My time at the University at Buffalo has been bittersweet. I've loved, hated, lost, gained, been elated, been depressed and have been every other conflicting pair of words that I can think of. In my junior year, I retreated back to the Badlands, hoping to finish my college career a little closer to home. However, about two months after returning to the mundane existence where I grew up, I decided to answer UB's sweet calls, and I returned. I refer to this period of my life as "The Golden Years." There were only two of them. After I returned to UB, I reconnected with my old friends and found new ones. I lived with new people and was introduced to new situations. I started writing for The Spectrum. I "found myself," if you will. Isn't that what college is about? The time where you can literally make a mess of your entire life, and then fix it and call it a coming-of-age experience? If that's the case, I have totally rocked college, because my life is more often than not a huge, hot mess. However, I really do think that I have found who I am because I have found that order eventually comes out of chaos. For example, I transferred home to go to nursing school (I'll hold for laughs). When I came to the shocking realization that I didn't want that career, my 20-year-old naïve heart thought my world was over. Instead, I took the semester off, got my act together, and came back to UB with an open mind. Instead of being the girl I thought my parents wanted me to be, I tried to live out my own dreams. An avid reader for my entire life, I figured that I might as well pick English as my major. I thought to myself that I might as well get a degree in something I'm good at. Last spring, I started writing for The Spectrum because I needed an English class. Before I knew it, I was offered a spot on the editorial staff and now I cannot remember my life at UB without it. The most important thing that I've learned during my time here is not to try to plan your life, because it's the tiny incidents that totally turn your world upside-down. One example is a tale from freshman year. I was a lost, scared and sad little girl from 400 miles away who was desperate for friends. After a few weeks of hanging out with people who I didn't even like and drinking more alcohol than it was natural to consume, I asked a random girl in Sociology 101 for class notes that I had missed the week before. And the rest is history. Hi, Gill! My best friends at The Spectrum – Adrian, Dad, Shane, Ranlamb, Squid, Jamo, James, Chris, Jake and Steve – I'll miss you terribly. I owe all of my good (and bad) times to you. Also, to the rest of the staff, I have loved working with you and I couldn't have asked for a more diverse and quirky group of people to be around. I have no idea what is to come. And no matter how hard I try to fight it, I know that I can't change what is happening. I can pout, make sarcastic jokes and sulk beneath my emo hair, but I know that there isn't anything I can do to keep this phase of my life going. It hurts, but I'm beginning to accept that even though my time at UB is over, my memories and friendships are not, and the rest of my life is just beginning. After all, it's called "commencement" for a reason (I'll attribute that quote when you cut your hair). There are a lot of things that I'm going to miss and there are a lot of things that I'm looking forward to. But I think the main point is not to dwell on what could have been or what might be; I'm just going to let my life take me where it wants to go, no matter how messy it may be. E-mail: email@example.com
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While others may be in exotic locations, tropical paradises or exciting cities, some are prepared to swelter in the Buffalo heat and make the most of the Queen City.
In celebration of Earth Day and the recent beautiful weather, environmental groups from UB joined together yesterday to celebrate Earth Day 2010.
