VOL 95 : 18 April 4, 2018 The award-winning independent student newspaper of St. John’s University
“I Fully Understand” Gempesaw talks recent town hall, student demonstrations
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TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO
SGI Hosts Executive Board Debate | See the Story on Page 4
Students Nationwide “March For Our Lives” Members of the SJU community show their support in Manhattan march Nick Bello
TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO
Thousands of signs featured words of hope, fear and concern at the Manhattan march.
TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO
Millions of students across the nation took to March for our Lives marches in major cities. Some St. John’s students made their way to the Manhattan march on Saturday, March 24 to advocate to end gun violence. A typical Saturday morning for college students is spent sleeping in, but March 24 was different. “We the students have a voice and need to come together in order to make an impact on legislations,” said Anna Evseev, a junior at St. John’s who participated in the Manhattan march. The Manhattan march started along Central Park West and ended in Midtown. According to NBC 4 New York, tens of thousands marched in Manhattan. Some traveled to be a part of the march in Washington which featured survivors of the Parkland school shooting. “Seeing how packed the march was and how passionate people of all ages were was the best example of the people in this country being a united front for something that’s right,” junior Alessia Pisciotta said. “It made me really proud to be apart of it,” she added. March for our Lives was put together just weeks after the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida where 17 students were killed. It was one the deadliest mass school shootings since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, where 26 were killed. “The March was a great place to see ideas on gun control explored and shared,” said Hunter Rabinowitz, a junior. Weeks prior to the march, a Facebook page was formed for students at St. John’s interested in going to the march as a group. The Facebook page was organized by students Abby Murray, Gabby Hope and Ashlande Labranche. Labranche, a sophomore, was the one who decided to organize the group of St. John’s students. “I stayed updated on March for Our lives since the day it started,” Labranche said.
“They [March for our Lives] asked for some people to help organize their college to participate, so I volunteered to organize the St. John’s campuses.” Labranche talked about the stress that forms while putting together important events like this one. She said, however, that her past experiences prepared her for this challenge. “It was very stressful considering that I had responsibilities for school, my clubs and organizations, and working on a business project,” Labranche said. The help of both Murray and Hope were paramount in making the event possible while also alleviating a lot of stress from Labranche. “I’m more than grateful for them,” Labranche said. Murray, a sophomore, Many St. John’s students attended the March For Our Lives rally in Manhattan last Saturday, March 24. talked about how the fight does not end after the march as gun laws have yet to be changed. She spoke of plans to create more events on campus to promote awareness for this issue. “We’ll probably be creating a new group of students who are interested in what’s going on post-march,” Murray said. “We might also try to do a ‘Vote for Our Lives’ event in the future to try and get students registered to vote before November,” she added. Murray emphasized the importance of student activism for the cause. “I think it’s up to us to keep the energy going, by staying updated, pushing legislation in Congress and, most importantly, voting in November,” she said.
Two Months Later, Gempesaw Talks Town Hall Following emotional event, president says he “understands” St. John’s President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw said he understands why many students walked out of an emotional Town Hall meeting about race relations held on campus a little over a month ago. “As an immigrant and a person of color, I fully understand where they’re coming from,” Gempesaw said. Gempesaw described the recent student demonstrations regarding race and diversity on campus, including the Town Hall meeting in Taffner Field House on Feb. 8, as “important learning experiences” for the university community. “The student protest, the town hall meeting and other activities at that time essentially raised the awareness of the campus community,” he said, “and provided a better understanding of our student experiences and important issues that we as a community [need] to work to address.” Gempesaw, who is finishing his fourth school year at the University, addressed his thoughts on the town hall meeting publicly for the first time during a wide-ranging interview with the Torch on Tuesday, April 3. Gempesaw was scheduled to speak at the end of that Town Hall meeting after a host of students were done taking turns at the microphone expressing their experiences involving racism on campus. But the meeting ended shortly after students walked out. At the same time Gempesaw also left that meeting with-
TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO
President of SJU Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw addresses the February Town Hall.
out comment, alongside his fellow administrators. Gempesaw said the town hall meeting was good in the sense that students were able to share their experiences, and that it was eye-opening for many involved. “Really, this is an ongoing challenge in our society and it’s happening [on] many college campuses,” he said. “And it needs to be addressed.” He said the University is taking active steps to listen to the concerns of the student body through initiatives like the town hall. He also touched upon the work of the St. John’s Task
Force for Diversity and Inclusion. The Task Force, which held its first meeting in November 2016, is comprised of faculty, administrators and students and aims to incorporate the themes of diversity and inclusion into the St. John’s campus culture. Gempesaw said he’s pleased with the work of the Task Force. “I meet with [Nada Llewellyn] and I’m very pleased about the proactive steps that they’re [taking],” he said. Moving forward, the qualities of mindfulness, respect and inclusivity are three things Gempesaw stressed as qualities the St. John’s
community needs to incorporate into the campus culture. “I believe that an inclusive learning community based on mutual respect is the foundation that will honor our diversity and enhance our access, equity and success,” he said. “However, the task of promoting an inclusive and welcoming community cannot be achieved by one group or one individual. “This will require all of us to be more sensitive to each other’s perspectives and beliefs, and to understand the challenges that others face and to be willing to reach out and help breach differences.” He said his request for the entire community, including alumni and partners of the University, is to be mindful of how important these issues are — “to all of us.” Additionally, Gempesaw added that he’s met with student leaders to discuss various experiences students have had at St. John’s. Calling these experiences “difficult,” he said, “I looked at the Town Hall meeting really more as a learning experience for all of us, and I believe we will be a stronger institution.” Gempesaw added that he believes St. John’s can be a more inclusive, respectful and welcoming environment if the community is committed to the same goal. “Our diversity should be our strength,” he said, “because it is who we are.” A complete interview with President Gempesaw will be published in the Torch’s 4/18 issue.
Succeeding in the Media Field Panel Looking to work in the media field? Then your “follow-up game” has to be strong. This was repeated over and over again at the Millennials in Media panel discussion hosted last Tuesday, March 20 in DAC 416. Panelists included employees from BET, Tidal, Hot 97, the New York Times, Google, Time Inc. and Revolt. The DAC Ballroom was filled with students looking to network and hear how to get their foot in the industry door. Moderator Melissa Quinones from Hot 97 and Fox 5 got the ball rolling with questions about networking, accountability, overcoming hurdles and the importance of a strong resume after the panelists introduced themselves. “Don’t sleep on LinkedIn,” Nicole Phillip, a Live Interactive Video Editor from the New York Times, said. “You have to be persistent without being a pest. When you slide in the DMs [direct messages], have actionable items, don’t just ask me how I’m doing and things like that.” “When it comes to applying for jobs and internships, prove why you deserve it. Know your worth and don’t be afraid to negotiate your value,” Jonathan Priester, an account strategist at Google said. “You can’t prepare for an opportunity, but you always have the opportunity to prepare.” Priester also talked about the importance of Career Services and how students should take advantage of their expertise. “They are there to help you,” Priester said. “Make a list of what you want to do and I’m sure there is a program or organization somewhere that is willing to help you achieve it. Continue to find ways to sharpen your knowledge.” One major topic of discussion at the event was networking do’s and don’ts. “Do show up to events like this. This is a great way to networking with people in the field you want to get in to,” Adelle Platon, the culture and content editor at TIDAL said. “But also remember that you are your own business card.”
TORCH PHOTO/ALEXIA CARAVAJALINO
Students had the opportunity to pick the brains of panelists from the New York Times, BET and Google, among others.
“Build a relationship with people and realize the opportunity you have,” Deena Morrison, a producer at Revolt Media and TV said. “Think about it like this: do you have your hand out or open?” At the end of the event, students were able to ask panelists for more advice and to share their personal stories. “The event was definitely beneficial in opening my eyes to the struggle and journey that others endured to succeed in the entertainment world,” junior Julia Remache said. “I always hear this field is cut throat and competitive, so hearing other experiences of ups and downs reminds me that my career may not be as simple and quick as other industries, but that I will
succeed in what I am truly passionate for.” “I think it was refreshing to finally have a CPS event that wasn’t centered around hard news,” senior Gina Conteh said. “We as journalism students are kind of limited at St. John’s when it comes to networking events because rarely do the panels have people who are in entertainment, let alone people of color who are in entertainment.” “After graduation, I plan to continue my studies and acquire my masters in International Relations in the hopes of broadening my understanding of the world outside of the United States and use those skills to become an international reporter,” Conteh added.
