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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Res Life Faces New Problem: Major Dorm Vacancies

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With 42 empty beds, Dominican’s resident halls are rather quiet this semester. Most of these can be found in Coughlin, the Priory, and Centennial, said Amy McCormack, senior vice president of finance and administration at Dominican.

“We have 592 students in the halls now, plus 17 in the Bon Villa apartments,” said Rob Babcock, assistant dean of students and director of residence life. McCormack, however, said Dominican did not renew leases on off-campus housing and about 58 percent of freshmen have typically lived on campus, with a drop to 43 percent this year.

Ninety-two percent of the budget at Dominican comes from tuition, room and board. “There’s been about a $240,000 net loss,” McCormack said.

“There was a low percentage of freshmen that chose to live on campus,” she said. “The assumption is it’s cost-related or it could be that more students are living closer to campus.”

Iannis Ruiz, a junior who is living in Coughlin Hall this year, said she expected to be with a lot of freshmen, but found out that she was not the only upperclassman living in Coughlin Hall. “There are six or seven upperclassmen on Coughlin 3 alone,” she said.

Ruiz said resident students are always moving in and out of dorm rooms. “The room across the hall became occupied as of just a few weeks ago,” she said.

“We didn’t know at the end of the 2010-2011 academic year that there were going to be vacancies,” Babcock said. However, McCormack said they did. “In March, there were clear signs we wouldn’t have enough people; by the middle of the summer, we knew there would be empty beds. But it was even lower than we thought because there were more freshman who decided to commute.”

“Our lower numbers this year are not due to an increase in contract cancellations,” Babcock said. “There is no conclusive set of reasons for the lower number of applicants.”

Prices for room and board have increased 3.4 percent, according to Dick Walstra, controller for the University.  This is an increase of about $270 for some rooms, and it is more for higher priced rooms, he said.

“I think a lot of freshmen backed out because of increases in costs,” Ruiz said.

Peter Alonzi, Ph. D., an economics professor at Dominican, said President Donna Carroll made her annual state of the university presentation at the regularly scheduled University Assembly on Sept. 19. Carroll reported a revenue shortfall due in part to vacancies in the dorms. Alonzi said this shortfall means that there are fewer revenues the university has for all the resources it employs from landscaping services to staff and faculty. But there were no changes in faculty salaries at this time other than a few increases that had been deferred from February 2011 until now.

“You’re not going to find someone who says they don’t want a higher salary, but times are tough all around. We’re going through a time of crisis as a country,” Alonzi said. “The residence halls’ vacancy is what we have right now; it’s just important to make plans to make sure the this doesn’t happen again.”

According to Mickey Sweeney, a Dominican English professor, the cost of living increases 2 percent each year, and salaries for Dominican professors generally increase 2 to 3 percent each year. “When people budget for things and they can’t do it, it’s tough.”

Although this situation is problematic, there are some benefits.

“The number of vacancies does mean there is a little more flexibility in terms of people being able to switch rooms and things along those lines,” Babcock said.

Staff, faculty and administration are striving to sort out this problem for next year.

Babcock said Residence Life plans to house as many students as possible. “We are offering some of the empty double rooms to students if they would like to ‘buy out’ the double and live by themselves,” he said. “This is a unique opportunity we haven’t had because of the density of our past residential populations.”

“Only three of my seven very close friends still live on campus. Most have moved back home, while another got an apartment. I personally love my experience of residence life, and I tell my friends that,” Ruiz said.

Although students in the ELS program or graduate students could take the rooms, this solution isn’t perfect. Students in the ELS program usually only stay at Dominican for about four consecutive weeks, McCormack said, and graduate and undergraduate students are “not the best mix” because of their age difference.

“It does impact the ability to invest in new programs and faculty salaries because we needed to cut expenses,” McCormack said. “We have, however, added new revenue through new initiatives in GSLIS and new programs in continuing and professional studies…we’re trying to increase future enrollment.”

Mary Stroka, Editor-in-Chief

A Letter From the Editor: Tips for Staying Professional

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As I’m going through my senior year of college, I’ve realized that it’s about time I start trying to become more professional as a student, intern and worker. My days of procrastination and last-minute projects are somewhat behind me. Even though my four years here at Dominican have taught me how to become a better worker, I’m always learning new ways to become a better “me.” Because of the realization, there are a few main things that I think every college student should know.

1.      Try your best to be on time – I myself have had issues with this in the past. Waking up at 7 a.m. to make it to school for an 8:30 a.m. class is no easy feat for a sleep-deprived college student. But what I’ve learned is that being late to class, to work, or to an internship, not only makes you look bad, but it makes you feel bad. The days were I actually get up early enough; I get ready and drive over to school stress-free. On the days that I’m “running late,” everything seems to go wrong, making me looks cluttered, unorganized, and irresponsible. Making an effort to give yourself more time to get ready ahead of time makes it easier to be on time.

2.      Balance your commitments – This one is complicated. We all feel the pressure to fill up our resumes, help family and friends and challenge ourselves. But there is a big difference between spreading yourself too thin and only giving half of your effort, and taking on only a few tasks and excelling. There’s also the problem of not taking on or fulfilling enough commitments. My advice: pick out the necessary and obligatory commitments and focus on those first. It’s all about balance after that. If you must – say no to certain commitments. But also be honest with yourself when you’re being lazy and making excuses. Balancing commitments can be tough, but it’s necessary to keep yourself from going crazy, as commitments pile on throughout the years.

3.      Get your priorities straight – Everyone has days where they want to forget about their responsibilities. But there’s a time and place for everything. Everyone needs free time to de-stress, relax and socialize. But spending too much time on all of that can make you fall seriously behind. Getting your priorities straight is something that takes some serious growing up. Taking a good look at what’s really important and what really matters to you can help.

4.      Clean up your “look” – A lot of college students need some serious adjustments to their appearance if they’re trying to find an internship or job. As sad as it is, your general appearance and wardrobe leave a huge impression on professor and employers. Jeans are not appropriate for a job interview. Any piercings and tattoos should be hidden when meeting new employers. It’s essential to “clean up” your look if you want to be taken seriously.

5.      Learn how to work well with others – Employers complain that our generation has a lack of communication skills and respect for others. In order to standout in their eyes, it’s important to know how to work with a team and  how to give and receive feedback.

It takes time to figure this all out. Many of these things have taken me four years to discover. There are a few that I’m still working on right now. We’re all allowed to make mistakes; as students, we’re young. But let’s not kid ourselves: we’re no longer 16. College is the perfect place to make those necessary mistakes that teach us how to survive once we’re out in the real world. So take advantage of all the opportunities you have and maybe one day you’ll be the one interviewing some scrappy, college kid and shaking your head, while sitting in your big, beautiful office.

Katherine Kulpa, Editor-in-Chief

Opposing Viewpoints: Organic Foods

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The Benefits of Going “Organic” Outweigh Heavier Price Tags

Many consumers do not know that most everyday household beauty and cosmetic products have harmful amounts of ingredients that are toxic and known carcinogens. We all use these products on a daily basis, oftentimes unknowingly exposing our largest organ, our skin, to poisonous ingredients that harm our health. Becoming aware of this can help you make safer decisions in the future.

Although some might say that buying “organic” or all-natural products is a waste of money, I believe that it’s much better to pay a little extra now, than to spend extra money on fixing the health problems that unnatural chemicals and synthetics cause our bodies to have later.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, at safecosmetics.org, offers information on how to buy safer products and offers a “Skin Deep” cosmetics database that allows users to calculate the amount of toxins in their products.

As a consumer, you should make more health-conscious decisions when shopping for beauty and cosmetics because the FDA doesn’t regulate what’s in these products.

The Campaign’s web site says, “Neither cosmetic products nor cosmetic ingredients are reviewed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they are sold to the public. FDA cannot require companies to do safety testing of their cosmetic products before marketing.”

Since the FDA does not and cannot regulate the beauty industry, many products that are deemed “safe,” are actually dangerous to our health. A perfect example is the Brazilian Blowout hair treatment offered in salons across the country, which has been found to have dangerous amounts of formaldehyde in it.

Avoiding products with synthetic chemicals, by buying organic or natural products, can help you stay away from dangerous side effects. Many different currently offer alternatives can be bought at reasonable prices such as Burt’s Bees, St. Ives and Yes to Carrots.

Another issue when it comes to going organic is whether or not to buy organic food. According to a CBSNews article entitled “Shocking reasons to go organic,” not eating organic foods has a huge effect on personal health.

