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Editorial

Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)

Single-file to the Podium, Please

Monmouth University will celebrate its Spring 2015 Commencement Ceremony at the PNC Center in Holmdel, New Jersey on Wednesday, May 20. 

While the graduating members of The Outlook are excited, nervous and every emotion in between, most of the staffers feel indifferent about the University’s choice of a speaker. 

Brad Eric Scheler, Esq., a senior partner and Chair of the bankruptcy and restructuring department of the global law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson was announced as the Commencement speaker by President Brown on April 20. 

One staffer said, “I am definitely not trying to knock his credentials and successes. He has accomplished so much in his career, and we can and should not criticize him for that; however, as far as speaking at Commencement, I’m not sure he was the absolute best choice. Maybe I’m wrong and his speech will completely and utterly blow me away and inspire me to be the best graduate ever, but I really was hoping for someone a tad more relateable and inspiring to us as graduates of Monmouth University.”

Another editor said, “I’ve never heard of him, I’ve never heard of the position that he holds, nor have I ever heard of the law firm that he works for, which does not necessarily make for a memorable ceremony.”

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Monumental Perks of Monmouth

With the spring semester soon drawing to a close, marking the end of another acadamic school year, both underclassmen and graduating seniors look back on their time at the University and reflect on their decision to attend Monmouth and if it has met or exceeded their expectations. 

The Outlook editorial staff members are happy that they made the decision of attending this private, beach school. 

When deciding on a university to attend, there are various elements of a school that may capture people’s interest and sell them on attending. One editorial board member said all the facilities the school has to offer and the people they’ve met, both within the student body and administration when visiting Monmouth left an impression on them that made them decide to come here. Also, this board member said when touring the school, the quality of work produced from Monmouth students also intrigued them enough to want to be a part of this community. 

Another staff member said what helped them decide on attending Monmouth was its location. The editor said, “We are located in a prime geographic area (wedged in between Philly and NYC), so we have a vast array of internship opportunities. We are essentially located in a huge media market.” Additionally, the editor said that being a mile away from the beach was a huge selling point. The area of the school is also very safe, which made the staffer feel comfortable. 

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University Offers Forum for Global Issues

The annual Global Understanding Convention (GCU) has been a prominent campus-wide event at the University for the past 14 years. The convention lasts for a week and covers various topics relating to social injustice and inequality, global issues, and non-violence. This year’s convention is taking place during the week of April 13-17 and is sponsored by the Institute for Global Understanding. 

According to the University’s official website, the slogan for this year’s convention is “Practicing Non-Violence in a Violent World.” The schedule includes several different events such as lectures, art installations, public speakers, film screenings, and workshops. 

Dr. George Gonzalez, Chair of the Global Understanding Convention, added insight on the purpose of the convention. “Each year, the theme and the content are especially geared towards the students, which is why we insist on staying a convention rather than morphing into an academic conference. The focus on the intellectual needs and interests of the students is unique and something that we take as basic,” said Gonzalez. 

The Outlook editorial staff believes the convention covers a wide variety of topics that need to be discussed amongst students and faculty. 

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Springing into Springfest

With the end of the spring semester right around the corner, most students can’t wait for all of the exams and papers to finally come to an end. But before heading back home for the summer and forgetting about having to set any early morning alarms, there’s still one thing left on just about everyone’s mind: Springfest. 

This annual event brings University students together at the end of every year in an effort to give them a break from all of the time that they’ve spent studying and preparing for finals. Free food, games and t-shirts usually draw most students out to the event, but the main attraction is always the musical performance. At this year’s Springfest, Jordan Roseman, more commonly known as DJ Earworm, will be performing. 

In the “About DJ Earworm” section of his official website, Roseman explains, “Basically, what I do is take a bunch of songs apart and put them back together again in a different way... I also DJ with my laptop.”

The editors of The Outlook seem to have mixed feelings about the news of Roseman’s performance. One editor said, “DJ Earworm sounds like an untalented ‘artist’ who just uses other people’s songs to become famous,” while another explained, “I think it’s interesting to have an artist come who is known for his mashups of other hit songs.”

Another editor commented that he/she simply was not expecting a DJ to be the main event at Springfest. “I would have much preferred having an actual artist... A DJ isn’t really what I think of when I think of the outdoor concert that Springfest is supposed to be,” he/she said.

