Tag Archives: college

The city’s flooding hotspots prepare for El Niño

Stable Cafe’s cafe manager, Francisco Garcia, shows how high the water level was during last year’s Pineapple Express Storm. Photo by Katie Lewellyn

By Carlos Mendoza

Francisco Garcia couldn’t sleep. All he had on his mind was the rain and the feeling that his place of work was going to flood again. He left early in the morning from the East Bay to the Stable Café located at 17th and Folsom Street in the Mission District. While on his way, Garcia received a text saying “don’t rush we are already flooded.” Reality struck the café for the fifth time.

After a tormenting four days of rain, the city of San Francisco accumulated nearly four inches of water from the Pineapple Express storm last December. Both residential and commercial flooding was inescapable, especially low-lying areas of San Francisco, leaving behind property damage.

One of the areas the city has problems maintaining is east of S. Van Ness Avenue and between 17th and 18th Streets where Mission Creek flows. The restaurant Garcia works at sits directly in the middle of that disaster zone. After the major storm hit in 2014, the Stable Café was engulfed with both stormwater and sewage. The mess rose up to three feet, leaving the café in a nasty swamp, according to Garcia.

“We want the city to pay attention to our neighborhood,” Garcia said. “I want the city to replace the pipes in the street.”

Garcia said everything in the café had to be replaced. From the refrigerators to the walk-in freezer the damage cost them close to three months of business. The city helped pay for the damages in an effort to bring the Stable Café and other nearby buildings back to life.

“It’s not satisfying because they just help us to be back to where we were before,” Garcia said. “We lost customers and we lost business. We start from zero every time.”

Flood-Map-Inset-Legend
17th and Folsom Streets intersect where Laguna Dolores sits. The lagoon is now paved over, but the area still remains one of the lowest lying parts of the city and is prone to flooding. Map provided by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Produced by Carlos Mendoza and Drake Newkirk.

In the past five floods the Stable Café has experienced, none of them have occurred during an El Niño season. Garcia worries that rain during El Niño could bring even more damage than previous storms.

“Right now we are scared,” Garcia said. “We cannot sleep, and we are thinking ‘oh shit it is raining.’”

John Monteverdi, a professor in the Department of Earth and Climate Sciences at San Francisco State University, explained that this El Niño is on track to be record-breaking. Some of the heaviest El Niño years were 1982 and 1983 where the city accumulated 38 inches of rain and 1997 and 1998, which saw 47 inches of rain. This year, El Niño is predicted to give San Francisco 30 to 35 inches of rain, but could surpass those predictions. On average the city only sees 23 inches of rain per year.

The San Francisco storm and sewer system is not well equipped to handle copious amounts of water such as with last year’s Pineapple Express storm or the upcoming El Niño season, according to Jean Marie Walsh, the Communications Manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

“No system is perfect and no system can handle all storms,” Walsh said. “That’s what makes it challenging when we have heavy rains. You can only build a system so big. At some point that system reaches capacity, and there is no more room in the pipes and in the system.”

The majority of San Francisco relies on 25,000 storm drains and catch basins according to the SFPUC, a network that Walsh calls the “combine system.”

Drains located in the newer areas of San Francisco direct storm water out to the ocean and the bay. Catch basins provide the same service, but escort the water to the main sewer pipes beneath the street, and into transport storage boxes.

These giant boxes lie beneath the Embarcadero and the Great Highway where their main purpose is to hold storm-water before it is treated.

San Francisco has 1,000 miles of sewer pipes beneath the city, but even with all this underneath, it is still not enough to hold the amount of water substantial downpour can bring. These storm drains and catch basins can get clogged up with leaves and debris, which leads to residential and commercial flooding, especially in low-lying areas of the city.

Walsh explained that 17th Street and Folsom Street is a major flooding zone in the city and provides a significant challenge during heavy rain seasons.

Aside from that area, there are additional pockets of San Francisco that are low-lying and are at a risk of flooding. “Challenge areas” include spots in the Sunset, and Bayview Districts. In an attempt to prevent flooding, SFPUC crews clean out the drains and catch basins prior to predicted storms.

Walsh described the crews as crucial, especially during the rainy seasons and in the months leading up to them. The crews are on stand-by and some even work late night shifts.

The SFPUC developed a “hydraulic analysis” where engineers developed a sophisticated model that tests the topography, soil and sewers of the low-lying areas of San Francisco. They do this to potentially predict what will happen during a storm, according to Walsh.

Walsh explained that residents need to understand what area of San Francisco they are moving into.

“Know your risk,” Walsh said. “A lot of people move into a neighborhood, it’s dry sunny beautiful weather, and they have no clue that their property is located over a historic creek, and when we get heavy rains they might flood.”

David Campos didn’t realize flooding plagued District 9 until he became its supervisor. Campos acknowledges flooding in the Mission District specifically along 17th and Folsom Streets, but he does not see any viable solutions.

“Until I became supervisor, I didn’t really know that this was an issue,” Campos said. “Because it is the lowest point in the city, it’s extremely expensive to fix. Even if you spend billions of dollars on it, there might still be flooding.”

Currently the city reimburses residents and business owners affected by floods, which Campos said may be the best solution. Between claims and cleanup, the Pineapple Express storm cost the city several million dollars, according to Walsh.

“It might be cheaper for the city to continue to pay that on a yearly basis than to be able to find the billions of dollars that is needed,” Campos said.

A short-term solution was presented to the board that would have cost the city $200 million, a price they did not feel was worth for a fix that might not even work. The SFPUC does not have the funding to work on a long-term study that could find a permanent solution, according to Campos.

While the city attempts to come up with a more permanent solution, Thomas Lackey, the owner of the Stable Café, is fed up with the perpetual delays. He wants to see a system that doesn’t put his restaurant out of business after every big storm.

“It would be worth it for them to bite the bullet and fix the problem,” Lackey said.

How to Avoid Getting Sick During Finals

It’s the last week of classes before finals and students’ schedules are filled to the max. With nights set aside to study and pump out final papers, the last thing someone needs the day before the big test is to wake up with a fever, sore throat and a bad case of the chills. If you want to avoid the risk of catching a cold, read a couple tips from San Francisco State University professors on how to stay healthy during finals.

Kinesiology lecturer Regula Dhehdi says the preparation for a healthy immune system during finals starts at the beginning of the semester.

“Students are more prone to falling sick at the end of semester because they are run down: not enough sleep, not eating healthy, not exercising, being physically active regularly, procrastination of finishing assignments at last moment, using caffeine, sugar, etc. to maintain attention span in class and for homework,” says Dhehdi. “All this causes stress to the body and mind, and has a negative effect on the body’s ability to protect from falling ill.”

Kinesiology professor Matt Lee says students should try to maintain their regular eating, sleeping and exercise habits, even when it is tempting to give up a couple hours of sleep for studying.

“Make time to eat healthy meals, breakfast included. Make time for exercise, and definitely get sufficient rest. This would hopefully allow the immune system to respond well to the stress that many students may experience,” says Lee.

Holistic Health assistant professor Richard Harvey agrees with both Dhehdi and Lee, and says that the rule students should live by, is eating healthy, well rounded meals, and avoid eating processed food.

“No, an energy drink and energy bar do not count as a meal. Instead use the 30-30-40 rule, where 30 percent of every meal has protein [such as tofu, eggs, cheese, lean meats], 30 precent has healthy oils and fats [such as olive and avocado oil], and 40 percent has healthy carbohydrates, [such as fruits and brown rice],” says Harvey.

In addition to eating well-balanced meals, Harvey says students should set aside time for 20 minutes of physical activity, from stretching to running, and also make time to catch a full night’s sleep.

Harvey says that if students want to wake up for finals feeling extra refreshed, they should reduce optic nerve stimulation.

“Practice turning off, as in powering down completely any electronic noise,” says Harvey.

In addition to eating right, getting sleep, and keeping physically active, the final step students should take to avoid sickness is avoiding stress.

According to an article by Psychology Today, cortisol, which is produced when one is stressed, is the number one factor to developing a weak immune system and chronic diseases. The article continues to say that chronic stress, which translates as stress carried day to day over the years, results in decreased resilience and mental illness, especially among young people.

In a 2008 study done by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 80 percent of college students reported that they frequently experience stress on a day to day basis.

An article by helpguide.org says that people can reduce stress by spending time in nature, playing with animals, taking a walk, and releasing any pent up emotion with close friends.

 

New App helps pay for college

Speshh is mobile based. Image from Speshh.com
Speshh is mobile based. Image from Speshh.com

College is great. You meet new friends, get away from home, and live new life experiences but along with all that also comes the enormous debt you pile on semester after semester when you actually attended college. Some of us are lucky, we have great paying jobs which makes it easier to afford colleges and some of us even get scholarships to pay for the tuition, but not everyone is that lucky and needs assistance to pay for college and everything that goes with it.

That’s where Speshh comes in. Speshh is a crowdfunding app that helps college students raise money, all through an app. With Speshh, college students can ask their friends and family but if their goal is not met or looks a little low, Speshh gets involves by asking their business partners to help donate to your cause.

“We found that one of the main reasons that campaigns fail are due to not being shared enough with potential donators,” says Sibel Suleyman, Co-Founder of Speshh. “Speshh could call on business partners who may be able to fund the rest of the campaign with CSR money that is dedicated to this type of activity.”

What makes Speshh different from other crowd-funding sites, like Indiegogo or Kickstarter, is it is completely app based, making it easier for college students to use and access. Speshh is a lot like Kickstarter though, having an “all or nothing” funding behind is. This means that if you don’t reach your goal, then you get none of the money you raised which could be a turn off for students since Indiegogo lets you keep whatever you raise.

Speshh also has a percentage it keeps, like Indiegogo and Kickstarter, but at the beginning of your campaign, Speshh lets you know what the percentage is and works it into the money you need donated so there is no loss for you.

Currently this app is only available to college students, meaning you need an edu email address to register for the app and to begin campaigning.

Speshh is set to release in June 2015 but is currently testing out the app and allowing people to register early.

SF State graduation will be Giant

SFSU will hold their graduation ceremony at AT&T Park for 2015.
Photo by Tami Benedict/Xpress Magazine

This morning, SF State announced that they will be holding the 114th graduation commencement ceremony at AT&T Park for the first time since the ballpark was built fifteen years ago. The ceremony is scheduled for Friday May 22, 2015 at 5:30 p.m.

In an email sent out by the university president, Les Wong, he stated that he wanted a place where graduates and undergraduates would be able to celebrate this milestone with their friends and family in one place.

“Commencement Day is one of the most important milestones for our students, but in recent years it has become clear that the event has outgrown our current facility,” said Wong. “It’s important that we ensure family members and friends can be there to witness this special moment, and I’m thrilled that they will have the opportunity to do so in what has become one of San Francisco’s most iconic landmarks.”

Having the ceremony at AT&T Park will help SF Stare save money in the long run, because AT&T Park already has the amenities needed for the ceremony. This means SF State won’t be putting out any extra money to be getting Cox Stadium ready like they have in the past.

“Nothing can describe the excitement you feel watching our graduates and their families gathering for Commencement. So many emotions are in the air: pride, joy, relief, and anticipation. Our students have worked so hard and many have sacrificed much and overcome great odds, in order to get to this day,” said Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Luoluo Hong. “Hosting one large ceremony emphasizes the significance of our students achievements and honors the fact that it took an entire ‘family’ to get there: parents, friends, siblings, children, mentors, faculty and staff among them.”

AT&T Park is the home to the San Francisco Giants, three-time World Series Champions. The stadium can hold over 40,000 people, offers numerous ways to enter and exit the ball park, and there are several different ways to get to the stadium, with ample parking nearby, and Bart and Muni easily accessible. AT&T Park is located in the South Beach district, right on the waterfront by the Bay Bridge.

 

 

Sisters by blood or letters?

Written by Farnoush Amiri & Olympia Zampathas

Illustration by Lorisa Salvatin
Illustration by Lorisa Salvatin

More than sixteen thousand undergraduate women are involved in sorority hazing annually, but when asked, it is obvious that there is more percolating behind Greek letters than the thoughts of sisterhood and bonding; hazing is like the taboo topic of the college world, and SF State is not excluded from this taboo.

With the controversy surrounding the issue of sorority hazing also comes the inevitable “code of silence,” which studies have shown, 46 percent of females in Greek organizations swear by. But since 1970 there has been one hazing-related death in a U.S. college or university each year – with North American countries having the highest rate of hazing on college campuses than any other developed country in the world, with about 40 percent of the three hundred twenty-five thousand female participants aware and turning a blind-eye to the hazing in their organizations.

The institution of Greek life has been around since the country’s birth more than two hundred years ago; 1928 was the first year that SF State had its first sign of Greek life and, as of today, has thirty active chapters on campus. “Greek organizations serve to enhance the college experience at SF State. Greek life provides a supportive community in which students can explore, grow, and learn new leadership skills, academic discipline, event planning, financial proficiency, professional aptitude and social networking skill,” according to SF State’s definition.

The most common methods of hazing reported are excessive alcohol consumption, public humiliation and isolation, sleep deprivation and numerous forms of sexual and lewd acts, often involving the opposite sex.

“Sometimes, something as simple as making a member wear a pin or participate in a scavenger hunt can be considered hazing,” shares Brian Stuart, associate dean of students at SF State.

Nine out of ten victims are often unaware of the things they are being subjected to can be considered a form of hazing.

“I remember hearing from someone who’d rushed a local that her pledge class had to carry heavy shampoo bottles around because they were ‘flaky,’” says Kate Fraser of the SF State chapter of Phi Sigma Sigma.

After varsity athletes, sororities make up 73 percent of those subjected to hazing in universities. In 25 percent of all hazing activities, students have said that both faculty, advisors, and alumni have been present or aware of the rituals.

“I am not aware of any reports or concerns of hazing within [SF State] sororities within the past four years,” says Dean of Students at SF State, Mary Ann Begley. “But I also don’t think either one of us have our heads in the sand that things probably do happen and are not reported.”

About 37 percent of females in sororities do not tell anyone about what they are being subject to in the fear of getting their fellow sisters and chapter advisors in trouble. And 46 percent of them believe that the most important thing is to keep the code of silence.

Most sororities, both national and local, have strict and transparent no-tolerance policies on hazing rituals but even with those restrictions national headlines about the cases that are reported seem to be growing.

“I feel like it still happens because [Greek organizations] are set into traditions that need to be gotten rid of. I wish I could say hazing never happens but without people coming forward you never know,” says Devika Sonmati Kumarie Botejue of Phi Sigma Sigma.

In a study, girls that took part in a sorority are more likely to have body image issues and dysfunctional eating behaviors than their peers. They were also found to be more likely to abuse prescription medication than students who are not involved in Greek life due to the high standards of appearance placed on them.

When asked why they joined a sorority or fraternity, 65 percent of Greek life members believe that the primary goal of the hazing rituals are to bond the members, according to a study done by InsideHazing.com. That may be the intention of all, certainly most, chapters of Greek life, but that is not always the result. The tradition of having an initiation process to join these clubs is something that could be fun and games, but, in other cases, can cause psychological and physical harm.

Of the fifty states in the U.S., forty-four of them have anti-hazing laws after detrimental events in their universities Greek life occurred or became national news. Some universities have banished and derecognized chapters that have abused their power through hazing. SF State disbanded its chapter of Lambda Phi Epsilon in June 2013 after Peter Tran, an eighteen-year-old member was killed after consuming excessive amounts of alcohol (a form of hazing) at a chapter party.

In October 2014, Dartmouth College’s newspaper published a front-page story titled “Abolish the Greek System” and stated, “No, Greek Life is not the root of all the College’s problems or of broader societal ills. But as a system, it amplifies student’s worst behavior. It facilitates binge drinking and sexual assault. It perpetuates unequal, gendered power dynamics and institutionalizes arbitrary exclusivity. It divides students – the system as a whole separates freshmen from upperclass, men from women. Membership draws lines among friends.”

Another statistic is of members of Greek life who have had positive and empowering experiences through their organization.

“I think a lot of people don’t understand what we stand for and why we are in a sorority,” explains Kumarie Botejue. “A lot of people tell me that I don’t seem like I should be in a sorority because I like to study and don’t go to parties all the time. They think that sorority girls are like in the movies, that we party all the time and don’t go to classes. It’s a really big misconception because in [my] sorority education comes first.”

So, if we have a large group of young adults wanting to find a way to bond with others and are willing to endure whatever it may take to create these bonds, it is easy to see that this leads to problems.

“Rushing an organization is all in good fun. If it stops being fun, something is going wrong. If the hazing is stemming from the execuive board of the organization, it should be reported. We all benefit from keeping each other safe,” says Natalie Weizman of Lambda Chi Mu.

So why does it still happen? People all seem to agree that it is awful, outdated, and illegal and can usually identify the more extreme versions of the “tradition,” but the trend stuck – when sororities on campus and those affiliated with Greek life were asked if they had any personal experiences with hazing, responses ceased.

Stories of girls pledging sororities on campus as extreme as being forced to strip, sit on tables while naked, and have members of their brother fraternity write what they believes is wrong with the girls’ bodies on their skin with markers may haunt some. It is a problem that is not being discussed and flies just under the radar enough that no one pays enough attention to it until something goes wrong.

All it takes is one voice, one person to speak up. If someone who knows this is happening steps forward, maybe the reality of what hazing really is beyond tradition, the effects of what it can do to participants would be brought to light, and lives might actually be saved in more ways than one.

There are many resources on campus available to students. If you or someone you know has had experiences with hazing, counseling and services are held in the Student Services building, the Safe Place, and the Women’s Center.

If you have an experience or story that you would like to share with Xpress and get out to a larger audience, feel free to email us at xpressmagsfsu@gmail.com.

 

Stormageddon arrives; SF State classes canceled

Last week, I was telling a friend of mine in the Philippines (where I went to high school) that with the amount of rain we were getting last week in the Bay Area, classes would have been canceled. I have suffered through power outages, water seeping through ceilings, and trees blocking roads where I lived in Metro Manila. She questioned why that [class cancellations] could not happen here. I know the comparisons are extreme but the reasons to cancel are the same: anticipation of power outages, floods, and most importantly, our safety.

Two umbrellas battled and lost its life in my hands during the rain last week. So last night after reading multiple warnings of this massive storm, I went to Target to buy another. The whole umbrella rack was clean; there was not one left. So I went to another Target and there was one left dangling. I inspected it and found that its thin wires —I knew in comparison to the ones I had last week­—would not last this upcoming storm. So finally I drove to Walmart and asked the salesperson to direct me to the umbrellas. She pointed me in the right direction but warned me that she did not think any were left. There were three: two camouflage, one clear with a neon green outlining, and one turquoise, which felt like the strongest of the three and decided I had found my protector.

Fast-forward to late in the afternoon today and ahead of the storm tomorrow, SF State officially announced the cancellation of all Thursday classes. When I got the confirmation, I was relieved. With the amount of BART and MUNI delays on a normal day, and fighting through the rain on the streets of the city, I was anxious about what the storm would do to commuters like myself. So thank you, SF State officials.

With finals week coming up, the cancellation on Thursday would have been, for most students, the last day of regular classes and now others having to reschedule exams already taking place this week. Yes, others have had finals deferred and other work to be put on hold but this is all for our safety. Let us use this time to catch up on assignments and spend time studying, and more importantly, the much-needed sleep we are going to need to get through the final days of this semester.

Land of the Free, Home of the $1 Trillion Student Debt

First generation student Shadan pays a small fee for her university education in hopes of becoming a family counselor. Shadan and her twin sister had always dreamed of moving to the U.S. but after an immense drop in German tuition rates, the 26-year-olds are staying put. “Post-secondary education should be a human right, not a privilege.”

Student debt is now the second highest form of consumer debt in America behind homeowner mortgages, with more than 7 million students attending both public and private universities in the United States borrowing money.

Over 15 percent of those American student borrowers default on their federal student loans within the first three years after entering the repayment period. And since 1978, the cost of a post-secondary education in the United States has risen 1,120 percent, according the U.S. Census.

The average price tag for tuition and fees at public colleges and universities in the United States were close to $8,400 in 2013-2014 for students studying in their home state and nearly $19,100 for those paying out-of-state tuition.

For private universities the bill runs up to nearly $30,500 annually. This is a 28 percent national inflation rate since 2008 for public, 4-year universities. The state with the highest tuition inflation rate is Arizona, where fees have raised an average of $4,493/per student.

Hannah Brown headshot (1)
Hannah Brown: student from the U.K. on an exchange program at SF State.

The country with the second largest student debt rate is the United Kingdom, with close to a million students who have borrowed an average of $10,200 each during the 2012-2013 school year.

One crucial difference between the U.K. and U.S. student debt issue is that about 98 percent of student borrowers in Great Britain are meeting their payment obligations. Those obligations are made easier through the U.K.’s repayment program, which automatically deducts monthly from British students debt and they are not required to pay back until they are earning an annual salary of £21,000 or $33,700.

“Everyone who goes to university [in the United Kingdom] is eligible for a loan and non-repayable grant to pay tuition fees,” says Wales native Hannah Brown, who is currently on an exchange program at SF State from London.

U.S. Rep. Tom Petri of Wisconsin explained in his statement last April that the U.S. Government should take a page from Great Britain’s response to their student debt crisis. “It’s pretty simple if you think about it,” Petri said. “When students graduate from college, traditionally they will make less. And then as they progress in their professional career they’ll earn more. The repayment schedule should follow this trend so that borrowers pay less early on and more as they earn more.”

Recently the United Kingdom capped the tuition fees for four-year institutions at £9,000, or $14,521, which no student is obligated to pay upfront.

Another thing that sets the U.K. apart from the U.S. when it comes to their approach to the global issue of student debt is debt forgiveness. “If my student loan isn’t repaid in full after approximately 30 years, the debt is forgiven,” shares Brown.

The closest country with a developed post-secondary education that mirrors America is Canada. One in eight Canadian families have an average median value of $10,000 in student debt. As of 2012, Canada has a total of $28.3 billion in outstanding student debt, which still pales in comparison with the U.S. figures.

Canadian student studying at University of Toronto.
Rojin Kalantari: Canadian student studying at University of Toronto.

According to the Statistics Canada Survey of Financial Security that was released in the beginning of this year, Canadian student debt grew almost 50 percent in the past 15 years and 24.4 percent from 2005 to 2012. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives foresee the costs of post-secondary school education — including tuition and compulsory fees — to rise to its peak by the 2016-2017 school year. Ontario has the highest fees with an average of $8,403 and Newfoundland at the lowest with $2,886 in tuition annually.

Ontario, Canada native and student Rojin Kalantari pays $3,020/per term at University of Toronto. “I am so happy that we have the OSAP [Ontario Student Assistant Program,] which gives students 30 percent off tuition fees if they apply before the beginning of the semester,” says the Biology major.

Argentina, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden have been some countries that have strayed away from education costs like America and Canada by providing free tuition to its citizens. Even with their respective governments providing their tuition, students in Sweden still have a student debt close to 22 billion krona or $3.5 billion to cover fees and living expenses at their university. According to annual reports in those countries, roughly two-thirds of those funds were loans.

Germany is another major European country that has decided to gradually abolish the concept of tuition after an outpour of student concern five years ago,  “When I started studying psychology in 2009, I had to pay €700/per semester but that was the time that students began protesting that studying shouldn’t just be a privilege for the wealthy — the protests were successful and beginning in 2011, [German students] only had to pay €200-300 a semester,” explains German student Shadan about the process of her semester tuition rate falling to more than half its price.

With all of the diverse repayment and loan forgiveness programs in the developed countries around the globe, the nation with the largest student debt issue has now begun to think of the future of post-secondary education costs in the United States. In June of 2014, President Obama announced an alternative repayment program that will cap monthly payments for certain federal loans at 10 percent of the discretionary income. The program, which will be available beginning in December 2015, will allow more than 5 million borrowers to qualify.

XPress Magazine’s guide to finals at SF State

Contributed to by Tami Benedict

Step 1: Realize that you have not bought the books for the finals.

baseball fuck
Credit: Tumblr

Step 2: Frantically scour the internet for PDFs of the aforementioned books.

Jesse Eisenbery typing gif
Credit: Tumblr

 

Step 3: Try to read said books as fast as possible. Two chapters should be enough to write a paper, right? Alternately, SparkNotes.

Credit: Tumblr
Credit: Tumblr

Step 4: Know that you probably won’t sleep for the entire week. Invest in cheap coffee by the bucket.

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Credit: Tumblr

Step 5: Understand that the final project that was given to you a month ago is due in two days. You haven’t looked at the assignment since it was announced.

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Credit: Tumblr

Step 6: Office hours have become your best friend. Beg for mercy and leniency.

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Credit: Tumblr

Step 7: Realize you haven’t eaten all day, proceed to shovel down the cheapest, greasiest fare in existence.

Caption: Tumblr
Credit: Tumblr

Step 8: The barista at the coffee shop knows your name and drink order by now. This may be a good thing.

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Credit: Tumblr

Step 9: Stake out a space in the library, preferably next to an outlet. Get your bitch face on whenever someone is talking.

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Credit: Tumblr

Step 10: Hear people in library having mental breakdowns, understanding where they are coming from. Commiserate and take relief in the fact you aren’t crying…yet.

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Credit:Tumblr

Step 11: Realize you forgot your laptop charger at home. Give up, decide no work is being done and you’re destined to fail and live a life of mediocrity.

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Credit: Tumblr

Step 12: Look at the final review sheet, don’t understand any of it, and know that you are screwed.

