Upward Bound supports students over the summer

by Hector Arzate
Flapjack staff

While many have argued that Trump’s policy agenda could negatively affect the lives of all Americans, the Center for American Progress found that his budget would harm employment, health, education, housing, and safety services for most rural communities, small towns, and tribal nations. It’s likely that a cut to these services would have an immediate impact on the local community in Humboldt.

As one of the oldest TRIO programs in the state of California, Upward Bound at HSU has served six different high schools in the local area of Humboldt and Trinity County for almost 50 years, including Arcata High School, Hoopa Valley High School and Trinity High School.

Leo Canez, the Academic Coordinator of Upward Bound at HSU, outlined what students are able to do during their pre-college experience.

“We have the summer academy, a residential experience here at Humboldt State University,” Canez said. “About 35 students live in the residential dorms for five weeks, beginning at the end of June and going all the way until the end of July. They study Shakespeare for their literature course, they have a composition course, a math course and this year they’re studying entomology for their science course. They also have different electives offered. This year we have Greek and Latin origins, street art, self defense and acroyoga.”

Although the proposal’s name is meant to signal change for greatness, some would argue that a 15 percent cut to the Dept. of Education is a far cry from prosperity. The aptly named “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again” outlines budget cuts to several U.S departments for the fiscal year of 2018, including the Dept. of Education.

The Council for Opportunity in Education estimates that the proposed budget cut would result in a $92 million or 10 percent decrease in funding for TRIO for the fiscal year of 2018-2019, which would effectively eliminate services like Upward Bound for nearly 83,000 students.

While it certainly has an emphasis on the academics, UB tries to create a more well rounded experience for students to have fun, while learning how to be responsible scholars.

“With this program, we have a lot of social activities on the other side of the academics,” Canez said. “We go camping on the Klamath River, we have a masquerade ball, ice cream social, casino night, all these different activities on the weekends and the evenings because they’re here the entire time. So they have to balance, if there’s a swim night happening but they also have homework, they have to take care of it first.”

Harrel Deshazier, psychology major, and former Upward Bound resident mentor, found that he was able to provide multiple sources of support for his students and be a part of rewarding experience for both himself and his students.

“We’re not just doing academic stuff,” Deshazier said. “I’ve never done that many things in a summer, ever in my life. We went camping, on picnics, we went to Oregon for the Shakespeare festival. It was so great because all of them were into it… It just goes to show that underrepresented populations really have so much ability, it’s just the access.”

In order to prepare disadvantaged students, UB aims to bridge the gap that first generation students students have to deal with before arriving as college freshmen.

“They come from families that are low income and neither parent has a four year degree,” Canez said. “So they’re low income, first generation and there aren’t very many resources out there at these schools to provide students with information that they need for things like A-G requirements, SAT/ACT prep, making sure that they choose the right classes, and manage their time. I think that’s one of the biggest things, students being able to manage their time, especially when you come from communities where the kids have a lot of adult responsibilities.”

As a local student at Hoopa Valley High School and alumnus of the TRIO program, Canez always had a natural sense of curiosity and want to learn, but didn’t really value education.

“If it wasn’t for Upward Bound I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Canez said. “My mom finished the sixth grade before she stopped going to school and my father almost finished high school but he had to go to Vietnam. He didn’t finish school, he actually went into the military. They didn’t really excel in school and I didn’t have role models within my own home. As I grew up, they split up and between my third grade year to my freshman year in high school I went to 18 different schools. My goal was to drop out my sophomore year and become a mechanic, that’s all that I saw for myself and my future. I didn’t have anybody in my family who went to college or had any kind of experience with it, so I didn’t think that it was an option for me.”

Despite all impediments along the way, however, Canez began to value learning even more and found that there were more options than he could ever imagine.

“After my freshman year, I was living with a cousin in a laundry room,” Canez said. “I had a thin, little mattress on the floor where they moved the washer and dryer out and the roof would be leaking. When the Upward Bound staff came to my school and said I had to take classes, it wasn’t a big deal for me because I liked learning. But the kicker for me was that I would have a bed, three meals a day, and all I had to do was some school work over the summer and it would be a safe place to be. So that was a no brainer for me.”

While Canez’s story is unique, it’s a similar story that many students from a first generation, low-income background who come through the UB program share.

“We have the saying that, ‘UB lets you be you,’” Canez said. “It allows you for the first time to truly be who are and that’s what this program is all about… You’re surrounded by adults who want to help you realize your dream and we’ll do everything we can to help you figure out what that is. The entire staff, from the mentors to teachers to the administrative staff, we find out what seed is there in each one of our students’ heart and help it flourish.”

Arcata Marsh climate change talk by Patrick Carr promotes awareness, simple changes

By Matthew Hable|
Flapjack staff

Located at the north end of Humboldt Bay and along the Pacific Flyway, a major north-south flight path for migratory birds that expands from Alaska to Patagonia, situates The Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, a 307-acre sanctuary that includes marshes, sloughs, uplands, mudflats, roughly five miles of trails and an Interpretive Center.

Patrick Carr, a psychologist with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and lecturer for the evening’s Climate Conversations, patiently waits for the last participant to arrive at the center five minutes pass the scheduled 7 p.m. start time. The Interpretive Center operates as an exhibit, bookstore and info center pertaining to the sanctuary. Seven of the eight folding chairs are occupied in the shape of a semicircle, which are facing a wide window that overlooks a spectacular view of the marsh—the sun begins to set beyond the marsh, adding to the overall visual splendor. The last participant arrives and the lecture begins.

Carr welcomes the discussion group to the event and proceeds to describe the sustainable implementations of the Interpretive Center.

“This building is equipped with a passive solar building design, high-efficiency LED lights and skylights,” said Carr.

Collectively, the Interpretive Center qualifies as a net-zero building, meaning that the amount of annual renewable energy consumed significantly outweighs the use of non-renewable energy, resulting in less production of greenhouse gasses.

Greenhouse gasses are essential to life on earth—without them our planet would be frozen and unsustainable. However, too much emission of greenhouse gases overheats the planet that threatens humanity. Moreover, global warming has had observable effects on the planet due to human activities—a century’s worth of burning fossil fuel, overpopulation and globalization. If sustainability practices are not implemented on a global scale and industrial activities continue to emit greenhouse gases at an exponential rate, future generations will struggle with sea level rises, ocean acidification, intense heat waves, longer periods of droughts and so on.

Next, Carr offers other options to reduce our inherited carbon footprint habits: transportation, dieting and consumerism. He suggests a collective vegan diet would effectively reduce carbon footprint. The global food production and consumption, namely beef, produce more greenhouse emissions than transportation combined; however, transporting meat overlaps with production. Additionally, a decrease or complete abstinence from consuming meat could reduce the risk of heart disease and other health-related issues.

“The internet globally consumes 10% of electricity,” said Carr.

Consumerism contributes to climate change. The internet is woven into our society—businesses rely on it to survive and people depend on it as a primary source of communication in the digital age. The demand for internet is spreading at an increasing rate as globalization develops across the world; as a result, companies supply the demand with devices, especially smart phones, laptops and accessories, such as external hard drives. Ultimately, the production and use of devices are the contributor to high emissions of greenhouse gasses. Also, the cost of fuel to transport goods also impacts the climate. The world constantly operates in this vicious cycle that intensifies global warming.

Needless to say, persuading an entire planet of people to change their lifestyle is no easy feet. There are many factors that circumscribe change towards consuming energy renewably.

Opposing views of climate change is “intensely emotional,” said Carr.

To evolve requires a deep, communal understanding of climate change before taking action, first and foremost. In a fragmented society that is mostly ignorant or indifferent about climate change, achieving a collectively sustainable movement seems merely impossible—it would take a global village to influence real change. Another major setback for change involves economic prosperity. In a world dependent on fossil fuels, leaders of renewable energy need to convince the government, parliaments, corporations, politicians and other globalized leaders that the transition would be greater than profits generated by fossil fuels.

