Stand up against animal testing

Kennedy Ryan – Anchor contributor

In the United States, we are obsessed with our pets. We love taking our dogs for walks, putting hats on our cats and watching our little hamster run on his wheel. We place our pets on a pedestal, so why are we allowing over 115 million animals to be abused and tested every year?

Animal testing became a legal staple in the U.S. in 1938, when the United States Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act placed a law that certain cosmetic materials be tested. For Americans, the simple solution was to test these chemicals and materials on innocent animals. This can include testing for allergies on the skin, injection or even forcing animals to digest materials and potentially die. While other countries are creating laws that ban animal testing, the U.S. still uses cruel testing on bunnies, cats, dogs and other animals every day.

Not only should people be concerned about the wellness of these animals, but also the morals of these companies. For animal testing to be required, new or suspicious materials need to be tested. Companies are resorting to cheap, suspicious chemicals that are an easier solution for their products. In result, they are not only harming animals when testing, but also potentially harming consumers who purchase their goods.

Graphic courtesy of Queen Mob’s Teahouse

There are many common household brands that still actively test on animals. Johnson and Johnson, Proctor and Gamble, Garnier, Woolite and Mars are just some popular brands that still test on animals. While these brands are affordable and convenient, they use cruel ingredients that not only put animals at risk, but also consumers.

People can do their share to peacefully protest animal testing. All cruelty-free products have a symbol of a bunny to illustrate that they have not been tested on animals. As a protest, people can check the bottle on products when purchasing everyday items such as toothpaste, shampoo and body wash. There are many brands that provide alternatives to animal testing using safe, organic ingredients. Doing your part will not only protect your wellness, but also the wellness of the living things around you.

Discussion of religion should not be a taboo

Victor Martelle –Tech. Director

I have taken a hypocritical stance writing this piece as I don’t bring up religion in everyday conversations, let alone with close friends. Lately, even with politics seemingly given the permission to enter everyday close conversation, you probably haven’t ventured that far out either. Religion is more taboo to converse about over most other major topics — heck, more so than even discussing that weird sex fetish you have. Nonetheless, what bothers me is not just why, but how has this become the status quo?

If respectful conversation could be had, and learning new things was a goal, I believe discussion of religion would take front seat. Respectful conversation can be had with some effort, so perhaps the lack of seeking truth and learning is the key problem. If “No, I love learning new things!” is a response of many (including myself), then I wonder, and will put forward: is religion so embedded with our identity that we are afraid of it shattering? Is this hindering our ability to converse with one another? If we want to learn new things and be closer to truth, it shouldn’t be! While a certain system may be your foundation, adjusting said foundation can lead to stronger self-building.

The path to truth is through respectful, thought-provoking discussion. Every day without challenging your encompassing belief system is a day of the mind wasted. Religion itself hits on major tenets of philosophy, and therefore will surely open new roads within.

However, new foundations and untrekked roads bring new fear. The fears of new truths and the unknown are difficult for many. But shouldn’t we welcome these things? If we always thought the moon was brightening our skies instead of the sun, and later learned it was the sun, shouldn’t this be a welcoming fact? Moreover, if we learned that parts of our thinking could be wrong, our “tools in the mind-toolbox” being used incorrectly, should we not strive to use them correctly?

The fear of not knowing is a simpler case. Is there an ultimate truth? Are we not just brains in a vat? What’s the meaning of my life? I don’t know–and that’s perfectly fine. I won’t sit here and try to defend an answer solely because it conflicts with one of my other held principles. Let go, and calmly take time to think about it, and better yet, discuss that idea with others.

The path to your truth is carved through years of sharpening your tools to build that foundation. It took years for believers and the inverse to reach their conclusions, and discussion of these diverse conclusions may lead to an overarching truth.

Once we get comfortable with saying “I don’t know,” not only will religious discussions become easier, but so will everyday conversations about politics, and perhaps even that weird fetish as well.

Tuition Free? Not for me. Not yet.

