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 CATHERINE KING – Contributing Writer

Students were finally able to relax and have some fun after their hectic midterms. On Wednesday, several departments sponsored DrewTopia, a fun and educational event with the purpose of getting students to relax. HERB and Theme Houses Residence Director Joseph Mercadante said, “Students are stressed more than they have ever been.”

DrewTopia is the first large-scale stress relief program on campus to be sponsored by Health Services, DV8/Substance Abuse Prevention, Religious Life, Residence Life and Student Activities. University Chaplain Tanya Bennett said the purpose of Drewtopia was to “consider the wellness and wholeness of the person.”

As the first of its kind, DrewTopia was a test run for others in the future. Large de-stress events may become more prominent and may even be held once every semester. With the success of this DrewTopia, plans to organize one for the spring are already underway, this time with more events and therapy animals to warm the hearts of Drewids.

Kat Brask / Staff Photographer| Co-sponsored by Health Services, DV8/Substance Abuse Prevention, Religious Life, Residence Life and Student Activities, DrewTopia offered students a chance to relax and have fun with de-stressing activities and music.

Kat Brask / Staff Photographer| Co-sponsored by Health Services, DV8/Substance Abuse Prevention, Religious Life, Residence Life and Student Activities, DrewTopia offered students a chance to relax and have fun with de-stressing activities and music.

“We are planning for a bigger DrewTopia in the spring with more clubs and groups,” said Mercadante. He added, “We want students to de-stress from classes and tests—to take their minds off of education and stressful pieces.”

In Crawford Hall, sponsors of DrewTopia showcased a variety of activities, music and stands educating students on aromatherapy, drinking, safe sex and food. Students also greatly enjoyed the ball pit, arts and crafts and giant jenga. Many walked out with their own hand-made snow globes and stress balls. Others spent their time playing with the mesmerizing miracle that is bubble wrap.

DrewTopia occurred in the early afternoon. “During the day, this is the time available to most students. It’s the busiest. Students can come in and out as they pass,” said Mercadante. This worked as a steady flow of students filtered in throughout the day.

The sponsors of DrewTopia also encouraged students to find ways to relax in their own free time. Mercadante suggested exercising, listening to music and hanging out with friends. He said, “Students should find time away from their studies and take a mental health break.

Bennett suggested taking walks. She said, “We at Drew have a beautiful campus and students should take advantage of that.” She also suggested that people get out of their rooms and added, “Work is done when the mind is relaxed.”

Many students thought the whole concept of DrewTopia was a great idea. “I think it’s a great idea because people get really stressed,” said Pilar Muhammad (’18). He added, “There are so many activities that appeal to everyone.” They especially appealed to students since midterms have just finished and registration and finals are right around the corner.

Anabelle Montgomery (’18) said, “I think it’s a great idea. It’s supposed to de-stress. People should de-stress. College is gross and this makes it less gross.”

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Silvia Ramirez – Copy Editor

Did you know self-defense is also about verbal skills? As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Week, the Drew University Feminist Union (DUFU) partnered with Prepare Inc. to present a self-defense workshop to about 15 students. Prepare Inc, headquartered in Manhattan, is an organization that focuses on providing violence prevention training and personal safety workshops.

The topics of theses workshops range from street crime to defense against sexual assault. The organization also holds intensive 20-hour workshops that focus on verbal and physical skills as well as body language and posture. This year it was also one of the sexual assault awareness workshops given to the incoming freshmen class during new student orientation.

Funded by Student Government and an endowment from former Drew President and N.J. Gov.Thomas H. Kean, the workshop’s main goal was to train students using real life scenarios that dealt with sexual assault and street crime. Some of the scenarios included threat assessment, using verbal and nonverbal language to get out of a possible dangerous situation and using physical skills to defend against a potential assailant.

Regarding the workshop, DUFU Co-Chair Bonnie Hullings (’15) said, “These workshops are geared towards gender violence and how women and also gay men feel walking down the street. Most other self-defense classes don’t do that.”

Students felt the workshop achieved its main goal of empowering individuals and helping them find their own voice. Lauren Mastropierro (’18) said, “I thought it was empowering. I didn’t know I could do that. I’m more confident knowing that I can react in this situation.”

Regarding the message students got from the workshop, Hannah Kohn (’17), Co-Chair of DUFU and one of the main event organizers, said, “Not many people have the chance to be put into a room and be allowed to yell and defend themselves and have a voice against certain situations. We are not taught that.”

The workshop emphasized the effect society has on individuals in preventing them from learning to say “no.” Gender norms sometimes prevent people from reacting to dangerous situations due to internalized social expectations. The workshop aimed to break these assumptions and teach students that their personal safety is more important than social standards.

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Kat Brask/ Staff Photographer | A table and chairs are set up outside Short Stories while books are displayed in the window (top). Inside, black shelves are separated into different literary genres (bottom right) and children can spell words on a magnetic wall (bottom left).

Kat Brask/ Staff Photographer | A table and chairs are set up outside Short Stories while books are displayed in the window (top). Inside, black shelves are separated into different literary genres (bottom right) and children can spell words on a magnetic wall (bottom left).



A bookstore has the power to be more than just a bookstore. In a time when anyone can buy books from giant online sellers like Amazon, an independent bookstore often has to use its connection to the community in order to stay afloat.

That’s the idea behind Short Stories, the community book hub situated in downtown Madison. About the new store, owner Barb Short said, “With all the changes in the industry, online bookselling as well as e-books, we’ve been losing independent bookstores.” She added, “Independent bookstores are becoming community destinations for culture and learning.”

Madison lost its other, then only, independent bookstore, Sages Pages, not to the flood of Internet book sales but to damages from a water main break last January. After seeing that local bookstore go out of business, Short began plans for a new local book hub in the heart of downtown Madison.

Short launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the store, with a goal of $15,000. Between Aug. 25 and Sept. 30, 145 backers donated $18,260 to help open Short Stories, which opened Sept. 27 on Bottle Hill Day. Discussing what in Madison made a community book hub possible, Short said, “There’s this tremendous fabric of the community.”

The store’s interior and overall atmosphere is representative of this sense of community. About the space, Short said, “This is a place that brings out the best in everybody.” She added, “The books alone won’t sustain the store. The goal is to create a space the community can use.” With black and white shelves separated into small cubbies representing different literary genres from gardening to historical fiction to young adult, the store separates the shelves in separate sections while still allowing the store to feel open.

The décor is funky and fresh. The cool green and turquoise walls create a calm ambience for visitors. Children and adults alike can spell out words with magnetic letters on a wall painted with magnetic primer. Guests can write the names of their favorite books on a chalkboard wall in the back of the store. Readers can flip through books on a turquoise couch or sit at the table in the front of the store. Artwork by local artists hangs on the wall to the right when visitors walk in the store.

This weekend, the store is hosting a pre-grand opening to thank the community for its support during the store’s prior “soft opening.” Events include free live music and author events as well as student and teacher discounts.

Today, the store is offering a 10 percent student discount from noon to 3 p.m. In the evening, the local Kings Road Band will be playing in the store from 7 -8:30 p.m. To further celebrate the occasion, the store is also hosting discussion sessions with authors tomorrow. Fitness expert and author Cali Yost is talking on the work-life balance issues addressed in her books from 9:30 -10:30 a.m. Author Michael A. Rossi will be discussing historical fiction from 11 a.m. to noon.

Located at 32 Madison Avenue, Short Stories is a place where literature, music and art come together, and where the strong bonds of community are forged. Any questions, suggestions or comments should be sent to their e-mail: books@shortstoriesnj.com.


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Rachel Tavani- Contributing Writer

If you’re looking for a funny, feelgood movie to pass some time during the dreary days of the incoming winter, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” is definitely the movie for you.

Not only does it have the comedic stylings of Steve Carell, hidden adult jokes within the PG script and the quintessential moment of familial bonding, kangaroos and koalas are also given a cameo.

The movie also stars Jennifer Garner, Ed Oxenbound, Dylan Minnette and Kerris Dorsey as the rest of the cursed family.

What more can you ask for than Steve Carell getting his wits knocked out of him by an adorable but feisty native Australian animal?

Alexander, an unlucky kid who is forgotten in his family of perfectly happy people, makes a wish on his 12th birthday for his family to experience the kind of bad days he is used to.

When this family, living a seemingly perfect life, is met with situations that are, for lack of a better word, terrible, the best aspects of the human condition are highlighted as the family members eventually realize that having bad days only helps you appreciate the good ones.

Sometimes all you need to unwind is an hour and a half of watching a family conquer their preposterous problems to truly gain some perspective on life.

When Steve Carell tells me that it is okay to have terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days, I believe him wholeheartedly. This film will make you smile and forget that you paid $11 for a children’s movie.

Rating in a nut shell: 3.5/5 Acorns – almost Great

-Rachel Tavani is a sophomore and treasurer of Film Club.


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JILL GRIFFITH – Contributing Writer

Are you looking for an internship in the sciences but are unsure of where to start?

Last night, Tri-Beta hosted their annual Student Panel on Internships in the Sciences. The event was co-sponsored by several science clubs on campus such as Drew Univerty Biology Science, Drew Univeristy Chemistry Society, Majorly Interested in Neuroscience at Drew, Gamma Sigma Epsilon Chemistry Honor Society and the Drew Health Organization.

Students on the panel had diverse science backgrounds and offered their unique experiences in their selected internships. Their fields included biology, chemistry, physics, health/medicine and environmental science.

The event took place in Crawford Hall and featured eight students who completed their internships within the last two years. Each student gave a brief presentation on his or her internship and offered the contact information of the respective internship site.

Whether you are undecided in your intended major or have a firm sense of what kind of science interests you, internships are key to building your future and can direct you towards possible career paths.

Kirby Clark (’16), an environmental studies major, worked as an intern for the New Jersey Highlands Coalition, an opportunity that she found through Biology professor Dr. Sara Webb. While there she was in charge of coordinating the Highlands Festival at Waterloo. This included managing web content, social media and outreach for their event, which is “held annually in celebration of the art, culture and natural resources of the Highlands Region.” The festival she helped to coordinate was a success. Clark gave her reason for her interest in this opportunity. She said, “This interested me because it was a good mix of writing and ESS, which are two things I hope to combine in my future career.”

While Clark stayed close to home, over this past summer Erika Potero (’15) took an internship abroad in Paris, France, where she combined her background in art history and chemistry. This international internship opportunity is formally known as an International Research Experience for Undergraduates (IREU), and it did not require her to have a prior knowledge of French.

In Paris, she worked at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, where she examined earth pigments and studied how they influence the drying properties of linseed oil. This internship requires previous research experience and the presentation of research in front of the American Committee. She found this opportunity in December via “the National Science Foundation website,” and the application was due in May.

For students interested in the pre-med track, Frank Minio (’15) spoke about his internship at the Morristown Memorial Medical Center. During his time there, he shadowed various physicians in the emergency room.

He recounted an interesting experience he had halfway through the semester when, as he said, “I was working a 7 p.m. shift in the trauma rotation, which is something I never did, and I got to see a pretty interesting trauma case. A landscaper accidentally cut himself across the shins.” Minio was allowed to observe and ask questions to gain an understanding about how patients were being treated. He learned about this opportunity  through Drew’s internship office. When recounting the journal assignments he had him complete, he said, “I wrote about allergic reactions that I saw. I decided to look more in detail into what causes allergic reactions and treatments that they did.”

While studying physics, Danielle Holz (’15) completed an internship at Lehigh University. Of her experience, she said, “I used statistical mechanics to model phase transitions of Y-molecules.” Her advice to those seeking an internship: “Apply to a lot of [internships]…They are very competitive.” She elaborated on the significance of these opportunities, saying, “[Internships] look good when you want to move on to graduate school as they are a foot in the door.” Her work at Lehigh University has helped her to develop much needed connections with faculty, as she will be potentially pursuing graduate school there.

While biology students Elizabeth Regedanz (’15) and Emmanuel Crespo (’15) both worked for pharmaceutical company Lundbeck in Paramus, N.J., they interned for different positions within the company. Some highlights of Regedanz’s internship included the friendly work environment.

After giving a short description of her internship responsibilities she added, “I really liked it there. A lot of people were really interested in making sure you knew what was going on and the whys.” With a bit of laughter she added, “The food there is fantastic and if you are working as an unpaid intern you will get to eat lunch with everyone everyday.”

On the other hand, Crespo worked with lab rats where he collected blood samples and did plasma research. He worked three days a week from nine to five the whole spring semester, an opportunity that he had to arrange his schedule around.

For individuals looking to pursue an internship at a veterinary hospital, Shira Newman (’16) talked about her experience working as a kennel technician. To get this position, Newman contacted several other veterinary practices to see if there were any openings.

Her responsibilities included walking dogs, feeding the animals and cleaning out the cages. She added, “I learned how to do blood draws and read x-rays.” Overall, she said, “It was a really awesome experience. I worked for six to seven hours every day for two months over the summer. This was a paid internship.” This internship helped her realize her career path was not for pediatric medicine, instead for veterinary medicine.

Wajiha Azaz (’15), who is interested in health and medicine, presented two internships that she completed: the first as an optometrist assistant, and the second as a medical assistant for a private practice.

The responsibilities she had at both internships were similar and included doing patient pre-testing and taking their history. Similary to Newman’s, Azaz’s internship helped her gain direction in what she wanted to pursue, saying, “I had the privilege to shadow optometrists which was crucial for me to decide if I wanted to decide to go to medical school or optometry school.” Ultimately, she has chosen to pursue medical school. To find her internship at a private practice, Azaz reached out to one of her public health professors. Both internships were paid.

Students who stayed for the entire panel got to hear from all the panelists and their diverse set of academic and career interests. Secretary of Tri-Beta Constantinos Bacas (’16) spoke about his admiration for the event that he has been attending since his freshman year when he said, “This is a great opportunity to be exposed to different opportunities that you may not have known are out there, especially for people who are undecided in their major.” He added that “today’s world has become more of a who you know and contacts make that important. You have to be qualified credential wise of course, but this is a great way to learn about contacts.”

The diversity of the panel was echoed by other students in attendance. Kyla Moutenot (’18) said, “I didn’t know there are so many aspects of subjects that you can take on. The diversity of how you can switch around between fields and still get the full experience is really unique.”

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