October kicks off International Month on campus at Seton Hall. Activities include a variety of cultural experiences such as a free Japanese cuisine tasting and a foreign film festival. Celebrating diversity for a month on campus is a great way for students to learn about other cultures, but shouldn’t every month be treated as International Month? Seton Hall has many options for students to immerse themselves in different cultures that they might not be aware of that could be utilized throughout the year. Seton Hall has almost 20 clubs categorized as cultural or religious-based. These include, but are not limited to, clubs such as the Asian Student Association, French Club, Slavic Club, African Student Association, Italian Student Association and many more. Additionally, Seton Hall is also home to Multicultural Greek Organizations under the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC). According to the Seton Hall website, the Council is “committed to en hancing the multicultural presence on campus. The council seeks a more diverse co-existence between fraternal and sorority orders while maintaining good faith with the University.” The MGC includes 13 organizations on campus. All of them host events that would benefit students’ exposure to different cultures throughout the year, not just during the month of October. Students might not be aware of the opportunities that Seton Hall has available to immerse themselves in different cultures on a service trip or a semester abroad. There are summer faculty-led programs in Spain, France and Italy, just to name a few. Other students who qualify can study across the globe for an entire semester through Seton Hall or a third-party provider. Celebrating diversity is extremely important, especially on our campus where we have representation of students from over 70 countries, according to the Seton Hall website. Although International Month is a wonderful way to highlight different cultures, the effort should not stop there. Hopefully this year International Month doesn’t have to end with the start of November. Students shouldn’t stop after fun food truck events or film festivals. These events should be utilized as a window into the international education and involvement opportunities that SHU has to offer. This event should be celebrated as a starting point and an educational opportunity to engage students in the community.
Earlier this week, students received an email alert from the Department of Public Safety warning that there were several instances of theft in Walsh Library. The notice explained that on late Sept.27 and early Sept. 28, three students reported missing credit cards, cash and even a social security card from their purses. In one instance, a female suspect followed a victim into the bathroom where she borrowed the victim’s phone to make a call. Later that day, the victim received a phone call asking for personal banking information. According to Public Safety, the suspects do not go to Seton Hall; rather, they waited on the third floor of the library to target potential victims. The nature of these thefts demonstrates that students need to constantly be aware of their personal information and their possessions. The fact that we go to a small, Catholic University doesn’t ensure the safety of an unattended bag in the library, and likewise in dorms, the Rec Center and the University Center. When it comes to guarding your personal items, the same rules that apply to any public place should apply on campus. Especially with the increased threat of information theft over the phone and email, crime now more than ever knows no boundaries. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Justice, credit-card data theft has increased 50 percent over the past few years. Students should consider these statistics and be wary, wherever they are, that they are always at risk for theft. Unfortunately, campus cannot be a safe haven from crime. College is where people get their first exposure to the “real” world, and crime is an inevitable part of that experience. Sometimes this means being less trustworthy of others. For example, instead of letting someone borrow your phone privately, make sure they use it in a public place where you can see them. Instead of asking a stranger to watch it, bring your own bag with you to the bathroom. Students can prevent putting themselves at risk by being responsible in public places, starting with our campus.
The U.S. Department of Education has released its much-anticipated College Scorecard Data and it contains three new categories absent from other studies: graduation rate, earnings and student loan repayment. Many have noted that the earnings information is lacking a breakdown of salary after graduation by major. Instead, it ranks a school as a whole, and displays a percentage that reflects, on average, the chance of graduates making more than they would with just a high school diploma. This creates a situation in which liberal arts-centric schools might score lower compared to schools with successful STEM-related programs. College is a time where idealism is encouraged. Especially at Seton Hall, where liberal arts courses are a core requirement, we find value in taking classes like philosophy and religion. In a society where millennials are under more pressure than ever to pile on the internships in addition to competitive courses in the pursuit of job security, displaying earnings by major would discourage prospective students from pursuing what might be their passion before they even enter the realm of collegiate academia. The second most popular degree among the top 50 people at the top 200 firms on Wall Street. is philosophy. Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett-Packard CEO, was a medieval history and philosophy major at Stanford. Gerald Levin, former Time Warner CEO, was a philosophy major at Haverford College. Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, was a philosophy major at Stanford, just to name a few. Majors should not be pitted against each other by their predicted monetary value. These examples show that success cannot be fully predicted by data, and the breakdown might discourage the liberal arts outliers, who could potentially be the billionaires. At Seton Hall, we have notable and well-respected business and science programs, but as these examples and our curriculum show, liberal arts still plays a vital role in education. If the emphasis keeps being put on what makes the most money at such a young age, a rich history might be lost and students might be discouraged from exploring courses they are truly passionate about like philosophy, history and religion.