"News is the first rough draft of history."

The Voice of the College at Florham

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

FDU community celebrates Green Day

Green Day 2013
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.

Sheldon Drucker named Fairleigh Dickinson University’s new president

Photo courtesy of Dan Landau. Former interim president, Sheldon Drucker, named FDU’s seventh president.

Photo courtesy of Dan Landau. Former interim president, Sheldon Drucker, named FDU’s seventh president.


On April 23, Sheldon Drucker, who most recently served as the university’s acting and interim president as well as its Chief Operating Officer, was named Fairleigh Dickinson University’s seventh president.

The decision was made after an extensive nationwide and almost year-long search by the Presidential Committee, which was led by Board Vice Chair Robert Hallenbeck and consisted of various members of the FDU community, as reported by The Pillar.
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Newark Councilman Ras Baraka speaks to students in Lenfell Hall; Plans to run for mayor of Newark

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On Feb. 14, following a speech on civil equality, Newark Councilman Ras Baraka said he will run for mayor.

Before a group of more than 40 College at Florham students and numerous faculty and staff members, in the lavishly decorated Lenfell Hall, Baraka was welcomed by the FDU gospel choir, Melodies of Heaven, which sang a medley of uplifting classics.
Freshman psychology major Evelyn Bailey gave an eloquent and heartfelt introduction to Baraka, who is also a poet. Bailey spoke of his parents, Amina and Amiri Baraka, and their involvement in Civil Rights activism during the 1960s. She went on to explain that his parents’ experiences during the Civil Rights Movement shaped Baraka’s views and inspired his political career.

Baraka took the stage to roaring applause from the audience. He opened with a quote from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and followed it with a few words of his own concerning the issue of civil rights.
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Taste of the North Pole comes to Village dormitories; Students build life-size snow fort during Winter Storm Nemo

Photos by Joe Castillo
From left to right: 1: Roommates Ian O’Connor (left) and Joe Bottino (right) discuss what needs to be added to their snow fort. 2: O’Connor and Bottino strengthen their fort by adding more snow. 3: Matthew Bonnell (left), Bottino (middle) and O’Connor (right) enjoying the shared space they have created.

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Friday’s snowfall closed Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Teaneck and Madison campuses, but an intrepid bunch of students here at the College at Florham took to the snow in stride. Joe Bottino, a sophomore business marketing major, and his roommate Ian O’Connor, as well as Matthew Bonnell and Richard Thackston, decided to build a snow fort.

According to O’Connor, a sophomore psychology major, the group began construction of the two-story tall snow fort at 7 p.m., in the thick of the blizzard. According to National Weather Service reports, the builders of the snow fort battled subfreezing temperatures and wind gusts of almost 30 miles per hour during construction. They worked through the elements for six hours shoveling snow and scavenging items to make a basic structure to support the snow.
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Another semester, another Club Fair in the Student Center

Students gather at different tables during the Club Fair on Feb. 6. In case you missed The Pillar table, we now have meetings on Mondays at 8:30 p.m. in the old EOF building. Photos by Joe Castillo.

Short story: Behold the first day of the semester

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This was how I began that spring semester: mass consumption, the recitation of poetry, and a mooning…
It was my first semester legally living on campus.

Midway through the fall, my best friend’s roommate dropped out and I began essentially squatting in his dorm room. No more waiting to sober up before driving home at three in the morning only to have to drive back by eleven the next day. No more girls’ roommates getting in the way.

And no more nights spent home by six watching television and eating Oreos by myself. I had a place to crash now.

I liked it so much I spent the winter convincing my mother to pony up for me to move on to campus. She obliged and got me towels and soap for Christmas to complement the rest of the motherly-love-filled hygiene kit that she sent me off to school with. I packed the car and off I went.

Arriving a little past noon, I lugged my bulging floral print suitcase into my room.

I had just finished putting the sheets on my bed when my roommate, Mike, and his folks arrived.

We politely greeted each other and I offered to help with his bags. Mike and I moved his junk in and went back for the fridge. It was a trick; it didn’t fit through the window, but the stairs to the door were, well, stairs.

We had to lug the damn thing up two flights. We got it in and unboxed the little bugger, all clean white interior, not stains from fruit punch or the smell of old milk or new cheese.

Now for that miscellaneous grocery bag of stuff from last semester: my mug, assorted office supplies, a Frisbee, and hey, what do we have here — a single beer from some Philadelphia micro-brewery.

The fridge is still warm, whatever shall I do? Eureka! The Canadian Cooler.

Mike’s father looked oddly at me and asked why I was filling a bag with snow. I exuberantly responded that I was going to chill my beer Canadian style, proud of my idea. He laughed and slapped my shoulder saying good thinking.

Thirty minutes later, all my junk was stored, clothes in drawers and hanging in the closet, shoes under the bed, and my reward was cold.
I rummaged through my assorted office supplies in search of a bottle opener.

Shoop! the seal had been lifted and that wonderful hoppy aroma filled my nose as I took the first sip of the first beer of my first semester living on campus. The night only got better from there.

Sitting in my garbage-picked wooden chair with my feet on our hard stolen coffee table, I took little sips of my beer, enjoying each one, when my friends John and Kelly knocked at my door. It was about six or so in the afternoon and we sat around and caught up on winter break bull for a while. Somehow two hours went by and we grew hungry.

“I’ve got my car here, let’s go to the diner,” Kelly said.

We ate waffles, drank coffee and milkshakes. Then we left with no particular place to go. We strolled out into the parking lot, almost to the car, but Mike had already hopped the chain-link fence between the diner and the movie theater. We walked over, but there was nothing playing at 9:45 on a Sunday night.
We meandered up the main street with no intention at first, but soon began scanning for an open liquor store.

Closed, closed, what the hell kind of college town is this, closed.

Finally, four blocks up, there it was: the soft glow of neon beer signs and light reflected from bottles in the window. The lights were on. We ducked into the alley between it and a large windowed eatery.

There was an elderly couple and their son finishing their dessert and coffee in the alley side window. We must have looked like criminals all huddled in the alley like that.

I dug in my pockets for my fake ID and went in search of cheap booze. Vodka? Whiskey? I’ve only got twenty-two bucks and change, ah, rum, barely even need a chaser, perfect. The clerk didn’t ask for my ID. I was a little disappointed, it’s a really good fake, but now I’ve got rum.

I returned to the alley to find my friends quarreling. I asked what was up and Mike told me he was willing to pay ten bucks to see someone moon the old couple. I smirked and John jumped on the bet. He was nervous, just exposed a little butt crack and thought that was worth ten bucks. I shook my head and handed off the rum.

I dropped my trousers and pressed ham to the window, knocked on the glass, gave them a wiggle and ran off down the alley as I pulled up my pants.

We laughed and laughed and Mike gave me his ten dollars as we walked back to the car. I kept asking what their faces looked like, but no one could describe what I could only imagine to be shock and disgust with an odd stroke of humor.

We finished the 32 oz. bottle within the hour and went in search of more liquor. John had a bottle of wine in his room, but no corkscrew. I had a Bowie knife, but not the fine motor skills to use it. Mike, being the sober sally of the bunch, took the knife for my own safety. We went to John’s room with empty cups in hand hoping to refill them. Along the way, we picked up some other drunkards.

We got the bottle from beneath his bed and Mike forced the cork through with the knife. A 2008 Zinfandel, we filled our glasses and…shit she’s got the knife.
“This thing isn’t sharp,” as she took it to her bare calf. Just a soft run of the blade would’ve done it, but she applied pressure. The blood ran down to her sock and she began laughing. I grabbed the blade from her and Mike took it from me.

We took the remains of the bottle for a walk.

We stumbled down the path, skulked around behind the biggest building on campus. We went up the stairs, down the hall and out the entrance to the balcony.
Once out the window, we paced around and drank our wine. We waxed intellectual about poetry and took turns reciting some of our favorites. I brought some Whitman, “O Captain! My Captain!” and “O Me! O Life!”

John told us some Billy Collins and Mike a little Emily Dickinson. Kelly and I recited Shakespeare together and I misquoted some Byron.

We parted ways for the evening leaving just an empty wine bottle on the windowsill, the only physical evidence of my first night as a resident.

A personal essay: God bless you, Raoul Duke

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“I know we’re not getting our deposit back on this room.”

These were my exact words as I stood at the threshold of one of the motel rooms rented to the class of 2010. We’ll get back to that. You need a little background first.

I went to a tiny high school, and I mean it was tiny. I graduated with a class of 42. Then there’s the fact that I broke up with the girl who would be named prom queen and who helped me plan the after party, which included a three-day trip to Seaside Heights.

We’ll call her Jen. In fact, all names in this story have been changed.

