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Wednesday, April 21, 2021
The independent student publication of The Unversity at Buffalo, since 1950

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FEATURES

Black to take leave of absence

Dennis Black, vice president of student affairs for the University at Buffalo, held a press conference on Monday where he announced he would be taking a leave of absence from duties effective April 1.


FEATURES

Climbing the ladder to success

On Wednesday, Marc Adler, vice president of Client Services for local marketing company Flynn & Friends, Inc. and an adjunct instructor at the University at Buffalo, held a group discussion featuring a panel of alumni. The panel spoke of their paths after graduation on the career track in marketing. Some obtained their start in an already established business, while others began their own. Nick Bowe now manages a Target store in Buffalo and believes that it is essential to work for a company that offers opportunities for advancement through the organization's corporate ladder. "You don't want to look for an organization that's flat [where] there's no upward mobility," Bowe said. Bowe explains that his career at Target gives him a chance for frequent promotion, and provides him the opportunity to learn essential skills for success. However, not all marketing careers offer the opportunity to advance through the organization, Bowe explains. Seth Meyerowitz, founder of UBE-Inc., also advised those in attendance to find a career that offers potential growth, but to remain aware of the pitfalls that accompany corporate work. "I found that my ideas were being pushed down. I had to report to the person above me when the president's office was right next to me," Meyerowitz said. Meyerowitz is now the Chief Executive Officer of his own company, and finds joy in reporting only to himself. Jen VanDeWater, a UB alumna, also has experience in the corporate world and advises future employees to maintain strong personal character. "It's 25 percent what you do, and 75 percent showing up," VanDeWater said. "Even if you may not know all the details of how to do something, coming to the table with that confidence is so important…it's 75 percent of the battle." Professionalism and self-assurance are contagious, and future employers value those qualities, VanDeWater explains. "A leader is a leader, and [companies] can really see that," Bowe said. Companies are gradually changing their focus from an applicant's grade point average to the candidate's leadership qualities. However as a leader, admitting weaknesses can be just as valuable, Meyerowitz explains. "If you know what you're doing, make it known [that you are capable]. If you don't know, don't pretend that you do … unless you can pull it off," Meyerowitz said. Before applying for a job, the candidate needs to update their resume and make their online identity presentable. "When I get a resume and am reviewing a candidate, I will probably spend about three seconds looking at that resume. If the key words that I'm looking for in the job position don't jump out in that person's resume, it gets passed over," VanDeWater said. "It's that fast." Brittany Frey, another panel speaker, stressed the importance of keeping one's Facebook profile G-rated. She explains that even if a candidate has all of the qualifications for the position, their risqué profile may take them out of the running for the job. "For God's sake, make your profile private, if anything," Frey said. Facebook is a good tool for networking, but only if it is used in the correct manner, Frey explains. The candidate's evaluation doesn't end after an interview. Businesses consistently check Facebook pages to see whether or not their future employee will be spending their weekday nights helping the company, or getting crazy at the Steer. "Don't put [things] on Facebook that you don't want people to see. Even 10 years from now … it's going to be up there," Meyerowitz said. Facebook is not the only option for networking. Every encounter and opportunity can be an addition to one's growing network. "Get involved – you can get involved in so many things to build your network," Bowe said. The panel speakers also emphasized the significance of communication skills, like writing and public speaking, as crucial to one's success on the journey to the perfect career. Most notably, the speakers encouraged those seeking a career to use passion as their guide. "If you find something that you enjoy enough, don't worry about how much you get paid," Meyerowitz said. "It's a great thing to find something that you want to do." E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com


