Today, I was reading over an article published in the News-Gazette on Black Friday and how to survive it, and it amazed me how many suggestions had to do with “technology.” Here are five of my favorites:
One: Plan ahead….. scope WEBSITES out ahead of time. Use price comparison sites such as BradsDeals.com and PriceGrabber.com.
Two: Shop ONLINE. Some stores offer special deals online only.
Three: Use SOCIAL MEDIA. Sign up for Twitter feeds from your favorite stores. “Like” official Facebook pages of favorite stores. Shop on Amazon.com’s Instagram feed!
Four: Bring the ads with you. Having the physical ad with you will ensure you get the advertised price. Hey, no technology here! Amazing!
Five: Use new store apps or website features. Target uses Point Inside technology that pins the location of sought-after items like doorbuster deals onto interactive store maps. Toys R Us is using a new app to find what you are looking for down to the shelf it’s located on…and they also push deals to your smartphone WHILE YOU’RE IN THE STORE!
Makes you wonder how our parents ever found anything at Christmas time!? Also, just makes you wonder! 🙂
Did you know we have classes here at Parkland that teach you how to develop mobile apps and create the databases that places like Facebook and Instagram use to store all those millions of posts? Check out CSC 212 – Mobile Application Development; CSC220 – Data Structures; CSC192 – Database Administration; and CIS231 – Systems Analysis, Design, and Administration. And if you haven’t done so already, ENROLL TODAY for spring 2015 classes—the deadline for registration and payment (to avoid course drops) is December 16!
You have heard Illinois called the Prairie State, but do you know what a prairie is? Hint: it’s NOT weeds!
Before the state was settled, 60 percent of Illinois (22 million+ acres) was covered by vast expanses of tallgrass. The deep prairie plants’ roots (up to 15 feet!) make topsoils incredibly productive, and thus fertile for agriculture. The invention of the John Deere self-scouring plow in 1837 made it possible to break up the prairie sod and change it into farmland. Many prairies still existed at that time, however, because there was too much water in many soils to farm well. By 1935, enough drain tile had been laid in Illinois to thoroughly drain off the soil water into drainage ditches, allowing the productive soils to be intensely farmed.
Today, only 2,000 acres of prairie remain in Illinois (that’s .0001 percent).
You might be familiar with big bluestem, Illinois’ official prairie grass, but did you know there are about 150 kinds of grasses native to prairies, including Indian grass, wild rye, and switchgrass? Native prairie wildflowers (forbs) include coneflowers, compass and cup plants with their bright yellow flowers, and milkweeds–the only plant species that monarch butterflies lay their eggs on. Prairies also provide habitat for hundreds of animal species. Check out the Illinois Plant Information Network database, which lists 851 species of plants native to Illinois prairies.
Parkland’s prairie restoration, located due east of the Student Union, was started in the 1990s through the efforts of former biology professors Rich Blazier and Earl Creutzberg, along with community members and organizations and Parkland students. Today’s environmental and plant biology students learn about prairie and other ecosystems in Parkland’s natural land areas and regularly participate in prairie workdays, learning how to maintain prairies by collecting seeds, helping with prairie burns, and removing invasive plants.
Parkland’s Sustainable Campus Committee and Physical Plant hope to expand the prairie restoration by about 15 acres, including large tracts behind the Athletics track and small showy native flower beds by the buildings. This could eliminate hours of mowing, lowering the college’s carbon footprint by reducing fuel use. It also means beautiful flowers throughout the growing season. Planting tallgrass prairie costs less than planting turf grass, and requires little maintenance. Tallgrass prairie helps control drainage, prevents erosion, brings important pollinators to the area, and reminds us of our natural heritage.
Parkland biology professor Heidi Leuszler recently worked with Pheasants Forever to establish a new one-acre tallgrass prairie across the Perimeter Drive in front of the union. The seed mix included about 75 species of prairie plants native to east-central soils.
Now that you know about Parkland’s prairie restoration, watch from the big windows in the welcome area—or better yet, walk right out the front door—to see how prairie changes over the seasons, and observe the wildlife that finds a safe home in Parkland’s prairie.
It takes persistence to complete a college degree; Sharon Nava can attest to this fact more than most. A published poet in addition to a returning student, Sharon has a story (below) that mirrors many others here at Parkland’s Adult Re-entry Center. She is on course to complete a degree in May 2016, a date that corresponds with another milestone date in her life.
I first came to Parkland in 1990 after the company I worked for shut down. The Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) folks came in and gave us a choice: They could help find us another job or send us to school to retrain for a new one. I’ve always loved learning, so I scanned the Parkland catalog and found a program that they would agree to send me to. I graduated with my certificate as a Pharmacy Technician in 1991, on the 25th anniversary of my high school graduation!
I continued to take classes off and on, but I had to stop when my husband became terminally ill. By now, I had retired, and I spent many hours praying for help in determining where I needed my life to go. One morning, I received a message that I needed to pursue what makes me happy, and since then I’ve been back here at Parkland taking classes.
I plan to attend my graduation, earning my associate’s degree in General Studies in May 2016—the 50th anniversary of my high school graduation!
You’re never too old to improve yourself; you just have to stick with it. The Adult Re-entry Center can help you write the next chapter of your life’s story, just as we’re helping Sharon. Call or e-mail me to discuss your options: Call 217/351-2462 or email me at email@example.com. You can also stop by Room U233 to set up a visit.
Parkland’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa—the largest and most prestigious honor society of two-year colleges—is hosting a Food Drive and an Environmental Awareness Table this week, November 17–21, in the Student Union. Please come out and donate some food or funds, or just stop by to learn something new about the environment and what you personally can do to help. The table times are listed below:
MONDAY: 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m. (Green-out day)
TUESDAY: 3– 5 p.m. (Ecosystem day)
WEDNESDAY: 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m. (Skip a meal)
THURSDAY: 11 a.m.–2 p.m. (Trash day)
FRIDAY: 10 a.m.–1 p.m. (Farmer day)
All food will be donated to the Eastern Illinois Foodbank on December 2, the “Day of Giving.” This means that the food you donate will stay in our community and be directly donated to those who need it in our area. Since Parkland’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter will not be donating the food until December 2, please feel free to make donations up until then. A donation box will be placed in Parkland’s Student Life office in the Student Union after this event. Food items needed most are beans, canned fruit, canned veggies, cereal, jelly, macaroni and cheese, pasta, pasta sauce, peanut butter, soup, and rice.
Also have you heard of kiva.org? This is where 100% of your monetary donations will go. Kiva.org is a nonprofit organization “with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.” Check it out for yourself. (Here is Phi Theta Kappa’s team link.)
Parkland’s PTK chapter is also spreading awareness about food production and how it has impacted our environment over the years during this time. Each day of the week will present a new theme with new action items that we all could do to help out. So if you can’t donate, still stop by to learn something new!
Monday’s theme was Green-out day. People came to campus dressed in green to show their support for our environment. Tuesday’s theme highlighted our ecosystem and how the species within our environment have been impacted both positively and negatively by agricultural practices.
Wednesday is Skip a Meal Day! Parkland’s chapter is not encouraging people to skip a meal but rather to raise awareness in regards to how a lot of people have no choice but to skip a meal or two. After your lunch purchase, you have the option of donating your leftover change!
Thursday’s theme is Trash Day. Do you know how much trash is generated by the food you purchase? Stop by to find out! And lastly, Friday’s theme is Farmers Day. With the increasing global population, more food has to be produced somehow and somewhere. Stop by to learn more. Our farmers work hard to ensure that the production of our food is efficient and sustainable, so don’t forget to thank a farmer this Friday!
Parkland’s Phi Theta Kappa Chapter hopes to see you there!
Okay, so you’ve checked your midterm grades on my.parkland and you’re doing fine: No “underwater grades” (below C level), you’ve made a good impression on your teachers, and you just might succeed!
Don’t worry, though; there are still LOTS of ways you can take all that hard work and money and flush it away! Here are just seven!
1. It’s cold and dark now in the morning…go ahead, sleep in. Sure, you know that when you went in early and looked over your notes in D120 before class, everything made more sense; but now… it’s dark! Don’t be smart and figure out what will propel you from the covers (i.e., set the thermost to go on when it’s time to get up, turn that light on, put the alarm clock across the room, get a cat, make coffee, whatever!). Just sleep your good grades away.
2. Hang out with people who aren’t studying. They’re having a good time! Plus, they’re not concerned with your goals and dreams, so they won’t mind if your grades go down.
3, Don’t just celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Celebrate Thanksgiving Week! You have a lot to be thankful for. Surely you’ll need more than just two days off to express your thanks. What’s a couple of days of missed assignments or quizzes, anyway?
4.Lost your notes? Don’t even bother to look for them. Look back over the old material before you do tonight’s work; that’s what successful students do! Find somebody else who can share? Review for the final? That’s the stuff that might get you on the Dean’s List, so you’d better not!
5, Text, sleep, and get all that social stuff done in class. You started out the year paying attention and taking good notes, but now you’ve figured out where to sit so the instructor can’t tell if you’re sleeping or on your phone (well, s/he probably can, but….) You’ll figure this stuff out later, right? Like when you’re hanging out with your friends who aren’t taking classes.
6. Don’t bother to withdraw from classes you’re not doing well in. After all, it is such a pain: You should meet with an advisor and financial aid to see how withdrawing will affect your academic or financial aid standing, then physically go to Admissions (second floor, Student Union) to fill out a withdrawal form. And they want you to do this by a specific date? Ugh.
7. Give up when the going gets tough. You’ve fallen behind, and it will take more work than you want to put into it to get back up to speed. Well, no, you don’t even really know how badly you’re doing, but… ask? Face your fears? Heaven forbid you should talk to your instructor or visit D120 and ask for some help; asking for help is a definite sign of weakness. At least, that’s what people say when they aren’t brave enough to ask for help.
So…drop your work into the tank…
…OR, if you don’t think these are good ideas, come on over to the Center for Academic Success (CAS) in D120! We’ve got pep talks, reality checks, course helps, and lots of students working their way to academic success, just like you! See you there, if you dare!