Diamond Gems Rank 8th in Nation at Competition

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Stancil, far left, performing with the Diamond Gems in their hip-hop performance.
Stancil, far left, performing with the Diamond Gems in their hip-hop performance.

“And welcoming our next team, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this is Temple University!” said the announcer as the crowd’s cheers ripple throughout the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. The Diamond Gems Dance Team hit the floor of the Jostens Center and embraced the audience as they prepare to compete at the Universal Dance Association’s College Dance Team National Championship. The moment that they took the stage was the culmination of hours of dedication, perseverance, and the desire to make it to finals in the Division 1A Hip-Hop category.

Two years ago, the team advanced to finals for the first time in Temple’s dance team history and ended the competition by being ranked 8th in the nation.

This year, the dancers were determined to do the same, and perhaps, even place in the top 5 for all D1A Hip-Hop Teams.

The dancers of the Diamond Gems dance team sacrificed nearly their entire winter breaks in order to properly train for the competition. Each practice leading up to the championship is spent learning choreography, cleaning, drilling, and building endurance for the dancers, which takes close to 9 hours per day.

The highly distinguished UDA competition allows teams from around the country to compete in their division for Jazz, Pom, and Hip-Hop dancing. Dependent upon the number of teams in each category, only half of the them will move on to the final round of competition.

Team member and freshman Public Health major, Sylvie Dent, shared what her first experience on the Nationals floor was like. “My immediate reaction was excitement,” she said. “Once I saw the crowd all my fears turned into dust and I was ready to just perform my very best.”

Not only are the girls dancing learning extensive choreography but are also developing their character throughout the process.

Sophomore Early Childhood Education major Madison Diehl spoke about what she drew from the entire Nationals venture. “I gained a lot knowledge about myself as a performer,” she revealed. “For the first time, I felt like I was dancing as one with team rather than just me performing on stage as an individual.”

The Diamond Gems pose with their trophy in Orlando, FL.
The Diamond Gems pose with their trophy in Orlando, FL.

Ultimately, the team was ranked 7 following the first round of competition, and finished at number 8 in the nation for Division 1A Hip-Hop.

“What I took away from this whole experience, is that winning isn’t (and shouldn’t) be a team’s ultimate goal of Nationals,” says Dent. “Going out on the floor and performing to the best of your ability and being genuinely happy with your performance is all that matters.”

As a member of the Diamond Gems dance team, I can say wholeheartedly that I have never been more proud of a group of girls. I couldn’t have asked to perform on the floor with a more talented team of young women, and I can’t wait to witness this team blossom in the future!

Simone Stancil is a sophomore studying journalism and a member of the Temple Update web staff.

Vea Fitness Encourages Phiadelphia to “Step Out” to Stop Diabetes

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screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-12-43-22-pmVea Fitness returns this weekend for the annual Philadelphia Step Out Walk and Run 5K to Stop Diabetes event hosted by the American Diabetes Association.

The fitness app is partnering with the organization to increase exercise and provide incentives to users.

Following their partnership with the first ever Philly Free Streets event in September, Vea Fitness is continuing to enhance and develop the design of their application by adding a charity aspect. The success of the app’s launch at Philly Free Streets did not go unnoticed with over 800 downloads which took place that day.

After witnessing a significant number of users taking part in the app and its challenges, the American Diabetes Association reached out to Vea Fitness to work in tandem with them for the 25th anniversary of the Step Out 5K.

The association had been longing to introduce virtual 5K runs, and now, with Vea Fitness, they can do just that. This new feature allows users to donate, join a fitness challenge, and possibly receive a reward containing athletic apparel. “You could donate, say $20.00 to the association, and then in return, you’d get what they call digital gift baskets, so like maybe a tank top, or a sweat band, or t-shirt,” reveals Jonathan Maxim, co-founder and CEO of Vea Fitness.

Maxim also explains the advantages of partnering with a company such as the American Diabetes Association. “There are definitely benefits to having an endorsement with the association,” says Maxim. “It’s very well-respected.”

In Philadelphia, close to 16% of citizens have or ever had diabetes. The American Diabetes Association is an advocate of conducting research to prevent, cure, and manage diabetes.

Maxim adds, “The fitness and health epidemic is so close to our hearts, so when they approached us it was like, yes, we do want to help create proactive health patterns.”

The Step Out 5K is taking place on Saturday, November 5. The walk begins at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and extends for roughly 3.2 miles.

For more information, click here.

Dow Jones Looks for Interns at Temple’s SMC

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dow-jonesThe Dow Jones News Fund visited Temple last week to speak with students about joining their summer internship program.

Initiating in 1958, the Dow Jones News Fund provides paid internship opportunities to college juniors, seniors, and graduate students. The fund is also a non-profit organization established to promote careers in journalism in the digital age.

