FOURTH ESTATE April 28, 2014 | Volume 1 Issue 24 George Mason Universityâ€™s official student news outlet
Students petition to change computer science honor code | p. 7 (KATRYNA HENDERSON/FOURTH ESTATE)
Letter from the editor-in-chief It’s yr boy Hau writing to you for the last time this spring semester. By the grace and kindness of my staff, Yahweh, the Based God and some light vote tampering, I will return as editor-in-chief of Fourth Estate for the 2014-2015 school year. So, you’re not finished ignoring my dumb, inane words yet. Come fall semester, you’ll actually notice that in addition to running the weekly edition you’re reading right now, I will also be running the website, gmufourthestate.com. Because surely the guy who writes a weekly letter of insanity that chronicles Ukrainian mythology, Dyngus Day and trying to host secret gatherings celebrating ancient Roman traditions of chasing eligible women with wolf pelts is fit for more responsibility they said. My first letter this semester was a little sentimental about thanking past staff while also addressing the challenges ahead for Fourth Estate. I thought it would be apropos to pull back the curtain a bit and talk about some of the things I’ve learned from having actual leadership responsibilities. Perhaps I can impart a few things on some of you by parsing through my ramblings. It shouldn’t come as any big, shocking realization but being in charge has its highs and lows. From this semester, I’ve learned a lot about the duality of the actions -- and their consequences -- a leader has to take. Seeing the culmination of a week’s worth of diligent work from my staff of writers, editors and visual folks in a hard copy of the newspaper is so creatively and spiritually fulfilling to me in a way that I didn’t know doing this job could bring. Being and living in that seven days worth of work though? Kind of a waking nightmare at its worst. It’s a balancing act of trying to figure out which moving parts will work or fail, from trying to get story ideas or getting everyone on deadline that stresses me out to no end. It’s trying to hold everyone accountable to a standard of content whether that’s quality or quantity, while having to realize that there can be a disconnect on a case by case basis with so many variables around the university. Something I wanted to instill about my time in charge of Fourth Estate was that we are open to anyone and everyone joining our team from writers to
photographers, etc. I firmly believe the role of a student media organization -- especially at a university like Mason where there’s not a large, dedicated major to journalism -- is to provide experiential learning for the sect of students who do have an interest in media. With staking that ground also comes a lot of teaching and workshopping with writers and editors who might not be as comfortable or experienced with writing in a journalistic style. This can be frustrating in both a good way -- devoting time to helping grow writers -- and a bad way -- selfishly expecting and wanting everyone to be at a certain ‘level’ of writing. The biggest thing I’ve had to deal with on an internal level is trying to balance my style of leadership. It’s really the crisis of leadership in the more macro scale brought to the micro-level. Do you want to lead through being everyone’s friend and having them like you on an interpersonal level, or do you want to lead through the job position you carry and the respect that you should command through your actions? I think I’ve probably erred a little too much into the former in my tenure but I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing. At the last meeting of editors for the semester, everyone was asked to say some of the positives and negatives about their semester working at Fourth Estate. One of the common points throughout the positives was that coming into the office to work with other editors brought some sense of happiness to each individual. A couple of my staff members said it was very much like a family with the sense of familiarity and openness we had toward each other. I kind of had to hold back some tears because I was so glad that people actually had a good experience in working with others. In my head, I have been trying to build that sense of community and openness while banking on an inherent mutual respect of a working and personal situation. I’ve made good friends in my time working here; relationships I hope to carry well beyond my time at Mason. With trying to connect with people beyond the ‘boss-employee’ relationship come times where you have to assert authority and hope you’re held in high enough regard to garner that respect.
I’m sure there are as many times I’ve spent weekends wanting to pull my hair out because of stories needing to get in or edited as there have been times during the week where my vague responses to questions and lack of firm decisions have caused grief and confusion to my staff. It’s the realities of leadership. So, where does that leave Fourth Estate? A lot of the questions about the vision and direction of our organization remain unanswered. It may come as a surprise, but I’m okay that we haven’t figured it all out. I think journalism today is a very fluid situation and we’re no different. We’re still going to try and bring you comprehensive and competent coverage of the Mason community. What that will entail and how comprehensive is still in the works. What matters to me is feedback from you, the readers. Whether that’s through social media, emails or even face-to-face. Please, let me know how Fourth Estate can better serve or entertain you. With the end of the semester comes having to face the prospect of outgoing, graduating staff, I wish them all well as they venture into the unknown that is the present day job market. With departures comes the opportunity to
bring in new voices and perspectives, and I’m excited to see what comes of it. I’m excited to continue my commitment to bringing coverage and perspective of the Mason community for another year and hope that you will enjoy reading and talking about it. I don’t want to go, but I got to go. Until the fall.
Daniel Gregory Managing Editor
Alexa Rogers News Editor
Suhaib Khan Print News Editor
Genevieve Hoeler Lifestyle Editor
Sara Moniuszko Print Lifestyle Editor
Stephen Czarda Sports Editor
Darian Banks Print Sports Editor
John Irwin Photography Editor
Amy Rose Asst. Photography Editor HAU CHU EDITOR-IN-CHIEF GMUFOURTHESTATE@GMAIL.COM @HAUCHU
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Katryna Henderson Illustrator
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David Carroll Associate Director Fourth Estate operates as a publication of Broadside. Fourth Estate is printed each Monday for George Mason University and its surrounding Fairfax Community. The editors of Fourth Estate have exclusive authority over the content that is published. There are no outside parties that play a role in the newspaper’s content, and should there be a question or complaint regarding this policy, the Editor-in-Chief should be notified at the email provided. Fourth Estate is a free publication, limit one copy per person. Additional copies are 25 cents payable to the Office of Student Media. Mail Fourth Estate George Mason University Mail stop 2C5 4400 University Drive Fairfax, Va. 22030 Phone 703-993-2950
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Outgoing provost reflects on time at Mason
HAU CHU EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
The accomplishments during Peter Stearns’ tenure as provost have helped Mason’s reputation as a university and have positioned the school well for the future, even if his initial goals were more conventional than he would like to admit. “Obviously, trying to continue building [Mason] as a research institution. It was only less than a decade when it started making a serious commitment to research,” Stearns said. “I thought we could work on becoming a little bit more selective in selection of students. I’ve changed my mind on some of that, but I just thought [Mason] was in a position to begin to move up by some of the conventional measures of university quality.” Stearns came to Mason in 2000 from Carnegie Mellon University where he served as the Dean of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. He did not know much about Mason when he assumed the role of provost. Stearns, however, saw potential in Mason from its location and status as a relatively young university. Some of the results that Stearns is most proud of realizing in his time at Mason were helping the university become more globally involved. Stearns also noted the growth of the Ph.D. program over his time as provost as a high watermark of his tenure. When he started, Mason had 12 doctoral programs; a number that has tripled as of 2014, which Stearns indicated was part of growing as a research institution. What Stearns is most proud of is the balanced growth of Mason’s goals and plans as a university. “For example, while we’ve expanded, we’ve also improved quality. While we’ve expanded research, we’ve also paid new levels of attention to teaching. It’s the balancing act that I think is ultimately most important,” Stearns said.
The past 14 years have not been without their struggles for Stearns and Mason, especially when it came to the lackluster support from the state budget and funding issues for the university. “When I came, I thought that it was just a no-brainer that we would be able to argue for more state resources. We were underfunded compared to places like UVa. I thought that over time, it would just be rational for the state to give us a little bit more attention. Obviously, that has not worked,” Stearns said. “A) The state has cut us – and the whole system, B) the relationship with places like UVa. has not improved at all, in terms of the funding from the state level.” Stearns remarked his push for more funding for Mason with the state and its budget allocations as a battle he might not have been fully ready for. “The budget issues are the ones where I naively thought that I could make a quicker difference, and that has just, on the whole, not worked out.” Budget issues have been a concern on a commonwealth-wide level for Virginia as the budget for education has been diminishing. This is not necessarily a battle that a provost or a university can fight and win, but rather Stearns views it as an indication of Northern Virginia’s political standing in the state legislature. “To help us, they’d have to actively take away from UVa. and that’s painful,” Stearns said. “UVa. and [Virginia] Tech have lots of alums in the legislature, so our youth is a factor, but it’s a bit of a puzzle that we haven’t been a little bit more effective.” The growth of Mason as a university, both with student population and program offerings, has coincided with Stearns’ tenure. In 2000, Stearns mentioned that there were 3,000 beds on campus – and that Mason had trouble even filling those – so the residential growth has been one of the most impressive developments to him. The development and expansion of the various colleges at Mason is also something Stearns hangs his hat on. Specifically, the
growth of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences – which as a former dean of a college of humanities and social sciences -Stearns played an integral role in developing. The rearrangement and growth of the arts programs at Mason, which Stearns noted had an odd setup when he started, is also a point of pride. Stearns will be stepping down from the role of provost this summer, but his voice and opinion have been a part of the development of Mason’s strategic plan for the next decade. In the search committee presentations to find Mason’s new provost, the biggest point of emphasis from faculty was reaching the strategic plan goal to heavily increase research funding at Mason. “I fully endorse this aspect of the new strategic plan, which says we should move up to very high research status. That implies more than doubling our funded research, which is hard – particularly in this climate,” Stearns said. “But, we’re doing a little better than some other places -- this year for example. I don’t know whether we can reach that goal, but it’s certainly worth a try.” While more funding for research in some minds draws an image of individual efforts away from tangible benefits to the university in regards to education, Stearns believes Mason’s Students as Scholars program is an important aspect of the increased research initiative. “I think we’ve done a pretty good job, particularly with the OSCAR program, in making it clear that research is also an educational asset and not out there on its own,” Stearns said. All of the provost candidates brought to campus for formal interviews had a chance to informally ask Stearns any questions they had about Mason. Although he had no involvement in the selection of David Wu as Mason’s new provost, Stearns sees the reasons why President Cabrera selected Wu for the position. “I think Dr. Wu has a distinguished career. He has very interesting research interests. I think that aspect of his credentials sort of bolsters the research mission,” Stearns said. “I think he would agree he’ll have a lot to learn – I had a lot to learn – but I’m very positive about the kind of impact that he can have.” Wu will have many resources and positives to build on from a university standpoint. Stearns noted in particular the quality and diversity of the student body and strength of faculty as building blocks for Mason. The primary obstacles that Stearns believes Wu will face are mostly financially driven with the aforementioned budget issues, including finding new ways to develop resources beyond tuition, citing the recent partnership with INTO as an example of a new resource stream. What Stearns takes most pride in the reputation Mason has developed in his tenure is its willingness to see ideas through to completion. “A reputation for being willing to take risks, for trying to make good ideas pay off rather than figuring out reasons not to do it,” Stearns said. “In other words, I think we’re a can-do place and I think that attribute is something that’s really important to preserve.” Mason’s reputation as a university willing to take risks could be in part due to the vision from President Cabrera who Stearns believes shares many similar qualities to his predecessor, Alan Merten, but has more of a streak of determination to seek innovation. “The most obvious difference is President Cabrera places much greater emphasis on innovation and even a certain amount of disruption,” Stearns said. “President Merten was the guy who helped coin the tag, ‘Where Innovation is Tradition,’ so I don’t mean he wasn’t innovative but he didn’t push the notion of change in all categories to the extent that President Cabrera does.” Stearns will return to teaching history full-time in the fall semester and is excited about the idea of developing new courses and working with students and research projects.
School of Public Policy and Public and International Affairs to merge into one college REEM NADEEM STAFF WRITER
A proposal to merge the School of Public Policy and Department of Public and International Affairs has been approved by faculties in both departments. The proposal will be presented to the Board of Visitors in May and then passed onto the State Council of Higher Education For Virginia. If passed, the School of Policy, Government and International Affairs will be created. Though the process will take time, once the new school has been created, there is hope that it will better serve the Mason community. “By combining two already strong units, we have a chance to build what could be the largest school of its kind and become a leader on disciplines that are critical to our region and to the
communities we serve,” said President Angel Cabrera in an email discussing the merger. Though the process is just beginning, the idea of merging the two entities has existed for a while, according to Matt Green, PIA academic coordinator. “It’s my understanding that with President Cabrera coming on, there is some new impetus to do so. The idea would be that we’d create this sort of mega government school really close to DC that would be the end all, be all of government education,” Green said. According to Green, the establishment of a new school will improve Mason’s standing in government education, but also attract more resources financial as well as access to faculty. About 800 or 900 undergraduate students currently study PIA. According to Green, the new school will be significantly smaller than the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, which PIA is currently a part of, but much more focused.
However, it will be a while before students begin to see many changes to the program. According to Green, advising will stay the same and new course material will not be added for a couple of years. “SPP has a lot more professional degrees, PIA tends to have more academic stuff. So from what I’ve heard, there’s a fair amount of difference there but what that actually means in terms of merging, again, we won’t know until we actually see it,” Green said. Though some adjustments will have to be made to complete the merger for both departments, Green believes the process has been collaborative so far. “It’s been a very collaborative process with SPP so far in terms of their faculty and our faculty working together to make this happen and to make it happen in a way that everybody is feeling good about it, so the spirit’s there,” Green said.
Mason police chief finishes first year
VERNON MILES ONLINE NEWS EDITOR
As the spring semester draws to a close, Eric Heath is finishing out his first year as Mason’s Chief of Police. In June of 2013, Heath was chosen to replaced Interim Police Chief Drew Tracy, who was also a candidate for the position along with one other applicant. In that time, there have been some substantial changes to the university’s police system. Heath said one of their biggest accomplishments from the past few months has been improving communications with students, faculty, and administration. “The biggest thing students may be interested in is… we’ve really had a good working relationship with Student Government,” Heath said. “We’ve been meeting on a monthly basis and we’ve invited Student Government to sit on our hiring panels for new police officers, so they help us choose. We’ve gotten a lot of
feedback from them about the possibility of bringing on a mobile safety app, one that’s geared towards students having the ability to push a button to call the police department, gain access to crime stats, as well as getting push notifications for timely warnings.” The mobile safety app still needs development, but Heath says the process has already started. “We’ve looked at a couple of different companies, we have another meeting at the end of this week to try to finalize that decision,” Heath said. “It’s been a really good partnership, getting to know Jordan [Foster, Student Body President], Sam [Wettasinghe, Student Body Vice President] and Liam [Hennelly, Chief of Staff] because we get to meet with them on a regular basis to talk through concerns and stuff like that.” One of the more recent additions is the hire of Tom Longo, chief of police at the University of South Florida, as the new assistant Chief of Police. Additionally, there are seven new police officers who are currently in police academy training and Lucy,
Mason’s first K-9 officer. These new assets will be put to the test when Mason hosts their security exercise this summer. “We’re going to be hosting a full scale exercise which will actually be not just the operations piece but the emergency operations group and the executive council,” Heath said. “It’s going to encompass your front line police officer all the way up to the president. At the end of May, we’ll have a scenario that our police department and many others will respond to. We’re excited about that because most universities will have something in the field or they’ll have the table-top, but they very rarely have the time and the availability to get everybody together and conduct a full scale exercise.” Heath laid out a few goals for the upcoming year, mostly pursuing the mobile safety app and building a presence at orientation to communicate with new students. “We’ve got a lot of things to do, it never really ends,” Heath said. “It’s been an interesting eleven months.”
New organizations target first generation students ELLEN GLICKMAN STAFF WRITER
(INFORMATION COURTESY OF OFFICE OF BUDGET AND PLANNING)
In 2012, Mason had 4,079 first-generation college students enrolled at the university, almost twice the number enrolled in 2008. The increase has prompted the creation of new organizations, such as MasonU, to meet the needs of this growing population. Developed through the research of sophomore Shannon Toole, the new Registered Student Organization focuses on K-8 students, primarily first-generation students. who may not consider college as a possibility. “We generally wanted to focus on first-generation college students,” said Elizabeth Moen, president of MasonU. “We wanted to give them an opportunity to see college in the same ways as some of their peers have who have parents and grandparents and relatives who have gone to college, and we wanted them to see that… it’s still accessible to you and you can get a great education in the area.” The group reaches out to schools in the Northern Virginia area to target under-represented populations. Grace Zamorano, the faculty advisor for MasonU, said that the organization is inclusive to all groups. “Early intervention in one way or another is really important for all under-represented students,” Zamorano said. “We look a lot at primarily first-generation, ethnic minority populations, but also some other areas like girls in STEM because they are also under-represented.” Results from Toole’s research project, funded by the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities and Research, emphasized the point that early intervention was key to increasing attendance. “They don’t necessarily see that college is accessible,” Moen said. “They don’t necessarily have a role model… and something else might have grabbed their attention already if it’s not college. If we don’t say in fifth or sixth grade this is college, this is an option for you, it might turn into a less-constructive form of channeling their energies.” “We hope we can get them excited enough that they’ll take the extra initiative to work with the counselors,” Zamorano said. “Schools in this area are very strong…but a student has to take some level of initiative so they walk into that college counselor’s office and be persistent about applying to scholarships or to universities. That’s going to take some innate drive and what we want to do is try to create that innate excitement at an early stage so that it’s even in their realm of possibility.” In addition to a campus tour, each MasonU session provides a residence hall tour and an academic activity. Zamorano said those additional aspects generate the most excitement among K-8 students and make the program unique. “There is no program that does something like this,” Zamorano said. “A bunch of campuses in the area, including Mason, provide tours to K-8 students, but there’s not that extra element of really showing them what it’s like to be a college student… we saw there was a real need for this type of really engaging activity on campus.” At the other end of the spectrum, the Student Transition Empowerment Program supports first-generation students who have enrolled in the university. STEP participants attend a summer academy before their freshman year that includes workshops, seminars and college classes. Students are also given a faculty and upperclassman mentor, take a University 100 class in the fall and have regular meetings throughout college with a STEP staff
member. The program aims to prevent problems first-generation students typically face. A 2005 study by the National Center for Education Statistics found that first-generation students “completed fewer credits, took fewer academic courses, earned lower grades, needed more remedial assistance and were more likely to withdraw from or repeat courses they attempted,” when compared to students whose parents had college degrees. Teejay Brown, STEP coordinator, said services for first-generation students will soon be more imperative. “Higher education [research is] basically saying first-generation students are here and more are coming,” Brown said. “The Department of Education estimates that almost one third of the national college population is first-generation with the expectation for that to rise. The reality is that colleges need to be prepared for that.” According to Brown, the Office of Admissions placed a check box on applications for the first time last semester for students to self-identify themselves as first-generation. The measure will allow the school to track students who could benefit from programs like STEP. “My anticipation is that there’s going to be a dramatic increase [of STEP applicants] this year,” Brown said. “I think the reason for that is because now we can target those first-generations students.” Additional initiatives include a first-generation Living Learning Community and First Generation Mason, a new RSO, which will be available starting in the fall semester. The increase in first-generation student attendance is coinciding with a national increase in immigrant and foreign-born populations. According to the Census Bureau, the immigrant population
changed from 10 percent in 2000 to 12.5 percent in 2012. Effects of the growth can be seen in Fairfax County, where the foreignborn population increased from 22.4 percent in 2000 to 39.2 percent in 2012. “If you look at the NOVA area where Mason is located, [it’s] very immigrant heavy [and] from all over the world,” Zamorano said. “From Africa, from LA, from eastern Europe - you have all kinds of diversity here.” In a recent article published by Diverse Magazine, Marybeth Gasman, head of the Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania, said many first-generation students are also children of immigrants. The Higher Education Research Institute located at the University of California, Los Angeles published a study that stated, “[N]on-citizens immediately [place] after Hispanics as the group most likely to be first-generation college students.” Bobbi Bowman, former diversity director for the American Society of News Editors and city editor for The Washington Post, said this information means Virginia is trending toward becoming a minority-majority state which will dramatically change cultural relations. She said “covering the ‘next’ Virginia [is] the best story of twenty-first century America.” Brown said the university is preparing for the expected influx of students. “We have to go beyond marketing [diversity] and do some real community building on campus, Brown said. “Identity is going to get complicated; it’s going to get messy, which I think is good. We’re moving toward a campus that’s diverse in even more ways.”
news Strife over compter science honor code FRANK MURACA EXECUTIVE EDITOR
A group of students are lobbying Mason to make changes to the Computer Science department’s honor policy, which they see as inhibiting teamwork and collaboration. “The bar is too low for professors in the Computer Science department in the Volgenau School of Engineering to hand out honor code violations to students, particularly in the introductory level classes,” read a description of a change.org petition to the Volgenau School, which has 477 signatures as of April 24. According to freshman and petition organizer, Jessica Miers, the honor policy punishes students too easily in cases where they received help from other students or outside resources. “A disturbing number of students and specifically, CS and Applied CS majors, each year are slammed with honor code violations -- warranted or not -- and forced to fall behind in their major,” read the petition. According to Miers, most of these issues occur in CS 112, an introductory class to computer programming. “This isn’t about making it easier for students to cheat, it’s about designing a program that mocks industry standard,” Miers said. “Industry requires collaboration, especially among software engineers. Furthermore, think of the difficulty that comes with trying to do college homework assignments -- not even programming but in general -- to have to rely on solely office hours, or lecture notes. No Internet access and no peer communication. This stifles the student’s ability to go out and learn more.” While Miers was taking CS 112 in the fall of 2013, the class included a program that could calculate the circumference of a circle by entering in its radius. Another project required students to build a digital library where users could check out or return books. All of these projects require code, or programmed instructions for how these different tools operate. In computer programs, there are rules for how code can be written, similar to grammar in a written language. According to the Computer Science Honor Code Policies, students may seek assistance “in determining the syntactic correctness of a particular programming language statement or construct.” They may also “seek an explanation of a particular syntactic error.” Students are prohibited from seeking assistance “in designing
the data structure used in your solution to a problem.” Neither the administrators nor the students organizing the petition know the exact number of students who have received honor violations in CS 112. Administrators argue that the honor policy is used to ensure that students learn the material necessary to excel in collaborative environments. “From the instructor’s viewpoint, in order for the student to succeed in the early classes, we want to be sure that the students can solve the problems on their own,” said Pearl Wang, associate chair of the Computer Science department. “The restriction is on graded assignments.” “The industry is collaborative by nature,” said Jeffrey Cohen, another student supportive of the petition. “You see all these different things, and Mason is not fostering the idea of collaboration with people to make a greater product.” Miers said that she is aware of many instances where students receive violations for working with other students they don’t even know. “The overall point is that these projects were very easy throughout the year and so easy to a point where it didn’t take many creative algorithms to solve the problems at hand which is why so many students had similar code for the projects,” Miers said. “Why don’t I code under a rock, and pray to god I don’t get a violation with a student I don’t even know?” According to Wang, collaboration is encouraged in higher-level computer science courses. “Student learning is the number one thing,” Wang said. “Collaboration is permitted in a lot of our classes…there are lots of opportunities.” Many students have weighed into the debate on the petition’s website. About 90 comments have been posted over the past month, most of which express frustrations with the current honor policy. “This class is extremely unfair for all the students that take it,” Isaiah West wrote on the petition. “There is a huge discrepancy amongst the students within this class. Those who haven’t been exposed to this subject need help but have nowhere to turn for help. It is an honor code violation for just about every thing possible.” The issue has also sparked strong debate on Mason’s subreddit, where several students lamented the kind of environment that stemmed from the honor policy and others said that those
STUDENTS! FG FINE ART GALLERY FH FOUNDERS HALL CA CENTER FOR THE ARTS HT HARRIS THEATRE
Center for the Arts
complaints are overstated. “That petition is a gross overstatement of the facts from my experience,” one user wrote. “You cannot pass other people’s work off as your own. Not in school and certainly not in your career. If you did this for an employer, you’d be opening them up to some major liability, and if you were found out you’d be canned in a heartbeat.”
“Many students have weighed into the debate on the petition’s website. About 90 comments have been posted over the past month, most of which express frustrations with the current honor policy.” Wang has agreed to look at any proposed changes to the honor policy submitted by Miers or other students. “We are always receptive to feedback that we get,” Wang said. “We have a student advisory board of computer science students who give feedback every year. Any information like that I will share for our faculty.” According to Wang, the honor policy is the product of input from computer science professors. As the semester is finishing up, Wang says there will not be an opportunity for faculty to look at the policy this semester. “There’s no opportunity to look into this until the fall semester,” Wang said. “That is part of our regular review process.” “If the faculty chooses to ignore change, we will bring our case further to David Wu and President Cabrera,” Miers said.