Fred, a 20-year-old grizzly bear from the Buffalo Zoo, was euthanized on April 9 due to age-related neurological problems. As of now, the Buffalo Zoo only has seven bears left, six of which are nearing the end of their life spans. "Bears typically live [to] between 20 and 25 years old," said Jennifer Fields, public relations coordinator for the Buffalo Zoo. "Some may live longer, but those numbers are the average ages. Our bears are [in that range] right now." Fred came to the Buffalo Zoo in 2002 from the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center in Montana. He was removed from his native Alaskan habitat after he became dependant on human garbage. For the safety of both Fred and the people around him, the bear was moved to Montana and then later transferred to the zoo. As of now, the zoo only has one young bear, Anana, a 9-year-old female polar bear. The zoo has decided to not acquire any more bears for a few years because it is planning to build a new state-of-the-art polar bear habitat, which will become the focal point of the bear exhibit. "We felt like taking on new bears when we are going to be renovating the exhibit would be pointless," Fields said. "There is no use getting new bears when we will have to relocate them soon after." However, the remaining male polar bear, Nanuq, may not be around to live in his new home. According to a press release from the Buffalo Zoo, the 22-year-old male polar bear is in the last stages of his life. Age is certainly a problem; the other bears in the exhibit are showing signs of age and illness and may not be around for much longer. Diana is a 31-year-old spectacled bear and is the third oldest spectacled bear in North America. However, signs of age are apparent in her. "[She] has developed some age-associated changes, including hair loss and arthritis," Fields said in the press release. Furthermore, Hannah, the other spectacled bear, has just been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma and will be undergoing chemotherapy. Although dying in captivity is a normal occurrence, the Buffalo Zoo underwent scrutiny in 2007 when People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called to revoke the Zoo's membership in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums after the deaths of at least three polar bears, a hyena and a sea lion in that year. "PETA's request [came] after the group examined U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection reports," said PETA's website. "The violations cited in the reports describe trash-strewn enclosures, a negligent and incompetent staff and judgments by decision makers that led directly to animal suffering." PETA has become aware of the recent deaths of the zoo animals and Lisa Wathne, the PETA captive exotic animals specialist, believes that the zoo does not have a good track record when it comes to the safety of their animals. "As far as [Fred] goes, his death seems reasonable because  is old for a bear," said Wathne. "However, if it so happens that [the Buffalo Zoo] is culpable for [the deaths of more animals] … then [PETA] will ask the United States Department of Agriculture and the AZA to revoke the zoo's accreditation and license," Wathne said. However, the zoo feels protective of its animals and plans to relocate the spectacled bears to the Vanishing Animals Exhibit, featuring endangered animals, while renovations for the polar bear display are underway. Anana will most likely be able to enjoy her new habitat, but her considerably older mate, Nanuq, will probably have passed away by the time the exhibit is finished. The zoo plans to get another male bear and will also have room for whatever offspring they may produce. "The bears are incredibly special animals and are beloved by our staff and visitors," said Dr. Donna M. Fernandes, president/CEO of the Buffalo Zoo, in the press release. "While they are certainly showing signs of age-related issues, the Buffalo Zoo remains committed to providing high quality care for them for the duration of their lives." E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
On Monday, the New York Times released an article based on a study that stated that students who go to a private college receive a higher GPA. According to the article, the study tested 160 private and public schools and found that their 80-year historical data claimed an average of a 3.3 GPA at private schools, compared to an average of a 3.0 at public schools. Although I don't doubt these numbers, I find them to be misleading. One point to consider is the class sizes at colleges. For example, public schools, such as UB, have a current undergraduate student enrollment of 19,022, while Canisius, a nearby private university, has a student enrollment of 3,196. Everyone affiliated with UB knows that lectures, which students are required to take at least a few times here, can go up to almost 500 students. Canisius's average class size is 17, as confirmed by the Office of Student Records at Canisius College. It's much easier for students in a class size of 17 to get a better grade than in a class size of over 600. First of all, the professor actually knows your name. Secondly, I'm sure that it's much easier to get an appointment with your professor if you need help when the professor has a few hundred less students to deal with. The admissions requirements for incoming freshmen are lower for Canisius than UB: Canisius's scores are an 87-94 GPA, 1020-1220 SAT score and 22-27 ACT score, whereas UB's are 89-95, 1100-1240 and 24-28, respectively, according to each college's website. Even assuming that the article's statistics are correct, it's a fact that private schools charge much more money to attend than public schools do. For example Canisius charges $29,512 for one semester. UB charges $4,970 for in-state students and $12,870 for out-of-state students. Therefore, UB students are assumedly more intelligent when they enter the university (based on GPA and SAT scores), but pay far less to go to a public school. I fully believe that students can have an equally high GPA and get the same quality of education if they attend a public school than if they attend a private one. Maybe the greatest example of this is Rutgers University. Many people know that Rutgers is the public state university of New Jersey. What many people do not know is that the school turned down an invitation to join the Ivy League. Twice. In an article by Rutger's official student newspaper The Daily Targum, the school was most likely in negotiations to join the League, but turned it down because Rutgers wanted to remain an outstanding, yet cheap and accessible school for college students. That being said, students applying to Rutgers University are expected to have an 1130-1360 SAT score, and according to the college website, more than one-third of students are ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating classes. This statistic is far higher than Canisius's records. Furthermore, both Rutgers and UB are members of the Association of American Universities, which rank the top U.S. research universities. Harvard, Yale and Princeton are also in this list, but out of the colleges listed on the official AAU website, 34 are public universities, whereas 26 are private. In short, although the study says otherwise, there is no need for students to spend more money to go to a private school when they can get the same quality, or better, education at a public school. UB is the flagship university of the SUNY system, with incredible research labs and a very bright student population, plus a next-to-nothing tuition. Take advantage of all that this public school has to offer at a fraction of the price. E-mail: email@example.com
The Student Association Environmental Department will begin Earth Week on Monday, a continuing celebration to commemorate Earth Day on Thursday.
