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Debrosse Delivers at the Plate and in the Field

by Navindra Persaud

Central Connecticut softball has been playing well this year, in no small part to exemplary performance by one of the team’s youngest players: freshman Alexis Debrosse.

Debrosse comes to New Britain by way of New Bedford High School in New Bedford, Mass. where she was named player of the year three times. Continue reading

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“Recess”: Skrillex Releases First Full Length Album

by Sean Begin

Sonny Moore, better known by his alias Skrillex, grabbed the attention of American pop culture in 2010 when he released his YouTube-sampled “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” EP. With songs more reminiscent of angrily arguing Transformers than traditional instrumental music, Moore succeeded in helping take dance music mainstream.

Now, after six years of singles, remixes and extended plays, Moore has released his first full-length effort with “Recess,” an 11 song LP that nods to both the style that made him popular and the influences his music has seen since his ascension.

The opening track, “All is Fair in Love and Brostep,” is a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment from Moore to the subgenre of dubstep attached to his style that has nearly become cliché since. The song features the Ragga Twins, pioneers in the United Kingdom’s early 1990s jungle and drum and bass scene.

The Ragga Twins are also featured on “Ragga Bomb,” the reggae-influenced drum and bass track that feels pulled out of the 90s and touched up with Moore’s unique style. Moore delves into the genre further with the jazzed up just-in-time-for-summer tune “Coast is Clear,” featuring up-and-coming hip hop act Chance The Rapper, whose bubbly crooning seems fit for driving with the windows down.

What seems to make “Recess” shine is the way Moore blends his unique style of growling robots and gigantic bass drops, while adding elements and entire songs showcasing his branching abilities as a producer.

Songs like “Fire Away” and “Stranger” are reminiscent of Moore’s work on 2013’s “Leaving” EP that was released only to members of The Nest, the subscription service for Moore’s Owsla label.

Moore has always been about weird sounds, though, and they shine through in “Doompy Poomp,” which sounds like the theme song to an Oompa Loompa-run carnival on acid. And “Dirty Vibe,” which serves as a first taste of Moore’s work with Diplo as the group Jack-U (who debuted in Miami at Ultra this year) is a blend of styles: techno and hardstyle with a dash of K-pop in the form of featured artists G-Dragon and CL.

The tracks that fit the mold that made Moore such a huge star, however, have been scaled back from the usual exploding bass drops favored in his early work for more subtle, but still intensely powerful, sonic shifts.

Moore works with Owsla signee, Alvin Risk, to make “Try It Out,” which is actually a mix of a bootleg tune titled “Imma Try It Out” that surfaced as early as 2011 and was featured in the 2012 video game Call of Duty: Black Ops II. “Try It Out” features the ragged growls and laser sounds so familiar to Moore’s work.

Working with another Owsla artist, Kill the Noise, the title track to the album fits perfectly with the backing sounds of kids screaming and playing, and comes packed with a bass drop that sucks all sound in favor of hyped up chords. “Ease My Mind” may be the album’s fiercest song, building slowly with sampled female vocals and breaking smoothly into an upbeat laser-filled drop.

A full length release from Moore has been a long time coming, especially after mainstream success and his winning multiple Grammy awards in the past two years. “Recess” is a spectacular blend of both Moore’s pioneering style and the influences that have shaped him as an artist thus far.

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Lacrosse Splits First Two of Four Straight Home Games

by Sean Begin

Winning in sports by one is a unique situation. For the losing team, it can be particularly devastating to come up just short of a win. For the winning team, elation at pulling out the win can be a boost of confidence.

In the first two of four straight home conference games, the Central Connecticut women’s lacrosse team experienced both sides of the one-goal game.

The team held off St. Francis (Pa.) to win 11-10 on Friday before falling to Robert Morris 9-8 in sudden victory double overtime Sunday afternoon.

“I think what we found in [the St. Francis] game was we played an excellent first half,” said head coach Laura Campbell. “And then we kind of put our foot on the brakes a little bit, so to speak, in the second half.”

“So our big goal going into this game was to put a complete game together and to keep responding and keep being resilient. And so I’m really proud of them that they rose to that today.”

And respond they did. The Blue Devils faced a fierce Colonial attack in the first half and were outshot 15-to-6, but thanks to a couple wide shots and stellar goalkeeping from junior Morgan Tullar, they entered the half with a 4-3 lead.

The Colonials (9-4, 3-1 NEC) scored first 6:33 into the first half on a free position shot, but Central (5-8, 2-2 NEC) responded at the 21 minute mark with a free position goal from senior Claire Healy to tie the game.

Robert Morris took the lead back with 11:17 to play. Four minutes later, Healy’s fellow captain, Amanda Toke scored the first of her three goals, assisted by sophomore Falynn McCartney. The Colonials once more took the lead with 1:23 to go, but the McCartney-Toke combo struck again 32 seconds later to tie the score.

Then with one second on the clock, McCartney fed Healy for the go-ahead goal and her third assist of the game. Tullar had 10 saves in the half.

“She rose to the occasion and she stepped up for us big,” said Campbell of Tullar’s day. “I hope she takes it and feels good about it, and she should.”

Campbell added: “I also think our defense as a unit, they really did a very good job. [Robert Morris] controlled a lot of the possessions with draws, and it was down our end a lot and defense did a really good job forcing some low percentage shots. So it was a team effort on that.”

Robert Morris opened the second half with three straight goals until McCartney scored unassisted to make the score 6-5, before the Colonials answered with two more goals to pull away 8-5.

“It was starting to go down a road where we’re getting frustrated and that’s been something that we’ve been working on this whole year,” said Campbell. “So I just told them we can’t go down that road. We’ve got to know that we have each other’s backs.”

Like they had been doing all match, Central responded, scoring the final three goals of the half to force overtime. Toke scored her third goal of the game with 11:42 remaining to make it 8-6.

Central didn’t score again unitl a free position goal from McCartney with just 2:15 remaining. McCartney assisted on senior Meaghan McCurry’s goal just 49 seconds later to send the game to overtime.

After a scoreless first overtime period, the teams entered sudden victory double overtime that saw the Colonials pull out the win with 1:38 to go in the first half of the double OT period.

“It came back to clears,” said Campbell when asked where she thought the team struggled on Sunday, “which is funny because against St. Francis we did really well with the clear.

“Our goal was to play a full 60 minutes so it’s kind of ironic that we went into overtime.”

McCartney continued her standout sophomore season on Sunday, tallying two goals, four assists and a team-high four draw controls, which Campbell called Robert Morris one of the best in the nation at. McCartney managed to draw control the ball that led to the Blue Devils’ tying goal.

“I think with that, Falynn was just changing things up a little bit on her just trying to keep her out of any sort of rhythm,” Campbell said of the play.

Captains Toke and Healy finished with three and two goals, respectively, while Tullar finished with 14 total saves.

In Friday’s game against St. Francis (Pa.), Central outscored the Red Flag 9-3 in the first half, putting up seven unanswered goals to take an 8-1 lead early. But St. Francis scored the final six goals of the second half to climb within one before the Blue Devils could close the game out.

McCartney scored four goals on Friday giving her six for the weekend. Toke finished with six as well scoring three against the Red Flash. Freshman Marissa Soto had a good game as well, scoring two goals and adding six draw controls and three ground balls, both team highs.

The Blue Devils will next host conference leader Bryant on Friday, April 18 before facing Sacred Heart a week later, in their last home game of the season.

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Ban the Death Penalty

By: Joe Suszczynski

Capital punishment has always been one way with dealing with violent criminals. Sure, they have killed people to receive such a punishment, but is it right to carry out the punishment given? No. The death penalty in the United States should be prohibited in all cases.

There is no point in discussing the morality of the death penalty because it can be debated until the end of time.

Facts are the only way to determine whether or not capital punishment should be abolished in America.

It costs a lot of money to put a prisoner to death. The Death Penalty Information Center says the cost of the death penalty is more than a life sentence in some states. In California, for instance, the death penalty costs taxpayers $114 million per year beyond the cost of keeping convicts locked up for life. In Texas, a death penalty case costs an average of $2.3 million, about three times the cost of imprisoning someone at the highest security level for 40 years.

The reasons for the expenses are the pre-trial costs, jury selection, the trial itself and the appeals. America isn’t in the best financial shape to be putting people to death – which also can clog the system.

Supporters of the death penalty say it deters crime. But sadly that’s not the case. The DPIC stated in 2012 that the average murder rate in states that allow the death penalty was 4.7 per 100,000 people, while states without a death penalty were 3.7. Granted, other variables can be equated to why the murder rate is lower in non-death penalty states, but the numbers show that the death penalty will not deter crime in states where capital punishment is permitted.

We also know that innocent people have ended up on death row. The justice system was created by, and is made up of human beings, and humans make errors. According to the DPIC, since 1973 144 people were exonerated for crimes they did not commit; 144 people that would have been put to death had it not have been for new technologies such as DNA testing, which could prove the innocence of a person. Who knows how many more innocent prisoners are on death row that are close to being executed for crimes they did not commit—only time will tell.

The death penalty is something that needs to be abolished in America. It costs way too much to execute a person. It really does not deter crime, otherwise the murder rates in states that have the death penalty would be zero, and the murder rates in non-death penalty states would be skyrocketing. With new forms of DNA testing, there is that chance to not only release innocent prisoners from not only prison itself, but also from death row. Connecticut is one of the 18 states that banned the death penalty, while the other 32 still have it in place.

I am not saying that the law should be easy on murderers. People who commit heinous crimes should be locked away for the rest of their lives with no chance for parole if their crimes are that reprehensible.

If the human race still finds the “eye for an eye” principle acceptable when dealing with murderers, then we cannot move forward as a species.

Society has to be better than the individual.

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Miss CCSU

By: Devin Leith-Yessian

Simone Brown, a student at CCSU, was crowned at Miss CCSU, a pageant put on by Women’s Involved Now and the Black Student Union.
“This pageant’s very different,” said Cynthia Calderon, the organizer of the pageant. The pageant stressed looking past superficial beauty and focusing on the personality and talents of the woman.
The pageant was composed of two sections, one where the contestants spoke on a social issue of their choosing, followed by a talent portion.
The issues the contestants spoke about ranged from the lack of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields to relationship abuse. “I truly fear for our future if this continues,” said Victoria Hellberg, who spoke on violence and discrimination against members of the LGBT community. “We are all one in the same.”
The talent portion was launched with a taekwondo exercise put on by Calderon’s father, Calderon being a second degree black belt herself. He led a small group of children as they displayed their skills through practicing on him and each other. The presentations which were met with the strongest reactions from the crowd were a self-defense tutorial put on by Alleah Red and a monologue acted out by Brown, which she created herself.
In the monologue, Brown played the role of a fictitious woman describing the abuse she had faced from her husband to a man who was only described as having hit a woman. After the woman told her husband that she was pregnant, he threw her down the stairs telling her that he didn’t want to bring a child into this messed up world. The husband became an alcoholic after his brother was killed. The audience listened with frequent gasps and fascinated silence.
Red’s performance involved her teaching how to respond to the most common ways women are often attacked. To show how to react to being grabbed from behind she threw her partner over her back, causing him to lose his breath and eliciting concerned gasps from the crowd. After he got back on his feet she demonstrated how to throw an attacker off yourself when they have you pinned to the ground, again seemingly effortlessly tossing him aside.
The pageant was not without it’s difficulties, however. The taekwondo exercise lacked an introduction that provided context, causing it to feel disjointed and out of place in relation to the rest of the pageant. CCSU student Crystal Lopez took issue with the contestants, and female students in general, being referred to as women, rather than girls. Lopez also said that she believed that it lacked organization, with occasional mishaps occurring throughout the show.
“It wasn’t smooth sailing all the way,” said Spencer Perry, the president of WIN. However she does think that “it was a fantastic experience” especially for a first event. She hopes to turn this into an annual event with continuing collaboration with the BSU.
WIN has been around for years, but was just restarted this semester. The pageant is their first event in this reincarnation. The BSU, which co-sponsored the event is a student run organization who’s goal is “to develop a black consciousness at CCSU and to improve the cultural and social development of black students,” according to their web page.
Despite coming in expecting the pageant to be lackluster, afterwards Lopez said “The event was very touching, I cried a few times.”

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Inexpensive Travel How To: Destination: Block Island

By: Arianna Cecchini

With the cold New England weather subsiding and the warm weather approaching, a great place for college students to go right here in CT is Block Island. To get to Block Island one can take a ferry from New London, CT which is about an hour to an hour and a half away.

Now, there are two different ferry boats across the water to the island, one that is about an hour ride and the other being about 25 minutes. It costs around $22-35 a person round-trip, depending on the speed of the boat. Once you get to the island, it is just a gorgeous site. You pull up to a beach front with shops, hotels and restaurants, all of which are quaint and very beautifully New England themed.

The front strip offers souvenir shops, two hotels, seafood restaurants, bike rental shops and ice cream parlors. It is a great way to spend a spring or summer day – and inexpensively. One doesn’t even need to spend money on the island besides for the ferry. One can go to the multiple beach locations that are offered throughout the island, and bring their own lunch too.

It is a great way to spend a warm sunny day with some friends. Now if money is not an issue, the restaurants are really great to dine at. The food is fresh and inexpensive and sitting outside looking at the ocean is always breathtaking. It is a great time, and can account for great memories. Nowadays, Block Island also regularly offers scooter rentals which can be a fun way to spend a day on the island.

Block Island also offers a beautiful lighthouse at the top of the island, which can give a view of the whole island and is absolutely a must see. If a group of friends are all willing to go, renting a house on the island is inexpensive and is a great mini vacation away from home or school. It is a great beach vacation for some friends to attend and have a good time without having to drop a fortune in expenses.

The island also holds a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream parlor and a really cute candy store with amazing fudge: both of which are must-do’s on the island. They do offer a movie theater in case of a rainy day, so the whole day is not wasted.

It really is a great spot for a vacation with some friends. It has the ocean, great food and shopping for cheap prices, what more do you need? It’s even in our own state, it doesn’t get much more convenient. So, this summer, when you are thinking, “I need some time off” (because you worked your butt off to get good grades) head to Block Island for the day, or for a week. It’s a great place to go and you won’t need to spend everything you’ve saved in order to have a decent time.

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Minimum Graduation Credits Lowered

By Acadia Otlowski

Students may soon need fewer credits to graduate.

The Faculty Senate passed a proposal to reduce the number of classes required for graduation from 122 credits to 120 credits, effective for students who are matriculating in the Fall 2014 semester.

The measure originally called for the two credit reduction to occur in the area of unrestricted electives. A motion was made to amend the resolution, striking the paragraph that mentioned the area from which the credits would be taken.  This took the place of another amendment, which suggested that the two credit loss be either in the unrestricted elective or in the form of the physical education class, PE 144. This amendment was voted down and the new amendment took its place.

Some members of the faculty were concerned that singling out the PE 144 credit for the reduction was unfairly targeting a department at the university, hence why it was struck down.

Many faculty members were for the reduction, saying that many programs had students who were missing just the two credits from the class. These credits were preventing them from graduating on time.

Provost Carl Lovitt said that the reduction of the number of required credits would bring Central Connecticut State University’s number of credits more in line with what other universities are doing across the nation.

But other senators did not agree.

“I don’t accept that. That’s one of the problems with our country… That we are not educating properly,” said Edward Sarisley, a construction management professor who is part of the senate. Sarisley said that when he went to school for engineering, he was required to complete 140 plus credits and was expected to do it in four years. Sarisley said that instead of lowering the minimum number of credits required to graduate, the university should raise it.

The establishment of 122 credits as the institutional standard stems from a series of proposals in the early 1970s, which established the required number of credits to 120 credits plus any physical education requirement, which then upped the total to 122 credits.

Stephen Adair, who is the Chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee to the Board of Regents, gave his report, updating the senate on some discussion the committee has had with Board of Regents President Gregory Gray. The Board of Regents (BOR) president has proposed a number of consultant positions for improving various functions in the Connecticut State University (CSU) system. Not all of the consultants have experience in higher education.

These consultants will look at unnecessary duplication and the benchmarking of future needs in industries that students will be entering, according to Adair. While unnecessary duplication’s meaning is somewhat unclear, Adair said, he believes it refers to academic programs.

Mary Ann Mahony, AAUP (union) president did not believe that these consultants could do anything except be in an advisory position for issues relating to academic and curricular changes.

“They have no legal standing to do anything, having to do with curriculum without passing it through the curricular bodies,” said Mahony.

Adair said that eliminating duplication could mean merging to programs that have low enrollment.

Faculty Senate President Stephen Cohen announced that the official calendar for the CSU system was passing through the BOR approval process. He said that most of the faculty concerns were addressed, including a reading day that was not the day before exams, and a few other issues. The one issue that was not addressed, said Cohen, was spring break falling on the same week as the Easter holiday. This was not addressed because it was not something that would occur in following years.

This was an issue brought by faculty in a previous meeting due to the fact that the Easter holiday corresponding with spring break could lower enrollment for course abroad programs during that time period.

Twenty five out of 33 applicants were accepted for AAUP sabbaticals. Seventy sabbatical leaves were awarded for the four major universities.

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Google Glass Available to Public Tomorrow for 24 Hours

By Kevin Jachimowicz

Google has just the thing for the American public to spend their entire tax return on.

The Google eyeglasses-slash-wearable computing product, simply dubbed “Google Glass”, has a small prism display that projects images to the wearer’s right eye. The device has gained huge amounts of notoriety in the past months. Strange incidents such as people filming others at bars with Google Glass has caused fights, thefts, confusion to others and personal attacks on those wearing the product publicly.

Despite this seemingly negative press, the product is still a much longed-for and hailed modern technological marvel, which, before tomorrow morning, has never been available to the general public for sale. The device offers much of the same functionality as smartphones, allowing people to watch movies, check emails, take photos and record audio and video.

Tomorrow at 9 AM Eastern time, Google will sell the product for $1,500 before tax. The buyers who are lucky enough to get their hands on a pair of the eyewear will have the option of purchasing the device utilizing a sunglasses shade or one of the newer prescription glasses frames, recently introduced by Google.

The number of products available for the public are limited and it is unknown exactly how long the product will be selling for, or exactly how many of the product are in stock. If you are over the age of 18 and want to buy a pair of Google Glasses, head here. [ http://www.google.com/glass/start/how-to-get-one/ ]

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PEZ Factory in Orange, CT Makes for a Great Trip

By: Arianna Cecchini

I bet most of you CCSU students didn’t know that right here in Connecticut is the PEZ factory. It’s only about 30 minutes away from CCSU, located in Orange. So, as the weekends here at CCSU are becoming limited, get in the car with some friends and go do something far out of the ordinary.

The awesome thing about the PEZ factory would have to be the price of admission. It is only $5 to get in, and the best part everyone gets a $2 redemption to spend at their gift shop, so you get FREE PEZ! What’s better than free? Pretty much nothing.

So, for all of the savers on campus, I think you can spare $5, or dial up a friend for a few bucks. The PEZ factory is not what you’d expect. When walking in, it’s not quite a production factory, but more reminiscent of a museum that exhibits all of PEZ throughout its time as a company.

The first thing that greets the guests’ eyes is a giant Minnie Mouse riding a PEZ motorcycle on the ceiling above the entrance. The front wall also held a huge glass frame showcasing PEZ, from new to old, from Santa to Spider-man. It is very unique and a great spot to take photos. The museum is tiny, but still does offer trivia, mazes, exhibits and the factory’s gift shop.

Guests can interact through their trivia game and compete against other guests in attendance.  Test your PEZ knowledge and give it a try. A helpful hint: Santa Claus shaped candies were the best selling PEZ. These kinds of games are all over the museum to test your PEZ knowledge. You will be quizzed on everything from what the base of the PEZ is called (the feet), to which character was the first Disney character to ever be stamped into PEZ. Some of the facts are very mind blowing, and most people wouldn’t know half of the facts they offer to you.

The glass cases showing off PEZ history are also set up quite uniquely. The candies are grouped together, sometimes by character – for example, Donald Duck, and they keep the oldest one all the way to the left, and then put every one over the years in chronological order until the most recent one released, which is all the way to the right. It is so amazing how the PEZ have developed over time in terms of look, shape and form. Some of the old PEZ characters are actually scary to look at.

In the back of the museum, they have a create your own PEZ head where you can draw the design on the top of a blank head, and put in your own flavor PEZ that they already sell. Its awesome, and really gets guests involved. Lastly is the wall of PEZ that they sell to their customers. The best part is that they are only $1.99 each.

They are great gifts for friends or family, or even for your secret collection. The factory also offer tons of flavors that they usually don’t offer, such as cherry cola or strawberry lemonade. It’s definitely a must-see knowing it is so close to CCSU. So, maybe on an upcoming rainy day or boring summer day go check out the PEZ factory. It’s cheap, fun and is something very different to do. Go rediscover your inner child.

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Torp Theater Becomes Semi-Real World for Mr. CCSU

By Kevin Jachimowicz

 

Last thursday, the Inter Residence Council Presented: The Semi-Real World, Mr. CCSU, in Torp Theater, where eight contestants participated in eight events and were judged to see who would take home the crown as the new Mr. CCSU.

 

Groups of people huddled around in the hallways which separate Torp Theaer and Founders Hall, eating slices of pizza and chugging refreshments prior to entering, some even had their pictures taken against a screen prior to going in to sit and watch the event. CCSU Senior Jeremy DeRoy said that he “came all the way from Vermont with his girlfriend to be here.” Blue Chips were swiped to grant you access, everyone was given a name tag – including staff members and audience members – and the theater went dark at 10 PM sharp. “Show will be starting in approximately five minutes, thank ya,” a female voiced over the sound system, who was later revealed as one of the hosts, Laura May.

 

The crowd was happy, energetic and silly: everyone was talking and laughing amongst each other prior to the show. Laura May and Frank Posca hosted the show and are Residence Assistants – Frank claiming that he is a “huge Red’s fan…and ‘Gossip Girl’ fan.”

 

The first event to take place was titled: “The Amount is Correct”, and was a play on “The Price is Right”. It used the same style of set up, and the contestants would individually run up to the stage out of the audience. This quick event led into one of the main segments, The Semi-Real world video. The pulldown screen rolled down steadily and the video started playing as soon as it was at the correct height. In the video, each member would walk up to the same door, but in groups of two, and be greeted by Frank who would tell them “No cell phone, no wifi…no nothing.” “How do you live!?” was just one of the frightened responses of an entering student.

 

For some odd reason, the boys eventually were required to create their own respective dances, and as they are all brainstorming about it they come up with some quite hilarious creations. “I call it durrrecccct the tre traffic…durrreccct the traffic,” Simms said as the crowd bursted into laughter. “Respect the classics” another member jokes as he walks through the group doing the macarina. Omar, a crowd favorite, then went on to show off his birdy/zombie dance, which was hilarious. “Its been seven days…since we first left our contestants, lets see how they’ve been doing,” Frank said over the microphone, before the screen pulled up for the next event of the night.

 

The next event was simply called “Grooving with the Guys” and was simply just that. They all dance together starting off to the song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke and quickly transferring to “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry, then “Happy” by Pharell, finishing with “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus, only to be followed by the guys taking a group selfie while Laura held up a sign that read “Take that Ellen!”

 

Strangely enough it was now that I realized one of the contestants told me he was not a part of the show in the crowd, yet he was up there participating the entire time. This left me quite confused. Nonetheless, the next segment required two contestants, this time these contestants were audience members though, to allow the Mr. CCSU guys a break. “How about Jess (who later described her last name as Brita, like the water filter) come on up,” Frank said. As the two failed miserably trying to stack a bunch of golf balls, Frank said that he figured this might happen, and proposed a hula competition instead. Jess won quickly and raised her hands with excitement, continually spinning the hula hoop around her waist, even after she already won. “You may not keep the hula hoop,” Frank jokingly commented as the little intermission event came to a close.

The five judges present were announced and included people from the President of Barrows Hall and CAN – to Nick D. of SUBOG. “Lets hear it for our judges this evening,” Laura exclaimed…”and lets get started,” Frank finished off. “CCSU’s Got Talent” was the following event that the contestants were responsible to partake in.

 

“Tonight for you I thought we’d do a little bit of improv,” Simms, one of the funniest contestants, says, as he volunteers the two hosts of the show to be a part of his bit. “This is payback Frank – for my phone,” he says jokingly, referring to the Semi-Real World video from earlier in the night. Simms asks the audience for help creating a crazy made-up situation, as he tells the crowd: “You can make me a cactus- you can make Laura [become] Jack Miller.” “ASAP Ferg!” an audience member directly in front of me shouted, Simms admitting right after that he had no idea who that was. “Frank is a drag queen,” Laura announced for the scenario… and she actually ended up playing Jack Miller, the CCSU President. “Where are we…we’re at a bank,” Simms says. “Hello there I would like to deposit some money in the bank,” Laura says in a very slow and deep voice. “Excuse me sir…ma’am?” Simms spouts as Frank whips his tie around his own neck and drags Simms out to close the set, which was executed near flawlessly.

 

Omar was next up, and his quick little introductory statement was completely drowned out by personal cheers and support from his fans in the audience. Wearing glasses, jeans, and a red polo collared shirt, Omar finally got a chance to speak to the now calm crowd. “Good evening ladies and gentlemen, my name is Omar Taylor,” he said, just before going into his quite heavy speech about love and life alike.

 

“Love fills the hart of all and leads to the truest beauty of all – the beauty of life,” is just one very minuscule quote that helps summarize what Taylor was getting at. The speech brought many in the crowd to tears and received a near unanimous standing ovation – something that not a single other contestant received throughout the night, making this moment special and memorable.

 

Kieran was the next contestant for this segment and played sheet music on his Casio keyboard, with a bit of a skit in the mix. Colin was next up, and he was joined by Matt, who was the second half of his comedic segment – which was absolutely hysterical. The duo perfectly executed an idiotic conversation between two sports nuts that was going absolutely nowhere. This one really had the crowd laughing consistently. Ryan P. was next, showcasing his soccer skills. Then came Ryan B. with his dances and air-guitar moves to classic music. This event finished with one of the judges saying that Zack was the best looking, and another judge saying that Colin’s skit was the funniest, which was hard to argue with.

 

“The Pirahna Tank” was one of the last events prior to the crowning of 2014’s Mr. CCSU, and each contestant had to try and sell their respective inventions to the judges. Omar came out with a box, simply calling it “The Imagination Station”, emphasizing that “Once you step inside…it’ll take you anywhere you wanna go.”

 

Omar Taylor ended up being crowned as this years Mr. CCSU, and this seemed to be an almost unanimous decision by the judges. Omar has his heavy, emotional and heartfelt speech to thank for that – it was well-deserved, being that his performance was the most well-rounded.

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A User’s Newest Euphoria?

By: Brittany Hill

With a person dying every 36 minutes from an opioid overdose, there is no question why the Food and Drug Administration willingly approved an anti-overdose drug last week.

The single-dose injection, Evzio, counteracts the body’s reaction to an opioid, reversing the effects such as a lowered heart rate or loss of consciousness.

Evzio is a naloxone drug, which acts as an opioid antagonist and is commonly used to treat overdoses. Its active ingredients bind to the brain’s receptors stronger than those of an opioid. This reverses the effects of an overdose that may otherwise cause death.

Morphine, heroin and oxycodone are all considered opioids due to their molecular makeup. Without Evzio to react against these opioids, a body’s central nervous system and respiratory system could ultimately shut down and result in possible unconsciousness or death.

But if there is one thing that the FDA has not yet learned, it is that treating a drug problem with another drug is a vicious cycle.

Prescription drug overdoses account for the majority of injury deaths in the United States. So why would we add another prescription to this list?

Until last week, only trained medical personnel could administer naloxone drugs to patients. But with this single dose injection, any caretaker or guardian can legally obtain and inject this medication into a person’s muscle or vein. It can also be administered through injection into the nasal cavity or under the skin.

It’s a fine line to draw between whose hands this product should land in. Policemen? Ambulance drivers? Legal guardians? What if the person is over 18 and considered an adult? It’s not an easy call.

But family members have publicly expressed that without this drug their loved ones would not be alive right now. Still, it’s only the beginning for its use by the general public.

However, this injection may be pushing a serious problem to the back burner. A heroin addiction, or an addiction to any opioid, does not call for a mere backup plan in case of an emergency. The addiction itself is an emergency.

This go-to lifesaver will certainly give many users a second chance to live and a second chance to turn their life around. But at what cost?

The clientele that this drug intends to treat do not think rationally. People with serious drug addictions are not going to use less or be more cautious when using knowing that this back-up plan exists. In fact, it could do the very opposite.

An addiction holds no judgments. The weak, strong, rich and poor all engage in drug use and can get addicted. But through all these variances remains a constant – they become a slave to the drug. If the serious possibility of death did not resonate before, how will the user perceive a drug like Evzio? It is just going to make matters worse.

Once any prescription drug hits the market, people experiment. And not just any people, but those who are willing to try new drugs and undergo the euphoric state without fearing negative or harmful repercussions. Although authorities claim that this fresh-to-the-market drug is non-addictive and will take no effect on someone not experiencing an opioid high, experimentation is bound. Experimentation by the very people this drug intends to save.

The intentions are good. And ultimately lives will be saved. But the money used in this latest invention could have been allocated for a more constructive means of tackling drug use and drug addiction. Instead, Evzio will begin the first of many cover-up treatments that on the surface will help some, but in the end will hurt many more.

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Rental Cars Out, Rental Bikes In

By: Jacqueline Stoughton

Central Connecticut State University has begun plans to install a new bike share program on campus, where various bike racks filled with rental bikes would be installed all around campus accessible by all.

The bike racks would allow students to take a bike off one rack and ride it to another part of campus and put it back on another near by bike rack.

The bike share program is projected to begin within a 2015-2016 time frame, assuming that a study testing its usefulness is first successful.  Facilitators are aiming for this to take off shortly after the official opening of the CTFastrak.

“Right now we’re doing a feasibility study to get a sense of whether or not it’ll be successful,” said Tim Malon, facilitator of the bike share program.  “We’re looking to see if there’s a market for it, we’re looking up current technologies and seeing what areas it’ll be most successful in.”

Facilitators involved in the bike share program are conducting a regional study in the Greater Hartford Transportation District, Central Connecticut Regional, State Department Transportation and the city of New Britain.  If the bike share is successful in those areas, then facilitators will begin to look into installing it on the CCSU campus.

“It’ll be successful in the sense that it helps you get to your final destination,” said Malon.  “Buses don’t usually drop you off exactly where you want to be.”

The bike share cost will be divided into cost phases, along with operating costs.  Although those costs are still fluctuating and have yet to be settled on, Malon explains the estimated operating deficit be around $150,000 a year.

“A lot of students want a bike on campus but don’t know where to keep it,” said Malon.  “We talked to a lot of students last year about if they would bring a bike on campus, and a lot of students said they did but it got stolen or vandalized.”

Malon explains that with the bike share program, students wouldn’t have to worry about their personal bike getting stolen or vandalized.

“You wouldn’t have to worry about that with bike share.  You just take the bike when you need it and bring it back when you don’t,” said Malon.  “This would expand the mobility of students who don’t have a car on campus.”

This bike share program being introduced to campus comes at the same time as the Hertz rental car contract, signed last year, being cancelled.

“The benefit of Hertz was it reduced carbon emissions because students didn’t have to have a car on campus,” said Charles Button, geography professor at CCSU.  “It benefitted students and the goal of carbon neutrality.”

Button says how Hertz rental cars failed because no one was promoting it, no one wanted to step up to it.  According to Button, whoever is in charge of sustainability should have been managing it.  Or, whoever is in charge of providing services to students theoretically could have been managing it as well.

“Both those groups could’ve stepped up but the bottom line is nobody did,” said Button.

“When it was brought onto campus, who was responsible for it wasn’t defined well.  Ultimately, this is a learning experience for the bike share,” said Stephen Watton, chemistry professor at CCSU.  “If we’re going to do this, who is in charge of it needs to be clearly defined.”

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The Wrongful Occupation of Hawai’i

By Kevin Jachimowicz

 

Last Wednesday evening, Keala Kelly, prize-winning writer and director of the documentary film, “Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawai’i”, held a viewing and discussion session for her film and its sometimes controversial standpoints.

In the Hawaiian language, hewa means “wrong” and noho means “to occupy”. The documentary is a contemporary look at Hawaiian people, politics and resistance in the face of their systematic erasure under U.S. laws, economics, militarism and real estate speculation. “Noho Hewa” promises to deliver what ‘the tourists don’t see; the government won’t say … the truth about hawai’i.’

The DVD cover and its promotional material utilize a striking image of a blindfolded and gagged man in portrait view. In the backdrop, visible are red, white and blue stripes. He is long haired and goateed, with a triangular Native Hawaiian tattoo running vertically down his cheek.

The film presents a counter-narrative to the destructive stereotypes that are used to uphold injustice and oppression, and pulls strings which inspire us to engage human agency towards social justice. The film highlights the many nuances of militarism in the pacific, interviewing soldiers, activists, academics and the families of those stationed in HI.

With a whopping approximation of seven million tourists annually choosing Hawai’i as their couple day escape to bask in the sunlight, the island remains a nearly impossible-to-ignore source of revenue for some. It is also hard to ignore the other end of the spectrum – the natives and the real citizens. Throughout the film, narrative from various citizens shed light on their reality.

“This isn’t our natural environment anymore. It’s a tourist environment. There are more military people here than there are Hawaiins,” just scratches the surface of the harsh suffering that many of these people deal with every single day. Homelessness in Hawai’i has also tripled in the past three years.

One citizen, Maria Betran, was evicted from her makeshift home on the side of the road; her and her family members cuffed and arrested on the spot. You see them peacefully and beautifully sing a prayer in unison in the backseat of the police car before the cop rudely slams their door – they continue through the hardly opened windows.

“Its just what ethnic cleanings done,” a nearby person says. An approximated 3,000 Hawaiins live on beaches and in bushes. This is typically maintained through the use of make-shift tents that usually also have makeshift appliances.

The United States of America admitted to the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai’i in the 1993 Apology Resolution, signed by Bill Clinton. This was followed by the similarly controversial Akaka bill, which garnered nearly as much opposition, despite its supposed good intentions. More than 90 percent of everything consumed in Hawaii is shipped from the United States. Strangely enough, the United States still participates in suspicious practices throughout the island – shutting down and selling movie theaters, golf courses, batting cages and driving ranges – supposedly to Mansato.

“We have the most open field test sites for GMO’s in the whole world…our people and our future are for experiments,” one activist said. “They’re taking our water – and they’re using it on stuff we can’t eat!” he continued, referring to the high amounts of growth of inedible, experimental corn.

During the discussion portion of the event, Kelly, and an ex-military expert she brought along, explained in detail their views and knowledge on the topic, and later answered questions from the audience.

“The idea of [sovereignty and indigeneity] actually collide,” the ex-military official said. “Countries only do things if they have a vested interest – and thats just how the game works.”

One audience member next pointed out just how fair he believed the films’ portrayal of the situation was – and how it seems even worse when you go there in real life. “I’ve seen the so-called homeless shelters…it looks like a detention center…Many of people who are out there living on the beach, are driving back into Honalulu to work at a hotel all day long,” the audience member continued.

Another audience member’s question spurred the ex-military expert to give an even deeper explanation than he earlier had: “Sovereignty always means supreme authority over territory. It is political independence. Independence and sovereignty are synonymous. A state, cannot have its sovereignty recognized, unless it is recognized by another sovereign state. We have this example with Palestine…Once you are a state it is not extinguished…Another state becomes its successor. There’s always a genealogy of sovereignty. There’s never a severance. Once you give life to a sovereign state, it’s like giving birth to a subject of international law. For Hawai’i, we believed we had to pursue our sovereignty through decolonization – that’s a fabricated story.”

Kelly also spoke of the similarities seen in resource rich continents, such as Africa: “Whats the narrative of Africa? Poverty, when in reality, Africa is the richest place on earth – resource wise. It is the wealthiest continent on the planet. What is the history of it? Extraction of its resources, extraction of its indigenous people…centuries of that. And what is the narrative of Waianae (A Census-designated place in Honolulu, Country) – poverty. That always circled back to the centuries of white supremacists kind of story telling that have dominated much of the world and much of history –  how could a place as amazing as Waianae be turned into a place thats about poverty – where its psychologically [embedded] into the brain that you are just in poverty,” she emphasized.

“Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawai’i, In October 2008, an unfinished version of “Noho Hewa” premiered at the Hawaii International Film Festival and received the Award For Best Documentary; in January 2010, the completed edition of the film screened at the Pacific International Documentary Film Festival and was awarded the Special Jury Prize.

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Style Springs Up Around Campus for New Season

Kiley Krzyzek

 

 

Spring has finally sprung, and that means spring style! Students are ready for warm weather with their summery shorts and long skirts. Take looks inspired by the catwalk and music festivals straight to campus.

 

Bold colors such as reds, oranges and blues are popping up like flowers. Solid colors emphasize the shape of the clothes, whereas patterns such as stripes and floral print catch the eye.

 

For ladies, tops are getting smaller while skirt lengths are extending. Asymmetrical skirts are shorter in the front and draped longer in the back, making for a pretty silhouette. Donna Karen had a lot of tribally-printed, asymmetrical skirts in her ready-to-wear spring 2014 collection. SXSW attendees in Texas rocked asymmetrical skirts with cowboy boots.

 

Maxi skirts are all the rage this season, coming in an array of patterns in soft and sheer fabrics that just barely brush the ground. Floor skimming skirts were all over the fashion week catwalks, featured by designers such as Tory Burch and Badgley Mischka, and worn by top model Karlie Kloss at the Carolina Herrera show. The style works for all body types and elongates the look of legs.

 

Both skirt and dress styles balance out looks featuring crop-tops and strapless shirts. Designer Diane von Furstenberg included an array of fancy cropped shirts in her spring 2014 collection. Coachella music festival fans are sporting crop-tops with short-shorts, long skirts, and bohemian headbands.

 

Guys can pull of wearing shorts and shirts in statement colors such as red, and mix and match. Simply pull the look together with a belt and shoes in the same neutral color. Boat shoes and oxfords are a cool alternative to shake things up.

 

Matthew Dain, senior, wore a bright blue t-shirt and fiery red cargo shorts. His black belt and sneakers tied his outfit of the day together.

 

Shoe styles that work for everyone are sandals and slip on shoes such as Toms, which are casual, comfortable and suitable for trekking around campus for a good part of the day.

 

CCSU students were spotted strutting through campus in their best spring looks. Freshman Ashley Perez was wearing a cute asymmetrical styled red dress. The outfit was perfect for the sunny, yet windy weather because the cut of the skirt made it flow perfectly in the breeze. The simple black strapless bodice leaves the focus on the skirt. Ashley completed the look with sunglasses and sandals.

 

 

Tyler Polonsky, a sophomore, rocked a black and grey maxi skirt. The diagonal stripes gave added dimension to the look. Similar tribal looks were on the runway for spring 2014 for Yve Saint Laurent and Gucci. She kept the top simple with a royal blue crop top covered with a grey cardigan to pull the ensemble together.

 

Even if you’re not modeling down a runway, or rocking out at a major music fest, enjoy your warm weather wardrobe!

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STEM Majors Gain Merit; Others Left Behind

By Ruth Bruno

CCSU students majoring in areas of math and science could find themselves in a new school by next semester.

A proposal to create a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) School has been approved by the president of CCSU, Faculty Senate and each department that would become part of the new school. The STEM School will include five departments that are currently in the Carrol A. Ammon School of Arts and Sciences. These departments will merge with the existing School of Engineering and Technology to create the new School.

Before the STEM School can be officially established at CCSU it must be approved by the Connecticut State College and Universities Board of Regents for Higher Education. According to Carl R. Lovitt, Vice President for Academic Affairs, this approval will be readily granted.

“As far as we’re concerned, it’s a done deal so we don’t expect the Board of Regents to say we can’t do this. They’re going to be very happy because everybody says we need more STEM graduates,” said Lovitt.

Lovitt, along with the chairmen of several science departments, has expressed the concern that the School of Arts and Sciences is currently too large to meet the demands of its 21 departments.

“The main advantage we see is that when you have all the science and engineering departments together, the dean is always going to be someone who understands science and is always going to be a strong advocate for sciences,” said Barry Westcott, chair of the department of chemistry and biochemistry,  who said that his department has been in favor of starting a STEM School for the past 10 years.

“Right now, some of our Deans are from philosophy, literature. Not that they’re bad, they’re not bad at all …but they don’t understand our subject,” said Fatemeh Abdollahzadeh, a computer science professor, is also in support of becoming part of a school that is smaller and more concentrated.

In October of last year, CCSU sent a document the Connecticut State College Board of Regents outlining its wishes to create a STEM school. The Initiative mentioned that this would be the first STEM School at a public university. It is estimated that within the next five years, the STEM school will attract approximately 600 undergraduates. The initiative also said the STEM school would be beneficial to Connecticut’s economy, as an estimated 75 percent of new jobs in Connecticut will require a background in STEM disciplines.

Lovitt said a STEM school will be beneficial to students, not only in providing them with marketable skills, but also in matching students with prospective employers.

“I think this will enable us to leverage a lot more support from employers than we have in the past. The School of Engineering and Technology has a very robust infrastructure of industrial advisory boards and they typically don’t have that on the arts and sciences side,” said Lovitt.

In addition to these long-term benefits, Lovitt says there are some changes that students can help students immediately. If the STEM School is approved, students of the school might expect to have an easier time getting the classes they need to graduate.

“Schools develop their own schedules. Science, technology, mathematics and engineering are very closely aligned anyway, so by putting them under the same organizational structure we’re going to make things much more efficient,” said Lovitt.

While the departments which plan on leaving the School of Arts and Sciences are in support of becoming part of the STEM School, some professors left in their original school are not as optimistic about the new school’s prospects.

“I’m not even sure that this is going to be as marketable as they think it’s going to be,” said Steven Horowitz, a CCSU professor of psychological science.

Horowitz feels that quite a bit of thought has gone into the STEM School, but the fact that there will be two different schools for sciences, leaves the School of Arts and Sciences with an indefinite description.

“How do you define science? I think what I do is science. Who gets to make that decision?”

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With Playoffs Looming, Pacers Need to Find Offense

by Navindra Persaud

When the Miami Heat defeated the Indiana Pacers last Friday, it showed quite a bit of weakness in the Pacers offense. As things stand, the Pacers are in the number two spot in the Eastern Conference but they will need to figure out a way to get past the offensive slump that they have been in lately.

There has been very little effective ball movement from the Pacers on the offensive end, and they are very fortunate to at least have the number two seed. They may survive the first round of the NBA playoffs, but may not make it out of the second round if they have to face the Chicago Bulls, who have really put together a stellar season, given the circumstances following Derrick Rose’s season ending injury and other ailing players.

Brian Windhorst said it best in his article for ESPN last Saturday: “All of it comes down to their struggle to execute such basic concepts like throwing entry passes, standing in the best spot or setting a screen that actually screens someone. There’s sloppiness and poor execution everywhere.”

It is hard to pinpoint whether the problem is with Frank Vogel’s coaching or simply just the players failing to understand, but he looked visibly upset with the way his offense was performing. Vogel stated in a post game interview for ESPN that he was still confident in the team and still believes that the team is in good shape.

Indiana guard Paul George, who finished the game against the Heat with 22 points, five rebounds and five assists in the loss also said that the team needs to be able to “prepare well.” He relied on the excuse that in the playoffs the team understands that it’s a clean slate and that they will be able to start fresh. Though this may be the case, the Pacers should worry about their offensive problems now in order to make a statement in the closing games of the regular season.

The Miami Heat have managed to show that they don’t plan on cruising out the remainder of the season and that is something the Pacers should strongly try to mimic. It would be in their best interest to start putting the fear in other teams in the Eastern Conference.

In the last 13 games that the Pacers have played they have only scored above 90 points four times. They managed to get through the season and just finding their offense at times, but streaky will not be enough to get them through the playoffs and into championship contention.

Fans also have to take into consideration that the Pacers struggled even with Miami guard Dwayne Wade sitting out of the game. With Miami’s full roster, the Pacers have to worry about Wade as another offensive threat that they will either need to match or eliminate by playing excellent on the defensive end.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chicago Bulls posed more of a threat to Miami than the Indiana Pacers do at this point because of their effective defense. While Indiana’s defense is decent, it is clearly not enough to offset a smooth offensive team like the Bulls have managed to be this season.

Paul George is a great scorer but he can not bear the load on his own, and so far this season starting point guard, George Hill, has only managed to average 10.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists. To have a point guard struggling as Hill wasn’t able to score against the Heat.

The Pacers are being a little bit too passive and they do not look like a team who is hungry enough to win the NBA championship. They need to whip themselves into shape as the regular season comes to a close.

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Baby, If You Were Words On a Page, You’d Be Fine Print

During my freshman year of college I was approached by a guy on campus and asked in a very serious tone, “How much does a polar bear weigh?” Confused and a little taken aback I said that I did not know. He then cracked a grin, extended his hand and said “enough to break the ice”, and introduced himself.  I was on the receiving end of a pickup line and you know what, I thought it was great.

We’ve all seen a movie or television show that portrays some poor, awkward guy standing alone at a bar, trying to muster up the courage to approach an attractive individual and spark a conversation only to stumble over a corny pickup line that results in either a dirty look or a drink thrown in his face.

I for one love pickup lines. When presented correctly they can be a hilarious icebreaker and actually start a real conversation. People who open up conversations with pickup lines show that they have confidence which is always an attractive quality and some pickup lines can be adorable. They are also a good way to get your point across to the other person that you are interested in them without engaging in a drawn-out conversation that ends with them mentioning a significant other. Once a pickup line is delivered, that person on the receiving end has the chance to politely end the conversation and walk away or take a chance and introduce themselves.

Ask any of your friends to quote their favorite pickup lines and I guarantee you they can immediately list of a a few that make them all laugh. So, if your friends are laughing then there stands a pretty good chance you’ll get that girl or guy in the bar to laugh too.

It all depends on the delivery. If you’re creepy with your pickup line, the chances of getting a drink thrown in your face can be pretty high. If you are really interested in chatting up a cutie then give a more light-hearted, funny line rather than a raunchy, rude one liner that can be taken offensively. No one wants to end up with a vodka-tonic in their eyes, it burns and then the other person has to spend money on another drink.

There are also tons of career oriented pickup lines that you can try out on a coworker or someone you know in the same type of field. I think that these are the best type of icebreaker, you can start talking about your common interests and goals and after awhile you may become one of that individuals new interest.

Some people might not think that pickup lines can actually spark a little something, but they can. They are charming and funny, showing a great sense of humor. Who doesn’t love someone who can make them laugh? Or someone who can laugh at themselves?

I don’t know if I am the one girl who could be picked up by the cheesiest pickup line out there, but you never know. If you’re light-hearted and don’t mind people laughing at you, what do you have to lose? Like I said, keep them clean yet witty, flattering and fun.

Now go out and try some of your favorite pickup lines. I suggest avoiding the tired and cliched ones such as, “Did it hurt…when you fell from heaven?” or, “Are your legs tired? Because you’ve been running through my dreams all night.” Be creative, be fun and be bold because really, my body has a deadline and if we don’t hurry we’re going to miss it.

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SGA Bullet Points 4/9

By Joe Suszczynski

  •  Senator Abdallah Alsaqri motioned to allocate no more than $400 to purchase Student Government Association graduation stoles. It was later amended to say that the senators graduating have to pay at least $18. A stole cost $34 and the rationale was that the graduating senators had to pay at least $18 due to it being at least 51% of the cost. The motion passed with 17 “yes” votes, seven “no” votes, and three “abstain” votes.
  •  A motion was made to allocate $6,500, later amended to $6,400 due to typo, to the Student Life Committee from SG9010 for the It’s Not Easy Being Green event. The motion passed with 25 “yes” votes and two “abstain” votes.
  •  A motion was made and passed with 24 “yes” votes and two “abstain votes to allocate $400 from SG9195 for coffee talks on the smoke free campus.
  •  A motion was made to allocate $2886 to the Center Stage revenue account. It passed with 27 “yes” votes, six “no” votes, and one “abstain” votes.
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Baseball’s Replay Pains

by Sean Begin

The 2014 baseball season comes with a major shift in the way games are umpired: for the first time ever, instant replay will be used extensively throughout the game.

But three weeks into the season, it’s already facing major obstacles.

In a game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees over the weekend, the Yankees Dean Anna was showed on the TV broadcast to have clearly been tagged out, even though the initial ruling was safe. But after Sox manager John Farrell challenged the call, instead of being overturned it was confirmed.

The next day, Farrell became the first manager in the major’s to be ejected from a game for arguing the results of instant replay review when Yankees first baseman Francisco Cervelli was called safe at first.

But after Saturday’s call, it’s hard not to agree with Farrell. Anna should have been out at second. After that game, an MLB official acknowledged that the Replay Operations Center in New York that handles all replay challenges did not have immediate access to all conclusive angles.

Wait, what?

How do multiple TV broadcast (I watched the game on the YES Network, but it was also broadcast on NESN and Fox Sports 1) immediately see a perfect angle showing Anna is out but the ROC doesn’t get it?

Is there some miscommunication between the providers of the footage (the channels broadcasting the game) and the ROC? Maybe someone just choked. Maybe they felt rushed to make a quick decision that they didn’t go through all available angles. Maybe it was simply technical difficulties.

None of that matters, though.

Replay in baseball has long been an issue of contention. Purists will argue that it takes the human element (umpires) out of the game. Proponents of the system, ironically, will argue the same point.

While I’m all for expanded replay (baseball added replay on home run calls in 2008) it’s becoming increasingly clear that patience on many levels is being worn thin.

These early months of replay are when it will be most scrutinized. Mistakes like the one in the Sox/Yankees game, or lengthy reviews like the four minute, 45 second one that took place in a game between Oakland and Cleveland earlier this season, will provide proof for the doubters that the system isn’t perfect yet.

But that’s precisely the point. John Schuerholz – former Braves manager and one of the minds behind replay – called 2014 the first year of a “three-year rollout” of expanded replay. Patience becomes necessary.

But for fans, managers and players patience isn’t always a strong suit. And with baseball already facing issues of game length (the average game length has gone up 30 minutes since the 1960s) there is no room for five minute reviews that come up “inconclusive.”

Now is the time for replay to show its usefulness. Through the first 141 games of the season (about two weeks), replay overturned a call once in every 6.7 games. Out of 64 challenges, 21 have been overturned with the average replay length 2:15. These are not bad numbers, even though the time can continue to be decreased.

And most of these early mistakes seem to be technical, which should be expected given the newness of the system. But the way replay is used still needs policing.

Managers have already shown that these new replay rules can be bent and twisted as strategy for giving bullpen pitchers more time to warm up without the struggling starter continuing to flounder, or will come out to talk with the umpires while they wait for the team’s new replay guy to determine if a challenge is necessary (which, of course, only adds to the length of a game).

Look, it’s not surprising there are kinks to the system. But some of these mistakes and issues have been so glaring that the people decrying replay as a failure will only get louder. Baseball should take some quick and necessary steps to shore up replay before those voices continue to grow.

 

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YG’s Debut Provides Modern Taste of Long-Missing West Coast Sound

By Kevin Jachimowicz

 

“My Krazy Life,” by rapper YG, is a surprisingly good listen. Pitchfork recently scored the album with a solid 8.1, which has been described as “deserved” by many. YG’s right hand man, DJ, and producer majority of the time, DJ Mustard, currently have ten tracks on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. The album marks a pivotal point for the duo; Mustard’s production and YG’s songwriting are making their way into the mainstream and onto radio waves throughout the country.

 

YG is initialism for “Young Gangster.” The rapper’s birth name is Keenon Daequan Ray Jackson. He became known minimally through rap music with his 2009 debut single, which featured the now famous signee of Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign, and peaked at number 67 on the Billboard Hot 100. This was just after serving six months in jail for residential burglary charges. While incarcerated, YG’s music began to build a buzz through MySpace. Directly out of jail, YG was arranging meetings with Atlantic Records and Def Jam — he chose to sign with Def Jam because he loves the video game “Def Jam Vendetta.” The success of the 2009 single resulted in YG’s signing to the Def Jam Recordings label. In the years that followed, the rapper released a handful of mixtapes, which also went on to propel his career into further success.

 

The completely covered-in-ink rapper is seeing much success from the album for good reason. “My Krazy Life” took many rap fans by surprise, especially because its release arrived with YG’s modern version of the west-coast, G-Funk dominated sound, that was originally founded with the creation of Dr. Dre’s 1992 debut, “The Chronic.” Although “My Krazy Life” does not have the same impact as “The Chronic,” it is the best effort seen in more than a decade to bring any type of old-school, west-coast hip-hop, back to life. Stylistically, YG claims he was aiming for a sound reminiscent of Snoop Dogg’s “Doggystyle,” and traces of the classic album are definitely present here — especially in the honest and realistic approach songs such as “1AM” and “Meet the Flockers” take, touching base on YG’s previous criminal background. These songs bounce successfully against more positive upbeat tracks — “I Just Wanna Party” for example, featuring Schoolboy Q and Jay Rock, members of Kendrick Lamar’s group Black Hippy and label Top Dawg Entertainment.

 

In June of 2013, YG officially signed to Young Jeezy’s CTE World imprint. YG’s 2013 smash-hit, “My N***a,” featuring Jeezy and Rich Homie Quan,  peaked at 19 on the Billboard Hot 100, making for his highest charting song yet in his career. YG announced in September that the name of the debut album was to change from “I’m From Bompton” to “My Krazy Life.” YG said Jeezy asked him, “Who do you want to support your album? Do you want a certain type of people or do you want the whole world?” YG responded with “the whole world.” “Left, Right” and “Who Do You Love?” featuring Drake were the next two singles released leading up to the release of YG’s debut and are amongst the top tracks on the album. “Left, Right” highlights DJ Mustards’ skills as a producer, while “Who Do You Love” articulates YG’s growth as a hook-man. The album was released on March 18, 2014.

 

The album begins with the “Momma Speech Intro,” a quick intro containing YG’s mother screaming and warning him that he “better not be outside with them gang-bangers.” This little quote sets the tone for the entirety of the album; it is filled with skits that reenact moments of YG’s reality as a youngster. “I Just Want To Party” features fellow Los Angeles rappers Schoolboy Q and Jay Rock. The song aims to put affiliations and street politics aside — they just want to party. On the Ty Dolla Sign-produced and one of the best tracks of the album, ”Really Be (Smokin’ & Drinkin’),” YG and Kendrick Lamar rap individually about using their favorite substances to numb their personal pains. Lamar justifies his affinity for alcohol by detailing the messed up things that have happened to him in the recent past, including the death of his close friend Chad: “I’m on this tour bus and I’m f****d up, I got a bad call // They killed Braze, they killed Chad, my big homie Pup // Puppy eyes in my face, bruh, and I’ve really been drinkin’,” the rapper spurts as his voice raises. The album’s ending track, “Sorry Momma,” is an ode to YG’s mother, and features a gospel-esque chorus, sung by YG’s long-time collaborator Ty Dolla Sign, and also contains a soulful saxophone, the instrumental produced by Terrace Martin.

“My Krazy Life” is available on iTunes and in stores now.

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Community Garden Yields Opportunity

By: Jacqueline Stoughton

Students at Central Connecticut State University are teaming up to build a community garden on campus.

The garden will be located on the Paul Manafort Drive side of Copernicus garage where faculty, staff and students will be able to obtain their own plot of the garden to grow and harvest whatever they desire.

“The Garden of Eaten’,” as it will be called, will be 2,500 square feet of growing space.   The total area is about 3,000-4,000 square feet; most of that space will be constructed into walking space.  There’s also an area next to the growing soil that is full of gravel that could potentially be transformed into extended growing space in the future.

“People will have their own plot to grow whatever they want in that space.  Such as food, herbs and maybe some flowers,” said Dr. Kurt Love, assistant professor at CCSU and facilitator of the community garden project.  “It’s free, and we’re going to try and be flexible with the size of plots we give out instead of assigning standard sized plots to everyone.”

“For now, everyone will be responsible for their own seeds and gardening supplies,” said Love.

Everyone is free to grow whatever he or she want in his or her plots.  The only restrictions are the seeds have to be organic.  Love explains how the garden will be strictly a non-GMO, organic garden with no fertilizer use.

“If people knew more about where their food comes from, people might care more about it,” said Nicole Gaudreau, Garden of Eaten’ student volunteer.  “A lot of our food is processed.  People should be aware that there are other options.”

Quality of the soil and how to obtain gardening supplies are the last remaining details to be situated before the gardens projected opening date that is set for sometime in the beginning of May, around the time of the start of the official gardening and growing season.

“People typically start gardening on mothers day since there’s no longer a risk of frost that fruity plants wouldn’t do well in,” said Love.  “We’re more or less ready to go.  Finding out whether or not the soil is healthy is the only hiccup.”

Love explains how he still has to send soil samples to a lab that will test the soil for various toxins such as lead; this will determine if the soil is healthy to grow and eat food from.  If the soil comes back positive, then they will have to remediate it, which will take a year to complete.

“If we have to remediate it, we will ask for volunteers to help with that and remediate it for the next growing season.  These are all common problems,” said Love.  “In order to remediate the soil, we would have to grow sun flowers or fill the garden space with heavy compost.  We will do what we can to make the soil healthy again.”

The next step Love explains is figuring out where gardening supplies would come from.  Whether plot owners would have to bring their own, or the university will fund and supply them is still to be determined.  Love also wants to work more on advertising the community garden and getting the notice out in order for the Central community to be aware that this garden exists so students, faculty, staff and even clubs on campus can start claiming their own plots.

Vandalizing and destruction of the garden were major concerns expressed by student volunteers.  Along with what they will do with the food they grow in their garden.  Love says donating the food to shelters or soup kitchens would be something he’s in favor for, if that’s even a feasible possibility.  These are all factors of the garden that will be determined once it’s up and running.

“Would people steal food?  But, that’s the point of a community garden, to grow food for the community,” said Love.  “This is it’s own statement.  People have to be okay with people walking by and taking a tomato.”

“Gardening is an important step towards building a sustainable community and life,” said Gaudreau.  “For every plant, you reduce carbon emissions.  I’m sure this will help the school be more green.”

If any students, clubs or faculty and staff members are interested in volunteering with the Garden of Eaten’ project or would like to obtain their own plot to grow in the garden, Dr. Love asks that you contact him via email at lovekua@ccsu.edu so he can start compiling a list of volunteers that are interested in being more involved with the project.

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Wethersfield Resident Represents USA in Perth, Australia

By Kevin Jachimowicz

Adam Stankiewicz, 20, a Wethersfield resident and junior, partaking in the University of Hartford’s Web Design & Development program, has garnered an impressive amount of attention recently, and for good reason – he’s the youngest active member of the United States Boomerang Team.

