Archive for February 2009
The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine ranked the College of Business Administration (CBA) undergraduate entrepreneurship program 14th in the nation out of 2,300 programs in their latest rankings, up 10 spots from last year.
Entrepreneurial programs were evaluated and ranked on three basic areas, according to entrepreneur.com. The first, academics and requirements, investigates whether there is an entrepreneurship major or minor available, and what the course offerings and experiential learning opportunities are. Students and faculty then factor in statistics about recent graduates, current careers and success, as well as percentages of the staff that have experience.
Finally, there is outside the classroom, which surveys the amount of entrepreneur organizations within the school to see if there were special scholarships for students and if there are competitions in the field.
Senior Associate Dean Bill Crittenden said he believes the program has been strong before the jump in ranking.
“With Northeastern, and on a whole, there’s greater recognition of things we’ve been doing all along that are recognized as being valuable and important,” he said. “As our graduates become better recognized, we get better recognition in these ranking programs.”
Many graduates of the program are being noticed on a national scale, like a 2004 graduate who was honored with the ‘National Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award’ by Small Business Administration. This is an indicator of how Northeastern graduates are elevating to high position jobs in the northeast, said entrepreneurship professor Marc Meyer, Ph.D.
“If you look at large technology companies around, Northeastern alumns are prominent,” he said. “We are a Mecca of entrepreneurship in the region.”
This notable success of Northeastern graduates is one of the four factors that Meyer believes helped boost the ranking. Another attribute Meyer said he thinks helped the program gain in rank is the quality and number of faculty that have substantial experience, like Daniel McCarthy, a former service innovator at Mars candy corporation.
“In the last four years we’ve brought on a new face in the area each year,” Crittenden said. “And if not a new person each year, somebody that is more experienced that might be helping us on a part time basis for a specialized class where we bring in expertise.”
Meyer said he also considers the enthusiasm and success of students as helpful factors that boosted the rankings, as well as the types of programs that are offered, ranging from family business to social enterprise.
“None of this existed in a formalized track until the past five years,” he said. “It’s a nice portfolio of offerings that ranking services look at.”
This recent change can be attributed to entrepreneurship and innovation becoming an individual group of the CBA three years ago, Crittenden said.
“We wanted to set it up as a separate part of the [CBA], where at many schools it becomes part of the management department somewhere,” he said. “We’ve said no, it’s a really important group and we wanted it to be one of the seven major groups in the CBA.”
Both said another large part of the entrepreneurship program is the startup of social entrepreneurship, largely internationally with trips for undergraduates to travel to Africa or the Dominican Republic to help locals start up businesses.
“It’s an attempt to bridge a gap between social outreach and a need to give back to communities,” Crittenden said. “Also, it’s to recognize the power of entrepreneurship; to enable individuals to better themselves within a community.”
Despite the high rankings and opportunities while an undergraduate, some graduates are finding it hard to make the program useful in the current economy.
“It doesn’t really set you up for a job when you come out of school,” said Andy Loven, who graduated from the program in 2008. “I’ve written a couple of business plans, but it’s impossible to get funding.”
However, Loven said he would consider his experience in the program positive, and that he thinks it will pay off once he has an established business.
“I think it will [come in handy] down the line, just not right now,” he said.
Regardless, the program has had obvious success and has grown drastically, said Meyer, who has been with the university since 1987.
“So the bottom line is that everything has changed,” he said. “But the thing that has not changed is the natural inclination and culture of Northeastern and the types of people that come here. Students lean toward independence and entrepreneurship, and that’s been consistent since the day I showed up here.”
Three tables adorned with traditional Haitian food ranging from fried plantains to rum cake gathered much of the attention Thursday night at Curry Student Center Ballroom for The Awakening, a cultural show celebrating the 205th anniversary of Haiti’s independence presented by the Haitian Student Unity (HSU) group and Illuminous Event Solutions (IES).
The show was opened by host Chris Worrell yelling ‘Where my Haitians at?’ to the audience, and then led into the Haitian National Anthem sung in Creole.
A documentary presentation followed, with a slideshow depicting Haiti through the past and present, contrasting images of the pristine beaches against images of children of extreme poverty, which are commonplace in Haiti, Peter Faiteau, president of HSU said.
‘What the media says about Haiti, that it’s one of the poorest countries in the Caribbean … but at the same time the country itself is so enriched with culture,’ he said. ‘I went there when I was young. I remember chasing chickens, going to the beach. The scenery was beautiful.’
Next was a dance performance, one of five throughout the show, which Faiteau said was popular with the crowd.
‘They loved the dance performances, and people were contacting me for more of their information so they could use the dancers for other events,’ he said.
There were also three mini fashion shows, the first showcasing Haitian designer Nyndia Diligent’s clothing. All of the designers were from Haiti or incorporated Haitian culture into their designs, from the style to the strong colors.
A spoken word segment was next, where Jeffery performed a politically fueled rap in front of a dropdown slideshow displaying images from Haiti.
‘Do you see what I see?’ he asked. ‘Survival of the fittest, survival of the richest.’
Another fashion show followed, showcasing company H-Republik T-shirts in bright colors screened with images and symbols of Haitian culture, which senior finance major Parnel Jospitre enjoyed, and said he would even buy some of the shirts.
‘The fashions were the best part besides the food,’ he said.
The second half followed the same form as the first half, featuring one of the most popular performances, comedian Haitian V, a virtual YouTube star who in his videos sits in front of the Haitian flag discussing everything from Britney Spears to how he doesn’t like that young adults wear sneakers rather than shoes.
‘A lot of people came to just see Haitian V,’ Faiteau said. ‘People really know him especially through YouTube, and people loved him.’
The night was concluded with a spread of three tables covered in traditional Haitian food, which Faiteau said he considered the highlight of the night.
There was a table of main courses, like fried pork, fried beef and fried plantains. Each was on display with the name in Creole, English and a description of the food. Another table was full of desserts, while another had a bunch of different rice dishes and soups. One of the many historic foods was squash soup, which is a symbol of independence and is consumed on the first day of January.
Overall, Faiteau said the show went well, and helped to celebrate Haiti’s independence.
‘We wanted to let everyone know this is Haiti and although it has had its down times, it has so many positive parts,’ he said. ‘A lot of people wanted to learn about the past, of [how Haiti] came to be, and a lot of people left with an education.’
The colors of green and white are familiar to the Boston area, donning the jerseys of the Boston Celtics, and the newest shades of olive green and pearl white being worn to represent the university’s newest sorority, the Eta Kappa Chapter of Kappa Delta.
Less than a year ago, the Greek organization was brought to the university with much enthusiasm, and 60 women quickly joined to help start the group. Now, with a new pledge class of 23, one more than the quota, the sorority has evolved into a complete, traditional sorority.
“Going through recruitment and getting quota plus one for a brand new sorority was quite an achievement for us,” said Vice President of Standards Sophia Neuhaus.
They have already helped host events like participating in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk as well as other fundraisers and socials with fraternities. They are also working on getting to know other sororities on campus, she said.
“A lot of the frats have been great to welcoming us and asking to do socials with them,” Neuhaus said. “As for the sororities, we’re still trying to get to know them. We’re trying to branch out and get to know them as best we can and do activities here and there and participate in everything they are to become part of the campus.”
By being able to establish the chapter, Neuhaus said the group was able to shape the chapter into what was wanted, focusing on big events and volunteer work.
“We can make it into whatever we want it to be,” the middler marketing major said. “I’m glad I started in a sorority that is brand new. A lot of people think we’re at a disadvantage because we’re new, but we’ve done everything expected and beyond.”
This sentiment is reflected in the new pledge class, freshman journalism major and Kappa Delta member Emma Poppe said.
“I feel like [the older girls] have done an outstanding job with planning and filling out the chapter in the first year,”she said. “I feel like I have a bigger chance to make a difference and help build a chapter on campus … We have a chance to make a name for ourselves.”
Also, this semester involvement from the sororities national headquarters has declined. When the sorority was first established at the university, two chapter development consultants came to help establish the group, and their visits are becoming less frequent. However, the girls have a Chapter Advisory Board of local Kappa Delta alumni to help out when needed, Neuhaus said.
