All posts by Charly Himmel

The Future of the SUBO

brooklyn college suboBy Charly Himmel

There are not very many places on campus that Brooklyn College students might affiliate with total autonomy besides the Student Center. Over the last fifty years, the Student Union Building Organization affectionately known as SUBO has provided shelter from text anxiety, a place where students can relax, have a bite to eat, a cup of coffee, play video games, hear keynote speakers or meet with like-minded club members.

“Because we own the building,” CLAS President David Rosenberg explained, “we’ve been able to control the space and make sure that it really is a space where we can go relax and not think about school.”

But with upcoming plans to transfer ownership of the building, Rosenberg fears that autonomy might change.

SUBO was built in the 1960’s, and has operated under an independent, not for profit corporate entity called the Brooklyn College Student Services Corporation (BCSSC) since.

The board is comprised of fourteen members, eight administrators including one ex-officio member, and six student government representatives. The seven administrators include President Karen Gould, Assistant Vice President/Comptroller Alan Gilbert, Assistant Dean Vanessa Green, Associate Provost for Academic Programs Sharona Levy, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Joseph Giovannelli and others. Student government board members include the CLAS, SGS and GSO presidents.

“It’s not as if it’s a totally independent corporation,” said SVP Giovannelli. “It has certain overlaps with the college.”

This board is responsible for administering student activities, and collecting student fees, including student activity fees and revenue from outside rentals.

“That’s not a very typical model,” said Giovannelli. “The problem with that model is if you’re going to have a corporation that owns an important asset like a building, it has to invest in that building over time or it will fall down.”

Herein lies the problem. Over time, SUBO has begun to deteriorate. The cost of maintenance includes major expenses, such as outdated elevators, electrical and heating issues.

“The situation got very bad last year where the building’s insurance company said, unless you make certain fixes, behind the scenes stuff, this was in the heating system and the electrical system, we won’t write insurance for you and we wouldn’t be able to operate the building in that case,” said Giovannelli.

At the risk of losing the building’s insurance policy, BCSSC has proposed to transfer ownership of SUBO to the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York. According to Giovannelli, all other Brooklyn College facilities under DASNY’s ownership are entitled to capital moneys from the state. These funds would allow SUBO to continue operating up to code.

“The issue is not day-to-day maintenance,” said Giovannelli. “The issue is, where do you get five million or six million dollars from to redo the electric and the plumbing systems?”

For Rosenberg, transfer of ownership is not the issue.

“I have no problem with the dormitory authority taking ownership of the building provided that students still maintain control of it,” said Rosenberg. “It was always owned by the corporation, but the corporation is controlled by students in that we control the votes… To do anything on the board, a majority vote is not good enough. You need a two thirds vote, and so you do need some students to be on board in order for anything to go through.”

He cited BC’s plans to hire twenty new faculty and seven to ten advisors over the next few years. And with future plans to demolish Roosevelt and packed offices in Boylan, Rosenberg fears a restructuring of SUBO that would change the face of it altogether.

“What we’re scared of is that if the administration takes full ownership of the building, that students will no longer control how the building is used…I think that someone might come down the road and use the student center for office space,’ Rosenberg said. “So what we’re asking for before this transfer goes through is a guarantee from the administration in terms of putting it in the language of the resolution, that even if the ownership of the building changes, use of the building still must go through the students.”

But Giovannelli assures there is no cause for concern.

“Right now, the only issue is this question of ownership,” said Giovannelli. “SUBO maintains the building now, SUBO takes the student fees, has a three or four person staff who maintain the building, that would all continue unless the committee wanted to change any of that. But our feeling is, that’s not really a problem. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

The future of SUBO remains uncertain. Future BCSSC board meetings to discuss transfer of ownership have been scheduled for later this May. But Rosenberg has his trepidations.

“No one’s been willing to say they want to give us the language. We’ve been told, ‘no, students already control the space we’d never do that,’ but no one has been willing to say, ‘fine, we’ll put it in the resolution,’” he said. “And that’s what we’re looking for, a written guarantee, in the bylaws, that even if students no longer own the building, students are still the ones that control how the building is used.”

 

Wool Over Eyes and the Animus

LOGO

By James Burdick

 

“O divine poesy, goddess-daughter of Zeus, sustain for me the song of the various minded man…”

 

This passage from T.E. Lawrence’s translation of Homer’s “Odyssey” entitled “Invocation of the Muse” was the first thing the crowd heard at the Wool Over Eyes show. The Brooklyn-based rock band performed a dynamic and powerful set to a packed room last Saturday at 5th Estate Bar in Park Slope.

 

Playing a blend of technical grunge and heavy metal, Wool Over Eyes, features Bowen Salkin on guitar, Antonio Hernandez on drums, Max Devlin on bass, and Brooklyn College anthropology undergrad Jared Butler on vocals.

 

Butler is a recent addition to the band, replacing Bowen Salkin who formerly manned both vocals and guitar.

 

The band played the show in preparation for their new self-released EP, “Animus,” which will be their first recording with Jared as their frontman.

 

Because of their technical ability and the cerebral nature of their lyrics and melodies, many fans and critics have likened Wool Over Eyes’ style to iconic bands such as Tool, The Mars Volta, and King Crimson.

 

Wool Over Eyes’ concise and well-placed stops, epic melodies, and expert musicality from all members of the band make for a poetically charged performance.

 

Opening for Wool Over Eyes, were Autocatalytica, and Proxima Control. Both opening bands performed impressive and lively sets, but Wool Over Eyes energetically commanded a majority of the fans at the venue.

 

“They’re easy to get into,” said John Polimeni, guitarist of Proxima Control. “They’re a lot of fun with intuitive rhythms and progressive melodies.”

 

After Butler’s “Incantation of the Muse,” the band started out with one of their most popular songs, “Big Stick.”

 

Older versions of the song are available on Bandcamp and YouTube, and while the original is still a fantastic recording, the addition of Jared as the lead singer lends a lively and engaging aspect the song lacked before.

 

Afterward, the band followed up their classic song primarily with new tracks from their upcoming album. The new songs proved to be a technical step up from those on their 2011 release, “The Come Along EP,” but retained much of the same raw energy.

 

Most fans dislike when their favorite band plays new songs in lieu the familiar ones from their most cherished albums. The familiarity of a song is especially important for metal bands where the crowd is typically screaming lyrics back at the stage and moshing in time to guitar solos and breakdowns. However, this was not the case at Wool Over Eyes show. While many of the songs that they performed were from the new album, the crowd was still charged and passionate in response to every single song. Some fans even held a higher opinion for the band’s new body of work.

 

“They’ve definitely stepped up,” said Wool Over Eyes fan Gabe Ramirez. “If you like tight music you should check this band out, no one fucks up.”

 

After the show, Butler and his bandmates explained how they began to play music together, and a how their new EP came to fruition.

 

“Me and Max have been friends since fourth grade, and my old band Big Gunz played with Wool Over Eyes a lot, and to be honest, I always kind of wanted to play in Wool Over Eyes,” said Butler.

 

“Basically, what it boils down to is that we need to do what is in the best interest of the band, and Jared singing was in the best interest of the band, so we made it happen,” added Selkin.

 

As they were already familiar with Jared as a performer, the band felt it would be a huge help to instate a singer, allowing Selkin to focus on solely on his guitar.

 

“When Jared’s singing, it provides us the flexibility of either Jared and I co-writing melodies or me writing melodies separate for my guitar,” said Selkin. “It gives Jared the ability and the freedom to do as he pleases with the melody, while still providing that we work on the ‘front’ concept together and it is all gravy.”

 

“I would say it is heavier and more melodic,” said Hernandez. “Now that we added Jared, as far as the quality of our songs, we’re able to do a lot more technical stuff, and Jared is able to sing more technical melodies.”

 

Compared to the the band’s previous shows, Butler has brought a new liveliness, allowing the band to play even better than before.