Student Government Debate Talks 2018-19 Goals Candidates touch upon diversity, advocacy, accountability Isabella Bruni Students and faculty gathered in the D’Angelo Center Living Room on March 22 to hear and see what could be in store for SGI next year at the annual Student Government Inc. Debate. The Living Room was packed with students and representatives from all organizations on campus, and despite technical difficulties with the sound system, got a look at the 2018-2019 candidates. The debate covered an array of St. John’s relevant topics, but advocacy and accountability stood out with all candidates. Moderated by the Torch’s Editor-in-Chief, senior Suzanne Ciechalski, and current SGI President senior Frank Obermeyer, Ciechalski asked her own prepared questions to the P.L.U.G. and S.E.E.D. tickets as well as an independent candidate while Obermeyer introduced a new “Poll Everything” forum for the audience to come up with questions for the candidates. Candidates kicked off the debate with sharing their backgrounds and what their platform advocates for. PLUG stands for Personality, Legacy, Unity and Growth; S.E.E.D. stands for Students Engages in Education and Diversity. “We want to give a face to student government so students feel comfortable,” said junior Atem Tazi, candidate for president with the P.L.U.G. She shared an African proverb to the audience, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, we walk together.” She said this means that “as a united student body we can get more done than a single-handed person.” Roderick Jackson, a junior and the presidential candidate from S.E.E.D., explained that if you plant a seed something will harvest and grow — this is what he believes will come out of the S.E.E.D. ticket. Jackson prompted the discussion on diver-
sity on campus and said, “We are trying to create this diverse, inclusive campus that allows education to represent everyone.” He pointed out S.E.E.D.’s diverse panel and said diverse means “background.” He said it does not have to mean race but “your ethnicity, where you come from, if you’re a singer, a biology major.” Tazi’s rebuttal pointed out that in the discussion on diversity, “What we’re looking for is respect” and to see “eye-toeye.” The only independent candidate, Hannah Sesay, a freshman who is running for sophomore senator, also touched upon diversity, specifically the TORCH PHOTO/EMILY FISHER lack of diversity in faculty. She also said she will push for Atem Tazi, candidate for president from the P.L.U.G. ticket, described the group’s main goals. a better connection with SGI and students and aims to hold events to edu- which she credited Students of Conscious- ward to confirm that all organizations can ness and the Pan-African Council. receive special allocations, to which Cannon cate students on diversity and inclusivity. The first student poll asked about black and then agreed. She and Tazi both frequently referred to The discussion of Greek life requirements, Chief Diversity Officer Nada Llewllyn’s di- brown faculty retention rates and tenure. “It’s important for the person teaching you small groups and budgets arose through stuversity-based initiatives. to look like you,” Tazi said, later saying how dent polls and Noel Ball, candidate for secAlissa Santolo, the candidate for vice presblack and brown faculty are just as worthy of retary for P.L.U.G. and a junior, said, “Alident from S.E.E.D. and a junior, urged to continue to promote hiring diverse faculty University-wide recognition as white faculty. though it is a lot to get accreditation, there “Retaining professors is important so they are groups with five people as there are small and host events for students to celebrate their have time to improve themselves,” Santolo groups in SGI organizations.” cultures collectively. said. “I think a lot of this is going to come “Because Greek organizations are about “We know that diversity and inclusion on this campus has been very touchy, especially with assisting key resources in training so service and leadership...it makes sense to this school year…it is extremely sensitive,” professors as well as students feel comfortable have accreditation,” she said. “Other organiTazi said. “We must create comfortable and in their environments and professors want to zations are geared to specific interests which is why they don’t apply for accreditation.” safe spaces for individuals for feel comfort- stay longer.” The discussion between the candidates for The tickets ended the debate stating once able to voice how we feel.” treasurer drew listening ears as Torrent Canagain their key goals and final words of perTazi put an emphasis on accountability non of S.E.E.D. admitted he wasn’t aware suasion to the student body to vote for their and wants students to have the chance to “of the specifics” regarding special allocatickets. hold administration accountable. Students can vote for the next SGI e-board She announced that Sun Yat Sen will now tions, but touted he can “learn quickly.” Henry Stitzel from P.L.U.G. stepped foron April 5 and 6 through MySju. be a Center for Marginalized Students, for
Preet Bharara Announced as Law School Commencement Speaker Ariana Ortiz
PHOTO COURTESY/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
The University has announced that former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara will be the Law School’s commencement speaker at Carnesecca Arena on June 3. The University will also give him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Dean Michael Simons said that Bharara “brings a unique perspective” thanks to his past as a federal prosecutor and as an accomplished prosecutor and a dedicated public servant. “Born in India to a Sikh father and a Hindu mother and raised in New Jersey, he is also an inspiration to the immigrant community, as well as an outspoken advocate for a compassionate approach to issues that impact it,” Simons said. “In all these respects, Preet is an outstanding professional who exemplifies values central to our Vincentian mission, and is most deserving of an honorary degree from St. John’s,” he added. Bharara began as a litigator and moved on to his role as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New
York. He then served on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, and was then sworn in as U.S. Attorney from 2009 to 2017. Some of his convictions include major terrorists including Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad; son-in-law to Osama bin Laden, Sulamain Abu Ghayth; and London imam Abu Hamza, who was known to preach Islamic fundamentalism. He has prosecuted nearly 100 Wall Street executives for crimes such as insider trading, and was the force behind the indictment of public officials such as former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former New York State Senate Leader Dean Skelos. Since Bharara’s tenure ended in 2017, he has established the National Task Force on Rule of Law and Democracy along with former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman. The task force describes itself as a nonpartisan initiative that “intends to issue a bipartisan reform agenda to relieve the pressures currently threatening our democratic institutions,” according to its official website.
Flames of the Torch
On selecting commencement speakers of more diverse backgrounds Managing Board XCV
Suzanne Ciechalski, Editor-in-Chief Angelica Acevedo, Managing Editor
Ariana Ortiz News Editor Isabella Bruni News Editor Derrell Bouknight Sports Editor Ariana Ortiz Features Editor Michael Ambrosino Entertainment Editor Morgan Mullings Opinion Editor Steven Verdile Design Editor Courtney Dixon Chief Copy Editor
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The Torch, St. John’s University O’Connor Hall - B Level 8000 Utopia Parkway Queens, NY 11439
Staff and contributors Dewayne Goforth Alexia V. Carvajalino Kennisa Ragland
Erin Sakalis Nick McCrevin Sean Okula
Alexis Gaskin Andreina Rodriguez Alessia Pisciotta
About the Torch
Editorials are the opinions of the Editorial Board of the Torch. Columns and other content are the opinions of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of the Torch. Opinions expressed in editorials, columns, letters or cartoons are not necessarily those of the student body, faculty or administration of St. John’s University. All contents are the sole responsibility of the editors and the editorial board and do not necessarily represent the views of the administration, faculty or students of St. John’s University unless specifically stated.
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Last week, St. John’s Law School announced that this year’s commencement speaker will be former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. Not only is this exciting, as Bharara has been an influential figure in the landscape of the U.S. government, but it is also a step in a promising direction, following the lead of other universities with traditions of hosting notable figures as commencement speakers. Preet Bharara made a name for himself as a federal prosecutor by dismantling money laundering schemes, securities frauds and organized crimes. He has been described by the New York Times as “one of the nation’s most aggressive and outspoken prosecutors of public corruption and Wall Street crime.” Bharara has also been named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. Last year, Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York became especially prominent in national news coverage after being fired by President Donald Trump. To hear him speak will not only be an honor for guests at the Law School commencement, but it’s also sure to be a learning experience. Bharara’s appointment as commencement speaker is a refreshing change from the norm at St. John’s, and we hope it’s a change whose effects will be felt at the undergraduate level, too. The University has not yet announced its commencement speaker for the undergraduate ceremony.
