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News happenings at The College of New Jersey

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.”

TMT’s production of ‘Carrie’ funded for $25,710

By Jonathan Edmondson
Arts & Entertainment Editor

The Student Finance Board meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 29, had big proposals from multiple organizations.

First up was the College Union Board and Student Government proposing for their annual event, “TCNJ Holiday.” This year’s theme is planned to be “Wrapped in Winter,” which would include activities and crafts as a way to celebrate various winter holidays. After a discussion, the event was tabled.

Barkada next proposed Barkada Barangay, an event to showcase Filipino culture on campus. The event would feature Filipino cuisine and traditional dances.

The event was allocated funds of $1,476 and is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Nov. 22, in the Brower Student Center Lion’s Den.

TCNJ Musical Theater proposed next for its spring production, “Carrie: The Musical.” The show is one of two mainstage productions the organization puts on each year and features an outside director and music director. The musical is based off Stephen King’s horror novel and follow-up cult movie.

The event, which is scheduled to take place from Wednesday, March 4, through Saturday, March 7, on the Kendall Main Stage, was allocated funds of $25,710.

The Leadership Development Program returned to SFB this week to repropose its Leadership Lock-Up event. The purpose of the event is to help students strengthen their leadership skills through a variety of activities.

The event, which was previously tabled, was allocated funds of $5,460.14 and is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Jan. 24, in the Brower Student Center.

Also returning to the SFB was Chabad, which presented for its annual Chanukah Festival. The purpose of the event is to bring the campus together to celebrate this traditional Jewish holiday.

This time, the event was partially funded and is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, Dec. 2, in Brower Student Center room 202 East.

Finally, The Circle of Compassion proposed for an event called “Let Your Yoga Dance,” which would bring a Yoga instructor to campus to lead a workshop on the exercise. The event was zero funded.

Swift pulls songs from Spotify

By Courtney Wirths
Features Editor

• The number of first-time home buyers is the lowest is has been since 1987 — only 33 percent of new homes sold were to first-time buyers. Young would-be buyers struggle to come up with the savings for a down payment. When student debt is at record highs, rent becomes more expensive and the job market for recent grads is sluggish. This is all in addition to a relatively tight lending environment. Lastly, new home prices have actually been rising which further adds to the difficulty young home buyers face.

• Taylor Swift pulled her music from Spotify. The decision came after months of back-and-forth between the music streaming service and the once country, now pop star. Swift had initially wanted her new album, “1989,” to be only available to stream outside the United States. When the service declined, Swift only released the album for purchase. Spotify issued an apology to its users which led to Swift’s entire catalog being pulled by her recording company, Big Machine Label Group.

• Thirteen years after the Twin Towers fell on the morning of September 11, 2001, the first employees of the World Trade Center entered through the doors to go to work on Monday, Nov. 3. The 175 individuals work for the publishing giant Condé Nast. The rest of Condé Nast’s 3,400 employees will be moving down to the lower Manhattan offices over the next several months.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department fined  Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. $300 million for improperly overstating vehicles’ fuel-economy claims. The punishment is the largest of its kind ever issued by the U.S. government and sets a precedent for other car companies. An estimated 1.2 million Hyundais had overstated milage capabilities – over a quarter of those 2011-2013 models sold in the United States.

* All information according to the Wall Street Journal.

NJ’s role in America’s drug war

By Brianna Sheppard

According to the Drug Policy Alliance, the nation’s leading organization calling for a reform to America’s drug policies, 1.55 million Americans were arrested in 2012 on nonviolent drug charges. The country spends millions of dollars each year trying to rid the streets of illegal drugs and incarcerating people who buy and sell them, but some people think there are more efficient ways to clean up the streets.

Stout breaks down the effects of the drug war in NJ. (Photo courtesy of Julia Malak)
Stout breaks down the effects of the drug war in NJ. (Photo courtesy of Julia Malak)

On Tuesday, Oct. 28, Bruce D. Stout, an associate professor and chair of the Criminology Department, led a lecture called “The Human and Fiscal Toll of America’s Drug War, New Jersey’s Experiences” that explored New Jersey’s role in America’s war on drugs.

