Chatham MSA works to educate students on Islam

Even for Chatham students, most of whom have progressive views and accept other people’s beliefs and ideologies, it is difficult to combat the prejudices evidently present outside the Chatham bubble.

On Wednesday, February 10, 2015 three Muslims, aged 19, 21, and 23, were gunned down in their neighborhood near UNC Chapel Hill by their neighbor. Police stated that the shooting was over a parking spot dispute while many within the Muslim community, including the victims’ fathers are calling the incident a hate crime.

The sister of one of the victims spoke to “The New Yorker” after the shooting stating, “It’s time people started talking about how real Islamophobia is — that it’s not just a word tossed around for political purposes but that it has literally knocked on our doorstep and killed three of our American children.”

Even though we may think that we left our racist ideals in the 1960s, prejudices are still pervasive in our society. Tragic events such as the Chapel Hill shooting, or the police brutality that ignited the Black Lives Matter movement can happen to anyone, anywhere. To combat this, one Chatham student organization is working to educate the Chatham community on Islamic beliefs and practices.

The Chatham Muslim Student Association, also known as the Chatham MSA, has put on several educational events about Islam. MSA is lead by junior Biology major, Maryem Aslam. Aslam took over MSA after seeing new leadership was needed to drive the organization forward. Aslam’s goal for the organization is to expand its reach to the Chatham Community.

“I want to let students know that this is not a club exclusively for Muslim students. The MSA exists to educate people on Islamic religion, current issues, and just as a resource to ask questions,” Aslam said.

Education has been a main pillar in MSA’s mission this year. MSA participated in Mocktails for the first time. Aslam saw the campus tradition as an avenue to enlighten students along with faculty and staff on why Muslims do not drink alcohol.

“Although we were at an event that was alcohol-free, the symbolism was that Muslims do not drink alcohol,” said Aslam.

MSA also hosted their Annual Eid Dinner. The dinner celebrates the Islamic holiday of Eid-al-Fitr, also known as the breaking the fast feast. The holiday marks the end of Ramadan (the Islamic holy month of fasting)  and is celebrated by Muslims worldwide. In partnership with Parkhurst dining services, MSA provided a traditional Eid feast for Chatham Students and other local college Muslim student associations.

“The dinner had a nice turnout. We had some trouble with the timing so the event was around mid-terms but I have some high hopes for next year,” said Aslam.

On February 1, the MSA participated in World Hijab Day in partnership with Girl Up.  On this day, MSA sponsored a lesson on how to wrap a hijab. Non-Muslim students were welcomed to wear a hijab for a few minutes, a few hours, or even a whole day. Later that evening a discussion was held about why some Muslim women wear the hijab, and its significance.

Students of all faiths and backgrounds are welcome to join Chatham MSA.  Like the MSA Facebook page to get up to date information for all things Chatham MSA.

Chatham first years reflect on first semester

For first year students, there are a lot of challenges and experiences to encounter. These include independence, being away from home for the first time, and going to 8 a.m. classes without parents forcing them to wake up.

Carly Peterson, a first year student in psychology, expressed how much she enjoyed being away from home.

“I actually really like it. I think it’s a good feeling being independent [even though I miss home] but the environment at Chatham is very welcoming,” Peterson said. She was born and raised in Philadelphia and visits home at least once a month.

Many first year students, especially those who live out of state, typically miss home but the amount of freedom and independence is worth it.

If she had it to do differently, Peterson might change a few things about her first semester.

“I would not be so hard on myself [as far as] adjusting myself [to college life],” she said. “It takes time, and I think it stressed me out.”

Frankie Brown, an exercise science major and point guard on Chatham’s first ever men’s basketball team, has some advice for high school seniors.

“Just have fun and don’t give up. Keep pushing. Have fun but most importantly, get your school work done,” he said.

Another first year student, nursing student and Pittsburgh native Alyssa Brown, would change aspects of her first semester, too.

“I wouldn’t procrastinate as much. I do everything at the last minute, everything,” she said.

For first year students, being away from home for the first time can be difficult, but it can be a positive experience, as well.

Lights dazzles and connects with crowds across the globe

This piece originally appeared on The Odyssey.  It was republished with the author’s permission.

