The Independent

Growing Up in a Time to Wake Up

May 8, 2012

By Nada Jarad, NEIU Alum In 1994, the Rwandan genocide that cost the lives of approximately 800,000 lives occurred while the rest of the world remained silent and proclaimed ignorance. Years later, when I was in the 7th grade, my teacher described the events of the genocide to my class and I remember...

President’s Pen: Student Alliance for Leadership and Education

April 28, 2012

    The Student Alliance for Leadership and Education (S.A.L.E.) was formed in the spring of 2008 by a group of students from the El Centro campus. The mission of the organization is “to unite students by promoting education, empowerment through leadership and contributing to the community.” The organization had some difficulties recruiting students and after the first two years, it became inactive. It wasn’t until the Fall 2011 semester that S.A.L.E. grew significantly enough to become active again, empowering students who primarily attend the El Centro Campus to become involved. S.A.L.E. has sponsored and co-sponsored various events such as Dance your Heart Out, Dr. Seuss Birthday, the Second Annual Latino Student Leadership Conference, annual toy drives and much more.   The organization took the lead in assisting with the Second Annual Latino Student Leadership Conference, obtaining the WEAVE Grant from the Student Union (SU). The grant’s purpose is to weave an intercampus tapestry of student-led programs with SU resources to enhance the community at NEIU. Many of the students admitted to the El Centro campus don’t always have the opportunity to enjoy the diversity of NEIU student organizations. S.A.L.E gives these students the opportunity to get involved at the El Centro campus since its members take the majority of their course work here. This fiscal year, they have grown from one remaining student to twelve actively involved students. All the members are mentees or mentors in the GUIAS mentoring program (GUidance, Inspiration and Academic Support).   Franklin Ortega, President I was born in a small town called Azogues, in Ecuador. I migrated to the U.S. in 2004 after completing my secondary education in my country. When I arrived in 2004, I went to Maine East High School. At Maine East, I was part of the Latino Club and also involved in sports and other activities. I was an ESL student for the three years that I was at Maine East. I managed to learn English and graduate with my high school diploma in 2007. After high school, I continued my education at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, IL. I was involved in several student organizations as President of the Spanish Club and Senator in the Student Government Association. I completed my credits at Oakton Community College in 2010, applied and began attending Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) in the Spring 2011 Semester. I’m majoring in Justice Studies and minoring in Latino/Latin American Studies. I love the university and everything it has to offer. I hope all my dreams come true and I become the first person in my entire family to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree. I am ready to make a difference and put all my experience and passion moving forward. I wish everyone the best in their studies and that everyone has a great summer. Good luck with your finals and future goals.   Delia Villanueva, Executive Vice President Hello, my name is Delia Villanueva. I’m a freshmen at NEIU’s El Centro Campus. I’m debating about a major in anthropology and mortuary studies. As a member of S.A.L.E., we volunteer with the community and other organizations, acting as a support system. The organization provides workshops to its members as well as mentoring opportunities. My goal, since this organization is based upon leadership, is to work on becoming a more positive leader. I will do so by applying for an internship at the House of Representatives. Doing so will broaden our connections, and I encourage you all to apply for this too if you are as interested in our government as I am. I spend my time socializing, helping the youth or those in desperate need of help with their homework, and looking for places that want my assistance. This organization is truly great, because I know I can come to them for help and I know they feel the same about me. Thank you for listening.   Dulce Sierra, Vice President My name is Dulce Sierra, I’m a freshman at NEIU-El Centro Campus and I am pursuing a major in Accounting. I am a mentee with the GUIAS mentoring program.   Jaime Jimenez, Executive Secretary My name is Jaime Jimenez and I'm a freshman at NEIU’s El Centro Campus. I am pursuing an Elementary Education degree with a specialty in math. My career in the future is to keep studying and start educating others in a few years. I'm also part of the GUIAS mentoring program. The mentoring program has impacted me greatly. I have become more confident during my time participating and it has helped me in many areas in my life.  ...


April 27, 2012

  I began my term as Student Trustee in February 2012. Entering mid-term, amidst a heated debate regarding tuition increases for incoming students and students who have been at NEIU longer than six years, was well underway. It was first proposed that incoming students would face a 3.6% increase...

Letter to the Community

April 27, 2012

  NEIU students and faculty will soon receive a new Learning Management System (LMS) to support their academic courses. Our current LMS, Blackboard version 8, will be phased out gradually and be turned off completely by the end of the summer in 2013. As part of the process of selecting a replacement...

Gluten-Free – The Way To Be?

Joseph Daddario, Staff Writer

April 27, 2012

  Celiac disease and the lesser-known non-celiac gluten sensitivity are buzzwords in the world of celebrity diets. Miley Cyrus recently touted having celiac disease and attributed her recent weight loss to it, denying rumors that it was due to anorexia. But what is celiac disease and how does...

Debts vs. Students; Will Our Miseries Ever End?

Syed Ahad Hussain, Opinions Editor

April 27, 2012

  Will this nation ever produce an affordable education to us students? US student loan debt has surpassed $1 trillion this year, exceeding both credit card and auto loan debts. Business Week says that, “The average student loan debt is about $25,000, which is up 25 percent in the last 10 years.”...

