Security on Campus

Binge drinking is a problem on college campuses. On the college-profile website, Facebook, students proudly join groups such as “Black-Out All-Stars,” “Alcoholics not-Anonymous” and “We Pre-game Harder than you Party,” despite the fact that friends, professors and potential employers can see these groups.

Approximately half of college students engage in binge drinking, according to Catherine Bath, the executive director of Security on Campus, Inc. Bath became involved in SOC after her 20 year-old son died as the result a night of binge drinking in 1999. Her goal is to increase awareness, particularly among parents, about the dangers of binge drinking in order to discourage students’ reckless drinking habits.

“I really scare parents,” said Bath, who spoke to a journalism class at Villanova University two weeks ago. “I think they felt that ‘Oh, my God, if it can happen to her, it can happen to anybody.’ And it’s true.”

Bath’s son, Raheem, was a junior economics major at Duke University. On the night of his death, he was binge-drinking with friends at a bar. After falling asleep on his back, doctors believe he inhaled a small amount of saliva that caused aspiration pneumonia. His condition developed into Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome, and doctors tried to control and repair the damage done to his lungs. Before her son died, his oxygen level in his blood was at 40 percent, when a healthy person’s should be around 98 percent, Bath said.

“I think the only thing the public thinks is dangerous about drinking is drinking and driving,” she said. While Bath acknowledged that the cause her son’s death is not common, she cited other examples of injury and death that resulted from the loss of coordination after binge drinking, including students who fell from balconies. She also pointed out that the lack of judgment and coherence can lead to sexual assault or rape.

The African American Museum

Philadelphia’s own African American Museum represents a unique opportunity for the city to parallel its rich culture with a connection that flows intensely within the context of global history. Make no mistake about it, Philadelphia is a city that paints an urbane self-portrait using enriched, deep-rooted colors with heartfelt brush-strokes. The extant intellectual influence that people of African descent represent in the area has made Philadelphia a place that proudly carries a significant and crucial cultural aura.

Through artwork, music, literature, and technology, Blacks in Philadelphia have held a paramount place in the societal dynamic of Philly. Philadelphia served as the Mecca of American Black professionalism at a time when it was merely a new concept. The African American Museum, which is located in the heart of the city on E. Arch St., doesn’t just reach back to highlight history. It cultivates the memories of the nations past through interpretation; combines Philadelphia’s history with the evolution of culture in the Americas and through African lineage; and gives this legacy a multidimensional meaning.

Founded in 1976, the Museum was instilled as the first institution established by a major municipality dedicated to the heritage of African Americans. In addition to holding a serious and vast collection, the AAMP has always maintained an engaging public programming aspect, which doesn’t just exhibit the culture and display artifacts, but also involves an explorative learning experience.

As you step into the Museum, you begin a journey that has its roots in Ancient Africa. You are exposed to a synopsis of the storied and somewhat forgotten Kingdoms of Askum, Kemet, and Nubia (the original names for Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan, respectively). Your mind begins to reflect and imagine that world as one where mighty women ruled Kingdoms and architects built monuments that still stand today.

As you continue your experience you come across a 200 year-old door that was an actual part of a slave tower in Ghana. Your attention shifts to internalize the contributions of several Philadelphian poets, songwriters, authors, and historians, now displayed before you.

Walking up a ramp, you view a prompt for an exhibit titled “Silent Voices: Loud Echoes,” the featured exhibit that celebrates and conveys not only the artwork, but the emotions of several sculptors, painters, and photographers. The work of the artists depicts their spirit and attitude, which collectively incorporates everything from beauty to homelessness, history to oppression, and aesthetics to messages.

This is the highlight of your visit. You realize why the Museum chose to celebrate its thirtieth anniversary through this multimedia arrangement. Everything in the several galleries seems to connect; not through a literal or even logical sense but through an intangible and spiritual common ground that grasps and connects everyone in the area.

A visit to this Museum is gratifying and entertaining to people of any ethnic background. As Americans and as people who live in an area like Philly, visiting the Museum serves as not only a glimpse into the core of a culture, but as a valuable reflection of ourselves.

You can contact Jason Burr at

The Trading Post

The Trading Post is a thrift and consignment shop located at 1536 East Lancaster Avenue, Paoli, PA. The shop opened in September, 1958. It is operated by more than 115 volunteer members.

Merchandise for Sale at the Trading Post consists of all types of new and used designer clothing, household articles, small appliances, furniture, collectables, one of a kind jewelry, shoes, accessories, sporting goods, books, and miscellaneous items – all sold at reasonable prices. Donations of good saleable items are always welcome.

The past few years I have lost three loved ones to cancer and have donated to the Trading Post to help raise money for the cure. This year I was blessed with the opportunity to become a regular volunteer at The Trading Post, and can not express adequately enough all the joy it has brought me. I feel like I am making a difference, and feel lucky to work with other kind-hearted souls.

Everyone is encouraged to volunteer—please just come in with your availability; shop hours are Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m.

Chaka Fattah for mayor?

Politics seemed young and hip for a night when Sen. Barack Obama spoke at a fundraiser for Rep. Chaka Fattah at Lucky Strikes Lanes on Chestnut St. on Oct. 11.

The $100-per-person event was aimed at “urban young professionals.” A huge crowd turned out on the rainy Wednesday to hear Obama speak on behalf of his political ally and personal friend. Although the crowd drank from a cash bar and wasn’t permitted to bowl (presumably because the lanes were blocked off for a photo opportunity with the politicians), everyone was lively and in high spirits.

The night at Lucky Strikes was the second high-profile fundraiser for Fattah in less than a week. On Oct. 5, former Pres. Bill Clinton spoke on behalf of the Congressman at a $1000-per-person reception at the Union League.

Although both events were officially held in support of Fattah’s re-election for a seventh term in the House of Representatives, it is highly speculated that Fattah will soon announce his plans to run for mayor. At a separate panel discussion, Fattah himself strongly implied that he would officially declare his candidacy in November:

“I’m going to make an announcement on or before November 21. It’s my fiftieth birthday, it’s a time to reflect on what one might do in the second act of their life.”

Fattah’s reason for not declaring himself a candidate is most likely due to Philadelphia’s 2003 campaign finance law, which limits the amount of funds a candidate can raise, in an effort to prevent pay-to-play politics. Fattah has challenged the constitutionality of the law in a suit, saying that it preempts Pennsylvania state law. Because the limits on fundraising are still in effect, however, Fattah has never called himself a mayoral candidate, and therefore has legally raised donations that far exceed the amount allowed by the 2003 law. It is unclear whether the present law would allow him to transfer those funds to a mayoral campaign if it remains in effect.

At the fundraiser at Lucky Strikes, Fattah’s camp was hardly coy about his probable intentions to run. He was introduced by his daughter, Fran, as the “next mayor.”

Fattah then introduced Obama, making an implication himself—that Obama would be involved in a “larger race” one day, for the presidency.

As the junior U.S. Senator from Illinois, Obama is both one of the youngest and the only currently-serving African-American in Congress. Other Senators have urged Obama to consider running in the 2008 Presidential race, and he has recently received heavy media coverage as a unique potential candidate, appearing on Oprah and the cover of Timemagazine.

Despite some technological problems with the microphone, Obama’s charismatic speech held the rapt attention of the crowd.

He began by stating that he is “proud, happy, and glad” to support Fattah, “no matter what he decides to do.” He further alluded to Fattah’s plans to run for the mayoral seat by adding, “I don’t know what he’s going to do with all this money he’s raising…I don’t know what he’s going to do with the e-mail list he’s making…the thousands of volunteers…the infrastructure he’s building.”

Obama explained that as a civil rights attorney, law school professor, and family man active in his church, he had not originally wanted to run for office. He said that politics can be cynical and seem like a “dirty game.” However, he was inspired by Fattah, whose values motivated him and showed him that “you can translate them to politics.”

Obama then went on to explain some of those values that he and Fattah hold in common. He stated his beliefs that every child matters, every senior deserves support, and everyone should be able to go to college without going bankrupt. He also stated his support for single mothers and a health care system that would lower infant mortality rates.

His only reference to the war came in a hypothetical statement, in which he said that instead of spending a trillion dollars in Iraq, it should be spent taking care of domestic issues, such as urban renewal and programs to train ex-convicts.

Obama concluded by saying that every ethnic race matters, and that Fattah has the capacity to reach everyone. He said that Fattah would not focus on “what has been, or what is, but what could be” and that it is time to “reinvest for the next generation.”

The crowd warmly received Obama’s speech, with some members affirming his points aloud.

Fattah himself smiled and nodded emphatically while listening. In fact, he was in such agreement with all of Obama’s points that his response to the question, “What would you like to say to college voters?” was simply:

“Whatever Barrack said.”

You can contact Nicole Woods at

Cory Lidle throws his last curveball

Former Phillies player Cory Lidle was best known for two things: his curveball, and his love of flying. While it was his curveball that made him famous, it was his love of flying that made him infamous.

