Archive for March 2009
Financial aid isn’t the only thing that has been affected by the current economic downturn.
While many graduating seniors now look to find their first full-time job, Career Services is hosting March Career Madness Month, holding events all month to help seniors make post-graduate plans, Director of Career Services Maria Stein said.
The series of events range from salary negotiation to how to handle the stress of searching for a job. There are an additional two events tonight: Students can meet with one of 12 participating companies to find out what potential employers think of their resume at ‘Resumania,’ and find out how to use Facebook and other networking tools to find jobs at ‘Using LinkedIn to Find a Job.’
“We decided we needed to do more programming aimed toward graduating students to help them have more support and information on job searching and options after school,” Stein said.
The program was introduced because of the recession, and a study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) that predicted employers will hire 22 percent fewer graduates from the class of 2009 than last year, Stein said.
Because of this, Stein stressed the importance of networking, which these events encourage. Stein said most jobs are never officially posted, and positions are obtained because of connections, which is becoming more frequent in this economy.
“Open positions are few and far between, so networking is even more important,” she said.
Also, Stein said it was important to bring in outside sources who are experts to relay the information to students, so many of the events included panels of employers.
“I can say the same things, but [students] will listen more if it’s from an employer,” she said.
Though the last event is April 7, the programming may be continued next year depending on the state of the economy, she said.
“If the economy is continuing in the same vein as now, we will probably look at similar programming,” Stein said. “We’re going to look at what feedback we’ve gotten and we’re going to continue to help students.”
Elections for the next Student Government Association (SGA) President were extended last night, as total votes barely surpassed half the amount required to appoint someone to the position.
Voting was scheduled to end at 11:59 tonight, however the lack of votes lead to the five-day extension voted on by a majority of the members of the Senate Nominations and Elections Committee (SNEC).
This is the second year SGA has had to extend the voting period.
Twenty percent of the student body, or 3,000 people, need to vote to meet the requirements, but only 1,587 were cast as of 2 p.m. yesterday. Members of SNEC said last night that, while deadline extensions are not ideal, they remain hopeful that the requirement gap can be filled.
‘Granted, it’s not guaranteed [that the 20 percent mark will be met], but I hope it will be,’ SGA Parliamentarian Chris Bourne said. ‘It will give students time if they haven’t done so already to vote, and they’ll be online registering for classes and see the voting application. I think it’ll be more traffic and would help us a lot.’
If the necessary votes are not cast, SGA joint senate will decide the vote. Bourne said he hoped the vote count will be released to the joint senate if this situation occurred so they will vote in accordance with the students.
However, if the amount of votes is close to the 20 percent threshold, Bourne said the direct elections manual would be overridden and the votes that had been cast would be the official count.
Since last year, there has been more promotion of the elections, with the use of Facebook ads to promote the election and sending out e-mails that will be sent to students today, SGA Director of Public Relations Amanda Sabia said. Despite these efforts, the numbers were similar to last years’.
Sabia said she expects numbers to grow in the upcoming years.
‘We have to remember it’s a new practice and this is only our third year,’ she said. ‘With any new program it takes a little bit of time. ‘hellip; I think it will be successful but it’s still the running start so we need to lay the basics of the elections before they flourish.’
The first year that direct elections were instated, 27.5 percent of the student body voted, according to the April 11, 2007 issue of the Northeastern News.
But even if SGA does get its 20 percent, the organization faces another hurdle:’ the no confidence vote. Some student groups said they were suggesting that members vote no confidence in the election for various reasons. The Husky Energy Action Team (HEAT) did not endorse a candidate for the first time since direct elections started three years ago due to weak platforms.
‘Neither candidate truly has a strong enough platform on sustainability than we wish and we feel is necessary,’ said HEAT Director of Marketing and Public Relations Dan Abrams.
Abrams said he heard that other student groups will vote no confidence, but are reluctant to speak out because they don’t want to upset the next potential president.
‘I think that other groups should voice their opinion,’ Abrams said. ‘I think student groups are made up of the most involved people, and I think that if they themselves don’t believe in either candidate, that it shows something.’
However, Sabia said she thinks the candidate’s tendencies to speak strongly and publicly about issues might dissuade some student groups from advocating for one candidate over the other.
Sabia said she was aware of people encouraging others to vote no confidence.
‘I think that part of it comes from both candidates are very passionate. When somebody has a lot of passion about something, there’s always going to be somebody who’s opposed to that.’
