It Only Gets Better

Try as we might to mention and big up the gorgeous sunset, the Bluffs and wonderful lakeside views we Oswegonians have penchant for the cold blustery winds that threaten to lift you off your feet and the abominable snowy conditions that bury central campus in its entirety. This lovely weather starts unofficially after Thanksgiving break and ends what seems like a year later sometime around the end of April.

It’s during this time when we (we being Oswego students, college faculty and year long residents) become a collective. During these long unbearable and miserly winter months the fractured relationship between town and rowdy party students are momentarily forgotten as door are held for fellow winter warriors braving whiteout conditions.

Weather like subzero temperatures, overnight snow accumulations that exceed the median age of dorm room inhabitants, are what we enjoy complaining about (don’t believe check your Facebook and Twitter feeds). It’s all good. No better way to show our true modesty as winter warriors than to masquerade it in some good ol fashion kvetching.

To the uninitiated, the freshmen you haven’t yet earned the right to take part in the harsh weather complaints. We (these Oswegonians; separate from 1st semester freshmen) chuckled as you told us you brought Ugg boots from home for the winter time. But despite the many times you did not heed our warnings we still wish you warmth and insight in the coming months. You’ll need it.

For the rest of us… We’ve been here once before, seen our fair share of winter astonishments. It seems like every class has that one winter that goes down in history as one of the worse. Which brings me to a question I’ve been dying to talk about. Which year has bragging rights to the worst winter in SUNY Oswego to date? And what did you do for fun (and survival)? I’d love to know. It’d be great to hear some awesome alumni stories about their biggest snow storms braved and maybe the freshmen can learn a thing or two on how to have fun in it all.

Speaking of fun. How could I ever forget the time I decided to make some snow myself.

A Glimmer of Hope, The Congo

Dr. Webe Kadima is an associate professor of chemistry here at SUNY Oswego. Since 2006 , she has made two biannual trips to Kinshasa, the largest city and capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The purpose of these trips? To research and develop an affordable medical solution to Type 2 diabetes using wild plants found in the jungles of the Congo. Working closely with a doctor in the region, Kadima has been able to narrow down what started as 90 plants in research to the three most reliable.

 In this interview Dr. Kadima explains why it is important to have effective alternatives to Western Pharmaceutical Drugs for diabetes, her involvement in the upcoming screening of Cry for Peace and the impact of the Panzi Hospital’s work in the Congo.

This interview does contain conversations about the crisis in the Congo and I feel it necessary to add a (trigger warning:rape) due in part to the discussion about some of those atrocities including rape as a weapon of war. 

 

ARTSwego will present the premiere screening of a new video version Cry for Peace: Voices of the Congo onFriday November 2nd 7p.m at SUNY Oswego’s Waterman Theatre. Tickets are on sale for $5 through all campus box offices. All proceeds will be contributed to the Panzi Foundation USA.

More information can be found about Panzi Foundation USA and the vital role they play in the DRC at their website: www.panzifoundation.org

Oz Bucket List

We are already two weeks in and I am trying to figure out where all the time has gone. This year was always guaranteed to go by quickly because (drum roll) I am graduating! This semester to be specific, into the winter I came and out of it I will go.

Knowing that the end is in sight has gotten me a little sentimental and reflective. SUNY Oswego has been good to me and  I truly want to cherish every moment that I have remaining here. I’ve definitely had good times but when I leave I want to say that I’ve done it all and with your help I just might be able to accomplish that goal.

Here’s how

I along with some truly creative and gifted people from SUNY Oswego have devised a plan.  A senior bucket list or sorts where I go around gathering different people’s suggestions and ideas of the best things to do on campus or in the surrounding area before it’s all said and done.

You suggest something, and me and my camera man (the ever talented Kevin Graham) will go out do them and cross it off the list. Ideally I’d love to hear from everyone freshmen all the way up to my fellow seniors(who knows maybe one of you can join me on a couple) and even the alums. I would especially love to get some alumni opinions on what are some of the things that formed your fondest memories in Oswego.

You can provide your suggestions in several different places as I’m sure ideas come to you at different times.

The comment box below

Twitter (with hash tag #Ozbucketlist)

@Mr_Belle 

Or @sunyoswego

Facebook

SUNY Oswego

Kwame Belle

Look forward to hearing what you guys have in mind the more the merry the clock is ticking and the camera is rolling!

 

A Moment of Gratitude

I am truly grateful to have met the friends that I have while here in Oswego. They are all new friendships and bonds formed with the exception of one, my good friend Rufaro or Tumbo, best known as “DJ Tumbo” outside of that 6 year friendship the ones I have formed are mostly a year old or so. But that didn’t change the amount of love and companionship we all shared Sunday night as we gathered for dinner.

While many students who live nearby go home to celebrate Easter , there are a small portion of us who can’t simply because the 5 hour trip home just doesn’t work out how you would like it to sometimes. Watching everyone hop on the bus or cramming into cars to go home can make those of us forced to stay a little sad. So imagine my excitement when my best friend Damaris not only announced that she was staying on campus as well but would also be making Sunday dinner!

Since Damaris moved into the Village (the suite styled housing which I adore for it’s beautiful exterior and even more impressive interior detailing , a place I wish I had chosen to live instead of off-campus) Sunday dinners have becomes somewhat of a regular occurrence for us.

Doing what she always does so well she played grand host and master chef , whipping up a home style feast of meatloaf, creamed mashed potatoes, baked macaroni and cheese, green beans and biscuits. The food was good but the company of great friends was even better. And as the night which was filled with moments of laughter,some jokes funny enough that I found myself on the kitchen floor doubled over in laughter and lively serious debates came to a close I felt an extreme sense of gratitude. Gratitude for being blessed to have such invaluable friendship to share my happiest moments…any moments for that matter because they have been there for some of my less enviable ones as well , I am grateful. And while for many people Easter has an entirely different meaning. This year friends,love and happiness is what I’ll remember Easter to be.

Breath, Stretch, Meditate

Recently I find myself increasingly curious about meditation, yoga and obtaining peace of mind. I am not sure if it has to do with all of the Oprah programs I am watching or more the desire to find a way to keep my mind clear enough  to write when I am up against the deadline (as I always am). Truth be told it is a fair mixture of both, I am a huge fan of Oprah’s LifeClass  any Own program and I still have a 2 page analysis paper due from before spring break(please don’t judge me). Whatever it might be that is bringing on my constant stress and cloudy mind I have found that a few things actually help to clear it.

After years of wanting to do yoga I finally took a friend up on an invitation to join her at a Sunday afternoon session. The experience was a memorable one; me struggling to balance my self on one leg or hold positions with every muscle trembling while the rest of the class seemed to flawlessly glide from position to position. I lost track of how many times I said to myself ” I thought yoga was supposed to be relaxing and calm”. But as the session was concluding , I found myself down on my yoga mat calmly breathing , mind effortlessly drifting off unaware of the macho body building men who had earlier watched me head over to the yoga mats.

When the lights finally turned on and the instructor told us she looked forward to seeing us next week, I was floating over to my friend with the surrealist feeling of serenity I had have ever experienced. I felt somewhere in between sleep and euphoria. The rest of the day and subsequently the next one as well was filled with great clarity. In the time after, I spent nights  practicing breathing exercises to help settle my thoughts enough for me to fall asleep.

Since then I have developed a weekly routine of attending a Sunday evening yoga class courtesy of Oswego’s fitness centers. What has made my yoga classes even better was learning that other SUNY schools don’t all offer classes without paying a separate fee. How lucky are we to get a yoga class that not only winds down as the sun sets over the lake but not  have to pay an additional fee?

The health benefits of yoga are substantial I am sure but I’ll leave that up to a professional or someone with more knowledge on yoga practices to tell you. I’m just here to say yoga has definitely been a great stabilizer in my life.

A V-Date in Oswego

The Princeton Review and USA Today recently named SUNY Oswego a Best Value College, but with Valentines Day only a blink away that won’t be the only value Oswego students are looking for.

Let’s face it, most college students could stand to benefit from a good deal, between the cost of recently purchased text books, pesky parking tickets and late night orders of Zonies and Wontons their isn’t much money left over to spare.

Luckily I have you covered with the deals,dates and destinations necessary to make this a Valentines Day to remember!

 

The Red Sun Fire Roasting Co. & The Wall

The Wine:

One of the Oswego’s most recent additions The Wall is an all inclusive rock climbing experience. -The well versed climbers can try their hand at bouldering, while those just looking for good amateur fun can opt for top ropes.

 

The Dine:

With an intimate but upbeat ambiance, The Red Sun Fire Roasting Co. is perfect for the down to earth couple who just likes to enjoy each others company while not breathing down each others neck (fella’s the TV’s by the bar allow you a chance to sneak a peek at the latest scores).

Ruby Tuesday & Lighthouse Lanes

 


The Wine:

Affordable, fun and classic, buy a few games and show each other what you’re made of. Bowling gives couples the opportunity to be active and engaged without having to worry about the awkward dead moments in between topics. (let her win the first two, then show her whose boss in the third and final games)


The Dine:

If you are in the seemingly proverbial “it’s complicated” area, Ruby Tuesday may just be right up your alley. A relatively affordable menu, a large variation of food choices to satisfy even the pickiest eater and a wine menu to turn it up a notch if the mood calls for such an occasion. Meet halfway and order the “Four Way Sampler”

 

 

Canales & Oswego 7 Cinema

The Wine

What can better than revisiting mankind know the best date…the movies! While Netflix gets the job done all other times during the semester this is definitely the day to catch the in theater flicks on the big screen. A order of nachos with an extra cheese and a large pepsi should hold you over for the duration of your


The Dine:

Not for feign at heart. Enter Canales when your romance game is ready for the big leagues. Everything from the exterior to the interior says “ Happy Valentines Day”.  This is dinner and sophistication done right. The low light, warm colors and cozy seating area is just right to discuss why you guys are made for each other. With filling portions you wont even mind when they reach over with their fork into your plate.

 

These are just a few of the many ways to celebrate this special occasion with someone special. Always remember the celebration and expectations should be in the level of effort and not the money spent.

~Enjoy!

“Eat, Save, Yum”

Off-campus living will make a man out of you or a responsible young adult at very least. When I first got word that I would be living off campus I had plans of ordering pizza pies and chinese takeout in large portions throughout the week. Eating leftovers on alternate days to be “ money savvy”.

Somewhere between a shrinking account and a growing waistband I came to my senses. The original plan had not been sensible in the least. In order to survive off-campus, more than basic culinary skills would have to be acquired.

I sought the advice of my older sister Simone Belle a nurse practitioner and graduate of New York University’s School of Nursing. Someone who understands what it means to be a struggling college student trying to juggle more than a few things with limited resources.

We narrowed down the dining goals to three major components: Affordability, healthy choices and timeliness.

There are some items that you may want to add to the cart right away. By design these items are usually placed near the entrance of the store and located on the exterior of the aisle with “great deal” signage decorated around it. Resist the urge to be tempted by first creating a grocery list prior to shopping. Junk food items not only add up in cost but are unhealthy. When in the store go down you list of needed items ensuring that you have all the ingredients to make a solid meal. Then when your list is complete add a few of those wants as treat. This will drastically cut your grocery bill.

Create balanced , healthy meals that still taste good!

When prepping healthy meals it is important to create a diverse offering on the plate. According to the American Cancer Society and United States Recommended Daily Allowances (USRDA) “it is recommended to eat a wide variety foods to best obtain the appropriate protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins and minerals from fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, and whole grains”. While fresh vegetables may be best. Simone tailors the message for young adults “Frozen vegetables are a perfect choice for college students because fresh vegetables might spoil before use and canned vegetables hold very little nutritional value”

Time is often one of the hardest adjustments for off campus students, as meals take considerably longer to prepare than swiping for a meal at the dining hall. It is definitely a challenge learning to adjust to cooking at home while your friends are on their way to the dining halls. Damaris Dunn senior at SUNY Oswego living in the Village Commons agrees, “ What you have to realize is that when others are heading to the dining halls, that is your time to head home to your kitchen. Bring a friend over too! I hate cooking for one person so I always invite a group of friends to enjoy a good meal too”

Cooking for friends makes it less a chore more a fun filled event

These are all tips that have led to better eating habits that are both healthy and reasonable with in my current college lifestyle. With some luck these tips will help you have a healthy, fit figure to go along with good grades by semester end. Who knows you may even brag as I do now about how “culinary savvy” you have become.

- Bon Appetite !

The Voice of campus

Wow , wow , wow

One day you are playing your favorite record as you organize your binders, notebooks and syllabi after the first week of class. The next you look up and it is October 6th. Exactly a month to the date that you lasted posted. I almost feel a reintroduction is necessary. In any event this last month has been a very hectic one to say the least. Much has taken place both in the academic and the student involvement sectors. This semester I have a list of defined and extremely detailed goals. On of those goals was to help introduce an idea that I have been working on all summer long. At the conclusion of last semester I decided that I wanted to create a home. A home where my fellow students could display their talents and put to use the knowledge they had gained in the classrooms over the years.

So I joined together with an organization that I knew would share in not only my vision but understand the passion behind it. The Black Student Union. BSU has been a staple in the Oswego community for over 40 years, and has continued to find new ways in which to define their excellence. Last year they were awarded the prestigious Student Involvement President’s Award. The distinction was just one of many accolades and achievements gained by the organization in the last academic year alone. The idea I presented them was simple. Create a media outlet that  would serve as “the voice” of the campus.

Now I am aware that on this campus we have a few outlets. One being the Student Blogs ( which we are obviously on as I write and you read) and the other prominent source being the independent student run newspaper the Oswegonian.  I have been a contributing writer for them as well.However with all due respect to the Oswegonian there are more opinions/interest than the few often covered.

This is where we come in. The Voice has one main goal. That goal is to be a direct reflection of the opinions and interest of the students on this campus. To proactively disseminate diversity through the articles and interest articulated by the student who contribute. A broad range of interest such as fashion,art,entertainment, local/national news and opinion will be covered on a biweekly basis. The central theme to every article written is lies within each writers desire to share a perspective voice on campus, the roads they take are all different but the destination remains the same. While I can share more. I can’t think of a better introduction to this site than to share with you what your fellow students have already done.

I Present : The Voice

 

 

How technology has made us better than our parents

Ok, we get it . This generation has been “ruined” by technology. We no longer communicate face to face, we cyberbully our peers, we are always “connected” through the ipod, the computer, or ” that Nintendo” ( as my dad insist on calling every gaming console).

Everyday that I read a new article or blog the message is always the same, We have reached our demise via technology. Ironically enough most of the articles or forums where this complaint can be read are online…via” that damned technology.” Not to mention it was their peers who helped to usher us into this new technological age. My favorite teachers cried and boohooed at the death of the walkman and inevitable fate of the cd player due to the arrival of the ipod. Back then the concept did seem a little egregious. Is it necessary to have a music device that holds 1,500 songs?! Now 9 years later, could you  imagine if your ipod/iphone only held 1,500 songs?

 

Every time I text for too long in the kitchen , my sister , 38, says the same thing ” all you young people do is text , text, text, that thing is gonna get you guys in trouble.” I playfully argue with her that it makes everything better to which of course she vehemently disagrees. Later she sends me a text with a picture of my 9 month old niece. They say that we no longer communicate, we lack interpersonal skills.  This past summer however, I spoke to a friend located on a different continent ,4 hours ahead of me nearly all month through blackberry’s BBM. Time and distance never seemed a problem.

The irony is that for all the complaining and somewhat condescending remarks. The argument can be made that technology has made us better. I am not even sure students of this generation get the credit they deserve. The distraction of the babyboomers consisted of noisy dorm hallways and inconsiderate roommates blasting music . How can my mom relate to trying to write a 8 page paper in this technological climate? When Facebook is in the background, my blackberry is flashing a new message notification, a roommate laughing from another funny cat video on YouTube and someone is trying to reach me through skype or ovoo. Oh, the hallways are still noisy and the music still blares from the other side of the  room.

So next time your grandparent,parent or professor starts up on their technology has ruined us bit, just remember (whispers) they are just jealous we’re better than them. In the mean time. I am going to go microwave some food and Facebook a before class. Technology, gotta love it.

A Star Was Born-August 2nd

 

“Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do to you and cause you to endure, does not testify to your inferiority but to their inhumanity and fear.”- James Baldwin

 

In My Not So Humble Opinion,

James Baldwin is one of the greatest writers to ever cross a pen on paper and tap the keys of a typewriter. His style is effortless but filled with immense depth. To know the story of James Baldwins life creates an even greater appreciation of what he accomplished during his lifetime. A prominent Black and Gay writer during the mid 50′s into the 60′s ??! Whenever possible please bow at the greatness of Jimmy Baldwin please.