Salisbury connects with Syrian refugees


Staff Writer

The immense struggles facing refugees from war-torn Syria has been broadcast around the world as pictures of overcrowded boats and drowned children have gone viral on the Internet and countless news channels as they flee to countries that are opening their borders to them.

But as moving as the photos and stories may be, it is difficult for some to truly understand the impact of the war in Syria.

After all, the nation is over 5,800 miles away from Salisbury, and photos alone are not enough to truly grasp the magnitude of what is happening there.

Since the beginning of the unrest in 2011, approximately 7.6 million Syrians have been displaced, with hundreds of thousands more killed in the crossfire.

In the past few months, approximately 350,000 desperate refugees have set sail across the Mediterranean Sea, hoping to find new promise in the nations of the European Union or possibly the United States.

If they survive the treacherous journey without their transport capsizing, they find themselves in further trouble on the other side; the Czech Republic and Hungary have closed their borders to refugees, while the United Kingdom only allows four thousand a year to enter.

The crisis has sent countless Syrians to every corner of the world, where they rebuild and learn from their experience as refugees. For Ahmad Adib Sha’ar and his family, that corner of the world was Salisbury, Maryland.

Sha’ar was a professor in his home city of Aleppo, Syria, when the uprising began. As students began to depart from the university and tensions continued to rise, he realized that the conflict between the government and the rebels would be no small battle.

“I waited two years for things to get better,” Sha’ar said. “But eventually I knew it wouldn’t. That’s when we left.” His family of nine is now scattered across the world; while he, his wife, and two of his sons live in the United States, his other children live in Germany, Malaysia and Hungary, with another of his sons killed in Syria. Smiling as he said it, he mentioned that he hopes to be reunited with them one day.

Here at SU, the professor is in his first year of teaching digital communications for computer science students. A renowned teacher in Aleppo, he was reassigned to Salisbury University through New York’s International Institute of Education, which has been supporting Syrian students and teachers as they try and continue learning in the face of the civil war.

Sha’ar commended the administration here for their kindness as he and his family adjusted to life in the United States; and opened up about his new set of goals. Though he hopes to continue teaching at SU, he also would like to publish a book he has written on what he described as the “intangible heritage of Aleppo.”

Sha’ar’s son, Shahim, is a senior at James M. Bennett High School, who is interested in theatre and creative writing.

“There is no way to live safely, get educated, have friends, see family or do anything human in Syria other than maybe survive,” Shahim said. “Syrians aren’t entering the European Union because they want to steal their food or jobs, they just want to live.”

Though he and his family fled his childhood home to a safer part of Aleppo, they eventually did have to leave for their own safety.

He commended the overwhelming majority of the Salisbury community for welcoming him and his family, and is currently working hard to ensure that he can attend the college of his choice. SU is just one of many places that he is in contact with as he seeks financial aid.

“History represents the totality of human experience,” Joseph Venosa said at his forum “Sea of Despiration” on Sept. 10. “Sometimes this means confronting the unpleasant.”

Venosa, a member of the history department since 2013, recently presented the first of a series of ongoing presentations by faculty within the department.

Through video evidence, audience participation and captivating dialogue, he gained the undivided attention of the crowd in the room, and introduced a new angle to the crisis.

Inspired by his work with non-governmental organizations and by his wife’s early life in Eritrea, Venosa has personal connections with refugees all over the world, due both to his work and to his focus on Middle Eastern studies.

“I’m always trying to find new ways to engage people,” he said regarding an audience activity, in which he had told the audience to write the names of loved ones on slips of paper and imagine them in the situations many Syrians face in their home country.

“If I can make it so that students understand what’s happening in a more personal way, then that’s a success,” Venosa said.

He encouraged a more involved stance on international affairs from college students, reasoning that the refugee crisis has literally become a global issue and his presentation on the situation in Syria certainly served as a step towards that involvement for many members of the audience.

A vast ocean and several countries separate the United States from Syria, yet SU students walk among people who have been directly impacted by the events there.

With that in mind, the Salisbury community can become involved in helping refugees, whether it’s through fundraising, petitioning or even working with organizations.

In many cases, individuals have taken to doing what governments won’t in the face of Syria’s crisis and despite the tragedies coming from the region, many stories also serve as a testament to human bravery and cooperation.