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Credits no longer offered for internships in Maryland
(KATRYNA HENDERSON/FOURTH ESTATE)
CHRISTOPHER MORRISON STAFF WRITER
This past month, the Maryland Higher Education Commission enacted a new policy that limits non-Maryland college students from seeking internship opportunities in the state of Maryland for college credit. “From my understanding is that the Maryland Higher Education Council came out with a policy that stated that internships completed for credit in the state of Maryland have to be completed by students who are in Maryland at a Maryland college or university,” said John Kowalski, coordinator of the Film and Video Studies program. According to Kowalski, not only are students unable to receive college credit for Maryland internships, but the university also cannot aid students in the pursuit of Maryland internship opportunities, even if they are not for college credit. “The State Council of Higher Education passed this new policy, I think a lot of it has to do with protecting teaching internships,” Kowalski said. “Schools are allowed to go through the state council for exceptions but financial costs should be expected.” This does not just negatively affect the FAVS program, but it will have implications on all of the different departments and schools at
Mason on varying levels. “Unfortunately all industries are affected by this and it’s their state policy, and unfortunately we have to play by that and kind of deal with it for the moment and do the best we can to find internships that are in the state of Virginia, D.C., or elsewhere,” Kowalski said. “Which does certainly handcuff students as far as opportunities are concerned.” At Mason, a number of colleges and departments require students to seek an internship for academic credit in order to fulfill degree requirements. Each department has different paperwork in order for a student to apply, however a specific university waiver must be jointly signed by the student, employer and a department faculty member in order to receive academic credit for the internship. “It depends on the major, every major has different requirements, some of our majors do require that a student does an internship,” said Rachel Miner, assistant director for experiential learning. “This is definitely a great area for internships; Northern Virginia and D.C. alone have so many internships.” The FAVS program at Mason recognizes the loss of many media-based internship opportunities in Maryland, where previous FAVS students have had internships at Discovery, Comcast SportsNet and film festivals such as AFI Docs.
“There are lots of other media companies in Silver Spring, it’s a very media-based town,” Kowalski said. “Our students in the past have taken advantage of that through internships and other experiential opportunities that now they could certainly go and seek on their own but they are not going to be able to earn academic credit for those, which our major is required to complete a three credit internship.” According to Miner, plenty of students in the past have found strong internship experiences in organizations such as Booz Allen Hamilton, Deloitte and the Washington Redskins. The HireMason online job and internship database is one resource that has aided Mason students in finding potential internship opportunities that correspond with their major and career interests. “I would just say that internships are a valuable experience regardless of your major, its just great hands-on experience and I think that we are very fortunate to be in an area that there is so many opportunities just in D.C. and the Northern Virginia area alone,” Miner said. “So I think that even with rules changing slightly there is still a lot of opportunities for internships and it’s definitely a great value for students.”
Bike to Mason
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SAVANNAH NORTON STAFF WRITER
On April 22, Bike to Mason Day was hosted on the Fairfax campus to celebrate and promote bike culture at Mason. Parking and Transportation Services sponsored the seventh annual event for cyclists coming and going around campus. Students and employees were encouraged to leave their cars at home and ride their bikes onto campus. Interested attendees gathered in the front lawn of University Hall and were able to receive free bike tune-ups, eat snacks and mingle with other bike lovers on campus. Participants were able to grab the free Cue Bus, Metro and Fairfax bike maps given to Parking and Transportation Services by Fairfax County’s Department of Transportation. The Bike to Mason Day stand also had detailed information packets on Zipcar and Zimrides offered on campus for students. Marina Budimir, transportation coordinator for Parking and Transportation, took charge of the event with the help of her intern Jessica Fayne.
“There is a strong bike culture on campus,” Budimir said. “The amount of cyclists has actually doubled over the past few years.” The handy cloth Mason campus biking map that was handed out as a freebie for attendees was designed by Fayne. “The cloth campus map would have to be my favorite thing offered for the students this year,” said Fayne, as it can be used to clean glasses and can easily be folded up to be stowed away while taking a ride. “Biking to campus or around campus reduces traffic and makes students happy and healthy. It keeps them physically active,” Budimir said. There are bike racks all around campus as the number of bikes at Mason continues to increase. The Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William campus are keeping up with the demand. Parking and Transportation are excited to keep students updated on a potential bike rental program and are continuing to encourage students to use sustainable transportation.
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TATYANA WHITE-JENKINS STAFF WRITER
During the week of April 14, Mason’s student organization Active Minds held events to promote PostSecretU, an on-campus community art project. Sponsored by Active Minds Inc. and Frank Warren, creator of the well-known PostSecret blog, PostSecretU gives students a safe and open forum on campus to share secrets, fears, dreams, regrets, desires, confessions and hidden acts of kindness. The project allows for students to find an emotional release while raising awareness about issues surrounding mental health. “We want to break the silence surrounding our inner struggles to let students know that their thoughts and feelings matter, and that they are not alone in their struggles,” said Melissa Simkol, president of Active Minds. “By doing so, we hope to increase the rate of help-seeking behaviors among students and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues.” First came “Chalk It Up!,” a program that let students write positive and inspirational messages on the sidewalk that surrounded the PostSecretU display. Active Minds also held the PostSecretU Benefit Concert, featuring a performance by Meg Hutchinson. Hutchinson is an award winning singer and songwriter and a member of the Active Minds National Speakers Bureau of Mental Health Advocates. “In between songs [Hutchinson] spoke about her recovering from a mental breakdown as a result of unmanaged bipolar disorder. She also read aloud some of Mason’s submitted secrets and gave her insight to the anonymous writers,” Simkol said. With help in sponsoring and planning from WAVES, CAPS, Mason Cares and the Peer Empowerment Program, PostSecretU had a great turnout from students. With this being the second year PostSecretU was held, Active Minds hopes to continue with its success and get even more students involved in years to come. “It is definitely something we want to have back within a couple of years. And this year is the first year we’ve had the display outside, which has been really cool because we have a lot of people stop by when walking to class,” said Emily Swain, public realtions chair of Active Minds.