FEATURES

Study abroad program expands

Through the study abroad program at UB, students have been able to broaden their horizons in cultural hubs across the globe. Yet there is one area that had, until now, gone unexplored by the wandering feet of undergrads. With ethnic diversity sprawling over from the vibrant metropolis just across its borders, this land boasts thriving industrial and agricultural aspects, as well as a history that is filled with technological innovation but also still seeps back to colonial foundations. There can only be one place that is fit to hold such credentials and it lies but a few hundred miles southeast of the Queen City. Starting next semester, UB will be sending students to the fine upstanding academic institutions of the great state of New Jersey. After much deliberation, it was deemed that the daily life of an average New Jerseyan was so foreign and exotic that it could qualify for the program. Wonders will abound for the traveling student. On the descent into Newark Liberty International Airport, the flight attendant will welcome passengers to the garden state with a knowing chuckle. Out the window, a strange new world of snaking pavement twists out of sight, traversed only by those who relish tempting fate. Students will want to quickly vacate the Newark area before an untimely demise in the slums. Traveling down the N.J. Turnpike at Audubon speeds, bridges and factories will obscure one's vision until the designated exit – every town has one – pops up and the car squeals off into the never-ending suburbs. Once the student navigates the slippery slopes of the "Joisey" accent, the sights and sounds can be explored. Day trips are numerous. The northeastern portion of the state can walk students through every scene from The Sopranos as they encounter the famous Italian immigrants and their tangled web of mob connections. Watch for the telltale signs of a guido – the slicked back hair, the tiny, tight-fitting shirts, and the gold chains. If they're lucky, visitors might be able to take a photo of this strange and exquisite creature. If feelings of homesickness surface in this strange environment, the cure rests in the heart of the Meadowlands. Be ready to attend a Jets or Giants game at the newly created Meadowlands Stadium. Environmental classes are offered out in the heart of the Jersey Shore. This area can also be used for recreational swimming, but the hypodermic needles littering the beaches may be a turn-off. Instead of going for a dip, students can head to the Jersey Shore house, which is surely heading toward historical landmark status by now. Meet Snooki, a local guide and Jersey connoisseur who will tell the tales of how the home was once a haven for slaves trying to escape through the Underground Railroad. However, food is plentiful and easy to come by in this strange area. Pizza and bagels abound, and 24-hour diners are around almost every corner. While leaving the last diner of the night, it's possible to see the sunrise behind the Manhattan skyline. That's if the factories have spontaneously shut down and the wind is going in the right direction. But that never happens. As the toxins slowly seep into students who get a taste of New Jersey, they can at least take solace in the fact that, while they watch the landfills rise higher around them, they can relax as someone else pumps their gas. E-mail: arts@ubspectrum.com


FEATURES

Student identified in Lockwood incident

A UB student has come forward to university police regarding the evacuation of Lockwood Library on February 16. George S. Parker, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology, identified himself to officials at the University Police Department on Monday as the alleged gunman caught on camera entering the library. Parker disclosed in an interview to university officials that the incident was part of an experiment he was conducting for his own personal research regarding reaction time in emergency situations. According to officials, Parker divulged a long history of unethical experimentation. "This is the result of a guilty conscience and a sick obsession," said David Vanderhault, assistant chief of police. "This student is disturbed and is in need of help, and he desperately wants help, which is why he stepped forward, so we're going to make sure he gets it." Carl Lindberg, assistant chair of the Department of Psychology, is disappointed in the student researcher's decision to engage in such unethical behavior and believes it will be nearly impossible for him to recover from the damage he has done. "What's most upsetting is that this young man shook up an entire community and wasted thousands of dollars in resources, time and manpower," Lindberg said. "But this is just one student, keep in mind. His actions are in no way representative of the psychology department as a whole." Parker further revealed to police that the alleged gun underneath his trench coat was some sort of Chinese-made weapon, which he dumped in a nearby trash can while exiting the library during the evacuation period. Though Parker took accountability for his actions, Angela Wright, a senior anthropology major, believes Parker forever tarnished the reputation of student researchers everywhere. "He makes researchers look bad," Wright said. "How can he ever show his face on campus again, knowing what he did? He took it to the extreme by putting everyone at jeopardy for some sick joke." Parker's roommate, who asked to remain anonymous, knew nothing of his twisted research. When he heard that a student was identified in the incident via Facebook and Twitter, and that the student was his own roommate, he was in complete and utter shock. "I couldn't believe it," the roommate said. "I mean, yeah, the kid is kind of strange and stuff, and yeah, I heard a duck quack from his closet once, but I thought it was just a fetish or something." While a majority of students and staff are scorning the actions of the student researcher, some are commending him on carrying out the most brilliant plot of deception the UB community has ever experienced. "The whole thing reminds me of the one time I was walking out of Target and saw this dude walk in wearing a ski mask in the middle of spring," said Marcus Godfrey, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology. "I was like, ‘Dang, why didn't I think of that?'" University officials are reviewing Parker's research findings on reaction time in emergency situations, though students will still not receive an e-mail or text regarding the latest news for another week or two. Students in lecture halls on North Campus will be SOL. E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com


FEATURES

Spring into green

As spring has finally sprung, so has a brighter hue of green. Environmentally conscious students, staff and businesses united in the Student Union on Thursday as part of the Environmental Student Association's first Sustainability Bazaar. Twenty-five eco-friendly businesses in Western New York came to participate in the event to inform students about the green possibilities in life. Liz Alnutt, a junior biological science major and an intern for the Environmental SA, was in charge of coordinating the Sustainability Bazaar, which took a semester of planning to complete. By informing students about what they can do to help the environment, Alnutt is confident that the carbon footprint can be significantly reduced. "[The Environmental SA] wants UB to be more sustainable, meaning that we need to use resources that can be used again in 50 years," Alnutt said. A huge variety of businesses and organizations were represented, from wilderness preservation, like the Association for Wild Animal Rehabilitation and Education, to public transportation, such as Buffalo Care Share. "The main reason that we're doing this is two-fold: one is for helping UB students and the other is for the people of Buffalo and their environmental needs," said Chris Llop, director of the Environmental SA. Llop hopes that by garnering more student interest, both the administration and students will be better able to work in tandem and bigger strides can be made in the green movement. "It's one thing [for students] to push the administration to [go green], but if students aren't [doing it themselves], then it's kind of hypocritical," Llop said. "We want to teach [students] that they have the ability to make simple choices that will make things better." Students were shown that what they choose to eat could make an impact on the environment. Organic coffee was provided by CVS and a make-your-own granola station was set up for hungry passersby. Students also had the chance to learn about the critters that call wilderness their home. Owls, insects and reptiles were all in attendance and handlers were more than eager to talk about their injured pals. Judy Fisher, a distributor for Shaklee, an eco-conscious cleaning product company, was excited by the turnout of the event. "I always thought that college kids had no interest in [going] green at all," Fisher said. "But kids are actually reading the information and learning. This is a great event. I'll come back every year for as long as they have [the bazaar]." Marcy McMahon, a sophomore psychology major, believes that immersing students in a culture of green on campus with events like the Sustainability Bazaar will allow the movement to become more of a permanent reality. "When you're constantly bombarded with [the green movement], you start to think it's normal," McMahon said. Tierney McMahon, a freshman psychology major, has always tried to do her part in helping to save the environment. "I always try reusing things, like [not] buying new notebooks every semester," McMahon said. The Environmental SA is satisfied with the growing support that it has received in the past few months and is happy that several clubs have reached out, wanting to collaborate with the organization. One of the organization's goals is to make going green easier. The latest project the Environmental SA is working on is an electronic recycling drive where students can bring in their old cell phones, computers and other devices to be recycled. Alnutt believes that it is the responsibility of younger people to get involved now so that the earth will be a safer place for others in the future. "We're a campus of 30,000 students – pretty soon, we're going to be making the decisions that older people are making for us, so it's important to be informed," Alnutt said. E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com


FEATURES

Reclaiming the libraries

Although the UB libraries are supposed to be a peaceful place for students to study, many have been interrupted by rowdy students. Fortunately for library-goers, a new group has been formed to combat this problem. Ryan Schaub, a senior electrical engineering major, got the inspiration for the Quiet Study Program when he was working late at night in Lockwood Library. "There was a guy sitting in the next cubicle over, talking really loudly on his cell phone about what a terrible hangover he had," Schaub said. "After a few minutes of this, I was so annoyed that I just got up, walked over and punched him in the face." A nearby student was so grateful that he handed Schaub $5, which gave Schaub an idea. "I figured that I could make some money in my spare time by beating up annoying and stupid people," Schaub said. Schaub recruited two of his friends – Tim Hoth, a senior anthropology major, and Lee Spengler, a senior chemical engineering major. Together, the three of them formed the Quiet Study Program. "It's been working out really well so far," Hoth said. "People who are being disturbed while they're trying to study call Ryan's phone to tell them where they are and what offense is occurring. Ryan calls Lee and me, and we go as a group to silence the person." The Quiet Study Program's territory includes all libraries on North Campus, as well as study areas such as the Blake Center in Ellicott and the Jones Center in Governors. The cost is $5 for each person that needs to be silenced. For an additional $3, they will also insult the person. So far, the trio has earned $352. "Most people are willing to pay the extra $3 to have us insult the person before we silence him or her," Spengler said. "My favorite one to use is, ‘Your mother Susan is a whore.'" Schaub, Spengler and Hoth feel that the Quiet Study Program is an excellent use of their time and are pleased to be able to contribute to making North Campus a more pleasant place to be. They have received many requests since the program's inception, but some days are busier than others. "Business was really booming during midterms. In two hours alone, I silenced fifteen people in the Jones Center," Hoth said. Since the response to the program has been so positive, Schaub is considering branching out and allowing students to contact him with requests to punch any nearby dim-witted or aggravating person on North Campus. "Sometimes you're just trying to eat lunch and have a conversation with a friend, but then you hear someone at another table say, 'Face the facts – 90 percent of this campus cares more about petty topics than bigger issues.' A comment like that can't go unpunished," Schaub said. However, due to the hectic schedules of the members of the Quiet Study Program, Schaub is unsure of how soon this will become a reality. "We really like what we do, but we're trying to limit our exposure to these people," Schaub said. "With finals and graduation so close, we really can't afford to catch the dumb." The Quiet Study Program can be contacted at 716-359-1644 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com


