Anna Norcia


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NEWS

Learn from college experiences

I am graduating this semester, and in 17 days I will no longer be a Rutgers student. My experiences here have been unforgettable, and I am truly glad that I made the decision to come here. Rutgers is such a diverse school with so many things to do that if you tried to experience them all, you would never have time for classes. So as my parting column, I would like to reveal my top 10 favorite things that I have done with my time here.

NEWS

You are what you eat

In this diet-crazed world we live in, it can be hard to find healthy options. Every time we turn around, someone is telling us about the newest way to lose weight or the next super fruit that will cure all of your ailments. And the next day, they tell us they were wrong and now have something better. Even Snapple, who claimed to make their famous tea product from "the best stuff on earth," has now found "better stuff." In reality, they didn't find "better stuff" — they decided to use less processed ingredients and more natural ones. That should be a lesson to us all: The more natural something is, the better it will be. That goes for everything, including meat. So why does America continue to eat the meat-like product called luncheon meat?

NEWS

You are what you eat

 In this diet-crazed world we live in, it can be hard to find healthy options. Every time we turn around, someone is telling us about the newest way to lose weight or the next super fruit that will cure all of your ailments. And the next day, they tell us they were wrong and now have something better. Even Snapple, who claimed to make their famous tea product from "the best stuff on earth," has now found "better stuff." In reality, they didn't find "better stuff" — they decided to use less processed ingredients and more natural ones. That should be a lesson to us all: The more natural something is, the better it will be. That goes for everything, including meat. So why does America continue to eat the meat-like product called luncheon meat?Luncheon meats, also known as cold cuts and deli meats, consist of things we know as turkey, ham, roast beef, bologna, salami and more. These meats are different from regular meats because they have been processed with food additives to preserve the shelf life. These additives, known as nitrites and nitrite salts, allow these lunch meats to keep their distinct pink color and savory taste that consumers are used to. These additives also prevent against deadly food-borne illnesses from forming on the meat, most namely botulism. As helpful as these additives are, they can do great harm to the human body in two ways. Nitrites are salts, and they add a lot of sodium into the diet. A high-sodium diet can lead to hypertension — or high blood pressure — which is a major contributing factor to heart disease. Second, and more importantly, these nitrites combine with compounds in your stomach acids to form nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic. These compounds have been linked to stomach, esophageal, liver cancers and many more. A survey by the National Cancer Institute suggests that those who ate the most red and processed meats had heightened risks of developing any stage of prostate cancer, or advanced cancer in particular, according to a Nov. 5 Reuters article.The second thing you should know about lunch meat is the second way the government has approved to process these meats. In April 2006, the Food and Drug Administration approved lunch meats to be sprayed with a combination of six live viruses to prevent against food-borne bacteria. That's right, not only is the American consumer eating meat that has the potential to cause cancer, they are now ingesting live viruses at the same time. Yes, the viruses prevent against deadly bacteria, but do we really want to eat those either?The third and most important fact that you should know about luncheon meats is that they can be made from mechanically separated meat. Now this may not sound gross, but the next time you have a second, Google image search it. Mechanically separated meat is meat separated from the animal bone by a machine instead of a butcher. In this process, the meat is shredded into a pink slurry, which has the appearance of strawberry frozen yogurt. Also there is a certain amount of bone and connective tissue allowed to be in this flowing meat-like substance.All of these things are completely government regulated and permitted for lunch meats. I tell you these things not to make you lose your appetite, but to make you realize that you may not know the facts about what you eat. I encourage you to read all of the ingredients for the food you eat and look up the facts about how these things are made. More importantly, I encourage you to only eat foods that you can understand how they are made without an extensive lesson. We read countless articles and do the research on everything else in our lives, but not the food that we eat, the food we put into our body. Why is your car, home, television or cell phone more important than your body? So the next time you are looking for a healthy lunch, I hope you will stay away from the deli line, and maybe put a little more thought into how you are going to fuel your body.

NEWS

Parental self-control needed

In the past year we have heard too many stories about a parent's irresponsibility causing the tragic loss of a child. The headlines tell horrifying tales of otherwise "good" mothers killing innocent children because they made the reckless decision to drink and drive. Recently, one mother took a sleepover full of elementary school kids party hopping and crashed the car on the way home. Sadly one of the girls, barely 9-years-old, was killed. This Halloween I saw just how easy it is for something like this to happen. 

