Each Monday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., the members of Associated Student Community Central Committee meet to review proposals, discuss issues relevant to their functioning and the students body, and a myriad of other items for which students representatives are responsible. The week there were a few things on the agenda and a few items for discussion. The agenda was printed rather than viewed online by central committee members. ASC President Justin Vanier felt that the technology was causing a distraction to the team and he wanted to take a pause from their normal routine, asking the members to reflect, listen and to talk through the proposals thoroughly. What are your Central Committee Members doing this week? Vice President Michal Nakashimada is currently working with the web director to make the ASC Website more efficient. They have not been able to set up a meeting with the Marketing and Communications Department. The elections chair is working to create a branding for elections. Nakashimada has met with some potential candidates interested in running for Central Committee positions. ASC Vice President is the elections chair. Vice President of Finance Tausha Rene has been working to preserve relationships with Human Resources. This has been a continued effort on her part since the previous Treasurer, Brandon Yoshihara, stepped down from the position in the middle of fall semester. VP of Marketing and Communications David Shin is working on the installation of three new bulletin boards down the back hall of the Student Union Building. The new bulletin boards will be a stained wood, matching the conference table in the ASC Offices. The plan is to have plant services install the boards as soon as communication is settled. Shin is also working on a survey to send out, asking for general feedback on ASC’s communication. The survey will be sent out every Wednesday. Shin is also working on a new business plan with the Crescent staff. VP of Activities Madison Tarplay purchased 100 sweatshirts for the Polar Bear Swim. She is concerned she did not purchase enough sweatshirts and is working on a strategy to provide sweatshirts for all the students who attend the event. Students can expect a ticket to be handed to them once they complete the swim. After receiving their ticket, students will stand in line and get their desired sized sweatshirt. Tarplay is also working on next year’s concerts and a timeline of events for the 2014-15 academic year. Vice President of Representation Jake Vanier is handing off elections to Vice President Nakashimada. The area representatives will have a substantial number of proposals to vote on this week. What proposals did they vote on? A roomies proposal was submitted from Jaclyn Simmons for 56 people to attend the Oregon Zoo. The cost for 56 estimated members of HMS to attend the Oregon Zoo according to the proposal is $515.20. The second proposal to pass through central committee was a proposal for three GFU students to attend a philosophy conference in March. The proposal, submitted by Jenny Newman, was for $40 from the Academic Pursuit fund. The three students attending the philosophy conference at Pacific College will be presenting some of their works. The third proposal to pass was the stipend increase for the Foxhole/Bruin Grounds manager Matt Taylor. All acknowledged the number of hours he was putting into the Bruin Grounds. The proposal was to increase his stipend from $600 to $850. There was a bit of discussion as to whether or not students working 16-20 hours a week should all be moved into the higher pay bracket. The other questions addressed were the number of hours Central Committee is willing to ask people to put into ASC. The conclusion of the discussion was to create a flow chart of specific pay brackets for hours worked. The proposal to increase Taylor’s pay passed. The last proposal on the agenda was to pay one of the yearbook designers, Joey Bareither. Bareither is currently working pro-bono and has put in long hours of work to design the new yearbook. What to look for next? A read-through constitution from ASC members and students should look for a way they can get involved in reviewing the constitution. There may be a possible increase in the amount of money potential Central Committee Candidates can spend during campaigning. It was argued that a $50 limits creativity and people cannot create a buzz of their campaign on only $50. Jonathan Morrell is coordinating and Vanier are discussing potential possibilities with the recreation equipment and may open a position for a recreation equipment manager. Applications for Central Committee positions are now open and online. Students can now apply for Central Committee positions. Campaigning for candidates begins March 5 and ends March 19. Elections night is set to be at 8 p.m. on March 13 in Hoover 105. To view the minutes for this weeks agenda and proposals click here. All proposals are reviewed by the Area Representatives Committee to ensure actions from Central Committee members are constitutional.
March 7, 2014Time to raid the Bon for some apples and make some apple crisp! We grabbed three small gala apples for this recipe, then skinned and sliced them. Place all the apple slices in a bowl and add sugar and cinnamon sugar (we used about 1/8 cup combined). Next, layer five sheets of fillo dough (to be found in the frozen section at Safeway) on a baking sheet. Melt about four tablespoons of butter in the microwave, using about half of it to coat the top layer of dough. (Make sure the dough doesn’t sit out TOO long or it becomes hard to work with.) Place the apple slices on top of the dough. Layer on five more sheets of fillo dough, then use the rest of the melted butter to coat it. Sprinkle on some sugar and cinnamon sugar. Throw it in the oven for 15 minutes until it’s gold and flaky. Slice it up and enjoy!
