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Surplus With A Purpose

Every year at DePaul my belongings seem to multiply. Freshman year everything was able to fit in my Dad’s Jeep. Moving out Senior year – let’s just say it took some strategic thinking and a few car loads. If you choose to live on campus all four years you’ll likely go from a compact residence hall room to an apartment with your own living room and kitchen. Many of the items I've accumulated such as pots and artwork I'll use into adulthood - but I had a lot of clothes that I wasn't in need of anymore. Here's a few spots near the Lincoln Park campus to donate your used items and give back to the community:

Salvation Army: 2270 N Clybourn Ave
This location is easy to get in and out of if you have a car. There’s a separate end of the parking lot to direct drop offs, making the donation process super easy.  According to CNN, 82% of Salvation Army’s total donations go to aid. In addition to helping low income families gain access to clothing and home goods at a discounted price, the money these families will spend on buying your used clothes will help provide many people with jobs.

SWAP DePaul
Mt. Sinai Hospital Resale Shop: 814 W Diversey Pkwy
If you’re looking to donate to a cause that’s locally based, consider the Mt. Sinai Hospital Resale Shop. Located off the Diversey Brown Line stop this drop off is located about a block and a half from the train. According to the resale shop’s website, “100 percent of the proceeds from the Resale Shop support Sinai. In past years, the proceeds have funded laser instruments for several hospital departments; six incubators for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; video towers for the hospital's state-of-the-art surgery department; and a Nurses' Call Unit for Sinai Children's Hospital's inpatient unit”. When dropping off your used items at this location, you’ll know that your donation is part of something greater!

Demon SWAP: On Campus!
The SWAP in Demon SWAP stands for, “surplus with a purpose”. This donation collection in each residence hall during finals week turns the Student Center into an upcycling store on June 15th. All of the proceeds go to the Vincentian Assistance Fund that assists DePaul students facing emergency situations. In summer 2015 Demon SWAP broke a new record by donating $3,155 to the fund. If you’re looking to help fellow students and see 100% of proceeds donated, Demon SWAP is your donation spot! ​

Day Trips from Chicago

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE DePaul, but sometimes it’s nice to have a day away from campus to regroup. Below you’ll find four places within a three-hour drive of campus. Don’t have a car? Check out the student car share program through Zipcar​!

Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You’ll be impressed by how awesome this town really is. With skyscrapers, an art museum, and a zoo, Milwaukee has the big city amenities with the small town feel. You’ll be astonished how reasonable the prices are in Milwaukee are compared to Chicago, so go all out! In the few short hours I spent in Milwaukee I was able to try the legendary Kopp's Custard, go on the Sprecher Brewery tour (and pick out four bottles of their soda), and experience the Milwaukee Public market with awesome tilapia tacos and fresh made cheese curds for all under $20!  

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. I’m sure this was a favorite spot among many of us as kids. If you’ve already done the classics – Mt. Olympus Waterpark, the Ducks boat ride, and the upside down museum – I’d encourage you to dig a little deeper. Have you ever tried kayaking, photography, or Geocaching? The Dells are a great area for outdoor exploration. If you’re looking for a less touristy area, check out Mirror Lake, just make sure to bring your gym shoes and sunscreen!

Chesterton, Indiana. At the Indiana Dunes there are 15 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and 70 miles of hiking and biking trails to explore. A short drive away you’ll find the Seven Peaks Waterpark with a quarter mile lazy river, as well as one of the last 350 drive-in movie theatres in the United States. You’ll want to pack a lunch to eat along the beach or explore dining options in one of the neighboring towns such as Porter or Valparaiso.    

Monticello, Indiana. Home of the Indiana Beach Amusement Park for the last 90 years! For $36.99 (cheaper than Six Flags!) you get all day access to 9 roller coasters, 22 classic amusement rides, and the water park. There’s even an arcade, beach swimming area, and a boat tour for those looking for extra attractions. Thinking about making your day trip into a full weekend? Indiana Beach has plenty of cottages, cabins, and camping options. 


Discover vs. Explore Chicago

Awesome. So you’ve made it to the portion of your Orientation sign up where it asks you to select a Discover or Explore class. Follow these steps to ensure an informed and successful decision about your first class at DePaul.

Step One: Breathe. You’re going to take roughly 48 classes during your time here at DePaul, today you’re choosing just one of them. Any class you choose from the options listed will fulfill the same Chicago Quarter Liberal Studies requirement. ​

Step Two: Know the difference between these three terms: Discover Chicago, Explore Chicago, and Chicago Quarter. Discover Chicago includes immersion week. Since immersion week starts the week before classes, you’ll step five days focusing on just one class – which leaves plenty of time for class led excursions and discovery of Chicago. Once regular fall classes begin, your Discover class will meet once a week for 2.5 hours during the first eight weeks. Explore Chicago begins with regular fall quarter classes. Your class will meet a total of 4 hours a week for all ten weeks. You’ll still have plenty of time to explore Chicago, but your excursions will be spread throughout the quarter. Chicago Quarter is simply the overarching name of the program that includes both Discover and Explore Chicago classes.

Step Three: Decide which type of course is best for you. I recommend Discover if you’re looking for the opportunity to meet new people and are new to living in a big city. If you’re living on campus, you’ll have an early move-in to your residence hall – for no extra charge! You’ll have access to your meal plan early as well. If you’re commuting to campus, keep in mind that Immersion week days can start early and go late. You’ll be need to make arrangements to and from campus. On the other hand, I’d recommend Explore for anyone who’d rather start classes in September, has a less flexible schedule, or wants to get in extra hours at a summer job before starting school full time.

Step Four: Look through the course options here and choose your top five. 

Step Five: Sign up as soon as possible through Campus Connect as some classes fill up faster than others. Make sure you’ve completed your placement exams at least 24 hours prior! If you have difficulty signing up contact New Student and Family Engagement at (773)325-7360. 


Metra Commuters Rejoice

Thinking about living at home next year and using the Metra to commute to and from campus? You’re in luck! Metra has been in the news quite a bit lately regarding two new advancements: mobile tickets and new seats.

Metra runs eleven different train lines that turn driving commutes into study time and nap time. Although taking the Metra can be a bit pricey, it’s generally cheaper (and less hassle) compared to driving and parking in the city. To add to these perks, Metra recently rolled out mobile ticketing. Housed in the ‘Ventra’ app, which is available for both iPhone and Androids, you can purchase single, 10 ride, and monthly passes. When it’s time to board the train you’ll use the app again to redeem your ticket. It’s as simple as that! The AWESOME part about this app is that if you’re running late to catch a train you won’t run the risk of the additional $3 fee for purchasing a ticket on-board the train. Just simply purchase through your app on the way to the station and skip the line at the ticket counter!

Metra’s second advancement will take place in a more gradual release. A few weeks ago the Milwaukee North Line (running northwest from Union Station to Fox Lake) ran the first refurbished car. The new cars feature the following improvements:

  • Better lumbar support

  • Cup holders
  • Armrests
  • Headrests
  • Electrical wall outlets in every other row of seating           

In 2016, Metra will be rolling out 30 of these cars and based on customer reaction make a plan for future renovations. Dividing seats with armrests will give riders the option to define their own personal space on a crowded train, but the major buzz seems to be around the wall outlets. Finding an outlet in current Metra’s rail cars feel similar striking gold. Access to electricity in the new cars mean you can stream videos and scroll through social media during your entire commute without worrying about wrecking your battery. Look out for these new features the next time you hop on the Metra!​


DePaul: Urban Educated. World Ready.

A few weeks ago it was Blue Demon Week ​at DePaul! As a part of the many celebrations that took place Enrollment, Marketing and Management put out a new series of videos. Below you'll see a link to the headlining video. "DePaul: Urban Educated. World Ready​" is one of my favorite videos DePaul has ever put out (my #1 will forever be the Premiere DePaul Video​ the Orientation Leaders that I supervised stared in). In two minutes and twenty-three seconds the video hits home about what DePaul stands for and what it means to be a DePaul student.

 “DePaul isn't trying to be like every other university in America, we want to be DePaul.” 

Bold, but true. When you accept admission to DePaul you should be excited to know that your college experience won’t be like your friends’ who are attending other universities. As a student at DePaul you get to live in America’s third largest city. This means that you don’t have to wait until your senior year to have an internship. There are enough companies in the city for you to start interning as a first year student! When you’re sitting in class it won’t be with 500 strangers. At DePaul all but one of my classes has had between 20 and 40 students.  We only have two large lecture halls in Lincoln Park that hold at maximum 100 students each. At DePaul our educational experience is personal and extends far beyond the classroom.

“The fact that St. Vincent de Paul’s name is over our door gives us a sense of mission that we need to make a difference.”

After taking an entire course on St. Vincent DePaul I could share quite the list of fast facts. From at best an average priest to canonized saint, Vincent de Paul had quite the journey in his lifetime. More than 350 years after his death, Vincent de Paul’s Congregation of the Mission thrives on though the hearts and souls of Vincentians around the world. As a DePaul student you’re able to see hands on how the missions of justice and human dignity is fulfilled by asking and answering the question, “What must be done?”​

Open my blog to watch the video below:

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Free Museum Days!

Through the college search process you’ve likely already realized that there are tons of perks that come along with living in Chicago. From the lake shore path, to the beach, to the Lincoln Park Zoo that’s located just a 15 minute walk from campus; you won’t have a problem finding ways to fill your spare time in the warmer months. I find the winter months to be a bit more challenging. January and February can be quite brutal, but as long as you grab your gloves and ear muffs you’re still bound to find great adventures in the city.​

Chicago has tons of museums that offer free heated indoor fun during the winter months. Three of these museums: The Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, and Shedd Aquarium are located on the same peninsula south of the loop called the “museum campus”. Traveling to the museum campus is easy (and free with your student UPASS) by taking the Red Line from Lincoln Park to the Loop campus, and then transferring to the 146 bus. 

In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, DePaul canceled classes and five of Chicago’s museums hosted free days for Illinois residents. Michal and I decided to tackle two of the museums – the Field and the Shedd! When we arrived at The Field Museum​ we were greeted by SUE ​the tyrannosaurus rex. Scientists have found over 90% of SUE’s skeleton, making her the most complete T. rex fossil ever found. From here we traveled through the Ancient Americas. From the Aztec’s to the Hopewell’s we saw pottery excavated from the 1400’s and authentic pieces of clothing from different cultures. Other highlights from the museum included life like animal exhibits and learned about lichen​ (LIKE-en) known as, “The coolest thing you’ve never heard of."

After leaving The Field Museum, we walked over to the Shedd Aquarium​. By this point in the afternoon people had caught onto the Free Days. We stood in line for quite a while, but the backdrop of the city’s skyline made the wait worth it! Once inside we decided to grab some much needed lunch. If you’re looking for a place to grab a quick lunch on the Museum Campus, I’d recommend Shedd’s “Bubble Net” cafeteria – be sure to grab a table by the floor to ceiling windows looking out to Lake Michigan! After wondering through the Waters of the World and the Great Lakes, we were lucky enough to catch the scuba diver Q & A at the Caribbean Reef’s 90,000 gallon habitat.


For more information about free tickets to Chicago museums, click here​DePaul also offers exclusive discounts and perks to students called Demon Discounts; information about what discounts your student ID will provide you access to can be found here​. 

Halloween Happenings

Hopefully all of our candy bowls are still at least halfway full after Halloween festivities! At DePaul October is a busy time for student leaders filled with lots of event planning. Holidays like Halloween are a great way to promote community between students, as well as serve as another way to continue Health Promotion and Wellness’s “Take Care DePaul” mission.  This mission is meant to help students learn how to make better informed decisions that promote the wellness of themselves, as well as those around them.

As Residence Hall Council (RHC​) President I was incredibly proud of the many groups of Hall Senators who hosted events the week of Halloween. Highlights included caramel apple making, scary movies, pumpkin decorating, and costume contests. Seeing new DePaul students take the reins on planning events for their peers really speaks to the community you’re a part of when you live on campus. 

To the right you’ll see our fantastic Corcoran ​Senators, Jesse and Anna, at the start of their Halloween event. Residents participating in the costume contest won college essentials, and all were welcome to enjoy pizza, play Mario Kart, and watch Hocus Pocus. Jesse and Anna show a great amount of commitment to making their residents feel like their hall is their home. I'm incredibly thankful that they are on RHC! Look out for them next year around campus!  

If you’re planning on commuting to campus or living in your own apartment next year, don’t worry! Other organizations like DePaul Activities Board, Transfer Student Union, and Catholic Campus Ministries hold events that are open to the entire student body as well. Some exciting activities the last few weeks have included a Halloween themed grocery bingo night, tick-or-treating food drive, and a trip to a corn maze! 


Loop Campus: Sweet Tooth Detours

DePaul’s Loop Campus is located in the heart of Chicago at State Street and Jackson Boulevard. To move between campuses students can take either the Brown or Red Line. Although the Brown Line may have more scenic views, the Red Line stops between Fullerton and Jackson make their way through some tasty Chicago favorites that are sure to please any college student!

Chicago Stop: Sprinkle’s Cupcakes​

Sprinkles Cupcakes originally started in Beverly Hills before the Food Network famous Candace Nelson opened a location in Chicago. Known for their 25 rotating flavors and Cupcake ATM, Sprinkles is also dedicated to serving the communities of their locations.  Since 2005, Sprinkles has donated $7 million in cash and cupcakes to organizations. My recommendation is the Red Velvet, which even comes in sugar free, gluten free, and vegan varieties. 

Grand Stop: Pinkberry​

Chicago has many frozen yogurt chains, but I’ve yet to find one that tops Pinkberry. My favorite is the original, a more refreshing version of traditional vanilla, with strawberries and Nutella. Before you head over be sure to download the Pinkberry app that serves as a punch card and your ticket to free froyo on your birthday!​

Lake Stop: Magnolia Bakery​

One of my best friends is from New York, so I originally stopped into Magnolia to pick up some dessert to further our great Chicago vs. NYC debate. This time folks, NYC wins hands down! Magnolia’s vanilla buttercream can only be described by the word 'perfect', so be sure to pick up a slice of cake the next time you’re in the loop! ​

Munroe Stop: Pret A Manger​

First, Pret A Manger is located inside of Target, so you already know it’s going to be a great place. Second, their croissants are great and baked fresh throughout the day.  This quick serve spot is a definite step up from the snack bar in most suburban Targets, so you can even grab a healthy lunch before class at a reasonable price if you want to take a break from your meal plan.   

Jackson Stop: Garrett Popcorn​​

There’s no better way to get to know Chicago than the Garrett Mix! Cheese and caramel popcorn are mixed together in the same bag to create a sweet and savory snack. Just be sure to grab a few napkins before you head out to avoid cheesy fingers! ​


Top Five Lincoln Park Lunch Spots

With admission processes in high gear and the beautiful fall weather Chicago has been having recently now is definitely the time to visit​ DePaul’s campus! When I first visited DePaul I chose to do the Admission Information Session and Lincoln Park Tour back to back. These programs generally run 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm on the weekdays, as well as Saturday mornings. Before or after your tour be sure to check out one of Lincoln Park’s award winning restaurants.  Below you’ll find my top five lunch spots within walking distance of campus.

​5th Place: Uncle Sammy’s​

Named ‘One of the Six Serious Sandwich Shops of Chicago’ by Time Out magazine, Uncle Sammy’s is a great soup and sandwich shop located below the 1237 West student apartments. I recommend roast beef, ham, and provolone cheese on freshly baked bread, also known as the ‘Windy City’. Another must is Uncle Sammy’s Ghirardelli brownies. They’re the perfect dessert to save for your trip home!

4th Place: Jam 'n Honey​

Calling all Nutella fans! You’re college decision will easily be made once you see Jam & Honey’s Nutella jars on every table! Serving breakfast all day, you can’t go wrong with the Banana Nut French Toast or Eggs Benedict. You’ll just want to remember to stop at the ATM before heading to this cash only restaurant.

Third Place: State​

State (at the corner of Webster and Bissell) takes sports and food to the next level! 80% of ingredients are locally produced before they are prepared in State’s full scratch kitchen and served to your table surrounded by 124 flat screen TV’s.  On Wednesday through Fridays State has different specials that bring many menu items down to just $5.99 or $6.99 each, including their signature Buffalo Skillet Dip and Signature Rock Shrimp.

Second Place: Homeslice​

Just across the street from State is Homeslice. Their 31 types of pizza (Yes 31, that is not a typo!) are perfect for groups of two, four, or even more! Can’t decide which pie to try? Calzones are also an option! I recommend the Smoked Ham & Avocado - it’s a new twist on a time old classic. Homeslice also offers whole grain crusts and gluten free options to please all pizza lovers. 

First Place: Pasta Palazzo​

Locateat Halsted and Armitage, Pasta Palazzo offers classic Italian cuisine with reasonable prices.  The grilled calamari appetizer in lemon-herb vinaigrette offers a refreshing twist to traditional fried calamari. Next I’d suggest the handmade gnocchi with your choice of sauce. After these two dishes your room for dessert may be limited, but if you’re up for the challenge you won’t regret the tiramisu!​ 


Jet Setting to DePaul

​​​I’m a huge fan of Google, but search engines can only be so much help when traveling somewhere new. This time last year I had never been on a plane before, but in a matter of the next seven months I found myself embarking on ten different planes to four conferences, and one trip to visit a friend. Chicago’s various modes of transportation and I have gotten to know each other very well, so hopefully these tips can be of help to anyone traveling from their home state to DePaul for the first time! ​​​

Two Airports, One City
Midway and O’Hare are your key words here. Midway is located southwest of the center of the city, and O’Hare northwest of the city. With 188 gates and 122 food and beverage locations, O’Hare is a huge airport. Flying in and out of O’Hare is nice, because more gates means more destinations and more flight times. The benefits of flying in and out of Midway is that the airport is much smaller than O’Hare, making it easier to navigate. At Midway there’s only three terminals and each gate has a fair amount of charging space for laptops and cell phones. Whether you choose Midway or O’Hare both airports are pretty solid with plenty of food options strategically placed past security (a major plus), and easy access to both public transportation and cabs.  

When it comes to booking the flight, some travel gurus say the cheapest time to book is domestic flight is six weeks in advance on a Tuesday afternoon. For me, I’ve had the most luck avoiding Sunday flights and using websites like the one linked here​ to compare prices. Always be sure to take into account the airline’s baggage policy. Southwest might be a few dollars more than a smaller airline, but there’s no extra nickel diming and up to two checked bags always fly free! 

Airport to Campus
Both airports have direct access to public transportation. Buses are great, but the ‘L’ is the truest form of Chicago transportation and much faster! Here’s an outline of your route if you’re headed to the Lincoln Park Campus.

From O’Hare: Blue Line (O’Hare to Clark/Lake), then transfer to the Brown Line (Clark/Lake to Fullerton). This route takes about an hour. 

From Midway: Orange Line (Midway to Roosevelt), then transfer to the Red Line (Roosevelt to Fullerton). This route takes about 50 minutes. 
Boarding the ‘L’ train is easy using a contactless debit or credit card or by purchasing a Ventra pass at any CTA station. Information about CTA fairs can be found here​. If you’re staying in the city for a few days and plan on using the ‘L’ for a lot of site seeing, I’d recommend purchasing an unlimited ride pass. $10 24-hour passes can be purchased at each station, and 3 day and 10 day passes can be purchased at retailers throughout the city​

If you’d rather take a cab from the airport to campus, I’ve found it easiest just to wait in the cab line at the airport instead of trying to book transportation ahead of time. Be sure to specify to your driver if you’re headed to the Lincoln Park (Fullerton and Sheffield) or Loop campus (Jackson and State). Depending on what airport you’re coming from and the time of day you arrive, the ride can be anywhere between 25 minutes and an hour.