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Toni Morrison Day Highlights Historic Literature

Toni Morrison 1Monmouth University’s first annual Toni Morrison Day celebrated the life and legacy of the African American novelist, Pulitzer Prize winner in fiction, and Nobel Prize winner in literature, on Tuesday, Feb. 18

Sponsored by the Department of English, the Guggenheim Memorial Library, and the Honors School, the honorary event was first planned in September, a month after Morrison’s death in August.

“We thought that this was a really fitting celebration of her legacy,” said Beth Swanson, Lecturer of English and faculty advisor of Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honor Society. “This is something we actually had a thought about since the fall semester but we really didn’t start to put into motion until January.”

The all-day event began with a welcome speech by Courtney Werner Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English, opening remarks by Swanson, and a keynote address from Walter Greason Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair of Educational Counseling and Leadership.

Other exhibitions included a presentation on the works of Toni Morrison given by Anwar Uhuru Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English, a screening of the 2019 film Toni Morrison: The Piece I am, a pedagogy panel titled “Teaching Toni Morrison” facilitated by Assistant Professor of English Alena Graedon, and a marathon reading of Morrison’s 1973 novel Sula by student and faculty volunteers.

“I was really interested in involving [Sigma Tau Delta] in a way that would showcase the talents of our English majors by having our students do a readathon,” said Swanson.

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Students Protest Divisive Dramatization

Social Work AbortionA group of social work students peacefully protested the screening of an anti-abortion film organized by the Campus Catholic Ministry (CCM) in the Wilson Hall Auditorium, on Monday, Feb. 17. 

The film, titled Unplanned, is a 2019 drama based on Abby Johnson’s memoir of the same name.

Johnson was a Director at a Planned Parenthood facility, but after assisting with an ultrasound guided abortion, she became an anti-abortion advocate.

Kailey Monteiro, a junior social work student, organized the protest.

She said: “As a social work student, I am held to a strong ethical and evidence-based position on reproductive justice from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics. I did not want to stand by while this event occurred on campus, as I feel it is my responsibility as a future Social Worker to advocate for a woman’s right to choose.”

Brittany Macluso, a junior social work student, participated in the protest of this event because it violated the NASW Code of Ethics.

Macluso said, “We have to abide by these laws and I feel like this as a social worker, and my friend who is also here also agrees… This says a lot about what we stand for as a community at [Monmouth University] and I don’t think that’s representative of all people that are here.” 

The screening was promoted via the University’s official Instagram page, and that was seen as unacceptable by Monteiro.

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Hawk Network's Digital World

Hawk Network 1The University is soon to invite students to the "Hawk Network," a digital community for professional networking and development available to undergraduates and alumni alike, on Mar. 2.

Users will be able to search and filter fellow Hawks by industry, professional experience, general location and more. Built-in video conferencing tools, as well as connection through email and text, allow the site's users to "build meaningful mentoring relationships," the official Hawk Network FAQ states.

William Hill, Assistant Dean of Career Services, considers the Hawk Network to be a "game-changer for Monmouth."

"This system harnesses the potential networking power of tens of thousands of alumni and students in a robust yet user-friendly website," Hill said. “Over time the possibilities for career connections and advice is nearly endless. Initial response from alumni has been overwhelming, with over 700 signing up in the first two weeks since launch. I am confident Hawk Network will have an important impact on our current and future students’ professional success.”

Jeffery Mass, Assistant Director of Career Services, considers Hawk Network to be a tool which will allow students and alumni to succeed before, during and after Monmouth.

“Students are able to gain networking contacts by connecting with alumni and friends of the University. Hawk Network also offers resources to help budding professionals as well as a forum for users to discuss how they have navigated their own personal career development.

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Monmouth Reacts to Trump's State of the Union Address

Trump Union AddressPresident Donald Trump gave the 2020 State of the Union address on Capitol Hill, last Tuesday, Feb. 4.

“Three years ago, we launched the great American comeback. Tonight, I stand before you to share these incredible results,” Trump said as the opening line of his speech. “The years of economic decay are over,” he continued, adding that the state of the Union is “stronger than ever before.”

Much of the address focused on the nation’s economic accomplishments: the unemployment rate at the lowest in over 50 years; seven million people off food stamps; 10 million people off welfare; and 3.5 million people joining the workforce over the past three years. “This is a blue-collar boom,” said Trump.

Matthew Lifson, an Instructor of Economics, discussed how he thinks the president should get some credit for the economy for reaching new heights. “The unemployment rate has always been a misleading figure, since it only includes those looking for work at the present time,” he said. “That being said, the number at such a low level gives more evidence to an improving economy. The quickest way to prove that an economy is improving is by the amount of jobs created.”

