CCM joins stigma-free initiative

BY MIRANDA SPETACCINO 
Contributor

A resolution was passed April 27, 2016 by the Morris County Freeholders supporting the designation of Morris County as a Stigma-Free Community, focusing primarily on mental illness and substance abuse disorders. County College of Morris is one of the communities involved, joining the initiative about a month ago.

Stigma is “a mark of shame or discredit” as defined by Merriam-Webster, and according to the Morris County Stigma-Free Communities Initiative’s website, “stigma is the primary barrier to the achievement of wellness and recovery and full social integration.”

Laurie Becker, the Morris County mental health administrator, said that the focus of the Morris County Stigma-Free Communities Initiative is to cultivate an environment in which those struggling with mental illness and/or substance use disorders don’t feel they are being stigmatized. They are also focusing on educating the public on what those illnesses actually are.

“We want to make sure that everybody understands what those illness are and what they aren’t,” Becker said. “We’re hoping to provide a lot of good facts and information to dispel any myths.”

While the primary focus of the initiative is on the stigma surrounding mental illness and substance use disorders, it hopes to spread to other areas that have experienced stigma as well.

“Whoever feels that this is something that is of importance to them, we welcome,” Becker said. “We always say we’re inclusive, not exclusive.”

There are currently 13 towns in Morris County that have proclaimed themselves stigma-free, and the goal of the initiative is to have all 39 towns in the county, as well as corporations, agencies, and schools to be involved, Becker said. CCM is one of the most recent to have joined the Morris County Stigma-Free Communities Initiative.

Lisa Volante, a counselor in CCM’s Counseling Services office, said that the campus’ stigma-free designation is young, and that everyone is still becoming educated on what it means, exactly.

“[The initiative] is community wide, going through all the clubs, the faculty and the staff,” Volante said. “It’s something that the whole school will have to contribute to and be on board [with]. It is a process.”

As for CCM students that may be trying to cope with mental illness and/or substance-use disorders, the counselors at the counseling office are all licensed professional counselors and are more than willing to help, stigma-free.

Volante assured that everything said to a counselor in the office is kept confidential, unless it becomes apparent that a person is a danger to themselves or others, as is standard across all therapeutic practices, which shouldn’t deter students from seeking help.

While the counseling office usually works with students in need for a semester or two, they can refer those that require more intensive help to many other resources in the community that are available.

Michelle Johnson, a liberal arts major at CCM, said that she has seen the green stigma-free logo in towns outside of Morris County, and is glad to hear about the Morris County Stigma-Free Communities Initiative as well as CCM’s involvement in it.

“I love the idea of living in an inclusive, non-discriminatory environment,” Johnson said. “Everyone should feel safe enough to ask for help, especially at school.”

The next Morris County Stigma-Free Communities Initiative meeting will take place Thursday, April 6 at 2:30 p.m. with the location to be announced. To stay updated, or for more information on the initiative, visit the Stigma-Free Communities Initiative’s website at: http://hs.morriscountynj.gov/stigma-free/.

Graduating students look to complete education

BY DAN BRODHEAD
Contributor

Students who have enjoyed two years at County College of Morris are now looking for the right school complete their education, and there are a slew of options to choose from.

CCM hosted its bi-annual transfer fair on Wednesday, March 8 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Davidson rooms of the Student Community Center to help narrow down those choices. Students were advised to visit the transfer fair to meet with representatives from colleges around the country to find the best one to finish their degree.

“The fair is a great opportunity for students to connect with a four-year school,” said Kari Hawkins, coordinator of transfer services at CCM. “It’s the best opportunity to get a lot of information and to talk to their admissions office about the requirements and scholarship offers as well as other information.”

Students who may not know what college to apply for but want to stay close to home could consider Rutgers University, Fairleigh Dickinson University or Drew University. Students who enroll with Rutgers will be able to earn bachelor’s degree at CCM in certain concentrations. Those who enroll with Fairleigh Dickinson will receive a 40 percent tuition discount. Last, students who enroll at Drew with a gpa of 3.8 or higher will have a chance for a full tuition discount.

Students at CCM are among a select group of students from 19 community colleges around New Jersey protected by the statewide transfer law. The law ensures that the first two years of college will be counted towards a bachelor’s degree at any public, four-year college or university. The purpose of the statewide transfer agreement is to provide a seamless transition for New Jersey Community College students.

While transferring out of state to complete a degree may seem like the logical choice, an in-state institution will save students more money on tuition and other costs. For example, were a recent graduate of CCM to become a junior at Kean University, a college that CCM does not have an articulation agreement with, in-state tuition is $7,132 compared to $13,355 for out-of-state – double the cost.

“I am looking for students who are asking questions,” said Fausto Vasquez, assistant director of admissions at Rowan University. “Transfer students usually know the requirements for a school they want to transfer to, but the transfer fair allows students to find schools they might not have considered.”

For students who already know what college they wish to attend after graduation, they can take part in instant decision days held once a semester. During this time, students will have an in-person interview with the college admissions representative and discuss any questions about the institution. Benefits of this are no admission fee, no written essay and a CCM transcript with the fee waived.

Choosing a four-year school can be stressful, but Brett Friedensohn, a journalism major at CCM, seems to have it figured out. “I wanted to look at Rutgers and Columbia if they were there. Columbia does not have a journalism program for undergraduates so I may check them out for graduate school.”

Travel teaches students culture

BY VALENTINA MARMELEJO

Features Writer

“My initial feelings when entering Langa were sorrow, and almost a feeling of guilt as being an outsider. I felt guilty because once the tour was over I could go back to a life of luxury, while they will always be there.” Hope Motzenbecker, a communication major at County College of Morris, spent her spring break visiting Cape Town, South Africa.

On her trip, she explored some of South Africa’s hiking trails and picturesque views, but she says that the most memorable part of the trip was her visit to a township called Langa. A township is a term normally used in South Africa to refer to the often underdeveloped urban living areas that, from the late 19th century until the end of apartheid, were reserved for non-white residents.

Motzenbecker described the majority of the homes in Langa as huts made of scraps of metal. The people that wanted electricity wired their homes themselves. Motzenbecker said that the people of Langa did not have running water or plumbing, so they would wait on a long line in order to use portable toilets.

“It was a very moving experience,” Motzenbecker said. “I learned a lot. It not only made me feel fortunate for what I have, but it also made me more aware of what South Africans went through during apartheid.”

While her trip brought Motzenbecker closer to history, other CCM students took different messages away from their trips abroad.

“They live a simpler life and they appreciate the little things,” said Saira Islam, biology major at CCM, about her trip to visit her family in Pakistan. She said that the people she encountered through her family were friendly and made her feel comfortable even though she was considered a foreigner.

Islam said she recalled how happy her grandparents and their neighbors were when it rained in their village for the first time in four years.

Nina Thoguluva, a chemistry major at CCM, echoed similar sentiments regarding a vacation she had taken to Cancun, Mexico.

“The people were, I don’t know if humble is the right word, but they seemed like they were just trying to get through the day,” Thoguluva said.

Thoguluva described one day where she and her family decided to ride bikes outside of their resort. She said she noticed that the roads were unpaved and that the small houses outside had a lack of structure, which stood out compared to the comparative wealth of her resort and the U.S. as a whole.

“I think it’s important to travel outside of the country because it helps you get a different perspective on life,” Thoguluva said.

By Valentina Marmolejo

Features Writer

“My initial feelings when entering Langa were sorrow, and almost a feeling of guilt as being an outsider. I felt guilty because once the tour was over I could go back to a life of luxury, while they will always be there.” Hope Motzenbecker, a communication major at County College of Morris, spent her spring break visiting Cape Town, South Africa.

On her trip, she explored some of South Africa’s hiking trails and picturesque views, but she says that the most memorable part of the trip was her visit to a township called Langa. A township is a term normally used in South Africa to refer to the often underdeveloped urban living areas that, from the late 19th century until the end of apartheid, were reserved for non-white residents.

Motzenbecker described the majority of the homes in Langa as huts made of scraps of metal. The people that wanted electricity wired their homes themselves. Motzenbecker said that the people of Langa did not have running water or plumbing, so they would wait on a long line in order to use portable toilets.