Despite these discussions, Bourne said he doesn’t expect the no confidence votes to be significant, and said they have never been more than 5 percent of the total vote count. If no confidence wins, the joint senate will then vote.
By having the extension added, Bourne said he wants students to research the candidates through their websites and put their support behind one.
‘I just stress that students vote,’ Bourne said. ‘Even if they don’t want to be an SGA senator, they should learn about the candidates and vote.’
– News staff Anne Baker contributed to this report.
After being left out of the process since January, alumni were included last night in the discussion regarding the College Structure Initiative, which would possibly merge the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and the College of Criminal Justice. The four alumni that could attend on the short notice said they were outraged.
Some alumni and students said they did not receive notification of the meeting until later than they felt appropriate, with the e-mail to alumni arriving around 3 p.m. on Friday.
“I was one of the lucky ones that actually got the e-mail,” said Maureen Neltin, a 1978 graduate of the College of Criminal Justice. “I’m disturbed by this and the fact they only gave three business days [notice].”
Some students said they did not receive the e-mail, including junior criminal justice major Karin Pipczynski.
“I only knew about the meeting because I got an e-mail from my adviser; I don’t know how they contacted people,” she said. “They said they contacted some alumni, but one or two of the four alumni there were told by different sources.”
The meeting was hosted by the College Structure Initiative Chair and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Mary Loeffelholz, the only faculty committee member in attendance. By having 45 people voice their concerns to one person, Pipczynski said she felt as though the university didn’t want to listen to what was said.
“I’m disheartened at the fact that they are supposed to be there for the students, but the administration isn’t,” she said. “The way she made us feel was that anything we said was just an argument, and she wasn’t passionate or concerned with our feelings or beliefs.”
Nelting said she felt a negative tone from administration regarding the meeting as well, even before she arrived.
“My opinion from reading the e-mail and website is that this is a done deal,” she said. “I may be wrong, but that’s the sense I get.”
Because of coordination issues with the meetings, Pipczynski said she feels as though the university isn’t including students in the process and is trying to keep the changes a secret.
“My biggest concern is the fact the committee isn’t transparent at all,” she said. “Incoming freshmen don’t even know about this.”
If Criminal Justice is merged into CAS, Nelting said she’d be outraged, and would stop donating to the university.
“I owe my career to this college,” she said of her 38-year history of working for the federal government. “[But] I think the stature of the program would be lessened and we’d just be swallowed by a bigger college, and for what reason? I didn’t even really get that answer tonight.”
Despite Nelting’s concerns, a letter posted online by the College of Criminal Justice’s Interim Dean Chester Britt said the academics would not be affected.
“If CJ is moved into another college, it will primarily be an administrative/organizational move within the broader university,” he said in the letter. “Criminal Justice will retain its identity and the CJ faculty will continue to provide an outstanding education.”
However, Pipczynski said she feels that without the College of Criminal Justice on her diploma, it will lose its value.
“I appreciate and value the fact that my degree is known for the College of Criminal Justice and it’s know as its own college and that other alumni and people in my field recognize it,” she said.
Along with her degree, Pipczynski said she feels that the entire program will lose it’s growing reputation in the criminal justice field.
“No matter what anyone says, it’s going to lose its reputation completely along with future students and alumni power because they’re completely going against the feelings we have,” she said. “No one’s going to want to return or have to do with Northeastern because we feel betrayed.”
Loeffelholz declined to comment to The News.
Chug, chug, chug, chug, chug, chug, chug, chug. Freshmen, freshmen, freshmen, freshmen.
These lyrics, chanted in the recently popular song ‘I Love College’ by Asher Roth, ring true to drinking habits of first year students, a study conducted by public health group Outside The Classroom found.
The study found that 68.9 percent of polled freshmen had consumed alcohol in the two weeks prior to the study, and those students spent more time drinking than studying a week. Students drink an average of 10.2 hours compared to 8.4 hours of studying.
“This specific investigation was to identify the average American college student that drinks, and with that analysis found that average,” a representative for Outside The Classroom said in an e-mail to The News. “These findings are indeed generalizable to the overall college population.”
Though there is no data similar to this specific to Northeastern, Vice President of Student Affairs Ed Klotzbier said in a statement to The News that it’s plausible the situation is similar here.
“No college campus is immune to alcohol use by students, and it often interferes with school work,” he said.
Some freshman students said they were skeptical of the numbers.
“I think that people think they drink more than they actually do,” said Julia Vogel, a freshman communication studies major.
