Emergency Call Towers Arrive at PLNU

This article was originally published on Loma Beat, Point Loma Nazarene University’s online media source. Click here to see the original post.

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WRITTEN BY: JORDAN LEMKE | CONTRIBUTOR

Blue light emergency call towers, a landmark of college campuses for over 20 years, have just arrived at Point Loma Nazarene University. According to Campus Safety Magazine, the goal of these emergency phones is to provide immediate assistance in the case of an emergency.

For some colleges, the towers have become obsolete, costly technology. The website Inside Higher Ed, wrote that colleges such as the Contra Costa Community College District removed their emergency call boxes on their campuses “primarily because of high maintenance costs.” Their 25 call towers cost the district about $50,000 in annual maintenance, and removing the towers was a cost-effective decision.

Inside Higher Ed also quoted Contra Costa Community College District’s Chief of college police services, Charles Gibson. He said that the blue light phones are often misused by people confused about their purpose– using the emergency call centers to call for directions or report a car problem. Chief Charles Gibson also said that he had never received a “verified, real emergency call” from one of the towers in the past five years.

Despite this, Point Loma Nazarene University recently installed seven of these blue light towers around the campus. The infamous cell coverage on Point Loma Nazarene University grounds is one reason for installing these call centers. The website, Emergency Management said, “There are some reasons a campus might want to keep blue-light phones, such as failed 911 service or geography that causes spotty wireless coverage.”

Kaz Trypuc, a Public Safety Supervisor at Point Loma Nazarene University, said, “Our campus has some pretty substantially sized areas across campus where cell phone coverage is inconsistent…part of [installing the call boxes] is to provide emergency call options in areas when people don’t have cell reception, or maybe their cell phones are dead, or maybe they don’t have their cell phones on them.”

Another reason for installing and maintaining the emergency stations is because parents and students like seeing them. Emergency Management said, “Some campuses believe the units’ visibility adds value to the perception of security, or that they play a role in application decisions.”

Kaz Trypuc said that one of the major reasons for the recent installation of the call towers is that they also include a public address speaker, located at the top of each tower. He said, “That’s one of the more crucial things about these new phones. They will allow us to…connect those public address speakers to our emergency notification system, so that when we send out a text alert to the campus community regarding an emergency, those loudspeakers will turn on and broadcast an audible message to the surrounding area.”

Looking into the future, Kaz Trypuc said, “There will be a lockdown drill this semester that the campus is going to participate in, and we are going to run a test of all of our emergency notifications systems including…that public address system.”

For some campuses, blue light emergency call towers will be removed, replaced by other security measures. Point Loma Nazarene University, however, hopes that the addition of the call stations will bolster campus safety, as well as provide a way to broadcast messages in the case of an emergency.

 

Photo courtesy of The Forum

What Gay Talese’s Stumble Can Teach Us

In a recent talk at Boston University, acclaimed writer Gay Talese said that there were no non-fiction women writers who inspired him. For obvious reasons, this statement caused quite an uproar. Talese claimed that he had misunderstood the question posed to him and that he was referring to a specific era when he was getting his start in journalism (the 1950’s and 60’s).

There are many other writers who have dissected the interview and Talese’s words regarding women writers, so that was not my goal with this piece. Instead, I hoped to shed light on what women writer’s should be inspiring our writing and our lives. Because of a lack of knowledge on this subject, I felt especially interested in learning more.

I interviewed Point Loma Nazarene University’s Dean Nelson, the director of the university’s journalism program, and an experienced writer himself, to gain a better understanding of women journalists and their impressive works.

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Professor Dean Nelson of  Point Loma Nazarene University

Listen to the interview below to learn what Gay Talese’s stumble can teach all of us. The interview jumps right in with Nelson’s favorite women writers and journalists and continues on with discussion about  women in the field of journalism, both past and present.

Whoops! Finally, An Update

Whoops! Finally, An Update

I don’t know how more than a month has passed since I last blogged, but it just completely slipped my mind! Since my last post, I’ve traveled all over Italy, which has been absolutely incredible!  

My mom came for my spring break, and we spent some time in Florence, and then traveled to Pisa, Lucca, Cinque Terre, Orvieto, Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Salerno and Siena. It was a total whirlwind but we had a blast! It was so fun to have her here, and it was great to be able to show her around Florence, especially because it feels so much like home now! My favorite stops during that trip were Pompeii and Salerno, but every city was unique and beautiful in its own way.

After spring break, my boyfriend came to visit which was also amazing. Because I had classes, we spent most of the week in Florence, but we also visited Pisa and Rome, and one of my favorite cities so far, Venice. Venice was everything I had hoped for- everything looked like it was straight out of a postcard, and the gondola ride was so much fun! I could definitely see how people would get lost there though- the labyrinth of streets would be very new and overwhelming without a map.

Since my visitors left, things have been fairly quiet here. I visited Milan and Lake Como this past weekend, as well as the beach city of Viareggio. Being able to travel to such beautiful destinations almost every weekend has been so incredible.

^^The Milan Cathedral

^^Lake Como

We also got to go to a Fiorentina soccer game- what a blast! It was so fun to be able to participate in a local past time. Florence won 1-0!

I’m looking forward to the international travel that is coming this month- Paris and Munich are on the calendar!

Swiss Miss

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We spent this past weekend in Geneva, Switzerland. Just being able to say that out loud still blows my mind! Switzerland was at the top of my list of the countries that I wanted to visit, and we found a cheap flight and a great hostel in Geneva, which is in the French sector of Switzerland.

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The first night we got cheese fondue at a restaurant built on the docks of Lake Geneva- it was worth the hype! Ordering fondue was the first time since arriving in Europe that I really had a language barrier, as the woman behind the counter spoke exclusively in French, and no one in our group knows enough French to help in this situation. Between hand motions, and writing things out, we got by, and this was the first of many experiences that showed me just how polite Swiss people are. Despite not being able to communicate, and slowing down everyone’s day, everyone was so kind and patient with us. Compared to the typical Italian interaction (slightly rushed and harsh, especially if you are trying out your new and stumbling Italian language skills) this was very surprising and pleasant.

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Our hostel was right across from St. Pierre’s Cathedral- one of the main sightseeing attractions in Geneva. Every time that I’m inside of a church here, I tear up. The interiors of the churches are gorgeous and overwhelming, and I’m struck time and time again by how many generations of people worshiped and prayed in this exact space.

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And of course, we got Swiss hot chocolate! It was amazing!

We took a free historical walking tour of the city on Sunday, and I talked with the tour guide, a Portuguese woman who grew up in Geneva and lived in San Diego for 6 months to learn English. We discussed Ocean Beach, downtown San Diego, and how much we both miss it. What a small world.

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We also visited botanical gardens on the far side of the city, as well as the headquarters of the United Nations. We weren’t able to get inside the gates, but it was still amazing to see the outside of the building and all of the nations’ flags.

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Cinque Terre & Friends

Cinque Terre & Friends

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I realized after posting last week that the blog post title (Travel is Torture) might be a bit of an inaccurate picture of how things have been going. Despite some stress and sadness, this trip has already exceeded my expectations. I think that one of the main reasons that it’s been so incredible so far is because of my great roommates and friends that I’ve made since being here. They’ve been so fun and positive and we’ve had a great time living together and experiencing Europe.

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I know that I’ll look back on this time as something incredible that I can never return to, and I’m trying my best to soak it all up.

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It’s been interesting traveling here, as I’ve only really ever traveled with my family. It’s been a good learning experience figuring out train and plane tickets, AirBnb’s and hostels, and everything else involved with traveling. It makes me much more confident, and it also made me start considering trips I’d like to take when I get home!

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This last weekend we went to Cinque Terre and it was even more amazing than we expected! It felt like a movie set.

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We swam (even though it was cold!), ate lots of pesto, foccacia and seafood, and soaked up the sunshine. It was definitely an amazing, can’t miss experience.

We’re going to Switzerland this weekend, so I’ll be posting about that soon!

-Jordan

 

Travel Equals Torture

Travel Equals Torture

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In my travel writing class, we’ve been discussing how traveling is a bit like torture. It stretches you, it changes you and it can be very painful. I am so happy to be in Italy, and I’m so thankful and privileged to be able to travel around Europe this semester- I couldn’t be luckier.

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But it’s also true that this has been so hard, and it will continue to be hard. It’s hard to be so far away from home, away from everyone I love and everything familiar. It’s hard to navigate airports, train stations and cities that are completely foreign. I’ve already learned so much about myself, and I’ve gained so much confidence in my individual abilities, and needless to say, I’ve learned a lot about gaining a non-American perspective on this world.

But travel can be torture. I love sharing all the fun and beauty and excitement, but it’s also important to share the shadows and the loneliness and the uncomfortable reality of being a stranger.

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On a lighter note, we visited Verona yesterday, the city where Romeo and Juliet is based. We visited Juliet’s home, her tomb, and the ancient Roman arena. dsc_0140 dsc_0175

It’s so surreal to visit places I’ve only ever seen in movies- it doesn’t feel possible that I’m actually here, but here I am for months! It’s pretty incredible and I’m so so thankful.

Week One: 6,199 Miles Away

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The first week of my semester abroad is over, and it’s been just as amazing and beautiful and surreal as I dreamed. Walking around Florence is like being a part of a fairy tale, so it hasn’t sunk in that this is my home for the next four months. We’ve done a lot of sightseeing in this first week in Florence, but there are still so many things to see and do- visiting churches, museums, the Tuscan countryside, flea markets and specific restaurants are just a few of the items on my Florence bucket list.

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One of my favorite aspects of Florence is how walkable the central part of the city is- I’m walking between 7 and 10 miles every day, and I love the ability to just dash down to the grocery store or a beautiful piazza. The rain and gloomy weather the last few days have put a bit of a damper on exploration, but hopefully the sun will come back out soon.

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A group of us took a walk up to the Piazzale Michelangelo on the outskirts of the city to enjoy the gorgeous view of the city skyline. In the photo above, you can see the top of the Duomo (the Florence Cathedral), which we are lucky enough to live 3 blocks from. Our apartment is cute and cozy, and is in a perfect, scenic location. My three roommates and I get along so well- I’ve had such a blast exploring with them, and we’re already planning lots of weekend trips together.

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Of course, the food has been amazing- lots of gelato and pizza already, but one of the big surprises was how popular sandwiches are here. Freshly made bread and cheese, with amazing meats, make for a delicious, filling and surprisingly economical lunch or dinner. img_3276

There have definitely been some ups and downs with being here- it’s amazing and a once in a lifetime opportunity, but some days I definitely feel all 6,199 miles away from home. Even though it can be hard with homesickness and the time change which makes it hard to stay in contact with people back home, I think that I will slowly acclimate to my new surroundings.

I can’t wait to see what the next few months in Italy hold- I’ll be keeping you all updated about life here in Florence, and all of the trips out of the city that I already have planned!