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Janel Gist, Assistant News Editor

 

Wearable technology for a long time was  a staple of science fiction movies, but with the introduction of Google Glass and smart watches, it seems that wearable technology will soon be available to consumers. Professor Barry Burd gave a RISE talk on Thursday called “Wearable Computing” which focused on Google Glass and its functions and what the future holds for it. Most people have some sort of technology with them at all times normally in the form of a smartphone or tablet. However, it could soon become that people will actually be wearing the technology either in the form of a watch or glasses. This would be a major development in the involvement of technology in people’s everyday life.

Pearl Sutter (’18) said, “I read all about Google Glass and I did a research project on technology and where it will take us. I think it is spectacular what a small computer like this can do. It’s like going into a futuristic movie. It was so cool to get to see it.”

TALKANDROID.COM | One suprising part of Google Glass is that they can be worn over other glasses due to the small screen off to the right.

TALKANDROID.COM | One surprising part of Google Glass is that they can be worn over other glasses due to the small screen off to the right.

Burd teaches mathematics and computer science, and also leads training courses for professional programmers in business and industry. He has authored several articles and books on programming with Java along with other subjects.

During the talk Burd showed off the many features and functions of Google Glass. He was able to pass his pair around the room so everyone could get a chance to experience the glasses. One of the surprising aspects of Google Glass is that there is very little glass involved. There are no lenses, instead just a small screen that is set off to the right and it is actually possible to wear them over other glasses.

Burd talked of some of the functions and apps that can be used with Glass. He cited his personal favorite as being a leveling tool that can be used for things like hanging pictures. The device also has standard apps, weather, GPS and news on the home screen. Glass is controlled through eye movement, making it hands-free. It also uses voice command which is always started with “OK glass.” Burd said, “Interfacing with this is a lot different than interfacing with a computer.”

During the presentation Burd also talked about a keyboard developed by a former student that was controlled with eye movement. While it was difficult to use, it’s a fun piece of technology, that gives a glimpse into what could be the norm in 10 or 20 years. Burd said, “This is a different kind of human interaction with technology.”

A cheaper consumer version of Google Glass will most likely be available in 2015.

 

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Liz Pemberton, News Editor

Students may be unaware about the new financial plan under development. University President MaryAnn Baenninger and Dylan Jones (’15), Student Government vice president and student intern at the Office of Finance and Business Affairs, shed light on ways the administration is working to achieve upward growth in Drew’s finances.

Regarding her involvement with Drew’s finances, Baenninger said, “As President and Chief Executive Officer, I ultimately lead all initiatives at the university, and I am therefore very directly involved in financial decision-making. We also have a senior leadership team called the Cabinet, who will make decisions about the university and its finances.”

Originally, Drew2017 was at the center of Drew’s plan for financial stability. According to Jones, “The aim of Drew2017 is a fiscally sustainable budget for the university. [The year] 2017 was chosen for two reasons: it marks the milestone 150th anniversary of Drew’s founding in 1867 and its when the university wants to have a balanced budget.”

Jones was directly involved with Drew2017 as a member of the steering committee. He stated, “The steering committee completed a prioritization of academic programs and a review of administrative unit reports. I was the student representative, charged with bringing the voices of all three schools to the table. I used the student governments of all three schools as a medium for discussing the pertinent topics regarding Drew2017. The steering committee completed its responsibilities at the end of last year.”

Baenninger explained why the Drew2017 initiative is not the primary way to fix Drew’s budget issues. “The idea was that if a committee could review data about all the parts of the university, they could make some recommendations about what we could cut to bring our budget down and what we could invest in,” Baenninger stated. “Unfortunately, the budget gap at Drew is too big to solve in this manner. We first need to look at the university as a whole before we make decisions about cutting specific programs.”

Regarding Drew’s financial problems, Baenninger said, “Our biggest problems financially right now are enrollment and retention in CLA. We can’t tackle issues like cutting small programs, which won’t save very much money, until we stabilize our enrollment and get back on a better footing financially.”

Furthermore, Baenninger and the cabinet are currently working on a plan for long term financial stability, which they still hope to achieve by the year 2017. The work of Drew2017 will strictly be considered as one part of that plan. Baenninger elaborated on the aims of the new plan, “The plan first includes increases in retention, and I’m happy to say we have begun to be successful in that. Retention has increased from about 76 percent last year to 84 percent this year. We still have a ways to go to reach a goal of 91 percent or so but we are making progress.”

