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Better Together ready for new semester

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With Eboo Patel-this year’s Lund-Gill chair and the founder of the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC)-gone, the question for DU’s interfaith club Better Together has come down to, “where do we go from here?”

Despite Patel’s absence, leaders in the group say that Patel’s presence on campus did not overly affect the plans that Better Together has made in the past.

Better Together is the student-led effort to increase interfaith knowledge. Hannah Minks, an active member in the group, said that Better Together is more focused on working with clubs and organizations than other departments in the school. She also said that they want to expose students to interfaith cooperation.

“We want to get people comfortable talking about their spiritual and religious identities,” she said. “We’re reaching out to more students through events on campus through clubs and organizations.”

Along with the work done by Better Together, University Ministry also entered a partnership with IFYC last year, according to University Minister Matt Palkert. Palkert said DU and IFYC together “assessed [Dominican’s] culture for respect of faiths and how to improve interfaith knowledge.”

This, along with the efforts of Better Together, helps make up a strong interfaith presence on campus.

David Gayes, another student involved in Better Together, said that they are hoping to use events that are already a staple at Dominican and combine them with learning about interfaith cooperation.

One of the events Better Together is planning is a speed-faithing event on Feb. 14. The members are also working to bring back the Interfaith Engagement Series. Lastly, the group is planning a Fast for Haiti event and a Seder for the Jewish Passover.

Cait Guerra, Contributing Writer

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Violent Viral Videos Are Increasing

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YouTube is a social site with some of the most interesting videos that can cause you to procrastinate on your college studies. However, YouTube can now lead to evidence in a police investigation.

After an accomplice posted a video on YouTube showing a young Asian-American male being beaten and robbed in Bridgeport, Ill., it was reported on Jan. 17 that detectives at the Chicago Police Department would use the video in an investigation.

The video has been removed from the original user’s account, but numerous other third parties have uploaded the video to various websites and blogs. News channels, such as ABC News, have also obtained the video and aired it to the public.

It isn’t new that people are being robbed or beaten in the world we live in. What is odd is that people videotape such incidents.

Chicago is not only known for its beautiful scenery but also for its numerous gangs. Movies have been made either about or alluding to the life of 1920s gangster, Al Capone. Even rapper Rick Ross wrote a song that honored one of Chicago’s famous gang leaders, Larry Hoover. Despite this often-seen image of the Chicago gangster, true gang members are often secretive of their organizations. They don’t leave evidence of the crimes they have committed.

It is true that times have changed. Cell phone cameras, flip cameras and YouTube videos didn’t exist back then. Nonetheless, a crime is a crime and the obvious consequence is jail time.

Since when did it become “humorous” to videotape beating someone? It has seemed to become a sport in our generation. In the video, the boys continually laughed while beating the young man and calling him obscene names.

This video is just one example of how some people in our society have really taken to “the bystander-effect” instead of being a decent citizen and helping someone who is in danger.

If you don’t know what the “bystander effect” is, it’s the term researchers Bibb Latane and John Darley coined during a study that the amount of time it takes the participant to take action and seek help varies depending on how many other observers are in the room.

Basically, the more people that are present when danger occurs, the less likely people are to help a person in distress. When an emergency situation occurs, observers are more likely to take action if there are few or no other witnesses.

The video of the beating of Derrion Albert back in 2009 is a prime example of a teen who instead of calling the police or going to get a school official, pulled out their camera phone and recorded the fight.

I don’t know what we could do as a society to stop such videos. YouTube has become an addiction to our generation. People enjoy posting videos to see how many views and comments they can get, but posting videos of violence should never be acceptable.

I think YouTube should develop a policy with the police so that people who post violent footage would be fined. Then again, this policy may never go into effect due to the First Amendment.

So next time you go on YouTube and share these videos with your friends, think am I just being a bystander?

– Sharmon Jarmon, Staff Writer

Pro-life advocates gather in D.C. for annual march

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On Jan. 23, more than 400,000 demonstrators marched through Washington, D.C. in support of pro-life ideology. The Archdiocese of Chicago brought nearly 500 members to this year’s March for Life rally, one of them being Mary Stroka, a senior at Dominican and pro-life activist.