Stankiewicz is also an important member of the Wandering Nutmeg Boomerang Society, due in part to his assistance in giving them a web presence. His roles for them include Designer & Developer, SEO Specialist and Copywriter. Stankiewicz, a Haddam, CT native, is currently partaking in the World Boomerang Cup in Australia until the 23rd of this month as a member of the U.S. national team. In 2014, 25 countries maintain national boomerang organizations, with a World Boomerang Championship held every two years.

Adam was featured on a FOX CT news broadcast on Friday, April 4, and was in a photo essay in The Hartford Courant on Sunday, April 6. Stankiewicz even recently practiced publicly at Mill Woods Park in Wethersfield. His license plate also purposely bears “B*RANGS,” as Adam proudly continues his quest to further himself as a boomerang expert and into a boomerang champion.

Historically, boomerangs were a valuable hunting item, which seemed to have been a part of an arsenal of weapons in the Stone Age. Despite the people of this time creating the invention, its aerodynamics remain minimally understood by modern science. It also remains unknown exactly who invented the first returning boomerang, along with how the process was done. Modernly, boomerangs are used as sports items the majority of the time. They are generally thrown in treeless, large open spaces that are twice as large as the range of the boomerang.

Modern boomerang tournaments typically involve a number of challenging events, in which the thrower stands at the center of rings marked in an open field, throwing individually. These events include: Aussie Round, Accuracy, Endurance, Fast Catch, and more. Aussie Round is considered by many in the sport to be the ultimate test of a thrower’s true boomerang skills. During this event, each thrower is given five attempts to try and make their respective boomerang cross the 160-foot circle, and then come right back to the center.

Adam’s story of his first ever encounter with boomerang was documented in the Middletown Press, and consists of a man flying a stunt kite who simply noticed that Stankiewicz’s kite had gotten stuck in a tree. The man came over and helped out Adam and his cousin, handing them his own kite after to let them have a go round with one of much higher quality. Adam loved it so much he bought one of his own. A couple weeks later Stankiewicz encountered the same man again who asked him if he had ever tried boomerang, and it sparked Adam’s interest enough to eventually do just that.

“He asked if I ever tried throwing a boomerang,” Stankiewicz said in an interview with The Middletown Press. “This sparked my interest and I gave it a try. After catching my first boomerang throw, I was hooked on throwing. There was just something really special about being able to throw something and have it come back and be able to catch it.”

The Australian event’s arrival marks Adam’s second trip to the world championships. He was a member of the U.S. team that finished in fourth place two years ago, that time in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where Adam also happened to earn 18th place in the individual competition.

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Pulitzer Prizes Validate Role of Journalism

The Washington Post and The Guardian were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for public service on Monday for their work reporting the National Security Agency spying scandal that rocked the country. Based on documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, both papers revealed the widespread effort undertaking by the NSA and US government to spy on American citizens in an attempt to prevent future 9/11-esque threats.

The award echoes the one given to The New York Times in 1971 for its publication of the Pentagon Papers leaked by Daniel Ellsberg that revealed the secret history of the Vietnam War and the false information fed to the public by the government.

The Post’s Barton Gellman, who had previously won a Pulitzer for his reporting on former Vice President Dick Cheney’s power within the Bush Administration, and Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Ewan MacAskill writing for The Guardian were the journalists given the award for their reporting.

The documents leaked by Snowden caused him to be labeled as a traitor by some and a national hero by others. The revelations of the NSA’s practices were near-instantly deemed suspicious by the American public and highlighted the need to debate the balance between governmental surveillance/national security and personal privacy. This spurred President Obama to order an investigation into governmental data surveillance, and a handful of reform bills to pass through Congress, in an attempt to safeguard users’ data and bring peace of mind to those with privacy concerns.

Columbia University in New York awards the prizes every year. They were administered this year by Sig Gissler who said the reporting by Greenwald, Poitras, MacAskill and Gellman “helped stimulate the very important discussion about the balance between privacy and security and that discussion is still going on.”

The very name of the award given to The Post and The Guardian encompasses everything journalism represents. Joseph Pulitzer was the first publisher to require university training for his journalists. He set a new standard for journalism, encouraging those who wrote for him to dig deeper. It was at Pulitzer’s newspapers that the modern responsibilities of journalism took root.

Historically, journalism has played the watch dog for big corporations and big government. Early 1900s reporters like Nellie Bly and Upton Sinclair revealed horrid conditions in a psych ward or meat packing plants. And Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein exposed Nixon’s corruption with their coverage of the Watergate Scandal.

The awards given Monday acknowledge the importance that reporting stories like the NSA spying scandal are to educating the public. They celebrate the spirit of legendary cases like that of Woodward and Bernstein.

“Public service feels like a validation of our belief in the face of some pretty strong criticism that the people have a right to take part in drawing the boundaries of secret intelligence in a democracy,” said Gellman of the distinction of the award.

Without the perseverance of journalists, activists and whistleblowers alike, these secrets would remain as such; unknown to the general public. Both the Post and the Guardian are well-deserving of these awards. In a world where journalism is constantly taking new forms, there will always be doubts that the industry will fade but stories like the NSA scandal will keep it around for generations to come.

The industry will exist as long as injustice exists. And if history is indicative of what is to come, journalism will always play an imperative role in serving the people.

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Documentary Exposes State’s Racial Bias

By Ruth Bruno

Only 11 percent of Connecticut’s population is African-American, yet they make up 42 percent of the state’s prison inmates, according to Lubbie Harper Jr., Connecticut Supreme Court Justice and Chair of the Commission, who spoke before the screening of the documentary “The Color of Justice.”

CCSU students and visitors gathered on Tuesday, April 1, to watch a screening of  the documentary and voice their opinions about Connecticut’s juvenile justice system.

Harper went on to say that Hispanics make up 14 percent of Connecticut’s population, yet they accounted for 26 percent of Connecticut inmates.

Harper used these statistics to convey that people of color are not being treated equally in Connecticut and as a call for reform. “We need action if we are to effectively combat racial and ethnic disparity and the negative effects it has on our communities,” Harper told audience members.

“The Color of Justice” deals with individual stories of public officials, police officers and African-American and Hispanic teenagers.

Christine Rapillo of the Office of the Chief Public Defender appeared in the documentary to share her experiences. “Any given day you could walk into our state juvenile detention centers and you’d be hard pressed to find a light colored face. You don’t need a study to walk into a courthouse and see nothing but faces of color to know there’s a problem somewhere,” said Rapillo.

The documentary cited a study by the Center for Disease Control in which high school students anonymously reported their behavior.  The survey found that students of all races committed the same crimes with the same frequency, which has led some psychologists and state officials to believe that police officers are biased toward African-Americans and Hispanics.

Jack Glasser, a doctor of social psychology, appears in the documentary saying that bias is not necessarily easy to avoid.

“Stereotypes are totally normal in human cognition. We draw on mental shortcuts and proper knowledge. That’s totally normal, but highly undesirable especially in positions of power,” said Glasser, who went on to say that implicit bias can be reduced if those who practice it become more aware that they are doing so.

The documentary was produced by Connecticut Public Television, and was sponsored and shown at CCSU by the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Criminal Justice System in partnership with the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance (CJJA) and the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee. The commission’s visit to CCSU was one of at least 30 forums being held statewide.

After the screening, Michelangelo Palimieri, probation supervisor for the Middletown Superior Court for Juvenile Matters, spoke to the audience and said that racial profiling is still a problem in America.

“We experience the world and view it differently based on our own personal experiences. Most white Americans see America as color-blind, but nearly 80 percent of African-Americans do not,” said Palimieri.

Lara Herscovitch, Deputy Director of the CJJA, spoke to the audience and said the alliance is looking at juvenile review boards and working to prevent the detention of children and teenagers who have committed minor, non-violent crimes such as smoking cigarettes and disorderly conduct.

“We have done a good job of turning the tide and looking at prevention and looking at juvenile review boards…we have a long way to go still,” said Herscovitch.

She encouraged attendees to host their own forums and discuss racial bias in America’s juvenile court systems.

“I like how everything they talked about was focused on youth in Connecticut. I also like how it connected with issues that the United States continues to suffer from,” said Thomas Feliciano, a CCSU student. Feliciano said he feels that the topics presented in the film are important issues that need to be talked about.

“The inequality and hierarchy that exists in our society is something I’m really aware of. It’s something we just don’t talk about in our society,” said Victoria Sklepinski, another CCSU student who attended the screening. “If we’re ever going to bring social change into our communities then we need to open up the dialogue for these kinds of issues.”

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Netflix It: “Friday Night Lights”

By Ariana D’Avanzo

Crowds of howling fans cheering, popcorn being thrown amongst the packed bleachers and arguments happening left and right about who’s the better team: the environment of a football game. Then, suddenly, in the midst of the game, the fans fall silent and let out a big roaring gasp in unison, something happens that no one saw coming. This personifies the first episode of the very first season of “Friday Night Lights”.

Love triangles, relatable family drama and football. If you enjoy watching a series containing all three of these, then “Friday Night Lights” is for you.

The five series phenomenon that was developed by Peter Berg and executive produced by Brian Grazer, Sarah Aubrey, David Nevins and Jason Katmis, takes place in the fictional town of Dillon, Texas, and follows the progress and hardships of a very competitive high school football team. “Friday Night Lights” aired on NBC from 2006 to 2011 and is now available on Netflix streaming.

The series emphasizes how the high school football team in this small hick town enables and affects the people of the community as an entity.

The main focus is that of Coach Eric Taylor, played by Kyle Chandler. He begins as the head coach of the Dillon Panthers, then later becomes the head coach of the East Dillon Lions and is the soundboard of the entire town. This coach is the go-to-man in the show; he is looked at as if he is a god by his community, at least when the football team is winning, but when the team hits a losing streak or an outsider comes in, the tables seem to turn.

“Friday Night Lights” contains an overall main plot with numerous subplots seamlessly mixed in to the latter. The series follows specific players of the team: The way they live their personal lives off-the-field, their family, the friends they keep, and how they deal with various situations and influences that they encounter throughout.

Some of these situations include incidents with alcohol, which Tim Riggins encounters quite often, causing him some some quite detrimental consequences for his sometimes erratic behavior which consisted of: breaking the law, death of a family member or friend, prison, love triangles, trust issues and more. Oh, and lets not forget sleeping with the coaches daughter.

For a total of 76 episodes, “Friday Night Lights” leaves you at the edge of your seat wondering what is going to happen next. Although, a majority of the time you are left wanting more; it is also one of those series during which you can take a break – and then go back to it when it is most convenient for you, without completely losing track of the sequence of the show. You can also always feed your craving and go on a Netflix binge and watch all 76 of said episodes back-to-back in a short amount of time.

 

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Inexpensive Travel How To: Destination: Mohegan Sun

By: Arianna Cecchini

As most of CCSU is not the legal age to go to a casino, one does’t necessarily think to go to Mohegan Sun when looking to get away from campus. Mohegan Sun is not all about the slot machines and poker tables though. Mohegan offers a wide variety of activities for any age of person. Inside the casino they offer a shopping mall of awesome stores and great restaurants at affordable prices. Stores such as American Candle, Things Remembered, Dylan’s Candy Bar and many others have great gifts for others or even yourself.

Dylan’s Candy Bar is likely the best store in Mohegan Sun, offering delicious sweets and treats to all. They have divine flavored chocolate bars and everything from fudge to sour gummy worms and lollipops. They offer a wonderful variety of treats to all the candy lovers out there. The candy is the same price of any other candy shop that you might venture into. Chocolate bars tend to run around $3 and fudge is about $12-$14 a pound. It is average priced candy, but sure is delicious and of the highest quality.

Not only does Mohegan Sun offer great shops, the restaurants here are amazing as well. Mohegan has a restaurant for everything one can think of — from BBQ, to an English pub, to Michael Jordan’s Steak House. The one that is most reasonably priced for amazing food would be the BBQ restaurant they offer. The menu has ribs, nachos, cheese fries, popcorn shrimp, burgers, biscuits, corn bread and many other tasty treats for all under $15. The food is out of this world and is great for sharing with a group of friends.

Mohegan Sun also has a Johnny Rockets, which can also be quite a fun atmosphere for a group of people who are not looking to spend a whole lot of money. Johnny Rockets mainly offers burgers and milk shakes, so if you enjoy greasy, tasty food at an affordable, great price, Johnny Rockets is the place for you to go. The wait is usually a bit longer than you’d hope for, so it is likely that you’ll probably have to wait for a table.

Next to Johnny Rockets is a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shop – and who doesn’t love those two guys. Their ice cream tends to be overpriced, but nothing is better than Ben and Jerry’s ice cream on a freshly made waffle cone.

Mohegan Sun is almost home to two huge concert venues and they offer some great artists for a regularly low price. Tickets usually range anywhere from $40-$200 depending on the artist and seat choice, but the arenas are not overly large, so any seat is really good. They have had names like Katy Perry, A Day to Remember, Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, Luke Bryant, All Time Low and many other huge names. Seeing a show in Mohegan Sun is a great time because it is not overwhelming like Madison Square Garden or other huge venues tend to be in comparison.

Mohegan Sun also offers hotel rooms for one to stay at, and it is only a 45 minute drive from CCSU – so if money is tight, staying the night does not need to be an option, knowing it is a fairly short and reasonable drive. Mohegan Sun offers a Krispie Kreme as well, and they are delicious donuts for extremely cheap prices. They beat Dunkin’ any day of the week, especially in that category, so on your way out pick up a dozen if you haven’t tried them, and if you have, well eat some more.

Mohegan Sun is a great affordable place to hangout that happens to be reasonably close to campus. If you desperately need to escape  from the norm of Westfarms Mall and Blue Back Square, Mohegan Sun is a great choice and way to spend a weekend. It has great restaurant choices and shops that offer low prices along with offering some of the favorite artists of the time, performing concerts at Mohegan’s amazing, and enormous venues. It is great place to go, and of course when you turn 21, you might just get lucky enough to make some money from gambling during the visit.

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‘Captain America’ Saves Day in Sequel

By: Joe Suszczynski

 

Marvel has been doing a fantastic job with the series of movies they have continued to release since 2008. The Marvel cinematic universe has a unique way of showcasing their heroes, by giving these heroes individual movies, prior to bringing them together, like in the 2012 blockbuster, “The Avengers.” Post-Avengers, the franchise returned to individual films, most recently with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” with the intention to mount anticipation for an upcoming “Avengers” movie in May 2015.

 

The sequel finds Steve Rogers, also known as “Captain America” (Chris Evans), living in Washington D.C., still working for the agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., all while trying to adapt to today’s society, given that he was in a deep sleep for about 70 years. When Rogers suspects something is not right with everything around him he sets off with S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), also known as “The Black Widow,” to seek out the truth behind the questions he yearns to have answered.

 

The new Captain America movie is a worthy sequel and great addition to the Marvel franchise with all it has to offer.

 

Evans does it again, as Rogers fully embodies the character of Captain America. Robert Redford gives an amazing performance as well, playing a supporting role as Alexander Pierce. Marvel creator Stan Lee, in tradition, has a funny cameo in the movie.

 

The directing is also very well done. Co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo found the appropriate balance of making action scenes great without making things too over-the-top. The computer graphics looked very realistic and flowed well in the scenes in which this technique was required. We also are treated to seeing Rogers try and adapt to current society, and witness his struggles in trying to fit in doing everyday things, which was shot perfectly and acted brilliantly by Evans.

 

The writing was rather superb. The script doesn’t take itself too seriously given the subject matter, along with sprinkles of occasional humor which provide proper comic relief, which is timed brilliantly by the actors. There are also a lot of twists and turns that were totally unexpected.

 

Another thing that is underrated in the Marvel franchise of movies are the credits. Anyone who has seen previous Marvel movies know that there are two scenes, one mid-credit and one after the credits that play. Without spoiling what these two scenes are, I can say that they are both quite intense given the scenarios that were shot.

 

Overall, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” with its great acting, directing and writing is worth the watch. I did not see the film in 3D or IMAX, but imagine it’s even more captivating in that form, so no matter what the price hike is to see it in those formats – it is well worth the price of admission.

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Professor Has Natural Vision

By Ruth Bruno

Dr. Richard Benfield has a unique vision for improving the CCSU campus for both students and faculty.

“I would like to see our campus much more oriented toward a plant focus. I think everyone would,” said Benfield, a geography professor.

Looking out his office window in the Social Sciences Hall, Benfield motioned toward an area of dirt between Welte Hall and the Student Center.

“Why have we not [planted] daffodils there?” asked Benfield. “A bulb costs about 38 cents and you can plant them, leave them; they’ll come up every year.”

Benfield, a CCSU professor for the past 17 years, has researched garden tourism and found that gardening and garden visiting has the highest revenue of any tourism activity. “The sheer volume of people that go would lead one to possibly conclude that it’s the preeminent activity in America,” he said.

According to Benfield’s research, there are approximately 80 million gardeners and 78 million garden visitors in the U.S.  His studies include research of the demographics of garden visitors as well as the economic advantages a country receives from garden tourists. He has been asked to present his findings at the Smithsonian and in countries including Canada, Turkey and Mexico.

In addition to these presentations, Benfield published a book, Garden Tourism, in 2013.

“I was dumb enough to say in 2005, someone should write a book on this and then I figured out I was the only one that was dumb enough to, and could write a book on this, so I filled both criteria,” Benfield joked.

Benfield said he actually wrote the book because he was curious about the types of people who visit gardens and wanted to organize his research on the topic. “It’s an activity that appeals to all ages, and if you find something that appeals to all ages then it’s worthy of research and it’s worthy of merit,” said Benfield.

Benfield said he has always had an interest in gardens. He grew up in the rural village of Over Norton in Oxfordshire, England. He became the first person in his village of 300 inhabitants to go to college when he left home to earn a degree in geography from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

Benfield pointed out that one major difference in education between the U.S and the U.K. is their attention to geography.

“Geography matters to us, it matters to our economy, it matters to our understanding of other cultures….the problem is that in the U.S., we discontinue geography after grade six.” He went on to say that in many parts of the U.K., a student learns geography until he graduates from high school.

Benfield began teaching geography at CCSU in 1997. He decided to combine his interest in gardens and his education in geography shortly before he came to the University. He explained that the idea came to him while he was visiting a garden in Longwood, Pa.

“I was sitting on the garden wall while my wife was inside. I was watching people go in and I thought to myself: I have to teach tourism at Central Connecticut State two weeks from now, I better get all the data on visitors to gardens,” said Benfield. He found that no such data could be found and has spent the past 17 years gathering and publishing the data himself.

Benfield spoke highly of his students and of CCSU.

“I love CCSU, I like the students.  I admire their commitment to higher education,” he said. He believes that a peaceful area on campus will be beneficial to students and faculty members and went on to describe his wishes for an enclosed area complete with an arbor, a pond and birds.

“As our society becomes more stressed there will be a corresponding kickback to gardens for people who say [they] want some way to relieve that stress.”

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Medicine Misrepresents Minorities

By: Brittany Hill

It’s pretty straightforward: if you need a solution, find to the root of the problem.

So if its known that blacks have the highest death rate and shortest survival for most cancers, why are they, along with other non-whites, the focus of only two percent of clinical cancer studies nationwide?

Some statistics harbor no discrimination; they are gathered for objectives that are irrespective of race, gender or ethnicity. But in the medical field, where there is no atypical patient, diversity is vital in research.

In 1994, Congress mandated that the National Institute of Health include minorities in their research. Yet according to a study from the University of California, Davis, Comprehensive Cancer Center, not much changed. It’s been 20 years and only five percent of clinical trial participants are non-white.

Beyond this obvious disparity, there is another critical issue. The future of our country’s health care will represent white patients and subsequently misrepresent minority patients. This results in insufficient treatment and prevention of diseases for those who have not been equally studied.

Ideally, the percentage sample set of participants should equal the population, but on a smaller scale. Instead, we have 95 percent of the clinical trial participants white. This would be fine if the U.S. population was 95 percent white – but as tough as it is for some people to believe – it’s not.

Whites only account for 63 percent of the U.S. population, excluding Hispanics and Latinos.

As Moon Chen, the study’s leader and the cancer center’s associate director for cancer control stated in the UC Davis news release, “Minorities are not hard to reach. They are hardly reached.”

It would be one thing if the number of cancer cases did not vary across races; but it does. Geographic and ethnic differences can affect a cancer’s progression. These differences can also affect a patient’s response to treatment and his or her access to health care.

To make conclusions from such a closed set of clinical trials writes off a myriad of factors that a significant portion of our population experience. That same portion would therefore benefit from the changes that arise once experimentation and research acknowledge the multifaceted mass that is our country’s population.

And not just in terms of race, but in gender too. If women were distinctly more affected by a disease than men, would you look to a male-dominated sample set to deduce a cause?

No. Because it’s plain and simple: one type cannot represent the other. There needs to be applicable research in the laboratory relative to the disproportioned effects of disease and cancer across different races.

It has always been an issue for the nation. We had long accepted that white males dominated the higher paid positions, the leadership roles in politics and business, and the influential roles in the medical field. However, the results of this isolated control trickles down to the lives of everyday people with distorted consequences.

Everything is a matter of perspective. In all aspects, the more diverse a powerful body of people, the more accurate the end result.

But this need for diversification expands beyond the realm of health care. All it takes is an effort, an active motion to change the norm. Quite some time ago, whites did represent almost all of the U.S. population – but not anymore.

It’s about time we recognize that; not just for equality, but for the health of our neighbors, our community and our future.

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SGA Treasurer Kory Mills

SGA Bullet Points 4/2

SGA Treasurer Kory Mills

SGA Treasurer Kory Mills

By Joe Suszczynski

  •  President Brian Choplick passed the chair to Treasurer Kory Mills in order to speak on a motion to change Section 1-5 of the Student Government Association by-laws regarding “Safe-Zone Training.” The motion passed with 24 “yes” votes and four “abstain” votes. The by-laws now read that every senator and officer will have to attend “Safe-Zone Training” or some type of equivalent service deemed by the Vice-President, or vote of the majority of Senate. And failing to comply with that will result in a loss of stipend.
  •  Another motion regarding semantics in the SGA by-laws was made. The proposal was to say that two-thirds of the Senate must be present at the time voting for committee chairs and co-chairs takes place. The motion passed with 26 “yes” votes and one “abstain” vote.
  •  On open floor, a motion was made to approve the line-item change for the Geology and Planetary Science club. $190 would be moved from their museum trip to pay for a field trip. The motion was passed with 25 “yes votes to three “no” votes and one “abstain” votes.
  •  A motion was made to allocate the Student Life committee $400 in support for an event called the Day of Silence. It passed with 26 “yes” votes and two “abstain” votes.

 

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Baseball Splits Weekend Series with the Mount

by Sean Begin

The Central Connecticut baseball team headed into the weekend, and their first conference series, on the heels of back-to-back victories to even their record at 7-7.

That .500 winning percentage stayed in place after the team went 2-2 in it’s weekend series against Mount St. Mary’s, winning Friday’s game and the first game on Saturday before dropping the last two.

“We got ourselves started…this weekend and haven’t done anything to jeopardize our goal to be in the top four,” said head coach Charlie Hickey, following Sunday’s finale. “[We] had an opportunity today to come out and win a series and gain a tiebreaker and we ended up on the short end of a 6-5 game.”

The team has struggled offensively this season, piecing together runs on small ball tactics (hit and runs, stolen bases and sacrifices) eking out a run or two here or there in combination with shutdown pitching to earn their victories.

But the offense showed some life this weekend, recording at least 11 hits in every game of the weekend. In the previous fourteen, they had managed that feat only twice.

“We were more effective offensively, or we started to be, this weekend in terms of having some runners on base and creating some hitting opportunities,” said Hickey. “Still learning about ourselves; learning to try to get better.”

Central (9-9, 2-2 NEC), who is hitting .257 as a team on the season through Sunday’s game, hit .389 during the series against the Mount (8-11, 2-2 NEC). Despite the sudden life in Blue Devil bats, they remain subdued when scoring opportunities rose up.

“We didn’t hit well with runners in scoring position and that’s something we’re going to have to build off of,” said Hickey. “And you don’t know that ‘til you get runners on, and we haven’t been getting runners on until this weekend.”

With runners in scoring position over the weekend, Central hit .333 with most of their hits coming in the 6-0 victory on Friday and the 6-5 loss on Sunday. They struggled to bring home runners on Saturday, however, hitting just .231 and leaving nine and 3 runners on base in games two and three, respectively.

“There was a little frustration from yesterday where we left 13 guys on base in the second game,” said Hickey Sunday afternoon. “We’ve got to keep believing, keep creating opportunities, keep becoming more versatile and be able to score in different ways.”

The weekend started out well, with senior Tom Coughlin tossing his second consecutive shutout, giving up just five hits over nine innings. Coughlin, who struck out six batters, reduced his ERA to a miniscule 0.93 on the year.

Central was lead offensively by senior Josh Ingham, who went 3-4 in Friday’s contest with an RBI. Ingham leads the Blue Devils with a .361 batting average. All but one batter got a hit on the day.

Both of Saturday’s games were just seven innings long. In the first game, Central got another strong performance from senior Nick Neumann, who gave up just one run over six innings, good for his first win of the season.

Neumann gave up a run in the first but settled down for the rest of the day. Ingham came in the seventh to record his fourth save of the year after going 3-3 at the plate with an RBI.

Senior J.P. Sportman went 3-4 with an RBI and a run scored, both coming in the third inning to tie the game and take the lead on Ingham’s single.

Central got a strong show from lefty Jesse Frawley in game two on Saturday, but a big Mount fifth inning that knocked Frawley from the game and handed senior Nick Boyd the loss in relief. Hickey called the inning “tough.”

The Mount opened the inning with a single, causing Boyd to come in for Frawley. Boyd gave up three runs on three hits before being pulled for freshman Kevin Connolly. The Mount scored four times in the inning with one run being charged to Frawley.

Both Sportman and junior Dominic Severino went 3-4 on the day. Ingham and senior Anthony Turgeon collected two hits as well.  Sportman and Turgeon picked up the RBIs for Central in game two.

Mount St. Mary’s struck first on Sunday off of freshman Matt Blandino for two runs in the second. Central answered with two in the bottom of the inning. But a run in the third, and three in the fourth, put the Mount ahead 6-2.

Blandino was tagged for all six runs in the loss. Senior Anthony Mannucia threw 5.2 innings of scoreless relief to give the Blue Devils a chance.

Central scored a run in the fifth and two in the sixth to pull within one. They had the tying run in scoring position in the eighth but failed to bring him home.

Severino led the Blue Devils on Sunday, going 3-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Turgeon collected three RBIs on a pair of hits. Sophomore Connor Fitzsimons went 2-3 with an RBI.

“We got another three good pitching performances,” said Hickey of his first three starters on the weekend. “Matt Blandino wasn’t what we had hoped today. But we got good relief bullpen out of Anthony Mannucia. He was terrific. He gave us a chance.”

Hickey added that he and his staff would look at reducing Blandino’s time in the outfield if they felt it was interfering with his ability on the mound.

“We learned some things and we’ll sit down as a staff and readjust during the week and we’ll try to put our players the best position to be successful,” said Hickey.

“All in all, we’re still moving forward, we’re getting our feet underneath us, we’re getting into conference play. We get a good test next weekend in Bryant.”

Central plays a four-game series at Bryant on April 11-13 before returning home on April 15 for one game against UMass.

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Summer Courses Benefits Students

By Jacqueline Stoughton

Registration for summer 2014 classes is happening now, presenting students with many opportunities and benefits allowing them to catch up, get ahead in class or simply raise their GPA.

“I think there are a number of benefits that summer classes offer.  First, if the student is struggling with the subject, they might find that summer classes are smaller and they’d get more individual attention from the professor,” said Katherine Hermes, chair of the history department.

Courses that are offered at the 100 and 200 levels during the fall and spring semesters typically consist of a class size of about 35 students.  That same class, when taken during the summer, would have a class size of about 15 students.  This presents a more seminar-like atmosphere for the students: allowing them to get more discussion out of the class, including more intimate interaction with classmates.

“I think summer classes are great.  They allow students who want to either graduate early or catch up on classes if they have fallen behind within a semester and to raise their GPA by taking extra classes if they do well in them,” said Annamaria Perge, a CCSU student who has enrolled in summer courses for the upcoming session.

Hermes explained how summer classes could also benefit those looking to apply to graduate school.  She says the summer is the best time to take the courses that are required to apply to graduate school, courses that students do not usually think of taking when they’re a freshman or sophomore.

“In the History Department, we choose carefully what classes we pick to offer so students can have what they need and don’t have to worry about the class being cancelled,” said Hermes.

While there are a  lot of benefits to summer classes, there are also some negatives. The cost of summer classes is always a factor that concerns most students during registration.  Perge expresses how she is not happy with the cost but knows these classes will be beneficial to her as a student.

Hermes said that summer classes cost a similar amount to part-time classes during the regular semesters; this may seem high to many students.  Hermes recommended that students talk to the financial aid office to assure that their classes are being financially covered — not just during the academic year, but during the summer as well.

“I think students take too many classes, I think students work too much.  If you want to have a good college experience you want to have extra curricular activities and enjoy friends,” said Hermes.  “Students overdo every aspect of this.  When you take nothing else you’re just immersed in it.  The other advantage being it allows you to raise your GPA easily.”

Registration for summer courses at CCSU began March 31st.  The registration deadline has since passed, but if students were still interested in taking summer classes they could most likely still enroll with assistance from their adviser.

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Friends Come and Go

By: Paige Brown

Friends. The people you laugh and cry with. The people you make memories with. You lose many, and keep few. Some are temporary and some are lifelong.

Recently, I was told something that has stuck with me.

“The friends you make later in your life are the ones who will stay in your life.”

My uncle told me this during a conversation when I mentioned that I don’t really talk to or know anyone from high school anymore.

When I was younger, I had a lot of friends. Now, those people that I was forced to be with, when life was easy and we all had nothing to do but go to school and play together, are no where.

Though I have many memories, good and bad, I can say that out of all the people I grew up with, I still talk to maybe five and still have a lasting relationship with only one.

Over the last five years, I have met hundreds of people, some who have come and gone and some who I know I will never let go of.

What people don’t understand, and probably don’t think about, is that once you leave high school, where you most likely saw the same people every day since you were five, you won’t really talk to a few years into college.

For those who do, you’re lucky. For those who don’t, you’re still lucky.

Within the last year of my life, probably the roughest year I’ve had, I have made friendships and bonds with a select few that I know will last.

When you reach college, you are free. Free to be who you are. Free to change who you were into who you want to be. Along the way, you have the freedom to choose the people you let in your life. You choose your friends.

I am 23. I still don’t know myself fully and probably wont for a long time. I know what I want to do and how to make myself happy and the people that I surround myself with affect the choices I make.

Having the freedom to choose your friends is one that shouldn’t be taken for granted. I have made some mistakes when it comes to the people I spend my time with, but I have also met some of the most influential and amazing people.

The friends that I have made over the last year, especially within the last five months, have drastically and positively impacted my life.

What my uncle said is true. I’ve noticed more and more that the people I surround myself with on a daily basis, I have only known for a short time. Some four years, some four months. But what matters the most is that we care for each other.

Friends come and go. But the ones who come and stay, no matter how old you are or how short of a time you know them, are the ones you deserve in your life.

The bond that two people make over a long period of time, such as my best friend of 18 years, is incredible and strong. But the bond that you can make with someone new can be just as powerful.

Make new friends. You never know who will meet and how they can affect you.

Behind every happy person is a happy friend that keeps them laughing, gives them a shoulder to cry on and is there through anything. Don’t doubt that the person you open up to at work or someone you start eating lunch with at school can be the best friend you’ve ever made.

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Annual Charity Drag Ball is Success with Huge Turnout

By: Kiley Krzyzek

The annual Drag Ball for charity took place during last Thursday inside of the Devils Den at 10pm. Both professional drag queens and student amateurs volunteered to perform to a song, which consisted of: posing, dancing, strutting around, and interacting with the cheering crowd who threw dollar bills in their direction. The event, which was sponsored by Pride and raised money for Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective was a huge success, and a blast for everyone who was in attendance, which was a huge turn out.

 

“This years Spring Charity Drag Ball was a huge success!!” exclaimed Pride Vice President Alexyss Fuller. “We had over 400 people attend the event and have since received extremely positive feedback on all of the performances.  Through tips to the performers we raised $143 for the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective.  There were 14 different amateur acts and two professional drag performers had two songs each for their routines.”

 

Semesters went under a quick one-night renovation, and was transformed into the designated floor for the Drag Ball. There was even a retro disco ball hanging and lights flashing constantly. Some students received glow sticks after they checked in with their blue chip card, which were used heavily throughout the show, making for a colorful and exciting setting. Seating became quite limited thanks to the somewhat unexpected huge turn out as far as the audience goes, so students stood on the sidelines watching the drag queens closely and eagerly, all the while showing and maintaining their full support to the entire LGBT community on campus.

 

“I was genuinely surprised by how many people came out to support.  The performers were great.  Events like this make me proud to go to such an open and accepting school,” said Kristen Baclawski, sophomore. The show was most definitely entertaining. Everyone in attendance seemed captivated and interested by the endlessly surprising things that performers would unexpectedly get into. The people in attendance had the chance to constantly engage with the performers as the show continued, making for a successful, as well as interactive, event.

 

“It was a blast.  Everyone who performed rocked that stage and gave it their all!” said Summer Nagy, a junior.

 

The student performers enjoyed themselves as much as the audience enjoyed their performances, which was clear in their effort and interest in getting a rise out of the audience’s attention.

 

“It was actually my first time performing in a drag show!” exclaimed Cecelia Cannavo, junior. “I’ve always wanted to perform in one, but never really had the balls I guess you can say.  The show was fun and the audience was so supportive.  The fact that there were dollars being tossed at me for charity was a wonderfully added bonus.”

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Handler Leaving E!, Negotiating with CBS for Late Night Show

By Kevin Jachimowicz

 

About two weeks ago, Chelsea Handler abruptly went public with her choice to depart from the E! network when her contract expires at the bottom of this year, bringing an unexpected close to her talk show “Chelsea Lately” – which was successfully and continuously broadcasted on E! for eight years. A week after Handler’s announcement, David Letterman announced on CBS’s “The Late Show” that he would be retiring from hosting duties for the show, which he has maintained since the debut of the program in 1993.

 

Handler has been more than open about her frustration with programming at E!. In a March 5 appearance on Howard Stern’s radio show, she described E! as “a sad, sad place to live,” adding, “They don’t know what they’re doing. They have no ideas. It’s a failure.” An E! spokesperson stated to “The Hollywood Reporter” that “Chelsea has nine months left on her contract, and E! will not comment on the future of ‘Chelsea Lately’ at this time.”

 

CBS recently reached out to speak with Handler regarding the potential of her as a host for a different type of show in the wake of her recent announcement implying her departure from E! network. CBS then expressed interest in considering Handler as a replacement for Craig Ferguson’s 12:30 a.m. slot. Handler has told CBS that she is not at all interested in that option.

 

Handler will reportedly be meeting with CBS’s chairman in the very near future, hopefully in the next few weeks, to get together in an attempt to pinpoint a position for Handler in the late-night lineup for CBS. Now though, with legendary David Letterman leaving his long-held career position, Handler is currently reported to be truly coveting the job. A female has not held a late-night hosting spot on a major network since Cynthia Garrett’s “Later on NBC” which only lasted one measly year – from 2000-2001. Letterman’s spot is what Handler is reportedly most interested in gunning for, and with the fairly strong following she has, it could be a new and improved recipe for success.

The transition from hosting a program on cable as opposed to hosting a show on a regular network is not as simple as it may seem at first glance. First and foremost, ratings are a definite concern. In 2012, “Chelsea Lately” reportedly maintained an average viewership of 613,000 viewers. In 2013, that number dropped somewhat, to 571,000. In 2013, Letterman reportedly averaged a whopping 2.8 million viewers on his massively famous and classic “The Late Show.”  While the marketing machine of CBS behind Handler is most definitely only going to serve as beneficial to her cause, she has yet to prove if she is going to be capable of reeling in those types of numbers anytime soon. This would require some seriously creative innovation, and some new segments from her to keep her fanbase growing instead of slowly waning away. A major issue is Handler’s brand of humor. Some major hosts have had bad experiences whilst difficultly transitioning into a host spot for late-night talk shows. Handler’s particular style might not be able to translate to “The Late Show” successfully and comfortably, without some type of a major overhaul of one of these programs’ typical nature.

With that said, no matter your personal opinions and feelings about Chelsea Handler, she is an incredibly successful woman who has proven her talent as a comic host. In addition to having a successful show on E!, launched in 2007, she’s also a “New York Times” bestselling author, with her book, “Uganda be Kidding Me.”

 

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Let Smokers Smoke

By: Joe Suszczynski

In early February, Senator Chris Murphy sent Central Connecticut State University President, Jack Miller, a letter regarding his initiative to make CCSU a tobacco free campus. In the letter, he stated that United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) started the Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative in September 2012. Murphy cited the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation saying nearly 1,200 campuses are smoke-free with 811 of them being tobacco free. Also, in the letter, Murphy cited all the statistics regarding the use of tobacco ranging from how many deaths it causes every year to how much it costs in healthcare.

I can respect Senator Murphy’s initiative to make CCSU a tobacco-free campus because he means well and wants to help people. He does have solid evidence to back his initiative. The only thing is that I do not agree with the senator because making CCSU a smoke or tobacco-free campus would be taking away a student’s right to choose.

I have a “live and let live” philosophy on life where, within reason, you should be able to do whatever you want with your own body. If you want to smoke, drink, etc. you should be able to — provided you are of age to use said substances. However, one should also know the consequences of using said substances. If you heavily use tobacco, the chances of developing cancer, or some other illness related to tobacco abuse, you are responsible for doing that to yourself; the same goes with drinking alcohol.

Another reason why CCSU should not do this is because nothing will change, even if CCSU joins the initiative. What I mean by this is that it will be harder to enforce. Signs around campus say that a person has to be at least 25 feet away from a building when smoking; many students who smoke disregard that. If CCSU joins the initiative, I question how hard the school will crackdown on smoking when there is not much done about people smoking right next to the buildings — from what I have seen at least. Students will find other ways to smoke on campus because, if they want to smoke that bad, they will find a way to do so. College kids can be pretty crafty.

I also understand the consequences of secondhand smoke. By the statistics given in Murphy’s letter, about 50,000 people die from secondhand smoke a year. That is horrible. These people do not even smoke, yet can still develop the symptoms of someone who does.

What I would suggest is that CCSU take its own initiative and make designated areas for smokers to smoke. They can select certain areas of campus and mark them appropriately with signs so smokers can smoke without disturbing anyone else. I am willing to bet that most of the smokers on campus would be willing to comply with that rule. I think designated areas would be a fair compromise.

I respect Senator Murphy’s intentions to make CCSU, like other colleges in Connecticut, tobacco-free, but he should also understand that people should have the choice to smoke if they choose. I understand that secondhand smoke can be as bad as smoking itself, which is why I would suggest CCSU to set up designated smoking areas.

Smoking can be curbed by other methods, but this effort to eradicate tobacco all together on college campuses seems excessive.

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UCONN R.A. Tries to Calm a Crowd; Backfires

In the days leading up to the final match between the two UConn basketball teams, a resident assistant sent a sharply worded to those who live on his floor.

The email, simply signed Derek, informed residents on his floor that any celebration of the games would not be tolerated.

“I’m on duty tonight and it’s going to be stressful, so please don’t push it on our floor,” said Derek. This request was fair enough, but what followed turned from a simple request to downright insulting.

In the end, remember that the only reason you care about the game is:
a.) because they’re wearing a UConn uniform
b.) you want an excuse to go wild

It was getting worse, but it still wasn’t that bad. Then Derek typed this next line.

“If it’s the first one, you’re cheering for laundry,” said Derek in his email.

That is beyond disrespectful, not only to the students he is addressing, but to the university and the athletes.

Derek seems to have forgotten the hours of work these athletes have put into their sport. It’s not just “laundry” to these students. It’s more than a uniform. It is a lifestyle for them.

Whether or not you agree with the hype that surrounds “March Madness,” it is impossible to deny that these students have gone above and beyond simply being student athletes. It is not “laundry” that makes it to the final game of the most talked about college sporting event. It is the blood, sweat and tears of people inside those uniforms.

The RA, Derek, seems to have really had an unfortunate lapse in judgement when he hit the send button on that email sent to all students on his floor – dismissing the UConn team as inferior, compared to whatever status he may hold as an RA. Tonight, UConn men may once again become the national champion mens basketball team in the NCAA tournament. If you have the balls to say that a team of that status is equivalent to laundry, the smidgen of clothing they wear whilst performing, then I don’t even want to delve into what the equivalent of a Residence Hall Assistant is. Derek seems to have forgotten that the UConn team, and their collective of dedicated, hard-working players, who practice ruthlessly daily, are the very same people who have brought tons of attention to Connecticut athletics, championship rings, and much more. The money the team has helped generate for UConn could be some of the same money he receives in his measly RA paychecks. Not to mention the incredible number of players UConn has morphed into star professional NBA basketball players.

Derek’s statements to his residence hall were likely well intended, yet once he deviated from his original request for students to simply not go too crazy over the game, he added a lot of insult to an already sensitive situation. Students wouldn’t take lightly to being demanded to abstain from enjoying the biggest game they may ever experience in their lifetimes, which is why Dereks plan will likely backfire, and bring him the opposite of the result he originally asked for.

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A Tiger Sensing His End?

by Sean Begin

A piece of news surfaced on April Fool’s Day that, at first glance, seemed to fit the theme of the day. As I was perusing Twitter, I saw a headline that announced Tiger Wood’s would miss the Masters.

Tiger not at the Masters? That hasn’t happened in nearly two full decades. Someone had to have made up this rumor.

But after some digging, I saw the news had come from the man himself, when he announced through his website that he had undergone microdiscectomy surgery to fix back pain caused by a pinched nerve.

Wood’s hasn’t won the tournament that he made his name at (when, as an amateur in 1997, he obliterated the field by 12 strokes, finishing 18-under par) since 2005. He hasn’t been a factor, really, since the SUV accident and cheating scandal that almost destroyed his career in 2009.

Since then, Wood’s has placed no better than fourth in golf’s first major of the year. Woods, famously, has struggled since that life event. His last major came in 2008, when he won the U.S. Open on a destroyed knee (Wood’s had a double stress fracture rehabbing a prior knee surgery from April and needed ACL surgery after the tournament).

Tiger sits currently at number one on the golf rankings, but his missing the Masters could see that ranking slip away from him once again. There are three golfers that could surpass Woods, although a minimum of a third place tie would be necessary.

Some in the sports media world have declared that by missing the Masters, Tiger no longer has any shot of passing Jack Nicklaus’ majors record of 18; that the Age of Tiger has become a thing of the past.

While its true that Woods’ body has essentially betrayed him since 2008 (he has had multiple Achilles’ injuries in both ankles, ACL and MCL repair in his left knee and neck and back problems) he has shown flashes of his former dominant self.

He won five times in 2013, before succumbing to injuries early this season.

While its too soon to declare Woods finished, it suddenly becomes a much more real idea that he could fail to pass Nicklaus. Woods turned 38 in December.

The man he is chasing, Jack Nicklaus, won four after he turned 38, including his final championship, the 1986 Masters, when he was 46 years old. Ben Hogan won five after he turned 38, the most by anyone in history after that age.

It’s not impossible, despite his recent injury history, that Woods can win another major. The question becomes, can he win four? The Masters has always been Woods baby. It was his first major, the one he’s the most, tied at four with the PGA Championship.

Some experts have said if Woods is to break his streak of winless majors, it’d be at Augusta. Now, that chance will pass Woods by for another year, until he returns to the links in Georgia at age 39.

The Masters and golf will survive Woods’ absence, but it will not see the ratings it usually does. There is no doubt Woods remains golf’s biggest star, and biggest ratings drawer. Woods has always drawn comparisons to Michael Jordan: a star that changed the face of the game he played.

It’s not a question if Woods has the ability to win. 2013 proved he can still golf with the best of them.

The question now becomes can Woods survive his rapidly declining body? Can Woods keep his failing knee and ailing back healthy enough to make one last, late career push to cement his legacy as greatest golfer to grace the game?

They say an old tiger sensing his end is at his most fierce. In this case, I sincerely hope so.

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Love & Hip Hop Star Shot Amid His Mother’s Funeral Procession

By Kevin Jachimowicz

A Randolph, Massachusetts man who allegedly fired multiple times at his rapper and reality TV star uncle Raymond “Benzino” Scott during a weekend funeral procession for Benzino’s mother will be back in a Plymouth court Wednesday for a hearing to determine if he is too dangerous to be granted the privilege of bail.

Gai Scott, 36, is charged with assault, intent to murder in the shooting of his own uncle, Raymond “Benzino” Scott. Benzino was the co-founder of the once popular “The Source” hip-hop magazine, was a member of the hip hop group “Made Men” and had a decade long feud (stemming from articles in “The Source”) with Eminem.

The shooting occurred a few minutes before noontime, approximately one mile north of the Duxbury exit. Massachusetts State Police were alerted by numerous 911 calls coming from local motorists. Gai Scott was in the procession headed to the funeral for Raymond “Benzino,” Scott’s mother, that was being held at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Plymouth. At some point, when the cars were side by side, Gai Scott allegedly started firing shots as his vehicle pulled alongside the Dodge SUV that Raymond “Benzino” Scott was driving. Raymond Scott immediately got out of the SUV and managed to get himself into another vehicle — driven by his aunt, who delivered Benzino to the Duxbury police station. From there, he was taken by ambulance to South Shore Hospital in Weymouth. The 48-year-old star of the popular and current reality TV show “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” was hit in the shoulder by one bullet and grazed in the back by another from of the nine bullets fired at him. Growing family tension over finances has repeatedly been noted, even by Benzino himself, as a root cause for this misunderstanding, which violently and unfortunately reached its boiling point. And tragically so that it occurred during his own mother’s funeral proceedings.

Gai Scott pleaded innocent Monday at a brief hearing in Plymouth District Court. He has been held without bail in the Plymouth County jail. Handcuffed, in a colored athletic shirt, the only emotion shown by Gai Scott was unhappiness as he maintained his self-defense, surrounded by three court officers in the courtroom. Plymouth District Court Judge Thomas Kirkman ordered Gai Scott to be held without bail. After Monday’s arraignment, Scott’s attorney Jon Ciraulo of Quincy said in a statement to the media that “When the dust settles, it will be abundantly clear that Mr. Scott is a licensed gun owner and was acting in self-defense.”

In an interview from his hospital bed, the singer told reporters (after posting numerous, strange selfies to Instagram of himself wired up on the hospital bed with a look of pain in his face) that he could not be certain who shot him. He admitted that he had not spoken to his relative 36-year-old Gai Scott for multiple years. Benzino added: “In the past I felt my sister and nephew were taking advantage of my mother…Money sometimes takes over people’s love for each other, even family…you don’t want anyone taking advantage of your mother.” Witness Marty Kearns told the UK Mirror: “There were shell casings everywhere. There were four holes up on the side of the vehicle and then there were three in the passenger door.” Following the shooting, the funeral procession resumed and ended at St Peter’s Church in Plymouth, Massachusetts shortly before noon. Father William Williams, who presided over the ceremony, recalled seeing blood on the vehicles in the funeral cortege. “I said to one of the guys, ‘There’s blood on the hearse,'” the clergyman told the WHDH news station.

Since 2012, Raymond “Benzino” Scott has been one of the main star personalities on “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta,” a reality television series that premiered on VH1 that year as a spinoff of “Love & Hip Hop: New York.” The reality show follows the love lives of more than a dozen local hip hop artists. The third season of the program is slated to premiere in May.

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Initiatives Towards a Greener Campus

By: Jacqueline Stoughton

Central Connecticut State University has done a lot in the past seven years since President Jack Miller signed the President’s Climate Commitment.  Since then, the rest of the CSU system has also signed the commitment to create carbon neutrality on campus.

CCSU has already taken major steps to making Central a green campus.  The university has set goals that include reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2015, 50 percent by 2020 and ending with the ultimate goal of reducing fossil fuel emissions 100 percent.

“The point of the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment is to figure out what needs to happen on this campus to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to zero,” said Charles Button, geography professor at CCSU.  “The universities sustainability officer has to send a report each year to how close we are to that goal.”

“We’ve gotten to 18 percent which is great considering our goal is twenty percent by 2015, but that’s really just a testament,” said Button.  “Most of what we’ve done has been fairly easy.”

Accomplishments that have already brought the campus to 18 percent include the recent installation of electric car charging stations located in the student center parking lot and the creation of a ride share program that will be available to serve both students and faculty.

CCSU has also put online last year a new academic building, the Social Sciences Hall, which is LEED-certified gold.  The new residence building that the university has just recently broke ground on will also be a LEED-certified building.  According to Button, it is a state initiative that all new building built on state property must be LEED-certified at a minimum of silver.  Other programs like the fuel cell initiative that the university have taken part in were only started because they were required state initiatives; similar to only building LEED-certified buildings.

The Garden of Eden, a community garden on campus, is also in its conversation stages, will contribute into making CCSU a completely green campus.

The President’s committee is in constant talk of how the university can continue to reduce its fossil fuel emissions.  One suggested idea, says Button, would be to do offsets to the campuses net fossil fuel emissions.

Button explains that the study abroad program is a big contributor to the universities fossil fuel usage.  Since non-carbon airplanes don’t exist, and putting an end to the study abroad program is unrealistic, the only option left is to do something that will off set this.

“Calculate how much carbon emissions the plan trip there and back creates, and the obvious solution would be to do something like to plant an acre of trees,” said Button.  “You then could add to the net, that would be an offset.”

“What can we do now that will get us to 50 percent,” said Button.  “We’re not going to get there unless we think of bigger ideas.”

Button suggests that the university’s engineering professors get together with the President’s Committee to collaborate and create a renewable energy plan for the campus.  This would entail calculating approximately how much energy and fossil fuels the campus uses on a daily basis.  This would then demonstrate how many solar panels and wind turbines the university would have to install to replace the amount of fossil fuels being used.

“The rooftops facing south and big, empty parking lots could easily have solar panels installed,” said Button.  “This sounds like a really progressive idea, usually the revolt to it is we can’t afford it.  But, solar panels are so cheap now.  You can get solar panels for $500 a piece.”

Button explains that if the university were to really analyze the cost, with all the money that is saved by using solar panels; that saved money could be used to buy more.

“Tuition is going up every year now, why?  We’re wasting opportunities to save and cutback money,” said Button.  “You as students are literally paying for the university to not do these things.”

“The administration needs to start embracing these things,” said Button.  “We need to start being more of a leader than a follower or else we’re never going to see 50 let alone 100.”

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Too Young to Stress College Debt

College is expensive; everyone knows that. And it isn’t getting any cheaper. Tuition all over the country is only increasing and so is the number of students stressed about it.

H&R Block recently put out a press release highlighting the amount of stress that teens have about finances. The survey that they conducted consisted of about 1,000 teenagers between 13 and 17 years old, focusing on the financial mind-set of young adults.

It was found that eight out of 10 teenagers are worried about finding a good job and 78 percent are already worried about their potential student loan debt.

These students are only in high school; some still in middle school. This means that the youngest of the students surveyed will not attend their first year of college until 2019, or five years from now.

Between the 2011-12 and 2014-15 school years – the length of an undergraduate bachelor’s degree – CCSU increased tuition by a total of 12.9 percent, a year-by-year average of just over three percent.

At that rate by 2019, when the youngest of those surveyed would be entering college, tuition would be increased by just over 16 percent and would potentially increase the four years they would be there.

There’s always the possibility that increases won’t be that much per year or even every year. And each college or university may handle the situation differently, maybe choosing to stop tuition increases.

Yet despite these possibilities, students are clearly still stressing about their future education that’s two to five years away. Though it is good for teens and young adults to learn about money and financial situations, this stress can be overwhelming. And since the youngest surveyed won’t even be working for a few more years, the stress they are facing is unhealthy.

H&R Block Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Collins believes that today’s economic realities are bringing not only stress but also pressure to people of such a young age. “Our survey shows 57 percent of teens use their own money on purchases, yet they often lack fundamental money management skills. The good news is, the research clearly illustrates a desire to learn.”

Managing money and planning financially is something that young teens should learn early on. However, the idea of being in debt over 10 years into the future shouldn’t be something a student just entering high school should have to be worrying about.

The survey showed that even though 97 percent of students still plan on going to college, a large majority (78 percent) worry about borrowing too much money in loans. Eighty-six percent of teens think it is more important than ever to choose a major that leads to a well-paying job.

From 2008-2012, national student debt at the time of college graduation had increased 6 percent, averaging at $27,000 per borrower. This will only increase as schools continue to increase their tuition on a nearly yearly basis.

Almost half of the older teens said that the determining factor of where, or if, they attend college will be the cost.

And even should they decide to make the commitment to higher education, the continued recession and general jobless climate in America, should it continue,  will make it increasingly difficult to find work after graduation.

The New York Times reported that college graduates have suffered the smallest unemployment rates of any section of the population. But those jobs often don’t require the college-level skills learned by the graduate. Oftentimes the jobs aren’t even related to what someone majored in.

What becomes clear is that something needs to be done about the rising cost of college tuition. As students are increasingly relying on these higher institution to land them future employment, it seems counterproductive to continue forcing them to saddle higher and higher levels of debt.

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Internet Brings Change to a Movement

Robin Morgan informed a crowded room of students of the battles she and many others have fought against the discrimination they face in the digital world.

Robin Morgan informed a crowded room of students of the battles she and many others have fought against the discrimination they face in the digital world.

By Kiley Krzyzek

Anna was forced to relive the harassment she encountered at her job offline, on her professional network online.

At Anna’s first job out of college, her boss sexually assaulted her.  The young woman, whose last name was not shared, left the job and, while searching for a new one on LinkedIn, her former boss stalked her profile. Anna alerted LinkedIn of the problem. The organization did nothing to stop the abuse. They argued that, since the nature of their website was all about connecting, there was no option to block users. Anna then turned to a different website, Change.org, and created a petition, explaining her situation and gaining support. Soon after, LinkedIn changed its policy to support more privacy.

Robin Morgan told this story and more to a crowd of approximately 50 students and faculty on Tuesday during her two-hour lecture entitled “A New Sisterhood for the Age of Twitter.”

“Sisterhood in the age of twitter is a damn good thing,” said Morgan, who discussed both the benefits and downfalls of feminism in the age of technology.

The talk, which celebrated Women’s History Month, was sponsored by The Committee for the Concerns of Women, the Ruthe Boyea Women’s Center, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and The CCSU History Department.

Morgan has written over 20 books and founded the Women’s Media Center.

“It takes over you, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Said Morgan of her busy lifestyle.

“Every year they pronounce the woman’s movement dead, which it’s never been.” Morgan proclaimed.

“Feminism, at it’s basic, is about equality between women and men. There are no issues that are not woman’s issues.” Declares Morgan.

She stated that 2/3 of all illiterates are women.  Women represent the ‘majority of the elderly population.’  They are also the ‘primary caregivers of the elderly and children.’ However, they do not receive enough credit for these tasks because they are seen as ‘natural’ and ‘unskilled.’

Even though the media can portray young people as uninterested in feminism, Morgan sees it differently.

“The media tells us young people aren’t interested. I speak at colleges a lot and I see a lot of pissed off feminists, and guys on the winning side.” Said Morgan.

The focus was on technology’s effect on the feminist movement. Technology, when used effectively can aid feminist campaigns by spreading the word. However, it can also hurt feminism when derogatory information is spread online.

Morgan understands that the way to get in touch with a lot of people quickly, especially younger people, is through social media.

“I didn’t relate to twitter at first, I’m obsessed with communication. Someone with the first name Robin should maybe not tweet, it’s a little embarrassing.” Joked Morgan.

Since taking advantage of social media, Morgan recognizes it’s extremely useful. Calling it the most ‘extraordinary tool for organizing.’

Morgan told the story of how the government of Saudi Arabia made it a capital offense for women to drive.  While news was blacked out in the area, social media made progress happen. Robin Morgan sent out a tweet about the situation, linking to her radio show broadcast report to friends. It went viral and ‘spread like wildfire.’ “They saw the world was behind them and they got it in their cars and drove. And the government did nothing because there was so many of them.”

She also listed off some of her favorite websites for feminism, including: Jeezebel, International Feminism Map, Ms. Magazine, Feminist.org, womensmediacenter.org and change.org.

There are also various apps on the market that allow you to quickly report if you’re being street harassed or followed. The app alerts local authorities and also finds open businesses in the area.

“It’s an experience that every woman shares, no man shares.” Said Morgan.

While technology can be a useful tool, it can also be destructive to feminism.

She told the story of how she spent six months trying to get Facebook to take down pages that instructed how to rape woman, which she described as ‘horrific.’

Facebook, at first, rejected allegations that the pages could elicit a scenario of rape. Reportedly, Facebook encouraged her to have a ‘sense of humor’ about the propaganda, but Morgan did not find it amusing.

“Facebook has been home to a hostile climate for women.” Said Morgan in response to Facebook pages entitled ‘Rape Room,’ for example.

Finally, progress was made when feminists went directly to the companies who had their Facebook ads displayed on such pages and asked ‘do you know your product is appearing on the rape dungeon site?’ Once advertisers became aware of this, the derogatory pages were promptly removed from the social network.

She also told the story of a girl named Anna who had trouble with her LinkedIn profile. Her former boss stalked her profile on the professional network, which had not the option to block users. As a result, she was sexually harassed without mitigation. Anna wrote to LinkedIn explaining the situation. Initially, they rejected her claim because the network is all about connecting. She protested on Change.org and LinkedIn changed their policy.

Change.org is a website for petitions; one student in the audience asked her what makes a successful petition.  Morgan suggested adding wit and personality to one’s petition writing. A clever headline such as ‘The Personal is Political’ is effective because ‘humor as a political tool’ can grasp attention.

Morgan encourages more feminist-minded college students to get involved, particularly in Computer Technology.

“If you haven’t determined what you want to do after school, [consider] computers … We can’t abandon this,” said Morgan to the group of students and faculty.

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Bates Motel Checks in for Second Season

By Navindra Persaud

 

Robert Bloch’s novel, Psycho, has been revamped by creator Anthony Cipriano and the A&E network to present Bates Motel, the prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s movie adaption of the novel of the same name.

 

The show, which is now in the midst of its second season, promises to be just as disturbing as Hitchcock’s 1960 thriller Psycho: depicting the strange relationship between mother and son, Norma and Norman Bates.

 

In the first season, viewers were introduced to Norman, played by Freddie Highmore, who experiences a psychotic break – the family is forced to move after he unconsciously kills his father. Norma, played by Vera Farmiga, is able to save her son from law enforcement by framing the murder to look as if it were an accident.

 

The Bates end up in Fairvale, California, a seemingly fictitious town, being economically run by the illicit drug trade. Norma has purchased a motel that was previously under foreclosure, and the family undergoes mayhem from the first evening they enter. After an altercation with the previous owner, the family’s body count tally increases by one.

