“Shoot Fast, Speak Easy”

On Saturday, April 23rd, I filmed my second short film with SSTV.  Entitled “Shoot Fast, Speak Easy,” it was for my Honors Literature and Society class, which focuses on 1920s literature and culture.

When I tell people on campus about SSTV, many of them are surprised.  Hardly anyone on campus knows about it, which is truly a shame, as SSTV provides great opportunities to ALL students, not just communication majors.  For instance, they:

  • loan cameras and equipment out to students
  • help students film and edit movies for class and for fun
  • produce several shows including Stockton News, Latino Motion, and Skeleton Scripts
  • teach students how to use editing software
  • give students opportunities to work as crew on different shoots

In fact, I only stumbled upon SSTV by chance.  My friend Mary said there was a Theater Club meeting in the upstairs Campus Center.  I happened to get out of class early that day, so I thought, why not?  The Theater Club meeting was being held in the SSTV office to plan “Skeleton Scripts:” I am now a member of the cast.  I wrote a blog about filming the pilot last semester.

Anyway, back to my film. SSTV was great – there were four people on crew, and they provided a DSLR camera, tripods, a boom mike, and lights.  They are always super helpful, and give me feedback on scenes, dialogue, and more as we go along.  The shoot lasted about four hours.

I am currently editing my film, something I really love doing.  Editing is really one of my passions!  It’s nice having the other SSTV members there to give me guidance while I work, and they’re loads of fun to be around!

I can’t wait to be more involved with SSTV next semester!

Honors BBQ

This Wednesday, April 20th, was the annual Honors barbecue.  Held in the Housing Four quad, it was a fun event where honors students could come relax, hula hoop, and eat some free burgers and hot dogs.

About thirty people showed up for the barbecue.  As an executive board member I showed up early to help out.  After the food from Chartwell’s arrived we setting everything out – cheese, ketchup, mustard, fixings, and corn on the cob.  We had to shuck the corn ourselves, and were surprised to find about six baby corns: tiny little corn cobs that had grown off the larger ones.  They were absolutely adorable!  While the plan was to grill the big corn, I was so hungry I thought I’d give raw corn a try, and I was not disappointed!  I was also the official taste tester for the first hotdog, and was given the sad, broken burger no one else wanted to eat.

The food was delicious.  There were burgers and hot dogs, as well as vegan options like veggie burgers.  There was also lemonade and iced tea to drink.  After eating the honors students were given the chance to pie an executive board member if they donated $1 to our charity, but unfortunately almost everyone had to leave early.

I really enjoyed the barbecue, and can’t wait until we do it again next year!

Jungle Jam!

On Friday, April 22nd, the Honors Program and Commuters on the Go hosted the first annual “Jungle Jam!,” an Earth Day celebration which aimed to raise awareness about endangered species while also collecting donations to purchase rainforest acreage.  Any collected donations went to the Earth’s Birthday Project, an organization that encourages students to take an active role in protecting the environment.  Every $50 donated helped to purchase an acre of rainforest in Peru.

The event was held in C/D Atrium from 9am to 3pm.  There were fun games, hula hoops, rainforest facts, and more for people to enjoy, or just as a way to de-stress as finals draw near.  A few people stopped to play the games, but many donated as they walked by on their way to class.

Jungle Jam was the first major service project I created here at Stockton.  I had been considering it since the fall semester, and was really excited that my service co-director and the Commuters on the Go wanted to jump on board and help out.  It took an immense amount of planning, as well as help from the Honors Program’s more artistic members, but finally it all came together!  We raised $108.29!  I was so excited!  I had no idea how the event would go, given that this was its first year.  It was great to see that other students on campus care as much about the rainforest as we do!

Hopefully we’ll be able to hold Jungle Jam! again next year, and raise even more money.  I would love for it to blossom into a really large event so we can protect even more animals and their habitats!

Express Empowerment

At 9:30pm on Thursday, April 14th, the honors RAs held a dialogue/reflection/service project called “Express Empowerment.”  The dialogue emphasized the importance of freedom of speech and how lucky and privileged we are as Americans to be able to speak our minds.  We also heard some true stories about activists in other countries who were imprisoned or beaten for encouraging political discussion in their communities.  Amnesty International, an organization that stands up for the right to freedom of speech across the globe, was also discussed.

After the dialogue (which included interactive answers via texting) and a brief reflection, all the students who attended were given a piece of poster board, a paintbrush, and some paint to create a protest sign about a cause that means a lot to them.  My sign said “We need sySTEMic change,” as I truly believe schools need to place more emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math.  Other students’ signs discussed drone regulations, mental health, gay rights, capitalism, and more.

I really enjoyed this event.  I feel like many people take freedom of speech for granted.  They use it in their everyday lives, but never realize the good they can do if they use it productively.  I myself often take it for granted.  Having been to this event, I hope to use it to make positive change both in my community and abroad.

Tibetan Culture Week

From March 28th to April 1st, Stockton hosted a group of Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery.  Over the course of the week, they worked on a large, hand-made mandala as part of their Sacred Art Tour, and gave demonstrations on Tibetan music, culture, and food.  They also sold clothing, jewelry, and more in the C/D Atrium, and took donations to support their monastery.

I was incredibly surprised to find out about the monks.  I was sitting outside Au Bon Pain when I heard a thunder of drums – I wasn’t sure what to think.  Of course, I went to go see what was happening and was amazed to see that there were about ten monks chanting in ceremonial dress.  It was incredible to watch, as was the creation of the mandala.  I really wanted to attend many of the demonstrations, such as the cooking class, but wasn’t able to due to classes.

The small shop the monks set up had some really incredible things.  Besides clothes and jewelry there were also hand-made notebooks, prayer flags, bells, scarves, and more.  I bought a few things as gifts, and a prayer flag with a Dalai Lama quote to hang in my dorm room.  I also enjoyed looking at the binder on the donation table.  Inside were pictures of all the young boys training to be monks, as well as fun little facts about them.   I really loved the whole experience, and it was nice to go about my day and randomly run into the monks – heading towards the bathroom, eating at n wing, and so on.  It made my week, and I hope that I get to witness more Tibetan culture in the future.

Poverty Porn Dialogue

On April 12th, Cassidy Troy and I hosted our first ever dialogue session, entitled “Poverty Porn.”  The dialogue focused on misconceptions about poverty in developing countries and how best to help these countries through service projects and volunteer work.

The dialogue began after the monthly Honors meeting.  Everyone who attended was given two sticky notes and asked to write the first word that came to mind when they heard the words “poverty” and “service.”  After the dialogue, these words were used as a jumping-off point for a brief reflection session.  After placing the sticky notes on the board, we addressed common myths about developing countries and poverty, such as lack of resources, food shortages, foreign aid, and more.

A lot of people came out for the dialogue.  Cassidy and I put a lot of work into creating it, and were really glad that there was a nice turnout.  We tried to take a very serious subject and make it a bit more lighthearted, while still making clear the consequences of believing “poverty porn.”  We learned a lot while planning the dialogue, and hopefully we passed some of that knowledge on to the others honors students.  I really hope to do more dialogues and reflections in the future, and inspire others to reevaluate their service projects so that they help, and don’t hurt, the people they are trying to aid.

Honors Scholars Day

On March 28th, the Honors Program hosted its annual Honors Scholars Day.  This event matches an incoming honors student with a current honors student to see what everyday life is like for students in the Honors Program at Stockton.  At 8am, mentees began filing into Meeting Room 5.  They were given a name tag, offered breakfast, and then whisked away by their mentors to class.

Mentees were matched up with mentors that had the same major as them for the most part, though there were a few mentees who had to be matched up with someone else.  On the whole, it was a great way for prospective Stockton Honors students to see first-hand what attending Stockton could be like.

My mentee was a geology major.  Luckily we had many requirements in common, and he seemed to enjoy the classes I brought him to.  It was a really great experience, and I had a lot of fun!  I attended Honors Scholars Day as a mentee last year, and it was really cool to see what college life would be like.  I loved taking part as a mentor this year – it was like my whole freshman honors experience had come full circle.  I can’t wait to do it again next year!

Professional Etiquette Dinner

March 2nd marked the Career Center’s annual Professional Etiquette Dinner.  For just five dollars, students were treated to a multi-course meal and instructed along the way on proper dining etiquette in business settings.

I learned a lot at the etiquette dinner, and realized I’d been doing a lot of stuff wrong!  I didn’t lay my napkin on my lap correctly; I should scoop soup away from me, not towards me; and I should put my knife down and eat with my dominant hand, instead of having knife and fork constantly at the ready.  Besides being taught all these things, the other students and I were also given the chance to ask our instructor questions.  I didn’t ask any, but the students who did were given really good answers.

Besides being taught etiquette, the other incredible thing about the dinner was the food.  I was amazed by how incredible it was!  There was a white bean escarole appetizer, followed by salad, soup, bread, a lemon sorbet, the entrée (fish, chicken, or a vegetarian option), and desert.  Everything was cooked to perfection, and I was stuffed by the end of the night!  If only I could have food like that every day…

The Professional Etiquette Dinner was a great experience.  I’ll definitely be attending next year to see how much I retained!

ALD Induction

On Friday, February 19th, Alpha Lambda Delta inducted its new members.  This National Honor Society for First Year Students also welcomed two honorary members, including Stockton President Dr. Harvey Kesselman.  Inducted students said ALD’s pledge, received their certificates of membership, and were treated to an Italian dinner, courtesy of Chartwells.

ALD, founded in 1924, admits students who have a GPA of at least 3.5 and are in the top 20% of their class.  In addition to academic excellence, ALD stresses volunteer work and offers $200,000 in scholarships a year to their members.  Though there is a small membership fee, it’s worth it, given the many opportunities the organization provides.

I really enjoyed the induction.  It was nice to see many of my fellow Honors students there and to get recognized for all my hard work.  The first semester of college can be really difficult, between adjusting to living alone, new classes, extracurriculars, and volunteer work, so the Alpha Lambda Delta induction really made me feel like it was all worth the hard work!  Though I can’t always make it to meetings because I have lab, I still try to get involved when I can.  Hopefully next semester I’ll be able to make it to all the meetings and get to take part in ALD’s many service projects.

Safezone Certification

On Wednesday, March 30th in the Townsend Residential Life Center, three RAs held a “Safezone” training session.  Safeezone is a program aiming to inform students about the issues facing the LGBTQ+ community, as well as create a safe place for LGBT youth.  Each Stockton student who attended was given a Safezone sign to hang on their door knob, letting other students know that, if they needed it, help was available.  Each will also receive a certificate stating that they are Safezone certified in the future.

The program was extremely informative.  From 8pm to 10pm, about ten other students and I took part in many activities, including watching videos and matching LGBT terminology with definitions.  We also were read anti-LGBT or offensive statements and asked to group ourselves based on how confident we were that we could provide a calm, informative answer.  The training stressed this point in particular, making sure we knew that, in order to make real change, LGBT advocates must be calm, level-headed, and informed.

As a future high-school teacher, I thought becoming Safezone certified was incredibly important.  High school is a crucial time for LGBT youth, who are often just coming to terms with their sexuality and gender.  Teenagers can be cruel sometimes, and it’s important that LGBT teens know they are loved and appreciated, and that they have a safe place to go to if they need help.  I really enjoyed being Safezone trained, and I hope Education Majors at Stockton take the time to get certified, too!