Keeping up with the Kandidates: Santorum finishes 19th

Tonight’s blog post title doesn’t reference tonight’s primaries in Arizona and Michigan, but rather the Daytona 500. Rick Santorum might not have raced in Monday’s postponed contest, but Tony Raines sure did. And Santorum’s name was all over his car.

So, basically, a Santorum advertisement circled around the track to the thousands in attendance and the millions more watching on FOX. It circled for 500 miles. That is a win in itself for Santorum — a brilliant campaign move, no doubt, even though Raines finished in 19th place.

Mitt Romney, meanwhile, seems to have taken first place in Arizona and Michigan (his birth state). The other guys didn’t stand a chance. Santorum finished second in both states and Ron Paul finished third.

Romney’s wife thanked the big boosters in Michigan, including one kid rocker by the name of Kid Rock. (I slapped my own face when she said that he supported the campaign. Who cares?)

Romney, meanwhile, said this little ditty himself: “A week ago the pundits and the pollsters were ready to count us out.”
Santorum said something similar. It’s funny how the two leading kandidates are trying to play the underdog card.

The biggest surprise of the night was Newt Gingrich finishing in the cellar in both states, especially after many pundits crowned him the winner of last week’s Arizona debate.

However, Gingrich will have a strong chance in Georgia next week. The Peach State is taking part in Super Tuesday, and Gingrich served as a Representative there for 20 years, so he has an advantage.

Meanwhile, in the White House.

The only reason I want to be president one day is so that I have a chance to jam with some great musicians like Obama did. In 40 years, though, the musicians I’d be jamming with I probably don’t even listen to today. Me, president of the United States, groovin’ with Gaga, the Beibs, Ke$ha and Drake. What a rip-off.

Super Tuesday is next week. Ten states hitting the polls, including Alaska. Will Sarah Palin get a write-in upset victory? That’d make the race more interesting.

I’ll probably have some things to say leading up till then, so if you care then listen in @kandidates4prez. If you don’t care, well you should follow anyway so you can just tweet nonsense at me.

Bon voyage.

Juan Cervantes is a junior history major and student blogger for The Diamondback.


STEM majors — Obama wants you!

In his State of the Union Address in January, President Barack Obama stressed the need for a larger workforce in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, otherwise known as STEM. And judging from the number of tables at the Career Fair last year, it looks like STEM careers are where it’s at.

But then again … maybe not.

After surveying 1,000 young adults last year, experts at Lemelson-MIT found that fewer students between the ages of 16 and 25 are pursuing careers in STEM, in spite of Obama’s plea.

William Jones, the associate director of the Career Center, disagrees with these findings. He noted that 60 percent of the companies at Wednesday’s Career fair were looking for technical majors, which primarily includes engineering, science and business.

“The top three majors present are engineers, business and behavioral and social science majors,” he said.

Senior government and politics major Lianne Berne said the findings seemed to make sense.

“I know, in my high school, there was less emphasis on the sciences, so it starts before college,” Berne said.

Several students saw a great variety of tables for both technical and nontechnical majors, the latter of which primarily refers to English, history or language majors.

Jones noted the fair featured 212 technical companies and 201 technical companies.

However, some students did notice an age gap in the opportunities available.

“There was definitely more opportunities for juniors and seniors,” Kozel said. “But most of the stuff was just available online, so I kind of didn’t have to go.”

And freshman fire protection and engineering major Raquel Hakes said the age gap was more noticeable at the STEM tables.

“The nontechnical companies were more willing or nice about talking to freshman or looking at their resumes,” she said.

— Neha Sastry

Is it Friday yet?: The battle of the leggings

As I wait for the Shuttle-UM bus, I watch almost the entire student population walk by. Jocks and sorority girls alike catch my eye and my interest. I wonder if I, an Average Jane, could ever be gazed upon as I am gazing upon these students now.

Do I have what it takes? Do I walk the walk and talk the talk? And then I notice something. The heavens open up as I have my “ah-ha” moment. I could have sworn angels just sang down to me.

The guy sitting next to me does a double take as a girl walks by; I think I hear his neck snap. His eyes wander to a place where one does not just simply look without being invited. The invitation came from her pants, or lack thereof. Her pretty face could not overpower the strength of her outfit. What is she wearing?

Leggings. Knee-high boots. Over-sized T-shirt to match.

I speed home, dust off my Victoria’s Secret workout leggings, grey boots with the cute buckle and my ex-boyfriend’s white T-shirt. Because of the ex-boyfriend status, I have no shame taking scissors to the shirt to add a little bare shoulder action.

I jump and I squeeze. I wiggle and I suck in. Then I exhale, “What have I done?” This ‘80s fashion may be back, but even The Breakfast Club would turn me away at this point. Should I even look at myself? I think my mirror might de-friend me. Still, I reluctantly shuffle toward it.

