Tag Archives: school

If I ask you to stop vaping, it’s because I don’t want you to relive my nightmare

Photo courtesy of Vaping360/Flickr

The first reported death in the U.S. from an e-cigarette explosion was of my older brother, Thomas, in 2015. So it’s no wonder why the proliferation of vaping on campus makes me uncomfortable—so uncomfortable that I have walked up to people and asked them to stop. And now I’m writing about it here in hopes that a tragedy can lead people to understand the dangers involved and avoid similar incidents.

Thre first wrongful death lawsuit in the CourtHouse News database over an alleged e-cig explosion was filed last month. The complaint alleges that a vaporizer device launched shrapnel into 30-year-old Thomas Gangi’s head while he was in his Bohmemia, N.Y. home, in Nov. 2015.

Gangi died in the fire, his estate says — CourtHouse News

I am sure most people that attend the Ammerman campus have walked through a big cloud of vape smoke, sometimes where there’s a sign that says no smoking is allowed on campus. But it’s not the smoke that concerns me the most. Vaporizers exploding are on the rise, along with their popularity among younger people and those looking for a way to quit smoking cigarettes.

I will not deny that when vaporizers first became readily available to the public, they piqued my interest because it was thought to be a healthier alternative to cigarette smoking and had many wonderful alluring flavors. I think that if more people knew how common the hazards of vaporizers exploding are they would maybe rethink their usage.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, between January 2009 and Dec. 31, 2016, there were 195 incidents reported from e-cigs exploding causing fire and injury; 121 of them exploded while in use or on one’s person. The explosions are due to the lithium-ion battery that is used to power the e-cig, according to the USFA.

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Screenshot taken from usfa.fema.gov

The USFA also reported that in this time frame there had been no deaths linked to the explosion of e-cigs, but there is new information attesting to my brother’s death. The USFA report does not list his death because at the time when the reports were published, the final determination for his cause of death had not been finalized.

Lithium-ion batteries were also the cause of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone explosions.

I had never in a million years thought that something so insignificant could kill someone, but my reality is a lesson for everyone. The sight of vaporizers makes me relive a nightmare that I hope no one else ever has to. I am hoping that, in light of my story, people will be more inclined to adhere to rules and be more courteous to others.

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5 things to do on campus during the warm weather

As we near the final month of the semester, the weather is beginning to get nicer and more welcoming to the outdoor activities that have been put on hold during the winter. If you happen to have free time between classes and are met with the warm spring weather, try out these five things to do!

1. Take your lunch outside.

Lunch is a very important meal of the day, and it’s important that students take time to fuel their bodies to make it through a day of classes. The cafeteria, located in the Babylon Student Center, is a very noisy and crowded place to eat. There’s limited room and people laughing and conversing loudly constantly. With the weather getting nicer, it’s a good idea to utilize the tables scattered outside the cafeteria. Not only will you be enjoying your meal without the buzz of the crowded cafeteria, you’ll also be getting in some fresh air and vitamin D from the sun.

2. Switch up your studying situation.

Many students find themselves studying or catching up on some homework in between their classes. Some students will do their work in their cars, others quick in the hallways, but majority of them spend their time in the Huntington Library. The library is a great place to study and get work done, as it’s always quiet, but it can be stuffy or stale in there. Switch things up and take your work to some of the tables or benches outside in the Veterans Plaza. The fresh air and change of scenery may help some students focus better, and being outside might not make the task of doing work so daunting.

3. Get some fresh air.

As college students, sometimes the stress from all the work due and upcoming tests is too much to handle. Everyone needs to take a mental break every now and then, otherwise they’ll start to feel anxious and overwhelmed. During your breaks, take a little “you” time. Sit on the benches provided in the center of the plaza, or anywhere around campus for some relaxation.

Sidney Forgione, 22,  a liberal arts major, has a few breaks in between her classes and is looking forward to the upcoming warmer weather.

“If I have an hour between classes, I’m planning on sitting outside and listening to some music to help relax a bit,” she said. There are benches and sitting areas scattered throughout campus, just waiting to be noticed and utilized. “It’s a nice way to wind down before the stress of the next class, sometimes I’ll even just watch what other students are doing, just observe and relax.”

4. Play games.

One great part of the Ammerman campus is the amount of space available in the plaza for activities. Grab a group of friends and head out the the grass for some fun. Get creative! Many games can be played among a group, such as Ultimate Frisbee, football, dodgeball, even a simple game of catch. The only downside is that balls, Frisbee and other types of equipment aren’t provided by the school; you’d have to come prepared with the equipment yourself.

Trevor Archambault, 20, is a liberal arts major who is also looking forward to the nicer weather. “Me and my friends will usually sit around in the plaza when the weather is nice, play some music and throw a Frisbee around to pass time. It’s a great way to get everyone together and have a great time.”

5. Go for a walk around the track.

Exercise is a pretty important part of staying healthy. However, not many people have the means to work out every day. Another great part about this campus is the outdoor track over by the Brookhaven Gymnasium. The track is open to whoever wants to walk it, unless it’s reserved for team practices. A great way to get in some simple exercise would be to briskly walk a few laps around the track during your free time. Doing so gets your heart rate up and helps burn those calories instead of sitting around waiting for your next class.

Take advantage of this beautiful campus by doing any of these five things during your break. There’s still some time before the end of the semester, and taking in fresh air will having your body and mind thanking you.

Courtney MacGinley: Experience is a teacher’s greatest tool

Courtney MacGinley teaches her students the ins and outs of creating headlines and bylines. (April 12, 2018) Photo by Vinny Mutone

Meet Courtney MacGinley, an adjunct journalism instructor at Suffolk County Community College.

MacGinley, who earned a master’s degree in communications with an emphasis in journalism from the New York Institute of Technology, has spent more than a decade writing for publications such as Long Island Press and Edible Long Island, and now uses her experience to prepare students for careers in journalism.

Listen to how she teaches her class and what she finds most important about being a professor.

The new Starbucks: It isn’t worth the hype

The new Starbucks in the Babylon Student Center almost always has long lines between classes. Photo by Kaitlin Crowley.

Class has ended, and the average student might find themselves tired and lacking the energy needed to make it through their next one. There are about 15 minutes to spare, so why not run to the new Starbucks on campus in the Babylon Student Center to grab some coffee to wake up? Great idea!

Upon entering the building, there’s only one problem: the horrendous line that travels from the registers, all the way out the door of the Starbucks and into the hallway. There’s always that slim possibility it’ll move quickly, but it rarely ever does. Say it’s a good day, and the line finally gets to the front about 10 minutes later.

The worker at the register takes the time to punch in the order, asks for a name and then collects the money. This takes about a minute, sometimes even more depending on how familiar the worker is with the computer system.

Another couple of minutes goes by before the barista is finally finished with the order, leaving only minutes to spare to get to class. After speed walking across campus, barely making it in time, the first sip of the drink leads to disappointment.

Starbucks is overrated. Its snacks and food choices aren’t bad, but nothing to rave about. The drinks have interesting names, which I personally find hard to remember, making ordering difficult. When it’s the rare occasion I do find myself grabbing something quick from Starbucks, I pretty much always regret it.

The drinks are also a little pricey. According to menu prices, a regular, large (Venti) plain coffee at Starbucks runs for about $2.45 without any additional add-ins. Its competitor, Dunkin’ Donuts, sells an extra-large regular, plain coffee, for about $2.29. Not only would you be spending a little more money by going to Starbucks, but you would also be getting less coffee than people who choose Dunkin’ Donuts.

If someone has the time to stand on line and the money to spend, then they’re free to do as they please. But if you ask me, I’d rather stay far away from Starbucks.

Balancing college, work, family … argh!

Photo: Steven Gerasamovich former SCCC baseball team captain and pitcher, who found balancing school work and other responsibilities a real tough order. But he continues to study hard. Photo by Courtney Nigro

Some may think being a student at a community college like Suffolk is easier than going away to a four-year college or university. But attending a commuter school often brings on more responsibilities for students.

Many students who attend SCCC not only have to study, but also work at least one job. Between work, school, family, a social life, and whatever else students are involved in, it can be a lot to balance.

Steven Gerasimovich, 20, a liberal arts major, was a pitcher on the baseball team for the maximum of two years until 2017. While on the team, Gerasimovich had to take 12 credits a semester, so he was going to school full time,  playing baseball and working part-time at Planet Fitness in Centereach.

“There were definitely some nights where I was up past midnight doing homework because I didn’t have time during to get my work done, but in the end, I got everything done on time,” Gerasimovich said.

Julia Riggs, 18, an engineering major,  who works full time at Pandora in the Smith Haven Mall said he work and school schedules were particularly hectic .

“My manager was usually understanding of my school work — my professors didn’t seem to care, which was OK with me. I knew what I was getting myself into and what was expected of me at school,” Riggs said.

When by students how much they should spend studying, adjunct business professor Rob Ferrara said, “At least the same amount of time spent in class should be spent out of class if you want to do well.”

When he was playing baseball, Gerasimovich only worked on the weekends, and his Planet Fitness managers would schedule him for 6-9 a.m. so he could be out and make it to practice or a baseball game on time. His days started with an 8 a.m. class and were fully scheduled until 6 pm. He found time to study between his classes. There was also the added pressure of keeping his grades up to keep his spot on the team.

“I think school would have definitely been easier if I didn’t have a job, but I try not to let outside things affect my schooling,” Gerasimovich said.

Riggs is a full-time student who needed to work to pay for tuition.

“I didn’t have the option of only going to school and focusing my time on that,” she said.

Working 40-plus hour weeks, she found time to study on her breaks at work. After her 12-hour shifts that ended around midnight, she would try and study but found it hard to retain anything.

“If I didn’t have to work, I would be able to stay on top of my school work and feel like I actually had a life,” she said.