The turnout for the lecture was exceptional, with every seat filled with people eager to hear about the war on drugs as seen through the lens of New Jersey. There was a plethora of subjects discussed, including the three phases of drug reform and law enforcement.

Stout also discussed how drug arrests have raised the convictions of blacks and Latinos to 96 percent, despite the fact that some of these arrests have been proven to be the result of racial profiling.

One of the main examples was an April 1998 incident on the Turnpike where two officers shot three men — one Hispanic, two black — during a routine traffic stop. The officers involved claimed that they had been taught to racially profile because “minority motorists are the people most likely to be carrying drugs.”

Of course, these ideas stem from an unfortunate past history of institutional racism and the “urban effect.” The “urban effect” refers to the type of people and areas that are affected by drug reform and the act of drug-free schools. In places such as Newark, Camden and Jersey City, there are few initiatives in place to keep juveniles from interacting with narcotics. Due to the rate of imprisonments doubling, the state prisons’ budget has risen from $289 million in 1987 to $1 billion in 2006.

Stout said that American society is basically paying to put and keep people in prison. However, Drug-Free School Zones are beginning discussions on how to resolve previously neglected issues while the Department of Justice has spearheaded reforms in prison sentencing. Most importantly, it is Stout’s hope that people currently serving time for drug offenses will receive proper rehabilitation and treatment before re-entering society. Combined, these initiatives could make a world of difference in both drug policy and the prison system.

College hosts Congressional race events

By Gabrielle Beacken
News Assistant

Eck says her medical experience could help in Congress. (Kyle Bennion / Photo Editor)
Eck says her medical experience could help in Congress. (Kyle Bennion / Photo Editor)

The College hosted two separate political events this past week as the New Jersey 12th District Congressional Election, which will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 4, quickly approaches. The 12th District includes portions of Union, Somerset, Middlesex and Mercer counties — including Ewing Township.

The events included a debate between the Democratic candidate, Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Republican candidate, Dr. Alieta Eck, on Wednesday, Oct. 22, and a Candidate’s Forum on Friday, Oct. 24. Director of the international studies program and assistant professor of political science Brian Potter moderated both events.

Wednesday’s debate, held in the packed Mayo Concert Hall, highlighted several critical national and campus-related issues. Such topics included federal marriage, public education, fracking, Middle Eastern relations, health care and campaign finance reform.

“I believe I can make a difference,” Eck said. Being that there are no female physicians in Congress at this time, Eck, a practicing physician, believes she can be a valuable asset. Eck and her husband founded the Zarepath Health Center, a free clinic for “the poor and uninsured,” according to her official campaign website.

Like Eck, Watson Coleman’s pointed out her expertise in her past experiences.

“I’ve been a leader in the legislature, working with Republicans and Democrats,” she said.

Watson Coleman is running with the support of current Democratic representative of New Jersey’s 12th District, Rush Holt, who has served in the New Jersey general assembly since 1998, representing the 15th District.

According to Watson Coleman’s website, she is the “first African-American woman to serve as Majority Leader of the New Jersey General Assembly and the first African-American woman to serve as Chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee.”

The two candidates held contrasting views on several topics. While Eck was in favor of the possibility of sending ground troops to Syria and Iraq to combat ISIS, Watson Coleman argued that “boots on the ground is the last thing we should be doing.”

Another disputing topic concerned fracking. Eck stated that fracking, when proceeding with safety and caution, would be an affordable source of energy, while Watson Coleman argued that fracking negatively impacts the environment.

When answering a question about prison reform, Eck supported the decriminalization of marijuana, stating that especially for personal use, marijuana users should not be imprisoned.

“New Jersey may follow Colorado,” Eck said.

Watson Coleman responded by expressing her belief in the growth and expansion of drug courts, as well as providing treatment to addicts rather than following through on a policy of incarceration.

The most heated debate topic of the event, which included several rebuttals by both parties, was the discussion of job growth and the government’s role in the economy.

