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Archive for June, 2017

From the Editor

Sara Wilkerson
The Montgazette Editor-in-Chief

Journalism is not dead.

Despite the rising political tides in our nation today, traditional journalism is not dead. Rather, the reputation of journalism has been tarnished.

What has tarnished the reputation you ask?

Let’s begin with the fact that the arrival of the internet has made clickbait, tabloids, you name it, rise into prominence. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter make it easy to pass off any headline as an actual news story, even when it is just a fake news story published by media organizations to make headlines and to make a quick buck. For these reasons and more, fake news has now become a new norm.

In all honesty, I find these trends to be dismaying as a journalist. And as your new Editor-in-Chief of The Montgazette¸ I vow to disprove the belief that journalism is dead through original storytelling in this publication. Which leads me to say…

Hello there! I am Sara Wilkerson and as your new Editor, I vow to not only prove that journalism is alive and well, but I intend to do so by having you, the students of MCCC, have your voices and your storytelling be heard through this publication.

My predecessor, David Aston, made it the paper’s mission to have the voices of Montgomery County Community College be heard. I intend to carry out the same mission. Therefore, I’d like to make an invitation.

I want to invite you, the students of MCCC, to have your voices be heard through The Montgazette. Any story that you want to tell, whether that’s through news stories about events happening on campus, to essays that you write for any of your classes, to opinion editorials on what interests you, I want you to have your voices be heard. I am open to any and all stories that are submitted to The Montgazette via our email submission box: montgazette@gmail.com.

I believe that through these stories, we as a team will be able to prove that traditional journalism is indeed thriving, not dying, in today’s ever changing society. The only way we as a student body can do this, however, is through original storytelling.

With that being said, what you say, students of MCCC?

Let’s prove to the naysayers and the critics that they are wrong; that journalism is indeed alive, that journalism does indeed exist, that journalism does have a place in a changing society such as ours.

Let’s prove that storytelling matters, together.

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Sara Wilkerson, David Aston, Justin Oakes, and Emily Shim
The Montgazette Staff

“I pray that you have integrity and print the answers as I wrote them.” These were the words of shady Texas businessman turned Philadelphia-based “You’re going to Hell” Pastor Aden Rusfeldt who demonstrated on the Quad of Montgomery County Community College’s Central Campus on May 2.  According to a press release from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the pastor has a 10-year history of fraudulent business practices and fake businesses that forced the U.S. CFTC to levy a $3.2 million judgment against him in September 2016.  Since then, he and his supporters have broadcasted a message of what many Philadelphia area colleges have called hate speech. This was Rustfeldt’s first visit to Montco.

In his book, “Open Air Fire: Principles of Open Air Outreach,”  Rusfeldt  outlines his reasons for preaching the way he does. Rusfeldt writes, “I love to ask people, ‘How loving is God that He makes a specific list you can read of sins that will keep you out of heaven? That is how much God loves you.”

Rusfeldt said that his demonstration at Montco was against sin, “Because sinning hurts people.”  His supporters held up signs that reflected his “specific list” of people “going to Hell.” These sinners on a particular banner, according to student eyewitness Mara  Witsen  included, “Homo[sexuals], Muslims, Cow worshippers… Racists [specifically] the KKK and Black Lives Matter, Money Lovers, Mama’s Boys, Witches, Gamers, Cutters, Brats, Emos, Rebellious Women, Punks, Liars, Sissies, the Pope, Party Animals, Gangster Rappers, Rock-and-Roll Freaks, So-Called Christians…” And the list went on.

“They’ve got a right to say what they want to say. But, I mean, at the same time I think it goes against what they were trying to say, because, I mean… Jesus also said ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ That’s not what they were doing,” Ethan Harris, who also witnessed the demonstration event, said.

The signs and shouting drew in a crowd of dozens of Montco students who kept their distance and later drowned out the preaching with music and heckling.

“I’ll be honest with you, [I’ve been] here almost 20 years, I don’t remember anything like that before,”  Montco’s  Senior Producer and Technical Services Supervisor Matt Porter said of the demonstration. “They have a right to be here. Let them have their [say] but let it be known [the students] didn’t necessarily agree. And I think I was proud of our students for keeping it peaceful, but voicing their opinion loud and clear that this was not necessarily the opinion that they agreed with.” Harris added, “I think it was a positive experience in that it united a lot of people in the college setting. Which with community college it’s harder to do that than per se a four-year [college].”

Rusfeldt’s group’s hate speech-laden preaching didn’t last long. They still shouted at the students as they left Campus at their own will, with an escort from Montco’s Public Safety Team at 2:45 p.m.

The question remains, however, will a preacher with little business integrity and a long list of his own sins return to Montco?

Brittney Baldwin_Protester Sign

Pastor Aden Rusfeldt and his group hold protest banners for MCCC students and faculty to read as they preached for several hours on Central Campus. Photo courtesy of Brittney Baldwin

 

 

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Sara Wilkerson
The Montgazette Editor-in-Chief

During the spring semester, members of Montgomery County Community College’s Central Campus Honors Club participated in a campuswide garbage audit service project that involved collecting and sorting trash from Parkhouse Hall, the Advanced Technology Center, the Science Center and College Hall to determine how much the College’s students and faculty are not recycling on a given day. The results of the audit, which were revealed to the student body during Central Campus’ Earth Day, show that on a given day, 46% of the trash collected in the audit could’ve been recycled.

Preparations of the garbage audit service project were made weeks prior to the audit day to ensure that participating members of the project knew the basics of how to conduct a trash audit to what materials are and are not recyclable. The preparations involved attending group discussion meetings and presentations, gathering supplies, and creating data charts and layout collection plans of the sampled buildings.

On the morning of the audit day, from 9 to 11:30, Honors Club members split into teams to collect trash from public areas, open classrooms and offices of the sampled Central Campus buildings. Following a brief break after the trash collection, from 12 to 3pm, the members piled and sorted through all the collected trash on a tarp in the Campus’ Quad for the college public to see the audit take place. The sorting of the trash itself was organized into categorized buckets; categories included but were not limited to: “Trash: Food Waste”, “Trash: Dirty Paper”, “Recyclables: Plastics” and “Recyclables: Electronics”.

When asked about what she found interesting about the trash audit, Dr. O’Brien, the faculty advisor of the project, replied, “I was surprised to find a cache of AAA batteries in the trash from the Science Center, as well as the large amount of plastic in [the building’s] trash. I was also surprised at how much food waste is in our garbage, and we didn’t even collect garbage from the cafeteria or the various cafes on campus.”

The importance of the audit, despite its challenges that it presented to the Honors Club group, was not lost amongst its participating members.

When asked about why she personally wanted to conduct this trash audit on campus, Kaitlyn Aston, one of the many volunteers in the project, stated, “I think it’s really beneficial to get a start on showing others how important it is
to recycle because being able to recycle things helps us to [reuse] more so we use less trash… It’s helping our environment as a whole, even further down the road, and we’re not only impacting the people today, but also the next generation on. ”

The Honors Club wishes to thank those who have helped make this service project possible, including but not limited to Montgomery County’s Recycling Coordinator, Veronica Harris, Biology professor Jerry Coleman, the Supervisor of Custodial Operations at the College, Steve Choyce, the Honors Program Coordinator, Dr. Sam Wallace and Dr. Lynn O’Brien, the faculty advisor of the project.

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Honors student volunteers sort through collected trash from Central Campus buildings. Photo by Erin Ilisco

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Honors student volunteers collect trash for sorting. Photo by Erin Ilisco

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MCCC student volunteers weigh buckets of sorted trash. Photo by Erin Ilisco

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Results from the audit conclude that 46% – nearly half of the trash sorted on the audit day – should’ve been recycled. To combat this issue, the Honors Club encourages the College comm to recycle as often as possible! Photo by Erin Ilisco

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David Aston & Sean Laughlin
The Montgazette Staff

In 1964, Montgomery County Community College started small. What would later become a gold mine of learning and an award-winning college with more than 190 fulltime faculty members teaching thousands of students began with only 17 driven, student-focused teachers. Retired physics professor Alec Goldberg is one of them.

