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collide For students, by students | April 2014 | Issue 20


[letter from the editor]


Editor-in-Chief Arielle Dreher

Art Director Sarah Ottavis

Online Editor Ashley Cameron

Copy Editor C. Amaris Felton

Publicist Chelsey Barmore

TOP: Joseph D. Yates Jr.

Touchdowns, education and the general public The last issue, the last bookstore, the last samurai, the last melon. The termination of something isn’t always a bad thing. Endings always mean new beginnings, even if those new beginnings are nameless, lifeless and generally terrifying. Sometimes abrupt endings bring us back to the reality we’ve needed so desperately to encounter. Opening up “new chapters” is the classic cliché for college students. (Oh, we broke up, but it’s a new chapter now because I met someone new…) Perhaps “new chapters” makes us feel better than “the ends”. The result is the same, however. Things end, and we move on. With movement, however, comes growth, age and hopefully some maturity. Collide turned 20 (issues) this time around, and we are hopefully beginning to show our age a bit, with a mature flavor. We recognize that the school year is winding down, the semester is coming to a bittersweet end and the student body is likely feeling a lot like roadkill in the midst of dead week. So, welcome to the best distractions we can offer in forms of humor, culture, public affairs and social justice. Procrastinate a bit longer because we doubled the threads section for those study-fried

brains. It might be safe to say that APU has gained national fame this year starring Wall-E and a fire Danté might write about (Page 3). If you’re into Christian culture, Jesus is the hero, literally, of a few comic books on display in Darling Library (Page 12). Also, if Christian music is your jam, we got to interview theOutsiders, a success story of what happens when you worship at Bible study (Page 11). Of course, if you haven’t heard, there is a new Christian installment in Hollywood, Heaven is for Real (Page 14). The society we live in also seems to go through these growth cycles, just like humanity. We talk trash (Page 11), set off false alarms in history (Page 10) and help you predict your NFL Draft outcomes (Page 20). Collide is not to be held responsible for the procrasti-nation created as a result of reading. In the spirit and nature of our last issue of the school year, our staff wanted to cover important issues that have not been touched on previously. A deep-seeded restlessness emerged in the stories this time around, and I finally realized that these stories stem from our generation’s connections to public affairs and social justice issues. Inequality for females in the workplace (Page 8) starts from a young age according to

Sheryl Sandberg who is heading up a campaign to ban the word “bossy.” Other public matters like the Gold Line take time to change, perhaps for reasons we can respect or entirely ignore (Page 40). Graduating seniors are about to come into contact with the playing out of some of these issues in our own lives. Immigration reform is something most of us can vote on (Page 30), while graduation demographics (Page 26), we might have little control over walking across the stage in less than two weeks, perhaps, we can change things for the class of 2030. Others have chosen to step out into change immediately through organizations reforming the systems in place, like TFA (Page 36 ). Thomas Merton wrote, “My soul does not find itself unless it acts.” These stories, just like this issue, this school year, this college experience, all come to an end. However, without action, there is no new beginning worthy of living. Be okay with saying “the end” in peace in a few days when you graduate or go home. Take up Merton’s call. Make your last days meaningful and your days to come full of action because without action, we will continue to live with the same restless souls we have had all along.

Business Manager Erin Lee

Faculty Advisers Kyle Huckins

Contributing Writers

Katie Brown, Lauren Duran, Kimmi Ligh, Emily Leyva, Taylor Schablaske, Alex Scrivner, Paige Smith, Allison Thompson, Dadrienne Thompson

Contact Us

Located between the Caf and Cougars’ Den Café. On Facebook, Instagram or on Twitter @apucollide.

Collide Advertising

PO Box 9521, Unit 5165 Azusa, CA 91702-9521 CONTACT: Erin Lee PHONE: 626.815.6000x3515 FAX: 626.815.2045 Attn. Collide EMAIL: All checks made payable to: Azusa Pacific University, Collide

Mission Statement

Collide is a publication of The Clause, a multi-media student voice of undergraduate Azusa Pacific University. Our stories seek to bring people together on our pages where our ideas collide and stories impact readers. We provide narratives, inquiries and dialogue in a Christian academic setting that values individual’s stories as well as community concerns. Our writers are student-journalists interested in crafting articles that connect with readers and challenge them to grow as people and reporters. • 1




14 Heaven is for Real

Read an exlusive interview with actress Margo Martindale who stars in the new film Heaven is for Real.

20 NFL Draft Preview

All bets are on! Who do you think is a shoe in for the big leagues?

40 Gold Rush Hour

Is the new Gold Line going to be helpful and convenient, or is it going to stray locals away?


6 Stage Coach Preview Are you going to be there? Listen for the line up!


7 Finals Survival Helpful tips on how to survive these few days, or what we like to call the end times.

ON THE COVER Courtesy of Chelsey Barmore; an L.A. mural portays a beautiful picture of what it means to live in fear.

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threads Five Keys to Financial Success in College Invited Column


1. Make a Budget

Budgets open opportunities, they don't limit them. Deciding whether to go out for lunch today or bring your own lunch shouldn't be a life-altering decision. For too many college-aged kids it is. Make a budget, write it down, then stick to it.

2. Live off campus

The school will charge you a premium to live close to all the dining halls and have Resident Advisors keep tabs on you. As soon as possible move out of that environment and begin learning how to function in the real world. The rent is cheaper.

3. Learn how to Hustle

This means get a part-time job. Find some source of income, ideally multiple sources of income. Even if they are small, don't let your college years become a drain on your resources. Always be moving forward instead of spending from a reserve.

4. Get a Degree in Something you're Passionate about Work sucks. So don't ever work and instead align your money with something you're passionate about and learn how to give value to someone in that area. Through networking you will meet the right person who will pay for what you know or can do for them.

YearInReview By Katie Brown



Professor Ackley Leaves APU Oct. 4, 2014 The theology professor came out as a transgender man in September, which reignited the debate within the APU community on the topic of LGBT rights on campus. The professor left APU after he and the administration agreed that they had different views on transgender identity.

Bomb Threat #1 Nov. 13, 2014 Campus safety evacuated the entire West Campus when officers discovered a “suspicious package” on campus. The Azusa Police Department investigated and determined it was not a threat. Classes resumed for the day after one hour. Interestingly, the package was an empty Christmas present that had been put up for decoration.

Colby Fire Jan. 16, 2014 Students woke up to ash and smoke on the first Thursday of spring classes. Classes were not cancelled and the fire raged across the hillside for the entire day and into the next. In total, the fire consumed 1,709 acres, forced 3,700 Glendora residents to evacuate and destroyed the iconic “A” for Azusa.

Professor Takes A Break From God Dec. 31, 2014 Adjunct professor Ryan Bell decided to spend one year without God in order to better understand his faith. In an interview with The Clause, Bell said “It would be a year without God, a year as an atheist, to sort of not force myself into theistic arguments, and just let my questions be there, and explore them.”



Rachel Wentling ‫@‏‬TheRachelLyn Oct 2 Today feels like a good day to be on the news. #westandwithadam #istillheartAPU #butnotrightnow Huffington Post LA ‫@‏‬HuffPostLA Oct 4 Students rally behind transgender professor at Christian university #WeStandWithAdam

Kaylee Hagen ‫@‏‬kayhag44 Nov 13 I would tweet about the bomb threat and evacuation of West Campus but twitter is already blowing up about it so I guess I won’t. #iheartapu

Brandon Bush ‫@‏‬brandonLbush Jan 16 Walking to class and this doesn’t look dangerous at all. #APu Kaity Bergquist ‫@‏‬KaityBergquist Jan 16 Sooo we can see flames. For goodness sakes, somebody please cancel class! #apu #glendorafire…

Ryan Bell ‫@‏‬ryanjbell Feb 17 @classclownkjl The positive belief in something is not the same thing as the absence of belief. I would not list among my beliefs... A Year Without God ‫@‏‬yearwithoutgod Dec 28 What difference does God make?

5. Never give up

The bottom line to being financially successful no matter how old you are is to never give up. You are not a victim of your circumstance. You are in control of your life. Make a lifedecision to tell your money where to go and how to work for you instead of the other way around. Take the initiative to always keep learning.

–Brian Harrington Brian Harrington graduated from APU class of 2013 with a B.A. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Economics. He now works as a Membership Development Representative for Christian Community Credit Union (www.mycccu. com/apu) headquartered in San Dimas, CA. Find more of his thoughts on Twitter by following @ brainharrington.

Bomb Threat #2 March 24, 2014

Nick Wehrli ‫@‏‬NickWehrli182 Mar 24 I never realized that Wall-E is real!! He is currently at my school doing the heroic task of removing a bomb!!! #iheartapu

Campus Safety discovered another “suspicious package” in Segerstrom Science Center and promptly evacuated that building and later Building 1 and Felix Event Center. The bomb squad sent in a robot to retrieve the package, which turned out to be a backpack, and detonated it. It was all clear.

Joseph Remington ‫@‏‬jremington12 Mar 24 Holed up inside the Segerstrom elevator because a good captain sinks with his ship #iHeartAPU

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake March 28, 2014


The earthquake, centered a mile outside La Habra, struck at 9:09 p.m. Many APU students felt the quake, and it prompted aftershocks felt in social media outlets throughout the interwebs.