“Most sororities have the seniors to help you through, and the Chapter Advisory Board does that for us, helping with traditions and that kind of stuff,” she said.
Though they do not have seniors or veterans of the sorority, they have established councils as well as leadership positions. This, however, does not take away from the group dynamic Poppe said.
“The council has a lot of responsibility,” Poppe said. “They’re doing their jobs, but are my sisters no matter what.”
While better establishing the chapter, the sorority has donated its time and money to help host events as well as volunteer locally, like at Birthday Wishes in Boston, which helps provide birthday parties for homeless children in shelters.
Currently, they are planning for the year’s largest event, the Shamrock and Roll. Each chapter hosts a shamrock event, ranging from 5k runs to dances. The Eta Kappa chapter is planning for a university wide talent show and is currently contacting other student groups to gain support. All proceeds will be going to Rosie’s Place, a Boston social service for homeless women.
Through events like these, the group demonstrates it’s progress and growth, Neuhaus said.
“We’ve come a long way,” Neuhaus said. “Now we have a fully functioning chapter, we’re doing full Kappa Delta events that we aren’t even expected to be doing yet. Compared to last year, everything has changed.”
With the current financial crisis, finding a student loan can be difficult. However, in an effort to counteract the struggle, university officials have developed four core focuses to help students find funding for tuition and board costs.
“Financial aid and grants have always been high,” said Senior Vice President of Enrollment and Student Life Philomena Mantella said. “We want to make sure that the institution is available to those that want it and that they can sustain themselves to a degree. It’s a constant theme and area of focus, but this year in particular, since unemployment is up and lending is strained.”
The first focus is to move more towards direct student lending, Mantella said.
“Part of the economic shift is just more liquidity and less loans available,” Mantella said. “We want to make sure the students that rely on student loans have those resources secure.”
A retention fund will also be created so students have access to grant money if they have a drastic change in family income. This will ensure there’s money available to close the gap between the money they have secured and their tuition costs. Mantella said this is where a majority of additional university funding will go.
The third focus is on increasing scholarships, for which there has been active fundraising. These are sponsored by alumni, who also create the criteria for the scholarship recipients.
“A lot of people are offering funding as a recognition for students that have strong academics and characteristics,” Mantella said. “Those kinds of individual awards [alumni are offering] can range from very basic to very specific.”
Some students said they think increasing these funds is a positive step.
“I think it’s good because investing in education is a guaranteed return in the long term,” said senior electrical engineering major Jean Blanc. Blanc said he is currently on two scholarships.
The last part of the initiative emphasizes servicing students to make sure they are aware of the funds available to them, like holding financial aid workshops on campus.
“One of the things we want to do is make sure students think early enough to have everything available to them,” Mantella said.
By working on expanding each of these four sections regarding financial aid, finding funding for school should be easier for students, she said.
“What you have to think about is if you are out looking for all available options,” she said. “You have to think of a portfolio of opportunities, a lot of which the institution provides.”
To ensure financial security, when the university gives out initial scholarship and grant awards they are typically for all eight semesters to ensure the availability of these funds throughout students’ time in school.
“These steps are especially helpful for students paying for the majority of their schooling,” said sophomore chemical engineering major Emma Neirinckx.
“I really need help paying for school,” she said. “A lot of people need money, and I’m doing it mostly on my own besides my parents cosigning my loans. I know a lot of people in similar situations and they really need the extra help.”
Though Neirinckx said she’ has not applied for scholarships for next semester because she will be on co-op, more students than usual are projected to. Mantella said she expects an increase because of the economic conditions in comparison to last year.
“I think that if you project that, most institutions are finding an increase,” she said. “But if it’s in the single or double digits is to be determined at a later time.”
Images dating back to the 1100s, or as recent as a few years old, were projected from international graphic designer Krzysztof Lenk’s Macintosh laptop onto the wall of Raytheon Amphitheater Tuesday night as part of the the Art + Design department’s lecture series.
Lenk, a former partner and design director of Dynamic Diagrams, a consultant group for website information architecture, and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) professor, discussed concepts of designing and connecting ancient images to current concepts and shared some of his experiences. He also showed examples of visual communication and website architecture.
As he took to the podium in front of about 60 students and teachers, he joked about his accent, a blend from his native language, Polish, and where he learned to speak English, Rhode Island. He began with a brief background about himself, emphasizing when he immigrated to the United States in 1982 to teach information design, despite his specialty in publication design. Information design uses graphic design to effectively convey important information like airport signs and websites, while publication design is the graphic art of designing everything from newspapers to product catalogues.
“I was asked to teach something I didn’t know,” he said. “I started to learn and it was an interesting process of learning and applying that to classes. I’m not a particularly bright person, but every new discovery led me to another.”
Lenk then began a slideshow, first showing a presentation he had created by applying existing human ratios to a theoretical group of 1,000. Through this he showed how race, land use and other statistics would be reflected in a visual format. He stressed that this was visual communication, and without the simple sound effects of tings and claps throughout the presentation, the meaning would be lost.
“As a human I am connected to the outside world,” he said. “When I turn off the sound images are only half as powerful. ‘hellip; Sound is helping this message reach others.”
After describing the importance of sound, Lenk referred to historical images, some dating back to the 1400s and quoting St. John of Damascus, a father of the Catholic Church, on divine images.
He then described the process of how he consults clients, for example, asking what their goals are as a company and whom the company wants the message to reach, bringing upon the importance of color.
“Color conveys different messages better,” he said. “You have to think about your audience. If you’re sending a message to Latinos you want more color contrast than if you are sending it to Norwegians in Minnesota. These are important things for a designer to know.”
Such details are determined by the quality of questions the designer asks, and when these extensive questions are not asked the designer ends up getting the short hand, he said.
“I’m a designer and I’m not that powerful,” Lenk said. “But if I don’t ask enough questions, someone will send me back to redesign on my own budget.”
After explaining the consultation process, he diverged back to relating ancient sketches to important design concepts like spacial relations, optics and proportional realities.
He then finished this portion of the lecture by showing and explaining one of his largest projects, the redesign of the Samsung Global website, what some students considered the highlight of the entire presentation.
“The Samsung example [was my favorite part],” graduate information systems student Amit Navare said. “It was a problem about showing a website in a good way. So it was interesting to see how to go about doing that.”
The lecture was then concluded with a brief question and answer section, in which he expanded on points from the lecture like color usage in addition to answering questions regarding how to supplement a design curriculum.
As a whole, the lecture was enriching and informative, Navare said.
“I was looking for something about graphic design that could help me with website design and something with artistic expression,” he said. “I would say it gave me perspective now to how a graphic designer looks into a problem and how it effects everyone from the vice president to the marketing department.”
Last night the Resident Student Association (RSA) passed a piece of legislation challenging the university Board of Trustees’ plan to raise housing rates by 4.2 percent next year.
RSA’s legislation requested a cap of 3.6 percent.
The bill was almost passed unanimously with a vote of 61-1-0. The legislation also says it is possible for the increase to be less than 3.6 percent. This is possible, RSA members argued, because heating costs have significantly lowered since July 2008. There will also be additional revenue coming into the housing department because of Parcel 18′s completion, which is planned for June 30.
“There are some students that have plenty of money available,” Vice President for Housing Service Matthew Soleyn said. “The majority of students aren’t that lucky and are concerned about housing being unaffordable.”
The bill will continue to the Office of Student Affairs and eventually to the Board of Trustees for final votes, where RSA hopes it will continue to pass.
“I think the [SGA] Senate will have a lot of the similar debate RSA had and will pass,” Soleyn said. “I think the Code of Conduct Review Committee will see it’s what students want and that it’s in line with other educational institutions.”
Another bill was passed as well, reevaluating current sanctions of the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR), motioning that rather than a $100 fine for first offenses, students may opt to write a reflection essay. This action was prompted by the current economic crisis, Soleyn said, and RSA members argued that the $100 fine is ‘exorbitant’ to some students.
“We want the option instead of the fine because a lot of students don’t have the money for the fine,” Soleyn said. “Also, we looked at OSCCR and it said there was an educational goal, so having an educational option would be better for OSCCR the system.”
This led to a proposed amendment to the bill that would eliminate the option to write an essay, making the sanctions unchanged, and was narrowly defeated with a 28-31-2 vote, and then was passed 55-5-2.
“It seemed that a lot of people were concerned with eliminating the fine and allowing students to do an essay instead,” Soleyn said. “Also, [they were concerned] that it might not be effective and a lot of students would treat the essay as a joke.”
Additionally, RSA passed in the bill the ‘Good Behavior Policy’ which states that 12 months after a student’s first offense, if there are no further violations, students may apply to remove the offense from their permanent record.
A survey conducted by the Student OSCCR Assessment Committee (SOAC) showed that only 30 percent of students found the current sanctions to be appropriate to their violations. Only 18 percent of students surveyed said they felt that the current sanctions were educational.
The bill will be presented today to the Code of Conduct Review Committee as well as the Student Senate for review.
Snow, sludge and salt. This makes up the usual combination lining the sidewalks of Boston this season, creating hurdles for some, and larger obstacles for others.
And while some students may pray for canceled classes at the first sign of stormy weather, Northeastern Department of Building Services says it is making sure to maintain clear walkways to campus.
Overall, Building Services is responsible for clearing snow from 70 acres of property, including about 80 buildings. Additionally, the crew of about 40 workers clean local sidewalks that aren’t technically the school’s property like Forsyth Street, Columbus Avenue and St. Stephen Street.
“All of the sidewalks are owned by the city, but we still clean them,” Director of Building Services Mark Boutler said. “We are just trying to be a good neighbor to the community. We try to make it possible to help get people through and also to those with mobility issues.”
Organizations are beginning to strongly advocate proper snow removal, including WalkBoston, a non-profit organization that has worked since 1990 to improve walking conditions in Boston and other cities in Massachusetts, and in the past three years has begun to campaign for better snow clearance practices.
Wendy Landman, the program’s executive director, said there are a lot of problems with snow clearance in the city.
“For people with mobility problems [poor sidewalk clearance] will keep them from getting around,” she said. “I know people that are stuck in their homes for days at a time because they can’t get out of their homes onto sidewalks safely.”
About a year and a half ago, WalkBoston created seven basic recommendations as a guideline of what needs to happen to improve sidewalk conditions, like appointing a municipal figure to help with the reporting of uncleared sidewalks.
“We created [the recommendations] by doing a lot of research on conditions, how snow clearance is done and what seems to be best practices,” Landman said. “I think it’s going to take time, but we’ve provided the recommendations to different communities and we think there is a building awareness of an issue, but I wouldn’t say it isn’t put into place yet.”
Last year, Northeastern was cited by the Neighborhood Access Group (NAG), which advocates making sidewalks and crosswalks accessible for disabled people, for two violations on Hemenway Street.
However, Building Services has methods of its own, such as machines to clear the snow as well as shoveling by hand. Boutler said the key to snow removal is knowing when the snow will hit.
“The timing of storms is always different and we’re here as soon as it starts snowing and we’re here until hours after,” he said. “If we know there’s a storm, we try to get there before it starts.”
In addition to the 40 members of the snow team, there are contractors who operate the equipment.
“They work extremely hard and we are here sometimes for two days straight, and we’re away from our families for 24 or 48 hours at a time,” he said. “The crew takes a lot of pride that the job gets done well here.”
Additionally, about 25 students, mostly football players, help with snow removal as well, as part time work and work-study.
“I can tell you one thing, they get a good workout,” Boutler said.
These practices have proven effective this year. Northeastern has not received any violations, and students say they are pleased with conditions on campus.
“On campus is really nice; building services are really on top of cleaning everything,” said junior biology major Lyndsie Mannix.
However, this differs from her residence in Mission Hill, she said.
“It’s awful,” she said. “Some houses are really bad. I actually fell walking yesterday. My roommates and I fall all the time on the ice, especially going down the hill.”
In order to maintain safe conditions on campus this season, Boutler said they are in jeopardy of going over the snow budget designated by Northeastern, but there are ways to get more funding to maintain campus.
“It has to get done and it has to be funded,” Boutler said. “Just because money runs out we can’t stop clearing the snow.”