NEWS

Women expect respect

In this oversensitive sue-happy world that we live in, I sometimes wonder when we should take action or let things go. As a female, I deal with this question quite frequently, and I personally feel that when something makes you feel uncomfortable, you should never let it go. This thought crept into my head after my roommate and I had a run-in with workers at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. During last semester, we started realizing that men continually cat-calling us were RWJUH workers. It was nothing that warranted calling the police, but it still made us feel uncomfortable. After a week, we were just tired of it, so we called the hospital and tried to contact whoever was in charge of these workers to get the situation taken care of. Three days later, I had been transferred about a thousand times and no one owned up to being in charge of these men. So, frustrated and annoyed, I gave up. However, the cat-calls stopped; obviously, someone I had talked to did relay the message while claiming not to know anything. It was upsetting that no one would help me, but I got what I wanted. The calls of "Hey baby", "You need some help there beautiful?" and "You're fine" slowed down to almost a complete stop.

NEWS

Campus etiquette for U.

Although Rutgers in some places may not be the most beautiful campus, it is still a great one. The student body needs to remember that and respect our campus and our fellow students. So my article today has to do with disrespectful things that people do everyday. Now I wish that I was writing this article just to the freshmen or newly transferred students who may not know any better, but, unfortunately, this is to all of the people who frequent our campus.

NEWS

Technology making it harder for face-to-face communication

As a college student, I am very aware of all of the different ways people can now communicate. But being a normally functioning, social human being I am also aware of all the ways that people cannot communicate anymore. In a time when you can get in touch with anyone at anytime, we as a generation seem to be getting worse at talking to each other. I know that I can e-mail, text, instant message or Facebook my friends at anytime and we can have a complete "conversation," but if I decided to pick up the phone to call them it would be an awkward five minutes that they will avoid at any cost. How did we get to this point?

NEWS

A shameful display

 A great tragedy struck Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, March 21 Four police officers were killed in the line of duty. It all started at a routine traffic stop, when the driver 26-year-old Lovelle Mixon opened fire, killing one officer and critically wounding the other who later died. The driver fled the scene and a citywide manhunt began. After receiving a tip on the suspect's location, the SWAT team stormed the house. Mixon opened fire again, killing two members of the SWAT team. Returning fire, they killed Mixon. He was on parole for assault with a deadly weapon and had a warrant out for his arrest for violating that parole. The families of the four officers and the entire Oakland Police Department were devastated. The funerals were all held this week.After seeing this, one thinks, "How could this get any worse?" but it did. Tensions have been high between the black community and the police department due to an incident where a transit police officer shot and killed a 22-year-old man in January of this year. On Thursday, the Oakland black community rallied against the Oakland Police Department. They walked the streets and chanted, calling the police killers, accusing them of genocide against the community and praising the late Mixon as a hero. They claimed that Mixon was a "good kid" and that justice was needed for his death. Can you believe what you are reading? A 26-year-old convict and cop killer is being praised by his community as a hero. When I saw this I was disgusted. Worse, the message is being sent to the youth of this community. They are telling them going to jail, violating your parole and even murder are OK, and when the police come after you for it, the community will have your back. This kind of behavior is unacceptable and something should be done to let them know that. They should know they have no support in this fight. As a nation we should be gravely disappointed to call this community fellow Americans.How far does this protest stem from the way that people think every day? When was the last time you were pulled over for speeding and said the cop was a jerk for giving you a ticket? I am sure everyone has heard the story about a cop arresting underage kids for drinking and them being pissed for getting in trouble. How about marijuana? It is my favorite when someone is busted for possession and they get pissed at the police officer. These things are all illegal and it is no one's fault except your own if you get in trouble for it.The police are there for a reason — to serve and protect. Yes, there are a few bad apples that give everyone a reputation, but there are those in every profession. Plenty of doctors have been sued for malpractice and stripped of their license, but I am sure you still go to your doctor if you have the flu. You can bad mouth police officers all you want, but if someone is trying to mug you, I can bet they are the first people you call. If your car is stolen, they are there. If you are having a heart attack and they are the first responders, they will be the ones to save your life with CPR. No one likes getting tickets or getting in trouble, but you cannot fault a person for doing their job — especially a job that is so important to the safety of so many people.Although it is common thought that police officers are above the law, they are not. They have consequences for breaking the law and the rules of their job as well. Yes, many times we see police officers in a shootout and they are not punished for it, but their shooting was within the limits of their duties. Regarding this recent incident, this man was known to be armed and dangerous, yet the officers of the SWAT team did not open fire on him. He opened fire on them and only in defense did they return fire. The media and non-profit organizations blow many of these incidents out of proportion, and we are only told what they want us to hear. If we looked into the actual happenings of the event under the law, it would be more than clear of their innocence.The next time you are given a ticket for anything, from something as simple as a traffic ticket to being arrested for a higher-level crime, take a second and think about your actions. Is what you did illegal? If the answer is yes, then you deserve what you get. If you don't agree with it, then you have a bone to pick with the justice system, not the police who are only there to enforce it. Anna Norcia is a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences junior majoring in nutritional sciences. Her column, "Just the Facts," runs on alternate Mondays.

NEWS

Why are they more important

In the past few weeks, Rihanna and Chris Brown have taken over the headlines of every media source from the junky gossip magazines to every newspaper at the local coffee shop. The pictures of her face are just frightening and I think of how horrible this must be for her. There is never any excuse for domestic violence, and the suggested boycott of Chris Brown's music is appropriate in my eyes. It got me thinking, he was not the first celebrity to commit a crime like this, so why have we never boycotted anyone else's work before?

NEWS

Don't be afraid of your food

With the passing of Valentine's Day, I can't help but feel excited for Easter. I know it is two months away but I just can't wait for that big family dinner. I have dreams of pizza gain, sweet Easter pie, lasagna, ham and so many other goodies. As I think about this glorious dinner, I realize how big of a role food has played in my life and in the lives of so many others. We eat and gather for meals for so many different reasons, whether it is a holiday, celebration, mourning or just because you're hungry; food has undoubtedly shaped who we are in one way or another. The best part about coming home from school is a home-cooked meal. First dates, group meetings and all types of social gatherings include eating of some sort. In this same thought I have realized how difficult it has become to enjoy eating.

NEWS

Learning from experience by taking a closer look

In my last column, "Battling the Busted Bus System," I voiced my complaints about the busses that go to and from Cook/Douglass campus. I have become extremely frustrated with how inconvenient traveling to and from the campus is compared to the others this semester. In response to my article, Director of Transportation Services Jack Molenaar sent me an e-mail requesting a meeting to discuss some of the things in my article and show me what a day in the life at the University's transportation department is like. Of course I said yes; I love when I get responses to my articles, especially from faculty and staff. Later it dawned on me — he probably wants me to write a follow-up saying how good the transportation department is, or maybe he's going to yell at me. After that I was not looking forward to the meeting very much. Fortunately, the meeting involved none of that. Molenaar was very nice; he just wanted to show me that even though students complain a lot about the bus system, in the grand scheme of things, it is very efficient, especially for the area we are located. The one thing he really wanted to set straight was the myth about the University building a monorail. It would be more inefficient than the busses and there are other options in the works that would be much better. That was the subject that really got him going. I was also able to meet people around the offices and see the dispatch area, which I thought was really awesome. I found out on most days the busses are 90 percent on time and you actually need an academic degree and certification to do the job that the people in charge of transportation do. At the end of the meeting, when I told Molenaar that I would be sure to give his office a shout-out, he said it was not necessary and that is what really impressed me most. He had invited me to his office, not to scold me for what I had written or to ask me to take it back, but merely to inform me about a system that I clearly did not know that much about.

OPINION

Battling the busted bus system

As much as I love Rutgers, there are a few things about it that really make me mad. One of them, and I know many others agree with me, is the bus system. As I was waiting to catch a bus to Cook/Douglass from College Avenue it occurred to me that getting to or leaving Cook/Douglass is near impossible. I was at Scott Hall on the College Avenue campus waiting for an F or a EE, and in the time it took for just one of those buses to get there the following came and went: one A, two H's, two LX's, two ward shuttles and one L. I could have gone to Busch, Livingston or around the New Brunswick area at least twice in the time it took for one bus to arrive to take me to Cook/Douglass. Now we all know that the traffic around town is terrible, so before I let myself get too annoyed I assumed the delay was due to traffic. But after the same events happened morning after morning, I realized the inequality those of us traveling to Cook/Douglass were facing and decided to pay a little more attention to it.

NEWS

'White guilt Never; heard; of it'

In a letter published in The Philadelphia Inquirer titled "White Guilt? Done; over; history," Tom Adkins explains why white skinned people of European heritage should no longer feel any guilt about the treatment of blacks. He states now that the people of America, white and black alike, have elected a black president, the infamous and ever powerful man can no longer be holding the people of African American heritage down because that man is now black. He goes on to explain that because Barack Obama came from humble beginnings and now has been elected to the most prestigious position in the nation, people with white skin should no longer feel guilty about the color of their skin and the opportunities they have. As I read this letter I couldn't help but ask myself if it made me a bad person because I never felt this "white guilt." As I came to my conclusions I thought of something else: Isn't it also wrong to assume that all white people had a hand in trying to keep down the African American race?

NEWS

The Thursday America forgot

As I was walking through the food store the other day, I went through my normal routine. First, I got my produce, and then I went down the sale aisle just to see if there was anything that I didn't need but was so cheap I would just buy it anyway. I then proceeded to go down every aisle filling my cart. As I was counting pennies and trying to figure out which pickles were the least expensive, something caught my eye. The holiday aisle was filled with Christmas candy and decorations! It was three weeks before Thanksgiving and the stores are already trying to shove candy canes down our throats.

NEWS

Halloween is decadent and depraved

For the longest time Halloween was my favorite holiday. I loved to dress up as what I wanted to be or someone I admired. My costumes have consisted of doctors, sports players, super heroes and cartoon characters. I would always find pictures of who I wanted to be and try to replicate them exactly. It was always the time to live your dreams. However, over the past few years I have started to dislike this time of year more and more. Like everything else, costume prices are rising and the holiday is turning into a sex appeal contest. In a crunch for time this year I decided that I would just buy a costume. When I got to the store I looked around but I couldn't find anything less than $40 and most were upwards of $70. What bothers me the most is what you are getting for your money. You are getting something that you will only wear once, is of poor quality and, if you're a girl, is usually nothing more than lingerie. There are tons of stores that are only open for a month and rob us with prices, because they know we don't have any other options. Even these online websites say they are giving deals but then charge $10 for shipping.

NEWS

You know what really grinds my gears

As we are all well aware, the country is in a state of financial crisis, and Rutgers is no exception. With classes and programs being cut and tuition being raised, spending has been the topic of conversation around campus. For good reason, a lot of attention has been put on the athletics department. Three of the top Rutgers salaries are paid to coaches Greg Schiano, C. Vivian Stringer and Fred Hill Jr. The new stadium is always a common battleground and now that fundraising has not gone as well as expected, its outcome is still in the air. The football team stays in hotels the night before home games, flies to schools other teams would have to drive to and all of the athletic facilities are state of the art while the undergraduate labs are missing equipment and barely functioning. But instead of being guilty of blaming the athletics department for all of our money troubles, I decided to be a more educated student and look into spending throughout the school. There were two main areas that really rubbed me the wrong way: employee salaries and the NJ STARS program.

NEWS

Rutgers is more than just football

As our once beloved football team is failing to meet the expectations of everyone, there seems to be a lot of talk about them. However, I would like to remind us all that there is more to Rutgers than football. Every day I open the newspaper, there are at least two articles about the football team and how disappointing they are or how the administration is giving them too much attention. In reality it is us, the student body, who is drawing so much attention to them.

NEWS

Health care unfair at Rutgers

Fall has arrived and the weather is getting colder. It is the time of year to snuggle up in a sweater and enjoy the scenery. The apple cider is fresh and you are just about settled into school. As one of my favorite times of the year, the only thing that I do not like, and I think everyone can agree, is getting sick. No matter how much vitamin C you take or sleep you get, that runny nose always seems to sneak up on you. You ignore it because you think it's just a runny nose but then you have a full blown cold, you're stuck in bed, and now you have no choice but to go to the Hurtado Health Center or one of the other student health facilities on campus.

NEWS

Health care unfair at Rutgers

Fall has arrived and the weather is getting colder. It is the time of year to snuggle up in a sweater and enjoy the scenery. The apple cider is fresh and you are just about settled into school. As one of my favorite times of the year, the only thing that I do not like, and I think everyone can agree, is getting sick. No matter how much vitamin C you take or sleep you get, that runny nose always seems to sneak up on you. You ignore it because you think it's just a runny nose but then you have a full blown cold, you're stuck in bed, and now you have no choice but to go to the Hurtado Health Center or one of the other student health facilities on campus.     

NEWS

Mishap or neglect

As an avid supporter of Scarlet Knights football I was super pumped for the game this past Monday. Alongside my friends, we celebrated the start of another year by wearing our red shirts with pride, excited to soon be a part of the red monster more commonly known as the student section. On the bus ride over, we joined in on RU chants and started up fight songs. We trash talked the other team and shared drinks with strangers who are now friends. We listened to alumni telling us stories of the days they ran the streets of New Brunswick and asking what had become of the old hangouts. And even though the new walk from Johnson Park to the stadium seemed a little longer than the years past there were no complaints: We were just happy to root on our team. Making memories of our own, it felt like fall and smelled like a Rutgers win.

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