Brandon Morales ‫@‏‬bruhndin Mar 29 We cancelled class for a backpack can we cancel class because the tectonic plates of the earth are crashing together? #OrNaw #iheartAPU • 3


Switchboard More than 500 college students rallied together at Huntington Beach on Saturday, March 29 to celebrate Red Bull’s annual Switchboard event. The morning started off in the water where students surfed with pro surfer Ian Walsh and made multiple attempts to win a free pair of sunglasses if they putted a hole in one. As lunch hit, students made their way over to buses and headed up north to Big Bear to ride the last bit of snow before summer. The long day ended with fun music, new friendships, and yet another memorable success story. Red Bull offers this event every year around the same time. Sign ups are first come first serve. Photograph by Sarah Ottavis

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Stage Coach 2014 Preview

Bake for 45-60 minutes until you reach your desired crispiness

By Allison Thompson


owboys and cowgirls are ‘saddling up their horses’ (or, uh, packing up their vehicles) to ‘ride into the city,’ or in this case the desert, to Stagecoach 2014 for the weekend of April 25-27. Of the 61 country artists performing, the most popular include: Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Jason Aldean, Hunter Hayes, Florida Georgia Line and Thomas Rhett. Tickets went on sale Oct. 18 and sold out by March 7. The festival began in 2007 and is considered to be the country cousin of Coachella. Both festivals are promoted by the same company, Goldenvoice, which says Stagecoach is growing at a faster pace than Coachella, not a sell out until five years after it was created. Held in the desert town of Indio, the main stage holds some of the biggest names in country music. Bryan, Aldean and Church will headline and sing their latest hits, including “That’s My Kind of Night,” “When She Says Baby” and “Give Me Back My Hometown.” Church kicks off the festival on Friday alongside Easton Corbin, Rhett and Jon Pardi.

Finals Survival By Lauren Duran

With finals just around the corner and crunch time settling in, here are a few tips on how to stay sane during finals week.

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On April 26, Aldean kicks off the day, with artists including Hayes and Tyler Farr following. On the final day, Bryan will conclude the festival alongside big names such as Florida Georgia Line, who sings “Cruise,” and Lee Brice, known for “Hard to Love.” For the weekend, camping is available off-site at local campsites. Some attendants choose to drive RVs to the festival and make reservations at the limited RV resort spots. Others race to reserve hotel rooms before all the nearby locations fill up. The festival’s website offers the suggestion of “Save a horse, ride a shuttle!” Shuttle passes can be purchased for $70 through Valley Music Travel. However, driving “pimped out” cars and traveling in the “2014 Carpool Convoy” allows carpoolers with four or more in a vehicle to have the chance to win “corral” passes, food and merchandise vouchers and tickets for Ferris wheel rides. As attendees round up their cowboy boots and hats for the festival, they should check the website for official rules and policies so they can ‘cruise’ through the security check.

Plan it Out

Start by planning out your week and figuring out the best way to tackle all of its demands. Creating a schedule will help you stay organized and keep you from forgetting even the smallest details. Quit asking your professor when the final is and look up the schedule already.

Don’t Stress

As the semester comes to a close, students begin feeling stressed and anxious about how they are going to accomplish everything. Studies show that students who are stressed are more likely to make unhealthy choices in food, exercise and even social situations. Keep calm and plan ahead to avoid these negative feelings (or, at least be prepared to deal with the consequences).

Allow for Downtime

TOP: Michael Loccisano

As the semester comes to a close, students begin feeling stressed and anxious about how they are going to accomplish everything. Studies show that students who are stressed are more likely to make unhealthy choices

Go to Sleep As the semester comes to a close, students begin feeling stressed and anxious about how they are going to accomplish everything. Studies show that students who are stressed are more likely to make unhealthy choices in food, exercise and even social situations. Keep calm and plan ahead to avoid these negative feelings (or, at least be prepared to deal with the consequences).


As the semester comes to a close, students begin feeling stressed and anxious about how they are going to accomplish everything. Studies show that students who are stressed are more likely to make unhealthy choices in food, exercise and even social situations. Keep calm and plan ahead to avoid these negative feelings (or, at least be prepared to deal with the consequences). • 7


Ban ‘Bossy’ – The Other ‘B-word’ By Paige Smith

“You’re not the boss of me!” can probably be heard in any schoolyard throughout the country. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook is publicly opposing the word “bossy” based on the idea that when a girl is young, if she is considered “bossy” then by adulthood it turns into a woman being “aggressive”. Sandberg recruited Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. CEO, Anna Marie Chavez, and former United States Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, to start an important conversation on the word “bossy.” While the campaign is called “Ban Bossy,” it is supposed to facilitate a conversation on how the word is used in context to females and leadership. In

an exclusive interview with Carol Dedrich, Chief External Relations Officer of Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, she stated: “The Ban Bossy campaign is about raising awareness around a descriptive word used disproportionately to demean girls and women. We believe girls who exhibit assertiveness should be seen as acting like leaders, not acting bossy.” According to an article from Canada. com by Elissa Freeman, a PR and pop culture columnist, titled “#BanBossy: 25 names ‘bossy’ women are really called,” many women in the workplace are called: intimidating, emotional, annoying, nagging, demanding, pushy

SPRING vs. EASTER BREAK What did you think of having spring break in the middle of the semester?

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and assertive, while men with the same characteristics can be called leaders, authoritative and commanding. Freeman’s point? “Bossy” is definitely a nicer term, not displaying the worst of what women can be called. “Girls are twice as likely as boys to avoid leadership roles for fear of being disliked or deemed ‘bossy’ by their peers,” Chávez said in the press kit for the campaign. “At Girl Scouts, we want to bring adults and girls together to empower girls as our next generation of leaders. Abandoning ‘bossy’ is a great start.” While negative language is not used against women in all workplaces, it is important for girls to know from a young age that they are able to take on leadership roles without the name-calling or being disliked. According to Dedrich, the reason this campaign is so focused on females is because girls and women still have a long way to go in terms of leadership equality. Women are vastly underrepresented in positions of power; for example, only 18 percent of the 113th Congress is comprised of women. According to research that was conducted by Girl Scouts, “bossy” is a term that discourages girls at a young age to lead and by middle school they are less likely to assume leadership positions, which tends to continue into adulthood. The co-founder and president of, a website that supports women in three important ways: community, education and small groups, Rachel Thomas stated in a press release: “There are simple but powerful things we can do everyday to encourage girls to step forward and take the lead. We teach our

I don't really know what it's like to have a spring break in Easter. In my JC [junior college], we started differently, so Easter was just another day. But I think having it before Easter is actually better because you have time to readjust yourself back to the school mode again. That's what my classmates always say. That they like it better. -Feilbe Quintas, junior, Graphic Design major

daughters their multiplication tables; we need to teach them to flex their leadership muscles.” Other public figures have also joined the pledge including Beyoncé Knowles, Michelle Obama, Chelsea Handler, Marc Morial and Geoffrey Canada. This campaign was first announced in March in Parade magazine. However, within a few days the backlash began. Melissa Sher, a contributing writer at HuffPost, stated in her blog, “Instead of having the powerful women talk about ‘banning bossy,’ I would have liked a still simple and hashtag-able campaign such as, ‘#IAmBossy’ or ‘#ThisIsBossy’ or ‘#DontYouWantToBeLikeBeyonce’ or ‘#BossypantsIsOneOfMyFavoriteBooksEver’.” Some women take full advantage of being bossy, especially when trying to get the last laugh, such as Tina Fey in her book, Bossypants. “Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it,” Fey wrote in her book, which was published in 2011. Fey who has had many leadership roles in her career from hosting the Academy Awards to having the lead role in the hit television show 30 Rock takes on issues within her book about female leadership—although instead of banning “bossy,” Fey embraces it. “This is a word that is symbolic of systemic discouragement of girls to lead. We are not just talking about getting rid of a word, even though we want to get rid of a word,” Sandberg said in an in-

TOP LEFT: Paige Smith

I think having spring break dependably in the middle of the semester is especially important for seniors, so that they can plan a real spring break, and not lose it to the end-of-thesemester rush. For courses, it's very helpful to have a block of weeks after the break for real work. -Dr. Christine Kern, English professor

terview with ABC News. “We’re talking about getting rid of the negative messages that hold our daughters back.” Other individuals have even pointed out that the message has a good point but needs a better launching pad. Libby Lowe, a freelance writer and editor said: “It’s a great catch phrase, but I think it kind of misses the opportunity to look at the difference between bossy and leading. Being bossy isn’t necessarily the same thing as being a leader.” While the campaign focuses on young girls, it is important for college students to look at this and be aware of the terms they are using towards young children, whether they are male or female. “Look at leadership as a collaborative effort. Bring the best out of everyone on your team. Know what you are good at and what you don’t know; be honest about it.” Lowe said. “Sometimes you have to be bossy, that’s the reality of it. Someone has to be in charge or everyone will be sitting around going ‘I don’t know, what do you think?’, that is useless.” According to Lowe it is understanding that leadership isn’t about being right, it is about getting the best out of the people you are working with to get to the best results. Courage, confidence and character is part of the Girl Scouts mission and raising leaders no matter what the age to be able to take leadership roles in and out of the office. According to Dedrich, this campaign’s focus is to deliver an important and long-overdue message to girls, parents and communities across the US: that girls are ready and able to lead and should be encouraged to do so.

I didn't like it because my younger sister doesn't get my spring break off, and since I don't live at home, I would like to have the same week off as her to be able to spend time with her. Same goes for other holidays. My family gets it off, and I spend the days alone at home because everyone works. -Lizette Ruiz, junior, Psychology major

# Last year, Carol McPhail of the Alabama news site,, headlined Easter as the “Super Bowl of church attendance” stating that it’s the most attended Sunday of the year for many U.S. churches. But what are the numbers behind that statement? Source: 2013 statistics provided by a CNN article


Percent of Americans who plan to attend church on Easter Sunday this year.

35,000 Number of attendees expected at the 135th White House Easter Egg Roll, scheduled to be held the day after Easter.


Million; Estimated number of dollars to be spent in the U.S. on Easter in 2013.


Million; Number of eggs Americans will purchase to dye and decorate this year. • 9


The Biggest False Alarms of History



The people of APU aren’t the only ones to get a scare from a false alarm or two. As a whole, our world has dealt with its fair share of suspicious backpacks.

