New campus STEMulates downtown

By Nick Stern, Senior Reporter | Photos courtesy of CNM.edu

stem

Administration has had an innovative and different way to address the intersection of entrepreneurship, education, and economic development in Albuquerque’s down¬town community, and the STEMulus Center was found to be the solution, which is planned to be accessible by the 2014 fall semester, Chief Community and Engagement Officer, Samantha Sengel said.
CNM is currently leasing space for the new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) center at the First Plaza Galleria building at 20 First Plaza Ctr. NW in downtown Albuquerque where it will complement the significant amount of energy being put into the revitalization of downtown Albuquerque and contribute to the constantly evolving workforce, Sengel said.
“The mayor and the leadership in our city have been very clear about the fact that downtown is going to become the hub of innovation, entrepreneur¬ship, and startup culture. We need to be responsive and proactive in bringing what we do best down¬town and making it avail¬able to the community that is there today and that will be growing in the near future,” she said.
The STEMulus center will have coding academies, cyber-security academies, accelerated learning pro-grams, boot camps, and even a prototyping lab, which will have the resources to move ideas from the sketchpad to the real world, she said.
The prototyping lab is intended to have a wood¬working station, a welding station, a machine tooling station, and even a 3D printing station, but most importantly will have technicians and courses that will help people acquire the skills needed to use each workshop, Sengel said.
“We will have the structure for credit classes, but we also have non-credit, that has to do with skill development and training. We do not just stick you in a welding station and say good luck. We are going to structure around the safety training, so that they can be at the welding station and work there and if there is one-on-one instruction that needs to occur then we are going to have that technician onsite to support them in that way,” she said.
There will probably also be practical application courses like weekend-long, non-credit, introductory welding classes where people can pay to spend the weekend learning and increasing their skills which really is what the center is meant to be all about, Sengel said.
CNM recognizes that it is still very important for more and more people to receive degrees in New Mexico, and the hope is that people will become interested in pursuing their education after learning related skills, Sengel said.
“With the introduction to something exciting and interesting we can hopefully hook them and get them interested in pursuing their education, because that is what’s good for New Mexico. More people with degrees are important in New Mexico and we want to increase degree attainment across our country, region, and state,” she said.
Sengel advises anyone who is interested in this future project to keep their ears tuned for announcements because CNM intends on doing its best to keep everybody informed as there are new developments, she said.
Anyone who is interested can also go to cnm. edu/stemulus and fill out a form with any questions or comments they might have about the STEMulus center, Sengal said.

Smoking in the rain; Welding students build new smoking shelters

By Jonathan Baca, Copy Editor

weld

Planning and designs for the cov­ered shelters for CNM’s smoking sections have been submitted, and they will be fabricated and constructed by none other than the school’s own welding students, Welding instructor, Ron Hackney said.

The “smoking shacks” will be built by students of the Project Fabrication class, one of the final courses before Welding students test for their certificates, and they plan to build one to two shelters each semester the class is offered, Hackney said.

“These are folks who are already ready to graduate. Over three quarters of them are already certified welders, by industry standards, so they are pretty advanced students,” Hackney said.

Hackney said the proj­ect will be a great oppor­tunity for his students to get real world experience, being responsible for every aspect of a project, from planning and materials to fabrication and installation.

Executive Director of Multi-campus Operations Jennifer Cornish said that the idea for the project came from dis­cussions about the best way to create the smoking shel­ters they had promised to install after the new smok­ing policy was implemented.

“Since the inception of the new smoking policy, we knew that we needed to provide some shelter, if not all, than at least most of the smoking sections,” Cornish said.

A team was assembled to design and make the specifications for the shel­ters, and Cornish said the school’s architect had the idea to ask if the Welding department would be inter­ested in creating them.

Thomas “Hass” Saunders, Welding major and work study lab assistant, was the stu­dent who actually created the designs for the shelters as part of his class work, he said.

“It is essentially a bus stop with a couple of modifications made to it,” Saunders said.

Saunders took mea­surements of existing bus stop designs and CNM locations, designed the “smoking shack” on a CAD (computer aided drafting) program and made physi­cal blueprints, created a list of materials, and then got quotes for material costs, he said.

Saunders, who helps stu­dents with their class work as part of his work study job, said he feels the project will be a lot more valuable and fun for the students than their normal projects.

“It takes a whole dif­ferent meaning to welding. Instead of just doing differ­ent positions all day, now we can actually build some­thing, and it makes the stu­dents feel good at the same time,” Saunders said.

