Daga Cribs

Welcome to Daga Cribs, the first and only place to find the real experiences happening in the suites of Onondaga Hall: the best building on campus at SUNY Oswego. Daga Cribs features the different suite-styles that are set up throughout Onondaga and finding the most unique, efficient, comforting design. This was an evaluation of some of the best suites in Onondaga narrowing it down to two designs and in doing so, ultimately crown a champion of “Best Daga Crib.” In addition, an interview with some of the roommates living in the suites giving them an opportunity to share why they think they have the “Best Daga Crib.”       

Onondaga Hall

A little bit about Onondaga Hall and its history:

Onondaga Hall was first opened in 1968 and established as the 4th high rise dorm on Oswego’s campus and the 2nd high rise dorm on West Campus. The name Onondaga comes from a nation of the Iroquois Confederacy, the Onondaga, or people of the hills. It’s located next to the other residence halls on West Campus that all share similar names that came from area Native American tribes.

 

Onondaga even sounds the coolest, and you can’t have such a great nickname like “Daga” with any of the other dorms.

 

SUNY Oswego hosts 13 residential communities on campus and out of all of the options, Onondaga Hall is the one to go with. Incredibly friendly staff working in Onondaga and Morgan McAdam, the Hall Director is superb. Easy decision to say the least about choosing housing for sophomore year. This living option is only open to upper-class students as Onondaga is the only suite-style residence hall on campus, housing over 600 students with co-ed floors. Onondaga is definitely the most popular residence hall at Oswego State as it looks over Lake Ontario and Glimmerglass Lagoon.

 

Each suite houses six residents and its unique setup was designed to attract students with aspirations of living with a group of friends in a home-like setting. The six students are split up between 3 rooms and they all share a common living area, a bathroom, couches, tables, and chairs. Onondaga is connected to Little Page Dining Center and Glimmerglass Fitness Center via tunnels through the basement. In the basement, there is a big open lounge with couches, chairs, ping pong table, pool table, foosball table and a television that is adjacent to the kitchen and laundry room. 

 

Open Style

There are two main types of suite layouts that were most common among all the residents living in Onondaga from which I selected the top two. One common way students arranged their suite was in an open style, placing a television in the center of a main wall with a table in front of it and chairs and couches against all opposite walls facing the TV. This layout is the least decorative of the top designs due to its openness which causes a lack of joint activity between the members of the suite or company of the suite.

This suite is utilizing their space however they are not using a portion of the space wisely, leaving only a single couch that is not a desirable position to watch TV in. However the layout of the suite is quite efficient; its open space leaves lots of room for moving around, accessing personal rooms, and accessing the suite door and bathroom.

Their walls are decorated with some signs and posters which adds comfort and the residents of this suite play hockey which requires them to leave their equipment bags in the suite, taking up space and also takes away cleanliness points. But, a bonus feature of this Daga Crib is their ability to use that outlier of a couch by pulling it off of the wall and turning 180 degrees in which a projector displays motion picture onto the bare white wall. This is an extremely rare and innovative layout and is one of the reasons why it is in the running for “Best Daga Crib.”

Utilizing the other half of the room for a projection on the wall

I had a chance to interview a resident of this suite (405-407) Brennan Wallace about why he has the “Best Daga Crib” 

 

Split Layout

The opposing suite-style is a split layout; dividing the common living area in half, utilizing the entire space but having different uses for each side. On one side, a television is resting on top of a mini fridge with one of the circle tables in front of it and two couches, a futon, and a Papasan chair surrounding the table in a U-shape. Adjacent is another mini fridge holding another TV and a drawer that is the stand for an Xbox, PS4, Gamecube, and Keurig machine.

 

 

On the other side, a nine foot strip of putting green is on the floor in front of the door and the remaining chairs that are split by the other circle table against the same wall the TV is on. There is a dart board hung on the wall next to the bathroom. The residents have some of their lamps from their rooms in the common area which gives it a more home-like setting than the common area lights.

Flags cover every wall adding to the decorative points. The split layout design is only open on the side with the putting green and the suite door and more enclosed on the TV side. Having the couches in the square shape motivates joint activity and involves everyone in the activity happening on either side of the room. In contrast, the split layout design makes a tight walking space around the couches and table which is inefficient for walking around the suite and getting to personal rooms.

I got to interview Connor Wade, a resident of this suite (316-318) and find why he thinks he has the best suite in Onondaga:

After exploring all of the many different suite-styles created by residents throughout Onondaga, these two layout designs were the most popular and it’s pretty easy to see why. Each of these suites have many great qualities and also some bad qualities, but everyone is giving it the “old college try.” Even though both of these suites may be violating some of the Res Life rules, their layout designs are great spots to live in.

Suite 316-318 has been crowned the champion of “Best Daga Crib”

Their suite-style layout is an extreme home-like setting making it very comfortable to live there or even visit. The cleanliness, decorations, activities, and overall uniqueness, are all what make this suite the “Best Daga Crib.”

Remember My Name, FAME! – A Story About LaGuardia Arts Alumni

Just over a year and a half ago, I graduated from a school in New York City known as the “Fame” school. The 1980 film, “Fame”, was actually based off my high school, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. In 8th grade, you go in to audition for one of the six majors: vocal music, instrumental music, drama, dance, studio art, or technical theatre. When you get accepted and actually attend the school, you’re put through four years of rigorous training in your craft (along with keeping high grades for New York State high school standards). This meant that many of us had full 10-period schedules that ran from 7:55am till 4:09pm. If you were in a club or on a sports team, you probably stayed until 6pm or 8pm. Many students, like myself, lived over an hour away from this school. It gave all of us a sense of professionalism in our field, and time management skills. It’s an amazing school to attend, even if it works you down to the bone. Each of our diplomas had an endorsement on it that certified our training for our major, that is if you completed the requirements and testing for it.

Ansel Elgort in “The Fault in Our Stars” as Augustus Waters

LaGuardia Arts was a dream school for many students. It was your chance to build on your craft every single day. We always put on top notch shows that make you forget that the kids who built the stage and who were on stage are only 15-18 years old. One of the biggest wonders is where all these students go after completing their time at LaGuardia. Not all of us go on to become Broadway stars, or become opera singers, or even the next Picassos. We have a ton of notable alumni such as Nicki Minaj (’00), Ansel Elgort (’12), and Timothee Chalamet (’13). These are a few of the more recent names in LaGuardia’s long list of stars, but what about those of us who decided to not become stars?