By Ashley Cameron October 22, 1855: The Great Disappointment

A young Baptist farmer, William Miller, closely studied the book of Daniel and analyzed the prophecies within. Miller concluded that Daniel 8:14, which reads, “And he said to me, ‘For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state’” refers to a restoration of the Earth from sin. Although the Bible repeatedly says that we cannot know the exact day of Christ’s return (Matthew 24:36, Luke 12:40), Miller used the idea of 2,300 days and with much assurance calculated the exact day Christ would return to Earth: October 22, 1855. Many people joined his beliefs and were soon thrown out of their churches. When the eve of October 22 arrived, the 100,000 individuals went to mountain tops and grave sites eagerly looking to the sky for Christ’s arrival. However, midnight passed and October 23 began, leaving many people disappointed (hence the name) and embarrassed.

June 1980: North American Aerospace Defense Command

NORAD is a combined organization of the United States and Canada that provides aerospace warning and air sovereignty and defense. On June 3 and June 6 of 1980, a computer malfunction caused warning messages to continually flash in U.S. Air Force bases around the country. This malfunction told the 10 • collide • april 2014

Air Force that a nuclear attack was taking place. Pacific Air Forces properly responded and had their planes ready in the air and loaded with nuclear bombs. Luckily, the command posts knew with certainty that it was a false alarm, and the nuclear bombs remained safely in the planes.

Jan. 1, 2000: Y2K

The first day of the millennium provided a different kind of end-ofthe-world prediction. Instead of God’s wrath raining down on the world, our dependence on computers would bring our demise. For months leading up to the New Year, analysts were speculating that the entire computer system would crash. Their reasoning was that most computers were programmed to record only the last two digits of the year, meaning that when the New Year hit, every computer would revert

to 1900. Shockingly, when the New Year hit, our technologically advanced society was still standing.

Dec. 21, 2012: Mayan Calendar Crisis

Many researchers and analysts predicted yet another end-of-theworld prophecy. Because the Mayan calendar promptly ended on Dec. 21, 2012, many people understood this to mean the Mayans were foretelling the end of the world. Though there were many differing beliefs as to how exactly the world would end (aliens, asteroids, God’s wrath, etc.) many strongly believed the end was near. People responded by selling their belongings, creating bunkers, and starting countdowns. Luckily, all those Christmas presents did not go to waste, and we all survived to see another day.

Q: How did theOutsiders start? Garzon - It started four years back. The Lord put it on my heart to start a Bible study for my friends who don’t know about God. I contacted my friends, and there were about 12 of us at our first meeting. We decided to keep going every week and grew from 12 to 30 plus in two to three months. Six months to a year later, it grew to about 70-80 people. It’s a bridge to unite churches and a lot of young people together. God brought the right people, and we created a band for the Bible study. We were requested to lead worship and traveled to different places. Now three years later, we have the EP and are excited for the movement. Q: How did the idea for the EP come about? Garzon – When playing for two years just as a worship band, we were like a cover band. We covered famous worship bands. Then we added Andrew and Josh and started writing and singing as theOutsiders. We decided to do a live EP, and we recorded it in a house. Q: What is your favorite song from the EP? Shoff – I think a lot of us have the same answer. It is a favorite among

Talk Dirty To Me By Alex Scrivner So you threw out your trash and recycled your bottle...then what? Here are some facts to give some context into what happens after you take the trash to the dumpster—where is all the waste is going and what’s being done to re-use and resource it?

TOP LEFT: TheOutsiders


Waste and recycling jobs can be extremely dangerous. In 2008, studies showed that on a national scale there was a higher fatality rate amongst waste and recycling haulers than police officers and firefighters.

theOutsiders, and the crowds of people we play for. “You Are Here” has become the anthem for theOutsiders. It’s like our heartbeat. The girl who wrote it had never written a song before, it’s one of those songs that’s purely God. Garzon – “You Are Here” and “The Highest.” Gomboa – “You Are Here”. It’s just like a song that was truly inspired by the Holy Spirit, not like they all aren’t, but it is the anthem of theOutsiders. Valle – “The Flood”; it’s fun to play. Q: Why a worship band? Is it because of the Bible study? Garzon – We all grew up in church. We all served on the worship team. It was something we were familiar with. Shoff – It was a Bible study first. The band stemmed out of that; we didn’t do it to start recording or to tour. It all kind of happened, people invited us and it just came to be. Q: Do you remember your first event? Garzon- We got invited to play at this little, little church, like a hole in the wall. We were super-excited and got a little team together. We prepared and rehearsed super-hard. Five people were there, and it was an awesome event.

Los Angeles generates 23 million tons of waste and recycling every year and around 10 million tons of that waste goes straight into landfills. Businesses and large apartment complexes output 70 percent of the total waste that the city of LA sends to landfills. Trash haulers are oftentimes unable to redistribute profitable recyclables due to contamination and trash produced juice called leachate. Hazardous leachate is produced at any point a liquid interacts with a contaminated or hazardous material in the trash that is all eventually sorted by human beings alongside machinery.


The capital produced from waste could thrive if it focused more on a recycling economy. Recycling could create 5,000 jobs in LA County alone and for every one waste worker job, five com-

Who’s who? Josh Valle – Electric Guitar Adrian Garzon – Vocalist, Acoustic Guitar Andrew Shoff Vocalist, Pads Christopher “Gamby” Gomboa – Drummer Pablo Navarro – Vocal, Keys Fernando Navarro – Electric Guitar Isaac Anzora – Bass Guitar Melissa Valledares Vocals

posting and 20 recycling jobs could be created. The “Recycling Economy” generates $37 billion in annual wages and $236 billion in annual revenue, employing more than a million people and accounting for 2 percent of the U.S. GDP. A majority of waste could be diverted and re-used if all recyclables including paper, organics, plastic, construction debris, metals, wood, electronics, textiles and glass were properly separated. The county of San Francisco diverts 80 percent of its waste, the county of LA 60 percent, according to 2012 records. In 2011, the U.S. collected 52.8 million tons of recycling and exported a record of more than 23 million tons, according to an Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries report from 2012. About 15.8 million tons of that went to China, which the report said was 23 percent more than in 2010. • 11


Super Jesus to the Rescue By Kimmi Ligh “I could kill you, Preach!” a gang member Nicky declares on the cover of The Cross and the Switchblade. Nicky is holding a knife to the preacher David Wilkerson’s chest. Wilkerson was a Christian evangelist whose stories were turned into a comic book. On the cover, Wilkerson replies: “Yes, you could, Nicky! You could cut me up into a thousand pieces, and every piece will still love you.” Curator Scott Rosen's exhibit, "The Weird World of Religious Comic Books," is on display in the Darling Library Conference Room until May 30. The exhibit displays comic books with themes of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Islam — all collected by Rosen. In the guest book, many people expressed an interest in reading the comic books, rather than looking behind glass. But many of the comic books are old and too fragile or viewers to handle. Exhibit designer Crystal Slaton took some panels from a few comic books and copied them out to display next to the book, which may have helped pique interest. Rosen began collecting religious comic books in 1992, when he explored a comic book show inside a mall in Orange County. He found this first book, Marvel’s Francis, Brother of the Universe about Saint Francis of Assisi, at the show. “I wondered that if there’s this comic, maybe there’s others. And so I started on a quest to find additional books” said Rosen. A comic dealer from Orange county also gave him a stack of religious comic books. Because eBay hadn’t been created yet, the dealer didn’t know what to do with the comics. That’s how Rosen got Hansi: The Girl Who Loved the Swastika, one of Rosen’s favorite 12 • collide • april 2014

religious comic books. Hansi is about a young Czechoslovakian girl who loved the Nazis. She then becomes disillusioned by Nazism and converts to Christianity. In the last pages, while she says the Pledge of Allegiance in America, she reflects on her experiences: “I’m afraid to be emotional about a homeland. I did that once as a Nazi, and I was wrong.” Many of the Christian comic books were very pro American, as demonstrated when Hansi says that America is blessed by God, and so it is alright to love the U.S.A. rather than Nazi Germany. In a guest book, visitors left comments for Rosen. "I remember reading Corrie Ten Boom [a series about the true story of a Dutch Christian who hid Jews during

WWII] and The Cross and the Switchblade comics high in my favorite part of a tree in our yard when I was a girl in the ‘80s. How great to be able to see them again. They inspired my faith when I did not know one other Christian child," wrote Heather Mintosh in the guest book. To some, the idea of religious comic books was a complete surprise. "[I] didn't know people made these! Some were humorous, some weird, some just … interesting," said senior applied health major Cee-Cee Trude. During the 1960s, comics began to present religion in a negative light. The new comics were made for an adult audience, and included sex and drugs. According to Rosen’s short essay posted on the wall about religious comic books, “Books like these were

embraced by members of the counter culture, who rebelled against 'the establishment' and chose the medium of comic books to do so." Books like Jeffrey Dahmer vs. Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ: In the Name of the Gun are some of the books that made fun of Christianity. In Jeffrey Dahmer vs. Jesus Christ, political figures fight with each other as pawns in the battle between God and Satan. In Jesus Christ: In the Name of the Gun, Jesus decides that he doesn't agree with God the Father letting humans suffer on their own. Against the will of the Heavenly Host, he travels through time to beat up or shoot villains from the past. In addition to the books about people such as Mother Teresa, Jesus and the Pope, there are superheroes associated with a religion. Shaloman, a.k.a.

"The Man of Stone," and Captain Israel (who looks like Captain America but with the Star of David as his shield) are some of the Jewish comic superheroes with their own books on display. There is also a more recent comic book called The 99, which was written to defend against negative stereotypes of Muslims after the 9/11 attack. "Scott, this is an incredible collection!" wrote fellow librarian Evelyn Yee. "It should be part of our permanent sp. [special] Collection and covered by the next future successor to Huell Howser!" The exhibit seemed to help students see comic books in a new way, as explained by freshman math major Beth Gruss. "I really enjoyed the exhibit," Gruss said. "Overall, I was surprised by how useful comic books can be.

