These are articles I wrote as a staff writer for N.C. State’s newspaper Technician during my senior year of college.
Philip Rivers: political figure or football hero?
Commencement speaker gets vocal about politics, students react
By Juliana Deitch, Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Philip Rivers, quarterback for the NFL’s San Diego Chargers, will be N.C. State’s commencement speaker at the spring ceremony May 12.
Rivers, who graduated from N.C. State in 2003 and set many athletic records as a Wolfpack football player, has also made his political stance public.
“I am supporting Rick Santorum for President because of his stance on issues that attack vital Christian values our country was founded upon,” Rivers said in a statement. “No abortion, upholding traditional marriage, defending religious freedom, no euthanasia.”
“Rick Santorum will also fight to create jobs and expand opportunities for all Americans. I am proud to endorse Senator Santorum and do what I can to help him secure the Republican nomination for President of the United States.”
The strong political stance has been disconcerting for some members of the University community, as it may bring politics into an otherwise positive graduation day.
Justine Hollingshead, director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) Center at N.C. State commented on the statement.
“I certainly am not one to judge who people support as a political candidate. It’s unfortunate that he doesn’t view marriage equality as something that should be afforded to everyone,” Hollingshead said.
“For some reason, marriage needing to be protected is a very conservative narrow-minded focus,” Hollingsheadsaid. “You would hope somebody of his influence and a role model would be more embracing of diversity.”
Hollingshead said that many students on campus don’t share Rivers’ conservative views.
“When he makes comments like ‘upholding traditional marriage’, that makes students think something about them is a problem and they don’t deserve to have the same rights as someone who is heterosexual,” Hollingsheadsaid.
Hollingshead said that although she does not agree with Rivers politically, he has been supportive toward the University, and she is not necessarily opposed to his speech.
“Most folks aren’t educated on the history of marriage. As a straight white man, you don’t know what it’s like to walk in the shoes of somebody who has been discriminated against,” Hollingshead said.
Aaron Dancy, chairman of College Republicans, said that he is excited to hear Rivers speak, and commends his statements.
“It’s admirable that he will take a stance. From a Republican standpoint, I think by releasing that he’s reaffirming his political values, and I think it’s great that Philip Rivers is a strong conservative. It all boils down to it’s his opinion. He could’ve come out and said anything.”
“I don’t think that that should make a difference about him speaking at N.C. State,” Dancy said. “If you can’t put political differences aside, that’s your own closed-mindedness.”
Sarah Parker, president of N.C. State College Democrats, said that she is excited for Rivers to speak on behalf of the 2012 graduating class because he is a great asset who upholds professional values, but disagrees with his political stance.
“America is known as the land of opportunity where multiple cultures are accepted. By applying strictly Christian views to our politics, we are going against the motto that America is so proud to uphold,” Parker said.
Parker said that the world is an ever-changing place and opposing gay marriage is just another form of discrimination.
“We’ve seen these radical opposition opinions in the past when dealing with African Americans rights and women’s rights. In the end it was clear that the correct answer was to give everyone an equal opportunity,” Parker said.
Parker, although excited, pointed out a flaw in Rivers’ view towards the importance of Christian values.
“It appears as though he is saying that only Christians deserve religious freedom. There are hundreds, if thousands of religions upheld in America,” Parker said. “It is fundamentally wrong to exclude everyone that is not Christian from religious freedom.”
Obama speaks on UNC’s campus
The president made a speech on UNC’s campus about tuition in America on Tuesday.
By Juliana Deitch, Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
President Barack Obama announced a call to Congress to stop student loan interest rates from doubling in a speech on UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus Tuesday.
The interest rates on subsidized Stafford student loans are set to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent for 7.4 million students July 1, unless Congress passes legislation to stop it. A crowd of 8,000 people packed the arena to see the president rally for Congress to keep the low interest rates and to talk about the importance of higher education.
With the recent tuition increases passed for the 16 UNC-System schools, including a 9.8 percent tuition increase at N.C. State, college is getting more expensive. In North Carolina, the double interest rate would affect 160,000 students and add $980 to the span of the average student loan, according to the White House.
Obama called on states, colleges and universities, and Congress to make higher education more affordable for all Americans. According to the White House, “The strength of the American economy is inextricably linked to the strength of America’s education system.”
Senior Dominique Garland introduced the president.
“With scholarships and loans I was able to have a holistic education, including internships and other opportunities. If the loan interest rate doubles, this could change,” Garland said.
“Higher education is the single most important investment you can make in your future. In today’s economy there’s no greater predictor of success than a good education,” Obama said.
According to Obama, the unemployment rate for Americans with a college degree is half of the national average, and incomes of college graduates are twice as high as those without college degrees. However, the average student graduates with $25,000 in student debt, and for the past generation of college students, tuitions and fees at most of America’s colleges have doubled. “Americans now owe more on their student loans than they do on their credit cards,” Obama said.
The president said he and his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, have had their own experiences with college debt.
“Michelle and I, we’ve been in your shoes. When we graduated from college and law school we had a mountain of debt. When we married we got poor together. We added up our assets and there were no assets,” Obama said.
Obama said while his administration has taken action to help with student loans, like capping interest rates and setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, it’s not enough. He said colleges, universities and Congress have to do their part as well, and if colleges can’t stop tuition from going up, then funding they get from federal taxpayers will go down.
“Last year over 40 states cut their higher education spending and we’re challenging states to take a responsibility,” Obama said.
Obama also challenged Congress to give more young people the chance to earn their way through college by doing things like doubling the number of work-study jobs over the next five years, and stopping the interest rate cuts from expiring July 1.
“Stopping this from happening should be a no brainer. It shouldn’t be a Democratic or Republican issue. It should be an American issue,” Obama said.
Ending his speech, Obama referred to the “American Dream.”
“In America we admire success. We aspire to it. But America is not just about a few people doing well,” Obama said. “I want one of you to find the cure for cancer, the formula for fusion. Now is the time to double down on building an America that lasts.”
Michael Walden, a William Neal Reynolds distinguished professor and extension economist at N.C. State, commented on the effect the rate increase could have on the University.
“An increase in the interest rate on loans will increase the costs of attending college and likely reduce attendance by some potential students,” Walden said.
Jessica Schwartz, a 2010 alumna of N.C. State, is still paying off her student loans at about $62 a month. She took out $5,500 in student loans, mostly to fund a summer of studying abroad.
“Occasionally when I feel economically confident I’ll put in $100, but that’s rare these days. I believe I have about $1,300 to still pay off, and not counting interest I’d have about 20 more months to go if I consistently keep up the $62 monthly plan,” Schwartz said.
Schwartz said that while no one likes to owe money, she feels lucky she had the ability not to have a lot of student loans.
“I think that high interest rates are a big problem and they will deter people from going to college if it costs too much money. Education is important and school should be more affordable or future generations will suffer, either because people can’t further their education, or they can’t afford to pay off their loans after-the-fact,” Schwartz said.
Obama also filmed an episode of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” on UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus with the Dave Matthews Band, which aired Tuesday night. The show had a student audience from the University.
Fashion Week attracts big name designers
Designers and students from around the world displayed latest fashions on Centennial Campus.
By Juliana Deitch, Staff Writer
Sunday, April 15, 2012
N.C. State held its inaugural Fashion Week April 11-13, an event that combines design leaders from the industry and fashion students from around the world.
Presented by the College of Textiles, Fashion Week included opening and closing ceremonies with two unique fashion shows,“Avant-Garde” and “Color Fusion.” There were forums on innovation and creativity, exhibitions from faculty and students, and a marketplace with North Carolina artisans, designers and craftsmen.
Along with students from the College of Textiles, students fromDonghua University in China and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University participated in the event.
Presenters at Fashion Week included Barry Miguel, president of 7 For All Mankind; Anastasia Charbin, fashion market director forLectra Headquarters in France; Katrina Streiner, creative director of the Charlotte-based Belk; Darryl Carter, a nationally-recognized interior designer; and professors from the London College of Fashion, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University andDonghua University.
Carter, a speaker at the creativity forum, has been featured in several publications, including Veranda, Town and Country, ElleDécor and Architectural Digest. Carter, who re-designs houses, spoke about his process during his presentation “The Collected Home.”
“I place things in order to draw you through the house, suggesting that you explore. There needs to be a relationship between the architecture and the sense of space to be a singular experience. It’s all about innovation and maintaining the continuity of the experience,” Carter said.
According to Carter, his business focuses on creativity, passion and vision. He said it is important to understand the lifestyle and the market he’s working with, and his business works because of the partnership between his design team, his operations and his clients.
Carter said he likes intervening the architecture with art, and he prefers things to feel serene. He juxtaposes the antique against the modern, and the exterior has to engage with the interior of a space. He’s also against framing art.
“I think people ridiculously frame art. What are you looking at, the art or the frame? You don’t need your house to look like a museum. It does not need to be a Picasso, it just needs to speak to you,” Carter said.
Fay Gibson and Nancy Webster, professors in textile apparel and technology management, were the co-chairs of the event. Webster considered Fashion Week to be a huge success.
“I really think that we’ve accomplished our mission to expose our students to professionals and have a dialoguewith them,” Webster said. “We’ve exposed our students to the industry and the creative work that’s going on in exhibitions and on the runway.”
Gibson praised the professionalism of N.C. State’s Fashion Week. “I’ve had several people search me out and tell me how organized and great Fashion Week was. Some even said they’d gotten back from Fashion Week in New York, and [N.C. State’s Fashion Week] was superior to a conference in New York City,” Gibson said.
Lisbeth Arias, a sophomore in fashion textile design, was of the student designers selected to show her work in the closing fashion show, “Color Fusion.”
The show, which included approximately 46 outfits, was judged by a jury of industry professionals and included monetary prizes for the students with the best designs. According to Arias, all of the students in the College of Textiles had to create something for Fashion Week, whether it was for the marketplace, exhibitions or fashion shows. Arias redesigned one of her pieces she made last semester.
Arias created her own fabric through the software program Kalido and hand-made all the scales.
“My garment was ‘A Siamese Fighter,’ and was inspired by the beta fish–the tail of the fish is what they’re known for,” Arias said. “I really wanted to bring out the beta fish alive on the woman’s silhouette. I used wire inside the skirt to really get a full shape. I also used tulle to have the shape go out and not be dependent on the body. When I redesigned my garment, color was the emphasis.”
“I’m happy to have the opportunity to be a part of the forums and bring in a different perspective on design and creativity,” Arias said.
Yen Gao, a production manager for Kohl’s, came to Fashion Week in search of recruitment opportunities.
“N.C. State has a foundation for future recruitment. I came to Fashion Week to talk to professors and students and to understand the program better for recruitment purposes,” Gao said.
Alana Young, a junior in Fashion and Textile Management, served as one of the student advisory board ambassadors for Fashion Week. The ambassadors hosted the sponsors and attended the events with them, showing them around the college.
“I’m learning about all the work that gets put behind setting up and getting the events together. I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of people that work in the industry. It’s a great networking service,” Young said.