Throwback Thursday: Counting Down 10 Subcultures from Around the World

Enjoy this great post from November 14, 2013

It’s easy to get carried away with the stereotypes of countries, but what about the little niches where the, weird, ab-normal, and sub-normal still take root?  After the mods, the hipsters, the flappers, the greasers, zazous and hippies, who could really shock the normalized main culture anymore?  And what about the seedy underbelly of some of the world’s major cities; styles associated with crime and a lack of a savings account that have leaked into the mainstream?  Take these snapshots to educate yourself on the derogatory and pejorative; they’ve gone from the gutters to inspire mainstream style and global following.

10.  Russian Gopnik

Gopnik is not often a self-identifier but a derogatory slang term used to describe lower-class men in Russia; gopnik’s are pointed for high crime rates, wearing athletic gear/track suits, short-haircuts, and drug/alcohol abuse.  While made popular in the 1990’s, gopnik is actually derived from the Russian acronym GOP (Gorodskoe Obshestvo Prizreniye) which means “City Public Charity”; it referred to those living in public housing in pre-revolutionary Russia.  Thank god for ethnographers; gopniks are often found to be “squatting in archways, parks, or at trolleybus stops, smoking cigarettes, drinking beer and eating sunflower seeds”.  Not just in Russia, the culture also extends to post-Soviet countries.  In Latvia they are referred to as urla, in Lithuania? Forsas.


More Bits: According to the head of LDPR Moscow Branch, gopniks forma percentage of his party’s electoral base and are actually considered one of the most powerful political forces in Russia’s democracy  today.

9.  Miami Chonga

With short origins, the Spanish word chonga refers to working class women in Miami/Southern Florida area; they stand out as being aggressive, sexually liberal and emotionally expressive Latina women.  Originally considered a derogatory term, it is being switched around by those who wear it proudly as a mark of emerging feminism for Latina women in America.


More Bits: Gender studies scholar Jillian Hernandez noted the chonga subculture among women as an “emerging icon” of working class women and can actually be an empowering outlet.

8.  Japanese Bōsōzoku

Simply put as Japanese customized motorcycle gangs, the word Bōsōzoku actually translates to “violent running tribe”.  Bōsōzoku actually rose with the boom of the Japanese automobile industry in the 1950’s and used de-mufflered motorcycles to loudly tear through city streets and cause all kinds of ruckus, displaying deep disaffection and dissatisfaction with the Japanese status quo.


More Bits:  Bōsōzoku gangs often run streets, waving imperial Japanese flags  and have been found on major highways numbering in the 100s.

7.  Argentinian Floggers

Deconstructed, foto-bloggers (floggers) in Argentina is a teen fashion statement popularized by the end of 2004.  Much of the style is taken from glam rock, a subculture popularized in the US and UK in the 1980s.  It has also developed along a new love for electro house and techno music, and adopting dance moves from other countries, such as Belgian jumpstyle.  Flogging has immigrated throughout South America, finding fandom in Chile, Argentina and Brazil as well.


More Bits:  The act of flogging actually refers to a widely recognized website, in which floggers upload a photo a day to their blog- it has over 18 million members.
6.  Norwegian Black Metal

Probably the most terrifying on the list, the Norwegian Black Metal scene developed a following as a subculture in the early part of the 1990s.  It can actually be tied to a single shop in Oslo- a record store called Helvete (“Hell”).  The shop eventually attracted the negative attention of police and the media, leading to its closure in 1993.  Often tied to crimes of murder, arson, and other sinister acts, the Norwegian black metal subculture was most vocal and controversial for their anti-Christian beliefs and negativity towards any organized religion.  Most followers ranged from as young as fourteen up to those in their mid-twenties.


More Bits:  Members of the band Mayhem were key leading figures in the movement- some things they believed in included totalitarianism.  They spoke out against individualism, compassion, peace, happiness and fun.

5.  British/American Steam Punk

A mixture of sci-fi elements, the steampunk subculture combines a fascination with steam-powered industrial machinery (trains, engines, etc.) of Western civilization- set in the future.  They envision themselves in a post-apocalyptic Earth where people revert back to the great old days of industrialization.  Influential authors that inspire this group include Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Mary Shelley.  Steampunk as a subculture gained interest as early as 1987 but now features several publications, including their own magazine and conventions.  The emphasis is as much on fashion as it is on invention, blending styles from the Victorian age to the American westward expansion.

 Part 2

More Bits: Confusing and synonymous descriptors include anachronistic technologies and retro-futuristic inventions.

4.  Slovenian Punks

The only group on the list that can claim its own autonomous region is  in the center of a major city, Metelkova City in Ljubljana Slovenia, the social hub for punks and the ‘transient’ of Slovenia.  Formerly a Yugoslav military barracks, Metelkova City was formed as a squatter’s village in 1993 at the dissolvent of the old Yugoslavian state.  Characterized by its culture- a mixture of free jazz, rockabilly, heavymetal, and dub/techno/electronic music- this shantytown-gone-creative-community is the product of post-soviet deconstruction and a severe distrust for all types of establishment.  Instead of the state, a hyper-cultural district was outlined in the wake of a squatters district and has become one of the most impressive parts of the capital city.


More Bits:  Run and organized by the Network for Metelkova and the RETINA nonprofit organization, these two organizations were formed by the Movement for the Culture of Peace and Nonviolence and the Student Cultural Center Association and gained recognition of autonomy from the City Council in 1995.

3.  Japanese Sukeban

Loosely translated as “boss girl”,  the Sukeban of Japan refers to the girl-leader of gangs of school-age girls.  Cited methods of violence used by this group, includes cigarette burns, beatings, and even cases of lynching.  The largest Sukeban even organized was the Kanto Women Delinquent Alliance which recorded 20,000 members.  Members were often noted to be feared by their brightly dyed hair, sailor-like-schoolgirl characteristic fashion, and bright socks.  They were also noted to have used stimulant drugs and engaged in numerous cases of shoplifting and theft.


More Bits: The Sukeban image has been popularized in Japanese manga and anime to a very large extent; the existence of adorable (kawaii) yet dangerous characters based on real life makes them seem less ridiculous

2.  Russian Stilyagi

From the 1940s-1960s these Russian “style-hunters” or “hipsters” were called stilyagi.  Dressing in Western clothes of the time, listening to rock music, and sporting modern haircuts, they formed the underground movement against their “Soviet oppressors”.   Stilyagi was all about personal expression and defiance of Communist convention of the times.  They also were known for their apolitical views and rejection of Soviet morality; risking arrest by Russian police and being subjected to round-ups.  The movement and styles were forced underground until Stalin’s death in 1953, but still faced contempt from the mainstream society for their admiration of cinema-styles and American culture.


More Bits:  the stilyagi image has been portrayed in the popular 2008 film Stilyagi.

1. Mexican American Pachuco

A Pachuco was often a Mexican born in the US who was thought to have lost touch with Mexican culture in favor of zoot suits and flamboyant public displays.  The term is thought to originate in El Paso, Texas.  As the migration of Mexican railroad workers moved west to LA, so did the subculture and its peculiarities.  They could be spotted around nightclubs and were often associated with street gangs and petty crimes.  Lady pachucas were idealized women; they defied gender stereotypes of time by wearing extravagant evening gowns or even female-tailored versions of the zoot suit.  Participating  frequently in public life flowed counterculture to what a “good woman” was expected to be as those who were seen as good were bound to domestic life.

mexican american

More BitsPachuco culture even had its own subterranean language- a mixture of Spanish Gypsy Calo, Mexican Spanish, a New Mexican dialect, and American English all rolled into one.

Know any more interesting subcultures?  Message them to us here at Clark U’s Things That Matter!

-Bridget Healy

Teching-out the Farm Industry: Tasmanian Farms Lead the Way

Animal farming and agriculture always seemed pretty straightforward to me: plant a seed, water it and watch it grow; raise a farm animal, nurture him or her and encourage mating. I’m sure there is so much more to agriculture and raising livestock than I can even begin to grasp, but farming methods and techniques have seemingly eluded the otherwise all-encompassing push towards a technological era.

In Tasmania, an Isle belonging to the commonwealth of Australia, farms are just beginning to take advantage of modern technology thanks to a collaborative initiative between the University of Tasmania, the Tasmanian Government, IBM, and the Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). This program uses relatively simple technology, such as bio-tags and electronic collars, to monitor organism’s heart rate and other physiological conditions. The data collected then gets crunched into data system where experts can now potentially create a “digital view” of an economy. Right now most of the work being done involves cows and mollusks. Certain cows in northern Tasmania are now fitted with electronic collars in an effort to detect when these selected animals are most ready to be milked or inseminated (when they are in “heat”). The involved mollusks of Tasmania are now being monitored by probes which measure heart rate. These probes are further complimented by nearby devices that measure certain variables of the water in relation to the mollusk’s heart rate, such as salinity, temperature and the amount of photo-plankton. The goal with this particular project is to discover how mollusks react to a variety of environmental cues.

This Tasmanian initiative is still in its early stages, but this could be the first step to completely revolutionizing the farm industry. If we get really good at monitoring and interpreting this kind of data, our farms will flourish and perhaps even our technology sector might thrive. What’s even more exciting: this might be the beginning of the “farm to front door” movement. If surveillance programs such as Tasmania’s start picking up speed, consumers might be able to see how their products were handled, how their food was produced, and what impact their food had on the environment.

I can’t get enough of this! To check out what else the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture is up to, follow the link below:

-Alexander Santos

Celebrating Eid with a little bit of Dabke

‘Eid’ was probably my favorite holiday growing up. ‘Eid’ is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims all over the world. There are two different Eids that are celebrated. The first one is called Eid-al-fitr, also known as the ‘Feast of breaking the fast’, which is celebrated at the end of Ramadan (Islamic month of fasting). The second Eid is called Eid-Al-Adha and today we’ll look closely into its traditions and celebrations at Clark.


Eid-Al-Adha, also known as the ‘Feast of the sacrifice’, closely follows Eid-al-fitr. As mentioned in the Holy Quran, fourteen hundred years ago, Allah (or God) had asked prophet Ibrahim to prove his faith and devotion to Allah by sacrificing his one and only beloved son. Ibrahim was confused when he received this message from Allah but that did not stop him from having faith in his beliefs. After consulting with his son Ishmael, who had readily agreed to give his life as a sacrifice to Allah, they were ready to follow Allah’s command. When Ibrahim was ready to cut his son’s throat he was shocked to see that he was no longer holding Ishmael and was holding a sheep instead. This was Allah’s test to Ibrahim and he had passed with flying colors. Each year Muslims commemorate Ibrahim’s ultimate act of sacrifice on Eid-al-Adha by sacrificing an animal dear to them (usually cows, camels, goats, sheep or camels). The meat from the animal is then cooked for big family dinners, distributed to family members and the poor.

Last week the Clark University Muslim Cultural Society held their annual ‘Eid and Dabke Dinner’ at Tilton and it was absolutely F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S! As every year, the event was beautifully organized and Tilton was decorated with twinkling lights and Arabian lamp centerpieces. With music playing in the background and everyone dressed in their classiest attires, the night began with a short speech from a local Islamic scholar, Sheikh Uthman Khan, who emphasized on the importance of peace and tolerance in Islam. The crowd was very moved to learn the views of Islam presented by the speaker.

As expected, the night continued with mouth-watering Falafels, fried chicken, baklavas and so much more, catered by our local Bay-state bakery, Crown fried chicken and Fantastic Pizza. With the “oh-my-gosh this is delicious” and “this food is Ah-mazing” conservations sweeping in from all corners of the room, the night ended with its final act—Dabke. Dabke is a form of Levantine Arabian folk dance where people hold their hands together and form a circle to dance.


One cannot express in words the kind of excitement and joy that swarmed the room once the Dabke had began. Everyone joined in the circle, which slowly kept growing, and danced their hearts away to the upbeat middle-eastern music. As I looked at everyone’s glowing happy faces from across the room, the festive-Eid-mood had finally hit me! Back home, in Bangladesh, Eid is a time of family traditions and local festivities—a time when everyone gives up their regrets and disappointments and feels grateful for all that they have. Every year, my relatives from all over the city would join my family and I for a special Eid lunch cooked by my mother—an old tradition my Nani (grandmother) started which my mother continued after my Nani passed away. I also remember helping my parents distribute pounds of meat to the homeless families living near us.


Eid is a time for families coming together and communities growing stronger, and I was very humbled to see the same happening here at Clark during the MCS’s dinner that night. It was truly wonderful to experience Eid at my home-away-from-home the same way I did at home. Kudos to MCS for a very successful Eid full of sophistication, deliciousness, warmth and fun!

Suaida Firoze

Tahitian Pearl Farmers

We usually think of human – environment interaction negatively, but let’s imagine a more positive, healthy relationship. A family of Tahitian pearl farmers catalyzed a now global movement to break this stigma of human-environment interactions and started continuing their trade sustainably. Didn’t know pearl farming was even a thing? Me either. So here is the gist:


  1. Pearl oysters of a specific breed are collected and then “seeded.” When an oyster is mature enough, a farmer will pry open its shell and insert a small object to serve as the nucleus of a new pearl. A pearl is made by an oyster secreting nacre (also known as mother of pearl) around the intruding particle, similar to how our body creates scabs to protect and cover our wounds.
  2. In an aquaculture complimentary to the mollusk, pearl farmers typically suspend baskets or lines of oysters about 6 meters below the water level. (see image above)
  3. The farmers wait years for the little oysters to do their thing, sometimes swapping out pearls from oysters to oyster in an attempt to expedite the process. Sometimes small bits of “mantle” from other oysters are inserted into gestating oysters in order to stimulate nacre production.

So what is this one family doing that’s so great? Besides breeding new oysters for all the ones they sacrifice, the Kamoka Pearls has figured out a way to make the most environmentally hazardous aspect of their trade—oyster cleaning—not only sustainable, but nourishing for the surrounding ecosystems. Pearl farmers will typically clean oysters regularly in order to promote growth; the dirtier they get, the less healthy they are. Most farmers simply pull up oyster baskets and power-wash them, allowing the wash to flow back into the ecosystem. This unfortunately leads to sporadic and deadly changes to the body of water’s inhabitants, and even attempts at washing ashore has led to similar backlashes.

What are usually cleaned off the oysters are small organisms such as barnacles and sponges, which also happen to be perfect food for other nearby aquatic creatures. Josh Humbert found, by accident, that if he simply left the oysters alone in shallow water, the local fish would slowly but surely consume all of the oyster’s squatters. What could be even better than that? Professor Kent E. Carpenter of Old Dominion University and his research team found a clear increase in abundance of local reef fish, hinting that Humbert’s pearl farming might be literally giving life to his lagoon.

Komoka Pearls is just one cog in the movement towards more sustainable human-marine interactions, and fishing practices in general. For example: Sustainable Pearls, a research organization devoted to promoting conscious pearl farming in order to promote a positive environmental and socio-economic economy. Their goal: for all pearl farmers to be required to go about their practice sustainably, without harming the environment.

-Alexander Santos

For more information, visit the links below!

The Burden of Honor

Writing this post has been a very difficult and long process. When I made the commitment to write this post I thought it would be very easy to write about this topic, I would just have to enter some statistics and I would be all set. But as I started settling in in Delhi and started experiencing it again, this became very personal for me. This article today talks about the Indian society but that doesn’t mean it is limited to the Indian society.

Women in India have been deemed the Bearers of Honor for centuries now. It is almost as if all of family’s respect depends on the girl. If the girl goes out for late-nights, she is perceived to have bad morals and upbringing, but if a boy doesn’t come home for days he’s just being a boy. A girl is supposed to dress appropriately, carry herself off in the right way and god forbid she experiences any sort of assault or abuse. She is marred for life. No one wants to marry a girl who has been raped because she is deemed impure. She must have done something to provoke the rapist. It’s all on her. And due to this stigma, thousands of girls don’t even get the courage to report these cases.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau 2013 annual report, 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in 2012. Out of these, relative or neighbor committed 24,470; in other words, the victim knew the alleged rapist in 98 per cent of the cases. This bad reputation that India has gained over the past couple of years is also affecting the economy, there has been a significant drop in the tourism of India, especially when it comes to single female travellers, 36% drop to be precise.

