Thursday, October 30, 2008

Millennials In The New Millennium

Generation Next
By Alex Catarinella

Imagine a world without the iPhone, a world without online networking sites such as Facebook, and a world without Internet blogs. If this doesn't terrify you, then you're most likely not an Echo Boomer.

Echo Boomers, also known as Generation Y or Millennials, born between 1980 and 1995, are mostly the offspring of Baby Boomer parents. And while some cannot yet vote, they are the most watched over generation in history.

According to the 60 Minutes report from 2005, "The Echo Boomers," this generation is the most sophisticated generation because of media, spends nearly $170 billion a year on their and their parent's credit cards, their parents are their best friends, and they were born in a time when people were studying kids and celebrating them. Essentially, they are "trophy children" and their "parents feel like they're holding a piece of Baccarat crystals."

As a result, parents fight for their children and praise them. This generation is the "now" generation and believes in instant gratification. Unlike their "egocentric Baby Boomer families," Echo Boomers are liberal, team workers, believe in diversity and won't settle like their parents did: They want their dream to come true, and won't take "no" for an answer.

On the other hand, 60 Minutes said in its report that aired two years later in 2007, "The Millennials," that Echo Boomers, while they are intelligent and tech savvy, want it "their way or the high way." In addition, Echo Boomers are unable to take criticism and co-workers must "talk to them like you're their therapist." They've "climbed Mount Everest but never punched a time clock" and priorities such as yoga class and vacation come before work. "The Millennials" blames parents for being too involved in their children's life as well as Mr. Rogers for calling everybody special without a reason.

London-based "Roxy Hartless" (her blogger alias), 22, writes for Ruby Pseudo, a blog that showcases Echo Boomers from around the world. It initially started for clients who wanted the perspective of young clever minds concerning "brands, trends, culture, new and interesting music, art and fashion, and loads of other stuff." She discusses her views of the Echo Boomers (a term in which she wasn't familiar, although she is classified as one) as being "massively important". She explains: "They're the savviest generation yet and one of the reasons they're so important as consumers is that so many brands just cannot get it right when they attempt to market to them."

Hartless says their tech savvy abilities "can get them 'round pretty much anything." She adds: "They find ways to not have to pay for things by knowing the right people and if they have to pay for something they'll find the quickest and easiest way to earn the money."

Still, as the first generation to grow up with computers, Hartless insists that this comes with the good and the bad. She says: "In some ways, their creativity and the way they live their lives has been made easier and more exciting. It's easier for anyone of that kind of age to do their own thing, make their own music, sell their own t-shirts online, and be a writer (on a blog)."

But on the other hand, according to Hartless, this computer-friendly, always-connected generation may be missing out on aspects of daily life such as "calling and seeing someone instead of writing on their Facebook wall, literally putting pen to paper, reading a book instead of an article online, taking photos and putting them on your bedroom wall not on your Facebook page."

Hartless believes there's a lack of privacy as a result of the digital world in which echo boomers live, and perhaps more importantly, in turn makes their lives "less exclusive."

The 60 Minutes "Millennials" report suggest that Echo Boomers have easy lives. Hartless agrees that there are perks of being an Echo Boomer. "I think Echo Boomers, especially young entrepreneurs and creative types, have the ability to have pretty lucky lives. I know so many people who get in everywhere for free, get free clothes, go partying and just live off social fame within sub-cultures. Some even get paid to go to the parties."

But, Hartless adds, despite this vacation-type description of the lives of Echo Boomers, they still work hard. "There's other people in the Echo Boomer bracket who work their arses off," Hartless quips. "Because of the availability to be what you want to be in the digital age, people have to fight to be the best at it. There are more opportunities to make something of yourself and therefore more competition when you finally make it."

Although this generation is the most studied generation to date, wishing to achieve the American Dream is not a new idea. So why is so much attention being focused on this generation as they follow their dreams? Hartless explains: "As corny as this sounds, they are the future generation. They're going to be running the world next."

Ruby Pseudo:

Millennials In The New Millennium

The Millennial Express: Get On Board Or Get Out Of The Way
By Eric Meron

“Millennials,” “Echo Boomers,” and “Generation Y” are just a few of the names used to describe the group of young adults born between 1980 and 1995. There are nearly 80 million of them according to the 2005 CBS 60 Minutes report “The Echo Boomers.” These young individuals will pave the path of the future whether we like it or not.

This next generation will revolutionize how we in America do business. Another CBS 60Minutes report, “The Millennials Are Coming,” said that corporate America is “unnerved” by the Echo Boomers’ lack of business etiquette. Well, the Millennial train is coming and corporate America needs to get on or get out of the way.

Companies like the online shoe retailer have found unique ways to help with the influx of new “Millennial” employees. They often have crazy parades around the office, and have happy hours and a nap room. This seems like it would promote a lackadaisical attitude, but their employees are having fun at work and getting the job done. From 2000 to 2007, Zappos’ sales increased to a peak of $840 million dollars according to CEO Tony Hsieh said the company has a goal of breaking the $1 billion in 2008.

So where does this upcoming generation want to work? Schedule flexibility and other employees of the same age are a must when looking for employment.

Jennifer Ortega, 23, of Queens says, “I think flexibility is the most important to me. I have a daughter and need to pick her up from school or leave for emergencies. I do not want to have to be penalized at my job because I am trying to care of my family. If they do for me then I will do for them.”

