English and Writing Departments to Merge?

Jordan Sprogis Managing Editor Dakota Sarantos Editor-in-Chief Leo Budnick News Editor      Much talk has circulated among the Professional Writing majors of Western Connecticut State University as to whether the school More »

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English and Writing Departments to Merge?

Jordan Sprogis
Managing Editor

Doctor Patrick Ryan

Dakota Sarantos

Leo Budnick
News Editor 

    Much talk has circulated among the Professional Writing majors of Western Connecticut State University as to whether the school will still offer a degree in their intended field of study by the beginning of this Fall.

    Junior Eric LaRocca is one such student enrolled in the program who has voiced his dissatisfaction with the possibility of merging the Professional Writing Department with the English Department.

    “Whether they realize it or not, the School of Arts and Sciences at Western has an obligation to those currently studying in the Professional Writing department and cannot manipulate the duration and/or requirements for those who have been persistently laboring in the program. This poor decision not only speaks volumes of the culture in which we live where illiteracy has skyrocketed and is commonly applauded, but perpetuates the lopsided notion that the craft of writing is unimportant and, therefore, should be neglected. To disband such a unique and uncommon program that promotes the significance of critical thinking, coherent writing, and other fundamental skills is an absolute disgrace to the integrity of Western Connecticut State University as well as the contemporary professional writing community,” said LaRocca.

    Coming this fall, there may be a significant change and new home for those in both the Writing and English departments at Western Connecticut State University.

Provost Jane Gates

    Jane Gates, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Missy Alexander, Dean of the Department of Arts and Sciences, are currently discussing the potential merging of the Writing Department into the English Department. Students enrolled in this new department would be able to choose between a Bachelor of Arts in English or a Bachelor of Arts in Writing.

    Although she is involved with the leading and pushing for this major decision to merge departments, Gates is currently listed as a finalist to be the next President of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), according to a press release from Jan. 30 on the MCLA website.

    In September of last year, Provost Gates and Dr. Alexander proposed the merging of the Writing Department with the English Department.

    The proposal addresses budgetary concerns and its goal is to save funds for the school. According to Dr. Patrick Ryan, the current Chair of the Writing Department, the plan includes saving money by eliminating adjunct-taught courses.

    However, according to a Feb. 5 article by J. R. Thomas in the CT Mirror, the budget for the Connecticut state universities (CSU) central office has increased by $5.5 million as of 2012, while Western and the other state universities have lost a total of 67 faculty members.

    The Writing Department has already eliminated 24 adjunct-taught courses.

    Members of the Writing Department, including Dr. Ryan, are opposed to the merger and are currently in discussions with Dean Alexander to find other ways to trim the budget.

    Several students enrolled in the Writing Department have expressed concerns with the merger. Flyers can be found around the school protesting the merger of the two departments.

   Currently, no one knows who put up the flyers.

   The Echo’s inbox was flooded with protests from current Writing Majors.

    Even though the merger would still keep the option of both the Writing and English Majors, there is a possibility it would combine parts of the curriculum of both and remove some Writing classes.

    Speaking on the merger, Dr. Ryan said, “…the dean’s proposal to merge the department does argue for requiring Writing majors to take three to four courses in English literature, presumably in place of Writing courses.

   At the same time, Dean Alexander’s proposal also suggests eliminating some upper-level special topic courses in English literature, some of which are considerably popular among students.

    Dr. Ryan did emphasize that there are currently no definite plans to change the curriculum.

    “I have struggled for five years to find my path in college, and I finally found writing. I may not have started going to this school for it, but I sure am now. If the Writing Department merges, I will probably be forced to leave and find another school to go to. I don’t want to have to do that because WestConn is so close to home, it’s affordable, and I finally found the classes I want to be taking,” says Amanda Currier, a fifth-year student who is switching into the Creative Writing focus of the Professional Writing major.

    The Echo reached out to the secretary of Dean Alexander who set an appointment for an interview about the potential merger.

    When the interview was supposed to take place, Dean Alexander declined to comment to The Echo until the decision was finalized.

No – kids don’t need all that homework

Jordan Sprogis
Managing Editor 

An elementary school in Manhattan, P.S. 116, has recently decided to abolish all traditional homework, such as math worksheets and at-home essays, encouraging children to spend more time with their families.

Of course, this outrages the parents.

Principal Jane Hsu sent out a letter to parents in February, some of which read, “The topic of homework has received a lot of attention lately, and the negative effects of homework have been well established. … They include: children’s frustration and exhaustion, lack of time for other activities and family time and, sadly for many, loss of interest in learning.”

She also commented that the school is not eliminating homework in its entirety, but is instead offering a new dynamic to it. Regardless, parents have threatened to take their children out of P.S. 116 in fear that they won’t learn enough.

The idea was brought up at a Dec. 12 meeting between staff and parents when there was a concern raised by the school’s School Leadership Team. Apparently, students were being forced to skip recess after failing to turn in their homework from the night before.

How would you feel if your child told you that he or she wasn’t allowed to play at recess so they could finish their homework from the previous night, only to come home to do more?

I would be furious; my own elementary school used to do this. It made a lot of kids upset. Looking back, my only wish is that my teachers realized how much we needed that free time in the middle of the day. I started homework as soon as I got home, continued through dinner, and finished it right before bedtime. Some nights, I would lie to my parents about the amount of work I got so I could have more free time to play outside. The idea of those worksheets, pages upon pages every week, stressed me to tears. My mom can vouch for this.

According to Smithsonian magazine, professors of education David Baker and Gerald LeTendre at Penn State found that in countries with the most successful school systems – such as Japan – assign the least amount of homework.

Go figure.

Diane Lowrie, mother of nine-year-old Iaian, decided to leave her home in Ocean County, New Jersey, three years ago after realizing that her first-grade son was suffering from the amount of homework he was given. 

“Tears were shed, every night,” Lowrie told Smithsonian. “Iaian started to hate school, to hate learning, and he was only 6 years old.”

I would rest my case, but I can’t – not yet.

Marwa Keshk, a parent of two children at P.S. 116, is not happy with the decrease in homework. “[She’s] spending more time in front of the TV, in her room playing,” Keshk said of her older daughter to PIX11, a news source in New York.

It just sounds like parents who use this reasoning don’t know what else to do with their children if they’re not busy with homework.

To me, it seems like a lack of parenting. Although I am not a parent, I was a child at one point. My sister and I were kept busy no matter what – whether we were playing games, quizzing each other on the multiplication tables, or running around outside or on our bikes through the neighborhood.

A couple of years ago, I used to babysit some young kids, brothers at two and six years old. The first night I babysat, their mother said to me, “They can watch only one hour of T.V. It can be now, it can be later – whenever, but I just want to make sure that they’re getting enough time playing with their toys or reading. They turn into zombies otherwise.”

I understood and respected that a lot. 

The point is that it is up to the parents to make sure their kids are being kept busy – just as it is their responsibility to make sure that their kids are not suffering from amounts of stress at such a young age.

“Where was this school when I was a kid?” reads a comment on an article about P.S. 116.

Yeah, I’m still wondering the same thing. I wish my principal eliminated repetitive homework every night so I could enjoy time with my family instead of being pushed to tears and arguing with them over my math.

On a daily basis, children shouldn’t be forced to work as hard as adults do. Kids are meant to play, explore, and be free before the real world straps them down for the rest of their lives.   

Who The Heck is Beck?: Grammys Recap

Alana Branch
Staff Writer

The biggest night in music aired recently on Sunday, February 8th. The 57th Annual Grammy Awards had its usual treats – wacky fashions, touching tributes, Taylor Swift’s version of dancing, and Kanye’s rants – in honoring good music!

Starting off the show was the Australian rock band, AC/DC, performing favorites like “Highway to Hell.” LL Cool J, a Grammy winner himself, hosted the event for the fourth consecutive time as only he can. Everyone had their eyes on and fingers crossed for British singer-songwriter Sam Smith, who was nominated for six awards. He won only four, including “Best New Artist” and “Song of the Year” for “Stay With Me.” Very reminiscent of fellow Brit, Adele, it goes to show that being fucked over by a loved one does make for brilliant music as Smith thanks his ex- boyfriend during his acceptance speech.

