Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Weekend Update

Anna Romagnoli
This past weekend was the end of our spring break at Fordham. I spent this last week in West Palm Beach, FL with my two roommates. It was great to relax, enjoy the warm weather and spend time at the beach. Now that we are back, we are excited to enjoy spring and the rest of our last semester at Fordham!
My roommate and me enjoying the beautiful weather

Erica Restaino
Over Spring Break, I went on a Gabelli School of Business Study Tour to Santiago, Chile! In addition to exploring the city, we attended lectures at a Chilean Jesuit University and visited several companies. Since the Chilean economy is largely connected to its copper export, one of our visits was to Codelco's El Teniente Copper Mine, which is the largest copper mine in the world. It was quite the experience to go into a copper mine and see how the whole mining process works from start to finish. After the cold winter at Fordham, it felt so great to spend a week in the sun and the heat!
Some of us in all our mining gear

Danielle Smith
While I was sad to see Spring Break end I was happy to get back to Fordham to see my friends. Before my parents headed back home after dropping me off at school we stopped at Palumbo Bakery on Arthur Avenue for delicious pastries!
We love all the colorful treats

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Campus MovieFest

In just over two weeks, on April 8, Fordham will begin its seventh round of Campus MovieFest (or CMF), a national student film competition that takes place at colleges around the country. The challenge? Create a short film under five minutes long in just one week.

CMF provides students with all the basic equipment, including a Panasonic HD camera, microphone, tripod, and a Macbook Pro equipped with tools like Adobe Creative Cloud. After a week, CMF collects all of the movies for judging. The top sixteen films will screen on April 22nd--the same week as Spring Weekend--at a red carpet showcase in Keating Auditorium. There will be prizes given away the Fordham showcase, and the top four films go on to the CMF Hollywood Festival to compete for even bigger prizes.

Last April, I entered Campus MovieFest for the first time. My friends and I had little-to-no experience making films, but we decided it'd be a fun project. Our film, Mine, centers around a spoken word artist who performs a poem as a way to gain closure and strength after ending an unhealthy relationship. Even though we knew the production quality wouldn't be perfect, we tried our hardest to portray a realistic, nuanced portrait of domestic violence.

Production stills from Mine (cinematography by Fenizia Maffucci)

My friends Joe Gallagher (who I'd previously acted with in a play on campus produced by the Mimes and Mummers) and Sarah Davis also joined me onscreen. Sarah and I co-wrote the poem that my character recites in the film while Shannon Morrall produced, Fenizia Maffucci filmed, and Amanda Pell composed the score.

CMF doesn't notify you if your film has been selected for the showcase, so naturally the premieres get a good turnout from both filmmakers and friends. Our team was excited to see Mine show up about halfway through the showcase. I was definitely embarrassed about seeing my face on such a big screen, but I was equally proud of how it turned out, considering our general lack of experience. We also just had a really fun time at the showcase; the final sixteen films were really entertaining and diverse. Some were funny and romantic, others were scary, and some films, like ours, tackled sensitive subject matter. I would've enjoyed the CMF Premiere even if I hadn't competed.

Unfortunately we didn't win Best Drama at Fordham, but that didn't slow us down. All the finalists at each school have the opportunity to submit their film into the CMF National Wildcard round. After facing off with other Fordham films, and subsequently three different films from across the country, Mine officially became a national wildcard winner and got screened at the Hollywood festival!

In an even crazier twist, Upworthy.com found our film sometime during our wildcard campaign and featured it on their website and Facebook. (Here's our Upworthy page!)

A screenshot from the day after Upworthy posted Mine on their Facebook page.
(PS. That is a stock photo, NOT a still from our film... I think even partial nudity is prohibited by CMF haha)

We received messages from allies and survivors around the world, on Facebook and on Tumblr.  We were beyond happy to hear that so many people identified with the film and felt more hopeful as a result. Our experience with Campus MovieFest definitely reminded us of the power and importance of storytelling.

Finally, on a sillier note, here's a few bloopers and deleted scenes from the making of Mine:

If you're an actor, a writer, or a filmmaker--no matter what your experience level--you should definitely enter Campus MovieFest at Fordham! 

Getting Around Town

I'm originally from a small town outside of Cleveland, Ohio, and before coming to Fordham, I had never been to NYC.  One of the reasons I chose to attend the Rose Hill campus was because it had the typical college campus feel with lots of green space, yet it was close to Manhattan and all of the amazing opportunities that come with being one of the greatest cities in the world.  Before I arrived at school, I had never taken any form of public transportation, but three years later, I consider myself a pro at navigating the city.  Here is a breakdown of the usual ways Fordham students make their way around.

