"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

Review: ‘Warm Bodies’ will not disappoint viewers; Romantic comedy touches even the coldest of hearts

Staff Writer

“Don’t be creepy, don’t be creepy…”

That’s the most comical line from this season’s newly released romantic comedy, “Warm Bodies.”

The film follows zombie teenager “R,” played by Nicholas Hoult, who starts to question his life…while technically deceased.

In this world most of the human race is plagued by a disease that turns humans into zombies.

This disease is spread once a zombie bites a human and does not kill them. Zombies lack the remorse of biting off someone’s face, but “R” is beginning to feel, think and even talk more than just communicating with subtle grunts, head nods and walking into people.

“R” (not knowing his real name) wanders through an abandoned airport along with other lost souls, but is constantly plagued with the question: Do they think and feel like me?
Continue reading

Personal essay: Not your typical kind of Valentine’s Day

Staff Writer

I would be the worst girlfriend.

Let’s take a moment to digest that. I think teddy bears are meant for children, roses are meant to be sent everyday and chocolate…well, I do love chocolate, so that can be an exception. I’m not cynical or bitter about being alone. In fact, I would prefer to spend February 14 reading a good book with a cup of hazelnut coffee in my hand.

This “holiday” just never meant anything to me. I don’t understand why we, as a society, choose one day out of the entire year to show the people we love that we in fact love them.

This love needs to be measured in material wealth: chocolate, a dozen long stemmed roses and a fancy dinner. I’m not all about that lifestyle. If you love someone, tell them every day. You shouldn’t need a reminder to tell someone how much you care about them and need them. Tell them every day with a kiss or a simple note.

This year, I’m doing something different and putting down my book. I decided to throw a party to counteract Valentine’s Day. I’m throwing an Anti-Valentine’s Day party.
Continue reading

Certificate of occupancy needed for opening of Monninger Center

Staff Writer

The John and Joan Monninger Center for Learning and Research has come a long way since it broke ground last fall. The center is expected to open after it receives a certificate of occupancy.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Oct. 11 and was attended by the FDU community and guests, including Former Campus Provost Kenneth Greene, several Board of Trustees and the architect of the building, Michael Farewell.

According to Maria Webb, the associate university librarian, Farewell designed the building as a connection to different eras.
“The building was supposed to bridge the past to the future,” she said.

The Orangerie keeps a hint of the old, while the newest, modern addition leads to the future.
Continue reading

FDU alum returns to give history of campaign advertising

Staff Writer

On Oct. 9, Michael Lesser returned to FDU to deliver the second part of his three-part series about advertising during elections, this time focusing on the historical overview of 60 years of campaign advertising.

Lesser, who worked with the November Group to re-elect President Richard Nixon, talked about his life and gave a brief overview of his experience in the advertising field.

Lesser graduated from the College at Florham in 1964. He was a marketing major.

Within advertising, Lesser learned persuasive techniques. From there, he was able to go into television and utilize its correlation with politics.

In today’s political environment, candidates rely on television advertisements for support.

Lesser discussed the three phases of advertising and politics.
Continue reading

FDU alumnus Michael Lesser discusses campaign advertising

At the podium, Michael Lesser recalls his involvement in Nixon’s 1972 re-election campaign. He was a member of The November Group, which created advertisements for the campaign. Photo by Monique Vitche.

Staff Writer

On Sept. 25, Politics on the PublicMind held its first lecture titled, “An FDU Mad Man Goes to Washington: Stories from the Nixon Re-Election Campaign,” in Lenfell Hall.

The program began with an introduction by Maria Webb. Webb brought Dan Cassino, an associate professor of political science and PublicMind’s Director for Experimental Research, to the stage. Cassino went on to introduce the guest speaker, FDU alumnus Michael Lesser.

Colleen Di Gregorio, public relations and marketing coordinator of the University Library, coordinated the event, with help from Campus Provost Peter Woolley, who was responsible for helping bring Lesser back to FDU.

“I always want to hear what our alumni have done and this guy has had a fascinating life,” he said.

Lesser attended the College at Florham. He worked in advertising under the re-election campaign for President Richard Nixon. Lesser grew up in a world that was not widely associated with politics. He personally never knew a Republican until he entered college.

Lesser started the Liberal Club. At the time there was already a Conservative Club on campus. The two clubs used to debate important political and global issues.

Lesser was a marketing major with a minor in psychology. Right before he graduated, he started to really care about political issues.
Before he graduated, Lesser was given an opportunity to interview with Vicks Chemical Company. After three interviews, he obtained a job. It was a chance interview and it was an opportunity that changed everything.

While working at the company, Lesser became the mastermind behind resurrecting the idea of Vicks NyQuil, which has become a lead seller in cold and sinus medication. Being modest, Lesser views himself as a small celebrity and with his status, he was able to change jobs. His next career endeavor was advertising. According to Lesser, these were the “Mad Men years.”

Lesser was a senior executive at an advertising firm. Within this role, he was given the opportunity to join The November Group where he worked in New York with a committee that was designed to help re-elect Nixon.

When Lesser was going to work for the president, he was excited to tell his grandfather. All his grandfather could say was, “Nixon? You’re going to work for Nixon?” His grandfather didn’t approve of Nixon.

“Nixon evokes emotion even now,” Lesser said. “Nixon hatred passed from generation to generation.”

Lesser, along with his group, created the first Nixon campaign advertisement. It was a cartoon that depicted a hippie getting kicked out of the White House.

According to the FDU website, Lesser never served as a marketing and advertising advisor on another campaign, even though he had a passion for politics. He currently serves as CEO of Revive Personal Products.

Lesser’s lecture was one in a three-part series at the College at Florham.

“The lectures were Peter Woolley’s idea,” Lesser said. He noted there was a big generation gap in the audience – older and younger. “There was a lot of positive feedback from the older crowd because they remember this time. At least we can go over other elections and see how they compare to Obama.”

A majority of the audience was older; about a few dozen were students attending for fun or to get class credit.

Black-and-white videos were presented and light refreshments were served. The presentation was followed by a short question-and-answer session.

Di Gregorio said, “The series will be well received. It’s interesting for everyone to be a part of… I’m hoping that they (students) are going to be exposed to the things they haven’t been exposed to before.”

The next Lesser lecture will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 9. It will cover advertising from 1952 to present.

The final Lesser lecture will take place on Oct. 23. The topic is “Obama vs. Romney on TV: Who’s winning the advertising war?”

Both events will be held in Lenfell Hall from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

Mobilizing the youth vote

Staff Writer

With the upcoming election around the corner, many citizens are able to vote for the first time. Students are finding that it is their time to make their voices and opinions heard in the political world. Other students are choosing not to vote. One vote from them is one more vote for our future president.

According to civicyouth.org, which collects research and information on civic learning and engagement, “Voter turnout among young Americans is on the rise. Census data indicate that in the 2008 presidential election, turnout among 18- to 29- year-olds reached 51.1 percent, which was the third highest turnout rate…”

Some students choose to vote because they know it’s their right and they feel like they owe that to their country.

Danielle Presuto, a senior at Fairleigh Dickinson University, feels that it’s her right and duty as an American citizen to vote in the upcoming election.

“I choose to vote because not only is it my right, but men and woman are overseas fighting for my rights,” she said.

Hillary Brewer, another senior at FDU, feels the same way. “I choose to vote because my vote counts. It’s important to vote.”
But there are others who find themselves not wanting to vote or those who have not yet registered.

One senior at FDU has chosen not to register to vote. “It’s a free country and I can choose to vote and I can choose to not vote,” she said.

Feelings among young, first-time voters vary. Some see it as a civic duty and some view it as a right that they can abide by or choose not to abide by.

Civicyouth.org states that there is one big barrier that first-time voters are facing, and that is the registration process.
Most young people who are juggling their hectic schedules are finding it hard to find time to register to vote.

Mariah Pena, a senior at FDU, is a full- time student who is balancing family, friends, work and a sorority. She is not currently registered to vote, but would like to be so that she can eventually vote.

First-time voters like her can’t seem to find the time and some don’t know how to go about getting registered.

Then there are other students who just don’t know what they want. First-time voter Annie Sendrowitz, a junior at FDU, is eligible to vote, but has yet to register for the upcoming election. It’s something that she feels is a choice and something that she does not have to necessarily do.

Jennifer Curtin, a sophomore at FDU, is registered to vote, but doesn’t feel that it’s appropriate to vote, due to her lack of interest in politics. “I’m not going to vote, because I don’t pay enough attention to politics,” she said.

Civicyouth.org says it is important for both first-time and young voters to go out and vote: “Our findings suggest that these strategies do indeed encourage young Americans to vote, which is crucial in upholding the ideal of American democracy and nurturing civically engaged citizens.”

There are a lot of factors that influence the decision for first-time voters. Many young people find their lives to be overwhelming and, when it comes to politics, they just don’t seem to find the time or have an interest in the topic.

Some others believe that their vote makes an impact and want to exercise their rights.

The youth of America can only make an impact if they choose to do so.

Monninger Center to open in October, following delay

Staff Writer

The highly anticipated Monninger Center, which was originally set to open in September, will hold its ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 11 at noon after a delay in construction.

The John and Joan Monninger Center for Learning and Research held its groundbreaking ceremony on May 31, 2011.

Construction was supposed to begin that summer, but was postponed until the fall semester. Initial work began on Oct. 20, 2011.

The Monningers donated $1 million for the center. John Monninger graduated in 1965 from FDU.

The construction site has an installed webcam that allows visitors and students to watch every step of the process. The webcam is accessible through the FDU website.

Maria Webb, director of public services for the library, sees the opening of the Monninger Center as “the light at the end of the tunnel.” The center’s purpose is to allow both students and faculty to work together.

The center is ideally located right outside of the Student Center. The space will hold multiple rooms ranging from rooms that can support small study groups to an auditorium that can seat up to 100 students. There will be a coffee cart that will serve Starbucks coffee.

The entire center will have wireless access and all chairs in the center will have electrical outlets so that the use of extension cords will be eliminated. It also will have open space, as well as high efficiency heating and air-conditioning units.

The Monninger Center will house the Academic Support Center and the College Writing Program, as well as faculty offices and a computer lab.

The Orangerie, part of the original estate, will be left intact; however, it has experienced minor changes.

The outside bricks of the Orangerie were cleaned up for a more appealing look. It also received a new floor, lighting and furniture.

There will be brand-new restrooms next to the Orangerie and the old staff offices have been converted into space for vending machines. The space will also be used by Gourmet Dining Services during events held in the periodical room.

The old part of the library has gotten all new windows. Part of the library and the periodical room also have received a new coat of paint.

The reference rooms and the staff offices will also get new furniture.

According to the university’s website, the center has room for an art gallery and exhibit space.

Having the library under construction for the past year has had an impact on students. Some are feeling the downside when it comes to finding a quiet place to study.

“It’s inconvenient because the library is smaller, so there are too many students in this small space. I miss the quiet space of the Orangerie,” said student Jennifer Curtin.

Webb is hopeful that students will really benefit from this building.

“It will be fabulous when it’s finished,” she said, in light of all the effort and time being allotted to the center’s construction.

Webb understands that students are frustrated but right now it’s all a countdown to getting a proper entrance and a door to the library.

If students are looking for places to sit, there is seating upstairs in the periodical department. Quiet spots also can be found along the aisles of books. Already several students have been seen in the quiet areas with their heads buried in their work.

For now, all students can do is wait until Oct. 11.

The ribbon cutting ceremony can be found on the FDU website’s events calendar, where any updates will be posted.

Poetry event held at FDU Florham

Asia Project presents a spoken-word performance in the Bottle Hill Room.

Staff Writer

On March 26, FPC hosted the event, “Tea Party and Speak Easy,” in the Student Center.

The event included a poetry reading by student Sandra Saad and a performance by Asia Project, a spoken-word group.

Nicholas Fulchini, a member of FPC, viewed the event as a fun addition to FDU.

“It’s basically FPC’s campus theme of ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ So they went along with the theme of a tea party,” said Fulchini.
He also commented on Asia Project’s speak easy, noting that it is a traveling group.

Students stayed in the Student Center for the duration of the performance. Chairs were set up in a cozy and comfortable setting for students to sit and sip on their tea and cappuccino.

Saad, a senior, started the show by reading a piece of poetry.

The audience was wide-eyed as Saad’s hand movements and tone of voice silenced them.

Students in the audience even held up their camera phones to record her speech, which was followed by the performance by the Asia Project.

The Asia Project is composed of a traveling poet, accompanied by his brother-in-law, who plays the acoustic guitar.
The group has been featured on HBO and Def Poetry.

Last year, the Asia Project went on a massive college tour that included more than 180 colleges.
Katie Ford, the president of FPC, was responsible for bringing the group to campus.

The group seemed to enjoy the intimate crowd, as well as the “Alice in Wonderland” theme.
They also had the crowd laughing due to candid jokes about sex and New Jersey.

The Asia Project opened up with the idea of breathing – manipulating it throughout the body to get through days and events.

The fact is that breathing is all we can do. The world is stressful, so just breathe. “When the dust settles, all we can do is breathe.”
This poem was written in honor of an old friend of the poet who battled cancer for five years.

The poem also meant a lot to the poet because he had been diagnosed with cancer, though he has been cancer-free for six years.

Being diagnosed with the illness made him realize the beauty of life, so he quit his job and decided to follow his passion of writing poetry.

The group went on to talk about beauty, the kind of beauty that people no longer see within themselves.
They ended it with the line, “You will always be beautiful to me.”

Ashley Markovic, who attended the event, enjoyed the true emotion that the poet conveyed.

“It was really good. I loved how raw it was and the way he included himself in it,” Markovic said.
They group also spoke about love.

The poet read what he wrote to his wife, Jessica.

He started it from the moment they made their relationship official to the day before the wedding.
“Love her with nothing less than everything,” he said.

The group ended the event with this last line: “Nobody is better at being you, than you.”

Artist provides perspective on the ‘Art of Dance’ at FDU

Staff Writer

On Feb. 21, local artist-photographer-art educator Mansa Mussa came to the College at Florham’s Orangerie to give a presentation titled, “The Art of Dance: A World of Photography.”

Mussa was clad in a navy blazer, olive green buttoned up shirt and dark khaki pants. It was both appropriate and interesting for a man who possesses so much creativity.

He later explained that he hated wearing shirts and ties, so that’s why he could never work in an office.

Eleanor Friedl, who works in the library and was responsible for putting the event together, happily introduced the local man.
Mussa made his way to the front of the room, and made all of the college students raise their hands.

The four of us did and he joked that we we’re representing the whole of the university.
There would be no pressure there.

Mussa spoke with charisma and utilized lots of hand motions. He grabbed the attention of the audience by snapping his fingers while his arms waved around in synchronized movements.

Mussa has been an artist since the age of 2. He didn’t remember this, of course, but his mother did. He thanked her and attributed his talents to her persistent pushing him to do something that he loved.

Mussa drew in the audience by giving a brief family history. He welcomed us into his home and his creative mind.
He spoke about how he furthered his artistic abilities in high school, where he credited one of his teachers for pushing him to create art.
The teacher was a great inspiration to him.

In college, he had a male teacher who introduced him to the art of dance, when he invited Mussa to attend an African dance class one evening.
Twenty-eight years later and he still remembers that night.

After that one class, Mussa decided that he liked dance and he continued to perform on stage.
“If you want to be a better dancer, you have to play the instruments,” said Mussa.

So that’s exactly what he did.
The same year he started dancing, he began to play instruments.

It was also the same year that he started taking pictures of dancers. Studio work, in his opinion, was boring. But he is inspired when he sees dancers on stage and gets to photograph them; those are the real people, they never pose.

Mussa has been taking photographs of dancers since 1978.

Though his journey of being a photographer, dancer and artist had been exciting, he added educator to the list when he was asked to work as a teacher at a Rutgers summer program photography class. He officially started teaching dance and photography in 1980.

Mussa hopes that students have enjoyed his artwork on campus. “Hopefully it inspires them to make art,” he said. “Hopefully you can look at it and question two things: Why did you do it and how can I do it?”

He also recommended that all students should take a dance class because that, in his opinion, is the ultimate challenge. His goals for the future are to focus on two things: being an activist and being an organizer.

He wants to bring people together through art. It’s the one singular thing that brings people together. In the words of Mussa, “Art is the thread, the thread that connects us all.”