Tag Archives: Arianna Takis

The Future of Women’s Health

A day after the inauguration of Donald Trump, millions of women marched through the streets of Washington D.C. and all around the world in support of women’s rights, and to protect women’s health.

“I personally believe that with our current Administration, I do think that women’s health issues and rights are just under attack at this very moment,” Planned Parenthood intern and CSUN student Mihaela Vincze said. “I can’t really define what the most pressing issue is besides the issue of abortion.”

In his first 100 days, President Trump has signed a bill allowing states to withhold family planning funds from Planned Parenthood. He reinstated the so-called global gag rule prohibiting U.S. funds from going towards nongovernmental organizations that assist women on family planning, including abortion. And Trump has defunded the United Nations Population Fund, an international humanitarian aid organization that helps prevent maternal deaths, unsafe abortions and reproductive health care.

“[Abortion] is our right. It is our constitutional right, and people don’t understand that you are taking our rights away,” Vincze said. “Abortions are going to happen, whether they’re legal or not, and if you care about the life of the woman, you would take that into consideration.”

Still, almost 40 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be illegal, because they believe that life begins at conception, and that women should take into consideration the life they are taking away and choose other options, such as adoption. Many Americans hold groups like Planned Parenthood responsible for what they consider to be the ease of getting an abortion in this country, and they do not want tax dollars going to support Planned Parenthood.

But Planned Parenthood’s 2013-2014 Annual Report reported that only three percent of its services covered abortions. The other 97 percent went for STI/STD testing and treatment, contraception, cancer screening and prevention, and other women’s health services.

“[Planned Parenthood] provides options like counseling as well,” Registered Nurse Practitioner Shirley Navarro said. “So it’s not like, ‘Oh, you’re here at Planned Parenthood? Awesome, sign up for your abortion right now.’ That’s something that would be nice to clarify.”

“A lot of especially low-income women will use Planned Parenthood as their primary health provider,” Vincze said.

“According to CDC guidelines for women between the ages of 21 and 25, they recommend STI/STD screening at least once a year,” Navarro said. “And if you have higher risk, in terms of having multiple partners or not using really good contraception, [that should be] maybe every six months or so.”

The Klotz Student Health Center provides CSUN students with health services such as pap smears, pelvic exams, STD testing, referrals for mammograms, Family PACT services and reproductive health services.

For many women, Planned Parenthood remains an important health resource.

“Before I knew about the Klotz Center, I went to Planned Parenthood,” Vincze said, “because I didn’t have that relationship with my parents where I could be open with them about my reproductive health. So I used this organization to learn and take care of myself, and it was an invaluable resource for a young person. I don’t know where I would be today if it wasn’t for this organization.”

Moderator: Lexi Wilson

Producers: Arianna Takis and Lexi Wilson

Anchor: Arianna Takis

Social Media Editors: Jose Duran, Adam Hajost, Luzita Pineda and Rosa Rodriguez

Reporters: Jose Duran, Adam Hajost, Luzita Pineda, Rosa Rodriguez, Arianna Takis and Lexi Wilson

Comments Off on The Future of Women’s Health

Simply Vegan

When people choose to be vegan, they say no to eating and using animal products.

This ranges from not eating meat, to not using skin care products tested on animals.

Vegans avoid any form of exploitation to animals.

“Being very connected to animals, and living with them, and knowing them on a personal level, it really motivated my veganism,” said CSUN Central American Studies professor, and vegan activist Dr. Linda Alvarez.

For many, veganism represents a larger ethical approach.

“Try to suck less in life,” vegan blogger Al Borja said. “Meaning, whatever it is that you are doing, you can be more conscious and aware of what it is you are consuming: animals being one [thing], the products that come from animals are another…[Veganism] is a holistic approach, an awareness of what’s really happening in your lives. Veganism is really just a label, to get people familiar with what [the larger ethical issues are]…”

Other vegans believe veganism is healthier. They say one of the benefits of a meatless diet is increased energy, but vegans say it is also important to be educated when going vegan. A well-planned vegan diet can provide enough protein, iron, calcium, and other key essentials, and this can benefit your health by reducing obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

“Being vegan is probably the [most nutritious] way to go. But there are so many different levels of that and so many different layers, that it really is a personal choice,” said CSUN’s Klotz Student Health Center dietitian Ellen Bauersfeld. “Diet quality is important, whether you are eating animal products or not, and as a vegan you still have to make good choices.”

