December 11, 2016

The Art of Trendsetting

By: Kristen Soriano

Imagine walking to the center front of a stage with the spotlight directly beaming on you. Everyone in the audience is watching. Your worse critic is front row. Don’t screw up. You can’t screw up.

A handful of individuals, if not all, have certainly felt like this at some point in their lives. Especially, when deciding what to wear in the morning and having a “mini” breakdown when you can’t find anything to put on.

But why do some stress over what they wear? Is it “just” clothes? Or, do they hold some sort of meaning?

“An outfit is more than just top and bottom. It is who we are when no one is looking, who we are when everyone is looking, and who we are when we’re alone,” says Victoria Cardona, a student from Syracuse University.

Cesar Calixto, a third-year student at John Jay adds, “The way we dress is a way we communicate to others a little of who we are without having to say a word. That’s the beauty of it. We get to wear stuff that speak for us.”

To some, style may revolve around individuality, however, for others it may not. People get bullied and made fun of for looking a particular way, and therefore, the constant pressure of following the crowd is reinforced. Though some fall victim to looking and speaking like their peers as a result, there are others who embrace the stares and the name-calling.

Alaina Leary shares her “Haters Gonna Hate, But I’m Still Gonna Wear Stripped Socks, Tiny Hats and Tutus” story on Seventeen’s website where she reveals her deep love for alternative fashion.

“I did the craziest thing imaginable: I wore what I actually wanted to wear in middle school. I put on my striped socks and layers of colorful bracelets, well knowing that I’d be stared at.”

Although she earned nicknames like “The Tutu Girl” both in middle and high school, Leary did not let it stop her from wearing what she wanted to wear.

“Dressing this way gives me a reason to be excited to get up in the morning, which was one of my original reasons for doing it. It fosters and nurtures my creative spirit, and allows me to utilize my love of visual design on a daily basis,” she says.

The scariest thing may be being afraid to look different than the rest, but as Lauren Conrad, former reality star and designer of Paper Crown, notes in her Style book, “There’s a lot of noise out there, from Dos and Don’ts lists to indexes of What’s Hot and What’s Not. Frankly, it’s nearly impossible to keep track. In my opinion, though, being a real fashion victim has nothing to do with breaking these sorts of rules: It’s trying to dress like someone you’re not.”

To pay attention to what others have to say in school, or not care—that is the question.

Conrad says, “Getting dressed should be fun, because everything we wear says something about who we are—from the pattern on a shirt to the length and color of a skirt. If I could do it [school] over, this would be my motto: Be brave and be different.”

From the minute you wake up to the second you fall asleep, social media is up and running. It plays a significant role in every day life. It even plays a larger role in fashion. Designers, clothing stores, makeup brands, YouTube Gurus, bloggers all use social media because of the enormous impact it has. It is an outlet for inspiration everywhere.

When asked about what she thinks of social media, Stephanie Garcia, known as a style expert to her friends says, “I think social media is awesome. It’s a way for everyone to stay connected and inspire one another. I follow a bunch of bloggers on Instagram and if they post a look that I really love, I’ll try to recreate it with the pieces I have in my own closet.”

When asked about the relationship between bullying and what one wears, Destiny Soriano says, “It’s the 21st century. No one really judges anyone anymore in terms of clothing. People aren’t called “nerds” or “geeks.” The “cool people” are pretty much friends with everyone. These days, it’s all about being open. Respect, too. We respect each other on a level that maybe didn’t even exist before.”

Fashion evokes the meaning of being who you really are, not following the shadows of others. Style is making fashion your own. The real trendsetting is accepting and embracing the differences in everyone standing in front of you.

Soriano adds, “Life is about expressing yourself. It’s about what makes you happy. It’s not caring about what anyone thinks because it’s you who has the power over your body and emotions. Other people don’t have a say. Don’t let them have a say. There’s a reason why you are on this Earth, because you have a purpose and it’s not following what other people do, say, or wear.”

Did we forget about Environmental Justice?

By: Christos Almeida

In the basement of the New Building on level L3, a floor uncharted by most students, exists the humming of machines and the racket of equipment that keeps the New Building comfortable for all its occupants. From a steamy room riddled with pipes providing heat on cold days, to a windy room of massive metal vents filled with fans circulating air; this is where the heat, water and energy needs for the New Building is dispensed.

Construction for the New Building began in 2007, as an expansion for John Jay, and opened in 2011 for classes. Although the building may look like a contemporary, state-of-the-art facility, the reality is much different.

“CUNY spent something like 700 million dollars to build this building, almost three quarters of a billion dollars. Think about that, the number is unbelievable,” Steven Waxman, Director of Automation/Administrative Superintendent, said. “We get a couple million dollars a year to have staff and stuff to run it.”

Since the New Building first opened, the ever smaller management department tries to get the New Building to be as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible. Due to its lay-out and construction, attempting to achieve this tall order has proven difficult and near unattainable.

“We are not even a LEED building or an Energy Star building. So right off the bat you already know that everything that we have, came from every single thing you can imagine that is not earth friendly,” Kristin Craig a member from the Environmental Club said.

Even after the construction of the New Building, there has been a great deal of concerns in trying to convert the building to be sustainable. One of the major sustainability problems that the New Building faces is the exorbitant amount of energy used by the building to regulate temperature and keep all lights plus electronics running.

“The library, club Row, individual faculty offices, they all have individual appliances and computers… the littlest appliance, even a little coffee machine…nothing is ever shut off,” Craig said. Hubba Attique, Vice President of the Environmental Club also explained, “The stairways and the hall ways actually use tube lights, rather than led lights, that’s energy consuming and not energy efficient.”

Unlike a regular commercial building which maintains normal business hours from 9AM-5PM, the New Building operates from 7AM-11PM to accommodate classes from early in the morning until late at night. For 16 hour days the New Building is constantly expending energy, and not always in the most efficient manner.

The New Building is also afflicted with multiple environmental worries including the bottled water for vending machines as well as the recycling issue. “Recycling shouldn’t be a problem but since students aren’t properly educated on what can be recycled it makes it worse for facilities,” Craig explained. “City College has water refill stations, Lehman had a building built almost the same year as this [building] and their’s is almost 100% renewable, they have rain water collectors, solar panels, roof heaters, and we were almost built the same year so why aren’t we like that.”

The Environmental Club is doing their best to tackle these concerns by spreading awareness to the John Jay Community through workshops, film festivals and meetings. “Our eventual goal is to maybe to build a garden upstairs in the rooftop of the New Building, the roof top is a huge area and we are not doing anything with it,” Poon said.

On the management side, Steven Waxman along with his department have been slowly implementing peak/off peak hours to try and minimize energy use throughout the day. But progress is difficult being understaffed, and with a budget of about a couple million dollars. “We’ve gone from highly inefficient to somewhat inefficient… we’ve done a lot with what we can,” Waxman said.

A major source of friction for Waxman and the Environmental Club is the lack of support from the leadership, and the bureaucracy within John Jay College. “Climate change and being sustainable is not a big concern with the student government at all, or in the students or faculty in general” said Poon.

With a more environmentally friendly New Building, Waxman advocates that John Jay will not only benefit economically, having more money available for additional programs, faculty, and the student body, but also morally.

“I think if it’s understood that this is a place where this is thought about, were this is studied, where its taking seriously institutionally, that’s going to attract a certain level of student, attract a certain level of faculty that wants to be involved with it and that would be a tremendous benefit for john jay as a learning institution… this is an issue of justice and we should be walking the walk,” said Waxman.

Students Feeling The Bern

By: Ravenne Reid

Her mind and mouth work in sync as she formulates her next argument. The posters and stickers plastered along her bedroom walls emphasize the rhetoric that Bernie Sanders has her support no matter what. Although she prides herself on good judgment, her biggest challengers are convinced otherwise. She calls them Mom and Dad.

“My parents and I have disagreements about this every day. They’re voting for Hillary,” said Rachel Spence, a junior at John Jay, as she rolled her eyes. “I would have, but Bernie represents everything that I’m passionate about- civil rights, equal pay, and things like that. So, he definitely has my vote.”

This student is one of many who have been feeling the Bern. With his stance on key issues like free college education, healthcare reform, and corporate regulation, he has won the majority of support from millennials.

In the New York primary, which took place on April 19th, an exit poll by the New York Times showed that Bernie won 65% of the vote in people under the age of 30. That was the only age demographic where he received more than half the vote. Whereas Hillary’s strongest lead was 73% in people 65 and older.

Clinton, who served as a former First Lady, Secretary of State, and Senator of New York for eight years, was thought to be the sure winner of the Democratic nomination. However, Sanders, who was born in New York and went on to become the Senator of Vermont, has been giving her a run for her money. However, lately, his chances of becoming the nominee are debatable.

One of the few critiques of Bernie’s policies is his tendency to overpromise. Instead of being praised for their optimism, Sanders fans have been criticized for wanting “free stuff.” According to Eugene Glukh, a 19 year old political activist and student at University of North Carolina at Greensboro, this is a common misconception of Bernie enthusiasts.

Glukh, who created the blog Ugene’s Politics and A Teen 4 Bernie on Twitter, has a combination of over 10,000 followers. Despite his age, he represents a majority of young voters who share the same views on the Senator.

“People like to come down on Bernie because he wants to make college education and healthcare a right, instead of a privilege,” he said. “It wasn’t that long ago when public education was made available universally, so it will happen with college as well. Especially with Bernie’s economic plans to impose tax on Wall Street, which affects the income of the working middle class every day. He’s helping the bottom by starting from the top. Unlike Hillary, he knows what has to be done to give the American people hope again.”

Both candidates have the qualifications, experience, and knowledge that are required of, arguably, the toughest job in America. However, when approximately fifty John Jay students are asked who the most viable contender is, there is an overwhelming response for Sanders.

“There are things that Bernie wants to do that will alleviate the stress and poverty that is on the shrinking middle and lower class,” said Shayne Courtemanche, a senior. “The one percent is made up of millionaires and billionaires that find loopholes in the law, so we need to tax them to let the money trickle down to people like us.”

The statement, “people like us,” comes up constantly when young voters discuss the likelihood of Sanders becoming president. With his refusal to take donations from big businesses and plans to take down Wall Street, which was responsible for the 2008 financial crisis, Bernie has been regarded as a once-in-a-lifetime candidate.

“Bernie has been fighting for the same things for years- longer than Hillary even existed in the media,” said Courtemanche. “While he’s supported equal opportunities all his life, Hillary was against the rights of gays and saw black people as an obstacle. I don’t believe that what she’s saying is sincere. It’s all coming from the Super PACs and the people that are paying her to seem appealing again.”

Clinton’s support of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, which federally defined marriage as a union between opposite-sex couples, has been one of the primary examples in showcasing her tendency to “flip-flop” on issues. As well as the crime bill of 1994, which built more prisons and implemented harsher sentencing. However, despite the fact that Bernie also supported this proposal, Clinton is the only candidate receiving backlash for it.

“Bernie supporters need to stop blaming everything on Hillary,” said Anisah Singh, a freshman. “She apologized for the crime bill and changed her stance on gay marriage. It’s not flip-flopping, it’s called a change of heart. Everyone does that, so why can’t Hillary? She’s more qualified and learned from her mistakes.”

Unlike Singh’s, the reasoning behind other Clinton supporters at John Jay is not an optimistic one. A sophomore, Austin Morales, was apathetic in his response when he said, “Hillary has more delegates.”

According to Associated Press, out of the 2,383 delegates needed to be the nominee, Hillary has acquired 2,165 as of May 1st. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders trails behind with 1,357.

Clinton supporters among the younger crowd are more interested in numbers, where she is in fact leading. As for the older generation, Spence acknowledges another reason as to why the frontrunner has come this far.

“She’s realistic and that’s what my family is trying to drill into me,” she said. “But, when you grow up hearing your parents complain about how high the rent is or how little they’re making at their dead-end job, it encourages you to want better.”

Hope is a common theme found among Sanders supporters, especially now when most students have adopted an “Anyone but Donald Trump” ideology. The business mogul and Republican frontrunner has risen in the polls thanks to a loyal following. However, his views on some aspects like illegal immigrants, Muslims, and women are enough to make Bernie enthusiasts swallow their pride and support Clinton if she becomes the nominee.

“We cannot have Trump in power,” Courtemanche said adamantly. “He’s racist, sexist, xenophobic, and if it comes down to it, I will vote for Hillary if she gets the nomination.”

Like this student, voters may have to make the tough decision of electing a candidate who they consider dishonest or one whose political correctness is virtually non-existent. When this is taken into consideration, Bernie supporters believe that they are justified in their opinions

“Would you rather want a president who’s been on the right side of history for seventy years or seven?” said Spence. “And, since we’re talking about Hillary, I even think seven is an overstatement.”

Superheroing 101

By: Tariq Sims

On March 25th Batman V. Superman hit theaters and instantly caused chaos within the fanbase. Like its predecessor, Man of Steel, it features a darker version of Superman. After the events of Man of Steel, Superman is being held accountable by Batman for all the damage that has been caused since his first public appearance. Batman decides he must prepare to fight Superman, and if needed, kill him.

This has been an ongoing trend for years, taking a known superhero and reimagining them in a darker, more realistic light. It, and other superhero movies, helped to breathe new life into the dying medium of comic books.

So why do we like dark and edgy superheroes? 

The idea of darker and edgier superheroes stemmed from what is called The Dark Age of Comic Books. It began with Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore’s Watchmen, both published in 1986. These comics deconstructed the superhero genre that had been established at this point, and started to add more political and psychological statements and more graphic depictions of violence.

The most impactful idea to come from The Dark Age is that not all superheroes are the pictures of purity. They were starting to be shown as individuals with psychological issues and violent tendencies.

A lot of heroes have gotten a redesign, after The Dark Age rebooted them. One of those rebooted heroes was Batman. After The Dark Knight Returns, Batman was made a lot more serious, and the blue and light grey costume he wore was replaced with a black and darker grey one. Batman has still been well-received as a hero and had a squadron of fans.

“I liked him because he doesn’t have any powers and he’s always looking out for what’s best even if it’s at his expense,” Ieasha Galloway, a graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice said. “His trauma fuels him. He’s a hero because he doesn’t want others to experience what he’s been through.”

“Part of the allure of superheroes is that they give people a figure to look up to. A figure that, at the end of the day, ultimately prevails in what he or she is doing,” Jamel Burroughs, LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) and a licensed psychotherapist in New York, said. “The more psychologically damaged characters provide someone to relate to.”

Batman V Superman, and by extension, Man of Steel, has shown a drastically different Superman than any of the previous incarnations of Superman to hit the big screen. Throughout the movie, one of his biggest struggles was that he felt like he was outsider, since he is from another planet.

“He’s not perfect, and he struggles to do what he thinks is right and balance that with what other people think of him,” John Mooney, a 21 year old senior, said. “He has flaws and suffers emotionally because of it. Personally, I like it.”

Relating to a superhero is part of the reason why people like them. Viewers are made to see these heroes and heroines as the ideal individuals.

Superheroes also satisfy the idea of escapism. Escapism is something that exists to distract a person from any unwanted, unpleasant or unnerving thoughts, and provide an escape for them. A person read a comic, or saw a movie and now wants to imagine that they are that hero that they have seen, without the pressing issues in their own lives. It’s not just superheroes that have done this. Almost anything that a person can take an interest in can be a form of escapism, from stamp collecting to base jumping, from music to art. Some individuals with depression have used the idea of escapism to temporarily relieve their depression.

“Escapism is a form of coping, also known as avoidance coping,” Burroughs said. “With this, a person could take some negative stimuli from his or her life, and push it away by bringing their attention to anything that can be a distraction.”

Projection and hope are two reasons that people like superheroes, according to Galloway. “They want to believe that they and others out there who want to do good just for good. They want to believe that something greater can happen and sometimes they want to see themselves as the hero.”

Batman V Superman has brought back a trend stemming from Ancient Greek times, according to Mooney. “Like the Greeks before us, we like seeing our idols in their own flawed image. It shows that even super powered beings have similar emotions to us and how they struggle in situations make them more human.”

Richard Felipe, a 22 year old senior, thought that the escapist idea was something that superheroes represented. “Be it the personality, the body, the life they live, etcetera. You can imagine yourself as that hero”

The changing times have also changed things about heroes. Spider-Man’s alias is Peter Parker. When he was first introduced in Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962), he was a 15 year old high school student with a love for science. In 2016, Peter Parker now owns his own company.

Bright Future Ahead for Athletics

By Nicholas Tejeda Editor

During the Spring 2013 semester Carol Kashow, John Jay’s athletic director, was appointed to take over an athletics department that was in disarray. Just a month before she was appointed, both the men’s basketball team and the school’s rifle team were competing for the Conference Finals in their respective sports.

Since then the men’s basketball team have posted an 11-21 record against other CUNYAC (CUNY’s Athletic Conference) teams in the past two seasons. Records like these are not limited to men’s basketball, as most John Jay teams have had records below .500 since the 2012-13 season, numbers that do not impress John Jay students.

“It is definitely a missed opportunity that our teams do not perform well,” said Ajahnae Raven McClarke, a junior. “If teams play well, people will come out and support and school spirit will grow from that.”

John Jay’s sports teams are not performing as well as students would like, but the Department of Athletics and Recreation has looked to improve the program from the ground up to recover from the chaos left behind by former Athletics Director Dan Palumbo.
“It was a problem,” Kashow said. “When I came in the department was not much of a department, there was resentment and we had a lot of cleaning up.”

Kashow came to John Jay with a long and successful history in sports. From 1979 to 1991 she was the head softball and badminton coach at Drexel University. After coaching at Drexel she moved on to coach softball at Temple University from 1991 to 1997. She ended her coaching career at the University of Pennsylvania, where she coached softball from 1997 to 2003. Kashow also served as Hunter College’s athletics director from 2005 to 2008, and Hostos Community College from 2008-2013.

Senior goalkeeper Andrea Antoni, has played for the women’s soccer team under both Palumbo and Kashow. Antoni, who was recently named a CUNYAC all-star, says the difference between the two is night and day.

“As a freshman, my first impression of the athletics department was that it was unorganized, unmotivated, and unproductive. My biggest concern was that the treatment of teams was unequal. Fortunately, with Carol Kashow as the current athletics director, the goal is to provide John Jay Student-Athletes with a positive, Division One-like experience; each team in the department is given the same opportunities.”

The unfair treatment that Antoni mentions is one of the many accusations against Palumbo, who is remembered for providing a big chunk of resources to the baseball team. The team that he was also the head coach for.

Since she took over the John Jay program, Kashow has looked to change the culture of the athletics department. She has hired new coaches, new personnel, and emphasized recruiting quality players from around the country, who produce on the court and in the classroom.

Athletes have a support team of academic counselors they are required to regularly report to in order to maintain good grades.

“We believe that success in the classroom translates directly to success on the court and beyond,” said Brandon Fieland, the sports information director for the athletics program.

Fieland, who was hired by Kashow, notices the progress of the Athletics Department and the change of culture and philosophy within the program.

“Students have bought into the program’s philosophy of recruiting. They are succeeding in the classroom and competing harder than ever,” he said.

For John Jay students, this change is starting to show on the scoreboards. John Jay College had a heavy presence in the postseason in a variety of sports.

Men’s soccer defeated Baruch 1-0 in the quarterfinals to reach the semifinals, where they fell to the College of Staten Island. The women’s soccer team made it to the postseason for the first time in two seasons. Woman’s volleyball hosted their first playoff match ever after tying the program’s best number of wins in the regular season. They also made it to the semis, where they fell to Baruch.

John Jay athletes are also being rewarded individually within the CUNYAC. Graysen Carlson, a senior forward for the men’s soccer team, was named CUNYAC player of the year. Andrea Antoni and Kimberly Guzman of the women’s soccer team were named to the CUNYAC all-stars second team. Junior Richard Brienza of the men’s cross-country team was named Performer of the Year. Senior cross-country runner Tevin Brown was named a CUNYAC all-star.

Director Kashow is well aware of the challenge ahead of her and is up to the task. “The ultimate goal is to get all of our teams to the NCAA tournament. Are we there yet? No. Do I think we will be there one day? Yes. Becoming a good program is not an overnight process, but we come in here every day and we work harder, recruit better, and the results are beginning to show. Compare where we were five years ago and compare it now, and you will see that improvements have been made.”

Community vs. NYPD Aspiring Cops React to Deadly Shooting

By Javier Calderon

On Gold Street outside the two glass doors of the 84th Precinct in Brooklyn, two pictures lie side by side of Officer Wenjian Liu and Officer Rafael Ramos.

On December 20, 2014, both officers were shot point-blank range and killed in their patrol car by Ismaaiyl Brinsley. Before making his way up to Brooklyn from Baltimore, Brinsley, suggested on social media that he planned to kill police officers in anger over the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases.

The fatal shooting would be the first of three incidences that have led to the death of four New York City police officers over the past year. On May 2, Officer Brian Moore, who followed in his father’s footsteps to become a police officer, was shot and killed while patrolling a residential neighborhood in Queens. The most recent incident was the death of Officer Randolph Holder, shot in the head and killed on October 21, while chasing a gunman down in Harlem.

Each of these officers under the age of 35 risked their lives to protect their community. However, the tension between the community and law enforcement continues to grow and become more hostile. It leaves the question of whether or not joining the NYPD is the correct career path for young students out of college.

After college, many of the young cadets that graduate from the police academy are put directly out into the field. “It is different for officers who work out in the field,” said Steven Litwen a detective for Brooklyn’s Cold Case Division. For those young cadets, training only last six months and you are dumped into a community that most the time you are unfamiliar with.

The police officer with the 77th precinct in Crown Heights Brooklyn with six and a half years experience on the job, was straight forward about working in unfamiliar neighborhoods and the dangers that come with it. “The job is always going to be dangerous, and most the time you are put into a situation where you have to deal with people who are for the most part disturbed and it’s hard to know how to act in situations like that…it really comes down to the department and the need for more training.”

More police training is not a new topic of discussion. Over the past year, a lot of the talks about police training have become more extensive due to several police brutality cases such as the case of Eric Garner, where a Staten Island police officer put Mr. Garner in a chokehold leading to his death. The incident sparked several protest in New York City and around the nation.

Not only have the police brutality cases sparked protests, but they have also created a divide between the people of the community and police officers, each of them falling on opposite sides of the spectrum. The shaky and unstable conflict between the police and the community has left several students second-guessing a career path with the NYPD.

Stephanie Rodriguez 22, a recent graduate from John Jay College, who wanted nothing more as a kid but to follow her mother’s footsteps in becoming a NYPD police officer, has chosen to depart from her childhood dream and choose a different career path in sports management. This is due to the recent conflicts between the community and law enforcement officials. “It is just not the same anymore…You are under so much pressure as a cop now and even my mother who has over 20 years on the job thinks that joining now would be a mistake for the younger generation because the tension between the community and police officers is only getting worse,” said Ms. Rodriguez.

Not all students feel the same however. Rillind Jonbalaj, a senior at John Jay College, who was asked about officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos affect his decision to join said, “No, death can happen at any moment, it does not matter whether you are a police officer on duty or not, death is a part of life.”

Death is, in fact, a part of life and Evelin Gutierreza, a detective for Brooklyn’s cold case division. He worked 21 years on the job and is afraid the killing of police officers this year is not over. “It is usually around the holiday times when we see another tragic death, and it is a sad time when you have to report that type of incident to an officer’s family…it’s just not right.”

Although relations with the community and the NYPD continue to grow apart and become more dangerous for police officers, on June 22, Mayor Bill De Blasio announced because of a new budget deal, New York City is going to add 1,300 new cops to the city’s payroll.

