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Microbead Alternatives PG. 8

The Year of the Monkey Chinese New Year

PG. 28

PG. 20

Queen of Elon’s ROTC

Nataly Johnson

Self Love

PG. 14

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Hello everyone and welcome to spring semester 2016. Hopefully are you all getting settled into classes and are ready to take on the final stretch of this school year. This time of the year will fly by, I mean, spring break is only a month and a half away (crazy, right?!) For the February edition of The Edge, we wanted share some alternative thoughts about Valentine’s Day. We spoke with some students to find out what they think about the college hookup culture (pg. 34). Our features editor explored the inner workings of the ROTC program, including the special cover story on the only female involved with ROTC program (pg. 18). We teach you about Obama’s microbead ban and what that means for your beauty products. Health and Wellness breaks down the science behind falling in love and its addictive sensation. Finally, Fashion explores Chinese influences in a red- and gold-inspired shoot and feature. Spend some time flipping through the February issue and we hope you enjoy. Have a very happy Valentine’s Day and we will see you next month.

Letter from the Editor Brooke Lowrey, Managing Editor


TABLE OF CONTENTS 7 kiss off FASHION 12 Falling in Love hEALTH & wELLNESS 18 LONE ROTC FEMALE Cover 20 The Year of the Monkey Fashion 28 iNSTAGRAM COUPLES Entertainment 34 Hookup Culture Features 36 Beauty Guide Style

that’s our cover!


Editor-in-Chief of The Pendulum Tommy Hamzik

THE EDGE We love the Pantone color of the year!

Managing Editor of The Edge Brooke Lowrey Design Chief Haley Longbottom Style Editor Courtney Campbell Assistant Editor Kayla Hoey Senior Reporter Danielle Deavens Senior Reporter Allie Dietz Senior Reporter Ally Feinsot Senior Reporter Lucia Jervis Senior Reporter Alexandra Schonfeld Senior Reporter Lea Silverman Senior Reporter Miranda Siwak Fashion Editor Katy Bellotte Senion Reporter Emma Braun Senior Reporter Christina Casillo Senior Reporter Jordan Hsu Senior Reporter Na’Briya Ware Health & Wellness Senior Reporter Marissa Baum Senior Reporter Tyler Grimsley Senior Reporter Kate Sieber Photo Editor Caroline Brehman Social Media Editor Maggie Griswold Copy Chief Janat Bashir Designers Katy Bellotte Christina Elias Lucy Northup Nic Zuhse Photographers Haley Longbottom Erin Turner Contributors Xernay Aniwar Hannah Benjamin Kristina Lee Elizabeth Nichols Caity Skalski Melanie Vacchiano

BEAUTY guide



This winter, our skin needs hydrating, exfoliating products to survive the cold months. The skin is our biggest organ, so as with any other relationship,it is important to invest in it and keep it healthy. 3

soap and Glory Soap and Glory, a skincare line based out of England, has amazing, affordable and fun products that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but smell sweet and keep skin soft. The body wash is incredibly creamy and moisturizing, while the scrub is great for combating rough spots and bumps. 1 Scrub Of Your Life (Ulta, $12) 2 Clean On Me Body Wash (Ulta, $12)

Origins Origins’ masks are great for keeping skin balanced. The GinZing mask works with coffee beans, cucumber and Hoelen mushrooms to soothe and refresh tired morning skin, and the scent helps wake up your mind. The active charcoal mask tingles on your face as it draws out impurities and blackheads, and leaves skin smooth. 4

3 GinZing Face Mask (Sephora, $25) 4 Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask (Sephora, $25) STYLE | 7


ENVIRONMENT On Dec. 29, President Obama signed into law the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, which prohibits the use of “intentionally added plastic microbeads� in personal care products. Microbeads are small plastic spheres commonly found in items like face wash and toothpaste. Products that use them boast that the tiny beads exfoliate, cleanse and nourish the body. But microbeads are not biodegradable and travel through the water system. They are made of plastic materials like polyethylene, polypropylene and polymethyl methacrylate. Each bead is usually smaller than two millimeters, which allows them to elude the filtering systems that remove impurities from our water. Instead, they end up in seas and gulfs across the world, polluting the habitats of aquatic animals.

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT US? Two words: microbead sushi. The microbeads that pollute natural bodies of water areoftenconsumedbyfishspeciesweuseforfoodproducts,includingsushi.Whenthe plastic particles are digested, they give off toxins that are absorbed into the fish tissue. Even more alarming are the toxins these plastic microbeads absorb before they get to the fish. As they make their way through the water system, the particles encounter persistent organic pollutants like motor oil and pesticides, as well as other industrial chemicals. These toxins adhere to the beads, cling to the fleshy insides of fish, and find their way onto our plates.




Face Wash

body products

ThoughtheMicrobead-FreeWatersActhasbannedthedistributionoftheseproductseffective January2018,expertshaveyettooffersuggestionsforhowtoresponsiblydisposeoftheoneswe still have in our cabinets. There are two clear options: finish the product and add more microbeads to the water system or throw the product in the trash, sending it to sit atop a landfill. The final decision will have to be a personal assessment of the lesser of two evils. Once your cabinet is microbead-free, you might need an alternative to replace your former favorite products. Here are our suggestions:

St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Body Scrub

Tree Hut Sugar Scrub (Walgreens, $5.99)

(Walgreens, $4.79)

C-Booth All-OverBody Sea Salt Scrub (Ulta, $8.99)

Tropical mango, coconut lime and Hawaiian kukui are just a few of

Eucalyptus oil, algae extract and, of

cornmeal and apricot extract to

the variations of this scrub, which

course, sea salt join forces to slough

freshen and exfoliate even the

uses sugar, seeds and natural oils

off rough skin, leaving behind a

most sensitive skin.

to smooth away dead skin cells.

refreshed, smooth complexion.

SheaMoisture African Black Soap

Lush Life’s a Beach Body Scrub

Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser

This exfoliating cleanser bar

Lush mimics the behavior of

St. Ives blends walnut powder,

(Ulta, $4.99)

(Lush, $6.95)

(Target, $6.79)

contains natural oils, butters and

microbeads using just three

Try this foaming cleanser. It

the ashes of plantain leaves, which

ingredients: “fine sea salt, scrubby sand

promises many of the same

offer vitamins and minerals with

and an intoxicating vanilla-caramel

benefits with none of the

healing anti-aging effects.


environmental consequences.



Electric Face Washing Brush

EcoTools Face Cleansing Cellulose Pads

(Proactiv, $29.95)

(Amazon, $12.99 for 3)


Body Benefits by Body Image Bath Gloves (Ulta, $4.99)


A reminder from SPARKS: “Sexual relationships should be reciprocal, based on respect and should never be coercive or exploitive.” SPARKS Verbal Abuse – If your partner gets a kick out of insulting you, calling you demeaning names or just making you feel bad, that’s some negativity you don’t need in your life. Buh-bye! Controlling behavior or demands – If you find your partner constantly

asking you “who, what, where, why” questions when you’re not with them, take a step back and make sure there’s enough trust and respect between the two of you.

Isolation – Ask yourself: If your partner ended things with you tomorrow, would you have a support system to turn to? If the answer is no, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate or reach out. College is a time for connecting and networking. If your partner doesn’t support your engagement in social activities, ask them to talk about why they feel that way. Unwanted physical aggression and/or sexual contact – Only you (and you

alone) are in charge of your body. This might seem like a no-brainer, but if you do not like something that your partner is doing to you physically, speak up immediately.

Need to talk (confidentially)? Contact: Jessica Clark, the Coordinator for Violence Response at Elon, during office hours (8-5, Mon. thr Fri.) at 336-278-5009. Need to report something (confidentially, or nah)? Call SAFEline at 336-278-3333. They’re available 24/7.



First video posted on YouTube of a unknown 12-year-old Justin Bieber singing covers.


e t a l o o t Is it to say now ry? sor Has Justin Bieber really changed his bad boy image?

“Baby” becomes a hit, and Justin becomes a teen heartthrob.



Bieber is accused of reckless driving in his neighborhood.

Bieber is arrested for assult and dangerous driving in his hometown in Canada, and blamed it on paparazzi.

Tweet us @elonedge and let us know your thoughts!

Bieber introduces new sound and image with release of “Where Are Ü Now” with EDM DJs.

Bieber is roasted on Comedy Central.





Latest album “Purpose” released to massive praise and a Grammy nomination.




KISS OFF Kiss Off Make a statement with a layer of glitter over your favorite lip color and spice up those buns. Who needs to keep up with their dye job when you look this fabulous?


Embrace your inner Bowie with a signature lighting blot and a bright lip, if you dare. Prepare to turn heads and face the strange.

Revisit true elegance with a classic look, but make it cool with some seriously glitzy brows using layers of metallic eyeliner and eyeshadow.




WHAT IS SELF-LOVE? Self-love is the foundation of true health and wellness. Realizing that your body and mind are truly worth taking care of is the most important step to living a happy and healthy life, and we want to help you get there.

cOMING TO tERMS After going most of her life surrounded by people who didn’t openly practice self-love, Alli Lindenberg’s life was changed for the better after finding “I Am That Girl,” an international organization that inspires girls (and boys) to embrace and be exactly who they want to be. “All of the sudden, I realized that I wasn’t the only one who treated myself poorly, with self criticism, etc., and wanted so badly to live better,” she said. “So connecting with these girls and women who made self-love a priority made me see what was possible for my own journey.” She now serves as President of the Elon IATG chapter, and every Wednesday, she hosts a room full

of young women and discusses topics relating to self-love and selfacceptance. “I would say that ‘self-love’ gets a bad rap,” she said. “It can be seen as cliché. But I think calling things cliché is often a cop-out for not having to take responsibility for whatever the cliché is conveying.” Alli explains self-love as “conveying that you are here, you matter and you are worth loving.” It might feel uncomfortable to shift all that attention toward ourselves, but it’s more important to do so now than ever before. Why? Our generation is changing the playbook. Our parents told us, “you can do anything you want,” and we’re following suit.

We’re living with roommates after college instead of getting married. Women are more educated than ever before, and that’s leading to changes in society. We don’t want two kids by 24 — we want careers that let us travel and see the world. We’re changing the rules. But in a world where the sky is the limit, what’s next on our to-do list? Our endless options stress us out. Not only do we have to make a choice, but it better be the RIGHT one. With all the pressures, we need to focus on supporting each other, and ourselves. Alli’s takeaway advice: “You can’t love others or anything wholeheartedly until you’ve learned to love and connect with yourself.”


Am I doing this right?