The great amount of student involvement and support for PostSecretU was evident and left a lasting impression on those involved. “Right now we have about 350 postcards on display, and I’d say at least a quarter of them address issues such as depression, anxiety, other severe mental illnesses, self-harm and suicidal ideation or mentions of past attempts,” Simkol said. “Our university has over 30,000 students, so there must be a great deal of struggling students on our campus that aren’t seeking and/or receiving the help they need.” The need for students to be able to express pent-up emotions and thoughts rang true for Swain as well. “Personally, this is my absolute favorite event that Active Minds holds. It is a beautiful way to involve the student community while also promoting mental health and helping seeking behavior,” Swain said. “Even in the second year of our project, I still get chills from reading some of the secrets and being able to relate to someone who has gone through the same experiences I have. Not only do I feel more connected to the Mason community, but I feel more supported within myself by knowing other people have similar problems. Just by seeing that someone else struggles like I do, I feel more confident and open about talking about my experiences.” PostSecretU hopes to continue its efforts on Mason’s campus to generate hope and encouragement. The event also promoted openness and positivity while sparking awareness of the realities of mental illnesses on college campuses. “It is a step towards creating a community where mental health is not so stigmatized and where people with mental health issues do not feel ashamed about being open about themselves,” Swain said. “By talking about our mental health, by talking about our problems, we take a step away from the power they hold over us.” “It warms my heart when I have people walk up to me and let me know how much PostSecretU has eased some of the loneliness they felt, or when they thank me just for having the display up,” Simkol said. “It reminds me that even though mental health issues are stigmatized, there are still many people who are waiting to talk about these issues, and I am so happy to help start the conversation.”
Five vegetarian places around Mason
DOMINO’S GMU STUDENT DEALS Spec #1 One Large 1 Topping Pizza for $7.99 plus tax & delivery KYRA WISEMAN STAFF WRITER
Whether someone is meat-free for religious, ethical or health reasons, it can be hard to find a restaurant where dining options are not limited to only salads or side dishes. Everyone deserves a place where they can pick from a wide range of choices, and vegetarians and vegans are no exception. 1. Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant 2531 Chain Bridge Road, Vienna While not accessible through the CUE bus or the Gunston Go-Bus, the Sunflower is a prime place to go for vegetarian fare. With a menu jam-packed with vegetarian, vegan and glutenfree options, it is no wonder that this little restaurant has captured the hearts of meat-free people all over the area. Dropping by for lunch is a must. Sunflower has a lunch menu from 11-4 Monday through Saturday, featuring a wide range of dishes for around $7 each, served with a house salad. Be sure to try one of their vegan desserts at the end of the meal! 2. East Wind 10414 Main Street, Fairfax Located in Old Town Fairfax, East Wind is a Vietnamese restaurant. Go there for a delicious vegetarian pho with tofu. If seafood is part of your diet, there are also many other dishes that will suit your palette. For the bubble tea fan, try one of their 13 awesome flavors. Drop by for lunch and get the lemongrass sautéed with tofu as a part of their two lunch specials: one for $6.95, and the other for $9.95. You even get an appetizer and a soft drink with the second one. I would not recommend this restaurant for vegans because there are only a couple dishes that could be considered vegan.
3. Woodlands Indian Vegetarian Restaurant 4078 Jermantown Road, Fairfax Woodlands Indian Vegetarian Restaurant is a short walk away from the Gold CUE bus. For reference, they are near the Walmart off that bus route. Everyday, they offer a tasty lunch buffet from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. for $8.95, and a full dinner menu after 5 p.m. For those new to Indian food, be sure to give it a try. There is a wide range of different vegetarian dishes to choose from and one is sure to tickle your fancy. I personally recommend the peanut butter masala. If unsure if something is vegan or not, just ask! It is also better to go earlier in the day, possibly for lunch on a weekend, as the restaurant can get packed with people.
Spec #2 One Medium 2 Topping Pizza for $6.99 plus tax & delivery Spec #3 Two Medium w/ 2 toppings each for $11.98 plus tax & delivery (Additional toppings $1 each / Deep Dish $1 more)
4. Woodland’s Vegan Bistro 2928 Georgia Ave NW, Washington DC A little ways away from the Columbia Heights stop on the Green and Yellow metro lines, this vegan restaurant offers a plethora of options for those who prefer to abstain from all animal products. There is a hot bar with two different daily entrees that can be served with any of their six rotating side dishes, many different salads and sandwiches. If you are in town on an early Sunday afternoon, stop by for brunch! 5. Courtside Thai Cuisine 3981 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax Located just off campus, this Thai restaurant offers a number of vegetarian options in their extensive menu. While some dishes require a little digging to find, one can easily order their curries or main dishes with tofu instead of meat. With the long-awaited summer upon us, the outdoor seating is perfect for enjoying a meal in the sunlight. There are three different daily lunch specials for diners to enjoy. For those who are vegan or strict about their seafood consumption, be careful, many Thai dishes are made with fish or oyster sauce.
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Selectively invoking ‘terrorism’
Earlier this semester, I was reading about terrorism in the textbook for my International Security class and ran across some information that left me dumbfounded. According to Paul Rogers, the 9/11 attacks killed about 3,000 people in one day, but the same number of children die every day in the Global south from preventable diseases that result from impure water supplies. After reading it phrased this way, I found myself running into an onslaught of discrepancies in the way we talk about terrorism as presented in my classes and in my readings. What left me completely confused was, if the threat of terrorism was acknowledged by the author of my textbook on terrorism as being blown out of proportion, why was I spending so much time reading about it, listening to my classmates talk about it, and hearing it brought up in all of my classes and in the media? Why were so many of my classmates entering the field of “counter-terrorism” when the numbers clearly show that poverty, gun violence and health security cause many more deaths than terrorism? The recent shooting at a Jewish community center in Kansas resulted in three casualties – the same number of casualties as the Boston Marathon bombing. Yet there was comparatively none of the collective outrage that characterized the nation’s response to the Boston bombings, such the hashtag #BostonStrong, calls to deport Muslim students “back home” on Fox News or Time Magazine covers profiling Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Similarly, this sensationalism was absent following the Sikh temple shooting of 2012 in Wisconsin. The nation didn’t rally in support of Overland Park’s Jewish community, Wisconsin’s Sikh community or deem the shooter’s actions terrorism because terrorism is a term selectively invoked in response to violence in order to establish an out-group. A white supremacist targeting his violence towards a specific minority community is somehow an anomaly, but a ChechenAmerican teenager is automatically perceived as acting in the name of a political or religious ideology. Similarly, Newtown shooter Adam Lanza was almost immediately psychoanalyzed and diagnosed by the court of public opinion with an array of disorders that may have led to his actions, but the 2009 Fort Hood gunman was immediately suspected of being motivated by “militant Islamic extremism.” This labeling has profound impact on the lives of individuals deemed to be ‘them’/other.
