Tuesday, December 6, 2022

The Path to Financial Security

By Brianna Cash 

The goal of the Department of Education is to promote student achievement and prepare students for the global market. The United States (U.S.) is not fulfilling that goal. Although the U.S. is esteemed for their educational institutions across the nation, recently, it has become apparent that the nation’s educational system is failing students for preparation in the marketplace. Notable individuals like Kieron Sweeney, has addressed this pressing issue facing Americans today in his TED Talk titled, “Financial illiteracy in the school curriculum”. Sweeney has been in the entrepreneurial field for 30 years and has helped other entrepreneurs save their businesses and increase their wealth through innovative marketing techniques and has publicly spoken in regard to increasing wealth across many different countries. In his presentation, he discusses the consequences, both to the individual and to the country, surrounding the lack of education in finance. Sweeney underlines the key notion that financial principles are not taught in public education and the financial burdens that most of the population are facing are clear evidence that there needs to be a change. Sweeney is a successful businessman who aims to see parents and children begin creating a better financial future for themselves and introduces his simple solutions to begin learning financial literacy. The striking statistics of how many people are struggling with their finances is a catastrophic issue that will only be resolved with the movement to include financial education to the public, and Sweeney presents one solution that could help in achieving a better educated populous.  

Due to public education failing to reach this critical aspect of education in the core curriculum most of the population is living paycheck to paycheck with little to no knowledge regarding their finances and its impact is evident in our current economy. As young adults, it is a great dishonor to never be taught how to manage our finances or what decisions will financially stunt us before being acclimated into the workforce. The age group of teens to young adults has influential buying power ranging from personal purchases to loans yet they have the smallest experience and education when it comes to finances. To have great access to a variety of payment options, education in how these monetary decisions will impact you are substantially important to one’s success especially for young people. Therefore, until the time comes where this vital piece of a well-rounded education is incorporated into public education, it is important to navigate online educational platforms, like that of Kieron Sweeney’s and educate ourselves so that we will not repeat the pattern of financial instability.  

Kieron Sweeney is an entrepreneur that has trained business owners on five continents and is recognized as an inspirational keynote speaker, author, and mentor. In his Talk, he discusses his journey of making his money work best for him. Like many people, Sweeney excelled at his job and provided his main source of income. However, at the age of 31, he was forced to start over and move in with his parents. Hence, Sweeney recognizes the financial struggle that most people battle with in handling their finances because he, himself has lived through it. Fortunately, he met a mentor that helped him out of a financial hole and sent him on his way to financial security and to where he is today. Describing his own struggles and personal experiences to gain the trust of his audience is an example of employing ethos. In his presentation the connection that he builds with the crowd through sharing the obstacles he has overcome and lessons he learned formed a network of trust among the audience. This in turn, will help people actively listen to his message and ultimately act on the message he’s presenting.  

Sweeney describes his past experiences to gain the audience’s trust, however, he furthers a connection to the audience by appealing to their emotions. He explains to the audience that he too is a father and wants the very best for his children and for them to never suffer the fate of financial instability. This strategy targets the large majority of the room and introduces a shared goal among himself and his audience. Sweeney utilizes pathos in his speech by describing the heartache that is attached to lacking a financial education for their children’s sake and joins the crowd in yearning for their future success. Additionally, he touches upon the fact that parents are their child’s first teacher and practicing good financial habits will positively impact themselves as well as their children. He notes that it is a parent’s responsibility to educate their children in such areas that public education fails in doing so. Therefore, by equating himself to the crowd and informing them of the importance of educating their children in areas that are neglected, Sweeney prompts his audience to listen to his recommendations and act on it.  

Moreover, Sweeney introduces an abundance of facts and information to fortify the severity of this issue. As previously discussed, Sweeney is an established entrepreneur that has mentored those in the business world globally and has witnessed this particular struggle across multiple continents. People do not know how to manage money and the cause of this is that people typically are never taught simple financial management principles. The statistics that he presents make known that this is a glaring issue for most of the population. For instance, less than 20% of the population will retire financially secure; the average person will have $6,200 in assets when they die; and the comparison of credit card debt in America which is 8.25 billion dollars to the student loan debt which is 1.3 trillion dollars and finally, the global government debt which is 62 trillion dollars (all of which are subject to change due to time). Sweeney argues that as a society, we debt finance everything which results in most individuals struggling with their personal finances and retiring with little to nothing to survive on. He highlights that this is a global issue that will impact generations to follow and the cycle of being a slave to money will continue if educating the youth in financial principles does not ensue.  

By the end of Sweeney’s TED Talk, he introduces the goal that he aims to achieve: to create an influential movement through an online platform that he created to educate youth on money management principles and provide the opportunity for people to take charge of their financial future. He subtly gains his audience’s trust by providing his credibility in finances, relating to them through shared experiences; fears; and goals, as well as turning their focus on the stark statistics facing people today in the economy. Sweeney strategically established trust among the crowd using these methods so that the audience can consider the solution that Sweeney was offering. By introducing his solution at the end of his Talk, he allowed time for a relationship to build between himself and the audience so that when he detailed his solution, the audience is more prone to accept and practice these financial habits. He then concluded with a challenge to all the parents in the room: to teach their children the foundational concepts of money management and ensure that their future is financially secure.   

The financial burdens that most Americans face is prominent from the state of the economy, the level of stress, and even the quality of their overall health. Sweeney does an excellent job of describing the severity surrounding this problem and attracting his audience’s attention. Although his solution is small and has a purpose of gaining more people to use his personal platform, it is a start to educating more people in this subject and will help others thrive financially and personally.  

"Financial illiteracy in the school curriculum." YouTube, uploaded by TEDx Talks, 16 Jun. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6MxdDvk8QY&t=626s. 

Friday, December 2, 2022

Educational Opportunities of Indigenous Studies

By Mohammad Barry

We should acknowledge Indigenous perspectives on holidays like Columbus Day and Thanksgiving by using them as days revolving around education of various topics of Indigenous studies. It is vital to our current culture to acknowledge and respect Indigenous perspectives. On holidays like Columbus Day and Thanksgiving it is even more imperative that we pay respects to these perspectives. These holidays should be used as educational opportunities of Indigenous studies.

Stereotypes of these holidays often perpetuate racism and harmful lies. Learning the real history behind these holidays will allow for the true Indigenous culture to be honored. Indigenous people showed generosity to Europeans and was met with genocide. On these holidays it is imperative that we acknowledge this. We celebrate these holidays without understanding what really took place and actually acknowledging what truly happened. Teaching younger generations the true history of Columbus Day and Thanksgiving will allow for them to grow up with a newfound feeling towards indigenous people. They will grow up knowing that these holidays are days meant for learning and teaching others about these cultures. They will be able to understand the true importance of these holidays and will be able to pass this knowledge down to future generations. For many years, Indigenous people were silenced and their stories were marginalized. On top of this many tribes were stripped of their lands and forced to relocate. This is the reason why it is important to learn the true histories and celebrate indigenous perspectives. Celebrating these holidays without Indigenous perspective is inconsiderate and cruel. These days should be made to honor Indigenous people and their cultures.

While learning history is important, it is not the only thing to be done. Listening to Indigenous voices today about their concerns and opinions is an important way to honor the culture. It will show how the wrongdoings of the past have impacted those of the future. Newer generations have a better understanding of things like oppression and racism and they will be able to put these complex feelings and/or thoughts together to explain to peers how their culture should be honored and remembered. As a people, it is our duty to help support the indigenous community. We should be doing a multitude of things such as supporting their businesses, listening to their concerns, acknowledging the proper history and so much more.

Research to support my claims can be found in an article titled “Rethinking Thanksgiving Celebrations: Native Perspectives on Thanksgiving” published by the National Museum of the American Indian. In this article it states that “Native perspectives are especially important to include when teaching the history of the "First Thanksgiving". Giving thanks is a longstanding and central tradition among most Native groups that is still practiced today. The First Thanksgiving is often portrayed as a friendly harvest festival where Pilgrims and generic, nameless "Indians" came together to eat and give thanks. In reality, the assembly of the Wampanoag Peoples and the English settlers in 1621 had much more to do with political alliances, diplomacy, and a pursuit of peace.” This excerpt alone shows the lack of knowledge from today's society about the Origins of this nationally beloved holiday where the concept of it is misconstrued into something friendly when in reality that was not the case. This Education would be relevant to Alfred State students, and students all over the world because It would help to bridge the gap between current day Indigenous peoples, and people who occupy indigenous land without even knowing how or why that came to be and how Indigenous people lost almost 99% of their land to the United States Unwillingly.


Native knowledge 360°-rethinking Thanksgiving celebrations: Native Perspectives on Thanksgiving. Home Page. (n.d.). Retrieved October 5, 2022, from https://americanindian.si.edu/nk360/informational/rethinking-thanksgiving

Wade, L. (n.d.). Native tribes have lost 99% of their land in the United States. Science. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from https://www.science.org/content/article/native-tribes-have-lost-99-their-land-united-states

Monday, November 28, 2022

Inauguration Speech – Student Speaker

By Soumya Konar

Good afternoon to everyone present here for this elegant day at Alfred State College. Especially, President Mauro, because if he was not here it would be kind of awkward. On a serious note, it is an honor to serve you as the Student Senate President and to stand here in front of an extremely hardworking and talented faculty, staff, administration, delegates, and the student body. 

Nineteen months ago, you can say I felt like Nemo in the movie Finding Nemo, who wandered seamlessly to find a new cultural identity. My journey has emulated the same one Nemo encountered, we both persevered throughout life's ups and downs. My journey has led me to be the voice for Alfred State’s student body – a student body filled with talent, intelligence, and courage. But how did I find this voice? It wasn’t just doing well in academics or the late-night runs into town to get deep fried Oreos from Checkpoint! It was through the environment Alfred State continues to provide for their students, with the quality of education, dedicated faculty and administration and the colorful fall leaves.

The first time I met President Mauro, was not after he was chosen as the 13th President, but it was  during the open student forums when presidential candidates came to visit our beautiful campus. The only forum I had attended last Fall was President Mauro’s where we sat right in the middle of the Student Leadership Center. Fast forward, President Mauro is someone we all see in those Alfred State Instagram videos all across campus working passionately for the growth of our community.

Having been here for less than seven months, President Mauro has taken strides of leadership and community development for Alfred State students. He has continued to foster this surrounding where we can not only dream but also achieve those very dreams. I am excited to see new programs and watch several other initiatives grow and expand these upcoming years. 

Alfred State provides an environment of inclusion and belonging, something I have strived for eighteen years to find - and here I am eight-thousand miles and several oceans away from my home finding my place in Alfred State. 

We have the ability to operate in a diverse and interdependent world full of ideas and innovations. And, as we forge ahead into a year filled with many unknowns and ideas of what we hope to accomplish, I want us all to remember that at the end of it all, we gave our best as Pioneers do!

All we have to do is hit the ground running.

Fellow Pioneers, I hope you have a wonderful rest of the semester! Thank you.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Poetry Reading Personal Review

 Written by Miranda Fuentes

    When attending a poetry reading event, the experience is completely separate from one’s expectations. I certainly had not expected the atmosphere to resonate within me as it did: the calm lighting, the silence of the attendees and the loudness of their focus, and the poets themselves. They had certainly opened themselves up to the audience, not only through their poetry, but the way they had dealt with dozens of eyes on them. Some played off nervousness with humor while others masked it with confidence. There were few who did not hide their shyness at all. Getting a sense of the poet’s personality can play a part in a poem’s effect when read by said poet.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Campus Wind Turbine and Other Sustainable Activities

Written by Amanda Damon

Campus Wind Turbine- 

Many Alfred State students may not have noticed the wind turbine located at the top of campus. Installed in 2013, this 100-kilowatt grid-tied wind turbine was an effort to increase green, sustainable energy and decrease power costs for the campus. Recently, however, the turbine has been turned off. There should

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Hot Dog Day Relaunch 2022

Written by Amanda Damon

    Hot Dog Day has been an Alfred tradition since 1972 and is typically held at the end of April. It was founded by two Alfred University Students, Mark O'Meara and Eric Vaughn, in an effort to bring together Alfred University, Alfred State College, and the village of Alfred itself. This event has always been a way to raise money for charities, such as the local ambulance company and the local library. The money raised from vendor fees and T-shirt sales is distributed among chosen charities and nonprofits. This event has typically raised between $10,000 to $16,000 split between 6 or 7 charities. There are often many events, including a parade on Main Street, a vendor fair, and a concert.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Black History Month at Alfred State College


Written by Demere Brave

       With the month of February being completed, people took the time to reflect on their past month. Whether it has been good or bad, we could all agree, that we have put it aside for the importance of Black History Month. We used this month to celebrate iconic African Americans and their impact on the world. Two examples are Barack Obama, as he was the first African American