Memes become a way to commuicate

Meme from "The Office" Photo courtesy of ShruteFacts

Meme from “The Office”
Photo courtesy of ShruteFacts

“[A]n idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture,” that is how Wikipedia defines “meme.”
You know, a meme – those things that circulate the internet that everyone knows about if they spend more than 5 minutes on Facebook or Tumblr, the supreme meme realm, but can never quite explain to someone who hasn’t experienced the fluid joke flood.
When my mom asked me what a meme was, I struggled to explain it. Some years back, my brother referred to them as internet comics (boy, was he misguided) mostly because of the generic Impact font that gets slapped over a popular picture.
Probably the most popular memes as of late are Salt Bae: the guy who’s been compared to Juandissimo from Fairly Oddparents (rightfully so) that prepares dinner meat in a rather…unique fashion, topping it off with some salt that barely reaches the meat because his elbow is in the way; Danielle, the “cash me ousside how bou dah” girl who isn’t even old enough to know that Dr. Phil, along with every TV judge ever, is the god of daytime television (television viewing is polytheistic); and a guy who sort of looks like Eddie Murphy in Coming to America aka the Safe Roller dude (pictured below).
The common link between all of these is that typically people in our generation and younger use catchphrases and pictures to depict one’s own reaction to a situation other people can relate to.
So, in a sense, memes are like a legit cultural thing.
Just ask Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist and hardcore atheist who coined the term “meme” back in 1976 in his book The Selfish Gene. In it, he defines the cultural significance that memes have in how they transmit ideas and cultural phenomena that help culture to evolve.
Don’t tell him I said this, but Richard Dawkins just might be the meme God.
But don’t fear! I highly doubt (or rather hope) that American culture will not only be about meat poorly salted by cartoon men and Eddie Murphy impersonators. Nay, I see something else important.
What if I told you (claps if you caught that Matrix meme reference) that memes could be the new political cartoon?
It’s plausible. No, I’m not talking about sick Obama-Biden memes or Putin puns. I mean all the memes that throw massive shade at heads of state and their political decisions, or address the threat of a nuclear war.
What if memes, in all their comedic glory for telling what could be decade’s worth of history in a single photo, are our generation’s way of coping with their qualms about the state of foreign politics or the political legacy we are likely to leave behind?
What if someone photoshopping the face of Shrek onto President Trump saying “get out of my swamp!” is a way someone chooses to communicate their fear of alienation and heightened bigotry?
We all have our methods of expression. So…what if?

College Against Cancer spread awareness

colleges against cancer graphicThe Colleges Against Cancer club is doing more than just spreading awareness. They are looking for a cure to cancer.
On Friday, Feb. 3, they were in Whitaker collecting donations to raise money for a cure.
Cancer is the name given to a collection of related diseases. In all types of cancer, some of the body’s cells begin to divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissues.
Approximately 39.6 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes, according to the National Institutes of Health.
While World Cancer Day was Saturday, Feb. 4, the club, which was founded earlier this semester, decided to observe it a day early since no classes are held on the weekend and more people are likely to be involved on a Friday.

According to their website, World Cancer Day was established by the Paris Charter adopted at the World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium in Paris on Feb. 4, 2000. This Charter aimed at the promotion of the research for curing as well as preventing the disease.
“CAC is run by American Cancer Society and their motto is all about finding cures for cancer so more people can celebrate their future birthdays. The fact we are selling the paper birthday cupcakes on Friday is because of this message,” Emily Zimmerman said, a spokeswoman of the club.
The number of people living beyond a cancer diagnosis reached nearly 14.5 million in 2014 and is expected to rise to almost 19 million by 2024, according to the National Institute of Health.
“[The] paper cupcakes will be sold for $1 and the donor will be able to sign the cupcake and then we will display them somewhere in Whitaker Commons. Purple is the color representing all cancers, so we ask that everyone wears purple on Friday,” Zimmerman said.
The club was active in Whitaker from 12 p.m. until 3 p.m. selling the paper cupcakes and was asking for all donors to wear purple.

