Alta Gracia Worker Spotlight: Yenny Perez

Alta Gracia isn’t just collegiate clothing, but a pathway out of poverty.  Alta Gracia, located in the Dominican Republic, focuses on one main goal: paying their employees a living wage. This means that all workers will have enough to provide for their families — food, clean water, clothing, shelter, transportation, child and health care, and education. When you make an Alta Gracia purchase at your campus bookstore, you’re helping #ChangeLives, one t-shirt at a time.  One woman changed by Alta Gracia is Yenny Perez.  Here is her story.

Yenny's flier featuring her children.

Yenny Perez is an inspiring woman and the Secretary of Finances of Alta Gracia’s union. She grew up in a small, rural village but left at a young age in order to find a job in the capital, Santo Domingo. She was successful at finding work, but her small income impeded her schooling. When she had her first child, she stopped attending entirely.

Determined to provide for her children, Yenny took a job at a local garment factory. Despite being respected as an exemplary employee, she noticed the sore mistreatment of her fellow workers. Long hours, no employee rights, and low wages were common. Yenny declined a job as a supervisor because she could not imagine treating the workers in the same manner the other supervisors did.

When a friend approached her about joining a union to protect workers’ rights, Yenny was eager to participate and helped develop a plan of action. When the company found out, they used intimidation tactics to scare other employees out of joining the union. In order to motivate her fellow workers, Yenny designed a flier featuring her with her children. The company offered to triple her paycheck if she would retract her support, but she told them she wasn’t in it for the money, but for justice.

Now, Yenny has four children who are all attending school, thanks to her job with Alta Gracia. Motivated to continue her education, Yenny is also enrolled in secondary school and hopes to eventually make her way to law school. Once there, she plans to continue to fight for the rights of workers.

For the full article on Yenny Perez, check out Alta Gracia’s site here. Find out how you too can help #ChangeLives like Yenny.

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USA Olympic Swim Team Sings “Call Me Maybe”

In case you haven’t seen it, “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen has once again made its way into another viral video. This time the USA Olympic Swim team was behind the parody. Choreographed mostly by the women’s team, the video featured cameos from a variety of swimmers, including Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.

The US hopes to once again dominate this year’s Olympic swimming competition. Four years ago, in Beijing, the men and woman teams swam for a combined total of 30 medals. Hopefully, their spirits stay as high as they are in the video!

Written by Guest Blogger, Matt Goldberg

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Why You Should Be Doing Yoga

Yoga might look like an easy, serene form of exercise, but it’s far more than a few twists and stretches on a mat. Yoga ranges in all difficulty levels and challenges the body as well as the mind.

Yoga is a type of exercise that can be used to strengthen any desired area of your body through a variety of poses and stretches. It aims to promote flexibility and release (getting rid of tension). By practicing yoga, you can relieve stress, gain strength, and have fun all at the same time. The best part is that you can do it anywhere – a local yoga studio, a class at your nearest gym, your house, or even your dorm!

Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, there’s a smartphone app for that. The resources to help you get started are everywhere. You can check your phone, a book, a DVD, or the internet. Yoga is all about availability so that no matter where you go, you can always find a place to practice.

The FIRM Beginners Yoga Kit with DVD is perfect if it's your first time! ($22 at Walmart)

I’m going to start practicing more yoga, are you?

Written by Guest Blogger, Chloe Leach

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Athletic-Style Recycling

When it comes to finding environmentally-friendly alternatives, creativity can come in handy. A business called Project Green Ball is working with a turf manufacturer in upstate New York who is producing the tennis ball-

based equestrian turf.  The recycling efforts use the entire ball – crushing it and using it as a component of equestrian turf.  Schools in New England with equestrian programs are currently considering using the new surface to replace their old turf arenas.

Project Green Ball’s goal is to promote the idea that tennis balls don’t have to be dumped in landfills. They hope to recycle a total of 1,000,000 balls. Although this sounds like a large amount, 300 million balls are manufactured each year and over 125 million are used in the US annually.  The mission has just begun and Wilson Sporting Goods is on board, committing 20,000 used balls to the project.  So far, the organization has collected over 23,800 tennis balls and is continuing its mission.

If you wish to contribute to the idea, please visit this link.

Written By Guest Blogger, Matt Goldberg

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Dorm Checklist

A few weeks ago, we brought you our suggestions for when it comes to packing for college. Now, we’ve decided to make it even EASIER with the ultimate, ready-to-print Dorm Checklist. From storage boxes to hand towels, we’ve got a list of all your necessities. Check them off as you go and you’ll be ready in no time!

You’re all ready to get packing!

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Dish It: Crescent Roll Pizza

Want something besides your usual take-out pizza? Try using crescent roll dough and making your own! The recipe only takes about five minutes and will leave you wanting more.

What You’ll Need:

1 Jar Pizza Sauce (we used Ragu)

1 bag of shredded mozzarella cheese

1 container of crescent rolls

Any other toppings of your choice (I used pepperoni)

A baking sheet

What To Do:

Spread out the crescent rolls on the baking sheet (when you roll them out they are in two rectangles, put them together and mush together the wholes so the sauce doesn’t leak out).

Bake (use the temperature directions on the crescent roll container). Only bake 5 minutes (just the dough, not toppings)

Take it out, add your sauce and cheese and toppings (if desired)

Bake until the cheese is melted.

Do you have any other tips or suggestions? Post a comment below!

Written by Guest Blogger, Maria Cafferata

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Team USA Olympians in College

The term “Student-Athlete” takes on a new meaning when it refers to Team USA’s Olympians who are still in college. These athletes aren’t just committed to their sports, they are also dedicated students. When we found this article on Huffington Post College, we just knew we had to share. Keep reading to see if any athletes from your alma mater will be competing in London.

BREEJA LARSON – TEXAS A&M

This 20 year old swimmer set four records…just during her freshman year of college! Now that she’s finished her sophomore year at Texas A&M, she’ll be competing in the 100m breast stroke in London.

DAVID BOUDIA – PURDUE UNIVERSITY

A 23-year old diver from Purdue, Boudia also competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He is expected to medal in London, so keep your eyes peeled!

MILES CHAMLEY-WATSON – PENN STATE UNIVERSITY

At Penn State, Chamley-Watson studies Business and Finance, but outside of school, this 22 year-old competes on the US Men’s Foil team in Fencing. He qualified for the third spot on the team and is ready to show off his skills across the pond.

SAM MIKULAK – UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

At 19, Mikulak just finished his sophomore year at the University of Michigan. He will be the 1st from his university to compete on the USA Men’s Gymnastics team. During trials, he was forced to compete with a broken ankle, but that did not stop him from making the cut.

EMMA COBURN – UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT BOULDER

When it comes to Track & Field, 21 year old Emma Coburn is one to keep an eye on. This senior from the University of Colorado at Boulder is ranked the fourth fastest American EVER in steeplechase. We can’t wait to watch!

SARAH SCHERER – TEXAS CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY

We’re very excited to watch 21 year old Sarah Scherer compete in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle Event in London. This TCU student became interested in the sport of shooting at the age of nine and is now competing as an Olympian.

To see the rest of the student athletes that will be competing in London, check out the full article here. Don’t forget, the Opening Ceremonies are tonight!

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Freshman Year – Words of Wisdom

Everyone’s freshman year of college is different, but there are certain helpful hints to know before going in. I’m here to bring you a list of things that I wish I had known going into my first year. Check out my “words of wisdom”:

#1: The library isn’t the only place to study. At my school, I had more luck studying in the Academic Building. They have more computers and you can often have an entire classroom to yourself. It’s not about where everyone else goes, it’s finding the best study spot for YOU.

#2: Compromise is key. Share what you can with your roommate. This will mean less to buy and less to pack. We shared the microwave, TV, refrigerator, Keurig, and our food! We outlined a set of boundaries and were able to make it work all year.

#3. Communication is ALSO key.  You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate – but you do have to get along. My roommate and I got along perfectly, but we didn’t hang out 24/7. We made sure we were on the same page about our living situation.

A white board my roommate and I made at an activity on campus.

#4. Take advantage of everything going on on campus. Be active. You’ll have more fun, make new friends, and be less homesick.

#5. Put a command hook by the door to hang your keys up! If it weren’t for this, my roommate would have been locked out many times!

#6. Consolidate. Only bring fall clothes and get your winter ones when you go home for Thanksgiving or fall break (if you have one). As it gets colder, bring home clothes you won’t need (like shorts, or sandals).

#7. Just because many cafeterias are buffet style, it doesn’t mean you need to eat like you’re going into hibernation.  Try new things and balance your meals. You’ll be glad when you avoid the Freshman 15.

A 1AM fire drill freshman year - I was glad I had my jacket!

#8. Always know where your flip-flops and jacket are – you never know when you’ll have a 1AM fire drill. No one wants to stand outside cold and barefoot.

#9. Pack smart. Use suitcases and then quickly unload when your parents drop you off. Send them home with the suitcases and you won’t have to worry about finding space for them!

#10. Keep healthy snacks in your room… fruit, granola, cheese, etc. This way you won’t be tempted to binge on junk.

Me and my best friend from college!

#11. The friends you make at the beginning of freshman year might not be your best friends at the end. THIS IS OKAY! Luckily, my best friend was my first friend I met at college but I have made new ones along the way! College is about meeting new people and having new experiences.

#12. Decorate and make your room your own! After all, it is your home for the next ten months!

#13. Lastly…ENJOY! This is your education and your time! Keep yourself focused on school, but have some fun along the way.

Do you have any tips for the new freshman? Comment below!

Written by Guest Blogger, Maria Cafferata

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The IT List: Yellow

It’s no surprise that this sunny shade has been popping up everywhere this summer. From canary-colored shirts to honey-hued dresses, a dash of yellow is sure to brighten up any outfit. We’ve got 3 different ways to work this latest trend into your everyday styles.

Internship

The buttery color gives new life to this plain shirt dress. Keep it from being too flashy by toning it down with a creamy cardigan and chestnut flats. Tie the whole look together with a pretty floral headband. Now you’re ready to get to work!

Out With Friends

When heading out with friends, it’s easy to stick to tried and true colors like black and gray. However, throw on a pair of neon pants like these and you are sure to make a statement on a night out. The electric shade is perfectly balanced by its black counterparts, while the silvery statement necklace provides the perfect amount of shine.

Library & Class

Long hours spent in the books can be tiring, so what better way to lighten up than with your outfit? Stay comfy in jeans and boat shoes (we picked leopard for a bit of a twist!) but pair them with a muted yellow button down for a pop of color. A statement watch will keep you on schedule without compromising your look.

How would you incorporate yellow into your style? Post a suggestion below!

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InkJoy, The World’s Most Stolen Pen

In today’s world of ever-improving tablets and computers, it’s easy to become reliant on our electronics. Still, there is a certain excitement that comes with actually putting a pen to paper. InkJoy has made it their mission to develop an innovative ink system that combines technology and art in order to make every writing experience a joyful one.

Optimized writing tips and low viscosity inks blend together to produce unprecedented smoothness, while sleek pen designs  and vibrant ink colors make every letter a piece of art in itself.

It’s no surprise that InkJoys are the world’s most stolen pens!

Whether it’s through short stories or poetry, we all have our own story to tell. Paper Mate’s InkJoy pens deliver crisp lines every time, making for an effortless writing experience. We carry a variety of InkJoy pens in our campus bookstores, so stop by and pick one up today!

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