Rowan becomes finalist of the Shorty Award competition for best social media among larger schools

This article was published at TheWhitOnline.com on March 5, 2014.

 

For the past five years, the Shorty Awards have recognized the best in social media, from Twitter to Facebook, YouTube to Instagram, and gifs to apps, matching winners to dozens of categories. This year, nominated and now one of the seven finalists in the #BNCollege category, Rowan is up for a Shorty Award.

Acknowledging the best of social media from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, Vine, Instagram and more, the 6th Annual Shorty Awards allows the community to vote for their social web favorites from Jan. 7 until Feb. 18. During that time, anyone can tweet a nomination for anything or anyone related to social media via Twitter or the Shorty Awards website by tweeting who or what he or she wants to nominate and why. According the Shorty Award website, more than 2 million tweet-nominations were submitted during last year’s nomination process.

Previous Shorty Awards winners of multiple categories have been comedians and TV personalities like Ricky Gervais, Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Kimmel, and New Jersey senator Cory Booker. Even Grover from “Sesame Street” has won a Shorty Award.

Sabrina LoBue, a graduate coordinator for the Office of Student Activities, took it upon herself to spread the word to her staff to nominate Rowan in the #BNCollege category.

“I started on Twitter and we just retweeted and try to get as many of my followers to retweet it,” LoBue said. “We actually had an all-staff meeting the Friday before the [nomination process] ended so my boss asked me to bring it up on the screen and have all of our students in the room log on Twitter and we had about 40 [students] at our all-staff so we got them to either join Twitter, if they didn’t have it yet, or to get on and tweet it and actually vote in the Shorty Awards at that moment.”

YouTube videos were also made to promote Rowan’s placement in the Shorty Awards. With enough tweet-nominations, Rowan has made it to the final seven of that category, competing against well-known colleges like West Virginia University and Boston University.

Rowan’s Barnes & Noble store manager John Styles shared word of the Shorty Award via web and even reaching out to people on campus, such as Dean of Students, Richard Jones.

“A lot of it was kind of word of mouth and within the Rowan community and it kind of flourished,” Styles said, “so once the web people got the social media part going, we posted on the Facebook page a couple times and sent out different notices that it was out there and then I kind of pushed it on some people on the campus.”

Understanding the big role that social media plays on a college campus, the #BNCollege category was created. This category represents a Barnes & Noble College school that uses social media to successfully communicate with and initiate involvement between students, faculty and the community as a whole, while expressing school spirit.

Styles says he is proud to be a part of a university that is up against bigger schools for the #BNCollege Shorty Award.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Styles said. “I consider myself very privileged to be working on the Rowan campus. If you go to [the Shorty Awards website] you can look and see the people that tweeted and I was very pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t just students. If you go through and take a look, it’s students, it’s faculty, it’s staff, it’s alumni, it’s local businesses, it’s the borough of Glassboro. It was really a community type of thing.”

After being selected by The Academy, the Shorty Awards winners will be announced at April 7 at The TimesCenter in New York.

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Plastic Musik returns to Rowan After Hours

This article was published at TheWhitOnline.com on Nov. 10, 2013.

Plastic Musik performing at Rowan After Hours. The abstract percussion band uses boomwhackers to create music. This marks the second time the group performed in the Student Center Pit. -Staff photo/Davin Jurgensen

Back for a second time and using nothing but colorful plastic tubes, plastic laundry tubs, a plastic beam and a synthesizer, the five-man group Plastic Musik delivered a new style of music, putting a different spin on well-known tunes at Rowan After Hours.

The plastic tubes, called “boomwhackers,” come in different sizes and colors, and are a type of instrument that delivers a pitch once it hits a surface.

Similar to the Blue Man Group and STOMP, Plastic Musik put on a choreographed performance on Nov. 8, drumming along to different types of genres that ranged from jazz to classical to modern. Some of the songs played were The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” A-ha’s “Take on Me” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Snippets of other recognizable songs like Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” and Missy Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On” were also heard.

Sarah Olsen, a graduate coordinator for RAH, said that after she saw how much positive feedback Plastic Musik received last spring when they were at RAH, she wanted to bring them back for another event this semester. Olsen said she enjoys watching the group and was happy to have them come back to Rowan to perform their music.

“It’s music everyone knows, which is something I love specifically because it doesn’t separate the audience,” Olsen said. “Everyone in there can enjoy the event because they play music from different genres, different sounds. It’s a very all-encompassing event for all types of audiences, which is definitely one of RAH’s missions, to get as many people to enjoy the event as possible.”

In the middle of the show, one of the band members, Andy Burnette, answered some of the audience’s questions, explaining that the group formed and started using boomwhackers when Jeremy Price, one of the group’s members’ brother, was teaching drum lessons in a music store when a shipment of boomwhackers came in.

“But then he was like, ‘well I wonder what would happen if I called my drummer friends,’” Burnette said. “So he did and it just all started as us being bored and having a whole lot of time on our hands, and then it just kind of caught on. The people really seemed to enjoy it so we decided to try to pursue it a little bit.”

Burnette also explained to the audience how the members control the pitch of the boomwhackers.

“It is all based on how long this tube is,” Burnette said. “The shorter the tube, the higher the pitch. We tell them apart by the colors. I don’t see ‘C’ anymore, the note ‘C,’ I see red. Or an ‘E’ is yellow. A ‘D’ is orange.”

Nicolette Camishion, a sophomore civil engineering major, said she was impressed by Plastic Musik’s show.

“I don’t really know what I was expecting but they were really cool,” Camishion said. “I thought they were gonna be like the Blue Man Group but they were really fun.”

Although the group doesn’t use traditional instruments, senior Spanish major Elena Guzman said she thought its music was just as enjoyable.

“I thought it was awesome,” Guzman said. “I would say it can compete with regular music with instruments. I would see it again.”

Josh Meadows, a member of Plastic Musik, said that although the group performs over 100 shows a year, he had a nice time playing at Rowan again.

“I thought [the show] was really good,” Meadows said. “The crowd response was good. It could have been better, but it’s always like that with us, people always get in awe or shock when they see us because they don’t really know how to take us, whether we’re serious or goofing off or just whatever.”

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Engineering Carnival makes for a ‘sweet’ Friday

This article was published on TheWhitOnline.com on Oct. 21, 2013.

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For the students at Rowan’s Engineering Carnival, shoving a whipped-cream pie into professors’ faces was just the cherry on top of the liquid nitrogen-made ice cream.

The carnival, which took place on the Rowan Hall green on Oct. 18, invited all engineers to take a break from their studies to enjoy some music, games and food.

Between eating fried Oreos, funnel cake and corndogs, students participated in activities and yard games such as a pie- eating contest, a water balloon toss, Dunk-the-Dean and Pie-a-Professor. A liquid nitrogen ice cream stand was also set up, along with a toppings bar, where students watched as ingredients such as cream, sugar and vanilla extract, combined with liquid nitrogen, made ice cream once stirred.

One of the six professors to get pied during Pie-a-Professor was electrical and computer engineering professor Robi Polikar. He said the event was a good way for students to take a break from their school work and have a good time.

“The students had a lot of fun,” Polikar said. “It’s fun to do this every once and a while. The students get out of class and have fun and enjoy.”

The dean of the College of Engineering, Tony Lowman, got dunked in a tank of water during Dunk-the-Dean. Although he was shivering, he thought the carnival was a good way for students to meet and get excited for the rest of the year.

“It’s a mid-semester break for the students,” Lowman said. “It gives them a chance to unwind, welcome the freshmen, welcome everyone back. I hope this is a good opportunity to build community among the engineering students and also let them kind of relax, enjoy themselves. They work very, very hard.”

Among the group of students clad in red T-shirts saying “Rowan Carnival” was junior electrical and computer engineering major Sean Myers, who beat eight other students in the pie-eating contest.

“[The carnival is] a lot of fun,” Myers said. “The students seem to be enjoying it. There’s a warm feeling in the air. Everyone is kind of relaxing. It’s a gorgeous day, the food is great.”

Gina Tierno, a junior chemistry engineering major and academic senator for the College of Engineering, said that although the carnival fell on Homecoming Weekend, it was not a Homecoming event.

“Next year we’re trying to make it earlier in the year as a freshman carnival,” Tierno said.

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Bruce Yurko conducts Rowan Wind Ensemble

This article was published at TheWhitOnline.com on Oct. 20, 2013.

After 15 years of conducting the Rowan Wind Ensemble, John Pastin, the dean of performing arts, passed the duty along to someone else, placing it gently in the hands of nationally known New Jersey conductor, Bruce Yurko.

Yurko, who has taught the wind ensemble for 32 years at Cherry Hill High School East and West, as well as Madison High School, and teaches composition at Rowan, was asked by Pastin to take his spot in directing the group in September. On the night of Oct. 17 at Pfleeger Concert Hall, Yurko led the Rowan Wind Ensemble for the first time during the first concert of the year.

“They’re great musicians,” Yurko said of the students who make up the wind ensemble. “They’re very receptive to new things and it’s been a total joy.”

Pastin started the wind ensemble at Rowan in 1998 and has since led many performances of different repertoires. Having been the founder of the wind ensemble, it was difficult for Pastin to let someone else conduct the group for the first time.

“It wasn’t an easy thing for me to do,” Pastin said. “As a matter of fact, it was difficult for me to even walk close to the rehearsal room because I’ve been with these folks for 15 years. It’s not easy to just turn around and walk away, but if I’m going to turn it over to someone, it’s going to be someone like Bruce Yurko.”

For three years, senior music education major Christina Raczka played with the wind ensemble with Pastin as the conductor. When comparing her time with both Pastin and Yurko, she says that Pastin’s conducting style shows that he has had a lot of training but she likes Yurko’s rehearsing techniques and his ability to focus on the parts that the band needs to work on.

“They both have their strengths,” Raczka said. “Bruce is trying to get a feel for the ensemble so this concert is a bit easier than the music we’re used to but I think it’s good because it’s helped us to really grow as an ensemble in the beginning. Pastin will usually hit the ground running with some hard stuff so I think they’re both good in their own ways but I think we’re really going to come together this year as an ensemble. I think [Yurko is] planning on challenging us more throughout the year.”

Senior electrical and computer engineering major Christopher Cullen has only experienced Yurko’s conducting styles in the wind ensemble and appreciates his knowledge of and passion for the subject matter.

“[Yurko is] awesome,” Cullen said. “He totally gets into it and he’s just real easy to follow. He just has this energy and he knows a lot about what he’s doing and it conveys in how the wind ensemble sounds.”

After the concert, Yurko said he was very pleased with how the students performed.

“I thought it was great, it was outstanding,” Yurko said. “I told them we’re here to play the soul of the composer and they did just that. They played every composer’s style and it was just perfect. I couldn’t have asked for anything better than what they just did. They made music.”

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Weekend Whitney Welcome party draws attention to RoBo businesses

This article was published at TheWhitOnline.com on Sept. 9, 2013.

Glassboro residents and Rowan students convened on the Whitney Center’s deck to celebrate its up-and-coming stores on Rowan Boulevard with the Whitney Welcome on Deck event.

Coordinated by Nina and Gary Reses, the owners of the Whitney Center store Forever Young Emporium, the event aimed to bring attention to some of the newly-opened businesses this year, like YoGo Factory and Rye’s @ Rowan, and to draw in the Glassboro and Rowan communities.

The Saturday, Sept. 7 event acknowledged the many years of planning and construction that went into the businesses that have filled up the first floor of the Whitney Center. To all the business owners, the preparation and development has finally paid off as the stores officially flip their signs to “open.”

“It’s a party because we’re finally open and other stores are open and the students are back now,” Gary Reses said. “So this will be the first season when most of the Whitney [Center] will be open and rocking all year and we’re really excited. So this is kind of a grand opening party for everyone.”

Some of the other businesses that were a part of the event were PRIME Burger, Sun National Bank and Green Zebra, which offered free banana whip samples to give people a little taste of their business.

“With more businesses opening, it’s going to be great for everyone involved, the students and the community and us business owners,” said Green Zebra owner Cory Gardener-Meeks.

Along with free samples, guests of the event were able to enjoy back massages offered by Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa and entertainment for the crowd such as live music from Gary’s band The Blind Squirrels, deck games, tarot card readings, a dancing blue bear and hula hoops decorated by Gary’s wife and Forever Young Emporium owner Nina Reses.

Playing with the hula hoops was junior psychology major Tyler Dabney, who said that the locale of Whitney Center businesses is convenient to students.

“I think this is really cool,” Dabney said about the Whitney Center. “I like being able to walk over here.”

Besides students, the event brought some local residents out to the deck, too.

Glassboro resident Donna Laning viewed the event as a good opportunity to see the growing businesses in the area and experience for herself how Rowan is beginning to be a part of the town she calls home.

“I think that this is a remarkable start for the school and for Glassboro,” Laning said. “It’s a very welcome change.”

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Organ Donor Day breaks record number of sign-ups

This article was published at TheWhitOnline.com on April 28, 2013.

Students agreed to give more than a helping hand when they signed up to become organ donors on Rowan’s 20th annual Organ Donor Day.

Hosted by the Public Relations Student Society of America on Thursday, April 25 on the Student Center Back Patio, this year’s Organ Donor Day aimed to educate the student body on the impact that organ donations can have. With the theme “give more than a helping hand,” the event gave students the facts about organ donation, let them listen to speakers and gave them the chance to sign up to become organ donors.

The 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. event offered live music, food, raffles, games and guest speakers who have all been a part of organ donations. Last year’s goal was to get 30 students to sign up to become organ donors. This year the goal was 50, and it was exceeded, with 55 students registering.

“Each year we strive to make a bigger event and have more people sign up to be an organ donor — because of course that’s the most important part — for someone to sign up to be an organ donor and to gain awareness to the people who aren’t organ donors and get to know the facts and debunk the myths,” said Ashley-Marie Monica, a senior public relations major and director of entertainment for Organ Donor Day. “We also like to celebrate the people that are already organ donors because it’s the gift of life.”

Following the outdoor event was a dodgeball game that took place from 3 to 5 p.m. at the REC Center. At $25 per team, seven teams signed up to participate. The proceeds came to over $1,000, and went to the Gift of Life Family House in Philadelphia, a “home” where families of transplant patients receiving medical care can stay for $40 a night, instead of lodging at a costly hotel.

The Gift of Life Family House is a part of the Gift of Life Donor Program, which is the nonprofit organ and tissue donation procurement organization that caters to the eastern half of Pennsylvania, South Jersey and Delaware.

The idea for Organ Donor Day started 21 years ago when Professor Anthony J. Fulginiti, Rowan’s PRSSA chapter founder, received a life-saving kidney transplant from his sister. The next year, a student started Organ Donor Day to honor him and the gift of life that is organ donations.

For the past 20 years, Organ Donor Day has strived to show students the benefits of becoming an organ donor.

One of the 55 sign-ups on this year’s Organ Donor Day was David Fajerman, a sophomore law and justice major.

“The thought of donating organs is scary, like getting stuff cut out of you, but you’re not going to feel it,” Fajerman said. “When you’re signing up for your license, it’s not like this [the event] at all. It’s just a yes or no. But [this year’s Organ Donor Day], they put so much work into all of this, makes it worth it.”

Junior public relations and advertising major and the Organ Donor Day Host Chair Stephanie Russo became an organ donor last year after being involved with the event.

“It’s really great to be an organ donor every day,” Russo said. “It’s a beautiful gift to give and just knowing these people and hearing their stories. I’m excited for everyone else to hear them. I’ve heard them myself and hearing them, it’s awe-inspiring. How can you not sign up and give this gift? It’s amazing. That’s why we have ‘give more than a helping hand.’ It’s more than just being there, it’s actually committing it.”

Among the speakers were Patrick Manion and his mother Cass Manion. Patrick’s sister and Cass’ daughter, Michelle Manion, passed away in September. Michelle was a total body donor. That means she agreed to donate her eyes, brain stem, heart, lungs, kidneys, skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, bone marrow and blood upon her death.

“It’s rare that you can have a donor with a family that’s willing to do that, but it was her wishes,” Cass Manion said. “Three weeks before [my daughter] died, she said, ‘If anything happens to me, I want my whole body to be donated.’ So her brain stem went to Harvard for brain research.”

Cass and Patrick Manion call Michelle Manion their hero for giving the gift of life to people in need of a transplant.

“It’s comforting to know that she lives on in other people and that’s hundreds of other people who are thankful that they received that donation,” Patrick Manion said.

Another speaker was Rowan student Andrew Lysy, a sophomore health promotion and fitness management major and a recipient of a tissue donation. Lysy, who is a pitcher for the Rowan baseball team, blew his elbow out and received his donation.

“You don’t really understand it until it actually happens to you,” Lysy said. “I’m just thankful that I get another shot. I mean, it’s unfortunate that somebody passed away, but at the same time, I’m very grateful that I get to play in the sport that I love again.”

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Rowan Alumna to Compete for Miss America

This post was published at TheWhitOnline.com on Oct. 10, 2012.

In most cases, the word ‘pageant’ is followed by a negative stereotype: catty, superficial girls who are obsessed with their bodies and hair. However 2011 Rowan alumna Lindsey Petrosh, who has been crowned Miss Atlantic County and Miss New Jersey, is proving the stereotype wrong and competing for the title of Miss America.

Petrosh has been performing since she was seven and has competed in many talent shows.  A passionate singer, she won an Atlantic County Talent Search when she was 16, winning entry to a New Jersey Outstanding Teen Pageant. Despite having been forced into it by her parents, Petrosh fell in love with the program and knew she wanted to become Miss New Jersey someday.

And she did. On June 16, 2012 Petrosh was crowned Miss New Jersey after having won the title of Miss Atlantic County in 2010 and again in 2011.

Pageants have opened many doors for Petrosh and have given her many opportunities, one being the chance to sing at the ABC Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia this November. Although the 23 year old loves the opportunities that pageants have presented her, she wasn’t always a fan of them.

“I was never your typical pageant girl. I never wanted to get involved with pageants. I thought it was too girly of an activity for myself,” Petrosh said.

When compared to other pageants such as Miss USA, Petrosh thinks Miss America is a better organization.

“We focus on scholarships whereas the other pageants focus on beauty, face, and body,” Petrosh said. “Miss America looks for a holistic girl who encompasses a talent, and a girl who excels in academics and maintains a healthy lifestyle.”

Through the influence of her family, Petrosh is a huge supporter of volunteering. She uses her voice to promote volunteerism by going to nursing homes and children’s hospitals to sing to patients.

The Egg Harbor native will be promoting volunteerism this Saturday as she hosts a 5k walk and pancake breakfast in her hometown to promote the Children’s Miracles Network and raise $10,000 by January, a goal she has set for herself.

Although the girls in the Miss America competition are competing for a rigorous title, Petrosh says you would never know it.

“If you run out of bobby pins, they will be the first ones to give you one. It’s really amazing to see girls you’re competing against show acts of kindness,” Petrosh said. “It’s a scholarship pageant, these girls are educated. They want to make the world a better place and it shows.”

This January, Petrosh will be competing against 53 other women for the title of Miss America in Las Vegas. Only the top 15 will make it to the finals.

When it comes to No. one fans, Petrosh says it’s a tie between her parents and her boyfriend of four years, 2011 Rowan alumnus Chris Delia.

“I’m happy for her,” Delia said. “There’s going to be some good competition and I think that’s what’s going to make it fun for Lindsey, because she’s a competitor.  If she just goes out there and has fun, I think she can be amongst the best of them.”

Preparing to compete for Miss America is anything but easy. Petrosh is currently seeing a trainer two hours a day and making multiple appearances across the Garden State to promote and prepare herself. She is also taking a year-long leave of absence from graduate school, where she was studying higher education and administration.

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