Remembering “Songs of Innocence”: A look back at the U2 album that appeared on iTunes accounts everywhere.

September 9 marked the seventh anniversary of the release of U2’s “Songs of Innocence,” an album that had a unique release plan. The Irish rock band teamed with Apple in a move that saw the album placed into the “purchased” section of iTunes libraries. A reported 81 million people downloaded the album, but that did not mean everyone was happy with the move. New York Magazine compiled social media reactions that included: “My disdain for the band U2 is making me contemplate switching to a Samsung Galaxy phone.” While it can be argued that the release plan for the album was invasive, “Songs of Innocence” is one of the band’s most unique albums.

“Songs of Innocence” is the closest U2 has come making to a concept album. It’s a semi-autobiographical album, mainly focusing on the childhood of lead singer Bono. It balances throwbacks to the early days of U2, such as the opening song, “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone),” an ode to the late lead singer of The Ramones. “I woke up at the moment when the miracle occurred,” belts Bono in the chorus of the song. The song brings the band back to their punk-rock early days in a tribute to one of the biggest punk bands ever. “Song for Someone” is a tender love song for Bono’s wife Ali, and “Iris (Hold Me Close)” is a touching tribute to the singer’s mother who passed away in his teenage years. 

It wouldn’t be a U2 album without some politics, and there are references to the politics of Ireland in the 1970’s, as seen in heavy-hitting songs such as “The Troubles” and “Raised By Wolves.” The latter of which being about the car bombings in Ireland. “Cedarwood Road” takes listeners to Bono’s neighborhood and has a dedication to Bono’s childhood friend Guggi in the official lyrics. It opens with the lines: “I was running down the road/The fear was all I knew/I was looking for a soul that’s real/Then I ran into you.” The intensity of the song builds to a crashing crescendo where Bono croons “Sometimes fear is the only place we can call our home/Cedarwood Road.”

 “Every Breaking Wave” serves as this generation’s “With or Without You,” as a twisted love song about the metaphorical waves that serve as the troubles in any relationship. The band had a particularly emotional stripped-down rendition at the 2014 MTV EMA’s that is a must-watch.

Another standout from “Songs of Innocence” comes on the deluxe edition as a bonus track. “The Crystal Ballroom” features a thumping bass line that is a cross between The Beatles’ “Day Tripper” and the theme from “The Munsters.” The song serves as a way to transport us to an old nightclub in Dublin. While it did not make the final album, it was played twice live. 

Let’s face it, U2 is far from the days of being “cool.” After all, their lead singer wears sunglass everywhere he goes and the guitarist wears a black beanie, but “Songs of Innocence” is one of U2’s most mature projects to date, and spawned one of their biggest tours, the “iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour.” U2 once again pioneered a concept in the music industry with the idea of telling a narrative in their shows. Just look at what Bruce Springsteen did with “Springsteen on Broadway.” The journey that the band has been on for the last seven years can be traced back to that tumultuous Apple release. “Songs of Innocence” may not always resonate with all fans of music, but it was an attempt to branch out their fanbase to a younger generation.  Perhaps it is worth a listen, as maybe a miracle will occur.

Sources: Billboard, New York Magazine, Setlist.fm, The Verge, U2.com

Clubs Feature: Meet Model UN and Habitat for Humanity

When you first encounter the club list for Eastern University, you may be thrown off by how many clubs we have. If you’re looking for something fun, check out the Habitat for Humanity and Model UN.

Habitat for Humanity is a club that focuses on educating people about building affordable housing. They are also a part of the campus ministry. While they cannot offer credit for service learning this year, they hope that they will be able to change that in the coming years. In previous years, students would have the option to do their service learning through Habitat for Humanity; it is the only club on campusthat offers the opportunity to get your service learning done while participating in club activities. Usually, Habitat for Humanity has three big events each year. The big three events would be their Habitat Day in October, their trip to North Carolina during spring break, and their Act, Speak, Build Week, accompanied by smaller events throughout the year. If you are interested in joining the club, you can either email Habitat for Humanity at habitat@eastern.edu or message the habitat instagram “Habitat_EU”. The meeting times are every other Monday starting Sept. 13 at 7:00 p.m. (location to be determined). Club member Chris Metheny said, “I enjoyed going around campus and trying to raise awareness,” when asked about his experience with Habitat for Humanity.

Model UN is a club that helps students prepare for the Model UN conferences. During the conferences, each member is assigned a country and then makes arguments on the behalf of the assigned countries for various topics. Countries can also form blocks; these blocks can then work together and build their case to support their claim on the topic at hand. Once a year, there will be a special conference that takes place outside of Eastern, which is what the club trains for. If you do well enough, you will be able to earn a gavel, which is the equivalent of a first place trophy. In previous years, they have gone on trips to Boston and Montreal for their big conference. Besides being a fun way to immerse yourself in international political discourse, Model UN looks great on law school resumes.

These clubs are just two of the many activities Eastern offers. I encourage the readers to go on the school’s website and search for these clubs as well. There are a variety of enjoyable and easy clubs available for people of all interests!

The Art of… Reading: Exploring the importance of reading as a college student.

Reading is a hobby that most people pick up starting back in early elementary school. Some people love reading, some people resent every textbook they need to read to keep up with their classes. Some people are a little bit of both: enjoying reading on their own terms, but not when it is for school. I am one of those who love to read in my own free time, outside of school textbooks and assigned readings. 

When I first started college, reading for pleasure was put on the back burner, and I didn’t make any time for myself to just sit down and read. Without my favorite hobby, I began to feel lost, and I did not know how to make time for my mental health. When I finally began reading for pleasure again, my mental health showed significant improvement. 

Reading is not only a chance to expand your personal knowledge and learn more about the world around us, but it can also be used as an escape from the world and into a fantasy land. 

With a broad range of genres and topics to choose from, there is sure to be a book out there for anyone. Beyond our textbooks is a wide world of books to be explored and cherished. 

Reading is known to have a plethora of health benefits as well. Research has shown that reading can improve brain connectivity, increase vocabulary, reduce stress, lower blood pressure and heart rate, fight symptoms of depression and can even contribute to a longer life (Healthline).

Reading for pleasure also dates back thousands of years, as long before social media, people connected with each other through books and reading. 

With all of the craziness that comes with the life of a college student, reading may be the last thing many students would want to make time for, and that is okay. If you are craving a good book and don’t have the funds to feed a healthy reading flow, there are plenty of resources to help make books accessible. The Warner Library has a wonderful collection of books ranging from a wide variety of topics, and many websites such as ThriftBooks offer great deals on books that the library may not have. The library also features an interlibrary loan system, so you won’t have much trouble finding a book that you enjoy.

How to Find On-Campus Jobs: An Eastern student walks you through the opportunities available.

Are you looking for a job this semester? Would you like to work on campus with a job that has flexible hours? Are you unsure of where to look for on-campus jobs? Have you found an on-campus job but do not know how to apply? Well, keep reading to have all of your questions answered.

Eastern offers a variety of on-campus jobs for students with no experience required. But the first step to searching for a job is understanding the two different types of employment. The first type, work-study, is a Federal program that is awarded to students with financial need. To discover your eligibility for federal work-study, check the most recent award letter from the Financial Aid Office on my.eastern.com. The second type of job is Eastern Campus Employment, a program available to all students. When looking for jobs, there will be a description which states whether the job is for work-study or Eastern Campus Employment.

Now the search can begin. The easiest way to find an on-campus job is through Handshake. Handshake can easily be accessed through your Eastern email. Upon logging into Handshake, click the icon at the top left that states jobs. To narrow your search, select the filter titled on-campus. Upon clicking on the various positions, there will be a role description provided. Following the role description, you will find a name and contact information to apply for the position. Many positions require a resume or cover letter. For assistance with creating or revising these items, an appointment can be made with the Center of Career Development via Handshake.

Another way to find on-campus jobs is through the various flyers posted around campus. Many job opportunities are posted on the bulletin boards in the academic buildings as well as residence halls. One of the major places to search is the bulletin board in Walton on the second floor. New jobs are frequently posted here. On each flyer, there is a description and point of contact to apply for the position.