The Millennials want to have friends at work, and be able to schedule other activities before or after work because they want the ability to come in late or leave early. Jay Whelan, 22, of Queens says, “I would love to work at a place that would allow me to go to the gym in the morning and come in later. I mean, I wouldn’t like abuse it, but the option would be cool.”

Do not think they miss the big picture. Millennials understand if they miss some time at the office that they are expected to still complete their tasks on time. They are actually more concerned about completing the task at hand than being in the office for a specific amount of time. They feel tasks should have a starting point and an ending point giving them the flexibility they so desire. If they finish the tasks early they want to be able to leave and go to a yoga class.

On site activities are also a big incentive. Specialty rooms are huge motivators for Millennials. The nap rooms at Zappos or the pool table in the employee lobby at Google are huge benefits. The younger employee sees these as places to relieve their daily stress and helps them to cope better with the office life they all seem to dislike so much.

One major point we are missing is that every employee, regardless of age, has to deal with stress at work. If the Millennials have come up with a means to deal with stress why then are the older generations so opposed to it. If someone can make the work environment better for everyone why fight it. Do the Baby Boomers feel that the Millennials have not earned their rights to flexible schedules and nap rooms?

The Millennials are obviously the future on this country and they are not a generation that is going to change. Now is the time to begin to adapt to some of their styles even if older generations do not agree. Ortega says, “One day I might get promoted over someone who was my boss and didn’t like my requests. That person may find it difficult to work for me.”

Look out America, like the Blob, the Millennials will slowly but surely take over everything we know. Embrace the future and get your ticket for the Millennial Express. All Aboard.

Millennials In The New Millennium

Millennials Refuse To Be Trapped In Jobs Like Their Parents
By Megan Biscieglia

All across corporate America, Millenials, the generation born between 1980 and 1995, are shaking things up. In a CBS 60 Minutes report titled ”The Millenials Are Coming,” this generation is painted as a bunch of cry babies who have made the workplace a “psychological battleground” and are referred to as the “teenage babysitting pool.”

It’s true, their work ethic is much different from those before them, but is that a bad thing?

Justin Love, 21, believes it’s a great thing. “We aren’t nurtured; it’s just that times have changed. For us, our personal life comes first and the workplace comes second and I think that’s the way it should be. Your life shouldn’t be your work; your life should be your life!”

Brian Keener, 22, agrees. “I’ve seen what my family has gone through and they’ve suffered. What do they have to show for their hard work and dedication to a company? Not much. I’m not going to do that,” Keener says. “I’m going to worry about my own happiness and fulfillment, and then I’ll worry about my job. I don’t think that’s crazy, I think it’s great that so early in life I’ve decided what’s most important to me. And that’s my family, friends, and myself, not my work.”

Chrissy Contino, 22, says, “I’m not going to work myself to death in my early years. I’m not going to wait until I’m old and retired to enjoy my life.”

In the 60 Minutes report, Marian Salzman, an ad agency executive at J. Walter Thompson, says "You have to speak to them (Millenials) a little bit like a therapist on television might speak to a patient. You can't be harsh. You cannot tell them you're disappointed in them. You can't really ask them to live and breathe the company. Because they're living and breathing themselves and that keeps them very busy."

If a Millennial isn’t happy in the workplace, she/he will simply leave and find a new job. Love says, “If I don’t like my job I’ll quit. There are so many opportunities and options I’ll just move right on down the road where people are treating their employees better. A job shouldn’t stress someone out.”

Health and happiness are the Millennials’ main priorities, and they believe their job should be understanding and fully supportive of that. “Companies should pay for a gym membership. Our bodies are important and we have to take care of them. If someone is getting enough sleep and exercise they’ll perform better,” says Love.

Contino agrees. “If you’re not healthy you can’t work to your best ability.”

The 60 Minutes report refers to Millenials as “narcissist praise hounds” and blames it on Mr. Rogers who told them they were all special no matter what. Contino says, “I think our generation has a very elitist attitude but I think we should be allowed to have it and we deserve to have it. But so does everyone else.”

Keener says, “I don’t understand why the older generations are so scared of us. No, we aren’t narcissists. I think we just get it. We get that you shouldn’t be a slave in the office for 75% of your life. We understand the things that make us happy and the things that don’t.”

Keener believes that enjoying your personal life is surely more fun and more fulfilling than being in the workplace all day. “At the same time though, we’re going to get things done. It’s just that we have to enjoy what we’re doing and work in positive atmospheres. I really see nothing wrong with that.”

Whether you like it or not, the Millenials aren’t going anywhere. In fact, there are more coming to an office near you. There are 80 million of them and as the 60 Minutes report points out, “tell the boomers, the bosses, the 50 to 60 year olds, ‘the people who have to change are you guys, not them.'”

Millennials In The New Millennium

The Special Generation
By Mark Galaritta

Do well in school. Do what you love. Be a friend to everyone. You’re a special kid. Does any of this sound familiar to you? If it does then you’re part of Generation Y, the Echo Boomers or the latest term: The Millennials. A generation of young Americans who were told since the day they were born that they are special, and they took those words to heart.

The Echo Boomers is just one of the many terms used by 60 Minutes in two reports titled: The Echo Boomers in 2005 and The Millennials in 2007. Millennials are the generation born from 1982-1995 who had all grown up with a cell-phone in one pocket an Ipod in the other, and their fingers at the computer typing their essays while chatting with their friends.