The next goal is to build up annual enrollment. “We have a lot of work to do to make that happen,” Baenninger said. “We have to increase Drew’s visibility and identity so more students will apply. We have to continue to attract high-achieving students but at a greater rate. We have to show those students that Drew is the best place for them to achieve their educational goals. This means we have to market Drew better and we have to make sure that our students already here have a good experience. We also have to better understand data that will help us make good decisions as a university and as a non-profit business.”

Baenninger plans to keep the Drew community regularly updated on Drew’s quest for financial stability. She said, “I held a campus conversation last month to which the entire campus community–including students–were invited. Unfortunately, few students attended that event. I have also been visiting other groups on campus, faculty and staff, to describe our plans and progress and to hear their feedback. I will be meeting with student government before the end of the semester. It is important to note that our board of trustees must be involved in the process of returning fiscal health to the university. I will be meeting with them for the first time next week. They need to be the first to weigh in and discuss our plans moving forward financially. After the trustees are briefed, I expect to brief the campus community at least once a semester, like I did this semester in September.”

 

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Shalini Chalikonda, Staff Writer

What do science and the church have in common? For two days at Drew Theological School, free lectures that were open to the general public, were held to discuss this theme. The Tipple-Vosburgh Lectures was a series of eight lectures given by experts from various scientific, academic, public health, nonprofit and church arenas. The series occurs annually for two days, and was held with the goal of getting all of the alumni of the Theological School together in one place to network. The lectures were free for Drewids to attend. Additionally, students had the option to pay to attend the lectures and receive academic credit. Approximately 30 people attended each lecture.

The themes of the lecture series change every year and usually revolve around the church. Dr. Kate Ott, assistant professor of Christian social ethics, said, “They are very engaging, fun and informative for alums and students.” This year, the theme was “Faith, Science and the Church’s Voices.” The lectures all explore both the points of contrast and of synergy between scientific empiricism and faith traditions present in various practices of ministry, such as pastoral care, teaching, preaching and mission. The faculty chosen to give the lectures vary every year as well.

Dr. Gerald Liu, assistant professor of homiletics and worship arts, gave a lecture on “Preaching about the Universe.” He discussed how to integrate serious science into faithful preaching and how to explore why science belongs at the pulpit, in the parish and in public ministries. Liu said of the series, “I think it’s good. The purpose is to connect with alumni network so that the graduates of the school can provide educational opportunities in ministries or ask general questions they may have about faith and the world.”

Lectures (2)

KATEOTT.ORG | Dr. Kate Ott, assistant professor of Christian social ethics lectured during the Tipple-Vosburgh Lecture series.

Ott gave a lecture titled “This Is My Body: Coming to Voice on Sexual and Reproductive Health.” The lecture covered sexual and reproductive health issues often seen as taboo topics. Ott was paired with Mariah Britton, CEO and founder of the Moriah Institute, a non-profit group dedicated to designing and implementing learning experiences for adolescents and adults. Ott said that together they “discussed ways of how to provide and encourage sexuality in faith communities. For example, to start conversations in church, or how to talk about women and reproductive choices, childbearing, etc.”

Regarding the lecture series as a whole, Ott said, “As a faculty member, it is a great opportunity to share the kinds of research and teaching that happen in the theological classroom with the alumni.” Ott teaches sexuality, technology, Christian ethics, women’s issues and feminism. She has also given lectures in the series for two years.

Ultimately, even though the lecture series was successful this year, the hope is that more people around campus will take advantage of it next year. The lectures connect seemingly oppositional perspectives and include a view on religion that few may have been exposed to before.

 

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Peace Corps member details application process

Ashleigh Fernandez, Staff Writer

Most people think of the Peace Corps as an alternative to graduate school, however it is possible to do both. With Master’s International, students are given the opportunity to work and live overseas while completing a Master’s degree in their field of interest. Apart from this, many partner schools offer research, credit for service, scholarships or tuition waivers to students serving in the Peace Corps.

