Laura Calderon

Community comes together for storytelling, music

BY LAURA CALDERON
Contributor

The Student Community Center was filled with storytellers and musicians Sunday, March 12 as County College of Morris hosted the 11th Annual Storytelling and World Music Festival.

The festival was separated into two sections – storytelling for children and storytelling for adults. All storytellers worked effortlessly to keep crowds engaged in their tale through the use of numerous props such as homemade instruments, finger puppets, and noisemakers. The SCC found itself crowded from wall to wall as numerous families gathered together to take part in the yearly communal event in hopes of creating new memories.

Faculty adviser for the festival and Campus Life associate director, Don Phelps considers the event to be a great success. It was wonderful to see so many community members getting to experience the campus for the first time, according to Phelps.

“My favorite part was when the tellers bring the kids on stage to play characters in their stories,” Phelps said.

Patty Donnell, mother of four, has attended the festival for the past four years since her eldest daughter, Emma began attending CCM in 2013. The festival is a perfect excuse to get the family together and have a little harmless fun, according to Donnell.

“We never miss the festival,” said Donnell. “My children love the stories that are shared – they’re funny, educational and the props they use tie everything together. It’s a great local outing to do with my kids on a Sunday afternoon.”

Following storytelling sessions, attendees were escorted to a small concert in the SCC lounge, as children cheered and danced, adults clapped in rejoicement. Rob Esposito’s daughter, Elizabeth was a crowd favorite – her dance moves kept the crowd entertained and the energy high. This year was the first attendance for the Esposito family.

“My dear friend, Cathy Burke used to attend the festival when it was originally held at Waterloo Village,” Esposito said. “None of my older children ever wanted to go, but I thought Elizabeth would enjoy herself and sure enough I was right. It’s been a wonderful day.”

While the festival was surrounded with families enjoying themselves, several CCM students were in attendance. Early childhood education major, Katie Phillips first learned of the festival through the school website, and thought the event would give her some insight into storytelling for small children.

“I really love reading,” said Phillips. “I really hope someday to become a grammar school English teacher, so I thought coming to the festival would help me gain a few pointers on how to grab and keep a child’s attention in the art of storytelling.”

Storytelling Festival March 12

BY LAURA CALDERON
Contributor

The Student Community Center was filled with storytellers and musicians Sunday, March 12 as County College of Morris hosted the 11th Annual Storytelling and World Music Festival.

The festival was separated into two sections – storytelling for children and storytelling for adults. All storytellers worked effortlessly to keep crowds engaged in their tale through the use of numerous props such as homemade instruments, finger puppets, and noisemakers. The SCC found itself crowded from wall to wall as numerous families gathered together to take part in the yearly communal event in hopes of creating new memories.

Faculty adviser for the festival and Campus Life associate director, Don Phelps considers the event to be a great success. It was wonderful to see so many community members getting to experience the campus for the first time, according to Phelps.

“My favorite part was when the tellers bring the kids on stage to play characters in their stories,” Phelps said.

Patty Donnell, mother of four, has attended the festival for the past four years since her eldest daughter, Emma began attending CCM in 2013. The festival is a perfect excuse to get the family together and have a little harmless fun, according to Donnell.

“We never miss the festival,” said Donnell. “My children love the stories that are shared – they’re funny, educational and the props they use tie everything together. It’s a great local outing to do with my kids on a Sunday afternoon.”

Following storytelling sessions, attendees were escorted to a small concert in the SCC lounge, as children cheered and danced, adults clapped in rejoicement. Rob Esposito’s daughter, Elizabeth was a crowd favorite – her dance moves kept the crowd entertained and the energy high. This year was the first attendance for the Esposito family.

“My dear friend, Cathy Burke used to attend the festival when it was originally held at Waterloo Village,” Esposito said. “None of my older children ever wanted to go, but I thought Elizabeth would enjoy herself and sure enough I was right. It’s been a wonderful day.”

While the festival was surrounded with families enjoying themselves, several CCM students were in attendance. Early childhood education major, Katie Phillips first learned of the festival through the school website, and thought the event would give her some insight into storytelling for small children.

“I really love reading,” said Phillips. “I really hope someday to become a grammar school English teacher, so I thought coming to the festival would help me gain a few pointers on how to grab and keep a child’s attention in the art of storytelling.”

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.”

Single students smile on Valentines Day

BY LAURA CALDERON
Contributor

As stores begin to stock their shelves with chocolate and teddy bears in preparation for Valentine’s Day, students across the County College of Morris without a significant other refuse to be saddened by the love inspired holiday.

Whether choosing to spend the day surrounded by friends, near family or simply ignoring festivities all together, students across campus refuse to spend the celebratory day alone.

According to CCM hospitality management major Shannon Dean, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to show appreciation and affection to another individual, not necessarily a significant other. Since graduating Jefferson High School in 2015, Dean has remained extremely close with a small group of friends who she constantly communicates and hangs out with on a weekly basis. The close-knit group chooses to spend Valentine’s Day together every year, whether they’re in relationships or not, to make sure no one feels excluded.

“For as long as I can remember I have spent Valentine’s Day surrounded by my closest friends,” said Dean. “We get each other candy, teddy bears, cards, and even the occasional bouquet of roses. It’s like our own little tradition to do every year. It’s a holiday before anything else, like Christmas, everyone should have fun.”

Christina Ramos, nursing major at CCM, has always spent Valentine’s Day close to home and looks forward to the occasion every year. “Valentine’s Day is a huge celebration in my household,” Ramos said. “My sisters and I come together every year and spend the night watching our favorite romance movies and eating all the candy we could find. We make it a day for ourselves, not for other people.”

According to Ramos, Valentine’s Day should be considered a selfish day for all those who are single. A time to just have fun being yourself without the added pressures or expectancies relationships entail.

“The best advice I can give to someone celebrating the holiday alone is just don’t,” Ramos said. “Yeah, stores and movies commercialize it to seem like you have to be dating someone but that’s so not the case. Go to the movies, go shopping, go have dinner. Do something instead of choosing to feel bad for yourself.”

Without traditions with close friends and family, however, there may not be much to celebrate. Stephen Connors, a graphic design major at CCM, has chosen not to celebrate Valentine’s Day and plans not to acknowledge the day at all.

“Valentine’s Day is like celebrating a birthday,” Connors said. “You know it’s a holiday, and people try to make it special, but it feels like any other day. I’m single. I don’t plan, and I’m not gonna stress it.”

Whether spending the day with loved ones or enjoying the day alone, students across the County College of Morris are choosing to Valentine’s Day the same way – happy.

Gluten-free health trend arrives to CCM

By LAURA CALDERON
Contributor

      Like many young adults today, students across the County College of Morris have seemed to taken an interest in their physical well-being and have gone as far as denying their body certain substances. A growing trend among students is cutting out gluten – a protein found in wheat and grain related foods. Whether due to illness or perfecting their figures students seem to continuously join the ascending health movement.

          Suffering from a severe gluten allergy, hospitality management major Shannon Dean is unable to go anywhere near the substance. “My skin reacts really bad to gluten,” said Dean, “I used to not care about my allergy and ate whatever I want, but as soon as my breakouts began to leave scars I had to stop.” Living gluten-free for the past three months, Dean confirms she’s never looked and felt better.

          “Right now I’m fully committed to the Paleo diet – gluten-free, dairy-free,” said Dean. “It’s amazing. If I knew life without gluten was this empowering I would’ve listened to doctors years ago.” Learning that other young adults like herself were participating in the diet excited Dean and allowed her to bond more with close friends. “Dieting is always easier with friends, especially with one this challenging,” said Dean.

          “To me,” said Kaylee Bockhorn, an early childhood education major, “a healthy diet is a colorful one. Incorporating all kinds of foods especially fruits and vegetables into your diet is very important.” Bockhorn is captain of Pretty Girls Sweat , a club that empowers individuals both male and female to stay active. She finds no need to participate in the trend sweeping across campus, however she does applaud those who chose to take such a momentous step towards healthy lifestyles.

          “I think there are many benefits of completely cutting out something from your diet.” Bockhorn said. “Things like meat and dairy tend to cause more bloating, and cutting them out, while finding other ways to get protein and calcium, would help to significantly reduce that because they are harder to digest.”

          Unlike Dean’s allergies and Bockhorn’s health goals, Becca Robbs has joined the gluten free trend to be more sympathetic of friends. “My close friend, Rachel Affinto is gluten-free – she has celiac disease,” said Robbs. “I thought it was insane. Going out with her was ridiculous, she could never eat anything. She dared me to go experience it for a week and that was almost a month ago and I love it.”

          Though the diet isn’t easy, Robbs says she now has a new understanding for what Affinto goes through on a daily basis. “She’s my best friend, and if going through with a diet helps me healthier and closer to her I would do it in a heartbeat,” said Robbs.

          Gluten is made of various proteins and is found many grain products, such as bread, beer, and pasta. Studies have shown there are many benefits to life without gluten, such as behavioral changes in young children or significant amount of weight loss in adults. Gluten-free is not only the latest health trend but also the cheapest form of medicine to improve the body and mind.

NeedAMom offers mom for hire

BY LAURA CALDERON
Entertainment Editor

 

Nina Keneally, a Brooklyn, New York based mother of two, made headlines nationwide last October when she made the decision to offer her mothering skills to young adults throughout the city and the interest hasn’t waned since.

Keneally’s booming new business, NeedAMom, caters to 20 to year olds who need a mother without the nagging, guilt tripping and emotional baggage some associate with biological ones.

Keneally says that her service is for those who need a Mom, just not their Mom. Keneally offers a list of services that are usually done by any mother for her child. Whether giving criticism-free advice over a cup of coffee, patiently waiting with you at the doctor’s office or preparing a home cooked meal, Keneally is open to helping in whatever field she can but hopes to make it clear that she is not to be mistaken for anyone’s maid.

Struck with the idea after giving advice to her yoga class of young college students, Keneally began charging her services for $40 an hour with an additional traveling fee for any client residing outside of Brooklyn. Most recently, Keneally has added a texting session where you can send her messages directly for 30 minutes a day.

At the County College of Morris the concept of renting someone else’s mother to momentarily be yours is a foreign and has stirred some debate across campus. Shannon Dean, a hospitality management major at CCM feels the business is an extraordinary idea for young adults who find themselves far from home and in need of a parental figure from time to time.

“I’m extremely close with my Mom,” said Dean, “And I can’t imagine what it would be like not to have her by my side everyday. She helps me make decisions and form opinions. So if someone is willing to help those who don’t have a parent physically there that’s amazing. I mean, there’s big brother and big sisters programs – how is this any different?”

However, liberal arts major, Catherine Brown feels Keneally’s attempt to be a mother to all is a strange concept.

“Hiring someone to pretend to be your mother is just wrong,” said Brown, “ No matter the situation – how much you spend or what you do together this woman is not your mother. Paying her will only make you miss your real mom. The whole process is kind of a waste of time.”

Keneally’s business has brought up numerous questions on the County College of Morris campus. What is considered appropriate and inappropriate along the lines of offering help to someone else’s child feel a sense of comfort?

“New York is a one of the biggest cities in the world,” said fashion merchandising major, Crislaura Tatis, “ And it holds a huge youth population. Many individuals are away from home and don’t have a sense of family  so I could see why NeedAMom is such a success business. It’s selfless and helps so many people just genuinely feel better. But I think paying for it is what makes it so creepy. Like if I just need a hug, do I really need to hand over my credit card for that?”

Grease lightning only strikes some

BY VICTORIA PIGNATELLI AND LAURA CALDERON
Entertainment Editors

On Sunday, Jan 31, nationwide audiences tuned into Fox Network’s live adaptation of the renowned film and Broadway production, “Grease.”

For the past three years, NBC has provided the general public with live televised musicals, beginning with 2013’s “Sound of Music.”

For those that did tune in, many were confounded when the Fox adaptation omitted some unforgettable moments that the 1978 cinema classic made audiences love.

The scope of the production was wide and ambitious, covering several detailed sets and incorporating a live audience. Although the production was large and flashy with style and finesse, it seemed to collapse under its own weight, having taken on such a legendary stage and screen play like “Grease.”

“I felt like they didn’t have the right attitude to play those legendary characters, like the original film cast did,” said Sarah Bumiller, a history education major at the County College of Morris. “I liked Aaron Tveit a lot, but he just wasn’t Danny Zuko.”

The production fell short of expectations held by viewers who had seen “Grease” previously. Some felt it was misleading and confusing due to the changes in story order and continuity within the new production. Songs and scenes were readjusted due to stage adaptation, and concerns over the length of the production as a whole.

“TV musicals are an abomination of the small screen,” said Gerald Neely, a history major at CCM. “Fox shouldn’t have their hands on anything; it usually ends up terrible.”

Between the singing, shoddy sound editing and shaky live camera, “Grease: Live!” suffered many pitfalls of its large cast and crew.

Several cast members playing the main characters (like Danny, Sandy and Rizzo) did have prior singing and acting experience, but because of the live element of the telecast, these experienced players seemed to have fallen short of expectations. Julianne Hough, a well known professional dancer, known from her “Dancing with the Stars” fame, actually fell during one of the most important dance numbers of the musical. Whether it was nerves or miscommunication with her partner, it certainly had an impact on that scene in particular.

Aside from mistakes, the ensemble as a whole seemed to be mismatched and lacking a certain charisma that other ensembles of “Grease” casts have had in the past. The live audience aspect was troubling to the setting, as many members of the audience were dressed in modern attire, throwing off the believability of the 1950’s setting.

“I love ‘Grease,’ and personally I feel that the modernization of the movie ruined the plot as a whole,” said Valerie Evans, a hospitality major at CCM. “Mario Lopez and Joe Jonas were great to see, but I thought their appearances took away from the show as a whole.”