Be your own best friend

Say you’re craving Chinese food and ask your friends if they want to order takeout, but they’ve already eaten. Do you order it anyway? What if there’s a new movie out that you’ve really been wanting to see, but no one else does. Do you take yourself out to see it anyway? If you answered ‘no’ to either of these questions, it could be a sign that you’re not practicing selflove. Think about it: Why would you deny yourself something that you want? You’re awesome!

Anyone who’s taken a psychology class knows just how complicated the mind is. And anyone with anxiety can tell you how quickly your day can go from fine to horrifying, just because of the thoughts running through your head. So next time you find yourself sitting here, thinking you’re not “enough,” that you’re not “worthy”: STOP. And take

Stop Putting yourself second It’s important and fulfilling to give to those around you and to care for those that you love. But you can only give so much love without keeping some for yourself, or you’ll wear yourself down. Junior Michael Hagen shared with us that last semester was especially difficult for him. Because he over-extended himself, his emotional health took a toll. “I wasn’t sad,” he said. “I was just saying ‘yes’ to too much.” Mike’s takeaway


advice: “Be aware of when you’re treating yourself like sh*t.” We sat down for a drink with roommates Chris Edwards and Josh Fritz. We asked them about how they practice self-love. “I know I could do better,” Chris said. “I like to say ‘yes’ a lot.” He reflects on past years, and tells us that in his quest to make other people happy, he neglected to take care of his own needs first. He recalls favors he’s done when he didn’t want to,

on the role of being your own best friend. Tell yourself to stop with the negative and start building yourself up. Lauren tells us that when she finds herself with no plans for the day, she takes herself on a bike ride and goes grocery shopping to make a nice meal for herself. Relishing in your time alone is a big part of self-love, and practice makes perfect.

“You ain’t Gonna please everybody.” - Chris Edwards and projects he’s taken on when he really didn’t have the time, “I’m a friendly guy, but [I’m realizing] that doesn’t mean that I owe all these people anything,” he said. Chris’ takeaway advice: “You ain’t gonna please everybody.” Josh recounts an important day in his journey toward self-love.

During a trip with his family after high school, he decided to take a day to explore on his own. He recalls it as one of the best days of his life. “It was true freedom,” he explained. For him, this was the first time in his life that he felt self-sufficient and capable, and that is a very powerful thing.

Learning the Language Lauren Salig is a junior psychology major who specializes in the psychology of language. For her, part of practicing self-love is using positive language, “Research shows that what you say affects how you think,” she said. “So I make a conscious effort to say positive things about myself. Like if Brian (her boyfriend), were to say, ‘Wow, I’m really lucky to have you,’ I’m like, ‘Yeah!’ It’s important to learn to take a compliment and know that you don’t have to give one back.” Lauren also mentions the “facial feedback hypothesis,” which suggests that the expressions we make send

signals to our brain about how we’re feeling. Taoism actually has a practice called the “Inner Smile,” which is a meditative state used to “smile inwardly.” If anyone’s familiar with the book/movie “Eat, Pray, Love,” you might remember Julia Roberts’ character sitting in a gazebo, grinning by herself as part of her daily practice. This goes along with the facial feedback hypothesis. Wanna try? Sit comfortably somewhere, set a timer for 10 minutes, close your eyes and smile. See how you feel when the timer goes off.

Practice People come and go, but you will always have you, so take care of yourself. DO SOMETHING THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY:

• Bake cookies • Draw a bubble bath • Treat yourself to a latte • Draw a picture • Fix yourself up a cup of tea • Make yourself a meal • Take a walk • Write a poem • Smile!

Be exactly the person you need, because if you’re taking care of yourself, everything else will fall into place.



Kate Sieber


Falling in love is a beautiful feeling. Our heart beats a little faster, our stomach fills with nervous butterflies and our mind becomes preoccupied with the thought of that special someone. Love possesses our mind, body, and soul, causing us to act in ways in which we normally would not. It happens suddenly without warning and flips our world upside down. Because when you love someone, it’s not easy to get him or her out of your head. But have you ever really thought about what causes us to fall in love? Sure, we can become attracted to people based on shared interests and similar values, but falling in love is not necessarily a voluntary act. In truth, it all comes down to science. Human beings typically fall in love based on their natural need to procreate. Attraction goes much deeper than simply finding another individual who’s good-looking. When we find ourselves attracted to someone, we are subconsciously assessing whether we would want our kids to have their genes. We look for signs in each other that signify traits that could inevitably withstand natural selection. So, when we encounter someone with an impressive physique or a beautiful face, our brains are actually evaluating these characteristics scientifically and are determining whether these traits would benefit us evolutionally. Though it seems a little primal, as humans we cannot suppress our instincts. Falling in love is a natural occurrence we are unable to prevent. According to a study done by Helen Fisher of Rutgers University, it takes a person anywhere between 90 seconds and four minutes to figure out whether he or she has fallen in love. So, love isn’t actually a matter of the heart — it’s our brains that do the deciding for us. Our minds evaluate our potential lovers based on body language, tone of voice and our reaction to our potential lover’s choice of words. The process of falling in love triggers a chemical chain of reaction that drives us toward specific individuals. Chemicals in our brain and hormones in our body guide us down three different stages that determine true love. When it comes to falling in love, we are at the mercy of our subconscious. Though we like to think of loving someone as a voluntary act, a lot of the decision is out of our control. So quit working so hard on finding that special someone — your body will do it for you.


Stage 1: Lust The sexual hormones testosterone and estrogen are responsible for triggering the initial stage of falling in love. Testosterone is said to play the main role for both males and females in the human sex drive and is what causes us to get ourselves up off the couch and out looking for a partner.

Stage 2: Attraction This is the moment of falling “head over heels.” When you can’t stop thinking about another person and spend countless hours daydreaming about them, your body is in the attraction phase. In terms of science, attraction can be broken down into three sub-stages that explain all of those fuzzy feelings we get when our love interest walks into a room. 1

ADRENALINE: A stress response is triggered, causing cortisol and adrenaline levels to rise exponentially, our bodies to sweat and our hearts to race. Adrenaline lulls in the senses and can make you feel as if you are having an out-ofbody experience.

2 DOPAMINE: Dopamine, a chemical in the brain also activated by cocaine and nicotine, stimulates feelings of desire and reward with an exaggerated rush of pleasure, causing you to feel a sudden surge of energy and attention to detail when with your crush. 3 SEROTONIN: This is the chemical responsible for our obsessive thoughts about our new love interest. You can thank serotonin for all of that mindless daydreaming and inability to get your new boo out of your head.

Stage 3: Attachment If you and your significant other have reached this stage, your chances of having kids together increase significantly. During attachment, couples strengthen and secure their bond with one another through the release of two important hormones. 1 OXYTOCIN: Also known as the “cuddle hormone,” oxytocin is released during orgasm. Scientific theory states that the more sex a couple has, the stronger their bond with one another is. It is also released during childbirth and helps cement the bond between mother and child. 2 VASOPRESSIN: Vasopressin, a hormone released by the kidney, controls thirst. It is released in large doses after sex and is secreted by both men and women. Vasopressin is said to be responsible for increased communication and feelings of security within a romantic relationship.


FUTURE HEROES IN OUR SHADOWS Sole female embarks in ROTC program

Courtney Campbell STYLE EDITOR

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t’s 4:45 a.m. on a Wednesday morning and junior Nataly Johnson rolls out of bed, puts on her uniform and heads to North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, arriving by 5:30 a.m. to begin physical training. With around 70 other students, Johnson will push herself to the limit, running repetitive laps and doing push-ups and sit-ups for more than an hour, all to improve her physical fitness. Around 8:00 a.m., she returns to Elon’s campus and begins her classes, only to repeat the same rigorous program tomorrow. Johnson is the only girl in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) at Elon University, preparing herself to become a commissioned officer of the United States Army.

Choosing ROTC

Though none of her immediate family is in the military, Johnson’s extended family has a military background, and she generally understood the culture and its importance. From there she knew she wanted to join the armed services. “I want to serve because of all the great things possible in this country,” Johnson said. “I want to give back by serving. Not everyone can or should serve, but I believe I can serve, so I feel a sense of duty to do so.” After one of her uncles brought up the ROTC program, Johnson began researching and found the program would allow her to go school and begin the process of entering

the military. There are two tracks that can be taken to enter the military: enlisted and officers. Enlisting requires boot camp before joining, whereas officers manage the enlisted. There are non-commission officers in the enlisted as well and require a degree through West Point, Officer Training School and ROTC. Johnson applied for colleges that had either the Air Force or the Army ROTC programs, but ultimately chose Elon because she loved the campus and study abroad opportunities during Winter Term. “For all the schools I picked, I made sure they had the program, but I didn’t pick Elon because it had some great ROTC program,” Johnson said. “I liked the schools first and foremost. I definitely let college take priority because I knew I wanted a really good degree no matter what.” Requirements for the program include physical training three times a week from 6 a.m. to 7:20 a.m., which includes “running a lot” as a group. Johnson will be in class Tuesdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., where she learns basic skills and policies from a textbook, like writing briefs to the more intense artillery fire. On Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., she gets to practice these skills. In the field, the ROTCs will army crawl down a course, practice first-aid on dummies or call a helicopter to pick up a soldier. “We’ll read things with this from the textbook, but it isn’t the same until you do it,” Johnson said. “The scenarios are more situational, but we

run through them.” While in these classes, Johnson is held to an “Army standard,” saying “Yes sir, yes ma’am” to her officers and giving them the utmost respect. But she said it is not as intense as boot camp. “As with every program it’s supposed to be serious,” Johnson said. “The classroom is a little more relaxed and becomes more of a learning environment as the semester goes. We respect their authority and I would never disrespect them.” Since Elon doesn’t have the proper buildings, Johnson and the seven other ROTCs must trek to NC A&T, along with 70 other students from High Point University, UNC Greensboro, Greensboro College and Guilford Community College. It may seem like a big time commitment for just training, but Johnson likes that she can physically separate her ROTC and campus life.

Women in the forces

Though Johnson is the only girl in Elon’s ROTC program, she is accompanied by about 30 other girls when she goes to NC A&T, which she said is nice because she’s no longer the only one. Usually, the large group does every task together and is held to the same morals and ethics, but sometimes there is a separation between the genders. During physical training, the girls are more unified, running together more than the guys. They do have a lower standard for push-ups, sit-ups and mile times, but Johnson believes it’s more equivalent

COVER | 21

than restrictive in terms of their abilities. “Obviously, we always try to push more than the standard, so it’s not that it’s limiting us,” Johnson said. “It’s just that it’s realistic for us, but I always try to go above and beyond.” To prepare for the physical training tests, Johnson trains at the gym as much as possible without injuring herself. For Johnson, it is important to make yourself individually strong so the team can be strong. Personally, Johnson has never experienced stereotypes against women in the ROTC program because everyone is there for the same reason — to commission. She believes the program does a good job at preparing everyone for his or her role in the Army. But sometimes there is miscommunication between the smaller groups. No matter which gender, if the work and respect isn’t put forth, the cadet will not be successful. “As a girl, you may think it’s going to be harder, but if you put it upon yourself to train and prepare, you’ll be fine,” Johnson said. “If you don’t — whether you’re a girl or a guy — you’re going to struggle.”

A balancing act

The ROTC program takes precedence over class scheduling or free time for Johnson. For example, the ROTC classes are at the same time as Elon classes, making her unable to take a class at the Tuesday and Thursday 2:20 time slot.

22 | COVER

Johnson also prefers to take 8 a.m. classes because, since she’s already up, she might as well go to class. But sometimes there’s traffic coming back from Greensboro, making her late for class. “I’ve never had a professor have an issue with me arriving five minutes after because they know I’m not lazy — I’m just trying to get back to campus,” Johnson said. The cadets also support NC A&T football games by ushering and helping with parking, taking up a majority of their Saturdays. Outside of the program, Johnson tries to participate in Club Basketball as much as she can within her schedule. Though she cannot go on a semester-long abroad program, she was able to travel to Ireland last Winter Term. “It’s never been to the extent where I’ve missed a huge important life event because of the program,” Johnson said. “I know there’s going to be sacrifices later in life when I’m in the Army.” From the ROTC program, Johnson has learned careful time management in order to “have a life outside the program.” With things like month-long summer training, completing an internship and taking an online course, she had to consistently email and make her internship understand. Leadership is the biggest gain Johnson has received, as well as learning to work with people she has never met before. This gives her the opportunity to network and

learn to deal with different kinds of people. “This isn’t something that you can do by yourself,” Johnson said. “One thing that has been nice — girl or a guy — you and I have to realize that you can’t do it alone.” After completing the program, Johnson must serve a minimum of eight years — whether it is a combination of four years active and four years reserve, eight years reserve or even 20 years active. But, she does not know where she will end up or which branch she will be in until her senior year. Though she is an accounting major, Johnson’s top three branches are military intelligence, military police and chemical. These branches do not match up with her accounting, but she will get additional schooling to perfect these required skills. Most importantly, she hopes to do something more exciting than her civilian life. “I think I’m young, I would say I’m in shape and I’m excited to tackle challenges,” Johnson said. “I’m excited do something that’s not desk work, something that’s different because I don’t want to be bored in what I do.” When Johnson graduates she will become a second lieutenant — the lowest officer rank. Currently, she is humbled by the program but know that will change when she graduates. “During commission when they put my rank on me, that’s when I’m going to say I feel badass,” Johnson said.

The Men of Lea Silverman



hile at 4:55 in the morning most Elon University students are sleeping peacefully their beds, sophomore Owen Gaffney and junior Austin Hughes are already getting out of bed to begin their day in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program. After heading to North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro for a workout and training session, Gaffney and Hughes have to race back with the other students in the ROTC program to try to make it to class on time. And this is all before their 8 a.m. classes. “For me, ROTC was a way to have a typical college experience,” Hughes said. “If you go to the United States Military Academy, it’s a much different experience. You don’t have college classes. You can’t really hang out with your friends. It is very structured.” The program allows for Hughes and Gaffney to have a college life while also preparing for their futures in the army. The two men go to classes, are involved in other organizations and hang out with their friends, all while balancing


ROTC and being members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. The rest of their free time is taken up by commuting. Elon’s ROTC program is a satellite program, so its participants have to travel to Greensboro — sometimes twice a day — to train with the ROTC program at NC A&T. “ROTC definitely has its time and place during my day, but I like to block off my schedules,” Gaffney said. “If I am doing ROTC, I am there. I am present. But besides that, I’ll stop and I need that break to go to class, eat and hang out with friends.” Unlike a normal college student where a break is possible when they are overwhelmed, there is never the chance to take a free day in the ROTC program. “The commitment is pretty serious,” Hughes said. “We both signed contracts, so we can’t say that we aren’t in the mood today and we’ll just go tomorrow.” The lessons taught in the ROTC program cannot be skipped because they are preparing them for possible scenarios they can experience in the army, or they

contain necessary concepts that will be built upon later in the program. In Elon’s ROTC program, junior Nataly Johnson is the only female member, but according to Hughes and Gaffney, this does not change the way that anyone treats her. “During ROTC, I don’t see a difference,” Gaffney said. “Everyone is treated the same. We are all there for the same purpose. I love Nataly. She’s fun. It is definitely cool to have a girl around, because a lot of people think of the army and it’s guys, but it is really nice to have the perspectives of girls sometimes.” Different perspectives are important when dealing with different and potentially difficult situations, but Johnson’s perspectives don’t necessarily come from her having a different gender. “I don’t know about all girls in general, but I feel like Nataly, specifically, has a very different perspective because of her different interests,” Hughes said. “She is very, very smart and interested in Arabic studies.”

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26 |


n a crisp, green-and-white checkered shirt with a coffee in hand, senior Brandon Grieves is a picture of the average Elon University student: he stares intently at an open laptop as afternoon activity at The Oak House swirls around him. When he stands, he appears more athletic than average, and his soft hands conceal a firm grip. The dog tags around his neck, just barely visible behind his collar, are the only hint of what sets him apart from his peers. Grieves is one of six students in Elon’s Reserve Officer’s Training Corp (ROTC) program.

The road to ROTC

Long before he came to Elon, Grieves knew he was destined to serve his country, but he expected to get there on skates. “I played hockey my whole life, so I was planning on going that route,” he said. “I was actually supposed to play at West Point, but I ended up getting injured, so I started looking at other routes.” It was those skates that led the Cary-area native to the place that first prepared him for military service: Culver Academy in Indiana. “It’s not where bad kids go or anything like that,” he said, smiling. Culver Academy is a Midwestern boarding school hidden within the cornfields and among the small towns of Northern Indiana. Grieves was used to the boarding school experience — when he was 15, he moved away from home to play hockey and attend school in Montreal. But Culver gave him more than hockey and independence. “Culver being a leadershipfocused, military-centered type school really got me in the mindset of wanting to do something further with that,” he said. “I also knew that I really wanted to have some kind of leadership fulfillment in my life other than the regular college

student. I just knew that I wanted something more.”

Training under the oaks

Finding Elon took a bit of searching for Grieves. “I’m from North Carolina and I’d never even heard of Elon,” he said. “We live an hour away and I’d never even heard of it.” This is true for a number of North Carolina natives at Elon, but more so for one like Grieves, who was in boarding schools away from the triangle. As he grew at Culver, though, a private school ROTC program moved to Grieves’ top postgraduate plans. “[At Culver Academy] we send a lot of kids to the service academies and ROTC in general,” he said. “I ended up applying to schools through ROTC and ended up getting a scholarship to Elon.” His search for ROTC programs began at Culver, but other factors set this plan in motion. “I grew up always wanting to be in the Army, but I never really fully considered it until I was getting older,” he said. “What got me in the door was just having the initial desire to go into the army, but also looking deeper due to financial reasons and hockey falling through.” Like many Elon freshmen, as his first day of school and ROTC approached, he was unsure what kind of experience lay ahead in the small program. Grieves started the program with three other cadets in his year. By the following fall, he was the only sophomore in the program. Two years later, he is still the only trainee in the class of 2016. Luckily, though, Grieves and his fellow Elon cadets do not go through the program alone. “North Carolina A&T is our host school for PT, which is physical training — basically just like a morning workout, class and lab,” he explained. “Tuesdays,

Wednesdays and Thursdays, we have to get up and drive to Greensboro and we work out.” Once a semester, trainees from all four schools spend a weekend at a military base, putting their classroom lessons to use. Though Grieves has not missed out on the social scene at Elon, it is tough to strike a balance between school and training. “Probably the worst thing is we have to go to Greensboro as much as we do,” he said. “It’s a lot, especially being a student. We’re usually gone for three or four days, and miss Thursday and Friday of class, and you don’t have the weekend to do homework. It can be a lot at times, but also fulfilling.”

Matriculating into service

As the end of senior year approaches, Grieves’ military plans are already set. He will serve as a tank commander in the National Guard. “It’s exciting to me because that’s what I always wanted to do and why I initially went into the Army,” he said. “One week a month, I will train with my unit down in Southern Pines, North Carolina.” Because the time commitment is less than an active duty position, Grieves is still looking for a civilian job. Right after graduation, though, he will attend Basic Officers Leadership Training (BOLC) for two to four months, training more specifically for his tank commander duties. Ultimately, Grieves’ choice to make military service central to his life comes from a history of respecting and aspiring to this kind of leadership. When he crosses the stage and receives his diploma in May, Grieves will emerge from a program that has developed alongside him. “It’s been kind of cool as I grow in the program to watch the program grow as well,” he said. FEATURES | 27



unar New Year is like one of those old treasures deep in the chest of holidays. Often overlooked by fellow February celebrations like Valentine’s Day, Lunar New Year exudes a sense a strength, pride, opulence and, most importantly, family.

Most people think of January 1st as the first day of the new year, but as millions of people are watching the ball drop in Times Square, Chinese people are waiting for their new year in February, and in particular, this year marks the year of the monkey. The monkey is important because it is believed

that the Chinese zodiacs determine an individual’s personality and future. People may choose to celebrate the Lunar New Year however they please, but what is common in the way everyone celebrates this holiday are the colors red and gold. Forget that red represents the color of love, and

instead remember it as a color of power and good luck. Red lanterns with gold accents are hung from ceiling to ceiling and giving out gifts — typically money — in lucky, red envelopes with gold embossing are customs for most. Chinese fashion has caught the public eye for a while now, especially with last year’s Met Gala based on the “China: Through the Looking Glass” exhibit that brought the attention of multiple audiences. It’s impossible to resist the gorgeous neverending silks, the opulent colorings of red and gold and the carefully and intricately done threading patterns on the garments. Of course, there are the traditional Chinese outfits that are commonly associated with multiple Chinese holidays, but wearing red and gold is easier to incorporate into your style, and just as important to feel in the spirit of the Lunar New Year. Dressing in the spirit of February does not necessarily mean hearts, and even though a Qi Pao (a Chinese form fitting dress) might be a little hard to source out, it is still incredibly easy to blend Chinese trends into everyone’s February wardrobe.


Think red and gold, and take out all of the black items in your wardrobe since the color black symbolizes bad luck and possibly death. Dresses are often worn on the Lunar New Year, so outfits to wear to class can include a casual red dress with dainty, layered gold jewelry. If you want to be extra trendy, though, a separate red set would look just as nice, since no matter what, wearing the color red will make anyone doubletake to look at what you’re wearing. Going out on the weekends is much easier to dress for while adapting Chinese fashion trends, since you are allowed to wear the most fancy of red dresses and the bigger and more celebratory gold pieces from your jewelry collection. Red is one of those colors that looks good on anyone, and gold is a universal color, too, because it can almost be considered a neutral. If you are an absolute red hater, how about a pop of red in


your shoes, whether it be a pair of flats, sneakers or boots. Let’s say you hate red on a completely different level and really despise

it, which people might, then forget red and incorporate a monkey into your outfit since it is the year of the monkey. Try a monkey graphic on

a rugged t-shirt or even a monkey pin pinned to your backpack. The key to mastering the modern take on Lunar New Year fashion is the fact that it’s okay to dress fancy. Dressing fancy can represent happiness and liveliness, and it celebrates life with loved ones, just like the Lunar New Year does. A lot that has to do with Chinese culture are celebrations filled with family, happy thinking, prayers and importantly, history. Appreciating customs and traditions from holidays or cultures that may get overlooked is important for our society so that people realize there is more outside the bubble that they are in. Red and gold might take over your fashion choices for the next month, but just remember: Like an affair, red and gold might not be the best together all the time, but in the present, it sure is alluring.

ROSES ARE RED The color red is often associated with power and passion. It is a fierce pigment and symbolizes speed, sexuality and style. Throw a splash of red into your wardrobe for a look that is sure to turn heads.


THE YEAR OF THE MONKEY Many of the red and gold clothing and accessories were donated by Mynt Boutique in Burlington.


SExual Empowerment

The power of pleasure Allie Dietz


We are taught that sex is only special when you’re in a committed relationship or married. The relationship may not matter, but the act itself is an empowering thing. College is the time to live out our desires and find that all of them can be so fulfilling.

one-night stand


When people hear the term “one-night stand,” they often look down on the person, especially women. But both genders around college campuses are participating in these one-night hookups. Freshman Shay Friedman is just one of the thousands of Elon students who enjoys getting intimate, but not being committed. “I feel like I grow more confident every time I have sex — especially with someone new,” she said. Though she doesn’t need validation through sex, she says she feels more connected to herself after she has sex. “Exposed, vulnerable and sexy” are the feelings she says she gets every time she takes control and gets what she desires. “I feel empowered when I defy society’s rules that girls have to be innocent,” Friedman said. “I’m in a place in my life where I just want to have fun. And that’s what I’m doing.”

BDSM is about as taboo as it comes, and is pretty much unheard of on college campuses. The extent most have heard about the world of whips and chains is what they learned from Fifty Shades of Grey. A sophomore, who asked his name not be used, is breaking down stereotypes by fulfilling his needs as a submissive in the bedroom. The most important thing he say about this role is that “being a submissive does not mean that you’re in an abusive relationship. … It is a gift given freely. It’s not forced.” It can be empowering for not only for those in a relationship but also for individuals. “When I submit to my girlfriend, it’s something special,” he said. “I’m willingly giving up control to her and I find that incredibly freeing.”

STYLE | 33

It’s All About The Social media has become a game-changing phenomenon for our generation. It helps people from all around the world stay connected. There are many social media networks to choose from and Instagram has become one of the most popular for college students. We use our accounts to follow friends, family, celebrities and our Instagram obsessions, the people on Instagram that we follow and idolize, but don’t know personally. We don’t know how they met, why they are together or if they ever fight or anything intimate. They have a million followers, they’re young, in a cute relationship and most likely on a yacht in Greece. With hashtags like #relationshipgoals and #swolemates making their rounds on Instagram, it’s easy for us to find new couples to “stalk.” Jay Alvarrez and Alexis Ren are one of the most talked about Instagram couples. With 7 million followers between the two and upwards of 300,000 likes a picture, the duo is unstoppable. We’re infatuated by their tans, their adventurous lifestyle and, of course, their steamy photo shoots. Every picture they post is full of comments from people tagging friends to show off their #relationshipgoals. Everyone wants to be successful in life, and being successful with the love of your life seems to be the ultimate goal. But love is more than a pair of shoes and two great sets of abs. We all have our own relationship goals, but we seem to only focus on shallow ones. Goals are set to make our own lives better and based on these popular hashtags, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that material items and cheesy notes are all we need. We follow, both physically on social media and emotionally when we convince ourselves that their life is better than ours, “perfect” couples and brainwash ourselves into believing it is real life. The issue here is the fact that we have these high expectations and get let down in the end. With social media, people show us only what they want us to see. Jay Alvarrez and Alexis Ren may be picture-perfect, but that’s not reality. While it is fun to dream, it’s important to remember that it’s okay to be in a normal relationship. Does that mean unfollowing these Amazonian power couples that make us gawk at their seemingly perfect bodies, dates and lifestyles? Not necessarily. As long as we are realizing that it is okay for our lifestyles and relationships to be different than those of insta-celebs’, it’s totally fine to lust after the good life a little bit. We need to set realistic goals like supporting one another, having fun together and learning from each other. Any extra material items are just the sprinkles on top of the cupcake. They’re good, but you don’t need them to be happy with what you have.


Instagrams from the celebrities’ verified accounts.