Though things are not as bad as they sound, India actually has a better track record when it comes to rapes when compared to the United States. Compared to other developed and developing countries, incidence rates of rape per 100,000 people are quite low in India. The National Crime Records Bureau suggests a rape rate of 2 per 100,000 people. This compares to 8.1 rapes per 100,000 people in Western Europe, 14.7 per 100,000 in Latin America, 40.2 per 100,000 in the Southern African region and 28.6 in the United States.

But statistics aside, I have been back in India for 3 months now and I miss the freedom of wearing shorts and just walking around the neighborhood without being stared at or maybe I miss feeling safe when I am somewhere out late in the night with my friends. I miss not being judged for my habits or daily routine by not just the men in the society, but sadly enough, by the women too. I have a curfew time to be back home by—I am 20 years old but my parents still don’t allow me to be out too late. When I ask my mother “why is it so” she has the same reply, “We trust you, but we don’t trust the world.” Can I blame her for her attitude considering all that has happened in the city in past years? Absolutely not.

There are a lot of regulations and laws in place, but are they enough to solve a problem as old and complicated as this? We are talking about eradicating centuries of patriarchal and misogynistic ideologies and traditions. The only way we can help remove this devil from our society is by training our next generations. If they grow up in a society where there is gender equality, women and men are treated with equal amount of respect, everyone is held equally responsible for their crimes, their fathers treat their mothers and sisters with dignity and pride, and they have a right to speak up against wrong, then these heinous thoughts won’t even cross their minds. Rape is more than sexual perversion of an Individual, is it a parasitic evil fed by our society—fed by each and every one of us.

-Radhika Sharma

The Silent No: On the college sexual assault pandemic

The internet was taken by storm last week by news of an unsanctioned fraternity party at Texas Tech that displayed horrifically crude decorations that promoted sexual violence and misogyny. The Phi Delta Theta fraternity came under fire for hosting a hurricane theme party on September 19th that featured a sprinkler disguised in the shape of a vagina, which operated throughout the night “spraying” those passing by. Deciding that such objectification of women was not distasteful enough for their standards, they decided to display a banner – their pièce de résistance – which bore the message in blood red paint “No Means Yes, Yes Means Anal”. Parodying the mantra of the pro-consent movement “No Means No, Only Yes Means Yes”, this elegant centerpiece highlights the casual attitude that certain sub-cultures of colleges take towards sexual violence. While it is n-NO-MEANS-YES-large570somewhat satisfying to hear that the fraternity was disbanded and members were mandated to undergo sexual assault prevention and bystander behavior education, it is alarming that this incident is symptomatic of a greater problem that exists in colleges. The Washington Post reports that more than 70 colleges and universities are under investigation after accusations of improperly handling sexual assault cases. Sexual violence committed by fraternities map on to the overall trends that we see in this issue. Women are not the only victims and survivors of violence—all genders suffer at the receiving end of cruel and inhuman treatment. For instance, a male Penn State student committed suicide this March after being hazed by members of Phi Sigma Kappa. His parents found messages explaining that pledges had to choose between penetrating themselves with a sex toy and snorting cocaine. Two studies conducted in 2007 and 2009 by NASPA, the professional group for student affairs administrators in higher education, found that fraternity members were three times as likely to commit rape as the average college student. The natural response to many of these charges has been to ban Greek life. Many protest this move on several grounds; not all chapters or members are guilty—the Greek system has tangible benefits to its members and universities, and that ban would simply displace problematic activity to the unregulated periphery. Despite the truth in some of these claims, the mounting evidence indicates that more must be done to correct the utter disregard for human life that prevails in certain aspects of Greek life.

