Despite Improvements, Commuters Are Still Unhappy with LIRR Delays

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In 2015, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) had the worst on time performance since 2000. This year,there has been improvements in the number of delays. The June 2016 MTA Operating Report indicates that the on time performance increased to 93.7% (between January to May 2016) from the 91.6% reported for 2015. Despite this increase, customers haven’t noticed a change in delays within the past year.

“Whether it be technical difficulties, signal issues, train traffic, etc., there are always delays,” said Hofstra senior Dianna Albanese. “There were many times where I was late for my internship before I started leaving earlier because of the LIRR.”

While most delays are due to uncontrollable causes, such as weather or customers, about 31 percent (as noted on the graph below in blue) can be attributed to the MTA/LIRR.

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*Blue sections represent delays that can be attributed to LIRR/MTA. Source: May 2016 Operating Report 

“I haven’t really noticed a difference from last year,” said Hofstra senior La Rainne Pasion. “Whenever something happens to the LIRR… there are no or very few additional back-up services that could help people get to where they need to be.”

Salvatore Arena, an MTA spokesman, indicated that there often is not a simple fix to improving on time performance.

“If you have 100 extra trains, you couldn’t run them because there’s no room for them in the schedule,” said Arena.

But the MTA is working on projects that will benefit commuters and shorten their travel time.

They have two major projects right now: building a second track from Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma and the East Side Access project, which would give LIRR riders the option of taking the train directly into Grand Central Station.

The MTA is also in the process of replacing older trains (M3s) with new ones (M9s).

“Technologically, there are always improvements,” Arena said of the new M9 trains. “The newer the fleet, the better the performance.”

Header image: © Ad Meskens / Wikimedia Commons
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Jewish College Students on Long Island Struggle to Balance School and the Holidays

Hofstra University has joined other Long Island universities in adopting a secular calendar. Jewish students at universities across Long Island have struggled to balance class and observing Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in October. Some students find it unfair that the school does not officially give off for these two important holidays in the Jewish faith.

“When Christians get off for Christmas,” began Robyn Beeber, vice president of LIU Post Hillel, “it’s like, well why don’t we get off for our important holidays too?”

5 Looks to Try for New Years’ Celebrations

2014 is almost over! By now, you probably have some plans for New Years. Whether its a night out or just a celebration with a few friends, these styles are a perfect way to bring in the new year.

FullSizeRender1. Sparkles-  Adding a little sparkle to your outfit will be enough to catch your friends’ attention. This is one of the few occasions where going a little crazy with some bedazzlement is suitable ( hey, it matches the Times Square Ball.) The best places for these pieces are around the neck, such as in the form of a necklace, or on the collar/chest area of a shirt. Pair these pieces with black so that they will stand out.

2.  Prints- Bold prints are another great way to stand out at a party. Make them pop even more by pairing them with a bright color.

Try finding printed bottoms- such as leggings, a skirt, or harem pants. It’s more unexpected.

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3. A touch of color: A bold purple skirt, or any style similar to this will give off a fun, playful vibe; perfect for a party.

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4. Leather- Two words: Leather leggings. They’re slimming, fierce, and- if  they’re just as equally legging as leather- fairly comfortable. Pair them with a sexy top and black heels or boots.

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5.  A twist on classic- Everyone falls back on the “little black dress.” A dress like the one shown below has a similar effect, while being less expected. It’s stretchy material can show off your curves, while its interesting FullSizeRender-6pattern will turn heads. I would recommend wearing a statement necklace or earrings with a dress like this to give off a little extra flair.

My Holiday Wish List

Christmas is only a few days away! Here are a few items that made my list:

1.) Tights

I love tights. They come in a variety of patterns- from polka dot to floral- and can be worn just about any time of the year. In the fall, I worn them (as seen below) with shorts and a sweater, and they paired really nicely. I was warm, but still had the chance to have fun with my outfit. Layering is the best way to go for the fall/winter weather.
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2.) Baggy sweaters

Who doesn’t love being comfortable and warm during the winter? I like to buy my sweaters in a size or two larger so that they are roomy and offset a tight pair of jeans or leggings. Plus sweaters shrink sometimes ( like the one I’m wearing above did.) Long necklaces pair nicely with baggy sweaters. I’d also try wearing a collared shirt underneath your sweater. It’s an extra layer to keep you warm, and may mix up your look.

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3.) Beanies and Infinity Scarves

Winter accessaries are a must. These items have grown in popularity, and there really isn’t a reason not to buy them. They do the job of keeping you warm while also looking good.

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4.) Skater skirts

Perfect for a New Years Eve party (and just about every other semi-formal event.) Skater skirts give off a younger, more fun vibe than tight pencil skirts. I’ve found a variety of styles in Charlotte Russe and Forever21.