The Torch has requested a list of 2018 commencement speakers from St. John’s, but has not yet received it. Many colleges host commencement speakers of national prominence. Over the last few years, St. John’s has mostly chosen members of the religious community who perhaps aren’t as well known to graduating students. While their speeches always prove to be powerful, we would love to see St. John’s break from this practice and choose a newsmaker such as Bharara to speak at our undergraduate commencement ceremonies. In 2016, for example, St. John’s hosted Bishop of Brooklyn Nicholas DiMarzio as the commencement speaker for the undergraduate ceremony on the Queens campus. That same year, UC Berkeley hosted Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, as its commencement speaker, while UPenn hosted Lin Manuel Miranda. Speakers like these could provide a different perspective for the graduating class to consider as they embark on the rest of their lives. While the messages at recent commencements have been uplifting, it would be a welcome change to see St. John’s deviate from its recent practice and try to get prominent speakers of varying backgrounds to address the University. Graduating seniors often are told on graduation they should shoot for the stars. We feel the University should do so too.
Accepted Students: Don’t Judge St. John’s Yet Erin Sakalis I was not excited to start college. I was unsure of the career path I wanted to pursue, I was pessimistic about commuting, and I was unsure what to expect. I am proud to report that in my first two years, I have had an exceptionally positive experience at St. John’s University for a plethora of (often overlooked) reasons. When I was selecting a college, I was initially unaware of the sheer number and quality of programs that St. John’s offers. Our pharmacy and law programs have received considerable recognition, along with our sports teams; however the rest of St. John’s is severely under-hyped on a national scale. For example, the College of Professional Studies boasts an array of modern and specialized programs for students of various disciplines and goals, which is what attracted me to SJU personally. I am an Advertising Communication major, which is a relatively new major that
is offered infrequently. Within my major, there are also different tracks, such as Creative, Account Management, and Media Planning. As an Advertising Communications Major on the Account Management track, I have the unique advantage of learning with a more refined focus. My program, among numerous others, is specially tailored to advance the pursuits of the students within them. Each student can essentially customize his or her degree using the broad variety of specific major and minor choices that St. John’s offers at each of its colleges. One of the most advantageous aspects of St. John’s University is the average class size. While I can’t speak for the recitations, I’ve found that most class sizes range from 20 to 40 students. Because of the smaller class sizes, we can engage in class discussions, which is important especially in the humanities. We don’t have to hunt down our professors during office hours to ask simple ques-
tions, nor do we need to purchase buzzers in order to answer questions in class. Furthermore, I didn’t realize how unusual it was for all of my professors to know my name until friends at other universities expressed that in their classes of 200 students, it was difficult for anybody to make a lasting impression. At St. John’s, we have the opportunity to participate in class and to get to know our professors personally. This is incredibly valuable because the vast majority of the professors I’ve met are veterans of their industries and have a wealth of experience and knowledge to impart. I also genuinely appreciate how approachable and supportive they have been. Outside of the classroom, SJU places great emphasis on helping students find internships and eventual employment. The school isn’t selling degrees, but instead, teaching students how to apply their skills and allowing them to explore their options. Aside from the educational and career
benefits, St. John’s campus also has its conveniences. First of all, St. John’s has an actual campus. It is commuter- friendly, due to its proximity to several bus lines and its abundant parking lots. It is also easy enough for students to travel to and from Manhattan for internships or leisure. This allows St. John’s students the opportunity to intern and cultivate work experience year-round, whereas students in more remote locations may only get the chance to intern during the summer. Regarding tuition, St. John’s is not the most expensive, nor is it the most affordable, but Financial Services are considerate and generous when determining need and academic or athletic merit. There are so many options available that students can customize optimal college experiences and educations to suit their goals. St. John’s is the place where you can truly be the best you.
March For Our Lives ... Now What? Alexia V. Carvajalino
On Saturday, March 24, hundreds of thousands of students, teachers, parents and survivors crowded the streets nationwide with the intent to demonstrate that gun control measures need to be increased in the United States. With over 800 sister marches, including six continents around the world, the turnout was larger than expected in most cities. At the main event in Washington D.C., the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 were killed on February 14, spoke out about the shooting and gave speeches encouraging legislators to make changes to gun laws. While speaking about their former classmates, they continued to ask for the narrative to change and for young adults to vote against politicians who refuse to make changes, including “common sense” gun laws including universal background checks. With the success of March For Our Lives, it’s difficult to know what we as young adults can do next, but the momentum does not slow down here, there are still things that can be done to show where we stand against the NRA and the politicians who choose to back them. From marching on the streets to marching to the faces of Congress, organizers of the march are now teaming up with the Town Hall Project to urge every member of the House of Representatives to host a town hall on April 7. With Congress on recess through April 8,
many town halls are already scheduled, but activists are encouraged to rally at the events, or pressure local representatives to hold one if it is not already scheduled. If there is refusal for a representative to attend, invite their opponent or host an “empty chair town hall” to call attention to the absence of said representative. The point is to have an open discussion about gun control with local representatives and hold them accountable for the actions that they may or may not be taking. With over 400 events already scheduled to take place, more voices will be heard at a local level. With the midterm elections around the corner in November, it is time to show strength in numbers at the poll booths and take action to help vote out those in power who refuse to act. A campaign by Parkland students, #NeverAgain: Pick Up A Pen, is encouraging the writing of letters to Congress expressing what changes need to be made. Create an event where students can come together to write and send letters or create a designated school drop off where students can leave their letters to be sent to the White House. After thousands of students walked out on March 14, a month after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, another national high school walkout is scheduled for April 20, the 19-year anniversary of the Columbine shooting at 10 a.m. Encourage your younger friends and siblings to participate. Every voice matters, continue to use yours when you can.
TORCH PHOTOS /ALEXIA V. CARVAJALINO
Exclusive Activism: Is #MarchForOurLives for Minorities? Kennisa L. Ragland
TORCH PHOTOS /ALEXIA V. CARVAJALINO
A thematically important question in a Liberation Theology course I took was in the form of a phrase: “for whom?” It possesses meaningful and directive implications. That being said, I’d like to attach it to the end of an issue, one that has, especially in recent years, been a hot topic for the United States: gun control. Students from the school and across the country have stepped up and into their activism shoes to join in the fight for gun control. Both a school walkout and a march were planned and executed by these young change-seekers. And throngs of folks across the country stood in solidarity and support of the cause. While disheartened by the unspeakable robbing of life and in attendance of the March for Our Lives, I could not get the question out of my head: gun control for whom? Amid questions about whether gun control is plausible and how, I can’t help but wonder who exactly are gun control activists looking to protect. While no two circumstances are the same, it’s hard for me look at the public outcry supporting Parkland students and wonder why that same show of unity doesn’t exist for victims of gun violence at, say, the hands of police or in poverty-induced inner cities. Too often race plays a critical role in how victims of violence are perceived and treated. It speaks volumes that the white Parkland high school students who have embraced their roles as activists have along the way
also admitted their privilege by extension of their race. And through the sphere of protest and activism, they have attempted to use their privilege as a platform to not only raise awareness to that specific issue, but also build bridges with those marginalized. Gun violence is something that disproportionately affects black people in this country. However, when the topic of gun control and violence is forced upon in society, a greater response both quantitatively and qualitatively is afforded to white victims. I unequivocally believe the students from MSD High deserve the gun control they’ve been fighting for. But so did Trayvon Martin. Alton Sterling. Tamir Rice. Rekia Boyd. So do other victims of police brutality as well as folks who have suffered from inadequate policy or action like Florida’s Marissa Alexander and St. John’s University’s own Arshell (Trey) Dennis III who died at a festival in 2016. Attaching the phrase “for whom?” to a statement strikes up investigation into the context surrounding a certain thing. For example, freedom has always been a revered ideal in America. Who could take issue with freedom? Nobody. But what if you add “for whom?” Think about that, and think about history. Freedom is at the core of our country’s ideals yet it wasn’t all that long ago that everyone here enjoyed freedom as a right. Hopefully, more white folks across the country, in the patriotic practice of fighting for better, will come to do so taking into account all the brown and black victims of gun violence.
