Out of the Darkness Walk scheduled for April 28

By Victoria Ragusa
Contributing Writer

KU’s fifth annual Out of the Darkness Walk is scheduled for April 28, to be held on South Campus. The event intends to raise awareness of the negative stigma surrounding mental illness.

This nationally recognized walk was first launched in 2010. Since then, high schools and college campuses have hosted walks to raise awareness about suicide prevention.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), “each year suicide claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined.”

The organization added that high school and college students are more at risk considering suicide is the second leading cause of death among individuals aged 15 to 24. By using research, providing educational programs, advocating for public policy and supporting survivors of suicide loss, AFSP has made a great impact around the nation.

All proceeds gathered from the walk will go to AFSP to help students at risk. Additionally, AFSP has set a goal of reducing the annual suicide rate by 20 percent before 2025.

Walkers can register beginning at 4 p.m. on April 28 or pre-register at www.campuswalks.org. The five-kilometer walk will begin at 5 p.m. on the DMZ between South Dining Hall and Old Main.

For more information about the walk, contact Kathy Loomis at kloomis@kutztown.edu.

 

KU Orchestra hosts winter performance

By Emily Sacco
Staff Writer

On Thursday, March 7, the KU Orchestra held a free concert open to the public in Schaeffer Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Around 200 people attended the performance, which included works of composers Saint-Saens, Bruch, Griffes, Rachmaninoff and Bizet.

The show featured two soloists selected by a panel of professional judges during a concerto competition held throughout the music department. The students selected were Suzanne Francis, who played a flute solo, and Nicolas Gomez Amin, who performed a solo on the violin.

The students in the orchestra have been preparing for this hour-long concert for six weeks prior to the performance. According to Dr. Peter Isaacson, the conductor of the orchestra, the pieces were cut shorter due to a shortage of time to practice, which was caused by the abundance of snow days this semester.

As the lights dimmed, Isaacson gave a short introduction to the pieces the students would be performing, including music from the operas “Carmen” and “Samson and Delilah”. A short round-of-applause led into a ten-minute piece, which included all sections of the orchestra.

The second song highlighted Francis’s skills on the flute and featured members of the string section as Francis stood in the front performing her solo. After completing the ten-minute piece, Francis received immense applause from the audience.

Following Francis, Amin was the next musician to be in the spotlight with his twelve-minute violin solo. This solo captured the opera theme the show meant to convey with transitions from loud, aggressive sounds to soft, gentle music.

After a short intermission, the students concluded the show with a few more pieces that continued the operatic theme.

Each concert the orchestra performed had a different overall theme to the music being played. This specific concert featured songs that pulled opera music into an orchestral sound. It also focused on the soloistic aspect of performing.

“The theme wasn’t made by design,” said Isaacson. “If there had to be a theme it would be soloists and opera.”

The KU Orchestra is composed of 54 students who either are required by major to play in the orchestra or participate in it through a club. Twenty-seven of the students are in the strings section, and the rest play instruments in the woodwinds, brass and percussion sections. Each section gains and loses students each semester due to graduation or other conflicts, but usually remains fairly large.

“We have to figure out every semester what works because each semester has a different personality,” said Isaacson.

The next concert will be held on Sunday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Shaeffer Auditorium.

 

Firefly Bookstore and Essence Magazine co-host poetry reading

By Heather Gursky,
Arts and Entertainment Editor

On Feb. 25th, Essence Fine Arts and Literary Magazine joined Firefly Bookstore during their monthly, after-hours poetry reading. From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., KU students and Kutztown residents took turns at the mic, sharing personal and favorited poetry.

Essence provided refreshments and baked goods for a requested donation along with newly designed buttons available for purchase. In addition, Firefly Bookstore contributed 25 percent of the store’s proceeds to the club.

Bonnie DeLong, a resident at Kutztown, was eager to be the club’s first customer. As a frequent visitor to the bookstore and participant at events, DeLong came to the reading to listen and enjoy the young, enthusiastic energy.

Essence’s vice president, David Mohamad, stepped up and took the mic first, breaking the ice. After that, a steady flow of writers made their way to the front for the rest of the night.

Even Firefly Bookstore owners, Matthew Williams and Rebecca Laincz, shared some poetry, choosing to read their favorite poetry from poets such as Allen Ginsberg. When asked what he enjoys most about these readings, Matt said, “The wide range of voices that I get to hear – some you would never expect – and how many people are here talking so passionately and so forthrightly. I mean, just brutally honest stuff about addiction and gender and identity and everything you can imagine.”

With that, he said that they have had such a supportive community. “Everybody is always so happy to, you know, share but also be that receptive group of people who listen too.”

Other upcoming events are Amy Impellizzeri’s “Why We Lie” book launch on Sunday, Mar. 10 and Cheri Dotterer’s “Handwriting Brain-Body DISconnect” book launch on Mar. 11. Also, watch out for special events in April in celebration of National Poetry Month.

Firefly also hosts weekly game nights on Fridays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and a writing group on Sunday afternoons from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. for published and unpublished writers.

If you are interested in attending one of these events or simply interested in buying a book, stop by Firefly Bookstore on 271 West Main Street.

 

KU GetMORE Program helps multicultural students connect

By Adele Mosley
Staff Writer

For a third year, the KU GetMORE (Multicultural Overnight Recruit Experience) program is offering an opportunity for multicultural students, who have been accepted to Kutztown University, to experience a day and night on campus. Features include an overnight stay in a residence hall with a current student or host, going to a campus event, visiting one of the dining facilities and experiencing a class taught by a KU professor.

The planning committee includes the Office of Admissions, Inclusion and Outreach, Financial Aid Services and Residence Life. These offices provide the planning and understanding of the program and the right tools needed for the program. It is up to the host to make sure the admitted students feel welcomed and appreciated in joining KU.

According to Jerry Schearer in the Office of Inclusion and Outreach, “We are excited that our GetMORE program does yield a high number of KU students, and they are enthusiastic about coming to KU. We even have some past GetMORE program participants that now volunteer as hosts for new GetMORE students. I think it’s a great way to make connections and friends on campus, which helps the students feel more part of the Golden Bear family before even starting as a student.”

A current student, Rosa Camilo, is a part of the program. She got in contact with the program at more@kutztown.edu and signed up through the KU Admissions website under “GetMORE Registration.”

I asked Camilo her reasons for joining the program and how it would impact her. Camilo stated, “I chose to volunteer for the GetMORE program because it’s a great experience to have with incoming freshman. The impact that I believe it would have on me is the feeling of guiding the youth into the right direction and on helping them with their experiences of making the right decision of what college to attend.”

Some students who are admitted may or may not like the campus life. A current student, Joshua Smith, said, “I liked the school. My friend Kevyn influenced me to come here.” The program isn’t just about how they experience KU, but how the host contributes to the experience. Smith’s friend, Kevyn, made him feel welcomed and appreciated. Kevyn knew Smith would like the school as a whole and encouraged him to try GetMORE.

Admitted students participate in the program to experience what the campus is like. They want to know how it feels to have independence. Some young adults have experienced this, but not on a college level.

 

Construction progresses on KU Foundation hotel project

By Kaylee Lindenmuth
News Editor

Construction on a hotel project backed by the KU Foundation is progressing, despite weather-related setbacks, and is expected to be completed by the end of the summer.

The $15 million, 100-room Hampton Inn and Suites hotel project is “an investment in our endowment,” said KUF Chief Financial Officer Ed Richmond.

“Once the hotel is up and running and starts to generate profits, those profits will come back to the foundation in the form of dividends on the endowment,” added Richmond. “The other way that it’ll make money is, when the hotel is operating, its value will be significantly greater than the cost to construct it.”

Richmond noted that the foundation’s sole purpose is to raise private support for KU and its students and manage a $30 million endowment.

“One of our objectives is to grow the endowment both through new gifts and through investing it,” said Richmond. “We’re always looking for higher rates of return on our investments and looking to diversify our investments so we don’t have ourselves completely exposed to the risks of the stock market.”

Richmond said the idea came from discussions between the foundation’s investment committee and real estate committee in 2015, and in 2016, feasibility studies were conducted.

“After about two years of study, the project that came to the forefront was for a hotel,” said Richmond. “We had been hearing for years and years from alumni who come back, from parents, from visitors: ‘There’s no place to stay in Kutztown.’”

Richmond noted that the hotel is seen as an investment in the regional community as well as the university.

“People that are going to visit KU, East Penn Manufacturing, the festivals… they’re going to come here no matter what,” said Richmond. “The problem is, now when they come here, they’re staying in these outlying areas, Allentown and Reading, and they’re spending their money there, and we want them spending their money here in Kutztown.”

In addition to providing lodging in the Kutztown area and income for the Foundation, Richmond added the hotel could also be a source of employment for students.

Richmond added that the project is expected to be completed in late July or early August, following setbacks related to rainy weather in 2018.

 

Review: ‘How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’

By Thomas Heasley
Contributing Writer

The last of a trilogy, “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” follows suit with its predecessors as a visual spectacle but falls short leading up to its satisfying conclusion.

This movie continues the story of Hiccup, voiced by Jay Baruchel, who befriended a rare and friendly Night Fury dragon named Toothless. Since the first movie, the Vikings of the Isle of Berk have been struggling to adapt to a new life with dragons.

This time, Hiccup, the villagers and the dragons are faced with a new threat: Grimmel, a man who is coming to kill all dragons, specifically Toothless. Grimmel, voiced by F. Murray Abraham, is the antagonist of the plot. He is a lone assassin bent on destroying every last dragon, and when he finds out about Toothless, he goes looking for Hiccup.

Unfortunately, his motivations seem lacking, making him come off as a generic bad guy. Because of Grimmel’s wanting characterization, he seems more like a plot device to urge our heroes on a search for the Hidden World, a fabled place where all the dragons live in peace and solitude.

The series has always been a shining achievement in its visuals and audio, and this movie picks up that torch. The fluidity and abundance of movements and choreography are done wonderfully. There’s a scene in particular, where the Night Fury dragons dance on the sand, making me forget I was watching computer animation. The flying scenes were also impressive with Toothless’s many swift spins and swirls through the clouds. Music swells at all the right moments, highlighting Celtic-inspired aesthetic.

Hiccup shows the same steady growth he’s seen throughout the series, gradually shaping into a stronger person and picking up as a leader where his deceased father left off.  Now, he has to lead a people in the face of a dangerous foe and a world turned against dragons. Hiccup’s character development has always been a strong aspect of the series, and it is reflected in this installment.

Despite a returning, lovable cast, some characters have less relevance. Besides Hiccup’s girlfriend Astrid, voiced by America Ferrera, who serves mostly as moral support for Hiccup, others such as Truffnut, Snotlout and Gobber are relegated to gags. Even Hiccup’s mother, as important as she was in the last movie, had little to say.

Oddly enough, much of the characterization shines through in the interactions between Toothless and the new, white Night Fury. Toothless and the white dragon are the last of their kind, so naturally, they want to become close. Many scenes show both dragons bonding and pushing each other’s boundaries, despite never saying a word, but still showing true chemistry.  

Although the story did reach a satisfying conclusion and provided great fun along the way, I sometimes wondered if every scene needed to happen. There were too many opened doors that the writers didn’t want to walk through. In the end, we got a story that wanted to see this universe reach a conclusion that wasn’t too risky but managed pack-in a lot of action, warmth and beauty.

 

KU alumni to serve on National Electronic Media Association convention panels

By Kaylee Lindenmuth
News Editor

A group of eight KU cinema, television and media alumni will share their experiences and successes in broadcasting when they serve as panelists at the National Electronic Media Association convention in Philadelphia.

“It’s great to see so many KU grads participating in the convention,” said Cara Cotellese, CTM chair. “We are always proud of our grads and happy to know that we were able to prepare them for careers in the industry. We certainly would never take credit for their success, but we like to think that we helped them a bit along the way.”

The event, to be held March 7-9, is the national convention for the National Broadcasting Society, of which KU has a chapter. All eight KU panelists were members, and four served as chapter president.

Speaking of the panelists, Cotellese added, “I know them all. Some graduated just before I started working here but others were students during my 10 years here at KU. All of them were very active in the program and here at the university. They were leaders in their classes and have now become very supportive alumni.”

KU alumni panelists include Ashley Johnston, 2008; Barry Weaver, 2018; Haley Bianco, 2015; Kate Boshell, 2017; Megan Baldwin, 2017; Mike Varlotta, 2015; Neil Kurtz, 2009; and Tyler Demcher, 2017.

According to Cotellese, a group of current NBS chapter members will travel to Philadelphia for the convention.

 

Bias Response Task Force works to create inclusive environment at KU

By Kaylee Lindenmuth
News Editor

Two years ago, a Bias Response Task Force was formed at KU to bring faculty, administrative, student, community leaders and experts together to combat hate speech and other “bias incidents” on campus.

“When some of the more vocal protesters and preachers have been on campus, and there’s been friction with students, we’ve tried to help anticipate these conflicts and diffuse the situations before they happen,” said Dr. Andrew Vogel, a member of the task force.

Vogel noted that, in recent weeks, there had been an “alarming spike in uses of discriminatory language or expression”  and racially-charged vandalism on flyers, both of which the task force has been monitoring.

“[We] saw these and had a long discussion about what to do about these, what sorts of moves are appropriate,” said Vogel. “What we worry about is how to balance an inclusive university where people have diverse opinions, but then if those diverse opinions enter our community in the form of hate speech and cruelty, there’s a line somewhere, and we’re trying to find where that line is and what the appropriate response is.”

Vogel noted that “the university doesn’t take these matters lightly.”

“Sometimes, a response has to be more nuanced than some members of our community would prefer,” Vogel added.

“We have on our agenda, going into our next meeting, several strategies that we hope to explore, one of which we hope to implement before the end of the school year,” said Donovan McCargo, dean of students and chair of the task force. “We recognize that bias incidents will never end, but we can take steps to be responsive, to be committed to our community members so that we are aware and we let them know that we support them. That’s the beauty of the work that we’re doing.”

When asked how students can get involved, McCargo said students can submit a request to him.

“We definitely have a need for a student voice. We have two SGB members who serve on the task force, but we don’t want to limit that,” said McCargo. “What we do is not just for faculty and staff. It’s for the students more importantly.”

McCargo emphasized engagement from the KU community in solving the issues the task force faces.

“I want everybody to feel welcome here, and I don’t want anybody to be victimized by a bias incident, discrimination, harassment, racism, no,” said McCargo. “We will continue to work as hard as we can to eradicate that behavior, those actions, the language that offends people and makes them feel disengaged from our community. That’s what my desire is.”

 

KU swim team’s most successful PSACs

By Carley Wise
Staff Writer

This season has been one of the most successful seasons for the KU women’s swimming team since 2012. With an 8-2 record, placing sixth at the Franklin & Marshal invite and breaking into the top 10 at PSACs, the KU swim team has defied the odds with their small but mighty team. The 2019 PSAC team was made up with a total of nine KU swimmers. The team consisted of seniors Claire Frank and Katerina Parowski; junior Carley Wise; sophomores Ali McLaughlin, Jocelyn Seidt and Lindsay Brenneman and freshmen Charlotte Owens, Emma DeCaro and Keelie Walker.

The PSAC is a four-day swim meet with prelims and finals each day. As a team, they placed 10th and made the podium for two relay events, but as individuals, each swimmer made their own accomplishments. Frank placed 15th overall in the 100-yard backstroke, narrowly missing her career-best time by two seconds. She also time trailed the 50-yard freestyle, had a personal best of 24.79 and moved herself to 5th in top 10 in KU history. Parowski, McLaughlin, Seidt, Wise and DeCaro all had season-best times in the 50-yard freestyle.

Brenneman had personal best times in all three distance events. She placed 10th in all events, respectively, with 10:37.20 in the 1000-yard freestyle, 5:07.58 in the 500-yard freestyle and 17:45.05 in the 1650-yard freestyle (the mile). She also placed 12th in the 200-yard butterfly with 2:12.47. Owens and DeCaro both made C finals for the first time as PSAC swimmers. Owens placed 22nd in the 100-yard breaststroke and 24th in the 200-yard breaststroke and DeCaro tied for 23rd in the 200-yard freestyle with 1:58.84.

Parowski and McLaughlin both had season-best times in the 100-yard freestyle, the 500-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle. Wise had season-best times in both the 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard fly. Walker fell sick during the four day meet, but she still managed to finish out the meet and place 32nd in both breaststroke events.

The KU PSAC team managed to place 8th in both the 200-yard free relay (Parowski, Frank, McLaughlin and Wise) and the 800-yard free relay (Brenneman, McLaughlin, Parowski and DeCaro). Overall, it was a successful meet for the KU Bears, and the team is looking forward to returning next season to do even better. All meet results can be found on the Kutztown Athletics website, KUBears.com.

 

Profile: Kayla Forbes

By Nickey Siegerman
Staff Writer

Senior Kayla Forbes is planning on making a difference in the world. With a double major in Biology and Allied Health and a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, she plans to become an ultrasound technician, specializing in obstetrician-gynecologist ultrasounds.

Forbes shared that she and many members of her family suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Forbes’ goal is to learn how to work with and through the syndrome and possibly figure out a way to avoid it in the future since there is currently no cure or known cause.

According to Mayoclinic.org, “This is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone levels. The ovaries may develop small collections of fluid and fail to regularly release eggs.”

Early diagnosis and treatment along with weight loss may reduce the risk of long-term complications that come with it, including Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

In summary, this diagnosis deals with a less predictable and irregular period, having an issue with body hair, being prone to miscarriages and sometimes have the inability to get pregnant. So, as one can imagine, not ideal.

Forbes spoke about how she got involved with these majors and the WGS minor when she came to KU. She picked KU to give herself a chance to broaden her horizons and to see if she’d find a place to find herself, and her parents supported her. Forbes said her parents told her to give it a year, and if she didn’t like it, she could go to community college, which Forbes was fine with.

She took her general education classes as an undeclared student, and that was when she took Biology 12 for non-majors with Dr. Lauryn Antoine. Dr. Antoine’s own passion for the major sparked Forbes’ and was the reason she decided to be a biology major.  

Forbes loved Biology 12 due to its coverage of human biology, especially anything involving anatomy and physiology.

When it came to the WGS minor, it was Dr. Clemens that Forbes went to for more information.

“I’d always been interested in women’s rights and equality, so I took the WGS intro class with Dr. Clemens and loved what I learned. I loved how knowledgeable and passionate Dr. Clemens is, so I decided to pick up the minor.”

Clemens got right to work helping Forbes. She said that Clemens wanted her to be prepared.

“The books I’m reading about talk about the side of pregnancy, tragedies that we don’t talk about and no one does talk about and that led me to be prepared for what I will have to experience,” Forbes said.

Without Clemens, Forbes wouldn’t be working towards this goal, reading about stillbirth or learning this information. Forbes said she’d normally never read information like this. She relayed Clemens words, saying, “It’s good you’re reading it; it’s preparing you for the job.”

 

Reading these facts about stillbirths, tragedies or anything like that makes her upset, but “when you’re in that career, you can’t react to that,” Forbes said.

Ultrasound techs are not allowed to tell the patients what they have, and the doctor is the one who will tell the patient. Forbes says it’s tough, but she’s prepared to learn about the tact and patience she’ll need.

Forbes looked into medical jobs that could be obtained without going to medical school, and she saw jobs for an ultrasound technician, specializing in OB-GYN.

For Forbes’ practicum, she chose to write about women and their experiences through pregnancy. Her practicum is a blog that gives her credits for the minor and helps her do research to be more prepared for this field and other surprises that may come down the line.

Mostly, these posts talk about the bad experiences, like stillbirth, being pregnant during wars, the hardships and emotions women go through and the decisions that need to be made. With the tragic part of pregnancies, like miscarriages and how no one talks about it, Forbes wants that made more public.

She added that ordinary people need to talk about this issue as much as anybody else. Women don’t talk about these issues as much as they should, which Forbes feels strongly about ending the stigma towards. “The more people talk about this, the less they feel alone,” Forbes concluded.

To read Kayla’s Blog, go to womenandgenderstudiesobgyn.wordpress.com.