<![CDATA[Cougar's Byte Feed]]> Sun, 16 Feb 2020 23:37:35 -0500 Sun, 16 Feb 2020 23:37:35 -0500 SNworks CEO 2020 The Cougar's Byte <![CDATA[Designing Her Future]]> Being passionate about one's major allows students to flourish in their collegiate experience, which second year student Nicole Badillo shows. She is an interior design major in the Robert Busch School of Design, which is housed under the Michael Grave College.

The Michael Graves College, located in the Green Lane Academic Building, is home to the design and architecture students here at Kean. They have created unique programs to enhance the learning of their students, which allows them to grow all of the skills they will use one day in their post-graduate endeavors.

Badillo notes that being a part of this college has allowed her to expand, improve and learn in her field of expertise. During her college decision process, Badillo visited different schools, but she felt more at home on the Kean campus.

She said, "Knowing Kean is where I wanted to be, I began to work with some professors and faculty from the college to help develop my portfolio and, with their help, it further sealed that Kean was such an uplifting and helpful environment and the place for me."

Through the Michael Graves College and the Robert Busch School of Design, Badillo has had many opportunities and experiences that have helped her make her goal of studying interior design a reality.

Badillo became interested in the field of interior design when her older sister studied it in college. She learned more about the subject through her sister, as she was her design teacher in high school from grades 9 through 12. In this unique experience, and the classes she took, she grew a passion for interior design and was confident in her college major decision.

Since coming to Kean, Badillo has been very involved on campus. For example, she is the president of the Interior Design Student Organization. She began attending meetings her freshmen year, and really enjoyed the atmosphere and platform to connect with students studying the same major as her. Through this, she has the opportunity to connect with her peers while learning more about what she is passionate about.

Badillo also works on campus with Rose Gonella, the associate dean of the Michael Graves College, which further expands her involvement and experience at Kean.

Through all of these obligations, it can be difficult, at times, to stay on track and organized. Due to this, Badillo has a few techniques to ensure her tasks are met and completed to the best of her ability.

For example, she always writes down her tasks, whether it be assignments, due dates or meetings, or things she must complete that week. Also, every Sunday night, she writes her goals for the week to help her measure short term success, which, in the end, results in positive long-term effects.

Badillo said, "The top advice I would give to college students is to learn to manage your stress."

She continued, "Every person's stress levels are different, but trying to find a way to manage it, whether it be to organize your thoughts, workout, or talk to someone, this will be your biggest ticket to success."

Badillo is a prime example of how the resources offered at Kean, such as the Michael Graves College and Robert Busch School of Design, help to guide students to success and achieve their academic goals.

Interior Design student Nicole Badillo is making the most of her studies and involvement at Kean.]]>
<![CDATA[Knowing Your Roots]]> On Tuesday, Feb. 11th, the Office of Student Government (Student Gov.) and the Commuter Resource Center brought African American culture to life in "Know Your Roots," at the Human Rights Institute. The event was hosted in honor of Black History Month, as well as to celebrate African American culture and diversity in the Kean community.

Attendees got a chance to experience Black History at its finest, all while enjoying great food, good music, and even learning about legendary icons and events from previous generations. Those figures included Harriet Tubman and Jackie Robinson. Walking into the first floor of the Human Rights Institute, students were greeted by Student Gov. staff members, and checked in with their Kean University event passes. They were then given tickets to participate in activities that were spread out across the hallway of the first floor.

The activities were engaging, like trivia games, in which they were presented with facts about famous figures in black history from today or previous generations. If students got the answers correct, they were given free, custom made t-shirts, courtesy of the Office of Student Government. A photo booth was also set up, where students and guests captured some memorable moments holding flags of many different countries that represent African American culture.

Next to all of the activities that were in session, there was also a table labeled "My Black Is," where students wrote down what being African American means to them, to better express themselves and to promote representation for Black History.

Tatyana Rafael Calderon, one of the student coordinators for Student Gov., believes events such as this will help students learn more about Black History, especially beyond the boundaries of the classroom, because students can only learn so much in a certain amount of time about one particular topic.

"Every table present has a purpose and [provides] information about African Americans and their history, including how it came to presence in modern day culture. This, by far, is one of my favorite events that we do because it brings culture and awareness about important people who have made a contribution to the United States and the entire world." said Calderon.

The event had a massive turnout. and was a complete learning experience for all of those who were interested in Black History month. The community can keep on the lookout for other upcoming events through Cougar Link. Students can visit the Commuter Resource Center, on the first floor of the Nancy Thompson Library, for more information. For questions regarding Student Government, contact their office by phone at (908) 737-5190, or by email stuorg@kean.edu to learn more.

Students enjoyed a celebration of Black History Month with food, games and many more]]>
<![CDATA[Preparing for Tax Season]]> On Feb. 26, The Leadership Institute will be hosting an event called Chapter After: Taxes, for all Kean students that wish to learn about filing taxes. It will be held from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m. in the Greek Lounge in the Miron Student Center.

The Chapter After: Taxes workshop will be very beneficial for students that have never filed their taxes on their own. During the workshop, students will be able to learn about filing taxes and other financial details.

The event is being held in the midst of tax season, therefore it is very prevalent for students. Filing taxes is a challenge for everyone, every year, and can be a daunting task for first-timers. This workshop will be very beneficial for those that attend, to begin to understand the details.

During and after the workshop, students will be encouraged to ask questions on the topic of taxes. Attendees should not be shy when asking questions, rather they should come prepared with questions to enhance their knowledge of the topic.

Harmony Sanchez, a Leadership Specialist, said, "Our hope is that the event will allow students to step out of college with not only a sense of independence, but a better sense of what to do the next time tax season rolls around."

Students should arrive ready to sign in with their event pass, which can be found on their Cougar Link accounts. After logging in, they should click their initial icon in the top-left hand corner. Then, select 'Event Pass," and it will appear. Students should even consider saving their event pass on their phone, for easier access whenever they need to use it.

The Chapter After Series, hosted by The Leadership Institute, is designed to aid students in their post-graduate endeavors, hence the name, "Chapter After." They host three workshops per semester on topics that relate to students' professional lives, such as interview skills, resume enhancing, internship information and more. They want students to have the necessary information to help guide them to success during and after their time at Kean.

The Leadership Institute is a leadership certification program that offers four levels of advancement: T2K Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Additionally, the Leadership Institute offers the L.E.A.D. program, for upperclassmen and graduate students. Through these programs, students learn and enhance skills such as leadership, team-building, citizenship and more.

To learn more about The Leadership Institute and their events, visit Cougar Link, the Miron Student Center in Room 215 or email them at leadershipinstitute@kean.edu.

<![CDATA[The Office of Africana Studies]]> The Office of Africana Studies was first established in 1987. Every year since, it has taught a multitude of students about the history and culture of Africa and its people through classes and programs.

The office is held under the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. Students interested in the history and culture of African peoples throughout the world can opt to earn a minor in Africana Studies. The minor consists of 18 credits and is headed by James Conyers, Ph.D.

"Acquiring a minor in Africana Studies, like any degree major or minor, is both heuristic in terms of the acquisition of knowledge and practical in how the knowledge/information is applied. For students of African descent, it is a source of self-knowledge that can benefit as a guide for navigating this society and world," said Conyers on the benefits of acquiring the minor.

A minor in Africana Studies allows students to become better suited for graduate studies, international relations, Foreign Service, government work and more.

"After graduation, many employers look for people who have engaged in ethnic studies (multiculturalism). It is always beneficial for all students to learn as much about the history and cultures of others they may encounter in the workplace," said Conyers.

The minor includes three required courses:

  • SOC 1000: Introduction to Sociology
  • ANTH 2801: African American Culture
  • HIST 3305: History of Black Americans to 1900 or HIST 3306: 20th Century Black History or HIST 2500: African History to 1885 or HIST 2510: African History Since 1885

Along with the three requirements, students can then choose three course electives to fulfill the minor. A full list of accepted course electives can be found on the Africana Studies minor guide sheet.

In addition to conducting the Africana Studies minor program, the Office of Africana Studies is also very involved with a variety of student groups on campus.

Every February, the Office of Africana Studies conducts a variety of events and programs to enrich students' understanding of Black History Month.

"This year's African History Month is inspired by the 400th anniversary of the First Africans in English America, in 1619. However, all of our programs every year are inspired by all, past and present, aspects of African history that bring light to contemporary issues facing people of African descent," said Conyers.

The office hosted four events:

  • Living Beyond the Facade: Inside Health and Wealth Practices of Americans of African Descent on Tuesday, Feb. 11
  • African People: Law and Order in the Age of Trump on Wednesday, Feb. 12
  • African Heritage Jazz Word Concert on Wednesday, Feb. 12
  • "DNA-Using it to Change My Slave Last Name" on Thursday, Feb. 13

The Office of Africana Studies also hosts the African Heritage Graduation Ceremony annually. The ceremony is open to graduating undergraduates, graduates and doctoral students, and is considered a cultural celebration, open to the whole Kean community.

This year's African Heritage Graduation Ceremony will occur Saturday, May 2 at 4 p.m. in the Wilkins Theatre. Interested students can register online and find out more information on the event's web page.

For more information on the Office of Africana Studies and its upcoming events, students can visit Cougar Link. Students can also contact the office at (908) 737- 4053 or visit them at Hutchinson, Room 103.

The Office of Africana Studies is located in Hutchinson Hall, Room 103 S & T.
Photo Creds: Office of Africana Studies
<![CDATA[Mandy Harvey Inspires at Enlow]]> On Saturday, Feb. 22, singer-songwriter, Mandy Harvey, will perform at Kean University's Enlow Recital Hall. The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online, by phone, or at the box office.

A year after losing her hearing, she was inspired to find a way to sing again. She began an extremely challenging practice regiment, singing using a guitar tuner to re-learn how to hit her notes visually. She returned to training, conquered a lifelong fear of performance, and began to record albums and tour.

Harvey, who studied vocal music education and has backgrounds in jazz and pop styles, lost her hearing at eighteen to the connective tissue disorder Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. She rose to international prominence during 2017, on the twelfth season of "America's Got Talent," when judge Simon Cowell was so moved by her performance that he used his "Golden Buzzer" to propel her directly to the quarterfinal round; she was later a finalist, overcoming as great a challenge as any singer could.

Harvey released her debut album, "Smile," in 2009, and followed it up with "After You've Gone" (2010) and "All of Me" (2014). Each leans on her jazz influences, but offers a unique perspective - not just because of her struggle with deafness, but because of her determination and a refreshing, wide range of style.

The songwriter's albums and tours have each received high praise. JazzTimes has called her voice "rich and captivating."

Harvey told NPR it's all about feeling: "You can feel the drums and you can feel the bass...being able to feel the music through the floor, it makes me feel like I'm a part of the band."

In 2017, Harvey released a memoir, Sensing the Rhythm: Finding My Voice in a World Without Sound to strong critical and popular reception. The book details her early struggles with the slow decline of her hearing, the fight to regain her voice - both her singing voice and her expression - and inspiring road to success.

Harvey is currently on a national tour of the United States, and will appear again in the tri-state area (Toms River, NJ on Feb. 21 and Oneonta, NY on March 14) before traveling to Texas, Washington, Florida, Massachusetts, and onward. More details on her tour and her catalog can be found at her website.

The Kean community has a fortunate opportunity to see her perform on campus, and all are encouraged to seek out tickets before they sell out.

Following Harvey's performance, Kean Stage has an incredible, versatile lineup of intimate shows scheduled through the rest of the semester including Royal Wood on March 3, Jimmy Webb on April 4, Voctave on April 25, Norm Lewis on May 9 and more.

For more information about Harvey's performance, and other Kean Stage shows during the Spring 2020 semester, reach out via phone at (908) 737-7469, or via email at keanstage@kean.edu.

Mandy Harvey to perform at Enlow Recital Hall on Feb. 22.]]>
<![CDATA[Relationships in the Media]]> On Friday, Feb. 7, in the Burch Hall Community Center, Residential Student Services(RSS) hosted a workshop called Relationships in the Media, which was a game of bingo built around the discussion of how the media glorifies toxic relationships and what could be done to have a healthier one.

Refreshments were provided along with prizes of Kean gear to those who got bingo on their sheets. The room was filled with residents eager to have a wonderful time and unwind.

Factors that would make a relationship beneficial was on the bingo sheet such as having fun with a partner, sharing and communicating feelings, similar values, shared decision making and being respectful to one another.

Characteristics of a healthy relationship would be respect for privacy and space, encouragement, feelings of safety and security, proper trust and consent.

"The program was based around toxic media relationships [and] the spaces on the bingo sheet represented what's in a healthy relationship," said Desiree Lucas, a resident assistant in Burch Hall.

She felt this event would give others a better perspective of identifying red flags in a relationship and how they could be rectified.

Just what is a toxic relationship? A toxic relationship consists a series of behaviors which are damaging to both parties which could include:

  • physical, emotional, and psychological abuse
  • excessive control
  • humiliation
  • pressuring
  • lack of trust

A toxic relationship has a significant amount of long-term effects such as diminished self-esteem, increased anxiety, a reluctance to begin new connections and can cause depression.

Though relationships of this kind are malleable, in some situations the abuse is so severe that it would require for the relationship to be ended.

Young women between the ages of 16 and 24 have the highest rate of partner violence, which is triple the national average. One in six college women have been sexually abused in a relationship.

43% of dating college women have reported experiencing abusive dating behaviors.

It is shown that college students are not prepared enough to deal with dating abuse. 57% say it is challenging to identify with 58% saying they have no idea how to help someone who is dealing with it. One in three college students (36%) that are dating have given a partner access to their technology or social media. This group is more likely to experience abuse online.

Dating abuse is a serious issue and there are steps that can be taken to help those going through it. The National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) provides support to anyone in the United States who may be experiencing domestic violence. For more information, their website could be found here.

The Office of Residential Student Services provides students with the opportunity to gain a variety of personal learning experiences and to enhance their academic development.

More information about the organization could be found on Cougar Link. They can be contacted by phone at (908) 737-6800 and email at reslife@kean.edu.

Students joined a game of relationship bingo and partook a discussion around the way the media romanticizes toxic relationships. ]]>
<![CDATA[Regina Carter: Simply Ella at Kean]]> On Saturday, Feb. 15, acclaimed multi-genre violinist and composer Regina Carter will perform at Kean University's Enlow Recital Hall. The event is being organized by Kean Stage, and begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are priced from $45 to $60.

The Kean community has a unique opportunity to witness an eclectic, exciting performance, as Carter's is one of the most distinctive voices in modern music. Talented at improvisation as well as composition, her output is reminiscent of styles spanning and predating the whole twentieth century, and beyond.

Though her music education was in classical and jazz - and many of her albums have been in those genres - it would be impossible to define Carter as one sort of musician or composer. Her influences stretch from the blues and country to Latin and African music, and that variety has lent itself to a storied and rich output. In her esteemed career, she has appeared on dozens of records, mostly of jazz and an assortment of contemporary work, including ten as the lead.

After studying classical violin at Boston's New England Conservatory of Music, then shifting her focus to jazz at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, Carter emerged in the 1980s with the pop-jazz quintet Straight Ahead. She later accompanied Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, and Lauryn Hill, just to name a few, and released her first solo collection, of many, in 1995.