 

Following this murder, the Bates are in frequent contact with Sheriff Alex Romero, portrayed by Nestor Carbonell. Sheriff Romero presents an unlawful vibe that hits you as soon as you are introduced to him. He proves to hold much importance as the first season ends and the second season begins.

 

This prequel is very interesting and twisted. Just when the Bates seem to be in the clear, something goes awry and they end up in deeper water than they were before. The relationship that Norma and Norman have is very loving, at times, considerably excessive. It is full of suspense, and is a thriller from the first 10 minutes of the first episode.

 

Along with the Bates, another key character in the show is Dylan Massett, played by Max Thieriot. Dylan is the half-brother of Norman, who just showed up one day, much to the dismay of Norma, his biological mother. With time, their relationship becomes quite rocky and introduces another underlying conflict that will leave viewers in awe.

 

Characters such as Bradley Martin, played by Nicola Peltz, and Emma Decody, played by Olivia Cooke, serve as two potential love interests of Norman. They are two characters who are able to reach out to him but aren’t quite aware of the darkness that exists within him.

 

Highmore does a fantastic job of portraying Norman Bates, especially in the instances where he seems to have a tunnel vision effect around him, in which nothing else matters. It is quite strange to see him in a role such as this one because he is known for his roles in films such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and August Rush. Highmore has grown from such innocent roles to one that requires the actor to tap into a twisted part of the human mind.

 

Between Norman’s obsession with taxidermy, his intimate encounters with one of his high school teachers, and his mothers’ knack for attracting the wrong men, viewers are in for more than their fair share of surprises. If you do intend to watch, be sure to pay close attention to everything that happens; five minutes away from the television screen and you may be in the dark until the next episode. Overall, it is one of the best new television obsessions.

 

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SGA Bullet Points 3/26

By Joe Suszczynski

  • Some members of the Student Government Association went to the Conference on Student Government Association (COSGA) at Texas A&M University and told the rest of the student government their individual experiences that they learned while attending along with ideas to be used in the CCSU SGA.
  • A motion was made to pass the Finance Committee by-law changes to the club funding section regarding how much percentage of the budget goes to funding clubs, how much SGA has for its operation accounts, and how much SGA has on reserves. The change in percentages mainly increased how much the SGA can fund, decreasing the amount the SGA has in reserve and how much they have on hand as operating funds. The motion passed with 29 “yes” votes and three “abstain” votes.
  • A representative of the Black Student Union made a brief statement for a line item exchange to take some money out of an account to fund an event they plan on doing — requesting $540. $320 would go to set up the event while $200 would go to paying a photographer. This passed when the motion was made to accept it.
  • Maxwell Vaughn, President of the Men’s Volleyball Club, presented a contingency request asking the SGA for $1,068.13 for hotel rooms because they qualified for regionals that will be taking place in Durham, New Hampshire on March 29-30. A motion was later made to accept the contingency, which ended up passing.
  • A motion was made to allocate $3,000 to the A Capella Society for Divisi’s fundraising loan going towards their Cd Production. The only stipulation, however, is that Divisi will held responsible if they do not pay back the loan by the end of the 2014-2015 fiscal year. The motion passed with 28 “yes” and three “abstain” votes.
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Writer’s Block: The Column That Almost Wasn’t

Writers block. We all suffer from it, whether it’s a book report for your English class or the Editor’s Column for the newspaper.

I have it.

Each week, I write a column for this paper, which means each week I need to think of something to write. I like to write about topics that I am passionate about but sometimes the passion can be in short supply, especially on a tired, sick Monday night.

When nothing of particular interest catches my eye or intrigues me or if I don’t have a strong, fighting opinion, I don’t like to waste my time or my reader’s time writing 600 words that lack a real point.

I have learned two things throughout my lifetime of writing: 1. I thoroughly enjoy it. 2. When you have writers block, it won’t go away.

As I’m sitting here, I am watching the time pass, trying to come up with an idea about what to write. Almost seven hours later and still… nothing.

I started asking around to my staff for any ideas of what I could have an opinion on. After a few random and silly topics, someone made a joke about writing about writers block. So I did because I know that it’s a topic that almost all readers can relate to.

Throughout the week, I learn new things in class, I watch interesting and stupid television shows, I listen to music and I talk about a million different topics with a million different people every day.

So why is it so hard to come up with something, anything to write about? I am a very opinionated person. I am also, however, a very logical thinker. When I have my opinion and express it, I enjoy hearing and understanding other views.

This makes it hard to come up with something to write and to stick it out. Here is where I meet writers block. Everything I see, hear and discuss over a week flies out of my head and I’m on empty.

But what I’ve figured out over these last moments is that sometimes, you need to let your mind relax. Stress combined with a need to force a thought will get you nowhere.

The best opinions and arguments come naturally. So here’s a tip for the next time you are facing writers block: walk away from what you are doing, if only for a few moments or maybe a few hours. Take a walk, call up a friend for a quick chat or even turn on the television and relax.

Once you’ve gotten your mind off the subject at hand, come back to it. Chances are you’ll have a better time thinking of a topic to write about.

So, as I sit here and write this column, I am teaching myself something and finding a new opinion – Let your mind relax and don’t force yourself to think. The best work is done when your mind is fresh and you have enough time to work it out in your head.

 

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Miss World Defends Women’s Rights

By Ariana D’Avanzo

Linor Abargil was 18-years-old when she was abducted, raped and stabbed by an Israeli travel agent who was supposed to drop her off at the airport.

The CCSU Hillel Jewish Organization hosted a screening of the documentary, “Brave Miss World,” on Tuesday, March 26, at 7:00 p.m. in Torp Theatre. For a total of 99 minutes, the viewers were taken on the journey of the life of Linor Abargil, a surviving rape victim.

Abargil was in Milan, Italy after she won the title of Miss Israel in March of 1998. She had decided to pursue a career in modeling. Soon after arriving in Italy, Abargil became homesick and was driven to the airport by a travel agent, Uri Nor Shlomo, who then raped her. Several weeks later, Abargil won the Miss World Competition.

The documentary follows Abargil as she travels all around the world speaking to rape victims. As she does this, she copes with her own emotional issues and transforms into the woman she wants to be. She is now happily married, the mother of two healthy children.

Cecilia Peck, a producer and director of this film, studied the life of Abargil for five years. Peck documented the process as this young Israeli woman transforming a tragic event in her life into an opportunity to comfort and counsel other rape victims. In the beginning of the film, before anything was done, Abaril said “I plan to travel to different countries in the hopes of helping other survivors and encourage them not to stay silent, not to feel ashamed, and not to blame themselves”

“No means yes; yes means anal,” chanted men from Yale University in a video clip that was presented half way through the film. This clip was featured alongside other examples of campus rape throughout the country. The audience gasped and the room fell silent. Many viewers could not believe that this had happened so close to where they live. Danielle Sweigard, a freshman at CCSU, went to Torp Theatre and saw the documentary: “The entire film was very emotional, but seeing that example of the Yale boys from right here in Connecticut really brought this issue home. It really made me open up my eyes.”

Before the film began, Benji Miller, president of the CCSU Hillel Jewish Organization, warned the audience that the film was dramatic and emotional. Jonathan Pohl and William Fothergill from the counseling section of the Student Wellness Services were at the screening to talk with anyone who may need their help. Miller expressed to viewers that hotline numbers would be available at the end of the film screening.

The Jewish Federation provided the film for the CCSU Hillel Jewish Organization — free of charge. The screening was advertised all over campus for approximately a month.

The website for this film, www.bravemissworld.com, has numerous international hotlines and healing-based organizations available for victims in need. Along with this, there is a section titled ‘Speak Out.’ Within this section of the website, victims can share their own stories, comment on other stories or read what others have gone through. In the documentary, Abargil stresses that people who have been put in this horrible situation have to know an have to be reminded that they are not alone.

“The more we talk about it, the more we can encourage each other to report and press charges…there is nothing to be scared of because the worst thing has already happened,” said Abargil.

This portion of the website does just that. It reminds people that there are others who know what they are going through and that they do not need to battle this on their own.
Abargil is one activist trying to address a worldwide problem. “I’m trying to be the best of help to other women,” Abargil said in the documentary. If students are interested in speaking out about this issue and joining the cause they can visit the film’s website to take part in the international movement to end rape.

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Smells Like a Tribute

by Joseph Suszczynski, Acadia Otlowski and Sean Begin

Twenty years ago this Saturday, rock lost an icon. Kurt Cobain was one of the most influential musicians to emerge in the 1990s. He made an impact with his music that was, in a way, an extension of his heart.

Cobain captured the angst of an era. Nirvana emerged from the ashes of disco music and hair metal with a new style. The band is often attributed to being a founder of grunge.

Grunge was dirtier, grimier than its predecessors, and Nirvana, along with bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, brought this style out of suburban Seattle and into the mainstream.

The grunge movement came on the heels of the death of 1980s hair metal, combining punk rock angst and anger with the gloomier, darker mood of bands like the Melvins and the Cure, both of whom Cobain and Nirvana cited as influences in their music.

From the strums coming from his guitar to the words coming from his mouth, Cobain put his entire being into his music. He was called a brilliant songwriter, writing about topics that may have been cliché, but managing to craft them in such a way to make them seem unique.

He would rail against frat boys and the establishment, lashing out at anything that made him angry, a feeling that resonated with the youth at that time. Cobain was a talented lyricist, writing in a verse-chorus-verse style (hence the unreleased song “Verse Chorus Verse” that appeared on the 2004 box set “With the Lights Out”).

Cobain would compose his lyrics in different ways throughout his life. “Bleach,” Nirvana’s first release, was mostly written right before recording would take place. The band’s biggest album, “Nevermind,” was written from selected lines from his poetry and journals.

Nirvana’s most well-known hit, “Smells like Teen Spirit,” came about when a girl told Cobain he “smelled like Teen Spirit,” a deodorant brand popular in the early 90s, at a party both attended.

Cobain could also take songs from artists and cover them in such a way that his rendition is better than the original. One song came from one of the last shows the band ever played, “MTV Unplugged in New York,” which featured acoustic versions of Nirvana’s songs.  David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” was spun by Cobain into a lower, grungier sound completely changing the whole tone. It went from Bowie’s upbeat, psychedelic tone to something much darker.

It’s a shame how everything came to be regarding Cobain’s death. In a way one can’t blame him for killing himself. His heroin addiction and his chronic depression, along with trying to handle the level of fame he was receiving, ended up getting the best of him. It’s unfortunate because his music is great and also can be very therapeutic to listen to if one was unhappy.

And Cobain was Nirvana, both legally and symbolically, meaning after his death, the fate of the bands material was left in the hands of the legal system.

Following his death, Cobain’s wife Courtney Love won the rights to Nirvana’s music over his bandmates, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl, and the band’s record label.

The initial claim made by Love was that the band would not be what it was without the lead singer. Since she was married to him, the rights to the music belonged to her. The courts agreed.

Despite the legal battles, fans have had the chance to hear work from Cobain and Nirvana that had never been heard before.

The “With the Lights Out” box set featured three CDs of never-before-released B-sides, alternate takes and unfinished songs from the band. And in 2008, Charles H. Cross published the book “Cobain Unseen” that included a CD of Cobain delivering spoken word poetry.

In the end, the past cannot be changed. Kurt Cobain may be gone physically from this world, but his music still lives on for many to enjoy.

Rest easy, Kurt. Thanks for the music.

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Don’t Worry, It’s Killing You

By Acadia Otlowski

Do not stress your stress.

This advice stems from a TED (Technology, Engineering and Design) talk given by Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist who, up until recently, taught that stress is only negative.

“For years I’ve been telling people, stress makes you sick. It increases the risk of everything from the common cold to cardiovascular disease. Basically, I’ve turned stress into the enemy. But I have changed my mind about stress, and today, I want to change yours,” said McGonigal in her speech.

McGonigal said that, according to a study, people who experienced a high level of stress had a 43 percent increased risk of dying. But she also found out that people that viewed stress as something positive had the least risk of dying.

CCSU psychology professors reacted to McGonigal’s claims.

“I’m not surprised because how you view events in your life has a lot to do on whether you perceive it to be stressful,” said Joanna DiPlacido, a professor at CCSU.

DiPlacido said that acute stressors, or ones that are short-term, do not hurt you. In fact, the hormone released by acute stress actually encourages those experiencing it to reach out to others for help.

“Not everyone who experiences a stressor gets sick,” said DiPlacido.

McGonigal said after she heard about the study, she began to rethink her outlook on stress.

“When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body’s response to stress,” said McGonigal.

So McGonigal’s goals have changed.

“So my goal as a health psychologist has changed. I no longer want to get rid of your stress. I want to make you better at stress. And we just did a little intervention,” said McGonigal. “If you raised your hand and said you’d had a lot of stress in the last year, we could have saved your life, because hopefully the next time your heart is pounding from stress, you’re going to remember this talk and you’re going to think to yourself, this is my body helping me rise to this challenge.”

Some people are naturally this way, according to DiPlacido. She calls them resilient. She recommends that students treat stress as challenges.

“It’s important to look at your courses as challenges, a good thing,” said DiPlacido, who also said that students should see the daily stresses of college as positive motivator.

DiPlacido encouraged students to exercise; it is a good way to handle stress.

“It’s a way for us to physically deal with the increase in hormones,” said DiPlacido. “That helps us to use our stress hormones in a positive way.”

Another professor was interested in how positive stress can heal the body, as McGonigal touched upon in her talk.

“With that being said, it is fascinating that the body is equipped to handle stress and heal itself.  I was fascinated by the information on how turning to people for support helps recover from stress.  That is very good news as a psychologist – also providing more support for utilizing therapy during periods of high stress,” said Carolyn Fallahi, a psychology professor on campus.

DiPlacido said that it is all about perspective.

“Our attitudes and our beliefs truly make a difference,” said DiPlacido

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Wesley Stace Explores Music Industry in “Wonderkid”

By Kevin Jachimowicz

“The wonder kids? Where are they now? Remember those guys?” were a few of the first words sputtered on Wednesday, March 26th as Wesley Stace, author, also known as a singer/songwriter by stage-name John Wesley Harding, gave a free reading of excepts from his latest novel, “Wonderkid” in Marcus White Living Room to a large crowd that could not help itself from leaking into the hallways. The book is about a rock band that is faced with the concept of selling out.

“Wonderkid” is a comedic, yet realistic and sometimes poignant glimpse into the adventures of an indie rock band that ends up repackaged as a kids’ (‘kindie’) pop group, in the 1980s. Stace traces the band’s origin to the childhood of two English brothers known as Blake and Jack. The band’s story is narrated by Sweet, a young teen who, at the novel’s opening, almost literally falls into the band’s lap as he desperately attempts to make a getaway after shoplifting from a nearby record store. Sweet is miserable with his foster parents and his lifestyle, and Blake soon adopts him, bringing him on board to sell merchandise for the band at some of the very first Wonderkid concerts. Of course, this was before they make their big debut in America, before they were repackaged by their label as a band for kids, or a ‘kindie’ band, much to the band members’ unpleasant surprise. Not only does Stace hit this A&R nail right on the head, he also offers a real insider’s look into life on tour, including (along with the sex and drugs) the sheer tedium of life on the road, which can help make for a recipe of reckless behavior. “The first bad idea — was to watch [the] movie on acid,” Stace said, impersonating a character who was listing some poorly made choices.

The story of the Wonderkids also documents things such as the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center), the propaganda behind it (CNN making full-blown news stories over people ‘moshing’) and much more. The PMRC was a committee formed in 1985 with the stated goal of increasing parental control and constriction over the access children have to music that is deemed violent, containing messages that condone drug use or existing in a sexual nature — resulting in albums labeled with Parental Advisory stickers.

This quickly sparked a fierce yet confusing two-sided debate: creating the argument about censoring and labeling music, demanding that lyrics be approved before records can be readied for release and profit. This created further committees in America — such as MOMs (Morality over Music). For just as many irritated, concerned parents there were, there were twice as many kids looking to hear the music that was now being considered as racy. “Scrape the surface of any lyrics, you can find pretty much anything you want,” one of the band members spewed in an excerpt.

After what was likely more than an hour and a half of vivid excepts from “Wonderkid,” Stace transformed into John Wesley Harding, performing a number of songs for the crowd before taking some questions from the audience to share about himself.

“This book took me about two years,” Stace claimed, “A song may take me seven minutes, [literally], to an hour,” he continued, exemplifying his experience in the difference between the instant gratification he has seen in songwriting compared to the tireless effort necessary in writing to gain rewards or praise. “Wonderkid” is a good read for any music fan to check out.

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Kelle Groom holds a copy of her book, I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl.

Kelle Groom: Recalling Through Poetry

Kelle Groom holds a copy of her book, I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl.

Kelle Groom holds a copy of her book, I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl.

 

By Kiley Krzyzek

The Helix, Central’s literary magazine, sponsored a reading by award-winning poet Kelle Groom in the Marcus White Living room on Thursday.

Groom wrote a memoir entitled “I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl.” Her books of poems are entitled “Five Kingdoms,” “Luckily” and “Underwater City.” Students, faculty and the public had the opportunity to hear excerpts from her books along with personalized narratives of how the readings came to be.

“I think it was a great success,” said Tyler Margid, Editor-In-Chief of the Helix.

Groom explained that writing in private is a therapeutic process.

“The writing of it is never hard because I’m the only one in the room,” said Groom.

When she realized that people could be judgmental of her choice to write about personal experiences, she ignored them.

“I just stopped telling them,” said Groom of consulting her parents about her memoir writing.

Other people involved were not so happy with her sharing personal details, but she did so with grace.

“My rule was [I can write it] if it intercepts with my life. And nothing is written in a mean-spirited way. I had to deal with people not talking to me afterwards, but I got to write a book,” said Groom of I “Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl,” which tells the story of the son she gave up for adoption as a young girl who then became terminally ill.

“It’s a very moving story, it’s something that can connect well with students,” said Margid of Groom’s memoir.

Writing helped Kelle find her voice.

“I was a quiet kid, it’s where I could hear myself. I always wrote, it helped me to become myself,” said Groom.

Kelle’s other poems are inspired by aspects of her life, such as jobs she has had. Throughout the reading, she explained how poems are inspired, very often it has to do with work. Kelle worked at an opera company, managed a bookstore, bagged groceries at a health food store, even a homeless shelter in Florida.

“This book really goes through my entire job history,” explained Groom of Underwater City.

Groom experimented with the size of poems and used the theme of luck in the aptly titled collection of prose: “Luckily.”

“I have each one have some small thread of luck in the poem. I thought, how small can a poem be?” said Groom.

A theme of safety was the common thread for her book “Five Kingdoms,” which she explained means the five kingdoms of life.

“I was thinking about the idea of safety,” said Groom.

The event inspired attendees to get started writing their own life story. During the Q&A portion of the event, a few audience members shared personal stories and wanted her advice.

“What you just said, write that down,” advised Groom in response.

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Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Bashes Government Surveillance

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By Ruth Bruno

The CCSU Youth for Socialist Action (YSA) hosted a conference initiated in part by the CT Coalition to Stop Indefinite Detention. Daniel Piper, a founding member of the CT Coalition and a member of the CCSU YSA outlined the goals of the conference saying it was held to “Bring people together who are struggling against various attacks on their rights and freedoms and create an atmosphere where they can learn more about what everyone else is going through.”

The keynote address was given by Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and former reporter for the New York Times. Hedges spoke critically of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) referring to the agency as a “small secret surveillance committee of goons and thugs hiding behind the mask of patriotism.”

Hedges drew parallels between the histories of the FBI and the National Security Agency (NSA), concluding that the American people’s fear of communism has been replaced by a fear of terrorism. “The politics of fear, the psychosis of permanent war were continued…The illegal and disastrous occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan along with our indiscriminate bombing from drones of countries such as Pakistan and Somalia…are driving many of the Muslim world into the arms of militant groups,” he said.

He went on to say that the American people’s fear of terrorism is being used as justification for invasions of privacy at home and abroad. “Our liberty has been sacrificed on the altar of national security,” said Hedges.

Hedges praised Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, as well as Julian Assange, saying they possessed a “moral courage” that is rarely seen. “The state now hunts down and throws into prison any who attempt to expose the illegality of what it is doing as with Chelsea Manning and as with the forced exile of Edward Snowden. This is always how totalitarian secret police forces work. Dissent is criminalized; Truth is hidden,” said Hedges.

Hedges spoke critically of President Barack Obama, saying he has not kept his promises to overturn unconstitutional decisions issued during the Bush administration, to shut down Guantanamo Bay and to commit to transparency.

Hedges claimed that Obama has not been truthful about the NSA’s abilities to monitor American citizens and strongly asserted that the NSA was a threat to democracy.  “An omnipresent surveillance state creates a climate of paranoia and fear; it makes democratic dissent impossible. Any state that has the ability to inflict full spectrum dominance is not a free state,” he said.

After his speech, Hedges answered questions and addressed comments from the audience. Lenny Brenner asked Hedges, “Is there a party that you think people should vote for? Or if not, how do we build a party that people will vote for?”

Hedges answered: “Elections should not occupy a huge amount of our time. Most people attracted to power are at best mediocre….we have to rebuild movements that make the powerful frightened of us.”

Though the conference was entitled “One Nation Under Surveillance,” conversation was not limited to topics involving the NSA and national surveillance. Discussion panels were hosted in which speakers brought up various issues they felt were an erosion of democratic rights.

By Devin Leith-Yessian

Robert King, who spent 29 years in solitary confinement and has fought against such treatment for prisoners, spoke on one of the panels at the conference

Khalilah Brown-Dean, a professor of Political Science at Quinnipiac University, talked about the effects of mass incarceration. “There are few institutions in this country that have eroded our rights more than the criminal justice system,” said Brown-Dean.

She said that, since the 1970s, the incarceration population of the United States has increased by six fold. “The United States locks up more people per incident than any other country. “We know crime rates have gone down, yet we have ramped up these penalties that have played on the fears on the American people,” said Brown-Dean.

Brown-Dean stated that mass incarceration has a disproportionate effect on communities of color saying that African-Americans make up only approximately 12 percent of the U.S. population but make up 60 percent of imprisoned Americans. “Mass incarceration is about much more than just punishing those who have broken the law. Mass incarceration has deteriorated our entire community structure.”

Brown-Dean went on to point out some of the flaws of the criminal justice system, saying “these collateral consequences of conviction and often just a suspicion of a crime means that if you have a felony conviction, you can’t live in public housing. You cannot receive funding for education. You cannot hold certain jobs.”

Brown-Dean stated that many prisoners cannot get the jobs they trained for while they were in prison because the criminal justice system will not allow ex-convicts to hold certain jobs. “Many of our vocational programs here in Connecticut focus on hospitality management. In Connecticut, if you have a felon, you cannot work in a restaurant. You cannot work in a hotel because they serve alcohol…where then are our priorities to break that cycle and to help people contribute to their families and strengthen those communities?” she asked.

Another panel speaker, Imam Kashif Abdul-Karim of the Muhammad Islamic Center of Greater Hartford, addressed what he believes to be the source of Islam-phobia. Harking on America’s past, Abdul-Karim noted that the Puritans came to America to escape religious repression, but they soon began to discriminate against other Christian groups such as the Anglicans and Baptists.

He went on to say that, throughout America’s history, a number of religious groups — including Buddhists and Muslims — have been and are still facing discrimination. “The basic ideas of the founding fathers regarding the freedom of religion seemed to be only present or important to a certain group of people and the ideas of the founding fathers really wasn’t being manifest,” said Abdul-Karim.

According to Abdul-Karim, Islamic communities in America are being discriminated against those who fear other cultures. “Xenophobia and Islamaphobia…have their origins in one another — the hatred of people simply because they are different,” he said.

A wide range of workshops were available for conference attendees to choose from. The workshops were held in classrooms in Davidson Hall and the Social Sciences Hall on topics including the fight to stop deportation of immigrant workers, a report of the Civil Liberties Legislative Agenda in CT and a discussion with activists advocating to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Though the date and location have yet been determined, the CT Coalition to Stop Indefinite Detention plan to hold a conference next year. A follow-up meeting will be held on April 27th 2014 at the Berlin Mosque in Connecticut.

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Beginning of the End for NCAA?

by Sean Begin

For years there have been small cracks building in the seemingly impenetrable walls of the NCAA cartel and its monopoly on the multi-billion dollar business of college sports.

On March 26, the director of Region 13 of the National Labor Relations Board, Peter Sung Ohr, ruled that football players at Northwestern University could legally be considered university employees and, therefore, could form a union in order to bargain with the school.

The foundation of college sports — the so-called “student-athlete” myth and the concept of amateurism — now suddenly, and perhaps irrevocably, faces collapse.

In his decision, Ohr stated that the 50-60 hours a week Northwestern football players put into the program, combined with the almost $60,000 per year in scholarship they can receive, defines them as employees.

Predictably, many organizations, from Northwestern to major conferences like the Big 10 (of which Northwestern is a member) and the SEC to the NCAA itself, were “disappointed” in Ohr’s ruling, as if their parental finger-wagging at Ohr and the NLRB would reverse the decision.

What the NCAA fails to realize (and some sports writers like the Washington Posts’ Sally Jenkins, who published an incredibly ignorant column a few days after the ruling) are the needs of  Northwestern players.

In late 2013, the National College Players Association published 11 items they were seeking to address as the basis for forming a union. Not a single one of those mentioned pay-for-play at all.

Instead, the NCPA sought things like greater safety measures and better healthcare, protection from losing scholarships due to injury and greater graduation rates by reducing practice times.

These are not unreasonable requests. The NCAA fears what a union would mean in terms of its ability to make money; they falsely accuse the NCPA of seeking to harm the education of athletes.

What the NCPA ultimately wants is a voice for the athletes who must play by rules they had no say in creating. Much like the NCAA whining that they were not party to the NLRB’s landmark decision, athletes can argue they never had a say in how college athletics should be run financially.

The last few years has seen the NCAA assailed on several different issues in the U.S. legal system — from Ed O’Bannon’s lawsuit claiming the NCAA made money off of his image after he had left college, to lawsuits stemming from head injuries and concussions, to a recent lawsuit filed by anti-trust lawyer Jeffery Kessler.

What’s missing from a large portion of the conversation surrounding the “student-athletes” being paid is the fact that school costs money.

Over the last 30-plus years (since 1978 when records began), tuition has risen 1,120 percent, a far and greater increase than the market and inflation has seen, meaning income remains down while school cost goes up.

If the U.S. were to follow a similar program such as in Spain, France or Italy which utilize tax money to pay for college education, the issue of scholarships as compensation for athletes would become moot. If all high school graduates were able to attend college free of charge, rather than risking incurring tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, then the NCAA would have no way to maintain its already slipping grip on the industry.

While the NLRB’s decision does not immediately spell the end of the NCAA, it compares well to the rise of the baseball players’ union, as Patrick Vint of SB Nation explained in an October article following the NCPA’s announcement to unite a college player’s union.

The MLBPA helped end baseball’s reserve clause and bring about free agency by slowly negotiating more and more rights for ballplayers before going after owners full force.

The NLRB’s decision will face appeals from Northwestern and the NCAA over the coming year, but with so many sides going after sports’ biggest cartel, it won’t be long before the NCAA folds or is forced to make major institutional changes. 

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Capitol Music Group/Strange Cargo/Manhattan Records.house-of-lies-soundtrack-cover

“House of Lies” Unleashes Original Songs on Inaugural Soundtrack Compilation

By Kevin Jachimowicz

Two time Grammy-nominee (“American Beauty”, “Shrek 2″), Music Supervisor and DJ, Chris Douridas, partnered up with Grammy-winning Producer Larry Klein to release a 12-track compilation for the Showtime drama-comedy series “House of Lies,” digitally, via the Strange Cargo/Manhattan Records imprint of Capitol Music Group, earlier this month  (March 4th, specifically). The release is a compilation of the best pieces from the first three seasons of the show.

“House of Lies” is a dramatic comedy series that follows a management consultant of a top-tiered firm and his team who stops at nothing to get what they need. Academy Award winning actor Don Cheadle, and Academy Award nominee Kristin Bell, both star in the popular Showtime series. “From the beginning it’s been my goal to find songs that allow the viewer a way into the heart of the main character Marty Kaan, played by the great Don Cheadle,” Chris Douridas says of his brainstorming process. “I never even think about a soundtrack album until I first address the dramatic needs of the script.” Cheadle plays a manipulative, cold and amoral management consultant. Both in and outside of the office, Cheadle’s character has to deal with trials and tribulations. “House of Lies” is a play on the idea of the corruption of top businesses and business professionals in America. It makes for an irreverent satire of our country’s corporate sphere. The overall tone of the compilation album is laid back and relaxed with minor points of shift in direction, perfectly capturing and encompassing the atypical post-work, sex-filled lives that are consistently maimed within the show in a way that only a premium-cable channel like Showtime could pull off.

The compilation debuts its listeners with the signature riffs of Grammy-winning, Texas native, Gary Clark Jr’s, “Bright Lights”: a drugged-out, menacing, big-city anthem. “Ended up with the bottle/Taking shots, waiting on tomorrow” Clark Jr. huffs over the fuzzy, bluesy track. Where the compilation really seemed to impress is with the light that it shines on artists’ unfamiliar to your typical everyday American music consumer or listener. “As a longtime radio host in Los Angeles – a DJ who is [open to new artists] — i am on a lot of mailing lists. Artists, managers, publishers, labels, music attorneys, promoters, agents, friends, neighbors, etc. all send me stuff. I get sent everything. The important part of this is that i listen to what i’m sent. I also spend my days hunting for things — on blogs, through Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud…” said Douridas of his discovery of upcoming artists’ in the industry.

The blues and jazz are heavy influences on many of the twelve original songs on the compilation’s track-list, which makes all the sense in the world considering the nature of Marty Kaan’s personal and business life. Admittedly, things do not always go well for him. This scenario is captured by British soul musician, Michael Kiwanuka, in “It Always Comes Back Around” in what is “the first song we had written for the show,” Douridas assured — a personal favorite of his. Kiwanuka’s addictive bluesy hook and the simple instrumentals that serve as back up to the dominating vocals turn this song into an effortless success. The song is soft, slow, but still contains passion and an underlying theme of karma. “From the beginning, the best person in my mind to do this effectively was Michael Kiwanuka. We just needed the right scene,” Douridas said of Kiwanuka in fulfilling his mission to use songs that would allow viewers a way into the heart of Marty Kaan, the main character. Everyone from the creator of the show, Matt Carnahan, to the Black Keys’ bassist Gus Seyffert were involved in the challenge, creation and execution of this track as accompaniment to the scene.

Tracks like “This Love is Here to Stay” also prove the artists on the compilation deserve the respect they demand. While the jazzy rhythm is kept consistent throughout, vocal styles tend to differ continuously. Thomas Dybdahl provides this track with a strained voice as he somberly sings over the romantic guitar and keyboard accompanying his vocals. Douridas had some choice words to say about his experience with Dybdahl:

I’ve been a fan of Thomas Dybdahl since his album Science was given to me by Gemma Dempsey, my radio producer at the time. He’s a Norwegian artist. Very underrated, and deeply powerful. When I heard his new album in the works, I gravitated to his song “This Love Is Here to Stay”, and vowed to find a place for it in the new season of House of Lies. Because of my obsession with the song, I approached his label, Strange Cargo, run by an old friend Larry Klein, in the hope they might be interested in putting out our soundtrack. Shortly after, I got the cut of the second to last episode of the season, which features a very key sequence in the storyline. To my astonishment, Thomas’ song fit like a glove.

Basecamp’s “Smoke Filled Lungs” along with Dybdahl’s ballad add a darker texture to the compilation without deviating from the initial patterns established in previous tracks. The first soundtrack to arise from “House of Lies” is this original soundtrack compilation — the music fro the first three seasons of the series. Whether or not you are a dedicated viewer of the Showtime hit series, this soundtrack compilation is worth your time.

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Spring Concert Tickets

By Kiley Krzyzek

Spring concert tickets just aren’t selling. So far 634 of the 3,000 possible tickets have been sold.

This has forced the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Central Activities Network (CAN) to come up with more innovative strategies for selling tickets.

“It is starting to sell more than we did in the first few weeks. I think because we started marketing earlier than last year, word is starting to get out now,” said Michelle Zohlman, President of Central Activities Network.

 “Basically, we’re employing a bunch of new marketing schemes this year to help sell the remaining tickets,” said Brian Choplick, President of Central’s Student Government Association.

 Those new marketing strategies include selling V.I.P student tickets for $5 more than the regular student price. These include the opportunity to win a meet and greet. Also: distributing coupons at Devils Den at 10 for $5 off the regular ticket price.

 In past years, marketing has been lax due to the popularity of the artists.

“We have just been extremely spoiled in the last few years with how much the artists have blown up in the time between booking and tickets going on sale, which has given us the opportunity to be extremely laid back on marketing,” said Choplick.

Last year especially, with Kendrick Lamar, tickets  practically sold themselves.

“Last year we were incredibly fortunate in the timing of Kendrick Lamar becoming a household name and didn’t need to necessarily worry about extra marketing, as the tickets sold out at a record pace,” said Choplick.

 This year has required some more innovative ideas for selling tickets, which are now available to the public.

 “Everything that we are currently doing (Facebook ads, posters to the public, coupons at Devil’s Den, etc.) is just to continue selling tickets. These are marketing tactics employed by just about every other school when they are having a concert,” said Choplick.

The goal is to sell more tickets so students have a good time at the concert. Higher tickets sales  create future spring concert opportunities.

“We’re working on marketing and give nice incentives to come to the spring concert and enjoy it, because it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s been picking up. The show will eventually be sold out, or close to selling out.” explained Zohlman.

 “Our goal, of course, is to sell out the concert. This will bring more revenue back into our account to reinvest in the student body. So we are taking steps in order to achieve that goal.” said Choplick.

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562px-Cannabis_leaf.svg

Not-So-Mary Jane

By: Brittany Hill

There is a new face to the average marijuana user in America. Or is there?

Whether it is medicinal or recreational, the stigmatized substance is slowly making its way into the hands of anyone who wants it. But the feds are not having it.

The discrepancy between state and federal law has created unfortunate and conflicting actions for medical marijuana recipients. The Federal Drug Enforcement Administration classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, next to LSD and heroin, while 20 states and the District of Columbia have legalized it as medicinal.

But for parents Shawnee and Aaron Hillyer, that does not matter. Two weeks ago, they watched Child Protective Services take their 11-month-old away from their Napa home in California. The reason: CPS received a call after neighbors overheard a loud argument next door. After social workers entered the home, they found marijuana on the living room table out of the child’s reach.

Both Shawnee and Aaron have prescriptions for medical marijuana, warranted by the state of California. However, their scripts do not come in a transparent orange bottles from the Walgreens in town. Their medication comes from a dispensary.

And that is where the problem lies. While parents and families have fancy wine racks and liquor cabinets fully stocked without question and accessible to children, other families face scrutiny for having their medicinal and recreational choices exploited by precedents set by ignorance and false impressions.

Because marijuana, medicinal or not, is so highly stigmatized by our culture, it is easy to jump to conclusions that place the user as a victim and the law enforcer as a hero. What’s difficult to see, however, is that laws are not the end-all for what is right.  Though for some the argument is mute, alcohol was “illegal” for quite a long time. If you were to place the effects and consequences of marijuana next to the effects and consequences of alcohol, there is no question which is more harmful on both an individual and collective scale.

Though any medication or drug – prescription pills, alcohol or marijuana – should be out of reach to young children, it should not be that when a social worker enters a home and finds a glass of wine or prescription bottle sitting on the table, they just right it off when its just cause to take away the children after doing just the same but finding medical marijuana on the counter.

Both Shawnee and Aaron offered to show their medical marijuana prescriptions, but the child welfare officials cared less. Though the criteria allowing officials to take custody is vague enough to justify the Hillyer case, it was not necessary.

After taking the 11-month-old away and putting him under foster care for 12 days, the couple has learned the sad realities that face our nation’s most modern medicine.

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Inexpensive Travel How To. Destination: Salem

By: Arianna Cecchini

When you hear the year 1692, what comes to mind? Probably not much, unless you’re a history major or fanatic. But one of the most remarkable historical events in history happened in 1692, and not too far from the CCSU campus. The Salem Witch Trials happened in 1692, and as a college student looking for something to do, one can get a glimpse into this horrifying and remarkable event for a low cost.

Salem, MA is only about a two hour drive from CCSU, so pack some friends into the car and head up for a weekend of spooky fun. Salem offers great hotels all around the area for extremely low prices of about $80-100 a night. The hotels are top quality also — names such as The Marriott and Hilton. The only time those prices sky rocket is in October. If money is an issue, avoid the month of October, or try to go very early in the month if you would like to participate in the Halloween festivities.

Salem is one of the cutest and most quaint New England towns and is relatively cheap in comparison to some of the huge cities. It offers an open flea market every weekend, which travels down one of their streets with vendors and local food. There are about 10-20 haunted houses in the area that one can get into for, on average, about $8 a person.

Salem also happens to be right on the water with a fabulous restaurant, Victoria Station, which sits right on the coast. The restaurant offers a great variety of food, from fresh New England clam chowder, to delicious tender prime rib. Prices for the food are low and the quality is amazing. It is a must when visiting Salem. Another must-see is the candy shop across from the House of 7 Gables, which offers homemade goodies, with a special Halloween twist to them. It is a good stop for the sweets-lovers where one can pick up some great take-home treats.

For the history lovers, Salem has a few important locations to really learn about the history of the city. The Salem Witch Museum would be one of them, where one can somewhat relive the trials and to gain appreciation for what happened to those innocent people in 1692.

The House of 7 Gables is another museum that was home to Nathaniel Hawthorne, a famous writer, whose Uncle was the hanging judge during the witch trials. One can visit the home and see how one’s lifestyle was maintained in the 1600-1700s. It is a great historic stop, which brings the guest into what the town was really like during the time period.

Both of these museums are only about $15 per person, making for quite a cheap way to spend some hours and really experience Salem for how it was, why it is so well known. Now, during Halloween, is the best time of the year to go and experience Salem — if one doesn’t mind spending a higher rate at a hotel. The only way to avoid that is to book months in advanced and board about 25 minutes outside of Salem.

Salem in October transforms into a haunted happening. People with masks run the street, plays of the trials are reenacted in the streets, hundreds of people are dressed up. Haunted houses are at every corner, shops are booming with lights and crafty souvenirs. There are multiple ghost tours through the city at night, which is a must see for those Halloween lovers. Its creepy, awesome and a great time. Overall, Salem is a beautiful and historic New England town that one must see. It is a great weekend getaway for friends, or couples, or even families. Salem truly resembles the beauty and history of New England.

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Everyone Loves an Underdog

by Navindra Persaud

Everyone loves a story of an underdog rising to the top while going through tough competition. These stories are what make the NCAA tournament so interesting and exciting for college basketball fans, and this year it happened to come from a place that many overlooked: Stephen F. Austin.

No, it’s not the name of a specific player, but the university that had the makings of a good ole Cinderella story. After defeating an excellent VCU team 77-75 in overtime two weeks ago, the SFA Lumberjacks began to make a statement for being a serious contender in the NCAA Tournament.

The 12th-seeded Lumberjacks were able to rally from a 10 point deficit to surpass the fifth-seeded VCU team in an upset which was sure to be sending already damaged brackets in a complete downward spiral.

“We lucked out. That’s March Madness at its best. It’s exhilarating,” said SFA guard Thomas Walkup about his team’s magical win, according to New York Times writer Billy Witz in his March 21 account of the game.

Having won 29 games in a row since losing to East Tennessee State University on November 23, SFA began to make me a believer as well. This team was not on my radar until I witnessed the spectacular comeback against VCU.

With a mere 3.9 seconds left in the game, guard Desmond Haymon drilled a three-pointer while drawing contact from VCU freshman guard JeQuan Lewis, creating a four point play that sent the game into overtime. Lewis’ foul served as an extremely costly mistake to his team, one that can only be explained as a “freshman mistake.”

The team showed incredible control and trust moving forward and it was that exact spirit that would be necessary to try and get past fourth-seeded UCLA Bruins. SFA was 45th in the country in points per game and needed to step up in that area if they expected to get past UCLA, who were 12th in scoring this season.

Unfortunately for the Lumberjacks, their tournament run was cut short as they lost to UCLA last Sunday 77-60 in the second round. However, looking back on the run that SFA had and the amount of games they needed to win in a row to make the tournament, their team proved yet again how excitingly unpredictable the NCAA tournament could be.

SFA brought what the NCAA Tournament is known for: excitement and upset. Year after year teams fight their way into the tournament, and though some of the best have made it to the end, there have also been many instances of upset, like Duke’s loss to Mercer this year in the first round (yet another bracket buster).

Though the Lumberjacks went out in the second round of the tournament, I saw remnants of the Florida Gulf Coast University team from the 2013 NCAA tournament. The 15th seeded FGC team made it to the Sweet Sixteen but fell short in the Elite Eight, losing to the University of Florida 62-60.

Teams like SFA and FGC display what the NCAA tournament is about: those nail-biting, shocking moments that leave fans of their respective teams holding their breath.

It also goes to show that anything can happen in the tournament; teams that no one gives a sliver of hope to are able to prove the nay-sayers wrong and where their run ends depends on their talent and drive.

Despite the loss to UCLA, SFA made quite the impact in the 2013-2014 NCAA Tournament, with the remainder of it shaping up to be yet another memorable championship.

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Evie Rentzel vs. SHU (3-29-14) (Devin Leith-Yessian))

Softball Sweeps Sacred Heart to Open NEC Play

Messina:Debrosse vs SHU (3-29-14) (Ernestina Souza)

 

by Sean Begin

The Central Connecticut softball team was looking for a fast start to conference play this season. Thanks to a sweep of Sacred Heart on Saturday, and some timely weather postponing all other Northeast Conference games, the Blue Devils now sit firmly in first place.

“It’s huge,” said acting head coach Breanne Gleason. “In this conference, with us dropping two teams, every win is going to count. I told the girls we have to go at every single team.”

“We want to host it here, we want to play here, and we want to make it to the tournament,” added senior Laura Messina. “And that means we have to win every game. No let up.”

Messina pitched both games for the Blue Devils (12-9, 2-0 NEC), shutting out Sacred Heart (9-10, 0-2 NEC) in the first game 5-0 and holding off a Pioneer rally to win 4-3 in the second game.

“We did a great job of coming out with a lot of energy,” said Gleason. “That first game we played really well; we were solid. That second game we were a little shaky but Sacred Heart came out swinging.”

The Blue Devil’s big hit in the first game came in the third inning, off the bat of freshman Alexis Debrosse who hit a two-run home run to right field that scored senior Tessa Brown.

“She swings hard every single time,” said Gleason of Debrosse. “As a freshman, to step up like that is huge. She’s not up there thinking ‘I’m a freshman, someone else can do it,’ she wants to get it done.”

Debrosse scored the previous inning, coming home from third on a sacrifice bunt from freshman Sami Duffy. A Sacred Heart error on a grounder from senior Arielle Bruno allowed sophomore Hannah Cooper to score the fourth run of the game.

Brown started the scoring for the Blue Devils in the bottom of the first when she doubled home Bruno, who had opened the inning with a single.

Messina held the Pioneers to just two hits over seven innings, fanning eight in the shutout.

“I think our team looked amazing,” said Messina of the Blue Devil’s first series at home. “It’s nice to come back after a bad weekend and know that our team is going to come up big with runs and plays.”

Central held off a fifth-inning rally from Sacred Heart to take the second game, as well.

Messina opened the inning with a walk before getting Jenn Robillard to fly out. Andrea Sidor followed up the out with a double to set the Pioneers up with runners on second and third and one out.

A sac bunt secured the second out but scored the runner from third, pulling the Pioneers within two. Messina walked and hit the next two batters to load the bases. Her third walk of the inning pulled Sacred Heart within one.

“That first game she came out, she looked rested, she looked good,” said Gleason of Messina’s day. “That second game she got in a little bit of a jam but I think that’s a credit to the Sacred Heart hitters. They made adjustments and our defense had to make the plays and they did.”

Messina ended the threat by getting Kelyn Fillmore to ground out and finished the game without allowing another base runner. Messina finished the game allowing three runs on four hits, walking and striking out three.

“Just trusting my pitches and trusting my defense,” said Messina of how she pitched out of the fifth inning jam. “I know everyone is going to make a play; like Eileen made an awesome play. I know that’s what’s going to happen when they put the ball in play.”

The Blue Devils scored all four of their runs in the fourth. Sophomore Eileen Purcell started the scoring by singling home fellow sophomore Evie Rentzel. Cooper picked up a pair of RBIs to give Central the lead, on a single to right that scored Purcell and Debrosse.

A balk from Sacred Heart pitcher Kaci Wentworth scored Cooper from third for the Blue Devil’s fourth and subsequent winning run of the game.

“That second game we were a little shaky but Sacred Heart came out swinging. And they did a great job. They’re a tough team,” said Gleason. “That second game is what the NEC is going to be all about. We have to practice situations like that for later on.”

Sunday’s double header at Fairleigh Dickinson was postponed, so the Blue Devils will return to NEC action again this weekend when they host two double headers: LIU-Brooklyn on Saturday and Wagner on Sunday.

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Letter to the Editor

To The Editor:

A previous edition of this paper included a letter to the editor from senator on the Student Government. In this letter, the senator was upset with the “blatant waste” that has been occurring within our Student Government. This senator has failed to mention several key details.

Our Student Government Association is not in the business to “blatantly waste” student activity fees. Throughout this semester each committee, including the Finance Committee, has been hard at work helping improve our wonderful school. No senator joins SGA for personal gain or benefit. We all work hard to resolve issues, and make better our school.

The letter to the editor being referenced, has failed to mention that both of the retreats held by the SGA this year, combined, came in at a total cost that is less than the retreats of the previous year. This year the SGA spent a total of $18,093.60 ($4,549 on the Summer retreat, and $13,544 on the Winter retreat) on retreats. This points to the commitment of the Student Government in ensuring the best interest of the students whom we represent. In an attempt to keep costs as low as possible, the SGA teamed up with another on campus organization.

While yes, on this second retreat we spent a weekend at a hotel in Rhode Island, it was not all fun and games. The majority of the weekend was spent at the hotel in meetings, and in team bonding, and diversity-training activities to allow us to function better as an organization. Throughout this meeting several key changes to our Student Government was implemented. For instance, at this retreat, the Finance Committee reworked its structure to allow us to provide student organizations with more money throughout the year. The Finance Committee also changed the percentages it uses to allocate the money it is provided with each year. This reallocation of percentages makes it so that the SGA spends less money itself, and more money on the student organizations we represent. More specifically, the SGA will be spending at the very least, $30,000 more in base budgets for next year. This is not including the amount that Treasurer Kory Mills, and the Finance committee plan to move from the SGA Reserve account to our Base Budget account. Similarly, this year the finance committee has already spent $35,000 in Contingency Requests, compared to last year’s $16,000. Treasurer Kory Mills and the Finance Committee have continuously been working to ensure that more money gets spent externally, on student organizations, and less internally.

The senator who penned the previous article has also failed to mention that after the retreat, a majority of senators were outraged at the amount that was spent on that weekend. Although, the combined amounts of both the summer and winter retreats this year is less than the previous year, senators were still outraged. Out of this outrage came the desire to change the way the retreats were held. Changes to the SGA bylaws have been proposed and are being discussed to ensure that we spend less in the upcoming years. Several executive board candidates who ran in the election held before spring break even ran on the platform that they would reform SGA spending.

I agree with the senator, we need to continue to work towards the betterment of the Student Government Association; I encourage all students to get involved whether they are on the SGA or not. However, I wanted to make sure that hard work, and commitment of this year’s senate was brought to light. Yes, we spent money on a retreat, however, we spent significantly less than previous years, and we continue to work to spend more money on student organizations.

Sincerely,

Abdallah Alsaqri
SGA Commuter Senator

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Baseball Splits Series Against Pirates

by Sean Begin

Despite the blustering wind and cold rain on Saturday, the Central Connecticut baseball team squeezed in both games of their scheduled double header against Seton Hall.

The Blue Devils took the first game, shortened to seven innings on account of the weather, 1-0 before dropping the full nine-inning second game 2-0.

“That’s why you don’t predict anything. You sort of get routines and you go about your business,” said head coach Charlie Hickey on the team getting both games played. “At the end of the day it was good for us to get out and play again.”

The Blue Devils (5-7) returned to the diamond after losing 6-4 to Quinnipiac on Thursday in a tightly contested game that saw the Bobcats come away victorious on two ninth-inning runs.

“We had a bad taste in our mouth after a bad performance on Thursday,” said Hickey. “The good thing about baseball is, usually, you get to do it 24 to 48 hours after; you don’t have to wait a whole week.”

Senior Tom Coughlin hurled a complete game gem for Central in the abbreviated first match. Over seven shutout innings, Coughlin allowed just five total base runners (4 hits and a walk) while striking out six.

The win was Coughlin’s second this season, both coming in one-run victories. Coughlin improved his ERA to 1.35 over 20 innings pitched.

Nick Neumann took the ball for the Blue Devils in the second match, pitching his best game of the season so far, despite getting the loss. Neumann threw seven innings, allowing just one earned run and four hits while fanning eight Pirate (18-5) batters.

“We were able to get two quality pitching performances today against a team that might be a top thirty team,” said Hickey. “Tommy, in the first game, really mixed his breaking ball [well] and had command. And I think Nick piggybacked off of that a little bit.”

Added Hickey: “That’s what we need out of fifth-year seniors. At this stage of where we are in the program and their career, we need them to be able to go out and do that on the weekend. That’s how you can win some games while trying to get better.”

While the pitching may be working for the Blue Devils, it’s the offense Hickey sees as needing to improve. The team has struggled this season, hitting .207 as a team. Central lost some of their biggest power hitters in the offseason, resulting in an increased reliance on small ball tactics: sacrifice bunts, hit and runs and base stealing.

“We’re trying as much as we can to create some type of offensive attack but it continues to be a struggle. 16 innings, you get one run, you know. But to win a game when you do that, you take that,” said Hickey.

Central scored their lone run in the first game on a wild pitch. Senior J.P. Sportman led the inning off with a walk and reached second on a sac bunt from fellow senior Josh Ingham. A wild pitch moved Sportman to third; a second brought him home.

The Pirates, similarly, capitalized in a Blue Devil mistake with a timely hit to score.

In the second game, Neumann surrendered two runs in the fourth inning, only one of them earned. A throwing error by shortstop Bryan Rivera and a sac bunt from Seton Hall first baseman Sal Annunziata set the Pirates up with runners on second and third with just one out.

Designated hitter Tyler Boyd took advantage, slamming a triple to center that plated both runners.

“The margin of error, the difficulty when you’re not scoring runs, that those mistakes get magnified,” said Hickey. “It wasn’t like it was an offensive explosion anywhere.”

Seton Hall’s Anthony Elia allowed just four Blue Devil hits en route to his third win of the season, striking out seven batters.

Despite the offensive struggles, Hickey isn’t unhappy with where his team sits heading into conference play this weekend.

“I’ve talked to this team that we’re sort of winning games while we’re trying to get better,” said Hickey. “I like the idea that we haven’t dug ourselves a hole, we’re not 10 games under .500. At that point it becomes impossible to get over the top.”

The Blue Devils kick off Northeast Conference play this weekend against Mount St. Mary’s. The Mount will visit for four games starting Friday, April 4 — featuring a double header on Saturday.

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Dominic Severino threw six shutout innings on Tuesday to earn his first win of the season.

Baseball Survives Ninth Inning Rally

Dominic Severino threw six shutout innings on Tuesday to earn his first win of the season.

Dominic Severino threw six shutout innings on Tuesday to earn his first win of the season.

Central Connecticut baseball, on the arm and shoulder of junior Dominic Severino, held UMass-Lowell at bay for most of the brisk and sunny Tuesday afternoon, before surviving a pair of ninth-inning home runs to edge the Riverhawks 4-3.

“The plan was today to get him [Severino] a chance to warm up properly and get out there and try and get some innings under the belt, not trying to pitch in the eighth inning with a one run lead or a tie ball game,” said head coach Charlie Hickey. “Doing that allowed him a little chance to breath. He established the ball down in the strike zone. They let him off the hook once or twice when he was a little sloppy but all-in-all he was able to give us six quality innings.”

Severino had his strongest start of the year, allowing just three base runners over six innings of work, giving up a hit, a walk and a hit batsman while striking out four. Severino was pulled from the mound and moved to first at the end of the sixth. Senior Nick Boyd took over the pitching duties, recording a 1-2-3 seventh inning.

Senior Anthony Mannucia took over for Boyd in the eighth inning. Mannucia pitched a scoreless frame before surrendering the three runs in the top of the ninth.

With one out, the Riverhawks’ first baseman, Matt Mottola, homered to left off Mannucia for UMass-Lowell’s first run of the day. After Luke Reynolds reached first on a third-strike wild pitch, catcher Jacob O’Keefe matched Mottola, hitting a bomb over the left-field fence to pull the Riverhawks within one.

Mannucia was pulled for senior Josh Ingham who struck out the next batter and induced a harmless fly ball to right field to close out the game and pick up the save, his third of the season.

“We had thought about using Josh anyways,” said Hickey, “but anytime you can allow him to not have to come in is beneficial.”

Added Hickey: “He [Mannucia] is going to be an important factor in our bullpen. We’re going to need him to pitch some innings. We’re going to try not to do that to Josh. And he’s going to bare the load as Nick Boyd does.”

In what’s become typical of the Blue Devil offense this season, their runs were scored by capitalizing on the opportunities presented to them, rather than waiting for a big home run.

“That’s who we are and that’s how we’re going to have to play,” said Hickey. “We’ve been able to win some baseball games this way. It’s a fun way to win with good pitching and defense.”

Junior Nick Coro scored the first Blue Devil run of the day in the bottom of the fourth. Coro reached base on a single to right center and moved to second after sophomore Connor Fitzsimons was hit by a pitch, scoring on an Anthony Turgeon single to left field.

Turgeon, a senior, finished the day going 2-4 with the RBI and a nice defensive play to get the last out of the second inning, diving to his left to snare a hot ground ball before popping up and throwing out the Riverhawks’ Kelly Rooney.

Freshman Jake Patton scored the Blue Devils second run in the bottom of the fifth on an Ingham sacrifice fly to center to give Central a 2-0 lead.

The big blow for Central came in the seventh. Freshman Pat Sirois doubled into the right field corner to bring  home Severino and junior Bryan Rivera and give the Blue Devils a 4-0 lead, scoring for the third straight inning.

“We still got a long way to go. We are very inefficient,” said Hickey of the teams’ offense. “We still give one at-bat away an inning. We’re not very good at moving runners. We had a couple hit-and-runs today that didn’t work out. We have to be better.”

“We’ve been scratching off a win here and a win there to keep ourselves in a position where if we can find some more answers offensively, we got a team that can be successful.”

The Blue Devils return to the diamond again tomorrow afternoon, when they take on Rhode Island at 3 p.m.

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Another Astronomical Breakthrough for Science?

By: Joe Suszczynski

 

The science community is once again in the process of making a potential landmark discovery. A video was uploaded to YouTube of Dr. Andrei Linde, a theoretical physicist at Stanford University, being greeted by colleague, Dr. Chau-Lin Kuo, with a surprise that his theory of cosmic inflation, which theorized in the 1980s, was proven to be correct. Linde was in absolute shock when he was told the news, while his wife, who is also a physics professor, hugged Kuo. The three then celebrated with a glass of champagne.

 

With great excitement Linde said, “These results are a smoking gun for inflation, because alternative theories do not predict such a signal. This is something I have been hoping to see for 30 years.”

 

For those who are confused, allow me to explain what the theory is in layman’s terms.

 

According to Stanford News, in 1980 physicist Dr. Alan Guth first proposed the theory of inflation. His theory would suggest that the universe inflated exceedingly rapidly from a small part of space and then became much larger in a fraction of a second. This would modify the big bang theory, which originally theorized with the universe being an expanding fireball in the beginning. However his modified theory was contradictory towards observational data.

 

A few years later Linde would modify Guth’s theory, eventually calling it “eternal chaotic inflation,” which would be more close to matching definite data of the sky. And after about thirty years it could finally have the evidence supporting the modified theory.

 

What made the evidence possible was the use of the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization 2 or BICEP2 experiment which is located in the South Pole. BICEP2 is a telescope that detected the cosmic microwave background, which is thermal radiation that is assumed to be leftover from the big bang.

 

Kuo, who is also the co-leader of the BICEP2 collaboration said, “This is really exciting. We have made the first direct image of gravitational waves, or ripples in space-time across the primordial sky, and verified a theory about the creation of the whole universe.”

 

I just hope the other tests that can be made are proven to be accurate, thus proving the theory to be true because it would mean so much to the world of science as it would mankind in general. If the theory is fully confirmed, it can be a big step in answering the age-old philosophical question, “Where did we come from?” With this, humanity will know how the universe began and that is quite the step.

Throughout the past few centuries, many scientists of all nationalities have dedicated their lives to their craft, and have given humanity the answers to the questions they have been asking since the dawn of time.  Scientists like Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Darwin and Einstein are just a few  who have figured many different things about our own cosmos, and how we could have gotten here. I am optimistic about what lies ahead with the future of science.

 

Who knows what the next big breakthrough will be and who will be the one to do it?

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Rick Ross Tops Charts Fifth Straight Time with ‘Mastermind’

By Kevin Jachimowicz

The comparison Pete Cashmore of NME.com made in regards to Rick Ross’ newest release, “Mastermind,” could not have hit it any more on the ball. Cashmore compared Ross’ latest work to that of the film “The Wolf of Wall Street.” The subject matter, in all its glorification and glamour, is nice and exciting, but the quality of the content is lacking.

As opposed to taking the bull-headed approach, which ended up pulling down Ross’ “God Forgives, I Don’t,” Ross plays the gangster hanging out on his fresh leather couch in his newly purchased mansion, furthering his mystique with each and every puff of his cigar.

With that said, “Mastermind” can easily be placed at the very top of Rick Ross’ best solo albums. This is probably Rick Ross’ best work ever. “Mastermind” most definitely marks his greatest release since 2010s “Teflon Don,” which capitalized off of the success of the up and coming producer of the time, Lex Luger. “Teflon Don” also contained Ross’s unforgettable, booming platinum 2010 single, also produced by Lex Luger, “Blowing Money Fast (BMF)”, a homage to “Big Meech”, a street legend and the supposed kingpin of the Black Mafia Family (BMF). On “Mastermind,” Ross is utilizing what would be considered a more relevant production team for the time being, differing from typically using his J.U.S.T.I.C.E League production group or the likes of Lex Luger. It seems he has learned from his previous album, “God Forgives, I Don’t,” and stuck what he is best at — Mafioso storytelling over grandiose production. “Teflon Don” may be able to keep up with “Mastermind” when analyzed track-by-track, but listening front to back, this is definitely Ross’ most enjoyable piece of work.

