Are Drewids losing their love for Facebook? This week, CNN released an article about the desertion of Facebook by teenagers entitled “On Facebook, a growing teenage wasteland” that discussed the findings of a recent survey of teen social networking use within a national context.
The May 2013 study conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, part of the Pew Research Center, found that “many teens expressed waning enthusiasm for Facebook.” These findings suggest that the space in teens’ lives for social networking is shrinking.
According to the CNN article written by Doug Gross, “While Facebook has downplayed the importance of the trend, the site simultaneously appears to be taking steps to address it” with changes to the privacy settings for teens. Now teens can make their profiles public, according to Gross.
After conducting a survey of 60 Drewids, it became clear that these findings and this diminishing carried over to the Forest. 58 percent of students in the survey reported using Facebook less at Drew than they had in high school, 27 percent of students reported that their Facebook usage remained unchanged since high school and 15 percent of students reported they’ve been using Facebook more since coming to Drew.
Therefore, not only are the Pew Project results a broad summary of a national trend, but they reflect the attitudes towards social networking here at Drew University.
In their report, the Pew Project cited several causes for the recent decline in teen interest including having issues with friends on the site, “the increasing number of adults on the site” and “the stress of needing to manage their reputation on Facebook.”
Some teens have opted for newer social networking tools such as Vine, Tumblr, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram. The Pew project found that in 2012, “24 percent of online teens use Twitter, up from 16 percent in 2011.”
When asked what prompted her to use Facebook less, Drew student Naomi Freeman (’16) echoed these results and said, “Now that Twitter and Instagram are here, Facebook seems kind of old-fashioned.” She added, “Especially now that parents are on Facebook.”
Claudia Kopenski (’17) also agreed that other social networking sites are becoming the norm. She said, “Twitter and Instagram are what I use the most now.” She added, “My only use for Facebook now is to catch up with people back home.”
Not all Drewids, however, have turned to other social networking sites to fill the space Facebook once filled in their day. Others noted there’s just been a decline in interest in the site, especially since coming to college. When asked why she didn’t use Facebook anymore, Victoria Ruhle (’17) replied, “It’s just not as popular anymore.”
Most Drew students have kept their Facebook profiles active despite acknowledging a fading interest in being active on the site itself. This trend, it seems, has been accelerated by the availability of apps for social networking on smart phones.
Regarding his Facebook use, David Wasserman (’17) commented, “With these phones and the apps, I check it a lot but I don’t do anything on it.”
Other Drewids, however, have decided to leave Facebook completely, sometimes for another social networking site. Amanda Birbal (’16) is one such example. She said, “I use Twitter more. I actually deactivated my Facebook.”
However, while the opinions of many Drew students correspond with the Pew Project’s findings that interest in Facebook is declining, some Drew students’ opinions contrast the study and have found renewed interest and practicality in the site.
Caitlyn Duffy (’15) remarked of Facebook’s usefulness, “There’s more networking. I have to talk to people constantly.”
Other students have found that in college, Facebook is a useful tool for the managing of extracurricular activities. Catherine Hudman (’15) commented, “I use it more practically now than in high school for clubs.”
Overall, Drew students are expressing a decline in interest for Facebook, and in some cases social networking in general. While some current opinions in the Forest regarding social networking sites are depicted in these results, those opinions will undoubtedly continue to change and evolve in the future.
Photo Courtesy of The Shakespeare of New Jersey
At a rehearsal, Director Joseph Discher works with Phillip Goodwin who plays the Stage managers in “our Town.”
According to Joe Discher (C’91), Drew theatre alum and director of the ongoing production of “Our Town” at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ), the path to life after Drew actually begins at Drew. During his senior year, he took an internship with STNJ. He said, “My directing internship senior year is when my professional theatre career began and now I’m out there directing.”
A freelance director and actor, Discher said, “It’s important to be disciplined and skilled in whatever your field is. Listen to professors, challenge them and ask them to challenge you.” Discher worked on several Drew theatre productions as a student. He said, “Get as much experience in academic theatre before leaving college and get professional experience while you’re in school to make connections.”
The theatre industry can be a tough nut to crack. “It’s a lot about networking. Making connections is just as important as being good in your field,” Discher said.
His experiences during his time at Drew helped shape his career after graduation. Discher said, “I was a theatre major and I directed a couple shows at Drew. Then I did an internship at STNJ, which was then called the N.J. Shakespeare Festival.”
He added, “I had a lot of great professors at Drew and they were very inspiring to me.”
Discher discussed his direction of “Our Town.” Written by Thornton Wilder, the play utilizes a minimal amount of scenery and props. But this was not a challenge for Discher. “The playwright wanted to create a piece of theatre that didn’t rely on scenery. This really makes the story, the beautiful language come out stronger,” he said.
He explained this is very similar to Shakespearean theatre. “I work a lot with Shakespeare and his plays were written without huge breaks. Usually when I direct Shakespeare, I use minimal pieces. I’m used to directing this way. It’s something I’m at home with.”
