Tag Archives: Evan Mederos

Occupy Your Fridge

The number of farmers markets around the United States has grown in the past few years. CSUN has jumped on board with this new phenomenon, and has extended its contract to continue the weekly farmers market on campus for another year.

“The farmers market here on campus has been so successful with students that I’ve talked to,” Klotz Student Health Center registered dietitian Ellen Bauerfeld said. “They are running over there each Tuesday, and I would say about 90 percent of the students I see shop at the farmers market.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that 8,268 farmers markets were operating in the United States in 2014, up 180 percent since 2006.

“There are … farmers markets all over the United States,” said Marvin Halaby, owner of Upper Loveland Farms. “It’s popular everywhere, and  it’s not going to stop.”

Certain factors have contributed to the growing number of farmers markets in the United States. One is the desire to find a sense of community.

“Nobody wants to go to a store anymore and buy a wax apple,” Halaby said. “They want to be in a farmers market environment with their families on a nice day.”

“What you’re looking at is the return of the ‘agri-culture’, the culture that was wrapped up in this [kind of community], that we left in World War II,” L.A Kitchen founder and president Robert Egger said. “An army, for the first time in the world, came home and didn’t go back to the farm. Their grandchildren are now trying to turn the ship around, and find their way back. It’s a really amazing time.”

Another factor is the desire to support local farmers and businesses.

Sales at farmers markets were slightly over $1 billion annually, according to the USDA National Farmer Market Managers Survey.

“For a lot of consumers, local is what they’re looking for,” Egger said. ”This ties into supporting the local economy and supporting the local farmers.”

Many people have become more conscious of what they eat, but experts say it might not be so easy for everyone to start to eating organic produce.

“As a whole, most people don’t want to change their eating habits,” Bauerfield said. “It takes work and it takes commitment.”

“Salt and sugar is crack,” Egger said, “and we’ve  been literally addicted…I defy you to put those Doritos chips away at eleven o’clock at night. That’s by design; there is an addictive quality. We kind of act like it’s a personal choice, [but] it’s harder than hard; these are like cigarettes and we’ve been raised to eat this way.”

Halaby said farmers markets make healthy food affordable for people from all economic backgrounds. Many vendors accept Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, allowing eligible recipients to use benefits to buy produce.

“It makes it easier for people to come out and use their EBT cards,” he said. “They are able to buy good fruit and vegetables for their families….We try to educate a lot of our customers, and keep them educated, so they can pass [information about nutrition] off to their young ones.”

Bauerfeld said farmers markets have been making a positive impact, especially among younger people, and are here to stay.

“I don’t think it’s a fad,” she said. “I do think it’s a trend, and I think it’s just the beginning of the local food movement. I do see that this population, our students’ population, is craving something different. They’re looking for something different besides fast food, and they are looking for more than just a drive through.”

“More and more, you’re seeing young men and women coming onto campus with a greater palate and a greater expectation of what they want to eat,” Egger said. “Don’t occupy Wall Street; occupy your refrigerator.”



Moderator: AJ Romero

Producer: Rosanna Siracusa

Anchor: Evan Mederos

Reporters: Cyndy Alvarado and Sharon Shin

Social Media Editors: Precious Allen and Kelly Hernandez

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Fear of the Unknown: Is Unconditional Love Really Unconditional?

“’Coming out’ is often characterized as an invariant, universal progression from initial unawareness and confusion to eventual identity, pride and synthesis,” according to the LGBT Casebook.

Teens who identify as lesbian, gay or bi-sexual are four times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers according to a 2011 survey done by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“One of the factors to consider is the level of rejection that one may face from their family, faith, etc,” said CSUN Professor of Social Work, Mark Abelson.

With coming out of the closet being such a traumatic experience for many, it can cause people to stay in their comfort zone and avoid revealing who they really are.

“When I came out at sixteen as transgender, I was in foster care,” Lifeworks Mentoring Coordinator Nia Clark said. “When I told my adoptive mother that I wanted to live full time as a woman, I was taken to court and she rescinded guardianship of me.”

With pop-culture somewhat desensitizing kids, it could, in a way, make things more difficult for those who really are going through a struggle to come out.

“Young people don’t know what they are saying,” said CSUN Pride Center Coordinator Sarina Loeb. “Seeing things like that in music and pop-culture I think also it has influence.”

“When you are not facing a certain type of oppression it’s easier for you to overlook when you are oppressing someone else,” Clark said. “So when you hear things like ‘that’s so gay’ think of the subtext of that. That ‘that’s so gay’ are you equating that word with stupid, unintelligent, boring and if you were in front of someone who was gay would you really describe them as stupid or boring or unintelligent or dumb.”

With religion playing a great role in any people’s lives and religious institutions having such anti-LGBT tendencies, it can be something difficult to overcome.

“I don’t normally try to change someone’s belief, but everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect,” Loeb said.

For those who are coming out, however, resources are available to help. Lifeworks, at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, offers many mentoring programs to help those in the LGBT community throughout the Los Angeles area. Experts say people considering whether or not to come out need to evaluate their whole situation before coming out.

“What will your reaction be at home? Will your parents be supportive or not? And ask ‘what if they are not supportive?’ What could happen to you?” Abelson said.

“You have the inalienable right to be yourself,” Clark said, “and in that you have a responsibility to yourself to accept you wherever you are at, and that’s all that’s important. Everyone else, that’s a lot of noise.”


Moderator: Rosanna Siracusa

Producer: AJ Romero

Anchor: Kelly Hernandez

Reporters: Cyndy Alvarado, Evan Mederos and Sharon Shin

Social Media Editor: Precious Allen

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Freshman 15? More Like the College $30,000

Carrying the weight of thousands of dollars in student loan debt is the new trend these days.

Increasing college and university tuition rates are resulting in higher debt costs for students who have to take out loans. The Experian Credit Bureau news blog reported that 40 million Americans now have one or more outstanding student loans, with balances increasing each year.

The Economist reported that student loan debt has increased to a record breaking $1.2 trillion, up 84 percent since the recession.

“I think that there just has been such a disconnect between the colleges and the loan systems,” Certified Financial Planner Shannah Game said. “The loan systems are run by the federal government, and there is just quite a disconnect between the price increases of colleges, and the student loan system trying to keep up with that.”

The federal government has changed laws on who can borrow and how much. According to Game, colleges and the government are not working together, causing this to be a much bigger problem than needed.

President Obama has signed an executive order called The Student Aid Bill of Rights, highlighting four main ways for getting students access to a better college experience, without the stress of hefty loan debt.

One of them is having enough information to choose an affordable loan repayment plan.

“When students are ready to pay back these loans, let them know what their options are; don’t just say you got to pay and that’s it,” CSUN Financial Aid Counselor Gregorio Alcantar said. “Let them know that, for example, there’s more than ten repayment plans available, so you can guarantee that you will make your payments.”

Entry-level job salaries are not always enough to compensate for the high monthly payments for each loan, and some students will still be unemployed by the time the first payment is due, making it difficult to pay the loans back.

The biggest question is, are students getting the education they pay for? or borrow for, as the case may be?

According to Pierce College Economics professor Dr. Pamela Brown, Americans are living longer and going to school longer. Students should consider college as a first step towards a career and choose their majors wisely, so that they will be making enough money to pay back their student loans as quickly as possible.

“If you pick Irish macramé of the 1820s as your master’s degree, it’s not going to be as affordable to pay back that loan, ” Brown said. “As I tell all my students, if you’re unemployed after college, it may not be the economy that’s the problem, it might be your major.”


Moderator: Cyndy Alvarado

Producer: Evan Mederos

Anchor: AJ Romero

Reporters: Precious Allen, Sharon Shin and Rosanna Siracusa

Social Media Editors: Kelly Hernandez


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Moderator: Sharon Shin

Producer: Rosanna Siracusa

Anchor: Rosanna Siracusa

Reporters: Precious Allen, Kelly Hernandez, Evan Mederos and AJ Romero

Social Media Editor: Cyndy Alvarado

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