Lucia Jervis and ALexandra Schonfeld STYLE SENIOR REPORTERS


hen caught up in the party scene, Elon University can seem like hookup school. It is almost assumed that no one is looking for anything more than that. Across campus, there are friends with benefits, one-night stands, open relationships, Tinder hookups and everything in between. Though couples do exist at Elon, many continue to take part in this non-monogamous experience. “You hear about people who start dating in college, but in my experience no one is looking to date,” said freshman Camille Kelley. “One of my suitemates’ sister is dating someone who she met here, but I have yet to meet anyone our age who is looking for anything more than just a hook up.” This culture occurs among all sexual identities and genders across campus. Some freshmen come to college with the idea that they have to be engaged in the hookup culture in order to have “the fun college experience,” but still can inevitably discover that this is not the case. They realize that going to the North Carolina State Fair or that spending their Halloween night in Woods of Terror is better than spending the night in a stranger’s room. “When I came here, I thought I would be really into the hookup culture,” said freshman Eliza Singleton. “I tried it and I hated it.” For Singleton, she realized she would rather have a personal connection with someone rather than a one-time hookup. “There was a guy I had class with. We were walking back to my place and he didn’t know my name,” she said. “I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ But then was like, ‘OK, I want to try it.’ So we did it, and I could tell he was expecting things and he wanted things that I wasn’t ready to give. I could just tell he was pushing me in that direction. And I just said no. That’s why I stopped the hookup thing. I would

rather get to know a guy.” Despite feeling the pressures to feel otherwise, some are not in favor of the hookup culture, even finding it offensive and would prefer to go out and have fun without focusing on finding someone to go home with. “I personally don’t really like it, I think it becomes this thing where you kind of go out and meet people and it’s very impersonal,” said freshman Erin McDowell. “I try not to partake in it, but I feel like it kind of sucks everyone in and it has become the new norm. Like, people don’t really date. They just go out and hook up with random people and that’s kind of the expectation.” After a few years at school, students begin to feel overwhelmed with overhanging pressures of figuring out what to do after graduation, including the possibility of finding “the one.” At this point, onenight stands become less appealing and the hookup culture becomes less exciting. Junior Cohlmia Caracio finds the non-committal culture at Elon frustrating at times. “Hooking up is natural, since we are in college,” she said. “As an upperclassman, it’s annoying because I feel like no one wants to settle down.” Looking around campus or at a party, sophomore Andrew Kagen sees that there is definitely a lot more single people. “Not that many people are locked down in relationships, or they just don’t know how to, I don’t know,” he said. There’s no denying the physically satisfying aspect of a healthy and consensual one-time hook up, but there is still a dislike or fear of commitment. Do they just prefer to be a constant client of Elon’s hookup culture? Or is it because they feel that it will take away from their college experience? Maybe. But either way, Elon has carved itself out to be a hookup haven.

“Not that many people are locked down in relationships.” - ANDREW KAGEN


“…not being able to go to him and look him in the eye, or for him to give me a hug, I think that’s the worst part.” - Ana Teresa Gago

Keeping The love Alive Lucia Jervis and ALexandra Schonfeld STYLE SENIOR REPORTERS


na Teresa Gago left half of her heart in Panama. She’s one freshman at Elon who is experiencing a long-distance relationship. Gago has realized that long distance relationships are not exactly how she pictured them — they do last, and they even made her own relationship stronger, despite the work. “If you love the person, you’re going to do everything you need to do to make it work,” she said. Gago and her boyfriend Alejhandro Santiago text, Skype and call each other once or twice every day to stay updated on each other’s lives. The two have overcome a lot since they starting dating. They have already beat the odds once when they were first thinking of dating, and now they are trying to doing it again. Gago was going to Italy for a month when they first met, so they weren’t sure if it was going to work out. 38 | FEATURES

“We have been officially dating for eight months now, but we met in February at a party and we started talking,” she said. “We made it through Italy, then we made it official, and now we’re here.” Gago does not feel that distance has affected her relationship in a negative way. In fact, she says “[her] relationship is stronger now”. Even though Gago and Santiago talk every day, and have seen each other in person at least once a month, the lack of physical support from him does impact Gago. Sometimes, she just feels she needs to run into his arms after having a bad day. Still, Gago is confident that they are going to overcome the obstacle of being separated by the sea. “Everytime I see him it’s so exciting,” she said. “It’s like we’re starting to date all over again.”

RYAN AND CARA While most students at Elon would prefer to keep their options open, seniors Ryan Molinaro and Cara Goode are already planning their wedding. Molinaro and Goode have been dating since their first year of college, they lived in the same floor and hit it off immediately. “Our first date was at Late Night, it was a very cheap date,” Molinaro said. Now, after years of being together, Molinaro decided to get engaged in one of the most magical places in the world. Originally, he planned on proposing after graduation when they are in Europe, but since the two were traveling to Machu Picchu he decided it would be more unique there. “I didn’t know if people still asked the father’s permission, so I FaceTimed both of her parents,”

Molinaro said. “I was like, ‘Hey this is the deal, I hope you’re on board.’ Luckily everyone was happy for us.” The couple are already planning their future. “I want to go to vet school after he goes to PT school, so that’s about seven years of school,” Goode said. “After that, hopefully we both have the jobs we want. I don’t know where we will be living. It’ll be based on where our jobs are.” Their wedding will be in April 2017. Molinaro and Goode are looking forward to a life together. Right now they have two dogs and are thinking about children, but they both want to finish their studies and get settled first. “It’s a little different now, like when I go to parties, friends are like, ‘Where’s your fiancéé?’ and I’m like ‘Oh, good one,’” Molinaro said.


#elonootd feeling your outfit? post it on instagram and hashtag it with #elonootd. you might be featured on our accounts. instagram // @theedgemag // #elonootd

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THE EDGE February 2016