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The Voice of the College at Florham

"News is the first rough draft of history." - The Voice of the College at Florham

Artist hosts first solo exhibition at FDU

Staff Writer

Japanese-born artist Minako Ota recently presented her first solo exhibition in the United States, “Floating Worlds: A Tokyo Artist in the West,” at FDU’s College at Florham library.

The exhibit is currently open to the public during library hours through Oct. 30 and presents Ota’s latest creations that emphasize her theme of East and West fusion.

For the past 20 years, Ota has worked as a conservator. She came to FDU around 2001 to work with the painting collection that the university owns. Here, she met Eleanor Friedl, curator and reference librarian, with whom she remained in contact over the years. While in Moscow, Ota mentioned she was looking for venues, and Friedl offered the Orangerie for her first showing.

Since FDU has a policy that does not allow artists to display for commercial purposes, Ota had to arrange the opening reception at an educational angle. By demonstrating the creative process of her work, she was able to interact with the audience by showing them the steady progression of her efforts. Ota said that screening in this manner came naturally to her because she already documents everything from sketches to random doodles.

After the opening reception, Ota received a swell of positive feedback from the audience. She was also very pleased to have received fan mail congratulating her on the show. “FDU is such a wonderful place,” said Ota.

“Floating Worlds” is the English translation of “Ukiyo-e” which is a traditional Japanese genre of woodcarving prints portraying idealized beauties in domestic or erotic scenes, warriors, or landscapes, according to Friedl.

These images were meant to aesthetically transport viewers from conventional life, and into a “floating” or “fleeting” world of euphoria, according to Friedl. Ota had a variety of ideas, but felt the chosen title was most suitable because she felt her “work is floating between the two worlds of East and West and is always moving and shifting,” she said.

The blending of these two contrary cultures derived from Ota herself. She was born in Osaka, Japan, but studied and worked in Europe and the United States. “When I express myself on canvas, I combine the two,” said Ota. “I strongly feel that I [won’t] be 100 percent culturally Japanese or another culture, so I will always be in between. My paintings will always be suspended over this spectrum between East and West.”

Although meshed between the two, Ota has an undeniable Japanese foundation. “When there is some kind of argument on a subject, I am always on the reserved side. I like listening [more] than talking. I am married to this American guy who is a big talker. He talks 10 times more than I do. It’s like the relationship is equal, but he wins every time! This is when I feel my Japanese roots more strongly,” said Ota.

In November, Ota has a show in France, in an Asian boutique that shows antiques and contemporary art. She tries to show 20 paintings, incorporating new pieces.

Previously, she had a group show based on artwork containing fish in Lambertville, N.J. She also submitted a piece titled, “Girlfriends,” to the 67th annual competition of Audubon Artists, Inc., a group of artistic professionals.

Her painting was selected and put on display in the Salmagundi Club in New York City until Oct. 2. Ota’s next goal is to get represented by a gallery in New York City. She hopes to keep expanding by achieving awards through competitions. “I started painting in October 2007 in Moscow…[my] career as a painter is short, so I want to speed up by getting recognizable venues [and] awards,” said Ota.

On average, Ota tries to finish each piece in two to three weeks, believing that if more time is spent on one, she loses the “creative juice,” which is why she makes a deliberate effort to get her ideas on canvas promptly.

Despite her passion and talent, Ota is concerned about the unstable economic condition, noting that “no one is buying anything right now, and I really hope that this economic crisis will improve in the near future so artists won’t be extinct.” She adds, “It’s a tough world, tough market.”

Gathering her inspiration from a variety of outlets, she credits books as being a considerable source of stimulation. Her two favorite authors are Haruki Murakami and Joseph Campbell. In reference to Murakami, she said, “He has such an effect on me. It’s like having a dream like you’re still awake.”
Campbell acts as almost a muse, and by regarding his simple mantra of “follow your bliss,” Ota herself believes, “you have to follow your instincts, whichever pleases you most.”

For aspiring artists, Ota advises, “Paint what you want to paint. Don’t paint to just please other people, because you can’t waste time on your canvas. Forget about it; it’s impossible to please everyone. The painting with a face in it always turns out the best. You have to be the biggest fan of your painting or else you can’t continue.”

Convent path causes concern for students

Staff Writer

The public regularly uses the path to Convent Station for biking and running during the day. FDU students also walk the path at all hours to reach campus. Each year, the school is hounded by complaints from students who are forced to commute through the trail during the night. Since there are no lights on the path during dark hours, students have often reached out to Public Safety for transportation to the nearby train station. This, however, is prohibited, leaving students to endure a decent amount of unmonitored traveling before reaching FDU.

It may seem to frustrated students that FDU has not pursued safer alternatives, but Campus Provost Kenneth Greene provided background information on this issue.

“A few years ago we tried to institute an evening shuttle from campus to Convent Station,” said Greene. “We were unable to find individuals who had the right driver training and would be able to drive a van for a few hours in the evening. So, we abandoned the effort.”

The main reason transportation is not provided is because FDU does not want Public Safety officers to leave campus. The only exception to this would be during a medical emergency.

Junior Kristal Polonia made mention of possibly beginning a petition to bring more attention to the dilemma.

During an exchange with Director of Campus Public Safety Willie Thornton, Polonia discovered that Public Safety has approximately 23 officers alternating between three time shifts throughout the day.
Being that there is limited availability of officers, FDU cannot risk an emergency occurring while officers are bringing students to and from Convent Station.

FDU is attempting to provide assistance without encroaching upon legal policies. Presently, Greene advises students to walk alongside Madison Avenue until they reach the campus gate. From there, Public Safety will transport students since they are technically on campus grounds.

He also urges students to sign up for the SMART Communications program, which allows Public Safety to electronically track the student and reach them swiftly if there is an urgent situation. Students are able to register for this service via the FDU Web site by clicking “Web Shortcuts” on the main page and selecting “FDU SMART Comm. (FDU Mobile),” according to Greene.

Polonia shared that she previously commuted for two semesters.

“It’s scary to walk down that path. I’ve shown the path to my mom and she said she would never do it by herself. She’s in shock that students have to do that sometimes. You think like, ‘What could happen to me?’ No one would know about it until much later on,” Polonia said. “You’re basically putting your life at risk.”

In regards to the lighting, Greene said the path is owned by Morris County and is meant to provide a walking path for county residents. In order to have lights installed, Greene said, “We would need to convince the county that they are needed. I will be contacting county officials to see if they are interested in lighting the path.”

Senior Christopher Bowen continues to commute from Morristown. To distract himself during the shady trek, he listens to music, noticing other commuters use flashlights or cell phones to provide some light.
“It’s really unnerving having to walk back and forth, even with me being a guy. If someone wanted to do something they have full range to do whatever and there’s no one else there,” Bowen said.
Bowen maintains his guard when walking, but worries especially for female commuters.

“I worry more for females than actually for myself. You don’t know what kind of guys are out there,” he said. “There’s so much opportunity for something bad to go on back there.”

With students and Public Safety officials communicating respectfully with one another, much confusion and tension can be alleviated. Hopefully in time, a solution can be found.

FDU president celebrates ten years and counting

Staff Writer

“You all think you’re so great because you go to Princeton. Well let me tell you, when you graduate, you’re probably going to have a boss who went to Fairleigh Dickinson,” Bill Cosby said at a Princeton Class Day speech, according to FDU President J. Michael Adams.

As he sat in what was once the rest and recovery room of the Twombly and Vanderbilt family, Adams said with a smile, “I sent him a FDU sweatshirt to thank him.”

It was July 1, 1999 that Adams became president of FDU and he was able to see what Cosby meant before the words were uttered from his mouth.

“This institution is agile,” Adams said. “I love FDU students because they are humble. They have to work and they understand it.”

This value is no strange value to Adams himself. When he first interviewed at FDU he recalled being asked what his goals and visions were.

“I was just bright enough not to tell them,” he said.

Instead, he told interviewers the two things most important to the school: that FDU is in the most desirable area and has a transformative education.

With these two factors in mind Adams went to work and has been for the past 10 years. He currently serves as the longest-seated president after FDU founder Peter Sammartino, who was president for more than 30 years.

According to the FDU Web site, Adams initiated several new projects at FDU, such as the Distance Learning Program, the U.N. Pathways lecture series and the Public Mind. He also helped FDU gain Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status at the United Nations.

One of his larger projects includes incorporating FDU’s mission, “The Leader in Global Education,” into the school in every aspect from academia down to the residence halls.

