Students understand poverty at LIFTopolis at Loyola

By Socrates Lizardo and Keagan Hynes

Students from three different universities visited Loyola University Chicago Saturday to participate in LIFTopolis for the end of Poverty Awareness Week.

The event was hosted by LIFT-Chicago late Saturday morning. LIFT-Chicago is a non-profit organization whose mission is to “help community members achieve economic stability and well-being,” according to LIFT-Chicago.

Students who participated in the event were from DePaul University, UIC, and Loyola University Chicago. In LIFTopolis, students took on a role of character who was experiencing troubles achieving economic stability. Each character had a goal they needed to achieve to reach that stability. But attaining that goal is not easy with the complicated social service system that’s in place.

The simulation makes an effort to be an authentic experience to show the realities of today’s social service system in the United States. In the simulation students waited long lines, experienced bad service, and were sent away because they didn’t have the proper paper work.  They had to go wait another long line to get the paper work required. The social services in the simulation included, Social Security Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, emergency shelter, Housing Authority, Illinois Department of Employment Security, and the Verifications Department. There were also businesses in the simulation that included a realty company and a law firm.

Students felt that they learned a lot at the event.

“The experience was really empowering you never know what a client goes through until you are put into their shoes,” said Sarosh Bhojani, 19, a freshman elementary education major at Loyola. “You refer clients hoping they will get good service but they go through a lot of trouble when they are trying to get aid.”

Other students agreed.

“Going through this experience you relate to their situations,” said Ryan McInturf, 20, a sophomore majoring in international business and French.“ It is an eye-opening experience being a participant in LIFTopolis.”

Students suffered a number of difficulties while navigating their way through the social services “maze”, but still took away from the experience.

“It was a little rough at times, but ultimately I am here to support LIFT and I’ve really learned a lot about what it actually feels like to be homeless,” said Joe Antonini, 19, a freshman studying marketing.

An advocate for LIFT-Chicago hoped the participants took a lot away from experience

“I hope participants understand why it is so challenging to get out of poverty, said Hannah Green, 21, a senior majoring in social work “there are systematic barriers that make it difficult for people in need to achieve economic stability.”

LIFT is a non-profit resource center that helps community members attain economic stability and well-being by providing services like access to housing options, potential areas of employment and social benefits such as food stamps and healthcare options.

LIFT has two offices in Chicago—one located in Uptown at 4554 N. Broadway and another in Pilsen at 1700 West 18th St.

If you would like to find out more about LIFT-Chicago here are some links to find out more information:

Twitter, Facebook, LIFT

Loyola participates in Poverty Awareness Week

By Socrates Lizardo

LIFT-Chicago is hosting its third annual Poverty Awareness Week beginning Monday that will be held in multiple Chicago college campuses including Loyola University Chicago.

The week-long series hopes to raise awareness about the realities of poverty in the Chicago area.

“The week’s events will engage participants in constructive discourse around poverty and the pressing challenges facing our community members, while working together to produce tangible solutions that will move us toward an opportunity society,” according to LIFT-Chicago.

Events will run from Monday through Saturday. The four partner universities are DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago, Northwestern University, and UIC. The events throughout the week will include a food drive, concert, a film screening, panel discussions, and many more.

Here are the events that will be held at Loyola’s Lake Shore campus:

What: Food and Toiletries Drive
Where: Campus-wide, Loyola University Chicago
When: April 8-14th

What: Panel Discussion on Food Disparities in Chicago
Where: Quinlan Life Science Building, Third Floor Atrium, Loyola University Chicago
When: Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 7:00 pm

What: LIFTopolis
Where: 14th Floor of Mundelein, Loyola University Chicago
When: Saturday, April 13, 2013, 11:30 am”

For more information about LIFT-Chicago and other events click on the following link: http://povertyawarenessweek.wordpress.com/

Loyola beats DePaul, UIC and Columbia on Forbe’s college rankings

Loyola photo by Mark Beane

Loyola University Chicago ranks about the middle of the pack among the nation’s colleges and universities, according to a new survey from Forbe’s magazine.

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Loyola ranks No. 360 out of the 650 schools on Forbe’s list. Forbe’s also ranked Loyola No. 270 among private colleges, No. 132 among research universities and No. 82 among colleges in the Midwest.

Loyola also beat the  University of Illinois at Chicago, ranked No. 381; DePaul, ranked No. 512; and Columbia College, ranked No. 646.

The top local university was the University of Chicago, ranked No. 4 on Forbe’s list.

On the rival U. S. News and World Report rankings, Loyola also beats crosstown rival DePaul. U. S News ranks Loyola University Chicago No. 119 among the nation’s top schools. DePaul, meanwhile, comes in with a rank of No. 132.

Click here for the full U. S. News and World Report list: College Rankings

Click here for the full Forbe’s list: Forbe’s Rankings.

On the Forbe’s rankings, here’s how other local colleges and universities place onn the list:

22.) Northwestern University.

86.) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

166.) Lake Forest College.

192.) Knox College.

236.) Illinois Wesleyan University.

341.) Illinois Institute of Technology.

381.) University of Illinois at Chicago.

512.) DePaul University.

