Fall has arrived here at Greendale. We can tell by the changing colors of the leaves, the return of seasonal pumpkin lattes, and the Halloween costumes being sold at the student store. They don't sell notebooks but they sell costumes. Go figure. But most importantly, with fall comes tolerance. Yes, they are in fact related. We embrace diversity at Greendale and we are proud to have students from around the world, and Canada, learning at our fine institution. It is now that we should make an effort to understand their backgrounds in order to make them feel comfortable in celebrating the upcoming holiday.
As many of you know, Halloween, or All Hallows Eve as some call it, is just around the corner. Many will participate in American traditions such as costume buying, excessive candy consumption, and party going. (Note: The staff party is in the gymnasium this year. Stop by to see the hot Stats professor. You will thank me later.) But this is not how all countries celebrate the day.
Halloween is said to have started in Ireland. There, they practice many of the same traditions for the holiday that we do here in the United States, such as trick-or-treating and party going. The Irish have a traditional food called barnbrack that is made or bought for the day. It is a kind of fruitcake and it has treats baked inside. Building large bonfires in rural areas is also a custom, although I don't think that tradition would go over very well here with our raging wildfires. The Irish may have fathered the holiday but other cultures have made their own traditions.
Senor Chang has been gracious enough to introduce us to the Mexican version of our Halloween. The day is known as Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. It is celebrated the first two days of November and is an ancient festivity with Aztec roots. This day is used to honor deceased family members, children, and loved ones. It also encourages families to spend time together. Gravesites are decorated with brightly colored flowers, such as marigolds, and food and drinks are left for the deceased. It is believed that their souls return to their homes on Halloween. Skulls are often used during the celebrations and they have become a symbol for the day as well.
On the other side of the world, in Hong Kong, the holiday is known as "Yue Lan" or Festival of the Hungry Ghosts. They believe that spirits roam the world for 24 hours. It is also a custom to burn pictures of fruit or money in hopes that the images will reach the spirit world and comfort the ghosts.
And we can't forget our Canadians! In Canada they carve pumpkins and trick-or-treat just as we do here in the U.S. They also decorate their houses with pumpkins and corn stalks. Because our traditions are so similar we hope that they will feel right at home here at Greendale for the holiday.
So next time you see an Irish classmate around Halloween maybe start a small bonfire to show them that you understand and appreciate their culture. Or hand a Hispanic person a skull. It can make their day that much better. Maybe burn some money for your Chinese friend while you're at it. And as for the Canadians, they should do just fine. Remember, you can never be too tolerant.
Every school needs a mascot. At Greendale, we have the "Human Being." Yes, you read that correctly... the Human Being. Dean Pelton has been on working on a new mascot for quite some time. While some of us thought the Greendale Grizzly Bears worked well, he felt it was inappropriate considering the typical community college student stereotype. So, here we are with a new and improved mascot -- the Human Being.
Really I just like saying it... the Human Being. With a football team that can barely run or catch balls, I'm not sure what the importance is of having a mascot to attend games that are usually only attended by those required to be on the field. But, I do have that sense of school spirit tucked away from my days at Riverside High. Plus, it appears Riverside High football star Troy Barnes has joined the team here at Greendale which could make things interesting.
The pep rally to introduce the team and the new Human Being was filled with a lot of Greendale Blue and White spirit. I almost brought my own spirit stick from my Riverside High cheerleading days just to give Troy a little extra luck before the big introduction, but figured that might have been a little silly. You think? Yeah, maybe. I wonder if he remembers me? Hmmm.
Regardless, the team is not just about Troy Barnes or his incredible talent from high school, there are others on the team that I'm sure deserve as much attention. I'll learn their names at some point. Until then, go out and support the football team and our new mascot... the Human Being
Honesty and integrity are two of the most important traits to have, not only at Greendale, but in life. For me, these traits are second nature. For others, it takes hard work to overcome the temptation of cheating. In light of recent events here at Greendale, I have taken it upon myself to stress exactly how costly it can be to cheat.
It all starts with a small exception. You may be on a diet, trying to lose weight, and you see a horribly delicious cheeseburger in the cafeteria. You think, "Just once won't hurt," or, "Only this one time." Once you eat that cheeseburger you become a cheater. You have cheated on a promise you made to yourself, and it only escalates from there. Next up, a carton of ice cream and cookies. I speak from experience on this one
As soon as you make that first exception it becomes easier to justify your actions. You may forget that you have an exam in your accounting class. You need a passing grade on the test in order to graduate. You can't let your family and friends down for a fourth year in a row. So you just peek at your neighbor's test to make sure your answers are right. If they don't match, you change yours. No big deal, right? WRONG.
You pass your exam and no one finds out that you cheated so you begin to feel more and more comfortable bending the rules. You slack off at your job and then realize you have an article deadline at eight in the morning. Instead of staying up to write the article you remember that there are easier ways to solve the problem. Just go online and search for an interesting article that you can pass off as your own. Re-type it and turn it in to your editor.
You get wild praises from the newspaper staff as well as the editor, until the original author calls the school and tells them that they had in fact written the article. The editor tells the dean, the dean tells your professors, your professors review all of your exams and papers and it's all over. You get expelled from the school and are never allowed to return to take classes at any of the top universities in the nation. Your record is tarnished forever.
But like I said before, I am fortunate that honesty and integrity comes easy to me, except on occasion when I'm faced with that cheeseburger. I win 90% of time. If you are among those that must resist the temptation to cheat, then I urge you to use all the will you have to do so. It is not worth it, so I've heard.
So go forth in this world, especially here at Greendale, and be the most honest and ethical person you can be from this day forward. I know I have.
Editor's Note: All articles by this staff writer are currently under review.