I’m surprised it didn’t crack. Let’s just say, I look nothing like a sorority girl. I feel sorry for anyone who may see this. Put a top hat on me and I could be a circus performer. If I smudge some black makeup on I could channel all that is teen angst and rebellion, reminiscent of Kristen Stewart in The Runaways. Things were rolling and bulging, and I’m not just talking about my eyes.

With a sigh of defeat, I peel the clothes off and slip back into the comfort that is my Sperry loafers and striped cardigan. The leggings have claimed yet another victim.

What can I say? I’m just trying to make it to Friday.

Liz Lane is a junior government and politics and journalism major and student blogger for The Diamondback.

Don’t tread on me: Confessions of a campus chalker

I have a bit of an odd job at Stamp Student Union. I carry around a bag of sidewalk chalk to write messages on the ground advertising upcoming events. My colorful handprints appear on everything I own.

Sitting on the ground, I think of ways to capture everyone’s attention. As I write one word, I imagine a student’s gaze of curiosity. As I write another word, I imagine more students scribbling the event into their calendar. And with the final word, I imagine the entire student body running, if not sprinting and shoving, to the event all because of the ad I put on the sidewalk.

As I am writing one of the words in my message, I am interrupted not by a voice, not by rain, but by a foot. Yes, the dreaded foot.

As a sidewalk chalker, for someone to mindlessly walk over your work is one of, if not the worst offense imaginable. It is inconceivable that a person could walk right over you while you’re working and not even acknowledge your presence.

The foot turned into two. This student, who shall not be named, went shuffling over and smeared my message, leaving a trail of rainbow footprints behind him. Yes, I scowl. It has been said that my eyes speak volumes although I can’t imagine the foot-man could hear me through his headphones.

I want to cry.

But only so my tears might wash away the footprints that were so wrongfully added to my chalking.

And this is the moral of the story and, no, a tortoise does not slowly and steadily trot by.

I quickly place my backpack at one end of the message and my purse at the other, forcing passersby to walk around me, completely side-stepping the entire message. I watch more feet walk around me and not over me. I successfully finish my chalking! I then jog in place, pumping my fists high. What can I say? The Rocky theme is the first thing I hear in my head.

If I can teach anything with this, it is not to let someone walk over you. You must realize that the sidewalk chalk in your life is important. Someone may not notice you or appreciate your presence but set boundaries. Let others know where you have set your backpack and purse so they know to walk next to you and not over you. Then, and only then, can you stand up for what’s important to you, or jog in place. If you then so choose to pump your fists in the air, I suggest you actually press play on the Rocky theme and not just let it play in your head.

Liz Lane is a junior government and politics and journalism major and student blogger for The Diamondback.

The secret life of the DOTS tweeter

For most adults, spending the work day on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook is a workplace faux pas. Unless, of course, it’s their job.

For the Department of Transportation Services’ administrative assistant Valerie Goubeau, who has been the elusive personality behind the DOTS Twitter account since 2010, tweeting is all in a day’s work. As part of her administrative position, she responds to feedback from students and tweets important information and reminders.

“We need creative people to run it, and she’s definitely a creative lady,” DOTS Director David Allen said.

Since 2009, DOTS has been tweeting information about parking and bus routes, as well as changes to traffic patterns and fun facts about campus transportation, all in 140 characters or less. Occasionally, Goubeau will tweet trivia questions about DOTS, and followers who respond can win prizes, such as free parking.

“It’s absolutely an important tool for us to have,” said Goubeau. “Some students just don’t read the emails we send out, and it takes almost no effort to read a tweet.”

But not all of Goubeau’s tweets are just reminders. Sometimes she tweets factoids — such as DOTS having had more than 2 million riders this year, about as many as Latvia’s population — for entertainment.

Sophomore Spanish major Katie-Rose Nave, who is one of DOTS’ nearly 550 followers on the micro-blogging website, said the department’s Twitter helps her stay updated and ensure she doesn’t get bombarded with parking tickets.

“I’m a DOTS registrant, and I prefer to get updates from them on Twitter rather than get burned out of ignorance,” she said. “They’re also prompt in response on Twitter.”

Managing the account, however, isn’t always easy. It’s no secret most students aren’t the biggest fans of DOTS — and often, the feedback is negative.

“Some people seem to be really invested in having conversations with us over Twitter, but won’t talk to us directly,” Goubeau said.

“We try to respond to anything that seems like a legitimate question or issue,” Allen added.

William Evans, a sophomore neurobiology and physiology and Spanish major, uses Twitter to let DOTS know exactly how he feels. Under the moniker @rockpapersizzrs, he gives DOTS feedback on everything from NITE Ride’s inconsistent service to his disappointment in the destinations of Shuttle-UM routes with the hashtag #downwithdots.

“I follow them because I want to see the lies they’re spewing on social media,” he said.

Despite the sometimes-vicious comments, Goubeau sees the Twitter account as a way to keep both critics and supporters informed.

“Sometimes there are misconceptions about our service and, perhaps from a professional or administrative standpoint, might be taken for granted, but students might not understand,” Goubeau said. “I just address it with information to clear it up.”

— Laura Blasey, Staff writer

Campus complainer: Calm down, guys. They’re just pretzels


When I was a tyke, often times my weekdays were spent at the mall with my mom, waddling around behind her as she browsed the shops  — long enough to be completely bored, but not so long that she’d miss Oprah at 4 p.m.

The one thing that could always keep me smiling and satisfied on one of our excursions (Outside of a new Street Shark action figure) was a cinnamon pretzel from Auntie Anne’s. Oh, they were glorious. All that greasy and cinnamon-y goodness was a delicious distraction from the horrors of extended stays inside department stores. It was my own little escape.

As the years progressed and my mind developed, Auntie Anne’s and I grew apart. Partially because I was no longer dragged to the mall against my will and also because, well, they’re just pretzels.

I’ll say it again: They’re just pretzels.

And because they’re just pretzels, I was shocked at the crushing hype I heard in the time leading up to Auntie Anne’s grand opening in Stamp Student Union. The hype hasn’t diminished, either. There’s always a line and people can’t stop raving about these things.

According to a Jan. 31 article in The Diamondback, the shop was averaging 600 pretzels a day just 11 days after it opened. 600 pretzels a day? Students are shelling out more than $3 for a bit of dough? A sprinkling of cinnamon? That’s insane.

While I may not be a man of refined tastes, my taste buds have grown since my days as a youngster at the mall. A pretzel is a fine snack every once and a while and hard pretzels compliment a sandwich well. But a pretzel as a whole meal? You’ve got to be kidding, especially when Stamp is packed with actual food.

The kind of people that roll up to Stamp to grab lunch and consistently end up with a raisin pretzel probably have the same diet as a 7-year-old. These people are the kind of folk who you could sit down in front of a freshly made plate of chicken pomodoro, piping hot and homemade, and they would push it away. Why? Because they want buttered noodles. Offer them steak and mashed potatoes? Forget about it; they want chicken tenders.

A group of simpletons is what we’re dealing with here.

These simpletons will probably get defensively about there beloved pretzels. They’ll probably whine and ask, “Ooohh, but they have way more than just pretzels! Have you ever tried a pretzel dog? That’s not just a pretzel!”

Yes, it’s not just a pretzel. You got me there. It’s not just a pretzel, rather, it’s a combination of two mediocre foods not deserving of any hype or huge business that it’s received. It’s also something a 7-year-old would gladly have instead of sushi.

So, go on, pretzel lovers. Have your pretzels. Eat them all day, everyday, because you’ll soon tire of them and realize they are in fact just pretzels. When that happens, meet me down at Subway.

— Taylor Schwink is a senior journalism major and student blogger for The Diamondback




Students and the City: CP Dub meets the Dog

Can’t make it into the city this weekend? Don’t sweat it; you won’t even have to go past Route 1 to have a great time.

Dojo Promo, a company that handles event planning, is hosting a Mardi Gras-themed party at the Barking Dog this Saturday. The event is 18 and up, so all students can attend.

For three years Luigi Canali, co-founder of Dojo Promo, has been working in the clubbing industry, either managing clubs, bartending, or DJing. Two years ago he noticed that there was nothing exciting for underage students to do at night in College Park. Before he knew it, CP Dub was born. It held its first event in November.

On the Dojo Promo CP Students Facebook page, there are polls where students can suggest and vote on the upcoming party’s theme. Similarly, students are able to vote on which DJ will be headlining that night. So far, 182 students are listed as attending the event.

“We’re trying to do something different so that the 18+ crowd has something to do that’s a little more fun and a little more safe than house parties,” Canali said.

Canali’s passion is displayed through all the preparations Dojo Promo makes for each event.

“We spend anywhere from six to ten hours setting up lights and sounds,” he said. “We do a lot of work, we don’t just show up and throw a party.”

Tickets are $7 online, $5 at the door before 10:30 p.m. and $10 at the door after 10:30 p.m. Doors open at 9 p.m.

Upstairs, the lineup is as follows:

10 p.m.: Johnny Diaz

11 p.m.: Krazy Josifer

12 a.m.: Monument

— Becky Kaminsky is a freshman journalism major and student blogger for The Diamondback.