It still sucks: EC parking

Cheyenne Roper
News Editor

EC campus parking has been an issue among students and faculty for quite some time, but according to some, it seems to be worse than ever now.

“Parking’s even worse this year. I don’t find any space and it’s a struggle,” said sophomore Megan Dufour. “I’ve seen a lot of parking stalking going on.”

According to Marc Molina, executive director of Security and Emergency Management, parking typically gets better throughout the semester.

“Due to the layout of our campus, virtually every parking area requires an allotment of time for walking to campus buildings,” said Molina. “As the semester progresses, we usually see the parking congestion begin to subside, and campus community members begin to develop a routine that allows them to know how long they need to travel to campus, where best to park, and how much time they need to get to their classes.”

However, as of now, parking difficulties are affecting more than just students.

On the EC campus, there is no reserved parking spaces for faculty members.

“Our campus is structured in such a way that it is very difficult to ‘reserve’ parking areas for specific segments of campus,” said Molina. “Due to the physical constraints of our parking lots and spaces, much of our parking is used by commuters, staff, and faculty at different times and on different days. This creates a transient flow of vehicles for our parking lots, which best serves the general use of all parking spaces across campus.”

Ann Frank Wake, professor and chair of the English department, said that parking affects time spent in her office.

“I spend probably about five to seven hours less in my office every week because I don’t want to waste twenty to thirty minutes trying to find parking at times when I would normally try to be in, so I just come later,” she said.

EC senior Elizabeth Gordon described her parking frustrations.

“You end up having to park really far away and then run late to class,” said Gordon.

Dufour has come up with ideas about how to make parking for commuters easier.

“If [resident students] are not using their cars on a daily basis to get to class, they do not need to have prime parking spots,” said Dufour. “They can have their parking in some other space because it’s taking up space that commuters could use.”

Molina also  provided information on when and where to find parking.

“If you are coming to campus at or before 8 a.m., you are likely to find parking in Alexander lot,” said Molina. “However, as the day goes on parking becomes scarce in the Alexander lot.”

“We often find parking is still available in the lots north of Walter Street, the Mill Theater lot, the spaces along the railroad, the Brune Tennis Court lots, lots to the west and north of Faganel Hall, as well as the remote parking lots,” continued Molina.

Beyond these options, there are also remote parking lots at St. Peters United Church of Christ and First United Methodist Church. Students can also use public street parking, which can be limited to 2, 3 and 6 hour parking, so being attentive to the signs regulating parking is encouraged.

EC has been working towards bettering the issue.

“Recently we created more parking spaces behind Schick Hall. We reassigned some of the reserved spaces on campus from special use to general use,” said Molina. “We also removed some of our fleet vehicles off campus onto other college-owned property so that we could free up more campus parking spots.”

Student clubs face budget cuts

Syeda Sameeha

All budgeted EC clubs are facing cuts in their funding because of reductions in the allocation provided by EC administration.

Student Government Association (SGA) president Madiha Ahmed explained that the Fee Allocation Board (FAB) created their budget based on the amount of proposals presented last year.

“They [FAB] allocated as much money as they knew they could allocate, but at the end of the day the budget they got from the President's Office was different from what we had allocated for the year before,” said Ahmed.

EC president Troy VanAken acknowledged that these cuts could have been a result from the decline in this year’s student enrollment, but not entirely.

“Having fifty less students on campus would have an impact on the total number of amount of student activity fees [organizations] would have to work with, but I don’t think that would be substantial though, and it shouldn’t have a profound impact,” said VanAken.

While larger clubs like The Leader, Union Board and SGA have to make adjustments to their budget after these cuts, it is the student clubs with less members that have been hit the hardest.

Black Student Union (BSU) is facing a budget cut of $3,000.

“It’s difficult to continue to build our name and reach out and be a support to the minority body here on campus when our budget and means to fund any event is drastically cut,” said BSU student president Rebecca Hill.

“We pretty much will not have Black History Month because we don't even know where to put the money,” added Hill.

Hill also highlighted the lack of transparency of what was going on.

“I think a lot of clubs are facing it [budget cuts], but we just don't know where this is coming from. It's definitely impacting us,” she said.

Ahmed; however, believes that despite the adjustments and cuts to the budget, each club can survive on the amount.

“I don't think any budget is too small per say; they can still put on their events,” said Ahmed. “The Fee Allocation Board also looks at what these people have done with their money before and how they allocated their money before.”

In response to the budget changes, SGA added an amendment to its constitution at their September 20 meeting, stating all funding proposals can only be presented to SGA if a club has “exhausted their resources to go through CO-OP.”

CO-OP is short for Cooperative Funding and is a fund that is normally where non-budgeted student organizations can go to request money.

“Our funding is a little bit different this year,” explained SGA parliamentarian Alex Schultz at the meeting. “You guys will learn more a little bit in depth, but some of these bigger proposals we end up talking about—we may not have enough funds for it, but CO-OP might.”

