Artist paints elephants to raise awareness of poaching

By Dawn Heinbach

Suzanne Fellows’s artwork Photo by Dawn Heinbach

Suzanne Fellows’s artwork
Photo by Dawn Heinbach

The art exhibit entitled “The Big Picture” by 1987 KU alumnus Suzanne Fellows is on display at Gallery 314, located at 314 West Main Street in Kutztown. Fellows’s display will be up through Oct. 15. This exhibit is part of Fellows’s year-long project, “99 Elephants a Day,” which began on Jan. 30. At the project’s completion, she will have created 36,000 elephants, the same number that are killed each year for their ivory.

Fellows has always been intrigued and charmed by elephants, and they have been the subject of many of her paintings. She began following the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust on Facebook in 2009.

DSWT is an elephant sanctuary in Nairobi, Kenya, that rescues and rehabilitates orphaned baby elephants whose mothers are victims of poaching. Fellows had been seeking ways to donate money to this cause, and was also exploring options for a year-long project. These two desires inspired “99 Elephants a Day.”

Making 99 elephants every day is an immense task. Fellows paints each piece of paper and cuts it into 2.5 by 3.5 pieces, then prints 99 elephants and stamps and numbers each one. This leaves little time for the other equally important part of the project: marketing on social media and keeping up with the blog. Fellows must also find funds to continue purchasing watercolor paper and gouache, the main materials used in the creation of the elephants.

The project has impacted people in just the way the artist had hoped.

“So many people love elephants and are aware of the significance of the possible extinction of this magnificent species,” she said. “I’ve had many conversations about elephants that have left me with goosebumps. The people of Berks County have been more than supportive, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

With approximately four months until the project’s end, Fellows is looking for a way to reach beyond Berks County.

“It is imperative for the success of this project that this conversation goes viral,” she said. She and many others are keeping their fingers crossed, for the sake of the pachyderms.

Plans underway for a revamped off-campus housing website

By Taylor Vincent

Currently, the Kutztown Community Partnership is fixing the off-campus housing website that is available on the “current students” page of the Kutztown University website and creating a new one. This new website will be more efficient and user friendly for first time students looking to rent. The website is expected to include a roommate finder, apartment pictures, price, included amenities, Google map location, landlord contact information, semester availability and more. The expected launch is in late October.

With the launch of the website, KCP hopes to give students living on-campus other housing options as well as a life option. The off-campus experience aims to promote students to assist in becoming independent adults.

The KCP is a non-profit organization located at 324 W. Main Street. This organization is community organized and operated. It is focused on preserving Kutztown through charity, education, public safety and other purposes. KCP strives to unify the community by maintaining economic stability in historic Kutztown, while developing ideas toward a better future.

KCP is made up of members from local businesses, town officials and other residents including Mayor Sandy Green. Nancy Brooks is the Main Street manager, and is the only paid member of KCP. Brooks works closely with KCP intern Rebecca Lichtenthal, a student at KU, and KCP Vice President Pete Smith, owner of Eagle Point Property Management.

These volunteers run programs such as Safe Clean, Green, KuBok, Muscle on Main, Trick or Treat night and the Good Neighbor Program. Lichtenthal said, “These events are put in place to help bring the community together to make it a better place to live.”

Upon speaking with Lichtenthal, I have been informed that KCP is trying to “bridge the gap” between the university and the town. She said, “The future of the town includes all of the people that live here, including the students.” KCP is working with the university to involve more students in the community.

For more information, questions or concerns, contact Kutztown Community Partnership (KCP); 324 W. Main Street Kutztown, PA 19530; (484) 646-9069. Website: http://www.keepinitkutztown.com

Kutztown struggles in deep field at track meet

By Brandon Wentz

The Golden Bears prepare for competition

The Golden Bears prepare for competition

On Saturday afternoon an assortment of 40 different track and field teams participated in the Paul Short Invitational, which was hosted by Lehigh University. The Golden Bears’ men’s cross country team respectively placed 26th in the packed field. Princeton University came out on top with 83 points in the meet.

The Paul Short Invitational ranks among the largest cross country meets and this year was no different with 5,500 students running for 400 different schools. Kutztown finished with 721 points in the all-day event. KU competed in the “College Men Brown” division and ended the day with an average time of 26:49 in the 8k event.

Freshman Steven Maine was Kutztown’s leader once again this weekend, and ended up being the only Golden Bear to crack the top 100. Maine notched himself a 21st place finish with a time of 25:31. He was also the third-best finishing freshman at the Paul Short Invitational. This finish comes on the heels of Maine being named the PSAC Athlete of the Week on September 29th.

Chris Coates, Justin Gum and Jack Inglis comprised the next team of Kutztown runners to make their way across the finish line, respectively. Coates came in 157th place with a time of 26:53, and Gum placed 175th in 27:05. Meanwhile, Inglis had a season-best time of 27:15 and placed 194th.

Maine, Coates and Gum led KU in pace; with Maine ending the meet with a pace of 5:08, Coates had a pace of 5:25 and Gum’s pace was 5:27.

Alex Watson was the next Golden Bear to cross the finish line and 205th at the event with a time of 27:20. Following Watson were the final KU scorers CJ Bauer and Mark Pfaeffle, who finished within a second of each other at 27:38 and 27:39. Bauer earned the 232nd place and Pfaeffle the 236th place. Devonte King wrapped up the race for Kutztown with a time of 28:16, placing 287th.

The Kutztown Golden Bears’ next meet is the “Go Fast River Run” hosted by Lock Haven University, which will take place Oct. 25 at 1p.m.

KUPresents! stages a Gershwin tribute

By Elizabeth Holland

Clipper Erickson Photo courtesy of the Reading Eagle

Clipper Erickson
Photo courtesy of the Reading Eagle

Clipper Erickson made his breakthrough as a soloist in the Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra in Los Angeles at the age of 19. Completing his studies at The Juilliard School, Yale University and Indiana University, Clipper has been noted throughout the country for his interpretations of American music.

Erickson first performed “Una Carta de Buenos Aires” by Richard Brodhead at the University of Birmingham, UK. Clipper Erickson comes to Kutztown University with passion to inspire music through education and performance.

On Oct. 6 in Schaeffer Auditori um, Erickson paid tribute to the well-known American composer, George Gershwin, with the assistance of The Reading Pops Orchestra on behalf of KUPresents!

George Gershwin, known for his numerous classical compositions, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1898. Born Jacob Gershowitz, he became a professional pianist at 15. Composing in the early 1920s, “Rhapsody in Blue” became one of his best-known pieces. Among the many other songs composed are: “Concerto in F,” “An American in Paris,” and the suite from “Porgy and Bess.”

The Reading Pops Orchestra, founded in 1969, has a mission “to promote the musical arts in Reading and Berks County through the maintenance of a professional orchestra for the performance of public concerts.” They were led by Kutztown’s chair of the department of music and professor of music, Willis M. Rapp.

Professional writing student releases first book of poetry

By Dawn Heinbach

Photo of Catherine J. Mahony Photo by Dawn Heinbach

Photo of Catherine J. Mahony
Photo by Dawn Heinbach

Kutztown University student, Catherine J. Mahony, was the featured poet at the Oct. 2 meeting of Berks Bards, which takes place monthly at GoggleWorks, Reading, Pa. Mahony’s work brings the hopeful message of recovery from addiction by telling her own story, from her time as a homeless heroin addict, to a psychiatric ward inpatient, to a college graduate with many accomplishments and a fulfilled life. Mahony has shared her story at local recovery facilities like the Caron Foundation, White Deer Run and Berks County Prison.

Her first chapbook, “Prior Restraints,” was released on the same night. The book is a brutally honest compilation of poems that reflect on her experiences during her addiction and mental illness. While it took five years for Mahony to build sufficient confidence and skill in her writing before seeking publication, the poems themselves did not take long to write since they adhere to a specific theme.

Her goal with the book is to give a voice to those who are struggling with addiction or mental illness.

“I hope that through reopening my wounds, I can assist others in healing their own,” Mahony said.

Her future plans include a full-length memoir, of which part one is already completed. The theme is similar to the chapbook but the longer length allows for a deeper probe of the 12-year-old Mahony’s loss of her mother, her father’s alcoholism and motherhood, which she attributes to saving her life.

Mahony is especially sensitive to the rise in heroin deaths in Berks and surrounding counties.

“What I would say to young people today who are considering experimenting with drugs or who are already in the throes of addiction is that your life is a precious gift and you are all here for a very specific reason,” she said. “I guarantee that reason is not to fall victim to an addiction that can only end in three ways: becoming institutionalized, becoming incarcerated or the ultimate sacrifice, dying.”

The strength of the opiate and the various substances with which the drug is combined significantly inflates the danger of trying it even once.

“The potency of the drug which is being distributed today increases the chance of overdose and death exponentially,” Mahony said. “That first line or shot could very well be your last.”

Mahony is available for speaking engagements and offers a therapeutic writing program to prison inmates and patients in treatment facilities.

Below is a video of Mahony.

“Orange is the New Black” comes to KU

By Katarina Rodriguez

Author, Piper Kerman Photo courtesy of Sam Zalutsky

Author, Piper Kerman
Photo courtesy of Sam Zalutsky

According to IMDb, “Orange is the New Black” is a popular Netflix TV series, written and produced by Jenji Kohan who also wrote the popular TV series “Weeds.”

Season one of “Orange is the New Black” begins with the character Piper Chapman. She has to spend fifteen months in prison after being convicted of a decade-old crime of transporting money for her drug-dealing girlfriend. Chapman now must figure out how to survive the next year-and-a-half in a women’s correctional facility.

The series was released in 2013 and has since been growing in popularity. The TV show has also won many awards such as the People’s Choice Award in 2014 for Favorite Streaming Series.

Piper Chapman’s character, played by actress Taylor Schilling, is based off the true story of Piper Kerman. Kerman went from being a Smith College Alumni to inmate 11187-424, and is now New York Times Bestselling author of the book, “Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison” which was published in April 2010. Her book is a memoir about the real experiences she encountered while behind bars at a federal correctional facility in Danbury, Conn.

According to Petritsa Chatzitziva, assistant director of student involvement at Kutztown University, Piper Kerman will be speaking at Schaeffer Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Oct. 23. She will be addressing her book and the TV series and how she turned her negative situation into a positive one. Her goal of the presentation is to raise awareness for reform of our justice system. After she is finished speaking, there will be time for a Q & A session, which will be followed by a book signing.

This event is free and is sponsored by Association of Campus Events. However, seats may be limited because students with a valid Kutztown University ID are given priority. ACE has also arranged for the university bookstore to order Piper Kerman’s book.