Oakton Community College • campuses in Des Plaines and Skokie, Illinois November, 20 2019 • Volume 46 • Issue 3
November 20, 2019
Robotics clubs enjoys the science of competition Andrea Azzo Are you someone who is technically minded? Know someone who is? The robotics team might be of interest to students who are curious about learning what goes into designing and building a robot. The “Eng. 200: A Bite Out of Robotics” course is an academic program offered as an independent study class, where students register for the class to join the team. This enriching yet little-known academic program may be one of the campus’ best kept secrets. Each year, NASA hosts this robotics competition aimed at undergraduate and graduate students, challenging teams to build a robot that can theoretically withstand the environment and pressures of lunar mining operations. The aim of the game is to design a robot that is able to collect and deposit the most mined material while autonomously navigating simulated lunar terrain and avoiding any rocky obstacles in its path. The robotics team competes annually in this NASA Robotic Mining Competition, also known as Lunabotics, in the Spring at the Kennedy Space Center (in sunny Cape Canaveral, Florida) against other teams affiliated with colleges and universities. Last year in the 2019 competition, more than 300 undergraduate and graduate students from 45 colleges and universities across the United States took part in the contest. With funding from a generous grant from Oakton’s Educational Foundation, the Oakton Team has had incredible success, with Oakton consistently placing among the top teams year after year. The complexities of the challenge include taking into account the abrasive characteristics of the simulated lunar sand, the weight and size limitations of the Lunar Robot, and the energy requirements of the system, among others. Each school-sponsored team submits a systems engineering paper, STEM outreach report, videos of their robot, and a presentation of the process to a panel of judges for scoring, alongside competing in an area which mimics the lunar surface. Students join with varied career goals and are studying a variety of majors. Oakton’s team currently has students majoring in Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, Applied Physics, Math, and even a student majoring in Fine Arts! Students don’t have to be a pro to start. Anyone is welcome, as long as they show a commitment to learning and an open mind. The competition helps give rise to the next generation of engineering talent, allowing participants to gain practical experience by taking a concept from the beginning stages of development all the way to the engineering and fabrication process. Practical experience is sure to give students a headstart on their careers and job aspirations, and the connections forged through the competition open new doors. One previous member of the team was able to turn her experience as a member into an internship at NASA, and eventually into a job for the esteemed government agency. The faculty advisor, Angelo Gero, has been in charge of the program for multiple years and has overseen the efforts of dozens of students participating in the team. He is also a professor here teaching courses in the Engineering department. Gero’s direction
has led to the robotics team winning with distinc- Robotics club tion -- as of 2018’s contest, Oakton had placed in the top 15 teams for five straight years, edging out universities like the Illinois Institute of Technology and Purdue University. Gero explains the history of the program. It is a point of pride for Gero that against teams from 4-year universities with a larger Engineering program and more resources, Oakton demonstrates that more isn’t necessarily better. Breaking into the competition was not easy as some of the first students who had the opportunity to compete had to deal with the stigma associated with 2-year institutions. Stereotypes were broken, however, when the team found their footing in their second year participating and consistently kept placing high in the rankings from then on. \ Of course, it takes a team effort to succeed. Every student brings with them a different set of skills to the table, with some students specializing in programming and coding knowledge while others more experienced with the challenges of laying out the inner electrical workings of the machine. Peer teaching is encouraged. Three major subteams exist: Electrical, Mechanical, and Software. The Mechanical Team designs and builds the robot’s body and skeleton to best suit the competition criteria (which can, and do change from year to year). This particular year has seen a major overhaul of the specific limits on the size and weight of the robot with size limits being reduced by about a third. The Mechanical Team has also been busy this past semester coming up with a leaner robot design to compensate for the decrease in allowances, and is busy analyzing a list of potential digging mechanisms and their pros and cons. The Electrical Team has also been hard at work, looking at possible wiring layouts and doing research into the best type of motor for the job. Soy Kim, a Fine Arts major, originally joined the team intending to use the knowledge she will learn to create high-tech artwork with an electrical twist. “Being a member of the Electrical Team, I’ve learned more from my peers than I expected. I ended up learning about more than just about the visual component. I learned about the function of it all,” Kim said. Story continues to right
