Jumping and Scrolling at Intel Tech Event

Pogo stick jumping and interactive displays defined the day at Intel’s technology event in Manhattan on Friday.

The event featured guest speakers who talked about the impact that Intel equipped technology has had on their lives.

Among the guest speakers was Xpogo CEO Nick Ryan. Ryan, who runs a company focused on the sport of extreme pogo jumping, said that the Ultrabook, an Intel product, helped advance his company, despite the constant work and travel involved with the day to day operations of the company.

“We are constantly traveling, whether we are walking around a city, or in an airport, or on the Great Wall of China, or on this overlook in front of Pittsburgh,” said Ryan, referring to a video presentation on his company broadcasted before this statement. “….and so we need something that is as lightweight and as portable as we are and these get the job done, which is awesome.”

The event also featured interactive games solely created demonstrate the ability for some of the items presented at the event, such as the Lenovo Yoga, to switch from tablet to laptop mode and vice versa.

One of the games featured allows users to create a landscape and then mow it down with a cutter. The more grass cut, the more points you receive. The score you tally at the end of the timed segment will be matched with other individuals who have played the game.

The event also featured extreme pogo stick jumpers who partook in stunts to demonstrate their jumping skills.

One of the stuntmen, prior to a portion of the performance, told a person, “If anything goes wrong, keep recording, ok. We’ll send it to Tosh.0”

Emerge 212 Holds Party for New Office Space

A party with drinks and food signified the opening of new office space at Emerge212’s East Midtown location on May 16th.

The location will feature office space for start-up businesses. When describing the shared nature of the office space, Megan Forchetti, a leasing and marketing manager at the company said, “It operates a lot like a hotel with offices”. The space also features conference rooms that can be rented for an hour or an entire to make presentations.

The new office center, located on the 25th and 26th floor of 125 Park Avenue, opened on April 1st, but the company wanted to get the new center attention in the local business community.

“We just wanted to showcase it to the brokerage community so that know that they can bring clients in,” said Forchetti.

The location features a tech company based out of San Francisco, a Brazilian import/export company, and an insurance company which has already taken over much of the space available on the 26th floor of the building (the party was held on the 25th).

Companies who use Emerge212 starting spaces only stay temporarily before moving on to bigger office spaces.

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The business also features 50 Mbps internet connectivity and interactive call answering.

This is the third Emerge212 location of its kind. The company already has existing spaces at 3 Columbus Circle and 28 West 44th Street, with many, if not all, of the same amenities that this location features.

The event also featured music from longtime private event singer Vanessa Trouble, who sang to the music played by a band of musicians.

Dreamgirls at York College

York College actors and actresses became Dreamettes as they performed their own rendition of Dream Girls on Tuesday.

This 1981 Tony Award winning musical and 2006 movie, which is being played from May 3rd to the 12th, is about the story of a group of young African-American female singers who desire to have great success in the music business.

The group, called the Dreams, or the Dreamettes initially, are managed by a former car salesman named Curtis Taylor, Jr. The group enters a talent competition and then is given the opportunity to be the background singers for popular R&B singer James Early.

Then the group becomes an independent act and achieves universal acclaim. However, there is much tension in the process. Taylor is involved in a relationship with the group’s talented but full-figured lead singer Effie, but when the group goes mainstream, he choose a more physically attractive member to lead the group.

Effie becomes frustrated with the harsh tactics of Taylor and goes off to have her own, successful, independent career.

Taylor replaces her with another singer. Meanwhile, lead singer, Deena, becomes tired of working with Jones and of her current career path and plans to have an acting career.

Meanwhile, Effie comes out with a brand new song which has the potential to be a chart-topper. However, Taylor decides to undercut his former lead singer by coming up with a more pop-oriented version of the song. Once the groups other members realizes Taylor’s tactics, they decide to disband the group. The four members of the group ends the musical with their eponymous theme song.

Photos from the performance

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Panelists Debate Race and Sports At York College

By Andrew Johnson



A five-member forum of African-Americans discussed the issue of race in the world of American sport on Thursday at York College

The panel discussion, called 40 Million Dollar Slaves: White Supremacy and American Sport, centered on African-American successes and struggles in the field of sports.

IMG_9182 (1)Cecil Harris, an award winning sports writer, agreed with one of the central tenets of the discussion: the improved status of African-Americans in the world of sport.

Harris said “I contend that this is as fine as it has ever been, as strong as it has ever been,” referring to the success of black athletes, ranging from Tiger Woods, Lebron James, and the Williams sisters in tennis.

However, the panelists felt that there remained other issues that needed to be dealt with by the sports community and by African-American athletes themselves.

The greatest emphasis was placed on the lack of African-American executives in the world of sports.

“In baseball, there is one owner is not fully Caucasian”, said Satish Ram, a 19 year old sociology student and a Mets blogger for MetsMerizedOnline.com, discussing the dominance of Caucasian individuals in baseball’s premier league and referring to Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno, who is of Mexican descent.

Ram also referred to the 2006 William Rhoden book which the panel discussion was partly named after, that heavily focuses on the issue.

“There is a comparison made, a very controversial one, that talks and says they are just now in a new form of a plantation”, said Ram.

Michele Gregory, an associate Social Science professor at York College, and a former athlete herself, believes that the issue of Caucasian dominance in executive positions extends beyond the world of sports.

Gregory said “Despite the high profile of professional and collegiate African-American male athletes, football, basketball, the success of Tiger Woods, Hispanic basketball players and boxers, the presence of senior level ethnic minority executives in the workplace is almost absent”, referring to statistics which state that over 9 in 10 executives in corporate America are of Caucasian descent.

Sportswriter Cecil Harris, who has written books about subjects ranging from African Americans in hockey to his love of baseball, believes the panacea to the lingering issue is increased passion by African-American and minority athletes to take positions in leadership.

“What I would like to see, after they retire, is to see them go the way of a Magic Johnson and get into ownership,” said Harris, who referred to the famed Laker superstar, who owns a minority stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers.

However, the panel did acknowledge the struggles of ownership, and referred to the frustrations of Michael Jordan, the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, a perennial cellar dweller in the world of professional basketball.

Another central tenet of the forum was the dearth of political and social activism from the modern African-American athlete.

Satish Ram, discussing the lack of political activism, brought up the struggles of Jackie Robinson and said “He went out there to fight for access. He did not fight to become the best player in history, but he fought for access, equal access for people of his skin tone to play that game.”

The panelists believe that the modern African-American athlete is too complacent and do not have the chip on their shoulder that older athletes like the famed Dodger Second Baseman had.

The panel felt that the decline in activism from the modern black athlete also stemmed from the rapid improvement in racial relations in the last 60 years.

However, York College English Professor and former athlete Mychel Namphy believes that the decline in activism in the African-American sporting community is also linked to fears of losing endorsements and popularity.

“The modern day African-American Athlete has been turned against himself or herself and essentially against her or his larger group of black people”, said Namphy, who partly linked this decline to the severe criticism that Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos faced after their black power salute at a medal ceremony at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

The panelists felt this fear of political activism extended into political endorsements, and cited the failure of Michael Jordan to endorse architect and politician Harvey Gantt in his unsuccessful senatorial races against Jesse Helms.

Cecil Harris, talking about Jordan and his lack of political activism, said “21 Years Ago, he had an opportunity, I believe to elect an African-American United States senator had he step forward and endorsed him.”

The panelists also felt that there was too great an emphasis placed on the high school and collegiate level on sports and less on academics.

Marci Blackman, a former basketball player at San Diego State University and the author of Po Man’s Child, discussed the pressure of putting athletic success over academic success.

“What we did was really important,” said Blackman, who had to choose between playing a basketball game or taking a midterm for her economics class (her anti-athletic professor allowed her to take the midterm a week before it was scheduled). “If we lost, if we had a losing season, that was not good. If we didn’t bring in a crowd, that was not good.”

One other issue emphasized during the panel discussion was the empowerment of black sports agents by black athletes.

While the panel acknowledged the recent signing by Yankees Second Baseman Robinson Cano of Jay-Z to be his agent and the longtime usage of a black agent by the famed Williams sisters, the group felt more progress needed to be made: an objective summarized by Cecil Harris

“Hopefully they have a desire to hold power and empower others,” said Harris.


Research Day at York College

Warning: Some of the linked videos below may contain moments of profane content from the presenter’s lecture material. Viewer discretion is advised.

Student researchers promoted their projects at York College’s 4th Annual Research Day. The day featured a midday luncheon celebrating the “formalized curiosity” of the students involved, referring to Provost Ivelaw Griffith’s reference of Zora Neal Hurston. The luncheon itself featured four students discussing their work for that day. Perhaps the most notable of the students was Robert Johnson, a history major who took the task of researching the issue of U.S. action in the cold war. He defended his extensive research with Professors Michael Efthimiades and George White and said “A historian is not supposed to judge history but to analyze it and to give people an understanding of what actually happened during that time.” He felt that his analysis had to be fair to all sides and not biased towards one side, otherwise his work would be ineffective in terms of quality and analysis.

Highlights of the day included a seminar about the art and sound of video games and the importance of video games in modern American culture. Before the presentations, the two professors hosting the seminar spoke about the importance of the seminar. Professor Tom Zlabinger said “Video Games, like anything people consume, whether it is literature, music, television, they are important to our culture because they are circulation. To ignore would be to not understand 2013.” Professor Sarah Gillespie said “We are not only critiquing games but are critiquing how institutions are starting to talk about games”, in reference to the growing preservation of old video games at art and history museums.

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The three presenters at the event were Jon Serneo, who talked about the art of video game cut scenes, Kimmy Sarmiento, who talked about the evolving role of women in video games, and Adebayo Fayemi, who talked about the impact of moods in video games.

York’s Retention Enhancement Plans

By Andrew Johnson



            York College Freshman Ambar Guerrero believes that the Queens-based college should add more majors to the existing curriculum, particularly in her field of interest.

            “I just wanted the main communications major,” she said, when describing the inadequacies of the college’s existing communications technology major. “So, I’ll be going to a different school because of that.”

            Guerrero said that her plan is to go to Brooklyn College so that she can study the field of Communications. She is one of the 22% of freshman students who plan to leave York College and transfer to another college at the conclusion of their first year at the college.

While freshman retention has increased from a low of 67% in 2005, it is still below the existing CUNY average of 83%.

While Brooklyn College’s freshman retention rate may be a percentage point lower than the CUNY average, it is four percentage points higher than that of York. Nearby Queens College, a sister school of York, has a freshman retention rate of 87%.

In order to fix the ongoing problem of retention at York College, the college is handing out  a 116 question survey to students.


Photo of survey by Andrew Johnson.

 The survey, created by the Noel-Levitz Organization, is designed to find out student opinion on topics ranging from the amount of activities, the quality of academic advisement, library resources, and campus maintenance.

This information is handled by the researchers at the school’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment. Craigon Campbell, a data analyst from that office, put great emphasis on the serious nature of the information that his office deals with.

“We are the only ones that are sworn to the highest level of secrecy there is in the college,” Campbell said. “The data we touch has to do with everybody.”

The office collects the information and then sends it the City University of New York which then organizes the information and places it into book form, and is subsequently returned to the college.

“We get that book with all this data in it, and we analyze it, interpret the data, and present the interpretation of the data to the president,” Campbell said. “…and from there, we recommend changes. So a lot of stuff you see happen in the college are recommendations that come from our office.”

Tansina Afroz, a computer science major and freshman at the college who expressed words of praise for the college’s teachers and faculty, believes that there should be an expansion of the facilities.

“When someone wants to study, they don’t have a place to study,” she said, when discussing the lack of quiet places to study.  Afroz also believes the school should have expanded computer facilities. “The lab is always crowded, and the library is always crowded,” she said.

Another complaint about life at the college surrounds the issue of student advisement. Jonathan Quash, a York College graduate and the director of the college’s Men Center believes that the process of student counseling and academic advisement should be streamlined.

“It’s very complicated, in terms of the path to success,” he said of the current advisement and counseling process.” I think that if it were slim-lined or such, there would be some of a one stop shop where students can get all of the services they need.”

The resolution of the college’s various issues is the goal of York College Administrators, particular college provost Ivelaw Griffith. Griffith, in an office interview, addressed the concerns surrounding the student advisement and counseling system and said that the college was in the process of revamping the system.

“The idea is to streamline advising and streamline it in a way which students get to be advised in the department earlier,” he said.

It is one of the many changes York administrators hope will contribute to an enhancement in retention. One plan that has already played a role in York’s retention enhancement goals is the school’s annual Research Day.

The event, which will be held for a fourth year this spring, was implement to give the student something that will keep them focused on their studies at the school. “If you excite students about research, you create opportunities for them to want to stay and accomplish that research,” Griffith said. “The evidence from national studies is that undergraduate research is a retention tool.”

York administrators also believe that retention can be enhanced through the streamlining of the general education requirements. This is the goal of the CUNY Pathways system, a proposal which seeks to standardize the CUNY curriculum in an effort to make it compatible with all CUNY colleges.

York administrators hope that the plan will enhance retention and help expand and improve the quality of majors and minors.

“Pathways will not only strengthen students coming in, but it will create less of a hassle for students here,” Griffith said. “It gives an opportunity for departments and majors to reorganize minors, to reorganize their majors and make it a little more attractive.”

However, the plan has faced opposition from CUNY faculty, who feel the plan will bastardize the value of a CUNY education and hurt the competitiveness of students trying to find a spot in graduate school. Griffith dismissed the charges against the proposal.

“I say those complaints are either malicious or they are not fully aware of what Pathways is all about,” he said, when discussing the criticism of the program and the program’s plan to accept credits for similar courses taken at other colleges. “We are not telling the professors how to teach. We are asking the faculty what are some common learning objectives.”

One final goal in the college’s plan to enhance retention is the proposed Academic Village and Conference Center. The project, when completed will offer students brand new state of the art facilities, including an observatory to look at space.

Planned Academic Village structure, photo from Ennead Architechs LLP

“It’s not only a new location, it is a new location that creates excitement about York, Griffith said.”

However, York College freshman Salman Ahmed, a person interested in studying the medical field, believes that no changes should be made to the college.

“To be honest, there should be no changes, its perfect out here,” he said. “Professors, Instructors, everybody’s nice. If somebody got problems, it’s just the students. There is nothing wrong with the college.”