Swiping Right for the Wrong Reasons

The concept is simple — if you like the person’s picture, you swipe right. If you don’t, you swipe left. If you and another swipe right on each other’s photo, it’s a match. You can now begin a conversation with this person.

Tinder is a free mobile application for iOS and Android devices that allows the user to communicate with mutually interested users based on location. By matching people who mutually like each other, it reduces the user’s chance of rejection. The application was released on Sept. 12, 2012 by Sean Rad, Justin Mateen and Jonathan Badeen. Initially, the application was available only to the University of Southern California, but it quickly expanded to other college campuses and the general public.

Tinder uses your Facebook profile to collect your information and photos. It then tries to display candidates to you who it believes is compatible based on mutual Facebook friends, geographical location and common interests. Since its official release, Tinder is now available in 30 languages and as of April 2015, users swipe through 1.6 billion profiles and have more than 26 million matches every day.

In March 2015, Tinder released an update to the public that instilled an algorithm that limits the number of “right swipes” a user can make in a 12 hour time period. Many Tinder users were annoyed with this new algorithm limiting their number of swipes, but the implementation proved to be beneficial for the application’s users. Shortly after the update occurred, TechCrunch published a report examining the positive effects the new limitation had on Tinder users. “Ten days into launch [of the update], Tinder is seeing a 25 percent increase in the number of matches per right swipe, and a 25 percent increase in the number of messages per match. Plus, spam bots have decreased more than 50 percent since launch.”

Unfortunately, like most dating applications, Tinder has a lot of social stigma behind it.

The idea of matching up with someone solely based on looks makes people feel embarrassed to admit they use the application for anything more than just entertainment purposes. Because of this, Tinder is seen as a joke and isn’t viewed as a serious means of finding a potential partner for a new relationship. This has led to people creating parody accounts that mock Tinder, such as Tinder Nightmares on Instagram. It showcases conversations people have had through Tinder that ended up as, well, a nightmare.

In college towns, however, students view Tinder as a way people can find potential “hookups” for the night. Through an online survey distributed to college students across the United States, I found that 99.4 percent of respondents have used or know another student who has used Tinder. Out of the 155 survey respondents, 61 percent of people believe the purpose of using Tinder is to look for hookups at school. One respondent even believes that people use Tinder as “window shopping for girls or hookups.”

What do you think of tinder

However, the survey revealed that this hookup ideal is inaccurate. Out of the 155 respondents, only 20 percent reported to using Tinder for hookup purposes. This reinforces the idea that Tinder’s social stigma and negative reputation is simply incorrect.

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In contrast, 12 percent of respondents answered that they have been in a relationship that started through the Tinder app. And of that 12 percent, almost half are still in that relationship.

One respondent addressed the issue behind Tinder’s stigma. “I think Tinder could be a really great way to meet people in this digital age, but most people don’t take it seriously because everyone jokes about it being for hookups.”

Another respondent doesn’t like to admit she uses the application for relationship purposes because people view her as shallow for judging men solely on appearance. “But isn’t it the same thing as approaching someone you find attractive at a bar? If it didn’t have the stereotype of being a hookup app, I think it would be a great way to meet new people and potentially start a relationship.”

Rosie Kelly, a senior advertising major at Rowan University, runs a blog called Hookup Culture. Hookup Culture exposes students at Rowan University talking about relationships and sex in college and encourages the idea that, despite our generation’s stereotype of not being able to communicate and form meaningful relationships, we are capable of these things and are actually very open about relationships. Kelly conducts interviews with students to get material for the blog and also writes feature articles that have to do with relationships, break-ups and dating for our generation.

Kelly spoke to Her Campus Rowan in regard to her blog’s purpose and said, “We all go through heart breaks and are constantly swiping through Tinder and I don’t think it’s something that has to be kept a secret. Hookup Culture and other blogs like it let people know that we’re all thinking the same thing.”

“My main message is really that we are so much more than a hookup culture. Older generations tend to believe all we do is have one night stands, we can’t communicate because of social media and texting and that we never form meaningful relationships.  I believe all of that is wrong. We are more focused on our careers and futures, so it’s true that fewer people decide to settle down in college. However, we are extremely capable of communicating and forming relationships, just in a different and more evolved way than our elders.”

Through a personal interview with Kelly, she told me she believes “Tinder is just another form of communication for our generation. We meet people by following them on Twitter, talking to them in class, friending them on Facebook, saying hi at the bar or even matching on Tinder. It has a stigma that it’s used for hookups but I don’t think that’s true. Most people use it out of boredom, to talk to someone or maybe to date.”

Tinder is a powerful tool students use versus the typical online dating websites, such as Match.com. Just because something is seen as a tool for hooking up, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously as a way to meet new people and form meaningful relationships.

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New Village Housing Aims to Solve Housing Dilemma at Rowan University

It has been almost a year since chaos broke out on Rowan University’s campus. More than 600 students were placed on an extensive waiting list to enter the lottery for on-campus housing, forcing them to look elsewhere to live, with little time available, for the upcoming academic year.