Fall Fashion


Staff Writer Socialites, style icon celebrities, supermodels, fashion bloggers and big name fashion designers all gathered in the heart of the concrete jungle this past week showcasing designs that have been in the works since last spring.

This annual phenomenon is known as New York Fashion Week, or NYFW. The Snapchat Live feed even featured behind-the-scenes glimpses to their millions of users worldwide of models strutting down the runway in bikinis and sundresses all ready for spring and summer 2016.

While fashion shows debut work two to three seasons in advance, here in Salisbury, students are starting to layer up for their walk to class. As leaves are changing colors, so are the wardrobes of those living on the east coast. Now that fall is officially upon us, here are a few fall fashion finds to look out for this autumn season.

One trend that will be prominent this fall season are “booties” or ankle boots, which can be worn with cuffed skinny jeans or leggings. They are more versatile than long riding boots and give off a casual yet stylish look. Ankle boots will look great these next few months whether they’re flat and laced up for a walk to class, or feature a tall heel paired with a dress for a night out with friends.

Leslie Yarmo, professor of the costuming and theater crafts class, and head costume director for all of the plays fabricated inside Fulton, has worked as the costume designer on popular TV shows like “Law and Order SVU” and quite frequently travels up to NYC on the weekends to work on projects like photoshoots.

“The hipster thing, or plaid shirts, are very in, at least among young adults – even in well-paying Manhattan jobs,” Yarmo said.

Incorporating plaid into an outfit is another way to look effortlessly fashionable this season. Grab an old flannel and layer it over a t-shirt or tank top for extra warmth in the cooler mornings, and when it starts to heat up in the afternoon, it can be easily tied around your waist. Plaid allows a pop of color to come into play, without appearing overwhelming or clashing especially when dark and neutral colors can get boring and over worn during the long winter months.

Speaking of layering, a subtler yet growing trend to look for this fall are lace bralettes. Lace adds a touch of femininity to any outfit and bralettes are great for adding accents and covering up if a backless dress or low-cut top seems too exposing for the occasion. Featuring these pretty details into a wardrobe are easy because they can be layered under almost anything.

Another look that is easy to achieve and popping up everywhere on campus are monograms. These three little letters of an initial, either circular shaped or cursively intertwined into each other, are popping up on nearly anything from sweatshirts to hats to rain jackets. The possibilities are endless. Freshman Cassie Midcap takes her monogrammed backpack with her everywhere she goes.

“I love having everything personalized. It adds character to such a simple design,” Midcap said.

Websites like Marley Lilly and Etsy are just a few out of the hundreds of online stores to find any article of clothing or accessory desired with a personalized touch.

One last thing to look out for can be considered the all-around hue for this time of year: the color brown. Lots of chestnut and maple tones are readily found in this season’s skirts, vests, boots and jackets this year and can be found in stores such as American Eagle and Pac Sun.

Lynbrook, New York native and sophomore Tyler McGinness coordinates his neutrals with plaid on his way to give a presentation. “Neutrals go with anything. If there’s any article of clothing I want to wear, I can match it with something neutral,” McGinness said.

So whether you’re dressing for an occasion, or just enjoying the beautiful fall weather, don’t be afraid to accent your neutral brown with some plaid. Pull out your ankle boots and wear them with pride. Don’t fear your outfit is too summery to fit in because there is nothing a lace bralette can’t fix. And most of all, nothing says class like the personal touch of a monogram.

Five easy ways SU students can be environmentally friendly




With our planet losing species and temperatures and sea levels rising, campuses around the country are striving to be more environmentally friendly.

Salisbury University has committed to sustainability in their master plan and aims to cut energy usage over the next 15 years, eventually leading to climate neutrality by 2050.

There are many ways SU students can help the environment, and these five things can be done today.

Print double sided– Students are given hundreds of free prints each week at the library, which has printers automatically set to print double sided. Using these (or the double sided setting on your own printer) will reduce the amount of paper used in students’ various school assignments.

Take the bus to class- For the students who live in areas like University Orchard or University Park, a bus is scheduled to drive students to and from campus throughout the day. Instead of driving your own car, riding with others can save gas and prevent the burning of excess fossil fuels.

