Going Greek in College: a Modern Take

Having been accepted to college, high school seniors across the country are going about introducing themselves to their future classmates. In their introductory Facebook-group post, each rising college freshman lists notable things about themselves — not least of which being their preference on Greek life.

Adam Alfieri, sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity. After pledging TKE during the spring semester of his freshman year, Alfieri reflects on how his first year in Greek life changed his perspective on how he viewed the organization itself.

“I never thought I would join a fraternity. I saw all frats as being douchey guys who don’t respect women

Hazing is a commonality among Greek letter organizations (GLO) during the stage of pledging. According to Colgate University, hazing consists of various activities used to create an imbalance between the new pledges and established members of the GLOs. The pressures of hazing earned GLOs a bad reputation, with the generalization that all fraternities and sororities use those methods in the process of pledging. However, not all fraternities and sororities are created equal.

“I was never hazed and never had to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with. I’m against hazing morally, but it definitely gets you close with your pledge brothers and is why a lot of places do it,” said Alfieri.

Elaine Townsend Utin, Lambda Pi Chi member, shared her experience within a National Multicultural Greek  orority (MGC).

“I became involved after I attended an information session, and I enjoyed how they could identify with my culture,” said Townsend Utin.

Despite only becoming involved during her junior year of her undergraduate education at UNC-Chapel Hill, Townsend Utin is currently serving her seventh year as a part of the organization.

“As the expansion chair for Southeast region, I work for expansion experts specifically in North Carolina. The goal is to establish a new chapter by working with latinas who don’t have that organization within their campuses,” said Townsend Utin.

The lifetime commitment to Greek life is an aspect students should consider when they make their decision to rush, or not to rush.

“It is a great way to make great friends to last your college experience and likely longer,” said Alfieri.

Regardless, GLOs are not the only opportunities to make friends when you reach campus as college opens up the opportunity to become a part of various organizations.

“I don’t think every organization is the best fit for everyone; it comes down to the vision, mission, goal,” said Utin.

Greek Life At a Glance

  • There are over 9 million fraternity and sorority members in the nation
  • There are over 6,000 fraternity chapters on around 800 college campuses
  • Over 85 percent of students leaders on 730 college campuses are involved in

    GLOs

  • In 2009. and 2010, 77% of sorority members and 73% of fraternity members
  • Of the 47 Supreme Court Justices since 1910, 40 have belonged to a fraternity
  • 85% of Fortune 500 Company Executives participated in GLOs

Adam Alfieri (far left) is a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Photo courtesy Adam Alfieri

What happens when the majority protests?

Armored in orange, students all over the country left their classes on April 20 to protest the atrocities committed in their own classrooms. They walked out of class, took to the streets and protested on DC grounds, marching for their lives in record numbers.

However, some Black American students at CHS wonder: where were the walkouts when Black fathers were shot in their cars, when Black sons were shot while on their iPhones at the hands of the police?

Some Black students at CHS have reflected on what they believe to be a lack of support for Black lives during the recent increase of protests and media coverage of school shootings.

“I think that it’s good that kids are trying to do something about it, that they’re standing up for what they believe in,” said Christine Njogu, freshman.

However, some feel like it has minimized the ongoing violence against Black Americans that has been occurring for hundreds of years.

“I think that gun violence and police brutality should both be taken into account together, and it shouldn’t be one thing more concentrated on than the other, because both things have been happening,” said Njogu.

“Recently, because of all of the school shootings, I think that [gun violence has] been more of the popular thing to protest against, but now police brutality is a secondary thought,”

Leon Wambugu, Carrboro High sophomore, agrees.

“I do think police brutality has been swept under the rug because it’s  more of a minority issue, so it’s not been given as much attention: but school shootings, they’ve recently come up in the news. It doesn’t happen as often as police aggression so [school shootings are] reported much more often,” said Wambugu.

Wambugu compared the media coverage to that of plane crashes and car crashes.

“[It’s] like with plane crashes: they report them much more than car crashes because they happen less,” said  Wambugu.

Some Black students at CHS feel that the media’s lack of coverage of police brutality is para-
doxical.

“I think it’s kind of hypocritical that people care about guns when it comes to shooters, but they don’t care about the fact that law enforcement is supposed to protect you, but they’re also hurting a lot of people,” said Selia Lounes, sophomore. “I also think that it’s kind of annoying that people don’t talk about it anymore. Now that there’s a ton of shootings they’re taking more about that.”

Selia Lounes believes that the difference in the coverage and protesting is impacted by racial biases, and her twin sister, Louise Lounes, agreed.

“It’s a very different approach, not like one of them is more important than the other, but one of them definitely needs better attention” said Louise Lounes, CHS sophomore. “I don’t like saying it, but I do think it’s a race thing.”

Other students echo this sentiment. “I guess it’s a bigger issue because when white kids are being killed, they’re not being seen as dangerous,” said Wambugu.

Many other students shared this feeling of the media not supporting Black Americans as much as White Americans.

“They’re both big issues…they should both be dealt with at the same time, not put one in front of the other. I  have noticed there’s a lot more support for this ‘March for Our Lives’ than there has been than when the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests were going on,” said Selia Lounes.

“You see a lot of stuff about how when there were protests about ‘Black Lives Matter’ people got sent to jail, but when there were protests for ‘Enough is Enough’ people were getting free lodging and bus rides. It’s a very different approach, not like one of them is more important thanthe other, but one of them definitely needs better attention,” said Louise Lounes.

Overall, the interviewed students support the walkouts and protesting of gun violence in schools, but they also hope that the same energy will be put towards other forms of violence.

Roommates 101: To Pick or Not to Pick

Receive the email. “Your application status had been updated.” Open the acceptance letter. Scream a little. Then join the college Facebook group.

It’s a process familiar to most seniors who choose to apply to college. Today, insert-college/university-name-here Class of 2022 Facebook groups, as well as websites such as roomsurf.com, help prospective students connect and, oftentimes, find freshman year roommates.

Yet how much about a person can really be gleaned from one social media post? Moreover, by what criteria do students evaluate potential roommates, and how does this affect their first year experience?

In light of this recent trend, some universities have taken action. Notably, Duke University announced in March that next year’s freshman class will no longer have the option to select a roommate before enrolling. Other local universities that have opted to end roommate choice include High Point University and Wake Forest University.

Rachel Jensen, a first year at UNC Chapel Hill, estimates that almost all her classmates found their first year roommates on Facebook.

“In my experience, 90 percent of people go in choosing their roommate…it’s definitely far more common,” said Jensen.

While in the minority, Jensen — who was assigned a roommate randomly after filling out a short survey — says she and her roommate live well together.

“We are able to balance each other out,” said Jensen. “I’m lonely when I go home and I have my single-person room.”

Anna Kemper, a senior at CHS, says the number of people who “go random” at Butler University, where she will be a student next year, is a lot larger. She trusts the system and isn’t too worried about not having control over her roommate.

“Even if I’m not best friends with [my roommate] I don’t have to see them all the time,” said Kemper. “There would only be a huge issue if she’s really mean or doesn’t have good hygiene.”

Savannah Dolan, a senior at CHS, and Maura Holt-Ling, a freshman at UNC Chapel Hill, both chose their freshman year roommates before matriculating.

Dolan choose her roommate through Facebook so she wouldn’t have to worry about being put with someone she isn’t compatible with.

“You don’t have to stress out about being put with someone you don’t have similarities with, or someone you don’t think you’re going to be able to be good friends with and live with for a year,” said Dolan.

She and her roommate were immediate friends and Facetimed for three hours before committing to room together.

Holt-Ling also felt an instant connection with her roommate after meeting online and going through what many students dub “roommate dating.”

“We just hit if off right away,” said Holt-Ling.

Kemper opted for a random roommate since she doesn’t know anyone else going to her college and since the university strongly encouraged it.

Jensen, on the other hand, said the decision was basically made for her.

“I decided where I wanted to go to college kind of late,” said Jensen. “I missed the wave of people looking [for roommates] on Facebook.”

Duke University cited diversity as one of the main reasons for their recent policy change. According to a university statement, when students have the option to choose their roommate, they generally gravitate towards students with “very similar backgrounds to their own.”

“Research shows that the more diverse the interactions among students, the better equipped they are for life after Duke,” the letter continued.

Holt-Ling and Dolan both say they have a fair amount of similarities with their respective room-
mates.

“I wanted to find someone who shared a lot of the same interests as me,” said Dolan.

“I reached out to [my roommate] initially because we had some of the same music tastes and liked the same TV shows,” echoed Holt-Ling.

Still, they also emphasized that they and their roommates are distinct people.

“My roommate and I have some things in common, but not everything,” said Holt-Ling.

Jensen feels she and her roommate are less similar.

“We’re pretty different personality wise,” said Jensen. “She’s definitely more outgoing than me … I appreciate that, because I feel like it encourages me to put myself out there a little more.”

Kemper added that similarity does not  equal compatibility.

“A lot of friends I have now I’m complete opposites with,” said Kemper.

All four students emphasized that whether or not someone chooses their roommate before college or is assigned one randomly, they can gave a great first year experience.

A look at Parental Celebration at CHS

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day: a worldwide honoring of parenthood. Whether you’re the one celebrating this holiday or the one being celebrated, these two holidays are an ongoing tradition that have been eminent through history. This year, Mother’s Day was Sunday, May 13th, and Father’s Day is Sunday, June 17th. Both of these holidays date back to the Greek and Roman empires, with festivals being held to honor mothers in their culture and to honor the mothering goddesses.

But, Anna Jarvis created today’s Mother’s Day, using this holiday to remember her mother who had just passed away. Jarvis worked to popularize this holiday and even worked with local floral companies to promote it.

This sprouted the origin of the next holiday, Father’s Day. It began when Sonora Smart-Dodd thought up the idea to honor her father while at a Mother’s Day sermon. Her mother had died at a young age and her father was there along the way to raise the children. He was a Civil War veteran and a widower, and she believed that he deserved just as much honor as mothers did, thus creating the holiday Father’s Day. Not long after, this holiday too become commercialized, following in the steps of Mother’s Day.

Here at CHS, many students celebrate these two holidays, but many teachers also do so as parents. Some of Carrboro’s teachers have kids, making them the subject of celebration on these holidays.

One of these teachers is Carrboro’s engi- neering teacher, Dr. Jeffrey Arthurs. Dr. Arthurs has a son, aged 20, who attends the University of Florida. While it may be tough to try and get together, they make an effort every year.

“We try to do something special,” says Arthurs. “That includes going somewhere, doing something together.  He’s finishing his third year at Florida, and it’s been a bit hard to do things with timing, but we try every year.”

While it may be onerous to meet every year for Father’s Day, it is the meaning of  the holiday that makes it truly special.

“I think that it’s one day that allows me to really be proud of being Joshua’s father. I’m reminded of the awesome responsibility and I celebrate the joys of seeing him grow up and become an outstanding adult,” says Arthurs.

Even though the holidays of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are increasingly commercialized, it doesn’t detract from the meaning of each one. While the celebration may be different for each family, it all has the same backstory and purpose. It is meant to honor parents and celebrate how they’ve changed and influenced their children.

Illustration by Nina Scott-Farquharson

A Tale of Two Citation Tools

Recently, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools shifted from using EasyBib as its primary citation maker tool to NoodleTools. The reason: EasyBib started flooding its site with ads.

So what is NoodleTools? Essentially, NoodleTools is a tool similar to EasyBib in that it helps the user properly format and order citations. Carrboro High School’s library website explains that the district no longer sub- scribes to EasyBib and has switched to NoodleTools. However, one can still find EasyBib on the Google Apps page.

There has been some retaliation by Carrboro High School students, especially since some teachers now require that students use NoodleTools for project citations.

Some students prefer EasyBib for its feature set and simplicity.

“I think it’s really convenient to use,” commented Cora Van Raay, a sophomore at CHS, when asked her opinion of EasyBib. “I don’t really like NoodleTools, because you have to put in  all the information yourself, and it takes a lot of time.”

NoodleTools markets itself as a paid resource for educators by educators. Primarily, its selling points as a citation tool are the number of options available to adjust and the ability for teachers to communicate with their students along the way. NoodleTools aims to turn students from basic users into experts throughout the course of multiple projects.

EasyBib, on the other hand, tries to be the quick-and-easy citation generator. The citation builder textbox is the first thing a student sees on the site. Gathering sources flows fluidly by having users fill out information one piece at a time. EasyBib also automatically searches websites for information such as authors, publishers, publishing dates and credibility, which eliminates a good chunk of the work. The site offers both a free and paid service, the latter of which removes ads and unlocks some other features.

But how much of an issue are the ads?

“Personally I don’t really notice the ads,” said Van Raay. “I don’t really care because they’re not really getting in the way of anything.”

However, others do see these advertisements as an issue. Because loading advertisements takes a while to process on slower internet connections, navigating through EasyBib can waste minutes of one’s time.

“EasyBib’s got all those ads, so it slows it down a lot,” explained Maxwell Luce, CHS freshmen. He finds that both resources are fairly comparable. “I’ll probably switch to NoodleTools soon; it’s just a matter of getting familiarized with the website.”

Illustration by Ryx Zan

When News Stories are Forgotten

Puerto Rico, the opioid crisis, Flint: all big headlines from months ago that spread across social media.

Google Trends uses numbers to represent search interest over time, with 100 representing peak popularity. In September of 2017, the term “Puerto Rico” was at 100, and, by only a month later, the term had dropped to 32.

More than four months have passed since Hurricane Maria plowed through Puerto Rico, leaving the island devastated and desperate for help. When the incident first happened, social media sites were filled with thoughts and prayers and fundraisers to help citizens in need after the devastation.

Four months later, about one-fourth of the population in Puerto Rico is still without electrical power according to The New York Times. The island’s leaders have announced they will not be able to pay any of their more than $70 million debt for the next five years due to the damage caused by Maria.

Despite Puerto Rico’s ongoing struggle, its social media ranking has dropped precipitously.

So what does this say about people? Do people just not care about news stories for an extended period of time? Or are the news stories not being reported? What is the cause of this 68-point drop?

Part of the cause could be where people get their news from. In the past three months, The New York Times has reported on some aspect of the crisis in Puerto Rico over 20 times. Yet, when you log onto social media, there is nothing about Puerto Rico. Articles are not being shared to the same extent they were months ago, and figures with large followings are not posting about the news. The problem remains that the information is not regularly broadcast to users. Instead, one must actively search for stories on Puerto Rico or Flint,  Michigan because they aren’t in the headlines when someone turns on the news.

In Flint, Michigan, there are still 12,000 homes that need pipe replacements. Stories like Flint are far from over, and it’s hard to help alleviate the devastation when you don’t know what’s happening.

While social media can be good for speedy facts, it is not good if you’d like an in depth story on an issue. To fill in any gaps of knowledge, it is best to use both social media and direct sources such as to ensure you are up to date.

How-to: prom on a budget

Fourth quarter has started for CHS, and if that weren’t stressful enough, another important event is coming up: Carrboro’s prom. Prom can put a lot of pressure on students, especially in regards to expenses.

Many students don’t consider prom an option because of its notoriously high cost. There are students who can’t afford a new outfit, new shoes, hair and makeup, accessories and dinner reservations for just one night of fun, and there are others who simply don’t want to spend an obscene amount of money on a school dance.

However, I’m here to tell you that there are ways to save money and still feel glamorous on prom night.

One way to save is through Cinderella’s Closet, a national program that provides donated dresses and accessories to girls who otherwise couldn’t attend prom. Christ United Methodist Church in Southern Village hosts the Cinderella’s Closet for students in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, and it’s open to anyone. Similarly, borrowing a friend’s or older sibling’s dress or tux is an easy way to lower your prom expenses.

Many thrift stores also have unique options for dresses and men’s formal wear, and you’re more likely to find something vintage if that’s more your style. You can also find shoes there, as well as handbags, ties and bowties. Department stores or online shops will often have sales on prom outfits, although it might take some searching to find them.

Boutonnieres and corsages are another added cost for students. Local flower shops can give you nice varieties, but regular grocery stores such as Harris Teeter or Food Lion can also have cheaper options. Or, make your own out of flowers from a garden or local market. There are thousands of DIY tutorials online for this. Another idea is to just forgo the flowers altogether! You can still have a fun time at prom without flowers on your wrist or lapel.

Many students worry about how to style their hair and makeup for prom, but that’s an easy fix. Some opt to get both done by a professional, but there are less expensive solutions, including your own family! Have an older sibling or a parent help you with hair and makeup, or even ask a friend if they’ll do it for you. There’s no need to worry about looking good and saving money, because you can do both!

Finally, there’s the issue of food. Countless plans detailing dinner reservations, the amount of people in a group, who will pay, etc., can be frustrating and overwhelming. But, of course, there are simple solutions. First of all, going with a larger group of friends could mean you split the cost of dinner and save money overall. If that’s not your vibe, you can choose to go to a cheaper restaurant–who says you need to have a five-course, five-star meal before prom? Hit up Wendy’s, Chick-fil-a, Elmo’s or another more casual restaurant for an affordable meal. Besides, prom will have snacks and drinks, as well as plenty of dancing, so you probably won’t want to fill up anyways.

Although prom can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be! There are plenty of ways to make it low-cost and still have fun. This year, CHS prom will take place on Saturday, April 21, at the Governor’s Club. You can buy tickets online or at lunch, and there are scholarships available for them, covered by the PTA.

 

Failed New Year’s resolutions

Every New Year, people across the world discuss what they will do to grow in the new year. However, by the time March rolls around, most New Year’s Resolutions are left in the dust, leaving many — including CHS students — to wonder if a new year really does mean a new me.

Katie Brannum, sophomore, made the New Year’s Resolution to make her bed, be more cleanly and have better organization habits.

“I need to be cleaner and more organized, so I don’t have to clean my room every weekend,” said Brannum.

However, Brannum quickly forgot her New Year’s Resolution by the second day of 2018. She decided that the resolution was too much effort to maintain and that it would be best to fall back on her old habits. Brannum thinks New Year’s Resolutions are pointless and forgotten within a few days. She also believes there is no such thing as New year, New Me.

“You can’t be a new person every year. You’d have to change everything and be completely different,” said Brannum.

Cora Therber, sophomore, made a New Year’s Resolution focusing on their happiness and self-health.

“My New Year’s Resolution was to do more things that I enjoy with my free time,” said Therber.

Therber has been gradually working on this goal since last year when they realized that they didn’t actively seek out the things they enjoy during their free time. Therber is now focusing their free time on doing the things that bring them joy and allow them to live their life to the fullest.

“I feel like it will just be good for me because it will make my life better and more fun,” said Therber.

Therber thinks most people don’t follow through with their New Year’s Resolutions. However, when people commit to a resolution and focus on it, they can create a lot of positive change within their life.

Paw La La, sophomore, made it her New Year’s resolution to get to bed earlier and procrastinate less on her homework assignments. She made this resolution because she realized that she was always drowsy and unable to focus during class; she needed to make a change.

“I feel like a zombie when I don’t get enough sleep, and I feel like the main reason for that is procrastination,” said La.

La says she was able to keep the resolution for one week, but after that she fell back on her old habits. La doesn’t think New Year’s resolutions are helpful because she makes a similar resolution each year and nothing changes. She also thinks that a New Year isn’t a strong enough force to motivate a significant change in someone’s life.

“I don’t think [New Year’s Resolutions] are helpful because it’s not a force that can help you do something. If you want to do something, you can start at anytime. If you have your heart into it, of course you can accomplish it” said La.

La thinks change has to be motivated from within an individual and not by a change of the year.

“Just because it’s a New Year doesn’t mean you are going to change. The year has changed, not you,” said La.

New Years is a time to celebrate a new beginning, to reflect and to revise one’s lifestyle. However, most people make goals that are quickly forgotten because the power to change doesn’t come from the changing of the year, but rather from the determination within. If we focus on obtaining a goal, anything is possible.

There are several good books that focus on how to motivate to achieve goals. Drive by David Pink shares secrets for how to accomplish your goals by focusing on self-actualization. Self-actualization is the human desire to reach the highest standard possible and be the best we can be. Pink’s analysis of motivation can be used by students to help them accomplish their goals such as getting a certain test score and improve their daily satisfaction. Charles Duhigg wrote The Power of Habit, which focuses on using the patterns within our lives to achieve success. Duhigg explains why habits exist and how to change unhealthy habits to promote success. Students can use Duhigg’s advice to break their bad habits such as procrastination that prevent them from succeeding in the classroom.

Whether your New Year’s Resolution has been left in the dust or not, it is never too late for a change. All you have to do is find the motivation within.

Illustration by Ruby Handa

Which English Teacher are You?

Do you ever lie awake at night, counting sheep and wondering which CHS English teacher is your spirt teacher? Well, wonder no more! The Jagwire finally presents a way to answer your most burning question! Sleep happy knowing the truth is only a quiz away.

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Jagwire Judy

How can I prevent myself from sleeping through my alarm or hitting snooze a thousand times? No matter what I do, I can’t seem to get myself out of bed in the morning — help!

-Ms. Morning Misery

Ms. Misery,

Great question! Even as a self-proclaimed morning person, I too find getting out of bed a difficult and overall unpleasant experience, especially during these winter months. I could advise “adopting a regular sleep schedule” or just “sleeping more,” but I’m guessing you’re a smart cookie and you don’t need me to tell you that. Instead, here are three (hopefully) more helpful ways to unleash the morning person in all of us, or at least make sure you’re never late to first period again.

1. The light trick. Set two alarms: one for when you need to get up and one 15 minutes earlier. When the first alarm goes off, open your curtains and turn on a dim light source. (I have string lights around my window, but a small lamp works too.) Now, crawl back into bed! Enjoy the coziness, grab a few extra minutes of sleep, and by the time the second alarm goes off the light will have started to wake you up gently.

2. Charge your phone across the room. Getting out of bed to turn off your alarm will wake you up quickly and effectively as well as, uh, get you out of bed. You also eliminate the risk of accidentally hitting snooze while half asleep. This strategy has the added bonus of keeping you from using your phone right before you go to bed, which will improve your sleep quality. Maybe you’ll even crack open a book before catching some “Zs”. Who knows?

3. Befriend mornings. There are ways to making the morning a time of day you look forward too, not dread. Try completing all your arduous tasks the night before, like packing your lunch and getting all your school supplies together. Reserve the early hours for things that relax you and prepare you for the day ahead, like drinking a mug of coffee or tea, reading the paper or scrolling through social media. Ideally, mornings should not be for rushing around half-asleep, and recognizing this will make conquering them a little more enjoyable.

Sweet dreams,
Jagwire Judy

How can I get off Nicotine?
– Anonymous

Anonymous,

Addiction is a serious issue. I am neither a counselor nor a physician, so if you think you or a friend is addicted to anything, please seek professional help. I can tell you that when it comes to addiction of any kind, friends play an important role in recognizing when someone needs help. Please look out for each other, and know that there is nothing wrong with admitting you need help. If you ever wan to talk about addiction related issues, Linda Karcher (in the CIC) is qualified.

Best of luck,
Jagwire Judy