 

“Animus” boasts exciting tracks for fans both old and new, including Butler’s first songwriting contribution to the band, “Gymnast,” which the band predicts will be the centerpiece of the album.

 

Set to release sometime this summer, “Animus” will be available for digital download online and for sale at the band’s future shows. For future show listings and more information, follow Wool Over Eyes on Facebook, Twitter and Bandcamp.

Stephanie Caravello Does First Base First Class

By Nicholas Lopez

Photo: BC Sports
Photo: BC Sports

First baseman Stephanie Caravello never chose to be number six, but from the St. Columba softball league to Brooklyn College softball to BC swimming and diving, it stuck. Caravello feels lucky, but balancing athletics and a 3.98 GPA can be challenging.

“I mean even though I’m doing well, it’s still challenging,” said Caravello. “Honestly, everyone is really proud that I have a great GPA, but I work hard for it and it’s hard to find the balance of doing well in sports and making sure I still keep up my grades,” she said.

Playing first base is not as easy as it seems. Sometimes, Caravello wishes she could play other positions.

“There is pressure that comes with it because it’s first base. It’s usually where the most action happens,” said Caravello. “Sometimes, I wish I could be right-handed so I could play other positions because I think third base or shortstop is pretty awesome too, so it sucks that I can’t play them because I’m left-handed. I bat right-handed but I throw left-handed.”

As she grew up, having an older brother that played baseball made her want to play. Her parents also encouraged her. In second grade, one of her friends wanted to take swimming lessons. She decided to try it too. Afterwards, she fell in love with swimming. Caravello got into basketball in middle school, but never played sports competitively. At Leon M. Goldstein High School, she was a four-year member of the girl’s varsity basketball and swimming teams and a two-year member of the girl’s varsity soccer team. She wanted to swim from the get-go, and while she didn’t necessarily master basketball and soccer, she credits her coaches for her improvement.

“I made a ton of friends and it made being on the teams that much better, and I loved Goldstein,” said Caravello. “I learned a lot and made lots of friends.”

When the time came for college, she knew she wanted to stay close to home.

“I didn’t really want to go away and have a bunch of loans. [Brooklyn] was on top of my list, but then I got a presidential scholarship, so that pretty much just sealed the deal,” said Caravello. “Goldstein was a pretty small school and like, everybody knows each other and then coming to Brooklyn College where you’re like, one in a very large sea of people,” said Caravello.

Caravello joined the 2010-2011 swimming and diving team and was named a CUNYAC All-Star as a member of 400-Yard Freestyle Relay team. In 2011, she joined the softball team.

“I never played softball on a team for school,” said Caravello. “I was intimidated because I knew that there were girls on the team that played all year around and I only played the two months out of the year, so I thought I had a lot of catching up to do.”

In a season where she was named CUNYAC/HSS Scholar Athlete of the Month in April, she settled in fine. She started all 31 games played in and batted .360 (32-for-89) with 24 runs scored, 20 RBIs, six doubles, four triples, a home run and was also tied for the team lead in hits and total bases. Last season in softball, Caravello started in 37 games and batted 272. (31-114) to go with 30 RBIs and 25 runs scored. She also hit 10 doubles and posted a .386 slugging percentage and .346 on base percentage. The year didn’t end according to plan, but it didn’t take away from the excitement.

“Last year, we were really hoping to maybe win championships, but we didn’t win, but we made it furthest than we’d ever gone,” said Caravello. “It was a team-best, so that was a really good highlight.”

In the current softball season, Caravello has gone 26-for-73 and has a .356 average in the first 25 games. She was awarded CUNYAC/HSS Scholar Athlete of the Month again in March. That month, she helped lead the Bulldogs to an 11-4 record, which included a 4-0 CUNYAC mark. She hit safely in 11 of the 15 games she started and posted a .375 average (18-for-48), 464 OBP, a .500 slugging percentage and also scored 15 runs, 8 RBIs and 6 doubles.

