Loyola girls shave their heads for St. Baldrick’s Day

By Avery Aoueille

Going bald was the trend for Loyola University Chicago students Thursday evening. The reason: rasing funds to find a cure for cancer.

The Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity celebrated the university’s 6th annual St. Baldrick’s Day event by shaving students’ hair in Centennial Forum Student Union, along with many other student organizations, raising a total of $17,342 to go to childhood cancer research.

While there were many male students who had their heads shaved, audience members looked on with admiration as three female students went bald for the cause.

“I think it is epic. Anyone who gets up there, especially girls who shave their heads, they are heroes,” said Kathryn Dietrich, 20, a junior accounting major at Loyola.

Another student had a similar sentiment to Dietrich.

 “I think they [girls] are so courageous to be able to do that, I could never do it,” said Maria Signore, 21, a junior double majoring in finance and economics. “I love that it is an annual thing. I love that Loyola makes it such a big deal.”

One female student brave enough to chop of her shoulder-length locks, explained her decision.

“To be honest, I have always wanted to shave my head…it has just been one of those bucket list type of things,” said Annie Brady, 20, a junior theatre and human services major.

Brady has been growing her hair out since last June so that she could donate it to Locks of Love.

“I knew that if I was going to shave my head, it needed to be for a good cause,” Brady said.

“To be able to give money to a cause that allows people to find a potential cure is such a big thing and I am so excited about it,” said Brady, who raised $1,687 to donate to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

For other shavees, it was not the first time they went bald for St. Baldrick’s day.

“Last year I was able to do it with a group of people, this year I didn’t get as much heads up; but, I still wanted to show support and solidarity with everyone,” said James Wentz, 20, a sophomore theology major.

A brother of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity commented on the fraternity’s continuous participation in the St. Baldrick’s Day event.

 “We have been sponsoring it for quite a long time now, and it has been a really big success,” said Alfonso Cortes, 19, a freshman majoring in business. “It is definitely something we like to do, we take pride in doing.”

When the head shaving finished, applause filled the room and the newly bald students were all smiles.

“I feel amazing,” Brady  said.

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Outgoing Chicago aldermen get their final say at Loyola forum

Aldermen, from left, Mary Anne Smith, Helen Shiller and Vi Daley, with moderator Beth Konrad. Photo by Erin Jordan.
By Stanislav Golovchuk
Outgoing Aldermen Mary Anne Smith, Helen Shiller and Vi Daley agreed that Chicago’s ward system should remain intact because council members function like “mini mayors.”

“We’re one of the only cities in the world, by the way, where the local elected officials in a city council are both legislators and doers,” said Smith, Alderman of the 48th Ward, Edgewater. “We really function like mini mayors.”

“I don’t think it’s a model for other cities,” said Shiller, Alderman of the 46th Ward, Uptown. “But I do think it’s what’s right, here. I do. The accountability is absolute.”

Shiller added, “If we were legislators and not doers, you would find homogeneous kinds of attacks on problems throughout the city. I don’t think there would be as much attention to detail or identity.”

“People in our communities, they’re used to it and they want it and they demand it,” said Daley, Adlerman of the 43rd Ward, Lincoln Park.

The three Aldermen spoke for about 90 minutes on Thursday during a panel discussion in Loyola’s Mundelein Auditorium. The panel was moderated by Beth Konrad, a journalism professor at Loyola.

Although she was scheduled to participate in the panel, Alderman Virginia Rugai of the 19th Ward, Beverly, was absent.

Among the topics covered in the panel were Chicago’s parking meter deal and mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel.

The panelists looked back on the city’s privatization of parking meters, which many Chicagoans considered a bad deal.

“Maybe we had too much faith in what was going on, we didn’t know enough information,” Daley said. “We didn’t have enough time. This was a short period of time, we had to make a decision. That bothers me.”

“People really wanted those meters,” Shiller said. “We had a meter system that didn’t work.”

Shiller said she “thought the idea of having a way for someone to buy us these meters was a good idea,” but also said that, “the fact that we allowed for such a quick escalation of an increase in what we pay to park is what’s insane about this.”

At the end of the panel, the women offered Emanuel advice and praise.

“He’s going to have to go through the painful process of letting a lot of people go,” Smith said. “We’re really facing, um, different kinds of powerful challenges right now, and you have a lot of departments that were built to serve, um, other kinds of issues.”

Shiller said, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

Daley said, “I think Rahm is a very smart man and I like what he did, to begin with, when he actually went out into the communities to find out really what the concerns are and I think that probably is the best thing he could have done.”

The aldermen also talked about sustainable development, crime, tax increment financing and the role of women in city council.

The “Alderwomen” were honored for their public service by the Gannon Center for Women and Leadership. The event was part of the Ann F. Baum Women and Leadership Speaker Series. About 100 people attended the panel, including students and members of the community.

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Loss of financial aid still a threat to Illinois students

Each year, thousands of college hopefuls receive crucial financial assistance from two important forms of government aid: the Federal Pell Grant and the Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grant that is provided to students of Illinois.

But due to the downturn of the economy and the threat of budget cuts, the funding for these grants is being seriously reconsidered and many students could be turned away or lose their current financial aid.

In order to raise awareness around this looming issue, Loyola University Chicago is hosting a rally in April, and the entire Loyola community is invited to attend.

Inside Loyola has the story:

“The rally is very much an information session, but the idea behind it is to give our students the tools for grassroots lobbying so that they feel more comfortable and are encouraged to contact their own legislators, not only about MAP, but also about federal financial aid,” says Phillip Hale, the vice president of government affairs.

Eric Weems, the director of student financial assistance, actually expects the funding for the MAP Grant that is provided at the state level to stay the same as it has in recent years. However, that is not necessarily good news. “That will represent a cut in a sense because there are more students coming into the process. So in playing with the same amount of money year to year actually serves as a reduction,” he explains.

As of this year, about 2,600 students received the MAP Grant at Loyola, but the demand for this financial aid is growing every day. Students of Illinois who receive the MAP Grant will know by July 1 whether or not their funding has been cut, as this is the date in which the state is required to have a budget in place.

In past years, the Pell Grant that is supported at the federal level has actually seen increased funding through the Obama administration. Today, about 3,300 Loyola students receive Pell funding. However, the recent talk of serious decreases to the federal budget does not bode well for this student grant.

“As much as I’d love to see the amount be increased, I would consider it a victory to at least see level funding,” states Weems. “The hope is that if it doesn’t increase, at least it doesn’t decrease so the same pool [of students] can remain in the program coming forward. but with such an emphasis being made on the reduction of spending, it’s a very real possibility,” he says.

While the first step towards securing this funding is raising awareness around the worsening issue, the second step lies in the hands of the students. By contacting their personal state representatives in Congress, reaching out to members of the Illinois General Assembly, or writing a letter to Governor Pat Quinn, students can make a world of difference in this campaign.

If you would like to write a letter to your representative or legislator, Hale recommends you include three elements:

  1. First, talk about yourself and your personal situation
  2. This is called the “but for” stage of the letter; for example, write, “But for MAP. but for Pell Grants. but for this financial aid I couldn’t attend Loyola.” The point is that without this aid, you could not be studying at Loyola.
  3. Lastly, talk about your personal dreams and mission in life and how being at Loyola is going to help you achieve that

“Sending a letter or even seeing [your representative] in person makes a huge difference. If they receive only five or six letters on the same issue, it’s going to get their attention,” says Maggie Meza, a junior at Loyola who works as the government relations coordinator with Loyola’s government affairs office.

Details concerning the exact time and place of the rally will be announced in the coming weeks and posted on the Inside Loyola site.

– Jordan Muck

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