Coin Master makes its way to KU

By John W. Ismen
Contributing Writer

The app “Coin Master” has made its way to KU. Hundreds of students in recent weeks have downloaded the game, playing amongst their friends. The app, published by Moon Active LTD, gives players their own village to be in charge of.

Players receive an in-game bonus for recruiting their friends to the game. Daniel Jameson, a senior at KU, and his roommates began adding their friends, and before they knew it, there were hundreds playing the game.

The free-to-play game first gained the attention of Jameson three weeks ago, and after introducing his roommates to the game, they began adding new players daily.

“It’s a simple, fun game,” said Jameson. “I don’t typically play these kinds of games, especially with school in the way. But since there really isn’t too much to do, I can’t help but pull up the game when I have a few minutes here and there.”

“Dan showed me the app on our way to class,” said Zachary Allen, a sophomore at KU. “I know a lot of my friends are playing it.” Allen mentioned that he began to show the game to his other friends and it quickly gained popularity. “Before I knew it, people I was showing the game to already had it. It was really crazy, actually.”

Andrew Baker, a sophomore, gave his opinion on the attention surrounding the app. “The app is easy to play and can be competitive. It lets you play against your friends, and it’s easy to get started. It’s just a simple, fun app that you can play for two minutes while you wait in line for food or something like that.”

According to Sensortower.com, the app saw 1 million downloads last month alone and has stayed in the top 250 most popular mobile games in the world for the past month.

David Shu, a software developer from Moon Active LTD, explained the mechanics of the game. “‘Coin Master’ takes the common slot machine game and combines it with what we call ‘mid-core gameplay.’ Basically, the app is made for casual gamers and includes a social sphere where you can attack and raid your friends.”

“Most slot machine apps are just that. The old game put onto your phone. But ‘Coin Master’ has more mechanics built into it. You have a base building part, a player versus player component, and a level progression. There are also live events and promotions that allow players to gain significant rewards,” Shu added.

The app appears to successfully combine all of these components and provide a deeper experience for its players. It has spread quickly through KU and adds new players daily.

 

Profile: KU to expect new University Senate president for fall 2019

By James Bouffard
Staff Writer

Since coming to Kutztown in 2008, Dr. Steve B. Lem has played an active role in the university. He served as faculty advisor to the Model U.N. Club, participated in APSCUF and now serves as the chair of the political science department. Last fall, he was elected president of the University Senate and will assume this role next semester.

Many students are unaware of the University Senate and its importance. Dr. Lem describes it as a body representing faculty, staff and students that reviews academic policies and recommends changes. It may also form task forces to address matters of concern to the campus community.

Dr. Lem broadly views his role as a “cooperative leader” who builds consensus around solutions to common challenges. According to the senate’s constitution, his powers will include presiding over meetings, appointing nomination committees and calling emergency sessions.

What does Dr. Lem plan on doing in this position? He describes his approach as policy- and outcome-driven. In particular, he plans on implementing specific policies that address the needs of all Senate constituents. Dr. Lem describes this as furthering the goals of his predecessor, Dr. Andrew Arnold, who functions with “a big picture, more global approach.”

Serving as senate president will not be the only interesting thing Dr. Lem does in the next academic year. In spring, he will travel to the Netherlands in order to conduct research with a former colleague of his.

They will focus on a variety of questions. Their topics of interest include how governments institute environmentally protectionist policies and the role of the International Court of Justice in mitigating civil wars. However, Dr. Lem notes their primary concern is the rise of right-wing parties and how these once marginal actors have become serious political contenders.

None of this should come as a surprise to students who know of Dr. Lem’s eclectic research, which ranges from Taiwanese recognition to a widely cited study on third parties. His upcoming work suggests he will continue to produce interesting findings on a variety of subjects.

 

Social Workers and Advocates of KU host Red Sand Project

By Megan McNally
Contributing Writer

The Social Workers and Advocates of KU (SWAK) club hosted the Red Sand Project on campus in an attempt to help raise awareness of human trafficking worldwide.

SWAK is comprised of social work majors looking to get involved and help others. The president of SWAK, Julia Laudadio, said, “We are working to become a social change agent at KU through advocacy efforts. We organize and facilitate events and projects centered around the values of equality and social justice.”

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SWAK eboard poses for group shot (President: Julia Laudadio Vice President: Karessa Proctor Secretary: Allyssa Bernasconi Treasurer: Ana Tuzio) Photo Courtesy of Julia Laudadio ReplySWAK eboard poses for group shot (President: Julia Laudadio Vice President: Karessa Proctor Secretary: Allyssa Bernasconi Treasurer: Ana Tuzio) – Photo courtesy of Julia Laudadio

The event took place on April 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in three different locations on campus. One was outside the Cub Cafe by the MSU, the second was by the North Campus Bear Statue and the third was on the DMZ.