“We have a lot of talent this year so I think everyone’s contributions will help to make us that much better. We faltered actually playing against some of our toughest competition, Baruch and College of Staten Island, but the girls are really determined to come out even harder for championships, because we have a really good chance of winning this year and we want to do all we can to possibly make it happen,” said Caravello.

In swimming and diving this year, Caravello came in fourth place in the Women’s 200-Yard Backstroke with a time of 2:46.03 at the CUNYAC Championships, which helped BC come in fourth place in the CUNY Women’s Team Rankings. After BC, she’ll probably apply to either grad school or med school to do either physical therapy or athletic training, as those are her two main options right now.

“Any time we win is awesome,” said Caravello. “Just being able to celebrate with my team and having fun with the friends that I made from the team, that’s what makes it all worth being on the team and playing and feeling like you’re a part of something,”

Caravello feels being honored with all of the great rewards has been her most defining moment as an athlete.

“I didn’t expect them and I’m just really honored to get them,” said Caravello. “It’s nice to be recognized for my hard work. There are definitely so many other great scholar athletes, but it’s an honor to be picked.”

 

Mens Tennis Victorious in Season Finale

Photo: BC Sports
Photo: BC Sports

The Brooklyn College Mens Tennis team concluded their season hopefully, indicating that there was some light at the end of the their long, dark tunnel. Last Monday afternoon, the team broke the 12-game losing streak that they carried all season by defeating the Bears of St. Joseph’s College with a score of 9-0.

Brooklyn finished its regular season with a 1-12 mark while St. Joe’s finished off their season winless at 0-6.

The Bulldogs earned the win by jumping out to an early 3-0 advantage courtesy of doubles play sweeps. BC freshman Davis Zabiyaka and BC sophomore Marvin Gill took the win in #1 doubles by an 8-3 score. Following  them was the dynamic duo of Deshi Wu and Andrew Au as they were victorious with an 8-4 score in #2 doubles. BC freshman Tashfeen Afzal and graduating senior Anthony Sideris came in #3 doubles to complete the doubles sweep with an 8-1 outcome.

The solid play for BC persisted into single action as Wu (6-0, 6-0), Afzal (6-3, 6-0), Sideris (6-1, 6-4) Gill (6-3, 6-1), Guan (6-1, 6-0) and Au (6-2, 6-0) all took home solo wins to complete the 9-0 sweep of the Bears.

The Bulldogs have now turned their focus towards the CUNYAC championships as they will face Baruch College as the #8 seed. The game will be played on Friday, April 26.

BC Softball falls to Briarcliffe as Seniors are honored

By Kevin Anglade

Photo: BC Sports
Photo: BC Sports

In the final home game of the regular season, the Brooklyn College Softball team dropped their double-header to visiting Briarcliffe College, 3-0, 11-2. BC center-fielder Kim Konklewski, as well as second base Norah Marley were honored due to their status as graduating seniors.

Briarcliffe improved to 28-6 overall while Brooklyn finished the regular season with a 21-14 overall record, and will open up the CUNYAC Tournament as the #3 seed against Lehman College in the quarterfinals on May 1st.

The first game began with a pitchers’ slugfest as Briarcliffe’s Jillian McGovern and BC’s Kayla Hill turned in stellar performances. As great as the two were, McGovern was just a bit better, shutting out Brooklyn over seven innings to pick up a 3-0 victory for her squad.

Hill, on the other side, struck out three while only giving up two earned runs in seven innings.

The second game saw Brooklyn’s bats earn an early 1-0 lead. But on the opposite side, Briarcliffe’s bats started to heat up as the visiting team poured in 11 runs to claim a six-inning and an 11-2 win.

A turning point was apparent when pitcher Maria Oneto gave up four runs and BC committed three errors all within the same inning. BC junior Amanda Bisz had two knocks in game one while junior Stephanie Caravello and Konklewski had two hits each in game two.

The winner of the BC-Lehman matchup will advance to the double elimination round to be held at College of Staten Island on May 3rd and 4th.