Desperate for A Win

The Notre Dame De Namur women’s basketball team is desperate for a win as they enter the Cal State East Bay tournament. It’s been a rough season for the Argos thus far with a record of 0-6. Junior Marinel Alcantara, says “We can’t hold on our head down because we still have a lot more games to play. The team needs to just learn from our mistakes and keep pushing forward.” In the first game of tournament play the Argos take on the tournament host Cal State East Bay. The Pioneers have started off the season strong with a 3-1 record and are on a 2 game win streak.

At the start off the game Notre Dame came out sluggish and trailed in the 1st quarter 6-15. There wasn’t much fight from the Argos in the second only scoring 7 points in the quarter finishing the half down 13-40. Senior Kirsten Liana, says “We have to stop getting off to such slow starts because it makes it tuff when we are always playing catch up.” The Lady Argos picked up the scoring in the third quarter outscoring the Pioneers 23-17 but still trailed in the game. In the fourth Cal State East Bay matched the Argos intensity and held off the Argos winning 51-68. Marinel Alcantara led NDNU in scoring with 17 and converted 5-7 from the three-point line.

Next up in the tournament Notre Dame face Cal State Monterey Bay. The Otters are also struggling losing their last three games. NDNU coach Sheila Schaefer, says “this is a very winnable game for us, both teams are struggling and desperate for a win.” The Argos came out to another slow start trailing in the first half 21-38. In the second half NDNU came out strong with a three-pointer by Kirsten Liana. But it wasn’t enough to hold off Cal State Monterey Bay. The Lady Argos loose another tough one 45-67 Junior Mckenna Hill for the Otter led all scorers with 18 points shooting over 60% from the field.

Notre Dame De Namur takes on Academy of the Art this Saturday at 1pm for their first conference game.

Blue Mountain State was said to have ruined college forever because it’s the epitome of everything students look for in a school. It’s almost like they advertise the college lifestyle in a way that seems impossible to replicate here at Notre Dame de Namur University. As a student body, NDNU lacks the motivation and enthusiasm to generate a comparable environment. Something we as students could be proud of, a legacy to leave for future graduates to hold on to and pass on. It’s a dream that is definitely obtainable, but seemingly too far in the distance to actually achieve.

The Internet defines school spirit as the emotional support people show towards their specific institution. School spirit can be shown through a few different ways such as attending your school’s sporting events, “repping” your school colors and attire, and even attending different school functions.

The sad reality is that a lot student’s are bored, and feel like they have nothing to look forward too. College is often looked upon as the time of your life. When you’re in high school and you see the movies, and all of these viral videos that come across your Twitter and Instagram, you can’t wait to get to college and experience it first hand. The parties, the atmosphere, but here at NDNU we have little, if none, of these things. This isn’t an article bashing on the school or the Programming Board. Something has to change;

“I think the school needs a mascot, someone to help give the students here a boost and encourage them to support our events around campus,” said freshman Marquise Williams. Mascots are important to a school spiritual identity; they bring a positive attitude and contagious morale to the school.

A few years ago, this wasn’t an issue. Programming Board held about 3 different dances balanced out throughout the year, and the biggest one was the end of the year boat party. That event was pretty hard to top, which is probably why we haven’t seen a school dance since the fall of 2014. “Between budget cuts and venue availability, it’s been hard to get something together”, said Korey Serna of the Programming Board.

“There isn’t a lot to do around here, especially if you’re not 21. Sure we can go to San Francisco every once and a while, but without a car it’s hard” said sophomore Alaka’i Freitas.

Students without personal transportation also have the option to rent cars through the school due to their relationship between the University and a company known as Zipcar. Zipcar provides access to cars for all eligible drives 18+. Students can also travel by Caltrain, the commuter train, as well as local bus services.

The attendance at sporting events is a big area lacking in school spirit. “It’d be really cool if we had pep rallies in front of the gym before games; with face paint, trumpet horns, you know the works”, said junior Ashley Robinson. Could you imagine that; an army of Argonauts marching down to the soccer and softball fields, and storming into the gym to support our volleyball and basketball teams? “To build a diverse, collaborative, open and student-centered community”, celebrating the values that this school holds so close to its core.

Climate Talks in Paris

Countries around the world are finally in agreement that change is now or never. Leaders from over 172 nations met in Paris, Monday, November 30, 2015 to begin the annual United Nations Conference of Parties on climate change. This two week long event takes place in Le Bourget, France, which also happens to be a suburb of Paris that was affected by the recent terrorist attacks. With heightened security in a devastated and mourning city, all of these heads of state are showing strong political signals to unite for the planet, and also against the terrorism struck down on Paris. Over 150 countries have submitted national plans for how they would aid the global fight against climate change. The long-term goal of an agreement between all of these nations is a net zero carbon emissions in the second half of this century. That means that by offsetting the carbons that we as humans release from our environments around the world with an equivalent amount of sequestered carbon, or by buying carbon credits to make up the difference, we will have a net zero carbon footprint.

