South Lake SGA hosts Fall Festival

LSSC's South Lake campus recently held their annual Fall Festival, complete with sand art, apple twists and corn hole games.

The college crucible

College does not kill religious beliefs; it refines them with fire. It is here, for the first time, that many of us have been taught how to think. We shouldn’t be afraid of this; we should embrace it.

LSSC invites community to Lakehawk Preview Day

Lake-Sumter State College invited high school students and members of the community to LakeHawk Preview Day at the Leesburg campus to get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a LakeHawk.

Part time and seasonal hiring event offers local jobs for students

Employers from 16 different companies participated in the job hiring event hosted by the Career Development Services office of Lake-Sumter State College.

South Lake SGA hosts Pumpkin Bowling Challenge

South Lake students continue the decade-long tradition of Pumpkin Bowling.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Leesburg community presents annual MLK Jr Parade

Leesburg community gathered Jan. 17, 2015 for the 4th annual Martin Luther King Jr Commemoration parade/march. About 1,000 attending watched a multicultural celebtration of Dr. King's teaching with wakers, floats and choirs among many others.  

Lake-Sumter State College representatives ride down the parade route in celebration of MLK Jr. 

LSSC students pass out goodies to those who attended the parade.  

Dr Mojock accompanied by other LSSC representatives wave to the crowd.

Members of the Lake County Sheriffs Department celebrate Martin Luther King by marching the parade route. 

Members of the Lake County Sheriffs Department ride the parade route on horses exchanging smiles with the audience. 

LSSC hosts Welcome Back Bash at Leesburg campus

LSSC's Welcome Back Bash took place on the Leesburg campus on Jan. 14, 2015. Students on Leesburg campus welcomed new and returning students for the spring semester.

Karizma Bowers, LSSC STEM Club president for Spring 2015, mans the booth for students who are interested in jointing the club. Credit: Lake-Sumter State College.

Club Members of YODAA sought out new students for the spring semester. 

SAFIRE club member laid out icons on his table describing what the club is all about to gain the interest of new students. Icons ranging from comic books to dvd's of the latest trends in anime. 

SGA members playfully fought each other on the inflatable jousting ring provided to students at the Welcome Back Bash. 

An inflatable obstacle course gained attention as students challenged themselves in the name of fun at the Welcome Back Bash. 

Students raise to the finish on the inflatable obstacle course. 

Students take advantage of free food provided by SGA at the Welcome Back Bash. 

Students enjoy music while dancing to the latest hits thanks for the DJ present at the Welcome Back Bash. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Angler now has an Advice Column!

Graphic by: David Renna

Students! You don't have to be an expert to ask for advice. Do you have any questions? Know of a friend who has questions? Ask The Angler staff! You may just see your question answered in an upcoming issue. 

Questions can be submitted anonymously to

Monday, December 8, 2014

“The 808:” Lake-Sumter alumni Ryan James Edwards releases first album

Article by Katie McKay, Editor-in-Chief
Photos by Kelly Rae Stewart Photography

Ryan James Edwards has traveled far and wide to achieve his dream of becoming a musician, but he points to Lake-Sumter as the starting point of his career. “Lake-Sumter,” he says, “is, [educationally], what kick-started me to even [think] I could do this. They prepared me, gave me at least the beginning tools to say, ‘This is how you can manage yourself. This is how you can basically live this dream out.’ It equipped me. Starting here equipped me to do what I’m doing now.”

Edwards dual-enrolled at Lake-Sumter during his senior year of high school in 2006, taking several business classes and as many music classes as possible, mostly with Professor Peter Arcaro. Edwards says, “He was amazing. I probably took almost every class, by the time I was done here, that he offered because I really, really liked what he was doing. I would even say that because of a lot of the stuff he taught me, he allowed me to become who I am now in music... He knew what he was doing.”

