INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS DISCUSS ELECTIONS OVERSEAS

 

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Danial Aziaz Khan talks about Pakistan elections. Photo by Dominic Gwinn.

By Dominic Gwinn
Staff Reporter
from Roosevelt Torch

On Thursday, November 3, Students from Roosevelt’s International Student Association, in conjunction with the International Studies Program, held a series of lectures discussing the differences in elections throughout the world. Moderated by Roosevelt professor of political science and international studies Phillip Hultquist, the student-led panel detailed election methodologies in Pakistan, India, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as some of the problems faced by citizens of those countries in their own unique electoral processes.

With the intent of bridging cultural divides, students talked about the structures of their governments, the differences in voting procedures, as well as some of the challenges faced in conducting elections.

“The student presenters did a great job of showing how elections work in their countries,” said Hultquist. “They highlighted some troubling aspects for democratic norms, such as undue influence from the military, corruption, and political dynasties…You know it’s a good event when you have to cut off discussion to stay on time or when people stick around after the presentations are over to keep talking about the issues.”

Bernice Kasongo, an 18, year-old Biochemistry student from the Democratic Republic of Congo, spoke earnestly her country, and found insight in how other others, despite their cultures differences, deal with local elections, political corruption and the disillusionment with the political process.

“It was good to hear about the elections from people that have no interest in lying about it,” said Kasango. “They told us the truth about how elections actually go even if the process was unfair sometimes due to corruption.”

Kasango explained that in many countries democracy is hard to achieve due to dictators or disaffected citizens who feel that they have no say in their countries. “I feel that it was important for students to know how elections go outside of the U.S because they can realize that it is important to vote,” Kasango said. “Statistics show that people of the age of 18-35 are the ones that vote less. So, we wanted to show them how important it is to vote because some people do not even have that opportunity.”

Samawi “Sam” Al Helli, a 29 year-old student from Iraq working towards his Masters in computer science, spoke about Iraqi elections and urged students about the importance of voting.

“…The whole point of the event is sharing with [students] how elections work overseas and comparing it to how it works here in America, and how important it’s even if it was one single vote. It can make a difference. No vote goes in vain even if the candidate you voted for didn’t win.”

PAUL GREEN REMEMBERED AS ACADEMIC, POLITICO AND FAMILY MAN

By Dominic Gwinn
Staff Reporter
from Roosevelt Torch

On Tuesday, October 4, a somber memorial service was held for Roosevelt University Professor Paul Green, chair of Roosevelt’s Department the Political Science and Public Affairs. Friends and family closest to Green spoke candidly to a packed room comprised of loved ones and colleagues at Maggiano’s Little Italy, offering insight and compassion in a time of great loss.

“For my whole time at Roosevelt, Paul was a constant source of wisdom and insight,” remarked Mike Ensdorf, Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences, and Founder and Director of the Gage Gallery at Roosevelt. “I’m really going to miss him tremendously. It was a great tribute, a lovely tribute. It was just an honor hearing from his family and his colleagues, and confidants and comrades. It’s a complicated set of emotions when someone dies suddenly.”

Green, a staple in Chicago politics for decades, passed away suddenly at the age of 73 on Sept. 10. In remembering Green, his family and colleagues recalled their personal stories of Green and his family, ranging from his childhood, political ambitions, and academic life.

“It was perfectly suited for Paul Green,” commented LeeAnn Revis, a political science major. “The quips, the humor, the reverence for politics. It did him justice.”

It was announced at the memorial that the Chicago City Council had adopted a continuing resolution signed by Alderman Ed Burke and Mayor Rahm Emanuel in honor of Green.

“It was a lovely memorial, and to me it showcased the fact that Paul had a very big life, and was an intellectual,” said Bonnie Gunzenhauser, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “That’s how we knew him at Roosevelt, but he was also a family man. He really lived the mission of community engagement with a democratic approach to the world.”

At this time there is speculation of a public memorial at Roosevelt late this semester, however, there no formal plans were available at press time.

GAGE GALLERY HONORS CHICAGO WITH MEMORIAL TO MEMORIALS

 

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By Dominic Gwinn, Staff Reporter
from Roosevelt Torch

On Thursday, September 29, Roosevelt University Gage Gallery opened its newest exhibit, “Gone But Not Forgotten,” a glimpse into the street-side memorials found throughout Chicago. Using original interviews of Roosevelt Journalism Professor Anne-Marie Cusac, and Wisconsin photographer Thomas Ferrella, the exhibit offers an emotional glimpse into a part of Chicagoland that often begs many questions, and yields few answers.

“For me this is obviously a troubling topic that in some ways reflects a troubled society,” Ferrella said in his opening remarks. “For me, the emotions are very deep and the run the continuum of emotions, from love to hate, despair to joy, anger and hope. And, where there is hope there is light.”