What’s a night at the Grammy’s without the queen Bey winning something? She managed to snag three out of her six nominations, including “Best R&B Song” for “Drunk in Love,” making that a total of twenty Grammys on her mantle. No shocker. She also closed the three and a half hour show with a gospel number called, “Take My Hand Precious Lord,” for only Beyoncé can gyrate on stage one year and preach, looking like an angel in the other.

Delightful surprises, however, took place on the stage. Former Saturday Night Live member, Kristen Wiig, appeared during Sia’s performance of “Chandelier” donning a blonde wig similar to the singer’s. Talk about random. And a Beatle (Paul McCartney) graced the stage with Kanye West and Rihanna, performing the latter’s latest single “FourFiveSeconds.” Who knew that was even possible? Stevie Wonder was given a beautiful tribute by a host of artists led by Beyoncé, including Ed Sheeran, Usher, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande. Mind blowing performances were definitely “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” and Stevie seemingly approved.

Prince, rocking an afro and dashiki, had one of the best quotes of the night when he said, “Albums still matter. Like books and black lives, albums still matter.” The biggest surprise of the night was Beck taking home the award for “Album of the Year,” an honor most would say belonged to Beyoncé, if not Sam Smith. In an interview shortly after, Kanye West ranted that the award should have been given to Beyoncé. Fortunately for the Oscars, West won’t be present.

1,000 Thoughts, White Knights and Valentines Day


Dakota Sarantos

Q: How do I handle dealing with “white knights” at parties without beating them up? From Urban Dictionary, “white knight”: a male who, in a desperate attempt to get himself laid, will attempt to woo or impress any female he comes across by being overly defensive of her and giving her special attention.

The thing is when trying to get laid, some men don’t want to follow the rules. They don’t like to have “the law” get in the way of what they want. I’m of course referring to Newton’s third law of motion: what goes up must come down. You’re just trying to get what’s up in the air to come down and these guys roll in trying to break the laws of gravity. These guys have some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. Unfortunately, there’s nothing much that you can do to “deal” with them. They’re people and they’re allowed to do what they want. I’d also be incredibly careful about throwing the term “white knight” around because people who accuse people of “white knighting” are usually college boys in plaid shorts, who are angry that someone stopped them from carrying out questionable motives.
Otherwise, you have to be more charming. Be the Black Knight, you know, Martin Lawrence. Or be the Dark Knight, Batman. If not, why does it matter? If theoretical women choose him over you, then that’s their decision. I’m not saying that defending a woman or giving her special attention is bad, or that women shouldn’t choose men like this. But there’s a difference between doing something because you feel it and believe in it, and doing something because you’re trying to impress people. Hopefully they can tell the difference between sincerity and deception. I’m assuming that’s what you mean. I’m assuming you’re not wearing plaid shorts.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. These men don’t regularly get laid but once in a while they’ll wrangle in a nice, low-self esteem woman. They’re the men that girls talk about when they say, “Oh my gosh that was a mistake.” You know, they’re real social justice warriors. At the end of the day if you’re not defending someone because they need defending, then you’re not doing it for the right reason.

Q: Valentine’s Day is stupid and a Hallmark holiday but it’s marketed everywhere and to everyone. How am I supposed to ignore it this year as a single person?

I have to start by saying I don’t know what “Hallmark holiday” means. I barely know what “holiday” means. Want to know why? Because I ignore it just like every other holiday. There’s one holiday I actively pay attention to and that’s Christmas because my family celebrates it and I get to eat a nice ham dinner and I love a nice ham dinner.
“But, but, but, Man of 1,000 Thoughts, I try to ignore it. I just can’t escape it!”
Wrong! You are wrong! The reason you’re unsuccessful at ignoring it is because you’re not trying to ignore it. Valentine’s Day irritates you, and so you notice things you otherwise wouldn’t notice. You have to dig deep into your pathetic soul and try to understand why other people’s beliefs or holidays that you don’t care about affect you so greatly.
Guess what? Kwanzaa doesn’t apply to me. I don’t run around the end of every year I’m not black yelling about how I can’t escape Kwanzaa. I bet you don’t either. I bet you only do it for Valentine’s Day, and that’s because you have some extreme insecurity about yourself and relationships and you relate that back to Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t have to be that way. It’s only because of your shallow interpretation of the holiday, the same terrible interpretation you’re accusing Hallmark marketing of making. Valentine’s Day can be about love and affection, not necessarily for a significant other. It can be about a friend. It can be about you. You can celebrate fine as a single person. Get yourself a nice pizza and some movies, maybe video games if you’re into that sort of thing. Either do it by yourself or with a friend or two. Sounds like a golden night to me.

In Terms of Racism

Roberto Caceres
Opinion Editorial Editor

Photo courtesy of: monstersandcritics.com

In keeping with this issue’s theme of Black History Month, I would like to state
my opinion on Black History Month as an idea. Black history is not something
that should be celebrated in one month out of the year. To celebrate the history of
any race or gender in a single month is not only unrealistic; it is wholly unfair to
anyone pursuing a valid account of history. This idea that black history should be
studied and taught as a focus only in the month of February is ridiculous.

As Morgan Freeman has said: “Black history is American history.”

By relegating all of black history to one month out of the year, the shortest and
coldest of months, we as a society are saying that this part of history is an extra
or an afterthought. In reality, black history had a major part in the history of our
nation, and celebrating anything less than this at all times is simply unacceptable.

When asked how we would get rid of racism, Morgan Freeman replied, “Stop
talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man. And I’m going to ask
you to stop calling me a black man.”

Not only does Black History Month limit an educational understanding of history,
but it is also segregation. Society is saying that black history gets to sit in one
spot and only in that spot. Throughout time we have found that when you give a
people only a fraction of what other people are given from birth nothing good can
come from it. If all men are truly created equal why should anyones’s history be
any different? Is the struggle of a black man any less educational or historically
significant than the struggle of a white woman or Latino child? Furthermore, why
are we qualifying human history in terms of race or any other factor that is not
choice based? Every month should be about the history of all people, as there is
only one real race, the human race.

This is a large issue because it is a large contributer to the fact that racism is still
so alive in this country. Continuing to talk about history in terms like “black history”
causes a cultural divide. When we begin to speak about things as they occurred,
and not in small parts that only pertain to a race or another class of people,
we will begin to break down the walls that we have erected between people of
different skin tones. When history is taught as human history every day people
will stop seeing everyone as so different from themselves and realize that it took
all people to contribute to our history.

Finding my Home

Shiny S. Patel
Opinion and Editorial Editor/ SGA Editor

I am thankful for that glass of champagne in my hand as I rung in the New Year, and I am thankful for getting my first New Years kiss by my best friend. That Great Gatsby themed New Years Eve party was unforgettable; many good vibes and great thanks to my good friend Alex for hosting. Alex is only one of my many marvelous friends from my hometown, all of whom for which I am thankful. These friends from home mean so much to me because they were there before and after my ugly duckling transformation. They cherished me then as they cherish me now. My friends remind me that my roots are planted in the memories from whence I have grown; and their origins lie right here in my hometown. Home is more than that though. Home is a Georgetown Panini from Sandella’s with a side of potato salad. Home is the White Trail at Tarrywile and the smell of my mom’s goat curry. Home is an experience like the one I had this summer courtesy of my best friends.

I am thankful for how much writing I did this summer. I write quite a bit, and though I struggle with nearly every sentence, onward still, I write. I made a habit of it in the summer and I refuse to let go of it. In the exponential infinities that exist as thoughts in each person’s mind, I am capable of knowing only my own infinity. Each piece I write tells a story of the person I was when I wrote it, I want my infinity to be open for evaluation. Looking back on everything that I wrote this year, I see that I have matured in a fashion that I deem worthy of documenting. I started off writing about my recklessness to writing about my inspirations and aspirations. While I cringe to think of them now, those reckless nights were undoubtedly worth sharing.

I am thankful for the first girls night out of the Spring semester with Lauren and Rachel, even though I despise the night club culture and atmosphere… I am also thankful I got out alive. I am thankful that I have little recollection of the first rugby party of 2014 because I remember enough to choose not to remember. On that note, I am thankful for the friends I had before that party and I am thankful for those friends who remained with me after the night unfolded.