Faculty Talks College Name Change

Syeda Sameeha

The debate over whether to change Elmhurst College’s name to Elmhurst University has reached the faculty. As per President Troy VanAken’s request, the discussion was put on the agenda of the August 20 faculty retreat. It was also discussed at the faculty meeting on September 7.

Some of the points brought up in the faculty meetings were about whether a name change would still retain EC’s rich history and if it would require more structural changes in departments.

The decision to change EC’s name to a university has long been a conversation that’s been tossed around even amongst past presidents of the college. VanAken said he expects the Board of Trustees to vote on this decision this March.

World In Review - 9/11/18

Syeda Sameeha

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Says No to Reelection

  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel made a bombshell announcement that he would not seek reelection for a third term.

The announcement, which was made at a press conference on Tuesday September 4, came as a surprise for many Chicagoans.

“This has been the job of a lifetime, but it is not a job for a lifetime,” said Emanuel in his address.

Emanuel, who is Chicago’s first Jewish mayor, was elected in 2011. As Slate News mentioned, his administration brought the city record levels of tourism from the Riverwalk construction to economic opportunities from bringing major corporations like Motorola and Kraft Heinz.

His term has also been characterized as unpopular with an unprecedented level of gun violence in Chicago (including the 2014 Laquan McDonald shooting), pension crisis, teachers strikes, and scandals involving Chicago Public Schools. This in turn earned him the moniker “Mayor 1%” to show the divide between upper class Chicago and the South and West Side, where unemployment and crime remains high, according to the Chicago Sun Times.

With Emanuel not seeking election, the Chicago mayoral race is looking to be heated with 12 challengers. The leading candidates based on results of a flash poll conducted by Chicago Sun Times are former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, businessman Willie Wilson, and former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas.

Nike Unveils Colin Kaepernick as Face of New Campaign

  Photo by Nike

Photo by Nike

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is one of the faces of Nike’s new “Just Do It” campaign.

Kaepernick is most known for the movement he started in the 2016 NFL season of taking a knee during the national anthem in protest of the treatment of minorities in the U.S.

The first part of the campaign was launched on September 3 on Kaepernick's Twitter profile with the tag line “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” It will soon debut on TV during the opening game of the NFL.

Nike’s decision to feature Kaepernick has brought angry responses from some critics. On social media, videos of people destroying Nike merchandise have been circulating. The decision also prompted President Donald Trump, who has long been vocal of his anger towards Kaepernick’s movement to tweet, “What was Nike thinking?”.

Despite some of the outcry, Nike has received praise for its launch and has seen a 31 percent bump increase in online sales after the campaign’s debut as reported by the Washington Post.

It's About Damn Time: EC Offers Free Laundry (Get your Tide Pods out of the fridge)

Cheyenne Roper
News Editor

 Photo: Campus residents doing their free loads of laundry in West Hall.  Courtesy of Cheyenne Roper.

Photo: Campus residents doing their free loads of laundry in West Hall. Courtesy of Cheyenne Roper.

Hoarding quarters and using Laundry Bucks on your Jaypass are now a thing of the past.

In an effort to make the campus living experience more a ordable and convenient, the Office of Residence Life sent out an e-mail to EC residents announcing that doing laundry would be free for the rest of the year as of August 30.

Karen Kissel, former Vice President and CFO of Finance and Administration, spoke about the school’s decision to provide this new freebie.

“The college wanted to provide an additional amenity to our residential students,” said Kissel. “We shared the concept with some students and they thought it was a great idea so we made it happen.”

EC residents are thrilled with this new offering. “I love the free laundry,” said EC sophomore Amy Young with her laundry bin in hand. “I can fully take advantage of it and do as manyloads as I want without having to worry about money.”

The e-mail was sent out to residents about a week into the school year, meaning some students had already anticipated on using their Laundry Bucks on their Jaypass.

“We were hoping to have the equipment converted prior to the start of the school year, but it took a week longer than we had expected” explained Kissel.

The e-mail also mentioned that if you have pre-loaded laundry money already on your Jaypass, your laundry funds will be moved automatically by September 15 to your Bluejay Bucks account (which can be used in the café, but will expire at the end of the academic year).

Despite the initial delay, EC residents are still excited about this new bestowal.

“I’m so happy because now I can do like 10 loads at a time,” remarked senior Ellie Spindle. “I used to wait and save it all up but now I can just do as much as I want.”

Since laundry is o cially free to residents, this means that the school had to decide to expend a certain amount of money to make it work.

“The cost is not that significant, and the residential students really appreciate it,” said Kissel. “That is what matters.”

This decision is saving students money that can be put towards other things they may need, like food or clothing.

“I saved up a bunch of quarters because I do a lot of laundry and now I won’t need them for it,” mentioned junior Taylor Davitt.

