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Archive for the ‘Opinions/Editorials’ Category

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

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by Jack Wisniewski
The Montgazette Contributing Writer

Among the  Oscar Awards powerhouse and talk of the movie world  was “La La Land”, the latest critically acclaimed picture coming from young, yet established director, Damien Chazelle, who unsurprisingly won the coveted Achievement in Directing Academy Award. The film stars charming A-list actors Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone who encapsulate what it is to chase your dreams and live a wide-eyed life in the big city of Los Angeles.

Wonderful musical numbers throughout the movie show the feelings of these almost whimsical characters in a magical way as they fall in love while managing the chase for stardom. Kristen Walsh, a moviegoer, said, “ ‘La La Land’ is one of the best musical movies” she has ever seen.

The spontaneous songs and dances are the foundation for the film. The bright,  beautiful sets and production designs that earned the film an Oscar,  keeps  your eyes glued to the screen while songs of hope, love, and even disappointment fill your ears. The inspiring original score added another two Oscars to its collection. These elements of the film weave together perfectly to immerse you in the beauty and art on screen with a story that keeps you hooked.

Emma Stone, who plays the lead and half of the story’s love interest, pulled in her first Oscar win for Actress in a Leading Role by putting on a masterful performance as a down-on-her-luck aspiring  actress longing  to hit the big time. Emma Stone paired  well  with former Oscar nominee Ryan Gosling as they formed the relationship the story revolves around.

I found myself rooting for the blossoming couple through thick and thin throughout the whole film. These two were able to illicit connections with the audience  and anyone who has had or searched for love. Gosling’s talent on the piano and on the dance floor were impressive to say the least, while Stone showed acting range we have not seen from her in the past through her vocal cords and dancing prowess as well.

With so much going for “La La Land,” it was hard to find someone who did not like the film, but one moviegoer said that the theme of boy meets girl was not very original and that the musical numbers could have been more consistent throughout the movie.  Most moviegoers felt that the costume  design of bright dresses and dapper suits, combined with a throwback feel all set in present day L.A., create a totally unique film. The cinematography, which accepted the fourth of five Oscar wins, tells the story well through varied and innovative aesthetically pleasing visuals that help capture the emotions of the characters so that you, the audience, can interpret them accurately.

This film is fresh, entertaining, and inspiring. It deserves each Oscar nomination and win that it received. It was so good it was almost wrongly, but without question, accepted as the Best Picture winner during the infamous debacle at the Oscar Awards ceremony! I rate this film a strong 4 ¼ out of 5 stars.

lala land

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Erin Ilisco
Montgazette Contributing Writer

A march that began as one retired grandmother being stirred up about the newly elected president’s policies and controversial election campaign, turned out to be one of the most massive single-day demonstrations in recent memory. On January 21, The Women’s March on Washington drew a crowd estimated at over 500,000, with more than 600 worldwide sister marches altogether drawing an estimated 4.5 million marchers, according to The Washington Post. The demonstrators’ myriad signs revealed the numerous issues they were significantly concerned about. Organizers and celebrities mentioned many of these issues in the speeches that they gave before the actual march commenced. Numerous topics were talked about, including climate change, clean water, immigration, pay equality, affordable healthcare, LGBTQ rights and pipeline construction.
Nearly everyone there wanted more than just a conversation with a ubiquitous message. They wanted everyone to be steadfast in not allowing the extraordinary feelings of unity and solidarity to be all that the day was about. Rather, to be constantly moving forward in the pursuit of sustaining the freedoms and rights that they so deeply cherish.
Kathy Daidone, from Feasterville, Pennsylvania, was extremely worried about the possible defunding of Planned Parenthood. As a long-time healthcare professional, Daidone was aware of the tremendous importance of continued funding for the non-profit, reproductive health services organization. Countless men and women have told her how they rely on their local Planned Parenthood for low-cost healthcare services, including life-saving cancer screenings, that they would otherwise not be able to afford.
There were few, if any, harsh or inciting words to be heard and there were no arrests. The awe-inspiring unity that was so incredibly palpable, regardless of gender, age, race or political leanings, ultimately defined the entire day. The underlying factor that brought each person together at the march was the unshakable fear that a number of human and civil rights may be in danger.

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Photo by Erin Ilisco

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Photo by Erin Ilisco

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Photos by Erin Illisco

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Anthony Aquino, Jr.
Montgazette Contributing Writer

At the start of the semester, many students may recall that pipe bombs were found at New Jersey Transit’s Elizabeth Station. A bomb-disarming robot was the only reported casualty thanks to an anonymous tip. Authorities have since arrested the man responsible.  The incident caused me to reflect on local safety concerns here at the college and beyond.

Nearly a month after the incident, I boarded a train passing through Elizabeth to gather opinions on public transportation security.

I started at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. My frustration began when authorities refused to give personal opinions on the matter. They did, however, refer me to a website with “answers to all my questions”.

My next stop was Trenton Transit Center, where I was unable to record an authority’s opinion, yet again, due to “protocol.”

My final stop was Penn Station in New York. There, the officers stated that they were not allowed to give personal opinions or reveal new security measures taken since the pipe bombs had been found.

Although many officers told me that they wished they could help with my story, their unified silence speaks volumes for the quality of security provided for commuters.

