Tuesday, December 11, 2018

North Warren’s Annual Holiday Assembly

By: Mary Reduzzi

Every year, North Warren celebrates the beginning of its winter holiday break by putting on its annual Holiday assembly. The assembly is open to all students to perform a number of talents, and even offers students a chance to receive extra credit to perform with their classes. The holiday assembly accentuates North Warren’s own talented singers, dancers, and instrumentalists. Even teachers like Mr. Messina, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Z, Mr. Lowe and Ms. Koppinger are taking part in the tradition by putting together a teacher-student musical group which includes a select number of jazz band members.

North Warren’s holiday assembly brings the entire school together to celebrate the spirit of Christmas, not only in our culture, but in the German culture as well. We will again enjoy Mr. Bridge’s annual rap performance, entirely in the German language!

If you or a group of friends are interested in performing in this year’s celebration, contact Mr. Bridge for information. As a student who has attended this assembly for four years, I can confirm that it never fails to put me in the Christmas spirit and prepare me for the festive week ahead.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

New Bathroom Passes - Convenient or Not?

By: Natalie Stefankiewicz
As many of you know, our school has a new policy when leaving the classroom. In years past, and for as long as I’ve been attending North Warren, students have always used an agenda provided by the school to sign out for the bathroom. This year that system has completely changed. Each classroom now has two plastic bathroom passes, the room number engraved on each.

In the past, many students have abused their bathroom privileges, so our school decided this was a solution. By using these passes our school believes we will be able to keep track of who is out of each classroom and limit the number of people wandering the halls. This is definitely a good point, but these passes also have negatives to them.

In many rooms that I have classes in, there is now only one pass due to students being irresponsible and losing the other. This means that only one student can be out of the classroom at each time for that specific class.

The real question is, what do our students think is best for our school? While talking to some friends at lunch I got their personal opinions. When asked the question “What is your overall opinion on the new bathroom passes” Ava Tanis replied “I think the bathroom passes are effective, however, I prefer agendas.” When asked why she felt this way she replied “Agendas are much more sanitary than passing the same pass around to different students each period.”

When asking Alana Vitiello the same questions she replied, “I think the new passes have their purpose, but agendas are more sanitary and would work better. I would rather have an agenda because not only is it your own, but you don’t have to wait for the other people using the passes to get back to the classroom.” Erin Fowles agreed saying “I think that they are inconvenient and if you lose one in a classroom; then, only one person can go to the bathroom at a time.”

I got a different perspective when interviewing Ms. Ritchie, Dean of Students here at North Warren. She said “This year we formed a committee of staff members and we call it the Academic Review Committee. The committee looks at things that we want to change and gives us their opinion. This summer we met a bunch of times with this group of staff and one of the things I presented to them was the pass system. The way it came up was that the agenda books were causing the teachers a lot more disruptions during their classes. The kids would walk up to the teacher and hand them the book. This would lead the teacher to being interrupted. We want kids to be more independent, so the academic committee came up with an idea that students could just go up and log out somehow and grab something and leave. That’s how the plan was formed. I personally believe that the new passes are a less distracting method that teaches students responsibility and how to be independent.”

The majority of the answers I got from students were the same. The new bathroom passes are not as efficient, sanitary, and overall well liked compared to past systems. From what I collected from the teacher stand point is that these new bathroom passes are more efficient in the classroom. Although there are some positives to these new passes many students do not like how the new system works. Will the system ever change? This is something we won’t know for a while. If there are more positive results with the new passes then my prediction is that they will become permanent.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

AP Class Drops Add to Student Frustration

By: Jack Swistak and Sam Dwornikowski
This year, North Warren dropped some of its AP classes and in general, students are upset. After speaking with students, we concluded that most were disappointed because something they were passionate about was taken away; they had been working their entire high school careers for exclusive AP classes. This is not good for several reasons. Let’s say student needs a specific AP class for college, but by the time he or she reaches senior year that class was dropped. Some colleges require certain courses for students to partake in independent study, and that students is now out of luck.
So, what is the point of dropping the classes? Of course, a low number of students makes it difficult to run; however, if both the student and the teacher are eager and available would it not be possible for them to have the class? If time did not allow it, why can’t a private study still count for official credit? Why shouldn’t students be able to showcase time management, work ethic, and most importantly, passionate initiative?
Abby Sikkes, a senior who planned to take an AP Studio class says, “I feel like ultimately, it's a failure on the administration’s part, that they don't regard the arts at a high enough level to run the class. They felt, for whatever reason, that it was reasonable enough to cut it.” Furthermore, she states, “This cut has drastically affected me. I must juggle other AP classes, personal life, a job, my senior year, as well as find time to do art. I don’t have a period dedicated to only art which saddens and frustrates me. I have study halls, but I use them for AP work. Over all, I was really, really looking forward to a senior year with AP studio; however, I got jipped. I'm missing out on a big opportunity to improve my art and to learn in a classroom environment.”
According to Ms. Richardson, school guidance counselor, the administrators have control of the classes, and drop classes that have less kids, and basically “What they say goes.” There is a thought that they could possibly rotate every year so that more AP classes are covered.