The March for Life first originated in Jan. 1974, and now close to half a million people participate each year. Protestors rally with colorful signs toting anti-abortion messages and pro-life statements.

This year Stroka attended the demonstration for the first time, saying it’s a visual representation of how many people are against abortion and take a pro-life stance, in an age where pro-choice is an idea more readily accepte. Stroka says the crowd included people of all different races, creeds and backgrounds.

“Since I was unable to start a pro-life club at Dominican this year, I felt like it was the least I could do to show my support for a cause that helps the millions of people who every year are affected by abortion: the unborn, women and men,” Stroka said of her first, but not last, time at the annual demonstration.

Katherine Kulpa, Editor-in-chief

Crumbs Bake Shop a Local Treat

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For those of you with a sweet tooth, you don’t need to look any further than downtown Oak Park. On Jan. 7, 2012 Crumbs Bake Shop celebrated its grand opening by giving away one cupcake to each of its first 1,000 customers. The store is conveniently located at 1100 Lake St. and occupies the retail space that used to be Barbara’s Bookstore.

Crumbs first opened its doors in 2003 on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and since then it has expanded to 32 other locations across the country.

One of their specialties is cupcakes that are “Made by Hand. Baked with Love.” With unique names like “Good Guy” and “Fluff and Stuff,” there is surely something on the menu for everyone. They also offer an assorted 12-pack of miniature size cupcakes for those who cannot decide on a single flavor.

Planning a party? Crumbs also offers cakes, mini cookies as well as big cookies, bars and tarts, muffins, scones, brownies, donuts and pies.

Stop by on a Monday and you will be the first to try their cupcake of the week. If you arrive with a group of friends, consider ordering their Colossal Crumb, which is a giant cupcake that serves up to eight people.

Crumbs Bake Shop also finds ways to give back to the community. They were active participants in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides against Breast Cancer Walk in Central Park in October 2011. Crumbs also raised $3.5 million last year during their Super Saturday fundraiser for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF), which is the largest private philanthropy in the U.S. dedicated to funding research for ovarian cancer.

– Agata Kubinska, Staff Writer

Facebook’s Timeline Tells Story that No One Cares About

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The new Timeline feature recently created by Facebook promised to make individuals’ profiles more distinct. However, many users do not seem to care about others’ stories and memories, as they tend to make you feel like you are stalking on their profile.

Andre Garcia, an incoming freshman to Dominican simply summarized Timeline by saying, “It’s just another way for people to creep on someone else’s status.”

Facebook originally intended Timeline for other users to grasp a better idea of someone’s life experiences and memories. The feature, in fact, seems to be geared towards customizing and organizing one’s own profile, but what really is the point of looking back at that embarrassing photo of the family Christmas party or those unfunny comments from your eighth grade graduation?

It is refreshing to add some bit of color to your Facebook profile with your own pictures, yet if the picture isn’t large enough, it could end up becoming stretched out across your profile, resulting in hideously awful pixilation.

Even worse, many of your own pictures end up out of order and misarranged which seemingly defeats the purpose of showcasing a chronological order of your life.

Geiger Soto, a former student at Dominican University, says that the Timeline makes things more confusing and difficult, especially with users still becoming adjusted to the changes of the Newsfeed feature. He adds that, “However, nothing is ever enough. Facebook has to constantly upgrade or else a new social networking site will be everyone’s favorite network”.

The timeline feature is optional, and users aren’t forced by Facebook to embrace yet another change, as often happens.

In the end, many are steering clear of Timeline. As for this Facebook user’s profile, you are just going to have to stalk through my pictures the old-fashioned way.

Anthony Garcia, Staff Writer

Old diseases reappear on college campuses

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This cold and flu season, many college students will have serious diseases to worry about, according to health officials. Whooping cough and pink eye have become this year’s unwanted visitors for many colleges across the country.

“Whooping cough is a very serious illness and should be taken care of immediately. It is also very contagious and being in close quarters makes it easy to contract,” said Katie Rauh, a nurse at Dominican’s Wellness Center.

Recent studies show that adults and adolescents need a booster vaccination to help fight the disease. This vaccine is called a tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), which the Wellness Center is offering for $50.

Pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, is an upper respiratory infection that causes severe coughing episodes, according to the U.S National Library of Medicine. These episodes can break ribs, induce vomiting, or cause a loss of consciousness.

Whooping cough has been spreading around the state with a confirmed 1,019 cases as of Dec. 1. The number of cases is down since last year but the disease has been spreading closer to Dominican this year with confirmed cases as close as Park Ridge-Niles District 64 as of Dec. 12, according to a TribLocal article.

Pink eye, another disease notorious at colleges, is going around this year as well. “Pink eye is extremely easy to contract and spread and is very uncomfortable. Do not share towels, pillows and other items that will touch your face with people to lower your chances of catching it,” Rauh said. She also suggests getting antibiotics from the Wellness Center to relieve the symptoms if having contracted the disease. Several students at Dominican caught the disease as recently as
last year. Sufferers of pink eye, the viral form of conjunctivitis, may experience blurred vision, itching of the eyes and sensitivity to light in addition to the redness that gives the disease its name, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

– Joshua Hoeg, Contributing Writer

Lights out, and on, at Dominican

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Olivia Antosz DOMINICAN STAR

Throughout the semester, Dominican lost power for several hours due to high winds, totaling five outages. Dan Bulow, Dominican’s director of buildings and grounds, is taking action so Dominican never goes without heat and electricity in any situation.

In February 2011, Dominican lost power for several days after a transformer blew out, leaving need for a replacement costing $90,000. The cost was taken from Physical Plant’s budget. During the power outage, $1,500 a day was needed to run generators, which was reimbursed to Dominican thanks to insurance claims through ComED. Bulow is taking action to help keep residents warm even when the power is out. In the next few months, Dominican will never be without heat thanks to the purchase of new generators.

Whenever the power goes out, ComEd has a priority list of places that need power first. This list includes hospitals and life safety facilities such as health care centers and nursing homes. Dominican is higher on the list due to resident students and the sisters.

Bulow states, “I used to be a big fan of ComEd. I can’t fault them with the strength of these storms.” Every outage experienced was due to storm intensity, even the most recent outage on Dec. 1 with high winds.

Tim Matiya is the ComEd representative for Dominican. Matiya was unavailable for comment, but he does keep Dominican in the loop. Bulow and Matiya keep in close contact when power outages occur.

Dominican receives its power from two different substations, which is why separate buildings are affected differently. Parmer, Centennial and Coughlin receive power separately from the rest of the campus, as they are on different lines. The line that has been affected the most this year runs through Thatcher Woods and up to North Avenue while the other line runs under the soccer field. Parmer, Centennial and Coughlin run on the line that runs to North Avenue. Due to the line’s exposure to the weather, the exposed line (Power Centennial and Coughlin) experiences more problems.

The generators that Dominican owns are for “life safety” [emergencies]. The most noticeable generator is located between Parmer and the soccer field. For example, if someone was stuck in an elevator during a power outage, the generators provide sufficient power to get him or her out.

“We’re looking into a generator for Centennial for life safety,” Bulow stated. The entire campus has life safety coverage, but Bulow is looking into a generator specifically for Centennial.

Even though this past power outage was small, it still caused problems for students. Sophomore and resident assistant Katie Eck states: “It’s hard to get a hold of information right as the power went out. I tried calling the Welcome and Information Desk regarding canceled classes due to the several concerned students at my door.”

Even when classes are later in the day, the resetting of electronic appliances can be frustrating. Senior Luke D’Anna states, “Loss of power causes a lot of problems, especially when you rely on an alarm clock to get to class on time.”

Bulow is putting together an emergency booklet for each building with important, technical information. This booklet will come in handy when the power is out at the Welcome and Information Desk in the Lewis entrance. The staff that manages the desk answers phone calls and gives information regarding Dominican events.

Without power, completing the job can seem daunting. Mary Sadofsky, the Welcome and Information Desk Supervisor, states, “Without the computers quick electronic directory, flipping through the pages of the paper directory can make anyone feel helpless.” Besides the slow phone call transfers, agents update departments with information. With the new booklet, the information will be tangible and accessible without power.

– Olivia Antosz, Contributing Writer