Blood, sweat and tears

By: R. Theodora Appleton


NJ Transit Train Car- Picture taken from Google Images


Traveling home from New York Penn Station is an adventure during rush hour. The train cars fill up and everyone has to squeeze in. Coughs, sneezes and phone calls serve as the playlist for an hour.

The air gets tighter as more people pile into the car. I sit with my eyes glued to my smart phone and tune out the activity around me. The two ladies sitting next to me leave after the first stop. Someone immediately replaces them.

I see three tattoo teardrops on his face, one from his left eye and two under the right. There is a white towel tied around his head like a makeshift durag. Tattoos cover his entire body and it looks like art. He’s wearing a white shirt and black shorts. He notices me and I notice him. I go back to making eye contact with my phone.

The conductor walks by and checks off the same box on both of our tickets. Not much time passes and he asks if I’m going to New Brunswick too. I respond and the conversation begins.

He talks to me about relationships. He reflects on the meaning of true love. I listen, and encourage the conversation more. He tells me that he wants to be married one day. That he wants to bring flowers to his wife, and make her smile.

He is from Paterson, NJ, and he tells me that he’s always had a business mindset. The conversation surprises me when he tells me that he used to sell drugs to make a living. He tells me about his dangerous lifestyle and what the drug industry has done to his life. He tells me that things are looking up now that he’s out of prison.

“I’ve been on probation since I was 13, it’s hard, you know what I mean,” he says.

I understand what he is saying, but I cannot accurately imagine the life he is living. I’m surprised that he is so open to telling a stranger his story.I enjoy it though.

He tells me that his childhood has shaped every decision he has made and how he sees the world. As he describes his life and hardships, the story remains hopeful. He delves deeper into his soul.

The stranger on the train tells me about his dreams of starting a business. He also has plans to pursue art as a poet and singer. His greatest challenge is staying out of the world in which he grew up. He tells me he sees people he grew up with selling drugs, driving expensive cars, and ruining people’s lives. A life he used to have. A life he regrets.

As I reflect during our conversation, I once again reencounter an internal debate. Are we all the same, or are we all completely different? Could anyone have the life this man has? The unfortunate truth is, his fate is not unique to him. Anyone of us could have this life.

I ask him what his tattoo means because not knowing its meaning has been bothering me the entire time. He tells me it stands for, “Blood, sweat and tears.”

We reach our city and I wish him luck as I leave the train.

Songs For a New World, Bloomfield- NJ

Songs for a New World is a song cycle style musical, composed and written by Jason Robert Brown, 2-time Tony award winner. The show was first performed off-broadway in 1995. Since then, the show has been performed hundreds of times, and adored by many.
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           This musical takes it’s audience through musical monologues that describe what it means to go through life changes, particularly in American history.
           The show has 19 songs  and is separated by two acts. Some of the most frequently performed songs outside the formal production include “Stars and the Moon,” “I’m not afraid of anything,” and the duet “I’d give it all for you.”
          These stories of love, exploration, and grief left me feeling connected to the characters and their experiences.
Listen to the cast, here.
            4th Wall Theater in Bloomfield New Jersey, opened Songs for a New World to the public the weekend of March 11-1, 2016, as a fundraiser. The show was set to run for only one weekend.
           The exceptional arrangement of the opening number “The New World” immediately brought me into the world of the characters and extraordinary music.
            This show was one of the most impressive shows I have had the pleasure to experience and I urge you to get a copy of the music if you can’t find a live performance. (It might be hard to find a show, it’s not performed very often!)
             The directing team made some interesting choices that separated this production from other shows, particularly the arrangement of the stage.
Directing Team:
Director, Kate Swan
Music Director, Markus Grae-Hauk
Light Designer, Nicholas Marmo
Sound Design, Nicholas Von Hagel
            The chosen venue was the Bloomfield College Westminster Arts Center and the theater had a beautiful proscenium style structure. The pit was placed upstage and the cast used risers to create a dynamic image. This allowed the audience to appreciate all parts of the show at once.
            Songs for a New World calls for two males actors and two female actors but Kate Swan strategically added 5 more actors which created diversity on the stage and life to the stories.
Marisa Cucuzza, Julie Galorenzo, Angela Rose Masi, Jenna Rose, Alyssa DePonte,
Andre Jamal Williams, Joshua Clifton Powell, Cory Herbert, and Daniel Peter Vissers
            Each and every actor had an incredible voice and talent for telling a story. Since there was no set, props, or intensive choreography to work with, the cast built a world through their ability to act.
            Some of the fantastic performances included “Stars and the Moon,” (Julie Galorenzo,) “On the Deck of a Spanish Sailing Ship, 1492,” (Daniel Peter Vissers,) and “Flying Home,” (Andre Jamal Williams.)
            Williams gave an unforgettable performance of “Flying Home.” Besides bringing tears to my eyes, he made me feel as if I was going through heartbreak, just like his character was. “Flying Home” is about grief and the unbearable desire to be with someone who has recently passed. On stage, Williams started singing to a grave. It was the most intimate moments of the show and it led to the climax.
Watch Williams sing “Flying Home” here.
           This show doesn’t have a traditional plot which sometimes makes the songs appear unrelated. However, it is clear that each character learns a precious lesson by the end of the show. Especially during Williams’ performance, his character learns that the end of a relationship, or moment, is the beginning of a new one. A new world, that’s waiting to be lived.
           It sounds like a cliché but it is so relatable that you can’t help to love it anyways.
          Songs for a New World isn’t performed as much as it should be, so it was an absolute pleasure to be able to go see such an exceptional production of it. 4th Wall Theater is a company that ought to be followed and kept an eye out for. What great talent they have attracted.
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Photo belongs to 4th Wall Theater