I interviewed some of my fellow friends from high school to see where they are now. I have a great mix of them who are still doing music, and those who moved on to a different profession. I personally chose both. At SUNY Oswego, I double major communications & social interaction, music performance, and minor in international business. I had my reasons for it. For one, I believed that I was still meant for the stage in some aspect, especially since I could never leave it. I didn’t want to throw away years of singing, dancing, and acting only to never do anything with it. However, I also grew up in an Asian household to immigrant parents. My mother always supported what I decided to do, but I refused to only get a degree in music. I felt the need to still do something “useful”. Success has different meanings to me, and I felt that I didn’t have to restrict myself to following only one dream.

Instagram: @aiaiea

This is Marian Rivera. She graduated from LaGuardia in 2016 as a vocal major. I first met Marian in Filipino Club, where she ended up being one of the vice presidents in her senior year. Marian currently studies health science at Long Island University in their Brooklyn branch. “I chose not to continue my art because I never saw myself as a professional performer. I’ve had opportunities to sing solo in front of an audience and I realized I wasn’t as comfortable with performing as I wanted to be.” Marian did countless performances with Filipino Club, where she was able to be a star solo performer, but always felt too unprofessional. However, “Attending LaGuardia was an adventure I’ll never forget and I’ll never regret it. Most of the songs I sing in my shower concert are pieces like Amarilli, mia bella.”

Instagram: @gerivalonzo

This is Geralyn Valonzo. She also graduated from LaGuardia in 2016 as a vocal major. I met her at the same time I met Marian, in Filipino Club where she also became a vice president. Geralyn currently studies psychology at Hunter College in Manhattan. “I knew I didn’t want to pursue music from the day I auditioned. I don’t love music or performing so much that I would be willing to make it my career. I knew that I wanted to do something else.” This shocked me to hear, especially since Geralyn had always been one of the strongest performers in Filipino Club. “I never loved performing even though I love music because I have massive stage fright, so I don’t miss having to perform constantly. I do like to play music when I have the chance, especially with people I went to LaGuardia with.” 

I knew both Marian and Geralyn as my older sisters and mentors at school. They were a power duo in club, and talented singers. When they graduated, it was hard to believe that they would not continue music, especially since they were passionate about every performance I did with them.

Instagram: @caitlumbia

While they may not study music, meet Caitlyn Klenner. She graduated from LaGuardia earlier this year (2018) as a vocal major. Caitlyn currently studies musical theatre at Rider University in New Jersey. Caitlyn describes her time at LaGuardia as a constant test on her talents and abilities. I met her when she was a freshman in my sophomore year. She was constantly receiving callbacks for our competitive school musicals, operas, and choir solos, but never got to land a role because of LaGuardia’s “favoritism” culture (which is an unconfirmed myth made by the students. Luckilly, Caitlyn was kind enough to vlog for us a day in her life at Rider University.

As I said earlier, I still study music as well. Sure, it’s my secondary major, but performing is hard. You’re constantly put to the test and second guessing your personal abilities no matter how long it’s been. I constantly find myself running around from my dormitory building to tyler hall. Here’s what life since LaGuardia has been like for me:

Overall, LaGuardia was an experience in itself. Whether you go on from here to be musician or not, “What’s important is that you’re doing what you love because then you wouldn’t be working a day in your life.” (Marian) “If you do decide to pursue another career that doesn’t mean the craft they studied can’t be a part of their lives anymore.” (Geralyn). The whole idea is that wherever you go, “I’m gonna live forever, baby remember my name. Remember…remember…remember.

CREDITS
• “The Fault in Our Stars Movie Poster” – Wikipedia
• “Be Our Guest LaGuardia High School” – UpperEastIsland on YouTube (2016)
• “Photo – Marian Rivera” – Fabio Gomez Photography
• “Photo – Geralyn Valonzo” – Pao Photography
• “A Day in the Life – Caitlyn” – Alaces Sarmiento
• “Life as a Music Major” – Alaces Sarmiento

YouTube Video Essayists – 2018 Fall Final Stories

Ever since the advent of the video hosting platform YouTube in early 2005, numerous different genres of user-generated content have emerged in its wake and proliferated over its almost 15 years of existence. The ‘information age’ of the 21st century to which YouTube belongs has meant that these genres of content are extremely easy to access and, in some cases, easy to produce.

 

Among these genres of content that has flourished in the open marketplace of digital information, the fusing of education and entertainment, or edutainment, has found itself a wellspring of creators with an equally large and boisterous audience to boot. For example, Michael Steven’s channel VSauce, a channel created in 2010 that produces videos on a multitude of topics including science, philosophy, sociology, etc. in an essay-like format, has amassed an audience of over 13 million subscribers in just 8 years. Stevens was able to gain a staggering audience that has provided him with an above-stable income, over one-and-a-half billion video hits, a live tour with Mythbusters’ Adam Savage, and a YouTube Red original series that recently entered its third season. This is one of the most outstanding indicators of the audience that consumes for this “new age” form of edutainment existing on YouTube.

Michael Stevens was an early example of the audience that existed to be both entertained and educated simultaneously, but during his career other facets of this newfound edutainment medium began to spawn. In particular, the genre of the “video essay” has flourished.

What is a video essay exactly? The most common and colloquial definitions tend to define it as a long-form, script-heavy videos that aim to analyze, inform an audience about, or critique a certain topic. Common Sense’s Tanner Higgin puts it as such: video essays are “usually meticulously narrated and edited, juxtaposing video footage, images, audio, and text to make an argument much like a writer would do in a traditional essay.” Video essayists began emerging onto YouTube during the early-mid 2010’s, particularly around 2014 with creators such as Evan Puschak (of Nerdwriter1), Taylor Ramos and Tony Zhou (of Every Frame a Painting), and the media corporation Vox pioneering this new brand of heavily-edited, essay-like videos.