For those who do not have a bus service, carpooling, walking or riding a bicycle to class is another green alternative. Each gallon of gasoline burned by a vehicle releases 19.4 pounds of carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere.

Use a reusable water bottle- SU has a number of water bottle fill-up stations around campus at each water fountain so students and faculty can reduce the amount of plastic they use. About 38 billion plastic water bottles were not recycled last year, resulting in $1 billion worth of plastic wasted.

Investing in a reusable water bottle can not only help spare the environment of plastic that takes many years to decompose, but it can also save students money in the long run.

Open doors by hand, not button- Many buildings on campus have handicap buttons that will automatically open the door for you. Using these buttons consumes electrical energy when most people can open the door themselves.

Unplug the phone charger- College students use their mobile phones for many different things on campus, and remembering to unplug their charger from the outlet after use will prevent the charger from continuing to use energy.

For more information on how to be green, visit Salisbury University’s sustainability page at

Different opinions on new Canvas LMS


Staff Writer

A new school year brings lots of exciting changes. New classes, new professors, new faces… and a new learning management system?

Last fall a review committee composed of faculty, staff and students had chosen MyClasses Canvas from a number of systems to replace Blackboard.

However, the decision certainly was not made over night.

Melissa Thomas, Manager of Instructional Design and Delivery at Salisbury University, was a part of the LMS Review Committee. She explained that when looking through all of the potential replacements, 70 percent of the decision relied on the site’s technical abilities and the other 30 percent relied on its affordability.

“Through the review process, we found that Canvas was a very valuable solution,” Thomas said.

But the real question is, do SU students and faculty agree? Reactions to the change seem to vary.

Mathematics professor Gerard Keough elected to use Canvas during last semester before all classes were automatically created in it. He prefers Canvas to Blackboard because of the new gradebook, for its interactivity and ease.

“It’s different, the interface was cleaner,” Keough said. “I found it simpler.”

Students like sophomore Alec Staley agree that the new LMS is user friendly.

“I like that I get notifications from Canvas, and I feel like it’s easier to find the stuff you need,” Staley said.

But some claim the exact opposite, such as sophomore Alex Aiosa, who argues that Blackboard is easier to use than Canvas.

“There are too many things to click on in Canvas,” he said. “Blackboard was way more straightforward.”

Communications professor Jennifer Cox feels as though the new LMS is much harder to navigate through. She also wishes there was an easier way to edit posted material and that clickers were not as hard to integrate into Blackboard. However, she feels like it will be an effective tool when everyone gets the hang of how it operates.

“I think it’s got potential, but it’s going to take a lot of time to figure out its quirks,” she said.

5 Canvas tips for all students (via Melissa Thomas)

• Student-Canvas Orientation- “Self-paced training for all students” o When you log in, go to the Help option in the bottom left corner of the screen and it’s the fourth option down.

• The notifications are awesome! Be automatically alerted when a professor posts a message or grades via the Canvas app (for iOS and Android) or text messaging.

• Students can access Canvas from a mobile browser such as Safari or Google in addition to the app.

• Students can link alternate emails to their Canvas account.

• The “What If” option. Under the “Grades” tab for any given class, students can test different scores on their assignments. It will automatically calculate what your grade would be if you were to get that specific score on that assignment. This way students can know exactly what they need to achieve a certain grade. HOWEVER Students should not rely on 100 percent this feature. The system is new, so it may not be set up exactly correct. Students should verify with their syllabus.

Study Abroad: Do it


Staff Writer

It was tough hiking up what seemed to be an 80 percent incline the majority of the way up. It was dark. My companions, John Stewart, Patrick Szendersk and I started at midnight, knowing that the hike would take a minimum of 12 hours to complete.

I could not see much except the rubble and dirt that my headlight illuminated a few feet ahead. We were able to catch a glimpse of two glowing eyes of a smaller Costa Rican wild cat staring down at us from a tree.

The hike up the highest point of the whole country, Cerro Chirripo, with an elevation of 12,533 feet was tough, the hike down was even tougher.

The view was amazing. The clouds seemed to be floating right next to us, clinging on to the neighboring mountains.

The air was fresh and crisp. I was able to feel the purity of the rainforest produced oxygen with every breath. The air was cold but with the beaming sun it was tolerable.