At each designated location, red sand was placed within the cracks on the sidewalks. The red sand was meant to represent those who have fallen victim to human trafficking or have fallen through the cracks of society.

At each location, SWAK offered information and knowledge on the topic of human trafficking, which those who have long been advocating for the cause have collected.

Laudadio added, “To me, the project is a powerful way to engage with a community to spread awareness about human trafficking and to provide an opportunity to learn, connect and take action. Human trafficking is not something that happens in a faraway land—it’s right here, in our communities everywhere, and we have an obligation to be aware of this issue.”

This event was a form of participatory artwork utilizing the concept of the experiential installation. It was sponsored by The Women’s Center and The Department of Social Work, along with SWAK.

This event is practiced across all 50 states and in over 70 countries around the globe. When the groups on campus looked into it, they thought it would be an impactful event to bring to campus.

The Red Sand Project is a global organization that provides groups, clubs and organizations with a physical kit full of the supplies necessary to successfully act out the project, which helps raise awareness for this detrimental cause that so many fall victim to.

All proceeds SWAK raises are then donated to organizations and causes currently in need or experiencing any crisis or dilemma.

 

Firefly Bookstore celebrates Independent Bookstore Day

By Heather Gursky
Arts and Entertainment editor

On April 27, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m, Firefly Bookstore had exclusive items and sales throughout the day. Coffee, tea and cookies were available to customers, as well.

Table of signed books – Heather Gursky

The event, in previous years, has gained a strong response. “The publishers and authors support it with such unique items,” stated Rebecca Laincz, co-owner of the bookstore.

The exclusive items included a signed Bukowski vinyl, printed tote bags, a signed paperback of “The Girl Who Drank the Moon” by Kelly Barnhill and illustration professor Kevin McCloskey’s prints. McCloskey’s prints were free of purchase when buying children’s books.

Laincz stated the store had exclusive items in their past events, such as a limited edition “Welcome to Night Vale” vinyl record and Neil Gaiman limited edition coloring books.

The bookstore also had a table of signed books for sale. Such authors included were Charlie Higson, J.A. Jance, David Levithan and Michael Gear.

Around the store, specific books were marked 25 percent off. During this time, books were also buy-two-get-one-free.

Upon arrival, kids even received free goodie bags, which included coloring materials and games. Firefly’s board games and toys were also marked 25 percent off.

The store did not lack literary enthusiastic customers, and by the end of the day, the store had great success.

Kevin Mccloskey print – Photo courtesy of Heather Gursky

Opinion: Sri Lanka is a wake-up call

By Donovan Levine
Freeform Editor

On April 21, Easter Sunday, suicide bombers blasted and tore open three churches and four hotels across Colombo, Negumbo and Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, killing 290 people and wounding 510 others.

The tragedy spanned three major Sri Lankan cities and killed both natives and foreigners. The foreigners included Indian, British, Australian, Turkish, Danish, Dutch, American, Portuguese and Chinese nationals, as reported by the government. The U.N. Children’s Fund reported 45 children had been killed, including a fifth-grader from a prestigious school.

All social media from within the country has been blocked by the government. No one has claimed the attack as of yet, but there have been several allegations from Islamist hate groups, such as National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim, as told by Sri Lanka’s defense minister via NPR news. There was even mention of the Islamic State claiming the attack as well as suspicion that the act was in retaliation of the Muslims killed in New Zealand.

Regardless of who is confirmed as the culprit, it will be another example of the global community ailing from the wound of religious discrimination and struggle. Since 2010, there have been 198,502 fatalities from terrorist attacks alone, as reported by Our World In Data’s empirical chart.

In 2019 alone, the global community has faced wide scale tragedies such as the 50 Muslims killed in Christchurch, New Zealand and the 130 Christians whose lives were violently taken in Yola, Nigeria. These have caused both rise and fear of terrorism that has lasted since the beginning of religious discrimination ever since the Sicarii in ancient Jewish history.

Sri Lanka, the country famously known for being in the shape of a teardrop, has caused a season of “mourning and sorrow” as described by Pope Francis upon hearing of the news on the final day of the Lenten season.

The incident has become yet another wake-up call for those who forget religious persecution exists everywhere regardless of the country lived in or the religion practiced. The biggest danger with religious extremists stems from two things: one, that they know their actions come unexpected and without preparation, and two, that they are not afraid to die for what they believe in.

There will always be issues surrounding religious extremism, from the discrimination of Muslims and Jews during the 20th century, which has now bled into the 21st century, as well as the immense amount of poverty in dominantly religious countries like India or Egypt, for instance.

Even despite these issues, we are human, and we have the resources of the internet and the United Nations which are global communities that can raise awareness, help to end the poverty in these countries and better the situation so that seasons of mourning like these can never be repeated.

