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Features

Volume 84 (Fall 2012 - Spring 2013)

And the Winning Numbers for Campus Housing Are...

In just a couple of short weeks, the all-important housing selection day will be upon University residents. Just after the relaxation of Spring Break, residents returned to emails with a random number which would determine their options for housing.

For some, the decision was easy; a roommate got a low number and housing was. But for others, their day to choose could not come any sooner.

Carolyn Taylor, a former resident assistant (RA) said, “The most common fear is that there will not be a spot and they will have to hurry and find something off campus.”

This almost was the case for sophomore Courtney Carr. “I got a bad number in the 500s but someone was able to pull me into Redwood at the last minute,” said Carr. Numbers in the double digits, however, do not guarantee the spot someone may want or have in mind.

Sophomore Briana Dunlap said, “I had a number in the 50’s. I wanted to get into two triples in Redwood but I ended up getting two triples in Oakwood with my friends.” She added that this worked out better for her and her roommates later in the year.

There are some students who live with a couple of friends, but will be forced to move in a suite with seven or eight others next year. Deanna Lukac is in her first lottery process and is hoping for Spruce, but is concerned who some of her new roommates will be. “I got a number in the 600’s, but only have three others who I want to live with. I may find out selection day who the others will be because it is random.” Waiting until the last minute to be assigned can provide some anxiety.

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The Real Deal on Reality TV

Jersey-Shore-Season-3-Cast-Wallpaper-jersey-shore-24353695-1600-1200For many American families, TV plays a large role in their daily lives. Children watch cartoons after school or early on Sunday mornings, adults who are home during the day watch soap operas and game shows, and many families gather around the television at the end of the night to watch a specific program together.

According to weirdfacts.com, 99 percent of all households in the United States possess at least one television.

In recent times, reality television shows have been growing more and more popular. The number of these programs that make it on the air continues to rise as the number of people who enjoy these types of shows also increases. But how much reality is actually shown in a program that is considered to be “reality” television?

Donna Dolphin, a communication professor at the University, explained, “The only actual reality television is called ‘news.’” In other words, the shows that may be advertised as being real life portrayals of the lives of everyday men and women are not completely real.

“The genre that we call reality TV is a semi-scripted form of improvisational narrative drama,” Dolphin further adds. “It is formulaic and episodic.” If that is the case, the concept of a genuine “reality” television show ever existing, or having ever been in existence, is completely lost.

To reinforce Dolphin’s point, Robert Scott, a specialty professor in the communication department, admitted, “I have a friend who is a camera operator for several reality TV productions and it is not uncommon for a producer to instruct him to interact with participants, sometimes fabricating situations for dramatic effect.”

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Carrying Your Weight in a Group Project

group-projectsAt some point in college, students are asked to work on a class project in groups, which may account for a major grade in the particular course in which it is assigned.  These projects come in many forms including quizzes, presentations or major term projects.

Associate Professor of English, Dr. Margaret Delguercio knows that in a class like Shakespeare I or II, group projects can be very helpful in increasing students’ understanding of a difficult concept, but is also aware of commitments that members have out of class.

Delguercio tells her students each semester, “I try to set at least one class period aside as I know it is often difficult to meet outside of class with conflicting schedules.” These projects, along with journal entries are assigned equal weight so they are not necessarily a deciding factor for a final grade.  Participation is weighted equally as well, whether it means contributing to the discussion for ideas or drawing pictures on a poster.

Not all students mind bearing the brunt of the work because others are not as active.  Junior Tara Malander said, “I do not mind having to do most of the work even though it accounts for a grade for the whole group.”

It worked well for Malander to have one person responsible for the majority of the project since the task was completed in a timely manner.   Rebecca Leitt, a junior, has a business law class in which she has been working on a collaborative group project for a good part of the term.  

She said, “I do not like group projects, but while I don’t mind doing most of the work, I try to give the group members an equal amount of the work.”  This is especially important in this case because the project will culminate into a presentation, but more importantly it gives her and the other students in the group the opportunity to work as a team which is an important skill in many workplace settings. 

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Registration Riots: Scheduling Required Classes

registrationIt’s about that time of the year again: the stressful and frustrating experience of registering for classes for the upcoming year. With the time slots allotted and the information of classes available for each semester, scheduling wreaks havoc for many students. Be sure to provide yourself with the correct amount of time to research, conform and configure the next year’s academic schedule.

There is limited class availability for certain sections and the later your scheduled registration is, the lesser your chances are of getting into specific sections. Creating a workable college course schedule is extremely important. A smart college course schedule allows a student not only to succeed, but also to engage in extracurricular activities.

Kelly Dalton, a junior student athlete, said that it is frustrating when she has a schedule planned that fits around games and practices but the class sections are full by the time she is able to register for them. Classes at the University are relatively small and are therefore limited in availability.

She added, “As a soon to be senior, I have certain courses that must be fulfilled in order to graduate on time. That could create problems for me if I cannot register for my vital courses.”

