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Kyra Whitehead – Contributing Writer

There is a constant hum about the mobile operating system, Android, mostly in regards to their cell phones, whether through television broadcasts, radio or word of mouth. But how often do we hear about what goes on behind-the-scenes and how these devices are developed?

On Saturday in the Hall of Sciences, the Drew mathematics and computer science department provided a unique experience for students to learn just that by hosting an Android DevFest for the first time on Drew’s campus. The DevFest was an all-day affair, packed with information about Android Dev Wear.

The Android watches have a number of features, linked to Android mobile devices. Various apps on the watch allow users to control aspects of their phone by merely speaking to the device on their wrists. In order to help DevFest participants comprehend how this works and what sort of methods are used to create an app, DevFest representatives presented their product through discussions and workshops.

The DevFest schedule consisted of a general talk by Martin Omander, an exercise in designing apps by Lisa Wray, code lab (writing sample apps) conducted by Lisa Wray at the same time as an introduction to Android Wear development concepts by Nitya Narasimhan. A panel was also held to discuss the ideas that were developed during the morning exercise. This panel included entrepreneurs from the local area.

Through this informative array of material, participants were able to acquire a multifaceted understanding of behind-the-scenes work from a beginner’s standpoint as well as from a more advanced outlook. The DevFest also provided students with the opportunity to meet Android developers, as well as Google’s trained professionals from NYC and Silicon Valley, and to become knowledgeable about how to best utilize these Android powered watches and other forms of new technology. The event allowed for open communication between DevFest attendees and Dev Wear guest speakers, including Android Wear Developer Advocate Lisa Wray, Program Manager Martin Omander and Android expert Nitya Narasimhan.

Student volunteers Anastasia Kolovani (‘16), Wyatt Olney (‘16), Daniel Gaston (‘15) and Vishnuvardhan Allampalli (‘18) also came together to help facilitate the event. Each volunteer received a free Chromecast device for their assistance.

While this is the first time that DevFest has been held at Drew, the event attracted around 70 intrigued participants, who left with a better understanding of Android Wear. This rare opportunity has proven to be an extremely beneficial affair, and will expectantly be the first of many. In fact, Burd exclaimed, “It was an enormous success in bringing experts to Drew and introducing students to ideas outside the classroom. We hope to have similar events in the near future.”

Be sure to remain on the lookout for future events sponsored by the mathematics and computer science departments.

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Kei-Sygh Thomas – Contributing Writer

Looking for an interesting place to travel over the summer? You might want to look into the Drew Russia Summer Program.  Students will get to experience post-Soviet life in Vladimir, Russia, and prior knowledge of the Russian language is not a prerequisite for the program.

The trip lasts for three weeks, during which students will engage in community-based learning with 20 hours of volunteer work at a local orphanage, a school for disabled children and an old church in the midst of being restored. Russian classes, assigned by level of fluency, meet five days a week for 90 minutes so that students will eventually feel more confident about communicating in Russian.

Students will stay with host families that are matched based on extensive surveys and questionnaires so that students are placed with a host family that is a good fit for them. Non-Russian speakers will be paired with a Russian-speaking student to help bridge the gap of communication with the families.

Most of the activities are scheduled and based on student interest, such as trips to places like Vladimir State University to receive lectures from career professionals on selected topics of interests, the privilege of sitting in on classes at the university, and students are even paired with a Russian student from the University as a travel buddy. But what’s a day’s work if there is no play? After classes and scheduled activities for the day are done, students are allowed to make use of their hard-earned leisure time visiting flea markets and shopping centers, museums and professional theatre during a three-day stay in the lovely city of Moscow.

Despite the current Crimean crisis between Russia and the Ukraine, Drew travelers should not be concerned about the possibility of being stuck in the middle of crossfire. Students will be in Vladimir, which is four hours east of Moscow and far from the Ukrainian border conflict. Students will be hundreds of miles away from the conflict and a state department travel warning has not be released. However, this will be monitored closely.