I enjoyed the historical influences present in the comics. The exhibit reminded me to keep an open mind when it comes to topics that I don't know much about. I had disregarded comic books as childish and without much usefulness."

Did You Know

Hallmark Ring by Spring Hallmark Set to Release “A Ring by Spring”

TOP LEFT: Kimmi Ligh

By Katie Brown Hallmark is taking a cue from private Christian university culture with its new made-for-TV film A Ring by Spring. The film premiered April 6 and follows the story of a young woman who visits a fortune teller and receives a frustrating fortune: if she does not get a ring by spring, she will never get married at all. She finds herself in a race against the clock to find a man before time runs out. Sounds like the average APU senior’s nightmare. • 13

Heaven is for real By Paige Smith

14 • collide • april 2014

Film Still from Heaven is for real • 15

A t four-years-old, Colton Burpo was rushed into an emergency room. The doctors feared that he would not survive. After the surgery he recalled many details including his parents in separate rooms, his dad praying and his journey to heaven. During this journey, he recalls meeting his great-grandfather who had passed away 30 years prior to his birth, meeting his miscarried sister whom no one had told him about and sitting on Jesus’ lap. Colton’s story was brought to life in the No. 1 New York Times best-selling book released in 2010. The book is adapting to the big screen in the new film, Heaven is for Real. Todd Burpo, a pastor of a small Wesleyan church in Imperial, Nebraska, is the author of the book and wrote it based on his son’s recollections of visiting heaven. The film debuted on April 16, in time for Easter weekend. The Book After his appendix burst, four-yearold Colton was rushed to the emergency room for surgery with doubtful doctors suspecting he would not survive. His parents, Todd and Sonja Burpo, made phone calls and asked friends, family and others to pray for their son. After 17 days in the hospital, they had a prayer meeting in the waiting room in the hospital and towards the end, people at the prayer meeting were asking what they could pray for. “The doctor had told us ‘Oh, if he could even pass gas, that would show us things are starting to work,’” said Burpo in an interview with Michael 16 • collide • april 2014

Hyatt, former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. “Sonja said ‘well if you could pray that our son could pass gas.’” Soon he was able to pass gas and his body started working again. The doctors and nurses were in disbelief when he started to get better. A nurse told Burpo that this recovery was a miracle. Since the entire story is based on a miracle, it is easy to be skeptical about what Colton saw. According to Prof. Michael Bruner, miracles are not God’s typical method for making believers out of people. “This whole thing points to why, I believe, Jesus didn’t do miracles in unbelieving towns,” Bruner said. “Because he knew that miracles won’t convince most people anyway, and it draws unwanted attention on the more sensationalist end of the faith, which Jesus was notoriously leery of.” In the story, Burpo’s father is a pastor of a small-town church, so the miracle of his son’s survival was acceptable to the religious community. However, claiming to have gone to heaven, Colton’s story would cause more controversial reactions. In the same interview with Hyatt, Burpo stated that it took four months after the first surgery to begin to grasp the significance of what his son had experienced with going to heaven. When

Joe Roth, one of the top producers in Hollywood, heard about the book before it came out in an interview he read with Burpo in The New York Times. What propelled him to see the book come to life was Todd’s crisis of faith. “The irony that he was a pastor who wasn’t really sure of his own faith, here is what he was doing every day for a living, [and] he wasn’t really quite sure that he believed it himself,” Roth said. Todd had to decide on whether he should keep the story of his son’s vision to the family or if he should tell the locals about it; he chose the latter. This piece of the story appealed to Roth and became the reason he chose to make the film adaptation of Colton’s story and Burpo’s book. Burpo could have lost his job and lost relationships with friends, but he decided to take the journey and believe in his child. Another reason why this film came to the big screen was because according to Roth, “it poses a question everybody asks: What happens when you die?” For Roth this is a question that intrigues everyone and deserves a more in-depth look and conversation. However, there are worries from individuals on how this film will affect the church. “The whole thing makes me nervous, really, and mainly because a lot

“The best stories both capture the imagination and can direct us toward the future – and the kind of stories that require courage to tell. This is one of those stories,” Wallace said. Colton had brought up angels singing to him during his surgery to comfort him, it made his father questionable because they hadn’t talked about angels in Bible studies or as a family. According to Burpo, the earthly revelations that Colton described while in surgery were things that his son couldn’t have made up. The stories and observations that Colton had began to capture Burpo’s attention and thus began the journey of learning more of his son’s story. From Book to Hollywood

of people will write it off as silly Hollywood nonsense and thus implicate the church in the process,” said Michael Bruner, assistant professor in the Department of Practical Theology. In the past few months, many films released have been about religion or stories adapted from the Bible. In the U.S. alone, Noah grossed more than $72 million, God’s Not Dead grossed in excess of $33 million and Son of God grossed more than $59 million. While these films have all made an impact, it will be intriguing to see how biblically

LEFT: TriStar Pictures

Film Still from Heaven is for real

based films will make an impact and close the cycle with Heaven is for Real for the beginning of the year. Hollywood and Religion The part of the book that the parents saw skeptically but healing in their son’s trip to heaven was when he talked to his parents about having met his unborn sister, whom his mother had miscarried years before he and his sister were born. “‘Yeah, she said she just can’t wait for you and Daddy to get to heaven.’” Burpo wrote in Heaven is for Real. “...From that moment on, the wound from one of the most painful episodes in our lives, losing a child we had wanted very much, began to heal.” While this conversation helped make his parents believe, it can still be a difficult story to grasp. Bruner did not read the book but is planning on seeing the film so he can have a conversation with his students and be able to comment intelligently on the film. “The fact that Colton knew about these things could also be an indication that he talked with his uncle about it, or overheard his parents at one point mention it, or heard his old-

er sister say something to one of her friends,” Bruner said. “Or maybe the kid has some kind of ESP (and I’m not being sarcastic). I think we know very little about the mind-to-mind, spirit-to-spirit connection.” While the cast and crew were filming the conversation scene about his miscarried sister people on set were concerned. Margo Martindale from the recent film August: Osage County, who plays a skeptical church board member in the film, was worried about this specific scene. “It was a worry that it would be so controversial with that kind of faith,” Martindale said, in an exclusive interview with Collide. “I don’t know what I want anyone to think but I believe that is between them and God.” Martindale’s character, Nancy, is a traditionalist who had been raised in the church and lost a child. Throughout the film her character is on a journey to understand that God loves her and her son just as much as he loves Todd and Colton. While the film may be tough for people to watch on the subject of neardeath experiences and life after death, questions can still arise such as Mar-

tindale’s character’s own questions. “I’m theologically inclined to be suspicious. But look, God can do what God wants,” said Bruner. “So I’m not going to gainsay this kid’s experience. I just wish, for Colton’s sake mainly, they weren’t making a film out of it.” Cast and Crew Randall Wallace, who wrote the screenplay for the Oscar-winning film, Braveheart and is one of Hollywood’s most sought-after screenwriters, is the screenwriter and director of Heaven is for Real. “The best stories…both capture the imagination and can direct us toward the future – and the kind of stories that require courage to tell. This is one of those stories,” Wallace said. Greg Kinnear, who plays Todd Burpo in the film adaptation of the book, was drawn into the project by the dilemma that the family faced with their son’s story. “What’s interesting is that the events that take place ask Todd to go further than he ever anticipated going, to dig deeper than he had any expectation of doing, and I found that fascinating,” said Kinnear in the • 17

Film Still from Heaven is for Real

18 • collide • april 2014

LEFT: TriStar Pictures

press release for the film. Similar to Wallace’s previous comment on having the courage to tell a story like this, Kinnear wants to show how grace is surrounding all of us in the present and have courage enough to notice it. “Whatever your feelings on the afterlife, I think this film captures the beauty that is all around us through the eyes of this little boy and what he is seeing,” Kinnear said. Kelly Reilly, who is best known for her role as Mary Morstan in Sherlock Holmes, plays Sonja Burpo, Colton’s mother, was immediately drawn to the story. “I was intrigued by how such an extraordinary thing could happen to a very regular family, and then affect them so deeply and change lives on so many levels,” Reilly said. Hope The actors involved with this film don’t expect the journey for moviegoers to be easy. Martindale hopes that viewers will at least explore the possibility and not close their minds, but rather keep open to the story and the idea of heaven. Martindale discussed the film and her hopes for it. Her three main hopes for viewers are simply stated: “[to understand] the possibility of No. 1, the life after death, and No. 2, how to get to that, No. 3,

sion about this.” Like many individuals who walk through their journey of finding God, the cast and crew also have doubts. The film is set to address this and that it’s normal to have doubts. Conversation is just a main part of what the film wants to percolate. “I am a Christian, and I struggle with faith and have doubts and I believe that that happens with a lot of people. I think you don’t have to come down on yourself on that,” Martindale said. The film raises questions not just about heaven but also about who we are as people and the importance of not closing oneself off because of pride. In the press release, DeVon Franklin, executive producer of the film, stated: “In the midst of all the blockbusters and superhero films, I think this film will find a place with audiences because it taps into universal questions: ‘Who are we? What happens after we die? How do we deal with loss?’” While a film, book and other media cannot answer these questions, the film raises the awareness of these questions and those involved are looking to bring hope to viewers. “It’s really about the idea that we just might find out that life is greater than we have ever imagined,” Wallace

just the fact that we can have the idea of what happens in this world with the mystery of God. But for people to keep an open mind and have a real discus-

said. “And that we might not only find love, but we might also find how to give love – that, to me, is the essence of faith.”

Film Review “Haven’t we already had a glimpse of something? In the first cry of a baby, the courage of a friend, the love of a mother or a father?” says character Todd Burpo in the film Heaven is for Real, portrayed by Greg Kinnear. The film depicts a small town family who is struggling financially when a crisis hits: their son is taken into the emergency room for a surgery, with his life at risk and their faith in question. Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, Margo Martindale, Thomas Haden Church and newcomer Connor Corum portray this family and its close friends as they deal with these struggles throughout the film. Kinnear’s character chooses to tell his congregation about his son’s experience, and the real drama begins. Each character struggles as a result of the controversial sermon. The congregation raises the question of whether or not it is appropriate to rely on a child’s vision for an accurate picture of heaven. Corum portrays Colton Burpo, a fun, happy, and innocent young boy who simply tells what he saw of his journey to heaven and provides comic relief to balance out the drama. While the images of heaven may come off as “cheesy” or “unrealistic” to some, the crew did the best they could with depicting Colton’s vision of his trip to heaven; after all, who is to say what heaven is truly supposed to look like? The film demonstrates that it is acceptable, and perhaps even encouraged, to have doubts when it comes to one’s faith. The key is to not allow those doubts to ultimately create a schism between ourselves and God. Heaven is For Real is just one instance where doubt leads to deeper faith. Even from a Christian perspective, there were still some moments that were difficult to process and some ideas that were hard to accept. Doubts rise to the forefront of viewers’ minds, but doubt is not always a recipe for failure. The film raises questions but doesn’t clearly answer them, instead allowing viewers the chance to discuss them and creating a space for more

–Paige Smith • 19


It’s time for the select few glorified college athletes to take the step up to the big-leagues and the step down to that rookie status all over again.

By Taylor Schablaske

20 • collide • april 2014 • 21


hen NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell steps to the podium at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on Thursday, May 8 to announce this year’s first round draft choices, the 32 players selected will embark on a journey, that is, perhaps the biggest game-changer of their lives. The draft is the last step of the long process for each former college player before they reach the NFL. After each athlete has finished his final year of college football, performed in the annual NFL Combine to showcase skills in various drills and tests and then taken part in Pro Days to improve on his Combine performances, all he can do is wait. The moment his name is called he will no longer be a college athlete; instead, he will be a multi-millionaire and a professional athlete, expected to step right into the new team and contribute immediately. With the draft just a few weeks away, let’s take a look at some of the top players with the potential to be drafted in the first round and become NFL superstars.


Johnny Manziel Position: Quarterback College: Texas A&M Build: 5’11” 207 lbs. “Johnny Football” was famously nicknamed during his brief two-year career at Texas A&M in which he became the first freshman in NCAA history to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012. In that season, he threw for 3,706 yards, 26 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,410 yards and 21 touchdowns. He will certainly be one of the first quarterbacks drafted. CBS Sports draft analyst Rob Rang cites his strengths: “Ranks among the 22 • collide • april 2014

more dynamic college football players in recent history. Remarkable maneuverability. Excellent agility and burst, as well as straight-line speed, but what makes Manziel so difficult to contain is his vision.” Manziel’s talent is unquestioned, but many teams are still unsure if he can be the long-term answer at quarterback. Either way he will bring instant excitement to whichever franchise selects him.


Teddy Bridgewater

Position: Quarterback College: Louisville Build: 6’2” 214 lbs. Similar to Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater enjoyed an extremely successful college career while leading the Louisville Cardinals for three seasons under center. During his junior year and his final season at Louisville in 2013, Bridgewater was one of the highest-rated passers in the nation as he threw for 3,523 yards and 28 touch-

TOP LEFT: Creative Commons

During his junior year and his final season at Louisville in 2013, Bridgewater was one of the highest-rated passers in the nation as he threw for 3,523 yards and 28 touchdowns with a rating of 169.7.

downs with a rating of 169.7. Projected by most draft experts as a first-round pick, Bridgewater has the potential to be a top-10 choice. According to draft expert Dane Brugler, his strengths are that he is a mature and grounded individual who obviously loves football, is sharp-witted and retains information extremely well. He makes it look easy on the field and appears to “get it,” elevating the play of those around him.


Sammy Watkins

Position: Wide Receiver College: Clemson Build: 6’1” 211 lbs. One of the most dynamic athletes in the entire country, Watkins will almost certainly be the first wide receiver taken in the draft, possibly in the top five. Watkins made himself a household name during his freshman season at Clemson in 2012 when he was named first team all-American after catching 85 passes for 1,237 yards

and 10 touchdowns. Dane Brugler lists his strengths as sharp footwork off the line of scrimmage to beat press and get vertical with his galloping strides. Watkins has terrific body control and coordination, above average ball skills and a dangerous catch-and-go pass catch, and he will create yardage on his own.


Mike Evans Position: Wide Receiver • 23

Watkins made himself a household name during his freshman season at Clemson in 2012 when he was named first team all-American after catching 85 passes for 1,237 yards and 10 touchdowns.

College: Texas A&M Build: 6’5” 231 lbs. Former high school basketball star Mike Evans, who was Johnny Manziel’s go-to receiver at Texas A&M for the past two seasons, has risen up many draft boards with his impressive size and outstanding Combine numbers. There, he ran a 4.53 40-yard dash and posted a 37-inch vertical leap. Those numbers at 6 feet 5 inches and 231 lbs. will certainly see him drafted in the first round. Also, as a redshirt sophomore in 2013, he 24 • collide • april 2014

caught 65 passes for 1,322 yards and 12 touchdowns. According to Rob Rang, he is a highly physical receiver who uses his size and strength to simply bully defenders and possesses excellent body control and sticky hands to make difficult receptions; he is a deep player and a very effective threat.


Jadeveon Clowney Position: Defensive End

College: South Carolina Build: 6’5” 266 lbs. As one of the most physically impressive athletes in the last decade, Clowney is rated by most as the No. 1 defensive player in the 2014 draft class. At this year’s Combine, he posted one of the most impressive workouts of all time, with a 4.53 40-yard dash, a 37.5-inch vertical leap, and a 10 foot 4 inch broad jump. With his freakish athleticism and terrific size, he will most definitely be taken in the top five. Rang cites


What does APU think? "I would take Johnny Manziel. Despite his off-the-field issues he's a straight up gamer, he wins." senior physical educat–ion major Jake Henderson "I would take Johnny Manziel. Despite his off-the-field issues he's a straight up gamer, he wins." –senior physical education major Jake Henderson “I’m going to say Jadeveon Clowney, most pro ready prospect and pairing him up with Jj Watt will bring fear to AFC QBs for a very long time." –senior history major Nick Grunsky his strengths as an exceedingly rare combination of size, explosiveness, strength, speed and technique. Don’t be surprised to see Clowney come off the board as the first overall pick.

TOP LEFT: Creative Commons


Khalil Mack Position: Outside Linebacker College: Buffalo

Build: 6’3” 251 lbs. Coming from lesser-known Buffalo, Mack has been making a name for himself in recent weeks leading up to the draft. After posting one of the best seasons of any defensive player in the country in 2013 when he recorded 100 tackles, 19 for loss, 10.5 sacks, three interceptions and five forced fumbles, he followed that up with great performances at the Combine, where he recorded a 40-inch vertical leap.

"Johnny Manziel because he won the Heisman trophy when he was a freshman and is the best dual-threat quarterback. He can also showcase his skills on and off the field." –junior applied health major Cory Crawford

Start placing your bets! • 25

The Graduates How walking across the stage can fulfill the American Dream and other myths surrounding higher education

By Arielle Dreher

26 • collide • april 2014

On May 4, Jon Wallace congratulates a 2013 APU graduate • 27


ollege: a quintessential part of the American Dream leading to a job that may lead to wealth and power later in life. This used to be the case. College used to be for the overtly rich and powerful up until the 19th and 20th century when things began to change. Events like the women’s suffrage and the Civil Rights movement pushed racial minorities and women into colleges, and things began to change. Now in the 21st century, the demographics of college and higher education are drastically different. It turns out that people have more access to higher education than ever before. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported on a study done by The National Center for Education Statistics that researched undergraduate postsecondary institution for the 2012 school year. Their research concluded a slight decrease in attendance compared to the 2011 numbers. They found that the total number of undergraduates in 2012 was 18.2 million. Within those numbers, there were five women for every four men. According to the center’s studies, this number has not moved much in the past decade. Race was also factored into the center’s study. They found that at four-year public colleges, Asian women had the highest graduation rate (70 percent), while African-American males had the lowest rate (32 percent). Disturbingly, despite the growth, twothirds of students did not graduate from the community college that they started at within three years—although this might be in part due to early transfers to four-year colleges, which is common for cost-financial reasons. Josh Freedman, a policy analyst for the New America Foundation and a contributing writer at Forbes magazine, studies, researches and writes about American education systems. Freedman wrote recent blog posts for Forbes online about the “Typical College Student.” According to Freedman, the typical college student demographics are changing. “The biggest share of students seeking higher education are ‘nontraditional’ students,” Freedman said. “…We think 28 • collide • april 2014

of college as the Ivy leagues or big state schools, but most of them [colleges attended] are regional public universities and community colleges.” In the 20th century, higher education has advanced due to the GI Bill and the Higher Education Act of 1965 which made college accessible to more people. “It’s [higher education] no longer just reserved for the wealthiest, whitest most prestigious people…a lot more people have the opportunity to attend college in the form of grants, loans and work study programs,” Freedman said. However, even when higher education is made more accessible, the question then becomes, what is the quality of that college education? According to Freedman, time and money are still essential in getting a good education today. “How are you able to enact a broader operation to make sure we can give an education to people who haven’t had it in the past?” Freedman asked. With the gaps in the current structures, the answer to this question is much more complex at its roots. The National Science Foundation also conducted research on higher education in the past years. They cited the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to say that higher education enrollment will continue to increase about 16 percent between 2008 and 2019. They


percent of Asian women graduate from a four year college. This is the highest graduation rate

students were enrolled in some form of college or university, including graduate school and Ph.D programs. Of those students, the breakdown in gender was

“The biggest share of students seeking higher education are ‘nontraditional’ students,” Freedman said. “…We think of college as the Ivy leagues or big state schools, but most of them [colleges attended] are regional public universities and community colleges.” projected the increased enrollment of specific racial and ethnic groups, particularly Hispanic and African-American groups (which are predicted to have enrollment numbers increase by 15 percent each). Despite the progress and access to education that is expected in the coming years, there is still concern for the widening gaps formed by such growth. Nothing spells out the gaps more clearly than the Department of Education’s reports on higher education that came out in 2012.* In 2012, 19,930,000

57 percent female and 43 percent male students. The demographics of those males in higher education displays the racial inequality still present in higher education. 6,392,000 of the 8,602,000 males enrolled were white. 1,152,000 African-American males and 700,000 Asian males were enrolled. In other words, 74% of males in undergraduate and postgraduate programs are white. Despite the apparent “progress” made, Freedman acknowledged that education is not nearly as diverse as we want it to be. Elite universities are

Above: Females make up of the majority of higher education Left: The graph indicates the percentages of enrolled students in 2012. 19,993,000 were enrolled

still heavily dominated by people from wealthier families, and Pell grants can only help certain individuals who come from very low-income families (who have $30-60,000 annual incomes). The class divisions are not distinct from the racial statistics of postsecondary education, and solutions to solving the racial gap in colleges is going to have to involve class division issues. Another gap of interest is the overwhelming enrollment of females compared to their employment status after graduation. Only 1 million males were recorded to be in graduate programs in 2012, while there were 1,432,000 women in graduate programs. Assuming higher education, particularly graduate school work, leads to a full-time job and career, the employment statistics should reveal more women in full-time employment. However the numbers tell a different story. 66,247,000 males were employed full-time in 2012. Only 49,487,000 women were. In other words, 57 percent of the full-time employment world is male-dominated—even though females held that 57 percent figure in higher education. Where is there a disconnect? Why in the 21st century is the gender gap still blatantly obvious?

The gender gap in regards to career aspiration was a major aspect of research conducted by psychology professors, Dr. Annie Tsai and Dr. Chong Ho Yu, and students, Katie Vasseur and Sam Vaudrey. Their study looked at gender role ideology and religiosity as it affected career aspiration on college students in both public and private universities. Using a quantitative and data analysis approach, 461 students were surveyed, and the results were staggering. Not only was gender a large factor in career aspiration but religious affiliation was as well. The study concludes: “Results show that gender role ideology is a significant predictor of career aspiration, but only for women. The more egalitarian a woman is in her ideology, the more likely she is to have high career aspiration. It is interesting that men’s career aspiration was not predicted by their gender role ideology.” This might explain the 57 percent discrepancy. Women are more likely to be influenced by the gender ideology sewn into society, or even play to a religious stereotype of their gender. Senior psychology majors Vasseur and Vaudrey have presented the findings at a few conferences this year. Vasseur was disheartened by the results of the study.

“It is not encouraging to see that women like myself at this institution are not seeking ambitious career goals with their degrees,” Vasseur said. “It is indicative of much deeper societal issues, from my perspective.” It seems that the Christian universities should be at the forefront of a movement to create equality in higher education, but unfortunately, the numbers are not in our favor. “I wish that it was not assumed in our social spheres that women would have to choose between work or family. I wish that Christian circles would speed up and catch up to the progression of society when it comes to the topic of women in the workplace,” Vasseur said. Race, gender and class are still playing a major role in how higher education functions. Sure we’ve made “progress,” but is that all we can hope for? It’s time for the Christian universities to be at the forefront of a change—not progress. Let’s now stop talking about the numbers, and start talking about change. It turns out that “the ratio” and APU’s attempts at diversity are actually reflective of a greater reality in higher education: it’s time for tangible change. • 29



DREAM ACT With 2014 becoming a big year for immigration legislation, APU’s Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science national honor society, held the Immigration Reform Forum in LAPC on March 25, where four faculty members, a group of students and two activists came together to exchange ideas. The forum discussed old and recent legislation changes concerning immigration as well as their thoughts on the newest state version of the DREAM Act, which stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors. On March 17, the DREAM Act was defeated in New York. Promotion of the act continues to spread throughout the states however, with 15 of the 50 states enacting a version.

By Allison Thompson

30 • collide • april 2014


he DREAM Act provides permanent conditional residency to immigrants of good moral character who graduated from U.S. high schools, came to the U.S. as minors and lived here for at least five years prior to the act’s enactment. Since the first introduction of the proposed bill in August 2001, there have been several versions that Congress and other political leaders have tried to pass. Different variations of the DREAM Act have been proposed in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Previously, the last major legislative immigration change occurred in 1968, which granted amnesty for undocumented immigrants that had been in the U.S. for a while. It also placed limitations on employers so that immigrants were not underpaid or overworked. Most recently, the DREAM Act has dominated immigration conversation. Dr. Bryan Lamkin, professor of history at APU, spoke first on the panel by providing background on immigration legislation since the Civil War. He discussed how immigration has changed and been renewed numerous times, and how it affects the number of people who come to the U.S. to begin new lives. “The DREAM Act attempts for younger people to have an education and serve in the military,” Lamkin said. Several members of We the People Rising, a grassroots volunteer network aiming to influence “institutions of political corruption” through activism, attended the forum. Robin Hvidston, the executive director, spoke on the panel and received cheers and “amens” from the member-filled audience. “There are activists in the audience, demonstrating that we are boots on the ground,” Hvidston said. “...we are people that show up, and this is an example.” Hvidston provided statistics to prove her position that immigration laws should remain enforced and unchanged. She stated that more than 22 million Americans are unemployed and underemployed and could be

given jobs that are currently held by immigrants, both legal and illegal. We The People Rising works through counter-rallies, phone calls and Internet social networking. “We are firm believers in humanity and we say to the world, ‘Stand up in your home country, do not come to the U.S. illegally,’” Hvidston said. “We are a great nation because we are a nation of laws.” Li Kou, a member of We The People Rising, also spoke on the panel and told her story. She is an immigrant from Laos who moved to the U.S. with her family when she was young. “We grew up respecting this nation,” Kou said. “We are grateful we came to a place where there are laws, peace and order.” As a legal immigrant, Kou is against illegal immigrants who may not “respect the nation” the same way. Kou

“I know ‘progressive’ is put after my name tonight, but I prefer to call myself ‘biblical,’” Thorsen said. Thorsen believes that the best policies about immigration can be found in the Bible. He provided verses about immigrants, including Leviticus 19:33-34 and Numbers 9:14. He also discussed advocacy based on Luke 4:17-19 and Matthew 25:44-46 and hospitality in Hebrews 13:2-3. He provided the audience with a copy of his essay titled “Immigration, Scripture and the Need for Reformation.” “When Christians welcome aliens/ foreigners/strangers, they believe they welcome Jesus,” Thorsen wrote in his essay, explaining that immigrants should be welcomed into the country because Jesus encouraged hospitality and allowing others to come into homes and cities. “There should be a rejection of pol-

“We are firm believers in humanity and we say to the world, ‘Stand up in your home country, do not come to the U.S. illegally,” Hvidston said. “We are a great nation because we are a nation of laws.”

said she learned about America from veterans and senior citizens, and realized that “they built this country.” “My great love comes from seeing how much older generations served in this nation; they never complained about what they had to do for this nation,” Kou said. She began working with We The People Rising to combat the 2011 bill that would give college funding to illegal college-age immigrants. Kou thought it was unfair because children of veterans were still struggling to receive funding for college, yet the bill would provide tuition funds to illegal immigrants. “A nation without borders is a not a sovereign land,” Kou said. Dr. Don Thorsen, a professor of theology at APU, disclosed his view on the immigration discussion by relating it to what Jesus said about foreigners.

icies that are hurtful toward people, families and toward important values as a Christian and as an American,” Thorsen said. Dr. Daniel Palm, professor and chair of the Department of History and Political Science at APU, then spoke about the implications that birthrates and immigration will have on the country. He compared the U.S. to Germany, Canada and Mexico, which are similar to America in certain respects but maintain different immigration laws and restrictions. Another professor of political science and the new dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dr. Jennifer Walsh, presented information concerning Constitutional restrictions on immigration and other related political restrictions. “Patriotism is a theme that runs through our immigration debates, and • 31

Long Island Students gather together to their support for the Dream Act

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LEFT AND TOP RIGHT: Gregg Easterbrook

I think a lot of that comes from our American heritage,” Walsh said. “We have the opportunity to look at this as a political community.” Walsh discussed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which addressed concerns about border security, issues about pathways to citizenship, whether minors could become citizens and how to prevent employers from hiring and taking advantage of illegal immigrant workers. “Since that time, we’ve had ongoing conversations about its effectiveness,” Walsh said. “We do now spend more on border security, and its been increased even more after 9/11.” An angry roar erupted from the

Obama supporters expected. Walsh also provided some background information and current updates on the Dream Act. On June 15, 2012, President Obama said he would stop deporting young illegal immigrants who matched certain criteria under the proposed Dream Act. Then, in August 2012, a new program titled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals began accepting applications of young immigrants who could receive deferred action concerning their legal status. The New York State Senate recently rejected the Dream Act, which would have allowed undocumented immigrants to receive state tuition aid.

