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It took me an embarrassingly long amount of time to come up with this title, and I still don’t like it. Then again, it’s not like I’ll ever be truly proud of my work. After discovering I’d become a columnist for The Daily Targum, I read my ninth-grade application to my high school’s newspaper, a piece I thought to be my best. It’s actually garbage.
With the oncoming worries and tracking reports of Hurricanes Irma, Hurricane Jose and Hurricane Katia, it seems as though the trauma and devastation of Hurricane Harvey on Texas has been pushed to the background. And although it may seem to make sense to tackle these deadly hurricanes as they come forth, it is important to try to make efforts to starting healing as soon as they hit. This is exactly what Rutgers has attempted to do.
As if the country didn’t have enough problems in dealing with incompetence and discrimination within our federal administration, the United States is also currently facing a deadly onslaught of natural disasters. Hurricanes, floods, wildfires and heatwaves are sweeping across the country, but visibly, the most affected regions are in the southern, coastal areas, nearly demolished by the forces of Hurricanes Harvey (Texas) and Irma (Florida, the Caribbean and the Southeastern U.S.). As more and more Americans lose power, water, shelter and supplies, people from around the country and the world put aside their differences to assist those in need by sending required items and personal monetary donations. Large corporations have also jumped in, donating millions of dollars to hurricane relief. Numerous mosques are offering shelter and refuge to those affected by flooding in Houston. Many will argue that this moment in history, where millions of unrelated people come together to help and better society, is beautiful and representative of what it means to be American.
Oftentimes, students here at the Rutgers—New Brunswick campus forget that the entirety of the city does not revolve around the University. In fact, just a few blocks away from the College Avenue campus (where many upperclassmen choose to live) the residential life of New Brunswick can clearly be seen. And within residential New Brunswick, the New Brunswick Free Public Library has decided to create a new Municipal Identification program.
Many students enter trade schools, colleges and universities with the primary goal of obtaining meaningful employment after graduation. There is a lot that goes into preparing for the transition into gainful employment, but professional standards of dress and conduct are among the most challenging to navigate. We are told that to be competitive, we need to “look and act professionally” at job fairs, networking events, interviews and practically anywhere you could run into a prospective employer. There are more than a few people who believe professionalism is the “key to success,” ensuring that the field is level for all job-seekers and employees. However, we often do not take the time to acknowledge how these unspoken rules stifle individuality and creativity and ultimately reinforce social hierarchies that center the white, male, cisgender, heterosexual and upper-class aesthetic. To those who do not fit this mold, existing in a professional space can be tiring or even traumatic.
Something tragic happened last semester: Au Bon Pain closed its doors. It was the most convenient place to grab a cup of coffee before catching the LX — not to mention it was the home of the egg white, cheddar and avocado sandwich that was a go-to healthy breakfast for many. Thankfully, as we all returned to campus for the beginning of the Fall 2017 semester, we saw Panera Bread occupying the vacant spot that once was Au Bon Pain. Students are ecstatic — Panera is a great place for healthy snacks and meals when you feel too guilty after eating Wendy’s two days in a row. But many students fail to realize that unhealthy options are still plentiful at Panera and eating healthy requires smart choices.
Rutgers has made many strides toward upholding its reputation as a progressive University. With its high ranking in economic mobility, its appointment of the first openly gay dean of the School of Public Health, University President Robert L. Barchi pushing back against the efforts to repeal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and now a norm of themed football games, the University is doing well to create a well-rounded, all-inclusive and fun atmosphere for its students. But the University’s faculty union is attempting to improve circumstances for the staff, especially “regarding family leave and disability resulting from pregnancy.”
Different colleges adopt different attitudes about how to talk to students about sex. Where more conservative colleges may attempt to turn its cheek to the subject, many other schools include programs on reproductive health and STD testing — demonstrating a more open mindset.
As a young girl, my favorite toys were Barbie dolls and Polly Pockets. My brother, on the other hand, was given monster trucks and action figures. I never questioned why girls were assigned a certain set of toys to their gender, and boys another. That’s just the way the world works, right? I’d like to think that I would have naturally gravitated towards “girly” toys regardless of the interpersonal and societal pressures to do so that were present in my life — I enjoyed having imaginary tea parties with my stuffed animals and dressing up in glittery princess costumes. But not every girl feels the same.
