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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Call to action: save student aid

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Due to recent budget deals and budget cuts, $30 billion has already been cut from student aid in states all around the country. With 134, 233 supporters, the Save Student Aid movement is growing bigger by the day.  Students all over the country, like Candace Haywood, senior, are taking the time to sign an online petition in order to protect their future.

“Although I will be graduating next semester and school is almost done for me, I will be attending graduate school and hoping that I will have the funds to further my education. I not only signed that petition for myself, but for the many students to come after me,” said Haywood.

According to the Save Student Aid website, by the year of 2018 there will be 22 million jobs available for new workers with college degrees, but because of financial aid budget cuts, three million workers will miss the opportunity. These three million cannot afford to further their education because their resources have been limited. “Cuts to student aid will make college an unrealistic expense for some students. Jobs are hard enough to find with a degree; I cannot imagine what would happen if suddenly multitudes of students had to give up their college aspirations and join the thousands who are looking for work now,” said Dominican’s own Financial Aid Director, Marie von Ebers.

As far as Dominican University students are concerned, the financial aid office has come up with ways to make sure we get as much help as possible. The Office of Financial Aid encourages students to file their FAFSA as early as possible in order to meet deadlines, get involved with scholarship opportunities provided by the university, as well as attend the literacy programs provided to teach students how to budget their money.

“Most importantly, we are here to listen and assist in any way that we possibly can. Students who are struggling financially should not be afraid to come to the financial aid office so we can explore our options. In the end, it is our goal that all Dominican students graduate and go on to be successful alumni!”  von Ebers said. Be a part of the call to action and sign your name on the Save Student Aid petition today!

– Quiana Miller, Staff Writer

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How to keep a cool head during finals week

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The whole semester comes down to one, hectic, stressful week: finals week. After four years of taking final exams in high school, and four years of exams in college, I’ve perfected a system for staying sane during this time. It all comes down to a few helpful hints to keep in mind.

  1. Stay organized – Keep a log of all the important due dates and test dates you have. Write it out in your planner or on an empty calendar page and keep it right in front of you while studying. Having a written list of your commitments makes it easier to keep track of them and actually focus on your work. Also, clean your room or move your work to a space that isn’t cluttered. If your desk is a distraction – grab your laptop and move to the school library.
  2. Sweat out the stress – The worst thing you can do is push exercising to the side. Yes, a busy schedule makes assignments a priority, but in order to complete assignments well and to keep a sane mind, working out is just as much of a priority. For me, doing yoga is the best way to clear my head, but anything that wakes your body up is helpful. This includes walking your dog, going for a run or playing baseball with your little cousin. Even 20 to 30 minutes of some type of exercise helps you re-center your focus and gives you a positive way to procrastinate on that research paper.
  3. Stop overloading on caffeine – I’m not saying that you need to be a health freak during finals week. While it would be ideal to keep a handful of healthy snacks around, a lot of us crave comfort foods when stressed. So at least keep this in mind: coffee and Red Bull are not a food source. Healthy carbohydrates such as deli bagels and English Muffins offer protein and energy. Caffeine temporarily gives you a false sense of having energy and feeling full, but as soon the rush wears off, you’re left exhausted and with an empty stomach. Balance your energy drinks with lots of water – which helps refresh and fuel your body naturally. And make sure you take breaks for snacks or meals every two hours.
  4. Sleep – College is where you learn the wonderful skill of taking naps and finals week is the perfect time to take advantage of it. It’s important to give yourself enough time to take power naps in between marathon study sessions, especially if you’ve been up all night cramming for an 8:30 a.m. exam. In order to let your brain retain the information you’re saturating it with, you need to give it time to rest and process it all. Otherwise you’re just flushing out all the excess new dates, numbers and names.
  5. Save your work and your sanity – One of the worst things that can happen during finals week is losing a paper or project that you’ve spent hours working on. Save, save and save your work as often as possible. Also, place back up copies of your work online or on a flash drive. I save copies of my important papers online under my Google documents account, just in case my laptop crashes or dies when I need it most.