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5.) Black Doc Martens

If you don’t have a pair of Doc Martens, I HIGHLY recommend them. They’re a little on the pricey side compared to some other boots (they usually range from $100-125), but are well worth it. This chunky boot looks great with skinny jeans and leggings. Basic black brings back the grunge style, but these shoes come in different patterns, such as floral, if you want something a little more girly.

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For more style ideas, follow my instagram: bciniglio

The Benefits of Social Media for College Students

 

 

Student opinions via Podcasts: 

Interview with Hofstra student, Gabrielle Wasserstein

Interview with Hofstra student, Marialena Rago 

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The words “college students” and “social media” are paired together almost as often as “peanut butter” and “jelly.” Most have deemed social media as a negative aspect of our society, as it can become a distraction and may inhibit social skills. But are there benefits to being connected on sites such as Twitter and Facebook?

“Not enough attention is really paid to things like what social media or technology, in general, affords us to do now that we weren’t able to years ago,” Brian McFadden, a journalism and media studies professor at Hofstra University, stated.

Never before have college students been able to attain news so immediately. There are numerous apps, such as the CNN or New York Times apps, that send students alerts on their phones whenever a major news story breaks. Even without these applications, students are able to find out news through Twitter and Facebook as soon as they occur. And they may just as quickly share their own opinion on news.

Social media gives students a voice. They are able to like and share posts they agree with, while also adding their own comments if they decide to. Because of this, they are able to join together with others who share similar views.

“Having people like or comment on one of my posts makes me feel important because it says to me that people care about what I have to say,” Austin Woolman, a sophomore at Hofstra University, stated.

Sites such as Facebook, which allow students to make pages and have group messages, can also be useful for class assignments. Students can easily send each other messages to inquire on homework questions or to work together on a team project. Posting questions or tips on a group page allow everyone in a class the opportunity to respond or have their own questions answer.

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Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn also allow students to follow companies and future employers who they may work for one day. Employers (especially those in the news field) like to see that you follow them on social media sites. It shows your desire to stay updated and connected with their company.

Although many believe that social media hinders social connections, it actually allows students to stay more connected to their family, friends, peers, and the rest of the world. Students still engage in social interactions during class time, but are now able to bring those interactions beyond the classroom. Social media has opened up a whole new world to college students.

“Social media is the ultimate equalizer.” Amy Jo Martin, founder of Digital Royalty, stated. “It gives a voice and platform to anyone willing to engage.”

College Students’ Use of Social Media for Educational PurposesChart

 

 

 

Hofstra’s Danceworks Show

Hofstra University’s Danceworks held their fall concert at Adams Playhouse over the weekend on Nov 7 and 8.

The show consisted of 13 dances, which incorporated the styles of jazz, tap, hip-hop and contemporary, and included music from artists ranging from B-52’s to Beyonce.

Danceworks, which is a student-run organization open to all Hofstra students, held their auditions for the show during one of the first weekends of the semester. The audition process is an all day event, with about 120 students auditioning to be chosen by a choreographer for one of the pieces.

The choreographers are all students, aside from Alex Kuhlke, who is an alumnus of Hofstra’s Danceworks and who choreographed the dance to the B-52’s “Love Shack.”

When the dancers returned to their rooms after auditioning, they had to wait by their phones all night for a text message stating that they were chosen to be in a piece. This message could come in as late as 3 a.m.

Not everyone in Danceworks is guaranteed to attain a spot in one of the dances. Each dance consists of 15-22 dancers, and no dancer is permitted to be in more than three or four pieces.

From there, the dancers began their rehearsal process. They met every week from the beginning of the semester up until the day of the show to perfect their moves and make the choreographers’ visions come to life.

The performance opened with a hip-hop piece to a compilation of Beyonce songs, including “Crazy In Love” and “Diva,” and received a huge applause.

The only tap piece in the show was choreographed by Ginny Mottla, a junior member of Danceworks. Mottla’s piece, which was performed to the song “Dress” by Sylvan Esso, was about breaking the stereotype of tap. Mottla created characters who performed odd and somewhat creepy moves, such as playing with their dresses and fumbling with their hair. “She told us that her goal was to leave the audience in shock,” Sierra Sharratt, a sophomore member of Danceworks, stated.

The concert also featured a performance from the Hofstra Dutchmen, an all male a cappella group, which is comprised of 16 members. They belted out different tunes each of the two nights- including the Imagine Dragon’s song, “Radioactive.”

“I absolutely loved being in the fall concert,” Sharratt stated. “It is really spectacular to see people dance, as well as have the opportunity to be a part of a performance like that.”