I broke up with her about three weeks before the night of the prom, for reasons only known to, well, I thought myself, but soon realized had spread to just about everyone.

Prom itself went off without any major complications. Of course, there was the odd person that refused to dance with their date.

As I sat at the table to eat the cheap steak that I had paid $75 for, I realized that there was no silverware to be found. My friend Mike was sitting next to me. He smiled and showed me the inside of his rented tuxedo jacket. Its pockets where stuffed with forks, knives and spoons. I chuckled and bought a fork and knife off him for a dollar.

I spent the rest of the night circulating, talking to friends, and avoiding any and all contact with Jen. I laughed, I danced, I ate my food, and I went home. Alone.

The next morning I got in my car and made the executive decision that, since all of my friends were going to Seaside, so would I.
“I can be a big person. I don’t have to make any trouble with her. I’m going.”

So I put my car in first gear, eased my foot off the clutch and the car lurched forward. Off I went.

The whole hour-and-a-half ride down there all I could think was, What if this goes bad? What if I’m ostracized for dumping the prom queen? After all, she was quite popular, but I was also well-liked and I had the necessary confidence to get through this, at least that’s what I told myself.

I was also thinking about my friends who were in charge of the booze for the weekend. They’re not exactly known for making good decisions and I was relatively sure that one or both of them would be arrested by the end of the weekend. A few of us actually had a pool going on it.

I had cancelled all of the reservations that I had made with Jen for the weekend. I cancelled the room and put all the money into my college savings, so my only assets for the entirety of the trip were a 2001 PT Cruiser, a cheap pair of sunglasses, a case of Keystone and $48.27.

Sometimes the best things in life are free. I didn’t buy any souvenirs. I took a life lesson home instead. I was one lucky son of a bitch to get out of this ordeal in one piece and without a criminal record.

I got there Friday at about noon, and I didn’t see anyone I knew at the motel, so I hit the boardwalk and bumped into Mike and Greg. They were never happier to see me.

Greg hugged me and said, “Hey man, can we get a ride?”

They needed to get to a liquor store outside of town because they’d already been turned away by all the locals, who were accustomed to high school kids partying there and trying to buy from them.

We drove over the bridge to a little place in Toms River, where the clerk didn’t ask any questions in exchange for almost double the price on everything we bought. When we got back to the motel, it was flooded with classmates, all of whom seemed happy that I had decided to come.

Then, five hours late, Jen finally arrived with her best friend, Mary, and another couple that were known far and wide for their soap opera topping drama, Beth and Ben.

Now, I’ve got to tell you about Mary.

Mary, oh, Mary, she’s the reason that I left Jen. I had a huge crush on Mary since our freshman year and she had just broken up with her boyfriend, so for some crazy reason I thought I had a shot. Alas, Mary had feelings for my friend Dan, whom I had known since the eighth grade, and she made that pretty obvious by the fact that they were sharing a room along with Mary’s best friend, Martha, and Jen.

To my surprise both Jen and Mary greeted me. Jen went off with the majority of the group to Mike and Greg’s room, leaving Martha, Mary, Dan and I to wander the boardwalk and meet up with other classmates who weren’t staying in the same motel as us. We saw some other people that we knew but weren’t really friends with, so we said hi and kept walking.

We made our way to the end of the boardwalk, past the last arcade and funnel cake stand, onto the path between the parking lot and the beach. We removed our shoes and sprinted out onto the sand. It was about 1:30 a.m. and the full moon was glaring off of the water.

We sat there for a while reminiscing about the past years of high school: my crusade against the cafeteria staff, which culminated in anti-school lunch propaganda and my “pay with pennies demonstration” in which myself and nine others paid for our lunch by counting pennies one by one for the cashier.
Then it went silent, the conversation had petered out. Just to break this uncomfortable silence Dan blurted out, “Lets go skinny dipping!”

The girls chuckled, but then I responded with, “You ever hear the Latin phrase Carpe Diem?” They stared. I told them that it meant, “Seize the day.” I went on about how this is a once in a lifetime experience to share with friends and convinced them that by not running naked into forty degree water they would be missing out on something they would never get back. “We could die in our sleep or be hit by a bus on the way back to the motel,” I said. “We have to live life to its fullest!”

No sooner said than did pants hit the ground and four naked bodies hit the waves. We got out of the water shivering and shaking. Martha and I huddled together for warmth, and, well, that’s where this part of the story ends for you…

We returned to the motel around three in the morning, to find everyone in our group drunk, high and generally incoherent, so I just went off to bed with Martha.

The next morning I got up at about eight and took a shower, then went to survey the damage. We had rented the entire third floor, so all of the doors were unlocked and I could just walk in and out of each room, drawing mustaches on everyone I stepped over. They were glorious: some curly, some handle bar style, and even a few Hitler stashes.

I had a beer, mostly because it was the only thing cold to drink, and waited for the mustache crowd to wake so I could see their reactions upon looking in the mirror for the first time. I sat there for at least an hour. I pretended to sleep in the chair so they wouldn’t suspect that it was I who drew on them. Slowly but surely they all began to wake up and see the mustaches drawn on one another and they all started laughing. It was great fun.

As they all crowded into the tiny bathroom to look in the mirror I slipped out and met up with Martha, Mary and Dan for breakfast.

We hit the boardwalk for pizza. After we ate, things died down and we wandered in and out of the various arcades and down to the pier. The smell of funnel cake, fried Oreos and cotton candy filled the air. Martha and I forked over the outrageous sum of $20 a ticket to ride “Skyscraper,” an 80-foot arm with two seats on either side that spins you around. It was worth every penny. Being as it was about four o’clock and the little amusement park was empty, the ride operator let us go for almost 15 minutes.

Afterward the four of us dizzily hit the beach and lay in the sand for hours.

Around nine Greg called me to say that everyone was heading to the go-kart track. Half an hour later, we met and everyone stumbled out onto the track and into a go-kart.

That was the best $8 that I have ever spent. I got Mark in the first turn and rammed him into the wall. I came up behind Rick and his date (no one knew her name so we just called her “Rick’s date”) and slammed into their kart and pushed past them into the lead with at least a dozen drunks trailing me.
We returned to the motel that night to find a cloud of purple smoke hanging in the third floor hallway, thick as the smoke blanketing London after the blitz. We were laughing and hungry by the time we reached our room at the other end of the hall.

I could hear yelling and the breaking of glass. I walked in to cheers and Greg yelled to me, “The prodigal son returns!” as he thrust a bottle into my hand. I took a drink and asked where I could find a friend we were concerned about.

He motioned toward the bathroom. I stepped into the head and found my friend and a vile scene so disgusting I’ve blocked it from memory. It took a few seconds for me to respond. I just stared at the tile.

Finally I said, “Looks like you’re having a good time.”

I grabbed my friend Hank as he was peeking in the bathroom and sent him to get a few bottles of water. He came back a minute later with the water and went to hand my friend a bottle. She grabbed his arm, pulled him into the tub, and started kissing him, saying, “You’re cute Hank…”

I tell you Hank got out of that tub so fast and was down the hall before I could thank him for the water.

I spent the next two hours pumping my friend full of water and watching her vomit all over herself. I turned on the shower and left her in what I thought were the capable hands of Anthony, who was an EMT, and returned to bed.

The next morning was the same. First, I surveyed the damages. Only this time there was no one in the first room, no one in the second, and just Ben and Sally in the third. I finally arrived at the last door.

Slowly, I opened the door, and immediately my eye was drawn to the missing TV and the broken glass. I stepped over Greg and Johnny and made my way to the broken window.

Looking down into the pool I could see the faint outline of a square black object at the bottom. Must be the missing TV.

I turned my attention to the piles of people squished onto the two twin-sized beds and the others scattered throughout the room.

I noticed a considerably large blood stain on the carpet in the corner of the room near the broken bed and the shattered picture frame. I didn’t see anyone with obvious cuts.

I moved onto the bathroom, to see if my friend was still there. She groaned at me and I closed the door. I slowly backed out of the room and returned to mine.
I woke Martha, Mary and Dan. I took Martha by the hand and walked her down the hall. We entered the room as a group and began to take in all the carnage of the previous night.

We split up and picked through the rubble of broken bottles and furniture.

As we exited the battlezone, I remarked to Martha, “I know we’re not getting our deposit back on this room.”

The four of us left early that morning to avoid the whirlwind of insanity that would no doubt ensue when they all came to and when the motel staff found the room. I called Greg about an hour down the road when we stopped at an IHOP for breakfast.

I asked for a report, and he did his best to fight off the side effects of a killer hangover to tell me that my friend in the bathroom was fine. Most of the others had gone when they saw the room, and that he, Mark, Beth, Sally and Ben were left to foot the bill for the clean up.
The motel owner agreed not to press any charges as long as Mark’s check cleared. It did.

We all went to school on Monday just to recount our stories. I always began with the “Animal House” line, “From that one night there were two dozen acts of perversion, so obscene that I’m prohibited from listing them here,” and ended with, “A new low. I’m so ashamed.”

We found that there were a lot of holes in most of the stories, but I had the best explanations for Johnny’s cuts and I was the only person to know where Greg’s new henna tattoo had come from.

It was a butterfly tramp-stamp.

It’s funny. I seriously considered not going. What a mistake that would’ve been. I would’ve missed out on one of the best experiences of my life.
I wouldn’t have lived up to my carpe diem philosophy, and I would’ve missed being with Martha.

Life really is about experiences. It’s what we’re made of.

If I had not gone on this adventure with my friends, I would’ve ceased to live or, in other words, been dead for the weekend.
All and all, it was not what I had expected from my prom weekend, but I really don’t think that I could’ve asked for a better way to bond with friends and seize the day.

Happy lovin’ couples ain’t no friends of mine. Not even a little.

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My roommate has a record player and I’ve only got one record: Joe Jackson’s “Look Sharp.”

I got it at Goodwill for a buck, you know, as a novelty since I don’t own a record player. Then I moved in with Matt, my high school buddy, this semester and he has a turntable and a few of his parents’ old Sinatra and Elvis records, so I brought my Joe Jackson from home.

I listen to it all the time; it’s my favorite album. It echoes my life as of right now: upbeat, but still kind-of-a bummer.

One song in particular seems to have captured my feelings as of late: “Happy Lovin’ Couples.”

I hate them.

I’m envious really … but it’s just easier to hate them. I see them walking to class, holding hands or linking arms. I see them in the cafeteria, sharing chicken fingers. And I see my roommate skyping with his fiancé at Temple and it kills me just a little.

I come from a family of habitual bachelors: my uncle, his uncle and my own father (post divorce) are all of the “can’t live with em’ can’t see why you’d want to” school of thought. I guess I’ve fallen into that myself.

As I glance about my dorm room I can see the evidence of my lifestyle. A black velour loveseat, a bar stocked with all that’s necessary to make martinis, Shirley Temples, and what woman could resist the lure of the piña colada?

I even own an Al Green record; Barry White is too commonplace.

I feel like I’m a silk robe and ascot sort of Hugh Hefner himself, but I’ve grown lonely.

And, truth be told, I spend most nights watching “Dr. Who” with my roommate while he texts his girlfriend in Philly rather than enjoying the bounties of bachelorhood.

I must have a short shelf life; women seem to like me, but no one’s kept me around for long. A few months tops. I’m getting kind of sick of it.
I always find myself dating girls that I don’t like or worse, they don’t like me. We’re just together because we share one thing in common: neither of us likes to be alone.

I’m full of stories of “the girl who got away” – too many to recall them all, but there’s one who stands out.

She just about jumped into the boat from my previous metaphor, but I was too stupid to realize how much she liked me. I almost dare to use the “L-word” for this one, but I never got to know her that well, and before we knew it, summer was over and she was off to BU and now she’s practically married to her boyfriend, who looks just like me.

Of all the women that I’ve known, I’ve never really known any of them.

“Is she really going out with him?”

I know these guys: they’re idiots, they’re dense, not that the “Woo-girls” (girls who yell, “Woo! Shots!”) aren’t dumb in their own right, but there are just so many couples that make no sense to me. I can’t for the life of me figure out how these people got together, but the fact that keeps recurring is that they are and I’m not.

It’s like I’m living a Woody Allen film. I just get so neurotic sometimes. My ego sees a young Harrison Ford in the mirror and then my overly aggressive subconscious attacks him like a popular high school girl degrades a chubby classmate. It’s brutal. Then I gather what’s left of my shattered self-confidence and go to class.

I tell myself, “Who cares, they’ve only got one. You can have as many as you’d like.”

But that’s not what I want anymore.

It hit me last semester, after what we’ll refer to as a “brief encounter” on the balcony of the Mansion.
I’m tired of this.

I want someone to watch SNL and bum around on the couch with me. I want a girl who steals my big cozy turtleneck sweater on cold mornings and appreciates my misquotations of Byron and Shakespeare. There must be someone who shares my sick, twisted sense of humor that I try to pass off as wry and can cope with my special brand of crazy.

I just haven’t found her yet.