Students find meaning in out of country experience

BY NICK SISTI
Entertainment Editor

County College of Morris students embarked on a European excursion with associate history professor Craig Pilant for the seventh year in a row.

This year’s trip visited Paris, Barcelona and Madrid, from March 7-18, in conjunction with EF College Study Tours.. Students, alumni and families attended the trip.

Some trip-goers felt inspired to take the trek by others’ experiences before them.

“My mom would always tell me how she went to Europe in her 20s,” said Dorothy Scheines, a computer science major at CCM. “She’d go on and on about how it was the most amazing time of her life, so that definitely motivated me.”

The trajectory of the trip spanned 5000 miles on plane and train, beginning with a jet-lag inducing overnight flight into Paris. The first place travelers visited was the church of Notre Dame.

“Notre Dame was awesome,” said Zack Blackstone, a CCM alumnus who is a repeat traveler on Pilant’s trips. “The gothic stuff was very large and impressive. It’s amazing it’s been maintained so well, considering how old it is.”

The next night consisted of the obligatory Eiffel Tower trip, something that many of the students had been eagerly anticipating. However, reviews were mixed as some felt their hopes shot down.

“The Eiffel Tower was really disappointing for me,” said Blackstone. “It’s a really bland monument. We had to wait in a super long line… it was a rough night. It was a nice view from the top, however.”

In spite of the long line, some felt the destination was more important than the journey.

“It was totally worth it,” said Scheines. “It was like being in a cage at the top of the world.”

Multiple sites in the Barcelona portion of the trip itinerary highlighted the works of renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. The first such site was Park Guell, which was originally constructed to be a private community hub. Though it was never populated, the park still stands today and is subjected to hundreds of visitors daily.

“Park Guell was so artistically fulfilling and beautiful,” said Blackstone. “I was really surprised that none of the property ever sold, but at least it gets the recognition it deserves now.”

Next on the list was Sagrada Familia, an ambitiously massive cathedral considered to be Gaudi’s final masterpiece. The building, which is still being constructed to this day, is projected to finally be completed in 2026. Construction began in 1882 and has slowly but steadily progressed, with admission fees providing the budget.

“Sagrada Familia was the most impressive church I’ve ever seen,” said Blackstone. “It was interesting to see that even though we live in such a scientific age, that there’s still a huge emphasis on these religious structures. It was very moving and emotionally substantial for me.”

The Spanish art of flamenco comprises of multiple performance elements including classical guitar, dancing, and a capella. On day four of the Barcelona excursion, travelers were treated to an authentic flamenco presentation. The show began with solely vocals, and proceeded to introduce tap-dancing and fingerstyle classical guitars, culminating in a crescendo of all three components. Feedback was highly positive, with most trip-goers placing the performance at the top of their list.

“The flamenco was awesome. The whole vibe was really weird and powerful. It was very expressive and something I could connect to emotionally,” said Blackstone.

Scheines echoed his enjoyment.

“It was fantastic. I’ve never seen anything like that,” said Scheines. “When you hear everything together, it’s hard to believe that it’s only two guitars, feet, and voices. It sounds like a full band.”

When one experiences a foreign country for the first time, it drastically changes his or her perception of ethnocentrism. Americans sometimes have a tendency to view themselves as the center of the world, and it can be somewhat jarring when one is dropped into a far-off land with a substantially different cultural context.

“It’s helped me put in perspective what people coming here feel like,” said Scheines. “Even if you’ve learned the language of a foreign country, there’s so many other cultural cues and double meanings for words that you can’t really become acquainted with unless you live there and immerse yourself in the culture.”

For Blackstone, experiencing France’s much older history has influenced his overall awareness of his own.

“Paris especially had such a cultural history. It was readily apparent that centuries of stuff had gone on there, which was interesting coming from the US which is a relatively new place in comparison,” said Blackstone.

For info on next year’s trip to Germany and Italy, contact cpilant@ccm.edu.

Behind the scenes at CCM’s upcoming fashion show

BY DEANNA ROMA
Contributor

        Students at County College of Morris are getting ready to show off their latest fashion creations at CCM’s annual student-run fashion show. The theme of this year’s show is wonderland, referencing Alice in Wonderland.

The show sold out in 2016, and students are hoping to achieve the same feat this year.