In addition to benches and a covered awning to protect smokers from the elements, the shel­ters will have perforated walls for ventilation, and so Security can easily see inside, Cornish said.

Another important feature will be solar panels on the roofs of each shel­ter, to power lights that will shine in the evenings, she said.

“We can’t run electric­ity out to all the shelters; that would have made it too expensive. But we want to make sure that they are safely lit,” Cornish said.

They would also like the openings of the shel­ters to be facing toward the south, so that in the summer the sun will gen­erally be at the back and the smokers will have more shade, she said.

Cornish said that the school’s Sustainability Team will be meeting with members of the Welding department sometime this week to go over the final details of the project, and to see if any of the loca­tions around the school’s many campuses will require any alterations to the original designs.

“I think it’s a really wonderful opportunity for our students to participate as a learning project, and it meets the needs of the students who want to use the smoking areas, and it is a sustainability project,” Cornish said.

Hackney said that since the plan is for the Welding program to eventually build a shelter for every smoking section on every campus, the project will likely become a major part of the curriculum for the Project Fabrication class for some time.

He said that while the instructors will act as quality control, set­ting specifications and inspecting each shelter on completion, the stu­dents will essentially be in charge of the project from start to finish.

“We have to make sure as an educational institu­tion that the students actu­ally use it as a learning out­come. It’s not like we’re trying to get free labor, we want to make sure that they can actually learn from it,” Hackney said.

In addition to the expe­rience for students, this project will also help the Welding department save some money, because the materials will be paid for out of a special budget created for the smoking sections.

Normally project costs come out of the Welding program’s budget, which is strained as it is, so Hackney said it is nice to be able to save a little money while giving his students a great project.

“It certainly helps, because every department gets billed for its metal, and it’s pretty expensive. But in the end, somebody’s got to pay for it, so we have to make sure that we don’t waste metal and things like that,” Hackney said.

Saunders said that as a student, he agrees that none of the students feel they are being taken advantage of, and that they are happy to be building something of value that will be used by people on campus for years to come.

“This is not free labor, this is essentially a great learning experience. In a nutshell, it’s kind of the students’ way of giving back to their school,” Saunders said.

Farewell forever to spring break

It is so invigorating to be able to take a week long break during the spring semester to come back refreshed and ready to finish up the last weeks at school, but unfortunately this last spring break that passed will be the very last one ever, at least for CNM students.

Spring break has been a pastime since the Greeks and Romans started celebrating a sort of spring ritual, and has been a fad since the 1930s in America, according to content. time.com.

Not all students use the break for decedent debauchery or to have a good time, and for most, the break is a much needed rest for those that have hefty sched­ules and busy lives to lead.

According to President Winograd’s Blog, starting in January the idea of losing spring break all together was addressed, and was to be addressed by stu­dents and staff in a survey.

According to the Media and Communications Office as of Feb 14, “There will no longer be a spring break at CNM.”

It does not seem that this break survey was sent to all stu­dents, nor was the issue brought up through MCO until the decision had already been made to ditch the term break.

We all rely on the break for a much needed rest from the semester, and it might just be beneficial to students to just pass it right on by, but will hopefully not affect students to the point of burning them out and making their GPA’s or grades suffer for just a little less of a spring semester.

Letter to the Editor, Issue 37, Volume 19

The First Amendment, which guarantees free-speech rights, is fundamental to the highest ideals of American constitutional democracy and our nation’s system of higher education. However, no court, constitution, law or leader can guarantee any right once and for all, forever into the future. Even constitutionally protected rights need to be monitored, pro­tected, and every attempt to whit­tle away at them must be vigor­ously challenged.

Free speech rights at CNM are under threat. Last year, the CNM administration temporarily shut down The CNM Chronicle and suspended the staff over the publication of its “sex issue” and then reversed its decision less than 24 hours later after a deluge of public attention. More recently, new collective bargaining agree­ments for full-time and part-time faculties contained language designed to prohibit the CNM Employees Union (CNMEU) from using “College resources… for any union business of any type, a political campaign for an indi­vidual candidate, an issue or an organization.” In administration’s initial proposal to the part-time faculty negotiating team, of which I was a member, The Chronicle was identified by name as one of those “resources,” though it does not appear in the final collective bargaining agreement.

It is no secret to anyone famil­iar with the CNM that this admin­istration is obsessively concerned with protecting and polishing its public image. Nothing in the new faculty contracts directly attempts to limit an individual faculty mem­ber’s free speech right, but it is naïve to think they are not threat­ened. The contract clause I quoted is vague. Could it be interpreted to prohibit a union official from responding to an inquiry from a Chronicle reporter? Perhaps. After the new contracts were reported on in the news media, CNM offi­cials issued pronouncements in which they affirmed their support for individual free-speech rights. What is a reasonable person to believe? Is the truth more likely to be found in the actions of CNM administration or in their state­ments once their actions have been exposed to public scrutiny?

CNM faculty, staff and stu­dents are on a “slippery slope,” by which I mean an action or law, initially restricted to a specific situ­ation or group, like The Chronicle or CNMEU, which opens the door for a much broader and pos­sibly illegal application of the same restrictions. For that reason, it is in my self-interest to defend the free-speech rights of The Chronicle and CNMEU because any curtail­ments of their rights brings CNM one step closer to an attempt at restricting my individual right to free speech. Similar logic compelled the American Civil Liberties Union in 1978 to defend a neo-Nazi group’s right to stage a public political rally complete with swastikas in Skokie, Illinois, where a significant portion of the residents were survivors of the Holocaust. The ACLU’s argument, which was savagely criticized at the time by many of its own mem­bers, was that protecting the free-speech rights of a group as odious as the neo-Nazis was necessary to guarantee the free-speech rights of all Americans.

CNMEU and The Chronicle may be the only organizations associated with CNM that admin­istration cannot completely con­trol. At the moment, I am less concerned about the union than I am for The Chronicle because I believe the newspaper has already been targeted for elimination. My suspicion is fueled not by any state­ment made by an administrator, but by what has already been done: three months after The Chronicle was shut down last March CNM launched The Suncat Times, which is described on the college’s website as a “student newsletter” distributed by email.

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” has been attributed to the abolitionist Wendell Phillips, sometimes to Thomas Jefferson, though a similar statement was made as early as 1790 by the Irish political figure John Philpot Curran. The statement is as sound today as it was in the 18th and 19th centuries and I hope it will heeded by liberals and conservatives, liber­tarians and socialists, people who support unions and people who oppose them, as well as friends of The Chronicle and people at CNM who never read an issue.

Seamus O’Sullivan, Ph.D.

Part-time faculty, politi­cal science and sociology

Hidden Gems; Geology classes go on rock tour

By Carol Woodland, Staff Reporter | Photo by Carol Woodland

geo

New Mexico is full of amazing geo­logical features and students who take Earth and Planetary Sciences courses are able to take advan­tage of the hands on approach to learn­ing by participating in geological survey field trips.

John Rogers, professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences said that this semester there are six offerings within the depart­ment including a special topics course called Geology of New Mexico.

Rogers said he offers all students in Earth and Planetary Sciences the oppor­tunity to take part in the field trips, and hopes to give stu­dents the opportu­nity to go on at least six field trips each semester in his classes.

“We’ve had two trips so far this semes­ter, and we’ll probably have five more before the end of the semester,” Rogers said.

This semester students have been north of Albuquerque to Tent Rocks and to the east side of the Sandia Mountains to touch a geologic fea­ture called the Great Unconformity.

There are also plans to visit the White Mesa area south of the Jemez, and to go on some trips with the Albuquerque Gem and Mineral Club, he said.

Students who go on the trips are able to collect fossils and min­erals for themselves, and for those inter­ested in collecting, the annual Albuquerque Gem and Mineral Club trip to Bingham Mine near Socorro is not to be missed, Rogers said.

“We’ll collect barite, calcite, lead minerals, travertine; a whole bunch of stuff,” Rogers said.

Rogers said that while most of his trips are not too strenu­ous some of them may include several miles of hiking, so he lets students know beforehand how chal­lenging the trips may be and what students need to do to prepare.

CNM is in a great location to study geology, as there are many different land­scapes at each campus, Rogers said.

“Just walking between classes is a field trip. I’ve told my stu­dents that I don’t know of another campus in the world where you can see the diversity of volcanic features that you can see from CNM’s Main Campus,” Rogers said.

The Physical Geology and Earth History labs also offer students the chance to learn with hands on activities, he said.

Students in the Physical Geology labs are currently learning about geologic maps, and have also spent a lot of time this semes­ter learning to identify different rocks and minerals, and are learn­ing about how Earth’s geologic features work, Rogers said.

Studying geology offers students a chance to develop skills in other subjects as well, such as math and sci­ence, Rogers said.

“There is lots of math, biology and chemistry in geology, but you do not need to come in with a strong background,” he said.