It was made apparent almost immediately that an audience was there to consume content of this caliber. For instance, the channel Every Frame a Painting, despite only uploading a total of 28 videos in two years, garnered over one-and-a-half million subscribers and 65 million video views (SocialBlade). Other channels that appeared in this wake of creators, such as Gregory Austin McConnell’s eponymous channel, still have amassed audiences in the hundreds of thousands in the span of only a handful of years. This proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the voracious audience that exists to consume this particular brand of content.

These numbers and statistics, although concrete proof of a consumer, doesn’t speak specifically to the value that these channels bring to this YouTube edutainment genre. Why have these channels, especially those that speak so heavily about pop culture and entertainment, so popular? To understand this, I talked with two video essayists, Houston Coley (of HoustonProductions1) and Alex Hunter (of HiTop Films), to try and ascertain what role video essays play in this information-age medium.

“I create video essays on mainly superhero content right now- comic book movies and films,” describes Alex Hunter, main contributor and producer of the YouTube channel HiTop Films.“What I consider a video essay is just an opinion piece or basically an editorial on said film or movie. I’m a visual storyteller and I use YouTube as the medium to convey what I’m feeling.”

HiTop Films currently sits at 90-thousand subscribers, and has been producing content since 2016, beginning with Hunter’s short, independent films. It wasn’t until 2017 when Hunter began creating more traditional video essays on topics such as the Sam Reimi Spider-Man films, Daredevil, and Logan.

“I think before video essays existed,” Hunter explains,“to learn about film or to learn about popular subjects or to get opinions, you had to read newspapers or you had to go to film school or you had to have someone who knew their sh*t tell you sh*t. But now with video essays, anybody who knows anything about film or has an opinion can broadcast that to the Internet, and I’ve been doing this for a year and we’re almost at a hundred-thousand subscribers now.”

Hunter goes onto explain how fulfilling the ability to express himself and inspire others to do the same through his content is.

“I think the best thing part about the whole thing and about the invention of the the video essay is [edutainment]. I think that’s just so cool that- I would have loved that when I was 14-15. I’m only 19 now, but when I was 14-15 I would have loved to see videos like the ones I’m making now, and that’s why I started to make them because there are Nerdwriter videos and Vsauce and those are incredibly talented, smart, and brilliant people that I could always aspire to be, but I just didn’t see a niche on YouTube for, I don’t know how to describe my content- I guess “‘punk-y’? It has a style to it.”

Houston Coley describes the new niche that video essays fill in similar fashion.

“I think for sure that video essays have changed the game- and the Internet in general- in terms of educating people and learning about new subjects and everything,” he explains.“The interesting thing about the Internet is, of course, that everybody has a voice now that you can click a few buttons and make an account on social media to tweet your thoughts or upload videos about your thoughts on ‘X’. So that is, in many ways, a very good thing because the power is back in the people.”

Coley’s channel, HoustonProductions, began back in 2011 as channel dedicated to reviewing and showcasing Lego toys. However, similar to HiTop Films, Coley made a transition with his channel into the more traditional, long-form video essay format around 2016.

“You could get similar insights from a video essay or a college professor’s speech about why ‘X’ book is amazing or whatever, but a college professor doesn’t have to make things entertaining,” Coley continues. “The thing about video essays is that if you want to be popular on YouTube, you have to have something entertaining. You have to have an entertaining way of conveying information.” In short, Coley describes the balance between an entertaining presentation and legitimate information to be the key element to the archetypal video essay.

This balance is one that is almost unique to the video essay genre, and signifies it’s importance on our digital entertainment landscape. The fusion of appealing visuals and presentations fused with both objective and subjective analysis of a certain topic is something that’s almost an extension of creators like Roger Ebert, who stood out in the 80’s and 90’s by being a film critic that made his opinions entertaining to consume. The delicate edutainment attributes of the video essay are just as invaluable now as they were then, especially with their new technological and creative capabilities.

Go and watch a video essay- learning is best when it’s fun.


VSauce’s YouTube Channel Statistics

Every Frame a Painting’s YouTube Channel Statistics

Austin McConnell’s YouTube Channel Statistics

HiTop Films’ YouTube Channel Statistics

HoustonProductions1 YouTube Channel Statistics

“What Makes You Think It’s a Boy Thing?”

The amount of women playing video games, and playing them proudly can be exemplified in one statement; I only know of two women who play games as a passion. Not a person who plays a casual round of of “Mario Kart Wii” at a party, but would actually consider themselves gamers. So I interviewed one to get her perspective as a girl gamer on various topics surrounding the gaming industry, and what it’s like to be a girl gamer.

Emma Jarvis is a senior, communications and social interaction major with an English minor at SUNY Oswego. I met her in an English class, and you wouldn’t know she was a gamer just by looking at her.

“I had a group of friends in high school that…had typical ‘girl’ interests,” Jarvis said. “They really liked rom-coms, and they didn’t play a lot of video games so I was kinda worried to show that side of me to them because…they know me as this certain Emma. It’s almost like I’m acting like a different person to seem more girly than I am, but I don’t even know why in retrospect. I don’t know why playing video games would make me seem not girly, but I just felt like I had to hide that part of myself so I could be more girly and fit in better with them.”

Jarvis considers herself a girl gamer, but struggles to use that specific term to define herself, as most women who play video games do.

I hate using the term‘girl gamer’ because it has a lot of connotations, but I don’t know, there’s a lot of them out there,” Jarvis said.

The term ‘girl gamer’ has become somewhat of a negative claim in the recent years. In a BBC article on various women Twitch.tv streamers, Leahviathan says the term ‘girl gamer’ is “the stereotype of a gamer who isn’t there because she’s good at games or enjoys games; she’s just there because she’s trying to impress guys or something. It’s not true.”

Because of that stereotype, women who do play video games are cautious to call themselves ‘girl gamers’ because they don’t want to deal with the negativity surrounding the term. Gaming culture, and specifically men in gaming communities, can be especially vicious to girl gamers, according to an article by Upfluence. Oftentimes, men will challenge women who claim to like video games by throwing random and obscure trivia questions at them, just to try to catch their gaming blind-spot in order to have the satisfaction that gaming is for men and men only.