Lucille DiNaro – Business Manager

Two years of undergraduate studies, nearly tuition free. I can hardly imagine a reality in which this is possible. Should the Rhode Island Promise Scholarship be extended to Rhode Island College, as was suggested in Governor Gina Raimondo’s State of the Address on Jan. 15, the final two years of a four year degree at RIC may be covered by the state.

I have a sister who is in her sophomore year of high school. For my family, the possibility of achieving a Bachelor’s degree at half the cost is life changing. My mom has to bear the burden of supporting three children through college, and I have witnessed firsthand the financial and emotional toll it has taken on her. I would do anything to alleviate her stress, and I’m sure that my experience is a shared one. If the Promise Scholarship is extended to RIC, Rhode Islanders from every demographic will likely breathe an enormous sigh of relief.

Despite this, I am still wary of the Promise Scholarship. I, like any other loved one, wish to see my family and friends enabled to succeed. While the Promise Scholarship may achieve this at surface level, the implications of the scholarship and the means through which it will be carried out are a little too unpredictable for my liking.

Governor Raimondo stated that an extension of the scholarship is but “a few million dollars in a $10 billion budget.” These numbers are absolutely correct, but this is still millions of dollars that need to be allocated to our higher education budget. It’s quite easy to rationalize millions of dollars in spending when the Governor has framed it this way. However, when it comes time for scholarships to be dispersed, who is providing the dollars necessary to fund the scholarship? It feels very irresponsible to pass a legislative initiative with no real funding.

My mom has spent her life working hard to ensure that my sisters and I will have opportunities she never had access to. To this extent, I fear that the Promise Scholarship is severely limiting. To require that scholarship recipients seek employment in the state in return for tuition dollars is almost unreasonable. If you don’t understand why I see this as a problem, come back to me when you graduate and all of your peers are competing for the same positions you are.

I absolutely admire the students in my department. They are all passionate, engaged learners and have become great friends of mine; I want nothing more than for them to succeed. You can understand why I really, really don’t want to see them in the lobby at my next interview.

By the time my sister graduates, I hope that the opportunities available to her reflect the degree she worked for, not just the vacant positions Rhode Island has available. Unless the state of Rhode Island can promise students a job climate capable of supporting every scholarship recipient, I can’t say that I am comfortable in promising Rhode Island my perpetual employment.

As a loyal Rhode Islander, I would love to witness the success of this program. Our residents deserve  a platform to success, and Rhode Island deserves hard-working professionals to develop our economy and give back to the beautiful state that made us who we are.

The statement that RIC will offer the most affordable four-year degree in America is a great thing to advertise on a website. But will the most affordable four-year degree program truly enable the most successful graduates, or the least indebted graduates? I guess the debate lies in one’s values.

Why I chose to travel solo

Alexis Rapoza – Anchor Contributor

When I graduated high school, one of the first things I did was book a trip to a festival in NYC. At 18 years old, I had never really travelled anywhere except with my family and I was definitely not ready to go alone, so I begged my sister to come and she agreed. Quickly our NYC trip approached, we boarded our train and three hours later we were dumped into the center of The Big Apple. It was liberating.

I had been to NYC before, but something about being in the city with no supervision and no one to rely on except ourselves was fascinating. So when we ended up taking the wrong subway and found that our hotel was located in the center of Chinatown, I chalked it up as a learning experience and moved on.

That trip kick-started my obsession with travelling and slowly I booked more trips: small day trips to Boston and other local places until I finally decided to move to Orlando, FL, completely on my own, for almost an entire year. The biggest thing I learned while being in Orlando was that being comfortable alone can be your biggest strength. That’s why I decided that this summer, I’ll be embarking on a two-week long trip to Europe by myself with nothing except for a backpack and my iPhone.

Telling people this usually gets mixed reactions– some tell me stories about the time they went to Europe, while others shoot me sympathetic looks and ask me if I want someone to come with me. The last reaction is the most common and the answer is no, I don’t want someone to tag along.