“I cannot even find the words to describe how I felt when I found out I was placed near the bottom of the waitlist for housing,” said Mark DaSilva, a junior communication studies major at Rowan University. “It was already late March and the majority of off-campus houses were already rented out for next year. Luckily, I found somewhere eventually. But where I live now is far from campus and is not my ideal living situation.”

DaSilva was not the only student aggravated by the waitlist. Hundreds of angry students drafted and signed multiple petitions in attempt to fight it.

According to a fact sheet provided on Rowan University’s website, the current enrollment is 14,778 students. Only 4,319 currently live on campus.

Rowan University recently announced its goal to double the number of students to 25,000 by 2023, which helps toward its overall plan to expand the campus and school itself. Out of those 25,000 students, the university aims to have 60 percent of students living on campus, according to Joe Cardona, vice president of university relations. When you double the number of students, however, you need somewhere for them to live. The university soon realized that if they want to double the number of students, they need to take the next step and expand the housing available to students.

The newest housing complex, currently called the Housing Village, was approved at the Board of Trustees meeting in January. It will have 1,400 beds for students to fill and will cater mainly toward upperclassmen. The Housing Village will be located where Lot X currently is, on the corner of the Rowan Boulevard apartments and Landmark Americana, and is on track to be completed by fall 2016.

“Imagine nice green, sidewalks and beautiful apartments all in that area,” said Cardona.

This new complex is part of a public-private partnership. This is the first time Rowan is housing students in privately-owned property. The way the partnership works is the contractor receives ownership and rent, but Rowan is the one who decides who gets to live there based on the lottery system.

There will not be stores located on the ground floor of the Housing Village. However, it will contain a dining hall and a medium-sized gym to help make the complex more self-sustained. Gourmet Dining will be in charge of the dining hall’s food due to its exclusive contract with the university. However, the university will subcontract with different vendors, all falling under Gourmet Dining’s umbrella.

Another aspect to look at is how the construction will affect the campus. “Just eight years ago, the core of the students were all here and revolved around the student center. This shifts everything heavily toward the downtown area and Rowan Boulevard,” said Cardona. “Doing this helps make the relationship between the community and the college stronger.” The move also opens up doors for vendors and members of the community.

Cardona explained how the Village Housing complex with be somewhat a la carte. “When you look at campus communities, there needs to be a distribution of housing — housing that’s more affordable and housing people are willing to pay extra for and get the special accommodations.” The room types will vary and the prices will be flexible. “If you want to pay extra, you can. If you want to live in a cinderblock building, you can.”

This plan is estimated to cost $120 million. Once numbers get involved, students tend to have a strong opinion of the idea.

Katie Bussman, a senior public relations major, believes building more housing complexes is a bad idea. “I understand they want to expand, but they can’t just suddenly take in a huge number of students. It’s forcing everyone’s tuition to go up and now everyone else has to suffer.”

Amanda Hauske, a senior civil engineering major, agrees. “Students chose to go to this school due to its small size and low cost of tuition. When students came in as freshman, they were under the impression they’d have access to on-campus housing for all four years. Now Rowan’s availability for housing is limited and the current students don’t see it as a fair mechanism to expand the school.”

On the opposing side, junior finance major Jeffrey Stein believes this is a step in the right direction for the university, but the approach is all wrong. “I think building more housing for upperclassmen is a waste of valuable space for Rowan. Starting junior year, students are allowed to move off-campus, expanding their housing opportunities to truly endless options, whereas sophomores and freshmen are required to live on campus. As Rowan’s student body grows, there needs to be more housing available for the upcoming freshmen and sophomore classes. What this all boils down to is that lot X should be used for freshmen and sophomore housing. This will resolve the relatively uncomfortable living conditions for these grade levels and eliminate a huge portion of the massive wait lists Rowan currently has to deal with every year.”

Now for the final question every Rowan student wants to know: where will these students be parking? The students living in the Housing Village will park in the parking garage located on Rowan Boulevard.

Paving the Road to Success

In order to maintain the United States’ leadership position in our global economy, President Barack Obama proposed reforming our community colleges in hope of providing Americans the chance to learn the skills and knowledge necessary to compete for jobs. His proposal, the American Graduation Initiative, would allow an additional five million people who meet the requirements to graduate from a community college by 2020.

This is a big deal for college-aged Americans hoping to earn a degree, but others are affected as well. The American Graduation Initiative is projected to cost $12 billion. Funding needs to go toward expanding the size of campuses, the number of classrooms, the number of professors who need to be paid and the supplies and resources the colleges provide to students, such as computer labs suitable for a large number of students. To obtain this $12 billion, Obama plans to increase the maximum Pell grant and education tax credits to ease financial pressure on students.

According to whitehouse.gov, The Recovery Act is Obama’s plan to cushion the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and lay a new foundation for economic growth. The American Association of Community Colleges published a fact sheet on the initiative which states, “The Recovery Act increased Pell Grants by $500 to $5,350 and created the $2,500 American Opportunity Tax Credit for four years of college tuition. Now, the Administration is working to make these policies permanent and ensure the Pell Grant continues to grow faster than inflation. Together, the Recovery Act and president’s budget call for nearly $200 billion in college scholarships and tax credits over the next decade.”

Emily Bussman, a freshman at Rowan College at Gloucester County, believes that although community college will be free, it won’t change whether people are motivated to earn a degree. “If they aren’t motivated, money won’t change their own personal mindset,” she says.

According to The Hechinger Report, a publication covering innovation and inequality in education, only one in five students who enroll in community college graduates in three years. Lack of motivation from students pushed the United States from first to 10th in the world in proportion of the population that has graduated from college.

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“I think it’s great Obama wants to offer potential students the opportunity to go to community college for free, but that doesn’t change the fact that there aren’t jobs available for them to fill after they graduate,” says Sarah Hoffman, a sophomore at Raritan Valley Community College in Somerset County, NJ. “I’m stressed over the idea that even though I put in the time and effort to earn a degree, that doesn’t guarantee me a job. Allowing anyone to earn his or her degree will just mean the value of a degree is basically worthless.”

U.S. Rep Virginia Foxx, who chairs the White House higher-education subcommittee, questioned Obama’s graduation goals. “A college degree doesn’t do any good if there aren’t any jobs. I think it’s important that people finish college, but the major reason people go to college is to get a job. I think the president should be focusing a whole lot more on creating an environment that allows for job creation,” says Foxx.

Another aspect to look at is how this affects those who are already in college and paid to get there. Greg Demkowicz, owner of Correct Electric, LLC. in Washington, NJ, believes this will harm the classroom environment for current students.

“The GPA requirements of students to maintain free education are low. Instead of focusing on the students who truly want to study hard and succeed, we will be providing a subsidy for those with less motivation and initiative. Having a bunch of people with degrees by 2020 does nothing for the students or the country. Obama needs to focus on making students smarter. That’s what our country should be striving for by 2020,” says Demkowicz. “This is a slap in the face of all the students who paid for their education. These students, with the desire to learn and succeed, will be placed in the same class as those receiving the subsidy, who may only be there because it’s free. Are the professors going to have to dumb down lectures just so the unmotivated students pass the course? Great. Now the students who truly want to learn will not be able to reach their potential because the lecture didn’t challenge them.”

President Obama is paving the road for future college students with good intentions, but, according to critics of the plan, further research should be done on the adverse effects before laying the pavement.

 

 

 

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State of the Union Reaction and Afterthoughts

I cannot even imagine what State of the Unions were like before social media. Last night, I spent the duration of the SOTU on Twitter, following along with the hashtag, of course, to keep up with the public’s reaction throughout the live broadcast.

 

Although I’m definitely not Obama’s biggest fan, I will admit that he’s a top-notch public speaker. However, despite the level of confidence he displays while speaking, I always struggle to believe the promises he makes. This is because of his lack of support and rationality behind his promises.

 

It was suggested by the Twitter community that the theme of the 2015 SOTU was supposed to be helping rebuild the stability of the middle class. I quickly realized that rumor was false. I say this because President Obama delivered a lot of promises to make things “free” for Americans, such as two years of community college, childcare and more.

Now let’s take a step back and think. When was the last time anything was ever truly free? Probably never. Basic necessities we need to survive, such as water, aren’t even free — hell, at movie theaters, they charge about $4.50 for a bottle of water — so how can our president promise to provide a two-year community college education for free? Here’s the answer, he can’t.

Let’s rationalize this by looking at one of the biggest issues here: who is going to pay the professors if tuition is free? Hmm… maybe tax-paying citizens? Ding, ding, ding! How is giving people even more free handouts helping the middle class? It isn’t. Raising our taxes is building even more debt and putting more stress on our economy.

I wasn’t the only person who thought this way and tried to rationalize.

Senator of the United States Rand Paul, in his video response to the State of the Union, stated, “As a physician, I was taught to, first, do no harm. To think before you act. To analyze the unintended consequences of your actions. I think America would be better off if all politicians took the same approach.” Rand also Tweeted throughout the SOTU:

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Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, put out a news release three hours prior to the president’s address. In the release, Huckabee stated, “There are two things certain about the Obama administration—debt and taxes. I’m not surprised that in this State of the Union address, President Obama will introduce another plan for more taxes. After growing our national debt by $7.5 trillion dollars since taking office, it’s ridiculous for the president to propose $320 billion dollars in new taxes.”

Mr. Huckabee, your predictions were true.

 

Now, I’m no politician. I’m simply a college-aged American citizen hoping to share some of my thoughts. However, I believe we, as a nation, need to take a step back and rationalize before believing these promises our president made will be beneficial to our country as a whole.

 

I also want to leave you with a few Tweets I found particularly enjoyable:

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