I am thankful for rugby, a sport that I can call my own even though I do not and will not play. The team is full of men and women who embrace anyone who show their support; this was evident seeing as they embraced me. I am thankful for the home that I have found with them. I am thankful for the home on the field, and the home at the House, both the old and new. Homes with holes in the wall and broken glass on the floor. Homes where the cops lurk by on every rugby day. Homes where, despite all that, I feel safe.

That brings me to Jake. This year, I was fortunate enough to have many a laugh with my best friend. Thanks for driving, thanks for being a great wing man despite my sporadic moments of being a cooler, thanks for those talks on the balcony over a smoke. I am grateful for the times you pretended to swallow vomit in your throat before telling me that I am pretty when I was sad about boys. I basically lived in your room in the Spring, to the point where I realize that I brought the majority of my friends to your room before I brought them to my own room. Thanks for giving me a home within your own. I am glad that this Fall, we could share our home with the posters lining the living room, the galaxies sitting above us, and the lights shimmering around us.

How I am thankful for my roommates of Fall 2015. I cherish you all tremendously and to me, you transcend above friendship; you are my family. Brennen taught me how to be happy… Yes, such a feeling can be taught, but only if you are in the right company. Happiness comes from within by consciously choosing to see that it could always be worse. In a world that tends to gravitate towards focusing on the problems rather than coming up with solutions, it is a blessing to find someone who inherently and naturally molds his surroundings into a better place. I am honored that you chose to live with me when you had a line of people who wanted you as a roommate.

I am thankful for Maelys Bibal, my roommate from the South of France. She came to WCSU for a year, knowing nobody. She left her home and created one with me in our not-so-little room of C14C. She was a blessing in my life, bestowing upon me her love and time. I learned from her how to extend beyond my shell even though I tend to get comfortable in my settings too quickly. I am extending myself beyond the seas, into Northern Ireland specifically, and I am filled with angst and fear- fear of unraveling the tightly knit blanket of friends I have at home. Maelys gave me the final push to ignore that and still take a risk.

However, she is not the only international friend who impacted my life. I have created a web of friendships across the globe for myself. The past year helped me in stepping back from friendships dominated primarily by American culture into friendships involving a wonderful world. I am thankful for the cultures and moralities into which I was able to immerse myself. France, Portugal, Spain, Nicaragua, Czech Republic, Tajikistan, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Turkey, India, America. I have a home for myself in all these countries because home is where the heart is and the heart is with those that love you; home is where you become a better person and where you feel welcome.

I experienced travel more this year than any other year of my life. I took biweekly trips to New York City the first few months of the year and met a young man who I took a leap of faith with; and through him I found tranquility in the art of letting go. I traveled to Boston several times and Washington D.C. There, I wandered the streets aimlessly, without a set goal in mind besides just to experience the life around me. I created more homes for myself wherever I went in the comfort of my existence, the confidence of my strides and my increasing skill of adaptability.

In our youth, the years tend to fly by as we fail to notice the disparity that exists between opportunity and lack thereof. I learned that now is the time. If there’s something I want, I remind myself that anticipation is only wasted time. 2014 taught me the value of a second. It took me a year to learn it, but what is a year to the rest of my life? I will honor my finite tomorrows and use the love I gleaned from all the homes I found this year into making every moment count. This year I learned what home really is; it’s not a building, or where you grew up. Home is wherever you go, or can be, as long as you steer in the direction of ceaseless improvement. 2014 taught me that wasted time is not actually time wasted; not to be confused with spending time wasted, that’s a story for another day. Cheers to all and have a safe New Years.

P.S. Special thanks are in order to my fellow Echo staff. I have found a home with each of you as well. I will miss working, and not working, with you all in the coming semester. Keith, Leo, Spencer, Dakota, Al, Jess, Jordan. All of you, stay golden. 

Ray J’s “I Hit It First” Apparently Wasn’t About Kim Kardashian

Jordan Sprogis
Managing Editor

Photo courtesy of: http://rap.genius.com/Ray-j-i-hit-it-first-lyrics

We all know that Kim Kardashian became famous from her and Ray J’s home sex video that was released back in February 2007. This led to her and the rest of her family in the spotlight of fame, which ultimately resulted in their own reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, along with two spin-offs. Now, all of the Kardashian-Jenner family are famous and successful, with Kim Kardashian rated as the highest-earning reality star in 2010, with an estimate earning of $6 million.