Even in my small trips, I have found that travelling alone is arguably the most immersive way to travel. You’re forced to pull yourself away from your normal life and soak up the culture of the city you’re in. Another one of the perks of travelling solo is that you have complete control over everything. From finances to deciding where to eat lunch, no one else’s opinion matters except yours.

There’s really nothing more incredible than waking up in another city with no one to please but yourself. I choose to travel solo because it makes me feel free and has made me so much more sure of myself. I believe that the ability to spend time with oneself is so essential to mental health, and solo travel can help build that. You learn how to become your own best friend and find that you’re never truly alone. Even if you don’t know anyone, there are always opportunities to meet people and branch out.

The last reason I choose to solo travel is because of something I learned in Orlando: the single rider line at Disney World is ALWAYS shorter than the regular line, and honestly, that’s all the convincing I need.

The case of the vanishing week: RIC schedules a 14-week semester


Catherine Enos – Opinions editor

On the first day of classes as professors handed out syllabi, some people may have noticed that the semester has seemingly been shortened by one week. This can be confirmed on the RIC calendar of the spring semester, which started Jan. 22 and ends April 30– that’s 14 weeks, not 15.

As a student that enjoys classes (and pays a great deal of money for these classes), I’m a little disappointed and a little annoyed. Apparently, this has occurred because of a scheduling conflict involving the date of graduation.

Ending classes a week early as a result of a scheduling snafu doesn’t seem like the appropriate choice to make. Students sign up for a 15-week semester expecting 15 weeks of classes.

It’s possible that some students like the idea of having one less week of class. However, for classes that are necessary to set a foundation for later learning in a field, it presents a great disservice to these students. For example, a student taking an anatomy class has one less week to set a good base of knowledge for later courses, or even for post-graduate studies.

The administration has been touting their “transparency.” However, there have been no statements from any official of the college explaining why there’s one less week of classes. An option that could have been explored would be to present options in the first place — do students want to end classes a week early? Do they want classes to start a week early (to compensate for lost time)? For absolute radio silence to occur in a situation like this is disheartening.

How much does the school really care about our incoming tuition dollars if they can’t even offer us a full semester? Before thinking “a week isn’t a huge difference,” it may help to break the cost of tuition into weeks. A semester at RIC for an in-state resident costs $4,465. If you divide this by 15 weeks, the cost of one week of school is approximately $297. So, essentially, students are paying an extra $297 for a week of classes they aren’t receiving. That’s not chump change.

Video games are the most artistic form of media

Enrique Castaneda-Pineda – Assistant Graphics Editor

Whether it is a colorful cartoon-style game like “Fortnite,” a wild west dreamscape like “Red Dead Redemption 2” or a dark, Lovecraftian nightmare like “Bloodborne,” video games create a world like no other.

The idea that video games are losing their artistry in a time when “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” revamped fans love of the “Legend of Zelda” series is ludicrous. Games like the aforementioned are the essence of why video games are so artistic and detail-oriented. With a world as charming as the one in “Breath of the Wild” you are bound to fall in love with the characters you meet on your journey and the beautiful, cell-shaded landscapes you’ll come across.

On a darker side, the extremely deep lore introduced in “Bloodborne” has fans finding new things years after its initial release. As the blood-filled, gruesomely grotesque action role-playing game (RPG) grabs the attention of players with a world suddenly plunged into an beastial apocalypse, one must find a way to wake up from the nightmare. The amount of notes the player can find to eventually piece together what happened is enthralling. In a world filled with beasts that can only be created from the darkest depths of your mind, the expansive world of “Bloodborne” can only be described as an artists’ darkest creations coming to life on a limitless canvas.

Bloodborne, Graphic courtesy of Forbes

Most recently, games like “Red Dead Redemption 2,” “God of War (2018),” and “Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey” have taken games to a new, cinematic level. As cinema itself is an extremely artful medium, video games have now included impressive camerawork and framing as they slowly become more realistic with improved graphics. If anything, video games are on the forefront of pushing its evolution to new heights. As the possibilities to create vast and beautiful worlds, characters and stories only grows, so will the artistic influences that fuel most of the video game industry to provide an incredible experience to players.

