Category Archives: News

News happenings at The College of New Jersey

Fair admits HS students to historically black colleges

By Mylin Batipps
News Assistant

Students from almost a hundred high schools in New Jersey accepted scholarships and were admitted on-site to institutions during the Iota Gamma Chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity’s 10th annual Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Fair.

Representatives from 40 different historically black institutions attended the fair, which was held on Sunday, Nov. 16, in the Brower Student Center. The College’s Iota Gamma Chapter partnered with several organizations to plan the fair, including the New Jersey Department of Education, Wells Fargo and PNC.

“Over 500 students benefitted from the fair,” said Edward Bannister-Holmes, communications studies major and president of the Iota Gamma Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Admissions were determined by the students’ transcripts and test scores they brought to the fair.

For 10 years, the College’s chapter incorporated two of its four cardinal principles to the planning and implementation of the HBCU Fair: “Scholarship” and “Uplift.” The Iota Gamma Chapter has aimed to spread advocacy for education, in addition to helping students achieve education by presenting opportunities for aid and admission.

Virginia State University awarded $112,000, $40,000 and $20,000 scholarships to high school students during the fair, according to Angela Diggs, senior counselor of recruiting for the university. Representatives of the university also admitted some students on-site.

“We really just wanted to spread the word about what we have to offer from each individual institution,” Diggs said.

Jaré Amolé, a representative from Tuskegee University in Alabama, said that the College is just one of many colleges and universities that he and representatives of different institutions attend.

“We travel between New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania,” Amolé said. We recruit about a little over 15,000 students to attend historically black colleges and universities from all over the country. It’s a great opportunity for kids to get a look at schools that they may never have the opportunity to go to or may have no interest or even knowing about.”

Parents accompanied the students to the fair and benefitted almost equally from the experience, according to Bannister-Holmes.

“It was such an honor to hear pleased parents talk about how much they’ve learned about the college entry process, hear students discuss which colleges and universities that are their top choices, and hear recruiters happily educating so many people about their schools,” he said.

After around a million dollars being awarded to students, one could say the 10th annual HBCU fair was a success. The Omega Psi Phi looks to continue the tradition for as long as it can.

“At the end of the day, we just want to give students and parents valuable learning tools that are crucial for scholars seeking post-secondary education,” Bannister-Holmes said. “We are greatly looking forward to next year.”

Students debate topics in biannual ‘War of the Words’

By Ellie Schuckman
News Assistant

Sisko moderates the comical yet heated debates at the fifth biannual ‘War of the Words.’ (Kyle Bennion / Photo Editor)
Sisko moderates the comical yet heated debates at the fifth biannual ‘War of the Words.’ (Kyle Bennion / Photo Editor)

There were several fierce debates between the College’s Society for Parliamentary Debate and members of the Philosophy Society at the fifth biannual “War of the Words.” There were some serious topics, but most debates centered on funny topics, including the highly anticipated kittens vs. mittens.

The event, which took place in the Social Science Atrium on Monday, Nov. 10, saw heated arguments in favor and opposed to topics such as pride vs. humility, atoms vs. void and talent vs. effort.

“It is better in such a debate setting and in such a confined time-frame to debate something silly, because you don’t need to actually go in-depth, you just throw out a few reasons on both sides, then see who can rebut them better,” said Joey Worthington, a sophomore history major who argued in favor of mittens. “You are given the opportunity to just have some fun, make some jokes and try to win the audience.”

Following the debates, winners for the best arguments were announced, each of whom received a $25 gift card. Participants had two minutes each to discuss a view initially and then make a new argument after the other had spoken. Of the invited speakers, junior history and philosophy double major Steven Rodriguez and Worthington took the top crowns, while junior history and classical studies double major Zachary Bradley Elliott, junior philosophy major Kimberly Feldman, sophomore chemistry major Marc Casale and junior biology major Mitch Vaughn won from the floor.

“(The topics) were very interesting,” Vaughn said. “It is a challenge picking two things barely related and comparing them.”

The topics were contrived by both the debate and philosophy societies and ultimately selected by John Sisko, professor of philosophy, religion and classical studies and the moderator and judge of the debates.

In the two and a half years that the debates have taken place, the setting has always been more relaxed, with the “look of a pop-up event,” thus encouraging more individuals and those simply passing by to partake in the discussions, Sisko said.

“It’s about placing important emphasis on oral skills,” he said. 

In the talent vs. effort debate, questions arose on whether the two can exist without each other, with the debaters questioning the legitimacy of what the other had to say.

“It is hard to really justify why talent or effort, humility or pride, or atoms or void is more important, since they require the other to be useful at all,” Worthington said. “Neither of those is particularly useful on their own, so it becomes difficult to really have a good argument to justify one of them being better than the other.”

The event had about 60 students in attendance, according to Sisko.

Pokémon and robots are coming to campus

By Sydney Shaw
Opinions Editor

The College now has more opportunities to host tournaments on campus, whether it be one robot pitted against another or Kirby vs. Charizard in a match of “Super Smash Bros.,” as the Robotics Club and Competitive Gaming Club were officially recognized by Student Government at the general body meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 5.

The Robotics Club, headed by Dean of Engineering Steven Schreiner, aims to help students develop skills in engineering by teaching them to build and program robots.

Schreiner has already provided a few Nao (pronounced “now”) robots for the club. Nao is a humanoid robot about two feet tall, developed by the French company Aldebaran Robotics.

“They can talk and interact with each other,” junior Robotics Club president Sarah Dresher said.

Dresher explained that the club plans to engage the College community by having talking robots at different events around campus.

“We want to have the Nao robots at Accepted Students Day,” Dresher said. “We can program them to give prospective students a tour of Armstrong Hall, for example.”

If designing tour-giving robots sounds like an overwhelming project, have no fear: The club hosts special workshop meetings to inform students who might not be so savvy regarding microprocessors, IR sensors — which measure distance — and other information necessary to construct and use their own robots.

“There are firefighting robot competitions where robots are programmed to find a candle in a maze and extinguish it,” Dresher said. “In the robo-waiter competition, the robot has to deliver a tray of food.”

The club has competed in the Micromouse Competition before, during which small robot mice solve a 16 square- inch maze.

Governmental Affairs found no weaknesses with Robotics Club and voted unanimously in favor.

Competitive Gaming Club serves to create a community of passionate gamers to participate in “League of Legends,” “Super Smash Bros.,” “Starcraft” and other tournaments.

President Mitch Vaughn plans to analyze and teach game strategy during club meetings. “We want to provide gamers the opportunity to test their skill against their friends and other students at tournaments,” he said. “‘Super Smash Bros.’ is incredibly popular on campus right now.”

Vaughn wants to add Pokémon to the list of tournaments once the club is up and running.

Competitive Gaming Club did not seek out club status to obtain Student Finance Board funding, but wants to use its new recognition to book rooms for meetings and tournaments and to advertise with flyers around campus.

Governmental Affairs voted all in favor with one abstention.

Later in the meeting, Vice President Mike Chiumento announced that Dean of Recreation Rob Simels will be speaking next week about the recreation organization. On Tuesday, Nov. 18, Simels is hosting a Wellness event at 6:30 p.m. in Roscoe 201, at which people will be sharing personal stories and connecting with others.

Vice President of Equity and Diversity Javier Nicasio announced that PRISM’s World AIDS Day Vigil will be held on Monday, Dec. 1. First held in 1988, World AIDS Day is an opportunity for individuals worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for those living with the virus and to remember the more than 3.5 million people who have died from the disease.

Urine big trouble if you keep your door open

By Peter Fiorilla
News Editor

• Campus Police were dispatched to the third floor of Travers Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 3:50 a.m., in response to a report of an intoxicated student. They found a student seated on the floor by the elevators being attended to by Lions EMS. The student said he consumed various kinds of alcohol earlier in the evening, according to Campus Police, and that while looking for a friend in Travers Hall, he had accidentally walked into another room. The room’s residents told Campus Police they had left their door unlocked when they went to sleep and were awoken by the sound of the door opening. One of the residents said the intoxicated student “entered the room, sat on her desk chair and began urinating on the chair and floor.” Both residents told the student to leave, and he told them to “go back to sleep.” The intoxicated student was charged with consumption of alcohol in a public place.

• A student met with Campus Police on Monday, Nov. 10, at 2:45 p.m., to file a report on a forged check. The student said a check from the College, issued in Sept. 2013 for about $4,000 had been forged and cashed without his authorization, and he had not reported it stolen since. Campus Police are conducting an ongoing investigation.

  A student told Campus Police on Monday, Nov. 10, that $40 had been stolen from his wallet on Friday, Oct. 31, at around 5 p.m. When the student left his room to use the bathroom, his wallet —  which he left on a desk — contained $42 as well as a $10 Canadian bill. When the student returned, he said $40 was missing. The victim does not wish to file criminal charges and has been advised to contact Ewing Court if he wishes to file at a later date.

Breaking down the midterm election results

By Annabel Lau
Web Editor

Republicans have won big in this year’s midterm elections, but it’s not as surprising as many pundits contest, according to political science professor Daniel Bowen. Bowen delivered a timely lecture, “The 2014 Midterm Elections: What Happened, Why, and Where Do We Go From Here?” on Tuesday, Nov. 11, as the final installment of the Political Science Department’s semester-long politics forum.

“It’s very likely that the GOP will control more seats in the House in any time since Hoover was president,” Bowen said. “What this means is the Republicans control more House seats than nearly any time in American politics.”

In addition, the Republicans have won many seats in the Senate as well as state legislatures.