Perhaps soon, the administration will allow private studies to count for credit or find a way to allow smaller classes, so that their students can finish high school knowing that they have accomplished all that they desire, and all that they need to prepare them for their next journey.  

It’s Never Too Late to Join a Club

By:  Mary Reduzzi and Xavier Starrs

Last month, North Warren held its very first club fair during unit lunch to advertise the various organizations and clubs that make up our school community. There was a great student turn out and we are able to provide some helpful club information for you all:

The School Store club is headed by Mrs. Baier and welcomes members of all grade levels. Our school store aims to spread North Warren spirit and positivity through selling apparel, school supplies, and much more available to the students. Open every day during unit lunch, our school store hopes to see new faces supporting its club and its mission.

The Robotics Club, headed by Mr. Biery and Mr Snyder, is divided into a high school club and a feeder middle school club. The club is excited to compete and to hopefully win some more competitions and is looking for members of all ages to help with their quest.

WNWR, the club infamous for its morning school announcements, is advised by Mr Biery. Open to all high schoolers and operating during unit lunch, WNWR hopes to bring the North Warren news to you in a funny and creative way, every day. The small club is currently looking for members interested in photography, video editing, and filming.

Spanish Honor Society is a prestigious club for all students with a knack for the Spanish language. Advised by Mrs. Abbiate-Tirado, the club looks to impact its school and community through the Spanish culture. Each year the SHS hosts the multicultural fair, a huge community event. To join this club you have to be nominated as a freshman or sophomore by one of your Spanish teachers for your academic excellence, and only then can you be inducted into the society.

The Patriot Press, the club coming to you with this piece, is advised by Ms. Koppinger and Mr. Steingall. The club aims to give you its take on the world around us, from our school community, to our world community in the form of creative writing posts. The club meets twice every month during unit lunch.

The Junior Statesmen of America Club (JSA) is headed by Mrs. Murphy and is the political club of North Warren. The club debates hot-button issues and learns the workings of the United States government. In previous years, JSA has held mock elections for president, mayor, and other issues. Currently, the club is looking for more politically savvy students to diversify their debate community.

The Leo Club, another community service club, is advised by Mrs. Matash. The club aims to impact the community as the school’s Lions Club. The club hosts a table each year for the safe trick or treat and does collections of items to give away. They also meet once a week. Joining the Leo Club is a great way to give back to your school and community.

Gender and Sexuality Alliance Club (GSA) is a club dedicated to create a safe environment for people of all orientations. The club aims to create an awareness in our community and to ensure the equality of people with all different interests. The club is recognized by their rainbow flag and pride for their differences.

Math League is a competitive club headed by Mrs. Pergola. Every few weeks a competition is held to see who knows their math the best. The competitions cover everything from algebra to geometry to pre-calculus.

The FBLA Club (Future Business Leaders of America) aids students to prepare for careers in business through leadership development and educational programs. Headed by Mrs. Baier, this club welcomes members of all grade levels and takes part in fundraising and competitions periodically. Students that join FBLA are eligible for benefits that include: scholarships, publications, and award and recognition programs.

The Art National Honors Society is an organization open to high school students passionate about drawing, painting, and pottery. Anyone taking an art class qualifies to join the club, led by Ms. Dewey. This society is perfect for the expression of creativity and individuality.

It’s the perfect time to join the ski club! If you like to ski or snowboard all winter long, take some trips with the North Warren Ski Club open to grades 7-12 and see advisor Ms. Abbiate-Tirado for information.

The German Club, led by Mr. Bridge, is the best place to connect with the German culture and language. This club welcomes all grade levels, with all different levels of experience, and meets a few times a month to enjoy traditional German foods and to immerse itself in heritage, arts, and literature.

Mrs. Scocozza and Ms. Roman head the Peer Leadership Club, a group dedicated to reaching out to help younger students in our school community. Feel free to join fellow peer leaders even if you are not a member of this club, and take part in field trips, service programs, and leadership seminars. All high school students are welcome to join.

The Friends of Rachel Club was founded in memory of Rachel Scott, the first student attacked in the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. This club is based upon reducing violence, serving others, and spreading positive messages to those who may need it most. It is open to all grade levels 7-12. If you want to take part in helping your local community, see Mrs. Richardson for information.

The North Warren Yearbook Club is always looking for some assistance on half days to sell snacks and drinks in order to fund our school’s yearbook production, and Mrs. Wetzel and Mrs. Harris welcome all high school students interested. In the yearbook club, students will be able to take pictures for, design, and advertise the school yearbook.

Ms. Abbiate is the head of North Warren’s Interact Club, where students volunteer hours of their time to local groups and individuals in need. Occasionally working with the Blairstown Rotary and Blair Woman’s Club, the Interact Club is a widespread and renowned organization, open to 8-12 graders. If you want to dedicate your time towards something fun while feeling great about it, grab a friend and go to a meeting, held every Tuesday morning in room 27!

Shooting for the stars this school year? Join the Astronomy Club, a group of amateur astronomers who take part in public meetings and astronomical observing sessions. Led by Dale Skran of the NWJAA, this club is open to any highschool student, just submit your name, mailing address, email, and phone number to info@nwjaa.org. Meetings take place 6 times a year: April - June, and September - November, and are held at Alan's house, near Blairstown.

Friday, September 21, 2018

High Stakes for Boys' Soccerfest Game 2018

                                                         by: Austin Holden 

“Everyone understands the importance of this game and what’ll happen if we lose.” This is what the Varsity Captain, Dominic Prezioso, said when asked about the game against Belvidere this Saturday. The North Warren Patriots will be faced against the Belvidere Seaters in a crucial match for both sides. The game is scheduled to start at 6:30pm at the home of the Patriots.
 The Patriots are searching for their first win of the season against the Seaters to improve to a 1-3 record. When team captain, Dominic Prezioso, was asked how the team felt about the opposition he said, “We have to work really hard and give it one-hundred percent, they seem to be decent, and we are both hungry for a win.” This game is vital to the team’s chances of making states this year. If they fail to beat Belvidere they will fall to 0-4, with an arduous schedule ahead of them. With many teams doubting the North Warren Patriots, as they lost many key players from last year, they are looking to make a statement.

Although the team has struggled in the first stretch of games this season, they are still trying to keep their heads up. When questioned about the team’s morale, Dominic responded with, “Right now we are bummed about being 0-3, but this game could be what we need.” He continued with, “This could change our season completely. We are hungry for that win.” The team has learned from its past fixtures and are ready to turn the season around. In his final statement, Prezioso said, “Everyone understands the importance of this game and what will happen if we lose. Everyone knows what needs to be done on Saturday and we can’t wait.” The team is ready to transform its season into a great one with a win against Belvidere.

Both teams are prepared for an intense game this Saturday. The Patriots are ready to turn things around and are looking to make a statement to all their doubters. Although they have had a rough start, they are set to put up a fight and get the win. Let’s Go Patriots!

Friday, February 23, 2018

New Schedule Review

By Tim Baier

     As we all know, North Warren began running on a rotating drop schedule this year. According to the North Warren website, a drop schedule is described as: Classes follow separate morning, and after lunch rotational patterns. All 8 classes meet 3 times every 4 days. Students meet for 6 out of their 8 classes each day. Each day, one class is "dropped" in the morning rotation; another class is "dropped" in the after lunch rotation.

     This schedule was adopted on belief that it would have positive effects on education and efficiency. The schedule allows for extended period length, meaning that teachers can create longer, more in depth lessons to better their students’ educations. It is also helpful when student athletes need to leave for a game, as they will not have to miss the same class every time. Lunch is 46 minutes long, but for students with science labs that need extra time, the first 25 minutes of lunch are used for labs.

     When the idea for the schedule was first introduced, many people believed that it would be a disaster because the whole school ate lunch at the same time. For those that supported it, it was thought that lunches could be used for students to get extra, more personalized help. They also thought that lunches could be used for club meetings rather than having them before and after school.

     As the first few weeks of school began, people realized that lunch was not crowded especially with outside seating availability. Students and teachers alike were favoring the new schedule. As Mr. Haupt observed, science classes did not lose any time, even though they had less labs. Clubs utilized lunch availability, but some students were struggling to remember what classes they had on a Day 1 compared to a Day 2. This issue was mostly resolved except for the occasional brain fart where someone would walk into the wrong class.

     The most irritating flaw of the schedule is that half days do not contain a lunch period. Some teachers, such as Mrs. Baier say that they let their students eat in their class to make up for the lost lunch time. Another flaw, mainly for students that are involved in many clubs activities and science labs such as Katie Reduzzi, say that having all of these meetings during lunch sometimes interferes with labs or other meetings. Some days, students are left with no time to actually eat any lunch, while others there is plenty of time to eat, study, and socialize.

     The overall opinion on the new schedule is favorable. Students like having longer lunches, which they use for homework or socializing. They like not having every class everyday because it breaks up the day. The downfalls however, are that classes are long and sometimes drag on. Also, days get skipped because of snow days which takes time away from classes.

Friday, February 9, 2018

What It Means To Volunteer

By: Ryan Durling

     When someone hears the word volunteer, what comes to mind is personal gain. The idea of volunteerism is thought to be whether it looks good for college applications or creates a facade of a higher-quality human. When you look at it from my perspective, you see a whole new side to the idea of doing something without gaining anything from it.

     May of 2017 was the month in which I made a decision that I didn’t know would forever change my view of people and would allow me to realize the true meaning behind unconditional giving. At the end of May, I became a member of the Green Township Volunteer Fire Department.  This became something I would come to realize as the greatest decision I’ve made in my life.

     When I found out that I was of age to be able to join the fire department, I jumped on the opportunity and never looked back. The first thought that came to my mind when I got accepted into the department was not all the fun I was going to have, but the idea of giving back to those around me in a way that not many others could. Firefighters are pictured as the hero who saves someone from a burning building or rescues a cat that is stuck in a tree (the latter of which I have actually done), but most of the time firefighters do things as small as checking a house for dangerous gasses or cleaning a road up after a car accident to ensure the safety of other drivers on the road.

     None of us get paid to do what we do, otherwise it wouldn't be called volunteering. Most of us will gladly drop what we are doing to go and help someone else. As per our policy, we do not technically have assigned duty nights where three or four members are “on call,” but we rely on our members to respond if they can. After knowing most of the men and women on my department for the six months I have been around them, I am confident that they would give you the shirt off their back even if they didn't know you. I can tell you from personal experience that I would drop whatever I'm doing at home to respond to a call no matter what time of day it was. For most people it's the idea and the rush that comes with every call that gives them their adrenaline, but for me, it's the thought of simply helping someone that makes it all worthwhile. After joining the volunteer fire department, I began to find myself doing things I would never have imagined before. For example, I was driving down a busy road one day and saw a woman running after her dog who got loose in her front yard. I slowed down, pulled over, and turned on my blue lights to push traffic to the other side of the road and to slow down cars that were headed my way. Once the woman had grabbed her dog and put it back inside, I went on with my day. It's little things like this that make you feel so much better inside. Knowing that something as little as helping someone protect their pet from traffic can not only make your own day better but make someone else's day great.

     Our dedication to the community is unlike any other. The behind-the-scenes work that goes into preparation is unbelievable. From monthly drills to making sure the engines and tankers are 100% outfitted with the proper equipment, we make sure that if something happens, we are ready. We want to make sure that if you are ever in a situation where you need help, we will be ready and able to help you.
     So next time you think of the word ‘volunteer,’ look at it from a new perspective. Don’t look at the personal gain from doing it. Think of the satisfaction you will get from helping someone or doing something that someone else can benefit from. 

Super Bowl LII: Will History Repeat Itself?

By Joshua Colon

The 2017-18 football season has been crazy since week one. There’s been protests, injuries, upsets, and teams doing amazing things nobody thought they could ever pull off. The Bills finally separated themselves from the number one spot on the list of the current longest playoff droughts in American pro sports. Their last playoff game before this year was in 1999, 18 seasons ago. The Jaguars, finishing as part of the bottom 5 teams in all of the NFL for the last 6 seasons, made it to the AFC Championship. On top of that, they only lost on the final drive against a team that is arguably the best team in the NFL. Now, the Philadelphia Eagles have a chance to finish the season with a bang, by upsetting the New England Patriot Dynasty, in a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX. 
The Eagles are still chasing their first Super Bowl win, but they have been football champions before. Since their creation in 1933, they have won two national championships before the Super Bowl Era, in 1948 and 1949. After the creation of the Super Bowl in 1967, they have made it to the championship game twice, but fell short in both games. In Super Bowl XV, they lost to the Oakland Raiders. They did not make it to the Super Bowl after that until the 2004/05 season, where they lost Super Bowl XXXIX against the New England Patriots, 21-24. 
The Patriots, on the other hand, are no stranger to success. This is going to be the Patriots’ tenth Super Bowl appearance, already winning 5 of their previous 9 Super Bowls. Four of these wins came from the duo of head coach Bill Belichick and future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. These two form one of, if not the, greatest coach-player duos ever. The Patriots will remain a serious contender for the Super Bowl as long as these two remain together in Foxborough. 
Beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl is already extremely difficult, but now the Eagles are looking to do it without their starting quarterback, Carson Wentz. After Wentz suffered from a torn ACL in week 14, the Eagles had to switch to their second string quarterback, 29 year old Nick Foles. Foles was the Eagles’ third round draft pick out of Arizona, and he bounced around from team to team before landing back in Philadelphia in 2016. He’s no Tom Brady or Carson Wentz, but Nick Foles isn’t a bad quarterback. He has a career QBR (Total Quarterback Rating) of 87.4, and really showed everyone how athletic he is in the blowout victory against the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game. 
Despite it being unlikely, beating the Patriots is not impossible. The Giants weren’t 2 for 2 against them in the Super Bowl because of luck. They hit Brady. Hard. They never allowed Brady to get into a groove, because in every other play, the Giants’ defensive line was pummeling him, not allowing him to get comfortable. If the Eagles can keep Brady out of a groove, they might be able to contain him enough to win. Alternatively, Nick Foles has to get himself into a groove. If he can keep the pressure onto the Patriots defense, there's a good chance he will be successful against them all game. The Patriots, on the other hand, in order to beat the Eagles, have to protect Brady. If you give Brady enough time, he will hit an open man 9 out of 10 times. As long as he has enough time, Brady should have no problem carving up the Eagles defense.
Key Players For the Eagles
Nick Foles- After only starting in 5 games all season, Foles is going to be thrown in to face an extremely dominant team. It should be interesting to see if he can get past the nerves and play like he did against the Vikings.
Ashton Jeffrey- He is third in NFL for regular season touchdown passes. He caught for 85 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Vikings. Look to see if he can remain to be the top Eagles receiver.
Chris Long-  He is a seasoned Super Bowl veteran. He had 5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles in regular season and 8 QB pressures in NFC title game. If he can repeat this performance against the Patriots, the Eagles will be in good shape.
Key Players For the Patriots
Tom Brady- He led NFL with 4,577 yards passing this season. He is a four-time Super Bowl MVP going for a sixth ring. He is 5-2 in Super Bowls, as well as a contender for third regular-season MVP award with 32 TD passes at age 40. If Eagles don’t find a way to bring pressure, he will pick them apart.
Rob Gronkowski- He had team-leading 69 receptions and 8 touchdowns, and is an All-Pro tight end that's nearly impossible to stop one on one. He suffered a concussion against the Jaguars, so it should to be interesting to see how he’ll bounce back.
Nate Solder- Not a household name, but he has the important role of protecting Brady’s blindside. If he can do this effectively, Brady can get very comfortable in the pocket, allowing him to carve up the defense of the Eagles

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Repeal of Net Neutrality: The End of the Internet or the Beginning of a New Era?

By: Michael Gaudiosi

You have probably  heard about the FCC’s (Federal Communications Commision) decision to repeal the 2015 Net Neutrality bill put into place by former president Barack Obama. The repeal has been the talk of the internet since Ajit Pai became chairman in January of 2017. YouTubers and other social media “celebrities” have deemed the decision as “the end of the internet as we know it” or they have said users will have to pay $20 a month to access to YouTube or Instagram. While I do think this is a serious topic that needs to be discussed, spreading these false statements is a bit radical and provides no solution to the current situation.

Before we can really delve into the problem at hand we need to define Net Neutrality and analyze its origin, usage and possibly its demise. Net Neutrality is defined as the principle that ISPs (internet service providers) must treat all data on the internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication. Basically, this means that a provider such as AT&T cannot slow down a user's connection to a website such as YouTube, just because they are competitors and  would make more money.

Net Neutrality has been a part of telecommunications since the 1980s;  the government claims that phone networks and telegrams were common carriers and could not give preferential treatment. The term itself is new but the underlying idea it represents is not. The internet was first legal for public use in the late eighties but it was not viewed as a public utility, such as telecommunications, so no regulations were set by the FCC on how ISPs could allow access to websites.

By the early 2000s the internet had become common in most households and talk of neutrality was on the rise. People discussed free online trade and education access and for the next 15 years the Net Neutrality Bill would be created after a series of trial and error. In February of 2015 the Net Neutrality Bill was passed and has been in place for the past 2 years. It has allowed the government to regulate the internet and allowed them to stop ISPs from slowing down users access to certain websites just to make more profit. The bill has been compared to the first amendment by former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: "This is no more a plan to regulate the Internet than the First Amendment is a plan to regulate free speech. They both stand for the same concept."

When Trump became president in 2017, changes were quickly made and Ajit Pai was appointed as the new FCC Chairman. Ajit Pai, former attorney for Verizon, has been against Net Neutrality since its passing in 2015, saying that when the government gets involved in internet matters, innovation and growth is halted and could restrict business arrangements. In April of 2017, Pai publicly promised that the FCC would be voting to roll back the Net Neutrality Bill and that this decision would be the first step in opening the market on the internet.

This promise came to fruition December 14 2017, when the FCC voted to repeal the Net Neutrality Bill, with a 3-2 vote across party lines. Some saw this decision as the beginning of a new online era that dictates free trade and an open market where business can thrive, while others saw it as the end to the internet they know and love. While no one knows what will happen, it is obvious that the end of Net Neutrality will only benefit large billion dollar ISPs while medium and even large sized businesses such as Amazon and Netflix will be taking a huge hit from this decision. Ajit Pai and his supporters say that most ISPs will probably not throttle websites to increase revenue and that even if they did, families could just switch internet providers. Well, there are two problems with that; one, being what happens if all ISPs decide to throttle internet speed for their benefit; or, what happens if you live in a remote area where there is access to only one ISP, such as Blairstown NJ?

Though the current situation may seem like all hope is lost, that is not the case. The fight for the internet is not over just because the FCC voted on it. The decision of 5 individuals cannot dictate our livelihood. You can still make a difference, call your congressman and demand they use the Congressional Review Act and preserve a free and open internet, accessible to all.

Visit https://www.battleforthenet.com/ to use the internet to save the internet.


Fast Fashion - Is It Worth It?

By: Alli Meehan

What does Forever 21 have in common with Peabody Energy Company, one of the leaders in coal production and distribution? They both cause pollution and environmental problems as a result of making a profit. “Newsweek magazine ranked Peabody Energy 493rd of 500 in their 2012 Green Rankings due to their environmental impacts of extracting burning coal, and for Peabody’s dismissive attitude toward environmental stewardship.” (polluterwatch.org) Forever 21 is one of the leaders in the fast fashion industry, and is responsible for the largest surge of cheaply made clothing in history.

Who Are the Culprits?
Fast fashion is defined as the industry where production processes are expedited in order to get new trends to the market as quickly and cheaply as possible. (investopedia.com) Large companies like H&M, Forever 21, Kohl’s, ZARA, Brandy Melville, Nike, and Urban Outfitters have found themselves under that title. They, among many others, contribute to the environmental crisis of our generation, the permission and implementation of sweatshops in foreign companies, and the swindling of an entire population of consumers.

The Neverending Cycle
It is no surprise that fashion is more popular than it has ever been, as trends come and go at lightning speed with the influence of social media. As consumers purchase new clothing, they get rid of things deemed “out of style.” That seems to be the obvious cause-and-effect relationship, but often overlooked is the implications of this attitude of spending. The typical consumer, disposing of an average of 81 pounds of textiles per year, does not recycle their old clothes or resell them, and instead throws them in their trash bin, eventually getting shipped to a landfill. While this not only increases the general pollution of the planet, it expedites the decay with harmful chemicals in the product’s fibres. For clothing to be made cheaply, efficiently, and sold quickly, corners are cut. Cotton takes longer to grow than a chemical and a synthetic fabric, and are cheaper when bought in bulk. Due to the fabric being inexpensive and made from less-than-perfect material, it does not last long in a consumer’s closet. It will rip, deform, and become useless in a short time. Then, as the consumer realizes their product is unable to be worn, they repurchase the same product at a low cost. Then, rinse and repeat this process until the customer has spent hundreds on a ten dollar shirt over the course of a few years.

What’s the Solution?
The obvious response to this is to buy better quality clothing. It would save the environment and the bank accounts of the innocent customer. The only reason that more people don’t buy nice quality clothing is because of the steep price that needs to be paid upfront. Spending $100 on a nice shirt hurts the soul of a person more than spending $10 on a low-quality shirt, even if they have to spend ten times more on ten terrible shirts in the long run. But the implications of this process are severe. There are now ten more low-quality shirts in the local dump, poisoning the ground with pollutants, rather than have a great-quality shirt that stays in the wardrobe for years, and is later passed on.

Final Words

Ultimately, this is not something many customers may be doing voluntarily. Some do not even realize they are doing it. Education is the best way to change this system. Customers should be aware of what they are purchasing, where it is from, and how long it will last with them. Then, they can make any decision they like. They can purchase low-quality clothing should they desire to. But now, they will understand what it takes to have that item.

from The Exchange Column: Brazilian Geography

By: Fred Amorim

When I agreed to write an article about Brazilian geography, I was lost and confused. I have always loved the subject, but the problem is that geography can include many different themes. It could be about territory, population, politics, cultural aspects, etc. I was stuck because there’s just so much that I could write about. Since I had a really difficult time choosing my theme, I decided to give you an introduction to everything I know about Brazil.

First of all, I suggested a geography article because ever since I arrived in the U.S., I noticed that a considerable amount of people lack knowledge about not just my country, but almost about every other one that is not the United States. I understand that many people here think that this is the best country in the world and I must say that I tend to agree with that statement. I understand that the majority of this country is very nationalist and, while I respect your patriotism, you cannot close your eyes to the rest of the world. The rest of the world matters! We all need to understand that the planet works as a machine called society, and if the the world collapses, the U.S. certainly would collapse with it, so you have to respect and learn about the rest of the world.

The way I first noticed that there was a lack of knowledge, specifically about my country, was by listening to the things that people said and asked about Brazil. I’ve heard things like “I thought Brazil was in Europe,” “You guys speak Spanish right?!” or “Do you guys have monkeys as pets?” These are just a few examples. Trust me, I don’t get mad at these questions at all. I actually love when people ask me about Brazil, but what really gets my attention is that a lot of people have no idea about its basic information. So without further ado, let me give you a quick introduction about my home country.
Brazil is a massive country located in South America. We have the 5th largest territory in the world and our economy is currently the 9th largest. Our population is huge, amassing around 200 million people.

Brazil is famed for its natural beauties, and trust me, it really is a beautiful place. Our beaches are gorgeous and our famous rainforests are full of incredible creatures and cultural aspects that stem from our few remaining native tribes. It is very important to say that even though we have the biggest rainforest on the planet, the country is not just about that. We also have gigantic cities. The most famous ones are São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro - but no, none of them are the capital. Our capital happens to be Brasília.

The country is divided into 5 drastically different regions: the North, where the Amazon Forest is located; the Northeast, where you can find our most amazing beaches; the Center West, where our capital is located; the South West, our most developed region, where São Paulo and Rio are located and also where I come from; and the South, the part of the county that we like to call Brazilian-Europe due to the European influence in the region’s culture, architecture, and history. These regions combined make up a large nation of 26 states and one federal district filled with rich culture and happiness, which makes us known as some of the happiest people in the world.

The entire country speaks Brazilian Portuguese - yes, it is different than Spanish - but nearly every single state and region has its own accents and words. Also, the culture changes a lot depending on the region that we’re talking about, but in general, the whole country is very proud of our soccer tradition, as our national team owns the most World Cup titles (5). We also love our very happy, colorful, and traditional holiday, the Carnaval, and our music styles; such as MPB (Brazilian Pop Music), Samba, and Bossa Nova. If you want to listen and discover the Brazilian musical universe, I totally recommend artists such as Legião Urbana, Seu Jorge and Gilberto Gil.

There’s just so much that I can tell you about Brazil that it is impossible for me to write everything down, so if you want to know anything about my country feel totally free to approach me at anytime. I really love talking about Brazil - and about anything really - and while I may seem quiet and shy, I enjoy talking to everyone very much.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit about Brazil just as much as I love discovering the United States.