Here are some of the most popular positions available on Handshake: the Mail Center is currently hiring employees for Fall 2021 through Spring 2022. The description of the position involves handling, sorting, distributing, pick-up and delivering campus mail and assisting with making copies and using the University Switchboard. Federal work-study is required to apply for this position. Sodexo is also hiring with positions available for students with work-study and Eastern Campus Employment. Students have the opportunity to work in Zime, the dining commons or Breezeway. Tasks include but are not limited to food service during meal times, food preparation and sanitizing common areas. Last but not least there are a variety of positions for assistants and associates of differing areas of specialization. Ranging from theatrical technical assistant to prison education special program assistant. And the list goes on and on. With so many options available, there is a position to meet every interest. Good luck on the journey to finding the ideal campus job.

Music’s Impact On College Students: A student explores why we listen to music as students.

Music is life itself,” said Louis Armstrong. Music is an expression of the soul to carry messages of faith, tradition, values, and environment. With the invention of smaller, more compact technology came easier access to music; many listen to music for lyrical content, for focus, or merely for background noise. Music is universal across cultures, something that every culture uses to express its distinct values, customs, and beliefs. The fact that all known cultures have used music is a similarity between cultures itself no matter how different the sound or lyrics. 

I grew up in an area that offered a variety of music; everything from country music, narcocorrido, and rap. Each one had its own unique place where I grew up. When going to the various small towns peppered all over Arizona, it wouldn’t be uncommon for country music to pour out of the honky-tonks and bars where a mix of cowboys, biker gangs, off-duty first responders, and working-class would gather. You would be able to hear this music from blocks away. In the cities, you would hear rap being played in houses and cars. However, this would primarily be at night. It would typically be a mix of older rap— primarily 90s rap—and whatever the top radio hits at the time were. Narcocorrido would be played in most all neighborhoods I knew. Whenever I visit Arizona, there is at least one night when friends and I would be up late and hear narcocorridos, mariachi, or ranchera coming from a large party in a nearby house in the neighborhood. These are some of the music genres that I have been able to transfer over to Eastern University thanks to easily accessible technology. It’s been an experience to not only introduce others to these kinds of music genres, or further strengthen the love for them, but to also be able to listen to other kinds of music that I have never heard of as well. 

After some asking about what fellow students listen to, I was lead to a new genre, afrobeat. From there, I also learned about the djembe drum, which is a drum originating in the Mali Empire. The drum was loud enough to be used for communication from mountaintop to mountaintop about the King’s arrival since it was his favorite instrument. Afrobeat can combine many different styles of music, and combine it into something that all can still enjoy today, as there are many artists still making afrobeat. 

Eastern’s campus has a diverse body that allows for many different people of all ethnicities, backgrounds, and cultures to learn about each other in many ways; especially in the case of music. All music conveys powerful messages that give insight into cultures and groups; exposing each culture’s rich history to the world. 

People of Eastern: Dr. Bittenbender: A conversation with Eastern’s longest-tenured English professor.

Dr. Christopher Bittenbender has been a part of Eastern’s staff since 1998, making him the longest-tenured English professor currently on the staff. Bittenbender grew up in Northeastern PA, close to the Wilkes-Barre area, and was raised on a farm. “I do miss it,” said Dr. Bittenbender when asked about the farm life. He now resides in Center City Philadelphia, a far cry from the country, though he finds that the city lifestyle also has its perks. He loves going to museums in the city—he specifically noted the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where his fiancé works—and enjoys the fact that they showcase local artists. 

Art is obviously a big part of who Bittenbener is, as he has an appreciation of film, music, and literature. “Art has an ability to tap into the world in creative and innovative ways,” said Bittenbender. His love for literature stemmed from professors he had back in college. He was originally a history major, and while he still does have a lot of passion for history, his love for literature overtook that. 

