Young at heart: Leap Year 'children' speak

by Jayna Strong and Ashley Walton

About one in 1,500 babies were born on Feb. 29, the Leap Year day that occurs every four years.

This 2012 is a Leap Year.

So the big questions are when do Leap Year babies indulge in birthday festivities and how do they feel about Leap Year? February, or March? Love it, or hate it?

"I've always had parties on March 1, simply because celebrating a day earlier is bad luck in my book," said James Laney, a police officer from Orangeburg S.C. "Plus, being a Leap Year baby keeps me young, I'm 56 years old and I've only had 16 birthdays."

"It's not a big deal to me," said Christian Arroyo, of North Plainfield, N.J. "I personally just celebrate my birthday Feb. 28, not in March, since I was born in February," who was hours short of his fifth or 20th birthday.

"I love birthdays, even if it isn't my own," said Courtney, a high school student, also from New Jersey. "Unfortunately, I don't get to have mine every year. I do hate it, I'm technically only 4 years old [or 16] when you think about it. It's something I haven't gotten used to yet."

Chrischele Wright of Brooklyn N.Y., and a Hampton University sophomore criminal justice major, said, "Even though it's my birthday, it's also the week of midterms. I will probably spend the majority of the day studying. Who knows, maybe when I'm done, I'll go out to dinner or do something else with a few of my closest friends."

While the novelty of Leap Year may seem like a great conversation starter, there is a disadvantage of having a birthday on Feb. 29: Some online applications do not recognize the rare event it as an actual day, said Yvonne Trimm of Atlanta: "I was doing an application for something online last year and when I put in Feb. 29, it said it was invalid and I had entered the wrong date for my birthday. That was not the first time that had happened."

The telemarketer turns 8 [or 32] today.

The writers are students at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Come serve world, State Dept. asks black college students

by Meagan Downing, Domanique Jordan and Janiece Peterson

From left to right, Meagan Downing; Cheryl Benton, deputy assistant secretary for public affairs, and Janiece Peterson>
WASHINGTON – Three hundred students and professors from 13 institutions participated Friday in the <a href=2012 Historically Black Colleges and Universities Foreign Policy Conference at the U.S. Department of State.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was overseas yet she delivered a 3-minute video greeting at the start of the four-hour, seven-session event. Presenters briefed students and faculty on the "Arab spring," U.S.-China relations that included the 100,000-Strong Initiative and the U.S. Global Health Initiative. State Department experts encouraged visitors to ask questions and there were at least 30 audience queries.

A handful of students were asked what they learned or hoped to gain from the visit:

Raymond Smith, freshman, St. Augustine's College, math engineering: "I am very pleased with the turnout and very impressed with the speakers. From this experience I hope to become more globally aware. This also gives me more networking opportunities."

Jasmine McElroy, sophomore, Howard University, marketing: "[I came for] networking. I co-founded an organization called Diversity First in partnership with the CEO of the National Diversity Council. [I look forward to] networking opportunities for myself and others."

Alvin Williams II, senior, Elizabeth City State University, political science: "I like that we get to ask questions and that they're responding. I'm going to take the Foreign Service exam. I had never thought about it. "

Shannon Crowner, junior, Bowie State, history: "The reason why I decided to come to the conference is because I am interested in international relations and foreign policies. I also felt that it a great study abroad opportunity. I really enjoyed hearing [Deputy Secretary of State] William Burns speak. He has worked for the Department of State for a long time and I could see he is really passionate about it."

Michael Brown, freshman, Bowie State, sports management: "By attending this conference, I feel that it is a great way for me to educate myself more about topics here today that I did not know about."

Fast facts: Hillary Clinton's first trip as secretary of state was to Asia and since that initial journey she has taken 10 trips. Nevertheless, Europe remains important and the European Union represents 30 percent of the global economy ... in Africa, the continent is now home to six of the world's 10 fastest-growing economies ... China is the USA's second largest trade partner after Canada. China's population is 1.4 billion, but its people live on 6 percent of earth's arable land ... U.S. Foreign Service officers extensively use YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to do their work. Twenty eight percent of new Foreign Service entrants last year were people of color. – Compiled by Wayne Dawkins

The writers are students at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

ESPN executives return to Hampton U.

by Sekia Mangum

Students at Hampton University interested in television sports broadcasting will get the chance to learn about opportunities when ESPN executives visits the campus on Thursday.

Norfolk native and ESPN SportsCenter anchor Jay Harris and other ESPN representatives will share information with students on internship and job openings.

The event is hosted by the HU Department of Health Physical Education and Recreation. Recruiters visit about 20 campuses a semester to draft talent for ESPN.

"The program considers it and honor and is very interested in working with minority candidates," said Ralph Charlton, a sports management professor.

Some of the guests that will be part of this event are Hampton Alumni.

Acie Wyatt now works with the ESPNu campus section and deals with social media on campuses. George Richards announced the basketball and football games while attending HU, and also did color analysis with WHOV-FM 88.1. Now, Richards said he is very enthusiastic about his works at ESPN, doing research programs, NFL programming shows and video clips.

During the day, the recruiters will visit Hampton University's sports management classes, the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications and the Career Services department.

ESPN wants to identify the candidates that have a strong drive and ethic to show the skill and gain knowledge.

After the mock telecast recorded in the SHSJC TV studio, students and visitors are invited to ask questions and receive advice in the Scripps auditorium.

Harris will visit an open session for all students 6-8 p.m. in McGrew Towers.

The writer is a student at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Cupid's double-sided arrow: Does gender matter?

by Nakiya Morgan

"With the Valentine's Day love bug in the air, many people are running around asking, "Would you be my Valentine?"

This day is dedicated to showing that special person how much you really care about them, but is this romantic holiday targeted to females more than males?

Some Hampton University students expressed their opinions.

"Valentine's Day is a day for couples to show how much they appreciate each other," said Julene Sinclair, a sophomore, pharmacy major. "As a couple in a relationship I believe that you should get gifts for one another and embrace the time spent with each other. Both parties in the relationship should be catered to."

Leticha Heflin, Hampton University's freshman class treasurer, thought otherwise: "Valentine's Day is for the females only. If you decide to do things for that male in your life that's fine, but the men should focus on the women.

"It is our day."

Matt Cyrus, a sophomore, 5-year MBA major, believed that Valentine's Day is "stereotypically for females," but he doesn't mind "showing a female the love and appreciation that she deserves."

Valentine's Day, he said is "a biased holiday that many companies take advantage of. It is targeted towards women because that is where they will benefit from. By targeting women, [companies] are gaining more profit because men are steadily trying to keep their women happy."

Cyrus said he has received gifts on Valentine's Day before but he would much rather see someone else happy: "If you care about her that much, you wouldn't need anything but a smile in return."

Many stores across America have stocked up for Valentine's Day, anticipating frantic last-minute shoppers. Aisles are dedicated to holding balloons, flowers, teddy bears and cards, leaving shoppers with many choices for both genders.

Wal-Mart is known as a last-minute shopper's play land because of the variety.

Ejana Bennett, a Wal-Mart employee, said, "We see more males in the store around this season. Females come in as well but the males seem to dominate this holiday."

According to Bennett, many males actually seek her advice on gifts. They are so focused on making the women feel special.

"Every day this week a guy has approached me asking what I would want for Valentine's Day, and I find it so cute," said Bennett.

"I have never seen females as worried as the guys."

Justina Ward, a sophomore, business management major, believes that love is love and it should be expressed no matter who you are: "It doesn't matter what group of people Valentine's Day is geared to, what matters is that you guys are making each other happy."

Ward said that this Valentine's Day, "I will make sure I cater to the people I care about and I will expect nothing less in return."

The writer is a student at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Valentine's Day: Celebration of love, or self?

by Shannon Smith

With Valentine's Day less than 24 hours away, a handful of Hampton University students had no problem voicing their opinions on either the holiday or the idea of celebrating being single, what some called "single-awareness day."

"Yes, I will celebrate myself and have no problem with treating myself to a box of chocolates, roses or even a movie," said Ongelique Sherman, a sophomore.

As for Valentine's Day, Sherman said that she thinks of "love...unconditional love that should be celebrated every day."

Darren Rainey, a senior, psychology major, believes in celebrating and splurging on himself as well. Valentine's Day, he said, is "a Hallmark business scheme that allows many companies to make a lot of money. I personally do not celebrate Valentine's Day."

Rainey said he is in a relationship however he does not believe in or celebrate Valentine's Day. "If you really care about someone," he said, "you should show how much you care for them every day.

"However, if my girlfriend asked and wanted to celebrate Valentine's Day, I would."

Kyle Mason, a sophomore, said, "I believe in celebrating myself every day."

To Mason, Valentine's Day is "a hustle that is a way to boost the economy."

Yet senior Raven Powell believes this idea of "single-awareness" day "sounds like a very lonely holiday," but she also believes in valuing herself: "I don't dread being single, and I value my mental and physical space too much to be pressed to share it with someone else."

Powell said on Valentine's Day, "I will be attending 'The Dating Game,' hosted by the Gamma Theta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and right after, I will be at the Phi Mu Alpha concert."

The writer is a student at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Fickle finger of fate had Hampton U. community buzzing

Viewers anticipated a lively, possibly provocative Super Bowl XLVI halftime show starring Madonna with Nicki Minaj.

However, during the high-energy performance, a third singer-dancer, M.I.A., made an obscene gesture with her finger. That hip-hop performer's act ignited buzz among viewers and the media. Nicky Minaj and M.I.A. with Madonna at Superbowl XLVI

How serious was M.I.A.'s gesture, bad taste, or much ado about nothing?

Student reporters Erin Phillips and Ashley Johnson of the Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications gathered campus reaction:

"Yeah, she's wrong. You don't go around on national TV flipping the bird. M.I.A is a well-known artist. As an artist you have responsibilities to account for. She shouldn't be doing things like that." – Brandon Wilson, computer science, junior, Rockville, Md.

"I did not see it and I had no idea about M.I.A. putting up her middle finger. But I really enjoyed Madonna's performance. It was very youthful." – James Hobbs, marketing, Philadelphia.

"She is a rebellious artist and she was just trying to make a statement. I don't think that she was trying to offend viewers in any way." – Lyncia Smith, journalism and communications, Nashville, Tenn.

"I do not think this should be accepted. The network has to do something about this. The whole performance was a little too much. The performance should be geared toward a much broader audience. I think a better performer would have been Justin Bieber." – Cameron Hawkins, business management, Pittsburgh.

" I barely noticed that she did it. I don't think it was a big deal. They're just trying to make a big deal out of nothing. There's worse things on TV for people to see. – Lindsey Brown, marketing, senior, Vacaville, Calif.

" I never noticed it. It's inappropriate, but if they didn't tell her that she couldn't flip the finger she isn't at fault." – Melissa English, MBA, Durham, N.C.

"Why did the network let her pick the song if they knew what the content of the lyrics were? – Zach Hines, theater performance/math, senior, Newport News, Va.

XLVI halftime show: Like no other, or just another?

by Julian Parker

On Sunday, the international icon simply known as Madonna will be the Super Bowl XLVI Halftime performance in Indianapolis, having a few tough acts to follow.

Madonna is known for her dramatic and extravagant performances, but will she be able to pull another one out or be another forgettable halftime show?

When asked to reveal details about the performance itself, ABC News reported Madonna would only admit that she's performing "three old songs and one new one," her new single, "Give Me All Your Luvin."

After the infamous Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake "wardrobe malfunction" in 2004, it seems that the Super Bowl Commission darted towards conservative – and underwhelming – performers, such as Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and The Who.

The featured artists have gradually become more contemporary, with The Black Eyed Peas being the last to tack the stage. Entertainment Weekly said that the last outstanding performance was in 2007, when Prince gave Super Bowl viewers one of the best guitar solos played in a halftime show – while in a torrential downpour.

Although Madonna wishes to keep guest star appearances a secret, it has been speculated that female-rapper Nicki Minaj will join the pop diva on stage. With Minaj's most recent video, "Stupid H**," being taken off BET airways, the joint forces of acclaimed divas would promise a memorable halftime show.

Hampton University senior psychology major Kai'la Medley, said a local radio personality reported that not only Minaj, but Will I. Am as well will be making a guest appearance. Medley said that the halftime show would be "very diverse," while the past shows have been, "very lame."

From wearing underwear outside of her clothes to her fifth album entitled "Erotica," or even her graphic book named "Sex," Madonna is known as a sex symbol and for her risqué persona. Madonna's more recent and most notable performance was on MTV's Video Music Awards, highlighted by French kissing Brittney Spears.

It is reasonable to expect another spectacle or public display of affection; however, when asked by a reporter at the NFL pre-Super Bowl news conference Thursday if her act would have any comparison to Janet Jackson's performance Madonna said, "There will be no wardrobe malfunctions, promise."

On the Hampton University campus, junior architecture major Sam Morgan said "it doesn't matter, I'm more interested in the game; but to attract attention to the game, she's an OK person to have."

Freshman biology major Kelly Webster said, "I guess she's a pop legend, so I guess it will be good."

"I have never worked so hard or been so scrupulous or detail-oriented or freaked out as much as I have," explained Madonna, "maintaining my sanity and trying to make the most amazing show."

The writer is a student at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.