Alum May Hold Key to Ebola

P1-BR639_EBSULL_J_20141019170459Brooke Coupal ’17

Associate Editor-in-Chief

A Merrimack alum may hold the key to an Ebola vaccine.

According to an article that appeared this week in The Wall Street Journal, Merrimack College alum Dr. Nancy J. Sullivan has been studying the disease since 1997. A cell biologist, Sullivan told reporters at the time that she was studying Ebola because “I wanted to find a place where I could make a real difference.”

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Sullivan has worked at the National Institutes of Health Vaccine Research Center “for years on a vaccine that has been proven to block Ebola in research monkeys.” The agency is racing to telescope what would have been a five- to 10-year testing plan into a few months, the article stated. “The vaccine is scheduled to undergo full human testing by early 2015 and could be in use potentially in time to help stem the disease in stricken West Africa,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

The human study would take place “in a part of the world with bad roads and spotty electricity … which would cover anywhere from 5,000 to 30,000 subjects,” the story stated.

The vaccine is not guaranteed to work, but if it does, about one million doses of Sullivan’s vaccine could be available next year, The Wall Street Journal reported.

For more on Sullivan, please pick up the next edition of The Beacon.


Merrimack College vs. Social Media

Elizabeth Fitzgerald ‘15

Copy & Features Editor

Better think twice about posting that picture. If Merrimack officials find it offensive, students could be punished, said college administrators.

“If we can trace content back that is offensive, yes we can definitely bring them up on charges for violating community standards,” says Preston Croteau, director of Community Standards.

Recently, Merrimack has received some unwanted publicity for an inappropriate picture posted on Barstool’s Instagram account. Sites like Boston Barstool, Smack College and other types of social media enable students to post anonymously about their schools and classmates. As often times these posts are derogatory, the wrong message is sent about these universities and their students.

“We don’t have a policy that is specific to social media, but we do have a policy that covers all type of communication,” said Croteau. Croteau further explained that this policy is designed to prevent harassing, inappropriate or disrespectful behavior. Any misuse in social media could fall under this policy.

Some may be under the impression that social media is a “safe zone” in which the school cannot interfere with. However, that is not the case. Even the anonymous posts can be traced back to the sender if it is offensive enough. Typically the college only pursues cases where a specific person or small group of people are targeted opposed to a large group or generalizing case.

Merrimack is attempting to further spread the positivity by using the hashtag #mackact. Students can get involved too. If you see a classmate getting involved on campus in a positive way, snap a pic, upload it to your Twitter or Instagram account and use the hashtag.


What’s Up With the Wifi?

Connor McGowan ’15

Staff Writer

As we reach the halfway mark of the fall semester many students have had plenty of time to settle in and adjust to life here at Merrimack College. With this being said there’s been one consistent issue that many students have been facing and dealing with: Wi-Fi connection.

Whether you live in the new buildings, the freshman quad, or the apartments in the back of campus, students are complaining about problems with their Wi-Fi connection.

After doing research and testing multiple parts of campus, it seemed Wi-Fi connection issues were predominantly coming from residence halls, rather than academic buildings such as O’Reilly and Sullivan Hall. The Beacon asked the school’s Chief Information Officer Chip Stiles to provide specific details about the Wi-Fi issues and the possible solutions Merrimack has in the works to fix the issue.

When asked if he has noticed any sort of Wi-Fi issues, Stiles responded with, “Yes, absolutely.”

“There’s been constant investigations, multiple ticket complaints written, numerous dorm checks, and through that we have realized there are a number of different issues,” Stiles said.

According to Stiles, the IT Department and President Chris Hopey have talked to a number of different wireless engineers and have found that the technology used here at Merrimack provided by Meraaki Technology is “cutting edge technology.”

So when asked why there continues to be issues with the wireless service here on Merrimack’s campus Stiles had a very detailed response.

“The technology in place right now was completely adequate when it was put in place almost four years ago. After our initial year of testing the wireless service we found there were 4,300 unique wireless devices here on campus in the fall of 2012,” Stiles said. “Since then the number of unique wireless devices currently being used has almost doubled to 8,012. This massive increase has caused interference between Internet access points, which is leading to the struggle going on right now with the wireless connection across campus.”

Stiles made it clear that Merrimack was not hiding, nor running away from this issue. He also said Hopey is adamant on addressing the issue and making things right.

When asked about if there are any plans in the near future to help solve the wireless issue Stiles stated, “Before the year, we invested in a bandwidth increase and an increase of access points (the white router-like devices hanging from ceilings). After testing out our changes it is clear more must be done. We plan on doubling the amount of access points in the residence halls, especially the older buildings on campus such as Ash, Monican, and the apartments. Even with those improvements there will be more major improvements done most likely over winter break, after students are cleared out and work can be done more easily and efficiently.”

If students are looking for any sort of recommendations from the IT Department, there are a few quick things students can do that can help the wireless service here on campus. Firstly, the IT department is urging students to shut off wireless devices that are not being used, such as tablets, laptops, and especially wireless printers.

They also strongly recommend that students always plug in to an Internet jack when the situation is possible. This will guarantee faster Internet speeds.

And lastly the IT Department is recommending to simply be patient. They are working hard to address this issue and compared with other colleges they seem more willing to put in the time, and most importantly the money to solve this problem.

Although improvements have been made with more coming, it still cannot be ignored that students are struggling with this issue.

When asked how his wireless service has been so far this year, senior resident Sean Kelly stated, “Terrible. I cannot connect to Wi-Fi in my bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen. The only place I get service is on one side of my common room.”

This may seem what many people refer to as a “first-world problem,” but when students are relying on their phones to read emails and send papers it can set them back in class, and can also force them to use wireless data from their cell phone companies.

Senior resident Joe Burnham was very familiar with this position saying, “Last month I went over my data plan and was forced to pay an additional $50 on my phone bill.”

If students have any questions, complaints, or concerns about their wireless service feel free to address your issue with the It Department on the second floor of the library, or e-mail Chip Stiles if you are looking for direct and immediate help.


Ebola Outbreak

Colleen Quinlan ’15

Staff Writer      

This past year an outbreak of Ebola swept through countries in West Africa. Many Americans are concerned that the outbreak could spread throughout the United States, but the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C), along with airports and hospitals, are taking precautions to prevent the outbreak from spreading.

On September 30, 2014, The New York Times reported the first case of Ebola in the United States was found in Dallas, Texas. The victim, Eric Duncan, was screened before he boarded his flight in Liberia and had no symptoms that indicated he had Ebola. It was not until the 24th of September that he started to develop symptoms. Two days later on the 26th he sought care, but was sent home because his symptoms were diagnosed to be flu-like. On the 28th of September he was placed in isolation at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and Ebola was eventually confirmed on the 30th.

Dr. Frieden, Director of C.D.C, stated that the patient was treated in strict isolation and all measures were taken to ensure the disease did not spread in the rest of United States. “I have no doubt that we will control this case of Ebola so that it does not spread widely in this country”, Dr. Frieden told reporters on September 30th.

Eric Duncan died on October 8, 2014 by the disease and Nina Pham a nurse who took care of Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola on October 12th, as stated by The New York Times. On October 15th it was reported that Amber Vinson, a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, who also treated Duncan as well tested positive for Ebola. Vinson became the second health care worker diagnosed with the disease.

The Wall Street Journal published an article stating that “as many as 10,000 new cases a week of Ebola could be reported by early December.” Bruce Alyward, Assistant Director of World Health Organization, said the virus is still moving geographically, still escalating. “Every time you isolate another patient, every time you have a safe burial, you’re taking some of the heat out of this outbreak,” Dr. Aylward told reporters.

For more information about Ebola visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.


What’s Trending? Fall Favorites

fall1Kristen Lindner ’15

Staff Writer

The plaid flannels, vests, and riding boots are out as everyone’s favorite season, fall, brings the start of the cold weather.

Are you and your friends looking for some fall activities to do around this area? Smolak Farms, which is located in North Andover just a few minutes away from school, is one of the best places to go for apple picking and hay rides. They are open 7 days a week from 7am-6pm. Senior Nikki Wanless says, “I have not been there yet but I have only heard good things about Smolak Farms. There has been a lot of hype about their caramel apples and apple cider donuts. I will definitely be making a visit there soon to try them!”

Another great place to go for fall activities is Canobie Lake Park is in Salem, New Hampshire, which is about 20 minutes away. They open in the early afternoon and run till 11pm. If you are looking for something that is going to be fearful and fun, this is the place for you! They are now offering events such as Screemfest and Rocktoberfest. If you are looking for haunted houses and rides, look no further. Screemfest at Canobie Lake Park is where you can enjoy these spooky scenes.

Senior Lindsey Maher expresses interest in the event saying “I love rides and haunted houses, so the fact that they turned Canobie Lake Park into a Halloween themed event makes it even more exciting. I love the idea of creating spooky rides, it puts a little edge on the average ride. I am looking forward to going here with my friends before Halloween.”

One of the other offerings at Canobie Lake Park is Rocktoberfest, which includes 6 weekends of different live bands. The 6 bands coming to play live at Canobie are cover bands impersonating Bon Jovi, Led Zepplin, ACDC, The Police, Van Halen, and Journey.

Tickets must be purchased prior to attending the event. Senior Ariel Eromin says, “I am excited to attend Rocktoberfest, it gives my friends and I something different to do on the weekend! Sometimes it’s hard to find things to do around here and this is a fun concert for everyone to attend.”

If you are looking for activities to do right here on campus join us at Macktoberfest on Saturday October 25 from 3-6 in O’brien Plaza. At Macktoberfest there will be food and novelties, a cornhole tournament, fire pits and lawn games, live music, and a beer truck!

Fall is in full swing in New England everywhere you look there are pumpkin spice lattes, apple cider donuts, and pumpkin muffins; it’s hard not to get in the spirit of Halloween!

Have a favorite fall treat? Share it with us by tagging us on Instagram @MCBeacon


Police Log

10/15: RA reports suspicious oder from room. Dispatch notified the AC on duty.
10/16: Noise complaint E tower.
10/17: At this time students came into campus police to report issues with a roommate. Sgt. and RD spoke with the students in the conference room.
10/17: Recieved a car from RA on duty requesting an officer to look at vandalism to posters on 3rd floor of Deegan East.
10/18: Ofc requests APD be notified. One person under arrest. Arrest was commuter student.
10/19: NAFD called to report a student in ash called to report roommate was passed out and foaming at mouth.
10/19: Student called stating that there was a bird flying around the lowell townhouse.

Embracing Your Self(ie)

Jess Raver ’15

Feature Story Editor and Creative Director

If you’ve ever owned a smartphone or a camera, chances are you’ve take a selfie or two, (or two hundred.) You know how it goes; turn your frontview camera on, hold your phone at arms length, find the light, and smile. Then you find the right filter, add a caption, post it to Instagram, and wait for the likes to start rolling in. The practice has become so common in our generation, Merriam-Webster has deemed the term prominent enough to add to their dictionary. But what does this say about us as a society? Have we all become narcissists, seeking out approval from others in the form of likes? This is one way of looking at it, sure, but let’s not be so pessimistic.

Say it’s a Saturday, and you’re all ready to head out for the night. You’ve spent time and care into getting ready for this event, and it shows. Standing in front of the mirror, the sunlight is streaming through the window and you notice the glow it brings to your skin. Your hair is falling just the way you want it to, and you’re feeling confident. So you snap a photo. Experiment with angles and poses, and take a few more. Trash the ones that do nothing for you and relish in those that could only capture you the way you can. Feel good about yourself. Do you always look this way? Probably not, unless you’re a Kardashian. But you can always feel this way.

In a world where just about every image we see in the media has been through Photoshop, it’s no surprise that many people feel compelled to compare themselves. But here lies the problem – it isn’t natural for a six foot nothing woman to weigh 100lbs. Nor do everyday men sport 6 pack abs. Hard as we may try, these standards are not attainable for most, which leaves many people feeling less than. But that photo you took on Saturday? It’s real. Sure, you could slap a filter over it or change the color balance, but it’s still you. A snapshot of a moment when you were untroubled by the way you looked. Not comparing yourself to anyone, or putting yourself down. In that moment, you saw yourself as you always should. Let the photo serve as a reminder of how you felt that day, and strive for that feeling even if your hair isn’t falling quite as you’d like it to.


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