Thirty-four year-old Lidle began taking flying lessons the day after the 2005 baseball season ended and earned his pilot’s license in February 2006. He told The New York Timesthat he bought his Cirrus SR20 airplane for $187,000 that same off-season. On October 11, 2006, Lidle and California-based flight instructor Tyler Stanger crashed that plane into the twentieth floor of a Manhattan condominium complex, the Belaire.

Located only five miles from where the World Trade Center once stood, residents of the Belaire were terrified when the plane hit, causing a four-alarm fire that sent flames shooting out from four of the complex’s windows and a cloud of dark smoke pluming out over the city. FBI and Homeland Security quickly said that there was no evidence it was anything but an accident. Nevertheless, within ten minutes of the crash, fighter jets were over several cities, including New York, Washington, Detroit, Los Angeles and Seattle. When the fire was put out an hour later, New Yorkers were left to clean up the mess left behind. However, Lidle left behind a lot more than smoke and debris.

Lidle is survived by his wife, Melanie, and six year-old son Christopher. He is also survived by his memorable career as a baseball player. Lidle broke into the major leagues in 1997 with the New York Mets and was signed to the Yankees when he died. He had spent the last nine years playing with seven different teams.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is a non-profit organization that focuses on protecting the state’s environment. As an affiliate of the national group, Keep America Beautiful, KPB is dedicated to environmental concerns at both the state and national levels.

KPB has three focus areas that guide its mission to “promote and protect Pennsylvania’s natural and community environments through education, networking, research, stewardship and influencing public policy,” according to the website.

The first focus area, litter cleanup and prevention, is designed to organize litter cleanups and brainstorm ways to prevent littering.

This year, the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Law & Enforcement Committee is focusing on ways to encourage officials to enforce littering offences. This focus area also helps promote the Adopt-A-Highway program.

Community enhancement and beautification, the second focus area, intends to work with local communities to keep the areas neat and beautiful through landscaping and graffiti removal.

The third focus area, proper waste handling, attempts to educate communities on recycling options and promote the idea of “reduce, reuse and recycle,” according to the website.

In addition, KPB organizes, promotes and cosponsors the Great PA Cleanup as a part of the two-month long Great American Cleanup. Over 140,000 volunteers participated state-wide in the 2005 Great PA Cleanup for more than 500,000 hours to clean areas including roadsides, parks and city lots.

For the latest information and event listings, sign up for the e-news letter on website,

You can contact Ally Taylor at

Losing the Divine in Philadelphia

The Divine Tracy Hotel, located at 20 S.36th St. in University City, was sold last month for $9 million and is currently being renovated into a private residence hall for Drexel, UPenn and University of the Sciences students.

The most interesting part of this story, however, isn’t the high-speed Internet access available for all students, the fitness and tanning beds, or the full dining area that will serve late night snacks for those all night cram sessions. Instead, it is the unique and often strange history of its previous owners that will really catch your attention.

Previously, the hotel was owned by Palace Mission Inc. of the International Peace Mission Movement, a Christian organization founded in the 1930s by Father Divine. The hotel was open to anyone for a minimal price, as long as guests were willing to abide by Father Divine’s “Modest Code.” For a non-Peace Mission member, this could make for an interesting stay.

Males and females stayed on separate floors and were only allowed to mix in the lobby and dining hall. Women were not permitted to wear pant suits, pants, miniskirts or shorts. Stockings had to be worn at all times. Males’ shirts had to be tucked in. This code applied until the hotel was sold in June of 2006.

The code, as well as the entire movement, was founded by Father Divine, who claimed he was the second coming of Jesus Christ. Not only is he the founder of the mission, but he is credited as one of the earliest Civil Rights advocates. During Jim Crow laws he moved from Brooklyn to the South in order to preach. He was also the first to propose a Federal anti-lynching law.

After spending three days giving communion and speeches to large crowds at the old Philadelphia ballparks in 1939, Father Divine moved his headquarters from New York to the Circle Mission Church in Philadelphia, where it still exists today.

The Movement is an austere form of Christianity. Its followers believe that Father Divine is Jesus reincarnate. Followers do not smoke, drink, gamble or borrow. Nor do they use credit, insurance or accept Social Security.

“We trust God and live in the present,” said Mother Divine, Father Divine’s wife. “We feel if we have insurance we are insuring that something will happen.”

Followers also practice celibacy, which may seem strange, particularly because Father Divine was married twice. His marriage is described by his second wife as a symbol of marriage between “God and his creation.”

Both wives were believed to be the reincarnated Virgin Mary. According to the Peace Mission Web site, his first wife passed away in order to have a more “youthful body that could keep step with Father Divine.”

Mother Divine is still very active in all of the Peace Mission’s religious services and charities. Father Divine passed away in September 1965. He was believed to be about 100 years old, though no historians know the actual year of his birth.

Both hotels that were owned by the Peace Mission have been sold. The majestic Divine Lorraine Hotel on Broad St. near Ridge Ave. was sold in 1999. The hotel has been owned by several different development companies since then, and its current owner, Sunergy Housing Group, plans to convert the hotel into affordable condos.

The interior of the Divine Tracy Hotel may be unrecognizable to Father Divine in months to come, but the exterior will remain the same; only the Divine sign will be gone. And though Father’s “Modest Code” will be broken the first moment of move-in day, perhaps the external architecture will remind the community never to forget the impact of Father Divine.

You can contact Morgan Ashenfelter at

Freestyle Motocross

Motocross began in the United Kingdom in 1924 and quickly became the most popular form of motorcycle racing in Europe. The original concept was several riders racing all-terrain motorcycles around a dirt track. However, motocross riders are not known for their especially tame nature, and the sport eventually evolved into several subdivisions, each focusing more intently on a certain aspect of the sport.

Freestyle motocross (FMX) has been attracting thrill-seeking fans in America since the early 1990s. FMX concentrates not on the speed-racing aspect of the sport, but instead on the acrobatic ability of the rider. The traditionally rough terrain of motocross often included small hills that could send riders and their bikes flying through the air, which made balance and dexterity necessary for the racers. Freestyle motocross riders need to possess the epitome of these traits. Riders are asked to perform stunts while in the air after speeding off jumps ranging from eight to 150 feet.

There are two main types of events in the freestyle form: regular Freestyle Motocross, and the “Big Air” competition. The former is the older of the two disciplines. Riders compete by doing two routines, lasting 90 to 120 seconds each. Each routine is performed on a freestyle course, usually one or two acres in area, which consists of multiple jumps of varying lengths and angles. Judges assign each rider a score based upon a scale of 100 points, basing their judgments on things like variety and level of difficulty. Notable Freestyle Motocross events include the Red Bull X-Fighters, the X-Games, the Gravity Games, the Big-X, the Moto-X Freestyle National Championship, and the Dew Action Sports Tour.

Big Air, on the other hand, requires a rider to channel all of his energy into a single jump from a ramp that is usually over 100-feet long. Also known as the “best trick” competition, Big Air participants compete in a best-of-three contest, scored by a panel of judges who assign up to 100 points per attempt based on style, best usage of the course, and level of difficulty.

Riders perform popular tricks such as the backflip, popularized by rider Carey Hart; the double backflip, first completed by rider Travis Pastrana; the “360”, made famous in its usage by Brian Deegan, the leader of the one of the most revolutionary groups of riders in FMX history, Metal Mulisha; and “the whip.” They also strive to come up with new, innovative tricks to impress judges and make a name for themselves in FMX history.

You can contact Chrissy Reese at

Philly Cares Day

Greater Philadelphia Cares will hold its 13th annual Philadelphia Cares Day Volunteer-A-Thon on Oct. 21. Over 15,000 volunteers in more than 100 Philadelphia schools will work to beautify the learning environment with fresh coats of paint, new landscaping, repaired playground equipment and other projects during the day-long event.

According to Katey Dyck, Director of Education and Annual Events, approximately 75 of the registered teams include college students, with 12 from Drexel, 10 from UPenn, 10 from Temple and two from Villanova.

The day will kick-off at 8:30 a.m. with registration, breakfast and a pep rally at the Mann Music Center. The teams will then split off to go to the different participating schools across Philadelphia to work on various improvement projects. At 2:30 p.m., everyone will regroup at the Mann for free food and music.

When the Philadelphia Cares Day was first created, a mere 500 volunteers participated in almost a dozen schools, according to the website.

Greater Philadelphia Cares is a volunteer organization that offers both weekly and one-time opportunities across Philadelphia for groups and individuals of all ages. All volunteers are asked to attend an orientation before beginning service, but it is not required.

“Our organization is always about growth and reaching out to as many people as possible,” Dyck said.

The deadline for registration for Philadelphia Cares Day is Oct. 9. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to sign up by that date, because those who miss the deadline will not find out information, such as the school in which they’ll be working, until the morning of the event.

For more information on Philadelphia Cares Day and other volunteer opportunities, visit

You can contact Ally Taylor at