Fall '23 Issue No. 2

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Field Hockey coach Sharon Pfluger wins 650th game

Sharon Pfluger, the College’s field hockey coach, picked up her 650th all-time win last week. The win puts her on a list by herself, as she is the only Division III coach to ever reach that mark. Win 650 came on Sept 7, as the Lions were able to take down Juniata 7-1.

Pfluger, who graduated from the College in 1982, is a legend in the coaching space. Her storied career at the College has seen her lead both the field hockey and women’s lacrosse teams in their respective seasons. The culture that she set from day one has made it possible for the College to be in national contention virtually every year in both sports.

“This is about our players, past and present, who made this happen,” said Pfluger. “Our alumni and co-coaches are incredibly special to me. While they are always supporting me, I want them to feel that this is their honor, because it is.”

HOCKEY page 4

Concerns surrounding safety on the College’s campus

Every educational institution depends on its campus community as a whole — students, faculty, staff and those living in the surrounding area — to work collectively to prepare and respond to threatening situations.

With U.S. school shootings reaching a record high for the second year in a row, climate change leading to bigger and more powerful storms each year and a power outage affecting the north side of the College’s campus earlier this month, administration

New art installation offers a unique experience

The newest exhibition featured in the College’s art gallery is entitled “Off-Kilter, On Point: Art of the 1960s from the Permanent Collection.” The collection was organized by the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art at Colorado State University and will be displayed on the first floor of the Art and Interactive Multimedia Building in room 115 until Oct. 29.

The program was made possible, in part, by the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission through funding from the Mercer County Board of Chosen Commissioners and the New Jersey State Council of the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment of the Arts.

On opening day, Dr. Pamela Barnett, the dean of the College’s School of the Arts and Communication, led a discussion titled “Educating the Whole Person in the Academic Art Gallery.” She walked

folks through the themes and main works of the exhibition, in addition to sharing a brief history of her background and the importance of accessible art on a college campus — art such as “Off-Kilter.”

Off-kilter, as defined by Merriam-Webster, means “not in perfect balance, a bit askew.” The art in this collection may seem simple at first glance, but it is filled with abstract and out-ofthe-ordinary pieces that urge the viewer to look deeper and engage more. It is not enough to simply walk through without asking questions or contemplating what each piece could mean, and the beautiful thing is that there is no right answer.

One piece in the collection by Charles Hinman is titled “Cascade.” From a distance, it appears to be an odd-shaped white sculpture with yellow, blue and red sections. When the viewer gets closer and looks at it from different angles, the art changes since it is not completely flat.

has often needed to create more in-depth and comprehensive plans to keep ourselves and those around us safe.

After a threat was made in February by the Michigan State University gunman towards two nearby Ewing Public Schools, the College placed academic buildings on swipeaccess only during the morning of Feb. 14. The threat sparked concern across campus about the College’s preparedness with responding to an active shooter situation.

The Signal recently spoke with five faculty and staff

members at the College who all agreed they are unaware of any changes or new additions to the College’s safety protocols since that February threat.

“Have I noticed any changes? No, actually. None,” said Business Professor Martine Bertin-Peterson. “Nothing really has changed,” said Uli Speth, an adjunct music professor.

Lauren Madden, an elementary and early childhood education professor, said that if there were any changes that were announced by administration via email, there were “none that were compelling enough to force me to open it.”

Yellowjackets invade Travers Hall

On Aug. 24, the College welcomed the 1,573 members of the Class of 2027 to campus. As the first-year students moved in and began to acclimate themselves to the College, they participated in the numerous welcome week activities, sampled the food that campus has to offer and developed friendships with other students from all over the state.

However, Welcome Week and the days that followed were not without its challenges for new students. It was quickly discovered

that Travers Hall, which is home to a sizable portion of the freshmen class, was also home to some unwelcome guests.

Travers was hosting a nest of yellowjackets, specifically on the high side of the building.

Freshman English major Ava Pellegrino and undeclared arts and communications major Hope McHugh live on the fifth floor of Travers Hall, and they have been dealing with the yellowjackets before they had even began living on campus.

“We first noticed it when we were moving our stuff in,” McHugh said. “We had found four dead ones.”


Vol. LIII, No. 2 Serving The College of New Jersey since 1885 September 22, 2023 Follow us on The Signal @tcnjsignal
The Signal
Check out our website for these stories, campus news, sports, student opinions and more!
Findings of yellow jackets in Travers Hall have been an extreme concern for freshmen. The College is currently developing a safety training program after administration received requests for training. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Gladstone / Multimedia Coordinator Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone / Multimedia Coordinator
see SAFETY page 2 see GALLERY page 13

YELLOWJACKETS / outbreak in Travers

Continued from page 1

McHugh went on to tell The Signal that in the days that would follow, they would find anywhere from three to five yellowjackets a day in their room. She believes that they keep entering from a faulty seal on their windows.

Between the roommates, they had put in four work orders combined. Pellegrino tried to call someone in an attempt for someone to come fix the problem, to little avail.

At about 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 31, residents of Travers Hall received a text alert from the department of Residential Education and Housing, which read: “Due to the need to address a yellowjacket nest on the exterior of the building, we need students on the high side of the building to close their windows fully by 7 am tomorrow, Friday 9/1.”

The typical form of treatment for exterminating yellowjackets and wasps of that nature is using an aerosol spray that has a large range, to allow for safe extermination. Extermination processes can be handled by an exterminator, or DIY-ed, according to Forbes.com.

The next day, at around 1 p.m., the residents were alerted that the College had “completed treatment of

the area, but recommends students on the high side keep their windows closed until 3 p.m. to avoid contact with any yellowjackets that attempt to return to the area.”

The results of the treatment proved to be a mixed bag. Some residents were satisfied with the results of the treatment, and others believe the issue has only gotten worse.

McHugh and Pellegrino agree that the condition of their room has suffered even more than in the days before the treatment. They are still facing problems posed by the wasps.

“Wasps were very few and far between until the Friday before Labor Day,” Pellegrino told us. “The situation got much worse after they had supposedly been dealt with.”

“After the treatment, we had 11 yellowjackets come into our room in about 10 hours,” McHugh said.

Pellegrino, McHugh and several other students living in the building have since moved into a temporary dorm arrangement until the situation in their original room assignment calms down. It is currently unclear to residents if the housing department will take any further action.

Bernstein’s benefits

This year the College will pay $400,500 to Former President Foster in addition to $400,000 in compensation for Interim President Bernstein, according to the employment contracts of the two leaders.

Bernstein’s contract states that the College will pay for up to two round-trip flights to San Diego, where his family resides, per month, including “coach airfare and ground transportation.”

The College also provided a home both for Foster and Bernstein to live in and paid for housekeeping services, utilities, cable television and internet.

Other benefits include a 2023 Honda Accord that the College has purchased for Bernstein. He can use the vehicle for both professional and personal use, and the College pays for travel expenses, such as gasoline.

All of these expenses come at a time of financial uncertainty for the College, as the administration seeks to boost revenue and pay back debt. For the full story, check out our website!

College to install 38 electric vehicle charging stations

The Environmental Sustainability Council met on Sept. 6 and discussed many plans to make the College’s council more sustainable. The council is charging toward a cleaner campus with the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

According to the senior director of sustainability and energy management, Paul Romano, the overall plan is to simultaneously charge 38 vehicles. This could be done with 14 Direct Current fast chargers (a.k.a Level II) and these are all dual port. If the budget allows, they would also like for the current chargers to be replaced, allowing campus to have 38 EV charging stations.

“We anticipate the college would make an initial investment of $750,000 to be matched by roughly an equivalent sum associated with grants from NJDEP, NJBPU and PSE&G. This initial investment I would propose would be recovered within five years so that we may continue to finance the expansion of our capacity to accommodate future demand,” said Romano.

Once these charging stations are put into place, they will be accessible to students, faculty and anyone that visits the campus. Romano mentioned that this is an obligation

that comes with the grant funding has been awarded to the campus.

There have previously been issues with availability on the charging stations, which is why it is great that this issue is being resolved.

“Before this term, 95% of my charging was on campus, about 10 hours per week. This term 0%. There are rarely free chargers at 9 am,” said associate professor of electrical and computer Engineering, Larry Pearlstein.

Pearlstein claims that one of the chargers on campus is broken as well. This creates even less availability for charging on campus.

“At least one now seems to be broken, and another few of them are flakey, but do ultimately deliver a charge. These are old, first generation chargers. I would expect newer models to be completely reliable,” said Pearlstein.

According to Romano, a Level II charger would take about six to eight hours to charge, opposed to the Level III chargers that take about 30 minutes depending on the type of electric vehicle.

Users of these charging stations should keep in mind that even though charging on campus is currently free, there might be user fees with the new systems. It is not set in stone yet but the ultimate goal is for

the system to be self-sustaining.

“Again, the policy has yet to be established but the goal is for the system to be financially self-sustaining. We will be discussing the policy at future Environmental Sustainability Council meetings and I would encourage all interested parties to attend,” said Romano.

If anyone is an owner of an electric vehicle, Larry Pearlstein has a Google Group named TEVUG for the College’s EV users. This group is open to anyone with an interest in electric vehicles. If a student is interested in joining Pearlstein’s group, please email pearlstl@tcnj.

Overall, these brand new charging stations will be a great addition to the campus and might even encourage some gas users to switch over to electric.

“I believe such charging stations will provide numerous benefits, including reducing emissions (Scope I, II, and III), encouraging community members to use electric vehicles, reducing operating costs for our fleet vehicles, and demonstrating our values to sustainability to not only our own community but the neighboring community as well,” Romano said.

page 2 The Signal September 22, 2023
The College attempted to treat the infestitation, but the results were mixed. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Gladstone / Multimedia Coordinator edu. Photo courtesy of Shane Gillespie / Photo Editor The charging stations will be accessible to students, faculty and campus visitors.

Continued from page 1

Last month, a science professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill was shot and killed by a graduate student while working in his classroom.

Madden stated that she was concerned about the nature of the shooting at UNC, particularly the possibility that something similar could happen at any school — even here at the College.

“That wasn’t a mass shooting, so sadly in America, we tend to turn our heads the other way when it’s just one person,” she said. “Are there times I’m alone in a classroom or lab by myself? Yeah I sure am, and I know a lot of my colleagues are too.”

Karen Dubrule, the program assistant for the department of sociology and anthropology, shared a similar concern as Madden regarding the potential for targeted attacks towards faculty.

“I am on the Dean’s floor,” Dubrule said. “If someone had a grievance, it might be more likely that they might come here.”

Despite the risks of acts of violence, all of the faculty that The Signal spoke with said they feel safe on campus overall. Kellie McKinney, an adjunct professor of mathematics, said she doesn’t feel any more or less safe on campus than if she were somewhere like a concert or sports game.

However, many faculty outlined what they feel are discrepancies within the safety plans and protocols currently in place at the College. One of the most common concerns is a lack of communication between administration and the campus community.

For example, on Sept. 4, the north side of campus experienced a power outage at 12:15 p.m., according to Paul Romano, the senior director of sustainability and energy management. He stated there was no emergency alert sent out to the campus about the power outage, which affected Armstrong Hall, the Chemistry, Physics and Math Buildings, Bliss Hall and Bliss Hall Annex, Trenton Hall, the Art and IMM Building, the Music Building, Kendall Hall and the

violence, extreme weather and power outages

that night.” Blanton acknowledged that administration “could have done a better job” addressing the weather situation during Hurricane Ida. She stated that one of the reasons why the administration’s response fell short was because it was difficult for them to know where students were on campus.

