The Hunter Sustainability Project is Building a Greener Future for the Campus

    In an effort to address some of the environmental issues that our planet faces today, The Hunter Sustainability Project is building the campus’s first lush green roof to create a more sustainable future for the school.

    In the very early stages of project development, the club’s goal is to create a sustainable space for students to enjoy, garner interest in the environment and sustainability, and collect valuable data for future green projects.

    “The impact of the green roof will hopefully be profound,” said Maximilian Loffe, 20, the head of research. “Green roofs in general are incredibly useful to the environment, so we’re hoping this project is a success and a small step in showing that we can be successful in creating and keeping up a sustainable campus.”

An image from the first meeting for the green roof plans courtesy of Maximilian Loffe.

  The Hunter Sustainability Project (HSP) are aiming to have the garden, named Hunter Green Space, be constructed by the start of the 2017 Fall semester, and hope to have plants be grown by Spring/Summer 2018.

  Loffe says the project is in its “baby stage”, not even a concept or blueprint has been drawn out yet. The project was successfully funded by The Green Initiative Fund (Hunter’s TGIF) just one month ago. Since then, the club has had their first general interest meeting for students and volunteers, got NYC Parks on board to help with the design of the space, and are in the process of getting geography and urban studies professors at Hunter College interested in mentoring club members as well as integrating some of their classes (such as the “Soils” course in the geography department) with the future garden.

    The project will convert Hunter’s eighth floor terrace- which is currently unused- into a lush garden space where a variety of plants will grow and research on roof conditions will be collected, as well as aiming to have many other impacts.


The eighth floor terrace currently sits unused. Soon, the space will be covered in lush greenery and will help the environment as well the the school building. Maximilian Loffe’s photo from when the HSP were doing measurements for the project. 


    The green roof roof will act as insulation, keeping in the heat in the winter and keeping the area of the building cool in the summer. The Green Space will also prolong the lifespan of the roof because the greenery grown will absorb rainwater and protect the rooftop from UV rays.

    The Green Space will create a self-sustaining ecosystem in which the rainwater collection system will be irrigating the plants, and the compost turner will use food from the Hunter College cafeteria to make soil, eliminating waste.

     According to New York City’s Resilience Strategy, green roofs keep buildings cool enough that in the early and late summer, buildings don’t need to turn on their air conditioning and in the winter, help higher floors retain heat. Also according to research, green roofs have two to three times the lifespan of normal roofs, saving building maintenance costs. Green roofs lower a building’s storm water runoff by 50-90 percent, preventing rain from entering sewer systems and overflowing into rivers.




“We want to be able to collect valuable data on roof conditions and the benefits of the space so we can hopefully build more successful green roofs and other projects for the campus in the future,” said Loffe. “We’re excited, we’ve never done this before and the process is all new to us so hopefully it’s a success.”


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    The biggest challenge for the club so far has been the design for the roof, as choosing the right vendor who is experienced with building green roofs on skyscrapers isn’t the easiest task. Loffe explains that such a project requires a lot of careful planning to make sure the weight of the garden does not go over the weight capacity of the roof, that there are no leaks, and that safety standards are met, but assures that club members are tackling the challenges.

     The Hunter Sustainability Project has already hired students for the green roof, a dedicated garden caretaker, an outreach coordinator, and a research associate who will collect and analyze research data on the garden. Students in charge of taking care of the garden will be paid a yearly stipend for their efforts.

     The Hunter Sustainability Project (HSP) was renamed in 2012 and has since become a group that tackles broader goals of engaging the Hunter College community with environmental issues and finding ways to be more sustainable.

  “Our mission is to offer the Hunter community ways to change their behavior for the better,” said Lena Suponya, 21, the club’s president. “It’s really important to teach people all the little things they can do that can make a big impact and show them how easy it is to help the environment.”


Originally called the Hunter Solar Project, the club started as a student-led initiative to install a solar energy system on campus. In November of 2011, Hunter College completed the installation of a 3-kilowatt photovoltaic solar panel system next to a climate lab on top of Hunter’s North building.  The solar panels and climate lab became the first of many big projects to come for the HSP, the club also hosting numerous events throughout the school year to educate students about sustainable practices.