646.) Columbia College Chicago.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports the following about the Forbes list:

Princeton University topped the Forbe’s rankings, which were produced for the magazine by the Washington-based Center for College Affordability & Productivity and take into account factors including graduation rates, students who win prestigious awards or go on to obtain a doctorate, career prospects, alumni pay, student satisfaction, as well as low levels of debt coming out of school.

“It’s easy to spend more than a quarter of a million dollars for an undergraduate degree, and a lot of people are beginning to ask: Is it worth it?” says Michael Noer, the magazine’s executive editor. “The answer obviously varies, but it is still an unqualified ‘yes’ for those schools ranking at the top of our list.”

Williams College in Massachusetts, No. 1 the previous two years, slipped to the No. 2 spot on the list, followed by:

3.) Stanford University.

4.) U. of C.

5.) Yale University.
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6.) Harvard University.

7.) U.S. Military Academy at West Point, in New York.

8.) Columbia University, New York City.

9.) Pomona College.

10.) Swarthmore College.

The rankings — 650 schools, in all — will be in the Aug. 20 issue of the magazine and are available online at

http://www.forbes.com/top-colleges.

Loyola steps up to the University Walking Challenge

By Megan Escutia

Some Loyolans literally know how to put their best foot forward.

Loyola University Chicago’s  Wellness Center offered plenty of opportunities this summer for Loyolans to achieve a healthier lifestyle. One wellness initiative in particular, titled the University Walking Challenge, promised to get faculty and staff moving.

The challenge, which was sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield, ran from April 25 – July 4 and was open to faculty and staff only.

Each participant received a pedometer to keep track of their steps, and manually recorded their steps and total miles each week on BlueCross BlueShield’s WalkingWorks website. Human Resources reported Loyola’s weekly standing on the Inside Loyola news site.

The top three individuals at Loyola who logged the most miles:

  1. Abe Cortes with 1,615 miles
  2. Eric Deubel with 1,364 miles
  3. Daniel Hyppolite with 1,071 miles

A total of 11 Loyola teams competed in the challenge. Based on total miles per department, Central Administration (includes Human Resources and any faculty and staff that do not have a specific school affiliation) had the most with 25,100.55 miles, Stritch School of Medicine was second with 5,432.05 miles, and College of Arts and Sciences was third with 4,619.46 miles.

Based on average miles per participant, the top three departments were the Institute of Pastoral Studies (275.11), the School of Communication (210.11), and the School of Social Work (107.62).

Loyola competed against DePaul and Northwestern University as part of the challenge.

“There was no specific mileage goal in mind for Loyola; the goal of the event was to get Loyolans moving,” said Leila Zaritzky, the Wellness Coordinator.

Six hundred fifty-three Loyolans participated in the challenge (Northwestern had 507 participants and DePaul had 541).

“We are all really competitive and loved the fact that we were doing good. Every time we saw DePaul sneak up on the list we made sure with each other that we were putting in our miles,” said Sabine Schramm, the administrative assistant of the School of Communication. “After a while it got to be very competitive and I would walk to Lincoln Park to add some more miles.”

At the end of the 10-week walking competition, Loyola walked 50, 631.73 miles, Northwestern walked 40,903.55 miles, and DePaul walked 83,659.02 miles, winning the University Walking Challenge.

For the last three weeks of the challenge, 10 participants were rewarded with a Red Mango gift card for logging the most individual miles each week.

Even though the challenge is over, participants from the top three departments are still adding steps to their average miles.

“I’m still putting in my miles even though it’s over and I did just short of 400 miles myself, so now I’m heading for 500,” said Schramm. “It’s the one thing I’m really good at. I’m a walker.”

“I walked faster and longer each day and hope to be able to keep this up, it’s not just a challenge to be on top, but a life journey challenge, said Susann Ozuk, the office assistant of the Institute of Pastoral Studies. “I’m happy Loyola provides opportunities like this to keep us healthy and strong.”

Student death has counselors offering ways to manage stress

By Rianne Coale

The recent death of a Loyola University Chicago student sheds light on the challenges facing college students, and has counselors from Chicago area universities suggesting ways for students to manage stress during the intense final weeks before summer break.

Freshman Joseph Suh, 18, was found dead in his dorm room at Regis Hall on April 5. Chicago police said there was no evidence of foul play, and after an autopsy was conducted, his death was ruled a suicide.

According to the American College Health Association, suicide rates have almost tripled in young adults, ages 15-24, since the 1960s. Suicide is the second most common cause of death among college students and counts for about 10,888 deaths per year. That’s roughly 7.5 suicides per 100,000 students.

Michael England, Psy.D., a licensed psychologist at the University of Chicago , offers some reasons why students may harm themselves.

“Anxiety, depression and stress can all play a role in someone’s choice to take their own life,” England said. “College is a stressful environment. It is nothing like high school, and with the added stress of being away from home, it can really harm a persons mental well being.”

Stress plays a huge role in the way students perform physically and mentally nearing the end of the semester, school counselors say. With the stress of finals, doing well in classes, working and having a social life, the number of students who visit Loyola’s Wellness Center increases this time of year.

“Generally, we see a significantly large number of students take advantage of our counseling services this time of year,” said one Loyola counselor who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivities surrounding the recent suicide. “It’s good to see that many students are seeking help when they feel overwhelmed and anxiety ridden.”

A lot of students are fragile and sensitive a during the last few months of the semester, and according to a study done by the American Psychological Association in 2009, 45 percent of young adults report feeling anger, fatigue or irritability as a physical effect of stress, 40 percent report a lack of interest, motivation or energy and 15 percent report feeling sad or depressed.

According to another ACHA study, 1 in 12 students have actually made a suicide plan at some point and 1.5 out of 100 students have actually attempted it. This concerns many professionals and wellness advocates as they try to make help available on campus to all who need it.

“We’re trying to make our resources known and available to all students, especially the incoming freshman,” England said. “We don’t target one specific behavior, so everyone should feel comfortable coming to talk to us. We’re on-call 24 hours a day, you can walk-in the clinic anytime and if you’re stressed out there are therapists you can talk to.”

Ann Bregman, Psy.D., the associate director of DePaul University Counseling Services, says students need to learn to relax, practice acceptance, talk rationally to themselves, exercise, watch their habits and talk to friends to help modify over-reactions to situations.

As finals approach, students are encouraged to seek help from their university wellness centers if they are having feelings of distress or anxiety. No matter what behavior a student is experiencing, there are licensed psychologists and psychiatric counselors that are available to help. Many professionals encourage students to not feel shy about seeking help because they have hundreds of fellow peers who may be feeling the exact same way.

“The reason we see more students come into the clinic is because they are more comfortable talking about their problems, and college students who accept professional help are no longer seen as social outcasts among their peers,” England said. “We want to manage and prevent problems from getting out of hand, so if situations aren’t labeled and are put them in more general terms, students are much more likely to seek the help they need and deserve.”

Please contact the Loyola Wellness Center for more information:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Wednesday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Saturday 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

773.508.2530.

Rambler pride remains strong despite loss

By Ashton Mitchell

Win or lose, Loyola’s school spirit is steady.

Loyola University Chicago’s men’s basketball team (1-7) lost 69-58 to the DePaul Demons (5-3) in the, “Redline Rivalry,” Wednesday evening. The Rambler’s struggled in the beginning to find their footing but made a stunning comeback in the fourth quarter.

Despite the loss, Loyola students still support their Ramblers whole heartedly.

“They may not have the best record but they have the work ethic. They come everyday ready to play. Ya know what? Next year, 50 years from now, we’re gonna repeat, championship baby,” said Mike Mackowski, 20, junior accounting major.

Mackowski also cited his favorite player on the team No. 33 Walker Gibler who he considers to be best center in the league. Gilber made Mackowski proud during the game by scoring 29 points, a new career record.

Other Loyola Students will support the men’s basketball team through thick and thin.

“They have the potential to be a really good team and I know it’s going to happen one day,” said Harley Griffths, 20, junior advertising/public relations major, “I have faith it’s gonna be a good season this year once they pick it up and play some conference games.”

The Ramblers travel to Toledo this coming Saturday, December 10, for their next game.

Uptown man charged with burning neighbor’s body

An Uptown man has been charged in the murder of a DePaul University employee whose burnt body was found earlier this week inside her garage.

The suspect had been drinking with the woman before he allegedly beat and strangled her, then lit her body on fire on a bag of charcoal.

Here is the story from the Chicago Tribune:

Pedro Cruz had been drinking in his Uptown apartment for hours with his neighbor last week before he beat and strangled her, carried her body down three flights of stairs, and set her ablaze in the building’s garage, Cook County prosecutors said Saturday.

Then, he allegedly told police, he went back upstairs and fell asleep.

Cruz, 25, was charged Saturday with first-degree murder in the death of Maria Santiago, 54, and held without bail.

Santiago’s body was discovered after her sister, who lived with her, woke about 8 a.m. Thursday to the sound of Santiago’s Pomeranian barking in the stairway of the three-flat building in the 5000 block of North Clark Street, according to a friend of the family.

Peering out the kitchen window, the sister saw smoke coming from the garage. She went to investigate, finding Santiago beneath a blanket and a burning bag of charcoal briquettes, said Windy Pitre, a friend of Santiago’s since childhood.

“She was a wonderful, caring person,” Pitre said. “She would not hurt anyone.”

The Cook County medical examiner’s office determined that Santiago died of strangulation, and had multiple blunt force trauma injuries, including five broken ribs and a ruptured spleen, court records state.

Pitre said Cruz, a Mexican national who worked as a dishwasher, had sold Santiago a TV on Wednesday. Santiago, who worked on a cleaning crew at DePaul University and spent much of her time caring for an elderly mother and a mentally disabled older sister, seldom socialized with Cruz.

But the two wound up drinking together that night with a mutual male friend in Cruz’s apartment, Pitre said.

When the friend prepared to leave about 3 a.m., he asked Santiago to leave with him, Pitre said.

Declining, Santiago reportedly responded: “He’s my neighbor. I live right downstairs. What’s he going to do to me?”

Services are set for Thursday at Caribe Funeral Home, 3314 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago.