Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for April, 2017

Dave Aston
Montgazette Editor-in-Chief

Let’s see… Can I write this without crying…?

Here it goes.

“All good things come to an end.”

Chaucer’s famous quote has been used constantly to describe any kind of change in life. This time, the change directly involves me. After nearly three years as the Editor-inChief of this wondrous publication, I will be passing the baton to a new leader.

Since 2014, I’ve learned more things than I ever thought I would and have been positively influenced by the stories that have been printed in these pages. Along the way, I’ve also been inspired by a great number of students, faculty and others.

First and foremost, my undying thanks goes out to Gail Ramsey, The Montgazette’s faculty advisor. In early 2014, I met Gail as an instructor in a media class, listening to her engaging lectures and her closing every class with, “We need an editor…” This gentle prodding led me to say, “Sure, I’ll throw my hat in the ring,” thinking there were at least a half-dozen others waiting in line. Instead, the first email I got read, “Hi, David. Here are the articles for the coming issue.”

In addition, my thanks to the many student leaders who have assisted in editing, promoting and doing the many other behind-the-scenes work that have kept this paper as the most engaging publication on campus. Jessica Pupillo, last year’s Editorial Assistant, who is studying at Bloomsberg University, was instrumental in boosting The Montgazette’s social media presence. Our current Social Media Editor, Bridget Depew, a mother and a student, has only made that presence even more prominent.

My boundless gratitude is further extended to the myriad staff writers, contributing writers, student writers and others who helped keep this publication relatable and relevant through the years. This gratitude includes, but is not limited to, Diane VanDyke, Rebecca McGovney-Ingram, Michele Cuomo, Philip Needles and MCCC President Dr. Kevin Pollack.

For me, however, there are two other people I want to single out. Former MCCC President Dr. Karen Stout and MCCC
student Sara Wilkerson. Dr. Stout was instrumental in reviving The Montgazette. In 2006, she made it her personal mission to keep print journalism alive by creating a foundation upon which The Montgazette will stand for years to come. Sara Wilkerson will build upon this foundation as my successor and your new Editor-in-Chief of The Montgazette.

Sara is a talented writer with experience as an editor of Upper Merion High School’s newspaper. She has an unstoppably upbeat attitude with a passion for sharing stories. A staff writer last year, she was recently honored with First Place by the Pennsylvania News Media Association’s Collegiate Keystone Press Awards for her article about author Jacqueline Woodson.

This speaks nothing but good things to me for the future of The Montgazette.

Oh… Here come the tears.

Come to think of it, maybe Chaucer was a bit off. Good things don’t come to an end, they are placed into the hands of people you know will not just carry on a legacy but make one for themselves and make good things happen for others. I know that Sara, supported by her staff, writers and an amazing community college that invests its resources in our future, will not just make this paper good, she’ll make it great.

So before my tears stain these pages, permit me to write a letter to the editor.

To the editor… It’s your turn to lead now. Remember, this is the students’ paper, their voice. Please, let it be heard.

Thanks, Dave Aston

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Dave Aston
The Montgazette Editor-In-Chief

On March 1, Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes hosted a community action forum in the Science Center Auditorium at Montgomery County Community College’s Central Campus. The primary focus of the forum was to present information about numerous upcoming State House and Senate bills. The forum also exposed the community to local advocacy groups.

The bills that were highlighted ranged from the State’s budget to upholding Philadelphia’s Sanctuary City status to Medicare changes in advance of the possible replacement of The Affordable Care Act. The advocacy groups included anti-gun violence, child education and other political action groups.

Throughout his recapping of the key State bills, Senator Hughes periodically made
reference to opponents of the bills he supports as “the bad guys.” Some in attendance fed off of this by raising more politically-oriented than community-oriented concerns when Senator Hughes concluded his presentation.

After the forum, I waited in line to get answers to key questions from the senator.

Q: Knowing that businesses, with the current ACA in place, will continually cut back hours [of their employees], are you an advocate for keeping it as it is?

A: No. My position is real simple. We need to make improvements in the Affordable Care Act. We need to have a good listening ear [so we can] figure out how we can fine tune it, make adjustments, so that we can minimize some of the problems people are having with this. What I fear is [what’s] coming down from Washington…which would only do much more harm than an appropriate kind of improvement. If we don’t advocate for [a change] then we’re not going to have a seat at the table to make the right changes.

Q: Are there any initiatives that you would propose, or are being proposed, to lighten the financial burden on college students?