The show is 7 p.m. Thursday, May 4, in the Student Community Center Davidson Rooms. The event is open to the public and sponsored by CCM’s Fashion Club, led by president Kayley McCarthy and Professor Kelly Whalen. All items are hand-made by students.

McCarthy, a merchandising student at CCM, takes care of most of the work behind the scenes to make sure everything is ready when the show begins.

“I don’t sit down and make stuff,” McCarthy said. “I am in charge of marketing plans, floor plans, business plans and the merchandise display.”

The projects modeled on the runway are hand-made by students during class hours. The students learned how to put together clothing items and work at their own pace.

Lauren Gangone, a fashion design major at CCM, is currently working on one of her many pieces to be modeled in the fashion show.

“We have to come up with our own patterns, and we have to go buy our own material with our own money,” Gangone said. “Depending on how much product we make is usually how much material we have to buy for our clothes.”

Every student featured in the fashion show has their own models for their clothes. They are responsible to find people to walk the runway, usually family or friends.

Nicole Saranita, a fashion design major at CCM, said she has a lot of work to accomplish before the show is premiered but she said she feels good about it.

“I have all my fabric, and I finished draping everything so I’m excited for the show.” Saranita said.

Tickets for the show are $15 in advance and can be purchased at the Office of Campus Life in the Student Community Center. Multiple promotion of dates are also held when tickets can be purchased for $10. Tickets at the door are $20.

Students participate in biannual blood drive

BY KELLY DZIALO
Contributor

County College of Morris students were given the opportunity to donate blood on campus as Phi Theta Kappa hosted semi-annual blood drives in conjunction with the Community Blood Council of New Jersey and CCM Health Services. This year’s blood drive took place Thursday, March 30.

“It’s the easiest possible donation that you can give that instantly can mean life to somebody,” said Daria Caldwell, a Donor Relations Representative for the Community Blood Council of New Jersey. “Each pint of blood that we draw can save up to three lives.”

The Community Blood Council of New Jersey has basic requirements for donating blood. A donor must weigh at least 120 pounds, have normal blood pressure and be between the ages of 16 and 75 years old. Each blood donation is approximately one pint of blood.

“We run these [blood drives] as a part of our service,” said Michelle Mardis, Phi Theta Kappa’s Vice President of Scholarship. “We want to give back to the community; that’s the main thing for us.”

The Community Blood Council of New Jersey is a unique organization, as blood donated through them remains in New Jersey hospitals, while other organizations often send blood all over the country.

According to Caldwell, people with an O negative blood type are considered universal donors, as every person can accept O negative blood in addition to their own blood type. Due to the versatility of O negative blood, donors are in high demand.

Billy Kohning, a business administration major at CCM, is one of those donors.

“This isn’t my first time [donating],” Kohning said. “I started in high school, and I did a blood test beforehand. They said I was O negative and some other thing that I don’t know yet; I’ve been looking. I know can give blood to unborn fetuses that need it.”

Kohning, fresh off the blood donation bus with blue gauze wrapped around his left arm, also mentioned a family friend has received blood transfusions through a bout with cancer.

“People need our blood, and it’s 30 minutes of your time to save someone’s life,” Kohning said. “It’s worth it.”

Fifty-six days are needed for recovery between each blood donation, while only 12 days are needed between each platelet donation.

Precautions are taken by the donation organizations to ensure donors eat properly before and after blood donation, as well as verifying any recent abroad trips.

“We are going to make sure you’re okay before we ever put a needle in you” Caldwell said. “Nobody should ever feel guilted into something like this.”

While a chance to donate blood is available to CCM students on campus twice a year, the Community Blood Council of New Jersey accepts donations Monday through Saturday every week at their center in Trenton.

“A lot of students don’t realize that giving just a little bit of blood can save three lives,” Mardis said. “They don’t realize that little contribution can make such a big difference.”

Collegiate cravings for students on the go

BY JAMES CAROLAN
Contributor

After multiple engagements with the snooze button, a rushed shower, and possibly an existential crisis or two, it’s a rush to get in a car with enough time to find parking on campus at County College of Morris much less sneak in a feeding.

Once in the car, there is the chance to calm down, only to be interrupted by a cacophony of gurgles from one’s stomach.

While sometimes it feels like there aren’t possibly enough minutes in the morning to squeeze in a filling breakfast amongst everything else going on, CCM students are professionals at this balancing act.