It's easy to get around and explore the city that's your home
Ram Van- The Ram Vans run between the Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses, with vans leaving each campus every half hour.  Each ride can take anywhere from 30 mins to an hour depending on if you're travelling during rush hour or not.  Students taking classes away from their home campus can get free passes, but anyone else can take the Ram Van for $3.50 a ride.  You can even reserve your seat for a van in advance online.  The Ram Vans are driven by students, so if you are looking for a job on campus consider being a driver. 

Ram Van also offers transportation to and from JFK and LGA airports for breaks.  I personally love this service.  I just enter my flight information and Ram Van will schedule me for a van that takes me from Rose Hill right to my terminal and gets me there in plenty of time without any hassle, all for $20.  When I'm coming back, I again provide my flight information and am scheduled for a Super Shuttle van for Fordham students that brings me right back to campus.  This inbound service costs $30.  Of course there are many other ways of getting between campus and the airport (and I've used different ways when I'm travelling and it's not a break for school), but I much prefer the Ram Van service because I know it's very safe and convenient.   

Metro North (Harlem Line)- The Metro North station is literally right next to campus.  It is about a 20 minute ride to Grand Central.  Heading back to campus, you usually hop on a train going to North White Plains, and Fordham is between the second and forth stop the train makes (depending on if the train is local or express).  During peak-hour, a ticket is $8.75, while an off-peak ticket is $6.50.  One of the great things about Metro North is that on the weekends there is a City Ticket, which is only $4.25 and you can use it to travel to or from Grand Central.  
You can see campus from the Metro North station
Subway/Local Bus- Subway and bus fare is $2.75 per ride.  There is a D train stop about a 10 minute walk from campus and a 4 train stop just a little bit further from that.  If you don't feel like walking, you can take one of the local buses that stops outside of campus to the subway stations and transfer to the train for free.  Although it takes a little bit longer, I like to taking the subway because I can transfer between trains for free, meaning I can get to right where I want to go without having to take another form of transportation.  There are subway maps in each of the trains, but I found a handy smartphone app that lets me plug in a starting and ending station and it will tell me which train(s) I need to take.   

From 10pm-6am, Public Safety has vans waiting right outside of the D station on Fordham Road to take students back to campus.  One van doesn't leave until another one shows up, so there is always someone there waiting for students getting off the subway.      

Taxi/Uber/Lyft- Of course there are these stand-by methods of getting around the city, and prices vary depending on where you want to go.  

An iconic NYC taxi in the basement of Forever 21 in Times Square
I have used all of these methods of getting around, and I think that each has its own benefits.  When deciding what I'll use I take into account: the time of day I'm traveling, who I'm traveling with, where I want to go, and how much I feel like spending.  I also think that if you're living in New York you should embrace the "walking culture" (which is why I don't mind taking the Metro North to Grand Central and walking 20 minutes to Penn Station).  With all of these ways of getting around, it is easy to take advantage of Fordham's prime location.  Happy travelling!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

St. Patrick's Day Festivities at Fordham

Here at Fordham there are countless clubs available for all students to join, including several cultural organizations.  There is the Gaelic Society, Hellenic Society, and Insieme Italian Cultural Society just to name a few!  With St. Patrick’s Day this month, there have been a few different Irish events.  On Tuesday, March 10th at 8pm, there was a Ceili Night held in O’Keefe Commons.  It was a night full of music, dancing, and of course some traditional Irish food!  All students are welcome to come learn a ceili dance or some reel steps, and no experience is necessary.  These events are sponsored by Sláinte: Fordham Irish Dance, and are held a few times throughout the year!

Shirts designed & sold by the Gaelic Society this year

This past week Fordham was on Spring Break, but campus is never quite empty.  Besides the several students that live nearby (myself included!), many others stay in the local area during breaks for jobs, internships, etc.  On Tuesday, the Gaelic Society was invited to march in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade with the Fordham Alumni Association.  Beforehand, students were welcome to attend the alumni brunch free of charge!  Brunch was held at PwC on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, and started at 10am.  There was delicious food and even some live musical entertainment.  After the brunch, the fun continued as everyone assembled to march in the parade!

Tea at The Plaza

While living on campus, students can take advantage of various programs offered in the residence halls.  From games to movie viewings, there is always something being run by a building's RAs (resident assistants).

Recently, I was able to take part in my favorite program to date!  A few RAs from Campbell and Salice-Conley Halls joined together to plan a program to tea at The Plaza.  Residents were able to request to attend the program a few weeks before it was held, and twenty students were able to partake.
My roommate & I enjoying our tea
We traveled to the Palm Court one Saturday afternoon to enjoy tea, scones, finger sandwiches, and pastries in the famous Plaza Hotel.  We each paid only $15 to attend the elegant affair, making what is typically an expensive NYC experience much more affordable!

Our special "Fordham University" tea menus!
It was such a unique and fun experience that allowed me to cross one more thing off my NYC bucket list!

Friday, March 20, 2015

GO! on Spring Break

My roommate Emily is currently on a Global Outreach spring break project in the Adirondacks. Here's an interview with her to learn about GO! at Fordham.

Name: Emily Tormey
Major: Mathematics
Year: Junior
Hometown: Plainville, MA

What is GO!?
GO! stands for Global Outreach. The Global Outreach office is part of the Office of Mission and Ministry. They hold projects 3 times a year: winter break, spring break, and at the beginning of summer break. The projects are cultural immersion and service opportunities that all have a different and unique focus on different cultures and different social justice issues. There are 32 projects total a year between Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses, offering both domestic and international projects.

What GO! project are you going on?

I will be going on GO! Adirondacks.

What will you be doing? 
My team will be learning about the culture and history of the Mohawk and Abenaki tribes with a focus on their stewardship of the land and its resources.

What has your team done to prepare?
My team has been having weekly meetings since November. Every week we come together as a group and focus on a different aspect of the GO! mission and our particular trip’s focus.

Emily and some members of her team at GO! commissioning.
What are common practices of GO! projects?
GO! is centered on four pillars that are taken very seriously by the entire GO! community. They are spirituality, social justice, simple living, and community. Each of these pillars is extremely important to having a successful GO! project and they are all discussed in detail at our weekly GO! meetings.

What is the process to go on a trip?
First you have to submit an online application and interview with the project’s leader for each project you are interested in participating in. Once you have been selected, you meet with your group each week for about 2 hours. Additionally, each week you go on a one-on-one with a member of your group. That could be getting coffee off campus, grabbing lunch, or doing something fun in the city. The fun part of one-on-one’s is that you can do whatever you guys want together.

Another important aspect is fundraising. Each project does come with an estimated cost, but individuals are allowed to do personal fundraising and teams always do fundraising events together. Just a few weeks ago my team had a very successful fundraiser delivering bagels to students in their rooms or off-campus apartments. Also, the fundraisers are a great time to bond with your team and get to know them better.

What are you most looking forward to?
Well, one of the exciting things about GO! is that you don’t actually get a full itinerary of what you will be doing before you go. So, right now I know some general details of what the focus of our project is, but I do not know what activities we will be doing or what will happen on a day-to-day basis.

What are you least looking forward to?
Nothing. I am beyond excited to go on my project and spend a week with the amazing people I am lucky enough to be on a team with.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My Favorite Stress Reliever at Fordham

Okay, so I've had the absolute BEST time at Fordham these past two and a half years. I've made amazing friends that I know I'll have for the rest of my life and memories that I know I'll never forget. From city trips, to birthdays, to just hanging out with friends in the caf for hours, there's never a dull moment.

This isn't to say it's all fun and no work, though! Fordham is great, but like at any challenging university, you're going to be stressed from time to time. You'll have exams, papers, midterms (all three at once sometimes??), and it can get a bit hectic. But don't worry! It's totally doable and you'll get through it like all of us do.

Everyone has a stress reliever, especially in college. Whether it's meditation, yoga, reading, drawing, etc. I picked up my stress reliever my freshman year at Fordham, and it's running in the New York Botanical Gardens! It's so very conveniently located across the street from campus.
One of the trails! I can't wait for spring!!
The Botanical Gardens are BEAUTIFUL, and with spring coming up I can't stop thinking about it. After class or on a Saturday morning it's a great feeling to put your sneakers on and go for a nice run in one of the most stunning places I've ever been. Not a runner? The "botans" is still awesome even just for a casual stroll!
Nothing like a nice run with some friends!

When you come here in the fall, make SURE to check this place out; it's a Fordham staple. And an extra bonus, Fordham students get in for free!

My Birthday at Fordham

Here at Fordham, there are tons of things to do in Manhattan, but there are also many fun activities to enjoy in the Bronx at Fordham's Rose Hill campus. To celebrate my birthday this year, my friends and I took advantage of the awesome restaurants and bakeries that are located right next to Fordham's campus on Arthur Avenue in Little Italy. Birthdays are always a fun occasion for me, but what made my birthday so special this year was the awesome celebration I had with my friends at Fordham this past weekend. 
My friends and I went to Zero Otto Nove
on Arthur Ave to celebrate my birthday! 
My birthday was last week, so my friends decided to take me out to celebrate the weekend before that. We went to an authentic Italian restaurant on Arthur Avenue called Zero Otto Nove. On Arthur Avenue, the Italian food is always delicious because it is authentic and made from fresh produce! My friends and I ordered brick oven pizza, chicken parmesan, ziti, and many other Italian dishes. The servers at the restaurant and my friends even sang "Happy Birthday" to me towards the end of the meal! Dining on Arthur Avenue is so much fun, and is a great way to get together with friends for a special occasion. 
A picture of my birthday cake from Palombo's Bakery
After dinner, my friends got me a beautiful birthday cake from Palombo Pastry Shop, an Italian bakery also located on Arthur Avenue. The cake was very decorative, and it definitely tasted as good as it looked! I had so much fun celebrating my birthday on Arthur Avenue with my best friends from Fordham. Fordham's great location offers so many opportunities to get together with friends, to celebrate special occasions, and to have many great and memorable experiences! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy Spring Break!

Alligators in South Carolina (from a safe distance)
Hello from South Carolina! I am spending my very last spring break at Fordham down south with my roommates. So far, I've seen about 20 alligators (very scary), three gorgeous sunsets, and more palm trees than I could count. It's the ideal place for some rest and relaxation before out sprint to graduation.

Exploring Little Italy (the Manhattan version;
it's not as good as Arthur Avenue) my sophomore year.

Spring Break at Fordham always gives students a lot of opportunities. Freshman year, I flew home to celebrate my birthday with my extended family and catch my cousin's play. Some students stay at Fordham over break, and that's what I did my sophomore year. I took advantage of the extra time to explore while helping finish a volume of the Fordham Undergraduate Research Journal. Although some residence halls close over break, students who stay can relocate to on-campus apartments. I lived in Salice-Conley and got a taste for the still-new apartments that seniors (and some juniors) get to enjoy.

I spent my junior year abroad in Granada (you might be able to find a few posts about my study abroad experience here or here), so spending spring break in Paris was a no-brainer. A lot of Fordham students jump at the chance to travel a little further during break. I know friends who have paired off to explore Europe (spending today in Ireland, of course), grouped up to head to a Caribbean resort. or signed up for GO! projects to devote their breaks to immersion and/or service. Some GO! projects this break include San Jose, California; the Adirondacks in upstate New York (which you may hear about later this week-- stay tuned!); and Les Cayes, Haiti.

There is no wrong way to do spring break, but I've found the the best way is to spend it with your Fordham family.

P.S. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Studying Abroad With Fordham London (Is The Best)

Kensington Palace- A 5-minute walk from Fordham's campus!
The best experience I have had at Fordham University was my semester abroad in London through Fordham’s London Centre. For four full months, I spent my weekends traveling around Europe and my days exploring the ins and outs of London- and of course, going to class. As a marketing student, Fordham offered all the business classes and marketing electives that I need, which allowed me to continue my studies and while expanding my horizons, growing as a person, and mastering all forms of European public transportation. I also made so many new Fordham classmates through the program, many of which I am still very close with now that we are all back in the Bronx.

Gabelli School Trip to Rome
While I technically speaking had a “semester abroad in London”, I prefer to think of my experience as a semester abroad in Europe with London as my home base. London is where lived, studied and explored Monday through Thursday and anywhere else in Europe is where you could find me on the weekends. During that time I travelled to 10 different countries including France, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Italy, and the Czech Republic. I ate traditional Czech goulash, clinked beer steins at the largest German festival in Munich, and climbed the rural mountains of Scotland. I ate potatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Ireland and dined in the mountains of Gruyere, Switzerland with, of course, gruyere cheese fondue. I learned how to navigate almost any public form of transportation and have mastering the art of being comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Our Flat

And while traveling on the weekends was always exciting, returning to London, to Fordham’s campus was always something to look forward to. My flat (British for apartments) was my home and my classmates were both my best friends and family. Classes were hands-on and field trips exploring the city and its treasures were common. Our professors were both encouraging and understanding about traveling, but still expected us to work hard and really learn in our classes.
London Centre Fall 2014 Farewell Tea Party

I cannot stress how great my experience in London was and I encourage every Fordham student to study abroad in order to discover it for themself.

Check out the the Fordham London's Facebook page and website for more information. Happy travels!