Canadian singer-songwriter Lights has the undeniable magic of the Aurora Borealis in her bones. When she performs, she illuminates the stage with her incredible energy and positivity, drawing in fans across the world—her LIGHTS ARMY. Some of these fans have been following her throughout her entire career, which astonishingly started at the young age of 15. Now 28, and a new mother, Lights is going stronger than ever with her latest album—“Little Machines”—having been released last year. Recently, Lights came through Pittsburgh for the Thrival Innovation and Music Festival before she heads out on tour with The Mowgli’s. With her stopping by so close to Chatham, I decided to reach out for an interview.

Indigo: You were first signed when you were 15. How did that feel, being so young?

Lights: It was exciting for me when I was young but also kind of chaotic. I think I had been writing for so long on my own and suddenly I was introduced to co-writers and producers and A&R. It was really eye-opening for me and I was really thankful that it folded after a year when the label I was with at the time merged with another one. I kind of fell through the cracks, but was quickly picked up by Sony Publishing as a writer. But it made me quickly realize that if you don’t have a vision for your craft and what you’re all about as an artist, someone else is going to put that vision there for you. And if that hadn’t folded, someone else would have continued trying to develop me into something. So that gave me the time afterwards to really concentrate on songwriting and my music and my genre, and really find my pocket. And it actually took years after that, until I found that, but I was able to get it out in my own time as opposed to under the supervision of the label.

I: A lot of musicians who started at an early age tell stories about problems with the industry. Did you ever feel taken advantage of or mistreated as a young artist?

L: I never felt pressured into anything. I think everyone was just trying to make something happen with the talent that I had and that they saw in me. And they tried to figure out what to package you as because if you don’t have that sense of self, they’re going to need to package you as something because the world needs a grid. Then you can know what you are all about. So they’re just doing their job in the sense of just making sure that you’ve got your thing going. But in such an early stage of a career there was no money to be made or way I could’ve been taken advantage of. I never felt like that. It was just people trying to develop an artist and figure out where you’re going to get. And that takes a long time. There’s actually some young people—people like Lorde, for example. She’s got this great sense of self and power as individual, and that’s amazing. Not many people have that at a young age. So that’s always my first advice for young people getting into the music industry: find out what your sound is and what your vibe is and what you want to say to the world; what you want to wear and what you want to make your show like. And then someone’s going to want you for that.

I: How did you choose the name Lights? You even changed your name to it legally, what prompted you to do that?

L: It was a nickname for a long time. And it’s just a shorter, easier version of my last name. And legally changing my name made my life so much easier in terms of legality. And it’s awesome. Why the hell not? You only live once. May as well add another name into the picture.

I: You play a variety of instruments. Which is your favorite to play? Which do you feel is your strength?

L: I’m probably the most natural on acoustic guitar. I’ve been playing that the longest. But live I play a lot of synth. There’s a lot of creative freedom when it comes to building a patch on the synth. You can do anything. There are no boundaries. You can make whatever sound is in your head or whatever fits the vibe. And that’s why I love the synth. It doesn’t really come down to playing talent. It comes down to creativity and understanding. The way that the synth works because you’re really just doing chords. And I play piano live and I play electric guitar, and I play bass when I need to, and I play drums when I need to—not live, but when I’m in the studio and I’m recording. It’s easy to pick up one instrument after you’ve already learned another. I can play a lot of instruments, but I’m not incredible at one single instrument. I disperse my time on all of them to get what I need out of them.

I: One of your early and unique pieces of merchandise was a limited run comic book. And you made a series of comic-style videos a few years ago—the Audio Quests. Even now, your posters that you sell have a comic-style to them. It’s something very unique about you as an artist. Was it something intended or something you just came up with as you went along?

L: I think the most obvious thing is that I’m a big fan of graphic novels and comics. I still read graphic novels and manga. I don’t have the time that I used to, to collect individual comics, but it’s inspiring to me because it’s such a surreal environment that you end up in. You can read a book and be teleported somewhere else and that’s the beauty of art. That’s the beauty of music. And that’s the goal—they have to give you that vacation. And it’s nice to open your mind and believe there’s something bigger out there when you create art. It keeps you happier and it keeps you young and keeps your mind open. I never want to be too fully stuck in the real world.

I: How did the LIGHTS ARMY come about? What all does that entail?

L: I’m pretty sure that the fans named themselves. People were like, “Should we be ‘light balls?’ Should we be ‘glow sticks?’” But then everyone just settled on LIGHTS ARMY because it spurred from the name “soul-dier” because “Drive My Soul” was a song that moved a lot of people. They felt like they were soul-diers in the LIGHTS ARMY. And they’re dedicated and they care so much and they’re so strong and powerful. They can do a lot of good and make a lot of change when they band together and I know that. It’s been incredible watching them grow with me. We’ve grown together. I’ve seen relationships form within LIGHTS ARMY. I’ve seen people get married and people become best friends and people get pulled from the dark side. It’s really incredible to see. And they do this little “LA” symbol with their hands that’s cute as well.

I: How has being a mother changed your career—if at all?

L: I get asked a lot about how it has influenced my music and I have to say it hasn’t because everything that was written for “Little Machines” was written before I had a baby. I was pregnant for a lot of the recording process, but you have no idea what it’s like to become a parent until you become a parent. I think it expanded my horizons a lot while I was writing though. It really forces you to look at everything from the big picture because you know you’re having a baby. You know your life is going to be different. You just have to decide in what ways. And I didn’t want to let go of my music career. I didn’t want to let go of everything we built and the things that I love so much about life. I knew it had to remain part of my world and I just had to find a place in my mind where I could find a balance. And I’ve been making it work ever since and it’s incredible. There’s a freedom that comes with being a parent. It’s a powerful reminder that if you fail, you have something powerful that’s got your back the entire time. And the biggest catalyst for bad decision-making is the fear of failure. And if you’re not afraid of failing anymore, you’re free to create the art that you want to create and let it carry you wherever it’s going to take you.

I: Is it hard to leave for tour now that you have a family?

L: She [Rocket—Lights’ daughter] has to come on tour with me every time I go. I haven’t had to leave her yet.

I: “Little Machines” was a long time in the making. What did you do in the interim?

L: There was a three-year gap. After “Siberia” we toured the world basically. It took us to Australia, all of North America, Europe, the UK. We were just touring constantly and I was unable to find a balance at the time between maintaining productive creativity between tours and on the road. So when it came to the end of that record cycle and into the time that I had to start writing again, it had run a little dry because I hadn’t been practicing. Songwriting is a muscle just like anything and if you let it go cold, you have to rework it back into use. And so I was really frustrated when I started writing again. I didn’t know what I wanted to say, I didn’t know what I wanted it to sound like, and I didn’t know where I was in music. And that’s what it became all about—this transition back into the enjoyment of creating music and back into that feeling of excitement when you sit down with your guitar and write something. It took 43 songs to get there. I wrote 43 songs and 11 ended up on the record. And it was just the process of that. It was painstaking at times and very deeply emotional at times and really frustrating. There were nights where I thought it was all going to be gone. But those kind of nights have to happen because it forces you into a solution and I started to work the muscle in different ways and just stopped writing for a minute. I started doing poetry and I started doing painting, and just flexing the different facets of my creativity and working myself back into the feel of enjoying art. And then suddenly at the end of 2015, I realized that we had 11 killer songs. That suddenly just happened, and a month later we were in the studio recording and the record came out that fall.

I: “Little Machines” branches out a bit from your usual sound and experiments with other styles. Where did you end up drawing inspiration for “Little Machines?”

L: A lot of it was what our live shows have turned out to be. Our live shows are really really dynamic and powerful and my band is incredible. So you suddenly are subconsciously thinking about how you come off live. Like my first record, when I hadn’t really toured ever, I was just making music. So when that didn’t translate live, we were kind of like, “Oh this part could be better live. This part could be more dynamic live.” That starts to influence the way you write. With “Little Machines,” a lot more organic elements were introduced as well as synthetic elements. I love the blend because that’s what feels the best live. That’s what creates the most dynamic live. We have live drums, live guitar, analog synth—and that’s very powerful live. So that all became the base point for the production on “Little Machines”—this sort of classic, electronic sound that is really dynamic.

I: Which song is your favorite on the album?

L: I think the most powerful one for me is “Up We Go.” It came at a time when I really needed it and actually took a few months to write because I was really at the bottom of my creative inspiration. I began that song and months later, when I found myself kind of drunk, standing up in the tub, working on music by myself in a hotel room, the record just started pouring out in the moment of inspiration. That was the transition from a very dry time to a suddenly inspired time. So that song did exactly what it’s about for me. And when I play that live, everyone goes up. It’s good. It’s a good feeling. Because I think everyone experiences that feeling of, “From down this low, It’s only up we go.” That’s what you really want to believe and I think it’s true.

I: You’re no stranger to festivals. You’ve even come through Pittsburgh before to play the Warped Tour Festival. So how was Thrival in comparison to the festivals you’ve played before?

L: Thrival was awesome. We’ve played Pittsburgh quite a few times. I think we do on every tour we do. And the shows in Pittsburgh are always fun for us. I have really good memories of energetic crowds and really great fans. So I was expecting no less. You never know what you’re going to get at a festival because there are fans there to see other artists. That’s the beauty of it, but that’s also sometimes an intimidating thing. We had Manchester Orchestra fans. We had Ghostface Killah fans. I had my fans. It’s a blend of people watching you and it’s quite intimidating playing in front of fans who aren’t there to see you. And that’s when you have to step up and put on a killer show. And that’s what we did and it was really fun. The crowd was right along with me and it made me love Pittsburgh even more.

I: Now that Thrival is over, you’re headed on tour with The Mowgli’s. Are you looking forward to that?

L: Yeah! I think it will be good. We’ve never done a co-headline before so it’s a first for us. And it will be interesting to see how it goes down. Both of us are so different. And we have these different fanbases—but I think our fanbases are similar in the respect that our shows are happy and fun and uplifting. I think it will be one big party. I think it’s going to be a blast.

Make sure to catch Lights on her US tour with The Mowgli’s this November and December for an experience of cathartic proportions.

Chatham offers trendy new flavors with the opening of the Carriage House smoothie bar

On March 26, 2015, Chatham’s Student Government (CSG) met with administrators and Chatham’s architect to discuss changes on campus—including the relocation of the post office and bookstore. When discussing the future use of The Carriage House, it was suggested that a smoothie or juice bar could be added. The proposal gained moderate support and was put into motion.

Rob Coyne, the general manager of dining services at Chatham said, “Residence Life was looking for something to attract students to come to the Carriage House. They had received a lot of feedback from students wanting a fresh fruit smoothie and juice bar.”

When the remodeled Carriage House was opened, there was space for a smoothie bar in the main room. The Carriage House Smoothie & Juice Bar was later opened on September 24. For the first day, the hours were restricted from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. but have since been switched to the usual hours of operation from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

When asked if it was hard to pull the smoothie bar together in such a short amount of time, supervisor Stephanie Cervi said, “It was not hard at all; we were very organized.”

The menu of the Carriage House Smoothie & Juice Bar offers many options. These range from the Eden Hall Bliss juice (Eden Hall tomatoes, spinach or kale, and fresh-squeezed Granny Smith apple juice) to the ‘Fu Smoothie (silken tofu, fresh bananas, local honey, and organic soy milk) to the Melon Cuke Mint juice (watermelon, cucumber, and mint), and more. There are even options that allow students to create their own drinks from a list of optional ingredients. Students can also always add a “boost” to their smoothies (green tea matcha powder, energy, protein [whey], or immune support).

“Some of the smoothie recipes (the Cougar Cooler and the Going Bananas) were from the McGrady Café Smoothie Bar that was opened when the AFC came on line,” said Coyne. “The others are based on popular trends in smoothie bars. The juice recipes were developed with help of Delicious Raw, a Juice Bar concept as part of the Hello Bistros’ (Eat’n Park restaurants) partnership within downtown Pittsburgh.”

Cervi said, “It’s a great option for all customers. Vegans and vegetarians seem to really enjoy it. The athletes enjoy getting a drink after practice or before going to the gym and adding protein powder to their drink.”

The current menu offers 11 options—seven smoothies and four juices, with two of the smoothies and one of the juices being CYO (choose your own).

“We will tweak the menus around seasonally available fruits and vegetables. We will also make menu changes based on guest feedback,” said Coyne. “So far we have very positive comments around the smoothie and juice recipes.”

Students work to resurrect Chatham’s forgotten music club

After years of hiatus, Chatham’s music club is starting anew. Because the club is new, members will have a chance to decide what music-related activities they would like to do.

“Music is for everyone,” said the club’s president, Hannah Gregor.

“I love music and I really hope to inspire all of you guys to love different varieties of music,” she said at the club’s first meeting in Laughlin Music Hall on September 25.

This gathering attracted about 20 students. All of them were music lovers, and some were even music majors. They were fans of not only classical music, but also of jazz, rock, dance, and many more varieties.

The Music Club will participate in, attend, and sponsor events related to music on and off campus. Gregor hopes the club will expand to support all kinds of music, dance, and song on campus and in the Pittsburgh community. She even hopes to bring musicians to campus—like students’ bands—that may not usually perform at Chatham.

The Music Club also plans to partner with other clubs, including the Ukulele Club, the Drama Club, and the Artist Collective. Through these partnerships, they can plan events and explore many kinds of music.

Members of Music Club may also have access to discounted Pittsburgh Symphony tickets, to allow for their further musical education.

At the meeting, Gregor addressed the club’s stagnation.

“I am senior, and this club didn’t exist my freshman year, so it’s been gone for a pretty long time, for at least four years,” she said.

Because the club has been inactive for so long, Gregor is hoping for members’ suggestions to help determine the club’s new programming.

Gregor insisted that the Music Club is not only for lovers of classical music.

“There are a lot of aspects in music, so music is really open,” she added.

Gregor revived the club in order to increase opportunities for Chatham students to appreciate music.

“I don’t think a lot of people appreciate music as much as they should,” she said.

“I want people to know music is not just for music majors. It’s for everyone,” Gregor continued. “You never know what you might like until you hear it or participate in it. You never know. There are so many kinds of music. Music is for everyone.”

Class of 2018 comes out on top at 2015 BOTC

Chatham’s annual Battle of the Classes was bigger than ever this year, with the first coeducational class joining in on the competition.

Over the course of one week, Chatham’s first-year, sophomore, junior, and senior classes battled against each other in events that varied from window painting to relay races, in an effort to win bragging rights for the rest of the year.

On Friday, October 2, the Chatham community gathered in Eddy Theater for the final and most highly anticipated event of the week — song contest.  The event pits classes against each other to see who can best rewrite the lyrics to popular songs to make them about the Chatham experience.

Hosted by stand-up comedian and Chatham alumna Olivia Traini (Class of 2013), who joked, “maybe you’ll come out of this with a bruised ego, but, you know, you’ll get back up,” the event featured everything from zombie-themed rewrites of “The Monster Mash” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” by the Class of 2018, to a skit about embracing the coeducation transition that set the alma mater to the tune of Soulja  Boy’s “Crank That” from the Class of 2019.

The Class of 2017 put on a TV show themed performance, rewriting the lyrics to the theme songs of, “That ‘70s Show,” “Full House,” “SpongeBob SquarePants,” and, of course, “Friends.”

Between performances Traini filled space by advertising a free give-away of Chipotle gift cards; performing stand-up, which included a joke that she was continuously interrupted in the middle of telling; and an impromptu dance session, complete with audience participation, to Ellie Goulding’s “Anything Could Happen,” to kill time during technical difficulties.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night, though, was a the impressive rally from the Class of 2016, who put on a funny, engaging, and well-rehearsed “Saturday Night Live” skit, featuring the real President Esther Barazzone. The performance — which featured a song about having overnight guests for the first time, set to the tune of “I Just Had Sex” by The Lonely Island — did not, in the end, lead them to victory, but it was a powerful final performance for the senior class.

The winning class, 2018, pulled out all the stops with all black clothes, zombie makeup, clever lyrics, and coffins full of candy that they handed out to the audience.

Winners were determined by a panel of judges, which this year included Zauyah Waite Dean of Students; Peter Walker, Dean of the Falk School of Sustainability; and Darlene Motley, Dean of the School of Arts, Sciences, and Business.  

Though the evening was entertaining, several students noted the lack of the traditional senior slideshow with confusion.

After the performances, students gathered at Rea Coffeehouse to hear the overall winners of the BOTC competition, and after much suspense it was revealed that the Class of 2018 were the this year’s grand champions.

Chatham supports pride and acceptance for LGBT History Month

Chatham University is a campus of many different facets, and one topic that frequently springs up good feelings is the acceptance of the LBGTQ+ community. The campus plans to celebrate LGBT History month, which starts in October, with several different events that will spark the interest of everyone.

The “Chalk the Quad” event, hosted by the This Is Me! Queer-Straight Alliance, will take place on October 8. Students will have the chance to express themselves through decorating the quad. The next day, This Is Me! will hold a rainbow flag hand printing event in Anderson Dining Hall to support the LGBTQ+ community, and they will host the Coming Out Dialogues in Rea Coffeehouse where students can share their experiences with their peers. At the month’s end, “Celebrating Stonewall: The Stonewall Uprising”will be screened in Eddy Theatre on October 27. It is a great opportunity for anyone interested in history, equal rights, or good film in general.

These on-campus events will allow students to express themselves.  They assure them that they are not alone, and they provide some fun outside of the normal campus activities.

Riding around town: Chatham’s new focus on bike culture

If you have walked by Café Rachel lately you may have noticed an overfilled bike rack. Bicycles packed in like unorganized sardines.

Biking has always been part of Chatham Culture but never has the university seen such a heightened interest in biking. Director of University Sustainability Mary Whitney had some insight on why this change occurred.

Bike culture has been consistent for many years but not noticeable to those who are not avid bikers, said Witney. The University has roots in the Chatham Bike Collective at Rea House.

“We have been biking for many years,” said Whitney.

In fact, Chatham has been acknowledge as a Bike Friendly Campus. It received a bronze rating from the League of American Bicyclist, a non-profit organization whose mission is to be a leader in making America more bike friendly.

Whitney hopes Chatham will move up to a silver rating. She is currently awaiting the results of their most recent audit.

Also in Chatham’s bike history, Chatham was one of the first universities to have bicycle police officers. This effort was made possible through the help of Dr. Mike Boyd, the assistant professor of music.

“Dr. Boyd helped us to become one of the first two institutions anywhere in the United States to offer the Federal Bike Commuter Tax Credit,” Whitney said.

According to the League of American Bicyclists’ website, The Federal Bike Commuter Tax Credit allows any employer, if they chose to do so, to provide reimbursement of up to twenty dollars per month for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee in conjunction with their commute to work by bike.

Since 2009, Chatham has had a Bike Support Group as a part of the Climate Action Plan. The first five-year plan to increase bike infrastructure is nearly complete.

The question still stands: why are there so many bikes on campus this year? Whitney admits that she was very surprised by the number of students who brought their bikes this year, and she is excited to say that more bike racks will be added to accommodate the larger population.

“The biggest environmental benefit of bikes after they have been built is that after they have been built and shipped, they emit no further pollution. With a carbon footprint of about 530 pounds of carbon over its life, a bike has a total carbon footprint at least 10 times less than a car, not to mention the lower impact from needing less space for roads, and putting significantly less wear and tear on the environment,” Whitney said.  ”And of course, the other huge plus is how much better they are for the rider.”

So how does one begin their journey into Chatham’s bike culture? The first step is getting a bike.

Bike Works, located in the lower level of Woodland Hall behind the Bookstore, offers a bike rental program. Students can rent a bike for a semester or a year. Rentals include a new helmet, bike lights, locks, a mini tool kit, and a seat cover.

“We have a fleet of twenty bikes and five of those have currently been rented. Bike Works often takes abandoned bikes on campus and fixes them up so they can go on to live productive lives,” Whitney said.

For Bike Works’ hours and more information on the program, e-mail

The Pittsburgh area has also rolled out a bike sharing program called Healthy Ride. With this program, people may make short term rentals of bikes. The closest stations to Chatham are at Maryland and Walnut in Shadyside, or at Penn and Putnam at Bakery Square by Eastside. Learn more about the program at

Her Campus publishes “The Her Campus Guide to College Life”

For those looking how to navigate college life, Her Campus has always been an irrefutable resource. Now co-founders Stephanie Kaplan Lewis, Windsor Hanger Western, and Annie Wang are taking their efforts a step further. They have written a book titled “The Her Campus Guide to College Life: How to Manage Relationships, Stay Safe and Healthy, Handle Stress, and Have the Best Years of Your Life.”

While the title says a lot, it does not say enough. Written in the Her Campus tone of a trusty friend or a wise big sister, the book will be any college student’s new best friend. With 19 chapters to peruse, the book can aid a helpless freshman or even an experienced upperclasswoman.

When asked where they got the idea for the book, the co-founders answered, “As much as we love everything about the internet, we still appreciate the value of curling up with a good book, too. And while our site provides a ton of fabulous articles individually, we thought it would be nice to put together a comprehensive ‘guide’ of sorts to college life, that would be the collegiette’s bible, and we always imagined this to be in book form. It was just a matter of the timing being right to finally make it happen and publish a book.”

The chapters cover dorm safety; safety around campus; sexual assault; studying abroad; nutrition, fitness, and eating disorders; physical health; drinking, smoking, and drugs; mental health; sexual health; roommates; professors, RAs, and TAs; dating, relationships, and hooking up; unhealthy relationships; extracurriculars; Greek life; juggling social life and academics; social media dos and don’ts; managing your money; and landing jobs and internships. Within each chapter are multiple sections to break down the finite details of each chapter’s theme. Put simply, this book is the godsend that women college students—or collegiettes, as Her Campus calls them—have been waiting for.

When asked about the most helpful chapter, the co-founders stated, “It’s impossible to pick just one chapter since the book is really about how all these areas of your life—health, relationships, academics, etc.—come together in college. But [we] would say the chapter on mental health is one of the more critically important ones. In college it’s key to manage stress and make sure you’re in a positive state of mind in order to be able to get the most out of everything college has to offer.”

And no doubt this is a book the world has needed desperately. While there are dozens upon dozens of college self-help books, the advice in Her Campus’ compilation is incomparable. Especially for young women, the book conveys Her Campus’ commitment to giving sisterly advice in the friendliest form possible.

The co-founders shared collectively that the best advice they got in college was, “Pursue what you’re passionate about and success will follow,” “Don’t go chasing a career path just because it seems like it will make you a lot of money, if it’s something you aren’t truly interested in,” and, “If you immerse yourself in things you love, you’ll be best positioned to see where there is opportunity and to capitalize on that.”

They also said the best advice they could give a college student was, “Don’t feel like you can’t achieve something just because you’re young, or inexperienced, or don’t have enough money,” “If you set your mind to something and work your hardest, you can achieve anything,” and “Just be sure to be smart about it and to find mentors and advisors who can help you along the way.”

“The Her Campus Guide to College Life: How to Manage Relationships, Stay Safe and Healthy, Handle Stress, and Have the Best Years of Your Life” is now available for purchase through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, and more—including a digital version available in the iTunes iBookstore.

Check out “The Her Campus Guide to College Life” here.

Spaghetti, Meatballs, and Sarah Grey: How one alumna made the world a smaller place

What is a Spaghetti and Meatball dinner besides relatively easy to make and filling? A tool that can bring communities together, apparently.

In a world where relationships are all too easily reduced to the likes of text messages and Facebook statuses, what started as a simple birthday celebration has become an international movement connecting friends and strangers. The concept and practice of Friday Night Meatballs started by one of Chatham’s very own, Sarah Grey, is relatively simple: Spread the word using your preferred method of communication, accept the first ten people who respond, cook up a pot of spaghetti and meatballs (or not depending on your preference), and fun ensues.

Philosophy and Cultural Studies major, Class of 2002 graduate, freelance writer and editor, mother, and owner of Grey Editing, Sarah Grey explained her process.

“On Wednesday night, I put out a status on Facebook and the first 10 people to say yes get to join us,” she said describing a typical Friday Night. “We make spaghetti and meatballs, they bring bread and wine, kids take over in the living room, and we light some candles and try really hard not to sweat the housework.”

Due to her writing and international network that stems in part from her work in translating, Grey’s at first intimate gatherings have spread to other countries such as the Ukraine and Canada.

“My network is already pretty international, but I’ve heard from countries where I have no connections at all,” she said.

Grey is even currently proposing a book of stories about the people from all over who have come together because of Friday Night Meatballs. In regards to coming together, many a personal and professional relationship has come from these gatherings. Although, according to Grey, there has not been a Friday Night Meatballs wedding yet, a lot of individuals who probably would not have otherwise interacted have met.

Although now stationed in Philadelphia and busy with business ownership, Sarah Grey has not forgotten her days as a Chatham Cougar, she even notes jokingly that her husband is an honorary Chatham man. The only self-proclaimed feminist at her then high school, after taking a women studies class, she fell in love with Chatham and does not regret her time there. Recalling all-female productions of plays and the standout Toni Morrison, Grey has many a fond memory; and like a true Chatham woman, she has plenty of thoughts on where Chatham University is headed. When asked what she thinks of the University’s decision to go co-ed, Sarah Grey had a lot to say.

“I’m just really disappointed because what really made Chatham stand out was that it’s a women’s college,” she said. “I’ve found that I can really spot a Women’s College graduate from a mile away. They carry themselves with a confidence and a style that you don’t see that much.” Speaking of that confidence that Grey herself felt she gained from her time at Chatham, she expressed concern and sympathy for a generation of young women who may not be able to gain it for themselves. When asked what she would say to her eighteen-year-old self, she responded that she would tell herself have confidence and not credit cards.