      With the rate of global warming rising three times over the last 30 years, and CO2 emissions increased by about 90 percent since 1970, trying to be eco-friendlier and practicing sustainability is a pressing issue.  A survey conducted by the Princeton Review found that current freshmen are two times more likely to choose their school based on sustainability concerns than the entering freshman class just three years ago, illustrating just how important tackling environmental issues on campuses alone is.

      The HSP’s everyday focuses on campus are their events, typically five events hosted a year, aimed at spreading awareness and showing students how they can get involved in green projects in their everyday lives and communities.


     Such events have included Composting at Thanksgiving, the Love It Again Clothing Swap-a-thon (held twice a semester in which all students are welcome to bring clothes they no longer wish to wear and swap them with one another as a way to recycle), and Hunter Goes Green, a five-day event focusing on different aspects of sustainability such as food, biodiversity, energy, and etc. aimed at educating the student body about sustainable practices.


Suponya, club president, is well aware of the issues still facing the campus and assures that aside from focusing on larger projects like the new green roof, the club is also working on smaller tasks throughout the campus, such as all new hand dryers being reinstalled in the bathrooms and new recycling bins being placed throughout the buildings.

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 “We’re starting small so that things can actually start happening around the campus, baby steps,” said Suponya. “Even the smallest things make a big difference.”


Rainbow Bagels Take Over Social Media and the Williamsburg Streets

   Rainbow bagels took off almost overnight, invading social media with their colorful swirls and funfetti icing, lines of people engulfing the Brooklyn sidewalk outside the shop.


    The Bagel Store in Williamsburg, prides itself at being the original rainbow bagel. Demands for the whimsical bagels, reminiscent of playdough swirls, were so overwhelming that the store had to create a separate website dedicated solely to the colorful treats, with an email waitlist for bagel orders.

In front of The Bagel Store at 754 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn.

     When the rainbow bagel first blew up on social media in 2016, lines wrapped around the block, people waiting for hours just to get their hands on the colorful rounds of bread, to be able to post a picture on social media.

Image- @rojorojas215


“I remember I came here last year and stood in line for about 40 minutes until I gave up,” said Daniel Lopez, who decided to come back to The Bagel Store for another chance at a taste of the swirly delight. “I keep seeing the bagels on social media still, even after a year. I’m just curious to see how they taste, to taste the rainbow,” he said with a chuckle.


@jcfrias ‘s Rainbow bagel


   The Bagel Store owner Scott Rossillo has been making the bagels for over 20 years, but the colorful creations only went viral after a video was posted on the Facebook page of Insider Food, a website related to all things food, showing the process of making the beauties.


   The video showed just how much work goes into making a Rainbow Bagel, requiring double the work, despite the plain bagel taste. The process involves dyeing the dough with neon food coloring, separating the differently colored dough into piles, layering the colors on top of each other, and then combining them into one multicolored string to be rolled into bagels.


The store’s most famous bagel is the rainbow bagel with confetti cream cheese, a dessert-like treat, the one that spread like wildfire all over the internet. Though the lines aren’t as crazy as they were when the bagels first went viral, crowds still gather to this day.


The store’s most popular bagel courtesy of @tborso_



“Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are busy, not like it used to be but still, I’m surprised,” said Sandro de Jesus, a 31-year-old worker at The Bagel Store. “When it’s warmer, the line is around the store, but today it’s not so busy because of the cold.” It was 23 degrees that Saturday.


Now, even when the place does get crowded, The Bagel Store is better equipped at dealing with the lines, a smooth sailing ship.



  Lourdese Marzigliano, a 23-year-old New Yorker, saw a video of the bagels on Facebook and wanted to try them for herself, surprised she didn’t have to wait long. “For being a small place with not a lot of room to have an organized line, they actually have a pretty good system in place, I only waited around 10 minutes” she said. “Even if I had to wait long, it was so worth it! Not only for the awesome picture, but it was pretty amazing tasting,” she said between bites.


A glimpse at the display of bagels.


  Though the rise of the rainbow bagel depicts the power of social media in creating and spreading trends like wildfire, not everyone is as willing to wait in line just for a taste of the rainbow.


  Joy, a 42-year-old mother, is used to seeing crowds lined up by the store. “I walk by here often and sometimes the lines are crazy,” she said. “I wouldn’t wait like that, it’s all the young kids. They just want to post pictures.”



   The power of social media trends is undeniable, a medium to spread images and information quicker than you can blink. The store now does catering, and offers custom event bagel art. The store’s Instagram is also pretty popular, with over 90,000 followers.

The Bagel Store’s Instagram page is a sea of color.

  Speaking to the Gothamist, Francine LaBarbera, The Bagel Store’s marketing coordinator, says they’ve sold 800 of the bagels every day for weeks. “We got slammed like you cannot believe,” she added.




Ice Sculptures Invade Central Park

        More than 10,000 people bared the bone-chilling weather in Central Park to watch large blocks of ice be chiseled into beautiful, glistening sculptures.

      The sixth-annual Central Park Ice Festival on Feb. 11, attracted large crowds to the Naumburg Bandshell to witness ice carving artists from Okamoto Studio transform more than 6,000 pounds of ice into a replica of one of the park’s statues.

People of all ages crowded around the stage trying to catch a glimpse of the artists working away with their picks and chisels, the buzz of a chainsaw ringing through the space.

      The festivities took place from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., and many gathered in the park despite the 26 °F weather and snow covered grounds. Crowds of people tried to squeeze their way to the stage, standing shoulder-to-shoulder like sardines in a can. Despite the lack of space, there were smiles and rosy cheeks all around.

                           Thousands try to squeeze their way towards the Bandshell stage for a glimpse of the ice statues.


        “It’s not as cold as it was yesterday so that’s nice, but I thought there’d be ice sculptures everywhere. They’re just on the stage,” said Sarah Smith, an Upper East Side mom who thought the event would be fun for her kids. “It’s so hard to see anything with all these people here and especially with younger kids. There’s a lot of snow in the park here though so that’s good, came here more for the snow than the ice,” she added with a smile.


         More than 10,000 people found their way to the outdoor amphitheater for the festivities according to Marie Geiger, a volunteer standing to the side with a tally counter.


“It’s only 3:30 p.m., and people still keep coming and coming,” she added, fingers clicking. The event was canceled last year because of high winds.


      Shintaro Okamoto, a second-generation ice sculptor from Alaska, along with other artists from Okamoto Studio, masterfully carved and chiseled away at large blocks of ice to replicate the Alice in Wonderland statue, one of Central Park’s most beloved bronze sculptures. The spectacle, the weekend before Valentine’s Day, is a celebration of Central Park Conservancy’s year-round preservation efforts of the park’s stone and metal statues.

Ice artist carves away at ice with a chainsaw.


        Despite the cold air and crowds of people trying to squeeze their way to a peek of the stage, there was a happy buzz in the air, wide eyes all around, twinkling at the glimpse of the large ice sculptures.


      Solomon Diarra, a 17-year-old photography student, spent his time capturing the high spirits of onlookers.


“My photography teacher told me about this, but I didn’t think there were going to be this many people here, it’s really crazy. I was focusing more on the crowd than on the ice though, a lot of people were smiling,” he said, flicking through his camera.


       A sole ice sculpture reading, “I Love Central Park Conservancy”, stood on the ground further from the stage, collecting crowds of people eager to take selfies with the glistening piece.



                           Small ice sculpture on the ground for people to get a close look at.


    “This is an annual event but my first time seeing it, so it’s pretty cool. There’s a lot of people here, a lot more than I thought there’d be,” said Marcel Arsenault, who was filming the event on his 360-degree camera.   

Profile- Rachel Brown, Cycling Into the Arts

Snapchat !

Hunter College– Locking her bike up in front of the school’s North Building, Rachel Brown, 35, strides into class, bike helmet in hand. Wearing denim shorts and a purple tank top, ear piercings lining her ears, she’s ready to teach her media-film class after biking to work from Astoria.


With a passion for cycling, Brown, a filmmaker, has found a way to combine her love of the sport with her passion for the arts and youth development. Leading bike tours, making films, and teaching media to students around the five boroughs, as well as finding time to work for a non-profit, this avid cyclist has found a way to make all of her hobbies intermingle.



“I think that if you are spending a lot of time in a particular community, or thinking about a specific topic or just doing the same activity on a daily basis, it becomes a part of how you see the world. For this reason, feminism and biking have been the focus of several of my films, and it feels very comfortable for me because they are things I understand, things I embody,” Brown said.



If there’s one thing that the people in Brown’s life can agree on, it’s that her dedication and passion in all aspects is extremely applaudable.



“She cycles no matter the weather, it’s impressive to meet up with her in cold or inclement weather and find out that she cycled. On days that I would be hesitant to get on my bike, she still rides. I think that speaks to her determined and persevering nature,” said Siji Kompanal, a friend and fellow cyclist.


Biking to her various teaching gigs around the boroughs, Brown also found a way to combine her passion for cycling with her love of film, having made five films now about cycling, trying to show women’s perspectives in the cycling community, a voice that is not heard much.


“My most recent cycling film was about women who cycle through winters in New York. There are a lot of cyclers who stop in the winter months but there’s a special breed who still cycle through very cold, very windy winters.  So I found women that shared that same crazy passion and made that film,” she said.


Brown wasn’t always certain of the route her career would go in. Born in what she calls the “middle of nowhere” Ohio, Western Ohio to be exact, Brown and her family moved around the Midwest a lot- from Ohio to Michigan to Missouri, ending back in Cleveland for middle school and high school. Through those moves, she lived in both the country suburbs and the city. Brown moved to New York when she was 17 for her undergraduate degree, attending Hunter College and double majoring in political science and film production.



Moving around a lot, one constant in Brown’s life was her bike. Her older brother, a bike mechanic and bike messenger, always encouraged her to keep riding. Like a lot of kids growing up she had a bike, and remembers the training wheels coming off and having her first bike ride around the block. “I have an older brother and one of his friends had a bike and I had a mini crush on him and I remember being so proud of myself that I went to wave at him and wiped out because I didn’t have a sense of the bike yet as a new rider. I totally lost it, lesson not learned,” Rachel said holding back laughter.


Coming to the city as a young adult to study as an undergrad, Brown wasn’t sure what path to take. “I don’t know why I chose film except that I was doubting myself as a performer and thought it might be easier- it’s just a different art form,” she said. Brown had always been into the arts, and thought the performing arts were where she was going to head. “It happened in the beginning of my freshman year at Hunter College, I went into film because it’s not an innate talent but a more skill based talent that I could learn.”



Brown’s new found passion for film would later be incorporated into her love of cycling and youth development.  Coming to the city, she didn’t ride at first because of the fear of traffic, but Brown has now been a year round commuter for about 12 years, riding her bike to every job and gig all over the city, rain or shine.


Kaija Siirala, a fellow professor and friend of Brown’s, recalled first seeing her colleague carrying her gear into the classroom on a beautiful September day and thinking “it was cool” that she’d biked there. “When I learned that she bikes all over the five boroughs, I was impressed. It’s pretty hardcore, but Rachel always seems to power through,” she said.



Strapping her bike in front of Hunter College and lugging her big red backpack up the stairs to her fourth floor film class, this is just one of the teaching jobs Brown cycles to. Along with teaching in classrooms around the city, Brown works with Mouse, a national youth development nonprofit that believes in technology as a force for good. Brown is passionate about passing on media skills to the younger generation so people who aren’t represented are able to put their voices out there through the arts, similarly to the way she was able to give a voice to women cyclists in her film “Yes I Rode Here”.  “I would never see myself being a math professor because I don’t see it as being important, I’m more interested in finding solutions to social issues and I feel like the arts are a better way to do that than math. How we experience the world is very different and through the arts, you touch on things that are not quantifiable and there’s more room there to be heard,” she said.


Patrick Weaver, Brown’s supervisor and friend at Mouse, describes her as having a “really interesting perspective and approach” both creatively and academically.  “She brings the perspective of someone who’s learning while teaching, and she’s passionate about it, which helps develop new projects and ideas,” Weaver said.



Rain or shine, snow or wind, Brown will be rushing by on her bike, pedaling away to one of her many teaching jobs, camera in hand and a fire in her heart. Brown has been working on being more experimental lately with her films, trying to not be as “on the nose with a topic” and following a less traditional form. Her new film has dance in it, another one of her loves.



“As for combining passions, it feels natural to me. I don’t think people are moved to create art about things they aren’t interested in; artists want to express or capture something unique about subjects that move us.”



Rachel’s Website:

NYT Observation

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Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

Stepping into the lobby of the New York Times building, there’s an instant sense of prominence that fills the space, like the light that beams through every floor to ceiling window. Crisp floors, glass doors, and bright hallways shine, mirroring the history and esteem that lives in these walls.

Bright colors and sunshine make the New York Times building seem to radiate, glass windows and walls making the space seem inviting and open. The building is clean and crisp, exuding minimalism- a fresh breath of air. The floors of the lobby sparkle upon entrance, reflecting the sunlight being let in through the floor to ceiling glass that surrounds the building’s open-air garden. Birch trees and green ferns smile at the sun, casting dancing shadows into the lobby. The building has a calm friendliness to it, the distant clicking of tiny screens lining a bright orange hallway greet passerby’s.  A ride up on one of the building’s energy-efficient elevators is smooth and quiet. The higher floors alternate between bright orange or crisp white walls. Framed photographs and newspaper articles are aligned perfectly, making the space feel welcoming, homey. Bright green conference chairs nestle themselves under clean, round office tables, glass walls hugging the space. The distant sound of printing and the shuffling of papers can be heard, leading to the newsroom where white cubicles are spread out like the lines of a crossword puzzle. There’s a slight murmur of phones being answered, pens being put to paper, but the space still maintains a quiet to it- a calm. Cascading red stairs line the room, like bright red Lego pieces leading to a different floor. Lights dim themselves as sunlight is let in through the grand glass windows, bouncing off the blue, green, and orange seats in the cafeteria space.

Americans Worry About the Presidential Candidates, Poll Shows

This year’s presidential candidates are leaving people in Manhattan unsure and worried about the future of the country as national security is threatened and Donald Trump continues his atypical and to many offensive campaign, according to a poll conducted by Hunter College students last week in New York City.


Nine out of ten people surveyed agreed that threats to national security and stopping ISIS should be the country’s top priority. The poll suggests an overwhelming uncertainty about the candidates and a hope that problems surrounding terrorism and threats to national security will be swiftly addressed, ninety percent of those polled unsure of who they will vote for.   “I have been following this year’s elections, it’s bad,” said Sarah Bernstein, 42, a Republican who runs her own driving school in Brooklyn, said in an interview. “All of the candidates are not respectable and don’t seem capable so I don’t even know who I will be voting for, it’s worrying.”


Younger voters also shared similar views on the candidates. Jordan Shay, a 24-year-old working in real estate, described this year’s election as a “shit show”. “I least hate Bernie so I registered as a Democrat so I can vote for him,” Shay said.



Donald Trump’s forward campaign strategy, Bernie Sanders’ past in politics, and Hillary Clinton’s scandals, though labeled as one of the more entertaining election years, have left voters unsure of the country’s future elected president.  What most voters are sure of however, is that the issue of terrorism needs to be handled and dealt with promptly, as national security is being threatened and Americans feel the government is focusing their energy on less important issues.  “Security needs to be amped up. The extremists who commit these strikes obviously don’t care about anyone and don’t discriminate on who they kill so even though this may be discriminatory towards Muslims, they should be highly secured. It’s still absurd that those on the suspect lists are committing crimes and the FBI just say there are too many to keep track, it’s their job to keep track of those people and instead we are more concerned with small issues,” said Alex Markel, 22, a Republican student.


Ninety-five percent of the 30 adults polled said that they would prefer Bernie Sanders to win if they had to choose, but would vote Clinton as the “lesser of two evils”, if she ran against Donald Trump.


Ninety-eight percent of those polled agreed that they weren’t fans of any of the candidates, but would chose the lesser of two evils. Haylie Wilkins, a 21-year-old student in New York who described herself as a Democrat, was part of the 1 percent who would vote for Hillary Clinton. “I have been following this year’s election and the Republican candidates are terrible. The whole campaign for that party is a mess. Their ideas and policies are regressive and harmful, a hundred steps back for our country. On the Democratic side, it’s a bit more sane. Bernie is passionate but doesn’t have realistic ides of how to get anything done, nor does his history in congress show him to be a strong dealmaker. Hillary Clinton has the most experience and seems most likely to get the nomination and win in a general election.”


Ninety-nine percent of those surveyed said that they would not vote for Trump under any circumstance. “I don’t care to elaborate on Trump, if we give him more attention he will get worse, he is a reality star,” said Irissa Cisternino, 23, a Democrat who works in the city.


Ninety-eight percent of the adults polled were for equal rights and 95 percent believed the issue of abortion should be kept out of politics all together. Despite differing personal opinions, Americans agreed that women should have the choice to do what they please with their bodies, and are glad gay people are being allowed equal marriage rights as straight people.



John Fiacco, 27, a Democrat working as a researcher in Washington, expressed that Trump was only inciting more issues and making things even more turbulent for the United State’s reputation.


Ninety-five percent of those polled said they worried about ISIS and the worsening terror attacks. “The issue of terrorism is scary, seems like nothing is getting better, only getting worse and worse- I don’t know what we can do to better the situation if I’m honest but something needs to be done because these bombings are getting out of hand. Innocent people are dying and I’m tired of hearing about a new terror attack everyday, it’s terrifying. We need to focus on these serious issues regarding public safety instead of the debates surrounding abortion and gay marriage,” said Lea Vardan, 22, a Democrat who studies finance at Pace University.



The 2015 Paris attacks were a brutal reminder of the danger of terrorism to the West, mainly from jihadist groups such as ISIS. In 2014, 32,700 people were killed in attacks worldwide, nearly twice as many as in 2013, according to The Economist. With stats like these, three-fourths of those surveyed agreed that they are hoping the new president is equipped to find a solution. Rachel Bergen, a 22-year-old student in New York, said she hoped the new president would continue to better the country. “I just hope whoever the new president is deals with terrorism first and tries to keep our country out of any wars.”


Ninety-nine percent of those surveyed agreed that Trump’s campaign tactics were offensive and regressive to the country’s image.  “Trump will sever our foreign alliances and ties,” said Yonique Providence, 27, a Liberal who works as a family court specialist in Canada. “Trump will only make the issue of national security worse, ISIS is more arrogant and deadlier than Al Queada and Trump is just taunting them.”


Thirty people were surveyed throughout Manhattan. Eighteen of those polled were women and 12 men, 15 Democrat, 6 Republican, and the rest unsure and not registered.








A Quaint New Space for Hunter College


Hunter College’s quaint new space, Baker Hall, is located just a block away and is booming with possibilities for the Theatre Department.


Baker Hall, located at 151 E 67th Street (between Lexington and 3rd Avenues), has opened its doors this year for Hunter College’s theatre classes. The newly renovated brown-stone is a promising space welcoming creativity, a part of the school’s ever expanding campus, a new space to build community for the Theatre Department. The 26,000-square foot building holds six floors of clean, new classrooms and places for students to lounge, for meetings to take place and for the arts to flourish. The Baker Building is named after Patty and Jay Baker who donated $15 million to Hunter to purchase the building for the theatre department. Now a welcome edition to Hunter College’s campus, the building had previously been home to a school owned by the Archdiocese of New York, the Kennedy Child Study Center. Because of this, the building’s sale required Vatican approval.

The Bakers’ ties to Hunter date back to when Patty attended the school and its theatre course sparked her interest in the arts- she’s now an honored Broadway producer. Her husband, Jay Baker, is the retired president of Kohl’s. The hefty donation has given the department a new space to impact the theatre program, to build a community beyond Hunter’s loud and crowded doors. “In general it is very exciting to have a space to centralize all our activity and it will be great for building community. Theatre thrives in environments where activity and people are able to work together. We are looking forward to many ideas for future renovation and how the building may be connected to the campus and offer spaces that will really serve all types of activity from design to rehearsal to performance”, Professor Louisa Thompson Pregorson of the Theatre Department stated.


Baker Hall is a quieter home for students in contrast to Hunter College’s main campus which is always packed and bustling. Nestled away on a one-way street, the distant sound of cars is the extent of the noise that rings through the building. “I like having class here so far. It’s more spacious as compared to Hunter, but I’ve noticed that there aren’t a lot of classes here, it’s quite empty”, Karen Galo, a theatre student, noted. Indeed, the inside of the building looks and feels nothing like the usual school atmosphere, and nothing but quiet is heard, a calm that’s unparalleled to the usual bustle of the college’s main buildings. From the carpeted stairs, to the quaint white classrooms and tiny restrooms with quirky wooden doors, the space is a breath of fresh air booming with possibilities. One tiny, out-of-service elevator and a place for students to lounge, greet people as they enter the space, reminiscent of a quiet office rather than a busy school. Still being renovated, the plain white walls of the classrooms are booming with possibilities and ideas for future prospects for the department.


“The elevator doesn’t work in the building so that’s inconvenient, but the classrooms themselves are nice, the new desks are clean and comfortable. It’s a nice space”, says theatre student Khristina J Williams with a calm smile.


Passion Beyond Pretty

Interviewing Photographer Brandon Taelor-


You take a lot of beautiful photos, everything you shoot seems to have a character to it, beyond just a pretty image.
 –Thank you. A lot of the time I have an emotional connection to the photographs, that’s why I take so many, to hold on to moments I think are beautiful.
Is there a favorite image or set of favorites?
-I have too many favorites, has to do with the different emotions attached to each shoot.
A lot of the pictures you post are black and white. Why black and white?
-Black and white strips away all distractions for me and gets to the essence of what I’m trying to capture easier, which you could say is a cop out sometimes. Color is one of those things that humans are intrinsically sensitive to, we have a lot of hidden associations with color so it’s tricky.


Is there a dream job or dream person you would die to work with?
-Hard to say. A dream job would be any creative job where I’m working with really talented and good hearted people that are also passionate about what they do. It all comes down to passion.
Why photography? What sparked an interest in young Brandon to pick up the camera and make it a career?
-When I was really little, my mom let me use her film camera. I used to take pictures of just any random thing I saw that struck my interest, nothing fancy. Then, as I got older, I started taking portraits of my friends instead. I would post the pictures I took on Flickr and got a pretty decent sized following- people would comment and like my images, which would encourage me to get better and start shooting more, I loved it. I then went to FIT to study fashion photography and that’s sort of where it all started.
Do you remember your first big job post school?
 –Well, my biggest secret is that I never graduated. I only went to FIT for 3 years. The darkroom assistant there (Rex) and I connected, he saw a lot of potential in me and pushed me to assist and got me in touch with this incredible modern dance photographer who took me under his wing for a few years until he passed away- he was 86 and still shooting for big dance companies like Paul Taylor. I learned more from him in 3 weeks than I did in 3 years of photography school. He had Parkinson’s disease so he’d have me use the camera and he’d direct what the dancers were doing.
So you kind of got thrown right into shooting. Can you imagine if you were stuck at an office job every day?
 –Well, yes. After working as an assistant I started working for Gilte Groupe as a digital tech and was quickly promoted to manage the whole digital department. Then they promoted me to senior fashion photographer and I had to hire, train and manage a team of 8 fashion photographers, some of the people were 10 years older than me at the time. Gilt was a corporation. In its startup stage, when I first joined, it was great- I didn’t feel the corporate bullshit until a year and a half or so in when they started cutting people’s rates, promising raises and never delivering… so I quit and went freelance.
Is it all as glamourous as it seems? The business that is.
 –“Sometimes,” he said with a wink.