The production on this is impeccable. The beats range from the mysterious and haunting (“BLK & WHT”) to the ostentatious and extravagant Scott Stortch produced “Supreme.” From the soft metronome, that rocks like a cradle over the Weeknd-assisted “In Vein” to Kanye West asserting his aggressive tendencies (or lack thereof) on “Sanctified,” and even going as far as to compare himself to Cassius Clay, aka Muhammed Ali.

On “Mastermind,” Ross proves that he has mastered the hook of a rap song, on a number of different occasions on “Mastermind,” the hook for “BLK & WHT” being the bland and simple exception; where Ross’ attempts to document the ills of selling drugs are coupled with a mistimed and possibly misinterpreted Trayvon Martin reference, that only served to offend, unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. Filler tracks like “Walking on Air” and the pointless “Dope Bitch Skit” only add to the feeling that he ran out of things to say.

Examples of his skills as a great hookman are evident on tracks such as “The Devil is a Lie,” which features Jay-Z serving once again as a promotor for his affiliation with D’usse, and was the albums first single. “War Ready” features Young Jeezy, who adds a great verse to the album, as well as a spoken word introduction to his verse for the song. The track is the tangible proof of Jeezy and Ross’ multiple year-long rap-feud finally coming to a close.

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CCSU Raises Tuition Two Percent for Upcoming School Year

By: Jacqueline Stoughton

The Connecticut Board of Regents announced earlier this month that the four CSU schools, including CCSU, will be raising their tuition 2 percent for the 2014-2015 school year.

“I personally think that while the tuition increase is going to hurt a lot of students, it’s tough right now for students to be able to go to school full-time,” said Bobby Berriault, SGA Student Senator.  “I don’t want to say it’s only 2 percent making it like it’s nothing, but I do think it’s a blessing in disguise.”

Tuition went up 5.3 percent just last year, and another 5 percent the year before as well.  In the past two years tuition has gone up about 10 percent with a 20 percent funding increase for the university.  Berriault explains how this increased funding will be beneficial since it means students have to pay less out of pocket.

“It seems like the school is putting a lot of time, effort, and money into expanding the school and getting more students, while the graduation rates and GPA statistics remain less than ideal,” said Jon Palmieri, CCSU student.  “I think the school should stop looking at the profit equations from more students and work more on the quality of experience here.”

The universities’ tuition is set to go up about six percent within the next three years.  CCSU is also raising its housing and food fee for residential students a total of 3.5 percent, effective this upcoming fall semester.

“This is something that especially with the construction of the new residence hall, that the university has to stay up to date with,” said Berriault.

Although, not all students agree that the building of a new residence hall on campus is a legitimate reason to raise tuition.  CCSU student, Annamaria Perge says raising the tuition 2 percent won’t do much for the university at all.  “They just built a new academic building and are now building a new dorm. They clearly have enough money that they can handle.”

“The strain from working, going to school, and trucking to meet students for group projects spreads this commuter schools students thins enough without fluffing the bill more so the school can add a new dorm building and satellite campuses to gather more students,” said Palmieri.  “Our tuition should go towards tax payers, and the federal government should provide the money for the expansion of the institution.”

Inflation has also gone up 2 percent this year.  Berriault explains that this tuition increase is simply keeping pace with the inflation rates, which is unfortunately necessary.

“Short term this will have a negative impact on students because it’ll be harder to be able to afford to go to school here,” said Berriault.  “But long term, it’ll be good for our school.”

 

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Smoking Debate Lights Up Campus

By Ruth Bruno

Smokers at CCSU may soon have to part ways with their cigarettes, at least on campus.

The move is in response to a letter from Senator Chris Murphy urging universities and colleges in the state to ban smoking on their properties, according to Richard Bachoo, Chief Administrative Officer.

A resolution in support of making Central Connecticut State University a smoke-free campus was passed by the CCSU Faculty Senate on March 10.

The senate released a document saying they support such a resolution because secondhand smoke has been proven to be a health risk to non-smokers.

In his letter, Murphy outlined the economic and health costs of smoking, writing that tobacco use is responsible for 440,000 deaths per year and costs the United States approximately $200 billion in healthcare.

“Given the social and economic impact of smoking and the important role that colleges can play in reducing smoking, I urge you to join the Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative (TFCCI),” wrote Murphy.

The TFCCI was formed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2012. According to the TFCCI their mission is to “accelerate the elimination of tobacco use on college campuses everywhere.”

Earlier this year, the American Nonsmoker’s Rights Foundation reported that 1,882 college campuses across America are smoke-free while 811 are completely tobacco free. The New Haven campus of Quinnipiac University and Gateway Community College are currently the only two smoke-free campuses in Connecticut.

While the Senate supports a ban on smoking, some students are strongly opposed to it.

Marina Sadej, a smoker, said she would not want to leave campus to smoke. She says she would be willing to smoke in a designated area as long as there were several of these areas around campus.

Other smokers have similar opinions. Amy White, a CCSU student, voiced her concern that a smoke-free campus would mean she and many other smokers would end up standing on the outskirts of campus whenever they decided to smoke a cigarette.

“Smoking is a stress reliever, so if you want to give us a little corner or something a designated spot, that’s fine; we’ll have to abide by that rule. But banning it completely means everyone’s going to be on the street embarrassing the school.”

Garland D’Juaneastman, another CCSU student, noted the difficulty that would be involved in enforcing a smoke-free campus, saying that CCSU would have to significantly increase the number of police officers on campus.

Some students had simpler reasons to oppose the resolution.

“Smoking definitely makes you 30% cooler,” said Kirk Leighton, another CCSU student.

A number of non-smokers spoke out in defense of students who smoke on campus. “I do know people that do smoke and it’s comfortable for them to smoke in between classes,” said Katherine Lowitt, “I think [CCSU administrators] should just designate an area for smokers…something similar to what they do at Six Flags.”

Bobby Berriault, student senator, says he realizes the difficulties CCSU administration would face if they were to attempt to ban smoking. He feels the university lacks the amount of manpower needed to enforce such a rule.

Berriault has written to Dominic Forcella, Chair of the CCSU Safety and Health Committee, about the issue. He writes that the current Connecticut State Law which dictates that a person cannot smoke within 25 feet of an entrance of a building, should be more strictly enforced on campus.

While Berriault wrote that this particular law should be enforced, he does not support any resolution to ban all smoking on campus.

“I believe that students have the right to live and be a part of a campus community that promotes and ensures everyone’s personal health is not put at risk. I also recognize that those students who choose to smoke also have a right to do so, as there are no state laws and no national laws on the books which prohibit the use of cigarettes.”

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Students Weigh Cell Phone Options

By Arianna Cecchini

As students make the transition to adulthood into college, parents are quick to take their college students off of their phone bills.

The issue facing students is that phone bills are not cheap. There are many carriers out there that advertise cheap plans, and some are even offering no-contract plans, but one needs to know whether they are being ripped off or not.

Currently, in the United States, phone carriers include AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, Virgin Mobile, T-Mobile, Straight Talk, Republican Wireless and a few other brands that are not as well known.  AT&T seems to offer both no-contract plans and yearly contract plans, as well as Verizon, Virgin Mobile, T-Mobile and Sprint. Straight Talk and Republic Wireless seem to only offer no-contract phone plans. It is evident that no-contract phone plans are a lot cheaper than yearly annual contracts, but the cost of the phones is much higher on these plans.

When students sign up for a yearly plan on any of these carriers, iPhones and smart phones are offered either free with sign up or at a highly-discounted rate. For the no-contract plans, with all of these carriers, the phone is full price and there are no upgrades or discounts on the phone when signing up. iPhones and smart phones on the no-contract plans cost anywhere between $120 and $650 plus. While the prices of the phones might seem unappealing to those looking for no-contract plans, the prices for the plans are very inexpensive. For Republican Wireless, which offers unlimited talk, text and data one person will pay $30 a month, according to its website.

AT&T has plans starting at $25 a month for unlimited text and 200 minutes, and $50 a month for unlimited everything, according to its website. That seems to be a similar range as companies such as Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. The iPhone 4 is currently $250 for Virgin Mobile and one can pay as little at $30 a month for unlimited text, data and 300 minutes. For unlimited everything the plan is $50 a month, just like the other ones.

No matter the phone one is looking for, it is offered by some type of carrier for a lower price than an annual contract. The lowest offered annual plan is offered by Verizon at $45 a month for one person, one smart phone with unlimited talk and text. Any data plan causes the price to increase. The prices just go up from there. To add another smart phone it is $30 per month for having a smart phone, plus another $20 to $30 for adding a line to the plan. Families with multiple people annual contract plans are paying high in the $200 to $300 range just to have a cell phone every month. These prices are typically not affordable by college students.

A survey of 15 students living at CCSU showed that most students are not aware of the inexpensive, no-contract plans companies are now offering. Only two students interviewed have no-contract plans with Republican Wireless and Virgin Mobile.

One student, Melissa Devoe said, “My families plan for 3 people for Verizon is $230 a month for unlimited everything, but I would never switch to a no-contract plan because at least I know my phone works and is reliable.”

One student stated, “I use Virgin Mobile as my carrier, and I get service everywhere. It’s the same as everyone else, and I’ve never had a problem with my service or 3G data.”

A majority of the students interviewed seem to have a plan with Verizon and were paying about $90 to $100 on average per phone per plan.

No-contract plans are a cheaper alternative to plans with one or two year contracts, but most students continue to stick with the traditional carrier options.

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Titanfall: A Mechanical Beauty (And Beast) of A Video Game

By Kevin Jachimowicz

“Prepare for Titanfall” may be the most exciting and addicting piece of speech ever placed in a video game.

Titanfall is an original, unique first-person shooting game. What makes it most unique is the fact that the game is solely an online multiplayer experience. The game only contains two campaigns to play through: the main lacking piece of Titanfall. The campaign feels somewhat forced in that it remains multiplayer only. While you are playing through the story, you are put into the mix of it with about a dozen other players, causing too many breaks in the story and making it hard to follow. Any notion of interactive storytelling has been ejected into space in favor of a strictly online affair. This allowed the team of producers to focus on making the most refined multiplayer experience possible, but also caused Titanfall to be painfully slim in campaign structure.

Step out as a pilot. You meet the adrenaline rush of any first-person shooting game when you realize you are capable of reaching practically any height or space — thanks to the parkour element available as a pilot. The fast-paced element starts out on a very small rationale. Pilots join into the battle and rush to be the first to their respective positions. As a minute or two passes, the first titans begin to drop into battle, adding loads of increased weaponry and heavy machinery to the map. By the end of each match, massive explosions are constantly rocking the entire battlefield. Finally, the defeated squad scrambles to escape through their drop ship — dramatically ending the fight with one last chance for glory for both sides. The shifting dynamic of battles in Titanfall does wonders for keeping you on your toes.

The maps’ two competing, yet balanced, scales of size make for a perfect contrast of gameplay between pilots and titans. The free-running pilot moves with ease through the large maps, leaping across exposed panels and easily climbing his way to sneaky sniping spots on rooftops. The movement is, by far, one of the most impressive aspects of the game, existing with incredible fluidity throughout. The formulas in this game, such as wall-running, double jumps, and giant mechanisms make for the perfect recipe for a first person shooter video.

Tight, wrapping corners, along with deeply sheltered areas, provide cover from the massive mechanized enemies, but not from other fast-moving pilots wielding shotguns or auto-targeting pistols — another very unique creation in the game. The Smart Pistol latches on to people, a reticle automatically aiming onto enemies. Meanwhile, titans provide a sense of immense power as you simply crush pilots and minions underfoot like ants. The maps are specifically contoured for this style of gameplay, which scales back and forth between a human-sized style of gameplay and what seems like a Transformers-sized one.

Electronic Arts (EA) is involved in the production of the game but also has a terrible track record as far as Xbox One game support goes, bumbling their release of BattleField 4 on the Xbox One at an amazing rate — the game came out in November 2013 and the company has still been unable to resolve a bug that causes the campaign saves to delete themselves. Titanfall may be a turning point after many have considered the company’s demise, especially after EA was named the Worst Company in America by The Consumerist for a number of years in a row.

Despite the lack of a true, single-player campaign mode, this game is a breath of fresh air to the FPS genre of games. While familiar enough to seasoned FPS players, it is also incredibly easy to pick up and play for those new to the genre, or those who have never been good at the genre. Fortunately for Titanfall, the multiplayer is engaging enough to obscure the lack of any sort of story.

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When Breaking News Becomes Broken

If anyone hasn’t heard there was a plane that disappeared in East Asia; that was sarcasm obviously. But unless you’ve been living under a rock or don’t watch the news, but you should because it’s good to be informed when certain events happen, there was a plane traveling from Malaysia to its intended destination of Beijing, China.

 

It was reported on March 8, 2014 that the plane, a Boeing 777-200ER, disappeared and as of March 24 the plane still has yet to be found, but according to the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak it is believed that the plane is somewhere in the South Indian Ocean.

 

Since the disappearance of the plane the news has been reporting on this story nonstop. Cable News Network (CNN) is an example, and they have been reporting this since the genesis of the story which ended being a boon to their ratings increasing 100% according to an article, written on March 17th, in the New York Times.

 

As good as that sounds, it’s not all what it is made out to be. CNN has been milking this story to no end. Between showing pictures of the open water, to having a toy model plane, to having many different people on the network with several different conspiracy theories, it has all been over reported.

 

It seems that CNN has its priorities in a twist because as tragic as this story is, there really isn’t anything that new to be developed to the point where it’s given top billing over other issues, such as the ongoing Ukraine crisis or how the planet is slowly melting to a point which it could mean disasters to extreme degree for certain parts of the world.

 

A senior CNN executive said that CNN President, Jeff Zucker, had been directing the network to report stories of “intense interest.” The executive also said, “One way to define ourselves is to go all-in on stories of human drama.”

 

What the executive fails to realize is that over reporting a story with only so much facts behind it turns it into a media freak show where everything is over hyped, especially when the story is a sad one, which is insulting the families of the victims.

 

This story has to be reported, yes, but if there is nothing else new to the story then why drag it out for so long? Why can’t CNN and any other news network doing this understand that when the story is dry move on to the next important story that’s actually worthy of the phrase “breaking news.”

 

News networks like CNN have forgotten the journalistic integrity of reporting, especially in cases of tragedies, the news in either favor of stories like this one where the weight of the story is only so much compared to other news stories of great importance that get overlooked or go unreported all together.

 

Hopefully reporting in this fashion will not be the norm and the integrity of the news can be restored.

 

 

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Poetry Out Loud Reads Well for Students

Central hosted the ninth annual Poetry Out Loud State Finals on March 12th. Class champions from 29 Connecticut high schools competed in the recitation competition.

Poetry Out Loud, it is a nationwide contest during which students select three works from acclaimed poets and recite them to the best of their ability in front of a panel of judges. Participants are scored based on accuracy, posture, voice and articulation, proof of understanding and complexity of the work.

The judges consisted of well-known authors, poets, musicians, and playwrights. Anyone who attended the event would have heard poems from the likes of Emily Dickenson, Sylvia Plath, Gary Soto, and Shakespeare.

Ravi Shankar, associate professor in the English department, emceed the event. The competition was preceded by a performance from the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy jazz band. Break-dancers entertained the audience during intermission.

Poetry Out Loud helps students strengthen their public speaking skills, reading comprehension and gain a new appreciation for spoken word. Almost every finalist was either an athlete, musician, member of student government or all three

“You know you like a poem when the words just get stuck in your head.” said Talia Waxman, a junior from Grenich High School and a participant in POL.

Waxman read “Enough” by Susan B. Anthony. She delivered  a compelling performance, as did most of the other 27 students. All students advanced to the second round, where a second poem was read. Only five students continue to the third round.

“At first, I was hesitant. I won the contest for my class, but I didn’t want to go on because I didn’t want to be that poetry nerd. As I got more involved, I stopped caring,” Tyus Southern, a junior from Wilton High School, said about how he felt to go out for the contest.

Southern, also the guitar player for his school jazz band said, “poems are definitely easier [than remembering music]. You can become attached to the deeper meaning of the poem, whereas with music you aren’t working with words.”

Southern was among the top five finalists. The winner received $200 and a trip with a chaperone to the National finals, and the first runner up received $100 for the purchase of poetry books.

The students who participated don’t just read these poems. Amanda Roy, program officer of CT Humanities and POL volunteer brought to light that a number of students that participated in this year’s competition are also actively writing their own poetry. Not only does POL work on presentation aspects of the poetry, but understanding of the text, structures, interpretation, public speaking, language and vocabulary – things that benefit a writer.

“It is free for schools to participate in Poetry Out Loud and that preparation for the event is embedded in the English curriculum,” said Roy. “Students become the voice of the poem.”

“We are hoping to expand the number of schools in Connecticut who participate in Poetry Out Loud,” said Roy. “This is a voluntary program that teachers and administrators decide to participate in and we are grateful to have so many that do so.”

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GWAR Frontman Found Dead at 50

David Brockie, lead singer of the metal band GWAR, better known by his stage name Oderus Urungus, was found dead in his Virginia home Sunday evening.

Richmond, Va. officers received calls of a report of a deceased individual.  When officers arrived, they found David M. Brockie, 50, deceased in the home. Foul play is not suspected what so ever at this time. More details are to be released as the investigation continues. No official cause of death has been released yet. TMZ reports that Brockie was found sitting upright in a chair, that no drugs were found — according to their source. Another unnamed law enforcement source reported saying that suicide is not suspected.

GWAR’s manager, Jack Flanagan, has released the following statement:

“It is with a saddened heart that I confirm my dear friend, Dave Brockie, artist, musician, and lead singer of GWAR, passed away at approximately 6:50 p.m. EST Sunday, March 23, 2014. His body was found Sunday by his bandmate at his home in Richmond, Virginia. Richmond authorities have confirmed his death and next of kin has been notified. A full autopsy will be performed. He was 50 years old, born August 30, 1963.”

“My main focus right now is to look after my bandmates and his family,” the statement concluded.

Known for their outlandish costumes and prosthetics, GWAR released their 13th album in 2013 and celebrate their 30th anniversary this year. Brockie co-founded the band, described the band as “Earth’s only openly extra-terrestrial rock band.” GWAR formed from the dissolution of two other bands: Brockie’s Death Piggy and a fake band comprised of members from Death Piggy called Gwaaarrrgghhlllgh. Eventually, the members decided more people liked the joke name, so they disbanded Death Piggy and shortened “Gwaaarrrgghhlllgh” to “GWAR.” The rest is history. This was in the mid 1980s after the four kids met each other at an arts college in Virginia. Decades later, GWAR developed somewhat of a cult following and gave vivid, grotesque, horror-filled performances. According to GWARs mythology: Oderus Urungus is 43 billion years old and was assembled on a planet called Scumdogia, He wields a sword called Unt Lick.

While GWAR earned a pair of Grammy nominations for a long form music video in 1993, as well as best metal performance two years later, the band remained an underground sensation, playing clubs and recording for independent labels.

Fellow musicians and friends took to social media as an outlet to express their grief. Vocalist Randy Blythe of fellow Richmond metal-ers Lamb of God, who toured with GWAR in 2009, wrote on Instagram: “I got a very sad call tonight from my buddy Chris Bopst, who was one of the original members of GWAR. My friend Dave Brockie, a.k.a. Oderus Urungus, the singer of GWAR, has left the building and taken off back to his home planet. He was 50 years old.” Bassist Chris Kael of Five Finger Death Punch said: “Just read about the passing of Dave Brockie — Oderus Urungus from GWAR. We had the privilege of playing with GWAR just one month ago at Soundwave festival in Australia. Dave was always right there on the side of the stage that Five Finger Death Punch were playing on — watching every band, laughing and enjoying life. As he entertained us in life, may his death remind us that life is short. Tell the ones around you that they are loved. Live life with a smile and a laugh. Just as Dave and I shared a laugh while talking at Soundwave. We love you. Each and every one of you. R.I.P. Dave Brockie — Oderus Urungus.”

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Because of Him, I Am Me

By Paige Brown

 

Just last week was the one-year anniversary of my father’s passing. This past year has not been the easiest, but what I have accomplished since then and what I am planning for my future is something he would be incredibly proud of.

 

Not only did I finish the semester of school last spring when he passed, but I kept moving along and now, I am graduating in May. I have missed him more than I can say, but getting this far and making plans for my future is for him.

 

I grew up a daddy’s girl. Even though I have a collection of over 300 Barbie dolls, I was an athlete, sports fan and rock and roll lover just like him. I can remember being 10 years old, playing the air guitar while my dad would be rocking the air drums to AC/DC and The Rolling Stones while driving to my first baseball game.

 

Music and sports were the two biggest passions that I shared with my dad. Though we could both rock out with air instruments, we were both also musicians. My dad used to play the drums and encouraged me to play music. Now, I know how to play drums, bass guitar and even some clarinet.

 

Seeing me with any type of instrument definitely made him smile. Seeing me play sports and scream at the TV on football Sundays probably made him a little more excited. With no boys in the family, I’m sure he was happy to have someone to share his love of football with.

 

I knew that I always wanted to work in sports. They are my passion. Becoming a journalist was a great way for me to be close to the game and ask the questions I’ve always wanted answered. Without this field, I wouldn’t know what else to do.

 

Going into a field like nursing or teaching was out of the question for me. It took me two years to figure out that I could even do sports media. Once I realized that I could take the passion that my father and I shared and turn it into a career, I knew it was right for me.

 

Over spring break, I learned about a graduate school where I can get my masters degree in sports communication.

 

I am doing it. The day after my father’s anniversary, I applied to the program.

 

Even though my dad is no longer here, I know he is in my heart, pushing me to get further in my life. All of my doubts about finishing last spring semester were forced away because I knew he wouldn’t want me to stop. All of my doubts about going to school for another year to get my masters flew out the window because I knew he would have been so proud.

 

When I graduate this May, I will be sad that he isn’t there. But I know that he is watching me and rooting for me with every step I take, including my next one, to get a masters degree in sports communication.

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Lacrosse Loses to Vermont, Drops Third Straight

by Sean Begin

After two tough games on the road against Stony Brook and Brown, the Central Connecticut lacrosse team returned to Arute Field on Saturday, looking for a win against a solid Vermont team.

The Catamounts (8-2), however, proved too strong on offense, handing the Blue Devils (2-5) a 22-7 defeat.

“Vermont is a good team. They’re athletic and aggressive,” said Coach Laura Campbell after the loss. “I think for us we knew they were a fast break team. So we had a game plan against it. It came down to executing some of the little things. And we just didn’t take care of that.”

Vermont got off to a fast start, scoring four straight goals to start the game, including two within 10 seconds of each other. The Catamounts outscored the Blue Devils 14-6 in the first half to take an eight-point lead into the locker room at halftime.

Central managed to score the first goal to open the second half, but Vermont scored the next eight to close out the victory. Vermont was led by Sydney Mas and Vanessa VanderZalm, who scored seven and six goals, respectively.

Mas proved particularly effective, scoring low several times against Blue Devil goalkeeper Morgan Tuller. Tuller allowed 20 goals and tallied seven saves on the day.

“We did scouting, we knew their tendencies. We knew [Mas] drops her arm low and then she shoots low so it pretty much telegraphs the shot,” said Campbell. “For some reason Morgan was just getting beat on it today.”

Campbell said the team struggled with slowing the ball by using effective body positioning and footwork, they lost positioning on inside cuts from the Vermont attack, both of which contributed to the team’s struggle to defend.

Five players scored for the Blue Devils, including two each by captain Amanda Toke and fellow senior Meaghan McCurry. Toke also added an assist, three ground balls and four draw controls, tied for a team high with sophomore Falynn McCartney.

The Blue Devils split the draw controls with Vermont at 15 each and gathered more ground balls than the Catamounts, 19-15, but were outshot 33-29. Vermont’s goalie, Mackenzie Maher saved 13 shots for the Catamounts.

While the loss is Central’s third in a row, it’s also the third team in a row the Blue Devils have faced that finished last season with a higher RPI ranking than Central.

“I told them in the locker room I’d rather schedule tough opponents and lose than play easy games and not really learn anything,” said Campbell of the team’s tough schedule. “I don’t think we grow from that.”

Growth is something Campbell sees happening in more than just her players, although they too have learned lessons from the tough losses.

“Personally, as a coach, I’m growing. I think as players they’re growing and they’re learning,” said Campbell. “They’re learning from playing against stronger opponents and learning how to make their personal games better. I hope that they take that away from [losing].”

As the team advances towards NEC play, the exposure to tougher teams, Campbell hopes, will make the Blue Devils more aware of the things they need to control, in order to have success against conference foes.

“One thing we’ve been talking about is the fight. We’re not giving a consistent fight,” said Campbell. “Regardless of what’s going on that’s out of our control, we have to control the controllables.”

Added Campbell: “We’ve got to fight for that whole 60 minutes. We’re not seeing that enough. These games have really shown that. So I’m hoping we can build on that.”

The lacrosse team takes the field again Saturday with a home game at Arute Field against Howard scheduled for 1 p.m.

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Florida Road Trip Proves Valuable for Baseball Team

by Sean Begin

When a spring sport’s season kicks off in the last few weeks of winter, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that games could still be cancelled. Thanks to several inches of snow still on the field, Central Connecticut baseball was forced to postpone or cancel multiple games at the beginning of the season.

The extra time, though, wasn’t a concern for head coach Charlie Hickey, who looked to the silver lining of missing some game time.

“There’s no reason to anguish,” said Hickey. “What were trying to do is look at it and spin it in a positive direction. We had a couple kids who were banged up, so that helped [to get them healthy].”

With the exception of the team’s opening game against Iona at Dowling College in New York — which they won by a score of 2-1 in 11 innings — the team has played every game in the warm embrace of the Florida spring.

“We were going to be able to get some games under our belt to go down there [to Florida] and play. Reality is it didn’t happen,” said Hickey of what the lost games would have meant for his squad.

Instead, Hickey was left with extra practice time in an effort to prepare for an eight game road trip into the Sunshine State. There, the Blue Devils played a three game series against the University of Central Florida, one-off games versus Army and UConn, and finished with a three game series against Bethune-Cookman in Daytona Beach.

“At the end of the day I’m pleased with that fact that we were able to play quality baseball there. We played 73 innings of baseball in Florida. I would say 67 of them were very valuable,” said Hickey. “We were in just about every game. In the big picture, I think we got better. And that’s the goal at this point in the season.”

Central went 3-5 on their trip down South, but could easily have come back with one or two more wins if some luck and timely hitting had gone their way.

The Blue Devils opened the trip with three games against UCF. Central dropped the first two of the series 10-0 and 9-8, respectively, but took the third game from the Bulls 5-4 in 10 innings in what was the team’s second extra inning win of the season, and one which helped bring the team some confidence.

“Beating Central Florida allowed us to feel good about ourselves,” said Hickey. “You can run the risk of going down there on these trips and coming back without a win. Especially when you’re a young group.”

After an off day, Central fell to Army 9-1, a game in which the team didn’t play very well, according to Hickey who added, “We made some mistakes and they took advantage of it.”

The following night, the Blue Devils went into extra innings against UConn thanks to a well-pitched game from junior Jesse Frawley. Both teams entered the 10th inning tied at one before Central’s bullpen gave up five to the Huskies.

Central finished the road trip this past weekend with three games against Bethune-Cookman. The Blue Devils took the first two by scores of 2-1 and 8-6 before dropping the third game 4-0. Another strong Blue Devil pitching performance from Tom Coughlin led the Blue Devils in their 2-1 Friday night victory.

“We got some quality pitching, which we had hoped for,” said Hickey. “Traditionally, what happens when you go down there for a long stretch is you’re not used to the elements: The fields are faster, the wind’s blowing. And as soon as you make a mistake or two and give a team extra outs they punish you.”

In addition to strong outings by Frawley and Coughlin, the Blue Devils got a good luck at Anthony Mannuccia, who joined the team only in January.

“He got a chance to go out there three times and pitch so we got a chance to see what he’s capable of,” said Hickey of Mannuccia. “He was very effective this past Saturday when he went out and got a two inning save for us and beat a Bethune-Cookman team who had knocked off the University of Miami the prior week.”

In that save, Mannuccia struck out four of the six batters he retired while allowing only one hit to secure Central’s 8-6 victory.

Hickey has had to find a good balance in giving his younger players quality innings, both on the mound and at the plate this season, without allowing them to lose confidence, especially his young hurlers.

“You’re trying to go with the concept of bringing people along the right way,” said Hickey. “You’ve got some young kids, you put them in a spot against teams that have played 20-24 games; that’s a delicate manner trying to get younger pitchers of ours into games where they can get their feet on the ground without having to come into the game with bases loaded and nobody out.”

The Blue Devil’s offense has struggled this season at times, only hitting .212 as a team. But Hickey doesn’t see that as a bad thing.

“We’re very thin or young offensively. And so we have to find different ways to score runs,” said Hickey. “We’re not going to be able to sit there and play for the three run homer. We’re going to have to battle, we’re going to have to put the ball on the ground, we’re going to have to bunt, we’re going to have to hit and run. Our numbers are not going to be impressive. You just have to try and scrap and claw a little bit.”

Despite the low offensive numbers, the opportunities have been there for the team like Sunday’s loss to Bethune-Cookman when the team had bases loaded with no outs, yet failed to score a single run. For Hickey, it’s just a matter of capitalizing on the opportunities as they come.

“As a team we have to take better approaches in putting the ball in play and not striking out. If they’re moving runners or driving in runners, those are the things that help you win ballgames,” said Hickey. “The averages and the numbers, everybody who plays looks at them but I think as we get into situations where we have opportunities to score, we have to be productive.”

The Blue Devils are scheduled to play three games this weekend: a double header on Saturday versus Seton Hall starting at noon and a single game Sunday versus Iona at 1 p.m.

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Baseball and the Gold Coast

by Sean Begin

You may not have noticed, but the 2014 Major League Baseball season has started.

The first official pitch was thrown at about 7 p.m. AEDT. In case your not time zone literate (Thanks Google!), that’s Australia Eastern Daylight Time.

Yes, that’s right. Australia. The Gold Coast. Down Under. The Outback. Oz.

Back here on the East Coast that was about 4 a.m., which meant the majority of fans missed the beginning of the season in favor of sleep. (Thanks DVR!)

Time differences aside, baseball down under is far from a bad idea. And it’s another step in baseball’s attempt to expand its international market beyond Latin America and Japan, the latter of which features the strongest professional baseball league behind the MLB.

MLB has opened its season internationally before, visiting Japan four times as well as Mexico and Puerto Rico. And with MLB owning the majority of the Australian Baseball League, it’s no surprise a trip to the Outback for Opening Day has arrived.

The game took place at the historic Sydney Cricket Grounds, which has hosted both cricket and rugby, but never baseball. The 38,000-seat stadium recently received $170 million in upgrades, making it the ideal location for major league baseball’s debut.

Perhaps the most well known Australian ballplayer is Grant Balfour, the Tampa Bay Rays’ closer and an 11-year veteran. Balfour’s father played rugby, but when he showed an interest in baseball, his father started an entire youth club.

Casual fans of the game may be unfamiliar with Balfour. He’s been around but hasn’t really made himself a household name. It’s for this reason that baseball decided to play two games at the SCG in the hopes of popularizing the sport in a country dominated by cricket and rugby.

Balfour is one of only 28 Australian players to have ever reached the majors.  He is one of 45 players currently playing in either the majors, Class AAA or Class AA. It’s baseball’s hope that these two games will increase interest in the sport in Australia to add to the number of Australian players.

The two games were played between the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks, two of the teams perhaps best positioned, geographically at least, to fly to Oz for a pair of games (about 14 hours from LA and 16 from Phoenix).

The Dodgers won both games, but the outcomes, so early in the year, don’t really matter. What matters is the impact the games had. Did they increase interest in young players who may want to be the next great rugby player? Did the fans that attended enjoy the game enough to want it back?

Well, if Matt Cleary serves as the majority opinion, then the answer to that last question is a resounding yes. Cleary is a freelance sportswriter based in Sydney who frequently contributes to the Guardian’s sports blogs.

“Major League Baseball? Lend us an ear: Come back. Please,” wrote Cleary in article published in the Guardian following the second game of the weekend. “Australians could easily get used to watching this at the Sydney Cricket Ground, and in consistently super numbers.”

While the effort of Major League Baseball to advance the game abroad is commendable, as a fan it is a little off-putting for the season to start so early. Last year, the first official game was held March 31, with most teams kicking off the next day on April 1.

The season started nine days earlier this year on March 22. Meaning there will be more than a week before all the other teams get underway (there will be one game on March 30 before all other teams kick off March 31).

These seem to be small sacrifices to make to see the game grow, especially considering there are 2,428 more games to be played for the next five months.

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Inexpensive Travel How to: Destination: St. Augustine

By: Arianna Cecchini

Open ocean, white sandy beaches, hot simmering sun: Is that not the ideal vacation to escape the text books and homework for a few days? Well, St. Augustine, Fla. is just the place to sit on a beach chair and comfortably lounge about — all day.

St. Augustine is not a place that comes to mind for most college students when brainstorming to get away, either because they have never heard of it or because they do not know much about it. It is only a two hour plane ride into the Jacksonville airport, which is an hour north of St. Augustine. And flights generally run about $190 for the entire roundtrip. Not too shabby for a vacation getaway, especially if you are going just for the beach — the only expenses would be food, a place to stay and the flight, which can all be arranged for under $400.

St. Augustine offers grocery stores so one does not have to spend money on restaurants at every meal if money is tight. If money is not an issue and one is looking for some very high quality, great tasting food, the restaurant, Columbia, is one of the most popular in the city. It serves authentic Spanish food in a festive setting and tends to always be crowded — reservations are a must. There are multiple, reasonably priced hotels throughout the city such as Holiday Inns and Marriott’s. The city also has condos available for rent, which can, in fact, be more cost-efficient if traveling with multiple people.

St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States, so if the beach becomes too much after a few days, St. Augustine has multiple museums, shops, attractions and restaurants all over the city for tourists just like you. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum stands out as a must-see, as well as the lighthouse tour which gives guests a breathtaking view of the entire city. The fountain of youth tops the attraction, where one can go and drink water from the oldest city. Do not get your hopes up though, the water tastes awful, but it is an experience that one must have while visiting St. Augustine.

The city is engulfed by the Atlantic Ocean and miles of beaches, which are beyond incredible — as far as scenery goes. Anastasia Island, next to the city of St. Augustine, is a good place to stay because it is a few miles from the cluster of the city limits and is right on the shore. It usually tends to be cheaper because it is not exactly right in the middle of a tourist location.

Sometimes, looking away from the mainstream tourist sites can be the most beneficial. St. Augustine is historic, beautiful and full of life, making for a perfect vacation for college students. It is a cheap gateway for a week, or even a few days, and it gives a lot of options to its guests. If looking for a beach destination in a warm climate, St. Augustine is the city to visit. It is a must see.

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Why Won’t Winter Quit?

By Acadia Otlowski and Jacqueline Stoughton

The official start of spring was March 20,  but excluding a few warm days, the weather has felt unseasonably cold to many in the state.

While the winter of 2013-14  is officially over, temperatures remained cold. But CCSU meteorology professor Richard Roy said that while the temperatures are below average, this winter is just colder than some others. But it did not break any records, he asserted.

“Most winter season’s vary,” said Roy, who said that there are cycles every few years of cold winters and warm winters. He has said that this is nowhere near the coldest winter on record. He estimates that it may come in near the third or fourth coldest winter on record.

“A couple years ago we had a mild winter,” said Roy. “It’s just the normal cycle of the earth’s weather patterns.”

The daily temperatures have been below average this year, but Roy said that since these records only date back about 30 years, that this is not that significant. Roy said that there has been a shift in the jet stream which has caused droughts in the west and cold, wet conditions in the east.

February was 5.5 degrees Fahrenheit below average, and March (as of March 18) so far has been 7.7 degrees below.

Despite Roy’s assessment, students are not convinced.

“I hate the weather.  It should be warm right now,” said Annamaria Perge, a student at CCSU. “Last year around this time I was already commuting to school on my motorcycle and now I can’t even think to take it out of my garage for a quick ride around town.”

Other students just want winter to end.

“”I usually love the snow but this year I’m way over it and I’m ready for it to be warm.  I’m getting restless, I just want to be outside in the nice warm weather,” said Abdallah Alsagri, a Student Government Association member.

Some students are not opposed to further winter weather, as long as they don’t have to go to classes.

“The upcoming snow storm doesn’t bother me, it’s always fun to get snowed in and just chill,” said Chris Krul, a student.

One student believes that the prolonged winter is a result of a late start to the season.

“We obviously got off to a late start in the winter season for it to actually feel like winter.  So it makes sense that it’s a little chilly outside now.  But the fact that it’s now the end of March and one day it’s gorgeous outside and then the next we are supposed to expect more snow is ridiculous,” said Stephanie Brody, a student.

Roy said that the weather is not indicative of climate change and that there is too much sensationalism around the issue.

 

 

 

 

 

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Spring Break: Helpful or a Distraction?

By Acadia Otlowski

After half of a semester of unstable weather, exams and insufficient sleep, spring break comes right in the nick of time for some.

While most students and faculty believe it is a time for relaxation, others see it as a disruption to the learning atmosphere.

“It is definitely a time in which I enjoy, since it gives me a break from our studies. It may all depend on a person and their schedule,” said Tony Miranda, a student on campus.

Students and faculty alike use spring break for educational acitivites that may or may not be directly linked to the university.

“This spring break I was able to have the chance to go to Japan as a study abroad program that CCSU has provided,” said Miranda.  He plans to apply the knowledge he gained to another class. “It worked out perfect for me since I am a philosophy minor and have to do a final presentation paper on Buddhist philosophy.”

Professors use the time period to travel or attend workshops.

“Spring break is important for me as a way to step back and get a bit of a rest and perspective on the semester, so rather than a distraction, it’s an enhancement,” said Sylvia Halkin, a biology professor. “When I’m able to travel, as this year to Jamaica, I also have a chance to experience new landscapes and cultures, which I really enjoy and makes the time seem longer and richer – highly recommended for students as well as faculty.”

Richard Benfield, a geography professor, and one of the world’s leading authorities on garden tourism, made proficient use of his time off.

“I went to a workshop at Cornell University, drove on to Buffalo to meet some garden program developers and visited Niagara Falls to get some material for my tourism classes,” said Benfield. “It also allows me to address some things like speaking commitments and meetings that I can schedule during a break.”

Most professors and students welcome the break, but some students believe that a break should entail no work.

“Professors don’t realize it’s spring ‘break’ and they end up assigning work over the break, which shouldn’t be allowed,” said Travis Anderson, a student on campus.

One professor believes that the time off is good for students who are balancing busy schedules.

“I think it breaks down the semester into two halves. I don’t mind it,” said Paramita Dhar, an economics professor who said she worked all break. “Most of the students here work part-time or full-time and it may be challenging at times, so I think this break gives them some time to breathe and catch up on their classes.”

While there are numerous benefits to a spring break, there are some flaws with it — especially this semester, according to some professors.

“I do like the break, but with missed classes due to weather, it can be a lost week,” said Marianne Chamberlain from the accounting department.

Other professors agreed.

“Most years it’s a good break, but this year, because of all the missed days for weather as well as the usual one-day holidays, it was one more destabilizing element,” said Ruth Anne Baumgartner.

“Finding a rhythm of continuity has been difficult, especially since my class, a literature survey, addresses a different writer or kind of writing practically every day. So putting those separate assignments into a contextual overview is important if the students are to come away from the course having genuinely learned something, but that’s exactly what has been hard with all the start-and-stop this semester.”

 

 

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Respect the Classics: “12 Angry Men”

By: Joe Suszczynski

Courtroom dramas are an intriguing genre of film. One can feel the intensity of the courtroom as two lawyers do their best to make sure their respective clients get what they are fighting for. However, the jury themselves are another aspect of the courtroom drama, with certain movies being based on their perspective. Filmed in 1957, “12 Angry Men” is a movie based on the jury perspective.

The story takes place at a New York City courthouse where 12 jurors are sent to a room to decide whether or not the defendant is guilty for murdering his father; if found guilty, the defendant would be sentenced to death. Eleven of the 12 jurors voted that the defendant is guilty without even discussing the case — with only one juror, known as juror #8 (Henry Fonda), dissenting. Being that there has to be unanimous consent to make a guilty verdict, the other jurors groan about the lone dissenter to which they then have to talk about the case in attempts to sway juror #8’s doubts to rather interesting results unfolded throughout the film.

“12 Angry Men” is a fantastic courtroom drama, with every aspect of the film holding itself well above average. A note that should be made is that this film is in black and white.

Fonda gave a terrific performance as juror #8. The character utilizes his ability to play off of the others to his advantage and is delivered brilliantly by Fonda’s acting prowess. In addition to Fonda, the other actors did an exceptional job in their respective roles. Lee J. Cobb, in particular, is the antagonist of the movie. He does great work in conveying his character as a man who is hell bent on trying to prove the defendant’s guilt.

The direction in the film was great — being that the primary setting of it was in the room in which the jurors deliberated. What made it even better was the tension that was created in the room, which was created with all the angles that the camera utilized — making for super tense scenes between the jurors. We see juror #8’s movements around the room and in his seat in attempts to make a case for the defendant to the other jurors.

Reginald Rose’s screenplay was superbly written. The characters were well developed, despite not knowing any of their names, with the exception of two of them at the end of the film. I also liked how simple the characters were in regards to the end, where, after the final verdict was made, they just went about their separate lives and that was it — no great friendships were struck up or anything like that. It was rather charming how everything collapsed in the end.

Overall, “12 Angry Men” is a timeless classic movie with great acting, directing and writing. It makes for an entertaining feature. For that, it needs to be respected.

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Jazz Ensemble Impresses With Deviations of Classic Numbers

By Kevin Jachimowicz

CCSU Jazz Ensemble put on an impressive show Tuesday before break. It was directed by Dr. Carl W. Knox and hosted by the Carol A. Ammon School of Arts & Sciences Department of Music. Dr. Knox started the night on a comedic note, as one musician arrived at Torp Theater of Davidson Hall minutes late.

“Did you tune on your way over?” Knox jokingly asked the late performer. The show quickly took a turn for the more serious musical skills that were to be showcased throughout the performance. The first number the band played was “Burnin’ Blues for Bird,” originally by Don Menza. Dr. Knox gave an interesting brief background on Menza, offering insight into how Menza’s son played in Megadeath. Menza even claimed to have once said his son “made more than he did in his whole career, in one night.” The song featured a smooth female trumpet solo early on, slow in its overall nature, maintaining a relaxed vibe. An eventual crescendo boosted the song into a boasting piece loaded with ebbs and flows through overpowering horn melodies that sharply transitioned back into smoother jazz.

The following piece, “I Remember Clifford,” was a piece written for the great Clifford Brown, a Benny Golson tune, who was a fine trumpet player. “He would have been the greatest trumpet player who ever lived probably…he died very young,” Knox said. The piece contained a solo which came in and out of the piece repetitively, getting very extravagant and impressive towards its close, which is a fluttering outro, followed by a unison finish by the ensemble. Rachel Rovino was the soloist who received three rounds of applause for her efforts in her performance. Knox informed the audience that Rachel had “lost a grandparent this week, and has a special person she’s playing for,” before she received her third straight round of applause.

Two trends became quite noticeable — recurring solos were definitely one of them. With his band playing tirelessly, Dr. Carl Knox took time out of each break between songs to personally acknowledge certain players and thank, or congratulate, them for their participation, growth and skills.

One of the tougher pieces of the night was “The Red Snapper,” in which Knox claimed, “Quite frankly, I didn’t think we could play it…this is a real chart by the great Bobby Shew,” before introducing his wife by pointing her out of the crowd and jokingly saying, “Wow, that’s a compliment — she stayed.” Seriousness returned momentarily and the piece unfolded with an eyes-closed saxophone solo, front and center.  The player had difficulty maintaining the solo, but after losing his breath, shaking his head, and catching the beat again, he nailed the rest of the multiple minute solo.

Overall, the performance was truly impressive and comedic. Dr. Knox maintained a firm happiness with the success of his performers. “I think this is the best band I’ve had; we won the Villanova Jazz Festival last year, placed first,” he sternly claimed. “Certainly, the deepest we’ve had soloist-wise.”

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SGA Elections

By Acadia Otlowski and Jaqueline Stoughton

The Student Government Association elected its new executive board to office. The newly elected president garnered 230 of the 487 total votes, or 47.222 percent.

Simms Sonet won the presidential position over Alexander Lee and David DeHaas. Lee came in second, just 29 votes behind Sonet. DeHaas managed just 5.13 percent of the votes with 31 votes. There were 25 “no votes.” This means that students abstained from voting for a candidate. This procedure allows students to vote for only the students they want to.

In the vice presidential race, Caroline Fox captured 228 votes, winning the race with 46.81 percent of voter recognition.  Amber Pietrycha came in second with 142 votes, or 29.15 percent of the votes. Laura Hudobenko came in third with 75 votes. There was 42 no votes.

Kory Mills ran unopposed and was reelected for the position of treasurer.

Senators reacted to the E-board elections:

“I’m pretty pleased and satisfied with the outcome of the election,” said Robert Berriault, a graduating student senator. Berriault said he personally congratulates all winners.  “I’m extremely excited for the new e board, I think Simms and Caroline are going to do great and I’m confident that [the] treasurer … is still going to continue to do great things for the students of this school.”

Current  SGA President Brian Choplick said, “I’m excited to see how they all do.”

Although Sonet was unavailable for comment, he expressed his plans for the future on a campaign page of last year’s presidential election.

“Every student at CCSU (over 12,000 total) has a story. We all come from different economic, social and cultural backgrounds. It is this diversity that makes our university great. Unfortunately, the struggles and obstacles students face are not always addressed and heard,” Sonet wrote on his Facebook page before elections. “I firmly believe that it is the responsibility of the SGA to represent and hear these individual stories, and do our very best to communicate them to the faculty and administration.”

In his previous campaign, Sonet had this message: “Every student has a story. Every student has a voice. I want to hear your story. I want to be your voice.”

The new E-board will be sworn in April 16.

 

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Track and Field Christens New Complex with Win

by Sean Begin

Despite the final vestiges of winter clinging to New England, Mother Nature cooperated with the Central Connecticut men’s and women’s track and field team while they hosted the first outdoor meet on campus since the early 1970s.

With temperatures in the 50s for most of the day, the Central team had only some blustery wind to deal with leading to a men’s overall victory and a second-place finish for the women.

“We’ve had away meets for years now, so it’s nice to have something at home,” said Coach Eric Blake of hosting Central’s first outdoor meet in nearly forty years. “The team was excited about it. A lot of their friends and family came to watch. The weather worked out. They really feel like a part of something right now.”

“I know the alumni were also really looking forward to it. Our administration from the top down did a great job to get the meet to actually happen,” Blake added.

The men topped squads from Siena College, the University of Hartford, American International, Fairfield University, Quinnipiac University and Sacred Heart University, led by freshman Colin Sauter.

Sauter kicked off the meet with a victory in the 10,000-meter race. His finishing time of 32:08.55 not only was good for the win, but also qualified him for the USA Track and Field Junior Championships.

“Our goal was for him to get 32:20. Anything under that would be good so he met that,” said Blake. “I also think he can run a lot faster. So we’re happy with his effort.”

“Going into the race all I was hoping to do was to run faster than the qualifying standard, which I did, so I am very happy with how the race went,” said Sauter.

“This was my first 10k event so that aspect of it made it challenging but I hope to improve upon my time this season. The race was also very mentally challenging which is something that I can work on as I gain experience,” added Sauter.

Experience is something Sauter has yet to gain as a freshman on the squad. To help him achieve his time, assistant coach Sam Alexander paced Sauter for all but the final lap of the race.

“Sam’s pacing was extremely helpful during the race because I knew all I had to do was stay with him in order to qualify, which I most likely would not have been able to do by myself,” said Sauter.

Sauter’s win was the first at the new track and field complex.

“It definitely felt special that I won the first race on our new track and to be apart of that history,” said Sauter. “It is also pretty cool to hold the new facility record.”

The men’s team had strong performances from freshman Kendall Walker in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Walker won both events with times of 11.02 and 22.55, respectively. After redshirting last season, Walker made his first appearance for the Blue Devils on Saturday.

“He’s looking good in both [the 100 and 200] though, so I think he’s getting ready to have a good outdoor season,” said Blake.

Senior Craig Hunt took the top spot in the men’s 5,000 meter with a time of 14:57.00, the only racer to break the 15-minute mark. Junior Jamal Fruster finished first in the 400 meter in 49.18 seconds and helped lead the top Blue Devil squad to a first place finish in the 4×400 meter relay.

In the field events, junior Jamie Tobias finished first in the high jump, clearing 1.95 meters while classmate Michael Ficorilli placed fifth and sixth in the shot put and discus, respectively. Freshman Jeremy Willis, in his first career outdoor meet, took fourth in the javelin throw.

The women’s team finished second behind Sacred Heart. Along with the six teams the men competed against, the women also faced the women’s team from the University of Rhode Island.

The women had strong performances in several running events. Sophomore Ally Gates took first in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 18:38.30, good for a Blue Devil sweep of first place.

“Ally [is] just working on race tactics,” said Blake. “She kind of sat in the field for two miles and then took off and had a good last mile.”

Sherise Truman had a strong showing in the dashes, winning the 200-meter in 26.31 seconds and finishing third in the 100-meter in 12.91 seconds. Like Walker, Truman is a redshirt freshman.

“She looked good and I think she’s going to help this incoming season,” said Blake. “I know she’ll help us out in the relays, too.”

The women also swept the 100-meter hurdles, with senior Shelby Tuttle taking the top spot in 15.08 seconds.

In the field events, the women were led by junior Ronea Saunders, who took first in the high jump clearing 1.75 meters. Sophomores, Chelse Terry and Megan Dupice, also placed in their field events. Terry took second in the discus while Dupice placed third in the javelin.

Saunders recently set a new school record in the high jump at the USA Track & Field Indoor Championships in late-February, good for fifth place there.

“She’s one of our best athletes we’ve ever had. Indoor she’s right up there in the top 20 in the country,” said Blake. “Her indoor season went longer than anyone else’s. With outdoors, we all know she can have a very good season.”

Blake said the team will look to invite a few more teams in the future, for a field of 10-15 at the Blue Devil Invitational. The event was Central’s first outdoor meet of the season and came sooner than in previous years when the team would only compete on the road.

“We’re starting about a week earlier this year. They’re definitely ready to go. They’re healthy which is important,” said Blake. “With the wind and everything I think performances were very good.”

The team will have five meets on the road before the NEC Championships at Robert Morris on May 3 and 4.

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Interning: A Costly Experience

For years, students looking to get a summer credit-bearing internship have been forced to pay the high cost of interim session credits like any ordinary class. This may be changing; since prominent schools such as New York University and Columbia are changing their student internship rules that better comply with national labor laws.

According to the New York Times, NYU announced that they will now explicitly instruct employers that post internships on their job site to make sure that they follow the Labor Department’s guidelines and will delete posts that do not comply.

Columbia University is planning to stop offering college credit to students for internships. This being their method to take away the justification companies used to explain that they don’t need to pay their interns since they’re receiving credits for the work they do.

This is college credit that students pay for themselves. Students are essentially paying a minimum of $1000 to intern at a company for a summer. At Central Connecticut State University, students are charged $1,309 for three credits, which is the category most internships fall under.

A lot of the majors at CCSU require an internship for credit. These internships require students to work all day, all summer, in hopes of creating reliable contacts for future jobs. But students are not paid for all the hard work they do. Instead, the students have to pay for the work with no guarantees for employment when they leave.

An internship should benefit the intern. Not the company, not the university. It’s meant to be an experience for the student that benefits them with a skill set that the classroom cannot give them; something they can bring with them into the real world when they go out to find their first job.

This issue has arisen in the news before. In November of 2012, a class action law suit was filed against Hearst Corp., who owns several major magazines. Those former interns claimed that the company exploited their work over a period of six years.

In another high-profile case, Fox Searchlight Pictures was found guilty for violating New York labor laws with two of their interns, who essentially acted as employees. The judge also added that the interns weren’t placed in an educational environment and only the company benefited from their work.

Time Magazine claims that this lawsuit represents the end of unpaid internships as we know them. The Poynter Institute, which has done extensive research on the subject, said that one of the requirements of an unpaid internship is that it benefits the intern only, giving them experience. The company cannot use an intern to replace a normal paid employee.

Yet, this is exactly what many companies that employ interns do. They send the intern to do their dirty work or exploit them when they make mistakes, which give them no benefit.

CCSU should take into consideration what other universities like NYU and Columbia have, making internships available for students as something to do in their free time over a summer that would benefit the intern, and only the intern.  The steep price of paying for college classes can deter some students from ever pursuing a degree in which a credit-bearing internship is required.

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Menthol Cigarettes Out, Antifreeze E-Cigs In?

By Brittany Hill

Cigarettes started off as all-natural – some tobacco and plant wrappers. Once the demand increased, so did the business and the regulations. With the growth in business comes short cuts and getting to the bottom figure; nothing else matters. The CEOs and business leaders had an epiphany. What better to regulate than a guaranteed-moneymaker that is highly addictive?

Some states are already taking the initiative to regulate e-cigarettes, and rightly so. Last month, Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a law giving e-cigarettes the same restrictions applied to regular cigarettes. It will no longer be permitted to use in public arenas, like bars or parks, where regular cigarettes are already banned.

The e-cigarette is just as addictive as a regular bogie. In fact, the only real difference is that it does not contain chemicals, tar and other additives that are connected to lung cancer – or so we think.

The e-cig business is only 10 years fresh. As shown by past practice, 10 years is not enough to judge the health ramifications for a product. Whether its food, a pill, or now, electronic methods of vaporizing nicotine, it’s too soon to assume it to be harmless.

According to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration study in 2009, nicotine cartridges from two manufacturers had a higher amount of nicotine per drag than the container reported. Also, some of the tested e-cigs did not contain pure tobacco. The report found quite a few toxins, one of which is a toxic chemical used to make antifreeze. Menthol, out. Antifreeze, in?

Some brands may very well be exactly what the label claims. But the product is relatively new to our mixed society of old-fashioned cigarette smokers and a naïve, impressionable youth.

“We don’t want to risk e-cigarettes undermining a half-century of successful tobacco control,” argued Los Angeles County Public Health Director Jonathan Fielding in an article with USA Today.

He fears that the sensationalized and blind acceptance to e-cigs will negate all that has been gained through years of tests and studies proving how dangerous cigarettes can be.

Considering all the research that has been done, you would think these laws prohibiting the public use of e-cigs would be more widely enforced.

In terms of the e-cig, we know one thing for certain: people like it. Reports of previous “old-fashioned” cigarette smokers have gladly made the switch claiming it has reduced their smokers’ cough and is a much more feasible option for those living with a family or for those who prefer not to smell like a harmonious blend of burning tobacco and tar.

But in actuality, the recent popularity of e-cigs may be working against the consumer’s best interests. The higher the demand for e-cigarettes, the sooner a hot-shot corporate leader will jump on the opportunity to buy out the small businesses. This brings the consumer’s needs to a new low. No longer is the interest in a more convenient and healthier alternative to smoking. The incentive turns to making a buck.

If toxins were present in 2009 then e-cigs should be regulated in the same manner as regular cigarettes. Imagine the list of chemicals and harmful additives that researchers have found since. What a drag.

 

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Alum Biographer William Mann Comes Back to Campus

Writing Hollywood, a talk hosted by author and CCSU Alum William Mann, took place on March 4 in the Elihu Burritt library.

Mann, a 1984 CCSU history graduate, spoke of his discoveries through writing biographies of famed Hollywood stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Barbra Streisand and Katherine Hepburn. Mann penned “Hello Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand”. With his reasearch and writing, Mann gained insight about the creation of celebrities.

Barbra Streisand is a singer and actress whose career began in the 1960s with simply determination and talent, pushing her way into fame.

“At the age of seven, Streisand said she felt an uncontrollable itch to get out in the world and prove herself. So she did. Streisand had elbowed her way to the attention of critics and casting directors, forcing them to notice her. She possessed the desire to be great, not necessarily famous.” explained Mann. Streisand’s mother constantly reassured Barbra that she was not pretty enough to be successful.  Despite this negative reinforcement, from the person who is supposed to be her biggest supporter in life, Barbra “barged ahead with her dream,” Mann explained.

“Hepburn wanted the spotlight, Taylor wanted the Diamonds and the Yachts, Streisand wanted something else entirely; she wanted to prove that she mattered.” said Mann of Streisand’s drive to become great. She found a way to draw attention to herself aside from her looks, so she altered her name.

“People assumed that the young girls name was misspelled, but Barbra Streisand had removed that superfluous “a” [in her first name] because she wanted to stand out, be noticed, make an impression. There were thousands of “Barbara’s” at the time, but there will only be one “Barbra.” asserted Mann.

While Streisand became successful in her perseverance as well as her talent, Katherine Hepburn, whom Mann also spoke about in some detail, worked on using her image to her advantage.

“Hepburn grew up wanting fame, so she looked out into the public and decided to give us what we wanted to buy. Whether that be the liberated feminist, the glamorous movie star, or the fun, no nonsense american icon.” stated Mann.

Mann went on to tell the story of how Elizabeth Taylor smoked a cigarette during her acceptance of her Oscar, after she was supposedly diagnosed with a severe illness.

“She had won back people’s hearts. That’s not to say she faked her illness. Elizabeth Taylor never faked anything,” Mann assured. That’s what made her so unique in Hollywood, she knew how to use the epic twists and turns of her life to her advantage.

Taylor generated press and intrigue regarding her personal life to fuel her popularity.

“Her face graced thousands of magazines. Taylor is the reason paparazzi developed into such a force, and why we still have them today.” said Mann as he showed a picture of Elizabeth Taylor reading a tabloid about herself while filming Cleopatra. “Here she is on the set of Cleopatra, reading about all the fuss she was causing on the set of Cleopatra,” joked Mann, much to the amusement of the crowd.

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“Brooklyn Salon” Showcases Select Artwork of Recent Brooklyn Exhibits

Kevin Jachimowicz

“Brooklyn Salon”, an exhibit of artwork, is on display at CCSU starting March 6, running until April 6, and features the artwork of a host of famed American artists.

Every semester, Central Connecticut State University Art Galleries hold at the least, three major shows. This exhibit displays artwork selected from recent exhibitions that have been shown in Brooklyn, New York. The show contains artwork from a host of skilled and renowned American artists: Michael Ballou, James Esber, Tony Fitzpatrick, and Jim Torok.

Ballou has been living in Brooklyn since 1983. During the 1990s, he was one of the guiding spirits of Four Walls, hosted in his garage studio, which was something of a combination of clubhouse and laboratory for the exchange of art and ideas. His work ranges from sculptures to mixed media, to film.