audience when Walsh discussed the White House’s stance on immigration. “President Obama campaigned with a forgiving immigration stance, but he has been more strict than the Bush administration,” Walsh said. She continued by saying that the current deportation rate is higher now than it was during the Bush administration, which is the opposite of what

California, Texas, Washington and New Mexico currently extend student aid to undocumented students. However, only 15 states allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates at universities, according to The Washington Post. California contains the greatest number of potential DREAM Act beneficiaries: an estimated 500,000 stu-

dents. California signed the first phase of the Dream Act into law on October 21, 2001, titled AB540, allowing undocumented students to receive in-state tuition. California later passed part one and part two of the Dream Act: part one, effective January 2012, enabled undocumented students to apply for privately-funded scholarships and part two, effective January 2012, allowed the same students to apply for the Board of Governor’s Fee Waiver, institutional aid and Cal Grants. A student asked the panel about whether the deportation of illegal immigrants or the continuation of the agricultural community should take precedence. Hvidston said that there are 22 million Americans looking for jobs, so the agricultural industry should look to employ American labor instead of “exploitive cheap labor.” After the panel speakers finished speaking, Walsh said that the forum was meant to focus on conversations between students and panel members. As a result, the activists in the audience had to wait to speak with the panelists. Walsh also mentioned several times that it was “a discussion, not a debate,” trying to discourage the audience from debating legislation changes and political views. This discussion opened up the topic of immigration and the Dream Act to APU students, faculty and local activists. The passage of various versions of the Act continues to spread throughout the state. Accordingly, immigration legislation will continue to be a hotly discussed conversation in the public discourse in the months and years to come. • 33

TEACH FOR AMERICA What A Corps Member Can Do That a Corporation Can’t By Alex Srivner

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“One day all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education” –TFA mission


ou are about to graduate from a university and there is nothing more appealing than finally being able to put into practice the accredited reserve of knowledge you have gained. You could say that you are “objectively” smart and hard-working due to your earned soon-to-be-graduate social status. Another scenario is it’s been years since you were engrossed in college life and are now earning a steady income. You have started your own business, or you clock in at your desk job every day and through the routine you consider yourself a “good person.” In 1989, Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp proposed in her Princeton senior thesis that the intersectionality of these lives could be used to eradicate systemic inequalities in the education system. Since then, an increasing amount of individuals sift through the options and choose to apply to be a corps member of Teach for America, going against the odds of being selected as one of the 10,000-11,000 of an average 100,000 applicants selected per year. Once chosen, he or she then dedicates two years to the TFA movement, to theoretically alleviate what TFA calls a “solvable problem.” Part of the problem, however, is that most people who enter the corps has little experience or previous knowledge of how deeply embedded this problem is and has been throughout the nation, so concrete yet unseen like cracks in the sidewalks we walk on daily. On March 21, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released its first comprehensive analysis of every public school in the country in 15 years. The Civil Rights Data Collection represents 49 million students in the U.S., and the numbers make the reality of the problem transparent. The key findings in this study show higher rates of suspension among 36 • collide • april 2014

black and Latino students in comparison with their white peers, beginning as early on as preschool (if a public preschool is even accessible in the student’s district). 40 percent of public school districts do not offer preschool. Of the districts that do, barely half are available to all of the students of the district. Black students represented 18 percent of preschool enrollment, but 42 percent were suspended once and 48 percent suspended more than once. 81 percent of Asian-American high school students and 71 percent of white high school students attend schools where a full range of math and science courses are offered (i.e., Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II, calculus, biology, chemistry, physics) and less than half of American Indian and Na-

“They can have my job, I don’t belong here, I’m the outsider,” said Varela, “I don’t belong in this school because the people from their community belong in this school—these kids can equip their own communities.” tive-Alaskan students have access to a full range of math and science courses offered. Black students (57 percent), Latino students (67 percent), students with disabilities (63 percent) and English Language Learner students (65 percent) have less access to this full curriculum. One in five high schools lack a school counselor. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement to the study that “it is clear that the United States has a great distance to go to meet our goal of providing opportu-

nities for every student to succeed.” Critics and those in the education system would say it has been clear, and many outside voices would wonder what and who have actually been working to meet this American goal. The praxis and methodology of TFA can often earn honorable mention in arguments of what inhibits education reform and what needs to be reformed overall due to their increasing initiatives to work with charter schools and majority selection of corps members coming from privileged and predominantly white schools (the founder did graduate from Princeton). In the recent years, headlines have read “I Quit TFA,” “The Hidden Curriculum of Liberal Do-Gooders,” and so forth. Normally, the arguments against TFA seem to stay standing if and when challenged. Concerning TFA’s financial resources, Reuters found that one of its biggest grant donors is the Walton family, the beneficiaries of a corporation credited with keeping millions in poverty due to treatment of its Walmart workers. Reuters also found that the fact that TFA receives a portion of its funding from public money that “could be better spent at a time when schools are laying off teachers and cutting academic programs” is especially a concern for

union and community leaders. Many analyses also decry TFA for pushing a model of privatization and slowly scraping away any hopes of strengthening the public education system. These arguments illuminate a contradiction that exists between TFA’s mission and the system in which it operates. However, with the recent shifts made in TFA’s recruitment and placement of corps members, it could be doing exactly what it proclaims to do for students, just not by traditional or previously expected standards and terms.

TOP CENTER: NewYork Post

The Corps Member

Veronica Varela, B.A. liberal studies of APU 2012, will soon be completing her first year with TFA in Los Angeles, Calif. Varela, from Yucaipa, Calif., is not the negatively stereotyped corps member, since she has been committed to becoming a teacher since she was 5 years old and identifies as non-white. Her presence in TFA defies the stereotype given that all corps members of the program are white students from wealthy backgrounds and use TFA to boost their credentials. Varela, like many new corps members, was placed in a charter school; the school is called Hybrid High, located directly in downtown. She doesn’t see her role as strength-

ening the public education system but instead seeks to re-innovate how the system operates in order to best meet the needs of “her kids.” She sees charter schools as the answer. “At this charter school these people are desperately committed to doing what they can to change the lives of these kids, and we’re persistently changing our model and changing how we do things,” said Varela. “When I think about the public education system and the bureaucracy of LAUSD, [it] does not do that.” Charter schools, though still publicly funded, operate as a businesses and are privately managed. With public funds, many charter schools are still serving the students who would be taken in by the public school system. At Hybrid High, 68 percent of the student body is Hispanic, 24 percent African-American, 5 percent identify as Other and 3 percent Caucasian. Of the student body, 94 percent receive free lunches which denotes that their family’s economic status is below the federal poverty line. At this school a model of “hybrid learning” has been established that emulates a model where students spend half of the time in an instructional lecture and the other half independently on an online learning module. Even the classrooms are set up differently than a typical class so as to facilitate individual learning preferences for the students. The rooms are sectioned according to whether a student wants to be working in a group with other students, by oneself, or with the teacher’s guidance. As for what TFA does to counterbalance racial inequality in the education system, Varela confirms TFA’s 2015 growth plan “to place a particular priority on recruiting and developing

individuals who share the racial and economic backgrounds of our students.” “I wouldn’t be a part of this if it wasn’t the case,” said Varela.


Conversations facilitated by TFA in bi-monthly regional meetings typically focus on issues of systemic racism and critical pedagogy—dialogue which is already articulated daily through interactions with fellow school staff, with students and with the hurdles the teachers slam up against when working on improvement and change for a student’s education. “I think I have spent a lot of time around white people who don’t recognize their privilege and once they do recognize their privilege, they get stuck in guilt, but guilt is not the end of the story,” said Varela.“The people I have met through TFA are slowly moving towards solidarity so that it’s not, ‘I feel bad about this or feel bad for you,’ but, ‘I am in solidarity with you.’” The number of TFA corps members dispersed throughout the country has exponentially grown since its founding, and has the intent of growing further. Varela, however, along with her other staff members hope that individuals such as themselves won’t be the ones to educate the communities TFA operates in for the next generations to come. The hope is that their students now, through the help of TFA, will be the ones who return to be the educators within their own communities. “They can have my job, I don’t belong here, I’m the outsider,” said Varela, “I don’t belong in this school because the people from their community belong in this school—these kids can equip their own communities.” One should be critical of TFA, just as the corps members who embody it are while in the program. However, if one follows the rabbit trail long enough, the name “Teach for America” turns into faces like Veronica Varela who couldn’t wait for an organization or government program to come along in order for there to be a “better” way to work towards education reform. TFA is the only organization of its kind on a national level that is active in low-income schools in the way it is, and on a national level, the kids can’t wait. • 37

GOLD RUSH HOUR How the Gold Line has changed the San Gabriel Valley’s system of transportation for good By Lauren Duran

Photos by Allison Thompson

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Welcome to Los Angeles a city filled with diverse cultures, wide ranging social classes, abundant food options, famous attractions and traffic …. a lot of traffic. Once inside the heart of the city, the amount of cars and road rage of LA drivers can’t be missed. Drivers weaving in and out trying to rush from one location to another, accidents backing up the freeway and bumper-to-bumper traffic can almost always be expected. Over the years, city officials have taken it upon themselves to clear up the congested streets by participating in many different forms of public transportation such as: taxis, private car services, bikes, public buses and even light rails. Among these light rails, is the Gold Line, built in 2003, stretching 19.7 miles from Pasadena to East LA and currently serving 21 different stations. The original Gold Line ran between Union Station and Pasadena and in 2009 it was extended to Atlantic Boulevard. Today it also serves Little Tokyo, Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles. Now, five years later, it is being extended even farther from the existing Pasadena terminus to Azusa and eventually to Montclair. The first phase of the extension, known as Phase 2A, will extend the light rail 11.5-miles. It will be completed in September 2015 and will include stations in Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa. Following Phase 2A is Phase 2B, which will continue building East through Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona, Claremont and Montclair. The new Metro Rail extension offers speedy transportation, environmental benefits, employment opportunities and economic development all throughout the San Gabriel Valley. Currently, the Gold Line serves nearly 42,000 passengers a week through its 43 rail cars and more than 1 million passengers per month. The majority of passengers are middle-class men and women who travel on the light rail up to five times each week. Many of these passengers are 40 • collide • april 2014

commuting to or from work, and rely on public transportation to avoid freeway traffic or because they simply do not own a car. Although a lot of time and effort has been put into this billion dollar project, there have been complications for the residents of Los Angeles and the Gold Line’s most active users. In January 2011, Metro attempted to make its bus system better by proposing several bus service changes in LA. This meant cutting back on service hours for multiple routes in Westside cities, San Fernando Valley, Gateway cities, South Bay, San Gabriel Valley and the Expo Bus-Rail. These changes were to be implemented in June 2011. “The proposed service changes under consideration will help to optimize service levels to demand and will result in reducing wasteful and underutilized service,” said Metro officials.

“The replacement of the 30 and 31 bus lines with the Gold Line subway has meant many more blocks of walk time, which doesn’t work well for the elderly and disabled (or anyone with time constraints).” Those who disagreed with the service cuts did not hold back from expressing their opinions and frustrations with Metro’s decision. A protester shared concern with CBS2, stating: “The vast majority of these cuts are going to affect the profoundly poor in this city and the working-class people. We will never see economic recovery in South LA or anywhere else without access to quick, efficient transportation.” Today, nearly three years later, Los Angeles residents had time to recover from past frustrations, even though some active Gold Line users still experience minor complications. The Gold Line is currently the

“What I liked is the idea that when you’re sitting on the freeway, you’re sitting in traffic and as you look around you see one person in each car. I thought to myself, why don’t we just all get in one car and travel together? That’s what you can do with a bus, or in this case, the Metro Link.” -David McGill, According to Metro, the previous bus system was problematic, as there were too many bus lines with excessive services, neglected maintenance issues and deprived attention to schedules. They also wanted to make sure the agency’s other buses or rails were being utilized to their full extent, as they were currently operating with some buses at only 42 percent of capacity. In June 2011, the changes were implemented and many low-income downtown LA residents expressed their displeasure because they were dependent on public buses to get them to work, or any other destination, on time. After many negative responses from active users, Metro assured loyal customers that they would be striving for better quality of service, less duplication of services, coordination with other transit operations and more efficient integration of the rail and bus services. In 2011, LA Weekly explained,

slowest of Metro Rail’s lines, averaging just 21 mph, whereas other light rails in LA reach speeds up to 38 mph. This has caused a problem for riders since many take advantage of this system to avoid the time it takes to get through heavy LA traffic. Currently, travel from East Los Angeles to Pasadena via Gold Line takes about 40-50 minutes (not including the wait time to board the light rail), whereas driving takes an average of 20-30 minutes, depending on traffic. Matthew M., a Redondo Beach resident, took to Yelp to express his feeling about the speed of the Gold Line stating, “It seems to move far too slow.” For others, the limited amount of stops is an inconvenience. First-time rider Matthew Tammaro shared, “[It is] a nice change to driving everywhere, but come on LA...worst public transit ever.” When asked why he felt this way, Tammaro shared that the light

The Gold Line is currently the slowest of Metro Rail’s lines, averaging just 21 mph, whereas other light rails in LA reach speeds up to 38 mph. • 41

Aside from those minor problems, oftentimes the buses are crowded and force passengers to stand in congested aisles or wait for a car with enough space.

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rail is “so limited in [the] area it covers.” Aside from those minor problems, oftentimes the buses are crowded and force passengers to stand in congested aisles or wait for a car with enough space. Although seating arrangements are not always ideal, this remains the best mode of transportation for some. For those who live outside LA, the light rail is convenient. Krista Brennan, a Pasadena resident, responded in an online questionnaire saying, “I don’t use Gold Line for [my] daily commute, but rather periodic trips to Downtown L.A. … It’s clean, easy to use, and gets me to where I need to go.” Like Brennan, many residents outside Los Angeles enjoy using the light rail to get into the city quickly, and for a low price. With gas prices hitting nearly $4 a gallon, the Gold Line is a practical way for riders to save money traveling in and out of LA. A single ride fare costs $1.50 and a day pass costs $5. Riders can buy a ticket before boarding the light rail, or avoid lines by loading funds on to a TAP card which is a durable reusable card with an electronic chip that holds funds for Metro buses and light rails.

Nic W., an Arcadia resident, shared his appreciation for the Gold Line in a Yelp review stating, “Quick, easy and CHEAP. For $1.25 you get all the way down to Union Station from Pasadena. Unbelievable!” In anticipation of the riders’ needs, Albert Ho, a member of the extensions Media Relations team, shared that the new light rail and the current bus systems will compliment each other. Although there are a limited amount amount of stops (as Tammaro shared) the extensions team is working alongside cities and bus providers, “to review their current system to make adjustments and improve the bus routes once the Gold Line opens.” With the light rail and bus system in sync, riders will be able to reach their destinations quicker. Not only does the light rail benefit its riders, it is also beneficial to the environment. The light rail helps to reduce pollution and our carbon footprint. According to the American Public Transportation Association when public transportation is utilized, “over four billion gallons of gasoline are saved and 37 million metric tons of carbon monoxide emissions are avoid-

ed.” Riders are able to get where they need to go, and help save the planet all at the same time. APU art and design professor, David McGill, shared his previous experiences with the Gold Line. “I was a commuter for four years commuting to LA. What I liked is the idea that when you’re sitting on the freeway, you’re sitting in traffic and as you look around you see one person in each car. I thought to myself, why don’t we just all get in one car and travel together? That’s what you can do with a bus, or in this case, the Metro Link.” Although McGill is no longer commuting to LA for work, the new extension will allow him and many other residents of nearby cities the opportunity to utilize the Gold Line’s updated services. With plans for the extension on schedule and on budget, the extension is now over 50 percent completed and expected to be ready by September 2015. Residents of Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa now have something to look forward to as they will have a convenient, inexpensive, environmentally friendly mode of transportation to Pasadena or Downtown LA any day of the week.


How the Internet is turning strangers into friends.

By Kimmi Ligh


s a fiction writer, I am always looking for new platforms for writing stories, and a few years ago, I found a community on Tumblr, a blogging and social networking site, that writes together almost 24/7. Someone started a chat room so we could talk about what we’re writing, but we also talked about what was going on in our lives and about our shared interests. On our Tumblr site, we write a series of short stories that take place in the same fictional world. Each individual generally only writes for the characters he or she creates. So while a friend and I can be writing one short story with our characters piece by piece, another two friends can write about something else, sometimes referencing what happened in the other ongoing story. The group develops writing skills and creates a social environment at the same time. One of my characters had a brother that was written by a young woman named Marisa, and she and I became friends. Our fictional characters drew us together into a genuine friendship. I pulled my first all-nighter writing and talking to her. When I got back from a missions trip in Mexico, she was the first one I called to talk to about it. We adopted each other as family, not just in our characters’ relationships but in our own lives as well. Last summer, I flew across the country to visit Marisa in Florida. We had never met in-person, but we had been writing stories together on Tumblr for a year. Even though we were 2,500 miles away, we had talked each other through difficult times like panic attacks and deaths in the family, so I trusted her. Interestingly enough, I 44 • collide • april 2014

“real life.” A study commissioned by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust found that the average social networker has 121 online friends to every 55 “physical” friends, which is actually 2.2 times more online friends than face-toface ones. Furthermore, the study found that 1 in 10 people met their best friends online. "People [are] recognising that they can develop deep, meaningful connections with others that they've never met, and may never meet,” said clinical psychologist Helen Oxley. Regarding the group of friends I write with, whenever we're on the computer, we get on Skype and talk to each other. There are more than 20 of us, so there's always someone online with whom to talk. Jessica Vitak, in her study and thesis, “Facebook ‘Friends’: How Online Identities Im-

pact Offline Relationships,” analyzes the work of sociologist Barry Wellman. Wellman observed that in online communities, going out of one’s way to help strangers is encouraged and often rewards. Everyone, even the people who are newer to my writing group, are both helpful and supportive. Sometimes it's easier to be closer to your Internet friends. Because we share common interests, we get to pass all those awkward introductions and often instantly become friends. I keep Skype up on my computer while I do homework, so I can talk to people while I work. If I need to concentrate, I can simply silence Skype and focus. Thus, not only can I talk to my friends anytime I want but I can choose not to talk to them without an excuse, and no one gets insulted. The study from the Cystic Fibrosis Trust pointed out that the Internet helps people with illnesses who often can’t go physically visit and make friends. I get sick a lot, but I don’t have to worry about infecting people online. Of course, friends you can interact with in person are important, and my best friends are the people I have met and know at APU. But for people who are shy or don't have many friends or are stuck at their computer doing homework, Internet friends can provide human interactions that all people need in their lives. The stranger danger stigma associated with online friendships should not exist. With current technology, thousands of miles can't keep people from developing close, meaningful relationships. Kimmi Ligh is a junior English major who enjoys writing fiction and her time spent studying aboard in Oxford this past fall.

TOP RIGHT: Arielle Dreher

Stranger Danger?

was not afraid of Internet stranger danger or afraid that maybe she was lying about who she was. I guess it might sound pretty weird to fly across the country on your own to spend a few days living with a person you've never met. Internet friendships are still something to be wary of, especially for young teenagers who may have not yet developed good judgment. But as a young adult, I would argue that true friendships made with people online are just as valuable and safe as friendships made face-to-face. The Telegraph reports that typical users of social networking sites have twice as many online friends than in




More Stories. Exclusives. The Archive. Venture & Digest Blogs. Meet The Staff. • 45 • 46

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