Get Involved Fair

Dogs. And lots of them. Of course, petting some dogs wasn’t my original intent when I walked across campus to the Get Involved Fair. My roommate and I were both tired of it being just us two when going to get food or having a movie night and we were hoping that the Get Involved Fair would open us up to more social outlets that we would be able to attend that would help us make more friends.

When we got to F Wing, to say we were overwhelmed by the vast assortment of tables and clubs/organizations would be an understatement. They had tables that seemed to stretch both side of the entire hall! My roommate and I had entered the hall in the middle of the commotion so we started our walk in one direction before we would have to turn around to cover the other direction. We walked down the hall slowly, scanning each poster and what each table was promoting. The students did a beautiful job on their table’s visual presentation such as tri-folds, freebies, treats, and informational handouts. As you can imagine, the lovable and overly excited dogs were the real attention grabbers at the tables. Most of the organizations had no connection to necessarily needing dogs at their tables except for the fact that they could rope students in more easily. My roommate and I approached one table with a dog and instantly he licked our hands and a student from the table held out a flyer and said, “Now since you pet him, you have to take one of these.” That was some good advertising if you ask me.

Most students were very friendly and open about sharing information about their organizations with other curious students. I was rather surprised at how well these students grabbed our attention and captivated even the slightest interest we had in their organization. Some tables had only one student, or maybe even two, who were both too consumed in their laptops to notice people were standing by their table trying to get as much information out of the poster as possible. It was kind of sad to watch those interested students walk away because of how awkward they felt that they were not being given further information by the students who seemed to be ignoring them. I do not know why those organization representatives did not even look up to see if students were standing in front of them or why those reps wasted their time to sit around and not do what they were supposed to be doing.

Overall, I was surprised at what a good turn out the Get Involved Fair seemed to be. It was buzzing with activity and interested students throughout the entire fair duration. There were some very diverse and well rounded organizations that seemed to cover any interest that a student may have. I would bet that everyone who attended the Get Involved Fair found at least one club or organization that interested them enough to at least sign up for the emailing list. I personally got some interesting information about clubs and organizations that I did not even know existed and I plan on attending those meetings.

Museum of the American Revolution

For our Honor’s class field trip, we took a trip to the Museum of the American revolution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At 9:30 A.M. We went to the A&S building and hopped on the bus to Philly. For the majority of the drive I decided to spend my time finishing a book that I was almost done with. The drive took about an hour to get to our destination. Once there we got our bracelets and were let loose to enjoy the museum and the surrounding area. My friends and I spent the first part of the trip looking at all the exhibits.

How the museum was structured was that it was set up like a timeline of events throughout the entire history of the American revolution. From the beginning of the rebellion of the colonies to the end, with America gaining its independence, so it creates a cohesive experience rather than an exhibits put at random. At the end it also had the message that the American revolution is still continuing and happening today. Interspersed throughout the museum there were multiple different viewing areas for videos that showed an overview of one part of history. One of them depicted the representatives working and debating the Declaration of Independence. There were also event theatres which had built in effects that increase the atmosphere of the video. There was one that simulated a famous battle between the Americans and the British. They had flashing lights and the floor rumbled with the sounds of gunfire and marching. One exhibit that I found particularly interesting was the exhibit depicting George Washington’s tent because it seeing an important piece of history and the presentation before hand was incredibly moving and powerful.

After we finished looking around the museum we went to get some fresh air and walked around Philadelphia. We ended up walking along the pier, where I took some nice pictures of the surrounding areas, and we stopped for a quick snack at Rita’s where I bought myself a cookies and cream milkshake.  Afterwards, we headed back to the museum and got back on the bus to Stockton.

Day of Service

For my first community service event at Stockton I went to Stockton’s “Day of Service” event. When I first arrived I selected a blue name tag and was put into the blue group. We got to go to the first activity in the campus center’s event room, to do different arts and crafts projects for different organizations. Since I’m not the best artistically, I decided to volunteer to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a homeless shelter. I haven’t made PB&J sandwiches since elementary school, so it took a little bit to get the proportions just right. I found this work to be very relaxing and rewarding since our group made a lot of sandwiches by the end of the session.

After that we went to the campus center’s main hall and were, once again, allowed to choose what activity we wanted to do. So I went down to the room for “Books Without Borders.” When we got there they were waiting for a new shipment of books, so instead we went into the hall to rip up old cardboard boxes to make box stuffing material. This was a very methodical and relaxing activity that I really enjoyed. Afterwards my fingers were killing me for a little bit.

The next event was working an assembly line to make food supply kits for people in countries who are dying of starvation. I was in charge of just putting the little packet of vitamins and minerals in the bag at the start. About near the end I switched with the person who handled the bag by holding it in place while the other people in my group filled it with soy, rice, and dried vegetables. In total our group made 10,600 meals, which was a tad over the goal. I felt really good after doing all these service activities and enjoyed them all. My favorite activity was the PB&J sandwich making since it was the most relaxing out of all of them.

University Weekend

On the first weekend of October, Stockton University held its annual University Weekend. Starting Thursday night and going on until Sunday, families of students were invited to campus to take part in numerous activities. The campus came alive that weekend, and it was one of the busiest weekends so far. It was so cool to see how many people actually stayed that weekend, instead of going home like many usually do. That weekend, I was able to meet the families of many of my new friends and also introduce my family to my new friends.

On Friday night, my family came down here to hang out and see the campus. I showed them around, and we watched the magician in the coffeehouse. He was really good, and my younger brother had a blast. He used to want to be a magician, so it was great to see that he still loved magic! That night my grandparents surprised me by coming to campus and bringing my cousins with them, too. It was wonderful to see them all and they were so excited to see me, too. When they got here, I walked over to the parking lot and then showed them my dorm. My cousins made me a drawing that they gave me, and it’s currently hanging on the wall above my bed. After showing them where I live now, I walked them back to the Campus Center where my family was eating. We all talked and caught up there for a while. Afterward, my friends told me there was a comedian in the gym so I took my brother, sister, and cousins to go see it. We walked in late, so I guess they had taken down the “Adult Language” warning sign by that point. I was not warned that it was inappropriate, although maybe I should have assumed. We stayed in the gym for about five minutes and then decided that my cousins were too young for that type of humor. We left the show and went back to the coffeehouse, to a nice kid-friendly environment. The magician was packing up his supplies still, and when we got there he made my cousins and brother balloon animals. They were having a blast. We spent the next couple hours playing foosball and card games with my family in the coffeehouse, and everyone had a great time.

My parents and brother left after the games because they had a long drive home, and were coming back the next morning for breakfast. My sister was spending the night in my dorm, though, so she stayed with me. My grandparents and cousins came with us to Seaview for milkshakes, and it was a lot of fun. We were blasting music in the car, and my cousins were being so funny at the hotel. They are seven and nine years old, so they’re really goofy. A year before this weekend, my aunt had gotten married at Smithville and we had all stayed at Seaview, so we spent a lot of time reminiscing while we were at the hotel. After we got back to campus, my grandparents and cousins left and my sister and I went to bed. It was great to be able to see everyone together since last time I went home I wasn’t able to. I hadn’t seen my sister in a while because the weekend I went home she was busy, so it was great to catch up with her.

My parents and brother came up again Saturday morning for the breakfast that was being held. I walked around the street fair with my family after breakfast and we all played games at the tables that were set up and won a lot of free stuff. Everyone had a blast! My family was goofing off the whole time, and the atmosphere was great. It made everyone feel at home. After the street fair, my family was having a blast meeting all of my new friends and their families. My mom actually found out that she works with a relative of one of my friends, so that was really cool.

All in all, the weekend was a great way to catch up with my family. They all enjoyed it and Stockton did a great job putting the whole thing together. I think all the events were great for the families, and it really helped them get a sense of what our college experience was all about. I can’t wait for next year’s University Weekend.

Honors Program Trip to the Museum of the American Revolution

On Saturday, October 21st, I went to the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia with the Honors Program. I was looking forward to this trip for weeks; I never miss an opportunity to visit Philly and I love learning about history. So I really didn’t mind waking up at 8:00 AM on a Saturday morning to make the bus at 9:15. When I got to the Arts and Sciences building, I was pleased to see that we would be taking a charter bus (since I had assumed we would be driving into Philly on a regular school bus). I got a whole two-seater to myself and slept for the entire 45 minute drive. I woke up when we reached what I thought was our destination, but the driver actually made a mistake and we ended up at a different museum. Slightly annoyed but also glad to that I could return to resting my eyes, I fell back asleep until we reached our actual destination less than ten minutes later.
I could tell from the moment the bus pulled in front of the museum that this would be a good trip. Even the museum entrance looked impressive with an engraved granite sign reading “Museum of the American Revolution” topped with decorative 18th century canons seemingly guarding the doors. The cherry on top, though, was that each student gained admission free of charge since the Honors Program paid for each $19.00 ticket in advance. This may not seem like a lot of money, but to a broke college student $19.00 is a lot of money. Even though we didn’t have a tour guide to show us around, the museum was easy to navigate. Looking through the exhibits, it was refreshing to learn about more than just white men, who are quite often the main focus of American history textbooks. African Americans, Native Americans, and women had whole exhibits to themselves. One of my favorites was an exhibit that played a short film about the Native American struggle on a large screen behind life-like Native American mannequins. I also enjoyed learning about women who contributed to the British war effort, such as Baroness von Riedesel who joined her husband, a ranking army general, in America during the war and helped to care for injured soldiers. But the very last exhibit was my favorite. I was told prior to the trip that Washington’s tent was on display, but I never realized how historically significant his tent was. The museum showed a documentary on Washington’s role in the Revolutionary war before showcasing his tent to the audience, which I think made a big impact on both myself and the people around me. It was really eye-opening to see such a symbolic artifact of American freedom in person.
After the museum, we were free to walk around Old City. The bus left to return to Stockton at 3:30, but I stayed behind and explored more of Philly with my family. We visited the Second Bank of the United States, Independence Hall, and the Liberty Bell. I’m thankful for the experience the Honors Program provided and I look forward to going on more trips in the future.

Working with Indie Wave and WLFR

The eighth of October marked an important day in my college career. That Sunday was the day I premiered my radio show on 91.7 WLFR, Stockton University’s radio station. This is a long-term event however, so I will talk solely about the first day of being on air and my training. Overall, this organization has had a positive impact on my college career and has shown me the real-life implementation of the theory I am learning in my communication major classes. I went into this experience with incredibly high hopes and then was able to do exactly what I wanted, for the most part, creating an almost completely positive experience. The only negative emotions derived from this experience were that I could not dive as deep into this event as I wanted to.

The training for this job was honestly the worst part of the entire ordeal, but was entirely necessary. It consisted of two shadowing opportunities and two board training sessions, all of which lasted approximately two hours. I got to shadow two veteran disc jockeys, Ken and Matt. Both taught me different styles of mixing music and remaining engaging to the audience on air. They also taught me how to mark time and sign setlist sheets that are necessary to catalog the music that I play and the frequency readings of the radio tower. During my time with Matt specifically, we interviewed a local country artist. This gave me the confidence to ask questions during interviews as well as teach me the proper procedure for conducting interviews on my own. The sound board training refers to learning how to mix music on different channels to create a decently paced radio show that sounds passable. This was incredibly boring and difficult for me, considering I was not able to put my own musical stylings into my performance and was constantly nitpicked over tiny mistakes. I also realize the necessity of this and my own need for humility as I learned everything I know, other than music preference, from these short meetings. Arguably, my two shadowing opportunities taught me a great deal about on-air style while the sound board training exercises taught me the technique.

On October 8th, I arrived an hour early for my show, shaking like a leaf. The first step to performing is filling out the papers that are going to be used throughout the show and picking from hundreds of discs to create a setlist for the show. My show, Indie Wave, focuses primarily on indie pop music and vaporwave creating a dreamy tone that goes well with the 10 p.m. to midnight time slot. I also prepared a list of public service announcements, statements to support local and national movements for the sake of charity and warnings. After I had two hours’ worth of content, I plugged my headphones into the soundboard and spent two hours playing music and back announcing the tracks I had played as well as short anecdotes. My experience was amazing and even at midnight I was ready to keep going for hours. Not only was this a medium for me to express my own brand of creativity, it also taught me the technical aspects of running a radio show and being responsible for keeping track of what I did within that show.

My show continues and I take advantage of this opportunity by learning every day from the people at WLFR how to be a better announcer and how to better select tracks. As a communication major, the radio station is an incredible hybrid of work and training that will one day help me get a job in the field of broadcasting.

Atlantic City Marathon

This past sunday, October 22nd, the Stockton Track and Field Team volunteered at the annual Atlantic City Marathon. The course is a qualifier for the New York and Boston marathons so the large turnout was expected, and there was a half marathon race for runners who wanted something less extreme.

In addition there was a 5k race to honor Stockton’s own G. Larry James on saturday.

It started off as an early morning, the stockton team bus left from Big Blue at six in the morning in order to make it to the start/finish line by a reasonable time. The races all began at eight, and about 15 of my teammates were needed to finish setting up the area. I personally stayed on the bus with around ten other kids and we drove south to Margate, where the runners would be starting mile 19 and turning around at mile 20 to head back to AC.

Our job there was to cheer and encourage these incredible people as loudly as we could! The distance between mile 19 and 20 is where most marathoners “hit the wall,” a colloquialism that means the breaking point. From here until the finish line at 26.2 miles, human bodies are essentially cannibalizing themselves to sustain their energy output. And it hurts. A lot.

We also had water, gatorade, and italian ice for the runners to stay hydrated and keep their blood sugar up.

The first two runners passed by us around 9:50 in the morning, which we calculated to be a five minute and thirty second mile pace. This is incredible for how long they sustained this, and considering they were able to pick up this pace for the last four miles. Despite being ridiculously good athletes, the marathoners in first and second looked to be friends and even shared a water cup between them. It was adorable. The third runner to pass us, the track coach from Stevens University, passed us a few minutes later, and from there the crowds began to filter through.

It was a chaotic cacophony of “WATER WATER, GATORADE,” “GOOD JOB KEEP RUNNING KEEP THAT FIGHT UP,” and loud pop music blaring from the speaker stationed behind the water table, but it was one of the best mornings I’d had in a long time. The runners were incredible people, and it felt good to see them smile at one of us dancing or have them cheer along with us. These people have so much reserve to them.

One of my favorite parts was watching the pacers run by, usually with a group surrounding them. It’s cool to think that these people have run enough marathons, know their bodies so well, and are confident in their skills to be able to run exactly the time boldly displayed on their sign. To be able to know you can finish at exactly three hours and fifteen minutes is unthinkable to me.

The biggest takeaway of the day for me was seeing the unbreakable spirit people have. Their bodies are literally breaking down and they would run by with a smile on their face as happily ask for gatorade. It’s an indescribable feeling, and it pushes me to want to run a marathon myself.

Maybe. Eventually.

The start line of the AC Marathon. Runners are just beginning the 5k race.

Trying New Things

Walking into the campus center Coffee House on Monday, October 9th, seemed like such a routine occurrence. However, this night there was a tie dying event at 8 o’clock and because my friend is a tie dying fanatic she wanted to go. But I had never done anything like this, and I had no idea what to expect. I left my last lecture in F Building at 7:45 and went straight to the Coffee House to secure us a table. When I first arrived, there were a decent amount of people sitting and waiting. However, around 7:55 we started lining up, and the line was past Dunkin Donuts within minutes. As time went on it seemed like the line continued to grow and before I knew it the line had stretched out past the glass doors and into the main hallway of the Campus Center.

I was not the only one who was shocked at the turnout. The staff working the event were not set up or prepared for this many people at all, and at one point during the event someone had to come and bring them the backup stock of shirts. We stood in line until about ten after 8 and then finally we saw the workers start setting up the tables with tarps and the different colors of dye, and then finally the line started moving.

We got up to the table and one of the workers swiped our cards, and then we moved over to a different table and told them what size shirt we were. After picking out what size we wanted, the worker dipped the shirt in a bucket filled with some kind of liquid. I still don’t know what it was, but one of the people in front of me said it was to help the shirt hold the color better. We picked up a paper with instructions on how to make different designs, rubber bands, and gloves along the way, and then finally we were ready to start. The tables were not very big, which made it difficult to lay your shirt out and rubber band it, but we had to make it work. Although I had never tie dyed before, I didn’t want to use the paper, so I just made up my own design.

Coming in I had an idea in my head about what colors I wanted to use, but of course when I actually got to the table, I saw someone else’s shirt and immediately fell in love with their color scheme. I put my shirt down on the table and began working. I probably should have looked at the paper because I had no idea what I was doing, and I just picked up the dye colors I wanted and sprayed all over the shirt with no rhymer reason.

When you finished your shirt, the staff gave you a ziplock baggie to put it in so the excess dye wouldn’t get all over your hands, which it was anyway. I didn’t know you had to let it sit a whole day before taking it out and washing it, and I was pretty upset about it because naturally I wanted to see my shirt at that very moment. However, the next day when I finally got to cut the rubber bands off and see what it looked like I wasn’t so sure I actually liked what I had done. But I washed it and dried it anyway, and when it finally came out of the dryer I fell in love with it, and immediately went back to my room to try it on, but ended up wearing it for the rest of the day.  

 

Suicide Awareness Walk

On the first of October, light path of Stockton University was filled with students from several organizations to raise awareness of suicide. The event was heavily contributed by Stockton’s Wellness Center while our director of residential life, Pedro Santana, delivered a provoking speech about the crushing effects of suicide on families, friends, and loved ones.

Ribbons were handed out for people and walkers to support the cause

Santana explained the importance of receiving help from people whom you trust, whether that may be family, friends, or the Wellness Center’s employees. After the opening remarks and brief monologue, the walk began. I started the walk near the front with the rest of the Stockton collegiate men’s soccer team. Although we were not represented in entirety, we were thankful and honored for the privilege to take part in such an eye-opening experience. For myself, I relearned the signs and symptoms of how people might be thinking about suicide. I realized the importance of admitting that there may be a problem in someone else’s life. During the walk, I really loved the candles on the sides of light path that represented the lives lost to suicide. Seeing each one reminded me how crucial it is to love and encourage everyone we are around. Presenting an open attitude and a smile can change someone’s minute, day, or even life. It reminded me of a verse in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 16:14, which says, “let all that you do be done in love.” I think the message of the suicide walk was to not just raise awareness of a growing topic but also alter lives of people walking. To change these numbers of suicide rates, we must learn to walk and grow into a way that is more loving.

I enjoyed Stockton’s Suicide Prevention walk because it was not only informative, but it gave me another perspective about life. I know people are struggling and I know there is a desperate need to love. The main message I could take away was that you never know who may be hurting deep inside, so just in case, love everybody you see and meet. Sometimes changing lives can be as simple as a nice smile.

LIVE, LEARN, LEAD: Understanding Privilege

On the night of October 17th, 2017, the office of Residential Life and Live Learn Lead program had Joseph Thompson, Stockton Assistant Director of Student Development, put on an hour long presentation about what it means to be privileged in the United States, particularly being white, straight, and male. Being a straight, white male myself, I went into the TRLC event room under the assumption I was going to be lectured about my privileges and the guilt I should feel for being so lucky in the world we live in. There weren’t many people who showed up for the event; however, with the dozen or so students present the program went on.

As expected, I did learn a great deal about the privileges I have been given, without my knowledge, just for being born who I am. What took me by surprise was the tone Thompson used throughout the presentation. While still being affirmative about the extent of privileges white males have, it was also apparent that he was not trying to make me, or anyone else similar to me, feel ashamed for what we are. He even said, “you don’t have to feel guilty for your privileges,” but instead “be aware of them”. It is important to have awareness and understanding of how you got to where you are in society as a result of your privileges. A privileged human being has not done anything inherently wrong by having those privileges, but continuing to force the system of racism and discrimination, giving those same unfair privileges to the next generation is wrong.

Major takeaways from the event include that everyone has privilege, somehow, someway, and in different quantities. Privilege should not make you feel guilty, but instead should be embraced and utilized so that it can be changed for future generations. Speak out, stand up, and listen. This short, hour-long presentation was not only informational, but made you reflect on how exactly you got to where you are today. Overall it was a good dialogue, with a pleasant speaker, and a supportive environment that didn’t shame you for having privilege and was welcoming to people of all types. I hope to see him speak again about issues like these.