Friday, November 30, 2012

Perspective




It was not until I returned home did I realize how na├»ve and spoiled I was during our trek from Bethlehem to Boston.  Complaining about closed highway exits, panic traffic, and of course, lack of eating options on the way, my complaints turned out to be mere inconvienence compared to the devastation suffered by those really affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Sleeping the day away, my roommate and I were woken up by my sister banging on our door at noon.  “Pack your bags, we’re going home. Now.” she ordered.  Ecstatic about the abrupt mini-vacation, we had no idea the repercussions the circumstances of our academic hiatus would have on families across the east coast.

Just as water disperses every which way on a hot stove, the entire campus was in a mass scramble that morning.  After a last ditch effort to pack the essentials, me, my roommate Jonathan, my buddy Sam, my sister and her friend Dan, piled into her Honda CRV for what seemed like a legitimate voyage home to Boston.

Bickering back and forth, tension between everyone in the car was amplified.  There I was, complaining about moderate hunger and the fact that I did not have enough legroom while other people were watching their homes and lives wash away.

When we finally got home, which was completely unharmed by the super storm, I could check back into reality.  I saw that this freak of nature storm did not elicit a vacation for everyone like it had for me, but rather caused irrevocable damage.  Sandy’s wrath left thousands homeless and in despair.  I felt pretty sick about myself that I was moaning about superficial problems when all of this was going on just a few miles from where we were on the road.

Upon doing more research on the destruction caused by the hurricane, I am very proud to be a part of this project.  Just like I did, sometimes we all lose site of real problems going on in the world – especially if we were not directly affected.  YOU can still make a difference, as it is not too late to make a donation to the Sandy victims.  Simply follow the instructions on the site to donate to victims through the American Red Cross.  Every penny counts and I speak on behalf of the class when I say we appreciate all of your support.

#COMM30Sandy is an online class project for the Media & Society class at Lehigh University, taught by professor Jeremy Littau. You can donate to our campaign at this link, and for more information you can email Prof. Littau at jeremy.littau@lehigh.edu.

The Jersey Shore Will Stay Strong


Jersey is my home. I have lived in the same small town all of my life, yet have traveled around the state because of soccer games, field trips, etc. There are many different parts of Jersey, from farmland to cities, to tiny suburbs like my hometown of Fanwood, NJ. Despite the vast differences, all of Jersey is connected through one thing- the Jersey shore.

            Ever since MTV came out with The Jersey Shore in 2009, New Jersey has never been the same. Jersey is one of the smallest states in America, and therefore it never received a lot of attention until this show. Once aired, America’s perception of Jersey changed. Some people stereotyped the shore as trashy, with Guido’s roaming around wanting to party. As a native Jersey girl attending school in Pennsylvania, I have constantly heard jokes about Jersey, with people believing exactly what they saw on TV. Although the show is entertaining, I always found these people to be very ignorant by believing in this goofy show. This is reality TV. Obviously everything is exaggerated, and people are cast to create entertainment, rather than portray reality.

            The people of Jersey know how much culture and community is at the shore, and they are what makes Jersey special- not the fake TV crews and tourists wanting to see the castmates. Unfortunately, disaster struck the shore not too long ago, leaving the boardwalks, houses, and overall communities greatly damaged. Although having to defend my state got a little old after a while, I truly pity everyone who made fun of the Jersey shore but never got the chance to experience it for themselves, because the Jersey Shore is such a special place.

            To me, the Jersey Shore is happiness. It is where people come together with people they love, to spend a day, a week, or a whole summer peacefully. From Tent City in Ocean Grove, to the boardwalks of Point Pleasant and Seaside, it is much more than simply a beach. There is something for everyone, and as much as the locals make fun of the “bennies” for being tourists, everyone is welcome.

            As much as The Jersey Shore exaggerates to create drama and interest for TV, no exaggeration is necessary when it comes to Hurricane Sandy. You couldn’t make a sadder movie, with added details for emotional affect, because this story is bad enough as it is.

            Sandy has washed away boardwalks, sanded up streets, and damaged houses, but the community spirit and love for the shore is as strong as ever. This strength will allow the shore to make a comeback. It might take months or even years. But the negative image that MTV has cast on the shore did not ruin its spirit, and neither will Sandy.

#COMM30Sandy is an online class project for the Media & Society class at Lehigh University, taught by professor Jeremy Littau. You can donate to our campaign at this link, and for more information you can email Prof. Littau at jeremy.littau(at)lehigh.edu

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Devastation by Sandy

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Lehigh University began to buzz with excitement in days leading up to Hurricane Sandy. Many were tuned into the news and tracking the storm on the web. How bad would the storm actually be? Would we be evacuated again like last year? The answer became clear: the storm was causing major damage all across the east coast and on October 30, 2012 Lehigh was once again evacuated.


When I first got news that the storm was coming, I immediately tried to contact my parents. Their cell phones and my home phone went straight to voicemail. I found this extremely strange until it hit me: my home in Potomac, Maryland had lost power. In today’s age when we are constantly connected through technology and media, it scared me that I could not contact them. Were they hurt? How bad was the damage to our house? When would the power return? Luckily the night before we got evacuated the power to my house was restored. The morning of October 30 I called my father and he immediately began the 3.5 hour drive to take me home. I brought along three of my friends from the west coast who had nowhere else to go.


When we arrived back in Maryland I was thankful that there was minimal damage to my home. A few trees had fallen in my neighborhood, but no one was seriously injured. Sadly, this was not the case for everyone. Our family friend’s summer home on the Jersey Shore was completely damaged, and his entire family was devastated. A home filled with memories, joy, and summer fun was gone in an instant.  Sandy also devastated Seaside Amusement Park, a favorite attraction of theirs, and all the rides on Casino Pier are gone. Here is a photo of one attraction floating in the water. 




I am very lucky to not have been badly affected by the storm, but unfortunately there are still many out there who are now forced to completely relocate and rebuild the lives they once lived. It is scary to think of all the damage that happened in the matter of just a few hours. Any size donation made can help those in need!



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           #COMM30Sandy is an online class project for the Media & Society class at Lehigh University, taught by professor Jeremy Littau. You can donate to our campaign at this link, and for more infomation you can email Prof. Littau at jeremy.littau(at)lehigh.edu.