Many of you may read this and breathe a sigh of relief as we do not have Greek life at Clark. However, it is wrong to consider sexual assault as something endemic to only fraternities and sororities. Sexual violence exists in any college, and Clark is no exception. Many of us see the liberal, inclusive and informed environment of our campus and assume that we as a college are above such barbarism, but prevalence statistics indicate that Clark students experience their fair share of violence. It is not some distant threat, it is real. It is unknown because we as a culture silence survivors, stifle discussion and choose to look the other way. While at a training on sexual assault prevention, I was struck by one particular concept that (regrettably) commonplace incidents (like heckling and sexist jokes) if allowed to slide unchecked, precipitate a culture that normalizes sexual violence. Many of us (myself included) have qualms regarding involvement in what we consider to be an intensely private realm – sexual and romantic relationships. Even more troubling is having to delve into the gray area of implied sexism and inappropriate comments. That conundrum of “Is it a joke, or something more serious? Am I the person to speak up?” plagues us all. While these concerns are normal and human, we must learn to overcome them and be proactive in the defense of those suffering in silence. In celebration of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, let us move towards a society that does not prey upon its own. You want to know the significance of our somewhat obscure motto? It has meaning in times like this, guiding us to challenge these archaic, deeply rooted norms and make a change for the better.

- Themal Ellawala

Sources: ;

How Sustainable is Your Seafood?

When deciding which grocery store to shop at, many people consider prices, food quality, and value. Some of the more privileged of us also consider organic, GMO-free options, or cruelty free products. But when it comes to buying seafood, what is the most responsible and sustainable choice to make?

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), 77% of wild fish stocks are either fully exploited, overexploited, or depleted. Many fisheries have had to close because of such stark declines in fish stocks. One of the most famous examples of this is the Cod fishery off of the coast of New Foundland Canada that closed in 1993 and still has not recovered. Global fish consumption, however, continues to rise. It is a primary source of protein for many countries, but is particularly important in many developing nations such as the Bahamas and the Philippines. American trends are mirroring global trends and are also increasing rapidly. When you buy seafood at a grocery store you are told where it was caught and whether or not it is wild caught or farm raised, but it isn’t labeled as sustainable or not. So how do we eat and buy responsibly in a market with very unclear labeling? In 2013, Greenpeace conducted a study looking at all of the species of seafood sold at a number of popular American grocery stores. They then rated them on a scale from 1 to 10 based on how sustainably caught the seafood sold in their store is.


What does it really mean to be sustainably caught? For seafood to be sustainably caught, it must be a species that is not considered endangered or at risk of becoming endangered. It also must have been caught legally which implies that it must be large enough and within the allowable quota for that fish stock. It must also have been caught with very little bycatch. Bycatch is unintended species caught or killed during commercial fishing. The accidental capture of turtles, sharks, dolphins, and even birds is more common than you may think.

What can we do to make a difference? As college students, we often want to get behind these causes and help out, but usually don’t have a lot of money to make a difference. If you notice, there are stores like Trader Joes, Target, and Price Chopper on the upper half of this score card which are near us. If we continue down the path that we are currently on of consuming unsustainably caught fish, we may completely overexploit our oceans and continue unnecessarily sacrificing unintended species. Luckily, we live in a country in which we have food source options and a place where supply will meet demand. If we create a demand for more sustainably caught seafood, we may be able to make change in the market and turn our food systems around!

-Annalise Kukor

Clark Gets Real with the Real Food Challenge

If you haven’t enjoyed locally grown broccoli in the dining hall or heard of the Real Food Challenge elsewhere, I’m happy to inform you that Clark University was the first University in Massachusetts to accept the call to action.

The idea behind the Real Food Challenge is to utilize students and their University’s dining services to promote a “fair and green food system.” The goal: to allocate $1billion in current university food budgets from industrial farms into “real food” by 2020. To be considered “real food,” products must be locally or community grown in a fair, humane and ecologically sound manner. Clark accepted the Real Food Campus Commitment just last year, promising that by 2020, at least 20% of their food will be real. I had the opportunity to talk to Amanda Brackett, one of the University’s greatest advocates for the Real Food Challenge. Below she better explains this inspiring initiative.

Amanda Brackett

Amanda Brackett

What has been your role in bringing the Real Food Challenge to Clark?

During the campaign to bring the Real Food Challenge to Clark my main role was meeting with administrators such as the dining services manager, the business manager, and President Angel, along with writing proposals and doing baseline studies of our real food percentage. Now that we are working to implement the commitment, I am the chair of the Food Systems Working Group and I’m working to start conducting product shifts and enact our new Food Policy and Multiyear Action Plan.

Why are you so passionate about Real Food? Why do you think Real Food matters?

