Each year, Front Range Community College awards successful students by hosting the Student Awards Ceremony. Located in the Rocky Mountain room on Thursday, April 7, at 3:30 p.m., the Student Awards Ceremony commemorated students for performing above and beyond expectations.
The event is a great time for anyone to celebrate successful students. Dan Balski, the Coordinator of Clubs and Leadership stated, “The campus community is welcome to attend. Invites go out to all award winners, specifically, as well as all FRCC employees.”
Balski mentioned one specific type of award given to students, called the Academic Achievement Award. “The Academic Achievement Awards are given to one student per department, and are selected through each individual department,” said Balski. Other awards include the Vice President’s Service Award, Outstanding Student Employee Award, and the Diversity Advocate Award. These awards are all chosen out of a group of nominees. According to Balski, “All of these winners receive an engraved, acrylic award.”
Students who are interested in being awarded at the next Student Awards Ceremony have to maintain a strong work ethic to get noticed. “It is evident that these students hold themselves to a high standard and perform outstandingly, whether in the classroom, outside the classroom, or both. Such behaviors do not go unnoticed by the faculty and staff here on campus,” said Balski.
To commemorate Earth Day last Friday, the Environmental Science Club at Front Range Community College spent the week educating students about the importance of respecting the planet.
According to their website, the club’s goal is “to promote a clean and sustainable standard in and outside of Front Range Community College. Our purpose is to make the college and community as eco-friendly as possible. We will accomplish this through a variety of projects/events about recycling, water/energy conservation, etc. Together we will develop ideas and projects as a group to help bring sustainability to FRCC and the city of Westminster.”
According to Austin, Vice President of the Environmental Science Club, the club began thanks to a passionate student. “Brandon Blea was in environmental science, a class offered at [Front Range Community College], and he had an idea to try and get more people involved in living a more sustainable lifestyle and just generally make people more aware of how to live a lifestyle that impacts the earth less, and why that is important. Out of that idea, the Environmental Science Club was born,” he explained.
The club strives to implant students with a certain respect for the Earth. “We only have one planet, and if you don’t want to care about it that is up to you, but I think that you should be more concerned about the future of the planet and future generations, about posterity,” Austin said.
The state of the health of our planet is a big issue of concern and debate at the national and international levels. Many people are starting to gain an understanding of how our lifestyles can have drastic impacts on the environment and overall health of the planet. Many people believe that, as a society, we need to make some drastic changes to how we live and how we treat the Earth, if we are to survive, and thrive, as a species. Others feel that there is no way that the changes they make will affect any real change to such a large and daunting challenge, but this is far from the truth. FRCC’s Earth Week, and the Environmental Science Club, attempted to dispel this myth.
Instilling change in our behaviors on campus can have a ripple effect through the greater Front Range community. “We want to spread the message to the greater community but we need to first start with the school. We would like to get as many people as possible from the campus involved because obviously the people are members of the community themselves; they live around this area, they go to school around this area, they probably work around the area. If we get people to start making the changes in their niche it will spread to other people in the community through them,” Austin said.
To better the Earth, people do not need to reform their entire lives. In fact, they can take a few simple steps to initiate change. “It’s easy when you leave a room to turn the light off or when you walk up to a trash can or recycle bin, you make a decision to recycle something if you can,” Austin said. “It’s also easy to plug everything into a power strip, and if you’re not using anything, to turn of the power strip.” If every person did a small favor to the planet, a much bigger change could occur.
The Environmental Science Club also hosts events to help spread their sustainability message. The events took center stage last week to celebrate the Earth Week festivities. On Monday April 18, they handed out reusable goodie bags with suggestions for students to reduce environmental impacts.