A: Each individual case [is different]. But, given the fact that each case is different, the basics are that we need to provide more financial assistance. Maybe renegotiate some of the outstanding debt. [The] debt is at an interest rate that is far too high. Maybe we need to cap off the debt payments at a certain number, as a percentage of income. Maybe we need to push that down to 10 percent or 5 percent [from 50 percent]. The [student loan system] is about trying to drive more dollars to [people] like yourself and other folks who are trying to pay off student loans, but we can’t do that without new money added into the mix.

Q: In order to do all this, would you advocate for a restructuring of the Pennsylvania budget?

A: Oh, absolutely.

Q: You gave us a lot of great information but I kept hearing political rhetoric about “the bad guys” but you’re also talking about getting involved and unity. Do you not see this as a contradiction?

A: No. I use the terms good guys and bad guys because it takes some of the pressure off the intensity of the conversation. The organizations who gathered here want [the political parties] to work together so they can be a stronger force in advocating for progressive policies when we have to sit at the negotiating table. What we see a lot of times is folks who are elected…say one thing to their constituents and [then] vote differently. And I find that very frustrating… We want everyone to work together from a position of knowledge and strength. And a lot of folks are operating grassroots organizations…and not with big time lobbyists. And that’s what this [forum] was about.

The Montgazette thanks Senator Hughes and his staff for their cooperation and information. To stay involved in your government and for more information about Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes, visit http://www.senatorhughes.com.

Hughes_250

Senator Vincent Hughes — Photo courtesy of senatorhughes.com

Read Full Post »

Sara Wilkerson
The Montgazette Co-Editor

Phi Theta Kappa is an international honors society dedicated to bettering society through Scholarship, Fellowship, Leadership and Service. Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) has two chapters at MCCC: Alpha Kappa Zeta (AKZ) for Central campus and Beta Tau Lamba (BTL) for West campus. Both PTK chapters held their bi-annual Induction Ceremonies in March to welcome the new members of PTK this spring.

PTK hosts over 700 chapters nationwide for two year college institutions and has a vast network of alumni groups at four year institutions. The society began as an effort to give opportunities for scholars that reach beyond academics and allow students to give back to their communities while helping them transfer into four year institutions.

In order to attain membership with Phi Theta Kappa, students must have a 3.5 GPA and maintain a 3.0 once inducted. In addition, students must have at least 12 credit hours towards an associate’s degree as well as receive an invitation from a PTK chapter. If students meet this criteria, there is a $65 one-time membership fee that must be paid and submitted with a PTK application. Upon acceptance, students have the option of attending a formal induction ceremony hosted by their PTK chapter, where they are inducted through verbal and written pledges in front of their peers and families.

Following inductions, newly inducted members join their fellow chapter members in monthly meetings that can determine their involvement. When describing the level of involvement in PTK, Alpha Kappa Zeta President Alison Giles stated, “… you get what you give. If you want opportunities for scholarships, volunteering, leadership roles, project development, and community engagement, you’ll find that in PTK. In my experience, these opportunities have led to even more opportunities, and my time at MCCC has come to be defined in large part by my involvement…”

Past projects between the two MCCC PTK chapters include AKZ’s 2015 Alternative Spring Break Project “Imagine No Homelessness” and BTL’s annual cleanups of the Schuylkill Riverfront Park.

Currently, AKZ’s efforts in participating in “honors in action” projects, along with their substantial membership roster, have made the chapter a notable five star chapter in the PTK organization. AKZ is working with Central campus’ tutoring center this semester to reform their services. According to Alison Giles, Alpha Kappa Zeta’s goal is to, “… get the word out that the tutors are here and are waiting, they’re available no matter what kind of schedule you have, and there’s no shame in seeking the help you need, especially if that’s all that is standing in the way of you reaching your goals.”

Despite being an international  honors society, Phi Theta Kappa makes differences locally through its chapters, with MCCC’s very own chapters making no exception.

For more information about MCCC’s PTK chapters, contact an advisor: The  Central Campus advisors are Catherine Parzynski (CParzyns@mc3.edu) and Cathy Hoult Shewring (CHoultSh@mc3. edu). The West Campus advisors are Georgette Howell (GHowell@mc3.edu) and Kevin Strunk (KStrunk@mc3.edu).

5_Yanisko_PTK Leadership Team_PTK

Alpha Kappa Zeta’s Leadership Team — Photo courtesy of Sandi Yanisko and Dan Hanson

4_Yanisko_PTK New Inductees_PTK

Congratulations to the new members of Alpha Kappa Zeta! — Photo courtesy of Sandi Yanisko and Dan Hanson

3_Yanisko_Keynote Speaker Sam Wallace_PTK

Samuel Wallace; Keynote Speaker — Photo courtesy of Sandi Yanisko and Dan Hanson

1_Yanisko_MCCC Pres. Kevin Pollock_PTK

Dr. Kevin Pollock; MCCC President — Photo courtesy of Sandi Yanisko and Dan Hanson

2_Yanisko_PTK Pres. Alison Giles_PTK

Alison Giles; Alpha Kappa Zeta President — Photo courtesy of Sandi Yanisko and Dan Hanson

Read Full Post »

Dominique Brown
The Montgazette Contributing Writer

Montgomery County Community College hosted its Spring Club Fair in Central Campus’ Parkhouse Hall.

Loud, crowded, and buzzing with energy; for any introvert or someone who suffers from anxiety, this is their worst nightmare. That was my first thought walking into this building. I used to stand in awe at how big the walkway use to be, how it was so spacious that I felt small in it. With the arrival of the Club Fair, the Hall never felt so small and tight, full of people, tables housing sweets, posters, and pamphlets to inform and promote the various clubs and activities. The atrium came alive in a terrifying new way that only the bravest of souls will survive. I wandered around and avoided eye contact at all costs trying to find just one table that didn’t seem completely intimidating.

As herds of college students young and old surrounded me, I began to lose myself in the bustle of a normal Wednesday afternoon combined with a social event that only happens once every semester. Finally, after bumping into a table and stumbling into strangers, I found an interesting small group talking quietly among themselves.

The poster said “Drama Club,” something that I will admit has been a past time for me, so with shaky legs and a rapid heartbeat, I cautiously approached the table, tensing up in preparation to be hounded, to take a pamphlet and sign my life away. The group smiled as they noticed me, warm and welcoming. I was approached by Jess Weligand, the Drama Club’s PR representative; she appeared shy, but I could tell she was putting forth an effort to be kind and helpful for her club. She asked me if I had ever been involved in theater before.

Photo 1 CF

Central Campus Club Fair — Photo by Dominique Brown

Of course I had, but I decided to see what kind of spiel she had in store. To my surprise, Jess began a simple conversation with me when she took note of my sweatshirt. We talked for some time about this and that finally, once we were both comfortable, I began to ask her  about the theater program and how the Drama Club is connected and works with the theater program.

Montco Drama Club has been around for only a short while but has put on over 40 plays!

Currently the Drama Club is preparing for their first ever short play festival, consisting of six different short plays directed by students. The theater program is behind the scenes, in a class offered to anyone but especially to theater majors in the Theater Production Workshop, or TPW, this is where the magic happens. The students build, light, design, and dress the set; along with making the costumes, managing stage sound and stage set the entire show! Everything you see is all by students; even the Drama Club helps out by raising the money for the productions and awareness that the play is happening. I was completely blown away by all that happens in such a small amount of time and that Jess Weligand, who was very much as timid and shy as myself, was here standing in front me telling all the amazing things she has accomplished with this club. As our conversation continued a new face joined us.

Kevin Sene is a small, high strung individual who can just melt your heart and instantly make you feel like his friend. He smiled a great big pearly white smile as he sashayed over eager to join the conversation. Jess introduced us and explained that the real reason she was so involved is because of Kevin. Kevin is more outgoing and free spirited than she. Everyone who meets Kevin instantly falls in love; he is a true leader and great friend.

After five minutes of chatting with him, I was shocked when I signed up to become more involved with the club. The Drama Club is a very inviting club, people of all sizes, shapes, and color come together and do something unique and creative that no other club does. They band together, get their hands dirty and produce plays for the whole community to enjoy. Everyone is very nice and encouraging, they are a team, even more so a family; they make sure they stress that there is no “drama” in the Drama Club. Everything down to what play they will do the following semester is all debated in a healthy discussion called “Reading Committee”, which meets every Monday at 4pm.

So, this introverted soul found a nice, peaceful table to hide out the storm of people and activities around her. I even made a few friends along the way. Club Fair actually wasn’t as terrifying as I originally thought. When you first enter the Fair, it seems to go on for miles, with all the bodies and tables that litter the walkway. It’s easy to feel small and lost in all the excitement. But as a great man once said “We have nothing to fear but fear itself!” so next Club Fair, I’ll be ready! With any luck I’ll be the one confidently approaching people asking if they have ever been involved in theater.

