3D art on display around campus

 NECC students taking 3D foundations with adjunct art professor Dianne Pappas worked in small groups to create the artwork installations seen around the Haverhill campus.  

 “This is an advanced concept,”  said Pappas.  “It’s about creating an experience, or an environment.” 

Pappas feels it’s especially useful to the students to start experimenting with these concepts and challenges early in the semester.  

For more information, contact Dianne Pappas at dpappas.necc.mass.edu.  

Why students choose community college

Students face a lot of pressure to make decisions about their future after high school. 

Among those choices is whether to go straight to a four-year college or university, or start with a two-year community college.

Students believe that attending community college is not the same as attending a four-year school. 

There is a significant difference between the two, but in the end students receive an education.

NECC is a catalyst for freshly graduated high schoolers, a step in receiving a new degree, and a finishing point for some. 

Some students believe that if they don’t go to a four-year college or university, then they will not be able to get a better job in the future.

“I used to think that if I didn’t go to a four-year school, then I wouldn’t compare with people that did go to them. I figured if I were consistent at a school instead of transferring, a possible job prospect would want me more, but it’s not true,” said NECC Student Olivia Lucey.

Within six years, about 62 percent of students who transferred from a two-year school in 2005 and 2006 graduated with a four-year degree. 

In addition 8 percent were still working toward a degree, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s annual Signature      Report.

Students also believe that people frown on them for attending community college. 

Today’s economy is making people turn around to see how smart community college students are. They are taking courses, to prepare for the next step.

“I started off in the fall of 2013 at NECC, and I am now attending the University of New Hampshire. I still take a math course at NECC to save money. So I have couple extra bucks in my pocket,” said Lucey.

“My loan situation in the future won’t be severe. That was my focus,” said General Studies major Maddi Wilson. 

“I enjoy community college. I transferred from Stetson University in Deland, Fla. to NECC, said Communication major Nick Mazzone.

Since attending NECC, Mazzone has interned at the Matty In The Morning Show on Kiss 108,  and now works with 100.7 WZLX beacuse of the NECC internship program.

“I fell in love with radio working at Kiss 108, which made me look for a job. 100.7 WZLX from  CBS Radio was the first tocontact me, and hired me on the spot,” said Mazzone.

Mazzone is the perfect example of a student who left a university, to attend a community college, and still be just as successful.

Also, NECC offers a newly founded internship program for journalism, communication, business, and computer  information science majors.

“If I never left Stetson University, I would have never attended NECC. I also would never had a chance to intern in one of the best radio markets in the country,” said Mazzone.

There is a determination in community college students, that is surfacing.

“My grades are much better from high school,” said Wilson.

Students academically challenge themselves to prepare for the following years when going to transfer.

 They want to prove, that even though they are in attendance at a community college,  it does not set them apart from a student attending a four-year college or university.

NECC offers a wide variety of majors, which is a perfect start for students who plan on transferring to four-year schools.

“It is good preparation. I wasn’t the best in high school, but I have a better focus now,” said Lucey.

NECC also has numerous clubs, organizations, and events happening just like any other college.

“The Haverhill Campus gives off the college vibe. The only thing is driving and dorming. It’s not a big deal,” said Lucey.

There is always something happening on the NECC Haverhill campus. 

As you turn into the front driveway, there is a lit up sign advertising upcoming events. 

When walking through the hallways between classes, there are numerous displays of flyers, and pictures of clubs, sports, schedules, and events.

In the central area of The Spurk Building there are usually clubs or organizations promoting themselves, and trying to socialize with the student body to get the word out, or to have students join.

“I like walking out of The Spurk and seeing people studying, listening to music, chatting, playing catch, or just sitting cliche under a tree. Even though it’s a community college, it doesn’t hold to it’s name. It’s a campus to me,” said Lucey.

Attending a community college is not a bad choice. It can save money, and may even be less stressful. 

Some students want to get right out there and have the “college experience.”  It’s not it is all cracked up to be. 

The simple things like missing home cooked meals, friends, family, their own pillow, bed, the couch, their own bathroom, driving, and not having to wear flip flops in the shower.

 They all add up, and some students may not be ready for that.

Some students will commute to school because they prefer having the ammenities of living at home.

 Whether it is attending a four-year college or university, or attending a community college.

Community college resolves that by being a commuting school. 

They have the freedom to go home after classes, and possibly work part time. 

 Students need to prioritize and think about how they want to go about their education after high school. 

Community colleges such as NECC offer similar course, they host events, have clubs, sports teams, and organizations. 

They have most amenities that a four-year college has, but they don’t have the title of being a four-year college.

Student Life holds open house to talk about services

On Wednesday, Oct. 1, the Student Life Department held an open-house for students to learn what services are available to them on campus.

“It’s an open house, so that people can find out what happens in student life. So we have a counseling center, we have athletics, student engagement center and new student orientation,” said Dina Brown, head of Student Engagement. 

“We’re trying to make sure students know what is happening. Most of our offices are here in this building. We want to try to make sure people know what’s available.”

Representatives from many different departments of Student Life were available, including Train Wu, an Merrimack College Graduate Fellow.

“I’m part of student life. I am a Merrimack College Graduate Fellow, doing my fellowship or internship here. My job is to help connect student with community resources that are not academic related,” said Wu. 

“For example, if someone needs housing or emergency shelter, they might not know how to navigate. So they can come to me or give me a call, and I’ll be able to direct them to, hopefully, the proper services. And I’ll be here until May of this coming year.”

“Don’t be afraid, my office is in the Lawrence campus right now, on the second floor next to the writing center. My room is 231A. Feel free to give me a call, or they can come here and talk to the counselor,” said Wu.

Donna Passamato, newly appointed President of Student Senate, was also present.

“We’re trying to get all the students and clubs together and have fun and have this be a good experience,” said Passamato. 

“We’re always here to help,” said Jasmine Polanco, another Student Senator.

“Well student life is really important. It’s really important that students get involved with something besides just going to class and doing homework,” said Stephanie Bryszkowski, head of Lawrence Student Engagement. 

“You’re supposed to have fun in college too … but, the reason we do this is to make sure everyone knows that there is a student life here and that we have clubs and organizations, we have student government association, we have varsity athletics, and we have a gym that you can work out in for free.” 

Sue MacAvoy, head of Athletics at NECC, talked to students about sports related activities they could get involved with.

“We do have are Varsity athletics program. Student athletes need to be full-time students, so it is a time commitment, but it’s very rewarding,” said MacAvoy. 

“They can be a part of a team, make friends, travel throughout New England and be very successful. It really is almost like a four year college feel here in the amount of things that students can do.”

Dynamic signage comes to NECC

A student senate idea from 2012 comes into play at NECC as electronic information screens pop up all over the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses. 

In 2012 the senate thought students needed a better way of getting information through technology. They decided to start raising funds for their annual class gift to the school. They reached $2,000 in 2012 school year as well as another $2,000 in 2013 school year. 

The 2012 student senate gift was designated to help fund the electronic signage in Haverhill and the 2013 class gift was designated for Lawrence, according to David Gingerella, the Chief Financial Officer at NECC.

That was just the beginning of getting the electronic signage into place. According to Gingerella, “To complete the project correctly, the college set up a process management committee, the committee discussed how to best increase the communication college wide here at NECC, and a decision was made that the best way would be to enhance our existing electronic communication system with the addition of ADA compliant dynamic digital signage network.”

This backed up the student senate’s original idea of the electronic signage.  “The committee became known as the Dynamic Signage committee and they focused on increasing awareness of events, important information for students and emergency information. They also looked into having images on the signage as of now there is a campus map and a weather feed,” Gingerella said.

Helen Shiepe, a general studies major said, “ I would like to see more information about bake sales and charity events, and maybe a little more eye catching with the colors and photos they use.”

Darci Isabelle, a journalism major said, “I think it is great senate started this, it is going to be very beneficial.”

It’s a great way to get information about what is going on on campus, said 

Mark Morava, a general studies student. Morava is here at NECC for his first semester. He did not realize the screens were new. He thought they had already been there. Morava said he thinks it is a good thing. 

Students are happy with the new way to receive information at NECC. There are some students who think the screens are too high in the Spurk Building. Alyson Strugnell, liberal arts major said she thinks it is a bit high. She thinks it would be a little better if it were a little closer to eye level. Shiepe agreed with Strugnell and said, “Students usually walk in with their heads down or looking straight ahead they are not looking up that high much.” 

There are 11 screens on the Haverhill campus and five on the Lawrence campus. There is one screen in the Bentley Library, two screens in the B and E buildings. The Spurk building has four screens, one located right in the center lobby, one right up stairs above the lobby, one at the entrance of Spurk near the B building and one on the third floor near the elevator. There is also one screen in the Sports and Fitness Center, two in the Behrakis One-Stop Center and one in the Hartleb Technology Center. In Lawrence they are located The Dimitry building, Amesbury Street, El-Hefni, and 420 Common Street.

Dance club perserveres

By Shaina Richards, Correspondent

Conflict arose for the dance club this semester when it was discovered that they would not be able to use the dance studio.  

The dance studio was going to be used for another class at the time the dance club had planned to meet.  

Zany Dwight, a freshmen in college who attends the dance club, said everyone was “pretty bummed.” 

Since the rooms at the college have always been open for use, the college decided to put a yoga class in the dance studio because they saw an open space in the schedule. 

The instructors found out only two weeks before the club was supposed to start meeting.  Since it had already been decided, they were forced to search for another room to meet in.  

Michelle Deane, the coordinator of the college’s dance program, said it was “Really difficult.”  

It was a disappointment that the students wouldn’t have access to the mirrors in the dance studio to help them better see how they can improve, as well as the larger space to dance in.  

But the group has made the best of the situation.

However, she also said “I was surprised how Tracy (the choreographer of the dance club) was able to make everything come together.”  

Tracy DiJulia is a NECC graduate who has been the dance instructor for the past four years.  

Dean described her coreography as “fun and flirty.”  

As someone who tended to take dance more seriously, Deane said Tracy brought a “new voice” to the program.

Deane said they tried to find the biggest classroom available, and work as a team to make the dance club happen despite the inconvenience.  

She added “I am confident that next semester we will have the dance studio back.” As of right now they are meeting in the science building in a classroom.  

They push the desks in the center of the room over to the side to make room to dance.  The projector in the classroom was used to show the video of the song that they were learning how to dance to. 

The dance club is open for everyone, and the philosophy of the club is that “Everyone can dance.”  

Dwight described the dance club as “really fun” and said it was “a challenge even though I’ve been dancing a long time,” which she said she liked about it.  

People with a lot of experience, or even little to none, are all welcome to attend the club.  

She said she feels like having a mixed group like that is actually beneficial in some ways, because everybody can help each other out.  Both girls and guys participate.

The two dance instructors took some time afterwards to help people who were struggling with the dance moves.  

They ran through the steps one by one until those who were struggling felt more confident, and then went through the dance with music.  

Some girls recorded the dance on their phones as a reference to use when practicing before the next meeting.  

With everyone helping to make the best of the situation, it looks like the dance club isn’t going to be phased much by the change of location.​

For more information about the NECC dance club contact Michelle Deane at (978)- 556-3957, or visit her at her office located at C314J in the C building. You can alos reach her by email at mdeane@necc.mass.edu. 

Fun fall inspired activities

There is a crisp feeling in the air and the leaves changing colors. Fall has arrived. Fall is my favorite season here in New England. 

I love the fall foliage, watching the leaves change their color and of course the weather. It’s not too cold, and it’s not too humid. 

I like to find cheap things to do during this lovely season. Whether it be with a significant other or just with some friends, these top five cheap fun fall inspired activities will get students in the autumn mood.

One of my all-time favorite things to do in the fall is apple and pumpkin picking. 

Grab some apples or a pumpkin and this date will sure be a good one. I suggest going to Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury, Mass. 

They have acres of land including tons of trees to pick apples from, pumpkins to grab, a corn maze, hay rides and a country store with delicious caramel apples and cider doughnuts to die for.

Each year my family and I pick a pumpkin to carve for Halloween. This is a great activity to not only do with your family but also a group of friends and a significant other. 

This is also a great activity for you art lovers. Get funky with your pumpkin and make it your own.

Grab a bunch of your friends and sit by the fire making smores and roasting marshmallows. 

Grab some beers or some apple cider and sit back and relax either in your backyard or my favorite at the beach. 

This activity is best done with more people, it makes it so much more fun.

Some beaches have fire pits and allow bonfires. Get more into the Halloween mood and tell ghost stories around the fire.

 Each year I look forward to the ABC family specials that include some of my favorite Halloween themed movies which include, Casper, The Halloweentown series, and my all-time favorite, Hocus Pocus. 

For you horror lovers you can be a little more daring than I am and spend some quality time with Freddy and Jason.

My weakness each fall season is when all of my favorite pumpkin sweets come back to life.

 Every Sunday I go to Dunkins and get my pumpkin doughnut and pumpkin flavored coffee. 

This activity is a great thing to do with your significant other. 

Also, try new baking recipes that include pumpkin in them. The Food Network channel always features new pumpkin flavored recipes to get your sweet tooth going.   

I hope you enjoyed these top 5 cheap fun fall activites. Things dont neeed to break your bank to be fun. 

Should NECC celebrate Columbus?

This is a drawing of a student speaking with a security guard.
Columbus day has a questionable past | NECC Observer

Columbus Day has been a controversial holiday for a long time. There are several reasons for the controversy; first, it’s generally understood to celebrate Christopher Columbus’s discovery of America. Which he didn’t do.

What Columbus discovered was the Bahamas, and he only found them because he expected to be able to get to India — having massively underestimated the size of the Earth against (correct) scientific consensus.

As for the holiday’s history: Benjamin Harrison was the first president to instate Columbus Day as a holiday, in response to increasing violence towards Italian immigrants and citizens.

The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic-Italian organization, petitioned to have it made a federal holiday, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt did so in 1937. Nixon reaffirmed it as a federal holiday in 1972.

Even though Columbus Day is a federal holiday, it is not a national holiday.

A few states in the U.S. do not acknowledge Columbus Day as a holiday, and not all schools and workplaces have the day off. Only federal institutions are mandated to close for Columbus Day. States, schools and workplaces often disregard it because of Columbus’s problematic history. 

First: The Bahamas, as well as the American continents, were already inhabited when Columbus arrived, and so had already been ‘discovered’ for quite some time.

Second, Columbus was looking (to find India) for spices, jewels and precious metals for the Spanish monarchy. 

Columbus was imperialistic, hateful and violent. He was not respectful towards the indiginous people in the lands he colonized, and his behavior towards the people living in the lands he invaded has been described as genocidal.

He pillaged the islands and sold their inhabitants as slaves.

The heritage of Italian Americans is an important cultural touchstone that’s worth celebrating, but no one could in good faith make the case that Columbus Day does that.

What Columbus Day does is perpetuate mis-education about America’s history and celebrate imperialism, colonialism and genocide.

As a state, not federal, institution, NECC has a choice about whether to celebrate Columbus Day. The Observer Staff is not against getting a day off. But we should consider, at least, giving a different reason for it.

Market Basket Symposium

The Department of Global Studies is planning to hold a symposium called “Direct Action: Bread and Roses, Occupy, and Market Basket.” 

The symposium would be held on Oct. 24 at noon on Haverhill campus in TC-103A.

Currently the department is trying to generate interest in the students and faculty. The department is also looking for a student speaker who is familiar with theMarket Basket strikes to speak.The department is asking interested parties to contact Steven Slaner at sslaner@necc.mass.edu.

Hispanic Heritage at NECC

By Eduardo Souza

Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month, when people recognize the contributions Hispanic Americans have made to the U.S. and celebrate Hispanic culture and heritage. 

There’s a considerable and diverse Hispanic population making their own contributions to the NECC student body.  

This fall, 37 percent of all students attending NECC are Hispanic. The Lawrence campus alone has a Hispanic population of over 61 percent. Haverhill’s hispanic population is 29 percent. 

This diverse group makes up a large portion of the NECC student body. Many are taking advantage of NECC’s resources to follow their career goals and continue their education. 

Pablo Santana, an accounting major from the Dominican Republic, is currently in his second semester at NECC and hopes to continue his education after this. 

“I think I’m going to transfer to UMASS Lowell… for their accounting program,” Santana said.

Others plan to use their education to start their own businesses. 

Edwin Checo, a computer science major from the Dominican Republic, has a different plan. “I’ll probably work part-time until I build my own [computer programming] business,” Checo said. 

Hispanic students transitioning into this environment often face many different problems that native speakers never have to worry about. 

The difference in language, culture, values can be overwhelming to students trying to acclimate to the college environment. This transition can be extremely difficult, especially at the beginning. 

Some students say that NECC can do a better job of helping non-native English speakers adapt into the college environment. 

Paula Peña, a full-time NECC student majoring in Graphic Design, has lived in Massachusetts for about four years and had a hard time adapting to her new environment. 

“I think they should offer better counseling services,” Peña said. 

“I didn’t feel I had the proper guidance to help me take advantage of my time. I sort of had to figure things out by myself when I didn’t have the slightest idea how things work here,” said Peña.

NECC does offer mental health counseling services headed by Marcia Winters who can be reached at mwinters@necc.mass.edu as well as a Student Success Center which can be reached at ssc@necc.mass.edu. 

According to the Eagle Tribune, “Northern Essex was one of only three schools in Massachusetts — and the only public campus — to receive a federal Title V grant for Hispanic Serving Institutions which helped fund a Student Success Center in Lawrence.”

This transition often impacts far beyond the school environment.

To some Hispanics and other immigrants, the difference in culture is so tremendous that it’s difficult to communicate with their peers in a way that they’ll be understood. 

It’s not only students that have a difficult time with this transition process. 

Professor Ligia Domenech teaches courses from World War II to World Civilization. Domenech moved from Puerto Rico three years ago, where she had taught at the University of Puerto Rico, and said that her transition was very difficult at times, but that the college facilitated the process. 

“They [NECC] have a program here that’s like an induction program,” Domenech said. “Throughout the whole first semester, you have two hours a week of orientation … That helped a lot.”

Domenech said any school would benefit from having foreign professors. “It’s fantastic for the school to have foreign faculty,” Domenech said. “They bring a different perspective. A different style … I think it’s important that we have more of those models for the students.” 

Domenech said she faces many hardships as a Hispanic professor at NECC. She constantly feels the pressure to do well so that NECC staff see Puerto Ricans and Hispanics in a positive light. 

“When they see me, they see how Puerto Rican professors are. I’m representing all of us,” Domenech said. “And I don’t want them to have a negative image, because then they won’t contract others.”