November 20, 2019
IT Promotes National Cyber-Security Awareness Month Robin Sluzas The National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCSA) named Oakton Community College a 2019 National Cybersecurity champion last month. The NCSA’s purpose is to “build strong public/private partnerships to create and implement broad-reaching education and awareness efforts to empower users at home, work and school with the information they need to keep themselves, their organizations, their systems and their sensitive information safe and secure online and encourage a culture of cybersecurity.” To increase cyber awareness amongst the Oakton population, Oakton’s IT department held an Cyber-Wise event to spread IT awareness, part of which was a contest for students asking entrants to create a poster featuring a topic related to information technology. Seåven entries were received and the winner Karen Suarez was announced on Oct. 16. The IT department also organized a “Know the Security Policy” contest that was held every week through the month of October via Oakton Matters. The giveaways were sponsored by vendors such as SHI, Beyond 20, Impact, Pentpoint and others. While Oakton’s IT department clearly does an incredible job protecting our networks and systems at school, it is also
important that students, faculty and staff contribute to this continuous effort. Generally speaking, there are potential security issues that students can assist Oakton IT with. A few simple rules to follow are: 1) If you are not sure about an e-mail or a link, do not open it. 2) Be careful what you search for; you could unwittingly expose yourself to a computer virus. 3) If an URL is expired it could have, unbeknownst to you, been purchased by a company or entity other than the company or entity you were looking for. could in turn infect the computer or mobile device you are using. 4) If you receive an advertisement, e-mail or any other communication via computer or mobile device that is too good to be true it probably is. Delete it immediately. In other words, the site could contain malicious code that Should students or staff suspect that something is not right or they know they have a problem while using an Oakton site, please report it immediately be e-mailing helpdesk@ oakton.edu or calling 847-635-1965.
Robotics story continues from page 2 The Software Team also has their hands full, testing RFID location tags as a method of orienting the robot as well as how to best integrate a 3D camera into the robot for obstacle detection in the arena. The Software Team is also testing automation of the system, eliminating the need for a student to drive the robot. If full automation of the robot can be implemented, it would be a major boon to scoring. There are other roles to play alongside these three teams, including Outreach & Social Media Coordinator, and a Systems Engineer. The Outreach Coordinator is responsible for finding ways to ignite interest in STEM in members of the local community, while the Systems Engineer helps to make sure each subsystem of the robot fits seamlessly into a whole using Systems Engineering principles. The Robotics Team has a couple of outreach activities planned this semester, including meeting with a Lithuanian Scout Troop to teach young kids how to build a robotic hand simulator, and presenting at FUTURES in December, a STEM event hosted by Oakton for eighth grade girls. Devry Paltzer, the team’s returning Outreach and Social Media expert and a Business major, says that joining the team has enriched her life. Paltzer said, “Teamwork is really important, and you really get out of the project what you put into it.”
courtesy of IT department
Karen Suarez wins IT poster contest on Oct. 16.
This year, Gero is focusing on exposing all members of the program to principles of Systems Engineering due to its prominence in the field of engineering. Systems Engineering (SE) principles are commonly used in industries like Aerospace Engineering, and learning how to work with SE principles and methods is an asset to any aspiring engineer. These principles ensure that a system with many components -- such as the three areas of the Lunar Robot -- work together as a whole and in a predictable fashion. NASA emphasizes the importance of learning Systems Engineering in its scoring guidelines with the Systems Engineering Paper constituting a big chunk of how points are awarded to each team. The Robotics Team here at Oakton teaches not just technical skills, but ‘soft skills’ like working and communicating as part of a team, needed to excel in the working world today as well. A lot goes into making sure Oakton’s Robot will run smoothly at the competition. Every student plays an integral part. Any student with a passion for STEM or an itching to be technically inclined can find their niche in the Team’s welcoming and encouraging atmosphere! Students thinking of joining can join at any time in the Fall or Spring semesters, by registering normally or contacting Angelo Gero via email.
