Category Archives: The Greenium

Volkswagen Says Shut Up and Take My Money

BY Katarina Piasevoli

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 1.13.13 PMIn September, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found a number of Volkswagen cars with diesel engines being sold in the United States equipped with defeat devices, an emissions cheating software. The software could tell when it is being tested and change the performance accordingly to improve results. The German car manufacturer has since admitted to cheating on emissions tests in the US. The scandal has left many drivers disenchanted with Volkswagen.

The company’s stock dropped 50 percent after the news became public. After cheating on emissions tests and misleading the public about how efficient its clean diesel vehicles were, Volkswagen is now attempting to make amends with its US diesel drivers by giving them free money. On Monday, the company announced it will payout its customers though what they call a “TDI Goodwill Program.” US drivers who own eligible models can collect a $500 prepaid card and another $500 to use at a Volkswagen dealership.

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The CEO of VW US, Michael Horn, explained the program as the first step in regaining their customers’ trust. But what about the nitrous oxide they illegally and purposefully spewed out into American air? The cars emitted more than 40 times the allowable limits. Volkswagen admitted that 11 million vehicles worldwide were equipped with the software. Half a million of these were in the United States. Although the company issued a recall on the affected vehicles and started giving customers free money, they most certainly have not paid for their crimes. It is facing up to $18 billion in fines from the EPA. In addition, many angry drivers have joined in filing dozens of lawsuits against the company. With a mounting financial and public relations nightmare, this is not going to be a mistake from which Volkswagen can quickly recover—and $1,000 alone definitely won’t get the job done.

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The Farmer’s Market in Our Backyard

BY Kevin Marceski

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 1.12.51 PMEvery Thursday morning, Douglass campus is delivered a fantastic bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables sold at dirt cheap (pun intended) prices courtesy of the New Brunswick Community Farmers Market. The NBCFM is a joint partnership between Rutgers, Johnson & Johnson, and the City of New Brunswick that brings fresh, high-quality produce right onto our campus at a fraction of the price you’d see in many of the local grocery stores in town. The market is run almost exclusively out of Pop’s Farm, a local farm located in Monroe Township that has an extraordinary selection of produce from garlic to cabbage, radishes and broccoli, apples of every variety you’ve ever seen (and then some!), and all the leafy greens you could want! Past week’s markets have even featured Benson’s Barbeque, a local favorite, grilling up ribs and chicken to satisfy your inner carnivore. All of these options come at an extreme bargain too, which is always a plus for that college sized hole in your wallet. For less than $8 you can stock up on an entire week’s worth of vegetables that would otherwise cost you twice as much at Bravo. But the greatness that is the NBCFM doesn’t end with us as students. The New Brunswick Community Farmers Market is so much more than just a sweet deal for Cook/Douglass students; their official mission is as follows:

The New Brunswick Community Farmers Market exists in order to provide high-quality food for members of the community who are at risk of hunger and lack of access to healthy foods. By purchasing from our market vendors, you are supporting our mission to provide a place where families can buy fresh, locally-grown fruits, vegetables, and healthy products.

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 1.12.58 PMYou see, New Brunswick is what we would call a food desert—an area, often a city or densely populated area, where dietary options are restricted to few, if any healthy choices. Most of the food available in these areas are processed, fast foods that remain popular out of necessity both geographic and economic.

The few options that tout healthier selections are often far more expensive than their unhealthy counterparts, providing further incentive to remain on a diet of fatty, processed foods. New Brunswick fits this model to a T, where even Chipotle is a contender for one of its healthiest options.

The Farmers Market brings a healthier option to the table at a much lower cost than any of its relative com petitors, and they do it in a way that helps even those most disenfranchised from buying healthier choices make that change. The Market has developed a system in coordination with the SNAP program to help those with tighter budgets include even more fruits and vegetables in their diets. For every $10 spent using SNAP/EBT, WIC, or Senior Farmers Market Checks, customers get an additional $5 to spend on anything in the market. At their already low prices, gaining an additional $5 in produce lets members of the community get the most for their money while moving towards a healthier lifestyle. Having an outlet for people to choose healthier foods at prices that won’t cripple their wallets is an essential service for the city of New Brunswick. Just awarded Best in Class by the American Farmland Trust, the NBCFM is well on its way to becoming that outlet. Support from the students of Rutgers means a more prosperous community for us all and if we can do that while enjoying a crisp apple on a windy day, I’d say it’s worth it.

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Mr. and Mrs. SEBS Pageant

BY Milan Martin

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 1.13.21 PMOn Friday November 6th at 7:30, A group of six foxy females and six manly men graced us with their presence as they competed for Mr. and Mrs. SEBS 2015. Moes also blessed us with awesome catering for the event (more of a reason to go to this event next year). The contestants: Katarina Piasevoli, Francesca Roesli, Ali Zadia, Kevin Marceski, Frank Macquarie, Gaby Talarico, Tom Hoge, Edwin Xue, Chris Mazzacano, Cait-lin Uriarte, Diandra Arthurton, Jaclyn Bird were joined by their lovely hosts Kelly D’Amico and Sam Coakly. Each con-testant dressed to the nines and was asked a series of “chal-lenging” questions including, “what are three uses for a pencil other than writing?”, “what are the contents of your refrigera-tor?”. After the questions, the contestants were made to compete in a series of “minute to win it” games, which were personally, hilarious yet disturbing (try watching 6 guys viciously shake their butts for a minute trying to shake out ping pong balls from a box taped to their butt).

Yeah, I know it’s hard to picture. Anyhow, the women were subjected to do the same and then they also all had to stack Oreos on their foreheads. After these rather intense challenges it was time for the audience to choose the deserving male and female to be crowned Mr. and Mrs. SEBS. After much anticipation it was announced that Diandra Arhturton and Chris Mazzacano had won the coveted title! I personally had a blast watching ev-eryone compete and embarrass themselves a little. Definitely come out next time they do this because you get to see some quality entertainment from your fellow SEBS colleagues.

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DIY Sustainability

BY Kevin Marceski

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 1.13.13 PMTo live sustainably is to carry on your life in a way that ultimately makes it no harder for future generations to achieve an equal or greater stan-dard of living. I frame it this way because in my mind the ultimate goal of sus-tainability is to increase the longevity of the human race for as great a time as possible and in doing so, pave an equitable path for each successive generation. Sustainable living lays the foundation for a society that considers the impacts of its actions and contributes towards a common goal of living in ultimate harmony with the natural world and with each other.

One particularly enlightening tale of sustainability comes from the 66th parallel: the story of Guðrún Arndís Tryggvadóttir, a native resident of the Icelandic countryside who shares my vision of sustainable living for the future and exceeded its scope tenfold. Guðrún, or Gunna as she likes to be called, started with the idea that the schematic for living sustainably should be com-monplace for everyone growing up in today’s world. She’s started a website in Iceland by the title of Nature.is that gives anyone that logs on just that; a sche-matic for sustainable living. The guide comes complete with easy-to-read, family friendly illustrations and examples as a way to easily bridge a gap towards sustainability that most think they need to build a house in a tree to achieve. Her hope is that she will go out of business. She wants her website to become obsolete. Gunna’s mission is fulfilled by citizens of the world inherently knowing these things, by all of her sustainable constructions being common knowledge. Even the Icelandic government realizes that she is doing the work they should have done some time ago and has been actually funding her in increasing amounts for the past six years. Maybe what we need to make living sustainably easier is an instruction manual on how to do it. Maybe the work Gunna is doing will catch on, and living sustainably will become the new normal. Maybe a world where individuals come together for a common good isn’t so farfetched after all.

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