Pairing Ferrella’s photographs with Cusac’s reporting, the exhibit features quotations from the community members who knew the fallen, ranging from friends and family, to neighbors and residents. The impromptu shrines serve as fixture in communities, and the exhibit is meant to serve as an extension to the lives they are meant to honor and remember. Quotes adorn the walls of the gallery to accompany the photos, and selections from over 30 hours of recorded interviews will captivate somber attendees.

Utilizing the aid of anti-violence community groups, CeaseFire and Brothers and Sisters of Love, Cuasc and Ferrella’s work documents a large swath of Chicago, from the Far North Side of Rogers Park, to Englewood on the South Side.

“I think these memorials on the streets are very very important It’s how people memorialize them,” said Brother Jim of Brothers and Sister of Love in his denim frock. “Some of these memorials were torn down a couple days after they took the pictures. Some people think that the memorials shouldn’t be there; they’re glorify gang members. But I think that people in their grief – the murder rate in Chicago’s going back up. People need to do this.”

Renee Trimble’s neighbor, Jeremiah “Man Man” Shaw, was was murdered in front of her home in a case of mistaken identity. She reflected about the the photo of the memorial of her home, before the audience in an emotional plea for understanding. “He wasn’t a part of my family birth-wise, but you don’t always have to be blood to be family…I’ve seen a lot of tragedies on the block that I stay on, but this particular one just – I don’t even know. I just don’t know.”

Students and community members in attendance expressed heartfelt emotions after viewing the exhibit, such as 22 year-old IMC majors Mollie Bunnell and Keegan Kaczor.

“I cried,” admits Kaczor. “When you make that kind of emotional connection, it’s all you can do. I can’t imagine something so personal and tragic. It breaks my heart.”

“It’s one thing to just read about it,” said Bunnell of one iconic photo that has been featured in Time magazine. “It’s much more powerful in person, and the memorial on the street as you walk past, or just hearing people talk about their story? It’s really moving.”

In a brief interview with the Torch, Cusac commented about the exhibit, “There is a relentlessness there to kind of give the feeling of what it was like…I hope we give people some awareness. I feel like I’m only a conduit to help bring what other people say out.”

“I want them to take away that these are people that existed at these spots, and this is where they died,” says Ferrella. “I think the memorials reflect that personal nature.”

STUDENTS DISCUSS HOPES FOR AMERICAN DREAM

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by Dominic Gwinn, Staff Reporter
from Roosevelt Torch 

As part of its American Dream: Reconsidered conference, and in conjunction with the Roosevelt College of Arts and Sciences Student Advisory Council, Roosevelt students expressed their views in a discussion, “Millennials and the American Dream.”

The students presented a short film showcasing recent graduates and current students expressing their own personal views on the American Dream before holding a panel discussion in which several students talked about their paths to success in school and life, as well as their own perspective on what the American Dream means to the Millennial generation.

Students covered issues such as the differences between their own goals and that of previous generations, the value and importance of money, perceived roadblocks, limitations, and how their own ideas on the American Dream have changed.

Junior Political science major and Vice Chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Student Advisory Council, Becca Wojciki, felt the panel had not only a positive effect on students in attendance, but herself as well.

“I honestly always looked at the american dream very pessimistically because I study politics and a lot of social justice issues,” said Wojciki. “I think today I’ve realized we can all have our own definition of the American Dream, and it doesn’t always have to fall under parameters of wealth, or education, or success.”

Bonnie Gunzenhauser, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, praised the work of the students who volunteered their time to plan and execute the panel which took many hours of work over the past several months.

“I’m very proud of the CASSAC students who put on this panel,” said Dean Gunzenhauser. “They really came up with the idea, did all of the outreach, edited the footage. We provided them with a little infrastructure and support, but this is the only student led panel part of the conference. The American Dream is about the future, so it’s important we hear from the students who are our future.”

Maggie O’Connell, a freshman psychology major, attended the panel and reflected positively about the potential for millennials to shape the future.

“I haven’t really thought of my own American Dream,” O’Connell admits. “ It made me think about what mine would be, and the different individual aspects of what my American Dream is going to turn out to be.”

Student Body President Nathan Stoll led the panel as well as edited the film which highlighted numerous students from across Roosevelt’s diverse population in discussing their dreams and aspirations. Stoll expressed great satisfaction in the outcome of both the film and the panel, and hoped that students, faculty and community members understand that the millennial generation’s interest in solving today’s pressing social justice issues.

“I hope people take from this panel that millennials have an interest in working to find the problems that exist within the idea of the American Dream and working towards ensuring that changes. We can work towards broadening the opportunities that exist for people so that they have a chance to achieve whatever their version of the American Dream is,” Stoll said. “I hope that people realize the millennial generation…is not just going to sit with the way that the American Dream is.”

Chicago Protests Mayor, Police Violence

The following video was for Roosevelt University, and originally appeared in December, 2015

Chicago residents took to the streets in protest of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Police Department just hours after the Mayor addressed alderman in a special session in City Hall where he called for wide-ranging institutional reforms across Chicago.