In the final movie of the popular romance-fantasy Twilight franchise, “Breaking Dawn: Part 2,” viewers see that young lovestruck teenager Bella Cullen (Kristen Stewart) is forever changed. After giving birth to a half-vampire, half-human baby while still in human form, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) had to change her when he realized he’d lose her otherwise.
This Bella is beautiful, strong and fiercely protective of not only the Cullens, but also her new family. It seems that Stewart, whose acting is commonly compared to that of a stuttering robot – and this refers to viewers’ frustration with her inability to exhibit a wide range of emotions – has graduated to a functioning human. Congratulations.
Bella’s child, Renesmee, or Nessie, is introduced to Twilight fans, played by newcomer Mackenzie Fay, who does bear a great resemblance to her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Cullen. Bella soon finds out that Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) has imprinted on Renesmee, meaning he has chosen her as a life mate. Suffice it to say, this immediately breaks apart the love triangle that many Twilight fans have obsessed over for the years.
Renesmee, it turns out, has the gift of transferring her thoughts and memories to other people through touch. Also, because of her unique DNA, she ages more quickly than the normal child.
Stewart and Fay have a surprisingly believable chemistry, and Pattinson plays the part of a protective and devoted father well.
One day, a vampire from a nearby clan spots Renesmee playing with Taylor and Bella, and she mistakes the child for a dangerous Immortal Child. The witness then rushes to Italy to inform the Volturi, the powerful vampire government run by the oldest vampires to exist, of this “crime.”
Centuries ago, it became illegal to change children into vampires after one child had gone on a killing rampant, incapable of controlling its new thirst. The Volturi stepped in to get rid of this vampire-child and its “parent,” or the one who turned it.
When the Cullens realize that the Volturi will stop at nothing to put an end to this perceived crime, they start planning. Preferring to avoid war, Carlisle (Peter Facinelli), the head of the Cullen clan, decides they must recruit other vampires from the Denali, Irish and nomadic clans as witnesses to attest to Nessie’s existence as a hybrid, not as an Immortal Child.
The movie finishes with an epic battle between the Volturi and vampires and their werewolf allies. Thanks, Jacob.
There’s one thing in this movie that needs praise: The choreography and cinematography for the battle scenes were masterfully done and fast-paced. Who knows? Maybe the boyfriends and husbands who were dragged to the movie even liked these final scenes.
With the gathering of vampires from across the globe, a lot of minor characters show up in this film, and it’s actually sad that they got little screen time. A witty and seductive vampire played by Lee Pace might have been an American Patriot back in the day, and he is actually funny, delivering his humorous lines without causing the audience to flinch. He woos Kate (Casey LaBow), a member of the Denali clan, and their love connection is established in just a few scenes. Not to say anything against Bella and Edward’s connection, which started when she saw him eyeing her angrily in biology class…
Some characters shine through among the mediocre acting that took up most of the movie. Dakota Fanning was brilliantly deviant as the sadistic vampire Jane, and actor Michael Sheen, who played head vamp Aro, was sufficiently creepy and overwhelmingly gleeful at the possibility of inflicting punishment on the Cullens.
It’s a disappointment that the special effects of “Twilight” haven’t changed since that fateful day when Pattinson scaled up a tree with Stewart (read: spider monkey) on his back. Baby Renesmee was composed through computer-generated imagery, but unlike the success that CGI had with the werewolves in previous films, little Renesmee ended up looking cute but ultimately unrealistically composed.
The “Twilight” book and movie franchise does not have the same sentimental value as, say, “Harry Potter,” which people of all ages grew up with. So the ending of “Breaking Dawn: Part 2″ was expected, but not seen as monumental.
I’ve always been ambitious, particularly with journalism.