Interview with Leslie Odom, Jr. Hamiliton star speaks about new book, “Failing Up” Andreina Rodriguez After releasing two solo jazz albums, performing as Aaron Burr in the Broadway Musical, “Hamilton,” and winning a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical, there’s no stopping for Leslie Odom, Jr. as he’s just released his first ever written book, “Failing Up.” His book provides personal insight not only on the journey to his success, but also carefully looks at the failures he’s encountered that each have an individual significance to where he is now that he believes can help and inspire young artists throughout their lives. “I hope for it to be a bit of inspiration and a bit of hope to the next generation. I started thinking of a bunch of people in caps and gowns and of all my graduations and how it may feel like the end of something but then it feels like a beginning of something,” Odom, Jr. said. When asked why he decided to write a memoir/autobiography at this point, he felt that it was ludicrous to write one, considering how young he is. However, audiences were interested in what he had to say about education,
and his publicists inspired him to write in the form of a commencement address. “I watched a bunch of commencement addresses and the most successful speeches follow the same format. You lay out mottos that have been important to you and your career and you point to life lessons that’ll illustrate why these mottos have stayed and why they stayed,” he said. “Failing Up,” a title that turns a negative aspect into something positive is just what Odom, Jr. intended by naming it. He felt that it seemed fit for expressing the idea of giving yourself permission to fail. Throughout his work life, he stresses an importance on mental health and balance that he gets from his profession when it comes to juggling different work opportunities. “When you choose to identify yourself as an artist, there’s a built in therapy aspect. We spend our time looking at empathy. For me, there’s certainly been thoughts with depression professionally. What’s helped me is my spirituality,” he said. For him, the arts is like a healing
practice in its own as he goes through exercises and routines that allows him to invest in a full body awareness that he believes to be very meditative. Odom, Jr. mentions the mentors who have had a great impact on his life, such as his elementary school teacher and acting coach. Of course, mentors aren’t limited to just one type of person. “It can be somebody that’s inspiring and can make space for you,” he said. “It’s a friendship. For me there have been different reasons for why I chose who I choose. Somebody you can trust and who’s going to open up their lives for you. They’re all around you. People who would love to invest in you in that way and pass on the info and knowledge that they have.” Last year, Leslie’s wife delivered their first daughter, to whom his last chapter is dedicated to. When it comes to looking back on all of his experiences with Hamilton, he appreciates the opportunity he had. However, fatherhood is a brand new experience to him. With his daughter in mind when writing the book, he recognizes her to be the influence in putting a focus on his life.
PHOTO COURTESY/DANY VASQUEZ
Netflix Bakes Up a Winner Alexis Gaskin
one gets two chances to make some epic fails. In the second round, we see the home Have you ever seen those baking pictures bakers trying to recreate these epic cakes on Instagram or Twitter where people try and the chance to tell the judges, “Nailed to recreate something they saw on Pinterest It” and actually mean it. Whether you’re into baking or not this and fail epically? You may be wondering how you went from this seemingly simple new baking show is a hilarious surprise to emoji cake to a yellow blob that’ll give you the often technical and specialized baking competitions. The clearly unprofessional nightmares. Well, Netflix’s new original show, bakers are judged by renowned chocolat“Nailed It!” shows these baking “fails” ier Jacques Torres, comedian, and actress and “nails.” In each episode, three terrible Nicole Byer and a special guest judge each home bakers compete for more than two week. Most notable on the first episode, rounds to win $10,000. All you have to the special judge was Sylvia Weinstock, wedding cake maker for the celebrities like do is bake a dessert Oprah, the Clintons that looks the closest and Kim Kardashian to the expertly made and Kanye West. cake. Sounds simple, The real spark of the right? If you want to find a way show are these home However, as in any to learn some baking tips bakers and their exgood-natured comand tricks, watch these treme mistakes. While petition, the cakes bakers make them and watching the show, that these competilearn from these rough the choices of the baktors have to recreate ers frustrate and often mistakes. are a little...wild. In shock the judges and the six-episode seaviewers. If you want to son, the final baking challenges included making a huge shark find a way to learn some baking tips and cake, an erupting volcano cake and even a tricks, watch these bakers make them and learn from these rough mistakes. From realistic-looking Donald Trump cake. Each episode features two rounds; the first kneading fondants when you’re supposed round has the bakers making something to roll it to using melting chocolates when seemingly easy, like cupcakes and cock- you need to use chocolate chips for a gatails, small emoji cakes or pirate donuts. At nache. The show features more fails than nails, the end of the first round, the person who makes the best tasting and looking baked but is a good time and leaves the viewers good gets to wear a special gold baking hat wanting to try to recreate some of these (which I now need to find for myself), and creations. With an arsenal of baking supsome sort of baking prize, whether it be a plies and a recipe at their disposal, many, including the professional judges, are left to standing kitchen mixer or piping set. There is no elimination. Basically, every- wonder, “How did they fail this badly?”
A Retrospective Look at Women’s Place in TV Erin Sakalis Television is a relatively new form of entertainment. The female television protagonist is even newer. Early American television shows with female leads mostly centered around family life. Representation for women of color on television was even more sparse, especially considering that the United States is a country comprised primarily of immigrants. The period of time in which boundaries were broken for women in American television were the 1960s to 1970s. Although an earlier example, Lucille Ball is commonly known as the first “funny woman” on television. She and her husband Desi Arnaz also established their own production company, DesiLu Productions, and Ball played an important role in approving and producing TV content. “I Love Lucy” became a classic show with beloved episodes. However, it is also important to remember that the character, Lucy Ricardo, was a white housewife whose theatrical schemes always involved breaking out of her mundane home life. A famous episode, “Job Switching,” depicted Lucy attempting to join the workforce for a day and comically failing. Nonetheless, Lucille Ball paved the way for future female comediennes, such as the celebrated Carol Burnett. “The Carol Burnett Show” first aired in 1967 and ran successfully for 11 years, however, when Burnett first pitched to CBS, she was told that variety was “a man’s genre”,
and was encouraged instead to do a sitcom. Because of a technicality in a contract that Burnett had already signed, she was eventually granted her request. As for sitcoms, Mary Tyler Moore was the actress who epitomized the single working female protagonist. Although she began her
spite the fact that pants were already popular among women off-screen. Moore became her own protagonist in 1970 with the airing of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” The show was a socially current depiction of the ways in which life was rapidly changing for women, who had recently become
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Mary Tyler Moore in the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” which premiered in 1970.
career portraying a male protagonist’s wife on the cherished “Dick Van Dyke Show” from 1961-1966, Moore fought to wear pants casually on the show during a time where it was customary for women to wear skirts and dresses on TV. At one point, CBS only allowed the show to have “one pants scene” per episode, de-
independent. More than ever, women were getting educations and working outside of the home. People were also waiting longer to get married and have children. “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” even famously addressed that it is ultimately a woman’s choice if and when she wants to procreate. In a variety of ways, Moore used
both her platforms for progress and provided representation for the modern woman of the 70’s. Despite the progress made on television for women in the 1960s and 1970s, the representation was mostly of white women. There was a shortage of people of color on TV, especially female protagonists of color. Nichelle Nichols was one of the first prominent black actresses on TV, starring in Star Trek from 1966-1969. The lesser known “Julia” was the first sitcom to have a black female protagonist in 1968. However, these were more exceptions than rules. While Desi Arnaz was an early Cuban-American protagonist on “I Love Lucy,” there was little representation for Latina women in American media. The Spanish-American actress, comedienne, and flamenco musician, Charo, was one of the first to see widespread fame, appearing on 70’s shows such as “The Love Boat.” While white female protagonists have been in the spotlight for decades now, recently, women of color are starting to get the representation they deserve. Viola Davis stars in “How to Get Away with Murder,” Indian-American comedienne Mindy Kaling writes and acts in her eponymous Hulu hit, “The Mindy Project,” and Gina Rodriguez brings telenovelas to the United States with “Jane the Virgin.” As of now, we still don’t have female representation in mainstream late night TV. Hopefully, in the next few years, there will be more funny women on at night than there are men named “Jimmy.”
Curated Collection: “Disney” Movies for Non-Disney Fans Rachel Johnson I love Disney, and I love their movies. I’ve cried at the majority of them, especially Pixar. And if you’re like me, you could watch Disney movies over and over for the rest of your life. But, there are some amazing movies out there that aren’t from Disney, but feel like they could be, that are definitely worth checking out. How to Train Your Dragon (1 & 2) “HTTYD” is about a teen Viking named
Hiccup who, unlike the rest of his village, just can’t seem to kill a dragon. He is desperate to prove himself. When Hiccup finally downs a Night Fury using a net launcher he built, no one believes him. Hiccup finds the dragon in the forest, but he can’t bring himself to kill it. Instead, he sets it free, and an unlikely friendship forms. “HTTYD” is an incredibly funny and heartwarming animated film, more so than some Disney movies. And the sequel is even better. “HTTYD” and “HTTYD2” are both available on YouTube for $2.99 each.
Rise of the Guardians Our childhood figures who brought us wonder, hope and joy are much more powerful than they seem. And so long as children believe in them, they will protect them. In “RotG,” Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman face a threat from the Boogeyman that they can’t handle on their own. They need a new Guardian to join their team: Jack Frost. The Guardians must learn to work together to defeat the Boogeyman and keep the children safe. “RotG” is magical and full of wonder, and the animation is stunning. It deals with believing in yourself, and becoming who you were meant to be. “RotG” can be found on YouTube for $2.99. The Spiderwick Chronicles
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When Jared Grace’s family movies to a “big creepy house in the middle of nowhere,” he finds himself in the last place he wants to be. But, this house holds a magical secret. The forest is filled with creatures that can only be seen through a special lens. He finds the journal of Arthur Spiderwick, which explains every creature from this invisible world. Jared soon discovers that not all of the creatures are friendly, and they want the book. Jared must enlist the help of his family and the mystical friends of Arthur Spiderwick to keep the book safe. “TSC” is
suspenseful and mystical. It has the adventure of “The Chronicles of Narnia” and the magical creatures of “Harry Potter.” “TSC” is available on YouTube for $2.99 and Amazon for $3.99. Happy Feet (1 & 2) To attract a mate, every Emperor Penguin must sing a “heart song” to find their match. But Mumble can’t sing; he likes to dance. The elder Emperor Penguins disapprove of Mumble’s dancing, however. After saving a group of Adelie penguins called “the Amigos,” they befriend Mumble and support his dancing. When Mumble sees an excavator from the humans, he and the Amigos go to see Lovelace, a “wise” penguin with the plastic rings of a six-pack around his neck, which he says was bestowed on him by the mystic beings. When Mumble is finally exiled for his dancing, he goes to Lovelace again for advice, but he is being choked by the plastic rings and has lost hope. Mumble follows a human boat for answers, and is captured and put in an aquarium. Just when Mumble has almost given up, a girl taps on the glass and Mumble starts dancing, drawing a crowd, giving him his confidence back. “Happy Feet” is a great story about finding yourself and being unapologetic in who you are, and with Robin Williams in the cast, you know it’s going to be great. “Happy Feet” 1 and 2 can be found on YouTube for $2.99 each.
“Wonder Woman”: Screening and Discussion Italian Honor Society and Otaku Brigade host the event Alessia Pisciotta In honor of Women’s History Month, St. John’s Italian Society and the Otaku Brigade, the anime club of St. Johns, collaborated to host a discussion and movie viewing of “Wonder Woman” last week. They presented the ideas of feminism associated with Wonder Woman, and the story and character origin, as well as her role in comics and Hollywood over the many decades of her existence. The discussion was led by Otaku Brigade President Amanda Carlson, senior, and junior Annamaria Basile. Taking place in the Sodano Coffee House, I saw curiosity on every person’s face as they gradually made their way in. As the attendees enjoyed the free pizza, Carlson and Basile began the discussion aided by a colorful and informative slideshow. While discussing Wonder Woman — a.k.a Diana Prince — and her feminist origins, it was important to mention her feminist creator. William Marston, I learned at the discussion, was a feminist in the 1920’s/30’s in a polyamorous relationship. An interesting fact shared by Carlson and Basile was that Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth was the
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brainchild of Marston’s kink for being tied up. Eventually, when Marston passed away, those who took over Wonder Woman basically got rid of her feminist appeal and made her into a secretary type. At one point she was, as Carolson put it, “Steve Trevor’s flirtatious secretary.” Freshman Ricardo Arias said, “I wasn’t
Review: “Ready Player One” Michael Ambrosino Legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg makes a sensational return to blockbuster cinema with “Ready Player One,” a film that essentially celebrates the years of blockbuster cinema. “Ready Player One” is absolutely awesome. Spielberg, as we’ve seen through four decades, is a true visionary, and his masterful execution of a vision so exciting and vibrant has never broken the barriers of “fun at the movies” quite like this. This film is relentless fun — one must be a real Scrooge to have not even a midly good time viewing “Ready Player One.” It presents an interesting future, where society has been consumed by a virtual reality system called The Oasis, which gives people the opportunity to create personal avatars and escape their harsh reality to enter a world filled with endless possibilities. When the Oasis’ creator, James Halliday (played by Spielberg-regular Mark Rylance), dies, he introduces to the world a massive, “Willy Wonka”-type contest that sees Oasis users racing through three
hidden challanges to acquire an easter egg, which would then reward them with total control of the Oasis. One boy, the pop-culture-savvy Wade Watts (played by Tye Sheridan) whose avatar’s name is Parzival, teams up with four other Oasis users — including Aech and Art3mis (played by Lena Waithe and Olivia Cooke, respectively) — to find the easter egg and beat corporate baddie Sorrento (played marvelously by Ben Mendelsohn), from achieving it and threatening the lives of Oasis users. “Ready Player One” has the Spielberg magic sprinkled all over it. It delivers nonstop thrills that feature some of the most famous pop-culture figures (and settings; there’s a terrific sequence that takes place in “The Shining’s” terrifying Overlook Hotel, which is arguably one of the best scenes Spielberg has ever made) of the 20th century. It’s an exciting, fast-paced visual extravaganza with tons of energy, a killer soundtrack and performers who bring significant likeability to their characters. “Ready Player One” is endlessly entertaining. There is so much fun to be had.
PHOTO/FLICKR COMMONS MAKSYM GOLUBYEV
expecting to learn such shocking things about the creator of Wonder Woman. Like I would never have guessed that in those times he would be a guy in a multi-person relationship and into BDSM. But he made a really great character so it works. William Marston had said, “Rule not through force, but through love.” He ap-
plied this when creating Wonder Woman since was her view as well, clearly shown in the 2017 film that was shown. It was clear she led with her emotions. When the presentation came to the topic of Hollywood, it was unfortunately not surprising that with a powerful and beautiful female character being portrayed, the actresses that played Wonder Woman had to deal with sexual harassment issues. Lynda Carter, for example, had a hole drilled in her dressing room. In a manner that is similar to that of the character she plays, Gal Gadot took a stand and would not move forward with Justice League until Brett Ratner was fired by Warner Brothers due to cases of sexual harassment. Once the film was put on, everyone was hooked for its entire duration. Director Patty Jenkins put together a female-empowering movie that became a symbol for women, children and adults alike. Casting Gal Gadot for the role could not have been any more perfect. After checking for a post-credits scene (spoiler alert: there wasn’t one), we were left feeling better informed about a pop culture symbol, and freshly inspired by the movie.
JOHNNIES AROUND CAMPUS
PHOTOS BY AMANDA NEGRETTI, NICK BELLO, ALEXIA CARVAJALINO, MARIE BOGUE AND EMILY FISHER
UPCOMING EVENTS: ASIAN PACIFIC HERITAGE MONTH KICK-OFF April 5, 1:50 - 3:15pm D’Angelo Center
THE DISNEY BALL: MIDNIGHT MASQUERADE April 8, 6:00pm - 12:00pm D’Angelo Center 128
TRIPLE S COMPETITION April 11, 8:00pm Carnesecca Arena
A NIGHT IN THE GARDEN April 5, 7:00pm - 11:00pm D’Angelo Center 416
JOHNNY SQUARE April 9, 12:00pm - 3:00pm Taffner Field House Lawn
WHAT “CHE” DOING April 12, 6:00pm - 9:00 pm Faculty Club
ONE NIGHT IN CHINA April 6, 6:30pm - 10:30pm D’Angelo Center 416
DOES WHO I LOVE REALLY MATTER? IDENTIFYING AS LBGTQI IN THE WORKFORCE April 9, 2:00 - 3:30pm D’Angelo Center 128
LIP SYNC COMPETITION April 12, 7:00pm Carnesecca
“They’re Putting Money Over Humans” Student organizes with March For Our Lives NYC Ariana Ortiz Newtown, Connecticut. San Bernardino, California. Orlando, Florida. When sophomore Ashlande LaBranche was still a high school student in her hometown of Boston, Massachusetts, she saw how mass shootings — one after the other — seemed to not only dominate newscasts, but American life itself. “I think that was the time when gun violence just blew up so much,” LaBranche says. “And I was just like, ‘I can’t sit here and watch it happen, I have to do something.’” She went from signing petitions and sharing information on gun violence through social media to volunteering at Violence Intervention Prevention (VIP), a Boston Public Health Commission program that aims to reduce street violence in city neighborhoods. “Volunteering at VIP taught me more about gun violence and the reasons it happens to begin with,” LaBranche said. “I was able to communicate with people who changed their lives after VIP, and I learned the strategies implemented by VIP and Boston Police to get teens and adults off the streets, as well as guns.” Now LaBranche, 20, is a student gun control advocate and one of the organizers of the NYC March For Our Lives that took place on March 24. “We need more regulation,” LaBranche said, citing cases of American children accidentally killing themselves and others because of easy access to guns. Each year, about 1,300 children die and 5,790 are treated for gunshot wounds in the U.S., according to a study published by the Journal of Pediatrics last October. LaBranche says that while she understands some citizens’ strong beliefs in the Second Amendment, she wants policy reforms to
make it harder for guns to be obtained. “We understand that we can’t take your gun away — it’s the Second Amendment and we can’t take that away. The message is primarily that we just get it regulated.” LaBranche said. In a recent video the National Rifle Association (NRA) posted to its Facebook page on March 24, the organization alleges that March For Our Lives is not a student-led movement, but rather a billionaire-backed plan to take away the Second Amendment. “Today’s protests aren’t spontaneous.” The caption on the video reads. “Gun-hating billionaires and Hollywood elites are manipulating and exploiting children as part of their plan to DESTROY the Second Amendment and strip us of our right to defend ourselves and our loved ones.” The NRA also posted a video to its YouTube channel on March 22 titled “A March For Their Lies,” where gun rights activist Colion Noir calls March For Our Lives “one-sided, logic-deprived, and intellectually dishonest.” “I would have to say, the NRA — I really don’t like them,” LaBranche said. “The way they’re getting politicians to support their agenda is immoral, and not only is it immoral, it’s causing those politicians to not even look at their own families and be like, ‘[getting caught in a shooting] could happen to them.’ They’re putting money over humans, I don’t like that.” “People only say that they don’t support gun control until they become the victims or survivors,” she added. In the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 high school students and faculty this past Valentine’s Day, student survivors’ organization Never Again MSD and Everytown for Gun Safety col-
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March For Our Lives NYC drew about 175,000 protestors on March 24.
laborated on organizing the March For Our Lives, a national event calling for stricter gun laws. The main march took place in Washington D.C. on March 24, along with hundreds of “sister marches” throughout the country. While she has been advocating for tougher gun laws since she was a high school student at Fontbonne Academy in Milton, Massachusetts, even centering her senior project around the issue, she says her journey with March For Our Lives began soon after the movement was formed. “Once I heard about March For Our Lives, I immediately started researching it, and then I signed up on their website,”
TORCH PHOTO/ALEXIA CARVAJALINO
Ashlande LaBranche, sophomore, is a gun control advocate and one of the March For Our Lives NYC organizers.
LaBranche said. Soon after, LaBranche says March For Our Lives NYC organizers contacted her to be an outreach coordinator at St. John’s and act as a marshal on the day of the march. March For Our Lives NYC drew crowds of tens of thousands; Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that the “final NYC tally” of march participants was 175,000. “And this is a movement that has JUST BEGUN. These students WILL change America!” De Blasio’s tweet continued. LaBranche says the energy throughout the march was “uplifting” and “motivational.” “Everyone was so happy and proud to be there, but at the same time very serious,” LaBranche said. “The feeling was pretty mutual throughout the crowd…We weren’t here to play. We meant business.” LaBranche says the diversity of the crowd, coming together for one common goal, was particularly striking. “That was the only march I’ve seen with such a huge range of people, it was almost like we were all family,” she said. “Everyone was taking pictures together and having long conversations as if we all knew each other for years and had suddenly been reunited. That will probably be the best and only moment in my life where I’ve seen diversity and inclusion in such a huge crowd.” LaBranche says that students who care about gun control but don’t know how to begin advocating for it should learn as much about the issues as they can before jumping in. “Follow those pages about gun control; follow March For Our Lives, or Moms Against Guns,” LaBranche says. “You never know when the time will come that you actually want to put some action into it. And write to your lawmakers, your state and local representatives; it’s a great way to start.”
@BoujeeMontys: Classing up Campus Food
Creators share how to upgrade dining hall cuisine
Despite its grill, salad bar, dessert station and weekend brunches, few students would consider Montgoris Dining Hall a five-star, gourmet dining experience. This is what makes Boujee Monty’s (@boujeemontys) one of the most unique St. John’s-centered social media accounts to emerge this year. Operated by a group of students who decided to remain anonymous, the account offers students hacks and recipes to construct their own “boujee” creations. The use of the word “boujee,” (slang for “bourgeois”) has spiked in national popularity since the release of the 2016 hit single, “Bad and Boujee,” by American hip hop group Migos. Though the term is usually applied to mock pretentious consumers of high society, its contemporary meaning refers to the affectations, manners, and dress of the upper middle class. “With eating at a dining hall most of the time, you have to learn to make do with what you have. Monty’s can be way better than you think,” one of the account creators said. The account posts weekly videos and pictures on Instagram and Twitter using common ingredients available at Montgoris to create what is their idea of elevated, five-star fare. Each post includes a clever name for the dish along with its ingredients, and encouragement for followers to construct their own creations and join in on the fun. Featured dishes include a minimalistic apple
dessert consisting of green apple slices layered over peanut butter and topped with a caramel and chocolate drizzle; a combination of fried chicken tenders and waffles for a satisfying brunch platter; and a jelly donut ice cream sandwich. “It all started one Friday night at the dining hall and we weren’t feeling the food options for that night, [so] we decided to get a brownie and put topping like caramel sauce and sprinkles from the ice cream bar and spice it up a bit,” one of the founders said. It’s this first post of “The Boujee Brownie Sundae” that kicked off the account. “We were laughing at how boujee we were and that we should post it online,” another creator said. “That’s when we got the idea for Boujee Monty’s. It began more as a joke and now we’ve just kept it up over the past couple of weeks.” Although the accounts are all about Montgoris Dining Hall, Boujee Monty’s is not affiliated with the University. The Instagram account is known among students as “Monty’s hacks,” and it has over 193 followers as of Mar. 27 —- pretty influential for an account that’s been up for just two months. “The key to each post is the perfect combination of the right foods, colors, and presentations. The prettier it looks, the better,” one founder said. “With the dining hall, we get used to having the same food every week, so we have learned to get creative,” another founder said. “We usually like to combine different foods from different locations to make something yummy and trendy.”
PHOTOS COURTESY/BOUJEE MONTY’S
Boujee Monty’s reinvents Montgoris Dining Hall items as gourmet fare.
The account runners encourage students who have any ideas of their own to message them on Instagram or Twitter for their culinary creations to be featured. “Right now, we plan on continuing posting more pictures and hopefully gaining more followers and submis-
sions from students,” a founder said. The next time you swipe into Montgoris Dining Hall dreading the same old routine, don’t forget to check the latest hacks from Boujee Monty’s to take your meal to the next level.
