Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Slithering, Crawling Animals Make Visit to College Galleria

Friday, October 25th, 2013

 

By Sara Prall
The smiling man gently held the large, hairy spider aloft and invited the startled students to pet it.  He said to think of it “as an eight-legged puppy.”
The tarantula — a breed of bugs that usually strikes terror into the hearts of wilderness travelers and couch potatoes alike — is friendly when domesticated, and also has very soft fur, the animal expert said.
Even so, it took a little while for some students to become convinced that all was safe and the huge spider could be treated like a house pet when the college held a free showing of “Snakes Alive!” in the galleria.
Animal expert Tom Kessenich also brought along an iguana, an alligator and many snakes.
Students greeted him with excitement, intrigue, or even fear when the visit took place on 9/25.
Clearly fascinated by these creatures, students listened to him, drawn in by the amazing facts that he had to tell about these commonly misunderstood animals.
The host animatedly invited the SCCC community to join in and interact with these animals, clearly excited to share his love with the world.
A big crowd pleaser was an alligator — named Itty Bitty Gator — which is not a baby alligator, even though most people think that’s what it is at first.
He is a 10-year-old alligator, and although most of his kind reach great lengths, he is not quite four feet long. Cromer explained that the reason for Itty Bitty Gator’s stunted growth is his metabolism.
He was raised in the northern part of the US, and gators like warm climates such as Florida. Since Itty Bitty Gator wasn’t raised in the warmer south, his metabolism slowed, causing him to stay very small.
Learning about reptiles helped many students to get over their fear of them, and some may have even fallen in love with them.

Welcome Back Picnic, Club Fair Starts Semester

Friday, October 25th, 2013

 

By Janissa Pratts
Balloons were tied everywhere, and by the Italian ice truck, a top-hatted man on stilts, wearing a long red carnival coat, greeted everyone with warm hellos and funny jokes.
It was SCCC College Hour, held each Thursday from10:50 to 12:05. On 9/26, the college held a club carnival and picnic for students and faculty on the path behind the D building.
Students were given the opportunity to sign up for any clubs that seemed interesting, and everyone was able to have some fun and relax.
College Hour is a time to give busy brains a break from thinking,  allowing students — as well as faculty — to come together and enjoy an hour of fun.
At the picnic and carnival, there was free food and drinks, including burgers,  hot dogs,  Italian ice, bottled water and other soft drinks . Students played games and listened to all kinds of lively music. The clubs were lined up on the path, allowing enough room for everyone to speak to other club members.
This event gave students the opportunity to be a part of the school, in other ways that don’t involve just showing up to class and going home.
“There’s one thing to attract students to come to college,  and it’s another thing to have them feel tied to the college and feel some sense of belonging,  and that’s what this does,” said Deborah Lanza, program coordinator.
Many students, including education major Michele Vanallen, enjoy club activities.
“It’s not just a club, it’s an opportunity to be involved with so many different people on so many levels and you don’t know what you’re going to learn.”

 

Binge Video All-Nighters Popular Among Students

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

By Alex Trowbridge
The concept of binge watching your favorite television shows and movies has been a hot new trend in the last few years with the advent of streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu Plus.
These sites offer full seasons of popular TV shows such as “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men,” “The Walking Dead,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Mythbusters.”
You can, after purchasing them, watch them when you want and as much as you want.
The prices for the services are reasonably priced around $8. It has become a fashionable thing to wait until the whole season is done and run through it in one weekend, sacrificing things such as friendships and daylight.
“It’s the only way I watch TV shows; I hate the wait from week to week,” said student Chris Zeigert.
Netflix recently threw its hat into the original programming ring with “House of Cards.” The show, which stars Kevin Spacey as a Congressman from South Carolina, was released on February 1st all at once. All thirteen episodes were available to stream on Netflix’s Watch Instantly streaming service.
This is the first time that an original program has been released all at once. The series was met with favorable reviews from critics and fans.
Netflix plans to cash in on the success of “House of Cards” with other original programming, such as a new season of “Arrested Development” and other shows like “Hemlock Grove” and “Orange is the New Black.”
According to Cowen and Company, out of 1,200 people surveyed, 86 percent were more likely to keep their Netflix subscription due to “House of Cards.”
“I couldn’t imagine my life without Netflix. I watch all my favorite shows and its an amazing way to pass the time,” SCCC student Kareem Yagnum said.
Is binge TV watching a sustainable means of watching TV?
“I can’t take the wait in between episodes.  I wish every show was released at once, sort of like a giant movie,” University of Mass. junior Katie Kelly said.

