Art at an Artless School by Owen Huelsbeck


Pop music blares from the courtyard as crowds shuffle on to their next classes at Santa Clara University. This group has spent its time dressing up for class, wearing the brands – Patagonia, Lulu, Vineyard Vines. There’s a band playing (probably) at the next quarterly Love Jones, and there sure is plenty of art on campus, though it might take an unusually keen eye to appreciate the paintings hanging outside the Benson bathrooms which have become scenery enough they have started blending in with the beige wall paint.

Nobody has seriously considered Santa Clara University an arts school. At SCU, we have 42 studio art majors, making them roughly 1 in every 105. Chances are you aren’t one of those majors and aren’t close with one of those majors, making enthusiastic support for the arts rather sparse. Without studying art in the classroom, creating art requires free-time, which can be hard to come by. It’s much better to have the class to push you. But without this being a realistic possibility for various reasons including parents who cry, “Study art? Maybe when you start paying your own tuition!” Or maybe you’re an engineer carefully contemplating your only elective for the next two years and really just want to get down and dirty with an archeology class.

At some “artsy schools” around one in three students are majoring in some kind of art, be it studio or performing. On these campuses, even if you aren’t the one creating art, a friend is, making extracurricular participation in the arts easy and supporting the arts even easier. Support and practice are complimentary; those who don’t participate, support, which encourages those making art to continue, while those making art actively encourage those only supporting to jump into the mix and get creative; it’s circular.

There are plenty of reasons why the arts might not be practical for you to study within a classroom but it’s undeniable that there is a lot to learn and gain from the arts. There’s a high degree of therapy to it. Getting lost in the moment while creating art can be a liberating escape from the everyday anxieties of college life. Your mind will constantly be flipping over and playing with new ideas and imagery in a positive way. It has health benefits as well. Drawing or painting can improve depression and burnout, and making and listening to music activates the same area of the brain as chocolate, opium and orgasms.

If you look down upon the arts, I challenge you to admire those artists bold enough to shape the world through their own creative expression for your own benefit. Don’t let yourself get too caught up in the serious business of life. Taking the time to experience art is essential. Start by showing support for the arts – go see the spring play; get a team together for the student film festival this spring; go to one of our student band’s concerts; go to the museum on campus; or organize your own arts event.

There are so many ways to show support, and perhaps once you’ve uncovered the joy in that, you’ll find the inspiration to participate.



The Reluctant Super Bowl City by Tyler Chace

sup broIt was a beautiful and busy Monday morning in February at the foot of Market Street in the city of San Francisco. The hustle and bustle of the city was cranked up a notch as workers began to take down “Super Bowl City” in the wake of Super Bowl 50. The weeklong affair that lead up to the big game featured a fan village center, an interactive expo, and a Metallica concert at AT&T Park. Despite these epic events and activities taking place in San Francisco, many locals were left unhappy about how all of this went down.

But why, you may ask, would the people of San Francisco be unhappy that such a monumental event was hosted by their city? Well, you see the actual Super Bowl, the game itself, did not take place in “Super Bowl City.” The game was a 90-minute trek, 50 miles south in the small town of Santa Clara.

“I was late to work almost everyday last week because of all the traffic, and the game didn’t even taking place here,” said Carlie Nevels, a 25 year-old resident who works in the Financial District.

Nevels is not alone. Many other San Franciscans were scratching their heads at the sight of drunken football fans and assault-rifle wielding guards lining their streets. “It would be a little different if the game took place in “Super Bowl City,” Nevels added.

Aside from the increased levels of traffic, noise, and overall congestion, there seems to be something else going on here in the heads of San Franciscans. There is clearly an under-the-surface anger that goes beyond traffic congestion.

The San Francisco 49ers moved from Candlestick stadium to Levi Stadium in 2014. The primary reason for the move was lack of state of the art amenities and traffic problems on highway 101. Anyone who has been to a game at the new stadium knows that these pull factors to move the stadium, turned out to be a hoax. The only thing that re-locating the stadium and team has done is diminish the fan base and create a misrepresentation of San Francisco.

Photo: shanand/Twitter

The Joys of Not Drinking by Anna Patton

stay sober.jpgIt may not look like it, but Santa Clara University is a party school.