Follow these rules and you should make it through the week just fine. Good luck everyone!

Katherine Kulpa, Editor-in-chief

‘Adopt-A-Kid’ program spreads Christmas caritas

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Volunteers will be gathering around 8,000 Christmas presents for kids on Friday, Dec. 9, at Guerin Prep High School, as part of the Adopt-A-Kid program, which Dominican participates in along with about 60 other schools.   Each year the program distributes to Chicago area children two gifts, one practical and one “fun,” each costing about $20. Karla Bayas, Vice-President of Dominican University’s Student Government Association, said, “For some children, it is the only gift they get for Christmas.”

Brigid Presecky DOMINICAN STAR

On Saturday, Dec. 10, 250 – 300 volunteers participate in Santa’s Workshop, where they sort, check, wrap, and pack all gifts that go to Christmas parties at places like foster care agencies, family shelters, and low-income daycare centers. Adopt-A-Kid, a non-profit organization, started 23 years ago when founder Roseanne Eiternick began working with a group of young people from wealthy families, a far cry from her days working with underprivileged children at St. Angela’s on Chicago’s West side. When she realized the stark contrast between the two groups, she knew there had to be a change. “It’s not that kids don’t care. Kids aren’t aware,” Eiternick said, referring to her privileged youth group. This situation inspired her to create Adopt-A-Kid, beginning at Guerin Prep, extending to Holy Cross, and doubling in size during the subsequent years.

Even in a bad economy, the number of people willing to give children Christmas gifts has increased. “Everybody wants to help,” Eiternick said. “Dominican has been extremely supportive.”

Brigid Presecky, Copy Editor

Looking at the facts of climate change

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The terms “global warming” and “climate change” have become common in everyday language. And, while some people deny the existence of global warming, this past November has made a very good case for it. According to the National Weather Service, this was the 11th warmest November in 142 years. After last year’s blizzard and predictions of an even worse winter from the Farmer’s Almanac, the mildness of November should seem unusual and indicative of a changing climate. But what does this mean for us?

First, it is important to understand global warming and climate change. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, global warming is an average increase in the temperature of the atmosphere near the Earth’s surface, which can contribute to changes in global climate patterns.  There are a variety of natural and human causes of global warming but greenhouse gases are most commonly associated with this term. Climate change, on the other hand, refers to any significant change in temperature, precipitation, or wind lasting for several decades or longer. The causes of climate change are both natural and human-induced and range from the sun’s intensity, natural changes in the ocean’s circulation, the burning of fossil fuels, or deforestation.

Many people are concerned about the issue of a rapidly changing climate and the students of Dominican University are no exception. Spencer Campbell, a senior studying Environmental Management, is one of the students concerned with this issue.

“Yes I believe global climate change is a real threat. Yes, we should all be concerned about our health as well as the health of the planet itself,” Campbell said. “I believe we need to remind the human race that we a part of nature and not set apart from it. Our actions both individually, and cumulatively, have a direct impact on the planet. We have a responsibility to be stewards of creation.”

The most commonly talked about issues of global warming are the melting polar caps, but, since the majority of people have never visited the polar caps, it is hard to make a profound connection on people who aren’t already concerned about climate change. Although it is true more and more sea ice and glaciers melt each year, greatly affecting global warming’s mascot, the polar bear, climate change is happening here in Chicago.

Sophomore Chellie Britt recognizes that Chicago is not an exception to the world’s climate change. “I took Native American Culture and Spirituality last spring,” Britt said. “Our project was on global climate change and how it affected not only the place we were visiting, but the globe in general. We learned that everywhere would be affected, including our Chicago home.”

In a report titled Change Climate and Chicago: Projections and Potential Impacts that was commissioned by the Chicago Climate Task Force created by the City of Chicago, Chicago is expected to have more extreme temperature differences between the winter and summer with more extreme storms. If humans continue to increase the amount of CO2 they release into the air, the average temperature in Chicago is expected to rise eight degrees by the end of the century.