Currently China and the U.S. are two of the top carbon emitters in the world, but both are taking a leadership role in this summit. President Obama admits that the U.S. is at least partly to blame for the detrimental environmental climate changes thus far. “I’ve come here personally, as the leader of the world’s largest economy and the second-largest emitter,” President Obama stated, “to say that the United States of America not only recognizes our role in creating this problem, we embrace our responsibility to do something about it.” Pope Francis says it our moral duty to take action.

Leaders attending this monumental meeting now recognize the urgency of the problem and are at the table to come up with a plan for change. There is an overall sense of hope if we act here and now, but with a steep and long climb. Experts agree that the fact that everyone is coming to the table, it’s the beginning of a new starting point, but the fight is far from over. The science is becoming clearer and the evidence proving real. “Fourteen of the fifteen warmest years have occurred since 2000 and 2015 is on pace to be the warmest year of all.” President Obama. Global warming causes floods, droughts, extreme storms, and rising sea levels among other things. These disasters in turn effect clean water, agriculture, food supplies, and can even cause the spread of deadly diseases. Prediction models show entire islands that were countries submerged, cities along coastlines under water, and New York with a climate of Miami. The devastating probabilities are overwhelming.

The goal of the agreement is to limit global warming before it’s too late. Models forecast an increase of 2 degrees centigrade, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit max before causing disastrous consequences. So far the EU is cutting emissions by forty percent by 1990 levels, the U.S. is cutting by twenty-seven to twenty-eight percent, and China will peak their emissions by 2030. More than 180 countries have produced pledges, which count for ninety-five percent of the world’s emissions today. Unfortunately we won’t see or feel the results of whether this agreement is a success for 15 years, but we are showing signs of progress in a process that has been stagnant for decades.

Billionaire Bill Gates, leading twenty-seven other governments, philanthropists, and business leaders announced the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, which has a combined total of $350 billion in private and government wealth. This money is double what was available previously, and will be used on research and development on clean energy innovation over the next 5 years. This is adding to the optimism in laying the right foundation moving forward.

There are still many hurdles to deal with like smaller countries that can’t afford to make the changes necessary, however the UN countries are dedicated to assisting these countries for the greater good. India is currently seeing an up rise in their economic growth and does not think their economy should have to suffer by them producing less coal to make up for the damage already caused by countries like the U.S. and China. Currently they are on the growth path of producing much more emissions. Obama has promised money to help poor nations transition their economics to use less fossil fuels.

“The developing countries like China and India have a legitimate gripe–the industrialized West did create the problem.  But what’s important now is not who created the problem, but what can be done about it.  The answer is neither to punish the industrialized nations nor to inhibit the industrial growth of developing countries, but to find a way for everyone to enjoy the benefits of industrial growth without causing more damage to the environment.  I just read an interesting statistic today.  The US spends $325 million dollars a year on researching alternate energy sources.  Meanwhile, the world is spending $5.3 trillion dollars a year on fossil fuel subsidies.  Yes, you read that right–millions to trillions.  Not just the industrialized West or the developing East, but everyone, has to change their ways.” Lawrence Lujan, World History, Professor NDNU.

Unfortunately some of this progress is also overshadowed in the U.S. as the Republicans in Congress are actively trying to make sure this project is an Obama failure by making it clear that they will make sure that the U.S. doesn’t live up to any of it’s commitments in the agreement. If the U.S. Senate opposes the agreement with the U.N., it will not be made a formal treaty. “The US has to take the lead on this, in cooperation with the UN.  But I doubt if the US will even agree to a serious commitment.  Obama is a very lame duck, and I don’t see anyone replacing him who has the will, or the leadership skills to do any better. Hope you’re a good swimmer–we may soon all be up to our necks in hot water.” States Professor Lujan, NDNU.

As hundreds of millions of dollars are being pledged in Paris for clean energy and steps to prevent climate change, thousands upon thousands of empty shoes were left in an area where people would’ve been in the streets protesting climate change and supporting a world saving agreement at these Climate Talks. But as the area is locked down by security due to the terrorist attacks, the shoes were laid down in peaceful protest. The next two weeks will determine the state of our climate affairs moving forward.


Social Media Activism is Apathy

Americans don’t care about Paris. Not really. For most of us it’s an abstract concept glimpsed only in movies. For a few it’s a fond memory from a study abroad. For even fewer it’s actually a distinct place with a personal connection.

On Nov. 13, when approximately six separate attacks took place across the city, Americans were shocked not because they felt any real, unique sympathy for Paris, but rather because for the first time in 14 years, terror feels like it’s on the doorstep once again.

The impulse to make this criticism racially charged is tempting. How else might we explain why nearly 130 dead in Paris gets its own Facebook check-in widget, while the constant killing in the Middle East and northern Africa barely even makes the news anymore? That question answers itself to some degree. The violence in Syria and Iraq alone is so constant that Facebook would have to become a 365-day tragedy check-in service just to keep up.

Maybe then Facebook would do well to avoid sticking its finger in the tragedy-aid pie in the future. After all, it’s not as if individuals couldn’t already declare their safety simply by updating their own statuses like normal. Unless the site is prepared to update with a check-in widget for the tragedy de jeor of each week (which no one wants to see happen), then attempts to “help” will continue to come across as selective and motivated by Western hysteria.

What about Paris specifically should alarm us any more than any of the other horrors taking place daily across the globe?

Put somewhat less hostilely by fellow NDNU alumni Sasha Ratvitch, in a Facebook post, “My heart is with the world, no borders, no hierarchy; I hold every human’s life with value who is attacked by extremist beliefs whether they are based on religion, prejudice or profit!”

But I am willing to throw Americans a bone when it comes to wanting to examine the implications of ISIS being capable of so successfully executing a terror attack in a developed nation like France. After all, we are still the Western nation with the highest body count when it comes to Islamic terror attacks. As one of my close friends who is currently studying in Paris wrote to me after the attack, “Americans are more freaked out than the French are.”

Certainly, we should be dubious of any attempts to curtail terrorism through additional warfare. The current lack of stability in the Middle East is owed at least in part to constant interference from foreign governments, chiefly our own. If this is a war of ideologies, then it’s time to start fighting bad ideas with better ones.

We live in a world where the likes of Homeland Security, the CIA and NSA will continue to be an unfortunate necessity. But these institutions do not have to define America’s relationship with the rest of the world. Allowing Syrian refugees into the nation is the best place to start. What better way to prove an enemy’s ideology bankrupt than to accept thousands of its former citizens as our own? If Americans really wish to show they care for Paris and the lesson it taught the world, and work to defeat the enemy while they’re at it, then this is the path ahead, not changing your profile picture on Facebook.

Tis’ The Season

With final exams fast approaching for the NDNU campus, the holiday season and all its festivities come to mind. Once the semester ends and grades are in, students, faculty and staff are free to travel back home and spend the merry holidays with their families. By having such a diverse student body from countries all over the world, many cultures, traditions and experiences are celebrated during this joyous time of year.

According to Angelica Perales, a NDNU junior, her family celebrates a Latino tradition called Nacimiento, in which “[her mother] builds a miniature diorama [of the Three Kings in religious history and the family] starts a prayer on the night of Christmas Eve at eleven-thirty P.M.” and opens their presents at midnight, making it Christmas Day when the family opens their presents.

In addition to decorations, the family also prepares holiday dishes such as “tamales [of both savory and sweet variety], pan dulce [Latino sweet bread], posole [a traditional Mexican stew] and abuelita chocolate [Mexican hot chocolate].

While many of the younger members of her family want the latest video game systems, Perales and her family will be shopping for clothes, especially since several of her cousins “are having [kids].” Perales prefers “buying something [for someone] from the heart [rather] than buying something because it is expensive.”

While Justin “Link” Eddy, a NDNU junior, cannot travel easily due to his limited mobility, he enjoys his time immensely with his friends and family during the holiday seasons. Some of his favorite family traditions are to “decorate the Christmas tree and bake chocolate-chip and M&M cookies, but nothing with nuts or oatmeal.”

In honor of his Greek heritage, Eddy’s family prepares traditional Grecian dishes such as baklava [a rich pastry with layers of nuts and honey] and tiropita [a layered pastry pie with feta cheese filling].”

For holiday gifts, Eddy intends to shop for “everyone,” including his friends, family, and himself. He recommends to holiday shoppers to shop online rather than in stores, as “there are some things that [people] can only find online and not in retail stores.”

The holiday season this year is looking to be an spectacular one for NDNU students, faculty and staff, as many members of the community are returning home to their families for the three week or so holiday break. However, even with all the Christmas spirit being carried throughout the world, there are many students who cannot return home due to personal matters.

Fortunately, University Housing is offering residents who cannot return home at this time of the year temporary housing during the winter break for a moderate fee compared to Bay Area housing. If students would like to learn more about this, please contact Annabelle Bautista, Associate Director for Student Life, in the Housing and Residence Life Office on the first floor of St. Joe’s.

For those traveling or returning home to their families, Perales and Eddy had these final words to say to the Argonaut’s readers respectively: “Enjoy your holidays and the time with your family,” and “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!”