Tinder and STDs

“The people we meet change our lives. A friend, a date, a romance, or even a chance encounter can change someone’s life forever” says Tinder’s official website.

People don’t just swipe right or left, they actually meet up. “I actually met my girlfriend on Tinder,” said Dan Siegel, school of arts and sciences junior.

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Tinder focuses on the human desire to make new connections and 3 weeks ago, Tinder incorporated features to make these connections healthier and safer.

“Tinder has added a health safety section to its website that will include a link to Healthvana’s free HIV and STD testing site locator…” reported a press release on January 21.

You can find the link to under the “know your status” section of Tinder’s website.

Healthvana is a cloud-based technology that improves communication between healthcare providers and their patients.

“Healthvana empowers people with actionable health information at their fingertips so they can make better decisions,” said Ramin Bastani, CEO of Healthvana.

Back in September last year, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) campaigned for a greater awareness of sexual health and safety on dating sites by putting up billboards and advertisements in LA and NYC, according to the press release.


It’s essential for dating apps to help educate their users about their health and where to get services near them, just like Tinder did, said Bastani in an email statement.

Tinder has taken a step in the right direction by putting resources in people’s hands, said Dr. Francesca Maresca, director of Health Outreach Promotion and Education (H.O.P.E.) at Rutgers.

The CDC announced a significant increase in the number of reported STD cases in 2014, particularly affecting young people, the press release said.

Some concerned individuals believe that apps like Tinder and other dating sites are the cause for this increase. When accusations were made, Tinder argued that there was no scientific proof correlating the relationship with STDs and it’s software.

“Through centuries people have been able to meet up for sex, this is not a new phenomenon,” said Dr. Maresca. The opportunity for sex is increasing, but the app doesn’t suggest how people should be having the sex.

Having Healthvana and Tinder collaborate is a helpful tool, but it shouldn’t be completely necessary, said Siegel.

“Tinder could be one of the reasons that there’s an increase in STIs, but it’s a modicum. People are going to meet people anyways, the app just increases the number of people you meet,” said Siegel.


The risk for getting an STD or an STI is not greater here or anywhere else, said Dr. Maresca. The real risk comes from not knowing the ways to practice safe sexual behaviors.

As director of H.O.P.E, Dr. Maresca speaks to hundreds of students about sexual health among other topics throughout the year.

There’s definitely a portion of students at Rutgers who don’t know enough about sexual health safety, said Dr. Maresca. Oftentimes, this is a function of what happens before they even come to college.

“Communication skills, accurate medical information and ways to prevent STIs are essential to students health,” and that’s why workshops with H.O.P.E are so important, Dr. Maresca believes.

Rutgers provides students with ample information about STIs, the recent increase in STIs is more about the individual decision making process, agrees Siegel. is a great website to check out for more information about testing locations and dates.

In a world with exuberant amounts of information, it is crucial to understand the dynamic affordances of the technology we use.

Technology is a very helpful tool when it comes to learning about STIs. “The positive side of new technology, is that we have information and resources in people’s hands immediately,” said Dr. Maresca.

However, the amount of misinformation that’s out there is dangerous. “People haven’t yet developed the health literacy that we need,” said Dr. Maresca.

Above all, it is important to have the conversation about sex health. “Talking about tinder and STIs shouldn’t be a taboo topic,” said Siegel.

Antonin Scalia Dies, Change Expected in Courts

By: R. Theodora Appleton

Justice Antonin Scalia was pronounced dead on February 13th at the Cibolo Creek Ranch in Texas where he was enjoying a weekend hunting trip, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Cibolo Creek Ranch, Presidio County, Texas

Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara pronounced Scalia’s death without seeing the body and attributed his demise to natural causes, said the article.

Guevara claims that she spoke with law enforcement officials who said there was no foul play at the scene, said the article.

“Scalia’s physician in Washington said that the 79-year-old justice suffered from a host of chronic conditions,” said Guevara in an interview with WSJ.

Under Texas law, it is permissible to pronounce a death without seeing the body. Yet there are people who find suspicion in that the family requested no autopsy, reported WSJ.

Chelsea Price, SAS Rutgers alum who studied criminal justice and psychology, believes that people today are hardwired to question everything nowadays which could be the root of people’s suspicion.

“Had he been in optimal health, I would have been more suspicious of his death,” said Price.

Scalia’s death came as a shock to many American’s because his health issues were less known than that some other justices, said Stuart Deutsch, former dean of Law at Rutgers Newark 1999-2009, in an email interview.

The late Antonin Scai

Deutsch believes there is no reason to feel suspicious about the passing of Scalia. “79-year-old men die every day,” said Deutsch.

Scalia was arguably one of the most influential justices on the Supreme Court for the last generation, according to Dr. Alec Walen, professor of philosophy and law undergraduate director at Rutgers.

“While he never won the agreement of a majority of the Justices on Court, he brought originalist jurisprudence into the mainstream of legal arguments to this country,” said Walen.

Scalia’s sudden death woefully puts a new decision into the senate’s hands. Who is going to fill his position?

The Republican Majority Leader has warned that the US senate will block a vote on any nominee President Obama recommends, according to a BBC news article.

While there are individuals who want to wait to fill the position, many believe that President Obama should appoint a new justice as soon as possible.

“[President Obama} has almost a full year remaining in his term, and he has twice been elected by the people,” said Deutsch. The entire process of appointing a new justice would be completed in sixty to ninety days.

The Constitution says that it is the president’s job (with influence from the senate) to appoint a new judge, said Price.

Price was shocked when she read reports on attempts made by the Republican Senate to block any nominations from President Obama for Scalia’s replacement.

“The people elected [Obama] and they trust his opinion, and this is one of his duties,” said Price.

In the hopes that the current president will appoint a new judge, sooner rather than later, positive changes will be made in the courts, believes Price.

“Scalia was especially known for his scathing and witty dissents,” said Walen. His conservatism defined his character.

Many Americans are ready for a wind of change in the justice system and they hope it will start with a new justice.

Before Scalia’s death, the Supreme Court had been closely divided between five conservative justices and four liberal justices, according to BBC news. If a new justice isn’t appointed soon, many of the decisions may be deadlocked, said BBC news.


“I hope that the new justice will shift the balance of the Court in favor of the progressive, liberal values of Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan,” said Deutsch.

In a perfect world, the judge to be elected will not use their own biases or agendas to heavily influence their rulings, said Price.

There are a few cases being brought to the Supreme Court in the near future that are very controversial, according to Price.

“There’s one that is dealing with Abortion regulations, another with California’s teacher’s unions…”

Now that there are only 8 judges, a lot of these cases will most likely split, said Price.

Hopefully the appointed judge will uphold American’s constitutional rights, said Price.


Zootopia, A Film to See


By: R. Theodora Appleton

A friend of mine wanted to reunite so he invited me to go see Disney’s new animated film, Zootopia. Let me tell you, Disney animated classics aren’t made just for children.

Zootopia is about Judy Hopps and her dream to make the world a better place. Hopps moves to Zootopia, an eccentric metropolis of diversity in hopes to become the police department’s first bunny cop.

There are predators and prey of every species coexisting in peace in Zootopia, but her parents constantly encourage her to give up on her dreams because they believe bunnies should stick to their natural responsibilities of growing carrots.

Judy defies their low expectations by moving to Zootopia and yet more obstacles are shoved in her way when the police chief does not believe in her.

An odd duo forms when Judy meets the con artist fox Nicholas Wilde on ticketing duty. In order to crack a huge case the department is struggling with, Judy hops on the case and drags street-smart Wilde with her.

The city of Zootopia mirrors our society with its beauty and visible inequality. Similar to the racial and cultural diversity in New Jersey, Zootopia has an enormous mix of species. The production team humorously included the tiniest of mice to the largest of elephants all living together in harmony.

But its not all smiles and fun, real discrimination exists amongst the various populations in Zootopia. For instance, in the beginning of the film, an elephant doesn’t sell an ice cream cone to a fox because of his size. In our world, discrimination may be subtler and stereotypes are often ideas we can’t even notice.

Although discrimination exists in Zootopia, the sheer beauty of the diversity makes it clear that everyone is beautiful no matter what size, shape or color.

Another important idea in Zootopia is that your stereotypes, expectations from society, and social norms should not dictate your dreams and goals.

Societal roles were forced upon Judy by her parents, which was the ultimate challenge for her. To leave her parents wasn’t an easy task, but leaving them was fundamental for her personal growth.

There are countless innuendos and hidden messages in this film. Zootopia is inspirational, motivational and hilarious. I guarantee that you will fall in love with the characters immediately and find a way to relate to the story.

Milo Yiannopoulis Brings Heat to NJ

Rutgers Scott Hall 123, Feb. 9th 2016


By: R. Theodora Appleton

Milo Yiannopoulis is one of the most abrasive personalities I have yet to observe in life. He’s a journalist and a cultural commentator from the UK who happens to be rapidly gaining attention in the US.

Matt Boyer and Aviv Khavich, members of the Young Americans for Liberty student organization organized this talk, according to the Facebook event.

I sat in the back left side of the argument surrounded by BLM protestors and Milo supporters.

Milo was invited to Rutgers to talk about how the progressive liberals are ruining free speech in America. The talk was titled “How the Progressive Left is Destroying American Education.” Milo is currently on his “Dangerous Faggot Tour,” and Rutgers was one of his stops.

Interesting, but an appropriate name for the tour.

I didn’t expect a gay white man to be so strongly against the progressive feminism wave and the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM.)

Here is a list of some of Milo’s words verbatim. Mind you, a good portion of the talk was filled with yelling, cursing, and angry/passionate protestors.

Brace yourselves…Milo doesn’t hold back.

1) “Daddy killed it in New Hampshire”

Milo is a strong supporter of Donald Trump, and he endorsed him tonight through the talk. Trump and Milo would have a wonderful walk and talk in the park about political correctness because they feel the same way about the issue. Both guys think political correctness is ruining the country and that it’s poisonous to democracy. He expresses his love by calling Trump DADDY.


A guy from the audience makes a joke that lesbians don’t exist and Milo says:

2) “…not sure if there is sex without penises.

First off, this is just a crazy statement because obviously there’s sex without penises. A number of the audience members and I believe that Milo is a complete hypocrite if he does not accept homosexual women. I mean he’s a gay man for god sake.

3) “We can all agree with Martin Luther King… <que angry protestors saying ‘Milo doesn’t have the right to speak of MLK’>… What I was saying is that we can agree that we should judge people on the content of their character not their skin color.”

Since Milo believes the BLM movement is the wrong approach to fixing society, the BLM protestors thought it was shameful for him to even use MLK’s words. But what Milo said was good and true. People should be judged by his or her character, not their appearance. SO, why were the protestors so angry with this? Isn’t this what the goal is? Equality?