November 20, 2019
‘Arrow’ is about to put down the bow Jake Allonar “Oliver Queen, you have not failed this universe!” Billionaire playboy-turned green hooded vigilante, Oliver Queen, played by Stephen Amell has been the unfathomable leader of the DC Television Universe on The CW for seven years and counting. This season will be his farewell as The Green Arrow; he will be hanging up the boots and bow for good at the end of 2019. “Arrow” which premiered on The CW in 2012 has given birth to what’s known as the “Arrowverse,” which is also populated by “The Flash,”“Legends of Tomorrow’” “Supergirl,” “Batwoman,” and “Black Lightning.” It had a profound impact on the comic book genre and has revolutionized the superhero effect on television. It’s arguable that season eight of “Arrow” will be the important season to date as the upcoming DC television crossover; “Crisis on Infinite Earths” takes place in December which will decide the fate of Oliver Queen, The Green Arrow. It is understandable that every legendary TV show must wrap up at some point, and it’s the best for “Ar-
row” to do that while it’s still going strong. Most installments making up the ten episodes of the eighth and final season will revisit earlier years in a sense. Oliver is on a mission to save the entire universe from a crisis that could affect billions and multiversal deity called The Monitor recruited him to help warn the multiverse of this potential catastrophe. For a being who is considerably a god, The Monitor, played by LaMonica Garrett, sure is a confusing figure. The character, who was first introduced in last year’s “Elseworlds” crossover, is trying to prevent a crisis that will destroy the multiverse. But based on his actions, his plan greatly confuses Oliver as no matter how many tests have been completed, it always seems to speed up the intensity of the upcoming crisis. Stephen Amell has done some of his best acting work so far this season as Oliver Queen, and the latest episode tops it all. He gets to meet his kids, Mia and William from the future after an unusual set of circumstances in which they were time-traveled from 2040 Star City to Oliver’s present time. There have been some deep moments like Oliver getting emotional when he
finds out both his son and daughter grew up apart. Another great s c e n e was when Wi l l i a m revealed to Oliver that he came out of the closet. Warner Bros. poster These types of character and emotional-driven moments showed the best of “Arrow” and sometimes it doesn’t have to be to action-packed to achieve that. The show did not lose its touch when it comes to the fight choreography however, as it gets better each and every episode. You definitely owe it to yourself to invest time in watching ten more episodes of “Arrow” before it comes to an end.
Enjoying concerts takes planning to enjoy evening Josselyn Cruz Concerts can be expensive, but they are always a good way to entertain ourselves. People can be very excited for concerts and plan to have fun, but they may want to prepare to make sure they have fun. Here are the things to do before and during the concert: One of the things it’s important before the concert is always look at the policies at the venue of what to bring or not. Many venues are strict on what fans are allowed to bring during the concert. For example, a lot of people bring bags or purses, but venues have specific rules regarding the size of the bag. It is important to always double check their website to make sure if a bag is allowed at the venue. Another thing to know is that there will be merchandise in the venue, but also de-
pending on the company, fans can pre-order it and have it arrive before the concert day. Be up-to-date on social media in order to know the links to buy for the merchandise. It can get expensive at times, but it is worth it. You always have to question yourself is the item that I am going to buy worth my money? Will I be using this item on a daily basis? Before going to a concert, it is important to find a local food restaurant. People would always grab lunch and enjoy themselves before going to the venue. It is important to have a meal during lunch time because it is going to be a long day. Once people arrive at the venue after they go through checking bag and tickets, they have one or two options which are buying the merchandise in order to support the artist or buy food at the concession stand. It will take a while to get the order because there is a long line based on
what people are going to buy at the station. After fans are done either purchasing merchandise or food, then they can get ready to be seated and get everything situated before the concert starts. I would recommend to always double check personal values in order not to have them stolen or misplaced somewhere in the venue. When the concert starts, people will right away cheer for the artist because it is an exciting time of the day. It is also a stress reliever in order to forget about other stuff going on in their lives. Many people will be singing and dancing a lot when the music starts and it shows they are having fun with it. The artist will always give encouraging words to the fans and it shows they are motivated to keep moving forward. Concerts are a once in a lifetime experience because they are rewards for all the hard work.
