KU hosting Women’s Empowerment Day March 28

By Vanessa Maybruck
Contributing Writer

Historically, societal power has been the property of white men who have dominated academia, politics and industry alike, but now it is time to add not just equality but equity to this unbalanced equation.

In a society that has long underserved women and minority groups, our time to rise has finally come, and our voices are finally being heard. For the first time, the word “feminist” is coming to be associated with harbingers of fairness and warriors of justice. At KU’s Women’s Empowerment Day, feminism is going to be associated with empowerment and celebrations of diversity and love.

Most importantly, Women’s Empowerment Day is open to everyone—both women and men, and all students, faculty and staff. On this day, we aim to bring you a message of strength to deliver to the community and world.

Vanessa Maybruck represented KU this past June at the PASSHE Undergraduate Women’s Leadership Institute through the PASSHE Women’s Consortium. She is joined by three other powerful, strong women—Rafalene Costanza, Shakya Geiger and Michaela Yurchak—in bringing you Women’s Empowerment Day on Thursday, March 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the McFarland Student Union Building, rooms 218 and 223.

At our event, we will have an event-long fair with representation from several diversity organizations on campus, each of which has prepared an interactive activity to bring awareness to their intersectional role in feminism and diversity.

Some organizations who have committed to the fair include Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (FMLA), Black Student Union, Allies, Association for Women in Mathematics, Firefly Bookstore and Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society, along with others.

In addition to our feminist diversity fair, we will also have guest speaker Jordan Corcoran, founder of the project Listen, Lucy, who will be presenting her writing workshop on self-love, acceptance and the mental health stigma, which is derived from her books “Listen, Lucy Volume I” and “Write It Out.”

Her project focuses on sharing stories regarding mental health, including her own, and spreading a message of kindness and acceptance through speaking tours and workshops. Sign-ups for Corcoran’s workshop, which will be at 11 a.m. in MSU 218, can be found on our Women’s Empowerment Day Facebook page at https://zupload.facebook.com/events/2292189364125970/.

Additionally, at 12 p.m. in MSU 223, we will be hosting five KU faculty members to discuss their struggles and successes in overcoming the patriarchy, both in their diverse realms of academia and in their personal lives. The panel will consist of Dr. Lyn McQuaid (mathematics), Dr. Dina Hayduk (sports management and leadership studies), Dr. Ellesia Blaque (English), Dr. Mary Rita Weller (social work) and Dr. Kristina Fennelly (English).

In addition to the fair, Corcoran’s workshop and the faculty panel, we will have other surprise feminist activities, and we will be serving brunch, including lots of pastries and baked goods. In a variation of the math club saying, come for the food, stay for the feminism.

Let’s finish this revolution and deliver a message of feminism, equity and diversity to the community and the world at large. You have the power to make a change. This is the day which empowers you to do something about it.

 

KU hosts legislative breakfast

By Donovan Levine
Assistant Freeform Editor

University, student and regional leaders came out on Friday, March 8, for a legislative breakfast in the Georgian Room of Old Main.

The KU council of trustees, SGB and deans participated, along with state and local legislators, in the two-hour event, catered by Aramark.

Sandra Green, former Kutztown mayor, gave an introductory address and was followed by KU President Dr. Kenneth Hawkinson, who discussed the historical relevance of Kutztown as both a university and the borough itself.

Hawkinson began with talking about Kutztown’s geography and how the university began 150 years prior.

“It was conveniently placed between the counties of Berks, Lehigh and Schuylkill. It was a place where travelers could rest, eat, share stories and reflect on their journeys with other travelers,” said Hawkinson. “Regional leaders were looking for such a crossroads to place a college, and it was determined that such a place existed in Kutztown. Leaders of all regions of Pennsylvania were having similar discussions.”

Afterward he spoke further on the values of the university community overall, saying they include integrity and strong character, and emphasizing the work students do is “not for praise, but for pride.”

Dr. Anne Zayaitz, vice president of academic affairs, spoke next on the new social media program KU introduced a year a half ago, being among only a handful of universities to do so. She then highlighted the details of the decision-making that occurred in starting up the new social media theory and strategy major.