“They may have been in an academic building, some of them could have went to the student center, but we really didn’t know for sure,” Blanton said.

scenarios like an active shooter, tornado or flood. He thought it would also be valuable to include things that go beyond that, such as what to do if a student were to pass out while in his class, which he said happened to him once in the past.

Blanton said the College is currently in the process of developing a safety training program — which is on track to be implemented later this fall or winter — after administration received requests from both students and faculty for mandatory training.

Gitenstein Library.

None of the faculty that The Signal spoke with were aware that the campus power outage occurred.

In an interview with The Signal, Vice President of Operations Sharon Blanton said the reason no alert was sent out to the campus community about the outage was because PSE&G, the electricity provider, indicated to administration that power would be restored immediately. The outage ended up lasting about 30 minutes.

However, when the College has experienced power outages in the past, an emergency alert has been sent out, even if it was after power had already been restored. For example, on Feb. 28, a TCNJ Emergency Alert was sent out stating: “Campus experienced a power outage this AM. Power has been restored and systems are being reset in anticipation of resuming normal operations.”

Extreme weather has also been a growing safety concern in our area. Just over two years ago, the remnants of Hurricane Ida swept through New Jersey, leading to flash flooding across campus and tornado warnings throughout much of the region on Sept. 1, 2021. Some of the faculty that The Signal spoke with recounted their experiences that night, describing the College’s administration as being “unprepared” to communicate safety concerns during the storm.

“When there were tornadoes all around us and no warnings went out… I called the campus police and said, ‘What should I do? Should I cancel the class?’ And they just told me to watch the [College’s] website,” said Uli Speth, an adjunct music professor. “Nothing happened on the website.”

Dubrule shared the story of Hilary Symes, a brand new adjunct professor who was teaching her very first class the night of Hurricane Ida. According to Dubrule, Symes spent her class time sheltered in the basement with her students.

“I feel like she should never have been put in that situation,” Dubrule said. “They should have made a call earlier and realized that safety was more important than starting class

The College is currently working to obtain grants to purchase a new advanced weather warning system that would allow for an upgraded method of alerting the campus about dangerous weather events, according to Associate Director of Campus Police Services Chris Nitti.

Daniel Posluszny, the College’s emergency preparedness and fire safety manager, stated that since the fall of 2021, administration has also revised its inclement weather policy, which can be found on the College’s website.

Blanton described the College’s emergency operations plans as “extensive” and admitted that because of the length of the plans, “a faculty member would not necessarily avail themselves of that document and read it.”

She said that the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is tasked with managing and communicating specific information to faculty, staff and students on a situational basis. Madden, however, stated that she does not feel as though administration has been forthcoming and concise with sharing emergency information with the campus community.

“I have no information about what would happen if a hurricane hit tomorrow, or if there was an active shooter or anything like that. I have no idea what the plan is,” Madden said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no plan, but it has not been communicated to faculty in a way that’s been clear.”

Another shortfall in the College’s safety preparedness, according to faculty The Signal spoke with, is a lack of mandatory safety training.

Dubrule acknowledged that all faculty and staff must complete Title IX and Responsible Employee training. “It seems like a basic safety training would be required of all staff too,” she said.

“When a new employee arrives, they have a background screening, and everybody has to do a mandatory training about harassment, et. cetera,” said Speth. “As far as safety goes, there’s just nothing.”

Speth suggested that mandatory safety training could involve a module or a series of videos that outline what to do during various

Campus Police also holds customized on-location training for departments by request. These trainings include building-specific information and step-by-step instructions for the requesting department on what to do in various emergency scenarios.

“We go to the location where we’re requested beforehand, before we meet, so we actually have answers for all the questions that are posed during the training,” Nitti said.

Many faculty members shared ideas with The Signal as to what they thought administration and Campus Police could add or implement in the future to better prepare for emergency scenarios.

Madden said she believed it would be helpful to faculty to know what a potential evacuation or exit plan is in the case of an impending severe weather threat like a snow storm or hurricane. She also believed that residential students would find it valuable to know what the emergency housing plan is.

McKinney suggested developing a way for administration to recognize where there are shortfalls in the general understanding among students and faculty of the College’s safety plans.

“It would be really neat for us to get some type of assessment to see actually, how prepared do our students feel? How prepared do our faculty feel?” she said. With that data, for example, administration could determine whether students feel well prepared in dealing with active shooters but not when it comes to extreme weather, or vice versa. Afterwards, they could develop steps to address gaps in understanding where they exist.

Overall, faculty largely agreed that despite the advancements that administration has made to the College’s safety plans, communicating these changes to the campus community could use some improvement in order to keep students and staff safe and knowledgeable on what to do in the event of an emergency.

“It’s better to over communicate than under communicate,” Dubrule said. “If it doesn’t pertain to us, it’s an easy delete on our email.”

September 22, 2023 The Signal page 3
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There have been growing concerns about safety preparedness. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Gladstone / Multimedia Coordinator

Towers residents seek medical attention from overheating

A number of on-campus residents sought medical attention last week after being impacted by high temperatures in dorms. With temperatures consistently in the high 80s and low 90s, on-campus students have little relief from their hot dorms.

Rachel Scheff, a freshman fine arts major, lives on the fifth floor of Travers Hall and was one of those students that was sent to a hospital due to overheating on Sept. 8.

“I haven’t been able to sleep in this heat,” Scheff told The Signal. “I have five fans going with the windows open. Some people have been freezing paper towels.” Scheff also mentioned that she missed class due to a lack of sleep.

Scheff’s friends called Campus Police after they noticed that she was acting differently than she normally would and was sweating heavily. At one point Scheff passed out.

“I just had to lay down on the floor,” Scheff said. “My friend who went through the same thing the day before was putting ice packs on me.”

Scheff had difficulty comprehending and answering questions when Campus Police arrived. Lions EMS also arrived at the scene and Scheff was sent to Capital Health Regional Medical Center where she was told she was experiencing heat exhaustion.

“I was so focused on how hot I was, that I wasn’t drinking [water],” Scheff mentioned. “[The doctors] were worried about kidney and liver failure from heat exhaustion.”

While at the hospital, Scheff and her friends that were visiting noticed other students from the College visiting another student who experienced heat exhaustion.

“We typically have a heat wave at the start of the semester,” Holly Heller, interim director of Student Health Services, said in an email. “Most everyone weathered the event just fine, but we did have three reports of students seeking medical care.”

While the start of the fall semester is usually hot in on-campus dorms, this summer was the hottest on record, and as climate change continues, the issue will only get worse. Heat can be detrimental to a person’s health, according to the World Health Organization, and can lead to illnesses such as heatstroke, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and hyperthermia. Some studies indicate that heat can affect a person’s physiology from stress levels to attention spans and response times.

“ResEd and Housing monitors weather forecasts as much as possible to identify when heat waves may occur,” said Tina Tormey, the director of Residential Education and Housing at the College. “We can send out messaging that helps students learn how to moderate temperatures in the residence halls and seek relief.”

Tormey’s office sent out notifications to students prior to last week’s heat wave giving them tips to keep cool including putting bed sheets in freezers, staying hydrated and wearing light colored clothes. Students were also informed to bring a fan in the fall 2023 guide to moving in. Other institutions across the coun-

try are facing similar challenges of high room temperatures. The Diamondback, the student newspaper of the University of Maryland, placed heat sensors in dorms in 2019 and found that the average heat index was never below 80 degrees. Both Boston University and Northeastern University faced brutal temperatures in their dorms. Tormey pointed out that other east coast universities like Harvard, Yale and Rutgers all do not have air conditioning in their dorms.

An interdisciplinary group of faculty and students at the College began a project last fall in order to explore heat islands in Mercer County and Trenton specifically. Part of that project, led by Dr. Nathan Magee, chair of the physics department, and his students, entailed placing sensors and flying weather balloons with infrared cameras around Ewing and Trenton.

“One of the things that actu-

ally surprised us was that things that are red colored like bricks and shingles actually absorb as much heat as black materials,” Magee said. “I would guess that the rooms facing south are worse too”

Regardless of where the dorm is in the building, students have very few opportunities to keep cool in their rooms. Even with freshmen being the largest population that reside in on-campus housing, they have no access to air conditioned dorm rooms without accommodations. Some dorms do have air conditioned common areas; however, students can not escape the heat at night.

“I think the College should think about how, especially with the changing climate, it is going to be more common that we will have a week or two in September or May where it is absolutely brutal in spaces without air conditioning,” said Magee. “The College should not ignore it for sure.”

Students with overdue tuition charges unenrolled from courses

Students with outstanding financial obligations were removed from PAWS, Canvas and the College’s e-mailing services on Sep. 7.

Students who had difficulties paying their most recent tuition bill were unenrolled from their courses, leaving them unable to access their coursework, grades and other necessary student information. This caused many students to fall behind in the completion of their academic responsibilities.

“I looked on Canvas and PAWS, and all my classes were gone,” said sophomore kinesiology major Rachel Rosen. “I was told that I received an email about me being unenrolled from my classes, but I didn’t see it. We get a ton of emails from TCNJ and it’s hard to go through all of them.”

This has also caused issues for professors across all departments, who were not made aware of these students’ situations.

“As we are required to submit class audits by Sep. 15, the erasure causes an attendance problem as we don’t know if these students are still attending class or if they have dropped the class,” said Martine Bertin-Peterson, professor of management and marketing.

To work around this conflict, professors have had to communicate with students through their personal Google mail accounts and other unorthodox methods.

“When a student withdraws from a class, they still appear on PAWS with a note that they have withdrawn,” said Bertin-Peterson. “These students have simply disappeared. One of my students indicated today that it might take several days for the account to clear.”

Students who were removed from all of the College’s applications had their entire PAWS and Canvas accounts cleared. Because this occurred on Thursday, Sep. 7 and many students were not aware of the deactivation until the following day, they were unable to contact the Office of Student Accounts and resolve the issue until the following Monday.

“Honestly, this was such an anxiety-inducing experience as a freshman,” said freshman undecided major Kelly Buquicchio.

These individuals received warning emails urging them to pay their tuition bills before they lost access to PAWS and Canvas. Once they were officially unenrolled from the College, students received an email stating that The Office of Student Accounts had completed a final review of all student accounts and they had been deregistered from their fall

semester courses.

“I wish that [the College] made more of an effort to make contact with me before they unenrolled me,” Buquicchio said. “Yes, they sent emails, but I feel as though a phone call or notification through Canvas would have been a more effective form of communication.”

On Wednesday, Sep. 13, Rosen brought this issue to the attention of the Student Government. She is hoping to create a resolution to change the way the College handles outstanding financial obligations moving forward.

“If they’re going to have this system, TCNJ should be able to give a student their classes back immediately,” Rosen said.

At the time of publication, administration has not responded for comment.

For the full story, check out our website!

page 4 The Signal September 22, 2023
While the start of the fall semester is usually hot in on-campus dorms, this summer was the hottest on record. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Gladstone


New year, major changes for The Signal

had computers that could no longer work with InDesign, the software now used to create print issues. They were a security risk, so the staff decided last semester to relocate to a new office.

In preparation for the move, the staff had to remove almost everything from the Forcina office, relocating all of them to the new Signal office in AIMM 227, which used to be a bookmaking room.

summer. The printers have been tried through multiple practice runs and are all ready to be used this year.