Less bureaucracy for RIC

Alison Macbeth – Anchor Contributor

As a diligent student, you regularly check your Rhode Island College email account only to find trivial emails about IT service, an event from a club you never joined or another new member of the RIC administration. While a new Vice President of some department may not seem important, the ramifications are worth considering for the overall function of the college.

While many of the recent hired administrative staff were filling vacant positions, President Sánchez’s approach to his cabinet reveals the tendency to emphasize administration. Meanwhile, contractless faculty worked with a salary 17% lower than peer institutions.

While administrators are vital to the success of a university, their positions should be carefully considered. Currently, according to RI.gov, administrator’s salaries are roughly double that of an associate professor. As RIC’s faculty union continues to fight for an increase in salary, this juxtaposition is startling. It appears as though the President’s office does not hesitate to hire new administrators while professors teach extra classes in order to make ends meet. While the RIC/AFT situation is much larger than the single factor of a growing administration, it is an important piece to consider in the overall success of RIC.

Bureaucracy allows for deliberative processes to occur within a governing organization; however, within a college, bureaucracy must act according to the values of an institution so that the college is run efficiently and affordably. Each piece of RIC’s organization goes hand and hand and must be evaluated in light of the core values of RIC: excellence and innovation, access and opportunity, student-centeredness, diversity and inclusion, state and community leadership, and transparency. The more administrators hired, the less budget there is for professors’ earnings and possibly other student-centered initiatives, which are key parts of RIC’s value system.

However, some might argue that adding more administrators equips the college with strategy and skill to pursue RIC’s values. While each Vice President and administrator plays a vital role in the function of the college, it is important to remain mindful of the ramification these large-salaried positions have on the college as a whole. Large, bureaucratic governing structures tend to be plagued with wastefulness and unable to adapt quickly to new ideas. Perhaps there are more efficient and less expensive ways to run RIC.

Employing the resources on campus of our incredible faculty and involved community members will not only boost the morale of the college, but also mobilize the voice of the college. Currently, a top-down approach to running RIC funnels in hundreds of thousands of dollars to a small group of decision-makers and could be failing to amplify the community’s desires, needs, and dreams. It would be unfair to not mention that the administration has, on occasion, sought to have two-way communication with the RIC community.

The growth of a bureaucratic tone from RIC administration will hinder dialogue and movement from the RIC community. Perhaps it’s worth deliberating whether the college values a large administration over other equally important priorities, such as well-compensated faculty and capable graduates.

Spread the word: “illegal” immigrants are people too

Lauren Enos – Assistant opinions editor

Migrants, or any other people who enter the United States illegally, are often referred to as illegal aliens. Unfortunately, that’s the term that is approved and used by our court of law. I’m doubtful that I could think of a more destructive term. All human beings deserve to be treated with dignity, and using the term “illegal alien” doesn’t support that idea. Language is a powerful tool; the word “alien” is associated with strange-looking beings, a sense of invasion and otherness. The use of the term illegal alien promotes an “us” vs. “them” mentality.

During this holiday season of giving and cheer, we should be giving some thought to the thousands of immigrants searching for cheer and safety here in America. The holidays are a time where people are generally more kind, giving, and happy. And with the holidays approaching, perhaps this is the time to appeal to peoples’ hearts.

The term illegal alien is dehumanizing, which makes it easier to think of and treat these immigrants as sub-human. No human being deserves to be denied asylum. No person should be treated as if they are less important than a person of another nationality. I don’t think people generally disagree with these statements, but it’s a different story when “illegal” or undocumented immigrants are the subject.

We need to do a lot of work on humanizing these immigrants. They are sacrificing everything they have for safety, family and better opportunities. Regardless of what the administration wants you to believe, the vast majority aren’t criminals nor rapists. Read their stories, listen to what they have to say, see their humanity. Repeat their stories and help them be heard. These are just humans who are trying to live the best, safest lives they can. The more we talk about them as human beings, the more we can get others to think about them as such.