Fellow New York artist, Jim Torok, has a portfolio with a feel of much the opposite, with more of a self-critical sense to it. Torok is a cartoonist of current events and painter of miniature portraits using oil paint on panels. Torok typically utilizes tiny portraits, and is also a hilarious storyboard narrator; typically covering the topic of his life as an artist.

Tony Fitzpatrick owns an even more eccentric style. Fitzpatrick’s piece “Midnight City #3″ has a feel reminiscent to that of James Esber’s style, colorful, bright and eye-catching, although the focus of the imagery is crystal clear — something Esber’s work does not always necessarily just hand to its viewers.

One of the most impressive pieces, and a definite eye-catcher, was the very recent piece by James Esber, which was just completed in 2013.  “Untitled (Boy with Five Legs)” is the name of the warped, distorted, colorful piece.  In late December of 2010, The New York Times praised Esber for his series of portraits of Osama Bin Laden, reminiscent to that of the “Untitled (Boy with Five Legs)” piece, as far as the distortion aspect goes, at the very least. Esber is also known for another one of his more distorted pieces, this one depicting President Lincoln.

For the process of his creations, Esber paints with Plasticine, a pigmented modeling material that adheres to the wall in low relief and never dries completely. His technique confuses painting and sculpture. Known for tackling taboo social issues in his artwork, Esber gathers images from modern and popular American sources, plies at them and distorts them through his artwork — creating an alternative train of thought for the viewer. Esber seems to have developed a theme of addressing notions of distortion and perception, through mining some of the more over-saturated icons of the media and American pop culture.

Skillfully balancing the pieces with a mixture of both illusionism and objectiveness, Esber’s artworks are significant memorials to the individuals they portray as well as reminders that these pictures are first and foremost objective; the significance in which they are recognized, portrayed and interpreted is completely subject to change viewer to viewer, in regards to the context and light they are perceived in.

Esber’s artwork covers those who may have accidentally stumbled into the media spotlight, depicting and portraying them in a warped and distorted fashion amongst heavily textured surfaces to create depth in the piece — created using clashing colors with varying widths of thickness. Some of Esber’s newer works are created with the intention of looking drastically different in different volumes of lighting; leaving the possibility for the piece to change throughout a single day.

The Brooklyn Salon Art Gallery can be seen in the CCSU Art Gallery, Maloney Hall, and admission will be free up until April 6th, every weekday.

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Allen Iverson Immortalized in Philadelphia

by Navindra Persaud

“Pound for pound, probably the greatest player who ever played.”

That is how Miami Heat forward LeBron James has gone on record to describe Allen Iverson. When players like James, who is constantly being compared to Michael Jordan (probably the greatest to ever play the sport of basketball), describe Iverson in that light, clearly Iverson has left an imprint on the game and those who play it.

Iverson had his number three retired last Saturday during halftime of the Philadelphia 76ers 122-103 loss to the Washington Wizards at Wells Fargo Center. This honor speaks volumes of Iverson’s talents and time spent with the 76ers because even though he does not have any NBA championship rings, he left a remarkable impact on the entire city and the 76ers organization.

Now 39 years old, he attended Georgetown and was selected first overall in 1996 by the 76ers, where the majority of his 14 year NBA career was played. He was an electrifying player that glided side to side as he cut his way to the basketball hoop. His intensity while playing the game was evident and he was an extraordinary finisher at the rim.

“I’m so proud of you,” said former coach Larry Brown in a video which played for Iverson at the ceremony. “I don’t think anybody deserves it any more than you and I’m doing what I’m doing because of you. Thank you very much.”

Iverson was often ridiculed for not participating in team practices which led to many disputes with Brown, and resulted in a press conference rant where Iverson questioned the topic itself. That rant has now become famous and has been played over and over again this past week.

Iverson has had his battles in the past, struggling with arrests ranging from a concealed weapon charge to possession of marijuana. That being said, the greatness he displayed on the court will always outshine the mistakes he made while in the NBA.

“You have to show me the fool that says dreams don’t come true, because they do,” said Iverson, who was overwhelmed with emotion as the Philadelphia crowd cheered on. “I love you Philadelphia. I love y’all for accepting me and letting me be me. Letting me make my mistakes, letting me be human, letting me learn from them. Just embracing me and making this my home forever.”

Iverson was a wonder to watch on the court. I will always remember him for his unbeatable crossover able to send many players to the floor. He accepted even more fame for catching Jordan with one of his swift crossovers that can still be seen on an NBA clip posted on YouTube, which has received more than four million views. The crossover is now used by Jamal Crawford, Stephen Curry, Dwayne Wade and countless other NBA players.

He has not played in the NBA since 2010 but has managed to create an impressive resume. For his career, the six foot guard managed to average 26.7 points, 6.2 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game in the NBA. He was named league MVP in 2001, appeared in 11 consecutive NBA All-Star games and captured the All-Star MVP twice along with a bronze medal with Team USA in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. The closest Iverson ever came to getting an NBA championship came in 2001 as he led the 76ers to the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.

There are not too many players today who pattern their game around Iverson other than having his ability to complete the crossover move. But it would be in many of the young and upcoming players’ interest to take a look at some of his film footage because there is a great deal of information that can be taken into practice. Iverson is unquestionably deserving of the privilege of having his number retired and it was great to see the NBA honor an undoubtedly future NBA Hall of Famer.

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Lacrosse Notches First Win of Campbell Era

by Sean Begin

The temperature was far colder the second time the Central Connecticut women’s lacrosse team took to Arute Field this season. But the team and head coach Laura Campbell were feeling pretty warm after the Blue Devils notched their first win of the season and the first of Campbell’s Central career.

“It feels really good; really great,” said Campbell in the warmth of the Arute Field press box after the team finished off the Iona College Gaels by a 15-10 score, adding that it was nice to get the first win out of the way and  to move forward with the season.

Campbell, who is in her first year as head coach of the Blue Devils (1-2) following the departure of Kelly Nangle, had amassed 38 wins as a Division I women’s lacrosse coach at Post and American Universities and Marist College before coming to New Britain.

Campbell and her squad were looking to rebound from a shaky offensive first game of the season, a loss to the La Salle Explorers on Feb. 22 who outhustled them on ground balls all game.

“We went into this game just really wanting to dominate all the hustle plays and the girls did that,” said Campbell. “They made the necessary adjustments that we worked on [in practice] and I’m just super proud of them for that.”

Central opened the game up with three straight goals to take an early 3-0 lead over the Gaels (0-3), who responded with three goals of their own. The two teams exchanged a fourth goal apiece before Central took the lead for the last time.

The Blue Devils scored four straight on goals from senior captains Claire Healy and Amanda Toke and sophomores Elyse Malecki and Falynn McCartney. Iona added a fifth goal to give Central an 8-5 lead headed into the half.

Central opened the second half with their ninth goal, an unassisted score from Toke just 1:37 into the half. But Iona scored three straight to pull within a goal of the Blue Devils.

Goals from Toke, McCartney and sophomore Madison Hughes, though, pulled the Blue Devils away again. The Gaels continued to fight, adding two more goals, including one on a free position shot to pull to within two.

But Central put the game out of reach with three final goals over the last four minutes, two from Malecki and a final one from Hughes with just three seconds remaining on the clock.

“[Our] defense played solid. Our midfield played solid. Our attack was converting and finding the back of the net today. I think across the board our team played well,” said Campbell of her team after the win.

Campbell said the captains continue to fill their role as team leaders but was happy with the performance of the younger sophomores on her squad.

“Our younger players they just get after it every minute. That’s really translating as you see with those hustle plays with Madison Hughes, the ground balls and draw controls,” said Campbell. “They just work really, really hard and it’s working out for them, so I’m excited.”

Hughes finished the game with two goals, a team high six ground balls, four caused turnovers and a draw control. McCartney led the team with six draw controls while adding three goals of her own, an assist and three ground balls.

Malecki finished with four goals, tied for a team high with Toke, who added two assists, three draw controls and two caused turnovers of her own. Toke’s fellow captain, Claire Healy, finished with two goals and two ground balls.

Central outplayed Iona defensively on ground balls (19-16) and draw controls (14-13) while successfully clearing the ball 12 of 13 times. Iona turned the ball over 19 times – 12 forced by the Blue Devils – compared to 12 turnovers for Central.

“The girls have proven they are able to execute a game plan and put the focus in and follow through,” said Campbell.

The team started a four game road trip following the victory over Iona with a 17-5 loss at Hofstra to move to 1-2 on the season. They play at Siena at 3 p.m. today before games at Stony Brook and Brown next week.

The Blue Devils will return to Arute Field for three straight games after the road trip, starting with a March 22 contest against Vermont.

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Sheridan Sinks Competition: Cardboard Boat Race Earns Dean’s Cup Points

By: Ruth Bruno

Students of CCSU and staff members of IRC (Inter Residence Council) gathered in the front lobby of Kaiser Hall last Tuesday to kick off the cardboard boat race, a Dean’s cup event.

This event, one of many, provided students with an opportunity to earn points for their residence hall. The hall with the most points at the end of two consecutive semesters is awarded the Dean’s cup.  This unique activity was set up so residents could participate in an “interesting, active event that’s different than most dean events done in the past,” said Rebecca Laroche, a Dean’s cup advisor.

Participants were divided by residence hall and given approximately 90 minutes to assemble a boat using slabs of cardboard, a roll of duct tape and two large plastic garbage bags. Music blared as students from each residence hall scrambled to design a boat that could carry two residents across the length of the Kaiser pool. The designs varied from hall to hall.

Jessica Quick from Carroll Hall had a simple strategy: “Not sink and win,” she said laughing, as she described her hall’s idea of shaping the cardboard into a canoe and covering it with plastics bags to waterproof it.

“We’re definitely gonna win,” she said, confident in her hall’s boating skills.

Kaitlyn Schneider from Sheridan Hall shared their similar strategy of taping the plastic bags to the bottom of the raft.

“If all else fails we have good swimmer’s,” said Schneider.

Kristen Baclawski, of James Hall, had the simplest strategy.

“We’re hoping that the other halls sink a little quicker,” she joked. Each hall designed a banner to attach to their boat. Beecher Hall exhibited their camaraderie on their banner which carried the motto, “The hall that sinks together swims together.”

By 8:30 p.m. the boats were built and ready to be launched. The crowd filed into the pool room and took their seats as the music continued to play. The crowd sang along to “We Will Rock You” and Carroll Hall even danced a quick jig together to pump up their team.

Safety was a high priority as boaters were required to wear life-jackets and lifeguards were present as the boaters lined up to start the race. The boats from Barrows, Beecher and Carroll Hall were the first in the water. The canoe from Carroll hall capsized immediately, but the boaters, dragging the canoe behind them as they swam, made a titanic effort to get to the end of the pool.

Barrows Hall took the lead with a time of 38.90 seconds.

Quick remained optimistic about the event.

“The water was colder than I was expecting, but it was fun,” said Quick.

Round two featured Gallaudet, James and Sam May Hall. Though each of the boats collapsed, Gallaudet finished well with a time of 38.97 seconds. Round three featured the winner of the boat race — Sheridan Hall, finishing with a time of 37.75 seconds.

Stuart Swenor, from Event Management, was enthusiastic about the event, saying, “It was a very pumped up night and a lot of people showed up, so that was good.”

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Lockdown Suspect Kyem Pleads Not Guilty

By Acadia Otlowski

The former CCSU student arrested in connection with the Nov. 4 lockdown plead not guilty to two misdemeanor charges in New Britain Judicial Court Thursday.

“It’s just a procedural event that occurs in a  case,” said Robert Britt, the former student’s lawyer.

Britt declined to give further comment on the case in order to “preserve the judicial process.”

David Kyem, 21, was arrested twice in connection to last semester’s lockdown. The first was when Kyem returned from a Halloween party, at the University of Connecticut, still in his costume.

The costume included what looked like a gun, a ninja sword, and tactical gear. Kyem’s appearance triggered students to call 9-1-1. What followed was a three hour lockdown in which residence halls were searched and students were told to remain in place. Kyem was charged with breach-of-peace.

Kyem was told to stay off campus until a meeting with the university’s Office of Student Conduct. When Kyem arrived at the school earlier than scheduled, the former student was arrested yet again on charges of first-degree criminal trespass.

On Nov. 13 the university confirmed that Kyem was not longer a student at the university. Kyem’s father, Peter Kyem, is a geography professor at CCSU. Both father and son were unable to comment on the case, based off the counsel of their lawyer.

Kyem’s case has been repeatedly continued since mid-November, before finally being arraigned. He is due back in court March 27.

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SGA Bullet Points

By Joe Suszczynski

  • Dr. Laura Tordenti, Vice President for Student Affairs, discussed in her report Senator Chris Murphy’s initiative to curb efforts of smoking on college campuses when he wrote a letter to Central Connecticut State University President, Jack Miller.
  •  During committee reports Student Life Chairman, Senator Simms Sonet, announced that scholarships are due on March 13, 2014, which is a Thursday.
  •  A motion was made to approve a change in the Muslim Student Association line item, which ended up passing with 30 “yes” votes with two “abstain” votes.
  •  Senator Bobby Berriault motioned to transfer $1,544.60 SG9195 (reserves) to SG9120 (for use by Senate). Treasurer Mills amended the motion so it would read that the money would be taken from SG9010 to SG9195, which corrected the accounts that Senator Berriault intended to use, which ended up passing. The motion ended up failing with 13 “no” votes, 12 “yes” votes and six “abstain” votes.
  •  Senator Teige Christiano motioned to add section 5-E which adds two more senators to SGA that are part-time students. Christiano said that there should be “more representation of part time students on campus” and that it will also help out committees. After debating both sides of the motion, it ended being referred to the Ad-hoc committee, which will give its report by Monday March 24, 2014. The motion was made by Senator Alex Lee.
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KiD Cudi Pulls a Beyoncé, Unexpectedly Releases Album

Navindra Persuad

Kid Cudi pulled a Beyoncé when he released his fifth major album “Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon,” at midnight on iTunes last Tuesday to millions of unprepared fans. The album came with just a few tweets to his fans before the actual drop, then, at 12am fans were able to click to purchase.

What may have been a pleasant surprise for fans may also serve as a disappointment to all. Kid Cudi was founded on hip-hop music; it is what started his career. “Day n’ Night” put him on the map and people loved the loner stoner-rap vibe that was produced. “Satellite Flight,” is an album clearly created by a very experimental artist.

The 10-track album features four instrumentals, “Destination: Mother Moon,” “Copernicus Landing,” “In My Dreams 2015,” and “Return of the Moon Man (Original Score).” All of the instrumentals are heavily influenced by his obsession with space and the Moon which relate back to his first two albums. Cudi has utilized such instrumentals on previous works, but never before to this extent.

Cudi’s production skills have remained a standout talent, of his many skills as an artist. So, production-speaking, the album is far from poor. That being said, this album is reminiscent of the WZRD album Cudi dropped in 2012, which featured an experimental rock-type sound that does not completely fit his identity.

“Satellite Flight,” happens to be a fairly decent song with the space theme continuing; the sound is well, a bit out of the worldly. The album also features a stand-out track titled “Balmain Jeans,” featuring Raphael Saadiq, and is reminiscent of similar tracks on his previous albums, featuring synth-heavy production. This song is very much sexually driven as it depicts Cudi coaxing a woman and carrying out sexual acts. Other than Saaqid the album contains no other artist features just Kid Cudi and his mad experiment.

“Balmain Jeans” is the closest this album gets to containing a hint of hip-hop, with that said, there are no instances of Cudi rapping at all. In a Complex Magazine online music interview, on Feb. 27th, Cudi explained this by saying, “I have a bunch of powers, but unfortunately I cannot write raps unless I’m ultimately fueled to write a rap, and it happens every so often. When it does happen it happens in the way of a “Too Bad I Have to Destroy You Now.” Where I’ve been waiting to unleash and I finally have and even though you haven’t heard many raps from me, it’s just enough to have you satisfied. Also, I aim for timeless. That’s always a goal.”

Not sure this will be one of the timeless albums. There is no issue against the genre that he is trying to experiment with, however, the experimentation will not retain his typical fan base. It is unfortunate, but Cudi seems to be completely unbothered by his recent musical endeavors, which have occurred over the past couple of years, in his Complex interview.

“I don’t pay that any mind. I’m flattered that people want to hear the raps and that’s cool,” said Cudi, “But, I feel like my first couple of albums, well, my first album and my mixtape were more rap-driven. But also I need kids to be aware that I’m not going to rap if I’m not inspired, unfortunately, that’s my weakness.”

Cudi has had his struggles with cocaine and alcohol but has told Complex that he is sober now. It is good to see that he is moving in the right direction in terms of sobriety, but for his original fans, the ones who helped build his fame that may be taking a turn. The overall sound is a ‘rock’ album with a science fiction theme. If you happen to be a fan of Cudi’s album WZRD, and his new experimental sound – then you will love this album. For those who are expecting a hip-hop vibe, or even something closer to his previous album, Indicud the predecessor to this album, you may be in for a disappointment.

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CCSU Police Blotter Week of 2/21

UNREGISTERED: Elizabeth Brooks, 19, of 33 Iron St., Ledyard, was arrested on Feb. 26 for operating an unregistered motor vehicle. She is scheduled to appear in court on March 14.

SUSPENDED: Leroy Lopez, 28, of 119 Joy La., New Britain, was arrested on Feb. 24 for operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license/registration. Lopez was also charged with failure to change address. He is scheduled to appear in court on March 6.

TOO CLOSE: Bridget Santos, 44, of 913 East St., New Britain, was arrested on Feb. 24 for following too close with a motor vehicle. She is scheduled to appear in court on March 6.

SUSPENDED: Katherine Thompson, 40, of 24 Edgewood St., Hartford, was arrested on Feb. 24 operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license/registration. She is scheduled to appear in court March 6.

SEATBELT: Mateusz Tomaszewski, 23, of 97 Folly Brook Blvd., Wethersfield, was arrested on Feb. 24 for failing to secure seat belt. He is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 24.

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Nutty and Naughty: B.J. Novak’s “One More Thing, Stories and Other Stories”

By Brooke Karanovich

On February 4, 2013, writer and comedian BJ Novak (TV show, “The Office), released his first book, “One More Thing, Stories and Other Stories.” The book is a collection of short stories, encompassing a broad variety of subjects and characters. Each of them has something in common though – they’re hilarious. This is Novak’s first published work, and he wrote a comedic masterpiece. Straying from the beaten path of the traditional comedic memoir of an actor-turned-novelist, Novak instead utilizes a more David Sedaris approach to writing humor in his short stories.

Novak is most well known for his script writing and acting on the Emmy-Award-winning show “The Office,” along with co-writers and actors, such as Mindy Kaling and Rainn Wilson. On the show, Novak played Ryan, the temp, a character particularly loved by Regional Manager Michael Scott, Steve Carrell. Novak’s acting displayed his dry sense of humor, which he also happens to use heavily in his writing.

Novak does a great job of keeping readers interested in his stories with clever, twisted story lines and compelling humor; nor is he conservative in his writing. He freely drops f-bombs and numerous other colorful phrases in many stories. Novak additionally appeals to readers of all interests, touching on such vital subjects such as dark matter, Johnny Depp, Heaven, Justin Bieber and a warlord searching for love with the help of an online dating site.

Novak begins his book with a story called “The Rematch,” about the tortoise’s triumphant victory over the hare. In Novak’s version of the classic tale, the hare is emotionally distraught after his loss, and must work for years to train for the rematch, so that he can regain his self-confidence and prove to the world that he is not a failure. It is creative spins on classic stories such as these that highlight Novak’s comedic finesse. He is able to take a seemingly basic story and transform it into comedic gold.

Other notable stories include: “No One Goes to Heaven to See Dan Fogelberg,” a touching story of a man that meets his grandmother in heaven, later learning the heartbreaking reality of the after-life, as well as “The Something by John Grisham,” in which famed author John Grisham’s newest book is accidentally published with the working title “The Something,” and not a single person notices.

A personal favorite was Novak trying his hand at poetry with the soon to be classic “The Literalist’s Love Poem,” in which he succinctly professes his love in a mere nine words.

This book would be a great read for anybody who loved the books of his comedic contemporaries such as Tina Fey’s “Bossypants” and Mindy Kaling’s “Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).” Novak does an extraordinary job telling stories with apparent simplicity, but brings an addition of quirky details and back stories that paint a bigger, hysterical picture.

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Pharrell Wiliams Releases First Solo Album in Years, After Successful 2013

By Kevin Jachimowicz

 

Following a near decade long hiatus from solo music, Pharrell Wiliams, the singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer, drummer and fashion designer, reclaimed himself practically immediately, being a deeply embedded piece in both major hits “Blurred Lines” (Robin Thicke), as well as “Get Lucky” (Daft Punk). He unfortunately could not replicate the same musical success with his most recent solo album, G I R L.

 

The album released to heavy criticism, not about the content of the album itself though, but rather the album’s cover artwork, which contained Pharrell standing with three women, all seemingly white women.  Pharrell responded to the criticism in a recent interview with YBF.com.  “They’re ill informed. The woman I’m standing closest to, she is black and she’s been a friend of mine for a long time. You know, I’m confused by it,” the Oscar-nominee admitted. “Then they’re going to ask me ‘do I not have an Indian woman on there or a Pakistani woman on there?’ But meanwhile, I do. She is African American and I feel sorry for her that people will look her dead in her face like ‘she ain’t black,’ but she is [black]. It’s a girl I use to date years ago,” Williams claimed.

 

The last time we heard a solo effort from Pharrell was 2006’s In My Mind, which arguably was a complete 180* turn, in retrospect, as far as the genre of the songs.  The 2006 solo debut was met with mixed reviews, and contained a fairly unheard blend of hip hop and pop, a style Pharrell and his ex-production group, The Neptunes, capitalized off of heavily at the time.  With rhythms very similar to Justin Timberlake and Daft Punk’s 2013 albums, Pharrell is swimming in familiar, yet shark-infested territory. His participation through production and feature verses on these albums may have in fact served as a pitfall for him. Yes, he has a lovely voice, but this album is an unfortunate yawn of “been there, done that”. Even with the star-studded appeal smacked on to these seemingly glossy tracks, the overall listening experience seems like a waste of time. Pharrell’s vocals have though improved over time in his hiatus, and even though he didn’t choose to use hip-hop elements here, it was clear that this was intention, as to retain the pop element throughout. An appearance of Skateboard P would’ve been out of place.

 

When trying to incorporate the previously mentioned styles of Daft Punk and Robin Thicke – Pharrell being partially embedded in each, the album falls short. Unlike his experience capitalizing off of the sound he captured as a part of The Neptunes, G I R L does not live up to the same type of musical success. Mainstream popularity, however, has been rampant for one of the songs on the album, the nauseatingly successful lead single, “Happy”, which can also be found on the soundtrack for the film Despicable Me 2.  Pharrell then took it upon himself to create the extremely strange, practically never-ending, 24-hour music video for the same song. The track serves as an example of what aspects are lost in this failed replication of an album: originality, surprises, relevance, and personality. “Gust of Wind” and “Marilyn Monroe” are pretty much exactly what one would expect: Random Access Memories + The 20/20 Experience = a chart topper, with “Gust of Wind” being the high point of the entire disc.

 

The album is an unfortunate release for Pharrell, being that it really pales in comparison to previous works he has put forth in the past. The attempts at recreating a popular sound are far too noticeable and blatant, and makes for an album that sounds like one, endless, dragged out track.

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Respect the Classics: Spaceballs

Parody movies can be very rewarding to the viewer when they are done right. One example is Austin Powers (1997), a spoof of the James Bond series. One of the best parody movies came out in the 1980s and parodied the “Star Wars” franchise; it was called Spaceballs (1987).

The premise of the film is that President Skroob (Mel Brooks) wants to steal all the fresh air from the planet Druidia; to do so, he sends Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) along with his subordinate Colonel Sandurz  (George Wyner) to kidnap Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga), who is getting married. However, the princess manages to escape, as she does not wish to get married, taking her robot, Dot Matrix (Joan Rivers), with her. Her father, King Roland (Dick Van Patten) contacts Lone Starr (Bill Pullman), a mercenary who is in debt, to accomplish the task of rescuing the princess. After negotiating a price, Lone Starr and his mawg, (half man, half dog) companion Barf (John Candy) go on the mission to rescue to the princess.

All of the actors put on a great performance. A highlight is how the characters of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo were amalgamated into one character, which is mostly due to Bill Pullman being able to pull off the role. Rick Moranis did a hilarious job playing Dark Helmet who is the woefully incompetent antagonist.

The jokes in the movies are plentiful; many of them making their mark as just being plain hilarious. An example is when Dark Helmet and Sandurz were forcing King Roland to give them the combination to the air shield; the combination was just simply “1-2-3-4-5,” leading Helmet to rambling how idiotic it is, until it is revealed that Skroob has the same combination on his luggage. Another great joke was when Lone Starr and Barf spotted Dark Helmet’s ship, Spaceball 1, and decided to “jam” radar by actually shooting a jar of jam at the ship’s communication antenna, resulting in a disruption of their systems.

The writing was also very well done. One thing that was great was how self-aware the film was. It was amusing that the movie would break the fourth wall and just acknowledge that they’re in a movie; it was done very subtly which was great. I thought it was also funny that they took a jab at George Lucas, who created the Star Wars franchise, in regards to the merchandising that Lucas was doing to his franchise.

All in all, if you want to watch a movie that parodies a classic film, then Spaceballs is the one for you. With the terrific acting, brilliant writing and jokes that will keep you in stitches, you simply cannot go wrong with a film like this. For that, it needs to be respected.

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Microsoft Opens Store Amid Apple Store Success in Westfarms

By Kevin Jachimowicz

Eager fans and shoppers at the Westfarms Mall in Farmington, Conn. gathered last Sunday night in anticipation of the grand opening of a brand new Microsoft Store. With it’s opening also came the arrival of Xbox Live Chief Larry Hyrb, better known as ‘Major Nelson’ to gamers worldwide.

Although the Westfarms mall has been a successful home of an Apple Store for quite a number of years now, Microsoft does not seem intimidated.  Their new store is located at the Westfarms Mall, in the upper level near Macy’s and Center Court. Grand openings are typically a spectacle, featuring large crowds, concerts with popular artists, giveaways and more. The latest event was no exception, with the Florida Georgia Line performing, as well as Hyrb announcing that “one lucky attendee would be going home with a new Xbox One console, and it might be you…”

The possibilities made the wait worth it for many.  Richard “Rip” Hamilton was in attendance, and CT governor Dannel Malloy even paid the event a quick visit.  One shopper, who requested anonymity, went as far as to sleep on the floor overnight, solely in hopes of having a more intimate experience than those who showed up as the event started and ended up waiting in line for hours on end. Shopper and gaming enthusiast Chris Morin asked questions regarding Titanfall, a highly anticipated, essential upcoming release for the new Xbox One system.  “How many maps will we get on release?” Morin asked developer Abbie Heppe, who the crowd spoke with over Skype.  “More than ten maps,” the female developer responded, to a joyous crowd reaction. The presentation quickly shifted to more of a push, the speakers trying to sell the upcoming Titanfall Xbox One Console bundle package, which is actually realistically priced at the same price as a typical Xbox One which comes with no games.

The Microsoft store debuted Saturday, offering more than just Windows Phones, Xbox’s, and computing devices, but also touted $1 million in scholarships. It should be interesting to see how the Microsoft Store performs in terms of success with a very successful Apple Store within walking distance.

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Diggin’ It: Construction for New Residence Hall Begins

By: Jacqueline Stoughton

CCSU officials gathered together last Wednesday for the groundbreaking ceremony on site of the new residence hall, the newest addition to the Central Connecticut State University campus, which will be built in the open greenery between the student center garage and Ella Grasso Boulevard.

“This has been a long time coming.  It’s been a long time since we’ve built a new residence hall and it’s taken a lot of planning and a lot of work to get us here,” said Miller.  “It fits into our plans for the university, it fits into our plans for recruitment of students.  We are not attempting to become a residential institution.  We will always have many commuters, many part time students, and many graduate students.  But it does fit into increasing the number of new students.”

The construction of this new residence hall also provides the university with the opportunity to take off line many of the already existing residence halls for much needed renovations and repairs.

This new residency will consist of 150 suites able to house over 600 students, a state of the arch facility.  The Residential Life office will be moved into this building.  There will also be meeting rooms for over 300 students and a fitness center.  The total cost of this project is estimated to be about $82.3 million.

Gregory Gray, President of ConnSCU Board of Regents explained that the Board of Regents is committed to the state universities when making sure that attending the states higher education institutions is affordable.

“It’s no secret that our Board of Regents will be addressing a tuition hike next years that’s pretty minimal, about two percent,” said Gray.  Assuming the Board of Regents approves this, the official announcement of next year’s tuition will be announced this week.

“In the long run, this will help to fill up the dorms and to get more students here,” said Gray.  “We’re now trying to put a price structure together for families that will be affordable.”

“This will keep us at the forefront of higher education and continues our success and commitment in terms of environmental sustainment,” said Miller.  “We’ve added a lot of great academic programs, we’ve added a lot in terms of student success, we’ve added tremendously the amount of support we put into and make available to our students.”

“This is the third major project since 2011 and we’re not done yet,” said Donald DeFronzo, Commissioner of Department of Administrative Services.  “This is a project that meets educational needs of students, a project that puts people back to work in the construction industry.”

“When this facility opens there will be a variety of unique living and learning communities,” said Laura Tordenti, Vice President of Student Affairs.  “This residence hall will rival some of the best in the country.  It’s a fitting way to enhance our outstanding residential life program.”

“Central has enjoyed interconnecting with the community for years,” said Gray.  “It’s a good time to be apart of the state system for higher education in Connecticut.”

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Central Drops Final Game of Season to Bryant

by Navindra Persaud

 

The Central Connecticut women’s basketball team wrapped up the 2013-14 season Monday night, falling to NEC Conference rival Bryant University.

 

The final career game for four Blue Devil seniors ended in a 72-65 defeat.

 

“[They were] never up and down emotionally,” said head coach Beryl Piper of her graduating class. “There are a lot of memories from different kids. They represented the program the way you want your student-athletes to do.”

 

“Hopefully, the young kids have learned about a lot of little things that make a difference with the team, because this group was close not just on the court,” Piper added of the influence of the seniors. “This team was like sisters to each other and you want to keep that kind of team cohesion together.”

 

Central was led in the game against Bryant by senior guard Jessica Babe, who had already proven to be one of the most premiere players to come out of Central. Babe ranks third all-time in program history in steals and assists as well as ninth overall in rebounds.

 

Babe finished the game with 17 points, falling just 10 points short of 1,000 for her career, while adding 5 assists, 3 steals and a block.

 

“I mean, the little things that she does every game that nobody ever talks about are irreplaceable,” said Piper about Babe. “It’s going to be big shoes to fill next year losing her, with everything that she does and with all the seniors, just the kind of people they are. They came here and just were great kids for four years on and off the court.”

 

Central got off to a great start offensively and defensively. Senior combo guard/forward Jaleen Thomas scored the first points of the game on a three-pointer from the wing. The Blue Devils were aided by great ball movement, which allowed them to convert baskets despite being out rebounded by Bryant 30-19 in the first half.

 

The Blue Devils went into the locker room with a commanding 14-point lead, up 34-20 and shooting an efficient 43.3 percent. Thomas finished the half with nine points; senior Jessica Babe was close behind with eight.

 

Bulldog senior Courtney Schissler led the team with six points at the half as Bryant struggled to score against a swarming Blue Devil defense with a shooting percentage of just 18.4.

 

The second half proved to be a different story.

 

Central found it hard to score early in the second half as the Bulldogs increased their defensive intensity. Bryant scored three unanswered buckets until Babe slashed her way to the hoop, scoring on a tough play to keep Central up by nine.

 

The Bulldogs made another run to cut the lead to four with just over 16 minutes left in the game. A key bucket by Babe put the Blue Devils up 41-34, but Bryant senior Stephani Cardamone sparked the Bulldog offense with eight second-half points.

 

“Well, I mean, obviously it’s rebounding. There really is not a whole lot more,” said Piper on why Bryant was able to come back. “We struggled scoring in the second half.”

 

Bryant outrebounded Central 54-32 overall and 29-12 on the offensive glass, resulting in 29 second chance points for the Bulldogs. The Blue Devils shot a low 37.9 percent while allowing Bryant to shoot 56.7 in the second half.

 

With 11:41 left on the clock, the Bulldogs managed to cut the lead to just two points. After a charge call on Thomas, momentum shifted to Bryant. They took a 48-45 lead on a three-pointer by Schissler, who finished with 19 points and an assist.

 

With just 5:14 left in the game the Blue Devils found themselves in a 10-point hole. Central managed to cut the deficit to six with 1:35 remaining on the clock. However, it was not enough to stop the Bulldogs.

 

“We rebound so well against other teams and for whatever reason with Bryant, whether they’re just a little bit tougher or a little bit more physical, we just struggle rebounding the ball against them and you’re not going to win with giving up 29 offensive rebounds,” said Piper.

 

As for the off-season, Piper says the team will take a little bit of time off after their long season. However, there are improvements to be made by the remaining players on the team.

 

“We talked a little bit about it downstairs, about what they do in the off season,” said Piper. “The team struggled a lot in the season scoring.” She thought players were either good at scoring or good at defense and stressed that she will work on getting them more well-rounded as players.

 

“Some of our kids have to really step up and really get in the gym and work on being really consistent shooting the basketball for us. We have a lot to work on and hopefully the kids want to work hard and get better.”

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Travel Survival for Students: Budget a Disney Trip Without Going Broke

Inexpensive Travel How To. Destination: Disney World By: Arianna Cecchini

Growing up, every child dreams of going to Disney World; why wouldn’t you want to go? Mickey Mouse, Cinderella’s Castle, food, specialty shops, music, parades, fireworks, rides – it’s truly a magical experience. Being in college, clearly money is an issue to most students, and Disney World would seem out of most students’ budget, but Disney can be an affordable, fun trip for college students too. Disney has amenities that can eliminate costs and dramatically drop the price of a trip. Getting to Disney for under $500 dollars is easy to do for a few days.

Most students would eliminate Disney as a vacation option from the get go because being under the age of 25, you cannot rent a car. Conveniently, Disney offers free transportation service to, and from, the Orlando International Airport, on their Magical Express Bus. It picks passengers right up from their terminal and brings each party to the front lobby of their respective hotel.

It is a quick 30 minute ride where they play a fun Disney video for passengers. Disney then offers free bus transportation from each hotel to each location in Disney; whether it be a theme park, water park, another hotel, or Downtown Disney. Wherever a traveler wants to go on Disney Property, the bus will take the passenger – and pick them up, without any charge. It is fast and convenient for passengers not to worry about the cost of renting a car, or the stress of driving in a unfamiliar area.

Disney also has an array of hotels and resorts on their property, some very expensive and luxurious – others cheap, yet still fun to stay in. For college students, Disney offers three hotels: All Star Music, Sports and Movies which are on average around $90-100 a night.

That is cheaper than most hotels anywhere and this is on official Disney grounds. The rooms are a good size with two full beds, a TV, a shower, and the hotels all have pools, gift shops, as well as food courts. The price can be as low as $25 dollars per night for the maximum of 4 people per room when divided by how many people are traveling. A stay at Disney can be affordable for anyone to do – especially college students, who don’t have excessive money on their hands.

The flight, is typically the majority of the expense on a Disney vacation, but does not have to be. There are ways to avoid getting hit with large flight expenses. One tip is when to buy the tickets. Airlines post their sales on Tuesdays around 3pm so flight prices tend to be the cheapest around that time until about Thursday morning when the prices are raised for the weekends.

The worst days to buy airline tickets are Sundays and Monday; generally when they are the highest priced. Jetblue, Southwest, and Airtran tend to have the cheapest prices, whereas Delta and American Airlines are known for ripping off their customers. An easy way to compare prices quickly and easily is by utilizing Hotwire or Expeida. These sites offer the best prices and times for flights. Using sites like these can possibly save hundreds of dollars, which most college students do not have to waste.

Lastly, if a family member, or the purchaser themselves, is a member of AAA or AARP, usually discounts are given, which can save loads of money.  To get round trip airfare non-stop for about $210 dollars is not difficult to accomplish if you actually sit down and use the mentioned techniques to save the money. Disney World is only a short flight away, and it doesn’t need to be a trip that empties the bank account.

When people think Disney World they often think of over-priced admission charges into the 4 major theme parks. Yes, Disney just hit an all time high with pricing: a charge of $100 dollars a person per day for only one theme park, but this can be avoided with a little elbow grease. If someone wants to hit three parks over their stay in Disney, they should consider purchasing the 3-day park pass. This cuts down the price of each day by about 15 dollars. The pass might cost roughly around $250 but if divided by the 3 days the cost per day is less than $100 dollars.

Disney offers this for 2-10 days, and the more days one stays, the cheaper the offer ends up being per day. The passes have a no expiration add-on for a low price, so the ticket can be used until the days bought expire. Sometimes it is cheaper and more cost efficient to buy the no expiration pass, if not the days must be used within 14 days from the first day of purchase.

As much as Disney can seem expensive to enter, buying the right tickets and making the right moves while planning is essential, and is where people can save money.

The food in Disney is unlike that of any other theme park; it is actually tasty, and Disney offers so many different locations and options. In Magic Kingdom there is a burger joint in the back by the Tomorrow Land Speedway, where one can get a bacon cheeseburger with French fries and a soda for about $9. In Hollywood Studios there is a café similar to this one, tucked back by the StarTours ride, which offers the same type of deals for good fast food. All of the parks have these small, off-the map, cafes, that are great for budgeting money.

Another trick about Disney is to know that there are water fountains everywhere. There is no charge for continually refilling your water bottles. The Mickey Pop Ice Cream bar on the other hand is $3.75 and is worth every penny, so spend the money and try one. Other than that, food really is not overly expensive, or something to worry about, in Disney, like it can be in other parks. They realize it is a lot of money to travel their and to get in the parks, so they tend not to rip off their visitors with the food costs, which helps us college students who have a tight budget.

Disney can be an affordable trip for any college student who is looking to get away to a fun, warm place with some friends. There are so many ways to save money and to get there and back for $500 dollars is totally doable; sometimes it can even cost less depending on the time of year one is going. Disney is the most magical place on earth, highly recommended for a group of people or a couple, it will not let you down. It is Disney World after all.

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America’s Pastime No Longer

by Sean Begin

Spring may not officially arrive until March 20, when the equinox sends us into the long days of summer, but I’ve never really agreed with that astrological estimation.

For me, spring begins with the first pitch of an exhibition game from one of Major League Baseball’s first spring exhibition games of the preseason.

While we shiver away the last of winter’s cold in the Northeast, my eyes turn to Arizona and Florida, where the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues begin smearing dirt on baseballs, oiling leather gloves or working on their swing or pitching motion.

Baseball has always been my favorite sport, thanks in part to steroids. I started watching the sport in 1998 thanks to the home run race of Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa. That was also the year the Yankees won 114 games, then a major league record en route to their 24th World Championship; the year I became an entrenched member of the Evil Empire.

But while baseball always evokes romantic and nostalgic images in my mind, it’s not hard to miss the signs the sport is waning in popularity; that it is no longer “America’s Pastime.”

That title now, sadly, belongs to the National Football League.

In January of this year, Harris released their annual poll of America’s most popular sport, conducted since 1985. That year, football beat baseball by just one percentage point (24-23). In 2014, football had risen to 35 percent while baseball had fallen to just 14.

There are many factors that may explain this change. But New York Time’s writer Jonathan Mahler hit upon a key point in a September 2013 column.

“Baseball’s never-ending nostalgia trip has made it an inherently conservative sport,’ writes Mahler, “one that’s forever straining to live up to its own mythology.”

Baseball, Mahler argues, is built on its mythos as the “national pastime.” So when the sport nearly doubled in team membership between 1961 and 1998, those expansion cities the sport moved into did not have the roots necessary to sustain baseball’s popularity.

Football (and to a lesser extent basketball) do not suffer this same issue. The NFL has had its popularity increase in part to the success of other games: the Madden NFL video game franchise and fantasy football.

Ironically, baseball was one of the first sport to have a modern fantasy league developed around it (the original fantasy sport was golf, but the more modern version played today originated with a baseball rotisserie league in 1980).

Part of the reason baseball has seen such a dramatic decrease in popularity is the 1994 strike that resulted in the cancellation of the World Series. That loss of fans was part of the reason baseball turned a blind eye to the steroid use it knew was rampant in the locker rooms: the home run race was a valuable money maker.

Baseball revenues the following season where just $2.2 billion when adjusted for inflation. Compare that with baseball’s 2013 season that saw a record $8 billion in revenue. Most of that, however, comes from TV revenue as opposed to ticket sales, jersey sales, etc.

Football, however, easily exceeded $9 billion its last fiscal year and has the potential to make as much as $25 billion by 2027, if the goals are Commissioner Roger Goodell are achieved.

As spring training moves into the 2014 baseball season, I begin to get more and more excited. I’m thrust back into memories of the 1998 season, when baseball entered my life. I don’t foresee baseball dying off, like some have predicted of football due to the concussion crisis.

But I don’t see the sport overtaking football in popularity ever again, unless something unpredictable was to occur. America’s pastime has been handed off to the pigskin sport, leaving baseball swinging in the wind.

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Hemp: Problematic or Problem Solver?

By Caity Ross

When most people hear the word “hemp”, an immediate association takes place – with its fun, care-free, stoner cousin, marijuana.  Hemp and marijuana have two different purposes. If marijuana is the stoner of the family, hemp is the doctor, the contractor, the conservationist.

Hemp and marijuana are derived from the same plant: Cannabis. They both serve different purposes. Hemp is a term for high-growing varieties of the Cannabis plant and its products, which include fiber, oil and seed.  Hemp is refined into products such as hemp seed foods, hemp oil, wax, resin, rope, cloth, pulp, paper and even fuel.  Cannabis sativa, on the other hand, contains the high content of tetrahydrocannabinol, which recreational users fancy.  “Through the process of artificial selection, evolution done by and caused by people for the benefit of people, the Cannabis plant has been designed to grow differently for different features,” explained Dr. Mione, a Plant Systematics & Plant Reproductive Biology scientist and professor of the CCSU Biology Department.

With that out of the way let’s focus on hemp and a few facts you should know about it:

HEMP: Let’s eat it.

Hemp seeds can be eaten raw or be turned into milk, tea or butter. Brands like Now Foods and Living Harvest’s are in the business of producing hemp products including chocolate hemp milk and protein powder. Why? Hemp is not only full of fats and amino acids but is filled with protein and classified as allergen free. Hemp products are an excellent alternative to dairy, gluten and peanut products in a world where more and more people experience a form of allergy associated with the latter.

According to Living Harvest’s website, hemp is a provider of omega 3, omega 6, all the essential amino acids and a good source of protein. Hemp has a natural perfect balance of omega 3 to omega 6 which can lower the risk of heart disease, reduce anxiety and depression and assist in brain development and immune health.

Global Hemp, the portal to the hemp community, was founded in 1996 by Eric Pollitt in an attempt to educate people on hemp, its benefits and create a center for hemp products. According to Global Hemp, hemp contains a form of protein called Edestin, which is only found in hemp. This type of protein is 65% of the seed and is not only the backbone of DNA cells and a stress reliever, but also resembles the type of protein in blood plasma, which makes it highly compatible with digestion, explaining hemp’s ability to be allergen free.

HEMP: The wolf can huff & puff but he won’t blow the Hemp house down.

If you take the woody core of the hemp stalk and mix it with lime and water you get Hempcrete, a form of hemp based concrete used as a material for construction and insulation. Hemp Technologies, founded in 2008 by Greg Flavall, and the late David Ray Madera, specializes in utilizing hemp in this nature.

Their company uses hemp-lime concrete in building projects. According to Hemp Technologies, Hempcrete is extremely beneficial for its energy efficiency, non-toxic impact on the environment, ability to be 7 times stronger than normal concrete, and especially its ability to not only absorb CO2 but release oxygen!

Some Benefits of Hempcrete, according to Hemp Technologies:

– Thermal Mass Insulation
– Negative Carbon
– Low Density
– Clean Air
– High Thermal Resistance
– High Thermal Inertia
– Vapor Permeable (breathable)
– Design Flexibility (adjustable thickness)
– Fire and Pest Resistant (NO Termites)
– Significantly Reduce Co2 Emissions
– Inherently Airtight
– No Waste
– No Mould
– No Termites
– No Dry Rot
– Natural Substrates for Plasters and Renders
– Low Air Infiltration
– Zero Land Fill

3. HEMP: Let’s save the sea turtles with hemp-based plastic bottles.

Hemp is high in cellulose, a material that makes up plant cell walls, and is the main ingredient in the creation of plastic. Unlike typical plastic, hemp plastic is nearly 100% biodegradable, has a high tolerance for heat and can be nearly three times stronger.

In 1941, Henry Ford, the founder of Ford, created his first Model-T car – not just running on hemp gasoline, the car itself was reinforced with hemp based plastic. According to Collective Evolution, an alternative media and production company, Henry Ford’s hemp plastic panels were 10 times stronger than normal steel panels.

How does this save the turtles? Hemp plastic is biodegradable and does not have the health risks that go hand in hand with the plastic glass fibers or chemicals found in generic plastic. Hemp plastic is an intelligent alternative to generic plastic.

HEMP: Our Origin & History Heavily Involves Its Use

“We have relied on plant fibers as a human race for everything,” said Dr. Mione. It’s true, especially for hemp. Hemp can be traced back to Central Asia, where hemp fibers were used for paper in China.

According to the Hemp Industries Association or the HIA, hemp fiber based paper and clothing is more durable, longer lasting and stronger than wood or cotton-based products. Hemp paper can be recycled up to seven times; wood pulp paper only capable of being recycled four times.

Hemp fiber-based clothing is also nearly three times stronger than cotton, and is not only frost and heat tolerant, but is also resistant to the affects of mildew, insects and light.

With numerous benefits possible when utilizing hemp, in place of regularly used materials, it is important to remember that the United States of America is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not recognize the value of industrial hemp and permit its production.

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Content or Cash?

The editors of the University of Massachusetts student newspaper, the Daily Collegian, made a difficult choice in one of their most recent issues.

Instead of a full front page of news content, complete with stories and pictures, the Collegian ran a full page advertisement in lieu of tradition.

When this topic was brought up amongst our editorial staff, there was a great deal of conflict over whether the Collegian’s Editor-in-Chief made the right decision.

We were divided. Was the ad an example of innovation or a blatant disregard for journalistic standard?

With a little more digging, we had decided. This was a destruction of traditional journalism.

“We’d be lying if we said times weren’t a bit tough and all is not so quiet on the financial front,” said Stephen Hewitt, Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Collegian, in defense of his decision to run the ad.

The newspaper is certainly having funding issues; they have recently reduced daily circulation and eliminated the Friday edition of the paper. The front page advertisement is just one piece of the puzzle for solving their financial woes, according to Hewitt.

But not everyone sees it that way.  There is a public Facebook thread in which former members of the Daily Collegian had harsh words for the current editorial staff.

“A steep price to pay for a few extra bucks,” said Paul Bradley, who worked for the Daily Collegian in the past.

There then was a comment about the placement of the paper’s slogan.

“And the worst thing is the pain of seeing the paper’s slogan in the corner in this context: ‘A free and independent press,’ ” said Teresa Hanafin, another former staff member.

In Hewitt’s letter explaining the front page, he noted that the ad may raise red flags. But it truly raises them in the wider context of journalism.

Is it acceptable to compromise content for a few extra dollars?

The front page has long had a history as the face of the newspaper. So what does having an ad as the paper’s face say? Is the press as “free and independent” as the Collegian’s logo claims?

While the need to innovate is certainly understandable, the move was far too drastic, especially for a paper that “is in a rather uniquely fortunate position, with a community that remains vested in supporting collegiate journalism,” as Hewitt claims of the Collegian.

The Daily Collegian ultimately had nothing to gain from this ad other than revenue; an ad which offered nothing to the readers.

While the plight of print is well-documented, sacrificing the front page of the paper for a few dollars of ad revenue seems like a small splash in the pond. The world of journalism is constantly changing, but a move like this is a step in the wrong direction, no matter the price.

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Schoolboy Q Comes Clean on Dark Major Label Debut

Navindra Persuad

Top Dawg Entertainment’s artist Schoolboy Q debuted his first major label album Oxymoron, which is sure to leave fans as satisfied as they were with label mate and Black Hippy companion Kendrick Lamar’s debut album.

Hip-Hop fans have eagerly awaited the arrival of Schoolboy Q’s album in hopes that it would parallel his previously released mixtape Habits & Contradictions, all the while further solidifying his position as one of the hottest artist in the rap industry today. Much like Lamar, Q’s life was gang and drug oriented, so there is no surprise that the overall subject matter revolves around these issues. Q’s daughter also makes many small guest appearances, giving spoken word, serving as the intro for a few of the songs on the album.

The opening track “Gangsta,” features the adorable voice of Q’s daughter stating “My daddy a gangsta.” The aggressive beat and repetition of the word gangsta drills the idea of a dark past as Q recollects the days where he was broke, speaking in first person about selling drugs and being in violent altercations involving firearms. Along with “Los Awesome” featuring Jay rock “Hoover Street” and “The Purge” featuring Tyler, The Creator and west coast legend Kurupt,  “Gangsta” is nothing new for fans; just the same old Schoolboy Q that they are used to which makes this album so successful. His ability to deliver a harsh and hardcore demeanor on a track is reminiscent of older hip-hop groups like Onyx.

Schoolboy Q has done nothing to alter his image and has remained the same artist, the only change perhaps comes from his growth as an artist as his name becomes bigger. He discusses his transition from days of being poor and being raised in a community where “Du rags and flat lines, drive-bys at bedtime,” were a norm according to “Break the Bank,” another one of his excellent storyteller songs. Q’s ability to tell a story aids him yet again, as he painted so many pictures of violence, drug abuse and even success.

Surely, the highlight of the album has to be “Prescription/Oxymoron,” this song serves as the halfway mark and might be one of the best tracks Q has written. In the first part of the song, Prescription, Schoolboy Q is recording the image of his life as a drug user and abuser. In the second part, Oxymoron, he talks about how he is selling the same drugs he talked about being hooked on. When interviewed by radio station Hot 97, he told that the meaning of the album’s name, Oxymoron, is that he was doing all this bad to do good for his daughter, that’s the oxymoron, that is also why this track is titled “oxymoron”. The song highlights the dangers of being addicted to prescription drugs, Xanax and Percocet, in his case. In this song Q spirals out of control with his addiction and recollects nodding in and out of a drug coma, he raps, “Prescription drugs, I fell in love/My little secret, she gon’ kill a thug/My body numb, she like to give me hugs/I love her touch, I get a rush/When she don’t come around/I start to go nuts My heart erupts/I’m curled in pain/My phone ring, ring and ring and ring/If you ain’t selling drugs, then I don’t hear a thing.”

In an NPR Music interview with Frannie Kelley and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Schoolboy Q says that the album is a very dark album. In regards to the masterpiece that is “Prescription/Oxymoron,” Q stated, “Since the album is called Oxymoron, I switched ‘em up, put it first and then that behind it, but the reality was that I started selling Oxycontin, then I stopped selling Oxycontin, went broke, then got addicted to another prescription drug — three different ones: Percocets, Valium and Xanax. And codeine, actually.” Q clearly explains the many “highs” in his life some coming off of the drugs he was addicted to and others off of the joy he got when the addiction and selling was over.

“Oxymoron” features the obvious radio hits such as “Man of the Year,” “Hell of a Night,” and the hit single “Collard Greens,” featuring Kendrick Lamar. Other features on the album include 2 Chainz, BJ the Chicago Kid, Raekwon, SZA and Suga Free. Schoolboy Q has delivered with this album and should be in any hip-hop fans rotation throughout the year.

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Teen Takes Unnecessary Action Against Parents

By Paige Brown

Rachel Canning, an otherwise typical high school teenager, is taking drastic and ridiculous measures against her parents.

This 18-year-old girl from New Jersey is suing her parents after an argument over breaking up with her boyfriend.

Parents Sean and Elizabeth Canning gave their daughter an ultimatum; break up with the badly influential boyfriend or get out.

It is understandable why she would get upset. Parents aren’t always going to love the boyfriend and kids aren’t always going to get their way.

But in this case, Rachel Canning has taken extreme measures. She claims that her parent allegedly threw her out of the house and cut off any type of financial support, including access to her college fund.

Currently living with a close friend with a father as an attorney, Rachel has made her way into the courtroom, claiming that her parents have now forced her to pay an outstanding bill of $5,306 to her private school bill and whatever college tuition will cost for her after high school.

The attorney, John Inglesino, is also requesting that Canning’s parents need to pay for her legal fees, totaling close to $12,600.

When I first heard about this story, I wondered how an 18-year-old could possibly win this case, since the state of Connecticut deems that age as independent adults.

However, I found that in the state of New Jersey, this case has a good chance of winning since the court has previously decided that young adults like Canning can depend on their parents beyond the age of 18.

Canning’s parents have been arguing that they never kicked their daughter out, but that she ran away after their initial argument. In an interview with CBS New York, father, Sean Canning, stated that him and his wife are “distraught.”

He also stated that they never refused paying her college tuition. “I reject the whole question on that – the whole premise. We have a college fund that’s available to her – there’s no doubt about that,” he said.

Canning’s father also expressed that he knows that his daughter is good kid just going through a rebellious stage. However, this seems like a little more than just rebellion.

This girl, a respected honor student, athlete and future biomechanical engineer, seems like she has the wrong idea about the typical teenage rebellion.

When I was her age, the most rebellious things I ever did were drinking beers at a friend’s house or coming home past my curfew.

The hardest part about this case, however, is not just about how this teenager is expressing her rebellion, but who is telling the truth.

There is no proof that Rachel ran away from home besides what her family says, and there is no proof that her parents took away her college fund besides her side of the story.

Ultimately, it will be the courts decision on who will win this case, but in my opinion, the parents shouldn’t have to go through this.

It seems pretty obvious to me that Rachel Canning is just upset that her parent’s think her boyfriend is a bad influence on her and she is going too far with her actions.

This teenager seems to be nothing but a brat who is upset that she isn’t getting her way. Her parents have expressed to the media that they are not taking her money away and they miss her and want her to come home.

With no comments from Rachel herself, it is hard to see this case through her eyes.

Rachel Canning, along with all other selfish, bratty and over dramatic teenagers, needs to learn to respect their parents and all of the opportunities given to them throughout their lives.

Throwing a temper tantrum when your four may get you what you want, but going as far as suing your family over a simple disagreement will get you nothing.

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Ultimate Frisbee Offers Another Option

by Navindra Persaud

CCSU’s club sports program continuously gives students the chance to participate in a sport outside of the university’s athletic department. Sometimes this can be one outside the mainstream sports the casual fan is aware of: like Central’s ultimate Frisbee club team.

Ultimate Frisbee is a non-contact sport played by two teams of seven players. The field is approximately 70 yards long and 40 yards wide with two 20-yard end zones. A goal is scored when a player catches any legal pass in the end zone that the player is attacking.

A player must remain stationary while holding the disc, which is advanced by passing it to other players. Any time a pass is incomplete a turnover occurs, resulting in an immediate change of possession.

Through RECentral, CCSU supports its own ultimate Frisbee team, which travels around New England and the northeast to other schools to compete in the sport.

“We mainly compete in organized tournaments, usually hosted by other college teams or organizations,” said club president Eric Renkewith. “This year we will be travelling to New Jersey for two tournaments and to another tournament just north of Boston.”

Tournament sizes range anywhere from 16 to 64 teams. Teams will often play three to four full games a day; from six to eight over a tournament weekend. Games are played until the first team scores 15 goals and usually last about 90 minutes. Renkewith stated that most teams will get a bye for one of the rounds on Saturday, but it is not uncommon for teams to play all four of their Saturday games in a row.

“I think the sport represents the spirit of CCSU because you learn a lot and grow a lot as a person from playing,” said Renkewith. “Sportsmanship is very important and you are responsible for your own actions and you have to be willing to listen to and negotiate with others. The same qualities and actions you learn and apply in the game can be used as a student and as a part of society.”

Teamwork is one of the most important elements of ultimate Frisbee. Offensively, a team can only move the disc and score by passing it to teammate, meaning it is a complete team effort in order to win. On defense, players must have trust in their teammates on the field.

“For example, if a team is running a zone defense, every one of those seven players will have their own specific responsibility, and if one person is out of position then the whole thing can fall apart and result in the other team scoring with relative ease,” said Renkewith.

There is also communication from the players who are on the sideline to players on the field to help so even when players are not on the field they are constantly helping out their defense or keeping players on the field motivated.

Ultimate Frisbee differs from other club sports mainly because of the lack of referees. Players call fouls and settle disputes amongst themselves. All participants are expected to play within the rules and sportsmanship and mutual respect amongst competitors are valued higher than winning at all costs, an idea which is scarcely seen in any of the major sports watched on television or in person.

CCSU is part of the Hudson Valley Conference, which is part of the Metro East Region. The Hudson Valley Conference includes CCSU, Yale, SUNY-Albany, SUNY-New Paltz and UConn.

The team was founded about five years ago by a few friends. They started out only playing pick-up games on Vance Lawn but soon saw numbers grow and began traveling to tournaments. The club has grown to include both a men’s and women’s team who are highly competitive within the region.

Renkewith believes that fun, fitness, teamwork, competition and respect for your opponents are all important for both the club and for ultimate Frisbee as a whole.

“I really enjoy being part of a team working towards a shared goal. It’s an awesome sport that gives you an opportunity to meet people from your school and to travel and get to know people from other schools,” said Renkewith.

The men’s team is coached by Alex Morrone. Morrone volunteers a good amount of his time to help the team develop skills on the field. According to Renkewith, Morrone has played on several elite level teams and is very involved in the ultimate Frisbee community in Connecticut.

The sport does not cost much to play for students interested. The budget covers tournament fees and hotels so the only cost to players is for their own jerseys. Team members are also expected to pay for their own food and gas money on tournament weekends. Other than those costs, the only equipment really required is a disc and a pair of cleats.

“I think our team is a very important community within CCSU and we have a very diverse group of people who make up our team,” said Renkewith.

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Tickets for Presidential Speech Cause Campus Chaos

By Acadia Otlowski and Jacqueline Stoughton

CCSU scrambled to prepare for a presidential visit this week, distributing tickets for the Wednesday event to faculty, staff and students just two days prior. The distribution went well according to administration, but the process was not without its hiccups.

President Barack Obama, Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut, Governor Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont and Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts will be holding a “Raise the Wage” speech on Wednesday.

The event will take place in Kaiser Hall at 2:40 p.m. The gates open at 11:30 a.m. and those attending are asked to arrive as early as possible.

A limited amount of tickets were distributed Monday for students and faculty online. These sold out within minutes. Additional ticket were offered at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

Ticket sales on Monday were not without fault, but the university spokesman said it went fairly well considering the volume of requests the system had to handle.

“It stressed the system to the max,” said Mark McLaughlin, university spokesman, “The faculty and staff hit 85 percent a few minutes after the opening bell.”

Faculty were able to get into the ticket distribution website at 10:45 a.m. Students were allowed in the system around noon. But students and faculty received emails at different times, causing both groups to complain about the system used.

“[We] got a number of complaints that students were not able to sign up,” said McLaughlin. “There are some uncontrollable things about email.”

While the marketing office at the university was unable to release the exact number of tickets for students and faculty, McLaughlin said that the demand for the tickets was exceptionally high.

“When the system is stressed it slows down,” said McLaughlin.

“It wasn’t easy. The email came in late, I kept getting server errors. Then it said it was sold out but I kept trying.
It’s not often the president comes to Connecticut,” said Ryan Revard who was able to get tickets

Students are excited for the president’s arrival but are skeptical about the subject of the speech.

“I think that it’s surprising also that he is coming when we are having all this tension with Russia,” said Djenne Mobley, a student who was unable to get tickets on Monday. “Other then that, it’s a great opportunity for the school to have some much needed publicity.”

Many of the students were interviewed in line waiting for their tickets, but believe that the increased minimum may cause more problems than it would solve.

“Raising the minimum wage isn’t needed anytime soon, they just raised it,”  said Revard.

Connecticut recently raised its minimum wage to $8.70 per hour this January. The nest raise for the state will occur January 1, 2015. This raise will bring the Connecticut state minimum wage to $9.00 an hour.

“I can see both sides of the minimum wage debate, but it’ll probably just end up causing inflation,” said Melanie Gawlak, a student that received tickets for the talk.

Some students were disappointed about not receiving tickets for the talk.

“I didn’t really try because it said tickets were sold out within five minutes,” said Jessica Hubina, who didn’t manage to get tickets for the event.

McLaughlin was not positive why the university was selected for the honor of hosting the governors of four states and the president today, but he was willing to speculate on it.

“One of the things I’ve heard is that Connecticut is an exemplary state for raising the minimum wage,” said McLaughlin.

“The university has a proud tradition of bringing presidents [to speak],” said McLaughlin. These distinguished guests include Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush Jr. and Sr. President Obama will now join these ranks.

Student Alec Donna summed up the feelings of many of the faculty and her peers.

“Whether you like the president or not he is the president of the United States and it definitely would be an experience of a lifetime to be able to see him in person,” said Donna.

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Course Abroad Fair Expands Student Opportunities

By: Kiley Krzyzek
Students interested in studying abroad were able to gain information at a course abroad fair hosted by the Center for International Education on Thursday.
CIE offers courses abroad during school breaks as well as full semesters abroad at partner universities in Asia, Europe, South America and The Middle East.
Student representatives for different countries were stationed at tables armed with pamphlets and ready to answer questions about studying oversees.
Frida Anderson, a Swedish sophomore represented Sweden at the event. “I’m Swedish, I’ve been here for two months,” explained Anderson.
“More people should know about all the countries, it’s good to be here if people have questions,” said Anderson of the study abroad fair. Students had the chance to ask her questions.
“Most are very interested in the culture of Sweden.” said Anderson.
San Xu, a Junior, sat next to Frida and represented China which she said is “totally different from America.” Xu recommends studying in China and learning to speak Chinese to business savvy students.
“If you use Chinese it’ll be useful for business in the future because China is powerful,” said Xu. She also recommends studying abroad as an opportunity to expand your horizons and “see new things.”
Brandon Roy is a senior who spent his fall semester studying abroad in Fiji.
“I highly recommend studying abroad in Fiji. My study abroad experience was amazing. It opened my eyes to new experiences, the people are great, everyone’s so friendly. It definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone which was beneficial for me. For students who have the opportunity to study abroad I would highly recommend it. It gives you an opportunity to create a new life for yourself in a totally new environment as well as form new friendships with others around the world, learn new customs, and grow as an individual,”  said Roy.
The semester abroad worked out for Roy who explained, “The academics were good. The classroom setting is smaller than here, there were about twenty students per class, so you got more interaction with the professor.”
Students also had the opportunity to learn about spending a semester studying in Germany. As part of a partnership with B-W Cooperative State University in Mosbach, Germany. The classes are available in English and if you choose to spend more than one semester there they can place you in an internship.
CIE is one of the best programs in the nation, offering more than 45 courses abroad annually at both the undergraduate and graduate level.  These programs are short trips that are provided in conjunction with a semester long class. For semesters abroad, students are able to maintain their financial aid and all courses count as in-residence courses. The program has  over 20 partnerships with universities worldwide.
For most semester long programs abroad it is recommended that you know the language and have a GPA of at least 2.75. Students interested in studying abroad should visit CIE in Barnard.
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Spacey Stacks “Cards” High for Season 2

By: Joe Suszczynski

 

Season one of “House of Cards” blew up on Netflix, making it an instant hit. The show was nominated for numerous Emmy and Golden Globe awards, only to end up winning said awards in their respective categories – for both the Emmys and Golden Globes. Now, Frank Underwood and company are back for seasons two of the series.

 

To avoid giving any major spoilers away, assume that season two picks up right after the last episode of season one ended. Frank (Spacey) is now faced with new challenges in front of him in order to achieve his goals. Sub plots involve his wife, Claire (Wright), along with some of his staff members (Michael Kelly & Derek Cecil), who have their own issues to deal with, in addition to a new character, just introduced into the series: Congresswoman Jacqueline Sharp (Molly Parker).

 

Season two blows season one out of the water in terms of acting, story and directing.  The cast really capitalized off of the first seasons unexpected success as one of Netflix’s few original series’.

 

Kevin Spacey does it again with his performance as Frank Underwood. He takes his character to entirely new depths that viewers will not be expecting out of him. Wright does a great job playing Frank (Spacey’s) wife, who has issues of her own and deals with them competently, along with Michael Kelly, who serves as Underwood’s chief of staff, Doug Stamper. The additional cast deserves much credit to the shows added excitement: the actors and actresses that recently joined the series – because they did a great job in their respected roles.

 

The story is wonderfully penned. The first episode hits you like a tank after you see what carnage happens from the fallout of the last episode of the first season. From then on it just snowballs into something bigger, making for the first episode to seem insignificant. The writers really knew how to strategically ramp up the suspense and thrill levels in season two, with all the twists and turns that occur throughout Frank’s handling of certain adversaries he faces.

 

The directing was superb because, like the first season, the show uses multiple directors for different episodes. All the directors, including Robin Wright who directed episode nine, do a fantastic job directing these episodes. We really witness the grittiness of politics and how low some politicians have to sink to make a deal. The directors also make certain shots and cuts to really emphasize Frank’s quest for power by showing him in different poses at certain camera angles especially the final shot in the last episode; it’s quite gripping and memorable.

 

If you’ve have Netflix and have seen the first season of “House of Cards”, than I would highly recommend watching season two. If you haven’t seen season one, then I would suggest watching the show chronologically, because you’ll be greatly confused about what is happening if not. Numerous aspects of this show are outstanding; the only problem is that now there is another year until season three, the show will leave you yearning to see what happens next.

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Actors Shed Pounds for Oscar Worthy “Dallas Buyers Club”

Chris Pace

Anticipation for this year’s Oscars is starting to heat up with the ceremony just days away.  There are nine films up for best picture, but the underdog may make its way to the winner’s stage this year.  Jean-Marc Vallee’s film Dallas Buyers Club hasn’t received quite near the media attention it deserves, but should be throned as the best film of 2013.

In a different and unique role, McConaughey creates the perfect character in Ron Woodroof.  After acting for over twenty years, McConaughey received his first Oscar nomination and has already picked up a Golden Globe for his performance as Ron Woodroof in this film.  Jared Leto, who plays his associate, submersed himself into his role, refusing to act out of character for the duration of filming.

Matthew McConaughey plays an electrician in Texas who is dying from the AIDS virus.  He is a rugged cowboy who plays by his own rules and takes no shit from anybody, but when he is told he has approximately one month left to live, he buys every helpful drug imaginable that he can get his hands on, in his attempt to stay alive.

Woodroof meets Rayon (Jared Leto) at the hospital.  He is another AIDS patient who is part of a program that tests an AIDS drug.  Woodroof cannot get a prescription for the drug Rayon is taking because it is a part of a placebo-controlled program.  He makes his way to Mexico where he meets an unlicensed doctor who prescribes him a different drug, telling him the control the hospital is using burns your insides.

Woodroof doesn’t just take the drugs himself.  He wants to help others suffering from the virus, so he comes up with a genius idea.  He creates a club with Rayon as his associate called the Dallas Buyers Club, and members pay a few hundred dollars a month membership, and they get the drugs they so desperately need.  The FDA catches word of this organization and they try to crackdown on it, but Woodroof isn’t technically doing anything illegal, he’s selling memberships not drugs.

The loophole that Woodroof found aided many people suffering from the AIDS virus and saved the lives of hundreds, but the FDA tries their hardest to shut the organization down.

McConaughey is known for his romantic-comedies during the early 2000’s, but he really stepped up in this film.  He reportedly lost 47 pounds for the role, while Jared Leto also slimmed down 30 pounds and played a remarkable character all the while, one that becomes very close with that of McConaughey’s character, a previously staunch homophobe.

With a tiny budget of only $5 million, the film has been nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Best Supporting actor for Leto.

The film is a mix between Philadelphia (1993) and Brokeback Mountain (2005), two films that also received many awards and nominations.  There is no doubt that Dallas Buyers Club will win an award at the upcoming ceremony.  This film is highly recommended to anyone who likes the Oscars.  If this year is not Leo’s year, then it might be Mcconaughey’s.

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therapydog

Initiative Calls for Cleaner Campus

By Jaimie Leasure

The Student Life Committee is looking into adopting a program called “Campus for Compassion” to initiate small steps in a cleaner and “greener” campus.

Western Connecticut State University has already adopted this initiative. The Central’s committee has a number of ideas they plan on pursuing for spring and the upcoming fall semester.

The Fresh Start Project was proposed by student Andrew ‘Wellington’ Pegg.  “We really need to unify ourselves as a community and make it a stronger presence of caring especially for the environment and for the people around us,” said Pegg.

The project would entail walking across campus picking up trash along the way,  then dividing everything up to recycle it properly.  Next, a company in New Britain will turn the recyclables into T-shirts.  These T-Shirts are just the ammunition for the rest of the project.

After the original walk on campus, there would be a trash pick–up walk across New Britain.  “I want to promote that this planet isn’t going to be around forever if we keep treating it the way we are,” said Pegg. “This is not a Central thing, it’s an everyone thing.”

SGA Senator, Teige Christiano, has his own vision for a campus-wide wellness event that would raise awareness of students with disabilities.

The “It’s not easy being green” movement would be a daylong event with different activities to allow students to walk in someone else’s shoes.

Disabilities like sight, mobility, speech, allergies and hearing are some challenges that people don’t understand.  To help with this, some ideas were to have seeing eye dogs and taste testing stations so people could see what it’s like to live with some of these disabilities.

“We need to give students the opportunity to become compassionate,” said Christiano.

“’Cross the Line’ is a way to learn about people that you have preconceived notions about, who maybe you just see them and hated them,” said Cassidy Delaney, a senator.

An example of this would be, who here has ever been sexually abused?  If they have, then they will cross the line.

“I learned so much about people I went to high school with, who I thought were just jerks,” Delaney. “A lot of trust goes into it and it shows that being human you judge people before you even know them.”

“Since campus for compassion is such a fresh thing, we need to throw it in people’s faces,” said Joni Moody.

Posters and signs that make people think about what they are saying to others and raising positivity.  Having a compliment campaign was another idea by Moody, “Just giving someone a compliment can make someone’s day.”

Wyatt Bosworth believes that a Free Hug Day would be a positive act of kindness all across campus. “It’s such a powerful event,” said Bosworth.

“Hugging people as they go to class and having a table with a pledge on it with how many people you want to hug today,” said Bosworth.

“Somebody recently asked me if we could have a room full of puppies, the guy stated his issues with anxiety and how it would help people like him,” said Emily Gregonis.

Dogs are around during finals week, but college students have stress throughout the whole semester.  “Maybe we could get dogs here more than just the end of the semester, because we have tests the whole semester.”

 

 

 

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Faculty Senate Vote on Nothing

Faculty Senate Votes On STEM School Proposal

By Acadia Otlowski

The Faculty Senate approved a proposal to open a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) School on campus, which would create a new school separating many of the sciences from the Carol A. Ammon School of Arts & Sciences.

“We have been very emphatic about creating a coherent vision and mission, name and identity for this new school,” said Provost Carl Lovitt. “This is a construct that exists at other schools.”

Responding to some negative comments regarding the proposal, Lovitt assured the senate the new school will be positive for the entire university.

“We are confident that we can present a dynamic, positive and constructive vision for this new school,” said Lovitt.

The STEM School model has been suggested for some time, according to Lovitt. He sees the STEM school as an opportunity to expand relationships between departments.

“We had a chance to create some synergies that didn’t previously exist. I think that’s what’s meant by narrow discipline. Science and engineering have become increasingly interdisciplinary fields and accept funds [and] projects that are intrinsically collaborative and interdisciplinary,” said Lovitt.

“We believe that they can present the opportunities for collaboration and synergy that exists among the physical and life sciences and computer science. We think this particular collection of departments makes the best sense and pair nicely with the concept of engineering,” said Lovitt, speaking to the departments that did not make the cut to move to the STEM School.

One of these departments is the department of psychological science.

“Many people in this room know that the department of psychological science has worked hard to become a part of this STEM school,” said Steven Horowitz, a senator and psychology professor on campus.

Horowitz was unhappy that his department was rejected from the new STEM school and had some sharp words for the senate.

“Those that are putting it forward thought that they were the arbiters of what is science and thought that they did not want this list of departments, I think the word was, diluted by presumably pseudosciences like astrology, alchemy, metaphysics and oh yeah, psychology,” said Horowitz. “We lost that battle. But why did we wage it? There were several reasons but the one that is relevant today is that if your discipline is not among those ten schools, then you are chopped liver.”

Horowitz said that the proposal should not be considered until both schools that were being reworked, the STEM School and the School of Arts & Sciences, were both given equal consideration under the proposal.

“I wonder what Carol Ammon thinks of her name attached to the School of Arts & Leftovers,” said Horowitz, who urged members of the senate to vote no.

The Faculty Senate did not have veto power against the STEM school, according to Stephen Cohen, Faculty Senate president.

“If we vote no, it can proceed without our approval,” said Cohen.

Despite some vehement opposition the proposal passed with an overwhelming majority, with only a few senate members voting against it.

In addition to the STEM proposal, Mary Ann Mahony and Cohen announced that they would be testifying in front of the Appropriations Committee to the state legislature Monday night and would be testifying again on Thursday. These testimonies would be to aid the Connecticut State University system in getting more funding for the upcoming fiscal year.

Cohen also announced that CACE would have a series of advising events, including topics such as resume building, interview workshops and getting students prepared for jobs as early as possible.

Michael Alfano, Dean of the School of Education and Professional Studies pitched his plan to reorganize the department.

 

 

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antiangiogenic

Eat Food to Starve Cancer

By Brittany Hill

Everybody has cancer? Actually, yes. But not in the harmful sense that you’re used to hearing about.

We all carry small, microscopic cancerous tumors (about the size of a ball point pen’s tip) throughout our bodies. These tumors remain harmless until blood vessels are available to “feed” it, let’s say. You see, without oxygen and nutrients from a blood supply, the tumor cannot grow. That’s where angiogenesis comes in.

Angiogenesis (an-geo-genesis) is the development of new blood vessels, on which tumors rely to grow larger. Our bodies must maintain a balance between having too few blood vessels and too many to stay healthy, any sort of extreme throws our bodies out of whack. Pretty simple.

But there are ways that your body’s blood vessel development is associated with disease. Insufficient angiogenesis, or having a lack of blood vessels, leads to heart disease, stroke or even erectile dysfunction. But when your body produces too many blood vessels, AKA excessive angiogenesis, the blood vessels find their way to those tiny cancerous tumors, begin “fertilizing” and later grow larger only to affect surrounding areas in your body. That’s where the “harmful” cancer begins.

“We’re treating cancer too late in the game,” says Dr. William Li, cancer researcher and founder of the Angiogenesis Foundation in a TED talk that discusses how diet can change your odds of getting cancer.

Although genes account for 5 to 10 percent of cancer cases, the remaining 90 to 95 percent fall into an environmental cause. Within this sector are obesity, tobacco and diet. Diet accounts for 30 to 35 percent of cancer cases.

This is what Dr. Li is talking about when he says we’re waiting too long in the stage of cancer. We need to treat it before it develops.

But how? Through antiangiogenesis, of course. It is the prevention of blood vessel growth so that those tiny tumors I talked about cannot grow any bigger and furthermore, remain harmless.

There is a growing list of antiangiogenic foods and spices that up your body’s defense system and lessen the risk of these tiny cells growing into dangerous, cancerous tumors. And you’re not going to find them in the processed products we rely on daily, that’s for sure. You’re going to find these powerful ingredients in some unexpected places. Whether its eating a myriad of berries or adding some herbs and spices to your meal, there is an undeniable boost to your health. Take your pick – each food has exactly got what the body needs.

All whole foods have their health benefits. But in certain combinations, the antiangiogenic benefits can increase. This synergy of active ingredients prove that the power of a whole is far greater than its separate parts. To know the cause of a disease is an important step in knowing how to prevent it. We know cancer. Let’s eat to beat it, before it eats at us.

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Abhin Sheth

A Formula for Successful Chemists

By Ruth Bruno

Although deciding on a major can be a long process for some students, the choice was always clear for student Alicia Gizzi.

After learning to measure PH in eighth grade, Gizzi became interested in Chemistry and decided she wanted to continue in that field. Now a junior at CCSU, Gizzi will graduate next year and plans to go on to graduate school.

“You can do a lot of things with Chemistry; I don’t think people realize how much you can do,” says Gizzi.  From working in a sawmill lab to becoming a lab-tech in a hospital, or maybe even finding a biology-related job, like taxology, there are numerous options available to a chemist with just a bachelor’s degree.

Though some students may be wary of the demanding workload associated with this particular major it can be very rewarding for those who are dedicated and have a passion for chemistry. Students find that the small Chemistry department of CCSU can provide an ideal learning environment.

“Here I feel comfortable,” says Gizzi, “There is definitely a one-on-one student to professor interaction going on which you will not receive at bigger universities. We have class, but I believe the majority of the things I learn outside the classroom.” She went on to mention one of her recent research projects working with Dr. James V. Arena as her advisor.

Arena, a professor of analytical chemistry who has been working at CCSU for 25 years, says he spends an average of 20 hours a week working directly with students. Over the years, he has found that students majoring in chemistry need more than just proficiency in math and science to excel.

“You’ve got to be good in abstract thinking because much of chemistry involves looking at molecules and atoms and ions without actually being able to see them. You have to have problem-solving skills. You have to be able to think analytically and logically.”

Students should also have strong writing and communication and writing skills as they may need to clearly express their research to professors and other students. Most importantly though, students who want to major in Chemistry must have a love for the work they’re doing. Arena finds that the students who make it through the most difficult Chemistry courses are those who are wholly interested in the subject.

“If you’re really engaged in the subject and you’re somewhat proficient in the skills mentioned, you can always get better at it, but you have to be engaged in it and you have to find it interesting. You have to come in with some kind of driving commitment to the subject matter.”

Gizzi certainly has that driving commitment. She is currently vice-president of the CCSU Chemistry Club. The club meets Tuesdays at 3:00 p.m. and is open to anybody with an interest in chemistry or biochemistry. The club does some small, fun activities; making ice cream out of liquid nitrogen was the club’s most recent. They annually takes a trip to the American Chemical Society meeting to discuss ideas with other chemists and present the findings of their research. This year, six members of the club will be presenting posters of their work at the meeting.

“Four members will be presenting CCSU research which is great and it looks really good for the school,” says Gizzi.

Both Arena and Gizzi make use of their spare time away from the books and lab. Arena has gone back to school for theology and spends a couple nights a week working in a parish. Gizzi spends the little free time she with the other members of Chemistry club. To any student thinking about majoring in chemistry Gizzi says: “It’s not easy, but it’s doable. I do struggle with it, even in upper-level chemistry, but you just have to do the work.”

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netscollins

Support for Gay Athletes to Come Out

By Paige Brown

Recently, two major professional sports have featured gay athletes: Michael Sam, an NFL draft prospect, and Jason Collins, a point forward newly signed to the Brooklyn Nets.

The NFL and NBA both have a major following and many fans. For both sports to feature gay athletes at the same time is a step in the right direction.

This past Sunday was the first NBA game in history with an openly gay player on the court.

“The decision to sign Jason was a basketball decision,” said Nets GM Billy King in a statement to Sports Illustrated. “We needed to increase our depth inside, and with his experience and size, we felt he was the right choice for a 10-day contract.”

King proves here that just because an athlete is gay, doesn’t mean they are anything less than an athlete. The same goes for Michael Sam.

Though there have been some pretty nasty comments in the last few weeks from NFL GMs and executives, many coaches and players still show positive encouragement towards this athlete.

In another article by SI, Michael Sam told reporters  at the NFL Combine that he wished they would ask him “How’s football going? How’s training going?”

He continued, “I would love for you to ask me that question. But it is what it is. I just wish you guys would see me as Michael Sam the football player instead of Michael Sam the gay football player.”

I understand where Sam is coming from, and even though this is obviously something he struggles with, he is paving the way for other gay football players to feel confident enough to come out.

But Sam gets it. He knows he is gay. He also knows that he is a football player, and a good one at that. When it comes to football, he should be portrayed as a football player no matter his sexual orientation.

Hudson Taylor, Athlete Ally’s executive director said in a statement to SI, “We are entering a new era of inclusion with Jason Collins…Jason may be the first, but he’s not the last. It’s because of him and the unprecedented leadership of professional leagues like the NBA that we’ll see more and more LGBT athletes at all levels of competition.”

Hopefully, gay athletes everywhere can see Sam and Collins as an inspiration to come out and still be confident in their sport. If this can happen successfully, maybe more people can come to accept the fact that sexual orientation doesn’t define an athlete, their talent does.

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Taken by Ernestina Souza

Women’s Basketball Victorious in Must Win Game

by Sean Begin

Survival was the word of the day for Central Connecticut women’s basketball Saturday afternoon.

The team hosted their annual Play 4 Kay Game benefitting the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Yow was the basketball coach for the North Carolina State University women’s basketball team for 34 years. She survived two separate bouts with breast cancer before succumbing to a third in 2009.

The Blue Devils basketball team was also playing for the survival of their season. After dropping seven straight Northeast Conference games, the Central Connecticut women’s basketball team desperately needed a win against Sacred Heart University to retain any hope of reaching the NEC tournament.

Thanks to big games from seniors Jessica Babe and Jaleen Thomas, the Blue Devils (10-15, 4-11 NEC) handed the Pioneers (11-15, 8-7 NEC) a 63-53 loss to put a notch in the win column for the first time in almost a month.

“It’s been a long time for us. We’ve really just had to persevere over the last few weeks, not getting victories,” said head coach Beryl Piper. “I attribute a lot of that to the girls because after every loss they came back to the next practice really focused. They never showed any doubt.”

“Yeah, we did [need the win]. We really did,” added Babe. “We have a sense of urgency. We want to stay in this and we want to continue. We’re doing everything we can to make it up and get into the tournament.”

The score remained close for the first ten-plus minutes of the game before the Blue Devils pulled away late in the first. Babe hit a layup at the buzzer to send Central into the locker room with a 29-20 halftime lead.

Sacred Heart pushed back, tying the game up at 37 in the second half with just over 10 minutes left to play. But Central went on a 14-6 run over the last five minutes of the game (including eight answered at one point) to put the game out of reach for the Pioneers.

Central has struggled in the past with holding onto leads but staved off Sacred Heart this game to earn their much-needed victory.

“Coach Piper always says basketball is a game of runs. There’s going to be times where the lead changes,” said Babe. “You just have to be mentally tough enough to trust in your teammates, trust that everything is going to go if you do everything the right way.”

Babe finished the game with 20 points, nine rebounds, six assists and a steal. Babe’s 20 puts her at 945 for her career at Central, needing just 55 over her last three games to break 1000 in her career.

Fellow senior Jaleen Thompson finished with a double-double, scoring 15 and bringing in 13 rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass. Thomas also had two steals and played well on defense.

“Whatever she did or whatever she ate before the game she needs to continue doing it because she was so good,” said Babe.

“Jaleen hit big shots for us and she defended Gabby Washington for us the whole night. And Gabby Washington is a good player,” said Piper of Thomas’ game. “She had that role and I thought she did a really good job playing her tight and not giving her anything easy.”

Central had good contribution from junior Kaley Watras – who scored 12 with 4 rebounds and two steals – and sophomore TeJahne Malone with eight points, eight rebounds and two blocks.

“They all played within themselves, they all stayed focus,” said Piper. “Nobody got in a panic mode when things got a little bit crazy there, everybody played smart. That’s what we need to do to be victorious.”

Central still has a huge hole to climb out of. With just three games remaining as of Monday afternoon, the Blue Devils can’t afford another loss, while needing the Blackbirds of LIU-Brooklyn to lose at least two of their final games for any chance to make the NEC tournament.

For now, though, Babe, Piper and the team will take the win against Sacred Heart and move forward to the next game.

“[We need to] leave everything out there because there are no other options,” said Babe.

The Blue Devils finish the season on the road Saturday against Fairleigh Dickinson and the home on Monday versus Bryant.

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Innovation and Technology in the 21st Century

By: Jacqueline Stoughton

As both a Board of Regents member and Chairman for the Board of Regents for higher education, Nick Donofio took the stage in Alumni Hall to discuss innovation and technology in the 21st century.

“We have a lot of work to do and a lot of things we want to change,” said Donofrio, who is along with being Chairman of the Board of Regents, is also a IBM Fellow Emeritus and IBM Executive VP, Innovative Technology.  “We want to change, it always has and always will be about change.”

President Jack Miller introduced Donofio to a small crowd of students, faculty and staff in on Monday. Donofrio asked his audience to think about change, and how they feel about it.  Innovation and technology is something he says he’s learned along the way, since this is mainly experience based learning.

“Technology is something that makes or breaks our country and even our world,” said Donofrio.  “I do have a sense of what’s going on and I’ll help you all understand from a new point of view.”

Technology is enabling a lot of important things going on, explained Donofrio.  Such as, network ubiquity, open standards, and new business designs.  The main goal of this whole technology initiative being to look for change, but do it in a way that’s actionable.

“Innovation resides at the intersection of invention and insight, leading to the creation of social and economic value,” said the National Innovative Innitiative defining their official definition of what is innovation during Donofrio’s presentation.

“Value is not something you control, it migrates.  You don’t control where the innovative value is,” said Donofrio.  “It’s the way you do it.  The environment you use to create an innovative environment has to be open, collaborative, multi-disciplinary, and it has to be global.”

Donofrio explains that a global economy is also an economy with consequences, since everything is interconnected.  “The underserved shall lead, all the big ideas are not always where you think they are.”

In the future, everything will change and everything will eventually come to an end, says Donofrio.  “I’m not trying to worry you, but sensitize you to the fact that everything comes to an end.  Do we have the right skills when this happens, and will we be prepared?”

“Our world is instrumented; our world is becoming interconnected.  Virtually all things, including processes and ways of working are becoming intelligent,” said Donofrio.  “This is going to happen whether you like it or not, it’s going to progress.”

Donofrio explains that the initiative is constantly working towards making people more involved and more skillful in the future.  T shaped, rather than I shaped.  Opportunities are more available ahead of you, in the future, rather than behind you in the past.  Collaboration, insight, and the evolution of social media makes this all possible, and yet there’s still even more to be done.

“We need to work together aggressively in new and varied ways.  Real innovation comes when business, government, and academia collaborate.  A true genius is a person capable of freeing their mind from the worn channels of tradition and time,” said Donofrio.  “If nothing changes, nothing changes.  My whole life fundamentally built off of that simple phrase.  Don’t let that happen to you, I know you won’t.”

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Esty Q & A

By Kiley Krzyzek

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty visited Founders Hall on Feb. 19 for a question-and-answer session as part of a speaker series hosted by the CCSU Democrats.

Esty spent some time talking about how she ended up in politics and her opinions on a few issues, but most importantly she wanted to address the concerns of the students in attendance.

“I’m really here as much as anything to hear from you. Because to my mind being a representative means just that, is that I can’t do my job as a representative of you unless I hear what your concerns are, what your interests are. Hear your questions, hear your comments, and that is only possible by me getting out as many places I can,” Esty said to the crowd of approximately fifty students.

In an interview with The Recorder after the session she expressed that she always makes an effort to attend events at schools, as education is very important to her and she wants the younger generation to get involved.

“I’m a strong believer in encouraging everyone to get involved in democracy but particularly to make sure that young people get involved. Because one of the things that’s distinctive about this country is that we build a common future together. Some countries are based on their history, ours is based on this commitment to this common future, this idea we call the ‘American Dream’ and freedom. And that’s something that you actually forge each generation and that’s why it’s incredibly important for young people to get involved and not get disengaged. So I feel really strongly about that. So if I get asked by a student group I almost always say, ‘Yes, I want to go!’ If I can, I will go.”

In her speech Esty expressed concern that the current state of the government may be discouraging citizens from getting involved, when it’s actually that much more crucial that they do.

“I’m concerned some of the grid-lock in Washington is discouraging people from engaging,” said Esty to the crowd. However, she did reassure that “there are good people and we are trying.”

Esty suggested some ways that students can start young and get involved in local politics.

“There are ways to be involved in your local community, and that isn’t necessarily through your elected politics but that could be involved in community organizations. You could get involved in addressing problems. At the end of the day I think is what politics is it gets kind of a bad name. But it shouldn’t because it’s really self-governance. It’s making choices for ourselves, ” said Esty.

Salam Measho, a junior studying political science at Central, was very excited to attend the session.

“Currently I’m in my internship at the capital. And meeting my local reps is great; learn about Connecticut and Connecticut law, from education to the bank. All the laws that affect the state and running the state is great, but to have someone from D.C. who also has a voice who speaks on behalf of Waterbury, Danbury, these different towns in the district it was an opportunity to meet someone who has a much larger influence in the nation. It’s a cool experience,​​” said Measho.

“We discussed everything from education to the $10.10 minimum wage increase. And of course being a college student I’m definitely for [it],”​ said Measho, who would like to see more events like this on campus.

“College Democrats did a nice job. The Mosaic Center did a great job with Tim Wise… These events that the CCSU organizations are putting on are phenomenal. And I hope to see more,” said Measho.

During the Q&A portion of the program, one student asked about proposals to raise the minimum wage rate in Connecticut. While Congresswoman Esty sees value in this, she also expressed concerns that this may actually lead to a loss of jobs in the long run if employers then move to different states to save money.

“When Connecticut does the right thing by paying our workers better, we lose business to other states,” said Congresswoman Esty. “We’re finding a distressingly large number of people are working a full work week on minimum wage. It is the right thing to increase the federal minimum wage.”

Esty shared a story about how her daughter, who was fifteen at the time, originally encouraged her to get into politics while she was reading the newspaper and complaining about her local representatives. Esty reenacted the situation, putting her hands on her hips as her daughter did when she said “You should run for office or don’t complain” and offered to be her mom’s campaign manager.

Congresswoman Esty didn’t always plan on getting into politics. “This was not a part of the grand plan,” Esty said. She was in student government in high school, but not in college. Originally, she was going to be a writer and her husband was going to get into politics. Now he’s written 11 books and Esty’s a congresswoman.

“You should follow your passion. The opportunities that are available to you, you might miss if you are too strict about your career path,” said Esty.

​What advice does Esty have for college students?

“Try things, get involved. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. And do things that you care about with people you respect and you’ll learn a lot.”

 

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Fashion App FLINK

Fashion At Your Fingertips With Flink

By Kiley Krzyzek

We all love people watching just to see what everyone’s wearing, but whoever theres always that chance that someone could catch you staring. This is where Flink comes in handy; an iPhone and Android application that allows its users to view what a number of street style bloggers are wearing with just the swipe of a finger.

Flink compiles high quality photos from a ton of fashion bloggers who live everywhere from New York to Paris. So while walking across campus in between classes, waiting in line for food, at any time, users can casually tap their fingers and get the most recent updates around the fashion blogging world to check out who’s wearing what, and what trends are hot.

The best part about Flink is how efficient the app can be for users in terms of time; no need to whip out the laptop and keep tabs on every fashion blog you follow anymore. Flink does the work for you, just swipe down if you don’t like a blogger’s look and keep going, or swipe to the side to see more looks – or see the original blog post.  There’s even an option to follow your favorite bloggers and check out all the looks by them. The Blonde Salad’s a definite favorite.

Just as you can on Instagram, if you like a specific look that has been posted on the app you can give it a heart, giving the app an idea of what your style preferences are like. Then if you click on the diamond in the corner of the screen and click on likes you can revisit all the outfits you have in your user history.

After searching through hundreds of styled outfits, some patterns stick out.

One trend often noticed is that many of the looks feature tights and summery skirts; looks like New Englanders are not the only ones growing tired of winter. Leather pants and jackets also were popular in photos. Along with that, distressed denim is making a comeback, mainly in the form of intentional tears at the knee.

So if you have a few minutes to download Flink and check out how fashion bloggers look, it is highly recommended. It’s like watching  a fashion show but without the stick thin models wearing enough makeup to last a week. These are real women who are actually putting together their own outfits and wearing them out in public.

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New Police Chief Announced

By Acadia Otlowski

After a semester without a permanent Chief of Police, Central Connecticut State University has announced a successor to the open position after the retirement of former chief, Jason Powell.

The new Chief of Police will be Gregory Sneed, 54, who has worked in various areas of law enforcement including being the Deputy Chief of Police at Eastern Connecticut State University. Sneed has also been a police officer, supervisor, SWAT operator and crisis negotiator.

“I believe being the Chief of Police at a University magnifies the need to ‘protect and serve’ because the majority of the population that we have sworn to protect are young adults away from home for the 1st time, experimenting with their new found freedom.,” said Sneed in an email, who will be officially sworn in March 10. “Parents, siblings and extended family members are not necessarily a phone call away.  Therefore, our duty to protect and serve also needs to blend enforcing the law, understanding the need for students to experience life on their own while still empathizing with some of their parents’ fears that are born from their sons and daughters being away from home.”

Sneed is married with two children and was born and raised in the city of New Britain.

“My best friend is my wife Helen. I love my family,” said Sneed, who also dabbles in playing the saxophone.

Sneed outlined his goals for the department.

“This is a time for me to learn and be a consumer of value. Building bridges and opening lines of communication inside and outside of the department are my immediate goals,”  said Sneed. “I will run an ethical and well-trained department and I will be visible around campus.”

Sneed hold six black belts and tries to go to the gym six days a week. Sneed said his proudest moment was when he had the honor to teach martial art to military troops.   He feels that every experience he has had has contributed to his qualification for the job at CCSU.

“From the moment I entered into this profession, I’ve had countless mentors and role models who have guided me along my journey.  Without their wisdom and counsel, my journey would have been very different.  I have done my best to remember the life lessons they gifted me with and after nearly 30 years of law enforcement I would like to believe that I am still remembering to ‘pay it forward,'” said Sneed who says that his experience in law enforcement has been more than just a career, it has been a fulfilling, life-long journey.

Sneed treats law enforcement like a skill.

“I have been fortunate enough to have been involved in numerous opportunities to enhance my skill set. Each training opportunity, promotion or new assignment provided new challenges and the opportunity to grow.  Perhaps my most controversial opportunities for growth were buried in the weeds of negative situations,” said Sneed.

Sneed also believes that his experience at ECSU has prepared him to work at the CCSU.

“This opportunity gave me firsthand knowledge of working alongside students, faculty and staff,” said Sneed.

“Greg brings the right balance of experience to be Central’s new chief and I am looking forward to working with him,” said Chief Administrative Official Richard, who will be Sneed’s superior officer.

The new chief wants to promote an open atmosphere of communication with faculty and staff.

“The doors of the police department are open, come on over and say hi and let me know what is on your mind.  A police department can improve their service quality by opening the doors of communication with their constituents,” said Sneed.

 

 

 

 

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Thrifting: Style Has No Price Tag

By Aundrea Murray

 

Who knows how to turn a penny into a fortune more than frugal college students? The majority of us hustle funds in order to survive the frantic lifestyle. Food, books, board – not to mention a social life – can run pockets dry in a blink, so a clothing budget is required for most. Sweatpants, leggings, oversized sweatshirts and flannels are some of the most prominent types of clothing seen at school…Where can one go to find the clothes they want for the price they need? Thrift shops. What makes fashion interesting is how formless, limitless and ever-changing it is. Style has no price tag.

 

I have formulated a list of vintage stores, antique boutiques and consignment shops in Hartford County, all worthy of a visit.

 

1. Panache, West Hartford.

Panache is one of the fancier consignment shops in Connecticut. Most people envision racks of worn out and worthless clothes when thrifting comes to mind. However, this place is sure to impress you more than even most places in shopping malls. Their vast collection includes tailored blazers, high-waisted jeans, slacks, vests and coats in nearly every size. What brings me back here at least once a month is their expansive collection of accessories. It’s the perfect place to grab a reasonably pried gift for yourself… and for someone else.

 

Karma’s Closet, Newington.

This store requires a bit more patience, but may be worth the looking around. Karma’s Closet offers a vast array of popular brand names at completely unexpected low prices. I once scored a 100% vintage Chanel handbag. The wear and tear was a bit noticeable, but still makes for a great makeup bag. Shoppers should schedule at least an hour to give this place their undivided attention, but are left with the possibility of leaving with jaw-dropping deals and/or items. Many of my distressed jeans have been found in-between the racks, just hiding out waiting for the right owner.

 

Antiques On the Farmington, Collinsville

I was recommended by a professor to shop here after I fell in love with a 50’s inspired, vintage letterman jacket he was wearing. The style of the coat was nothing compared to the price: a measly 7 bucks. It’s a little bit of a drive from Central, but well worth the commute. The store offers more mature pieces which are perfect for interview gear or even when you need a pair of leather loafers. It’s almost hard to believe that Antiques On the Farmington is selling used items.

 

Elite Repeats, Cromwell

Similar to other antique stores, this one manages to showcase an abundance of options for cheaper clothing. One of the highlights of this store is it’s shoe collection. Most people could not imagine buying already-been-worn shoes. However, if you need a new pair of gym sneakers or some last minute heels, this store is perfect.

 

Vintage Chic by Design Studio, West Hartford

Have not been to this one just yet, but rumors have been flying around the university about how great of a place it is. They are notorious for their prices and selection being versatile. Check it out and feel free to tweet The Recorder with how you liked it!

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NFL Draft Prospect Comes Out

by Sean Begin

On Monday, former Missouri defensive end and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year Michael Sam came out publicly as an openly gay athlete. Needless to say, the news created a firestorm of conversation on social media sites.

Sam is projected to be a mid-round draft pick in the NFL draft in May, which if drafted would make him the first openly gay athlete to play a major American sport.

The announcement was met heavily with praise and celebration; from NFL owners to the SEC commissioner to fellow athletes both in the NFL and other sports.

Without a doubt, the outpouring of support for Sam has been a pleasure to see, as most news of this type is met by barbed tongues of anonymous Internet moral police.

But one group of individuals decided to make their voice heard, anonymously, through various NFL writers: the general managers and player personnel executives of the professional football teams, who make the decision regarding which players to draft.

“I don’t think football is ready for [an openly gay player] just yet,” said an NFL player personnel assistant in an interview with Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated.

“In the coming decade or two, it’s going to be acceptable, but at this point in time it’s still a man’s-man game. To call somebody a [gay slur] is still so commonplace. It’d chemically imbalance an NFL locker room and meeting room.”

Chemically imbalance a locker room? Really?

Maybe that player personnel assistant missed reading the fact that Sam came out to his entire Mizzou team in August, before the college football season started.

Maybe he missed the fact that an entire team of young adults, ranging in age from 18 to 24, managed to keep Sam’s admission quiet from the media so he could come out on his own terms.

Or maybe that assistant just happened to miss the fact that the entire team was supportive of Sam when he told them the truth of who he was.

“I just know with this going on this is going to drop him down [in the draft],” said a veteran NFL scout in the same story. “There’s no question about it. It’s human nature. Do you want to be the team to quote-unquote ‘break that barrier?'”

Maybe this scout is still stuck in the 1950s where being openly bigoted to anyone who wasn’t a straight white male was the norm.

“I am sorry to say where we are at this point in time, I think it’s going to affect most locker rooms. A lot of guys will be uncomfortable,”  said an anonymous GM in an article by Peter King on SI’s Monday Morning Quarterback NFL blog.

Well, too bad, I say, to those players “uncomfortable” with an openly gay player in the locker room. There are lots of players uncomfortable with amount of concussions and head trauma that lead to suicides in former players, but that’s not a “distraction” to a locker room.

The NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith summed up the anonymous reactions of these executives best.

“[W]hen you contrast a group of anonymous G.M.’s against a 24-year-old college player, it seems like only one of them had the guts to put his name behind his message,” Smith said in an interview with CSN Washington.

“So my first reaction has nothing to do with Michael Sam.  My reaction is to call those G.M.’s for what they are: They’re gutless. And if a young man has the courage to stand up and put his name and his face to talk about what he thinks is important, I would expect that a grown man can do exactly the same thing.  But apparently they can’t.”

The good thing is, plenty of high ranking NFL people (mostly owners and head coaches) came out in support of Sam.

New England Patriot’s owner Robert Kraft, Broncos executive vice president John Elway and Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, among others, came out in support of Sam as a potential member of their team, more importantly concerned with winning than the sexual orientation of one of their players.

In the hyper masculine world of the NFL, it’s not surprising a gay teammate could invoke some intense responses. But for executives to hide behind anonymity shows that if anyone isn’t ready for an openly gay NFL player, its them, not the players they sign to their teams’ rosters.

 

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Dimethylsiloxane – Your Favorite McDonald’s Item

By: Brittany Hill

Last week, food blogger and health activist Food Babe started an online petition to stop Subway from using a chemical found in their bread. The chemical, Azodicarbonamide, is also used to elasticize yoga mats, rubber soles and synthetic leather. The Food and Drug Administration has approved this chemical, though it still showed adverse affects from the factory workers in which the chemical was dealt. The amount approved by the FDA is significantly smaller than the amount used to make yoga mats, soles, etc.

Subway responded nobly. They’re making the move to take the chemical out of their bread. This is a step in the right direction, but only because a single civilian with a website and hefty following has a passion for health and informing the public for the better. But without people like Vani Hari, aka Food Babe, how long would this chemical remain in Subway’s products? It took a well-informed, hard-working civilian to help thousands, if not millions, of Americans. Other big food corporations, such as McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts, also use the chemical in their products.

It leaves me to wonder, however. How many other products and chemicals are we consuming day to day that haven’t been outted by a food blogger? Acting on pure intrigue, I came across quite disturbing facts about how the simplest of ingredients used to make tea are treated with toxic pesticides. But it doesn’t end there – almost all tea is packaged without being rinsed. This means all the pesticides stay until brewing – yikes. I had thought taking the tea-route was a healthy choice. Even as an avid tea drinker and conscientious eater, I was wrong.

The investigative article on Food Babe’s site also showed that the majority of the teas sold in stores also contain GMO’s as well as the ubiquitously mentioned “natural and artificial flavoring.” These natural flavors are anything but. Companies can blanket label other ingredients that would otherwise scare off consumers. The word “natural” gives the impression the food is healthy and/or safe – when in reality, it is probably neither.

The problem is as consumers, we rely heavily on the federally mandated regulations that allow companies like Subway to even create products with such unnecessary ingredients. As research evolves, more and more health issues are being drawn to one’s diet. Though the World Health Organization has inconclusive data regarding the harmful effects of consuming scarce amounts of the Azodicarbonamide chemical, it doesn’t mean it should be used in our food products.

This chemical and others alike are banned across countries worldwide, yet used religiously in the United States. And that’s not even the half of it. Let’s take a look at McDonald’s french fries. In the U.S., our fries have an ingredient list twice that of the U.K.’s. The biggest difference – their fries don’t contain dimethylsiloxane. When you’re finished trying to pronounce that (good luck), you’ll be pleased to hear that no, it’s not used in yoga mats and rubber soles. It is, in fact, used an anti-foaming agent found in silicone caulks, aquarium sealants and adhesives – yum. The U.K. uses potatoes, salt and dextrose, which is a type of sugar used at the beginning of the harvesting season. Psh, no chemicals? What fools they are. Stay healthy, America.

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Clarity to the “Magnificent Delusions”

 

By Acadia Otlowski

A former Pakistan ambassador crammed a campus lecture into his busy schedule to give students perspective on the often-tense relationship between the United States and Pakistan last Wednesday.

Speaking to the students in an hour between two different lectures, Husain Haqqani, author and former Pakistan ambassador to the United States, gave the lecture to remind students of the importance of understanding what is going on in the rest of the world.

“They are occasionally our ally and they are occasionally playing footsy with Al Queda,” said Ned Lamont, a distinguished professor of political science and philosophy at CCSU, who introduced Haqqani. “It’s a complicated relationship based on some magnificent delusions.”

Magnificent delusions between the United States and Pakistan were the theme of the speaker’s talk and the title of his recently published book.

Husain Haqqani, author and former Pakistan ambassador to the United States, provided the primarily student-based audience with context for the World Trade Center attacks in 2001. He explained that the complex relationship between Americans and Pakistanis was a result of proxy wars during the Cold War Era.

“During the Cold War, the Americans thought that it would be a good idea to use the Islamic religion as an antidote to communism,” said Haqqani. He explained that the United States used a group called the Majahideen as a force against Soviet’s Afghan forces. This group was encouraged to believe in Jihad, which is war in the name of God.

This could have been fine, according to Haqqani, had the United States been willing to deprogram the soldiers it had created.

“When you actually wind somebody else up, you should also be prepared to wind them down,” said Haqqani. Haqqani explained that Americans fought their conflict and left, leaving a group of people that were deeply embroiled in Jihad. All the while, the United States was also continuing to arm the Pakistanis against the United States’ enemies.

Haqqani explained that therein lies the problem. Since gaining its independence in 1947, Pakistan has been the United States’ ally. This country was plagued with a major issue from the start. When it was seperated from British India, Pakistan received 17 percent of the former British India’s population, 17 percent of its economy and 23 percent of its military, according to Haqqani, which left a mediocre economy that was unable to support the massive military.

“Let’s try to trim the military. The British needed that military and they could afford it because they were a huge empire. They needed it primarily for the second world war,” said Haqqani, who also said that this is what he would have done had he been in charge in the early history of Pakistan.  But, rather than trim the military, the Pakistanis made a proposal to the Americans, offering to fight the Soviets for the Americans if only the Americans would arm them.

When the Americans agreed to the proposal, and began providing aid to Pakistan, they truly believed that the Pakistanis would use the aid to fight the Soviets. Haqqani said this was short-sighted of them.

“But the real purpose for arming themselves had nothing to do with communism–it had to do with what they wanted, which was to fight India,” said Haqqani. “So since 1947, America has put in $40 billion into Pakistan in the form of military and economic assistance. All that has done is strengthen Pakistan’s military and give Pakistan the illusion that they can actually compete with India.”

Since then, Pakistan has fought four wars–one undeclared–against India.

Haqqani gave advice for America’s leaders: if a  country is focused on a conflict with another country and they say “We need weapons to fight your enemy,” don’t believe them.

But not all of the U.S. foreign policy has been a failure. Haqqani points to South Korea as a success story in U.S. foreign policy. The $15 billion that the United States gave in aid has resulted in a country with a growing economy, supported by massive, high-tech companies such as Kia and Samsung. Haqqani pointed out that the only companies in Pakistan are clothing manufacturers.

When the United States left Pakistan originally, it left a lot of problems, which culminated to color 9/11, according to Haqqani. He fears that the same will happen if the United States does not tread carefully in the Middle East.  There are plans for the United States to pull out of Afghanistan in the next few years. What Haqqani fears is a takeover of that government by Al Qaeda, that the region will again become a “Jihadi hotbed.”

Haqqani believes that young Americans need to understand the circumstances in the Middle East to help improve U.S. foreign policy.

The ambassador gave the audience some advice regarding foreign policy: “Please understand, the world is not a problem for the Americans to solve. The world is a situation for the Americans to understand.”

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Free Courses Offered Downtown

Central will offer three free courses to select non-profit organizations in New Britain throughout the months of February and March. It is the university’s way of giving back to the non-profit community while helping to better manage and advertise their organizations.

“This is a partnership between community engagement and continuing education,” said Hannah Hurwitz, Assistant Director of Community Engagement.  “There’s so many non profits in New Britain and CCSU has all these great resources and all these professors at the university that have all this great information so we thought, why don’t we have these one time free courses for the local non-profits.”

The university will be offering a series of free courses devoted to using social media to leverage their brand and advertise events, fundraising and board management and organization, which will help non-profit boards to understand their function and role.

“It shows how CCSU is taking an initiative in supporting the community,” said Hurwitz.  “You get to interact with the community, it’s like a networking experience.”

“We’ve outreached to faculty chairs to see if they wanted to offer classes to board members of non-profits,” said Christa Sterling, Continuing Education Director.  “I would love to have students attend, but I don’t know if a lot would be interested.  We’ve already had 60 to 70 people from non-profits respond, but maybe we could offer these types of programs to students in the future.”

These free courses are open to anyone, students are allowed to sign up if interested.  Although, these classes are not necessarily aimed towards what most college students would be interested in learning about.  Sterling explains how it would be a cool dynamic to have these types of classes open to students in the future.

“For continuing education that’s part of our mission; to offer things that will allow our students to stay connected as alumni,” said Sterling.  “We want to create classes that keep people educated.  You can’t just stop, you have to keep going back and keep learning and keep yourself marketable throughout your whole life.”

Chris Galligan, Institutional Advancement Vice President, would like to talk to students to see exactly what types of specific courses they would be most interested in taking, in order to enhance their education.

These free courses will be located in the Institute of Technology and Business Development building in downtown New Britain, which has commonly been referred to as the “downtown campus.”

“Statistics, accounting, vocational technical education, and nursing and athletic training programs come to the ITBD building and hold their classes here,” said Richard Mullins, Executive Assistant to the President.  “We have ITBD classes that are non credit, which are open to business and industry.  These are classes for business professionals who are looking for professional development.”

The ITBD building offers workforce development training, professional development, business incubation along with student business incubation and advisory services.  They also have conference centers that are available for business seminars.

“Our goal is to provide an opportunity for our faculty at the university to bring real world experiences into the classroom and also to link students with those companies for potential jobs,” said Mullins.  “This is a great location for our students to interface with the business world and community.”

ITBD is a self-supporting building that raises revenue through renting out office space to their business incubators.  The building also offers about 13 for-credit classes in the after hours to students–another attempt to make this building known as the “downtown campus.”  The Judicial Branch program and EMT training is also held in the ITBD building.

“Our incubation program has had over 80 businesses here since 1993 and we’ve had all different kinds of successes,” said Mullins.  “We’re a mixed used business incubator, which means we bring in start up businesses here on a five year life cycle program and we help them through the evolution of their business so that it can launch, go out into the real world, and be successful.”

All potential business incubators, if looking to rent out office space in the ITBD building to utilize their incubation program, must provide a business plan, balance sheet, liability insurance and attend a series of meetings for incubators.

“We have speakers come in to talk about various topics to help these businesses evolve, mature, and grow while they’re here at the institute,” said Mullins.

CCSU is looking to have more collaboration with the downtown New Britain community by bringing more students to the ITBD building either for classes or as student business incubators.

Galligan explains how bringing more CCSU classes and students to the ITBD building could enhance the scheduling process, provide more academic offerings available and be more exposed to the community. Community engagement is valuable for students looking to finding internships and co-op opportunities.

“I think whenever you have students in a city environment it’s a good mix because it adds a lot of culture,” said Sterling.  “Hopefully in two to five years we will have a really big presence downtown.”

“It’s important to have students downtown and apart of that community.  It’s important to the community that we serve,” said Galligan.  “It’s a benefit to the entire community, CCSU, and it’s students.”

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Rick Ross Buys Alum’s Artwork

By Jacqueline Stoughton

With a combined force of creativity and strong marketing skills, Olivia Nguyen, recent CCSU graduate and aspiring artist, has showcased her work in New York galleries and has since attracted musicians Rick Ross and Swiss Beatz to purchase her works of art.

“It was unreal, it was my first time meeting someone that famous,” said Nguyen describing her experience of meeting Rick Ross.  Mayback music group first discovered Nguyen, who goes by the artist name “Fiya Bomb,” when they saw a small drawing of Ross on her Instagram.  They then contacted her, asking to draw a larger portrait of him

“He wanted me to come to his concert that night to show everyone the picture but that never happened, I was just really busy that day,” said Nguyen.  She has also sold to famous celebrities such as Wocka Flocka Flame, Swizz Beatz and wife Alicia Keys, and painted Big Sean a portrait as a gift.

Nguyen attended CCSU as an art major with a minor in marketing.  Although she is a self-proclaimed “horrible” marketing student, she was able to learn a lot from her marketing classes and manifest skills that have attributed greatly to her success as a selling artist.

“I just go about it in a way where I seek what people like and what they’re interested in,” said Nguyen.  “You got to do something that captures people a lot.”

Along with self-advertisement, making all her own professional posters and flyers, Nguyen has a very unique way of exposing and networking her artwork to the public.

“I use ustream.com to do live broadcasts; I always stream when it’s mid-way through, after we’ve already started painting and there’s a cut off time,” said Nguyen.  “People always ask how does someone who just graduated college become such a successful entrepreneur?  You have to promote yourself as if you’re someone who’s that great.”

Nguyen only uses Facebook and Instagram to promote herself and her art.  “I treat my Instagram like a blog; on there I just have a way of being nice to people and being really open.”

Nguyen’s success first began to take off during her senior year at CCSU when she had her first gallery that consisted mainly of simple drawings and artwork she composed in class.  She later applied to a non-profit organization and received a call from the director in LA a few days later asking Nguyen to host her own art show in Brooklyn, New York.  This was Nguyen’s first art show outside of Connecticut.

“From that point, it just escalated by word of mouth and I kept holding shows,” said Nguyen.  “It just happened so fast, so quick.  It just escalated from me continuing to do my artwork and promoting myself by staging the scene as if it were a bigger deal, I would make it seem like more than what it actually was.”

Nguyen says that, in the future, she does not want to work for someone.  Her ultimate career goal that she has set for herself is to continue to thrive in her artwork and to be her own entrepreneur.  “I find different things to do just so I can say I’ve mastered it all,” said Nguyen.

Nguyen said she also wants to exhibit in Art Basel this year.  She was asked to exhibit in the celebrity art show that takes place once a year in Miami, Australia, and in Hong Kong last year too, but opted out because she felt she was unprepared.

“I want to have my own exhibit in a museum, I want to design for people,” said Nguyen.  “I want someone to be able to say I need your mind.  I just want to keep doing art and be happy.”

“She’s very driven and passionate in what she does and it shows through her artwork and how she displays her work on social media,” said Kerbie Benoit, a close friend of Nguyen’s who has helped her put together her first art gallery at Community Central two years ago.  “I’m proud of her and proud of where she’s going and I know she’s going to get even bigger.”

“Art professors and advisors always tell students art is nonexistent in the money-making world.  But, anything can happen.  I would have never expected to meet all the people I’ve met in the last eight months,” said Nguyen.  “Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t going to make a lot of money from art.  It take a lot of hard work, effort, and I believe its God too.”

You can see Nguyen’s artwork on her website www.fiyabomb.com and can follow her on Instagram @fiyab0mb for updates on her artwork and future galleries and exhibits.

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Local Gym Gives Student Discounts

By Kiley Krzyzek

Students and faculty can enjoy new, exclusive discounts offered by LA Fitness of Farmington.

The advocate of such a discount is a recent Central graduate, Cody Backus, who works as a sales counselor at the gym.

“I started there in December, literally right after I graduated. I actually just got it approved, for a regular gym membership its $99 initiation $29.99 a month. Basically for Central students they can wave the initiation so it’s $0 down, $29.99 a month, no contract,” explained Backus who has studied Management and Marketing.

The new gym facility, which opened its doors in August, is located in the Westfarms Shopping Center, just one exit away from Central. It conveniently shares a lot with Sports Authority and Vitamin Shop. The drive from campus is simple.

“From here it’s probably five minutes, max, if you hit a couple of red lights. We have our own parking lot and you can use any of the parking in the plaza next to us,” said Backus, attesting to the easy drive and ample parking.

Being new, it has a lot of equipment and options for members.

“The gym in general is brand new, so it’s got a pool, hot tub and sauna-the whole deal,” said Backus. He also listed some of the equipment which includes a large selection of elliptical machines, treadmills, Stairmasters, bikes, bench presses, squat machines and, of course, free weights. Choplick estimated that altogether “There’s like 15,000 lbs. of weight there. Life Fitness brand is stocked for the machines, every muscle group is accounted for.”

Even with the gym’s popularity, there hardly is a wait to use equipment.

“It’s not that busy anyway. Because it’s such a big gym, you don’t wait on anything,” explained Backus.

Those working out at the gym can either help themselves to the equipment, take advantage of the personal trainers, or attend a group fitness class. Some of the fitness classes include Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, Kickboxing, Cardio Boxing, Boot camp and Spinning classes. Backus recommends spinning for its quick results.

“In one hour, people tend to burn 800 calories, that’s a lot. It’s like lunch [and] a half. It’s a lot of calories, it’s a quick way to loose weight,” he said.

The gym was developed with every type of gym-goer in mind.

“Basically, what they did when they made the gym is they made it for everybody. You can either be a beginner or an intermediate who has been training for 20 years. Either way you’re going to get what you want out of it,” said Backus.

To receive the discount, one must present their Blue Chip card while signing up for membership.

“You will have to show your CCSU ID so you can grab the discount,” laughed Backus. “So not anybody can just walk in and be like: “‘I go to Central,’ if that’s not necessarily the case.”

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Love Should Mean More than Just One Day

By: Joe Suszczynski

Valentine’s Day is almost here. I am sure some of you reading this are still in midst of getting something–a card, a box of candy, or flowers for your significant other. Me: I am just chilling out and figuring out what I plan on doing that night because it will be on a Friday.

I never really understood the concept of Valentine’s Day. Not because I am some bitter and cynical single person who is always single for a holiday. I do not see why there has to be a holiday specifically to express one’s love for someone else special in his or her life, especially considering the origins of this holiday

According the History Channel’s website, the holiday started out as a pagan festival known as Lupercalia that was celebrated on the 15th of February. This tradition would start with Roman priests gathering in a sacred cave where they would sacrifice a goat to promote fertility and a dog to promote purification. It was said that the newborns of the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, were raised by a she-wolf.

Once the goat was sacrificed, its hide would be cut into pieces and soaked in the blood which then was taken and smeared on field crops and women who welcomed the thought as an effort to become more fertile. The legend also holds that single women would put their names in an urn for the single men to choose. Once the names were chosen, the newly-formed pair would be together for one year with many pairs marrying.

Eventually, this event would be overtaken by Christians who outlawed the holiday for being too “un-Christian.” By the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius would then pronounce February 14 as “St. Valentine’s Day” after St. Valentine.

There are conflicting sources on what the true Saint Valentine story is. One story said that the saint was a priest who married young couples in secret because the Roman Emperor Claudius II forbade any young man from marring instead of serving as soldiers. Valentine was put to death when his secret marriages were discovered.

Another story claimed that Valentine helped Christians escape Roman prisons where they were horribly mistreated. Valentine would eventually be killed for trying to aid the Christians.

Regardless of what story is true, Valentine’s Day is a popular holiday; especially in America. According to the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey on statisticbrain.com, an average of $13.19 billion is spent on Valentine’s Day with the average consumer spending about $116.21. Candy and cards are the most given gifts during the holiday. 61.8% of consumers celebrate the holiday. 53% of women would end their relationships if they didn’t receive a gift on Valentine’s Day.

It is insane how much money people will spend on one day. I do not see why people should take leaps and bounds to get their sweetheart something just because the holiday says they should. Plus, I am sure that certain items are often marked up solely because of the holiday. Once Valentine’s Day is over, the candy and flowers are always on discount. The other thing: the activities people do on Valentine’s Day can be done on any other day of the year. Why does this day make it any more special?

Maybe people should just tone everything down for this holiday due to the unbelievable emphasis this holiday entails. It makes us lose sight of what is truly important: love. Love is what drives a person to do anything for someone they care about. And manipulating that feeling with a heavily-marketed holiday undermines the emotion.

But, in the end, it is up to the person. If they want to spend money on their significant other, such is their business. Hopefully they know that whatever they plan can be done on any other day of the year.

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Bastille Blesses With “Bad Blood”

Brooke Karanovich

British band Bastille’s debut album, “Bad Blood” (2013) is currently breaking into the American mainstream music scene with their newest hit song “Pompeii.” It is just one of a multitude of catchy upbeat songs on this album.

Formed in 2010, Bastille is a relatively new group. The band emerged as a result of lead singer Chris Smith’s attempts to break into the alternative rock scene. Bastille is a four-man group including vocalist/percussionist Smith, acoustic guitarist William Farquarson, percussionist Kyle J. Simmons and drummer Chris Wood.

With a track list 15 songs long, “Bad Blood” is lengthy but well put together as a debut album. The album begins with “Pompeii,” the most well known track, and moves to “Things We Lost in the Fire,” a song that is a great example of the group’s ability to mix lead vocalist Smith’s talents and his strong percussion. In fact, this album seems to showcase Smith’s voice, and it definitely succeeds in proving its adaptability to any style.

Though the album in its entirety is a great piece, certain songs became particularly memorable as the album is replayed. Title track “Bad Blood,” “Weight of Living Pt II” and “Laura Palmer” became personal favorites as I listened to the album again. All three tracks are great examples of Bastille’s ability to pair powerful lyrics and instrumentals to create relatable songs with strong sentiments.

Bastille’s debut album proved to be filled with quality tunes. Their Laura Palmer EP, released in 2011, tantalized fans, making them wait another two years until the release of “Bad Blood.” Luckily, their debut was well worth the wait.

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Club Hockey Serves the Students

by Navindra Persaud

Blue Devil pride at Central Connecticut State University is always well represented by its athletic department and the various teams that compete.

However, RECentral, the department which promotes recreational activities and fitness, has also provided students who want to compete at a collegiate level with their Club Sports program, which features a more diverse range of sports for students to choose from.

Rather than competing within the university like the intramural program, these club sports teams are able to compete on an intercollegiate level, to give the players a chance to showcase their ability in sports that don’t receive funding through the athletic department; sports such as CCSU’s ice hockey club team.

“CCSU hockey has cemented itself as a premier American Collegiate Hockey Association hockey club for over 30 years,” said ice hockey club president Evan Mink by email. “It was founded like any other club: by a group of students with a common interest.”

The American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) is the governing body within which the ice hockey club team competes. The ACHA is broken up into four geographic regions, each of which is competing for bids to the regional tournament and, ultimately, the national championship.

The ice hockey club team competes in the ACHA Division II Super East conference, consisting of other colleges and universities from around the Northeast.

Conference opponents such as Marist College, Siena College, William Paterson University, Montclair State University and New York University come from the New York/New Jersey area. The team also competes in-conference against other New England schools represented by the University of New Hampshire and Western Connecticut State University.

Mink stated that CCSU often competes in out-of-conference games as well and has developed recent rivalries against both UConn and the University of New Haven and even competed against Trinity College’s NCAA Division III men’s hockey team last year.

The team has seen success in recent years. The Blue Devils made it to the ACHA Division II national championship game in 2009-10 where they fell to then two-time defending champions Davenport.

The team was also the 2011 Governors’ Cup Champions, defeating defending champion UConn. The Governor’s Cup is a yearly two-day tournament featuring club hockey teams from four Connecticut schools

Within the ACHA, teams are ranked by committees comprised of coaches, with the various schools ranked according to wins and losses along with strength of schedule and other factors similar to the NCAA standards and regulations of competition.

The team generally has two games per week with the majority of them being on Friday or Saturday nights. Mink added that this allows the players ample time for education and team obligations, similar to the student-athletes competing on standard collegiate athletic teams like football and basketball.

“We will also practice two to three times per week,” added Mink, “with off-ice physical training mixed in occasionally as our coaching staff sees fit.”

The team is currently coached by second-year man Ben Adams, who has been part of the coaching team for the last four seasons. Adams is also the head coach of Kingswood-Oxford Prep School in west Hartford.

The ice hockey club has built a respectable name in the state of Connecticut, which has created a buzz for the team and the school itself. The club hopes to promote the game of college hockey in the central Connecticut region as well as promoting the CCSU Blue Devils.

“I’d say our club differs from other clubs simply due to the high level at which we compete and the level of exposure the club brings to the university,” said Mink, “We’re able to compete against other universities in an effort to represent Central Connecticut State University across the Northeast and beyond.”

Unlike most other club sports, ice hockey requires participating players to pay a yearly fee of $1,700 to participate. The fee covers costs that include all aspects of a college hockey season—from ice time at Newington Arena (where the team hosts home games) for games and practices to travel expenses to equipment such as uniforms and team warm-up suits.

According to Mink, the club is always open to new members as it looks to promote both the sport of hockey as well as Central Connecticut. The club team allows Central to have a presence in a sport played widely around the Northeast.

“Hockey is important because it promotes physical activity, competition, teamwork, resilience, and a lot of hard work,” said Mink. “With no team competing at the NCAA level for CCSU, this club is all that the university has in the very crucial New England college hockey market. The club represents everything that is the spirit of the Blue Devils and CCSU: hard work, sportsmanship, and learning. We love representing CCSU.”

The team’s current overall record is 11-12-3, with their next home game scheduled for Feb. 7 at 9 p.m. against Bryant University. The ice hockey team is only one of the over 20 club sports that CCSU has to offer and serves as another outlet for talented athletes to get involved, not only with sports but to become closer to the CCSU community as well.

 

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Fill Your Stomach, Not Your Script

By Brittany Hill

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. It’s also the way to curing disease.

Surely it’s easier to pop a pill every morning than to change your entire diet. But the fact is, food is your ultimate cure.

Our parents’ generation learned to take a pill when something ailed. However, years of adapting to this lifestyle and accruing both mental and physical health ailments are proving their practices as troublesome.

Although some over the counter and prescription pills have great intentions and ultimately help people in need, they are also the scapegoat for avoiding real, underlying issues. Not to mention, more than half of the prescription pills you are taking are to counteract or treat side effects from another pill. And the cycle continues viciously.

When you take a pill, you’re numbing, masking and not giving the cause much thought. People are comfortable with taking ibuprofen for a headache because it kicks in immediately and they know from past practice that it’s going to help.

However, what better way to prevent future problems than to use the past? In order to do this, you first find the root to the problem. Then from there you can find natural remedies that have much fewer consequences and help you in the long run, not just short term.

For instance, instead of smearing your face with cream or using a prescription to treat blemishes, lemons are a great alternative that not only cost less – but also have great effects on your skin visually.

Okay, so yeah, not everything is as simple as that. There are many complex health situations that call for more intense treatment. But I found it nearly impossible to believe that one’s diet cannot heal nearly all of the things ailing you – both mentally and physically.

Netflix has all the sources that you need- I have watched Forks Over Knives, Hungry For Change and Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead all documenting how people lost crazy amounts of weight, stopped taking prescription pills and relied on natural remedies to cure a myriad of problems; from the deadliest of diseases like cancer to less serious ailments. And it was all from eating better foods – not from taking a pill.

This is because they focused on the long-term. Instead of finding a right-now solution, they realized the solutions aimed towards a better forever are key.

A person’s happiness and emotions are connected to what you consume, etc. My brother had been taking heavy doses of anti-anxiety medicine, where he described feeling like a zombie. Even though his dose was, in fact, very high for his body type and mentality, it changed how he felt about himself. After finding the root to his anxiety, coping and weaning himself off the medication, he finds that exercise and coping with his problems more naturally are setting him up for a life of healthiness and true happiness.

It doesn’t apply to everyone, but the less unnatural products you put on and in your body, the more your body is going to thank you. Forget about all those commercials, advertisements and what your parents have done for “years” – quit refilling the script, find the a real cure and eat something good.

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Coke’s Message Lost in Translation

On Sunday, 111 million-plus people watched the Seattle Seahawks demolish the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl LXVIII. While there are no numbers to show how many watched solely for the commercials, it can be assumed a large section of the viewership were more interested in the ads than the action taking place on the field.

Unlike any other live television event, the Super Bowl is universally recognized as one of if not the premier programs to advertise on, with a 30 second ad running $3-4 million. The commercials have become as big as the game itself.

Just look at the amount of coverage and reviews of the commercials from publications and sites like Entertainment Weekly, SB Nation and Slate Magazine. Or better yet, look to Twitter to see the reaction to each ad in real time, as people critiqued or praised each ad.

Sometimes, however, that reaction revealed some of the uglier opinions harbored by Americans, most notably during Coca-Cola’s second half ad.

That commercial featured a rendition of “America the Beautiful” being sung in multiple languages and featured people of different ethnic and geographical backgrounds. The commercial was meant to represent the diversity that is a fundamental part of the United States.

But after the ad aired, Twitter exploded with people blasting Coca-Cola for the decision, claiming that only English should be spoken in America, or that it was wrong for “terrorists” to be singing the song, as the ad featured Arab-Americans singing in Arabic.

Some people even made the “noble” decision to boycott Coke in favor of it’s competitor Pepsi, despite the fact that Pepsi’s top executives are different nationalities, as the Huffington Post reported on Monday.

Pepsi’s CEO, Indra K. Nooyi, is a Hindu woman originally from India and Zein Abdalla, Pepsi’s president, is Muslim.

Additionally, people became upset over the depiction of a gay couple in the ad, certain that this went against the moral fiber of America, despite the fact that 17 states have legalized same-sex marriage and that a majority of American’s support a nationwide marriage equality law, according to a 2013 Gallup poll.

Social media like Twitter can serve as a valuable tool in the digital age in which we live, but actions and comments like those following Coca-Cola’s ad only serve to bring to light the darker side of America. The ability for people to instantaneously spit out their thoughts behind the anonymous glare of a computer or phone screen puts on display the bigotry and racism still present in America.

Sadly, this kind of response has become a sort of norm with Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. And while some people used those platforms to praise Coke for the ad’s nod to America’s diverse immigration history, until those criticizing it are shown their fallibility, it will be difficult to move America’s morality forward.

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Sochi Olympic Games A Mess

by Mike Griffen

Outside of the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi, Russia (one site of the XXII Winter Olympic Games) stands something that defies the concept of “winter” games: palm trees.

Say what you will about the Russians, it’s impossible to deny their proficiency in the art of deliberate contradiction. Sochi is a beach resort. Yes, a beach resort, situated on the northeastern coast of the Black Sea, one of the warmest regions of Russia. It has an average winter temperature in the neighborhood of 52 degrees Fahrenheit and its climate is classified as sub-tropical.

In other words, the idyllic location for a winter sporting event.

Now, if the inappropriate climate were the only issue with the Sochi Games that would be one thing. But subtropical temperatures are at the very bottom of a laundry list of controversies.

In 2007, Sochi won their bid to host the XXII Winter Olympic Games over Pyongyang, South Korea and Salzburg, Austria. Many considered both Pyongyang and Salzburg more suitable to host the games than Sochi, with both receiving higher grades from the International Olympic Committee in most categories.

But Sochi won. Many attribute the successful bid to be a result of outside help of a wealthy “businessman” by the name of Gafur Rakhimov. U.S. officials identify Rakhimov as one of the biggest crime bosses in the world and a major heroin kingpin.

Rakhimov allegedly may have paid off some of the members of the International Olympic Committee in exchange for their vote. Yet even after numerous criminal allegations Rakhimov still holds his position as a vice president of the Olympic Council of Asia.

Russian president Vladimir Putin had initially promised an overall budget in the area of $12 billion for the games at an IOC meeting in 2007, a figure which shocked many of those present because it meant that he was willing to spend twice as much as the closest competitor.

The 2014 Olympics, however, have inexplicably racked up a higher total cost – an estimated $51 billion – than the last nine Winter Olympic Games combined. Blatant and brazen cronyism, corruption, and embezzlement are major contributing factors in the overrun cost. As of now it is estimated that roughly half of the money ($26 billion) spent on the project in the last seven years has gone towards embezzlement and kickbacks for Putin and his friends and allies.

The most glaring example of this comes in the form of a 30 mile highway construction project connecting the alpine and coastal sections of the games. It has been dubbed “the most expensive road in the world,” with a total cost of nearly $10 billion or $333 million per mile. There are numerous other cases of overspending on construction by the Russian government after personal friends of Putin were given the construction contracts for many of the venues.

The Russian government under Putin can best be characterized as a kleptocracy, derived from Greek word kleptēs, meaning thief, and kratos, meaning ruler. His regime is essentially stealing from right under the nose of the Russian people, getting away with it, and then taking his shirt off and running around in the wilderness.

One Russian business man by the name of Valery Morozov spoke out publicly about the corruption of the officials within Putin’s office. He was told that he would be “drowned in his own blood,” by an official and has since fled to Great Britain.

Putin’s government has found a clever, albeit reprehensible, way of deflecting the attention away from their incredible display of greed and avarice: the persecution and discrimination of homosexuals. By creating a diversion built around such a hot-button topic, they were hoping to transfer the attention of the world at large to human rights and not rampant corruption.

They were incredibly successful. In the months leading up to the Games, we haven’t heard hardly anything about what has been happening behind the scenes.

One of the bigger concerns about the Games themselves is the safety and security of the athletes. The Americans and the Russians alike are on high alert. Sochi is in a region located just 200 miles from the disputed territory of Chechnya. Chechen groups with have been warring with Russia for decades and executed two suicide bombings in the Russian city of Volgograd in the past five months.

Additionally, Sochi is located in a region where, exactly 150 years ago in 1864, the genocide of the Circassian people occurred. They seek retribution, or at least an apology, from Russia. Instead, what Russia did was place the snowboard and ski portion of the Games on “Red Hill,” so called because of the blood of Circassians that was shed there during the ethnic cleansing of their people.

It has been a long time since a sporting event has had such a tornado of controversy swirling around it before it even began. There’s a little something for everybody. From human rights activists, to journalists, to sports fans and more, the XXII Olympic Winter Games are sure to have a little something for everyone.

 

 

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‘Miss Representation’ Portrays the Truth

By Paige Brown

The screening of ‘Miss Representation’ in Torp Theater last Tuesday revealed staggering information to students, professors and panelists about how the media portrays woman and girls and how it affects our daily lives.

Susan Campbell, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and newly selected Robert C. Vance Endowed Chair in Journalism and Mass Communication at CCSU, moderated a panel discussion following the screening of  ‘Miss Representation’, a documentary that explores all the ways the media portrays women and how it underestimates the power that women can hold without being defined by sexuality and physical beauty.

“Media makes money,” stated Cindy White, communication professor at CCSU and one of the three panelists following the screening. “Commercial media, which is the mass majority of the media that is produced and distributed, depends for it’s very life on profit, and profit depends on attracting advertising dollars. We are for sale. We are what is generating revenue that advertisers are expecting to get in return for their investment in the production and distribution of media.”

“We are not victims of this; we are part of process. We are people’s commodities. We need to recognize that and start to take the power back by exercising the power that we do have,” White explained what she thought the documentary was missing, “which is the power to make choices of what we purchase, what we wont purchase, what we will watch, what we wont watch, what we will tolerate and what we will make an argument about, not to say ‘I knew it, the media is a conspiracy'; it’s not the media, we are here too.”

Campbell agreed with White’s statement saying, “We are part of the equation and the equation often is that if I can make you feel bad about yourself, I can sell you a product to correct that imperfection.”

The panel also consisted of Teresa Younger, executive director of the state’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women and Mala Matacin co-chair and associate professor of University of Hartford’s department of Psychology.

“My interest with this topic is really about this idea that women aren’t good enough and I’m really interested in body image and what happens to women and the messages that come at them,” said Matacin, who proudly sported a crown that she brought and described herself as “miss”represented.

Throughout the documentary, high school students were interviewed about the topic of how the views and perceptions of women and girls in the media are distorted. Many of them were emotional in their answers, some even brought to tears thinking about how it affects themselves and their loved ones.

One student talks about how his younger, female cousins try too hard to be exactly what they see on television and in ads that degrade women while another student got emotional about her younger sister physically hurting herself because she doesn’t look how people think she should and gets bullied.

Gilbert Gigliotti, an English professor at CCSU, attended the screening and shared his views of how he felt about this topic to Susan Campbell.

“It seems like kids are watching things much too soon and they can’t understand what’s hitting them,” said Gigliotti.

Teresa Younger feels like this movie raises a lot of awareness of what the media’s responsibility is as a whole to how they objectify or portray women and men in the media.

“Every time I watch this movie I remember it’s also the misrepresentation of what’s not in this movie, which is a lack of voices in color, a lack men of color, a lack of Hispanic and Latino voices, a significant lack of “traditional people”; they went only to the experts or only went to people who are high school students.

Also, the other thing that they touch on but don’t really get into is the idea and the impact of media and leadership,” she said.

Younger feels that we as consumers can change the channel and can make a statement and can turn off the TV and change the radio station.

“When we see female reporters, journalists, activists being vilified, we need to make sure that they knew that what they are doing, you agree with,” Younger stated.

Campbell, being a female journalist, has seen firsthand how the media has portrayed her and others like her.

“Life long, [it] pissed me off, but I’m lucky. It didn’t quiet me down, it made me louder – but I don’t think that is everyone’s reaction,” she stated.

Campbell reflects on her earlier years in the media and the difficulties of overcoming social gender expectations.

“As I got older, it became increasingly frustrating to me to see women who were like me who weren’t textbook gorgeous and didn’t date the quarterback of the team – and didn’t want him – but who was building a career and intent on social justice issues,” says Campbell. “You don’t see those people.”

She has realized that women and girls can overcome what the media forces people to believe what they should be like, but only if they are willing to try.

“The way this sort of thing has an affect depends on your personality or upbringing,” she said, “you may, as a female, back away from being that loud person.”

“The greatest wisdom in ‘Miss Representation’ is to make your own stories,” White said. Her parting words of wisdom continued, “learn how to not be critical of the media that is there. Learn how to produce it, make it and distribute it. Become part of the construction of the images or a part of the deconstruction of images. Know that being able to pick up that pen or pick up that video camera is extraordinarily, extraordinarily empowering.”

 

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Design Flaw Sets Back Police Operations

By Caitlyn Ross

Central Connecticut State University’s new police department has completed the move into a new $5.7 million public safety complex last fall despite a major design flaw interrupting radio transmissions.

The station’s radio signals were originally obstructed by steel studs within the walls of the building, according to a review of state construction documents.

The new police station opened in July of 2013 and is equipped with a 400-plus on-campus camera monitoring dispatch center. To strengthen radio signals between the control center and on-campus officers, a new antenna was installed on the roof in October 2013.

According to records, CCSU installed the $7,400 antennae soon after discovering the problem, completing the new station on the corner of Wells and East streets.

The steel wall studs created something similar to the static cell phone users experience in a dead zone, said Police Sgt. Gerald Erwin. In order to communicate with the dispatch center, officers on campus patrol wear Motorola belt radios.

“So if I called an officer from in here to out there about whatever, it was very hard to hear,” said Erwin. “I could hear them, but it would be very static-y.”

Richard Bachoo, CCSU’s chief administrative officer, calls the steel wall stud flaw more cosmetic than substantial. Though police officials did acknowledge that the glitch could have hindered the effectiveness of police work.

“You just had to listen really hard [to hear officers talking],” said Erwin. “The connection was broken up … very static-y.”

Regardless of the steel stud set-back, the growing, full-service department feels that the new 12,500 square foot building meets their needs.

“We are now a fully-operational police station with the ability to deal with any situation,” said Erwin.

The new station replaces the former station off Paul Manafort Drive that the department had occupied since 1982. The old station, located in a converted single-family house, was falling apart and posed health hazards that included rodents.

“The old building was not up to date and could no longer fit our needs as a growing department,” said Erwin. “The building was a gift.”

The modernized complex includes two overnight holding cells, a separate prisoner-processing area and a basement level for holding state issued weapons and body suits. The station is home base for 24 certified municipal police officers and several civilian workers.

According to Erwin, the station’s 400-plus on-campus cameras are used to monitor high-priority areas such as the Bursar’s Office, the Student Center and dormitory elevators.

Used mainly for evidence, the footage must be kept for 30 days according to CCSU’s Record Retention policy.

“There are cameras all over,” Erwin says. “Due to how we do business, I can’t disclose all of their positions.”

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Fire Displaces Students

By Acadia Otlowski

An off-campus apartment fire displaced residents from two buildings last Thursday, many of which were CCSU students.

Campus View apartments were forced to evacuate between 40 and 50 people following a fire that started in one apartment in the complex.

“I never had a fire in all my years of doing this,” said Andrew Liburdi, a property manager for 15 years and a community manager for Campus View for the last three weeks. “It was terrifying.”

The cause of the fire is still unknown but it is estimated that there is upwards of $300 thousand in damage, according to Andrew Liburdi, community manager for Campus View.

“I couldn’t even give you a number,” said Liburdi in reference to the damage, who says it is too early to tell exactly how much it will cost.

The damage to the complex would have been much worse, had there not been a fire wall between the two buildings.  Liburdi said that only one building had fire damage while the other had water damage from the fire hoses.

Buildings 1300 and 1306 were the two structures affected by the fire.  The fire occurred in building 1300 while building 1306 was just water damage. Liburdi hopes to have the electricity in building 1306 “turned on” and livable “no later than Friday.”

Liburdi confirmed that, as of Monday, no one is allowed to live in either building.

On Thursday and Friday night students were lodged in the Sheridan in Rocky Hill. They were then transferred to Extended Stay American, located in Meriden. Residents who were without vehicles were lodged in town and students were offered housing on-campus.

Campus View is paying for the students’ hotel stays until they are allowed to move back into their apartments. Additionally, Liburdi said that students will be given a $100 credit towards food.

“We offered students temporary housing. They could stay here the semester and beyond,” said Laura Tordenti, vice president of Student Affairs. Tordenti was on-scene directly after the fire occurred. Liburdi estimated that approximately six to eight student decided to accept the university’s offer.

Tordenti gave credit to the business next door, Fine Carpentry and Millwork Since 1951. The company opened their showroom to those affected by the fire.

“They deserve a shout out,” said Tordenti.

Representatives of the company felt that it was something they had to do.

I guess all we can say here at Sanson is that we were very happy to be a good neighbor,” said Mike Esposito, vice president of operations, in an email.

University physician Christopher Diamond noted how luxuriant the showroom seemed in comparison to the bedraggled group of students taking refuge inside.

“It’s one of the things I love about this school… It was heartwarming what they were sacrificing,” said Diamond.

“These folks opened their showroom. The students were shivering,” said Tordenti, “They welcomed  us so warmly, literally.”

Other companies stepped up to aide those who lost during the fire. Textbooks were among the possessions lost in the fire.

“Barnes and Noble is being very helpful in loaning the students textbooks,” said Tordenti. Area businesses and the Red Cross contributed vouchers for clothing and food. Central Connecticut State University’s Athletics Department showed up with sweatpants and hoodies for students who were in their pajamas when the fire alarm sounded.

“Two students didn’t have shoes on,” said Tordenti, describing residents who had left their rooms in a rush, wrapped in blankets and without winter apparel.”

Students are encouraged to talk to the CCSU Counseling and Wellness Center if they were affected by the event.

“In situations involving traumatic losses, I want to remind students that they may have reactions long after the incident that affect the ability to concentrate, recall information, remember tasks, as well as thoughts and memories of the event,” said Jonathon Pohl, interim associate director of the center. “Students can come to the Counseling Center to speak with a licensed professional at no cost and the conversation is confidential.”

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20 Under 20: GoldBurger

Kevin Jachimowicz

It’s not often you exit a burger place feeling like a different person, but GoldBurger, which is in the vicinity of CCSU, and can satisfy your hunger for around $10.  If you’ve never had eaten at GoldBurger in Newington before – not to be confused with GoldBerg’s in West Hartford – you have plans to mark down.

The first time you step inside GoldBurger, you are greeted with funky, colorful paintings on the walls (this includes plays on various famous paintings, of course their versions including burgers in place of other objects), along with multiple bulletin boards covered in drawings from the younger customers, recommendations for crazy new burger ideas, polaroid pictures of their competition winners posing, along with numerous testimonials to all their different types of incredible burgers’, loaded with pretty much any topping an American mind can come up with.

With that said, the staff is very friendly, environment is comfortable, and service is as professional as it needs to be for the type of establishment they’re in (think Moo-Ya style environment, yet fine-dining quality meat).  GoldBurger did initially take the BlueChip card as a form of payment, but did away with that ability about a year ago, which was irritating initially, but the quality of the food far trumps any little circumstances of that nature.

Something fun about the restaurant is that they often hold little competitions, as well as beer tasting nights, in which you can buy a ticket to reserve your spot, and they close the restaurant to the public for a private event.  They also have numerous challenges you customers can attempt to conquer.  For example, The Trinity Challenge was held in the October of 2010 at GoldBurger.  The requirements to complete the challenge successfully were to down a 3×4 in just 45 minutes flat (4 patties, 3 slices of cheese 4 bacon strips), a Schogger (a beef patty, chicken patty, hot dog and sausage all on a bun), 1.5 pounds of fries and a large drink…they aren’t always appealing, but still makes for a fun time, for those who are crazy enough to try it.

My go to meal at GoldBurger is the Rivals Rodeo Double Cheeseburger, which is somewhat of a spin-off on Burger King’s Rodeo Burger, if you ask me.  The Rivals Rodeo comes with two beef patties, spicy BBQ sauce, thick-cut onion rings (which I substitute with frizzled onion rings), american cheese, topped with bacon.  I also enjoy their occasional specials which are typically creative new burger choices, or something of the like.  For example, one special they had, which would replace my typical burger, if they would put it on the menu, came with blue cheese crumbles, béarnaise sauce, and a hint of spicy buffalo sauce.

GoldBurger is the place to stop on the way home from, or on the way to school for commuters, when you need a quick, guaranteed-to-be-great meal.

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Respect the Skin They’re In

By Paige Brown

Tattoos have come a long way in recent years. More people of all ages and gender are getting tattoos, no matter their profession or work setting. But something that I always wondered: why it was such an issue in the first place?

People get tattoos for many different reasons; a death in the family, a quote from a song that inspires them, or even just something they find interesting to look at as an amazing piece of art.

I have five tattoos. Each of them has a strong meaning to me, whether it represents someone special in my life, someone I have lost or an awesome memory. I don’t, nor do I think I ever will, regret any of the ink permanently on my skin.

So what makes someone with tattoos any less professional than someone without any? Nothing.

I am the same person I would have been if I never got a tattoo. Just because I have ink on my skin doesn’t mean I am a delinquent.

I understand that some people choose to stray away from tattoos because of the field they are perusing. Teaching, for example, is one place where you rarely see people inked up. But what if they were? What makes them different?

Weren’t we taught when we were younger to never judge a book by its cover? And at the same time, we are taught to express ourselves in any way we feel is right. Tattoos are a way for people to express themselves without any boundaries.

I know what some people may think: “Why should I take someone who has a cat eating a cupcake on their arm seriously?” I get it. Sometimes tattoos can come off as stupid or pointless, and whether or not they are or aren’t, it’s not your body to judge.

Yes, that person may be risking their chance of getting a job on television or as a nurse at a children’s hospital, but that is their choice.

Although, for all of you managers, human resources employees and CEO’s out there who do the hiring, give that person with a sleeve a chance. Really interview them. Find out who they are, what their work ethic is like and see that just because they have a tattoo, doesn’t mean they are stupid, lazy and unprofessional.

After reading up on some opinions of why people don’t like tattoos, one idea stuck with me; highly educated people in high positions, such as business leaders and politicians never have tattoos.

Wrong.

Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of the UK had a tattoo of an anchor on his right arm. Senator Eni F. H. Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa) has a traditional Polynesian tattoo from when he entered manhood in his culture. Representative Duncan Hunter (R-California) has two completed half sleeves. Even Theodore Roosevelt, twenty-sixth President of the United States, had his family crest tattooed on his chest.

I’m not saying go out and get every inch of your body covered in ink, but don’t judge the people who do. Tattoos have an infinite amount of meaning to every person who has one and people need to learn to respect that.

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Freshman Seizes His Opportunity

by Navindra Persaud

When the Central Connecticut men’s basketball team’s star junior guard Kyle Vinales went down with a broken finger, it became imperative for someone else to step up. 

Enter freshman guard Matt Mobley. 

In the eight games since Vinales went down, Mobley has been averaging 10.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game with over 10 points in seven of those eight games. He had two such games out of his previous 13. 

“More minutes helps,” says Mobley of his success. “I’m getting more minutes and I feel like the coaching staff trusts me so I’m more confident now.” 

According to Mobley, Vinales has been quite instrumental in helping him improve his skills and prepare for games this season. 

“We’ve worked out a lot, he’s taught me some moves that I’ve used in the game that worked,” says Mobley. “I’ve just learned a lot.” 

Born in nearby Worcester, Mass., Mobley fell in love with the game of basketball at the young age of eight, pursuing the game at the encouragement of his parents. 

“I always had a basketball in my hands when I was young,” says Mobley, whose favorite NBA player happens to be Russell Westbrook, the point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder. “Always just loved it; always went outside and played it.” 

Mobley attended St. Peter Marian Junior-Senior High School where he helped the team make state and was named Player of the Year, All-State and an All-Star as a senior.  

“It felt good,” says Mobley of the accolades earned his senior year. “I put a lot of hard work in that season and I’m glad that people started to notice.” 

Following his time at St. Peter Marian, Mobley was enrolled at Worcester Academy, a prep school in his hometown, before being recruited by Central. For Mobley, the transition to college ball was not that hard. 

“I think my prep school helped me out a lot. I was used to the scheduling and practice, so it wasn’t difficult transitioning.” CCSU offered Mobley a spot early in the fall and he committed before the season started. 

“It’s a great campus. I love the fans, I love the team, I just love everything about it,” says Mobley, a marketing major. Mobley has seen improvement to his game since his arrival in New Britain. 

“I feel like my shot got better, my handling definitely got a lot better than last year and just my overall intensity for the game has increased.” 

Mobley, however, believes that he can still work on and improve every aspect of his game as he continues to progress as a college basketball player. 

“I just want to be successful, and I know it’s going to take a lot of hard work,” says Mobley. “The work I’ve put in is starting to show a little bit. “ 

The Northeast Conference has recognized Mobley’s improvement by naming him NEC Rookie of the Week for the last two straight weeks. Despite the Blue Devils struggles this season, Mobley remains optimistic that the team will make the NEC tournament.    

“We definitely think we can make a push, we’ve proven that we can play among all of the teams in the NEC,” says Mobley, “So we feel that if we can make the tournament we might be able to make some noise.” 

At 6-15 this season, with an NEC record of 2-6, the team has some serious work to do. Mobley adds that every team the Blue Devils play is tough especially after their 18-point comeback win over Robert Morris. 

“We have Bryant coming in, they’re second in the NEC so we know they’re going to be tough,” says Mobley. 

The Bulldogs will face Mobley and the Blue Devils Thursday, Feb.  6 at 7 p.m. in Detrick Gym.

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“Seeing the Obvious, Missing the Structure”

by Sean Begin

On Thursday, Central Connecticut State University, along with the Mosaic Center and the Center for Africana Studies, welcomed anti-racist lecturer Tim Wise onto campus to speak.

Wise addressed a packed Alumni Hall, with listeners filling every available seat, standing in the back and crowding the railing of Alumni Hall’s balcony to get a good view of Wise as he spoke.

With passion and force, Wise spoke on the problems of racism and white privilege in the United States and on how racism is more than the overt bigotry displayed by neo-Nazi or extreme right wing groups.

“What I’ve come to appreciate after 25 years [of anti-racism activism] is that [the problem] is much more nuanced than that,” said Wise. “The problem is much broader.”

Wise is a white Jewish-American born and raised in the primarily black community of Nashville, Tenn., an upbringing that offered him a unique view of racism at an early age that many young white children are not exposed to.

Wise got his start as an anti-racist activist during his time at Tulane University in New Orleans fighting South African apartheid. He continued this activism after graduating when he worked to keep documented white supremacist David Duke out of both a U.S. Senator seat as well as the governorship of Louisiana.

While Duke, other overt racists and among other groups, right wing Republicans who fought against affirmative action in the early 1990s were some of Wise’s early opponents, he admits they were merely symptoms of a larger problem within the U.S.

“The mentality that made David Duke possible… was far more widespread than just that used on the right,” said Wise. “The belief at the root of all of that… is a mentality we are all taught in this society: that you can be anything you want to be as long as you work hard for it.”

Wise, a father of two young daughters, is aware that it’s important to teach kids they can be anything they want but cautions people that such a statement requires an asterisk, an explanation that there is an implicit bias within the systems of America that make it harder for minorities and certain groups to succeed.

Wise argues that being taught from a young age that those on top are superior, when those on top are historically always white, affluent males, enforces and internalizes racial bias into people that may not display any overt racial tendencies.

This is the problem facing America and anti-racists, says Wise. That an implicit bias exists in a great majority of Americans, especially white Americans, without them realizing it. While all people, even those in minority groups, display some internalized bias, white people, as the majority, remain largely oblivious to the issues faced by minorities.

Even those people who actively fight against racism sometimes miss the inherent racism of the system, as evidenced by Wise’s own mother who managed to remove a racist teacher from her position but failed to address the racism of a school system that promoted to white kids to honors classes but kept black kids out, what Wise calls “seeing the obvious but missing the structure.”

Along with this implicit bias, Wise has also seen racism and white privilege continue to succeed because of the crutch of good intentions as well as the lenses through which people view culture and society.

Good intentions, says Wise, mean almost nothing. Someone may not have intended to step on a person’s foot but that does not mean they should not acknowledge the pain caused. Similarly, a person may not intend to act racist but by refusing to acknowledge the racist system, they are in fact helping to perpetuate its existence.

All people view the world through the lenses by which they are raised, be that in an affluent all white neighborhood and private schools or poverty stricken ghettos in cities. Historical lenses, or how we view history, also have an effect on racism, such as the perception of immigration in this country.

“We owe it to society to acknowledge the dilemma in front of us,” said Wise. “We owe to ourselves to address racial disparity not as an act of charity but as an act of profound and critical self-help.”

The talk generated vocal approval throughout the audience, who broke out into applause and cheers several times during Wise’s speech. Consisting of a wide array of people, from students to community members of all creeds and colors, the crowd was receptive to Wise’s lecture.

“Having someone like [Tim Wise] speak at your campus helps you to understand that society works in a certain function and it helps to acknowledge that it does,” said Salam Measho, a junior at CCSU and member of the Student Government Association.

The lecture was meant to accompany sociology and anthropology classes at Central that have read Wise’s book “White Like Me” or watched the documentary of the same name.

“Like he was talking about there’s a lot of implicit things we don’t necessarily always see, so it’s harder to raise awareness about that,” said Taylor Troxell, House Committee Chairperson of the Student Union Board of Governors, which helped Mosaic and the Africana Centers bring Wise to Central.

Wise has had an effect on some students at Central through his book, documentary and now this lecture on Thursday.

“I’ve completely changed my way of thinking,” said CCSU freshman Taylor Jacobucci. “I’m trying every day to because I know you’re stuck with it if you grow up with it.”

That is ultimately Wise’s goal: to make people aware of the inherent injustice of the systems in place in the U.S. in an effort to get them changed.

“It changes your life and you can help change other people’s lives,” added Jacobucci. “It’s a cause and effect and you affect other people and I think it’s great what he’s doing. I look at him like a role model.”

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Campus Enacts Security Upgrades

Blinds are just one improvement that can be seen at Central Connecticut State University following a security breach  at the school late in the Fall 2013 semester.

In addition to the blinds, the installation of which are nearly complete, there are a list of weak spots, in the university’s security systems that the administration, has been working towards mending. The administration has developed a list of 17 aspects of security that need to be addressed.

“We have new doors going into Barrows [Hall] this summer,” said Richard Bachoo, chief administrative officer.  There are other improvements which will improve the security of Barrows Residence Hall.

“Barrows is locked from the outside now,” said Sal Sintorino, Director of Facilities Management. Previously the building was less secure. Now the locking system includes an intercom and camera which has electronic access to Residence Life.

Bachoo also noted that the wireless internet was being upgraded.

“We will have the wireless upgrades completed in residence halls by August and [in] the academic buildings,” said Bachoo. Improving the wireless internet will allow faculty and staff to be connected in case of emergency.

There are plans to have a campus-wide security test during this semester, according to Bachoo. Regional authorities will be notified and all the systems will undergo a stress test.

According to the list of 17 points, written by Mark McLaughlin, the university spokesman, there will be an effort to replace the older key locks with up-to-date locks.

Presently, there is an alert system called the MIR3 emergency notification system.

“The purpose is to provide the campus with a CAP compliant system which will make the notification process more efficient,” said the email listing the points. CAP or Common Alerting Protocol, is an XML-based data format that exchanges public warnings and emergencies across multiple alerting technology platforms. This system could receive alerts from the Department of Homeland Security and the National Oceanic, Atmospheric Administration and other alerting departments. Presently the university’s system is not CAP compliant.

Another improvement to the alert system is the Alertus System, which will flash emergency messages across every computer screen at the university. This will allow professors that teach off of PowerPoint to be aware when an emergency is occurring. It will also help students who are in a quiet setting, such as the university computer labs.

Bachoo also says that there are plans to have safety training seminars for each department on the staff. This will help to improve the facult and staff response to emergencies, which was less than ideal during the Nov. 4 lockdown. In addition, the Campus Emergency Procedures Guide will be updated, along with related literature including Faculty Senate pamphlets and posters for offices and classrooms.

Outside of the buildings, there will be electronic signs, which will display emergency information in case of a crisis.

Sintorino is in the research phase of finding technology to notify students when parking garages are full. Bachoo said that this is related to security, but not directly.

“[This is] so students don’t have to drive all the way to the top and drive all the way back down,” said Bachoo, talking about when students are parking.

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Blumenthal Speaks on Middle Eastern Conflict

By Jacqueline Stoughton

Max Blumenthal, journalist and author of the book “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel,” visited the Central Connecticut State University campus to give a brief lecture about the topics discussed in his new book, including the persecution that many Jewish citizens in Israel are implementing on non-Jewish residents.

“Something is really happening out there, I think the conversation is opening paradoxically.  This country has democratic space to the extent that it’s never existed, and narrows inside Israel society,” says Blumenthal.  “In Israel-Palestine this borderless space exists under a regime of ethnic separation.  This is what I came here to talk about.”

Blumenthal’s book begins with the description of Operation Cast Lead, an attack that inspired Blumenthal to write his book, along with the curiosity about changes occurring in Israel and the elections that were happening with Operation Cast Lead as the backdrop.

Blumenthal explains that Avigder Lieberman, Israel’s top diplomat, ran a simple campaign followed by an easy win by declaring “no loyalty, no citizenship,” to non-Jewish citizens, claiming they would destroy the Jewish state unless they were stripped of their citizenship.

“This was a promise that won them sweeping victories in high school mock elections in Israel,” says Blumenthal.  “Because, it is the youth of Israel that is turning more right winged than their elders.”

As a part of research for his book, Blumenthal went out and interviewed people in Lieberman’s party and immersed himself in key institutions of Israel society.  He later ended up in the office of Alex Miller, a Moscow immigrant now residing in Israel.  Miller was working on a series of laws that would strip some legislators of their right to run for office and of their Israel citizenship as well.

Included in the many laws Miller is attempting to pass is the Acceptance Community Law. The law legalizes the discrimination of communities under 500 residences on the basis of race and religion.  The Jewish and/or Democratic Law, this would declare Israel’s Jewish character to be superior to its democratic character, and the Anti-Incitement Law, this ordered a jail sentence of up to one year to anyone who convinced another Israel citizen to be disloyal.

According to Blumenthal, the most dangerous law enacted by Miller is the Nakba Law that punishes anyone who is observing Nakba Day in public with a two-year jail sentence.  Nakba Day, being similar to an independence day for Israel where they performed an “ethnic cleansing” of 750,000 Palestinian Arabs between 1947-1948, marked the establishment of the Jewish state.  “They Jewish state could not have been established without the removal of these people.”

Blumenthal explains how the persecution of non-Jews by Jews in Israel has grown out of control over the years.  Palestinian citizens are being evicted from their homes if they try to renovate without a building permit.  After allocating houses to the possession of a holding company in 1948, the state now owns 40% of these homes.  Along with this, members of an all-Jewish gated community against local churches and mosques are filing noise complaints.

“This is an anti-democratic, racist agenda.  The days of 1948 have arrived again,” says Blumenthal.  “There is no reason to believe that this government will stop its campaign to finish 1948.”

Non-Jewish refugees are considered to be a cancer to the national body, says Blumenthal.  It was made illegal under Jewish law for apartments to be rented out to non-Jews.  Women are also forbidden to date non-Jews.

“We’re seeing a kind of Jim Crow mentality surfacing in Israel,” says Blumenthal.  “Something is happening in Israel and it is impacting Jewish-Americans.”

Following Blumenthal’s initial lecture was a question and answer segment.  Blumenthal was asked if he believed it to be ironic that the world’s most persecuted people are now the persecutors.  He answers, explaining it to be ironic and natural that this persecuted group would find their place through practicing anti-Palestinian legislation.

“What’s troubling is the degree to which they exploit the Holocaust,” says Blumenthal.  “’You shouldn’t be racist if racist things were done to you’ is a minority opinion in Israel.”

“Israel is in a situation where it can do nothing but maintain its occupation and manage its system,” says Blumenthal.  “You can disagree with my opinions, but what I don’t think you can disagree with is that these trends are unacceptable.  The status quo needs to be challenged.”

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Reflection of a Fallen Friend

By: Paige Brown

It has been about a week since I lost someone important in my life. She was not only my best friend, she was like a sister to me.

After almost 13 years of being in my life, my dog Pepper is no longer at the door, no longer yelping for joy when I come home. She is not sleeping in my bed at night or rotating in front of the pellet stove after dinner. She is gone.

Losing a pet is just as hard as losing a person that you love and care about. They are just as much of a family member as your mother or father, sister or brother.

Pepper was a present for my 10th birthday. When my dad brought her in the house, I could not believe she was mine. A little, white Chihuahua with big black spots, one shaped like a heart on her left side: the newest member of the Brown family.

I strongly believe that pets serve a purpose besides just being a pet. In the past five years, Pepper had been a companion to my father and grandfather until they both passed away. The emotions she felt after they were gone were noticeably strong.

We all know the feeling of losing someone important and loved, yet most people do not notice that pets are able to feel the same way. There were days after my father passed away where she would not touch her food bowl. She could not go outside without having him next to her.

Like I said, she was a member of our family. We held her through the tough times, and she was able to comfort all of us, showing that she could sense when we were feeling down.

Coping with the loss of Pepper over the last week has been hard, to say the least. Every night while my mother, sister and I are eating dinner, the gape of her begging for food is almost unbearable.

Her food bowl is still sitting in the kitchen, her bed by the couch in the living room and her toys on the floor. We are moving on slowly.

Pepper had a great, long life and was loved by many. She brought my family, friends and me amazing memories of her that I can never forget.

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Where Comfort Meets Classic

By Aundrea Murray

 Who knows how to remain fashionable when you are rushing for a 9am class while rubbing day-old makeup from your eyes and wiping freshly spilled coffee off of the seats of your car? Making sure that you do not over-accessorize, or simply ensuring that your lips are not dry, might not be the first few things on your mind as a college student. My opinion: flaunt what you have. Show off that beer t-shirt you won at a bar, and dust the caked snow from your UGG boots. A “laid-back” approach to your wardrobe is one of the highlights of being in school. You can dress how you want, when you want, and still turn heads without killing your toes in heels.

Your confidence in dressing down will show on a sleepy face, and many of the students here at Central straddle the line between high fashion and “what the F are you wearing?” Comfort meets classic when you pair the right sweatshirt with the right boots. Why focus on makeup when midterms are already creeping up? Right?

My “Fashionable Fantasy” of the week is junior, Jessica Jenkins. The mood of her day is exemplified by her entire outfit. If she is wearing leggings, you can bet that she has a pretty easy going day ahead of her. Fast-forward to a day filled with broadcast classes and tons of running around and shooting. In such scenarios, you might even catch this avid heel-wearer in the comfiest of sneakers. Jenkins forever remains polished, poise and powerful with her style.

“Someone is always asking where something I am wearing is from; at least once a day”, she admits.

Our campus is a runway for the athletes, the art kids, the “anyones” and the “anythings”. In better terms: students have been more focused on getting to class on time than being fashionably late. Who cares? Before spending hours in your closet, searching for the most popular brand to wear, check the weather, focus on how cold it will be today and  work with that. While others are dashing hall to hall avoiding the cold, you will be fastening the zipper on your fleece, relishing in its warmth.

Individuals who are naturally fashionable seem underrepresented. The ones who can flawlessly rock yoga pants with moccasins are not appropriately recognized. As always, it takes true skill to orchestrate a detail-oriented ensemble. And it is amazing to look good without having to try.

So what is my style tip for the week? Be you. No cliché. No repetitive answer, and certainly no preaching. If there is anything I have realized as a young adult it is that our youth is the best accessory for us to embrace. Fashion always will be a practice of absolutely no limits. With that being said, give those jeans with the holes in the crotch one more shot before throwing them out. Thank me later.

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Capitalism Makes Us Fat

By: Brittany Hill

Losing weight is not about eating less food, it’s about eating the right food. Think of your body as a machine. If you put bad in, bad will come out. Likewise, if you put good in, good will come out. For some people in the U.S., and other cultures around the world, eating healthy comes naturally. But Americans are so busy figuring out their “next” step, that food is nothing more than sustenance until the next hunger pain or moment of boredom.

In comes processed foods.

As prevalent as processed foods are in our grocery stores, gas stations and vending machines, there is almost nothing good about them. Nearly all of the ingredients are treated with chemicals impossible to pronounce. Does this worry anyone else? Think about it. Almost everything we are putting into our bodies is full of preservatives. I dare you to read the food labels and seriously tell yourself that you will feel good after ingesting such harmful ingredients.

Remember–put good in, get good out. If you are putting all of these rough chemicals, preservatives, sugar and fat into your body, how do you expect to feel?

The most obvious and easily understood side effects are weight gain, diabetes and heart issues. It is the less obvious side effects that have the greatest presence soon after eating these foods. It may be difficult to believe, but fatigue, skin issues, feeling depressed, sleep problems and concentration levels are directly correlated with your diet.

The high calorie count in processed foods makes you think you are eating something fulfilling. However, in truth, your body craves more food to make up for the lack of nutrition able to fill your stomach for better, long-term functioning. Rest assured, considering our ancestors were hunter-gatherers, our bodies are historically designed to desire salt, sugar and fat–so you’re not crazy for loving every minute of munching down on an entire plate of fries.

Unfortunately, the succumbing to your cravings becomes a vicious cycle. If you are constantly relying on vending machine snacks, processed foods and “quick, cheap” meals from fast food restaurants, it is scientifically proven that you will come back for more. The companies that make these foods do not care about the nutritional content. They care about the profit. When profit is the leading force, health goes out the window. After the big food corporations put disgusting amounts of salt and preservatives into their food, the food loses its taste. Luckily for them, fat is equally as cheap as salt. So, after all the processing that allows food to stay on the shelves for months on end, they add tons of fat to the food to give it a “flavor” they hope you taste.

The scary part: so many food labels are a fraud. Some foods will say they are flavored by one thing, but do not actually have any ingredients that match the label. General Mills’ Blueberry Pomegranate Total cereal has no mention of neither blueberry or pomegranate on the ingredient list. The producers hope that the consumer will psychologically believe that the chemical concoctions they add to their product match up with what the label says.

Losing weight goes way beyond trying the newest diet or taking the newest diet pill. It is a lifestyle change. A majority of the foods in your grocery store are there for entertainment–nothing else. Stop resorting to fast food and processed snacks. They are expensive for what they offer nutritionally, give you terrible skin, affect your sleep pattern and minimize your mental cognition. I know they are tasty and are visually intriguing, but it is the processed foods that are making us fat–the sooner you eradicate them from your diet, the sooner you will feel better in mind, body and spirit. If you treat your body well, it will treat you well.

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Coffee Shop Brews New Choices

By Aundrea Murray

The grand opening of Sodexo’s newest coffee shop this week has the campus buzzing with curiosity and excitement. Students are wondering what is it that makes this new university installment different from the others. Within the past year, CCSU has managed to introduce a new meditation room, recreational center and academic building. General manager Dawn Tedesco confirms that a new coffee shop will be revealed in the Social Sciences building.

Sodexo plans to take a more natural approach to food and beverage availability at this new location. Tedesco says that Central will now have a coffee shop offering organic and more healthful alternatives to the popular bags of junk food and energy drinks. While such unhealthful items will most likely remain popular in the bookstore or cafeteria, students seem to be looking forward to the better options.

“I didn’t even know about the new coffee shop. Now I won’t have to walk all of the way to the Student Center,”  says sophomore Nikole Perryman about the coffee shop.

Other students are happy to see something new catered towards commuter students.

Commuter students are going to be the most excited about the shop. We [commuters] don’t need a new residence hall; we need coffee,” says transfer student Micheal Williams.

The shop’s location is a favored detail, as it will be located in the lobby of CCSU’s most recently constructed academic building. The lobby itself features newly furnished rooms and a lounge area, complete with flat screen televisions that broadcast CCSU’s campus media.

Tedesco argues that both the coffee and the versatile options in snacks will make this establishment stand out among the others.

“It’s different than the grab-and-go you see in Starbucks,” explains Tedesco.

By hosting products like organic granola bars–like CLIFF or Kashi brands–pastries, muffins and bottled protein shakes, the coffee shop is sure to make a name for itself.

Sodexo has acknowledged feedback from customers before developing the idea for a shop in the newest building on campus. The company wants to create an environment that promotes products that take effort and patience, such as a stricter diets, or recycling. A blueprint drafted by Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (L.E.E.D) is in place for the shop. The Sodexo team wanted to create a “green” place, able to support the lifestyle of the program. CCSU has also been paying close attention to the requests and demands of the student body before developing the project further.

Students can expect a variety of sandwiches, salads and a menu that is more accommodating to special diets and gluten allergies. Most foods will be pre-packaged, giving students a greater opportunity to buy lunch quickly and head back over towards class.

Students’ Blue Chip cards will be an acceptable form of payment at this location. Tedesco plans to have promotional offers during the shop’s opening week. Discounts on products, and other forms of coupons, are things Sodexo will be promoting.

Students, faculty members and visitors are welcome to enjoy the multiple offerings of Central’s newest establishment. Whether or not you are on the northern side of campus, a short walk to the main hall of our Social Sciences building may be well worth your time.

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CSU Community Shares Positive Experience With State School System

By Jacqueline Stoughton

The members of the Higher Education Committee, along with students, alumni, and faculty of the CSU community, came together last week to hold a meet and greet for the members of the Board of Regents to share their personal, academic, and social experiences at each of the four Connecticut state universities.

The Connecticut State University American Association of University Professors sponsored the panel discussion where three representatives from each of the four CSU schools shared what they love most about their school, how their experience at a CSU school has positively benefited and impacted their lives.

The panelists from Central Connecticut State University were the first to share.  Michael Markowicz, CCSU alum, started the discussion, explaining how, before arriving at CCSU, he was all ability and no results.

“What I got at Central was personal, individual attention,” says Markowicz, who now works as an associate at Murtha/Cullina Attorneys at Law. He graduated from Central with a History and Political Science degree.

“What I didn’t have, and what I’m so glad that I have today, is a real love of learning,” says Markowicz.  “I’m so thankful to this university for helping me develop that.”

Dejenne Mobley, a graduate student attending CCSU, explained how grateful he is to the university for understanding his deployment.  “One of the things I really took to heart was their understanding of me going to Iraq in 2009,” says Mobley.  CCSU helped him get the right insurance and chose the right courses in order to complete his Masters in the special education cross endorsement program.

“The faculty at Central genuinely wants us to learn.  They want us to understand the importance of believing in ourselves,” says Heidi Eilenberger, an undergraduate student at CCSU majoring in English with a minor in writing.  “The professors here care that I want to learn and they want to give me that education.”

Alumni, graduate, and undergraduate students from Easter, Southern, and Western spoke as well, describing their personal experiences at their schools and the impact it has made in each of their lives.

“I’ve built up my skills,” says Paula Hanson, ECSU alum.  “I think it was more than just skills, I’ve built up my confidence as well.”

“I can’t even begin to explain how much it has changed my life,” Allison Bass says, a SCSU alum who now works as an adjunct professor at the same university.  “It is such an honor to teach Southern students and to give the gift that was given to me of belief, support, success, and believing in your success.”

Bina Walker, a graduate student at SCSU, explained how upon her move from Seattle to Connecticut, SCSU has been so helpful of her adjustment to college and her new community.

The classes have been so amazing, rigorous, and challenging,” says Walker.  “It’s an honor to be at Southern; I love the program.”

“We have a great faculty, which is a common trait among all the CSU schools,” says Shamar Lamb, WCSU alum.  “Throughout everything I’ve gotten a great experience at WestConn through my on campus residency and work ethic.”

A brief question and answer session followed the initial panel discussion.  Until Gregory Gray, President of Conscue, took the microphone to give a brief speech on his opinions of the CSU schools.

“We heard stories about outstanding faculty and classroom activities,” says Gray.  “What struck me with great pride after hearing you all speak tonight was to hear about the learning communities our four universities have.”

Gray explains how the Board of Regents is currently working on a plan for the future that is based upon the three fundamental acts: student access, affordability, and unmatched quality.  A plan Gray believes can be achieved in the near future.

According to Gray, access and affordability are the biggest obstacles for potential students trying to obtain a college education. “We have the lowest tuition plan in state.  I think you will be quite pleased with the tuition plans we have made for the near future,” says Gray.

“Every person that comes to work here is passionately dedicated to student success,” says Gray. “The role of our four universities is really being achieved.”

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NFL Executive Gives Back to Central Through Scholarship

By Sean Begin

Scott Pioli, former Central Connecticut student and current NFL executive, has long been involved with giving back to the alma mater that made him a first generation college student. Most recent is the scholarship he endowed the school with in his name in 2011.

“I absolutely love Central Connecticut ,” says Pioli by phone. “It was five of the best growing years and most enjoyable years of my life. I’ve always given back to the university and always will because I got so much from it and the people there.”

The scholarship is awarded through a $100,000 endowed fund  donated to Central by Pioli and is given in partnership with the nonprofit organization College for Every Student. Any CFES student who seeks to attend CCSU can apply for the scholarship.

CFES is, according to their website, “committed to raising the academic aspirations and performance of underserved youth.” They work closely with students who seek to become the first in their family to graduate from college, a mission that resonated with Pioli.

“Their [CFES] primary focus is with low income kids that are generally in tough socio-economic situations and first generation college students, so it spoke to me very personally,” says Pioli. “I was a first generation college student.”

“Part of the fabric of Central that I love is it’s a state school,” he adds. “And when I was there, there was a lot of first generation college students. For a lot of people it was their only shot, and it was affordable, relatively speaking.”

Pioli has long been involved with CFES, having served on their board of directors since 2004. As a board member, Pioli was primarily responsible for establishing the relationship between Central Connecticut, New Britain High School, and CFES, all while working to build four separate CFES schools in Kansas City and serving as general manager for the Chiefs.

“Certain high schools are designated CFES schools which then feed into the universities. The one school we work with is New Britain High School,” says Chris Galligan, Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Central Connecticut.

“We have a faculty member in the school of education that works very closely with that program. And then they feed into CCSU, into a lot of universities. But that’s how Scott envisioned it when he set it up.”

Galligan has direct oversight of not only the Scott Pioli Scholarship but all of the 200-300 privately administered scholarships that exist in the school’s scholarship foundation. Galligan ensures that the connection between the CFES students of New Britain High School and CCSU stays healthy.

“My primary role[with the scholarship] is to work with Scott on his fund and let him know how that’s going. He has some input and can then make some recommendations,” says Galligan.

While the scholarship is meant to serve CFES students first, if there are no applicants from CFES the scholarship reverts to the department of communications for students majoring in that area, the same degree Pioli received from Central.

Pioli has long given back to Central Connecticut in other ways before establishing this scholarship. According to Galligan, Pioli has guest lectured on campus and has given back to the football program that paid for his education by evaluating and trying out players as well as giving back monetarily.

“I was fortunate that football paid for my education. I’ve given money to the football program was well. But this was something I wanted to do outside of football,” Pioli says of his scholarship fund.

“He’s very passionate about this scholarship,’ says Galligan, “and very passionate about helping students regardless of whether they’re athletes or not. I don’t think that really factors into his thinking,”

Pioli ultimately believes the scholarship offers an opportunity to have an impact on all students, not just student-athletes, who need assistance and guidance to find the path to college. It is an opportunity to have a long lasting impact on the school and community that gave him his opportunity.

“This [scholarship] is something I’ve dreamed about doing and wanted to do, but I also wanted to do it in a significant way,” says Pioli. “I wanted to establish an endowed fund that was pretty significant; that would have staying power, hopefully over generations.”

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Tuition Pays for Athletes to Play

By Brittany Hill 

Students at Central Connecticut State University may be supporting their sports department’s finances without even realizing it.

CCSU ranks as the 9th most subsidized athletics department on a list of 228 public NCAA Division 1 schools according to USA Today’s athletics department revenue database. Their athletics department is backed by 86% subsidized funding.

“I’m taking loans out as it is to pay for tuition and rent and stuff,” says one campus employee, a CCSU senior who wishes to remain anonymous. “And to know that they’re taking some of that money to put towards uniforms and pay for the coaches’ salaries is upsetting.”

In terms of financial support generated by the sports department, they overturned $13 thousand in 2012. Out of the $13 million in revenue that supports the department’s integrity, 88% is contributed by school funds.

But this is common amongst public state schools says Walter Harrison, President of the University of Hartford. Within the E-mail, he further states: “I think it is quite common for Division I institutions to underwrite intercollegiate athletics.” Harrison, chair of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Committee on Academic Performance, knows that “Cross subsidies off all sorts are common in higher education, and certainly your tuition goes to provide all sorts of things besides your classes, not just athletics.”

The NCAA website specifies that school funds include both indirect and direct support from the university. Tuition, tuition waivers, and state funds are main contributors. Administrative costs, security, risk management, utilities, depreciation, debt service, and facilities and ground maintenance are covered by the ‘school funds’ representing an entire 88%, or over $11 million, of Central’s athletics department funding.

“As far as maintenance to the buildings they use, being a Phys. Ed major, that benefits me too,” the anonymous campus employee stated in an E-mail. “Most of my classes are in the buildings that the athletes practice and compete in.”

With a campus of approximately 11,000 students, the portion of subsidized funding allocated from the students’ tuition allows Central’s athletics department to thrive. If this 88% revenue came from solely tuition costs alone, both undergraduate and graduate students would be paying $1,076 a year, or $538.00 per semester; a whole 14% of an undergraduate’s total tuition. This portion of the $8,321 students spend on tuition annually, ($9,307 for grad students), may contribute to the purchasing of items such as uniforms, the building and maintenance of stadiums or facilities, and scholarships that are accessible to athletes only.

“I do think that some funding for sports is important, but with CCSU making that much of an investment, the sports programs should be more active on campus and be more competitive,” says Darren Myers, graduate student at Central Connecticut State University. “I think that, as a commuter school, much of that funding could be used in other areas that could enhance students’ academic experience.”

The university’s recent addition to campus in 2011, a new football stadium, shows that the Blue Devils have a strong following, a supportive school spirit, and do well in their division. But with a majority of the campus being commuters, the numbers do not match up.

“I see very little, if any, excitement about sporting events taking place on campus,” says Myers, who attended CCSU for his undergraduate degree.

“I have been living on campus for five semesters now and I have not once gone to any sporting events,” says Martin Caldon, CCSU junior and resident on campus. “The fact that I don’t hear anything about the sports without looking into them … leads me to believe that we aren’t seen as a competitive school.”

Out of the sports department’s expenditures at Central, the new football stadium only accounts for a mere 2% of total spending for the 2012 year. So where did the remaining 98% of spending occur? According to USA Today, coaching and scholarships make up a hefty 63% of the department’s costs. The remaining 35% falls under the term “other,” which includes support from third parties and revenue from conferences, endowments, food concessions, parking, etc.

The school’s athletics department is home to 18 sports programs, including baseball, basketball, football and golf to name only a few. Regardless of the array of possible revenue outlets, and building a new football stadium, ticket sales across the board dropped to $60 thousand after hitting their peak in 2009 of $91 thousand.

“The Homecoming football game is the only game I’ve ever seen where the stadium looks remotely full,” says the campus employee. “The basketball games are about three-quarters full.”

The percent of subsidy funding represents the total amount of financial support from all sectors excluding what the athletics department produces themselves. The subsidized funds are the sum of “student fees, direct and indirect institutional support and state money,” as explained by the USA Today database methodology. It continues to explain that the NCAA considers these funds to be “allocated” for all the revenue not generated by the school’s athletics department.

Schools comparable in size, like Indiana State University, have a similar financial situation. They rank as 78th on the list of NCAA Division 1 public universities with 73% of their athletics department as subsidized. University of Idaho, also comparable in size to CCSU, is ranked 154th on the list. Their department’s subsidized funding is nearly half that of CCSU’s, totaling out to 47% subsidized.

“I’m honestly not bothered that a portion of my tuition goes to the athletes,” argues Caldon. “CCSU has all the resources that I feel I could ever need and it still manages to be the cheapest of the state schools.”

Texas State, Ohio State, LSU, Penn State, Oklahoma State, Nebraska and Purdue are the only universities whose departments receive no subsidized funding at all. The televised coverage of sporting events is a major factor for generating revenue, which allows such schools to remain subsidy-free.

“The rest of us provide subsidies because, presumably, we think they provide value to our students, our alumni, and our community—or the attention they bring brings applications and donations,” states President Harrison in an E-mail. He is the most recent, past chair holder for the NCAA’s Executive Committee.

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2014 Academy Awards Predictions

Chris Pace

As preparation for the night of the Oscars, before the awards ceremony, there are some films up for nomination that you need to watch.  Most of these films have been critically acclaimed, but some may not deserve the award. Listed below are the top five categories and the appropriate films that may have the best chance at winning their category of nomination.

Best Picture – “12 Years a Slave.”  It is tough to dispute that Steve McQueen’s masterpiece will win Best Picture of the Year.  The film is about a free, Black man from upstate New York who is kidnapped into slavery.  He is brought down south to work in the fields and tries to survive.  Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon Northrop and is also nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role.  Lupita Nyong’o also has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in this film.

Best Actor in a Leading Role – Leonardo DiCaprio.  Yes, this might be Leo’s year.  He is one of the most famous actors in the world, yet he has managed never to win an Oscar.  He picked up a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Dark Comedy and/or Musical for “The Wolf of Wall Street” and could likely grab the Best Actor in a Leading Role at the Oscars.

Best Actress in a Leading Role – Amy Adams.  Although Meryl Streep is one of the greatest actresses of all time, Amy Adams might overtake her for this award.  Her role in David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” is creative and original, playing a con-woman who sides with Christian Bale to screw over the FBI who is trying to screw over them.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Michael Fassbender. He is nominated for his role in “12 Years a Slave” as a religious, horrific plantation owner who beats the male slaves and rapes the female slaves.  Although his role is one of ruthlessness, his character provides the most feel, making the film disturbing and realistic.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Lupita Nyong’o – With her first big role in a movie (“12 Years a Slave”), Lupita is nominated for playing Patsey, a female slave who stands out from the men thanks to her adaptation to the inhumane conditions.  She is raped by her plantation owner (played by Michael Fassbender), and is often disregarded.  Her emotion in a scene when she begs to keep a bar of soap she earned provides evidence enough of Lupita deserving this award.

The Academy Awards do not take place until March, but take that time to see these movies.  “Gravity” will win the award for Best Cinematography, and “Her” may win some awards as well–most likely in Best Original Screenplay.  This year is tough deciding because it is unusual for such a large number of high quality, critically acclaimed films to come out in such quick succession.  So, if you have the time, go see as many of the nominated films. Decide for yourself: what, or whom, do you think should win.  For me, “12 Years a Slave” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” should come out on top.

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Carmelo Lights Up the Garden

by Navindra Persaud

Sixty-two points and 13 rebounds. Those were the stats of New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony Friday night after defeating the Charlotte Bobcats 125-96. The performance was an absolute privilege to watch and solidifies Anthony as one of the best scorers in the NBA.

It has been five years since Kobe Bryant broke the record for a single game scoring performance at Madison Square Garden with 61 points, besting former Knicks legend Bernard King’s 60 scored in 1984. Anthony shot 23-35 in his conquest, as he brought the MSG record back to the Knicks while besting his previous single game high of 50, done three separate times.

Anthony went to work from all ends of the court, even hitting a buzzer beater from half court to put a seal on the first half of the game. After that shot went in I was convinced that he was going to be unstoppable on this night. He played with intensity and seemed to be in a zone of his own. In post-game interviews Anthony, as well as his teammates, mentioned this zone and it was clear that Anthony’s teammates enjoyed witnessing a part of New York basketball greatness that has been missing for years.

Anthony’s performance was reminiscent of Kobe Bryant’s 81 points that he scored on the Toronto Raptors on January 22, 2006. It was painful to watch Bobcats small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist match-up against Anthony, as Anthony was able to score 40 percent of his points while being defended by MKG. There was nothing that the Bobcats could do to disrupt Anthony’s concentration, just as the Raptors struggled to do against Bryant when he completely outperformed all the players on the court that day.

Year after year, New York Knicks fans have been looking for a light on their team and last Friday, Carmelo lit the way with his incredible performance. Surprisingly, Knicks head coach Mike Woodson pulled Anthony out of the game with 7:18 remaining in the fourth quarter. Teammate Iman Shumpert expressed his reluctance to even go into the game for the flaming hot hand of Anthony. Shumpert and the rest of his team had watched in awe as they seemed to realize that they were witnessing something special.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Anthony in his post-game interview, “Just to come in and lock in the way we did, the way I did. My teammates helped me, it helped that I made shots tonight too,” referring to the 66 percent shooting he had from the field.

The Knicks snapped a five-game losing streak with that desperately needed win and Anthony somewhat quieted all of the talk of Kevin Durant, who scored 54 points (the highest scoring game in the NBA this season until Anthony’s performance) against the Golden State Warriors the week before.

Though the Knicks have not been heavy in the talks of playoff contention and sit eleventh overall in the Eastern Conference, fans can more than appreciate what Anthony has brought to the team since the trade with the Nuggets in 2011.

I can only imagine what the game would have been like had Anthony been allowed to stay the course. A 70 point game wasn’t inconceivable.  Or maybe he could have completely gone off in the final minutes and topped Bryant’s 81?

We may never know what could have happened, but Anthony is one of those special players who have yet to win a championship like his friends and fellow draft companions Lebron James and Dwayne Wade. He is an excellent talent and has shown much growth since playing with the Denver Nuggets. Although I’m not a Carmelo Anthony fan you cannot help but hope that one day his hard work will pay off.

But for right now, sports fans have got to appreciate and give credit to Anthony after the power performance that left fans at Madison Square garden on their feet and screaming for more.

 

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Amanda Toke

New Coach, New Season, Same Results?

by Sean Begin

Last season, the Central Connecticut women’s lacrosse team reached the high point of program history, recording a record nine wins overall but, more importantly, tallying seven (also a record) NEC victories, good for second place in the league, and their first appearance in the NEC tournament.

Following the end of that highly successful 2013 season, head coach Kelly Nangle resigned in order to take the same position with Liberty University in Virginia. Enter Laura Campbell, hired in August to replace Nangle as the women’s lacrosse head coach.

Campbell coached prior Division I schools at American University and Marist College. She appeared in each school’s respective conference playoffs, winning a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship with Marist in 2010, earning that team its first ever NCAA tournament appearance.

Campbell will enter her first season at Central without three All-Conference players (seniors Betsy Vendel, Ali Roche and Mackenzy Ryan all graduated last year), but returns two other All-Conference players, as well as Central’s second ever All-Rookie player.

“We’re just looking to continue that upward trend, really, and continue to be competitive in conference,” said Campbell. “I think we have everything in place to do so. The girls are very, very excited of what we can achieve this year.”

The transition between coaching staffs can be a difficult process, but the silver lining in Nangle’s quick yet abrupt departure was the time it allowed for Campbell to not only be hired, but spend time building chemistry with the team.

“It certainly has been a transition,” said Campbell. “I think in the fall we worked out all of those kinks and it was an adjustment for everybody. Now we’re certainly on the same page and we’re in a great place.”

The team last season was one the better defensive teams in the country. They ranked 10th in the nation in caused turnovers per game with 9.5. The team’s 17.94 ground balls per game was good for 16th in the nation and they were 27th in scoring defense with 9.06 goals against per game.

For Campbell, the return of senior midfielder Amanda Toke provides some much needed leadership both on the field and in the locker room. Toke was second on the team last season in both caused turnovers and draw controls as well as a leading scorer on the team.

“Toke is just a hustler through and through,” said Campbell. ‘She makes plays that can just change the momentum of the game. Those players are very, very exciting and they’re crucial to have on the team. She’s certainly a leader; she’s a captain for us this year.”

The Blue Devils will need Toke’s leadership and jack-of-all-trade’s lacrosse skills if they expect to duplicate last season. Youth, however, will play an important role.

Elyse Malecki was named to the All-Rookie team last season, just the second Blue Devil freshman to receive that distinction. Malecki finished just behind Toke on the team last year in points (25) and goals (22) while starting all 17 games.

“Elyse is young but she’s one of those players who can make changes pretty quickly,’ said Campbell. “That’s exciting to see because those are the types of players that the sky is the limit, really, when they can make adjustments on the fly.”

Despite her raw talent, with only one season under her belt, Malecki still has some growing and learning to go through.

“She’s one of those players that we really want to work on her consistency,” added Campbell of her young player. “She sometimes has the tendency to shoot right to the goalie or not make good decisions with that. So we’re really just working on her composure inside, and she’s doing a good job.”

Such composure will come with added game time experience which the young attacker will certainly see this season.

Campbell’s last returning All-Conference selection is goalkeeper Morgan Tullar, who stopped 139 shots last season in her first as the Blue Devil’s full time keeper. She posted a goals against average of 8.89 per game while recording a program record nine wins.

“Morgan is a very smart goalie,” said Campbell. “She knows what adjustments she needs to make. It’s just one of those things sometimes where we need to be on her so she doesn’t get complacent and get into some bad habits. I think she’s doing a really good job of being a leader back there.”

Tullar is backed up this season by freshman Kristin Stolen, one of seven freshmen on the team this season but Campbell like what she sees in her young players, particularly in their adjustment to her system.

“I think they adapted a little quicker because they weren’t necessarily adjusting from any other coach,” said Campbell. “The freshmen are a skilled group. They challenge our upper classmen daily in practice. And that competitive environment is really just making us better.”

The change from Nangle to Campbell allowed for a different perspective of who can play what positions, resulting in some changes for some players.

Junior Jess Sudock had played midfielder for the Blue Devils the last two seasons, but has recently (within the last two weeks) made the transition to defender. Already, though, she’s taking to her new role well.

“We bumped her back to defense because her footwork is solid and she’s adapted to that phenomenally,” Campbell explained. “Her 1v1 defense is one of the best on the team now. She’s just a force. It’s unbelievable [how quickly she’s adjusted].”

Campbell added some unfamiliar teams to the Blue Devil’s non-conference schedule this season in order to give the team playing time against strong teams, in order to better prepare them for conference play.

Monmouth, the two-time reigning NEC champion, left the conference following the end of last season, leaving the Blue Devils the highest ranked team from last season, and a conference wide open for the taking,

“Like I told the girls, it [the championship’s] ours to lose this year. The only people who are going to lose it are ourselves and if we allow that then that’s on us. But we can beat anyone in the conference, so it’s exciting.”

The lacrosse team kicks off  the season on Feb. 22 at home against La Salle.

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Schematic design proposal of new residence hall planned to open Fall 2015.

New, Groundbreaking Residence Hall for CCSU

Schematic design proposal of new residence hall planned to open Fall 2015.

Schematic design proposal of new residence hall planned to open Fall 2015.  Photo: The SLAM Collaborative

By Jacqueline Stoughton

Construction crews at CCSU will be breaking ground on a two-year project to build a new residence hall, adding to the nine existing ones; this will be the largest residency out of all four CSU schools.

The new structure will be located “down the hill,” in the open greenery between the Student Center parking garage and Ella Grasso Boulevard. The university intends to have the building ready for student move-in at the start of fall 2015 semester.

“We always hope for the best with these sort of things, we would like to be done within two years,” says Richard Bachoo,  Chief Administrative Officer. “Rather sooner than later.”

According to Bachoo, this new residence hall will be the single largest residence hall out of the four CSU schools.  It will contain 600 beds throughout eight floors, a 2,000 square foot fitness facility, a kitchen on some floors, and a server kitchen on the main floor.  The Residence Life office will also be moved from its current location in Barrows Hall into the new facility.

“More importantly, this facility is going to let the university to actually improve its inventory on housing,” says Bachoo.  “Central is the only four year public university in the state that had not built a new residence hall in over a decade.”

Within the last couple of years, CCSU has also contributed an immense amount of time and money into upgrading their already existing residence halls on campus.  This includes re-gutting them, installing air conditioning, among other improvements.

“We still have a number that are in great need of being fully in compliance with code and being brought to a level that is more, overall, comfortable for living,” says Bachoo.

Bobby Berriault, CCSU Student Senator, says, “This is a really good thing. From an administrative stand point, this would allow the university to take some of the older residence halls offline to renovate them to make them nicer and more modern.”

However, some students feel that existing, more important issues should be of higher priority before embarking on new construction.

“I can see where CCSU’s intentions are, however, there are far more important issues the school could focus on,” says Stephanie Brody, CCSU student.  “Without a doubt, every student thinks we need more parking on campus because the few garages we do have are absolute nightmares when it comes to finding a spot.”

Brody also stated that, since the university has a large commuter population, it should be a priority to provide enough parking for students.

“The only downside is there is no plans to provide additional parking,” says Berriault.  “The concern is there will be a lot more people trying to park in the student center parking lot and garage.  It will be a lot harder to find parking there since they’re competing with commuter students.”

Although this is a concern in the minds of many students, the university is not worried at all.  CCSU has been developing a new strategic plan to raise university enrollment, the construction of this new residence hall included.

“There’s no reason this enrollment plan will not be affective,” says Bachoo.  “We want to encourage more students to live on campus.  But, at the end of the day, we’re still a commuter school.”

With Carroll Hall as the first residence hall to go offline, the plan is to move 300 current students out of their residence hall in order for the university to continue renovations within the older dorms.  There will be 300 beds left in the new facility to provide for incoming students.

The $82 million project will create a dormitory of solely suite style rooms. It is assumed the cost of living will remain the same for the students that move in.

Bachoo states that “They haven’t priced it out yet, but I would assume it will include additional pricing because it includes additional amenities, similar to James Hall.”

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Students Embrace Insanity

By Acadia Otlowski

Two weeks ago, the four hundred students who occupied CCSU’s gymnasium were attending a popular new workout class: Insanity.

Insanity started out as an “extreme home workout DVD,” but its creator, Sean Miguel Thompson, better known by his stage name, Sean T, expanded the system into classes that are now being practiced across the county.

Three days into the semester, January 15, ReCentral held a promotional class at 7 p.m. The first 300 people arriving siezed the opportunity for a free “Insanity @ ReCentral” t-shirt. ReCentral completely ran out of shirts, forcing them to order more for those who showed up after the 300 person cutoff.

“My worst fear was that like five people would show up,” says Alessandra Daniele, the instructor who taught the fitness class. Naturally, Daniele was surprised at the sheer volume of people who attended the class, recalling that “So many people kept piling in.”

Daniele won a scholarship towards her Insanity certification at a conference. Sean T was the keynote speaker at this conference, and Daniele had the opportunity to meet him.

“It was such a good experience,” says Daniele, “…awesome.”

The staff who attended the conference came back to Central Connecticut State University motivated to promote the new class, Daniele being no exception.

“We didn’t give them time to think about it,” says Elizabeth Urcinas, assistant recreation director for Student Activities & Leadership Development on campus. It was ReCentral’s hope that, because students were coming back to campus with their new year’s resolutions, the event would gain some traction. The turnout was greater than they expected.

“We tried to get as many people as possible,” says Urcinas, who contributed to promoting the event heavily. But even she was surprised at the number of students who attended the class.

Instructor Daniele was ecstatic about the success of the event. She typically teaches Insanity classes on Monday and Wednesday mornings where attencdence typically is much smaller.

“It was awesome, unlike anything I’ve ever done,” recalls Daniele.

There are video recordings of every class taught by ReCentral, including the Insanity class that drew record numbers.

“Everyone is smiling through the whole video,” says Urcinas. ” Maybe a couple people sat down, but there was so much energy in that room.”

Even Daniele was impressed at the amount of effort that the students and faculty put forth during the class.

“The first time I did it I struggled, so I was impressed,” says Daniele, who believes that group dynamic is a motivating factor for students. “[The makers] send me the DVDs every month so I can learn the moves, and I hate doing it alone. Just teaching the class makes me motivated to do it.”

ReCentral has doubled the number of classes being offered in reaction to the new fitness studio in Memorial Hall.  Even in standard classes, without heavy promotion, the number of students has been up.

Much different than in the past, “Our classes are three or four times the size,” states Urcinas. She remembers it being hard for students and instructors to make it to class because they were held in multiple, different locations across campus. Urcinas believes that it is easier for instructors when their equipment is in a single location.

Before spring break, ReCentral hopes to host another event, similar in breadth to the Insanity event, but on the subject of Zumba.

 

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Photo: Flickr

Take Notes or Tweet?

By Arianna Checchini

Technology usage in the classroom is controversial.

Professors of the CCSU campus are divided on their policies about student usage of laptops and cell phones during class time. Some allow it, others do not. Though students have their own opinions about the varying policies that professors enforce.

Thirty-five students on campus were surveyed at random and an overwhelming majority were in favor of using laptops and cell phones in the classroom. Twenty-six of the 35 surveyed said they should be able to use their electronics in class.

“We live in a world of technology, and in a few years everything will be online, so why not start using it now in classrooms?” says Dominick Robinson, a student at CCSU.

Another student agreed.

“It’s more efficient and it is so much easier to type than write,” says Carlos Velazquez, who is in favor of using both phones and laptops in class.

Just three students surveyed were opposed to using laptops and cell phones in class because they feel it is a distraction.

“I get really distracted easily and I would not pay attention,” says Liz Willett, student at CCSU.

The remaining six students say that they think laptops should be allowed for use, but not cell phones. They all agree that they would use their laptops for class, that the cell phone would just be a distraction.

“I think tablets should be used in class because they are easy to carry and it is easy to take a picture of the lecture and then send it over cloud to a laptop,” says Forrest Zirpolo, a student living on campus.

Although the majority of students were in favor of using technology in class, professors were inclined to think otherwise.

“I allow both cell [phones] and laptops for note-taking and recording. I am also aware that they are used for Facebook and Twitter. I endeavor to keep class interesting enough to keep students focused on the subject matter, but I am always in competition with the electronic distractions,” says Scott McKenna, a theater professor at CCSU.

While McKenna might be lenient with technology in his large lecture-style classes, other professors have a zero-tolerance policy.

“The students are not allowed to use cell phone and laptops in my class,” says Juan Wang, an accounting professor at CCSU.

Professor Juan Wang is not alone. Many professors on campus have the same policy in their classrooms. However, some agree with the students who believe cell phones should not be used and that laptops are okay. Classes at Central that focus on technological skills require a laptop.

“My policy on cell phones is for students to not make/take calls during class. My policy on laptops is to encourage their use during my class when we are handling technical subjects like programming, development, etc,” stated Robert Schumaker, an associate professor of management information systems at CCSU, in an E-mail.

Despite students’ opinions, and the growing popularity of cell phones, tablets, and laptops, it is the professor’s prerogative to prohibit or permit their use in the classroom.

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Less Parking, More Problems

By Acadia Otlowski

Students who normally park in the Student Center garage and parking lot are in for continued parking woes due CCSU’s newest construction project that has closed over 100 parking spots.

According to a statement by Richard Bachoo, chief administrative officer, these lots will be blocked off for the next two years in order to create both a buffer zone for the construction sight and an area for parking construction vehicles.

“Due to the delivery of large construction materials, the University will be creating a construction entry point off of Ella Grasso Blvd. to reduce the commingling of the university’s general operation[s] and the construction project,” said Bachoo in the statement.

Bachoo believes that the reduction of parking spaces in the Student Center lot will not heavily impact the student population’s ability to park. Students may have to park elsewhere due to the the reduction.

“The university has about 6000 parking spaces. That being said, even with full enrollment, we still have excess space,” says Bachoo. “Are you saying there’s not enough parking, or are you saying you can’t park where you want? Those are two different things.”

Bachoo emphasizes that students have many opportunities to park. Students are able to park in 5,557 parking spaces that are designated “public,” available to anyone at the university who has a parking sticker.

“Fifteen years ago when I arrived it was a situation at the university, it really was. [We spent] close to over 18 million dollars improving parking on the campus,” said Bachoo, who noted most of that money went into the construction of Welte Garage, which provides students with 1,000 additional parking spaces.

Bachoo also noted that certain garages have excess space most of the time.

“We are extremely liberal with parking compared to other universities. We have plenty of parking. Even with the reduction, it is still rare that Copernicus garage is filled. In fact, the top of Copernicus garage rarely has any cars on it,” says Bachoo, who mentions speaking with a commuter student in his office: he notes that, in her experience, Copernicus Garage is never completely full.

Students will be dealing with these parking circumstances for the next two years, and according to Bachoo, It‘s only a temporary reduction… Not all of that parking will be restored, but some of it will be.”

The size of the new dormitory, its entrances, and its exits will take up some of the spots that currently exist. Bachoo believes that the lack of an additional parking lot for the new residence hall will not affect parking enormously.

“Remember 300 of the residents will be existing students, so there’s still plenty of parking,” says Bachoo, who explains that 300 residents of the 600 bed dormitory would be transfers from older residence halls that will be taken offline for renovations.

There is one problem with parking that Bachoo noted: non-student events that draw crowds from off-campus. This includes conferences and other high-volume events held on campus.

“Part of the problem this Monday, when we had this really cramped situation, was they had this event where they invited 300 off-campus guests. Off-campus guests need to go park in other places. They need to park in Kaiser Lot or they need to park in Copernicus Garage. Especially large events like that. I’ve instructed to the events management people that our students are the priority for parking, not all these off-campus people. If they can, those events need to be on days where we do not have a large group, sort of like Fridays or, if they are having it, they need to park them somewhere else. The students have the first priority for parking.”

Despite assurances by the administration, students had some very negative experiences during the first week of classes.

“The top floor of the Student Center parking lot is usually always available, but one day last week it was completely full by 9a.m.,” said Joshua Russo, a student.

“[I] got to school at 10 a.m. so I had enough time to find a parking spot in Welte. My class started at 10:50 a.m. and I found a parking spot at 10:49 a.m.,” said Natalie Ruela, who was almost late for her class due to the cramped parking conditions.

Some students are aware of the reasons behind current parking complications. Others are not.

“Parking is terrible because we are losing at least 150 plus spots for the construction of the new residence hall. I think that campus needs to find a better place to park the construction vehicles,” said Mel Mulcahy, a student.

Students were forced to drive through multiple lots and garages to find parking in the last week.

“How about its a nightmare? [It] takes me thirty minutes to find parking. Who’s got that kind of time to waste? Unbelievable. They need to do this construction nonsense on the weekends or something,” said Hazmira Udovcic.

Other students had a similar experience.

“I had to go through three garages to find a parking spot this past week. It took me a half hour to find a spot and it made me late to class. It seems if you don’t have an early class and park by 7:30 a.m. it’s hard to find spaces,” said Taylor Gilleran, student.

Students who feel that the school is mainly for commuters are frustrated at the inconvenience the construction is causing.

“I just feel they should be building a new parking lot and not a new dormitory,” said Aundrea Shaker, a commuter student.

Bachoo says that there will be improvements to the parking situation, including car counters in Welte Garage, which will alert students to a lot that is full so they do not waste their time circling up and down the five levels of the building.

Additional improvements to parking will come in the next few years. According to Bachoo, Copernicus Garage is out-of-date and will need to be torn down and renovated.

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Paul Walker Tribute

By Joe Suszczynski and Danny Contreras

Surely everyone has heard about the untimely death of actor Paul Walker. He was taken at the age of 40 and is survived by his 15-year-old daughter, Meadow. Once news of his death was reported, fans everywhere flooded social media expressing sentiments about his recent passing.

Last Saturday, December 30th, Paul Walker and business partner Roger Rodas perished in a tragic car accident following a charity event held to raise money for those affected by typhoon Haiyan. As reported by TMZ, a media and celebrity news website, they were both killed when Walker’s 2005 Porsche Carrera GT crashed into a tree and exploded into flames. Authorities have yet to officially identify the bodies of either man due to the extensive burns that charred both their faces and finger prints.

“It’ll be a couple days,” McKibben said. “We have an idea of who it is, which should make it that much easier,” said Jerry McKibben to The Signal, the Santa Clarita newspaper.

Walker starred in movies such as “Varsity Blues” and “Flags of our Fathers”, but is best known for his appearances on the “Fast and the Furious” series as its co-lead character Brian O’Connor. The character he played was an undercover Los Angeles Police Department officer who infiltrates the street racing scene eventually meeting Dominic “Dom” Toretto (Vin Diesel). He then goes on to question his loyalties to his job and his new friends leading him on many adventures with Dom and his crew of street racers throughout many movies in the series, most recent being “Fast & the Furious 6”. It will be interesting to see how they handle his character in the upcoming movie as they were in the middle of filming. Hopefully they can do the character some justice and kill him off in a proper fashion.

Paul Walker was by no means one of the greatest actors to ever live. He was never nominated for any big time movie awards and wouldn’t be considered an “A-list” actor, but that doesn’t mean he was a bad actor either. Even though he could be considered as niche actor, he did very well at the niche he found himself in.

Walker’s death caused several different reactions with fans and colleagues both praising and honoring the actor, while others cynically commented on the state of the world through his death. Co-stars Vin Diesel and Tyrese Gibson paid their tributes to Walker in various forms, with Vin Diesel tweeting, “My heart is hurting so sad. Paul walker was a good man. RIP my friend… Sorry to the Walker family.” Gibson visited the scene of the crash on Sunday morning to pay his respect at Walker, tweeting their last interaction, a Thanksgiving message directed to Walker.

The driver, Roger Rodas, is a professional driver and business partner of Walker. They ventured into the professional circuit of racing as team “Always Evolving,” with Rodas as the primary driver and reached the 2nd place in the Pirelli Porsche World Challenge. Rodas was also listed as a business consultant for Merryl Lynch. He is survived by his wife, Kristine Rodas.
Besides acting, Paul Walker was also an avid philanthropist having aided several relief efforts over the past five years, including sending a humanitarian team to Haiti and Chile following their devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2012, respectively.

Being Detective Brian O’Connor essentially immortalized Walker’s career in Hollywood. Walker even found himself to be a sex symbol. Many girls I know ogled the man due to his tone body and boyish looks complete with some subtle stubble on his face. I would imagine he would always be in the running for People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive.”

Paul Walker may be gone from this world physically, but his movies and memories will always be remembered and he will never be forgotten.

Rest easy, Paul.

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Relax, College Isn’t Forever

By Chris Pace

The end of each semester can be a stressful time for students.  This is the time of year when a lot of us begin to ruffle through our syllabi looking for missed or unfinished work and creating a list of all assignments and their due dates.  Our professors pressure us with work at the end of each semester assigning readings, papers, presentations and final exams.

We are all excited for the holidays but are trying to keep up with what we need to do as students.  There are some things we have been waiting to do all semester: see that movie, read this book or go to this place, but we all have too much to do.  I for one have about five papers, two presentations and three finals to complete by the end of the semester; some have more, and some less. But you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with work.

Try to get one thing done at a time.  Organize your assignments by due date so you know what to work on first.  Try to save yourself at least 3-4 days to study for your finals. Make time to visit the school library; don’t wait to go to the public library, as they usually don’t have what you’re looking for. 

Depending on your workload, don’t schedule parties or trips to the bar.  If you finish something, reward yourself after you’re finished, it will motivate you more to get the work done knowing you have something planned after you’re finished.

It all pays off in the end.  Although I don’t know what it feels like to be a college graduate just yet, we’re all waiting for the day it happens.  We’ve all had days when we leave our dorms or our commuter parking spots and everything around us is annoying:  the five-minute walk, the screeching tires in the parking garage, the three flights of stairs on the way to class and the horrid fluorescent lighting in our rooms.  But don’t let it get to you; you won’t be in college forever. 

For any freshmen or sophomores who read this, remember these tips early on because it only gets harder.  For those who don’t work during the semester, you leave one job and return to another.  This is life, it never ends.  But maybe that’s why professors do this to us.  They want to train us to learn what it’s like to be under pressure because it’s bound to happen when we get jobs.  After all, that’s what college is for.

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Men’s Basketball Drops Home Opener To Rider

By Corey Pollnow

The Central Men’s basketball team (1-5) continues to struggle defensively as they dropped their home opener on Nov. 23 versus Rider 89-73.

Malcolm McMillan scored six points in the span of 25 minutes seconds to give Central a 10-3 lead five minutes into the game. Rider (2-4) would subsequently go on a 9-0 run. With nine minutes remaining in the first half, Khalil Alford made a three point shot, and the Broncs never looked back from that point on.

“I don’t have any answers as to why we’re not defending the ball,” said Central’s head coach, Howie Dickenman.

Despite practicing a defensive drill called “challenge the shot” to close out on shooter’s, the Blue Devils still allowed Rider to make seven of their 12 three point attempts in the first half and shoot 57 percent in the first half. “When we’re making baskets our defense is pretty good but when we go cold it’s a mental letdown for each of the players,” said Dickenman.

The Broncs headed into the locker room with a 16 point lead on the backs of Zedric Salder and Alford who respectively scored 15 and 10 points in the first 20 minutes. Central came out in the second half and closed the deficit to nine points on a layup by Khalen Cumberlander, but that was the closest the Blue Devils would get. “When the ball didn’t fall for us our energy appeared to be affected,” said Dickenman.

Central shot 35 percent from behind the arc last season, but versus Rider the team could only make four of their 18 three pointers which was. “I think when things don’t go well for us we don’t react very well to adversity,” said Dickenman.

CCSU ranks 344th out 345 teams in points given up per game, but the Blue Devils will have over 4 weeks to fix their defensive woes before conference play starts on Jan. 9 versus Wagner

Matt Hunter (concussion) and Terrell Allen were unable to play due to injuries, but Dickenman didn’t use that as an excuse for the Blue Devils loss.

Junior Kyle Vinales led Central in scoring with 16 points on three of 15 shooting. Forwards Faronte Drakeford and Juwan Newman combined to score 26 points and grab 18 rebounds.

Zedric led the Broncs offensively with 21 points, five rebounds, and five assists.

Central’s next game is tonight at Detrick Gym versus New Hampshire at 7 p.m.

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Residence Halls Compete For Dean’s Cup, Bragging Rights

By Devin Leith-Yessian

Shouting battle-cries while whispering answers among themselves, students representing the nine residential dorms at Central Connecticut State University clustered together inside Semesters to participate in the Don’t Forget the Trivia Challenge.

The challenge, which occurred on Monday, was one of the last events in Dean’s Cup for this half of the academic year. Dean’s Cup is a competition where the dorms compete for points in a series of contests. According to Kasie Daigle, the secretary for the committee that plans and runs the events, the dorm which has the most points at the end of the academic year wins a trophy and “bragging rights.”

While Daigle said that the winner won’t be announced until next Monday, a common sentiment was that beating Caroll Hall was enough. Brushing aside a missed question, one Sam May Hall resident said, “As long as Caroll doesn’t win.”

Joni Moody, a freshman from Caroll, said that they aren’t doing exceptionally well compared to past years, but they have “definitely been getting better.” Caroll is currently in the lead at 520 points, with Sam May coming in second with 474. According to Diagle, Caroll has often won in past years.

To win the trivia students had to answer questions on topics as diverse as landmarks across the country to the total number of alumni that have graduated from the college. “The Disney category was awesome,” said Moody. Similar to Jeopardy, each question was worth different amounts and students could choose one of the five categories in each round to be their bonus category. Questions from the bonus category were worth double points, but if answered incorrectly would subtract points.

To try to bring out more people, attendance was also taken and factored into the score. Forty percent of the results were attendance and the other sixty came from the actual event. It certainly appeared to work, hardly a single table in Semesters was unoccupied. The room reverberated with the din of excited shouting and frantic conversations pierced by the occasional roar of dorms chanting in unison.

Competitors fiercely guarded their answers, whispering each other as loud as they could without risking others hearing and stacking their phones in the middle of the tables so they couldn’t be accused of cheating. Getting caught looking up answers would have cost the team points and a second offense would have disqualified them, however neither of these punishments had to be used.

The final event for this semester is the SSI survey, which is used to measure and rank the quality of the campus life. The other events this semester include a scavenger hunt and a dodgeball and cupcake fight combination. Speaking about her experiences with past events Moody said, “I can’t play dodgeball, but I can answer questions.”

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Central’s Youngest Student

By Clement Eneh

 

It’s never too late to go back to school.

However, 10-year-old Maya Perdomo, fulltime 5th grader at Smith School in West Harford and part-time student at CCSU, aims to prove it’s never too early either.

Since the summer of 2013, Perdomo has been sitting in college level math courses and is currently enrolled in Math 119.

“I like math. School was kind of too easy for me. So my dad signed me up for pre-calculus,” she said.

According to CCSU Professor Myriam Santamaria, her daughter Maya was “bored” with the kind of math she was learning in school. “[Maya] always likes to be challenged,” she explained.

This comes as no surprise. Her father Oscar Perdomo, a Math professor at Central, has been raising her on numbers since she was six.

“She started with multiplication and addition, and then the next big thing–that is very easy to teach–is prime numbers… Then there was the notion of variables. I started very slowly and then got to the notion of algebra… I thought she wasn’t going to be able handle just sitting there still for two hours but she did good. I thought, maybe she’s ready to take these colleges classes.”

Anyone, regardless of age, can enroll in any of the courses offered at Central. However, Maya cannot graduate, be fulltime, or live in residence halls as she has yet to finish, or even begin, high school or take SAT’s.

“My school knows, and my teachers, and my close friends,” said the 10-year-old. “When my friends wanted me to hangout after school I’d tell them I couldn’t because of class.”

Though she feels advanced enough in math, Perdomo answered no when asked it intends to take other types of university courses.

Her Calculus professor Edward DePeau spoke to her knowledge and maturity in the classroom, admitting he was surprised at first.

“When I grade her exams and quizzes, I grade her just like I would any other student. She’s picked up on things quickly. She’s a great problem solver,” said DePeau.

“I remember there was one time I threw out one question and a traditional college student came back and was around the right track…Maya raised her hand just after that with the perfect textbook answer, very confidently so.”

According to DePeau, him and Professor Perdomo are trying to design to course for students like Maya.

“We’ve started a working relationship where someone like Maya can access the same studies. It’s for the younger [students], or even the college students looking for some kind of review.”

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From The Battlefield To The Classroom

By Skyler Magnoli

Central Connecticut State University ranks as the 9th Best College for Veterans in the North public regionals according to U.S. News and World Report. 

The report created a ranking for the Best Colleges for Veterans to provide the 950,000 military veterans on Veteran Affairs (VA) educational benefits with information on which universities have the best services for student veterans.

Currently there are 436 veterans enrolled at Central, with more inquires coming in from service members around the world.

According to Janice Palmer, Central’s Communications Officer, the university is deeply gratified to be ranked as one of the best universities serving military veterans.

“They’ve given so much to our country and deserve every possible opportunity to succeed in the next phase of their lives,” said Palmer. “It’s vital to CCSU and our state that they thrive as students and, later, as employees.”

Central facilitates multiple services for student veterans, the Veterans Affairs Office located in Willard Hall is one of the primary sources for veterans. Christian Gutierrez, has been the Veterans Affairs Coordinator at Central for the past four years. Gutierrez provides guidance and acts as the liaison between the VA, students, and the university.

“We talk to them, we welcome them, and provide them with all the information that they need to successfully apply and get accepted into the university,” said Gutierrez.

Through the Veterans Affairs Office veterans can get help processing their VA educational benefits. There are currently 11 types of VA educational benefits. However, only seven apply to a university setting like Central.

Three of the more popular benefit programs are: Chapter 30, Montgomery GI Bill, which is for active duty members of the military. They qualify for 36 months of tuition and fees covered; Chapter 31, Vocational Rehabilitation, for veterans that have received a injury from service while deployed. They are qualified for more than 36 months tuition and fees paid, including supplies, and basic housing allowance of $1800 a month; Chapter 33, Post 911, not only does the veteran get 36 months covered, but they get a housing allowance close to $1900 and a $1,000 book stipend.

However, the Veterans Affairs Office offers more than just help with filling out paper work, but helps point veterans in the direction of other services. Such as counseling and the Office of Disabilities.

“Sometime our students after multiple deployments have seen and done things during their military career that they just don’t forget,” said Gutierrez.  “So sometime they have a hard time concentrating in school, and with the retention of material.”

Central recognizes the need to support and provide services for veterans, since a portion of military students are still on active duty. Military students who are on reserve and are in the National Guard, get called out for either disaster relief or to go to war.

According to Gutierrez sometimes military students are in the middle of a semester when they get called up, so they have to leave. The Veterans Affairs Office processes the student veteran’s orders if they get called up to deploy and contact the Registrars Office and their professors to try to make it smooth for them to step away from the university.

“Most of the veterans are very young especially the ones who have been deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq,” said Gutierrez. “They have been exposed to so much and have seen so many things and in some case done things that have made them mentally mature very fast.”

According to Gutierrez the transition from deployment in to the classroom can be the hardest thing for veterans. Since veterans in the beginning will be more aware of their surroundings. Also with a large portion of veterans coming from active duty with families, they are juggling leaving the military, school, a job and a family.

One of the things that the Veterans Affairs Office provides, is a drop in center that the veterans can come in and hang out. Gutierrez says this good because they can meet other veteran who have been there and know what they have been through.

Gutierrez says the big picture is that the Department of Defense is shrinking so all the branches of the military are downsizing.  Which means in the near future Central will be see a lot more veterans coming to Central.

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CCSUccess Proves True In Alumni Network

By Aundrea Murray

Central Connecticut has turned out a handful of individuals that have created influential names for themselves while applying the things learned during their time at the university.

Scattered around campus are multiple signs and banners showcasing the many graduates who are now a part of lifestyles involving some of their interests of study. Many professors and school faculty have been responsible for inviting some of these alumnus as guest speakers to students.

Students are given the opportunity to network with said speakers, creating a platform for potential references. Our school’s alumnus have shown students what can come after earning their degrees at Central. Regardless of what direction one may be heading, there is always someone else who has attempted the same path–and succeeded.

Alumni and American authors Michael O’Connor and John Harris embarked on journeys that most students in similar areas of study hope to encounter. O’Connor graduated with a B.A in Social Sciences while Harris used his Political Science degree to achieve a lot of the same things his old peer has achieved.

After publishing “Numerican Nation: A Self-Portrait” back in 2009, Harris has allowed his views and perceptions of the U.S government to be heard across the country. Harris often speaks on the context of descendants of slavery, using his writing as an outlet.

His studies in political science have served as a great source for information on the controversy topics he is known to have covered. Harris has been dedicating much of his life to his passion towards his field of study.

Harris currently resides with his wife and children in Florida.

Similarly, O’Connor has made a name worth publishing for himself as well with his work translated in over 20 different languages worldwide.

Writing is only one of many of his talents; advising businesses and being an executive coach have kept O’Conner productive over the years. He is also a motivational speaker and researcher on the different fields of organizational and individual performance.

He has also founded Life Associates in Hartford which is a contributing source to the research. His most recent work People Smart has further distinguished himself as a writer. His interest in social sciences have also proven to be contributing factors to his success.

Alumna Erin Brady, 26, has broken records for the entire state, let alone CCSU. After receiving her degree in Finance, Brady took a more aesthetic path with her skills.

She was crowned Miss USA for 2013, causing her to be the first title holder from Connecticut. Brady also placed in the top ten for the Miss Universe 2013 competition in Moscow, Russia. A young and successful graduate from the university represented for so many of her supporters and admirers.

Brady’s appearance is far from being all that she has become well-known for. Even as a current financial advisor for Prudential Retirement, she has become involved in different charities since graduation.

Her involvement with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Habitat for Humanity has had a positive influence on those around her. She continues to contribute her help and diverge more into forms of philanthropy.

ABC news assigning editor and news manager Troy McMullen has made his way on campus a number of times. His photo can be found right outside of the student center standing tall on a alumni banner.

He received a B.A in Communications before expanding his skills in multiple forms of journalism around the world. His role for ABC news is similar to that of the other publications he has contributed his work too like USA Today and the Wall Street Journal.

McMullen assigns correspondents, producers, and digital journalists in helping to shape the direction of coverage for breaking and ongoing stories. He also overlooks the flow of news packages before being broadcasted–similar to that of a producer. He has also spent up to 3 months in Iraq in order to report and supply hard news.

He has traveled throughout Europe, reporting on stories, and was the senior editor on “50 States in 50 Days” which was ABC’s multi-platform coverage of the last six weeks of  the 2008 presidential campaign. His work has made headlines and been well respected.

Aside from being a home away from home for current students and faculty, Central has served as a fundamental foundation for young scholars alike. The success of our alumnus are both inspirational and motivating for all.

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Volleyball Falls In NEC Championship Match

by Sean Begin
Brooklyn, New York –
For the Central Connecticut volleyball team, a successful season ended with a difficult defeat at the hands of Long Island University-Brooklyn last Sunday in the Northeast Conference Championship game at Long Island.

The Blue Devils (21-9) fell in straight sets to the Blackbirds (23-7) by scores of 25-12, 25-19 and 25-14, who finished an unbeaten season in the NEC. It was Central’s third loss to LIU this season.

“We knew we were the underdog coming in here but we weren’t thinking that way,” said Coach Linda Sagnelli. “I told my athletes not to hang their heads because the work that they put in… nothing should take away everything that they’ve done this season.”
The loss ends what was otherwise a successful season for Central women’s volleyball. After opening the season losing five of the first seven games, the Blue Devils ran off a string of seven wins.
Following losses to LIU and Saint Francis Brooklyn, Central would go on another winning streak, this time of ten games, which was ended with the teams’ second loss of the season to Long Island.

“When you reflect back on the season that we had, we’ve done a lot of things right,” said Sagnelli. “They come in day in and day out and they’re ready to learn, they’re ready to give 100 percent effort all the time.”

The team was led in the match by senior Veronika Ban, who had nine kills and three service aces in the final game of her college career. Freshman Cassidy Stankowski added seven kills of her own to go along with seven digs, a team high. Sophomore Makenna Lommori assisted in 23 Blue Devil kills.

Central could not anything going offensively against the Blackbirds, who stifled the Blue Devil attack all game, blocking 10 shots as a team. The Blue Devils pushed Long Island in the second set with three straight aces on Ban’s serve but it proved to not be enough. Central held the lead only three times in the match.

“We got outplayed,” said Sagnelli following the loss. “We simply met a Long Island team today that was just playing a better version of volleyball. They executed better than we did today.”
Central came into the game feeling “phenomenal,” according to Sagnelli. A three set sweep of Sacred Heart University in the semi-final match seemed to boost the confidence of the team heading into Sunday’s championship match.

“I don’t want this [loss] to detract from what we did in the semi-final match,” said Sagnelli. “It’s always kind of dangerous when you’re playing a team you’ve beaten twice. I thought we executed and outplayed Sacred Heart.”
Despite the bitterness of the loss, the team is young, only fielding two upper classmen in the starting rotation for most of the season, and has much to take away from the championship loss.

“You have to remember today but you can’t let it consumer you,” Sagnelli said of her message to her team. “You’ve got to remember the good you’ve done. We just take this as a learning experience, as a day that can make us a little tougher as we go forward.”
Central seems poised to compete in the NEC for the next several years. They were ranked third in the NEC polls prior to this season in which many of the starters were freshman or sophomores and should see a similar ranking next season.

“Being in this environment is only going to add to the experience of a young team,” said Sagnelli. “Hopefully, we’ll have the chance next year to have another shot at claiming a conference championship.”

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The Cost Of Savings

From 2006 until present, seven people have lost their lives during the Black Friday shopping rush. Seven lives were lost over cheap electronics. Seven lives wasted for petty reasons. This is according to a website, called blackfridaydeathcount.com. The very fact that there needs to be a website with this title signals that there is something wrong with this yearly tradition.

This year, just one person died, not from the rush of people, but in a car accident. A group of teenagers were in a car driving home from Black Friday shopping, the car packed with things they didn’t need, when the driver of the car fell asleep. Nineteen-year-old Patrick Henry Boyd was killed, and his four friends were injured.

While this accident was not due to the riot mentality of hordes of product-thirsty people,like the trampling death of a Walmart employee in 2008, it represents just another reason why this ridiculous tradition couldn’t be a worse idea.

An estimated 100 million people shopped during the four-day Thanksgiving weekend. Of those, the ones who are shopping the early morning deals are more likely to be sleep deprived, unsafe drivers.

Last year, a father was charged with manslaughter, following the death of his two daughters in a car accident following Black Friday shopping. The father admitted that he had only gotten three hours of sleep that night.

Then there comes a point when people seem to lose their humanity over objects.

65-year-old Walter Vance, who suffered from a preexisting heart condition, collapsed and died at a Target in 2011. While there were a few good Samaritans, many shoppers simply stepped over Vance as he suffered on the ground.

What could possibly be that important?

These anecdotes are just deaths. In 2013 alone there were reports of stabbings, shootings, even brawls.  What is it about low prices that cause people to lose their humanity?

An 11-year-old girl was trampled by shoppers at a Walmart in Ohio. Although it was not confirmed, it is thought that an elderly patient was transported to the hospital for a similar reason.

What could be going through these shoppers’ minds when they pushed down and walked over a little girl? An old woman?

Could it have just been, “Boy, I have to get one of those televisions”?

What’s worse is the people who have to work Black Friday. Some companies paid their employees overtime if their shifts began on Thanksgiving. But most companies will not pay overtime to those employees who work on Black Friday.

Exhausted employees have driven off the road after working these grueling, stressful shifts. They have been hurt in the rush for objects, killed even. People who got up and went to work because they needed the money. The Walmart employee who was trampled in 2008 probably never expected to not come home that day.

Over what? Just some cheap things.

 

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CCSU Student Health Plan Covered Under Obamacare

By Jacqueline Stoughton

Recently, the news has been all about the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare. The positive and negative effects that Obamacare will have on not only the insurance companies but on the individuals themselves seem to get buried in the many personal opinions regarding the health care reform.  Students at Central Connecticut State University are wondering, what type of student health care does the university offer them, and how does Obamacare affect it?

CCSU, along with all CSU schools, offer their students a health plan with Aetna insurance.  All students who are interested in going through the university for health care must either be a full time or part time student in order to enroll and are able to enroll their dependents as well.  As of right now, a student health plan with Aetna insurance has a maximum benefit of $500,000 per condition per policy year and a pharmacy maximum of $500,000 per policy year.

Potential users of this insurance cannot be denied due to a pre-existing condition and the plan does include an extension of benefits.  Students can continue to utilize the Aetna student health plan as long as they’re an enrolled student at any of the CSU schools.

“There’s Obamacare with a smile and Obamacare with fist-shaking anger; I use it with a smile,” said Dr. Christopher Diamond, M.D. at the CCSU Health Services offices.  “I think the Affordable Care Act is a great step forward.  The people who are opposed to it are doing a really masterful job of undermining it, as opposed to the people who are in favor of it who are doing a terrible job of promoting it.”

“I support the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare,” said Bobby Berriault, CCSU SGA Student Senator.  “President Obama believes that every American has the right to have access to basic health care coverage at an affordable price.  Health care is a right, not just a privilege.  I stand strongly in support of the President’s health care law.”

The Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, is presented as a very liberal and socialist concept, but is anything but in reality.  Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies had the leverage to reject anyone due to preexisting conditions.  But now the act states that one cannot be rejected due to circumstances such as preexisting conditions, which is a big change, said Diamond.

One of the major issues people have with the Affordable Care Act is that it requires people to get health insurance.  The debate being that everyone should have the right to decide whether or not they want to be insured.

“The idea that we’re forced to do something that some people think is an individual decision, other people say it’s outside the scope of what the federal government can do,” said Diamond.  “In particular, the argument was people who chose to not do it would get a penalty.  The Supreme Court ruled on this stating that they can do it, as long as the penalty is considered a tax.  It’s a complicated thing, but it’s constitutional law.”

Part of the decision to imply a penalty tax was due to the fact that health insurance was becoming an evident financial burden on both those who were insured and those who weren’t.  According to a report by CNBC, health costs and unpaid medical bills are the top cause of bankruptcy in the United States.

“Lets say you don’t want to get health insurance, you still could get into a car accident, injured, and end up in the hospital.  You can’t pay, so who does?  Everyone else who can and who has health insurance,” said Diamond.  “The cost of the system for those who weren’t insured was huge because they weren’t paying into the system in order to pay for it.”

Although this law is far from perfect, Berriault says that in the end, the new Affordable Care Act law will ultimately end up positively benefiting all American citizens for the long run.

“The law eliminates the option for insurance companies to deny anyone coverage based on pre existing conditions, it allows young adults under the age of 26 to remain on their parents plan, and it mandates that every American has some form of health insurance,” said Berriault.  “The law fully goes into effect next year, so whenever uninsured Americans do end up going to the hospital, the money to cover their expenses will come from the pool of money generated from the revenue of fines collected from uninsured Americans instead of those of us who are insured. This will in effect lower prices for everyone who has health insurance and will reverse the decades long trend of rising health care costs which few Americans can really afford in the first place.”

Student health care plans are essentially a contract between the insurance company and the college.  The college then works as an agent to insure the students, describes Diamond.  “My first year when I came here the coverage for a particular health problem was a maximum of $2500.  This was a very limited plan.”

The Affordable Care Act states that plans need to meet a certain standard of maximum coverage.  For Aetna, it started out with maximum coverage of $100,000, it’s now at $500,000, with plans to go up again to $2 million, and by next year the aggregate of the student health plan will be unlimited; this also covers those who have mental health needs.

“Once Obamacare kicked in, our student health plan became better and better,” said Diamond.  The coverage became better in the sense that Aetna now has to cover more of the medical problems and expensive medications that may burden students.  Also, certain health exams are now required to be covered.

“For a moderate increase in our fees that students have to pay to get that health plan you suddenly could get an annual physical, you could get appropriate testing, things that wouldn’t have been paid for before,” said Diamond.  “We went from having a cruddy plan that may have covered you if you had a bad injury, to a very effective good plan.”

The student health insurance must now provide the preventative services and meet certain criteria that are specified under the Affordable Care Act.  Student health plans are considered to be stand-alone policies.  Meaning, they don’t have to go into either the business or individual marketplaces of insurance.

“Student health plans are covered by the Affordable Care Act.  Insurance plans are considered individual coverage under federal law, but may be treated as blanket or group coverage under state law,” said Aetna insurance in a statement to Dr. Diamond of CCSU Health Services.

Students entering any of the CSU schools will automatically be put on the school health plan, this could be prevented only if the student takes action to waive it and prove they have their own health insurance, explains Diamond.

“Regardless if you pay for the student plan or have your own plan, every student has a secondary accident plan that’s provided by Aetna for $50,000,” said Diamond.  “If your insurance doesn’t cover the cost of an accident, you can submit to Aetna’s accidental plan.”

Diamond says he hopes to organize workshops for students to educate those who are impending graduation on what it means when you leave here, how to find their own health insurance that works best for them, and how to navigate the system.

“I suggest every student look on their health insurance website and the Aetna student health insurance website to track their benefits,” he said.

“Right now, we have a plan that I feel pretty good about; I think that because of the Affordable Care Act I feel good about the number of students that are now covered under their parents plan and I feel good about the students that are covered under our Aetna student health plan because it does have pretty good coverage and overall I’m very pleased with it,” said Diamond.  “I always think of it as a great example of being one of benefits of coming to CCSU, we have a really great insurance plan that’s low cost.”

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Reflecting Before Break

By Danny Contreras

When I joined The Recorder in 2010, I had no idea of what to expect. I’d never written a journalistic article before, and cringed at the thought of interviewing people. Luckily, my first assignment was a short Upgrade piece reviewing a punk CD. Over the course of that year, I grew comfortable with journalism and writing, and started covering the CCSU soccer matches. I became entrenched between the two sections, and found it hard to switch back and forth between analysis and critique. As I finished the 2011 spring semester, however, I made a compromise, and combined the best aspects of my sports narrative and analysis, with the best aspects of critiquing a work of art. After a year and a half of working as a staff writer, I was then hired as the editor of Upgrade. Things had come full circle.

As the third year of my editor stint comes to a close, I can fully see how much I’ve grown as a writer and as a person. Working with The Recorder staff has been a blessing. I’ve met a good amount of people, all from different backgrounds and experiences; people I have a lot in common with, but could not be more different. Every year is always different because the editorial staff changes often, yet thanks to this cycle, I created relationships that have helped me both professionally and personally. But we were all there because we loved writing and the paper. As the only student-run source of news on campus, every one held their role in a high regard. The paper is a sum of the parts, and as I’ve learned, a drop in quality in one section affects all the other sections. All of us were aware of this truth, and tried our best to produce an amazing paper week in and week out, with many of my peers staying until the early morning hours of Tuesday during Monday’s layout night.

As the Winter Break approaches, I can safely admit that I will miss the deadlines, the constant nagging on my behalf to the staff writers; I’ll miss the editing, the creation of ideas. Everything that involves the paper will be missed during the month we get as a break. But above all, I will miss giving new staff writers the chance to begin their portfolio by writing for Upgrade.

The Upgrade section is in the middle of the paper, following news and opinion and preceding sports. The team of writers for Upgrade have several different responsibilities, among them reporting on the art community within CCSU and also exploring the state of Connecticut through several different features such as “20 Under 20″. Upgrade serves as a guide for readers about how CCSU is fomenting the arts, and how Connecticut can actually be a fun state to live in. The section is rounded out by pop-culture pieces, typically movie and album reviews, but on occasion, we give a nod to technology, science and underground pop-culture. These features and pieces serve as a bridge for the writers to get comfortable with the paper and deadlines. I like to think that as an Upgrade editor, I’m a farming system: writers start with me before moving along to news and sports. The sections position in the paper is not simply technical, it is a metaphor that connects the whole paper together. And for the readers, the Upgrade section serves as a short break from reality. The section has a synergistic relationship with the community. In a world where news is shared faster than ever, Upgrade manages to provide readers with  concise and informative features that, hopefully, asks them to explore some of the things they just read.

This is the lass issue of the 2013 Fall semester and it has been a very productive one. For the second year in a row, I had a core group of writers who worked exceptionally well week in and week out. And for that I thank them,. The progress this section has made would be impossible had it not been for them. I’d also like to thank the CCSU community for trusting the section with its reviews and features. After all, the paper is student produced for student readers. And with attention spans getting shorter and shorter, knowing the campus read the section makes me happy; it all pays off.

Winter Break is only two weeks away. We’ll be returning home to our families for a month. We will celebrate the holidays in a lot of different ways; some of us will try and get to the sunny beaches of the tropics. But we will still be surrounded by art, music, culture; I can only encourage you to enjoy the immersion; Upgrade will resume covering the little things you may have missed in January.