The first effect is on nutrition, because studies have shown that organic foods may have increased levels of nutrients and antioxidants. Also, studies have shown that pesticides used to grow non-organic crops can reduce fertility. Along with this, research has shown that chemicals used in non-organic agriculture can interfere with the body’s hormone levels, causing weight gain. Lastly, there are the unknown effects that GMO’s could have on the human body.

With all of these “unknown” and negative effects, why not play it safe and go organic with your products and foods? It might cost a few more dollars, but having a healthy body and mind is something that’s beyond the value of any price tag.

Katherine Kulpa, Editor-in-chief

Disadvantages of Organic Products

Organic products have become an ongoing trend for decades. It began with organic farming in the 1990’s and has spread to other items such as organic health and beauty products. A survey conducted in 2010 by lifeinc.today.com, found that 38.6 percent of Americans purchase organic products.

Although organic products have been popular in the previous years, they do have several disadvantages.  Not only do they cost more than non-organic items, but also organic food and beauty products have a significantly shorter shelf life, which means more money is being spent and the cost is ultimately not worth it.

According to love-organic-food.com, organic food is more costly to grow and the cost limits the amount of production. Not only does organic food cost more to produce, but also it is not free of all toxins and can still be considered unhealthy. “Organic food has many disadvantages. We must continue to do research and improve our ability to grow and produce affordable organic food so that the disadvantages of organic food don’t outweigh the advantages.”

Although organic beauty products are made from natural plant ingredients and/or minerals, one thing that manufacturers of organic make up do not share with their consumers is the fact that plants themselves create very powerful toxins.  According to makeup-secrets-revealed.com, “It would, of course, be an error to assume that organic makeup is in actual fact better for you than ordinary makeup which is chemically produced, as plants can contain natural toxins which are powerful, that are equally as damaging to the skin as those products which are produced in a laboratory.” These toxins are sometimes equivalent to or worse than the chemicals found in non-organic beauty products.

While organic products may seem like the best route to go, there are still several disadvantages that make them less appealing. So before you go and shell out the extra cash for makeup or find yourself throwing food away that you just bought a week ago, think about how little of a difference you are making with your health versus the big difference you see in your bank account.

Quina Miller, Staff Reporter

What Tina Says: A Letter To My Relationship-Obsessed Friend

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As those of us from the Midwest know, Sweetest Day was this past weekend. The less-publicized cousin of Valentine’s Day, Sweetest Day is yet another reminder to some of us out there that we are, indeed, single. For myself, I don’t mind this situation at the moment. After all, I have a million other things to worry about. Between classes, work, clubs, and maintaining a healthy social life, I cannot begin to picture having to also juggle the efforts that are needed to be in a successful romantic relationship.  My biological clock is far from ticking, and I have absolutely no problem in waiting a handful of more years before responding to my call of being a mirror image of Martha Stewart. Now, I’m not saying that I would turn down Prince Charming if he showed up at my door upon a noble steed, especially if he resembled Patrick Dempsey. I’m simply saying that jumping from one insignificant relationship to another is beyond me. However, we all have that friend who disagrees with this. This is especially obvious in college, as some find tremendous pressure in having to settle down  (22 is the new 32). He or she is always on the prowl, trying to find the next relationship to spend a few months on. What they find in these short-term couplings is not immediately clear to me. Maybe it’s self-validation; maybe it’s a quick fix for loneliness or an attempt to mimic the luxurious lives of those seen in “Sex and the City” or “Entourage.” Whatever the case, this concept has been especially bothersome for me lately as I watch various individuals fall into the clutches of unhealthy romances or unreturned affection. With that in mind, I’ve decided to compose a letter directed especially to those who fit this criteria. This is not meant to be unsettling or harsh.  I want to provoke the idea that being single is not an illness and doesn’t need an immediate remedy. To all those who worry they will be “alone forever” and to those who hop from bed-to-bed in search of something meaningful, here’s a little something for you:

To my Relationship-Obsessed Friend:

Take a break. Really, breathe. Your success is not measured in whether or not you’re in a relationship. All those ladies or gentleman – you know, the ones that you fawn over – probably are not very good for you. And the affection that you’re longing for will never be returned if you’re searching in the wrong places. In a world overrun by eHarmony and over-crowded singles bars, I understand your concern to “find” that someone special, as if they’re wandering around aimlessly waiting for your arrival, but my advice to you is to stop looking. Honestly, relax for a minute and focus on yourself. Build up your self-esteem and tear down the assumption that being single automatically means that you’re undesirable. Not every individual that you’re interested in will hold a mutual feeling, so allow yourself to be a bit more selective. As Tim Gunn, the chief creative director of Liz Claiborne and TV Personality once said, “Trust that you are superb, and you are.” I now find myself telling you the same thing: You’re worth as much as you think you are, so value yourself in the highest. If you think you shine, you will shine, and that special someone – whoever they are, wherever they are – will spot you from afar. Being overly eager trumps all that, so be calm and open-minded and enjoy your single state of freedom to the fullest. You have the rest of your life to meet your perfect counterpart, I promise.

As a means of conclusion to this piece, I want to leave a few final notes:

To those of you who are in a relationship:

Treat it with care. If you’re meant to be with your partner, make it work, even when it seems difficult. You need to fight for those you love, and if you do not think that the fight is worth being with that individual, decide sooner rather than later. It is never ideal to remain physically in a relationship that your heart has already left. There is no shame is stepping back and moving forward in a different direction. On the other hand, if you’re happy with the one who you are with, consider yourself fortunate and treat your relationship with respect. .

To those of you who are content with being single:

Keep doing what you’re doing and be able to recognize something exceptional when you see it. There is never a need to rush into anything, especially at our age, so remember what the Turtle and the Hare taught us: Slow and steady wins the race. Treat any future relationships with warmth and gratitude and never feel the need to settle for someone who falls below your standards.

With this, I advise you all to do one last thing: Give out love; true, genuine care. Really, throw it to the masses. As much as you want, whenever you want. It’s the most inexpensive and valuable task that any of us can do, and in return, reaps the most benefits. After all, if it is love that you’re after, the best way to get it is to give it. So, love as much as you can with a full heart and open mind, and you’ll end up exactly where you’re meant to be.

Tina Cisarik, Staff Writer

Discernment and Community in the Twitter Age

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Imagine you log onto your Facebook account, and you have a friend request from a Dominican professor. In his profile picture, he is smiling. When you read his wall, it’s filled with inspirational updates about the school.

Would you accept the professor’s request? Or would you be afraid of him seeing your page?

On Oct. 13 in the Priory Auditorium, Trevor Bechtel, Ph. D., the assistant professor of religion and director of the honors program at Bluffton University in Bluffton, Ohio, discussed why every Christian should have a Twitter or Facebook account and how the virtual community of social networking shapes reality.

Bechtel compares our daily lifestyles to the virtual realities of social networking. He talked about three distinct ways in which social networking should shape our communities.

First, according to Bechtel, Christians should not be ashamed of their lives and should be able to exhibit their faith publicly and without fear via social networks.

“Who you are online should be the same exact person you are in reality,” Bechtel said.

The structure of Facebook, such as having “friends,” a “relationship status” and sharing photos, is the same as in a real social environment as opposed to the virtual ones of social networks. What we do on Facebook, we do in reality. You make friends, may have a significant other and share photos, he said.

“As a Christian you should be genuine at all times,” Bechtel said. “If you add someone as a friend on Facebook, it should be genuine.”

Bechtel also feels that Christians should be open about how they give back to God, as well.

“Facebook should have public information such as your income and tithes, similar to how they did in the olden days,” he said.

Secondly, inspirational leaders like the pope and President Carroll, should use social networks to interact with others in the community.

“Although you can’t explain everything about yourself in 140 characters, people should get an understanding of who you are as a person when you tweet,” Bechtel stated.

Since its creation in 2006, Twitter has gained the attention of numerous leaders and celebrities who use it to inspire others. They include President Obama, Oprah and Lady Gaga, a woman with over 14 million followers.

“Twitter is used as an easy way to send information and reach out to a vast amount of people,” Bechtel said.

Although it may be strange to see the pope tweeting his thoughts throughout the day, Bechtel says that Christians should not place their hope in Twitter itself but put their hope in God.

President Carroll does not have a Facebook or Twitter account, but she does use LinkedIn, a professional network. She doesn’t put her hope in the system itself but focuses on how best to use the technology.