For seniors out there beginning their thesis project, Dr. Bittenbender was also once in the same position. His thesis was focused on David Jones, who wrote In Parenthesis, a World War I epic poem that drops readers right into the trenches. His graduate school program took him all the way to Scotland, where he spent four years. He studied Irish and Scottish literature at the University of St. Andrews, which was founded in 1413. After coming back to the United States, Dr. Bittenbender worked as an adjunct professor at Villanova before taking a job at Eastern. The rest is history, and he is now coming up on his 25th year here. He cites the community, environment, and the students as reasons for his love of Eastern. 

For those who only know Bittenbender as an English professor, he has two children of his own that are in college and is also an outdoorsman. He loves hiking, canoeing, and skiing, which stemmed from his time studying at Middlebury College in Vermont. In between his undergraduate program and graduate school, he helped his father and brother build a log cabin in the Poconos. 

While the beginning of the year can be stressful, Bittenbender wanted to remind students to take risks. While college is a time where it can be easy to stay content, Bittenbender said that students should jump on opportunities such as internships, jobs, and clubs on campus—words of wisdom from a professor like Bittenbender who has been at Eastern for nearly a quarter of a decade. 

Afghan Refugees: A brief look at where Afghan refugees are fleeing to and what resettlement processes look like

On August 15th, the president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, fled the nation and a militant group, the Taliban, took control over the country. According to the UN Refugee Agency, an estimated 600,000 Afghans have been newly displaced in the country this year. Due to the recent power shift within Afghanistan, there has been an influx in Afghan refugees. The UNHRA also states that many Afghan refugees flee to neighboring countries like Iran and Pakistan, which together have more than 2.2 million Afghan refugees. 

Among other nations, the United States has also had a history of accepting Afghan refugees, having taken in more than 20,000 in the past 20 years, according to the American University in Washington D.C. Based on studies by the Council on Foreign Relations, the refugee process to get accepted into the United States generally takes from 18 months to 2 years. HIAS Pennsylvania, a refugee resettlement program working with Afghan refugees in Philadelphia, writes on the process for Afghan refugees after being admitted into the United States: “the persons landing will not necessarily remain in Philadelphia. All evacuees, unless they are American citizens or long-term permanent residents (green card holders), will be tested for COVID-19 and then sent to a military base to receive health screenings, immunizations, and, as necessary, background checks and further processing. Once these are complete, the evacuee will be sent to their final destination for resettlement. The processing is expected to take between fifteen and thirty days.” Bethany Christian Services, another refugee resettlement program in Philadelphia, states on their website that they are projected to resettle 450 Afghan refugees during this refugee crisis. 

I briefly interviewed the Pre-arrival Associate at Exodus Refugee Immigration, a refugee resettlement non-profit in Indianapolis that is also working with Afghan Refugees coming to the United States. My interviewee, when asked about projected numbers of Afghan refugees working with Exodus, called it a “deceptively difficult question to answer,” Exodus Refugee Immigration explained. Agencies like Exodus are given funding based on the number of refugees they are expected to resettle, but in a crisis like this, they are not given much time to prepare. 

“[Exodus is] in constant communication with our global and National partners who are doing [the] processing and allocating of these new refugees, and we are currently preparing to receive up to 250 Afghan refugees in addition to our predetermined number,” the Exodus Refugee Immigration employee shared. My final question to my interviewee was “Is there anything else you would like to add on the process that Afghan refugees go through to be resettled, or on what kind of work Exodus does for Afghan refugees?” This was their response: “I think it’s extremely important to make clear how difficult and traumatizing this move can be for our new Afghan clients to the US. Many of them have spent years serving with U.S. Armed Forces in Afghanistan, and would be in serious danger if they had stayed. Most arrived in the U.S. unprepared for their lives to change so dramatically, and I think it’s essential that those of us who have the opportunities and resources to help do all we can to make them feel safe and welcome. There are organizations like Exodus all across the country, and I’d encourage anyone who wants to help to contact one of them. Even if you aren’t sure how best to assist us in our work, we rely on a whole lot of charitable donations and volunteers, and we can always find a way for you to help us welcome folks to the U.S,” Exodus Refugee Immigration stated. 

Sources: American University, Bethany Christian Services, Council on Foreign Relations,

Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc., HIAS Pennsylvania, UN Refugee Agency

Churches in the Area: Check out these church spotlights to find a church in the area that you can call home.