According to the study, drinking also interferes with other activities like working for pay, which on average only takes up 2.2 hours a week, or exercising, which students surveyed said they spent about 5 hours a week doing.
“Many hours are lost drinking during the week,” the representative for Outside The Classroom said. “These hours could have otherwise been spent focusing on academics, engaging in psychologically and physically healthy behaviors and building positive social bonds with one’s peers.”
The study was taken by first year college students online at 76 colleges and universities nationwide after the start of first semester. However, freshman communication studies major Kate Contreras said she thinks the results are skewed.
“I think that first semester freshman go out of control, but calm down by second semester,” she said.
Northeastern still takes preventative measures to try to make such numbers atypical to the school, Klotzbier said.
“[The Office of Prevention and Education at Northeastern (OPEN)] is one of the great resources available to all of our students with successful outreach programs to help them make informed, responsible decisions around alcohol use by them and by others around them,” Klotzbier said.
OPEN is an office within Student Affairs that hosts events and speaks to incoming pledge classes as part of Greek life.
Contreras said she didn’t think OPEN was very helpful.
“The school sent OPEN to talk to all of the spring pledges, and we all just sat there,” she said. “It was all stuff we already knew.”
In addition to being repetitive, Vogel also said that such programs tend to be mocked by attendees.
“Most of those programs just make people laugh,” she said.
Despite the school’s efforts and such statistics, students said they don’t think much can be done to change the party attitudes of freshmen.
“I think that when it comes down to it, it’s part of the college lifestyle,” Vogel said. “And no one really wants to give that up.”
*shared byline with Maggie Cassidy
More than a week before the student body votes for the next Student Government Association (SGA) president, one of the candidates has already won an election.
Senator Matt Soleyn, who is running for SGA president against SGA Vice President for Student Services Ryan Fox, was’ reelected last night as RSA Vice President for Housing Services for the 2009-10 school year.
If elected to the SGA presidency, Soleyn said he ‘would maintain both jobs.’
“I believe that connecting two groups together is something that is important,” he said. “I would be able to improve the synergy between both groups.”
However, several SGA members, including Fox and SGA President Rob Ranley, raised concerns about whether Soleyn would be able to fully commit to both jobs if he were elected president.
“If he intends on keeping the one position and pursuing the second, he still really needs to look at the options,” Ranley said. “It might indicate that he doesn’t understand the scope of what he’s taking on. Knowing what I know about the time commitment of this position on top of your academic commitments … I don’t think that you could do both to the best of your abilities.”
SGA Vice President for Student Affairs Erin Pritchard said she did ‘not think it’s possible’ to hold both positions at once.
“After seeing Rob in the office this year and knowing how much even the [vice presidents] put into this organization, it concerns me greatly if Matt were to win the student body president,” she said. “It’s too much to ask for one person to basically be in charge of two very large, very prominent organizations on campus.”
Despite repeatedly pointing to his many hours serving SGA and RSA as vouchers for his ability to take on a commitment like SGA president, Soleyn said the RSA post requires a minimum of only four hours per week.
“Honestly, it’s not a large time commitment,” he said.
He also said that holding elected executive board positions on two large student groups that could possibly take opposing stances did not present a conflict of interest.
“I do not [think it’s a conflict of interest],” he said, pointing out that he was on the e-board of the Chess Club at the same time he was on the RSA e-board. “I think that they are both working for the students. They both have similar goals, similar tasks.”
If he were to serve on the e-boards of RSA and SGA and they took opposing views, he said, then he would have to “look at the two distinct roles. You may have to agree to disagree within yourself. You have to look at what role are you acting in … When views conflict it’s a matter of being able to separate out your roles and also serving as a unifying role.”
While Fox and Ranley said that the roles did not necessarily make for conflicts of interest, there was potential for conflict in the future.
“There have been times when we have been working on joint projects and RSA has a certain stance and we have a different stance,” Ranley said. “I could see there being times where there may be one project when RSA is looking at one solution and SGA is looking at a different solution.”
Soleyn was not the only one elected to an RSA position, however.
Other winners last night included Chuck Berds, who won Vice President for Finance unopposed while Scott was elected Vice President for Administration against last minute opponent Savannah Rose.
With a strong web presence and flyers decorating campus, middler Ryan Fox is campaigning full force for Student Government Association (SGA)’ president after being nominated as a candidate at the March 9 meeting.
The theme of the campaign, Give NU a Voice, focuses on accessibility, sustainability, connection, accountability and student organizations, according to Fox’s website. Fox, who is currently the Vice President for Student Services, said between his experience and connection with students, he can help improve the SGA.
“I’ve seen a lot of different perspectives and I feel like I can connect with a wide variety of students and let them know that their voice is heard,” he said.
Additionally, Fox said that because of his current position he has a close connection with many members of the administration.
“I’ve gained a level of respect with the administration,” he said. “They’ll come to me when they have questions about how students feel about a subject.”
As a member of SGA, Fox has helped on numerous projects around campus like the renovation of the indoor quad in Curry Student Center, he said.
“Last year it was empty, and now it’s hard to find a seat in there,” he said of the increased usage since the renovation. “It affects such a large number of students and it makes meeting in groups for projects or studying easier and more accessible.”
Another project Fox has been an ongoing part of is working with dining services. He has worked to increase the number of vending machines on campus, as well as keeping dining halls and other campus eateries open later during finals weeks.
“It is one of those basic needs and when you’re going to late classes there’s a lot of times you won’t eat until late,” he said. “So, having food available late, healthy and accessible is important.”
Fox launched his campaign website on March 12 and membership on his Facebook group has grown to 462 members as of press time, including opponent Matthew Soleyn. Fox said he is a better candidate than Soleyn because of his perspective when it comes to making decisions that affect the university and its students.
“I feel like I’m more in touch and better at looking at the big picture,” he said.
Fox said he wants to increase advertising for SGA if he wins.
“The student body isn’t really aware of what we’re doing on campus,” he said. “I think it all comes back to the overall sense on campus that reaching out and connecting with students is hard.”
He encouraged feedback by prompting a discussion on his Facebook group and including a comment section on his website. Through this, he said he feels that if students have a proper outlet to convey their feelings, the relationship between the student body and SGA will improve.
“I just want to make sure that students can give us their input,” he said. “It’s a combination of web presence and presence on campus.”
Fox has been in SGA since coming to Northeastern from Audobon, Penn. He is currently on co-op in the Information Services department at Northeastern for his electrical and computer engineering major, and is a member of the Honors Program.
By the end of this semester, dance performance groups will have a new place to turn and twirl, while gamers and pool players have a new room to hang out in.
In the Curry Student Center (CSC), the old game room on the second floor is currently being transformed into a dance studio, and the game room has been moved downstairs to an area that is 400 square feet larger to more spaciously fit pre-existing pool tables, ping pong tables and two Wii stations, said Vice President for Student Affairs Ed Klotzbier.
“We had a demand for more dance studio space and more requests from students to open a new game room,” Klotzbier said. “It’s going to add a new dimension to the Indoor Quad of the Curry Student Center.”
The new game room opened last week, though it is not fully complete. It has all of the game stations but additional seating will be added. Klotzbier said he hopes the game room will now get greater traffic, and provide a place to hang out on campus.
“I think that having the game room in the Indoor Quad will give students greater time to socialize,” Klotzbier said.
The hope is that students will get more use out of the facilities, said Klotzbier, who mentioned that about five years ago, getting rid of the game room altogether was an option.
Using the pool tables of the game room has been a constant source of enjoyment for information security graduate student Ashrith Barthur.
“I use [the game room] every day,” he said. “Pool is a way of relaxation for me.”
With the renovations, Barthur said the room has definitely improved.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “It’s way better. There’s a lot more space and better lighting so you can play easier.”
All of this ties into the CSC’s Indoor Quad renovation that happened last year, Klotzbier said. This renovation replaced the furniture and added conveniences like flat screen televisions and more power outlets.
“Now that we’ve had the indoor quad renovation, it’s part of an evolution,” he said.
The dance studio will help alleviate the overflow of yoga and aerobics classes from Marino Center, as well as add more practice space for any Northeastern performance groups that choose to book the studio space, in addition to the Fenway Center or the various other floors like those in Dockser and Ell halls.
“[The Fenway Center] is bursting at the seams,” Klotzbier said. “Which is a good thing, but that is why we realized we needed more dance studios.”
The dance studio will be in a 1,700 square foot area, and will have a sliding wall to divide the area in two when necessary. Currently, the space has been stripped down to the concrete base in order to add the proper flooring to dance. Bars and full-length mirrors will be added as well.
Even with all of the work ahead, Klotzbier said he expects the game room to be completed by early to mid April, and the dance studio to open by late April.