4)“The purpose of university is to interrogate new ideas, discover ourselves, meet new people, and explore the world. What ought to be is a free space without trigger warnings. In my view, anyone who asks for a trigger warning should be expelled. What they’ve demonstrated is that they are incapable of being exposed to new ideas.”

I do agree with Milo here. Of all the crazy things he’s said in this talk, this actually makes sense. We have certain affordances from the constitution that protect tax-paying citizens. We can believe and say what we want. But a respectful citizen is one who can be open-minded. Someone that can hear two sides of an argument and respect the other’s view is the only way democracy can survive.

5)“…The world they want is quite similar (in regards to the KKK and black lives matter)”

Okay. This is a loaded statement. Milo is saying that the BLM movement wants segregation again. An example of this would be all black housing. He connects this to the KKK wanting re-segregation. I can’t help to feel that this is completely ridiculous. The KKK wanted to kill people that were black. The BLM movement wants equality and to start a conversation about racial inequalities. Unfortunately, these conversations hadn’t surface because the protestors are so passionate. But to compare a social justice movement to the KKK is absurd.

6)“There is a safe space- it’s called the US. It is what enables people to be rude, and to be awesome.”

The point of this talk was free speech and how “safe spaces” are changing that right. Milo is saying that we are privileged as Americans because of our first amendment right. I agree with him. We are fortunate. But, importantly, we need to keep a watchful eye on the rise of trigger warnings and safe spaces on colleges. This is a sign that our first amendment rights are getting compromised.

7)”If you want to solve the problem [muslim mass migration] in Europe these people need to be deported.”

I think this speaks for itself. Probably another reason why he matches well with Trump.

8)“Mens rights activists…they are right in the way society is turning against men.”

Is this just a backlash to the feminist progress? I think it very well might be. Just 50 years ago women weren’t able to have credit cards without having a man co-sign. You’re telling me that women are dominating the society and men are feeling victimized. WHAT?

9)”The T should be taken out of the LGBT community. This movement has its roots in policing language. It’s all about political correctness, once again. Transgender is a psychiatric disorder-disease. The left has run out of things to complain about so the Trans movement has become a priority.”

Well Jesus. I think some individuals believe that being a homosexual is a disorder as well. What the heck do you have to say about that? I do think there’s too much sensitivity in the world, but to call Trans people diseased is outright despicable if you ask me.

10)“Perpetuating the victim is what hold us down.”

What Milo is getting at here is that when we keep feeling like the victim, nothing will ever get better. What do we do when a group of people was victimized for a period in history? We can’t just make the past go away. What I’m disappointed with is that Milo didn’t give an answer to fix this problem. The only advice he had was for black people to stop voting for democrats… gee…really helpful.

11)“All lives matter”

Here is the truth in it all. However, society doesn’t produce equality. Society shows that the marginalized lives matter less.

After the talk I went up to Milo and asked him why “all you need is love” isn’t the answer. He told me “it needs much more than that.”


So what do we need? I guess that’s up to us.

We need to start with respect and a relearning of what it means to have democratic ideals. Everyone has different opinions and in America that is our freedom. That is our right. We’re living in a society that believes in double standards and hypocrisy. How can one individual say “you can’t talk about MLK” and proceed to argue “Don’t tell me to shut up, first amendment rights, I can say whatever I want!”

Yes, Milo has some terrible opinions. But he makes us question our societal traditions and social norms that go unanalyzed. The point to bring home is that the freedom of speech in America is being challenged in Universities all around the country. The world will have a rude awakening if Education in America continue on this path.


2016 Presidential Campaign 2.0

R. Theodora Appleton

Twitter: @Theapples_816

When Trump came into this race many people did not believe he’d actually stick it out.

They figured it was for publicity and he would disappear a few months later…but that isn’t the case. He’s still here and is actually developing an impressive group of supporters.

This reminds me of the 1980 election when Ronald Reagan decided to run for president because both Reagan and Trump aren’t the typical politician. Both men brought something different to the table.

The non-political “ness” initially made me feel that Trump would make an honest and charismatic candidate in a corrupt political world. Unfortunately, honesty and charisma don’t go hand in hand with the candidate having acceptable ideologies.

His business and entertainment resume has changed the 2016 race entirely.

The fact that Trump is a celebrity makes the media treat this entire race differently. During the debates, so much time is spent on pointing fingers; “he said this” and “she said that.” Covering their tracks and backing up reported statements is taking the place of expelling their financial, economical and health care plans.

Last week I discussed how the media coverage is more cumbersome than ever before because of smart phones and other news technologies. The candidates are all on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. This is just enhancing the celebrity persona.

Everyone knows the definition of celebrity: someone who is widely known. But now that there is a political platform on social media, there are “Internet celebrities” as well. There are self made Internet celebrities and stars that transfer fame to the Internet.

In the field of media studies, celebrity is another word for performative practice. This means that it’s his or her actions that keep the personality trending.

The political force is enormous on twitter and the candidate’s follower numbers prove that.

Donald Trump- 6 million followers.

Hillary Clinton- 5.3 million

Bernie-1.3 million

Marco Rubio- 1.1 million

Ted Cruz- 789.9 K

What scares me is that a lot of millienials get their news from Twitter and Facebook. They’re not reading the Wall Street Journal or The New York Times. What type of opinions are they going to obtain if reading tweets from politicians who are just trying to be in the headlines?

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On twitter these candidates display information about their campaigns like when and where events are happening. Then there are personal stabs like Donald Trump’s on February 2:

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If I want some comedy and drama I will go watch SNL or comedy central. I don’t want the candidates to continue to make the 2016 race a joke. I want them to show me how they will make the country better, because right now I’m scrambling to choose a commander in chief that will do the job correctly.

Actually…maybe I won’t be able to watch SNL without politicians….

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Climate Change Adaption in NJ

By: R. Theodora Appleton

Twitter @theapples_816


Photo taken from Google Images (NDAA)

“When you explain to someone that in the year 2100 their house will be underwater, how does he or she react?” asked Andrew Schlesinger, SEBS graduate student.

“Well, some people do get really angry” answered Dr. Marjorie Kaplan, associate director of Rutgers Climate Institute. “Recent flood insurance rate maps are reclassifying properties. They are getting frustrated because climate change is affecting them financially. ”

However, “there are citizens that do want to further understand their risk and plan for the future of businesses and homes from rising sea level because of climate change,” said Kaplan.

On Wednesday Jan. 27th, Dr. Kaplan gave a lecture called “Climate Change Adaption in NJ” at the Cook/Douglas lecture hall. Kaplan explained to her audience what ways climate change is affecting NJ, how the state is trying to adapt and what prevention methods are being taken for the future.

At an early age, Kaplan discovered a strong appreciation for nature. Throughout her undergraduate and graduate studies, her need to address the ways of balance between humans and the environment became apparent, she said in an email interview.

Kaplan worked with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for over twenty years and prior to that she was in the private sector for 10 years. She currently is the Associate Director of the Rutgers Climate Institute

The Climate Institute includes ninety-give Rutgers faculty members from a plethora of scientific concentrations ranging from natural sciences to social sciences.

“Climate Change Adaption in NJ” is one of several talks in the Common Lecture Series, hosted by the Landscape Architecture Program.

If you haven’t heard of the landscape architecture major, it is an up and coming program that deals with how social and natural structures interact in the environment, said Gail McKenzie, event coordinator and administrative assistant.

This major is a good choice for anyone who is interested in the environment and architecture, said Joe Tidona, SEBS junior. “After I finish my major, I plan on working as a landscape designer.”

Landscape architects are interested in designing in a way that supports ecological and environmental health. The climate change adaption lecture directly correlates with their interests, which is why it is a requirement for their classes, said McKenzie.

Not only did this talk address the concerns of landscape designers, agriculturists and environmentalists, but also spoke to the interest of every citizen in New Jersey.

Thankfully, climate change is more widely accepted as a phenomenon now then ever before.

Surprisingly enough, there are still people who believe it doesn’t exist. Kaplan’s response to the individuals that question if global warming is real is “there is an enormous body of scientific, peer-reviewed literature and scholarship that supports the fact that climate change exists.

“Everyone knows about climate change, of course it is real, everyone has to know about it…” Tidona said.

We can see climate change occurring by observing the 4 mm annual increase to sea levels, by observing the 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit increase of temperatures and the increase in precipitation and droughts globally, explained Kaplan.

Kaplan explained that with warming temperatures and higher humidity, we expect to see more northward expansion of species of weeds, pests and pathogens that had not been able to survive in our region before.  With climate change, cooler season crops like potatoes, broccoli, and spinach may have a shorter growing season, while warmer season crops like peppers, melon or tomatoes, may have a longer growing season.

The unfortunate reality about climate change is that it would take decades, hundreds or even thousands of years to get rid of the exorbitant amount of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere. “Even if we stop using fossil fuels, and stop driving all of our cars today, the CO2 in the atmosphere endures for a very long time. We need to prepare to adapt,” said Kaplan.

Many states in the Northeast have incorporated climate change legislature, yet NJ has not jumped on the green bandwagon completely.

Even though NJ does not have a law that mandates the state to develop a climate adaptation plan, there are groups like the “NJ Climate Adaption Alliance” that are working to help foster climate preparedness in NJ,” explained Kaplan

One way to prevent and lessen climate change is to reduce our carbon footprint, starting with using less fossil fuel. Understanding the causes and impacts of climate change is essential and Rutgers plays a key role through its research and education, said Kaplan.

“Students should start to use public transportation more often, buy locally sourced foods, recycle, reduce his or her energy consumption and stay informed.”

“The university has tons of classes on climate change. We are utilizing clean energy with solar panels. But what we need is a stronger push towards renewable energy. We can do more,” said Tidona.

Members of the NJ Climate Adaptation Alliance which includes businesses, non-profits, and regional and local government organizations, along with Rutgers, are working together to help NJ better able to prepare for a changing climate,” said Kaplan.

There’s a lot of politics to be worked out, but having powerful institutions like Rutgers will help the state get on track.

2016 Presidential Race 1.0

discrimination_north_carolina-resized-600 (1)Picture acquired from google images

By: R. Theodora Appleton

Twitter: @Theapples_816

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22. Nope, Taylor Swift that’s not what I’m trying to talk about right now. Thanks though…!

Let’s try this again. I don’t know about you, but everything is the 2016 presidential debate. It’s all over my Facebook newsfeed. It’s on my Twitter feed. It’s on the TV. It’s in the newspapers. It has even made its way into my day-to-day conversations.

It rightfully has crept into every aspect of my life and that’s because the election is just under a year away. It’s prime time for these guy and gal politicians. …All right, we’ll give them their time to consume the entire media world…

This may seem annoying and all, but it’s actually an amazing and powerful phenomena. Twenty years ago information was not passed around as easily as it is today. Everyone that has a smart phone is updated every five minutes on the crazy things Donald Trump says. Well, that luxury is only available to the people that have smartphones and online access 24/7.

Especially for politics, the explosion of social media and Internet has helped scale a greater expansion of people than ever before. But we’re not really seeing the full picture when it comes to what the media is doing to us.

There’s a theory that explains how the media interacts with its audience (that’s us.) It’s called the hypodermic needle theory and it basically says that the audience is passive and completely absorbs everything that is sent our way. Sort of like sponges.

In an interesting article written by Rune Vejby and D.E. Wittkower, the two discuss some ideas by a group of thinkers called Situationist International (SI). SI theorized that people see things out of a media lens. What someone hears all around him or her changes the way he or she perceives the world. If you’re a critical thinker this isn’t really how life works, unfortunately. Or fortunately. That opinion is up to you.

Just a couple weeks ago, Fox Business hosted one of the last GOP debates to air before the Iowa caucus. I wanted to catch this debate and found out that it was on channel one hundred and something. This was a problem for anyone who just pays for basic cable.

It certainly seemed unfair to me at first until I found out that Fox Business went out of their way to find alternate channels for people with other cable providers and subscriptions. They also made it accessible online by streaming on their website. So it’s okay! No need to fret!

I’m thinking this could have been a ploy to see how many people would tune in online. With Netflix and all, maybe it was some type of experiment with online viewers? Anyways,  the issue with this situation brought up a larger issue which is that people are being discriminated upon by networks.

In an article written by danahboyd, the importance of discrimination on the Internet is discussed. An example of this notion is that big corporations like Google, control what comes up when you search, and we trust them whole-heartedly. So now we have discrimination socially, and technically. Great.