The first step before you can register for classes is to meet with your academic advisor to get unblocked. Reece Johnston,  junior, said, “I feel like the process of getting unlocked by your advisor is an unnecessary step. Meeting with an advisor is a good idea for younger students, but as I have progressed in my academic career, I have found it is pointless and feel as though there should be no lock and unlock step.”

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Monkey See, Monkey Do: Leading by Example

role-modelEarly in our lives, we find ourselves following in other people’s footsteps. We shape our decisions based on those made by the people around us, and most of our values and morals stem from the thoughts and opinions of our loved ones. But what makes some people more adept to becoming role models than others?

 Although there isn’t an official guidebook on how to become a good example for other people, there are several important details to keep in mind if becoming an admirable role model is your goal.

There is a very long list of qualities that any good role model should embody, but perhaps the most important characteristic is being responsible. Although a person of any age can have a role model, children that are much younger are the ones who normally do.

Young children are easily influenced, so it is crucial to act in a way that would not inappropriately rub off on a child. Older siblings are the ones who usually fill the role model position in most kids’ lives, and Jillian McLaughlin, a freshman at the University, knows what it’s like to have to set a good example.

With a 10-year-old sister and a 15-year old brother, Jillian feels that it is important to live a life full of positivity so that she can be a positive influence not only in her own life, but in her siblings’ as well. “It is extremely important to set a good example because I have to teach them how to be when they’re older. I want to see them do well and go down the right path,” McLaughlin explained.

Aside from someone who is able to set the proper standard for those who look up to them, role models should be understanding as well.

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Crime in Syracuse Sparks a Fear of Local Danger

RenzWith a sophisticated computer science and engineering background, David Renz, 29 of Cicero, NY managed to deactivate his court ordered electronic ankle bracelet in a matter of minutes. Disregarding his 9:00 pm curfew, he drove to the nearby Great Northern Mall. He then allegedly carjacked and abducted Lori Bresnahan, an Elementary school Librarian in the district and her 10-year old daughter after they were leaving a gymnastics class around 9:00 pm.

Renz allegedly raped the child in the car of the mall parking lot and then tied up the two females and drove them to a nearby park. The girl escaped and the mother later died of multiple stab wounds. Renz was found fleeing the park’s wooded area around 11:30 pm and was tackled and brought into custody by authorities.

According to The Post-Standard and its affiliate, Syracuse.com, Renz was awaiting trial under federal jurisdiction for possession of 100 plus gigabytes and over 3,000 images of child pornography. According to court documents, these files were on an encrypted hard drive on a homemade computer in his residence.

During pre-trial, Renz was afforded free reign to continue to work at his longstanding job at Wegmans, but was hesitantly given an electronic monitoring device in the meantime. Due to his swift nature with technology, Renz was able to reconfigure the device’s settings in a few minutes and the company didn’t detect any problems until four hours later, which was four hours too late for Lori and her daughter.

Senior criminal justice major Nicole Close and resident of Clay, NY said, “It’s just a shock and really devastating. We never expected something to happen like this here.  I live two miles from where it happened. My mom’s a pre-school teacher and I’ve been around the man who did it. He used to attend a church I went to, so it hits really close to home.”

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Challenging the Legality of Gene Patents

As the nascent field of genetics looms large across the frontlines of tomorrow’s medicine, the impact of the legality of gene patents today will have far-reaching consequences on how we may conduct genetic testing to assess the prognosis of various diseases.

Genes are the hereditary units of living organisms. They are composed of stretches of DNA and RNA that code for other RNA chains and proteins, one of the chief building blocks of life.

On May 12, 2009, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Public Patent Foundation filed a lawsuit charging the patents of Myriad Genetics, a Utah based molecular diagnostics company, on two genes associated with the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer to be unconstitutional and invalid.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit filed, Association of Molecular Pathology, et. al. vs. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Myriad Genetics, et al., represented women patients, breast cancer survivors, cancer research and health advocates, researchers, genetic counselors, and various scientific associations consisting of “150,000 geneticists, pathologists, and laboratory professionals,” according to the ACLU.

This lawsuit was filed against Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation because they have patented the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 on the human genome.

Under the First Amendment, the plaintiff charged the gene patents of Myriad Genetics to be unconstitutional because genes are the products of nature and therefore, cannot be patented.

The patents, which were originally granted in 1994 and 1995 for BRCA1 and BRCA2 respectively, allow Myriad Genetics to set its own terms and costs for genetic testing of these genes. Because all genetic testing must go through Myriad Genetics, this consequently makes it nearly impossible for at-risk women to access alternate genetic tests or get second opinions about their results.

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Tips for Getting Involved in New Student Orientation from an OL

An orientation leader (OL) is given the important task of meeting new freshmen and providing insight of what life is like at the University and encouraging campus involvement.

Junior Rachel Conners had the privilege of being an OL for the past two years and said that it is a positive experience for the leader and students alike. 