Goldberg, now 93, remembers those early years vividly. “Those were tough days,” he says. He remembers the offices being held in a Conshohocken funeral parlor. Alec remembers more distressingly how many college teachers by 1968 seemed more interested in the how much they made instead of being interested in teaching. A fact a New York Times syndicated analysis published that same year picked up on.

David Selden, the president of the American Federation of teachers at the time, called for, a nationwide strike “to bring about the vast improvement in schools that we need.” The analysis also noted that the Philadelphia area was one of the major “hot spots” of the teacher strikes because classrooms were overcrowded and the “remoteness from policy making in the school system and a sense of repression from telling the public about their working conditions.”

Instead of joining the strikes, Alec Goldberg focused on helping his students succeed and feel at ease. He began every semester by telling his students, “Look, I know what it is, physics can be hard.” This simple statement made many students taking his class less anxious.

This attitude is what landed Goldberg the job in the first place. Dr. Leroy Brendlinger, the College’s first president, called up Goldberg after hearing of his student-focused attitude and his credentials that took him from the Franklin Institute to Rider College (now a university) to the Frankford Arsenal. With his Master’s Degree in physics from USC, Goldberg began a legacy that is still fresh 17 years after his retirement.

Now residing in Elkins Park, Alec Goldberg looks on his past fondly and knows what it takes for students to succeed. “Find the good teacher, that’s [the] important part.”

To the teachers here at the College he says, “You have to have knowledge of the subject. You have to be able to show enthusiasm. Otherwise, you’re not going to transmit your knowledge to the students. You also have to let go, have fun with the students.”

More than a half-century later, we keep finding nuggets of Alec Goldberg’s attitude and focus in the faculty that are here today. His dedicated focus on his students is part of what helps make Montgomery County Community College the great school it is today. To which we, the students who cherish that legacy, say: Thank you Mr. Goldberg.

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Sara Wilkerson
The Montgazette Editor-in-Chief

Commencement is upon us. It is that time of year where soon-to-be grads are cramming for finals, solidifying their plans on transferring to four year institutions, and saying farewell to their fellow classmates as they move forward in their academic endeavors. This issue, The Montgazette would like to shine a spotlight on one of the many graduates graduating on May 18th, 2017, and this graduate is our outgoing Editor-in-Chief, David Aston.

Aston’s journey at Montgomery County Community College started all the way back in 1996 when he was taking college credit courses while still in high school. Taking these college credits proved challenging, considering Aston had failed his junior year english class yet was taking English Composition 101 on Tuesday nights for three hours here at the College as a senior. With the help of the College’s professors, Aston managed to not only graduate high school but also further his education by taking a creative writing course in 2000.

Despite his initial success at the start of his college career, Aston’s personal life began to interfere with his studies. In the middle of his first semester, Aston lost the full time job he had and ended up moving to Lafayette Hill with his family. The sudden shift in his personal life caused Aston to not return to the College for over a decade as his concerns were focused primarily on supporting himself and his family.

Aston did not want to settle for the life that he had, which is why he came back to Montgomery County Community College as a digital audio major. Aston is grateful for his time at the College, stating, “This is the place where you achieve your dreams… it is where you have the freedom to be who you are without the pressures of having it forced upon you what somebody else wants you to be. You have the freedom, you have that openness. Grasp that, and God can’t stop you. And you become better because of it.”

With the support of many individuals on campus, including but not limiting to professors Gail Ramsey, Jerry Collom, Allan Schear, Jeff Asch, Stan Feingold, Matt Porter, David Ivory as well as former College President Karen Stout, Aston was able to complete his studies and find his passion. Aston claims that the professors at the College, “…find the importance and value in you and make you realize that you matter to yourself, if to no one else.”

Through the many obstacles that Aston has faced over his time in college, from dealing with age differences, adjusting to his editorial position of The Montgazette, and being a part time student while balancing his full time job, family and school life, Aston has remained optimistic and passionate about his future as he transfers to West Chester University in the fall as a communications major.

Based on his experiences over the past two decades, David Aston has proven that second chances do exist, as long as one believes in themselves. This is why Aston’s advice to readers that when it comes to self doubt, one should not let doubt cloud their ambitions. “Put the worries away, just do it. The worries will be there, they’re not going to go away… but if you focus on the worry, you won’t get anything done. Take it from someone who let the worry drag him down for 15 years. Don’t do it.”

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David Aston; 2017 Graduate Photo by Erin Ilisco

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Rahul Thevar
The Montgazette Contributor

Montgomery County Community College will have a new course at West Campus. The course was created by Professor Susan Buchler and Veterans Resource Specialist Denise Williams. The course is English 265 and it is a Creative Writing class specifically for veterans. It will be available in the alternating Monday nights in the fall, starting on Sept. 11, 2017 for those of all military experience.

When asked for comment on the newly created course, Denise Williams stated, “Montgomery County Community College has [a] large veteran population. Professor Buchler and I felt there was a need for a course where it [was] tailored to the veteran population where they can talk with others that share similar experiences. Several Vietnam vets live in the Pottstown area. English 265 is a pilot program that will hopefully aid in instilling a sense of pride and satisfaction in past military experiences, encourage camaraderie, and encourage creative thinking.”

Professor Buchler also commented on the English 265 course by stating, “If the course is successful, the college may consider offering it at the Blue Bell Campus. I love to read and write. I think writing is cathartic… like a balm to the spirit. It is my hope that veterans who register for this class will be encouraged to tell stories that they haven’t told, sing songs in writing that they have not sang, and create wonderful tapestries that they haven’t yet created.”

Any Veterans interested in taking English 265 in Fall 2017, contact Denise Williams at the Veterans’ Resource Center by phone: 610-7181839 or by email: dwilliams@mc3.edu for more information and to enroll.

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Veteran’s Resource Center on Central Campus. Visit the Center to find more information about ENG 265! Photo by Brittany Baldwin

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Christian Knaub
The Montgazette Contributor

What is the first thought that pops into your head when you think of Career Services? It might be that they are targeting the graduates with helping them find jobs and to figure out their next steps in their journey. Whether you have visited Career Services, given it little thought, or this is the first time you have heard of Career Services, here are some reasons to explore their assistance.

Career Services is for the graduate by helping in job searches, mock job interviews, resumes and cover letters. But many do not realize Career Services does much more than just for the graduate, it is also for the first semester student planning their career path.

Nickolas Lantz, the Director of Career Services, has said that Career Services has been labeled as the place for graduates and alumni, but is being missed as a place for any student. Lantz
wants to break that stereotype by promoting what Career Services can offer students who are still exploring their options for the future, as well as students who are looking for a second opinion in their decision-making process.

What Career Services offers for students and alumni is MyCareerPlan, which helps with narrowing down a career path for students and career coaching, which according to their page on the College’s website, “help[s] in selecting a career path, clarifies job hunting and getting help with the job search process .” Career Services also offers workshops and special events on topics like resume writing, having a successful job interview, cover letter writing, and much more. They also offer on-campus job recruiting, they help students find internships in their field of study, as well as offering online resources such as Skype job appointments, PA JobGetaway, College Central Network, and with finding job listings. Jason Kidwell, a student at Montgomery County Community College, noted that Career Services came and “gave a speech on resume writing in [my] exercise science class, which was cool [and] very helpful.”

Career Services is a great tool for students and Alumni alike. Whether you are looking for help in finding the right career path, internship, or are preparing for your job interview, Career Services can help with guiding and supporting you in your walk to success.

To get in touch with Career Services on Central Campus, visit College Hall, 2nd floor or call 215-641-6577. On West campus, visit the Student Success Center in South Hall or call 610-718-1906. Both locations can be emailed at careerservices@mc3.edu.

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