My Fashion Makeover and Why Other Men Need One Too

Let’s be frank. Too many men lack a strong fashion sense and suffer floating through, “fashion purgatory”, a place where style rests between slightly wrinkled graphic tees and “okay”-smelling jeans. For years, this was home for me.Not much thought was given to my appearance and it showed. Like many men, I had come to believe that an interest in fashion was not for “real” men—that a sense of style somehow diminished my masculinity.

In high school, my buddy, Joe, piqued my interest in fashion. Early in high school, Joe began his departure from “fashion purgatory.” As our friendship blossomed, I followed suit and led my own exodus from purgatory and into thoughtful dressing.    

The preppy look became my go-to style. I began to experiment with different colors and patterns making an elaborate, highly personalized style.  I wanted to try it all from wingtips, chinos, Oxford shirts, pin rolled jeans, and sweaters (yes, even Cardigans)! Soon, this investment began yielding strong returns: I was more confident in myself and ability to interact with others.  

Others, however, didn’t understand who the better dressed version of myself. The newfound style placed a target upon me. 

For example, one day, I decided to show up to school wearing a pair of slacks, pink Oxford shirt, and a pressed gray Cardigan complimented by a selection from my color-assorted set of bow ties. Someone commenting on my attire referred to my Cardigan as a “grandpa sweater”. He had a point, but I promptly corrected him, “This is a cardigan.” Armed with a sense of fashion, I was not going to let some random high schooler belittle my style.

Left: Ben Kahn during his junior year at Severna Park High School (Photo Credit: Ben Kahn – UB Post)
Right: Ben Kahn at the UB Post office (Photo Credit: Leonard Robinson – UB Post)

Years later, both high school and bow ties (for the most part) are behind me and I continue to grow in terms of fashion and confidence. This is possible and necessary for everyone. 

Through my writings in the UB Post, I hope to share the importance of looking good (on a budget) to students further aiding them in achieving their goals while looking and feeling great. 

Ben Kahn is a contributing writer for the UB Post covering fashion.

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Key SGA Members Boycott Friendsgiving, Cites Internal Conflicts

On Wednesday evening, crowds gathered along the second floor of the Student Center trying to grab a plate from the Friendsgiving dinner. 

Meanwhile, in the SGA office on the fourth floor, key members of the SGA such as Amadou Bah, chief of staff; Zainab Ali, treasurer; Brianna King, secretary; and senators April King and Carmen Corea-Guerra boycotted the event. 

 “I am boycotting because there was injustice done to the chief of staff who is a responsible member of SGA,” said Zainab Ali. She was working on a resolution and expressing the repeated frustrations that she had with leadership. “I feel constantly betrayed.”

The injustice referenced is a direct tie to a set of actions that some in SGA argue are patterns of executive overreach exhibited by SGA President Yvonne Harper. 

These include actions taken during the planning process for the Friendsgiving event in which President Harper cancelled orders for promotional items such as a tote bag, scarves, gloves, and a hat.

The proposed promotional item designs and contents were approved in late October with executive board members in agreement to follow the lead of the chief of staff who did much of the planning. Days after the meeting, Anthony Butler, director of the Rosenberg Center for Student Involvement, expressed his concerns about the design of the giveaway items. 

“Rather than calling a meeting and discussing this, she went forward and just cancelled the promotional items.”, said Bah. “I told her if there was no promo, there would be no event.” Bah sent out an email declaring that the event was cancelled in addition to calling Mission Barbeque to cancel the food order. 

Later, members of the SGA who wanted to ensure the event’s success negotiated a deal with Mission Barbeque to provide the food to be compensated later. 

“It is just not right to have people in SGA constantly talk about transparency, but not actually be transparent about their actions.”, said Senator April King as she looked up from a card game with other boycotters. 

The UB Post reached out to President Harper regarding her response to the claims made against her. Harper declined to comment instead urging that the UB Post, “redirect your focus to the betterment of the University of Baltimore” while offering an invitation to discuss the 2019-2020 platform. 

Leonard Robinson is editor-in-chief of the UB Post.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of the article failed to mention that Hugh Norko is the Baltimore editor of the UB Post. The previous article also claimed that Norko was a participant in the boycott. In fact, Norko attended the event between the break in his class schedule and was in class for the remainder of the event.

SGA Friendsgiving Draws Large Crowd

Friendsgiving, an event hosted by the Student Government Association to benefit the Campus Pantry, has been one of the most popular events at the university with attendance always exceeding 100 people, a rarity for many organizations on campus. 

SGA President Yvonne Harper serves the hungry attendees of the Friendsgiving dinner.
(Photo credit: Leonard Robinson – UB Post)

This year was no exception.Hungry students, faculty, and staff crowded the second floor waiting for the menu consisting of sliced brisket, turkey, and pulled chicken alongside “Maggie’s Mac-N-Cheese”, baked beans with brisket bits, green beans, salad, and the choice of either a slider roll or a slice of cornbread. 

The sauce was also another popular item among students. The options reflected a variety of tastes and geographic preferences with titles such as Memphis Belle, Smoky Mountain, Tupelo Honey Neat, KC Classic, Bay-B-Que, and Texas Twang. “These sauces are where it’s at,” exclaimed a student as he drowned his brisket in Bay-B-Que. 

SGA leadership was pleasantly surprised by this year’s turnout. “I was expecting 10 to 15 people, but this was a pleasant surprise,” said Yvonne Harper, SGA president. 

Within an hour, students began lounging around the second floor on the couches and floors either recovering from their food comas or awaiting the pizza to arrive as the Mission spread ran dry. 

Students crowd the second floor of the Student Center to get a plate of the Mission spread.
(Photo credit: Leonard Robinson – UB Post)

Like any normal Thanksgiving, internal clashes found its way into the mix leading some members of the SGA to boycott the event by crowding in the SGA office upstairs. 

Nonetheless, the event was popular among students and well-attended.  

“We had a fantastic turnout.”, said Ben Kahn, director of public relations for SGA (and fashion columnist for the UB Post). “We didn’t expect as many students. We hope that this well them know that we as SGA want to hold more events like this in the future.” 

Leonard Robinson is editor-in-chief of the UB Post. 

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UB Hopes BPD Can Cure Financial Woes
Baltimore police officers at nearby Camden Yards. Wikimedia Commons.

UB students, this past September, learned that the university had agreed to a deal with the Baltimore Police Department to the tune of more than six million dollars over a five-year period. 

The deal was not without controversy. Supporters hailed the deal as a solution to the more than 6 million dollar (6.5 million to be exact) shortfall facing the university while critics bemoaned bringing an institution with a checkered history to a campus with a high concentration of marginalized students. The deal, nonetheless, would lease the gym, classrooms, select rooms in the Learning Commons, and the Maryland Avenue garage for roughly a million dollars per year with 2% annual increases. The Baltimore Police Department also will pay over two million dollars in gym renovations. 

Among many students, a question lingers:  What purpose did this 5-year leasing deal with the Baltimore City Police Department. 

The answer lies in the structural budget deficit that the university has faced for roughly 5 years primarily due to declining undergraduate enrollment over a period of five years. 

Many steps have been taken to close this budget gap over the past three years, including mandatory furlough days,hiring freezes, travel restrictions, and limits on spending by various academic departments and both the Merrick School of Business and University of Baltimore Law School. Later, this expanded to other services either being cut or eliminated. Shuttle bus service hours were reduced. Counseling services were eliminated on campus and outsourced to a third-party agency. 

Last semester, students pushed back against a major cut proposed by administration: shortening gym hours. The SGA took action by collecting student signatures in protest to keep the gym open. Those who were international students who were on work study and contractual employment primary employment came from campus recreation and wellness, would have to forfeit those positions. Campus morale has certainly taken a hit, especially after the partnership’s final details were announced with little input from faculty and students who are most impacted by the changes. 

Beth Aymot, chief financial officer for the University of Baltimore, stands by the method in which administration notified students of these changes. 

“Real estate and partnership agreements, by nature, typically require a small team from each party who evaluate and negotiate the terms to achieve the best possible outcome,” said Aymot. “UB was not in a position, and neither was the City, to share with our communities the details of this arrangement as it was being developed.”

Aymot referred students who were interested in finding out more information to visit the Baltimore Police Education and Training center website. More importantly, she stressed that this deal would have a direct impact on closing the budget shortfall.

However, the university is now focusing its resources on a smooth transition with a UB representative scheduling talks with students about changes in recreation and parking.

At this point, much of the changes that will impact students regarding this agreement has yet to be announced. Students, however, have another opportunity to make their concerns on this issue heard. 

On December 4th, UB President Kurt Schmoke and Baltimore Police Department commissioner Michael Harrison will host a town hall forum co-sponsored by the SGA allowing for students to ask questions and address their concerns about the partnership. 

Officers are expected to arrive on campus sometime early next year. 

Charles Rhem is a staff writer for the UB Post. 

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Light City – Baltimore’s Annual Celebration

Nicknamed “Charm City”, Baltimore is home to the Inner Harbor, rich history, thriving arts scenes, and some of the nation’s best festivals attracting both lifelong Baltimoreans, tourists, and everyone in between.

Light City, the country’s first large-scale festival of art, music, and innovation is in its fourth year in Baltimore and continues to earn praise from critics and locals, alike.

For the first time, the Baltimore Book Festival and Light City have been combined prompting the Baltimore Sun to explain that organizers combination of both emphasized brilliance, “both in the light exhibits and in the imagination inspired by the books.”

Light City reimagines the waterfront into a premier cultural destination: fully accessible, free and open to all. Located along the Inner Harbor’s brick-lined promenade, the festival features awe-inspiring art installations, performances, concerts, a fun-filled family zone and special moments including an Opening Night Parade and a Closing Night fireworks finale. The festival’s food and beverage offerings are proudly 100% local, reflecting Baltimore’s burgeoning cuisine scene” (via Brilliant Baltimore)

Jeff Dominguez is the Director of Communications and Marketing for the UB Post.

UB Honors Veterans Day

University of Baltimore police officers David Blumberg and Louis Holley raise the flag as students, faculty, and members of the UB community look on. (Leonard Robinson/UB Post)

University of Baltimore students, faculty, alumni, and community members gathered in the Gordon Plaza to commemorate Veterans Day on Monday afternoon with a brief flag raising ceremony. 

“We are extremely proud of veterans in general, and UB students who happen to be veterans.”, said President Kurt Schmoke speaking to the UB Post. “We are pleased to celebrate with them.” 

Darlene Brannigan Smith, provost of the University of Baltimore, spoke about her experiences growing up as a daughter of a veteran. “I used to call myself an “Army brat” but now I call myself the daughter of a patriot.” 

Jeffrey Lesch, director of the Bob Parsons Veterans Center, acknowledged the importance of this event while showcasing the programs that the University of Baltimore offers to honor the service of veterans year-round. These programs include both the Bob Parsons Veterans Center and the Bob Parsons Veterans Advocacy Clinic. 

“We also have two other programs going on right now”,said Lesch. “There is a card collection to collect cards for Veterans Day and boxes around campus to collect clothes and food for the BWI USO drive.” 

People on campus have been responsive to the campaigns with many stopping to sign cards in the lobby of the Student Center. 

“It was really nice to see how positively our campus responded to this initiative and how everyone wanted to participate,” said Daniel Khoshkepazi, a graduate assistant for the Rosenberg Center for Student Involvement who collected cards at both the flag raising ceremony and tabling events across campus. 

After remarks, the crowd stood at full attention as University of Baltimore police officers David Blumberg and Louis Holley approached the flagpole. To The Colors blared from a loudspeaker as the stars and stripes rose to the sky. 

Leonard Robinson is the editor-in-chief of the UB Post. 

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