White House Hosts Summit on College Affordability

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Hundreds of college presidents from across the country joined President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden for the White House Summit to hear about new actions for students to prepare for college.

The White House hosted its second annual College Opportunity Day of Action, which focused on President Obama’s broadened agenda for higher education. The president plans to implement these steps:

1. Increasing Pell scholarships by $1,000 a year
2. Creating the American Opportunity Tax Credit, worth up to $10,000 over four years of college
3. Limiting student loan payments to 10 percent of income
4. Laying out an ambitious agenda to reduce college costs and promote innovation and competition

The president also explained the need for increased investments in America’s community colleges and simplifying the FAFSA to make it easier for potential and current college students to apply for financial aid.

For more information visit:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/01/16/fact-sheet-president-and-first-lady-s-call-action-college-opportunity

How to De-stress Around the Holidays

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Its that time of year when your stress can reach an all time high. On top of studying for
final exams, the holidays are just around the corner. So here are some tips for how you
can reduce your stress around this demanding time of year.

1. Plan ahead
When it comes to your finals, plan out a schedule for what subjects you will study and
when this will happen to give yourself time without rushing and stressing out.
For the holidays, plan out what gifts you are going to buy for each person and write
down which stores sell the item so you are not running around last minute.

2. Make it enjoyable
While you study, play some non-distracting music to lighten to mood.
When you go shopping for holiday gifts, take a friend with you and make it a fun day or
if you go by yourself- buy yourself something to reward yourself.

3. Give yourself breaks
Don’t study for so many hours straight to the point where your brain is overworked give
yourself a small break and try to regain focus on your task.
Preparing for the holidays takes a lot of time, so take break to let yourself regain
energy.

5 YouTube Stars to Get Familiar With

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By now I’m sure you’re at least aware of the power of the vlogging world.   For those of you who might be confused vlogging, or video blogging, has become a new powerhouse in the entertainment industry. New media is taking over and the young and internet-savvy are taking full advantage and pioneering a whole new kind of celebrity. They film, edit, direct, upload, and promote their videos themselves. It really is a one-man operation and there’s a whole community of YouTube content creators who are currently killing the game. Here are a few you should get familiar with if you aren’t already.

1. Tyler Oakley

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 With over 5 million subscribers, Tyler Oakley is one of the most popular vloggers on YouTube right now. Tyler makes videos about everything from pop culture to LGBTQ issues. He recently raised over $500,000 dollars for the Trevor Project through an online fundraising campaign in March to celebrate his birthday. He encouraged his viewers to donate money to the cause instead of sending him gifts for his birthday to his P.O. box. As a result he won the Trevor Youth Innovator Award for his contributions and work with the organization.

Tyler can be found at: youtube.com/tyleroakley


2. Zoe Sugg a.k.a. Zoella

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Zoe Sugg is the most subscribed female vlogger in the U.K, with over 6 million subscribers. She is primarily known for her beauty and fashion-related videos. She’s gained so much popularity that she has been able to put out her own beauty range, Zoella Beauty. She also released her first novel, Girl Online at the end of November and had the highest first week sales of any debut author in the U.K., even beating out J.K. Rowling. Zoe is also the first digital ambassador for the mental health organization, Mind through which she raises awareness about anxiety. She has made a few videos discussing her own battles with anxiety that have proven to be very popular. Zoe is part of a group of popular vloggers in the U.K. who often appear in each other’s videos, including her boyfriend Alfie Deyes of the channel PointlessBlog. Alfie released his own book earlier this year, The Pointless Book.

Zoe can be found at: youtube.com/Zoella


 3. Troye Sivan

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Troye Sivan is a popular YouTube vlogger from Australia. In addition to making videos, he is also and actor and singer. He is the star of the South African film series, Spud and Spud 3: Learning to Fly was recently released. He also put out his first EP in August titled TRXYE, which includes the popular single, “Happy Little Pill.” Troye also made waves in August of 2013 when he uploaded his coming out video, which now has over 4 million views.

Troye can be found at: youtube.com/troyesivan18


 4. Tanya Burr

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 Tanya Burr is a popular British beauty vlogger and has over 2 million subscribers. She makes extremely popular makeup tutorials as well as other beauty, fashion, and lifestyle videos. Tanya put out her own range of beauty products last year called Tanya Burr Cosmetics and released a collection of lip-glosses and nail polishes and this year she release a new collection of lip-glosses as well as her first collection of false eyelashes. She recently announced a publishing deal with Penguin, who will be publishing her first book, Love, Tanya sometime next year.

Tanya can be found at: youtube.com/TanyaBurr


 5. Grace Helbig

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 Grace Helbig is a popular American vlogger who uploads videos 3 days a week, sometimes more. She has almost 2 million subscribers on her channel. Grace is a comedian and recently released her first book, Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending To Be A Grown-Up. Grace is part of group of female YouTube comedians whose viewers have named “The Holy Trinity”, which also includes Hannah Hart and Mamrie Hart. They often go on comedy tours together and perform for sold-out crowds.

Grace can be found at: youtube.com/itsgrace

5 Tips to Get You To and Through Finals

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  1. Find a study group – Especially if you just realized finals were a few weeks away, and you haven’t been paying attention in class, find a group of people who will help you review and understand an entire semester’s worth of information.
  2. Start a Google Doc – Your class will LOVE you and will help you flesh out a Google Doc or other shared drive study guide to get your whole class a good grade on the final. Brownie points (and extra studying) if you fill out the whole study guide yourself and then share it.
  3. Take a movie break – Make plans during finals week, on a lighter day (or after a heavy day) of finals to watch a movie with a friend. It’s a good way to recharge and make sure you are getting social interaction and fresh air during finals week!
  4. Get missed notes – Before finals week, you should go through your notes and see if there are any lectures that you have missed and find a classmate who did show up.
  5. Ask about the format – Knowing what the final will look like, especially if you haven’t had an exam in the class, will help shape how you study for each exam. This information can also provide vital information about what to and not to study for the exam.

Good luck with your studies!

Campus Activism – Demonstration and Action

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On November the 25th, the announcement was made that Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, would not be indicted. College students across the country spared no time in displaying their vexation as there have been no shortage of protests, sit-ins and walkouts. Students have taken to the quad with their hands up and have gathered inside and in front of administration buildings. Others have stiffly laid down on the ground of student activity centers while student leaders have taken to any available podium to deliver fiery soliloquies on the value of black lives. It appears the spirit of activism is alive on the college campus once again.

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While this generation has the Ferguson Decision to rally around, campus activism is nothing new. The 1960’s saw numerous protests in opposition to the Vietnam War while the late 2000’s saw student disapproval to the War in Iraq. While campus activism doesn’t necessarily have to be focused on worldwide or national issues (tuition increases always seem to spark at least a petition), this writer distinctly remembers the activities that took place on his campus in regards to Hurricane Katrina.

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In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina literally tore apart New Orleans. The issue that led Kanye West to declare that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” however, was the government’s lackluster response to the tragedy. As the Interfraternity Council president, I was part of a collation designed to provide aid to evacuees. These efforts started out wonderfully with a front page article in the September 13th, 2005 edition of the campus newspaper. 14 days later, the efforts all but stopped as the headline “Student Participation in Relief Efforts For Katrina Victims, Lower Than Group Expected” replaced the words of activism and calls to action that graced the cover just two weeks earlier. While attending rallies and providing sound bites were easy enough, campus interest began wane once the time for action came. By October there more effort was given to selecting Halloween costumes than participating in food drives.

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In no way is this article suggesting that demonstrations are frivolous. On the contrary, demonstrations are an extremely important tool in the process of “change”, as they are key for bringing attention to a situation. A student may not be aware of the fact that tuition is increasing until he passes by a group of protestors on the way to the student activity center and reads their signs or their leaflets. With social media being so engrained in our lives, many students become aware of issues online. However, while Twitter may be the new CNN, students must not let college activism die after 140 characters.

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While demonstration is important, it is only the first step. The real change comes once the TV and newspaper cameras have been shut off. If demonstration is where change begins, then action is where change happens. Now that you have the masses behind your cause, what action will you take to make real change? In the current Ferguson issue, there is a plethora of action that one can initiate. Perhaps action is working with local law enforcement to host a campus workshop where students can learn their rights and proper procedure when interacting with officers. Maybe action is you and your brothers or sisters volunteering as a peer mentors for younger students on the high school and middle school level. Then again, action could take the form of you and your dorm mates creating or participating in existing after-school activities to provide a safe environment for younger students to seek refuge in. Or perhaps action looks like something completely different than all of this. The point is, while demonstration serves as a great reactionary response, it is action that will continue to spread the message past the first 14 days and will ultimately lead to the change which one seeks.