Meal points shortage at SBU

FSAThe end of the semester at Stony Brook university is rapidly approaching. With the pressure of finals and graduation, one would expect  for food consumption to increase around campus.

However, taking a quick look at the different dining halls all over campus, it seems as if not much eating is going on. In fact, a lack of meal points is currently forcing students to look for alternatives to feed themselves.

According to the Faculty Student Association, over  6,000 students are currently enrolled in one of the four residential meal plans the university offers.

The FSA website also states that “ Resident students, who live in a residence hall or area designated as non-cooking, must enroll in a resident meal plan regardless of class year or tenure at Stony Brook.”

This leaves most students with four meal plan options to choose from. Naturally, more than half of those students have enrolled in the cheapest meal plan option, the Bronze plan.

This plan which costs $1,930 per semester offers a total of 1325 points. This equals to about $10 per day.

However, according to James Lekstutis, a student resident assistant in Roosevelt quad, a single meal in any of the dining halls on campus costs about $9. This leaves students with a dollar to spare for the rest of the day.

According to Campus Dining Services Marketing Manager, Carly Shephard, the Bronze meal plan is not targeted to full time resident students. “There are some students who work for campus dining and get discounts or free meals, the bronze plan would work for those students.”

More expensive meal plan options are available for students, including the silver, gold and platinum plans, which offer a larger amount of meal points.

However, in an effort to reduce the costs of attending college, students prefer to deal with the cheaper option, even if it means restricting their diets.

Student Iftear Naser, says at times he restricts his food intake up to a single meal per day in order to budget his meal points throughout the semester.

Alternatives to buying food in the dining halls include attending club meetings and events that offer free food,  cooking easy-to-make food, surviving on noodle soup and mac and cheese or visiting the food pantry located in the union building.

According to Shephard, campus dining is constantly working to help students with low to no meal points offering a variety of promotions and events such as midnight breakfast, strawberry fest, and discounts in certain products at the dining halls.

“We need to educate students,” said Carly Shephard, ” and Campus Dining is currently working with those who need our help,” she added.

To see some students reactions on the topic, take a look at the video below:
https://vimeo.com/127698200

Meal Points from Diana Lopez on Vimeo.

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First Amendment through our youth’s eyes

Eric Garner, Baltimore, Ferguson… What do all these cases have in common?

I will tell you what, all these cases put into questioning our public’s knowledge of our first amendment rights and freedom.

The First Amendment of the United States was established in 1791 by the founding fathers to give the people of this nation tools to protect themselves. However, it has been over two centuries since we adopted it, and with the recent controversies, we tend to question our rights and freedoms.

I embarked on an experiment to find out what are the thoughts of Stony Brook University students on the First Amendment of the United States today? in this way I was looking to find a possibly root to our increasing social problems.

During an experiment, I interviewed a diverse group of students around campus to find out what they know or not about the most important amendment on  the Bill of Rights, and whether they care about this or not.

The results of my research clearly reflect why our nation stands where it does today.

Special thanks to Stony Brook students participating in the experiment:

Alan Hong

Yunjiao Dong

Douth Pijush

Boreum Lee

Elizabeth Eunsong

Sound Credits:

Opening/ending song: Jimi Hendrix – The Star Spangled Banner

First Amendment: Keith Hughes – First Amendment for Dummies – The Basics of the 1st Amendment Explained

Journalism of the future

The Texas Tribune has developed a website called “The Texas Tribune’s Government Salaries Explorer,” which they use in order to review how the United States public spends its money.

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On this site, the paper publishes earnings of thousands of employees in the state of Texas. The tribune acquires this data – available for the public- through governmental agencies and organizes it in charts to make it visually appealing as well as to make the information easy to understand for the general public.

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 6.09.34 PMThe layout of the website allows for the public to explore how things have changed in their areas. The information is clearly presented and easy to follow.

This shows that data journalism can make for better stories.

My social media journey

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This semester I have been working on making my social media presence stronger through twitter.

I first created an account in January and have been keeping up with it by posting about the events I attend and cover, as well as retweeting my classmates’ work. Not to mention that I now follow major news outlets from which I retweet important news every once in a while.

