Going Organic

By Jumana Khatib
April 29, 2017

Disclaimer: The views and opinions of this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of St. Thomas Aquinas College, its staff, or any/and all of its contributors or affiliates.

When the word “organic” comes to mind, it is often associated with a hefty price tag and is specifically for the health-conscious. Many don’t understand the importance of how switching to organic will significantly reduce the amount of chemical entering your body. Organic produce is grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Organic meat is better because the animals that produce; poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is natural and gives you all the nutrients you should be getting without subjecting your body with harmful chemicals and pesticides. There is a very insightful Netflix documentary called Food Inc., where they explain exactly how farm-raised animals are raised and slaughtered. In one of the largest meat packing industries in the world, the birds that are raised are killed in half the time they were fifty years ago and are twice as big. They keep their birds in the same non-ventilated coop from when they’re born to when they die. The chickens are redesigned to have larger breasts because many people prefer white meat.

The problem with supermarkets is that what looks like a wide variety of food is actually an illusion, so many of the foods we eat are actually food-like substitutes. 90% of the food on the shelves contain either a corn or soy ingredient because corn is cheap and easy to mass produce; it can be chemically engineered to keep food from getting stale, hence the use of high fructose corn syrup. Food Inc. explains how corn is in a vast amount of products that range from batteries to Tropicana orange juice to Huggies diapers. It is also the main component in feeding animals such as chickens, cows, and even fish. Corn is cheap and allows the price of meat to stay cheap, but the problem is that cows are herbivores and must eat grass. When you stick your hand in the rumen of a cow that only has a corn based diet, the stomach is very liquidy and black. This results in vast amounts of E.coli, which is acid-resistant and can easily evolve/mutate. Non-organic companies don’t care about the livelihood of animals. Their cows stand in their own manure ankle deep, all day long, so if one cow has E. coli, the other cows are very likely to get it as well. This manure gets into the meat supply at the slaughterhouse and ultimately the E. coli is in our food system. The system is backwards: candy, soda, chips and all other unhealthy snacks are cheap, but fruit and produce are expensive. Cheap food, such as fast food, is a leading factor in obesity in the United States; type II diabetes used to only affect adults, but is now affecting children. 1 in 3 Americans who were born after 2000 are more likely to contract early onset diabetes and among the minorities, it will be every 1 in 2. On organic farms, the animals are grass fed and cows fertilize the grass with their manure and mow it by eating the grass. Organic farms cut the animals traditionally, outside in the fresh air by cutting their jugular vein which is the correct way it should be done, and is the least painful and drains the blood. A stand must be taken to regulate chemically modified food and should stick with traditional farming.

The FDA wants to allow the sale of meat from cloned animals, without labeling that it is cloned. They even fought to refrain from labeling genetically modified foods. Now 78% of foods in the supermarkets have some type of GMO. It is so common that GMO is in our food that companies (mainly organic) must label “no GMOs.” This is one of the most important battles for consumers to fight: the right to know what is in their food and how it is grown. It is so critical to eat from companies that treat their workers, animals, and the environment fairly and with respect. Know what’s in your food, read labels, and if you can buy organic, do it, because eating healthy is the start of a healthy life.

Springfest – A Refreshing Diversion

By Victoria Moussot
April 24, 2017

With the 70s vibe at this year’s Springfest, peace, love, and happiness were in the air. For approximately 65 years, STAC has hosted this event. This year was kicked by messages from the Primary Sponsors: STACtivities, SGA, WSTK and CAB. There was a huge turnout and hands-on fun was had by all. The class of 2019 helped us get our groove on with do-it-yourself tie-dye shirts. Lots of colorful dyes, rubber bands, and t-shirt twisting was all that was needed to create wearable masterpieces.

Across RSAC, pops could be heard as contestants tested their skill at Alpha Phi Omega (APO) Balloon Darts.I suspect lots of people were practicing their aim and letting off stress as each balloon pop was cheered by onlookers. Erin Albin, APO VP of Service, descried the most memorable thing about Springfest as, “Talking with fellow Spartans about APO and volunteering and just having a good time with other members. APO is a brotherhood for sure and no matter if we are volunteering or socializing we always have fun” and “Overall springfest was a great event that pulled us fellow Spartans together for a few hours of fun!”

In a quirky contradiction, the Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) team ran “Punish the Professor” to benefit charities including People to People Foundation, Trevor Project, The Rockland County Pride, and Child’s Play Foundation. STAC’s own Dr. Wynn, Dr. Wagner, Dr. Schultz, and Dave Eng were great sports. These brave folks endured little humiliations like pies in the face and wearing a onesie and bunny ears, to wager for fun whose charity would get the most donations. Their generosity and spirit were evident to all.

RAK also encouraged students to make complimentary cards for hospitalized children. Many students participated writing messages of goodwill and cheer aimed at bringing a smile to children who need it the most. Brianna Weaver, President of Random Acts of Kindness, stated “I think Springfest is important to the STAC community because it’s a day of fun and recreation just as we get into the most stressful time of the year. It’s a reminder to enjoy yourself when and where you are.”

For those who worked up an appetite from all the actives, the Therapeutic Recreation Club offered a Fun Food Station, where participants got to make their own custom trail mix from delicious choices. Personally, I found it very therapeutic to munch on my bag of goodies. In the spirit of Springfest, the office of Residential Life got into the gardening theme with Flower Pot Painting. The little clay pots were easy to paint, and the perfect size to a plant a few blooms for a Mother’s Day gift. STAC students are definitely a creative bunch of people. The Class of 2018 offered a table of Flower Crown Making. The Art Therapy Club Table created intricate Henna Tattoos. The Class of 2020 had Pie the Hippie.

Although it rained that morning, our happiness was not dampened. Eventually, the sun came out to play. Students let loose, jumping in a bouncy house and playing Frisbee on the lawn. Overall, Springfest was a refreshing diversion before we head off into finals. We may be a small campus but we know how to have a good time.

Jordan

By Jumana Khatib
April 19, 2017

The summer of 2014, I got to take a life-changing trip to a part of the world very near and dear to me. I visited Jordan and got to get a taste of what this life really has to offer.  Many people don’t get the opportunity to travel, whether it’s because of time, money, or just location. People should not miss out on any opportunities and this leisure has made me determined to travel more and meet different people in different cultures and eat different foods. Growing up as an Arab-American, I do not get to experience my culture and customs as traditional Arabs in the Middle East. Jordan is where my parents were born and grew up and getting to visit the streets they played on and the restaurants they used to hang out in gave me a sense of a part of the world that is pretty misunderstood. People may think that Jordan is a third world country and is not very industrialized, but it’s actually on the contrary; Jordan has many tourists destinations and activities people can do and visit. Some excursions that I got to experience consisted of taking a Turkish bath, going to the lowest point on Earth via the Dead Sea, and visiting one of the the seven wonders of the world, Petra.

The Turkish bath is a method of cleansing and relaxing the body which became popular during the Victorian era. I was a bit hesitant at first because of the recently nice sun-kissed tan I got from the Jordanian sun and didn’t want it to rub off, but I went to the bath anyway hoping for baby soft skin. The first part of the bath routine was to change into bathing suits and then take a quick shower, after which we jumped into a hot tub for ten minutes full of bubbles and neon blue lights. After that, we went directly into a steam room/sauna. It was one of the hottest things I’ve ever experienced. The steam room was very hard to breathe in but was necessary to open up all pores. After the steam room came the fun. We laid on a circular, marble table, which about five people can fit on, and very intimidating women came with their luffas to do the scrubbing. They scrubbed every inch of the skin very rough, rubbing off all dead skin and dirt. It was quite disgusting. After the scrubbing, you could see all the rolled up skin and dirt on your body. Next was the rinse off. We rinsed off quickly and then jumped back onto the table for the next part of the scrubbing. This part was much more soothing; the women had large black fabric bags which they opened up, ran through the air and then placed it onto our bodies and squeezed out a whole bag full of bubbles. They then smoothed our skin with it and then we washed off again. The last part of the bath experience was the massage; this took place in a candle lit room and the women rubbed oil on us and massaged all the knots and kinks in our back. It was so relaxing I began to fall asleep. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, so we took our final shower, got dressed, and drank our last cocktail. The result of the bath was of course the smoothest skin you can ever imagine. It was quite the experience that I recommend everybody try at least once. My next goal was to take an authentic Turkish bath in Turkey and get the full traditional experience.