New York City is already the home of the largest police force in the country. According to the New York City’s website, there are approximately 34,500 police officers in the NYPD. With 1,300 more officers on the way, it puts much pressure on to the department to “serve and protect” over 8.4 million people in New York City.

Along with the pressure from the community, much pressure of being a police officer comes with leaving your family every day to worry at home. Detective Jason Palamara states, “My family tends to worry a lot about me and what I do…they know it is a dangerous job, but they understand that…it still doesn’t stop them from feeling worried when I don’t call back.”

Interpreting Horrendous Crimes Through Art

By Nicholas Tejeda Editor

On Tuesday, Dec. 2, Assistant Professor Irina Zakirova, alongside Professor Bill Pangburn, and Professor Julio Valentine hosted an art contest in John Jay’s Anya and Andrew Shiva Art Gallery. The contest, which was open to John Jay students, required the artists to take a story from Professor Zakirova’s book, The Pain Within My Soul: Short Stories About Crime And Life.

In her book, Zakirova, a Russian native, looks to her past as a police officer and crime journalist to share personal experiences and insight into a variety of different crimes, explaining both the impact it’s had on the victims and looking at the causation of crime in general.

“Nothing is simple in causes which lead to crime. It is first and foremost pain, which always accompanied these people to crime. I have pain in my soul for all of them, “Zakirova said.

The book, which is a compilation of various short stories, is used as a supplementary readings to students in different sections of Law and Police science courses. “We all know the text can be dry,” said Professor Valentine, to a group of about 20 students. “But Professor Z’s book offers students the chance to grasp the dry material through stories.” Students in the contest were encouraged to use any art form to detail their interpretation of one of the many short stories. The winners received prize gift cards, paid for by the Faculty Student Engagement Fund. Along with cash prizes, the winners will also have their art displayed in professor Zakirova’s next edition of the book.

Interested in reading The Pain Within My Soul: Short Stories About Crime And Life? It is currently up for sale on and

Married to Your Major or Open Relationship?

By Cintia Feliz

Think about it. Graduation day has finally arrived after four long years. You now have your gown and cap. However, your hands and legs are shaking. You look around, and you notice familiar faces, people you have not met yet, your family and teachers. They call your name, and your heart starts beating. The first thing that comes to your mind is, “Am I being punked?”

That is what Christopher Ferrerias, a John Jay graduate who majored in English, first thought when he walked on stage to receive his diploma last May. He felt a sense of relief knowing that he had picked the right major, stuck with it through his final college years and is now ready to start his career.

Many college students feel pressured to pick a major that is right for them because they feel that this type of decision will have a huge impact on their lives. However, picking a specific major does not always mean you have to stick with it for your whole life.

“When I chose my major, I didn’t know if you could make a good living with my major and that was a huge concern for my parents. However, I learned that, when you’re really good at what you do, you’ll do well. It all comes back to having passion,” said Kenneth Holmes, the Dean of Students and Assistant Vice President at John Jay.

Holmes, who earned his bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Masters in Higher Education, first started as a pre-pharmacy student. However, he later changed his mind when he realized how much he loved interacting with students.

“When I was in college, I worked in campus activities. I would help clubs make signs and posters. I loved engaging with students.”

The same passion that Holmes had for his major was the same passion Ferrerias had with his.

It was night time as he sat on the cold grass of the Jay Walk and spoke about his choice of major. A few students were lounging around with their friends.

When asked if he felt like the English major impacted his life in any way, he said the English major refined his eyes for observation. “My major made me see things in nature that perhaps was beautiful before but I did not have the words for it.”

Ferrerias, who is currently writing two conceptual poetry books and works as a tutor at the Writing Center, finds himself always looking for theories and orienting himself in the world in the way that he did when he was a student, always looking for deeper meaning in things.

He always wanted to be an English Major. “From a writer’s perspective, it was English or nothing else. English was where I saw my potential growing,” said Ferrerias.

Unfortunately, not many students are completely sure on what they want to major in and end up changing majors.

About 80 percent of students in the United States end up changing majors at least once, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. On average, college students change their major at least three times over the course of their college career.

However, not being able to pick a major also has to do with the varieties of majors offered in universities. According to the New York Times, colleges and universities reported nearly 1,500 academic programs to the Department of Education in 2010; 355 were added to the list over the previous ten years as colleges compete to stay current.

As reported by the Washington Post, only 27 percent of college grads have a job related to their major. This is not a big labor-market problem because it could just mean that many jobs do not require a specific field of study.

Joel Armstrong, a John Jay graduate who majored in Philosophy and now also works as a tutor at the Writing Center, can use his skills that he learned throughout college with his current job.

“With my major, I get to interpret things and answer questions based on my interpretation of it. Also, with my job because I know how to argue, I can help students with their essays.”

Despite that, choosing a major does not always mean someone has to stick to that one field of choice. Kristina Simonsen, who is an Assistant Director for Employer Relations at the Center for Career and Professional Development, agrees with being flexible with your major.

“I don’t think a student should be married to their major. It’s definitely an influence, but it’s not the deciding factor. However, I do think education gives you that foundation to give you that background of what are the expectations for a specific area,” said Simonsen.

For any students who are unsure of what to major in or what jobs they want after college, Simonsen recommends to start early with their exploration and visit the Career Center.

The Center for Career and Professional Development allows students to bring their resumes and work with Peer Career Educators to review it.

They also help prepare students for job interviews in which they set up a mock interview and ask questions that would normally come up in an interview. Even if students have a couple of questions, they can stop by and ask.

She also recommends students to start early with their internships and visit John Jay’s upcoming Spring Job Fair, which will be held next year on March 31st from 1 to 5.00 p.m. in the Haaran Hall Gym.

“Internships allows students to ‘try on different hats’. They can learn about what areas are their strongest point and what areas aren’t. Interning can allow students to gain experience but also be aware of what they will really look for in a future job,” says Simonsen.

The Center for Career and Professional Development is open Monday- Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is located in the New Building in room L72.00.

From Attending To Trending: The New John Jay College Experience

By Isidoro Rodriguez

The average student today is busy. At least 80 percent of students in the U.S. have a job while attending college, according to a 2013 study by Citigroup and Seventeen magazine. This is very much the reality at John Jay, a commuter college where students balance full or part-time jobs with school. Many don’t have the time to enjoy any of the student and club events happening every day around campus. Turning to social media to engage these students, John Jay College’s Division of Student Affairs is redefining the college experience.

“We are always trying to engage 100 percent of the students,” says Lynette Cook-Francis, “and that’s not always an easy thing to do on a campus like ours.” The Vice President of Student Affairs at John Jay, Cook-Francis assembled a communications team almost a year and a half ago to develop creative and innovative ways of engaging the student body. With 7,882 followers on Facebook, 6,707 on Twitter, and 2,828 on Instagram, they hope to create a sense of community at the college for anyone who can’t always physically be there.

This effort works best for students like Michelle Valdez, a senior majoring in English who says, “I commute every day from Yonkers, so I don’t really go to events on campus.” Instead, she uses her Instagram account to keep up with the law, grad school, and LGBT events on campus that interest her while still focusing on graduating in the spring. At a time when the Pew Research Center reports 65 percent of adults are using social networking sites, students like Valdez are becoming the norm.

“It’s a cultural issue,” says Mark Rivera, Social Media Marketing Manager for the division of Student Affairs. “Students today have to work more hours than our parent’s generation did. Today’s students are working multiple jobs. Today’s students are parents. There are a lot of factors that hinder students from fully getting involved.”

In light of this reality, Rivera thinks that new methods need to be used to engage a wider range of students. “Maybe a successful event live streams their keynote speaker,” he says. “Maybe a successful event uses Periscope,” a live streaming video mobile app. For Rivera, making John Jay students feel that they can go about their day and still be involved in the college and connected with people in a virtual way is the key to changing how they define their college experience.

Christie Graziano, John Jay’s Coordinator for Student Transition Programs, thinks involvement begins with the exchange of information. “Social media makes the whole experience a lot easier,” says Graziano. “Students are helping other students find what they need quicker.” By sharing news on Instagram or Twitter, students are no longer forced to navigate the John Jay websites for things like graduation dates or yearbook info. Sharing basic yet important information like this is the first step towards an online community.

For the students of Club Row, these new communities then offer a potential for new members and a broader range of student interest. “A lot of people don’t even know Club Row is here,” says Kenneth Ortiz, a junior majoring in International Criminal Justice and the social media coordinator for the Dominican Students Association (DSA). “By promoting through John Jay on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter we bring a lot more attention to the clubs.”

That attention proved a big help when Ortiz and his club joined with the African Students Association for an impromptu flash mob on March 24th, 2015. The video of the event that Ortiz posted on Instagram earned seventy-one likes and thirty friend requests for the club, helping expose more people to John Jay’s diversity and spark interest in the DSA. As clubs begin to devote more of their time to establishing an online presence like this, their popularity only grows.

“It’s the best way to communicate with the students,” says Marie Iachetta, a senior majoring in Criminal Justice and Vice President of the Theatrical Players. “Especially the millennials.” Since investing more time on their social media, Iachetta’s club has developed a larger following on sites like Instagram, where their posts about events, such as their upcoming production of the play “Twelve Angry Jurors,” have received anywhere from twenty-eight to forty likes.

This rise in popularity has motivated Iachetta and her club to begin using a Twitter account and posting more on their Facebook page. Planning to only increase their use of social media, Iachetta now believes that clubs, in general, should start exploring more options for expanding together. “We’re able to connect with other clubs through social media,” she says. “Maybe we could start linking videos.”

Ideas like that are why Rivera works closely and in person with student organizations. “Even with all the tech, nothing beats face-to-face interaction,” says Rivera, always trying to be available to receive any new ideas and suggestions. It is that same mentality about personal connections that prompted Cook-Francis to establish the information desk at Hound Square.

Located near the center of the New Building complex between JJ’s Cafe and the game room, the desk is staffed by fellow students providing an outlet for their peers to express any ideas or interests they may have. “We always need to make sure that the events that we do are relevant and interesting to students,” says Cook-Francis, “and that means that it’s the students who have to really be the ones who are driving what the events are.”

With a student population of roughly 15,000, achieving the goal of 100 percent engagement will be difficult, to say the least. “Not every event can be live streamed,” admits Rivera. “But whether it means decorating candy apples or doing a fashion show, there has to be something out there that students can connect to.”

And as Club Row becomes more involved in social media and develops more numerous online followings, and student events receive more awareness, those connections will continue to yield results. “There’s always going to be somebody who says, ‘I didn’t know about it,’,” says Cook-Francis. “That’s life. But we do as much as we can and we continue to try and be creative. Because the more engaged students are the more likely they are to be retained and to graduate.”

Bloodhound Central: Student Attendance on Campus

By Bryce Veira

Almost every day, an event is held on John Jay’s campus, whether a speaker series, panel discussion, info session, open mic, or other various campus activities. However, not enough people come to these events. John Jay’s population is estimated to be 15,000, but despite these numbers, events fall short of their target audience.

Bloodhound Central, a newly created website designed for the John Jay community for students and faculty, poses a solution to the advertising problem.

Accessible through  and through a link provided on the John Jay website under “Web Apps”.

It is a general site accessible to the entire body of John Jay. Bloodhound Central breaks barriers of miscommunication throughout the school. Through Bloodhound Central, it is possible to check out events, announcements, and opportunities that are posted daily, and join clubs or organizations by sending messages or requests through the website.

The Campus Activity Boardroom, located in Club Row on L2 is a petite, white room decorated with minimal furniture. It has several rolling chairs, two tables against the right wall with computers resting on them. A miniature fridge with a microwave on top occupies the left wall along with a supply shelf and a file cabinet. Sitting in the middle of the room was Isaac Hodges. As he introduced himself, he swayed back and forth in his chair. Hodges, 19, a sophomore majoring in Forensic Psychology, is the Cochairman, and Vice President of the Campus Activity Board (C.A.B.), a student-run organization that hosts events on campus, and collaborates with other clubs to co-host events.

According to Hodges, C.A.B.’s main method of advertisement for events is social media. Since “a lot of students are on Instagram, and they are on Facebook, on Twitter,” said Hodges, “we try to get the word out as much as we can on social media through either our Instagram or Facebook, or other clubs that will advertise for us.”

While most events hosted by the Campus Activity Board do well regarding attendance, Hodges is concerned about events where attendance wasn’t as great. “It feels like sometimes if the event is not as big as what it is supposed to be, we could have allocated the money somewhere else that could have used it.”

The awareness of Bloodhound Central is still low. Clubs and organizations know about it and use it to post their events, but students are still unaware. Though he mentions having heard the name tossed around among members of other clubs, Hodges himself knows little about it.

Located in the Urban Male Initiative Computer Lab on L.73 is Maria Vidal who is the coordinator of the Urban Male Initiative. Bloodhound Central is “definitely helpful” when it comes to helping students get more involved on campus said Vidal.

Vidal recommended the use of Bloodhound central over the traditional ways of advertising like bulletins, and e-mails. “…Bulletin boards are always full of different flyers” and “…the emails are not always the best way to contact students.”

Vidal hopes that a mobile app version of the website will be created soon so that Bloodhound Central can become even more accessible.

Kimberly Martinez, 21, a senior criminology major feels Bloodhound Central is “A convenient website…something students would use a lot to get involved.” While being completely new to the website, she finds it “fast, simple, and easy to use.” After exploring all that Bloodhound Central has to offer, she commented saying, “It is something I would use.”

Not everyone is so excited about this new tool, however. Treshana Gaskin, 21, a senior student and Vice President of the Shut Up! & Listen club here in John Jay feels that Bloodhound Central is “unfair.” According to her, clubs are forced to register and upload their events on Bloodhound Central, or they will not be in compliance. “They are forcing us, and we have no other choice but to comply.”

Gaskin does not feel that it is a useful advertisement tool because “It is not something that everyone uses.” When advertising events for her club, she mainly uses Facebook and the mobile app Instagram, posting flyers that promote her clubs events. She says these outlets are just fine for advertising, and that their events usually get “60 to 100 people, sometimes even more.” Her suggestion is to “Leave everything as is.”