Clubs

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.

‘Love Your Melon’ battles cancer at CCM

BY MIRANDA SPETACCINO 
Contributor

Students at County College of Morris can now support children battling cancer in America through a new club affiliated with Love Your Melon.

Love Your Melon is a popular apparel company known for its philanthropy. It was founded in 2012 with the initial mission of putting one of their signature beanies on every child battling cancer in America.

Love Your Melon started off selling beanies, with the goal of donating 45 thousand hats (equal to the number of children battling cancer in America), and has since surpassed that, donating over $2.5 million and over 90,000 hats, according to their website. They have since diversified the merchandise they offer to include shirts and pom-pom hats, to name a few. Fifty percent of all proceeds go directly to support pediatric cancer research.

Now, college students across the country can start clubs on their campuses called campus crews to advocate for pediatric cancer through Love Your Melon. There are currently 11,000 Crew Members nationwide at 740 different educational institutions, according to their website. And it now has a campus crew at CCM.

At the beginning of the spring semester, Nicole Sullivan, a nursing major at CCM and president of the CCM Love Your Melon Campus Crew, decided to start a campus crew because of her passion for the cause and future career goals.

“I really liked what the company stood for and what they were doing,” Sullivan said. “I figured as a nursing student, I also wanna work with kids when I do become a nurse, that it was just a good way to kinda do both at the same time.”

Sullivan added that the role of a campus crew is not to sell the merchandise directly, but rather to promote Love Your Melon through campus events and social media posts, and to encourage the CCM community to purchase merchandise on the Love Your Melon website, choosing CCM as their campus crew. In turn, the campus crew chosen at checkout receives a credit.

“If you go on the website to buy [merchandise] you can select a campus crew to support [at checkout],” Sullivan said. “So you would select County College of Morris, and then we get a credit. The more credits we get, the more opportunities we get to go to the hospitals and see the kids and do stuff with them.”

The CCM Love Your Melon campus crew currently has between 12 and 13 members and meets in the Student Community Center every other Monday at 2 p.m., though Sullivan said the time may change.

Meetings serve as a way to touch base with the members on sales and as communication strategy sessions.

“Any sales that happen during the week, I have access to see the stuff we’ve done to see where we rank with like other schools in the region with how many beanies sales [we’ve been credited],” Sullivan said. “I think last time I checked we were at 17 which is pretty good considering we only started a couple months ago. We discuss any upcoming events and just if anyone knows a good way to get the word out about love your melon.”

Jaida Schettino, a communication major at CCM, jumped at the chance to contribute to a good cause by joining the Love Your Melon campus crew at CCM.

“I joined as soon as I heard Love Your Melon was getting a campus crew at CCM,” Schettino said. “I’m a communication major and being a part of this group involves reaching out to others and promoting the cause … my responsibilities within [the campus crew] are good experience for my future.”

Schettino added that the club meetings have a casual atmosphere, and encourages others to join as well.

“Once you join the club it kind of opens up your eyes to how many people are actually affected by pediatric cancer and how many lives you can make a difference in by doing something as simple as selling or promoting apparel,” Schettino said. “The whole thing is incredible and you just hope that others will help out as well.”

Love Your Melon is a widely known company, but because CCM’s campus crew is so new, many students are not aware of it, such as Michelle Caravaglia, liberal arts major at CCM.

“I know what Love Your Melon is, I actually have a few beanies,” Caravaglia said.  “But I had no idea we had a club on campus for it. That’s awesome.”

The CCM Love Your Melon campus crew is currently looking for new members and/or support from the CCM community. Students who would like to join can send an email to Nicole Sullivan at sullivan.nicole@student.ccm.edu with their full name, phone number, email address, graduation year, and t-shirt size.

More information can also be found on Facebook at County College of Morris Campus Crew and Instagram @ccmlymcampuscrew.

Muslim Student Association spreads Islamic information

BY MARIA CASALINO
Contributor

Students at County College of Morris are now able to join the newly chartered Muslim Student Association to network and connect with each other, whether of the Islam religion or not.

Jannat Sheikh, journalism major and president of MSA, led the club initiation providing members with knowledge about the societal problems that Muslims face, the goals and standards that the club wishes to implement, and the possible solutions that the club wishes to follow in order to conquer society and provide student club members the opportunity to speak out.

