Daily Archives: March 7th, 2012

Campus faculty member swims, bikes, and runs for a cure.

By Daniel Reyes

Administration Specialist, Kathy Massimo, will be participating in a half Ironman triathlon to help raise money for lifesaving cancer research. The event will be held in Knoxville, Tenn. on May 6.

“It will be my first time in Knoxville,” said Massimo, who was anticipating her trip to the Volunteer State.

Massimo is a part of the Leukemia & Lymphoma society’s teams-in-training (TNT), a program that trains athletes for marathons/triathlons and also help raise billions for cancer research.

“I’ve been part of teams-in-training since 2005,” said Massimo, who found out about TNT through a flyer.

Ran by Revolution3, the triathlon will begin in the Tennessee River, with athletes swimming across its placid waters. Then participants will bike toward the Smokey Mountains along the countryside and finish off with a run through the University of Tennessee.

Massimo is neither apprehensive nor nervous about completing the half-triathlon. She knows she can finish it because of the training she receives through TNT.

TNT provides coaches that will help train members each day for each individual event, either face-to-face through a network of experienced coaches or by an online schedule.

“It’s a 16-week program, that begins earlier for returning alumni.” Said Massimo

Massimo has already begun her training and is following her schedule. She uses the swimming pools at the Grant campus and partakes in spin classes when the weather is not suited for bike riding, all with the help of her coach.

The dedicated coaches were one of the major reasons Massimo was attracted to TNT.

“ They teach you all they can,” explained Massimo. “They’re super!”

Massimo mentioned how she wasn’t always an active athlete and the only sport she was part of was Tennis, where she played doubles only. But with the help of TNT and her coaches, she was able to compete and complete several marathons.

From Maine to Memphis, Massimo has participated in numerous marathons thanks to TNT along with raising money to help cancer research, money that will help save lives.

Her goal for this event is to raise $3500, a goal set by TNT. The amount is based on transportation and lodge with 75 cents of each dollar going to research and patient care, 25 cents goes to administration cost. Any amount raised over the minimum results in 100% of every dollar going directly to patient care and research . To help her attain this number, Massimo is holding a raffle on April 15.

All faculty and students are welcome to take part. The raffle prizes include: a GT road bike for first place, Canon Point and Shoot Camera, for second and an Ipad for third place. Tickets are $10 for one and $25 for three.

All are also welcomed to be part of TNT. With the professional training TNT offers and a large supportive community, any average Joe or Jane can cross the finish line.

“Anyone can do it, just check with you doctor to make sure your healthy enough.” Said Massimo

Students interested in joining the raffle can follow this link, http://pages.teamintraining.org/li/knoxtri12/kmassimo and make a donation. Students should also contact Massimo to give contact information in order to receive a ticket stub.

Rise up Against Rising College Costs

By Matthew DeBraggaImage

      Eighty bucks, one hundred and thirty bucks, two hundred bucks!  No it’s not an auction for old baseball cards, its the cashier at the campus bookstore. The cost of college tuition and textbooks is ridiculous.  No matter what class you are taking and no matter what college you attend, the cost of an education today is astronomical! It is an unavoidable cost that every student must find a way to pay for if they want to get a degree.

      In the seventies, college, as well as college textbooks, were easily affordable. You could work a part time job to pay your tuition and book costs, or else work a full time summer job and be diligent with your savings so it could last you all year long. No longer are we living in a society where college is easily affordable. Since 1958, the average college tuition rate has risen at about twice the rate of inflation, staying relatively steady in the 1970’s and then constantly rising since the 1980’s.

      Let’s say you graduated from a state college in four years and it cost you ten thousand dollars per semester. That is thirty thousand dollars per year. Your degree cost you 120,000 dollars. A child born today and attending the same college twenty years from now would have to pay 360,000 for the same degree if the cost of tuition continues to rise as it has for the past thirty years!

      Textbooks have gone through the same type of price hike since the 1970’s. Originally textbooks were written and published by other educators from a desire to instill knowledge in others, and for a marginal profit. Since the 1970’s Textbook companies have been taken over by major corporations, ones that also manufacture and make profit off of toothpaste, and toilet paper. These people do not see the student as a student, but as a consumer. The bottom line is all that matters to the current textbook manufacturers across the country.

       Whereas it would be cheaper to publish textbooks in black and white, many of them are saturated with color needlessly in order to jack up the price. New and revised editions are put out almost every year and teachers are encouraged to use these new versions as opposed to the old ones to prevent students sharing or passing textbooks on to other students. This is atrocious as these books are mandatory and there is not much that can be done by the students to reduce the cost of these books.

      Oddly enough the solution to this problem is a catch 22. With the advent of the internet students can buy and sell used textbooks online through sites like amazon.com, BIGWORDS.com, and allbookstores.com. This is cheaper for the student than buying a brand new book, but is one of the main reasons that the textbooks are so high to begin with. The textbook publishers, in order to hedge against this “sharing” of books that cuts into their profits, increase the cost of the book initially, so they can maximize the amount of money they get from the first student who buys it new.

       Even the bookstore on campus refused to buy back a math book that I had purchased for one hundred and eighty dollars just one week prior to trying to return it. It was still in its original packaging as I had dropped the class before opening it, and all I got was a nasty attitude and an outright refusal to do anything about it. I did not even receive a store credit for half of what I paid. I received nothing.  Why should they be nice or try to help me out!? They don’t have to! They know that I will come back and buy more books, because I have to if I want my degree. I think next time I’ll try amazon.com first though.

Student’s Indecision Leads to Journey of Lifetime

By Kirstie Borchers

Ashley Dawn Miller, then a twenty-year-old college student, found herself lost when looking ahead, akin to many students in their junior year of college.  There was one thought constantly looming over her:  Post-Graduation.

Miller graduated Sachem North High School in June of 2008, and was SUNY Cortland-bound the following fall.  However, during her first semester she had bad experiences with roommates which made her more homesick than she thought possible.  “I didn’t even know I wasn’t going back until the night before I was supposed to leave for the spring semester,” she says of her sudden decision.  Miller then attended Suffolk County Community College for the following two years, graduated with her associate’s degree, and moved on to fulfill her bachelor’s at SUNY Stony Brook.

Upon her first semester at SUNY Stony Brook, Miller had an uneasy feeling.   “I have always had anxiety issues, and when I met with my new advisor she asked me so many questions I didn’t have an answer to,” said Miller.  She knew she wanted to do something in the business field, but what the something was, she had no idea.  “I was panicking, I had to choose a few core classes in order to specialize my major, and I didn’t know what to do,” She remembers.  She turned to her friends and family looking for further guidance.

“You have to do something you love, if you don’t love this choose something different,” her older sister, Melissa Miller said.  She mulled this idea over for a few days.  Should she really change her major to discover something else, after the time and money she had spent working toward a business degree?

Miller knew one thing; she needed a change of pace.  She had always liked the idea of studying abroad, and a few of her close friends had done so and absolutely loved it.  While she didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do, she thought that such an experience would help her in the long run.  “I was interested in partaking in an experience that would set me apart from my peers,” she said.  She laughs reminiscing the process of applying to the study abroad program.  Miller knew her parents wouldn’t be too keen on her picking up and leaving for four months in a foreign country, her mother especially would be constantly worried, but the more she looked into the different programs, the more she felt the need to travel.

Miller decided on the study abroad program in New Zealand.  Although she’d have to endure a full day of air traveling, she was embarking on a journey to a beautiful place that was seldom talked about and often forgotten.  Miller had never left the country before, and now she was finding herself counting down the days until she would be living on the other side of the world, surrounded by new places and faces.  “Getting there was beyond stressful; my flight from JFK was delayed three hours which made me miss my plane from LAX to Auckland. I had to wait 24 hours in LA to catch another flight. The entire time I was streaming with emotions, sadness leaving my family, nervousness arriving in a place where I wasn’t familiar with the culture, and excitement to start a new beginning in a new environment. The plane ride was rough but as soon as I saw the breathtaking mountains, I took a deep breath and relaxed, all my worries were gone. I knew at that moment that all the time and effort I put into planning the trip was worthwhile and good things were to come.”  She said.

“When I first got there I was so proud of myself for having the courage to leave my friends and family back home; I couldn’t imagine anything being more difficult. But as my time dwindled down I started to believe that leaving the country which had taught me so much about my character and what life has to offer, would prove to be even more of a challenge.”  She said sadly.  She had made so many friends that she still keeps in touch with on a regular basis.  Thanks to technology, Miller video chats with her friends that are abroad, but it isn’t the same.  “I would love to go back,” She says of the picturesque country that has since become a part of her.

Miller has advised many of her friends and fellow college students to study abroad.  While in New Zealand she kept a blog through the SUNY Stony Brook website, as do many other students who study abroad, no matter their location.

Here at Suffolk County Community College, there are countless opportunities and destinations for students to study abroad.

If you are interested in studying abroad:  http://department.sunysuffolk.edu/StudyAbroad/index_4729.asp

The Death Foretold of Our Books

By Hernan Velasco

The few people who disagree with the prediction that books, as we know them now (printed, bound and tangible), will disappear from our reach, have been called anachronistic. However, the response they have to this accusation is accompanied by a sentimental logic: Our computers are set to replace every function in life, but not all of them. The fact is, free from any inclination, the progress of our computers is relegating printed books to a secondary level. Will this really be a problem for future students? Most college students seem not to have a problem, and the average student here confesses to never thinking about this issue.

In 2001 Bill Gates, during a conference in Madrid, affirmed that he will not let himself die without accomplishing his main goal: get rid of paper. In fact, this statement produced dismay among intellectuals, and made him a target of their harshest criticisms. Most writers, among them many Nobel Prize winners, argued that Gates has no clue how the imagination of our future English students will be affected without paper. Nevertheless, the debate never developed any changes since writers never found the support of students. “The day computers manage to replace books – Mario Vargas Llosa said then– will be the end of good literature.”

After presenting the common academic argument to students to scrutinize their reaction: «The electronic screen will never be able to supply the utilities of paper for students because only paper manages to confer the feeling of privacy, the spiritual isolation, concentration, loneliness and the fruition of words necessary to write a good poem, redact a goof essay or enjoy the best literature works. », they expressed, besides their poor lexical capacity, the low interest they have to talk about books.

“I don’t have time to read, so I wouldn’t know”, said Dennis Henrique, a student majoring in criminal justice. “I have never read a book in my life, so I don’t think those changes will affect me”, said proudly a veteran of our school who denied to give his name. After surveying 50 students the results showed that the 60 percent of them never read a book; 30 percent did not see a problem with the changes; and the other 10 percent seconded the unpopular theory.

“It is inconvenient, deplorable and an aberration, but our reality. If they don’t read, it doesn’t surprise me they don’t take a side”, said Professor Baer who teaches Western Civilization. She not only sees as a problem the low interest in defending our books or the limited vocabulary  of the average student, but the real problem to her is that students have developed the wrong notion that unfamiliar words shouldn’t be looked up in the dictionary, like it was taught before, but erased from a text after the proper insult to the distracted writer who did not take into account their poor vocabulary.

In the other hand, the student Diego Rivera defended with overwhelming rhetoric the idea that students don’t have interest in books: “Life itself is complicated; there is no need to complicate it more with the problems in literature. It is true literature helps to think deeper, confuses you more and creates dissatisfaction in you; but the real problems in life required pragmatic people. In other words, knowing the theory of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Kant, Sartre or knowing how to use the exact adjective on an essay will not help me to get a job during this severe depression.” To Rivera these are not times to debate about literature,paper, and computers.

Our books are condemned to death and illiteracy among our generation increases; most people give no importance to this issue partly because it is natural human condition to take action once it is late; and partly because the structure of society have turned literature into a dispensable activity, an entertainment for those with no responsibilities, and an activity that does not deserve priority.

Free Massages For Stressed Out Students

By Julianne Mosher

Midterms are approaching and students are beginning to feel overwhelmed, stressed-out, and overworked. Some may turn to yoga, sleeping, or eating a ton of ice cream to relax but there is another solution.

Campus Activities Board will be hosting Destress Express twice this month. Free 5 minute back massages will be given to students to relieve some of the stresses and pains of being a college student at the Ammerman campus in the Orient Point Room.

On March 8 and 21, students can come down between 10 A.M. and 1 P.M. to receive a 5 minute chair back massage and not have to pay a dime.

For any questions, students can call the Campus Activities office at (631) 451-4376

Campus Activities Board Promotes Student Involvement and Leadership

By Ashley Maisano

CAB members get together for a group picture

The Campus Activities Board (CAB) is an organization of students who develop and organize events on campus that promote student involvement and encourage student leadership.

In the beginning of each year, they are given a budget of $80,000 to use towards events and any trips that they plan.

“We try and pretty much provide entertainment for the campus,” explains Alyssa Semken, executive member of CAB. “We bring in comedians and public figures and stuff like that but we also do things outside of campus, like we go and see shows and stuff like that because we have the ability to buy the tickets and go on group trips.”

Going on trips with the campus activities board is an advantage because you don’t have to pay the full price of expensive tickets and everything is taken care of right down to the transportation.

CAB sells Six Flags tickets and Island 16 tickets at a discounted price.

“We buy the tickets and then sell them to students and guests for cheaper,” says Semken. “For example, if we buy the tickets for $50, then we’d sell it to full-time students for $30, part-time students for $35 and guests for $40.”

They charge more for part-time students because the money comes from everyone’s tuition through the student activity fee and part-time students pay less to begin with, so in the end they’re charged more to make it fair.

“The CAB is a service to the students. Having that money is one of the perks, so we try to take advantage of the student activity fee and have all of these events,” said Jessie Paduano, chairman for the CAB.

In the past they have shown countless movies, had karaoke in the cafeteria, had “distress express,” masquerade balls, comedian shows, Halloween festivals, spring flings, gave Valentines Day extensions, took trips to Broadway plays and more.

“Our most successful event was the Halloween festival,” explained Deirdre Keen, chairman of CBA. “We made a haunted house right here in the Mildred Green room and it was great. A lot of people showed up.”

The CAB has numerous events planned for the upcoming months. They are planning a boat trip cruise around Manhattan that will be three to four hours long where dinner and music will be provided. The date isn’t set in stone but they hope for it to happen.

There will be another “de-stress express” on March 8 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. where they will be giving five minute massages. In the past, this event has been very successful, getting over 60 students to participate.

There will also be movies shown in Islip Arts room 115 over the next month. Hugo will be shown on March 9 at 7 p.m., Sherlock Holmes 2 will be shown on March 22 and Rocky Horror will be shown on March 23. All movies are free to attend, and free popcorn and snacks will be distributed.

Aside from enjoying the entertainment and fun that CAB puts out, being a part of the organization also helps to improve your leadership skills, builds friendships, and looks great on your resumes for other schools and jobs.

“None of us were really friends before this,” said Matt Hernandez, executive member of CAB. “I actually thought some of them were weird, but once I got to know them through CAB we became really good friends and now we know everything about each others lives.”

There are also leadership conferences and retreats that are available to students. Semken and Hernandez went to a leadership conference together in Miami in the past. The trip was completely paid for and they got to attend lectures to learn new leadership skills and make new friends.

“Me and Matt went to the leadership conference in Miami and I came home a different person,” says Semken. “I got to meet great new people and listen to speeches that really changed my perspective on things and helped me get through hard times in my life that I don’t think I would have gotten through if it wasn’t for that trip. It was a great experience and so worth it.”

This summer, on June 8-10, there will be a leadership retreat to Shelter Island available to students from all three Suffolk campuses. The trip will be free of charge and there will be free bus transportation. Here, you will be able to enhance your leadership skills even more and partake in team building activities.

If you are interested in joining CAB or going on the leadership retreat, contact Mary Sierra at (631) 451-4375 or email her at sierram@sunysuffolk.edu.

New Injection to Fiscal Year Budget Benefits Community College Students

By Julianne Mosher

President Barack Obama’s latest State of the Union address blueprints a new budget plan affecting community college students across the United States. The “Community College to Career Fund” will give students the skills needed to be successful in the workforce while also creating jobs.

The plan will be an $8 million investment within the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget to help train over two million workers with skills they need in order to gain good jobs. It is said to have two purposes; ensuring that community colleges have tools to create workers with essential skills while also making sure employers have a proficient workforce.

“Now is the time to build a firmer, stronger foundation for growth that will not only withstand future economic storms, but one that helps us thrive and compete in a global economy. It’s time to reform our community colleges so that they provide Americans of all ages a chance to learn the skills and knowledge necessary to compete for the jobs of the future,” said President Obama.

According to the white house, the growing number of jobs that will require an associative degree will double and 8 in 10 jobs will require higher education and training within the next decade. Two goals to be fulfilled by 2020 are for America to have the highest number of college graduates and for community colleges to produce another 5 million graduates.

Two-year schools across the nation will benefit from this including Suffolk County Community College. For  the 26,000 students who attend the three campuses, the new budget Obama introduced will supposedly lower tuition costs for students, bring jobs back to America for workers, and overall give training techniques to make better employees within these industries.

The plan will be strongly impacting Long Island with the training this budget is proposing. It will “ensure that companies looking for employees will be able to find qualified applicants through their partnerships with our community college and others nationwide,” said Mary Lou Araneo, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, on a college brief available on the SUNY Suffolk website.

The College to Career Plan is estimated to bring back jobs to those who are currently under unemployment. According to the Department of Labor, in December 2011 New York state had an employment rate of 8.0 percent with  768,200 people without jobs.

College Transfer Workshops Prepare Students for Future

By Valerie Polite

Most students attending classes on campus see them as mere stepping stones toward their future. After graduating with an associate’s degree countless undergrads plan to further advance in their studies at an Institution or University, but are unaware of the transfer process.

Thursday, March 8, the Ammerman campus will be hosting a transfer workshop to help prepare students for their impending future. The event will be held at 4:30 PM in the Ammmerman building, room 102.

The workshop will assist students in understanding transfer requirements and application processes as well as help them decide how to choose their next institution and how best to plan the transfer. Faculty and staff will provide students with time for questions and answers both following and during the workshop.

This event is a great opportunity for prospective transfer students however, all students are encouraged to participate.