Jack Rebucci, a business administration major at CCM, gets up early in order to make eggs for a breakfast full of protein. This is a great way to kick off a school day and ensure he will have enough energy for whatever comes his way.

But not all students are morning people.

Ross DeBlock, a biology major at CCM, who occasionally consumes just a spoonful of peanut butter on his way to school if he does not wake up in time for breakfast. It provides a punch of protein, just like the eggs yet takes a fraction of the time.

“I usually eat trail mix in the morning”, said Kim Platt a criminal justice major at CCM. Trail mix is yet another car snack choc-full of protein.

Non-traditional breakfasts come in all shapes and sizes. While waffles may not seem like the ideal breakfast to eat in the car, Simon Picciuti, a criminal justice major at CCM, manages to scarf them down while on his way to school.

Sometimes a sugar rush is what students are looking for to push them through their morning classes. Dan McCartney, a chemistry major at CCM, makes sure to leave enough time in his mornings to enjoy a Toaster Strudel.

Sugar is also a factor Freddy Smith, a business administration major, looks for in his breakfast. “I go with pretzel M&M’s, those things are really good,” he said about his on-the-go snack.

Hannah Martinez, a nursing major at CCM, takes that sweetness to the dark side “Dark chocolate is my car snack,” said Hannah. Dark chocolate has many reported health benefits, and sounds like a pretty luxurious way to kick off the day.

“I stop at like the Panera drive through, or like the Starbucks on route 10.” Communication major, Gabby Sapienza relies on the raw power of caffeine to get through the morning. “I usually don’t eat, eat at places like that, I usually just get a coffee or something like that.”

Commuter breakfast is a trial-and-error program, but there is no right or wrong answer. Whether it’s a carefully eaten waffle or some dessert for breakfast, the most important meal of the day looks different from car to car.

Misconceptions concerning Muslims

BY JANNAT SHEIKH
Features Writer

There are many people, including a few County College of Morris students, who are understandably unaware of true Islamic beliefs. Misrepresentation of Islam, the second largest religion in the world after Christianity, are spreading rather than being corrected.

Furthermore, Islam is the fastest growing religion according to Pew Research Center, a “nonpartisan fact tank.” There are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims. The number of Muslims is predicted to exceed the number of Christians by the end of this century if the current demographic trends of Muslims continue to increase.

“I feel like there are a lot of misconceptions about Islam,” said Rachel Miller, a psychology major at CCM. “People should be more open to understanding [Islam] the way they are open to understanding most other religions.”

Miller said that she respects Islam just as any other religion in the world. She believes that Muslims, the followers of Islam, should be respected like everyone else.

Of course, some common falsities of Islam continue to create confusion. A couple of the misconceptions are regarding Jesus and his importance in Islam and the impact of feminism in Islam.

In fact, Jesus is considered to be a prophet in Islam. Unlike Christianity, Jesus is not believed to be God’s son in Islam. Some people think that Muslims do not accept Jesus, however, Muslims believe him to be a messenger of God.

In addition, one of the ways these misconceptions can be erased, or at least decreased, is by spreading knowledge and the truth.

“Islam has such a negative connotation in the media these days, and it’s a shame,” said Christine Quigley, a liberal arts major at CCM. “I feel that it is such a peaceful religion.”

Quigley said that she learned about Islam in her middle school world history class. The knowledge she gained led her to view Islam as she said she views every other religion, with respect.

Dr. Milton Bennett’s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) helps explain the significance of moving from ethnocentrism (believing one’s own beliefs and values are superior) to ethnorelativism. One who is ethnorelative would be open to and respectful towards other religions and cultures. Becoming ethnorelative is the last “step” to Bennett’s DMIS.

“The first thing I think of when I hear the word Islam is Muslim women,” Quigley said. “A lot of people think that Muslim women are oppressed because of how the media portrays them, and I learned that Islam actually preaches feminism. I think people fail to recognize the strength and capacity of Muslim women.”

Approximately six-in-ten Muslim American women say they wear the headcover, or hijab, at least sometime according to Pew Research Center. Some people mistake the hijab for oppression while many view the hijab as a symbol of feminism.

All in all, the fact is that Islam is growing, and the number of Muslims are increasing. There are approximately 3.3 million Muslims of all ages in the U.S. as of 2015 according to a survey done by Pew Research Center.

“I think people need more knowledge about the religion of Islam,” said Muhammad Bilal Ahmad, a business administration major at CCM. “It is not a religion of hate and racism. It is the religion of peace.”

Ahmad said that some people have asked him strange questions in the past regarding his religion, Islam. He has gotten questions such as, “Are all Muslims terrorists?” Even though this question was asked in a joking manner, it was disrespectful toward Ahmad.

Nearly half of the Muslims in America fault their own Islamic leaders for the lack of condemning extremism, according to Pew Research Center. Approximately 48 percent of Muslim Americans say Muslims leaders have not done enough.

In any case, knowing the facts and spreading knowledge is key. As said by Martin Luther King Jr., “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

President’s Corner

Dr. Tony Iacono
College President

I have always loved reading as long as I can remember. Growing up, our home was filled with a variety of books, magazines and newspapers.  My parents were big readers. They liked contemporary biographies, any topic in history and, in the case of my dad, any book related to baseball. In addition to the shelves of books around the house, trips to the public library and my school library were regular events that I relished. In second grade, I discovered Roald Dahl and read every one of his books with tremendous enthusiasm. If memory serves, I even faked illness to skip school and finish Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was a good choice. I have no memory of the school work I had to make-up but I do remember spending a really good day living vicariously through my hero Charlie Bucket. Somewhere around fourth grade, I discovered C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Six books loaded with fantasy along with issues too complex for me to understand at the time. Lewis stirred my imagination for many years and gave me much to contemplate.  Unlike my parents, I spent most of my time reading fiction but I also enjoyed biographies of presidents, inventors and explorers. I’m not sure my parents were always aware of what I was reading but they always indulged me when I asked for a quarter to buy a comic book or even a dollar for two paperback books that could be purchased at the annual school book sale. When quarantined to my bedroom with chicken-pox in the fourth grade, my dad cheered me up by bringing me a copy of Rolling Stone magazine. This “life changing” moment introduced me to modern American culture and writing more colorful than I had previously encountered in the stories of Roald Dahl and C.S. Lewis.

I didn’t know it at the time but my love for reading was helping me develop a strong vocabulary, introducing me to complex and intriguing ideas, and allowing me to meet extraordinary people and creatures scattered across continents over eons of time. Granted, some of these beings never existed; yet I still counted them as my most adventurous friends.  In sixth grade, my teacher Mr. Shirer introduced me to local color through the writings of Mark Twain and, in a less definitive way, Theodore Taylor. I loved the hours he spent reading to his students and the way he brought Huck, Tom, Timothy and Philip to life. New characters to meet, new places to travel, and new words and pronunciations to master. My seventh grade year afforded me the opportunity to enroll in a humanities literature course taught by Mrs. Morganroth. The standout book that year was S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. High school exposed me to Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. All were lost on me at the time. I instead gravitated toward Stephen King, a writer my high school teachers apparently found unworthy of attention. As a freshman in college, I took another humanities literature course over a summer semester. Through an exceptional professor, nineteenth century poets and writers who had previously escaped my attention came to life and have remained important to me ever since. It was also during this remarkable summer course that I discovered one of my two favorite books, the Odyssey. This summer course also introduced me to the Age of Enlightenment and the Romantic Era; and thus I found the second of my two favorite fiction books, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Imagine the power and influence of one professor during a short and well spent summer semester. Remarkable.

The opportunity to have read many books and articles over a period that spans a little more than four decades is not rooted simply in the previously mentioned acquired skills or the overwhelming joy of reading itself, but also in the ability to continuously improve my understanding of people, diverse cultures, organizational systems and more by studying history, literature, math, science, the arts, technology, anthropology, psychology, economics and more. Today, I continue to read both fiction and nonfiction. I begin each day by reading several online newspapers and a number of articles related to education, diversity, global and local politics, business, and innovation.  Since last summer, I have enjoyed and learned from numerous books including Edward O. Wilson’s Meaning of Human Existence; Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind; Bailey, Jaggers and Jenkins Redesigning America’s Community Colleges, James Donovan’s A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Battle of Little Big Horn The Last Great Battle of the American West,  The Third Wave by Steve Case, Geoff Emerick’s Here, There and Everywhere, and am finishing Susan Butler’s Roosevelt and Stalin: Portrait of a Partnership. In between, I snuck in a few fiction reads including One-Hit Willie by Daily Record columnist William Westhoven, Mitch Album’s The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, and the William P. Young’s The Shack. Spring is here and for me that means Hemingway while summer almost always includes a reading of the Odyssey, a book so rich that I always discover something new. I still have a great library in my life and so do you. Just visit the amazing staff in the Sherman H. Masten Learning Resource Center. If they don’t have something you want, then ask them. They can probably find a copy for you. I’ll be visiting soon to request Agustin Fuentes’ new book The Creative Spark: How Imagination Made Humans Exceptional.