Another exciting activity that I was fortunate enough to do was visit the Dead Sea in Jordan. Coincidently, this too was great for the skin, A popular routine that I got to do was rub the Dead Sea mud all over my body, let it dry and then wash it off in the sea, the aftermath a riveting glow that lasts for weeks. We stayed at the Dead Sea Spa, which had four pools and the sea was right behind the resort. One of the first things my family and I did was go into the sea. The sea has no living creatures in it at all, hence the name. It is the saltiest sea and burns any cut you have, which unfortunately I had. The vast amount of salt in the sea forces you to float, which was quite relaxing. Animals like horses would occasionally escape from their owners, run into the sea and just drift away to the other side because the water is so dense with salt. My cousins had  found a water bottle while swimming, filled with salt crystals that crystallized over time.

As many know the sea is disappearing. In 1950, the sea was about 50 miles long. Today, it is about 30 miles long. Water levels are falling at an average rate of three feet per year. The sea needs an infusion of 160 billion gallons of water annually to maintain its current size but gets barely ten percent of that. The sea is still a huge tourist attraction despite the receding water.

One of the most memorable experiences that I encountered was going to one of the seven wonders of the world, Petra. My family and I walked about half a mile through a mountain, retracing the footsteps our ancestors made some 2,000 years ago. Man had built these structures and built a path in the middle of the mountain. At the end of the alley through the mountain, a huge carving inside another mountain faces you with the most beautiful detailed designs and a room inside, which was unfortunately closed off. This phenomenon was so advanced, it was hard to believe that man had done this with basic tools. We continued our voyage through the mountains, rode camels and horses, and looked at more carvings and steps in the mountains.

After Petra, we hopped on bus to go to Wadi Rum and sped away into the beautiful desert. We raced with other pickups down sand dunes and finally reached our destination to a beautiful black tent where Bedouins, also known as sand dwellers, served us traditional tea. We then climbed up more sand dunes and onto a mountain where we watched the sun go down and there was not one cloud in the sky. We then drove back to a camp where we had tents set up for us, and  in the middle of the camp were cushions around a dance floor where we sat and watched the Bedouins perform their traditional dances all night. After all this, around 12:30 a.m, the entire camp cut off all electricity. We then laid on the softest sand and watched the stars. There were thousands of stars that we could see and we used our laser to point at them. It was an experience that words cannot even describe.

The next morning we drove to Aqaba, Jordan and went to the Red Sea. We tanned on the beach and went on a banana boat, cruising through the salty sea and looking at the surrounding cities such as Eilat, Israel which was right across the sea. Unfortunately, Aqaba was our last stop and we had to head back to my Aunt’s house. These destinations were one of the best experiences in my life. To be able to even visit these places was a blessing in itself.

Having so many life changing experiences in the span of five weeks was remarkable. I encourage people to make it a goal to visit a country you are interested in. I feel complete wanderlust from this remarkable leisure. It motivates me more to make this a lifestyle to experience the most of what this earth has to offer.

STAC Students are Lifesavers

By Victoria Moussot
April 11, 2017

STAC’s bi-annual blood drive has been committed to meeting serious blood shortage needs for at least thirty four years. Originally, the blood drives were run by student activities, but eighteen years ago, Eileen Mastrovito at Health Services took the lead. Mastrovito explained, “Having worked in an Intensive Care Unit for ten years, I am familiar with the frequent use of blood products in patient care.” Blood products, such as red cells, go to surgery trauma patients, cancer/chemotherapy patients, accident/burn victims, at-risk infants and patients with bleeding disorders. Demand for blood products continues to increase every year due to the aging population, new medical treatments, and procedures requiring blood transfusions. However, the blood supply has decreased because restrictive requirements have decreased donor eligibility. You can be part of the solution.

All blood donors at the STAC Blood Drive are encouraged to participate with Automated Red Cell Donation. In this process, a phlebotomist draws a small amount of blood into a sterile bag and the blood is then spun in a centrifuge, causing the red cells to be separated from plasma and platelets. After separation, the components are returned to the donor’s body with a saline solution. This straightforward process yields significant results. One donation produces two units of red cells with the potential to save two lives!

Over the last five years, the STAC Community has donated 316 units of blood! That translates to a lot of saved lives. Kayla Farley, a Blood Drive Recruiter, stated, “I love working the Blood Drive because I love seeing and talking to the people willing to donate their own blood to save a life. There are so many people willing to do so, and that is amazing!”

This year STAC will be fostering a new partnership with the New York Blood Center. This non-profit organization “embraces and values the highest ethical, humanitarian, medical, and scientific standards including compassion, respect, integrity, and caring for all people, including the donor and patient.” The New York Blood Center appreciates the participating donors so much that it has created the Donor Advantage Program to “encourage, recognize and reward frequent blood, platelet and plasma donors.” The program requires one donation attempt every 13 months to keep the points active. Points earned can be redeemed for a wide variety of gifts, gift cards, or points can be donated to selected charitable organizations.

Eligibility requirements are simple:

  1. Between the ages of 16 and 76.
  2. Weigh at least 110 pounds.
  3. Must be in general good health. If you have a cold or ordinary virus, you must wait 72 hours after you are symptom-free. If you are on an antibiotic you may donate after you have taken the last dose, and as long as you have been symptoms free for at least 72 hours.
  4. You must wait at least 12 months after getting a tattoo (unless the tattoo was done in the State of New Jersey since 1/1/08 in which case there is no waiting period)   or any piercing that was not done under sterile conditions (single use/sterile needle/disposed of property/aseptic conditions) before you can donate.
  5. Due to the risk of “mad cow” disease, malaria, and Zika virus, certain restrictions are placed on blood donations by people who have lived in or recently traveled to high-risk areas.  
  6. A person who smokes marijuana and drinks alcohol can donate blood.

STAC’s Political Forum a Stepping Stone for Greater Activism on Campus

By Jenna Hutchins
April 4, 2017

Many professors at St. Thomas Aquinas College recall that it has been years since seeing any political activism on campus. Several students and faculty of the college met Tuesday afternoon in Sullivan Theatre to partake in a political forum aimed at improving the situation and finding ways to motivate the community.

Senior Jacob McCullough and junior Jennifer Grumet organized the forum. The hope of the event was to attract students who identify with all parts of the political spectrum to come and talk about hot-button issues, like women’s and LGBTQ+ rights, environmental concerns and climate change, and the current presidential administration. Although the forum was highly advertised for, with campus-wide emails and announcements at student government meetings, there was a surprisingly low turnout for the discussion.

The hosts, McCullough and Grumet, professionally articulated facts, statistics, and current events about the state of the nation Americans find themselves in today. Without differing viewpoints in the room, seasoned activists, our very own professors at STAC, suggested ways to make these types of conversations more appealing to students.

Dr. Ellen Chayet, professor of criminal justice and who comes from a politically active generation, mentioned her advice for students. “You guys have to get out there. It’s one thing to have conversations and another thing to run for office, even at a local level. Vote in local elections. That is where you can make a huge impact. Start change incrementally and make a commitment to political action.” Dr. Chayet told the group, “You are the ones inheriting the mess. Hopefully, you will be the ones to fix it.”

“Run for school board,” Dr. Ben Wagner, professor of psychology, added. “You all are talking about education, run for school board. You only have to be 18 and live in the district.”

Professor Monica Wendel, who teaches English courses at the college, recently attended marches and rallies in New York City and gave students her invaluable insight. To student concerns that they are too busy or stressed out to attend events, Professor Wendel said, “I think that going to political events with friends and caring about these types of things can be a form of stress relief. Whatever events we do at STAC, I think it would be important to include an element of joy.” Her examples included planting trees or other hands-on environmental activities and protesting for other people’s rights, not just our own.

The most immediate takeaway from the two-hour conversation was that STAC’s professors are the students’ most valuable resources when it comes to taking political action, on or off campus. Although the discussion was not as well attended as anticipated, most students and professors left with optimism that the conversation was just the first step in finding ways to engage students at STAC in the future.

Hope and Despair

By Victoria Moussot
April 2, 2017

What do you normally think of when you hear the word “passion”? An intense sexual desire or an obsessive ambition to participate in work, sport, hobby or interest?

St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, “the passions are movement of the sensitive appetites of the soul when we are faced with good and evil.” This is important to understand because you can not be defined by the worst thing you’ve ever done. Nor can you be defined by the worst thing that has happened to you.

St. Thomas understood these passions to be both powerful and troublesome as they can make the difference between happiness and misery, and between mental health and distress. When we experience an evil in a form of a loss, negative event, or injustice, St. Thomas suggested we can lessen our distress by:

  1. Experiencing pleasure
  2. Weeping
  3. Experiencing the sympathy of friends
  4. Contemplating the truth
  5. Sleep and baths, as they refresh the weary mind and restore the body

Weeping fits the state of the passions because this action produces a kind of pleasure. That is why we feel so relieved after we cry, as our focus moves away from our self-enclosed thoughts. Whenever we feel sorrow, who do we turn to? When we share our pain with our friends, it as if they share our burdens, therefore lessening their weight. Perhaps you’re that person who your friends come to for consolation. When a friend shares their pain, it shows their love for us, and this is a source of pleasure. When we contemplate the truth we move away from passion and into the realm of intellect. It is good to have a balance between emotion and intellect. Using intellect can help us become aware of what has made us upset and how we should proceed to mend the cause. It is good to think with an eternal perspective. Remember you are a work in progress, not a failure.

Think back to the last time you were angry. Were you angry because an injustice was done to you and deep down you knew you were made for good and should not be treated that way? Or were you ashamed because you know you did wrong? St. Thomas said “anger arises from an emotion of the soul due to the wrong inflicted.” Anger can be good or bad. We can be motivated to right a wrong that has been done to us or make amends for a wrong we’ve done. We’re called by St. Thomas to show mercy to the person who has hurt us, just as we are to show mercy to ourselves. Continued anger leads to hatred and evil, whereas forgiveness of self and others brings freedom.

Appetites are placed into two categories. First, those fueled by love which are attracted to goodness. The second arise from motivation to remove difficult obstacles to obtain what we love. According to Thomas, there is practical wisdom if you understand these principles.

  1. “We are made for what’s good. Indeed, we love and desire it with our concupiscible appetite.
  2. “When some good we have perceived has not yet been attained, we experience that bittersweet passion called desire sweet because it is directed toward the object of our love, bitter because it is beyond our reach.”
  3. “We have a natural inclination to love the good and to hate what is evil.
  4. “When we experience an already present evil, we experience sadness or sorrow.”
  5. “When we believe we are not up to the task of conquering an evil, we experience fear.
  6. “When we have already experienced a difficult evil, it raises the ire of our irascible appetite with the passion of anger.

St. Thomas’ principles encourage us to not define ourselves as victim or perpetrator. Instead we must “experience that positive feeling of hope when we believe that the good is attainable” because we’re made for good things despite moments of bitterness or anger. We experience “bleakness of despair when we see obstacles as insurmountable.” To avoid despair, do not try to overcome evil with evil deeds. Healing from the things we have done, or things that have been done to us, is possible.

A Spotlight on Feminism at the Brooklyn Museum

By Celine Grajo
April 1, 2017

A Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism at the Brooklyn Museum is a special installation constructed of ten different exhibitions celebrating the progression of feminism and the tenth anniversary of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

Past a lobby filled with music and Pop Up Bars, the crowds were greeted by Infinite Blue, a collection expressing the significance of the color blue across cultures and millennia. Blue meant the skies and spirituality, but blue was also a statement of power, beauty, and status. From preserved sculptures and coins, to illuminated manuscripts and rings, though not yet fully installed, Infinite Blue was a stately history of this ancient hue.

Up two flights, A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt captivates with its telling of Ancient Egypt’s belief of gender and the restrictions that females faced when crossing over into the afterlife. It was said that the male created the fetus and transferred it to the female during intercourse, making recreation impossible for a woman alone. A priest would perform rituals and paint her coffin red, the color representative of man, in order to give her access to rebirth.

In contrast to this, Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, located on the fourth floor, portrays the symbolic history of women. Her suggestive ceramic flower plates are individually assigned to different goddesses of old and notable women of the recent and present days. Each plate is decorated to that particular woman’s contribution to their time, and feminism as a whole.

Marilyn Winter wanted to explore the emotions and thoughts centered on beauty and the female body in American culture. Pretty/Dirty is filled with photographs and photorealistic and Pop art paintings focusing on desire and the fashion industry’s commercialization of sex and the female body. The power behind Winter’s concepts were rejected by society, as they depicted overtly sexual scenes wrapped in humor and irony.

Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern was an exposition of O’Keeffe’s “self-crafted public persona,” gifting to the Brooklyn Museum her clothes and pictures of the artist. Being a stronghold of feminism, as shown in her evocative paintings of flowers and ram heads, O’Keeffe made sure the public understood her essence and creativity through each pose, idea, and fabric she gave life to.

Feminism is often misunderstood. It is not superiority over or hatred of men. It is the liberation of women from society’s limitations. It is the casting off of gender expectations and the creation of equal rights. These works, and many more, will be shown at the Brooklyn Museum for a year, continuing this progressive message of equality.

Technological Takeover

By Victoria Moussot
March 28, 2017

Unplugging from technology is hard. It has our full attention to the point where it consumes our lives. We wake up in the morning and check for missed texts and emails. We look at Twitter, Instagram, and who liked us on Facebook before we’re even out of bed!

How did we get so addicted to technology? Have we somehow been trained, like Pavlov’s dogs? If you post on Instagram and someone likes your photo, you are rewarded by feeling good and this feeling motivates you to continue posting. Based on the Self-Determination theory, feeling connected to a group is a basic human need and essential to one’s well-being. This positive social feedback triggers the brain’s reward center. Interestingly, this heightened area of brain activity resembles the use of when substances like alcohol are used.

We all love our tech toys and our apps, from everything from Meetup to playing games with people from across the globe. Modern technology is fun and can be used for good, but it should not control your life. Your body can show physical symptoms of being addicted to technology, like Phantom Vibration Syndrome, which is the perception that one’s cell phone is vibrating or ringing when it’s actually not. Randi Smith, a licensed clinical social worker and Associate Professor of Psychology at the Metropolitan State University of Denver, explained that PVS is like a hallucination. A study found that nearly 90 percent of U.S. college students have experienced this phantom vibration and 40 percent have experienced this phenomenon at least once a week. This phenomenon is not labeled as being harmful or bothersome, but it shows how attached we are to our devices.

Our favorite pastimes include simultaneously using our phones with our laptop and watching TV. Kep Kee Loh and Ryota Kanai, researchers at the University of Sussex in England, have researched media multitasking and found that these habits negatively affect cognitive and emotional functioning ability. Multitasking with technology changes the structure of our brains by making the anterior cingulate cortex, which is associated with attention, smaller. Are you addicted to technology? Practicing technology mindfulness is a good way to prevent technology from dominating your life. Some ways to practice technology mindfulness include setting time limits for yourself, limiting the number of tabs open on your web browser, and resisting the temptation to use multiple devices at once.

Using technology has also shown to have a negative impact on our sleep. The blue light from the screens disrupts the natural sleeping rhythm. When we use our devices before sleep, the melatonin, a hormone that controls the circadian rhythm, becomes suppressed. At bedtime, this light increases alertness, stimulates our brains, and makes us less ready to sleep. The US National Sleep Foundation survey reported the use of late night technology leads to less satisfactory sleep. As a result, people are more likely to feel sleepy during the day. For those who have trouble putting down the screen before bed, like myself, it is advised to dim the screen as much as possible and change the blue light to orange tones instead. Also, it is recommended we avoid using technology thirty minutes before going to bed to let our brains decompress from overstimulation.  

STAC Track takes Miami

By Jumana Khatib
March 25, 2017

Saint Thomas Aquinas Track and Field recently took their annual Miami spring break trip, where records were broken, competition was high, and the heat was rising. The Spartans had two major meets in Florida that week. First on the agenda was the “Hurricane Invitational” in Miramar. This was our kickoff meet to start the Spring track season with a bang. A few days later was the Miami meet, where the competition was very competitive but that didn’t stop our Spartans from breaking school records and getting nationally ranked on both the men and women’s side.

For the men, sophomore Saint Jacob Diodonet broke his own school record in the 200 meter event, running 21.51 in the 200 and finishing fifth in the event. Senior Winslow Diodonet also competed in the 400 meter run, clocking a time of 47.94, a provisional NCAA qualifier in that event, finishing fifth, along with a season best in the 100 with a 10.79. Junior Mohammed Ifthikar hit a new school record in the long jump with a jump of 6.66m (21’10.25),along with a new school record in the triple jump with a leap of 13.72m (45’0.25). Sophomore Ricksen Opont hit a new school record in the discus with a toss of 44.48m (145’11) which had him finish in fourth. Opont then took eighth in the shot put in 13.58m (44’6.75). Freshman Tim Faranda set a new school record in the Javelin throw with a throw of 48.47m (159′). Senior Ryan Gasser ran 2:00.81 in the 800 meter run.

For the women, freshman rookie Camille Cameron broke school records in the 100 meter, 200 meter and the 4×100 meter run at the Hurricane Invitational. Camille ran 12.37 in the 100 meters, 25.17 in the 200 and was part of the 4×100 team of Amber Lubaszka, Victoria Jones-Alleyne and Tiana Kirkland that ran 48.16. Freshman Victoria Jones-Alleyne ran a new school record in the 100 hurdles with a time of 14.61. Junior Kristen Borriello hit a new college best and school record in the 1500 with a time of 4:38.41. Junior Katie Mollahan took eighth place in the shot put with a throw of 11.38m (37’4).

The trip consisted of more than just breaking records; it was filled with a week’s worth of team bonding and getting our tan on. The track team is filled with diverse events along with different practice strategies. The jumpers, sprinters, throwers, and distance teams each have their own coaches and different approaches to training. Being on the distance girls team, mileage is very important and helps with consistency and strength. Having two practices a day helped immensely; when trying to increase mileage for that week. Doing a 60 minute run on a sandy terrain along Dania Beach had its perks of an ocean side view, beautiful sand and salty air, but was very difficult to run on. The weather cooperated the entire week; any runner would hope for 70 degree days. This certainly helped make the most of our practices and races.

Sprinters, jumpers, and throwers had their taste of cool water by doing pool workouts along with workouts on the track. It is vital to have a specific training regime that will help the most when performing on the track. Leading up to the race, the coaches spent hours figuring out the best tactics and training that would benefit the athletes the most.

Aside from training and racing, we bonded with our occasional miniature golf excursions, poolside conversations, and movie nights. The week was relaxing, yet beneficial by adding two races in one week, which was crucial for training purposes. This memorable week brought teammates closer together and the extra training will help us throughout the season. Spring break is over; now it is time to perform on the track.

STAC’s Annual Student Art Show a Success

By Jenna Hutchins
March 11, 2017

The Azarian McCullough Art Gallery hosted its annual Juried Student Show on campus last Wednesday. The evening featured original artwork from almost twenty students, who proudly displayed their pieces for the STAC community.

According to the Gallery Director, Nina Bellisio, the student shows are always the most well attended out of the seven exhibits hosted throughout each school year. Bellisio said this could be attributed to the amount and variety of students who submit work for the show. “Not all students who sent in work were art majors this year. About 75% were, but the rest were not.”

In fact, the student who took home the title for “Best in Show” is a Therapeutic Recreation major. Gabriel Yum, a senior with a great passion for photography, showed off several snapshots from a project he began a year ago, Humans of St. Thomas Aquinas College (HOSTAC). Yum was inspired by Brandon Stanton, founder of Humans of New York (HONY). He chose to emulate Stanton’s ability to capture moving and reflective stories from everyday people and translate that to the STAC campus. Visitors to the gallery were so impressed by the display that it gained the most votes for “Best in Show” by the end of the reception.

Other artworks included charcoal fragmentations by students Angelique Trujillo and Kelly Monzon and photography and digital design by students John Bhatti and William Decker, respectively. Trujillo and Monzon both used the human body as their subject, with the former focusing on womanhood and curvaceous nudity and the latter with bone structures. Bhatti used photography to artistically document the tragedy and awakening he has experienced in his life and Decker used his knowledge as a visual communications student to create an ad for Chase bank using the superhero, The Flash, to creatively market their quick business transactions.

Other student work and previously mentioned pieces are still on display for the public through March 19. Any questions can be directed to Nina Bellisio at amag@stac.edu and more information on gallery exhibits can be found on the official webpage: stac.edu/amag.