Category Archives: Money

By Ashley Posimato


One Kara Dioguardi + 38 “That was the BOMB dawg”’s – 50% of Paula Abdul’s competence x 1 infamously honest “absolutely dreadful” Simon Cowell =  American Idol Season 8, a showcase of quite possibly most talented selection of contestants yet.

From Kelly Clarkson to Carrie Underwood to Adam Lambert (unless Bill O’Reilly has anything to say about it), American Idol has continued to impress its audience, “debuting January 14, 2009, as the number one show on television,” according to Nielsen.

Photo by: David Kiely BusinessWeek

Photo by: David Kiely BusinessWeek

Photo by:

Photo by:

But as the amateur competition grows stronger, the professional entertainment that recently consumes the results shows, leaves a lot to be desired –and after Paula’s performance Thursday night– a lot to be understood.

The first guest-entertainer that failed to upstage the Idol hopefuls, spent the majority of his performance suggesting we “blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol.”  But after that disappointing performance, Jamie Foxx has no one to blame but himself.

Foxx appeared on American Idol to mentor the top 5 finalists as they prepared to take on songs from The Rat Pack.

“I have got to say a special thank you to Jamie Foxx because what Jamie’s brought out, particularly in you, tonight is incredible,” Cowell said to Danny Gokey, a Season 8 favorite.

Foxx showed he had the advice to produce a winning performance, but when his turn came to practice what he preached, winning turned to loosing and Jamie couldn’t seem to accurately place the blame — it clearly was not the alcohol.

In the future Mr. Foxx — take the responsibility, along with your own advice.  After all, at least your advice is coherent.

Paula Abdul (especially after Thursday night’s performance) on the other hand, may not have the same convenience.

Over the last few seasons Abdul has accrued a reputation for her inability to articulate nearly everything she attempts to say.
So if the woman can’t get her words straight, who made the determination that she could walk straight, and furthermore dance straight?

Paula Abdul stumbled around the stage Thursday night, lip-synching a version of her new song that didn’t only sound non-Paula, it sounded non-human.

So unless Jamie Foxx gave her some of the alcohol he attributed to his bad performance, Abdul’s uncomfortable number did nothing but verify that after 8 seasons of competition — the singing should be left to the contestants.


Hollywood may house celebrities, Britain may have talent, but America (by the measure of this year’s top three Adam, Danny, and Kris) has more!…as long as the professionals stay out of it.


Managing the Dollar Demand

By: Joe Walsh

Everyone knows the economy is in rough shape. If you are a college student with a middle class upbringing, money can be very tight when the tuition bill comes. For a student that has a sibling about to enter college, money can be even more of an issue.

Unfortunately, there aren’t an abundance of scholarships that erase a full four year’s of college bills. Oprah and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition have the market cornered on those for their lucky recipients.

Fortunately, there are strategies to help ease the burden. Joseph Weglarz, the Executive Director of Student Financial Services at Marist College, sat down with The River Reporter last week to discuss how to best make the financial burden of college easier on students and their families.

It’s a Jigsaw Puzzle

“I always tell people that ask me how to best pay for college to treat it like a jigsaw puzzle,” Weglarz said. “You have to find multiple ways supplement the cost of college.”

That means those cure-all scholarships mentioned before really are a rarity. Weglarz suggest to use some of the following programs and strategies to

The 529 Plan

“Most people don’t know about this but it can be one of the pieces you use to ease the burden financially.”

There are two subcategories of the 529 Plan: pre-paid tuition plans and college savings plans.

The pre-paid plan lets someone purchase college credits early at a locked in rate. It is only

Plan ahead with your money. From

Plan ahead with your money. From

available for participating universities, but state governments generally guarantee the investment. On the downside it does not cover costs like room and board

The college savings plan is a bit more flexible when it comes to what the money goes towards. Account holders have the money they put in invested for them. On the downside, the investments are riskier and are not usually covered by the state.

If you did not notice, this is something that requires you to save ahead of time for school.

Off Campus Housing

Even though Marist provides on campus housing, Weglarz says, “You can find more affordable housing off campus.”

The trade-off here obviously is the convenience of location with on campus housing and the added expense of gas to commute.


You probably heard of this from your high school guidance counselor. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is received by the federal government and determines if you need federal assistance.

It is all about using multiple sources of money to pay for school. From

It is all about using multiple sources of money to pay for school. From

Weglarz admits however that the average middle class family does not receive much from the FASFA.

“The FASFA doesn’t take into account fact that you may have a mortgage or how much the cost of living is where you live,” Weglarz said. “The government does encourage students and families to contact the school and try to work something out with them.”

Endowed Scholarships

Marist College has a wide range of scholarships students can apply for. They are easily accessible from the Marist Web site. They are awarded based on need and academic major.

“A lot of them have specific requirements, but if you find one that’s for you, you should definitely apply,” Weglarz suggested.

You also need a teacher recommendation for them, so be sure to talk to a professor about getting one.

The Verdict

“Like I said,” Weglarz concluded. “There is no one solution to paying for a higher education. You have to approach it from different sides. Like I said before, it’s like a jigsaw puzzle.”

Life After Marist

By Sara Shea


With graduation less than 20 days away, senior Brendan Smullen takes some time to relax in his girlfriend's Foy Townhouse. As a senior Smullen lives in the Fulton Townhouses located on East campus, however he can often be found curled up on a couch in Foy C5.

With graduation less than 20 days away, senior Brendan Smullen takes some time to relax in his girlfriend's Foy Townhouse. As a senior Smullen lives in the Fulton Townhouses located on East campus, however he can often be found curled up on a couch in Foy C5.



Papers, piled on top of textbooks, piled on top of dirty gym shorts – sounds like any boys dorm room right? Marist senior Brendan Smullen is no exception. Capping project outlines and empty coffee cups occupy any empty space in his room. As the captain of the ultimate Frisbee team and a senior Psychology major, Brendan has little to no down time.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous to think I’m graduating in 20 something days,” said Smullen. “I know it sounds cheesy but it feels like yesterday I was in my room packing – scared out of my mind to move in freshman year.”

With graduation drawing closer, the 22-year-old Maine native has big plans for the future. “This summer I will be lobbying for Fund the Public Interest,” said Smullen, “It’s a green organization focused on promoting environmental awareness.”

As a lobbyist Brendan’s responsibilities will include calling congressman and going door-to-door promoting the group. Considered more of a summer internship than a “real job” he will earn merit based pay throughout the summer.

“My ideal job would have something to do with environmental law, so Fund the Public Interest is a tremendous opportunity for me,” Smullen continued. “Right now I have some funds set aside that I’m going to let mature. Law school applications don’t start until September for the fall of 2010, so I’ve got time. Right now my number one school is Pace University because of their Environmental Law Program.”

Before Brendan begins studying how to save the planet, he will be doing a little manual labor to help the earth first. Pending a phone interview on Tuesday May, 5 Brendan will be accepted into the AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) program.

The NCCC program takes you to 3 sites nationally, doing some sort of service projects with groups of your peers – which in my case is 18-24 yr olds. You don’t know where you’re going or what the goal of the site is,” said Smullen. “I’ve been told 50% of our time will be spent on disaster relief, focusing mainly on the Gulf Coast,”

Born and raised in the small town of Wells, Maine, Smullen hopes to see and do as much as possible during his year off from school.

“I would love to work with children,” Brendan continued, “[AmeriCorps] offered me a position in their City Year program in New Hampshire where I would work with underprivileged students. The appeal is there but it would be an hour from home, which is a little too close for me – I really want to get out and do things on my own.”

President Obama recently increased funding for the AmeriCorps program, tripling the membership role from 75,000 to 250,000 members each year. AmeriCorps is currently a 10-month program that gives citizens a chance to give back to their country. Members work 5 days a week for a total of 1700 hours throughout the 10-month period. “We’re expected to live on around $100 a week,” said Smullen. “Food, housing, and medical benefits are provided for us, so only having $100 to spend shouldn’t be too bad.”

Brendan’s girlfriend, Marist sophomore Katie Warren will be studying abroad in Spain during the fall 2009 semester. In addition to visiting Katie in Barcelona Brendan hopes to hike the Appalachian Trail at some point (preferably before entering law school). “Over the next 10 months I can hopefully take some weekend trips to the Appalachians. To hike the trail from north to south is typically a 5-6 month trip, so I’m going to have to do a lot of planning beforehand.”

Always equipped with hiking boots and his North Face backpack, Brendan’s love for the outdoors is contagious. “I’ve never considered myself a girlie-girl by any stretch of the imagination,” said Brendan’s girlfriend, Katie Warren. “But keeping up with him is a full time job. From hiking, to biking, to only God knows what else – he seriously does not sleep. The kid runs on fresh air and coffee.”

With a solid plan for the future and the drive and ambition to accomplish just about anything, Brendan Smullen is ready to make a difference in world. “After Marist you’re in the ‘real world.’ Now its up to us to ‘be the change we wish to see in the world.’ ”

Recessionistas: Is Cheap now Trendy?

By Sara Shea


As the country begins to recover from the recent economic downward spiral, Americans are continuing to pinch pennies and cut corners wherever they can. As a result the fashion industry is not necessarily suffering, but rather changing to accommodate the new frugal attitude sweeping the nation.

Blogs such as and make looking great on a budget easy for women of all ages, shapes, and sizes. According to an article published in The New York Times, “The use of the word recessionista is making light of a situation that isn’t so favorable for the consumer-driven industries of our nation… It is more lighthearted to say ‘I am the Recessionista, and I don’t really go for that,’ instead of saying ‘I can’t afford that or I don’t want to spend the money,’ ” said Mary Hall of


Creator of, Mary Hall stands amidst piles of cheap trendy finds. Hall created the site to encourage women not to give up on looking good even during the hardest of times.

Creator of, Mary Hall stands amidst piles of cheap trendy finds. Hall created the site to encourage women not to give up on looking good even during the hardest of times.

As a result of this “less is more” mindset, a more European inspired style is gaining popularity here in the States. According to several fashion blogs staple pieces such as simple chic black dresses and suites are items consumers are still willing to spend money on. These few big-ticket items are still deemed acceptable to purchase because they are constantly on trend.

“Staples like little black dresses can be worn to any occasion with any accessory,” said sophomore Fashion Merchandising major Christopher Traina. “Women are willing to drop a decent chunk of change on a dress that makes them feel good despite the state of the economy.”

Women rationalize spending a lot on staple pieces because they are timeless. European women have been employing the quality over quantity style for years now – buying a few designer pieces and using trendy accessories to create a new look. The American idea of living in opulence and excess is slowly dwindling.

According to The New York Times, we are being ushered into an era of “recession chic’ and its personification, the ‘recessionista,’ the new name for the style maven on a budget. That the word represents the times could explain why Sarah Palin’s new wardrobe ($75,000 at Neiman Marcus and nearly $50,000 at Saks) struck some as distasteful.”

This new frugal sense of style is not necessarily bad. This is not the first recession the country has ever gone through, and by no means is it the worst. During the Great Depression, retailers drastically dropped prices and advertised clothing as “economy chic.” Advertisements encouraged consumers to be “smart and thrifty” during hard times. According to The New York Times, “In the wake of the stock market crash of 1987, designers began to offer less-expensive second lines. In 1989, for example, Donna Karan introduced DKNY.”

If the entire nation adopted the mindset of less is more when it comes to clothing and material goods it could actually help the economy and the environment. If the demand for cheap products decreased, the production would also decrease, thus shutting down many third world sweat shops. Consumers would still be purchasing material goods, therefore the economy would still be stimulated – the goods would just be of a much higher quality.

Though higher quality goods usually come with higher quality price tags, they are usually more durable and worth the extra money. “Think about it,” said sophomore Pre-Med major, Abbey Ketner, “If less disposable or cheap products are purchased, less will end up in landfills, which means there will be less harm done to the earth each year.” Therefore not only are you saving money in the long run, your saving the planet as well.

So even though not being able to buy that trendy new bag that costs more than you make in a month seems like the end of the world, fear not frugal fashionista, you are not alone. A new era of fashion is upon us – recession is “in.”

From Walk on to Scholar Athlete

By Sara Shea


Generally eight rowers sit in a boat along with one coxswain who shouts directions and words of encouragement. Most races are won by fractions of a second, therefore coxswains are just as important as any rower in the boat.

Generally eight rowers sit in a boat along with one coxswain who shouts directions and words of encouragement. Most races are won by fractions of a second, therefore coxswains are just as important as any rower in the boat.



Six a.m. practices, bone chilling walks to the boathouse, frostbiting regattas – these are just a few hardships the Marist Crew team endures in any given season. Now add preparing to study abroad in Switzerland, working as a lifeguard, and being a vegetarian to the mix. One could say that Lydia Grace Charney is super woman – juggling major responsibilities with ease.

“Sometimes I think I’m a little crazy,” said Charney, now a sophomore on the varisty crew boat, “I was always involved in high school, so managing my time is a skill I developed early on.” Originally recruited to swim at Marist, Lydia traded in her cap and goggles for ergometers and spandex at the last minute. As a walk-on, Charney rowed in the freshman-novice boat last year.

Even with little to no experience, Lydia quickly excelled in the sport of rowing, seeming to move up in the boat constantly. “It’s surreal almost, to go from being a walk-on to a scholar athlete in one season,” she said, “I never would have imagined how much fun I could have while working so hard.”

Crew is a two-season sport, having meets in both the spring and fall. The team has practice every day except Sunday. “When you spend enough time with a group of people they become like your family. We eat together, practice together, go out together – if we’re not too tired,” Charney laughs, “At this point it’s hard to imagine life without these girls.”

With practice at 6:30 a.m. in the fall and 5:45 a.m. in the spring, it is a wonder Lydia even has time for classes. Instead of taking it easy academically, she is majoring in communications with a double concentration in journalism and public relations. Charney also works as a lifeguard at Mike Artega’s Gym across the street from Marist.

“Napping and eating right is crucial,” said Charney. As a vegetarian it is important that Lydia gets enough protein in her diet to support her intense schedule. Lydia is an avid animal rights activist and is extremely environmentally conscious. She is a member of PETA and Fox Paw, the animal rights group at Marist.

“Lydia is one of the kindest people I have ever met,” said Lydia’s teammate and roommate, Marist sophomore Kelly Furlong. “ She puts her all into everything she does – it’s amazing really. She genuinely cares about others and wants to help anyone in any way she can.”

Kelly is not the only member of the crew team that noticed Lydia’s kind hearted and loving nature. Lydia and sophomore Ryan Wojcik have been dating for about 6 months. Charney and Wojcik share three major life passions – rowing, music, and love. “Ryan is seriously my other half,” Lydia gushed, “I’m so lucky to have found him.”

Both on the varsity crew boat, Ryan and Lydia see each other at least once every day, even if it is at 6 o’clock in the morning.  When the pressures of work and school get to be too much, the couple takes time to relax by going for walks along the river.

“Crew is a physically and mentally demanding sport,” said Wojcik. “For Lydia to walk on and excel like she did says a lot about her physical strength and the strength of her character.”


Before each race the girls huddle together to give each other a few last minute words of encouragement. One of the best teams at Marist, the team ended their season with a seventh place finish at the ECAC Regatta on Saturday, May 2.

Before each race the girls huddle together to give each other a few last minute words of encouragement. One of the best teams at Marist, the team ended their season with a seventh place finish at the ECAC Regatta on Saturday, May 2.

The Housing Crisis Comes to Marist

Sara Shea



The newest housing available to Marist students is located on East campus. The Fulton Street Townhouses are single occupancy houses fit for a king. Furnished with stainless steal appliances, heated floors, and central air these houses seem more like hotels than dorms.

The newest housing available to Marist students is located on East campus. Furnished with stainless steal appliances, heated floors, and central air the Fulton Street Townhouses seem more like hotels than dorms. Unfortunately only 20% of juniors and seniors get to live in these townhouses each year.



Did you know that at Marist College you are no guaranteed housing as a junior or a senior? According to the Marist Office of Undergraduate Admissions, 90% of upperclassmen that apply for housing are accommodated. But what happens to the other 10% of students?

This year, students who did not get on campus housing were put on a wait list and will be contacted in July with a final decision. Unfortunately for those who do not qualify for on-campus housing, July is a bit late to start looking for an apartment that would need to be ready to move into in September. Not to mention parts of Poughkeepsie are not the safest places on the planet.

When looking for an apartment, students need to consider proximity to campus, cost, and the safety of the neighborhood. By April most houses and apartments on safe streets close to campus have already been spoken for so those students on the wait list are often forced to find housing outside of Poughkeepsie.

Housing at Marist is based on priority points. Students receive point through their GPA, campus involvement, and disciplinary record. Therefore students “earn” their housing. However, there are huge gaps in the logic behind this system. Housing is based on group points, therefore no matter how well one does as an individual their points are averaged with the students they will be living with.
“I had 31 points last year and I got Marian,” said sophomore Tracy Dalton. “Tell me how that happens? I got Lower New for next year. I’m moving off campus senior year, no way am I dealing with this again.”

Another glitch in the housing system is the fact that once a student lives off campus they cannot move back on campus. Therefore students who’s points are too low to receive on campus housing can not even try to redeem themselves the following year.

This year over 10,000 students applied to the undergraduate program at Marist. Of those 10,000 about 35% were accepted. “Approximately 3,000 students were admitted,” said Meghan Donoghue, an Admissions Counselor at Marist College. “We hope to retain about 950 for next year’s freshman class.”

According to the office of Housing and Residential Life, the three main freshman dorms can only accommodate 920 students. Therefore if more than the anticipated 950 students decide to attend Marist next fall upper classman will have to pay for the school’s poor planning.

Freshman will take priority because they are guaranteed housing, therefore upper classman that did not get housing and are on the waiting list will be forced to move off campus. This year, there was a serious shortage of housing for male upper classmen.

“My group filled the last male house left in Lower New,” said sophomore Andrew Ludington. “We had 29 priority points, and we almost didn’t get housing, that’s crazy.”

Though moving off campus does not necessarily cost more than paying room and board, it is extremely inconvenient for students without cars and students who had not anticipated finding off campus housing. With no shuttle and most decent off campus housing located at least a mile from campus, Marist College needs to consider student’s convenience and safety when it comes to housing.

 “We heard guys houses had closed out in Fulton and Upper West the first day so we attempted to look at [off campus] houses,” said Ludington. “The few apartments that were left were steps away from the Poughkeepsie projects. Thank God I got some kind of housing because my parents were not about to let me live in that neighborhood.”

Here Comes the Sun! Now Where are the Jobs?

By Ashley Posimato

The powerful rays of the almost-summer sun reflect beautifully off the Hudson River, over the campus’s most popular lawn– infested with students satisfying their desires in the form of a blanket and a book or a frisbee and a football– and into the daunting library windows where you sit.  Sweat pours down your face as result of both the heat of the wall-length, fully lit window, and the quickly approaching deadlines and finals that at one time seemed intangibly distant. You stare mindlessly at textbook in front of you and although the words on the page are vehicles driving down a one-way street to the world of academia, the meaning you derive from them seems to look very different.

A grass hut creating the only shade on your exclusive caribbean getaway?  A brand new expensive pair of sunglass to boast confidently as you walk along the shore?

Photo By:

Photo By:

Or a jobless, fruitless summer vacation, because school is almost out, your almost broke, and the chances of scoring a job as a welcome home gift are slim– especially this year.

Erin Hanlon, current junior at Marist College, has very mixed feelings about the closing of the school year.

“I mean I’m extremely excited for summer, to see my friends and my family,”  Hanlon said, “But there’s almost nothing special to look forward to, at least not until I find a job.”

The likelihood of find a job immediately after returning home is especially discouraging this season.

Joe Conti, general manager of IHOP in West Babylon, New York, is already feeling the pressure of all the college kids returning from school.

“Some of these kids have worked here for four and five summers,” Conti said, “I have a strong loyalty to them but I only have so much to work with this year.”

As a franchise restaurant, there are constant requirements and limitations, including number of staff, that vary according to profit, and that each location must adhere to.

“I would love to take everyone back this summer, but I just laid off two servers and a cook,” Conti said, “I can’t give shifts to my college returners, after just taking them away from some full-time staffers.”

The willingness of companies to consider applicants, especially with the huge numbers being received, is declining quickly.  At Marist’s recent Spring Career and Internship fair, students found that even as prospective interns, expected to work for free, they were experiencing equal difficulty securing positions.  With jobs, and internship opportunities similarly scarce, it has become increasingly deterring for students looking for work.

Kristen Kapral, junior at Marist College,  said that the shift of her main concerns is represented by her internet searches.

“This time of year I used to be on travel agent sites […] planning my summer vacation,” Kapral said. “But after having no success at the career fair, all I have been doing is searching internship engines, and job openings.”

The days of summer splurges seem to be irrelevant this season as students trade in their urges to travel and their well-deserved designer sunglasses, for human resources contacts and any possibility to attend an open-call interview.

“If I don’t get a job or an internship my mom is going to bug me to hangout with her everyday, Kapral said.  “Either way it’s going to be one heck of a summer.”