I talked to some commuters like Dan Caster, a retired engineer, who was on his way back to Delaware after accompanying a friend to the airport. Speaking on behalf of the occasional traveler, he said, “I still feel safe because there are so few instances compared to the number of people that travel. The bomb-sniffing dogs I’ve seen at the larger train stations make me feel safer too.”

Julie Drago, a student at New York University, travels frequently via public transportation doesn’t think that a police presence is enough. “I feel relatively safe, but I feel as if there should be more encouragement to speak up if something or someone seems out of place. Not only should there be more encouragement, but it should be easier to do so.”

Essentially, events like what happened at Elizabeth Train Station appear to have heightened a public awareness of terrorism. The Department of Homeland Security’s campaign, “See Something, Say Something,” could have stopped an attack at Elizabeth along with attacks in the future.

Montco’s Director of Campus Safety, Joe McGuriman, noted students should feel safe on campus because, “The College Public Safety Department consists of well -trained security officers, some of whom have a lifetime of police experience.”

However, McGuriman encourages students to say something as well. “Students should report threats that they hear or see on social media. Students should make use of, and encourage friends to make use of, College Counseling services or the Student Support and Referral Team if they are in crisis or in need of mental health assistance. Students should report all criminal activity they see or know about to Public Safety or the police.”

If you spot an  emergency on campus, call 911 then dial 6666 from a college phone or inform college staff or a campus safety officer.

 

commuter-train-passenger

Photo by Anthony Aquino, Jr.: New York University student, Julie Drago, stands in a New York terminal as she waits to continue her journey.

 

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David Aston
Montgazette Editor-In-Chief

My 20-year-old sister who has Down Syndrome asked me just after this year’s historic American presidential election, “Is everything okay at community college?” After choking back tears as I looked at her troubled face, I meekly answered, “Yes.” And because I attend Montgomery County Community College, the answer was genuine.

Her child-like question came from watching the angry and sometimes violent protests that resulted from New York businessman Donald Trump’s presidential win. Many of those protests occurred on or near college campuses.

Demonstrations in Oakland, CA and Portland, OR, places where Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton won by large percentages, turned violent. These actions as Tony Maalouf, a Political Science instructor at Montco, said, “[Were] expected out of Donald Trump supporters if he lost. Instead, we’re seeing it from Trump opponents.”

None of this outrageous activity has yet to happen on Montco’s campuses. It’s not likely to happen, either. The college’s Student Code of Conduct is perfectly clear. “[Students] shall not interfere with or disrupt the orderly educational processes of Montgomery County Community College.”

Montco, however, adds one extra crucial step. “Students are expected to treat all members of the College community with dignity, respect, fairness and civility and to behave in a responsible manner at all times both in and outside of the classroom.”

This is a critical addition to any student code of conduct. Rather than just caring about what happens on campus, students are encouraged and empowered to emulate this behavior everywhere. Unlike Montco, many of the major universities in the areas of the more disruptive protests have Student Codes of Conduct that don’t encourage civil or respectful behavior in the surrounding community. One particularly famous California university’s Code governs a student’s conduct only at events and locations funded by the university.

Respect for all opinions both on campus and off is essential not just for being good people but for becoming the world’s next generation of nurses, doctors, engineers, musicians, police or any other profession, including, say, President of the United States. Aside from a lack of respect and civility, many seem to ignore how historic this election was.

Not since Wendell Wilkie opposed Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940 has a major party candidate without previous political or military experience run for, much less won, the highest office in our country. Although there have been many hotly contested presidential elections and anger-filled demonstrations in their wake, something’s different this time around. It isn’t just some people’s need to polarize or that others are feeling like their votes were “stolen” by a “rigged system” that makes it feel different.

Professor Maalouf found a difference for me. “His win is remarkable in part because this was Donald Trump’s first and only campaign. We all underestimated him.”

We also seem to have underestimated the lack of respect some are willing to show just because events didn’t go their way. College students should never underestimate their power for influence. After all, their behavior is influencing my sister’s very impressionable mind. I think it’s high time we take Professor Maalouf’s advice that President-Elect Trump took and tell the disruptive protestors, “Guys, knock it off.”

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Cameron Dushanko
Montgazette Contributing Writer

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year and a half, you know that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were fighting for the presidency of the United States of the United States. But how do the Millennial students of Montgomery County Community College feel about this election and the country that nominated these two divisive candidates?

I decided the best way was to take a survey of Montco students. My questions centered around how the country has improved in this century and how Millennials feel about the results of this year’s presidential election. Out of the 25 individuals I surveyed, I found that their answers mimic those of many recent news agency polls.

The majority of the participants felt that the country has improved since the year 2000 but a sizable 40 percent disagreed. However, when I asked them if they felt this year’s candidates support the middle class, about half said “yes” and just over half said “no.”

When it came to their of the future, 56 percent said they feel that the country will improve in the next four to eight years. The rest said things would either stay the same or get worse.

Reactions to the primaries were shocking. An astounding 58 percent were scared about the outcome of the primary election and a slim 3 percent expressed optimism. Another surprise twist was that nearly a third were disappointed about the primaries’ outcomes.

Figures, of course, don’t tell the whole story. One student who wished to remain anonymous put it best. “We really need to focus on improving morale, living situations and corporate layover, [these things have] made the American dream so endlessly bleak.”

I don’t share this view. I believe that our country has stayed stable since the beginning of this century. But I fear that the presidential candidates are not showing that they are fighting for anyone but themselves. Unless their rhetoric changes, I will continue feeling like nothing has changed.

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