Rogers said that while many students take one of the geol­ogy classes to ful­fill a science credit, some are just taking it because they are interested in rocks, minerals and crys­tals, and some are pursuing geology as a career.

According to the US Government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics website, bls.gov, the job outlook for geoscientists with a bachelor’s degree is promising, with a 16 percent increase pre­dicted over the next eight years, which is faster than average for most occupations.

“Hopefully our classes sway some of those who were just taking it as a science class to maybe think about going that direc­tion,” Rogers said.

Career possibili­ties include explora­tion for minerals or oil, working energy related fields, or environmental work, Rogers said.

“ P e o p l e don’t think of geologists as environmen­talists, but a lot of us get work in the environmental realm working for private con­sultants, work­ing for the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), and working for the New Mexico environment department ,” he said.

There are also jobs working for private consultants looking at geologic hazards and remedia­tion of environmental disasters, as well as in education, Rogers said.

CNM’s Earth and Planetary Science classes all transfer to UNM, including the special topic courses, which, unlike some of the other special topics courses, are eli­gible for financial aid, Rogers said.

Rogers said that CNM will continue to offer the Geology of New Mexico class in addition to the Physical Geology class and Physical Geology Lab each semester on multiple campuses, Earth History and Earth History Lab, as well as the new Dinosaurs special topics course, which will only be held once or twice a year, he said.

“One of my goals is to just get students thinking about things that they see every day and maybe haven’t con­templated before. Like what is the origin of that hill sitting off in the distance? Is it a vol­cano?” Rogers said.

Student ID: Passport to discounts

By Angela Le Quieu, Staff Reporter

A valid CNM ID can be used more than just on campus; various organizations and businesses offer discounts and other perks to CNM students.

A free annual bus pass can be picked up from student services and CNM students can also get a free UNM community library card that allows them access to Zimmerman and other libraries on the UNM campus.

Besides these freebies, there are many discounts available for food, fun, fitness, and lots more, and this is a list of various places around town.

 

Food

Cheba Hut

Monday student day; free chips and drink with ID and purchase of a sandwich.

232-2432

115 Harvard Drive SE

 

Sombreros Mexican Restaurant

Students receive a 10 percent discount on Mexican cuisine, open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

266-8226

120 Harvard Drive SE

 

Street Food Market

Take 10 percent off on Malay, Vietnamese and Thai street food from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

268-1196

2300 Central Ave SE

 

Fitness

UNM Fitness Center

CNM students can purchase a RecCard and have access to all of the Johnson fitness center including their gym and pool for $40 a semester per person with a $10 fee the first time to create a UNM access card.

277-4347

Johnson Center across from Popejoy on the UNM campus

 

Flavor Fitness

$40 a month instead of $55 with unlimited classes that include BodyPump, Body Step, Zumba and many more.

280-6462

5600 Menaul Blvd. NE

 

Tennis Club of Albuquerque

Offers discounts on membership to CNM students, members have access to tennis courts, a fitness center, and pool during the season. Call for more information on summer discounts.

262-1691

2901 Indian School Road

Entertainment

Popejoy Hall

CNM students can receive a 40 percent discount at the UNM Bookstore ticket office for the following shows:

Sherman Alexie, on March 30, at 3 p.m.

Soweto Gospel Choir on April 4 at 8 p.m.

Yesterday Once More: A Musical Tribute to the Carpenters, on April 5 at 8 p.m.

Taikoza, on April 13 at 3p.m.

The Mystical Arts of Tibet on May 31 at 8 p.m.

popejoypresents.com/tickets/cnm-student-discounts

 

The Guild Cinema

Student tickets are $5 with a valid CNM ID for a variety of independent movies.

255-1848

3405 Central Ave NE

 

The Kimo Theater

Offers student discounts, but discounts vary depending on show and discounts may not be available for all shows, check with the box office.

768-3522

421 Central Ave NW

 

Cliffs Amusement Park

Students, staff, faculty and their families can take 20 percent off ticket prices by purchasing tickets ahead of time at cliffsamusementpark.com/

881-9373

4800 Osuna Road NE

Retailers

Frock Star

Take 10 percent off all non-clearance vintage clothing

266-6979

115 Harvard Dr. SE

 

Artisan Art Supplies

CNM students can take 10 percent off their total purchase with ID.

256-4540

3017 Monte Vista Blvd. NE

Master Touch Automotive
10 percent off all services with student ID.

883-9141

4113 Menaul Blvd. NE

 

Tom Quirk Automotive

$80 per hour instead of the normal $92.50 for labor.

883-0793

3434 Girard NE

Leading the blind; Visually impaired students succeed

By Jonathan Baca, Copy Editor | Photo by Jonathan Baca, and courtesy of Wikimedia.org

Courtesy of wikimedia.org The BrailleNote can translate websites into Braille
Courtesy of wikimedia.org
The BrailleNote can translate websites into Braille
Photo by Jonathan Baca Disability counselor Lucy Birbiglia shows off an audio book player for blind students.
Photo by Jonathan Baca
Disability counselor Lucy Birbiglia shows off an audio book player for blind students.

With a lot of determi­nation, a little help from their friends, and new tech­nologies, blind and visually impaired students are suc­ceeding at getting a college education at CNM.

Blind students have a whole different set of chal­lenges along with all the traditional ones that every college student faces, and although some new devices and technologies have made some things easier, there is no replacement for hard work, said Lucy Birbiglia, counselor for the Disability Resource Center.

“Technology is not a sub­stitute for the student’s work. Students with any disability have to work harder than other students,” Birbiglia said.

Early education major Francine Garcia has been legally blind from birth, and can see some shadows, but no faces or details, she said.

For the obvious chal­lenges to class work like reading and writing, Garcia uses several tools that make it much easier than it once was, she said.

For her textbooks, she uses a device called a Victor Reader Stream, an mp3 player specially designed for the blind, where she keeps all of her textbooks saved as audio books.

At the start of each semester, counselors from the Disability Resource Center help visually impaired students find solutions to their textbooks, whether they are audio files, PDFs that can be read aloud using a program called a screen reader that can read any text on a computer screen out loud, or for students with some lim­ited sight, a magnifier may be all that is needed, Birbiglia said.

Garcia also uses a piece of technology called a BrailleNote, a device that looks like a laptop with no screen, that Garcia can use to type notes and assignments using Braille. The device also has a line of refresh­able Braille, an area filled with tiny metal pieces that can pop up and form words of Braille.

Garcia said that she can read textbooks and assign­ments on her BrailleNote, and can even surf the internet with it, because the refreshable Braille line can translate any text from a website into the bumps and lines of Braille, line by line.

“It’s a really cool tool. It can also read text aloud, and can even translate stuff into Spanish and French. It’s pretty amazing,” Garcia said.

Joseph Diekmeyer, Social Work major, said that he did not go blind until 2003, when he was 23 years old.

Diekmeyer, who is an orphan, said that his glau­coma and the high doses of medications he was made to take caused his eyes to start bleeding heavily one day. He said that at the hospital, doc­tors gave him medication that forced him into a coma, and when he woke up, he was alone in a homeless shelter, com­pletely blind.

Since then, Diekmeyer has had to learn to live again without sight, never losing the determination and zest for living that he always had, he said.

“People look at me and just see the cane, they don’t see the man behind the cane. They let their eyes deceive them, and just assume they know what I can and can’t do,” Diekmeyer said.

Diekmeyer said he is extremely active and self reli­ant, using a cane and a talking smart phone with an advanced GPS application to get around town, and all over campus, on his own.

He began attending classes at CNM seven years ago, back when the accommo­dations for blind students were not nearly what they are today, he said.

“It was extremely diffi­cult because CNM was not set up for blind people as well as they had led me to believe that they were. They boasted about all these things, but when I got here it was not happening at all,” Diekmeyer said.

Diekmeyer said that things have improved a lot, but that there is still a lot of work to do, particularly around the subject of sensitivity training for instructors and staff.

Birbiglia said that there is no mandatory training for instructors on how to deal with the special needs of dis­abled students, although she would like to see some happen.

Each disabled student is given an Accommodations sheet that is created by their counselor, that describes the special needs that the stu­dent will have in class, like having chalkboard notes or PowerPoint presenta­tions read out loud for them, Birbiglia said.

But some instructors do not always do these things happily, and sometimes do not feel the need to do them at all, Diekmeyer said.

He said that he has brought up the problem sev­eral times to deans and admin­istrators, and that he takes it upon himself to personally try to educate people on how they can best interact with him and other blind students.

“I’ve said that I will per­sonally sit down and take the time to instruct people and show them. The school needs sensitivity training for the faculty and staff, and maybe even some of the students,” Diekmeyer said.

He said that he has fallen into open trenches and holes that were not properly blocked off, and that he has failed many classes because of the chal­lenges created by a system that is not fully prepared to deal with blind students.

“They have made prog­ress, but there needs to be a lot more progress. I do the best that I can, I try to be as self reliant as possible, I take it very seriously. I’d like to see the campus and the institution work a little bit more with me,” Diekmeyer said.

He said the main thing he hopes is that instructors and students will take the time to get to know disabled stu­dents, and not just assume that they know what they can and cannot do.

Chronicle Photo Contest Winner and Runners Up

Thanks to everyone who sent in photos for our contest, and to all who voted for their favor­ite one on our Facebook page. Congratulations to our winning photo by Calvin Burgstahler, and the run­ners up, Calvin Burgstahler and Carrie Ratkevich. Keep shooting, shutterbugs!

The 2014 CNM Chronicle photo contest’s winning photo by Calvin Burgstahler, with a total of nine ‘likes’ on The CNM Chroncle Facebook.
The 2014 CNM Chronicle photo contest’s winning photo by Calvin Burgstahler, with a total of nine ‘likes’ on The CNM Chroncle Facebook.
Photo by Calvin Burgstahler Facebook likes : 6
Photo by Calvin Burgstahler
Facebook likes : 6
Photo by Carrie Ratkevich Facebook likes : 5
Photo by Carrie Ratkevich
Facebook likes : 5
Photo by Carrie Ratkevich Facebook likes : 5
Photo by Carrie Ratkevich
Facebook likes : 5

Writer’s Club hosts visiting poet

By Carol Woodland, Staff Reporter

On Thursday March 27 at 7 p.m., CNM’s Writing Club will be presenting writer and poet Tomás Morín in the Smith Brasher Auditorium, which will be free and open to the public.

Writing Club Advisor and English Instructor, Rebecca Aronson said she is excited to host Morín, who is reading his first published book, “A Larger Country,” which is a poetry anthology that was published in 2012.

“He is a really interesting poet; a really engaging nice person, a good presenter” she said.

Aronson said that at the event Morín will talk about his poems and will read either from his book or new work, and there will be a question and answer session afterwards.

To find out more about the event or the Main Campus Writer’s Club, email Rebecca Aronson at raronson@cnm.edu.

S.A.G.E. Instructor, and member of the Main Campus Writing Club, Stephen Romero said he thinks Morín’s poetry has a naturalistic sense, and readers can find a sense of home or personal history in his work.

“It’s clear his poetry has a deep connection to place—this comes through the imagery in his poems, which like a winding road, takes readers on journeys with the speaker, and at the end, it’s exciting to see where he takes us,” Romero said.

There are three chapters of the writing group that meet on Main, West Side and Montoya campuses, Aronson said.

Locations and times of the meetings can be found on the CHSS calendar at the CNM website.

“It’s a group for people who are interested in any kind of creative writing, at any level, to just come and write and get to know other writers and talk about writing,” Aronson said.

The group is open to people who may not con­sider themselves writers too, Romero said.

At the Main Writer’s Club, writers bring something they have recently read to share with the group, such as an article or book excerpt, or poem that the group can discuss, and mem­bers also may bring prompts or writing exercises, Aronson said.

“We’re really a mix of poets and fiction writers, play­wrights and memoirists. We try and make the prompts, so that they could work for any genre, then everybody writes, and people can choose to read what they’ve written or just listen,”Aronson said.

Aronson said that in her opinion any kind of writing practice is helpful and can be a great outlet, and believes that poetry can be a good means to express things that are difficult.

“It’s just a playful, expres­sive, interesting way of com­municating,” she said.

Romero said that members can gain a lot from the experi­ence of being in a writer’s group.

The group is very open to helping others find resources and work on specific skills, he said.

“I’ve been in the writing group for a few years now, and it’s been one of the most wel­coming, relaxed environments I’ve been a part of, and it’s helped me develop my writ­ing skills so much because it’s allowed me to have a set time to actually sit and write and talk and share with others,” Romero said.

Romero said that he thinks the idea of poetry and creative writing has become distorted or roman­ticized as though it is an unattainable or unnecessary skill but the reality is that language is power.

Romero said all language, even body language is poetry, and that creativity is an inher­ent force within a person con­nected to how they view the world around them.

“To anyone who is intimidated by poetry, my honest advice is to try and recognize that it’s not just confusing word vomit that high school English teach­ers make you write five paragraph essays on. It’s a force inside the human spirit— each person just has to have the desire to explore it, in whatever capacity in which they feel comfortable,” Romero said.

For students interested in experiencing great poetry come to life, Tomás Morín’s reading will be Thursday, March 27 at 7 p.m.