President’s Pen For URO

April 17, 2012

  Celia Fenollar Rubio by Lluvia CarrisozaUndocumented Resilient and Organized (URO) is a new club at NEIU. Visions for this club began in the Fall 2011 semester, where a group of students concerned about the immigrant struggle met to talk about their concerns and dreams. The group of students went ahead and started a club under the leadership of Jose Herrera. URO is an organization of undocumented and fellow students who can relate, commit and contribute to the five points that unite us: Building a community of support among undocumented students at NEIU. Creating awareness about issues affecting undocumented students and students of mixed-status families. This includes educating administration, faculty, staff and students but also ourselves. Mentoring undocumented high school students as they transition to higher education. Building bridges among other student organizations on and off campus. Expanding financial resources available to undocumented students through: fundraisers, new scholarships, and other incentives. URO is not just for undocumented students, but for anyone that can relate to the undocumented struggle. URO decided against having officer names such as president, vice president etc. instead URO has Organizers, Coordinators, Financial Officers and Facilitators. José G. Herrera is an undocumented and returning student majoring in sociology. He is a co-founder and organizer of the newly formed club organization “Undocumented Resilient & Organized (URO).” José is a single father who is challenging the system that questions his legality in the U.S and uses his life experiences as a tool for education, mobilization and to empower others; he hopes to do the same with the education of academia. His priority is to build a structure that would allow him to continue to work as a person who is committed, who wants to stand up and challenge oppressive structures. “I have come to an understanding that education is empowering – in order to understand what is going on and why, in order to be heard, we need to educate ourselves, and this allows us to challenge injustices and fight to make change,” said José G. Herrera. Outside of campus, José continues his work of activism as an organizer with the immigrant rights movement and other social justice organizations. Currently he is doing a research project on “bridging the mass detention, incarceration and deportation of immigrants with the prison industrial complex.” Joselyn Galvez is a co-founder and coordinator of the Undocumented Resilient and Organized (URO) Club. She is a senior majoring in mathematics and secondary education. Joselyn came to the United States in 2001 from her native country, Honduras. Joselyn experienced first-hand the struggles that non-English speakers face in school. Her goal as a high school educator is to teach mathematics to students who are learning English as a second language. She wants to develop an environment that would help foreign students adapt to their new country, feel welcomed at school and facilitate their transition in and out of the bilingual program. Joselyn Galvez believes that by providing fundamental assistance to bilingual students, they will be able to overcome the language barrier so that they can not only survive but also succeed in school. Lluvia Carrisoza has been undocumented for twelve years. She lived in fear for most of that time. She grew tired of her fear and now she is a co-founder and organizer for the newly formed group Undocumented Resilient & Organized (URO). She is a senior pursuing a Spanish and Art double Major. Lluvia is not much of an activist, but charged with the need to help her community she joined this group in hopes of providing a better college experience for her fellow undocumented students. Although her heart is set in attending La Universidad Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) for her MFA she wants to leave this country knowing she has helped lessen the immigrant struggle By Janean Watkins...

Oxfam Comes to NEIU

Syed Ahad Hussain, Opinions Editor

April 17, 2012

        Oxfam is an international confederation of 15 organizations working together in over 90 countries and with partners and allies around the world to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice. According to the organization’s official website, Oxfam, ‘work directly with communities and seeks to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and have a say in decisions that affect them.’ The name “Oxfam” comes from the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, founded in Britain in 1942. The group campaigned for food supplies to be sent through an allied naval blockade to starving women and children in enemy-occupied Greece during the Second World War. Today, there are 15 member organizations of the Oxfam international confederation. They are based in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Ireland, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Quebec, Spain and the United States. The event was organized at NEIU with the coordination of former Student Government Secretary and current Oxfam member Stephan McCollom, who invited Oxfam’s Marlo Boyle to NEIU so she could discuss the organization’s past achievements and future inspirations. Boyle, a strong environmentalist, mentions that Oxfam provides organic resources to small community farmers globally. “We work directly with the farmers, we teach them how to grow sustainably. Due to this direct partnership we have with farmers, it helps sustain their culture, their community, and their ability to grow crops. Without having a middle man, our direct funding helps them grow their community in general so they can get more medical care, they can build more schools, and they can have greater opportunities that everyone should be able to afford,” Boyle adds. McCollom showed a short documentary in which four women were represented as spokespeople for the farmers, business owners and as leaders of the community. “Oxfam helped those helpless, poverty-ridden women create a more sustainable plan, a better way to farm and, in case of disasters, to have food reserves built up and better access to water so they didn’t have to walk so far,” said Boyle. The video also highlighted a woman in New Orleans who was affected by Hurricane Katrina, struggling to live without resources. Boyle pointed out this story as proof that even the developed world has a lot of issues to work on. “Oxfam needs your support to help educate others and create awareness both globally and nationally within the US…we’re trying to change the system by which food, aid and security is being delivered,” said Boyle. “That’s what the grow campaign is about, changing existing policies, changing the way that we are doing business with foreign aid so that everyone on the planet can have food, that’s really what [Oxfam] tries to focus on, to feed everyone.” Boyle added, “We currently have 9 billion hungry people, we are already in food shortage right now in areas that we shouldn’t be, because governments are controlling where the food is given and where the funds and resources are held.” There are currently leadership opportunities in Oxfam for students interested in assisting human kind on a global scale. Internships are also available for sophomore and senior students. The internship is an all-expenses-paid week-long intensive leadership training program held in Boston. Oxfam trains interns on how to become a person of the global community and how to assist other people in their own survival. “All of us can be sisters and brothers of planet,” says McCollom, “Signing up for Oxfam doesn’t cost anything, you will go around the world, and gives you the opportunity to come and join the action court with us, where we do tabling and organize events around the city of Chicago.” For more information about Oxfam and volunteer registration, go to  ...

NEIU Alumni Association Reception and HACU 17th Annual National Capitol Forum

April 17, 2012

                                  I left Chicago on a rainy day and was welcomed in Washington D.C. with a bright and sunny 81 degree day. It was also the first day of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Fortunately, I had time to visit the Korean War Veterans Memorial Park and pay respect to all of the veterans (men and women) as well as those who fought and sacrificed to preserve democracy throughout our nation’s history. On Friday, March 23, the NEIU alumni reception in Washington D.C. at the University Clubkicked off more than 20 NEIU alumni and friends shared their personal NEIU success stories. NEIU President Sharon Hahs, Suleyma Perez, Executive Director of Government Relations, and Jon Hageman, Presidential Fellow were also present. On March 26 and 27, the NEIU group also attended the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities HACU’s 17th Annual National Capitol Forum to advocate on behalf of Title V and other higher education funding and legislation. At the alumni reception, the University Club was very warm and inviting, the perfect location for an intimate gathering. For more than 100 years, the University Club has stood as one of the Nation’s historic membership organizations. The club’s stately red brick edifice is situated among an enclave of cultural, scientific and diplomatic institutions, with the White House just a few blocks away. It was clear that there was a common bond that connected everyone, a sense of NEIU pride and commitment reverberated through the room. All those present agreed that NEIU fosters meaningful relationships and lifelong friendships. Interestingly, several alums were invited to the reception by their former NEIU professors, a tribute to the connections that are never forgotten. As we all listened and enjoyed each others’ stories, we realized that we must all do our best to expand our NEIU mentorship program to create opportunities for our current and future graduates. We learned that there are nearly 600 NEIU alumni in the DC area, which is an outstanding networking opportunity for our students. The NEIU Alumni Association says it best, “It’s all about connections!” At the HACU Capitol Forum, the NEIU group met with Jose Rico, Director of White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Congressman Mike Quigley, Senator Dick Durbin andMark Kirk’s education congressional staff. The agenda was intensive and very productive. Sessions at the Capitol Forum included Funding Opportunities at the Federal Level and 2012 Election: HSIs and the New National Agenda. Representatives from FEMA, EPA, and DHS discussed grants and contract opportunities available for HSI and other HACU-member institutions. Again, President Hahs was front and center making sure that the NEIU agenda was heard. During lunch, Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, explained that there are approximately 72,000 federal employees and many of them will retire in the near future. This is certainly an opportunity for NEIU graduates. During dinner, I took the opportunity to give Jose Ricoan NEIU lapel pin and as I placed the pin and I said, “Jose, you are not only an NEIU alum, you are also our goodwill ambassador. Please continue to support NEIU and our future graduates.” As a Northeastern Trustee, community member, and as a parent, I realize that it is our responsibility and obligation to provide a quality education to our students and future young generations. On my plane ride back to Chicago, my final thoughts were that all those present from NEIU and other universities were very energetic and excited about building a coalition with HACU members for the benefit of their universities. Everyone expressed the same mission – we all want our students to do well and prosper. Education is the key to our future success. The forum was well worth it, special thanks to Suleyma Perez, for all of her great work in planning our itinerary. I hope to attend future HACU meetings and advocate on behalf of NEIU.   By Jin Lee – NEIU Trustee    ...

More Than a Month Later and Still No Justice for Trayvon Martin

Lakeeesha J. Harris, Staff Writer

April 17, 2012

  Who hasn’t heard of the case of Trayvon Martin? Virtually everyone knows his name now. More importantly, we know the name of the man who took his life, George Zimmerman. So often the killers of black youth go unnamed and unapprehended. Just a few years ago in 2007, there was a “stop snitching”...

Letters to the Community Part 2

April 17, 2012

By NEIU Roger That wit Mo Information, is a new Student Union Podcast Series, hosted by Roger Byrd and Mo Partowie. It is a live podcast that is regularly scheduled on Tuesdays from 11am to 1pm. The podcast features music and topics requested by the NEIU student body throughout the show. It is hosted...

Letters to the Community

April 17, 2012

  Attn: NEIU Community! Congratulations to the Asian American Heritage Committee (AAHC) Award Recipients We are pleased to announce the following recipients of the 2012 Asian American Heritage Committee Awards of Excellence: Faculty Award of Excellence: Dr. Shahrzad Mahootian (Linguistics...

Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper