Asbestos in the air

A heavy stream of black water flowed from the ceiling of Kea North 2nd on March 13. 

The flood water displaced many students and uncovered asbestos in the Kea North halls.

Who would have thought throwing around a balled up newspaper covered in duct tape could cause such destruction? Certainly not the five young men involved in this crisis.

“We just wanted to play dodgeball and, by covering the newspaper in duct tape, it hurt a lot more,” said sophomore Mike Giachetti, who was involved in the incident. “We were just doing it for fun. Boys will be boys.”

However, the makeshift dodgeball quickly turned into a weapon when it hit a ceiling sprinkler and knocked it off.

Plant Operations explained that water poured from the ceiling at a rate of about 200 gallons per minute.

Plant operations General Mechanic Kevin Comber reached the scene in about 10 minutes.
By that time, about 1,000 gallons of water had poured into Kea North.

Normally Plant Operation workers are not on campus Saturday nights, but Comber was working on a power outage when the sprinkler accident occurred.

If Comber had not been on campus, the flooding would have certainly been much worse.
“The boys involved in this incident will absolutely be accountable,” Kea-Guffin Resident Director Theresa Noye said. “The punishment is undecided at this time.”

The flood caused bubbling in the linoleum and a strong stench throughout Kea.

Giachetti, who resides on Kea North 2nd, explained that, even though the sprinkler exploded on his hall, Kea North 1st suffered the worst of the damage because the water sank through the floor, flooding rooms and exposing asbestos.

Carl Altomare, director of campus services, notes that it is common to find asbestos in older buildings. To remove the asbestos, licensed environmental professionals were called to help. 

“The goal was to remove all of the asbestos so none of it got into the students’ living spaces,” Altomare said.

All 18 rooms on Kea 1st and many rooms on Kea 2nd were evacuated. Students on the 2nd floor were allowed to enter their rooms after one day, once the rooms had been dried and vacuumed.

However, Kea 1st needed a lot more work because of the asbestos that was discovered, and students were barred from their rooms for three nights.

At first, evacuated students were a little upset about having to leave their rooms, but overall they took it pretty well.

“I wore the same jeans for four days in a row,” sophomore Gavin Donnelly said. “When leaving my room I only grabbed bare essentials–toothpaste, a towel and a few shirts.”
Students were not sure how long they would have to stay out of their rooms or if they would be allowed to go back for basic supplies.

Noye worked with the displaced students. She tried to find places for them to stay–any kind of empty room. 

“I tried to make the guys as comfortable as possible, staying in touch with them to make sure everyone was okay,” Noye said.

Noye kept the students up-to-date with the progress of their rooms. On their return, she reassured the students that the asbestos was completely gone and that they would not be back if it was not safe.

After four days, Kea 1st was approved for living again and students were allowed to return to their  rooms. Students were rewarded with a pizza party for all of their displacement troubles.
 

Movin’ on up

Students in Free Enterprise advisor Dr. Al Socci was checking his e-mail on March 22, after returning home from Philadelphia, when he opened a message with the subject line, “Congratulations on your Victory.”

The business club had just completed their presentation at the SIFE Regional Competition hours before. After describing their year’s activities to a panel of judges, Socci and the team left the city before results were announced.

It wasn’t until reading this e-mail that Socci learned that they won first place.

“I was shaking with excitement,” Socci said. He immediately tried calling SIFE members seniors Jason Bradley, a business management and marketing major, Adrienne Johnson, a marketing major, and management majors Katherine Coulter and Krystal Cairns who all presented on stage during the competition.

Cairns was the first to answer her phone.

“He tells me that we won, and I was like ‘You’re really funny,'” Cairns said.

Cairns was the only member of the group who was optimistic about the competition–even Dr. Socci told her not to get her hopes up.

“It was totally a God-thing that we won,” Coulter said.

The students entered the competition with almost no expectations of winning.

“We didn’t compete to win,” Coulter said. “We just went in with the attitude that this is an experience. It really took a lot of pressure off of our team.”

The group of 13 walked into the Pennsylvania Convention Center and immediately noticed other college teams decked out in matching button-down shirts and carrying briefcases.

“Everyone was so much more serious than we were,” Bradley said. “We were more friends, while they were like business partners.”

Each of the four presenters felt some jitters at some point leading up to or during the 24-minute presentation, but they made it completely clear to the 20 judges and the audience that they do not base their work on the guidelines established by the organization.

They understood that this might cost them points.

“We evaluate (our work) by how we touch people’s lives,” Socci said. “The SIFE judges have a criteria they have to follow.”

The team provided the judges with an annual report of its work,  and presenters described this year’s projects, such as the “Shoots for Success” fundraiser to benefit Blankenburg Elementary School.

“It went better than any practice,” Coulter said.

Bradley concluded their time on stage with a brief speech in which he explained the team’s decision to disregard SIFE’s requirement for pre and post-testing to evaluate projects.

“We truly understand that assessment is required in any type of program development, but ours is simply one that is assessed by the hearts of those we touch,” Bradley said during the presentation. “Our rewards for our efforts may not be acknowledged today, but one day the words, ‘Well done thy good and faithful servant,’ will be sufficient.”

“It really must have struck a chord with the judges,” Bradley said, looking back.

Following surprised looks from judges and some snickers from students in reaction to Bradley’s words, the humble team packed up and left the building before the results were given.

In an effort to protect the students from harsh criticism, Socci encouraged the group to call it a day.

“We usually leave because it’s been so negative for the students in the past,” said Socci, who has attended the regional competition for several years.

The students gave no protest. “We genuinely didn’t think we would win, so we left,” Coulter said.

Although the team expected the trophy and $1,000 prize to be awarded to another school, “We actually had a really fun time,” Johnson said.

On March 25, SIFE members met for their first class since the big win, and coffee, donuts and homemade cookies baked by Mrs. Socci were passed around in celebration.

SIFE will soon sort out the logistics of the May trip to Minneapolis. Having won the regional competition, the team will take on 40 other schools in the National Exposition.

“It’s a huge thing for the business department and the school,” Socci said. “I’ve been in this business for 16 years and this is the best thing that’s happened.”

Future of SGA uncertain

 Student Government Association elections take place every April, but this year the running is looking less competitive than last year’s record-breaking race.

A highly public campaign for the executive board last April ended with the election of president senior Maggie Stewart, vice president junior Nate Riedy, treasurer junior Ian Hoffman and secretary junior Beth Sherron. 
 
However, none of these officers will be returning for another term. 
 
According to Stewart, who is graduating in May, Riedy will be graduating in December, Hoffman is planning to study abroad in Korea and Sherron will be student teaching next spring. 
 
Five positions on the executive board will be available and senate positions may also be up for grabs. 
 
“As far as I know, all positions could be open,” Stewart said.
 
To run for an executive board position, a student must be at least a sophomore, and to run for a class officer position a student only needs to be in the class year he or she is representing.
 
“You don’t need to have been in SGA (previously),” Stewart said. “Nate was never in SGA before, and he’s done an excellent job. He’s blown me away.”
 
Stewart hopes that new faces will emerge to represent the student body. 
 
“I’m sick of seeing the same people in SGA,” Stewart said. “We have a lot of smart white kids and no other voices. That’s really difficult for me to deal with.
 
“It wasn’t always like that,” Stewart said, referring to past officers such as President Marvin Jones who graduated in 2008. 
 
Stewart encourages any student interested in joining SGA to contact an executive board officer.
 
“You don’t need to be experienced,” Stewart said. “You just need a passion to be the bridge between the students and administrators and everyone who isn’t a student.”
 

New option helps students avoid housing lottery

 If you are fed up with the housing lottery, Student Development is offering a new option that would eliminate the stress of waiting for hours to hear your number called only to get placed in a room you do not want.  

The Community Sustainability Option allows any current resident student to remain in their exact same room with the exact same roommate for the coming school year, instead of going through the housing process.  
 
Coordinator of Housing Travis Yoder said that the option was created to give students more control and consistency in their selection of a room and to encourage them to make a long-term investment in a particular community.  
 
To qualify for CSO, all occupants of the room must agree to live together for the following school year and be registered as full-time for the fall semester. 
 
Students who are studying abroad in the fall cannot apply, but students graduating in December or studying abroad in the spring are eligible.  
 
“I think students will initially wonder why it’s so narrowly defined, and that’s fair,” Yoder said. “If this takes off and goes well, we’ll look to open it up more.” 
 
Even if a student chooses to exercise this option, Yoder said that everyone still needs to go through the same check-in and check-out process. Students cannot leave personal items in their rooms over the summer due to the numerous conferences and camps held on campus that utilize the residence halls.  
 
In order to maintain Eastern’s mission  to integrate housing amongst classes, no more than 65 percent of the residents in each living area will be granted rooms through CSO.
If more than 65 percent apply for CSO, rooms will be granted based on class rank and application submission.  
 
“The thing that’s so powerful about resident life at Eastern is that it is inundated with so many people and places,” Yoder said. “We don’t want to shortchange students from that in any way.”  
 
 Anyone interested in this option must meet all of the housing deadlines, especially the March 19 deposit date. 
 
Students will be receiving more information about CSO, including application forms, within the next two weeks. Applications must be submitted in person by 3 p.m. on March 31. All residents listed on the application must be present for the request to be verified.
 
Those that apply will receive an e-mail on April 6 that either announces that their CSO request was granted or invites them to the housing lottery. 
 

Campus radio station revived

 It has been years since a student-run radio station has broadcast from campus.

“A lot of great opportunities come from radio broadcasting, and I didn’t want Eastern University students to go without that,” sophomore James Laughlin said, explaining his efforts to give Eastern a radio station of its own. 
 
Now, having won student government approval for the station, Laughlin hopes the University will see those opportunities become realities in the near future.
 
As a first-year student, Laughlin worked with Dr. Kevin Maness, a communications professor, to get some programming on the air. The process stalled because of insufficient funding, but that did not keep Maness and Laughlin from meeting on a weekly basis to complete “a lot of preliminary work,” Laughlin said.
 
This school year, first-year Matt Curcio joined the team. 
 
“(He) seemed to be the missing piece in terms of getting this thing going,” Laughlin said. 
 
With renewed determination and a fresh face in the mix, the project was back on track. 
 
According to plan, the station, to be called WEUR, will feature music, sports and talk programming. Live broadcasts of sporting events at Eastern will likely be among the station’s earliest broadcasts.
 
Musicians will have a new venue for sharing their original music. Laughlin is in communication with theatre and writing majors interested in a drama club that would perform radio plays on a regular basis. 
 
For actors, working in such a medium “really helps with voice acting and voice modulation,” Laughlin said. 
 
Another highlight in the station’s potential programming is a show called “Faith, Reason and Justice,” which Laughlin intends to make a weekly production. The radio show will feature three half-hour segments in which professors will discuss issues related to each of Eastern’s ideals. 
 
Funding is still an obstacle, as is finding a permanent location, though the station’s needs are within reach.  
 
The station will reap financial and spatial benefits by broadcasting exclusively over the Internet, with the eventual goal of becoming licensed by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). 
 
“All we’d need, essentially, is a closet-sized space,” Maness said in an e-mail. “But even that modest requirement is hard to come by on campus, where available spaces are pretty much maxed-out and even some faculty members are using offices that were broom closets a couple years ago.”  
 
Laughlin, however, remains undaunted. “We are not going to be pushed back by the possibility of not having an official space,” he said.
 
