Photos by Monique Vitche
Photos by Joe Castillo.
The task of transitioning into freshman year is one filled with new experiences as well as obstacles to overcome.
Several students and staff members decided that they wanted to find a way to help freshmen with this undertaking by holding events once a week with both entertaining and educational purposes.“The New Devils Project” is a group that does just that.
Danushi Fernando, the Campus Life Coordinator at FDU, pitched the idea to RA Chris Trautman, who agreed with the proposal.
Trautman and another student, Emily Moratti, worked together to make Fernando’s idea come to life. For example, Moratti created a Facebook page to get the information out about the group. Additionally, the pair collaborated over the summer to come up with topics for discussion and find panelists to participate in the events.
Each event is discussion-based with seating in a circle formation, as the intent is to be interactive rather than intimidating or like a classroom.
Panelists who lead the discussions may be teachers and faculty members, but are usually students. Trautman said the reason for the student panelists is because “students learn from students.”
They felt upperclassmen would be able to give insight into the freshmen experience, having recently been through it themselves. Many different subjects, relating to freshman year and college life in general, will be addressed at each event.
Some of the themes include roommate conflict, alcohol awareness, how to cook “devilishly good” food in the cafeteria, and what exactly constitutes sexual consent vs. sexual harassment.
However, as the semester continues, topics may turn to more national and global is- sues, such as the events of Sept. 11, that will “impact (students) on a deeper level.” The desire is for students to become more aware of college life, FDU and, more importantly, themselves.
As Trautman explained, when he and Moratti came up with topics, they kept in mind “what we wish we were told as freshmen.” Each event will have different activities and conversations, and may sometimes include humorous skits that demonstrate specific situations.
The first event was on the subject of happiness. Lona Whitmarsh of the Psychology Department and Sarah B. Azavedo, the Student Life Coordinator, were the speakers.
They spoke about how to be happy, to try to get students “in the right mindset” for the beginning of the year.
Trautman and Fernando said the group is unlike any other at FDU and even many other colleges.
It is unique in that it is almost entirely student-run (with support from Campus Life) and it is geared towards freshmen. The events are free and have mainly student speakers helping out their fellow pupils with a wide variety of issues, some being FDU-specific.
They also said the group is important because the more involved students are, the happier and more productive they will be.
The group was explained to freshmen in their Freshman Seminar classes, and counts toward their outside credit required for the class, where they must attend a certain number of school events and write a little about the experience.
However, although the events are geared towards freshmen, all students are welcome to attend.
If the project is successful, they hope to continue it in future semesters and get more students to be involved (whether attending, speaking as panelists or helping in some other way).
For this first semester, events will take place every Wednesday from 8 to 9 p.m. in the Twombly Lounge.
While many students and professors spent their summer break at home or traveling, Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Dean of Students Jas Verem and Campus Provost Peter Woolley collaborated on various campus-wide improvements, including new student identification cards, a renovated eatery and a more student-friendly pub, to name a few.
These changes range from small projects such as paint in the Student Center and new outdoor benches to larger projects like landscaping and clearing shrubs around the Recreation Center and Twombly halls to “clean things up and have the campus pop,” said Verem.
Yet one of the largest projects was gutting the bathrooms in buildings one and two and installing new air conditioning in the Village. In addition, buildings one through seven got new windows, both for safety reasons and because the previous windows did not retain heat or cold well.
Furthermore, metal cots once in these buildings have been replaced.
Although these residences were originally meant to be temporary, Verem would argue that “they just needed some nice TLC.”
In the summer of 2014, buildings three and four will also be getting new bathrooms, with five and six the following summer, and so on.
In addition, all kitchens in the Village will be removed because there is no ventilation and they are not up to fire code safety. This will allow for larger laundry facilities.
“The Village is a top priority because they aren’t exactly a desired place to live the way they are now,” said Verem.
Every year, the University looks to make improvements, which depend on cost, impact and ease of completion.
For example, something like the new tile floor in the Student Center, which was completed this summer, is easily done, yet has high impact because of the amount of traffic through the building.
Kevin Kotsak, a senior double majoring in Political Science and Sociology, said, “I believe this school has improved upon itself since I was a freshman. The events are better and the campus’s appearance is far better than what it used to be. This is a positive sign considering these changes occurred in only a few years.”
However, although the cosmetic changes have been positive, Verem said there have been mixed reviews about the newly implemented student ID cards in terms of their design and their uses.
Verem said that this update was to give students more options like using it as a debit card or, for example, receiving refund checks. “Rather than waiting a week or so to receive the paper check, it will be refunded to your card right away.”
Yet this is all a work in progress. The debit aspect of the card with US Bank is not yet implemented.
Even still, Kotsak likes the idea of the new cards, saying, “It’s great we will be able to use them anywhere.”
One change that freshmen can be happy about came in the form of 100 new parking spots in the far lot by Park Ave., which are marked in blue.
Previously, freshmen could not have cars except under special circumstances, but after many complaints, it was decided that this would be positive for students already enrolled as well as for future recruitment. The parking spots cost $200 per semester and work on a first-come-first-served basis.