Nearly 200 runners met at Baird Point Sunday morning for the Nicholas Orrange Memorial Scholarship 5K run in memory of a University at Buffalo student who died in a car crash on Jan. 14. The event was put on by the Student Association, of which Orrange was the special interest service and hobbies coordinator before his death. According to Katherine Ruiz Meneses, the assistant race director and SA sports club coordinator-elect, the event was a huge success. "We raised over $2,500 in admissions," Meneses said. "There are also a lot of donations which [as of press time] have not been counted yet." Race participants paid $20 until April 9 and $22 on the day of the event. The fee included a T-shirt and admission to a post-race party, where there was food, beverages and raffle prizes. Supporters who did not race were asked to donate $5 to attend. All proceeds will be sent to the Nick Orrange Memorial Scholarship Fund, which was set up by his family at St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute. "It was a nice mix of students and outside runners," said Shervin Stoney, the race director, current SA sports club coordinator and vice president-elect. "On Friday, there were only about 50 people signed up, but we got about 70 people [on Saturday] and then about 75 more people showed up [on that day]." Stoney says that there were approximately 300 runners, volunteers and supporters on Sunday. The course started at Baird Point, went around Alumni Arena, looped through the Academic Spine and finished at Baird Point. Along the way, there were over 70 volunteers with water and cheers for the runners as they went by. "Having those extra voices [of encouragement] really helped," said Kathy Fretthold, 49, a winner of the 46-55 age group. "And the fact that they had water [and aid stations] was [helpful]." The run was open to not only UB students, but any other interested parties. Medals were awarded to the top three winners in each age group – 17 and under, 18-25, 26-35, 36-45, 46-55, 56-65 and 65 and over. The first runner to complete the course was John French, with a time of 15:56.00, while the first female runner to complete the course was Caitlyn Curry, with a time of 20:17.00. Other runners included Thomas and Wendy Zuch, who estimate that they run in 30 races a year. The Zuchs admitted that they did not know Nick, but Thomas worked with a member of Nick's family, who he saw at the run. In addition, many members of Nick's family ran for their age groups. David Orrange, Nick's biological father, won third place in his age group. "This was a very nice outcome," David said. "[I'm so glad] that Nick has a legacy [at UB]." David hopes that the race will be come an annual event for people to compete in and hopes to be in better shape next year so that he can get a higher position. "The family was very touched by the event," Meneses said. "They seemed happy because there was such a huge [amount of support]." According to Meneses, the Buffalo-native rock band the Goo Goo Dolls will be playing at Darien Lake this summer and plan to donate over $100,000 to the Nicholas Orrange Memorial Scholarship Fund. "We're excited about that; it's a big deal," Meneses said. She also stressed the importance of continuing the tradition in the coming years. As the sports club coordinator for next year, Meneses expects to make the 5K an annual event. "Nick wasn't a show-horse; he was a very humble guy," Stoney said. "I think that he would have found [the event] amusing, more than anything." E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For the first time, the Buffalo WellFest series will be available to University at Buffalo students in Alumni Arena on Saturday. "WellFest is Western New York's largest and most comprehensive healthy living exposition," said Randy Murphy, marketing director for Harmony Expositions. "There will be over 100 vendors present." WellFest was initially just available to employer groups, but Harmony Expositions, Inc., in partnership with BlueCross BlueShield Western New York, decided that it was time to get students and the community involved as well. "There is no better time to learn good habits than when you're a student," said Nancy Murphy, the president of Harmony Expositions. "A lot of students start smoking or developing bad eating habits because [the years at school] are so stressful, but that stress carries on after school as well." The first day of the WellFest, Friday, is only for UB faculty and staff, while the exposition on Saturday is open to all UB students and the community. According to Randy, health screenings, body strength testing, bone density tests, alternative and traditional medicine providers and healthy food tasting will all be available at WellFest. "UB not only provides the space available to have [WellFest], but it also has a large population of students that are invited to go," Randy said. "Having the event at UB also gets the community onto the campus, which doesn't happen often." Nancy stresses that one of the main points of the event is the idea that properly taking care of oneself can be fun; it doesn't have to be drudgery. "[Everyone] feels better when they are properly taking care of [themselves]," Nancy said. In addition to vendors and health professionals, there will be various healthy activity demonstrations, including Pilates, ballroom dancing and martial arts. There will also be a raffle and prizes to win, including spa vacations, movie tickets, bicycles and gift baskets, among others. The WellFest series has three separate dates, the first of which is at UB. The second is on May 15 at the Buffalo Bills Field House, and the third is June 2 at the Buffalo Convention Center. There will be many vendors to choose from at the events, but they will vary depending on the location. "At the event at UB, there will be more vendors from the Northtowns, at the Field House more vendors from the Southtowns and at the Convention Center, the majority will be from the downtown area," Randy said. Complimentary admission is available to the public with a coupon that can be obtained online at www.bcbswny.com or in person at BlueCross BlueShield's corporate headquarters on West Genessee St., according to a press release. Students are able to get in without a ticket by showing a valid UB card at the door. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. E-mail: email@example.com
Sallie Elkordy only knew her sister Mary Bess as mentally retarded. Mary Bess was eight years older, so before Sallie was even conceived, her sister had already received the polio vaccine at her one-year-old check-up and had experienced the side effects. Elkordy is individually sponsoring a tour throughout New York to warn people and spread the truth about vaccines with other parents whose children have been injured or have died from vaccines. "My parents never put two and two together," Elkordy said. "But we eventually found out that my sister was very severely retarded, most likely because of the vaccine that she had received when she was younger." Mary Bess died at the age of 23 due to unknown reasons. She would be 58 years old. According to the Center for Disease Control Web site, the polio vaccine was initially administered at a child's one-year-old check-up. "He or she [received] a primary series of at least three doses of inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV), live oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV), or four doses of any combination of IPV and OPV," the Web site said. The polio vaccine was not recommended for routine vaccinations on Jan. 1, 2000 because of the risk of vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP), which affects approximately one out of every 2.4 million children. "I feel responsible to warn every person and parent in New York," Elkordy said. "Our children are being pumped with vaccines without our consent." Elkordy admits that she is against vaccines all together, but is especially angry about the fact that it is happening without a person's consent. "This is affecting our children mentally, neurologically and [fatally]," Elkordy said. "And right now, there is nothing that we can do to stop it." Elkordy invites senators and legislators to her events, which stops in Manhattan, Queens, Harlem, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Poughkeepsie and Rochester. She also hopes to stop in Syracuse and Binghamton. According to her, Elkordy has a long list of parents and other people that have had experience with vaccines to speak at the tour spots. Elkordy is concerned with the bill S4779B, in the Public Health Law section of the New York state legislation. According to the bill on the New York Senate Web site, the general purpose is "to ensure that the immunization against HPV is administered to people at a time when it is most effective." The state senate is currently trying to pass this bill, along with the others that it has, to stop the routine and mandatory injection of STD-preventative vaccines. According to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Web site, vaccines are not 100 percent safe as they cause pain and some severe side effects. However, none of these severe symptoms result in permanent damage. The CHOP Web site also stresses that vaccines are preventative against the actual disease, which are much more dangerous than anything that the vaccine could cause. There is a strenuous process in deciding whether vaccines can be recommended or required for children. Vaccines are initially approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and then seek recognition from Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the Committee on Infectious Diseases of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians, according to CHOP's Web site. "If a vaccine is considered to be safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration, and useful for children by the ACIP, AAP and AAFP, then the vaccine is of value and should be given," the Web site said. "Systems are in place to protect children against rare side effects from vaccines." Elkordy will be at University at Buffalo on Saturday at 2 p.m. in 101 Allen Hall. Parent activists, Jesse Calhoun of The Ameros and other guest speakers will be in attendance. Elkordy encourages all students, parents, medical professionals and state officials to come and be educated about what they do not know about vaccination danger. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A shoddy economy, rising tuition and a silver medal in hockey can put a damper on American pride. This may be why there are a rising number of students traveling to different countries to pursue jobs after graduation.
University at Buffalo students leaving for spring break often think about the sun, the beach and having fun with their friends. But they rarely think about the alcohol poisoning, violence and sexual assault that can happen on their vacation away from the Queen City. Luckily, Sub-Board I, Inc. held its annual spring break fair in the Flag Room on Tuesday to educate students about being safe while having fun on break. The fair focused on sex, sun and safety, with various booths set up to provide information about each subject. 'Being in the sun is usually equated to having fun, which is equated to alcohol,' said Jane Fischer, director of SBI Health Education. 'Sex is historically a part of spring break, and alcohol is the number one sexual assault drug. We want students to be safe while having fun.' Fischer realizes that fun means different things to different people, so there were a variety of activities as well as pamphlets and other literature available for students and passersby. Wellness Education Services also had a booth at the fair to further educate students, through games and pamphlets, about being safe with alcohol. '[WES] is here because we thought that they have greater experience with alcohol-based programming,' Fischer said. Sharlynn Daun-Barnett, the alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention specialist at WES, explained that men have more water mass while women have more body fat, which means that women reach higher blood alcohol levels with less alcohol than men. 'Even though [women] want to think of [themselves] as equals when playing drinking games, [they] have biology against [them],' Daun-Barnett said. Daun-Barnett offered tips for all drinkers, such as only consuming one drink per hour, eating before and during a drinking session, staying with friends, not mixing alcohol with dehydrating energy drinks and alternating between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Another purpose of the fair was to teach students about how to remain safe when having sex. Booths like 'Eroticizing Safer Sex' attracted many of the students who came to the fair because it had interesting displays and information about sex. 'I learned that oil-based lubricants can pop a condom, so I guess I'm not going to use them anymore,' said Chelsey Lonberger, a graduate student in the Library and Information Studies Department. Lonberger was on her way to get lunch when she stumbled upon the fair and decided to check it out. 'This fair is really useful for undergrads. When I went to Canisius as an undergraduate, they never had anything like this,' Lonberger said. 'They didn't even give out condoms.' What differentiated the fair from the others is that it offered a variety of safe-sex options like condoms, dental dams and lubrication. It also had emergency contraception (the Plan B pill) on sale for $25. Students like Lonberger appreciated the chance to think ahead. Courtney Bauer, a sophomore psychology major and assistant supervising counselor for SBI, ran a table called 'Shark-Infested Waters' that allowed students to prepare in advance for things that could possibly happen while on break, like getting separated from their friends or waking up after a night of heavy drinking next to someone they didn't know. 'This game is about preparation and getting ready for what could happen while on break,' Bauer said. 'People going on spring break are just thinking about having fun; they don't think about anything bad that could happen. This table makes people think in advance in case unfortunate circumstances happen to them.' Bauer believes that the fair was useful for students because many have a lot of bad misconceptions about sex. This was a chance for SBI to honestly answer questions and provide information. Additional information about the fair, alcohol and sex can be found on the SBI Web site, healthboard.buffalo.edu, or the WES Web site, http://www.student-affairs.buffalo.edu/shs/wes. E-mail: email@example.com
I don't have a car.
As I near the front counter at CVS Pharmacy, I can't help but make a face when something always involuntarily catches my eye: loud neon covers with photo-shopped actresses and obnoxious headlines such as, 'Best SEX ever,' 'How to turn him on' and 'Romp your way to a new weight!'
'Today, there was this girl in heels running in front of me at school, and she slipped on ice. Trying to be a hero, I dropped my backpack and ran up to help her, but ended up slipping and landing on her leg. As I walked back to my backpack, I found out that I dropped my laptop and broke it. FML.'
Living in Western New York is synonymous with a love for the Bills, chicken wings and the National Hockey League. However, along with these perks come cloudy skies, snow and harsh winds. Most residents are lucky enough to have shelter from these blistering elements, but that is not the case for all who inhabit the region. Many Western New York animals are either seriously overpopulated or endangered, struggling for food and shelter and ultimately facing extinction. An excess of animals is dangerous to an ecosystem because it alters plant populations. 'Overpopulation, especially in Buffalo and its suburbs, is of white-tailed deer,' said Chuck Rosenburg, senior wildlife biologist for the Department of Environment Conservation. 'If there are too many deer and they eat too many plants, they could actually wipe out an entire plant species.' Rosenburg works for the Region 9 program of the DEC, which takes care of the Allegany, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie, Niagara and Wyoming counties in Western New York. According to Rosenburg, not only will the extinction of a plant species be detrimental to other plants in the forest, but it will also harm the balance of the animals that eat them, such as deer, birds and squirrels. In addition to losing a food source, a lack of plant life is destructive to animals that may not have homes. That said, there is a way that students can help those who are struggling to help themselves. A press release sent out by the Humane Society stated that students can help animals, especially in the winter. According to the press release, 'with below-normal temperatures and water drying up or icing over in many regions of the country, winter can be a harsh time for our wild neighbors.' The release suggested making food for animals, such as bird feeders and pinecones filled with peanut butter, or making a safe and warm place for small animals to hide from the brutal weather. Although many students may be willing to help wild animals that are sick or injured, helping them may put both the animal and the student in peril. 'More direct interventions are often counterproductive and individuals attempting to care for seemingly sickly or hurt wildlife may, in fact, be putting the animals or themselves at risk,' said Howard Lasker, director of the Graduate Program in Evolution, Ecology and Behavior and a professor in the Department of Geology at UB. Rosenburg warns students that many animals have strict temperature and dietary needs, so it would be better to call a DEC representative rather than care for an injured animal by himself or herself. 'If you see a young animal, it may not be abandoned; you might just not see the parent right away,' Rosenburg said. 'We can send a wildlife rehabilitator specific to the animal to help it. If you care, you'll leave it there.' In addition to finding ways for students to take care of animals, the DEC also offers internships for UB students to give them a chance to understand the dangers that animals face and the dangers that the earth will face if it loses them. 'Unfortunately, there isn't a lot that [the DEC] can do about the overpopulation of animals, especially deer,' Rosenburg said. 'Other organizations have deer-shooting stations where they try to help the excess deer problem.' Instead, the DEC is more active in the Endangered Species Program, which studies traits, eating habits and other characteristics of diminishing animal populations. Rosenburg is currently heading a team that is trapping and radio transmitting short-eared owls to find out what they need to survive while they nest here in the winter. While the studies to help animals are mainly research, many advances are being made to make sure that these furry friends are here to stay. Studying animals and their habits will enable organizations such as the DEC to save them. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org