SGA Continues Tradition of College Hour

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

By Wayne Wells
The Student Government Association takes pride in continuing the SCCC tradition of College Hour –  a free hour of pure fun and laughter on campus.
They bring in comedians, music and other events, in addition to free gifts. Students with college ID can participate by mingling around the café, or in the field in front of library, meeting different people and creating new connections, all while having a good time.
College Hour at SCCC is every Thursday from 10:50 am – 12:05 pm. This is a block of time reserved primarily for student enrichment activities. Students can take advantage of the concerts, speakers, picnics, lectures, cultural celebrations and other fun events planned during College Hour each week.
The island experience College Hour held last spring had Hawaii decorations, with Hula skirts and Tiki statues being handed out. A bar, where you could pick your choice of tropical juice beverages — all decorated with little umbrellas — was open, while a man played a few songs on a ukulele.
The students who attended where having a great time dancing and eating. They appreciated the gesture of the SGA by chanting “thank you SGA!” during a song.        An environment where students from different counties can come and have a good time makes a better learning environment for everybody.
“This is great, it makes me happy to be here because my friends go to other community colleges in Hudson County and they don’t have things like this for free,” said student Salvador Pagan.
Students who care about making school fun are important because it rubs off on others. Enthusiastic students make you care about what’s happening next.
“I love the fact our student government and administration care about us having fun and letting loose. They treat us like young adults, and not kids, which honestly makes me work harder to be somebody, because of that respect,” said student Jamie Fry.
Towards the end of the event, you and a friend could take a picture and have a keychain made for free, a memento that could cost around $30 elsewhere. The students went into a frenzy when they saw them being made and were stunned the key chains were free.
“Free Friendship key chains? All this for us? I thought it would be boring here since it’s a community college in the middle of nowhere,” said Alyssa Marcine.
“I am very happy that I did decide to come here because it doesn’t totally feel like a university, but for what we pay to go here, we get more than we pay for,” she said. “I love it.”

Laptops in Classroom: Both Sides

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

By Wayne Wells

On this campus, the discussion of laptops in the classroom as a distraction, or a useful tool, is an ongoing debate between students and professors.
Are students really taking notes, or are they just on Facebook to kill time? Currently, most professors do not allow laptops in their classrooms, and how can you blame them?

A 2010 study conducted by a University of Colorado professor found that students who used laptops in class averaged 11 percent worse on tests than those who took notes the old-fashioned way.
The professor, Diane Siebert, found that at the end of her semester-long class, students using laptops averaged a grade of 71 percent, “almost the same as the average for the students who didn’t come at all,” she said.
Statistics show that that laptops do not help. Instead of making eye contact and taking notes, the students are in a cyber world and most likely forget they are in a classroom.
Why do students feel they should have laptops?
“Just because those students didn’t receive good grades, doesn’t mean it applies to everybody. Having my laptop makes me feel more like a college student, and it makes it easier for me to read my notes and save websites that I need for my papers,” said student Sharon Murray.
There are always exceptions, and people who can handle situations better than other people. But when the majority of students can’t handle laptops in class, that ruins it for all.

While some professors might be aware of the endless distractions glaring from screens around their classroom, others have too much trust in their students. Most students who choose to distract themselves evade detection by keeping a Word document, or an assigned reading minimized, in case the professor tries to sneak a peek at their screen.
This becomes a cat and mouse game. Professors, for their part, probably would rather have their students taking notes and participating in class discussions rather than having them in cyber world and wondering if they are just lecturing to air.