“I don’t have any feelings toward Facebook or Twitter because I don’t use them,” President Carroll said. “I use my LinkedIn account to keep in touch with alumni.”

Finally, Bechtel said, play video games.

“Games are a multiplayer tool of the imagination that challenges us both within the game and in our daily lives,” Bechtel said.

Although games may be seen as a leisure activity, Bechtel views games as “practice” for reality.

“Reality is lonely, isolated, depressing and unambitious,” he said. “Games help us to tackle goals, create communities from scratch and build our strengths.”

Bechtel said he believes we should use these attributes in real life to bring together individuals and form a community.

The event was sponsored by the Albertus Magnus Society of the Siena Center.

“My main take on the lecture is that we should judge technology based on if it helps to improve the community or if it brings down the community,” Siena Center Director Claire Noonan said.

Sharmon Jarmon, Contributing Writer

Dominican Fashion File

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Courtesy of Lauren Kasprzyk

Staff reporter Lauren Kasprzyk asks DU students Julie and Alicia about their style.

Q: Describe your style. How are your styles similar and how are they different?

Julie: My style is a mix of things that are comfortable and things that that I haven’t seen much. Our styles overlap, but I feel like Alicia likes more light-colored and frilly clothes while I prefer darks and prints.

Alicia: I love seeing different trends come up, but adding my own touch. We definitely like a lot of the same styles, but Julie has a more edgy look whereas I love lighter colors and fabrics. I like mixing edgy, vintage, and girly.

Q: What are your favorite stores to shop at? Do you have any advice for saving money on cute clothes?

Julie: I love thrift stores, Forever 21, and Charlotte Russe. The best thing to go by is to not buy anything you like just because you like it; make sure it’s something that you’ll wear over and over and get your money’s worth!

Alicia: I like to shop at Forever 21, Asos, Topshop, and Target. A lot of online stores will have great deals. GoJane.com is my go-to store for cute shoes for a really decent price.

Q: Since you’re roommates, do you ever borrow each other’s clothes?

Julie: Not yet, but I’m sure we’ll start soon!

Alicia: Not yet, we still have to coordinate outfits.

Q: What’s your favorite piece of clothing or accessory?

Julie: My leopard-print romper. I feel that it definitely fits my style and looks good. It’s too bad that I can only wear it when it’s warm out!

Alicia: I love my black high-waist miniskirt because it pretty much goes with everything and anything, but I have so many other favorites.

Q: Who’s your celebrity icon?

Julie: I would have to say Rihanna- she has so many different styles and always makes it look good.

Alicia: It’s a tie between Lauren Conrad and Emma Watson, but I love to mix it up.

Q: You guys both attended the Akira fashion show (Akira is a local, Chicago-based fashion brand). What was that like?

Julie: It was a great time. It was interesting to see what people wear and all of Akira’s new clothes.

Alicia: It was so much fun! I loved the experience of going and seeing the outfits and what a fashion show was all about. The outfits people wore were amazing! Everyone was definitely putting forth their best fashion.

Lauren Kasprzyk, Staff Writer

The NFL loses legendary Icon Al Davis

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Courtesy of raiderslinks.com

Al Davis, legendary NFL owner, AFL commissioner and head coach died at his residence in Oakland, California in the early morning hours of October 8. He was 82 years old. Davis, who is remembered as an enigmatic personality and one of the biggest names in the history of football management, garnered 3
Super Bowl rings in his tenure with the Oakland Raiders. Despite struggling for the better part of the past decade, under Davis’ influence, the Raiders were a successful team, earning a winning record in 34 of the past 52 seasons.

Davis was also a civil rights pioneer in the world of professional football. He hired Art Shell, the first African-American head coach in the NFL, and Tom Flores, the second ever Hispanic head coach in the NFL. Davis also refused to allow the Raiders to play in a preseason game in Mobile, Alabama to protest Alabama’s segregation laws, a bold step in a sport that was hampered by racial prejudices at the time.

Davis was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1992. His induction speech was given by John Madden, who Davis hired as a head coach in 1969. During his 52-year tenure as boss of the Raiders, Davis and his football philosophy can best be summed up by a phrase he loved to use: “Just win, Baby!”

Serek Hahn, Staff Writer