Carter's latest - 2017's "Ella: Accentuate the Positive" - a "range of blues, soul, gospel and R&B" honors legendary singer Ella Fitzgerald, a lifelong inspiration for Carter. Jazziz calls the record, "diverse terrain...unified by a tangible sense of joy and reverence." AllMusic praises the tribute, but not without forgetting Carter's "compelling, distinctive" stylings.

Tickets for this acclaimed artist, a true American original, are sure to sell out quickly, and students and other members of the Kean community are encouraged not to wait on them.

Regina Carter's is the first in a series of rare, intimate performances Kean Stage will host at Enlow Recital Hall during the Spring semester - others include Mandy Harvey, Royal Wood, Jimmy Webb, and Norm Lewis.

For more information, visit the Kean Stage website. Tickets can be purchased online, in person at the box office, or via phone at (908) 737-7469.

Regina Carter comes to the Enlow Recital Hall Saturday, Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m.]]>
<![CDATA[A Service-Filled Spring Break]]> The Center for Leadership and Service (CLS) will be hosting Alternative Spring Break, a service trip for student volunteers. It will transpire from March 8 to March 13, 2020, and gives students an opportunity to be productive and show their volunteerism over their time off from school.

This year, CLS is looking to emphasize the educational aspect of volunteering so that the students can take what they learn and implement it into their every day lives. To do so, volunteers will participate in workshops, presentations and reflections related to the topics of hunger and homelessness. This is a great opportunity for students that want to lend a helping hand and learn more about these topics and how they directly impact people and communities.

Cougar Volunteers will be  headed to Washington, D.C. this year to help their  community. Volunteers will be working with the Steinbruck Center located there, which is an organization that strives to educate people on homelessness and help create a conversation in the community about this important topic that impacts a lot of people.

Over the course of the trip, student volunteers will visit various work sites and participate in activities such as assisting with feeding programs, shelters and more in the Washington D.C. area.

Susan Figueroa, the Managing Assistant Director for CLS said, "Students can expect great camaraderie with other engaged students. They can expect to not only serve but to learn in the process." 

She continued, "They will have exposure to professionals and personal testaments to further expand their understandings of the interconnectedness of social justice, food insecurity and homelessness. This Alternative Spring Break will be an example of service-learning in action."

Students must apply to be accepted into the trip. The application is due on Feb. 14, 2020, and can be accessed on Cougar Link under Cougar Volunteers. If the trip is to capacity, then applicants will be added to a waiting list and will be notified if a spot opens up. If one is accepted on to the trip, they will be notified by CLS via email or phone call.

To apply, students will need to provide the following information:

  • Full student name

  • Kean University student ID number

  • Home address and campus address (if applicable)

  • Contact phone number

  • Email address

  • Date of birth

  • General health information

  • Name of health insurance company

  • Emergency contact information for two contacts

  • Completion of an essay question

  • Be in good academic and conduct standing with the university

Those accepted to Alternative Spring Break will be provided with transportation, lodging and food for the duration of the trip. They will also have to pay an estimated $50 within 7 days of their acceptance to CLS in the Miron Student Center, Room 219 via cash, check or money order.

If one has questions or wants to learn more about Alternative Spring Break, be sure to contact CLS by visiting in the Miron Student Center Room 219, calling (908) 737-5170. 

Student Volunteers will donate their time to helping the community and learning about the issues of hunger and homelessness. ]]>
<![CDATA[Explore with OAR]]> The Outdoor Adventure and Recreation Club (OAR) is a unique student group that is offered on campus. Their goals are to get outside and get moving to see what natural wonders New Jersey and the surrounding area has to offer. In doing so, they have created an inviting and friendly environment for all current and prospective members.

While OAR does have general body meetings to discuss their endeavors for the semester, they focus their time together on getting outside and visiting interesting destinations. They take many trips throughout the semester, which vary from small hiking trips to larger camping trips. That way, there is a trip for everyone to enjoy.

The club began as a more camp themed club, however they have slightly transitioned the club to include other types of trips to new and exciting places.

Michael Gonzalez, president of OAR, said, "We kind of really were interested in branching out and going to very very strange places around New Jersey. [We are] trying to see things that were very interesting that nobody else got to see around or talk about."

OAR stands out from other student groups on campus because there is no academic focus, rather, they value the bonds that they create between their members while on their trips.

Andrew Clementoni said, "The purpose of the club is mainly to...bring Kean students from all sorts of different programs together, because a lot of clubs are based on solely one major, and that's good for whoever's in that major, but it's a club to kind of get away from school in general and have a good time, and [create bonds] with people."

The members agree that there is a large sense of community and acceptance within the organization, which makes members want to keep returning semester after semester. Since there are no boundaries for joining the club, such as having a specific major, it draws students from all over Kean. The members have different backgrounds and interests other than this club, creating a unique environment.

Gonzalez said, "There's a sense of community in our club, we enjoy each other's company." He continued, "You actually form bonds...this is a club [in which] you can actually create friendships, and they last."

This semester, OAR is looking forward to returning to places they love, but also seeking to make some new adventures. They are always welcome to suggestions from their members for where they should travel to next. Through these trips, the members will be able to appreciate the outdoors and enjoy nature with the comfort of their friends.

To learn more about OAR, be sure to visit their Cougar Link page.

OAR is dedicated to exploring new places and creating bonds with their members.]]>
<![CDATA[Commuter Resource Center Is New and Improved]]> Located in the Nancy Thompson Library Learning Commons, the newly-renovated Commuter Resource Center (CRC) has evolved into a grand space, introducing a new environment for commuter students to find information, use resources, and be assisted with academic needs.

Kean's Office of Student Government decided to create a hub for commuter students about three years ago when Student Government Director Stephanie Faser and Managing Assistant Director Carli Hench envisioned a space where resources and information are as easily accessible to commuter students, as much as they are for residential students. The majority of students on Kean's Union campus are commuters.

"The Office of Student Government is very focused on student services and meeting student needs," said Hench. "So it made perfect sense for us to develop the CRC under the umbrella of student government."

Part of the process in re-imagining the commuter hub was to visit other NJ public state campuses to gain some insights about what to include in Kean's Commuter Resource Center. The first step towards the renovation was to move locations.

Faser said the library was the perfect choice to relocate the CRC, from its original location in Hutchinson Hall. "There's so many resources in the library for all students," she said. "We really want the commuters to get involved, and know about all of the services provided in the library."

Some of the amenities offered to commuter students include the use of locker rentals, an NJ Transit discount, and a microwave and mini-fridge located in the Commuter Resource Center. The CRC also houses one of the few color copiers on campus.

Within the library, students also get the opportunity to be surrounded by other resources, such as Tutoring and Learning Support Services which includes, the Writing Center and Public Speaking Lab. Students also are able to utilize printers scanners, computers and information tables.

The CRC has its own personal information table, which can be utilized by commuter students with any questions about college or the campus. Managing the desk is also a student job opportunity.

"A lot of the times, the commuters that come to us just ask general questions about college," Hench said. "[The information desk] is there to help direct commuter students, and to receive the guidance they need."

The new additions to the CRC include another built-in space that wraps around the back of the library, featuring large glass windows, and extra seating inside. This renovation expanded the outside space within the library itself, and allows for more seating and tables. Faser also said that there will be even more new seating within the next few weeks.

For more information on the Commuter Resource Center and projects like it, please contact the Office of Student Government in the Miron Student Center, Room 304 or give them a call at (908) 737-5190.

Student, Adelle, behind the information desk in the CRC]]>
<![CDATA[Kean Galleries: Laura Petrovich-Cheney]]> On Thursday, Feb. 6, Kean Galleries hosted an opening reception for the exhibit "Reconstruction" by artist Laura Petrovich-Cheney, at the Karl & Helen Burger Gallery in the Center for Academic Success(CAS).

Attendees were amazed by the colorful works that were made from re-purposed wood and debris scouted from sites of natural disasters, Hurricane Sandy being one of them.

Light refreshments were served as attendees had the opportunity to meet the artist behind the exhibit.

Laura Petrovich-Cheney has been nationally recognized, her works appearing in several national and international publications.

Petrovich-Cheney was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and raised in Haddonfield, New Jersey.

When asked about the reasoning behind the exhibit's title, Petrovich-Cheney explained that she felt that she was grasping an understanding of catastrophic events again.

"I selected 'Reconstruction' as the title because I'm reconstructing my memory of Hurricane Sandy, which happened many years ago," said Petrovich-Cheney. "It's constantly in our imaginations, since natural disasters do not happen in just New Jersey or the United States, but globally, we're faced with them."

Petrovich-Cheney received her Bachelor's in Fine Arts and English Literature at Dickinson College, in addition to a Master's in Fashion Design from Drexel University and a Master's of Fine Arts in Studio Arts from Moore College of Art and Design.

She was an arts educator in New Jersey for fifteen years, and now resides in Massachusetts while pursuing art full-time.

In 2015, Petrovich-Cheney was interviewed by the Weather Channel to discuss of a piece that linked her art to weather concerns.

Petrovich-Cheney has also received grants from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists, and been awarded with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship in Sculpture.

Throughout 2018, she managed to complete two artistic fellowships.

Petrovich-Cheney believes that nature is an incomprehensible force which is larger than humanity. She is tremendously passionate about social impact. Her work merges contemporary issues with traditional folk art practices.

"One of our primary needs in the world is shelter," Petrovich-Cheney said. "Once you lose shelter, you lose safety and identity. At times, the loss is overwhelming, which serves as a reminder to keep people safe in the face of these disasters."

Petrovich-Cheney feels that her exhibit will be such a reminder to the Kean Community, and create hope.

"Something really awful could be turned into something beautiful...by giving [lost or destroyed property] a second chance, and [by not giving up] hope if someone loses everything they have," she said.

"Reconstruction" will be on display until May 7, 2020 at the Karl & Helen Burger Gallery in the Center for Academic Success. The gallery is open Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free for everyone.

Kean University Galleries has a diverse exhibition program that highlights cultural issues and is interdisciplinary. All programs are free, and are designed to create engagement and educate visitors through visual arts.

Kean Galleries believes that art is effective in building awareness for the issues in the world while providing solutions. For more information, they can be reached by phone at (908) 732-0392. Gallery Assistant Tiffany Case can be reached by email at caseti@kean.edu.

<![CDATA[Going Red For Women's Heart Health]]> On Friday, Feb. 7, the Center for Leadership and Service (CLS) hosted a series of events in the Commuter Resource Center (CRC) joining in Wear Red Day, a national phenomenon where everyone supports the fight to raise awareness of women's heart health and the American Heart Association's battle against heart disease.

Wearing red is a way to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease and stroke in both females and males.

The event lasted from 1 to 4 p.m., beginning with a table where healthy snacks were given out to passersby and put into trail mix, which contained dark chocolate, almonds, granola with flax and chia seeds, cranberries, pecans, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds with walnuts.

Attendees were able to take brochures featuring healthy recipes. Stress balls were also available, as well as a photo opp for guests to take pictures and post on social media.

"A lot of people suffer from heart disease. I feel like this was a great event to raise awareness for it," said Oreoluwa Awoleye, a senior majoring in biological sciences.

When asked about how more awareness for heart disease could be raised, Awoleye felt that introducing it in a curriculum would help to make people aware of their personal habits and how they take care of their hearts.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Per data from the CDC, it killed 299,578 women in 2017, which accounts for 1 in every 5 female deaths.

1 in 16 women who are twenty or older have coronary heart disease, which is the most common type of heart disease.

The risk factors involved with heart disease are:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • An unhealthy diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Drinking and smoking

Luckily, a person is able to lower their chances of getting heart disease by controlling their blood pressure, not using potentially damaging substances, eating healthily and managing stress effectively.

Later in the day, a yoga session was held, which was a fun way for students to relieve stress and relax. Taking a yoga class has many benefits, including improving cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure, helping sleep and fighting artery-damaging inflammation.

"I thought the session was pretty interesting and it was a unique experience," said Althea Clarke, a freshman majoring in accounting. "It made me feel more relaxed and less tense than I was before."

"It was my first time doing yoga, and I am looking forward to doing it again," said Vidal Collado-Sanchez, a freshman majoring in marketing.

The American Heart Association's initiative, Go Red for Women, is a platform designed to increase awareness for women's heart health and improve the lives of women globally.

At the event, people were able to make donations to the American Heart Association. For more information on the American Heart Association and how to donate, visit their website.

The Center for Leadership and Service is committed to providing opportunities to the Kean community for leadership development, community service involvement, service learning, and campus organizational development by serving as a catalyst for participation.

More information about the organization can be found on Cougar Link. For questions, comments and concerns, they can be visited in MSC 219 and contacted by phone at (908) 737-5170 or email at cls@kean.edu.

<![CDATA[Made For Us By NCNW]]> On Thursday, Feb. 6, the National Council of Negro Woman, Inc (NCNW) held a day long event entitled "For Us By Us." The event was a chance for students to come together and celebrate black culture, work on self-care and beauty, educate and uplift each other and make connections with other students and people already working in professional fields. The event started at 3 p.m. and went until 10 p.m. within the Miron Student Center (MSC) building.

The NCNW is a nationwide organization with other sections and affiliated groups connected to it, outside of Kean. The organization was founded on Dec. 5, 1935, by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, as a way to bring together women of African descent to uplift and guide each other through life. The NCNW is not just for women. Men are also welcome to join in membership.

Kean University's own NCNW organization was started in 2017, by their first president, Delois Blackmon. This semester saw the NCNW putting on the For Us by Us conference, a day filled with networking, togetherness and learning how to be comfortable in one's own skin.

Jenell Boykins, the current chaplain for the NCNW, explained the purpose and goals of For Us by Us.

"The intention of this event is just for [people to say], 'I want to be active on campus. I want to let my voice be heard...' [Let's not just] make this campus a better campus [for] African American people. [Let's make it so that] people know our culture, and [don't] just think it's a trend. Let them actually step into our shoes and know our culture, and know what we are about," said Boykins.

The day began with a Welcome event by the current NCNW president, Mary Clark, who went over the events and panels that would follow. From there, everyone was free to travel between the first floor and the second floor of the MSC to learn more about NCNW, or stop to view a panel.

The events of the day included Skin Deep with Self-Care in the Little Theater, during which issues of colorism, and how to combat it, were discussed with alumnus guest speaker Glenne De Gonzague.

There were also workshops like Staying Black in Corporate America, which focused on how to stay true to oneself while working in a professional setting. There were the dual workshops, Unraveling Her Truth and His Unspoken Truth, which tackled mental health for women and men in the black community.

Black owned businesses were present throughout the day for people to buy goods from and learn more about. There was also a U.N.I.T.Y. Black Org Fair, which allowed students to meet with the different black organizations that exist on campus, learn more about them and consider joining them.

To end the day, there was a panel titled, Young, Black & Creative, which took place in the MSC Cougar's Den from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The panel saw several black creatives come together to speak on their art and, encourage others to lean into their creative sides in an interactive discussion. The panel consisted of many speakers, including Shay Colon, Tayonna Lee, Nathaniel Jenkins, Siraaj Moore, Bre'Yanie Pearson, Danteé Ramos, Zayna Allen, Rahkim Fleetwood, Lena Noel, Amber Palmer and Atiya Ali.

NCNW will be hosting more events throughout the month of February for those interested in attending. They will be having an event called To Be Black & Woman on Feb. 12 and SOULFOOD: Food For The Soul on Feb. 27. For more information on NCNW and their upcoming events, check out their Cougar Link.

<![CDATA[Exploring Opportunities]]> While Kean is known for its world-class education, the Student Involvement and Employment Fair gave Kean's population the chance to become more than just students as they explored opportunities to work and get involved on campus.

The Student Involvement and Employment Expo took place on Tuesday, Feb. 4 in the Miron Student Center. Many of Kean's student groups and on-campus employers were in attendance to market themselves to students. Students were able to walk around the MSC Atrium and the newly renovated Greek Lounge to see dozens of employer and organization tables.

The employers and Kean student groups in attendance included:

  • American Medical Women's Association
  • Art Over All
  • Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society
  • Career Services
  • Chance at Performing
  • Center for Leadership and Service, Community and Volunteer Services
  • Cru at Kean University
  • Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce
  • Filipinos Uniting Nations at Kean
  • First Generation Scholars
  • Haitian Student Association
  • Hallyu Club
  • Helping Younger Hands
  • InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
  • Jumpstart Kean
  • Kean Association of Marketing
  • Kean Dance Theatre
  • Kean's Got Talent
  • Kean Skylands Ski/Snowboard Club/Race Team
  • Kean Stage
  • Kean University Anime Society
  • Kean University Hillel
  • Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Incorporated
  • Miron Student Center
  • Nancy Thompson Library Learning Commons
  • Office of Admissions
  • Office of Residential Student Services
  • Office of Student Government
  • Office of Student Success and Retention
  • Point and Shoot
  • School of General Studies
  • STEM Outreach Program
  • Student Health Services
  • Writing Services and Public Speaking/Learning Commons

Hosted by the Involvement Center, this event served as a great chance for Kean students to hear about the benefits of involvement and what they can gain from working on campus. With many offices looking for already-involved students, and a minimum GPA for employment, it is no wonder that Kean University student workers are among the pool of Kean's finest in terms of involvement and academics.

"Getting involved on campus and, more specifically, really helps to jump-start your Kean experience. The biggest benefit is the connections...you are able to make with other students, as well as Kean University staff," said Coordinator of Student Involvement Jonathan Lopez.

The Involvement Center is a central place for information and resources for all campus involvement. It is through the Involvement Center that student organizations report for assistance, guidance and resources. For a student that is not a part of any specific organizations, the center can be used to learn about all of the different kinds of involvement opportunities available at Kean, from campus employment to attending events, joining organizations or even starting new organizations.

Based out of the Miron Student Center, in Room 303, the Involvement Center works every semester to engage students with involvement opportunities. One such opportunity is the First Year Cougar Climb. This program is a guided pathway to help students get engaged with different aspects of involvement.

Campus employment is a great way for students to get involved and feel connected to the university and campus community. It networks students with staff and provides students compensation for their hard work. There is a wide range of on-campus offices and programs that hire students exclusively, with major goals of training students for post-graduation work, and to be interactive with their major and other skills.

"Working on campus for Residential Student Services (RSS) has given me great networking opportunities and has allowed me to fully dive into my career. When you have connections with the faculty and staff, they may think of you when opportunities come up for other and better positions," said Jada Gilbert, RSS Community Assistant, Resident Assistant and President of PRIDE.

The Student Involvement and Employment Expo is an event similar to Kean Day, which is held every fall semester. Students were able to enjoy themselves and engage with their on-campus options before diving into the semester. For more information on campus employment or involvement and the Involvement Center, feel free to contact them at (908) 737- 5270 or visit them in the Miron Student Center, Room 303.

<![CDATA[Get Them to The Greeks]]> Greek Life is a great way to become more involved on campus to establish better connections at Kean like no other. Kean University is home to 15 fraternities, 15 Sororities, and 1 Co-Ed organization which have something for all interests. Students who have had the chance to successfully cross into their respected organizations have nothing but positive things to say about their entire experience as well as what to look forward to in the future.

Amanda Lopez, a senior at Kean that crossed into her sorority, Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc. in Fall 2019, is now the public relations chair for her organization and reflected on how joining made a huge impact in her life and college career.

"After joining my organization I feel like I am just more confident in myself. I find myself prioritizing community service and my grades. Overall I am more driven to do anything I set my mind to," said Lopez.

Lopez explained that she was pretty involved on campus but felt like there was something missing from her life and found that joining Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. was that missing piece.

Joining a Greek organization is definitely a great way to increase one's involvement at Kean. Greek Life gives members new opportunities to participate in community service, increase their networking skills, as well as put them in leadership positions giving them a new perspective of themselves and the organization as a whole.

Kyara Coronado, sister of Omega Sigma Psi as well as the historian and PR chair, crossed in the Spring 2019 semester and said that joining her organization helped bring her out of her comfort zone and helped her in finding her forever family.

"I was very shy and to myself. I would literally just go to class and leave. After joining Omega Sigma Psi, I know a lot more people plus I'm now more outgoing than I was before. Joining Greek Life also helped me bring up my grades increasing my GPA plus I met a diverse group of sisters who changed my life completely," said Coronado.

When coming to college as either a freshman, transfer or a student who decided to hold off on joining later on in one's college career, students might be a little hesitant on taking that step to become a member in Greek Life due to what they may see in either movies or posts on social media. Kean students who have crossed recently or have been in an organization for a certain amount of time would like those who are interested to know that joining Greek life is not what is necessarily depicted in the media. Kean University fraternities and sororities would like perspective candidates to seek out organizations to see what they have to offer and learn more about them.

Greek Life is not for everyone but students are highly encouraged to attend events such as Meet the Greeks presented by the Greek Senate to network with the various groups that have tables while witnessing a night of fun filled entertainment.

Ready to take that next step? For any more information regarding Greek life and the guidelines for joining, please refer to Kean University's official Greek Life page regarding any policies as well as for a list of currently recognized chapters that are available. For additional information regarding Greek life, feel free to contact the Center for Leadership and Service at (908) 737-5170 or email greeks@kean.edu

Students cross into Greek Organizations nearly every semester, thus continuing long histories of brother/sisterhood and promoting activism, unity and philanthropy. ]]>
<![CDATA[ Kick-off February with Black History]]>

February is the month to remember, discuss and celebrate black history. On Feb. 3, Kean University highlighted the start of the month's festivities with the Black History Month Kickoff, which was hosted by the Student Organization of Kean. The kickoff took place in the Miron Student Center (MSC) Atrium from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. and saw plenty of students join in the festivities and prepare for the month.

The theme of this year's Black History Month Kickoff was African Americans and the Right to Vote. To promote this theme, tables were set up with pictures and information that presented the road traveled to give African Americans the right to vote, starting from the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and most recently featuring the Voting Rights Amendment Act in 2014.

Dezarey Williams, a member of the post committee for the Student Organization of Kean, explained why they chose this theme for this year's kickoff.

"People in the African American community didn't have the right to vote, so it's important that we take advantage of having that right," said Williams. "People don't really take [voting] seriously, especially in colleges and in the younger communities, so I feel like it is important that we include it within our events, so that people are aware of it."

The kickoff was not only a chance for people to remember and celebrate African Americans getting the right to vote, but also to promote voting in this day and age as well. There was even a table set up that students could visit throughout the event to learn more about voting, or how to register themselves to vote.

Beyond the theme, there were many other activities for students take part in. After registering for the event, students received yellow, green and red tickets that corresponded with different activities throughout the room. Yellow tickets were for "Shoot for Kobe," green tickets allowed students to build a puzzle and red tickets gave students the chance to Spin the Wheel for a prize, like a t-shirt that said "BAE (Black And Educated)."

Students could also go to the 'I Have a Dream' table, where they were able to decorate a star and dream catcher and place them on a cloud. After a while, the decorations would drop into the bucket below, "catching everyone's dreams." There was also a variety of food for students to enjoy throughout the kickoff, like collard greens, meat skewers and mac and cheese.

The Black History Month Kickoff was just the start of events for the month of February. Students can check Cougar Link to see what other events will follow throughout the month, in celebration of Black History.

Students celebrate the Black History Month events to follow with the Black History Month Kickoff.]]>
<![CDATA[Maintaining Heart Wellness]]> February is American Heart Month, a time where people are encouraged to raise awareness and support for heart disease and overall heart-healthy living. On Friday, Feb. 7, Kean celebrates the National Wear Red Day, a day specifically focusing on women's heart health.

Ahead of Wear Red Day, it is important for the Kean community to be aware of what they can do to live a heart-healthy life and of their personal heart health.

While it is during this time that we take a special look at women's heart health and wellness, there are ways that anyone can feel secure in maintaining their heart's wellness and upkeep.

Director of Student Health Services Robin Mansfield said, "Heart Health may not be one of the top concerns for the average college-aged student. However, we know that today's college student can be 18 or 81, and anywhere in between. And, although people often associate heart disease as a health risk for men, Wear Red Day brings awareness that women are also at risk. There are many things people can do to stay heart-healthy, but to start, I would suggest these four things:"

  1. Know your numbers. Visit your primary care provider for a physical to get your blood pressure checked, along with your cholesterol and other blood work. Elevated blood pressure and/or cholesterol do not, generally, have symptoms initially. They can be causing damage to your heart and blood vessels, along with other body systems, without you knowing. Also, be aware of your family's history of heart disease.
  2. If you smoke, stop. Smoking tobacco and marijuana and vaping, can contribute to heart disease. If you need help to quit smoking there are many resources, starting with the Center for Disease Control's hot line: 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
  3. Eat a heart-healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and low fat dairy. Avoid excess salt and trans fats. To find out more about a healthy diet, visit myplate.gov.
  4. Exercise. We all sit way too much. Some say that sitting is the new smoking. Try to get 30 minutes of exercise most days. Exercise can be as simple as walking 10 minutes 3 times a day. Find an exercise you like (walking, running, dancing, swimming, etc.) and stick with it. Take advantage of the exercise facilities on campus and the intramural sports offered by the Recreation department

For more information on Wear Red Day, be sure to attend the event on Feb. 7. For more information on your own personal hearth health, feel free to contact Student Health Services at (908) 737-4880 or visit them in Downs Hall for a check up.

Wear Red Day is a day for the Kean community to honor the women who are affected by heart disease all around the world.

<![CDATA[Go Greek!!!]]> Becoming a new member of a Greek letter organization is both an exciting way to get involved and to open the doors to many amazing networking opportunities. Prior to joining any organization, there are certain guidelines that both new and current members need to follow as required by the Center for Leadership and Service's Greek Affairs.

For starters, Kean University wants to promote an equal opportunity for anyone who is interested in any Greek Letter organization. All are welcome no matter any background demographics such as sex, age, color, religion, national origin, race or physical handicap. New members should also attend a Meet the Greeks event which is held every semester where prospective members can get to know each individual organization. A new member education program for Greek organizations may include activities, important dates, information on the history of the organization or important function events for which new members are highly encouraged to attend.

Prospective new members must fill out a Prospective New Member Information Form which includes their name, address, Kean ID number, number of credits earned and their current cumulative grade point average. Also, prospective new members and the appropriate chapter officers are also required to complete a New Member Contract and New Member Registration Form. These forms must be approved and returned to the respective groups otherwise, a new member education process may not begin.

During the education process, it is strongly advised that all organizations adhere to university guidelines while training new and prospective members. If certain guidelines are not followed, then it may lead to expulsion of the Greek letter organization from university grounds.

Some of these guidelines include but are not limited to:

  • All New Members must attend a orientation meeting on university grounds
  • All off-campus activities are prohibited with the exception of pre-approved community service projects
  • Prospective new members must have a 2.60 cumulative grade point average and completed a minimum of 12 credits at Kean University. For transfer students, 12 credits must be accepted by Kean University
  • New Members must get at least 8 hours of sleep everyday
  • All New Member education programs must be completed prior to the last 3 weeks of the semester
  • Activities must not interfere with the rights of others either on or off campus

Kean University and the Greek Senate uphold strict guidelines against hazing. Hazing is the imposition of strenuous, often humiliating, tasks as part of a program of rigorous physical training and initiation and is a serious crime. If anyone experiences hazing or knows of an individual who is being hazed, they should immediately report it to the necessary authorities as soon as possible. Any questions regarding the new member education process or Greek Life in general should be directed to the Greek Affairs division within the Center for Leadership and Service.

For more information on Greek Life, utilize the Kean website's Greek Life web page. Students may also visit the Center for Leadership and Service in the Miron Student Center Room 219, or calling (908) 737-5170.

Students at the Spring 2020 Meet the Greeks.]]>
<![CDATA[Start Your Own Student Group]]> Kean is a very diverse campus with a plethora of involvement options for students. There are over 160 student groups on campus, all housed by the Involvement Center under the Center for Leadership and Service (CLS). These range from honor societies and student clubs to Greek organizations and student government. In addition to all of these options, students also have the opportunity to form their own student groups to fit their interests and passions.

There are a few requirements to meet in order to establish a recognized student group on campus. Firstly, there must be at least ten matriculated Kean students in the organization, which can include the executive board members. There must be at least a president and secretary when the group is formed, as well as a treasurer if the group is funded. These executive board positions, however, must be approved by CLS before the elections of the positions. Members on the executive board must also meet the requirements which include:

  • 12 credits completed at Kean University
  • 2.5 GPA or higher
  • In good standing and free of probation with University-wide discipline
  • Submission of the Family Education Right To Privacy Act (FERPA)

It is also important that all student groups and organizations are open to all Kean University students.

Additionally, student groups must select an adviser. This must be a full-time staff or faculty member of Kean University. The adviser's role is to offer guidance, when needed, relating to organizational and development skills, as well as help guide the group to achieve its goals and stand by its mission. They also oversee that the student group's mission and policies are aligned with Kean University's. The adviser must complete an Adviser Contract, which can be found on Cougar Link.

There is a process to become a recognized student group or organization on campus, however, with the guidance of the Involvement Center, the goal is manageable and achievable.

The first step is to ensure that the prospective group meets all of the requirements stated before continuing in the process of recognition. Then, one must fill out and submit an Application for Recognition on Cougar Link.

Following the submission of this form, CLS employees will review only the completed applications. CLS may request more information if it is missing, or request to meet if they would like to learn more about the prospective student group. If necessary, prospective student groups may have to resubmit information via Cougar Link.

One important part of the approval process is the review of the constitution of the prospective student group or organization. This is a document, to be made and submitted during the application process, which outlines the purpose of the prospective group, as well as acts as a guiding document. This document is necessary for every student group and organization to be approved and recognized through the Involvement Center.

A group constitution must include certain pieces of information including:

  • Group name and objectives: The objectives the group plans to achieve.
  • Membership outline: The qualifications for membership.
  • Officers and duties: An outline of the executive Board positions and their responsibilities. The executive board generally consists of president, vice president, treasurer and one or more secretaries.
  • Meetings: A description of the number of meetings, how they will be conducted and any other meeting information.
  • Standing Committees: A list of any committees and their functions and duties.
  • Elections and Vacancies: Explains the election process for officers, when this process will take place and what will happen in the event of a vacancy.
  • Amendments: An outline of how this may take place and what percentage of membership vote is permitted to pass an amendment.
  • Adviser: Name the adviser and their position at Kean University to show that they are a full-time employee.
  • University Regulations: Explains that the student group will abide to all Kean University regulations, rules and policies that pertain to them.

If the student group is accepted and recognized, an executive board member will receive an electronic confirmation. They will be prompted to fill out any other information needed.

Upon approval, the executive board members must complete training through the Student Group Leadership Conference. They will be prompted to apply for a group email account, update the group's Cougar Link page and more.

Following the approval, the group will officially be recognized as a Kean University student group. This means that the members are able to meet as a group and conduct their meetings, reserve rooms and post flyers on campus, and show the Kean community what they are all about.

New student groups are placed on a provisional status, which helps guide their development and success. During this time, student groups are encouraged to host smaller events such as fundraisers and workshops, as well as learn how to manage their organization. Unfortunately, groups under a provisional status are not permitted to host "major" events such as a student party, sports tournament. etc.

After a student group is on provisional status for one semester, they will be granted good standing if they hold at least two general body meetings that are approved as events on Cougar Link, upload at least one set of meeting minutes to their organization's documents section in Cougar Link, and hold at least one "regular" event such as a fundraiser, tabling or workshop.

Organizations will be notified in writing by CLS when they have successfully completed their provisional status.

For more information on starting student groups or involvement on campus in general, the Involvement Center is located in the Miron Student Center (MSC) Room 303. They can be reached via email at groups@kean.edu and via phone at (908) 737-5270.

Through the help of the Involvement Center, any student can form a new student group and become involved on campus.]]>
<![CDATA[A Picture Perfect Senior Year]]> Senior portraits are a commemoration of the hard work and dedication it takes to complete one's college career. During the months of February, March and April, the seniors of Kean University will have their chance to memorialize their own hard work by getting their portraits taken with Prestige Portraits by Lifetouch. Photo sessions will take place in the Miron Student Center (MSC), Room 226 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The dates for Senior portraits are as follows:

  • Monday, Feb. 10
  • Tuesday, Feb. 11
  • Wednesday, Feb. 12
  • Thursday, Feb. 13
  • Friday, Feb. 14
  • Monday, March 23
  • Tuesday, March 24
  • Wednesday, March 25
  • Thursday, March 26
  • Friday, March 27
  • Monday, March 31
  • Tuesday, April 1
  • Wednesday, April 2
  • Thursday, April 3

Before students can get their photos taken, they will need to register for an appointment with Prestige Portraits. This can be done by visiting the Prestige Portraits website, www.ouryear.com, and entering the school code - 518. From there, students will need to follow the directions on the website to complete registration. It is also possible to call them at 1-800-OUR-YEAR (687-9327) during normal business hours, which are Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., to make an appointment.

Prestige Portraits recommends coming dressed for success, in business attire, on the day a student is scheduled for their photo session. Their caps and gowns will be provided for them, and students can tell the photographer their majors so the proper hoods for the photos can be provided. Photos will be available for viewing fifteen days after the photo session, through a code that will be sent to students emails.

Discounts for photos are sometimes offered by Prestige Portraits by Lifetouch, so students can check their website, shop.prestigeportraits.com, to see if any discounts have been made available. Discount information may also be emailed to any seniors who have had their photos taken.

For more information about Prestige Portraits or Senior portraits, students can email Lifetouch at lwportraitscheduling@lifetouch.com, or visit the Senior Portraits page on Cougarlink.

Seniors can head to CougarLink for more information on Senior portraits.]]>
<![CDATA[Get Your Greek On!]]> Thursday, Jan. 30, was a night filled with fun, food, fraternities, sororities and new friendships in Harwood Arena as the Spring 2020 Meet the Greeks went underway. This event had entertainment, networking, and performances which blew away the entire audience who came out to enjoy. Whether or not guests were interested in joining Greek Life or not, Meet the Greeks was the place to be at.

Meet the Greeks is an event held every semester and is one of the biggest events hosted by the Greek Senate for interested students to get a glimpse of what it is like to be a member of a Greek letter organization. Many members of Kean's recognized Greek organizations came out to represent themselves, with some putting on performances that were both memorable and engaging. Current students, alumni and members of the Kean community as well as guests came out and joined in on the festivities.

Kean University is home to 15 fraternities, 15 sororities, and 1 co-ed organization who each have something to offer students depending on what they are interested in and their own values. Tables were set up against the walls of the Harwood Arena decorated with the different organizations' colors and themes. Each organization's table was decked out with their individual group decorations and some even hosted activities to engage prospective members.

President of Nu Delta Pi, Justin Brown, says, "My experience has been really great. When I joined the fraternity, I actually gained more confidence with my public speaking. By joining a fraternity, my leadership skills have increased and I'm able to plan more so it actually helped me to grow more as a leader and as a person."

If one chooses to join an organization, members are granted new and welcoming abilities that increases their leadership skills and networking opportunities which are just some of the many benefits that can be gained. Lorena Arias, new member educator of Omega Sigma Psi reflected on how becoming a sister of her organization helped develop those leadership qualities since crossing back in Fall 2017.

"Coming in as a transfer, it was really beneficial to me. I got to meet so many people definitely expanding my networking opportunities, my time management improved which improved my grades as well. My leadership skills have also increased too while in Omega Sigma Psi. It's not only a sisterhood- it's a business. You take on leadership positions that really help shape your experience for the real world which is something I gained when I crossed and it has definitely improved my leadership skills," said Arias.

Arias also continued with bringing up a stigma that students may have upon first thought about Greek Life. "I think there is a stigma about Greek Life which makes people not want to join. They think about hazing, partying and not focusing on school. We always put education first and always make sure that our sisters have the required GPA's. For those who are interested, I definitely encourage coming out to informational sessions because it's not just about parties and what's in the movies. We do a lot of philanthropy work and it really prepares you for the real world," said Arias.

When coming to college as either a freshman, a transfer student, or even a student who has decided later on in their college career to potentially join Greek life, many wonder if Greek life is really for them.

Junior, Michael Lopez, vice president of Nu Sigma Phi states, "After joining Greek life, it completely changed me. Right after I joined, it's like a whole new world opened so many doors for me and opportunities. It has changed my whole personality and I'm more outgoing because of it."

Greek life is about forming bonds, creating leadership and establishing future networking opportunities that will last a lifetime while supporting each regardless of circumstance. It's purpose is to empower members to promote and preserve the ideals of scholarship, service, leadership, campus involvement and brotherhood/sisterhood.

Shayleen Mazuelos, secretary of Mu Sigma Upsilon Sorority, Inc. explained how her organization helped motivate her to kick-start the online skin-care business she had always wanted to start and which now has all the support she needs from her sisters and loved ones.

"I've always had the idea since I was very young but my sorority sisters really pushed me to start it and I said why not? I had a support system that was willing to put themselves on the line for me and help me follow my dreams; especially sisters who already have experience running businesses that started small and grew overtime. They showed me everything I needed to know and I was really grateful for it," said Mazuelos.

Mazuelos then went on to describe how joining Mu Sigma Upsilon Sorority Inc. has been nothing but a positive game changer for her, saying that becoming part of her organization or any one in general is more than just an extended family. Mazuelos encourages those students who are interested in joining Greek life to find their tribe and who they feel comfortable with the most because it will become a great investment.

"I have been honored to be around so many great female role models who do nothing but empower me and help me with whatever I need whether it comes to either school, my business, or anything else. It's not so much they have become my extended family, it is my family. Greek life is not for everyone but I encourage interested students to look around, find your tribe and not listen to what's in the media because it is not what you see and make sure you are around the right people when making your decision," said Mazuelos.

After several hours of networking, socializing and listening to all the beats provided by DJ Nix in the Mix, the bleachers were set up so students could sit down to witness performances and speeches from the various Greek organizations. Before these speeches and performances started however, a dance battle commenced where a few students, whether they were Greek or not, got a chance to showcase their musical moves to a set of Jersey club music with the winner received $50 cash.

The audience then got to hear speeches from organizations which were followed by stepping and strolling. Spectators were captivated by so many of the performances they had seen which energized them while inspiring them to become a part of Greek Life.

Overall, attendees who came out for this semester's Meet the Greeks were impressed with the visual appeal, the thought provoking speeches and the ability of Kean to offer a diverse variety of organizations to potentially become a part of. Stephanie Huaman, a sophomore at Kean described how Meet the Greeks is persuading her to potentially join a sorority.

"Before coming to Kean I wasn't really educated in what Greek life was until I got more involved and did my research. After coming to Meet the Greeks, I think it is a very social environment. I really love how energetic everyone is. It is another aspect I really want to add in my life." said Huaman

Tasha Dowbachuk, a junior studying journalism who attended Meet the Greeks in the past felt a little more comfortable this time around speaking to all of the sororities and really enjoyed how all of the organizations showcased their pride for their philanthropies.

"The first time I came to Meet the Greeks I was incredibly anxious to see so many people in their letters hoping to hold so much pride within themselves and the people around them. I was then inspired to pursue my own journey within knowing and loving myself in order to join those types of people who have such a strong sense of self. I feel as though the phenomenon that is happening within Meet the Greeks of building those bonds amazing," said Dowbachuk.

This semester's Meet the Greeks officially kicks off the new member recruitment season for future brothers and sisters. For more information on how to join Greek life, please check out Greek Senate on Cougar Link as well as email greeks@kean.edu or call (908) 737-5170 for any further questions. Make sure to check out the official Kean University Greek Life page and be sure to also attend upcoming recruiting events and information sessions offered by each organization as well as get to know other members in order to really get your Greek on.

Meet the Greeks is an event held every semester and begins the Greek life recruiting season for new members to join the ranks of the Greek letter organizations of Kean University.]]>
<![CDATA[A Month of Celebrating Culture]]> Every year, the organizations at Kean University honor its diverse student population and its rich African American history by celebrating Black History Month during February. Starting with the kickoff setting everything into motion and an appearance by the distinguished Martin Luther King III, Kean has a lot to offer this month.

Some key organizations are stepping up this year, showing their support by honoring the historic month, celebrating culture and representation.

The Pan-African Student Union is an organization on campus that works to unite students of African descent to learn about their roots, embrace their heritage and educate the community on history, activism and civil rights. With a mission to provide empowerment through knowledge of pre-colonial roots to strengthen the future, the organization is very active on campus, providing informative and uplifting lectures, flag raising events and more.

The Pan-African Student Union (PASU) will be hosting a multitude of events this month in celebration of Black History Month. The month began with the Black History Month Flag Raising Kickoff which was co-hosted by the Office of Student Government. This event kicks off the month of events for Black History Month and includes a flag raising ceremony featuring a special message from Dr. James Conyers from the Office of Africana Studies, followed by activities in the Miron Student Center Atrium.

Black Love Matters, on Wednesday, Feb. 5, is an event hosted by The Poetry Club, Kean University's Top Knotch, the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) and PASU. This event takes place from 8 to 10 p.m. in the Miron Student Center's Cougar's Den and will be in depth, interactive discussion of Black Love.

Also hosted by PASU is the Black Love Affair event taking place Thursday, Feb. 13 from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. in Downs Hall. This event celebrated the Black Love holiday. Black Love is an observance of atonement, reconciliation, celebration and 24-hour demonstration of love through five specific acts. These acts are also known as tenets: love toward creator, toward self, toward family, within the black community and the black race. It is also during Black Love that people of all races show love and appreciation for the black community.

On Feb. 13, the university will be visited by the eldest son of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Martin Luther King III. The human rights advocate, community activist and political leader will speak at the North Ave Academic Building from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for the Distinguished Lecture Series.

The National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) is another organization at Kean that is putting forth their advocacy, awareness and celebration towards Black History Month. With missions to lead, advocate for and empower women of African descent, as well as to co-host events like Black Love Matters, NCNW will be holding a series of events on Feb. 6 called "For Us By Us." These events, hosted in the Miron Student Center Little Theater, promote, honor, love and celebrate everything black culture has to offer.

The Love Jones Open Mic event, co-hosted by PASU, the Poetry Club and Iota Phi Theta, will be happening Thursday, Feb. 20 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Miron Student Center Cougar's Den, and will include a retrospective look at the way African American music and art has paved the way for today's black culture. This event will celebrate both the arts of music and poetry.

For more information on the many events happening during Black History Month, access Cougar Link. There, students can also discover more about these student groupsand others who are celebrating Black History Month.

Students celebrated the Black History Month Kickoff on Monday, Feb. 3. ]]>
<![CDATA[Studying Up on Study Abroad]]> Thursday, Jan. 30, the Study Abroad Fair returned to Kean University. Students gathered in the Center for Academic Success (CAS) to talk to different study abroad providers and learn how they could make the most of their time studying in college. The fair took place from 12:00 to 4:30 p.m.

Studying abroad can provide students with the chance to go outside of their comfort zones and learn in places much different from their own. Before they can travel, they need to gather information about where they can go, how much it will cost and how they will get there. The Study Abroad Fair at Kean University was able to answer all of those questions.

Provided by the Center for International Studies, the Study Abroad Fair comes to Kean each semester, bringing along different study abroad programs that students can show their interest in. There were several different programs present at this year's fair, including the Wenzhou-Kean University student exchange program, CISAbroad, Semester at Sea and plenty of others.

Alexa Marzocca, the Study Abroad Coordinator at the Center for International Studies, talked about what students could learn when they attended the Study Abroad Fair.

"At our fair today, we have many of the study abroad providers we work with, who are here to talk to students about their different options for study abroad. We also have a table here for Wenzhou-Kean University, which is our overseas campus in China that many students go to every semester. We are also talking to students about Travel Learn, which are our short term study abroad trips that students can earn Kean credit for. Those are faculty-led trips, and those trips change from year to year," said Marzocca.

Additionally, each booth had a representative, ready and waiting to answer students' questions, and students were able to pick up small items such as inflatable globes, metal straws, pens, stickers and even some candy after they had learned more about the programs.

Marzocca encourages any students who were unable to attend the fair, to stop by the Center for International Studies (CIS) for information on studying abroad.

"We're always happy to talk to you about studying abroad. We have open advising hours during college hour and we're always happy to make an appointment with you. Our office loves talking to students. We really want to get more students abroad, so stop by if you have any questions or if you couldn't make it to the fair."

The Center for International Studies is located in CAS, Room 201. Students can email at cis@kean.edu or they can call (908)-737-0350 to make an appointment.

Students were able to visit different booths to learn more about each study abroad program.]]>
<![CDATA[Come Work for the School of General Studies!]]> Applications to work as a General Education Mentor (GEM) or Transfer Instructional Mentor (TIM) with the School of General Studies are open now until Monday, Feb. 3 on Cougar Link.

Mentors work to help freshman and transfer students adapt to the Kean college experience. Mentors accomplish this by working alongside professors, assisting in Transition to Kean (T2K) courses, holding peer-to-peer meetings, helping at open houses, helping at New Student Orientation, assisting at the School of General Studies office and more.

"Being a mentor for the School of General Studies is very rewarding," said GEM Jianna Pisa. "I enjoy the one on one time with the GE 1000 and GE 3000 students. I also enjoy being able to co-facilitate their Transition to Kean class. Also, my fellow mentors make this job very enjoyable!"

To be considered for the position of a GEM or a TIM, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a GPA of 3.2 or higher
  • Hold at least 16 credits at the start of Spring 2020 or have transferred 29 credits to Kean
  • Have completed the GE 1000 or 3000 Transition to Kean course
  • Be willing to co-facilitate GE 1000 or 3000 courses with professors
  • Complete the Mandatory Peer Leader Training Workshop
  • Be free of any academic or disciplinary sanctions
  • Have an understanding of KeanWise and campus resources
  • Be able to work 6 to 20 hours per week
  • Have a flexible weekend schedule

Applicants will also need to have two letters of recommendation from an employer and/or a professor. All recommendations must utilize the Letter of Recommendation Form, and letters must be submitted to Professional Services Specialist (PSS)/Peer Mentor Coordinator Stephanie McCluney in the Center for Academic Success (CAS), Room 111. Each letter must be sealed with the name of the applicant on the envelope.

"My advice to a future mentor would be to take initiative within the job! By doing so, you can open doors with professors, faculty and ultimately expand your knowledge and involvement in Kean University," said Pisa.

Being a GEM or TIM enables students to expand their involvement at Kean University by exposing them to many students, on campus events and Kean staff. GEMs and TIMs work hands-on with students at Kean, and are able to choose to work in either a GE 1000 class that helps transitioning freshman or in a GE 3000 class that helps transitioning transfer students.

"I wanted to be a GEM in order to expand my involvement and work on campus. Little did I know this job would bring me big opportunities and a family here at Kean that will last!" said Pisa. "Being a mentor has greatly impacted my life here at Kean in the most positive way possible. My one last piece of advice would be to stay motivated as a a mentor and a student. Make every day productive!"

For more information on GEM and TIM applications, students can view Cougar Link. To apply, students can submit an application via Google Forms.

Students can apply to be a GEM or TIM with the School of General Studies. ]]>
<![CDATA[Distinguished Lecture Series: Martin Luther King III]]> Human rights and community activist Martin Luther King III will be visiting Kean to share his vision of unity with the Kean community in the North Avenue Academic Building Auditorium on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020 at 4:30 p.m.

King III is the eldest son of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King.

Through his work in human rights, he has continued to further the legacy his parents left behind by fighting for justice and equality for all people.

King III was born on Oct. 23, 1957 in Montgomery, Alabama. King III was only ten years old when his father was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

He attended Morehouse College and received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 1979.

From 1997 to 2004, King III was the fourth president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which is a social justice foundation that his father co-founded in 1957 with other civil rights leaders, such as Ralph Abernathy, Fred Shuttlesworth, Bayard Rustin and Joseph Lowery.

King III was also an elected county commission member in Fulton County, Georgia from 1987 to 1993.

In 2008, King founded an organization called Realizing the Dream, which would later merge with The King Center, a 23-acre national historic site located in Atlanta, GA dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. and his work advocating for civil rights.

In the same year, King III spoke on behalf of Senator Barack Obama, who was running for president at the time, at the Democratic National Convention, on the 45th anniversary of his father's "I Have a Dream" speech.

King III has also received awards for his contributions. In 2010, he was given the Ramkrishna Bajaj Memorial Global Award for Outstounding Contribution to the Promotion of Human Rights at the 26th Priyadarshini Academy Global Awards in Mumbai, India.

In 2015, King III was awarded with the Humanitarian Award by the Montreal Black Film Festival.

He married his longtime girlfriend Arndrea Waters in 2008. A few months later, the two had a daughter, Yolanda Renee King. She was named after her aunt, who passed away a year before. Yolanda is the first and only grandchild of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King.

The audience will hear the experience of a man who devotes his life to equality and human rights. General admission for the lecture is free, but a ticket is required for entry which will be scanned.

Seating is on a first come, first served basis for the first 450 people to arrive, then the overflow of people will have the opportunity to view the live streaming feed of the event on the sixth floor of the North Avenue Academic Building.

Tickets are currently sold out, but anyone who wishes to attend can be placed on the wait list by calling the Box Office at (908) 737-7469. More information about the event can be found here.

Martin Luther King III will be coming to Kean to speak about his view of an equal society in the next Distinguished Lecture Series.]]>
<![CDATA[Wearing Red to Fight Heart Disease]]> On Friday, Feb. 7, Kean University students and staff are invited to support the American Heart Association's ongoing battle against women's heart disease by wearing red in solidarity.

From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., a National Wear Red Day informational tabling event will be held in the Commuter Resource Center (CRC). The community will be given important information on National Wear Red Day which occurs every year on Feb. 7. This tabling will conclude a series of events leading up to Kean's commemoration of National Wear Red Day. Additionally, an event titled, Yoga for Heart Health, will also be held Friday, Feb. 7 from 3:30 to 4:30 in the CRC.

Prior to National Wear Red Day, a Wear Red Day event transpired on Monday, Feb. 3 in the Center for Academic Success. Succeeding this event, will be an event titled Heart Healthy Snacks in which students can learn about and enjoy small ways to keep their heart healthy. This event will occur Tuesday, Feb. 4 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the CRC.

Every February is noted as American Heart Month, when the nation stands together to spread awareness of heart disease and raise donations to contribute to research that can save lives. Contributions to the American Heart Association can be made online.

In addition to vocal awareness, your financial contributions and wearing red on Feb. 7, the campaign suggests advocating through social media. In a world of constant media updates and shortened attention spans, we all must band together to lend a louder, wider voice to the American Heart Association's mission: heart disease among women can be beaten by dedicated awareness and help funding more research.

And involvement doesn't end there. Advocates are fighting for initiatives in physical activity, healthy eating, and healthy living that require community organizing and education all over the country, and through legislation in all levels of government. Every person in the country can contribute to the fight just by helping to bring attention to these healthy initiatives.

Heart disease and strokes cause about a third of deaths among women each year, per the American Heart Association. However, optimistically, the Association notes that, even though women are killed by cardiovascular events roughly every 80 seconds, the most efficient combat to heart disease is education. They estimate that 80 percent of heart disease related deaths can be stopped by understanding the nature of the threat and taking action.

To take action to prevent tragedy, everyone should be able to spot the signs of a heart attack. The American Heart Association lists five on their website:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  • As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

Equally vital is the recognition of the five common symptoms of stroke, also listed on the Association's site:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

If one experience or witness these symptoms, do not hesitate to call 9-1-1 and proceed to the hospital.

To learn more about the campaign to fight heart disease in women, please visit goredforwomen.org/ and support the cause by wearing red on Feb. 7.

Students with the Cougar Mascot from 2018's National Wear Red Day sport the color red to support the national movement to end heart disease and stroke in women.]]>
<![CDATA[It's The Year of The Rat!]]> It is the dawn of a new year. On Thursday, Jan. 23, Student Organization and the Asian Studies Program hosted the Lunar New Year Celebration that officially kicked off the Year of the Rat. For attendees there was food, prizes and performances. All attendees enjoyed the event while also learning new and fascinating discoveries about Asian culture.

Every year, Student Organization teams up with the Asian Studies program to help put on an event that recognizes the Lunar New Year. The Lunar New Year celebration was held in the Miron Student Center (MSC) Atrium that was decorated in a sea of red where guests got a chance to take part in the annual tradition. This is one of the most important holidays in Asian culture as it honors one's ancestors.

Once students checked in with their event pass, they were given tickets which could be used for food and activities that were going on. At one table, students were served either pork or vegetable dumplings. Traditionally, dumplings are a very important food. Another table had an activity in which guests had to answer a riddle to win some Lunar New Year-inspired Kean Swag. Other stations included making your own bubble tea and a photo booth where students and guests could take a picture against a back drop of cherry-blossom trees.

While students and guests were getting familiar with tables that were there, a performance stampeded onto the scene all done by professional Chinese performers which had the entire MSC Atrium in awe. The performance was composed of dancers, drummers and two dragons, which are considered good luck in Chinese culture as they are presented as guardians against all that is evil.

"We hosted this event with the Wenzhou-Kean students to share the culture and to be able to be in union within the same environment all while promoting diversity. Student Government and P.U.L.S.E. (Programming for Unique and Lively Student Experience) wanted to end this year with a big bang. We want to have a better chance of reaching out to the students and being able to have a great time with them while showing that Kean University has something to offer them for the future," said Lindsey Gonzalez, President of the Student Organization Class of 2021.

Information tables were also held to learn more about the Asian Studies program offered to undergraduate students as well as any other helpful information like studying abroad at the Wenzhou-Kean campus in China.

Learn more about these opportunities on the Kean website and to learn about the future events that are coming up, be sure to follow Student Government on Instagram @keanstudentgov and also check out Cougar Link for further information.

Kean Students started the Lunar New Year with a blast!]]>
<![CDATA[Get Connected]]> The Involvement Center, located in the Miron Student Center, Room 303, is the hub of information for all the ways students can get involved. From on campus employment to starting a new club, the Involvement Center will be holding three days of Involvement Week 2020 events.

The Involvement Week 2020 events are as follows:

All such events are resources to students that will best optimize their Spring 2020 semester at Kean.

"Essentially, students are inclined to be set in their schedules by the third week of each semester," said Senior Involvement Specialist Bria Williams. "This means that whatever routine has been built up by that third week, is probably what they'll be doing for the rest of the semester. Involvement Week aims to provide students on campus- through programming like our workshops and panel- with as much information as possible on how they can get involved."

The Ways to Get Involved Workshop will help students learn about all the ways to get involved on campus. This workshop can include information on campus employment, clubs, events and more. Students who want to become better connected at Kean will be able to learn the tools they need to thrive.

"Students should always aim to enrich their college experience. Whether they do that by joining a club, a sorority, playing a sport or attending homecoming, is just a means to achieve that goal. By attending these events students can kick start that enrichment process by getting the information they need," said Williams.

The Do Cougars Really Climb Higher? event includes a panel of involved students who will be discussing their experiences at Kean. The panel discussion will include both testimonials from students of all different levels and experiences of involvement as well as advice to students looking to do the same.

The Tie Dye Stress Relief is a fun, interactive event in which students can learn how to balance their academic, professional and personal lives while also tie dying.

A notable, upcoming event being hosted by the Involvement Center is the Student Involvement and Employment Fair on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 12 p.m. in the Miron Student Center. This will be a prime time for students to meet representatives of organizations they are interested in getting involved with.

"I'd like students to know that there is a niche on campus for every student who attends Kean. Actively pursuing that and finding your people is what makes going to college enjoyable! So do that!" said Williams.

For more information on these events or to talk to an Involvement Specialist, visit the Miron Student Center, Room 303, email groups@kean.edu or call (908) 737- 5270.

The Homecoming Pep Rally is just one way that the Kean community stays connected. ]]>
<![CDATA[New Cougars on Campus]]> The Spring 2020 session of New Student Orientation (NSO) was held Jan. 9. Incoming freshman came to campus to learn all about what Kean has to offer. Through NSO, students acquire a plethora of Kean knowledge, including information on academics, involvement and the resources available to them, all while getting comfortable on campus and meeting their peers. The program is a great step to get students excited and ready to start their Kean collegiate career.

The day began at 11:30 a.m. when the students arrived at the North Avenue Academic Building (NAAB) for check-in and lunch. The students mingled and got to know their Orientation Leaders, which are upperclassmen that help guide the students through the orientation process, as well as offer their Kean knowledge. During this time, students that had not yet done their advisement and registration for the upcoming semester were able to do so.

After the students got to know each other, the first presentation of the day began. The Vice President of Academic Affairs, Suzanne Bousquet, Ph.D., led the University Welcome, in which she greeted the students and gave them a glimpse of what it is like to be a Kean student.

Bousquet said, "We want you to maximize the time here to be able to take advantage of all of the opportunities that we provide you. We want you to find a future that you love, and that's what we're here for."

Following the University Welcome was a presentation from a representative from the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct. Here, students learned about Kean's community values, which include integrity, community, fairness, respect and responsibility, and why these values are important to exhibit through their time at Kean and beyond. In this workshop, students also became educated on the Kean University Code of Conduct, to ensure that they know the rules that they must abide by.

At NSO, the incoming students were also able to get Kean Student ID's, which is a necessity for all students. 

The next activity was the Student 2 Student Q&A, which was led by the Orientation Leaders. The presentation served as a question and answer session with incoming and current students. New students felt more comfortable asking questions to their peers. This was a great way for the attendees to get to know about a multitude of topics, from student involvement, commuting and living on campus to preparing for classes, taking attendance and much more.

There were more workshops throughout the day, including one on Involvement. The students were educated about the Involvement Center and the various student groups and organization options. They learned the benefits of getting involved on campus, and how it can positively impact their time at Kean.

The attendees also learned about how to get a job on and off campus from representatives from Career Services. This office also helps students get internships, as well as build their resume. A representative for International Studies also came to discuss study abroad options for students, such as spending a semester at Wenzhou-Kean. Attendees also learned about the resources available to them in the Nancy Thompson Library Learning Commons, such as the Tutoring Center, Writing Center, Public Speaking Lab and more.

The event wrapped up with a fun Family Feud game that the attendees participated in. Overall, the students got a great understanding of what it means to be apart of the Kean community and how to make the most of their time at Kean.

Students were welcomed to campus with Kean gear so that they can show their Cougar Pride. ]]>
<![CDATA[The Dean's List Honors Academic Achievement]]> Academic success is celebrated at Kean University in a variety of ways. One noteworthy accomplishment is being appointed to the Dean's List, which recognizes the earning of a high grade point average among matriculated students after each semester.

Full-time students are named to the Dean's List after every fall and spring semester. In order to be named to the list, a student must accrue a GPA of 3.45 or higher for the semester (while completing 12 credits or more during that span). Part-time students are named to the list once per year, after the spring semester. They are also recognized for the completion of 12 or more credits with a GPA of 3.45 or higher, though this is divided across the entire academic year. In each case, courses taken with a Pass/Fail option, and grades of "Incomplete," are not eligible.

In addition to a personal letter acknowledging their success, Dean's List commendations are added to students' transcripts, an invaluable addition when being considered for jobs in their fields, or graduate programs.

Students consistently appointed to the Dean's List also have the potential to graduate with Honors.

Dean's List scholars with a GPA of 3.85 or higher are also eligible for priority class registration, a great incentive for students to perform well. Earning early registration can help enroll in popular, competitive, required courses.

  • With a cumulative GPA of between 3.45 and 3.64, a student graduates Cum Laude, the Latin for "with distinction," or "with honors."
  • Graduating with a GPA between 3.65 and 3.84 earns the Magna Cum Laude title, "with great distinction."
  • Finally, graduating with a GPA between 3.85 and 4.0 earns the Summa Cum Laude title, "the highest distinction."

Another form of academic success can be shown through the invitation to join an honor society. The honor societies at Kean are organizations that separate the academically elite at Kean and gives them a space to come together and work as a group to help others through service and leadership. Often associated with a specific subject, honor societies show high achievement in academics and involvement. 

Some of the honor societies at Kean University include but are not limited to:

For more information about the Dean's List, academic honor societies and other academic honors at Kean, visit the university's website. With any questions about these honors in preparation for graduation, prospective graduates can email graduation@kean.edu, or reach out via phone at 908-73-REGME.

Kean University student studying to get on the Dean's List.]]>
<![CDATA[Getting Involved for the Spring]]> With the Spring semester well underway, there are opportunities available for students to immerse themselves in everything that Kean has to offer. The Center for Leadership and Service will be hosting their Student Involvement and Employment Fair in the Miron Student Center on Tuesday, Feb. 4th from 12 to 4 p.m.

This event will give students the chance to learn more about various student organizations on campus, or delve into a potential employment opportunity, so they can build their resume while beginning their involvement.

Many organizations will have tables set up to showcase their uniqueness, along with the benefits that they provide to students. Kean departments on campus will also be presenting at the expo, to give students information about applying for jobs on campus.

Working on campus comes with many advantages, especially for students that reside on campus. Being employed on campus will not require students who dorm to travel a far distance.

Additionally, it helps students become more acquainted with other faculty and students on campus, which will help them create a network and become more integrated into the campus community.

Below are a few organizations that have been confirmed to be appearing at the expo:

Involvement on campus has many benefits, as there are a lot of choices available to students, whether it be joining a club, a sports team, or volunteering in the community. Campus involvement will help students to:

  • make new friends and connect with various people
  • expand their interests and learn different skills
  • improve their grades and retain higher GPA's
  • build community and learn to work with others
  • establish a connection between the student and the school

Campus involvement gives students a seamless experience amid their time in college. At Kean, this is recorded on a student's co-curricular transcript, which is a record of a student's involvement in educational experiences that take place outside of the classroom.

The purpose of the co-curricular transcript is to highlight a student's personal journey, while providing an overview of their skills and abilities.

Students who are highly involved have increased marketability to employers and graduate schools, which are looking for exceptional candidates that take charge, develop and lead.

A co-curricular transcript can be curated to compliment academic transcripts or resumes. All official co-curricular transcripts are official documents of Kean University, embellished with the university's seal. The co-curricular transcript is centered around four learning components:

  • Awards, Honors & Scholarships
  • Student Organization and Leadership Activities
  • Educational Workshops and Programs
  • Community Service and Civic Engagement

Students can view their unofficial co-curricular transcript by logging onto Cougar Link. If a student wishes to request their official co-curricular transcript, the online co-curricular transcript request form can be found under "Forms" on Cougar Link.

For more information about the expo, students can email groups@kean.edu, or call the Involvement Center at (908) 737-5270.

The Center for Leadership and Service will be hosting a fair to give students the opportunity to immerse themselves in campus life. ]]>
<![CDATA[Wonderland at Wilkins]]> Wilkins Theatre is presenting a showing of Alice in Wonderland, where one can follow Alice on a whimsical journey through another universe. This production of Alice in Wonderland has been on tour since Dec. 8, 2019, and will make a stop in Union, New Jersey on Feb. 8 at 11 a.m.

This show is a rendition of the classic story by Lewis Carroll, but with new twists to keep the audience captivated. The setting at the beginning is different from the original garden, rather taking place in Alice's father's study, in various pop-up books.

The story begins when Alice does not want to do her homework, so she hides in her father's study to daydream and use her imagination instead. Then, a rabbit appears and starts eating the pop-up books. As Alice chases the rabbit to stop it from destroying the books, she finds herself discovering a wonderland.

The popular rabbit character is late to meet the Queen of Hearts, but has forgotten his gloves, which need to be worn in the presence of the Queen. On Alice's journey to help the rabbit and return his gloves, she runs into other memorable characters, such as Tweedledee, Tweedledum, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter and more.

Alice in Wonderland is being brought to Kean by Tout A Trac, a theatre company that prides itself on their imaginative and creative shows. They have been producing shows since 1998 and have produced over 1,200 shows to date.

This production was the recipient of the Acadie-Rideau Prize 2008, and was even nominated for the Prix de  l'Association Québécoise des Critiques de Théâtre for 2009-2010. The show debuted on Feb. 10, 2008 in Montreal, and was Tout a Trac's first show that was created for a younger audience. It has been showed over 450 times and seen by over 145,000 spectators.

Alice in Wonderland has been on tour and has made stops in Quebec, Michigan, Indiana and more. This is an entertaining, sensory-friendly show, and is recommended for grades one through five. However, since it is a classic story, it can be enjoyed by viewers of all ages.

To get tickets to the show, be sure to visit the Kean Stage website.

Kean Stage aims to entertain their audience of not only Kean students, but the northern New Jersey region, through educational and challenging shows and performances. They host productions including, but not limited to professional theatre, Broadway tours, dance companies, concert artists and family-focused shows. To learn more about what Kean Stage has to offer, be sure to visit their Cougar Link page and their website.

Alice in Wonderland is showing at Kean Stage on Feb. 8.]]>
<![CDATA[A Chance to Give Back]]> Various volunteer and service events are happening during the Spring semester. Students can look forward to a lot of great opportunities hosted by the Center for Leadership and Service (CLS).

Among other events, the blood drives are expected to produce big turnouts, as they did in the fall. Informational tabling events for the blood drives will be held on the following days:

  • Monday, Jan. 27, 3:30 p.m. Hennings Hall
  • Tuesday, Jan. 28, 3:30 p.m. Miron Student Center Atrium
  • Wednesday, Jan. 29, 3:30 p.m. Miron Student Center Atrium
  • Thursday, Jan. 30, 1 p.m. Miron Student Center Atrium

On Thursday, Jan. 30, a blood drive will take place in the Miron Student Center (MSC), Room 228, from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Students can earn up to 2 service hours for volunteering their time and contributing to the drive.

Donors should make sure they are ready to donate by eating well and staying hydrated.

Service Specialist Mackenzie Powell said, "We want to make sure everything is done safely and effectively."

While it is important that donors come prepared, refreshments at the event will also be served. "After everyone's donation, they will be walked over to the table where there are snacks and drinks," Powell said. "There are also people there making sure everyone is feeling good and healthy after donating."

Each semester, students line up in the halls waiting for the opportunity to donate. "We like to get as many participants as possible," said Powell. Kean University is one of the top donor schools in the U.S.

Students do not need to sign up for a time to donate. They can sign up to donate to New York Blood Center, or RSVP on CougarLink. Walk-ins are always welcome, as well.

If interested in volunteering for the event, students are required to RSVP on CougarLink. Limited spots are available. Volunteer positions are needed as spotters, to help with registration and to create a positive atmosphere for those donating.

"As of right now, those are the only three [blood drives] scheduled, but we will probably have another one towards the end of the semester, " Powell said.

Currently there are Blood Drives scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 30, Tuesday, Feb. 11, and Thursday, March 5.

Aside from the blood drives, the Center for Leadership and Service (CLS) has many other service and volunteer events lined up for the semester, like Habitat for Humanity, Community Food Bank of New Jersey, The Arc of Union County and more.

Community and Volunteer Services are available within the Center for Leadership and Service. Any questions or concerns can be directed to the Center for Leadership and Service in the Miron Student Center, Room 219, or by phone at (908) 737-5170.

Blood Drive will be taking place in the Miron Student Center, Room 228

<![CDATA[A's All the Way]]> On Thursday, Jan. 23 at 3:30 p.m., 11 freshman students were celebrated for their success in earning a 4.0 grade point average in their first semester at Kean University. The celebration took place in the lobby of the Center for Academic Success (CAS). The event was small, with only 6 of the 11 students being able to attend, but the General Education faculty and staff stood by to watch them receive their awards.

Jonathan Mercantini, Ph.D., acting Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, presented the students with their awards, which consisted of a Certificate of Excellence and a $100 voucher for Ursino Steakhouse and Tavern. They were also given small gifts, such as pens and key chains.

This was the second year that this celebration was held. President of Kean University, Dawood Farahi, Ph.D., came up with the idea, to celebrate students who were doing well academically and to encourage others to follow in their footsteps. Mercantini also saw it as a chance to both uplift students who were able to bring themselves to a 4.0 GPA in their first semester and to motivate other students to try to achieve the same thing.

"We know how talented our students are...We got 11 students that got a 4.0. We'd always love for it to be more," said Mercantini. "[The certificate and voucher are] a small thing, but if that's something that motivates you to study a little harder, or get into a study group, or go for a little supplemental instruction, or something like that to get yourself over the top, then any kind of motivation like that, we're happy to provide."

One of the students, Sara Orbe, a freshman at Kean, echoed Mercantini's hope when she said that it was a great feeling to be honored in this way by the university. Orbe found it challenging, at first, to maintain good grades while also being a part of several clubs and working throughout the semester, but she was able to manage it due to her schedule working well with her club meetings. Orbe had advice for students who also want to achieve a 4.0 GPA, while still joining clubs and working:

"I think time management is the most important thing, and to also set really good priorities," said Orbe. "I would have to make sure that I did the most important things first and got those out of the way, and then, once I figured out what I needed to prioritize, it was easier to schedule."

The celebration was a way for everyone to see that obtaining a 4.0 GPA was both a possibility and something to aim for. Most of all, it was a way for the students to see that the achievements they had made had not gone unnoticed.

Mercantini continued, "It's just a really wonderful opportunity to celebrate some of our truly outstanding students. The transition from high school to college is a really big jump, and so to do all of the adjustments, the cultural adjustments, the social adjustments, having more responsibility, and then maintaining a perfect grade point average on top of it... it's great to celebrate that. It's always fun to celebrate the good news. I always say we don't get as many good days as we might like, and so when we get one, we want to celebrate it."

Acting Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Jonathan Mercantini, Ph.D., with six students who earned 4.0 GPA in their first semester at Kean University.]]>
<![CDATA[Get Ready for Top Knotch!]]> On Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, Kean University's Top Knotch executive board held a briefing in Miron Student Center, Room 315 to relay information about the majorette team, its history, expectations and upcoming auditions for the Spring to those who attended.

Top Knotch is the first majorette dancing team of its kind at Kean University. They perform at special events, such as sports games and organization events. They also host special projects, campaigns and dance performances around the campus.

Founded in 2017 by six members, Top Knotch prides itself for class and elegance with the epitome of precision.

The majorette dancing team emphasized the importance of commitment and its pride in dance with openness as anyone is welcome to join the group.

Accountability is a major component of being on the majorette team as well. Top Knotch makes the effort to represent the university in a positive and professional manner.

"Bringing Top Knotch here to Kean is really important because we want to provide different energy and culture to an institution that hasn't seen it yet," said Cresaya Hester, the current president for Top Knotch, who is a senior studying biology.

When asked about what Top Knotch does to help its members, Hester stood firm in promoting citizenship within the university.

"On and off the court, we try to promote good standing within the university and in life," Hester continued. "We have study nights for our members while supporting them as much as possible, even in their regular lives. We have an open floor to provide support because, at the end of the day, we are a community and a family."

Traditionally, majorettes have been known to be female auxiliaries for marching bands who toss batons into the air and twirl them to the tempo of the music the band plays.

In recent years, that has changed with the emergence of hip-hop majorette dancing, which is the kind of dancing that Top Knotch does.

Hip-hop majorette dancing originates from African-American culture. Hip-hop majorette dancing is a form of synchronized dancing which draws inspiration from ballet, jazz, modern dance, hip-hop and gymnastics.

Top Knotch has already hosted a Learning Day, Practice Day and Audition Day for those interested in joining the team. These events were crucial for anyone wanting to get involved with the group. Along with meeting attendance, there are financial obligations included in being a part of Top Knotch. The Top Knotch uniform includes, satin gloves, KUTUK's sports bra, black biker shorts, dancing shoes, tights, hair styling accessories and any other necessary accessories, all of which costs around the range of $140 to $150.

Top Knotch's practices are held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays from 8 to 10 p.m. These could be subject to change as the organization nears its performance dates.

For more information about Top Knotch, students can check out their Cougar Link. They can also be contacted via email at kutopnotch@kean.edu. Students can look forward to the upcoming Top Knotch team in future events.

Kean University's Top Knotch majorette team is looking forward to welcoming new members.]]>
<![CDATA[Going Loco for Cocoa]]> Winter break is over and the Spring 2020 semester has officially begun. Even though it is not Spring just yet, students had a chance to relax and mingle with one another on Tuesday, Jan. 22, during Student Organization's Cougar Kick-off: Loco for Cocoa. There was hot cocoa, sweets and even a special appearance from the Kean Cougar itself.

Starting a new semester can be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time, but Student Organization wanted students of all grade levels to ease into the new year with style. Loco for Cocoa allowed students to get excited for the upcoming new year with some tips and life hacks for being a successful college student. Some of these included how to make easy meals in just 5 to 10 minutes and how to maintain a high G.P.A. during the semester. All the while, students enjoyed cups of hot cocoa with many flavors to choose from, as well as some tasty treats.

"We wanted students to have an enjoyable experience, all while, at the same time, learning tips to do well this semester, as well as letting them know of many opportunities to get more involved this new year," said Laura Francisco, assistant coordinator for the P.U.L.S.E. Programming Board.

Students learned all of these tips and tricks and met some new friends, which helped motivate them to do well and get more involved on campus. Freshmen, specifically, were excited to see all of the events and opportunities Kean has to offer regarding involvement and the many ways to network through events such as this.

"I have had an incredible time so far here at Kean! My professors really care about their students, which makes me more involved with my learning...and I have made new, best friends that I could not find anywhere else. I'm looking forward to this semester's Meet the Greeks, and, hopefully, [to] get more involved with Greek Life on campus, and check out a few sororities," said Emma Rollo, a freshman studying forensic psychology.

The Kean Cougar mascot even made a special appearance to give out free hugs for students as part of National Hug Day. National Hug Day occurs every year on Jan. 21. Students definitely felt the relaxed vibes during Cougar Kickoff and are very excited to see what Kean has to offer next for the new year.

"Kean was not my first choice, but once I came here, I realized right away it was the school for me. They have so many resources that help and benefit me with planning my future career," said Adamariz Pacheco-Tipanta, a freshman studying cellular molecular biology.

The Cougar Kickoff was a complete success. To learn more about all of the upcoming events at Kean, make sure to check out Cougar Link for more details and learn about the opportunities to get more involved on campus.

Students posed with the Kean Cougar at the Cougar Kickoff: Loco for Cocoa event.]]>
<![CDATA[Making an Exceptional Difference]]> The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is a non-profit organization that focuses on individuals with exceptionalities and is dedicated to improving their educational outcomes, as well as erasing the stigma that surrounds them. They have a chapter at Kean known as the KUCEC, which is a community comprised of students that promote and dedicated to the advancing of the success of children with exceptionalities and disabilities.

KUCEC has many objectives and tasks that they aim to accomplish.

President Jessica Garner said, "Our organization's goal is to raise awareness, as well as promote acceptance among our peers with disabilities, which can aid in the development of a positive and accepting environment at Kean University."

To promote acceptance at Kean, KUCEC offers volunteer opportunities for their members to gain experience with those who have disabilities, while also becoming involved in the community. By engaging in these service opportunities, the members of KUCEC brighten the days of those with disabilities, and show them that they are cared for and not overlooked.

The organization also hosts informational events to promote the education and understanding of special needs peers. For example, this semester they hosted an event with Kayla's Paws Service Paws Foundation, in which attendees learned about the process of training service dogs, and how they benefit those with disabilities.

Many of the members of the KUCEC are education majors that want to become more aware of how they can improve their interactions with, and help those with, exceptionalities. Because of this, KUCEC educates their members on current information and advancements within the Special Education field. They also give advice and provide resources to those future educators, which they can use in their professional fields in the future.

Garner said, "KUCEC has taught me about the Praxis, edTPA, and has informed me on what to expect during my clinical experiences."

She continued, "Being the president of this organization has to be one of my greatest honors, because it has such a powerful purpose and has potential to make a difference at Kean University."

Overall, KUCEC is a community of accepting students that are dedicated to helping raise awareness and acceptance for those who have exceptionalities. They are committed to educating themselves and the Kean Community on these topics, which, in turn, is creating a more loving and understanding environment on campus.

If one is interested in joining or learning more about KUCEC, be sure to check out their Cougar Link page. Additionally, their first meeting for the Spring 2020 semester will be held on Feb. 12 in Hennings Hall, Room 113, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., so be sure to stop by to learn more.

KUCEC at Homecoming 2019.
Photo Courtesy of KUCEC.
<![CDATA[Lead to Succeed: How to Become an Orientation Leader]]> New Student Orientation is now hiring for Summer 2020. Whether you have prior leadership experience or not, New Student Orientation is an excellent experience for both leadership and networking, all while assisting new incoming freshmen to Kean University.

New Student Orientation is a two-day, overnight event required for all incoming freshmen prior to starting classes in the fall. Orientation staff members are required to assist with all of the sessions throughout the entire summer, from late June to mid-August. The orientation staff members are in charge of planning all of the events that will take place during the session. The goal of the entire two-day event is to make sure that all of the incoming freshmen feel welcome to Kean University, while getting to meet new friends and learning about all of the necessary resources students have at their disposal in order to be successful in transitioning from the high school to the college lifestyle.

The New Student Orientation Search Committee is currently hiring orientation specialists, orientation leaders, and senior orientation leaders who are engaging, upper-class students that want to assist incoming freshmen with their transition to Kean University. These student mentors have to be able to work for the entire New Student Orientation season, as well as help out with transfer student orientation in late August. Orientation leaders and senior orientation leaders will serve as campus guides for their own group of students and lead sessions. Orientation specialists deal with both the communications and logistics of the entire team, such as answering phone calls and helping set up events.

In order to qualify for any of these positions, applicants needs to keep in mind a few key details to be considered for hire. The criteria is as follows:

  • Must be enrolled as an undergraduate student at Kean University for the Fall 2020 semester by May 1.
  • Must have at the time of application and maintain at least a 2.75 cumulative grade point average during the term of employment.
  • Must be free of student conduct probation with restrictions in residence, University-wide disciplinary probation or higher level disciplinary sanctions (University-wide probation with restrictions, suspension, or dismissal) at the time of application and during the term of employment.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work with a diverse group of people including students, families, faculty, staff and administrators.
  • Exhibit strong communication skills, facilitation skills and role modeling behaviors.
  • Must reside on campus within proximity to New Student Orientation participants during the period of employment.
  • A high degree of innovation, self-motivation, creativity, analytical thinking and creative problem solving skills are essential.
  • Good judgment, strong sense of ethics and ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously is required.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills needed.
  • Ability to develop and maintain relationships with team members, faculty, administrators and University leadership.
  • Flexible schedule, available to work nights during orientation sessions.

If the applicant is successfully hired, they will receive a stipend depending on their position. Orientation leaders will receive a $3,075.00 stipend, senior orientation leaders will receive a $3,175.00 stipend and orientation specialists will receive a $2,750.00 stipend with room and board. All stipends listed are prior to taxes. All applicants will also receive a $300 meal plan for use at any on campus eatery or approved off-campus eateries, as well as a room waiver for housing on campus during the term of employment.

Have what it takes? Then apply to be a part of the New Student Orientation staff today and showcase cougar pride for incoming freshmen.

Applications are available online on Cougar Link. Priority applications are due Friday, Feb. 7th by 2 p.m., but the final deadline will be at 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21st. For more information, please visit the New Student Orientation application page, or email nso@kean.edu.

New Student Orientation Leaders of Summer 2019.]]>
<![CDATA[Trustee Kayla Asare]]> Getting involved on campus is one of the many ways college students can make their college experience more memorable. This is something Kayla Asare, a senior at Kean University, knows well. Not only is she the current Chapter President of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, but she also serves as the Student Trustee for Kean University's Board of Trustees.

A Board of Trustees is an elected group of people who are responsible for managing an organization. Kean University has a Board of Trustees made up of 15 members, all appointed by the Governor of New Jersey. Each year, a Student Trustee representative is picked to work alongside the Board of Trustees. Asare was this year's pick, having learned of the chance to become a Student Trustee from one of her professors while working for Kean Hall.

Since becoming the Student Trustee this year, Asare has learned how to enhance her public speaking skills, and has discovered the ins and outs of working in every department at Kean, as well as "how decisions are made in order to make Kean a better place."

Asare certainly wants to make Kean a better place as she takes her position as Student Trustee, as well as all of her other positions at Kean, seriously.

"'Student Trustee is not a job, it is more than that. It places you in a position of power that can be used to make the lives of students better. I believe in pushing yourself to be the best person you can be and setting a positive example for others," said Asare.

As mentioned before, Asare is not just a Student Trustee. She is also a chapter president, works with PULSE for Student Government and has even studied at the Wenzhou campus in China. Asare keeps herself busy while at Kean University, and has plenty of advice for someone looking to follow in her footsteps to become a Student Trustee.

First, the requirements for becoming a Student Trustee require students to get 50 signatures from other Kean students. Applicants must also be full-time students with no history of misconduct, 18 years or older, an American citizen, have a 2.75 GPA and have completed at least 30 credits. If students meet these requirements and apply when the applications open on Cougar Link, they may then have a chance to become a Student Trustee. The student body also has a chance to involve themselves in the process by voting on candidates.

But, even after becoming a Student Trustee, Asare wants students to know that being a Student Trustee is more then just a job. It is about having passion for your work and your school that really makes it all worthwhile.

"You have to have a passion for Kean and really believe in the vision that Kean University has. You have to love what you do, and even though I just started, I am really trying to make student life a little better in the best way that I can," said Asare.

Kayla Asare, Kean University's current Student Trustee for the Board of Trustees.]]>
<![CDATA[Deadlines and Details for Graduation]]> Applications are now open for the first of Kean University's 2020 graduations. The online application deadline for May 2020 graduates is Feb. 7, 2020. The deadline for August 2020 graduates is March 6, 2020. Students should converse with their program coordinators or academic advisers to ensure they have met all the criteria for graduation - that all of their credits and other requirements are accounted for, and so on.

The Undergraduate Commencement takes place on Thursday, May 21, 2020 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. The Graduate Commencement will be held on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ.

In order to apply for graduation, students can log onto KeanWISE, select the "Academic Profile" subsection, and choose "Apply for Graduation." Students must complete the application there and pay a $100 fee, which covers caps and gowns for those walking in the commencement ceremony, diplomas, transcripts and processing fees. Graduates are responsible for the fee whether or not they plan to attend commencement. Graduates will be contacted via email to order caps and gowns and confirm event details, for guests and location, during the semester.

Candidates must ensure that there are no restrictions or holds on their KeanWISE accounts before their degrees can be conferred or transcripts can be delivered. They are recommended to consistently check the status of their accounts to ensure no unexpected holds delay or complicate the review process.

After the application for graduation is submitted, the Office of the Registrar will review each student's transcript to confirm their completion of all course requirements. If any requirements remain unfulfilled, candidates will be informed by the Office of the Registrar, respective of deadlines.

Prospective graduates must submit inquiries to transfer, substitute, or waive credits before applying for graduation, or there is a risk that the conferring of their degrees may be delayed.

Diplomas will be mailed by a third party approximately three months after conferral, and students will be notified by the vendor that their diplomas have been sent. During the commencement ceremonies, graduates will be distributed diploma covers; those not attending can retrieve covers at the Office of the Registrar, or the Kean Ocean Administrative Office. As with the rest of the graduation process, diplomas cannot be released until all holds are cleared. With questions or concerns, prospective graduates can email diploma@kean.edu.

Copies of transcripts will also be mailed about three months after degrees are conferred, and require that all account holds be resolved and lifted.

Any student in need of evidence that they have completed their graduation requirements before their degree has been conferred can submit a Statement of Completion form, to be submitted via email to graduation@kean.edu.

The Office of the Registrar stresses that walking at commencement does not necessarily mean a degree can be conferred. Their office must still confirm all academic requirements and account holds are cleared.

Graduation is a detailed process, but it should also be an exciting moment - the celebration of years of hard work and determination. Those preparing for graduation should keep all these details in mind to streamline the process and avoid stress, tackling requirements day by day as they have with their classes.

With any questions about this process, students can reach out by email to graduation@kean.edu or by call at 908-73-REGME.

2019 Kean graduates at their graduation commencement.]]>
<![CDATA[L.E.A.D. By Example]]> Leadership is more than just a title or a position in an organization. It is about actions and how people influence others to become the best version of themselves. The Leadership Institute offers a platform through the Center for Leadership and Service where students can practice their leadership skills and work well with their fellow peers. The Leadership Institute offers a program called L.E.A.D. (Leadership Education and Development) where students can earn all the benefits of the Leadership Institute in just seven weeks.

L.E.A.D. is a program where students engage in activities and workshops that further enhance their leadership skills. L.E.A.D. is held during each Spring semester of the academic year. Each workshop consists of leadership discussions, games and lectures which are all created to develop the well rounded and organizational leader deep within. Before each workshop begins, students in L.E.A.D. are allowed the opportunity to mingle and network with one another at a dinner to get to know each other better.

Following the dinner, the workshops and activities will range from week to week during the entire seven week period of the program. Another benefit of this program is not only that students can network with one another making life lasting friendships just as in the Leadership Institute, they also get the good fortune of working with fellow peers to plan a service project for both the Kean community and the outside world. Students will get to demonstrate the skills they have learned during the seven week training period while working with their fellow leaders. Students will also get to plan out the entire project and have full creative control on how the service project is fully executed.

The Leadership Institute is focused on approaching values through group collaboration, and processes that result in a positive change in both an individual and groups as a whole. This is done though a social change model which establishes the seven C's including:

  • Conscious of self
  • Congruence
  • Commitment
  • Collaboration
  • Common Purpose
  • Controversy with Civility
  • Citizenship

All Kean University undergraduate students who have completed at least 18 credits completed are highly encouraged to apply. The program is also open to current graduate students as well. Any prior leadership experience is not necessary to participate in the program. The only requirement for all applicants is to have a desire to make a positive change to all of their organizations and in the general community.

Priority applications for L.E.A.D. are due online on Cougar Link by Friday, Jan. 24. Additional applications will still be accepted for late submission if space is available by Friday, Feb. 1. If an applicant has any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the Leadership Institute by phone at (908) 737-5170 or by email at leadershipinstitute@kean.edu.

L.E.A.D. Students at the 2019 Leadership Dinner.]]>
<![CDATA[Planning for a Better Business]]> Every year Kean offers students a chance to win their annual Business Plan Competition. The competition is an opportunity to validate a business idea and help forward the idea by offering participants support and constructive advice throughout the duration of the competition.

This year's registration for the Business Plan Competition began Nov. 26, 2019. Participation in the competition is not limited to just Kean students. High school students participating through DECA, Inc. will also be able to register their business plan. Students from other universities may join the competition as well.

Business plan idea submissions may be made as an individual or as a team of, at most, 3 members. Kean University recommends that participants should have enrolled or completed some sort of entrepreneurship course, although it is not mandatory to participate in the competition.

To register, students will need to use the link on Kean's web page about the competition. In addition to registering online, competitors must email the executive summary of their business plan to bizplan@kean.edu.

Some important dates for the Business Plan Competition are as follows:

  • Feb. 21, 2020 - Registration ends
  • March 6, 2020 - Semi-Finalists notified
  • March 16, 2020 - Deadline for submission of full business plan
  • March 27, 2020 - Finalists notified
  • April 9, 2020 - Final event

There are a variety of reasons students may be interested in participating. Other then the opportunity to win $10,000 in combined prizes, the competition is also a valuable learning experience. Students will be able to fine tune their business ideas with feedback from the competition. Further, students will be able to network with investors and learn what investors require. Students can also develop their public speaking, financial skills and professional skills through interactions with banks, entrepreneurs, alumni and angel investors.

The Business Plan Competition was first created in 2014 by the School of Management and Marketing. The event is sponsored by the Office of Provost and the New Jersey Small Business Development Center at Kean University. Since then, the competition has run annually and has seen many interesting business plans.

Some examples of notable business plans from previous years are: Trauma, an app solution for first-aid, created by Frankie Louis and E-Cards, digital business cards on phones, by Michael Kapotis and Jenny Caruso.

"Many business plans are impressive. It is not easy to come up with a smart solution to existing problems and craft a well-developed plan covering all different aspects of a business," said Kai Wang, Ph.D., assistant professor of management. 

Students are highly encouraged to participate in the competition and try their best. Good luck to all competitors!

2018's Business Plan Competition winners were Jenny Caruso and Michael Kapotis for their business idea, E-Cards.

<![CDATA[It's Time To Meet The Greeks!]]> Every semester, Greek Senate hosts Meet the Greeks which brings together students, faculty, staff members and alumni back to Harwood Arena for a night filled with activities, music, performances and learning what Greek Life is all about from each organization on campus. Spring 2020's Meet the Greeks will take place Thursday, Jan. 30.

Tickets are free of charge for current Kean students as long as they show their Kean ID at the door. For alumni and anyone else who wants to attend, they will have to pay $5 at the door.

Greek Life is an exciting way to get more involved on campus and allows an individual the opportunity to break out of their shells to experience college life in a whole new way. Joining a Greek letter organization can open up doors to many different networking paths for an individual and their future career path, whatever it may be. Greek Life also allows one to connect more with the university as well as other organizations, both on campus and off.

Usually, one of one's first thoughts when coming to college is the topic of Greek Life and whether or not it is the exact same way it is portrayed in media like movies or TV. In reality, Greek Life is about friendship and the bonds that are created with one's brothers or sisters. In general, Greek organizations provide:

  • Leadership and business training
  • Development of interpersonal skills
  • Orientation into university life
  • Cooperative living
  • Scholarship opportunities
  • Community service work opportunities

The main purpose of all the fraternities and sororities at Kean is to welcome and acquaint interested students with the goals and traditions of the Greek organizations. Organizations also wish to provide students the opportunity to practice their leadership skills as well as ensure a higher degree of scholastic achievement. Education always comes first and becoming part of a Greek organization will allow students to also practice time management skills which will be especially helpful after college.

Greek Life at Kean is full of excellent opportunities to build up networking skills and establish bonds that will last a lifetime. Going Greek is not only an excellent opportunity to get more involved at Kean but it is also a great way to practice leadership skills as well as time management skills. Kean's Greek Life is built on an equation which includes Leadership, Brotherhood/Sisterhood, Scholarship, Community Service and Social Life. Having all of these qualities makes a successful Greek organization.

Interested students should come to the Spring 2020 Meet The Greeks Thursday, Jan. 30 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. to learn about all of the organizations and witness all their phenomenal performances. For any questions regarding Meet the Greeks, please contact the Center for Leadership and Service at (908) 737-5170 or email greeks@kean.edu to learn more.

Spring 2020's Meet the Greeks will take place Thursday, Jan. 30. ]]>
<![CDATA[Looking Ahead with 2020]]> With the start of the new year comes the beginning of a brand new semester at Kean. The Spring 2020 semester is an opportunity for students at Kean to start fresh and begin to set new goals, achieve new heights or maintain the great progression they have already been on during their college careers. As with any semester, there are some dates that all students should be aware of before heading into it.

As students start the semester, many engage with their course loads in a variety of different approaches. It is important to know the limitations of adding and dropping courses, as it could potentially affect one's financial aid, scholarships or status as a student. Students who are taking a course load of 12 credits or more are considered to be full-time students. Students taking fewer than 12 credits are categorized as part-time students, and cannot qualify for the same financial aid packages.

The last day to add or drop classes with a 100 percent refund and no withdrawal (W) grade is Jan. 28. A "W" grade is a mark on a student's transcript that shows that they had been enrolled in a course, but at some point had withdrawn from that course. W grades do not count against a student's grade point average (GPA).

  • The last day to drop a course with a 75 percent refund is Feb. 4
  • The last day to drop a course with a 50 percent refund is Feb. 11
  • The last day to drop a course with a "W" grade and no refund is April 9

For the Spring 2020 semester, there are a few dates on which the university will be closed for different holidays, and, of course, for Spring Break. Kean University will be closed the following dates:

  • Presidents' Day, Feb. 17
  • Spring Break, March 9 to 15
  • Easter Recess, April 10 to 12

At the end of every semester, there are days where the university switches its schedule to compensate for the dates missed throughout the semester, due to holidays and other school closures. This is to give all classes an equal number of class meetings.

  • Tuesday, May 5 classes will follow a Friday Schedule
  • Wednesday, May 6, classes will follow a Monday Schedule

For a more detailed list of dates, students can check Kean's 2019-2020 Academic Calendar.

Other than the dates listed, there is also a variety of events happening this semester. Many Kean University clubs and organizations are working every week to produce events for the community. Here is a short list of some of the events to look forward to this semester:

For more events, students can check Cougar Link.

As we anticipate all of the events and activities going on during the Spring semester, for some Kean students, it will be their last semester here at Kean. The undergraduate and graduate commencements will be taking place after the end of the Spring semester. The Graduate Commencement will take place May 19, and the Undergraduate Commencement will take place May 21. The speakers for each commencement have yet to be announced. If this is one's last semester at Kean, it is critical that all seniors are going through the graduation application processes correctly to ensure a May graduation.

Good luck, Cougars!

Student, Amirah James, with the Kean Cougar.]]>
<![CDATA[Stay in the Snow]]> With the mostly cold Spring semester underway, it is important that students, faculty and staff of Kean University are informed and aware of policies when it comes to university closings, cancellations and delays.

There are a few things that could cause a change to the university's hours of operations. In some cases the university will close for the entire day due to the weather. Other times the university will announce that classes and university functions and events will close after a certain time, typically correlated to the weather's progression throughout a given day.

To be aware of these notifications, it is crucial that all students, staff and faculty are signed up for the CampusAlert™system through their Kean email and phone number. It would be a great inconvenience for members of the Kean community to commute in harsh weather conditions.

Using one's "@kean.edu" student email address as one's username, CampusAlert™ is a system that sends notifications to students to let them know important information about the functioning of Kean University. It is used to inform students and staff about closings, delays and any changes on campus that students should be aware of. 

It is important that students register for these alerts so they know when the campus is closing, or if they need to stay away from an area for any reason. Students can opt for automated phone calls and emails as well as text messages. More than one method of contact can be selected as preferred to get information in a timely fashion. 

To register for CampusAlert™or update one's alert settings, visit the CampusAlert™ website. Once there, follow the instructions on the right hand side.

The Kean University website will also display the most up-to-date information, with more details at www.kean.edu/campus-notice. Students should also keep updated on Kean social media accounts.

What is most important to the university is the safety and overall well being of Kean's community members. Students should be sure to check the Kean website for a short list of tips on driving and commuting in the harsh weather.

Utilizing one's Kean email is a must for understanding snow procedures.]]>
<![CDATA[Register for Research Days 2020!]]> Kean Research Days 2020, happening in the spring of 2020, is just around the corner. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) hosts the annual Research Days event at Kean University. Acting Director Susan Gannon and Assistant Director Reenat Munshi say the research days is a great way for students to network and showcase their research in non-competitive environment.

"This event is wide open," said Gannon. "Every student with a faculty adviser is usually accepted."

The three-day event allows for students and faculty campus-wide to present and celebrate their research or creative achievements to others in the campus community. Students who are conducting original research under faculty supervision are eligible to present. Team projects are also encouraged.

Examples of some presentation formats include:

  • Poster presentations
  • Group oral presentations
  • Panel discussions
  • Exhibits and demonstrations
  • Performances

Presenters are not limited to only these presentation formats.

"We've had films, musical performances, app designs," Munshi said. "It's amazing to see students think about these concepts."

The research material presented is limitless, and can span from a range of topics and majors, dual major teams and can incorporate creative or interactive elements, as well.

An example project that Munshi provided was named "Dove--A Time for Love," by Michael DiTomasso. His research was focused on paternity leave statistics on a global level, in order to open a public discussion about paternity leave in America. Here is an excerpt from his proposal:

"Working with DOVE and The One Club, we want to create a public service advertising campaign for social media platforms that will encourage employees and employers alike to begin the discussion and come to an agreement. Our conclusion thus far has been that, although slightly increasing, the availability of paid paternity leave in the workplace is still seriously lacking."

Many opportunities present themselves during the research process such as future fellowships, internships and conferences. Other benefits include networking and collaboration opportunities. Munshi and Gannon encourage any and all students to participate in this event.

Additionally, students have their participation in the research days placed on their Co-Curricular Transcript, and which also acts as a great resume builder.

Gannon also adds that free poster printing is available for students who meet the deadline.

"As long as students submit their poster before or on the deadline, we are able to print your poster for free," said Gannon.

A tentative schedule for the entire Research Days 2020 event is available on the Kean website's Research Days 2020 web page. Student registration is also linked on that same web page. Students should keep in mind that Monday, Feb. 17, 2020 is the last day students will be able to register.

For more information on the Research Days 2020, or for any questions or concerns, please contact researchdays@kean.edu.

An example of a Research Days presentation from 2018, courtesy of Reenat Munshi.]]>
<![CDATA[Hanging with Harry Potter at Liberty Hall]]> Spending Christmas at Hogwarts has always been a magical dream for fans of the Harry Potter franchise. Now that dream can become a reality, as Liberty Hall will be hosting a Christmas Tour: Harry Potter at Liberty Hall event. The event began Friday, Nov. 29 and will end Saturday, Dec. 28, so anyone who ever wanted to find themselves roaming the halls of Hogwarts now has a chance to do just that.

Liberty Hall was the home to seven generations of the Livingston and Kean families. It now stands as a testament to their time in New Jersey, and showcases plenty of antiques, furniture and artifacts dating back to when they lived in the area. Liberty Hall has several different tours of the estate, including the Main House Tour, which takes you through the house and the history of the families that once resided there, the Firehouse Tour, which is an added option to the tour that educates children and adults alike on fire safety, and special tours, like the Harry Potter at Liberty Hall tour taking place this December.

Certain rooms at Liberty Hall will be transformed into different familiar sights from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter's Hogwarts Castle. Guests will get to journey through rooms like the Great Hall, Gryffindor Common Room and many other rooms that will make everyone feel like they are spending time in Hogwarts. There also will be fun events for everyone to participate in, like a "scavenger hunt" for Horcruxes - dark magical totems the characters hunt for in the series' seventh story - and an Elf on the Shelf, named Johnny Kean, that kids can search for. Whoever finds Johnny Kean will be given a small prize, so guests should be sure to look carefully.

The Harry Potter at Liberty Hall tour is for all ages, so children, teenagers and adults are all welcome to visit and enjoy the tour. Anyone who would like to dress up as one of their favorite Harry Potter characters is welcome to do so. The tour will be held every Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., throughout the month of December, except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Dec. 24 and 25.

Tickets for the Harry Potter at Liberty Hall tour are regular admission prices: $12 for adults, $10 for Kean alumni, $8 for current Kean students and seniors, and free for children under 3. They can be bought at Liberty Hall before taking the tour. Any groups larger than ten guests need to make a reservation.

For more information on Liberty Hall, the Harry Potter Tours or other tours and events Liberty Hall may be having, people can visit the Liberty Hall website. Come out and enjoy Christmas at Hogwarts.

The Harry Potter at Liberty Hall Tour will be taking place all through December, except for Dec. 24 and 25.]]>
<![CDATA[Staying on Track with Your Budget]]> The final Chapter After event for the semester was held Tuesday, Dec. 10. Hosted by the Leadership Institute, the last installment of the lecture series focused on money management and financial literacy.

The Chapter After series featured lecturers to help students succeed, the first focusing on internships, and the second about resume building.

Representatives from Bank of America, Zakiyyah Singley, Perle Desir and Michelle Lawrence, spoke to students on how to properly manage funds and why creating a budget and establishing credit are so crucial to college students.

First things first, when making financial goals or when making long-term plans, a good tip is to make sure it's a SMART goal:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Worksheets were distributed to students featuring a budgeting sheet, and a place to write down goals for next year. Students were encouraged to track their goals and their budgeting style to better apply the money management strategies to their everyday life.

Once a goal is established, it is time to start analyzing funds and begin the budgeting process. This includes tracking salary, fixed payments like bills or insurance, groceries, utilities, and other expenses. Fixed expenses and variable expenses are two types of spending that should be identified when beginning to budget.

"Variable incomes," Desir explained, "are wants, not needs."

Variable incomes include payments or subscriptions like Amazon Prime, UberEats, Spotify or Apple Music, gym memberships, and Netflix.

"If you don't sit down and look at your budget, you have no idea what you're doing with your money. It just goes," said Desir.

One thing that people never remember to do is to pay themselves once they get their paycheck, Singley says. It is important to establish a percentage of your paycheck that goes directly into a savings account so that money is not quickly spent.

"Out of your biweekly paycheck, if you were to pay yourself $50 each paycheck, you'd have $1200 by the end of the year," Singley said. "Do you see the simplicity of it?"

Singely went on to explain the basics of credit and what a credit score means. While some like to stay away from credit cards, Singley says establishing a good credit score is essential.

"If you have not established a certain line of credit by the time you are 21 years old, you are looked at the same way as a person that walked away from a credit card bill of over three grand and never paid it," Singely said.

In addition, students should keep in mind that some employers and companies will only consider hiring people with a certain established credit score. Any credit score over 700 is acknowledged as a good score.

They also add that, it is not about the amount of money spent on a credit card, but the efficiency in how quick the credit is paid back.

"Credit works both ways," Lawrence said.

"When you use the credit, it has to be paid back. If you don't pay it back, or pay it on time (there's a monthly payment due), it impacts your credit score. That's when your credit score can decrease," said Singely.

Students were encouraged to reach out to any of the financial specialists for extra information or questions about money management. Pamphlets were also offered for students to better their financial literacy.

The Leadership Institute concluded their series of Chapter After events for the semester. For more information on this event and others like it, they are located i5 the Miron Student Center, Room 215. They can also be contacted at (908) 737-5170 or leadershipinstitute@kean.edu.

Bank of America representatives Zakiyyah Singley (left) Michelle Lawrence (middle) and Perle Desir (right). ]]>
<![CDATA[On the Rise to Lift Others]]> Each year, the Greek Senate at Kean University plans the Kean Dance Marathon (KDM), a fundraiser in which the proceeds are donated to the Children's Specialized Hospital in Mountainside, NJ. Each year they try and improve and top their earnings from the proceeding year. To kickoff this year's fundraising efforts, the Greeks at Kean were invited to a KDM Informational Monday, Dec. 9 from 3:15 to 4:30 in Miron Student Center (MSC), Room 228.

This event was held to get the members of the fraternities and sororities on campus excited for this year's event as it is going to be bigger and better than the following. Additionally, the members were given tips and tricks on how to improve their fundraising efforts. They were also reminded why this event is so vital, as all of the proceeds directly impact the children a part of the Children's Miracle Network.

"The Children's Miracle Network goes hand and hand with the Children's Specialized Hospital. It is directly where the money goes when we donate toward the hospital. It helps children and their families, who will need medical assistance for the rest of their lives," said Ericka Ambrose, Greek life specialist with the Center for Leadership and Service.

Since the Greek Senate started hosting KDM five year ago, they have collectively raised over $231,000 all for the kids. The event is a twelve hours long dance marathon in which students and attendees dance for the children who cannot. There are games, food and activities throughout the event to keep everybody on their feet and excited throughout its duration.

This year, KDM will be hosted on April 17 from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. in Harwood Arena. The theme for this year's marathon is "We Rise to Lift Others" and will feature superhero themes as well. The goal is to have Harwood Arena filled with enthusiastic attendees for the duration of the twelve hours. The Greek Senate also wants to expand the event and raise more many than ever before, which will lead to more children getting treatments.

At the KDM Informational, Alex Louis, assistant director for the Center for Leadership and Service, as well as the Greek Life Specialists and representatives from the Greek Senate spoke on how they want to take this KDM to the next level.

Louis gave the attendees a pep talk to get them excited for the upcoming event.

He said, "We have to go to the next level. We need your help to get to the next level. I know we can do it. I know we will do it."

A slideshow was presented to the sisters and brothers of the on-campus Greek organizations giving a background on the event for those that are new. It also included information to help the members raise money for the event.

One of the suggestions that the attendees were given was to reach out to alumni to donate to the event, as they know that the proceeds of KDM go to such an important cause. Also, tips were given on how to utilize mobile payment methods, such as apps like Venmo, CashApp and PayPal.

Also included in the presentation were dates for other events that are going to transpire in the upcoming spring semester in which the proceeds will benefit KDM.

For example, last year was the first annual KDM Color Run, in which attendees ran through campus and had color powder dusted over them. They raised $3,200 in the first year at the Color Run alone and are only aiming to make this event even more successful.

Another event to support KDM will be the KDM Tricky Tray, which is the first time that this event will transpire. It will include raffle baskets and donations. This will take place on Feb. 7 in Downs Hall, and the Greek Senate is very excited to host this for the first time.

Through all of these efforts, the Greek Senate aims to make this upcoming KDM the best one yet!

Pictured is the grand total from last year's Kean Dance Marathon.]]>
<![CDATA[Lighting for the Holidays]]> On Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, the Catholic Newman Club got festive at their Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in the Miron Student Center Atrium. Students were able to wear festive accessories and enjoy treats while celebrating the holiday spirit.

Complimentary frozen hot chocolates and pretzels were provided by Auntie Anne's.

"This was an opportunity for us to come together and light the tree," said Jessica Onorati, vice president of the Catholic Newman Club. "We read a part of the nativity to get ready for the season."

When asked about the impact of the event, Onorati felt that it was challenging to put together.

"We had to reschedule the event because of the previous snowstorm," continued Onorati.

"There weren't that many people as we anticipated, but this was a good way to get everyone ready for the Christmas season and enjoy the fellowship of others," Onorati said.

Christmas trees have a significant history dating to the use of evergreens in ancient Egypt and Rome. Many people during that time believed the sun was a deity, and that whenever winter would come, that deity would fall ill.

The solstice was celebrated because it gave people a sign that the sun god was recovering from its illness. Evergreens reminded them of all the plants that would come back to life once summer returned.

Germany is known for beginning the Christmas tree tradition in the 16th century, when Christians would bring decorated trees into their homes. The tradition came to America in the 1800s.

According to History.com, people from ancient times hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows. It was believed that evergreens kept away evil spirits, illness and ghosts by different cultures.

Tree lighting ceremonies are commonplace all over the world, with one of the notable ones being in Rockefeller Center in New York. The first tree at the center was placed in 1931 during the Great Depression.

"We prayed over the tree to ensure it was blessed, hanging with ornaments which were made from the ornament making party," said Jennifer Garza, president of the Catholic Newman Club.

The ornaments were made a week prior to the event by the club, at an ornament making party.

When asked about the ornaments, Garza explained how the club started making them.

"We had the materials for everyone to make ornaments, which were blank," continued Garza. "There [was] confetti, markers, plastic spheres and star-shaped ornaments, which were all used to be hanged for the event."

Garza felt that students learned more about the readings of nativity the club presented, helping them to stay in spirit.

The Catholic Newman Club provides Kean University with a supportive community for Catholics on campus, along with educational programs on Catholic and Christian values, through fellowship, community service and the continuous exploration of faith while striving to integrate its religious values with college life. More information about the club can be found on Cougar Link. They can be emailed at catholic@kean.edu.

Kean's Catholic Newman Club held a tree lighting ceremony to honor the holiday spirit. ]]>