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Credit:Tumblr

Step 13: Follow these steps as your Plan B.

Credit: galenmarek1
Credit: galenmarek1

Healthy food for the broke college student

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the leftovers are running out, and we are returning to our normal routines of school, work, and (if you are like me) a very small budget for food, it is time for the college student’s guide to eating healthy.
This guide will be giving cheap and easy recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a normal weekday.

Omelet made with turkey bacon, kale, onions, grape tomatoes, and goat cheese. (Calla Camero/ Xpress Magazine)
Omelet made with turkey bacon, kale, (Calla Camero/ Xpress Magazine)

Breakfast: Greens omelet with turkey bacon.This breakfast will only require about twenty minutes of your morning (I know this sounds like a lot for a school day but trust me, it is worth a good meal). I do everything by eye – I never use a measuring cup because I am just not that technical. Again, this is not a chef’s guide to great culinary meals, it is a college student’s guide to eating well with pocket change.

Ingredients:

  • Cage-Free Dozen Eggs: Trader Joe’s, $2.49
    Organic Baby Kale: Trader Joe’s, $1.99
    Yellow Onion: Trader Joe’s, $0.69
    Grape Tomatoes (Sold by the pint): Trader Joe’s, $0.99
    Crumbled Goat Cheese: Trader Joe’s, $2.49
    Turkey Bacon: Trader Joe’s, 8 oz for $2.99 or Costco, 1 pack of 4 12 oz for $10.11
    Directions:
    Start frying two or three slices of turkey bacon, however much you prefer.
    For one person, only two eggs are required for this. Crack the eggs into a bowl, stir them until yellow. Pour into a pan with medium heat.
    Use half a handful of kale and half a handful of arugula and sprinkle onto entire surface of eggs.
    You will only use about two small slices of a yellow onion. Chop the two slices into little squares and scatter onto entire surface of eggs. Meanwhile, flip your turkey bacon to the other side if it is nice and crispy.
    Use half a handful of grape tomatoes and chop as small as preferred. Scatter onto entire surface of eggs.
    Stir the eggs up to avoid the bottom getting burned.
    Finally, pour the crumbled goat cheese on the entire omelet. At this time, your turkey bacon should be ready.

Voila ! A $10 breakfast (with extra ingredients for five more breakfasts) in twenty minutes.

Turkey pesto wrap with miso soup. (Calla Camero/ Xpress Magazine)
Spinach turkey pesto wrap made with basil leaves, provolone cheese, and grape tomatoes. Served with a side of miso soup. (Calla Camero/ Xpress Magazine)

Lunch: Turkey pesto wrap with miso soup. If you have classes or work, this lunch will require you to prepare it the night before and pack it. It tastes good cold, but you can microwave it the next day to eat it warm! The soup will require hot water.

Ingredients:

  • Colombus Low Sodium Turkey Breast: Trader Joe’s, 8 oz for $4.79
    Spinach Wrap: Costco, 10 for $3.60
    Basil Leaves: Trader Joe’s, 2.5 oz for $2.99
    Baby Spinach: Trader Joe’s, 6 oz for $2.49
    Grape Tomatoes (Sold by the pint): Trader Joe’s, $0.99
    Provolone Cheese: Trader Joe’s, $ 4.79
    Miso Soup: Trader Joe’s, $ 3.29
    Directions:
    This meal will only take you about 10 minutes to prepare. Depending on how much you eat, one or two wraps will suffice for this meal.
    Take the spinach wrap and warm it in a pan until soft, then take lay it on a plate.
    Take 4-6 slices of the turkey breast and lay it on the spinach wrap.
    Take one slice of provolone cheese and lay it on the turkey.
    Grab a small handful of the baby spinach and scatter over the wrap.
    Use about three basil leaves and using your fingers, shred into small pieces over surface of wrap.
    Chop about six grape tomatoes in half and spread onto surface of wrap.
    Extra: A little bit of sriracha gives the wrap a good, spicy flavor.
    Then, heat up water using a microwave or tea pot. When hot, pour miso base into water and stir.

And huzzah!

Rosemary baked chicken with apple couscous, kale, and mushrooms. (Calla Camero/ Xpress Magazine)
Rosemary baked chicken with apple couscous, kale, and mushrooms. (Calla Camero/ Xpress Magazine)

Dinner: Rosemary baked chicken with apple couscous and roasted veggies. This will take the longest out of all the recipes, about forty minutes. It is crazy easy to make, even though the name sounds like it is a meal from Top Chef.

Ingredients:

  • Organic Free Range Chicken Drumsticks: Trader Joe’s, $1.99 per pound
    Israeli Couscous: Trader Joe’s, 16 oz for $1.99
    Organic Green Apple: Trader Joe’s, $0.79 each
    Asparagus: Trader Joe’s, 12 oz for $3.29
    Organic Baby Kale: Trader Joe’s, $1.99
    White Button Mushrooms: Trader Joe’s, 8 oz for $1.99
    Rosemary: Trader Joe’s, .75 oz for $1.79
    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees and get out two pyrex pans or any type of baking pans will do.
    For one person, two drumsticks will do.
    Start preparing chicken with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary.
    Pour olive oil onto baking pan for a second or two and place chicken onto pan.
    Salt and pepper all sides of chicken, and do the same with rosemary. Until the chicken is nice and covered.
    Pour olive oil onto next pan for the vegetables.
    Grab six or seven pieces of asparagus and a half a handful of baby kale.
    The only vegetables that need to be cut are the mushrooms. Use about 4 mushrooms and cut into thin slices.
    Scatter vegetables onto the pan and make sure they are as spread out as possible.
    I like to use garlic salt for the vegetables, but regular salt will also do. Salt and pepper your vegetables as much as preferred and then scatter rosemary over them.
    Pour olive oil over top surface of vegetables so that the top is nice and wet.
    By this time, the oven should be ready. Place chicken in but NOT vegetables and set the timer on the oven for 15 minutes.
    In a 2 quart saucepan, saute 1⅓ cups of couscous with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until the couscous is lightly browned (about 5 minutes). Slowly add about 1¾ of boiling water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Let the couscous simmer until the liquid is absorbed.
    Chop one green apple into small bite-sized pieces and once the couscous has absorbed all the liquid, stir apples with couscous until lightly brown.
    Once brown, put salt, pepper, and rosemary into couscous. Then turn stove off.
    At this time the timer should be done or almost done, put vegetables in oven. Then flip the chickens to their other sides.
    Reset timer to 15 minutes.
    When the timer is done, both the chicken and vegetables should be done. But always check the chicken before you take it out. Use a knife to cut one of them until you hit bone and make sure the chicken is NOT pink or bloody. Like my mother says, if it is white it is done.

Whoever said you cannot get good food for cheap needs a new definition of good food.

Are you overly attached to technology?

Passengers on the 28 Muni inbound. (Olympia Zampathas/ Xpress Magazine)
Passengers on the 28 Muni inbound. (Olympia Zampathas/ Xpress Magazine)

The next time you are sitting in a classroom or stuck on an overcrowded Muni vehicle, silently cursing it for threatening to make you late to class yet again, take a look around. How many people are staring at a laptop or, more likely, a smartphone? Chances are, it will be several of them. Technology use is pervasive among college students, and that can have its pluses and minuses.

Many students utilize technology to do their schoolwork—to access documents provided by teachers, to do research, to write papers, and so on. To most, the right technological device is essential to getting work done. Eighty-five percent of students surveyed for the 2012 EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology rated a laptop as very or extremely important to academic success, making it the highest ranking device. Only 37 percent rated a smartphone the same. Three out of four college students say they could not study without technology, according to this infographic released by OnlineEducation.net in 2011. That tidbit might be best taken with a grain of salt because a site dedicated to online-only colleges would probably be inclined to pump up technology’s importance, but there is no denying the valuable role technology often plays when doing your homework. After all, when used properly, the Internet can provide a wealth of information much faster than it could be accessed by any other method.

Technology use can also be a major hindrance to students, however. All the quality information the Internet can provide is useless if it is lost among page after page of outdated, misleading, or just plain wrong “information” turned up by your favorite search engine. The Web is also, of course, full of time-wasters. Fall into the black hole of Facebook or BuzzFeed, and the hours you had meant to spend working on a research paper have vanished.

Research continues to shed light on the harmful effects on people who rely too heavily on technology, particularly college students. A survey of five hundred and thirty-six undergraduate students found that as their use of technology increased, their anxiety levels went up and their academic performance, as measured by GPA, went down according to the 2013 article, “The relationship between cell phone use, academic performance, anxiety, and Satisfaction with Life in college students,” published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior last year. In a study published in the same journal in August, one hundred and sixty-three American college students were required to spend set stretches of time without using their smartphones. Half of the group were made to surrender their phones for the duration of the study; the rest were allowed to keep them but had to turn them off and put them away. The researchers found that those who self-identified as moderate or heavy users of technology “felt significantly more anxious over time.”

A new term has been coined to describe the problematic attachment many have to technology: “Nomophobia” is the strong and irrational fear of being apart from your phone. The website Nomophobia.com offers a test titled “Are you a nomophobe?”

Technology plays a significant role in most students’ lives. Sometimes it is an asset as it helps you find information and get your work done faster. Using it too much, though, can prevent you from accomplishing anything and have harmful psychological effects. Go ahead and use your favorite devices for work and play, just try to not get too attached.

We Have an Ethnic Studies Center?

Nikko Martinez (center), the secretary of the Ethnic Studies Student Resource & Empowerment Center, hangs out with the center's interns Wednesday Oct. 7. The interns (left to right) are Elisa Wong, Elisa Wong, Efraim Sinambela, Nureldin Maslu and Jiayan Fung. (Martin Bustamante/ Xpress Magazine)
Nikko Martinez (center), the secretary of the Ethnic Studies Student Resource & Empowerment Center, hangs out with the center’s interns Wednesday Oct. 7. The interns (left to right) are Elisa Wong, Elisa Wong, Efraim Sinambela, Nureldin Maslu and Jiayan Fung.
(Martin Bustamante/ Xpress Magazine)

The Ethnic Studies Student Resource and Empowerment Center bustles with chatter. A handful of student interns, packed into the small office, talk and laugh amongst themselves. One of the interns sits at the room’s lone computer, which is planted on the room’s only desk. The walls exhibit art of ethnic pride, a portrait of Cesar Chavez is one of the most prominent. One wall holds rows of brochures for campus services. More brochures, pamphlets, and fliers for services, upcoming events, scholarships, and job openings fill a table just outside the door. A whiteboard perched on an easel on the opposite side displays job and scholarship search websites. The only thing that is missing are the students the center exists to serve.

The center was established about five years ago because SF State wanted to create a student resource center that would be open to all students campus-wide. The university asked Phil Klasky, a lecturer in the American Indian Studies department, to coordinate the group because of his past experiences as a social worker and reputation as a student-oriented teacher. He says his background as a social worker taught him “to see the person behind the problem.” The purpose of the center is to guide students to services provided on campus and to give them the tools to help themselves. “I think self-empowerment is at least as important to [academic success] as understanding the material,” declares Klasky. He wants students to “understand there are services they paid for on campus.” He knows not all students have outside support.

Relatively few students seem to know the center exists. “No one knows who the hell ESSO is or where the center is … and, ugh, our name [is too long],” complains Maura Villanueva, a Spanish and Latino Studies double-major in her second semester interning at the center. ESSO is the Ethnic Studies Student Organization formed by a few interns about two-and-a-half years ago as an official Associated Students, Incorporated (ASI) organization. It is one of a handful of ethnic studies student organizations in the country. Klasky adds that one of the center’s biggest challenges is “getting the word out and getting students to actually take advantage” of what it and the school has to offer.

The center’s low profile may be driven by its location and youth. Unlike most student organizations at SF State, it is not based in the Cesar Chavez Student Center. Rather, it can be found in Room 110B in the Ethnic Studies and Psychology building. It also has not had the time to develop the kind of history and reputation many other groups on campus enjoy. “I feel we don’t have as strong a presence as other student organizations,” says Nico Martinez, environmental studies major and the organization’s secretary.

It may also be hampered by low funds. It has an annual operational budget of five-hundred dollars and up to five-hundred additional dollars for events. “It can go like this,” says Villanueva, snapping her fingers. Jake Velazquez, an anthropology and American Indian Studies double-major and the initial president of the student organization, believes the center’s presence will grow as it strengthens its foundation. “As we grow a bigger base of skilled interns, I think we’ll be able to reach a bigger audience,” he says.

Helpful literature line the walls of the Ethnic Studies Student Resource & Empowerment Center Wednesday Oct. 8. (Martin Bustamante/ Xpress Magazine)
Helpful literature line the walls of the Ethnic Studies Student Resource & Empowerment Center Wednesday Oct. 8. (Martin Bustamante/ Xpress Magazine)

During the month of October, the center will offer several workshops and get involved with events coordinated by better-known organizations in the hopes that it will start reaching more students. Two planned workshops intend to help students apply for scholarships and prepare for graduate school. Klasky encourages students to attend graduate school because he believes it allows them to “engage more in their interests in a more profound way.” The center’s interns have been tasked with coming up with more potential workshops. Environmental justice is a key topic at a recent meeting of the Ethnic Studies Student Organization. The interns share their thoughts on the movie Disruption, which was assigned viewing. They talk about some of the factors influencing climate change and climate racism, which looks at who gets the brunt of the consequences. Their homework assignment for the next meeting is to come up with a few steps people can take to address environmental issues as well as possible solutions.

The center lives on students helping students. “It floats my boat to see students helping each other out,” Klasky said with a big grin. “I really love that we’re a community of motivated and passionate people … helping other people,” says President Monica Sandoval, a senior accounting major who has interned in the center for three years. She continues, “I really like that it’s student-run, so we’ve had the opportunity to develop it.”

The interns help more than just others on campus but those in need off campus as well. Last semester, Sandoval organized a march for women who have been physically or sexually abused. She describes the experience as “really hard for me on a personal level” and says others in the center helped her through that difficult time. “I couldn’t have done it without the support from the friends I’ve made here,” she says.

The center is open until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. During the day, though, the center has irregular hours. Sometimes it is full of people, at others, a lone intern may be studying quietly. At other times still, the center’s door is shut and locked when it is supposed to be open. At that recent meeting, Klasky reminded the interns that they need to adhere to the office hours they signed up for. Students in need of a helping hand might want to consider stopping by when the center is open. Odds are if it does not have what you need, it will know who does.

Survey: How much caffeine do you consume?

A cup of coffee beans.  Photo under  Creative Commons by Asher Isbrucker
A cup of coffee beans. Photo under Creative Commons by Asher Isbrucker

Midterms are in full swing here at SF State, and as usual, students are stressed and sleep-deprived. With late night study sessions at the library, and overlapping assignments and projects, it is hard to catch a decent amount of sleep. The urgency to grab a small, flat latte with an extra shot, to stay awake during a long night of cramming is on.

According to a 2007 report by the Food and Drug Administration, 80 percent of adults in the U.S. consume caffeine on a daily basis. Adults, on average, intake 200 mg of caffeine, or two 5 oz cups of coffee.

Too much caffeine can affect your health. Mayo Clinic researchers found that having 500 to 600 mg a day can cause problems like insomnia, muscle tremors, and upset stomach.

How much caffeine do you consume? Does that number increase during midterms and finals?

Take this survey and let us know!