The end is here

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It’s the end of the semester and the end of my time at EC. Being accepted into the journalism program over a year ago, I had only one thing on my mind; graduating with a journalism certificate and I did it.

I was determined to achieve this goal in less time than others might have done in the past by quitting my corporate job, which I worked so hard to get after graduating college in 2005, and instead, fill my schedule with classes.

I started out as a staff writer for the newspaper and magazine and then quickly became a newspaper page editor and took it one step further when I was chosen as the editor-in-chief of the magazine this past semester. While I never thought I would find myself in any of these positions a year ago, I worked very hard to get where I am ending today. I put a lot of time into studying and taking on projects to help me learn as much as possible. There were times when I was overwhelmed and other instances when I wanted to drop all my classes and become a beach bum, but perseverance kept me focused and on track to eventually reach my goal. And in return, I got everything out of the journalism program that an incoming student can.

Now I find myself facing reality once again as I am back in the real world looking for what I had before I attended EC–a job. But this time around I carry with me a different knowledge and even greater experiences to take me a step further in my career. I graduate with confidence and the drive to do something great with my life because I know how far I have come.

While I will miss everyone I came into contact with on campus, I am excited to take all my learned knowledge to the next level. But no matter where I end up, I only have EC to thank for this amazing college experience.

To all who are returning students this summer semester, good luck and give it all you can because your future is in the making.

Congratulations class on 2012.

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A magazine with Life

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After 13 weeks, 14 edited stories, 40 page designs and hours of tedious rework, Warrior Life magazine hit shelves. It is comprised of some of the most interesting stories about life from students and faculty members. The magazine not only shows the diversity on campus, but it defines life.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my most supportive advisers, Kate McLaughlin and Lori Medigovich. They gave me the confidence to run with my ideas and backed all of my decisions. Not only did they provide me with the resources needed to create the 40-page magazine, but each of them made sure the resources were at my fingertips. I would have never succeeded in creating Warrior Life without the both of them.

Next, I want to thank all the writers for their hard work and determination to write the amazing stories that made the magazine so interesting. Each writer is highly talented and team oriented, which helped make the production of the magazine run smoothly.

Lastly, a big thank you to the design team. I had the honor of working with very creative students who were part of Art 143. They worked so hard to bring each story to life through design. It was a pleasure to work so closely with them over the weeks and appreciate all the time they put into the magazine.

Warrior Life was a huge accomplishment for me this semester and I hope the entire campus will grab a copy and read it from front to back. I wish my entire publication team the best of luck in the future and I hope they will always look back on this experience with pride.

While you might not be able to wait until you are back on campus to get a copy of Warrior Life, click here to peruse the online version.

Follow me on Twitter and go to ECCUnion to get all the up-to-date news.

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Change is inevitable

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Things are changing yet again at EC. Besides the tuition hikes and the class cuts, this summer students will face changes in enrollment regulations. Just something else students need to worry about while many of us can’t even sign up for the classes that we need to transfer to a university in the first place. And that might just be the reason for the new regulations.

The first change to enrollment regulations is that students will no longer be able to take a class more than three times. After that final time, they will have to find another college out of district to complete the class. And the second change is that students will only have until the last day of adding classes to drop a class.

These regulations, which will be implemented during the summer semester, will actually force students to come up with an educational plan and follow it through to the end. It may even give incoming students more class options since there will be less class repetitions. Overall, it might be a good thing.

While community colleges are here to educate people and push them through to success, it is also a big business. And businesses need to make money. Therefore, these changes allow the college to keep more fund in their pocket and ultimately help combat the budget cuts that are still to come. Since community colleges were once considered a place to receive a vocational education and an opportunity to help corporate employees advance their careers through technical classes, its presence has definitely changed over the years. It has instead become an intricate part of the college process to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Many students are transitioning from high school right to community colleges and then eventually transferring to universities.

With so many people following the same process, something needed to be done to help give everyone this opportunity and therefore, the California Community Colleges Governors Board came up with this new enrollment criteria. So students across California are experiencing the same changes. But many students at EC want to hear it directly from the “horses mouth.”

“I think it might help,  but the administration really needs to be more open about changes of policy,” Andrew Bradford, geography major, said. “Finding out about these things through rumors, hearsay, and Union reporters harassing you for opinions just isn’t cutting it.”

Some advice to students; meet with a counselor to get the facts about the new regulations and continue to visit the Union’s website www.eccunion.com for up-to-date information on these changes.

Follow me on Twitter @ECCUnionAshley

Spring break destinations

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Spring break is here! And while there are many different activities to enjoy while riding the Metro, when asked students around campus their plans for the break, here are a few places they had in mind.

“You can go beyond Torrance to the Santa Monica Pier or Dockweiler (beach), where you can have a bonfire,” Alex Sanchez, 18, art major, said.

Santa Monica Pier can be reached by taking the Metro Rapid line 710 heading north from campus and get off at Venice Boulevard. From there, take the Mero Rapid line 733 heading west to the Ocean and Colorado avenue stop and continue to head west on Colorado to the entrance of the pier.

To get to Dockweiler Beach from campus, jump on the Metro Rapid line 710 heading north and get off at Manchester Boulevard. Then take the Metro Local line 115 heading west to Culver Boulevard and Vista Del Mar. Once you arrive walk west on Vista Del Mar until you hit the beach.

Some students plan on shopping around the South Bay Galleria Mall or grabbing a meal at a local restaurant.

“There are a lot of popular restaurants to go to eat,” Mary Anne Cristales, 20, sociology major, said. “I know that there are a couple of places on Artesia.”

To get to the mall from campus, take the Torrance Transit line 2 south to the Artesia and Hawthorne boulevards stop and the mall will be on the corner.

A few students said bowling is a fun day activity .

Bowling alleys nearby include Palos Verdes Bowl and Lucky Strike Lanes in Torrance.

From campus to get to PV Bowl, jump on the Torrance Transit line 5 heading south to the Crenshaw Boulevard/Skypark Drive stop. Continue to walk south on Crenshaw Boulevard for a 1/3 mile to reach the bowling alley.

No matter what students’ plans are for the upcoming week, one thing is for sure; classes aren’t in session. So enjoy!

A new proposal to freeze enrollment at colleges could force students to make alternate educational plans

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While classes are being cut and the elimination of a 2013-2014 winter session still resonates in the minds of many at EC, students might soon be faced with a life-changing effect to their educational plans.

The CSU system is proposing the need to freeze enrollment at 23 campuses in the spring of 2013 and wait-list applicants during the following fall semester as a way to deal with the uncertain budget cuts still to come pending the possible tax initiative to be passed on November’s ballot, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times. The tax initiative, supported by Gov. Jerry Brown, would increase the state income tax for earnings over $250,000 and increase both the sales and use taxes by half a cent. If this tax increase was to pass, 89 percent of the tax revenue generated within the next five years would be allocated to K-12 schools and 11 percent to community colleges, The Sacramento Bee reported. But with many other proposed tax initiatives up against Brown’s, colleges could face even more budget cuts during the 2012-2013 school year.

After the CSU and UC systems recently approved tougher admission requirements for future students, this proposed decision would force transfer students at EC to have to wait longer and face even more competition for admission spots when applying to a four-year college. This proposal is said to have an affect on tens of thousands of students throughout the state, according to the LA Times. The only students who are less likely to feel the pressure are out-of-state applicants because their higher tuition helps pay for operational costs.

But, as EC’s board of trustees discussed during its meeting on March 12, more budget cuts from the state would put EC at  risk for future cut backs.

So while many wait until November to determine the fate of California’s educational system, the proposed enrollment freeze might be CSU’s only option in order to refrain from increasing current tuition next spring, Robert Turnage, CSU’s assistant vice chancellor of budget, said in an LA Times article.

“Nobody seems to like fee increases,” Turnage said. “But it comes down to either increasing revenue or cutting spending. Part of what we need to educate the board about is what cutting $200 million entails.”

Visit Union online to stay up-to-date on news stories.

Follow me on Twitter @ECCUnionAshley for breaking news on campus.

Protests on campus make their way to the State Capitol

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EC’s campus is being occupied. Tents, tables and chairs are scattered on the library lawn. Students holding protest signs gather in walkways and voices yelling “occupy El Camino” can be heard in the far off distance.

As a demonstration against cuts to higher education, students rallied together to protest higher tuition fees, fewer classes offered and overall less space available at EC.

“Don’t just watch us, join us,” protesters from Occupy EC yelled through a megaphone during National Day of Action for Education.

Not only was there a parade of students marching through the hallways of buildings on campus on March 1, but thousands gathered inside and outside the State Capitol in Sacramento this week to make their voices loud and clear to state officials. According to an article in USA Today, students filled hallways and conference rooms holding signs while a group of students met with lawmakers to lobby against the budget cuts having a major effect on colleges throughout California.

The USA Today article stated that some lawmakers watched the student-protestors from balconies while others sat down next to students and talked to them about the situation and what, if anything, can be done to help the issue.

In a statement from Gov. Jerry Brown regarding the demonstration at the State Capitol, he said that the protest gives voters a reason to approve the tax increase law that will be on the ballot this November.

But students aren’t going to wait until November; protests are said to continue to form on many of the CSU college campuses until students see a change.

And here on campus, Occupy EC is still in full-affect.

Click here to see a video of Occupy EC.

Follow me on Twitter @ECCUnionAshley.

A new semester, a new beginning

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While many students associate the first week of school with waiting in lines at the Cashier’s Office, scouring the aisles of the Bookstore looking for text books and impatiently circling the parking lots searching for a vacant spot, I see it as an opportunistic time to start a new and push forward in pursuing my goals.

This first week  is not only motivating, liberating and exciting to me, but it’s also a time to re-evaluate myself and the path I am on. I look at it as a new start and a place to exude my efforts to the fullest. It also gives me the opportunity to try something new; whether I am enrolled in a new class or drive a different way to school, it is the beginning of something great.

And while my life changes during the first week of school and responsibilities come to the forefront, I use the structural balance college provides me to aim higher and be successful. Because we all have a reason for being at EC.

So to all of you dreading this first week, keep your heads up and think of it as a new opportunity to pursue your dreams and goals. Use this opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. And never get discouraged if things don’t come easy to you in the beginning because Brian Tracy, American author, once said, “It doesn’t matter where you are coming from. All that matters is where you are going.”

I hope everyone has a great spring semester and follow me on Twitter, @ECCUnionAshley, for all the latest news on campus.

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