The Millennials are a growing breed of smart, overachieving and driven young people who are expected to take care of the growing number of retiring Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964.

In the report, “Echo Boomers,” Dr. Mel Levine, a professor at University of North Carolina and one of the most known pediatricians in the country believes the youth of generation Y take all their influence from their own parents. "Parents feel as if they're holding onto a piece of Baccarat crystal or something that could somehow shatter at any point,” says Levine. “And parents therefore are protecting them, inflating their egos. Massaging them, fighting their battles for them."

So why shouldn’t the echo boomers think they’re not special? They’ve been raised to think that way from their parents since birth by staying focused in school while doing their best in other hobbies as well.

Some students at Marymount Manhattan College, who are part of Generation Y, believe this is true, because they too were raised this way. Josh Hashmi, a 20 year-old sophomore at Marymount Manhattan College says: “I always call my mom for everything,” when asked for his reaction the to the 60 Minutes Echo Boomer report.

Hashmi isn’t alone. It’s common to still find a college student or graduate between the ages of 18-25 still dependent on their parents. Today it’s not rare to find a college graduate living with their parents while they work. This move is considered financially smart, as college graduates try to save on living expenses.

Raising the children of Generation Y in this way has had an affect on the workplace as well. Dr. Levine says he has spoken to CEOs of major corporations and their biggest complaint wasn’t an Echo Boomer’s work ethic, but that many young workers tend not to think long-term.

Dr. Levine believes that Echo Boomers live for the moment and nothing else. He says concludes this style of life is visual motor ecstasy, where anything that doesn’t produce instant satisfaction is boring. Generation Y believes everything they do, whether at work or at life, should be instantly satisfying or at least up to their standards.

It’s not uncommon to see a college graduate switch jobs after a few months or even see a college student switching schools after a year. “I probably will switch out of Marymount Manhattan College,” says 19 year-old Shane Mehigan. “I feel like other school’s have a lot to offer, with my goals in life. People change and I’m not happy here, so I want to do what makes me happy and can get me somewhere in my career.”

Mehigan is just one Echo Boomer constantly on the move to find himself. Surrounded from birth by parents who told them everything they did was okay so long as it made them happy, the Echo Boomers are still trying to find their own happiness.

The report says that a question that should worry historians studying Generation Y is whether this over protected and ‘special’ generation will do more harm than good in the future. Can this over watched, overachieving and overprotected generation live up to protect the people who raise them and make an even stronger country than they were born in?

Leah Hagenstein an 18 year-old Marymount says the future of Generation Y is yet to be determined. “I don’t think that it’s bad. I don’t believe were all alike in that way. We were just raised that way.”

The future is clearly uncertain for Generation Y and they’re just graduating from college or still working on their degrees. Wherever the Echo Boomer ends in the future, it will likely be somewhere they are happy and can do things their own ‘special’ way.

Millennials In The New Millennium

Echo Boomers And Millennials: An Unfair Criticism?
By Jordan Price

As a member of the generation in question, it was rather eye opening and amusing to view both CBS 60 Minutes programs “Echo Boomers” and “Millenials.” We live in a time when success is highly possible and achievement can be granted in many different ways, depending on one’s interests. In the 60 Minutes reports, some experts appear to look down on Generation Y and our “over-ambitious” outlook on life.

Is it really such a crime that our generation strives for the best we can be? Is it really such a problem that we have been told of our self-value since a young age and carry a certain pride in our step?

Kaitlin Prutzman, 19, started laughing when I asked her if she believed our generation could be summed up as “narcissistic praise hounds,” as suggested by the 60Minutes program Echo Boomers. That is definitely not true,” said Prutzman. “I think as a generation we are ambitious, but to categorize us all as narcissistic praise hounds is pretty offensive. I know I’m going to have to work hard to get a great job. Not once has it crossed my mind that I will prance in to some office and demand praise, attention, and a fabulous position right away. It’s absolutely unrealistic.”

Brittany Price, 21, seemed perturbed by the suggestion that our country is full of “Millenials” that have been babied and think the world owes them only the finest. “The whole idea that our generation is being looked at like this upsets me,” she said. “I am just graduating college and when I find the job I want, and I pursue it, I like to think I will have put in the hard work to get that job. I don’t want older people who criticize my generation to think I got my job because I was part of this ‘perfect, demanding generation.’ I’m going to work hard, just like older generations worked hard. End of story.”

Could it be that our generation’s great critique is offensive and misleading? Yes, we have been given greater opportunities than our parents’ generation, and certainly our grandparents’ generation, but is that necessarily our fault? Is it not simply the progression of time and technology? In the 60 Minutes report Dr. Mel Levine claims that part of the problem lies in the fact that we have been kept busy since childhood, with different activities lacing our weekdays. It seems that this idea would not really affect our generation’s need to please, but instead offer a healthy way to find what our generation’s individual’s passions might be.

Ryan Rogers, 19, thinks hard before commenting on the generational accusations. “Well, I see how we might be a little naïve, but to say we expect to have everything rearranged around our lives is not true. I’m scared to walk into an office and begin a job. I will be doing whatever my boss asks! I think our generational upbringing just helped give us confidence and a happy childhood. I really think it’s just as simple as that.”

I have to agree with my fellow generational members. I believe the criticism is not accurate and I view our generation as a positive step in society. We as individuals know what we want to achieve and are not afraid to conquer our goals. To say that quality is a bad one seems absurd to me. I am very grateful for the path older generations have paved for me and am not naïve to that fact.

Even if the 60 Minutes programs made some valid points, to claim that our entire generation falls into the category of needy, controlling, and self-obsessed is simply too broad of a criticism. Instead, it might be beneficial to look at our generation as a determined bunch, driven and technologically aware.

After all, if the older generations are critiquing the way our generation lives, well, shouldn’t the finger be pointed at those who raised us?

Millennials In The New Millennium

Make Way For The New Power Generation
By Sammi Richardson

I am part of a generation where luxuries are handed to us on a silver platter. Regardless of whether we make any effort or not, we receive rewards. Not just our needs are fulfilled, but most of our desires as well. We are a generation that wants an amazing job and still have time left over at the end of the day for manicures and pedicures and drinks with friends. We want to be able to do it all and have it all. We are referred to as Millennials and Echo Boomers.

Millennials are a definitive group of people born between 1982 and 1995. They make up much of the US population and spend an estimated $170 billion a year of theirs or their parents’ money, according to reports

In September of 2005, CBS 60 Minutes aired a program titled “The Echo Boomers.” As CBS correspondent Steve Kroft reported, “Echo boomers are a reflection of the sweeping changes in American life over the past 20 years. They are the first to grow up with computers at home and a 500-channel TV universe. They are multi-taskers that possess cell phones, music downloads, and Instant Messaging on the Internet. They are totally plugged-in citizens of a worldwide community.”

The Millennials represent a large population who spend freely. If business people want to achieve success, they realize they have to cater to this new breed of spenders.

“I think this generation of people might be the most effectively socially conscious generation yet,” says Max Smith, 24 of Queens. “There are more people in this generation trying to improve the world for others than in any previous generation. More people are defending and protecting our country than ever, but it is overlooked by the generation’s frivolous spending,” He said.

Matthew McCurley, 26 of Brooklyn had an interesting perspective. “This new generation that wants it all and whose parents encouraged them to demand it all, are still very much dependent financially on their parents,” he said. “Instead of living at home, which some still do, they have their own apartments and jobs, but are still supplemented by their parents. They are not quite making the salaries they need to achieve the lifestyle their parents made them accustom to, so the parents are helping pay for the luxuries.”

McCurley says that instead of waiting until they can afford the lifestyle on their own, they are getting a head start. In the past, it would have been a stigma to acknowledge the dependency on a parent financially; however this new breed doesn’t have any shame.

Two years and three months after the first airing of 60 Minutes’ “Echo Boomers”, a new follow-up program was broadcast titled “The "Millennials" Are Coming.” As reported by Morley Safer, “They were raised by doting parents who told them they are special, played in little leagues with no winners or losers, or all winners. They are laden with trophies just for participating and they think your business-as-usual ethic is for the birds. And if you persist in the belief, you can take your job and shove it.”

Stephen Hand, 20 a student at FIT says, “I do believe that we are a gimme get me society. Our parents encouraged us to strive for and demand more this is true. But, they also want us to do better than them, and to achieve more success. In this instance I do not believe we are any different than our grandparents’ generation. They wanted more for their children as I believe I will want more for my own some day,” Hand said.

Millennials are the future leaders of America. They are smart, technologically equipped, and passionate about their views. They are goal oriented and driven to succeed. It’s likely that they will create a positive change in the workplace because employers may be less willing to under pay them, or not recognize their hard work. Or is that every Millennial’s hope?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Millennials In The New Millennium

Echo Who?
By Charlotte Price

If you were born between 1980 and 1995, then welcome to the club of the Echo Boomers, a generation focused on by social scientists, economists, marketers, and the overly doting parent. No matter what you name the club, whether its Echo Boomers, The Millinnials, or Generation Y, the buzz is all the same. Who are they? What do they do? And how are they going to change the future?

CBS 60 Minutes correspondents Steve Kroft and Morley Safer offer two reports on these fascinating groups of youngsters on 60 Minutes called “Echo Boomers” and “The Millennials Are Coming,” taking all the buzz and hype and getting the facts straight from the source. As an active member of Generation Y, I was curious to see what these reporters from a generation long before the boomers had to say about the up-and-coming world runners.

“Echo Boomers” reported by Kroft provided an equally positive and negative viewpoint of this generation. One of the pros being that this generation is extremely diverse and therefore the most tolerant they have seen. An article titled, ‘The Millennials Come of Age’ in USA Today by Sharon Jayson states, “Young people of this generation, who grew up with "diversity" and "multicultural" as buzzwords, are more tolerant and open-minded than previous generations, suggests an analysis of studies by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.”

Kroft also discovered that among this generation there is hope and optimism in the government and future leadership of the country, and that the Millennials are a group of hard working go-getters ready to set the job world on fire. With all this praise of course, Kroft must also slip in the less glamorous sides of this age group. For example, Kroft finds Generation Y can be naïve about the workplace; a generation focused on instant gratification, and deprived of a childhood that allowed for individual exploration of self-strengths.

Kroft supports these opinions with interviews with specialists like Dr. Mel Levine, a Professor at University of North Carolina and a prestigious pediatrician who states the generation has been, “heavily programmed” and whose “whole lives have been compliant on what some adult wants them to do.” Kroft also interviews a diverse group of young adults who represent themselves throughout the report as technologically savvy, parent loving, tolerant, brand obsessed teenagers. Overall, the report displays both the negative and positive aspects of Generation Y without much bias.

Safer’s 60 Minutes report, “The Millenials Are Coming,” displays some of the same arguments and findings but with a crustier reporter. Safer’s old wit and curmudgeon ways that slip out with comments like, “Narcissistic praise hounds taking over the office…” allows for a comedic comparison between him and the “trophy children” of Generation Y. His assumptions, while more snide and jarring than Kroft’s, provide a reality check for Echo Boomers, but is not fully disheartening and the segment ends with a message of excitement and hope for the future.

To get an overall and unbiased perspective on this generation Safer interviews people like Marian Salzman who works as an ad agency executive at J. Walter Thompson, Mary Crane who teaches Millinnials the every day basics of…well life, Wall Street Journal columnist Jeffery Zaslow, a motivational consultant named Bob Nelson and then two bright eyed and bushy tailed echo boomers themselves, Jason Dorsey and Ryan Healy. The consensus is that these children who had everything handed to them on a trophy platter grew up with a “me me me” complex and are therefore changing the workplace and social priorities.

Generation Y is more interested in family and friends than the old school “sacrifice for the company” work ethic. Safer looks at the pull this club has on the market, the decline of business formality, and how a generation of all winners is going to grow up in the real world. The question is will echo boomers branch out into world and have their fairytale dreams shattered by real life consequences or will the world mold around them, forming an entire new society.

In article in the New York Times by Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais titled ‘The Boomers Had Their Day, Make Way for the Millenials,’ the authors quote Barak Obama making a comparison between generations that I find inspiring. He differentiates the generations as “the "Moses generation" that led the children of Israel out of slavery, and the "Joshua generation" that established the kingdom of Israel. The first was a generation of idealists and dreamers, the second a generation of doers and builders.”

With that said, I feel Echo Boomers can confidently take on the world in any fashion they deem appropriate, and I suspect that Morley Safer and Steve Kroft would agree.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Decision 2008

The Politics Of Excitement
By Megan Biscieglia

Whether you like it or not, this year’s election represents a historic change, and it will take place in the ballot box where more young people than ever before will be voting -- many for the first time. Evidence of this change was seen in the 2008 primary elections where young voters increased a whopping 103% from the 2004 primary elections.

So why are the young people getting more involved this election season?

Abby Jones, 21, a first time voter believes it is because of the access they have to political information, either from a nominee’s official site or a friend’s Facebook status. “I think that because people are so connected young people are getting more involved (in the election),” Jones said. “We have Facebook, MySpace, LiveJournal, blogs, etc. to share our own individual view and you can Google either nominee and find out anything you want about them. Young people don’t have an excuse to not know what’s going on in the election.”

Mary McGee, 20, agrees, “There are more ways of expressing yourself politically.”

The amount of information about the election being presented is hard to deny. Information, fact or fiction about the nominees can be found on every channel, in every newspaper, and in every magazine.

“Celebrities are endorsing their favorite candidates and because so many people read gossip magazines with celebrities in them, the election is everywhere,” says Jones. “There’s so much gossip surrounding the nominees.”

Mcgee says, “This is a very explosive election. Obama is being presented by the media as a rock star. He’s on the cover of Rolling Stone and he’s young, intelligent, and handsome.”

Many young people feel let down by the Bush presidency and it’s driving them straight to the voting booths. Paul Dakin, 20, another first time voter says that he’s voting because, “There’s more awareness. I don’t want to go through what we’ve already had. It’s been one bad thing after another for the past eight years.”

Jones agrees, “I want to feel good about being an American. I want to be able to look up to our president. We’ve become the laughing stock of the world.”

Young voters believe that this election is about people getting people involved and that Obama and Palin represent something refreshing and new in politics, which excites people. “This is history in the making,” Dakin says.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Decision 2008

Political Conservatives At Marymount? They Do Exist
By Mary McGee

Students and faculty at Marymount Manhattan College often take pride in what they feel is a very open and accepting atmosphere, but not everyone feels so accepted. This being an election year, politics is often the subject of conversation both in and out of classes. Often, the conversation is friendly because most of the participants agree and support the same candidate: Barack Obama.

Class discussions may start with the professor, possibly expressing a grievance. Students then chime in, agreeing with the liberal minded professor. More students nod in approval.

Diane Zambrotta is not nodding. She’s remaining silent. Zambrotta knows quite a bit about winning elections, as she is the president Marymount’s Student Government Association. She knows quite a lot about politics as well, but is afraid to voice her opinion.

“I’ll just get shot down,” she says. “A teacher even once said, ‘you’re not voting for McCain, are you?’”

Zambrotta is not sure who she’s voting for yet, and she feels that is something her peers should respect her for, rather than ridicule.

SGA vice-president Zach Harrel, also politically moderate agrees with that sentiment. “People claim to be so open, and they’re not. Conservatives are automatically seen as unintelligent, and that’s not true.”

But whose responsibility is it to make conservative students feel accepted?

It’s a fine line professors have to walk between expressing themselves and making sure all students feel they can do the same.

“I once had a student write on an evaluation that I talked personal politics too much, but I really think it was mostly the other students,” says professor Michael Backus. The specific case he speaks of regards a conservative, gay student. And while he admits the other students may have responded strongly to his opinions, he says he never ridiculed the student or his opinions. “It’s completely appropriate for a professor to express views provided they don’t suppress others.”

“Are we saying that someone with world experience shouldn’t have an opinion?” asks Dr. Kent Worcester, the chair of the Social Sciences division. Based on his own observations, he’s broken down Marymount students into three political categories: “Progressives, Liberals, and East Coast Republicans.”

Moderates like Zambrotti and Harrell will most likely agree with his assessment of their views. “Socially liberal and alienated by their party. They are more up for grabs this election than they have been in years,” Worcester says. He encourages students to speak up, only intervening because “my tolerance does not extend to intolerance,” from members of either party.

Although Marymount is a college for the liberal arts, not everyone is liberal, which is something both students and faculty will need to keep in mind.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Decision 2008

This Year’s Election Won’t Be Decided By Advertising
By Eric Meron

Why should I vote for you, let me count the ways. Newspapers, television, radio and the Internet are all displaying ads that tell voters who they should chose for President and why. But are the ads really helping voters decide who is the right candidate?

Cheryl Latimore, 54, of Harlem doesn’t seem to think so. “There is nothing going to change me from voting for my man,” she said.

More money has been spent on advertising in the 2008 Presidential Campaign than any other campaign in history, according to There are less than 30 days remaining before the election, yet the Associated Press reported that 18 percent of voters were either undecided or willing to change their minds about who they were voting for.

This is a high percentage considering there are only 34 days until November 4, and how much advertising the average person is exposed to for the election in one day. According to the U.S. Census Bureau 126 million people voted in the presidential election of 2004. That means that there are more than 22.5 million people who have not decided who they are voting for in 2008, using the bureau’s 2004 numbers. If voters’ decisions were based on election ads this percentage would likely be lower.

Many voters like Latimore have already chosen a candidate and, like she, may have decided without the help of ads. “I know what I know from word of mouth, the things I hear. I know what’s going on. I don’t need ads to tell me about voting and the Internet is for the kids,” Latimore said.

Other voters are focusing on a specific issue and choosing the candidate they believe would be best suited to handle that particular problem. Johnny Cardoso 42, of Queens said the economy is what has his attention. He recently lost his job at Citi Bank because of cut backs and said this fact was the biggest influence on his decision.

Cardoso said that statistically, Democrats have done better with the economy than Republicans. “Clinton left office with a surplus, can Bush say that?” he said. When asked if he received any of his information from ads or debates, he said he was laid off from his job and he didn’t need any more information than that.

The majority of the people seem as if they will vote the party line. Frank Fanene, 68, of Queens, who is originally from Hawaii said, “I would vote Republican no matter what their platform is.”

Fanene said he became a Republican because he was a Marine and nothing would ever sway him from his party.

George Hemon, 53, of the Bronx had an opposing view. “I am a Democrat. Why would I vote any other way than that?”

The reaction was the same from the old to the young. All of those who said they were either Democrat or Republican would vote that way and no ads or debates would persuade them differently.

Both Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama have websites and they email potential voters with updates. The Obama campaign has even used text messages to reach its intended voters. Are people using these new methods to help them decide who to vote for or are they already so overwhelmed with email and text messages and commercials that most of these ads fall to the way side?

The husband of an elderly couple on Greenpoint Ave. in Queens put it best, “A television ad? I can’t change her mind and I’m married to her. You think the TV will do that?”

Decision 2008

Young Voters Unite
By Elis Estrada

Energetically shouting phrases such as, “Register to Vote!,” “Fill out your absentee ballots!,” and a simple but boisterous “VOTE!,” members of Marymount Manhattan College’s Student Political Association assembled around decorated event tables on September 22 in the Black and White Galleries, adjacent to the college’s Hewitt Gallery of Art in the main corridor.

Urging students to take action and exercise their legal right to vote, young student voters provided voter registration forms and absentee ballots for those who may be reluctant to participate in the nation’s historical presidential election.

Young adults ages 18 and older were granted the constitutional right to vote in 1972 and since then the struggle to maintain voter participation among young people has caused other members of society to deem them unreliable. Yet, young voters have had enough and are rising to do something about the apathy that has afflicted them for so long.

Jessica Merkel, 19, a sophomore photography major at Marymount, and first time voter, said voting is important to her because, “I mainly believe I shouldn’t criticize the government if I’m not a part of it.”

Independent young people of the Millennial generation, equipped with the most incredible resources—newspapers, television, Internet, and hi-tech cellular phones that act as personal assistants—are fighting to be heard among the powerful politicians and media giants who do not take them seriously.

Movements and groups, large and small, have been working hard to persuade young people that their vote does count in an election where it could actually determine the outcome. Government and politics does not take precedence at Marymount Manhattan College; clubs and organizations catering to the college’s population of theater, dance, and communication majors are favored instead. But the Student Political Association exemplifies the initiative of individuals young and old advocating for youth voting participation.

Websites including,,, and have been successful in campaigning for young voter interest in government. The individuals behind believe that young people can make a difference and aim to inspire Generation Y. Their website encourages young people to look beyond what they believe is a media saturated culture where one’s abilities are judged by ownership of brands and consumer products and not true intellect and contributions made to society. Tools and resources provided by such organizations create a grassroots effort with forces leading to engage individuals to actively participate in the Nation’s government of the people.

Cassandra Neville, 21, a senior dance major at Marymount said, “You can’t always grasp the information from what the media tells you online or on television.” Neville continued: “Sometimes you just need to listen to what other people have to say, it helps to form your own opinion about issues.”

One of the reasons attributed to young voter apathy is they assume their vote will not matter. Sam Carcamo, 21, a senior communication arts major at Marymount is determined not to vote, saying, “Perhaps in the future my vote might make a difference, but right now as a kid coming from a low rent paying urban family, no matter what people say, my vote will not make a difference.”

When asked for whom he would have voted, he replied, “Barrack Obama, only because he is a minority and I’m a minority.”

According to the “History of Voting” fact sheet at, the Millennial generation is the largest and most ethnically diverse in U.S History, comprising one-fifth of the electorate vote, and by 2012, is expected to comprise one-third of the electorate.

Young voters whose lives were shaped by the tragedies of September 11, 2001, may have a unique perspective of the world and their responsibility to make a difference. Meghan Pilling, 21, a senior dance major at Marymount, is going to vote but has not made a decision for whom yet.

When asked about her indecisiveness, Pilling said, “I’m still trying to learn about each side. I think it’s irresponsible to not be informed, and I fall into that category, but I’m trying to get better at it.” After a brief pause she added, “But, young people are more involved than ever and I think we can make a difference.”

A simple gathering of the Student Political Association at Marymount ignited a spark in young individuals to stop—on the way to class, or to the fourth floor café to meet with friends—and spend a brief period doing something so simple, yet so decisive to their futures.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Decision 2008

Poll: Marymount Students Say They’re Planning To Vote
By Mark Galarrita

A majority of Marymount Manhattan College students said in a recent poll that they will be voting in the presidential election, either as New York residents or by absentee ballots, and that they are were generally enthusiastic about their choices.

In a poll of 167 of Marymount Manhattan College’s 2,000 students, results show that many students will be voting in the general election this November, or at least they want to. Conducted on September 22, the same day the college’s political student union held its Get Out The Vote Drive, the poll sought to determine if Marymount students would be voting this November and for whom.

The poll showed that 124 students said they would be voting. Only 21 said they would not, and 16 said they were ineligible due to various reasons, including age and citizenship. Six were not yet registered but said they intended to vote.

However, when Marymount students were asked who they would be voting for, their voices were loud and clear. A whopping 103 students picked Senator Barack Obama of Illinois as their choice for president in the general election.

Sophomore pre-med major Sarah Conestabile said she picked the young senator for one clear reason. “I don’t want another Bush in office. The financial situation is just a mess and I don’t like the way the war in Iraq is being handled.”

Other students who intended to vote for Obama cited various issues they believed he addressed. “Economic policy will help us in the long run,” says sophomore Matt Whitt. “His diplomatic skills will help in foreign affairs, as well as his experience in domestic reform.”

It is clear that Marymount Manhattan students favor Obama their general opinion of him is high. When asked why they were voting for him, many cited the word change several times. Many students agreed that the word “change” and a new seat in government seemed like a cliché, but they believed it was "necessary".

In a related poll, only seven students picked Arizona Senator John McCain as their choice. Although clearly outnumbered by Obama voters on campus, McCain voters were not swayed. A majority of the polling was taken in large groups, and showed at least one McCain voter in every individual group. Students who were for McCain did not give a reason for choosing him.

The poll also unearthed a number of undecided voters. Twenty-two students who said they were voting said they were undecided. When asked why they remained undecided, the consensus response was,”you’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t.” ks Elyssa Maldonado, a senior art history major, said, “I don’t like McCain’s policies and Obama seems too preachy for me. All talk.”

Some undecided voters choose a more direct approach -- apathy. Twenty-one students said they will not be voting at all. Sam Carcmo, a senior communications major, said simply, “I don’t care enough.”

However, apathy was not rampant among those who said they wouldn’t vote. Some were too undecided or too busy. Others said they should not vote because of lack of knowledge. A few students said they were too busy to commit the time to vote in the general election.

A majority of the students polled, 127 out of 167, said they voting were enthusiastic about the future whether they were for McCain, Obama or another party member. Results of the polls are likely to change. The U.S. Board of Education shows that more than 29 million people aged 18-24 are eligible to vote in 2008. However, in the 2004 presidential election, only 47% of eligible voters between the ages of 18-24 actually voted. Still, that number was about 11% higher than young voters in the 2000 general election.

While apathy may be a stereotypical trend among young potential voters, a majority of Marymount’s 2,000 students are expected to take the time from their busy lives to vote.

Decision 2008

Politics And Music: Joy To The Ears Or Painful Noise?
By Alex Catarinella

To most voters, knowing presidential candidates and what they stand for before the election is essential. Many want to know their stances on subjects like health care or the war in Iraq. But how about learning that Barack Obama listens to Marvin Gaye and the Rolling Stones while John McCain prefers ABBA and The Beach Boys?

Music plays quite a role in the upcoming presidential election, according to Blender Magazine, which recently released the top 10 music picks of Obama and McCain. There’s a long history with political expression in music, but of late, musicians are making their voices heard louder than ever before.