RUTGERS ON TOP
Megan Rondini was the kind of person who would offer drunk girls a ride home at night for their own protection and well-being. Megan Rondini was the reason that a parent could send their only child off to college and know that everything would be alright. Megan Rondini was a vulnerable person’s guardian angel for the night, promising to get them home safe regardless of how much they drank.
"In the long-run, we are all dead."
As Rutgers students, one of our most communal concerns involves meal swipes: How many should we buy? How many do we have left? How do we spread them out? The questions remain crucially in the back of our heads as we maneuver through our daily college lives. But thanks to the University, one of the apprehensions revolving meal swipes will be a thing of the past.
College football is a unifying force that brings millions of students, alumni and fans across the country together, and there is no question that the game day atmosphere is often the deciding factor in a prospective student’s college decision. Throughout my first three years at Rutgers, I’ve been to plenty of football games. Although we’ve seen some pretty awful football at High Point Solutions Stadium in recent years like our fourth down spike against Michigan State, or beatdowns at the hands of Big Ten powerhouses, we’ve also had some pretty amazing moments as well. It’s hard for anyone to forget storming the field against Michigan after our first Big Ten win. We may not have had much success last season, but head coach Chris Ash has quietly built a program here at Rutgers and has instilled a strength and toughness never before seen in Rutgers football. Last week, as the Scarlet Knights hosted the No. 7 team in the country, the Washington Huskies, it was clear that they belonged on the same field.
The life of a college student is far from easy — from sitting through three-hour classes to trying to balance sleep and a social life, it’s clear that college is not a walk in the park. With all these responsibilities, a walk in the park might be exactly what you need. Though it might sound difficult for some, adding in some physical activity into your daily routine may be the best thing you can do for yourself. I’m not talking about just chasing after the LX. Taking time out of your day and doing some physical activity is something that we should all be doing, further improving not only our bodies, but our well-being.
One of the most important aspects of one’s self should be his or her mental health. Two young women at Rutgers know this to be especially true.
Half the world’s population menstruates an average of once a month from menarche to menopause. Most women menstruate from the ages of 13 to 51, making menstruation, alone, a total of 6.25 years in a woman’s life. Yet this natural biological process is still met with much stigma, taboo and discriminatory cultural norms. In many underprivileged areas, there is a lack of sanitary resources. Hygienic sanitary napkins are hard to come by, and quite unaffordable when made available. Along with a lack of products catered for periods, there’s a deficiency of clean water and soap for minimal yet necessary cleansing. The lack of hygienic products available has many side effects, the major one being the inconvenience it brings in day-to-day operations. In Leeds in the United Kingdom, a school reported that many of its female students had poor attendance records. Leeds is one of the more impoverished cities in the United Kingdom and living in a low-income household makes such items like sanitary napkins seem more like a luxury than a legitimate need. As a result, many of the female students tend to skip classes and stay home until the end of their periods every month. Students can’t miss school for a whole week every month simply because they don’t have resources available at their disposal. A Bolton NHS Foundation Trust study found that menstrual problems are the fifth most common reason for students missing school. The U.K. (as well as most U.S. states) has a tampon tax that simply makes it arduous for women to satiate their menstrual needs. But the lack of resources is not the only hardship women face.
Where knowledge is power, information is a weapon. Information is the key that, depending on the whim of its controller, can either lock the masses in chains or liberate them in understanding.
As another academic year begins, students are trying to transition from the relaxation of summertime to the hustle and bustle of college life. And while it may be difficult for most to find the motivation to start off the semester strong, one asset of Rutgers life has already hit the ground running — Rutgers football.
Hello Rutgers, welcome to the first day of the semester and thank you for joining me to read the words that I’m typing to you even though we’ve probably never met. Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you've got to be kind.’” My inspiration for this column, which I’m calling “A Healthy Dose of Justice,” comes from exactly what Vonnegut said: In 2017’s world of tumult and inequality, we have an obligation to make sure that others are happy, healthy and thriving. Which brings me to the President Donald J. Trump administration.