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Field Hockey Wins Academic Recognition »Page 2

Got Interests?

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Talent for a Cause

The first-ever Kean's Got Talent doubled as an exhilarating event and worthy fundraiser Marcus Van Diver


TUESDAY | APRIL 17 | 2018

Homeruns For Hector

Help raise money for a charitable cause

Staff Writer

n the evening of Thursday, April 5, over a dozen of Kean University's most talented and artistically gifted students made their way to the Miron Student Center (MSC) Little Theatre in the first-ever Kean's Got Talent talent show. From 7 to 10 p.m., amazingly talented students wooed the crowd with their creative songs, dance routines, poems, raps and other unique talents for a great cause.

Kieffer Braisted Staff Writer

The night, hosted by Kean's Silver Leadership Institute, was dedicated to the Children's Specialized Hospital. Each ticket sold was a special donation to the hospital as a precursor to the Kean Dance Marathon (KDM), a 12-hour dance festival for the Children's Specialized Hospital taking place on Friday, April 20. Cupcakes, cookies and other bakery treats for a bake sale, a station for card-making for the hospital's patients and a large spinning wheel with winnable prizes were on a table that students turned their admission tickets into. Those in attendance were also handed a red raffle ticket as winners were granted gift baskets throughout the night. The rhythmic beats of DJ Nix in the Mix filled the room with sounds of the most popular hip-hop and pop songs which had the crowd of students jumping, singing and dancing as they took their seats. The official emcees of the night made their introductions to the crowd after the mix concluded. Marius Price, a sophomore psychology major and the vice president of Nu Delta Pi; and Ashanti Lyking, a sophomore biology major and a student ambassador at the Admission's Office led the charge in being the emcees for the night, introducing each act as they set foot on the stage among the audience members waiting for the show to begin.

Courtesy of Paige Bollman

The Kean Leadership Institute hosted Kean's Got Talent to raise money for The Children's Specialized Hospital

"One of my favorite things about events like these is that it is a great way for people to show face as everyone gets involved," Price said. "There are no different organizations, but everyone is just here for one goal for the kids." The Kean Gospel Choir were introduced first and performed a phenomenal rendition of "Total Praise" getting the entire audience to their feet in a euphoric two minutes of praise.

The choir knew the whole meaning of the night was to raise money for the kids, and they did just that. "I think this was such a great event to bring everyone together to have fun," said Danielle Thomas, a junior majoring in graphic design and the president of Kean Gospel Choir. "This night gave the students a taste of what is to come [for KDM], and it opened their eyes to how much


New president reflects on his past and future in Student Organization Zoe Strozewski

The event, taking place on Thursday, April 19 from 6-10 p.m. in Harwood Arena, will help raise money for the Hector Gomez Scholarship Fund, a program dedicated to rewarding Athletic Training students at Kean.

Anyone without a team should not fear. Signups are being accepted until the day-of, and any singular players will be placed on a team either randomly or by choice. In order for applicants to qualify for the scholarship, one must be a sophomore or junior majoring in Athletic Training. A minimum 3.0 GPA and proven financial need are also required.

Staff Writer

s of April 5, Kean’s Student Organization has a new president-elect. Francisco Reyes was named president of the board for the 20182019 school year with 78.46 percent of the vote after the election period that took place from April 3 to April 5.

A former Marine Lance Corporal, Hector Gomez was a sophomore at Kean majoring in athletic training. Tragically and unexpectedly, his life was taken in a car accident over spring break in 2014.

Reyes is a junior communications major with a concentration in film. He was inspired to run for this position after serving as the vice president of the organization for the 2017-2018 school year turned out to be an exceedingly valuable experience for him.

Committed to remembering the accomplished and horrifically short life of Hector, this annual tournament aims to help those who are now in the shoes Hector once wore.

“I'm surrounded by so many great, hardworking people that they have made me want to come back and be a part of something special,” Reyes said. "Everyone shares the common goal of wanting to bring some sort of change and positive impact to our university. I share that same passion.”

Prizes will be awarded to the winning team! More information is available on CougarLink in the "events" section.

As the sitting vice president of the Student Organization, Reyes feels that his past experiences and the people he has had the opportunity to work with have helped prepare him for this new role. “I watched and studied our current president. I was able to take mental notes and see all of the responsibilities that comes with holding that important position,” Reyes said.

Home Runs for Hector is a great opportunity to help raise money for a charitable cause and perhaps kick a couple of home runs.

At $5 a player, the event provides an affordable opportunity for an entire night of fun. Teams will consist of 7 to 9 players.

Reyes Takes The Lead



ickball is a childhood sport that creates memorable moments. Now, the opportunity to showcase these skills is coming to Kean.

Francisco Reyes, junior communications major with a concentration in film, is the newly elected Student Organization president for the 2018-2019 academic year.

He also noted that his current role has allowed him to come to know the students well, which is an advantage in getting the best feedback possible from the school.

important. It gives people the confidence to come up to me and feel free to voice any concerns or ideas they have,” Reyes said.

“I will be a familiar face to many people on campus, which I think is very


Make Sure To Get Your Copy

Pass by The Cougar's Byte table for a picture and a copy

A Leadership and Service Publication for the Kean University Student Community

Those with any questions about both the scholarship fund or tournament are encouraged to contact president Brooke Mackie at

Kieffer Braisted, sophomore communication major, is a member of The Cougar’s Byte staff.


TUESDAY | MARCH 20 | 2018



Miron Student Center, room 215 1000 Morris Avenue • Union, NJ 07083 P: 908-737-5179 • F: 908-737-5175 • The Cougar’s Byte is a leadership and service newsletter where you will find up-to-theminute information on all things related to student life at Kean University. A student news publication that features University events and student activities and accomplishments, The Cougar’s Byte strengthens the overall experience of students by immersing them in the complete college culture. By increasing awareness of all aspects of campus life, students can utilize everything Kean has to offer, while networking and paving the path for their academic and social development. Published every other Tuesday during the regular academic year, The Cougar’s Byte can be viewed both online, at, and in print, distributed biweekly to over 15 campus locations on the Union and Ocean campuses of Kean University. The Cougar’s Byte welcomes Letters to the Editor, calendar events, event news and information, articles, story ideas, artwork and digital photo submissions. To learn more about our publishing policy visit

Caleb Lopez Senior Editor

Lucas Hernandez Graphic Design & Marketing Manager

Corey Booker Is Set To Speak At The Kean Undergraduate Spring Commencement 2018

U.S. senator, former Newark mayor, and now Kean's 2018 Undergraduate Commencement speaker Brandon Gervais


Booker is a well-known and respected politician in New Jersey, starting at the age of 29 when he was elected to the Newark City Council. It is there that he began to make his mark as a New Jersey political leader, being elected as the 36th Mayor of Newark in 2006, serving until 2013. In 2013, he won a position at the United States Senate, which earned him the honor of being New Jersey's first African-American senator.

Staff Writer

ory Booker is the guest speaker for the Spring 2018 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony, Thursday, May 17. The former mayor of Newark and current U.S. senator, will be delivering a speech to the class of 2018. More than 2,500 undergraduate students, 700 graduate students and their families are expected to be in attendance in the Newark Prudential Center, ushering in a new stage of life for the graduates.

Cory Booker is a graduate from Northern Valley Regional High School in Old Tappan, New Jersey. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Stanford University. In both high school and college, he was a star football athlete. Booker received his law degree from Yale University. Through his time gaining his multiple degrees, he worked to provide tutorship and mentorship through programs that connected him with disadvantaged communities. It is this experience that went toward his passion for Photo Courtesy of University Relations helping the lower class of New Jersey. U.S. Senator Cory Booker is this year's Undergraduate Commencement speaker.

Michael Carfagno Creative Media Manager

Kieffer Braisted

Staff Writer

Petruce Jean-Charles Staff Writer

Abigail Anne Rafael Staff Writer

Zoe Strozewski Staff Writer

Marcus Van Diver Staff Writer

Omar Inca Graphic Design Specialist

Danielle Thomas Graphic Design Specialist

Christopher Del Prete Creative Media Specialist

Noah Dobson Creative Media Specialist

Mary Linen Creative Media Specialist

Martin Alonso

Graduate Assistant, The Cougar's Byte

Scott K. Snowden Jr.

Director, Center for Leadership and Service

Always a New Jerseyan, Booker dedicates his political career to improving the everyday lives of the people of New Jersey in his current position as senator. He focuses on creating jobs and enhancing economic opportunities. “We are thrilled that Sen. Booker will be our commencement speaker,” said Dawood Farahi, Ph.D., Kean’s president, in an interview with Kean News. “His leadership on a host of issues from the local to the national level provides a strong example to our students of what they can achieve and how they can make a difference in our world.” The Kean University Board of Trustees is excited for the graduates to hear from Booker as they prepare to enter a new chapter as Kean Alumni. The Undergraduate Commencement will be taking place Thursday, May 17. The Class of 2018 should be aware that cap and gown pick-ups begin Monday, May 7 in the Miron Student Center, Room 228. For more information about the 2018 Commencement Ceremony, visit its page at commencement/.

Brandon Gervais, freshman English education double major, is a member of The Cougar's Byte staff.

Field Hockey Wins Academic Recognition Team receives Zag Field Hockey/NFHCA Division III National Academic Team Award

Staff Writer

Brandon Gervais

Newark, New Jersey is the largest city in the state, of which Cory Booker was the mayor for six years. Booker increased the economic growth of the city and established new building projects.

Zoe Strozewski


Staff Writer

n March 20, the Kean University field hockey team was awarded a Zag Field Hockey/NFHCA Division III National Academic Team Award. This award is only presented to teams that have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher for the fall semester, which the Cougars met and surpassed with a team GPA of 3.6. Only 131 Division III Field Hockey teams, including the Cougars, earned the distinction this season. The team also had 19 of its players named to the 2017 Zag Field Hockey/NFHCA Division III National Academic Squad, which requires a GPA of 3.30 or higher for the first semester of the 2017-2018 school year. Players McKenna Ferraro and Kayla Molnar had the additional honor of being named Division III Scholars of Distinction. Both were selected for earning a GPA of 3.9 or higher during the fall semester. Ferraro is a freshman therapeutic recreation major and a forward for her team. She dedicated herself to her responsibilities as a student-athlete from the start, and her efforts have paid off. “When I found out that I was named a Division III Scholar of Distinction, I was proud of myself that I was able to start my college career on a positive note,” Ferraro said. “To be able to manage my time and maintain a good GPA is something I will strive to do each semester.”

Courtesy of Kean Field Hockey

Field hockey's student scholars were honored at Kean's student-athlete luncheon on April 2.

something that I’ve had to do throughout my life, and it’s all about time management,” Molnar said. “Luckily, my coach gives us a hard copy of our game and practice schedules throughout the year so it makes it easy to schedule time to sit down and get my work done," Molnar continued. "Being involved in sports my entire life has really helped me manage my time efficiently and I believe that it’s the reason I do so well academically.” In addition to their exceptional academic success, field hockey is also coming off an outstanding playing season. The team scored a record-breaking 21 wins with only three losses.

As this marked only the first of Ferraro’s four athletic and academic seasons, she has high hopes for the rest of her Kean career. “As for next season, I hope that as a team we continue to grow from all of our major accomplishments from last season,” Ferraro said. “Being that my first year in this program was also our most successful year yet, it set the tone for how my next three years and each season to come should be.”

Although they lost to the College of New Jersey in the NJAC Final, they earned their first ever bid to the NCAA tournament. The team managed to defeat Juniata College and Christopher Newport University and advance to the NCAA Elite 8 before falling to Franklin and Marshall College in the tournament quarterfinals. Had they beaten Franklin and Marshall, the Cougars would have made the NCAA Final Four.

Molnar, a junior criminal justice major, plays right back for the Cougars. Apart from being an institution in the team’s lineup since her freshman year, she also has found major success in the classroom.

Additionally, some of the players also earned numerous individual accolades, including two NFHCA AllAmerican Team selections, two Synapse Sports AllAmerican Team selections, and four All-ECAC selections.

“It felt very rewarding being named a Division III Scholar of Distinction,” Molnar said. “I am a very dedicated student and it has been an amazing feeling to be recognized for my achievements off the field.”

Leslie LaFronz, the head coach, was named ECAC and NJAC Coach of the Year after leading the Cougars to their numerous titles.

While Molnar’s role as a student-athlete gives her a busier schedule than the typical college student, she finds that the challenge fuels rather than hinders her performances. “Balancing time between athletics and academics is

“Our field hockey team was so special this year because we had an amazing group of young women that were determined to excel. We had seven seniors that spearheaded this championship team. Over the past four years, they became best of friends, committed themselves


to working hard, and created a winning atmosphere. It was such a fantastic season to watch their growth over the past few years and to see their hard work pay off, which was so rewarding.” LaFronz began coaching this program in 2009, and Kean’s field hockey team has been awarded the Zag Field Hockey/NFHCA Division III National Academic Team Award every year since. Part of her coaching philosophy includes pushing her athletes to achieve just as much in the classroom as they do on the field, so she makes sure to stay involved in their academic lives and hold them to high standards. “It is important that our student-athletes excel in the classroom and I am always proud of their accomplishments,” LaFronz said. “We set academic goals for each season for our field hockey team. We also run study halls and have an Athletic Academic Enhancement Program in place.” While field hockey is still celebrating their recent achievements, they have no intention of resting on their laurels. LaFronz and the field hockey players are already looking forward to next season and setting goals to continue the same academic and athletic excellence. “Next year, we will look to maintain the highest standards in the classroom. We had a team GPA of 3.6 this year which was extremely impressive,” LaFronz said. “And next year, we will look to rebuild as we are losing an excellent class of seniors including two all-Americans: Shauna LaMaina and Teresa Carr. Plus Krista LaMaina is graduating who had 85 career goals, setting all kinds of records.” For the complete listings of the NFHCA Division III National Academic Team and Squad awardees, students can visit Zoe Strozewski, freshman communication journalism major, is a member of The Cougar's Byte staff.

TUESDAY | MARCH 20 | 2018


Learn Your Inner Power

AToD Task Force teaches students about sexual assault awareness Abigail Anne Rafael Staff Writer


n Tuesday, April 3, the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Task Force (AToD) set out to educate students on sexual assault awareness.

Unbeknownst to many people, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). April 3 was specifically SAAM's day of action. People are encouraged by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) to wear teal to show unity for the cause. Some of the earliest recorded protests against sexual assault in the United States took place in the 1970s to object the harassment women received during walks at night. Over time, the campaign for sexual assault awareness took to advocating for April to be the designated month for

protests. The first official observation of Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the United States was held in April 2001. Since then, the month's united protests is managed by the NSVRC. Peer educators of the AToD set out a table with a spin the wheel game and informational pamphlets at the Miron Center Atrium. The spin wheel had sections labeled: creating, identifying, intervening and recognizing. Depending on where the spinner stopped, students would play a game relating to the label. For example, if the wheel ended on "recognizing" students would have to determine whether a statement like, "Victims of sexual assault 'ask for it' by the way they dress, act or by 'being in the wrong place,'" was true or false. Peer educators also provided numerous helpful brochures for students on sexual assault including: "Date Rape: Ten Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself," "Date and Acquaintance Rape", and "Domestic Violence: The Law and You." A list of the following on-campus resources were also given out: ■ Kean University Police: located in Downs Hall. For emergencies dial 911. For non emergencies dial (908) 717-4800. ■ Kean University Counseling Center: located in Downs Hall. Contact them at (908) 737-4850 if at any point you need someone to talk to about any incidents. ■ The Office of Vice President of Student Affairs: located in room 124 of Kean Hall. Call (908) 737-4080 if you need help changing your schedule or are unsure about where to go for a particular type of need. ■ The Office of Residential Student Services: Contact the office at (908) 737-6800 for on-campus residents who ever need help or have questions. ■ The Kean University Health Center: Located in Room 216 in Downs Hall. Contact them at (908) 737-4880 for any medical concerns.

■ The table also included a pamphlet with information of the services offered at the Union County Rape Crisis Center. The center is located at 300 North Avenue, East, Westfield, NJ, 07090. For more information or to contact the center, call (908) 233-7273 or visit ucnj. org. The objective of the peer educators was to teach students about sexual assault, their rights after assault and the resources available to them on and off campus. Sexual Assault Awareness Day of Action is only one day dedicated to spreading information on sexual misconduct. Still, this important spread of information is not limited to this one day. Students are encouraged to continue in their efforts to keep themselves and others safe by lessening the frequency of sexual harassment in the world. Abigail Anne Rafael, a freshman communication public relations major, is a member of The Cougar's Byte staff.

The Way to A Better Resume! Tips on how to write an effective resume and cover letter Petruce Jean-Charles

■ Create a header including the students name, address, phone number and email

Staff Writer


■ List experience or skills

hen entering college, focusing on building a resume and cover letter is a great step to consider.

■ List activities the student is involved in ■ List education ■ List personal interests Different types of resumes are as follows:

But what is a cover letter? It is a letter sent to a potential employer including an introduction, employment history and skills that may be beneficial for the job. A resume is a summary of one's skills, education, work experience, credentials and accomplishments.

■ Chronological - which is used for a more conservative employer or position ■ Functional - which displays the student's functional skills and is used when changing careers.

A cover letter and resume are essential for scholarships, internships or to display one's potential. It is important for students to understand that no matter how strong one's skills are, a cover letter and resume are the outlets that display those skills. Writing them properly can be the difference between getting an internship or not. So what are the steps one should take in order to have an exceptional cover letter and resume? Before writing a resume, a student should focus on the cover letter and apply it to the company

they wish to apply for.

Students should:

■ Introduce themselves to the hiring manager ■ Explain why they are a perfect fit for the job ■ Fill in information that doesn't apply to the resume (certain courses or certifications) ■ Explain more about the resume

For a resume, students are encouraged to:

■ Decide what resume is the right one

■ Combination - which serves as a mix between chronological and functional and highlights skills and accomplishments So what type of skills do companies and businesses look for in a potential employee? Skills are categorized into two sections, hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills students can add in their resume include knowing different languages, a degree or certificate, and computer knowledge. Soft skills can include communication, leadership, teamwork, time management or work ethics. Kean University is home to the Office of Career Development and Advancement, where it


Spaces still available... Sign-up Today! Applications available on KeanWISE Office of Residential Student Services • Whiteman Hall • 908-737-6800 •

A Leadership and Service Publication for the Kean University Student Community

specializes in preparing students for today's job market. It also provides information on the latest career resources, techniques and strategies designed to meet the needs of the diverse student population at Kean. It also develops career fairs where they provide companies with the opportunity of finding potential employees and provide students with a networking opportunity. There are also courses within the communications and business departments that strive to help students in all aspects of career development such as public speaking, business professional communication or business and professional writing. Lastly, students should understand that the cover letter and resume should accurately reflect them and their skills. Whether a student has work experience or not, an impressive resume can make a difference! For anymore information, students can visit the Office of Career Development and Advancement or email them at

Petruce Jean-Charles, junior communication journalism major, is a member of The Cougar’s Byte staff.


TUESDAY | MARCH 20 | 2018

National Week Of Service At Kean!

Join the Center for Leadership and Service for a week of volunteering and bettering the community Brandon Gervais

on Kean Day of Service, April 21, is the Atria Senior Living volunteer trip. The Atria Senior Living community encourages volunteers to help maintain a welcoming environment. Volunteers will be with residents of the facility doing arts and crafts, manicures and other recreational activities. Kean volunteers will be visiting the Atria Living Center in Cranford, which has won one of 2018's Top-Rated Senior Care Providers. Those who participate will be working with some of the best assisted care providers.

Staff Writer


ational Volunteer Week at Kean University will take place from April 15 to 21. This week will consist of a variety of different volunteer opportunities including a blood drive, the ReInvent, ReUse, ReCycle Art Show, and Kean Day of Service, all hosted by the Center for Leadership and Service (CLS). In a combined celebration with Volunteer Week and Earth day, the CLS will be hosting a Recyclable Art Show Tuesday, April 17 from 1 to 4:30 p.m. The ReInvent, ReUse, ReCycle Art Show will help spread awareness of environmental sustainability. The show will consist of student-made artwork created from recycled materials. The art pieces with the strongest meaning and with the most votes will be displayed as center pieces at the "Uniting Jersey for the Global Goals" Sustainability Symposium hosted by the Kean University Earth Science Club. All students are welcome to submit a piece of art for review. The goal of the artwork should be to display the many ways our environment is impacted by human activity on a daily basis. Also Tuesday, April 17, there will be a blood drive from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. As with any blood drive, donors are asked to eat a full meal prior to the donation and bring ID. Appointments can be made at or call (800) 933-2566. Appointments are not mandatory and walk-ins are welcome.

Volunteers for the Kean Day of Service are welcome to participate in the Cougars that Care: Community Food Bank. They will be helping to provide support for the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. Student volunteers will be sorting food donations, creating boxed meals, building donation boxes, sorting frozen food and more.

As a part of the Week of Service, Saturday, April 21 will be Kean's Day of Service. There will be a collection of events on this day that will benefit others and are run by a goal to serve the local community. Students can register for all of the events on Cougar Link. Students will have the opportunity to experience working with Jumpstart as a part of the Jumpstart For a Day (JFAD) event. The annual JFAD will ask volunteers to help at activity tables and stations that are made to assist young children in expanding their skills for school success. Pre-registration is required for this event as spaces are limited and are offered at a first come, first serve basis. Register via Cougar Link. Transportation will be provided for approved volunteers.

The Cougar's Byte

Cougars That Care Week of Service is hosted by the Center for Leadership and Service.

Student volunteers can volunteer for the Cougars That Care: Breakfast with a Senior event. Co-hosted by the Physical Therapy Club, this event gives students the chance to visit a local nursing home, provide companionship and warm faces to seniors, and participate in fun activities with them. To register for this event, visit the Cougar Link event page. Another service event to be included

The Adopt-a-Park event is a park clean-up scheduled for April 21. The volunteers will be working with the Union County Parks Environmental Specialists to clean local parks. Some of the responsibilities include removing litter from parks, clearing out park streams and fixing fenced areas in park communities. This event is to take place outside and students should expect to get dirty and not wear clothes they don't want to get ruined. The Cougars that Care: Adopta-Park is an event where registration is required and volunteer spots are given on a first come, first serve basis. To register, visit the Cougar Link event page. The last event as part of the Center for Leadership and Service Kean Day of Service will be the Cougars that Care: Adopt-A-Highway, which is co-hosted by the Lambda Theta Phi fraternity. Lambda Theta Phi is the first and largest Latin fraternity in the nation. Along with the volunteers through the CLS, members of Lambda Theta Phi will be cleaning up litter and debris from the section of Morris Avenue that has been adopted by the fraternity. This event will also take place outside, and volunteers should dress accordingly. This event also requires registration via Cougar Link. All of these events are hosted by the Center for Leadership and Service. For more information, contact the CLS department located in the Miron Student Center, Room 219, by calling (908) 737-5170 or email

Brandon Gervais, freshman English education double major, is a member of The Cougar's Byte staff.

Got Interests?

How students can start an organization on campus Petruce Jean-Charles


Staff Writer

ean University takes pride in the students ability to form new and interesting clubs and organizations. Kean has over 160 student groups on campus including funded and non-funded groups.

The categories are as followed: ■■ Cultural Organizations ■■ Fraternities ■■ Funded Groups ■■ Governmental Organizations ■■ Honor Societies ■■ Non-Funded Groups ■■ Performance Organizations ■■ Professional Organizations ■■ Recreational Organizations ■■ Religious Organizations ■■ Service Organizations ■■ Sororities

organization or club. So what are some reasons to start a club? It could be the need for involvement, representation or expression. Before a student decides to start an organization, there are a few things to keep in mind. Does the organization have good intentions? A few of the characteristics to look for in a good organization are listed as follows: ■■ Sense of purpose and direction ■■ Organization and leadership ■■ Strong values ■■ Ability to grow ■■ Effective management of time and finances To begin the process of starting an organization, there should be an executive board consisting of president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. This ensures that they are the right candidates looking over the group and providing assistance in growth. Also students wishing to start an organization must fill out the Student Leadership Criteria where students seeking to hold a leadership position must adhere to the following:

■■ Special Interest Organizations

■■ Have completed a minimum of 12 credits at Kean University and be fully matriculated

■■ Student Governments

■■ Have a minimum GPA of 2.50

The Involvement Center, located in the Miron Student Center (MSC), Room 303, understands that its student body is full of ideas and interests.

■■ Be probation free

The Involvement Center is connected to the Office of Student Government and the Center for Leadership and Service (CLS), where they offer various resources for students wishing to be involved.

■■ Have served as member for one semester

It provides:

■■ Student group mailboxes

■■ Keep Cougar Link records of membership and Co-Curricular Transcript hours

■■ Student group locker space

■■ Keep an electronic copy of the Constitution

■■ Executive board and small group conference rooms

■■ Be responsible over the policies and procedures such as the Student Code of Conduct, the Drug and Alcohol Policy, the Posting Policy, the Hazing Policy and the General Procedures Governing Use of University Facilities and Grounds

■■ Computer workstations ■■ Student group supplies ■■ Student group development ■■ Workshops and training Student groups stem from student interest. Students can visit the Involvement Center were they can learn the process of starting a new

■■ Students serving in leadership roles must also: ■■ Activate their Cougar Link accounts to maintain the organization's profile

1. Submit the completed application and any supporting items that can be reviewed. 2. In order to continue with the application process, the Center for Leadership and Service (CLS) must receive a response. 3. Applications are reviewed for unique mission and purpose. 4. Applicants may resubmit their submissions on Cougar Link with the necessary corrections for review, if necessary. 5. Upon approval, student leaders will receive electronic confirmation and further instructions for beginning the student organization recognition process. Sarah Otero, a freshman studying math education and an involvement specialist, spoke about what students should do when planning a group. "It is important that they have solid ideas, solid people who will back them up and second the notion of the group and have a solid organization. Also don't forget to do the paperwork on time!" said Otero. For more information, students can visit Student Group Recognition or email

The second form is the FERPA form which grants professional staff the ability to verify that the student has met the leadership criteria. Next students should:

Petruce Jean-Charles, junior communication journalism major, is a member of The Cougar’s Byte staff.


TUESDAY | MARCH 20 | 2018


Talent (continued from page 1) talent there is on the Kean campus." The other three singers went soon after. Covers of popular songs and original pieces were performed by three students who did not disappoint. As the songs concluded, one final duet was sung for the audience. The act, titled Kenny and Mom, featured a mother and her son greatly assisted by the Children's Specialized Hospital who sang Irish folk tunes that had the audience members smiling from cheek to cheek. The two hosts of the night came back onto stage to remind the attendees to log on to Cougar Link and vote for their favorite acts via their smartphones to determine the best act of the night. Three dance routines then graced the stage. First, the Kean Musical Movements dance crew set the stage on fire while earning voluminous acclamation inside the theatre. Next, freshman Farad Holmes-Wallace and sophomore Lorenzah Brown followed accordingly with a Jersey Club dance routine, complete with Jersey Club remixes of popular songs. The mood then changed from cheerful to sentimental. Junior Lucero Lopez finished the dance section of the night, performing a contemporary solo piece to the hit Beyonce' solo, "Halo". The opportunity presented to Lopez for raising money for a good cause as well as doing something she loved was the only motivation she needed to blow the crowd away with her dance moves. "Out of all of the songs and different dances that I could have done, I decided to do this one because I added acrobatics into it. It was something different for people to get into when they saw me perform," Lopez said. "I just felt the music and I danced with the song, so it all came out of feeling." The final five freestyle talents were up next as the two emcees walked onto the stage to welcome the performers. As this talent section began, it opened with Kean graduate Keith Bell, who went by his nickname "Bellz" as he dropped some bars for the audience. Soon after, senior Sara Ridgway then constructed her own version of the popular Taylor Swift song "Shake it Off ", but instead of singing, she used sign language. Ridgway earned a standing ovation from those in the audience when she finished. Another special talent by Jennifer Alvarez-Otero was shown through her whistling mastery soon after. Shortly after, the president of the Kean University Poetry Club and junior biology major Tierra Hooker performed a personal poem to the audience that brought forth the crowd's thunderous applause. Finishing off the freestyle section was rapper Onnist who performed an original piece and got the crowd involved to make his song all the more enjoyable. Kean's Got Talent ended with a fun and lighthearted lip sync battle that got everyone laughing, clapping and dancing. Three pairs of student-faculty combinations all dressed up in funny costumes and delivered some hilariously unforgettable performances. First up, was senior class president and communications major

Damion Wilson who danced and lip-synched alongside Ms. Daisy, a popular cashier at Outtakes, to the MC Hammer song "Can't Touch This", which had the crowd hysterically laughing. Martin Alonso| The Cougar's Byte "What [tonight] did was open the floor for anybody that wanted to freely express themselves. We saw all of the support that was here today and we saw students that were very engaged, no matter the performance," Wilson said. "[Events like these] get the students out more, and enough students will see it that it is okay to go up there, have fun and embarrass themselves a little bit. It is fun!"

Later, junior criminal justice major and service specialist for the Center for Leadership and Service (CLS), Omar Dixon, teamed up with the Scott Snowden, the director of the CLS, for their own special version of the "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" theme song, with the 1990s attire worn by Dixon and Snowden and old-school choreography added as a bonus. Thomas got on the stage again to finish off the night with a 1960s themed rendition of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" with Alex Louis, the assistant director for Greek Life at Kean. They wore disco party costumes, with large Afros and bell bottoms to make their looks complete. After the last performance, the final results for the student voting were revealed to the audience. Genesis Guzman was voted the best singer of the night, and Kean Musical Movements and Sara Ridgway were voted the best dancer and freestyle artist the night had to offer. The final fundraising total of $1,962.85 was announced and collective applause was heard throughout the theater. A truly successful night and the first-ever Kean's Got Talent proved to be an experience many will always remember. For more information on the 12-hour dance festival, please visit the official website of KDM. Marcus Van Diver, senior communication media major, is a member of The Cougar's Byte staff.

Reyes (continued from page 1) Reyes’ job requires that he work closely with other members to identify student concerns and plan events for the school. He said that one of the things that makes being part of Student Organization great is the relationships and sense of community he has built with his peers within the board. “The great thing about serving on this board is that I can truly say they have become my family,” Reyes said. “Being a part of this team has showed me what it takes to work in such an important organization. Even though we each have individual tasks, it all comes together as one to ensure we bring the best experiences to the students on this campus.” The Student Organization is a sector of the Office of Student Government responsible for representing the full-time undergraduate students. The group consists of different tiers of standard representatives for each class, such as student senators and secretaries, as well as an

executive board that governs over the student population as a whole. Reyes’ newly-elected position as executive board president is the highest level of influence that can be achieved in Student Organization. He believes that the board is an essential institution for its dedication to making Kean into a community and culture, rather than just an education and means to a diploma. “We are a huge part in getting students involved and interacting with each other,” Reyes said. “Everything from our concerts, pep rallies, guest speakers, and cultural events are essential to not only bringing, but also keeping everyone here at Kean together.” Reyes’ goals for next year are primarily focused on the people of Kean. He hopes to use the power and influence his position lends him to impact the lives of students in positive ways.

“When I say I want to make a change, I seriously mean that. I took on this role because I actually care and want to do something for everyone here,” Reyes said. “I want to spread positivity and make students happy for choosing to attend Kean.” Reyes' time after graduating looks to be just as promising as his upcoming and final year at Kean and Student Organization. While he still has his senior year to plan and his path isn’t set in stone yet, he's hoping to put his communications degree to use by becoming a sports broadcaster or possibly attend graduate school. He's also working internships and networking in order to make the best opportunities possible for himself. “I don't have a solidified plan for after I graduate, but I feel like I am heading down the right path to getting there,” Reyes said. In the meantime, however, he's simply looking

A Leadership and Service Publication for the Kean University Student Community

to fulfill his responsibility to the full-time undergraduate student population to the best of his ability with his team at the Student Organization. "Everyone is dedicated to their position and that alone makes you want to do your job as best as you can. I believe I've gained a group of lifelong friends and an overall experience that will prepare for my future," Reyes said. For the complete list of Student Organization elects, students can visit their Cougar Link page.

Zoe Strozewski, freshman communication journalism major, is a member of The Cougar's Byte staff.


TUESDAY | MARCH 20 | 2018

Kean University's Take on Assistantships and Fellowships

How graduate students can fund their education while gaining experience Petruce Jean-Charles


applying for an assistantship:

Staff Writer

■■ Students who are employed full-time on or offcampus are not eligible for an assistantship.

raduating seniors need to think ahead as to how they will be able to fund their graduate school expenses.

■■ If a student has applied for financial aid, the assistantship award may have an impact on their financial aid eligibility.

If one is thinking about applying one of many Kean University graduate programs, they will be pleased to know that there are assistantships and fellowships targeted to help students afford their degrees.

■■ Assistantships begin in the fall semester of the new academic year and continue through the spring semester. On the other spectrum of aid for graduate students comes fellowships. Fellowships provide financial support to graduate students in order to pursue their studies and is generally merit-based awards.

What is an assistantship? An assistantship is a paid academic appointment made to a graduate student. This position involves part-time teaching or research. At Kean University, it specializes on drawing together a variety of different skills and allows students the opportunity to build their service skills as well. Kean also seeks to provide good education with an affordable cost, and through assistantships, students are able to have their tuition and fees waived. Some assistantships are in departments including, although they may be subject to change: ■■ Accreditation and Assessment ■■ Africana Studies ■■ Athletic Training ■■ Athletics and Recreation ■■ Biological Sciences ■■ CAS Writing Center ■■ Center for Leadership and Service ■■ Chemistry Department ■■ Childcare Center

Some fellowships are provided here at Kean:

■■ Holocaust Resource Center

■■ Social Work

■■ Human Resources

■■ Special Education

■■ Human Rights Institute

■■ Speech Clinic

■■ Institute of Child Study

■■ Speech-Language Pathology Program

■■ Institutional Research

■■ STEM Program

■■ International Student Services

■■ University Center

■■ Kean Galleries

■■ University Relations

■■ Kean Ocean

■■ World Literature

■■ Kean Writing Project

To apply, students must complete the supplemental graduate assistantship page within the online application which they can find on the Kean recruiting page. This application is also only for new applicants. Current students interested in an assistant position should check departments for available positions.

■■ Library ■■ Management and Marketing ■■ Nursing

■■ College of Education

■■ Occupational Therapy

■■ College of Natural, Applied, and Health Sciences Technical Support

■■ Office of Community Standards and Conduct ■■ Office of Graduate Admissions

■■ Communications Disorders

■■ Office of Institutional Advancement

■■ Criminal Justice

■■ Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

■■ Computer Science

■■ Office of Residential Student Services

■■ Earth Science

■■ Office of the Registrar

■■ Ecological Research

■■ Office of Scholarship Services

■■ Elementary and Bilingual Education

■■ Office of Student Support Services

■■ Exercise Science

■■ Office of Undergraduate Admissions

■■ Fine Arts

■■ Physical Education

■■ General Education

■■ Psychology

■■ Graduate Management Studies

■■ School of Communication, Media, and Journalism

■■ Health Services

■■ School of English Studies

■■ History

■■ School of Environmental and Sustainability Sciences

Applicants for a graduate assistantship should apply by March 1 for priority consideration. Students must receive an acceptance to a graduate program at Kean and have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.25 or better. Assistantship requirements include: ■■ Must be available to work 15 to 20 hours a week. ■■ Graduate assistants (GA) must register and complete nine credits or more for the semester. GA's may be subject to the withdrawal of their assistantship if he or she fails to maintain nine credits a semester. ■■ GA's must maintain a 3.0 GPA during the course of the graduate studies and failure to do so may result in the loss of the assistantship. Students should consider the following when

■■ Lilly Fellowship: Supports students entering Ph.D. programs (or equivalent) in humanities and the arts and who are interested in becoming teacher-scholars at church-related universities in the U.S. Campus. The deadline is mid-November. ■■ NSF (National Science Foundation) Graduate Research Fellowship: Award of $30,000 a year for up to three years of research-based study leading to a M.S. or Ph.D. in STEM and social sciences. Deadlines vary by discipline but most are in mid-November. ■■ Pickering Graduate and Undergraduate Fellowships: Eligible for women, minorities underrepresented in the foreign service. Also, students with financial need are encouraged to apply. Deadlines are from January to February. ■■ Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowship: The Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowship is an eleven-month program that is divided into two phases. The first phase focuses on service, and places fellows in community organizations that are battling hunger across the country. For the second phase of the fellowship, fellows move to Washington D.C., where they work on policy with national organizations to combat hunger and povertyrelated issues. There are 20 fellows total; both the field placement and policy work are related to hunger issues. For more information on fellowships provided graduate students can visit Kean's Research and Fellowships page and for assistantships students can visit Kean's Graduate Assistantships page

Petruce Jean-Charles, junior communication journalism major, is a member of The Cougar’s Byte staff.


The New Jersey Disabilities Film Festival at Kean University Abigail Anne Rafael


Staff Writer

he ReelAbilities: New Jersey Film Festival at Kean University will be held from April 19 to April 22 at the North Avenue Academic Building. The film festival will screen 20 films for and by the disability community that highlight the strength, resilience and various narratives of America's largest minority group. The festival is open to everyone and admission will be $5 for the public and free for Kean students with an ID. Tickets are available for purchase at the Kean Stage box office. Kean Stage is making efforts to accommodate all guests. All films are captioned unless otherwise noted, and pre-requested notices for assistive listening devices, ASL interpretation, CART, audio

description, braille and large-print programs will be serviced. The venue is also wheelchair accessible with abundant parking. The following films will be screened on the determined dates and times:

■■ Mr. Connelly Has ALS

Friday, April 20 at 8:30 p.m. ■■ Mind Over Matter ■■ Maria & Pete

Saturday, April 21 at 2 p.m. ■■ Agalée

Thursday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m. ■■ American Veteran

■■ Leo & Carole

■■ Birthday

■■ Intimacy

Thursday, April 19 at 8:30 p.m.

■■ All Day

■■ Patrick's Day ■■ Aftermath

Friday, April 20 at 12:30 p.m.

■■ Maria & Pete

Saturday, April 21 at 4 p.m. ■■ Bottom Dollar

■■ Ballad from Tibet

■■ How We Met Laurel

Friday, April 20 at 6:30 p.m.

■■ Design-Ability

Saturday, April 21 at 8 p.m. ■■ Defiant Lives

■■ Aphasia

■■ 46/47 ■■ The Milky Pop Kid

Sunday, April 22 at 11 a.m. ■■ Perfectly Normal For Me

ReelAbilities was started by Anita Altman and Isaac Zalblocki in 2007. The film festival was first held in Manhattan, New York but has since spread to all over North America in celebration of the disability community. Committed to its diverse student body, Kean University has taken initiative to host the film festival along with other schools and partners of the program. For more information on the schedule or for a synopsis of the films, visit To purchase tickets, visit For questions, comments or concerns on the Kean University hosted ReelAbilities film festival, contact Steve Cochran or Millie Gonzales at mgonzale@ or (908) 737- 0586. For more information on ReelAbilities as a whole, visit For specific information on ReelAbilities film festivals in New Jersey or to find out how you can get involved with the program within the state of New Jersey, visit newjersey.

■■ Macropolis

Sunday, April 22 at 3 p.m. ■■ Margarita with a Straw

■■ I Don't Wanna Go Back Alone


Abigail Anne Rafael, a freshman communication public relations major, is a member of The Cougar's Byte staff.

TUESDAY | MARCH 20 | 2018


Relive the Past, Today!

MIRON STUDENT CENTER MSC INFO DESK P: 908-737-5222 Monday - Thursday:...........8 a.m. - 12 a.m. Friday: ............................8 a.m. - 10 p.m. Saturday: ........................10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Sunday: .........................10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Kean University presents Liberty Hall 360 Abigail Anne Rafael Staff Writer


ean University reenacts the wedding of John Jay and Sarah Livingston for virtual reality users. Their wedding took place on April 28, 1774 at the Liberty Hall Estate in the Great Hall of the building. The building was created by New Jersey's first governor, William Livingston, in 1772. The site is located on Kean University's campus and is still maintained as a museum and a wedding venue. John Jay lived an accomplished life as a Founding Father, signer of the Treaty of Paris, second governor of New York, and the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. His wife, Sarah Livingston, was the daughter of Governor William Livingston. Together they had six children: Peter Augustus, Susan, Maria, Ann, William and Sarah.

Although married life took place during the American Revolution, letter correspondents between the two show that they still remained in love and affectionate toward each other through the hard times.

MSC GAME ROOM Monday - Thursday:.........10 a.m. - 11 p.m. Friday: ............................10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Saturday: ........................10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sunday: ..........................10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

The film project of their wedding is run mainly by the Michael Graves College and Honors History Program with contributions from the whole Kean community and Liberty Hall Museum. The purpose of the project is to share the historic marriage ceremony of John Jay and Sarah Livingston through the use of 360-degree video to give viewers the sense of being an actual guest at the wedding. The ambitious film is the result of about 60 people. This total includes actors, production coordinators, script writers and developers, costume designers and Keanlift campaigners who helped fundraise over $5,000 for the project. The actress playing Sarah Livingston, Elizabeth Thorson, said, "I have always loved theatre, but thought I would have to put it aside to focus on my major and my career. However, the Liberty Hall 360 film allowed me to combine my major, history, with theatre — essentially putting together those things that I am passionate about. Through the process, I met a lot of great people of different

MSC COMPUTER LAB Monday - Thursday: .......9 a.m. - 11 p.m. Friday: ............................. 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Saturday: ........................10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sunday: ..........................10 a.m. - 7 p.m.


majors and careers. I was also able to work with the lead of my department and see first hand what a projected created by the history honors program was like." Filming for the project began March 29 and the film is still currently being edited and constructed. Kean University waits in eager anticipation for the unveiling of the reenactment of the historic event. To learn more about the project, visit the Michael Graves College website or follow them on Twitter @LibertyHall360.

Abigail Anne Rafael, a freshman communication public relations major, is a member of The Cougar's Byte staff.

Upward Bound Mentor Applications Are Available!

Apply to be a student tutor and mentor to the participants in the summer residential Upward Bound program! Brandon Gervais


■ Student Support Services

Staff Writer

■ Talent Search

he Kean University Upward Bound program is accepting applications for the summer residential tutors/mentors for this coming summer. This year's summer program will run from June 25 through Aug. 2, 2018.

Upward Bound is a six-week academic summer residential program from Kean University's College of Natural, Applied and Health Sciences. It is one of eight Federal TRIO programs. The Upward Bound program is for providing qualified high school students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds with a skill set needed for their future college education. Offering support and motivation for these students to prepare them and maintain their academic success is among the highest of priority for Upward Bound. The goal of the program is to help students gain skills that are necessary for success in higher education. The Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) are programs that act as outreach and student services that help individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. The eight TRIO programs work to assist and advance low-income individuals, veterans, first generation college students and disabled individuals with their academic journey from middle school through higher education.

The Eight TRIO Programs

■ Educational Opportunity Centers ■ Ronald E. McNair Post baccalaureate Achievement

Food Court Mon.- Wednesday: .....7:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. Thursday: ....................7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Friday: ......................... 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Jersey Mike's Monday - Friday: .......... 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Smashburger Monday-Thursday: ...... 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. Friday: ......................... 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Auntie Anne's Monday - Thursday:.......11 a.m. - 8 p.m. Friday:.............................11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Cougar's Den Monday-Thursday: .... 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. Friday: ........................... 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday:..................... 1 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Outtakes Market Monday - Thursday: .... 9 a.m. - 11 p.m. Friday: ........................... 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Saturday: ..................... 12 p.m. - 6 p.m. Sunday:.......................... 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.


Residence Dining Hall Monday - Thursday:..7:30 a.m. - 11 p.m. Friday:.....................7:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. Saturday: .................. 8:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. Sunday:...................... 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.


Starbucks Kiosk, 3rd Floor Monday - Thursday: ...7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Kiosk, 1st Floor Monday - Friday: ......... 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

■ Training Program for Federal TRIO Programs Staff ■ Upward Bound ■ Upward Bound Math-Science ■ Veterans Upward Bound Upward Bound is looking for Kean undergraduate students to apply to work as mentors to the high school participants of Upward Bound. As mentors, students will be working with a diverse group of students. Student mentors will help to reinforce and strengthen skills that participants will be needing in college. It is important for mentors to keep participants motivated and invested in growing their skills.

The following qualifications are required for consideration for tutor/mentor postions: ■ undergraduate students with a 3.0 GPA or higher ■ mathematics, science and liberal arts majors ■ strong foundation in college level mathematics, science, English, French, Spanish and IT

Monday - Thursday: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Friday: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

1st Floor - North Avenue Academic Building

Monday - Thursday: 8 a.m. - 10 p.m. Friday - Saturday: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday: 1 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Nancy Thompson


■ ability to work with diverse groups of individuals on the high school and pre-first year students

1st Floor

■ prior tutoring experience preferred

The following materials must be received by Wednesday, April 18, 2018: ■ employment application

■ official college transcript ■ resume ■ cover letter ■ two letters of recommendation Apply online start/165792.


For more information, contact Maria Isabel Rijos, the director of Upward Bound, at (908) 737-3618, or Trevor Ramkissoon, counselor for Upward Bound at (908) 737-3619. The Upward Bound office is in Bruce Hall, Room 102C and it can be contacted at

Brandon Gervais, freshman English education double major, is a member of The Cougar's Byte staff.

A Leadership and Service Publication for the Kean University Student Community

Monday - Thursday: .......... 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. Friday: ............................... 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday: ........................... 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday: ........................... 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.


Monday - Thursday: .......... 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. Friday: ............................... 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday: ........................... 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.


MIRON STUDENT CENTER, 1ST FLOOR Monday - Thursday: ........ 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Friday: ............................. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. /KeanUniversityBookstore /KeanBookstore


TUESDAY | MARCH 20 | 2018

Clinton Global Initiative University Network 2018 Workshop Application deadline is April 23 Kieffer Braisted


interested in the prestigious program.

Staff Writer

"The application is long. It contains word limits, and it must be in third person," she stated.

he deadline to submit your Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) application is coming fast.

"We recommend that you download the application as a Word Document. This is because the application doesn't save on the website."

In the CGI U Network Workshop Thursday, April 5, a small group of roughly fifteen students, staff, and CGI U representatives met to discuss the application process. The meeting was headed by Dr. Norma Bowe, creator of Be The Change NJ, a Kean service group dedicated to community service and activism projects that help promote peace and non-violence in urban neighborhoods. Be The Change NJ has successfully qualified and represented Kean University at the annual CGI U meeting with President Clinton in each of the past three years. The aforementioned event, created in 2007, is dedicated to bringing together students, university representatives, topic experts, and celebrities in an attempt discuss and develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges.

She also touched upon the need to "gas yourself up". "You need to brag. Most people applying are very humble, but you need to brag about yourself." She said with a bright smile. "[List] your accomplishments, your projects, anything else interesting or worthwhile. This is essential." Typically, CGI U receives around 10,000 applications a year, usually accepting roughly 1,000 undergraduate and graduate participants. Prospective applicants are expected to present projects falling under the specified focus areas: Education, Environment and Climate Change, Peace and Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and Public Health. Dr. Norma Bowe offered some advice to those

Finally, she gave a fair heads-up to those active on social media. "Make sure you provide them with all of your social media handles. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook — the lot." If accepted to CGI U, students will attend the annual CGI U Meeting, hosted by President

Clinton and Chelsea Clinton. The 11th annual holding of this event will take place Oct. 19-21, 2018 at the University of Chicago. There, they will be assigned their own unique Commitment to Action, a new, specific, and measurable initiative that addresses pressing challenges on campus, in local communities, or around the world. Since 2008, more than 10,000 students from all over the world have Commitments to Action, and more than $3 million in funding has been awarded to said students through CGI U. Bowe concluded the meeting with some hopeful encouragement. "If you do not get in the first try, do not give up. The event is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I'd suggest you try every opportunity you get to put yourself in a position to attend." Applications are due April 23. The application can be found here at the Clinton Foundation website. Kieffer Braisted, sophomore communication major, is a member of The Cougar’s Byte staff.

Expression is The Key To The Soul: Meet The Poetry Club Giving and developing students' poetic voices for the world to hear Marcus Van Diver


Staff Writer

oetry and spoken word have been instruments for expression and catalysts for creativity, constructing elaborate pieces of art throughout the extensive story of humanity. The art of constructing intricate pieces through the use of one's vivid mind and vocabulary have created memorable writings that had the power to inspire and motivate future generations, just with the use of one's voice and a pen to a piece of paper. A variety of artists specializing in talents such as poetry, rapping, singing and dancing are currently chasing their degrees and desired careers at Kean University, and when given the chance, can use their special talents to blow audiences away. At any open mic night, members of the Kean student body that show desire in the art of expression through song, spoken word, prose or any other form of artistry can usually expect to see the Kean University Poetry Club make their inspirational and indelible marks on those who attend. Their slogan, which encapsulates their mission of becoming a safe space for all creative individuals at Kean University as a means of artistic growth, says, "We are here to create with you, we are here to learn with you, we are here to explore with you, we are on behalf of the words we never said and we are the caged birds that sing. Here, our songs." This club, composed of poets, singers and artists from a variety of different talents, aim to use their voices as a way to make a difference, as well as expressing their appreciation toward creativity. The club's objectives also include promoting uniting strengths in the poetry community and in cultural, social justice and academic interests. Tierra Hooker, a junior biology major and pre-occupational therapy tract, is the president of the Poetry Club. The junior leader of this student group is normally seen at every event that the club hosts, serving as the official emcee and organizer of each performance taking place on the club's stage. Also, the president of this club wishes to not only inspire the attendees of the club's shows through eccentric rhymes and breathtaking monologues, but through the philanthropic efforts she and her group show when the performances are not taking place. "As the president, I have put together a majority of the programming, including events and meeting agendas. Our events often consist of open mics. However, we have also recently included community service projects," Hooker said. "These include creating winter care packages for the homeless in the fall of 2018, raising money for the Raphael's Life House women's shelter in the spring of 2019 and even participating in Read Across America day at local schools in the spring of 2019. It is my job to make sure the club remains a safe space, in the sense of freedom to express and doing what you love for all members. I want the club to feel as much like a family as possible." That familial feeling is exactly what drove Hooker to pursue a

position in the club in the fall of 2016, as she dragged along a good friend of hers to learn more about the club prioritizing vocal freedom in her sophomore year. "I was a sophomore here at Kean when I saw a flyer for a fall 2016 meeting and decided to drag a friend along. I have always been interested in poetry but joining the club sparked many more interests, specifically in performing," Hooker said. "[The Poetry Club president] at the time constantly urged me to take the stage and get outside of my comfort zone, influencing me to perform for the first time." Hooker continued, "He expressed extreme genuineness and believed in me every step of the way. When he asked me to take on the role as president, I was honored. To be passionate about something for so long and then to be able to take it and make a difference or impact those around you, that is true joy." The Poetry Club has been responsible for putting on campus-wide favorite events with the assistance of other organizations on campus, such as Bars for Blessings, which was an open mic night that raised money to create winter care packages for the homeless. Another event, titled Blacked Out, celebrated Black History Month. Other open mic nights like "Herstory" raised money for Raphael's Life House. An upcoming event that the Poetry Club plans to do for charity consists of a project for Cougar's That Care Day in collaboration with another organization, Operation PB&J. Other co-hosted events that the Poetry Club put in place were Vibes Nights in collaboration with the Filipinos Uniting Nations at Kean (F.U.N.K.) club and "AfRHOcentric" with help from the sorority Sigma Gamma Rho earlier in the semester. As the president of her organization, Hooker's responsibilities entail event planning, scheduling, processing and networking for collaborations and guest performances. She also plays an integral role in creating and organizing general body meeting workshops, managing the club's finances, updating and regulating social media or brand related subjects. With the assistance of Chidinma Opara, the vice president of the Poetry Club in her first full term as the president of the Poetry Club, Tierra works with the vice president to balance the responsibilities of each board member. However, for the future, the club is open to making a creative board that will assist in event planning, networking, budgeting and social media marketing to gain even more notoriety for the Poetry Club. Additionally, Hooker is a leader in many sorts. She is a member of the National Council for Negro Women (NCNW) chapter at Kean, a Ways and Means committee representative, a Leadership Education and Development (L.E.A.D) program representative, and a senior manager for the Involvement Center. For someone who has a lot on her plate, poetry has always been her muse, source of comfort and constant motivation to maintain the good name of the Poetry Club. "Everyone says words don't mean much, but trust me, they're stronger


Danielle Thomas| The Cougar's Byte

Poetry Club president Tierra Hooker (pictured far left) with members from the Poetry Club performed inspirational spoken-word, enticing songs and thought-provoking poems at Kean's Culture Fest on Tuesday, March 6.

than anything else. Being able to lead the Poetry Club has been an honor. It has taught me the strength in utilizing my voice to be impactful and meaningful in everything that I do. I know for me personally, the club helps me keep balance, and I am pretty sure a lot of members or attendees feel this way too," Hooker said. Hooker continued, "It is inspiring to be surrounded by so many creative individuals such as those in our club. However, not everyone is able to express themselves in a free-flowing manner. As little as hearing something that resonates with you can serve as a relief or be just as inspiring as it is to the writer who shares." Proud of the successful turnouts at events and the philanthropic efforts of her group in giving back to the community while being surrounded by an array of artists who all uniquely express themselves visually, verbally and without inhibition, the president of this club remains content and excited for whatever the future brings. For incoming freshman and transfer students who are interested in becoming involved through written and spoken artistry, Hooker wants to leave a legacy for her club through leading by example. "The creativity that happens in a room with a bunch of creatives is magical. Everyone is understood, able to express, and at peace with their inner selves," Hooker said. "To lead by example is the best way to be impactful. I am an individual who knows nothing less than giving my all to things I am passionate about and driven toward. In any place, for me to be known for the feeling of my presence and the strength in my words is all that I need." Though the club will not have any more open mic nights until next semester, more information on the Poetry Club can be found on its official Cougar Link page. Also, for those who are interested in the club and wish to sign up, email

Marcus Van Diver, senior communication media major, is a member of The Cougar's Byte staff.

Kean University - The Cougar's Byte - April 17, 2018  
Kean University - The Cougar's Byte - April 17, 2018