“The states are where the action is,” Bowen said. “The GOP picked up 11 legislative chambers, and what this means is that they have unified control of 23 state governments when you add in the states that were able to flip the governor’s office.”

This might pose a challenge for Democrats in state governments, Bowen said.

“Democratic-controlled states dropped down to seven,” Bowen said. “Now the Democrats don’t have the ability to really push policy. They’ll have a few states where they can, but in many of the large states where they would be traditionally looking for policy innovation … they’re not going to be able to do that.”

The GOP now controls approximately 4,100 of the nearly 7,400 state legislative seats — “the greatest number of seats that Republicans have controlled in a state legislature since 1920,” according to Bowen.

But despite the major Republican gains this year, the results are neither surprising nor concerning, Bowen said, who identifies as a moderate.

“These historic numbers (aren’t really surprising) because Republicans had just an amazing year,” Bowen said. “It’s really about consolidating gains over the last couple of years. They did really well in 2010. They didn’t lose that much in 2012.”

He also attributes the election results to two well-known theories in political science: referendum voting and “surge and decline.”

Explaining the theory of referendum voting, Bowen said that “if times are good and people like the president, then his or her party will do better in midterm elections.”

“The president’s party in Congress sees a surge during election years, because the president, in order to run a national campaign, needs to get this big, broad coalition together that has high mobilization efforts,” Bowen said. “(The president has) an advantage in the presidential year and then (has) a disadvantage in the following midterm election.”

Despite the GOP’s big wins this year, Bowen doesn’t believe there will be major changes to federal policy.

“Republicans aren’t going to be able to pass any substantive policy to the Senate without a large number of Democrats helping them,” Bowen said.

And regardless of what is portrayed by the media, Bowen is not shocked by the results.

“I think this is a boring midterm election where the president’s party loses seats,” Bowen said. “They lose seats because of the reasons why the presidential party always loses seats in the midterm election. They don’t have the mobilization effect of the president on the ballot and the strength of the economy and the presidential approval, (which) weighs down those congressional Democrats, in this case.”

Junior international studies major Nick Macri appreciated Bowen’s balanced explanation of the election results.

“You hear a lot of things in the news about how it was a landslide and (about) low voter turnout,” Macri said. “You hear a lot of stereotypes and media panic. Usually there’s not a lot of basis to it, so it’s cool to see what really happened.”

Although the Republican victory was no surprise to senior international studies major Theja Varre, she still questioned the implications of the election results.

“Even though (Bowen) said that the results from this past election aren’t surprising, there’s something unnerving about the fact that the last time something like this happened was around the Great Depression,” Varre said.

Still, Bowen thinks it was a victory that was waiting to happen, so the results should come as no surprise.

Getting politically active while in college

By Gabrielle Beacken
News Assistant

Young Democratic leaders of New Jersey gathered together to form a discussion panel for the event “Forging the Future: Stories of Success from New Jersey’s Young Democratic Leaders” on Wednesday, Nov. 12, to discuss the critical participation of young people in politics. The event was hosted by the College Democrats and College Democrats of New Jersey.

“Political engagement is at the core of building a better future,” said Sam Fogelgaren, junior history and urban studies double major and president of TCNJ College Democrats. “College occupies a unique period of time in our lives in which we are strongly encouraged to constantly question, develop and learn.”

The moderator, Jeannine LaRue, introduced the panel, including Daniel R. Benson, Tennille McCoy, Milly Silva, Chris James and Vin Gopal.

“I really wanted to be the change I talked about,” said LaRue, reminiscing about the beginning of her long political career. The purpose of the event was to teach young students how to get involved in politics to create the type “of change that you want to see,” LaRue said.

LaRue’s long political resume includes serving as deputy chief of staff for former New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine.

“There are so many areas … where you can make change,” LaRue said. “There are so many things, so many options.” LaRue stressed that running for political office is simply one path to generating change. 

“At the end of the day, I want to do something, not just be something,” New Jersey District fourteen Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson said.

Benson, former member of Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders and Hamilton Township Council, depicted the inception of his political career as knocking on doors and making phone calls.

“You see a campaign you don’t like? Speak up,” Benson said. Benson emphasized that calling citizens on the phone for hours a day is extremely significant, as “you are asking people to make an investment in you.”

“Putting in the time and getting rejected — it’s just part of the business,” Benson said. “It’s getting through it.”

Tennille McCoy, who has worked under four governors, agreed with Benson.

“It’s not something easily done,” McCoy said. “But at the end of the day, I agree with the sentiment.”

McCoy has learned that “it’s really about knowing the opportunity and what you’re able to do.”

If someone asked Milly Silva if she would run for public office a year ago, she would’ve responded with a clear “no.” However, now she says, “never say never.”

Barbara Buono chose Silva as the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor in the 2013 New Jersey Governor election.

“Each and every one of us has an opportunity to identify that space where we can come together,” Silva said. “You have to feel passionate about something — you can’t fake it.”

After over 20 years of experience building various organizations, Silva has interacted with a wide variety of people who wish to make New Jersey a better place to live.

“You connect with people from where they stand, not where you think they stand,” Silva said. “Whatever you do, take advantage of what you’re going to learn from it.”

Chris James, executive director of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, suggested that students look into the issues in their area, find what interests them and then reach out to their legislators.

Growing up in politics, James initiated his interests by volunteering, which he suggested students to do the same.

“If you don’t try and are not willing to take a little bit of risk — you won’t get a lot of reward,” said Vin Gopal, chairman of Monmouth County Democrats and co-owner of My Community Publications.

Panels, like this one, offering advice to students interested in politics is a great networking opportunity, Gopal said.

The panel, as a whole, expressed that connecting and interacting with the community is a central step in the process of change.

“At the end of the day we’re all people, and we’re all looking for similar things: access to opportunities, kind treatment by others and a sense of purpose,” said Fogelgaren, who has been involved in several Trenton political campaigns such as that of current Mayor Eric Jackson and Congresswoman-elect Bonnie Watson-Coleman. “I believe community involvement is the key to a better future because it is our best fight against ignorance.”

“I learned that you should start young, regardless of experience or major,” junior marketing major Missy Bove said. “Start young if you want to make a change.”

Many students studying political science who wish to enter the political arena found the panel helpful, according to sophomore international studies major and College Democrats secretary Ambica Avancha.

“Also, the panelists were really cool and inspiring,” she said.

Fogelgaren encouraged students to become involved in the Trenton political community and disregard their preconceived notions of the state capital. According to Fogelgaren, there are numerous organizations that produce good work that are understaffed are in need of help.

“The idea behind the panel is: let’s get college students to hear the voices of passionate young leaders, so that this experience and the information presented can question their beliefs,” Fogelgaren said. “But that’s just the beginning.”

Empowering women to break into top leadership roles

By Courtney Wirths
Features Editor

Rezvani advises to take big risks as a student because now is the time when you have nothing to lose. (Courtney Wirths / Features Editor)
Rezvani advises to take big risks as a student because now is the time when you have nothing to lose. (Courtney Wirths / Features Editor)

The evening’s keynote speaker was Selena Rezvani, leadership consultant, speaker and author of the award winning book, “Pushback: How Smart Women Ask — and Stand Up — for What They Want.”

Rezvani spoke to a room of primarily female students about negotiating, taking risks and making a good impression.

“Women negotiate four times less often than men,” Rezvani said in her introduction, noting certain differences in employment strategies between males and females. “You’re sitting in the dugout watching everyone else play, (but this) is not improving your game.”

In light of this, Rezvani offered the career advice she wishes she had known herself. She said that some of the greatest successes come from the big risks women can take as students, a period when they’re young and with nothing to lose.

Rezvani, although now a successful leadership mentor, initially went to school for social work.

“I love to empower people,” she said.

Once she began volunteering, Rezvani found it difficult to find an area that fit her best. Ideally, she wished she could use her skills for enabling people in the work place.

“I finally stopped trying to make it work,” Rezvani said, steering herself away from social work altogether.

Instead, she found herself taking a position in management consulting. In this position, she was able to empower workers – especially women – and encourage them to reach for the positions and goals they really wanted.

“I used to think success was getting from A to B quickly, that it was linear,” Rezvani said. However, it was only after interviewing female leaders for an independent study in her MBA program at John Hopkins University that Rezvani learned her true passion: helping women move themselves into leadership roles and taking ownership of their paths.

According to a study conducted by Hewlett Packard, men will apply to a position when they have only 60 percent of the necessary skills for the job whereas women will only apply if they have 100 percent of the skills.

“Here’s a challenge,” Rezvani said to students. “Think of four brand attributes that you’d want to have – that you’d want someone to use to describe you.”

She explained that everyone has a leadership brand, described as the way individuals chose to communicate and lead others.

Students came up with adjectives such as determined, dependable, innovative and tenacious.

“One of my most important revelations was that I could be assertive and kind or nice,” Rezvani said.

She explained to students that potential employees should communicate in a way that conveys who they are both expressively and professionally.

“The workplace is becoming increasingly casual,” Rezvani said. “Resist being that casual. I want you to err on the side on formality.”

In addition to speaking to a room full of alumni and female professionals, Rezvani also took an hour to speak with students and answer questions about the art of negotiation.

“We’re aiming to help propel women into top leadership roles,” said Mary Lynn Hopps, professor at the College and director of the Women in Learning and Leadership (W.I.L.L.) Program. W.I.L.L. was also a cosponsor to Wednesday’s event.

When asked by a student how to know when one is speaking up too much, she told students, “I wish it was simple – that I could give you a formula.” She proceeded to ask the audience to consider the environment in which they are working.

“How do people debate? How do people spar?” she said. “Be savvy about the culture – the unspoken rules.”

She told students that 67 percent of businesses listed confidence and decisiveness as the most valued quality in an employee; 28 percent listed sharp speaking skills and the ability to be articulate; and 5 percent listed appearance.

Though only 5 percent of companies surveyed listed appearance as the most important quality, Rezvani stressed the truth behind the expression, “dress for the job you want, not that job you have.”

“I’m making it so you don’t have to use your imagination to see me in that next role,” she said of dressing for success in the workplace.

Finding your dream career, however, is a process of trial and error, according to Rezvani. She advised students to try to expose themselves to a few industries that excite them and ask themselves where they have inkling to learn more.

“My regrets,” she said, “are whenever I told myself ‘you can’t.’”

Rezvani closed the discussion by telling the women of the room to vocalize their interests and be ready to put themselves out there.

“My hope for all of you is that you be bold,” Rezvani said.

‘I, Too, Am TCNJ’ site garners over 2,000 views

By Sydney Shaw
Opinions Editor

Highlighting the experiences and characteristics that make each student at the College different, Vice President of Equity and Diversity Javier Nicasio discussed the launch and success of the “I, Too, Am TCNJ” campaign at the Student Government general body meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 5.

“We give every student on campus a voice,” Nicasio said. “We believe that everyone has something important to say, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality or religious affiliations. Everyone is a valuable member of the TCNJ community.”

The photos from the campaign were shared via social media. According to Nicasio, the sites garnered over 2,000 views and over 400 likes and comments.

“The pictures are used to showcase how, as a society, we label individuals,” he said. “The purpose of the campaign is to put an end to stereotypes.”

Besides online, the photos were presented on a display in the library and along the path from the Brower Student Center to the Science Complex.

Nicasio also encouraged students to attend a Union Latina event on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at 8 p.m. in Kendall Hall.

“The event expresses the evolution of Latin dance,” Nicasio explained. “The show is called ‘Roots’ and it is the first season of Salsafied.”

Performers in “Roots” have showcased their abilities on shows such as “America’s Got Talent” and “Ellen.”

Tickets are free for students from the College, and non-College students can purchase a ticket for $5.

Student Government also officially recognized STAND, a club which looks to raise money and awareness for muscular dystrophy and other muscular illnesses. Next week, two new clubs, “Robotics” and “Competitive Gaming,” will be making an appearance in front of the general body to seek recognition.

In late September, Vice President of Governmental Affairs Jess Glynn announced that all clubs must submit forms detailing their charter lists, constitutions and more.

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

Glynn explained at the meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 5, that if a club fails to submit forms, it may be derecognized by the College.

Later, Vice President of Administration and Finance Kyle Holland announced a Chipotle fundraiser. The event will take place on Monday, Nov. 24, from 2 p.m. through 6 p.m, and 15 percent of the proceeds will go to Student Government.

Vice President of Student Services Navid Radfar told members that “TCNJam” will be held at the end of January. “TCNJam,” comparable to Penn State’s “Thon,” is a dance-a-thon to support the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation. The organization funds pediatric cancer research and provides emotional and financial support to families of children with cancer. It aims to get people to, “Live Like Andrew,” meaning that you set goals, strive to be your best, show affection and be comfortable with yourself.

Radfar also announced that the TCNJam 5K will be held on Sunday, Nov. 23, around the loop. There will also be a “fun walk” earlier in the day for those who prefer not to run but would still like to contribute to the cause. Registration starts at 9 a.m., the walk begins at 10:30 a.m. and the race itself is at 11 a.m. Runners and walkers will receive a free T-shirt.

Before adjournment, the class councils announced several new fundraising initiatives. The junior class announced that they will be having a can drive. Participation will be entered into a drawing for a $20 gift card.

Sophomore class council president Robert Kinloch announced that the sophomore class is still selling tickets for the Semi Formal.

“We’d like to see more tickets sold,” Kinloch said.

The freshman class council will soon be selling “Class of 2018” stickers, as well, printed with the College’s athletic logo.

Student found cracking up at Homecoming

By Peter Fiorilla
News Editor

At the height of Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 25, at 1:45 p.m., Campus Police approached a male student suspected of underage drinking in Lot 4. The student scuffled with officers and attempted to run away, according to Campus Police, who then placed him under arrest and found cocaine in his possession. The student was transported to Mercer County Jail and was charged with two counts of aggravated assault in the third degree, two counts of resisting arrest in the third degree, one count of possession of a CDS in the third degree, one count of possession of a CDS in a 1,000-foot range of a school in the third degree and one count of criminal simulation of a driver’s license in the fourth degree, according to Campus Police.

There were nine other Homecoming-related police incidents last weekend, all of which involved underage consumption of alcohol in a public place, according to Campus Police. In one case, an underage student in Lot 4 was caught sharing a beer with a friend while he was coloring his white wristband — indicating he was underage — with a black permanent marker. Five other students wearing white wristbands were caught drinking by Campus Police, and there were eight transports total.

On Sunday, Oct. 26, at 1:20 a.m., an officer was notified by a College employee that someone was lying on the grass next to the Brower Student Center. The officer investigated and found a disoriented student, who was unaware of where he was. When asked by Campus Police where he was, the student replied, “I’m at the castle,” and admitted he had taken “party drugs.” The student had the smell of alcohol on his breath and was uncooperative, according to Campus Police, who told him to stay seated while Lions EMS evaluated him. EMS found that he needed further medical treatment, and the student was transported to Capital Health System – Hopewell.

On Monday, Oct. 27, Campus Police were alerted a Macbook Pro laptop and its dock — which were valued at $500 by the victim — had been stolen from an office in Bliss Hall sometime between 7:40 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 23, and 12:20 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 27.

A student reported that his longboard, valued at $195.99, was stolen in Roscoe West Hall sometime between 1:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m on Friday, Oct. 24. The student told Campus Police that he had been studying in the building and forgot his longboard when he left the building. The longboard was described by the victim as having “orange wheels, tan in color, with the ocean painted underneath bearing the name ‘Sector 9.’”

A student eating at The Atrium in Eickhoff lost more than her lunch money at Sunday, Oct. 26 at 6 p.m., when she reported to Campus Police that her wallet had been stolen. The $35 dollar Vera Bradley wallet had a “white/black paisley design” and contained a Barnes & Noble gift card valued at $25, a dorm key and the key to a public restroom.

Crowdfunding aids freshman

By Peter Fiorilla
News Editor

At this time last year, freshman Andrea Rosario had no inkling of what her future held. Then in her senior year of high school, Rosario had the grades as well as the ambition to attend college, but she was in a singularly unusual position: As one of New Jersey’s undocumented residents, Rosario would have needed to pay an impractically high out-of-state premium for a local higher education.

“I always knew I wanted to go to college, I just didn’t know how,” Rosario said. “And I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer and study law from a very young age, I just didn’t know how I was going to get there.”

But the stars aligned when the New Jersey DREAM Act was signed into law on Dec. 19, 2013, allowing undocumented students to attend college at an in-state rate and opening a window of opportunity for Rosario — an aspiring lawyer with a double major in history and political science, as well as minors in women’s and gender studies and pre-law — to attend the College.

“And so when the law was passed — Chris Christie signed it last year — I was in tears. I kneeled down and said ‘thank you’ to God, and I was just like, ‘wow,’” Rosario said. “I wasn’t prepared to come to college. Prior to that being passed, I didn’t think I was going to college. I said I’m going to wait until I get my residency because I can’t afford this.”

Rosario’s dream became a reality

this fall, as she became the first member of her Dominican family — which immigrated to the U.S. from Spain — to attend college. But pulling together tuition funds became unsustainably draining for Rosario and her family, emotionally and financially.

Even with the in-state rate factoring into the equation, the cost of college for undocumented residents is abnormally high. Rosario is unable to apply for any financial aid from the College, such as scholarships or loans, and she found herself spending too much time trying to figure out how to stay in school.

“It affected me academically, it affected me as far as the courses and grades — I had missed a lot of days of classes just because I was in meetings, speaking to people and trying to figure out a way of staying here,” Rosario said. “So my attention, at a time, was not in school.”

Whether schools should offer financial aid to undocumented students is a legitimate question, but not one the College is able to answer because of factors outside of its control.

“The College’s hands are tied when it comes to providing student aid to undocumented students,” said David Muha, associate vice president for Communications, Marketing and Brand Management. “Eligibility for state and federal grant and loan programs is set by the state and federal governments and applies to students at all colleges and universities, not just TCNJ.”

For Rosario, trying to juggle a collegiate course load, hold down a part-time job on campus and devise financial strategies proved to be too much. The 17-year-old needed a Plan B as her situation became more dire.

Then, a College adviser working with Rosario came to her with an outside-the-box idea: She should tell people her story and start a fundraiser for tuition funds on, a popular crowdfunding website.

“I never really thought of creating one, and then one of the advisers here — his name is Mr. (Jamal) Johnson — he told me ‘you should start a ‘gofundme’ to help pay for your tuition,’” Rosario said. “So I put my story there. I had my high school teacher edit it and I had my professor here edit it, also. When I thought it was ready, I published it.”

The fundraiser blew expectations away within weeks, humbling Rosario. On the back of an anonymous $1,000 donation and contributions from her peers at the College, Rosario has been able to raise $2,589 and avoid taking a leave of absence for the semester.

“The support I’ve gotten here is insane. I’m a freshman. It’s my first semester. I’ve only known some of these people for half a semester — September, October — and just the amount of support is insane, from CAs, from freshmen, from upperclassmen, from advisors,” Rosario said. “Everyone was so supportive and just trying to brainstorm and help me, so just the amount of assistance and support I’ve gotten here is what’s keeping me going.”

One other undocumented student anonymously reached out to Rosario after starting the fundraiser, proof that she’s not alone at the College. Now, Rosario hopes that future students in similar circumstances won’t have to go through what she did — and that financial aid, whether it be in the form of grants, loans or scholarships, is as accessible to undocumented students as it is to everyone else.

“I’m looking for some change, to start it locally and then broaden it out,” said Rosario, who has been contacted by coalitions like the New Jersey DREAM Act to share her story. “I’m just hoping that things change, and I want to become an advocate.”

WILL members will learn about Nicaraguan culture. (Photo courtesy of Meagan Loo)

Students raise money to walk with people of Nicaragua

By Jennifer Goetz

WILL members will learn about Nicaraguan culture. (Photo courtesy of Meagan Loo)
WILL members will learn about Nicaraguan culture. (Photo courtesy of Meagan Loo)

The Nicaraguan Solidarity Project will be taking place this summer, and fundraising has already begun. This trip is an opportunity for the College’s Women in Learning and Leadership (WILL) students to walk with the people of Nicaragua, especially the marginalized, and learn about their ways of living. The group that will be going this year is preparing to organize several fundraisers to support the trip. Ideas being tossed around consist of either selling chocolates or conduting a lollipop sale.

Other fundraising ideas that the group has to reach the needed $2,000 include canning at local stores and selling T-shirts, jewelry, koozies and calendars.

The trip to Nicaragua is scheduled to take place this summer over 10 days and is run every two years. It is completely student-funded, and participants must start fundraising now. Students will get hands-on experience and will be exposed to an entirely different culture.

According to the trip’s two leaders, junior Spanish major Katie Yorke and junior English and women’s and gender studies double major Jennie Sekanics, there have been three similar trips trips in the past few years. In ’07, the WILL women went to El Salvador and in ’09 and ’11, the trips were to Nicaragua, according to WILL’s website.

Eleven people are planning to attend, with the maximum number of women who can go being 12.

Leading up to te trip, the group holds weekly meetings to discuss fundraising, as well as Nicaraguan history and to learn Spanish.

The Nicaraguan Solidarity project gives these students the opportunity to “live and learn,” according to Yorke.

“We will spend time in the capital and stay with families,” she said. “(Seeing life in Nicaragua) will open our eyes to the non-American way of living.”

The trip will probably be taking place during the beginning of June and will last 10 days.

According to Sekanics, students are not supposed to simply give their own money for this trip — part of the project is working together to fundraise the money. All the hard work is aimed at the chance to help the women experience a new culture and walk with the country’s people this upcoming summer.

Lions secure top seed in NJAC

The field hockey seniors are honored during their last home regular season game. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)
The field hockey seniors are honored during their last home regular season game. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

The Lions field hockey team was successful this weekend in getting the number one seed in the NJAC tournament, securing home field advantage for future games.

The team faced Rowan University in Glassboro on Saturday, Nov. 1, against a team that was also undefeated in conference play. The Lions knew that they would face a challenge and that they would be going up a team with their same goals.

The College was able to get on the board in the first half off sophomore Lexi Smith’s eighth goal of the season coming off a shot from the right side of the cage that landed in the left corner of the net.

After Smith’s goal, five minutes into the game, both teams were scoreless until 15 minutes to go in the match, when senior Lindsey Hatch punched in her conference-leading 27th goal of the year.

Sophomore Jaclyn Douglas and fellow senior Erin Healy, usual members of the scoring crew for the Lions, were able to get a shot on goal apiece, as well, but were unfortunately unable to connect.

Sophomore goalie Kelly Schlupp was able to record her second shutout of the season behind a very strong defensive effort by the Lions, only allowing one shot on goal.

The top-seed Lions will now look to hit the ground running against the Kean University Cougars on Wednesday, Nov. 5, at Lions Stadium. The Cougars went 3-3 in conference play this season.

Coexist campaign to spread religious tolerance

By Sydney Shaw
Opinions Editor

After a week of field games, animated performances and an overwhelming display of school spirit, Student Government reflected on the success of this year’s Homecoming at the general body meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 29.

“I just want to thank everyone who came out and participated in any of the events,” Student Trustee Ryan Boyne said. He was elected Homecoming King at halftime during the football game on Saturday, Oct. 25.

Regarding the Homecoming Spirit Week T-shirt swap, at least 350 T-shirts were collected to donate to Goodwill. On Wednesday, Oct. 22, students traded in old high school T-shirts or other college T-shirts for brand new Homecoming 2014 shirts.

“We absolutely murdered it,” Vice President of Student Services Navid Radfar said of the event. Radfar organized the swap with support from Vice President for Student Affairs Amy Hecht and Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Sharon Beverly.

Next, Vice President of Equity and Diversity Javier Nicasio announced his committee’s campaign, Coexist, which is set to take place the week starting Sunday, Nov. 16.

“The purpose of Coexist is to teach students about different religions, including atheism and agnosticism,” Nicasio said. “We are not promoting any particular religion. We are simply educating people and showing them that we can all coexist on this earth.”

The Coexist campaign acknowledges the lack of understanding and tolerance between different religions and emphasizes that knowledge and relationships have the power to eliminate conflicts. According to the website, “by bringing together communities with a history of conflict, we strengthen the bonds between them and create a new generation free from prejudice, hate and violence.”

Later, Vice President of Academic Affairs Casey Dowling announced that Student Government is co-sponsoring an event with the Golden Key Honor Society that features John Sisko of the College’s Philosophy Department. Sisko will be discussing public speaking, and the event will be held in Education Building room 209 at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 5.

Nicasio also told students to be on the lookout this week for photos from “I Too Am TCNJ,” a photo campaign highlighting the faces and voices of students from the College.

Senior class council President Brian Garsh revealed the next senior night date and location — it will be an Xfinity Live event in Philadelphia on Saturday, Nov. 15. Garsh also encouraged the senior class to follow the council’s instagram account: @TCNJCLASS15.

Seniors are invited to celebrate in Alumni Grove with food and beverages on Friday, Nov. 21, which marks six months until May graduation. There, the Senior Week 2015 announcement will be made.

Sophomore class council president Robert Kinloch announced that the sophomore semi-formal will be held at the Cedar Gardens Banquet Hall in Hamilton, N.J. on Friday, Nov. 21, at 8 p.m. Student Finance Board fully funded the event with $9,380.10 for 300 tickets, which will be on sale throughout the week.

DTD becomes College’s biggest Greek organization

By Frank Festa

The small, square purple tent outside of the Brower Student Center with suit-clad men seated and shaded underneath caused students to raise their eyebrows, as most weren’t aware of who they were, why they were there day after day or what the big golden letters ‘DTD’ embroidered across all sides of the canopy signified. But these men represented the Delta Tau Delta (DTD) fraternity, seeking to create a presence and raise awareness here at the College.

It’s safe to say they were successful, as DTD is set to be the largest Greek organization on campus, with 93 undergraduate pledges recently becoming the founding fathers.

DTD brother Bishoy Fanous, a junior chemistry major, believes it may have been the prospect of being involved from the inception that drew such record-breaking numbers.

“When I heard about DTD, I just thought, ‘why not?’” Fanous said. “Fraternities are a great way to make connections, both social and professional. Plus, it’s cool to say that you’re a founding father of a fraternity.”

President of DTD Chris Flannery, a junior interactive multimedia major, believes the new fraternity’s volume may have more to do with simple supply and demand.

“The two most recent classes at TCNJ had taken 300 plus more students than the 2016 class — it should be no wonder that there is a need for more Greek organizations on campus,” Flannery said. “The demand was there, and the school recognized that demand. Ninety-three men were chosen for the fall founding class of Delta Tau Delta.”

DTD was founded in 1858 at Bethany College, located in Bethany, W.V., by a group of eight men who intended to create an honorable organization for students amidst academic scandal. The fraternity now boasts 125 chapters nationwide. Notable brothers of DTD include actors Will Ferrell and Matthew McConaughey, as well as NFL Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway.

Despite becoming president himself, however, even Flannery was hesitant to join at first.

“I was actually one of the last guys to be formally recruited,” Flannery said. “I wanted to see the caliber of the other brothers, and once I did, it’s safe to say I was impressed. We currently boast a 3.3 cumulative GPA, and each member is actively involved in at least one or (more) on-campus organization. Now, as president, I have a lot on my plate. That being said, I’m very excited to be a part of this, and the TCNJ community should be as well.”

On Thursday, Oct. 23, DTD took its first step into the campus community, when all 93 members and several officials gathered in the library auditorium for their initiation ceremony.

“The President of DTD’s Eastern Division, Anthony Albanese, came to the initiation to supervise, and he seemed very excited about our potential,” Fanous said. “Now as a colony, we have a number of things to accomplish, such as member training and figuring out budgets, before we are recognized as an official chapter. This usually takes a minimum of 83 days.”

Until then, DTD is focused on establishing itself as a household name while respectfully assimilating into the community without creating friction with any active Greek organization. 

“We know we’re the new guys in town, and we’re not here to step on any toes or create enemies. We hope to heavily focus on academics, philanthropy and involvement in the Ewing community,” Flannery said. “That being said, we have some events in the works which we believe will blow everyone’s expectations out of the water. DTD and its founding fathers are here to leave a legacy.”