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Yule Log ceremony embodies traditions of Douglass women

(12/04/13 5:00am)

Douglass Residential College, above many other characteristics, is known for its commitment to honoring old traditions and customs. Among many of those time-honored traditions is “Yule Log,” which takes place close to the start of the holiday season. This event has been a part of the college’s history since its opening in 1918, although it was not until 1927 that it was held in the chapel. The event began when students at Douglass, approaching their first holiday/winter season, were asked to burn a Yule Log and illuminate a tree in front of College Hall. Over the years, this tradition has adapted and changed, but we still stay close to the traditions of the Douglass women before us.

Attacking support for Stan uncalled for regardless of facts

(12/02/13 5:00am)

Recently, The Daily Targum published an opinion piece by a University student that attacked the overwhelming support for Stan McNeil, the former LX bus driver. The student justified First Transit’s decision to fire Stan over a safety breach and criticized those defending Stan over religious freedom. The author did note that Stan was a positive influence, but despite the good, feels Stan’s treatment was deserved.

Stan’s resignation an attempt for U. to save its own image

(12/02/13 5:00am)

Hi! I wanted to share my opinion about Stan the LX bus driver. I feel that the “safety violation” is an attempt to save face and isn’t grounded in what actually happened. Rutgers and the bus company wouldn’t want any negative press, especially as they are rebuilding their image after the sports scandals and other scandals over the past several years. Dealing with claims of anti-religion and violating the First Amendment, regardless of the terms of Stan’s employment, would be a nightmare.

Targum’s article misrepresentative and offensive

(11/26/13 5:00am)

I hope everyone understands my issue with the article I was featured in, “U. sees strengthening, expansion in filmmaking culture,” is not a self-centered one. I couldn’t care less about how I was painted as a person, but I do care about how you painted me as a representative of the Cinema Studies program. Let’s back up and review the article you did not read closely enough: “Previously, filmmakers only had the opportunity to enroll in the University’s Cinema Studies minor to immerse themselves in curriculum-based film scholarship.”

Devastation would be caused among students if construction continues

(11/18/13 5:00am)

I’ve been hearing about the parking lots the are going to be made on Skelly Field. Apparently, some people think that the students don’t care, but that’s not true. Almost everyone I know would be devastated to see that field paved. There is already so much construction going around. It’s inconvenient how there are more buildings being built and not enough parking spots for the entire faculty, but it would really be a shame to see that field turned into a parking lot. There are so few areas on campus that remained untouched, and especially as a university with such a big science school, preserving these areas should be a little more important.

Skelly field is more important to student life than another parking lot

(11/18/13 5:00am)

The open space, which is characteristic of Cook campus, is what appeals to the residents of Cook. Skelly Field is where students play soccer, sit on blankets, play the guitar, take walks, play football, practice sword fighting, walk seeing-eye dogs in training and relax. I have seen all these activities and many others occur while looking out my window at Skelly Field from Perry Hall. Antonio Calcado was quoted in a Targum article referring to “displaced people” who need a place to park. What about all the people who use Skelly Field for recreational purposes now? If a parking lot is built, they will be displaced.

University disregarding community opposition to new parking lot

(11/18/13 5:00am)

Ridiculous; opposed unanimously by the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences Governing Council, 40 members, as well as the executive dean of Cook campus, and the expansion of Lot 97 into Skelly Field will still happen? The University cares that much for parking, even though the lot on the corner is never full. It’s pathetic that the needs of both the students and the respected leaders of a college are so disregarded. Rutgers has really dropped the ball. God forbid I find out when the construction is going to happen, I’ll be sitting in the field I’ve loved.

Quality of residence halls should be a higher priority

(11/06/13 5:00am)

In her piece, “‘Going green’ should benefit the community, not administrators”, Kaitlin D’Agostino made a very valid point in regards to residence halls on the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus. We now have approximately 40,000 undergraduate students here at Rutgers, yet the only new type of housing being built are apartments, which for residents, cost significantly more than the average residence hall or suite. A residence hall costs $7,092 per academic year, while an on-campus apartment can range from $8,000 to $10,000 per academic year. Considering the current economic situation, it seems unlikely that most Rutgers students will be able to afford such housing if any at all due to our lottery system. Thus, students will either have to commute, live off-campus or choose to live in existing residence halls, some of which, as D’Agostino said, possibly have asbestos in their ceilings. This is even before you factor in the loss of hot water from time to time, the trigger-happy fire alarm systems that go off in the wee hours of the morning or the lack of effective heating and air conditioning that some residence halls suffer from. I myself have had to deal with all three of these issues last year when I lived in House 31 of Quad III on Livingston campus, as well as having a pipe burst in the basement one night, robbing me of several hours of study time and slumber.

Online time bank provides more valuable assistance

(11/04/13 5:00am)

Seniors and the disabled are sometimes incapable of leaving their homes during disasters and obtaining emergency assistance and services. Generally during disasters, emergency services are not available during the first 72 hours, and long distance communication is fixed before local communication. A couple of students and I are researching more information on this topic at Rutgers University for our ethics class taught by Professor Julie Fagan. We are interested in utilizing a time bank, which is an online service exchange that utilizes time rather than money. For our specific situation, a person would put in a certain amount of time that they would be able to help an elderly person or a disabled person. In exchange for this, they will receive something that they need help in as well. This is what we are planning on implementing in the states of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. New time banks have been launched in New Jersey and can be accessed on the web using the name of their county, state and the word strong (ex: Somerset County NJ Strong) or by using the URL http://somersetnjstrong.timebanks.org.