“Trenton has been treated poorly, but it can be an intellectual capital,” Watson Coleman said. Research facilities hosted in Trenton can create jobs, she added.

“To increase jobs, get government out of the way — not government jobs, private sector jobs,” Eck said, rebutting her opponent’s statements. “Obamacare is the biggest job killer New Jersey has ever seen.”

The second political event of the week was the Candidate’s Forum. According to an email distributed by College Relations to the campus community, all of the candidates were invited to attend, including: Allen J. Cannon (Democratic-Republican), Kenneth J. Cody (Truth Vision Hope), Bonnie Watson Coleman (Democratic), Don DeZarn (Legalize Marijuana Party), Alieta Eck (Republican), Jack Freudenheim (Start The Conversation), and Steven Welzer (Green Party).

However, only four candidates — Cannon, Eck, Freudenheim and Welzer — attended and participated in the event.

“The party system seems to be failing us,” Freudenheim said. “We’re all a little tired.”

Welzer agrees that citizens, when casting their ballots, should have more than two chief options between their parties.

“(We’ve) got to get beyond the only two-choice system,” Welzer said.

“It’s important that we dissolve party lines and think of personal lives,” Cannon said. “(The Democratic-Republican Party is) the party that set up the constitution, the foundation of equity for all American citizens.”

The federal legalization of gay marriage was the most discussed topic of the event, due to questions prompted by a student in the audience. The conversation delved deeper into the topic as the student prompted that the words “civil union” and “marriage” don’t carry the same social weight and equalities.

“We are arguing over a word, not the right for one person to love another,” Cannon said. Cannon argued that the word “civil union” holds the same rights and protection as the word “marriage.”

“We must respect the right of people to disagree,” Eck said, not in favor of the federal legalization of gay marriage. “We must treat everyone with the utmost dignity, no matter what.”

The topic of climate change also brought debate, as the Green Party promoted climate change as a valid and imminent threat.

“Ninety-eight percent of scientists say there is a warming,” Welzer said in response to Eck’s claim that scientists cannot prove that human activity is causing climate change. “There is really little debate here.”

“We know it’s happening,” Freudenheim said. “What can we do as a human race? We should take action.”

Students, too, should be asking questions and receiving answers from political officials, said sophomore international studies major and executive-board member of College Democrats Ambica Avancha.

“I was surprised that more people are not informed,” Avancha said. “I think it’s important for students to be involved in politics.”

A week to prove who has the most spirit

By Sydney Shaw
Opinions Editor

Students pose with Roscoe the Lion in the Student Center. (Kyle Bennion / Photo Editor)
Students pose with Roscoe the Lion in the Student Center. (Kyle Bennion / Photo Editor)

Culminating in the Homecoming tailgate and football game on Saturday, Oct. 25, the College’s 27th annual Spirit Week was replete with field games, giveaways, green screen photo shoots and live musical performances.

This year’s theme centered on HBO Shows: Fraternities, sororities, club sports and other on-campus organizations then revealed their team banners in the Brower Student Center on Monday, Oct. 20. A “Game of Thrones” themed banner was brilliantly brought to life by Kappa Delta, Phi Alpha Delta and Delta Lambda Phi, reading “Homecoming is Coming.”

A tribute to “True Blood” by Theta Phi Alpha and Phi Kappa Psi featured a fanged woman with blood dripping from her lips.

For the series “John Adams,” Phi Sigma Sigma and Club Baseball made a banner and shirts that read “Join, or die,” the title of the show’s pilot episode. For the show “Band of Brothers,” Delta Zeta, Sigma Pi and Lambda Theta Alpha brought camouflage colors, dog tags and other army elements into a football-themed banner.

On Tuesday, Oct. 21, students tie-dyed shirts blue and gold in the Brower Student Center until 2 p.m. The afternoon ended with a heated volleyball tournament.

On Wednesday, Oct. 22, not even the pouring rain could stop the events taking place on the Sundial Lawn throughout the day. Between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., organizations partook in nonstop activities like men’s cheerleading, women’s tug-of-war, a potato sack race, dizzy bat, a three-legged race and a human pyramid.