The resolution to provide free laundry was made by more than one once on campus, and they all collectively agreed on the matter.

Kissel made note of how there were people involved from Student Financial Services and Information Services, but that Student Affairs took the lead in making this decision happen. She also added that if there is a need for more washers and driers due to the possible increase of usage among residents, investing in more may be something that could be explored by the school.

Regardless, this idea seems to be going over well so far among those who live on campus. “It’s amazing, I feel like I can stay on campus more now and hang out with my friends,” said senior Sandra Contreras Marques.

EC senior Rebecca Vogt receives Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in South America

By Kenneth Edison, Editor-in-Chief

Follow him at @krazo1

EC senior Rebecca Vogt was selected to receive the 2018 Fulbright Award scholarship on Friday April 20, allowing her to spend a year teaching English in Argentina. 

The Fulbright scholarship is a very competitive honor, with several thousand applicants vying for the award every year. Therefore, Vogt was understandably elated when she heard the news.

“It felt surreal and still does. I’m not a super emotional person but I’m pretty sure I shed a tear,” she said. “When I received the email that notified me that I received the Fulbright Award, I was just grabbing dinner at Chipotle before heading to a night class. Sitting there in Chipotle, I read the email about five times (because I didn’t believe it was real) to make sure I was reading it correctly.”

Part of the considering factors to receiving the award include the student’s GPA, in depth campus involvement and prior experience with studying abroad, something Vogt reflected on after receiving the scholarship. 

“In the past, through Elmhurst, I studied abroad for two j-terms; one to Europe and one to Costa Rica. I also studied abroad for a semester in Ecuador, my junior year,” she said. “Those study abroad experiences provided me with countless areas of personal and professional growth; travel skills, Spanish language skills, a sensitivity and awareness of other cultures, and more. Outside of that, it really fueled my passion and desire to have more experiences abroad, especially leading me to apply for the Fulbright.” 

The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program allows students to travel to classrooms abroad to aid local teachers. Vogt, who is majoring in Spanish and Special Education, will be traveling to Argentina to teach English, a decision that Vogt attributed to her love for the Spanish language.

“As soon as I had learned what a Fulbright Scholarship was, I knew I wanted to apply to a country in Latin America,” she said. “It’s a perfect intersection of many of my passions: teaching, service work, living abroad, and the Spanish language.” 

Since the Fulbright’s inception in 1946, only six EC students have ever received the award. 

While Vogt is the official recipient of this year’s award, another EC senior Monica Mazurek was selected as an alternate in the event that Vogt is unable to accept the award. Mazurek aims to use the scholarship to travel to Thailand for the English Teaching Assistant Program. 

EC’s Fulbright Advisor is English Professor Mary Kay Mulvaney, who spoke out about the announcement that Vogt and Mazurek had received the award and alternate status respectively. 

“They’re outstanding students. They really have curiosity about other cultures, they’re sensitive to other cultures and they have respect for other environments,” said Mulvaney in an EC press release on April 20. 

The Leader elects veteran staff writer as new Editor-in-Chief for 2018-19 school year

  Photo by Abby Robb   EC Freshman Syeda Sameeha is elected to serve as the Editor-in-Chief of The Leader for the 2018-19 school year.

Photo by Abby Robb

EC Freshman Syeda Sameeha is elected to serve as the Editor-in-Chief of The Leader for the 2018-19 school year.

Staff Report

The Leader concluded its search for an Editor-in-Chief for the 2018-2019 school year on Tuesday April 10 when it elected staff writer Syeda Sameeha to the position. 

Sameeha won a popular vote conducted by the entire Leader staff at one of its weekly meetings. She ran against fellow staff writer Alexa Ash who predominantly had been a writer in the Press Play section before the election. 

“I felt really surprised and happy when I first found out I was elected,” Sameeha said. “I joined The Leader on my first day as a freshman at EC and I feel like I’ve really grown with the staff as a person and they feel like a second family.”  

Sameeha is a freshman political science major who claimed that journalism work is what she wants to make into a career. She cited her experience writing with The Leader as a guiding experience for her future career. 

“I consider the editorial board and Dr. Ron as mentors who’ve really shaped my writing and my view on journalism,” she said. “To be elected Editor-in-Chief is an honor and I cannot wait to lead and work with all of the talented people that work to put out this paper.”

Sameeha will serve as the successor to current Editor-in-Chief Kenneth Edison who will graduate at the end of the spring semester. Edison started as a staff writer in 2016 before being appointed Managing Editor and then Editor-in Chief in Spring 2017. 

Now that it is time to step down, Edison reflected on his time at the Leader, while congratulating Sameeha on her newly earned position. 

“It’s kind of surreal that it’s finally time to end my stint at The Leader, but I could not be leaving it in any better hands,” he said. “Sameeha has been a complete pleasure to have on the paper and she’s been an essential piece of this paper this year. She may be a new face, but I am confident she can do incredible things and I look forward to seeing all the awards she will inevitably win at ICPA next year.”

 As far as what the future holds, Sameeha hopes to continue the Leader’s legacy of providing information to EC’s campus.

“I hope under my leadership we continue our mission to inform, shed light on issues that need attention and bridge the gap between administration and students.”

Student body elects junior Madiha Ahmed as new president of student government association

  Illustration by Victoria Martin   SGA elections for president conclude with junior Madiha Ahmed and freshman Laura Rusk by a margin of 217 to 97 against opponents Josh Bucens and Carlos Cantu. 

Illustration by Victoria Martin

SGA elections for president conclude with junior Madiha Ahmed and freshman Laura Rusk by a margin of 217 to 97 against opponents Josh Bucens and Carlos Cantu. 

By Victoria Martin, News Editor

With SGA elections wrapping up on Thursday April 19, the EC student body has elected the 2018-2019 school year SGA board.

EC junior Madiha Ahmed and running mate EC freshman Laura Rusk, the new president and vice president of SGA, won with 69.1 percent of the student vote against their opponents EC juniors Josh Bucens and Carlos Cantu.

Ahmed, whose speech to the current SGA board can be found in April 17 issue of The Leader, ran on a stance of her experience as a member of SGA and meeting a variety of student needs.

“I feel like I have a good idea of how it works,” Ahmed said in her SGA speech. “[Ahmed and Rusk] love making the Elmhurst College experience better and our main goal is that the needs of students are met.”

Ahmed expressed her excitement to work with the new board and her expectations in their ability to help students.

“I’m just really excited to be working with the other amazing individuals on the board to hopefully meet (and exceed) the expectations of the student body,” Ahmed told The Leader in a Facebook interview.

Rusk added that she plans to work closely with Ahmed to better address the issues on campus affecting a wide range of students.

“Just few ideas we’ve come up with is maps and better visibility of all gender restrooms on campus, more resources for out of state students,” Rusk said. “[And] accommodations for commuter students and definitely emphasizing the continuation of partnerships that SGA has started for things like the winter weekend which I thought was very successful.”

EC junior Lauren Downer won the election for SGA secretary, as the sole runner, with 91.97 percent of 137 voters.  Downer ran with the hopes of growing her skills as a member of SGA and personal experience.

“I have been on SGA for 2 ½ years, but have never been on [the executive board],” Downer wrote in a brief description on the online ballet. “I also think that this will help me grow more, I have never taken minutes or done public relations and this will help me gain that experience as well as the experience of being on the executive board overall.”

EC junior Alex Shultz won his new position in SGA as Parliamentarian as the sole runner, winning 81.75 percent of the 137 votes.

The parliamentarian position is, according to Ahmed, a new position created to have someone on the board whose sole job it is to interpret the SGA constitution and make sure it is being implemented and followed as intended.

Senator positions were selected via an internal application and selection, according to Ahmed. 

To increase recognized organization and club participation, a new form of senator will be implemented in the fall of 2018.

The legislator position is designed to have a larger representation in SGA by student organizations.

Ahmed described the reasoning for the creation of the new position as a way to increase a noticeably dwindling organization participation.

“We feel that it is part of our responsibility to help each organization increase their outreach and activity,” Ahmed wrote in an email. “This role provides a platform for students of all different interests to come together once a month and inform SGA and the other groups on their initiatives or events they are planning. It’s meant to be a time for students to PR, share ideas, collaborate with one another, and voice concerns.”

Wheaton College professor examines the history of the Holocaust through poetry

 Poet and Wheaton College Professor Jill Pelaez Baumgaertner looks at the history of the Holocaust through poetry in her lecture in the Founders Lounge on Sunday, April 8.  Photo by Cheyenne Roper

Poet and Wheaton College Professor Jill Pelaez Baumgaertner looks at the history of the Holocaust through poetry in her lecture in the Founders Lounge on Sunday, April 8. Photo by Cheyenne Roper

By Cheyenne Roper, News Reporter

To explore the Holocaust through the lens of poetry, Jill Pelaez Baumgaertner asked her audience “Can poetry be written after Auschwitz?” during her lecture titled by her question on Sunday, April 8.  

Baumgaertner is a poet and emerita professor of English at Wheaton College, who wrote her first poem at the ripe age of 16 after visiting Dachau Concentration Camp, and has since immersed herself in to the literature of the Holocaust.  

The Holocaust Education project at Elmhurst College hosted the event just in time for the national Holocaust Remembrance Day, which was celebrated on April 11 and 12 in honor of all of those who lost their lives.  

“I believe that this genocide especially, but also all other genocides of the 20th century, have actually created a new form of literature,” said Baumgaertner. “One which defies the traditional dictum, the works of the imagination, works of art, brings order out of chaos, and involves moments of recognition and insight.”  

A Ceremony of Remembrance and Responsibility was held before the lecture, where nine candles were lit by EC students and Jewish families. A moment of silence fell over the crowd.  

Baumgaertner went on to explain how important poetry truly is after traumatic worldly events such as mass genocides. 

She then continued by quoting Susan Gubar, a Pulitzer Prize nominee. 

 “‘In an effort to signal the impossibility of a sensible story, the authors of poetry provide spurts of vision, baffling but nevertheless powerful pictures of fragmentary scenes, unassimilated in to an explanatory plot,’ he writes. ‘By abrogating narrative coherence and seizing images of the past, poets mark discontinuity, engaging the psychological and the ethical, political and aesthetic consequences of the calamity, without laying claim to comprehending it in its totality.’” 

Baumgaertner agreed with Gubar in that poetry is an important part of expressing emotions that can be difficult to convey when writing on such a heavy topic.  

EC freshman Leslie Robles discussed her thoughts on the lecture. 

 “I didn’t really consider how the Holocaust was presented through literature, poetry and the media because whenever we think of movies such as ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,’ we kind of think of it in a sympathetic way,” said Robles.  

Commemorating the Holocaust through the written word is important for not only the people who lived through it, but also the youth of the future who recognize this event as something that must not ever be repeated, according to Baumgaertner. 

“Poetry must be written after Auschwitz,” Baumgaertner concluded. “Poetry forces us to slow down, pay attention, reduce language to its bare essentials, ask the biggest question, and resist closure. This is important because poetry encourages us to lament.” 

WORLD IN REVIEW: United States and allies launch missile strikes on Syrian targets

 Missiles fly over the Syrian capital of Demascus in the early morning of Saturday, April 14.  Internet Photo

Missiles fly over the Syrian capital of Demascus in the early morning of Saturday, April 14. Internet Photo

By Kenneth Edison, Editor-in-Chief

Follow him at @krazo1

The United States and its western allies took forceful action against the Syrian government on April 14 when the United States launched a joint airstrike with British and French forces.

The attack came as retaliation for the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons in an attack near the capital city of Damascus on April 7.  While the Syrian government denies the use of chemical weapons in the attack, reports released on April 14 by the French government  claimed there was irrefutable evidence of chemical warfare. 

According to the Washington Post, the report was released just hours after the coordinated missile strike which targeted labs with the capability of producing chemical weapons. 

Though Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday that there were no plans for additional attacks unless more chemical attacks occur, President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that the United States would be “prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.”

While this is not the first time the United States has intervened in the Syrian conflict, the timing of the attack has increased implications for the United States’ dubious relationship with Russia, one of the largest allies of the Syrian government. 

This year has already seen US-Russian relations suffer when 60 Russian diplomats were dispelled from the country as a result of the Russian government’s alleged involvement in the poisoning of a Russian double agent on British soil. 

According to the New York Times, the Russian government has responded to the attack with threats of retaliation.

“We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences,” Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the United States, said in a statement. “All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris.”

Associate professor Mary Walsh promoted to Director of Service Learning

By Alveena Siddiqi, News Reporter

Mary Walsh, the associate professor of the political science department has been promoted to replace EC’s director of service learning, to start in the fall semester of this year.

EC Dean of Faculty April Edwards, who appointed Walsh to take over the position, highlighted Walsh’s interest in the community as one of the reasons for picking her.

“She has a real passion for service learning - she teaches many of the service learning courses on our campus,” said EC Dean of Faculty April Edwards. “She’s obviously very committed to community engagement and social justice issues, and I think she’ll do well. She has some ideas for some new things she wants to start, and I think [the position is] a very good match for her talents and her interests.”

Throughout her years at EC, Walsh has incorporated service learning into her classes, involving students with organizations such as The EXODUS World Service, a Christian non-profit campaign focused on welcoming refugees to local communities, and the Human Rights Campaign, a non-profit LGBTQ advocacy group. 

Walsh emphasized the importance of service learning in Elmhurst’s newly approved strategic plan. 

“The new strategic plan has a number of pillars that will guide us moving forward, and it seems to me that there are two pillars that service learning is essential to,” she said. “The pillars of ‘Academic Excellence’ and of ‘Diversity, Inclusion and Social Responsibility.’ I think that service learning is necessarily apart of those.” 

Walsh continued with her enthusiasm for the years to come in her new position at EC.

“I’m really honored to be able to build on the foundation that’s been laid and excited to be part of the ongoing discussion about the role of service learning in the strategic plan going forward.”

Walsh also mentioned that current Director of Service Learning Michael Savage has played an important role in mentoring her throughout her time at Elmhurst.

“It was in my first year of teaching here that Mick introduced me to the possibilities of service learning in my classes and to the resources that the service learning department has to offer,” she said. “For example, it would’ve been off my radar that in my political justice class [to think] ‘Gosh, wouldn’t it be cool if they could link up with refugee families and think in that context about global justice? Or connect with the human rights campaign and think in that context about the concept of ‘rights’ itself?”

Savage will continue to play a role in helping Walsh to transition into her role over the summer before stepping out of the role to focus on teaching his classes in the fall. 

The process of finding a replacement to teach some of Dr. Walsh’s current classes is still under consideration. 

“Dr.Walsh will still be teaching two courses every semester, so it will really just be one course that we need covered. It could be an adjunct professor, it could be another professor in the department across campus,” said Edwards. “Typically for these types of appointments, we don’t replace the position. It’s a three-year appointment, so after those three years, Dr. Walsh may choose to rotate out and someone else may choose to rotate in as well.”

Temple University study uncovers reality of food insecurity and homelessness among college students

  Illustration by Victoria Martin   Study finds that 36 percent of college students are food insecure.

Illustration by Victoria Martin

Study finds that 36 percent of college students are food insecure.

By Syeda Sameeha, News Reporter

The broke college student trope has long been part of popular culture, from the kid who lives entirely on Ramen and boxed mac and cheese to the throngs of college students who crash events with free food. Perhaps many of these are exaggerated stereotypes on TV and the butt of many jokes, but it’s a reality for many.

In a study released Tuesday April 3 by Temple University and the Wisconsin Hope Lab, about 36 percent of students on college campuses are reported to be food insecure or to not have enough to eat. The report also showed that another 36 percent of students say they face housing insecurities and 9 percent report that they are homeless. 

The study was one of the first to include students from a wide number of institutions from community colleges, public, and private universities illustrating that food and housing insecurities are national conversations on college campuses all over the country including Elmhurst College.

EC Student Government Association [SGA] has been on the forefront in creating initiatives to combat this issue. 

At its March 15 meeting, the organization voted in favor of a proposal allocating funds to a J-Pass that could be used by the EC case manager to buy food for students facing food insecurity.

“This would provide food for hungry students as they need it and as they come, just to have it to be a more discrete way,” said SGA President Estrella Vargas. “I know we were talking about a food pantry which sometimes that isn’t as discrete, but having this way would provide funds to people that need it the most.”

SGA is also working in partnership with Chartwells to allow students to donate leftover J-Pass money to the fund to help students in need.

“When people have leftover money at the end of the year inevitably instead of buying cases of Gatorade, they can just put it towards donating to that fund,” said Vargas.

While EC does not collect any records that would show how many students are actually in these types of situations and many students may feel stigmatized or embarrassed to reveal their situation, this issue does exist at this campus.

Monisha Murjani is the newly hired case manager at Elmhurst College who works with students who may have academic concerns or financial concerns like food and housing insecurities. 

“I know people may be shocked this happens on a college campus, but this happens everywhere,” said Murjani. “I think these issues cut across all demographics and all populations. It’s not like a cookie cutter thing, it affects all people. Some people don’t understand these issues and what these issues are because there is fear to talk about it and there is not a lot of info out there.”

Murjani also noted that the definition of a traditional college student has changed. 

“I think a traditional mode of a college student being 18-22 years old is not always the case. A lot of our students are working multiple jobs, they may be older and may be supporting families so it’s not a ‘traditional’ college student,” said Murjani. “I think that’s not always visible because people are either trying to hide them or not openly talking about them, so I think it’s important to remember students come from various backgrounds.”

The majority of EC students are commuters. As EC chaplain Scott Matheney notes many of these students may come from different communities with varying levels of resources and support.

In fact, according to a 2013 report by Social IMPACT Research Center, a leading poverty research program in the Midwest states that about 27,540 Dupage County residents live in extreme poverty.

“A lot of the stories are there is a lack of family structure, so nowhere to turn to, and no other community they can turn to for help such as a faith community. Then there’s the whole embarrassment issue and the fear,” said Matheney. “I see that a lot with a lot of our commuter students, they’re just scraping together, poor college student model, but they’re just barely getting along and when they have to cut, where they cut is in stuff for themselves. So there’s essential things like room and board, place to sleep, car, gas, tuition and that’s the stuff we watch a lot, people have some, but they’ve got nowhere near enough and every month they’re struggling to get through, to get to summer so maybe they can work.”

The College is currently working on developing resources for these types of students. Right now, offices like the Niebuhr Center or the Office of Student Affairs buy extra food for students in need to come in and take what they want through out of pocket funds.

Another resource is Murjani, who is trained to help students dealing with these issues.

 “Whether that’s connecting students with campus jobs or working with them to connect them with food pantries in the community - I will work to find community resources from them, I will work to find counseling services or temporary housing or work opportunities. It’s case by case and I’ll work with a student directly to kind help them with the issue they are facing.”

“Some of these issues are not easy for students to talk about. So it’s not like I’m getting droves of students saying I’m food insecure or I’m homeless, explained Murjani. “I’m getting folks to know our office, who I am, what I do, so they feel comfortable enough coming in and talking to folks here about what is going on.”

In terms of housing insecurities, the college has opened up dorms for students in need during Spring Break. 

But as Murjani noted, this can be an issue for students who don’t have any place to go when campus is closed during other breaks or the summer.

“I would recommend that if student is struggling with housing and worried about that, they just meet with me directly and I can either figure out if there’s something in the community.” said Murjani.

“I’ll be honest, I think there is a lot of work to be done, but I think it’s great because there is a lot of work being done and then it’s just hopefully sooner than later some of these initiatives get started.”

Staff and professors react to potential move toward digital books

By Syeda Sameeha and Cheyenne Roper, News Reporter

EC may be using more digital books with the upcoming loss of space in the library and the physical book being seen as “yesterday’s technology” by an EC board of trustee member.

Christina Kujawski, store manager for Beck’s Books, discussed the possible future of the campus bookstore. 

“Eventually we might consider moving more towards the e-book platform just because it’s cheaper for the students and most of you already have computers, phones or tablets,” said Kujawski.

It was also revealed by Kujawski that Beck’s may end up becoming a spirit shop in the near future if more professors head to the digital platform. 

“With technology moving forward as fast as it is, it’s a lot easier and a lot more effective to have e-books than it is to get the physical print copy book,” added Kujawski. 

EC English Professor Lance Wilcox cannot imagine the move from

digital to physical working out in anyone’s favor.

“Reading poetry on a Kindle would be like drinking a fine wine through a plastic straw,” said Wilcox. 

Despite the technological take-over, Head of EC’s A.C. Buehler Library Susan Swords Steffen, described how print book checkouts from students and faculty have remained the same as they always have.

“For students, browsing print books is still a valid way of gaining information and always has been.”

However, she also indicated how the library tries to do its best to cater to students in this very modern age, which includes offering access to books in every platform—including hundreds of thousands of e-books and other technologies. 

“We have access to over 350,000 e-books in the A.C. Buehler Library,” said Steffen

 Nowadays, a person can choose between physically holding the book in their hands and the experience of flipping the pages, or clicking a button on a tablet or computer. 

“There’s comfort in holding a book,” said EC senior Yuval Dohn.

However, Dohn also mentioned how there are aspects to both that can be useful. 

“I prefer a print book because I enjoy taking a pen and highlighter to a book, especially if I’m looking into themes and motifs, but I do like having e-books because they’re cheaper and can highlight something and can search for a term and it comes up.”

Urban Studies Department Head and Associate professor of political science Constance Mixon, as an author and as a professor, comes at the issue from two sides.

“The publisher for my book, ‘Twenty-First Century Chicago,’ was really pushing for an e-book because it would be cheaper for students, they don’t have the same costs of publishing and we can update content more frequently,” explained Mixon.

“As an instructor I want the best learning experience for my students—that they are learning the way that they learn best,” Mixon added. “I don’t care whether they’re reading on a computer or a hard copy of the book, they are still responsible for the material.” 

As for “books being yesterday’s technology,” Wilcox disagrees.

“Print books are absolutely not becoming a thing of the past. I expect both print and e-books to remain in widespread use for the foreseeable future,” said Wilcox.

Republican duo stages counter- protest during walk out

By Victoria Martin, News Editor

Armed with pocket constitutions and a yellow flag with a snake in the middle, EC Republicans silently protested the walkout against gun violence on Wednesday, March 14.

Among the 100 students and faculty members, two EC Republican members stood in back of the gathering crowd, brandishing a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag.

The presence of EC senior Costaki Danegelis and EC Junior Zach Dixon slowly grabbed the attention and deterred from point of the walkout according to EC junior and student organizer Katrina Mioduszewski.

“It’s annoying that everyone is talking about this counter protest rather than what the walkout was about,” said Mioduszewski.

“It takes away from the discourse and I wish [the counter protest] was not what people were focusing on,” Mioduszewski continued.

“I think that it was a weak counterprotest as well as inappropriately placed. While, yes, this event had a blatant political agenda

it was just as much an event to mourn,” said EC Sophomore Noah Pearson. 

After the demonstration had finished Dixon told The Leader that there was no disrespect meant and that they understood everyone’s right to mourn.

“What happened was a tragedy and deserves to be mourned,” said Dixon. “That’s why we stood in the back rather than go in the middle of the patio and make a huge scene and mess up others right to express themselves and mourn.”

Some found the entire demonstration to be uncalled for and misplaced.

“I think it was disrespectful of them to come,” said Mioduszewski. “They came for selfish reason and not with the intention of respecting the lives lost.”

Pearson also found the counter protest to be a nuisance and inappropriate compared to what the majority of students present were trying to accomplish.

“I understand the nature of protest is to be disruptive but at best it was disrespectful and kind of irritating, but at worst it was confusing because again, who even are you and why are you here?” 

Because of the disrespect felt, Mioduszewski felt that the opinion of the EC Republicans was not one worth having or being heard.

 “Their opinions do not matter,” said Mioduszewski. “The facts are clear that guns are evil and harmful to society and people’s lives. Those in favor of guns have no right to express their opinions.”

Over Facebook, Pearson pointed to his feelings on the lack of message sent by the EC Republican students.

“I think having a counter-protest such as theirs is useless as they have no action, presented no counterpoint, had no clear message; yes, you’re a libertarian good job, what about it?” 

Pearson even went as far as calling the organization the two students represented lazy and undeveloped.

“They represent what is clearly the laziest body at this school and I think their protest was representative of that. It seemed reactionary,” said Pearson. “I doubt they will ever make [what they want] clear and instead of ever having an agenda or organizing on their own, that they will always co-opt events like this to boast their own unclear and undeveloped agenda.”

While handing out their pocket constitutions Danegelis and Dixon made it clear they simply did not agree with what was being said and that the focus is not on the real issue.

“If you look at the most recent example, the shooter was tipped off to the FBI several times and the FBI did not do their jobs and report what they knew,” said Dixon. “If they had, [the shooter] would have had his guns confiscated and the shooting would have never occurred.”

Looking at the issue of protocol not being followed, Dixon added changes need to happen to better protect the general population.

“What needs to happen is a change in how that slip up was allowed to happen and then look at that and make sure it cannot happen again,” said Dixon. All the gun safety processes are failing somehow because you are required in all fifty states to have a background check to even own a gun and if you fail that check for whatever reason, you are not allowed to buy a gun.”

World in Review - April 3 2018

By Syeda Sameeha, News Reporter

State department signs off on $1 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia

Despite concerns raised by human rights groups, the US State Department approved of a $1 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia as reported by Al Jazeera.

The New York Times reported that the approved deal includes 6,700 missiles and spare parts for American made tanks and helicopters that are already owned by Saudi Arabia. 

Shortly before his meeting with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, President Trump said, “Saudi Arabia is a very wealthy nation, and they’re going to give the United States some of that wealth, hopefully, in the form of jobs, in the form of the purchase of the finest military equipment anywhere in the world.”

According to The Guardian, the approval was announced on March 22, just two days after the Senate rejected a bipartisan effort to end the US support of the Saudi airstrikes campaign in Yemen.

Human rights groups like Amnesty International have called this three year  military campaign a war crime and of having “serious violations of international law” because of the vast number of civilian casualties, with thousands of civilians dead or displaced in a country driven to famine.

United Nations has said if the situation in Yemen doesn’t change, the country could be the “the world’s worst humanitarian disaster for 50 years”.

Facebook takes user outrage after it is revealed that user data was stolen by analyst firm Cambridge Analytica

Facebook is facing backlash in the wake of its data scandal with analytics firm Cambridge Analytica. 

As first reported by The Observer, Christopher Wylie, former employee of Cambridge Analytica revealed how data scientist Aleksandr Kogan shared Facebook user data through a personality quiz to Cambridge Analytica, a UK based data company that  focuses on voter behavior and is backed by prominent political affiliates in the US such as Robert Mercer and Steve Bannon. 

About 270,000 people were recruited by Kogan to take this survey and were told their data would be used for “academic purposes” according to Quartz. But, a loophole in the app allowed  Cambridge Analytica to access not only the data of the 270,000 people who took the survey, but also the data of everyone in their friends list. Because of this, the total number of user profiles Cambridge Analytica had access to was almost 57 billion according to The Guardian.

As reported by Quartz, these actions violated Facebook’s 2011 agreement with the US Federal Trade Commission that states that Facebook would not share user data without users permission.

In a report by Channel 4 News, Cambridge Analytica was revealed to be behind the “ defeat crooked Hillary”  ad campaign as well as using fake news and shady practices to influence politics not just in the US, but in other countries such as Nigeria.

The report also included secret recordings of the company’s head Alexander Nix who said, “We just put information into the bloodstream of the internet and then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again over time to watch it take shape….And so this stuff infiltrates the online community, but with no branding, so it’s unattributable, untrackable.”

In a complaint filed with the the US Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice, the non partisan group Common Cause alleges that Cambridge Analytica broke a US ban that prohibits foreign nationals from being part of the “decision-making processes” of an election or campaign as reported by Politico.

Calls to boycott Facebook with #DeleteFB has been trending on social media especially after founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed in a March 21 statement that the tech giant had first known about the data breach in 2015, but did not inform its users. The company’s stock is also plummeting, with almost $80 billion wiped out from its market value as stated by CNN Money.