When Rutherford and Park Avenue were under construction, Adams posed a question to the faculty and board, “How do we endorse our mission through these new residence halls?”

He answered the question himself. He proposed that there be comfortable living spaces designated to international faculty members traveling to and from FDU and so it was done.

Throughout his tenure Adams has seen and made a lot of changes to the university, however he recognizes those accomplishments as university effort.

“I am thrilled and grateful,” he said. “I wouldn’t use the word ‘proud’ because what we’ve accomplished no one else has done.”

While he celebrates his time at FDU, he made it clear that he wasn’t going anywhere. Adams has several projects in works for the future.

He was named president-elect for the International Association of University Presidents, according to the FDU Web site.

As president-elect, he is “quietly assisting” the U.N. Secretary General in a global initiative to bring universities and the U.N. together to support “ten universally accepted principles in the area of human rights, literacy, sustainability and conflict resolution,” according the Academic Impact Web site.
Adams is also working with the World Bank in developing academic institutions globally.

As for his plans for the next ten years, Adams said that he’s looking for people who want to transform themselves. He also wants to bring international fame and distinction to FDU.

“That’s within our reach,” he said.

From the Metro editor’s desk


For the month of October, the little gated community we all know and love as the College at Florham will have over 50 events open to students.

And after hours, days, sometimes weeks of planning events, the people in charge are ready to execute their hard work! The problem? No one comes. Or even better, a few people show up, but they leave feeling as though they wasted their time. (I have felt some of my own programs turned out this way in the past.)

I recently attended a leadership lecture titled “The Apathy Myth,” where Vice President and CEO of CAMPUSPEAK, T.J. Sullivan, attempted to break the myth that students aren’t apathetic, they just aren’t motivated.

Sullivan offered five ways to tap into things that motivate your peers. It’s simple – lure kids in with the five essentials to college fun: money, food, fun, sex and alcohol.

I can only imagine what a good turnout a program that offered all five would have. But I think if you offer enough of one thing, students will show. Case in point – I wonder how many people attended the Pep Rally last week just for the free sweatshirts.

Needless to say, I thought Sullivan had a good point. The entire college experience is truly what you make of it.

Next time people are complaining of being bored or not having anything to do, look out for the events you want, and go to them. Offer your opinion! I have found that sometimes the hardest part of picking events is simply choosing what to do. Give event planners ideas.

What is the use of complaining if you can’t offer solutions? Come up with your own solutions to your boring weekend and recruit people with common interests.

If you ask any of my friends, they can tell you I am the queen of flaking out. I’ve come up with a resolution. From now on, I am going to attempt to do everything I say I will. I invite everyone to join and to attend events. Who knows? You may have fun or learn something during your college experience. It sure beats going home to bug your parents – at least save that for when you move back home after graduation.

Starshine Theater returns to FDU

Staff Writer

The student-run theater group, Starshine, has not been a major presence on campus for the past few years. In earlier years, their cabarets and open-mic events were well received by theater students. Just last year it seemed as Starshine had met its final curtain call.

However, Starshine finally has a group of dedicated students, who are determined to make the club a vital part of campus life.

With a new executive board, a fresh lineup of new members and ambition to host unique events, their future on the Fairleigh Dickinson University campus is starting to look promising. The first interest meeting was Sept. 24 and from the 26 students that showed up, growth and interest in the organization is healthy.

The newly elected president, Mark Mattera, said that Starshine hopes to produce all kinds of theatrical events. Starshine is resorting to some old favorites as well as mixing in fresh, new events. The “Murder at the Mansion” event received positive feedback in the past years according to Mattera and as a result will be repeated in the upcoming year.

Apart from hosting events, Starshine will continue to take part in philanthropy work, according to Mattera. Past efforts involved raising money and awareness for Broadway Cares Equity Fights Aids.
In addition to bringing back classic events, Mattera said, “We’re planning on putting on more shows. We’re actually looking to do extended runs of shows.” Starshine is also anxious to get the student body more involved. Mattera said, “We’re planning on utilizing the space in the Barn, which is newly renovated. We want to do student written work. We’re trying to get everybody’s voice out there.”

While Starshine does have its leaders, newcomers to the group should not be afraid of getting involved. Artistic Director Cindy Fernandez said she “wants this to be a hands-on experience for everyone.”
Even though Fernandez will ultimately decide what the Starshine season looks like, she wants input from the other members. Fernandez said that she wants everyone’s voice to be heard in determining the direction of Starshine. Additionally, Fernandez says that Starshine will embrace whatever talents, whether they are for singing, acting or dance that students have to offer. Even theater tech students will play a big role in the Starshine productions. Starshine’s goal is to have entire student-run performances both on and off stage.

Starshine’s new purpose is to give anyone who is passionate about theater a sense of how a real theater company runs. It is no longer just about events and self-promotion. Instead, the focus has shifted to the practical and professional side of theater.

According to Mattera, this is especially important for students looking to enter a the field of the performing arts. Mattera said,“Everybody can appreciate acting from taking classes. However, when you really get in there and get your hands dirty in a student-run theater company, you really understand how it all happens.”

Starshine is currently in the initial planning stages for this season’s productions. Because it is a more informal setting than mainstage productions, students should not hesitate about getting involved.
Starshine is a place for student voices to be heard and expressed through theatre. The group will always welcome new members, whether or not they are theatre majors. The only requirement for becoming a part of Starshine is having a passion for the theater.

Mattera says, “Starshine invites everyone to come to the meetings. If you have a passion for acting or marketing or anything, there’s always room for you. Everyone is welcome. We’ll always have something for you to do.”

The next meeting for Starshine will take place on Oct. 1 at 6:30 p.m. in the Rutherford Room of the Recreation Center.

Nader offers perspective on health care

Staff Writer

On Tuesday, Sept. 15, consumer advocate Ralph Nader came to FDU and gave a speech on his perspective of universal health care.

Nader started off by saying that Americans put in more hours of work than any other industrialized country, and Americans are the only people without universal health care.

Though he likes the idea of having universal health care, Nader is not happy with how the Obama administration is proposing it. He said he prefers Harry Truman’s and Richard Nixon’s proposals on universal health care.

Nader believes that if Americans had a single-payer bill, Americans would save over $400,000.
“We are too rich of a country to ‘pay or die’ for our health,” he said.

Senior student Sabrina Noel said, “I thought Nader did a great job, especially since it’s a topic that is really controversial. I agreed with him in the sense that it is ridiculous that so many people in our country are without health care. I disagreed with him in how he thought we reached that point.”
Becton College Dean Geoffrey Weinman commented that Nader’s overall presentation was very effective, and that he is an impressive speaker who uses facts and anecdotes to prove his points. However, Weinman said, “He represents only one very specific view on the issue of health care reform. As a number of questions from the audience made clear, there are many concerns that the public has with regard to the implementation of health care reform.”

Professor Lona Whitmarsh from the psychology department was very eager to hear Nader’s presentation.

“I respect his passion for his causes and his tireless energy in educating the public and helping bring about change! However, I did not think he made the effort to tailor his presentation to a university audience. His presentation bombarded us with statistics without the opportunity to reflect and to critically think about the sources of his facts,” she said.

Whitmarsh said that when looking around the room, she believed that some individuals lost interest in Nader’s presentation.

She also said she was impressed with the probing questions students presented to Nader, but felt that he did not listen well.

Whitmarsh said she thinks Nader knows “there is no way this [universal health care] will be successful in the climate of our culture of options and choices, but he does want to motivate us to be more aware of change that needs to be done. I was startled by his statistic of how many Americans die each year due to lack of health care access.”

Graduate student Heather Suboleski enjoyed Nader’s presentation, particularly with the parallel he drew between the current health insurance issues and how the government was able to impose restrictions and implement safety laws against the automotive and tobacco industries.

“Once the government (at the urging of the American people) can defy the interest groups of pharmaceutical companies, we can at last turn insurance around in this country. It is embarrassing that in one of the richest, most powerful countries in the world, a staggering number of people’s lives are ruined because they do not have the proper medical insurance or any insurance at all,” Suboleski said.
In order to continue the health care discussion, a Hot Topics panel was scheduled to take place in Hartman Lounge on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

Led by Professor Gary Darden from the social sciences and history department, the event was called “Life or Death: Health Care Reform in America.”

New M.A. program to be offered

Staff Writer

Fairleigh Dickinson University has added a M.A. program in creative writing and literature for educators.
Martin Donoff, director of this new program, said that the M.A. is geared “specifically for high school teachers” to get their master’s degrees to study and teach literature and creative writing. Donoff also directs FDU’s existing M.F.A. in creative writing program.

The new degree consists of a low residency program in which students will spend three days living on campus. They will then complete coursework online. This allows students to maintain their current jobs.
The new program will begin in June 2010, pending New Jersey state approval, according to its Web site.
Students must complete seven courses. These consist of four writing/critiquing workshops, two literature courses and a foundation course, “Reading Like a Writer.” Specific courses include Poetry, Creative Non-Fiction, Contemporary World Litertature and Young-Adult Literature, among others.

Applicants must submit three copies of a personal statement about their ideas on teaching and writing, as well as any relevant work background. Writing samples and recommendations are optional.

“The primary aims of the program are to enhance the understanding of writerly and readerly issues and practices and the connections between the two,” according to the Web site. “In so doing, the program will enhance graduates’ abilities to teach both creative writing and literature.”

Students will receive critiques and feedback from not only readers but other writers as well. They also will receive feedback through their online courses.

Sixteen faculty members are going to be involved in the program, according to the Web site. All of them already teach at FDU at the undergraduate level and/or the M.F.A. program.

According to the Web site, the program costs $9,000 per year in the case of four courses and the one required residency.

FDU theater productions underway

Staff Writer

The Fairleigh Dickinson University theater department has begun the process of preparing for this year’s productions.

The first play, “Boeing Boeing,” tells the story of a 30-year-old architect and his affairs with multiple women, all of whom find out about each other, said Stephen Hollis, theater program director.
“It is a city play that has no right to be as funny as it is,” said Hollis.

Opening night is set for Wednesday, Oct. 7. The play will run to Sunday, Oct. 11, with repeat performances on Oct. 16 and 17.

Usually the plays only last one weekend, but the theater department wanted to try something new this semester.

“It takes time for word-of-mouth to spread, and we wanted to give the actors a few extra nights to get used to how the audience would react and which parts they would laugh at,” said Hollis.

The second play of the semester, called “Once in a Lifetime,” is set in the 1920s, said Hollis. “It is a group of out-of-work New York actors, and basically the condemnation of Hollywood,” he said.
Rosemary Glennon, a junior at FDU, is excited to be a part of the play this year.

“This play is hilarious. It’s really upbeat, very high energy, and the audience will get sucked into it,” she said.

Glennon, a theater arts major, is happy to get involved with the plays in any way, but this one seemed particularly interesting to audition for.

“It is a period piece with different dialect, and the guest director seemed interesting to work with,” she said.

Glennon explained that the actual acting in this play should be very good, and the end result is always her favorite part of working on a performance.

“Afterwards, when people believed your performance, believed that you were really the character you were portraying, when it actually moves people – that is the best part,” she said.

It will run from Wednesday, Nov. 18 until Sunday, Nov. 22.

“Sweet Charity,” the third play, will take place in the spring of 2010. It was created after the movie in the 1970s, Hollis said. It will feature songs such as “Big Spender” and “Rhythm of Life.” Opening night will be Wednesday, March 31.

“Who’s Life is It Anyway?” will be the fourth and final play of the school year, and will open the first week of May.

Hollis explained that it is a serious play about a man who gets into a car accident and becomes completely immobile. His brain is completely fine, but his body is completely useless. He is confined to his bed for the rest of his life, and wants to die.

“I was hoping that some classes could make this last play a part of their course curriculum by being required to come see it, like a Humanities class,” said Hollis.

According to Hollis, plays are chosen according to four specific criteria: Will they be able to cast them? Would anyone come see them? Is it a play with a large cast, so more students can be involved? Is it an overall good play?

Hollis said this year’s plays are all very different from one another. “It’s like ingredients in a cake,” he said.

Y.A.A. ‘Passion for Fashion’ show

Assistant Editor

Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Young Alumni Association recently held a fashion show, and the audience seemed to love it.

The theme of the night was “Passion for Fashion,” and audience members learned ways to assemble outfits for the workplace.