“I’m really happy that The Signal is back in print on top of its excellent website. It is an essential part of our campus community,” said Emilie Lounsberry, The Signal’s faculty advisor.

lot of people don’t follow our social media account, so having paper in their face is a great way to get our message out.”

As the fall semester begins, The Signal is up and running again. This year, for the first time since March 2020, the staff is able to print issues and distribute them all over campus.

When the Covid-19 pandemic first started three years ago, The Signal was no longer able to print physical papers and had to make their publications exclusively online.

Since then, the staff worked in an office in Forcina Hall, which

Over the summer of 2023, The Signal’s staff worked with an interior designer who helped them pick out new furniture and paint a new color scheme for the room. The interior designer also helped them remove excess cabinets around the room to provide more space for computer work.

With the help of the Student Finance Board (SFB), The Signal also ordered four new computers, all of which have InDesign subscriptions, meaning that The Signal can finally return to printed editions. These computers, along with new televisions and a new printer, were installed over the

Last semester, The Signal’s staff worked with a publishing company called School Publishing Company to create an efficient printing system. Since The Signal has not been printed since the spring of 2020, none of the current staff has ever printed with it. Thus, the head staff self-trained themselves in properly using InDesign and printing physical copies of issues as soon as the computers were installed.

“It’s definitely a lot of work now, and it’s going to be a lot of work,” said Mike Sherr, the editor-in-chief of The Signal and a senior political science major. “I think it was kind of needed to get our name back out on campus. A

With the plans for printing underway, The Signal has created a schedule to print new issues every other Wednesday and have it on the racks across campus by Friday morning. The next print edition will be out by Sept. 22.

“This semester, The Signal will be able to provide much greater quality in media to campus,” said Tori Gladstone, One of the managing editors of The Signal and a senior English secondary education major. “Me and the staff feel very excited and prepared for the semester knowing that we have the tools we need to succeed.

This is a major moment of progress for The Signal. Now that printed issues can be distributed across campus, more students at the College will be aware of The Signal, and it will hopefully garner more support. As this new semester opens up, The Signal’s future is looking bright!

Recent graduates speak out on post-graduation depression

Mathematics graduate Billy Calabrese faced similar experiences since leaving the College. He was not surprised to hear that other members of his graduating class were facing sadness after leaving their college career behind.

“I think everyone’s in the same boat as far as there’s a lot of uncertainty for the future, and you’ll have to do stuff on your own,” Calabrese said. “It’s a weird transition.”

Jacob, Calabrese, and business management major Daniel Webster, both recognized the same things they missed most about the College: sociability and freedom.

To the three boys, the lifestyle switch was a drastic change. They have all gone in different directions. Calabrese is settling into a full time actuary position from an internship he acquired at the College, Webster is working as a contract specialist and Jacob is working in media production services for St. Luke’s Hospital.

It has only been roughly four months since the three graduated and started working, but from the sound of it, they are in the thick of their post-grad slump. With a new semester beginning again at the College, an added fear of missing out deepens their symptoms.

The students here have given our institution a great reputation across many spectrums: educational, social and fundamental. We work hard and play harder. But once students graduate, where does this enthusiasm go?

For a lot of students, it remains in the walls of this campus. One might call this “post-graduation depression.” Technically, it is not a medically diagnosed disorder, but refers to a depressive episode of loneliness and recession that students face after

graduating. Graduates may find that their time at their institution is up, and they have left their motivation with it.

The Signal interviewed three students from the College’s class of 2023 about their thoughts on this phenomenon and if they have found truth in it.

“I think we definitely saw it coming, we knew we would be sad when we left,” said Chris Jacob, a communications alum. “I would talk about [leaving], but it wasn’t a real thing to me yet. It was like ‘yeah, it’ll happen,’ but it wasn’t real. Now here we are and it is pretty sad.”

Both Jacob and Webster were members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity on campus, and all three graduates lived nearby the College in Campus Town apartments. In their opinions, these social aspects of their college experiences contributed most to their losses.

“What do I miss the most? Oh, probably seeing my friends everyday, and you know, not having to work 40 hours a week.” Calabrese said. “My social contact has been a lot, but it’s nowhere near as social as college.”

Webster expressed similar feelings of a lack of socialization.

“I miss being around all my friends all the time,” Webster said. “I get bored now.”

“It didn’t hit me until recently, probably August when I started seeing everyone go back,” Jacob said. “You go to school for 17-18 years, from September to June each year. It’s like you know in your head September, October, [and] so forth are school months; that’s how it’s wired in your head. Now, since graduating, when those months come around, it’s like ‘what the hell do I do now? It’s what everyone else is doing.”

Even with the cloudy skies they face currently, Calabrese, Jacob and Webster found some light in their situation. With a focus on the future ahead of them, they will get over their post-graduation depression, as long as they do not hang onto the past.

September 22, 2023 The Signal page 5
Many graduates lose motivation to fulfill their goals when they finish college. The Signal staff hard at work. Photo courtesy of Shane Gillespie Photo courtesy of Shane Gillespie

Get to know Interim President Bernstein

Michael Bernstein was going to be a doctor.

Bernstein’s father was a physician, and the pair thought that the doctor’s son might practice with him and become his protege. That did not happen, and Bernstein is now settling into his role of interim president at the College. How did he get here?

The Signal sat down for an hour-long interview with Bernstein to learn more about him and his visions for the College. In the absence of a permanent president, Bernstein’s role will be to help set the College up for future success in this transitory period.

Bernstein was born on the Lower East Side in New York City and grew up on Long Island as his father started a medical practice. After graduating high school in Connecticut, he began college at Yale University and considered following in his father’s footsteps in medicine.

Bernstein soon realized that was not the path he wanted to take.

“I took all sorts of courses, but I started taking pre-med courses and it just wasn’t clicking for me,” Bernstein said. “My father was very supportive with that; he never expressed any disappointment.”

Bernstein’s course exploration eventually led him to an introductory economics course.

“[In] my first course in economics, I was infuriated,” Bernstein said. “One, because none of it made any sense to me, and two, because I didn’t do very well. I ended up majoring in economics because I just kept coming back for more. It really captivated me.”

As Bernstein’s undergraduate career was ending, he encountered a common uncertainty many students face: his plans for after graduation. After talking to an advisor about law school, public policy school or just entering the workforce, Bernstein’s mentor told him that he should go to graduate school for economics.

“I hadn’t really thought about it,” Bernstein admitted. “I started thinking about it and investigating programs, and here we are.”

During a brief tenure as a staff economist forecasting energy demand for the U.S. Department of Energy, Bernstein realized that government work was also not for him. He returned to graduate school and instead pursued a teaching career.

After graduating with a doctorate in economics in 1982, Bernstein started his first teaching position as an assistant professor of history and an associated faculty member for economics at Princeton University.

After being used to the colder weather of the northeast, he instantly fell in love with San Diego, thinking, “Why wasn’t I informed? This is beautiful!” Bernstein moved there in 1987 and be-

came an assistant professor of history at the University of California, San Diego, where he met his wife, who worked as a budget officer.

“Much of what I know about college and university finances and budgeting, I learned from her,” Bernstein joked.

The couple has two daughters that live in Los Angeles.

Bernstein joined Tulane University in 2007 as vice president of academic affairs and provost to aid in the rebuilding effort after Hurricane Katrina. He returned to Long Island in 2016 to act as provost and later interim president of Stony Brook University.

After his tenure ended at Stony Brook, he returned to San Diego with his family. It was earlier this year when he heard about the opening of an interim presidency at the College.

“I knew a bit about the institution [and had] a very high regard for the institution,” Bernstein explained. “Suddenly here was this voice on the phone talking with me about a possibility of an interim presidency at TCNJ.”

As Bernstein learned more about the College’s needs–the College is notably facing much uncertainty related to its finances–he realized that his skills and experience would be a good fit for the institution.

He now spends his days meeting with different members of the campus community and is currently on a “listening tour” to learn about the needs of students, faculty and staff, and other

community members.

“One of the very satisfying things about working in a job like this is that if someone comes to you with a problem, you can work to solve it,” Bernstein said.

When asked what advice he would give to undergraduates, Bernstein reflected on his own journey and simply encouraged students to pursue what they like.

“I get distressed when I see a student who’s majoring in something that clearly they don’t like and their record shows it,” Bernstein said, adding, “Whatever makes you passionate, that’s what you need to do. The rest will take care of itself.”

The job of a college president can sometimes be difficult, overwhelming and full of long meetings, but Bernstein said that the students of the College keep him grounded.

“When I’m having a really bad day, or I’m really frustrated, or I’m unhappy, or I’m upset, [I] just take a walk on the campus and watch all of you,” Bernstein said. “[And I’m] reminded, ‘Oh yeah. That’s why we’re here and everything’s going pretty well.”

Even though Bernstein did not grow up to be a physician like his father, he still identified an area that he was passionate about and pursued it, leading him–after an already-successful career–to his new office in Green Hall.

Alumni adventures: Biking across America

Post-graduation life looks different for everyone. Some may take some time off until their next endeavor, others may jump directly into the next phase of their life, whether that may be graduate school or a job. Many, however, cannot say that they will be taking a trip across America on a bicycle.

For ‘23 alumni of the College, Mark Koerner and Matthew Smith, that is exactly what they set out to do.

Beginning their journey in Yorktown, Virginia and finishing 4,200 miles later in Historia, Oregon, they will travel through the TransAmerica Bike Trail on a journey that they determine will take them about two months to complete.

Koerner explained in an interview that he wanted to do something special after graduating and credited the idea of the trip to Smith.

“Graduating for me was a big deal,” Koerner shared. “I never thought it’d happen.”

Post-graduation life can be a difficult time, as it is the time when many go out into the real world, no longer comforted by the shelter and structure that college provides.

“Matt and I are kind of in the

same boat where we don’t exactly know what we want to do with our lives,” Koerner explained. “This trip isn’t something that’s supposed to give us a clear answer, but it is meant to bridge the gap between graduation and life after, and this may not be the right trip to take, but we’re going to make the most of it, and it’ll be a trip to remember.”

All the more, the adventurous alumni are not embarking on this trip just for a riveting story to tell future generations; they are raising money for the nonprofit organization Oceans Harbor House.

Koerner explained that the Ocean County-based organization provides shelter for troubled youth and assists them in getting back on their feet, with the goal of giving them a better future.

“I think the fundraiser is very fitting because my dad used to work for the Harbor House and used to do charity bike rides for the Harbor House,” Koerner said. “It’s kinda cool because it comes full circle, now we get to do the bike ride except it’s across the country. It feels like something my dad has passed down to me.”

Despite the extreme hardships they’ve faced, the journey has been rewarding in other ways and has taught Koerner and Smith many les-


“Seeing how much people, total strangers, are willing to go out of their way to help you is really amazing,” Koerner and Smith agreed. “We wouldn’t have gotten this far if it wasn’t for the people that helped us.”

Not only did they meet people with hearts of gold, but they also learned to appreciate things in their own lives that they may have previously taken for granted.

“The trip has been very humbling because you take it day-by-day, so really just getting the necessities you need like a warm bed, shower, or place to stay,” Koerner said. “It always feels so good to get those

things, and it humbles you and makes you think about the things in your regular life you take for granted.”