Now that everyone is sweating over rising temperatures, the summers are only going to get worse. The number of days that peak at over 100 degrees F are going to increase from an average of two per year to about eight and Chicago can expect longer, more extreme heat waves resembling the heat wave of 1995 that peaked at 106 degrees F and resulted in approximately 750 heat-related deaths. In the past, heat waves like this happened twice a decade, but their frequency is expected to rise to every other year by the turn of the century. Don’t forget about the humidity, either, which is also going to increase.

While the turn of the century seems far off, think about this. As medicine improves people are living longer lives. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the average life expectancy of an American reached 78 in 2007. Anyone who is 20 in the year 2012 has the potential reach 80 in the year 2072. Most of us are going to live through many of these changes in climate as Chicago becomes even more extreme than it already is.

“I don’t say I would have realized it growing up, but as I’ve gotten older and learned about the world in and out of the classroom, I’ve realized the extreme changes were coming and it wouldn’t just be my great-great-grandchildren affected. I’ve realized that this affects me too,” Britt said.

As mentioned earlier, climate change does have natural causes and is, therefore, inevitable. However, by reducing the amount of CO2 we emit into the atmosphere we can slow it down and preserve a more enjoyable or at least familiar climate. Reducing our emissions doesn’t require big changes in our lives. We don’t have to immediately run out and replace our gasoline-fueled cars with electric ones and we don’t have to immediately replace all our old appliances with more energy efficient models. These things can be replaced as they wear out and need to be replaced.

There are many other small things that we can do, though. We can use energy efficient light bulbs, turn off all lights and unnecessary electronics before leaving our homes. Instead of driving everywhere, on nice days we can walk or take bikes when possible. Another easy way to help the atmosphere is to plant gardens. It could be a conventional garden found in a yard, a rooftop garden or even just a few houseplants to help absorb the CO2 in the air and produce new oxygen for us to breathe.

“There are no magic fixes to this problem,” Campbell said. “You can plant a tree, be conscious of your waste, choose to recycle, and get active. Show your support for the Earth by getting the word out. Tell your friends, tell your family. Bring it up at the dinner table or in the dining hall. Contact your elected officials and tell them what needs to be done.”

There are many online resources and blogs dedicated to teaching people the little ways that they can help slow down climate change. A Google search for “How to go green” yields about 99,000,000 search results. If you’re concerned about the rate our climate is changing, now is your chance to do something about it.

Kelly Butler, Managing Editor

Oakland Raiders Best the Bears

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The Bears at the Raiders game on November 27 was certainly one for Bears fans to forget. The Bears lost 20-25 after a lackluster first half performance, despite an impressive showing by the defense. Coming off a five game win streak, the Bears had high hopes for their matchup against an injury depleted Raiders team.

Caleb Hanie, starting in place of the injured Jay Cutler, was the focus of attention leading to the game. His performance was a tale of two halves – a mistake prone first half that saw him throw three interceptions was followed by a much better second half that saw an 81 yard pass to Johnny Knox and a 9-yard touchdown pass to Kellen Davis. He ended the day with a QB rating of 56.9, 254 passing yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions.

The offense in general put up 401 total yards, the highest yet this season. Matt Forte had a quiet day, but he, Marion Barber, and Caleb Hanie combined for a very respectable total of 172 rushing yards. Mike Martz, the Chicago Bears offensive coordinator, called 27 running plays and 36 passing plays – a ratio that is to be expected when trailing throughout a game. That totals up to an impressive 6.4 yards per rush, but only 5.7 yards per pass.

The defense fared much better. They did not allow a touchdown until the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, when Raiders running back Michael Bush punched in a 3-yard touchdown run. The rest of the Raiders scoring came from the foot of Sebastian Janikowski, who came through for six field goals throughout the game.  The defense also recorded an interception and three sacks on the night.

