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Archive for December, 2012

  • Rethinking the Power of Peace on December 22nd, 2012

    Hey Stony Brook-

    One week ago today, our nation stood witness  to one of the most devastating mass-shootings in our history.  On December 14, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, 26 people lost their lives, 20 of whom were young children.  Additionally, the shooter took the life of his mother and then, ultimately, his own life, bringing the grand total to 28 shot dead.  These children had their whole lives ahead of them-with their years cut short, they missed out on milestones that most of us take for granted: getting their driver’s licenses, graduating high school, going to college, starting a career.  Even worse, they fell prey to a disturbed young man who was the same age as many of us here at Stony Brook.  Though we may never know for sure what compelled 20-year-old Adam Lanza to engage on his reign of terror in his small-town community of Newtown, this event reiterates the need for Americans to change our relationship to violence, in particular, our obsession with guns.

    Recent polls have suggested that gun ownership has reached nearly 90 guns per 100 people in the United States (Reuters).  Among Americans who do report having a gun in their home or on their property, 62% own more than one firearm! (UNODC)

    For what reason?  These weapons, especially semi-automatic and automatic rifles (which require less re-loading to shoot more bullets than non-automatic weapons), are extremely powerful.  Such weapons were once reserved for use exclusively by the members of our military and police forces.  However, guns and our violent culture have mainstreamed: now millions of Americans over the age of 18 exercise their right to “bear arms,” purchasing guns for personal use.  In addition, wars involving the US have become more frequent, and have escalated in recent years.  Blockbuster movies, hit songs, and popular video games perpetuate this culture of murder and death.  The NRA is proposing to have armed guards on school campuses nationwide to help “keep the peace,” which would put guns in the faces of children on an everyday basis (and would cost approximately $8 billion, or $80,000 per guard {NPR}).  We as humans should be ashamed.

    Why do Americans feel compelled to buy guns and be violent?  What is holding us back from recognizing that, our neighbors–despite our different ethnicities, ages, socioeconomic statuses, religious or spiritual beliefs–are people, just like you and me. Instead of jealousy and contempt, why don’t we focus on peace and understanding?

    We need not “love” every person we meet.  We need not agree with every idea we hear.  However, we need to tolerate, respect, and be kind to each and every human, animal, and plant we encounter on this earth.

    On this December 21, 2012, we may not have experienced the Mayan Apocalypse that was predicted.  However, if we are to succeed as a culture, a nation, a people, we must learn to unite as one, instead of driving wedges between us and our fellow humans.  Our current emphasis on guns and violence is destroying our country, our planet.  We need to change, and I am confident that, at Stony Brook in particular, we can work to foster a kind and caring environment where we support our fellow students, not shoot them down.

    Instead of drawing differences between you and your neighbors, look for the similarities you share.  When you look for the best in others, they will undoubtedly see the best in you.

    peace. love. run.

    ericarunsamerica.

  • Winter Break! on December 21st, 2012

    Wow! It’s been almost a whole month since I last blogged. Sorry guys! I’ve been very busy with OOSSA stuff and finals! Even now when the semester is over, finals are over, and I’m back home in MA, the work continues.

    Winter break is the opportune time to start applying for summer positions, whether it be research programs or internships.  (Right now, I have 5 tabs open, each containing information about different summer programs I want to apply to, but here  I am procrastinating work by blogging about it). Actually what I put in parenthesis is a pretty important topic, more on that later. During finals week, my fabulous OOSSA VP organized an event at the Career Center where the director, Marianna Savoca, talked to us about summer internships and how to get ahead. We reviewed resumes and even looked at online e-portfolios! If you haven’t heard about them yet, it’s really something to look into making! (I will be making mine over the next few weeks!) Here’s one that I really like, it’s actually one of my friend’s. Another great online networking tool is Linked-in, again I have not yet made mine, but I will shortly!

    Back to the other thing I brought up; procrastinating some work by doing other work. It’s actually a really good way to get things done. Like right now, for example, I know that I should be writing essays about why  I want certain research positions, or why I should be given a certain scholarship, but instead I’m finally cracking down and blogging- something I’ve been meaning to do for a couple weeks. It’s a skill I’ve learned over my years in college; I like to call it productive procrastinating.

    All of you high schoolers who are waiting and waiting anxiously for college decisions, don’t worry it’l come  when it comes. Don’t let it ruin your vacation. And when family members ask you what schools you’ve applied to, don’t feel obligated to tell them. I know when I was a senior, I didn’t want to tell anyone where I applied out of fear of being rejected from the school and having to tell them. Just brush it off and say, “I’m still waiting to hear back from the schools I applied to, but until then I don’t really want to talk about it.” They’ll back off when they see you really don’t want to discuss it further.  Enjoy your winter break! :)

    Happy Holidays!

    -Pratha

  • Free at Last! on December 19th, 2012

    Finals are over. I can sleep for more than 3 hours now. I hope everyone stays safe and enjoys their holiday season.
    -Ali

  • What I Learned in College… on December 11th, 2012

    Hey Stony Brook!

    I wish everyone the best of luck in studying, paper-writing, and final-exam-taking over these next few weeks!

    The end of the semester is a great time to reflect upon the amazing experiences and knowledge that we have gained since August.  Think about all of the great things you have accomplished and the massive amount of information you have been exposed to.  Although you may be looking forward to winter break (or those of us “lucky” enough to get a break-I know many may be taking an intersession course…or two!), take some time to “take it all in.”

    How is what you learned applicable to your goals in life?  I know, for me, I was profoundly influenced by what I discovered this semester, both in and out of the classroom: my Stony Brook experiences have rekindled my passion for writing and art, and, coupled with the practical environmental knowledge that I have accumulated, I have honed in on my ultimate career goals to be an eco-artist and environmental journalist.

    Stony Brook is truly a special place. Our professors demonstrate not only an academic prowess, but they also work hard to ensure that we have access to a multitude of helpful resources to help us succeed in life.  The influence of our instructors, classmates, the course material, and the college experience itself, all do so much to impact our lives.  Our time spent at Stony Brook University is a catalyst that helps us discover who we truly are and who we must be.

    So, I urge you to take this time of year to reflect on your life: how has Stony Brook impacted you?  Perhaps you met a best friend here, found a new career, or simply expanded your practical knowledge.

    You may find yourself cursing the heavy course load you took on at the start of the semester as you study for finals now… as you cram to pore over every note and textbook covered in your classes. But, find some time to relax and appreciate all of those notes, books, lectures, office hours, and field trips you may have taken, read, and attended this Fall of 2012.

    Think for the long term; and set your goals high!

    peace. love. run.

    ericarunsamerica.

  • All The World’s A Stage on December 9th, 2012

    Another example of why Stony Brook is awesome!

    This past month, I had been busy with planning an event entitled, “All The World’s A Stage”- a performance competition where we invited student groups, individuals, and even professors to perform. The goal was to raise money for Stony Brook Sunrise Fund (a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children with cancer here on Long Island). It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to help this organization. We were fortunate to have three amazing children perform at this event!

    Currently, I am one of the founding members and Co-President of SB SHINE (Stony Brook Student Health Initiative to Network and Educate). We wanted to make our first event spectacular and this event was our brain child. However, we did not want to do this alone. One of the great things about Stony Brook is that there are so many other clubs that are willing to help you out. We co-sponsored our event with 6 other student organizations! Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Health Honor Society, Hindu Students Council, Comedians Guild, Pre-Med Society, Phi Chi Epsilon, and Phi Delta Epsilon. All these groups were wonderful and contributed to our first event.

    Even with a) one week before finals b) Todd’s Orgo tutoring (which takes the Orgo students away) c) no food and d) two other big events on campus- we were still able to have an attendance of 400! We raised $1000+ and it was wonderful to see a diversity of students show up.

    We had a plethora of performance groups such as SB LIVE, SB Yuva, Stony Brook Dance Team, Cadence Step Team and many more. We were even fortunate to have some professors take their time out to appear or perform in our event: Professor O’Neal (Bio Lab), Schmidt (Microbio), Maynard (University Scholars), Miller (Journalism), Lucenko (Writing), Hemmick (Physics), and Nugent (Business). Perhaps, the greatest performers were three children from the Stony Brook Sunrise Fund who were excited that a couple hundred students were there to cheer them on and support them. I was fortunate enough to be one of the emcees of the event.

    What was amazing was that all these Stony Brook students took time out to come to this show even a week before the finals. We had a diversity of students; we were even lucky to have some Medical Students as performers and audience members. On the whole it was a memorable night and there are 2 things that I would like to mention that show how awesome Stony Brook is. One, the help we received from all the other clubs. As mentioned, one of the cool things about this event was that it was co-sponsored and each organization helped out with different aspects of the event. Some helped set up, some helped advertise, etc. We all had such a great time working together. Some members got to learn about other clubs and even joined new clubs from this co-sponsorship. A couple of my friends joined Comedian’s Guild while a couple AED members joined SB SHINE. The second aspect was the help we got from Stony Brook program advisors. I would like to make a quick shot out to Ms. Shannon Jayne and Ms. Diane Redo for making this event possible. One truly remarkable thing about Stony Brook is that even with a student body of 15,000 + kids, there are advisors here to help and make your event a success. They helped me every step of the way especially in regards to all the paperwork.

    On the whole the event was remarkable and it was a learning experience. I am sure that All the World’s a Stage will be an annual event that will continue to take place even after I graduate from Stony Brook. And with that my parting words are, that wherever you go for your Undergraduate career, try to establish something, make a difference! Work with other student groups! Appreciate your resources (Stony Brook has a lot of them)! Produce something that can endure even after you graduate! And Most importantly, HAVE FUN! Till next time!

    -Ali