March 6, 2014So you have to babysit. The kid wants to watch a movie. Instead of suffering through two hours of a meaningless new kids’ movie, it’s time to introduce them to some of the things you watched as a kid. Here are just a few suggestions, a list of movies adapted from books by children’s author Roald Dahl. Matilda. This is a story about a little girl who realizes it is possible to punish grown ups (only when they deserve it of course), and finds a way to harness the power within herself to create her own destiny. Directed by and starring Danny Devito, this movie really is a great story with a great message, especially for little girls. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (The original 1971 adaptation) A musical film about a boy who finds a golden ticket, and journeys into the magical chocolate factory owned by the candy genius, Mr. Wonka himself. Starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, this is a well-loved classic. James and the Giant Peach. This movie combines live action and stop motion to create an adventure starring giant bugs and magical flying peaches. The story follows James, a boy who inadvertently grows a gigantic peach in his own backyard, and uses it to escape from his evil aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker.
February 24, 2014Over the last two months we have seen market volatility that would make the most experienced financer sick. This crazy roller coaster of 1% up and 1% down has not been seen since the market crash of 2011 and even then it was not as bad in duration. While the market seems to be back on track, fear and apprehension are definitely present, which means more volatility. Options traders and crazy day traders, like myself, love this volatility, but most are risk averse and would prefer to avoid these swings. This is a common idea yet a foolish one. You don’t have to trade millions of shares or on a second to second basis, but you can ride the market and make lots of money. The key is time frame, objectivity, and a strong stomach. First is time frame. If you are over 50 years old, stop reading. These strategies would be potentially fatal for your portfolio. However, my guess is that you are about 19-22 years old, so you have a solid 40+ years till retirement. If you chart the S&P 500, you will see that even crippling market collapses and crashes recover and continue to grow. This means that you can buy risky stocks and hold them through market crashes and they should recover and continue to gain. For those who grasp this concept, a new opportunity opens up: growth stocks. When the market crashes, most company prices drop despite their performance; this means you can buy a grade-A stock at a much lower level and then wait for the market to recover. The market always recovers so you will almost always make money. This is how Warren Buffet made billions in 2008 and 2009. Secondly, if you plan to buy depressed securities, you are playing the swings, so you have to chart and gauge the market. From this set a buy price and wait; if it hits the price buy, but if it doesn’t, don’t buy. This can be maddening but it helps control your emotions and maintains objectivity. This is key in down markets; while the rest of America is in panic mode you must maintain composure and buy up all the “gold” securities they are dumping for next to nothing. Remember the greatest source of wealth in the world is the foolish man. Exploit the market when people are fearful and pull back when they think it’s all roses. Lastly you have to have a strong resolve to ride the ups and downs of a volatile market. You may be tempted to sell when the price jumps or to sell when it drops even lower than when you thought. If it jumps, be happy you are in the green and don’t try to repeat the same performance on the same stock, then find another gem to invest in. If it drops, re-evaluate and if you still believe in the security, buy more. There is no right answer to the market; the wise man will always make money and the fool will always waste it. So to sum it all up, the swings in a market are not be feared. Unless you are approaching your liquidation horizon, they are a great opportunity. A perfect example of this is MGIC (MTG). They dropped to $0.78 in 2012; they are a strong company with plenty of cash and a strong business plan, and as of today they are at $8.93! That is more than a 1000% return on investment. You can do the same if you have the time frame, the analytical skills, and the resolve to stick it out. If you have these you have huge potential for growth. Just remember the world is for those who have the courage to take it. *These are opinions and are intended as sound investments advice. When making financial decisions rely on your financial planner.
February 17, 2014The Student Project Fund is the sixth largest budget allocated within the ASC budget. It is the fund students can get the most creative with when it comes to a sustainable project and leaving a legacy for others behind. The student project fund is set up with a substantial amount of money in its budget, $21,690 to be exact. Each project must have some form of enhancing the student experience at GFU. This year, the Student Project Fund (SPF) was open from November 20 to December 20. There were a total of seven proposals submitted: Water bottle filing stations, a sound system in Stevens, Swing chairs for the quad, a WiFi upgrade for Student Union Building, a disc golf course, a black box in Lemmons 8 and a Bruin spirit bell. Proposals first had to be checked to ensure SPF criteria was met. Click here to see specific guidelines. Then Central Committee members viewed and passed all seven proposals. The SPF committee voted to pass only three out of seven of the proposals. The three proposals that passed were the Bruin Spirit Bell, water bottle filling stations and a WiFi upgrade in the Student union Building. Students will get to see are the Bruin Spirit Bell, submitted by Bryan Kasler. The project was estimated at the cost of $3000. Newberg Steel Fabrication is helping with the design. The plan is to make a mobile cart the bell will be welded to. The bell is slated to be complete sometime in March. Students will also experience a new WiFi upgrade in the Student Union Building, submitted by staff member Tim Goodfellow, IT director. The upgrade, already installed, is to a 802.11AC. Basically, this means more people can connect to WiFi faster. The IT department and ASC decided they would split the cost of the upgrade. The project was estimated to cost $5000. The third proposal to be installed across campus will be four more water bottle filling stations like the one in Wheeler Gymnasium. Onjalai Flake submitted the filling station proposal. The stations will be on the first floors of Hoover, EHS and Stevens. The estimated cost for four new water bottle stations was $4000, but that is subject to change as Plant Services will need to evaluate the plumbing necessary. This year, according the Michal Nakashimada ASC vice president, said there were quite a few faculty members who applied to the fund as well. “We couldn’t find anything in the constitution that said other wise so we suggested they ask a student to sponsor the proposal,” said Nakashimada. Although the proposal for new outdoor furniture failed, Nakashima is in conversation with Clyde Thomas, director of plant services about getting new furniture. He is also in conversation with Hannah Kunde about another SPF proposal for hand dyers in the bathrooms on campus and with Brad Lau, dean of student life on a safe way to have a disc golf course. There is a total of $9,500 to be spent from the fund this academic year. $12,190 is the remainder left in the Student Project Fund after the three proposals passed.
February 16, 2014We are approaching that point in the market where everyone holds their breath and waits to see how annual reports stack up against expectations. However, by the time these annual reports are published, the market instantaneously reacts and adjusts prices. No matter how fast you can read, you cannot beat the market and exploit the results. So what is the point of even reading reports if the prices reflect its contents automatically? For one reason and one reason only, to form a theory about future performance. When reading a report the market goes right to net income and return on equity. It is up to you to investigate the more obscure ratios and form a hypothesis based on the numbers you see. This can be very complicated and it is where the hedge fund managers make their millions or billions! There are, however, simple ratios and key patterns to look for when making decisions regarding a security. When I look at annual reports I look for two things above any other analysis: return on equity (ROE), which is simply net income divided by shareholder equity, and a positive-negative-negative cash flow statement. First off return on equity is exactly what is sounds like, how much money did the company make for every dollar of investor money they received. This indicates a couple of things. First it tells you just how well the firm is managing its assets; a high ROE indicates they are efficient with their assets, while a low ROE indicates waste. It is also a quick way to ensure you are even going to make money on the company, if they are not returning value to you in exchange for your money, then you should sell. Secondly, a cash flow statement is a complex and over-analyzed collection of numbers. When I look at a statement of cash flows I am looking for one thing above all else, a pattern. This is very simple to find, as the statement is split into three parts: cash flows from operations, cash flows from investing, and cash flows from financing. I want to see a positive operations cash flow, which means they are making money off their basic operations. This is absolutely key. If they are not making money off their main operations than they cannot stay in business for long. Secondly, I want to see a negative cash flow in investing; this means the company is spending money on development and expansion, a healthy company expands. Lastly, I want a negative financing cash flow. This indicates they are paying dividends to investors and/or paying off loans. Both are very good for a company and indicate good cash management. So to sum it all up (please forgive the pun), annual reports are a very important part of any investor’s strategy. At the least you should simply know what’s going on with your investments, but if you want to analyze and make decisions, don’t go to Bloomberg for opinions, make your own. You can look at return on equity and establish whether they are returning on your money and if they are operating properly. You can also look for a simple pattern in the statement of cash flows, which will indicate proper operations, expansion, and investor relations as well as debt management. These are valuable tools and can be used to form a theory about future opportunities. That way, when you make financial decisions, they are based on your own judgment and analysis.
February 12, 2014Now that that holidays are over, and the winter blockbusters are winding down, we can take a moment to review one of the season’s best. “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” starring and directed by Ben Stiller, is a visually stunning movie. It is like a montage of beautiful photography with a story line, and would be worth seeing even if the narrative did not exist. The premise of the movie is adapted from a short story by James Thurber, about a man with an uneventful life who daydreams of adventure. Its very first appearance was in New York Magazine in 1939, and has since been adapted for both the stage and the screen. Stiller is perfect for the role. He didn’t seem out of place even when he was climbing mountains, which is commendable because he also had to appear believable as a shy, uneventful office worker. Stiller is complemented in his role by actors like Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, and Sean Penn, all who revolve around a story about creating the very last issue of Life Magazine. If you like to travel, or have dreams of one day becoming a traveler, you should watch this movie. Overall this movie is ironically funny, uplifting, and breathtakingly beautiful. If you do get a chance to see it in a theater, take it.
February 9, 2014Those of you who watch the market will have noticed the massive drop in the market over the last month. Since the beginning of 2014 the S&P 500 has dropped 5% in one month and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down nearly 6.5%! However, this is not a crash just yet, it is a contraction. A market contraction is when a bull market has pushed stocks to a high price that is not backed up by fundamental data, so the market reacts by dropping prices to where they should be. This is actually a very healthy and normal movement in the market. The question is if fear will get mixed in and cause a crash. So for those who have the courage to invest in this amazingly volatile market may be wondering how to exploit the fear, here’s how. There are really several ways to make money from a down market: shorts, derivatives, and contrarian ETFs. For those who are a little more conservative you can always buy gold ETFs. So first off, shorts: a short is selling a security before you actually own it. That sounds a little odd but here is how it works. You sell a stock at a short and you have to buy the stock at some point if the market tanks you make money because your cost basis is lower and you still get the premium price for it. However, if the market goes up you lose money because you now have to pay more for the security. Derivatives are basically contracts, usually for currency or commodities. They are commonly used to hedge risk but they can be used to profit from depressed markets. They work in the same way as shorts. You buy a “contract” that stipulates price based on an asset of some sort and if the market goes down you get the contractually obliged price and you pay less for the asset or if the market goes up you have to pay more than you get. Derivatives are a complex and highly regulated security and rarely used by everyday investors. Both shorts and derivatives are complex and risky investments that are best left to brokers and large firms. So how can we, the common investor, exploit a bear market? The invention of the ETF, or Exchanged Traded Fund, allowed the common people access to advanced market options. This is how it works. You buy a share of FAZ, for instance which is a financial bear ETF, a fund manager overseas the buying and selling of various securities so that if the financial sector goes down your ETF goes up. There are many “short” EFTs usually from ProShares. This can be very confusing and that is why many people leave it to their financial planners or brokers. However, for those you like to control your own financial future or those who just like to invest, you can make a profit in a down market. However, we have to be careful as market options can be highly lucrative both in bull markets and bear ones. If we get to greedy we can get into deep debt and even legal trouble. Gordon Gecko said it best: “Bulls make money, bears make money, pigs… they get slaughtered.” *These are opinions and are intended as sound investments advice. When making financial decisions rely on your financial planner.
February 9, 2014It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single George Fox student must be in want of a date. For students who may be too shy to approach a member of the opposite sex, the annual Dating Game will be an opportunity to win a blind date with a pre-selected member of the student body. The Dating Game was held Feb. 7 in Bauman Auditorium. The hosts were be ASC Vice President Michal Nakashimada and Cole Eberheart. The event was formatted in two sections: the first is a question/answer game between three George Fox couples who are dating, who are engaged, and who are married. The goal is to answer as many questions about the other person as they would answer them. The couple that gets the highest number of correct answers is the winner. The second section is a question/answer game between a blind panel of volunteers and a pre-selected questioner. The questioner sits behind a curtain and hears the responses of each volunteer, then selects one as the winner and his or her date. The winners of both games receive an expense-paid night out. Last year, the couples took a limo to the Willamette River, where they spent the evening on the Portland Spirit cruise ship. Madison Tarpley, the ASC vice president of activities and programs, knows the location of the date this year, but she is not telling. “We [ASC] are keeping that a surprise,” said Tarpley.
February 3, 2014Throughout the academic year, the Associated Student Communities vice president of representation and the area representatives evaluate the ASC constitution. They make amendments to sections and articles applicable to how ASC is and how it will be functioning in the future. Ron Mock, associate professor of politics and peace, was formally a supreme court chief justice and vice president of ASC when he was a student at George Fox University in 1977. During his time in office he and Professor Phil Smith rewrote the ASC constitution. Mock referenced the original document to have been drafted sometime in the 1960’s. Since he has been a faculty member he can attest to about three rewrites of the ASC constitution. What is the point and why does it matter? Well, all the really exciting events, conferences, projects and service opportunities would not be available to George Fox University students if there was no formal document to lead the ASC Central Committee members in process and action. Specific parts determine how officers will be elected. Other sections determine how the $442,000 of the 2013-14 ASC budget is allocated throughout the year. With all that money and all those people working to promote student involvement at George Fox University, it is essential there is some consistency. The ASC constitution is a way that each new Central Committee team is able to remain fairly consistent and at the same time be motivated to change from the past. Bryan Kasler, the 2012-13 ASC campus representatives director (now called the vice president representation) did what he calls “a first round of amendments.” When he was in office, his committee took the ASC constitution page by page and pulled out anything that was no longer applicable, needed adjustment for clearer understanding, and tighten loopholes. “It was more like a remodel than a new foundation,” said Kasler, “It helped the new team to be able to move toward a more vital role with campus involvement.” With a new remodel from last year’s ASC campus representatives, the 2013-14 Vice President of Representation Jake Vanier is hoping to implement a complete re-write before ASC elections begin on Feb. 17. “The ASC Constitution will still have its vital parts, such as finances, and duties of sub committee members. I am copying and pasting them from the old one unto a new one,” said Vanier. Even from last year’s model, the ASC constitution still had a fair amount of mistakes, causing Vanier and his committee to re-look at the ASC constitution. Vanier also compared GFU ASC’s constitution to Calvin College’s and Biola University’s constitution, which lead him to decide on a re-write for GFU ASC’s constitution. ASC advisor Stephanie St. Cyr has been working with Vanier on the re-write since October. Vanier also stated that Oregon Representative John Davis is willing to look over the document once it is complete. The by-laws, articles one through seven, are seeing relatively little change. Before the re-write can be an official document, both the Campus Representatives Committee and Central Committee must vote and pass all amendments. Vanier is hoping to somehow have a ratification process with more students. Click here to view the current ASC Constitution.
December 18, 2013A frequent argument in educational and policy-making circles is the balance between liberty and security. While conservatives and liberals are at odds as to what this even means, much less how to go about it, one thing is for sure: the city of New York has gotten out of hand and has swung too far over into the security side. It’s stop and frisk policy not only poses an infraction to the individual liberties of the people in the city, but stands as a threat to the constitution itself. According to Legal Dictionary, a stop and frisk occurs when an officer believes that there is reasonable suspicion that his life may be in danger from investigating a suspect. He is allowed to pat down the over garments of an individual, and if it he should feel anything that could be a gun, knife, or club, he may reach in their clothing to remove the object. The issue of stop and frisk came to a head when, in the court case of Terry vs. Ohio, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of stop and frisk as a reasonable means with which to protect the safety of the officer Unfortunately, what is happening in New York is far from ensuring the safety of the officers. In fact, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union, ninety percent of people being frisked are completely innocent and the majority of them are Blacks or Latinos. In 2013, of the almost 180,000 people stopped, 56% were black, 29% Latino, and 11% were White. Even worse, according to CNN, there are signs of the New York Police Department abusing its power to stop and frisk citizens. Quotas, which are normally illegal in police work, are required in the New York Police Department to meet occupational standards and to advance in rank. It is so bad, that as one officer who testified in court said: “They said, ‘You do it or you are going to become a Pizza Hut deliveryman,’” then continued to say. “I started recording it because I could not believe what I was hearing.” It is a sad state of affairs to see what the law enforcement of America’s largest city has become. Officers who have sworn to protect the people now are required to hunt them. Mayor Bloomberg may think he is making the city safer by allowing this infraction on human rights, but he is setting a bad precedent further down the road. I would hate to think where this could lead.