OCCurrence The student-run publication of Oakton Community College Des Plaines Campus & Skokie Campus Room 1530 & A162 email@example.com oaktonoccurrence.com
The OCCurrence welcomes a free exchange of ideas as long as letters submitted are not considered by The OCCurrence staff to be obscene, libelous, or violate copyright. All content in the publication is determined by the student staff.
Editors- in-Chief: Josselyn Cruz Jessica So Production Manager: Robin O’Neill Sluzas Media Manager: Jake Allonar Social Media Manager: Adisa Ozegovic Ad Manager: Aaron Banks Photographers: Amina Mayzel Damaris Gonzalez Reporters: Andrea Azzo Adviser: Janet B. Levin
November 20, 2019
‘Joker’:equals underwhelming adaptation Adisa Ozegovic The new edition of “Joker” is one of the most anticipated films of the year. Unlike other adaptations, this film serves to display the underlying realities that lead to the creation of one of the most sociopathic and reckless villains within the DC Comics Universe; in particular, director Todd Phillips takes the audience through a series of unfortunate events that triggered the creation of the “Joker.” Leading actor Joaquin Phoenix does a wonderful job of accurately portraying the descent of a psychologically traumatized individual into insanity. This is most clearly seen within the uncontrollable laughing fits that Jack Napier, the Joker’s real identity, bursts into. Though he is undoubtedly giggling, each fit is uncomfortable to watch, particularly because Phoenix does an excellent job of highlighting the lack of control Napier has over himself. It is clear that it is both frustrating for the character, while, likewise, being equally uncomfortable and odd to the onlookers around him. Furthermore, Phoenix’s brilliance, and Phillips’s good eye, is emphasized within the Joker’s first dance. The score plays eerie violins, as the Joker, though initially panting out of fear, relaxes into a freestyle, ballet-esque dance. He twists and moves his upper body carefully, as the camera slowly pans around him, and the green light of the bathroom illuminates the overwhelmingly intense scene of self-realization. This is such a spectacular scene because it is the first moment within the film that Napier really becomes himself and takes his first step into his own character. It is a brief pause within a film that moves quickly to and from each scene of unfortunate circumstances to view a brief and suddenly slow scene. At the end of it, Napier stands in front of the mirror, clown makeup and all, with his arms outstretched, as if to finally see himself for the first time. Despite that excellent moment of cinematography, direction, acting, and sound, “Joker” had a number of serious issues throughout the film. The primary problem is related to the unlikely nature of the script. The film is heavily reliant on the fact that everything within Napier’s life must certainly end negatively in order for him to officially take on
his diabolical role. The first scene sees Napier being beaten up a number of children who stole his sign. Then, he is tormented by his coworkers. Next, his mother emotionWarner Bros. poster ally relies on him and manipulates him. Shortly afterwards, his relationship fails. Even the scene leading up to his dance is hyper focused on promoting unrealistic stereotypes of snobbish rich men: they throw fries at a young woman and then, seemingly out of pure enjoyment, decide to jump Napier, who is dressed entirely in clown make-up and is having another uncontrollable fit. Did they also steal candy from a baby beforehand? The issue here does not necessarily sit with the fact that there are unrealistic scenes in a fictional film. It is specifically that “Joker” strives to make a commentary on the role of society in shaping and manipulating an individual, but it does so through exaggerating all of the negative qualities of society. The great thing about Christopher Nolan’s 2008 adaptation “The Dark Night” and Heath Ledger’s performance is that the Joker, though clearly a reckless and an obviously rejected member of society, is able to deliver clear societal messages that do not hinder on the audience being forced to hate existing characters. This adds to the fear that is essential in a film like this: the Joker is able to see inconsistencies and flaws within the existing society, a society that created him. Meanwhile in “Joker,” Joker’s life was so miserable that his own therapist reacted to him poorly. In this way, the film fails to deliver on its intended goal, instead coming off as pretentious and self-piteous. Napier, by the end, hates his life. Shocking. This, however, adds nothing of value to viewers who cannot relate to such a negative, hostile world.
