The New World Trade Center in Progress

Today isn’t exactly an anniversary of the day the twin towers fell in New York City as the result of a terrorist attack by an extremist sect. However, I felt it not inappropriate to share about the former and current twin towers.

I still remember the day in full detail as a 10-year old: my mother woke me up from rest on my aero bed mattress to start school. I was stuck on problem #16 from my math curriculum when my dad called and told us to turn on the news. He worked in a building a few blocks away from the carnage, and could see casualties real-time from his office window.

Over a decade later, the site has yet to be rebuilt; however, the construction workers have made steady and significant progress in the last year. Below is a photo of the towers from a long distance (three blocks away from Nyack College NYC by the E train) taken this January:

A pretty big difference from Fall 2011, I believe! On the way to New Jersey last week, I found myself practically under 1 World Trade Center and had to take this shot:

Yes indeed, these new buildings are coming along nicely. I can recall how awkward and unpleasant it was driving to church on Sundays no longer able to view the twin towers–a sight I would regularly look forward to. Obviously more unfortunate is the large amount of businesspersons, police and fire department officers, and other citizens who lost their lives in the catastrophe.

Now the towers are being rebuilt, with exciting new concepts. According to Larry Silverstein, the CEO of the company that develops the trade center, people from all over the world are investing capital into the project. The company offers up-to-date photos and conceptual art of the project on their website, seemingly updating monthly.

Both the current and new campus for Nyack College NYC are easily walking distance away from the new towers, so students here will always have an opportunity to stroll around the new grounds when they’re completed. Expect a blog update around the week the area is open to the general public!

Apologetics for the Win

If you listen to Star 99.1 fm (I know I may be addressing a small target audience there), you may have heard Dan Buttafuoco’s commercials about his practice as a lawyer. Last Tuesday, he was the speaker at the Nyack Experience. One would naturally expect the “1800-now hurt” law veteran dubbed New York and Long Island’s “top Christian Lawyer” to speak about law; however, that evening Mr. Buttafuoco discussed with the student body the importance of apologetics.

“The Bible defends itself,” Stated Mr. Buttafuoco, who happens to be a graduate of Nyack College’s Alliance Theological Seminary. Over the next hour, he quickly but thoroughly explained the Bible’s formation, its accuracy to historic events, and how numerous scriptures in the Old Testament prophesied Jesus’ life and sacrifice for the world. He mentioned how the Bible is the #1 bestselling book every year, and that people are willing to translate it into a nation’s language if only fifteen civilians are dying to read it. He shared with students the story of a man who created a language for a tribe so they could have their own translation of the Bible.

Mr. Buttafuoco brought several significant ancient Bibles to Nyack College NYC, augmenting the presentation

To Dan Buttafuoco, understanding Creation and the Bible benefits our faith and confidence, and gives us opportunities to answer genuine questions people have about God and his Word. In his profession Mr. Buttafuoco has plenty of opportunities to share about God’s word, its accuracy, and its relevance to the 21st century. He encouraged everyone to take the time to grasp the real truth behind the Scriptures, even if only for the purpose of enlightening others. After all, blind faith has its merits, but assured faith wins souls.

To paraphrase Mr. Buttafuoco, “If I don’t know the answer to someone’s question, I go back to the Scriptures and study, say, “aha!” And return to the person with a confident answer. That’s what apologetics is about; continually sharpening our faith and answering questions about God’s Word.”

So readers, do you have any questions about the Bible? On your own, gotquestions.org is a great place to start; to date they’ve explained over 300,000 questions in a straight, plain-English manner. If you still have a question left unattended to, feel free to leave a comment below; to the best of my abilities I’ll respond with an answer based on the Bible’s context!

Class Preview: Organizational Behavior

Let’s talk about the classroom. One reason students blog is to give readers insight to our experiences here at college, and the courses we take. Today I’ll be divulging a bit about BUS 326 Organizational Behavior! This is most likely one of the most unique business classes I’ve ever taken, as it weaves together the unique studies of business and psychology.

Take management, the task of making the most of your resources (including people), and psychology, the study of the human mind and its thought processes, and put them together. The result? Learning about different personalities, attitudes, behaviors, and motivation in your current and future workplaces! You develop a deeper understanding of what people do and why, learn about different theories like Maslow’s hierarchy and moral cognitive development, and understand how to judge and attribute a person’s behavior to both internal and external causes instead of using bias.

Organizational Behavior. It's business and psychology fused together!

You also learn about your personality traits, and how they relate to your work in an organization. For instance, I discovered that my work style recently leans slightly toward “introverted.” In a social setting, this is usually considered taboo; but in an organization, it means you are more contemplative, think thoroughly before responding, and work well independently.

This became apparent soon after in a different class when we were divided into groups and asked to work on a task. I instantly began delegating the assignment among myself and the other two students before the professor added, “By the way, don’t do this individually–work together as a group.” My initial reactions: No! Ugh. Still, it’s important to be versatile, so I eventually threw all of my support behind the team’s efforts. Success!

Studying Organizational Behavior from the textbook is nice, but the class really becomes interesting during group exercises and conversations. Between self-assessment tests, experiential exercises, students talking about their experiences on the job, and chapter discussions led by a professor who consults and studies organizational behavior as a second occupation–well, boredom is a rarity.

If you’re going into business with a focus on management, or even if you want to learn how to better understand the bitter misanthrope in the adjacent cubicle, take Organizational Behavior! Oh, and avoid the temptation to change your major to Psychology.

Broadway’s Case of the Blues

More fascinating than watching the 2012 Superbowl with family several Sundays ago was observing the epic crowd that gathered to watch the Giants parade down Broadway–the avenue where Nyack College NYC Campus is currently located.

Two sports posts in a row from a business major? I know, but bear with me. So the Office of Student Development posted a picture on Twitter from the second floor window. In mass number, many dressed in blue, a horde of fans from the tri-state area and beyond cheered for their heroes. Take a look at the brief video I scraped together:

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It was a pure social event; groups of friends seemed to have skipped class and adults took the day off just to all gather in the same spot and celebrate mutually. I sensed sincere happiness from the crowd as I navigated my way to the college building.

Throughout the day, chanting was clearly audible from the windows of the library and the classrooms. At one point my Organizational Behavior professor stopped mid-lecture, raising her eyebrow at the sound of a particularly loud group. “Giants fans, huh?” She mused with an understanding smile. We had to shut the window.

Still celebrating? Have any photos or videos of the event? Share below!

The Number 17 Has a New Meaning

In New York City, whether on the newspaper clippings, television, or in conversation, it’s difficult to not encounter Jeremy Lin. The California native helped elevate the New York Knicks to above the .500 mark (meaning more wins than losses), scoring the city back-to-back wins since the Giants’ Superbowl victory. Asking “Who’s Jeremy Lin?” invites swift and sharp rebuke, portraying the inquirer as a sad anti-social.

This player means a lot to many circles. He dispels stereotypes against Asian American athletes, hopefully blowing open the door for a wave of passionate sports players to participate without being turned down. He spiked the ratings of MSG, the television network that owns exclusive rights to broadcasting Knicks games. His success means a lot for New Yorkers too, who haven’t enjoyed a promising basketball team from their city in a decade. And naturally, merchants like Modells and Madison Square Garden are capitalizing off of his sold-out jerseys.

Jeremy Lin Makes Headlines

Generation Y now understands how previous generations felt about Joe Namath and Wilt Chamberlain.

What makes Jeremy Lin so great? Let’s focus on just a few aspects: His work ethic and leadership. If you successfully complete a higher education degree, there’s not much you can’t do. Mr. Lin had his priorities straight, and he has a great fallback when he’s finished with basketball. The more who know that he graduated before he blew up, the more they will be inspired to do the same. Also, as a leader Lin’s helped his teammates reach a new performance level. It’s never a one-man show, you know.

Here’s another intriguing one: Lin’s faith. Similar to Tim Tebow (don’t ask “who’s Tim Tebow?” either), he doesn’t hold back giving any credit to God, attributing success to his Maker. His leadership position influences others, and what better influence is there than inspiring others to learn more about Christ? Now keep in mind, much of his ministry is behind the scenes, so don’t fall into depression if he doesn’t bring about world peace or inspire countrywide revival meetings.

Well, any baller who recommends Lecrae and Hillsong is cool in my book. Leave your thoughts about this Lin-spiring individual below! There, I said it…

First Impressions of Spring 2012

So I’ve experienced my first three weeks as an upper junior at Nyack College. From a personal standpoint, college is definitely easier: I’ve improved on budgeting my time, I participate in more student life activities, and my agenda in the classroom is to extract as much knowledge from the professor as possible. Networking is great too; I know quite a few people in my school either involved in or with experience in the field I seek to enter after graduation.

At Nyack College NYC, there’s plenty going on. Seniors are preparing for graduation while juniors and below are preparing to move to the new campus. The Office of Student Development (OSD) has upped the ante, introducing promotional audio/video projects that combine staff and students. And the clubs? Active at an all-time high, while the number of clubs continues to grow.

Dean of Student Life Charles Hammond interviewing President Dr. Michael Scales during a recent Nyack Experience.

Most notable are the Nyack Experience sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Because NYC is a commuter campus, chapel is voluntary, not mandatory. Although less people can attend, those in attendance actually choose to be there. This makes for an exciting, energetic atmosphere every week, including the evening that Dr. Michael Scales, Nyack College’s President, spoke at the campus to a large audience. Large isn’t an understatement; I had to keep pulling out chairs to accomodate the attendees!

There’s plenty positive going on at Nyack NYC, culminating in Fall 2012 with the new campus at Battery Park. As Nyack College’s administration continue to put quality time and effort into our NYC campus, God continues to bless their work and build up a new generation of invigorated students excited about their futures—yes, even in the midst of a recession.

Club Expo

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Don’t just ask what Nyack College can do for you, ask what you can do at Nyack College.

That’s the idea behind the Club Expo, an event hosted at the college campuses every semester toward the beginning of the year. Students are invited to take a look at the various clubs and consider becoming members. Sometimes the club is directly related to the student’s major, like the Business or Social Work club, but the clubs are not limited to Business or Social Work majors.

Beyond degree-oriented clubs exist hobby groups like the Chess Club, and cause groups like Students Against Hunger. Can’t find a club that suits your favorite pastime or focuses on an important cause? Make one! The Office of Student Development guides students along the process until their new club is born. In fact, there are quite a few new clubs preparing to emerge; keep an eye out for them!

Credit Cards: Approach with Caution

A few days ago I received mail in a glossy envelope, the type specifically made to prevent outsiders from knowing its contents. As usual with suspicious packaging, I held my breath as I opened the envelope to prevent the possibility of anthrax poisoning. Inside, I discovered something just as potentially lethal:

An invitation to apply for a credit card.

The main cause for America’s recession period and excessive debt is simply that the country borrows what it never was able to pay. The government has borrowed approximately $114 trillion at the moment, while the average American debt is about 7.9 thousand per household.

This deal in particular offered no interest for nine months. “Hmm,” I thought, “I have been meaning to purchase some quality speakers to make beats with, as well as a Rosetta Stone language or two—whoa! What am I saying?”

You see, credit is not exactly evil, but it definitely can threaten your fiscal wellbeing when you use it to purchase items you wouldn’t otherwise have the money for. There are few generally accepted exemptions to this rule, including purchasing a house and a car, deemed by many as neccessities worth financing.

Now that we’ve cleared up the pros and cons of credit cards, I’ll admit that this particular offer, made by Discovercard, is actually worth looking into. With their college student card, they offer 0 annual fees and no interest for nine months. Why? In order to help me build my credit, they state. A good credit history is crucial to getting great deals on everything from financing electronics to a house. With a high credit score, you can finance certain items with low or no interest charges!

“Still not sure? Ask the professionals… your parents,” suggests a small slip of paper included in the package. The message here is that Discovercard is not trying to deceive you or hit you with flagrant fees and interest, and if anyone can detect a scheme, it’s your parents with their vast years of experience. After all, how else do you think they afforded that nice minivan they shepherded you around in during your adolescent years?

Long story short, approach credit card deals with dire caution and read the fine print. If you can take advantage of a college card deal without going crazy, I would highly advise you to do so!

As for those loans, now that’s another story. If you can escape, do so!

How to Have a Good Day

Yes, I know that Nyack College New York City is on break until the 18th. Do I continue to learn throughout the year? Most definitely! One of the most important areas to develop regularly is your spirit. Recently, I learned how we can set ourselves up to have a truly happy New Year.

Isn’t it our aim when our feet hit the floor each morning to have a good day? Dr. Gary Chapman pointed out in one of his books that many of us choose to get out of bed early because we anticipate that something is worth getting out of bed for.

This Sunday, Matthew 5:3 (The Sermon on the Mount) was discussed. Jesus’ opening line, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” surely left many on that hilltop bewildered, and still confuses people today. Personally, I never really understood the verse myself until this sermon.

As you can see, I take a lot of notes. Just like college!

We discovered that “the poor in spirit” are simply those who realize that even with their many achievements (or despite any), they are still reliant on God to sustain them on a daily basis.

Here’s one easy litmus test that determines whether or not you are reliant in the morning: do you wake up choosing to read the Bible and have a conversation with God about, for instance, how your day will transpire? Or do you barrel out of bed either confident that you’ve “got this!”

The biggest lesson for me was to not wake up and automatically check my cell phone for missed calls or the internet for new emails, but to take at least few moments—even if I overslept—to get my priorities straight and thank God in advance for another good day. The more you acknowledge that certain currently-held positions, degrees, and future accomplishments are achieved beyond your own ability, and that He’s the “more to the picture” in your life, you’ll be in good shape to win.

Why? God looks down, sees an opportunity to achieve glory and touch others through your life, and says, “let’s get it.” Eureka, huh? Not to mention the blessings!

You can hear the whole message and take your own two pages worth of notes via iTunes. Remember, whether you have a GED or a Doctorates, you still need to rely on God to have a truly good year.

Thoughts this Christmas

I’m sure you’ve already had your full of discourse about Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah already, but here’s one more opportunity to contemplate the reason for the season! Professor Bud DiFluri from Rockland campus sent a thought provoking message to students and gave me permission to reproduce it for this blog.

Full house at the Radio City Music Hall on December 23rd.

As in so many hours each day of the year, time in my “world’s messiest office” seems to take precedence over “real” life. Nearby are two houses, one fully decked with  Christmas lights, one with none, and the local gentry are each wondering how and when  “real” winter will be upon us…

Our house is warm, we have peace in our surroundings—Joan’s hip replacement operation has proven as successful as can be—and we silently praise Him for His blessings. We have comparative solitude and peace in the quietness  given to face the day.

But, we’re continually made aware of our society’s frenetic “Mall-ness”: folks rushing about, forcing themselves to revel in the continuing activity of the commercial season foisted upon us… as in past years, visiting the same subject, we’re still aware of being sold a “bill of goods” on so many levels.

Gazing into the mirror, it becomes apparent that we innately KNOW of something larger—the beauty of the continuation of friendships with shortened shadows “….ohhh it’s a long long time from May till December…” (That’s “September Song” from “Knickerbocker Holiday”)

The typical words of “our” season now come to mind through the “old” music: the “Drummer Boys,” “Silver Bells,” “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and ”Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”  What new is there to say?  It’s all been said hasn’t it? …Has It?

As we hear and see the “usual” music playing,  we innately wait for the message which the Season is to bring, thinking of the possibilities—the “wonders” of this Blessed Season.

But what message will you get, and what message IS  there to get?? Will you get a message that is not even remotely tied to the what-we’re-sold-as the age-old Christmas message? Will you get a message that paints a picture of the perfect family and perfect Christmas (if there IS such a thing), while millions of lives are full of chaos, struggle, grief and stress? Have we been sold a “bill of goods” on so many levels?

I still don’t think Christmas is about having still another “Hallmark moment”  message with happy endings. Sometimes there aren’t happy endings. Sometimes this thing called “life” is not sweet and syrupy and doesn’t end up with a guy in red suit flying across the face of a full moon declaring “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night” or Jimmy Stewart proclaiming, “It’s a wonderful life.”  Sometimes we want to close our eyes and not open them until after New Years Day!

Well, God has come to be with us! He takes us by the hand, gently guiding us through the grief, stress and struggle of the season. He tenderly opens, then lifts our eyes, assuring us in the days of fake sweetness. He quietly announces His confidence in us, and the World.

You’re probably like us—not everything in your life is “Hallmark Moment” perfect and  “Happily ever after” accompanied by sweet background music.  But the GOOD NEWS is that God is with us in this imperfect life and struggling journey and He has given us the gift of an ultimate “happy ending!”

He comes into our lives! So, join us and permit Him to open, then lift our eyes—for God is with us.  Know that His “SON”, born at Christmas, is bringing brightness into every dark corner of our lives.

That is the gift of Christmas!!  That is what we celebrate!!

May you feel the presence of God gently opening YOUR eyes during this Christmas season!

With Much Love, from

The DiFluri’s

Thank you Mr. DiFluri! Everyone, until next year.

Back in Chicago

Back in Chicago again! This city is becoming a second hometown.

So just like the previous semester, I took a trip straight to Chicago the day after my last final. This time I drove back with my sister & my brother-in-law, as well as a friend they invited to their trip to NY. The plan was to spend about four days in Illinois doing life with them. So far, so great.

I’ve been meaning to get back into music making and drawing, so on Saturday, I spent nearly the entire day learning these crafts via the Internet. As a result, I improved on drawing lips and eyes. I also learned how to make drum sounds from scratch (a pretty big deal!).

My brother preached a sermon at two home churches on Sunday! This was an interesting experience for me, as I attend what people here like to call a “megachurch.” Watching everyone sit around on couches and chairs and interact with the “pastor,” asking questions and whatnot, was pretty cool.

Today we went to a house-completely-converted-into-an-industry-standard studio, where my brother made improvements to his album project… and used my beat in the intro. Let’s say the album is the equivalent of the YouVersion Bible App—100% free, but high quality with plenty invested behind the scenes for your spiritual benefit.

There are still several adventures to be had before I return to NY and return to the 9-5 life. Right now, I’m making the most of winter break, doing normal people stuff—like sleeping for 7 hours and watching football. See you after Christmas (and Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah)!

Nyack College NYC Business Club

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“Did you know that Nyack College NYC has a club for business students and students who want to know about the business world?”

It’s true—Nyack College Business Club NYC put in plenty of hours this semester. As we strengthened the club internally, we also managed to plan and host several events. Watch this video of us presenting “Personal Finance: Spending Your Money in a More Realistic Way.”

Since that seminar, we’ve also presented on stock market investing as well as “Jeopardy: Business Edition.” As planned, it was both a fun and educational evening. Students learned more about business, and business students enjoyed trivia that refreshed their memory or reaffirmed their knowledge.

The Business Club grows in quality and number each semester; it’s definitely an organization to keep an eye on!

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