Marine Mammal Stranding Center 5K Run

I am majoring in Marine Science and I decided to join the Marine Science club to meet others with my major and to get involved with more activities on campus. As I went to different club meetings I learned about the many activities that they do and the one that interested me the most was to volunteer for the Marine Mammal Stranding Center to help out with their 5K run at Seaside Boardwalk.

The day of the run, a few of us arrived at the boardwalk and figured out what they needed us to do. We got the job of filling bags that runners would receive with coupons and flyers that told them what the stranding center was about. After that we got sometime to walk around and see the conditions of the beach and the boardwalk after the super storm of last year and the recent fire that occurred. Then the group got the job of being stationed throughout the running course to make sure runners were safe and to encourage them to keep running and to finish the race. The first round got frustrating since some runners had headphones in and could not hear our instructions to stay on one side of the road but soon they caught on to what we were all saying and after that everything ran smoothly.

The second time that the runners came around they started to reply to our encouragement by thanking us and saying how they appreciated us coming out to support. Hearing them thank me made me feel great and I would not have traded it for anything in this World. It was great day to be able to learn about the Marine Mammal Stranding Center and to also encourage the runners and receive appreciation for what we did.

Atlantic City Marathon

Every year, Atlantic City hosts a marathon that winds throughout the streets of the city. As part of the softball team, we were asked to hand out cups of water and Gatorade to the runners at one of the many water stations along the course of the race. Before the marathon, I had never attended anything like it and was not quite sure what to expect. Once there, I saw a whole lot of runners who came together over the course of the race to push each other across the finish line.
The team helped out in two shifts, a morning and an afternoon shift. Personally, I was part of the afternoon shift. This meant two things. One, I did not have to wake up too early. Two, by the time the runners would pass by me at this point in the day, they would be delirious from having ran so far. The station we were at was 11 miles into the 26 mile race. Being at this station meant that we would see the runners just before they hit the halfway point and a few miles after the halfway point. As the runners passed us on their way out, they were visibly tired and were happy to see water and Gatorade available. When they came back past us, just a few miles after we last saw them, they were obviously grateful for what we were doing. Many runners even made an effort to say thank you to us for the cups we were offering. It was nice to hear such gratitude even when they were so clearly exhausted.
My favorite part of the day had nothing to do with my service. It had more to do with just watching the race and the runners. While some people ran individually, others ran in teams. It was interesting to see the camaraderie that the race promoted. People who were running alone the first time we saw them would be running with a whole group of people by the second time we saw them. That was something I was not expecting but looking back, it was actually a really cool thing to see. I have a feeling that it is not something one can understand without going through the same thing that these runners did.

Day of Service

Aside

 

I participated in Stockton’s Day of Service and I volunteered with Stanley Homes Community Center. The community center was having a back to school party for the kids in the neighborhood. Our job for the day was to keep the children busy, man the ice cream bar, and serve pizza. I started off on the ice cream bar dishing the ice cream, and I got to meet all the kids because of course they all wanted to go straight for the ice cream. They all had smiles and were so happy to be getting free food and playing games with us. One girl even sang for some for us even though she was very shy. It showed she truly liked and us and had trust in us and that was definitely my highlight of the day. Not only did I get to meet so many sweet kids and get to spend the whole day having fun with them, but also I learned about the community I know live around. It surprised me to see how unfortunate these families were and it broke my heart how some of these kids were dressed. It definitely opened my eyes to the situation around Stockton and it empowered me to want to do more than just one day of service.

I enjoyed my day of service. Helping the staff of the community center was great and they appreciated it very much. We helped decorate and set up the games and I loved being able to be there to lend a hand. Although that was great and helpful, the thing that really gave me most happiness was seeing the smiles of the children when they walked in and saw what we did with the center. Hearing their laughter fill the room warmed my heart. It was a great feeling and I would do the day of service all over again if I could.

 

Dancing at Lughnasa

On November 17, 2011, the Stockton Theatre Company performed Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa. Stockton’s production had beautiful set, light, and costume designs that helped draw the audience into the story. The set depicted the sisters’ house and its surroundings, where most of the play’s action took place. The detail was astounding, so it made it easier for the audience to become more interested. Furthermore, the set depicted both an inside setting and an outside setting without an actual wall separating them. There were small sections that were a part of the house that were meant to represent windows opening up into the yard. Moreover, the set was aesthetically beautiful, and a joy to look at. Everything was well placed on the set, and finding the little details helped make the show more fun to watch.