Locally raised turkeys better Thanksgiving option

(11/01/13 4:00am)

With Thanksgiving around the corner, turkeys will be in great supply at your local grocery store. Some food for thought when purchasing your bird for the big day — many of the turkeys offered at your local supermarket are not raised with a green pasture to roam through and a big red barn to live in. Instead, majority of the store-brand turkeys for sale in your local grocery are raised to have such large breasts they cannot move, are housed in extremely over populated and unsanitary coops never and are feed a corn-based diet laced with antibiotics, which goes against their natural omnivorous diet. Not only are these farming methods not animal-friendly, but also less nutritious. Studies show that pasture-based locally farmed poultry is far more nutritious than its conventional counterpart, being richer in antioxidants including vitamins E, beta-carotene and vitamin C and containing far more omega-3 fatty acids. With this knowledge, maybe you will opt to purchase a turkey from your local poultry farm over the store-brand or conventionally farmed Butter Ball at the grocery store.

Proper waste disposal lacking on campus

(11/01/13 4:00am)

As a group, the Environmental House on Douglass Campus has a few concerns about the disposal of trash and recycling on campus. We have noticed a common occurrence with either maintenance staff and/or students demonstrating poor trash and recycling habits. For example, there are numerous times either in the residence halls or walking through campus when we have seen students placing plastic water bottles in the trash when there are recycling containers right next to them. Furthermore, throughout our time at Rutgers, we have noticed that the maintenance staff has combined both the trash and recyclable items in the same plastic bag to be thrown away. Our first question: Why is this happening? A possible response is that maybe some people generally don’t care because they think that it gets sorted out for them or that ultimately trash and recycling cross paths somewhere. In the residence halls, there are three separate containers labeled “Trash,” “Paper/Office/Newsprint” and “Glass/Plastic Aluminum.” One would think that students could properly distinguish what types of plastic can or can’t be recycled in addition to what is considered trash. What are possible ways we can change this continuous problem on campus? Through educating, advocating and promoting awareness.

Societal perception toward brain injuries must be challenged

(10/30/13 4:00am)

I had the pleasure of speaking recently at the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research about my current research into brain injury. In particular, how common views of brain injuries — including the terms we use to describe them — often inhibit a deeper understanding of their complexity, which in turn, undermines our ability to more accurately diagnose and more effectively treat brain injury. Coincidentally, the article covering my lecture published in The Daily Targum, which included misquotes that were attributed to me, provides an informative example of precisely the problem I was addressing in my talk. Though the inaccuracies and misquotes have since been corrected in the online version of the paper and a partial retraction was published in the print version, I would like to use this example as an opportunity to continue this vitally important discussion.

Old taxidermy business continues to provide unique experience for all

(10/30/13 4:00am)

Schwendeman’s Taxidermy is indeed the oldest continuously run family business in Milltown. The family has been very community-minded throughout the years. Having lived here all my life, you kind of take the business for granted and don’t realize how unique it is until you talk to people from other parts of the state. During hunting season, it is not at all strange to see a car pull up with a deer, or even a bear, strapped to the roof of their car and carried inside for mounting. I don’t believe there are many people doing this work out of a storefront in a suburban New Jersey town where there are not many places nearby to hunt. It is not uncommon for the curious to just stop in and look around, and Bruce will always stop what he is working on to show people around his museum-like shop. In the 1960s and 1970s, I remember teachers from the nearby Parkview Elementary School would walk their class to the shop for a tour. I don’t believe the school does that anymore, but that was sure an experience for a preteen that kids in other towns did not get to have. I don’t know how many times, when asked where I am from, and say Milltown, people say, “Oh, the town with the taxidermy place.”

Vote yes on question 2 on nov. 5

(10/29/13 4:00am)

It concerns me that with the media’s attention focused first on the almost preordained election of Senator Cory Booker and then on the clash between Gov. Chris Christie and his Democratic rival Barbara Buono, Rutgers students and New Jersey voters are more broadly unaware of another question we get to decide at the polls this fall. In addition to potentially electing a new governor or reelecting our current one, on Nov. 5, we have the opportunity to vote to increase the minimum wage in our state by a dollar per hour and tie future increases to the natural rise in the cost of living in the state. In effect, New Jersey residents are given the rare opportunity to vote ourselves a raise. Perhaps the more cynical Daily Targum reader will cede that our politicians do that with far more regularity.  

University’s policy on religious holidays is fair

(10/24/13 4:00am)

As observant Jews, we sympathize with Sara’s Zayed’s frustration in relation to her Daily Targum column published on Oct. 22, “Muslim holy days should be considered holidays.” It is certainly irritating to deal with missing the volume of class and course material we do every single year for our many holidays, which start at sundown and may end at night anywhere from one to three days later. In fact, for those of us who celebrate these holidays in the Orthodox tradition, there are restrictions in place that not only prevent us from attending class, but in fact, prohibit us from doing any form of work or studying. This means that anywhere from one to three days at a time, we are mandated to miss work, which can make it difficult to stay caught up.