Finding a church as a college student can be a challenge, especially if you’re far from home. Many of us don’t have access to reliable transportation, and some of us have an uncertain relationship to the church we grew up attending. Even if we loved our home church, college is a great time to investigate other denominations and traditions, if only to expand our horizons. I love that Eastern University is home to students from a variety of backgrounds, because I can have conversations about faith with people who experience and worship God in so many diverse ways. 

If you’re searching for a church or just want to try out something new, then this article is for you. Below, I’ll be spotlighting churches in the area from a bunch of different backgrounds, and many of them have Eastern students who attend regularly. If you have questions about how to find a church home, how to get transportation to and from, or anything else faith-related, reach out to the student chaplains in your building! They’re there to help you, and if they don’t have the answer, they can help you get in contact with someone who can.

Note: all transportation times are from Eastern.

 

Wayne United Methodist Church 

Distance: 30 minute walk; 6 minute drive

Denomination/ Tradition: United Methodist

Service times: Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 10:30am

Type of worship: Wayne UMC worships in a mix of traditional and contemporary. They often use hymns and their music relies heavily on piano and voice rather than the full band often found in contemporary churches, but their sermons often focus on modern-day issues.

Communion Type: Wayne UMC is open communion, which means that anyone who calls themselves a Christian can participate. Communion service is offered the first Sunday of every month.

More information: wayneumc.org 

 

Church of the Savior

Distance: 30 minute walk; 5 minute drive. In the past, I believe they’ve done a van shuttle to Eastern, but I would reach out to them to confirm or get details on that.

Denomination/ Tradition: Nondenominational

Service times: 9am and 10:30am on Sundays

Type of worship: Contemporary

Communion Type: All Christians may take communion, but it isn’t offered every week.

More information: coswayne.org 

 

Church of the Good Samaritan

Distance: 17 minute drive

Denomination/ Tradition: Episcopal

Service times: 9am traditional or 11am contemporary

Type of worship: The 9am service is a blend of old and new music, with both organ music and a praise band. The 11am service is more contemporary, focusing on the praise band. Both services follow the liturgy, and about once a month, the dance choir offers a piece of dance.

Communion Type: All baptized Christians are invited to participate

More information: good-samaritan.org 

 

St. Philip’s Orthodox Church

Distance: 35 minute drive

Denomination/ Tradition: Eastern Orthodox (Antiochian)

Service times: 8:45am Orthros and 10am Divine Liturgy

Type of worship: The Orthodox church is highly liturgical and the choir performs entirely a capella. Generally, everyone stands for the majority of the service, and icons and incense are a large part of the worship.

Communion Type: Only members of the Orthodox church may recieve communion. Visitors may be offered blessed bread, which is not considered a sacrament. 

More information: Reach out to the Orthodox Christian Fellowship club on campus or check out st-philip.net 

 

St. Katherine of Siena

Distance: 26 minute walk; 5 minute drive

Denomination/ Tradition: Catholic

Service times: 9:30am and 11:30am

Type of worship: The service is a traditional Catholic mass with accompanied song.

Communion Type: Non-Catholics may not receive the Eucharist.

More information: stkatherineofsiena.org

Remembering 9/11: An Eastern staff member recalls how students and staff alike reacted to the tragedy.

On September 11 2021, I attended the 20th anniversary ceremony at the Flight 93 Memorial. Family members of the passengers and the former Architect of the Capitol took turns reading the names of the heroes that day, and remarks were made by Captain David Kurtz of the USS Somerset, (named in honor of Somerset County, Pennsylvania where the plane went down),  US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Former President George W. Bush, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Gordon Felt, brother of passenger Edward Felt. Their speeches paid tribute to those who on that day sacrificed their lives so that others may live and also warned about how risks to our nation not only come from the outside but also from within.

Even now, twenty years later, the memory of the day itself is clear in my mind. I started work at Eastern in 1999 and was on campus the day of the attacks. 

I was working at the circulation desk in the library at the time. Around 9 a.m. my supervisor’s wife called and asked to speak to her husband. I overheard him ask something about a bomb. After he hung up, he walked over to me and said, “Terrorists just bombed the World Trade Center”. Details were still sketchy and he had thought someone managed to reach the upper floors. I attempted to reach several news websites to find out more, but due to the massive number of people accessing them, all the sites I tried to access were overloaded, and a few of them were down.   

Knowing the Walton lounge had a television, I asked my supervisor if I could be excused. When I got there, people were gathered around watching events unfold. Students walking down from the dining commons, unaware of what was going on, were chatting happily with friends and noticed all the distraught people watching the television. Once they realized what happened, the  expression on their faces changed. By this time, both towers had been hit. Virtually every channel, both on the radio and television, cancelled their regular programming to run coverage of the attacks. 

I returned to the Walton lounge and saw news of the Pentagon being hit coming on CNN’s ticker, and I was there later when the towers fell; a number of students began to hold hands and join each other in prayer and others broke down in tears. 

Then came the announcement that classes had been cancelled for the remainder of the day. That night, an impromptu prayer vigil was held on the ball field. University Chaplain, Joe Modica spoke to me recently saying, Simply, our entire community on the St. Davids campus gathered on the men’s baseball field for prayer and support at around noon after all classes and events were canceled. Hundreds of people gathered with many tears, worries and confusion. We prayed as a large group as well as in smaller groups. It lasted for about an hour (I think)”.

I did not attend the service on campus as I went to my local church instead. At the end of the service the pastor announced that, despite all the day’s events, he would conduct his benediction in the usual manner. His concern about how people may react to him saying “render to no person evil for evil” in light of what happened was understandable.

In the aftermath, Tony Campolo, who had been scheduled to give a Windows on the World presentation that Friday, was forced to reschedule it until the spring semester as he was out of the country and unable to return home due to all civilian air traffic in the country being shut down. 

Now, most, if not all of our students were not born yet or were too young to remember that day.  It is my hope that these students will now have some insight about how some members of Eastern’s community responded to the day’s events.

Eastern’s Covid Protocols: A honest look at the universities COVID policies.

As we begin another pandemic school year, Eastern University’s COVID-19 policies are much more flexible than last year.  Last year, the COVID policies were clear cut.  Masks were required everywhere, off-campus travel was prohibited, and freedom of choice was non-existent.  This year, Eastern has a much different approach to navigating COVID.  Since vaccines are so widely available and highly effective against COVID-19, the university has provided more wiggle room when it comes COVID policies. 

Last year, masks were required everywhere; no exceptions. Now, students have the option to choose what makes them feel the most comfortable.  With only a handful of offices and departments requiring masks, students are able to choose whether or not they wear one.  In addition, unlike most universities, Eastern has not required the COVID-19 vaccine.  Again, this allows students to decide what is best for their health.  

This choice by the university is a step in the right direction because it allows students to do their own personal risk assessment.  In the middle of a health crisis, individuals should be able to make their own choices based on their medical history, experiences and insights from their doctor.  Eastern’s COVID policies open the door for students to take responsibility for themselves. 

However, the university is highly recommending the vaccine for students. If students are fully vaccinated, they are no longer required to quarantine. Instead, in the event they are exposed, they only need to wear a mask for 14 days.  However, if an unvaccinated student is exposed COVID-19, they need to observe a seven day quarantine and provide two negative tests.  In that regard, vaccines not only protect you from the virus, but they also keep you on campus and out of quarantine.  

These policies provide much more freedom to the student, however, the university has failed to clearly lay out their policies.  When asked about the COVID policies, a student said, “I honestly am not entirely sure what the protocols are, I just do what everyone else does.” Since students do not fully understand the policies, Eastern should strive to clarify their policies. 

Looking at the university as a whole, Eastern has created an environment for personal choice.  Since the pandemic continues to wreak havoc in people’s lives, it is important that students are able to make their decisions for their health.  Compared to last year, Eastern is giving students a much more college-like experience and more freedom to choose. So, all in all, the university is in a much better place, but should strive to clearly lay out their protocols, so students can be confident in their personal health decisions.