Time to say goodbye

The day that I have been counting down to since my freshman year has finally come, graduation.

With the big day less than a week away, I can’t help but have mixed emotions. I’m happy that classes are over and finals almost done, but I’m sad that I will no longer be living in a small studio apartment in Macomb. I know at one point I hated my apartment and I didn’t always love Macomb, but it all hit me when I went to purchase my cap and gown. As the man behind the counter handed me my order he said, “Congratulations on making it.” I realized then that I did make it. I am graduating and leaving WIU. The next time I come to Western, it will be as an alumnus, a visitor…not as a student.

Leaving this lifestyle with minimal responsibilities is starting to scare me. I can’t imagine not being able to walk everywhere, wake up at noon, eat pizza for every meal, or go out every night of the week. When I leave Macomb, I almost feel like I’ll be leaving my adolescence, and will be welcoming adulthood. I’ll be moving back in with my parents, (hopefully) going to graduate school, and holding an internship or job. Each of these will require a lot of responsibility, something I’m not sure I’m ready for. But whether or not I’m ready, the time is here.

When I walk across the stage to accept my diploma I’ll know that here at WIU I worked my hardest, met the best people, and had the most fun. These past four years are memories that will last a lifetime and will never fade. I don’t think I’ll ever say goodbye to WIU; I’m already planning my first alumni trip. I think I’ll just say see ya later because I know I’ll always be back.

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Taking finals one last time

The end of each semester usually brings dreaded finals for college students, but when you’re a senior, finals aren’t dreaded, finals are embraced.

For graduating seniors, finals signify the end of our college careers and the beginning of new ones. It is as if we can see the finish line and after the last exam is taken, the countdown is over. All that will be left to do is accept that diploma. “It is seriously exhilarating to be taking my last final,” said Ryan Guilfoyle, a senior broadcasting major. “It really is; I won’t have to worry about pulling all-nighters anymore because this is my last semester in college. All I have to do is take my last final and then graduate!”

Not only do finals bring sweet excitement for graduating students, they also bring a little bit of sadness too. After the last final and graduation, most seniors will be leaving Macomb, their home for the last four years, and heading back to their real home. “I feel really excited taking my last final,” said Loretta Stumpf, a senior communication major. “But it’s really weird to be done with college. I am really going to miss WIU and the lifestyle I have here.”

Pulling all-nighters, holding study groups, and living in the library may not sound like fun, but for most seniors, it will be the last time we do those things at WIU. Next year at this time, we won’t be studying for tests, we won’t be holding study sessions at Malpass, we won’t be visiting the residence hall cafeterias for midnight breakfast, and we won’t be students at Western. This time next year we will be alumni and wishing we were back in Macomb…so maybe the countdown to finals should wait just a little longer, because I know I’m not ready to leave this place.

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Moving on up….to our parent’s house

As seniors pack up their rented houses and apartments and box up their dishes and clothes, a question emerges. After leaving Macomb, where are they moving?

For most seniors, graduation is an exciting time and a transitional period from student to adult. With that transition comes some major decision making, like where to live after college. Do seniors move back in with mom and dad? Have they saved money to get a place of their own? Are they not moving anywhere and traveling? I decided to poll 20 seniors and ask them the big question, where are you moving to after college? The one and only response that I received was, “back home with my parents.”

I couldn’t believe that after four years of living on their own, seniors would be running back home to mommy and daddy. Then I realized I too was one of those seniors. While I have loved the freedom of doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted these past few years, there is just no way I can move out of my parents house…yet.

Like most college seniors I have taken a long hard look at my bank account and have found nothing but zeros…we’re all broke. The last four years have not only drained our brain but also our checking accounts. Senior communication major Loretta Stumpf said, “I am moving home because I have no money to survive on my own.” That sums up most seniors’ situation in a nutshell.

Eventually we all (hopefully) do plan on moving out some day, but only after a few years of saving. Genie Kiran, a senior journalism major, plans to do just that. “I really want to live in Chicago,” she said. “I love the city and I want to eventually get a job there and start my life, but until then I need to live at home and save, save, save.”

Whether seniors are moving in or out of their parents’ house, one thing is for sure. After receiving their diploma, they will definitely be moving up.

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Don’t write down call numbers at the library…get the information via text

Technology has made its way into the WIU Malpass Library via “Text Me.” This new service is available on the library’s online catalog and allows users to receive a call number for resources via a text message instead of the “old fashioned way” of writing them down.

The service is simple and easy to use said Falcone. “When you are in WestCat, the online catalog, and find a book, video or other resource that you’re interested in, simply click ‘Text me this call number,’” she said. After entering your cell phone number and service provider, you’ll quickly receive a text message with the title and call number of that particular resource. “Library users won’t be writing down call numbers on little scraps of paper anymore,” Falcone said.

The environmentally-friendly service is already up and running and has received positive feedback about the quick and easy process, which is exactly what the library staff was hoping to do. Trying to improve the overall experience users have in the library is another reason the “Text me” service was activated. “I encourage our visitors to go beyond using only the physical aspects of the library: our impressive collections, convenient computer workstations, and innumerable study spaces,” said Falcone. “While these are all fantastic resources, I think you’ll find that our librarians and staff are the true treasure of the University Libraries.”

To learn more about “Text Me,” click here.