The deadline to apply for the Drew Russian Summer Program is Feb. 1, 2015. Six to ten students will be selected to attend the trip. Although the price has not yet been determined, everyone is eligible for a scholarship and scholarship consideration is automatic upon application submission. A final program cost will be determined by January. For more information, students should contact Carol Ueland, professor of Russian, at ceuland@drew.edu.

 

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Janel Gist – Assistant News Editor

Michael K. Plumb, a lawyer who deals with environmental law, gave a talk Tuesday about three environmental issues affecting New Jersey.

Plumb graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Geoscience from the University of Notre Dame and went on to get a Masters in civil engineering before getting his law degree from Columbia University. He now works as an associate at Wolf and Samson law office. During the talk in the Hall of Sciences, he spoke to about 15 interested students and staff about the Passaic River cleanup, Site Remediation Reform Act and regulating greenhouse gases in New Jersey. Plumb said, “New Jersey is moving well along to its environmental goals.”

The first issue Plumb spoke about was the Passaic River, the longest river in New Jersey, which is heavily polluted. There are many companies along the river that contributed to its pollution prior to the Clean Water Act of 1972. However, Plumb explained the main culprit was the Diamond Alkali Superfund site, which was made up of companies that manufactured pesticides and herbicides. Although these companies no longer exist, about a 17-mile stretch of the river remains polluted. The sediment in the river contains mercury, pesticides, heavy metals and other harmful substances. The fish and shellfish in the river are not fit for consumption because of the pollution.

Cleaning up the river is important to reducing pollution in New Jersey, but there is a seven-step process associated with their remediation. Now the EPA and other organizations, such as the Lower Passaic River Restoration Project, are working on cleaning up the river. The project is being funded by the Diamond Shamrock Chemical Company and other companies located on the river that are responsible for the pollution.

The second issue Plumb talked about was the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA). At the moment, New Jersey has around 14,000 contaminated sites. Prior to the act, the cleanup was taking too long, as companies had no real deadline for cleaning up their contaminated sites. Companies would abuse the system by only doing a little bit of cleanup and then stalling until the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection told them they had to do something else. Plumb talked about how companies were able to defer costs, but projects were not getting completed. In 2009 the SRRA was created as well as the Licensed Site Remediation Professional Program, a group of people who would enforce timelines for projects. The first deadline was in 2012 and has made projects in New Jersey move forward much faster. Timeliness is important in regards to cleaning up contaminated sites in New Jersey.

The final subject Plumb spoke on was the effort to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in New Jersey. New Jersey did little to nothing to regulate GHG for many years. Plumb said, “In 2009 New Jersey set statewide GHG limits.” Plumb explained how New Jersey has worked to cut emissions from cars based on the state specific goals set by the EPA. The state is also working to cut GHG emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030, based on amounts from 2005 when GHG emission levels peaked. To do this, the state wants power plants to increase their efficiency, increase natural gas in power plants and increase demand-side management by 1.5 percent annually and expand renewable and nuclear power.

 

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Waldron promotes campus-wide alcohol awareness

Morissa Schwartz – Staff Writer

Halloween is upon us. It can be a very fun time, but it is also associated with an increase in partying and drinking. Tragedies like the Sept. death of a Rutgers student, in which peer intervention could have saved a life, remind students to be responsible when they drink and to look out for others.

Good Samaritan  Policy

The Good Samaritan Policy was set up to avoid tragedies like the one that recently occurred in Rutgers. Drew’s policy states that students will not be held accountable for policy violations if they call public safety for themselves or for someone else.  “Even when alcohol or drugs are in plain sight, the first priority is to get help when it’s needed,” Sara Waldron, vice president of campus life and student affairs, said.

Found in public bathrooms, issue 2 of the “Stall Street Journal” contains information about safe drinking at campus parties.

Found in public bathrooms, issue 2 of the “Stall Street Journal” contains information about safe drinking at campus parties.

Audra Tonero, assistant director of Outreach & Education runs monthly “Choices Classes” for students who violate the alcohol policy. She said, “When people are taken to hospital, it’s about being proactive. The right thing to do is to make a call.”

That is why Drew upholds the Good Samaritan Policy. It is not a policy that discourages students from drinking according to Waldron, as she said, “It is not realistic to say college students won’t drink, but we educate them to make smart decisions.” The Good Samaritan Policy encourages students to be aware.

According to Tonero, the message of the policy encourages students to “Step up and stand in. Do not stand by.”

Waldron added, “[What is] important is peer intervention: Students who are willing to step up and intervene when a friend has had too much to drink or to intervene when there might be a potentially dangerous or high risk incident.”

Substance Awareness & Educational Programs are trying very hard to get this information out to all students. They are working on creating a culture of doing something when you see something through teaching students to step in non-aggressively and break up a situation and on how to talk to friends. The first step is starting a dialogue about being responsible.

Of the policy’s main goal, Waldron said, “Our primary concern is in keeping students safe.  When someone has had too much to drink or used other substances, the most important thing is to get that person the help that they need.  I don’t want students to be afraid of getting themselves or friends in trouble.”

Miho Watabe - Graphics Editor | When Public Safety is called, they respond to the call, contact the Madison EMT squad and Health Services and file a report with the Associate Dean of Campus Life and Student Affairs. The Coordinator of Substance Awareness and Educational Programs will contact the student within 24 hours of the event.

Miho Watabe – Graphics Editor | When Public Safety is called, they respond to the call, contact the Madison EMT squad and Health Services and file a report with the Associate Dean of Campus Life and Student Affairs. The Coordinator of Substance Awareness and Educational Programs will contact the student within 24 hours of the event.

Daniel’s Dictionary details the sequence of events occurring after a student dials Public Safety. First, public safety responds to the initial call, contacts the Madison EMT squad, informs Health Services about the transport, and files a report with the associate dean of Campus Life and Student Affairs. Next, the Office of the Associate Dean of Campus Life and Student Affairs will contact the Coordinator of Substance Awareness and Educational Programs. Finally, the Coordinator will contact the student within 24 hours to complete an assessment.

Orientation

Another important step in educating new students about responsible drinking was taken during Orientation Week. Waldron explained that the SCREAM theatre troupe from Rutgers educated incoming freshmen that it is important to slow down and be protective when drinking.

Students also discussed

more deeply in small groups why drinking responsibly is so important. They emphasized the importance of counting drinks so that they could feel the effect of one drink before the next one, which decreases the likelihood of alcohol-related problems.

Tonero said, “We hold ‘Paving the Way’ seminars for first year students during orientation, these talks focus on harm reduction and safety and inform about the Good Samaritan [Policy].”

Additionally, there will be a session in June 2015 dealing with the issue of substance abuse that will include a session with students and parents as part of the summer orientation program. Tonero explained, “We provide a presentation called ‘Beyond the Books’ for parents and incoming students about alcohol and drugs, discuss harm reduction and invite the parents to begin open dialogues with students about this reality. We also spend time on Good Samaritan.”

Close Calls

It’s easy to think that alcohol related issues can never happen to you, but the truth is, Drew has had some close calls in the past.

Waldron recounted, “A few years ago, we had a student in such bad shape that it was life-threatening.  Parents were called to the ER because there was a chance he might die.”

But that wasn’t the only alcohol-related issue experienced on campus. “A few weeks ago, Public Safety had a hard time finding a pulse on a student and rushed them to the ER.  In the past, they’ve done chest compressions to keep a student breathing.” But alcohol poisoning isn’t the only danger associated with excessive drinking, Waldron continued, ”Additionally, we have intoxicated students who fall on campus, often hitting their heads or getting cut some other way. Sometimes it results in concussions, in which case students have to miss classes. Sometimes these cuts require stitches, and students sprain ankles or wrists.”

Be Safe this Halloween

There are often large parties for Halloween, as it is right before the heavy workload students come to expect towards the end of semester.

Waldron said, “Halloween is an excuse for a party, and a big one, so students may be more likely to engage in high risk drinking.  Party hosts are more likely to offer high alcohol content, and mixed alcohol punches or juices.  Students drink these without even knowing what’s in them. One drink can actually contain 3-5 shots of alcohol and be higher proof than what students are used to drinking.”

Tonero also warned, “When students anticipate a ‘party’ weekend they normalize drinking more and minimize the potential risks.  There is a tendency to drink with the intent to get wasted, blackout.”

Final Thoughts

Waldron said, “I want students to have fun, to have a good time… to know how to party and stay within their limits and also be able to watch out for their friends.”

Tonero warned, “Alcohol poisoning, sexual assault, regrets, assaults, blackouts, arguments and break-ups as a by product of drinking are completely avoidable if people would use protective behaviors when deciding to drink, such as: know your limits and avoid drinking games and high-proof alcohol, drink slowly (it takes an hour for a drink to go through your system) wait to actually feel the effects of the first drink before having another, eat a full meal before going out, know what’s in your cup, alternate drinks with bottled water for hydration and stick with people you know and trust.”

“Losing a student to alcohol is one of my biggest fears. It is just such a senseless death and one that can be avoided. Waldron concluded, “At previous colleges, I have had student deaths from alcohol and students who have been killed by drunk drivers. At Drew, I often say that it is not a matter of if we will have a student die from alcohol, but when. I want to make sure we are doing everything we can to prevent such a tragedy.”

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Department change will allow for smoother conference set up

Janel Gist – Assistant News Editor

The Housing, Conferences and Hospitality departments (HCH) are being split up into other existing departments in hopes of making housing and other concerns easier for students. The change comes in part because Peggi Howard, vice president for Administration and University Relations, who was previously in charge of many aspects of the HCH, plans to retire at the end of this year. Mike Kopas, assistant vice president of Administration and University Relations, will take over many of Howard’s responsibilities. New Drew University President MaryAnn Baenninger was heavily involved in this change. Baenninger said  “The reorganization of the Department of Housing, Conferences and Hospitality will better streamline services for both housing and events at the Drew campus.”

The HCH was formerly composed of independent operational activities and with the reconstruction will be absorbed by facilities. The HCH was responsible for event-scheduling outside and inside Drew, setting up events, housing, and running the conferences that take place at Drew over the summer.

The reorganization is simply a change in structure, no positions or services are being eliminated. Many of the duties of HCH required the department to work closely with facilities, like in regards to setting up events. The change will allow for a smoother organization of conferences and other events. The change comes after feedback from the community about having to communicate with multiple departments on subjects like housing and event organization. Kopas said, “The university took a step back and looked at the structure of the department and are trying to adapt to the current campus.”

Janel Gist - Assistant News Editor | The HCH (Housing, Conferences, and Hospitality) department is located in the Carriage House.

Janel Gist – Assistant News Editor | The HCH (Housing, Conferences, and Hospitality) department is located in the Carriage House.

While the majority of HCH will be absorbed into facilities, housing will instead be moved over to Campus Life and Student Affairs. This will allow for housing and ResLife to be under one roof and work together more closely. Housing is directly tied to ResLife and students will be able to go to one place, instead of multiple places for all their housing needs. Baenninger said, “Residence Life will oversee student housing and other student services, giving students a centralized location to go to.”

Parts of the HCH reorganization also include changes to the executive director, residential properties coordinator and events scout positions. Also, the events operation team, housing coordinator and calendar and scheduling coordinator positions will be affected.

The executive director will continue to oversee the universities rental properties and will also continue to expand and manage the Drew Forum Lecture series. A new responsibility added to this position will include overseeing the operations of Drew’s main vendors. The residential properties coordinator and events scout and calendar scheduling coordinator will continue their respective duties of scouting events and other locations and scheduling events. Both positions, however, will be relocated to Pepin to be closer to facilities.

The three-member events operation team will be reorganized to handle all conferences, concerts and events. The team will be led by an event manager, include two other staff members and will now report to facilities. The housing coordinator position will continue to help students with housing but will now work more closely with ResLife.

The reorganization will officially take effect Nov. 1. However, integration has already begun. Kopas said, “This will make things easier. Students need to only call one phone number and get a lot accomplished from that.”

This change is meant to be helpful for students and staff and therefore keep up with the demand for a more streamlined process at Drew. Baenninger said, “The more I get to know Drew, the more I will continue to look for ways to organize our university so we are offering the best possible customer service and employing our best management practices.”

 

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