Montco Drama Club’s President Kevin Sene is the nicest most enthusiastic person I’ve ever met. He has a drive and a passion for theater that is unmatched by anyone!

The Drama Club meets every Wednesday 1pm -3pm. Feel free to stop by anytime for fun and games. All are welcome and all are encouraged to participate in upcoming events. See you there!

Kevin Sene Photo by Dominique Brown

Kevin Sene, Drama Club President — Photo by Dominique Brown

Photo 4 CF

Drama Club Table — Photo by Dominique Brown

Read Full Post »

Fritz Petty
The Montgazette Contributing Writer

The Club Fair, an event held in Central Campus Parkhouse Hall’s atrium, was on Feb. 8. Many clubs, such as the Japanese Club, Montco Radio and the Chess Club, demonstrated some new skills that could help prospective students in their future.

The Japanese Club’s table at the Spring 2017 Club Fair was filled with fancy foods, paintings, antiques and unique anime books. Japanese culture is known for its versatility with producing amazing items.

The sight drew me in so I became interested in the origins of Japanese Club. My attentiveness led me to talk with a couple of its founding members, Kim and Shirley. Kim started the Japanese Club because she wanted to share her passion with other students and expose others to it’s sophistication. Kim didn’t find a club that kept her attention, which led her to making her own club.

Shirley also had a similar passion for Japanese Culture. She explained to me that she learned the Japanese language and can speak it fluently. She immersed herself in the culture by staying in Japan for a couple of days. Her experiences in Japan pushed her to join the Japanese club.

Overall, student clubs have a way of bringing out the best of an individual, which allows the members involved to grow, meet new people and make connections. The Club Fair taught me to get out of my own comfort zone and to be active in the community. When the next Club Fair comes around, I will join a club of my choosing.

Read Full Post »

Sara won First Place in the Feature Story category 2017 Student Keystone Press Awards for her story Critically Acclaimed Author Jacqueline Woodson Visits Montco.

The Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association (PNA) Foundation sponsors this highly regarded writing competition among PA colleges and universities.

SaraWilkerson

Sara Wilkerson — Photo by Brittney Baldwin

Read Full Post »

Mary Haviland
The Montgazette Contributing Writer

Many people continue to purchase new clothes without remembering what they already have. Buying is actually more expensive and throwing away old clothes is more than just wasteful. There is a way to maintain frugality and avoid waste: secondhand clothing efforts.

The Environmental Sustainability Club (ECS) will be collecting new and gently used, and washed, clothes for a Clothing Swap up to and including, April 14. The “swap” will be held the same day as Central Campus’ Earth Day, April 19th, from 12:15PM to 1:15PM in the Quad. After the event, all remaining garments will be donated to the Green Drop, a charity that supports the Purple Heart, the American Red Cross, the National Federation of the Blind and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Philadelphia.

A clothing swap is a two-step process. The first part is a collection of clothing. This allows people to clear their closets of clothes that they do not wear anymore to lessen clutter and avoid creating more trash. The second step is the swap itself, which allows people to come and pick out any clothes that have been collected free of charge, effectively recycling the garments.

The purpose of this swap is to help bring awareness to the waste the fashion industry creates. Eileen Fisher, a fashion retailer with her own clothing line, has on several occasions admitted to the waste the industry creates, even from the production of her own clothes. She has spoken out about it on her Twitter account, and her admissions
and hope to change it have been quoted by many publications, including the article “The Fashion Industry Tries to Take Responsibility For Its Pollution” published in The Washington Post. This pollution is both from the consumption of resources to create the garments and the amount of clothes that ultimately find their way into landfills.

Looking at materials used to make clothes, cotton is one of the most popular, and the thirstiest. The World Wildlife Fund has estimated that it takes approximately 5,300 gallons of water to produce around two pounds of cotton, which makes only a single T-shirt and a pair of jeans. That could mean each person could easily be retaining 140,000 gallons of water within their weekly wardrobe.

Additionally, some people update their wardrobe seasonally, four times a year. Retailers promote “must-have” seasonal fashion items, an extremely wasteful concept which leads to landfills being flooded with out of season textiles that are still completely wearable. Those fashion followers could be wasting up to 560,000 gallons of water a year individually, and that is only assuming their wardrobe consists of just seven pairs of jeans and shirts.

The odd piece of new clothing here and there is alright, after all clothes sometimes wear out; but it is important to be cognizant of the forgotten clothes at home, the resources used to make them and where they will end up when they are discarded. Will they be tucked away, thrown away, or will they be given away?

ClothingSwap

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »