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TUESDAY | APRIL 16 | 2019

A Fashionable Show of Support

Silver Leadership students led a fundraising event for the Children's Specialized Hospital Victoria Gasper Staff Writer


he Leadership Institute had a night of fashion and music during its Project Kean fashion show Wednesday, April 10 in the Miron Student Center Little Theatre to raise money for the Children's Specialized Hospital. The Children’s Specialized Hospital is the nation’s leading provider of inpatient and outpatient care for children from birth to 21 years of age facing special health challenges. The fashion show featured clothing brands from Big Sexy Inc., Remain Infinite, garments from the Barnes and Noble bookstore, Idiomatic and Love Your Melon. The show also featured performances from the Kean Gospel Choir, Alex Brito, Nikeo and Kean Musical Movements. Hosted by Kiana Ayala and Joe Laurino, two members of the Silver Leadership group, fashion show began with Kean's Gospel Choir, who released their single "Behold Him" last fall. After a harmonious performance, the fashion show began with clothing from Big Sexy, Inc. Their message that everyone deserves to feel sexy radiated off each model who came out on stage, and it was plain to see that they felt sexy not only on the outside, but on the inside as well.

Following that, there was a performance by Alex Brito, a Spanish rap and R&B artist based in New Jersey. His energetic performance was the perfect segway into the next clothing brand, Remain Infinite. Based out of New Brunswick, this clothing brand was founded by a few friends while they were in high school worrying about what they were going to do when they got older. The important message of this brand was for people to push through all obstacles life throws their way and to remain true to themselves. The next clothing brand to grace the stage was our very own Kean Barnes & Noble bookstore, featuring a very special guest. Leah, a patient from the Children's Specialized Hospital, attended the event with her family and was invited on stage to model with the Silver Leadership students. Kean's Danielle Thomas | The Cougar's Byte Barnes & Noble Project Kean was hosted by the Silver Leadership Program within the Kean has two locations: Leadership Institute. one store on Green Lane on the first floor and one smaller store in Miron Student for various gift baskets, Kean's Musical Movements dance group Center on the first floor as well. performed, keeping the same upbeat energy that Nikeo brought just Be sure to stop by one of their moments before. locations for exclusive Kean University apparel and clothes The final brand of the fashion show was Love Your Melon, a from brands such as Champion, student-run business that started 2012, and specializes in selling Nike, Under Armour and many beanies and headbands to raise money and awareness to stop more! pediatric cancer. For every beanie bought, one gets donated to a child with pediatric cancer. This brand has four superhero After a short intermission mascots: Ella, whose strength in leadership brings assurance to all with events such as a bake and whose special color is blue; Otto, whose strength is in being sale and a meet and greet responsible and bringing reason to situations, thus keeping people with founding members of safe all while sporting the color green; Finn, who brings joy to all each clothing brand, the event in a bubbly, jokester-like manner, has the ability to freeze time, and continued with the clothing wears the color yellow; and Nina, wearing red, is the heart of the brand Idiomatic, a brand that group that specializes in moral maturity which helps her heal those promotes uniqueness, personality with physical and emotional pain. and individuality. Although it was their first fashion show, they blew the "It's a wonderful opportunity for people to get involved," co-host audience away with eccentric pieces Laurino said about the event. "I think it's really rewarding that we inspired by fairies and geishas. can do so much for such a great organization."

Danielle Thomas | The Cougar's Byte

After a night of empowerment and fun, the event raised a grand total of $1,182.59 to help families like Leah's who receive care at the Children's Specialized Hospital.

Next up on the Little Theatre stage was a "worshiphop" group called Nikeo, comprised of members Akida, Tyne, AP and ISH. Their performance of their song "We In Here" reminded everyone present to never let anyone bring them down. Their single is available on iTunes and Amazon Music. After a raffle

For the past few years, Kean's Leadership Institute has held events such as this fashion show, including Kean's Dance Marathon (KDM) and the Color Run to raise money and awareness for the Children's Specialized Hospital. After a night of empowerment and fun, event raised a grand total of $1,182.59 to help families like Leah's who receive care at the Children's Specialized Hospital. Victoria Gasper, sophomore psychology major, is a member of The Cougar’s Byte staff.

Kean's Distinguished Lecture Series Featuring Chelsea Clinton Clinton emphasized the importance of animal rights to a sold out hall Abigail Anne Rafael



s part of Kean's Distinguished Lecture Series and in partnership with the Lesniak Institute for American Leadership, Chelsea Clinton presented her new book Don't Let Them Disappear at Enlow Hall April 4. The brand new book was just released to the public this past Tuesday, April 2. The children's book is Clinton's fifth publication and talks about animals in risk of extinction with advice for children on how they can prevent these animals from disappearing. Clinton appeared to a sold out venue full of children and their parents eager to interact with the #1 New York Times best seller. The lecture was moderated by Raymond Lesniak and began with a discussion about the book. The topic of discussion switched between animals but focused on Clinton's favorite animal, the elephant. Clinton noted that each animal in her book varied

Kean University

Senator Raymond Lesniak (left) and Chelsea Clinton (right) discussed the importance of advocating for animal rights. in endangered species status as well as varied in tactics on how to prevent their extinction. For elephants in particular, the Asian elephant's status is endangered whereas the African elephant's status is vulnerable. As noted in Clinton's book,

these status' are the result of poaching and habitat loss. Clinton explained that she had gotten


A Leadership and Service Publication for the Kean University Student Community


TUESDAY | APRIL 16 | 2019



Issa Vibe Talent Night: Her Story

The Barnes and Noble Café became a stage for students to showcase their unique talents 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

Zoe Strozewski


to do something closer to home.

Staff Writer

“I think that students need something like this, and even after the show more students who had talents were approaching me. I just wanted something to bring everyone together, to bring the community together,” Monaé said.

he first ever Issa Vibe Talent Show took place Feb. 28. Attendees were able to watch as Kean students showcased a spectrum of talents that included singing, rapping, dancing and spoken word poetry. The event took place in the Barnes and Noble Café, which is located with Kean's bookstore on the first floor of the Green Lane Academic building. Apart from the café, the bookstore is also home to a selection of Kean apparel and merchandise, books for both classes and leisure, school supplies and snacks.

Since the talent show took place at the close of Women’s History Month, the night’s theme was designated as “Her Story.” Monaé was able to secure the performances by approaching people she’s already acquainted with. “A lot of them I know from old performances I’ve done,” Monaé said. She also released a flyer stating that performers were wanted and called for any interested artists to contact her. Danielle Thomas | The Cougar's Byte

Barnes and Noble had more to offer than books and coffee on Thursday, March 28, 2019. It was also overflowing with hidden talent!

The night was organized and emceed by Joy Monaé, a spoken word poet, event curator, storyteller and manager of the café. She said that her inspiration behind organizing the show was that, after doing shows in other locations such as Newark, New York and Pennsylvania, she wanted

Danielle Thomas

The final performance list of the night consisted of artists with the stage names of Cypha IX, Slim, Twin Takeova, LJ the Alien, Tally, Noel, Ceejay the Legend, Savage Writer, Professor Battle and Monaé herself. Noel, whose full name is Fredeline Noel, is a Haitian-American poet and a junior at Kean. She began performing her poetry in order to relate with others. “The way I see it, once I have it inside of me, I need to express it in ink. Once it’s in ink and paperwork, it’s no longer mine; it’s for you guys. For my story, I know it could be a cover for other people’s lives, so that’s why I share it with others.”

Graphic Design & Marketing Manager

Michael Carfagno Creative Media Manager

Noel’s contribution to the night was a performance of an original piece titled “Freedom Walk.”

Petruce Jean-Charles

“‘Freedom Walk’ is to inform you that we are grateful for what our ancestors have done. It’s because of their sacrifices that we are here today,” Noel said.


Monaé hopes to hold additional talent nights in the future, so those who missed this talent night may have more chances to witness the wealth of talent within the Kean community.

Abigail Anne Rafael Editor

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

Kieffer Braisted Staff Writer

Brandon Gervais Staff Writer

Shannon Sheehan

A Glimpse Into Research Days 2019

Students and faculty will proudly showcase their research in the STEM Building at the annual event

Staff Writer

Zoe Strozewski Staff Writer

Arlenis Roberts Graphic Design Specialist

Nathanael Jenkins Creative Marketing 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

Caleb Lopez


Senior Editor

esearch Days 2019 is slated for Tuesday, April 23 and Wednesday, April 24 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the STEM Building. Students and faculty are encouraged to show support to their fellow peers who will be presenting in a variety of ways throughout the two days. Organized by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Research Days are ultimately an avenue for students to present their research. Moreover, it provides an outlet for creative work and opportunities to further augment students' research and presentation skills. Research Days furnish students with innovative experiences to compliment their academic ventures in the classroom. "Research Days provides students an opportunity to communicate the results of their research or creative work to a wide audience and to invite discussion and comments. Describing the project to someone else helps the student researcher learn to communicate ideas concisely and effectively," said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Jeffrey Toney, Ph.D. Student presentations will take place on both days. Oral and poster presentations will fill much of the itinerary for the two-day event. Faculty presentations will also take place. For detailed locations and times, check the Research Days 2019 brochure. The keynote presentation will take place in the STEM Auditorium Wednesday, April 24 at 11:30 a.m. This year's keynote speaker is Paula Gaetano Adi, associate professor at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). According to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Gaetano Adi is "best known for her speculative robotic sculptures and machines that explore the poetics and politics of technology by resisting the scientific conventions that dictate how to make, think, circulate, and operate technology." Research Days sets students and faculty members in a scene that is considerably conducive to further growth in all academic and professional aspects. Whether it's through networking or collaboration, students and faculty will develop tighter bonds that will lead to numerous opportunities in the future. Additionally, it will serve as a supplementary glimpse into the professional aspects of each students' respective majors.


Kean University

Students and faculty will present their research during the two-day event inside the Science, Technology and Math (STEM) Building. Research Days is an annual event that is cherished by those who have participated in it and those who have attended it to show their peers support. Below is a video from Kean University that both highlights last year's Research Days and demonstrates the importance of the event. "I encourage all students to attend, to experience the variety of research and creative projects that are happening on campus and, possibly, to be motivated to participate themselves," Toney said. "A great example is Isabel Morais, our Undergraduate Student Research Awardee. Isabel attended the 2018 Research Days keynote presentation and was intrigued by the description of brain-computer interface research. She collaborated with two other students and was funded for a year-long research project." "Engaging in research brings many benefits, including [sooner] graduation, admission into the finest graduate and professional programs, and...lots of fun," Toney said. For more information on Research Days 2019, visit the web page on the Kean University website. For more information on the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, visit its web page, call (908) 737-3461 or email Caleb Lopez, senior psychology major, is a member of The Cougar's Byte staff.

TUESDAY | APRIL 16 | 2019


A.Life of Worship

A.Life graces the campus for a night of worship Abigail Anne Rafael Editor


.Life, a Christian ministry, is in the process of establishing itself at Kean. In partnership with Kean Gospel Choir, the ministry is hoping to bring a spiritual revival onto Kean's campus.

A.Life was first established at Rutgers New Brunswick by Pastor George Searight II in 2007 and is now under the direction of Shawn and Mary Tucker. The ministry is under the spiritual direction of Abundant Family Worship Church in New Brunswick, NJ and garnered its name "A.Life", which is short for Abundant Life. "The vision of A.Life is to create an environment where those far and near to God can experience the love of God, and we look to do that through intimate worship experiences, teaching the gospel and building community among believers and even nonbelievers," said A.Life Executive Leader Shawn Tucker. "We want to really make sure that we are creating this environment where young adults ages 18 to 35 could worship Jesus freely, learn about Him and grow in their spiritual walk." A.Life is spreading this environment onto the Kean campus and has already found success in bringing students into its worship nights. Its first worship at Kean occurred this past February which packed the Center for Academic Success (CAS), Room 106 to the brim with students both from Kean University and Rutgers. Following the success of their first worship night, A.Life came back again this Thursday, March 28 for a second time. "I think [A.Life] is definitely amazing because I didn't see much of this before so having a worship night like this is super encouraging," said Catherine Gutierrez, a junior sociology major at Kean. The worship night began with an invocation of the Holy Spirit and prayer by three prayer leaders. Following the conclusion of their prayers, A.Life performers led the audience into praise and worship through music, helping everyone refocus their attention on God for the night. When the music ended, everyone was then encouraged to go around the room and introduce themselves to other students, creating a sense of community and comfort. A game of word scramble between two teams of four students followed the fellowship. A discussion of the popular app, Words with Friends, was then led by Tucker. He revealed that the success of Words with Friends can be attributed to its ability to tap into the multiplayer gaming niche and the fact that words create a common ground for people. Tucker noted how important words are and how powerful they can be. In his sermon, Tucker revealed just how important words are. His message for the night centered primarily on John 1:1-5 which reads, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and all the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him

Danielle Thomas | The Cougar's Byte

Students filled CAS, Room 106 for a night of worship organized by A.Life Kean. all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not over come it." Tucker emphasized how critical it was for everyone to read the Word of God in order to prepare for their path ahead. To illustrate the importance of reading the Bible, Tucker alluded to Psalm 119:105 which says, "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." "If we know that the Word of God was established in the beginning, that the Word of God is our starting point, why have we been so negligent with His word?" said Tucker. "If we say that we have the Word of God and the Word of God is a lamp onto my feet and a light onto our pathway, why do we choose on certain days to walk in darkness?" The overall message of Tucker's sermon for the night was that reading the Bible is crucial to one's life so that they can be prepared for life and a proper vessel for God as everyone is called to be. A.Life Kean is looking for more students who are willing to help grow the ministry on campus. Currently, A.Life Kean is being spearheaded by Kean student volunteers Oshane Simpson, Ayrielle Pinkney, Danielle Thomas and Niah Simmons in partnership with A.Life coordinators. Students interested in working for A.Life Kean can contact A.Life at For more updates, students can follow A.Life's social media accounts on Facebook, on Instagram as @AlifeRu and @AlifeKean and through their website

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

In the World of Entertainment, Tourism and Travel PR The School of Communication, Media and Journalism hosted its fourth annual public relations panel Abigail Anne Rafael


Many students were concerned with how to become a successful public relations professional. One student asked for advice on things outside of academia to prepare them for a future career in the field.


he School of Communication, Media and Journalism (CMJ) hosted three public relations professionals for their fourth annual public relations panel discussion. This year's theme was entertainment, travel and tourism.

"Be an active participant in this [college] experience. Do things that stretch you outside of your comfort zone, so join any clubs or volunteer at places that maybe don't always fall into what you typically do because the more well-rounded you are, the more interesting you become," responded Campbell. "The more exposure you have to diverse experiences, the better you are at your job-especially with PR."

The panel featured Laurel Mundth, account supervisor at Coyne PR, Erica Campbell, senior account director at NJF PR and Korin Lamourt, senior account supervisor at Wagstaff Worldwide.The panel discussion was moderated by Kean's Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) adviser Jeremiah Sullivan. Mundth works as an account supervisor for Coyne PR's travel team. Her clients have included the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Hudson Group, Motel6/G6 Hospitality and more. She has worked for Coyne PR for about seven years now. Campbell is well-traveled, having lived in Baltimore, Bangkok, Jersey City and Newcastle. Some of her clients have included MasterCard, Starwood and Uber. Campbell has been in the field of public relations for over 10 years. Lamourt is a senior account supervisor at Wagstaff Worldwide. Lamourt boasts over 10 years in the field of public relations working

Abigail Anne Rafael | The Cougar's Byte

Laurel Mundth (left), Erica Campbell (center) and Korin Lamourt (right) were the panelists for CMJ's fourth annual public relations panel on this year's topic: tourism, travel and entertainment public relations. to promote vacation destinations. Some of her clients included Travel Guard, Empire State Development and vacation spots such as Chile, Rhode Island and Telluride, Colorado.

With some of these questions, Sullivan added to the discussion by asking follow-up questions on behalf of the students. This particular subject led to a tangent from the panelists on general life advice. "If you're in a really challenging class, stick with it," said Campbell. "When it gets really tough, don't avoid that type of challenge, just push through it." Students soaked up everything the public relations professionals had to tell them, eager to jumpstart a successful career in public relations field.

The panel discussion focused on questions from members of PRSSA as they were introduced by Sullivan.

"Keep your contacts here in school. Stay connected and pay attention to what your friends are doing and reach out to them... If you find you have another friend that has an internship in the city, meet up with them because I think keeping this network is going to be valuable," said Mundth.

The discussion ranged from practical advice like how to give pitches to journalists to career advice like how to figure out what public relations niche fits one best.

Students looking to further prepare for a career in public relations can join Kean's PRSSA. For more information, check out PRSSA's Cougar Link webpage or email them at

After the panel, students in the audience were able to ask their questions.

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

A Leadership and Service Publication for the Kean University Student Community


TUESDAY | APRIL 16 | 2019

Flying Colors For the Kids

Kean hosted the first KDM FTK Color Run Shannon Sheehan


The crowd erupted in applause for Daniel and his improvement over time. Valerie continued to name his achievements, such as being on the Honor Roll since sixth grade and being cast as Aladdin in his school's production of Aladdin this year which requires him to sing, dance and act—something that Valerie thought would never be possible for her son.

Staff Writer

t the end of every spring semester, the Kean University Greek Senate hosts Kean Dance Marathon (KDM), a fundraiser to support the Children's Specialized Hospital (CSH). As the years have progressed, Greek Senate has planned more events throughout the academic year to support KDM and make the donation at the end of the academic year even larger than ever before. This year they teamed up with Westfield High School and hosted the first FTK Color Run to raise more funds for the kids Sunday, April 7.

Following his mom, Daniel spoke to the crowd even though he was shy to show his support for the people that came out to the event. "Hi, thank you for raising the funds to help kids like me," Daniel said.

The registration transpired in Vaughn-Eames parking lot at 8 a.m. where DJ Nix in the Mix got the crowd pumped for the run. Runners were able to sign in and pick up their complimentary white shirt which would soon be covered with the colors of the rainbow. Also available were bagels and fruit to ensure that the runners were well-fed for the 5K. Participants were also able to get their face painted with KDM icons such as the phrase FTK, which stands for "For The Kids". The Kean Cougar made an appearance at the event and kept the crowd excited for the events to come.

Following the speakers, there was also an appearance by Joe from The Max Challenge, who helped warm up and stretch the crowd to ensure the runners' safety and to get them pumped for the run. Then, the runners headed to the start line to begin the run and become covered with color. The crowd counted down and the run began, as the air immediately became drenched with color. The runners continued on the course which went through VaughnEames parking lot, through Kean Hall parking lot and around Green Lane Academic Building, finally looping around to go through the service road and past Downs Hall to end where it began.

After all of the guests checked in, Assistant Director for Greek Life Alexis Louis addressed the crowd and thanked everyone for showing their support for the kids. He spoke on how important it is that people come together to support the Children's Specialized Hospital, and he introduced guest speaker Valerie and her son Daniel.

Throughout the run there were color stations featuring different colors where volunteers were set up to throw color onto the runners and their white shirts. Also throughout the course were volunteers with water to hand out as the participants sped by.

Valerie told the audience about her and her son's experience with the Children's Specialized Hospital as they have had a close relationship. She explained that her son was diagnosed with PDD, or pervasive developmental disorder, at the young age of two years old, and then later placed on the autism spectrum. Valerie was told when her son was diagnosed that he would never be able to speak a word in his life.

One by one the runners and walkers passed the finish line, where the final big burst of color was thrown on them to celebrate their completion of the course. After the run, everyone gathered together to throw extra color on each other as DJ Nix in the Mix brought back the tunes. Ultimately, this event was a great way to help add to the ultimate fundraising efforts of the Greek Senate for this year's KDM. The final amount raised for the Children's Specialized Hospital will be announced at the end of this year's Dance Marathon which is happening this Friday, April 12 from noon to midnight in Harwood Arena.

Valerie said, "I didn't choose to believe that report, so I put my trust in God and also the services of CSH because I knew there had to be an answer. I knew there had to be a solution. I knew that there was something to be done." The crowd became emotional as Valerie continued. She said, "When the doctor said that to me [that my son would never speak], he was absolutely right when I look back over through time. He said that he would never speak a word, and I said that he's right, because now he is speaking multiple words."

Shannon Sheehan, sophomore communication journalism major, is a member of The Cougar’s Byte staff.


TUESDAY | APRIL 16 | 2019


Looking Out For Peers


Peer Educator positions are available for the fall semester Victoria Gasper Staff Writer

Kean's Peer Educators are looking for students who want to join them in their mission to create a safe campus. Peer Educators work hand-in-hand with the administration of Community Standards and the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs Task Force (AToD) to provide information to Kean students promoting healthy lifestyle choices. Peer educators work closely with AToD to create events to make Kean University a safe place for students to be. According to their webpage, the Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Task Force (AToD) "was formed to serve a variety of functions in the area of prevention and intervention of substance use at Kean University. The task force is under the Division of Student Affairs and is overseen by the Office of Counseling and Disability Services. The AToD committee consists of leaders from across the Kean community who are in key departments that address student substance use. The primary goal of the task force is to develop comprehensive methods to address the various alcohol and drug issues that arise within the University community. AToD’s mission is to address both environmental and individual factors to reduce substance use." According to the task force's web page, the committee’s focuses on "developing new policies, reviewing, enhancing and revising existing policies and maintaining consistency in enforcement of policies across campus". They also "work to increase the awareness of campus resources and implement and coordinate educational programs" for students on topics such as safe drinking habits and how to prevent assault. As a peer educator, one is responsible for conducting presentations for Transition to Kean (T2K) students on policies relating to AToD. They are also responsible for assisting in researching presentation subjects and materials related to harm reduction and safe practices regarding AToD, the preparation of AToD reports and program assessment and the creation of educational programs focusing on AToD, the tracking of people/ groups in attendance at presentations and in the design and implementation of related surveys for

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those participants involved in AToD programs through web-based programs. Peer Educators should become familiar with all University policies and procedures in regard to AToD and Community Standards and Student Conduct. Most of all, they should possess strong organization, communication and presentation skills. John Shantz, a spokesperson from the peer educator group, seeks to "educate the campus community on healthy lifestyle choices, [whether it be] sexual health, awareness of sexual assault, rape, consent and the affects of alcohol and drugs."

Abigail Anne Rafael | The Cougar's Byte

Peer educators set up a table to educate students on sexual assault in 2018.

Shantz was the secretary and president of the peer educator club at Raritan Valley Community College, and has been a peer educator at Kean University since last fall. With a lot of experience with substance and alcohol abuse, he decided to make the change and turn his experience into a learning opportunity for the campus community at large. "As a peer educator, you learn how to organize," Shantz said. "You learn how to table effectively, and you can familiarize yourself with issues on campus. It's our job to come up with the information in a way that's interesting for students." The Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Task Force is holding some events in April that are definitely worth checking out. National Alcohol Awareness Day was Thursday, April 11. Peer Educators were in the Miron Student Center (MSC) Atrium from 2 to 4 p.m. to inform students about alcohol levels and the dangers of impairment. On Wednesday, April 17, there will be an event called Open Safe Space, an open discussion among students about sexual assault held in the MSC, Room 315B from 4 to 6 p.m. The purpose is to debunk misconceptions that students may have and to give out important facts such as how to report a sexual

assault act on campus and what to do if the individual or someone else they know has been through the same experience. On Thursday, April 18, there will be a Stress Relief Tabling that will also held in MSC from 2 to 4 p.m. Peer Educators are going to provide information about ways to relieve stress, so students can learn how to have an easier time in school and in their everyday life. That same night, there will be an event called Roll Red Roll held in the MSC Little Theatre from 7 to 9:30 p.m. This film screening about sexual assault while also providing general alcohol education. Each of these events are perfect opportunities to talk to a Peer Educator and learn more about how being a Peer Educator can fit into your life.

Chelsea Clinton came to Kean Thursday, April 4 as part of Kean's Distinguished Lecture Series to promote her new book Don't Let Them Disappear.

To apply for a Peer Educator position, visit the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs (AToD) Task Force Cougar Link page and fill out the application which can be found under "Forms." Students can also visit them at Down's Hall, Room 127 or on the third floor of the Miron Student Center at the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct MSC, Room 317.

into writing children's books when she became a parent and realized that there was a lack of children's books for women and by women. Currently she focuses on children's books because she believes they are the first way in which children's imagination and motivation are expanded.

Victoria Gasper, sophomore psychology major, is a member of The Cougar’s Byte staff.

Honoring Holocaust and Genocide Awareness Month

The Holocaust Resource Center put together a lecture from Holocaust survivor Fred Heyman Shannon Sheehan


Staff Writer

he month of April is known as Holocaust and Genocide Awareness Month. To help commemorate this month, the Holocaust Research Center (HRC) here at Kean has planned events throughout April to keep students educated on the important topics of the Holocaust and genocide. One of the events planned was Thursday, April 4 in the Miron Student Center (MSC) Little Theatre. The HRC welcomed Fred Heyman to speak on his experiences during the Holocaust. Heyman shared with the Kean community his testimony on surviving the Holocaust and how those events have impacted his life. He shared the true story of what it was like to endure this traumatic history. The audience followed Heyman as he recalled the events from the Holocaust from his point of view. He began by explaining that he was born in 1929 in Berlin, Germany where the Holocaust lasted 12 years. He described that since he was a child when all of these major events were happening, he did not realize that it was the Holocaust or what that even was. In fact, Heyman said it took years for him to know that the Holocaust was transpiring. Heyman said, “There’s no way that any one of you, unless you are a survivor yourself, can relate to a survivor.” To support this claim, he discussed the trauma that came with living during that time and that he is still enduring trauma from his experiences today. Like other survivors, Heyman tried to convince himself that he was not impacted by this trauma, but ultimately he had to accept it to better himself.

Heyman recounted memories from his young childhood to the audience. For example, he told the audience about his beloved family dog. As the years progressed, Nazi race law required his Jewish family to give up their dog, which devastated Heyman. He then explained that even though he loved this dog, he cannot remember the name of it, which is an example of the effects of his traumatic experience. Throughout the lecture, it was clear that the audience was moved by Heyman’s words,. lesson and experiences. Not only did students Shannon Sheehan | The Cougar's Byte attend, but there were spectators Heyman spoke to the audience of all ages that came out to hear about his experience in the Heyman recount his narrative. Holocaust. Students even got the chance to speak on why they are currently studying and taking Kean's undergraduate Holocaust and Genocide course (ID 1800) and the importance of being informed on such important issues. The next event for Holocaust and Genocide Awareness Month is a film screening and discussion of Women, War and Peace: Peace Unveiled, co-presented by the HRC, Women & Gender Studies, and Interdisciplinary Studies. This film follows the journey of Afghan women in their fight for equal rights within the framework of peace talks and global negotiations. The event is taking place Tuesday, April 16 in the MSC Little Theatre from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m.

Kean University

Clinton wrote Don't Let Them Disappear to help children understand the importance of protecting animals. "Senator [Lesniak] and I share a belief that it is never too early to start caring about... saving the elephants, animal welfare [and] the fact that we do share this planet with so many species. Many of which are really imperiled and in danger because of the choices that we're making, and we definitely need to make different choices to help protect them so that they can continue to share the planet with us for many generations to come," said Clinton. The event's discussion centered on the importance of saving endangered animals and the role of children in advocating for their protection. "I thought [the discussion] was really great. I think she did a really great job both explaining it to young people and older people. There was a lot of information that I didn't know that I learned about, but this is also a book I'm going to pass onto my young niece that was just born so I think this is something really great for anyone of any age," said graduate student Ryan Polmer. After the discussion, the floor opened up to questions and later a book signing in which Clinton signed every book that appeared before her. "I'm just glad that Kean has been been able to bring such reputable speakers here and make [people] more aware that there are a lot of things people are capable of doing whether you are the only child of the previous president or you're...just coming from Union County. You're still able to make that impact at a local level, global level, at a national level. You just have to start," said senior psychology major Kris Berrios.

The HRC at Kean was founded in 1982 and is a collaboration between the University and the Holocaust Resource Foundation. The HRC upholds the ideals of respect, understanding and empowerment and wants to share these ideals with the students. The HRC is also a Jewish Foundation for the Righteous National Center of Excellence. To learn more about the HRC, make sure to check out its Cougar Link web page and department web page. Shannon Sheehan, sophomore communication journalism major, is a member of The Cougar’s Byte staff.

A Leadership and Service Publication for the Kean University Student Community

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


TUESDAY | APRIL 16 | 2019

The Results Are In!

The 2019-2020 Student Organization elections were a success, selecting dedicated student officials Petruce Jean-Charles

is a big priority for me, as Kean Ocean is still continuing to grow and the exposure helps a lot."

he results are in! The Student Organization at Kean University is proud to announce the newly elected officials for the 2019-2020 school year. With their newfound positions, the following officials are ready to take action and provide for the Kean community.

Ruutikainen was elated to know that she would be the next executive vice president of Kean Ocean's Student Organization and hopes to make the atmosphere at Kean Ocean more fun and welcoming.



Ruutikainen will also invest a lot of time and care into all the responsibilities that accompany her position, especially representing the student body properly and working closely as a team with her fellow members of Student Organization.

Here is the list of the 2019-2020 elected officials: ■■ Francois Zebaze received over 72 percent of the votes, with 209 votes winning the position of Student Organization President.

"I hope that in trying my best as the next VP of Kean Ocean and bringing all my empathy and energy along, I can make this campus a better place and make the students happy during their time here," said Ruutikainen.

■■ Taylor Davis received over 91 percent of votes, with 271 votes winning the position of Student Organization Executive Vice President. ■■ Tristan Leneus received over 89 percent of votes, with 265 votes winning the position of Student Organization Vice President of Funded Groups. ■■ Lucas Lopez received over 90 percent of votes, with 256 votes winning the position of Student Organization Vice President of Programming. ■■ Patrick Salako received over 89 percent of votes, with 264 votes winning the position of Student Organization Treasurer. ■■ Edward Wagner received over 38 percent of votes, with 115 votes winning the position of Student Organization Assistant Secretary.

The 2019-2020 results are in and these new officials are ready to make a change.

Sarah Fedak: "I have so many ideas for programs and events that the Junior class and Student Organization can hold next year. I also can't wait to be even more involved in planning and executing events for the junior class and Student Organization."

■■ Mekhia Baker received over 87 percent of votes, with 42 votes winning the position Student Organization Sophomore Class President.

Finding out she won while at work, Fedak was excited to know that she was given this opportunity.

■■ Jason Pleitez received over 95 percent of votes, with 46 votes winning the position Student Organization Sophomore Class Vice President.

Fedak said, "I actually screamed a little. During my lunch break I called some of my family members and they were all ecstatic, especially my mom and my Grandma. I couldn't stop smiling all day. This is my first time being elected as a class executive at Kean University."

■■ Briana Lenard received over 90 percent of votes, with 117 votes winning the position of Student Organization Senior Class President.

■■ Sadaqah Balaam received over 47 percent of votes, with 23 votes winning the position Student Organization Sophomore Class Secretary.

■■ Jennica Baul received over 89 percent of votes, with 115 votes winning the position of Student Organization Senior Class Vice President.

■■ Lichelle Martinez received over 29 percent of votes, with 29 votes winning the position Student Organization Sophomore Class Senator.

■■ Keemazjia Rousseau received over 89 percent of votes, with 115 votes winning the position of Student Organization Senior Class Secretary.

■■ Shauna Ruutikainen received 80 percent of votes, with 4 votes winning the position Student Organization Vice president of Kean Ocean.

"Also if you are interested in being involved in Student Organization, there are still open positions that you can apply for. I hope to see you at programs and events next year," Fedak said.

■■ Chelsea Levine received 80 percent of votes, with 4 votes winning the position Student Organization Senator of Kean Ocean.

The Student Organization elections were a success this year. For more information on the elected officials, visit The Cougar's Byte website and visit Cougar Link for updates on Student Organization.

■■ Lindsey Gonzalez received over 85 percent of votes, with 77 votes winning the position of Student Organization Junior Class President. ■■ Sarah Fedak received over 53 percent of votes, with 48 votes winning the position Student Organization Junior Class Vice President. ■■ Alexis Owens received over 86 percent of votes, with 78 votes winning the position Student Organization Junior Class Treasurer. ■■ Daveon Shackleford received over 86 percent of votes, with 78 votes winning the position Student Organization Junior Class Senator.

Below are some of the elected officials for the 2019-2020 term: Ruutikainen: "I want to reach out to the students and let them know that they can rely on me to address their ideas or concerns," Ruutikainen said, "[I plan to] expand Student Organization on this campus through promoting, event planning and networking with students [because that]

Going forward, Fedak plans to make the most of the year within her position and is thankful for everyone who voted for her.

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

Occupying the Campus

SOTA encourages community service, academic excellence and professional prosperity for its members Petruce Jean-Charles



tudent Occupation Therapy Association (SOTA) is an organization that prides itself in its ability to foster personal and professional development for its students studying occupational therapy. Alongside those students, other interested students are encouraged to join for the opportunity for community service, academic excellence and professional prosperity. In addition, students can utilize mentoring and networking programs as well as social events outside of Kean. By participating in their events and promoting awareness in their field, the executive board and community can become better professionals. Through its executive board, SOTA is able to create initiatives that will help the members and others willing to explore occupational therapy. The executive board consists of nine individuals who office the organization and its functions. The executive board members include President Nicole Kaspar, Vice President Penina Brandeis, Treasurer Manveen Singh, Secretary Alexis Kessaris, Director of Public Relations Taylor Kennedy, Faculty Adviser Claire Mulry, Ph.D., and Department Staff Carli Hench and Lori Berry.

leading executive board meetings and general body meetings, while setting both short and long-term goals for executive board members and general body members," Kaspar said. "However, it has been a pretty collaborative approach this year, as I am so fortunate to have help from the greatest eboard. I try to use my position as a leader to advocate for the profession and ensure the best opportunities are provided to our members." With the organization's mission in mind, Kaspar strives to promote an increase of knowledge and awareness of occupational therapy among the members. "The mission of SOTA is extensive," Kaspar said. "We promote a hands-on experience at our general body meetings, whether that be with guest speakers from various backgrounds or volunteer opportunities within the community."

Photo Courtesy of SOTA

SOTA is an organization that offers opportunities like conferences, events and guest speakers for all interested students.

Furthermore, general body meetings are held on Mondays from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the East Campus Graduate Lounge. The last two meetings of the semester will take place April 1 and April 15. Aside from general body meetings, SOTA also hosts events such as the following:

Vice President Brandeis' job as the vice president ensures that everyone on the executive board feels supported and assisted in responsibilities dedicated to the organization.

SOTA Bake Sale: Monday, March 25 and Monday, April 8 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the East Campus Lobby.

"This year, our SOTA eboard had very dynamic roles because each person was willing to assist one another to make sure we were getting the job done right and on time," said Brandeis. "Students who are interested or think they might be interested in occupational therapy can come to our meetings to learn from professionals in our field or professionals in interdisciplinary fields to get a better understanding of what occupational therapy entails and how we work as a team with other professionals."

BFF Breakfast for Families 2019: Sunday, March 31 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Miron Student Center (MSC). Each of the bake sales hosted by SOTA will benefit the Alzheimer's Association through donations made. Students can visit the tables for delicious treats while supporting the cause. The BFF Breakfast for Families 2019 event is hosted annually by SOTA in honor of Autism Awareness Month. Beside bringing awareness to the cause, SOTA will be giving away free breakfast for families with children living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The organization hopes that families will enjoy breakfast while networking and socializing with other families and student volunteers. While there are activities for the children, parents will have a guest speaker present. President Kaspar wants students interested in joining to know that SOTA aims to teach and learn from its members. "My formal duties as president are calling meetings to order,

SOTA offers learning outside the classroom for those that are already in the program or undergraduates who are interested in applying. It also acts as a networking group for undergraduates and graduates to meet and talk about the program and the profession. "We've had guest lecturers who have valuable experience with occupational therapy come to talk to the members so they can see the impact its had on former clients of this wonderful profession," Brandeis said. Secretary Kessaris' duties include typing the meeting minutes from the general body meetings and the eboard meetings, sending


and replying to all emails and other responsibilities that help behind the scenes operations of the organizations. "Students benefit from this club, [not only] from the events that take place in the community, but also from the general body meetings," Kessaris said. "Members are able to learn from each of the guest speakers to enhance their knowledge about the field of occupational therapy." Treasurer Singh believes that students benefit from various community service events and educational opportunities hosted by the organization. "In my position, I try to implement the mission of SOTA by encouraging students to attend informational meetings, volunteer in the community, and advocate for the profession of occupational therapy," Singh said. Students interested in SOTA can email them at or visit their Cougar Link page for more information.

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

TUESDAY | APRIL 16 | 2019


McCoy Marvels in Rookie Season

Freshman guard for the women's basketball team is named the NJAC Rookie of the Year Caleb Lopez

The women's basketball team is extremely gracious to have McCoy with them each game. Mandy King, head coach of the women's basketball team, is reminded of what McCoy brings to the table and will carry with her into the future every time she steps onto the court.

Senior Editor


hannon McCoy strives to be exceptional both on the court and in the classroom. As a member of the women's basketball team, she plays a key role in the team's performance, leading to her being named New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Rookie of the Year. In the classroom, she's focused on preparing for her future.

"Shannon's character drives who she is as a player and who we are as a program. She cares very much about her teammates and always puts them first. She has positive energy through all obstacles and challenges. She constantly seeks improvement as a player, teammate and leader. She is absolutely fearless under pressure," King said.

McCoy is a freshman majoring in interior design and a guard for the basketball team. Juggling both academics and athletics has been a challenging task for McCoy in her first year at Kean, yet she has not yielded to the pressure, nor does she plan to. McCoy's ability on the court was unmatched in her rookie season, as she led her team in scoring with 16.5 points. She also accrued 138 rebounds, 47 assists and 41 steals, leading the team to a 14-14 season. Her dominance on the court was not unrecognized, though. In addition to receiving firstteam honors, she was named the NJAC Rookie of the Year, an accolade that McCoy was ecstatic to receive. "It just goes to show how all the time and effort I put in during the summer, preseason and regular season pays off," McCoy said. "The NJAC has a lot of talent so receiving this accolade is a huge accomplishment." After being taken aback by the palpable difference between high school and college basketball, McCoy strove to perform at a higher level each game, resulting in her becoming the Rookie of the Year. "In the beginning of the season, I had trouble adjusting to the level of competition. Coming from the high school level to the college level is a big jump, but without the endless support and encouragement from my teammates and my coaches, I would have never received this award," McCoy said.

"Shannon sets high standards for herself on and off the court and will do whatever work that is necessary to be successful in life. She plays with a big heart and represents all that is great about Kean University and our women's basketball program. Shannon is a once in a lifetime player and person. She has filled our program with joy, confidence and determination to get back to dominating the NJAC and becoming one of the best teams in the country." Arlenis Roberts | The Cougar's Byte

McCoy's ability on the court was unmatched in her rookie season, as she led her team in scoring with 16.5 points.

Playing for the women's basketball team has had immediate positive effects that will ultimately benefit McCoy in the future. "Being a part of this team...gave me a second family here at school and allowed me to play a sport that I love," McCoy said. "[It] prepares me for my future because it teaches me how to work with others on a team. It also teaches toughness and competitiveness. It gives me a drive to want to win and succeed as well as not being a sore loser when things don't go my way. In life and my future, I know I am going to face opportunities that I will do well in and others that I won't get or succeed in. Just like a game or practice, there's always tomorrow or another day where I can do better."

In addition to impacting her team, McCoy also impacts her community. She has been on multiple service trips in her first year, including trips to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey and Zoo Day at the Turtleback Zoo. At the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, McCoy packed boxes of perishable foods for families in need. At Zoo Day, McCoy handed out shirts, masks and toys of different animals to the kids at the zoo. Both service trips left a lasting imprint on McCoy. "Never take what you have for granted. Helping out at the food bank made me realize how many people really do rely on food banks for food and how they aren't as financially stable. I realized [that I should] appreciate what I have more [often]," McCoy said.

Caleb Lopez, senior psychology major, is a member of The Cougar's Byte staff.

Branch Out from the Tree of Knowledge

The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies pairs faculty and students to foster intellectual curiosity Victoria Gasper


Staff Writer

or students who have an interest in multiple subjects and not just one specific major and want to develop a deeper knowledge of world affairs, the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies might be a good program to look into. The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at Kean University was created in 2016 at the initiative of Associate Provost Suzanne Bousquet, Ph.D. Its mission was "to engage faculty and students in coming together in the spirit of intellectual curiosity and creative adventure to advance interdisciplinary methods, theories and practices for a globaloriented world". The outstanding faculty members that enrich this department include but are not limited to Director Sara Compion, Ph.D., Consuelo Bonillas, Ph.D., Nazih Richiani, Ph.D., Catherine Nicholson, Ph.D., James Conyers, Ph.D., Xurong Kong, Ph.D. and Lisia Aikens. The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) is the perfect fit for those looking to have more out-of-the-box thinking abilities. IDS helps students gain tools for research, writing, and real-world problemsolving skills, and develop knowledge that can traverse disciplinary boundaries. IDS programs are available on the following campuses: ■■ Main Kean Campus ■■ Kean Ocean-Toms River ■■ Kean Ocean-Manahawkin

The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies offers a bachelor's degrees in global studies, and minors in Africana studies, Asian studies, Chinese studies, Jewish studies and world affairs, Latin American atudies and women's and gender studies. To have a background in interdisciplinary studies means that you have more career options, such as in businesses, government agencies, foreign service, nonprofits, journalism, consulting firms and the educational sector. There is also always the option to go on to pursue post-graduate degrees. Check out the list of IDS courses such as leisure and recreation in a multicultural society, human exceptionality, introduction to women's studies, and more here. Sara Compion, Ph.D, gave credit to Kean University as one of the first in the state of New Jersey to have an interdisciplinary studies center, and the first to have a global studies baccalaureate program. With some of those programs across New Jersey birthed out of the scientific or political fields, Kean finds its voice as one of the only liberal arts-based centers. "My favorite part of working in the department has to be building new programs and creating environments for those programs, but more importantly for our students to thrive," said Compion. Since the world is more connected, Compion emphasized that students need to learn to be innovative and creative to find their own space in the world. The main way to do this would be to start thinking in an interdisciplinary or interconnected way "to be outside the limits of their own boundaries to find their potential." Compion calls for students to use IDS to become more innovative, creative and flexible to create their own destiny. The global studies program, where Compion, teaches courses, focuses on factors that

shape the rapid flow of goods and people, and helps students understand that "there are interconnected layers that make globalization what it is today versus what it was in the mercantile era." She stresses the flow of not only goods and people but also of relationships and ideas through technology in our society. There are many research trips and travel learn opportunities, such as the global studies program’s' recent trip to South Africa. Here, they not only studied Nelson Mandela Day, but they also worked hands on with African students providing outof-the-box thinking that helps make students more flexible in an interdisciplinary world. This Center also encourages study abroad programs at WenzhouKean Campus for a whole semester. There are trips to Asia and another trip to South Africa currently in the works, as well as the development of a few other minors and courses, so be sure to be on the lookout for them in the coming semesters on IDS's social media and web page.

Students can also incorporate foreign language, unique travel learn opportunities and internships into their program. Here, students from the department of Global Studies arrived in South Africa for a travel learn trip.

Compion urges students "to be innovators and creators of their own career path." She also wants students in the liberal arts to build up the following skills: effective communication across different platforms and media, but more importantly, the ability to take a lot of information and synthesize it. She stressed the following traits when it comes to being flexible: "analysis, synthesis, critical thinking and the ability to communicate and interpret information for a spectrum of audiences." Also, it's important to remember that IDS is more than just its programs. "Interdisciplinarity is a way of thinking," Compion said. "What we really want to do is promote this way of thinking in the classroom, but also with doing research." The more research is done, the more outdated ways of thinking can be disestablished and replaced with more accurate perspectives. This progressive way of thinking is left up to college students of the future to stand up and use their unique voices as instruments of change. "It's made up of all the different trees—each discipline—individually standing there, rooted and foundational, and although each tree is a different kind, they weave together at the canopy to cover and protect the undergrowth. Interdisciplinarity is the integrated canopy, supported by different disciplines, but a new holistic entity bigger than the sum of its parts. " said Compion.

Students can get involved in one of the lively cultural clubs and interdisciplinary associations on campus, such as Jewish Hillel, the United Nations Association, the Chinese Table Discussion Group and the Women's and Gender Studies Student Association. You can also attend on-campus lectures by special guest speakers. The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies is co-sponsoring an event titled Governing Disaster in Urban Environments: Climate Change Preparation and Adaption after Hurricane Sandy. The presentation will be done by Julia Nevarez, a sociology professor, Wednesday, April 10, 3:20 to 4:20 p.m. The event will be held in the Human Rights Institute, Room 207. To RSVP for this event and receive any pre-readings, students can email Dominique Reminick at Be sure to follow IDS on Instagram and Twitter to stay informed about any more important events happening before the spring semester comes to a close. With such an extensive program, there are opportunities for everyone to fit in and find their niche. To inquire about what the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at Kean has to offer and to learn more about all of its personalized programs, contact Compion at, or request information directly from the the center's web page.

Victoria Gasper, sophomore psychology major, is a member of The Cougar’s Byte staff.

A Leadership and Service Publication for the Kean University Student Community


TUESDAY | APRIL 16 | 2019

Give Us a Sign

The American Sign Language club works to heighten awareness of Deaf language and culture Zoe Strozewski


Staff Writer

ean’s American Sign Language (ASL) Club is an organization that seeks to educate the campus on the visual language and culture of the Deaf community. The group both helps students develop in their ASL abilities and hosts Deaf and ASLthemed events throughout the year. Rhys Martignetti, a sophomore speech language pathology major and ASL minor, has been the club’s director of public relations for a year and has been involved with the overall club for two years. She joined the club due to the interest and passion she developed for ASL at a young age. “My fascination with American Sign Language has been since I was a kid. When I was little, I lived at an apartment complex and my friend’s sister signed ASL. Ever since learning from her, I’ve always wanted to learn more,” Martignetti said. “Once I got into Kean and declared my major and minor, I joined the ASL club to learn not only more sign language, but also about Deaf culture, as well as connect with new friends that were interested in the same things as me.”

proactive in the local Deaf community, participating in and hosting Deaf and ASL-related events and supporting members' ASL skills development and their learning of ASL at Kean,” Martignetti said. Apart from Martignetti, the club’s executive board includes President Jianna Pisa, Treasurer Symone Gelay and Secretary Lillie Barber. The organization meets on the third Thursday of each month, and these meetings can include the discussion programming or focus on the refining of ASL proficiency. “During the meetings we discuss our future Deaf events as well as learn vocabulary and classifiers. We also discuss Deaf culture,” Martignetti said. The largest upcoming event to be hosted by the ASL Club is a comedy show by Trix Bruce. Trix Bruce tell stories through ASL with an artistic flair. This event will be taking place April 26 at 5 p.m. in the Miron Student Center (MSC) Little Theatre. Through the ASL Club, Martignetti believes that students can gain not only a higher level of ASL knowledge, but also a community of likeminded peers.

Martignetti describes the club’s mission as one part learning and teaching and another part elevating consciousness.

“Not only can students learn about Deaf culture and ASL, but they can connect with peers that are interested in the same topics as them. The ASL Club goes to events as a group and learns a lot of things we didn’t know before,” Martignetti said.

“The ASL Club’s mission is to educate and spread awareness to members on the culture and language of the Deaf and hard of hearing by being

For more information on the American Sign Language Club,

Courtesy of The ASL Club

The American Sign Language Club dedicates itself to spreading awareness and educating others on the Deaf and hard of hearing community.

please visit the group’s page on Cougar Link. Additionally, the club can be contacted at (908) 721-6320 and

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

2019 LGBTQ+ Educators' Panel

The HRC and Diversity Council on Global Education and Citizenship hosted a panel promoting safe spaces and inclusivity Victoria Gasper


The next question was focused on what to do if a student comes out to teacher. Rivera said that one should feel honored if a student trusts them enough and that this information should be seen as sacred and private. The most important question that she would want an educator to ask would be, "How can I support you?" Affirming the student and giving them resources such as groups and social workers are also ideal responses.

Staff Writer

he Holocaust Resource Center (HRC) and Diversity Council on Global Education and Citizenship hosted a panel at the Miron Student Center (MSC) Tuesday, April 9 from 4:30 to 7 p.m.. The purpose of this panel was to discuss ways to build a safe and inclusive classroom environment for people across the LGBTQ+ spectrum.

Since elementary, middle school and high school students spend most of their time with their teachers, a safe space away from a home that might become dangerous or even violent if they came out is a necessity.

The HRC and Diversity Council on Global Education and Citizenship discussed what educators should be doing to create a comprehensive and protected classroom, how one should respond when a student comes out to them, what to do to keep students safe from their families if they are not accepting and many more. Dr. Adara Goldberg, director of the HRC, put together the panel with the help of Managing Assistant Director Sarah Coykendall, M.A. The event began with Coykendall introducing members of a new student body group called Prism, as well as two New Jersey high school students, Britney Wilson and Gabi DeCastro, who have dedicated themselves to the inclusion of others and the education of the gender and sexuality spectrum.

Wickline said not to react unless they are in immediate danger. "You cannot promise a safe home," Wickline said.

Victoria Gasper | The Cougar's Byte

Moderator Rabbi Victor Appell with panelists Erin Sikora, Kristofer Berrios, Gigi Wickline, Christian Fuscarino and Lillian Rivera at the 2019 LGBTQ+ Educator's Panel. Photo courtesy of Sylvia Pais.

Britney Wilson (she/her/hers) is a junior at Whippany Park High School and is currently the president of her school's S.A.G.A. (Sexuality and Gender Alliance). Britney cofounded S.A.G.A. in her freshman year of high school to make members of the LGBTQ+ community feel accepted and safe while giving those not in the LGBTQ+ community a way to protect and stand up for their LGBTQ+ friends. She recently organized a Valentine's Day fundraiser where her branch of S.A.G.A. was able to donate to the Newark LGBTQ Center by selling candy grams. In 2018, Britney was the recipient of the Diversity Council on Global Education and Citizenship's Joy Prescott Humanitarian Award for Student Leadership and Education.

students on the different genders and sexualities, and have also presented for faculty members in their school and within their community.

including the New York City Department of Education, Court Appointed Special Advocates of Hudson County and Fossil.

"It takes one student to be uncomfortable to make a change," and referred to themself as "Patient Zero" when it comes to their ambition for activism.

Christian Fuscarino (he/him/his) is the Executive Director of Garden State Equality. He is affiliated with GLSEN and through this organization has worked with many Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs). In 2007, he joined the Pride Connections Center of New Jersey as a program developer serving gay inner-city youth, and in 2008 he founded The Pride Network, a national leadership development non-profit.

Gabi DeCastro (they/them/theirs) is a senior at Watchung Hills Regional High School where they are the co-president of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA). In their four years as a member of GSA and two years as president, they have been the leader of many projects relating to diversity and the LGBTQ+ community. They have led their ninth grade annual health presentation, which seeks to educate

Erin Sikora (she/her/hers) is a Student Assistant Counselor that has worked in both middle and high schools in Woodbridge Township for the past six years. She is currently one of the advisers for the Kennedy S.T.A.R.s, a tolerance and acceptance organization aimed at providing safe network and inclusive events for students.

The panel's moderator was Rabbi Victor Appell (he/him/ his), the Reform Community Rabbi and Senior Jewish Educator at Rutgers Hillel, currently living in Metuchen with his husband and their two sons. Below are the following five main panelists in attendance:

Kristofer Berrios (he/him/his) is a senior at Kean working towards his bachelor's in Psychology with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. As a trans man, he has provided seminars at the collegiate level in undergraduate and graduate courses for Transgender Education and Awareness for the past four years. Gigi Wickline (she/her/hers) is a Residence Hall Director of both Upperclassmen and Bartlett Residence Halls on campus, the Co-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for Residential Student Services and creator of the first LGBTQ+ inclusive group on campus, as of 2016. In 2017, she started holding LGBT inclusion and visibility training for students, student staff and faculty on campus, and she is currently working on a proposal for genderinclusive housing at Kean.

Victoria Gasper | The Cougar's Byte

Britney Wilson and Gabi DeCastro, high school students, accepting awards at the 2019 LGBTQ+ Educator's Panel from the Holocaust Resource Center to celebrate their advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community.

Lillian Rivera (she/her/hers) is the current Executive Director at the Hetrick-Martin Institute of New Jersey and has appeared on numerous media outlets. Some including MIC, AOL's Bold, CNN en Espanol and NBC Latino to speak on her activism in the LGBTQ+ community with a focus on minorities and people of color. She has worked with a variety of organizations

The panelists were first given the question of what educators can do in their classrooms to support LGBTQ+ students. Sikora called for teachers to simply be present. Berrios added that because suicidal tendencies are higher in LGBTQ+ individuals, it's important to have "a listening ear and do more." Wickline brought up the idea of slightly altering class introductions to include not just names, but also pronouns. Rivera proposed that education and inclusion should begin in elementary schools with children in Pre-K, as those years are when gender identity begin to form. She also mentioned inclusion for students with LGBTQ+ parents on holidays such as Fathers' and Mothers' day where students might have two dads or two moms and not be able to participate. Fuscarino brought up the Equal Access Act, reassuring the educators in the room that "nine times out of 10, the law is on [their] side." When it comes to inclusivity in curriculum, Fuscarino jumped on the question with the importance of health and sex education to ensure students of all genders and sexualities know the ins-and-outs of safe sex. Since there seems to be naturally more visibility available in high schools, Sikora said that assemblies about respect and celebrations of pride should be the norm. Sikora said, "If we can celebrate autism and Black History Month, we can celebrate LGBTQ+ students as well."


Homelessness and poverty in the LGBTQ+ community is a current pressing issue and Rivera affirmed this by saying that, although kicking one's child out is an extreme reaction, it could happen to anyone—not just people of certain minority groups. Garden State Equality (GSE) works to make shelters available for homeless LGBTQ+ youth and are always a solid resource to give to members of the community. Rabbi Appell weighed in on religion's role in the exclusion of LGBTQ+ people. However, there are many more denominations that accept LGBTQ+ individuals and affirm that they are also "made in the image and likeness of God". Kristofer mentioned the Unitarian Church in Summit, New Jersey on Union Avenue for those who might be interested. When it comes to supporting transgender students, there is a lot people can do. Rivera said that it is important to help cisgender people, or people who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, to understand the violence and discrimination that trans people have to face. Fuscarino added that organizations such as GLSEN and GSE have training programs that will come to schools and workplaces to educate people on the harsh reality that many trans people face. There were a few audience questions, but one that stood out was about the Day of Silence. The Day of Silence is a day to, "support those who have died while trying to use their voices by not using yours. It's to reflect on those we no longer have," Berrios said. Wickline added that with her students, she has them research one person who died as a victim of homophobic or transphobic violence and then asks them to perform one act of kindness in the person's memory. The general consensus among the panel was that there is so much more to be done for LGBTQ+ individuals in a postmarriage equality world. The main things that the panelists wanted educators to take away was the importance of creating safe spaces for students and to not be afraid to learn and have more questions. "Be the person you needed when you were younger," Berrios said.

Victoria Gasper, sophomore psychology major, is a member of The Cougar’s Byte staff.

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Kean University - The Cougar's Byte - April 16, 2019  

Kean University - The Cougar's Byte - April 16, 2019