Clubs

Writers’ Club gives new voice to budding artists

By Gina N. Fico
Contributor

This semester, County College of Morris introduced the Writers’ Club, a new student organization to help students expand their skills in writing.

The club is designed for students who either want to succeed in their classes or utilize their creative writing skills, according to founder and president Michelle Mardis. The club meets at 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays in Cohen Hall 265. Three members of the club introduced the student body to the club at the Welcome Back Bash Thursday, Sept. 21.

Mardis, a liberal arts major at CCM, said she was motivated to start this club so CCM students’ “voices can be heard.” She said that this club will also benefit students using writing as a “stress reliever” and that it will present guest speakers that can help students learn how to get their work published.

Mardis said her hope for this club is that it will get more people talking about writing and will help students understand how much writing can extend one’s knowledge and open up students’ minds to “thinking outside the box.” The club will present guest speakers that can help students learn how to get their work published.

Writing is a key skill for students as taking English Composition classes is required to obtain a degree in most majors at CCM. However, some students feel uncomfortable with expressing their thoughts. Gabby Cuevas, a liberal arts major at CCM, said that is another aspect the Writers’ Club can assist students with.

“If you are afraid to tell how you feel in public, you can definitely write down how you are feeling,” Cuevas said.

She said that the club will also focus on helping students construct their thoughts better for essays if that is something they struggle with.

Louis Perez, a music recording major at CCM, said he looks forward to the variety of work this club will present.

“Just more expanding on music related works, it could just be short stories, songs, any sort of writing,” said Perez.

Perez said he hopes this club will make his own “creative juices flow” and he wants the club to push students to speaking their minds more than they may be comfortable with.

Mardis said that the club will host an event called “The Writers’ Block,” which will give students a chance to share their story in a forum similar to an open mic, and students will be free to share their writing and singing their songs. Mardis said there are many phenomenal writers whose voices are not heard, and this event and others like it can help these students more confidently share their work.

“I think it will really show that community college students are just as good as a four year school,” Mardis said. “And it’s really important to me that everyone has a chance to have their voice heard. That’s the main thing I’ve been saying all day. Make sure your voice is heard.”

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Religious, ethnic clubs recruit new student members

MSA

Muslim Student Association members recruit new members at the Welcome Back Bash. Photo By: Alexa Wyszkowski.

By Katie Coyne
Entertainment Editor

Country College of Morris has a vast array of cultural clubs to choose from, and most represented themselves Thursday, Sept. 21 at the Welcome Back Bash held on campus.

Music and the rich smells of ethnic cuisines emanated through the air.

Pertaining to culture and religion, there are a wide variety of clubs to choose from at the campus. These clubs include the Campus Christian Fellowship, Orthodox Christian Fellowship, Muslim Student Association, United Latino Organization, Asian Student Association, Diversity Organization, Jewish Student Association, and Black Student Union.

By joining each or any club, students are welcome to learn about different cultures, customs, and traditions of each native heritage.

The Asian Student Association is planning an upcoming cooking event to show students how to cook Asian cuisine, such as sushi right, at home. The Muslim Student Association had different types of food they were serving at the bash, such as baklava and halal.

Halal, a Muslim way of cooking, translates into English, as “lawful or permissible.”  Baklava is a dessert containing chopped nuts and honey baked within a pastry.

“We eat Kosher, too, said  said Saba Gatabi, the vice president of the Muslim Student Association and nursing major at CCM. “It’s the same thing; we have it in a different way … We have religion, and we have culture. So in culture, there’s different kinds of food and different people. In culture, there are different kinds of religions, too.”

A majority of different religions follow the same principle, which is belief in a sole God.

“Basically all religions are the same, like different ways of following them, different ways of doing things,” Gatabi said.

The Orthodox Christian Fellowship is based on the Roman Catholic religion which is also monotheistic. Any and all students who worship within the Christian faith are welcome to join.

“We discuss Orthodox Christian rules amongst ourselves basically,” said Simeon Brasowski, a member of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship and a business administration major at CCM. “We’re open to inviting any and all other denomination of Christian or whatnot and basically to discuss today’s issues with teens and problems that we go through to try to relate to our lives and to Christian beliefs, basically.”

Culture clubs are also about having fun and introducing different games to students from different countries.

The United Latino Organization plans events such as bingo and gymkhana, games that are played a lot in their native regions of Latin America.     Gymkhana translates into English as a “scavenger hunt.”