We may not have known that when applying. We may not have known that when we first stepped foot on campus. But as soon as “welcome weekend” hit, everyone found out the college campus culture they were really getting themselves into. And depending on who you are, you may have been happy or you may have been disappointed. Despite our curb appeal as a small, private Jesuit University, we happen to have made College Niche, an online college-ranking site, top 100 party schools list as number 68, two spots ahead of UCLA.

If you ask most students around campus why they go out all the time, their response is usually one in the same, they all seem to say that there is nothing else to do here. It’s an unfortunate truth; the closest source of entertainment is going to Bill’s Cafe down the street on Saturday mornings and getting pancakes to curb the nasty hangover we got the night before.

If you ask around school and talk to the social butterflies, they all say they love the party scene. They love going out on Tuesdays and Thursdays to the bars, and Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays to parties.

But there is a community of people we have completely forgotten. What about the non-drinkers? Those who don’t enjoy drinking, those who were possibly disappointed when they learned that Santa Clara was such a big party school, what about them?

After talking to numerous students around campus, it was clear that there were two distinct types of people in the “non drinking” scene at Santa Clara. These two types of people were perfectly exemplified through two of the interviews I conducted on the subject.

Meet Lane Cunningham, a current freshman here at Santa Clara. Apart from his winning smile and outgoing personality, something sets Lane apart from a lot of the students here at school. He has never tasted alcohol before in his life and he says that he most likely will not drink until his late twenties and even then he won’t drink much. Lane has also recently joined one of the fraternities off campus, which usually implement a lot of alcohol into their pledging processes.

After bombarding him with many questions of, “Are you sure? No but are you actually sure? So you’ve never even had a sip at all? What about wine? No? Nothing?” I finally accepted the fact that Lane was telling the truth.

Lane has never felt pressured into drinking at Santa Clara despite being in a fraternity, “Everyone is really supportive of me.”

Lane’s decision not to drink comes from the way he was brought up and the fact that he likes being there for friends, “I got comfortable with going to events sober. I like being there for friends and I got comfortable with being the designated driver all of the time.” Lane knew what he was getting himself into when he made his decision to come to Santa Clara University, it didn’t bother him at all and the transition was easy due to the fact that he had gotten comfortable with not drinking in high school.

Lane says it’s never really been awkward for him going to events, but he did laugh and say it was a little uncomfortable when he went to a “date and a fifth” once, an event where you and your date are supposed to finish a fifth of alcohol between each other. Lane doesn’t look down on people for drinking, however, he does believe that drinking can lead to bad habits, “Scientifically, you shouldn’t drink until about age twenty-four but that’s never really talked about. I think that if you start drinking too early it can cause bad habits.But for the most part I think that in a controlled environment it’s relatively ok.”

Lane doesn’t go to the on campus events catered towards those who don’t drink because he has never heard of them and even if he had he would not go; “I still like to go out and meet people and those events are probably made for the people who don’t like going out at all even if they’re sober.”

In contrast to Lane, a Santa Clara student who would like to remain anonymous said that she had definitely heard of the events held on campus catered to students who don’t like going out because she attended many as a freshman. She thinks that the events are important to have, “I think they are a good alternative to going out. It’s nice to get free food and it’s a fun thing to do but I would say it’s not the plan for the night but it’s a good way to meet up with friends to go and do something afterwards.”

Continuing the conversation, she also commented on the fact that she thinks the University does enough to provide activities for those who don’t enjoy going out, “I think there are enough events. The Activities Planning Board and the Residential Learning Communities both do programming and if you added more it would be spread too thin. If people don’t go out they know what they like to do that’s not going out. People who want to go to these events go to them, they know about them.”

Her own view on drinking is that, “I personally don’t drink. I’m pretty drunk in real life I don’t need alcohol to feel crazy. I get annoyed when other people are drinking if I have to take care of them. That’s when it gets annoying. I don’t care as long as you can be responsible.” She knew that Santa Clara was a party school when deciding to come here and was okay with it. She said that on her initial tour of the school her tour guide told her that they don’t have drinking in the residence halls and the fact that the Greek system was off campus made her feel better about coming here.

Through my conversations with students here at Santa Clara, and through my interviews with Lane and she who shall not be named, it became clear that there are students who don’t drink who still enjoy going out despite the fact that they are always sober, and a lot of students who don’t enjoy going out and are happy that these events on campus are available to them. The moral of the story is, if you do not like to drink, despite being a party school, there are groups of people for you to fit in with and you are not alone.


Image Courtesy of:






Anything but Ordinary-A volunteering Experience by Salma Ferdowsi

It was a cloudy, windy January afternoon. I walked into Capernaum hesitant, but also excited to see everyone. Young Life Capernaum is a nonprofit Christian ministry serving people of all ages and faiths who have physical and/or developmental disabilities. Inside, I sat beside Rebecca, a bright, ridiculously funny fifteen-year-old who is visually impaired. We talked about her day at school, and if she had any plans for the weekend. As more kids came rolling into the club room, I noticed the loud exciting conversations about the basketball game that was on the previous night.

“Did you watch the game?” I asked Rebecca, immediately regretting my choice of words and my entire question.

She laughed. “I listened to it, but it got boring so I stopped halfway,” she said.

It was one of the many encounters, both small and momentous, that I experienced as a volunteer through the Santa Clara University Arrupe program. Like many students, I was wary of the program at first, but I came away with a better understanding of the world around me and a belief that volunteering reduces the marginalization of the disabled, the homeless, immigrants and other groups. In addition, it enables students to get outside the classroom and the SCU bubble and truly immerse themselves in their community.

In order to graduate from Santa Clara University, at least one session of the Arrupe program is required. The program is a community based volunteering that is connected with certain courses at the university. For the ten weeks of the course, typically students are required to complete 20 hours of volunteering with an organization.

IMG_0547Young Life Capernaum is a place for friendship, fun, and self-expression. The Capernaum high school club is held every Tuesday from 2 to 4 PM. In addition to living with a disability, these children often face neglect, isolation, and bullying at their schools. Most of them only have relationships with service people — physical therapists, doctors, teachers, and others who primarily function as a caretaker. Besides the lack of social life, these individuals face obstacles that most of us are unaware of and most likely will never experience.

“We are acting as a bridge by which kids with disabilities can find life,” said Capernaum founder Nick Polermo. “It is a being a friend and helping them get to places they cannot go on their own.”

Picture1Approximately 10 percent of the world population lives with a disability, according to the United Nations, including more than 56 million Americans. Yet, in a survey with 50 SCU students, only 15 thought it was necessary to have contact with the poor, and just 19 thought volunteering was necessary. (When the same survey was given in East San Jose at a public school, almost all students said it is necessary to volunteer and help people in need.)

Danny Hartman, a senior political science major, was “skeptical” about volunteering at Capernaum as a requirement for his Religion and Society course.

“I felt kind of forced,” he said. “My mindset after one session changed toward the requirement. It was more fun than I expected. Once I got to know the kids and they get to know me, it became something I looked forward to.”

Like Hartman, many students are not pleased with the mandatory volunteering requirement at SCU, but they often find it fulfilling in the end.”

“My overall experience at Capernaum taught me so much about myself and also about the marginalized society in our communities” Hartman said.
IMG_0391.jpgVolunteering lends support to those in need, and provides a personal sense of hope and fulfillment.

“It was one of the most memorable experiences of my time at Santa Clara University,” Hartman said.

Taneisha Figeuroa, a senior communication major, completed two Arrupe placements. Her first was at the Senior Home for her Anthropology of Aging course. She taught older adults how to use tablets, phones and computers. For those who spoke English as a second language, she helped them pay bills and make appointments.

“Life doesn’t end once you hit the age of 60 or 70,” she said. “I understand my parents and grandparents way of thinking much better. I don’t judge as much.”


Life Without Cars by Isabel Fernandez-Hernaiz


Trapped without bars or supervision. Unable to free oneself from the mocking shadows of the great halls of learning, ever taunting of one’s procrastination. Unsavory food is gorged down for a glimpse of a memory of better days. Begging for deliverance but the surrounding area is uneventfully helpful. Weeks go by and it all becomes a numbed routine with one thought in mind, what a difference a car would make.