Wednesday also marked the T-shirt swap headed by Student Government. Students traded in high school T-shirts or another college’s T-shirts for brand new Homecoming 2014 shirts. The event, funded by the Student Finance Board, garnered at least 350 T-shirts to donate to Goodwill.

A free rally towel giveaway was hosted in the Brower Student Center on Thursday, Oct. 23, followed by the performance of a live band. Students at meal equiv were treated to the hip-hop/pop-rock sounds of cover band Under Pressure. According to the band’s website, Under Pressure is “a fresh and spunky female-fronted party band that has no problem captivating any crowd.”

That night for another Homecoming activity, students participated in utensil wrapping for the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, wrapping forks, spoons and knives.

Friday, Oct. 24, was Blue and Gold Day, during which all students and staff were encouraged to represent the College by wearing school colors. The Homecoming committee gave away blue and gold spirit items, blue and gold cupcakes and hosted blue and gold-themed green screen photos. The College’s mascot, Roscoe, even showed up for pictures.

Finally, on Friday night, students gathered in the Recreation Center to enjoy the capstone of the Spirit Week events — the lip sync and dance competitions

“I went and participated in last year’s event and thought it was spectacular — however, this year’s event exceeded my expectations,” sophomore class council president Robert Kinloch said. “As a brother of Phi Alpha Delta, I could not have been prouder of the way the guys from our fraternity and the girls of Kappa Delta sorority competed.”

The Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, Sigma Kappa sorority and Sigma Lambda Beta fraternity won Homecoming Spirit Week after taking first place in the lip syncing and dance competitions and the banner competition.

“The dance that (they) put on about ‘The Pacific’ was so astonishing that it gave me the chills,” Kinloch said.

The brothers and sisters were able to enjoy Homecoming knowing they were the most school spirited — at least for this year.

LDP considers Stephen A. Smith, Mike Ditka

By Jonathan Edmondson
Arts & Entertainment Editor

The Student Finance Board meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 22, included multiple proposals from the Leadership Development Program ahead of its planned LeadWeek.

LDP’s first proposal was made in conjunction with the College Union Board and included plans for a keynote speaker during LeadWeek. The organization’s first choice is Daymond John, founder, president and CEO of FUBU, an iconic fashion brand. Other options include ESPN commentators Stephen A. Smith or Mike Ditka.

The event, which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, Nov. 11, was allocated funds of $36,098.

Other events from LDP included STUD Team Builders, a teamwork and communication activity scheduled to take place in the Brower Student Center on Friday. Nov 14. The event was allocated funds of $750.

In addition, the organization proposed for its 11th annual Leadership Lockup, scheduled to take place on Saturday, Jan. 11. The event was tabled for now.

Other presenters included the Teachers of Young Children, who were allocated $1,900 to cover the costs of buses in order to transport students to the NJEA Convention in Atlantic City. This event is the largest professional development conference in the nation and will take place on Thursday, Nov. 6, and Friday, Nov. 7.

Finally, the Sophomore Class Council proposed to have a Sophomore Semi-Formal. The Class of 2017 hosted a similar event last year with much success and hopes to repeat that this year.

The event was allocated funds of $9,380.17 and is scheduled to take place on Friday, Nov. 21.

Jelani Cobb explores the Ferguson controversy

By Colleen Murphy
News Editor

Ferguson, MO residents riot following the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. (AP Photo)
Ferguson, MO residents riot following the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. (AP Photo)

To shed some light on the infamous case of Michael Brown — the 18-year-old who was shot six times in Ferguson, M.O. over the summer — journalist, historian and University of Connecticut history professor Jelani Cobb gave the presentation “Between Us and the World: Ferguson, United States of America and The Lynching of Michael Brown,” to a full Mayo Concert Hall on Thursday, Oct. 23.

Cobb painted a vivid picture of this summer’s shooting which has split the town of Ferguson and the country, saying that what actually angers people most about the Ferguson case stems from a deep history of race relations.