 

Opinion: Faculty should revise the university’s final exam policy

By Don Richards
Staff Writer

KU Policy ACA-025, “Final Examinations,” is currently flagged on the university’s website as being under review. The Faculty Senate should consider changes to the policy that would bring practices here in line with other successful educational institutions.

The policy should be amended to adhere to this basic principle: final exam week should be reserved exclusively for students to study and take their final exams. No assignments—including essays, research papers, problem sets and laboratory reports—should have due dates past the last day of classes for a semester.

Similarly, no class meetings nor mandatory review sessions should be scheduled beyond the last day of classes. Furthermore, the administration should create a calendar where the last day of classes falls on Thursday of the last week of classes. This would allow for a three-day reading period between the end of classes and the beginning of final exam week.

The current policy repeatedly uses the phrase “final exam or alternative assessment” while being rather vague about the definition of alternative assessment. Perhaps it is similar to the situation where Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart commented on the threshold test for obscenity, i.e. “I know it when I see it.” Importantly, under the current policy, such alternative assessments are not constrained to occur during the two-hour time slot provided for each course’s final exam.

There should not be separate policies for academic subjects versus subjects that primarily involve performance or creative activity. Finally, the current policy takes no position on “ex-camera” exams, also known as take-home exams. Faculty should be encouraged to use these sparingly, perhaps only in courses devoted to research methods where the ability to use library resources is one of the skills being examined.

Other universities have policies like this, and they take violations of them by faculty members seriously. The changes suggested here would maximize chances for student success.

 

Dr. Glenn Shaheen visits KU

By Heather Gursky
Arts and Entertainment Editor

On April 25, the English department invited poet and flash fiction writer Dr. Glen Shaheen to share his published work. Shaheen’s writing focuses on horror, personal experiences and political aspects in a fictional style.

Shaheen read poetry from his books “Predatory” and “Energy Corridor.” He also read a few flash fiction pieces from his collection “Carnevalia.” The work he read was inspired by the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the media, “Macbeth,” personal encounters and more.

“Shaheen is an incredible performer for his poems, bringing them to life with a unique, urgent delivery,” said Brandon Krieg, English department faculty member, after the event.

During the Q&A session, Shaheen said, “[Horror] engages directly with a true emotional vain in a way that other genres cannot do.”

He added, “Comedy tries to go for laughs, but is comedy an emotion? It compels happiness in a way, sort of. But when you watch a horror movie you can feel terror, you can feel fear.”

Shaheen also states his political poetry “critically examines the way that society fails many of its members.”

He clarifies by stating he “tries to translate the emotional energy of political moments into a poem. It may not definitively state ‘we have the ability to end poverty and we should,’ it gets that emotional idea across through imagery and sentence fragments.”

“Overall, Glenn was great at speaking clearly and making each poem sound thrilling, and was able to set the mood for each one very easily which I appreciate,” commented freshman Jesus Ramirez.

After the Q&A, Shaheen continued to converse with the students. He also had a few copies of his books for sale, which can also be found on Amazon.

 

Shoofly Literary Magazine launches new magazine

By Ella Luzzi
Copy & Line Editor

On April 25, Shoofly Literary Magazine staff launched the 2019 magazine, the 15th edition since the club’s creation in 2004.

At 7 p.m., students, staff and family joined in the President’s Reception Room in MSU 250 to hear KU student poets and authors read their writing and see all the hard work the Shoofly staff has put in to create a professionally-bound, clean magazine.

Shoofly is a student-run literary magazine that publishes original pieces of writing written by KU students. Shoofly accepts poems, short stories and pieces of drama, but this year, only fiction and poetry were published.

shoo

This year, the magazine’s cover, designed by junior and communication design major Olivia Durr, is bee themed. Watercolor bees swarm around honeycombs and the names of the magazine’s contributors. These same images lined the interior pages.

The launch party began and ended with guests enjoying pizza, spring rolls and other finger-foods, catered by Aramark. Everyone took their seats a little after 7 p.m., and then, Professor Jeffrey Voccola, advisor of Shoofly, welcomed everyone.

Voccola recognized this year’s managing editors of Shoofly, as they played a key role in the creation of the magazine. Senior Nicole (Nickey) Siegerman was Head of Fiction, senior Tabitha Rea was Head of Poetry, junior Ella Luzzi was Head Copy Editor and sophomore Courtney Morstatt was Head of Fundraising. Following this, Voccola asked all the staff members and published writers in the room to stand up to be recognized.

In addition to taking a copy of the magazine upon walking in, students published were encouraged to sign up to read their poems or a part of their short story for the crowd. Senior Daniel Perez, a professional writing major, broke the ice by reading his poem “Peanut butter and jelly and jellybeans.”

Junior Zoey Adam, a professional writing major and staff member of Shoofly, had three of her poems published in Shoofly this year, and when asked about it, she said, “I’m grateful to be included in the magazine, especially after being on the other side of Shoofly this time around and taking part in the process.”

After everyone had read, Luzzi thanked the audience again before welcoming Siegerman and Rea back to the podium to introduce next year’s managing editors. Luzzi will once again be assuming the position of president and Head Copy Editor, junior Collin Stettler will be the vice president and Head of Fiction, Adam will be secretary and Head of Poetry, Morstatt will be treasurer and Head of PR and freshman Ellen Robinson will be parliamentarian and assistant Head of PR.

Lastly, for the first time in Shoofly’s history, graduation cords were given to the staff’s graduating seniors: Siegerman, Rea, Perez and Samantha Kilpatrick.

“It was so much fun listening to the writers read their pieces from the magazine,” Jaden DeFazio, junior and professional writing major, said. “The atmosphere was so relaxed, and it felt good to support other writers in celebrating their accomplishments.”

Call for submissions will open back up for the 2020 edition of the magazine in the fall. New copies of Shoofly Literary Magazine can be found floating around various buildings on the north side of campus, in various businesses on Main Street and, like always, in the English department office in Lytle Hall.

 

KU club advocates for environmental awareness

By Marie Esther Joseph
Contributing Writer

Plant Club, formerly known as Botany Club, is a student-based organization founded approximately seven years ago at KU. The Plant Club’s mission is to raise environmental awareness on and off campus.

“If you like plants and like getting your hands dirty, we have various species of plants to learn about in the greenhouse. You do not have to be a science major to be concerned with environmental issues and nature,” says Santa Claire, environmental science major and president of Plant Club.

The club takes charge of and cares for the greenhouse on campus. During their weekly meetings, the members of the club re-pot and identify various plants in the greenhouse. They also restock the greenhouse with new plants–mostly succulents–and trees.

“Being in the greenhouse is such a relaxing atmosphere because we are surrounded by nature. It also feels good to know that we are positively impacting the environment by starting right on campus,” says bio-allied health major Olivia Crouthamel.

As part of the club’s environmental awareness movement, the members are growing trees native to Pennsylvania, such as Maple and Buckeye, which will later be planted around campus.

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Club members replanting plants in the greenhouse at their weekly meeting Marie Joseph

The club has petitioned for the university to stop using invasive species in their landscaping which can be detrimental to the native plants and the environment.

The club encourages members and anyone who is interested in plants to join them in the various trips they host throughout the academic year. They have traveled to Longwood Gardens—a botanical garden located outside Philly that carries native species of plants to Pennsylvania—to learn more about nature and invasive and non-invasive plants.

Plant Club also participates in community events in order to improve the KU environment. They took part in the Boy Scout event this year where the kids earned science badges for learning about the plants and being more conscious. They also partnered up with the Environmental Action Club (EAC) to clean up the trail in Pinnacle as they hike or clean up Saucony Creek.

Plant Club holds weekly meetings on Thursdays at 11 a.m. in the greenhouse found in Boehm.

 

KU softball ranked eighth in NCAA Atlantic Regional poll

By Kyle Krajewski
Sports Editor

The Golden Bear softball team currently rocks the best overall record of 32-17 in the PSAC and was recently ranked alongside the top teams in the region. On April 24 the KU softball team was ranked eighth in the second of three NCAA Regional polls this season. KU dropped two spots from their sixth-place ranking last week.

Eight teams from the Atlantic Region are selected for the NCAA Tournament at the end of the season, meaning the Golden Bears are currently in position to appear this season. Opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament is slated to take place May 9-12. The two teams to make it out of that weekend will compete in a best-of-three series May 16-17 and compete to become Atlantic Region Champion. The Atlantic Region Champion then gets to make the trip to Denver, Colo., for the NCAA Nationals Championships beginning May 23.

KU has made 18 appearances in the NCAA Tournament in the past 24 years. The Golden Bears (32-17 overall, 8-6 PSAC) currently have the most overall wins in the PSAC and sit just one game behind top-ranked West Chester (30-17, 9-5) for first place in the PSAC East.

West Virginia State currently sits at the top of the poll rankings after appearing third in last week’s release. West Chester is in second, followed by Shepherd, the team the Golden Bears split a doubleheader with the previous night, April 23. West Liberty, Shippensburg, Bloomsburg and Concord round out the teams ranking above KU in the poll.

KU currently leads the entire PSAC in batting average (.349) and hits (451) while ranking top-three in total bases (633), slugging percentage (.498) and runs scored (298). Sara Keeny, school record holder for career hits (274), ranks top-three in the PSAC with 85 hits and 54 runs. Keeny now also has seven triples on the season, putting her at first in the conference and second all-time in KU history for triples in a season.