Technology Has Been Good, Not-so-good, for Education

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

By Nick Caprio

Technology provides advantages that were not available to past generations, but just like any good thing, it also has its drawbacks.
In almost every aspect of our culture, one day you have the newest, hottest, technological device there is, and in no time, it’s already old news.
Tech upgrades cost money, and time, in assimilating the new information.
In college education, students can access books and assignments on their phone or tablet.  Downloading these books can save students money.  For example, a book on poetry at the SCCC bookstore was $65; downloading this same book from Amazon.com costs $15.
Many classes today are “hybrid” classes.  This means that half the class takes place in the classroom and the other half is online.  For example, you would have class once a week, and during this class you would review the work you did online for that week.
Some people enjoy these classes.
“I like to work at my own pace, I don’t feel rushed when working on the computer,” said Matt Plinio, student at SCCC.
Some intro courses are not even being offered at some colleges anymore, because the student can take the online course for free.
There are cons to this approach however.  Others struggle with the work on the computer.
“I learn better when a teacher is teaching me, sometimes I feel left behind; the (online) classes move quickly,” Billy Duncan said.  Many students feel like this.
One problem with online courses can be the teacher.  This type of class is new to the teacher as well.  They may think that they are doing a fine job but really they are not doing enough for the students.
Everybody is different, with different learning styles.  Some benefit from doing work independently on their computer.  Others need a little help and human interaction.
Will there come a day when we will eliminate teachers altogether? Will we have computers teaching in our classrooms?

Dancing Teens Steal Campus Hearts

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

By Gary G. Gustavson

Despite a day’s postponement from the cold, wintery weather, the heat was on at SCCC Teen Arts Dance Recitals on March 20. Forty acts — from solo performers doing tap dance recitals, to large ensembles doing full-blown numbers from musicals — were on the docket.

After each act, acclaimed critics and former dancers Michael Gary and Lea Antolini Lid offered the performers praise for, and recommendations on, their performances.

The performers were all 7th through 12th graders, and the devotion to excelling in dance is a high priority to every one of them.

“I’ve been active in dance for 14 years and love it,” said Kittatiny High School dancer Gioia Grasso.

“I’ve been in it for 12 years, and it takes practice six days a week to maintain and advance physical condition,” said Shannon Scully of Sparta High School.

A late starter to dance performance, 16-year-old Dillon Vonder-Linden was in two of the performances. He opened with in a duo tap performance and ended the show as part of the Dance Expressions ensemble jazz rendition of “Chicago.”

“I’ve only been in dance for two and a half years; I was inspired by my older sister,” Dillon said. Dillon apparently felt right at home when he began dancing. He said he wants to go to college to pursue a degree in the performing arts, one day making it his profession.

The dance recitals at Sussex County Community College Teen Arts Festival were not a competitive event, yet all the participants received the reward of great satisfaction in doing what they love the most, dancing.

Fur Fashions Start at Trappers Auction

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

By Stacy Bockbrader

In late March, Space Farms in Sussex County opened its doors for the annual New Jersey Trappers Association’s fur auction. Trappers from near and far came with their capes of fox, coyote, mink, muskrats, raccoons, beaver and otter for auction to the highest bidder.

Space Farms has played host to this event for many years. With the NJTA’s guidance, the auctions comply with state regulations. There were approximately 96 trappers, with more than 5700 pieces of fur sold, at this year’s auction.

There were some regular faces, along with some new and young trappers this year.

“It’s nice to see all the new faces and especially the younger ones. Kids these days do nothing but video games and stay in the house. Trapping keeps them active as well as teaches them survival skills,” said George Harris of Sussex.

As with many hunting and trapping events, there are often animal rights supporters, but this year’s auction went off without a hitch. The weekend event started at 7:00 a.m. Saturday with taking in fur, and with the grading, separating and labeling of all the fur.

Along with the auction and clean up, it was all over by 2:00 a.m. Monday morning. Tom Mulea of the New Jersey Trappers Association started the auction on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. and continued it for the next four hours until all the lots were sold.

Trappers bring their best lot to the auction. The best furs are capes without scrapings or signs of being stretched improperly. A cleaned and plush pelt can cost $30 or more if handled properly. Fox pelts cost as much as $70, depending on the condition and the grade of the fur.

One good thing about fur is that it is a renewable resource, unlike synthetics that are made from oil. As long as trappers do not overharvest, the next year will be just as good as the last year, according to Mulea. “By taking the excess animals, the remainder …..are enabled…….to come out of the winter in good shape,” he said, explaining that there is a limited food supply in the wild.

“All the auctions so far this year have been very positive. The fur market is rebounding in Europe and China,” said Mulea. “And they are looking to North America for a quality product. Fur! Let’s see how long the boom lasts this time.”

Technology: Good or Bad for Education?

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

By Nick Caprio

Technology provides advantages that were not available to past generations, but it also has drawbacks. It has affected almost every aspect of our culture; one day you have the newest, hottest, technological device there is, and in no time, it is already old news.

Tech upgrades cost money, and time in assimilating the new information.

In college education, students can access books and assignments on their phone or tablet. Downloading these books can save students a lot of money. For example, a book on poetry at the SCCC bookstore was $65. Downloading this same book from Amazon.com only costs $15.

Many classes today are “hybrid” classes. This means that half the class takes place in the classroom and the other half is online. For example you would have class once a week and during this class you would review the work you did online for that week. Some people enjoy these classes.

“I like to work at my own pace, I don’t feel rushed when working on the computer” said Matt Plinio, student at SCCC. This is a positive example of online classes. Another positive example would be that some intro courses are not even being offered at some colleges anymore because the student can take the online course for free.

There are cons to this approach however. Others struggle with the work on the computer.

“I learn better when a teacher is teaching me, sometimes I feel left behind; the classes move quickly,” Billy Duncan said. Many kids feel like this. Another con to this approach can be the teacher. This type of class is new to the teacher as well. He may think that he is doing a fine job but really he is not doing enough for the students.

Everybody is different, with different learning styles. Some benefit from doing work independently on their computer. Others need a little help and human interaction.

Will there come a day when we will eliminate teachers altogether? Will we have computers teaching in our classrooms?

NJ Bear Hunt Debate Continues

Friday, April 19th, 2013

By Nick Caprio

New Jersey’s third annual bear hunt is over, but the debate between animal-rights activists, officials and hunters over whether it’s necessary continues. This season, 285 bears were killed during the six-day hunt, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s website. The hunt was held December 3-8, 2012.

The number of hunters who took part in the hunt, the goal of which is to control the Garden State’s black bear population, was down from last year. Roughly 6,400 hunters participated, about 1,000 fewer than last year.

This annual bear hunt is always the subject of much controversy.

Many hunters feel they are doing a service to their community. After all, bears can be dangerous; they rummage in garbage cans and have no clue about vehicular traffic. Although the number of bears in northwestern N.J. has been thinned over three, consecutive, state-sponsored hunts, those numbers still need to be cut in half, according to the state Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Animal rights activists think that these hunts are cruel and unnecessary. There are about 750,000 black bears in North America, and on average, there is less than one person killed by them each year. For each person killed by a black bear attack, there are 13 people killed by snakes, 17 by spiders and 45 by dogs.

The bear population in northwestern N.J. was at 3,400 in the months before the first hunt in 2010. By the end of the 2013-14 season, the Division of Fish and Wildlife would like the population to be somewhere around 1,200 to 1,500.

“At this rate the bear population will be beyond saving in a couple years,” said Prof. Robert Larson, teacher at SCCC. If this number keeps decreasing, the effects on the ecosystem could be devastating, he said.