KU bookstore open for business

This summer the KU Bookstore had a major renovation take place that gave the bookstore a new look and

Textbook section of the newly renovated bookstore Photo courtesy of the KU Bookstore

Textbook section of the newly renovated bookstore
Photo courtesy of the KU Bookstore

feel. As students return for the new school year and visit the bookstore they will notice many changes that have taken place.

   The store has a whole new layout and a “more modern color palette and décor” according to Amanda Schaeffer, public relations manager of Kutztown University Student Services, Inc. (KUSSI), which runs the bookstore. KUSSI is an independent non-profit affiliate of Kutztown University that operates and exists for the benefit of Kutztown students.

   The bookstore which was run from many satellite locations over the summer was re-opened on Tuesday, Aug. 19 and an official grand opening celebration has been planned for September.

   A new entrance was made on the outside of the store to provide easier access for the students and the campus community. The outside entrance will also enable the bookstore to be open during hours when the McFarland Student Union is closed. Schaeffer says that one of the major objectives of the renovation was to establish a more efficient use of the limited space. Various departments in the store footprint were then relocated to other areas within the store.

   A Textbook Help desk and an Art Help desk were added in order to improve the bookstore’s ability to assist students with locating their course materials and art supplies that they may need for their classes. The technology product offering was expanded and they are now featured in the center of the store. The apparel and gift departments of the bookstore are now located directly inside the main and exterior entrances. This allows the bookstore staff to display all of the products more creatively than they had been able to in the past. The Service Center was relocated closest to inside the main entrance in order to be more visible and accessible to customers.

   The general contractor for the renovation is Cresswell Brothers General Contractors, Inc. from Pottsville, Pa. All of the sub-contractors who worked on the renovation had to be approved vendors of Kutztown University, and were contracted through Cresswell. The KU Facilities Department was responsible for overseeing the whole project and they worked closely with the architects, designers and Cresswell to make sure that all of the work that was performed was agreed upon by all parties involved in the project.

KU’s newly renovated bookstore Photo courtesy of KU Bookstore

KU’s newly renovated bookstore
Photo courtesy of KU Bookstore

   A small portion of the operating surplus of the bookstore had been set aside each year, for several years, to enable KUSSI to completely fund the remodel project without passing on any costs to KU students. This project was fully funded by KUSSI, with no impact to any student fees, university funding or the store pricing.

   The renovation project was something that was discussed and evaluated for many years. The planning of the project started in Spring 2012, once there was enough money that was set aside to make the project possible. Schaeffer says that, “Once our plans for a complete renovation of the ‘KU Student Bookstore’ were underway, we felt that this was the perfect time to re-brand using ‘KU Campus Store’ in order to reflect our commitment to providing exceptional service. KU Campus Store – Your source for everything KU!”

Local Chile pepper festival in Bowers spices up community

By Nick Carson

Bowers, Pa., a little town 4.4 miles from KU, with a population of just 326, happens to have the biggest chile

A stand at the Chile pepper festival                                                        Photo courtesy of Dr. Mike Downing

A stand at the Chile pepper festival Photo courtesy of Dr. Mike Downing

pepper festival of the east coast.

It is the perfect spot for a cheap, fun time for just about anyone, especially empty-pocketed college students looking to escape their residence halls for a day or two.

The annual Bowers Chile Pepper Festival began in 1996, and will be held on Sept. 5 and 6 this year.

The festival features multiple activities for guests of all ages, including live music by Acoustic Roadshow, a horse and carriage excursion of the chile pepper fields of Meadowview Farms, a jalapeño-eating contest and a salsa contest.

KU students and staff in particular may be interested in the festival’s salsa, which has connections to KU through Jim DeLong.

DeLong not only manages the local attraction Crystal Cave, but is the husband of KU English Professor, Dr. Anne DeLong.

DeLong has been attending and selling salsa at the festival since its inception 18 years ago.

“My partner Chris Grace and I make salsa as a hobby,” DeLong said. “We attended a meeting in Bowers 18 years ago regarding interest in starting a Chile pepper festival. We have been vending at the festival as “DeGra’s Salsa” since it began in 1996.”

When asked why he thinks the once tiny festival has become so popular, DeLong said it is the variety of the festival that is its biggest attraction

“[The festival offers] different varieties of food, featuring all kinds of hot peppers. There are also craft vendors,” DeLong said.

The festival not only hosts salsa vendors, but includes a salsa contest, which began accepting applicants on Aug. 15.

The contest accepts the first 30 applicants who can bring their salsa, which cannot be produced or packaged commercially in any way.

According to the festival’s website, pepperfestival.com, judges then ranks the salsa on a scale of one to 10 for appearance, heat as it relates to the balance of flavor and texture.

Applications can be sent by email to chilepepperfestival@hotmail.com.

Peppers from the Chile pepper festival       Photo courtesy of Dr. Mike Downing

Peppers from the Chile pepper festival
Photo courtesy of Dr. Mike Downing

The festival’s jalapeño-eating contest, one of its biggest attractions, will take place on Sept. 6th at 4 p.m.

Last year’s winner, James Herron, ate 163 grams of jalapeño to take home the trophy.

The horse and carriage field excursion takes place on both days of the festival and leads guests through fields of thousands of peppers. Guests will see a variety of peppers, ranging from the average bell pepper to the infamous ghost pepper. While on the trip, guests can also pick their own peppers.

Admission to the Bowers Chile Pepper Festival is by donation, making this nationally recognized festival a gem hidden in the emptiness that Berks County can sometimes prove to be.

Whether you are a daring hot pepper fanatic, or just like a bit of fresh bell pepper in your salad for lunch and some live music with the locals, this festival is the place to be.

To get there from KU, take Trexler Avenue with Keystone Field on your left and Keystone Arena on your right. Hang a right on Noble Street, drive for about two miles and it will turn into N. Main Street. Make a left onto Fleetwood Road, and then a right on State Route 1013. Drive for about a mile and you will be there.

About the Web Manager

By Patrick Dietrich

My name is Patrick Dietrich and I am the Web Manager and a staff writer for The Keystone. I am a third

Patrick Dietrich, Web Manager Photo courtesy of Joe Dietrich

Patrick Dietrich, Web Manager
Photo courtesy of Joe Dietrich

semester senior and am majoring in Sociology with minors in Psychology and Professional Writing. Besides The Keystone, I am involved with Kutztown University Radio, Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, CONNECTIONS Orientation Program, the National Residence Hall Honorary, Housing and Residence Life and the Sociology Club.

   There are many things I have gained from The Keystone and many things I hope to contribute before I graduate in December.

   I have learned that you need to adapt to survive in the professional world. The Keystone has given me my real first look into what working with a news company will be like. It has prepared me to always be on my toes and meet deadlines accordingly. It has helped me realize that the news is changing everyday. Since I have joined The Keystone, we have expanded our digital side of news exponentially.

   We post five articles a week to our website and to Facebook and Twitter. Many articles are student written. We even have a mobile app now, which is something I never imagined us having.

   I know this will be the beginning of something great for The Keystone.

Starbucks opens in Bear’s Den

By Julia Grimaldi

Starbucks opened this week in the Bear’s Den Photo courtesy of Lindsey Borgman

Starbucks opened this week in the Bear’s Den
Photo courtesy of Lindsey Borgman

Most students were aware of the construction to transform the Java City in the McFarland Student Union Building’s Bear’s Den to a full brand-name Starbucks. Though some students protested the idea of a new Starbucks because of their dedication to Java City, as of August 25, the new Starbucks is officially open.

To make room for the new Starbucks, the One Card Office alongside the Bear’s Den was removed. It now resides in the Academic Forum.

Though students have been able to purchase Starbucks products for a while now, this Starbucks is different than the one in the Academic Forum (called the Academic Grounds). The Starbucks in the Bear’s Den is owned by the Starbucks name, while the Academic Grounds only offers “proudly brewed” Starbucks brand coffee.

“[The Starbucks in the Bear’s Den] is a full retail Starbucks operation that offers the same products as other retail locations around the country,” said the Director of Housing, Residence Life and Dining Services, Kent Dalquist. This Starbucks will serve nationally known specialty drinks and will provide a larger selection of food items than the Java City that it replaced.

Although the Starbucks in the Bear’s Den will have a much larger product selection than the Academic Grounds in the Academic Forum, the corporation comes at a cost.

At the Academic Grounds and Java City, students with meal plans can swipe their favorite drinks as a meal. However, swiping items as meals will not be offered at the new Starbucks in the Bear’s Den. Students with meal plans will only be able to use their dining flex. Alternatively, bear bucks, cash and credit cards may be used.

For the first part of the fall semester, the university is running a promotion for students that use dining flex dollars at the new Starbucks. “They will get a 10 percent credit back to their dining flex dollar account of every dining flex dollar spent at the new Starbucks in the Bear’s Den,” said Dalquist.

Though some students will miss the old Java City in the Bear’s Den, the new Starbucks is certainly a satisfying replacement.​

Letter from the Editor-in-chief

Hello Keystone readers!

   My name is Emily Leayman and I am returning for my second semester as Editor-in-chief of The Keystone. I am a junior professional writing major with minors in Spanish and public relations. I am also involved in the KU Honors Program and Honors Hall.

   I became involved with the Keystone my first semester in Fall 2012. My first assignment was covering the Schaeffer Auditorium renovations. After I got this article published, the staff asked me to become the Assistant News Editor. So the adventure began.

   From then, I have become the News Editor and held that position for a year until I was elected as Editor-in-chief in Spring 2014. During the time when I took this position, many exciting things were happening at The Keystone. We were dusting the cobwebs from our website and starting to publish student-written articles and announcements every weekday. Then even more exciting events began to unfold.

   The former Web Manager, Ben Swearingen, worked for weeks on end creating a Keystone app. Near the end of the semester, the app officially launched on the Apple and Google Play Stores. It features links to The Keystone’s main website, announcements and social media pages. In the age of smartphones, it is exciting for us to share this app with the KU community.

   We are constantly looking for ways to improve. That was one reason six staff members hopped on a plane to San Diego to attend the Associated Collegiate Press’s Midwinter National College Journalism Convention in February. The convention featured hundreds of sessions with professional journalists aimed at improving college media organizations. I could not have had a better experience.

   Not only did I learn better ways to manage the newspaper and create more meaningful content for readers, but it was also my first time on the West Coast and I met a lot of awesome people. I am hoping we will continue to expand our newspaper’s name and staff’s knowledge at future conferences.

   As we start a new semester, I eagerly prepare for every newspaper layout night and every Thursday when thousands of Keystones arrive all over campus. I love to hear thoughts on what we write about. If you prefer web to paper, you can also download our app, The Keystone News, on Apple or Google Play or visit our website at thekeystonenews.com. If you have any feedback on the new issue or would like to get involved as a writer, photographer, cartoonist, or any position, feel free to email me at Eleay401@live.kutztown.edu. As for paid positions, we are looking for a managing editor and graphic designer. Stop by our meetings on Mondays at 6 p.m. or email me to apply.

   The Keystone team hopes you continue reading all we have to offer about the campus and community. One day, we may just write about you.

SGB and Public Safety encourage students to speak out for shuttle change

By Chelsea Williams

Many on and off-campus students who use the shuttle told Student Government Board and Public Safety that they are frustrated with the shuttle’s GPS tracking system and reliability.

SGB is no stranger to shuttles concerns. Just recently it worked with Public Safety to enable a trial run of a new app that allows students faster and more up-to-date access to shuttle tracking. DoubleMap, the app that SGB had put into use, does allow student to track with ease, although it does not fix all the issues that some students are having.

Shuttle services, which are provided by Bieber Bus Tours, have GPS installed in the buses, allowing students to track the bus’s arrival and its entire route. However it is not the tracking app that students are frustrated with.

Even with the improvements by SGB, some students are fed up with the unreliability of the buses.

“Sometimes we look at the tracking app and it just says ‘no bus on route,’ which could mean it’s broken down or they are using one of the buses that doesn’t have GPS installed,” said Ryan Murphy, an on- campus sophomore.

Waiting at a bus stop, some students do not know whether to start walking or wait in hopes of a bus coming soon.

Many students are left wondering why there are no backup buses with GPS installed, or why there is not enough money to fix the frequently broken-down buses.

According to the university’s website, every full-time student pays a $35 transportation fee for shuttle services.

KU’s public safety director, Anne Reel, explains that the money collected from transportation fees goes solely to paying for a shuttle vender. The contracted vender now, Bieber, is signed for the next four and a half years. Reel said that when buses break down, it is Bieber’s responsibility alone to resolve the issue, but she is “in regular contact with Bieber and they are aware of our continued concerns about the shuttles being taken off-line for mechanical issues.”

Students should contact Public Safety with any concerns about the shuttle as soon as they happen, either via email, parking@kutztown.edu, or by phone at 610-683-4860.

Furthermore public safety wants students to know that they are striving to improve the shuttles service.

The SGB expressed their encouragement to have student voice their grievances at any upcoming SGB meeting next year. There will be one executive meeting held over the summer term. Students may email SGB at sgb@kutztown.edu regarding shuttle concerns to be heard at any future meetings.