Who gets to read and watch these videos about the candidates? Are these people getting the facts? I don’t think so.

In an ever-changing media-centered society that we live in, it is necessary that we stay critical of our news sources. We need to hone in on what is true and what isn’t. We need to acknowledge that a part of a story isn’t the whole story. This is so important when thinking about these presidential candidates. It’s time to look at the bigger picture.

The “I don’t know if it’s a date, date”

By. R Theodora Appleton

Dating couple scene, love confession
Dating couple scene, love confession illustration from Google Images

When you enter the adult world, there’s no doubt you’ll encounter this situation. Especially with the complete incorporation of cellphones and social media into our lives, it’s easy to miscommunicate on, well- anything really. I am going to explain the “I don’t know if it’s a date, date.”

First off, what is an “I don’t know if it’s a date, date” and how should you deal with it? I’ll get to those answers soon.

To be honest, I am not a regular dater. I don’t really get asked that much. It could very well be my age. Maybe it’s a dying activity in my generation.

I went out with a guy that I met a couple months earlier  in class. It was a lab, and I didn’t really talk to him much, until the day I decided to follow him out of class to start a conversation. (SHHH It’s not as creepy as it sounds.) I forget what I started with…ah yes! It was an introduction. I just told him who I was and then we talked a bit about random stuff. He ended up giving me his number.

Now this is interesting because he left it all in my hands. I could have texted him that night but, I didn’t want to seem like a lot… Yeah I was slightly drewling over his appearance, he dressed nicely, spoke well…DAMNIT. At that moment I made up all of these stories of who he could be. I ended up with he’s 1) gay, 2) in a serious relationship, or 3) a CRAZY MURDERER that happens to dress nicely.

No matter which number he was, I was glad I said something. It’s always better to say something than to keep it in.

I didn’t text him at all. Not sure what it was. I was busy with a show… maybe I gave up on the idea. I didn’t see him in class after that until a couple months later at the performance.

That was when I realized he actually lived with someone I worked with. A small world it is, even at a huge University. I didn’t talk to him. He was with a girl, someone I sort of knew. Not really though. I assumed they were a thing automatically. You know when do guys have girls as friends… ha.

Yep, the next step of this story was me adding him on Facebook. You know, going out on a limb, trying to not seem like a creepy stalking woman.

He messaged me after that and then we and eventually texted. We mutually agreed to meet up. Please pay attention to the phrase “meet up” I use that phrase because it’s exactly the phrase you use when you don’t know what to call it. Is it a hangout? Meeting up? A Date? I’m not sure what makes up either activity.

We went to a regular restaurant bar and I got there early. Yeah I was a bit anxious. I bought myself an enormous margarita with the hopes I didn’t look like a crazy alcoholic.

He got there and greeted me with a hug. It was a great evening, good conversation. But then the end of the meal came. The bill came and we paid for our stuff.

I told some close friends and they were all like “AH DITCH THIS GUY!” “what he didn’t pay?” “oh, man that sucks!”

That was pretty disappointing, how could I color a guy as a cheap-o or uninterested based off of if he pays or not? Well apparently it’s a thing. But I decided to ignore the social norm and pretend like it wasn’t a thing anyways.

In that moment I felt a bit defeated honestly, but I’ll tell you all what to do in this situation if you get to experience one.

First off, social norms are based off of traditions in your culture but that doesn’t mean they are right or wrong. So don’t write off someone based off of a norm, that’s just unfair.

Secondly, if you are happy and confident with yourself, you won’t have to worry about whether someone else is interested in you. It is the other person’s loss if they don’t want a piece of this!?!!. (Confidence BABY!)

Thirdly, you never know what another person is going through. What if he goes out with a bat shit crazy woman, should he really have to pay for that in a social way and a monetary one? Eh, I don’t think so.

Fourthly, communication is super important and after a couple meetings with someone, you should figure out what you’re looking for. If you expect someone to pay for you and you really need this to be called a date, then let that person know. They can decide if that will work for them.

The beauty of going out with new people is you learn what you like and what you don’t like about that person and even yourself. There’s nothing to lose, and there is everything to gain.

So it might feel like you’re getting denied when you have a not-so-datelike-date, but don’t think of it like that. First dates are first dates for a reason, right?