Cantankerous Commuting for Some Loyola Students

Students find Loyola’s increasing tuition too pricy, pushing them to partake in the grueling task of commuting in Chicago and wishing the university would up financial aid offerings.

“The reason that I do commute is because of the cost,” said Lauren Gestes, 21, a junior psychology major. “I lived on campus my freshman and sophomore year, but the cost got too much, so now I commute.”

In January of this year, Loyola’s Office of the President sent out its yearly email informing students of a tuition increase. This year, tuition for the 2014-2015 academic year increased 2.5 percent, room rates increased by 2 percent and student activity fees increased by 3.3 percent.

According to Loyola’s Campus Transportation website, commuter students utilizing cars to get to school are required to purchase parking permits in order to park in any of the three Lake Shore campus commuter lots: the Main Structure near Halas, Fordham Garage or West Loyola Lot. At this time, there is no commuter parking area at Loyola’s Water Tower campus. For the 2013-2014 academic year, the parking permit cost $449; the 2014-2015 permit cost is not yet published.


The Main Structure is one of three commuter parking lots for students. (photo credit: Elizabeth Romanski)

The Main Structure is one of three commuter parking lots for students. (photo credit: Elizabeth Romanski)


Commuting negatively affects grades and relationships

Rachel Audisho, 21, a junior economics major, has been commuting to Loyola for over two years. Audisho lives in Rogers Park, about a 15-minute drive to campus. While the main reason she commutes is her close proximity to school, Audisho also said Loyola’s tuition was an additional factor in her decision.

For Gestes, her commute is quite a bit more extensive; it takes her about an hour by car and usually longer by train to get to school. Gestes also said she feels that the long commute has negatively affected her grades since she began commuting a year ago.

“Driving or having to take the train actually takes a lot out of me,” Gestes said. “So, when I get home I am really tired and it is hard to motivate myself to do homework.”

Gestes and Audisho agreed that regardless of how long their commute is, just having to do it also significantly affects their friendships with students who live on campus.

“With my friends at Loyola, it affects our relationship because I see them way less,” Gestes said. “A lot of my friends live at Water Tower campus, and I am only ever at the Lake Shore campus. So, it is really hard to get together with our different schedules.”

Audisho said that in order to see her friends, she not only has to make extra trips but also work diligently to coordinate schedules.


For junior Lauren Gestes, 21, commuting by car takes her an hour, sometimes longer. (photo credit: Elizabeth Romanski)

For junior Lauren Gestes, 21, commuting by car takes her an hour, sometimes longer. (photo credit: Elizabeth Romanski)

Commuting means having to create the perfect class schedule

But, coordinating schedules to meet with friends isn’t the only organization needing to be done when commuting. Both Audisho and Gestes said that creating the ideal class schedule is key to a successful and easier commuter life.

Gestes said she can’t take early classes because of the time it takes her to get to Loyola, but that she also hates taking late classes, as that forces her to drive back home in the dark. However, Gestes said that sometimes the classes she needs take to graduate are at times that cause her to have to take once a week evening classes that sometimes go until 9:00 p.m.

“I feel that it is really tough at times. And, it is really hard because I can’t be very involved on campus,” Gestes said.

With her close proximity to campus, Audisho said she prefers to take early classes.

“I try to make it so that my classes start early in the day in order to make sure that I get a parking spot before the lot fills up,” Audisho said.

While Loyola does provide commuter parking, the spaces are on a first come, first served basis.

Both Audisho and Gestes said they find the commuter life stressful and challenging.

Gestes said she feels Loyola is unwilling to help commuter students and finds the lack of scholarships available and the required meal plan for all students living on campus disappointing. She said both further restrict students’ finances and ultimately force students to commute or transfer to cheaper universities.

Audisho said she wishes Loyola would increase its financial aid award packages so that all students could financially have the opportunity to live on campus.

“While commuting has been a way to save money throughout college, I feel it takes away from getting the full college experience,” Audisho said. “Living away from home is something every student should get a chance to experience as it promotes independence and greater discipline.”

Click below to view a map of Audisho and Gestes’ commute:


Wal-Mart Battles With Chinese Authorities

Global retail powerhouse Wal-Mart is facing hefty fines from Chinese authorities, but won’t pay without a fight, according to an April 13th Wall Street Journal article.

Since 2011, Chinese authorities have been fining Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. over poor quality products, deceptive pricing and questionable meat. The Wall Street Journal has reported the sanctions have accumulated to over $9.8 million. As a result, Wal-Mart has stepped up its inspections and product testings; Wal-Mart is also now testing its meat’s DNA after meat labeled as donkey meat was actually fox meat.

While Wal-Mart may be increasing its store vigilance, it is also telling Chinese authorities to “clean up their own act.”

China has fined Wal-Mart $9.8 million due to food quality and business practice concerns. (photo credit Daniel Case via Wikimedia Commons)

According to the article, in the U.S. the manufacturers are the ones who bear the brunt of the blame against product quality and food safety, but in China the responsibility falls directly on the retailer; in this case Wal-Mart. However, Wal-Mart is calling this unfair and says that many of the issues stem from Chinese manufacturers.

