Goo Goo Dolls Concert

On Friday night, April 11, Stockton Entertainment Team held a concert featuring the Goo Goo Dolls in the sports center.  The event started at 7:00 pm with a DJ and only got better from there.

After making it through security which was pretty tight I was definitely surprised, everyone piled into the sports center around the stage to wait for the band.  If you got there early, you got to hear the DJ.  If you didn’t, you certainly missed out because he was awesome!  He played some really up beat and popular music that was super easy to dance too.  Around 8:00 he stopped playing music and picked up to make room for the next band.

Twenty minutes later the next band came on stage.  I honestly don’t remember what they are called but I really didn’t like their music.  I’m pretty into heavy metal and harder versions of rock but to me, their music just sounded like noise and you couldn’t hear a word that came out of the singer’s mouth.  Based on what I could hear, they were the winners of the battle of the bands competition and much to the crowd’s dismay, they kept saying “thank you Stockton University” to which we all replied “we’re a college!”  Once they finally stopped playing, another twenty minute wait passed by and then it got good.

The next band on stage was called River Run North and they were amazing!  They had a more mellow style with violins and a mouth organ in addition to guitars and every time they opened their mouths it was like angels were singing.  They had amazing harmony and even though they had a mellow style, you could still dance along and have fun while listening to it.  They blew the entire audience out of the water and they were definitely worth the wait.

Another twenty minutes went by and then the Goo Goo Dolls came on and let’s be honest, that’s who we were all waiting for.  When they finally started singing it was awesome!  They were even better live than they are on recordings and they sang songs almost straight through an hour and a half.  It was totally worth the wait and for only $10 we got a lot for our money.  Of course, to end the concert, they sang Iris.  All the girls were swooning and even the guys were singing along and after a little bit of a push from the crowd, they did an encore.

This concert was totally worth the money (only $10) and SET did a fabulous job of putting it together.  If you missed it you should make it a point to go to the next concert because it was phenomenal.

Geology Trip!

On Saturday, April 12, some members of the geology class went on a field trip.  Where did they go?  Well, we went all along the Newark River Basin and up to the Lehigh Valley Gap to check out the geology in our area.

We left the school bright and early Saturday morning and drove for about an hour to our first stop.  At each stop we looked at the geology of the area including the rock classifications, the rock types, faults in the area, natural events, and the historical aspect of the area.  Each place we visited had its own history but connected to the others in some way.  It wasn’t easy to connect each place we visited to the last but with a little guidance from our professor we all got it.  It was really cool because we were using the information we learned in lecture and in lab out in the field to learn and connect the different forms of learning.  I really enjoyed the challenge it presented because it was like trying to solve a puzzle.

While all of the locations we went to were pretty cool, the best stop was at the Lehigh Valley Gap.  When we got there we walked down a trail that hugged the hills pretty tightly but the view of the valley was like nothing I have ever seen before.  We walked along the hills and looked at the geology of the land which of course was super cool especially considering how much I love rocks but nothing could beat the scenery.  It was absolutely breath taking.  We stayed there for a little over an hour talking about the changes through the hills and the way the land was formed.  We examined the rocks closely and learned about their history and why each section is how it is.  After talking for a while, we all took a bunch of pictures and then loaded back into the vans and headed to Stockton.

This trip was amazing!  I would recommend it to anyone who likes nature and especially anyone who is into rocks.  The variety of rock types and natural features that we saw was extraordinary!  However, if you just like nature I would recommend taking a trip to the Lehigh Valley Gap and walking the trails.  You will never see anything more beautiful.

Day of Scholarship

            The 14th Annual Day of Scholarship was organized by the Grants Office on March 19th and 20th 2014. The event wasn’t advertised that well but I happen to know about it from Stockton’s Honors page.

            The event had presenters (who were students and faculty at Stockton), who would present for 30 minutes on their respective topics. I couldn’t go on the first day so went to the event on 20th March at 11:30 pm. It was a presentation on Guantanamo Bay Detainees & Predictors of their Release by Susan Fahey, who had done a paper on that topic. All the students who attended that presentation were  either a criminal justice major  or communication major, so being a Biochemistry major I felt a bit weird. But apparently I learned a lot about Guantanamo Bay (GTMO).

Being one of the two persons in the room who had no prior knowledge about (GTMO), Fahey introduced the GTMO. GTMO is a naval base in Cuba which is used by US as a detention facility. The government doesn’t share information about the detainees detained at the GTMO. As of January 2002 (when the GTMO started as a prison) there were about 779 prisons in there. Most of the detainees are from Afghanistan or Al Qaeda. There are also prisoners from the Iraq War.