“My biggest advice is to prepare ahead of time, do your research, do your homework and also be prepared for things to not go your way,” Smith advised. “Have a plan B, plan C, have a backup, so you know how to handle that situation,”

Although Koerner and Smith still have a long way to go in their trek across the country, they remain positive and will admirably keep moving forward despite the difficulties, making this a memorable experience that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

page 6 The Signal September 22, 2023
Matthew Smith and Mark Koerner in Yorktown, Virginia at the beginning of their trip through the TransAmerica bike trail. Photo courtesy of @mattandmarkcrossamerica on Instagram

Opinions France continues to restrict women’s rights with abaya ban

France recently declared a ban on long robes in state schools. While this announcement may seem inconspicuous, the ban is a continuation of France curtailing Muslim women’s rights while secularizing the country.

Gabriel Attal, France’s education minister, specifically stated that abayas, long, loose dresses often worn by Muslim women, and kameez, the male equivalent, were no longer allowed in schools, according to AP. According to Attal, these pieces of clothing are in violation of France’s 2004 ban against religious symbols in public schools.

“Our schools are continually put under test, and over the past months, breaches to laicite [secularism] have increased considerably, in particular with (pupils) wearing religious attire like abayas and kameez,” Attal said.

While the 2004 ban included all religious symbols, including Jew-

ish kippahs, Christian crosses, Muslim headscarves or Sikh turbans, France has been increasingly targeting Muslim women’s clothing such as through the niqab (full-face veil) ban in 2018 or burkini ban in 2022.

The history of France’s secularism goes back to the 19th century when the French government was trying to separate itself from the Catholic church; the struggle eventually led to the idea of laicite. Through laicite, France contested that it would be free from religious influence. This concept has since been weaponized, however, to target religious minorities, specifically Muslims.

Since the influx of North African immigrants post decolonization in the 1960s, France saw an increase in French-born Muslims, starting conversations among French politicians on whether headscarves should be allowed in public schools. More recently, however, due to terrorist attacks by extremists, France has increased their limitations on

Muslims expressing their religion, trying to use terrorism to excuse their Islamophobia.

Regardless of the intentions behind restricting religious expression, which is a human rights violation, it is unacceptable for France to target Muslims, specifically Muslim women. There are numerous consequences these bans have: for example, a Stanford study found that after the 2004 hijab ban, school-aged Muslim girls reported experiencing more discrimination in schools and took longer to complete secondary education as compared to non-Muslims. This abaya ban will further stigmatize Muslim girls, going against Attal’s claim that “purpose of schools is to welcome all students, with the same rights and duties, without discrimination or stigmatization.”

In addition to these consequences, the actual basis of this law is incredibly shaky. For one, the abaya is not even a religious article of clothing - it’s cultural. The fact that France still chooses to restrict it

demonstrates how little the French government knows about Islam and just wants to persecute Muslims based on stereotypes.

The French ban also does not clearly define what an abaya is considered to be. In Lyon, France, a girl was sent home for wearing a kimono, a traditional Japanese garment. Without clear guidelines of what constitutes an abaya according to the ban, it is only a matter of time before dresses or long skirts could also be prohibited in schools, limiting a woman’s right to choose to dress as she pleases.

For a country that was quick to condemn the actions of morality police in Iran, France’s legislation is emblematic of a similar trend: men acting as if they have the right and authority to dictate what a woman, especially a Muslim woman, wears. At the end of the day, French politicians will have to ask themselves, do they really care about women’s rights or are they just keen on censuring Muslims whenever they have the chance?

why I’m leaving ‘That 70’s Show’ behind

Last week, as news broke of Danny Masterson’s 30-to-life sentence for two rape convictions, I started to reflect on a show that I once loved.

Like many ‘90s and 2000s kids, I watched ‘That 70’s Show’ as an adolescent and teen. I was already a young feminist, and I loved the show despite its casual misogyny, mostly in the form of the teenage boys acting like creeps. The male characters do classic 90’s teenage boys-will-be-boys dirt — snooping in underwear drawers, peeping in windows at women undressing, and feeding their crush drinks to help their chances with her. Despite all this, I still loved the characters. It was like each one was a different side of myself. Eric was the nerdy, nervous part who had not grown into himself yet. Jackie was the self-absorbed pretty girl who did not care if she was a bitch. Kelso was the dumb, goofy

and inappropriate part. Donna was the girl next door, the feminist and the idealogue. Fez was the part that did not quite belong; who was always there, but was less wanted than the others. Hyde was the cool, anti-establishment part and also the messy,bdamaged part.

To me, Kelso and Fez were the kind of guys that were always desperate for sex and blind to any real humanity on the part of the women they pined for. Kelso grabs women’s butts and kisses them out of nowhere. In one episode, Fez suggests that Kelso set up his girlfriend, Angie, to be raped, saying Kelso should have sex with Angie in a dark room, only to leave halfway through and let Fez “finish the job.” For some reason, Hyde was different; he was not that. He was not perfect. Hyde still made some of the same jokes about women. He had no problem casually calling even his friend Donna a w****, but unlike Kelso and Fez, Hyde was almost never the one acting on the boys’ misogynistic attitudes. He

did not need to resort to drunkenness or shame to get a girl’s attention, and he did not want to either. He had common sense, smarts and some level of kindness. He is the only one to remember Eric’s mother’s birthday. He bonds with a girl he likes over his knowledge and love of Malcolm X. He takes Jackie to prom when Kelso ditches her. He takes the fall for the friends’ many blunders, like smashing a TV or getting caught with drugs. And that is why it hurts so much. In this storm of sexism, objectification and patriarchy, Hyde was actually a good person. Aside from raucous pranks and general nihilism, Hyde was the best of the teens on the show.

I have probably watched ‘That 70’s Show’ five or more times, but I will not be watching it again, or its recent 90’s spinoff. It is just too much. There was never anything progressive about it. Any sexual liberation in the show is wholly on the part of the men. ‘That 70’s Show’ paints a similar rape-culture-enforcing picture that many others do. Women do not really mean it when they say no, getting a woman drunk is the same as getting her consent and a certain amount of misogyny is to be expected from men; all women can do is put up with it.

Maybe part of why I tolerated the obvious flaws of the show for so long was because it felt accurate, but accuracy comes at the cost of normalization. Even when the boys’ perversions were made fun of, the

women were really the butt of the joke, constantly reduced down to stereotypes. Donna was an unreasonable man-hater, Laurie was an insatiable whore, Jackie was a nagging b**** and Midge was a ditsy piece of meat.

The years Danny Masterson was acting on ‘That 70’s Show’ were the same years he was drugging and raping women, and it’s not just his behavior I have concerns about. Wilmer Valderrama, at 20, dated a 16-year-old Mandy Moore and later a 17-year-old Demi Lovato, a relationship which is assumed to be the source of Lovato’s song “29” about a 29-year-old that she dated at 17. The song includes lyrics such as, “Far from innocent, what the fuck’s consent? Numbers told you not to, but that didn’t stop you.”

As Masterson faced sentencing last week, The Hollywood Reporter obtained letters from four of his ‘That 70’s Show’ castmates. Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp all wrote to the judge requesting lenient sentenceing for Masterson’s two rape convictions. The rest of the show’s main cast have not spoken a word on the matter.

I do not know if Danny Masterson’s actions were at all shaped by the worldview of ‘That 70s Show,’ but it certainly has not helped to create a world where we treat women as having sexual agency, as being able to want sex without being a slut, to say no and be respected and to come forward about being assaulted and be believed.

September 22, 2023 The Signal page 7
Retro television Photo
Danny Masterson and
courtesy of Flickr

The Roar app should NOT be used as social media

The College’s Roar app has potential. With useful features like access to a complete class schedule, a campus event calendar and alerts for security announcements, the app has the means to be popular and productive.

Most students are encouraged to download the Roar app during their transition into the College. It is advertised as a resource for academics, extracurriculars and community. Unfortunately, because of the way that some folks use the app, what could have been an asset has turned into an irrelevant social-media-like platform.

Posts on the Roar app student feed feature are responsible for the app’s digression. Frequent inapt posts have turned the student feed into an abyss of nonsense. This makes the feature messy and hard to frequent. Bloggers, meme posters and sellers take up so much space on the student feed that when someone posts something relevant to the College, it is often lost in between the chaos.

Using an app that is meant to help students as a platform for

trivial posts is inappropriate. Folks should only use the Roar app as a resource, because it becomes too difficult to frequent when it is flooded with irrelevant posts.

The irrelevant posts are not just taking over the student feed. They are also the predominant type of notification that I receive from the Roar app. My phone is constantly buzzing with notifications alerting me to someone’s diary-entry-like

post that has no significance to me or the College.

I cannot recall a single time that I received a notification about something school related from the Roar app. I can, however, confidently say that I receive at least one unimportant notification coming from the student feed every day.

Senior biomedical engineering major Sebastian Winter pointed out another bothersome aspect of

Roar app notifications.

“The Roar app is annoying because you get notifications on your home screen and you can’t clear them off. Currently, I have 257 notifications and I can’t clear them all,” Winter said.

Two hundred fifty-seven is telling in regards to how often the Roar app sends notifications.

“I don’t want to receive notifications that are pointless,” Winter said.

Folks should stop using the Roar app like social media. If a student has a meme, thought or listing that they feel needs to be posted online, then they should use Fizz Social or Yik Yak rather than the Roar app.

Fizz Social and Yik Yak are both social networking apps that connect folks who attend the same College to one another. Thus, students at the College can reach the same audience on Fizz Social and Yik Yak as they do on the Roar app.

If everyone stopped using the Roar app like social media and utilized it solely as the resource that it is, then I would use it more often.

Getting the “college experience” as a commuter student

I knew when I first came to the College last year that being a commuter student would involve discipline. I lose over an hour a day of relaxing, doing homework, eating or pretty much anything I could just do if I were staying on campus to drive, so I need to use my time wisely. There were a few things, however, that I hadn’t expected about campus life, and they required a bit of personal adjustment.

One thing that shocked me was the late timing on campus. Many classes at the College end at 8:20 p.m., just before many clubs and events begin at 8:30 p.m. and often last for over an hour.

In addition to driving at night, something that I had very minimal experience with when I began college was having a dedicated place of my own on campus. My meetings on Zoom led to numerous moments of scrambling to find a quiet area in lieu of a dorm room where I could speak aloud. I have arrived early in the morning to the Library so many times to save a study room, praying that nobody would kick me out for being alone so I could attend a Zoom class without difficulty. I even participated in a job interview last semester on the floor in front of Brower Student Center

(BSC) 100.

My biggest fear about being a commuter coming into college was just general fear of missing out. I feared missing out on making friends, partaking in weekend events and just making the memories that I could have made if I had decided to live on campus.

The College appears to have prepared procedures like class and club times with residential students in mind, which makes sense. After all, roughly 85-95% of first year students live on-campus, and many of them continue to do so or live in houses right outside of campus during their remaining undergraduate years. This basically just means that getting the college experience

that I desired as a commuter came from determining what I wanted, knowing my capabilities and assets and setting boundaries.

The “college experience” does not look the same for everybody. While I knew that I would not mind missing parties, I also knew that I wanted to become heavily involved in clubs and organizations, and I also really wanted to make deep connections with my fellow students and professors.

With these goals in mind, I assessed what was necessary to achieve them and how far I was willing to go to make them happen. Both of these goals involved putting myself out there, and I am fortunate in that I am relatively out-

going and willing to speak to people. Regarding club-involvement, I also pretty much just decided that I would get used to driving at night despite my fears. This decision has also helped me make strong connections because I have gotten used to waiting until my friends are done with activities or classes to eat dinner or hang out together.

Setting boundaries has been very much based on trusting my gut-feelings. I personally do not want to get back home in the dead of night, especially because I commute back to school around 6:50 a.m. every morning to avoid traffic and parking difficulties. Therefore, I try to firmly stick to my personal quota of leaving campus at 10:00 p.m. at the latest to ensure that I get home in time for me to get around seven hours of sleep. This can sometimes be awkward because I dislike leaving a club meeting before it’s over or leaving a friend that I’m hanging out with, but maintaining these boundaries has helped me make the most of the time that I spend on and off of campus.

Commuting comes with unique difficulties, but it is certainly not impossible. Working with your personal circumstances while not setting aside your goals can help you get the college experience that you want and make some wonderful memories here at the College.

page 8 The Signal September 22, 2023
James M Green Hall Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Gladstone Photo courtesy of Flickr Parking lot

TikTok trends brought back the freedom of girlhood

Ever since the release of “Barbie” in July 2023, the idea of “girlhood” and the glamorization of being a woman has been prevalent on all social media platforms, especially TikTok. With trends ranging from “hot girl walks” to “get ready with me” videos to simple edits of moments with girlfriends, the rise of womanhood has created a new, positive wave on the internet. One trend that took the platform by storm this summer was creating a montage of “girlhood” moments to the song featured in the film, “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish. Originally started by @ waitingmirrorball on TikTok, the sound used for the trend now has over 287,000 videos under

it. This trend gave users the creative freedom to express their “girliness” and celebrate the range of girlhood and what that means to them.

Everyday activities, even as small as eating dinner (trending as “girl dinner”), have been tagged with the #girl and taken over the platform. Women worldwide are posting their daily tasks and adventures, and putting a romanticized spin on it.

Channeling inner girlhood is a liberating feeling. Bringing back the excitement of being younger and being brought back to a simpler time eases the stress of growing up. Reminiscing on a time in our lives with more freedom and endless possibilities, and remembering what we used to dream of and how those experiences crafted the women we are now. Mentally returning

to a period of our lives without the restrictions of societal expectations brings a sense of inner peace and temporarily mutes all of the outside pressures of being a woman in today’s world.

Romanticizing the moments in life that bring back the beauty of girlhood, such as going out to dinner with friends or simply getting ready and doing makeup, unlocks a healing sensation. As simple as these trends may be, the overarching idea behind each 15-second video is so much more meaningful than it may seem.

In a world where girls are often forced to grow up too soon, these trends revived the simple joy of girlhood.

Growing up is one of the most challenging aspects of life to adapt to, especially as a college student. Being away from home presents a new opportunity, which can both

be exhilarating and terrifying. Now, with trends in the palms of our hands that have opened the door to revisit the passion and hope of childhood, there is a sense of comfort surrounding us as we scroll through these videos.

There is also an immense sense of unity between all women everywhere since the rise of “girlhood” content. These viral trends brought an unironic celebration of femininity to the surface. Women are constantly bringing endless support to each other, whether that is through the comment section or in real life. Even the most simple of compliments, such as “I love your outfit!”, have brought such a loving tone to the platform.

Thanks to content creators, and most importantly, Greta Gerwig, we have reached peak girlhood –and I could not be happier.


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September 22, 2023 The Signal page 9 Editorials
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Nation & World Looming threat of a government shutdown

After the summer recess, members of Congress have returned to deliberate and determine the methods of funding the government. Nevertheless, the political divide, with a Republican-majority House and a Democratic-majority Senate, has left the issue of financing the government in a precarious state, with the looming possibility of a government shutdown if a resolution on government spending is not reached.

A government shutdown can occur when Congress fails to pass all 12 annual appropriation bills, which are bills that allow the allocation of spending to various government sectors such as agriculture, commerce, military and transportation. If Congress does not pass all 12 bills, it can lead to furloughs for many employees in non-essential government services, including those working for national park and food inspection agencies. Essential government service employees, such as law enforcement, will still be required to work but may not receive their wages until after the shutdown ends, as noted by The Brookings Institution.

In June 2023, Democrats and

Republicans compromised to suspend the debt ceiling to prevent a default and potential recession by limiting government spending. Kevin McCarthy, Republican House Majority Speaker, now wants to limit government spending even more to appease the farright side of his party and to keep his title. Democratic senators are unwilling to come to terms with far-right policies, which has ultimately led both parties to seek a continuing resolution.

A continuing resolution aims to avoid a government shutdown by temporarily extending funding for government agencies until lawmakers can find a solution in the next month, according to the AP.

To further gain approval of the far-right, McCarthy hopes to investigate President Joe Biden’s connection to Hunter Biden’s alleged illegal business dealings in Eastern Europe. As a result, McCarthy, as reported by the New York Times, attempted to persuade the far-right

to avoid a government shutdown by adding a potential impeachment trial for President Joe Biden, stating, “if we shut down, all the government shuts down — investigation and everything else.”

McCarthy’s impeachment efforts may not gain the support of a Democratic majority Senate, as they are unlikely to support the appropriation bills if there’s a potential impeachment trial for their party leader. Additionally, Democrats will unlikely compromise with far-right spending policies that could reduce funding for agencies supported by the Democratic base, including the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation.

The deadline to approve all 12 annual appropriation bills is Sept. 30. Nonetheless, a Democratic-majority Senate and Republican-majority House divided over impeachment and far-right spending policies are not likely to reach an immediate compromise. Hence,

both political parties are focused on a continuing resolution.

The most recent government shutdown occurred from Dec. 22, 2018 to Jan. 25, 2019, under the reverse situation, with a Democratic-majority House and a Republican-majority Senate. The 2018 government shutdown was the longest in the country’s history and had multiple consequences on the economy. For example, the real gross domestic product (GDP), which measures a country’s growth, was $8 billion lower than what was projected in Q1 of 2019 due to the five-week partial shutdown and the subsequent economic activity, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The shutdown was resolved after both political parties agreed not to allocate funding for the border wall with Mexico.

The current political landscape in Congress, characterized by partisan divisions and financial concerns, raises significant uncertainties regarding government funding. As the deadline for passing appropriation bills approaches, the pursuit of practical solutions, such as a continuing resolution, becomes imperative to avert the consequences of a government shutdown and maintain essential services for the American people.

Mexico decriminalizes abortion, U.S. struggles

Mexico’s Supreme Court recently decriminalized abortion nationwide, ruling that the previous restrictions on abortion access violated the constitutional rights of women. The ruling officially removed abortion from the nation’s federal penal code.

The ruling obligates that federal institutions and agencies provide immediate access to abortions for those who request it. It does not, however, require each state to decriminalize the procedure.

“No woman or pregnant person, nor any health worker will be able to be punished for abortion,” the Information Group for Chosen Reproduction, a non-government organization, said in a statement.

Mexico City was the first state in the country to decriminalize abortion in 2007. A prior ruling two years ago in Coahuila set off a domino effect for state-by-state decriminalization. Just last week, Aguascalientes became the 12th state to legalize the procedure. There are still 20 Mexican states

where abortion is a crime, according to The New York Times.

The new Mexico legislation allows women to legally seek abortions through federal hospitals and clinics even in states where it is a crime, according to AP News.

In an abortion-rights movement known as the “Green Wave,” activists across Latin America have fought tirelessly for women’s reproductive rights and have finally seen the fruits of their labor.

“Today is a day of victory and justice for Mexican women,” Mexico’s National Institute for Women commented on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The Court’s decision comes as many other Latin American countries are taking strides to decriminalize abortion nationwide. Argentina legalized the procedure in 2020, and in 2022, Colombia followed suit, according to The New York Times.

As thousands celebrated the ruling of the court, many conservatives and religious citizens of the Catholic country opposed the court’s ruling. Director of the Civil Association for the Rights of the

Conceived, Irma Barrientos, refers to the U.S. Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade to express her resistance to the ruling.

“We’re not going to stop,” said Barrientos. “Let’s remember what happened in the United States. After 40 years, the Supreme Court reversed its abortion decision, and we’re not going to stop until Mexico guarantees the right to life from the moment of conception.”

In contrast with the expansion of abortion access across Latin America are the ever-increasing restrictions on reproductive rights in the United States.

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, abortion rights in many U.S. states were rolled back immediately and bans on the procedure were put into place, according to NPR. While abortion remains legal in several states, issues surrounding expanding abortion services to travelers from states where it is illegal make it difficult for those patients. State-border restrictions in Texas, for example, provide grounds for a civil lawsuit against anyone who “aids or abets the performance or

March for abortion rights

inducement of abortion,” according to PBS.

Mexico’s court ruling opens doors for those in the United States seeking to get an abortion if they are in a position where it is illegal for them to do so in their own states. The founder of Mexican feminist organization Las Libras, Veronica Cruz, noted an inundation of women from the U.S. seeking abortion pills after Roe v. Wade was overturned, according to Reuters.

“It opens more possibilities. They will have even more options in Mexico,” said Cruz.

While Mexico’s Supreme Court ruling that decriminalizes abortion nationwide is a huge step toward protecting women’s reproductive rights, it will take time to see the effects of the ruling and to see it applied in every part of the country.

page 10 The Signal September 22, 2023
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons A government shutdown may occur if Congress cannot come to a agreement.

Climate: Natural disasters and climate summit

World in peril: African climate summit meets for first time

On Sept. 4, the first African Climate Summit was held at the Kenyatta International Convention Center in Nairobi, Kenya. The convention discussed the crucial need for wealthier nations to contribute to the planet’s climate crisis.

Many poorer African nations claim that the lack of financial resources set forth by wealthier nations is causing a sharp decline in economic progress.

While wealthier nations discussed their intentions and promising financial contributions to the climate crisis, they have not yet fully made those contributions.

At the conclusion of the summit, the Nairobi Declaration was declared, asserting that no country should have to choose between development and preserving the climate and urges nations around the globe to support a tax on fossil fuels in an attempt to slow global warming.

This summit is a reminder that the climate is struggling. In addition to supporting countries in their efforts to control climate change, there are steps the individual can take. This planet belongs to every person; it is about time it gets taken care of.

Tropical cyclone wreaks havoc on southern Brazil

A tropical cyclone wreaked havoc through southern Brazil, washing away homes and swamping streets, according to AP News. Widespread destruction caused by torrential rains, flooding and powerful winds affected tens of thousands of people, killing dozens and leaving more homeless.

According to Gov. Eduardo Leite, this marks the state’s highest death toll from a climate-related event. Many of the victims died from being swept away in the floods, electrical shocks or being trapped in vehicles.

Videos obtained by rescue teams show the desperation faced by those caught in the flooding, with people linking arms to keep from being dragged away by the current.

Authorities point to rising temperatures from climate change as a cause for the rainfall and say cyclones are becoming more frequent.

Political strife and climate change to blame in Libyan floods

Flooding associated with Tropical Cyclone Daniel has ravaged the coastal city of Derna in Libya, with ABC reporting nearly 4,000 deaths and another 9,000 missing. As survivors mourn and attempt to pick up the pieces left behind by the storm, blame for the severity of the tragedy is being directed to a deadly combination of climate change, political conflict and administrative incompetence.

Daniel began its sweep across the Mediterranean Sea in the first week of September, leaving casualties in Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria. Despite warnings of the potential strength of the storm, the NYT reports that the Libyan government failed to administer appropriate protocols for evacuation and disaster preparation. Floodwaters attacked Derna and surrounding settlements, with entire villages uprooted and sent into the seas.

The city’s suffering is compounded by the difficulty in accessing humanitarian aid, with the wreckage from the flood impeding entry points. Bodies were abandoned in streets or float in standing water, amidst collapsing buildings and scraps that pose a further threat to those still in the area.

Rescuers race to find survivors after Morocco earthquake

A devastating earthquake struck Morocco, killing at least 2,900 people and injuring over 5,600. With a magnitude of 6.8, this was the strongest earthquake to hit the nation’s center in over a century.

Towns and villages were badly damaged or destroyed. The earthquake severely damaged many historic sites in Marrakech and the surrounding area, including the Koutoubia Mosque which has stood since the 12th century.

Many survivors remain under the rubble. Villages located in the foothills of the mountains that were hit the hardest were not easily accessible by rescue teams due to roads being damaged or blocked by debris.

Morocco has activated all available resources to aid victims, and emergency response efforts will continue as cities navigate the aftermath of the earthquake.

Secretary of State Blinken visits Ukraine amidst missile strike

United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, surprised the international political world with his unannounced visit to Ukraine in the thick of intense war conditions. He arrived in Kyiv on Sept. 6 to meet senior Ukrainian officials and convey unwavering American support for Ukrainian independence and democracy in the face of Russian aggression, according to the U.S Department of State.

The primary grounds behind this visit was to discuss Ukraine’s current counteroffensive, a plan in which military forces are attempting to gradually recapture and secure lost Ukrainian territory. According to the Wall Street Journal, Ukrainian troops are discreetly entering the line of Russian captured areas in small numbers, to open gaps for troops with heavier equipment to follow. The idea is to cautiously breach the region from all directions and create secure strongholds for a long-term advantage, rather than execute a big attack, which will be easy for Russia

to respond to with force.

Blinken prioritized highlighting substantial progress of the Ukrainian counteroffensive as well as to reiterate full U.S. support for Ukraine’s efforts. This backing from Blinken is pivotal for Ukraine in the eyes of valuable allies amid recent negative media reports regarding the counteroffensive, claiming it to be “hindered by poor tactics,’’ according to NBC.

Ukraine’s advances into their invaded territories have been unfortunately impeded by geographical obstacles such as minefields and trenches, as well as constant powerful attacks from Russia, according to NBC. Deadly airstrikes across Ukraine have continued, slowing down the progress of the counteroffensive and destroying civilian communities, which consequently has resulted in the loss of many innocent lives.

Just before Blinken’s arrival in Kyiv, an outdoor market in eastern Ukraine, busy with civilians going about their lives, was engulfed in flames after being struck by a Russian missile. According to AP, the strike occurred in a town called

Kostiantynivka and killed 17 people and injured at least 32.

The once peaceful civilian neighborhood was left as a mess of charred bodies, destroyed buildings and burning clothes and cars. First responders devoted themselves to tending to the wounded and putting out the flames. This attack was purely intentional on Russia’s part: an attempt to induce more suffering and damage by striking an entirely civilian population with no military basis.

During Blinken’s visit, he also pledged over $1 billion in U.S. funding for Ukraine to help assess military and national recovery needs. Blinken also expressed on behalf of the Biden administration and the Pentagon that they would try to supply U.S. financial aid for Ukraine for as long as it takes. Continued financial support from the U.S. is critical for Ukraine, according to the Wall Street Journal, as President Vladimir Putin has expressed his commitment to winning the war at any cost.

There is current hesitation and doubt surrounding the topic of financial aid from the U.S. after the

upcoming 2024 election. A growing number of Republicans hold opinions against increased funding for foreign affairs. The potential outcome of the nearing election may or may not present additional struggles for Ukraine. The U.S.’s European allies are also relying on U.S. support for Ukraine to win against Russia, in hopes that they will not be left to take on responsibility for Ukrainian defenses without Washington’s support, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. government under the Biden administration currently devotes itself to providing financial aid for Ukraine during this war for as long as necessary. The true price of this war displays itself not through money, but through each and every innocent Ukrainian life lost due to Russia’s agenda and targeted civilian attacks.

September 22, 2023 The Signal page 11
Leite visits Roca Sales, Brazil. Blinken visits officials in Ukraine. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Rescuers look for survivors in rubble. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Read full stories on our website!

Arts & Entertainment

Grammy-winning professor

Doug Beavers looks

all the stuff, and just really diving into it,” he said.

After earning his bachelor of arts in music from the university in 2000, the West Coast native moved cross-country to pursue a master’s degree in composition at the Manhattan School of Music.

“At that point I’ve always had this interest in not just playing it, but the whole picture of the music, how to make it,” Beavers said.

back on life changing decision

In 2005, Beavers collaborated with Palmieri on the jazz album “Listen Here,” which featured a number of prolific artists including Michael Brecker and Nicholas Payton, and marked his first Grammy win.

an adjunct teaching position at the College.

Long before adjunct professor and jazz music producer Doug Beavers even dreamed of earning a Grammy Award, the two-time winner and five-time nominee recalls cruising in his Hyundai to the University of California, Davis in 1997 with plans to pursue a degree in electrical engineering, when a song on the radio changed the trajectory of his life and career.

“John Coltrane came on and I got super emotional,” Beavers said via Zoom. “I’m like, ‘Man, I have to be a musician, I have to go for it.’ And so I turned the car around right there.”

The next day, Beavers switched gears and enrolled in California State University, East Bay, where he would subsequently spend three years cultivating his musical talents.

“I was just so happy, studying

Soon after hitting the road as a full-time musician post-graduation, Beavers joined forces with Latin music legend Eddie Palmieri, who discovered the up-andcoming trombonist while he was playing gigs across the Bay Area.

“Eddie Palmieri basically got me into what we call the major leagues of music,” Beavers said.

Though he was originally brought into Palmieri’s group to arrange and transcribe music created by his 1960s band La Perfecta that had been lost over the years, the Jazz Master one day asked Beavers to join his performance at historic San Francisco music venue The Fillmore, marking a new chapter in the rising star’s career.

“It was kind of like my homecoming,” he said. “You could [go to] graduate school, but it’s the things you learn when it’s showtime, the lights are on, you have to perform…that’s the real experience, when the money’s on the table, what are you gonna deliver? That was an education that you can’t get anywhere, performing with one of the actual legends of the music is something that’s irreplaceable.”

Five years later, Beavers began a stint with the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, which transformed into a 13-year-long career performing, composing and producing Grammy Award-winning salsa and jazz music.

During his early years with the group, Beavers spearheaded the development of the Harlem School of Urban Music, which was dedicated to teaching local high school students the ins and outs of recording, mixing, producing and songwriting.

“That was cool until I ran out of money, and then at that point I just wanted to focus on my solo career,” he said.

Beavers’ 2018 Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin Album came only a year after he earned a nomination for his breakout solo album, “Art of the Arrangement” — an experience he described as “amazing.”

But just two years later, Beavers was forced to pivot his career after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. As the industry largely shut down, Beavers, who had been relying on local gigs as a source of income, began to seek stability.

In his search for sustainable opportunities to give back to the community, Beavers’ passion for music education drove him back to his roots. In 2021, he secured

“I wanted to teach at a facility where I could get a rapport,” Beavers said. “I’m really happy to be here. I love the community; it reminds me of where I went to school in California.”

For Beavers, who recently embarked on his third year facilitating audio recording and production courses, the most rewarding part of the job is forming relationships and fostering growth in his students.

“I love each and every one of my students, and to give back and to see them grow and to see them be inspired,” he said. “To see them develop and get the skills, and flying around the studio and hooking up cables and opening tracks and recording, that’s so rewarding.”

Aiming to expand his efforts of supporting and empowering fellow musicians, Beavers developed and launched Circle Nine amid the pandemic, a hybrid production company and record label that offers mixing, mastering, composition and arrangement services from a team of seasoned professionals.

“We’re actually able to build a community and get some amazing music produced, kind of with my vision,” he said. “We have 10 artists right now, and we have three records out and four due this year, so it’s really growing by leaps and bounds….You go after your dreams, you work hard and it does come true.”

Big names drop Scooter Braun as manager

Scott Samuel Braun, better known as “Scooter Braun” has recently been dropped as a talent/music manager by many big names in the industry. Braun has been respected and admired in the talent management community, as he is credited with discovering Justin Bieber, as well as managing many of the biggest pop stars we know today, such as Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato. However, this title may not be held for long, as both Grande and Lovato have parted ways with Braun and his team. According to an inside source who spoke to The Vulture, Grande’s reasoning for leaving Braun is that she has “outgrown” what he has to offer and is “excited to go in a different direction.”

The list of stars leaving Braun’s management continues to grow, according to The Vulture. As of May of this year, J Balvin, Indina Menzel, Carly Rae Jepsen, BabyJake and Asher Roth have all confirmed they are no longer under Braun’s management. Justin Bieber’s departure has been rumored as well; however, he still has time left on his contract, so his path remains unclear as of now.

Braun’s only response to the rumors and the memes that followed the announcements of departures was a tweet that read,“Breaking news … I’m no longer managing myself.” He is currently on a vacation trip with musical artist Usher.

Many fans of the departing artists cannot help but speculate, as no official reasons have been given, that the ending of these contracts may have been inspired by Taylor Swift. Braun famously and

controversially purchased Big Machine Records, a management group, in 2019.

The sale included the legal rights to Swift’s first six albums, resulting in public outrage from fans and Swift herself, along with the current re-recording of those albums.

He later sold the rights to a private equity company, Shamrock Holdings, and prevented Swift from buying them back for herself, according to Hello Magazine. Artists such as Lovato spoke out in support of Swift, leaving fans questioning if this created the rift between Braun and his remaining artists.

Braun’s controversial actions, as well as reported less-than-favorable behaviors and comments that followed, all can be speculated as reasons as to why he is now losing clientele.

However, sources close to Braun claim the situation is being misrepresented.

“He’s getting out of management — he has been for years,” one source told The Vulture. Read the full story on our website!

page 12 The Signal September 22, 2023
Photo courtesy of Doug Beavers Beavers’ 2018 Grammy Award came a year after he earned a nomination for his breakout solo album. Scooter Braun, music manager, has been losing famous clientele. Photo courtesy of IMDb

Continued from page 1

“The artist is also interested in the way the perception of space and volume shifts depending on the specific shapes and colors used, and the shadows created by his dimensional surfaces,” the placard next to this piece reads.

Each person looking at this has the opportunity to have a unique viewing experience depending on how and where they look. That is a common theme in the exhibit; the intent of each piece is not clear or in your face, provoking thought.

As Barnett explained, the 1960s were filled with various liberation movements — a number of cultural crises around race and sexuality that characterized the period and a lot of violence.

However, it was also an era of increased consumerism and an interest in technology, along with the “golden age of advertising.” The latter is what this exhibition mainly focused on.

Another work in the gallery is called “The Souper Dress,” which was produced by Campbell Soup Company and inspired by Andy Warhol’s famous use of their soup can imagery.

“It was quickly recognizable and Campbell’s soup was like, ‘we’re gonna do this promotion, if you send in a dollar, two Campbell’s soup labels and your size, we will send you a paper dress that is printed with this imagery,’” explained Barnett.

This alone is very telling of the time. Campbell’s produced these disposable dresses that could only be worn once or twice as a form of advertising. They were willing to mass-produce these dresses to get their name out and to encourage consumers to buy more of their


The exhibition as a whole offers an engaging collection of art from the decade. With shaped canvases, displays of minimalism, light and space, optical art, kinetic art, pop art and more, there is a little bit of everything.

“If the 1960s are above all about rupture and cultural shifts, this art is profoundly of the decade,” Barnett said. “One of the ways an academic art gallery educates us is by putting us in dialogue with each other … we’re having a shared experience around art and we can build community around it, but we can also build knowledge and understanding.”

Along with the visuals offered, when folks walk through the exhibition they can expect to hear “relevant 60s music,” Barnett explained. Adding the music was a last-minute touch, but it deepens the experience by immersing viewers into the time period, elevating their experience.

The gallery is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit the College’s Art Gallery website.

Dan + Shay’s ‘Better Houses’: A heartfelt expedition of gratitude, love, and heartbreak

In a world that often urges us to reach for the stars, Dan + Shay’s highly-anticipated fifth album, “Better Houses,” delivers a poignant reminder that true fulfillment lies not in grandeur, but in cherishing the precious moments and connections that already grace our lives.

The album by Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney, professionally known as Dan + Shay, contains 12 tracks and was released on Sept. 15.

Read more on our website!

YouTube mommy vlogger Ruby Franke arrested and charged for child abuse

Internet star Ruby Franke from the 8 Passengers Youtube channel, along with business partner Jodi Hildebrant, were arrested last month in Irvins, Utah. Franke was behind the now-deleted YouTube channel where she shared vlogs featuring her now ex-husband Kevin and their six children. The channel amassed nearly 2.5 million subscribers before its deletion in 2023.

On Aug. 30, a neighbor of Hildebrant’s called 911 to report a 12-year-old boy who came to his house looking for food and water.

“He’s emaciated, he’s got tape around his legs. He’s hungry and he’s thirsty,” the neighbor told police in the call. The boy was Franke’s youngest son, who escaped from Hildebrant’s home and was discovered with open wounds and duct tape on his ankles and wrists. Franke’s youngest daughter, 10, was also found in a nearby home in similar conditions.

The children received medical attention and have been taken into state care, along with two other minor siblings. These events led to the subsequent arrest of Franke and Hildebrant.

8 Passengers is just one of the larger channels included in the “mommy vlogger” trend that has

exponentially grown in the past decade. These channels often gain popularity because they seem to represent the perfect family, but they more accurately depict an unattainable American ideal with a large, well-behaved and “pure” household, often with traditional Christian values.

In more recent years, viewers of the 8 Passengers channel have been calling out the Franke family for their poor parenting tactics shown in public videos. This includes making their then15-year-old son Chad sleep on a bean bag for a year after playing a harmless prank on his younger brother and refusing to bring their then-6-year-old daughter’s lunch to school because the child forgot to pack it.

In June 2022, Ms. Franke began working for the ConneXions Classroom, a mental health life-coaching company founded

by author and life coach Jodi Hildebrant. The group has received considerable backlash for their beliefs, which prioritize three “principles of truth” over the overall well-being and safety of children. The three principles are honesty, responsibility and humility. Any child who does not exhibit these traits is “living in distortion,” according to the group.

Ms. Franke frequently created videos on the now-deleted @ moms_of_truth Instagram page (previously @8passengers until June 2022) alongside Hildebrant in order to provide relationship and parenting advice.

The Frankes’ eldest daughter, Shari, has since ended all communication with her immediate family and has publicly shared her disapproval with the harsh beliefs of her mother and the ConneXions group. The Franke parents (and the Franke children, involuntarily) cut off all communication with their extended family three years ago. This includes Ms. Franke’s sisters and fellow YouTube stars Ellie Mecham, Julie Deru and Bonnie Hoellein.

Ms. Franke had her first court hearing on Sept. 8, 2023, after being charged with six felony counts of child abuse. She and Hildebrant were both ordered to be held without bail.

Ms. Franke made shocking claims as she virtually attended

the court hearing. She alleged that one of her children had been sexually abusing a younger sibling for several years, and that the two of them began to abuse others, including neighbors and cousins. She claimed that her child confessed to sexually abusing 20 people, but provided no proof for any of these allegations.

Mr. Franke has been working behind the scenes to regain custody of his younger children (four out of the six are minors). Many have noted that Mr. Franke was aware and involved in the harsh parenting of Ms. Franke, shown on the 8 Passengers YouTube channel, and have come to the conclusion that he is no longer fit to care for his children. Mr. Franke’s attorney, Randy Kester, has stated that his client was not present or aware of the alleged child abuse Ruby has been charged with.

Ms. Franke’s sisters, Mecham, Deru and Hoellein, are also fulltime YouTube vloggers and social media influencers. They had allegedly been working for years, alongside Franke’s eldest daughter Shari, to alert Child Protective Services and help the children.

Mecham, Deru and Hoellein posted a joint statement via Instagram the day following their sister’s arrest.

Read more on our website!

September 22, 2023 The Signal page 13
GALLERY / The College unveils ‘Off-Kilter’ exhibit
Photo courtesy of Riley Eisenbeil “The Souper Dress,” produced by the Campbell Soup Company Ruby Franke was behind the now-deleted YouTube channel 8 Passengers Photo courtesy of IMDb Photo courtesy of Apple Music The album was released on Sept. 15.

The meaning of life is one that is complicated, and is a self-exploratory journey. While we may not truly ever find a concrete answer to this question, we can still discover our passions. In turn, we can give something back to the world, whether significant or not.

Toms River resident and photographer Gregory Andrus has found a way to give back to the world through creativity and self-expression, which is shown through his beautiful photographs of the Jersey Shore, its residents and people he has met. He is well known for his Facebook page “Portraits of the Jersey Shore,” where he posts his pictures, advocates for the community and showcases the immense beauty known throughout

the Jersey Shore region.

Andrus’s journey into photography was a complicated one, filled with trauma, addiction and recovery. In his early 20s, Andrus was caught in the crossfire of a police conflict, where he was involved in a shooting that nearly cost him his life. Doctors told him it was a miracle he survived.

In an interview with The Signal, Andrus stated he realized that because of a higher power, his life was saved. For the first time, he realized his life mattered and that he had a second chance at life. He began the process of healing and finding strength in God. Andrus originally went to school to become a pastor but felt as if God were calling him elsewhere. He then received his first iPhone and decided to start taking pictures of what inspired him at the shore.

“My friends started telling me that my photos were really good, and after several weeks, I asked if anybody had a camera they wanted to sell,” Andrus said.

But something alluring happened that called Andrus to photography. A mysterious package was dropped off at Andrus’ home. When he opened the package, Andrus discovered a brand new Nikon D3200 camera. There was no return address on the label or a name. Andrus immediately took this as a sign from God and

Why the “The Nun II” should not be added to your watchlist

rice, played by Jonas Bloquet, makes an appearance by being the school’s janitor and another main character in the movie.

Michael Chaves, the director of “The Nun II,” told Deadline that “...people want more violence,” which was his reasoning behind why the film was so gorey.

knew his true calling.

Andrus took a year to perfect his craft and get better at photography. One day, a friend gave him a suggestion that would change the course of his life. His friend told him about a man in New York City who did street interviews. The man would speak to people, take a photo and share their stories. So, Andrus decided to take this idea to the Jersey Shore.

“My entire mission was to meet people and to hear their stories and to give dignity to those who did not have a voice,” Andrus explained. “My page and myself have very much prospered and thrived from this.”

Through these interviews and portraits, Andrus gave those who were marginalized a voice to be heard as well as compassion. The stories told are interpersonal, and many have opened up, sharing vulnerable stories about their lives. These pictures and stories have been compiled in Andrus’ first book, “Portraits of the Jersey Store…Everyone Has a Story.”

Andrus continued to tell people’s stories, even highlighting the stories of the courageous lifeguards he met along the way and created his second portrait book, “Sand, Sea, and Rescue.”

He then decided to move his photography journey in a different direction, taking a more internal approach to his work,

steering away from human interest stories. He is currently in the process of creating his third photo book, “A Walk Along the Shore.”

“I am walking down from Sandy Hook to Cape May over the course of a year,” Andrus explained. “I want to see what the ocean reveals to me. I want to see what God reveals to me. And I want to see what I learn about myself and put this all in a book.”

His goal is to see the Jersey Shore in all four seasons and photograph its natural beauty. As of Sept. 9, he has started his journey, photographing Sandy Hook after the shore season.

“I’m hoping this book will be a revelation for all of us of just how beautiful life truly can be if we just take the time to notice it,” Andrus said.

Although we may never know the true meaning of life, we can appreciate its beauty and make the most of our lives through giving back to others. Whether we give back through artistic mediums or by listening to someone else’s story, we can truly make a difference in preserving the worth of others.

For more information on Gregory Andrus, you can visit his website and follow him on Facebook (@Portraits of The Jersey Shore) or Instagram (@portraitsofthejerseyshoreofficial).

On Sept. 8, the newest addition to The Conjuring universe, “The Nun II,” shook theaters with its gut-wrenching gore and amazing acting. But it also surprised the audience by adding no new information to the plot.

“The Nun II” is set in 1956 France, where there were multiple mysterious and gruesome murders of priests and nuns. The film takes place two-to-three years after the first movie.

The main character of the first “Nun” movie, Sister Irene, played by Taissa Farmiga, once again is the main investigator of the series of deaths that has been occurring. Another character from the first film named Mau -

Sister Irene, as well Storm Reid’s character Debra, discover a religious artifact called the “Eyes of Saint Lucy,” which the movie’s antagonist, Valrek, was looking for. Sister Irene and Debra were looking for the Eyes in order to banish the demon, while Valrek was looking for the Eyes so she could destroy it and keep living.

“The Nun II” has a low rating of 58% on the Rotten Tomatoes website.

In the movie, there were a lot of tense scenes that built lots of fear, but were not executed well enough to carry out a real scare-factor. The movie focused more on jump scares rather than engaging in building any authentic tension.

Read more on our website!

Photo courtesy of Apple Books

“The Nun II” was a creepy and frightful movie, but ended in disappointment.

Heat is “the origin of all things and the end of all things,” writes Jeff Goodell. As a journalist who has covered climate change for over two decades, Goodell is concerned with the end and what it will bring. What will happen to crops that cannot tolerate rising temperatures? How will congested cities deal with life threatening heat waves? How long will it be before all of the coral in the Great Barrier Reef becomes bleached?

Goodell is a New York Times best-selling author of six previ -

ous books, including “The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World,” which was a New York Times Critics Top Book of 2017. His new book, “The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death on a Scorched Planet,” paints a vivid — if not horrifying — image of how climate change operates in the present. Heat is a subtle but insidious force, more powerful than we know, Goodell stresses.

Often, we recognize the danger of heat too late. Goodell offers intimate portraits of lives lost to record high temperatures (the cause of death being hyperthermia). He tells the heart wrenching tale of a family in California’s Sierra Nevada foothills who perished during a recreational hike gone wrong. He chronicles the day of a Guatemalan landscaper who came to the U.S. to earn enough money to build a house back home, only to succumb to heatstroke. In Chennai, India, a wife and husband’s daily routine is “defined and driven by heat” in their 300 square foot hut.

