Over Spring Break, I reconnected with my high school journalism teacher. She has been my role model since my junior year of high school, over four years ago. When I think of times when I felt inspired by her, I always remember her telling me about her collegiate years. She said very few women went to college, graduated and then got jobs. She worked in the field before deciding to inspire students in high school. Today I am proud to be a part of the generation that is breaking the glass ceiling. As I reflected on this, I remembered scrolling through Instagram one Sunday earlier this month. Women my age and older were posting pictures with other women and inspiring quotes about determination and aspirations they have for the past, present and future. Soon I realized that Sunday, March 8, was International Women’s Day. Why did I not know about this day before? According to internationalwomensday.com, it is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women of past and future generations. Specifically, this year marked the 104th observance of International Women’s Day. Until now, it has never crossed my mind to look up what this day is about and why we recognize the achievements of women in this way. When I asked my friends that posted about it how they found out about Women’s Day, they told me how they found out about it online and in class discussions. As I thought more about it, I found it more and more absurd that it was not celebrated more in this country. In the past decades, women have made an everlasting impact on this country and the whole world. Through politics and corporate settings, we have broken the barrier that kept us away from success. Other countries have celebrated this day with strikes, movements and revolutions. In Copenhagen, they honor the movement for women’s rights and build more support for universal suffrage. Beijing has conferences and a month long celebration. In countries like Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday. Although the United States has minor celebrations for Women’s Day, the country should be celebrating the role women in a much bigger way. We should be celebrating the accomplishments of the dignified, inspired and successful women we call our friends, classmates, professors and family.
When a tragedy happens in the community, it is the job of its members to help. This week, Emily Balan wrote a news article about a devasting fire that affected a family in South Orange. South Orange, whether we like to admit it all the time or not, is our home. It is the town we live in, our community. Whether you are originally from California, New York or Kentucky, for now, it is our duty to help this town. “Penny Wars” are being sponsored by residence halls on campus to raise money for the family who lost so much in this fire and everyone should donate even a few cents if they can. As long as we are attending Seton Hall, we are a part of the South Orange community. While this horrible tragedy is not something anyone would want to ever happen, it should, if for nothing else, bring us together as a community. It should open our eyes to the surrounding town that is our home. Maybe it is time to break down the gates, so to speak. While in no way is anyone advocating a student put him or herself in a dangerous situation, some have questioned whether the gates that lock us in are separating us from our South Orange community. Again, everyone should take proper safety precautions when leaving the gates, but it would not hurt students to involve themselves more in the “outside” community, even if it is just by being a good neighbor. Obviously one of the ways right now to be a good South Orange community member is to help out the family affected by the fire, but another way we can be good residents all year round is by getting to know the people of our town. If you are a student who lives off campus, say hello to your neighbors, shovel their driveways when it snows, ask them about their jobs, whatever. Let’s not just be the noisy college kids next door who our neighbors dread are coming back from summer vacation. Need a few extra dollars? Offer to babysit their kids instead of keeping them up all night on a Thursday when they have school the next day. Communities should always be based on respect. We never know when something horrible could happen to us and we would want someone to come to our aid if needed. Further than that, some day (way, way, way in the future) we will be those families annoyed by the college kids next door. Empathy goes a long way.
We all get those emails from the University announcing that someone affiliated with the school has died. When someone such as Rev. Monsignor James Cafone, who spent 43 years at Seton Hall as a faculty member and administrator, passes away, people tend to notice. An email was sent out Wednesday afternoon informing the school’s community of Cafone’s death. Normally though? Most people probably pay little attention to those emails. Most people are probably unaware that last Friday, Feb. 20, Mary Shubeck passed away. When I get those emails, I take a look. I try to read them over and learn a thing or two about the person who died.
In light of recent religious persecution abroad in jihadist movements, such as ISIS in the Middle East, my heart breaks for those whose religious freedom is restricted. I applaud the efforts of global religious leaders like Pope Francis who promotes religious tolerance and the domestic general authority of the Mormon Church who promotes anti-discrimination laws on behalf of their respective institutions.
Sexual violence is something no college student wants to discuss or, worse, confront, but it is necessary to do so. We always think, “Oh that won’t happen to me,” until it does. Sexual assaults are common on every college campus and it is necessary to accept this if we are ever going to overcome it.