GLOBE: Education Beyond the Classroom Course allows students to manage global loan program Andreina Rodriguez A common critique of university education is that its focus tends to stay within the classroom rather than offering opportunities for hands-on experience. GLOBE (Global Loan Opportunities for Budding Entrepreneurs) is an undergraduate student-managed program here to take the learning outside, branching out to the rest of the world. In the semester-long class, students get the opportunity to manage a project that provides microloans, small sums of money lent at a low interest rate to a new business, to entrepreneurs living in poverty around the world. GLOBE students learn about microfinance and social entrepreneurship, and perform hands-on work in task-based teams that brings what they learn and receive in the classroom to life. The teams are: Finance, Budgets and Risk Assessment; Marketing and Fundraising; Technology and Communications; and Enterprise Development and Program Impact Audits. The loans are sourced through donations; members of GLOBE are assisted by the Daughters of Charity, whose mission includes identifying those in their communities who want loans to start new small businesses, expand existing ones. Those seeking funds to either make repairs to infrastructure that houses a business, or to purchase transportation to their place of work are also eligible. “Borrowers understand that by paying back the money, they are helping their communities and learn about the obligations that come with a loan so that later on, as they go on to a more established microlending institution for a loan, they know what to expect.” Associate Dean for Global Initiatives at Tobin and founder of GLOBE Linda Sama said. Sama started the program in 2009; her first action was to form a Steering Committee to govern the program that began with three people and grew to a committee of 13.
Members include faculty and administrators from St. John’s, representatives from the Ladies of Charity, a Daughter of Charity, representatives from both for-profit and notfor-profit businesses and GLOBE alumni. Sama’s role as chair of the GLOBE Steering Committee involves calling meetings when student managers have loans to recommend for committee approval, team objectives to present or new strategies for the program and its operations that require Steering Committee review and approval. “Our loans carry a small interest fee, which stays with the communities where GLOBE operates. The Daughters may use these fees to buy books for the primary schools, medicines for the sick, or as part of their GLOBE fund to support newly approved loans,” she said. The GLOBE program is open to all students enrolled in Tobin with a GPA of 3.0 or above; St. John’s students enrolled in other colleges can also apply, as long as they meet the GPA requirement, or according to Sama, “can offer some parallel experience that will make them prepared to handle the rigors of the course.” Every student who applies for GLOBE is interviewed, and anywhere from 14 to 24 are chosen for a seat in the class. “We look for a passion for the GLOBE mission, a commitment to hard work, and the ability to work well in a team,” Sama said. “GLOBE has taught me the dynamic influence of microfinance in the developing world and in the non-profit field,” Judith Russell, a member of GLOBE’s Communications and Technology team as well as a staff writer for the Torch, said. “Microfinance can be a controversial subject. It has both negative and positive consequences in the sense of its effect on a community. On one hand, it can be looked down upon socially and it can throw an already struggling person further into debt. On the other hand, we give these struggling person opportunities that were never given to them before.”
PHOTOS COURTESY/LINDA SAMA
GLOBE students gain experience in microfinance and social entrepreneurship.
GLOBE’s borrowers consist of both men and women — about 85 percent are women, which is a similar statistic to the microfinance industry as a whole. “Microloans have been demonstrated to be very empowering for women — an important fact to keep in mind this International Women’s History Month,” Sama said. “And women have demonstrated that they are better borrowers than men statistically, that is they pay back their loans more reliably.” Sama also teaches the class by providing lectures on various aspects of microfinance and social entrepreneurship, guiding student teamwork, reviewing and assessing learning, inviting guest speakers and facilitating class field trips to events going on in the region relevant to their learning. In 2010, Sama started the GLOBE Student Fellows Program, where the fellowships are jointly sponsored by GLOBE donors and the Center for Global Business Stewardship at Tobin where she serves as executive director.
Each year, up to four fellows get the opportunity to travel with Sama to someplace in the world where GLOBE operates or to a microfinance conference. Student members involved in GLOBE and undergraduates enrolled in Tobin are invited to apply for the Fellows program. Angela So, the Marketing and Fundraising team’s liaison in fall 2017, created, organized and successfully executed fundraising events that featured marketing awareness initiatives. The team worked with GLOBE’s Information Technology team to have marketing collateral like flyers and videos to be created so that they could advertise for the events. So explains that when she was a student manager of GLOBE, she learned a lot about microfinance and how it provides opportunities for people who are in conditions of poverty to improve their situations. “Microfinance relates itself to the famous pithy, where if you give a man a fish, he is fed for a day but if you teach him to fish, he is fed for his lifetime,” So said. “Microfinance allows for microloans to be given to people who have no credit, usually of developing countries, so that they can have a kick start fund to execute their business idea while still providing a sense of responsibility for them to hone in on.” Russell says that she hopes that the program can create “empathy” and “curiosity within others.” “I think these are such important, yet underestimated traits to have in the modern world. For the sake of making the world a better place, it is critical we are reminded of our capabilities,” she said. “There are not many opportunities where a student can manage a business, be enrolled in an accredited class, and also help the poor,” she added. “That is one of our biggest challenges as a Communications/IT team — it’s difficult to get people to understand, or even care, about the program. In the end, if we garner more support as an organization we could also fundraise more money and give out more loans.”
Boselli III Earns Conference Honor Roll Nod Sean Okula
The accolades keep rolling in for the big-bopping Johnny batting order. Last week, a new face found himself among the ranks of the Big East’s best. Senior Robert Boselli III was named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll on Monday, the first conference honor of the season for the catcher/designated hitter. The backstop caught fire over the weekend against Minnesota (18-10), going 5-for-11 with five RBI and three extra-base hits, blasting his first homer of the year in Thursday’s series opener. The veteran’s emergence in the heart of the order was a needed boost for a struggling Red Storm offense. The Johnnies (13-9) entered the weekend on a three-game win streak, despite averaging just 2.8 runs per game over their previous six matchups. Led by Boselli, the bats broke out in U.S. Bank Stadium, scoring 22 runs over the three-game set. Boselli’s blast powered the Johnnies to an 11-5 win on Thursday, but a ninth-inning meltdown on Friday and a fast Gopher start on Saturday propelled Minnesota to the series win. Boselli, who moved up to the cleanup spot for the weekend’s final two games, picked up the Red Storm’s 10th Big East weekly award. The Ventnor, New Jersey native is slashing .327/.400/.519 on the campaign, driving in 14 runs in the middle of the Johnny lineup. The senior has been splitting time behind the plate with junior Wyatt Mascarella over
Nick McCreven BASEBALL DROPS SERIES TO MINNESOTA The St. John’s baseball team headed out to Minneapolis for a three-game series against the University of Minnesota team at US Bank Stadium last week. In the first game, the Johnnies came out slugging, with three home runs coming from Jamie Galazin, Robert Boselli III and Wyatt Mascarella. They totaled 15 hits, with most of their runs coming in the first two innings. They won 11-5. In the following game, the Red Storm held an 8-4 lead heading into the ninth inning until Minnesota rallied and, off
PHOTO COURTESY/ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS
Robert Boselli III made the Big East Weekly Honor Roll after batting.454 this weekend.
the season’s first half. Coach Blankmeyer has inserted Boselli as his DH for three of the Johnnies’ last five contests. A .327 batting average has the Mercer County Community College migrant just outside the Big East’s top-10 batting leaders.
The Red Storm welcomes Saint Peter’s (017) to Jack Kaiser Stadium this week, before taking a trip to visit the Lions of Columbia (7-18). Conference play begins over the weekend, when the Johnnies pay a visit to Big East foe Villanova (5-14).
only two hits, scored five runs--including the walkoff run coming off of a balk called by the third base umpire. Three balks were called in the final half inning of the game after the first five Minnesota batters reached base. Minnesota won the game 9-8. In the final game of the series, Minnesota came on top 6-3 despite tallying two fewer hits than the Red Storm.
Providence’s three hat tricks from Sean Leahey, Ryan Nawrocki and Brendan Kearns. Providence goalie Tate Boyce came up big for the Friars with 10 saves, including a few highlights to keep his team ahead. Johnnies’ senior Jason DeBenedictis was held without a single goal for just the second time this year. Goalie Matt Hanley finished with nine saves, with four of them coming in the first quarter.
LACROSSE FALLS AT PROVIDENCE IN OPENER St. John’s lacrosse opened Big East conference play against Providence at Anderson Stadium on Saturday and lost14-8. Junior Declan Swartwood led St. John’s with three goals. Joe Madsen also added two goals but it wasn’t enough to overcome
TORCH PHOTO/MARIE BOGUE
The Red Storm Lacrosse team fell to Providence on Saturday, March 31.
SOFTBALL NOTCHES WIN OVER HOYAS St. John’s softball headed to Washington, D.C. for a three-game series with conference foe Georgetown. The first two games were held as a doubleheader on Thursday, with both teams grabbing a win. Georgetown reigned victorious in the first game, 9-5. The Red Storm only collected four hits. After walking in the first run, the Hoyas hit two grand slams, which brought them to their total of nine runs. St. John’s bounced back with a 12-3 win later in the day. Hannah Anderson, Laura Delgado and Krystal Puga all went for three hits. Freshman Jessi Bryant knocked a two run homerun in the fifth inning. The final game of the series was a low scoring affair, ending 3-2, with Marissa Rizzi hitting the decisive two-run homer in the sixth inning. Pitcher McKenzie Murray struck out four in five innings.
Looking Ahead •
April 4: Baseball at Columbia, 3:30 p.m.
April 4: Softball vs. Wagner, 2:30 p.m.
April 5: Men’s Tennis vs. Hofstra, 12:00 p.m.
April 6: Baseball at Villanova, 3:00 p.m.
April 6: Women’s Track at Hurricane Alumni Invitational (Coral Gables, Fla.), All Day
April 6: Women’s Tennis vs. Seton Hall, 12:00 p.m.
April 7: Women’s Track at Hurricane Alumni Invitational, All Day
April 7: Men’s Lacrosse vs. Marquette, 1:00 p.m.
April 7: Baseball at Villanova, 1:00 p.m.
April 7: Men’s Tennis vs. Temple, 12:00 p.m.
April 7: Softball at Villanova, 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m.
WOMEN'S TENNIS FALLS TO DEPAUL St. John’s women’s tennis lost on their home court for the first time in 17 matches Friday when they hosted DePaul and fell 4-3. In the opening match, Zofia Stanisz and Jessica Livianu nabbed a win in doubles 6-2 in the top court. DePaul won 6-3 in the No. 3 court and the decisive doubles point came down to the No. 2 court, where Olaya Inclan Solis and Irina Preotescu won a close 7-6 battle to give St. John’s the early 1-0 lead. Livianu won her match in the first set, bringing it to 2-0 Johnnies. DePaul then went for three wins in a row, getting the score to 3-2. After Preotescu kept St. John’s alive with a win, DePaul seized the decisive victory 6-3. MEN'S TENNIS EDGED BY YALE St. John’s men’s tennis set out for New Haven, Conn. on Saturday to take on the Yale Bulldogs. The team lost the match 4-3. The Johnnies captured the first victory in doubles, but Yale rallied with two straight wins until Andrei Crapcenko took down Yale’s Stefan Doehler. Both teams collected another point with wins in singles. The final match came down to Yale’s senior Ziqi Wang ousting Dusan Vukicevic to earn the victory. The Red Storm will take on Hofstra this Thursday at the St. John’s tennis courts.
Basketball: A Year In Photos
PHOTOS BY AMANDA NEGRETTI, NICK BELLO, GABRIELLA CAMPOS AND MARIE BOGUE
SPORTS April 4, 2018 | VOLUME 95, ISSUE 18
TORCH DESIGN/STEVEN VERDILE
TORCH PHOTOS/NICK BELLO
St. John's Stars Weigh Future Options Derrell Bouknight With college basketball having officially concluded Monday night with a 79-62 Villanova win over Michigan in the championship game, the a new season has begun, one headlined by uncertainty and questions surrounding the champion’s Big East rival. Coming off a 16-17 record and another campaign without postseason basketball, St. John’s finds itself in a familiar situation. The state of Red Storm basketball stands as one that lingers with excitement, but also one that will be hard to predict until key pieces make decisions that will potentially change the nature of the program. On March 24, sophomore guard Shamorie Ponds declared for the 2018 NBA Draft, but did not hire an agent. The last part is crucial in evaluating Ponds’ options for the future. In 2016, the NBA and NCAA implemented a new rule that would give players more freedom when deciding whether or not they wanted to return to school. Previously, the only option players had if they declared for the Draft was to not return to college. Now, if a player declares but does not hire an agent, he can work out in front of NBA scouts, get advice and decide on his own if he wants to pursue a career or return to school. If he hires an agent, there is no turning back. The NCAA will not allow for its players to have agents while simultaneously participating in athletic competition. The possibility
of distractions would be too high. He transferred from Tennessee after his Ponds, who was selected to the Big East freshman season and sat out for a year due to All-First Team and averaged over 21 points NCAA regulations. If Owens were to transper game, alluded to the possibility of re- fer again or return to St. John’s, he would be turning next season. immediately eligible as a graduate student. “My plan is to get as much NBA expePer Evan Daniels of 247Sports, Owens rience and knowledge as possible,” Ponds list of potential targets included Maryland, wrote on his Instagram page when he made Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Ole Miss, and the announcement. “In addition, I do not VCU. In recent days, there has been talk that want to close any doors. I’ll like to keep all there is mutual interest between Maryland my options open. Also, to get some proper and Owens, especially since it’s close to his evaluations on my game would be helpful to hometown of Odenton. me.” “Today we asked for According to Zach Tariq Owens’ release Braziller of the New to explore is options to York Post, Shawn be a graduate transfer,” Ponds noted that his In addition, I do not Owens’ father Renard son will still be enwant to close any tweeted. “This is not rolled in classes and doors. I’ll like to keep a personal decision. will continue to work all my options open. This is a business deout at St. John’s. He cision on what’s best went on to say that Tariq at this time. Shamorie Ponds for while declaring for I have nothing but love the Draft made senseand respect for the St. -something that was supported and backed John’s staff and basketball program.” by Head Coach Chris Mullin--signs point to Many around the program believe Ponds the star guard returning for at least another will return, while others believe Owens has season. played his last game in a St. John’s uniform. “At this point, I think he’ll be back,” he It was expected that he would move to the said. forward position to allow South Carolina Another player who was a key contribu- transfer Sedee Keita to start at center. Martor to the Red Storm this season was center vin Clark II would move to small forward Tariq Owens, who requested a release from while Justin Simon would occupy the backthe program in late march. court alongside Ponds. The 6’11” Maryland native will be a fifthMullin will inherit a talented group of year senior and will graduate from St. John’s recruits for the upcoming year. Three-star this May. Louisiana guard Greg Williams committed
St. John’s back in November. Forward Josh Roberts, a 6-foot-8 forward from powerhouse Montverde Academy in Florida, will add length and athleticism to an already dynamic roster. In early March, the Red Storm landed a commitment from Marcus Earlington, a 6-foot-5 forward from Don Bosco High School in New Jersey. Earlington, who also played football, is listed at 250 pounds and had football offers from schools that included Rutgers, Purdue, Louisville and Michigan State. Despite lacking height for a low-post player, Earlington makes up for it with his tenacity on the glass. For Mullin, many of the pieces he has recruited will hopefully add another element to a team that has struggled to put together a complete roster. Whether Owens returns or not, Keita and Clark provide a physical presence down low. Quinnipiac transfer Mikey Dixon will assume a role as a backup guard behind Ponds. Dixon won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Year before he transferred and will give the bench an instant spark with his scoring and ability to conduct the offense. But the season is seven months away. Much could happen between those months, with the possibility of more recruits joining Mullin’s team in an effort to make the postseason for the first time of his head coaching tenure. For now, fans will wait, as they have done for several years. Uncertainty will present itself at every turn. Hope is the only thing that won’t leave a fan base starving for success.