Fun-run 5Ks reviewed: Color Me Rad, Warrior Dash, Insane Inflatable, The Great Pumpkin Run

Color Me Rad 5K

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An old photo of me from 2014 after my first ever 5K.

Throughout this bright and happy 5K, there are numerous color stations where volunteers throw colored powder on you or douse you in liquid color. The end of the run is even more fun though. There is lively music and the MC invites guests on stage to compete in games and other activities. For my first Color Me Rad 5K, a group of people and myself went on stage while the whole crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to us, so that was a cool experience.

The MC and his helpers also throw color packets into the crowd. You are encouraged to open the packet and share the powder with those around you by dumping some into your neighbors’ hands. Then there is a countdown and everyone throws the powder into the air making a huge rainbow cloud. This is where you will get the most color on you and sometimes it’s a little hard to breathe with the powder flying around, but the color is safe and non-toxic. It’s corn starch-based with food-grade dyes.

Tip: Most of the color will wash out of your clothes. To make clean up easier, cover your car seats with old towels or bed sheets.

Score: A  I ran in three of these so far so I don’t have much to critique. They could possibly add more color stations to the run but the after party makes up for this as well.

colormerad.com

Warrior Dash 5K

A much harder clean up than Color Me Rad, Warrior Dash will leave you full of dirt (and in my case, mulch.) The Warrior Dash is full of obstacles that will having you crawling in dirt and mud, climbing up and down structures, and also getting wet. I ran the Warrior Dash this past August and my favorite was the Goliath, one of the featured obstacles. You climb up a rope net and reach the top of a 30-foot slide. The slide is super fast and fun and you land in cold, refreshing (dirty) water.

You really don’t get that dirty until the final obstacle, Muddy Mayhem. You can skip any obstacle, but my friends and I wanted to complete them all. In Muddy Mayhem, you army-crawl under barbed wire through a 100-foot long mud pit. In this case though, it wasn’t so much mud as it was water and mulch. I think the mud would have been better than having mulch pieces sticking all over my body when I was finished.

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Skye and I jumping over the Warrior Roast obstacle. (Yes, we are rewearing our Pumpkin Run 5K shirts, see below.) Photo courtesy of Warrior Dash.

Tip: There are volunteers stationed at each obstacle but there is nothing to help break your fall between an obstacle and the ground. Most obstacles aren’t that high though and I was able to complete them all. Fingerless gloves helped me keep my grip while climbing especially on structures like Bridge the Gap that was wet with water and mud.

Tip: There are hoses to rinse off and changing areas. Bring trash bags for your dirty clothes and extra towels.

Score: A-  I would definitely run in the Warrior Dash again. It would be nice if they keep changing up the obstacles and have actual mud, not dirty water and mulch.

warriordash.com (Click each obstacle to view tips on how to train for them.)

Insane Inflatable 5K

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Don’t be fooled by the high expectations that this cool looking start line will give you.

I was extremely excited for the Insane Inflatable 5K because I love blow-up obstacle courses and racing my friends on them. (For some reason, a lot of events at DeSales University had inflatables). Going into this 5K, I think my expectations were too high. The video on their website also portrays the 5K as more fun than it actually is. Overall, the obstacles are so similar you can’t differentiate between a lot of them. Most of them involve climbing up the obstacle and then ending with a slide. (Like the Warrior Dash, the slides were my favorite parts.) I guess there are only so many variations of inflatable obstacles but I was also picturing them to be longer than they were as well. With that being said, the obstacles do give your legs a work out though.

All-in-all, this 5K seemed to be hastily put together. We were running on rocky terrain one minute and then grass the next. There were large rocks that seemed hazardous and I think should have been removed for safety purposes and easier running. Most runs also have signs when you hit mile marks and this 5K did not. My boyfriend, Chad, and I felt the run wasn’t even spaced out to a 5K, it felt much shorter.

Score: C+  I probably won’t be running this one again. I was disappointed by the obstacles and would only consider running again if they added more of a variety.

insaneinflatable5K.com

The Great Pumpkin Run

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Skye and I wearing our matching shirts. (Together we are known as Skellie.) Our team name was Pumpkin Bread Heads after first meeting through working together at Panera.

The Great Pumpkin Run is you guessed it, held in the fall, and is always at a fall-themed farm or orchard. Because of the location the run is filled with pretty scenery. The 5K I participated in was at Savidge Farms in Mertztown, Pa., and we ran through the pumpkin patch and even part of the corn maze. There is also a Tough Pumpkin option where runners can hold a pumpkin up to 10 pounds during their run but that sounded more like hassle to me.

After the run, you are given complimentary apple cider and may enjoy the attractions of the farm. Since we already ran through most of the farm, my friends and I visited with the farm animals and left shortly after. This run is less exciting to me than others because if I’m paying money to run a 5K I want obstacles or color or at least money supporting a good cause; I can run a normal 5K on my own for free. This run is a fun way to celebrate the fall though. My friends and I also had a blast making our pumpkin-themed shirts to wear.

Score: B+  For being a fall-themed run, The Great Pumpkin Run succeeds; however, I’m not dying to run this one again. I think one experience is sufficient. I already have all the gear and see no reason for another pumpkin tech-jacket.

thegreatpumpkinrun.com

Read my most recent column in the Reading Eagle about how I got started running and my review of audio-guided runs on the Nike+ Club Run App.

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Six months adulting after graduation down, the rest of my life to go

They weren’t kidding about the six-month grace period between graduation and starting to pay back student loans. Exactly six months from my graduation date (two days ago), I received an e-mail saying my first payment is due Dec. 10. With this six-month mark, I would like to reflect on the dreaded “adulting” so far.

A lot is the same since my July blog about my job as an obituary writer at the Reading Eagle. At the end of that July blog, I said I was excited to see the next steps I would take in my journalism career and I have taken more steps. I write up the to-do list calendar for the Weekend section, published every Thursday. I also contribute to “My 2¢” columns. These columns are published every day and writers rotate, so I am published about every two weeks and it’s great that I can write on whatever topic I wish to cover.

These “My 2 cents” columns are also why I am not posting on here as much because I’m saving ideas for there. My portfolio page is constantly being updated with my latest Reading Eagle columns though. Topics include my first Eagles game, a ghostly experience, the Lantern Fest, which disappointed compared to last year, shows to watch on Netflix and more.

At the end of August, I also began freelancing for Lehigh Valley Style magazine. I interned there last fall and they did not find a fall intern this year, so they asked me if I would like to act as the intern, but get paid instead of college credit.

Um yes!

At Lehigh Valley Style, we work so far ahead that when I started in August I was working on the December issue so I can’t wait to see my writing in print next month. (This will also be posted on my portfolio page.)

I thought life would be easier after graduation. I do have more free time (helloNetflix and books and running), but jobs, relationships and other stress replaces college stress.

I remember being so stressed about finding a job after graduation. I wasn’t hearing back from a lot of the positions I interviewed for or heard the inevitable “need more experience” line of rejection. I couldn’t imagine where I was going to find a job, but I did find one that I am grateful I like a lot.

Before college I was stressed about where I was going to go to college and what I would major in. But I figured that out and I’ll figure out the other unknowns in my life as well.

I see my friends less now that we are all working. I’m also still sort of on the job hunt. The main goal is a full-time job in journalism. Right now, I would love to stay at the Reading Eagle, but there isn’t anything currently open. So I wonder if I’ll stay or end up somewhere else. I don’t mind being part-time for now; I’m only a few months in. I’m looking for other part-time jobs in my field that will allow me to stay at the Reading Eagle and to finally quit Marshalls. I was hoping to escape retail before the holiday season but no such luck.

Life doesn’t just fall into place after graduation like I daydreamed it would. There are constantly unknowns in life such as where I’m going and what the future holds. Eventually the hurtle is overcome and the next one comes into the line of view. Sometimes I fly over them and sometimes I stumble, but I always keep going.

Dove ad aimed for diversity, not racism

There’s a lot of pressure creating content these days when everyone is worried about being politically correct. The recent Dove ad fiasco is a great example. Dove released a three-second GIF showing a black woman taking off her shirt to reveal a white woman, who then takes off her shirt to reveal an Asian woman.

Many social medias users speculated that this ad represented the stereotype of a “dirty” black person being cleansed to white. Perhaps if the order was changed and the white woman took off her shirt to reveal the black woman (model Lola Ogunyemi) people would not be in such an uproar. Changing the order would have changed the negative perception of “dirty” to clean; however, Dove wanted Ogunyemi to be the face of the campaign and I think that is commendable.

