Season of Giving: CCC’s Adopt-a-Family & Celebration of Lights Events

Each year since 2002, campus personnel and students come together to donate food items to be included in a Thanksgiving basket for 24 to 30 area families in need. Various schools throughout the community identify these families. This occasion has become one of our most rewarding and cherished events.

In late October, an email will be sent out to CCC staff and students requesting them to “adopt” a family with a suggested shopping list attached.  Large plastic tubs are provided to those wishing to adopt a family. There will be 6 families from each school with each family identified only by first name, gender and age. Baskets are due by the Monday (11/19) before Thanksgiving delivered to the gym.  Schools will pick up all of their baskets and deliver to each family on Tuesday (11/20). 

Email from one of the schools:

Dear Jean, Keith and CCC Volunteers,

I would like to thank you all for the bountiful Thanksgiving baskets and your time. You constantly amaze me with your generosity and thoughtfulness. Thank you for thinking of Sabater School once again and I look forward to seeing all of you at the Celebration of Lights program.   

Sincerely,

Kenny Smith

Sabater Elementary School

Social Worker

On December 12, 2018, during this festive time of the year, the college, in cooperation with area schools, identifies 24 young children from needy families. Each child will have 4 tags placed on the Christmas tree and CCC staff and students select one or more tags to purchase a Christmas gift for each child (2 toys, a coat & shirt & pants).  Also included is a special visit from Santa and his elves that pass out the wrapped gifts to each child.  The entire college community looks forward to this favorite and heartwarming event in the Luciano Conference Banquet room between 12:30 to 2:30pm.

During the celebration, the young students will each receive a large plush stocking filled with candy and other miscellaneous stocking stuffers. They will have a chance to visit various stations and learn about different holiday traditions from around the world.  

 

Celebration of Lights includes:

• Face Painting 

• Children’s craft station 

• Boxing Day 

• Hanukkah 

• Kwanzaa 

• Winter Solstice

• Traditional Christmas

• Christmas Around the World with Vets 

• Three Kings Day 

• Story Time 

• Carolers and live music

• Food samples from each cultural holiday

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Join CCC’s Media Club: Networking Opportunities for You

Staff Writer 

Since 2011, CCC’s Media Club has been improving with age and experience. The first few years, the club planned successful fundraising events to raise money for scholarships and produced the first ever, Annual Poetry Slam event. 

As of 2018, this club has raised over $500 each year for scholarships, implemented six or more fundraisers, planned five Poetry Slam events, and attended ABC, CBS, Phillies, and Sixers media tours and events to combine their love of learning with some Philly fun!

 Media Club’s purpose is to promote media communications in all its forms: television, radio, Internet, written publication, photography, publishing, editing and new technologies.

 Media Club meets the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month in FPAC building in the F4 classroom at 2pm. Any student, in any major is welcome to join us. 

 The executive team leaders for this year’s Media Club are:

La’Tonia Carnegie, President

Ryan Ellis, Vice President

Secretary, Suzette Maldanado

Other members include: Andrew Snowman, Meghan Cleary, Eric Perez, Jennifer Williams, and Tony Malese, and Dennis Damiano.

 These officers plan and implement all the Media club events, trips and fundraisers. The club also provides monetary support for our equipment needs to enhance or Communication classes including cameras, lighting trees, portable audio consoles, and editing software.

 This year’s Media Club is looking for more members to join. So far this year, Media Club has a Halloween bake sale planned as well as a tour of IHEART radio and the Philadelphia Art Museum in early November. All active members can attend and only pays $5 to participate.

 In May, Media Club leaders will produce the Sixth Annual Poetry Slam event in the Theater in FPAC in early May 2019. Media Club are always looking for performers to share with spoken word poetry and other volunteers to help backstage and with publicity.

MediaClub_Monstersandkids_Pic

If you need more information or you are interested in joining CCC’s Media Club, contact the Club President, La’Tonia Carnegie at lcarnegie@student.cccnj.edu.

Getting to the Finish Line

By: KYNAAT MOOSVI 

Staff Writer

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How am I going to pay for college? How do I complete my FAFSA? Is there anyone who can help me? Why is this process so stressful? If you find yourself, asking these questions, read on. 

Transitioning from high school into college can be a scary thing. Coming back to school after a long break can be challenging. Stepping onto campus and walking the halls to your classes can be intimidating and intense. Needless to say, a little help could go a long way.

Take a step into the Student & Enrollment Services Center and walk down to the Educational Opportunity Fund office. Upon entering, you’ll be greeted by the friendly face of the Administrative Specialist, Yajaira Montero. She can answer almost any question and will sure to leave you smiling. 

But the services don’t stop there. According to the CCC website, EOF provides the opportunity of higher education for students who would not be able to attend college without financial assistance and support services. EOF offers financial assistance, counseling, transfer assistance, and tutoring. The office is staffed with qualified counselors who are there to help you. 

There is criteria to be eligible: income, being a full-time student, a resident of New Jersey for one year before receiving the grant, and you show the potential to succeed in college. More details on the application is listed on the website but, essentially, you apply online and wait for a reply by the department. If the requirements are met, there is an interview. 

The program offers a wide variety of workshops: FAFSA Renewal, Financial Literacy, Strategies for Overcoming Test Anxiety, and Rip the Resume with Torrin Ellis. There is also a summer institute, a free program which further prepares students for the college experience. Everything they do, throughout the semester, is designed to benefit the student in college and for their life in the professional field. There are also trips and college tours. 

Jaylynn is a student at CCC and also an EOF student. When asked in what ways EOF has benefited her, she wrote, “EOF has benefited me with many resources, and big opportunities. I was able to conduct and continue my studies very well after EOF gave me the extra guidance that I needed. I would say EOF has been a great support system in pursuing my career.” She went on to write, “ I definitely would recommend the EOF Program to others. I would say if you are a student who wants to become a leader, or become the best you can be, ou should not think twice about EOF, they will help guide you were you want to be in the fast and easiest way.”

There are tools are resources available to the students, it is up to the student to take advantage and benefit from them. If you are interested, visit the college website at http://www.cccnj.edu/EOF.

Midterm Election Races are Heating Up in New Jersey

By RYAN HOSEY

Staff Writer

On November 6, voters across the country will be heading to the polls to vote in the 2018 midterm elections. This year’s midterms are shaping up to be one of the most consequential and contentious in recent memory.

All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 35 seats in the United States Senate will be up for election. Along with federal elections, there are 39 state and territorial gubernatorial elections as well as many other state and local elections that will be contested. 

Midterm elections are elections that are held every four years, near the midpoint of a president’s four-year term in office. Historically, these elections are often seen as a referendum on the current presidential administration, and the party controlling Congress. Currently, Republicans have a majority of 236 to 193 in the House, and have a razor-thin 51-49 majority in the Senate. 

Democrats are seeking to regain control of the House of Representatives and possibly win back a majority in the Senate. Republicans are hoping that their tax reform bill passed late last year, and the conformation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch will bring the base out to the polls. The GOP is also anticipating the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who retired in July. 

The biggest factor in this year’s midterms will be President Donald Trump. According to most polls, the president’s job approval rating is at or around 40%. A record number of women and minority candidates are also running for office this year.

In New Jersey, Democratic Senator Robert Menendez is facing a tough reelection against his Republican opponent, former Celgene CEO Bob Hugin. In 2015, a Florida grand jury investigated Menendez regarding his role in advocating the business interested of Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, one of Menendez’s top donors. 

Menendez was later indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on a number of corruption charges, including bribery, fraud, and making false statements. In 2018, the Justice Department dropped all charges against Menendez. Hugin and the GOP are capitalizing on Menendez’s corruption trial while the Menendez camp is hard at work slamming Hugin as a drug company CEO who put profits over people. 

South Jersey voters in the 2nd Congressional District will also have an opportunity to vote for their next representative in Congress. Longtime Congressman Frank LoBiondo (R, Ventnor City) is retiring after 12 terms in the U.S House of Representatives. New Jersey state senator Jeff Van Drew is running as the Democratic nominee. He is being challenged by attorney Seth Grossman on the Republican side. 

Grossman has faced criticism since he won the Republican nomination. In July, the National Republican Congressional Committee announced it was withdrawing its endorsement of Grossman following a report that he shared a post from a white supremacist calling blacks a “threat to all who cross their paths”. Van Drew has also faced scrutiny for his stance as a conservative Democrat. He has an ‘A’ rating from the NRA, and has voted against raising the minimum wage and gay marriage. 

A number of third-party nominees are running for the 2nd district House seat as well including Libertarian nominee John Ordille, and independent candidates Anthony Parisi-Sanchez, William Benfer, and Dr. Steven Fenichel. These third-party candidates are outspent by Van Drew and Grossman, but several of the candidates are running on getting corporate PAC money out of politics. Parisi-Sanchez, Benfer, and Fenichel are running on a progressive platform highlighting single-payer healthcare and tackling income inequality. 

We will see on November 6, based on voter turnout, if change is coming. No matter who you will vote for, let your voice be heard, it does make a difference.

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COLLEGE NETWORK

By Randell Leak

During the fall semester, students and the faculty noticed something wrong with the Internet. Students, faculty, and staff couldn’t rely on it day to day, to complete their work. The problem was so bad that classes had to be canceled. “It began roughly around the beginning of  September probably the two weeks of September,” Bernie Castro, Executive Director of Information Technology. “We started to notice a spike in the amount of Internet bandwidth being used. It’s a combination of the high volume students are using these days, and also we have more classroom technology that’s using websites, courses, blackboard and cloud. We also have other software that is accessible through websites. But, I also see students, as I walk around using Facebook, Youtube, Netflix. We’re talking about streaming, that’s happening across our networks. So, the technology these days are all accessible through your mobile device or even if a student have a laptop around campus. As I walk around campus, that has been many of the causes due to Internet interference and inconcisive high volume internet traffic.”

“We are under the highest pressure,” Castro said. “I mean the job of being an IT person is a 24/7 365 days a year job. In my position, it’s hard to be on vacation, when I’m on vacation I stay connected with my cellphone, when I’m home I have to stay in tune. I’m always checking my email. We are a customer service department. So, if we are not providing this technology or the tools to improve student success or faculty success and the way they facilitate courses, then it is a concern if those things don’t happen. We have worked through it and I’m very lucky to have a team I can help get them focus, I’ll take the blunt of the complaints and I make sure that the troubleshooting is being done, but I am handling all of the communications and also all of the tomatoes that are thrown at you so to speak.”

Many people want to know how Bernie and his team are fixing this situation. “There are two circuits that come into the college, those fiber optics circuits have been laid underground. We had fiber optics, but these are two brand new circuits that can hold more bandwidth. So, basically its future proofing. If we need more bandwidth we can keep adding to the number of band width.

When asked how long it be for the network to be fully operational Castro stated, “Hopefully before the end of March we will see full increase of speed that we have purchased.” Castro went on to talk about the semester before the network issues. “To me the most shocking thing is the semester before we had zero issues, but when September came we had lots of connection activity slow down. So I’m still trying to piece that puzzle together. Are the students from the spring semester different from the new fall semester? Probably yes, but again we have the infrastructure in place if want to keep going up in faster speeds, larger bandwidth, we can do that. The challenge is the more speed we give the campus, the more speed people are going to want to use. So we have to watch out for that. Everyone wants to download and watch movies faster but we have to find that balance. We’ll see and our focus is student success so the bandwidth inside  classroom is more important than what’s outside in a hallway. We have to be careful and find that balance. If students are able to login and students are able to do their work, then that’s a job well done. In this industry, in my position, its a constant guessing game.

The improvements made from last semester shows how Castro and his team are helping solve the problem. Let’s all hope the network will be fully operated at the end of March.                             

 

CCC-ROWAN POSSIBLE MERGER?

By Randell Leak

 

It appears that Cumberland County College and Rowan College at Gloucester County could possibly merge. Gloucester County Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger and Cumberland County Freeholder Director Joseph Derella said the counties are finding ways to deliver the best services possible to their residents. “These preliminary discussions are just that, discussions,” Damminger and Derella said in the statement. “Each Boards of Trustees and Boards of Chosen Freeholders would be remiss if we didn’t continue to explore enhanced educational opportunities, reduction of higher education costs, and opening access by paving the way for an easy transition into a Rowan University.”

 

Even if the discussions are just “discussions,” that doesn’t stop students or faculty from asking questions. When asked on how they feel about the possible merger, most of the students were shocked. They didn’t know anything about the merger. “I think it’s pretty cool,” a student studying at Cumberland County said. “I feel like it gives more opportunities to students. I mean, what if you wanted to major in a class the CCC doesn’t have? Then what? So it’ll be cool to see more majors at the college.” With some students bringing the positive effects of the merger, many bring the negative effects. “What will happen to the students already in college? Will they still be able to attend?” Many students questioned this, trying to find an answer, “Will their financial aid change? Where will classes be? Who will be the president? What will happen to the faculty? If someone gets a scholarship to either CCC or Rowan, will that scholarship still transfer? When asked about the possible merger, both presidents from Rowan and CCC said they have no comment.

 

“While it is too early to speculate the outcome, we do support the concept of seeking new ways of delivering the best services to our residents, weighing all options, pros and cons and we look further to a continued conversation on this idea, which will be done in the most transparent of manners,” Damminger and Derella said.

 

Gloucester County’s community college, re-branded three years ago as Rowan College of Gloucester County, with the total number of students in 2010 at 6,609 and with CCC’s total at 3,844, if the merger does happen then the total number of students will be approximately 10,500 students to serve.  And the faculty will be just as bad or worse. “There’s no way all the professors and teachers will be able to stay, so what will happen to CCC faculty. It’ll just be a mess,” a CCC student said when asked about their current faculty.

 

“Rowan University is growing at a really high rate, holds a designation as a Research Institution, and also maintains two medical schools. An opportunity to expand facilities and offerings does not present itself often, so taking the time to evaluate and consider options for the benefit of our students is important,” Damminger and Derella’s statement continued.

 

One idea discussed in a potential merger is possibly creating a “corridor of education and medicine along Route 55,” according to the county officials. Only time will tell if any of this merger is true. When asked for more information from CCC’s president’s office, Maryann Dombroski, Dr. Yves Salomon-Fernandez’s assistant, stated, “ she [President Salomon-Fernandez] is unable to give interviews at this time. Please note that the process is at a very nascent stage. We are awaiting guidance from others.”  

 

The only thing the people of Cumberland County can do now is wait and see how this possible merger affects them, positively or negatively.

To Cheer or not to Cheer?

By Andrea Butcher

Staff Writer

Cheerleading. One of the most popular sports for high school to college aged females. It is a fun combination of chants, jumps, stunts, and tumbling. Cheerleading can be found on college campuses around the nation and around the world. But it can not be found on the campus of Cumberland County College. There are many sports on campus, but cheerleading is certainly not one of the them. We have a step team. But step team is not cheer. They are two very different sports. Despite all of that, CCC is trying to rectify the issue they are working on combining step team with a cheer team.
The first step has already been taken. The ladies of the Divine Dukes, the college’s step team, have already received cheer uniforms. They received the whole nine yards: the top, the skirt, the undershirt, the socks, and the sneakers. To top it all off, the ladies even received pom poms. The Divine Dukes are proud of what they do and appreciate the idea of a cheer team. They just want people to know what step team is and how it differs from cheerleading.
When interviewing the Divine Dukes, the ladies defined step team is a type of dance in which they use their entire body as an instrument to create complex sounds with steps, claps, and words. Step differs from cheer in a few ways. Step is overall sharper in movement than cheer. While you need to be quite athletic for both sports, one would need slightly more muscle strength in their calves and arms for step. Also the ladies of the step team define themselves as more “down to earth and relaxed” than an average cheerleader.
The step team has a few opinions about the incorporation of the teams. Change is hard to deal with but not for the Divine Dukes. They are actually quite comfortable with the change, but do have one condition. They are fine with having the two teams put together, but they would like the combined team to “be considered a college sport with a budget from the athletic department”. However, they are aware that they may not receive that condition. Staying a club would mean that the Divine Dukes will not receive athletic recognition nor will they get a budget from the athletic department.
So Cumberland County College, you are commended on your efforts in bringing in a cheer team. Combining the step team with a cheer team is the first step in the right direction. If the school continues to build on this idea, a larger draw for the team will come in the future. It will continue to grow and become an entity that the college can be proud of. But for now, let’s support the current ladies of the Divine Dukes and help the change settle in.