The Environmental Science Club and the Science Club took turns working the information booth that was set-up most of last week in front of the Student Organization Center (SOC). The Science Club had an informational event on Wednesday, and the Environmental Science Club held events Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
Thursday’s theme was reuse, so the Environmental Science Club handed out coffee mugs. “People will go to the café here and they’ll use one of those cups and then throw it away. So if we give away mugs (we hope) people will be more inclined to use those,” Austin said. Different days of Earth Week highlighted different tenants that are the pillars of the green movement; reduce, reuse, recycle.
Using reusable grocery bags, a travel coffee cup and a water bottle, instead of plastic or paper bags, cups or bottles take very little effort once the habit is established, but make a large difference in waste generated over the course of a year or years.
According to statistics from various online sources, Americans alone consume over 100 billion cups of coffee each year and, according to Starbucks, only 1.9 percent of all of their transactions include the use of travel mugs. While the cups are generally made from recycled material, once they are made water-proof for liquid storage, they are rendered un-recyclable due to the plastic coating applied. In addition, each one of those cups, even if made from recycled materials, releases 0.24 pounds of CO2 emissions to produce it. So, if you were to buy only a single cup of coffee each day, over the course of a year you would be adding 23 pounds of waste to landfills and over 85 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere. These statistics only account for the cups, not the lids, sleeves or packaging.
Our addiction to plastic is no better. Americans used over 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. Historically, only around 23 percent of these bottles get recycled, meaning more than 38 billion plastic water bottles end up in landfills every year. It also requires more than 17 million barrels of oil to create those bottles annually, as well as more water to produce them than they actually store. Further, bottled water is exponentially more expensive than tap water and is generally no safer or cleaner than tap water, a big reason people claim for consuming bottled water.
If humans worked to reduce, reuse and recycle, they could dramatically decrease the amount of waste that inhabits the Earth. Use a non-disposable water bottle and coffee cup, take reusable bags to the grocery store and bike or take a bus to get to the store or school. Reduce your use of disposable materials, reuse materials like grocery bags and coffee mugs, and, if you can’t reduce or reuse the material, make sure it is recyclable.
By making these little changes to your life, you will be making a difference in the world. Even more importantly, as you go through your daily life, you will inspire other people to make these same small changes.
Imagine if everyone had even just a cloth bag with a water bottle and coffee cup in their car: very easy to put together and keep close by, and with daily use of all three, millions of pounds of waste would remain out of our landfills and atmosphere.
This is how you can turn everyday into Earth Day. Living a sustainable lifestyle, or one that reduces your impact on the environment, isn’t hard and doesn’t require massive lifestyle changes. Few people can, or want to, live off the grid or consume zero fossil fuels. Everyone can, however, make an effort to reduce the amount of waste they produce.
The Environmental Science Club is a great way to learn more about sustainability and what you can do to make a difference. The club holds meetings every other Friday, from 10 to 11 a.m. in the conference room of the Student Outreach Center. The next meeting is scheduled for Friday, April 29. Anyone is welcome to attend, and if you sign up, they will send email reminders for meetings as well as information about the environment.
As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” For FRCC students, this could mean to make everyday Earth Day.
When she joined Student Government Association two semesters ago, Front Range Community College student Nicole Le Febre, hoped that the organization would play to her social side. “I wanted to have conversations with other students and find out what they wanted,” she said. As an SGA representative, Le Febre took those wants and used them to make a difference at the institution.
Last semester, for example, Le Febre worked with SGA to improve the Wi-Fi speeds at FRCC. “As a student representative, I pushed for faster Wi-Fi, because it was something that the students really wanted and needed,” she said. And, after reporting this student concern for FRCC President Andrew Dorsey, the school updated the Internet speed.
“I just like to talk to people: see how their classes are going, see what I can do to make their FRCC experience better,” Le Febre said. Although Le Febre made a difference as a student representative, she understands that more power equals more influence. Thus, Le Febre’s name is on the ballot for SGA Vice President, for whom students vote on April 27 and 28.
As Vice President, Le Febre hopes to bridge the gap between students and FRCC leadership. “I want to be a liaison,” she said, “to make student concerns known, and do something about them.”