In Santa Clara University, there is an insufficient amount of parking. Leading to the policy of no resident SCU freshman students are permitted to bring cars to campus during the entire year, beginning on the fall quarter and ending after the spring quarter. Stranded first-years are left to fend for themselves when it comes to transportation.

Leaving my car at home to be sold by my parents was very difficult. Not only did my personal mode of transportation vanish, I now was stranded in a campus that offered very little in regards to the option of places one could go with friends to release some stress. Yes, there’s Uber and the Caltrain, but what I most yearn for is the ability to pick up and go where ever I would like, no restrictions on the destinations and the control of changing said destination midway.

To put it in one word, the life in Santa Clara without a car is “limited,” as a fellow freshman loudly stated in an interview as she sat at a table in the lunch-hour craze of Benson.

“I feel trapped in a metal cage, like a mouse,” she explained, “there isn’t that much to do around here besides party.”

She fantasized the days in the future when she would be able to drive her own car and leave campus to go eat, visit, and explore something, anything else.

For other students without cars, life on campus doesn’t seem as limiting. “My life without a car in Santa Clara is not that different from the life I had at home,” said another first year.

Living only 45 minutes away, this student’s transportation options were much more accessible because her family so close and her sister works in Santa Clara.

“I get to go home on weekends, which doesn’t make me feel trapped at all by SCU, “ she explained.

Car, no car, the experience varies from different circumstances to different people, like most things in life. But at least for me, a car next year would definitely be a welcoming addition to my college experience.


Photo Credit: Chicago Tribune (

Trumped Up by Monica Victor


And they’re off! The 2016 race to be the next leader of the greatest country in the world has begun. Got Democrats to the left and Republicans to the right. Regardless of affiliation, these candidates are eager to say the right thing in order to get votes.

There is one candidate that has stolen the spotlight. His name, as you might already know, is Donald Trump.

It seems as though there is a new headline about him every day. Trump offended women by saying this; Trump offended this racial group by saying that, and so on. One of Trump’s biggest advantages is that he constantly receives attention from the press. No matter if it’s good coverage or bad coverage, Trump continues to have his name plastered all over the media, making him the most well known candidate across the states.

If it’s bad news he’s in, Trump sure knows how to bring even more attention out of the situation. He regularly uses Twitter to call out companies such as Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, and more for their negative attitudes toward his campaign.

He even attacks individual reporters. Megyn Kelly’s name has frequently made an appearance on Trump’s twitter feed. His most recent tweet about Kelly, “Why does @megynkelly devote so much time on her shows to me, almost always negative? Without me her ratings would tank. Get a life Megyn!” Trump loves to credit himself for bringing fame to Kelly.

So what do college educated students think of the race and Donald Trump?

After the first republican debate, I over heard two male students, clad in their fraternity letters, in my international relations class talking about their reactions. One of the students praised Trump for his idea of building a wall, to keep “them” out. The other student strongly agreed. This statement caught me off guard because I’ve always thought of SCU as an accepting environment. It was reassuring to know that fellow students were taking time to watch the debate, but not so great to hear immigrants being referred to as “them.”

But of course, not everyone at Santa Clara agrees with Trump.

“Honestly, I’m nervous. I think Donald Trump is a joke. I think a lot of students who agree with what Trump is saying don’t necessarily understand the consequences of his policies, but again I don’t know if that’s applicable to the majority,” Explained Lidia Diaz Fong, junior Political Science major at Santa Clara.

Everyone can voice their opinions on Trump and the other candidates, but student turnout on Election Day is what really matters when it comes to choosing the next president.

Recently, there has been an increase in criticizing younger generations on their voter turnouts. In 2014, youth voter turnout fell to its lowest level on record. Just 19.9 percent of 18- to 29-year-old citizens cast ballots last fall, compared with an average of 26.6 percent for the same age range in other midterm elections over the previous 40 years, showed a study released by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University.

The election is associated with many issues that are salient to the younger voters, including lowering the price of college, legalizing marijuana, gun control, and a women’s right to choose. Hopefully, these issues will be enough to get the younger generations to the voting booths.

Voting is something we as American citizens take for granted. We haven’t lived in a time where voting was a privilege. America prides itself on the freedoms of democracy. If we feel that the right to elect our government is important, why don’t college students choose to vote?

I asked a few students their opinions about voting in the 2016 election. One senior said, “yes I’m registered to vote but, I don’t know if I’ll actually vote in this election because personally I think politics is a lot of talk and no action,” expressing his frustration with politics in the United States.

Finding the time to actually make it to the voting stations is another reason for inadequate youth participation. Students have class, work, papers, and midterms packed into their tight schedules. Making time in these strict schedules isn’t easy. Emily Takimoto, junior engineer student, expressed that, “I want to vote, but it’s matter of if I find the time to do so on Election Day.”

The youth participation in this election is vital. We are electing the individual who is going to be calling the shots on the issues that we care about. These decisions that the next president makes are going to be affecting our generation for the next four years. If we want to have a say, and have our voices heard, we need to do make an effort to increase the youth presence at voting stations everywhere.

Get educated, get registered, and get out and vote (for anyone who’s name is not Donald Trump.)


Photo courtesy of NBC

The Art of Going Out by Olivia Hayes

1394342156000-2425-d005-00368rIt’s a Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. and third floor Dunne is full of loud planning for the night’s activities as the distinct smell of cheap booze wafts down the hallway. Shouldn’t students be studying or reading? Or at least pretending to be studying or reading? Maybe that’s acceptable at some schools, but not at Santa Clara. As 9:30 rolls around girls finish putting on their mascara as boys pull out one of their nicer button-down flannels and get ready to start the night. Quietly, students hide their fifths of $15 Smirnoff in their shirts and walk down the hallway to a friend’s room where the party begins.

“Pre-gaming,” defined by Urban Dictionary as “[drinking] alcohol before attending an event or social function (especially of a person who is underage),” is a crucial part of going out for any college student, ensuring that the night will be one you wished you could remember the next morning. Before leaving, students down a handful of shots, intending to drink more when the actual party begins. As 10:30 passes, students begin to pour out of the dorms ready to seize the night, unconcerned about making it to their midterm the next morning.

Victoria (who asked that her real name not be used), a first-year social butterfly who is in a sorority and lives in Dunne, was surprised by the volume of partying on campus. There is a party somewhere on most nights, and she said there’s a sense of FOMO, or fear of missing out, that compels students to participate.

As Friday rolls around, mixers between the sororities and fraternities take up a large part of the party structure. Girls are seen walking together in clumps wearing their finest cheetah print or most authentic ‘80s ski gear.

On your typical Friday night, students leave between 10:30 and 11. Unless you have a specific place to be such as a mixer or a party you were invited to, you are most likely wandering Bellomy, or Santa Clara’s very own unofficial Greek Row. More often than not you will find yourself walking into someone’s open front door, implying that all are welcome.

Worried that your buzz is wearing off, you walk to the bar and grab some jungle juice, or if you’re feeling ambitious a shot of what tastes like rubbing alcohol. Confident, that you’ve done all you can to keep up your current level of intoxication you wander in the hopes of finding someone new to talk to, or perhaps to the dance floor in order to make a true ass of yourself before the night is over.

Sometimes, for those less fortunate, you might find yourself out of luck after wandering around the street, lurking outside of what seems to be a lit up house. Once you finally feel embarrassed enough, you might walk back to your dorm, or to The Bronco, to grab a piece of pizza and curly fries in order to soak up all of that wasted alcohol.

“I think the large majority if not more than half [of SCU students] go out. I The parties are never out of control, but there is a lot of underage drinking there’s a lot of drug use, but it’s never excessive to where things get out of control,” says an SCU first year “I think people like the culture here.”

The morning after, a truly wonderful experience, where your best bet is to wake up in your own bed with only a mild headache. The worst? Waking up three blocks from campus on a couch in a house that does not belong to you, still drunk. Hoping that you didn’t do anything too regrettable last night, you walk back to your dorm thankful that it’s a Saturday and that you can sleep off the night during the day. You climb into bed, knowing that you’ll need it because you have exactly twelve hours to get it together before the whole process begins again.

Image: taken from the movie: “Neighbors”×1680/local/-/media/USATODAY/USATODAY/2014/03/09//1394342156000-2425-D005-00368R.JPG


Vape Culture Gives Rise to a New Community by Summer Meza

Dai Sugano

Ken Miguel of San Jose exhales e-cigarette vapor on Oct. 18, 2013 at The Vape Bar in San Jose. Photo by Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Kishan P. walked into a convenience store one day two years ago and saw a small vape pen for about $15. Thinking it would be a portable alternative to hookah, he bought it. After taking it home, he let his friends try it out.

Fast forward to today, and Kishan has spent between $400 and $500 on vape pieces and juices, the liquid solution that contains nicotine. He is a part of “vape culture,” the intense following that vaporizers and e-cigarettes have gained in recent years. This niche culture has been the cause of a new public health debate and plenty of scrutiny regarding the hobbyist aspect that vapers enjoy.

“I used to smoke a lot of hookah with my friends,” said Kishan. “I liked the social aspect and the smoke tricks, but after a while I felt like shit. I could feel the health effects, especially the way my lungs would feel when I was at the gym.”

Kishan’s foray into vaping began the same way the vape industry did – as a way to find a healthier alternative to smoking, either to help smokers quit or to reduce secondhand smoke.

“After a while though, I realized I wasn’t even using my vape for the health benefits anymore, just because I was into the culture of it,” said Kishan.


Photo courtesy of

This culture is stereotyped as “bro” type men who like to show off with huge clouds of vapor, dropping exorbitant sums of money on customized set-ups. As reported by ABC News, some researchers found that vapes are easier on your lungs, containing fewer of the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes. But because the devices are relatively new, conclusive studies are still not entirely reliable, according to the California Department of Public Health. Not everyone believes that they are the harmless hit they’re made out to be.

“At one point, I got a few of those disposable vape pens and figured I’d give them a try,” said Jake L., who has smoked cigarettes for five years. “But I just got more used to nicotine and felt more addicted than I even had before. Since you can smoke them pretty much whenever you want, you start craving the nicotine.”

The addictions that are formed, in addition to the gadget aspect of vapes, may explain how so many people become involved. On a college campus, where young people have an abundance of social time, it’s easy to get friends in on your hobbies as well, when they might not have otherwise.

After Kishan let his friends try out his first vape pen, they were eager to buy their own. And from there, Kishan said, everything just spiraled.

“One friend would get a cooler set-up, and then everyone would just want the same one or one that was even better.”

The social and hobbyist aspect keeps people heavily involved – once you know the vaping basics, there is plenty to be discussed as far as ‘specs’ and funky flavored ‘juices.’
Part of the allure is that vapes can be custom built. A user can buy each piece of the set-up separately depending on their preference, and compare theirs with their friends’.


Graphic courtesy of Mark Nowlin, Seattle Times.

While vape culture has increased, both Santa Clara University and Santa Clara County have cracked down on the devices, releasing a health advisory in 2015 to treat e-cigarettes and vapes the same as more traditional tobacco products, according to NBC News Bay Area. Vapers are not to puff anything within a 30-foot buffer of anywhere that cigarettes are banned.

Local vape enthusiasts, however, are not so easily deterred. Kyle Fisher, owner of Santa Clara Vapors, doesn’t see vape culture slowing down anytime soon.
“Customers come in and realize that they can sit and try 50 different flavors, and they start to get really into it,” said Fisher. “It’s kind of like wine tasting at this point.”

The appeal of tinkering with various pieces of the device is another part of what keeps hobbyists engaged and coming back to buy an ever-increasing number of accessories.

“The people who use vapes to quit cigarettes generally don’t care how the thing works, or what it tastes like,” said Fisher. “It’s the people who realize that they can [mess] with the hardware and sample flavors who end up going to expos, accumulating paraphernalia, and all that. It’s like being really into cars – with so much maintenance, different specs, and being able to customize it all.”

In terms of the stereotypes of vape culture, Kishan is sure to point out that not all vapers are, as the Daily Globe and Mail put it, “Ed Hardy-wearing frat pledges.”

“Yeah, some people are douchebags who want to show off and vape in restaurants and airports, but that’s not really what it’s all about,” he said.
Whether the future of vaping looks something like Napa Valley, with vape connoisseurs and sampling rooms, or if it’s just a trend that will die out, possibly disproven by long-term research, remains to be seen.

“Vape culture has its issues, I think everyone knows that,” said Kishan. “But there are some positives too. I don’t know, I guess we’ll see what happens.”