When I arrived at Fairfield University, I knew I wanted to major in journalism. I joined The Mirror, the student newspaper, right off the bat, and eagerly approached the editors with my ideas and comments. The entertainment editor seemed to notice my willingness to take part in the newspaper and he took me under his wing. I learned all about layout and news design from him, and then picked up more skills from my journalism courses. I rose from a contributing writer to assistant entertainment editor, and then, as a sophomore, I became the director of the entertainment section. Using the skills that I picked up freshman year, I tried my best to establish a standard for the entertainment section. I attempted eye-catching designs and longer feature pieces that tested the writer’s skills.
Examining past issues of The Mirror, I consider our recent issues to be so much more comprehensive and aesthetically pleasing than the previous years. We’ve been getting praises from administration, students and faculties, and they are saying the same thing. We’re doing a great job so far. I can accurately say that the editors at The Mirror are incredibly humbled by and proud of their work. Even though we complain about our miserable lives in the office on Tuesday nights/Wednesday mornings, we love working at the newspaper. Honestly, why else would we subject ourselves to torture every week. We can’t say it’s because of the pay, because, right now, we have no pay. That’s right. We have no external motivation to keep doing this, besides the fact that we love this. We love the environment. We love putting together a paper within 24 hours.
Now, that I’ve been executive editor/vice president of The Mirror for almost a year, I’ve noticed how much my attitude toward everything has changed. Instead of being preoccupied by my own success, I now worry about the legacy of The Mirror. What’s going to happen after our staff is gone? Honestly, I want to view newcomers to The Mirror as potential Mirror editors, and yet, right now, I don’t have much faith. I’m being honest. Maybe a bit harsh, but I’m not trying to distort reality. The journalism bug is not biting the writers.
At some point in the beginning of the semester, I wanted to just give up on journalism. Martin (the editor-in-chief) and I announced a news writing workshop for beginners and for people who just want to refresh their writing skills. I eagerly trekked from Dolan Hall to The Mirror office in the rain. I couldn’t wait to see who’d show up.
No one came.
This was utterly disappointing. I couldn’t believe that students could be so disinterested in journalism. I thought, “What’s the point?”
But I’m definitely not the type of person to give up. My mom and dad would seriously kick my ass because they didn’t raise a pessimistic daughter. They’ve raised a warrior.
So, I constantly ask myself: Why?
My awesome colleagues also contributed to reasons why people don’t often choose the newspaper as their first priority at Fairfield University.
- Being a part of The Mirror is just not worth it.
Talk about a stab in the heart. It’s not worth it to gain real-world experience in the field of journalism? It’s not worth it to hone your writing so that you can communicate effectively? It’s not worth it to learn design and editing skills from experienced editors? Oh yeah, it’s definitely not worth it.
C’mon. Picture this: On your résumé, you can put that you’ve written over 60 articles for an award-winning college newspaper throughout your college career. You can say that you’ve designed this and that. You can say that you were able to balance working in a newsroom and typical college workloads. You can say, to potential employers, that you’ve put together a newspaper from scratch.
- There’s no incentive in writing for The Mirror.
See the first answer. But there are plenty of incentives. You can get paid, for example, if you’re consistent with your work and apply to be a staff writer or an editor. You get a lot of experience. You get to meet people who are passionate about journalism. You are more than likely to get extra credit in journalism courses. You can impress your peers, professors and family. The list goes on and on. Search for what you believe to be the right incentive and believe that it’s enough to get you involved with this newspaper.
- I’m just not good enough.
Bullshit. You have something to give us. We know you do, and we want you to give us everything that you’ve got. Do you have an opinion that you just want to get out there? Write for the opinions section. Think you know politics? Impress us with your expertise. Do you have the uncanny ability to spot errors? Copy edit the absolute shit out of our shit. We need your help.
- It requires too much work.
Don’t even start with me. That’s a cop-out, and it’s a cop-out that we absolutely abhor. I don’t know, but maybe students forget that the editors at The Mirror are students, too, and have their own share of vigorous workloads. And yet, they still manage to come out here and crank out an issue each week. I can honestly say that managing The Mirror and school work is doable. You just have to look hard at your schedules. Instead of, say, taking a two-hour nap when you could be writing an article, take a 15-minute nap, and then work on Mirror business. Work out a schedule with The Mirror editors. I think we’re pretty flexible. Co-write an article and share your load with someone you trust. Please, just don’t tell us that you have too much work, because it’s an insult to yourself and an insult to The Mirror editors as students.
- The Mirror is too cliquey.
Okay. If someone said this to me two years ago, I’d laugh. As a freshman, I never truly connected with the editors and other writers. I was too scared. The editors seemed to have their own inside jokes and conversations, and I always felt left out. Now that I am a part of the Mirror ‘culture,’ I can say that The Mirror is a bit of a clique. But not in the “Mean Girls” type of way, because we’re all so very different. What I mean to say is that we are not totally inclusive. We are close in the sense that we’re stuck in the office together from Tuesday afternoon to (often times) Wednesday mornings. We go through the same struggles and have the same complaints. How can we not be a close-knit group after all of this?
If you’re willing to stick with us on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, we consider you an official Mirrorite (the term is still being considered). If you write for us consistently and drop by to say ‘hi’ once in a while, you’re a Mirrorite.
- Not a lot of people seem to do it.
This is true. In the beginning of the year, we had about 60 people crowded into our small Mirror office. There were people standing outside of the office, listening in. Sadly, however, the number has dwindled to the point that our Wednesday meetings consist only of the editors. We’re trying our best to keep students’ interest. I mean, we’re not scary. Are we? Sure, the editor-in-chief has a mohawk and a wild beard, but he’s chill…
To end this:
I’m still here, at the newspaper. The editors are trudging along. We get by, because we know that despite the lack of contributors, that doesn’t mean we can’t get an issue out. But I know that we can’t last this long. We need students. Like I said, I am not a pessimist, so I am hoping that in the future The Mirror will get the attention that it deserves and people will throw themselves into the awesome world of journalism. We are not giving up.
Yesterday morning, the sun shone down on the Barone Campus Center. Fairfield University flags reclaimed their places on light poles campus-wide. The gardening staff returned to meticulously caring for the evergreen lawns on campus.
This scene was in stark contrast against Monday evening at Fairfield University, when nearly all campus buildings had gone dark and was at the mercy of Hurricane Sandy’s 80 mph winds.
News about Hurricane Sandy, dubbed by some as “Frankenstorm” or “The Superstorm,” first emerged more than a week ago. The Weather Channel was quick to notify people about its severity and even tweeted that this hurricane “will occupy a place in the annals of weather history as one of the most extraordinary to have affected the United States.”
Fairfield University cancelled Monday and Tuesday classes in preparation for Sandy. According to one of many StagAlerts that the University had sent out, “all students who can go home are strongly encouraged to do so.” For those who chose to remain, the school instructed them to stay inside at all times.
According to a campus-distributed survey, around 1000 students waited out the storm on campus.
During the storm
At approximately 5:30 p.m., the Townhouses lost power. Around 500 residents in the Townhouse complex had to be evacuated via shuttle buses to the BCC, but some students went to stay with friends in the other residence.
Because of its spaciousness, the connecting dining service and couches and furniture, the BCC became the main evacuation center during Hurricane Sandy, according to Nathan Lubich, assistant director of Residence Life, who spoke for the office. If the BCC was ever compromised, Lubich imagined that they would move students to Alumni Hall.
Some students complained about the evacuation, but Lubich said he understood the circumstances. “It’s really hard for people to be told to just sit and wait.”
But, ultimately, the Resident Assistants performed “really well,” Lubich said. The RAs, who were asked to remain on campus as “critical employees,” had their radios ready and went on rounds in their halls during the power outage. Public Safety officers also assisted in the patrol.
The Quad, the Village, Dolan and Bellarmine all lost power by 7:30 p.m. on Monday, but since the emergency lights stayed on, students were allowed to stay in their residences.
From then on was a waiting game for most. Students received Facebook and Twitter updates from the University, Fairfield Police Department, The Mirror, Fairfield University Student Association and Inter-Residential Housing Association.
Twitter also indicated smaller incidents, which happened during the outage. A fallen wire of 13,000 Hertz had caused a small fire on North Benson Road. In Mahan, some students were stuck in an elevator but were eventually freed later on in the night.
Then at about 11 p.m., almost simultaneously, power was restored to all buildings, save for the Townhouses.
Technically, Hurricane Sandy was downgraded to post-tropical cyclone status around 7 p.m. Despite this change, weather broadcasters had urged people to still take Sandy seriously.
The damages to the University campus consisted of fallen trees and some smashed cars, but these damages seemed to pale in comparison to those in the town of Fairfield.
Dealing with the Aftermath
Next Tuesday morning Fairfield was in a state of emergency with over 97 percent of residents without power. Streets and homes suffered severe flooding. Some roads were blocked by broken branches.
Because of road blockages and the power outage, for example, FPD had used the University Department of Public Safety radio frequencies to collaborate on responding to nearby damage, including the short-lived fire on North Benson Road.
Nationally, the statistics showed even more dire consequences. On Tuesday, approximately 8 million people were without power.
As of Thursday evening, CNN indicated the death toll in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean was at 157. The cost of economic damage is at an estimated $20 billion, with some news reporting that it could possibly amount to $50 or $60 billion.
However, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Fairfield University moves forward with the resilience to overcome future difficulties.
The next day, Barone Campus Center Dining Hall provided full service to displaced Townhouse and Beach area residents and other students, an act that proved to Lubich the attempt to return to normality.
“Every crisis brings with it its own unique circumstances, and Hurricane Sandy was no exception. With that said, our approach is to keep students and community members safe, through best practices and through clear and timely communications,” Vice President of Student Affairs Thomas Pellegrino said.
Dolan resident Amanda LaMattina ‘14 approved of the safety measures the University had undertaken during the crisis. “I personally felt safer there than going home. My parents actually encouraged me to stay here. I can honestly say that after the hurricane I was a lot better off staying here than going home,” she said.
Similarly, Sarah McHugh ‘15 said she felt safe because “when the power went out and this storm was going on I was surrounded by my friends.”
Junior Nicole Juliano, a Townhouse resident who stayed in McInnes Hall while the evacuation had been underway, said of her current situation: “The townhouses not having power is frustrating but I can’t really complain because there are students who lost their homes completely. I’ve been staying with friends in Mahan and McInnes and we’re allowed back to our houses during the day.”
Juliano and Lubich said that the University had done a good job with keeping student up-to-date during and after the storm. Parents on Facebook found the University updates to be helpful.
On the Fairfield University Facebook page, Lisa Fescoe Petramale, who has a son enrolled, wrote: “They’re doing a fantastic job so far for the safety of all.” Another parent, Suzanne Taves, resided in California and said she “ really appreciated the updates.”
Townhouse resident Rob Garrone ‘14 also believed the University did its best in response to the hurricane, but still had criticism for some of the school’s procedures.
“I think the university is being a little heavy-handed in its response to the storm in this instance,” said Garrone. “I could easily be sleeping in my bed in my townhouse in the dark at night instead of being in someone else’s room, inconveniencing my friends and other guests like the beach residents who really do need a place to stay. I’m not afraid of the dark.”
Pellegrino also pointed other areas of improvement during natural disaster responses: “In terms of what could have been done better, I think there would be opportunity for us to streamline our communications and see to it that we were meeting reasonable expectations in terms of clarity and timeliness. That’s always something that can be worked on.”
Fairfield University is eager to move on. “‘Tireless efforts’ is a term that gets thrown around a lot, but in this instance, these people have very much worked around the clock this past week adjusting to the needs of an extraordinarily difficult situation,” he said.
Pellegrino said: “Suffice to say, though, that these are going to be continually challenging times. We will be there for the students, and I think the level of support received from all sectors of the University has already reaped rewards.”
“As a Jesuit institution, Fairfield does this better than most,” he said.
The title “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior” in a Wall Street Journal article naturally lighted up a storm across the web.
Amy Chua, a John M. Duff Jr. Professor of Law at Yale Law School, stood at the center of the January 2011 controversy. Her book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom,” provided the excerpts for the WSJ article.
The article mainly compared Western parenting to Chinese parenting, which was an “entirely different parenting model.” Chua said that as she raised her children, she did not allow her daughters to sleep over at friends’ houses, participate in school plays or play instruments other than violin or piano.
Many of those who haven’t read “Battle Hymn” tend to believe that Chua’s book compares Chinese parenting to Western parenting, just because the article did so. On the date of the WSJ article’s release, the comments section received over 8000 comments varying from disgust to praise.
Last Wednesday, the Asian Studies department hosted a lecture on the controversy around the Tiger Mom concept. Panelists Qin Zhang, Danki Li, Jiwei Xiao and Lei Xie wanted to analyze the “Tiger Mom” term that was popularized by Chua.
“The book sparked a firestorm of criticism and really provoked a huge outcry and [started] discussions about how far parents can go to push their children,” said Zhang, associate professor of Communication.
In Chinese culture, the tiger represents strength, power and perseverance. In slang, “Tiger Mom” describes mothers who are extremely strict in their parenting.
However, in regards to the book, Danke Li, associate professor of history, said: “I don’t think it’s [about] parenting at all. It’s all about [Chua].” In an interview, Chua said that her book was meant to make fun of her parenting style and relationship with her two daughters, Sophia and Lulu.
Some of the panelists remarked on how Chua’s specific parenting style might be misinterpreted as traditional Chinese teaching.
Journalism professor and The Mirror adviser Lei “Tommy” Xie compared traditional Confucian teachings to Chua’s parenting style.
He believes that Chua failed to mention any sense of social duty in raising her daughters. Also, while Confucius taught his students “according to their aptitude,” Chua forced her view of things on her children, said Xie.
However, he did give Chua credit for “believing in the potential of her kids,” and showing “great parental responsibility.”
At the lecture, worldly reactions to her book were shown. In one clip on CNN, moms in China, or “Tiger Land,” added their opinions.
One Chinese mother said that today, many families are looking to the West for teaching model, and the ‘traditional’ Chinese way of teaching is “becoming out of style.”
Chinese parents now want to focus on not only academic achievements, but also on the social development of their children.
The discussion also addressed the meaning of “success.” In Chua’s eyes, success might mean her daughters attend Ivy League schools and play violin or piano.
However Dr. Xin James He, attending member and chair and professor in the Information Systems & Operations Management department, believes that “success is case by case because each individual is different.”
Chua’s children might be successful, but other people’s children do not have to do the same things to be equally successful, according to Dr. He.
Some students expressed their disapproval in Chua’s parenting. In a competitive society in which the best candidate for a job has to be well-rounded, Chua’s parenting style instead focuses more on individual accomplishments.
Freshman Robert Hill remarked on how many Asian-Americans are forced to do something because of their parents. He played competitive tennis in high school, and noted that many of his Asian-American teammates disliked the sport. “They were a product of what their parents wanted them to be,” he said.
In doing so, some children cannot find their true passion. Hill disagreed with this parenting method. “I would much rather be happy, a little less talented – happy and enjoying myself – than having to be forced to do something to be better at it.”
On her website, Chua reflected on last year’s controversy and still defends her memoir. “Many people have misunderstood it,” she said. “If I could push a magic button and choose either happiness or success for my children, I’d choose happiness in a second. But I don’t think it’s as simple as that; it can be a tough world out there, and true self-esteem has to be earned.”
The panelists and students at the lecture concluded that Chinese parenting can be compatible with Western parenting, as long as children are allowed to express their independence.
Article originally posted on The Mirror website on March 7.
Girls in blue, pink and leopard print heels strut back and forth across the floor. A guy with crutches hobbles over to his group of friends. On the left side of the stage, a group of six or seven security guards clutter together. On stage, someone played music from his Mac laptop, but few paid attention to him.
That someone was a DJ from The Hood Internet, one of the featured artists of the fall concert, but no one seemed to know this until the end of his performance.
The guys of Far East Movement are the type to sit around in a circle and answer interview questions about their success while eating pizza.
The Mirror had the chance to talk with Kev Nish, Prohgress, DJ Virmin, and J-Splif – members of the L.A. hip hop group – before they were set to head on stage for last Friday’s fall concert. The Hood Internet and Hoodie Allen had already opened the show.
In his death, Steve Jobs left yet another mark on something vital in the world: Björk’s music.
Björk’s newest album “Biophilia” debuted on Oct. 10 and was partially recorded on an iPad. It also pairs 10 songs with applications on the iPad and iPod touch.
This is not surprising news for fans of the Icelandic singer-songwriter who is perhaps most famous for her experimental use of musical instruments and unique ethereal voice. For this album, Björk worked with developers to record the album’s tracks using new creations of instruments.
Anyone who listens to Björk needs to know that listening to her music is like being transported into another world. And she does it again with her new album “Biophilia.”
Let’s start with the bad. Her strength lies in the music, but not necessarily the lyrics. She sings in a way that every word is elongated and when she finishes singing each one, you kind of forget what verse she was trying to form.
Yet her tracks are wonderful products of her imagination, which also launched Björk’s career in the first place.
“Crystalline,” the third track of the album, opens with a strange xylophone sort of instrument and listeners can’t help but feel childhood nostalgia. But then her voice comes in and bass and electronic undertones are added, and again, listeners are transported to another world. Björk explores her art and her fans are always welcomed to go on her journey.
Her 11th track, “Hollow,” which is available in extended length, is very much rhythm-based. In the first minute of the track, Björk’s voice is completely absent, with what seems like a low-range string instrument as the main focus. This sets the tone of the piece, the mysteriousness that she wants to create. When she comes in with her delicate vibrato, she is joined by a disembodied chorus.
When you listen to any of Björk’s work, close your eyes. This is when her music is most effective and most extraordinary. Be enthralled by her varying range of voice that can be, at one moment, full with sound, and in another, delicate and vulnerable.
Her newest album “Biophilia” is a mix of the artist’s eccentricity as a musician, experimentation at its best and musical gold.
Published on Examiner.com: October 14, 2011
Many say that the Fairfield University campus keeps students in a bubble that separates them from the “real world.” However, Students for Social Justice (S4SJ) is hoping to break barriers by bringing in global awareness.
Yesterday, the Fair Trade Sale took place in the LLBCC, selling Fair Trade products from countries like Chile, Vietnam, Indonesia, India and Mexico.
Fair Trade is social movement that helps developing countries sustain a fair place for workers and stable economy. Fair good products come from factories that pay workers a fair compensation and safe environment to work in.
As students explored the variety of products displayed, a video about Ten Thousand Villages played in the background. The organization, based in Akron, Pa., encourages the fair trade movement by selling products from artisan groups representing more than 38 countries. According to its brochure, the artisans seek to “improve and preserve traditions” by crafting items reflecting their cultures.
Products such as jewelry, scarves, home goods and chocolate were sold, with price ranges ranging from $8 to $40. In addition, Alta Gracia clothing that can be found in the university bookstore was also available for sale.
One table with a sign that said, “Craft Sale: Support Nicaraguan Artisans,” had a display of hand-made items from the country. Janet Latuga ’11, a marketing major, ran the craft sale that had products of different impoverished artisans groups.
Latuga orders products from the artists through Universidad Centroamericana in Nicaragua. The Jesuit university gives loans to the artisans to provide a start to their work.
She worked with Winston Tellis, professor of Information Systems & Operations, who works closely with crafts organizations from underdeveloped countries.
Another table advertised products from d.Saks, a company that sells environmentally friendly, cotton bags made by artisans in Paraguay. Delicia Alarcon ‘14 founded the business in the summer of 2009. Alarcon seeks to provide income to Paraguayan families.
Ricky Solano ’14 is a member of S4SJ and hoped that by helping to bring Fair Trade the club is bringing to the University students a “sense of awareness.” He encourages many to “stand behind S4SJ to support all of [their] endeavors so that a difference can be made.”
S4SJ just wants to help underdeveloped countries, according to Laura Stakey ’14.
Freshman and S4SJ member Cristina Richardson was a key player in organizing the event, Stakey said. She was the main coordinator who helped contact many of the artisans in order to bring Fair Trade to the university. She also enlisted the help of Alarcon and Latuga, who she knew were already involved in working with crafts from other countries.
All proceeds from the event will go to Alarcon and Latuga so that they can keep helping the communities that their products are from, according to Richardson.
“I was really happy about the turnout,” she said. “More people seemed interested in this than I had expected. I can only hope that they learned about Fair Trade and will purchase Fair Trade in the future.
Richardson said that S4SJ will try to make Fair Trade Sale a biannual event next year.
Published on April 19, 2011 in The Mirror
“Is it possible to have a socially-just clothing company? Is it plausible to make such an idealistic assumption in a global capitalist world?”
Julie Whittaker ‘12, the organizer of an event seeking to raise awareness about the Nike corporation and its use of sweatshops around the world, paused in her speech as she looked at the audience seated in the lower level BCC.
“What we found as an answer is ‘yes’’,” she said.
Students for Social Justice (S4SJ) held an event on April 11 to promote Alta Gracia, a new brand from Knights Apparel in the Dominican Republic where t-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies are produced.
The event was an unusual opportunity for Fairfield University students, as it was the first occasion where they were able to use Skype as a means of publicly communicating with someone from another country.
S4SJ reached out to workers in Alta Gracia. The connection was unstable, and audio was hard to hear, but with the help of Luis Gonzalez Rios ‘14, the conversation was sustained.
Gonzalez Rios, a native of Mexico, also helped translate by asking questions in Spanish and explaining answers to students in English.
He asked a few workers from Alta Gracia about the living conditions in most of Dominican Republic. They described the country as small and only able to offer a few jobs for its residents. However, the workers said that at Alta Gracia, they believed they were treated fairly and were happy with the wages.
Students learned through Skype that one of the workers has 5 children, and before her current job, she worked as an union organizer who had to travel 2 hours and 30 minutes away from home. Now she is able to work and take care of her family at the same time.
In the end, the workers encouraged students to continue to support Alta Gracia and become more aware of what they buy and where their money is going.
Earlier this year, the S4SJ club, with the help of Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Jim Fitzpatrick, was able to bring products of Alta Gracia to the Fairfield bookstore.
“By making a simple choice of what to wear, you are making a huge difference,” Whittaker told the students.
Alta Gracia is based in Villa Altagracia. Workers receive benefits in education, food and health, which helps provide for their families’ needs, according to the brand’s website.
S4SJ also showed the documentary “Behind the Swoosh: Sweatshops and Social Justice,” which highlights the plights of Nike sweatshop workers and the exploitation that many face in countries like Indonesia.
In the documentary, the filmmakers and Educating for Justice directors Leslie Kretzu and Jim Keady took on the roles as factory workers to experience the conditions that some people must go through.
Many times Keady and Kretzu expressed their astonishment at the state of the sweatshops. “Something is wrong here, and we can fix it,” Keady said about the lack of respect for and treatment of workers. “It’s a necessity.”
The point of the event was not to overthrow Nike, S4SJ member Clare McElaney ‘13 said. The club wanted to highlight the way Alta Gracia went against corporations and provided fair labor to all workers, and the members hope that other companies will follow suit.
Cristinia Richardson ‘14, also a S4SJ member said, “I hope it made more people aware that by choosing a simple company that makes [clothing] that can be worn from time to time can really change a whole family’s life and even a community’s life.”