He moved on the Seminole State College in 2008. He describes the period after college as something like a rollercoaster ride. He spent five years on tour with Kadesh, a Christian band from Lake County that garnered considerable attention in the Christian community. Besides touring numerous countries including Peru, the Dominican Republic and western Canada, they also performed at Disney’s Night of Joy for three years in a row.

In 2011 he fell in love and moved to North Carolina to pursue a career in music. He met up with Remedy Drive, a band that had formerly worked with Fireflight, and asked if they needed his help with anything. He ended up leaving a few days later for a six-week tour, proposing to his soon-to-be wife hours before being dropped off at the bus stop to leave.

When he returned, he was offered a full salary job working with a start-up record label. The gig lasted ten months before collapsing. He made money by playing background roles in small movies and commercials until he was offered a position running the sound system for Providence Road Church of Christ in Charlotte, North Carolina.

It was there that he learned how to produce his own music and gained the skills he would need to make his dreams of independently publishing an album a reality.

In 2013 he created a Kickstarter campaign with the help of a photographer and friend Kelly Rae Stewart. The Kickstarter company itself took note of his project and gave it special promotion on their website. He ended up exceeding his goal of $7,000 by $370 with 115 backers. His album was officially released Nov. 11 and is now available on websites such as iTunes, Amazon MP3 and Google Play.

Lake-Sumter showed him that this dream was possible and gave him the skills to pursue it. He passes this idea on in his advice to current students. “Try to pick up skills, even if you don’t feel like they’re ideal; they’re going to apply. If it has to do with what that you love… do it, because it probably is [going to] help you in the long run. Push. Make connections; make friendships. Be happy with what you’re doing, because if you’re happy with what you’re doing, people are going to want to be a part of that.”

His final advice is to “Learn as much as you can. Never stop learning. Never.”

Edwards aims to leave a legacy of positive, refreshing music that uplifts those who hear it. While his work is not specifically Christian music, he has taken much inspiration from the genre. All the bands he has worked with were Christian bands, and he cites a cappella singing as part of what helped him learn what was possible with musical chords.

“This is a whole album of pursuing a dream,” he says. To current students who are still deciding what to do with their lives, he adds, “Don’t back down… That’s my biggest thing. Be happy with what you’re doing, because if you’re happy with what you’re doing, people are going to want to be a part of that.”

To purchase “The 808”or learn more about his journey, visit or his Kickstarter page at

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tips for holiday shopping on a college-student budget

Article by Nicole Gato, Staff Writer
Illustration by Katie McKay

It’s that time of year again! We feel the chill in the air and hear the familiar sound of Christmas music. This change of season also signals the return of the holiday shopping race. The holidays are the perfect time of year to express gratitude to the special people in your life. However, buying the perfect gift can be difficult on the minimal budget of a typical college student. During this time of year, finding incredible deals and saving money are crucial. Here are some helpful tips for surviving the season of giving with cash to spare.

Plan ahead. An important part of making your holiday shopping excursion a success is knowing what you need to buy ahead of time. Don’t be afraid to ask people what they want or need so you don't end up buying something they won't use.

Make a list. Once you have made your list and checked it twice, stick to it. Straying from the list can lead to unnecessary purchases and spending more money than you planned.

Do your research.
Don’t go into one store and settle for whatever price is set. Before you start shopping, go online and compare prices or visit other stores ahead of time. You’ll be surprised by the different prices on items that stores offer.

Don’t forget the thrift shop. The idea of shopping for Christmas gifts at a thrift store or second hand shop might seem strange, but give it a chance and you might come across some treasures for your family and friends at low prices.

Shop with cash. Although this may seem unrealistic, you will be surprised by how effective this strategy can be for helping you stick to your budget.

Save store receipts. This small action can be helpful when dealing with “buyer’s remorse.” Even if you don’t think you’ll want to return something, it’s always a good idea to store your receipts in an envelope or in your wallet.

Homemade gifts. Don’t overlook homemade gifts. Take an opportunity to express your creativity with a gift that comes from the heart and is more personalized than a store-bought gift. 