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Strategic Perks

As per the Monmouth University website, a strategic plan was set forth in October 2014, coinciding with the 81st Founder’s Day celebration. Guided by “personal learning experience, program relevance, and global and cultural awareness,” the strategic plan remains largely a mystery, as far as The Outlook is concerned.

What has been clear thus far, is the campus’s commitment to strong leadership through the process, as the Monmouth Board of Trustees recently elected four new members who will bring their talents to the strategic plan.

The Outlook editorial staff, however, believes that while the specific goals of the strategic plan have not been clearly laid out, the University does maintain a commitment to improving the “campus community,” as seen by recent changes.

Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement Mary Ann Nagy said the goals of the strategic plan are: a rigorous academic agenda, external classroom experiences and life after Monmouth. 

Some editors are not sure how much students are involved in the strategic planning directives.

One staffer said, “I do not feel that students are involved when it comes to deciding on the changes that will be made to campus. We are rarely, if ever, polled regarding changes and are kept out of the loop for the most part.”

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Language Barriers

While Associated Press style writing is of the utmost importance for The Outlook’s editors, the group also finds itself prone to using some of the 21st Century’s less than academic language. John McHorter of Time wrote that despite being considered a destruction of the English language, text lingo and changes in slang are more related to spoken language than the written word. 

McHorter said, “Texting is developing its own kind of grammar. Take LOL. It doesn’t actually mean ‘laughing out loud’ in a literal sense anymore. LOL has evolved into something much subtler and sophisticated and is used even when nothing is remotely amusing.”

For the editorial staff, many of the members have their own favorite words to use in casual language. One staffer was exuberant in his/her support of the word “hella”. He/she said, “I really think more people should use that in casual conversation! I tend to use it when describing something particularly surprising, saying something like ‘that was hella crazy.’”

Other editors noted that they use more generic words such as “like” or phrases such as “you know” much too frequently. “Literally” was also among The Outlook’s list of the most overused words in casual conversation, even if it doesn’t mean what its literal definition describes.

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Raising the Bar

While today the University strictly regulates on-campus alcohol consumption, Monmouth’s policies used to be quite different; the Rebecca Stafford Student Center (RSSC) was once home to Blue Hawk Pub, an on-campus bar that was eventually turned into a cafe and has since been removed altogether.

According to Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement, the bar was active over ten years ago when the drinking age was still 18. “As the laws changed both from a drink age and liability perspective, it became increasingly difficult to provide financial support for a facility that 70-plus percent of our students could not have access to,” she said. 

Ultimately, the University decided to close the facility. “The pub could not sustain its operation on revenue derived from sales alone. The increased liability we assumed for operating a pub was also factored into the decision to close,” Nagy said.

Does this decision still make sense today, or should the University consider reopening the pub? The Outlook weighs in.

Firstly, the editors acknowledge that alcohol consumption can have serious consequences for college students. It is understood that the University’s “dry campus” policies are in place to ensure the safety of all students, as well as to cement Monmouth’s position as a respectable institution within the West Long Branch community. While The Outlook does not deny these policies, some editors feel that bringing a bar back to campus would yield positive results.

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“Major” Stereotypes

We’ve all heard them, the choruses of, “Oh you’re a history major? That means you’re going to be a teacher, right?” or, “Communication majors have it so easy.” Many students do not realize that when they declare a major they are also signing themselves up for three to four years worth of stereotyping. These falsities can not only deter students from declaring certain majors, but they can also take a toll on the self-esteem of those who already have.

The Outlook staff agreed that while the humanities tend to get the worst of it, every major is subjected to some kind of stereotyping. Psychology majors are said to be constantly analyzing everyone, business majors are said to be “in it for the money,” and political science majors who do not pursue law school are said to be bound for minimum wage jobs. One editor said, “People say to communication majors things like, ‘You know how to talk to people.’  Art majors are stereotyped as pursuing a passion rather than a career and not getting jobs, or if they do get a job, it won’t be high-paying. English majors are stereotyped as only reading for all homework assignments.  History majors are stereotyped as only being teachers or working at museums.’” Another editor noted that math majors get “hit with some tough stereotypes, such as the thick-rimmed, number-crunching nerd idea.”

Several staff members hold passionate feelings regarding the unfair stereotyping of communication majors. One editor said it is extremely irritating when they hear people saying that students who declare communication as their major do it because it is easy or because they “like to communicate.” The editor said, “People assume that communication is a joke but that could not be farther from the truth,” said a staff member. “There is a lot of work and research and time involved in being a comm major and that’s why it annoys me so much to hear people judge us in that way.”

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What Really Matters: GPA or Activities?

As spring graduation approaches and summer comes around, Monmouth University students will begin to apply for careers and internships. They will stock their resume with every job and leadership position they have ever held, but is this what companies truly look at? While a high school GPA helped colleges decide whether they were going to accept a student or give them a scholarship, the same cannot be said in the real world.

“GPA and extra-curricular activities are just two factors, in addition to other things, that employers consider when reviewing candidates for employment,” said Assistant Dean for Career Services William Hill.

He also noted that while a GPA is important, extra-curricular activities may increase the chances of getting hired. “A student who was president of a club related to their major or career might get greater consideration over another candidate with a slightly higher GPA, all things being equal. In general, which one is given more weight may very well depend on the job for which the candidate is being considered.”

Many Outlook editors agree with Hill’s statement as most believe internships and experience outweigh a GPA. 

Furthermore, The Outlook editors who have held previous internships recalled that most of these companies did not even ask for their GPA’s. These companies received an employee’s GPA through the transcript, if it was asked for; however, most editors noted that during their interview, their employer had their resume in front of them, not their transcript. Although the staff’s previous employers did not ask for their GPA’s, this does not necessarily mean that others will follow suit. 

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What’s Really “New” About Messages in the News?

Between breaking news, developing stories and exclusive interviews, there is no shortage of captivating reports in today’s news media. While some news outlets are focused on facts, others have not so subtle agendas (Fox and MSNBC, we’re looking at you.) 

Regardless of intent, the American news feed has been rife with stories both heartwarming and heartbreaking in the past six months. Members of The Outlook’s editorial board stopped to reflect on these moments, as well as think about the future and what may be in store.

“There is so much sadness and hate in this world that the news is almost always awful,” said one editor. The staffer continued, “There have been plenty of tragic news stories that have struck a chord with me, but one of the more recent ones which I feel like not a lot of people had even heard of was about the older couple who met someone from Craigslist responding to their ad for an old car.” 

The tragedy of course ended with the couple’s murder and the police’s inability to find their bodies for several days. “I feel like the more personal stories, like this one, affect me more because I tend to picture myself in the shoes of the family of the victim(s),” the editor added.

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Snow Cancellations: Better to be Safe than Sorry

The start of the semester comes hand-in-hand with the brunt of winter. After a month home, students return from winter break with a fresh semester to look forward to; but there is one problem – treacherous weather conditions are at their peak when students return to Monmouth. 

Last year’s spring semester started off quite similarly to this year’s. Snow hit the ground right away the second week back, leaving cancellations late Monday into Tuesday. Last week’s second snowstorm brought cancellations for late Monday classes yet again. Especially in comparison to last year, The Outlook feels the University has been proactive by making early calls for cancellations to be in the best interest of safe traveling for students and faculty.

Since the weather is changeable, one editor pointed out the reason for Monmouth to consider snow cancellations: “NJ is known for being a flat state and our school’s location is right on the shore so many people have shore cars like mustangs, PT cruisers, and VW bugs. MU has to take in the fact that we are not equipped for rough weather into consideration and also, that a lot of people will be driving over 15 minutes to school which may cause accidents during a snow fall.”

While meteorologists try their best to predict large snowstorms ahead of time, the exact weather patterns will usually remain rather uncertain. For example, the blizzard predicted the final week of January did not hit as hard as expected in many areas. “With the blizzard, the University decided to cancel before the storm arrived. This was a smart decision because it allowed students to make appropriate arrangements and for professors to adjust their classes accordingly,” another editor said.

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Contact Information

CAMPUS LOCATION
The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication 
and Instructional Technology (CCIT) Room 260, 2nd floor

MAILING ADDRESS
The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey 07764

Phone:(732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu