On Nov. 12, Northeastern held a campus day of action in the name of the Carrying the Weight Together movement that started over the summer by Columbia University senior Emma Sulkowicz.
Organized by the Feminist Student Organization (FSO) and members of Socialist Alternative, a group currently in the process of gaining club status, the event was also sponsored by NU Sexual Health Advocacy, Resources and Education (NU SHARE), Strong Women Strong Girls at NU and the Progressive Student Alliance. The mission of the day was to stand with Sulkowicz and draw attention to survivors of sexual assault and rape culture.
“I think it’s a really great movement,” Helen Sharma, a third-year international affairs and anthropology combined major and FSO president, said. “I think that the issue of sexual assault doesn’t get enough coverage, and I think more than often, it gets the wrong kind of coverage.”
The Carrying the Weight Together movement began after Sulkowicz began carrying the mattress she was raped on around Columbia’s campus, drawing attention both to the crime and to the university’s mishandling of her case by allowing her assailant to stay enrolled in the school.
The project, which is also a performance art piece for Sulkowicz’s thesis, explains that she must carry a standard dorm mattress with her everywhere she travels on campus, symbolizing the weight she carries as a survivor of rape. Sulkowicz is not allowed to ask for help but is allowed to accept it when offered and will carry the mattress for as long as she and her rapist both attend Columbia.
Allie Rickard, a senior art history major at Barnard College, helped to organize the national day of action for Carrying the Weight Together, which occurred on Oct. 29.
“I think our main goal is to really get communities across the nation to visibly show their support for survivors, to help dismantle the stigma that survivors usually face [and] help promote change in their communities and administration,” Rickard said.
The national day of action called colleges across the county to show their support and solidarity for Sulkowicz and survivors by carrying a mattress to draw attention to sexual assault.
At Columbia, the national day of action featured a march through campus and a rally. The gathering hosted 28 student organizations, each carrying a mattress to represent the 28 Title IX complaints that have been filed at the school. Nationally, over 130 campuses in 30 states and over five countries participated in Carrying the Weight Together on Oct. 29, as reported by the group’s Facebook page.
“I think that all communities, not just colleges and not just Columbia deal with this,” Rickard said. “As a member of that community I feel like I need to work towards change.”
At Northeastern, organizers like sophomore sociology major Elan Axelbank only found out about the national day of action a week before, so they decided to plan instead for a demonstration on Nov. 12.
“There’s a couple of purposes to it,” Axelbank, also a member of Socialist Alternative, said. “One is to stand with Emma Sulkowicz of Columbia and show that she’s not alone and metaphorically help her carry that weight, and [two], that members of Northeastern
University stand with those who have been affected by sexual assault.”
Axelbank also noted that a key component of the event was standing against rape culture and speak out against the large number of sexual assaults that goes unreported.
“It’s important that students,especially typically marginalized groups, often women’s voices are not heard, and it’s important to empower them,” Axelbank said. “It’s ironic that I’m saying this because I’m a guy, but I really believe the purpose is to empower women to speak out about these issues because they’re important.”
The day of action on campus featured a march from Centennial Commons to Snell Library and back followed by a speak-out portion from members of sponsoring organizations as well as an open mic portion for those who wished to speak about the issue and their experiences.
Aside from raising awareness, groups involved handed out sheets listing resources for those who may be or become victims of sexual assault or find themselves in a potentially dangerous situation.
“Rallies are a great starting point, they’re a great conversation starter,” Keely Mullen, a third-year political science major and member of Socialist Alternative, said. “They’re good in getting people angry. People should be angry, and angry that this is happening here, that this is happening nationwide and that this is happening globally.”
Moya Bailey, a Post Doctorate Fellow in women’s, gender and sexuality studies at Northeastern, states that overall the movement forces people to deal with the issue of sexual assault in a way they never have before due to Sulkowicz’s unprecedented public display.
Bailey states that universities are trying to address the issue but are nervous about upsetting other students, as well as legality issues.
“I think there has to be a different climate, I don’t think survivors feel safe reporting,” Bailey said. “There’s a lot of victim blaming and the feeling that this is inevitable for young women.”
She also notes that not enough is spent on addressing men, potential accusers and how society addresses masculinity. K-12 education on women’s and gender studies is another way Bailey thinks that society could address sexual assault.
“I really want to stress shifting the energy of the conversation to prevention,” Bailey said. “Prevention doesn’t need to focus solely on the survivors. We need to have a conversation as a society that this type of behavior is unacceptable and that we currently just [passively] accept it.”
For Sharma, despite the conversation of sexual assault making headway, it is an uphill battle.
“I think on the university level that this is just generally true, that as young people, we tend to be a little more accepting of things that are progressive and accepting of debate around issues like sexual assault,” Sharma said. “I think that we’re the first step. As ideas about sexual assault and ideas on feminists change on college campuses, those students graduate and go into the world and the job market and ideally those values that we have established as a university will spread to society in general.”
Sharma hopes that the campus day of action reached those who were previously unfamiliar with feminist and anti-rape rhetoric and helped to explain such terminology rather than alienate it, and encourage them to become active within their community.
Sophomore environmental science major and member of FSO Maya Gilchrist attended the rally and hoped that it will make people reconsider their previous conception on rape culture and what it means.
“If it even makes one person stop and think about their previous actions or attitudes that fit into what we’re trying to fight, then I think that it’s worth it,” Gilchrist said.
This piece was originally published by the Huntington News.
With the close of midterm elections, three Northeastern alumni were elected into various offices in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Eric Estevez, CPS class of 2008, won a seat as a New Hampshire state representative; Maggie Hassan, law class of 1985, was re-elected as governor in New Hampshire; and Maura Healey, law class of 1998, was elected to attorney general in Massachusetts.
Estevez earned his masters in leadership with a specialization in global studies and international affairs and then received his doctorate from Northeastern in law and policy.
“My time at Northeastern University was inspirational in many different ways,” Estevez said in a press release on Nov. 4. “Most importantly, the quality education I received taught me the importance of leadership and helping others through public service, and one of the things that an elected official must do is to find ways improve the lives of many disadvantaged people. Making a difference in people’s lives has been an important thing I have carried with me since graduate school, and I know many of my classmates have too.”
Estevez has worked in both the private and public sectors, working for the United States Small Business Administration’s Office of Disaster Assistance and Fidelity Investments.He also founded a nonprofit legal and public policy consulting firm. Esteves serves on the faculties of Endicott College, Lesley University and Bunker Hill Community College.
During his time at Northeastern, Estevez most poignantly remembers professors Tim Howard, the former director of the College of Professional Studies’ doctoral program in law & policy; Thomas Koenig, a professor of sociology and core faculty member in the Law and Public Policy Ph.D. Program; and Jaime Alan Fox, The Lipman Family professor of criminology.
“These gentlemen were mentors to me,” Estevez said. “Their guidance and support provided me with a strong platform for success.”
Hassan, who graduated from Northeastern University School of Law, won her first gubernatorial election in 2012.
In her first two-year term, Hassan froze tuition for in-state students for the New Hampshire state university system and lowered tuition at the state’s community college. She also helped to expand access to health care to 50,000 New Hampshire students.
Hassan hopes in her second term to continue modernizing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education within the state as well as keep college affordable.
“Two years ago, we started together on a path to ensure that New Hampshire is a place where everyone is included, everyone is respected and everyone has an opportunity to succeed,” Hassan said in her acceptance speech Nov. 4. “As I have traveled our state, I am constantly reminded of how much Granite Staters treasure those values and live them in their own lives every day.”
In an email to The News from Hassan’s chief of staff, Pamela Walsh, Hassan reflected on her time at the university law school.
“I was lucky to have many, many great professors at Northeastern School of Law. They all shared a passion for the law – not only in the abstract but as applied,” Hassan said. “They understood, and did their best to make sure that we did too, that the writing of laws, the administration of justice and the preservation and interpretation of our constitution had real, life-changing consequences for all of our people. Good lawyers never forget that.”
Healey, who also graduated from the law school, was previously a prosecutor in Middlesex County and served as the Chief of the Civil Rights Division for the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office. As the chief of the civil rights division, Healey spearheaded the acceptance of the Defense of Marriage Act within the state.
“When I entered this race, I was a newcomer,” Healey said in her acceptance speech Nov. 4. “I’d never raised a dollar. I’d never asked for a vote. But I’ll tell you what: I wasn’t new to being an underdog. And I wasn’t new to the work of the Attorney General.”
Healey is also the first openly gay attorney general. She plans to focus on addressing domestic violence, heroin and prescription pill problems within the state and regulating the casinos.
“As Attorney General, I will be your lawyer and your advocate,” Healey said. “But I can’t do it alone. We are going to need everyone in this room and across this state to keep standing up and speaking out on the issues that matter.”
This post was originally published by the Huntington News.
The College of Arts, Media and Design is beginning the search for a new dean after the college’s founding dean, Xavier Costa, left the university in Spring 2014 for unknown reasons after four years as dean in the position. Currently Bruce Ronkin, a professor of music at CAMD, is the acting interim dean.
The university has hired Isaacson Miller search firm to aid in the process of “recruiting exceptional leaders for mission-driven organizations,” as stated on the firm’s website. The process started this week with a group of CAMD undergraduate and graduate students meeting with the firm to discuss characteristics the new dean should embody, and how he or she will fit into and grow with the CAMD community.
“Everybody kind of expressed similar concerns, especially that CAMD is kind of the forgotten step-child of the university,” Jameson Johnson, a freshman communication major, said. “People on the outside looking in don’t actually know what to do with us.”
The theme that ran through the session was mainly centered around the belief that the college is underfunded, under-appreciated and has some issues internally, as indicated by the presence of a dean search, said Johnson.
“A lot of people expressed that they want more classes to be available and more upper-level classes to be available during the summer,” Johnson said. “We just need to have a better reputation in general, we need more recognition from the other colleges.”
Another repeated topic that was brought up in the meeting was the lack of community within the College, as well as the need for increased communication between individual departments and other key university decision-makers.
Cory Lamz, a combined Juris Doctor and Music Industry Leadership graduate student at Northeastern, was also in attendance to share his opinions.
“In particular, I believe that the next dean of CAMD should have a passion for innovation, with a willingness to support students’ own entrepreneurial efforts through funding or providing resources and an understanding of how to lobby the greater university on the behalf of students,” Lamz said in an email to The News. “That is not to say that the previous dean did not do this, but I think that, as CAMD continues to innovate and its students continue to push the boundaries of creativity, it’s important that the new dean not only supports these efforts, but shares the same vision for creative innovation.”
This piece was originally published by the Huntington News.
With ridership of the off-campus student shuttle expanding, the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Northeastern University Police Department (NUPD) have entered talks to expand the service to the nearly 6,300 students who live off campus.
“I didn’t know the shuttle existed,” Noah Carville, SGA president, said. “I was told that there was a sign for it and you just need to look for it, until you look in a bush by Snell. I said that,back when I was a freshman, that that was not okay.”
NUPD said that in September of 2013, ridership only clocked at 1,420 but nearly doubled in September of 2014, clocking in at over 3,000 student riders. Last month alone, 4,616 students were transported, more than double the number of students who utilized the service in October 2013.
Since the start of the semester, Carville and John Finn, vice president of SGA, have met with NUPD to work out a new shuttle system to accommodate the off-campus population. Talks began after early-semester off-campus public safety concerns arose, specifically an assault in September that occurred on Huntington Avenue.
“As someone who lives on the Hill, you kind of assume that Huntington is the safe haven,” Carville said.
The shuttle runs every half hour between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. and will drop students off anywhere in a mile and a half radius with pick-up locations at the Snell Quad and in front of the entrance to Ruggles on Forsyth Street.
Prior to February 2014, the shuttle only ran every hour, but increased demands, especially during midterms and finals, prompted pickups every 30 minutes The new deal being discussed would increase the service to three shuttles and run every 20 minutes.
Rachel Lake, senior international affairs and anthropology combined major, lives on Mission Hill and didn’t learn about the shuttle until her junior year. Lake notes that she would be open to taking the shuttle, specifically in the winter due to weather rather than safety concerns.
“Walking back to Mission Hill from campus has never seemed like a daunting activity to me, but I’m often with groups or at least another person, which helps,” Lake said.
Despite normally taking the T or an Uber when forced to walk home alone late at night, Lake supports better and increased signage throughout campus but believes the time between shuttles is too long.
“ 30 minutes is a long time to wait for a shuttle considering the walk back to the Hill is about 20 minutes itself,” Lake said. “[However, I’m] always down to see money spent on something that directly benefits students.”
Carville agrees, stating that the key issues are that students need to be aware of the service and that capacity can be handled adequately.
“I think student response will be ‘wait, there’s a shuttle? This existed before?’ and then ‘Wait yeah, this sounds awesome,’” Carville said. “Like I said, when you have over 6,000 students in these neighborhoods, they’re going to take advantage of [the shuttle].”
Aside from increasing service, NUPD is also looking into the possibility of having the technology for students to swipe their Husky IDs for shuttle use. Both NUPD and SGA hope to begin expanded service in early 2015.
This piece was originally published by the Huntington News.
Senior mechanical engineer Jason Lee has taken traditional resin 3-D printing and adapted the process to a more edible version: chocolate customizable images.
“When an employee’s referral is hired at Formlabs, they receive a ‘FormCoin,’” Lee said, who conceived his chocolate idea while on co-op at Formlabs, a 3-D printing company in Somerville. “This FormCoin did not exist in any tangible form, physical or digital. Several days after getting a vacuum former, I decided to make them for real out of chocolate. I handed them out to co-workers and they were a huge hit.”
Lee’s process involves taking an image and uploading it to a program that converts the image to black and white. Then, depending on the contrast of the image, a 3-D model is created with the darker areas being the thickest and the lightest being the thinnest. Lee then uploads the model to the 3-D printing software and prints it creating a lithophane, or 3-D image. This is then vacuum formed to create a negative/mold into which he casts chocolate from.
“Someone gave me the idea to cast lithophanes in dark chocolate and white chocolate,” Lee said. “It’s something [consumers] can feel and something edible they can share.”
Anvesh Gurijala, a junior mechanical engineering major, was introduced to 3-D printing while working in Jie Song’s research lab at University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center in Worcester two years ago. His project involved customizing a 3-D printer to print artificial bone implants for osteoarthritis treatment research.
“I actually had the chance to work with Jason recently,” Gurijala said in an email to The News. “We both competed in the Husky Startup Challenge hosted by the Northeastern University Entrepreneurs Club earlier this year. Jason is a great innovator and he has some awesome ideas.”
Lee launched a KickStarter campaign on Nov. 2, with the goal of raising $10,000 to purchase a personal 3-D printer and vacuform. If $15,000 is raised, he plans to design a lithophane lamp so the 3-D printed image will have its own backlight.
“[This] is more of a project to see if people want 3-D images, or see if they want it in chocolate,” Lee said. “I see this as a fun project to see if there is interest out there. If it doesn’t reach its funding goal, then that’s too bad, but I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t at least tried. ”
So far, Lee has raised $705 from eight backers since the Kickstarter began.
Earlier this fall, Northeastern welcomed the addition of a 3-D printing lab, open to all students. Located in Snell Library as an expansion to the library’s Digital Media Commons, the lab allows students to experiment with this technology for both personal and innovative use.
“We have seven 3-D printers that use four different 3-D printing technologies in the library, as well as a laser cutter and two 3-D scanners,” Mark Sivak, the managing director of the printing studio, said in an email to The News. “Having this facility in the library and open to all students and alumni is a great resource for course work and for personal projects.”
Sivak started using this technology in 2006 during his graduate research at Northeastern and has been using it ever since. He is currently an inventor on a patent using 3-D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, to make custom orthotic devices for people who have difficulty walking.
“We are always building something on at least one of the machines, but the usage is increasing as the word gets out that the facility is available and more faculty take advantage of the technology,” Sivak, who is also a joint faculty member of the College of Arts, Media and Design and the College of Engineering, said.
According to Gurijala, the increased hype over 3-D printing is due to the expiration of patents, which has allowed the technology to evolve into an openly accessible process, despite being around since the 1980s.
“I think 3-D printing technology is an amazing tool for engineers, artists and hobbyists,” he said. “It allows you to design and create anything quickly and easily from your computer. 3-D printing is also a great tool to make science and engineering fun and exciting in the classroom; kids are always enthusiastic about 3-D printers.”
He also noted that the current access to printing is great for personal use, but limited in industrial use due to more effective current mass production practices. Gurijala, however, does see the technology evolving and integrating further into niche industries.
“I am skeptical that 3-D printers will change our day-to-day life and become a common household appliance,” he said. “However, I do believe that 3-D printing is an important stepping stone for very specific industries to advance. Things that are currently only seen in sci-fi, like artificial organs or building colonies on Mars. [Those] could be a reality in the near future because of 3-D printing.”
For Sivak, additive manufacturing has made some types of prototyping and design much more accessible to a wider population. He believes that it will have an impact on industry with the evolution of manufacturing methods by better materials and lower costs.
“The biggest improvements now will be with the types of materials that are used and the complexity and quality of the objects that can be built,” he said. “Every type of 3-D printing we have in the library is at least 15 years old, but it is only recently that the technology was low cost enough and easy enough to use in a non-industrial setting.”
Although Sivak does not know Lee personally, he calls his idea a good one due to the combination of technologies he uses.
“It is a combination of technologies that are barely used together and he has come up with a good object to make,” Sivak said. “The customization of objects is really the strongest use of additive manufacturing and he has that with his idea.”
Lee’s KickStarter, ChocoForm, has 26 more days to raise $10,000. The starting pledge to get a customized chocolate starts at $99, but those interested in something less expensive can get their own 3-D image printed starting at $30.
“Is it too early to ask for Christmas presents?” Gurijala said. “I think it’s a cool idea, 3-D printed food is just recently starting to become popular, I think that it could become the next food trend. Jason is ahead of the curve with his 3-D printed chocolate idea and I think a lot of people are going to love it. I wish Jason best of luck with his Kickstarter campaign.”
This piece was originally published by the Huntington News.
Chronicling my journalistic endeavors.
All ocean conservation/biodiversity posts are my own original thoughts. All other posts are my work for other publications.