Category Archives: Campus Life

Why Texting + Driving = NO

Here’s a stat for you: Use your phone for anything while you’re driving, and you QUADRUPLE your likelihood of crashing.*

That means, if you do this, you’re four times more likely to receive serious injury (requiring hospitalization) than if you didn’t. Why?

Driving and cell phone conversations both require a great deal of thought. When doing them at the same time, your brain is unable to do either well. For example, it’s nearly impossible to read a book and have a phone conversation. So driving and using a phone often results in crashes due to delayed braking times and not seeing traffic signals.

Cell phone use is particularly dangerous because of how often and how long we use our phones when driving. Applying makeup, adjusting the stereo, or reaching for an object that’s fallen onto the floorboards are also dangerous actions when behind the wheel, but they’re typically executed in short bursts throughout a car ride. Cell phone use, on the other hand, is something that can fill up a whole trip, adding a sustained level of risk over a long period of travel.

Texting and driving is a serious problem, and one that almost all of us are guilty of. Too many of us subscribe to the “it won’t happen to me” mentality. Just remember that earlier statistic, though: While it may end up just being a fender bender, serious injury or death are probable risks as well.

Need some assistance keeping off your phone behind the wheel? You can download an app, like DriveMode for AT&T carriers, that prevents you from sending or receiving calls and texts when you’re driving. While it won’t prevent you from scrolling or checking social media, it’s a start.

*Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

2017 International Cultures Fair

20th Annual International Cultures Fair 
Thursday, March 30, 11am–4pm
Parkland College Student Union

Photo by Heather Coit/The News-Gazette
Zilkia Guzman, a second-year Parkland Student, shows off the Henna work, created by Mahomet-based Zainab Susi, at the 19th annual Cultures Fair at Parkland College’s Student Union in Champaign on Thursday, March 17, 2016.

Everyone is invited to attend the Cultures Fair at Parkland College this Thursday. The event is free, and will feature an exciting lineup of musical artists and speakers from around the world. There will be a jerk chicken lunch in U140 to raise money for a new international student scholarship. Student clubs and organizations will also have tables with information and fun activities, including henna tattoos!

U140
11:30–1: JERK CHICKEN LUNCH, catered by Caribbean Grill (tickets $6; all proceeds go to a new International Student Scholarship).  Until the food runs out!

1:30–2:10 Japanese Tea Ceremony.  Japan House from UIUC will present Chado, the Way of Tea, which is one of the most time honored Japanese traditional arts. It encompasses all of the different Japanese art forms, aesthetics, and philosophy. Codified almost four hundred years ago by Sen Rikyu, the greatest tea master, the four spirits of tea signify the highest ideals of the Way of Tea: harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility.

3–4 pm: Campus Talk:  Professor Hua Qin from the University of Missouri-Columbia uncovers the relationship between migration and the environment in China and how this information may lead to better sustainability and policies in China.

Main Stage Student Union
11:00–11:45: Super Mazumzum: Playing Afro Beat, Soukous, Township Jive, Malawian Afroma, and more, Super Mazumzum is Champaign-Urbana’s premier African Jazz band performing music from artists ranging from Manu Dibango to Mafikizolo.

Noon–12:45: Jean René Balekita and Bomoyi: Congolese rumba with flavors of gospel, jazz and African rhythms. Bomoyi means “life” in the native language of Lingala. In addition to Lingala they sing in English, French, Kikongo, Swahili, and Tshiluba.

1:00–1:30: Gah Rahk Mah Dahng: Korean Traditional Percussion student club at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They play a genre called Samulnori, featuring four different instruments. These instruments were traditionally played together in prayer for good harvest. Nowadays they are often played for both musical performance and social protest.

2:00–2:45: Los Guapos: an instrumental quartet specializing in folk and popular music traditions of Latin America. The group performs a unique blend of Cumbia, Peruvian Chicha, Conjunto Cubano, and psychedelic rock styles.

Parkland Student Club Tables
English Conversation Club, German Club, Spanish, Study Abroad, Japanese Culture Club, Club Latino, henna tattoos, and more!

The fair is being sponsored by the UIUC’s Center for Global Studies, through support of the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI NRC program. Additional funding has been provided by the UIUC Center for African Studies and the Center for Latin American Studies as well as the Division of Arts and Sciences, the Counseling and Advising Center, and Student Government at Parkland College.

Five Tips for Enjoying Spring Break…Safely

Parkland College’s spring break is just around the corner, so here are five tips for staying safe during the break:

Stick together
If you’re going on a trip with a group of friends, you’ll all be safest if you stick together. Should one of you decide to leave a party early or go on a solo shopping trip, make sure others in your group know where you’re going and how long you’ll be.

Keep an eye on your money
You don’t want to get stranded in a new and unfamiliar place without any money, so be sure to bring enough to last you the whole trip. If you carry cash, try to keep the amount you take with you on routine excursions to a minimum. Try distributing your money in various places among your belongings and accommodations so that if by chance you lose some or it’s stolen, you’ll still have more elsewhere.

Alcohol and you
Most spring break trips involve some level of alcohol-related activities, and while you may be safest if you don’t partake, the reality is, that will probably not be the case. Being smart about the way you drink is the next best thing, and that involves being cognizant of the risks of alcohol poisoning, selecting a designated driver if you’ve got to travel, and being wary of accepting drinks from strangers.

Safe sex
Should you decide to have sex during spring break, take the necessary precautions to protect against unwanted pregnancy and STDs/STIs. Make sure that consent has been explicitly and freely established between all parties before engaging in sexual activities.

Use proper activity gear
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that accidental injuries kill more Americans age 30 and under than any other cause of death. With this in mind, be sure to wear those seat belts and use life vests, knee pads, and other appropriate gear, especially before venturing out to some high-risk activity.

Have a fun—and safe—spring break!

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Alcohol Poisoning: When Drinking Turns Toxic

With Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day coming up this weekend, this week’s message will focus on alcohol poisoning.

*****

Alcohol poisoning happens when you drink a large amount of alcohol, usually over a short period of time. Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is so high that it is considered to be toxic.

Alcohol depresses the nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing and the gag reflex (to prevent choking). A fatal dose of alcohol will eventually cause these functions to shut down. Since alcohol is an irritant to the stomach, excessive vomiting is also common. If the person is unconscious, this could lead to death by asphyxiation.

Some of the symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Confusion
  • Irregular breathing (a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths)
  • Loss of coordination
  • Low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Pale or blue-tinged skin
  • Seizure
  • Slow breathing (less than eight breaths per minute)
  • Unconsciousness or passing out
  • Vomiting

If you think someone has alcohol poisoning, call 911 right away. Illinois State Law provides amnesty from any criminal liability related to underage drinking if you call for yourself or a friend. So don’t worry about getting in trouble or getting a drinking ticket; the police care significantly more about your health and safety than about issuing a ticket.

While you wait for help, DO

  • ….Stay with them.
  • …Keep them warm.
  • …If they are unconscious, put them in the recovery position and check that they are breathing.
  • …If they are awake, try to keep them in a sitting position and awake.

If someone has drunk too much, DO NOT

  • …leave someone to sleep it off. The amount of alcohol in someone’s blood continues to rise even when they stop drinking.
  • …give them coffee. Alcohol dehydrates the body, as does coffee. Having both can lead to severe dehydration and permanent brain damage.
  • …make them throw up. Alcohol can interfere with a person’s gag reflex, causing them to choke on their own vomit.
  • …walk them around. Alcohol slows brain function and affects coordination and balance. Walking around might cause accidents.
  • …put them under a cold shower. Alcohol lowers body temperature. A cold shower could make them colder than they already are and lead to hypothermia.
  • …let them drink more alcohol. The amount of alcohol in their bloodstream could become even higher – which could put them in more danger.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Degree Completion Day, Feb. 22

Parkland College’s first Degree Completion Day event is coming this Wednesday, Feb. 22.

But you might ask, “Why should I graduate? I’m getting my bachelor’s degree in a couple of years.”  Here why:

  • Who wants you to graduate? Your parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, cousins, best friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, favorite Parkland Instructor, advisor—all those that care about you, that’s who. It’s not always just about what you want.
  • You have spent countless hours in class and trip after trip to Parkland. Why wouldn’t you want to graduate?
  • It looks good on your Parkland transcript, shows accomplishment on your resume, and can enable you to move up in the workplace. If you are transferring to a university, it can make for a smoother transition and save you from having to take extra general education courses at that university.
  • If you are completing a career program, graduation may be required to verify with future employers. Probably most important of all, you’ve earned it!

Come out to Degree Completion Day in the U building from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and find out more about graduating and how it could benefit you.

[Dennis Kaczor is a credentials analyst in Parkland Admissions and Records.]