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Addison Del Mastro- Opinions Editor

It’s the holiday season: that time of year when jolly shoppers pepper spray each other and Christmas carols are used to sell Cadillacs. Whether or not the holidays hold any religious significance for you, I think we can agree that they mean more than a chance to spend a lot of money on a lot of stuff we “sort of” need.

Of course, the holidays should be a time of celebration and enjoyment. We do not need to be Puritans, after all. (The Puritans in the colonial era actually banned the celebration of Christmas.)

Part of the problem is that our daily lives have become so commercialized that in order to make the holiday season stand out, we now need to take it to an almost ridiculous extreme. We increasingly conflate the meaning of the holidays with the cost of things we buy.

Last year, when bad weather caused many late deliveries, I remember people ranting on the internet about how late deliveries of their Honey Baked Hams “ruined” their Christmases. It is surely a failure of our culture that we cannot tell the difference between Christmas and Christmas dinner.

There must be a happy medium between brawling in Wal-Mart over Tickle-Me Elmo and the Puritan solution. It is to remember that the point of gift-giving and expensive, sumptuous meals is not to celebrate commercialism itself, nor merely our own personal pleasure, but to show appreciation for each other and (if we choose) for God. Consumption is only a means to an end, it is meaningless on its own.

And while those of us who can afford it like to make the holidays a time of special enjoyment, we should never forget that for the less well-off – who make up an ever-larger percentage of our population – being surrounded by celebration can make their position feel even more painful. It’s a rather clichéd message that we should remember the less fortunate, but it is increasingly true today. Let’s not turn the holiday season into a means of perpetuating inequality and unnecessary consumption.

The good news is that young people are less commercialistic than they used to be. One example of this is that young people today are much less interested in owning cars and large houses than in the past. Hopefully the unfortunate economic shifts in our society, combined with a new idealism and suspicion of consumerism, will move our generation to work for a society that is ultimately more egalitarian, less commercialistic, and more in tune with real human welfare. Now that sounds too broad for a holiday article – but of course this new vision includes the holiday season too.

 

-Addison Del Mastro is a senior political science major

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Eight people showed up to the Student Government “debate” on Monday. But that might be generous because the only people who attended were Student Government members, the candidates themselves, the Drew Acorn staffers who covered it and Dean of Students Frank Merckx. Furthermore, since only one ticket was running, it wasn’t a debate at all. It could have been called “Meet your next President and Vice President.”

With only one choice, what’s the motivation to go to the debate, let alone vote? It’s no surprise then, that talk of the election on Thursday was greeted more with “What election?” than with competition and enthusiasm. Only 106 students voted in a student population of nearly 1,700. Last year’s primary election yielded 221 votes, more than double the votes in this year’s general election. Something’s wrong.

Although student apathy exists, this time it’s not the root of the issue. Student Government did a less-than-stellar job of advertising both the petition process and the election. While uneventful and uncompetitive elections are hardly new – three years ago the president/VP ran and several senators ran unchallenged – our most recent elections have been exciting and have involved many candidates and students.

Last year saw four presidential/VP tickets in part because the administration at the time viewed voter turnout as a high priority. Could the same be said of the current administrations’ efforts? The fact that we have backtracked since the last election, is revealing about the strength and efforts of the current SG administration.

The SG made the election during one of the most stressful times of the semester, the last full week of classes. Also, the election process – petitions, debate, campaigning and voting – was split in half by the Thanksgiving break. Students are certainly not too busy to vote – we can blame apathy for that – but they may feel too busy to run a campaign and get involved in the election process at this time. We suggest that in the future, SG move the complete election process up, perhaps to the first half of November or later on  to mid-February.

Even if timing wasn’t a problem, the underwhelming amount of advertising is the crux of the issue. Poor turnout at the debate and in the election ultimately comes down to the lack of advertising of the petition process. There were no Drew Today announcements, no poster board displayed in EC and no fliers around campus. The only advertising throughout the entire election process were six tweets from the SG Twitter account.

It is a shame that they weren’t able to sufficiently connect with and mobilize the student body.

Even though SG’s actual power is limited, it is where student interests are represented in an organized way. Whatever its flaws, only SG does that. A competitive election process also makes every set of candidates work harder, which is good for everyone. Of  course, vibrant campaigns and elections can be fun and enrich our campus life. We’d like to ask Student Government and the student body to work harder at crafting a stronger civic culture on campus.

NOTE: The Lead Editorial reflects the collective opinion of the Drew Acorn’s editorial board. All other opinion pieces represent solely the opinions of their respective authors.

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Pub closure latest example of administrative hush-ups

Addison Del Mastro – Opinions Editor, Miho Watabe – Graphics Editor, Dani Leviss – Editor-in-Chief, Molly Doyle – Copy Desk Chief

updated Dec. 7, 2014

We often talk about non-transparency in Drew’s administration. The mysterious closure of the Pub, and scarce information about it, is just the latest example of the administration’s unfortunate tendency to keep students in the dark.

Why all the secrecy? Is learning about what happened to the Pub like taking the red pill? Will we all die if we find out, or worse, be forced to join a rebellion against a self-aware computer?

The Drew Acorn, along with the rest of campus was able to glean rumors that the closure (per the paper taped to the doors, for “training”) is actually due to a student employee(s) serving underage students and not checking IDs. There, we said it. We’ve all heard that this is what happened. Why can’t the administration in charge of the Pub tell us what’s going to happen from here? Why can’t they even be straightforward about the situation?

It’s strange hitting this informational brick-wall only a couple of weeks after Dean Waldron spoke to The  Acorn seriously and thoughtfully on fostering a healthy and informed drinking culture on campus. When mistakes are made, that open attitude should still apply.

Perhaps the secrecy covers something more sinister. And if it doesn’t, it only leads us to speculate needlessly. Not telling the student body what’s going on makes it seem like the administration is thinking about taking the Pub away forever.

Closing the Pub would be disastrous on many fronts. Not only do we have a dying party culture on campus (a fact which is pushing some students to transfer and tempting others to engage in reckless drinking), but the Pub is also connected to alumni and helps attract prospective students.

When visitors come by, the Pub is conveniently opened up. Closed, but the doors are opened as if it’s still in use. Prospects can peek in and they’ll never see that infamous “closed indefinitely” sign taped to the front of the door up against the wall. Other times, and as recently as this weekend during Drew’s last Full Impact Day of the semester, the sign is removed completely.

If the school is self-aware enough to know that the Pub is an attractive location to prospective students and alumni because it symbolizes a thriving social atmosphere, why don’t they let us have this atmosphere for real?

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We’re responding to the Acorn Lead Editorial from Friday, November 21 titled “We’re greener when we work together.” We in the Facilities Management and Office of Sustainability agree. Part of working together for a greener campus is effective communication from students, faculty, and staff on heating issues.

During the heating season, Drew’s Temperature Policy sets building heating to between 68 and 70 degrees. Space heaters are not allowed as they present a fire hazard. If your space is overheated or under heated, please call Facilities Service Response at 973-408-3510 or extension 3379 after regular business hours.

Facilities Management communicates daily with the Office of Sustainability to reduce energy and cut carbon emissions. Drew has cut carbon emissions by 17% as part of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. If you would like to learn more, read the 2014  Sustainability Report available at drew.edu/sustainability.

 

Patty Smith

Associate Director for Facilities and Quality Assurance

Facilities Management

 

Tina Notas

Campus Sustainability Coordinator

Office of Sustainability

When Acorn Editor-in-Chief Dani Leviss offered me the opportunity to write an end-of-the-year message, I was enthusiastic about sharing my impressions of Drew. This semester has been one of the fastest periods of my life and I have enjoyed immensely.

I am fortunate to have come to Drew at this phase of my career.  Drew students are engaged in learning in the best of ways, and I am captivated by their diverse academic interests and their commitment to an inclusive environment.  Drew students are also distinctive in their openness to exploring ideas and academic disciplines and stand out in how they combine interests and majors to achieve their educational goals.

I am equally impressed by the faculty.  When I speak to Drew alumni and alumnae, they unfailingly cite individual mentoring relationships with faculty members as the most important aspect of their Drew educations.  Faculty members extend themselves to support students and advise in research, civic engagement, and artistic activities.  Student responses on the National Survey of Student Engagement prove that Drew is “off the charts” in providing high-quality, high impact, opportunities under the mentorship of faculty.

Lastly, one of my greatest joys—and an important goal—is to nurture partnerships between the three schools.  CLA, Caspersen, and Theo are connected by an orientation to “doing” and “acting” and I am eager for us to make the most of our distinctive structure to serve students in all three schools.

As I end my first semester, I am grateful that Drew chose me, and grateful that I had the sense to come to Drew.  I believe that together we will do great things.

In closing I wish you the joy of family and friends over the holidays, and look forward to your return in January, refreshed and unstoppable in achieving your aspirations.

Dr. MaryAnn Baenninger

President

 

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When Acorn Editor-in-Chief Dani Leviss offered me the opportunity to write an end-of-the-year message, I was enthusiastic about sharing my impressions of Drew. This...