Up next for the Bears (7-4 on the season) are the Kansas City Chiefs (4-7 on the season). The Chiefs have been struggling to put points on the board without starting quarterback Matt Cassel, who is out for the year with a hand injury. Bears fans will undoubtedly be confident and eager to build off the momentum of a much better second half against Oakland – while being wary of the offensive mistakes that plagued the team during the first thirty minutes.

Serek Hahn, Staff Writer

The Fashion File

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Best friends Taqueeta Sherrod, senior, and Elizabeth New, junior, talk about their style preferences and fashion advice to other fashionistas.

Describe your overall style.

Taqueeta: Classy, conservative, and business-like.

Elizabeth: I’m kind of versatile with my style.  I like to try preppy, urban, chic, and nerdy; I like to do it all. I get bored with the same look.

What are your favorite clothing stores to shop at?

Taqueeta: Dots, A`gaci and Charlotte Russe.

Elizabeth: Charlotte Russe, A`gaci, Mandee and Rainbow.

What is your favorite item of clothing or accessory?

Taqueeta: Bracelets because they accent your outfits and fitted shirts show off your curves.

Elizabeth: Earrings because they bring out your face and accentuate your outfit. Also, I bought my first fedora hat in March and I thought it looked hot!

Who or what influences your fashion choices?

Taqueeta: God–because I ask him what I should wear, and he gives me an answer.

Elizabeth: I get my influences from magazines, E! News and people around me to try something else. God, too, because he gave me a creative mind.

Any fashion or style tips you would like to offer?

Taqueeta: Try to dress sexy-modest because you can try to be sexy without revealing a lot of skin.

Elizabeth: Check yourself before you wreck yourself. If you have a certain style, be fierce, fabulous and have fun.

Jenna Ramiro, Staff Writer

Communication with a Purpose: Student Profile

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Courtesy of Dwaine Porter

Sophomore Dwaine Porter is involved in many on-campus activities. He serves as a student ambassador, torch leader, and treasurer for both the Resident Student Association and the Black Student Association. Overall, he is known as a people person and a talker.

“He is a bubbly person,” said Cody Koepke, senior and Resident Student Association president, “He is positive, kind, and interested in school.”

Dwaine Allen Porter was born on September 9, 1992 in Chicago. His father is a custodial engineer and his mother works in management. He also has an older brother, with whom he shares a close relationship.

“We are a group of loud and loving people,” said Porter about his family, “They’re my support system.”

Growing up, every day was full of adventure, and there was always something to do. Activities included going to the park, having barbeques and spending quality time with family.  Porter attended Lindblom Math and Science Academy, a small high school located in the West Englewood neighborhood of Chicago.

“I was the kid in class everyone hated,” Porter says with a laugh, “I always asked and answered questions in class.”

During high school, he actively participated in clubs and activities such as student government and the prom committee. He served as president of the Chinese language club throughout his entire high school career and participated in band for three years. He plays saxophone, trumpet, clarinet, piano, and flute.

After graduating in a class of 80 seniors, Porter started attending Dominican University in Fall 2010. It’s a second home to him and knows almost everyone he sees on campus. So far, his most memorable moments at Dominican involve being with his friends.

“I feel energized with a group of people,” said Porter, “Things aren’t planned, and we decide to get together spontaneously.”

He is currently a double major in marketing and corporate communications, taking the five-year BA/MA program with a minor in psychology.

“I was interested in communications because I like talking and talking to people,” he said, “and marketing is another way to talk to people and know what they want, and psychology is interesting and will help me in the long-run about how people think.”

For anybody who doesn’t know Dwaine Porter, junior and Black Student Union president, Jennie Bell said, “He is super easy to talk to and he is always helpful. He is one of my closest friends.”

In the future, he hopes to be happy with everything he does and direct people on how to change their own lives.

As for a potential career, Porter would like to be involved in student affairs at a college or university and possibly giving people the information to make decisions on their own.

Jenna Ramiro, Staff Writer