“It was a very moving experience,” Motzenbecker said. “I learned a lot. It not only made me feel fortunate for what I have, but it also made me more aware of what South Africans went through during apartheid.”

While her trip brought Motzenbecker closer to history, other CCM students took different messages away from their trips abroad.

“They live a simpler life and they appreciate the little things,” said Saira Islam, biology major at CCM, about her trip to visit her family in Pakistan. She said that the people she encountered through her family were friendly and made her feel comfortable even though she was considered a foreigner.

Islam said she recalled how happy her grandparents and their neighbors were when it rained in their village for the first time in four years.

Nina Thoguluva, a chemistry major at CCM, echoed similar sentiments regarding a vacation she had taken to Cancun, Mexico.

“The people were, I don’t know if humble is the right word, but they seemed like they were just trying to get through the day,” Thoguluva said.

Thoguluva described one day where she and her family decided to ride bikes outside of their resort. She said she noticed that the roads were unpaved and that the small houses outside had a lack of structure, which stood out compared to the comparative wealth of her resort and the U.S. as a whole.

“I think it’s important to travel outside of the country because it helps you get a different perspective on life,” Thoguluva said.

CCM baseball team off to hot start

BY ZACK MARTINO
Contributor

While the temperature has yet to truly get hot, the County College of Morris baseball team has been scorching their competition to become 17th in the nation among Division II junior college baseball teams.

The Titans’ 5-0 win over Lackawanna College brought their record to 4-0 in the region and 18-2 overall.

Titans head coach Brian Eberly credits the strong season opening to the team’s solid play and composure.

“I think we’ve been playing fundamentally sound,” Eberly said. “We’ve been getting good pitching. If we’ve gotten behind in some games, like we did last game against Brookdale (Community College), who is the number one ranked team in Division III of junior colleges, we don’t panic or get too down on ourselves. It seems like, overall as a team, we have confidence and go into games expecting to win.”

Liam Duffy, the Titans catcher, attributes the high intensity play level to unfinished business from last season.

“The reason for the success is that last year’s team suffered a heartbreaking loss in the regional final last year to Mercer County College,” Duffy said. “Basically, the entire team returned from last year and we kept that burning feeling inside of us to make us train harder than all of our opponents this offseason. We have had numerous amounts of wins this season against nationally ranked teams and look to continue our success as the season goes on.”

Left-handed starting pitcher Alex Busby agreed with his coach about fundamental plays being a key to victory but added that team chemistry and working together are helping fuel the winning effort.

With early success, Eberly voiced confidence that the team would keep the spirit going to maintain a strong season.

“We still have some of our biggest conference games coming up,” Eberly said. “So, I think the competition that we still have to play will help keep us focused, because we know we still have a lot of challenges ahead.”

Duffy also said the team will continue to succeed this season, citing their work ethic and positive attitudes as major assets to that end.

“With our team having this success, I am not nervous about the team losing its edge,” Duffy said. “We have a team full of motivated players who are all hungry for winning. With every day that comes, we look forward to working harder than we worked the day before. Everyone wants to get better and a lot of kids want to go on and continue their career at a four year college or university. Our team is full of great attitudes and I am confident that the team’s success will continue and we will continue to get better.”

Busby credited the probable success of the team to his coach’s ability to motivate the team members.

“I think we’ll be fine,” Busby said. “Coach Eberly really emphasizes staying level with emotions. It keeps us level and keeps us winning. I think we have a lot of energy on becoming the best and the road to that is just staying motivated, practicing hard and just keep doing everything right.”

As of now, Eberly is going to allow the team to continue its role, not make any drastic changes and believes they could get even better.

“I think we’re going to continue to let things play out in terms of who plays where and what our lineup looks like on a daily basis,” he said. “But I think we’re getting a pretty good feel for who we are. We’ve got a couple guys coming back from injury. So I expect that we should continue to improve.”

To see the baseball team in action, attend their next home game as the Titans host Mercer County Community College for a doubleheader at noon Saturday, April 15.

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.