People are  too busy looking for something to be upset about and it’s especially easy to jump on the bandwagon when everyone is pointing fingers that Dove is racist.

I looked at this ad with the preconceived notion that it was racist as an article headline said. I understood what everyone was complaining about, but more than that, I saw that Dove was trying to represent diversity. Three seconds and they feature three different races; that’s pretty good in my eyes. Overall, I saw the message that Dove works for all women with different types of skin.

Even Ogunyemi didn’t think the ad was racist and said she is not a victim. She and other women were very excited about creating the ad as well.

“All of the women in the shoot understood the concept and overarching objective – to use our differences to highlight the fact that all skin deserves gentleness,” she wrote in an opinion article on The Guardian.

She also noted that her friends and family loved the ad and congratulated her on being the first woman to appear.

The 30-second TV commercial featured seven women of different ages and races. Instead of the T-shirts, they were in a bathroom answering the question, “If your skin were a wash label, what would it say?” Having the variety of skin types answer this question was more effective at getting Dove’s message across than the three-second GIF.

Dove took down the ad and released an apology saying they “missed the mark.” Their apology has upset people as well. Ultimately, I agree with Ogunyemi that Dove should have backed up their creative vision in the apology and explain their choice for choosing Ogunyemi as the face of their campaign.

Throw some glitter, make it rain: Kesha’s comeback with album “Rainbow”

Not knowing when Kesha would release new music again, animals were left to play her most recent 2012 album “Warrior” on repeat. After many battles in court with her longtime producer Dr. Luke, who Kesha has accused of sexual, physical, verbal and emotional abuse, a new album “Rainbow” finally dropped on August 11.

In order to avoid Dr. Luke, former CEO of Kemosabe records, as best as she could, Kesha did not work collaboratively with Dr. Luke but instead worked with other producers while he approved the music. Kesha still has to produce two more albums with Kemosabe Records until the contract is over.

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Cover art for “Rainbow.” Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

“Praying” was the first single released off of “Rainbow,” a 14-track album. The piano ballad has emotional lyrics about finding strength after abuse and gives many listeners chills. The song features Kesha’s raw talent throughout and she hits an impressive high note after the bridge.

Kesha’s second single “Woman” featuring The Dap King Horns has fun and catchy lyrics that her animals have become accustomed to and acts as an anthem for women.

“I’m a motherfucking woman, baby, alright. I don’t need a man to be holding me too tight,” she sings in the chorus.

In an exclusive Rolling Stone essay about the song, Kesha writes, “It was such a beautiful experience to write such a strong female empowerment song with two men, Drew Pearson and Stephen Wrabel, because it reinforces how supportive men can be of women AND feminism.”

The album opens with “Bastards,”a tame, slow-sounding song with untame lyrics about not letting the assholes in life win. The song introduces the fact that this album is a result of all the hardship Kesha has dealt with for the past three years. Her life was all over the place and so is this album, so it’s not exactly the classic Kesha people were used to with past albums “Animal,” “Cannibal” and “Warrior.”

Mixed in with the pure pop songs are “Let ‘Em Talk” featuring Eagles of Death Metal, which gives a punk/rock n roll vibe while “Hunt You Down” and “Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle to You)” featuring Dolly Parton and is full of country tunes. “Old Flames” was actually written by Parton and Kesha’s mom, Patricia Sebert, in 1978.

Despite not quite sounding like a cohesive album, it shows off Kesha’s range of what she can do and is held together with cohesive messages. Kesha is learning to move on from her past in “Learn to Let Go,” “Rainbow,” and many other songs throughout the album.

“The past can’t haunt me if I don’t let it. Live and learn and never forget it,” she sings in “Rainbow’s” third single, “Learn to Let Go.”

She’s also looking on the bright side in life in “Boogie Feat,” another song featuring Eagles of Death Metal, and “Boots.”

“I’m walking on air, kickin’ my blues,” sings Kesha in “Boots.”

Overall, Kesha has made quite a comeback on “Rainbow” with new sounds and bold, inspiring lyrics.

Her “Rainbow” tour kicks off Aug. 19 through Nov. 1 with many locations already sold out of tickets. Find all her tour dates at Kesha Official.

Why Freeform’s “The Bold Type” is a must-see show for women

Freeform’s “The Bold Type” revolves around three friends, Jane (Katie Stevens), Kat (Aisha Dee) and Sutton (Meghann Fahy) who work at Scarlet, a young women’s magazine. It’s been called the “bubbly ridiculous dramedy you need this summer” by Vanity Fair and “100% fresh” by Rotten Tomatoes.

Reasons to love the show:

(Small spoilers episodes 1-6 ahead)

It’s loosely based on real life

The drama/comedy series is loosely based on Cosmopolitan and is inspired by Joanna Coles, who serves as one of the executive producers for “The Bold Type” and was the editor-in-chief of Cosmo from 2012-2016. She is currently the chief content officer of Hearst Magazines, which owns Cosmo and also Good Housekeeping, Food Network, HGTV magazine, Esquire and many more.

You can read Scartlet’s articles

In the first episode, Jane is starting her first day as a writer for Scarlet after working as an assistant for four years. In each episode Jane writes a new article and faces different challenges in her writing from interviewing a stripper and almost being sued to revealing she’s never had an orgasm. Jane’s articles can be read on Freeform as well as articles by Jane’s love-interest, Ryan, also known as “Pinstripe,” who works for a competing magazine.
Read Jane’s article “Never had an orgasm? Me neither” here.
Read Ryan’s article “Why girls fake it and do we care?” here.

The show teaches you to follow your dreams. . . 

Sutton, like Jane, also starts out at Scarlet as an assistant. She knows she needs to move up in her career and applies for an advertising job, but realizes her dream is fashion. She works twice as hard to prove she is capable of being a fashion assistant without any fashion school experience.

. . . while remaining realistic

When Sutton is offered the fashion assistant job, the pay is cheaper than her old assistant job. Although her salary is not negotiable, Sutton negotiates other benefits in order to have her dream job while still being able to live in New York City.

Diverse characters

Kat, who is Scarlet’s social media director, becomes romantically interested in Adena, who calls herself a “proud Muslim lesbian.” Adena is a perfect balance between sweet and strong, which instantly makes audiences root for her. She is just the character America needs with the anti-Muslim sentiment present today.

Additionally, by having characters like Kat, Adena, Alex (writer at Scarlet) and Steve (Sutton’s boss in the fashion department), “The Bold Type” opens up other imperative issues like racism and deportation.

Tough yet vital issues

In addition to the topics already mentioned, “The Bold Type” discusses online bullying, breast cancer prevention, legality issues, and more. Despite these serious topics and drama-filled situations, the show is also full of funny and light moments, romance and friendship that make it a joy to watch.

Friends that last a lifetime

The bond between Jane, Kat and Sutton is what everyone wishes their friendships were like. Would you dislodge a yoni egg from your friend’s vagina? Exactly.

Another endearing friendship in the show is between the editor-in-chief Jacqueline (Melora Hardin) and Jane and Kat. Some may have expected a harsher editor like Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) in “The Devil Wears Prada,” that audiences love to hate, but Jacqueline was a pleasant surprise. She is still a hardworking and intimidating boss; however, she genuinely cares about Jane and Kat by being supportive in what they do.

Lastly, but most importantly: feminism

Each episode revolves around feminism, or equality among men and women. Each of the six episodes aired thus far features Jane, Kat and Sutton standing up for themselves and topics they believe in. Whether they are negotiating salaries or launching a #FreetheNipple campaign, “The Bold Type” is truly inspiring, empowering and makes women want to take the “boldness” they see on screen and use it in their own lives.

Watch “The Bold Type” on Freeform, Tuesdays 9/8c.

My new job as an obituary writer is the opposite of depressing

I am a few weeks in at my new job as the obituary writer for The Reading Eagle newspaper. I know, I know, the job sounds depressing. That was my first reaction as well and I initially wasn’t very excited about my first job post-graduation.

First of all: death. Everyone is uncomfortable talking about it, but my job is actually positive. I get to read about the most impressive accomplishments these men and women have achieved in their lives and all their great and great-great-grandchildren who love them.

My job title is also misleading because I don’t actually write the obituaries. Family members often write them and funeral directors e-mail them to me. I edit the obituaries for AP style rules and style rules that are particular to the newspaper. I am also a fact-checker in a sense. For example, I check that a World War II veteran was born within dates that makes serving in the war possible.

Obituary writer is also an interesting position because although I work in the editorial department, I mainly work in the computer program AdBooker since obits are technically classified death obits.

Yes, my busy days at the paper rely on people dying, but I enjoy editing the obituaries. They make me wonder what I will accomplish in my life.

I never thought that I would be an obituary writer after college. I was hoping for a more exciting job title like investigative reporter or something where I could write more than I am now, but I am happy to have the opportunity to be working in the journalism industry. I applied to marketing positions and other jobs related to my communication major, but more than anything I wanted to end up at a newspaper or magazine, so I’m very thankful to be where I am.

One of my professors started out as an obituary writer and she has accomplished so much in her life as a journalist, author, and professor. So I know that this is only the first stepping-stone to my journalism career ahead of me.

I started at the bottom of journalism in high school and again in college and I know I can work my way back to the top to one day be an editor-in-chief again. But for now I’ll be working as hard as I can to shine as an obituary writer and welcome the next steps in my career that come my way.

Running Games

I fly over the asphalt.
My sneakers crunch
the stones.

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My friend Skye (right) and I (left) running a 5K this past fall. Photo courtesy of The Great Pumpkin Run

Stress leaves me
and I feel relaxed,
at peace.

But this is only the beginning.

In the middle
my pace slows.
I feel a side sticker forming
as my leg muscles burn.
And scream.

Doubts creep in,
but I push myself forward.
I reach the diamond street sign
indicating that I am almost home.

A new burst of energy fills my body
as I run fast and hard
for the finish.
I am panting,
out of breath.

Thirsty,
I lick my lips
salty from sweat.
Another run is done,
but I’ll be back for more
tomorrow.

Playing with Fire

Originally published in the Weal (2017), DeSales University’s literary magazine. 

Like fire destroying a house
your eyes burn into mine,
enveloping me into the flames.

It’s only a second or two,
nothing more,
But I can still feel the intensity in your gaze
before you turn and walk away.

You used to pull me close to you,
kiss my neck,
bite my lips,
intertwine our fingers together.

And just like that,
as fast as you pulled me to you
or grabbed my hand,
you shove me away.

There is no more you and I,
no more things that could have been.
There is only you.
And there is me.

Scorched and scarred is how you leave me,
staring at the ashes
of when there was a we,
an us.

So now,
I look at you,
I can’t touch you.
You will burn me.

Cyber criminals target college students with phishing, employment scams, ransomware

Originally published in Issue 14, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (May 4, 2017). 

Cyber criminals are increasingly targeting college students across the United States and DeSales students are no exception from phishing, employment offers and ransomware scams.

The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) reports that 72 percent of Americans believe their accounts are secure with only usernames and passwords, but every two seconds there is another victim of identity fraud.

The end goal for these criminals is to gain personal information such as birth dates, Social Security numbers, bank accounts and more. This personal information can then be sold for money on the Dark Web, which allows users to remain anonymous and untraceable from getting into legal trouble.

Besides money and personal information, .edu emails can be valuable in order to gain access or discounts to software and other products reserved for members of a university community, which is why technical school email addresses are most often the targets of attacks. However when broken down by state, the largest number of emails being sold on the Dark Web come from California, New York, Michigan, Texas and Pennsylvania.

Phishing

Phishing, the fraudulent practice of sending emails in order to gain personal information, is the most common type of scam at DeSales.

A lot of DeSales students have fallen for password reminder scams. One of these emails told students to renew their password by clicking a link that actually went to christmastourhouse.com.

According to Director of Information Technology Patricia Clay, it is very easy to fake the name that is seen on email addresses. A cyber criminal could easily make the email name read “Help Desk” or “DeSales” but if the address bar is hovered over, it will then read christmastourhouse.com or some other website not related to DeSales.

“We haven’t seen very sophisticated attacks, but in some of the more sophisticated attacks, it’ll pretend that it’s Bank of America and actually copy Bank of America’s logos and put it on their e-mails,” said Clay.

“It’s almost always a bad practice to click that link from an email if you’re not 100 percent sure that you should,” Clay added.

IT usually finds out about the scam through students reporting it or through monitoring.

Once IT is aware that students have responded to a phishing scam, the account is disabled and the password is changed. Then IT reaches out to the student whose account was comprised and has a conversation with them to find out what happened.

With company websites that have been compromised, criminals have lists of email addresses and can check which emails are still actively being used to login to websites. Criminals sell these emails and passwords on the Dark Web.

“They take that list of username and password combinations and they script that to go log in to different websites,” said Clay.

For example, if a criminal has a Yahoo username and password, they will then check that username and password on any other websites with logins such as Facebook or bank accounts.

Although awareness about phishing is increasing, victims keep falling for the scams.

“As long as phishing scams are still successful, they’ll keep doing it,” said Clay.

Employment scams

Job scams are an ongoing epidemic that received FBI attention in January 2017. Stop. Think. Connect., a global online safety campaign, sent the FBI’s warning on employment scams that target college students to DeSales IT.

The scammers pose as employers and send job postings to students about a remote job. Then they send the student a counterfeit check in the mail and tell the student to cash the check. With that cash, the student is asked to buy a money order and send it to a certain address.

Often times the check does not come up as fraudulent until the bank processes it and by then the student may have already lost money in sending the money order.

Earlier this year, a job scam occurred with someone named Susana Ozoria sending a job announcement email for a personal assistant through Bulldogs 4 Hire.

Assistant Director of the Career Development Center Melanie Vallone explains that the email came through Bulldogs 4 Hire (desales@csm. symplicity.com) because the employer created a fraudulent email address and posed as a legitimate company to create a Bulldogs 4 Hire account.

Vallone says three or four students received the check in the mail with one student coming very close to sending the money order. This incident was the first and only breach through Bulldogs 4 Hire.

“What makes it really tough is that we promote Bulldogs 4 Hire as a great way to post your resume—and safely—because it’s almost job search while you sleep. Employers can look if you’ve made your resume visible to employers,” said Vallone. “That’s when I work really hard to make sure employers are legitimate viable employers that are looking at our student resumes.”

Vallone calls up many local employers to make sure real people at their companies requested accounts on Bulldogs 4 Hire.

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), companies are increasingly becoming targets of scams as well with cyber criminals posing as company executives or the government and asking for W-2s, which contain Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses and other personal identifiable information.

Ransomware

“Ransomware is where somebody tricks you into opening, usually a document or a file that has software in it, and what it does, is it encrypts files on whatever computers or computer you have access to,” said Clay.

After this occurs, a message pops up on the computer ordering the person to pay a certain amount of money in Bitcoins, an online currency, within a certain amount of time. The threat is made that if the deadline is not met, all the files will be permanently inaccessible.

This is when Clay hopes that the person regularly backs up their files and can ignore the ransomware. Unfortunately, some hospitals have paid the ransom in order to obtain access to patients’ records.

“I haven’t heard of cases where people pay the ransom and don’t get their files decrypted, but again, you’re dealing with a criminal,” said Clay, so someone could send the money and not get the files back.

DeSales did have a ransomware incident where a student received an email that looked like it was from their own personal account with a word document inside.

Ultimately, the cyber security industry hopes that artificial intelligence will aid in picking up suspicious emails.

Protection against scams

IT protects the network by keeping a good encryption between the systems students interact with. There are multiple levels of firewalls and segmented networks.

“I want the next generation of our students going out into the world and not be the people falling for phishing scams at their jobs,” said Clay.

She reiterates that students need to have a lot of skepticism. When students are not sure if emails are legitimate or not, students can forward emails to spam@desales.edu; however, “when in doubt, delete it,” said Clay.

If a password is compromised, be sure to make sure that password is not used for any other login or that site can be comprised as well.

Students should use a different password for everything and although that sounds like a difficult feat, free password-manager websites and apps, such as LastPass and 1Password, allows all of a student’s passwords to be stored in one place.

Strong authentication, also known as multi-factor or two- factor authentication, is a great tool to utilize as well. Many websites and apps offer this to protect accounts and ensure it’s the account owner, not criminals, accessing the account.

The three most common types of strong authentication are by using a security key (a small device, such as one that plugs into a USB port, to use when logging in), biometrics (such as fingerprints or cameras) and one-time codes (sent to you by a text or through an app to be entered into the website when logging in).

In the case of job searches, always be skeptical of offers that sound too good to be true. If the email says the recipient already has the job, when he or she never applied or was interviewed, the recipient should not respond. Many of the scammers are not native English speakers so look for poor grammar and spelling. Any companies asking for personal information are red flags as well.

Vallone suggests that when posting resumes on public sites like Indeed or LinkedIn to only list cities and states. Do not post full physical addresses online.

Overall, the more people become connected to the Internet, the more ways there are for scammers to find them so it is increasingly important to be skeptical and know how to protect personal information.

Gender isn’t just about women, feminism is equal rights for all

Originally published in the Humanities Newsletter 2017 edition.

The Gender Studies Club, better known as The Birkenstocks, was created at DeSales University in the spring of 2016.

“The goal is to talk about current topics that come up in the media and share opinions in an open space where there is no judgment,” said Jennifer Thuss, Birkenstocks president.

Currently, the club is all women, but members encourage men to join.

“It seems like an intimidating thing for guys to want to join because there’s this perception that gender means female, but that’s not true. Gender includes everyone,” said Dr. Katherine Grasso, the club’s advisor and communication professor. “So the more voices that we could have in these conversations, the more we could learn. And the more that we reflect on gender and what that means for each individual, the more I think we understand different experiences, and hopefully work on compassion, equality and justice in terms of gender issues.”

The club was formed after Grasso taught a gender communication course in fall of 2015.

“At the end of the semester, a handful of students, about five or six of them, said that they didn’t want the conversations to end so they asked if we could meet outside of class.”

The students were the catalyst of the club and Grasso happily agreed to be their advisor. The Birkenstocks meet every other Tuesday to discuss articles or documentaries on issues related to gender such as rape, sex, prostitution, transgendered issues, abortion, and stereotypes of men and women.

Birkenstocks

Some of the members of the Gender Studies Club. From left to right: Nadia Murray, Erin Grube, Jennifer Thuss, Lauren Trumbull, Kellie Dietrich and Dr. Katherine Grasso.

Earlier this year, members watched the documentary “Fantastic Lies” about the Duke lacrosse team who were falsely accused of gang rape.

“It was interesting because I thought they did it, and I felt bed after because I had the stereotype in my mind that they partied too hard. And the fact that they hired a prostitute made them look guilty even though they weren’t,” said Erin Grube, treasurer of Birkenstocks.

Articles and documentaries, which often break down stereotypes or offers new viewpoints such as “Fantastic Lies,” are picked by suggestions from Grasso or members of the club. Although the topics are heavy and members often have conflicting views, the club is always welcoming.

The atmosphere is so much fun,” said Thuss. “It’s usually upbeat, but when we are talking about harder topics it’s serious, and by the end we always bring it back to something fun.”

One of the fun yet serious elements of the club is its name Birkenstocks, or Birks for short.

“Birkenstocks, I think most people know, are one of the stereotypical symbols of an angry, hairy, man-hating, Subaru-driving feminist,” said Grasso. “We wanted to reclaim something that had previously been rooted in a negative evaluation and make it something that we owned and that was positive and that was funny.”

There is a lot of rhetoric around the word “feminism” such as man-hating and angry women, which simply isn’t true.

“Feminism is the advocacy of equal rights between the genders in terms of social issues, political issues, and economic issues, so it’s really advocacy of the equality of the sexes,” said Grasso.

Grube has a similar definition of feminism.

“A feminist is someone who wants equal rights between men and women,” she said. “I’m for that and believe there should be no disparities between the genders.”

A lot of the stereotypical views of feminists come from media portrayals of radical women burning bras; however, knowledge is lacking as well.

“I think it’s rooted in not understanding it or not knowing it, which is all the more reason for people to talk about it and explore it,” said Grasso. “So it’s not a club saying you have to be a feminist to be part of the conversation, but you have to be willing to challenge your preconceived notions about feminism.”

Overall, the club fosters unique discussion about gender issues and the members of the club bring unique perspectives to the table.

Grasso encourages anyone who’s curious about gender, even if they don’t know what gender really means, to join.

“I really enjoy this club and the group of people in it. It’s a safe environment where we can share our ideas that we might not be able to share anywhere else,” said Thuss. “This is only the second year for the club so I see a lot of growth possible and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes in the future.”