I hope you’re considering enrolling in classes this summer and I hope that at least one will have as deep an impact on your life as my freshman literature course continues to have on mine. More so, however, if reading is not a big part of your life, I encourage you to develop this habit until it becomes a passion. The benefits are overwhelming both personally and professionally. By the way, thanks for reading the Youngtown. I love this paper and am continuously impressed with the faculty and students who have made it a tremendous success and an indispensable resource at CCM. Congratulations to the Youngtown staff for winning numerous journalism awards recently.  I am hardly surprised but deeply proud of them. To learn more about the energetic and impressive team that produces the Youngtown, checkout my interview with them at: https://youtu.be/Y8nVP660LZ8 and while you’re at it follow me on Twitter @CCMProud and share what you’re reading. I’m always looking for something new!

CCM lacrosse looking to gain wins, experience

BY BRETT FRIEDENSOHN
News Editor

The lacrosse team at County College of Morris is looking to redeem itself from the 2016 season when it finished its season 1-5 in the region and 2-14 overall and looks to achieve a playoff spot by finishing .500 or better either in region play or overall for the first time since 2011.

The Titans lost 2017 season opener Wednesday, March 8 to Ocean County College 30-2, their largest deficit in more than six seasons. Their 14-2 loss to Union County College Wednesday, April 5 brought their record to 0-2 in the region and 0-5 overall.

Head coach Angel Lastra, who made the transition to the helm of the team this season after working as an assistant coach last season, said after the first game that despite early challenges, he remains optimistic.

“Being in charge of everything is definitely difficult, but like I said, it’s a new challenge, and it’s something to push forward,” Lastra said. “The first game was only our first game. It was my first time head coaching, and it was their first time with especially my philosophy, but it’s just something that you need to push through, and it was unfortunate that the score was that way, but we’re moving forward.”

Lastra said that his philosophy entails discipline and that his players need to work on skills including communication and plan execution.

“I have the game plan in plan,” Lastra said. “It’s just implementing, just talking, just communicating, just following; it’s just the gameplan, not causing penalties, catching and throwing are probably the biggest things that we need to work on.”

Co-captain and attacker Paul Bokun said that he expects this year’s team to be better than last year’s because of his teammates’ focus and Lastra’s leadership.

“Last year, it was more of a club team; a lot of us just didn’t really give a s***,” said Bokun, a business administration major at CCM. “We all just drank and chilled, and now, this year, we’ve got a real team; we have a coach that actually cares, and we’ve got a bunch of players that are on the same page.”

Bokun said that after the season opening loss, he and his teammates should stay positive in order to improve.

“We let up 10 goals in the first quarter, and then, everybody just rolled over on their backs, and it wouldn’t have been like that if we had just kept with it and not given up. If we didn’t give up, that game would have been 20-10; we probably wouldn’t have won, but it probably wouldn’t have been a s*** show like it was.”

Co-captain and midfielder Anthony DeLaurentis agreed with Bokun about his team’s attitude towards the game.

“It’s actually trying to develop a program,” said DeLaurentis. “It’s not just come and get babysat by a coach.”

DeLaurentis said that one of his team’s struggles was the freshmen’s adjustment to the program.

“There’s a lot of first year kids, so it’s hard for them to come in, and they’re fresh out of high school, and they’re not used to playing on the college level yet,” DeLaurentis said. “It’s not even that it’s that much harder, it’s a lot more running, it’s a lot faster, it’s a lot more physical. It’s the little things that kids have to get used to, and that’s a big thing this year is that our coach has focused on those little things to get us all working all together.”

Students can see the last home game of CCM lacrosse at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 26 against Brookdale Community College on the upper soccer field next to Parking Lot 1.