Education & Technology Edition
Vol. 3.2 Spring 2013
Art at UMass Vaccines Immigration Library Upgrade Video Gaming Sustainability Soccer in Wartime UMass Budget Woes
1964 The year ground was broken on the futuristic campus in Dartmouth designed by world-renowned architect Paul Rudolph. Since then the campus has grown to 9,500 students and developed a $26 million research enterprise.
The number of public law schools in Massachusetts, and that one is at UMass Dartmouth, devoted to the practice of law for the public good.
Hours of community service performed by UMass Dartmouth students and faculty in a year.
Interns engaged each year in learning and discovery at the UMass Dartmouth Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center in Fall River, home to research laboratories and start-up companies.
Acres of land dedicated to the main UMass Dartmouth campus — 75 percent of which remains undeveloped woodlands and is being used as a “living classroom.”
1,161 Pounds of sulfur dioxide to be eliminated by campus wind turbine…and 489 pounds of nitrous oxide and 295 tons of carbon dioxide.
$90 million Private investment in property around the downtown New Bedford College of Visual and Performing Arts since the University’s art center was opened and began drawing student and faculty artists to the neighborhood.
$356 million The economic impact of the campus on the SouthCoast region.
2 The number of miles that the campus WIMAX wireless signal can reach, providing students with a level of connectivity that can be found at only one other University, and that is in Michigan.
90 Coastal inlets from Cape Cod to Narragansett Bay that the students and faculty of the School of Marine Science and Technology are working to save from pollution.
Special Technology Section 7 Online Courses: A continuing Trend 8 Cheating in Online Courses 10 Blended Courses: The Good and the Bad 12 Technology & Teaching English: How two English professors approach the use of technology in the classroom 15 Video Games: Not Just for Kids Anymore 16 Japanese Kuso-ge: The B-movies of video games Feature Articles 18 Immigration and Citizenship 21 Vaccines: Public Health vs. Personal Freedoms 24 A day in the life of a fashion designer 26 Soccer Memories: A Umass Dartmouth student recalls his love of soccer while fighting in Afghanistan 28 Pop-Punk speaks out against homophobia
Six degrees of TV separation Pearly Baker: Grateful Dead tribute band celebrating 28 years of good vibes and good fun 34 Art Never Sleeps: Inside look at the artists and their work at the UMass Dartmouth Star Store campus. 39 Nancy: A role model for the ages 40 What’s Next for the UMD Campus? . 42 Sustainable Library 45 Discovering the Sustainability Initiative at UMass Dartmouth 46 Eating Sustainably at UMD Local businesses thrive thanks to UMass Dartmouth students 50 Keepers of the Records: What you many not know about the Registrar’s office 52 Profile: Professor Tara Lyons 54 Bitter Medicine: Closing UMass Dartmouth’s $15 Million budget gap 56 Thinking about an exotic pet? Think again!
magazine. Spring 2013
Tanya Almeida Sasa Barbel Angela Boffi Josette Cormier Brian Crimmins Jonathan Faria Ashlie Fastino Erin Flynn Kevin Gaffney
Contributing Writers Lisa Graves Marissa Matton Mike McCarthy Jacob Miller Sloan Piva Marc Raineri Rufai Shardow
Contributing Designers Tanya Almeida Euphrate Louis Joshua Amarelo Mario Marzano Sasa Barbel Andrew Nichols Bettina Benoit Sarah Sams Kelsey Garrity Essence Smith Liz Keating Andrew Tornetta Caitlin Krim Nicole Wilhelm
Sarina Silva T.J. Sprague Michael Williams
Supervising Journalism Faculty Dr. Caitlin Oâ€™Neil Editorial Assistant Mark-Anthony Lewis
Supervising Design Faculty Dr. Anthony F. Arrigo Design and Production Assistant John Hurley
Dart Magazine Would Like to Thank the Following Underwriters The College of Arts and Sciences The Department of English The College of Visual and Performing Arts The Office of Undergraduate Admissions Graduate Studies and Research Development The Office of Public Affairs
UMass Dartmouth Department of English http://www.umassd.edu/cas/english/ Department of English UMass, Dartmouth LArts 341 285 Old Westport Road N. Dartmouth, MA 02747 Phone: 508-999-8274
Do you have questions, comments, article ideas, or letters to the editor? Feel free to let us know by emailing Professor Anthony Arrigo (email@example.com)
Welcome to Dart Magazine...
Dear Dart reader, Dart Magazine is a unique academic collaboration between several writing and design classes taught in the Department of English at UMass Dartmouth. Here is the process of how the magazine is created. Each magazine edition is developed over the course of one semester. As students in various writing and journalism classes begin the first drafts of their articles, students in the Document Design course begin learning the basics of design, magazine layout, and various computer programs, particularly the Adobe Creative Suite. As soon as the writing and journalism classes begin submitting drafts, the Document Design class begins working on layouts. After a semester-long process of many revisions, graphical iterations, and long nights spent in the computer labs, Dart is ready to go to print and thus completing a â€œreal worldâ€? publication process. Dart is an inter-departmental and inter-college endeavor that brings together undergraduate and graduate English, Photography, and Graphic Design majors. Dart is also a showcase of UMass Dartmouth creativity and collaboration as many of the photos and graphics, and all of the articles and layouts are contributed and developed by students from the University. We hope you enjoy reading Dart as much as we enjoy creating it.
UMass Dartmouth Department of English
Opportunities for Undergraduates Publications
• Corridors: the annual ejournal of Best Student Essays in the foundation courses http://www.umassd.edu/corridors • Dart: a semesterly culture magazine • Siren: a journal about gender issues • Temper: the annual literary review: poetry, fiction, drama, and creative nonfiction • The Torch: the student newspaper • Word: a biannual English Department newsletter
• Adam Cohen Memorial Award: an annual $500 award recognizing academic excellence in literary studies for an upper-level student • Augustus Silva Award: an annual $3000 Scholarship for one English Major in each concentration
English Major Concentrations Writing , Communication, and Rhetoric This option develops students’ competencies in effective communication. Students learn to assess and produce language for a range of rhetorical situations, analyze the discourse of others, and critically consider the ways in which language helps us to influence and order our world and our communities.
Literature and Criticism
This option focuses on reading and writing about a range of literary and cultural texts, and examining human experience in all its complexity. Through close reading and analysis of literary texts, students learn to articulate their own ideas and to engage the views of others, both in and outside the classroom.
A Major in English prepares you to: • Meet communication challenges in the workplace • Succeed in Law School • Succeed in Graduate School • Become a teacher • Become a journalist • Become a technical or freelance writer
ety nical i c o S ech ion T icat un m m Co
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G N I PS IN T I RELO S W E V I DE T I N Up M M Grou
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ISM AL N Y T A R IC N DEN ILIT E B E A AM NSC US A R T
O G I S N I TS S R T IER A E R F O W ST R A M P OF
umassd.edu/professionalwriting | facebook.com/professionalwriting
Spring 2013 5
Online Courses A Growing Trend
By Erin Flynn Layout by Euphrate Louis
Photo by Creativty103 on Flickr
took the online course because I thought it would be easy, but boy was I wrong!” said Lauren Zahorsky, a senior liberal arts major. Zahorsky is just one of many Umass Dartmouth students who are included in the growing popularity of online courses. According to Zahorsky, when students think online courses they usually think of work that you can do at your own pace that is easy and won’t take much effort. What students don’t realize is that most of these types of courses involve more work and time. There is no professor describing the reading from the night before or writWhen students think online ing down notes that are going to be on the upcoming test. courses they usually think of There are no other students to work that you can do at your help you out or to ask a simple own pace that is easy and question. Criminal justice major won’t take much effort. Chris Puglia finished his senior year at UMD through online courses. Although Puglia thought his senior year would be a breeze, he had some problems with classes of this type. “I hated waiting for an email response for a dumb question so I just stopped asking,” said Puglia. In the end he believes it would have just been easier and more productive to go and sit through the lecture classes. According to Donna Santos, administrative assistant of the professional and continuing education office, the popularity of online courses at UMD is rising. The school is offering more online classes and students on campus and off are taking them, whether because online courses are easier or because people are living more hectic lives.
MOOC: The Latest Trend in Online Learning What is a MOOC? • It’s an acronym for Massive Open Online Courses • MOOCs are entirely online • Some MOOC courses have enrolled up to 100,000 students or more for a single class • All MOOC courses are currently free What MOOC courses can I take? There are hundres of courses available. Some examples are: • Computational Neuroscience (Coursera) • Introduction to Guitar (Coursera) • Writing II: Rhetorical Composing (Coursera) • A Crash Course on Creativity (Venture Lab) • Foundations of Computer Graphics (edX) • The Ancient Greek Hero (edX) • HTML5 Game Development (Udacity) Criticisms of MOOCs • Can feel chaotic • Demands digital literacy • Demands time and effort from the participants • Each course will take on its own trajectory • Students need to be able to selfregulate their learning • Students need to be highly motivated • Students need to be self-accountable Where can I take a MOOC? There are over 300 Universities that offer MOOCs such as • UC Berkely • UCLA • MIT • Stanford • Princeton • Duke • Harvard
Spring 2013 7
Cheating and Suc eeding
he time has come. You’ve put the term paper off until the last possible second. You are taking four-plus courses including a demanding online course. You are behind in your schoolwork, stressed, and exhausted. You don’t want to fail. You begin to panic. You begin to search the Internet, for help. What do you find? Websites that offer to write your papers, take your tests, and even take your online class for you. Problem solved? Today many students who work and attend school choose to take courses online. But while these online courses offer convenience and access to an education, they may be promoting something more insidious too: cheating. According to the American Psychological Association, 82 percent of a sample of college alumni admitted to engaging in 8
some sort of cheating as undergraduates. According to Karen Rhoda, Executive Director of Online Operations, UMass Dartmouth had “almost 3000 registrations for the academic year 2012-2013” for online courses. Within these online classes, academic dishonesty has never been easier. In fact it’s just a double click away. Websites like Boostmygrades.com and Onlineclasshelpers.com will take your test, write your paper, or take your online course as long as you are willing to pay. Charles, a customer service representative for Boostmygrades. com stated that it would cost “$100.00 to write a five page English paper.” However, for a guaranteed “A” on the assignment it would cost an additional 20%. Although some think that younger students are more inclined to use these websites, Ed Dante, a pseudonym for a
East Coast writer known as “The Shadow Scholar,” stated in his story in The Chronicle of Higher Education that, “three demographic groups seek out his services: the English-as-second-language student, hopeless deficient, and the lazy rich kid.” Dante earned $66,000 in 2010 as “a hired gun, a doctor of everything, an academic mercenary.” His customers consist of undergrads, graduate, PhD, nursing, and engineering students. Rhoda doesn’t believe that UMass Dartmouth’s online learning opportunities give students easy access to cheating. “Courses are password protected. If a student gives someone their password, it’s the same as going to class in someone’s place or taking their exam,” she said. “This is subject to failing, probation and/ or expulsion from the institution.” But consequences only occur if students
Photo by dcJohn on Flickr
By Sarina Silva Layout by Bettina Benoit
“According to the American Psychological Association, 82 percent of a sample of college alumni admitted to engaging in some sort of cheating as undergraduates.”
Photo by outcast104 on Flickr
get caught cheating. As Dante explained, “I have completed countless online courses. Students provide me with passwords and user names so I can access key documents and online exams. In some instances, I have even contributed to weekly online discussions with other students in the class.”
Lisa Graves, an English major, at UMass Dartmouth, thinks cheating is despicable. “When entering the real world there is no possible way that you can cheat your way through life,” she said, “so why cheat your way through school?” Michael Ahearn, former director of human resources for Apple disagrees. In his experience, “academic dishonesty, online cheating, and people obtaining degrees that they didn’t earn has been going on since the 1980s.” Ahearn explained, “these individuals that choose to cheat are just trying to succeed in life. They are not just cheats,” he says. “That needs to be recognized.” Shawn, a local police officer, admitted to cheating on most of his Massachusetts State Police training tests. “I log on the test site with two computers,” he said. “On one computer, I search for answers, and on the other, I stay logged on to the test.” He cheats because test taking and preparation are time consuming and hard. But he doesn’t think that cheating on these tests effect his job performance. Most material on these tests, he says he will never use in field. For example, he wonders, “Why do I need to know what your aorta function is?” Kathleen, a former crime and justice major at UMass Dartmouth who is now a full-time online student at another university, also admitted to cheating while taking online classes. “I’d rather just pay someone to take the online class for me,” she said. She’s a single mother who works full time to support herself and her daughter. She doesn’t cheat all the time but said sometimes she just has no choice. “If the services are available why not take advantage of them?” d Dart
Spring 2013 9
Blended Reactions Blended Courses
By T.J. Sprague Layout By Nicole Wilhelm
young student sits before a glowing screen as his discussing online, why not just meet in a classroom? ” Blitefield fingers frantically type powerful words that he truly asks. “I’m having contact with my computer not my students.” believes in. His cursor hits the “save” button and he Students are divided over the idea of blended courses as well. waits for a response from his peers. He is engaged Art student Oskar Augastowski states that blended courses are in an online discussion. “different from a classroom.” “It’s a lot more chill and relaxed. Blended courses (also known as hybrid courses) are classes that I like that about them.” However, accounting student Nick take place in a classroom as well as an online discussion board. Wildeman asks, “Isn’t it better to just go to class? I think most Some days, instead of meeting in the classroom, studentssit at people would focus more in class than on a computer where their computer for class. Some courses have twenty-five percent Facebook can distract you.” of their content online while others may have nearly the entire While both students and faculty have various views, class online. blended courses are likely here to stay. The technology will “One advantage to (online) discussions is that it gives soft continue to grow and, as Mulnix explains, they “are still early spoken students a chance to be heard,” says Dr. Jennifer Mulnix, in development.” a philosophy professor who currently teaches classes with an At this rate it is more than likely that UMass Dartmouth online component. “There’s an act of putting your opinions students will have more classes in their dorm room instead of down on writing that really crystallizes [them].” a classroom. d However, Mulnix warns that “putting too much content online without [guidance from] the professor is dangerous… There needs to be some form of professor involvement.” She also explains that tone is, at times, difficult to determine on a post, which may lead to misinterpretation of students. In 2009, UMD received a three-year, $210,000 Number of Students Enrolled in Atleast One Online Course Implementation of Blended Learning for the Improvement of Student Learning (IBIS) grant = 1 million students from the Davis Educational Foundation. In 2010 students on campus began seeing more blended courses and now UMass Dartmouth students have the option of over sixty blended courses. “True blended learning is a classroom shift,” says Tracey Russo, the Director of Instructional Technology at UMass Dartmouth. “It offers 2008 2009 2006 2007 2010 2005 5,579,022 3,488,381 3,938,111 4,606,353 6,142,280 3,180,050 students and faculty a little more flexibility.” Russo sees blended courses as a work in progress, tools that have yet to reach their full Cheif Academic Officers Satisfaction with Online Education Compared to Face-To-Face Education potential that can work well. To her, blended classes require “rethinking how to structure course design… Classroom time can then be of Cheif Academic Officers in 2011 agreed utilized for what is important for the classroom.” that online education is critical to their 51.1% institution’s long term plan. Professor Jerry Blitefield, chairperson of Same UMass Dartmouth’s English department, misses that classroom time and remains somewhat skeptical of blended courses on campus. “A lot goes on in the classroom that doesn’t in a digital space,” he explained. “Innovation is more likely to happen with [face-to-face] meetings.” While he does see the potential for online The number of students who will take entirely online classes in 2014 classes to help in the classroom, he is somewhat fearful of online classes becoming the norm compared to meeting in person. “Instead of
Online Education in the United States
2.7% Somewhat Inferrior 9.7% Inferrior
13.8% Somewhat Superior
Photo by Hobuias Sudoneighm
22.7% Somewhat Inferrior
Spring 2013 11
Technology & Teaching English A Tale of Two Professors
By Sasa Barbel Layout by Andrew Nichols
raditional teaching has received an update. Chalkboards are being traded in for computers. Discussion and lecture is no longer limited to the four walls of a classroom. But when it comes to English courses, is it best to implement this new teaching method or stick to the established one? Recently, more English professors have adopted a new computer-focused teaching approach to comply with the ever-changing technological world. Going far beyond using Powerpoint for lectures, or assignments turned in via MyCourses, English students are learning how to program websites, create blogs, and utilize design software. Though this transformation is seemingly inevitable, English instructors hold varying opinions about the usefulness of this approach, and two English professors at UMass Dartmouth stand at opposite ends of the spectrum. Anthony Arrigo, English writing professor of four years at UMass Dartmouth, and a recipient of the Provost’s Innovative Use of Technology award in 2012, is one of the professors who has fully integrated technology into his curriculum. Most of his exams are taken online in a computer lab that enables the main computer to monitor each screen in order to prevent cheating. Class assignments require blog posting regularly about course material or contributins to course wiki’s, and students learn to use Adobe products such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. “The biggest advantage for students to take courses that teach skills such as the Adobe suite, or web programming, or social media is that students will need these skills when they get into the workforce.” says Arrigo.
Spring 2013 13
Professors such as Arrigo believe that the evolving world has a need for much more than academic knowledge. “English majors may not understand why they have to learn how to code html or to do a magazine layout,” Arrigo says. “But writing in today’s workplace involves technology, whether it’s maintaining a Twitter feed, or Facebook page, or a newsletter, or blog.” Arrigo has much experience with integrating technology into education, as he teaches a number of courses that satisfy the “computer intensive” requirement for English majors, he is heavily reliant on technology in class. According to Arrigo, who also teaches a document design class that creates the layouts featured in the Dart Magazine, teaching with computers is more than just instructing students how to use different software. “I try to teach students a kind of technological or digital literacy that asks students to critically think,” he says. “For example, the ethics of Photoshopping models on the covers of magazines or the tracking of your activities by Google and Facebook while you’re online.” Computerized teaching may have its benefits but as with most concepts, there are also flaws to counteract. “It often requires a steep learning curve to master the technology, which often frustrates students,” Arrigo says. “Obviously, web-surfing, email, Facebook, and other on-screen distractions are also a problem.” Avoiding such distraction can be tricky but Arrigo does what he can. “I tell students that I put a lot of time into preparing for my classes and I give them my full attention and that I expect the same,” he says. When all else fails, Arrigo uses a more aggressive method to keep distraction at a minimum: “If I need everyone’s attention I often ask that everyone close their laptop lids, which then keeps them from clicking around.” The computerized approach to teaching English may work for some professors, but does the same hold for students? With this generation’s deep involvement with technology, many would assume that students prefer high-tech learning. UMass Dartmouth senior English major Grace O’Day doesn’t wholly agree. “I think computer literacy is an important and necessary skill in our modern society,” O’Day says. “But heavy emphasis on these approaches really detracts from the learning experience for me.” In O’Day’s experience, some classes require more than just the use of scholastic programs. “I’m taking a class this semester and we had to live-tweet our class. It was beyond distracting.” O’Day explains that the real-time Twitter updates would prevent her from paying close attention to what the professor and students were saying. Overall, she prefers the more traditional route. O’Day says: “Face-to-face, hands on learning with minimal use of externalities
like these mechanized learning processes is so much more effective and engaging.” Another English professor takes a stance very similar to O’Day’s. “I usually point to the tip of a dry erase marker and announce: THAT is my PowerPoint. Except for having students send me email attachments, I don’t use much technology,” said Dr. Richard Larschan, a UMass Dartmouth English literature professor for 40 years. He has been a firsthand witness of the gradual and continuous change in teaching. Larschan, who refers to himself as a “Luddite,” was unashamed to admit that, particularly when it comes to online classes, he is one “of the few remaining hopelessly retrograde faculty who believe that real teaching occurs face-to-face rather than online.” This traditional-only method of teaching may be considered by some to be out of touch with the current world. However, Larschan believes it to be more effective than using computers: “Having a screen intervene between faculty and students reduces the level of genuine engagement — both with one another and with the subject matter.”
“I usually point to the tip of a dry erase marker and announce: THAT is my PowerPoint. Except for having students send me email attachments, I don’t use much technology.”
But can educators really continue to teach in our rapidly evolving technology-reliant culture without involving technology? Though professor Larschan jokes about just recently giving up writing with a goose quill pen, he submits that he has used methods other than email to engage a classroom. “Toward the end of the millennium I actually taught a course called ‘Poets of New England’ using a combination of closedcircuit television across four state university campuses, online live-chat, and video,” Larschan says. “We did this for several years until one day a student of mine wisely observed, ‘This is something we are doing because we can, not because we should.’” Ironically, many of the emails sent to me by Larschan were sent via iPad. This can be considered a bit strange for a selfproclaimed Luddite. Nonetheless, Larschan admits that there are at least a few benefits to teaching with technology that advantageous not just to students. “[Students] have no possible excuse for failing to know assignments,” Larschan relates. “The time-honored explanation, ‘The cat ate my syllabus’ just doesn’t work in an era of high-tech communication with faculty and classmates who can be accessed instantaneously.” d
Not just for kids anymore
Total Game Playing Populating in the U.S. two Women over 18
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Infographic design by John Hurley
Spring 2013 15
Characters from the popular Japanese video game, Cho Aniki
“Unlike most kusoge, Cho Aniki games are competently programmed, however, their main notoriety has been for depicting half-naked muscle men in all kinds of homoerotic positions.”
Japan’s Love Affair with Bad Video Games By Brian Crimmins Layout by Tanya Almeida
ot to demean the quality of Japanese video games, but observing the kuso-ge craze in Japan leads one to believe that Japanese gamers simply like crap games. Kuso-ge (pronounced “koo-so-gay”) literally translated is a portmanteau of two words meaning “shit game,” and refers to any game that is enjoyed with an ironic, “that’s so horrible” appreciation. Imagine a B-movie (or worse) rife with bad acting, second-rate special effects, and outlandish plot, yet loving it for how terrifically terrible it is. The same applies to kuso-ge. But developers don’t make kuso-ge on purpose. Why would they? It’s very difficult to market a product for its lack of quality. This was certainly the case with the classic kuso-ge game Cheetahmen, which, when it was released in a compilation for the NES, was universally panned. The rules of play change constantly and the programming is full of bugs like sound effects that pause the music and characters occasionally being able to jump on thin air. While the Cheetahmen games are largely ignored in the United States, a Chinese video review has given them a somewhat active fan community in Japan that has resulted in a bevy of Internet memes and fan projects. While poor programming certainly contributes to a kuso-ge’s campy success, for the most part, their appeal is largely a thematic one. In fact, in some rare instances, a game’s aesthetic can be enough to define
it as a kuso-ge, as is the case with the game Cho Aniki (which translates to “Super Big Brother”). Unlike most kuso-ge, Cho Aniki games are competently programmed, however, their main notoriety has been for depicting half-naked muscle men in all kinds of homoerotic positions. While originally just a single aspect of the game, the homoeroticism has come to define the later games entirely, as the developers began to capitalize on the series’ ironic appreciation. This illustrates another point about kuso-ge: while it’s difficult for developers to capitalize on the game’s inherently bad nature, it is not impossible. Famous Japanese comedian Beat Takeshi can certainly attest to this, as he found success in parodying video games with a kuso-ge of his own. Takeshi’s Challenge has all the trappings of a bad game, from a nonsensical
plot (finding treasure through drunken karaoke) to bad programming (characters will jump in place for no reason). Despite this, Takeshi’s Challenge is one of the more successful kuso-ge. It is so popular, in fact, that fans outside Japan decided to translate it into English years after its release. But what likely sparked the widespread interest in the game was the explosion of reaction videos online of people playing the game. In fact, this may partially explain a lot of the popularity of kusoge: it is often more fun to watch somebody play a bad game than it is to play it yourself. For this reason, it is not hard to find videos of people’s commentary to bad games. One of the most popular is actually a TV show called Game Center CX, wherein the hosts air their commentary to old (often bad) games, including Takeshi’s Challenge (think Mystery Science Theater 3000 for video games). Yet it was not just the kuso-ge aspects of Takeshi’s Challenge that made it successful. Games advertised for their low quality do not necessarily succeed specifically because they are low quality. Often they are simply bad games that nobody wants to play. In fact, the line between a kuso-ge and plain old bad game is very thin, and more often than not, what side a game falls on depends somewhat on luck. Nevertheless kuso-ge is a phenomenon, much like the B-movie industry, that has found a loyal following throughout the world for its inherent crappiness. Dart
Spring 2013 17
Amending Expectations Immigrants Adjust to the Reality of Living the Dream By Angela Boffi Layout by Joshua Amarelo
he flutter of dictionary pages, the busy scratching of pencils on paper, and the soft buzz of students in conversation fill the small classroom in downtown Taunton. The students in this English language class come from Cape Verde, Brazil, China, El Salvador, Mexico, Haiti, and Syria. Four are permanent residents, three are U.S. citizens, two have temporary visas, and three are living in the United States illegally. Most will tell you they love America. Some will admit they are not happy here. All are dealing with a muddle of emotions which are the result of living with financial insecurity, language difficulties, and family separation. "It's complicated in your heart," explains Rosemary DeFreitas who currently holds dual nationality as a citizen of both the United States and Brazil but remembers the experience of being in the country illegally saying, "When I moved from Brazil to live here, I did not imagine what it was like to live in a country without a document. In Brazil I was a citizen. In the United States I was anybody."
Original photo by Steve Boneham on Flickr
DeFreitas earned a masters degree in Brazil where she worked as a university librarian for 17 years. In the United States she works low skill jobs. In the seven years she was a cook at Wendy's, she often felt humiliated by her lack of English skills. "You're a good person. When you feel like nobody, it's not easy," says DeFreitas. In 1999, with two young children in tow, DeFreitas and her husband came to the United States for the sake of the next generation. It was eight years before she received permanent residency and five more before she became a citizen. "Now I feel like someone," she says. Nine hundred and eighty three thousand immigrants live in Massachusetts according to a recent article in the Boston Globe. More than half are U.S. citizens. The application cost ($680, up from $400 in 2007), the language requirements (an interview with a USCIS immigration officer and a 100 question civics test), and the wait time (four to six years after obtaining permanent residency) can make attaining citizenship seem like the Holy Grail. But these obstacles are minor compared to those faced by individuals in the country without documentation and with no viable path to legalization. A bipartisan committee of eight U.S. senators is currently working to create a bill that will reform U.S. immigration policy. Opponents say the proposed bill rewards individuals who have broken immigration law, but supporters argue it is a sensible way to decrease more illegal immigration while addressing the reality of nearly 12 million undocumented immigrants living within our borders. In addition to tightening border control and workplace verification, the bill would create an eventual path to legal residency for currently undocumented individuals. "I think it will happen. I haven't been this optimistic in many years," says Helena DaSilva-Hughes, Director of the Immigrants' Assistance Center in New Bedford. "Once the immigration reform bill passes, at least there will be a path to citizenship. Right now there are a lot of people underground." Jose Santiago* is one of those people. Santiago, 20, crossed the U.S.Mexican border on foot with a group of strangers three years ago
when he 17. His journey has brought him to Taunton where he works 56 hours a week as a bus boy at a local restaurant. He is alone; no relatives live within a thousand miles. But his isolation is deliberate. He and his family agreed he would come
"The Republican legislature realizes that 12 million undocumented immigrants are not going to pack their bags and go home," says Hughes. "Something needs to happen. There needs to be some kind of path to legalization."
“ ” As she walks through Taunton Green on her way to English class, the hijab covering her head and the black abaya covering her clothing isolate her. to America, work and eventually bring money back to Mexico. “But now I like this country. Now I don’t want to go to my country,” says Santiago. He represents the population at the center of the country's heated immigration debate.
Republican Representative Robert Goodlatte, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, was quoted in a recent article in the Taunton Gazette saying, “People have a pathway to citizenship right now: It’s to abide by the immigration laws." Many immigrants start their journey as law-abiding visitors. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reports that half of the illegal immigrants in the United States entered the country legally through some type of temporary visa and then stayed past its date of expiration.
Spring 2013 19
That is the story of Taunton resident Leonor Rosa, 46, who came to the United States from Cape Verde on a student visa when she was 17 years old. When the financial support she expected from her extended family in Boston did not pan out, she went to work at a local fish packing plant for $4.50 an hour and supported herself. With little free time and even less money, she never did make it to school. "I thought it was going to be paradise," says Rosa. "You dream and then you wake up." Rosa, now a U.S. citizen by marriage, recalls the turning point in her life. She had used her last $5 on a taxi that brought her within a mile of Mass General Hospital,
where she went to seek treatment for a painful tooth infection. When she arrived, she waited three hours for an interpreter before lying about her ability to speak English. "I knew I couldn't answer 'yes' to every question the doctor asked me, or he would know I really didn't understand English. I counted one, two, three, and said 'no' every fourth time," says Rosa. "Since that day, I started to study English." Regardless of their literacy level or legal status, all immigrants face the challenge of finding their place in a new country. Nour Hakim from Syria is happily planting roots in East Bridgewater where
she lives with her husband, children, and mother-in-law. She enjoys the energy of possibility here and the fact that “nothing can stop you." As she walks through Taunton Green on her way to English class, the hijab covering her head and the black abaya covering her clothing isolate her. Still, she is devoted to playing a role in the community. “I love America like I love Syria," says Hakim, "This is my home. To feel like you belong to a country, you have to be a part. I hope I can do something for this country. ” d *This individual's name has been changed to protect his anonymity.
TOTAL IMMIGRANTS BY DECADE 12,000,000
This chart shows, by decade, the number of legal immigrants who came to America from 1820 through 2009.
4,000,000 2,814,554 1,427,337
18 20 – 18 182 30 9 – 18 183 40 9 – 18 184 50 9 – 18 185 60 9 – 18 186 70 9 – 18 187 80 9 – 18 188 90 9 – 19 189 00 9 – 19 190 10 9 – 19 191 20 9 – 19 192 30 9 – 19 193 40 9 – 19 194 50 9 – 19 195 60 9 – 19 196 70 9 – 19 197 80 9 – 19 198 90 9 – 20 199 00 9 –2 00 9
Chart by U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Public Health or Personal Freedom? By Tanya Almeida Layout by Sarah Sams
Photo by Blake Patterson on Flickr
ver since British surgeon Andrew Wakefieldâ€™s earthshaking, and now discredited, 1998 study linked certain vaccines to autism, the issue of vaccines has become a topic of intense debate among parents and scientists worldwide. On the one hand, science and history have shown that vaccines prevent all kinds of debilitating or even life-threatening illnesses; the ability of vaccines to protect the population against dangerous diseases cannot be denied. Yet those who oppose vaccines say that they are laden with poisonous chemicals that can cause injury, illness, or even permanent brain damage.
The debate over whether or not to vaccinate often centers on whether or not the benefits outweigh the risks, but to many the real issue is personal freedom and choice. Federal and state laws require students to be vaccinated against a number of infectious diseases before they enter school, although the requirements vary by state. In Massachusetts the vaccination requirements apply to â€œall students attending elementary schools, high schools, postsecondary institutions of higher education, and certain pre-schools in the Commonwealth.â€? Dart
Spring 2013 21
VACCINES A SHORT HISTORY
According to the CDC
Lives saved worldwide Each Year by Vaccines
Smallpox was one of the deadliest diseases in Human history claiming an estimated
300-500 Million lives
17% 1 10 in
To avoid side effects
To avoid unnecessary vaccines
2006 Shingles vaccine introduced
Rotavirus vaccine approved
HPV vaccine approved
Pertussis booster approved
Hepatitis A vaccine approved
Chickenpox vaccine introduced
Parents do not follow the CDC’s recommended vaccine schedule
It’s just safer
Hepatitis B vaccine introduced
Of parents refuse all vaccines for their children
PARENT’S ATTITUDES ABOUT DELAYING VACCINES Allows more control over my children’s health care
HIB vaccine approved
Evan Rosa, a local student opposed to the vaccination requirements for school, said he was not allowed to register for classes due to an immunization hold on his account. “I don’t think anything should be necessary to get an education,” said Rosa. “It’s my body. I have the right as a human being to control my body and what goes in it. That very notion that I’m human makes it a question of ethics, so what is the limit? When does it stop? It’s just another way to impede on our human nature. I see nothing wrong with people making their own choice but that’s not me.” The Department of Public Health is generally more concerned with the wellbeing of the whole population than it is with individual freedom. Its job is to keep the public safe. When it comes to vaccines, the potential risk to society for infectious disease outbreaks outweigh all other political considerations. Backing up this stance is the science supporting the effects of what is known as herd immunity. Herd immunity occurs when a large enough segment of the population is vaccinated that it helps prevent disease from spreading to other unvaccinated parts of the population. The disease simply can’t travel easily through the vaccinated population, which in turn helps those who are not immunized. Jeannie-Mae Durfee, the nurse clinical leader at the UMass Dartmouth Health services department, says she “understands the premise that the good of the many outweighs the [needs of the] few.” However, she says, “It’s still individual too. One dose of medication wouldn’t necessarily work for you where it might for someone else. So it’s conflicting.” Durfee’s case illustrates the complexities of the vaccine controversy. On the one hand, she is the nurse clinical leader, enforcing the vaccine law for students. “I think it’s a good thing because, especially with international students (or when there’s an upsurge in some kind of infectious disease) we want to make sure that everyone is safe, and we don’t want it to pose a threat to the public.” On the other, she said the mandatory vaccination issue has really hit home because she is the parent of an autistic child. She admits that her own son developed autism shortly after receiving an MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) shot.
Smallpox eliminated from the world
Last case of Polio in The U.S.
Routine Smallpox vaccines ended in the U.S.
Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccines approved
In 1998, British surgeon Andrew Wakefield published a study concluding that certain vaccines can cause autism. His claims were supported by celebrity endorsements and testimonials and caused parents to stop or delay vaccinating their children out of fear of autism. Wakefield’s study was later discredited by government and independent scientists and researchers and Wakefiled was stripped of his medical license. However, the belief that vaccines cause more harm than good still persists among parents worldwide.
Statistics from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Protection and a 2011 survey by the Journal of Pediatrics “Alternative Vaccination Schedule Preferences Among Parents of Young Children.”
1800s Smallpox vaccines were routine in the late 1800s in the United States
“Even though my pediatrician still provides evidence to me that it’s not necessarily from the vaccines, my son doesn’t get immunizations anymore.” The issue of personal freedom was even debated amongst her coworkers. Health care providers in the state of Massachusetts are required to get a flu shot. However, if they refuse the vaccine, and there is an outbreak of the flu, then they are required to wear a mask during the flu season. She says, “A colleague of mine did not want the injections and she also feels her HIPPA rights are being violated because now everyone knows that she did not get the flu vaccine because she’s wearing a mask.” Despite their success in reducing potentially deadly diseases, the controversy over vaccines remains. The medical community overwhelmingly declares that the benefits outweigh the risks. Indeed some diseases, such as smallpox, have been completely eradicated due to vaccination programs. According to Carolyn Rios, a 50-year-old mother and grandmother from Fall River, “The benefits outweigh the risks if the vaccines are produced correctly and I don’t believe that they’re produced correctly. There are not enough government standards to make these vaccines safe. I’m for the vaccines but you better make them right.” Durfee also agrees that the benefits outweigh the risks. “These immunizations started a long time ago and they found there were less death rates of children through vaccination programs. That’s how they got started and the government was the one to be influential in that.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if the US were to stop immunization programs, we could see an epidemic of diseases that are thought to be a thing of the past, such as measles or polio. The breakout of pertussis (whooping cough) in Japan is
an example of what could happen. In1975, when Japan stopped vaccinating against pertussis, the country saw a surge in the number of pertussis cases from only a few hundred to 13,000 cases. Despite the medical community’s belief that the benefits outweigh the risks, many patients seek compensation for injuries they claim are from vaccines. The United States Congress instituted the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) in 1988. People who are injured by vaccines may be compensated through the US Court
Photo by Andres Rueda on Flickr
People who are injured by vaccines may be compensated through the US Court of Federal claims, also known as the “vaccine court.”
of Federal claims, also known as the “vaccine court.” In January 2013, the vaccine court awarded two different children large sums of money for pain and suffering due to vaccines. One child, Ryan Mojabi was awarded $969,474.91. Another child, Emily Moller, was awarded $1,030,314.22, according to the Huffington Post. The government didn’t say specifically that the vaccines caused the childrens’ illnesses and the files were sealed. However both families were awarded money for medical costs and lifelong suffering due to brain dysfunction. A popular figure for the anti-vaccine movement is celebrity Jenny McCarthy. After her son developed autism, she brought the topic to the public eye in recent years. Frontline also covered the issue in a program called “Vaccine War.” Many parents are now opting out of vaccines and claiming damage to their child after vaccination. Meanwhile, doctors and health care professionals worry that fear of vaccines could lead to a rise of infectious diseases thought to be a thing of the past. Rios agrees that the younger generations just don’t know the real risk of the diseases of the past. She remembers what it was like to have the real threat of infectious disease. “I don’t want my child or my grandson going to school with a child that’s not vaccinated because you have to remember what life was like when those diseases were prevalent in school every day. You have to respect the people who don’t want it but also protect the people who choose to get it. I was born in 1962 so I remember a lot of that stuff. I had the measles. It was a scary thing. It’s just horrible. You’re covered with all these red bumps and it’s worse than the chicken pox, you feel HOT inside. It’s crazy, the measles are tough.” Durfee says, “If you have all the information, I think everybody should be able to make that decision.” d
Spring 2013 23
Graehme Field, The Fashion Designer
By Ashlie Fastino Layout by Liz Keating
t’s 3:30 in the morning and the tired designer is finally sewing the last bead onto a corset despite the resentment of his pin-pricked fingers. He can’t remember how long he’s been working on the ball gown; he estimates around 42 hours. The final cigarette of the night is lit, and he falls back into the arms of an army green La-Z-Boy. “Do I look like an Asian seamstress?” he says. “I don’t belong sewing in my mother’s basement like this. I belong hand in hand with Marc Jacobs, in Vogue magazines, vacationing to London for Fashion Week and probably in the alcohol treatment centers to be honest.” Graehme Field knew he wanted to be a fashion designer when he was five years old. “I would spend my days in pre-school in the dress up corner instead of slopping around in the sand with a dirty Tonka truck. My mother takes full responsibility for my passion for looking good, but it comes naturally.” After graduating from Tiverton High School, Graehme attended the Art Institute in New York for a bachelor’s degree in fashion design where he admits he let the city lifestyle blur his goals. “My first few years of college I literally never went to class. I would drink obscene amounts of vodka—the kinds that come in the plastic bottles—and roam the streets looking for thrift shops that sold leather and studs. Photo by Sung Pill Park
It is an absolute miracle that I even made it to graduation.” Trish Field, Graraehme’s mother, has always been her son’s biggest fan and supporter. “The boy has an extreme talent that I refused to let go to waste for as long as I could. I hounded him about school when he was at the Art Institute and even cut him off from his money supply a few times when his grades didn’t meet his capabilities. “Kids these days don’t realize that drinking and partying are activities that occur throughout your life. You can’t waste time when you’re young and wind up 40 years old with no accomplishments other than a hot bodies bar contest.” After Graehme graduated from college, Trish told her son that he had one more chance to make it big on her dime. He was accepted to the masters program at the Istituto Marangoni in Milan, Italy after beating the application deadline by two days. “At first I had no desire to move to another country for a year by myself without any of my friends and family. I could not speak Italian and was petrified that the plug for my hair straightener would not fit in those foreign outlets. But I packed about a hundred of my fabulous sweaters and my Versace leather pants and stopped eating for about a week before my flight. I wanted to fit in when I got there.”
Fitting in was extremely difficult to do not only because of the language barrier but also because Field felt unworthy standing next to the world’s youngest and greatest upcoming designers. Throughout his year at Marangoni, Field was able to make lasting friendships and regain inspiration despite the competitiveness of the degree he successfully earned in 2011. His roommate, Lauren Ostek, describes him in three words, “gay and fabulous.” She laughs uncontrollably reminiscing on their year spent in Italy and redeems herself with a heartfelt notion regarding the young designer, “Graehme Field has talent that far surpasses Alexander McQueen and Diane VonFurstenberg. His problem is not whether or not he is capable, but it’s how hard he is willing to work for it. He needs to find some sort of motivation within himself that he lost somewhere. I think that he just expected to become famous after college, but it doesn’t happen like that. The waiting game is not something he can get tired of, and he should use it to his advantage while he can. I do not doubt that his designs will be seen on runways worldwide someday. I believe in you, Chewy!” The completed ball gown is perfectly fitted to an antique mannequin that demands full attention in the center of the room. It will be sold to a client in New York City for about $4,600 and will allure new customers with its intricate beading and magnificent drapery. Between admiration and self-critique of the final product, he obsesses over his demand of perfection, “This is what I live for but the talent I have is not enough for me if I can’t rub it in the faces of all those who doubted and tortured me throughout the years. Especially those who have gained about 800 lbs since high school.” Dart
Spring 2013 25
R ES E I C R C O O S M E M
t’s a g-o-o-o-a-a-a-l! What a banana kick goal. The Ghanaian spectators were on their feet. Ghana women’s national soccer team, the Black Queens, had equalized against their Australian women’s national team opponent in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier at Gillette stadium, and I was there. I had saved my hard earned (under the table) money to be at this event — the first Word Cup game of my life — and as a native Ghanaian I was having the time of my life. I was born and raised Ghana, in a third world country where poverty is widespread — the majority of people make less than two dollars a day — and where soccer is our only competition with developed nations. Before coming to the 26
United States, I could not afford to pay my way to the stadiums to watch a game; I usually listened to the radio for commentary, or watched the games in the streets with thousands of other revelers. Maybe one out of ten household people in Ghana owns a television set, so when the national teams play, businesses along the streets bring out their television sets for the public to view. All different classes of people — rich and poor, women traders, “kayayoo” (young women as porters carrying heavy load on their heads), homeless, — all huddle around the television sets shouting and cheering “oh-say-he-yeee Ghana ooohh” (in the Twi dialect meaning “praises to Ghana”). During a game, most streets in Ghana are like being on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras.
I grew up with soccer, which became popular in Ghana in the 1950s just after independence. Ghana won its first African Cup of Nations (CAF) championship in 1963 and repeated in 1965. When Ghana made its first men’s World Cup appearance in 2006 where the Black Stars senior national team was eliminated by Brazil in the second round of the competition, I was in Afghanistan in the United States Army supporting Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). In Afghanistan, I was twice removed from both of my homelands — once from Ghana to the U.S. and again from the U.S. to Afghanistan. To make matters more detached, I was in the U.S. Armed Forces fighting a war for a country that is not my native home.
Photo by Peter Cottle on Flickr.
By Rufai Shardow Layout by Sasa Barbel
ur nd D
ti r a W
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I came to find that my passion for soccer was not shared by many of those fighting for my newfound homeland. When the United States national team was playing, my soldier compatriots in the 94th Brigade Support Battalion were more intent on playing dominoes than watching the games. But during the games I was glued to the television set in the mess hall, one that was ten feet above the ground with a Rifle Helmet Memorial Decal stuck to its side. Being two continents removed from home, I realized that soccer brought me closer to my native country, and was a welcomed distraction away from war in Afghanistan. Soccer brought great memories — it reminded me of the streets, friends, families and the fun times and traditions that I had. Most importantly, it took away the preoccupations of war, at least momentarily. During our off-days, my African and South American soldier counterparts and I played soccer with the Afghan interpreters. Prior to my enlistment, I went to my first World Cup event, a memory that I took with me and looked back on fondly during my time in Afghanistan. We left Fall River and drove to Gillette stadium around 2 p.m. in my cousin’s 1998 Lexus open top roof with the Ghanaian flag — red, gold with a star, and green — flying high through the open roof. When we got to the stadium the only thing missing in the parking lot were tailgate parties. There were Ghanaians, Australians, Americans, and other nationals at the stadium. It was a Sunday, and the game was at nineteen hundred
hours, seven o’clock in the United States. In Ghana, due to the Daylight saving, it was three o’clock in the afternoon, but we arrived two hours early to have a glimpse of the players and coaching staffs. Throughout our interaction in the parking lot and in the stadium we spoke in our different local dialects — Akan, Twi, Ga, and Hausa; we went “back to the root.” We formed a circle with the drummer in
“I was born and raised in a third world country, Ghana, where the majority of the people make less than two dollars a day.”
the middle. There was beating of drums, the “kpanlogo” drum and talking drum, singing and dancing. We sang Ga(s) songs that are usually created for animated performance in which one person sings and the rest respond. It brought memories of Basic Training, singing army cadences. The circle became bigger as more Ghanaians joined in. There were few cars in the parking lot, and a lot of empty parking spaces, but we didn’t care. The few Ghanaians who made the trip had Ghana’s flag displayed on their cars. Some had t-shirts
while others had baseball hats with Ghanaian colors. Some had painted the color – red, gold, green – on their faces. We celebrated for almost an hour at the parking lot before proceeding to the stadium. Inside the stadium, there were roughly 15,000 supporters watching the Ghana versus Australia game — a tiny contingent compared to the ten of thousands of seats in the cavernous stadium. But in Ghana, millions of people were riveted to their television sets watching it live. When I was at the game, celebrating, singing, and dancing, I could feel the energy of the ‘imagined community,’ the collective effervescence among us. The Australian national team, the Matildas scored first in the 74th minute. The few Australian enthusiasts behind us were on their feet, waiving their national flags with their faces painted — red, blue, and white — and jubilating, but we still had hope. Miraculously, in the 76th minute, Nana Gyamfuah, who came in as a substitute equalized the game with a goal for the Black Queens. The Ghanaian fans in the stadium went wild; I lost my voice for two whole days because of all the cheering. It was a colorful scene. Despite the low attendance at the stadium I was so happy to be there because of my beloved sport and celebrating my culture. It was much better than being on the front lines of the war. I look back on my time in Afghanistan and remember soccer as a lifeline to my home country and my native culture during wartime. Soccer was my own way of ‘binding the wounds’ of the distance away from my native Ghana in my new found home. d Dart
Spring 2013 27
ecently on campus a young, frightened-looking student scurried by me with an awkward look on his face. Moments later, I encountered a man who proclaimed "I just scared this faggot away by calling him gay to his face." This drunken individual then proceeded to brag to his comrades about the incident, giving out daps and pounds as though what he had just done made him more of a man. Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. Wes Breedwell, who had worked for seven years at a Nashville concert venue called "Rockettown," part of a self-proclaimed Christian, nonprofit, organization, was fired on Martin Luther King Jr. Day of this year for wearing a Hostage Calm band T-shirt, the back of which read "I Support Same Sex Marriage." In March of this year in Virginia, a music promoter named Tyler Greene referred to a merchandise salesman, Floyd James, at a concert headlined by a band called The Wonder Years, as a “faggot.” Greene described him in that way on the grounds that he was supposedly being short-changed. Mike Reynolds, guitarist for Christian band For Today, openly berated homosexuality saying "Don't be deceived, homosexuality is sin... No such thing as a gay Christian." But some bands in the seemingly unlikely “pop-punk” community have been speaking out against these and other incidents. Hostage Calm addressed the issue of Breedwell’s firing in an interview saying, "It's important to note that they didn't fire him for wearing a shirt. They fired him because of what that shirt stands for. For what that shirt threatens.” Some bands have even begun to re-route their tours to boycott Rockettown and similarly intolerant venues in order to take a stand both against this behavior and the ideologies those people represent. 28
Fans of pop-punk are taking action, too. Overhearing the “faggot” exchange between Green and James, fans took to Twitter and blogs to condemn Green’s bigotry. Because of the incident and the resulting Internet fervor, the promoter was made to give back his cut to the bands. Greene’s response to the situation, however, offered little self-awareness of his behavior. “I didn’t call him a faggot, I said he was being a faggot,” he said, as if one claim were better than the other. The band For Today was shamed into kicking their guitarist out of the group. The issue had nauseated Rou Reynolds, vocalist for a band called Enter Shikari who had toured with For Today in the past. Rou Reynolds claims “Music is a beautiful tool to educate ourselves with … so to anyone spouting these divisive and disgusting views, I say simply but vehemently, please educate yourself or put down your instrument.” Despite these types of incidents, James described the changing status of the music scene by saying “You’re seeing more people take a stand and realize that it takes everyone. The message has to be sent. Not to some bands, but to fans. You can’t cave in and go to his shows if your favorite bands play there. You have to say no and show your bands that you’re not going to go to a show there. It takes everyone getting involved, and you’re starting to see more of that.” The bands themselves have taken to heart what James describes not only in their tweets and social lives, but also through their songs. In their song “My Last Semester,” a critique of college, The Wonder Years depict this type of anti-homosexual mentality saying, “I'm just tired of this place. The homophobic bullshit that's somehow okay. Just because you didn't mean it that way.” And in a song called “Dynamite Shovel,” they describe someone “spewing rhetoric I thought was reserved for Westborough Baptists and lunatics like that.” Pop-punk fans are also echoing these sentiments. One such fan, Keith Murray, proclaims, "The use of homophobic slurs in a serious manner are not tolerated in the hardcore/punk rock community. The participants of this music community are sincere when the say that no one should be subject to abuse like that. Even if we come from different backgrounds and places, we're here for the music, and we accept anyone with an open mind and is respectful." Although today individuals who spew homophobic slurs are more the exception rather than the rule, bands are beginning to follow the Wonder Years’ lead and make sure that being anti-homosexual is no longer tolerated.
Photo by Torbakhopper on Flickr
By Marc Raineri Layout by Joshua Amarelo
Three Degrees of Television Everyone knows the six degrees of separation game. Let’s play it with three popular shows that are on television today. By Marissa Matton Layout by Liz Keating
1 2 3
Bones: Now in its eighth season, Fox’s Bones focuses on the partnership between
FBI Agent Seeley Booth and forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan. The series follows Dr. Brennan's team, which includes a pathologist, an entomologist, and a forensic artist, as they solve murders at the fictitious Jeffersonian Lab. As it turns out Dr. Brennan’s character is borrowed from a popular series of crime novels by Kathy Reichs. But the connections don’t stop there. The show may be based on a series of novels, but the novels themselves are based on their author Kathy Reichs’ own real-life work as a forensic anthropologist. Moreover, this all circles back again as the Bones version of Temperance Brennan is also a published author, having written a series of books inspired by her own work. Can you guess her novels' heroine? Yes, a forensic anthropologist named Kathy Reichs.
Castle: ABC’s Castle has a similar story, just in reverse. The show,
in its fifth season, revolves around the pairing of New York detective Kate Beckett and mystery novelist Richard Castle. On the show Castle wrote a novel, Heat Wave, modeling the main character after his partner. In 2009, after the first season, the book was published by Hyperion Books with the fictional Richard Castle as the author. The entirety of the book was written in character and, given its success on the New York Bestsellers List, three books followed after each season. The fifth book in what has become the Nikki Heat series is set to be released at the end of this season.
Bates Motel: One of the more notable crossovers to emerge this year is Bates Motel, which premiered in March. The name alone is an instant trigger for the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock movie, Psycho. The original movie about a murderous motel owner remains a classic thriller today. Bates Motel is a prequel to the movie, but set in the present. While everyone knows the movie Psycho, not as many know that it was based on a book with the same name written by Robert Bloch the year before. Even less known is that Norman Bates’ character inspired by the real-life story of Ed “The Mad Butcher” Gein who notoriously murdered two people in the late 1950s and was had a proclivity for exhuming corpses from cemeteries and fashioning trophies from their body parts. Gein has also served as the inspiration for several other fictional murderers including characters in The Silence of the Lambs, Leatherface, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the TV show American Horror Story: Asylum.
Spring 2013 29
28 Years of Good Vibes By Sloan Piva Layout by Sasa Barbel
n an early spring afternoon in 1985, UMass Dartmouth graphic designer Mike Mahoney’s life changed forever. While strolling through the campus halls, he was approached by two students, Terry Sullivan and Tim Richmond. Terry and Tim were desperate to replace two lead members of their band, who no-showed their gig at a nuclear disarmament protest rally in the quad. Terry and Tim were fans of Mike’s former band, Maxwell’s Demon, who he fronted with guitarist/artist and good friend Kenny Richards in the late 70s and up until 1983. Without hesitation, Mike called Kenny, and they decided to play the gig on a whim. “They said, ‘Come on, play with us,’” Mike recalls. “I said, ‘What? We’ve never played together before.’ But they said ‘we need you.’ So we grabbed our guitars and came back.”
says Kenny, the lead guitarist. “And so we did. 28 years later, we’re still doing it.” Throughout Pearly’s long, strange trip, founding members Terry, Tim, Mike and Kenny have picked up drummer, Jim Novick, and keyboardist Eric Costa. Most recently, the band added drummer Geoff Fortin to replace Terry, who unfortunately hurt his shoulder. Pearly Baker started playing Tuesday nights at a New Bedford dive in the north end called Mickey McQuaid’s, mostly because Kenny was playing every other night of the week. “We were playing in front of 15 to 20 people,” Kenny says. “Hell, we didn’t make any money, really. It was more just that we found a place to jam.” Then they got a job offer at the Sail Loft in the village of Padanaram in Dartmouth, followed by a stint at Gilligan’s on Pope’s Island in Fairhaven. Kenny says the band grew upset at Gilligan’s ownership for raising the cover charge and projecting an unloving vibe. “We asked them to treat our people nicely and not to raise the cover charge, but the temptation was too great,” says Kenny, who added a curse word, unusually contrasting his soft tone. “And they had muscleheads who used to push the stoners around. They didn’t really like the music or anything—it was not a comfortable place.” The band got approached by John Marks and Mike Paquitta, who offered Pearly Baker a permanent home at the Bullpen in the north end of New Bedford. An instant connection and mutual level of respect was formed, and Pearly and the Bullpen became synonymous with one
“The Grateful Dead’s music seemed to be made with the common man in mind” With their instruments in tow, Mike and Kenny raced to campus and convened for a quick rehearsal with Terry, a drummer, and Tim, a bassist. Huddled behind the administration building to decide on a set list, they realized that they all shared a mutual love of Grateful Dead music. This was the start of Pearly Baker, a band that continues to jam together nearly three decades later. “At the end of it we thought ‘wow, that was fun. Maybe we should do this again,’”
Spring 2013 31
other times mixing in Bob Dylan, the Allman Brothers and the Beatles. But they always play “in the spirit as the Dead.” “It’s improvisational music, which is very American,” says Kenny. “Like the Dead, we use American folk-based, Bluesbased, rock-based music as a vehicle to play improvisational music. We never play a song the same way twice, and we like to take chances.” Mike, the lead singer, echoes the sentiment that Pearly lives for the insusceptibility of the moment, and not so much for the mechanical nature of most modern records. They bask in the concept of playing off of each other, creating a moment in a succinct but not structured jam. “It’s that freedom to recreate the song from the bottom up,” Mike says. “Their songs are like do-it-yourself kits. There’s certain instructions— some people might call them the lyrics, or the chord patterns. But once you get the framework up, you’re free to do what you want. The audience allows you to fail—to take massive chances— on the hope that we’re gonna catch that ephemeral feeling where we’re not just band and audience, but one animal—breathing as one and moving as one.”
Top photo by: Tony Fischer on Flickr. Bottom photo by: Samiul Alam on Flickr. Opposite page photo by: Samiul Alam on Flickr
another. The band played on Tuesday nights at the Bullpen for 20 years straight until the club was sold. Since then, Pearly has bounced around New Bedford, first to the New Wave and then to the Black Watch Pub, both now closed. Then they made a brief return to the Bullpen, under new ownership, for about a month and a half, but the neighbors weren’t as fond of a Pearly homecoming as the band’s fans. Again on the move, the guys shipped over to their current venue, the Sixth Bristol on Ashley Boulevard. “We think we’ve found a really good home there,” says Kenny. “The people there are just amazing — really nice to us, it’s a nice set-up, and we sound really good in there.” After finally settling in with an indefinite home, where the cover charge never exceeds a minimal two dollars a person (the band’s wishes), Pearly Baker can just focus on the music. “It’s never been about the money,” Kenny says. “This is our church.” Mike, Kenny and the band don’t consider Pearly Baker a cover band, but rather a band that takes music and treats it the way the Grateful Dead would. They primarily play Dead songs, sometimes putting their own spin on classic sets, while
Meredith Smith, a longtime Pearly Baker fan, says she no longer lives in the area, but makes Pearly Tuesdays a top priority when she visits her hometown. She loves the raw talent they offer, and the personalized touch they put on the Dead’s music. “Certainly, the music they play is a big draw for me, since I am a big Grateful Dead fan,” says Smith. “But the band members themselves are extraordinarily talented musicians. They take great music and make it their own.” And at times, as the band will admit, they fall flat on their face. But most of the time, Pearly and its audience reach a connection that transforms the feeling in the air and takes the band to a higher place. “Something happens,” Kenny says. “It’s the interplay between the musicians and the audience, dancing in front of us and listening, and it’s like they’re the seventh member of the band. There’s a certain symbiotic relationship there.” Keyboardist Eric “Toad” Costa, who used to sneak in to see the band in 1993 before he turned 21, started playing with Pearly after getting the courage to ask Mike for an audition. He’s been hooked ever since. “The Grateful Dead’s music seemed to be made with the common man in mind,” says Toad. “So it seems to be a natural fit as a type of music for common men to cover. It’s just some damn fine and damn
fun music to play. If there’s no fun, there’s no payoff.” Toad says he feels an “otherworldly bodily force” when he’s “on” during performances, and that the whole band reaches invincibility when they all reach that level. “Then we can all forget about life for awhile,” he says. “We are the near perfect vessel for Grateful Dead music. [Their] music represents one of the last bastions of true American adventure, which involves taking a gamble in life and not resting on one’s laurels. Life is dull without taking risks. Pearly Baker takes a ton of risks every time we take a stage.” Kenny, an artist by day, loves the poetic words of the Grateful Dead. He sits in his art studio with a guitar nearby, keeping his two passions and forms of release within close distance. Like art, he loves the openness and uniqueness of the lyrics, and the fact that no song ever reveals all the information to the audience. The interpretation of the art can vary for each person. “You bring something of yourself to the lyrics,” he says, “and use it to speak to you. Different songs have meant different things to me at different times of my life.” And Mike and Kenny, who have jammed together since their late teens and played in Pearly since their early 30s, have experienced quite a bit in their four decades together. Mike says he learned from Stewart Copeland what keeps bands together. “Stu said, ‘either they’re really, really good friends, they’re really, really making a lot of money, or they really, really love the music. Any of those things in great enough quantity will keep a band together. The bet is when all three of them are mixed in there’ And that’s what we’ve really got—except the money part!” Toad says the collective friendship and love of the music has kept the band together, even in tough times. “It ain’t always smooth sailing,” he says. “But we are determined to get through with smiles, laughter and some good oldfashioned love.” Kenny wants the band to stay together until he dies. He’s 61 now, and expects to live until at least the age of 100. He paints during the day and plays music in the evenings, including Pearly Baker’s always-on-Tuesday-night jam. He says playing together has become almost like a drug for him and his bandmates.
“It’s addictive, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s really not anything heavier than that. Or maybe it’s the heaviest thing there is! We all love each other, we love the music, and we try to bring something new to it every week—to explore our love of the music, and see what we can bring to it.” Every April for Pearly Baker’s birthday, the band teams up with Bill Shell and Michelle Hampton of the United Way Hunger Commission, and plays a benefit show at the Zeiterion Theatre in downtown New Bedford. State Senator Mark Montigny serves as chairman and host of the event. “It was serendipitous,” Mike says of the band joining forces with United Way. “We were having our 25th birthday at the Bullpen, and I drove by the Zeiterion on the way home and said, ‘we should play the Zeiterion!’” So Mike called Kenny, as he had 25 years prior on that fateful day at UMass, and they decided to make it happen. They only wanted to do it if all benefits went to charity, so they called Mike’s friend, Senator Montigny, who recommended the Hunger Commission. The Pearly Baker Bash will be held April 6 this year. Until then, the guys will be rocking every Tuesday at the Sixth Bristol, starting at 9:30 and jamming until the early morning hours. They wouldn’t have it any other way, Kenny says. “I’m one of the luckiest people who ever lived. I don’t make a great living, but it’s a great life. When I die, I want to come back as me.” d
“It’s never been about the money. This is our church.”
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Art Never Sleeps Portrait of the Artist as a UMass Dartmouth Graduate Student
By Josette Cormier Layout by Andrew Tornetta
hile the rest of downtown New Bedford sleeps, lights burn in the windows of the UMass Dartmouth Star Store campus. It looks as though there’s a party going on in these early hours of the morning but a different sort of gathering is taking place. “I’ve worked ‘till two AM on my artwork and there have always been other people in the building with me working ‘till the building closes to make the most of their studio time,” according to graduate student Allison Elia. If the students could, they would stay even longer but the building must close by two. Yet time is easily forgotten as artists in various stages of their academic careers paint, mold, weld, print, weave, and sculpt their visions into tangible reality. Intermixed among the work and studio spaces scattered throughout the four-story historical landmark are signs of a life forged in learning. Sofas and easy chairs offer quiet study space and a place to rest after long hours spent working on a project. Some work spaces resemble tiny apartments with snacks and extra clothes strewn about among the paint brushes and canvases. The Star Store building is in a sense a home away from home for the students here, a different and otherworldly atmosphere compared to the hard lines and rigid structure of the main campus in Dartmouth. It is within this spirit of creativity that 17 Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree candidates prepare to venture out into the world of work with their masterpieces. Each year the Star Store campus hosts within its Crapo Gallery an MFA Thesis Exhibition event that showcases the portfolios of graduate students. This year’s show begins on April 6th.
“425” by Edmund J. Merricle II
Photo to left: “Heal” by Allison Elia
“In a State of Collapse ” by Susan Bauer
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“Instant Messenger” by Lindsay Pauline Mis
“Neverscapes” by Santh S. Enjeti
“A Fatale” by Brian DiNicola
“I won’t lie, graduate school has been challenging. I feel like I have learned how to walk all over again,” said Lindsay Mis (pronounced Meesh), a graduate student who will show her work at the event. “Before I arrived, I had a fairly traditional fine arts education and had been working professionally as a goldsmith for a few years before pursuing a master’s. As soon as I walked through the doors of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), I realized I wasn’t just going to be making diamond rings here.” The demands on the students by the faculty of the CVPA to put forth their best work leads to far more than just good grades. “Artwork became much more than a visual experience,” according to Mis. “My teachers taught me how to dig to the bottom of a thought and truly ask myself where it came from and what it meant.”
And the results now speak for themselves. “I learned how to ask myself ‘why’?” Mis says. “As an artist, I believe there is no better question to keep you investigating and working in the studio. This experience has been priceless.” Elia agrees. Originally from Stow, Ohio, she recalls a disappointing conversation with an undergraduate professor who discouraged her love of ceramics. “At first this crushed me, but then it gave me more determination than ever to continue in ceramics because I knew I could improve to the level of skill my paintings had.” She persisted with her dream and decided that UMass Dartmouth was the place to fulfill it. “Two years later I was accepted into the graduate program at UMass Dartmouth and my work has skyrocketed in artistic achievement since.”
As the students prepare to share their work with the countless people who visit the gallery throughout the show’s run, much work occurs behind the scenes as faculty and staff prepare the gallery. The exhibition is no mere after-school event, but a trial run of the types of shows the graduates will participate in as their careers continue to grow. The pieces selected for viewing are carefully chosen by the students’ thesis committees after a lengthy critique and acceptance process. All pieces must be of exhibition quality, according to Jessica Fernandes Gomes, the staff associate at the Star Store campus. The gallery director also meets with each student to ensure that each piece is ready to show and that any logistical details are dealt with long before visitors see the finished product.
An added benefit to participating in the exhibition is the chance to be selected for a second show at the Soprafina Gallery in Boston. The partnership between UMass and the gallery allows for select pieces to be displayed in a show in June. “The gallery director will make the final decision on which pieces are selected,” said Fernandes Gomes. The art showcased is purposefully selected because it is purposefully created. Mis explains that, “UMass allows you to have more available [to you as an artist and not just as an art student]; you’re not just in an art bubble. Your work can grow. The art is based on subjects everyone knows about.” Or as she later clarified, “You don’t have to be an artist to understand the art.” The Star Store campus is an all-in-one art center set up so that students learn their crafts and also understand the raw materials behind what they create. Students who work with fabrics learn how to mix their own dyes and some even grow their own plants to be later used for material fibers. Those who study ceramics study glaze making and develop new techniques and colors to use in their pieces. Artists dabble in biology and chemistry as easily as they lift a pastel crayon or carve a block of wood. “It means more when you know the science of it and make your own materials,” Mis says. But both Mis and Elia, like the other students participating in the exhibition, know that the science and creation behind their work comes from more than simply imaginative effort.
“Warm head (detail)” by Tyler James Hanatow
“Regeneration” by Zac Cheng
“Warm head” by Tyler James Hanatow
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“The Custodian” by Lindsay Pauline Mis
“Splatter” by Zac Cheng
“Treasures” by Brittany Savolainen
“I feel that my art has something very important to express and it would otherwise be unseen if I kept it within,” Elia said. The desire to share her gift with the world has motivated Elia throughout her studies. “I want to make art that has an impact, even if it is a quiet and heartfelt impact. Studying at the graduate level has helped me immensely to get my art to the level that I wanted it to reach.” The motivating factor for Mis to study at UMass was the appeal of the CVPA program. “I met Lasse Antonsen, the UMass gallery director at the time. He told me a lot about UMass Dartmouth’s long history in teaching craft, the diversity among each department, and large studio facilities.” She was also looking for a three year MFA program, which the school offered. “Upon visiting and seeing that the CVPA was in a historically rich city on the ocean, I was sold.” Their final semester is winding down and the graduate students are preparing to pack up the tools of their trades and move on to their professional careers. But Mis is still tweaking the pieces she will display at the show. Each 38
student’s work centers on a theme, and Mis’ theme is communication, or the lack of it, in a technology-dependent world. One piece in particular, titled Instant Messenger, has two live individuals communicating on either side of a clear, Plexiglas board. Their writing often crosses as they soundlessly convey their feelings to each other instantaneously.
“Graduate school has been so challenging. I feel like I’ve learned how to walk all over again.” In the world of art, this multidimensional piece speaks volumes. Mis described it this way: “Many people are so willing to express themselves behind a screen; we forget to communicate with those right in front of us.” As the exhibition begins to take shape, the pieces on display will communicate the passion and soul of each student. It will make those late nights spent in the Star Store campus seem well worth it. d
“End Table” by Ryan Blackwell
“Cradled Hive” by Robert L. Greene
A Role Model Ages for the
By Marissa Matton Layout by Joshua Amarelo
Nancy Drew graphic by Carla216 on Flickr
ancy lived a life of adventure. She was someone I wanted to be, or at the very least know. She was a world traveler leading a life of mystery, exploration, and suspense. She was inspiring, and quite frankly, made me pretty jealous. Ashley Merrill, 31, a community college professor, agrees. “Nancy could do anything she decided to do … She never gave up. She never walked away from a mystery or from the people who needed her. And even if I couldn't always be as fearless or brave or adventurous as Nancy, I wanted to be.” However, when people hear her name today, they likely will think “outdated,” or “old-fashioned” rather than intrepid and exciting. The Nancy I am referring to is Nancy Drew. Yes, that Nancy — someone with whom the young girls of today would do well to become acquainted. Born from the need to reach the young female fan base that The Hardy Boys weren’t connecting with, Nancy — perpetually eighteen, fearless, and smart — has remained an inspirational model for young women for over eight decades. With fifty-six books published in the 1930s in the original series alone, it was easy to get to know Nancy. What’s even more remarkable, though, is that she’s lived on past those fifty-six books and there are now a whopping three hundred plus books in the series that make up the legacy of Nancy Drew including contemporary series’ Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew for young children, The Nancy Drew Files for young-adult readers, and the most recent iteration, the Nancy Drew Diaries, which debuted in February 2013. Today, however, Nancy Drew is anything but “old fashioned.” In 2009, Entertainment Weekly included her in their list of the “20 All-Time Coolest Heroes in Popular Culture.” The reasoning behind giving her a place among heroes (even ranking her ahead of Batman) and action film stars was that she was one of the first female heroes for young girls. Sixteen-year-old, Shelly is one of those girls. She began
reading Nancy Drew at five-years-old and in the years since, Nancy has left a lasting impression on her. “Nancy Drew is a friend I can turn to when I need comfort, a reminder of my childhood, or just a good read.” Therein also lies the answer to the phenomena of eighty years of popularity. For most, a love of Nancy Drew is one that’s not easily grown out of. She’s the friend girls can turn to in times of distress and a role model we can be proud to pass down to the next generation of women. What mother who was once a young fan of Nancy Drew herself wouldn't want to provide her daughter with a strong, smart, brave, and adventurous female role model, all while encouraging an enjoyment of reading? Today’s popular young-adult series’ like The Hunger Games, and Twilight pale in comparison to Nancy Drew, and for good reason. Relevant to young readers for over eighty years, Nancy has a staying power that Katniss and Bella will likely never match. With fans of Nancy Drew such as Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor and former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — themselves highly influential women — it’s easy to see the long-lasting effect that reading the series can have. Nancy Drew has remained a beloved character for over eight decades and it’s hard to imagine she won’t remain one for another eight. Young and old, readers have been able to fall in love with Nancy’s world of adventure and will likely continue to do so generation after generation.
Entertainment Weekly included her in their last of the “20 All-Time Coolest Heroes in Popular Culture.”
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The Future of Campus Now that the library renovations are finally complete, what else is in store for the UMD campus?
By Ashley Fastino Layout by Tanya Almeida
eter Duffy, Associate Vice Chancellor of Facilities Management compares the campus to a car that has been neglected by its driver and has deteriorated as a result. “That is what has happened here at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth,” says Duffy. Maintenance has been not been a priority, and according to him, “the campus has suffered accordingly.” But the completion of recent renovations to the Claire T. Carney Library offers many a sense of hope for other campus improvements. With a modern wall of windows lining the new building, students are beginning to see the light within Paul Rudolph’s Brutalist concrete jungle. “If that’s the direction that UMass is going then I am excited,” said Sarah Sherman, a senior at UMD. It’s a perspective that many students share. “It doesn’t even look like it’s attached to the campus. I am glad they are finally catching up with the times.”
Photo by Deirdre Confar
Photo By Mikala Kesselman
Duffy recalls his own experience as a student at UMD and says that he was amazed to see little difference on campus when he returned in November 2012 as a member of the facilities team. One of his personal priorities for campus rejuvenation is to make use of all 700 acres of land to offer a beautiful walk to class and productive things to do outside of schoolwork. “I have hopes that the Ring Road campus will someday be the eye catcher of the university.”
like ‘backs,’” said Hayes. “I would like to explore the transition and transformation of the buildings to be more outward facing and thus more welcoming.” But before that happens, practical concerns need to be addressed. One update is an energy savings project in its second phase: a tri-generation gas turbine that will be completed this summer and will address the heating/cooling issues of all buildings on campus.
“I like the look of the library. If that’s the direction that UMass is going then I am excited. It doesn’t even look like it’s attached to the campus. I am glad they are finally catching up with the times.” His ambitions are echoed by Director of Facilities Planning, Design and Construction, Michael Hayes, who hopes to reinvent the landscape and campus buildings. “We have explored several creative solutions that have allowed more adaptive use,” he said. Both Duffy and Hayes want to give the UMD campus a more approachable appearance while enhancing Rudolph’s unique architecture. “All of the original buildings on the innermost circle face towards the quad. The façades toward the parking lots seem
But it’s not just the systems making students feel cold. “It’s like the lack of color that makes the buildings seem 10 degrees colder than it is outside,” said Matthew Georgianna, a senior at UMD. “You just have to remember to bring a sweatshirt to some classes.” However, Duffy says that “students should not be accustomed to wearing their winter coats to a certain classroom on a cold day.” “Important renovations need to be our main focus before making the campus pretty.” d Dart
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Sustainability is very important at UMass Dartmouth, and now with the new construction to the library, the school has opted to take the most environmentally conscious approach possible.
Image courtesy of cumulusphoto.umassd.edu
By Mike McCarthy Layout by Andrew Nichols
hen Paul Rudolph designed the master plan for the campus in 1963, making an environmentally friendly piece of architecture was not at the forefront of his mind, and probably not on his mind at all. Sustainable construction, as Rudolph saw it, would have meant the architecture’s ability to be unforgettable and groundbreaking, rather than a building that is conscious of its impact on the environment. “Back in the 1960s it just wasn’t on anyone’s radar and buildings were just constructed with a different mind-set,” Ben Youtz, an architect with the firm designLAB says. “So this building was built with really no energy conservation in mind, but that’s not uncommon.” Youtz was the lead architect for the project, in charge of the design of the addition. Sitting on a walnut bench in the library’s new café, surrounded by his belongings, a jacket, a tube hold design plans, and a crinkled FedEx envelope, he speaks frankly about the lack of insulation in Rudolph’s concrete blocks and the use of single pane glazing for all the windows on campus, which, as anyone who has tried to study near an atrium window can attest to, offers no buffer from wind tunnel the campus green becomes in the winter. Now, due to an executive order from Governor Deval Patrick, all construction projects under the Commonwealth’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance must exceed Massachusetts energy code requirements, reduce water consumption, have a smart growth plan and be certified for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). In order to achieve LEED certification, buildings must apply to the U.S. Green Building Council, a third party organization whose standards for building efficiency and sustainability have become the national benchmark. The glass and steel box, designed to be the library’s new entrance, uses double pane glazing, as do all the windows in the renovated library. Between the panes of glass, a pocket of air acts an insulator. Even the steel frame is thermally broken, no piece continues from the interior to exterior of the building, to prevent the conductive metal from radiating heat. To ensure that the proposals for the renovation and addition would meet the criteria set by Gov. Patrick, the design specifications were analyzed through an energy model. The model returns detailed statistics on energy efficiency based on material performance ratings and the environmental factors of the site. The data revealed that the preliminary plans for the renovation would not be enough to bring the building up to code. In fact, the addition, which had been
predicted to be the energy hog of project, exceeded the standards set by the state. “We built a glass box,” Jennifer McGrory says. “That should be very inefficient and we thought that was going to be the driver of a lot of problems and solutions.” McGrory, of Austin Architects, was the lead architect of the renovation team. “What we learned was the renovation was going to drive almost all the decisions in the project. The existing building used more than seven times the energy of the addition. The envelope, the exterior of the building, was losing a tremendous amount of energy. It was using 46 BTUs per square foot for heating, double what a new building would use, and its cooling load was equivalent to a hospital.” Sitting in the new, light-filled office of Catherine Fortier-Barnes, the Assistant Dean of the library, McGrory laughs at the absurdity of the library’s cooling load. Hospitals, unlike libraries, have equipment generating a great deal of heat and patients expecting a level of comfort. Stacks of books and relatively few computers were sucking up as much cold air as MRI machines and laboratory equipment.
“The existing building used more than seven times the energy of the addition...It was using 46 BTUs per square foot for heating, double what a new building would use, and its cooling load was equivalent to a hospital.” “I can’t even being to wonder what goes on with that type of loss,” McGrory speculates, motioning towards the science and engineering building next door. For Catherine Fortier-Barnes, who spends the majority of her workweek in the library, the inefficacies of the outdated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system were glaringly obvious. “It seemed like it was one big switch for the whole building and it didn’t work very often,” Fortier-Barnes says of the old system. The original HVAC system operated with a freedom that only the 1960s could provide. In a world ignorant of the impending energy crisis, extra units were installed to pump hot or cold air into poorly insulated areas of the building and technology did not exist to allow the units to communicate via a centralized, climate-controlling computer. The renovation ties all of the ventilation system together, installing brand new units in the basement and on the rooftop. An energy recovery system now
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Photos courtesy of cumulusphoto.umassd.edu
allows the exhausted air to be put to work instead of simply being expelled from the building. “There’s no reason 70 degree air can’t be used to heat something else,” McGrory says. “We’re capturing its warmth to help pre-heat other elements.” New lighting fixtures using LED lights reduced energy consumption by a considerable margin as well, as did the reconfiguration of the interior of the building. By eliminating walled off offices, which had sprung up in the library’s cantilevers, the five-sided overhangs protruding out of the building, the renovation team was able to increase the ability of sunlight to seep into the interior of the library. “Just bringing more natural light into the building was huge,” Fortier-Barnes says, sitting in front of her office window and looking out on first floor computer banks and grand reading room, both filled with students and sunlight. “To me what makes one of the biggest differences in the whole building is the stack lay out. Before, the stacks would run north-south and now, we’ve got them running east-west, which allows natural light to come in. In some areas, the third floor especially, we lowered the height of the stacks. This allowed us to open the stacks on the upper floors, and bring more space for people, rather than collections.” The most infrequently requested components of the collection have moved into a new climate-controlled basement storage area. “The collections are still here, but they’re in a space that’s good for them,” Fortier-Barnes says. “So we’ve got really fine, nice quality space being taken up by people, rather books.” “It was Rudolph’s intention to have the library as the center of the campus plan, being the main academic space for discourse and collaboration and social interaction among students,” Ben Youtz says. “I think, over time, that vision was lost for various reasons. What we’ve done here, in adding technology that students want to use pulls them back here and gets discourse going again. Also just the visual intrigue and excitement. It’s lively, it’s lit well and comfortable to be in. I love it at the end of the day and the evenings when it’s a glowing box beckoning people in. ‘Come in here. Be warm.’” d
Sustainability Initiative Students may not know it, but UMass Dartmouth is a top university for promoting economic, environmental, and social sustainability. By Michael Williams Layout by Essence Smith
Photo by Nick Saltmarsh on Flickr
“I’ve worked here since freshman year, and I still have no idea what we actually do,” said the young woman sitting inside the Sustainability Office. “I just do what they tell me.” Although in her third year as part of a research team for the Sustainability Office, this student, like many others, does not understand the Sustainability Initiative, which challenges UMD to consider how people and the planet coexist. While people often assume that the windmill on campus is the Sustainability Initiative’s crowning achievement, since 2007 the office has saved the school over $125,000 with research and development projects. In fact, UMass Dartmouth is one of only five universities to earn an A from the Global Reporting Initiative, a non-profit organization that promotes economic, environmental and social sustainability. One major focus of the office is giving students a sense of how much waste we produce, how much it costs to get rid of it, and how much is redeemable as recycling. One waste awareness project was the Clean Plate Project at the residential dining hall on campus, which collected the half-eaten food that students usually threw away.
“It really amazed people to see how much food goes to waste here,” said Tory Costa, a sustainability major who operated one of the tables last semester and saw first hand how projects like this make people more aware of how much food they wasted in the dining hall and to encourage people to take realistic portions from the buffet.
“It really amazed people to see how much food goes to waste here” Another focus is to find smart ways to consolidate night classes into one building on campus to save thousands of dollars in electricity each year. “Sustainability is a much bigger deal than people realize,” said Costa. “It affects everyone, cost of tuition, room and board, the whole shebang. As it gets more expensive to keep the campus running who do you think floats the bill?”
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Eating Sustainably On Campus By Kevin Gaffney Layout by Caitlin Krim
re Umass Dartmouth’s students and faculty eating their way to a sustainable future? For the thousands who dine on campus each day, the answer is yes! The residential dining hall Market Place participates in wide variety of sustainable efforts, ranging from diligent recycling of materials and food to buying locally grown produce that is both beneficial to the environment, and your health. In a time of economic recession Chartwell dinning services’ sustainable acts are also financially favorable, saving large sums of money by simply going green.
composting and mixing the leftovers with animal feed. This is sustainable because composting effectively turns the food into rich soil that helps grow healthy new produce. The food made into animal feed ensures that the livestock are eating the right foods. “We connected with South Eastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP) and Sid Wainer and Son of New Bedford, our primary producer. The farmers sell to him and he sells it to us. We also have farmers that use FoodEx that delivers their produce directly to us.” The dinning service managers try to keep the food as local and as fresh as possible.
Photos by UMass Dartmouth PhotoGraphics
The residential dining hall Market Place participates in wide variety of sustainable efforts, ranging from diligent recycling of materials and food to buying locally grown produce that is both beneficial to the environment, and your health. Nancy Wiseman the Director of Board Operations of the dinning services describes where we get our produce and how we save waste. “All of these things, if we were not to do them it would create 210 tons of waste, but we recycle and reuse all of it. If we paid for all of it to be picked up it would cost about 15,000 dollars in removal.” Rather than throwing away the leftover food and produce trimmings, Dartmouth recycles the waste through
Nancy Wiseman explained that we can even track were we receive our seafood down to the very boat that it was caught on. This is a huge step forward in the pursuit of a sustainable society. Caitlyn Moakley, Umass Dartmouth senior, sustainability activist, and vegan, shares her opinion about our support of local farms and farmers. “I think it's a great thing. There's most likely going to be less chemicals and pesticides on
the food because it doesn't have to be transported far and kept fresh. We should be supporting local businesses rather than big companies.” Most students are trying to go green these days as well. With rising awareness of pollution, climate change and healthy eating, they support and approve of the dinning service’s sustainable efforts. Simply eating the locally grown foods can benefit the environment and your health. “We’ve made a huge effort in terms of serving more vegetarian and vegan foods, which and good for the students and reduces our carbon foot print. We are definitely stepping up our game in serving sustainable foods.” Wiseman explains their recent efforts to serve healthier foods. Students are more productive and healthy when they are eating good foods. Our society is in a constant fight to reduce our carbon foot print, serving more vegetables is just one of the many paths they have taken to reduce their carbon emissions. Moakely describes some of the benefits of having a plant based diet. “Veganism helps with weight loss, decreases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and lowers cholesterol. Contrary to popular belief, the vegan diet does satisfy the body's need for proteins and vitamins if it is done correctly.” Umass Dartmouth’s dining service is not only creating a green future for the environment but its students as well by providing them with sustainable food options, and creating healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Along with serving locally grown food and recycling dining services participates in many small everyday efforts. Some of these efforts include providing sample plates so that students can try food before they serve themselves an entire plate. Also Project Clean Plate has students dump all of their leftover food into a clear barrel to promote awareness of how much they waste and the importance of recycling. According to Weisman, “We are always looking for new ways to be sustainable. We are in an age where people are more environmentally conscious and plan for the future.” d Dart
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UMASS DARTMOUTH STUDENTS HELP THE LOCAL ECONOMY THRIVE By Jonathan Faria Layout By Kelsey Garrity
n the Friday evening before the Super Bowl, 80-90 cases of discounted Budweiser were wheeled into Town Liquors for a special delivery as students prepared for a weekend of entertainment. “They will all be gone soon,” owner Yogi Patel said, referring to the beer, as customers already began inquiring about prices of a case before they reached the cooler. Town Liquors has been the closest liquor store to the campus for years, relying on UMass students for much of their business. Mutually, the students rely on Town Liquors for similar bargains on alcohol throughout the semester. Town Liquors, along with other businesses like Walgreens, Palace Pizza, and Lebanese Pita Pocket have benefited from being located so close to the University. “Location is definitely an advantage,” said Palace Pizza manager, Andrew Zahariadis. However, despite their location Zahariadis says that the students aren’t their main clientele.
The restaurant does receive business from UMass, but Palace Pizza doesn’t rely on their business as heavily as Town Liquors. “They probably make up 45% of customers,” Patel said. When asked if the liquor store could survive without UMass Dartmouth, Patel laughed and said, “Probably not.” While other area liquor stores further from UMass Dartmouth such as Lizzie’s Liquors and Cardoza’s Wine and Spirits don’t see much of a difference in sales with each semester, Sunni Patel, owner of Cardoza’s, still believes the presence of the University is important to the entire local economy. “There are over 9,000 students. The university helps every business from food and grocery to gas. Not just liquor stores,” Patel said. “They help keep the local economy moving.” Two of the biggest shopping centers in the area, the Dartmouth Mall and Dartmouth Towne Center, provide a wide variety of products. Most of the stores rely mainly on local customers for business, but many stores find that the UMass crowd does help. Assistant manager at Pacific Sunwear in the mall, Alison Vasques, says that while there are more locals in her store, there is a significant difference in traffic during the school year as the typical college shopping spots tend to enjoy a sales boost. Senior game advisor at GameStop in the mall, Jesse-James Cooper also knows the significance of Umass Dartmouth students for businesses. Cooper said, “It does help provide more people.” Cooper also stressed the importance of visibility to profit from the temporary population increase each semester. “Our GameStop outside [in the Dartmouth Towne Center] probably gets more UMass kids. It can be seen from Route 6. If they’re not from the area, they don’t know there’s a GameStop in the mall.” In 2011, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth enrolled 9,225 students according to the school’s website. While most of the students at UMass Dartmouth commute or take online courses, over 4,000 live on campus, which means there are that many more people living in the area spending money. The University of Massachusetts’ website reported
Dartmouth’s campus helped generate $356 million in economic activity in 2010. Dartmouth provided the smallest economic impact of the UMass campuses by at least $134 million, while UMass Amherst reportedly generated $1.434 billion. However, even while comparatively less successful, there is still no doubt of the school’s importance to the Dartmouth community. UMass students aren’t only good for spending money though. The University of Massachusetts’ report also said that UMass Dartmouth helped generate 1,329 external jobs in the Dartmouth, New Bedford, and Fall River areas. Many local businesses have part-time UMass student employees, including both Cardoza’s Wine and Spirits and Town Liquors. Sunni Patel believed in the benefits of hiring students because of their approach toward the work. He said, “The students are very excited to learn. They really enjoy to learn about the business.” Yogi Patel (not related to Sunni), took a different view of the perks of hiring UMass students. According to Patel, “There is a benefit because when students are in session it brings business, plus when the students leave the employees leave with them. We never have to give them a layoff.” While many Dartmouth businesses are still trying to tap into the well of potential customers at UMass Dartmouth, a few, like Town Liquors, have found it to be their niche. Town Liquors cashier, Holliann Medeiros said jokingly, “Everyone takes their money to Target or Walmart. Actually, the liquor stores.” While the stores closest to UMass take most of the profit for now, the expanding route of the university’s Dart van increases the reach of the students’ dollars. As it is, the Dart van stops at Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Stop & Shop, Best Buy, Walmart, and Walgreens. Medeiros believes the Dart van could help businesses further from the campus. She said, “With it, more people have access to the stores in the Dartmouth area.” Along with this semester’s additional destinations made for the Dart van, creating even more stops for the university transportation could help connect the rest of the local businesses with the well of potential customers. d
“There are over 9,000 students. The university helps every business from food and grocery to gas. Not just liquor stores... They help keep the local economy moving.”
Spring 2013 49
Keeper of the Records The Ins and Outs of the UMass Dartmouth Registrar’s Office
he complaint was all too familiar. “I don’t understand. I graduated last spring. Why isn’t my degree on my transcript?” It took some effort to calm the irate caller, but in the end the Registrar’s Office was able to solve the mystery of the missing degree. With a couple of emails and a phone call to the appropriate department, the degree was posted less than an hour later. 50
"We wear many hats in this office,” said Zora Valentine, a 20 year veteran of the office, “but what students want most is someone to listen to them. And when that's not helping, politeness and smiles go a long way too." Politeness and smiles are only two of the myriad offerings the office provides. Tucked into a corner of the first floor of the Foster Administration Building, the Registrar’s Office is not the most
impressive looking office, but certainly a busy one. Apart from the gray walls and furniture that distinguish the space, the wall of files that stretches from the floor to the ceiling is a testament to the careful record-keeping that takes place there. More files fill drawers and sit in precarious stacks on file cabinets and the floor, a reminder of the thousands of students who have passed through the University’s doors over the years.
Photo by UMass Dartmouth PhotoGraphics
By Josette Cormier Layout by Caitlin Krim
It is certainly a hectic place, made more so by calls like the one above and the long lines out the door at the start of each semester. Over the years the unofficial opinion is that the Registrar’s Office has the answers to any question a student can come up with. Students navigate the often frustrating red tape of college bureaucracy only to end up at the Registrar’s Office where in most cases they will leave satisfied and with their questions answered. So why is it that many on campus have no idea just what goes on there?
“Everything ends up here. This office is the hub of the school. It’s the central place for everything that has to do with a student.” Students offer a few descriptions: "It's where I go get my transcripts," "I think I dropped a class there once" or "Where is that?" Yet the mystique that surrounds the office is far more interesting than what actually takes place there. Officially, the office is responsible for a vast number of programmatic issues — changes of major, additions of minors, directed studies, independent studies, transfer credits, degree audits, course overloads, roster corrections, pass/fail courses, adding and dropping classes, applications for graduation — to name just a few. And in between this chaos the office is also the official keeper of the student body’s academic records, the warden of transcripts, degree certifications and admissions applications that date back to the days of UMass Dartmouth’s incarnations as SMU, the Swain School and earlier. Lena Brown, the office supervisor and a 30-plus year employee in the department, put it this way: "Everything ends up here. This office is the hub of the school. It's the central place for everything that has to do with a student." Without the painstaking attention to detail that takes place there,
students would be hard-pressed to be able to track their academic progress throughout their college years and beyond. As the number of students entering the University each year increases, so does the amount of paper needed to keep track of them. Nowhere is this more evident than in the number of transcripts the office generates on any given day. "Transcripts are probably what we do the most," according to Deanna Hoffman, another office staff member. "Sometimes we have dozens of requests a day and some of those go back decades where we have to go digging for a folder from the 1960s or 70s." Whenever a student, or a faculty or staff member, for that matter, has a question that needs answering or is just looking for some assurance that things are running smoothly, a stop at the Registrar’s Office should alleviate those concerns. "Every time I've come into the office everyone's been really helpful," said Stephanie Pereira, a senior and Sociology major. "I can come in with questions and not feel like I'll be given the runaround. If someone doesn't know the answers to my questions they don't just say, 'Sorry, we can't help you'. They really make an effort to help me fix my issues." And issues arrive at the office door in abundance each day. "Problems come here," Brown explained. "Students go to other departments to get some things done, like register for a class, but when something goes wrong or it doesn't work they come here." This was more than evident during the first week of the Spring 2013 semester when over 385 walk-ins and dozens of calls kept staff busy meeting the endless requests of incoming, current and graduating students, as well as University faculty and staff. "This year surprised me. We've had quite a few students in here," Valentine said as students filed past her desk. In that first week many questions related to adding and dropping course and applying for fall graduation but the steady stream of visitors kept staff on their toes. "We do whatever we can for the students who come here, so long as it's not anything illegal or immoral for love or money," she joked. d
Transcript Request Process For Current Students and Recent Graduates
• Drop by the Registrar’s office and complete a transcript request form
OR • Download the transcript request form from the Registrar’s home page at www.umassd.edu/ registrar • Scan it onto a computer then fax or email it to the Registrar’s Office
Ten transcripts can be requested at a time and the office can mail them to wherever a student wants. No charge will be applied.
Registrar Office Fax: 508-999-8633 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Spring 2013 51
Dr. Tara Lyons
The Path That Led Her to UMD.
red haired, blue eyed, thin woman with coffee in her hand, English professor Tara Lyons is the first person to admit with a smile on her face that caffeine is what keeps her going daily. But it isn’t just a cup of coffee that motivates her to come to school everyday, it is her strong dedication to her students. Her positive demeanor and willingness to help students at any time are evident as soon as you walk into her office. “I did my first two years at a Community College, Illinois Valley Community College, which was about twenty minutes away from my home and was a great economical choice,” smiled Lyons. “I received several small scholarships so I could go to college for a pretty low price.” When she finished her undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois, she had to make a decision between going to law school (to which she had been accepted) and getting her PhD in English. She loved the idea of research, developing a project, as well as writing about it. But, like many students graduating today she was frightened by the job market. “When I applied for teaching jobs, there were only sixty jobs available in the country for English teaching jobs,” said Lyons. “I understood it was going to be challenge to get a job. I got into law school and I decided that I would go for the English master’s degree. I completed the master’s degree and then decided to get my PhD to further my interest in doing my own research.” 52
PhD in hand, Lyons arrived at UMass Dartmouth in Fall 2009 and began teaching various literature courses. The hard work ethic of her students here at UMass Dartmouth inspires professor Lyons every day. “The students don’t feel entitled and students genuinely ask questions, not because they are going to be on a midterm or a final. I see myself in my students at UMass Dartmouth sometimes.” She does her own research on top of being a full time professor. The research she is doing now has a gender element. She is looking at elements of a book and the ways that the texts are brought together. When asked how she does it, she smiles and says, “I try to follow the advice of my college advisor. She always used to say if you are going to take three classes in the in the spring, then you need to put three days towards teaching and two days for research.” Of course, she can’t always follow that, and she needs to cut into the time of teaching. She runs into the challenges of grading papers on time, preparing for classes, and the stress of life that gets into the way. “You have to accept that there is the give and take,” said Lyons. “Nothing is going to be perfect and I have come to realize this.” I would always write about women, issues of reproduction, and issues of representation, while taking my undergraduate degree. I wrote an article about male birth fantasies, and men who wish they that they could reproduce.”
Photo by Gina Rampino
By Lisa Graves Layout by Joshua Amarelo
Professor Lyons was awarded the Chancellor’s Innovation Award in 2011, an award given to a faculty member whose teaching is considered engaging and effective by peers. She was honored to accept the award but she says the reason she won this award is solely because of her students. Korey Pimental, a junior English major, is one of those students and has had professor Lyons for two semesters now. If he had the opportunity he would take every single class with her. “Professor Lyons is very enthusiastic about what she teaches,” said Pimental. “She also cares deeply about the success of her students. Professor Lyons was always so welcoming during her office hours and willing to explain things in more than one way if I struggled with it the first time.” Professor Richard Larschan, a tenured professor, was involved with the hiring process when professor Lyons was hired. He observed her teaching a year ago because the faculty is required to perform peer evaluations. He noticed while observing her that she deals with plays that have a fair amount of blood and guts. “She is not squeamish, or prudish. She is very realistic and is not sugar
The hard work ethic of her students here at UMass Dartmouth inspires professor Lyons every day.
coating the texts.” He mentioned that there were 150 applicants looking for her job. They narrowed it down to about five and brought three on campus. “I was supposed to pick her up at airport but I got sick. Originally I told her that I have a striking resemblance to Brad Pitt. When she came here in September she said, ‘Of course, I was supposed to recognize you because of Brad Pitt.’ She has a winning personality and she knows how to engage with colleagues.” d Dart
Spring 2013 53
Addressing UMass Dartmouth’s $15 Million Budget Shortfall
e’ve just put a band-aid on it,” said Director of Student Affairs Dr. David Milstone, reflecting on the past handling of the UMass Dartmouth budget deficit. If you ask UMass Dartmouth students, you will find that not many know about these past “bandaids,” yet most are aware of the this fiscal year’s injury, a $15 million one. With the 2013 fiscal budget balanced, Chancellor Divina Grossman recounts the many short-term fixes and acknowledges that the search for permanent solutions in fiscal year 2014 will be ever more challenging. “The university will have to take some bitter medicine in order to grow in the long term,” said Grossman. In a mid-January town-hall meeting, the new chancellor made the community aware of a $15 million shortfall. Hailing from Florida, a state with strict transparency laws, Chancellor Grossman asserts, “I have 22 years of transparency under my belt and would find it difficult to do the opposite.”
The intent of the town hall meeting was to create an environment where community members could feel connected to budget decisions. Milstone also believes that “closed door discussions hinder progress.” Junior Marven-Rhode Hyppolite agrees. As a member of the Student Government Association and political science major, he feels that the “UMass system is not transparent with its money.” There is “a black curtain,” he says. “We don’t know where our money is going.” In past years, Hyppolite has been on a quest to understand how the budget works, making numerous attempts to obtain the UMass Dartmouth budget to no avail. Today he thinks, “Chancellor Grossman and the current administration are more willing to discuss things and are more open to student recommendations than past administrations.” The Chief Operating Officer of UMass Dartmouth, Deb McLoughlin has now made budget decisions available online, as well as made numerous in-person presentations including one at a student government meeting. She cites many reasons for the budget shortfall.
Photo by: StockMonkeys.com
By Jacob Miller Layout by Mario Marzano
“I feel across the board reductions do not work because treating programs equally is not strategic. When a program is strong and produces results, it should not be effected by a cut.”
Tuition Costs Among Umass Schools UMass Amherst: • In state tuition $13,230 • Out of state tuition $26,645 UMass Boston: • In state tuition $5,983 • Out of state tuition $13,075 UMass Dartmouth:
“The causes include a drop in state and federal allocations and a $6 million financial aid over-allocation.” She stressed that everyone who received aid money deserved it and that this greater student need will be factored into future budgets. Financial aid is currently 18% of UMass Dartmouth’s budget compared to 8% in 2003. “There is not a month that goes by where I don’t receive an e-mail about students having to leave college for financial reasons,” Grossman echoes. Escaping the 2013 budget crisis by the skin of its teeth, the campus leadership “took from reserves, delayed contributions to the reserves, and instituted a hiring freeze,” McLoughlin said. The reserves are accounts that the university keeps to act as a rainy-day fund, for times of need like the present. “I feel across the board reductions do not work because treating programs equally is not strategic,” said Grossman. “When a program is strong and produces results, it should not be effected by a cut.”
Going forward, the university is looking into the way everyday tasks are executed, finding efficiencies in energy costs and contracts with vendors and consolidating departments and courses. “There are courses across colleges with the same objectives that have the potential to be consolidated,” she said. “Student success is the main goal of budget decisions.” Once the stabilization is complete, the chancellor wants to focus on fixing the university’s $226 million in deferred maintenance, which would build and renovate campus buildings. Other focuses would be on providing students with more scholarships and solidifying UMass Dartmouth’s place as a worldrenowned research institution. “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste,” says Grossman. As the bitter medicine of the 2013 budget starts to take effect, Grossman is at work on the 2014 budget, which she will make public before fiscal year 2014 begins on July 1, 2013. d
• In state tuition $11,681 • Out of state tuition $23,028 UMass Lowell: • In state tuition $10,282 • Out of state tuition $10,282
Spring 2013 55
Thinking about Getting an Exotic Pet? Think Again! By Jonathan Faria Layout By Nicole Wilhelm
n African spurred tortoise, or sulcata tortoise, might as well be a modern dinosaur. It can grow to around three feet long and weigh 100-200 lbs. (Only the Galapagos tortoise and Aldabra Giant tortoise are larger.) It lives on a specific diet of vegetables and few fruits, and being from Africa, requires heat and space to roam. Living 50 to 150 years, a sulcata tortoise is anything but easy to care for, but Massachusetts’ residents can own one without a permit. However, just because you can own an African spurred tortoise doesn’t mean that you should. “Every [animal] is totally different. Some need a desert climate, some need a tropical climate” said Troy Deterra, co-owner of Cold Blooded Pets & Supplies in Acushnet, who spends most of his day giving advice and information on exotic pets. “You have to match the care to where they come from.” Some prospective exotic pet owners fall prey to the impulse buy, said Deterra. In these cases, they don’t consider the effort that comes with owning exotic animals. Prior research is crucial to picking the ideal animal for a person’s lifestyle. Turtles, for example, are often misjudged as juveniles. “Some get to one pound. Others get to two hundred pounds,” Deterra said. A young sulcata tortoise is the same size as any other tortoise, so without reviewing the specifics, a buyer could be getting much more than they bargained for years down the road. Iguanas are the top reptile for impulse buys, due to their relatively low cost and easy care. To avoid impulse buyers, Cold Blooded Pets doesn’t typically carry iguanas or similar lizards. As iguanas age they tend to become less friendly, and less desirable. “Everyone thinks it’s cute,” said Dettera. “Then they’re attacking their kids and they want to get rid of it. They’re the number one type of lizard to get rid of.” 56
Marla Isaac, owner of New England Reptile and Raptor Exhibits in Taunton, sees her own share of unwanted iguanas. In the past, many iguanas Isaac saw had jaw and bone disorders due to improper care, but that trend has slowly decreased. She believes exotic animal education is slowly improving, but there are still many issues with education. For over 30 years, Isaac has taken in unwanted or confiscated reptiles and birds of prey from organizations like animal control, the Southcoast Humane Society, and the Boston Animal Rescue League. She often gives the rescued animals to zoos or similar educational groups, but also uses them in her own educational shows around the region to raise awareness of animal life. “I don’t have them for my own pleasure. I use them as teaching tools,” she said. “Their lives and stories show the do’s and don’ts of owning animals.” One of Isaac’s more famous animals, Eddy the alligator, was found with a pit bull in an abandoned New Bedford apartment. Left without food or water, the pit bull began eating Eddy, until the two were finally rescued by animal control. Isaac adopted the alligator to avoid the only other option: euthanasia. “They feed the animals human food, because they don’t understand. They’re making junk food junkies out of the animals,” said Isaac. A healthy diet for exotic animals can be particularly difficult to keep up with. One example is the varying diet of tortoises. While one type, like the sulcata, eats mainly vegetables with limited sugary fruits, other types, like the red-footed tortoise, might need an equal balance of fruits and veggies, along with higher protein requirements. While online sources can have contrasting information on animal care, asking a trusted animal expert is the best way to learn about a specific animal’s requirements. Improper housing for an animal also poses a common problem for pet owners. Many animals develop disease or even die from
Photos clockwise from top left: Yeowatzup on Flickr, Carmen Queasy
a lack of specific temperature, humidity level, and other needed nutrients or habitat conditions. Bone disease in reptiles develops from missing ultraviolet light typically absorbed from the sun. These UV rays help the animals process calcium in their body, keeping bones strong. Special UV lights are used for indoor reptiles to make up for the shortage of natural sun exposure, promoting appetite and other natural habits. Boredom also poses a threat to animals. Isaac said providing fake plants or other objects in an animal’s enclosure will help stimulate brain development and lead to a happier pet. Cold-blooded animals aren’t the only exotic pet with different needs than cats and dogs. Leah Machado of New Bedford, owns an African pigmy hedgehog named Harvey Dent (yes, like the Batman character). Among Harvey’s needs are oatmeal baths for his skin and temperatures of no more than 80 degrees, but no less than 60. Colder temperatures can cause hedgehogs to go into hibernation and die, said Machado. “It’s not necessarily hard, but it’s just a lot of little things you need to remember to do,” she said regarding Harvey’s care. Machado said she researched hedgehog care for three months before buying Harvey from an online breeder in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. “I knew what I was getting into and what I needed to do before I got him,” said Machado, who did not recommend hedgehogs for unprepared owners. Although impulse buying often leads to regrettable ownership, uneducated buying isn’t the largest cause of exotic pet abandonment. Deterra said in most cases, changes in personal life force people out of exotic pet ownership, whether an owner moves into a smaller living space or has less time to care for the animal. Deterra also said some reptiles are sold in poor condition from corporate pet stores, whose main offerings are not reptiles or other exotics. Without immediate help to slow a developing illness, an animal can die without the owner having any idea why. If you see animals kept improperly in a store, experts suggest not buying them. While you may be saving one animal, you only encourage the store to carry similar animals and continue the chain of poor keeping. Instead, either inform the store of their mishandling, or report them to animal control or other similar organizations. With correct care, many exotic pets can live long lives. So, if you think you can handle the responsibility of owning an African spurred tortoise, then prepare for a lifetime of memories with your heavy-set friend. d
Spring 2013 57
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