But are they making beautiful music, or is it time to turn the microphone off?

Kip Berman, 28, of Brooklyn’s indie-rock band “The Pains of Being Pure at Heart” thinks while musicians should do whatever they can to contribute, they shouldn’t expect much. “Even Oprah, supposedly the most powerful media figure in America, can't really impact people to such a huge extent,” said Berman. “People might buy a book she recommends, but it's likely their political views are a bit more entrenched than their literary curiosity.”

However, one’s musical tastes may indicate their political views, Berman believes. “If you like Nirvana, chances are you’re not going to grow up to be a fascist,” Berman quips. “I don't know that an ardent Bush supporter listening to Green Day's ‘American Idiot’ is suddenly going to reassess their worldview. However, the process by which someone gets turned on to Green Day, or Punk in general, is a lot more important to the kind of person they become,” Berman added.

Neil Scibelli, 22, an indie-musician and a student at Marymount Manhattan College, thinks musicians should stick to singing because “sometimes musicians’ popularity just wins voters over, rather than the importance of the actual issue,” he said.

Scibelli admits that being a musician doesn’t equate to political knowledge. Politically-charged expression can be a risky career move for musicians. The Dixie Chicks come to mind. Their songs were pulled from some radio play lists after singer Natalie Maines told concert goers she was “ashamed” President Bush was from Texas.

Universal Record’s recording artists Your Vegas lead singer and Obama supporter, Coyle Girelli, 25, believes that political expression in music “will always be important,” that music can be educational and is “an expression of being human.”

“People’s views in today’s world are strong,” Girelli says. “There is so much wrong with it, so much injustice, so much greed and violence from the sandy streets of Afghanistan to downtown LA. From the economy, to the environment, health care to war, we are at a stage where a serious change is needed. People know this and sometimes they need a voice, someone they respect and trust and who, through music, expresses how they feel,” Girelli said.

While Girelli admits political expression in music can be a “curse” at times, he insists that “the most important thing is that their voice is always heard.”

Well-known musicians are able to have a voice much more so than lesser-known ones. Besides the star-studded, positive message of Will.I.Am’s “Yes We Can” video clip, which Your Vegas’ Girelli calls a “beautiful, classy and a deeply inspiring piece of art,” other musicians are opting for a more controversial approach.

Madonna, who is no stranger to courting controversy, compares McCain to Adolph Hitler and Obama to Mahatma Gandhi in her current “Sticky and Sweet” international tour. In rapper Ludacris’ case, he supports Obama in his video clip “Politics (Obama Is Here)” but also blasts Senator Hillary Clinton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, President Bush and McCain. In the song, Ludacris refers to Clinton as a “bitch” and says “McCain don't belong in any chair unless he's paralyzed...Yeah, I said it, 'cause Bush is mentally handicapped...You the worst of all 43 presidents.”

Obama, who once told Rolling Stone he was a fan of the rapper, is now doing damage control. His spokesman Bill Burton says that while the rapper is a “talented individual,” he should be “ashamed of these lyrics.” Burton continues: “As Barack Obama has said many, many times in the past, rap lyrics today too often perpetuate misogyny, materialism, and degrading images that he doesn't want his daughters or any children exposed to."

Following months of unofficial music videos posted on YouTube supporting Obama, the presidential candidate recently released an official campaign soundtrack. “Yes We Can: Voices of a Grassroots Movement” features Stevie Wonder, Kanye West, Sheryl Crow and others. McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds told The Guardian, “It’s ironic that on a day when the economy is in turmoil, Barack Obama fails to release an economic plan, but instead chooses a celebrity rock album.”

McCain, who hasn’t had nearly as much musical support and compares Barack’s “celebrity” to Britney Spears in a campaign video, was asked by Democratic musician John Mellencamp to discontinue using his songs during his campaign trail. Songs that were used at McCain events included “Our Country”, in which Mellencamp sings “There’s room enough here for science to live, and there’s room enough for religion to forgive.”

Mellencamp's publicist Bob Merlis doubted McCain could relate to his songs. “You know, here’s a guy running around saying, ‘I’m a true conservative’ ” Merlis told The Associated Press. “Well, if you’re such a true conservative, why are you playing songs that have a very populist pro-labor message written by a guy who would find no argument if you characterized him as left of center?”

According to the Barack Obama Music Coalition, “Music has been a potent force for social transformation since the days of Plato who declared, ‘When the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city shake.’”

Mark Redfern, who formed the magazine Under the Radar, agrees. He addresses the intersection of music in politics in several of his magazine issues. Redfern told Gen Art Pulse concerning him and his wife’s 2004 protest issue that “One of us came up with the idea to photograph musicians holding protest signs of their own making. Not only did it look cool, it gave the musicians another avenue to express themselves to our readers.”

But perhaps politically-charged music should be looked at more closely. Berman of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart says that because this campaign has focused on cultural divides, music has become symbolic of this rift.

“I mean, think of the music that Obama probably listened to growing up and think about the music of John McCain’s generation, it’s so culturally removed from each other. It’s like, people are either going to vote for a candidate who thinks that Elvis’ hip gyrations would lead to the moral downfall of America, or one that can quote Jay-Z.”

With Obama and McCain sharing a single similarity in their Blender Magazine Top 10 Music pick with Frank Sinatra, politically charged music and its influence on the upcoming election has yet to be determined.