The most important skill to gain from college

Catherine Enos – Opinions editor

As an editor for a newspaper and as a senior who has peer-edited plenty of papers, I witness a great deal of good writing– as well as fair amounts of bad writing. Writing is clearly an important skill to have. Additionally, it’s a requirement to pass a writing class for all students at Rhode Island College. So it’s concerning when you read what someone has written and it has no structure or central argument. To become a better writer, there are a few things people can do:

Graphic courtesy of writingcooperative

Know your weaknesses.

Everyone is bad at something when it comes to writing. Some people are bad at spelling, others are bad with structure, and so on. The important thing is that you know what mistakes you make and have made so that you can avoid them in the future.

Swap papers with a friend.

Offer to read your friend’s paper (one you trust and think is a proficient writer) to provide criticism in exchange that they do the same with your paper. This allows you to see how other people, in a similar situation as you, write and format their papers. In addition, maybe they’ll point out an error you missed or offer constructive criticism– which is never a bad thing.

Go to the writing center.

RIC is great in offering students a center where strong writers are employed for the sole purpose of helping you become a strong writer yourself: the writing center. Even if your writing is perfect (which is unlikely), you have nothing to lose by taking advantage of what your tuition pays for.

Read more.

By reading more, you not only learn new things, but you also build a stronger vocabulary. On top of that, you can look at the structure of a good piece for some insight on how you should write. If you’re reading a book, an article or a magazine from a well-known publisher, the writing has probably gone through a rigorous editing process. Therefore, most of these works will show you what strongly-structured writing looks like.

Start with an outline.

Outlines can be annoying, but they help you to make sure that your paper stays structured. What’s important is that you have basic benchmark structures: an introduction, a main argument/thesis, support for that argument, and a conclusion.

Be flexible.

A good writer adapts to change and accepts constructive criticism. For example, the format of many newspapers (AP format) elicits shorter, briefer paragraphs (a paragraph may be one or two sentences)– this is obviously not the case in academic papers. When I first joined the Anchor as a writer, I noticed that professors were commenting on my papers that my paragraphs were too short. Instead of brushing it off with an “I-write-for-a-newspaper” know-everything attitude, I addressed the issue and made sure I wasn’t writing short paragraphs.

Kick plastic water bottles to the curb (just kidding, please recycle them)

Lauren Enos – Assistant opinions editor

Everyone knows how easy and convenient plastic water bottles are. You’re in line after shopping for an hour and there’s a cooler full of ice-cold, refreshing bottled beverages right there for you. You’re in the dining hall and know that a water bottle would be so much more convenient than an open cup. You’re on your way out the door and the pack of water bottles is on your way out. It’s so easy to just grab plastic bottles in these situations. You drink them, toss them, and don’t think about the consequences.

We all know that when you’re done with that plastic bottle, you’re most likely putting it in the next trash receptacle you see, recycling or not. There are some people that will hold onto it until they can recycle it, which is great. But that’s not the majority of people, myself included. Yes, sadly, I’m guilty of this heinous crime.

But there’s a solution! If you know that you’re not going to hold onto your plastic bottles until you can recycle them, then don’t buy them! Reusable water bottles are a lifesaver for the planet and your wallet. They come in every color, size, shape, and material you could ever want. There are even thermal ones that will keep your drink hot or cold for hours. Pro tip: use a Yeti to sneak ice cream into a movie theater or class, I’m not judging.

The point is, it requires almost no extra effort to utilize a reusable bottle to bring drinks with you wherever you go. If you know that you like to have soda after you go shopping, then bring some in a reusable bottle. Take two extra seconds to fill a reusable bottle instead of grabbing a plastic one from the case at the front door or the dining hall. Plus, drinks in plastic bottles are too expensive – both for you and the planet.

I get it though, sometimes it just happens. You didn’t prepare, you’re in a bind, or that Dr. Pepper just looks too good to refuse at that moment. For the times when it does, just make sure to recycle!