Ray J, however, wasn’t recognized the same way Kim was after their sex tape was released. Perhaps the fact that Kim absolutely blew up in the celebrity world and Ray J just didn’t caused some jealous feelings, which could have led to the writing, recording, and release of “I Hit It First”, six years later.

What baffles me is the fact that Ray J has the nerve to even release a song like this. Kim Kardashian is happily with Kanye West and has a child together, North, so a song that causes more celebrity buzz and unwanted attention about Kim’s past is probably something the couple doesn’t want to deal with.

Now, this is just my guess: it’s not like Kanye wants to think about the fact that his girlfriend previously made a sex tape that went viral internationally, but now he gets to hear Ray J’s two cents about the matter.

Let’s take a look at some of the lyrics:

She might move on to rappers and ballplayers
But we all know I hit it first

The rapper that Ray J “may be” referring to would be Kanye West, and the ballplayer he also “may be” referring to would be Kris Humphries, whose marriage to Kim lasted for 72 days in August 2011.

I had her head going north and her ass going south
But now baby chose to go West

The first line is most definitely a reference to their sex tape, and the second line – well, that’s a no brainer; baby chose to go Kanye West.

And I gave her that really bomb sex
No matter where she goes or who she knows
She still belongs in my bed

She still “belongs” in your bed? Seriously, the woman is a mother now!

Going hard in the streets, mobbin with my homies
Sippin’ on good, blowin’ on OG
Me and ghost sittin’ clean with the matching rollie
I did that first so everybody know me

I’m just going to leave it to Kingsley: as the YouTube sensation (ItsKingsleyBitch) said, “Everybody doesn’t know you, Ray J, that’s the thing. They know Kim, which is why you’re upset, and which is why you released this tacky-ass song.”

And if you were to come back to me girl
We’ll make another movie

As if that doesn’t say it’s about Kim. Not to mention that the official music video has a young, sexy woman in it who looks just like her.

“I think people are going way too deep,” Ray J says about the song, denying the fact that it is about Kim. “It’s really light. Everybody’s going this way with it,” he continues, gesturing in one direction, and says, “I’m going this way with it,” while gesturing in the other direction.

Well, that explanation didn’t make any sense.

It’s time to let it go, Ray J. She moved on, and so should you. I’m glad that you had fun with this song, but your fifteen minutes of fame are probably over.

3 Diet Tips to Living a Healthier Lifestyle

Nasir Amarah
Contributing Writer

Photo courtesy of http://www.invitromagazine.grgous

Eating right and exercising regularly can be difficult for many people. Time constraints and convenience often dictate what we eat and how active we are. We have been trained to consume certain foods, and giving them up can be very difficult, but in order to increase our vitality, we must sacrifice taste and convenience. Whether you are stuck in a dorm and on a meal plan or sitting at a desk all day, there are a few ways to live a healthier lifestyle.

One of the biggest problems with diet today is that many people drink their calories. By drinking beverages loaded with sugar, people do not satisfy their hunger and often eat just as much as they would if they were drinking water instead. By eliminating or reducing these beverages from our diets, we can live much healthier lives and shed a few pounds. Whenever you ingest sugar, your body absorbs it immediately because it is already broken down, so if you do not burn off that sugar it will be stored as fat. If you are in school or work, chances are you aren’t burning off the energy from that sugar rush. I’m not just talking about soda; most fruit juices have almost or the same amount of sugar as soda. A can of Arizona ice tea contains 72 grams of sugar – more than a 20 ounce bottle of Coca-Cola. Minute Maid orange juice has 48 grams of sugar in a 16 ounce bottle. It would be very difficult to burn all that energy with a busy schedule. It may be hard to stop drinking these beverages, but switching to water will not only make you feel better, but you can shed quite a few pounds from this one change.

This second change that I propose must be the hardest for all of us – eliminating processed foods from our diet. Processed foods make convenient meals – you can use the microwave or stove to heat up food instead of making a meal from scratch, and these foods are cheaper than their organic counterparts. Convenience and price aside, processed foods are terrible for our bodies. There are over 6,000 artificial ingredients used in these foods that provide texture, color, flavor, and act as preservatives. These ingredients are toxic and damage our bodies, harming our digestive organs and skin especially. Processed foods also tend to have high amounts of salt and sugar to give them a strong taste, making them unhealthier than their organic counterparts. Processed foods also contain synthetic vitamins and minerals to compensate for their low nutritional value. Synthetic vitamins and minerals will not be absorbed by the body as well as their natural counterparts, and vitamins and minerals help absorb food energy into our muscles.

Speaking of vitamins and minerals, eating fresh fruits and vegetables regularly will allow you to lose weight and feel better. As a society, we often focus on our macronutrients, which are proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, but we forget about our micronutrients – our vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals help us absorb our macronutrients and use them effectively. These micronutrients aid our digestive processes and speed up our metabolisms. Eating fruits and vegetables also clears out toxins from our bodies, so they can flush out all the chemicals we ingest from processed foods. Of course many fruits and vegetables contain a lot of sugar, but they also contain fiber which stops you from processing that sugar all at once. This will give your body time to absorb that sugar gradually.

Following these tips can be very difficult, but by drinking less sugary drinks, eliminating processed foods, and eating more fruits and vegetables, you will lose weight and feel better physically. You can even eat the same amount of calories as you do now as long as you get those calories from healthy food sources, and you will still lose a considerable amount of weight. If these tips seem too hard to incorporate into your lifestyle, adapt to them gradually. You do not have to make these changes overnight. Even if you cannot give up these foods completely, the slightest change will help you live a healthier lifestyle.

Letter to the Editor

Q: You wrote in your piece “Man of 1000 Thoughts,” “Just be aware, in 2014, with a society focused on hos not being loyal and which club to hit next to rub their bodies on strangers, monogamy isn’t on the forefront of the love game, and the thought of it is horrifying and intimidating to a lot of your peers.”

I like the Echo, I miss it when it’s not in print and I read it. But, I do not appreciate being called a “ho.” With the levels of rape on college campuses, and violence against women generally, such objectifications of women are not helping. Think of your sisters, mothers, girlfriends, female professors and all the women and girls in your life before you use such hate speech again. Please, I implore you! Words can cause harm. Using the word “ho” contributes to a culture of violence and inequality. Be part of the solution, not the problem, and stand up for all women and girls. Man of 1000 Thoughts, think again.

Averell Manes, Professor
Political Science and Conflict Resolution


A: Dear Professor Averell Manes,

I took some time to think about how I was going to respond to this. There seems to be a misunderstanding of what the “Man of 1,000 Thoughts” column is supposed to be; so, I thought I’d address this without the flash of the “Man of 1,000 Thoughts.”

It’s unfortunate that my article was interpreted in the negative fashion that it was. I grew up with a single mother and an older sister. Both of them are responsible for raising me, and I think about them every day. So when I was asked think about mothers, sisters, girlfriends, I felt unsettled. I was confused after I read this letter. To it bluntly, the “Man of 1,000 Thoughts” column is and has always been a satire.

To address these specific issues with the text, I want to first say I wasn’t calling anyone a “ho.” Maybe it was an overestimation on my part, but knowing I was catering to a college audience, I used a pop culture reference that was lost in translation to some readers that are not a part of the college youth. The song “Loyal,” by American singer Chris Brown, peaked at number nine on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart this year and received extensive radio play. As of July, it has sold over a million copies in the United States. In other words, the song was very popular and successful. The chorus of the song has Chris Brown sing, “These hos ain’t loyal.” This is why I wrote, “A society focused on…” instead of “I’m focused on,” because it was a direct reference to this song. This is where the irony comes in. The reason I chose to include this is because Chris Brown is known for beating his then girlfriend, pop-culture icon Rhianna, in 2009. And apparently everyone was upset over this. Who wouldn’t be? It’s a terrible thing. He then released this song “Loyal,” clearly objectifying women and calling them “hos,” and it becomes one of the most popular songs of the year. You can go to most college parties and see the kids getting down to it. No one seems to mind, and it’s the same man known to beat women. Personally, I found this ironic, and was trying to bring attention to the fact that we claim, as a society, that we hold these morals and that treating women this way is bad. Yet these same people will push assailant Chris Brown’s song about “hos not being loyal” to the top of the charts. It sickens me, but that’s why I pointed it out in the way that I did. It was meant to highlight this fact, and bring attention to the irony of it.

I can’t be responsible for everyone’s knowledge of pop culture. I try to leave a fair amount of textual evidence to remind the reader that they’re reading satire. In the paragraph before the one in question, I said, “Don’t you know being confident and assertive for yourself isn’t cool? It might suggest some sort of self respect, and who wants that?” I find it hard to believe anyone would take this seriously, and think that I was advocating insecurity. For the record, I was suggesting people should be confident and assertive for themselves, but unfortunately some aren’t being conditioned that way. I’m trying to highlight and critique the same issues that I’m being accused of creating.

This response stands as a testimony that, while there is a very strong and well organized feminist cause in today’s Western society, there are still many other groups of people that still have little to no representation. Some of the other groups that I talked about in a satirical sense in the aforementioned column include the handicapped, when I called myself a “more practical version” of Stephen Hawking. I find that, while it is important to stand up for gender equality, something I steadfastly believe in, it is also important to stand up for everyone, not just the social groups you choose.

Maybe my approach my not be understood, but I just want to be on the same page and for my audience to understand that I’m writing in character when I write my column. It’s meant to be a reflection of the current pop culture landscape, and focus on my qualms with it.


Dakota Sarantos

“Everybody Makes Mistakes… Everybody has Those Days.”

Shiny S. Patel
Opinion and Editorial Editor

Photo courtesy of wazala.com

After another night of seemingly pitiful decisions and a morning that palpitated beats of regret, I went on a walk to analyze the rationale behind the choices I’d just made. All I felt was repentance and shame. As days passed, memories of an unfortunately memorable night started to fade away. I stopped getting texts reminding me of the fool I’d made of myself. People stopped trying to weave in my awful night into conversations. The reason for that is because there were a plethora of individuals who had worse nights and hilarious stories to replace mine.

I began to realize how irrelevant one bad decision really is in the grand scheme of things. That isn’t to say that you can excuse your own stupidity with the excuse that other people make dumb decisions too. As college students, we are quivering back and forth on the spectrum that defines us between immature youth and capable adults. Perhaps the best way to be taken seriously would be by realizing that everyone makes their own mistakes and it’s better to accept them, learn from them, and move on from them.

My biggest concern regarding my bad choices revolves around the potential that my regrettable stories have to spread to people that I work diligently to impress. However, the spotlight effect is something that few take into consideration but all would benefit from accepting.

The spotlight effect is a concept that states that you think people care more about you than they actually do. In actuality, aside from those you have close and personal relationships with, not a single person gives a damn about your life more than you do. I define a “nobody” as anyone who isn’t considered a close friend or family. Your acquaintances are, let’s face it, nobodies. That isn’t to say you can’t wish well for them, but their issues don’t concern you, just how your issues don’t concern them. Think about it, in the hierarchy of your own social pyramid, who do you put on top?

That being said, these “nobodies” don’t care about what you’re doing, where you’re going, or what you have in store for yourself. Your future is irrelevant to them and your past has no purpose for them. Your mistakes are just another daily dose of gossip for others. Gossip comes and goes, and your story is just part of a natural cycle and will, inevitably, be forgotten. The more energy that is invested in the concern of what others will say about you is energy that is not being used productively. It is human nature to judge, regardless of how conscious the effort is to not judge. When such an activity is clearly inevitable, I find it pointless to waste time worrying about whether or not I am being judged for my actions. By following my own morals and prioritizing the values I find most important to me, I know I am a good person at heart and if there are people out there who are incapable of seeing that, then their ignorance is no concern of mine.

I am only one in an exponential population, a speck of dust in an expanding universe, a single drop of water in an ocean in which I am invisible. I think, therefore I am, and at some point I am going to be relevant. When I am relevant, I’ll know it, or when I actually find myself in a real predicament, I’ll most certainly know that too. I’ll do myself the courtesy in worrying about it when the time comes. Until then, I intend on using my mistakes to better myself rather than using them to