“By observing the [SGA] President and Vice President this past year, I have an idea of what I want to do as a vice president. I want to continue advocating for the students, but in a bigger way.” Le Febre still intends to converse with the students, but in a position of power, she can bring those conversations directly to President Dorsey.
Le Febre’s main goal as Vice President is to increase cohesion among FRCC organizations. “I want to get FRCC together. There’s so much separation.” She wants SGA to take an active role in events on campus, because in order to truly represent the students, SGA must participate with them.
“I want to find [SGA’s] purpose. Why are we here? What are we going to do to inspire students to better themselves?”
As SGA elections approach, students must decide who can best represent them. “I can represent the students, because I am a student,” Le Febre said.
Denver is often referred to as “The Oasis” by musicians all over the world. The Front Range is one of the best places to see live music in Colorado, as well as in the United States. Red Rocks Amphitheater is one of the most coveted music venues in the world. Dazzle Jazz and El Chapultepec are jazz institutions with decades of history melded into the walls. Beta Nightclub is a favorite of D.J.’s and club goers. No matter your taste in music or your budget, there’s a show for you to see in Denver.
As an avid music lover and college student, I have to balance my joy of going to shows with my budget. This is no simple task, considering I live in one of the best places to see live music on the planet, there’s a place for everyone in the Colorado music scene.
If I’m tight on money, one way to see music without sacrificing much cash is to look for jam sessions or open mic nights. A Denver institution is the Monday Night Jazz Jam at the Meadowlark. This is a low-key and free event that guarantees to please, as many of the best jazz cats in Denver come out to swing. There’s no cover fee, and this is an all-ages event, perfect for brushing off those Monday blues.
If you have a bit more of a budget, I recommend buying dinner and catching a show at Dazzle Jazz. You’ll quickly understand why it’s a national landmark.
Denver is also home to a plethora of mid-level venues that cater to the budget conscious.
Looking for a rock show? Check out the Hi-Dive or Larimer Lounge. Like EDM? Clubs like Beta and The Funky Buddha are great places to start. Looking for a grab bag of music? Check out Cervantes and The Otherside, a duel venue that sports a huge variety music every night of the week.
A trip to Red Rocks Amphitheater is a must for any music lover. While it may exert your budget more than the above venues, Red Rocks is an experience worth saving for. Between the scenery and the acoustics, there is no place better. With a huge variety of performers, a wide selection of films and even yoga and health events, there is truly something for everyone.
Summer in Colorado is a special time of year, and every resident should enjoy it to the fullest. With so many options to see live music every night of the week the Denver music scene is almost overwhelming. The best way to find shows to fit your taste and budget is to investigate “The Oasis.” You’ll find the musical waters deep but soothing.
The end of the spring semester is creeping up on students at Front Range Community College. For many students, the end of spring marks temporary freedom from education, but for some students, summer is just another school semester. If you are a student of the latter, then these summer registration tips are perfect for you.
Summer registration opened on April 12, so students who are planning on taking classes during the summer should register as soon as possible, according to Erica Ingalls, Director of Academic Advising and Retention Services. “Summer time is very popular for the four-year school students [who] come to FRCC to take summer courses,” stated Ingalls. “For this reason, we see a high demand in summer classes, so the sooner that FRCC students can register the better.”
Furthermore, the summer term is only 10 weeks in length, in comparison to the fall and spring terms which are 15 weeks. “Students are expected to learn the same amount of material, but in one third less time,” said Ingalls. Consequently, students are often seen taking two or three classes instead of a full course load.
One important aspect to note when signing up for summer classes is the amount of available financial aid a student has. “The financial aid year runs fall, spring, and then summer, so it’s possible that students would not have enough aid to use towards summer courses. It’s important to frequently visit with your academic advisor and financial aid advisor so you can be aware of these funky things,” said Ingalls.
Students interested in summer classes should communicate further with academic advising to ensure a successful semester.
Written by Jacob Hallberg
Infographic (below) from Carson-Dellosa Publishing
The USDA defines food insecurity as a state in which “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.” According to Feeding America, in 2014, 48.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 32.8 million adults and 15.3 million children. It’s hard to believe that in one of the wealthiest and most prosperous nations on the planet, millions of Americans go to bed hungry every night. One must begin to look at the local community to see the real effects of hunger insecurity.
Statistically speaking, many of your fellow students suffer from food insecurity. The person sitting next to you right now may not be able to eat every day, and what’s worse, is you may have no idea. In order to combat this large but solvable problem, Front Range Community College is hosting a Hunger Banquet that is designed to educate students on food insecurity in an unorthodox way. I sat down with Hunger Banquet coordinator Dan Balski to learn more about this upcoming event.
“I would say that food insecurity is a bigger issue for community college students because there is such a high financial need with our student population. Most of our students are part-time because they’re balancing family and/or sometimes multiple jobs, in order to make a better life for themselves. Being able to survive in that lifestyle is extremely difficult,” said Dan Balski, Westminster Campus Coordinator of Clubs and Leadership.
He continued, “The Hunger Banquet is a program that provides more of an experiential way to engage with the concept of hunger. We arm students with knowledge as they come in to the Hunger Banquet. The focus this year will be how hunger affects our local community. The students will come into the banquet and they will have a place to sit based on socio-economic statistics of our area. There will be a high class, a middle class and a working poor area. Each area will be given food based on their income level and we use that dramatization to talk about how hunger affects people.”
There is no substitute for seeing the detrimental effects of food insecurity on the working class. One must walk in the shoes of the food insecure to understand it, and that’s what the Hunger Banquet seeks to achieve. Imagine one of your fellow classmates sitting silently, worrying about where his next meal will come from. If you knew your study buddy wouldn’t be able to eat breakfast tomorrow, you’d chip in to help them, even if it meant you had to give up your treasured caramel macchiato. The sad truth is simply that people are not sufficiently informed about these issues.
“I think it’s helpful for students to be informed about what their fellow students are going through. The Hunger Banquet is not only a way to get informed, but also a way for students to do something about these issues, to make things better,” said Balski.
Our collective goal should be to, as Balski suggested, “make things better” for everyone on planet earth. We can start with the simplicities of providing every individual with enough food to eat and clean water to drink.
As Americans, it is our duty to find solutions to the problems that not only plague the world at large, but also the Front Range Community. Come to the Hunger Banquet, educate yourself and volunteer at a food bank or a soup kitchen; the world and your fellow humans will thank you.
“It’s been a dramatic success for students to experience growing something where the back of a classroom, with grow lights, was fine but didn’t reflect real life growing in a greenhouse,” said Dan Bachelor, who oversees the horticulture department at Front Range Community College-Westminster Campus. The greenhouse has been operational for about eight months, and we are approaching the end of the second semester of classes utilizing the space.
Bachelor and the other horticulture professors have taken advantage of the greenhouse to teach their students about growing and maintaining plants. “It’s been a really good learning experience for students, instead of growing in the classroom, which is what we did before. They get to see different types of plants,” Bachelor said.
In addition to the horticulture department, other science classes, such as biology, use the space for experiments and hands-on learning opportunities.
The greenhouse features multiple benches for a variety of plants. First, the propagation chamber is a bench that has frame attached to the table and plastic sheeting attached to the frame. This allows growers to create a controllable micro-climate that is warmer and higher in humidity than the greenhouse. Bachelor explained, “Every morning we come in, including Saturday and Sunday, and we mist in here. We’re trying to keep the humidity really high so when we have plants that are susceptible to drying out – seedlings, cuttings, and clones – they will have a better chance of rooting.”
Bachelor’s landscape management class uses a bench with 15 varieties of turf grasses grown in pots. This allows the students to be able to identify the different varieties of turf grass physical characteristics, and also by observing the ligules and auricles, or parts of grass closer to the soil/root systems. Students can see what the turf grasses look like when they flower, which does not often occur in managed lawns due to mowing. Bachelor also has mowed and un-mowed portions of turf, so students can see the grasses at different stages of growth and understand the characteristics of different grasses in their natural and managed states.
Bachelor’s introduction to horticulture class uses two benches for experiential education. The benches hold trays full of different plants in different stages of growth. Students create hypotheses of different aspects of plant care, such as the effectiveness of natural vs. chemical based fertilizers, then create and run experiments.
Also in the greenhouse is the “plant library,” a myriad of different plants that students can observe and work with. The plants are used in structured labs, as well as less structured labs where students can get creative and experiment.
Finally, the greenhouse is home to a variety of exotic plants. “Our cacti are back in the corner and students really flock to that bench because of the appearance of the plants, because they are so different, including plants that we don’t often get to see flower in our homes,” Bachelor explained. “We have woody plants that either the greenhouse class or propagation class brought in as bare root and potted up. They have all survived, including apple trees.” In fact, one of the apple trees is a special variety that no longer grows in mainstream orchards.
In addition to actually growing plants, students have the opportunity to experience the technical side of greenhouse management. The greenhouse is equipped with state-of-the-art control and irrigation systems, which allow growers to set parameters, such as temperature and moisture levels. A complex computer control system uses vents, fans and the irrigation system to maintain an ideal environment for plants. This is a wonderful opportunity for any student who is interested in greenhouse management to gain experience using a high-tech system.
The greenhouse not only allows students to see how technology is used in the agricultural world, but they also get to experience some of the short-falls of these systems. Bachelor explained that the irrigation system unevenly waters the plants, so he and Ray Daugherty, horticulture professor, have to water many of the plants by hand.
Once programmed, the computer takes care of most of the things that people historically have done by hand, such as water or controlling the shade and air-flow inside the greenhouse. But, the irrigation system highlights the reality that even a highly technological system cannot solve all horticultural problems, and that problem-solving skills are still important.
“Last year, I had my irrigation class put in a two-inch line that goes to the other end of the greenhouse, so even in the winter, when all the irrigation on campus is turned off, we can still do irrigation labs,” Bachelor said. This was a great opportunity for students to get hands-on experience maintaining and installing an irrigation system on a developed site.
The greenhouse also allows students to solve more traditional issues that arise in the horticulture world that do not involve technology. For example, insects and pests cause problems for all gardners, including those at FRCC.
“We’ve had some insect control issues, which is normal in a greenhouse when you have an enclosed space like this that doesn’t have a lot, or any, natural predators. So if you get an aphid, or white fly, or spider mite, they have no natural predators, so their population explodes really quickly. We are dealing with all of those right now,” Bachelor explained. Students try different ways to control these insect outbreaks, and see how effective those different methods are.
Bachelor has yet to spray pesticides, and instead used ladybugs and Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap to combat the pests. He learned through trial about the soap’s benefits and downfalls. “Anything that I sprayed with it, died. We may have mixed it too strong and there were some adverse effects to the plants. The plants were already stressed [from the insects], and they had some growth issues after [the Bronner’s application],” he said. “It’s all part of the learning process.”
Bachelor encourages students, when they find a bug or other plant health issue, to look it up and research what the pest or disease may be, and how they can treat or correct the problem.
The greenhouse is benefitting science education at FRCC, and while Bachelor sees a bright future for the program, he worries about the greenhouse’s capacity.
“We’ve talked to the Denver Botanical Gardens (DBG) about a possible relationship to grow plants for them. Our greenhouse or propagation class would actually grow plants to be sold at the DBG plant sale. Nothing formal has been drawn up yet, but if it happens it would likely happen next spring . A year from now, we may have a couple of benches devoted to growing some of their plants,” Bachelor said. The horticulture program would benefit from this arrangement, as the money would be split between the DBG and FRCC.
The current construction on the greenhouse is more about aesthetics than much-needed expansion. “The campus decided that the chain-link fence didn’t have the aesthetic that they wanted so we are putting up a much nicer, black wrought-iron fence that will look really, really nice,” Bachelor said. “There will be security features in place so it will look nicer and be safer. It will also benefit the maintenance crews here too because they are putting concrete at the base of the fence so they won’t have to edge.”
FRCC provides invaluable resources to benefit students’ educations. The greenhouse gives science students the opportunity to learn in the same environment in which they will eventually apply their degrees.
The race for the next President of the United States is in full swing, but did you know that there is another election soon that has the ability to impact your life as well? At the end of this month, the Front Range Community College system will hold the annual election of the Student Government Association (SGA) body.
“SGA is a group of students elected by students to serve as campus liaisons between administration, faculty, staff and students,” said Jessica Jurgella, Front Range Community College-Westminster’s Coordinator of Student Activities and an advisor to the FRCC-SGA.
A statement on FRCC’s website by the Student Government Association expands on their mission:
“The Front Range Community College Student Government Association (FRCC-SGA) was created to represent and act as the official student voice for FRCC students. They strive to define, defend, and advocate for all student rights, responsibilities, and freedoms, and to promote the general welfare of the students. Through representation on college and campus committees, FRCC-SGA plays a vital role in fostering community and providing a direct link between students, faculty, and administration.”
Similar to the goals laid out by our Constitution, where the government is the voice of the people, our Student Government acts as our collective voice and advocates on our behalf. SGAs serve an important role on our campus, as well as campus’s around the country.
“SGA’s role on campus is to represent the student body in all matters concerning its financial affairs, student interest and student welfare, while providing opportunities for student leadership,” Jurgella said. The financial affairs that Jurgella mentioned are primarily related to student fees. The SGA is funded by student fees and is the student voice for how our fee money should be used, often advocating for services or needs that directly affect students.
FRCC-SGA is involved in many aspects of campus life. The FRCC-SGA is the motivation behind the creation of The Pantry and many campus events. SGA innovated the idea of a campus food pantry, which was turned over to Student Life in order to turn the initiative into a sustainable program.
Additionally, they have hosted a large campus event every spring as morale boostesr between midterms and finals. SGA also volunteers for Student Life sponsored events.
Most importantly, SGA interacts with FRCC Administration regarding student concerns. According to Jurgella, “SGA discussed campus safety procedures with the Campus Safety and Preparedness Office to encourage better cameras, better lighting and better walkways in campus parking lots. They have also discussed a number of student concerns with Andy Dorsey, College President, and other administrators.”
It is easy to get involved in Student Government, and participation is open to all current students if they meet a few requirements. Jurgella said that eligible students must maintain enrollment during office duration, keep a GPA of at least 2.5 and be enrolled in a minimum of six credit hours each semester (not including summer). Presidential candidates must at least one semester of FRCC-SGA experience.
In addition, all interested candidates must attend an information session and turn in an intent-to-run form to be included on the ballot. This year, those information sessions are being held April 19 and 20 from 12 to 1 p.m. in the Student Outreach Center.
Involvement in organizations such as SGA is linked to higher academic performance. “Students who are involved also report feeling more connected on campus and are therefore more likely to continue. Students who take on leadership roles are also more employable when they complete their degrees because they have had more opportunities to fine tune soft skills employers are looking for,” Jurgella said.
Serving on an SGA not only entices future employers, but it looks good on a college résumé if you are planning on continuing your studies at a four-year university. If you are interested in public service or politics, getting involved in SGA could be a great first step on the journey.
Being in SGA can also generally boost your confidence, give you a sense of accomplishment and allow you to practice talking to and interacting with people in positions of authority.
Getting involved in FRCC’s SGA early in your schooling can be beneficial, as one of the hardest aspects of creating an effective community college SGA is the high turnover of the student body. Compared to four year universities, community colleges have more non-traditional students who take care of families and/or work and also commute to school. These outside demands, and the fact that community colleges have more transient populations mean that consistency on SGA boards is nearly non-existent. In fact, many SGAs have to reinvent themselves yearly on community college campuses. This does inject fresh ideas and perspectives regularly, which is beneficial, but it also does make follow-through or long term planning more challenging.
Past SGA members participated for a number of reasons, but most prominently, they ran for office “to make a difference on our campus,” “to inspire through leadership,” and “to be part of something that enhances my time here.”
Students who do not wish to hold office in SGA can still participate by voting. Last year, the number of votes cast rose to 500 from 200 in the previous year’s election. “The increase was due to a change in voting. We went from paper ballots to electronic, making it easier and faster to vote. We also included candidate’s intent-to-run statements on the ballot so students felt more informed when voting. In the past, voter turnout depended on the candidates pushing people they knew to vote. This is a much more equitable process and allows students to do their research prior,” Jurgella said.
Voting only takes a few moments, and there is no registration required. This year’s elections are being held on April 27 and 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside of the Student Outreach Center.
As Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us.” This wisdom is salient not only us as we vote in April for our Student Government, but also in November when we vote for our U.S. Government.
From February to April, the High Plains Fitness Center at Front Range Community College-Westminster and Amber Kavehkar, Fitness Center Coordinator, encouraged students to explore healthy eating habits through the Eat Clean Challenge. The challenge mandated that participants avoid processed meat, added and artificial sweeteners, refined flours and dairy products.
Since the Eat Clean Challenge wrapped on April 1, students who followed its suggestions may turn back to processed foods. Furthermore, with finals approaching and the semester winding down, college students tend to seek vitality from energy drinks, such as Red Bull, Monster or Rockstar. In reality, the caffeine and added sugars in these drinks contribute to high blood pressure and heart problems.
While energy drinks keep consumers alert through quick and large doses of caffeine, the immediately increase blood pressure. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “Consumption of the energy drink elicited a 6.2 percent increase in systolic blood pressure vs a 3.1 percent increase with the placebo drink. Diastolic blood pressure increased by 6.8 percent vs 0 percent with placebo. Mean blood pressure increased after consumption of the energy drink by 6.4 percent vs by 1.0 percent with the placebo drink.” People who consistently experience high blood pressure have much greater risks of heart disease and strokes long-term than those with moderate blood pressure.
Moreover, the average energy drink contains as much caffeine as five cups of coffee. Plus, other stimulants, such as guarana, ephedra and ma huang further increase one’s heart rate, leading to anxiety, nervousness and dehydration, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Some energy drinks contain sugar as a sweetener, and others rely on zero-calorie artificial sweeteners, like sucralose and aspartame. The American Heart Association recommends a maximum of six tablespoons of added sugar per day for women and nine tablespoons per day for men. By reading the nutrition labels on energy drinks with added sugar, one can contains approximately 15 tablespoons of added sugar. Too much processed sugar leads to diabetes, weight gain and bodily stress.
Artificial sweeteners, while significantly lower in calories, are chemically derived, putting equal, if not more stress on one’s body than excess sugar. In fact, researchers at The Center for Science in the Public Interest found that sucralose and aspartame significantly increased the number of cancerous tumors in mice.
Even though energy drinks are labeled and sold as supplemental health drinks, their toxic ingredients lead to more detrimental, long-term ailments in consumers than a quick, pick-me-up is good for. Instead of energy drinks, less damaging options include small doses of tea and coffee for caffeine or fruit and vegetable juice for energy from natural carbohydrates.
Just because FRCC’s Eat Clean Challenge ended, does not mean that students should readopt their bad eating habits. Health often means rethinking certain foods and drinks, and swapping them for those that do bodies well.
Written by Kayla Klein
Graphics from My Health News Daily and Huffington Post