Cobb spent nine days reporting from Ferguson in August and has made three trips there altogether. In his lecture, Cobb detailed what angers the citizens of Ferguson most about this case and from where that angers stems.

The background of Ferguson revolves around the idea that when police officers fear for their lives — whether or not a subject is armed — they will protect themselves. And on Saturday, Aug. 9, police officer Darren Wilson claimed he feared for his life as he reported that Brown “punched and scratched”  him as he was “pinned in his vehicle,” struggling over his gun.

Wilson fired his gun six times, killing Brown, but this account is the exact opposite of what many of the witnesses said they saw happen — Brown was apparently walking away, with his hands up — so there was no need for Wilson to fear for his life. Shooting Brown was thus unjustified.

Every night since the shooting, the streets of Ferguson have been filled with protesters. Chants of “Hands up, don’t shoot,” were displayed on news channels for the world to see, but according to Cobb, this case is so much more than just who is right and who is wrong. This case goes much deeper into African-American history.

For four and a half hours after the shooting, it was as though Brown’s body “lay behind like refuse in the afternoon heat left on display,” Cobb said. According to Cobb, this left the same sign as those 3,500 lynches in southern states between 1890 and 1920, because for the people of Ferguson, Brown’s body being left on display served as a warning — this, too, could happen to you.

For those hours that Brown’s body lay there, covered with a white sheet, Cobb said Brown went “from man to victim to metaphor.” It was the “literal, terrible truth, laying directly in front of us in the streets,” Cobb said. And the truth is that this shooting was “not an isolated incident,” according to Cobb, just an “atypical situation.”

“We’ve approached (the Ferguson area) as if it was a foreign territory,” Cobb said. “But Ferguson is part of America. Ferguson is America.”

Freshman open options major Madina Ouedraogo went to the lecture to learn more about the details of the case and to what extent it has affected not only Ferguson and the state of Missouri, but also, the nation. According to Ouedraogo, it was an extremely thought provoking and informative presentation, as well as necessary.

“Lectures like these help spread tolerance and understanding among all people,” he said. “We live in nations and a world engulfed in so much intolerance and misunderstanding. If people just took the time to stop, listen and open themselves up to the opportunity to hear different perspectives from their own, this world would be much more peaceful and united.

Ouedraogo also believes it is “essential for lectures like these to be heard” because it helps “promote tolerance and understanding instead of miscommunications, misunderstanding and violent ideologies and divisions among all people.”

Plummeting gas prices boost US economy

By Courtney Wirths
Features Editor

• Gas prices are dropping. In most stations across the nation, a gallon of gas has dropped below $3 which has created relief for American consumers and will lead to a slight boost for the U.S. economy. If prices continue to fall, however, it poses a risk to oil-producing states and the large companies within them.

• Twitter’s slow growth, especially when compared to Facebook Inc., is a cause for concern for many investors. A year after the company’s initial public offering, the internet giant has more than doubled its revenue, however the weak growth in user still caused shares to drop 10 percent.

• Yes, they now have bananas. Chiquita Brands International Inc. agreed to be acquired by a Brazilian orange-juice maker and its investment-firm partner for $742 million. The deal would give the famed banana company access to Cutrale-Safra’s farming and logistics expertise.

• In Apple’s world of popular products, the item bringing in the highest revenue gain wasn’t the latest versions of the iPhone, but rather the Mac. During the year of the product’s 30th anniversary, the line of computers saw a 21 percent jump in sales causing it to pass the iPad and become the company’s second largest source of revenue behind the iPhone with total sales of  $6.625 billion this past quarter.

• The U.S. Commerce Department has decided to place a tariff on sugar imports. The tax defends against the preliminary opinion that Mexican sugar producers dumped the sweetener into the U.S. markets, lowering prices and undermining U.S. farmers. The preliminary tariffs will range from 39.54 percent to 47.26 percent on top of tariff fees as high as 17.01 percent on Mexican sugar imports.

*All information according to the Wall Street Journal.

Keeping the Shore’s residents updated through Facebook

Hurricane Sandy devastates the New Jersey shoreline. (AP Photo)
Hurricane Sandy devastates the New Jersey shoreline. (AP Photo)

By Frank Festa

In two years, New Jersey was hit by two strong hurricanes — Irene in 2011 and Sandy in 2012.

During both those times, residents of the state had a place to turn to for information — the Facebook page of Jersey Shore Hurricane News.

The founder of the page paid Janet Mazur’s Freshman Seminar Program class a visit this past Thursday, Oct. 23, to lecture on the impact he’s made on his community as well as the profound impact he believes we all can make.

Justin Auciello, a native of South Seaside Park, created the Facebook page on Friday, Aug. 23, 2011. It was made with the intent to provide news about the weather in the days preceding Hurricane Irene. Auciello, or anyone else for that matter, could have predicted its growth.

“By the end of the first night, there were 500 followers, which was shocking enough,” Auciello said. “The next morning, there were 5,000 followers. I couldn’t believe it.”

After the passing of Irene, he kept the page alive even without a storm looming.

“I tried to humanize the page,” Auciello said. “I’d make a post or two every day and comment on everything I could.”

The page flourished and began to garner national attention during and in the days following the cataclysm of Superstorm Sandy, one of New Jersey’s most devastating natural disasters. By this time however, JSHN was a two-way news platform where information flowed freely between people.

“During Sandy, citizens would supply information, and my job was to package it, verify it and post it,” Auciello said. “If I’ve learned anything from this, it’s that people are good. I’ve always been an optimist.”
Updates poured in from people with knowledge of the situation, keeping those in the heart of the storm aware — many of whom without access to tradition news.

When the page’s activity in its climax took an unexpected turn, Auciello rose to the occasion.

“It went from info news to lifesaving platform. People were posting after Sandy that they were trapped and needed help,” Auciello said.
Due to a relationship formed with the local authorities, Auciello was able to turn JSHN into a bridge to salvation.

“I urged these people to post their address, condition of and how many people they were with — relevant information,” Auciello said.

“Police and fire departments would be notified, and help would arrive.”

The page would also play a critical crowdsourcing role, with patrons updating peers on information such as where to find food, clean water and cheap gas, as well as directing supplies to appropriate shelters.

“I tried to keep JSHN updated on where to find supplies every half an hour,” he said. “I had shelters calling me to tell me to send supplies elsewhere because they had a surplus. But once something goes viral there’s no way to really delete that information.”

His efforts with JSHN were recognized when Auciello received the Champion of Change award from the White House, given to individuals making profound impacts on their communities.

“A woman called one day from the White House and invited me to visit with 12 other people and receive the award. I didn’t get to meet President Obama, but it still was a special experience,” he said.

Fast forward to present day, three years later, JSHN has accumulated over 226,000 followers.

Mazur admits to being one of the many who keep an eye on Auciello’s page.

“I was struck with the devastation caused by Sandy. I’ve been a subscriber to Jersey Shore Hurricane News for some time, and I love what you are doing,” Mazur said to Auciello.

Moving forward, Auciello doesn’t plan to move far from his roots anytime soon.

“I plan to stay social media based, because that’s where the people are and where news is broken,” he said.

The website’s creator received his B.A. from Maryland University in criminal justice and criminology, and later received his masters in city and regional planning from Rutgers University.

He currently holds a full-time job as an urban planner in addition to his activity online. Auciello fondly recalled times at 5 or 6 years old when he would chase fire trucks to the scene, or at 13 doing projects on interesting dog pictures as his journalistic inspiration.

His goal was to impact his community and provide news in an innovative fashion. Humble certainly would be an appropriate adjective to describe him.

“This couldn’t have been with just me,” Auciello said. “I simply provided people with a platform, this is all thanks to people who want to share information with each other and do the right thing.”

Auciello not only enjoys what he does, but he points out that everyone can do something like what he did and help people.

“It gives me purpose. I love my community and this was my way of giving back,” Auciello said. “It’s as simple as putting your foot out there and taking a chance. Everyone has the ability to be creative and make an impact.”

Pollock listens as Gandhi recalls her life of advocating for peace and the memories of her grandfather. (Photos courtesy of Lauren Longo)

Humility and hardship: tea with Ela Gandhi

By Lauren Longo & Stephanie Agresti

Pollock listens as Gandhi recalls her life of advocating for peace and the memories of her grandfather. (Photos courtesy of Lauren Longo)
Pollock listens as Gandhi recalls her life of advocating for peace and the memories of her grandfather. (Photos courtesy of Lauren Longo)

Ela Gandhi, peace activist and granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, invited 10 students to her apartment in South Africa for tea while they interned this past summer.

The interior of her home was humble, which students say complimented her countenance: A small piano stood among the beige walls and decor of her one-bathroom home. According to John C. Pollock of the College’s Communication Studies Department, Gandhi was “very modest, but quite elegant.” He said she downplayed her family’s suffering, which ranged from her nine years of house arrest to the assassination of several of her friends and loved ones.

Gandhi, who has lived in South Africa her entire life, has always been heavily involved in South Africa’s fight for liberation. Her role with the then-banned African National Congress (ANC) resulted in a nine-year house arrest. Gandhi steadily told students stories of her non-violent activism, only to pause before sharing her most intimate struggle. Her eyes clouded over before she telling the audience that the her eldest son was assassinated by the apartheid regime.

Once majority rule was gained and the ANC was liberated, Gandhi was elected to the first parliament, where she was a leader in writing two key provisions to the South African Constitution, focusing on religious freedom and women’s rights. As a result of her activism, Gandhi received the most prestigious civilian awards in both South Africa and India.

Gandhi also spoke warmly of her grandfather, who was assassinated when she was seven years old. Mahatma Gandhi was known for being a self-disciplined man, and he made sure to allocate one hour of his daily routine to spend with his grandchildren. She recalled him teaching her how to spin cotton to yarn, which was another task he practiced daily.

Students were honored when Ela Gandhi asked them to stay longer than their original meeting time had called for, saying she’d put on another pot of tea. She let them know that she had been eager to meet them, and sent them a thank you note before they had the chance to send her one.

The tea with Gandhi served as a time of reflection and inspiration for students.

“Ela Gandhi is an incredibly inspiring woman,” self-designed public health major and internship participant Isabelle Tan said. “Throughout her life, she constantly fought for her beliefs. Even as a young girl, she would walk to school every single day because her parents were against formal education. She is so passionate about change and equality. Meeting her gave me so much hope and ambition to challenge public health issues and social inequality.”

During their time in South Africa, students also shadowed DramAidE, a non-profit organization out of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, learning how entertainment education can be utilized in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS. Organizations like DramAidE implement entertainment education techniques, such as allowing students to participate in theatre performances, integrating public health communication campaigns into societies suffering from large-scale public health issues. 

Meeting with Gandhi’s granddaughter helped students connect entertainment education strategies with a public need.

“South Africa needs help from other people, but we cannot be instilling our ideas in South Africa,” communication studies and biology double major James Etheridge said. “We have to help people help themselves. (Gandhi) showed throughout her life that, no matter how difficult it is, you have to hold on to what you’re fighting for, or else, what are you fighting for?”

Etheridge also stressed the importance of spending time abroad. 

“I chose to go to South Africa because I wanted to study abroad, but I also really wanted to experience what it was like to engage in public health,” he said. “I wanted to go somewhere very different from what I was used to. I got to go out there and experience all that I’ve read about and see what the people of these countries are going through.”

The internship abroad afforded students the opportunity to connect with scholars and interact with individuals at institutions such as the Valley of 1,000 Hills HIV/AIDS Orphanage and Hospice and the Esizibeni Sivananda Vaswani Comprehensive High School. Students from the College were fully immersed in public health initiatives in the field, providing them with a thorough understanding that no classroom could provide.

“South Africa is a country that needs people to visit it in order to understand what (its people) are going through,” Etheridge said.