We could see the rainforest we emerged from earlier down below and saw how far it stretched out, engulfing miles of the land. We could see where the rainforest stopped and turned into a dryer, rockier but beautiful alpine tundra. We had finally made it to the summit.

Study Abroad 5

I never had considered studying abroad, even with my career goal of being traveling photojournalist/anthropologist, because I thought it was going to be too expensive.

This hold-back quickly changed when I received an email stating that I was eligible to receive a scholarship from The Gilman Scholarship.

I was quick to jump on it. I started the application process, spoke to a study abroad advisor, and looked into what program would be best for me.

I was shocked to find out that studying abroad was not as expensive as I thought it to be. I realized that even without the scholarship studying abroad was affordable. Although it does depend on the destination, most of the programs would cost about the same as it does to attend Salisbury University, in addition, your financial aid goes with you too.

With this in mind, I picked my location, Costa Rica, and headed towards my new home, the little peninsula Puntarenas, or what we called the Poont.

When the bus finally arrived my host family was already there, waiting in the middle of a crowd of excited host families.

I learned from living with my host family that the way they spoke Spanish was very different from the way my El Salvadorian family speaks it. They have different words, a different accent and the thing that differed the most is that they do not speak or understand Spanglish as most of my family members do.

My room was amazing. It kind of reminded me of a cabin because everything was made out of wood. The windows did not have glass so there was a direct connection between the inside of the house and the outside, as most of the Costa Rican houses are, so be careful with freakishly looking bugs and insects crawling into your room.

My host dad, the cook, would make the most amazing plates, especially his seafood ones, because he had previously owned a restaurant.

We would eat and chat about the current news− Costa Ricans or Ticos always watch the news− and the interesting Costa Rican history that I was learning about in class.

My host mom, a health nut, and I, would talk about health and fitness. I even went with her to a couple of cycling classes that she would attend, that resulted in me sweating the most I had ever sweat in my life.

Study Abroad

The programs first trip was scheduled for the next day. The program directors and the students were scheduled to go to Tortuga Island, or Isla Tortuga, a beautiful island with a little town, surrounded by blue waters and contained beautiful greenery.

Although there is a lot to explore, whether it is day or night, studying abroad does include just that, studying. I decided to take many classes and learn as much as I could when I got to Costa Rica. It wasn’t until later that I figure out that all I wanted to do was travel, but it too much of a problem because many of my classes were Monday through Thursday, meaning that I had a three day weekend to venture out.

The classes were not too difficult either and many of the professor were very laid back. We students quickly got accustomed to this and actually one of the first terms we learned was tico-time. This describes the relaxed nature of the Costa Rican culture, in that everything isn’t as structured and systematic. You find Costa Ricans going about their lives in a very relaxed and worriless manner.

More importantly many of the classes abroad are compressed and so many gen-eds and language courses could be taken care of. I completed two semesters of language courses in only one semester.

As soon as the school week was over everybody was taking out their maps, going through their phones or researching on their laptops where the next adventure would be.

Traveling in Costa Rica included a lot of bussing around. A year-long student that was also there for the previous semester warned the newer students that bussing was going to be a quarter of our stay. She was right.

Once destinations were made we would link up with the other students that were heading to the same location and head down the street to the bus station.

Our first student planned trip was to Monte Zuma. It was on the larger neighboring Nicoya Peninsula.

Once we got to Monte Zuma, a ferry and bus ride later, we headed out to find a hotel, it’s the cheapest way to have a place to sleep, unless you want to sleep on the free beach that is. We found a spot that only charged 5000 colones, or $10.

One of the girls told us that she had seen on the internet that there was a waterfall around the area. We decided to ask around, and after a couple tries a local tico pointed us to the direction. It was a bit of a hike to finally reach the waterfall.

After finally making it everybody hopped into the pool below the 60-foot waterfall. The water was really cold so I decided to just take a quick dip in it and then climb up the rocky wall beside the waterfall.

A few of us had already started climbing up, and I was up next to go when one of the Ticos advised me not to do it. He said it was dangerous to climb the wall and that some people had died trying to do it. But I had come to Costa Rica to have an adventure. We told him that we were rock climbers, which I actually am, and started climbing up.

Crevice by crevice we made it up, meeting up all the other students who had already made it.

It was more beautiful at the top. On one side there was a waterfall followed by a pool and another waterfall. There were lush greeneries on both sides of the waterfall, above the earthy reds of the rock walls enclosing it. The water was as clear as I had ever seen water be.

The horizon was filled with the rainforest that surrounded the river that led to the Montezuma beach.

Study Abroad 2

I made unforgettable friendships during this study abroad trip, some that will never fade away. I still to this day keep in contact with many of them, and to my advantage I now have excuses to go to different states and even Australia, knowing that I will have friends to show me around.

These guys came from all over the U.S. I met Garret Macdonald from Michigan, Dave Robinson from Idaho, Patrick Szenderski from Ohio, a local tico Patrice Rodriguez, and even two Australians, Kath Louise and Maddie Johnson from Melbourne that decided to show their fellow American students the Australian way. Everybody seemed to click immediately and this was just the first couple of days.

We played some Australian football, a sport that Kath and Maddie kept emphasizing was not rugby, even though the ball looked like a rugby ball, and then went to go eat at the islands restaurant. Later I veered off with another friend Eric Eschelback from Oregon, to capture photos of the beautiful landscape.

I remember before I left for Costa Rica and attending a study abroad meeting that one of the student representatives told me that I would make the greatest friends abroad. I assumed that this was just another way to make studying abroad seem as great as everybody made it to be. I was wrong.

It wasn’t until I went and shared my amazing experiences with these people that I believed the student representative. Everything was new to us so we did struggle, and even helped each other out, when writing papers in Spanish, we did explore different mountains, beaches, and waterfalls together, we did get lost together, but somehow always make it to our destination of the weekend, we even did a lot of nightlife together.

These shared experiences are what turned strangers into friends as quickly as it did and made my experience unforgettable.

Study Abroad 3

Top 5 Freshman Mistakes

By Kobi Azoulay

Staff Writer

Freshman year of college is a year full of change. Nobody to wake you up in the morning, tell you to study or do your laundry. Making mistakes is inevitable, but here’s a few of the biggest ones to avoid.

Signing up for an 8 a.m.

Nothing is worse than staying up late studying for a big test, then having to wake up at 7:45 the next morning. Some people think that because they always woke up early in high school they can do it now. Enjoy your new found sleep; don’t throw it away so soon.

Spending all of your dining dollars right away

Since all freshman students have to buy meal plan A or B, you’ll be starting off with $250 in dining dollars. With Cool Beans and Gull’s Nest being so easily accessible, dining dollars can disappear fast. Be smart and save them. At the end of the semester Gull’s Nest sells in bulk for great prices. Plus, nobody likes the kid who’s always bumming dining dollars off everyone.

Waiting till Sunday to do laundry

Sunday seems like the best day for laundry, but the problem is that everyone else in the dorm is thinking the same thing. Not only will the wait time be long, but you’ll probably find your laundry sitting out by the time you go to get it. Do laundry during the day when everyone else is in class.

Pre-gaming too hard

Partying is a part of the college experience, and pre-gaming is half the battle. Some freshmen think that they can keep up with everyone else right away. Think again. Don’t be that freshmen that makes a fool of themselves, passing out or throwing up at the party. Be smart and your partying experience will be the highlight of your week.

Eating Commons three meals a day, seven days a week

During Admitted Students Day, the food will seem amazing. The seemingly endless options will make you forget about how bad school lunch has always been, until about the second month of school. Commons has its good days, but if you eat it all the time your stomach and waistline won’t thank you. Try to mix it up by going out or cooking your own food every once in a while.