But, like many negatively-coded feminine words, girl gamers are attempting to take it back. The Reddit subreddit, r/girlgamers, has over 63,000 subscribers. Their bio states, “‘Girl Gamer’ — One of the most controversial and polarizing terms for women who game (and, sure, maybe one of the cringiest) This is a community space for ladies to hang out, talk about gaming, and game together. We also discuss topics around women in geek culture and debrief about experiences that occur as a result of their gender.”

“Especially now that you can go on subreddits and Tumblr and stuff like that where you can talk with a bunch of different people about it, it’s become easierto feel like you’re not weird for liking something someone your gender isn’t supposed to like,” Jarvis said.

Jarvis said she doesn’t play many online multiplayer games though, and if she does, she doesn’t talk in voice chat channels. Some of her reluctance stems from her gender.

Part of it actually does stem from ‘I don’t know if I’d be taken seriously’ especially because, I’m not going to lie, I’m not that great at Overwatch,” said Jarvis. “I play it for fun, not for glory. So I don’t know if they’d be like, ‘Oh this girl sucks and she’s a girl’ so it’s like double whammy almost.”

Jarvis spoke about this inability to be taken seriously as a gamer, as it’s something she’s experienced her whole life.

“I remember when I was in elementary school I would try to talk to the boys about Pokemon because when I was a kid, Pokemon was all I thought about, like day in day out, Pokemon, Pokemon, Pokemon,” she said. “And I would try to talk with my peers about it and the guys would be like ‘You don’t know anything about that, you’re a girl” and the girls would be like, ‘Why do you want to talk about that, that’s a boy thing.’ And I was like, ‘There are so many female characters in the Pokemon games, what makes you think it’s a boy thing?’. That was a source of frustration for me when I was a kid.”

This would be something Jarvis would continue to notice as she grew up, as she noticed the games she liked to play wouldn’t be taken seriously, or weren’t considered “real games” by some of her peers.

“Especially when I was in high school a lot of gaming was centered around Call of Duty and stuff like that,” Jarvis said. “And I considered myself a gamer because I played a lot of video games but everyone only wanted to talk about Call of Duty or whatever sports game they were playing and I was like, ‘Well don’t you guys play Zelda or anything like that?’. But if you go up to one of those dude that are like, ‘Oh, I’ve got this level in Call of Duty’ and you say ‘Have you ever played Animal Crossing?’ they’re like ‘Oh that’s not a real game’ but what is a real game then? What do you define as a real game?”

Jarvis also spoke about the double standard women face for liking games that are not traditionally thought of as “real games” by the gaming community.

“There’s this stigma around that if you’re not playing something super intense with hyper realistic graphics that it’s not worth discussing in the gaming community,” Jarvis said.  “It was weird it was almost like a double standard like, I’m a nerd for liking these video games but you guys obsess over these video games and it’s socially accepted because it more like, a social thing because you’re talking to your friends.”

Yet, as more and more women play video games, the gaming community is seeing a strong, yet smaller community of female gamers come together to fight the stereotypes, and show other girl gamers that they aren’t alone.

That’s why always whenever I see someone wearing [something], like someone with a key chain on their backpack, or some sort of video game merchandise I always, especially if it’s a girl, I try to go out my way to say ‘Hey, I like that!” so they know they’re not alone,” Jarvis said.

Because that’s what it’s all about in the end; coming together as women to discuss, theorize, and most importantly, play video games.

Something Cherished: Tribute Bands

Bands from older generations is something that is cherished by the people from them. Music is something that can bring back good memories and nostalgia from different times. But, sometimes seeing popular bands from the 60’s 70’s and 80’s is difficult or impossible due to price, accessibility or that the band isn’t around anymore. This is where the rise in popularity of cover bands and tribute bands came from. Cover bands and tribute bands have allowed for people to see their favorite bands from their childhood and teen years and relive those good memories and allows younger generations to experience music from different generations.

Contrary to popular belief, cover bands and tribute bands are different things and are both different experiences from each other. A cover band will just perform the music from the band they are covering and sometimes will cover songs from other bands. Tribute bands will not only perform the music from the band, but they will also dress like the band, have the same hairstyles and copy the same mannerisms as the band. Tribute bands offer an experience of seeing the real band because they are so similar. Cover and Tribute bands date back to the height of the Beatles success when a band named The Buggs created their first cover of a Beatles album. Tribute bands only became more popular after the Beatles split in the 70’s. Over the years, cover and tribute bands have only increased. Some prominent tribute bands are the Fab Four (Beatles tribute band), Zoso (Tribute to Led Zepplin) and One night of Queen (Queen tribute Band).

My parents are fans cover and tribute bands because they get to see their favorite bands and have attended many concerts including a Fleetwood Mac tribute band and a Led Zeppelin tribute band. My parents and their friends attend these concerts and I had Interviewed Laurie Orlop before the concert to see what the appeal was of cover bands

“I go to cover bands a lot because I would rather see my favorite bands for cheaper.I could pay $400 to see Fleetwood Mac or pay $50 to see a Fleetwood Mac Tribute band. They’re so talented that it doesn’t make a difference to me”

I had the opportunity to attend a Dead Letter Office (a REM cover band) and a Start Making Sense (a Talking Heads Tribute Band) on November 23rd which gave me some great insight into the differences between the two and the experience overall. This was my first time attending a Tribute Band Concert and I wasn’t sure what to expect. The venue was very nice and cover and tribute bands are rising in popularity to the point where they are getting the chance to perform in large venues. The concert was at Anthology which is a popular music venue in Rochester. Even more popular bands such as the Fab four and Zoso have had the opportunity to perform in large venues around the world.

The experience of the concert was different from concerts I’ve been to before. It seemed like I was seeing an extremely popular band at a bar in Rochester but really it was a tribute band. The audience consisted of older people, but it had seemed like I was brought back in time because of the energy in the concert area. I had a chance to talk to a few people about their experience seeing talking heads live and seeing talking heads in a cover band and they all agreed that it was so similar you can’t really tell the difference except for looks. I also talked to one of the owners of the bar after the concert he said

“We love having tribute bands here because it brings back the feel of another time and they sound great too”

I can see why people like to see tribute bands and how they can be just as good as the original bands. I would consider seeing another cover band in the future because the price is so good and the experience is one of a kind.

Sources

 

https://seatgeek.com/tba/music/top-11-best-tribute-cover-bands-in-the-world/

Larry Nassar and the #MeToo Movement

By Rose DeRenzo


2017 and 2018 undoubtedly marked a new age for our society. The #MeToo movement has become one of the most proliferated campaigns of the year. With over 19 million tweets under the hashtag MeToo a year after its viral emergence, millions of victims have been given a platform, and the support to speak up about their sexual assaults that had been missing for too long. The phrase “Me Too” was coined in 2006 by Tarana Burke, a civil rights activist, to help the women who have survived sexual violence. More than 10 years later, the phrase has resurfaced in a new light to kickstart a movement of empowerment and courage to speak up and end abuse of power.

In time with the movement came the trial of Larry Nassar, former USA Gymnastics doctor and physician at Michigan State University, who sexually assaulted hundreds of young women through his position, which he had kept for 20 years despite the many complaints filed against him. Powerful, emotional statements during the trial came from 156 of the survivors and marked a new age of listening to victims and finally taking action.

Larry Nassar was accused of molesting girls for years, pretending it was for examinations or medical treatment. Some were as young as 6 years old. Nassar had pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct in Ingham County in Michigan and admitted to using his trusted medical position to assault and molest girls, only after he had been sentenced 60 years in federal prison for child pornography convictions.

Starting from reports in 1997, victims and their parents were reporting Nassar’s abuse to organizational and medical officials, and even police officers. None of those claims were taken seriously, but instead were brushed under the rug and kept quiet. “Many of the women said that when they spoke up about the treatment, they were ignored or their concerns brushed aside by organizations in power, primarily USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University and the US Olympic Committee.”

USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University, and the US Olympic Committee became a focal point of the trial, as they all seemed to play a part in covering up or ignoring allegations against Nassar, and kept him employed for two decades. They turned a blind eye to the women who accused Nassar of abuse, and pressured them into silence. “Michigan State University, the school I loved and trusted, had the audacity to tell me that I did not understand the difference between sexual assault and a medical procedure,” Amanda Thomashow, MSU graduate, said in court. “That master manipulator took advantage of his title, he abused me, and when I found the strength to talk about what had happened I was ignored and my voice was silenced.”  

All three organizations have denied the allegations and have denied any wrongdoings, saying they had reported the sexual abuse to appropriate authorities when they heard. Certain leaders from those organizations were called to resign, such as MSU President, Lou Anna Simon, who has since been charged with lying to police. Three leaders of USA Gymnastics board stepped down and cut ties with Karolyi Ranch training facility, where much of the abuse occurred. The Olympic Committee called for USA Gymnastics to step down and are considering decertifying them as a national governing body.

Instead of putting the focus on Nassar, his disturbing crimes, and those who enabled him, I believe we should do as Judge Rosemarie Aquilina did, what others failed to do: listen. She listened to every woman who spoke at Nassar’s trial, giving personal and intimate responses, which were met with praise despite the unusual nature of the court setting. 

As stated by Aquilina, “The national crime victimization survey that’s done by the Justice Department annually reports that 310 out of every 1,000 assaults are reported to police, which means that two out of three go unreported. The voices of the survivors have asked everyone: Report.”

Judge Aquilina put the focus of the trial on the immense issue of sexual abuse in our nation. She, and the survivors turned the trial into a call for change, “One in 10 children will be sexually abused by their 18th birthday. One in seven girls, one in 25 boys by their 18th birthday…That means that in the United States, I’m not talking about any other country, 400,000 babies born in the U.S. will become victims of child sexual abuse. It stops now. Speak out like these survivors, become part of the army.” That army started with the 156 victims that spoke over the course of Nassar’s sentencing hearing. 

According to an article by CNN’s Eric Leveson, court officials expected 88 victims to speak in court. But that number nearly doubled over the course of the sentencing hearing as more and more women came forward. This is a perfect example of what can grow from people listening to other people, encouraging more and more victims to be present and strong against one man who used his power to take advantage of young women. 

Those young women who, at no fault of their own, stumbled into the false care of a monster, under the guise of safety and healing, and were unprotected by the organizations they needed to trust. Almost all of them initially met Nassar for a sports-related injury, and because of the abuse, they struggled with anxiety, depression and instances of self-harm. Others said they no longer trust doctors or that they shrink from any physical touch. Despite the horrific trauma they must have endured, these women spoke at trial directly to Nassar about that trauma he had caused. They stood as a strong force against him.

Aly Raisman, Olympic gold medalist, was one of those strong women, “We, this group of women you so heartlessly abused over such a long period of time, are now a force, and you are nothing. The tables have turned, Larry. We are here. We have our voices, and we are not going anywhere.”
Rachael Denhollander, former gymnast, was the first woman to publicly accuse Larry Nassar of sexual abuse, and the last survivor to confront him in court. She also used her platform to call for a change, “Larry’s the most dangerous type of abuser. One who is capable of manipulating his victims through coldly calculated grooming methodologies, presenting the most wholesome, caring external persona as a deliberate means to insure a steady stream of children to assault. And while Larry is unlikely to live past his federal sentence, he is not the only predator out there and this sentence will send a message about how seriously abuse will be taken.”

Many of the victims made statements against Larry Nassar as part of the #MeToo movement. They send a crucial message along with those in the #MeToo movement, that men in power are no longer above the law, they can and will be help accountable for their actions, and justice is required. 

Sources

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/larry-nassar-trial-highlights-judge-rosemarie-aquilina-s-sentencing-ex-n840726

https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/24/us/larry-nassar-sentencing/index.html 

https://www.sbnation.com/2018/1/19/16900674/larry-nassar-abuse-timeline-usa-gymnastics-michigan-state

Life of Being a Student Athlete in College

Raiven Encarnacion

Many people go to college and get involved by joining a club or becoming apart of a frat or sorority. Some decide to just focus on academics because doing more would be too stressful. Like me, others come out of high school and go to college to get an education and continue their athletic careers. I personally feel, along with other athletes, that being a student athlete takes more of a toll on other components of college life than the average student that decided to join a club or join nothing at all.

Student athletes are obligated to go to class, practice, study hall, community service, lift weights, and watch film on a daily bases. Some of these obligations are to be done more than once a day. Not to forget, they still have to fit in eating, sleeping, having a social life, and doing homework that doesn’t get done in the hours of study hall. Being apart of a team in college is different than doing so in high school because it practically becomes a full time job. Freshman year in college for a student athlete is especially difficult due to being in a new and different environment with more expectations. Both athletic competition and academic expectations are heightened. Classes get missed because of traveling and that has to be properly communicated with professors. Time management is a huge key when playing a sport in college and can also be a students biggest challenge because they chose to make a commitment to do many things in a short amount of time each and every day.

There’s many difficulties when it come to playing a sport at the collegiate level. The average student is most likely waking up at 10 a.m. to go to class while a student athlete has been up since 6 a.m. because of practice or weight lifting. Therefore, getting less sleep and having to get more done throughout the day. I interviewed Sam Britton, a current basketball player for the SUNY Oswego Lakers Women’s team, and asked her specifically how she felt about morning practices. Her response was, “I hate 7 a.m. sprints, it is absolutely terrible having to be up that early to run for an hour and then I have to go to class right after. Sitting in class sweaty and tired doesn’t make me the happiest, all I think about throughout the day is when I will be able to take a nap.” Going to parties on weekdays is out of the question for athletes, there is not enough time in the day for and it’s also a bad idea when you have to be up early for practice. Trying to stay on top of work isn’t always the easiest especially with traveling and being tired. It can be very frustrating having to balance everything. To do so, the athlete has to work 10 times as hard as the average student.

Being a student athlete isn’t all a struggle, there’s many great things that come with being apart of a team. Being able to represent your school while doing something you love is a blessing. There’s so much pride that comes with playing a collegiate sport because most have worked their whole life to be able to say they made it further than high school and get to continue their athletic career on a bigger platform. I interviewed Ishmael Chisholm,  a player for the Men’s SUNY Oswego Lakers, and I asked him how it made him feel to be able to walk onto the court in an Oswego uniform. His response was priceless, he said, ” It makes all worth it, all the hours in the gym of being tired and having less time to be with friends. I see the crowd cheering for us and it makes me proud to be a Laker. I don’t want to have a great game just for me, I want to do it for my team and for the fans because that’s what it’s all about.” I also interviewed Tatyana Fish, also a member of the Oswego Women’s Basketball team, and I questioned her on what she felt was the best part about being apart of the team. She said, ” The best part of being apart of this team has to be being surrounded around my teammates, they make it so fun.” Being on a team creates so many opportunities to meet and create relationships with people who have a lot in common with you and go through similar every day obstacles.

Waking up at 6 a.m., going to practice, watching film, going to class and study hall every day is all part of the life of a student athlete. Hearing the crowd cheer for you on game day and creating new connections is also apart of being a student athlete. It is a huge full time job, but it all pays off in the end because there’s so many lessons to be learned through sports.

Young Mayor: A Fresh Vision for a City In Need

By Ethan Magram

A quick Google search of “America’s youngest mayors” yields a Wikipedia article as the top result. List of the youngest mayors in the United States – that’s the title of said article. Follow that link, scroll down about half a page, and the first name one can see in the list of America’s youngest appointed mayors is Mayor Billy Barlow of Oswego, New York.

Barlow was 25 years of age when he was elected to be mayor of Oswego in 2016. His political career began at the age of 22, the year after he graduated from college, when he was elected to serve on Oswego’s city council.

The most significant talking point when it comes to Billy Barlow always tends to be his age. But if you look past that, you can see that Barlow has been at the forefront of substantial positive change for the city of Oswego, and considering the city’s dark history, Barlow’s youthful energy and optimistic vision seems to already be making an important impact.

This energy and attitude can be attributed to Barlow’s upbringing, which includes a surprising lack of politics and surplus of hard work.

Growing Up Behind a Concessions Stand

William J. “Billy” Barlow Jr, was born in 1989 and grew up in Oswego. William Barlow Sr. was, and still is, the owner of a mobile food concessions stand, aptly named Barlow’s Concessions. At a young age, Billy would start to work with his family at the concessions business, often traveling around the state and the country on a weekly basis to help operate the stand at events such as fairs and concerts.

When Thursday night rolled around, it was time to go away for the weekend and work with them, wherever we were,” Billy said.

Billy was never allowed to play video games, and was only occasionally allowed to play with his friends. A majority of his time growing up since the age of 13 was spent working the concessions stand for his parents – his employers.

By the time Billy was old enough to drive, the idea of working the stand was ingrained within him; he was working by himself, and because he wanted to.

“I made myself work and wanted to work…” said Barlow. “I would rather work than go out and have fun with my friends. I just didn’t think I was missing much and I could go out and make money.”

Barlow had spent his entire time in high school working, and when he had graduated and began attending Arizona State University, he didn’t stop.

While Barlow was at Arizona State, he had his father send equipment from the concessions company so he could work the stand at events in Arizona to help pay for his education. He also held a part-time job with the school.

After graduating with bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Technology and Emergency Management, Billy bought a house in Arizona and continued to run the concessions business in the area. Soon after, he realized that most of his friends from school were moving back home, so Billy considered doing the same.

Being away from Oswego for five years and only returning in the summers and winters left him acutely aware of the city’s general decline in the time he was gone.

“The dive was so deep that I couldn’t believe it…” said Barlow.

Witnessing this dive encouraged Barlow to taking action, and after moving back home and the fortunate circumstance of a vacant city council seat, Billy Barlow made the decision to run for the position of the 5th ward of Oswego’s city council at 22 years old. This marked the beginning of Barlow’s political career in Oswego.

“It’s amazing to me that back then, when I was 22 years old, I made the decision to run,” exclaimed Barlow. “Because I sit here now…[and think] kudos to that kid!”

Listen to Billy Barlow speak on Oswego’s decline in his time away.

Confronting the City’s Dark Past

Barlow during his city council campaign (courtesy WRVO Public Media)

Barlow was elected to the 5th ward seat of the city council. But from the very beginning, he knew that, in order to accomplish what he wanted to accomplish, he had to run for mayor.

“It starts at the top,” said Barlow. “The leadership wasn’t there, there were no decisions being made good or bad.”

The mayor in office prior to Barlow was Tom Gillen, a Democrat who, in 2013, shut down the city’s code enforcement department, redirecting their responsibilities to the fire department. Code enforcement, as well as conflicts with the fire department, would later be issues taken on by Barlow in his time as mayor, a testament to his thoughts on the prior administration.

Even before Gillen was elected to office, Oswego has had a dark history with regard to the mayoral position. In 2006, the mayor at the time, John Gosek, was arrested for arranging to pay $250 for a sexual encounter with two teenage girls, according to Syracuse.com. This arrangement turned out to be a sting operation performed by the FBI, and Gosek was taken into custody and served 33 months in federal prison.

Between the scandals, a dismal economy, and consistent tax hikes, there was plenty of reason to be hopeless when it came to improving the city. Barlow, though, remained optimistic, and made the next step in what he believed was the answer to fixing Oswego: he ran for mayor.

Barlow’s First Term: A Fast Impact

Billy Barlow ran for mayor in 2015 against incumbent Tom Gillen (not endorsed by his party, but instead as a write-in candidate) and democrat Amy Tresidder. Barlow won by a landslide with 54 percent of the vote, beating runner-up Tresidder by 12 percentage points.

Barlow, at the time, became the youngest mayor to be elected in Oswego history, and continues to be the youngest mayor in New York state.

Since his inauguration in January of 2016, Barlow has already made great strides in trying to improve the decline he once saw as a college student just four years prior. Since he took office, Barlow helped the city in its successful application for New York State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, or DRI, which grants $10 million to the city of Oswego to improve its downtown infrastructure. Barlow considers this one of his most important accomplishments.

Barlow talks about the DRI.

Barlow has also found success in establishing an effective building code enforcement program and even in lowering taxes, which is an issue that has plagued the city for decades.

Current Oswego City Councilmen Ronald Tesoriero, Robert Corradino, and Robert Wilmott (pictured left to right at the table) have high praises for Mayor Barlow’s work thus far, especially with the aforementioned tax deductions.

“[We’ve had] the first tax deduction without using general funds in over 20 years,” said Councilman Corradino.

“He listened to everybody in this building, and everybody that worked for him,” added Councilman Tesoriero. “So I’ve got to give him credit for that.”

The councilmen continued with nothing but great things to say about the mayor’s code enforcement initiatives, as well as the way he handled the conflict with the fire department.

“He was decisive, he did a very good job in proving is point…that we have too many firefighters, and there was some abuse with how they ran the overtime situation,” said Councilman Corradino. “For him to take on an institution like the fire department…that, to me, spoke volumes.”

Councilman Corradino on Mayor Barlow’s success with the Fire Department.

Speaking Volumes for Everybody

Billy Barlow has accomplished a great amount for the city of Oswego in his six years of political experience. Barlow’s decisions in office have had a great influence on the Oswego community, and he makes sure that everyone benefits from his actions as mayor.

“I wouldn’t be sitting here today if it wasn’t for Mayor Barlow,” said Councilman Tesoriero with regard to his city council position. “…I saw a vision that he had, the energy, the wanting to make a difference for the city of Oswego and knowing that we can go much forward.”

Mayor Barlow does not do much besides work, a quality he has carried with him since his childhood. But Barlow’s work is the most important thing to him of anything he could be doing.

“This office, and working for my neighbors, trying to help my community, is what I live for right now,”said Barlow. “I have to force myself to go home and shut the computer, because I do enjoy doing it.”

Barlow plans on running for reelection next year. Even though Barlow has only served one term thus far, the city council members are very confident that Mayor Barlow has already put the city in a good position for when he moves on, whenever that may be.

“When he finally goes to move on to whatever career he’s going to continue with,” said Councilman Wilmott, “he’s going to leave this city in a much better spot, and he’s going to leave it a lot easier for the next mayor to step in…no doubt.

“No doubt,” repeats Councilman Tesoriero.

“No doubt,” says Councilman Corradino.

No doubt.

Timothy Hungerford: PBA Member

Timothy Hungerford is a member of the Professional Bowlers Association, also known as the PBA. Not only does Hungerford bowl in professional tournaments, but he also runs his own accounting firm and has been doing so for over twenty years. He started bowling when he was eight years old. Bowling, to him, was an escape and a hobby that he enjoyed partaking in while his parents were at work. After school, many days, Hungerford would go to the bowling alley by himself and play a few games. He eventually joined the travel team at his school and bowled on the travel team for fun. “He has loved to bowl for as long as I’ve known him. In fact, we met at a bowling alley while I was bowling in a doubles league with my brother” (C. Hungerford, 2018). Throughout the past twenty years, Hungerford has established himself as a successful business professional and a family man. He has a wife of over twenty years, two daughters and a step-son. A few years ago, Hungerford almost lost his life from appendicitis. After this life-altering incident, he decided that it was time to complete some of the items on his bucket list. The first item on his list was to become a professional bowler. Previously, he has bowled in tournaments, adult leagues and even doubles leagues with his daughter. Hungerford had never bowled professionally. It was after this incident that Hungerford decided that it was time for him to become a professional. Hungerford also has been living with arthritis and osteoporosis. Arthritis has impacted his wrists and his ankles. After bowling, he sometimes needs to take a break from everything because he is in pain. The doctors told Hungerford many years ago that he would be paralyzed by age 50 due to the osteoporosis. After receiving this news, he decided that it was time to make some major life changes. He didn’t want to lose his ability to bowl. He changed his diet and took better care of himself. Now, Hungerford is 54 and in better shape than he was 10 years ago.

Fig 1. Timothy Hungerford

He is not a travelling PBA member, but he is a certified PBA member at that. This means that he can partake in all the professional, local tournaments. Recently, Hungerford bowled in the master’s tournament located in Webster, NY. He placed 29th out of 63 bowlers, according to the PBA website (Professional Bowlers Association, 2018). “Not my best showing by any means” ( T. Hungerford, 2018). Having an average of 219, he must maintain it in order to remain qualified to be a PBA member. Officially, Hungerford has had eight 300 games but there are many more that weren’t registered since they occurred during practices. He kept his first 300 ring, gave his second 300 ring to his daughter who bowled with him, he gave his third ring to his father and then kept the rest of the rings he earned.

 

He is not a travelling PBA member, but he is a certified PBA member at that. This means that he can partake in all the professional, local tournaments. Recently, Hungerford bowled in the master’s tournament located in Webster, NY. He placed 29th out of 63 bowlers, according to the PBA website (Professional Bowlers Association, 2018). “Not my best showing by any means” ( T. Hungerford, 2018). Having an average of 219, he must maintain it in order to remain qualified to be a PBA member. Officially, Hungerford has had eight 300 games but there are many more that weren’t registered since they occurred during practices. He kept his first 300 ring, gave his second 300 ring to his daughter who bowled with him, he gave his third ring to his father and then kept the rest of the rings he earned.

 

 Fig 2. 300 Ring

“For a while, bowling stopped being fun for Tim when he only did it professionally. That’s when we decided to join a once a month couples league. This gives him a chance to show off in front of our friends and see bowling as a fun activity again” (C. Hungerford, 2018).

According to the PBA website, Hungerford finished 5th in the NY State Masters Tournament on March 2nd, 2013 (Professional Bowlers Association, 2013). He plans on continuing his participation in these master’s tournaments for as long as he can.

Hungerford speaks about bowling as if it is an old friend or a life-changing experience. To him, bowling is a friend that has been with him since he was a boy. To him, bowling is an activity that helped him better himself emotionally and physically. He thanks bowling for the desire to better himself and he thanks bowling for giving him an outlet. As an accountant, he spends most of his time with numbers. He really enjoys going out and doing something active when he’s not sitting in a chair crunching numbers. He enjoys bowling alone or with people. For over 5 years, he bowled with his daughter, coached his daughter who followed in his footsteps. She does not bowl professionally, but she wants to someday all thanks to him.

“I think bowling is a lot like life. You know, each day you wake up new and each game starts out new. You have a chance for perfection” (T. Hungerford, 2018).

 

Work Cited

Hungerford, Wife of a PBA Member, November 24th, 2018

Professional Bowlers Association (2018, December 1st). Retrieved from https://www.pba.com/.

Professional Bowlers Association (2013, March 2nd). Retrieved from https://www.pba.com/.

Hungerford, PBA Member, November 24th, 2018

 

Beer culture Norway V.S. America

By Vegard Bergset

American and Norwegian beer culture is very different but still similar. It’s similar in the sense of love for beer but different in almost every other sense. I’m gonna try to give an in-depth look at the two different approaches to drinking and beer culture. Even though my knowledge of American beer and drinking culture is limited because I’ve only been living here since August. That aside, I have gotten some help from my American cousins that also spent a semester studying in Norway. And I’m gonna compare the two different cultures as broadly and in-depth as possible.

First, let’s start with an obvious difference. The legal drinking age in America is 21, Norway, on the other hand, doesn’t have a legal drinking age. In theory, you are allowed to drink alcohol when you’re under the legal buying age, which is 18 for alcohol under 20% and 20, for everything under 60%. For someone not familiar with the Norwegian system, it might seem very weird not to have a legal drinking age, but the government has decided that it is the distributor of alcohol to minors that is the illegal actions. Therefore, even though you get caught drinking when you’re not of legal age to buy, you will in the worst case scenario get a free ride home by the police.

With this in mind, it is not difficult to understand why most Norwegians start drinking and partying in late middle school or early high school. In fact, most of the crazy-partying happens in high school. This might be because of the high school graduation party that lasts for a month straight, day and night. And that parents in Norway know that their kids are going to party and drink alcohol before they turn 18, and would rather see their kids sleeping drunk in their own beds than being too scared to go home and end up sleeping outside. For Americans, however, most people start drinking senior year of high school or freshman year of college. According to my cousin, this might change depending on the area you’re from. He and his friends, for instance, started drinking around the same time as I. But he says that the craziest parties happen in college, rather than high school.

Now, I have experienced both high school parties in Norway, and college parties here in America. And, it is a bit of the same story. It kind of seems like it is the point of getting as “fucked up” as possible without having to go to the hospital or jail. I asked myself what might be the reason for that, and figured, maybe it is because it’s the norm in Norway to move out from your parents right after high school, and not live in a dorm or a frat, but rather sharing an apartment in a city. This might force Norwegians to behave a bit more grown up when they party after high school. Because they know that no “adults” are looking after them if something happens. Also, maybe the reason Americans party the way they do in college might be because it is the first freedom they’ve experienced. Keep in mind, this is just my theory, I’m not sure.

Another interesting difference, is the perspective people have on alcohol. In America, it seems like alcohol, in general, is very stigmatized compared to the likes of other drugs such as weed. For example, alcohol is not really something you talk about with your teachers, if your not 21. During my first semester here, I’ve heard several times that teachers advice against drinking alcohol. In Norway, on the other hand, it is almost the complete opposite. Even before turning 18, it is not looked upon as tabu to talk with your teachers about alcohol. And, I have never heard teachers in Norway advising against drinking alcohol before someone is of legal age. Please, misunderstand me correctly, I’m not saying that teachers in elementary school and middle school are advertising alcohol to their students. In high school, my teachers would say something as simple as “drink responsibly”. Weed, on the other hand, is a completely different story. In Norway, it is looked upon the same level as crack. With other words, it’s highly stigmatized and something you would never discuss with people that are not pro-weed.

Now, over to one of the similarities between Norwegian and American beer culture. Both cultures seem to drink most domestic beer. Also, most men rather than women drink beer. In fact, I don’t know of one drinking culture in the world, where women drink more beer than men. I don’t know why that is, but I think it is an interesting phenomenon. Other than that, both cultures seem to look at European beer as the best in the world. Another similarity is the easily accessible craft beer. And, people that really like craft beer look the same all over the world. It almost seems like they’re part of the same craft beer cult. It is almost always men ranging on a specter from hipster to 40-year-old dad. Joking aside, the same kind of people are both found in Norway and America.

As probably is common knowledge, now with Trump in office, America is a country a lot of people around the world has opinions about, both good and bad. But it’s not only bad opinions about American politics that is a trend, but also opinions about bad beer. I have found some of these opinions about beer to be false during my introduction into American beer culture this past semester. One prejudgement I made, but now have left behind, was that ALL American beer is equivalent to water. Some American beer tastes like water, especially Course Light, but other than that, I was surprised to find easily accessible good beers here.