“I had really high cholesterol; I was over 200 in cholesterol, and my grandfather was going through pancreatic cancer,” Borja said. “That lead to research, and that was really important, trying to figure out if it really was for me, if it was something I could do. The most important thing for me was doing the research and making sure it fit with who I am and what I want to become. It’s a journey.”

Still misconceptions about protein deficiency in a vegan diet persist.

“You have to be educated, and you have to look at eating and an overall balanced diet,” Bauersfeld said. “But if you are smart about it, it would be very unlikely that you would have a protein deficiency.”

Many experts believe that being a vegan is also good for the environment, although the arguments are complicated and controversial. Avoiding animal products will likely help lower a person’s carbon footprint, while eating in fast food chains can be environmentally harmful, as well as unhealthy.

“You don’t have to be in prison to be on death row,” Borja said, about fast food restaurants lined up on streets of the San Fernando Valley and other communities.

Alvarez suggested getting involved in organizations that help promote animal rights and going vegan or vegetarian.

“We need to have animal advocates out there, discussing the issues that affect animals,” she said, “because there are so many ways that we continue to further oppress animals. Even in our daily talk, someone can say ‘he treated me like a dog’. What does that mean? When we refer to animals, [it’s] something always negative.”

For those looking for healthier diets that are less damaging to the environment and animals, there are many different choices, including veganism and vegetarianism. Many nutritionists advocate pescetarianism, a mostly plant-based diet that includes fish; and flexitarianism, a plant-based diet that includes occasional meat and dairy products.

“Everything is on a continuum,” Bauersfeld said. “And that’s the beauty of this: you get to pick and choose, if you want to make those changes.”

Moderator: Luzita Pineda

Producer: Jose Duran

Anchor: Rosa Rodriguez

Social Media Editors: Adam Hajost, Arianna Takis and Lexi Wilson

Reporters: Jose Duran, Adam Hajost, Luzita Pineda, Rosa Rodriguez, Arianna Takis and Lexi Wilson

Comments Off on Simply Vegan

Breaking Barriers: The Undocumented Experience

Undocumented immigrants have long caused controversy in this country, but now not only do they face the struggle to assimilate, they must also face the fear of being deported under the Trump administration. 

“[His policy] is going to affect families in big ways, especially undocumented minors who could potentially have a parent who is deported, or if there are mixed status families, such as the child was born here in the U.S., and the parents were not,” CSUN Chicano/Chicana Studies professor Melissa Galvan said. “This could break up families in very important, intangible ways, and it’s quite sad.” 

The United States-Mexico border remains the most active border checkpoint in the world. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the Obama administration deported 2.5 million people, the most in U.S. history. President Trump has proposed deporting all undocumented immigrants in this country, an estimated 11 million people. There were over 75,000 arrests of family units at the Southwest border last year. Immigrants who have been separated from family members by the border often don’t have much interaction with their loved ones. Friendship Park, on the border between San Diego and Tijuana, allows people to interact, but with limited time and touch. The Tijuana side of the park is open all day, but the San Diego side is open only on Saturday and Sunday from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M.

Among those stopped at the border last year were 60,000 unaccompanied minors. Undocumented unaccompanied minors are children who travel to this country without parents or legal guardians. These minors come not only from Mexico, but also from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. They are fleeing from gang recruitment, violence, poverty and prostitution. If they do make it into the U-S, they face problems of assimilation like any immigrant, and most have language barriers that leave them vulnerable. They are fearful due to their disadvantages and their uncertainty about the future. Their fear can keep them from getting legal help. One resource for them in Los Angeles is Casa Libre.

“We provide any source you can imagine,” Casa Libre director Federico Bustamante said. “Not [always] directly, but we have referral sources and partnerships in place to provide any service that you want. It is residential, mental health, legal services, anything you can possibly imagine, but what we really provide, and what really has the most individual impact on these young men, is a surrogate family. These kids have come from some cases of extreme abandonment, abuse, neglect, no consistency in their lives. The root problem is that lack of consistency and unconditional support. Casa Libre becomes that.  Through everything we do, whether providing legal services or educational services, we are providing a surrogate family.”

Casa Libre provides housing and services for children and families who are homeless. This may include storing belongings until a new home is found. Casa Libre also provides life skills that can be used anywhere.  The children are taught how to cook, do laundry, and prepare for careers.  

“Ultimately [we] really allow these kids to become kids again,” Bustamante said. “They are coming from undeclared war zones, wearing little suits of armor. When they get here and become part of the surrogate family, they are able to enjoy that last part of childhood, and benefit from all of the other services that we have at our disposal.” 

Some undocumented immigrants and unaccompanied minors have been able to get permission to stay in this country to study under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. But its future is also uncertain under the Trump administration.

“One of the biggest things that I have noticed that is a concern, is having to graduate and not have certainty in what the future is going to hold for us, and for myself,” CSUN student Maria Aispuro said. “I am a DACA recipient, and I don’t know if that will be taken away, and I’m not sure if I will have a job, and my family is at risk of deportation.”

Bustamante says, across the country, there isn’t enough support to help all the children who need it.

“I hope there will be more allies of undocumented immigrants in the future,” Public Counsel social worker Jose Ortiz said. “People come here for a reason. They don’t come here because they want to be here. They need something that we have.”

Moderator: Jose Duran

Producer: Luzita Pineda

Anchor: Lexi Wilson

Social Media Editors: Adam Hajost and Arianna Takis

Reporters: Jose Duran, Adam Hajost, Luzita Pineda, Rosa Rodriguez, Arianna Takis and Lexi Wilson

Comments Off on Breaking Barriers: The Undocumented Experience

CSUN Leads the Scene to Keep It Green

While many consider climate change to be the most important issue of our time, not everyone agrees. Although former President Obama took an active role on the international scene to attempt to curb climate change when he signed last year’s Paris Agreement, President Trump’s actions during his first 40 days in office may signal a shift in U.S. policy, both domestically and abroad. And, according to a Gallup poll taken during last year’s elections, climate change failed to rank as a top issue among Democrat and Republican-leaning voters.

Despite this, California has implemented its own plan to combat climate change. The Associated Students at California State University, Northridge have as well. A new campus Sustainability Center is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in May 2017. With the opening of the center, CSUN could be considered a leader in sustainability efforts.

“It’s going to be the most innovative building on our campus, as well as in the CSU at this point,” said CSUN Director of Sustainability and Energy Austin Eriksson. “It’ll be the first building with composting toilets. It has the first grey water system on campus, so water that’s used in sinks will be used outside of the building for irrigation.”

The center will house CSUN’s Institute for Sustainability. Here, students will be able to find studies on sustainability, informational flyers, and even volunteer opportunities. The A.S. Recycling Center will also be located at the new Sustainability Center.

“It was recognized that there’s a lot of different groups on campus, and we all have the same goals to promote sustainability on campus and educate our students,” said Darien Siguenza,  Chair of the Associated Students Committee on Sustainability. “I think it’s going to be really awesome to have everyone under the same roof; and just to be able to have that collaboration and that same space, I think is going to be very beneficial for the future.”

With the new Sustainability Center, Associated Students and CSUN’s Institute for Sustainability hope to expand upon their current educational efforts and resources. However, while they recognize the importance of their recycling programs on campus, and acknowledge they can be improved with better signage, they want others to know this is only a small part of what should be done. They say other things like waste prevention and energy efficiency are more important. The manner in which the Sustainability Center will be powered reflects this belief. Since it will generate all of the energy it will use, it will be a net-zero energy building.

The campus community as a whole has welcomed and supported sustainability efforts at CSUN. Professor Loraine Lundquist, a physics and mathematics lecturer at the CSUN Institute for Sustainability, said this support is in stark contrast to the lack of support among the nation’s current political leaders.

“Over 12,000 papers have been published on the topic, and 97 percent of those papers agree with the consensus that first of all, our globe is getting warmer, and second of all, that we are the ones causing it,” she said. “But that is not the perception in the country right now, and that really does change our politics. There’s a lot of politicians that themselves have that skepticism, and it’s made it very hard to implement solutions, because a lot of the most important solutions are policy solutions.”

Moderator: Rosa Rodriguez

Producer: Arianna Takis

Anchor: Adam Hajost

Social Media Editors: Luzita Pineda and Lexi Wilson

Reporters: Jose Duran, Adam Hajost, Luzita Pineda, Rosa Rodriguez, Arianna Takis and Lexi Wilson

Comments Off on CSUN Leads the Scene to Keep It Green