About 150 prisons are still left in the dentition center today. These people are considered to be very dangerous to be released. These are all high value detainees who supposedly have a lot of information that can be used by U.S. officials for the country’s security. The main controversy behind releasing these detainees is that, if they return to their respective countries the likelihood of them being attacked by other fellow citizens is very high. Also, all these detainees have been in prison for a very long time, so they have lost contact with their families. Also, the detainees who are detained in the facility are not guaranteed to be involved in a terrorist activity.

Also, the risk factor of these detainees was determined on how dangerous they are too the U.S. and its allies. Information about all the detainees was relapsed was by the N.Y.T. The newspaper strongly claims that they didn’t obtain the information from the wiki leaks. But, there is no proof showing that the information they published was leaked through wiki leaks. So, Fahey said the credibility of the data available for the GTMO detainees available is cannot be trusted blindly.

In that 30 minutes presentation, I learned a lot about the GTMO. When I walked in the room for the presentation I had no idea about the subject being presentation, but after presentation I obtained a lot of new information. In all it was good presentation, I wished I could go to more of the presentations but due to time clashes I couldn’t.

Geology Field Trip

On Saturday March 29, 2014 the geology class at Stockton held a field trip.  We went all over eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey to look at different soil deposits and rock formations.

Our first stop was to see soil deposits from a river that no longer exists.  We went to a sand pit and looked at the different layers and formations in the cross section that had been cut out.  It was really cool to be able to look at the cross section and see the dip in the layers where the trough of the stream used to flow.  It was also fascinating to see the difference in the deposits from the river.  Each layer was sorted differently, the lower layers were mostly sand but the higher up (or younger the layer) the more pebbles and cobbles there were.

The next stop was in a field with a hill.  This hill was exposed to weathering and we could once again see the different layers in it.  However, this one was mostly fine grained sand and we were able to determine that this layer of deposits belonged blow the first set of deposits we saw.

After that we walked down the road and dug a hole in the ground.  We looked at this clay material and once again were able to determine it’s placement in geologic time.  This deposit belonged under the previous one.  However, you could tell that there had been time missing between the deposits because of the drastic change in material composition.  We then filled up the hole and went to another location.

At the next location we walked down a slope to a river to look at the different rocks in the area and a corresponding fault line.  The rocks in the river were mostly gneiss, a metamorphic rock, and had been disturbed by a fault.  The fault is no longer active but when it was, it created a very prominent mark which is still there to be observed today.  Then we looked at a bridge that crossed the river and the calcite dripping from it.  We analyzed the situation to determine where it is coming from and why.

We stopped for lunch quick and then headed to the last location.  At the last place we stopped, we observed a wall of rock.  This wall had many fractures in it and to describe these fractures, we determined that they were folds in the rocks.  We analyzed samples and determined the rocks at this location to be schist, another type of metamorphic rock.

This field trip was awesome especially for any geology majors out there!  It was a lot of fun because we were walking around in nature and learning about what different processes on earth are and their result.  I would highly recommend geology field trips to anyone who likes to learn and likes nature.

Return of the Osprey’s Nest

On Thursday, March 6, 2014, the N-Wing Student Restaurant hosted the Osprey’s Nest for one night only.  The event started at 7:30 PM and ran until 11:00 PM.  For some students, it was their first time experiencing the Osprey’s Nest.  For other students, it was a blast from the past, bringing them back to dining at Stockton a few years back.

The menu contained various items one might expect to find at a restaurant or small diner.  Students could select from various appetizers ranging from French fries to mozzarella sticks.  The menu also featured a variety of both hot and cold sandwiches as well as pizza.  Gluten free pizza was also served for people with gluten allergies. Drinks were served complimentary.  Paper cups were placed beside the soda machines in N-Wing so students could help themselves to whatever drink they wanted without a limitation on the amount.

When students entered into the restaurant, the cashier gave them a copy of the menu displaying the various foods and prices.  Students then picked the items on the list that they wanted and were charged accordingly.  Meals ranged in price from only a few dollars to upwards of ten or fifteen dollars depending on what the student ordered and how much they ordered.  Everything was charged separately.  There were no discounted prices for combination meals such as a sub with fries.

From there, the students went over to the grill and supplied the chef with the carbon copy of their receipt.  Food was made fresh to order.  The chef called out the ticket numbers and students would exchange the written copy of their receipt for the food served in traditional red and white checkered paper baskets.

While students ate, they listened to a live performance of local students.  Sometimes, the musicians would ask the crowd for music selections.  The volume was turned up loud and students instantly became immersed in the guitar riffs and the beating of the drums.

Atlantic City Beach Sweep

One of the service projects I did during the first half of the semester was an annual Atlantic City Beach Sweep for a club called Water Watch. I found out about this service project from walking through lower D Wing. There was a little sign that was made by hand and a table that was advertising the event. I love doing beach cleanups, so I went to my next class and asked fellow honor student Dhvani Shah to go with me. She had wanted to do a road cleanup that weekend, but I thought we could get more done at a beach sweep. So on Saturday October 19th everyone going for the sweep met at the Arts and Sciences Building at 8:15 in the morning. We all signed in, got our gloves, and found who out who was carpooling with who and we were off to Atlantic City.

The volunteer group arrived in Atlantic City near the Rainforest Café where other organizations were there to help with the beach sweep. The mayor of Atlantic City was there to talk to us along with a representative from Atlantic City Electric since they were one of the sponsors for the annual event. We were instructed on how the people in charge wanted us to clean up the beach because we weren’t just supposed to pick up trash. We were to record every piece of trash on a piece of paper and separate recyclables from trash. We also found out that towards the end of our service, a band called The Barenaked Ladies would be there to perform for us and help pick up some trash. The Barenaked Ladies is the band that sings “The Big Bang Theory” theme song, so I was pretty excited to see and hear them play.

The volunteers were then dismissed to go pick up trash where they pleased. Dhvani and I started for the beach and immediately found trash. We recorded and counted each piece we picked up while walking up and down the beach. Later in the day we were finally called to come back to the boardwalk where we found out that everyone else was already done and that The Barenaked Ladies had already played and left, which was disappointing. We got a little too into cleaning up the trash and missed some exciting things, but we had no regrets about the cleanup.

There were a few reasons why I enjoyed the beach sweep. Everyone had a partner for cleaning up, and mine was a good friend, so I didn’t feel alone or left out while cleaning. I also enjoy doing labor while volunteering; moving around is a lot better than just sitting down at a table to talk to people. Also there was actual volunteer work that was possible to do. I heard that at the animal shelter there were too many volunteers and not enough jobs. At a beach cleanup there is no set job, and of course there is plenty of beach to walk and clean. Another reason I liked the beach sweep is how the people in charge were organizing it. We all had a paper with items we could just mark down to keep track of what trash we picked up. I was impressed with how well the organizations were prepared to clean up the beach. My only problem with the project was the lack of communication. There was a lack in communication in getting information about this event out, there was lack of communication for when we should be done volunteering, and there was almost no interaction between the volunteers almost the whole time.

I was able to learn through this beach cleanup as well. A person can learn a lot about the population from what trash they discard on the beach. Cigarette butts were one of the most picked up items on the beach. Dhvani and I had gathered a total of 246 cigarette butts. We learned that this number fluctuates every year, and researchers learn about smoking and whether or not it has gone up. This is the same for any item. Any item can tell that more people are drinking more water from the bottle caps they leave behind, or that styrofoam cups are becoming a problem from the amount of styrofoam pieces that are being gathered. We were able to learn about how the importance of what people leave behind can say about the population and how people are changing or consuming more products. Overall, it was a pretty good community service event.

A Visit to Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary is a huge tourist attraction with a lot of history to it and the Honors Program had the privilege of going on a day trip to Eastern State.  The group arrived in front of the arts and science building in the morning and once roll was taken, the bus departed and we were on our way.

The charter bus pulled up in front of the enormous stone building and I was overwhelmed by the size and architecture of the prison.  Single file we exited the bus and stood in front of the giant castle-like structure.  Finally we were told to split into two groups.  My group was the second to enter the Penitentiary, and our tour guide opened the monstrous gate and led us to a small garden in the front courtyard of the prison.  Here she explained how the prison ran on a separate system in which all the inmates were kept in their own cells and how they did not interact with other inmates.  She elaborated on the difference between a prison and a penitentiary.  She informed us that a penitentiary was based on the religious idea of repenting for ones sins.  Thus, the separate system in which they could reflect on their sins.  As we continued our tour we stopped at a corner.  This corner was where the tour guide explained the radial design of the prison and how from this point there was no blind spot.  This penitentiary was very extravagant for its time; it had heat and running water, which drew people into the prison just for meals and ammenities.  As we continued our tour we entered different cells and saw how tiny they were.  We entered the surveillance hub and saw how effective the radial design was for security.  We went outside and saw the exercise yard and heard about how the inmates would hit baseballs over the wall and the baseballs came back over the wall altered and filled with drugs.  We also saw the guard towers on the corners of the wall because the radial system became obsolete as the prison expanded and got larger within its walls. We were then showed death row and then set free to go explore the prison and get lunch somewhere in the town.

A few of my friends and I traveled the prison saw the second floor cells, and even went into the hole.  We saw the creepy set up for “Terror Behind the Walls” and then decided we had seen enough.  We left the prison turned right and walked down the street until we stumbled upon a small pizza place.  This pizza place was called Luigi’s, and it was such a great cheesesteak.  I ate a chicken cheesesteak that was amazing and Italian soda.  After lunch we wandered around and found a used bookstore that we entered.  We then got ice cream and returned to Eastern State.  We took a group picture in front of Eastern State Penitentiary and then the bus arrived.  We boarded the bus and we departed and everyone took a nice nap after the long day trip we had just finished.

Mary Roach

I spent parts of my summer reading Spook trying to get a feel for Mary Roach’s writing style, how her voice would carry through the words on the page. This week at Stockton we all had a chance to sit and listen to Mary Roach to discuss her experiences and her books. Roach was a refreshing change from the duller speakers I have had the chance to listen to in the past, she quickly captured the attention of her audience by discussing how hyenas gave birth in the most peculiar way.

Roach also spoke about how curiosity is a key to her writing style and her life. She stressed that asking questions is one of the most important things one can do for one’s self. Our college career is a time for us all to dig deep and discover new things. It’s a time for us to not accept things at face value to admit we don’t know, but we will look into it more. She told us the more that we know, the more we will come to realize we don’t actually know that much, but you we always learn more.

What I enjoyed most was Roach’s clarification on the closing of Spook. When reading the book and going on this long journey with her from India to the end, I was invested in her story, and I wanted to know her final conclusion and thoughts on the afterlife. However she just ended the book abruptly with just a “What the hell. I believe in ghosts.” At her presentation she explained why she believed in ghosts. She claimed that ghost stories are fun and she didn’t want to be in a world where there are no possibilities of ghosts. I was glad to have that closure and the knowledge that if she could go back and change it she would. She also closed her speech with her belief of what may happen to the soul after death. She thought that, “When you die you go back to where you were before you were born, wherever that is.” There still is no proof of that but, according to her there is a difference between what you know and what you believe.

Mary Roaches book wasn’t a “page turner” but I enjoyed the chance to hear her tell us her stories more than I did reading them from the page. I really did enjoy her speaking and maybe from this experience I will go find another book by her and give it a chance. Or maybe not…

Honors Trip

In early November the Freshman Honors Program went to Philadelphia to do some historical sightseeing. We ventured to the city of brotherly love to visit Eastern State Penitentiary. It was eerie to say the least to set foot into an old penitentiary. I looked around at the crumbling walls and buildings I could not help but think of what must have happened behind these walls what kind of people set foot in the very spot I stood those thought only increased when we went into the buildings to see the jail cells that were inside. What it must have been like to be in this jail in its early days. Alone in a cell, by yourself for days on end. During our tour we learned about the penitentiary’s history. How it was revolutionary and influenced the architecture of countless penitentiary’s and jails. We also learned how the penitentiary had to grow and adapt to changes within it and outside, weather it was having to expand within its walls to accommodate for the increased number of prisoners, or change its entire system of solitary confinement for all of the prisoners. We heard stories of escapees and others who lived with in the walls. By the time we left we had a condensed knowledge of the penitentiary from its opening to when it was shut down. It was an interesting experience seeing a historical prison first hand, but eerie none the less.

Stockton

Let’s talk about Stockton. This was an event created to give the students an easy way for their voices to be head. Various tables for different departments at our school were set up around the Campus Center to give students a chance to voice their complaints, questions, opinions, or ideas. The department representatives were open minded and took the students’ ideas into consideration. They were quick to help think of a solution to problems, or promise to seek change.

I personally went to the Chartwell’s table with a few other students to speak with the representative. Our main concerns were the high price of healthy alternatives in the campus center, the lack of, and difficulty of obtaining gluten free products for students with health problems, and the idea of getting a Chipotle, or other fresh-mex food stand. The representative listened, and calmed our concerns. He assured us that he would look into whether they could lower the prices of the healthier meals. He also promised a gluten friendly food area was already in the process of coming together in the N wing dining hall, and the idea of a Chipotle style dining area was being considered and sounded like a good idea for an addition to the food service at Stockton. After the representative told us he was a new employee of Stockton, and previously worked with a college that was ranked with the 5th best dining on campus, he assured us that change was coming to Stockton’s Dining halls and he was going to work to make them much better.

This event gave individuals a chance to voice their concerns and to be herd by someone who can do something about them. If one was to have any concerns about Stockton and the services they provide, he doesn’t have to wait for the next “Let’s Talk about Stockton” event, he can go to the department and voice his concerns. Complaining to friends, or to social media is not going to get anything done, go out there find someone who can help and tell them some ideas. That is how change will happen.