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So far, I have gained a total of 53 followers and I am currently following 165 accounts. My method of using twitter has proved to be working for me. Back in February I was contacted through this medium with an offer to contribute for a website, for which I then covered the Oscars. The plan is for me to work on stories for the cultural section of the site.

Although to some it might seem that I waited too long to work on my social media presence, I think waiting was the right thing to do. I wanted to make sure that I had enough experience in order to manage my accounts in a responsible way, and I think so far I’m doing good.

For the upcoming weeks, I have been working on creating an about me page that I can use for networking events, among others.

However, at the moment, I refuse to use facebook nor Instagram for journalism purposes.  I somehow don’t feel comfortable with the idea. But who knows? maybe this will change in the future.

In the meantime, I will just link this funny video of a sassy cat that I posted on my twitter account a while ago.

Uncovering the covered

Reporters Kayla Shults and Abby Del Vechio embarked on an adventure to find out how Stony Brook University’s students are covering from the extreme weather this semester.

From worn out boots to really loud hats, Shults and Del Vechio did a great interviewing job.  Approaching a diverse group of students, they were able to obtain some interesting quotes.

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“The sociology major credits her fashion skills to America’s Next Top Model and its host, Tyra Banks. “Everything I know about modelling I learned from Tyra,” said Reinertsen.” Photo Credit: Kayla Shults and Abby Del Vechio.

Also, the story is very timely since it is no secret we have been struggling with harsh temperatures since day one of the semester. We get to see some close-ups…

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…and some wider shots in there too, which is nice.

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Overall, I liked the story idea and the fact that it reflects a reality that has been haunting students for the past 3 months. I however, would’ve enjoyed bigger pictures.

SBU Taandava Works its Way to the Stage

By Diana Lopez and Stephen Infantolino

The SBU Taandava Club worked very hard to put on a show this past Saturday. The Indian Classical dance team, hosted its second performance of  the show called “Jana Seva” at the Wang Center Theater.

Taandava members gather in a circle before each show. Photo Credit: Diana Lopez (March 7, 2015.)
Taandava members gather in a circle before each show to share positive thoughts. Photo Credit: Diana Lopez (March 7, 2015.)

However, before the big night started, dancers went through a long day of preparation. This routine usually starts around eight hours prior to opening doors to the public.

Natalie Poona Phagu, founder of Taandava in her Senior year, applies makeup to Jaime Mangalathu, a freshman Biology major. Both dancers aspire to go to medical school after graduation. Photo Credit: Diana Lopez (March 7, 2015.)
Natalie Poona Phagu, a senior at Stony Brook University and founder of Taandava, applies makeup to Jaime Mangalathu, a freshman biology major. Both dancers aspire to go to medical school after graduation. Photo Credit: Diana Lopez (March 7, 2015.)
Natalie Poona Phagu, makes sure everyone's make up and jewelry is up to part. In this case, she is helping 20-year-old Steni Stephan, a junior Biology major. Heavy eye make up is a staple of the Indian typical attire. Photo Credit: Diana Lopez (March 7, 2015.)
Natalie Poona Phagu, makes sure everyone’s make up and jewelry are up to part. In this case, she helps 20-year-old Steni Stephan, a junior biology major. Heavy eye makeup is a staple of Indian performance attire. Photo Credit: Diana Lopez (March 7, 2015.)

Women are not the only ones who have to spend hours getting ready. In fact, men also wear heavy make up and jewerly for these performances.

Sharugash Kiruba, a 24-year-old Biochemistry major, helps apply eyeliner to Lars Folkerts, a 22-year-old Electrical Engineering major. Folkerts just began Bharatanatyam dancing this past year. Kiruba is wearing gloves to avoid getting red hand paint on Folkerts’ face. Photo Credit: Stephen Infantolino (March 7, 2015.)
Sharugash Kiruba, a 24-year-old biochemistry major, helps apply eyeliner to Lars Folkerts, a 22-year-old electrical engineering major. Folkerts just began Bharatanatyam dancing this past year. Kiruba is wearing gloves to avoid getting red hand paint on Folkerts’ face. Photo Credit: Stephen Infantolino (March 7, 2015.)

Although quite heavy in application, makeup is not even close to being the loudest decoration on the dancers’ bodies. In fact, all members of Taandava use ankle bells while performing. These bells can be referred to as Salangai, Chilanka or Ghungroo depending on what part of India you are in.

Kripali Gautam, a sophmore majoring in sociology and minoring in biology, puts on her ankle bells. Guam, has been practicing classical Indian dancing for eight years now.
Kripali Gautam, a sophmore majoring in sociology and minoring in biology, puts on her ankle bells. Gautam, has been practicing classical Indian dancing for eight years now. Photo Credit: Diana Lopez (March 7, 2015.)

But dancers aren’t ready yet, they have yet to paint their hands and feet in red. This is believed to draw away negative vibes, and it also emphasizes movements on stage.

Dancers paint their feet red using Sharpies before going on stage. Photo credit: Stephen Infantolino (March 7, 2015.)
Dancers paint their feet red using Sharpies before going on stage. Photo credit: Stephen Infantolino (March 7, 2015.)

A few retouches before going on stage…

20-year-old Tuhina Venkatayogi, a junior on the pre-physician's assistant track, retouches her lipstick. Venkatayogi is the current president of Taandava.
Tuhina Venkatayogi, a 20-year-old health sciences major on a pre-physician’s assistant track, retouches her lipstick. Venkatayogi is the current president of Taandava. Photo Credit: Diana Lopez (March 7, 2015.)

Taandava dancers are finally ready… For a run-through, that is.

Natalie Poona Phagu, practices her singing in order for the audio engineer to get her microphone levels correct. Phase has been dancing for 14 years now, and she began learning Bharatanatyam in 2002. Photo Credit: Stephen Infantolino (March 7, 2015.)
Natalie Poona Phagu, practices her singing in order for the audio engineer to get her microphone levels correct. Phagu began learning Bharatanatyam in 2002. Photo Credit: Stephen Infantolino (March 7, 2015.)
"Nataraja," a depiction of the hindu god Shiva, was displayed stage left, and has its very own spotlight throughout the performance. Photo Credit: Stephen Infantolino (March 7, 2015.)
“Nataraja,” a depiction of the hindu god Shiva, was displayed stage left, and has its very own spotlight throughout the performance. Photo Credit: Stephen Infantolino (March 7, 2015.)
Nikita Vozenilek, a 19-year-old sociology major, and Jamie Mangalathu, a freshman Biology major, preform on stage during a practice run of Jana Seva. Nikita has been studying Bharatanatyam for the past 12 years, and her birthday is this week. Photo Credit: Stephen Infantolino (March 7, 2015.)
Nikita Vozenilek, a 19-year-old sociology major, and Jamie Mangalathu, a freshman Biology major, preform on stage during a practice run of “Jana Seva.” Nikita has been studying Bharatanatyam for the past 12 years, and her birthday is this week. Photo Credit: Stephen Infantolino (March 7, 2015.)

It takes an entire day of preparation to put on a show like “Jana Seva.” Yet, for the members of Taandava, every hour spent in preparation is worth it, as they opened at 7p.m. to a full house.

SBU Taandava brings Indian moves to the Wang Center

The SBU Taandava Club, conformed by members of all nationalities in the Stony Brook community, will present its second “Jana Seva” show. The event will be filled with Indian classical performances.

10978622_10206014993637988_1560130608133098026_nIn addition to spreading awareness about Indian culture, the “Jana Seva” show will also serve as a fundraiser. This year, the club will raise money to help the homeless and elderly of India.

Last semester’s “Jana Seva,” showcased members of Taandava performing a series of typical Indian  dances, while wearing handmade jewelry and colorful traditional outfits. This makes for a very visually appealing idea for the photo  project.

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Taandava Club at the 2014 “Jana Seva” event.

Eastern culture is very important for the members of the club. There is also a large representation of this culture on campus, which makes this event very relevant. This, along the opportunity of bringing different cultures together and all the fantastic movements from the dancers, make up the recipe for a successful photo project.