Not only is Wal-Mart calling on the Chinese government and food industry to increase food safety and health, but they are also facing rising pressure from the country’s consumer class. A 2013 Pew Research survey of 3,200 Chinese people found that 38 percent felt food safety was a big issue.

It is unclear whether Wal-Mart will be required to pay the fines solely on their own or whether Chinese officials will look to split the fines among the company and specific Chinese manufacturers.

Why we need business ethics, an interview with Dr. Gini

Business ethics is something that many companies tout as one of their standards, but too many times they fail to measure up to that standard. On Wednesday, April 2, I spoke with Dr. Al Gini, professor of business ethics at Loyola University Chicago to get his insight on today’s business ethics. Gini has written over 11 books, many on the topic of ethics and the need for ethics in leadership.



“Lights off” takes on new meaning with 8th annual Earth Hour

Don’t forget to keep your lights turned off this Saturday, March 29th, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for the 8th annual Earth Hour.

2013 Earth Hour in Singapore. (Photo credit: Kenny Teo)

2013 Earth Hour in Singapore. (Photo credit: Kenny Teo)

According to, Earth Hour began in 2007, in Sydney, Australia as a “lights-off” movement to spread the word about environmental issues. In conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Earth Hour has since expanded to worldwide participation in over 70,000 cities.

The site reports that Earth Hour “aims to encourage an interconnected global community to share the opportunities and challenges of creating a sustainable world.”

Earth Hour has extended from individuals and families to business and cities.

This year, Chicago was selected out of 60 US cities to be the 2014 US Earth Hour City Capital. The city will host an Earth Hour celebration event, and the Willis Tower and other Chicago landmarks will go dark for that hour.

Chicago turns its lights off for Earth Hour 2010. (Photo credit: Ken Ilio)

Chicago turns its lights off for Earth Hour 2010. (Photo credit: Ken Ilio)

For one hour—8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in your local time zone—participation in Earth Hour requires all lights to be off. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t challenge yourself to go further by unplugging all electronic devices!

Staying in the dark for one hour can be daunting to think about in a day where your phone is tied to your hip. But, the WWF has seven tips to make your Earth Hour full of its own light.

Family businesses aren’t for everyone, says midwest business owner

For a recent journalism class assignment, I decided to dig into family businesses and learn how they can survive in a day where large corporations are quickly buying them up. I conducted an interview with Connie Barnhorst–co-owner of Ray’s Automotive Center in Columbus, IN–and found that the key to success for family-owned companies is communication and knowing that going into a business with your family isn’t for everyone.

Below is an audio slideshow with pictures of Ray’s Automotive Center and the interview with Connie. In addition, an audio wrap can be reached by this link and the transcript for the wrap is below, as well.


Family Businesses: Connie Barnhorst of Ray’s Automotive Center

Writer: Elizabeth Romanski

11 March 2014

In a day where large corporations are expanding and gobbling up smaller, privately owned companies, family businesses have to work harder to survive. Connie Barnhorst of Ray’s Automotive Center in Columbus, Indiana knows all to well the hardships family-owned companies can face.

Actuality: There are some downsides to having a family business. I would say the stress. You are always going to take things to heart or seriously.

Runs :08

Not only can you not take things to heart, but Barnhorst says families must know each member’s strengths in the business and work together.

Actuality: Communication is the key. And, family business is not for everybody. I think you have to be a special person.

Runs: 06

Ray’s Automotive Center has been around since 1968, and Barnhorst hopes the company will continue to strive even after it is passed along to her daughter.

                                                                                                                        (Total story runs :50)


Bossy women make the best leaders despite leadership stereotype

When did it become the norm for strong women to be seen as bossy while strong men are good leaders?

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Sheryl Sandberg—Chief Operating Officer of Facebook—and Anna Marie Chavez—Chief Executive Officer of the Girl Scouts—discussed how it has become expected for males to be leaders, but when females strive for the same goal they are often disliked or ostracized. But with this biased expectation, how can women gain favor in leadership both socially and professionally?

Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook.

Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. (photo credit Creative Commons)

According to Sandberg and Chavez, the idea of male leadership dominance begins at an early age. They said that not only do teachers call more on boys in class, but also a study by the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health found parents of seventh-graders place a higher importance of leadership on their sons than daughters.

Anna Marie Chavez, Chief Executive Officer of the Girl Scouts.

Anna Marie Chavez, Chief Executive Officer of the Girl Scouts. (photo credit Creative Commons)

For those young girls determined to defy norms and become leaders, Sandberg said they are labeled as “bossy.”

“As girls mature, the words may change, but their meaning and impact remain the same,” Sandberg said. “Women who behave assertively are labeled ‘aggressive,’ ‘angry,’ ‘shrill,’ and ‘overly ambitious.’ Powerful and successful men are often well liked, but when women become powerful and successful, all of us—both men and women—tend to like them less.”

This phenomenon prohibits women leaders from rising in ranks and achieving many of their leadership goals: Only 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs and 10 percent of heads of states are women.

However, as this issue is continually explored, studies have found that women in fact make the best leaders.

According to a study by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, women out-scored men in 15 of the 16 competencies analyzed.

The study also cited that “at every level, more women were rated by their peers, their bosses, their direct reports and their other associates as better overall leaders than their male counterparts.”

According to Zenger and Folkman, women tend to perform better as leaders due to their strong ability to take initiative, build relationships, motivate others and maintain a high level of integrity and honesty.

While studies may indicate the benefits of women leaders, society is still taking its time to reverse the leadership stereotype.

“So-called bossy women make great leaders,” Sandberg said. “And we need great leaders. Our economic growth depends upon having women fully engaged in the workforce.”

Wasting time by Chicago’s Red Line provides great alternative to studying

Traipsing, exploring, wandering and soul searching: These are just are some of the activities you can do when looking for a study break in the Windy City.

After endless hours of studying in our cramped room–as you will glimpse below–my roommate and I decided to take a break by heading down the Red Line to go do some more studying at the Harold Washington Library off the Jackson stop. Maybe it was because the previous day’s Valentine’s sugar hadn’t worn off, but we were itching to relocate and jumped at the idea of heading to the library.

Of course, we took our time getting there, choosing to meander about the streets and snap some shots of the wintery city. We thought the day was gorgeous and figured we should have some photos depicting some of our college outings. Truthfully, though, we were mostly stalling: we had no desire to cram into a tiny library study room to study for another three hours. And, by the time the day was done, I was surprised our brains did not self-combust.

The photos below gradually show our day and how we went from our poorly lit apartment to being in the heart of the Loop.

Studying the day after Valentine's Day wouldn't be complete without roses.

Studying the Saturday after Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete without roses.


A tattered guitar case holds some of our less used textbooks.

A tattered guitar case holds some of our less used textbooks.


Different depths-of-field can make you realize you may need to clean the carpet.

Different depths-of-field can make you realize you may need to clean the carpet.


The Red Line will take you to the Harold Washington Library--get off at Jackson.

The Red Line will take you to the Harold Washington Library–get off at Jackson.


Chicago is already prepping for St. Patrick's Day at the Jackson stop.

Chicago is already prepping for St. Patrick’s Day at the Jackson stop.



The Harold Washington Library is named after Harold Washington, Chicago's 51st mayor.

The Harold Washington Library is named after Harold Washington, Chicago’s 51st mayor.


The Harold Washington Library has ten floors.

The Harold Washington Library has ten floors.




Let Twitter tell you a story: Authors find ways to tweet short stories

Twitter has created not only a new social media platform, but also a new direction for storytelling.

The world of literature first began with handwritten manuscripts; eventually evolving into printed, mass-produced copies with new editions published every few years. Recently, e-literature has been the craze. E-readers and digital libraries are fast replacing tattered old copies of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and your city’s public library.

With everyone being sucked soullessly into the digital world, their attention spans have drastically shrank. Sitting down to read an e-book on a tablet for at least an hour takes willpower. Why read when you can surf the web, check your social media or watch funny cat videos?

Authors and commonplace storytellers alike have been scrambling to keep readers engaged, resulting in a new form of short storytelling: micro-fiction using 140 characters.

As you will see in this TED talk, Twitter is becoming the new way that authors are getting readers reading.

Chicago kicks can further down road: Issues $900 million in bonds


Chicago issued $900 million in long-term bonds, adding to the city’s current debt. (photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The city of Chicago already has a poor Moody’s Investors Service credit rating of A3, but with the city’s recent authorization of a $900 million bond issue, its rating may just drop some more.

 On Feb. 3, the City Council’s Finance Committee passed the massive bond issuance in an act to refinance the city’s old debt and pay for capital projects and equipment. The Committee also authorized a $1 billion borrowing for Midway Airport. According to the Chicago-Sun Times, these borrowings will be the city’s first since last July, when Moody’s dropped Chicago’s credit rating by three points. A rating of A3 is one of the lowest investment-grade ratings of Moody’s.

The Committee defended the $900 million in long-term bonds by saying that it would take care of the city’s current deficit. But what they didn’t say was how much future generations would have to pay for the current government’s decision.

In a piece by the Chicago Tribune, the editorial board argued that taxpayers have been continuously kept in the dark about the city’s spending. “We are consuming more in services than we’re collecting in revenue, and that foolishness has got to stop,” the staff wrote.

While this recent financial orchestration angers some Chicagoans, sadly it shouldn’t surprise them. Chicago has been building a debt mountain for years — all of which will fall onto the backs of taxpayers, some of whom have yet to be born.

As the saying goes, Chicago’s cushy leaders have the bad habit of kicking the can down the road, as far as they can, dumping all of their financial troubles onto the next poor chump.