The club’s stated mission is to “spread knowledge and understanding about Islam to all people regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, age, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation.”

According to Peer Research, as Sheikh shared on Thursday, “on a scale from 0-100 (0 being the coldest/unfavorable and 100 being the warmest/favorable), Americans rated Islam an average of 40.” Other belief systems were rated, Judaism receiving a 63 and Christianity a 61. Islam is ranked comparatively low.

Knowing this, MSA has come together to defy the perception that Islam is a bad entity, as Sheikh said. It will also work to educate people and erase any misconceptions of Islam and the Islamic way of life.

“Muslims need to know they are appreciated and appreciated in society,” Sheikh said.

Aaron Bosloper, vice president of MSA and an engineering major at CCM, spoke at the meeting about his Muslim culture.

“For me, religion was a house with many rooms and in those rooms, many religions. Muslim fit into my house,” Bosloper said. He converted to Islam from Christianity. “It was a long process, but once I did it, I definitely felt closer to God.”

Krupa Patel, a practicing Hindu and respiratory health major at CCM and Mahak Noor, a practicing Muslim biology major at CCM, both joined MSA in response to encouragement by Sheikh.

“We met (Sheikh) in the Student Community Center and she persuaded us to come,” Patel said.

“I wanted to learn more about my culture,” Noor said.

Even with different religions, cultures, and backgrounds, MSA welcomes everyone in a conscious effort to educate those and offer positive insight about Islam as a whole.

Looking ahead, MSA plans to host a myriad of events, the goal of which is to lead to more student attendance, as well as more knowledge about the existence of the club.

Over the next couple of weeks, MSA plans to host a bake sale or basketball charity event where the proceeds will be donated to Syrian Refugees. It also plans to dedicate one week at CCM to Muslim awareness where CCM students will have the opportunity to learn more about Islam and the Muslim religion.

For now, MSA will continue to hold weekly meetings at 12:30 in SCC125, also known as the club room.

“Everyone is always welcome here,” Sheikh said.        

Ready, set, code with Computer Science Club

BY AMANDA ALLER
Managing Editor

For those students eager to get involved or interested in exploring the different areas of computer science, the Computer Science Club was officially chartered on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

The club has already gained momentum with roughly 10 to 15 active members and 60 members altogether.

“The goal of the club is to spread awareness of computer science within the community while building a network of diverse individuals who can thrive within it,” said Andrea Doucette, president and founder of the Computer Science Club. “In our world today, technology is everywhere. The majority of people have a smartphone or computer. It’s important to know how these devices work. The club serves to be a place of social gathering for students to come and collaborate on programming projects, bounce ideas off of one another, and to ultimately shape the future of tomorrow.”

Don Phelps, associate director of campus life, helped Doucette collect all the forms and information she needed to create the club.

“All of these forms are available on the CCM website so any students that want to start their own club can actually go onto the website and find those resources there,” Doucette said.

The first event the club will be hosting is called Python Day, which will take place on Tuesday, April 4, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Davidson Room C, in the Student Center.

Python is a programming language, and is a helpful language to know going into the workforce in computer science, according to Doucette. Python Day will be targeted toward introductory level teaching in Python programming.

Along with their upcoming event, Doucette said she feels like there was a real need on campus for the Computer Science Club.

“Before we had the Computer Science Club, you could meet with individuals in your classes and maybe come across another student who knew how to program, but having the club has really built a sense of community and created a more accessible way to build friendships and serve the community,” Doucette said. “I think that’s very powerful.”

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come to the coding meet ups on Fridays at 11 a.m. and Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m., or to the official club meetings on Wednesdays at 5 p.m., which all take place in EH 206.

Veggies on the mind with new club

By Laura Calderon
Contributor

Vegans and vegetarians rejoice as County College of Morris welcomes a new club dedicated to them.

The Vegan and Vegetarian Club’s mission is to inform students about societal, ecological and ethical impacts of human-animal interaction, according to the club’s constitution.

According to Vegetarian Times, 3.2 percent of United States residents or 7.3 million people follow a vegetarian based diet. Vegetarian and Vegan Club President Daniel Twili has been a practicing vegetarian for four years now and is excited for the responsibilities the club is expected to entail.

“The definitions of vegetarian and vegan varies between cultures and individual people,” Twili said. “Typically, a vegetarian is a person who doesn’t eat meat and a vegan is a person who doesn’t eat meat or any animal products. This means that every vegan is also a vegetarian, but not the other way around.”