Your holiday shopping doesn't have to empty your bank account; be creative and keep an open mind when looking for gifts. What counts is not the price of the presents, but the ones for whom you buy them.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

South Lake SGA hosts Fall Festival

Story by Nicole Gato, Staff Writer
Photos by Nicole Gato

Jason Lykins, Joshua Labayne and Michael Crews enjoy the sand art booth at the South Lake campus Fall Festival.
On Nov. 18 Lake-Sumter State College’s South Lake campus held their annual Fall Festival. The event took place in Building 1, and it was open from 11a.m.-1 p.m. for all students who wanted to stop by and enjoy what the LSSC South Lake SGA had prepared. Samantha Dicaro, SGA President for the South Lake campus, mentioned that the event was meant to be held under the main pavilion on campus, but due to unexpected cold weather, all activities were moved into the main lobby of Building 1. 

The event included free food, games and crafts. Outside, participants made fresh, warm apple twists. Inside, two tables were set up with sand art for students to create by filling bottles of various shapes with layers of colored sand. Michael Crews, South Lake’s SGA senator was enthusiastic about the craft, saying, “We have sand art…it’s really fun!”

A third table was set up with free giveaway bags that included a Lake-Sumter tumbler, candy and a flyer for the SGA. Students also had the opportunity to participate in a friendly game of corn hole, which was set up indoors.

About 50 students overall came by to enjoy the Fall Festival, evidence of its success in getting students involved and giving them a fun way to celebrate the Fall season.

Director of Activities Claudia Mercado-Morazo works the sand art booth.
Jeffery Rivera and Michael Nix watch others participate in the corn hole games.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The College Crucible

Story by Katie McKay, Editor-in-Chief
Illustration by Katie McKay

The Thanksgiving season is coming, along with the traditional practices of overindulging in family feasts, watching football, and fighting to the death over toys on Black Friday.

But let us not forget who started the Thanksgiving holiday. It was begun by a group of pilgrims who crossed the ocean looking for the freedom to think for themselves and form their own opinions about religion and life in general, rather than following the traditions handed to them in their home country.

Today that freedom to think and examine and create our own opinions is first encountered in college, but it seems to be doing anything but reinforcing faith. The ideas many of us have inherited from our parents about God and the beginning of the world suddenly seem doubtful in the light of new knowledge in an environment that values logic, science, and evidence above all.

But college does not kill religious beliefs; it refines them with fire. It is here, for the first time, that many of us have been taught how to think. We shouldn’t be afraid of it. Rather, we should embrace this new skill and use it, rather than sheepishly following whatever our parents have taught us or whatever line of thought sounds the most convincing and socially acceptable to us at the moment. If we do this, we will have missed the entire purpose of our education.

Finding the truth should be our ultimate goal, rather than following whatever arbitrary notions please us. Realistically, truth does not change. It is merely our comprehension of it that does, and often. Gravity was still in existence before we acknowledged it and sought to understand it; and it will not cease to exist if we alter our opinions of its existence.

So where is that truth? Is it in the lab, or in a temple? One thing we can know for certain is that neither modern science nor any traditional religion has all the answers. Science is often wrong, and it changes often, though it continually moves towards a more accurate understanding of the physical world. There would be no more research if we had discovered everything for certain. At the same time, all religions are prone to stubbornly-held traditions, changes in opinion, and divisions.

Truth, still, does not change. We have to find it. We have to think. We have to research, test and prove to dig it out of all the opinions and traditions with logic.

Most start out by inheriting their faith from their parents, whether it is a faith in a deity or in science, or a mix of both. At some point, though, we can no longer rely on what our parents tell us is the truth without evidence – not unless we are willing to continue life as blind sheep.

My personal faith has not suffered because of attending college, which is commonly stereotyped as an atheistic, liberal environment that stifles any religious beliefs. Rather, my faith has grown and become something more refined: recognizable but improved and different from what I grew up accepting. I still believe in God. I still believe that He created the universe. But I no longer believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old, as some Christians claim. Rather, I’ve found a strong correlation between the story of the Big Bang and the story that starts with “Let there be light.”

College taught me how to investigate the claim that a Jewish teacher named Jesus rose from the dead. It showed me how to systematically disprove theories that didn’t add up, and how to research ancient historians and scholarly evidence for an accurate understanding. My conclusion was that he did rise, and I am more confident claiming this now that I have researched it.

But this is just my personal journey thus far. If I keep investigating and find proven evidence leading to a different conclusion, I will believe that instead. Ignorance may have once been bliss, but it is no longer satisfying once one learns to think.

So as you slog through the beginning of the season of Thanksgiving, prayers, Christmas stories, political correctness, Hanukah, Kwanza and Santa Claus, embrace the power of logic. Follow the facts and find truth, wherever that may lead you. You may be surprised where you end up. And when you get there, share it with the rest of us.

[Edit Nov. 19: Updated illustration.]

Thursday, November 13, 2014

How to identify a college kid

Comic by: Katie McKay

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

LSSC invites community to LakeHawk Preview Day

Story by: Kristen Binning, Media Editor
Photo by: Kristen Binning

Community members and high school students gather in the
Magnolia Room for LakeHawk Preview Day.
On Nov. 8 Lake-Sumter State College invited high school students and members of the community to LakeHawk Preview Day at the Leesburg campus to get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a LakeHawk.

Dr. Mary Ann Searle, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dr. Charles R. Mojock President of Lake-Sumter State College both presented messages of inspiration to welcome possible future students. “Do what makes you happy and the money will come later,” Dr. Searle said after explaining that the number one major chosen by students is “undecided.”

Dr. Mojock went on to explain that being the first member of a family to attend college can be scary, but he said, “We assure you, help is here for you along the way.”

After the welcome, community members and future students split into two groups. One group was provided with a student panel for a Q & A session, and the other with a Financial Aid Workshop presented by the Assistant Director of Financial Aid Donna MacDonald.

Afterward, student ambassadors led attendees on campus tours ending at the Health Science Center. Once again those on tour split into two groups to participate in mock classroom presentations in rooms 207 and 208. In room 207, Tanya Harris-Rocker, Education and Student Development instructor, gave a presentation of what the Foundations of College Success course would entail. In room 208, Tim Kane, BAS Organizational Management instructor, gave a presentation on the Human Resource Management Course offered here at LSSC.

Later, attendees had the option of filling out an enrollment application with the assistance of admissions personal. The application fee was waived for the event. Attendees were invited to attend the baseball game beginning at 1 p.m. on the same day against Hillsborough Community College. Hillsborough walked away the winners in the game but those who attended the LakeHawk Preview Day walked away winning valuable information for the future.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Part-time and seasonal hiring event offers local jobs for students

Story by: David Renna, Managing Editor
Photo by: David Renna

Students meet with local employers in the Leesburg campus Quad in hopes of getting hired.
On Nov. 4, the Career Development Services office of Lake-Sumter State College hosted a job hiring event at the Leesburg campus Quad. Employers from 16 different companies were present, offering seasonal and part-time jobs.

Fast food restaurants, such as Johnny Rockets and Waffle House, were looking for entry-level staff as well as cooks; Bealls was looking for sales associates, Lowes and Office Depot were also looking for entry-level staff, and AutoZone was looking for drivers and storefront employees.

A slew of healthcare companies came looking for registered nurses as well as senior caregivers (which have flexible hours and are entry-level). Companies such as ResCare HomeCare, Community Health Centers, Visiting Angels, Caregiver Services and Home Instead Senior Care were also offering positions.

A couple of local businesses came to search for a more focused skillset of workers. Flying Colors of Leesburg offered jobs for painters, upholsterers and part organizers for airplanes for their company and were willing to train on the job. Husebo Advertising & Public Relations had open positions for designers and video editors for their advertising firm.

Job listings from the event can be found at: Further information can be obtained by emailing

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

South Lake SGA hosts Pumpkin Bowling Challenge

Story by: Nicole Gato, Staff Writer
Photos by: Nicole Gato

South Lake students gather for SGA-hosted Pumpkin Bowling.
The Student Government Association at Lake-Sumter State College’s South Lake campus hosted their annual Pumpkin Bowling Challenge Oct. 28 on the sidewalk by Building 2.

The winning teams were The Drop Kicks in first place, The Crabs in second and The Brownies in third. Each winner took home a medal and a goodie basket, courtesy of the Lake-Sumter SGA.

The smell of funnel cakes and corn dogs filled the air, along with the sound of upbeat music and the chatter of students. Tables were lined up with real pumpkins decorated and prepared for the game. The event was open to all students, with bowling available to anyone who could rally up a team of three to participate. 

A whiteboard sign gives the details for Pumpkin Bowling. The event attracted bowlers in groups of three to compete and enjoy free food.
The event ran from 11 till 1 p.m., making it easy for students who wanted to come by to show off their pumpkin bowling skills or grab a bite to eat between classes. The professionally-made funnel cakes and corn dogs were free to students, as well as bottles of water. Linda Karp, the Student Life Manager, was very enthusiastic about the event, and said, “We have people lined up to bowl. It’s a very competitive sport around here.”

Karp also stated that the Pumpkin Bowling tradition at Lake Sumter started about 10 years ago, and mentioned that she was very pleased with the large attendance; students were lined up to play even before the event officially began. Rachael Harris, secretary for the SGA says, “It was a huge success, and I hope that Pumpkin Bowling will continue to be an annual tradition at Lake-Sumter State College.”

Monday, November 3, 2014

Last home volleyball game to honor sophomores

Story by: Jake Sikkema, Staff Writer
Photos courtesy of Jared Hester

Lake-Sumter State College's Lady Lake Hawks spike the ball at a
game against Trinity College on Sept. 9.
Come out and support our Lady Lake Hawks tonight in the last home game of the season. Sophomore Night will celebrate the careers of Kelsey Showalter (6), Madyson Maxwell​ (11), Carol Kiam-Assato (13), Nyasia Dunlap (15) and ​Emily Smith (23). The game is designed to honor the students who are about to finish their volleyball careers. The match will take place in the Everett A. Kelly Convocation Center on the Leesburg campus Monday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m. against Webber University JV.

Attendance is free for students, faculty and staff.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Horror Nights 24 set to scare for a few more days

Story by: Jeremy VanCise, Staff Writer
Photos courtesy of Universal Studios Orlando

Halloween Horror Nights 24 at Universal Studios Orlando offers scares for just a few more nights.
For those who love a good jump scare, this year’s Halloween Horror Nights is worth the trip.
On Sept.  19, Universal Studios unleashed Halloween Horror Nights 24. For those unfamiliar with the event, on select nights in September and October, Universal Studios is transformed into a hellish place that hosts eight haunted houses and four “scare zones.” The event attracts hundreds of thousands of horror aficionados each year.
This year’s offerings are diverse, with a variety of haunted houses to tour. Some take their themes from familiar horror brands such as “Halloween,” “Aliens vs. Predators” and “The Walking Dead.” Other film-oriented houses are “Dracula Untold” and “From Dusk Till Dawn.” There are also four houses based on original Halloween Horror Nights concepts, including the living-doll-themed Dollhouse of the Damned, cannibal-themed Roanoke, and the clown-centered Giggles & Gore Inc.
The Halloween and Dollhouse of the Damned houses are the best of this year’s event. Houses that are based on intellectual property are hit or miss, but most often misses. Halloween’s house this year beat the odds, recreating numerous scenes from the original film while including small bits from other films in the series as winks to dedicated fans. Dollhouse of the Damned works because it cleverly plays off of childhood fears of fanged teddy bears and the odd faces of baby dolls. There are a few clever scares, but what brings it to life is that the “scare-actors” are actively committed to their jobs.
Not all the houses are hits, with From Dusk Till Dawn and Dracula Untold being especially underwhelming. While it was obvious that a lot of thought and time went into the creation of the Dracula Untold set, the scares are severely lacking. The scare-actors seem bored and sparse. From Dusk Till Dawn contains a few good scares and a good set but as a whole feels very disjointed.  Even The Walking Dead house, which is double the size of all the other houses, is just mediocre, not bad or good, with scares that are too sparse for its large size.

"The Purge" has its owns scare zone this year, and is one of the most effective of the street experiences.
However, the houses aren’t the only attractions. Halloween Horror Nights also has four street experiences that set the stage before visitors even set foot in a haunted house. The four scare zones are mostly original concepts, with one scare zone built around the horror film “The Purge.”  This scare zone places participants in the middle of an annual Purge event, with masked killers roaming the streets ready to “unleash the beast within.” Other scare zones include the decadent MASKerade: Unstitched, Bayou of Blood and Face Off – In the Flesh.
The Purge “scare zone” is by far the largest and most effective of the scare zones, and includes masked girls giggling and frolicking about with machetes. The highlight of this “scare zone” is the leader of the “Purge,” who is in the crowd of people with a microphone, pointing out who specifically should be targeted for “purging.” The “scare zone” works well, and is one of the best parts of the event as a whole.
The other “scare zones” are well decorated, but lack the scares of past years. MASKerade: Unstitched is the most beautiful, with amazing ball gowns and ornate masked faces. However, this feels more like a photo-op zone than a “scare zone.” Bayou of Blood is interesting, but a major aspect of the “scare zone” was removed after the first week of attendance. Originally there was a ritual sacrifice that scared guests so much that Universal was pressured to remove it. There is now an obvious sense of something missing, and it feels like the heart of the scare is gone.
As a whole, the better attractions make up for the lacking ones, and Halloween Horror Nights 24 delivers what it promises: a night of good scares. oHor

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

SGA hosts LSSC’s traditional pumpkin bowling to relieve mid-term stress

Story by: Katie McKay, Editor-in-Chief
Photos by: Katie McKay

SGA member Gerard Cruz sends his pumpkin toward the pins, which were set up in the Leesburg campus quad at LSSC.
On Oct. 15, around 240 people attended Lake-Sumter State College’s annual tradition of pumpkin bowling on the Leesburg campus. The event was hosted by the Student Government Association, and participants included faculty, staff and students from all over campus.

Real pumpkins were used in place of bowling balls, which made any score far more impressive, as the gourds tended to veer left or right depending on their shapes. Any busted pumpkins were promptly wrapped with orange duct tape and reused.

Faculty and staff ended up taking all the medals. First place went to the Facilities team, second place went to the Learning Center team, and the Athletics team scored third.

Chase Rowe relaxes with his phone on the sidelines of the pumpkin bowling games.
According to Student Government member Amy Gandy, the pumpkin bowling event is so popular because “it doesn’t make any sense and its fun and you get to throw pumpkins! Why not?” She adds that “it’s a great stress reliever,” especially since the event occurs around mid-term exams.

Cindy Lackey, Assistant Director of Student Life, estimates a turnout of around 240 who showed up for free food and bowling.

Rob Estes, a supervisor in the Facilities department, believes pumpkin bowling to have been started about nine years ago by Heather Elmatti, an assistant professor of speech and journalism at LSSC, and continued ever since.

Representatives for SGA’s Paint Night and SAFIRE’s Humans Versus Zombies game were both present at the event to gather signatures and participants.

Paint Night will be on Nov. 13 from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. A canvas will be provided to participants, along with paint and brushes for those who cannot supply their own. Tickets are $8 until Oct. 28. From Oct. 29 through Nov. 4, they are $10. From Nov. 5 to Nov. 12, they are $12. Tickets are $14 the day of the event.

Student David Knoras launches his pumpkin bowling ball down an improvised lane.
LSSC math professor Nicole Osborn gets ready for a shot while fellow team member and math professor Judith Hayes watches. The Math Department team won first place in last year's pumpkin bowling competition, but was beat out this year by the Facilities team.
Around 240 students attended the event over the course of the day for free food and pumpkin bowling.
The prize medals were displayed during the event. First, second and third place went to the Facilities team, the Learning Center team and the Athletics team respectively.
Rob Estes chooses to use one of the larger pumpkins for his turn.
Estes makes a shot.
After one more shot, Estes gets a spare.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Net neutrality depends on us

Story by: Katie McKay, Editor-in-Chief
Comic by: Katie McKay

"Hey, let's race. Winner takes all."

Net neutrality has become a hot topic as of late. College students are getting especially involved in the debate and for good reason: internet usage is higher among young adults between 18 and 29 than in any other age group, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. Results of the debate over net neutrality will affect the lives of college-age users more than any other group, so it makes sense that we should have a stake in what happens.

Large Internet service providers like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon are pushing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for rules that allow them to create fast and slow lanes on the Internet and charge a fee for the faster ones. An article in Smithsonian Magazine explains that these companies “complain that their pipelines are getting choked as more Americans stream more bandwidth-hungry media, like TV, online. To upgrade their hardware, the cable and phone companies say, it’s only fair to charge extra fees to the websites and services that send out these floods of data, like Netflix or Google’s YouTube.”

This doesn’t sound like such a bad idea at first. If big websites coughed up a few extra dollars, college students could watch cat videos—sorry, I mean academic tutorials a little bit faster.

The problem is what would happen to smaller websites as a result. Video streaming sites wouldn’t be the only ones paying for faster internet; every company that can afford it will invest in quicker speeds for the simple fact that consumers choose faster sites.

According to New York Times journalist Steve Lohr, a study by Google engineers found that “people will visit a website less often if it is slower than a close competitor by more than 250 milliseconds.” That’s almost twice as fast as the blink of an eye.

Even if the new Internet fast lanes only speed up service by 250 milliseconds, paying websites already have a distinct advantage over smaller ones that cannot afford the speed, such as blogs or smaller websites like Etsy or non-profits like Wikipedia. Small businesses and startups will also be in this category, and that includes the sites that college graduates create as they become entrepreneurs and try to break into the business world.

Without net neutrality, it may become impossible for smaller sites to compete with the quicker, sleeker, richer ones, especially if Internet service providers are also allowed to block or slow the applications and content that they choose, which is another aspect of the fight., run by, is a website devoted to protecting net neutrality. It explains that a lack of net neutrality not only hinders small businesses, but also poses a threat to freedom of expression on the Web. In an ironic twist, Internet service providers claim that the First Amendment’s protection of editorial rights for those who transmit the speech of others gives them the right to determine what websites consumers can access. compares the methods that will be used to control content to the methods currently used by the National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor the actions of Web users. A lack of true privacy, they say, will also follow the absence of net neutrality.

Altogether, the Internet could become like cable TV: who and how much we pay determines what we can access. The Internet would be faster, yes, but amateurs and startups could be choked out by businesses that can pay for better service, or they could be blocked out entirely if they compete with a paying website. Taken to the extreme, the Internet could end up with relatively few large websites and no smaller ones., through, provides tools and help for becoming informed, contacting members of the FCC, writing to members of Congress and writing in to local newspaper editors to support net neutrality.

As college students and members of a generation that relies on and uses the Internet more than any other, we need to have a voice in this debate. Everything can change in the blink of an eye (or even 250 milliseconds) if we’re not careful.