“Once that program is approved, it takes some time. The development of courses, the development of ensuring that students are going to get all the pieces of a particular major, and in this case, a brand-new major,” Zayaitz said.

She made mention of the fact that most other colleges have not implemented similar programs, considering how new the idea is.

“It’s not as if there was a recipe. It wasn’t as if we could just go to another university and say we’ll just mirror what they do,” she added.

Next, Gerald Silberman, KU director of finance, followed with a financial status report, weighing in on the $65 million worth in renovations the university is currently working on as of 2019. Additionally, he described the growing scholarships and rewards programs KU is helping provide for its students.

The event concluded with a final oration from the KU Foundation, describing how their department advances the mission of the university by keeping alumni engaged and connected with their alma mater. The event ended with a send-off from Green.

 

Ocasio-Cortez making headlines with Green New Deal

By James Bouffard
Staff Writer

Rising politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made headlines again with her Green New Deal. This 14-page resolution expresses an aim to reduce net carbon emissions to zero through ecocentric, state-sponsored projects that economically invigorate the middle class and disenfranchised groups.

Some of the particulars include investing in renewable energy, maximizing energy efficiency across buildings and developing environmentally friendly forms of transportation, such as high-speed rails. Ocasio-Cortez also makes a special point of considering the rights of indigenous people throughout this project.

This resolution has been met with scorn, skepticism and mockery among the political class. Trump mocked it during a rally in El Paso, Texas, Mitch McConnell described it as a ‘socialist fantasy’ and Nancy Pelosi condescendingly dismissed it during a recent interview with Politico.

Climate change poses an existential threat to the human species and all life on Earth. A 2013 IPCC report found it is “extremely likely” that humans are responsible for over half of the increase in global temperature from 1951 to 2010.

The panel’s report from this year brings even more news. The average global temperature is projected to reach 1.5 C higher than pre-industrial levels between 2030 and 2052, and this number may increase to 2.0 C by the end of the century if net emissions are not reduced to zero as soon as possible.

This small difference carries grave consequences. It may more than double the percentage of the population exposed to deadly heat waves, increase those affected by water scarcity from 350 million to 411 million, negatively impact crop yields and exacerbate sea level rise.

Such calamities will disproportionately affect people in the developing world who have contributed very little to this problem. This half-degree difference will also determine the survival of coral reefs, a range of species and the severity of natural disasters, such as droughts and hurricanes.

Vastly reducing greenhouse gases becomes a moral imperative in this context. Reaching net 0 emissions in the time frame Ocasio-Cortez suggests may be unrealistic, but any mitigation should be welcome considering the humanitarian and ecological consequences of inaction.

Concerns over the national debt and budget deficit are myopic and trivial when compared to this civilizational problem. Valuing the personal freedom of oil barons and coal companies to

forcibly ruin the lives of millions throughout the world only serves to ensure the fortunes of the most privileged at the expense of everyone else.

Of course, such fiscally conservative objections do not consider the cost of rising sea levels and increasingly severe natural disasters. The short sightedness surrounding this tragic situation tinges it with absurdity and makes America’s inaction all the more disgraceful. The future of the planet will be gravely affected by this country’s actions over the forthcoming years.

All politicians must be pressured to support measures such as the Green New Deal. While it is unlikely that they will ever seriously attempt to eliminate emissions, such efforts will move society in a better direction and enable more radical change. Nothing more should be expected from the political class.

 

The Truth Behind Fyre Festival

By Kelly Cazzetto
Staff Writer

Details regarding the ultimate festival flop in 2017, Fyre Festival, were recently brought to light in the Netflix documentary, “Fyre Festival: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.”

To preface, the festival was founded by Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule. The two imagined a luxury music festival set in the Bahamas. However, it remained unclear as to how they were going to put this together until weeks before the festival was due to take place.

The festival was first popularized by supermodels, such as Bella Hadid, who were paid to promote the event. Using the models as a part of their advertising painted a much different picture than what the festival would then turn out to be.

