Thematic Freshman Writing Online
Welcome to the premier issue of Binghamton Now! First, I’d like to thank Wendy Stewart for providing a wealth of support and guidance during this process; I truly could not have put this publication together without her wisdom. Second, I’d like to thank my amazing team for all of their editorial and creative work over the past few months; Heather, Maddy, and Nathan—thank you for signing on to this project and helping me bring my vision to life. Binghamton University’s community benefits every day from your dedication and passion! Finally, I’d like to thank our writers, whose opinions and ideals make it much easier for this editorial board to believe in a brighter future.
The goal of Binghamton Now is to highlight the works of those students who exemplify the importance of civic engagement and, as a result, whose voices need to be heard. We need to remember that younger generations are just as passionate about and engaged in the social, political, and cultural issues that dominate media outlets and Congress debate-floors. Often, however, student voices are locked out of those spaces where important conversations happen and critical decisions are made. Binghamton Now attempts to empower its writers and to inspire its readers, reminding them that their opinions and voices can enact change. If our current pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we’re all in this together, which includes the younger generation about to inherit the consequences of decisions made today. For this reason, our editorial team will continue to do our utmost to provide a space for these voices to be heard now rather than later.
Vanessa Jaeger Ph.D, Lead Editor
What Have the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization,
Newspaper Told the Public About the Coronavirus (CoVID-19)?
By: Yuzhen Chen
Which of the following best describes your mindset concerning the international pandemic (COVID-19) crisis in 2020: stressed about being infected at any second, or unconcerned by the information spread around? Hopefully, you’re not wholly either, because neither of these reactions seem completely reasonable, especially under an ongoing pandemic crisis.
By: Din Kastrat
In the modern Coronavirus pandemic, no part of the world has been hit as hard as the global south, encompassing the majority of the world’s least developed countries (LDCs). The pandemic has highlighted major weaknesses due to underdevelopment in infrastructure, healthcare, and education, while demonstrating the “every man for themselves” mentality adopted by developed states. As the Coronavirus threat continues to spread, foreign investment has been drained from emerging markets, all the while critical medical supplies are being inappropriately distributed between developed and underdeveloped countries. Ironically, the countries most at risk are the ones that cannot receive the necessary means of protecting themselves and their health, opening a “Pandora's box” of new issues tied to a country’s economic capabilities.
By: Eden Lowinger
In a press briefing on Tuesday April 7th, President Trump acknowledged the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic is having on the Black community: “African American citizens of this country [are] going through a lot, it’s been disproportional” (ABC News). Trump is a president who has propagated a wide range of racist rhetoric. This acknowledgement of the disparities in infection and fatality rates when comparing racial groups, while simple enough, is in its own right remarkable. Recognition by the current administration shows just how severe this issue has become- sadly, it had to take a pandemic for the US government to address health disparities across racial and socioeconomic lines.
By: Adam Malev
Many journalists have claimed that the fight against coronavirus is a war. It is not hard to see how COVID-19 is affecting lives around the world. There has never been a time in the history of the US where nearly all social gatherings and events are canceled, the vast majority of Americans stopped commuting to the office, and people wear masks and gloves the few times a month they go out to food shop. The coronavirus is truly an unexpected global phenomenon that America’s doctors and scientists are trying to stop. #SlowTheSpread has rapidly spread on social media in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus which, as of this piece, has infected nearly two million people and killed nearly 125,000 worldwide (Worldometer).
By: Safa Nadeem
Are boiled garlic water, toilet paper, and excessive sunlight the ways to cure and prevent the coronavirus? No, they are not; they might help strengthen your immune system and keep your butts clean but certainly will not beat coronavirus. There are a lot more suggestions for at-home remedies such as these on social media. Users have been sharing and forwarding strange techniques that they believe will help without making sure whether they are true or not.
By: Isabella Ritchie
Imagine being a healthcare worker in the midst of a pandemic. Grueling hours, endless patients, and constant exposure to a nasty virus. Pretty daunting right? You would think that the majority of available tests in the midst of a testing shortage would go to these brave workers who have the most direct contact with coronavirus patients. However, this is not the case.
By: Marielita Sanchez
Traditional face-to-face learning has always been the primary option for obtaining an education. Through the advancement of technology, the demand of online learning has increased; however, this has brought up controversy. Online learning has different requirements and accessibility than traditional learning which has caused professors to lack trust within students. Students, not trusting themselves, become unmotivated. Online versus traditional learning has different aspects that may turn out to work for some students. In most cases, for low-income first-generation college students, online learning increases the socioeconomic gap.
2020 Presidential Race: How COVID-19 Intensifies the Need for a Transition to Online & Digital Voting
By: Nicholas Sevecke
Coronavirus. COVID-19. Social distancing. Self-quarantining. All of these words are new to our vocabularies and lives, and yet they are already impacting us in profound ways [...] So, in a world where it seems as though everything is changing, what is happening to the 2020 United States Presidential Election on November 3rd, 2020?
By: Yuka Yamauchi
It is not uncommon for certain diseases, or viruses, to be named after minority groups. HIV, or the AIDS epidemic, for example, was commonly referred to as the “gay-related immune deficiency” (Schweppe par. 3). Now, COVID-19 is often called the “Chinese virus” or the “Wuhan flu” (Schweppe par. 2). Further, it does not help that powerful and influential figures, like President Trump, do not fix this issue, but rather endorse it [...] Leaders of America cannot encourage xenophobia; rather, such figures should combat it for the sake of minority groups, or in this case, the Asian-American community.
By: Daniel Ziegler
There is no questioning the toll COVID-19 has taken on the world. Overcrowded hospitals leave doctors scavenging for medical supplies, while the little amount of government aid Congress has made available has been reserved to save what is left of the United States’ crumbling economy. The U.S. will eventually recover from this virus, but what is more concerning are the negative implications the current financial recession – the worst since the Great Depression - will have on the three million people in the U.S. suffering with an opioid use disorder (OUD).
By: Noah Zimmer
Foggy, yellow haze permanently floating above Los Angeles has become an expectation for locals. Some may even remember the days of the 1950s and 60s when national air pollution regulations were so scarce, car accidents occurred frequently due to low visibility. It took national outcry spearheaded by the environmental movement of the 1970s in order for the United States to take definitive legal action. [...] The past few hectic months in a world run by coronavirus have demonstrated the undeniable link between human activity and negative environmental effects. One of the remaining questions is exactly who causes the most detrimental effects on the environment and how the public should respond following the end of national quarantine.
Additional Messages from the Editorial Team:
Over the course of the last several months, so many aspects of our lives, relationships, and work have changed. As we continue to face uncertainty, one thing becomes clear: supporting community, connection, and communication is key to our navigation through these unsettling and upsetting times. To me, that is what Binghamton Now is all about. This project is more than a collection of essays; rather, it is a culmination of the care, thought, and dedication of a group of students and instructors who have come together to educate and enlighten their peers, friends, families, and other readers. For me, working on this project has been a constant reminder of the amazing potential and ability of Binghamton students, and what a joy it is to work with and learn from these great thinkers, researchers, and writers.
As an instructor, there are few things more inspiring than seeing a student’s work improve and develop after careful consideration and revision; as an individual living in 2020, however, there are few things more inspiring than seeing this group of individuals—who have each been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in one way or another—work diligently to produce important work and establish a sense of camaraderie and community during a time in which so much seems so disheartening.
From the moment that Binghamton Now was presented to me, I have been eager to work on it. It has been such a pleasure to work with these students, Vanessa, Nathan, Heather, and Wendy. I hope all of the readers learn from these pieces, continue to engage in these important conversations, and feel the sense of community that has been integral to this project’s success!
It is not hyperbole to state that our lives were forever changed last March (I for one will never, ever again let myself run low on toilet paper). From the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, to BLM, and the upcoming presidential election, we have been living through overlapping unprecedented events in human history – to the extent to where I’m not sure what a “precedented” world even would even be anymore. While we have banded together to endure and persevere, many students have found the assignments in WRIT 111 to be an outlet to engage with and reflect upon the events and the people around them. The students published in Binghamton Now have taken the time to comment upon current events, and advocate for meaningful and constructive sociopolitical change. This is what Binghamton Now, and the entirety of WRIT 111, means to me. The assignments you have written, or will write, in this class do not exist in an academic vacuum. As exemplified in the pieces published in Binghamton Now, it is now more important than ever to use the WRIT 111 platform to make your voice heard and demand the change you want to see. As an instructor there is nothing more meaningful to me than working with students as they engage with the world around them as they grow as thinkers, writers, and scholars. It was a joy and an honor to work with the students published in Binghamton Now as they rose to the occasion to demand change.
I want to thank Vanessa for providing this platform for these student writers. As soon as she mentioned pursuing this project, I immediately jumped at the chance to be a part of it. Now, more than ever, it is important that we publish, read, teach, and reflect upon papers that comment upon events that impact us right now, and Binghamton Now is the perfect outlet to do so. I also want to thank the rest of the editorial team, Wendy, Maddy, and Heather, for working to make this happen. Finally, I want to thank the students I worked with this summer, Adam, Nick, Isabella, and Dan, for being complete and utter rock stars. It was not easy to do anything productive this summer, let alone go back and revise old WRIT 111 assignments. Thank you for putting up with me and my incessant comments!
I remember sitting with a student in the Dickinson lounge mid-March, right after we’d been told we would be moving online for the rest of the semester. We were discussing her Public Opinion Piece and the current civic conversations surrounding her academic controversy. Weeks later we would be discussing her draft over Zoom and thinking about how COVID-19 had affected her controversy and our lives. Even as we Zoomed, it was impossible to fully understand all the ways our realities had changed forever. COVID-19 created, exacerbated, and further exposed problems within our communities and systems. With the outbreak of COVID-19 came an influx of online Public Opinion Pieces to address these concerns.
Binghamton Now represents what is at the heart of Public Opinion Pieces: informed and passionate people writing online about issues happening in the world now. Sometimes what we do in the classroom can feel disconnected from the world around us. Binghamton Now takes the Public Opinion Piece assignment out of the classroom and places it back in its real-world context. Our writers are able to present their POPs on a platform similar to other Public Opinion Pieces in the world. The online format allows for the use of POP conventions that help shape our understandings as well.
I want to thank the writers I worked with, Safa Nadeem and Marielita Sanchez, for sharing their writing and using their voices to call for change. It is always exciting to see writers revise for publication and I am looking forward to teaching all these great examples of POPs. Thanks to Wendy Stewart and Aggeliki Pelekidis for their help and support. Thanks to my fellow editors, Madeline Gottlieb and Nathan Klembara for your dedication and hard work. And finally, thanks to Vanessa Jaeger, lead editor, for throwing one more task in the air to juggle, somehow not dropping anything.