Despite the tremendous challenges supporters of renewable energy face, there is hope in the long run. Redwood Coast Energy Authority, a non-profit joint powers authority (JPA) based in Humboldt County, received state approval in January to lead a new energy program that aims to “provide lower electric rates and local control of our energy sources” by implementing renewable energy practices. Sonoma, Marin and San Francisco opted into similar programs. If programs like these succeed, this could lead a path to saving society or at least reverse the effects of global warming.

Human beings are one with nature and each of us have a certain connection to it beyond biological reasons.

“I have a spiritual connection with nature,” said Valerie Carr, biologist and wife of Patrick Carr.

Humboldt transplant and auto racing enthusiast, Bob Friedman, also participated in the discussion. He is passionate about finding ways to incorporate renewable energy to the sport without compromising speed.

“I am from the dark side,” said Friedman. “I spent years driving race cars and working in factories that produced car batteries.”

After inhaling and observing the immense amount of pollution pumping into the air over a long period of time, Friedman decided to leave Florida and head west. He has been in Humboldt since 2016 and is currently pursuing entrepreneurial ways to produce his own brand of race car batteries.

Climate Conversations concluded with a reminder that change begins with awareness and an open discussion about the issue.

Another action we can take is “sacrificing vacation for renewable energy,” said Carr. “Instead of saving money for a long vacation, take a short one and invest your money into sustainable practices around the house.”

Ride your bicycle to work, switch to energy bulbs, grow your own food—a little goes a long way.

The HOP to HOOP – Creating On-Campus Orientation for Transfer Students

By Grace Becker
Flapjack staff

After a long year at college, the first week students spend on campus seems a long way in the past. The impact of that first week, however, has the potential to be very influential on the success of a student’s time at HSU.

John Barajas is a transfer student here at HSU. A graduating senior, Barajas has been working over the last two semesters to advocate for and create an on-campus orientation program for transfer students at HSU.

“My experience with orientation wasn’t what I was expecting, and isn’t what I think I or other transfer students need. We don’t know the area just like freshmen don’t know the area, and for most of us it’s our first time at a University too. I think it’s important for transfer students to get the same information when they decide to come here,” Barajas said.

Freshman entering Humboldt State for the first time get a vastly different experience than transfer students. The week before classes start, freshman students get the full HOP experience, exploring the campus with other freshman and learning about the resources available to them during their time at Humboldt State.

Transfer students, on the other hand, don’t get the same level of attention. Over the summer, incoming transfer students do online training with the Humboldt Online Orientation Program (HOOP). It takes a few hours to go through, and while it does provide information about resources and issues at Humboldt State, some transfer students have found issue with the level of attention paid to transfer students.

“You do HOOP over the summer,” Barajas explained. “By the time I was on-campus, three months after I did the online orientation, I had pretty much forgotten everything HOOP told me. And there were some things I wish I knew about that HOOP didn’t even touch.”

Barajas has lived on campus since he arrived in Fall 2014. He was placed in freshman housing, and while he doesn’t regret living there and is still friends with some of the people he met living there, he wishes that he had been able to meet and live with people closer in age to him.

“It would have been nice to have been able to connect with older students, especially other transfer students,” Barajas said. “And I know other transfers feel the same. Having an on-campus orientation for them could really help with that.”

As it turns out, the campus is listening to students like Barajas. The HOP office is currently working to create time and space for transfer students to attend an on-campus orientation like freshman do. Nick Conlin is the Coordinator for Orientation and New Student Programs here at HSU and has been working with Barajas and other students to integrate transfer students into HOP.

“We’re seeing a lot more transfer students enter HSU,” Conlin said. “We’re working to try to provide them the resources they need to be successful here on campus.”

Creating a transfer-specific orientation is a lot of work, something Barajas and fellow transfer student Cat Garibay know very well. Recently they’ve sat down with Conlin to help provide information about what kinds of things transfer students would want and need at an orientation.

“You can’t just give them the same things freshman get,” Garibay explained. “Yeah, info about resources and campus tours could be the same or similar, but transfer students have different things they care about or that pertain to them.”

These things include more career-orientated mentoring, mingling with older students, and attention to detail about mental health and addiction problems.

“It’s going to be a long process,” Barajas said. “But I hope it will really pay off in the end.”

 

 

 

 

 

Politics motivates youth activism, engagement

By Cynthia Martinez Soto
Flapjack staff

Social media today has shown the public that the youth age group is now an audience partaking in the political spectrum. Professors at Humboldt State University are noticing this change in youth’s agendas and students who have made themselves involved in organizations that have a call for political purposes have even spoken out on the complete rise of involvement seen from students on campus over the years. The growing interest with the youth group in politics might in fact begin altering many aspects of government in the years to come in the voting booths.

Kendall Furlough, an HSU freshman, attends  Women of Color, an organization that meets in a safe conversational space to discuss about issues and politics detrimental to women’s daily lives. Furlough said that every time the group meets, important issues come up that help enrich the young women’s education on social injustices brought forth by laws set in place that are meant to protect equality but end up hurting the justice system instead.

“It’s completely sad the stories or even news events that come up in our lives that end up hurting women in our society,” Furlough said. “It makes some of us feel emotional to hear and tell it but overall it makes us somewhat more educated when we hear it because then we learn it and we can then change it. Some of the things though that make things unfair for women are regulations that are meant to protect all of us guy and girls but instead it can end up failing only the women in the community.”

Young people like Furlough and many others are responding to a scary political landscape by becoming more politically engaged, perhaps, than they’ve been in decades. HSU professors say they’ve seen a demonstrable shift.

Nicolette Amann, an English professor at Humboldt State who has been teaching for around 12 years at the university, has seen students interest within the field of politics grow every year. She states that the growing interest is happening due to the rise in social media and the growing fear of governmental control in communities daily lives.

Amann said that the rise of emotion she sees in students is incredible as well when she gives them opportunity to speak out on political issues. She said it is important for her to come to class willing to share some current news she heard about at the start of every session to further push the youth audience into wanting to get more involved in society.

“Every group of young adults I get almost every year surprises me and teaches me something new,” Amann said. “The way these students are engaging with the topics I set forth in class is just beyond amazing to me.”

Amann said she believes students use social media for a bigger purpose than simply posting pictures and seeing what’s cool. They use social media as news.

“It’s causing them to invest time to establish an opinion on a political topic of discussion that is currently being debated over by our politicians,” Amann said. “I think they are bothering to invest some time in it because they might be growing a little scared about what could happen to the world around them especially due to the rising power that the government is now having in trying to control more of our daily lives.”

English teachers are not the only ones with feedback on seeing a growth of interest in the youth audience over politics.

Communications teacher Michael Bruner, who’s been teaching at Humboldt State for about 13 years, said it seems like the more students hate a politician the more they are willing to criticize them and therefore talk about them.

“You know it’s really funny seeing all these jokes on social media about our president but it seems to me that kids these days want to be more involved in politics because they just don’t like the way things are going right now,” Bruner said. “So they crack jokes and clown on Trump to make light of the bad situations that might affect them. He really is being criticized by our students and it makes students want to speak out on his flaws to their friends and it just gets the ball going almost like a chain reaction.”

Burner said it feels like students are becoming more connected due to the rising interest in politics. He stated that the student body seems to be joining together rather than being divided on issues more than ever. He said the need to come together is due in large part to the social injustices taking place currently by the people in office.

“Students in all my classes seem to be agreeing with one another and adding to one another’s points of views instead of arguing against one another, Bruner said. “One student will point out a current news story in class and another will state something like, ‘Yeah something similar to that happened here a few years back,’ and then another student will state how that’s disappointing and scary and then you know the whole classroom is heated on the social injustice unrest left on the country.”