Best of On Campus Magazine

Best dance party of the year
By B. Crane
Around 200 people came to Hillel’s Thanksgiving Diner for the homeless which was the day before Thanksgiving. There were many tiny kids that danced for hours. There enthusiasm got every one dancing. They were doing The Worm, break dancing and The Robot. Very popular was the group dancing of the Electric Glide and Cha Cha Slide
There was line dancing and impromptu dance circles formed of strangers. There was a predominantly black sorority, religious Hillel Jews and Indian students dancing with the kids forming circles. Hillel’s Marcos Askenazi excellently mixed the music and organized the event. The most popular songs were Cotton Eyed Joe, Jai Ho and Sweet Caroline.
For most of 5 hours every inch of the dance floor was taken with as many as 50 dancers and many taking pictures. Alpha Sigma Sorority showed the best dancing ability of any this year. Many free items were given out. The kids were from 5 homeless shelters. The emcee asked at the beginning what we are thank full for on this day. Most don’t realize all they have comparatively to others in the world. For one day, every one forgot their problems. The children had a great time. At closing many didn’t want to leave because of all the fun they were having.

A Message of Hope: Luminaries from NY1 and State Senator at Pre-Solidarity
By B. Crane
Anchors Dominic Carter and Cheryl Wills of cable’s NY1, State Senator Kevin Parker and community activist Josephine Johnson spoke on Thursday October 30th at Brooklyn College Student Center. The audience reacted very positively to them. The event was put together by President Shaun Pascal of BSSO, a Business, Finance and Management senior. It was interrupted by a fire detector going off.
Dominic Carter of cable’s NY 1 had a moving speech. He called up students and asked them what major or job they are aiming for. He asked them what they will do if they fail. Student Nadine Alexander said “there is no choice.” He said don’t ever make excuses. What ever obstacles you have, he can match with 3 times that. No one wants to hear you whining. He said tell me how bad you want it.
Carter revealed his childhood which is in his book titled “No Mama’s Boy”. His mother had mental disorders and beat him badly. He was raised in a Bronx projects. He attended 5 high schools in 4 years but graduated on time. When he told his school counselor he was going to college, he was told he would end up in jail or dead. Carter said don’t let anyone define you.
To show him, he graduated college in 3 years. He was turned down 3 times for graduate school at Syracuse University till he made it. He said if he made it, you can and go further. He said no one ever gave you anything in life, so give yourself a hand. He said it didn’t matter where you start in life but where you are going.
Carter said if not for the black woman in our community, we’d be done. He said “My grandma got a PHD in loving me and never gave up on me”. To the female students he said when you hear “Ooh baby, baby just give me a minute,” it can’t happen in a minute. That one minute can wreck your life!”
 Carter said,  “Years ago, we weren’t allowed to open a book. You’re in college now; and don’t blow it! You are the leaders and don’t have a right to do less than your best.” Anchor woman Cheryl Wills asked a few trivia questions that were important, like name the first bill that gave blacks the right to vote. Carter speaks to youth groups about the importance of education and achievement. He has received The Samuel P. Peabody Award from the Citizen’s committee for children, for his vision, innovation and dedication to children and families. The evening embodied the spirit of the subtitle to his book, “How I got out of past and embraced the future.”

Veterans Honored for Veterans Day at Hillel
By B. Crane (This was written for 2 rival newspapers in a partnership with in the spirit of Americans uniting).
November 10th 2010 the day before Veteran’s Day, there was a luncheon at the Hillel Building. There were about eighty attendees including dignitaries like the Borough President Liaison Leslie Lewis, Vice President Steve Little and Vice President Milga Morales. There was a color guard, taps and roll call. The highlight was the three USO singers who were on televison, singing at the New York parade. They sang famous old war songs and many from the 1940’s like Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. I thought they sounded too good and must be mouthing the words and using a CD, until one of their microphones went dead and you could hear their voices.
“It is the first time in forty years I knew the words to the songs,” said Brooklyn Borough President Criminal Justice Liaison and World War II veteran Leslie Lewis, who is in his 80’s. One party joked that with such attractive USO singers could make him enlist in the service.
[ There were moments of silence for those who gave their lives for the country. “It was touching and moving and brought tears to my eyes,” said the Magner Center’s Pat Finch.]
“Vets that are united and active can accomplish a lot,” said Mike Gold, who was one of the founders of the BC Veterans Affairs Office. The luncheon was emceed by student Jesus Gonzales, who is on the swimming team and a life guard. He said, “Freedom is not free.” Vice President Milga Morales reflected on members of her family that served. She said veterans are globally engaged; they bring their experience to BC and are the best citizens. She said we should embrace and engage them.
The keynote speaker was Colonel David Everett, who has two Bronze stars and attended BC.
[He said that America will only remain the land of the free as long as she is home of the brave.]
The Saint John’s University ROTC members were present, as were some disabled veterans from SOFEDUP. There was a wide age range. The event brought together many that had never been to Hillel. Many departments were represented in attendance from Puerto Rican and Latino Studies Department Chairperson Maria Perez Y Gonzalez, Deputy Chairperson Antonio Nadal, Associate Dean for Student Affairs Jacqueline Williams, Special Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs Dave Bryan, Student Center Administrator Ryan Buck and Facilities Senior Supervisor Abraham Hunter.
Claudette Guinn, the Veterans Affairs and Counseling Center’s Certifying Official, presented awards. She has been the backbone for twenty five years. The BC Veterans Office, assists veterans’ transition to college life, help with paperwork on deferments, registering and financial aid. They can also refer veterans for counseling. They are located in 0303 James Hall.
The USO singers ended with comedian Bob Hope’s theme song, Thanks for the Memories. The chicken, salmon, and lo mein prepared by Hillel got good reviews. An 81-year-old veteran said he served in wars, now he will serve himself the food for seconds.
In Memory of John Smoot’s recent passing
John Smoot was loved by many. “He was friendly, kind heated, very special and a great friend to everybody” said Custodian Claudia Buckner. He worked in Central Routing and delivered packages to the departments.
His boss, Keith Holland said of John Smoot: “He was a civil service stock worker. John has been working with the Central Routing Department at Brooklyn College for about seven years. He had large family base. John Smoot was a fine man to talk to; he had so many stories on how things used to be. It felt refreshing at times; because you work in an area you have no history about it. Mr. Smoot was the oldest employee that ever worked for this department and yet you would have thought he was one of the youngest. He was very energetic, enthusiastic and very helpful of being the only full time person I had. John was my right hand, when I wasn’t around or simply out sick, John will always tell me” Don’t worry I got your back”. He was about 68 years old. I’m going to miss him because of the warm person he was. One good guy!!”
[We will miss, REST IN PEACE John Smoot”.]
♫ A Chorus Line composer playing our songs and it wasn’t the sting.
It was just like the way we were♫
By B. Crane

Marvin Hamlish, composer and performer is best known for his smash Broadway hit “A Chorus Line” and for such film scores as “The Way We Were” and “The Sting”. He is one of only 12 people to win all 4 major US performing awards (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) plus a Pulitzer Prize.
Mr. Hamlish doesn’t have the classic He Man look and kids about it. He said he was asked to write for the James Bond movie for obvious reasons.
He wrote the title song and went to the attractive Carly Simon’s house to play it for her. Her husband, James Taylor wasn’t home. He said the song Nobody does it Better was autobiographical.
Hamlish says that in the movie the Sting, he was the body double for Robert Redford and Paul Newman. “It was music you enjoy, good lyrics to listen to and to sing to” said Patti K. Many instrumental songs he played were solos. He does not have a great voice and where the singing was crucial his tenor accompanied him. All performers are not as good in person, because in the studio they have a full orchestra, dubbing and mixing.
Tenor J. Mark Mcvey played on tour in Les Miserables for almost 3,000 performances. It translates to The Miserable John. A French title helps it. He has accompanied Hamlish for 21 years. An anonymous piano teacher said that he is technically amazing.
Most people only hear the right hand but he has a great left hand. He played in unison with the singer but his solos were too fast with the right hand. Hamlish was the rehearsal pianist on Funny Girl with Barbara Streisand. To the young that don’t know what a record is, he explains that “it is a CD with a goiter condition.”
Years ago he was offered a big break if he appeared in LA. He was scared of flying. He got cured after a 60 hour train ride cross country. He has since visited the Dalai Lama. “At Butler University in Indiana many years ago, I saw his play “They’re Playing Our Song”. It is based on Hamlish’s relationship with song writer Carol Bayer Sager. He sat in the audience next to me and I got his autograph” said Carolina Capehart.
There was total attention and quiet when he performed for the almost 2000 in attendance. The sound was good and the lighting didn’t distract from the subject. He had a question and answer session. It showed his ad lib ability which is why he did so well on the talk shows. He asked for people to name a phrase and than wrote a song about it. He was asked for advice for getting into the business. He said his mother told him to have a plan B and marry rich.
A security guard that didn’t want her name revealed, said “the music was pleasant and calming instead of the loud music.” The college received 20% of the proceeds from the CD’s sold that night. I spoke to the tenor’s wife; Christie Tarr-Mcvey, who was an actress and singer on Broadway in Tommy and Dr. Jekyll. Tarr-Mcvey was selling CD’s in the lobby. I asked which college fund the money goes to. She joked by saying it goes to her 2 kids going to college. It actually does go to BC.

Editorial                                                                                                        By B. Crane

Why the college newspapers and student government stopped fighting.
They ran out of ammunition? They married each other or they left. In recent years, one college newspaper’s budget was frozen a few times for violations. It was accused of stealing another’s mail. Both weeklies wrote editorials about the other but some were for publicity stunts. Student government had to have security remove a loud person in the assembly and claims of stepping on one’s foot and hitting each other when politicking.
Things have calmed down. Some editors and staff wanted to run for student government office. Some want to make a big name for a future job and some used the paper against their enemies.
I have been a union representative and made a speech at the college media conference. I said on a job, I tell workers that you can snitch on each other and both get fired or work together and save each other’s jobs. I learned from my father who traded workers with his competition when either side needed extra personnel.
There seems to be a tendency to never talk to the competition because we are scared of those we don’t know. I wanted to get in touch with a club. Many said if I did, they would hack into my e-mail so don’t trust them. I went to their event and found that I knew a dozen of them. They were the nicest students around and many helped me in the computer room for years. Many students say they are afraid to join a club because they fear being a stranger. I tell them that they may run into their friends and classmates there.
It reminded me of summer camp when we had a pillow fight tournament. I got the scouting report on my opponent. They said to be careful and he was vicious even though he was much smaller than me. The fight starts and after I threw eight pillow swings, I realize my opponent hadn’t thrown one back. My reputation might have intimidated him.
It is one reason countries go to war. Soldiers kill themselves rather than surrender over myths. What a waste of lives.
At LaGuardia Community College and probably others, students are required to have a field trip out of the borough. Queens has 140 ethnic groups and many have never left the borough. I know many Brooklynites that visited Manhattan under a dozen times till their twenties.
Some newspapers think they will put the other paper out of business. If no one reads the paper it would still get a budget because it is not based on readership. The market is big enough for more than one newspaper. Students read more than one paper. There are different niches for the market. Other papers have asked me if I could give them a photo I have on file. If I have an advertiser I can’t use, I give it to them. Papers can share a freelance writer if they are covering different stories. If a paper has too many leads or stories that will be dated by the next edition, then why not give it to someone else to print?
Robert Moses, a former commissioner of 12 agencies for decades, was brought down in part by the press. He was friends with owners of the papers. A writer wasn’t allowed to print all their findings. They gave it to another paper that could. I have asked the other paper’s advisor for advice and received professional courtesy. There should be a spirit of camaraderie.
The last few semesters, the papers have gotten along due to the Excelsior’s Simon Herbin and the Kingsman’s Jamila Pringle. In Flushing Meadow Park there is a plaque from the 1964 World’s Fair. It quotes Pope Paul VI and it sums it up saying
“Peace Through Understanding”.

Get the Scoop on What’s New in the Library!
by Jay Jankelewicz

The Library, which serves as the hub of our campus for informational needs, is constantly undergoing enhancements to help serve us better! Let’s find out what awaits us in the semesters to come!
Stephanie Walker, Chief Librarian and Executive Director of Academic IT, in a recent interview, expressed her continual short-term goal to renovate rooms and upgrade the technology they house so as to enhance the user experience. This past academic year, the Library renovated two multimedia viewing and listening rooms, and created spaces offering full theater-style experiences, complete with HD, Blu-ray, and surround sound. Another goal in progress is the creation of a third computer classroom, to complement the existing library and multimedia classrooms. Two new group study rooms were constructed on the Lower Level, to alleviate long waits for such rooms.
Two vacancies in the Information Services unit were filled at the beginning of the academic year: Professor Helen Georgas became the bibliographer for Classics, History, and Philosophy, and Professor Alycia Sellie became the bibliographer for Accounting, Business, Economics, Film, Performance & Interactive Media Arts, and Television & Radio. Over the summer, the library will be appointing a permanent head of Information Services and will be conducting a job candidate search in order to replace the retiring sciences librarian, Professor Irwin Weintraub, who has served the Brooklyn College community for over 10 years.
Besides the extension of library hours, renovations to the art corridor, and an addition of 60 new computer workstations to the first floor computing lab, the Library plans to add more express printing stations due to their high demand.
In accord with the Go Green Movement, the Library is currently in the works of making available the option of double-sided printing to save paper. Another project in the works is to establish a wireless printing network that allows students to print directly from their laptops. The Library’s Wi-Fi Hotspots have been augmented, resulting in students now being able to access the Internet wirelessly from virtually all areas within its domain.
LOOP (Library Online Orientation Program), a new service launched in Spring 2010, maps out all that the Library has to offer so that you can seamlessly discover what you set out to find. LOOP serves to introduce students to how the library works, where to study, how you can seek out the necessary information for your research, where to use a computer, and most importantly, where to go to ask for help. Chief Librarian Walker states that LOOP is continually being expanded and improved and is available online 24/7!
As for the current Library website, it will be remodeled with a new user interface to make it easier to quickly locate important library services. For both the short and long term, the Library will be testing out beta versions of mobile applications for certain library services.
The Library Café offers a year-round program of FREE weekday and weekend computer workshops, which cover a wide range of computer-based topics, catering to both beginners and experienced users alike. Chief Librarian Walker plans to increase the number of workshops by conducting a survey to determine the optimal days and times and the topics to be covered.
If you are interested in being in the know about the continual advancements being made in the Library, the Library provides an Annual Report, which can be found on the “About Us” section on the Library homepage,

The Science Center Construction and the Skywalk That Never Was By David Gonzalez
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’re aware that the new West Quad building has finally
been opened. While it is not in the typical BC style, it still serves a purpose. Inside is an Olympicsize
swimming pool, basketball courts and floor space for other sports as well. On the second floor,
there are dance studios as well.
This new building is a vast improvement over the old Roosevelt building, which actually felt as if
we were living in a cave. The workout room in Roosevelt had no windows. It was a wonder why
people would work out in such a gloomy, claustrophobic, cave-like setting. The new workout room
in the West Quad building reveals the beautiful greenery and sunlight that comes in front of the
large windows opening on the lush green yard. It’s illumination is inspiring. No longer is this view
hidden in a dimly lit building.
“The option of a skywalk between Roosevelt and Ingersol Extension was abandoned” said the
Communications Office. Its proposal had a purpose “but the skywalk belonged to a different master
plan.” A lot of information was obtained from the Communication Department’s posting.
Roosevelt’s old function has been taken over by the West Quad building thus affecting Brooklyn
College including the creation of a massive new science complex.” said Communications Office.
The skywalk would have linked Roosevelt and Ingersol building with an above the street crossing.
The new Master plan “calls for the demolition of Roosevelt Hall and Roosevelt Extension and the
construction of a new facility that will include high tech instructional and research laboratories and
general purpose classrooms, faculty offices, and support areas.” (
This new plan differs from earlier plans. Connecting Boylan and James was the plan years ago,
said Assistant Vice President For Facilities Planning and Operations Steve Czirak. Plans constantly
change and evolve from the early stages for various reasons. Roosevelt’s demolition on the
drawing board also spells the demise of the new skywalk. “The New York Legislature approved
over $56 million in funding for the Roosevelt science complex which will improve research facilit
(ies)” (
“Roosevelt will temporarily house the departments, programs, and offices currently operating out
of Gershwin Hall which will be torn down next spring. Only after the new performing arts center is
up and running will these departments move into their new spaces. Then Roosevelt will come down
and be replaced with the new science complex” said the Communications Office.
[Students can be heard on the Master Plan Comment Box]
There may still be time to set the wheels in motion over the construction projects that would excite
you the most. On the above BC website, you can navigate until you find the form that reads:
Facilities Master Plan Comment Box. It asks “Where do you think physical improvements to our
facilities and grounds are most needed?,” “What types of spaces, facilities, and buildings are missing
on campus that would improve the educational experience and/or student life?,” “What do you
like or appreciate most about our existing facilities and grounds?,” “What results and outcomes do
you want to see from the Facilities Master Plan process?” In this way BC students have their hand
on the pulse of our new beginnings and play a role in the future of our campus. These questioners
will try to meet our needs as they become evident. They invite comment and who is to say that
there still won’t be a skywalk in the future?
The above website will also give a more detailed account of the up and coming projects slated for
our campus with plans for another project that focuses on a new theater as well. For the latest information
or to give your feedback please visit the website. The Master Plan evolves and is not set in


School starts Friday, Ahhh! (commentary)
Posted on January 25, 2012 |
The first day of school starts with fear and excitement. There is a new beginning. There is a new GPA. You buy new clothes and notebooks for school. Maybe the night before you pick your clothes. You wonder if the teacher will be a crab apple or a softie. There may be bullying, hazing and clichés. There is also meeting an old friend and a new interesting attractive person. There are new people to meet, stories, jokes and relationships to start. It is going from a stranger to becoming accepted and from unsure at something to confident. At the end of a class you are skilled and educated in that area.
President George H. Bush sky dived and Senator John Glenn went into space in their 70′s. The first time you eat a new food may be the best taste you will have of it. Exploring and expanding your mind has an excitement. School is about discovering knowledge.
It has been said you are old when you talk of the past and young when you talk of the future verse same old same old. Share your experiences with us. RobinQhood(at)


A helping friend when you are a stranger in a new environment
Posted on January 5, 2012 | Leave a comment
By Nicola Fennel TRIO Educational Talent Search Counselor
There is an office at BC for 30 years most do not know of. It says the Educational Talent Search Program on the door in 1428 Ingersoll Hall. They prepare high school kids to attend college. They mentor, tutor, and help counsel and assist participants with applying and registering for the best post-secondary institution that fits.
It is a program for low income and/or potentially first generation college students. A 100% federally funded program providing free services to encourage support participant’s successful enrollment in postsecondary education. They familiarize participants with the college selection, admissions and financial aid application processes. They access career interests and assist them through their career decision-making process to motivate and stimulate interest in those who have not started the process.
The services are to advise, tutorial, prepare for college, financial and economic literacy, guidance in degree attainment, study skills such as DAT and test Preparation Assistance and GED enrollment assistance. Also there is help with essay writing, monitoring their progress and talk to their teachers.
Many are first generation in college, they have no family background to know what to expect. Talent Search allows participants to gain exposure to the college life and atmosphere to disadvantaged students by conducting one day college tours. Every spring 30 out of 729 participants are chosen for the opportunity to visit 6-8 colleges on 4 day 3 night tour. Students are selected from a target group of Brooklyn high schools the program is funded to serve.
TRIO emerged out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in response to the administration’s War on Poverty. Initially there were only three programs (Upward Bound, Talent Search and Student Support Services) hence TRIO. Talent Search was created as part of the Higher Education Act in 1965. Over the years, the TRIO Programs have been expanded (Educational Opportunity Centers, McNair and Upward Bound Math & Science and Veterans Upward Bound) improved to provide a wider range of services and to reach more students who need assistance. TRIO programs help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education.
Every year, TRIO Day is the last Saturday of February, but events do not need to be limited to that day. According to the 1986 Congressional resolution, National TRIO Day is meant to focus the nation’s “attention on the needs of disadvantaged young people and adults aspiring to improve their lives, to the necessary investment if they are to become contributing citizens of the country, and to the talent which will be wasted if that investment is not made.”
TRIO Day has been proclaimed a National Day of Service. TRIO programs are encouraged to perform some sort of community service-as a way for TRIO to give back to their community and say thank you for its support. This year Talent Search will celebrate National TRIO Day on Thursday February 23, 2012 on the BC campus. Tutors and mentors are needed to volunteer.


Monk Parakeets nest at BC and make it apartment house like due to teamwork. It is impenetrable strength with cyanide for falcons and eagles. 

Making It in a Strange Land from BC hot news on the BC website  (Oct. 16, 2012)

Monk parakeets have found a home on campus. They appear as invaders, taking over a neighborhood and erecting tall dwellings seemingly overnight. Offspring and relatives soon follow, and their ensuing racket is not to be spoken of in polite company. That’s monk parakeets for you. But, then again, they have so much to teach us about ourselves. Frank Grasso associate professor of psychology, has been studying the birds since 2000, when he took his position in the department. Seeing their nests in the lights surrounding the athletic field near his office on campus, he realized the birds might be a perfect medium for understanding a central tenet of human behavior.

“Their flexibility in adapting their behavior to their new environment, and the coordination of activity with one another, can be an informative mirror to our own behavior,” Grasso says. Monk parakeets are immigrants to New York City; their homeland is Argentina. Depending on who you listen to, the parakeets arrived in Brooklyn when they escaped from a broken crate at JFK Airport; or when pet store owners grew sick and tired of their chatter and released them. Either way, the birds should not have made it here. While the climate is compatible to that in Argentina, the area’s sparseness of a particular cyanide-laden tree they use as protection against predators should have left them vulnerable to attacks. But rather than fly off to a more appropriate locale, the early pioneers found a way to survive their first winter into spring and, remarkably, begin to thrive.

As Grasso points out, “Their presence in New York can seem bizarre, but the birds have found a way to adapt their native habits in ingenious ways.”

The birds’ first mission was to find suitable nesting spots. They quickly took to building up against the transformers in the college’s athletic field lights as well as the terminals on street utility poles. The nests are an engineering feat, built tightly around the electrical terminals that make the interior toasty even in the fiercest gale. Ashley Warmington, an undergraduate research assistant in Grasso’s lab, spent two years meticulously pulling apart old nests that were gingerly taken down when renovation of the athletic field began. The college timed the move carefully to coincide with the end of the birds’ breeding season and to give them enough time to build temporary nests.

The old nests Warmington worked with look like a huge jumble of pick-up sticks. The biggest nest was about 10 feet wide and four feet high, containing different levels and a warren of chambers — envision an apartment building made of twigs. She pried her way through the tightly woven layers, color coding them in order to reconstruct their different functions later in the lab. The entrance of each nest was in the back on the bottom level and led to three individual chambers nearby. The floors in those chambers were covered with down that acted as a soft insulating carpet as well as other finely packed material that was strong enough to require a saw to break through. Warmington speculated that some of the bottom chambers may have been a nursery area, possibly used by more than one family. She collected DNA from feathers and droppings that would eventually determine how many individuals occupied each nest and what their relationship to each other might be.

“This is what makes the birds interesting to a psychologist,” Grasso says. “Most birds use nests for just one nesting season. But parakeets will occupy the same nest for years, pairing off with a mate, even bringing in others who may not be related. Their great organizational skill and cooperation with one another in nest construction and maintenance have helped them to survive and adapt to their new homes.”  The nests’ twigs are disproportionately from black cherry trees and are another indication of the birds’ survival skills. Although they can be found in Brooklyn, the trees are more prolific in Argentina. When the birds find a black cherry tree in Brooklyn, they tend to cluster about it, building whole subdivisions. Monk parakeets favor these trees because they are laced with cyanide that is harmless to them but lethal to predators, including falcons, their most fiercest enemy who can fly and dive just as fast as they can. Hawks, too, are a bother, but they prefer squirrels and pigeons — much slower-moving meals — and are mostly easily evaded. Nevertheless, the birds take no chances, especially because the Brooklyn College campus is home to both a falcon and a hawk. They are constantly building, patching the walls, making them thick and impenetrable to foe and wind alike.

Grasso and his team are monitoring about 147 nests throughout Brooklyn, collecting data and observing the birds’ behavior. On Avenue J, where there used to be an unbroken block of nests spanning several telephone poles, the team observed one bird moving from nest to nest, seeking admittance at several over the period of a few minutes. “There are all kinds of oddballs among them,” Grasso says. “But we couldn’t figure out what it was doing as it went from one to another. Maybe it was like an unwanted relative that got kicked out of the family nest and was just trying to find someone to take it in.”  The nests Warmington unraveled, like all the data the team has collected over the year, ended up in the Biomimetic and Cognitive Robotics lab that Grasso has established in James Hall. The DNA analysis collected from feathers and the thorough mapping of the nests are important tools in researching the birds’ intelligence and behavior. But with the lab’s ability to construct parakeet robots and a computer simulation of their customs in a controlled environment, the researchers have been able to gather more insight into the reasons behind their behavior.

As Grasso points out, “Monk parakeets are showing up in new places all the time. They just found them in Rome and England. They’re even in Newfoundland. They wouldn’t be able to do this successfully without cooperating with one another. That’s what this study has to show us: the value of organization and the fundamentals of control that enable all of us to survive.”

Soon after the new lights were installed on the recently completed athletic field, parakeets were sighted settling back in around one of the lights. Within weeks, the nest looked to be a foot high and, in the weeks that followed, several more layers were added. A chatter of purposeful squawks once more rings out across the field.  To see the monk parakeets in action, watch some videos on You Tube or visit their Facebook page.  Biomimetic and Cognitive Robotics Lab link


Media Nights 2013 by: Kearah-Armonie Jeudy

It first appeared at

Media Nights 2013, the first of two consecutive nights was held in the production studio of the Whitehead Hall on Tuesday October 15th, and was a success. The room was soon filled with journalists, professors, guest speakers, and of course media/communications students of all kind. We were all in for a night which would be an informative and entertaining homework assignment.

While the long line of students went past the Library Café garden it quickly swarm the production room we were handed our tickets, had our photos taken, and were given the opportunity to write questions on index cards for the Q&A later on. You had to register before hand and a lot of TV and Radio majors were there.

Each speaker was very inspirational and all had accounts which were geared towards ‘the now’, our generation and the future of media. If you hadn’t already known we are in a predominantly digital age and this effects communication greatly, in positive and negative ways.

A highlight of the night was our first speaker was Mark Fonseca Rendeiro’s presentation. Rendeiro is an alternative journalist and independent podcast producer. Rendeiro gave a quick, detailed account on how he fell into this world of what he calls “new media”, podcasting. Throughout his presentation Rendeiro let it be known that so many other podcasters had lost interest or initially started to earn money, but he was in it because he enjoyed podcasting. His presentation was rather humorous as well as relatable. Although we are all students and had not yet ventured off to accomplish all that Rendeiro has, his story was very relatable and understandable. It is easy to say “I would do the same thing”; especially when it comes to doing something that you love. It was very clear that each of our speakers for the night do love their careers.

The following speakers included Professor John Anderson, Director of Broadcast Journalism in Brooklyn College’s Department of TV and Radio; Media literacy advocate and author Rory O’Connor; and InsideClimate News publisher David Sasoon.

Professor Anderson’s presentation was entitled “Radio’s Digital Dilemma”, highlighting the pros and cons of HD radio. This entire segment was enlightening and entertaining, and brought the debate of analog radio vs. digital radio to our attention. Media is changing but it may not be the best.

O’connor’s brief lecture had a similar idea. O’connor introduced his topic with a song: “Something In The Air” by Thunderclap Newman. The lyrics are:

Call out the instigators

Because there’s something in the air

We’ve got to get together sooner or later

Because the revolution’s here, and you know it’s right.

These lyrics can be used to describe what is happening right now, we are currently in a digital information revolution.

Finally, our last speaker of the night was David Sassoon, the founder and publisher of Pulitzer-prize winning InsideClimate News; most popular for their coverage of The Dilbit Disaster.  The Dilbit Disaster was a large oil spill which had gotten little to no publicity despite the number of people affected. That is Sassoon’s goal, to tell stories that are not being told; he stated that everything on the news is basically the same; students could not argue with him there.  Despite almost losing the story, Sassoon and his team, pursued it anyway and found the documents to properly report this occurrence.

What seemed to be the unintentional focal point of the evening is that media is growing and changing, this change is inevitable but what matters is how we use it. The convenience of everything being digital is very important but now-a-days, in the news everyone can now report the news. There is no middle man and there are no gatekeepers. This is simple and helpful but also leaves the door open for there to be more untruths and unimportant stories to be passed around. Overall, Media Nights was entertaining, informative and inspiring.


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