The label of terrorism is used to justify actions against human beings that would otherwise be deemed unjustifiable. The Obama administration’s extra-judicial targeted assassinations often result in the death of countless civilians, crudely labeled, “collateral damage.” This collateral damage, or loss of innocent human life, includes 15 Yemenis attending a wedding in December, and 16-year-old Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi, an American citizen. In addition, the belief that people “over there” are collateral damage, while the safety of the people “over here” necessitates extra-judicial killings is the result of the selective use of the label of terrorism. By establishing a clear “Other,” we’re able to drown our collective guilt in the idea that there is some inherent threat in these Other individuals that we’re protecting ourselves from. This idea that “they” present more of a threat to “us” than we do to them is, of course, nonsense. The War in Iraq led to the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, in addition to the near-destruction of Iraqi civil society. The fact that the US invasion of Iraq wasn’t deemed a terrorist act is entirely indicative of the politics surrounding the label. In a discussion on targeted assassinations via drone killings in one of my classes, I was revolted by the sheer lack of consideration for human life that was being propagated by my classmates. “Extra-judicial killings are quicker and more efficient, collateral damage is necessary in these situations, the judicial process has too many technicalities,” are a few of the more monstrous things I’ve heard this semester, causing me to question the humanity of the people I go to school with. The emotional trauma that comes with your classmates advocating for the death of people who might be your family members wasn’t something I expected when I entered college.
Our reactive responses to sexual assault
Rape is bad. I never really thought I’d have to remind people that as an adult in 2014, but here we are. Last week, a female student at Brown University spoke out on the university’s mishandling of a sexual assault case she was involved in last summer, in which a fellow classmate raped and strangled her, sending her to the hospital and on a medical leave of absence for a spinal injury.
sexual assault prevention plans? Dartmouth recently announced new initiatives that it’s taking to prevent sexual assault on its campus, dedicating an entire portion of its website to sexual assault awareness and how to get help. However, the sense of urgency to promote awareness only began after a male student was acquitted earlier this year of raping a classmate in her dorm room.
The student reported her case to both the university and Providence police, which resulted in the university filing a disciplinary case against the male student. The university’s Student Conduct Board found him guilty of four offenses involving sexual misconduct and alcohol, and ultimately, chose to suspend him for only a year with minimal stipulations on his return.
So, from what I understand here, universities are in a reactive instead of proactive stage to this problem. Let’s hope my 2.6 hallmates (myself included) aren’t the ones that guide Mason into providing more resources on prevention.
However, perhaps in response to pure media sensationalism, the male student announced on Saturday that he would not be returning to Brown in the fall as he had planned.
In the third episode of this season’s Game of Thrones, Jaime Lannister totally violates his sister against her will next to the dead body of their son (yes, for the few of you that don’t watch GoT, this among other crude shit is happening weekly on HBO) and it sparked a massive online debate of whether it truly qualified as rape or not as they had previous relations in the past.
Brown is not the first university to face criticism in dealing with complaints of mishandling sexual assault. Recently, students at Columbia University and its female affiliate, Barnard College, filed a federal complaint with the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights against Columbia, claiming that the university mishandles cases of sexual assault and mistreats victims in the process of their claims. It’s incredibly odd and slightly annoying to me that students even have to file these claims. What is it about sexual assault that has become such a miniscule issue that students have to make formal addresses to the federal government rather than have a meaningful discussion with their university. The White House has created its own task force dedicated to combating sexual assault, particularly on college campuses and according to a recent report from the “White House Council on Women and Girls,” 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted while they’re in college. Putting into perspective, that’s 2.6 girls on a freshman hall in President’s Park. But should it really be the federal government’s place to intervene in these situations? It seems to me that the amount of pull that they’d have in private institutions such as Brown and Columbia is minimal.
SUHAIB KHAN PRINT NEWS EDITOR
Shouldn’t the university be concerned enough with the welfare of its students to become intrinsically motivated to enforce their obligatory
Maybe it’s because sexual assault has become something blasé in this society and a topic that we’re all slowly becoming desensitized to.
Putting all the plot lines aside, I’m surprised debates like this even happen. It’s good that we’re talking about it, but it’s awful that people seem to have such a misconstrued concept about what rape actually is. I really hate that I have to write about this. I sound like a hyper-feminist that see men as evil spawn of the earth that are out to get all of the sexually appetizing women on it. I also hate that I have to address the fact that some adults don’t seem to understand what rape is. But at this point, what other view can women take? I’m obviously not going to condone the actions of the student at Brown, but I’m also not here to making a sweeping generalization that all college-aged men are lurking around dark corners at parties waiting to take advantage of a woman. Bottom line, rape is a really awful thing and the easiest way to derail at least one of the two lives involved. It shouldn’t be a ‘debatable’ conversation and the media shouldn’t have to remind people with these reports. Don’t do it. ALEXA ROGERS NEWS EDITOR
Another study showing marijuana to be harmful
Last week was a time of many celebrations. There was Easter, the Christian holiday that has its share of commercialized secular observances attached. There was also Passover, the Jewish holiday focused on remembering the story of the Exodus and the liberation from Egyptian slavery. Then there was Earth Day, a more modern celebration meant to remind us that the terrestrial ball we inhabit is not merely some gigantic waste basket. Hidden amid the more notable holidays and observances was one for a substance illegal in most states. On April 20, which was also Easter, some Americans celebrated marijuana. It is unknown how exactly 4/20 got to be the numerical code for weed, but it is nonetheless. As 4/20 came and went, the argument over decriminalizing or even legalizing marijuana continued. Some proponents of legalization argue that marijuana is basically harmless. No one has ever died from it, they say. It is even less dangerous than alcohol.
lung cancer. “Contrary to what many pot smokers may tell you, marijuana is addictive, at least psychologically,” reported WebMD. “Even among occasional users, one in 12 can feel withdrawal symptoms if they can’t get high when they want to. Among heavy pot smokers, the rates of dependence are higher.” The newest research confirms yet again that weed is not without its dangers and its damages. How anyone can believe this should be tolerated by society under the premise that it is harmless remains beyond comprehension. There are those who do not care that marijuana is harmful and feel that because other dangerous things are legal, why not yet another dangerous item. This reasoning is often championed by modern libertarians, as it derives from the same school of thought that champions the removal of numerous restrictions on smoking and alcohol consumption.
However, a new study may show that marijuana is more than just another way to leave reality and enter what can be euphemistically dubbed an altered state of consciousness.
This vice-filled free society paradise envisioned by those seeking marijuana’s legalization and loosened restrictions on other malevolent products stands ignorant of the obvious and well-documented fact that none of these vices harm only the user.
Last week, a study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience where the brains of 50 Bostonarea college students who had had varying experiences in marijuana usage were analyzed.
Secondhand smoke, sober victims of drunk driving and other fatal incidents courtesy drug-impaired judgment have all taken their toll on the United States populace.
According to researchers, marijuana usage involved a reshaping of the brain’s functioning in regards to decision making, emotional behavior and motivation.
There are those who walk the campus of Mason who hope to see marijuana legalized.
Kay Lazar of the Boston Globe reported that the significance of the study was that it showed these damaging changes even for those who do not use the drug heavily. “Other studies have revealed brain changes among heavy marijuana users, but this research is believed to be the first to demonstrate such abnormalities in young, casual smokers,” Lazar said. While this evidence showing abnormal cognitive developments for youths who partake in smoking marijuana was published only last week, it is not as though this study was the first to note a harmful effect to marijuana usage. WebMD has detailed its share of short-term and long-term harmful effects of marijuana smoking. The register of side-effects includes anxiety, paranoia, decreased libido and sperm count in men and possibly an increased risk for
Earlier this school year, students at Mason created a Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter started. The SSDP wants an end to the “War on Drugs” in general and rejoices when “marijuana reform” is undertaken by legislators. SSDP and others see marijuana as harmless or at the least merely a minor nuisance unworthy of major legal restriction. Hopefully, the awareness of studies, like the recently published Boston one, will show just how wrong this premise of harmlessness really is; at the least, before public policy is crafted once more on false assumptions.
Stop using disposable water bottles My mornings consist of the usual: get out of bed, make myself look decent, eat breakfast and fill up my water bottle on my way out the door. For some of you, that last step takes the form of a flimsy plastic bottle with some label on it telling you that it’s better than the water that comes out of the tap, that you’ll probably throw out later that day-- if you’re feeling extra nice you’ll recycle it, but probably not. The bottled water industry is the biggest scam in America. Think about what you’re paying for when you grab that bottle of Dasani or Aquafina: tap water (which by the way you already pay for with your utilities bill, or if you live on campus with your tuition) that is filtered pretty much the same way that the city filters it, poured into a one-use plastic container with a brand label slapped on it, probably saying that it came from some pure spring or exotic river. Let me debunk a couple myths about bottled water versus tap water. First, the water that comes out of the faucet in your house is intentionally filtered for consumption. Fairfax County water supply comes from the Occoquan and Potomac Rivers, where is is then filtered using chlorine as a disinfectant. This process and every process that brings drinking water to houses in the U.S. is regulated by the EPA. Both Coca-Cola’s Dasani and PepsiCo’s Aquafina are made from tap water. Both companies take tap water and re-filter it, which you could do yourself by adding a filter to your faucet, or with a water filter pitcher. It mandates no added safety to the drinkability of the water, and honestly, I think it tastes worse than tap. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are large corporate entities and notorious soda producers, who quickly realized that people were going to figure out at some point that soda is not the healthiest beverage to drink regularly. For fear that people will go back to drinking plain-old H2O from their faucets, they set out on a campaign to convince Americans that their tap water is filled with unhealthy bio-matter that you should never drink and instead should buy their bottled water in the cool-looking plastic bottles with their fancy label-- for your health of course!
of this biggest offenders (Dasani is just purified tap water) but to stage a campaign for recycling is entirely hypocritical. Don’t get me wrong, recycling is beneficial , but wouldn’t it be even more beneficial to not have billions of plastic one-use bottles in circulation? Besides the environmental benefits, avoiding plastic bottles is also economically sound. Americans spent $11.8 billion on bottled water in 2012. That is an outrageous amount to spend on something that comes from the tap. Rather than going to Giant and buying a 24-pack of bottled water, invest in a nice reusable water bottle. There are plenty of different bottle shapes, colors and sizes, and companies that produce well-made plastic, metal or glass water bottles-- there are
“The bottled water industry is the biggest scam in America.” even collapsible ones for hikers. Protip- most food places on campus and fast food places in general will refill your water bottle for free, which is super helpful while traveling and avoiding buying ridiculously expensive airport bottled water. The bottom line is ditch your plastic bottle-buying habits by investing in reusable bottle. If you’re still uncomfortable with drinking straight from the tap or like really cold water, get a water filter pitcher or stick a filter on your faucet; there are tons of inexpensive ones and it might even be worth it to invest in a nice one-- it’ll still cost you less than consistently buying bottled water. Yous conscience and pocketbook will thank you.
Essentially, they made up a bunch of BS to get consumers to give in to buying something that you already pay for.
MICHAEL GRYBOSKI COLUMNIST
Given my frustration with the bottled water industry, you’ll understand how angry I was when I saw Coca-Cola’s recycling campaign kiosk on the lawn across from University Hall last week. Not only is the Coca-Cola company is one
NIKI PAPADOGIANNAKIS EDITOR EMERITUS
Farmerâ€™s walk The workout this week is one that can help improve an everyday task and build your endurance while working your shoulder muscles. It is called a Farmerâ€™s Walk. This can be done outside if you have your own set of dumbbells or at the gym on the treadmill. I am going to demonstrate it on the treadmill. First you will want to grab a pair of dumbbells (lighter weights work best for this exercise). Step onto the treadmill, set it on an incline of about a 6 to 8 range, and a speed of a 3 to 3.5. Then, hit start. You will be carrying this weight for about ten to fifteen minutes. Doing this exercise at least two to three times a week will improve your everyday tasks such as when you have to carry in groceries, or since summer is just around the corner, when hauling all your beach chairs and coolers. This will hopefully make it seem a little easier if you start training now.
ANDREA FINFROCK COLUMNIST
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