The largest gathering of any ethnic Indian group in the United States is set to take place on Labor Day week-end as some 30,000 Gujarati people attend a three-day conference at the Raritan Center in Edison.

Dhiraj Parekh, executive vice president of the event, is an electronics engineer working for the U.S. government. He is a native of Bombay, but explains that many Indians who were not born in Gujarat, the most industrialized state in India, consider themselves Gujarati nonetheless. "My parents were born there," he says. "It’s like Italian-Americans." The ties remain, even as time in the United States grows, to 38 years in Parekh’s case, and the native tongue gets rusty.

Busy with his work and family in Baltimore, Parekh nevertheless has long had a worldwide Gujarati conference at the top of his agenda. "It is my dream," he says. He put together a conference in 1994 in Chicago, but it did not approach the scale of this event. In the intervening years immigration of Gujaratis has jumped, with an epicenter in central New Jersey, making Edison a natural for this event.

The World Gujarati Conference 2006 begins on Friday, September 1, at noon, at the Raritan Convention Center in Edison and continues through Sunday, September 3. The cost for the event, including a gala dinner and entertainment, is $20. Register at www.worldgujaraticonference.com or call 732-993-3072 for more information.

"In the U.S. there are around 600,000 or 700,000 Gujaratis," says Parekh. "In 1994 there were less than half. The major increase is in New Jersey." The state, he says, is "very nicely located." Less expensive than New York, it is nevertheless close by. In addition, he says, new immigrants find a welcoming cluster of Indian shops, particularly in the Oak Tree section of Edison.

When he immigrated in the 1960s, says Parekh, 90 percent of all Gujaratis coming to the United States were professionals. Now, he says, its more like 50 percent. Those who are not doctors or engineers or accountants, he says, are people with money to invest. At the moment, a lot of that investment is going into hotels. Still, despite their expertise and/or cash reserves, Gujaratis have a hard time gaining entrance, he says, citing tight immigration quotas.

One of the sessions at the conference will be on immigration and visas. Many other sessions will be on business opportunities, both in the United States and in Gujarat, which, says Parekh, is seeing a good amount of reverse immigration as some IT professionals, drawn to the United States during the tech boom, head back home, where they find that their salaries bring a higher standard of living.

Moderating one of the business sessions is Mukesh Majmudar, a self-made man who was recently named an SBA Small Businessperson of the Year. Majmudar emigrated from India 25 years ago. He is now CEO of Star Hotels, a Columbia, Maryland-based chain of four hotels with revenue of $10 million a year. Trained in computer science, Majmudar had worked for the U.S. government, and before getting his start as an entrepreneur thanks to a loan guaranteed by the SBA.

In an article in bizjournals.com, Ben Wolf, vice president of the chamber of commerce in the county where Star Hotels has its headquarters, calls Majmudar "the Donald Trump of Howard County," praising him for his persistence and for taking on successively more complex projects.

Another speaker is Parekh’s daughter Monika, a dentist, who speaks on "Women: Challenges and Opportunities." Parekh’s wife is a pediatrician (their son is an opthamologist), so while the women in his own family don’t have any hesitation about entering professional life, he says that is not the case in all Gujarati families, and the conference aims to educate them on the opportunities open to women in this country.

In addition to sessions on business opportunities, trade, and women’s issues, there will be information on medical concerns, spirituality, financial management, and the challenges confronting senior citizens. A session on Gujarati culture will be conducted in that language, all other sessions will be conducted in English. Parekh says that, while he grew up speaking Gujarati, he is no longer completely fluent. That is the case with many of his fellow immigrants, who have been U.S. citizens for decades.

While there is serious business on the agenda at the conference, including a discussion of dates and venues for future large-scale gatherings, there is also fun. There will be kite flying, a puppet show, several dances, a comedy show, and a fashion show.

For the past 23 months Parekh has spent 20 to 30 hours a week working on the conference, but says that others have spent far more time. The project has drawn 700 volunteers, most of them from New Jersey. Parekh is the only person on the organizing committee who does not live in New Jersey. The chairman, Navin Mehta, an EMT physician in New York City, lives in northern New Jersey. One committee member, Kenny Desai, owns TAK, a construction company based in Edison, while another committee member, Sunil Nayak, owns North Brunswick-based Apex Hospitality, the corporate umbrella for a number of hotels.

Other committee members are Suresh Jani, Chirag Thakkar, Anil Patel, Mukesh Kashiwala, Sanjiv Pandya, Ashish Mehta, Anil Vasani, and Viru Patel.

All have worked hard to create an event where Gujaratis from around the world can trade advice and pass it on to others in Edison, a town named after a prominent inventor, the son of Canadian immigrants, who got his start selling newspapers and candy on trains in the Mid-West. – Kathy Spring

Go to Class in Your Pajamas at RVCC

Have you ever thought of commuting to school via the stairs to your den rather than I-95 or Route 1? If so, you are a part of a growing number of students who are pursuing degrees, certificates, and professional development classes online.

"Right now only about five percent of our students elect to take the distance education classes, but that number actually gets bigger every year," says Janet Perantoni, dean of corporate and continuing education at Raritan Valley Community College. "So far we haven’t seen too many senior citizens taking our online courses. I think that’s just because they haven’t grown up with it," she says. "But there will almost certainly be a huge growth in this area of education as the younger generation moves through. Their lives have largely been built around computers from day one."

Sourri Baetjer, the associate dean for the allied health program at the school, says the simple fact of convenience is a big reason for the growth in online courses. "We have a lot of students from out of state who are taking our courses," she says. "This includes students who live long distances away such as Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Ohio. These courses are perfect for people with availability issues or who simply don’t want to travel."

A number of online courses at Raritan Valley Community College – academic, professional development, and allied health – begin during the first week of September, with others following suit throughout the fall. The kickoff date for the professional development courses is Friday, September 1. They include accounting, GRE test preparation, web design, basic computer literacy, and personal finance.

Registration can be done either in-person or online. For more information call 908-218-8871 or visit www.raritanval.edu/cce. Once students register they receive an E-mail from RVCC with the date and name of the courses they are taking. They are then directed to go to a particular website for the start of their studies.

According to Baetjer, online courses in the medical field are particularly popular. "We do the career certificate program and the career development program for people who are working, or want to work, in healthcare including LPNs, nurses, and other healthcare professionals," she says. "We also have a series of courses in things like medical transcription, as well as medical coding and billing. Quite a few people are interested in them."

The courses are conducted in much the way that traditional courses are. Students are given a series of exercises to work through and there is always a faculty member ready to offer feedback. "Students have tests, quizzes, and they have final tests," says Baetjer. "For this particular series they have 11 weeks to complete the courses. The instructor then E-mails me the final grade. If they pass we issue them the certificate of completion." The program primarily uses the Ed2Go software provider.

There are three types of online courses available through RVCC. The standard online courses offer classes through the Internet with student access provided through a web browser. There are also hybrid courses that combine a blend of traditional in-class instructional time with online instruction and activities. The third type of distance learning is telecourses, which allow students to do independent study via cable broadcasts or videotapes. The online academic courses at RVCC often use various combinations of all three types while the allied health and professional development courses use only the Internet.

While professors in academic programs build their online courses from scratch, RVCC’s non-credit courses are purchased by the college from an online learning company.

"The cost is too prohibitive to be paying faculty members to do this, especially when they already exist out there," says Perantoni. "It makes sense for us to tap into that resource."

On the academic side, however, the challenge is to translate the traditional class into an online format. "The biggest difference is spending a lot of time on the computer," says Perantoni. "Having open discussions with the students, giving feedback to them is something that must be worked out. We discovered rather anecdotally that a large majority of these students are busy at their coursework at 2 a.m. I think that is part of the appeal of them."

While cheating seems like it would be a potential problem, both Perantoni and Baetjer say that it hasn’t been an issue so far. "The faculty has certain methods of control that allows them to identify who is online," says Baetjer. "Also many courses require students to take the final exams in person on campus."

Perantoni believes that cheaters will be identified soon enough. "If someone takes a transcriptionist course and cheats, they simply are not going to be hired as a transcriptionist," she says. "But there also has got to be a certain level of trust. In the non-credit courses students are taking the courses because they have a need for a career change. If they don’t learn it they won’t be able to apply it."

Both Perantoni and Baetjer have been working at RVCC for over 20 years and both received their education the old traditional way. Perantoni, originally from Nebraska, earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska and her master’s from Rutgers. Baetjer, who grew up in the Middle East, has lived in the United States for the past 37 years. She earned her Ph.D. in public health from Indiana University.

While online courses are a growing trend in education, pajama learning is not for everybody. "I think it has a lot to do with the culture," says Perantoni.

"People are more readily looking for a new method of taking classes. They must be self-motivated. It’s a fact that many people who come on campus do so partly for the social aspect. The people taking online courses are comfortable working independently."

Baetjer adds that online students are often particularly ambitious. "They are very computer savvy and know how to access information on a computer," she says.

"Many have worked in the healthcare system before, perhaps at a doctor’s office or a medical center and they want a change. They are usually educated, with one or two degrees, and they want to make a change in their career situation in some intrinsic way. This sort of method of learning suits them just fine." – Jack Florek

September 5

World Wide Web 2.0: The Next Generation

Most of us remember a childhood spent in a world without a web. Pages were made of paper and browsing involved an actual stroll through the library. Life was simple, and we liked it. Then along came the Internet, quickly followed by the World Wide Web. The web brought massive amounts of information into our homes. It took a little getting used to, but eventually we embraced the technology. It was really pretty simple after all, you just found a page you wanted to read and you read it. When we finished reading we went on to another page and read that one too. For years this cycle repeated itself for most of us.

Now it seems that a new revolution is underfoot. Our pages are getting smarter. They are asking for our opinions and sharing our pictures. We are being invited to join groups and subscribe to feeds. This is starting to get complicated again.

To help sort out all of the new technology and decide what is useful, the Princeton Public Library presents "Web 2.0 Demystified" on Tuesday, September 5, at 7 p.m. as part of its "Tuesday Technology Talks." The seminar, led by tech-savvy librarians Sophie Brookover and Peter Bromberg is free and more information can be found at www.princeton.lib.nj.us/events/index.html.

Brookover and Bromberg lead a discussion into the basics of blogs, RSS, Flickr, Furl, podcasts, MySpace, Del.icio.us, IM, tagging, wikis, and all things web 2.0.

Brookover, a teen librarian for the Camden County Library System, was named one of Library Journal’s "Movers & Shakers" for 2006. She also founded and co-authors the blog Pop Goes the Library (www.popgoesthelibrary.com), where she discusses and promotes the use of popular culture in the library system.

Bromberg is the assistant director of the South Jersey Regional Library Cooperative and can be found regularly blogging at Library Garden (librarygarden@blogspot.com) where he shows off his enthusiasm for evolving technology. He also chairs the electronic publications committee for the American Library Association.

Web 2.0 is not something we have to download, it is already there and eagerly awaiting web users. "Web 2.0 is really the transition that the web is making from what was previously a one directional conversation to a two directional discussion," says Bromberg. "It’s been described as a democratization of the web." Web users are no longer stuck in the traditional I write and you read format. They are now all free to read and comment. They are also able to post their thoughts, pictures or videos and allow others to comment on them. There is a lot out there and it is not as mysterious as web users may have thought.

RSS or Really Simple Syndication is "the glue that holds the rest of Web 2.0 together," says Bromberg. RSS functions as the Associated Press of the Web. A user can subscribe to the RSS feed from any blog or website and receive a notification when a new story is posted. An RSS feed aggregator will collect all of the new headlines and display them for review. Like the Sunday paper, the headlines can be browsed without reading the full article. A popular aggregator is Bloglines (www.bloglines.com ), which is free.