If accepted, students will have the chance to interview and work for 10-12 weeks at some of the nations leading news companies like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

Managing Director Linda Shockley spoke to students in Annenberg Hall about the fund and the news industry. “Media is a transient business,” speaks Shockley. “Somebody that you meet on the job might be somebody that you see moving throughout the industry years from now.”

Offered to current upperclassmen and graduate students, the Dow Jones News Fund offers four different programs focused on elements of the news industry. These include their Digital Internship, Business Reporting Internship, Data Journalism, and News Editing Internship programs.

Prior to being accepted to each of these curriculums, students who are interested must take an online exam to test their qualifications. These exams include students’ knowledge of current events, reporting skills, and data & digital expertise.

If you are interested in the internship program, sign up to take the test to see if you’re qualified. The test will be administered on Thursday, October 27th, at 11:00 a.m. in Annenberg Hall Room 2. The deadline to sign-up for the test is Tuesday, October 25th. Applications must be submitted by November 1st.

For more information, you can visit the School of Media and Communication Career Center in Annenberg Hall Room 7 or contact Professor Maida Odom.

The link for the Dow Jones News Fund can be found here.

Temple Student Creates New Chapter of Generation United Nations

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gen-unOver the summer in 2016, sophomore journalism major Ayah Alkhars decided to implement a new association for Temple students to participate in. She recently founded the Temple University Chapter of Generation United Nations to help place the future of the world in the hands of students. Also known as GenUN, the organization is an action-oriented, national initiative which focuses on global issues such as climate change, peace & security, women’s rights, and more.

Executive Director of the Greater Philadelphia chapter of United Nations Association Christiaan Morrsink inspired Alkhars to create her own division at Temple University. “He asked me, ‘Why not just create your own chapter?’ and so, I did,” says Alkhars.

To her, it’s necessary for college campuses to discuss issues that affect our society, whether those issues are being covered by mass media or not. Hailing from Kuwait, she emphasizes why incorporating GenUN onto Temple’s campus is important. “Not knowing anything is a bad thing, explains Alkhars. “I’ve risked getting arrested many times, but it was worth it.”

Ultimately, GenUN strives to engage and energize young supporters to be informed and use their voices to discuss matters that globally connect groups of people, and nations as a whole.

The most important issue that Alkhars would like GenUN to focus on is the recognition of human life. “We can’t ignore that people need a place to live peacefully who can’t have that,” she states.

Participants of GenUN tackle a variety of world issues and have the opportunity to become global leaders of the Greater Philadelphia Area. They are also taught how to contribute to their community and how to reach local, national, and international groups to seek change.

If you’d like to become a member of the Temple University GenUN, contact genuntemple@gmail.com or click here for more information.

Bar Camp News Innovation Discusses the Future of News

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bar-camoBar Camp News Innovation made its 8th appearance at Temple University this Saturday. Presented by Technically Media, the seminar is held annually to discuss the future of news and media. The conference took place in the atrium of Annenberg Hall and was moderated by co-founder and Editorial Director of Technically Media, Christopher Wink.

The program consisted of an agenda filled with sessions that focused on specific journalistic topics. Of those topics included conversations about trends in online news, digital journalism, and the role of objectivity in journalism practices today.

Christopher Wink, co-founder of Technically Media, a company that publishes local tech news sites Technical.ly, and Generocity.org shares the mission of this specific news event. As a Temple graduate, Wink emphasized the importance in continuing the Bar Camp tradition each year. “It’s been interesting to see how the conversations evolve, and how others remain the same,” explains Wink.

The inspiration for the Bar Camp forum came from a 2008 national conversation about the news industry and how it’s changing. With enhancements in technology, data and social media plays a crucial role in the expansion of journalism.

Also in attendance were keynote speakers of a diverse panel of editors and producers from reputable publications.

Jess Estepa, Senior Digital Producer at National Geographic, and Michael Gold, Social Media Editor for the New York Times were among the group of speakers and discussed their roles in the evolving world of journalism. Estepa also made sure to mention that with social media today, “we can use our brands to do so much more than just journalism.”

The Bar Camp News Innovation is held every year at Temple University’s Annenberg Hall with free admission for Temple students.

NCOW Wraps Up with Bell Tower Festival

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ncowTemple’s National Coming Out Week came to a close this Friday. A festival located at the bell tower, also known as NCOW Fest, culminated a week of on campus events catered to the LGBTQIA community. National Coming Out Week at Temple is celebrating its 10th year of activities that were created to raise awareness of the annual October 11th National Coming Out Day.

Organized by the Temple Wellness Resource Center and Student Housing and Residential Life, NCOW makes an effort each year to provide resources to the Temple community.

“It’s important for NCOW Fest to happen every year because as part of the NCOW committee, we think it’s important to celebrate queerness, LGBTQIA identities, and people’s comfortability and love for themselves,” explains Sheena Sood, Gender and Sexuality Inclusion Graduate Extern. “It’s important for us to be in public spaces where we can show the greater Temple community that this is an inclusive community that recognizes and honors everyone where they’re at.”

Campus partners such as the Temple Student Government, Student Affairs, and the Youth Health Empowerment Project set-up tables with pamphlets, wristbands, and more to promote their participation in the LGBTQIA community. There were also food vendors with cotton candy, popcorn, and snow-cones to attract students.

Throughout the week, Temple hosted events such as the 5th annual drag show, alumni panel discussions, and networking with faculty and staff to create a safe space for LGBTQIA + students to build connections and expand their network.

Clothesline Project Takes a Stand Against Sexual Violence

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clothesline
The Clothesline Project, organized Temple’s Wellness Resource Center, is in it’s 8th year.

The annual Clothesline Project, which promotes awareness of sexual assault and violence on college campuses, raised the shirts of survivors for display this past Wednesday and Thursday. Located in Founder’s Garden Circle, the event, which is sponsored by Temple’s Wellness Resource Center, has taken place each year for the last eight years. For nearly a decade, t-shirts varying in colors read the words of victims of sexual assault along with students who commit to preventing it.

Within the garden, the clothes that were hung up were of those that have been made over the last four years, those t-shirts alone filling the space. Interim Director Tom Johnson of the Temple Wellness Resource Center communicated his expectations for the project in the years to follow. He maintains that having less people making shirts is ideal. “Obviously, you don’t want to see people have to make shirts because they are a survivor, but also I don’t want that to be a discouragement if somebody is a survivor and this helps them in their process,” Johnson said. “I want them to feel like this is a space where they can do so.”

As students pass by the demonstration, they can observe a colorful arrangement of t-shirts that have accumulated since the start of the project as well as make one themselves to support victims. The program was established as a channel for those who have experienced sexual assault to remain anonymous while simultaneously giving life to their stories. Shirts ranging in colors like blue, green, purple, red, and pink are just some of the colors of shirts that students could decorate. The use of vibrant colors is an attempt to seek student involvement and encourage participation around campus.

Earlier this year, Temple University Student Athletes participated in the National Student Athletic Advisory Committee campaign entitled, “It’s On Us,” a movement to help keep men and women safe from sexual assault. The video, which discusses consensual sex, can be found here.

If you’d like to support the effort, click here to take the pledge against assault. You can also attend “The Clothesline Production,” an addition to the project, on Thursday, October 6th from 8:00-10:00 pm in The Underground (located in the lower level of Student Center South). The event will include an evening of spoken word, dance, and musical performances to help bring awareness for sexual assault and interpersonal violence.

Race In Race Symposium to Promote Discussion of Race in Politics

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Hosts Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon and Professor Karen Turner with guest Senator Vincent Hughes and students from multiple Temple organizations.
Hosts Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon (far left) and Professor Karen Turner (far right) with guest Senator Vincent Hughes (center) and students from multiple Temple organizations.

Annenberg Studio 1 was the setting Tuesday night as Temple University hosted their third Race In Race student forum event. Sponsored by the Academic Center in Research and Diversity, the Race In Race seminar aims to stimulate conversation among students in regards to race in politics, and occurs with each election year. The discussion panel was comprised of leaders from various student organizations around Temple’s campus and the event also welcomed Pennsylvania Senator Vincent J. Hughes.

Senator Hughes opened the meeting with a dialogue about race and what people who feel that they are being underrepresented can do to address their needs. When asked by moderator Karen Turner what these individuals can do to draw attention to their demands, Senator Hughes made a point by saying, “Make sure you’re registered to vote and make sure you don’t miss an election. Vote at all levels. If you want to make a real change, to make difference, then you have to be engaged.” Hughes went on to mention the significance of elections and public participation. “Why would wealthy people spend billions of dollars to determine who wins this election if it wasn’t an important investment?” he questioned. “We need to increase democracy, as opposed to decrease democracy.”

The students on the panel also provided insight into how they feel race and social uprisings have influenced this year’s election. Senior Economics major and Temple’s Political Science Society President Taylor Taliaferro spoke on how the public can implement change into politics. “I feel like organizing is your best bet,” she explained. “It’s very important that you organize and that you reach out to your state and local representatives because those are the two big voices that any average citizen can use and take all the way to the White House.” Rebecca Gonzalez, a member of the Model United Nations added her opinion as well. “We as a generation are more informed than people may believe we are, and that we do believe that we have what it takes to make actual change,” said the junior Political Science major.

The discussion also included elements of political issues and how both presidential candidates have addressed them. Aside from race, these topics included education, social movements, crime, and young voter demographic sentiments.

Catch the 2016 Race in Race symposium on TUTV, or attend the next installment on Thursday, October 13th in Paley Library. The event will be held from 2:30-4:00 pm and is open to all visitors.

New Tyler School of Art Piece Sparks Controversy

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A piece of art made its public debut last Thursday in the courtyard of the Tyler School of Art. Standing about 30 feet wide, approximately 8 feet high and lined by wooden frames and black fabric, the work reads in painted white letters, “white people. do something.” The piece stirred a lot of buzz on campus, and no one really knew where it came from.

'A Small Matter of Engineering (Part 1)' by Kara Springer
‘A Small Matter of Engineering (Part 1)’ by Kara Springer

The artwork was created by Kara Springer, an MFA Sculpture student of Tyler who entitled the piece “A small matter of engineering (Part 2),” which is believed to be the second installment of another work also completed by Springer labeled, “A small matter of engineering (part 1).”

In retaliation to the piece, some took to social media to comment on how they perceived it. The Tyler School of Art excitedly announced the installation of the work on Twitter last Thursday, igniting a mixed critique of the structure. The majority of comments originated from non-Temple students, and from individuals from across the nation. Some users questioned whether or not Temple University “specialized in victimhood,” or discredited the work entirely by stating that it should not be considered art at all.

Tyler School of Art Student Morgan Crumlich shared her perception of the piece and why she feels it’s important for people to witness. “Initially, I was a little shocked that it was put up but I think it’s good because I think it’s something that people need to start thinking about, like white people need to start thinking about and thinking about what they can do.”

'A Small Matter of Engineering (Part 2)'
‘A Small Matter of Engineering (Part 2)’

Although the message of the art is unclear, one sentence may be all that it takes to provoke observers. “I just think that we have to be really careful when we’re taking these social movements that we’re not ostracizing people who would want to help us,” says Reuben Wilson, a junior photography major of the Tyler School of Art. “I know a lot of white people who might’ve been on the fence would look at that and say, ‘see that’s why I don’t support it, because they’re all in my face.’” Wilson also revealed that he hopes that the request for white people to do something would “inspire or empower” them to incite change and to share their opinions, if positive, with others.

To view the two pieces of artwork by Kara Springer and more, visit the Tyler School of Art courtyard.

Philly Free Streets, Vea Fitness Team Up to Encourage Healthy Living

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Vea Fitness is a new app partnering with Philly Free Streets to promote fitness with rewards.
Vea Fitness is a new app partnering with Philly Free Streets to promote fitness with rewards.

Saturday marks the kick off of the first ever Philly Free Streets event in Philadelphia. The Free Streets initiative was inspired by the car free weekend during Pope Francis’s visit last fall. 

Vea Fitness, a workout organization that provides rewards to users is taking advantage of the expected 10,000-20,000 participants in the hopes of promoting the launch of their new, updated app.

Philly Free Streets, a family friendly, “people-powered initiative” was introduced to allow for open-streets in the city and to encourage fitness among Philadelphians. As the official app of Philly Free Streets, Vea Fitness, which can be found in the Apple and Android technology app stores, track running, walking, and biking activity for users and provides incentives for engaging in physical activity. Recently, Vea partnered with Philadelphia, as well as Snap Kitchen, “the one stop healthy meal shop,” of Philadelphia to compel users to exercise and collect rewards for their performance.

Co-founder and CEO Jonathan Maxim reveals that users can receive discounts as well as apparel for their exercise. “Say you run 2 miles, you get 10% off of running shoes, or 3 miles you get 15% off. And so from us, gear incentives are like, motivational instructors to help people get up, and get fit and exercise more.” Maxim also disclosed that through partnering with Snap Kitchen, users are being offered 50% off of an entrée from the restaurant after running 2 miles as well as coupons that can be used at vendors along the 10-mile route.

Another element that is being highly anticipated with the app is the opportunity to participate in a scavenger hunt. There will be about 30 different booths located along the streets, and by checking in to one of them, users will have the chance to enter a sweepstakes and earn various entries.

In regards to the launch, Maxim was thrilled to share what he’s looking forward to. “I’m expecting a really great turnout based on yesterday’s and today’s downloads,” Maxim explained. “The city is offering users 15 different rewards to join the Philly Free Streets on Saturday, so we’re working in very close tandem with them.”

To earn benefits, download the Vea Fitness app to support the inauguration of Philly Free Streets. The application is compatible with iPhones as well as Androids.

The Philly Free Streets event begins at 8am on Saturday, September 24th, and ends at 1pm. The trail starts at Front & South Streets and continues through the Schuylkill River Trail and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, coming to a close at West Fairmount Park. The event is open to locals, visitors, families, etc. and will include a variety of fitness activities, along with educational programs.  

For more information, visit http://www.phillyfreestreets.com