Co-ed dorms are a possibility in the near future

Coeducation rooming may become an option in residence halls next school year.
The decision is scheduled to be confirmed or denied on Feb. 21 by President Andrea Chapdelaine and her senior team.
Coeducational rooming, meaning that a boy and a girl can live in the same room, was first introduced as a possible option last spring through a survey given by Residence Life.
Matt Troutman, director of Residence Life, analyzed the results of the survey and made changes accordingly.
“Students were indifferent to the questions of co-educational rooms,” he said.
Despite the indifference to co-educational room option, it wasn’t being discussed as a policy change until this semester. One of the immediate changes to come from it was the integration of males into the previously all-female residence hall Shriner Hall.
Residence Life, professional staff and resident assistants, held meetings and tabled to help the transition move smoothly and answer the questions of concerned and affected students.
“We will approach it [co-ed rooming] the same way,” Troutman said.
Katie Malagari, current resident assistant and head resident assistant for next year, said, “I try my best to answer the questions of my residents, and if I can’t, I point them to someone who can,”
Co-ed rooming, if approved, would be an option for upper-class students who opt in to it. The option is a suitable option for transgender and non-binary students.
“I wouldn’t put someone in a room with the opposite sex unless they choose it,” Troutman said. “Students who don’t feel comfortable living with their biological sex now have that option.”
This update to Hood policy falls in line with the implementation of all-gender bathrooms in certain buildings.
The Student Government Association, House Forum and the Queer Student Union have all worked to gauge student opinion on co-educational rooming.
“Most students don’t really care. Most the concern comes with the outcome of couples living together,” Malagari said.
A poll conducted on the Blue and Grey Twitter account yielded results of 35% of voters saying “I wouldn’t do it but I don’t care,” 29% who were for it, 16% who were against it, and 20% who did not care.
Floors in each residence hall will still be designated for single gender housing. Other changes coming in the next year include possible renovations to Coblentz Hall including new carpet and paint. As of now, the renovation of the Meyran Hall elevator is halted.

The Braunze Age

Have you ever met someone with a personality that just brings out the amazing in you? I’m not talking about a boyfriend or a girlfriend, I’m talking about a platonic friend with the power to inspire. I have, and his name is John Braun.
Braun is a senior at Hood College and will be graduating this spring. He is a studio art Major with a drawing concentration and a graphic design minor.
I first met John Braun via a mutual friend at Hood in the Fall Semester of 2015. At first glance he was just a likable guy. He was polite, nicely dressed, and later I would find him to be ridiculously driven. I use “ridiculously driven” because after talking to him, I was wowed by the journey that brought him to Hood.
A little about our friendship; by chance we both decided to take Photo 1 with adjunct Prof. Tim Jacobsen. The two of us were sprinkled in with the most wonderfully diverse group of students I have ever met. Jacobsen took us on fantastic adventures where our eyes were opened to a talent none of us really knew we had.
Together we found photography to be a creative outlet somehow overlooked previously. The strangest thing, however, was when editing our work, we found ourselves looking to one another for input. Our view of the world was so different; our styles were all unique. Yet somehow, we were able to help each other grow into better artists, photographers… better people. The results on all levels were simply amazing.
A group of us from Photo 1 reunited in Photo 2 and as a result, we banded together in a creative collaboration we lovingly now know as the Photo Deuce Third Row Rejects. Despite the lack of classroom time together, we all meet and inspire one another on a regular basis.
Let’s get back to John though. John could pass for being the same age as most of the students at Hood, however his journey was not so straight and decided as many. He’s about three years older than most college students and bears a level of maturity some will never own.
John was born on January 29, 1993 right here in Frederick; however, he was raised in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania which is about five miles from the P.A./M.D. border. He frequented Hagerstown as a child because it was the closest city and fully regards himself as a Marylander.
In his senior year of high school, John was already an immensely talented artist. He was ready to jump feet first into art school and visited many campuses. However, instead of being ushered into a creative haven, he was cautioned by individuals that suggested he would struggle to make money as an artist. Art was his love, yet the desire to be successful would loom.
The advice changed everything, but I cannot say that it was for the better or for the worse. After graduating high school in 2011, he did not go to art school as originally planned. “I literally picked a major out of a pamphlet because it didn’t sound horrible,” Braun says, “Traditional college was never in my plan.” He enrolled at Frederick Community College (FCC) with the intent of pursuing a business major.
Dejected and unhappy with his new path, John had no idea what to do with his life. “I was so ticked; I wasn’t going to school to study art. I gave away EVERY art supply I owned.” He decided to remove art from his life entirely. His studies went well at FCC, however something was missing.
Two years later, he decided to pick up woodworking as a creative outlet. John decided maybe carpentry was in his fate. All the while his mother persisted to tell him to return to his true passion, art. Mother is always right, you know.
A job change and a school transfer led him to a summer break hanging out with Savannah, his future wife. They skateboarded and listened to music. John wants it on record that he “sucked” at skateboarding. At her request, they went to into a shop to look at some things she believed would inspire him. Braun’s eyes were opened to art once more.
He scrambled, however his last minute attempt to change his major was rejected. Not to be deterred from his decision, John took a semester off and worked in a chain store warehouse on third shift. After doing so, he eventually entered an art program where he received a departmental award. However, things still weren’t panning out and he left that school as well.
After that, John began working as a Student Laboratory Technician in Frederick. Justine Zelko, a co-worker at the lab who was planning on attending Hood College, encouraged him to look into the programs offered as well. He took her advice and decided to see what kind of education he could find on Rosemont Avenue. He started with the wrong major again however.
After one semester in communications, John transferred to the studio arts program. His mom wants you to know that she called it, by the way. John has absolutely thrived here at Hood. He’s dabbling in all sorts of art. You may have heard him on Blazer Radio, you’ve probably seen his multi-medium projects in Tatem. His brilliant black and white street photography can be seen in Rosenstock.

Preview of the third season for Hood’s baseball team

On the eve of their third season, Hood College Baseball coach Cory Beddick reflected on the last few years.
“If I could describe our program’s history in one word, I would choose the word ‘competition,’” Beddick said.
A member of the Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth, Hood baseball’s inaugural season was 2015. Beddick, who graduated from Gettysburg College in 2010, was hired as head coach in 2013 to recruit a team for the 2015 season.
Over the last three years, Beddick has raised one of the most competitive – and youngest – teams in the conference; The Blazers are consist entirely of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. While some might view such a young team as a challenge, but Beddick found a silver-lining in his group.
“The key to any successful team is the individuals it is comprised of. Priority number one was, and, is bringing in high quality student-athletes that can help us build our program into something special. We want to [be] competing for conference championships every year. Our earliest challenge was also a great opportunity. Being a new program, young guys had the opportunity to get experience as freshmen and sophomores. We believe that quickened their development and will enable us to compete at a high level this season.”
When asked what sets Hood apart from schools in the conference, he again brought up the youthfulness of his team.
“Even though this is only our third year as a baseball program, we are probably now the most experienced team in the conference. Even though we do not have one senior on the team, we have many guys that have gotten the opportunity to see the field early in their college career. Within one year, we likely went from the youngest team in the conference to one with quite possibly the most experience.”
His hard work has not gone unnoticed. According to his bio on Hood’s Athletics page, he was named 2016 Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth Coach of the Year.
The Blazers are looking to improve upon their 2015 and 2016 seasons, finishing with a record of 14-25 and 16-24, respectively, with seven conference victories in 2016.
“I am most excited to see how our team comes together. We play at least 40 games in about two and a half months. We will face both successes and adversities over the course of the season and it is important that we stick together as one team,” Beddick said, in regard to the upcoming season.
Blazer home games are played at neighboring Frederick Community College, as Hood does not have a baseball field of their own.
Beddick has used this to his advantage, allotting more time for practice and home games, saying, “To my knowledge there are no plans for us to have our own field in the nearer future. However, we feel very grateful to be able to call FCC our home field. We are the only team in our conference that has a home field that is artificial turf. That allows us to get on the field in late February and early March when most of our conference opponents are unable to get on their home field.”
The Blazers’ first home game is Feb. 25, a double header hosting the Catholic University Cardinals, while their first conference home game will be hosting the Alvernia University Crusaders on March 17. A full schedule can be found on the Hood Athletics webpage.
With big goals in mind, Beddick has not forgotten to take it one step at a time.
“The next step for our program is to continue to improve,” he said. “We feel like if we reach our potential this season, we can be competing for a championship in the conference playoffs in May. However, to get there we need to focus on the process which is continuing to get better every single day.”

Hood hosts 4th annual Hips for Hearts Hafla event

bellydance1 crop 200dpiHood College hosted the 4th annual Hips for Hearts Hafla is a belly dance fundraiser to benefit the American Heart Association earlier this month.
Hood College Belly Dance Club and other dancers performed in the fundraiser on Feb. 11. The event was held in Hodson Auditorium starting at 7 p.m.
Dr. Shannon Kundey participated in multiple performances and did one solo performance. Because belly dance is an interactive experience, the audience cheered on the performers. It is recommended to express enjoyment.
Double entendres were expressed by the audience members frequently. Hissing was reserved for when someone does a sensual move, while “opei” meant “yes.”
Members of the Meridian Dance Company also participated in the fundraiser. They incorporated hip-hop arm movements with other talents, like when a dancer balanced a sword on her head.
The event proved that dancing can be both enjoyable and beneficial for good causes. After all, hips don’t lie.

Political organizations regroup post election

Although the American political system seemingly hit its climax in the 2016 election, work continues for large and small-scale organizations for the upcoming showdowns in 2018 and 2020.
Hood College is no exception to this statement. Three months after the Nov. 8 election, both College Democrats and College Republicans are in full swing once more, working to recruit new members and campaign for their various causes.
Neither the Republicans’ victory nor the Democrats’ loss have slowed down the groups or demoralized them. Both have long-term plans for the semester and the year – Democrats are attempting to work alongside the gun control lobby, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, while Republicans discussed hosting a panel on veterans’ experiences and bringing in speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos.
Sam Kebede, the president of College Democrats and a junior at Hood, said that his organization’s plans had to be adjusted after the election. As issues under their expected Clinton presidency vary from issues under the actual Trump presidency, they changed their overall approach accordingly.
Regarding Nov. 9, he said, “On campus, it was like someone had died. It was not a happy mood. On our first meeting post-election, people were not happy, some more than others.”
Kebede remains confident that his party will quickly recover from the temporary setback. Describing the Democratic Party as “the big tent party,” he said that they had the greatest potential to recruit people from all backgrounds, and hoped more people would get involved in politics as a result of the election.
Christopher Gardner, the president of College Republicans and a senior at Hood, said he was enthusiastic about President Donald Trump’s election and intended to keep that momentum going for his organization.
“I like the fact that he’s getting started immediately,” he said about Trump’s executive orders.
Gardner said that, like the other club members, the election of Trump felt “surreal” to him at the time. He suggested that the Bradley Effect, which states that people will hide unpopular beliefs during controversial elections, influenced polls to make Hillary Clinton appear more likely to win.
College Republicans are planning on holding a panel on veterans’ experiences out of the military, focusing on topics like education and PTSD. They also discussed finding a speaker for a campus event, with names like Steven Crowder and Ben Shapiro mentioned alongside personalities like Christina Hoff Sommers and Milo Yiannopoulos.
Despite their apparent rivalry with one another, the organizations often cooperate on events for Hood students. They intend to continue holding debates in the 2017 spring semester. Currently, the topic for the next debate will be health care, abortion, and euthanasia.
The two groups push past partisanship in order to keep Hood students informed on the issues. Their cooperative efforts include presenting speakers at a post-election discussion by Hood’s political science department.
With their leaders’ respective optimism guiding them, College Democrats and College Republicans seem poised to continue their work in spite of, or possibly because of, America’s polarized political climate.
“It’s detrimental to society not to talk about politics, since it affects everyone,” Kebede said. “Politics is a means by which to achieve a better society.”

New Hood club gets 100K to invest

Students at Hood College can now play the stock market and directly learn how investing works, due to the implementation of the Blazing Alpha Fund.
The Fund contains $100,000 allotted by the Board of Trustees for use by students pursuing business or accounting majors. All of the money for the Fund was provided by donors. The fund is managed almost entirely by the students themselves, with minimal input from faculty or administrators.
Students in MGMT 370, also known as Investment Practicum, analyze the trends of the market in their weekly class. With some guidance from Prof. Matthew McGreevy, the instructor, they choose the amount to invest and what to invest it in.
Nigol Keurkunian, a student and founding member of the program, said that the Fund was intended “to promote the skills and interest of students, and teach them about the financial industry through real world investments.”
The first investment by students was made near the end of January 2017. Investments are divided by sector and handled by different students. Currently, there are six sectors that students can focus on: energy, industrial, financial, IT (technology), consumer, and healthcare.
The Fund and class were first discussed as possibilities with the construction of the Rosenstock trade room in fall 2015. The Blazer Reinvestment Club, a predecessor to the class, began in spring 2016, just as work began on the Fund.
According to the Fund’s initial report, its end goal is to “become an educational tool for years to come and increase the esteem of the finance program at the college.”

Graduation cords stay despite rumors

As graduation draws nearer, questions about what seniors will be wearing at the celebration, including what cords will be worn and by whom, have arisen all over campus.
Along with the black cap and gown, graduating seniors also wear a series of cords that represent both academic honors organizations and various clubs. Interestingly, this tradition is not one that is practiced at many other institutions across the country, with most other colleges only have cords for honor based organizations.
“In my experience, and at my undergrad, they were all academic cords, or honor cords specifically for majors,” Gretchen Nonemaker said, director of Student Engagement.
The Hood cords extend to nearly all clubs on campus, with most student run organizations having a cord made up of one or two colors. Many students feel that club cords are an important Hood tradition that is integral to a Hood graduation.
“I think it’s a way to decorate your gown in a really special fashion, and in a way that really has meaning and reflects on your college experience,” Una Regoje said, a junior. “I think it’s a very adorable way of decorating this special occasion, and having it personalized but also mean something.”
In the past, decisions about graduation regalia have fallen on the bookstore and the provost’s office. This year, both the bookstore managing team and the provost are new, meaning that what seniors will be wearing come graduation is slightly up in the air.
“There are academic cords, and then there are these cords that are student organization based,” Nonemaker said. “Traditionally, that’s something that has come out of the provost’s office, so I think that’s where it’s sitting right now.”
Currently, because she is new to the school, Ricker is still learning all about the Hood regalia. She said she is especially looking forward to graduation and is excited to see this important Hood event.
“I am so excited about commencement at Hood.” Provost Debbie Ricker said. “I’ve never experienced it, but as it is at most institutions, it’s a great celebration of achievement and accomplishment, and I’m excited to experience it with all the Hood graduates in May.”
Currently, the bookstore has begun the process of looking at cords and figuring out who gets them.
“Right now we’re in the process of trying to find out who needs cords and which cords they need,” said Debbie Rhodes, the bookstore store manager. “We will have them ordered as soon as possible through Herff Jones.”
One thing seems clear: students have become attached to the cords, and are looking forward to getting to wear them this spring at graduation.
“Honestly, I think that without the cords, the gowns look kind of ugly and bland,” Regoje said. “So I would not like them to be removed.”