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.                             

 

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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.

WHY SHOULD YOU TAKE SUMMER CLASSES?

By Randell Leak

 

Ahhh. . . . .the spring semester just ended. You’re chilling with your headphones on, blasting the hot new summer songs with the air condition on. Life is good, while you’re relaxing at home, there are people who are majoring in the same degree as you, that are taking summer classes. They might finish college early and will transfer to a four-year school, while you’re home playing Fortnite. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Fortnite, but if you really want to advance your academic career, summer classes are the right thing for you.

For starters the classes aren’t like the spring and fall ones, CCC summer classes are shorter than the fall and spring semesters. So, if a student needs a math or a speech class, they should talk with their advisors and make sure the class is in the summer schedule. CCC offers summer sessions I through IV.

Another reason you should take summer classes is the parking. If it’s one thing students hate besides waking up for morning classes, it’s lack of parking spaces. Either there’s no parking spots or if you parked, you can bet that when you come back in a few hours, there will two other cars that sandwiched your car in its spot. During the summertime, there’s not that many people who attend classes so parking is easier.  You can just walk in, do your work and head out.

Just about every school has some sort of credit minimum for graduation. Summer classes can help you reach that minimum. If you can find classes that help you in your major, you can work towards your degree taking major requirements or by registering for a general education course like speech or art. By taking summer classes, it alleviates taking a packed course load and you can finish the semester with a breeze.

Also, with a smaller class size, your professors can give you more personal attention. This can be quite beneficial, especially if you find it difficult to adjust to the accelerated pace of a summer session course and require help. The more intimate learning environment may help you succeed. During the summer term, you will be limited in the number of credits you can take. With a reduced course load, you will be able to focus more on the class or classes you’re enrolled in. This can be useful if you hope to ace a difficult course, like organic chemistry or calculus. But also you can block out distractions with the classes being smaller since not that many people take summer classes.

By all means, you do not have to take summer courses, the wonderful thing about them is that it’s optional. So, if the spring semester drained all your energy, you’re not alone, no one will judge you if you don’t register for summer semester, at least, I hope not. If you want to further your education and get ahead, by all means take a summer session class. If you have Financial aid, it can work with your 2017-2018 year as well. But if you think you need a break from college,  no one’s stopping you enjoy your break!

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.

CCC’s FPAC programming future plans?

By Mike Guilford

Staff Writer

Since 1995, the Frank Guaracini Fine and Performing Arts Center has entertained the community with dazzling shows in its mission to bring quality performances to Cumberland.

At the end of August 2017, that mission could be in jeopardy as non-academic performances for the 2017-2018 year have been placed on indefinite hiatus. The future for the Luciano Theater is unknown.
All is not lost, Deborah Bradshaw’s stellar sellout offerings will continue as academic programming would not be impacted. Scheduled for a November debut, Bradshaw’s production of Godspell is sure to dazzle audiences, with its messages of kindness, love and peace and a parade of hits like “Day by Day” and “Learn Your Lessons Well.”
However, she will do so without support of Assistant Director of Theater Programming, Christopher Totora, who served as Technical Director since 2004. Totora will continue his career as Technical Director at the Mandell Theater in Philadelphia. The decision to place future programs on hiatus was made in conjunction with Totora’s departure by campus administrators, however, the program has been in jeopardy for several years now as programming failed to make a profit. Continual decline in enrollment, annual shortfalls in budget for the performing arts, lack of awareness; the program was already primed for the chopping block. Running a skeleton crew of volunteers and part-time staff the program was left with no fat to trim to stay afloat, despite departures from the box office manager and Totora.
Things have changed since the program’s inception 20 years ago. Competition from renovated theaters such as the Levoy in Millville, 8 miles from the Luciano, as well as the renewal of Landis Theater in downtown Vineland act as stiff competition for a theater situated almost equidistant from two rivals.
Also, down the road from the Luciano Theater, is the Cumberland Players, within a short 10 mile radius of the Luciano theater are three competitors vying for limited patron’s attention with similar content.
In a perfect world, an oversaturation of the arts would be seen as a boon and business would be booming, unfortunately things don’t always work out the way they should. As theater managers at Luciano reported difficulty even giving tickets away to patrons.
It’s tough to point toward a single cause for the discontinuation of programming but the lack of public interest could point toward one culprit: limited marketing.
Given limited amount of public attendance and the success of other programs in the area, it would be reasonable to speculate that awareness of the programs existence was limited at best.
The original mission of the theater was to attract people with quality programming who wouldn’t normally visit. Volunteers, working for the theater act as advocates, bringing visitors to campus promoting CCC.
Children were bussed in frequently from schools to experience the wonder of theater. Director of theater programming at the Luciano Theater, Beatrice Hughes, remarked on the impressions of children coming to the theater for the first time; “The doors opened and their expressions were just WOW! before the show even began.”
Hughes mentions how she will miss seeing their cute faces on campus. The program was a great tool to attract younger generations of students to CCC. It showed what they’d have available as they grew, promoting college accessibility through the arts.
The college plans to reevaluate the future of the FPAC program during the 2017-2018 year, to see if there is a new direction it could take.
Without private funders to help buttress the program; as other theater programs in the county have access to, it may be difficult for the college to shoulder the burden of operating the theater alone, leaving the future of the College’s theater program unknown.

Cumberland County Music Scene

By DAN CARTER
Staff Writer

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Set a scene in your mind, it is the year 2009 and you’re in a music venue in Vineland, NJ. In a crowd of youthful faces, you can see a smile across the room. The face belongs to a young girl. She has not had many reasons to turn around her frown lately but tonight she managed to catch a ride to see her favorite band play her favorite song. She will carry this memory with her forever, because in that moment the world around her was singing directly to her and only her. At Hanger 84, many memories like this were made. The venue however is long gone.
When I was a sophomore in high school, I can recall being able to tell you a list of ten bands, singers, and rappers and where they were going to be performing the next three weekends in advance. This is what is known as a music scene, a connected group of novice and professional musicians and performers creating a community to preserve their work and to grow.
Nowadays, despite its efforts to claim how art-centric it is, Cumberland County no longer has the strong music scene presence it used to, not even a decade ago. To discover why this is happening I inquired help from my friends in the band FRND CRCL (pronounced Friend Circle) from Vineland. Despite being from the area and releasing their first full-length album a couple of months ago, they have hardly ever performed in their home county and I found this strange for a punk garage band from South Jersey.
I sat down with Zac Johnson, the singer and guitarist for the band, to talk about the state of our local music scene. He disclosed to me that even though the band plays what he calls “outdated Pop Punk music with Reggae and Rap influences” he doesn’t have any connections to any similar bands in the area. The lack of camaraderie he says is palpable and a distinct difference from what he remembers of bands a few years ago.
Johnson told me that since the bands forming in May of 2015, they have performed less than ten shows in Cumberland County and he said almost all of those shows were what he called flops. He recalls that most shows in Cumberland made the band feel like they were secondary entertainment. By that he explained that the music was never the center focus, the shows were always at bars or restaurants or events where the people would have been there whether the band was playing or not, and because of this the crowd had a general disinterest in the music. Johnson said that every show felt like they were expected to do covers of “oldies or rock classics” and new or original music was frowned upon. All of these things made the band look elsewhere to perform and to grow as an entertainment presence to moderate success.
It seems recently the art scene Cumberland County brags about only encourages traditional forms of art or cover bands and music, and FRND CRCL is a great recent example of this bias. When I asked Johnson what the county could do to improve the upcoming music in the area he said that “The first thing would be to open an exclusively music based venue again now that the likes of Hanger 84 or the Oak Tavern are no longer in business. Until then, new bands will be forced to look to North Jersey venues such as Stone Pony in Asbury Park, or Hard Rock Café in Atlantic City to make a name for themselves.”
It is now up to Cumberland County and time to see if these types of ideas will ever be implemented in our County again, or if our county will just be local bars hosting cover bands for the next few decades. Only one thing is certain and that is if these local bands are not brought back home to play, my gas money will keep being burnt driving to see where they play next.

Prepare Ye for CCC’s Godspell

By CODY HIGINBOTHAM

Staff Writer
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Prepare Ye, The Way of the Play. This year at Cumberland County College, the drama club will be performing the Stephen Schwartz musical Godspell. This broadway classic, follows God’s holy son Jesus as he takes followers on a journey through many biblical events, while putting a 70s disco spin on it.
The show is directed by Broadway-veteran Deborah Bradshaw. “When I was choosing the fall musical, I thought Godspell would be a nice way to bring people together during the tumultuous time in our country, through its message of peace, love and community,” Bradshaw said.
The plot of the musical includes various passages from the Holy Bible, ranging from the story of the Prodigal Son to the journey of Noah and the flood. “The story is based on the book of Matthew in the Bible and the stories are told through familiar parables. The first acts focuses on the formation of a community of followers of Jesus. Act II follows the Passion Story, through stories of the interrogation of Jesus by the Pharisees, the Last Super, interspersed with stories and teachings of Jesus,” Bradshaw stated, regarding the musical itself. Originally, CCC has only done musicals in the winter or spring season, as most schools typically hold them around that time. It wasn’t until recent years, that the school started doing fall musicals.
Bradshaw shared, “We began doing a fall musical and spring play to accommodate different personnel schedules. I actually like doing them this way!” Last year’s fall musical was the interactive puppet production Avenue Q, making this years musical an interesting change since the previous year.
The musical features some of the most catchy and entertaining songs from a musical including the ballet “Day by Day” and the upbeat-rhythmic “We Beseech Thee”. Regarding her favorite song, Bradshaw replied, “It is hard to choose but I love the song By My Side.  It is a beautiful commitment to Jesus and the harmonies are full and lush”
While the musical only has three named characters that drive the plot, being Jesus, Judas Iscariot, & John the Baptist, the show can include a number of cast members as possible in the ensemble, with some shows casting as few as 10 actors to others casting an incredible 70 actors. Since most of the songs don’t specify who has to sing that song, this gives ensemble members a chance to sing for the audience.
Bradshaw is also no stranger to acting in the play either, “I did this show as a performer many, many years ago. I am still in touch with my cast mates. When I posted that I was going to direct this production on Facebook many of them immediately contacted me with wonderful memories. (1979)”
The performances will be November 16-19, at 3pm on the 19th, 8pm on 16th & 17th and 2pm & 8pm on the 18th. The admission prices ranges from $12 to $17. Be sure to come and see this spectacular production, because “It’s All For the Best.”