Choosing to live life as a vegetarian in his youth, the club’s faculty advisor, Professor Philip Chase, now chooses to live as a pescetarian – an individual who doesn’t eat meat, but does consume different types of seafood.

“The club’s purpose is that it exists to celebrate vegetarian and vegan food,” Chase said. “And to provide a positive venue for social interaction for students who follow a vegetarian/vegan diet or are interested in one. In addition to meetings, there will be gatherings that include food, which is a wonderful way to bring people together.”

Twili, as well as Professor Chase, looks forward to future campus events that will hopefully, get more students interested in the club accompanied with delicious vegan and vegetarian recipes.

“It’s safe to say that all our events will,” Twili said, “in some way focus on having students think about the ways they interact with animals and how that changes the world.”

Nursing major Amanda Lerner is excited for the club’s arrival to the CCM campus. There are numerous academic clubs on campus, but not enough dedicated to healthier lifestyles, according to Lerner.

“Vegetarianism looks extremely difficult,” Lerner said. “I think it would be really interesting to hear different experiences from other people and learn how to make the transition to a vegetarian lifestyle easier. Exercise is an important part of being healthy but so is clean eating.”

Any student interested in the club is encouraged to join regardless of dietary preferences.

“The club is for everyone,” said Twili. “We only ask that students be respectful and keep an open mind.”

Feminist Book Club prepares for launch

By Valentina Marmolejo
Contributor

The Feminist Book Club (FBC) preparing for its first semester at County College of Morris hopes to unite people with common interests and create a safe space for an open discussion.

“We just wanted to bring a group of like minded people together and we all like books so we just thought it would be a good way to do it.” said Chloe Smith, liberal arts major and president of FBC.

When it comes to the books, Smith and Vice President Rachael Work hope to use the broadest meaning of the word feminist: equality of the sexes. Wanting to expand from classic male and female roles, Smith and Work wanted to make sure that the books represented all genders on the spectrum.

They have chosen books like “She’s Come Undone,” “Mrs. Dalloway,” “Frankenstein,” and “The Awakening,” as well as a few children’s books and short stories that have recently come out that question gender norms.

“People asked us at the fair, ‘Why not just a feminist club? Why not just a book club?’,” Work said. “It wouldn’t be truthful if we picked one or the other, because it’s not just a book club, and it wouldn’t be just a feminist club. We needed something that would keep things moving, to not get anyone into a rut.”

Work said she thinks it will allow people to more fully express their feelings about a piece if they can identify with the characters or situations.

“You can talk about all these issues without having to be the center of attention at that moment, so it was a great way to bring light into everything and get people to talk. ” Work said.

Smith said she wants the meetings to be an open discussion where different opinions can be voiced.

“It’s not going to be the kind of thing where we’re schooling anybody, because I’m sure everybody has so much to bring to the table, and we’re really looking forward to that, because there’s so much other people get from books that we probably haven’t even thought about as we read,” Smith said. “That’s what’s going to be so fun about having these discussions.”

While it is too soon to say how successful the club is yet, the current social climate may lend a hand to its popularity.

“I think they probably will be popular, because I think a lot of the stuff in the political world will pique people’s interest with like women’s rights and what not.” said Nina Thoguluva, biology major at CCM. “I think that’s like a new wave of interest, like feminism as a whole.”

The officers for the FBC can be contacted at ccmfbc@gmail.com for more information.  

Unity Day celebrates differences, highlights similarities

BY LINDSEY MEDWIN
Contributor

After a divisive fall semester that was punctuated by a contentious election cycle, the County College of Morris chapter of Phi Theta Kappa responded by hosting  a celebration of culture and difference.

Unity Day, held on Dec. 1, 2016, was planned as an event to bring together all walks of life on campus in order to educate attendees not only on different cultures, but what exactly unites them. This event ran from 12:30 to 2:00 and took place in the Davidson Rooms at the Student Community Center. The idea for Unity Day stemmed from PTK’s Honors in Action project and was developed with two leading themes: beauty and vulgarity.

“We wanted to do something that highlighted how different cultures go together,” said Michael Gosden, president of Phi Theta Kappa.

Though not particularly inspired from an on campus issue, but rather a bigger unification problem in society overall recently with the uproar over the election in particular, PTK aspired to organize an event to address these concerns and allow their intentions to spread beyond the grounds of CCM.

“We can start it at county [college] and spread it further throughout the county,” Gosden said.

Over the summer and throughout the fall 2016 semester, members of the chapter worked together and created Unity Day.

“It was a huge team effort, especially with our adviser, Dr. Bette Simmons.” said Gosden.

Unity Day kicked off with a cultural experience all college students can enjoy – free food. The event was catered by Forte Pizza, representing Italian culture, as well as a Dover restaurant which served empanadas from Spanish culture.

Attendees then had time to walk around the room lined with tables, each representing a specific culture.

“Those helming the tables displayed travel photos and various mementos from his or her respective culture,” said Nicholas Sisti, an attendee and contributor to Unity Day.

PTK included an informational kiosk designed to educate students on cultures the event was not representing directly. This was achieved by having a laptop open with heads of the table handy if anyone had questions.

“We would then briefly research on the internet whatever culture the student asked about and provide them with insight,” Sisti, a table head, said.

“We didn’t want to exclude anyone because that would defeat the purpose of the project,” Gosden said.

After some free time to explore the tables, everyone came together to participate in various group activities such as games and dancing. A game teaching colors in Italian was featured, as well as three different cultural dances from Greek, Korean and Spanish culture.

The dancing was like “one big multi-cultural dance party,” said Sisti.

In total, the event attracted about 50 people, a slightly higher number than expected by the chapter. Both the United Latino Organization and the Asian Students Association joined the event and contributed to its successes.

“Our Unity Day Event led to a greater appreciation of different cultures by a wide variety of students from across campus,” said Mohammad Rahmatullah, secretary of PTK.

In addition to hosting an upcoming blood drive and other various fundraisers, Phi Theta Kappa plans on duplicating Unity Day in the 2017 spring semester. Students can look forward to seeing this event brought back to campus and hopefully an expanded window of time to allow anyone interested in attending a greater opportunity to do so.

“If any students have any questions about PTK or how to join, they can stop by the office in room 130 in the Student Community Center,” said Gosden.

As multiple board members of PTK will be graduating at the end of this semester, Gosden and other executives expressed hope that the event will ultimately get passed down to the language department so Unity Day can make a customary appearance on campus in the future.

Any students with questions about PTK or about how to join can contact President Michael Gosden in SCC130.

Gender club founder on campus for a cause

BY MARISA GOGLIA
Copy Editor 

The infinity symbol etched on the windows of County College of Morris’ Student Community Center reaffirms for Cat Rogers that the possibilities as a transgender student are endless.

Weighing four pounds at birth, Rogers continues to defy the odds. Yet the struggle inside his own body is no easy feat.

Two days before Pronoun Appreciation Day, Rogers sits in one of his two offices in the student center, eager to read a personal essay that won him two scholarships this semester. As Rogers begins to read the opening lines, the small office is transported back to the secluded state hospital room which Rogers occupied for three months in 2012.

“The only connection I had with the world around me was the light radiating through a crack in the doorframe of my padded, secluded room,” Rogers said. “Within my abysmal darkness, I watched the other patients pace the gloomy, deteriorating halls of the institution…While my peers studied for exams, I fought to stay alive and connected to my future aspirations.”

The journey of self- discovery began in elementary school. As girls were dressed in an array of skirts and dresses, Rogers found comfort in wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

“Since elementary school, kids always find what’s different, and I’m a different person,” Rogers said. “I don’t fit any category at all. I was never feminine. I dressed different from the girls. I was typical of what one would think of as a tomboy, and I got made fun of for that.”

Students also took note that Rogers was excelling well academically beyond his current grade level.

“I was much more advanced in my studies,” Rogers said. “I got things a lot easier. I remember in first grade when everyone was learning how to write sentences; I was writing paragraphs. I wasn’t into socializing with friends that much. I would have much rather been reading a book.”

Throughout middle school and high school, Rogers escaped down the avenue of music.

“I was just the outcast for the longest time; music became my outlet,” Rogers said. “I play several instruments including the violin, saxophone, flute, piano… But I became a prolific trumpet player to the point where all the band teachers wanted me to do all of these highly regarded competitions.’’

Rogers’ peers found a way to interfere in his craft.

Days before the Christmas concert, Rogers went to get his trumpet in the unlocked band room closet and noticed that it was absent. Rogers, who was on his fourth trumpet, said that it was a devastating time.

“I went to get my trumpet, and it wasn’t there, somebody stole it,” Rogers said. “It was a brand new, pure silver trumpet worth $6,000 that my parents paid for. It was obvious that young people wanted to pick on me, but it went too far. They stole a very expensive piece of equipment.”

The next week, Rogers noticed his friend holding a pamphlet about Morris County School of Technology (MCST). MCST is a four-year full-time career and technical high school with 10 different academies allowing students to complete classes at CCM, according to the MCST site.

“Flipping through the pamphlet, I made up my mind that I’m not staying in high school,” Rogers said. “I wanted a career; music was just my hobby.”

Rogers took particular interest in the Academy for Healthcare Science at MCST.

“I wanted to go into orthopedics to give back,” Rogers said.

As a one-year-old, Rogers had fallen, leaving him with trauma-induced hip dysplasia. Being “Patient Zero” as Rogers calls himself, doctors performed hip reduction surgery, leaving him in traction for eight months.

“I owe it to the doctors who helped me walk and re-walk,” Rogers said. “I want to help children who cannot walk — or those who have broken bones — and help heal them.”

Rogers noted that CCM gave him the opportunity to reach out for help for the depression he had been dealing with in his junior year of high school.

Rogers recalls sitting all the way in the back of Professor Williford’s honors abnormal psychology class.

“There was this one day where I was very depressed,” Rogers said. “I was leaving class and Professor Williford actually put his arm out to stop me. Williford said ‘Cat, you’ve been acting weird and I’m concerned.’”

Williford, who is a psychologist, invited Rogers to his office hours the next day.

“I went to his office and I still was not feeling great,” Rogers said. “Williford made me open up to him, he talked to me during his entire of ce hours.”

Rogers may not have been aware of what was happening at the time, but this was the start of trying to come to terms with the changes in his life.

“I don’t remember at the time what was wrong,” Rogers said. “It could have been generalized depression. I just had surgery, started college, came out of the closet as being gay before identifying as transgender. Williford said ‘Cat, I’m giving you five minutes to go to the counseling office…’ Back then you don’t realize how important that was.”

For Rogers, obtaining his first degree at CCM became a manageable task, although he was in and out of rehab hospitals.

“There were times when I was in the hospital,” Rogers said. “My mom would bring me my books, and I would take my midterm and pass. The next week, I would go into the hospital, study for my next quiz and pass again. This was how I got through my rst degree, and I still managed to come out with a decent grade point average.”

Through dark times, a bright spot for Rogers came about in his willingness to lead multiple clubs around campus.

“That’s the reason why I am back here at CCM,” Rogers said. “To teach students how to become better leaders. That’s what makes me happy, is wanting to lead.”

Rogers stays active on campus as president of the Biology Club, the vice president of constitutions for Organization Achieve Inspire Mentor and the executive administrative assistant for Student Ambassadors.

But the club position that Rogers is most passionate about is being the vice president of the Gender Club, which he chartered himself last semester.

“I along with Casey Vreeland, co-founded the Gender Club three semesters ago,’’ Rogers said.

“We started Gender Club because there is an immense amount of gender inequality in this world and there is a misconception as to what gender is. Our main focus of our club is to get the main idea out there that gender is something that you just are.”

Unlike the other clubs that Rogers holds a leadership position in, he has a personal connection to the Gender Club.

The Gender Club has come a long way from its first semester, when Rogers was the only member.

“Last semester I was the only active member,” Rogers said. “I planned a food drive, and I raised $300 by myself. This semester, we have about 15 active members, and our sign-up at the Welcome Back Bash was three pages.”

Joe Hemmerich, communication major and president of the Gender Club, said Rogers has a passion that sets him apart from other student leaders.

“Cat deeply cares about what he is doing and who he’s influencing,” Hemmerich said.

“When doing something club-related, he just doesn’t do what he’s supposed to be doing, he goes above and beyond to make it perfect.”

That same tenacity is what drove Rogers to make sure that no detail was left untouched for the first annual Pronoun Appreciation Day, where students can express their gender identities more clearly to their peers through nametags that read “address me as:” and “my pronouns are:”.

Rogers said he thought of the idea for Pronoun Appreciation Day to bring awareness to gender identity.

“It was my brain-child,” Rogers said. “When I came out as transgender last semester to my friends. I also wanted to change my pronouns to he, him and his. It’s a big transition for not just the person, but for everyone that knows you. You can’t expect people to automatically switch. What I wanted to do was raise awareness enough about gender and transgender issues and Pronoun Appreciation Day is the first step.”

Sabrina Alvarado, a liberal arts major and a member of the Gender Club volunteered at the event.

“It was such a positive event,” Alvarado said.

“Many students were overjoyed to wear their name and pronouns. They even had a curiosity about our pronoun suggestions including ze, hir, hirs, xe, xem xyrs…To describe people who do not identify with the gender binary.”

Alvarado, who is also the president of Sexuality Advocacy for Everyone, formerly known as the Gay-Straight Alliance, is working alongside Rogers this semester, as both clubs overlap in important gender issues.

“I love working with Cat,” Alvarado said.

“I can always rely on him to do his best job.I was interested in a partnership because there are important intersections between our two clubs on gender and sexuality. We are in the beginning stages of planning events, but we would love to have a joint story telling of gender and sexuality in the spring semester.”

Rogers will be moving on to Rowan University for the next chapter of his life to pursue his career as an orthopedic surgeon. Rogers work in the various clubs and events that he has held will not go unnoticed and will carry on for semesters to come.

CCM student newspaper takes three first place awards

“The Youngtown Edition” honored six times by NJCPA

“The Youngtown Edition,” the student newspaper at the County College of Morris, celebrated another year of award-winning journalism at the the New Jersey Collegiate Press Association (NJCPA) luncheon on Saturday, April 9.

The publication once again garnered several top-level honors from the NJCPA, this year winning first place awards in Arts & Entertainment/Critical Writing, Layout and Design and overall website in the 2015-16 College Newspaper Contest. The competition includes two-year colleges throughout the state. The newspaper won seven awards in last year’s competition, and six the year before that.

“What I love about ‘The Youngtown Edition’ is despite the fact that the staff turns over frequently as students graduate and the focus and content shifts with each new regime, the strength and quality of the work doesn’t change,” said Russ Crespolini, adjunct professor at CCM and the paper’s faculty advisor. “Last year we won first place for news writing and sports writing. This year we took top honors for features writing and layout and design.”

Editor-in-Chief Derek Allen said he was incredibly proud of the work the team turned in this year and was thrilled to see them recognized.

“As a paper we have autonomy to decide what we cover and what we publish. To see our choices rewarded like this is a great honor,” said Allen, after accepting the second place award for general excellence.

At the luncheon Allen also accepted the second place award in opinion writing on behalf of Opinion Editor Sandra Riano.

“Coming into this year we didn’t have a strong opinion section. Sandra definitely changed that,” Allen said. “She took on broad topics like politics, racism and undocumented citizens and managed to make them relatable to the campus community. Her stories always had people talking.”

Emily Betz was awarded first place in Arts and Entertainment/Critical Writing for her treatise on an honor killing documentary.

“Emily is a student in one of my speech classes and is incredibly passionate and expressive when she is trying to get her point across,” Crespolini said. “It is rare to see that kind of energy translate to the written word, but Emily certainly pulled it off. And the judges obviously saw that.”

The design duo of Drew Notarnicola and Frank Eaton picked up top prize for Layout and Design.

“Those guys literally are the best,” Allen said. “We wouldn’t have been able to get the paper out at all without them. They single-handedly take the photos and the ads and copy and lay it out. They deserve all the awards we could possibly give them, honestly.”

Managing Editor Beth Peter, who will ascend to Editor-In-Chief in the fall when Allen graduates, picked up a pair of prizes for her web work. The first place award attributed to Peter was for overall website and she also earned a second place prize for the social media work she does for the Youngtown in the category of special projects.

“I’m proud to have won,” Peter said. “I put a lot of work into the projects I earned awards for and seeing that effort recognized feels really good.”

Peter already has her sights set on repeating the success of this year and adding to it next year.

“We have room for growth and I am hoping we get more talented people on campus to come help us keep the streak alive,” Peter said.

For his part, Crespolini agreed.

“The paper is solely a student production. We are always looking for designers, photographers, writers and editors. If you want to get involved, we will find a place for you. It looks great on your resume, you learn a lot and we have a good time,” Crespolini said. “Anyone interested at all should drop us a line at youngtownedition@gmail.com.”