Lifson also explained how there needs to be more civility between the two political parties. “The shame of the event was the breakdown in relations has gotten so bad between the Republican and Democratic parties, and the State of the Union was actually embarrassing,” he said, blaming both the president and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

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Guardians Club Welcomes NJ State Police Captain

Guardian Club PoliceThe Monmouth University Guardians club hosted and welcomed NJ State Police Captain Michael Zimmerman, to discuss careers in law enforcement to students this past Wednesday in Bey Hall, Room 133.

Zimmerman is an experienced member of the NJ State Police force who currently serves as the Deputy Troop Commander in NJSP Troop C. Some of his notable experiences include conducting relief efforts in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria and helping to innovate the NJSP Regional Operations and Intelligence Center (ROIC). He has acted as Incident Commander and supervised major multi-county sides, Assistant Bureau Chief of NJSP’s Intelligence and Criminal Enterprise section, and the Executive officer at the NJ State Police Academy.

Guardians Club President and senior criminal justice student, Dally Matos, hopes to pursue a career in criminal justice, and she believes that events like these can give students perspective on law enforcement officers. “In today’s world, most students gain opinions from law enforcement based on what is on the news. Students can meet with officers face to face and get answers to their questions and see both sides of the new criminal justice debate,” she said.

Criminal Justice Department Chair and Professor, Nicholas Sewitch, explained that it is an obligation to expose students to different careers through real life experiences in order to understand what their desired job requires. “Some students have an idea of what they want to do, but they really don’t know what the career field is. We try to expose our students to a deeper look into a particular field.

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The Story of a Banished Family

Banished FamilyThe University hosted a documentary play entitled Banished: A Family on the Sex Offender Registry, to discuss issues with the sex offender registry, on Monday, Feb. 9 in Woods Theatre.

Banished is an oral history project, telling the story of harms caused by the sex offender registry. It follows the story of one family through the criminal proceedings and changes they endure while preparing for the registry.

The play also features interviews with Elizabeth Letourneau, Director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at Johns Hopkins University; and, Patty Wetterling, a national children’s safety advocate, whose son’s disappearance led to the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act. The contained works are co-written by Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, a staff writer for The Appeal, and coLAB Arts producing director, Dan Swern.

The names of the family are altered for confidentiality purposes.

Kiefer Swanson, played by actor David Seamon, pled guilty to indecency with a child in
December of 2015, years after the incident transpired. In a series of interviews, Kiefer and his family provided insight into the aftermath of the sentencing.

Kiefer’s career in the air force was on track, when he received a text from his father that they needed to talk. His father explained that there was an open investigation regarding what happened when he was 11 years old.

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What is the Development Team?

Development Team 1University Advancement accomplished a lot in the past fiscal year. Between June 30, 2018 and July 1, 2019 the Donor Impact Report states that the University received more than $15.4 million in gifts, pledges, and planned gifts. This is an over 65 percent increase compared to the previous year in which $9.3 million was committed.

According to Monmouth’s website, University Advancement is  a division responsible for “working with alumni and friends, we raise much-needed scholarship funds and support the key initiatives that draw students from all over the world to Monmouth University’s vibrant coastal campus.” University Advancement is the larger umbrella term that encapsulates the four different departments: Development Team, their largest department, Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving, Donor Relations and Stewardship, and Advancement Services. 

Jonathan Meer, the Vice President of University Advancement oversees all of these departments and also works toward making those relationships with possible donors in order to cultivate gifts for the university. The Development Team focuses mainly on fundraising, “We go out and meet with donors, generally donors that have the capacity to make major gifts $10,000 or above,” says Meer. 

Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving “do a little bit of fundraising, but mostly it’s [planning] reunions [and] events.” Meer also stated that they are responsible for Annual Giving, or “low level giving” as he referred to it. An example of this would be the Philanthropy Chord Project, part of the Senior Giving Campaign, in which graduating seniors make a donation and receive a philanthropy chord to wear for commencement. The class of 2019 set a record with over 400 gifts toward the Philanthropy Chord Project, and all of this money goes towards student scholarships.

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Blood Drive Supports Professor's Son

Blood DriveThe School of Science, School of Social Work, and School of Nursing and Health Studies sponsored a blood drive to honor Monmouth’s own Ollie Daneshgar on Monday, Feb. 10.

Ollie, the four-year-old son of Pedram Daneshgar Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology, was diagnosed with Leukemia on Nov. 7. All donations were sent to Robert Wood Johnson hospital in New Brunswick, where Ollie is currently receiving treatment.

“I never really gave blood drives that much attention until my son got Leukemia,” said Daneshgar. “And then I saw him get several blood transfusions in the last three months. He would not be alive without them, so it really hit home.”

Hosted in the Edison Science Building, the blood drive drew 137 registered donors with 104 whole blood donations, five platelet donations, and one plasma donation.

Koorleen Minton, Assistant to the Dean of the School of Science, said, “Every year I assemble a group of students comprised of honor societies, clubs, and others that just volunteer to help.” These organizations include Eta Sigma Gamma, the National Health Education Honor Society, Beta Beta Beta, the Biological Honor Society, the Next Generation Science Club, and the School of Science Peer Mentors. The drive offered an opportunity for student members to fulfill the service requirement for these honor societies.

Minton has been organizing campus blood drives since 2014. Since then, the University has donated over 1300 pints of blood in total. The University hosts three blood drives per school year.

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Student Featured in National Magazine

social workThe National Association for Social Workers (NASW) magazine will interview Brittany Macaluso, a junior social work student, in North Brunswick for their March issue. 

The focus of this issue is to highlight social workers’ experiences from emerging and seasoned professionals. The magazine will be released along with a video in March, which is social work month. 

Robin S. Mama, Ph.D., MSS, LSW, Dean of School of Social Work, said, “It is always an honor to have our students or alumni profiled by a national organization. Not only does this help us to demonstrate the work that students are engaged in, it also helps to educate the public on the varied areas where social workers work.” 

Cory Cummings, an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work, explained that a student from Monmouth being featured is important for a few reasons. “It acknowledges the hard work [Macaluso] and her team have been doing to support our social work students and help them develop as emerging professionals. This is exemplified through events like the Teach-In that was hosted last Fall,” he said. 

Macaluso is the current President of the Social Work Society that coordinated and hosted the Teach-In on the Opioid Crisis last fall. “That event involved my entire team reaching out to senators people professionals in the community and also professors here on campus,” she said. 

Aside from on campus organizations, Macaluso has interned at Brain Balance, which works with children who have cognitive and behavioral delays.

This semester, she is interning at 2ndFloor Help Line, open 24/7 for adolescents and young adults to speak about any issues they are facing. 

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Libraries Stack-Up Against Other Pastimes

libraryPeople visited libraries more often than movie theaters, national parks, and live music events, according to a recent GALLUP poll that was published on Jan. 24, 2020.

Adults in the United States reported visiting libraries an average of 10.5 times, while movie visits averaged 5.3 and visits to live sporting events averaged 4.7 times throughout the year. 

Why are people returning to the stacks? Are libraries still important in the age of the internet and search engines? Are library community staples?

Kurt Wagner, Head Librarian at the Murry and Leonie Guggenheim Memorial Library had read the new study, and while he recognized that the library and the movies are not always synonymous, he was pleased to see the trend. 

“I love libraries so much because there’s all that kind of unexpected knowledge and discovery of things. I say that what we do here is we foster kind of an explore, discover, create...you actually can create knowledge that a place like a library by putting together different information and making connections between things you learn here.”

Wagner encourages students and all individuals to go to librarians and peak to librarians in order to get all the information they are searching for. “If you’re not talking to Librarians and visiting libraries you only get what you look for when you do a search especially a Google Search and you might not even realize that you’re only getting what Google is able to find,” said Wagner. 

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Coronavirus Continues to Spread Around the Globe

CoronavirusCoronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from a minor cold to complex, deadly diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), according to The World Health Organization (WHO).

A new respiratory virus within the Coronavirus family, referred to as the Novel Coronavirus, has recently been first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The new coronavirus has surpassed 20,000 cases in China and a death toll of 425, The Guardian reported on Monday, Feb 3.

Since its identification, the Novel Coronavirus has been recorded in a multitude of other countries. An infographic by John Hopkins University displays 15 cases in North America as of Monday, Feb 3.

Jeffrey H. Weisburg, Ph.D., a Specialist Professor in the department of biology who’s currently teaching the class Microbiology in Health and Disease, addressed the worries of what may happen if the Novel Coronavirus were to appear on campus.

“What you have to realize is that people on the Monmouth campus, even if [a coronavirus] came, it probably would not be deadly because we’re healthy and have an intact immune system,” Weisburg said. “The concern is that it can develop into pneumonia and that can kill you; that’s the problem. It’s the effects of it that can cause other diseases or other problems with your body. It can cause heart problems which lead to heart attacks and you die.”

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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