Despite several disappointing moments in the live telecast, the event did have some redeeming parts. Didi Conn, the actress that originated the role of Frenchie in the 1978 film made a cameo role, which thrilled many viewers that knew her from the original film. Also, the inclusion of a few songs from the Broadway adaptation was a delight to some older audiences, as those songs have been largely forgotten about when “Grease” is thought of.

“I loved ‘Grease,’ I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I would,” said Kristen Urban, communications major at CCM. “I hope the networks make more musicals for television in years to come. They’ve been really great and only get better.”

 

Clubs connect community to campus

BY BETH PETER AND LAURA CALDERON
Managing Editor, Entertainment Editor

The Student Community Center at the County College of Morris was transformed into a festival of food and cadre of community during the Welcome Back Bash on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

Visibly excited students mingled amongst various clubs and organizations hoping to recruit new members. Those who attended were able to partake in a chocolate fountain, fresh spun cotton candy, and a seemingly endless supply of free food and desserts.

“This is fantastic,” said James Manners, a criminal justice major. “I didn’t even know CCM offered this many clubs. I signed up for as many as I could.”

Clubs set up tables offering goodie bags, pens and of course – free food. Student leaders set up tables looking as inviting as possible in order to attract new members to their clubs. Clubs must have at least 10 members on the roster in order to maintain status, so the Welcome Back Bash is crucial for smaller clubs to gain as much exposure as they can in order to build a strong, sustainable group.

As one of the newer groups on campus, the Cyber Security Club strives to help students be aware and protect themselves from the dangers of online communication. Established in 2015, the club has grown exponentially in the past year – beginning with 10 students the club now has swelled to over 60 members.

“Our club is centered on helping people use the internet responsibly,” said Brian Seligson, a telecommunications major at CCM. “Teaching [members] the dangers of publicly giving out information and what could unfortunately happen by doing so.”

The bash was essential for clubs like the Chess Club, which has struggled in the past with lack of membership but has recently been revived due to renewed interest. Striving to promote better skills and knowledge of the classic game, the club encourages people of all ages and skill levels to join and learn how to play.

“We hope to help others learn more about the game,” said Chess Club President Brett Friedensohn. “As well as bettering ourselves through the process of practicing. You can’t get better unless you practice.”

For students who have scheduled classes during college hour – when most clubs meet or have events – some clubs offer events later on, outside of CCM.

New Social Engine provides college students opportunities to go out and socialize without the pressure of drugs or alcohol. It hosts trips off campus, from visiting the Funplex to seeing Marvel’s “Deadpool” a day early at a discounted price.

“The Welcome Back Bash is an effective method of spreading awareness of my group and gaining new members,” said Melissa Berardesco, president of New Social Engine. “It gives us a chance to meet new students and give them information about our club.”

Berardesco said the event was a success.

“Everything ran smoothly and everyone enjoyed it,” Berardesco said.

Another club that aims to better the campus community is Pretty Girls Sweat, whose overall goal is to educate students on what it means to possess a happy and healthy lifestyle. Hosting multiple Zumba dance classes and workout activities throughout the semester, the club encourages individuals to get and remain active on a daily basis. Kailee Bockhorn, an early childhood education major, said the club is not only a supportive workout system but a good place to learn about healthy living.

“The club’s main focus is to help others become and stay healthy through the process of sharing good eating habits and easy, at-home workouts,” Bockhorn said. “Obesity is a huge problem in today’s society and we work hard to help minimize the issue at hand.”

Marcelle Caruso, president of the Student Government Association, praised the Student Activities Programming Board for the environment of the entire event.

“The Welcome Back Bash was a success,” Caruso said. “The SGA got over 30 students to sign up.”

In a school with over 50 clubs, standing out can be the hardest part about getting new members.

Michael Gosden, a member of Active Minds, praised the Welcome Back Bash’s efficacy in dealing with this hurdle.

“A personal approach and face to face interaction is one of the best ways to gain new members.” Gosden said. “We hope to attract as big a crowd as possible.”

Hoping to raise awareness for issues surrounding mental health and the many health resources that are available to students on campus,members of Active Minds dedicate themselves to educating people about the struggles of others. Granting whomever signed up with a cup of hot chocolate, the club felt their table at the bash was extremely successful.

From the point of view of Associate Director of Campus Life Don Phelps, and adviser of SAPB, “The clubs came out in force.” He said that the biggest challenge was convincing students to go to the Student Community Center in the first place.

Phelps said, “SAPB promoted the Bash and offered free hot snacks, soda and a Chocolate Factory to entice the students to walk over to the SCC Lobby.”

“This definitely took my mind off of a couple things,” said Brianna Affinito, a fine arts major. “I wish this could happen every Tuesday.”