As the group continues to search for a location, it is also looking into several fund-raising opportunities, including concerts, competitions and raffles. It has asked SIFE for financial help but has not been able to receive as much support as either organization had hoped.
 
The team is tentatively hoping to have some programming on the air by graduation in May. 
 
“All we need to do is raise a couple hundred dollars and we can start broadcasting on a minimal scale,” Laughlin said. “If we got money this week, we could be broadcasting this week.”  
 
Laughlin and Curcio are encouraged by SGA’s approval and are looking for students interested in being a part of this exciting new campus group. 
 
“We want the station to represent Eastern’s diversity and great community,” Curcio said.
 

Technical Update

Gmail

After facing some technical setbacks, the transfer to Google Apps is back on track.

Originally, Administrative Computing hoped to start shifting users to the new server during the first week of February. According to Mike Sanker, the department has been diligently working on the transfer but had some technical issues with moving off of the old e-mail server.

There is no set date for the cross over to Gmail, but Sanker said that students can stay up-to-date on all news regarding the transition by visiting goinggoogle.eastern.edu. The site is still a work-in-progress, but it will contain announcements about the upcoming transfer.

Once the transition is complete, students will still be able to access mail on their old Eastern accounts, but they will not be able to send or receive e-mails on that server.

Sanker said that Administrative Computing is hoping to train faculty members on the new system over Spring Break and students will receive training some time later this spring.

 


My.eastern.edu portal

Training for the new online portal, my.eastern.edu, will be taking place on Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. in HHC106. The portal serves as a place for students to register for classes, pay bills online, join discussion boards, receive advising and follow student activities calendars. 

Students are encouraged to bring their laptops to the sessions to learn how to utilize the new system.

 


Please note, if you are having problems accessing either site, make sure you are not including “www” at the beginning of the URL.

 

Haiti Update

Rape became illegal in Haiti in 2005. Although the law was barely effective before the earthquake, in the aftermath of the disaster, the unpunished violence toward women has been increasing.

“In one of the great unmentioned effects of the earthquake in Haiti, women and young girls are suffering a rising number of rapes and sexual assaults, according to leading aid agencies,” Nina Lakhani wrote in an article from The Independent, “Rape on the rise in Haiti’s camps.”

“Violence, especially sexual violence, always escalates after a major disaster when security is unstable and women are forced to live in the open, in close proximity to unknown men,” the article said.

Countless articles, including those in The New York Times and BBC, attest to the weakened security after the disaster, resulting in a weakened justice system. Almost none of these men are being held accountable for their actions, especially not those that are in the police force.

The Times said that women in Haiti are being told to wear jeans under their clothes to make it more difficult for potential attackers to cut through. Many women have also started sleeping with machetes under their pillows as another safety measure.

The pity that most people feel for the small, impoverished nation was prompted by images of the hospitals, homes and schools in Port-au-Prince that were razed to the ground, not by the country’s weak civil security that has been broken down even further after the horrendous disaster.

“Physical help isn’t necessarily what needs to be done,” sophomore Meri White said. She is correct, but are we forgetting that the disaster is not over? Men are raping women and stealing food given to them by relief workers.

Sophomore Tyler Hoagland said, “There are a lot of mistakes being made by people trying to help.” But when asked about the increase of rape victims in Haiti he said, “It doesn’t surprise me, but I hadn’t heard anything about it before this.”

“They still desperately need help,” senior Dominick Baruffi said. However, Baruffi had no idea that gangs of men are hunting down and sexually assaulting abandoned women–women whose husbands have died, leaving them to scrape for food.

It is not that this news and information has not been visible all over the Internet, but that it is being ignored. Helpful people want to hear about the horrible and heart-wrenching natural disasters, but it seems that those same people never want to be faced with the unnatural, heinous disorders within the societies.

 

Snow-Mania

Just days after Pennsylvania’s favorite groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, predicted six more weeks of winter, the largest snow storm of the winter blanketed Philadelphia with 28.5 inches of snow on Feb. 6. That much snow had not fallen in the city since the infamous 1996 blizzard.

As if that snowfall were not enough to fulfill Phil’s foresight, a second storm hit four days later, dumping about 16 more inches on the city and surrounding area. As the third significant snowfall this winter, the storm helped to shatter the record for snowiest winter with more than 70 inches recorded so far. The previous record of 65.5 inches was set in the winter of 1995-1996, according to CBS3 news reports.

The Feb. 10 storm, which occurred during the day and consisted of a much heavier snow than the previous storm, forced the closure of several major  interstate highways, such as I-78 and I-83, and left about 110,000 electric customers in the area without power, the reports said.

What did all that white stuff mean for Eastern? Can you say five-day weekend?
Student and faculty alike welcomed the impromptu vacation from classes from Feb. 10 to Feb. 14.

However, the storm meant the opposite for the Plant Operations crew, who were forced to stay on campus, sleeping in their conference-turned-bunk room in order to keep up with the constant snowfall.

“It was a long ten days,” Executive Director of Campus Services Carl Altomare said.
The crew was able to clear up the paths and parking lots significantly after the first storm, but the second one just added to the problem.

Not only was the snow heavier and packed down on the paths, but the equipment Plant Ops was using also broke down and they had to repair it during the storm.

In addition, heavy duty equipment was needed to transport the snow out of parking lots because there was simply no place to put it all.

Some students, who were beginning to get stir crazy by the third consecutive snow day, questioned the University’s decision to cancel classes on Feb. 12. The snow had stopped falling about 36 hours before and the walkways were somewhat clear, but several community roads were still a mess and  Plants Ops had only been able to open up about 15 percent of the campus parking spaces.

Despite the long hours and less than ideal conditions, Altomare said the crew did a great job and stayed positive.

“Students were really nice too, thanking us while we were out there, ” he said.

Power plant explosion

CNN and other major news stations were broadcasting the name of senior Rebekah Warren’s small hometown, Middletown, Conn., following an explosion at Kleen Power Plant on Feb.7.
“The first thing I did was call my mom to see if everything was okay,” said Warren, whose home is located three miles from the power plant.

The power plant was still under construction when employees were working on a gas pipeline, which triggered the explosion. Locals described the bright, orange flames visible following the blast.

“My family was at church about 10 miles away and they felt the blast,” Warren said.
Senior Krystal Cairns, who lives in Cheshire, Conn., said, “My aunt lives in Middletown, so she felt the explosion.

“It’s pretty close to where my uncle works so it was a little scary for me.”

Reportedly, residents up to 20 miles from the power plant could hear the explosion.

No one beyond the power plant was in danger, but tragically five power plant workers were killed in the explosion, and about 12 were injured.

“It just shook everybody up,” Warren said. 


Source: Cnn.com

Eastern leads the pack in “Green Awakenings”

Chalk another one up for Eastern in the environmental movement.

In a 2010 report by Renewal, a student-led movement that works on Christian campuses to take better care of creation, the University was recognized for its numerous energy and environmental initiatives.

The report, “Green Awakenings,” offered a summary of what more than 50 Christian universities in the U.S. and Canada are doing to promote and practice creation care on their respective campuses.

Eastern is the first university listed, serving as the feature school for the northeast region. Junior Brittany Bennett, who serves on Renewal’s nine-member student leadership board and was spotlighted in a full-page profile, said Eastern is considered the leader in creation care and energy conservation in the area.

The University set itself apart with several key campus initiatives over the past few years. In 2006, Eastern became the first college in the country to be completely powered by wind.

Other key events included the 2008 Renewal environmental summit held on campus and the 2009 dorm energy conservation competition, that helped the University save $5,000 on its energy bill.

A list of current projects taking place at different schools nationwide and a PDF version of the “Green Awakenings” report can be accessed at www.renewingcreation.org.