However, Discher said, “The challenge becomes not having visuals to rely on to create a mood and getting great actors to draw the audience in.”
He explained “Our Town” is play you get more out of every time you see it, or in Discher’s case, direct it. “When I read the play, I didn’t really get it, and then I saw the play performed and thought it was amazing. As a director, I see even more now,” he said.
Discher added he believes Our Town is a great play for students to see whether they are theatre majors or not.
According to Discher, “The play is a lot about about companionship, life, death and the transience of human life.” Our Town centers around a woman who dies, but then gets to relive one day of her life. This allows her to re-evaluate the way she lived her life.
Discher said, “Life goes fast. We often don’t stop to notice the best things, which are people, moments, friends, lovers and family.” Written in 1938, “It’s even more relevant now with our noses in phones and computers. We wrap ourselves up in our problems, the tests to study for, plays to rehearse, but we’re missing the best parts of life,” he said.
Discher hopes Drewids see the play and use it as a chance to re-evaluate their lives. He said, “People who have been in the play or seen the play have talked to me and said the next morning they noticed the changing leaves colors and the smell of fresh cut grass.”
“Our Town” will be performed through Nov. 17. Student rush tickets are available for $15 30 minutes before the performance.
Discher said, “If you think you know the play, I’m willing to bet you don’t because every time I see it I get something new.”
Photo Courtesy of Samantha Wilkerson
Members of the Drew Honduras project ready to serve Central American cuisine to hungry Drewids.
There was quite a fiesta in Crawford Hall on Monday night when the Drew Honduras Project (DHP) hosted their annual Honduran dinner to fund raise for the club’s activities.
Traditional Central American cuisine was served, including fajita chicken, plantains, rice, beans and chips with salsa. The dinner also featured recitations of Spanish poetry, performances from the Drew Shimmy Shakers, the university’s belly-dancing club, and a vocal number by student and former DHP member Sydne Schechter (’14).
The Honduran Dinner was the “big event of the fall semester to let people know who we are,” said executive board member Samantha Wilkerson (’14).
At the event, DHP raised over $750, which will be used to fund their spring trip to the Dominican Republic, donate money to the organizations they work with and bring the supplies they need on the trip. Executive board member Gabby Cogan (’16) said, “We really appreciate the support we get.”
DHP is a completely student-run organization. Cogan explained that there’s a focus on “people helping people.”
The club is also a very unique experience for Drew students. DHP faculty advisor Professor Sandra Jamieson said, “It’s the only organization like it in the country,” as students do all of the planning themselves for a service trip. She added, “It’s a demonstration of everything that’s cool about Drew.”
DHP executive board member Craig Wagenblast (’14) agreed, saying, “There aren’t any clubs or organizations like this.”
Founded in 1995, the Project was started in reaction to social problems in Honduras and a feeling that not much was being done about them. Jamieson has been involved with the project as its advisor since the beginning.
Each year, DHP makes a trip to Honduras in the late spring. Last year, however, their
“trip to Honduras was denied because of the political situation,” Cogan said. The spread of drug traffic and violence towards citizens threatened many regions. However, DHP continues to make donations to the organizations they worked with in Honduras in lieu of their annual service trip. Instead of traveling to Honduras, the group worked with children in the Dominican Republic and will likely return there this year as well since the situation has not improved.
The Project goes to Honduras or the Dominican Republic for one week and works on a variety of different service initiatives, with a focus on working with children. Wilkerson said, “There are a few organizations we consistently work with.” These include a boys’ agricultural school in Honduras and an all-girls Catholic orphanage in the Dominican Republic.
Wagenblast added that DHP members “make really strong bonds with the kids on the trip.” Cogan and Wilkerson also agreed that the experience helped them make bonds with the other members of DHP and that the group really becomes a close family. “It’s an amazing experience,” Wilkerson said.
Students interested in going on the Drew Honduras Project trip need to apply. While students should apply in the beginning of the fall semester to go on the trip, there is a waiting list as well.
At each meeting, there are community-building activities such as the human knot, a presentation of some information on Honduras or the Dominican Republic and a review of a few key Spanish vocabulary words.
Wilkerson said, “We love people to come to our meetings and learn about Honduras and the Dominican Republic.”
DHP meets every Monday in Tolley/Brown at 9:30 p.m. Donations and help with fundraising efforts are also greatly appreciated. For more information about the project, visit their website: groups.drew.edu/dhp/.
Beware the Simon Forum locker room, this year’s ‘chamber of terror’.
According to UPB Annual Events Chair Natalee Branham (’15), “This year the Haunted House is based off the film The Strangers.” As Annual Events Chair, Branham manages the planning and execution of the Haunted House, Holiday Ball and First Annual Picnic, UPB’s three largest events. Unlike last year’s Haunted House, which offered three different scare levels, Branham said, “it will be completely scary the entire time.”
The planning for the Annual Haunted House began at the beginning of this semester with UPB President Michael Pellessier (’15) and Branham at the helm of a sub-committee. According to Branham, she and Pellessier “came up with the theme, found the location and executed each task to make sure the Drew community has fun.” Pellessier said, “We construct a diagram of what we want and where we want it and then we reach out to the Drew community to form a sub-committee.”
Pellessier said, “we…have about 24 hours to flip the area from a normal hallway and locker room into the haunted house. We decorate, decorate and decorate some more.” He added, “the fire chief does a walk through of the area the day of the event to make sure that everything is safe.”
Branham added that UPB uses the day of the event to conduct run-throughs and do make-up. She described her favorite aspect of planning the Haunted House. She enjoyed “watching all of our ideas come to life” and looks forward to “watching people scream and run away because that’s how I know I did my job correctly.”
Although all UPB events vary by theme, activities and planning, one thing they share according to Branham is UPB’s desire to ensure that all Drewids enjoy the event.
For those who freak out for Halloween frights like Branham whose favorite holiday is Halloween, UPB opens the Haunted House on Oct. 25 and will offer additional Halloween-themed activities. UPB will host a showing of The Strangers in The Space on Oct. 24 at 10 p.m. and a Halloween Space Night on All Hallows’ Eve itself, Oct. 31, at 10:30 p.m. in The Space. According to Pellessier, there will be “cookie decorating, candy, and some fun halloween themed activities” at the Space Night.
Branham said, “We hope everyone has fun, so bring your friends, hold on tight and remember to lock your doors.” Pellessier said, “Getting to see everyone’s reactions as they go through the haunted house. It’s the best!”
Campus Life and Student Affairs hopes to keep sophomores aware of available resources (Photo by Justin Camejo)
Campus Life and Student Affairs hosted Drew’s first Sophomore Success Fair on Friday in the Ehinger Center. It is not uncommon for sophomores to forget the flood of information fed to them as first year students during orientation week. According to Director of Student Activities Michelle Brisson, the purpose of the fair is to “remind sophomores of resources they were told about that they have forgotten about. It’s a reorientation.” Student Activities will host a series of special leadership seminars in February. Information on the upcoming seminars can be found at drew.edu/StudentActivities.
Representatives from Career Development, International and Off-Campus Programs, Sustainability Office and Student Activities set up booths to remind and inform sophomores of the resources available to them. Associate Director of Career Development Sue Ceravolo introduced a new program open to students. She said, “Xternship Program is a one day shadow with an alumni mentor. It happens during winter and summer break. It’s a short term commitment for both students and alumni.” This program is a completely new opportunity for the Drew community. It is a great way for students to test the water of the career field, discover their interests and make connections. Interested students can sign-up at the Career Development office in Sycamore Cottage.
International and Off-Campus Programs refreshed sophomores’ memories of available off-campus opportunities. Representatives encouraged students to use sophomore year to decide if they wish to study abroad or partake in off-campus programs. Students have the option to study abroad during the school year or summer. A new study abroad option, Theatre Immersion: London and Edinburgh, is a three week program to be offered Summer 2014. Sophomores should visit International and Off-Campus Program office to discuss their study abroad plans in-depth. The approved list of programs can be found on drew.edu/iocp.
The Sustainability Office is offering a reward to students who engage in greener habits. Campus Sustainability Coordinator Tina Notas discussed a new program in hopes to promote greener and proper recycling habits. She said, “The latest program is Get Caught Green Handed. Eco-Representative will be at the EC campus bins to catch students recycling properly. Every time a student recycles properly, they will get a $1.00 off purchase at the Snack Bar.” Drew is known for the single stream recycling. The State of New Jersey does not partake in this type of sustainability project. Notas said, “I guess you can say we’re forefront.”
Associate Mentor Andy Evans represented Research Institute for Scientists Emeriti (R.I.S.E) at the fair. Evans said, “I have been to international conferences and spoken to professors about this program. Drew University is the only university in perhaps the world that has this kind of institution.” R.I.S.E. is comprised of retired industrial scientists from North Jersey who volunteer their time to help students with their research. R.I.S.E. has won the American Chemical Society Contest two years in a row. Such recognition is not uncommon for R.I.S.E. Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals donated a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance worth around $600,000. With new donations and new mentors, students should look into look into the opportunities R.I.S.E. has to offer.
Sophomore year has generated a positive response from students so far. Shira Newman (’16) said, “I like my professors this semester. It’s better knowing people coming in this year. It’s nice because I know where everything is. Before I had difficulty finding my classes and getting familiar with buildings.” Sophomores have a better understanding of how to allocate their time. According to Jonathan Gojewsky (‘16), “It’s … better because I know how my lifestyle is from last year. I know when I can do my homework and when I can party or exercise.” After a year of experience, sophomores are comfortable with their lifestyle and academics. With the refreshed memories of available resources, sophomores are readily prepared to tackle their second year at Drew.
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