This event was held to help fund a student scholarship. There was a silent auction and those proceeds are going to help children in Bogotá, Colombia. During the reception, as young alumni and current students were walking in, they were welcomed by Andre Burke, an enthusiastic pianist and a freshman at FDU. He played contemporary music like “I Love College” by Asher Roth.

After the reception, the crowd of people anxiously waiting to see the fashion show walked into Lenfell Hall, where there was a long runway going across the entire hall with chairs on all three sides of the platform.

Before the fashion event began, Karen Giargina, a senior at FDU, sang the National Anthem. After that, various speakers came to give advice and talk about their experiences in the workplace and how fashion plays an important role. For example, Tiffany Andrade from Miss New Jersey USA 2008 mentioned how fashion sets how first impressions are made.

“If one looks good on the outside, it instills confidence on the inside,” said Hope M. Field, the event chair.
The main purpose of this show was to prove that education and fashion are elements of success.

Quails, Posh Boutique, and Lauren B supplied the clothes that helped make that night a success. There were 84 looks presented at the show, more than enough options for audience members to get ideas of what is appropriate attire in the workplace. The first set of walks was office wear. Some of the notable looks included a grey dress with a long sleeve grey blazer.

For the men, a grey striped suit complemented the model very well. Most men in the show had a variation of a striped suit.

The second set of walks were casual wear, so it was a lot of loose flowy tops, and men in jeans with some type of appliqué or design on their shirts.

The last set of walks was dressy/formal wear. According to the audience’s reactions, those were the best looks of the night. Most of the women were in long, silky dresses and the men were in suits. A notable dress in those looks was a champagne colored silk charmeuse dress with black lace and crystals.

Because the event had a great turnout, the Young Alumni Association plans to hold this event again in the future.

Greeks recruit for fall semester

Design Editor

It’s an exciting time of year for FDU’s Greek organizations.

This past week, the fraternities and sororities began recruiting their newest members. Recruitment began Sept. 16 with a “Meet the Greeks” event, where potential new members could meet representatives from the Greek organizations at the tables they had set up.

During “rotations,” potential new members were able to spend 40 minutes with each sorority, and then 40 minutes with the sorority of their choice on Friday evening. Phi Sigma Sigma Recruitment Chair Beth Holbrook expressed her excitement about the all-Greek barbecue being planned.

“It’s just all of us getting to know one another. No one wears their letters to the barbecue, and it really promotes Greek unity,” she said.

Holbrook also stated that recruitment was moving from an informal event once a year to informal/formal recruitment in both the fall and spring semesters.

FDU Greeks revealed many different aspects of Greek Life that inspired them to join.
Holbrook said, “I got so much more from pledging than I thought I ever would. Phi Sigma Sigma has given me a sense of sisterhood, lifelong friendships, great networking opportunities, and unforgettable experiences.” Mark Mattera, a brother of Tau Kappa Epsilon, said, “I was attracted to the possibilities of leadership. I knew it would open doors for me and get me involved.” Mattera is now the president of the College at Florham’s Inter-Greek Council. Mattera also noted that fraternity recruitment was somewhat different than sorority recruitment, as potential brothers could be invited into the fraternity at any time during the semester.

From the pool of potential new members, each sorority looks for women who fit their values.
“Phi Sig looks for the ‘girl next door,’” said Holbrook. “Ideally, she would be active and studious. We want to feel that she can contribute to and take from this sorority.”

Theta Phi Alpha sister Jennifer Reed described the ideal Theta Phi Alpha sister as “an independent, strong, classy woman who can still be silly with us. At the Greek barbecue, we had a cartwheel competition and many girls were eager to participate. That ability to be silly is what we look for in potential new members.”

Invitations were extended to women on Monday, Sept. 21.

“Each sorority on campus has a different way of extending bids. Phi Sig goes to the girl’s door to chant and give her a poster,” said Holbrook.

Once invited, women were offered to participate in “open ritual” to give them an idea of what the sorority is like and listen to speeches by members.

“Open ritual is where our morals, values, and creeds come from. Every chapter of every sorority participates in the same ritual, so even though we may be scattered across the country, we still have a strong bond,” said Reed, who is also the Ritual Chair of Theta Phi Alpha.

Director of Student Life Sarah Azavedo said that formal statistics for recruitment were not yet available, as continuous open bidding, or “COB,” will be taking place until early October. A final count of new members will not be available until that time.