Tagging is another basic element of Web 2.0 and "gives people the power to add their own keywords to describe photos and web pages," explains Brookover.

During their preparation for this seminar she and Bromberg actually created their own tags for items on the web that they wanted to share with each other. Instead of E-mailing dozens of links daily, either one could log on and do a simple keyword search that would bring up the other’s newly found items. The more we learn about the new web, the more useful tagging will become, they are convinced.

Flickr, at www.flickr.com, is currently the hottest photo sharing site on the web, due in large part to its incorporation of tagging. Users upload their photos and apply tags that describe them. Other users can then see the pictures if they search for a keyword that matches one of the photos tags, as long as the person posting the photos has chosen to share them.

Flickr offers various sharing options. You can choose to share a photo with the world or just some close friends. While Brookover says that she may opt to share photos of her backyard with the world, a picture of her home clearly showing the street address, "not so much." It’s all up to each Flickr user – share with close friends, with everyone in the company, or with every single human with Internet access.

After the file is shared, anyone viewing the photos can add tags and comments, turning your photos into a mini blog.

Blogs are a concept that most people are now familiar with and are the classic example of a two-way conversation on the web. A blogger does not enjoy the luxury of having his comments go unchallenged. Anyone can add a comment on both the posted article and the comments posted by other readers.

Sometimes the conversations in the comments area are far more interesting than the actual blog post. There are now tens of thousands of blogs online. Users just find the ones they like, and subscribe to their RSS feeds. Automatic updates on the latest news are sent right to everyone who has subscribed, and there is no need to regularly return to the site to look for new posts.

Del.icio.us and Furl are two more websites dedicated to tagging, this time for other websites. Instead of bookmarking a page in your browser, you can save it to Del.icio.us (Del.icio.us) or Furl (www.furl.net ) and share it with the world. While showing off your favorite site may be fun, the true joy comes from searching the already saved bookmarks.

When you see that a huge number of people all like a particular site, you can be reasonably sure that it is worth visiting. Unlike Google (www.google.com) and other search engines, the page rankings are chosen by the users, not an obscure algorithm that can be manipulated by a savvy webmaster.

While it is difficult to cheat a search engine, it is harder to get 10,000 people to spontaneously agree to bookmark a page. There is that democratization Bromberg is talking about. Communication is the first step to forming a community, and that is what the new web is about. Everyone has a voice now and it is easy to find an audience.

YouTube, at www.youtube.com, is a communication craze that has spread faster than wheeled backpacks. It allows users to not only post pictures and comments, but also to share video.

A recent example of YouTube’s reach involves Senator George Allen (R-VA), who is less than thrilled with the website. In a classic example of how web 2.0 is changing the world, Senator Allen was recently shown making a insensitive remark to a worker for his opponent, Democrat James Webb.

A years ago the comments would have gone by unnoticed. Senator Allen was speaking to a group of supporters who would prefer to laugh off the comments, which they did. The mainstream media either wasn’t present or didn’t find the comments worthy of the evening news. In the not so distant past Webb’s staffer, S.R. Sidarth, would have gone home insulted and lived with it. Not today.

Sidarth had a video camera with him and captured the comments for all to see on YouTube. The video developed a following and created enough buzz that the mainstream media outlets all picked up the story and reported on it for several days. It is probably safe to say that the laughing has stopped at the Allen camp. Senator Allen later called Sidarth to make a personal apology.

Wikis, another web 2.0 phenomenon, have been less controversial – so far. A wiki is a website that can easily be edited by its visitors. The best known wiki, Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org), contains about 5 million articles written in 229 languages. Most of the articles can be edited by any user to the site. While Wikipedia is a great source of information, there are other more specific wikis – and you can even create your own, and can determine just what people or groups of people can access it.

While trying to organize a dinner party for 10 couples recently, Bromberg set up a wiki. Each couple invited to the dinner was E-mailed a link to the wiki and a password. The original page listed several options for dining locations, dates, and times. As each potential dinner guest entered the site, he or she was able to comment on a preferred time and location. Eventually a plan was worked out that accommodated everyone.

Bromberg says that this is much better than the old way. In the past party planning could easily involve making three phone calls to each couple. If each call lasted 10 minutes, the host would have spent five hours on the phone. Not counting the inevitable games of phone tag.

MySpace, at www.myspace.com, combines blogging, picture, and video sharing with a large helping of social networking. Users have flocked to the website.

MySpace has also received a fair amount of press recently, most of it bad and related to the number of predators who stalk the site. Brookover says that the coverage has been "shrill," as predators are a small minority, and teens have the option of only allowing particular people or groups to contact them or view their information.

Brookover also points out that while the site is largely for teens, it holds great value for those trying to connect with them. As an example, the Hennepin County Library in Minnesota has developed a presence on MySpace (www.myspace.com/hennepincountylibrary) to keep younger members informed and interested in library events.

However, the bad press seems to be taking its toll and some teens are moving over to Facebook (www.facebook.com). Taking privacy settings one step further, Facebook requires all members to have an E-mail address with the .edu extension, which is reserved for students and faculty of recognized educational institutions. The hope is that the requirement will weed out online predators.

Mobility is key to the success of web 2.0 applications. Most of the programs mentioned here may be used seamlessly from any computer with Internet access. There is no need to drag a computer with you to find your information. You simply log into your account and pull up all of the information as if you were sitting in your den at home.

You want to show a friend which golf clubs you plan on buying, log on to Furl. Just back from the beach? Click on over to Flickr and show off your latest pictures right from your friend’s computer. No need to lug a laptop around to find your information.

In the spirit of exploring the new web, this entire article was written using Writely (www.writely.com), a free online word processor that allows users to share or collaborate on documents, post them to a blog, or send them to the world via RSS. Writely has just re-opened registrations, which had been closed for most of the summer due to a crush of people trying to gain access to the site.

While explaining cool and useful web 2.0 tools like Writely, a beta Google project, would take a lot more than one evening, Bromberg and Brookover are eager to lead Internet users through the basics.

There has to be something that you have been waiting to shout to the world. Go ahead and do it, you now have the power.

– Patrick Spring

Health Watch

Want to know how to resuscitate your poodle, re-program your brain to be your ally in weight loss, or draw up an air-tight power of attorney? Look no farther than your neighborhood hospital. Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, Capital Health System, and Princeton Healthcare System all have extensive community education departments. One or the other of them offer instruction in these topics – and many, many more – throughout the year.

September calendars at all three health care institutions are bursting with a richly varied menu of classes. Here is a sampling:

RWJ Hamilton is offering the "AARP Driving Course," on Wednesday, September 6, and Thursday, September 7, at 10 a.m. at the RWJ Hamilton Center for Health & Wellness at 3100 Quakerbridge Road, Mercerville. Cost: $10. Call 609-584-5900.

"Diabetes Education" takes place on Thursday, September 7, at 11:15 a.m. at the Washington Township Senior Center. Certified diabetes educator, Trish Patsaros, RN, presents an overview of diabetes: its signs and symptoms, treatment, self-care, and psychosocial adjustments, and talks about better diabetes management to reduce or delay chronic complications in this free class.

"Power of Attorney" takes place on Tuesday, September 12, at 10 a.m. at the Hamilton Township Senior Center. In this session attorney Tama Baran discusses how "power of attorney" is different from appointing an executor under your will, and how it might help avoid expensive and time consuming guardianship proceedings.

"Go For the Greens," on Wednesday, September 20, at 3 p.m. at RWJ Hamilton Center for Health & Wellness at 3100 Quakerbridge Road asks "Are you getting enough green vegetables everyday?" Providing recipes is dietitian Wendi Silver.

Other September programs provide screenings for specific diseases, advice on avoiding a number of diseases, and hands-on instruction in healthy cooking. Most community education classes are held at the RWJ Hamilton Center for Health & Wellness at 3100 Quakerbridge Road. For class details and advance registration (required for most sessions), call HealthConnection at 609-584-5900. A complete listing of community education offerings is also available in RWJ Hamilton’s HealthCheck magazine or by visiting www.rwjhamilton.org.

Capital Health System is offering "Feel Good Yoga: Yoga for Beginners," a four-session class beginning on Thursday, September 14, at the Morrisville United Methodist Church. Cost: $40. Call 609-394-4153.

"Getting Back in Balance," a free class taking place on Monday, September 25, at 7 p.m. at CHS in Hamilton is being led by physical therapist Bernadette Carr, who talks about dizziness and balance problems and rehabilitation programs to set things straight again.

"Infertility: Today’s Treatment Options," a free information session taking place on Thursday, September 28, at 7 p.m. at CHS in Hamilton is being led by Dr. Seth Derman, a reproductive endocrinologist.

Other CHS programs include information on everything from dry eye syndrome to how to beat the winter blues, from feeding picky eaters to Tai Chi for health. Full information is available at www.capitalhealth.org/main/calendar.

Princeton Healthcare System is offering "The Biggest Obstacle to Weight Loss: Your Mind," a free talk, on Wednesday, September 13, at 7 p.m. at the Princeton Fitness & Wellness Center at the Princeton North Shopping Center. Leading the session is Anthony Yacono, an exercise physiologist. Call 888-897-8979.

"How to Protect Yourself from Fraud," another free talk, is taking place on Thursday, September 14, at 7 p.m. at the Washington Branch of the Mercer County Library. Officer Sam Dyson of the West Windsor Police Department discusses effective steps to take to prevent identity theft and offers advice on what to do if you suspect that you are a victim of this crime.

"Pet CPR and First Aid," is taking place on Monday, September 18, at 6:30 p.m. at the Princeton Fitness and Wellness Center at Princeton North Shopping Center. This class teaches pet owners how to give immediate care to a pet until veterinary care is available. It covers emergency care, CPR, common illnesses, and medical emergencies. Cost: $35.

"Women’s Wellness Day 2006," is taking place on Sunday, September 23, at 8:30 a.m. at Conant Hall on the ETS campus. Sponsored by Heart to Hearts, a women’s wellness organization, it features exhibits, massages, holistic presentations, lectures, and screenings for cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, and bone density. Cost: $45.

Other classes and events sponsored by the Princeton Healthcare System include car seat checks, baby sign language, prevention and treatment of arthritis, CPR, and screenings for a number of diseases. Full information is available at www.princetonhcs.org.

Help Crown the TCNJ Lion’s Apprentice

There are no helicopter rides over Manhattan or champagne sunset toasts, but there aren’t any hysterics or meltdowns either. It’s not the Apprentice; it’s the Lion’s Apprentice, the College of New Jersey’s take on the Donald’s wildly popular on-air business competition.

Patty Karlowitsch, program assistant for the college’s School of Business, coordinates the program, which is about enter its second season, and is looking for a little help from the business community.

"It’s similar to the Apprentice," she says. "We invite area businesses to design a project and challenge our students." Individual students form teams, or join with friends and present themselves in teams, and seek to solve a real-life problem for a business. Last year five teams of four students each worked on challenges from Bloomberg, the Trenton Thunder, the Mercer County Chamber of Commerce, Robbinsville-based the Mega Group, and two college offices – residence life and Sodexho, the college’s food service provider.

Teams are eliminated one-by-one, but gently. "There is no `You’re fired!’" says Karlowitsch. Instead, judges, who are drawn both from the college and from the business community, listen carefully to presentations and offer feedback. Significantly, says Karlowitsch, "people are not eliminated; teams are eliminated."

On the television program there is ongoing, vicious back-biting. The game is often not so much about coming up with a business solution, but rather about plotting to cut the weak from the herd and undermine them – torture them, in some cases. The College of New Jersey, which recruits teams from every department, and not just from among business students, will have none of that.

"On the television program there is a lot of directing going on," says Karlowitsch, explaining the frequent episodes of high drama. "There is a lot of competition. But here we don’t encourage backbiting. The students need to be educated to cooperate."

During the first Lion’s Apprentice season, last spring, teams did everything from decorate a dorm room to be included on campus tours to sell Trenton Thunder tickets to market a sophisticated Bloomberg financial information product. Each project took a week, which, it turns out, was a little too long. "In debriefings students told us that it took too much time," says Karlowitsch. "They still had to keep up with all of their other coursework." As a result, this year’s competition, starting this fall, will likely allow two weeks for the completion of each challenge.

While students were stressed by the competition’s time demands, they were delighted by its rewards. There was a prize for each task, and the winners found the prizes potentially more valuable than the jewels and yacht trips that Donald’s Apprentices enjoy. "The Mercer Chamber of Commerce invited the winners to its awards banquet and acknowledged them there," says Karlowitsch. "What a networking opportunity!" The Trenton Thunder challenge champs were announced at a ballgame. The winners of the Bloomberg challenge were invited to the company’s Skillman campus for lunch with executives at an event hosted by David Puskar, a TCNJ alumnus who was one of the people who came up the idea for the Lion’s Apprentice.

And everyone had ample opportunity to network with the judges, including Kristin Appelget, then president of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce and now communications chief at Princeton University, and David Stryker, an assistant treasurer at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

"The judges really got into it," says Karlowitsch. "At first they just listened to the presentations, but then they started throwing in questions." The Lion’s Apprentice slowly built an on-campus audience too.

There was even a television-like twist. "The students didn’t expect it," says Karlowitsch, "but at the end the winning team was given $1,000."

There is still time for area businesses to be part of the Lion’s Apprentice. Until Thursday, September 7, businesses can submit a one-page proposal to challenge student teams for the next season, which begins on Tuesday, September 26.

A representative from each company presenting a challenge will become a project manager. His or her responsibilities will be limited to a two week span, and will include presenting the challenge to all teams on a designated Tuesday evening, in the School of Business; providing applicable resources for the teams to accomplish the task; returning in two weeks to select the presentation that best satisfies their project, and provide a reward to members of the the winning team; and joining the panel of judges to determine which team will be eliminated that week.

The projects should be realistic and geared to challenge the students’ leadership skills and abilities to deal with conflict and risk. Student teams will be called upon to exhibit aptitude in business analysis, and/or product design and promotion.

The school is also looking for judges. The time commitment is greater, as judges have to be available for every challenge. Anyone not able to present a challenge or sit at the judges’ table, but who would like to participate in some way, is urged to contact Karlowitsch by E-mail at karlowit@tcnj.edu or by phone at 609-771-2567.

There are many ways to be involved in the Lion’s Apprentice. Just about everything but glaring down from a throne-like executive chair and shouting "You’re fired! Now go. Go. Get out of here."

– Kathy Spring

Volunteers Needed

Volunteer drivers are needed for a new transportation service that will provide low cost rides, 24/7 for the elderly and visually impaired members of Mercer County beginning this October.

ITNGreaterMercerT, a program of the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association, will pick passengers up at their doors, help with packages or assistive devices, and deliver them to their destinations in private automobiles driven primarily by volunteers.

ITN is a membership organization, not a charity, nor a taxi service. ITN members have personal debit accounts with charges based on distance that can be reduced by sharing rides or taking advantage of community-supported programs such as "Ride and Shop" and "Healthy Miles," providing discounts for rides to participating businesses and medical facilities.

ITN’s service area is a 10-mile radius centered on the Quakerbridge

Mall. This includes service to the train stations that have access to airports, for more remote trips.

ITN volunteer drivers are residents of Mercer County who recognize the need for reliable senior transportation. Volunteer drivers are rewarded for their services by accumulating mile credits that can be used at a later date by themselves, donated to a loved one, or donated to a community scholarship fund. ITN volunteers come from all walks of life, from younger adults to active seniors. Volunteer schedules are flexible.

Family members and friends can support family and friends by giving them ITN gift certificates. For information call 609-452-1491 (www.itngreatermercer.org).

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