I am passionate about real food because I believe it is a huge aspect of a sustainable lifestyle, on both an individual and global scale due to the serious environmental and health impacts from the way that food is currently produced. The Real Food Challenge has the potential to make a change because of the scale at which colleges and universities purchase and consume food. If we can harness the purchasing power of these institutions to support local and sustainable food sources, we can have a huge impact on the food system.

If people want to learn more/become involved, what is your suggestion?

If people want to learn more about the Real Food Challenge or get involved they can contact me at

-Alexander Santos

The Ins and Outs of the On-campus job search PART#1

“Where are all the jobs on campus?” I have heard this line so many times over my past two years at Clark. It may feel so that there are plenty of work-study jobs on campus and not enough for those who aren’t work-study. Nonetheless, non-work study jobs on campus are more competitive, simply because one is competing with more people—all international students are non-work study, but not all who are non-work study are international students.

So, before I give you a list of all the non-work study jobs I know of, I would like to take some time and spread the ‘words of wisdom’ some of us came up with for first-years and first-time jobseekers.

1. Make a resume
“Yeah, yeah”, “I’ll get to it tonight/tomorrow/next week”…. Never works out! We all love looking at our accomplishments and being reminded of the glory days. One would assume making a resume should be fun, but I guess it isn’t most of the time. Well, fun or not, it’s crucial you get yourself to start working on one and have a rough draft of how you want it to look like. Once you get yourself to do that, you can leave the rest to the miracle workers—CAREER SERVICES. These people can work magic with your resume. They can spot an ‘and’ without a D or a comma out of place without even looking twice. On a serious note, sometimes before you make your first trip to their office, they can feel a little intimidating but they really are very nice and extremely helpful.


2. Boost up that resume!!!
When I first started looking for jobs my first-year at Clark, I thought my resume was rather empty. I didn’t know why I should hire me so I figured no one else would either. Sometimes, we are all just drowning in low self-esteem but sometimes it isn’t a terrible idea to do more things that give your high-school-activity-filled resume a college-flavored-kick! Yes, be an active member at the clubs you joined or, better yet, get on their executive board. For even more kick, look for volunteer opportunities on campus or near campus. The more extra-curricular responsibilities you take on, the more brownie points you get. It shows employers that you are enthusiastic and you take the initiative.

Also, if you are looking to volunteer somewhere and receive some sort of monetary benefits in return, check out the thrift store! Volunteers at the thrift store get paid in store-credit and let’s face it, we all love some thrift store goodies!


3. E-mail your future employers
I spent all of my first year e-mailing all the people I wanted to work for. Even though I was unemployed for all of my first year, I was e-mailed back about job openings in the next academic year. This is a good time to mention that, when e-mailing prospective employers, it is always good to show enthusiasm through these e-mails and not necessarily be too persistent by sending them too many e-mails.

4. Ask around
In my business ethics and law class this semester, our professor was telling us how just knowing the people in the class was a form of networking. Your peers who are already a part of the workforce are your allies. Talk to them about their jobs to get more of an insight into what they do and what got them there. Also tell them that you are looking for a job so when they know about openings, they’ll keep you in the loop.

5. Be confident and amiable
Having the ability to speak comfortably in front of people you do not know is a valuable skill to have. It is also a difficult skill to develop if you really are not the chatty kind. Most places you will work at on campus will require you to make interactions with other people. Employers would rather work with someone who smiles a lot and is open to making conversation than those who are not.

Managerial Communications, Trial advocacy and Model U.N. are all classes, without pre-requisites, offered at Clark that let you build your speaking/presentation skills. Personally, Managerial Communications (MGMT 170) was a great class for me. I came out of that class with great presentations skills, interviewing insights and resume building secrets that will help me throughout my career.

6. Be happy and keep your grades up
Keep your grades up! Everyone loves a good student who can also take on other responsibilities on the side. Employed or unemployed, try to not let it take over your life. Keep your spirits high as you enter the world of job-seeking. You will be disappointed at times, but don’t let that stop you from trying again. Be happy with your efforts and yourself, because more often than not your low self-esteem can take a toll on your academics and your mental health.