She wanted to give something back to the University, a home away from home. “I had an overwhelmingly positive experience at my orientation, and I wanted to be part of the process of giving the fun experience I had to other students,” said Conners. “I was also interested in being there for students who were more apprehensive about Monmouth or college in general. There is nothing more rewarding than making someone’s day or making a person feel at home at a place you love, so that was what ultimately led me to apply for the position.” 

This involves more than being there for students. Being a positive role model is of the utmost importance for all groups during the two day programs.  The difficult aspect of this is that while the groups of students rotate from week to week, activities can get repetitive for the leader.

“Orientation is essentially repetitive for the orientation leaders in that the schedule remains the same but the students are obviously different for each session. Keeping things interesting, fun, high-energy, and creative was a challenge we all faced at the start of a new session as it wasn’t all that new to us,” said  Conners.

All of the students are split into teams with two leaders each, determining where they will participate in various activities. Some of these include “I Got Involved” which highlights the many clubs and extra-curricular opportunities available. Icebreakers are used to get to know other students in the incoming freshman class and better familiarize themselves with the campus environment for the fall term.

“The New Student Orientation Program traditionally consists of six two-day sessions in which there are six color groups of first year students that a pair of OL’s guide throughout their stay,” said Conners.

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Good News and Bad News: How News Savvy are Students?

news-savvyIn the current generation of college students, news has changed in terms of outlets, frequency, accessibility and even definition. While some stu­dents are avid news seekers, others are less concerned with events out­side of their immediate surroundings. Some of this is due to a lack of time or no desire to seek out stories that they do not feel pertain to them directly.

Dr. Eleanor Novek, journalism professor explains that a student’s news intake depends greatly on what they consider to be newsworthy. “If you count sports as news, lots of people go after sports information. If you count celebrity gossip as news (and some people do), some people are very well informed about that,” said Novek. She does not believe that college age students are widely inter­ested in hard news.

In a survey of 37 students at the University, seven listed stories about sports or celebrities when asked to provide three issues they had heard in the news in the last three weeks. Some of these included the results of the latest Devils vs. Flyers game, Kim Kardashian’s pregnancy and Justin Bieber’s rant on Instagram, a social media website that allows us­ers to post images taken from their mobile devices.

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The Close Friend Conflict of On-Campus Living

roommateWhen Amanda Barnum re­turned for her sophomore year at the University, she was excit­ed like most students about the thought of moving away from home again and into a suite style dorm. At the end of the lottery process the previous year, she requested to live with her close friend, thinking that everything would go smoothly. She would soon find out that it would be quite the opposite.

This was based around the popular belief that all close friends will be good roommates, when in fact, it is more impor­tant that one gets along with the other’s living habits. This puts a damper on what is supposed to be a smooth experience, es­pecially when a student has re­quested to room with someone they know well. Barnum said, “I chose to live with my best friend my sophomore year in Spruce Hall.”

Spruce, like many of the fresh­men dorms, is a suite style, put­ting tensions on the whole suite. In this case, the suite consisted of seven girls instead of a double or triple traditional room. For quite some time, the decision whether to move out or have a talk with the RA was considered to save the friendship and not interfere or get the other suite­mates involved. This also means that even though there are multi­ple rooms, everyone has to share the same common area, unlike a double room dorm which con­fines two to three people to a double or triple room.

Barnum said, “I did not like my freshman roommates so I de­cided to look around for people I know in the Educational Oppor­tunity fund program to live with. To make matters worse, I got a very high lottery number limit­ing my options.”

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An Intern’s Commute: Turnstyles, Third Rails and Tuna Fish

The alarm clock rings. Its flashing red illumination makes me think I am being pulled over by the dream police. My body jerks up from the bed like a corpse in an old John Carpenter horror film. I think for a minute why such an obnoxious and so­norous noise has awoken me on this February morning....oh yea, I have to go to my internship in New York City.

When I accepted the position in early November, I convinced my­self that the commute wouldn’t be too bad. The voice of optimism told me that the hour-and-a-half train ride would allow me some relaxation and down-time to and from the chaotic city. After a month of this twice daily routine, I think I should be a salesman for selling myself that lie.

It’s 6:00 am. After taking the world’s fastest shower and at­tempting to eat something, which is not easy at that hour, I step into the cold, dark morning. The train station is only a five min­ute drive from my apartment, but with the subarctic temperature it seems like a lot longer. Being a college student on a low income, I am forced to park on the street quite a distance from the station because of the exorbitant price of a monthly parking permit.

The walk is lonesome; it feels as if I am the only person crazy enough to be out in public at this time. Scouting the concrete for black ice like a soldier cautious­ly monitoring his footsteps on a mine field, I arrive at the station with just enough time to pur­chase the morning paper from a rusty, coin-only dispenser. Alas, the welcoming whistle of train 6612 signals to me that warmth is just moments away.

Greeting the conductor with a friendly, “Good morning,” I soon wish I could retract my momen­tary lapse of judgment. Opening the door to what I thought would be a near-empty train car, I am shockingly dismayed to see a congregation of fellow travelers, all of whom are of different sizes, shapes and from the looks of it, moods.

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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