FEATURES

Getting around town

Students relying on public transportation to get around will be pleased with the new opportunities offered by the University at Buffalo. The UB Stampede, which until recently travelled only between North and South Campus, is expanding its route to include features in the surrounding suburbs. The infamous Mall Bus, which operates Wednesdays and Saturdays and stops at Tops on Maple Road, Wegmans, and the Boulevard Mall, will soon include the Walden Galleria. The bus will run every 15 minutes and can be recognized by the market and mall signs on the bus's exterior. Maria Wallace, director of Parking and Transportation Services, is pleased with the Stampede's new transportation routes. "We've had these plans in motion for a long time, but we wanted it to be a surprise for the students. I know how boring North Campus can be, and without a car I understand how students sometimes need to get out and go somewhere," Wallace said. In addition, the Anti-Rape Task Force safety shuttle will be expanding its services to include any and all destinations in Amherst, the city of Buffalo and Canada, as far as the Toronto city limit. This new travel plan is a vast improvement over the old rules, which limited eager travelers to destinations in a 1.5 mile radius from South Campus. Jane Fischer, director of SBI Health Services, which runs the ARTF shuttle, spearheaded the new transportation plans. "[The ARTF van] is famous around campus, but we get a lot of complaints about not being able to take students as far as they want to go. By expanding the range of the van, we can please a lot more of the student body, as well as promote safety," Fischer said. PTS and Health Services have come up with an efficient way of making this new program run cohesively, without too much money coming out of UB's budget. "With the money that came from [Methods of Inquiry] being shut down, UB had a surplus, and it was handed over to us. We thought, ‘What's better to do with our money than help students get from party to party, bar to bar, safely?'" Fischer said. Understandably, student response to the new transportation opportunities on campus has been very positive. "That sounds really great. I used to take the Stampede to the Boulevard Mall all the time when I was a freshman and thought it was totally lame. The Galleria is so much better, but since I don't have a car, it's pretty hard for me to get there. It's a great improvement; the Galleria has a much better selection of corsets and petticoats than the Boulevard," said Jane Austen, a junior English major. Courtney Thompson, a senior communications major, liked the new Stampede and ARTF routes because of the easier accessibility to UB and Buffalo's party scenes. "That [stuff] is hot," Thompson said. "You don't know how many times my girls and I will be partying it up and all of a sudden we're like, ‘We have to call the rape van, but they don't come that far.' Then we need to call all these random guys we never talk to and hope they'll come get us at 3 a.m. and all this annoying [stuff]." Many UB students are eager to embrace the new ARTF shuttle route in order to become better acquainted with Canada, UB's neighbor to the north. "It'll be so nice to get to know Canada. They have such a rich history and culture, and the citizens aren't annoying at all," said Carol Atwood, a sophomore mechanical engineering major. "I love Toronto, and if UB is getting me there on their dime, why shouldn't I take advantage of it?" Additional funds for these new bus and shuttle routes have been said to come from the School of Nursing, the school library budget and the charter from Generation magazine. The new routes for the Stampede and ARTF shuttle should go into effect sometime after the apocalypse of 2012. UB students are urged not to seek more information on this transportation change. E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com


FEATURES

The wide world of sports

On Tuesday, Career Services held a workshop explaining some of the advantages and disadvantages of entering the growing field of sports management and administration. "There is probably nothing more exciting [than sports]," said Joe Meyer, a career planning and development assistant. "It's the original reality TV." There are many ways to get into a career in sports. Even though only a select few are blessed with the talents to become professional athletes, Meyer explains that there are jobs everywhere. "On the field, you can be a player or coach, but that's the hardest way to get there," Meyer said. What many students may not know, Meyer explained, is that a majority of jobs are available from behind the scenes. Marketing, promotions, communications and sports reporting are only a few of the potential jobs readily available. "There is a huge business in sports," Meyer said. "However, the more you get into sports, you find out that revenue is very top-heavy." Dream jobs like being a general manager for the Yankees are far and few between, and there are only a handful of such prestigious positions. Like any athlete who endured the rise to the top of his or her sport, baby steps must be taken before the all-out sprint. "The business in sports begins and ends with sales, " Meyer said. According to Meyer, getting a foot in the door is the first step. No matter what profession a person decides to go into, having a previous connection to the job never hurts. "Get experience early – it adds to your resume," Meyer said. "Volunteer and get internships." Having a foot in the door can also help a potential candidate determine whether he or she needs to invest in a master's degree for a job. Many people are already qualified to obtain jobs, but don't realize it. Other degrees, like a master's in sports administration or management, aren't actually required, explains Meyer. Meyer stressed that a job in sports is not a typical 9-to-5 job, and many entry-level jobs aren't well paid, either. "I really don't know anyone who's worked in sports at any level that wasn't there outside of the normal Monday through Friday, nine to five," Meyer said. "The hours can be tough; you get beat down a lot." However, if a student eats, breathes and drinks athletics, a sports career can be thirst quenching. Meyer acknowledges that a sports career may have its advantages and perks, such as working for a professional team and receiving free tickets to events and games, but the monotonous tasks of the job can become dull. "Sometimes when you're in it, you're like, ‘Enough of the games,'" Meyer said. "You get over-flooded with it and you're like, ‘Ok, one game is the next game. Is this really exciting anymore after going to so many?'" Meyer explains that one way to fight the repetitiveness of a career in professional sports is to get into a career in college or amateur sports. While a job working for a school may not carry the same luster that a job with the Sabres offers, the variety of experiences in a more personal career can have its own unique advantages. Meyer's own career started in professional sports with the Bills and eventually moved to college athletics. Once Meyer left professional sports, he never looked back. The enjoyment of seeing students achieve their personal goals and the opportunity to focus on multiple tasks is what keeps him coming back. "I was always a big fan of the smaller schools, because you knew that you were going to be focused on hockey [or] basketball … [there's] variety," Meyer said. "A lot of people don't like the multi-tasking it requires, but it's a lot of fun." E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com


FEATURES

Chabad houses help students feel at home

A lot of college students find themselves far away from their homes, families and religions, and many of our peers long for the homey feel of celebrating ancient traditions with loved ones. Luckily for Jewish students, there are two Chabad houses here at UB that provide a comforting atmosphere where those who are interested can explore their religious identity. The Chabad house is a center that serves the needs of the Jewish population. Such houses are located all over the country and can be found in over 150 colleges and universities across the world. Conveniently located on both North and South campus, the Chabad houses, run by rabbis Moshe Gurary and Avrohom Gurary, provide just what college students are looking for after a long week of classes: peace, a homey feel and a hot meal. "The Chabad house's motto is that this is a home away from home where Jewish students who are away from home can still feel that homey environment," Moshe said. "It gives them an opportunity to celebrate their Jewish identity and culture through a very informal experience." The Gurary brothers do not expect every Jewish student to celebrate his or her faith as formally as they do, but instead want to provide a safe haven where Jews of all secular backgrounds can feel at home. And students such as Aleksandra Zak, a junior biological sciences major, love the welcoming environment provided each time they walk into the Chabad house. "The Chabad house is a very warm environment, very accepting and it feels a bit like home away from home," Zak said. "It's just nice to go somewhere out of the stressful school environment and be able to enjoy the presence of friends … [The rabbis] always have a way of making each person feel welcome. They're extremely hospitable and are always trying to please everyone, whether it be cooking meals every Friday for 50 people or helping out in other things, such as dedicating time to every person at Chabad house." The Friday meals that Zak is referring to are the Shabbat dinners that are held weekly at each Chabad house. A typical Shabbat evening consists of a brief religious service, followed by a full-course meal where friends can relax and reflect on their week. Zak isn't the only one who appreciates the services provided by the Chabad house. Rachel Koenig, a freshman speech and hearing sciences major, discovered the Chabad house in September and loves attending Shabbat every week. "The environment at the Chabad House is probably the most warm, inviting, and comfortable of anywhere else I've been on campus. Everybody warned me that the Chabad house was only for the most observant Jews, but everyone [at the Chabad house] could not be less judgmental; instead of differences being scrutinized, similarities are embraced," Koenig said. "The rabbi and his wife are so sweet and hospitable, and their children are adorable. There is also always good food and no one is ever turned away from the Chabad house." Although most people think being Jewish is a requirement of visiting the Chabad house, this is actually not the case. "It is not an exclusive thing and it is not geared towards a certain affiliation of Jewish people," Moshe said. "Some people believe this is made for religious people, but this is not the case at all. Most students who attend are from various secular backgrounds and many have no affiliation to the religion whatsoever." Moshe has been involved with the Chabad house since 1999, but the original house opened up in 1971. "We started off on South Campus on Main Street right across from the campus, and when North Campus was built, we added another location on North Forest Road, right next to the Ellicott foot bridge," Moshe said. There is no cost to visit the Chabad house, however, the rabbis appreciate donations from alumni and students' parents. Many people don't realize that providing the student population with a Jewish haven is the Gurary brothers' full time occupation. They are always on call to solve crises, they advise students, answer questions, offer a variety of educational courses and help celebrate holidays as well. One of the more celebrated holidays, Passover, begins tonight. To celebrate, the Chabad house on North Campus, located at 2450 North Forest Rd., will be hosting two Seders, one tonight and a second tomorrow night. They are scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. and are expected to last a little over two hours. There will be a brief service, followed by a full-course meal with all of the traditional food associated with Passover. The Chabad house has a Web site, chabad.buffalo.edu, and there is also a listserv and Facebook group that prospective visitors can sign up for to receive notifications. Although the Chabad house does not charge money to visitors, for the Seders, the rabbis suggest a $14 donation. "[Passover] is one of the most celebrated holidays across the world by Jews. This year, Passover is in the middle of the week, so most students cannot afford to go home or have classes during that they can't miss, so we're hosting two public Seders," Moshe said. "We're trying to step into the shoes of these students' families and provide a home away from home." E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com


FEATURES

Vaccination fascination

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: features@ubspectrum.com


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Honoring a fallen friend

Matthew Scarpati was a 19-year-old sophomore economics major at the University at Buffalo when a drunken motorcyclist tragically killed him last July. Scarpati was struck while riding his bike on the Wantagh bike path near his home on Long Island, N.Y. This Sunday, his fraternity brothers from Pi Lambda Phi are honoring him in the first Matthew Scarpati Memorial Walk. According to his brothers at Pi Lambda Phi, Scarpati was a friendly, genuine person and a great asset to their organization. "He was just a great guy with many leadership qualities, and a good head on his shoulders. All the brothers have definitely felt the deep loss of a friend this past year" said Rob Murphy, a senior political science major and president of Pi Lambda Phi. Scarpati was an avid biker who loved to be outdoors and had a love for soccer. As a tribute, Scarpati's brothers decided to host an event to raise money for the Matthew Scarpati scholarship fund and bring awareness to campus about the dangers of drunk driving. The 5K run and walk will start at 10 a.m. and take route around Putnam Way. Members of the community can register the morning of the race for a $10 fee at the Special Events field outside of the Student Union. The Student Association donated money for each participant to receive a free T-shirt upon registration. Participants will also be able to enjoy free food and beverage after the race. "This is a great way for the brothers, friends and members of the UB community to get together, raise awareness about a serious issue and have a great time remembering Matt," said Kyle Berninger, a sophomore mechanical engineering major and officer-scribe of Pi Lambda Phi. Murphy, Berninger and over 30 other Pi Lambda Phi brothers are hoping to raise a good amount of money and get a great turn out from the student body. A group discount of $5 will be offered for those who bring 15 or more people. "We want people to know that 100 percent of the donations are going directly to the Matthew Scarpati Scholarship fund," Murphy said. "The brothers and I want to be able to give a large check to Matt's parents and really positively impact the lives of other kids with the [money] that is raised." Scarpati's parents created the fund to award scholarships to high school students who embody their son's spirit in his hometown. They wish to support future students who share the same great characteristics that made Scarpati an amazing friend, son, student and athlete. This Sunday, they will attend the event to see the celebration of their son's life. James Ryan, the driver of the motorcycle, was reportedly charged with a DWI, vehicular manslaughter and reckless endangerment. The Pi Lambda Phi brothers are striving to prevent others from being in Scarpati's situation by promoting education and awareness on drinking and driving. "We really want to see change and activism here at UB" Berninger said. "It would be fantastic to see S.A.D. D. (Students Against Drunk Driving) start here on campus. [We hope to promote at the race] anything to make college students realize they need to be aware of their surroundings and be careful when drinking alcoholic beverages." Other schools across the nation have already implemented programs to keep students safe while consuming alcoholic beverages. "At Boston College, they have a designated drivers program where kids can sign up to be volunteer drivers for the night. I believe UB could really benefit from this service. Our fraternity rotates designated drivers every time the brothers go out," Murphy said. "It works well and this is something I would like to see prevalent not only in Greek Life, but on the rest of campus as well." Prizes will be raffled off at the event and the Donate Life campaign will be present, among other vendors. All current Pi Lambda Phi brothers and many other UB alumni will be in attendance, along with other Greek organizations. A representative from Mothers Against Drunk Driving will speak to kick off the event. While Sunday will be the first Matthew Scarpati Memorial Run, it's expected this will not be the only race in his honor. E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com


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Victory for vaginas

The V-Day Campaign at the University at Buffalo continued this week with the annual performance of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues.


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Environmental awakenings

In a time where "going green" has become more of a fashion statement than an actual initiative, student run groups like the University at Buffalo Environmental Network are taking a stand and working towards a better environment for their campus and community. The UBEN is a group of networks, organizations and individuals who work towards ending injustices on the environment through education, action and change, according to their Web site. On April 16, 17 and 18, the group will come together with schools throughout Western New York to join 400 environmentally active students for Power Shift NY 2010 at UB. "[UBEN wants] to push the message that this is about students and youth who are meeting to exchange ideas and promote an environmentally conscious and environmentally sustainable future," said Kristina Blank, a sophomore environmental study major and vice president of outreach for UBEN. In March of 2009, Congress recorded the largest student environmental lobby day in history when students, including those from UBEN, gathered together in Washington D.C. during the environmental Power Shift conference. Esther Dsouza, a senior environmental design and geography major, vice president of activism for UBEN and coordinator for the summit, explains that the group felt inspired by their time in D.C. and decided to form the first NY breakout of Power Shift and the largest environmental summit that any UB club has hosted. "I went on the environmental conference [in Washington, D.C.] last year … it was empowering to see so many people who are environmentally aware and active, and it made me realize how powerful we are as a student body," Blank said. The Power Shift movement is an event for Define Our Decade, a project of the Energy Action Coalition that works with college and university students to encourage environmentally friendly changes on their campuses. "In 2010, through a set of strategically coordinated local actions, we will define our decade. We will define it with youth leadership, community empowerment, and a unified vision for the clean and just energy future we will collectively create," according to their Web Site. In collaboration with environmental organizations of other schools, UB Green, Campus Dining and Shops, and Student Life, UBEN will host panels, workshops, concerts and local environmental advocate speakers. The speakers include Lois Gibbs, an environmental activist who advocated the Love Canal cause in 1978, NY Senator Antoine Thompson, who serves on the Environmental Conservation Committee in the Senate, Walter Simpson, a past Environmental Officer at UB, and Margaret Wooster, a Buffalo native, ecological activist and author of Living Waters: Reading the Rivers of the Lower Great Lakes. UB professors Sara Metcalf of the geography department and biological sciences professor Dr. Mary Bisson will also be featured speakers during the 3-day conference. "It's going to be very educational. Many students don't read the top issues of today and we go through school taking in the information taught in classes, but we don't apply it … we're going to teach students how to put these ideas into action," Blank said. Neighboring environmental organizations will also take part in the summit, including Buffalo ReUse, Grassroots Gardens, Buffalo Car Share, the Community Foundation and PUSH Buffalo. On the first day of the conference, UBEN has scheduled a Day of Action. Blank explains that after receiving hundreds of environmental policy violations in Pennsylvania for crimes of environmental distress, the Amherst development company U.S. Energy Development Corporation has decided to move its operations and drill oil in Allegany State Park. Members of Power Shift NY and concerned community members will meet at 3:00 p.m. on April 16 outside of the corporation to peacefully protest its actions and plans to take oil from the park. "All we want to do is to let them know that it's not OK to drill in any park and there's other green measures that they should be taking," Dsouza said. To take part in what Blank describes as a perspective altering event, students can visit the Sub-Board Inc. ticket office during business hours to reserve tickets, or they can visit powershiftny.org to order tickets in advance for $15. Blank and Dsouza encourage students to purchase tickets in support of UBEN and to take the first step towards a greener planet by attending the conference. "The environment is among us – we can't segregate ourselves from the environmental issues of the day. They are an integral part of our lives, and will continue to be so in the future," Blank said. "It's up to the youth to step up to the plate and counteract that." E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com


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Alternative arrangements

Instead of soaking in the Florida rays last week, 20 University at Buffalo students made use of their spring break by preparing lunches for the Buffalo City Mission and collecting 200 pounds of garbage throughout the Queen City. In UB's third annual Alternative Spring Break, selected students got the opportunity to give where they live and volunteer for seven local charity organizations. "It's a very traditional spring break where we live together and eat together," said Terri Budek, community engagement coordinator for the Center for Student Leadership and Community Engagement. However, the not so traditional part of ASB is that students are also volunteering together for 15 hours a day. "We're doing [work] for the Buffalo City Mission, Vive la Casa, Women and Children's Hospital, Junior Achievement, Habitat for Humanity, Buffalo ReUse and Catholic Charities," Budek said. "Most people love it, but I don't think they expect it to be as intense as it is." Budek and one other coordinator joined 18 participants and two team leaders last week to reconstruct houses, help the homeless and give back to the place they all currently call home. "We tried to get as diverse of a group as we could from different majors and different backgrounds," Budek said. "We get a lot of international students partly because they don't have anywhere to go over spring break, but also because these kind of experiences are not available in their own countries, so they want to get as much of them as they can while they're in the States." The program also attracts a number of local students, according to Budek, who believe they haven't performed enough service in their hometown. "Some volunteers who are from Buffalo didn't know these [organizations] existed, so it's an eye-opener for them, and I think once they see the need, they're very happy that they could help in their own backyard," Budek said. To make the experience as meaningful as possible, the students were given daily orientations at the organizations they would be lending their hands to, learning what resources they provide to the community and why they are needed. The group slept on mattresses in Goodyear Hall and explored the city of Buffalo during their much-needed down time. Their work was rewarded with a trip to Niagara Falls, a guided tour of City Hall, tickets to a Sabres game and a bowling and movie night. On day six of ASB, the coordinators prepared a Thanksgiving dinner for the volunteers to show their gratitude for the group's tireless efforts. David Molina, a senior biomedical sciences major, said that though he was volunteering, it was he who was thankful. "I can honestly say this was one of the best experiences I've had at UB," Molina said. "Most students in college, I feel, see the break in March as an opportunity to do things that benefit themselves and not the community in which they live in. Doing volunteer work and making a difference in the Buffalo community has really made an impact on the way I view certain aspects of life." Ankita Kale, a sophomore environmental engineering major, said seeing the way many Buffalonians live put things in perspective for everyone. "Interacting with the children, teens and refugees made us realize the conditions they come from and are currently in. Their stories [brought] tears to our eyes and made us more sensitive towards people and life," Kale said. And according to Budek, one of the most surprising things for students at the end of ASB week is always how close they get to the people they didn't know existed just days before. "When we first entered Goodyear, it seemed like The Real World [on MTV]," Kale said. "But we were all very cooperative and considerate of [each other]. We did a lot of good work and put our best efforts into whatever we did. All in all, I would say that I had the most amazing spring break, and I am thankful to the CSLCE for giving us the best days at UB and the best of friends." E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com


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Men who love vagina

Real men wear pink. Real men have emotions. Real men respect the vagina. Keegan Burke, a sophomore social work major, and Aaron Maracle, a graduate student in the School of Social Work, both facilitated and lead a V-Men Monologues discussion. 11 men participated in the recorded discussion. According to Burke and Maracle, similar interviews were conducted over a decade ago with women and resulted in The Vagina Monologues. Jane Fischer, director of Sub-Board, Inc. Health Education, explained the true purpose of V-Men. "It is an idea-gathering session where [we gather] feedback from men, " Fischer said. "The objective was to gather male experiences, thoughts on the issue, and spawn ideas as to how they can contribute to supporting survivors and ending violence internationally. Fischer was excited for the opportunity of the V-Men Monologues, a spinoff of The Vagina Monologues. "It is a really empowering process," Fischer said. "It has grown over the past decade to over 130 countries." According to Fischer, The Vagina Monologues began as a collection of interviews from women all over the world discussing topics such as sexual expression, repression and abuse. The V-Men Monologues was a "men only" event that discussed such topics as "What it means to love/respect a woman" and "The difference between compassion and corruption." The men were asked to list the admirable characteristics of a man, a woman, and a person he admired. Many times, they chose characteristics similarly associated with a woman. Such characteristics include being compassionate, caring and loving. In many cultures, males are taught to substitute aggressive behavior for emotions, according to V-Men presenters. This concept varies amongst cultures, but is more accepted in certain countries. "In the Congo, for example, male soldiers brutalize and rape women on a regular occasion," Maracle said. An important point covered in the presentation was that males who experience violence in their homes are ten times more likely to abuse their spouse. According to the V-Men presenters, a man who has experienced violence in his home may approach an abusive situation differently. He either knows it is wrong yet continues to do it or stands up against it because he does not want it to happen to other people. Burke and Maracle stressed that others can make a difference in so many more ways. The men that joined the V-Men discussion, for example, may give others the courage to speak out. The idea of V-Men is that anyone has the power to play a part in discontinuing the violence, and men have a significant amount of that power. "Men are a lot of the perpetrators, so they have to be part of the solution," Maracle said. "It is a very small proportion of men perpetrating that violence; [they are] giving men a bad name against women. [It is the] same crimes over and over." From attending a Vagina Monologues production at UB this upcoming weekend to hosting a V-party to purchasing a chocolate vagina, any contribution makes a difference. The funds will go to women in the Congo to help fight the violence and to further educate and promote discussion around campus. For further information, log onto www.vday.org/home.


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Growing green

Katie Ingraham wants to save the planet by planting a garden. Ingraham, the complex director of Creekside Village, has submitted a proposal to the Pepsi Refresh Project to create a community garden in the complex. She hopes to use the garden to educate students about environmental issues and self-sustainability. The Pepsi Refresh Project rewards innovative thinkers who want to make a difference in the world. Pepsi will reward $50,000 to the 10 project ideas with the most votes. Ingraham's proposal includes the creation of two sections within the garden — one for the residents of Creekside and another for partnered groups such as UB Green, UB Environmental Task Force and Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo. Students will be given their own plots of land that they will be responsible for weeding and watering. Educational programming and composting will also be available in the garden. Ingraham is confident that her proposal will help further UB's green initiative and inspire students to lead greener lifestyles. "Providing a community garden will open a door for our students to grow their own vegetables as well as learn valuable lessons on sustainability and green gardening that they will be able to take from here and incorporate in their lives wherever they go," Ingraham said. According to Ingraham, Creekside Village was one of the first complexes in the SUNY system to include Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified buildings. From the light bulbs to the tabletops to the recycled carpet and the refurbished furniture, everything inside and outside of the building is green. "A lot of people don't know about [the complex] because of its hidden location," Ingraham said. "Creekside is still a relatively new community, and this project could help it [to become] better known." Ingraham has noticed a trend in university gardens across the country. Many campuses are beginning to recognize how beneficial gardens are to the supplementation of food service programs. "If [campuses] have the space to do it, they should use it," Ingraham said. "It's cost-effective to grow your own [food]." When Mike Yates, the assistant complex director, was approached with the idea, he jumped on board immediately and helped generate excitement because he knew it would greatly add to an already eco-conscious campus. "Residents have approached us and are showing interest in this," Yates said. "What we're doing is extremely unique." The complex directors would be extremely grateful if the garden proposal won in the Pepsi Refresh Project contest, but they are going to continue developing the idea regardless of whether or not Pepsi awards funding. "We decided to give [the contest] a shot, but if it doesn't work out, we're still going to put in a continued effort," Yates said. Ingraham sees the potential in UB to expand its green initiative and to become an even bigger leader in the movement. "There's a lot of good that's happening now with what UB Green is doing in terms of creating a greener campus, and I hope our garden [can] be another small step in furthering that initiative," Ingraham said. The winners of the Pepsi Refresh grant are determined by votes received at www.pepsirefresh.com. The voting ends March 31. E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com


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Made in Va-China

While America has been shouting about vaginas since 1998 over Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, China has only responded with a muffled groan.





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