So… Where are all the jobs on campus? Well, first thing is first and a lot of employers will tell you this as well- keep looking at the online job directory for openings. No don’t look it up once a month, if you are serious about getting a job then bookmark that tab and refresh it every week. Other than that, this is a list of jobs on campus that take in non-work study students:

1. Residential Advisors (Residential Life and housing office)
2. Clark Ambassadors (Admissions office)
3. Student callers (Phone room, Clark fund)
4. The Bookstore
5. Information Technology Services
6. International Students and Scholars office
7. Dining Services
8. Research positions (ask professors)
9. Models (Traina)
10. Safety Escort
11. Recycling Crew
As you start looking into some of these resources, keep an eye out for part #2 of this piece, where we bring to you even cooler insights about the on-campus job market! Till then, happy job-seeking y’all.

By Suaida Firoze

My Brief Wondrous Rendezvous with Junot Diaz


“I can’t believe it! Junot Diaz is coming here!” were the sort of excited squeals that could be heard around Clark leading up to September 30th, part of a high pitched, giddy enthusiasm that would find at a One Direction concert. Having read only a few short works of his, and curious to explore more of the Junot phenomenon, I was determined to attend this session. Junot Diaz addressed the Clark community as part of the Presidential Lecture series for 2014—an initiative organized by the President’s Office to bring in visionaries and doers who embody the values of Clark. A great number of students seemed to think that Junot Diaz was a terrific choice judging by the crowd that staked out the best seats in Atwood Hall hours before the lecture, and the even bigger throng that filled the hall to full capacity. President David Angel welcomed the audience to the lecture and Professor Paul Posner of the Political Science Department introduced the speaker. Junot Diaz stepped onto the stage at this point and began his lecture. The first few words he uttered put an emphatic end to the formalities that had been observed junot2earlier, as he asked something to the effect of “Yo, what’s up homies?” This was an unexpected turn of events, and I could see a number of those in the audience laughing and shooting one another quizzical looks simultaneously. Presidential Lecture speakers are not expected to talk like a 19 year old college student, was perhaps the thought running through their heads. But this, as we have come to know through his writing, is Junot’s style. His mix of colloquialism and grandiloquent language is no affectation, it is part of him. And so we were treated to over an hour of this remarkable combination, peppered with (the fairly frequent) expletives. What is most astounding however, is how smooth his speech is. My assumption had always been that almost all authors are better represented on paper than in the flesh, yet Junot Diaz brought this notion crashing down in a pile of rubble. He was eloquent at all times, employing a vast vocabulary and interesting turns of phrases to state unique perspectives on a number of topics. I was particularly struck by three large meta-issues that he spoke of – misogyny, cultural intersectionality and the state of living in the margins. I was fascinated by his thoughts on misogyny, of it being a consistent and continuous phenomenon the world over. “It’s almost like it has a diplomatic passport.” He went on to elaborate that misogyny exists in the developed world – with a different face, perhaps – as much as in the developing world. Additionally, he believes feminism to be as much a construct of the developing world, embodied by grassroots level movements, as it is the brainchild of liberal democracies in the western hemisphere. His views on immigration and cultural identity were no less interesting. Junot spoke of how, as a Dominican-American “living on the hyphen,” he was constantly presented with the ultimatum – choose one culture/identity or the other. He called this out as a fallacy, stating that we should move away from forcing this choice and start thinking about simultaneity—the process of multiple, perhaps antithetical, cultures and elements of identity existing at once. Lastly, he addressed the concept of living in the margins – from Haitian immigrants being the “afterthought of the afterthought” in the Dominican Republic to New Jersey being so near and yet so far from the Big Apple. There was much that he hadjunot3 to say on the topic, but the most salient point he made was by quoting another to say that while the most profitable and salable art is produced in the center, art that is more sublime – the poignant and deep – comes from the margins. His lecture ended all too soon, leaving me to ponder his one-of-a-kind wisdom. I left Atwood Hall a little bit wiser, a little more informed, and grateful for the opportunity to absorb the words of one who has seen and understood so much. Oh, all that and a copy of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao with a rather personalized autograph.
                                                                                               – Themal Ellawala
– Photo credits: Carlos Deschamps