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Running for a special cause:

The Shaymus Relays, sponsored by the WIU Track and Field team, will be held today at Hanson Field for Shaymus Guinn, the young son of WIU Women’s Soccer Coach Tony Guinn, who is undergoing treatment for Ewing’s Sarcoma.

The pseudo track and field meet is being held to raise funds and support for Shaymus, who was diagnosed with the rare form of bone cancer in November, 2008. The track meet has two parts. First, local 1st-6th graders will participate in various track and field events followed by college students that will compete in two types of relays, the 4×400 and The Breakfast Club. While the 4×400 is a common relay found at track meets, The Breakfast Club is a bit unconventional. It mimics a 4×400 but requires each participant to eat a stack of pancakes and drink a glass of milk prior to running the lap.

Along with the relays, other fundraising will be going on throughout the event, including participant donations, 50/50 raffles, T-Shirt sales, wristband sales, and bake sales. Music will be playing throughout the day, Rocky the mascot will be present to entertain the younger audience, and WIU cheerleaders will be on-hand to bring a little spirit!

Eric Anerino has been working side by side with Mike McGraw to create and organize the relays and believes students should be involved because they are a large part of this community.  “I believe that students should be involved in the relays because this event truly embodies a community coming together to help a very deserving family; a family who is part of our very own community,” Anerino said.

Although sponsored by the WIU Track and Field team, The Shaymus Relays are a campus and community collaboration. “The Athletics Department, as well as many various WIU organizations, has played a large role in supporting this event,” Anerino said. “Many faculty members, coaches, and administrators have voiced their full support to this event and are eagerly awaiting its arrival. And finally, we have already seen great support from the college students.”

The Shaymus Relays will start today at 5:30 p.m. and same-day-registration is available. If you are unable to attend the event but are still interested in donating, donations can be mailed to Western Hall, Room 104 (Western Illinois University Athletics, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455). Checks can be made out to ‘THE SHAYMUS RELAYS.’

For more information, please click here.

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Grad Blast: Senior Send Off

As seniors end their last semesters, their relationship with WIU as a student comes to an end, but their life long bond to the university as an alumni is just beginning. To ensure this relationship the Alumni Association is hosting the senior send off party, Grad Blast 2009.

This year’s Grad Blast theme is “Best Years Ever” and is being held at the local night spot, The Forum. The evening will start at 6:00, and will be filled with free food, t-shirts, and door prizes. One of the prizes includes a “real world survival kit” something every senior should be equipped with. There will also be a memory wall made of construction paper for students to sign and write down their favorite WIU memory. Amanda Shoemaker, Associate Alumni Director thinks the send off party is a great way for seniors to learn about the Alumni Association. “Just because you graduate doesn’t mean your relationship with the university will stop,” she said. “Grad Blast shows the transition between student to alumni, and it’s a way of inviting seniors to the Alumni Association and allowing them to see all the benefits they will receive.” Pamphlets describing all the services the Alumni Association has to offer will be available during the night for students to view.

Anyone graduating in 2009 is invited to this year’s Grad Blast, and also invited is alumni. Inviting both seniors and alumnus will allow networking opportunities to happen and both groups to mingle, giving students the opportunity to ask any questions they may have about post graduation life. RockeNetwork laptops will be set up in case any alumni or soon to be alumni have yet to create a profile.

In case you haven’t received in the mail or online, or haven’t even seen the posters, then you’re a cordially invited to senior send off Grad Blast 2009. See you there!

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Equal Pay Day…Today

Today, across the nation, women’s business and professional associations, labor groups, civil rights organizations, educators, and others committed to equal pay are wearing red in hopes of spreading awareness about Equal Pay Day (EPD). And WIU’s Women’s Center is doing the same.                                                                                        

The color red symbolizes how far women and minorities are “in the red” when it comes to their pay. To further the awareness, the Women’s Center sponsored a Pay Equity Bake Sale today. Women’s Center Director, Janine Cavicchia believes these events will bring attention to unequal pay. “The purpose of the Pay Equity Bake Sale is to provide a fun and educational way to bring awareness to pay inequities,” said Cavicchia. The price that was charged for bake sale goods was equal to the amount of money people in various demographic groups make on average. When it was time to pay for their baked goods, participants drew a slip from the “demographic bowl” and the demographic they drew determined what they paid. “The idea is for people to think, for example, ‘Hey, that’s not fair that a white male has to pay $1.00, and a black female only has to pay 69 cents,’ and we say, ‘That’s right–and it’s not fair that for every dollar a white male makes, a black female only makes 69 cents,’” said Cavicchia. 

Along with sponsoring today’s bake sale, the Women’s Center has held other events this month in light of Equal Pay Day. Activities included information tables and radio programs that featured Dr. Peter Cole, associate professor of history and Cavicchia who discussed pay equity. “This year’s activities have been organized by three students from Dr. Jan Welsch’s Women’s Studies 455 class as a feminist action project. Trisha Brondyke, Lucie Fricano, and Chrissy Hemberger have been volunteering with us this semester and have done a great job of planning this year’s events,” said Cavicchia.

 Cavicchia believes that when students participate in Equal Pay Day they will be learning a valuable lesson. “Many students assume or believe that pay inequity no longer exists and that when they graduate and get a job, they will have equal pay, regardless of gender or ethnicity,” she said. “The reality is that the average salary for women and minorities is still much lower than that for white males, and students need to read the facts and learn about the issue.”

To learn more about WIU Equal Pay Day, click here.

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