Underfunding of art programs looms

By Andrea Curiel
Flapjack staff

For many involved in a creative program, their involvement is their main method of stress relief. Take away that method of stress relief, and the negative results are endless. Then there are the countless stories of shy, introverted teenagers possibly saved by joining some kind of creative ensemble and coming out of school with irreplaceable friend groups and outgoing personalities. Art programs are crucial to human development. But in many public schools, they’re becoming obsolete.

Braedyn Tawyea, psychology major at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts, was involved in his high school’s music program and thoroughly believes his involvement was beneficial to his overall health and wellbeing.

“I love music so I participated in choir, band, and marching band in high school. I got to relieve a lot of stress when I played or sang,” Tawyea said. “I would say 100 percent that art programs aren’t seen as valuable anymore, which sucks considering how helpful they can be when you’re stressing about core classes and you just want that one fun class to be creative in.”

With President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities,  federal support for the arts is on track to failure. New York Times writer Sopan Deb reports that only $300 million of the $1.1 trillion annual discretionary spending is currently being put towards both endowments, and each endowment receives a multitude of grants from coveted artists for decades, which solidifies the importance in society. Unfortunately, the government thinks otherwise, and some are fully determined to eliminate all “unnecessary” spending.

In K-12 public schools, similar funding concerns have resulted in classroom creativity being overlooked at young ages, and the emergence of increasingly STEM-heavy curriculum.

In high schools, art programs are losing funding, and are treated more as electives instead of requirements. Music programs are forced to fundraise year-round, art and theater classes resort to using scrap materials, journalism and design programs lack the proper technology to generate a decent product.

However, on the other end of the educational spectrum, science labs receive new equipment more frequently than arts programs. Math lessons are more prevalent than music lessons, and it seems as though being unable to write a decent sentence is not a problem as long as you know how to balance math equations.

Ana Judith Puga, a 19 year-old environmental studies major at HSU, is passionate about the sciences but has always had a special connection to the arts.

“I do feel like art programs have decreased because people don’t think funding for art is as important for as other academics,” Puga said. “I took art and music classes in middle school and high school, and our theater class was never a class, just a separate program.”

Recent high school graduate Kasea Horn, 19, believes her lack of involvement in art programs was because of the severe underfunding of them.

“I was involved in photo for two years,” Horn said. “I was never really too involved though because the programs at my school had no money. It’s like art programs aren’t really emphasized in school these days.”

 

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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.

Alumni, students, college dropouts — all value college degree

By Treanna Brown
Flapjack staff

Did you know that for every $600 a high school graduate makes, a college graduate makes about $1,300? Those are numbers cited in a recent story at CNN.

There has always been a debate when it comes to rather or not a person should have a college degree and if that degree grants them success in life. For this story, three individuals were interviewed — a post grad, a sophomore in college and someone who has never been to college before. All interviewees were asked the same prompt: How do you feel about a college degree versus no degree. Do you think a person can successfully live life without a degree ? Does a person have an advantage over others because they have a degree?

 Humboldt State University alumna Fabiola Mendoza discussed her experience.

“You can go to college and get a degree and it will give you a leg up in society opposed to someone who doesn’t have one at all,” Mendoza said. “But having a degree doesn’t mean that you’ll be stable, I’ve been in that position before. I was a good student, A-B average, various campus jobs, I was a student activist but I did experience a period of unemployment.”

Mendoza now works in the EOP/SSS department at Humboldt State, with her various connections she was able to join this team shortly after she graduated. But it’s not always that simple.

“You have to find a job market that best fits you because you will find yourself being told you’re overqualified especially in Humboldt County,” she said. “And then you get rejected for the job because they don’t want to have to pay you more than they are offering.”

Mendoza said that networking is an important part of the college experience.

  “When you graduate you will start at the bottom of the barrel unless you know people,” she said. “You have to work harder to get where you want to  be especially if you’re a minority because a degree doesn’t guarantee you a job. When you graduate college people have this expectation (up until they graduate) that you will automatically be able to find a job once you graduate, but that’s not the case. Everything is about who you know.”

Though even people with no degrees are able to succeed in life, Mendoza said, it’s better for you to have a degree.

Humboldt State University student Amber Johnson said students today experience different kids of success.

“So many teens are now using social media, reality television and music as an outlet for success,” Johnson said. “The circumstances of life are all different compared to past generations, we may have more affordable access to higher education but we are not taking advantage of this.”

Johnson said she feels like this new generation doesn’t take higher paying jobs that a degree can get you seriously.

“I do believe though that with a college degree you’re expanding your knowledge and with that expansion, it makes you want to go after the good jobs,” she said. “With no degree you’re limited to what you can do, and this where the different outlets for success that I talked about come into play.”

Johnson mentioned that wanting a degree first comes from a person’s determination/ seriousness.

Xiomara Motavo, who completed one semester at community college before taking a break from school, agreed.

“I wish I would’ve stayed in school, because now I’m stuck working at Starbuck’s until I find the energy to go through 4 years of school and get my degree,” Motavo said. “ If you have a college degree you’re more a priority than anything else. You’re more inclined to get a job especially if your degree pertains to the job.”

Having a degree, Motavo said, makes it seem like you’re more serious about the job.

“Not just anyone will go to college and get a degree only someone who is determined takes that time and effort,” Motavo said. “When employers look at your resume they can tell that you want the job more than someone who is less qualified than you because they look at that resume as a handbook for you, as an insight on what they are taking on compared to someone who has nothing but irrelevant jobs on their resume.”

Educational Opportunity Program helps first-generation students

By Alexis Parra
Flapjack staff

The Educational Opportunity Program, more commonly known as EOP, at Humboldt State University has been helping educationally and economically disadvantaged students since 1969. The program helps disadvantaged students succeed during and after college. The EOP house can be found on the Humboldt State University campus in Hadley House 56.

EOP Director, Dan Saveliff, has worked with the program for 35 years after he graduated from Humboldt State. He decided that he wanted to work in the EOP office after he saw how much fun some employees were having on the roof of the Hadley House.

“I wasn’t an EOP student so I didn’t know what this house was,” he said. “I saw people sitting on the roof while I was walking to class and they busted out in laughter and I thought to myself that that looks like a fun place to work.”

Saveliff shared how EOP came about and the full purpose of the program. EOP was created by California lawmakers in 1969 much in the response to the Civil Rights movement in California that was happening at the time.

“Protests were breaking out on college campuses, specifically about the lack of access and inequity of access for under-represented people of color getting into the system,” he said. “EOP was created to provide that access.”

Saveliff believes that the true purpose of EOP is to provide access to the CSU for low-income and first-generation students. The key thing about EOP is to give access to a college-education to students who might not have come if it wasn’t through the help of EOP.

To get into EOP, students need to fill out an application and submit with a letter of recommendation.

Tania Maren, Humboldt State Alumni and EOP Admissions and Summer Bridge Coordinator, reviews applications. Maren worked as a student assistant for EOP for five years, then as an admissions assistant for two years, and has now been a coordinator for one year.

Maren believes that EOP plays a big role in students’ transitions into Humboldt State and relates to that because of the fact that she came to school here from Calexico, California. Her EOP mentor and employers were her support system when she needed one and she values that EOP offers this to all of its students.

“I like to see my students grow,” she said. “Sometimes they’ll be complaining that there is nothing to do here, but other times they are also appreciative that there isn’t much of a distraction for them to go out.”

Maren appreciates the fact that classroom sizes at Humboldt State University are small. This allows students to create a one-on-one relationship with their faculty.

Although Maren has so many favorite memories with EOP, she was able to narrow it down to her top one.

“It was an EOP graduation ceremony,” she said. “I was struggling a lot with my science classes…and I was getting to that point where I wanted to go home.” She had the help from her EOP employer Tracy, and graduated as a communications major. During the EOP graduation ceremony they put out a questionnaire and one of the questions was: “What was that ah-ha moment for you?” Her ah-ha moment was when she fell in love with learning all over again.

Each EOP student is given an advisor to help them transition into the college-life. Each student has to meet with their advisor once a month until their second semester of their second year of college then they move onto their faculty advisor. Even thought they no longer have monthly meetings, their EOP advisor is always there for any help the student needs. EOP advisors start calling their students as soon as the summer before their first semester in college to help with class registration, making sure they have housing, and lots more.

Roger Wang, originally from Los Altos, California and a Humboldt State alumnus, is the EOP advisor for students who major in either arts or humanities. Wang has only been working as an EOP advisor for a year and two months.

“My job as an EOP advisor is to help these first-generation students who come from low-income backgrounds, not only get to college but be successful, and plan for what they want to do after they get their degree,” he said.

Wang believes that the biggest thing EOP has to offer is the fact that there is always someone that is looking out for you even beyond their college career at Humboldt State University.

Something that Saveliff, Maren, and Wang all have in common is that if they could change anything about EOP, it would be that they would have more funding to either give out to EOP students in need of it. EOP has a grant that is only prioritized to first-year students and transfer students. Whatever is left over from that is later dispersed to other EOP students who weren’t prioritized. At the moment the most a student will get from the grant is $1,000 and they hope to raise that number along with helping more students.

 

 

HSU students compete for off-campus housing

By Skye Hopkins
Flapjack staff

Finding off campus housing is not an easy task in any college town, especially for freshman whom have never had to go through a process like this one. Most students want to live off campus after their first year, however some are not ready and prefer to stay on campus. Several housing fairs provide useful tools for students looking to move out on their own; but unfortunately some just get luckier than others.

“We saw the post 20 minutes after it was posted, emailed the landlord, went to a showing of the house, and found ourselves signing the lease within five days,” Cheyenne Janger said.

Janger, 19, is a first year student from San Diego who is currently living on campus. Although living on campus is extremely convenient, Janger feels that there are more negatives than positives.

“I had mixed feelings,” Janger said. “It was cool to meet a bunch of new people from different places, but the lack of freedom, privacy, and not knowing how things would turnout with your roommates made things a little stressful.”

Janger didn’t get so lucky with her on campus housing situation, but many would say her off campus housing situation will make up for it. She currently lives in a triple room in one of the eight buildings of HSUs Canyon housing. Being randomly assigned with one or more other students can be exciting and cool until you don’t get along with either of them.

Three students confined to a room smaller than the average one-person bedroom can be very hectic, and for Janger it was. One of her roommates is a slob, and the other does not communicate with her because her sexual preference is not respected. Unfortunately, it has been her yearlong room situation that has put reassurance into her decision about moving on her own next year.

“Growing up!” Janger said. “I am ready to grow up, move off campus, and start the next chapter in my life.”

With plenty of luck, Janger and her three roommates are ready to move into their four bedroom, two bath house this upcoming June. Before looking at places they made sure they covered the grimy details and eventually decided that they all wanted to live together.

Janger and her roommates were very lucky and satisfied with the way things turned out for them. However, this does not happen to everyone. In fact, most students seriously struggle with finding a place to live after their first year. Countless freshman decide to live on campus for another year or end up having to stay on a friends couch until something opens up.

19-year-old Devin Sanders is a freshman majoring in sociology that has decided to live on campus for one more year after having a few discussions with his parents.

“Overall it is just more convenient,” Sanders said. “It is easier for me to get around.”

Living in Humboldt’s freshman housing was not a favorable thing of Sanders but he seemed to have a much better experience than Janger. Although he was lucky enough to only have one roommate whom he never struggled to get along with, he disliked how often he had to share his personal space with so many other students.

“There were so many people,” Sanders said. “And I hated the bathrooms because there was always throw up in them on the weekends.”

With messy bathrooms and problems around hygiene and personal space most would think someone like Sanders preferred off campus housing, but not this year. He is looking back at his freshman living situation as a good experience and a good way to meet new people, but he is definitely ready to move into Humboldt’s upperclassman, more spacious, College Creek Housing.

Both sides of the after first year housing process are reasonable and make sense for different individuals. Not everyone is ready to completely move out on their own, and not everyone wants to move off campus.

Nicki Viso is the Residence Life Coordinator for the Canyon of on campus housing. She overlooks anything and everything that goes on in the Canyon, whether it be good or bad. She has watched several classes transition in and out of on campus housing and plenty of both positive and negative things to say about it.

“The most positive thing I have seen throughout the years,” Viso said. “Is watching all of the students meet new people and broaden their worldviews, especially with everyone being raised differently.”

Although Viso never lived off campus while working at Humboldt State, she has received plenty of information from her colleagues that remain useful for students seeking moving help. She works hands on with plenty of students and after a full school year she is excited to watch those move on into the next part of their life. However, she does believe that there are those few students that may be better off with another year on campus.

“It is just that 5 percent that does whatever they want and they end up wasting their time here along with potentially harming others time here,” Viso said.

Plenty of students stay in on campus housing and even more refuse to do anything but live off campus for the next year.

Although Janger and Sander’s current housing situations differ, they are both fairly fortunate and happy about their homes for next year.

And as far as those still looking for housing or thinking about what they need to do when they look next year, Janger has some advice.

“Remain persistent and keep your eyes open, because most of this process is pure luck,” Janger said.