Five Things to Buy for Your Dorm Rooml

by Brooke Reese

Staff Writer

  1. A Keurig: Even if you are not a coffee lover, it is always helpful to have hot water for Cup o’ Noodles or for some late night tea. Keurig cups include not only coffee, but hot chocolate, tea and lemonade, as well.  Hot drinks are essential for the winter time, and this way, you will never have to buy them!
  2. A Printer: A cheap printer will always come in handy if you are running late to class and you need to print off the reading or a quick assignment you typed up the night before. If you have your own printer you can avoid the long lines of the library, waiting for someone to print out their PowerPoint notes that are as long as a Harry Potter book.
  3. Extension Cords and Power Strips: Electricity plugs are not always prevalent or easy to get to in a dorm room, so having an easily accessible power strip is a lifesaver. You can plug in your phone, laptop, lamp and anything else you might need all in the same place.  Also, consider an extension cord so you will never need to be short wired in your room.
  4. A Shelf or Bedside Table: The utilization of space in a dorm room is crucial. If you have a space beside your bed to have easy access to your books, pens, laptop, phone charger, etc. it will make life a lot easier.  Most times schoolwork is done in your bed, so why not be able to keep your books, notes or laptop close to you for those last minute morning edits before you turn it in.
  5. Shower Caddy: An easy way to keep everything you will need for the shower in one place. Some caddies have special compartments for your soap, shampoo, etc.  A basic one will do, unless you are feeling fancy.  Shower shoes, i.e. rubber flip flops, are also useful in the shower as well if you are living in a cluster or suite with lots of feet in the bathroom.

5 Dorm Room Dinners

by Brooke Reese


Whether you’re a broke college student like the rest of us, or too busy to make a regular meal, here are the five best dorm room dinners.

  1. Ramen: The classic college budget dinner. Whether it’s ramen or Cup o’ Noodles, the meal is cheap and easy, especially with a Keurig.  Hot water can dispense into the noodles, simply stir and dinner is served!  If you don’t like ramen, Easy Mac or Velveeta single serving packs are another good alternative.
  2. 90-second rice: Uncle Ben’s has wonderful rice packs that you can microwave for a minute and a half.  There are so many different flavors that it never gets boring and they are super filling.  This way, you can count on some good rice and avoid the dry and hard stuff at Commons.
  3. Lean Cuisines: Whether you are trying to avoid the “freshman 15” or not, these are simple meals on the more nutritious side.  Basically, these microwavable dinners are the equivalent to the Kids Cuisines we all used to eat. They come in different dinners so you can get a broad range of choices from Asian to Italian, normally selling for less than $2 a box.
  4. Eggs in a Mug: Yes, a microwave can sometimes be used as a stove. If you crack an egg into a mug and put it in the microwave for 45 seconds at a time while stirring in between sets, you have a mug of scrambled eggs.  Add cheese and vegetables as you wish.  You can now successfully avoid the weekend omelet line at Commons.
  5. Popcorn: All those nights when you are trying to avoid writing papers or calling your mom, Netflix is filling your mind and with movies comes popcorn. If you are doing a healthier route, consider a 100 calorie pack that is unsalted or unbuttered.  If it’s your cheat day, go big or go home, movie theater butter it is!

SU Fraternity Raises Money for Charity in Local Concert

Brooke Reese

Layout Editor

Sigma Tau Gamma partnered with Headquarters Live on Sunday to raise $2,145 for Special Olympics during the Ballyhoo! concert.

A total amount of 486 tickets were sold to provide jerseys, athletic equipment and supplies to the national Special Olympics branch.

Vice President of Programming for Sigma Tau Gamma Kyle Cooper said that he hoped a lot of students would attend the concert because of Ballyhoo!’s large, local presence.

A large amount of tickets were sold to Salisbury University students, as well as the local community.

“The community doesn’t really like Salisbury University as a whole and I think connecting (with them) is really important,” Cooper said.  “I think we have stuff to get from them, they have stuff to get from us.”

Headquarters Live partner Joey Gilkerson said they were excited to get more involved with the students at SU to give back to the community.

He wanted to reinvent the wheel of typical fundraisers and just add an element of raising awareness for charities with previously scheduled concerts at their venue.

“Sigma Tau was great to work with, and I welcome other student organizations to partner in a similar capacity,” Gilkerson said.  “Ballyhoo! was already booked to come to HQ and we worked with the brothers of Sigma Tau to promote the event and the philanthropic cause behind it. Ballyhoo! was also stoked to be a part of a fundraiser for such a worthy cause.”

Ballyhoo! performed for over two hours and was overly enthusiastic about the student community that was brought into their show.

Headquarters Live will partner with the Alpha Sigma Tau sorority this Friday to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project when The Jesters, Bumpin’ Uglies and Pasadena perform in downtown Salisbury.

For more information about future Headquarters Live events visit their website at

Spring Fashion: Menswear

By Ashley Van-Veen


This season, menswear trends are fresh and dapper, and Salisbury’s most fashionable gentlemen are in on the trends too. Click on your favorite trends to read more.


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