Also, the lighting throughout the show was well done. Someone without a critical eye would say that the lighting did not change during the show; however, they would be wrong. Although the lighting only changed very subtly, the changes were parallel to the action in the play. Most of the changes had to do with brightness and color. For example,
when the action became more romantic, the lighting would dim ever so slightly and change from the normal blue to a warmer purple-pink shade. The change was gradual, so it would not distract the audience from the action of the play, but it helped the audience get more involved in the emotion of the scene.

In addition, each of the characters had their own specific interesting costume. For example, Rose, played by Taylor Cawley, was depicted as having some type of mental disability. Throughout the show, she wore big Wellington boots; this set her apart from the other sisters, who all wore more similar shoes. Furthermore, the oldest brother Jack, played by Rodger Jackson, had multiple interesting costumes throughout the show. At first, when Jack returns from Uganda, he is not in his full right mind, so his costumes are
somewhat mismatched. At one point, he is wearing a floral sweater that looks like it is meant for a woman. In contrast, at the end of the play when he is recovered, he is dressed in his uniform and plumed hat. Also, the costumes were all beautifully made. Overall, Dancing at Lughnasa was a success and a pleasure to watch!

United States Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus

On November 17, 2011, the PAC held a concert for the United States Army Field Band and Soldier’s Chorus in the Sports Center.  The band and chorus came all the way from our nation’s capital to put on a show, and admission was free.  It is important to note that the members of the chorus and band are from all over the country; however, they meet up and practice in Washington D.C.  As soon as I walked into the Sports Center, I noticed that American flags adorned the entire gym.  A feeling of patriotism already overwhelmed me before the concert even started.  Right before the band was introduced, President Herman J. Saatkamp welcomed everyone to Stockton for a wonderful evening.

Afterward, the commander and conductor, Colonel Timothy J. Holtan, came out and asked everyone to stand for the playing of our National Anthem, while the chorus sang along.  After a few songs, which included “Hands Across the Sea” and “Roman Carnival Overture”, composed by John Philip Sousa and Hector Berlioz, respectively, vocalists went out to sing individual solos with the band one at a time.  The order of these vocalists was Staff Sergeant Brendan Curran, Sergeant First Class Erica Russo, and Staff Sergeant Tracy Labrecque.  They each sang their own song about love, two ballads and the last one more upbeat in tempo.  About halfway through the program, members of Ocean City and Absegami High Schools’ band and chorus joined those who were already on stage.  They played a quick song and then the original band and chorus resumed.  Next, the band alone played the Armed Forces Salute.  As the song progressed, different anthems of the branches of the military were played and members of the audience were asked to stand when their specific branch was called.  As I can recall, almost half of the members of the audience was connected to the military in some way.  The order in which they were called was the Navy, Air Force, Army, and Coastguard.  Then, they acted scenes from Broadway’s “Fiddler on the Roof”, which included theatrical dancing and singing.  To conclude, they played and sang the official march of the United States, “The Stars and Stripes Forever”.  As an encore, the chorus sang “Proud to be an American”.

Stockton Basketball Game

On November 22, 2011 at seven o’clock in the afternoon,
there was a men’s basketball game in Big Blue Gym. Stockton was playing
Widener, and the bleachers were almost full. They were handing out T-shirts and
selling hats and other things outside of the gym. Admission to the game was
free for Stockton students and five dollars for the public. Unfortunately,
Stockton lost the game 88 to 89. It was a very suspenseful game and almost
everyone was entertained.

At first,
it looked like Widener was going to easily win the game. They had at least a
ten point lead most of the first half of the game. Then Stockton came back and
caught up to Widener. The score was close for a few minutes, and then Stockton
took the lead and continued to do so. It looked like the game had turned
around. Stockton had the ten point lead now and Stockton fans were hoping that
they would keep it. That hope did not last for long, because soon enough,
Widener caught up. The winning score was going back and forth for a while.
Every time Stockton would manage to get a shot ahead, Widener would make
another shot or two.

The last
few minutes were painful to watch. Stockton was so close to winning, but could
not take the lead. The end of the game was also prolonged with foul shot after
foul shot. The majority of the points that were made at the end were from foul
shots. One of the Stockton players was injured at one point and had to be
substituted out of the game. He was put back in a few minutes later to fight
for the win. In the end, Stockton made a shot when the buzzer rang, but they
were still one point short of overtime and two points short of a winning score.

Much Ado About Nothing

In Stockton’s production of Shakespeare’s play Much Ado About Nothing, the director attempted to modernize the show to make it more accessible to college-age students without taking away from the language of Shakespeare.

During the interludes, or mini-scenes, and during some of the regular scenes, modern music was playing to accompany the acting. Modern artists such as Adele, Kings of Leon, and Florence and the Machine were used. The songs used were chosen and placed carefully, so they connected to what was happening in the play. This helped the audience better understand the plot. For example, after Claudio accused Hero of cheating and refused to marry her, Adele’s hit song Rolling in the Deep played to accompany Hero’s emotions about the situation. The interludes, sometimes without script, helped the show flow better because they depicted important information for the audience to understand the plot.

Throughout the show, the actors used extremely over-the-top gestures, movements and expressions to get points across to the audience. Because the Shakespearean language was still being used, the audience might have had trouble understanding the play, but the overacting that was done in Much Ado About Nothing, helped clarify important points. For example, Beatrice rolled her eyes at Benedick multiple times throughout the show; this let the audience know that they were fighting once again.

The actors were extremely interactive with the audience. This helped the audience feel more involved in the show and therefore making it more enjoyable for them. For example, Beatrice and Benedick both hid within the audience at some point during the show. Dogberry, Verges, and the watchmen interacted with the audience by cleaning the floor around their feet and occasionally stumbling into the audience.

Dogberry’s over-the-top gestures and word mix-ups were extremely comical, and added heavily to the comic relief of the show. Because college-age students enjoy watching comedy, Dogberry’s character helped make the show more relatable.

The costumes in this production of Much Ado About Nothing were both modern and simple, so they did not distract from the show too much. For example, Borachio, Conrade, and Don John’s costumes made it very clear to the audience that they were the “bad guys.” Furthermore, Dogberry’s costume alluded to a character in Reno 911, which is a modern show. Overall, the attempt to modernize Shakespeare’s play, Much Ado About Nothing, was extremely successful!

Pop Lloyd Symposium

On October 14, 2011, Stockton’s PAC Theater held a seminar about baseball’s finest to kick off Pop Lloyd Weekend.  Specifically, the speaker, Luis Mayoral, was there to share his experiences of Roberto Clemente and his importance throughout baseball.  Mayoral recounted the first time he met Clemente and how he remembers the smell of his cologne as he was tying his cleats.  As an audience member, I was fascinated by the fact that he could remember such a subtle detail still to this day.

Mayoral wanted the basis of his speech to focus on how Clemente’s personality was outside of baseball.  As a close friend, he knew that Clemente was such a pioneer for minorities in baseball and simply wanted to show the potential of humans in life, regardless of race.  Mayoral said that he was seen as such a big role model from his country Puerto Rico, and went on to say that he and the Puerto Rican flag are common denominators.  Clemente fulfilled a certain level of pride in all Puerto Ricans, despite the country’s declining economy and low standard of living.  At the time, there was no other icon that Puerto Ricans looked up to more than Clemente.  Mayoral pointed out that Roberto was very lighthearted and charismatic and even taught him how to shine shoes, which he still does everyday.  Toward the end of the speech, Mayoral described the night he passed away.  He was on a plane to help earthquake-torn Nicaragua when the place crashed into the Atlantic Ocean and his body was never recovered.  He could have easily raised money for the cause because of his stature, but chose to personally deliver supplies himself.  Clemente lived for 38 years, 4 months, and 13 days before his untimely death.  He was such a breakthrough athlete for baseball, “fighting prejudice with dignity and consistency”.  To end, Mayoral reiterated the hardships Clemente had to overcome and quoted him, “If I am a Major League player, I want to be treated like a Major League citizen”.

Service & Being in Service

On November 11, 2011 Daniel Tomé held a dialogue session in the Arts and Sciences building; just one of many sessions that have been, and are being held by the Office of Service-Learning. This particular lecture, held on Veteran’s Day, was titled Service and Being in Service. While Veteran’s Day was a subject of the discussion, the main focus of the dialogue session was that of the troops located overseas.

To start the session, two video clips and one audio clip were shown to the group. The first, the audio clip, was that of an interview of a family who had just lost a husband to the ongoing war in Afghanistan. The interviewee was the wife of the deceased soldier. She spoke of receiving the news, and that in order to make it to his funeral she induced the delivery of their child. She also spoke of the iPod with the recording of her husband’s voice on it, the only that was able to quite her son in the hospital nursery.

The first video clip was a Colbert report clip. This consisted mainly of the public reactions to Obama spending Veteran’s Day in South Korea speaking to the troops stationed there. There was also mention of a controversial comic that mocked the holiday. The second clip was an interview of the Director of Operation Shoebox, a non-profit organization that sends care packages to troops stationed overseas. Director Rod Hersh explained the items sent: toiletries, candy, beanie babies, letters, etc., and how the organization choses the recipients. The organization, composed entirely of volunteers (other than Hersh) gets its drive from the public support and pictures from the troops that they receive.

After watching and listening to all of the clips, the group held a discussion to vocalize the general reaction to each. Several of the voiced opinions were as follows: Several students found the comic regarding the Veteran’s Day holiday quite offensive, and believed the individual should not have published it. Another student brought up that the author was simple using his freedom of speech, which the troops are fighting for citizens to have. Other students brought up the job availability of the returning soldiers and veterans, a topic based on a handout that was given to the group. It was mentioned that these soldiers do have a right to work, but guaranteeing them jobs takes it away from other, possibly including other veterans.

When the discussion turned from the videos to the soldiers themselves, the conversation turned towards the war. Many students mentioned that there isn’t as much support for the war as there once was. Believed reasons for this included not understanding why soldiers are still overseas, public numbness, and lack of knowledge. When the war began, everyone knew why our soldiers were overseas, and what they were fighting for, but as the war has dragged on, the nationalism and support slowly disappeared. The numbness is a result from virtually the same thing. We have heard about the war for so long, the initial impact has been worn down to a point of indifference. Not hearing about what is going on is also a cause for the lack of public support.

As the war has gone on, it has fallen out of the center of focus, and thus left the mind of the public. While public support may not be what it once was, this does not mean the troops are any less important. They are still fighting every day, putting their lives on the line for the beliefs of this country. Whether we believe they should be deployed or not, we need to keep them in mind. Some may not support the troops being where they are, but we must still support the troops themselves. They are risking their lives; the least we can do is keep them in mind, understand what they are doing for us, and show the slightest support.

 

The Osprey’s Ball

Let me begin by saying, I personally love all types of social gatherings. That does include dances. The Osprey’s ball overall was very nice. I feel like more people could have gone out of their way to match the 70’s theme, but its alright that they didn’t.
I’m going to try and recreate the night for those of you who did not go, or for those of you who did not know what to expect and want to know for next year. It took place in the Campus Center Event Room, so having it be a nice location was a given. The tickets were very cheap, even for someone spontaneous like me who had to buy it at the door for double the regular price. But if you are a planner, they were only 5 dollars! I think for those of us straight out of high school, and having the memory of prom in our minds: Five dollars is nothing. They were taking free photos and printing them out for us. You could pick from multiple frame designs and pose with your friends or your date. There was only one person taking pictures so the line for it did move slow, but since it was something fun to do, most of us didn’t mind.
The food was good. I personally enjoyed the chicken. I heard a hot dog spontaneously caught on fire. I kind of wish I could have witnessed that in person, but we cant get everything we want. The DJ wasn’t my favorite because he switched up the songs too fast, but that was a minor detail. The important thing was that you were surrounded by your friends and just having fun.
As for my favorite parts: The decorations were adorable and we could all take a little key chain home. The Cake, well the tiramisu was absolutely amazing. My one regret is not going back and getting more of it, because it was just divine. Overall, I think this is a great experience and a fun opportunity to get dressed up and have some fun with your friends.