Why do you love your mom?

I spoke with a few people about why they love their mom regardless of some embarrassing moments. Check out what they said!

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Modern day friendships: Little to no effort required

If I read one more article describing the detrimental effects of social media on modern day friendships, I may just tweet about it.

There are a plethora of arguments that claim that our media-based world is redefining the concept of friendship, but in actuality, humans are becoming too self-absorbed to be able to sustain true friendships. We blame the advancement of technology instead of looking toward the heart of the issue: the users of technology.

There is no doubt that the social media landscape has changed the way we communicate. As of March 2013, Facebook reported having 1.11 billion users, Twitter, 200 million users and Instagram, 100 million users. Don’t blame the trend; blame the trendsetters.

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are not to blame for the decreasing value of friendship. These social media websites are not forcing people to depersonalize their relationships. But human beings will always look for a scapegoat.

In the past, friendships were taken as seriously as romantic relationships. Aristotle explained it best when he wrote, “Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.”
Today, people have exchanged this concept for self-promotion and the appearance of having friends. We no longer perform the simplest expressions of friendship by giving another person our time, trust and thought. Instead, we prefer likes, favorites and retweets.

We mistakenly believe that our mere physical presence serves as a sufficient dedication of our time to another individual. A friend deserves uninterrupted time and attention, not the leftover scraps of energy that remain at the end of the day.

To give a part of oneself to another individual through verbal expression – to open up one’s soul, to trust another person – is now terrifyingly difficult. The number of people who can actually be trusted is diminishing because of the number of people we blindly welcome into our lives via staged profiles. Our egos seem to deduce that if we don’t get X number of likes, we aren’t attractive, intelligent or fill in the blank.

When a friendship requires more effort than we desire to put forth, it is thrown aside because we subconsciously know that there are 1.11 billion other people out there who are in search of another effortless Facebook friendship.

It is easier to be distant friends with 100 people than it is to be meaningful friends with one. With a multitude of friends, relationships become about what you can receive instead of what you can give.

If our friendship is devoid of sacrifice, then consider us strangers. If the question, “What can I do for this individual?” isn’t popping up inside our heads, then we are unaware of how friendship works.

I grew up under the label “popular,” but it was really a less sophisticated epithet for “people pleaser.” It appeared as if I had a lot of friends, but in reality, all I had was lists of acquaintances. People thought that they knew me because of a shared class, sport or town – common interests that initiate a friendship but should never determine one.
I felt it necessary to divide my time amongst these “friends” because I was afraid of being alone – as if not having a person by my side at all times meant that I was incapable of being loved, or that having a Friday night to myself meant that I was a loser.

Today, my solitary moments are my highest-valued moments. I can count my close friends on my hands, and I’m not afraid to admit that staying in on a Friday night would be the highlight of my hectic week.

I can be that way while actively posting from my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. If I am having a problem with a friendship, I don’t attribute it to an online medium, but rather, I accept that the problem is rooted in personal differences.

It is time to stop observing the communication problem and start administering a solution. Social media is here to stay, and maybe the solution is as simple as relearning how to be a friend. How ironic is it that the more complex the world becomes, the simpler the concepts we forget?

A Title Worth Celebrating: Marseilles-Provence Capitale Européene De La Culture

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Marseilles has been labeled many things: “the city of water”, “the oldest and second largest city in France”, “the city of the sun” etc. Finally, it receives a title with some oomph: “the Capital of Culture 2013.”

As if the French needed anymore bragging rights, their latest title is one highly sought after by every city in Europe. It requires a selection panel of thirteen elect people to determine the winner. It was first started in 1985 by Mélina Mercouri and Jack Long and 30 cities have been awarded the title every since.

To be selected, the city must create a yearlong artistic program involving all areas of art: dance, music, theatre, science, sport, cuisine, heritage…you name it! As a result, Marseilles and Provence will host over 400 events, 60 exhibitions, and numerous artistic displays throughout 2013. Interested in what events will take place? Take a look for yourself here!

This weekend, January 12th and 13th, commences the “opening weekend” of the festivities featuring a treasure hunt, fireworks, and a light parade. Click here to see a full description of this weekend’s itinerary.

The European way of ‘sharing the wealth’ limits France from receiving the award again for at least another 10 years. So enjoy it while you can Francophiles!

What does this event mean for the French citizen? Other than being surrounded by the flood of camera-carrying-tourists this year, on a positive not you get 365 days of exquisite culture within your own borders!
What does this event mean to me? I am currently staying in Gemenos, a short 15 kilometers distance from the city itself!
What does this event mean to you the reader, who I am sure is at a much further distance? Besides learning something new from a report of an eyewitness, I have removed any hesitation for booking that flight to France.
If you are in the business of travel, rest assured that your job is secure for at least another year. You’re welcome.

These girls are ‘Scouting’ for another successful year at the Holiday Light Show

You know them for their addictive cookies, but the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County may have a new claim to fame: The Holiday Light Show. In Bayport, Long Island the Girl’s Scouts are hosting their 9th annual Holiday Light Show from 5pm to 9pm everyday from November 29th to December 30th.

“We reach people with the show from Manhattan all the way to Montauk” said Director of Public Relations, Christine Terzella. Last year over 50,000 visitors made their way to the Holiday Village to take part in the event. “This year we are hoping to be even bigger than last year and hopefully break that record” said Terzella.

What about this event brings in so many people? The main attraction is the mile long drive through a wooded trail filled with numerous light displays. The display is put together by the Girl Scout’s staff of volunteers. After the light show visitors are welcome to enter the Holiday Village for refreshments or have their picture taken with Santa.

Another special feature of the event is the “Hall of Trees”. This display features different Christmas trees designed by each troop, decorated with items for someone in need. Troop 2681 from Wading River, New York designed a “pet tree” which was decorated with pet products that correlated with their mission to help animals.

The Girl Scouts use their light show not only to raise money for their philanthropy but as an outlet to raise awareness for their specific missions. In support of Troop 2681’s mission to help animals they used the Holiday Village, prior to it’s opening up to the public, to throw an animal themed party.

The party included pizza and a live show from “Nature Nick,” an exotic animal entertainer. “This is the first year we are doing this for the Girl Scouts. They were a great audience, hopefully we will be back to do another show again for 2013” said licensed animal handler Nick Jacinto, who trains rescued zoo animals.

Although there was no denying the animal entertainment, food, and light show were much enjoyed, these girls never lost sight of what mattered most during the Holidays. Scout member Isabella Licati, from Troop 764 spoke for the entire Scouts when she said, “the best part of it all is getting to help other people.” If you haven’t already, take a drive through the Holiday Light Show; it’ll put you in the Holiday spirit while helping someone in need.

Cinematography by Jonathan Kudzmas

Hofstra students unaware yet appreciative of simple dorm renovations

I interviewed Hofstra University students living in Estabrook and Vander Poel after revealing some unknown recent renovations to Hofstra Dorms. While a full renovation is still fully desired, students reactions were more understanding of Hofstra faculties’ efforts to creating the best living environment.

part 4 of 4. Check out other posts on the topic: Hofstra dorming: the ongoing renovation process, A personal perspective of dorming conditions, and Dorm quality starts with maintenance, but how trustworthy are they?

Hofstra dorming: the ongoing renovation process

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Vice President of Students Affairs,  Sandy Johnson and Vice President of Facilities and Operations, Joseph Barkwill, meet with me to discuss what goes behind Hofstra’s renovations. 

Molding, leaking, and decaying, oh my! These are some of the problems Hofstra University students who live in the towers Vander Poel and Estabrook have. With a good portion of tuition allocated for rooming, some students are unhappy with their current living conditions. Good news students! Hofstra has heard your complaints and is doing all they can to address the problems.

“Our belief is to remain in a state of positive restlessness,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Sandra Johnson. “What we are doing to improve is good, but there is always room for more improvements.”

What exactly are these improvements? Hofstra is currently two years underway into their three year plan to renovate all six towers. The time it takes to completely renovate each building allow Hofstra to manage only two per Summer.

“Literally the day after commencement we start taking apart the buildings” said Vice President of Facilities and Operations Joseph Barkwill.

Summer classes and activities hinder their ability to renovate them at once because they must keep a good portion of the dorms available. Vander Poel and Estabrook are the last two buildings scheduled for renovation this upcoming Summer.

Each renovation includes new furniture, flooring, blinds, fire alarm system, security system, HVAC units, and a complete painting. This comes with a price tag of 1.4 million dollars for each tower. The towers will also receive new windows which equals an additional 4.5 million dollars for all six.

Students who live in the two unrenovated towers may feel frustrated with current room problems there are things they can do prior to renovation. By using the Hofstra Portal, a work order can be put in to public safety who will respond and fix the problem in a timely manner.

To some students, having perfect dorm quality seems that it should be an unquestionable priority but there is a much more complicated process behind it all. Plans for improvements are always underway, ranging from a two to five year planning process.

Johnson describes the altercations to Hofstra facilities as “constant, you never stop. Students dictate what changes they want to see and we listen.” Through the data they find in work orders, the results of the Quality of Life Survey, and any other suggestions they receive, Student Affairs works within the realms of their time and budget to offer the best solutions to Hofstra students.

My Infographic

Infographic created by Jennifer Sekyi

 part 3 of 4. Check out other posts on the topic: Hofstra students unaware yet appreciative of simple dorm renovations, A personal perspective of dorming conditions, and Dorm quality starts with maintenance, but how trustworthy are they?