Read more on our website!

page 14 The Signal September 22, 2023
Jersey Shore photographer Gregory Andrus discusses the purpose of life and giving back
Photo courtesy of Mary Andrus Jersey Shore photographer Gregory Andrus. “The Nun II” was a creepy and frightful movie, but ended in disappointment. Photo courtesy of IMDb
In “The Heat Will Kill You First,” we are reminded time is running out

Continued from page 1

She added, “Our bonds are something I will always cherish.”

Pfluger has helped deliver nine field hockey national championships while with the College, along with her 11 national championships as the lacrosse coach as well. After nearly four decades in command at the College, Pfluger has had hundreds of players, and has done her best to leave a mark on them.

The Lions have had an up-anddown start to their 2023 campaign. After opening the season at 11 in the National Coaches Poll, the College has only won 3 of their first 5 games.

“Nearly all of September involves independent games which gives us an opportunity to compete against teams in other conferences and regions,” Pfluger explained.

The College last played on Sept 15 against highly-touted Messiah University, which ended in a 5-0 loss for the Lions. The College

was unable to handle the Messiah offense as the Falcons had a dominant 27 shots on goal.

“As always, we are taking one day at a time while concentrating on individual and team development,” said Pfluger. “Our schedule is extremely competitive. Being successful on a daily basis is where we are.”

This Lions squad certainly has the talent to compete at the highest level, as seen in big wins against Juniata and Cabrini. As she has done for 39 seasons, Pfluger will be looking to have this team playing its best come playoff time, with hopes of once again competing for the coveted national championship.

“The NCAA National Championship is always in the back of our minds, yet way too far off from now, ” Pfluger said. “Learning and developing is key at this present time and time will tell where we land.”

19-Year-Old Coco Gauff wins her first U.S. Open

After defeating her second-seeded opponent, Aryna Sabelanka, in a three-set match in New York, Coco Gauff took home the 2023 U.S. Open Championship trophy along with $3 million. This marks her first ever professional major tournament win. The sixth-seeded player becomes one of the youngest tennis stars to win the Open since Serena Williams’ victory in 1999. This is also a huge win for American tennis after six years without an American winner.

It has been a long but rewarding road to success for Gauff. Last year, she experienced a tough defeat in the final of the French Open. She claimed that she had the wrong mindset during that match because she imagined that she had won the tournament. She suffered the same fate in 2023 Wimbledon when she got knocked out of the first round by another American, Sofia Kenin. After this loss, Gauff hired new coaches to improve her forehand and pressure tolerance. Fast forward to her Sept. 9 match this year, and she came onto the court with more emotional maturity and armed with stronger tactics. Game. Set. Match.

It makes sense given her journey that by the end of this match, Gauff collapsed to the ground and broke into tears of joy, surprise and a tiny bit of relief.

“It felt like it hit all at once,” she said “Because I didn’t want to tell myself it was match point because I didn’t want to start shaking,”

The moment when she realized

she had won, Gauff recalled, “I was a little bit shocked and I couldn’t breathe either.”

Gauff trained herself to come into the match with low expectations to avoid a repeat of the 2022 French Open. She even credits her boyfriend for helping her power through most of the match when she confessed to calling him the night before the big game, as reported by People.

“I just called up my boyfriend and I told him let’s talk until it’s time to go to sleep so we spoke until 1:00 a.m. and then went to sleep,” she said.

After her loss in the first set, this late-night talk gave her the encouragement to “give it [her] all” in the next two sets.

“When I lost the first set, I still felt I was into the match and I said, you know, I’m going to give it my all,” she told reporters. “You know, whatever happens happens.”

Celebrities have been congratulating her left and right. Among them are several tennis all-time greats, including Roger Federer, the Williams sisters and Billie Jean King. Even a couple former presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and the current president himself even praised the star for her ground-breaking achievement.

Sept. 9 was such a whirlwind of a day that Gauff still cannot believe it is real.

“It’s so crazy, I don’t think I’ve gotten to digest,” she said in an interview with TODAY, “Even last night I was telling myself, ‘You’re a Grand Slam champion.’ It doesn’t feel real at all.”

Women’s soccer hangs with one of the best in the nation with 2-2 draw against Johns Hopkins

sive as always in this game, forcing Johns Hopkins on their back foot early on.

The newly-ranked Lions drew No. 4 Johns Hopkins in a tightly contested 2-2 match. The Lions led the game in shots, shots on goal and corners. They played aggressive from the start and were not scared to go after the Blue Jays–even when down in the game.

The Game

The Lions came out aggres -

The College ran through fifth-year journalism major Emma Pascarella as often as possible as she sent in some dangerous crosses. Early in the first half, the Lions struck first with a goal from a corner off the head of fifth-year math major Lindsey O’Keefe, with assists by Pascarella and junior business major Ava Curtis.

The Blue Jays tied it up with a free kick goal by Katie Sullivan that was rifled into the left edge of the goal. A minute later Sullivan scored another great goal that junior goalie and kinesiology and health science major Corrine

Byrum got a hand to, but the shot was too strong to deflect over the post. The Lions kept the pressure on, however, and battled through the adversity of two quick goals. The rest of the half was tightly contested where no team had a strong foothold in the game.

The second half started well for the Lions, keeping Johns Hopkins in their own half of the field for the beginning. Johns Hopkins invited the pressure, being up 2-1, and did not want to let up an easy scoring opportunity with a lot of bodies in front of goal. Early in the half, Pascarella had a wonderful through ball to undecided senior Sophia Vieria, but freshman goalie Eva Breiland came up with a huge save for the Blue Jays.

This led junior marketing major Rachel Burkhard to score an Olimpico goal, putting the ball in the back of the net from a corner. The team celebrated by surrounding her,

and it seemed to give the Lions a huge boost in energy for the rest of the half. Junior business major Victoria D’Imperio had a great look at a goal from outside the box that forced Breiland to push the ball out wide.

The Lions had the pressure on the whole half, but at the end, Johns Hopkins had a late cross that looked to be going into the net, but goalie Corrine Byrum came up huge with a save. The game ended 2-2 with a ton of positives to take from the Top 25 matchup.

What’s Next

The Lions have played two games since the conclusion of this one, with those being the last two left before conference play starts in the NJAC. They traveled to Hood College on Sept. 16 and came back home against Stevens University on Sept. 20, winning both by a score of 4-0. Their next game will be home against Ramapo College on Sept. 23 at 12 p.m.

September 22, 2023 The Signal page 15
FIELD HOCKEY / Pfluger’s 650th victory
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Gladstone Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Gladstone Coach Sharon Pfluger talking with her team. Fifth year Lindsay O’Keefe on the ball.


Men’s Soccer drops home opener to RPI

The College’s men’s soccer team had a tough afternoon, losing 5-0 to the Engineers of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). This was the Lions’ inaugural home game this season, despite it already being the eighth game of the season.

The Engineers came into the day riding a mini two-game win streak and looked to build off of that momentum in the first half. However, the Lions defense proved to be tough out of the gate; through the first 30 minutes of action, the Engineers were held without a corner kick or a shot on goal.

The College fought hard, but RPI’s fifth-year senior Josh Guadiano scored his second goal of the season on an assist from senior Christian Lombardo in the 37th minute. Regardless, the Lions found themselves within one goal come halftime, with more shots on goal than the Engineers.

Things fell apart in the second half, as less than ten minutes in, RPI had put up two more goals, including a penalty kick from Josh Guadino. His second score of the game put the Engineers up 3-0.

The Lions’ carelessness plagued them in the latter half of the match, as they committed another foul,

leading to the second penalty kick goal for RPI, this time from sophomore Gianfranco Loli, to put the Engineers up five goals.

The Lions were dominated in every facet, dropping this game by a score of 5-0. Senior forward Luke Pascarella led the team with three shots on the afternoon, while senior goalie Julian Franco continues to move up on the all-time saves list for the College, with 191 in total after his three saves today.

The College had a difficult time mustering up anything on offense, with just six shots, three of which being on goal compared to the Engineers’ 15 total shots. The Lions had just two total shots in the second half, with only one being on goal. The College has had a tough

time offensively, being shutout for the second consecutive game and only having one goal in the prior three contests, as they drop to 2-51 on the season, having not won a match since the Brick City Classic over a week ago.

The Lions now look ahead to try and turn their season around, but it will not be easy. Three of the next four teams awaiting the College are above .500 for the year; and if the Lions want to rebound, they will have to do it fast, as the midway point of the season is rapidly approaching. For now, the Lions shift their focus to Ramapo College who they will face off against on the road in their first conference game of the season on Saturday, Sept. 23.

Football suffers tough loss against No. 25 Muhlenberg

red zone.

The Lions began the contest by running a pass-heavy offense, and as a result, the Mules dominated the time of possession category 39:56 minutes to 20:04 minutes.

forced three Mules turnovers and held the Mules to only 3.6 yards per carry on the day.

The Lions started the game hot, with an interception of Mules quarterback Joe Repetti on their first drive of the game. However, the Lions offense was unable to take advantage of the turnover, as on their next ensuing drive they were forced into a punt by the Mules defense.

SEventually, turnovers and lack of offensive production cost the Lions, and by the fourth quarter Mulhenberg had pulled their starting quarterback.

However, late in the second half, the Lions offense began to see signs of life, and their running game took off, resulting in further offensive success due to the team no longer being so one-dimensional.

Despite a hard-nosed start-tofinish defensive effort that saw the Lions force three Mules turnovers, the College fell to the No. 25 ranked Muhlenberg Mules by a final score of 38-10 on Sept. 16. From the beginning of the game, it was evident that the Lions were simply outmatched when it came to the offensive side of the ball, as the Mules were far more efficient offensively. The Mules finished the contest with over 500 yards of offense, 25 first downs, and they scored on six of seven trips in the

The Lions offense, led by senior quarterback Trevor Bopp, was unable to get their passing game going for a majority of the contest and as a result, the Lions finished the game with just 220 total yards compared to Mulehnberg’s 542.

It appeared as though that the Lions’ gameplan was to enter into a shootout with the No. 25 ranked Mules, but the offense simply was not able to get going throughout the contest, resulting in additional possessions for the Mules, which they ended up taking advantage of.

While the Lions had far from their best performance on offense Saturday, their defense, especially in the trenches, shined as they

Problems began to arise for the Lions when their defense was forced to remain on the field for large portions of the game, resulting in the defense eventually getting fatigued and susceptible to big plays. While the Lions should certainly be proud of their defensive effort as a whole considering the circumstances, the Mules repeatedly found success off of roll-out play action passes to tight ends, resulting in multiple touchdown passes to Muhlenberg tight ends.

Muhlenberg did an excellent job of moving Lion defenders off their spots, and as a result, opposing players were running wide open off of play-action for a large portion of the contest.

Lions junior running back Jayson Schmidt had himself a stand-out day on offense, running 13 times for 50 yards and running for a six yard touchdown run to cap off a six play, 72 yard drive by the Lions to close the game.

While this loss certainly is not the result the Lions were hoping for out of their Saturday matchup, facing No. 25 ranked Muhlenberg was a great opportunity for the Lions to get some experience versus a talented team. The Lions must move forward with a short-term memory, as this week at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 21 they are slated to face Franklin and Marshall College in a replay of a matchup postponed from Sept. 8.

page 16 The Signal September 22, 2023
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Gladstone Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Gladstone Midfielder JJ Zaun on the ball. The Lions running out onto the field.
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