November 20, 2019
Students showcase music and art at festival
The talent of students experienced at the Art of Music festival in the Student center on Nov. 8. All photos by Robin Sluzas
November 20, 2019
White Christmas comes early for Oakton
See how much difference one month can make. Second snow of season hits in record book.
All photos by Jake Allonar
Unfortunate truth of being an outfit repeater Amina Mayzel I am a visual person, when you tell me directions you better include landmarks and the color of the building I should make a right turn by. No street names, please… I can’t. So some are not visual people. They will never realize that A) their best friend might be wearing the same thing everyday or B) maybe they’re that best friend. When I say wearing the same thing everyday, I am not saying that the person can’t get any other clothing. I am saying that most people who have a simple and safe taste, tend to style their outfits exactly the same. I used to be that girl who wore leggings and a sweatshirt everyday to school . One day I just woke up and had a sense of unique style. I stopped wearing the same black pair of leggings and threw away dozens of XXL gray sweatshirts…(I did leave one; it was sentimental). Recently, I noticed that some people stay in their comfort zone and tend to stick to the same style of jeans and tops. This is where I had to ask myself, “How does a basic person stop looking the same but keep the style true to themselves?” First of all, what is style? For me, it is something that is unique, something that makes me comfortable with my body. Style represents whatever is going on inside of me, but on the outside. It can be detailed, risky, classy, preppy, emo, minimalistic or whatever the heart desires. My favorite color is white, so most of my tops are white. What I have noticed is that I have 10 white T-shirts with a different picture but they all look the same. My suggestion to myself and everyone reading this is: Stop Buying Similar Clothes. If someone has five pairs of jeans, they shouldn’t all be light wash with a few rips. She may say, “Well the rips are in different places!” No honey... it’s the same thing. Go to American Eagle, they have more choices. Stop buying similar impulse items just because they are cheap. Consider textures such as knit, furry, fuzzy, or smooth solids. They make a huge difference to the eye. Include colors because they are fun, and if neutrals are the thing, shop for different hues. Play around with colors and textures to see what suits the heart and happiness. If you don’t like patterns, that is fine. You don’t have to wear a purple polka dot to shake things up on a Friday night. Wear a favorite green sweater, but don’t go to Forever 21 and buy the same shade of green sweater because it’s on sale and it has a saying “Live, Love, Laugh” in the corner. Regardless, I wouldn’t be complaining if I did not have a solution. Also, NEVER say “I can’t pull it off.” Buy it, wear it, rock it.
November 20, 2019
November 20, 2019
Owls win against CODmarks beginning of men’s basketball season
The Owls win season opener with young team. Robin Sluzas The Owls Men’s Basketball team opened the 2019 season with a 75-55 win over the COD Chaparrals, followed by three losses to an early season 1-3 record as of Nov. 14. About the game against COD, head coach Mick Reuter said, “We’re a young team and made a lot of mistakes, but we played hard.” He plans to work on going forward that the Owls “ . . . have to learn how to compete through everything no matter the situation.” Reuter went on to say that, “I believe in winning little competitions throughout a game”. Ali Sabet, an all-conference starter from Maine East High School, led the Oakton starters with 21 points, Daniel Cooper with 13, Jamil Jones with 10, and Jack Framke with 6 points. Reserve players Breon Hurt and Deonte Jordan contributed to the game total by scoring 10 and 6 points respectively. Oakton’s 3 point percent (47.6) dwarfed COD’s (6.7) although turnovers remained even with 26 Owl and 24 COD turnovers. Freshman reserve player Dailen Sudduth (3 points against COD) said that about the Owls, “We need to talk to each other more and stay focused throughout the game.” Coach Reuter remains confident that the Owls will improve as the season progresses, noting that Jack Framke, the only returnee, is someone the team “relies on quite a bit” and that Chima Nwoso from Von Steuben High School is a “little older and has a lot of potential.”
November 20, 2019
Boomer weighs in on generational gap Robin Sluzas “OK Boomer.” I figured, being a baby boomer myself, that when I heard that phrase, I might have been receiving a thumbs up which, while not a glowing assessment, isn’t bad. “I’ll take it,” I thought. And then I discovered that the phrase “OK, Boomer” meant the opposite. It meant that things were not “OK.” What exactly does “OK, Boomer” mean? Upon further consideration, I realized that every generation since the beginning of human existence enters into a period of time where dislike and mistrust of older people becomes the norm. This, of course, includes boomers. So, what is so different about the dislike that Gen X, Y and Z people have for boomers versus the dislike and mistrust my generation had for our parents and authority figures? A disclaimer: personally, I really don’t care if anyone says “OK boomer” to me because A) I am one, and B) let the X, Y and Z-ers take over because I’m tired. I’ll get to that later. Besides, why shouldn’t they have their chance to screw some things up, get other things right and then have a meme made up about them by their kids? Will there be memes in the future, or will generational anger and mistrust take a different form? I don’t know for sure. I am, however, willing to bet that when today’s XYZ-ers get older and talk about the memes they created and how funny they are, future generations will roll their eyes in disgust. No worries. It’s the way of the world. Such a boomer thing to say, right? I began my investigation by trying to find out what exactly boomers have done so wrong by talking to various X, Y and Z friends about some of the concerns they have; yes, I have X, Y and Z friends. I’m a student in a community college. And while we’re at it, let’s keep score. There will be three rounds with three possible total points. There will also be BTB’s (Bonus Tips for Boomers), which are meant to be helpful, so pay attention everyone. Here we go. 1). I myself have heard ornery boomers say, “They’re always on their phones! If they’d only get off their phones, maybe
they’d learn something!” Student Jason Nelkin astutely pointed out that “it was a boomer who invented cell phones, so being criticized for using boomer technology that a boomer created seems a tad hypocritical.” Specifically, I believe he is talking about suspected boomer phone inventor-in-chief, Steve Jobs. I don’t know when he was born, but I figure he has to be a boomer because he has since departed the planet. ROUND ONE SCORE: XYZ, 1 point. BOOMERS: Zip, zero, zilch. No BTB’s this round. The hypocrisy should be obvious. 2). Speaking of cell phones, what generational group is the dominant presence on Facebook for quite some time now? It sure isn’t Gen X, Y or Zee-ers because I never end up “talking with” them on that platform. Fancy modern-type lingo for a boomer person right? I’m learning. And I’m pretty sure they aren’t the people posting those weird inspirational poster-like saying things either, those that often feature baby animals or flowers. OK, maybe some of them. Apologies to baby animal/flower lovers. You know what I mean. I’m talking about those e-poster things that try to cheer a person up when in reality, all they make me want to do is throw up a one finger salute at the nearest someone or something. Sap is something I’ve learned to tolerate. ROUND TWO SCORE: XYZ, 1 point. BOOMERS: Negative 1 point. BTB # 1: Did you know that Gen Y are millennials? I didn’t. It never made sense to me why we skipped a letter. There. Now you know. 3). Contrary to popular belief, many boomers don’t have a lot of money which may be due to the fact that some of us never went to college. This next part makes me unhappy. It is quite possibly because of this lack of book-learning that some of us believed the baloney of a person looking suspiciously like an orange Colonel Sanders. See? No money, and there will never be any money for people as long as orange-ness rules, get it? It is to be noted that there are XYZ-ers and Boomers alike who don’t trust orange-ness. ROUND THREE SCORE: XYZ, 1 point. BOOMERS: ¾ of a point (awarded to those of us who distrust orange humans). FINAL SCORE: XYZ, 3 points. BOOMERS: ¾ of a point. XYZ wins!