As for the upperclassmen, many are confused that their schedules now say ZEN instead of NAB. Many Becton College students have their classes in the Stadler, Zenner, Hoffmann-La Roche academic building, which saw its first classes in 1998, making it obvious as to why it is no longer being referred to as the New Academic Building.
Originally this abbreviation was used so that Datatel, the program that lists classes online, could create students’ schedules. At the time, no one knew how to properly abbreviate the building’s lengthy name.
In addition, on Friday, Sept. 6, new furniture arrived for the pub and the newly renovated Nathan’s, which will no longer go by that name.
The reason for the new floors, paint and furniture in the Bottle Hill Pub is to allow students to use it as a lounge during the day and a pub by night.
In the past, the Bottle Hill Pub was largely unoccupied except for when events were held there, so the idea is, by having the doors open, “rather than lights out, dark, and sitting unused, that it will be more utilized by students (not just those 21 and over). Hopefully that works,” said Verem.
As for Nathan’s, its previous menu is being exchanged for healthier options like sandwiches and salads.
Contrary to the rumor that it was going to be Chipotle or something similar, it will be a new eatery with a working title of “Leaf and Grains.” There will be a campus-wide contest for students to choose the official name.
Finally, with wireless Internet in the process of completion, FDU’s College at Florham campus is modernizing itself, making it a more enjoyable (and more attractive) place to go to school. Rutherford and Park Ave.’s wireless Internet is already complete, with that of the Twomblys to be finished this week, followed by the Village.
“It’s a beautiful campus … We try to do things to enhance that,” said Verem.
Some improvements to look for in the near future include the Black Box Theater, two smart technology classrooms in the ZEN building and ongoing major renovations in the science labs.
On April 28, Fairleigh Dickinson held its first-ever Twombly Awards. Similar to the Maddy Awards, this event recognized freshmen who stood out in several different categories.
The idea originated with Lindsay Grettner, a GA from last year, and current Resident Assistant, Jackie Radcliff. Radcliff was inspired by the Maddy Awards and decided to hold an awards ceremony for freshmen so they could see that others were noticing their actions as well.
The recent selection of Sheldon Drucker as Fairleigh Dickinson University’s seventh president was a surprise to the FDU community – for some it was a pleasant one; for others it was a questionable one.
Drucker, who has been serving the university for 17 years, took on the role of interim president of the university after the former president, the late J. Michael Adams, announced his retirement. Drucker was not considered a candidate in the presidential search process, but was chosen to be the university’s next president on April 23.
AYINDE J. STEVENS
Last week’s Hot Topics event went into deep philosophical territory, the type that goes from debt to taxes, and everything in between.
The event, “The Debt Crisis: How it Affects You,” was held at the Orangerie on April 30, which seemed fitting since income taxes were due on April 15.
The panel, which was moderated by political science professor Bruce Peabody, consisted of Tom Strowe, a junior political science major and board member of Fair Tax New Jersey; Burton Zwick, a professor of economics and finance; Dan Cassino, a professor of political science; and Joaquin Villanueva, a professor of geography.
Photo by Joe Castillo.
For two days starting on April 23, students, members of the FDU community gathered for the annual Green Day celebration. This year’s theme was to spread awareness for sustainable and renewable energy and the technology that supports it.
On April 24, the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, an organization run by FDU student athletes, hosted a campus cleanup in honor of Green Day. Athletes, dressed in green and armed with plastic gloves and garbage bags, pick up trash between flowers, behind benches and even on top of statues at the College at Florham. Photos by Joe Castillo.
Every year, the College at Florham’s graduating class gives back to the FDU community, usually in the form of an attractive addition to an already established space on campus. This year, the graduating Class of 2013 will give back in a different way; by creating a scholarship that will help support future FDU students.
On May 1, the College at Florham community gathered to recognize the hard work of students, faculty and staff during the 2012-2013 academic year at the 12th annual Maddy Awards ceremony.
The ceremony, which was held in Lenfell Hall, gave attendees ample time to socialize on the Mansion lawn prior to and after the event. It was presented by the Student Government Association.
The following awards were given:
Student Leader of the Year
Faculty Member of the Year
Staff Member of the Year
Facility Maintenance Excellence
Organization of the Year
FDU Accounting Society
New Organization of the Year
Male Athlete of the Year
Female Athlete of the Year
Program of the Year
Presidential Election – Brittany Coleman/NAACP
Greek Event of the Year
Zeta Beta Tau Air Band
RA Program of the Year
Hello to the Holidays – Brittany Coleman, Alexis Camarena
Creative Contribution Award
Orientation Leader of the Year
Upperclass Area Resident Assistant of the Year
First-Year Area Resident Assistant of the Year
Greek Chapter of the Year
Phi Sigma Sigma
Sorority Greek Week Winner
Theta Phi Alpha
Fraternity Greek Week Winner
Phi Sigma Kappa
Exemplary Contribution to Campus