The documentary showcases the last-minute scramble that occurred while preparing for the event. Despite the realization that they simply did not have enough tents in the days before, McFarland still refused to put a stop to the event.

Thousands of event goers arrived in Exuma (not the Bahamas) on April 28 and had to retrieve their luggage from a shipping container in the dead of night without any lighting. Upon arriving at the festival site, the “gourmet food” promised as a part of their ticket expenses turned out to be a measly cheese sandwich served cold, a picture of which went viral early into the disaster.

Fyre Festival – Photo courtesy of pagesix.com

Guests discovered that the tents were not suited for the conditions of the island because the mattresses were soaked through from the rain earlier that day. The guests were enraged and headed back to the airport, hoping to return home. The conditions at the airport ended up worse than the event itself.

Patrons were trapped inside the airport without food, water or any word on the next flight out. An event that was intended to be a luxury festival quickly became a chaotic nightmare.

Netflix’s documentary further enlightened viewers of other ways in which the festival was not ethical. During the aftermath, it became known that workers from the island went unpaid, which sparked viewer’s initiative to create a fundraiser to remedy the problem.

McFarland was rightfully sentenced to six years in jail following the controversy. Ja Rule also talked about the difference between the event advertised and false advertising when it was in fact fraud. The rapper has since made talk of a Fyre Festival 2.0, which he insists will be better than the first. As for those that take his word on that, they deserve the best of luck.

 

Women’s basketball team competes in team’s first-ever conference championship

By Kyle Krajewski
Sports Editor

The KU women’s basketball team became the first team in program history to make it to the PSAC championship game. Following a 67-62 victory over No. 21 California (PA) in the semifinals on March 9, the Golden Bears moved on to play No. 14 IUP in the championship game. KU fell to the nationally ranked IUP in the PSAC championship 72-57.

In the team’s first semifinal appearance since 2010, the Golden Bears were looking to make history.

KU started the game confident by starting off with a 14-4 lead against California just about five minutes into the game. As the quarter went on, the opponent started gaining ground, ending the first quarter only trailing 17-14. The Golden Bears kept their lead for a majority of the half until California sunk a three-pointer and a final-second layup to lead 30-28 heading into halftime.

The Golden Bears weren’t going to lose this game and their play to begin the second half showed it. After two more ties, KU retook the lead at 34-32 less than three minutes into the half and never let go of that lead for the remainder of the game.

Four KU players reached double-digit points in the semifinal game while sophomore Rylee Derr led the charge with 23 points and six rebounds. Senior Taylor Thames added 12 points and six rebounds, junior Brianna Tarabocchia tallied 11 points and two rebounds and junior Gabbi Wright contributed 10 points, two rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

KU was then put to the task of defeating a second nationally ranked team less than 24 hours apart when they had to face IUP in the championship, but KU was up for the challenge.

The Golden Bears began the game strong and fast, finishing the first quarter with a 22-9 lead. The team then went on to go up by as much as 14 points, 27-13, with a little over 7 minutes left in the quarter. IUP then went on to score the next 13 points and 16 of the final 21 of the half, cutting KU’s advantage down to 32-29 going into halftime.

Going into the second half, IUP had the hot hand and scored the first 10 points to take their first lead of the game. They went ahead by as many as 16 points (52-36) and led 52-39 at the close of the third quarter. One quarter remained in the championship game, but KU was unable to catch back up. The Golden Bears were only able to get as close as 11 (52-41) for the remainder of the quarter and the game closed at a score of 72-57.

The championship game saw junior Karen Lapkiewicz lead the team with 15 points and five rebounds, going 3-for-4 from three-point range. Tarabocchia tallied 12 points and five rebounds for the Golden Bears. Thames posted nine points, four rebounds and three assists while Derr contributed eight points, seven rebounds and three assists.

KU ends the season as PSAC East co-champions, their first division championship since 1996, and the first ever Golden Bear basketball team to compete in the conference championship.

 

KU Presents! brings ‘Love Letters’ production to Schaeffer Auditorium

By David Guffy
Staff Writer

KU Presents! showcased the famous Broadway production “Love Letters” in Schaeffer Auditorium on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m.

Barbara Eden, well-known for her role in the television show “I Dream of Jeannie,” played the role of Melissa Gardner. Andrew Ladd’s character was originally going to be played by famed actor Hal Linden, but due to an unfortunate injury, Barry Bostwick took his place. Bostwick is most well-known for his role in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and the sitcom “Spin City.”

The play, written by A.R. Gurney, first premiered in New York in 1988. The plot begins with two close childhood friends who come from wealthy families. As their lives continued, they went separate their ways but continued to send each other love letters. Despite the distance between them and how much they grew apart, their love for each other always found a way for them to reconnect.

The performance began with a light shining down on a desk with two chairs. It gave the impression of simplicity and anticipation. As the two actors entered the stage, dressed in a dashing suit and vibrant dress, the crowd erupted with applause.

The two actors sat down and began reading their love letters to each other. They started exchanging birthday letters and cards from camp or school. Eventually, those simple messages turned into something greater as they continued to write to each other throughout college.

Andrew wrote of stories about law school at Yale and even continued to write his love letters throughout his military service. During this time, he kept Melissa informed on his successes in law and politics and even his marriage.

Melissa wrote letters of her experiences at different schools. She told Andy how she went on to marry, but eventually, her relationship faded with her husband and daughter; she even informed him of her slight drinking problem.

Despite the simple set and monologue-type performance, the actors were enticing and inviting. Their tone of voice flowed perfectly and kept the audience attached. Their excellent use of facial expressions and gestures displayed their emotions, both humorous and serious. The crowd was filled with laughter at times and others dead silence.

Andrew wrote his last letter to Melissa’s mother. After Melissa’s death, he wrote to her mother explaining their love for each other despite the distance, both physically and emotionally. In a powerful and moving statement, he told her they were as close as true lovers could get.

KU Presents! did an excellent job putting together this performance. The big name actors especially drew a crowd from the older generation.

 

Review: 2019 biennial faculty exhibition held at the Miller Gallery

By Don Richards
Staff Writer

The Marlin and Regina Miller Gallery in the Sharadin Art Building kicked off the spring semester by hosting the biennial Faculty Exhibition, which ran from Jan. 24 to Feb. 17. This show featured artwork from nearly 40 faculty members in the Art and Art History, Art Education and Crafts, Communication Design and Cinema, Television and Media Production departments. This was the first year that the latter department was represented in the show.

Karen Stanford, the director of the Miller Gallery, noted that such faculty shows are a longstanding tradition at KU. She said records show that they were taking place during the 1970s, although they may have started as early as the 1950s. Over the years, the range of mediums has expanded as is evident in the number of digital artworks in this year’s exhibition.

“The Cult of Evan Summer” is a time-based digital work created by Miles DeCoster using the programming languages Raspberry Pi and Processing. Another digital work, an interactive piece, is Josh Miller’s “Waveform.” Up to three viewers, working together, can control the evolution of the “waveform” displayed by two projectors; the projectors are controlled by the speed at which the pedals on the back halves of three children’s bicycles are turned.

Tim Betz, Wunderkammer #5: Medicina, 2017 – Photo courtesy of Don Richards

This year’s show features a balanced variety of work from long-time faculty members and recent arrivals. Veteran faculty member Matthew Daub’s photorealistic drawing in Conte crayon, “Feed Mill Lot”, is presented nearby newcomer Tim Betz’s oil on canvas “Wunderkammer #5: Medicina.” Betz’s work imaginatively depicts a curiosity cabinet filled with fanciful objects of questionable medical efficacy.

One work that could easily be missed, but should not have been ignored, was Jennifer Suwak’s twenty-four-minute documentary film, “Frieda and Eddie: A Jersey Shore Love Story,” which was screened on a continuous loop in the small room to the left of the entrance doors of the gallery.

The viewing experience was enhanced by the ambiance created by a seven-foot square sandbox where beach towels were draped over two vintage folding beach chairs. In addition to the main screen, videos showing surf rolling onto a beach and windblown sand dunes were shown on the side walls. Another video of seagulls flying under a bright blue sky was projected onto the ceiling.

The 2019 Faculty Exhibition was worth taking a visit to see because of its ability to surprise viewers. Both the range of mediums and the conceptual nature of many of the works offered new perspectives on the contemporary art scene. Many of the faculty contributed artworks of the sort that might not be expected based upon their teaching specializations.

 

KU students prepare for Kutzpatty’s

By Margaret Hobbs
Recruitment and Retention Manager

Saint Patrick’s Day is approaching, and students are getting ready for one of KU’s largest social events of the year: Kutzpatty’s Day.

Just like the previous years of celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day festivities, this upcoming Kutzpatty’s will involve get-togethers, frat parties, people visiting friends from near and far and of course, drinking all day and all night.

A good thing to keep in mind in preparation for this expected, big day is how to stay away from peer pressure. There’s the obvious “just say no” approach, but that doesn’t always work on a day like this.

Morgan Shoemaker, senior, said, “I always expect things to come up on this particular day that I’m not going to want to do, and although friends and peers will try to pressure me, I make sure to stick with my initial decision and do what’s best for me.”

Shoemaker suggests students take the time before going out and partaking in the all-day event to

“have a set plan and a friend that agrees with it. That way you’ll have someone to back you up on your decisions, even if they’re different from the rest of the crowd’s.”

Having a plan for the day helps with making sure students and residents will be able to do what they want. Natasha King, another senior, said, “Think your decisions through and don’t do something just because others are. It may seem fun, but there are always consequences.”

Remember that it’s okay to be the “odd one out” of the crowd. It’s okay to not want to participate when everyone else is, especially if the situation makes you uncomfortable. You can even be the one who steers the crowd’s decisions and the voice the crowd follows, not the one who misses out. Remind your friends, peers or groups to do the right thing and remember there can be consequences if they’re not careful.

Although making careful decisions within an entire group is always smart, it can sometimes be difficult, especially when almost the entire student population is involved. A helpful idea to keep in mind is that despite any possible backlash from your groups, always get yourself out of situations you are unsure about. In order to stay safe, you have to trust your gut. Alexa Buzby, junior, said, “Give yourself permission to leave people or situations that make you uncomfortable.”

As this event approaches and as you’re getting ready for another expected, eventful day, make sure to do what’s best for you, think through your decisions, don’t do something because others are and know that it’s okay to walk away. Buzby added, “Provide your own positive pressure.”

Being your own influence, creating your own positivity and making and following through with your thought-out plans can help you resist and stay away from any potential peer pressure. Kutzpatty’s Day is supposed to be a fun day. Look forward to it, but remember to be safe, smart and provide your own positive pressure.

 

Friends of Rachel’s Kindness Karnival sprouts happiness

By Ella Luzzi
Copy and Line Editor

On Thursday, March 7, KU’s chapter of Friends of Rachel held their fifth annual Kindness Karnival in the McFarland Student Union multipurpose room. The purpose of the Karnival is simply to spread happiness and promote kindness.

“The goal of our event is to bring members of the KU community together to celebrate kindness and spread love and compassion,” said Olivia Knauss-Hauck, junior and president of Friends of Rachel.

This year’s theme was “Kindness Blooms Here.” With this theme, Friends of Rachel wanted to encourage personal growth and remind everyone that kindness can blossom anywhere.

“We focused on the idea of growth and blooming, whether it was physically or symbolically,” said Knauss-Hauck. Flowers and plants were scattered around the room, including plastic and paper flowers, succulents donated by the Botany Club and cupcakes decorated as flowers.

Friends of Rachel had their tables set up in the center of the room; the tables provided activities such as making “Be Kind” bracelets, decorating flags with positive messages and writing thank you notes. They also gave away t-shirts, pins, food and succulents.

Over 25 clubs participated in the Karnival, their tables lining the perimeter of the room, and KU Radio and The Kutztones provided music. The other clubs had kindness-related activities too, such as writing nice messages on sticky notes. This year had the largest student organization participation in the event’s history and everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves.

“I absolutely loved the Karnival,” Ellen Robinson, freshman, said. “The atmosphere was so warm and inviting. Everyone there seemed aimed at spreading kindness and love in the world. It was really refreshing and heartwarming.”

Friends of Rachel is a nationally recognized club with chapters from coast to coast. It was created in honor of Rachel Joy Scott, the first victim of the Columbine Shooting in 1999. After her death, many of Scott’s classmates shared stories about the profound impact her simple acts of kindness had on their lives. She left behind many journals detailed with her values and philosophies on life. She challenged people to treat themselves and others with kindness.

Friends of Rachel clubs are dedicated to making their community a nicer, safer and happier place to live, as Scott would have wanted.

“As Golden Bears, I think one of our duties is to be kind,” said Rachael Wolfe, graduate advisor and former president of Friends of Rachel. “Rachel Joy Scott was such an inspiration to myself and many [others], and this world certainly needs to keep hearing her message.”

As Scott wrote in her journal, “Compassion is the greatest form of love humans have to offer. I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.”

If you are interested in joining Friends of Rachel and taking Rachel’s challenge, the club’s meetings are held every Tuesday at 11 a.m. in Old Main 12.

 

KU students share thoughts on winter storm policies

By Heather Bower
Staff Writer

Every year, KU faces inevitable snow storms and, sometimes, ice storms. It is the university’s job to make the appropriate decisions about canceling classes based on the severity of the storm for the safety of students, professors and staff members.

Three KU students were interviewed about the latest snow storm that occurred from Monday, Feb. 11, through Tuesday, Feb.12, giving the students a four-hour delay on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

“This snowstorm was well managed, in my opinion,” stated Mark Quinn, junior. “The closing on Tuesday was certainly called for, as well as the late start on Wednesday. Waiting till noon gave enough time for crews to get the roads to safe conditions so that people could make their commute, other than the people who were responsible for the steps outside of Beekey.”

The front steps of Beekey were reportedly covered in ice.

KU students received notification before 9:30 p.m. on Monday that the university would be closed Tuesday, Feb. 12, “due to severe winter weather.” KU students received notification around 5:30 a.m. that the university would be opening at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 12, “due to winter weather conditions.” Classes started at noon on this day.

First-year student Morgan Marion is satisfied with KU’s class cancellation procedures.

“KU does a good job with canceling classes,” said Marion. “Usually they send out an email by 5:30 a.m., which is nice.”

Junior Ella Sweet sees room for improvement.

“I’ve noticed that recently I get alerts from local news stations that the university is closed before I get the alerts from the university itself,” said Sweet. “I think the university will open on a delay, but the sidewalks will not be clean in certain parts of main campus before opening.”

Despite the need for improvements, Sweet believes KU has gotten better over the years with making appropriate calls for class cancellations at appropriate times.

“The way that KU announces their cancellations is fine with me,” said Quinn. “Being able to receive a text with the information of the closing or late start is very convenient. It helps me not have to constantly check the website for an update.”

Quinn commutes 45 minutes from Palmerton, Pa.

Marion stated she ends up missing a class because of the road conditions if classes are not canceled. Marion commutes up to an hour from Green Lane, Pa.

“When deciding to open on time or cancel, the university must remember what percentage of students are commuters as conditions may vary in their towns,” said Sweet.

Sweet commutes 25 minutes from the Village of Yellow House, Pa.

While Quinn believes this latest storm was well managed and thinks the storm in November of the 2018 semester was handled terribly.

“I don’t recall the exact date of it, but I remember going 25 mph on 78 and the turnpike because of how bad the road conditions were,” said Quinn. “I was sitting at home waiting and waiting for a text saying that afternoon classes were canceled; it never came so I drove out. Ironically, the text with the cancelation information came five minutes after I arrived at campus.”

Quinn reports driving home for two hours during this storm and hadn’t been that nervous to drive since the day he got his permit.