Dear chapter members,Please see the following note from the Director of the college's Honors Program. We hope that many of you can join your fellow students in supporting this college-wide effort.
We at the Honors Program are heartbroken by the incomprehensible suffering that is going on in the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. As a community, we want to demonstrate solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the devastated, vulnerable, and already impoverished communities in the central Philippines. Next week, there will be a coordinated effort at LaGuardia to take a step towards doing just this; 2 days have been set aside to raise funds for those directly affected by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.
There will be a meeting on Monday (11/18) at 1:00pm in the Student Life office (M-115) of all interested students to discuss the logistics of collecting donations for relief efforts in the Philippines, and to sign up to volunteer for donation collection days. The plan is to have students in the E and C buildings set up to collect donations and share information on the following days:
Tues. (11/19): 9:30am-4:30pm
Wed. (11/20): 9:30am-6pm
If you cannot make it to the Monday meeting, you can:
--go to M-115 to sign up for a time slot to volunteer on any or both of the above days. Any amount of time would be so very much appreciated.
--LaGuardia's coordinator of fundraising for disaster relief, Jeffery Batts, has an office in M-115, so if you have any questions, you can find him there, or you can drop him an email (email@example.com).
Please join your peers from the Filipino Club (PULSO), the People Power Movement chapter, the Honors Student Advisory Committee (HSAC), the President's Society and other student groups in this crucial effort.
It is also the responsibility of our community to reflect on, discuss and raise awareness about the sobering lessons brought by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. We want to leave you with the following material to consider, discuss, add to and be moved to action.
*TYPHOON HAIYAN: THE GLOBAL POOR BEAR THE DEADLY BRUNT OF CLIMATE CHANGE
History illustrates that Typhoon Haiyan was a man-made disaster that's the result of climate debt.
*Nov. 11 update from Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (People's Cooperation for the People):
*Clip of the chief Philippine negotiator, Yeb Sano, speaking before the UN climate meeting in Poland and announcing the start of his own voluntary fast in solidarity with people starving at home:
The Honors Program (Director: Dr. Karlyn Koh)
Honors House (M-222)
HSAC: M-222 B & C
Honors College Assistant: M-222 E
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Monday, November 4, 2013
by Esmeralda Vargas
At the Phi Theta Kappa New York Region's Honors In Action Conference, hosted by Kingborough Community College, Scott Stimfel, the assistant dean of student engagement and innovation at New York University, passed PTK members his words of wisdom. Many believe that having a 4.0 GPA is a golden ticket, that will open numerous opportunities, but although having a strong GPA is important, Mr. Stimfel made us realize that it is not everything. There is another factor that is just as important as a high GPA, and that is networking.
It is no longer what you know, but who you know that counts. Million dollar companies are now using networking as their way to promote products. They are now focusing on letters of recommendations rather then resumes. In his presentation, Mr. Stimfel’s shared with us some ways we can begin to network.
Networking with your professors is a must; this was emphasized by Mr. Stimfel. He shared his own experiences from college and mentioned how having a professional friendship with one of his professors in college helped him throughout the years. After he graduated, they still kept in contact and she happened to become dean of a very prestigious University. She then recruited Mr. Stimfel to work at her University. The position she was offering was not related to what Mr. Stimfel wanted to pursue as a profession, but he still accepted the position because he is an open minded individual who is up for a change.
Mr. Stimfel also emphasized open mindedness. He believes that no one can truly plan out what they want to do in the future, even if one has a good idea. Many people are focused on getting to where they envision themselves, because of this they ignore other opportunities given to them, since it does not fit into their plan. Mr. Stimfel’s beliefs reminded me of the ideas Steve Jobs shared during his speech at Stanford University. Steve Job’s stated, “Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” Quite like Steve Jobs, Mr. Stimfel, too, shares this idea. Although an opportunity might not fit into your plan right now, it may somehow guide you, and connect to where you want to be. This is what Mr. Stimfel tried to teach us, to keep an open mind.
Connecting with your peers is also very important. You will never know if one day one of your classmates will become the next Steve jobs, or president of the United States. Mr. Stimfel shared another one of his life experiences with us, where he had interviewed one of his formal classmates for a job position. This classmate was unkind and unpleasant when they had gone to college together. This, apart from other factors, made Mr. Stimfel uncomfortable giving him the job. If this classmate would have been a good friend, or more pleasant during their college years, then perhaps Mr. Stimfel would have helped him out.
In addition, Mr. Stimfel elaborated on the topic of kindness. A good way to get your foot in the door is by helping others. When you help someone not for your personal interest but for the sake of kindness, there’s a good chance that they will help you in return. While, Mr. Stimfel was in college, he had failed one of his exams, but because he regularly communicated with his professor, his professor allowed him to retake the exam. Being communicative and friendly to others can ultimately benefit you in the long run.
Another very interesting topic Mr. Stimfel elaborated on was internships. He informed us that companies are now hiring many of their interns as employees. What companies do is wait for students to graduate from college and then offer them a job, since they already have obtained the experience during their internship at the company. He really inspired me to begin to look for internships in my field of study.
I realized from Mr. Stimfel’s presentation that having a high GPA is not everything; networking is just as important. Obtaining all this knowledge from Mr. Stimfel presentation was wonderful, but what really counts is what you plan to do with this knowledge. As he states, “going to a college with a great network system has no purpose if you do not use it”.
by Diana Samoylova
During the New York region Honors in Action Conference we were asked to join a research study on students transferring from community colleges to higher education facilities, such as four year colleges. The interviewer was a Ph.D. student and I was happy to participate and contribute to the study, because I believe this to be an important issue. He asked us, me and my fellow PTK member Esmeralda Vargas to answer some questions, while we were tape recorded. He wanted to know why we chose to complete associate degrees rather than attending a four year college and if we planned on continuing our education. Additionally he asked what our future goals were for college as well as careers. He asked us what resources our school provided for transfer and if they were helpful. He asked if the transfer process was hard and what we thought would improve our experience. What did we plan on majoring in and if we had a plan to achieve it. He asked if we were worried about attending a four year college and what we anticipated.
Many of our answers described the deficiencies of community colleges and students’ knowledge about the transfer process. We are fortunate to be PTK members and have more intimate knowledge of programs and resources that are available to us. However, time is limited and resources for travel to visit potential schools are unavailable in most cases. I feel that it would be best to have a class dedicated to the transfer process, because after attending workshops about the transfer process, I realized it was no easy task. There is large amount of research that needs to be done prior to choosing a college. In addition to the amount of work that needs to be done, students must continue to attend their classes, internships and many times jobs. I feel that something needs to be done to make this process easier.
I felt it was very important to contribute to this study. I consistently hear how difficult the transfer process is. If this study could improve people transfer process in any way I was more than willing to share my ideas and opinions. I think it is very important for us as students to communicate what could be improved and how in order to see any improvement.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
by Kaheisha Brand
Honors in Action (HIA) is a project for PTK members to partake in collectively. Honors in Action allows members the opportunity to gain leadership skills through service. HIA is based on a study topic that's related to global challenges which changes every two years. This year’s study topic was the Culture of Competition. HIA requires in depth research that develops over time. There's an HIA guide that helps to build upon an action-oriented project. This year, Alpha Theta Phi researched the college ranking system and the different things colleges do to attract students that foster competition among higher level institutions. Our Alpha Theta Phi chapter decided to host an event that imitated the game show family feud. The purpose of the game is to help share our research information with students.
When I attended the HIA conference at Kingsborough Community College in October, Jesus Garcia was the first speaker. He spoke about The Culture of Competition, while connecting it to the challenges he faced throughout his educational journey. Garcia came to America with his family at a very young age in search of the “American Dream.” To his surprise America wasn’t what he expected. At a very young age he was forced to grow up raising his siblings while it was mandatory for his parents to work two jobs to make ends meet.
Garcia was determined to be successful. Throughout high school he worked extra hard, assuring that his grades surpassed his peers. He was accepted into his dream college but due to financial hardships he was unable to attend. Devastated that he had to settle for a community college, Garcia now is beyond grateful for the experience that attending a community college has rewarded him with. Jesus Garcia is currently the Division 1 International Vice President of PTK. He attributes a lot of his success to becoming a member of PTK. Garcia feels truly compelled to the HIA Culture of Competition Theme. He feels that everyday life is about competing to do better than those around you.
Garcia’s outlook on the Culture of Competition is a very essential approach to succeeding in life. Though we have peers that we support and root for, we always feel the need to do better than the person next to us.
Monday, October 21, 2013
by Christian Glatz
The definition for Urban Farming is the practice of cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around a village, town, or city. The real value for Urban Farming is a community coming together, selecting a location (usually an abandoned lot) and turning it into a location where each person can cultivate produce, eat it and trade it with fellow members.
The main idea behind growing your own produce is the ability to consume it while it still holds all its nutrients. The Harvard Medical School Center for Health and the Global Environment notes that food transported long distances is not likely to be as nutritious as food grown and consumed locally. Living in urban areas, such as New York City, makes it nearly impossible for you to grow your own produce. You have to become very creative and resourceful if you want to become a farmer in a city where 80% is covered by concrete and the other belongs to the parks department, cemeteries, and private parks.
One of these resourceful people is Silvia Torres; she is the Urban Farm Manager at Kingsborough Community College. Silvia was one of the speakers at the New York Regional Phi Theta Kappa conference which took place at Kingsborough Community College. Silvia explained to us the impact these urban farms have on the community. She also explained how they have been able to implement these farming spots where abandoned terrain used to be. The process requires a lot of effort, the people willing to put time into growing their own produce have to clean up these abandoned lots. Some places used to be houses that were burnt to the ground in order to collect insurance money, and once the owners received the money they disappeared. The produce is not grown right on that ground due to contamination and other factors. Instead, raised beds of soil are built and arranged in ways which allow people to grow what they please; usually a variety of produce is grown so they can trade with other members. Spaces on these raised beds are allocated to each member of the community who is involved in the process of building the farm. With this in mind, Silvia Torres and others with similar interests have implemented urban farms within the Kingsborough Community College grounds. The measure of their success was the amount of produce students purchased at the farmer’s market event at the school. Students have become conscientious about healthy, organic foods, and are aware that the produce they bought at the event was picked off the farm minutes before the purchase.
These farms foster more than just food. They encourage camaraderie, fellowship and a sense of pride. The pride comes from taking a land which attracted rodents, insects and lower real estate prices and turning it into a healthy source of food, a beautified community and increasing the property value.
Also, another point Silvia Torres discussed is the appropriation of land by the city government. Once these turned around properties become attractive to developers, the city seizes the property and sells it. Silvia reported that during Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s term the city seized over 70% of these farms and sold the land to developers which constructed buildings on those locations.
She went on to explain that the city could have sold many other abandoned lots. However, due to the urban farms, the property value increased, turning the locations into prime real estate. The urban farming association has taken the time to conduct extensive research which concluded that the production of produce in what is equivalent to one acre of land amounted to nearly $250,000 a year (if it were to be sold, but is used as barter in the community). The anger amongst these urban farmers is understandable but at the same time one has to think of the legality of this issue.
Think of it in this manner, you have a backyard that you do not use nor maintain for couple of years, so your neighbor decides to build a tool shack on your property without your consent. Your neighbor thinks since you don’t use it, you lose it. Yet, you still pay taxes according to the size of your property, so before you lose your land due to “squatting” laws, you kick him out and regain possession of your terrain. This is exactly why the city takes over the land, these urban farmers are SQUATTING. Not only that, but they shoot themselves in the foot by saying that they could have paid over $250,000 to local groceries and farmers if they had to buy their produce, therefore the city loses $22,500 in what would have been taxes from those sales.
The urban farms are without a doubt beneficial to the community directly involved with their construction and maintenance. My family would buy fresh produce from urban farms if available, knowing that we could eat a healthy and organic product which has not lost its nutrients would be worth it. Before deciding to build on an abandoned lot, the community should buy the land from the city when it’s worthless, that way they don’t see their hard work go to waste.