Rachel Bueide, a former Peace Corps volunteer who came to Drew to talk about her experiences, explained how there are many opportunities and benefits with more than 80 Universities offering graduate degrees in over 100 fields of study. The largest areas of help offered within the Peace Corps are education, community economic development, environment, youth in development and agriculture.

“One of my favorite parts of my job is sharing my journey,” Bueide said to the 11 students in attendance. She started her discussion by explaining that the Peace Corps came to her coincidentally while she was in college, after her dreams of becoming a professional dancer were crushed due to a knee injury. Bueide decided she needed further education, and decided to major in anthropology.

Upon travelling to Palmarejo, Honduras for an archaeological field school project, Bueide realized that this field of study did not interest her as much as the people and culture within Honduras. She then decided to explore her other interests through research and became familiar with the Peace Corps from a friend. “I applied and had the opportunity to work in Thailand and Guyana during my service with the Peace Corps,” Bueide said, “and it was an incredible experience to help.” Bueide described the Peace Corps as a government program that exists for countries that require and ask for help. She explained that upon volunteering, the recruits receive beneficial training. Students are able to obtain training in the specific language required and the culture, as well as safety and security procedures.

Peacecorps.gov | Most students view the Peace Corps as an alternative to graduate school, when in actuality one can get a Master’s degree while volunteering for the organization.

Peacecorps.gov | Most students view the Peace Corps as an alternative to graduate school, when in actuality one can get a Master’s degree while volunteering for the organization.

After the discussion, Dr. Richard White, the employer relations coordinator at the Center for Career Development at Drew, posed a question based on one of the recent high profile issues, “How do the Peace Corps respond and protect its volunteers in times like these when there is an Ebola crisis?” Bueide explained that in countries that are prone to diseases such as these like Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, there is an emergency action plan which deals with safety, health and security.

“When I was in Thailand, there were political demonstrations going on and the Peace Corps would send detailed emails informing me of what was happening and how to take precaution,” said Bueide “and this is why I chose the Peace Corps because they have these precautionary programs to protect their volunteers.”

Joining the Peace Corps is free and volunteers receive a living allowance based on the salary of native people of the destination country, as well as medical and dental care. “I spent a lot of time in Thailand working on HIV prevention by going into schools to do youth leader events,” Bueide said, “and as Peace Corps volunteers, we hope that the work we do is carried out after we leave.”

After voluntary service is completed, volunteers are given a readjustment fee of $9,000 upon returning to the United States. “After I finished my service in Thailand, I worked for a bit in a private school. But I really missed my volunteering experiences,” said Bueide. She expressed that even though the Peace Corps is really about helping people, she was able to gain many other skills such as Thai dancing and cooking.

As Bueide ended her discussion, she opened the floor up for questions. Farrah Ridore (’16) asked, “What did you do in terms of communication when in these countries?” to which Bueide answered, “I almost communicated better when I was overseas because I actually made it a priority.” Ridore then asked, “Do the Peace Corps give you a packing list of what to bring?” to which Bueide answered, “I actually have an embarrassing story about that because apparently I didn’t take the list into consideration and I packed a huge bag so when I arrived, I thought my host family’s car was going to break down when they picked me up from the airport.”

“The end of this trail is only the beginning of your discoveries,” said Bueide, “and this is what the Peace Corps means for me.” After her service, Bueide decided to enroll in a Master’s program independently in Bergen, Norway to study gender and development. The tuition was free, but she explained that it was a very competitive position with only 15 slots. “I know I wouldn’t have gotten the position if it wasn’t for the Peace Corps on my resume,” said Bueide. She emphasized how much the connections she was able to make during her service with the Peace Corps, further helped her in future endeavors and provided many opportunities. She went on to explain how she ended up with an Internship in Bangkok at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) from a connection she had made through her host family in Thailand. She worked at UNESCO by organizing an HIV/AIDS Exhibition and a condom art exhibition, using information she had learned through her voluntary experience.

In conclusion, Bueide described the process for applying to the Peace Corps for interested students. The first process is research. In order to obtain a position of interest, potential volunteers would benefit more from looking at different job postings. Thereafter, applicants should upload their resumé and are required to provide a motivational essay explaining why they are interested in joining the Peace Corps.

Another mandatory step in the application process is completing a health history form so that the Peace Corps can evaluate which countries would be suitable for the specific applicant based on previous health issues.

After volunteers identify countries of interest, the applications are assessed and then applicants must go through an interview process. If accepted into the voluntary service program with the Peace Corps, and applicants are not satisfied with their assignment, they are given the option to decline. However, they must go through the entire application process again in order to be considered for another destination.

 

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Club leaders sound off on potential board merger

Janel Gist – Assistant News Editor

Drew University clubs and organizations could be facing less bureaucratic obstacles in the future when attempting to plan events and get funding. There is currently a proposed measure to merge the Budget and Appropriations Board (B&A) with the Student Organization Activities Board (SOAB).

An internal review committee that is working on developing the merger and what the new merged organization will do. Previously, SOAB was responsible for the creation of new clubs. After a new club contacted Student Activities, SOAB would review the club’s application and vote on the approval of the club.

SOAB Chair Michael Gualtieri (’16) said, “SOAB also helps active clubs run smoothly and fulfill their requirements. This is done in a variety of ways including: the assigning of a board member to specific clubs to attend events and answer questions, so we can individually assess how we can assist each individual club, and holding yearly award ceremonies so that we might acknowledge the various successes clubs have had over the past year.”

Student Government Vice President Dylan Jones (’15) said, “The main role of B&A is to grant Student Government-recognized clubs their budgets for the semester. B&A has two other important functions: they are responsible for determining the general Student Government budget, and hold ad hoc sessions (Wednesdays at 6 p.m. in EC 145) for clubs that need money for events not budgeted for or for clubs that do not have a budget.”

Prior to the possible merger, the two clubs have worked together and held a meeting each semester to assess clubs performance of their required obligations.

The new merged board will take on the responsibilities from both B&A and SOAB and focus on reviewing active student organizations and granting budgets, advocating for student organizations and coordinating student organization’s registration and directory.

Felicia Sparozic (’16), Drew EMS president and founder, co-chair of !BOAS, said “In general, if this merger happens, hopefully there will be a stronger form of communication. I would really like to see in the future, maybe a document or packet that explains all you need to know and maybe a letter from SG. When I started a club freshman year, I didn’t know who to go to. There are a lot of freshman with ideas and who want to see stuff happen.”

By merging B&A and SOAB, students will experience a more streamlined process of club evaluation and funding. Frank Merckx, dean of students, said, “The current Shah-Jones Student Government administration has been working hard to help eliminate some of the current bureaucratic obstacles that many student organizations have been concerned about for a while. The current desire of the merger is to take the two functions and make them into one. This will reduce a significant amount of work that the current executive members of clubs and organizations perform.”

Liz Pemberton, News Editor | Responsibilities of the new merged SOAB and B&A board, if approved, will be to review active student organizations, grant budgets and advocate for student organizations.

Liz Pemberton, News Editor | Responsibilities of the new merged SOAB and B&A board, if approved, will be to review active student organizations, grant budgets and advocate for student organizations.

Students had been complaining that it was difficult and complicated to plan events because of the need to go through two different organizations. Cece Ewing (’17), co-president of Film Club, said, “I think it would make getting funding a lot easier if clubs only have to go to one place, instead of multiple places and that would probably make it a lot better for new clubs to start.”

The change will also be more effective for members of the two boards. Merckx said, “Instead of having two organizations review each club, each semester, it will just be one collective. This will ultimately save time for student leaders, reduce some of the paperwork and management challenges of the current system and allow for the best information flow.”

The proposal is still currently being developed and will be presented to Student Government and the student senate in the next few weeks. If it is approved by them, it will be sent to a campus-wide vote in November.

Jones said “the merge would have to be voted by the undergraduate population of the CLA because it involves constitutional amendments. If the constitutional amendments pass, the new board would be in effect after the executive election of the Student Government in December.”

Club leaders still have questions about the merge though. Bella Daphilma (’16), president of DASA said “It would be easier on club leaders during the end of semester review process if we approached one board as a whole. However, if the merging of the boards means club leaders will be obligated to go to individuals on the board, that’s just another hassle and the merge would be pointless. I’m also worried a  big board may be difficult to manage and create an inconvenience for club leaders when looking for assistance on certain issues. Perhaps a trial run would be appropriate so we could see how things pan out.”

The possible merging of these two boards will help student organizations and clubs have more hassle-free experience.

 

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