“Bingo games are something that is really popular in our countries,” said Sebastian Oroteo, a biology major at CCM. “It’s just like a challenge, and they make rules and they just start doing like a step by step challenge … Our club creates events to make people understand how Latin American culture works, like what we do and how we live, and how our culture works.”

The Welcome Back Bash attracted many students and each cultural club was looking to attract new members.  Any students who are interested in joining a club may access more information on the CCM website.

Chess club looks to get more people playing

BY TED ORBACH
Contributor

In the fall 2015 semester, Brett Friedensohn, now acting president of the Chess Club at CCM, looked to resurrect the then-defunct club. Now, three semesters later, the club has seen enrollment rise, and under Friedensohn’s leadership, looks to grow even more from this year onwards.

“When I started here in the fall of 2015 I was hoping to join a chess club because I was the president of the chess club in my high school, and I love chess,” Friedensohn said. “I find it a bit addictive. I wanted to have a place where I can develop my ideas for chess with other students and play with them, discuss chess with them and hang out with like-minded people.”

Friedensohn’s love of chess began from an early age, when he and his fellow first grade students were taught the game during lunch times.

“I developed a love for it, I guess because it’s intellectual stimulation,” Friedensohn said. “I was never really a bulky athletic kid, so I didn’t get my competitive spirit out that way, I got it out more through chess.”

Fellow chess club member Marco Dellamonica mentioned a love for the intellectual nature of the game, as well as the players’ ability to improve themselves.

“I’m one of the people that, even though I get my butt kicked, I will beat my head into a wall until I figure it out,” Dellamonica said. “Chess is one of those games for me where I may not be good now, but after getting my head beat in maybe 1700 times I’ll get there.”

Victory is not the only factor driving members’ interest in the club.

“When I play the game I don’t really care whether I win or lose,” said Adam Novak, another member of the Chess Club. “I enjoy the strategy aspect, I enjoy that you have to think about the moves ahead.”

Friedensohn echoed this sentiment.

“I’ve always tried to expand my intellect, and think in problematic ways,” Friedensohn said. “To me fun is being as smart as I can and having intellectual stimulation.”

As far as future plans go, an open tournament for CCM students is in the works.

“I’ve wanted to have a tournament, an open tournament for CCM students,” Friedensohn said. This plus high growth can see the club gathering evermore steam heading into the end of this semester and beyond.

While the club looks ahead to bigger projects, it maintains a welcoming and consistent atmosphere for its members.

“I don’t have to worry about there not being somebody there,” Novak said. “Any day I could go to the library and sit by the chess boards but that doesn’t mean that people want to play. It gives me one day where I know I can go and play chess with people. The people are friendly and willing to learn at different levels. It’s a great place to go to if you’re just curious about chess.”

Chess club looks to get more people playing

BY TED ORBACH
Contributor

In the fall 2015 semester, Brett Friedensohn, now acting president of the Chess Club at CCM, looked to resurrect the then-defunct club. Now, three semesters later, the club has seen enrollment rise, and under Friedensohn’s leadership, looks to grow even more from this year onwards.

“When I started here in the fall of 2015 I was hoping to join a chess club because I was the president of the chess club in my high school, and I love chess,” Friedensohn said. “I find it a bit addictive. I wanted to have a place where I can develop my ideas for chess with other students and play with them, discuss chess with them and hang out with like-minded people.”

Friedensohn’s love of chess began from an early age, when he and his fellow first grade students were taught the game during lunch times.

“I developed a love for it, I guess because it’s intellectual stimulation,” Friedensohn said. “I was never really a bulky athletic kid, so I didn’t get my competitive spirit out that way, I got it out more through chess.”

Fellow chess club member Marco Dellamonica mentioned a love for the intellectual nature of the game, as well as the players’ ability to improve themselves.

“I’m one of the people that, even though I get my butt kicked, I will beat my head into a wall until I figure it out,” Dellamonica said. “Chess is one of those games for me where I may not be good now, but after getting my head beat in maybe 1700 times I’ll get there.”

 Victory is not the only factor driving members’ interest in the club.

“When I play the game I don’t really care whether I win or lose,” said Adam Novak, another member of the Chess Club. “I enjoy the strategy aspect, I enjoy that you have to think about the moves ahead.”

Friedensohn echoed this sentiment.

“I’ve always tried to expand my intellect, and think in problematic ways,” Friedensohn said. “To me fun is being as smart as I can and having intellectual stimulation.”

As far as future plans go, an open tournament for CCM students is in the works.

“I’ve wanted to have a tournament, an open tournament for CCM students,” Friedensohn said. This plus high growth can see the club gathering evermore steam heading into the end of this semester and beyond.

While the club looks ahead to bigger projects, it maintains a welcoming and consistent atmosphere for its members.

“I don’t have to worry about there not being somebody there,” Novak said. “Any day I could go to the library and sit by the chess boards but that doesn’t mean that people want to play. It gives me one day where I know I can go and play chess with people. The people are friendly and willing to learn at different levels. It’s a great place to go to if you’re just curious about chess.”

PTK establishes goals, searches for successors

BY CASSIDY YOUNG
Contributor

The approaching end of the spring semester has sent Phi Theta Kappa, the two-year college honor society, into a frenzy of activity as they fine-tune their goals and begin looking for officers for the fall.

Michael Gosden, president of the Alpha Kappa Kappa chapter of PTK, said that PTK has general goals set up by the national organization, but the CCM team created chapter-specific goals they want to achieve in 2017.

“We wanted to destigmatize what community college is,” Gosden said. “There is a huge misbelief and notion that community college is essentially the 13th grade and that it’s not taken seriously, which is not true at all. It is a wonderful milestone and a great place to start an education.”

To execute this goal, Gosden said that PTK has plans to travel to high schools around the area to discuss the benefits of attending CCM.

“We don’t fabricate the truth,” Gosden said. “We want to give them accurate information, and from there they can make a conscious decision.”

Gosden said another goal set out by PTK to achieve in 2017 is the idea of cultural unity.

“People shouldn’t necessarily divide themselves over certain ideas or beliefs, but rather we should come to expand upon them,” Gosden said. “At least come to a point of respect and understanding.”

The club has worked in the past to achieve this goal by holding Unity Day, an event that allows students to learn about other cultures. This semester’s event was April 4, and saw a large turnout in the Davidson Rooms in the Student Community Center.

“Unity Day is a great way to learn about cultures and discover new ones,” said Isabella Paz, a member of PTK. “It’s about not judging other cultures and cultural acceptance.”

Unity Day is not the only perk to joining PTK.

“There’s a lot of opportunities,” Paz said. “It looks good on the resume and you get scholarship money.”

Michelle Mardis, vice president of scholarship, said that the club is currently looking for a new officer team for fall of 2017.

“As of right now, we’re just looking for people to kind of take over our positions,” Mardis said. “We’re going to be doing interviews soon.”

Anyone interested in PTK can contact ptk@student.ccm.edu, or attend a meeting on Tuesday or Thursday during college hour in DH208.

SGA shakeup: President out mid-semester

BY BETH PETER 
Editor-In-Chief

The president of the Student Government Association (SGA) was ousted mid-semester after he was found to be ineligible for the position.

Stanley White was elected to the post in May but graduated on Aug. 30. White neglected to inform the school of his status change, and the college neglected to verify his enrollment status.

“As we go through the semester we are always looking at the status of any of our officers,” said Janique Caffie, dean of enrollment management and student development. “In doing so, reaching the mid semester just to make sure everyone is doing well academically, it was discovered that Mr. [Stanley] White had graduated.”

Malik White, digital media studies major at the County College of Morris (CCM), is now the president of the SGA.

“It’s tough to do a transition in the middle of the semester, so it’s been a challenge,” said SGA co-adviser, Don Phelps. “Malik was the only member of the executive board so he has lot’s of positions to fill.”

Malik White was the vice president prior to the change on Oct. 14. Since his appointment, Andrew Ginsberg, public and nonprofit administration major at CCM, has been named treasurer. Ginsberg was treasurer of the SGA last year as well.

According to Caffie, one of the stipulations for presidency is that the student be in a degree seeking program

Caffie said Stanley White had been unable to attend the college council meetings, at which his role would have been to read the SGA meeting minutes. Malik White has been attending them in his place.

Malik White had undergone training with Stanley White during the summer months to prepare for the fall semester, but he had been focusing on his role as vice president. Now Caffie said the school is working to help him understand his new responsibilities.

“Everybody in SGA is fine with Malik coming in,” said Ginsberg. “They’re happier with him than with Stanley.”

The current SGA has had a rough semester thus far. Caffie said she felt they were struggling to work together, but she hoped that with Malik White as president, they would be able to work more cohesively together.

“The mood for this year was already set, which was unfortunately negative, but I’m trying to make sure there’s no bad blood,” said Malik White. “People need to come together and realize that we have problems and we need to start working together.”

Malik White was chosen as president due to his previous position as vice president.

“It’s like what would happen in the case, any time the president of the United States has to go under the knife,” said Caffie. “When that happens then the vice president just steps into the role until such time that the president is back on his or her feet.”

Caffie said they plan on keeping Malik White as the president through the entire academic year.

“He would be president for the remainder of the academic year if he so chooses,” said Caffie. “If he chooses to step down then the next step for the institution is to hold new elections, and that’s what we would do. Until he tells us otherwise, he is the SGA president.”

Malik White is not planning, as of now, to step down during the year. It has been a challenging transition for him, but he has the support of his adviser and he said he would like to see the position through.

“I only had one day of training,” said Malik White. “Don has been very helpful. If it gets too overwhelming, Don and Dr. Simmons said I can step down to vice president until I’m ready to run for president again.”

Caffie said the school would ultimately support him if he chose to make that decision.

“It is hard to step into a position that you didn’t originally want to have,” said Caffie. “He ran for vice president, that’s what he felt he was capable of contributing at this level of his academic career, his leadership career here at CCM. He’s expressed his own concern about his ability to be the president, so it’s a learning experience for himself.”

While according to Phelps this is not the first time a transition has been made mid-semester, Caffie said she believes this is the first time in her tenure here that it has happened. She further said that, it may be a rare situation at CCM, but this is not an unusual experience in a professional environment. This could be a learning experience for members of the SGA.

“It’s not easy to work with people who are like yourself as well as different from yourself, so hopefully this experience will have been a learning lesson for everyone involved,” said Caffie. “There’s a lot to be learned from this whole process.”

While there may be things to be learned from this, Phelps said he doesn’t want the SGA to dwell on the change and let it affect the remainder of their year.

“As adviser, I want people to take this experience and look forward,” said Phelps. “I’m looking forward to SGA moving on and looking forward to a fresh start.”

Dr. Bette Simmons, vice president of student development and enrollment was unable to be reached for comment.

Ambassadors Club the ‘face’ of CCM

BY VALENTINA MARMELEJO
Contributor

When outsiders come to County College of Morris, whether as an attendee at a college event or as a prospective student touring the school, the first people they meet are the Ambassadors.

As their name implies, they are tasked with forging deeper connections in the campus community.

The Ambassadors Club is the premiere club on campus that represents CCM to the outside community, said Walter Yurcik, vice president of the Ambassadors Club and Computer Information Systems major at CCM.

The club allows students to help out with any special events for which CCM needs volunteers. This includes events like the school musicals, plays and the scholarship gala.

“I heard about (Ambassadors) when I went to student orientation, and again at the Welcome Back Bash in the fall semester,” said Hope Motzenbecker, communication major at CCM. “I was interested in joining because I thought it would be a good way to get involved on campus, and make friends as well as a good way to practice leadership skills, for example when giving tours.”

The Ambassadors Club is usually approached by the school to volunteer, and they take that trust seriously.

“When anyone needs help they reach out to us to try and get members to stand around, show people where to go, and talk about the school,” said president of Ambassadors Club, Mark Lalo. “They are really there to put on a good face and give people a good first impression of the school.”

Lalo said he believes that Ambassadors have an important job because people want to know the atmosphere of the school, which is made up mostly by the students. Being that the club and tours are run by students, sometimes Ambassadors are the first real interaction students have with CCM students.

While getting ready for his graduation in May, Yurcik is currently in the process of training Lalo and sharing his knowledge about the club so that Lalo is able to continue running the club. Yurcik previously served as president, vice president and treasurer for the Ambassadors Club.

The main project this semester for the Ambassadors Club is to partner with Phi Theta Kappa, Student Government Association and Student Activities Programming Board for a community outreach program. Yurcik stated that their goal is “to kind of change the stigma of two-year colleges as well as to try to increase the membership within the club itself.”

According to Lalo, the club officers are currently devising a presentation called Project Outreach that would be presented by club members throughout Morris county. They want to reach out to schools outside of Morris county as well if the presentations prove helpful.  

Ambassadors club meets Thursdays 1:00 p.m. in SCC 133.