BTB # 2: For those who do trust orange humans, if a person is orange, it may be beneficial to question the person’s sensibility and motivations. What? Oh, come on. I’ve seen flocks of orange people! OK Boomer, mostly in Floridian or Arizona retirement communities; they’re out there, and you know it. To clarify, people aren’t typically orange and if one runs across an orange human one should question what one is looking at or listening to. Because the rounds are over, I thought it prudent to hear from my friend Vincent who, while much younger than myself, often sums things up nicely. Recently he told me: “Back in the day, we cared more about appearances and origins. These days, everything is out in the open. It’s not about fighting for sensitivity; it’s about fighting for equality. Today, there is less shame in being who you are. Appearance isn’t a determining factor. Today, it’s more about community, shared interests and common goals. And that’s a good thing. All that stuff people used to hide doesn’t have to be hidden anymore. If a person needs help, there’s a chat room for every kind of issue.” Exactly. This is good for all of us. Thank you, Vincent. This piece I am writing is in reality, a piece of respect and admiration for my younger peers. I am not condemning boomers. I like us. We have value, and if done correctly, we have much to give to future generations. Our historical perspective can alleviate the sense of unease and anger that young people feel these days. They are right to feel this. And they are right to do what they can to change it. We can and should tell them that climate issues, intolerance, racial hatred, economic, health and educational inequities have ebbed and flowed throughout time. We should remind them that we are all human, not perfect, and sometimes we will get it wrong. We should tell them that by combining their intelligence, passion, and energy with our experience we can, together, right the wrongs that have been done and are unfortunately being dredged up again. And we boomers should trust them, care for them and most importantly, give them control of the future. We can relax. We are in good hands.
November 20, 2019
Shanty town: change for change Robin Sluzas Oakton’s Habitat for Humanity Club spent the night in “shantys” that they made from cast-off cardboard and other materials on the evening of Nov. 7, in order to educate our local communities about the lack of adequate housing and to draw attention to homeless youth. That evening the temperature dropped to 18 degrees fahrenheit. Student Jason Rossner experienced his second year sleeping in his homemade shelter. His takeaway from the event is that, “At any given time there is always going to be 10, 20 or a 1,000 people who will have to deal with homelessness, terrible weather conditions, and they might not even be lucky enough to have the necessary materials to build a cardboard shelter. It reminds me of how lucky I am to have four stable walls and a roof over my head.” The “shantys” were to show awareness of their most heart-wrenching issue of housing insecurity for local youth. High levels of vulnerability typify youth homelessness. To make matters more complicated, the issue of housing insecurity for youths in the Chicago suburbs looks very different from what most people envision when they think of homelessness. More often than not “couch surfing” (moving from one temporary housing situation to another) makes suburban at-risk youth much less visible. The proof is that there are housing insecure youth present in our own Oakton community and many here are not aware of them. Cheryl Thayer, Oakton Habitat for Humanity club advisor, describes homelessness as “a catch-all for many social problems such as mental health issues, unemployment issues and affordable housing issues for example. In fact, homelessness on its own may create its own social issues. The issues created can be drug and alcohol abuse and health related issues due to the unavailability of preventative medical care where the homeless population is concerned.” Thayer continues, “Obviously, a
lack of preventative medical care ultimately leads to early death, and criminal issues like theft to afford drugs that in turn might be being used to alleviate pain due to lack of medical care. This same cycle hits homeless children hard as well regarding the lack of education opportunities such as schooling, etc.” Youth homelessness in particular may occur as a result of nothing more than turning 18 and being asked to leave the family home. It can also occur when a young person is recruited, at times from another country, to play a sport in the U.S. college program resulting in homeless college athletes. University of Chicago’s 2017 Chapin Hall report titled “Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness in America” states that, “1 in 10 young adults ages 18 to 25 endures some form of homelessness in a year. Half of the prevalence involves couch surfing only. For young adults ages 18-25, 9.6 percent are located in urban counties and 9.2 percent are located in rural counties. 162 percent increase of youth with annual household income of less than $24,000 per year had 162 percent higher risk prevalence. It is also possible that these numbers are vastly under-reported. To assist local homeless youth please donate to the Oakton Habitat for Humanity Club by contacting Cheryl Thayer at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Cash or check donations can be dropped off with the Offices of Student Life at either the Des Plaines campus (Room 1530) or the Skokie campus (Room A160) between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday or 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Fridays. If any student is food insecure and are having trouble finding the Oakton Caring Closet website an online form can be found at www.oakton.edu/caringcloset. The Caring Closet is also located in the CCID, Room 1430 at Des Plaines campus or the Office of Student Life, Room A160 at the Skokie campus to fill out a food order form. Please allow 48 hours for the order to be filled.
Newsmagazine Oakton Community College