Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We WILL Be Back

I hope all of you DominiNET readers are enjoying the first week of break!!! (I know my fellow bloggers and I are!)

Please CHECK BACK WITH US the first week of next semester.

Have a happy and safe holiday break!!!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Take a part in helping the environment...

Today and tomorrow (from 10am-4pm in the Social Hall), Eco Club is having its annual Christmas plant sale where you can choose from several different plants priced from $3 to $10. The plants are: Snake Plant, Moses in the cradle, Spider Plant and Purple Queen.

I personally decided to take advantage of this because I wanted to get a Christmas present for my mom. I know she likes having potted plants around the house. And I'm never sure what to get her for Christmas, so I thought this would be a good idea.

The president of Eco Club, Elena Maans, talks about her club's Annual Christmas Plant Sale and how it's going so far (today being the first day of the sale).

A quick overview of each of the plants at the plant sale. For those (like me), who don't know much about plants. Also, why the plants are good for students living on campus...

Clothing Swap Fashion Statement

At Holly Ball, I noticed Jamie Zwijack's interesting choice of dress for the night. Two minutes later, she had another, more trendy outfit on. I asked Jamie what happened to her lovely red outfit and she explained that it was kind of a joke. Jamie said that she had gotten this lovely circa 1991 outfit through the clothing swap she and a fellow resident assistant helped organize. I thought this was amazing it it totally made me laugh!!

Kudos to the clothing swap!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

This is why I love the Dominican Staff

As I walked through Parmer Atrium yesterday the sound of loud laughter caught my attention. It was our wonderful Dominican faculty decorating the Christmas tree. They were having such a great time I was almost envious. It put a smile on my face, so I figured it was a good time to capture the holiday moment...and yes, she is shaking her butt at me.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday Cheer Comes to Dominican

The weather outside is frightful, but Dominican is so delightful! As the holiday season comes into full gear, the school has began to decorate to spread some cheer. There have been trees and ligths all over to make DU a little bit more of a home.

The social is set up for the annual RSA Auction with a tree and wreaths.

Coughlin 2 with a festive holiday snowman!

How will you spread the holiday fun?

Fashion Club Basket Raffel

So today and tomorrow, the Fashion Club will be selling tickets to raise money for their annual fashion show (which happens in Spring). Christmas music could be heard in the library and dining halls luring people to get in the spirit and stop by their apealling display in the Lewis Alcove. The fashionistas dominated the alcove from 9:30 this morning until 5 tonight...they will be there all day tomorrow as well.

Tickets to win one of the elaborate baskets cost $1 each. Six tickets can be purchased for $5. All proceeds will help to produce the fashion show coming this spring. The Fashion Club's Kelsey Swank is a member of the club's publicity committee. In this video interview, Swank explains more about the drive.

The most expensive item featured in one of the baskets is a Nintendo DS. Nintendo DS's generally range from $125-$200 at retailers.

This next basket will satisfy the winner's sweet tooth. Boxes of fine chocolates and a $50 Cheesecake Factory gift card are included among other treats.

Attention all movie lovers: This basket features all your favorite pick on's while watching some of this year's most popular included DVD's.

The mentioned baskets are just some of the many baskets featured in the raffle. The prizes are great and the baskets would also make awesome gifts.

Tip's View on DU's Men's Basketball

As Joe posted earlier today, the Stars lost one of their biggest games of the season last night. Our men's basketball team lost to Concordia's Cougars 75-41. Ouch.

Starting senior and point guard Kyle Tipton spoke with me this afternoon about the defeat. He's thinking positive about the rest of the season and the next game, this Saturday against Marian University. The home game's tip off will be at 4:15 p.m.

In this video, hear why Tipton thinks the Stars lost and how they'll make a comeback.

Flower Power....After the Snow

With this season's first snow fall decorating the landscape, and Christmas lights glistening all around, one can't help but appreciate the winter wonderland. Just how long will the snowflakes and icicles last?

I love the winter snowflakes and ice (ice rinks, that is) has been a part of my life since I can remember. (My entire family is obsessed with hockey.)

Anyways, Monday I snapped this photo in Parmer Hall's fourth floor women's restroom.

Weird, huh??

I know that Parmer's a science facility (among other things), but I thought all plants and flowers were kept in the green house. Since the old science building is a little out dated, is Parmer's women's restroom becoming a new botanic garden?

CSA wins 1st Place...

The Gingerbread House Competition took place this afternoon, ending at 4 PM. Anyone who is a part of the Dominican community could have participated - you didn't have to be a member of a student organization. The majority of gingerbread houses I saw were from student organizations such as CIAO, OLA, RSA, Eco Club, CSA, etc.

I came after 4 PM while judging was still taking place. I took a picture of CSA's house because of its uniqueness - having no idea that a few minutes later their house would be placed first in the competition.
The shuttle is the vehicle-shaped cookie with black windows on the top level of the "parking garage."

The "shrine to the parking garage" house wins CSA first place.

Commuter Student Association won first place with their gingerbread house styled after the parking garage. The above picture was taken while judging was still underway. What it says on the red card is "CSA! Our shrine to the parking garage. It saves us commuters in winter! The shuttle is on top!"

OLA (Organization of Latin Americans) won second place.
"The Gingerbread House Competition gave the clubs an opportunity for everyone to come together and celebrate the holidays," OLA member Angie Santiago said.

Another member of OLA, Alex Sifuntes, liked that the competition "gave a chance for clubs to express themselves" through the way they designed their gingerbread houses.

Resident Student Association won third place with their house advertising one of their big events - Battle of the Bands (BOTB).

There were several gingerbread houses made by teams of students who were not doing it as part of a club. One had a Snoopy theme to it.

Gingerbread Decorating Contest!

Today in the social hall the annual gingerbread decorating contest took place. The Commuter Student Association took first place. The judges were impressed with their remake of the parking garage!

The Campus Climate Committee makes their house solar friendly!

Members from OLA have their eye on the prize!

A member of the Ecology club concentrates.

Team Snowflake smiles for the camera.

CIAO members Michael Meranda and Paolo Cosentino decorate their house.

Top ten places to study on campus

Having trouble studying in your dorm room or at home? Luckily, there are several areas on campus that are excellent for studying, based on your individual study habits and needs.


10. The Old Library

Internet access available. So quiet, it's unsettling. The lighting is pretty dim overall, if you aren't near one of the few lamps. Good for hardcore studying.

9. The Clock Lobby

Comfortable furniture, very relaxing. Possibly distracting because area is generally crowded and people are constantly walking past. Internet access is spotty, at best.

8. Secluded areas of the Library

Secluded, quiet. Not much traffic. Lots of natural light during the day. Very private area. There aren't very many of these spots so you might have to fight for it. It's well worth the fight. Internet access is obviously available. Great view...potentially distracting view?

7. The Library

Usually quiet. Internet access and a few PCs available. Printing is very accessible. Good for working in groups. Lighting is good. People walking through can be distracting, especially walking up and down the spiral staircase.

6. The Cyber Cafe

PCs and internet access available. Crowded and loud. TVs are always on. High activity level. PCs usually occupied during the day. People getting food can be distracting. Printing is very accessible.

5. Area near the racquetball courts

Newly furnished. Furniture is comfortable. Lighting is good. Internet access not available. Some traffic. Potentially noisy area.

4. The Old Grill Area

Internet access available. Variety of tables, chairs, and couches. Comfortable furniture. Good for studying in groups. Not a lot of traffic anymore. Four PCs available.

3. The Area near the Bookstore, between the Gym and the Old Grill

Although people pass by, area is usually quiet. Internet access...sometimes. Lots of natural light. Windows might be distracting. Close to the vending machines. Might hear activity going on in the gym, depending on the time of day.

2. The Tech Center

Can be loud or quiet, depending on the time of day. More crowded than not. Both macs and PCs available. Tech support available if needed. Printing very accessible. Good lighting. Not a lot of desk space. Not a lot of privacy.

Or if you're a resident...

1. The Lounge Areas

Lounge areas are available in all of the residence halls. Generally quiet. Some are more secluded than others. Internet jacks available. Must be a resident.Good lighting. Controllable AC and heating in Centennial.Some traffic because people go in there to use their phones.

Hope studying goes well. Good luck, colleagues.

Stars Fall to Rival Concordia

The Men's Basketball team came up short versus rival Concordia Chicago Tuesday night. Team captain Dan Borys scored a team-high 20 points, but it was not enough, as the Stars lost 75-41. This 34-point loss leaves the Stars' record at 2-5, and 0-2 in the Northern Athletics Conference. The Stars will try for their much needed first conference win against Marian University Saturday at Dominican.
(Team captian Dan Borys, photo courtesy of

Finals this week?...I DON'T THINK SO

I heard some interesting news yesterday. Someone in one of my classes said they had a final this week. My professor (who shall remain anonymous) informed this student that professors CANNOT give finals this week, and that they can only be given during finals week (next week). She recommended that this student protest that final. So now all of you loyal DominiNET readers know, finals cannot not be given this week. If you do have a final this week...FIGHT THAT EARLY FINAL!
(Cartoon courtesy of

The dreaded SIR evaluations

Now is the time for the SIR evaluations, also know as the Student Instructional Report. Every student and faculty member is familiar with these end of the semester professor evaluations. Some may believe they are a burden, but truly they are important in the fate of your professor.

I spoke with Michael O'Donnell, Director if Institutional Research and Assessment, to learn a little bit more about the importance of these evaluations. He informed me that the SIR is a "standard measure of teaching, which is done at every university. This particular assessment has been in place at Dominican for about 15-20 years."

The evaluations are sent out to a company in New Jersey who calculates and sends reports back broken down by instructor, department and the university as a whole.

O'Donnell said these are a staring point in observing problems. "Every teacher has a bad class, so we must be very careful when evaluating." He also mentioned that these reports are important for first year teachers, as it is a first impression.

These evaluations are a good opportunity for students to voice their opinions about their professors, but I would urge students not to just mindlessly fill out the evaluations because they can have an effect on your professors job.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

On the week before finals...

"I always dread the week before finals since my sophomore year," says senior Gwen Geever. She's a Business major and while she has only one final during finals week, she has five group presentations this week.

Considering her major, this is no surprise. I know how important it is to have good presentational skills in the business world - my sister is in marketing and there is always an annual presentation she has to do along with the rest of the marketing team. It is a big deal and there's no room for mistakes.

So while the opportunity to practice essential presentation skills is beneficial, Geever finds it hard to schedule meetings with all the groups she is a part of. She works two jobs - 15-20 hours during the week and 25-30 hours during weekends. While she's a resident, most of her group members are commuters. And while she's free in the evening hours, commuters - especially the ones who have to drive far - probably wouldn't want to go back and forth from home to school just to meet in the evening.

I know that if I'm finished with classes for the day and don't have a night class, I'd want to go straight to my room and relax. Who doesn't think that no matter if you're a resident or commuter?

I'm grateful that at least I don't have all of my papers due in one week - some were due last week or the week before. Though I wish all my papers had been due last week so I could have this week more or less free to focus on studies for finals week. I have two presentations as well, but if some people have up to five presentations in one week; then two doesn't look so bad in comparison.

Good luck to everyone as finals week approaches!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hollyball Tickets!

A friendly reminder that Campus Activities Board Hollyball, Dominican's semi-formal winter dance, is this Friday. Tickets will be sold for $15 all throughout the week. Stop by and enjoy some other festive winter activities!

Some students have questioned the cost of the tickets, saying that $15 is a lot to pay for a dance. Junior Jess Van Kempen said that she may not be attending due to the price. "They are never that expensive! Weren't they like $8 last year?"

Actually, Jess is right. Tickets were greatly reduced last year because the dance was held on campus in the Social Hall. The dance traditionally, however, is held off campus at the Carleton Hotel in Oak Park. This classy destination explains the increase in price.

So hopefully the holiday gift buying has not rendered your wallet so empty that you can't afford a ticket to the dance.

Celebrating the Christmas Season!

With the holiday season in full gear, Dominican is also getting ready for Christmas. On Wednesday, December 3, each club will have a ginger bread decorating contest. Hollyball tickets are also for sale. Both the ticket selling and the ginger bread contest will be held in the social hall.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Student opinion: Trayless Tuesdays

On Trayless Tuesdays, residents are hit the hardest because they eat most frequently in the dining hall. I know that I almost dread going to eat in the dining hall Tuesdays because there will be no trays. I know it may be a good thing for the environment, but I'm not fond of that extra trip to get a drink - unless I can manage to balance everything in one trip.

But is it really helping the environment and we should just deal with the inconvenience or have other problems arisen as a result?

Senior resident Anne Marie Barrett gives her thoughts on Trayless Tuesdays (transcribed from video interview):

"...there have been more spills, more breaking of plates than I have ever seen because of trayless Tuesdays. And I would like to know if they really are conserving water. How much water they are conserving? And how much money they have to spend on paper towels to pick up the messes and plates that have been broken?"

Barrett also says that she sometimes sees paper plates, which she thinks is just as wasteful.

"So, it’s like why would we have paper plates on trayless Tuesdays when you know, we’re trying to help the environment. It’s just – I don’t know – kind of seems like a contradiction."

Barrett explains what it's like on Trayless Tuesdays...

Neon Beauty

Jean Bevier, assistant professor of Graphic Design, explains the concept behind her interesting installation currently being exhibited in the O'Connor Art Gallery as part of the [Re]visions Faculty Exhibition, on display through December 15.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sustainability Program to Debut Next Semester

As reported in one of my previous posts, Dominican has a brand new program for sustainability currently in development.

"We're approaching sustainability in an informal, but definitely focused way," said project manager Dawn Morse. "We're going to make it fun, and get people involved."

According to Morse, the project's origins can be traced back to the construction of Parmer Hall in 2007. Parmer's structure follows the LEAD criterion, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEAD is a set of guidelines created by the U.S. Green Building Council that focuses building design on sustainable practices, such as using local materials for construction and using recycled materials in building construction. Parmer Hall has many features which comply with LEAD, including efficient mechanical systems designed to reduce waste, engineered ditches to process storm water without using municipal processing methods, and occupancy sensors designed to turn off lighting, heating and air conditioning when rooms are unoccupied.

With Parmer Hall being Dominican's first official "Green building," it was decided the other buildings on campus could also be more environmentally friendly as well. Older windows in Power and Lewis Halls were replaced recently, to keep more cool and warm air inside the buildings. Campaigns to monitor water use and recycling have also been established. Modifications were also recently made to the heating system in Lewis Hall so that the same aging system could also be converted to support a central air system for the building.

Morse believes reusing existing structures and supplies on campus is key to the program.

"To reuse something is one of the best sustainability things you can do," Morse said of the Lewis heating and air system. "Now we're putting it into a framework of what we can afford and what's important to the world."

Along with construction and recycling initiatives, it was decided that students could also get involved. The program is currently seeking volunteers and an intern willing to lead the program forward.

"We're aiming at younger students, someone who's going to be here a while," said Physical Plant director Dan Bulow. "We want to keep it going."

According to Bulow, the primary goal of the program will be to work with students to develop programs, structures and ideas to make Dominican a more environmentally responsible campus. Students in the program will conduct measurements of energy use on campus, research benchmarks for energy use for schools of Dominican's size, and collaborate with Physical Plant and the university administration on environmentally friendly programs.

According to Morse, students will factor heavily in making new decisions on buildings, and that will start with student involvement in sustainability efforts.

"Getting students involved will be key," said Morse. "With a lot of people doing a little, you can still have a large impact."

The program will see an official launch next semester.

It's Basketball Season!

Today, November 29, 2008 there will be a basketball game at Lake Forest College at 3:00 p.m. The boys need all of the support they can get. The boys celebrated a victory on November 21, 2008 against Greenville College. "I just try to help them develop into the best player and person that they can be so that they are successful once they graduate," Coach White said.

Friday, November 28, 2008

DU Looks to Send Athlete to Leadership Conference

Every year the NCAA sponsors a leadership conference for a selected few NCAA athletes. This year DU is taking a shot at sending one of our athletes to the conference held in Orlando, Florida in May.

According to one of the student-athletes applying, woman's basketball player Melanie Bonifacio , there are four Dominican student-athletes applying. Dominican will then send one to Florida if accepted into the program.

The 2009 NCAA National Student-Athlete Development Conference will take place May 24 - 27 in Walt Disney World.

According to the NCAA website the Conference "provides NCAA student-athletes with a forum to openly discuss issues that may affect them on their campuses and in their communities, while also providing them with the opportunity to enhance their leadership, communication, decision-making and problem-solving skills."

(Photo courtesy of

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Avoiding the subs at the Cyber comes to an end

After growing sick of the subs at the Cyber Cafe last year, I couldn't even look at them this semester and chose the pizzas or the dining hall food over it. Too many times last year I went and ordered the Philly Chicken sub to the point where I really rather not eat that anymore.

This year, a friend of mine said they chose the subs over pizzas because the wait wasn't as long. Logically, it takes longer for the pizzas to be made. But the only reason I opted for the pizza was due to the fact that I could eat it without contemplating throwing it out.

Yesterday (Tuesday), after my 5:30 P.M. night class, I had no choice but to order a sub. I had missed dinner in the dining hall, and two hours before the Cyber closed - there were no pizzas. This may have had something to do with this being right before Thanksgiving break, so maybe traffic was expected to be decreased?

I know at least one friend of mine who was planning to hightail it out of here right after night class Tuesday. I told him I was planning to get something from the Cyber for a late dinner. He said he'd just get something from McDonald's on his way back home. I probably would too if I had the option - I do like their crispy chicken sandwiches...

But despite the sometimes not so great selection in the dining hall, I prefer going there because at least there are more options - it's not just a sub/pizza with chips or fruit. Though a few times, the only thing worth eating was the potatoes or quesadillas; there's always salad. You can't really mess up salad, right?

The Cyber was open until 2 P.M. because of Thanksgiving break and they had limited options (sausage/pepperoni pizza or turkey/ham & swiss sub). I could have ordered a pizza, but I just went with a sub again. I'm guessing months of avoiding the subs has done its job - my appetite for them has returned. The subs are better in moderation though - I really don't think it's a good idea to eat them often during the week because you will grow tired of them.

Anne Marie Barrett, a senior at Dominican, weighs in on what she has heard from others on the food at the Cyber.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

RSA President Discusses Upcoming Battle of the Bands

I sat down with RSA President Jaron Salazar to talk about the upcoming Dominican Battle of the Bands, sure to be an interesting event. Proceeds from this year's event will go toward the American Red Cross.

Applications for bands are currently available from RSA.

Are we helping during the Holidays?

Around this holiday season Dominican offers many different ways that students, faculty and staff can give back to the community. As Natalie had posted earlier, some programs include Adopt-A-Kid and Thanksgiving baskets . Other programs are the NAC (Northern Athletics Conference) Food Drive, Warm Clothing Drive, and the Ronald McDonald Pop Tab Collection.

Each of these programs are great and follow in the Dominican mission...if participated in. This seems to be the main problem for the groups sponsoring these efforts.

Yesterday was the last day for Adopt-A-Kid sign-ups. When I went to choose my children to adopt at 5 p.m., Taylor Eshleman, president of Students Exploring Rewarding Volunteer Experiences (SERVE) said there were still about 100 kids to choose from. She planned on staying at the booth all night, just as long as people kept coming. I ended up adopting a whole family because of how many were remaining.

As I left the booth, I walked past a box for the NAC food drive and noticed it was empty, except for two winter hats. I think the person may have gotten the box confused with the Winter Clothing Drive.

I find this lack of participation in these programs to be disappointing. I understand it is not free and we are poor college students, but is a few dollars to someone in need to much to spare? I don't think it is.

Donate Clothing and Get Something In Return

The Clothing Swap, an event put together by Resident Assistants Jamie Zwijack and Stephanie Foley, allows residents to donate clothes that they don't wear or don't want as well as giving them a chance to find something for themselves out of the items there.

Residents can donate any clothing, accessories or shoes and then come to the event in the Coughlin Commons Resource Room (the CCMPR) Thursday, Dec. 4th, from 7 P.M. to 9 P.M. to sort through what's there on the tables. Everything will be sorted by gender and size.

It's a chance to get free clothing/accessories/shoes as a reward for donating clothing.

"It's nice to know you're donating to charity but you can also come and find new things for yourself." says Jamie Zwijack on what she hopes people will get out of the event.

There will be bins available in the Coughlin Commons starting Monday, Dec. 1 through Wed., Dec. 4 for residents to drop off clothing items.

The ultimate goal, according to Zwijack, is to donate clothes to charity. Any leftover items will be donated to charity.

The Clothing Swap did take place last year, but a publicity mix-up caused the event to go forward mostly through word of mouth. Also, it was through Resident Student Association as a Hall Rep program. This year, the two RAs are doing it as one of the programs that RAs have to do each semester (6 programs each semester).

The people who did come and participate last year thought it was a really cool idea despite the last minute publicity. Zwijack is hoping that this year with publicity up earlier, that this clothing swap will be an improvement over last year's.

Clothing items that are gently used or not worn at all are preferred. Zwijack said that any roughly used clothing (i.e. stains are on them) will probably not be laid out on the table, but may be donated to charity.

Rather than just dropping off clothes to donate to charity - who hasn't seen the bin near the Commons desk allowing people to do just that? - the Clothing Swap goes a step further.
Zwijack hopes this will bring people together through coming to the event and "find[ing] new treasures" as the flier says.

Last year, most of the items were scarfs, hats, gloves and a couple pairs of shoes.

The timing of this event (right after the upcoming break) is to give residents a chance to dig stuff out from the back of their closets during Thanksgiving break. That'll make room for clothing received at Christmas...

And though that task of sorting through clothes in your closet might not be fun, at least you know you'll be doing a good thing by donating to charity. The Holiday Season is upon us, after all.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Division III Players to Professionals...

To follow up on Natalie's post, I interviewed Mike Haiduc, Jose Garcia and Rashim "Shim" Lettsome.

Jose Garcia is playing basketball in Colima, Mexico which he considers a true dream come true. "A typical day for me is waking up for breakfast at 9 a.m., and then I have practice from 10:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. I then get a break for lunch and a 2 hour nap. Then I usually wake up to talk to my family and my daughter. I then have practice again from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. After that, I will go back to my house for dinner, talk with my family once again and then go to bed," Garcia said. Garcia will be playing for this team until January 2009.

Mike Haiduc is playing basketball in Lemvig, Denmark. Haiduc loves living in Denmark but it was a little bit of a culture shock for him when first moving there. "So far it has been a great experience for me. It's the first time I've really lived on my own and I have loved it. However, I have to do laundry and dishes which was hard to get used to at first. It is not that big of a deal doing it any more. I've also had to learn how to cook a little a bit, which I struggled with for a while but now the meals I make are turning out pretty delicious. It's made it easier that most of the people here speak English so I havent had too hard of a time communicating. I guess this experience has helped me rely more on myself and not so much on others," Haiduc said. Haiduc will be back in Chicago in April 2009 if he does not play for another team after that.

Last but not least, Shim! Rashim Lettsome is playing for the St. Thomas National Basketball Team. He is eligble to play there because he was born in St. Thomas. "If I would have listened to people who told me I would never play basketball after high school, who knows where I would be now? I went from getting beat by a girl, to getting cut, then sitting on the bench, to 6th man, to starting in college and then to an all conference record holder," Lettsome said. Lettsome wakes up every morning and runs on the beautiful beaches of the Virgin Islands. Can we say, lucky?

Lettsome, Garcia and Hadiuc are on the road to a successful future in basketball! Good luck boys!!!