop, on May 5.

Following, Water Watch also presented to SFB for its Earth Week events that will take place during the week of Monday, April 21, and will be co-hosted by the Bonner Center.

“I think it’s a great week-long event and really advocates for what they want to acheive,” assistant Student Government representative Hajar Lakhouili said.

The week will have different themed days every week that are planned to include Monday’s “flower sale,” Tuesday’s Earth Day, Wednesday’s “Water Day,” Thursday’s “Green-Consumption Day” and Friday’s “Clean Up Day.”

The board was unanimous in its decision to fully fund the request for $120 to fund a reusable bag giveaway, water bottles for a water taste test, organic chocolate strawberries for “Green-Consumption Day” and a banner for advertising.

The event will be co-sponsored by Student Chemists’ Association, Alpha Kappa Delta, Beta Beta Beta, Alpha Phi Omega and Sigma Kappa.

*Even though SFB agrees to finance certain events, there is no guarantee these events will take place. The approval only makes the funds available.

Skateistan assists to empower youth

By Carly Choffo
Correspondent

Last Wednesday, April 9, many students gathered in the Library Auditorium for the presentation “Skateistan: Using Skateboarding to Empower the Youth of Afghanistan,” which displayed skateboarding as a platform for learning in Afghanistan.

The lecture was presented by Benafsha Tasmim as part of the College’s “Art Amongst War: Visual Culture in Afghanistan.”

“It’s been extraordinary,” history professor Jo-Ann Gross said as she introduced Benafsha Tasmim. “I’ve learned so much.”

Tasmim gave a presentation of video representations and slideshows displaying the life of the skateboarders at Afghanistan’s first skateboarding facility: Skateistan.

Skateistan, founded in 2007, aims to provide education for youth, foster relationships and communication amongst kids in Kabul, and build confidence in kids and give a voice to both boys and girls living amongst war in Afghanistan.

Skateistan is essentially a school. Skateboarding lessons are what keep the children coming to the facility, but the main goal is to educate them with an art-based curriculum.

Skateistan’s mission, as told by Tasmim, is to use skateboarding “(as a) tool for empowering youth, to create new opportunities and the potential for change.”

Every day, 400 students — 50 percent former street workers — attend Skateistan. Of these students, 40 percent are girls. Thus, Skateistan is currently the largest female sport facility in Afghanistan, Tasmim said.

When creating Skateistan, founder Oliver Percovich realized that even if they’re taught at a young age, girls stop skateboarding at a certain age because it’s socially unaccepted in Afghanistan, Tasmim said. So, he created Skateistan, a gender-neutral place where girls can learn to skateboard because they like it.

Every year since 2009, the children of Skateistan showcase what they learn during an event they have created called “Go Skateboarding Day.”

Besides skateboarding, Skateistan aims to build community, education and leadership through their art-based curriculum, Tasmim said.

“We have very different students, but art is something everyone can do,” Tasmim said.

Skateistan believes that art is the best way for these children to express themselves and to bridge gaps between students of different education levels.

Skateistan also has a “back-to-school” program for street-working kids. This is a 12-month program that teaches kids three grades of school in one year so they can attend school with their age group.

One of Skateistan’s other extraordinary programs is the Children’s Shura, which is a mock council meeting where children are allowed to discuss and propose solutions to their daily problems.

Skateistan is not just skateboarding. Skateistan fosters positive growth for the youth of Afghanistan because the youth is the future of their country, Tasmim said.

College contaminated by chemical spill, one student transported

Emergency vehicles and Hazmat teams arrive at the Library and Eickhoff Hall. (Photo courtesy of Summer Nest)

A female College student was exposed to dangerous chemicals on Friday, April 11, at about 1:10 p.m. while working in a Science Complex research lab. As a result of the accompanying chemical spill, the buildings were evacuated while emergency services responded.

According to the College’s Emergency Alert system, the student had come into contact with benzyl bromide, a colorless liquid that can cause irritation of the eyes, skin and mucus membranes. It has also been used militantly in weapons such as tear gas.

The student immediately rushed from the Science Complex to the Library and then into Eickhoff Hall where Health Services is located. Consequently, all three areas were quarantined by Campus Police and the environmental health and safety department, according to the media alert.

On arrival, the student told health officials of a strong odor and a “strong tingling feeling in her arm,” according to David Muha, vice president of Communication, Marketing and Brand Management.

A small brigade of police units, ambulances, helicopters and fire engines — courtesy of the Ewing Fire Department — were quick to the scene. All students inside the Science Complex evacuated the building at approximately the same time as the spill was reported and were told to remain around the fountain until further cleanup procedures had taken place.

According to sophomore biology major Lauren McKay, firemen alerted students that they might be quarantined outside from anywhere between 30 minutes and two to four hours.

Several students also reported to have received pictures from the female student of her condition, confirming their suspicions.

At 1:29 p.m., Hazmat teams successfully cleared the Library and Eickhoff Hall of any contamination, according to the media alert. Twenty minutes later, the Science Complex was declared safe as well, with students permitted to re-enter not long after.

Though her current condition remains unclear, the female student was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton, Muha said.