Benefits of Organic Foods


Healthy eating is an important part of every day life. Organic foods play a valuable role in healthy eating, but it’s not always easy to tell what is organic and what is not. Here are some tips on how to know your organic foods from your processed foods.

Shopping lists shouldn’t be missed

When you go out grocery shopping, make a list of foods that you need. With a grocery list in hand, you will do less time wandering and grabbing foods you want and more time getting what you need.

When you get to the grocery store, ask an employee where the organic fruits and vegetables are located. It is best to grab organic fruits and vegetables because they contain fewer pesticides, they are often fresher than other fruits and vegetables and are not genetically modified organisms (non-GMOs), according to the Understanding the Benefits of Organic Food and What the Different Labels Really Mean article on

When shopping for meats, make sure you read the labels carefully. According to, organic meats should have the following characteristics:

  • raised on certified organic land
  • fed certified organic feed
  • no antibiotics or added growth hormones
  • free range (outdoor access) also suggests to check out the USDA ( website for details about the National Organic Program and access to the organic regulations.


“Only foods that are 95 to 100 percent organic (and GMO-free) can use the USDA Organic label,” according to the article.

Don’t be annoyed, just avoid

Try avoiding snack food and soda aisles in the grocery store; that way, you won’t be tempted to buy any unwanted snacks. When considering “snack” foods, avoid the snacks listed below:

  • fruit and vegetable juices
  • canned fruits with heavy syrup
  • fruit snacks and fruit roll ups
  • vegetable or potato chips
  • salted or seasoned nuts
  • ice cream bars
  • sweetened yogurts or parfaits

Processed foods, like those listed above, are bad for your health and contain many chemicals that can cause health problems, such as cancer. One of the best rules to follow is, “If you can’t read it, don’t eat it.”

By following the guidelines above, you can lead a healthy, organic lifestyle.

Having a fling in the spring

Having a fling in the spring


It’s the last semester until summer, and it’s a beautiful time to be alive! The birds are chirping and the weather is warming up. That also means the annual Cumberland County College Spring Fling is upon us!

Every spring semester, CCC hosts a campus-wide Spring Fling event for all students to enjoy. Each year, the Spring Fling has a new theme. This year, the theme will focus on ancient civilizations.The yearly celebration includes a bunch of fun features, such as a moon bounce and activities that accompany the theme. Some of the features included are dancing, karaoke and caricature artists.

The Spring Fling is an opportunity for students to get away from the stress of finals. This is the time for students to relax and have fun. The ancient civilization theme is a unique and amusing idea that breathes excitement into the Spring Fling. Thanks to Kellie Slade, Jean Erwin and other staff members, students are able to enjoy cool refreshments and energetic activities.

To get attendance rolling, the first 200 students who show a valid student ID will receive a free lunch. The lunch includes assorted cold subs and chips with a drink.

The Spring Fling kicks off on April 27 on the grounds of the Student Center. The event runs from 11:30am to 2:30pm so make sure you come check it out. This is an event that you don’t want to miss.

H2O on the go: Filling up your cup


In case you haven’t heard, “2nd Nature”, the environmental club at Cumberland County College since 2012, has big goals for the future. The club members conjured the name “2nd Nature”, because they want environmentalism to become second nature to students on campus and everybody else in the community.  Through their work, they want to educate Cumberland as a whole on ways to help better the environment.

One of their most exciting goals is to buy retrofitted water bottle refilling stations that can be placed near our water fountains on campus. According to Club President, Cristina Crispin, “’Retrofitted water bottle refilling station’ is just a fancy way of saying a water fountain of filtered water that can fill water bottles more easily. We’re hoping this will lessen the consumption of disposable water bottles- and encourage people to use a reusable water bottle. Reusable water bottles both help the environment and save you money!” Also, many universities have recently been installing water bottle refilling stations.

At the recent “Pizza with the President” event, it was asked if installing water bottle refilling stations on campus could be taken into consideration. College President, Thomas Isekenegbe explained that he could see this happening in the future, after the prices of the systems themselves go down. Of course, 2nd Nature has been fundraising, in hopes to purchase one on their own. According to club advisor, Melissa Young, they have already raised half of the money it takes to purchase one.

Using a refillable water bottle is better for the environment, because so many disposable water bottles simply get thrown out. According to the EPA, in 2012, only nine percent of the plastic waste generated was actually recycled. Not only do water bottle refilling stations help the environment, they also save you money. Refilling a bottle is a lot cheaper than constantly buying a new one. According to Julianne Woodson, at George Mason University, “If you were to replace 200 bottles of water a year with free refillable water, it would amount to an annual savings of $300!” Water bottle refilling stations are also thoroughly filtered, so it’s safe to drink too.

Emily Velez, 2nd Nature’s Secretary, says “I think it’s (water bottle refilling stations) important because it’s healthier for everyone and will help cut down the amount of water bottles that don’t get recycled.”

2nd Nature is always in need of more members and volunteers. If you’re interested in getting involved, don’t hesitate to go to a meeting – every Monday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in room U112 (University Building). Again, Professor Melissa Young is the club advisor, and you can contact the President of the Club, Christina Crispin at to join the emailing list. You can also like their Facebook page, 2nd Nature to stay up to date with events. Other officers of the club are Sabrina Schroer, as Treasurer, and the spot of the Vice President is currently open, so if you’re interested in a leadership position, come on out!

CCCs Poetry Slam: #getslammed with us


Listen up ladies and gentlemen; it is the time of year again when getting slammed at Cumberland County College is acceptable! Our annual poetry slam, #GetSlammed, is happening on May 4 at 7pm in the Luciano Theatre inside the Guaracini Fine & Performing Arts Center. The event is free, but donations are accepted. According to CCC’s website,, all donations will benefit the Media Communications Scholarship Fund and allow students to have the opportunity to further their education in the communications field.

If you think that the slam is made strictly for people who are poetically inclined than you’re wrong.  The slam is for anyone who revels in expressing thoughts, discussing major life themes, and listening to others do the same. Poetry slams take note from hip-hop culture wherein the poems are performed similarly to the way a musical artist would rap sans music. It is an expansive way to experience poetry; poetry slams broaden the spectrum to invite a whole new group of people into its midst.

#GetSlammed has been taking place during the spring semester for the past three years. The event was co-founded by Daniel Carter, CCC graduate, and Renee Post, professor and advisor, whose goal was to create a safe place for students to have a positive outlet. Three years ago, Carter took Post’s Effective Speech class where he performed a poem of his own. After hearing his poem, Post approached him with praise for the artistic medium. With Carter’s idea and Post’s ability to make it happen, Get Slammed was born. Now that’s poetry in motion.

Though he graduated CCC this past spring, Carter has no intentions of relinquishing the slam from his life. He will not only be in attendance, but also performing in this year’s slam. When asked what poetry does for him, Carter shared that he always loved stories. He stated, “Slam poetry opens an outlet to share stories in a creative art form.” He believes slam poetry propels typical written poetry into a different game.  Carter went on to say, “Slam poetry makes poetry more accessible over written word. Drawing inspiration from hip-hop, it deters but also builds a bridge connecting both the older and newer generations of poets.” When asked how long he plans to stay involved with #GetSlammed, Carter smiles, “I will be performing in the poetry slam as long as they keep inviting me back.”

If anyone is interested in performing in the poetry slam, have no fear. Anyone can perform and there’s no audition. It is an open-mic event with no judges and unlike a majority of well-known poetry slams, it is not a contest. Professor Post finds this type of environment beneficial to the students. When asked how she thought the poetry slam aids the students, Post said, “I think it showcases the artists’ talents in writing and performing. Most of the work is original content so it’s exciting to provide a place where these artists can express their emotions.”

Post produces the poetry slam as the Media Club advisor. In describing how she is involved in running the event she shared, “The Media Club sponsors the event and my interns help me produce it. This year, my interns are Josh Carll and Georgia Salvaryn. I provide guidance for the event. My public relations and special events classes also help promote and implement the show as part of their hands-on learning.” Though Post handles the publicity and final decision-making, it is a team effort of how she, along with the poets, wants to showcase the event and make it new and groundbreaking each year. If you are interested in performing or volunteering, contact Professor Post at

Are you anti-college?


Staff Writer

The notion that traditional college is not for everyone is rapidly becoming part of mainstream society, but what about the idea of an anti-college? Anti-college is the opposite of traditional schooling, yet still higher education nonetheless. There are many people who believe this type of schooling is more beneficial for prospective students, but due to the short amount of time anti-schooling has been in effect, it is hard to know whether or not it truly is a better way to handle education.

In 2012, the Make School was founded on the idea of allowing students to learn and create without the pressure of grades and tuition fees. The only one of its kind, Make School has become a prototype of experiential learning with eyes heavily watching to see whether it will succeed or flounder.

Advocates for Make School and budding replications include the founders of PayPal, Virgin Airlines, and EBay. These are all people who didn’t go to college, or they themselves have dropped out. CCC’s Professor Kevin McGarvey thinks that these founders and geniuses like them are more readily available to support nontraditional ventures like Make School seeing as they flourished in this type of environment and felt that they didn’t need college.

Make School was co-founded by Jeremy Rossman and Ashu Desai. According to, Rossman and Desai were high school friends who, after each spending a year at MIT and UCLA, respectively, decided to take a semester off and explore the process of creating mobile apps. Rossman describes Make School as “a college replacement for founders and developers.” reports they only have 50 spots to offer to prospective students each two-year program. There is only a 10 percent acceptance rate, but Make School is not for every major. The school specifically teaches classes in software engineering and computer sciences. According to McGarvey, “Make School is for people who are already at the top of their game. There are thousands of students who need the guidance a professor provides to point them in the right direction. Most people don’t just “know” these things; they have to be learned.”

What prospective students find so alluring is that Make School requires no upfront tuition. In a year where student loan debt is at 1.2 trillion in America ( and the cost of tuition is at an all-time high, people are desperate to keep themselves out of monstrous debt. It is not until after graduating from Make School and acquiring a “career” that you are required to begin paying for your schooling. No official tuition rate has been released, but as stated on, students will pay 25% of their salary each year until the cost is covered.

Make School gives no grades. There are no tests or homework. Rather, they focus on project-based learning. Depending on the rapid advances in the technological world, students learn based on what is happening right now. In an interview with Seeker Stories, a YouTube channel that produces short documentaries, Rossman described their core philosophy: “…if you teach the same thing two years in a row, it has got to be wrong because computer science as a field and software engineering as a discipline are moving so fast.”

This new twist on education has raised the bar for effective learning, but McGarvey thinks colleges have nothing to fear. “Don’t count colleges out yet. Students learn to think critically; they discover ideas and concepts that hadn’t occurred to them before. They become individuals who can make rational decisions and think for themselves. For so many, college is a rite of passage into adulthood.”

There is no one right way for a person to learn, similar to the question students ask themselves, “Am I a visual learner? Auditory? Kinesthetic?” McGarvey stated, “The best and brightest rise to the top regardless. But that’s a small number of gifted people. Most of the rest need a push, a nudge in the right direction, some moral support when things become overwhelming. Those are some of the things a college like Cumberland does best.” And it’s true. The best type of schooling for an individual is based solely on said individual’s personality.

Make School offers students another alternative to traditional school. With diverse types of schooling popping up like this, it is clear to see that people are taking school seriously; something that can only cause our country to progress more rapidly.

Riker’s Island: Gaining freedom through self-expression


Staff Writer

Riker’s Island is most known for being New York’s main jail complex and one of the world’s largest correctional institutions., a nonprofit news outlet, reports it as being one of America’s top ten worst prisons, but now, Riker’s Island is getting attention set in a whole new light. According to an interview with The New York Times, Miles Hodges, a spoken word poet and ambassador for the New York Public Library, has been developing a spoken word program at Riker’s over the past few months.

Hodges is currently working on two programs. The first being a spoken-word writing workshop for young women in their late teens and early twenties located in the Rose M. Singer Center, one of Riker’s nine functioning jails. The latter being performing his own hard hitting poems to inmates of the Eric M. Taylor Center, a male only jail.

You might be wondering what Hodges was thinking when implicating these workshops into the Riker’s Island culture, and it’s safe to say the inmates were too. After the initial indifference and lack of desire to attend, the male inmates were left with a new appreciation for the artistic medium.

Before beginning Hodges told inmates, “I’m a firm believer in the power of storytelling. I believe in its ability to change people’s minds. And I believe in being honest and speaking from a true and honest place.” Hodges’ goal in partnering with the New York Public Library is to create programs that entice the millennial generation to find and cultivate their voice in the form of creative outlet.

In an interview afterwards with The New York Times, Anthony Hernandez, an inmate serving several months for drug possession, said he had been reluctant to attend the program; he had expected it to be boring and stodgy. But he concluded, ‘It hit more like where you are from, a more different poetry.’”

At this specific visit that Hernandez attended, Hodges performed “Harlem,” arguably his best and most well known poem. In this poem, he describes the streets of Harlem as having, “Roached blunts and roached joints…scattered around the purple, pink, and black chalked R.I.P. signs as if whispering from the Concrete Jungle, ‘I’m resting in peace and high.’” These words resonate immensely with the inmates, most of whom spent their lives in the projects of New York before being incarcerated, and are used to the poverty, gang violence, and self-reliance that line the streets of so many urban cities across America.

Where some people make the mistake of dismissing poetry as being frilly and not relatable, Hodges reveals to inmates that poetry, specifically slam poetry, can be very raw and very real. In his collaborative poem, “Strive,” that he co-wrote and performs with Carvens Lissaint, Hodges makes his message to the Riker’s Island inmates clear: “Strive- Like you know prisons are man-made but minds are God-made.”

America: Cutting back on culture


Staff Writer

Gentrification is rapidly spreading throughout all major cities in the U.S. by erasing the cultures that once made these cities so vibrant. Gentrification is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as, “the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.” While the general ideas of renewal and rebuilding are a solid foundation, the phenomena that gentrification has become in recent years shows the increasing lack of compassion for things that do not directly affect us.

In cities such as Philadelphia and Brooklyn, gentrification stands out in stark contrast to the urban spaces that have yet to be enshrouded by hipster coffee shops, microbreweries, and luxury apartments. At first thought, gentrification comes off as a good theory. Most definitions lack the latter part, actively ignoring the thousands of people who are evicted or forced to leave their homes by rent increases designed to push out individuals and families that don’t fit the new white-washed neighborhoods. If utilized correctly, the basis of renewal and rebuilding could make neighborhoods such as those surrounding Temple University in Philadelphia, flourish in ways that celebrate the diverse cultures that make these communities home to so many people.

Instead of displacing those who cannot afford the increased price of living, couldn’t the city government assist the current residents and business owners in gaining a post-secondary education, evolving their businesses, and growing their own community? Of course, this wouldn’t make as much profit for the city government, and in a country as profit-focused as America, that’s a no go.

According to a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, about 15 percent of Philadelphia neighborhoods are being gentrified. Comparably, research by shows that 29.8 percent of Brooklyn neighborhoods have been gentrifying since 2000. The merger of the affluent and the low-income residents usually results in tension and misunderstanding. This leaves the minorities who were born and raised in the neighborhood feeling like outsiders, where they once felt most comfortable.

Jenae McDonald, a friend of mine who lives in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, is currently facing the harsh realities of gentrification, every time she walks out her front door. When asked what’s changed and why it matters, McDonald had this to say: “The culture behind the neighborhood is what’s changing more than anything. Kids don’t even play outside anymore. Block parties aren’t even thriving like they use to. Gentrification not only drives away people but the souls of the people. There used to be a comfort walking down the block and I don’t physically feel that anymore. Caribbean restaurants have even watered down themselves to accommodate the new wave of people. The fact that culture is blatantly being stripped separates us more than anything. Instead of unifying us in the community, gentrification only leaves disdain.”

We all enjoy overpriced coffee shops and perusing quirky clothing stores, but there are plenty of them in the more affluent parts of the city that make displacing hoards of people from their homes seem excessive at the very least. Gentrification takes culture and tradition and assimilates it into a bland “melting pot”, where the diverse cultures that created America as the powerful immigrant country it once was, are only showcased as Halloween costumes and in off-color humor.