- Kansas Board of Regents
- Honoree immortalized
Medal of Honor recipient receives stone at memorial
On Oct. 3, 2009, Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha went above and beyond the call of duty. Those actions earned him the nation’s highest military decoration: the medal of honor.
He earned the honor while his force of 85 soldiers defended an attack of around 300 Taliban fighters that surrounded them on three sides. The fight is known as the Battle of Kamdesh. During the struggle, Romesha held his command after being injured in the neck, shoulder and arms by a rocket-propelled grenade.
He received his Medal of Honor in February 2013 from President Barack Obama and was on PSU’s campus on April 25 and 26. While he was here he received a stone inscribed with his name and honor that will be placed in the Pittsburg State Veterans Memorial.
“Walking in there and seeing that memorial just bring up so many emotions, and just to see that recognition, and I know you guys say you’re kind of a small town, but to see that kind of effort and devotion put into a memorial shows what kind of support you get out of these small towns,” he said. “This is the heart of America. It’s right here and it’s just awe-inspiring to be a part of this and witness it.”
While on campus Romesha also visited with ROTC students and students in the construction program because he works in construction since returning from his duty overseas.
- PSU ahead of curve
Graduates well prepared for competitive job market
Marcus Clem | copy editor
Though recovery from the recession has slowly continued nationwide, employment for young college-educated professionals remains a concern.
About 5.7 of workers nationwide who recently earned a bachelor’s degree are out of work as of March, according to a Pew research poll.
Fortunately, according to numbers compiled by Pittsburg State’s Career Services Office, PSU graduates are a little ahead of the curve.
Sydney Ward, who recently stepped down as SGA vice president as she prepares to graduate, says that the services offered by PSU are a great help, but that ultimately, it’s on each student to succeed.
“Personally, I don’t think the burden is on the university,” she said. “The university encourages you to get involved and prepared for the job market. Resources are there for the students, they just have to take advantage of them.”
Employment and job placement reports from fiscal years 2011 and 2012 show that 97-98 percent of graduating seniors have found jobs or have been accepted as graduate students by the time that Career Services contacts them.
Between 85 and 90 percent of each class is successfully contacted to be included in these reports, which are released one year after each class to ensure as full an accounting as possible.
Preliminary data, which the office stresses do not represent a definitive measure but may indicate what next year’s report will hold, show that 15 percent of the class of 2013 already have accepted full-time jobs and 9 percent have been accepted to graduate school either at PSU or another school.
“This is very early data,” said Mindy Cloninger, director of career services. “This is a very fluid number. People may say they’re going to grad school, but then they get a (job) offer. We don’t have an expectation that students will have all their plans solidified the week before graduation. That’s just not realistic.”
Curtis Thom, graduate assistant for the Department of Communication who is preparing to receive his master’s degree, is one of those students who has an idea where to go and what to do but does not yet know the specifics.
“It is a very strange feeling to be completely done,” he said. “I’ve built a reliance on the structure of learning. To leave that behind and enter a new realm of understanding is a very peculiar feeling. The university has given me everything that I can even imagine.”
Career Services, Cloninger says, is equipped to help students who are confident in their professional future and just need to hammer out the details while searching for jobs. This can include some situations that are unique to each student.
“I’ve had one senior who was a vegetarian,” Cloninger said, “and a prospective employer asked to meet at Chicken Annie’s. She came in to talk about how she can handle that situation without appearing rude or high maintenance.”
However, there are some students who have doubts about their academic careers or fear that they’ve gained a degree that’s not in high demand.
There’s help for them too, Cloninger says.
“It’s very individualized,” she said. “We ask, ‘Is there a way you can put together a package, whether it is a double major or a major and a minor, that will enhance you as a candidate?’ As opposed to just mainstream majors.”
Involvement outside of academics is the key, Cloninger added.
“A 4.0 GPA that has no involvement in extracurriculars … Employers will have some concerns about that, in terms of communication skills and interactions.”
- Dashing through the mud
ROTC hots 70 participants in 2nd annual Gorilla Dash
Joud Bayeh | reporter
The Gorilla Battalion had many from the community turn out for its second annual muddy mess of a race.
The Gorilla Dash, a 5k obstacle-riddled run promoted by the PSU Reserve Officer Training Corps, was held for the second year on Saturday, April 27, at the PSU Baja Course near the Student Recreation Center.
About 70 people participated as PSU students, area high school students and people from the community struggled through a harder, muddier course compared to last year.
“This year there are some differences because it is actually a 5K,” said Cadet Stephen Cuff, senior in geography. “Last year it was a little shorter. There are also some different routes such as running in the woods and a pass through a creek.”
Rainy weather forced ROTC to make some changes in the course and also has created some new natural obstacles.
“There wasn’t a dry spot, it was constantly muddy, and that made a big difference,” said Cadet Keith Weaver, junior in justice studies, who ran with two other cadets. “It feels good, I wasn’t sure if I couldn’t do it, but it was fun after all.”
Challenges confronted the runners throughout the course.
“The runners have to crawl through the stream, carry weight on the mud and cross the flooded field,” Cuff said.
Becca Pearson, senior in exercise science, ran with four of her peers from the volleyball team. She says that they attempted the course just for fun, not to compete. The course is very tiring, she added.
“We came to have a good time,” Pearson said. “My legs hurt, but it was a good ending, pretty hard. The hardest part was the field, it was muddy and we sank on it.”
Cadet Bryan Wallraff, freshman in chemistry, agrees with Pearson. He says that this year, the course was a lot harder than last year.
“(There were) more obstacles,” Wallraff said. “It is nice that it rained, so as people pass through the obstacles, it is getting muddier and harder to pass through.”
Among all the teams and individual Bruning stood out, because he chose to run with his mother.
“It was awesome, lots of fun,” said Bruning, senior in graphic communication management. “I had to help my mom sometimes, but it was worth it. We ran through a pond with mud up to the chest. It was good, the rain made it tougher.”
Bruning added that he’d definitely do it again.
“You should be prepared to get muddy. If you want to come next year you should start training now,” he said.
Curtis Thurman, senior in computer information systems, ran the course with two other friends. This was his first attempt.
“It was tough, but I had lots of fun,” he said. “The mud passed my chin. You get all dirty. I’d probably do it again and if you didn’t come you missed out on a whole lot of fun.
“It is the best opportunity here at PSU, the most awarding one.”
In the end, Cuff says he hopes that Gorilla Dash becomes more and more of a big student body event, where anyone can participate.
“It’s you who decides how difficult it is,” he said. “You can either run or just walk, so don’t be afraid to come next year.”
- Weekend entertainment
Pittsburg ‘Rocks’ out
Audrey Dighans | reporter
This Saturday, April 20, will start the weekend off with a BANG.
The fourth annual Big Bang Rockfest is set to start at 4 p.m. in four locations across Pittsburg: JST Bobby G’s, 5th Street Bar and Grill, Danny Bell’s Wild West and Club 505.
“In the past, 505 was the only bar to participate,” said Larry Fleury. “This year is amazing, with four local bars taking part in the action.”
Each bar will be hosting several bands and solo acts, with sets lasting for an hour apiece.
The action is set to continue until 10 p.m., but several of the last bands plan to continue playing at the discretion of the club. A complete list of the lineup can be found on the Big Bang Rockfest Facebook page.
“This event is great,” said Bobby Gardullo of JST Bobby G’s. “It gets people back into the downtown … We all want to get that moving again.”
This will be JST Bobby G’s first year participating in the event. Gardullo says that since he and his staff first heard about the event, they have been looking forward to it.
“We already have live music almost every night,” he said. “Big Bang just fits perfectly and we’re glad to be a part of it.”
Wristbands will be on sale for $10, giving access to all venues.
Blake Benson, president of the Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce, says that events such as Big Bang Rockfest are great for downtown business.
They provide a reason for PSU students to go downtown, which is one of the city’s main goals.
“The city has invested a lot of money to attract students to the downtown and off campus,” Benson said. “New sidewalks, new lighting, a new environment. We want the community to be proud of the downtown area.”
“I’m excited to see the bands performing,” Fleury said. “All of the local bands carry so much in terms of talent, and vary in style and genre. There’s a great selection of music for anyone to listen to.”
Fleury will perform at 4 p.m. at the 5th Street Bar and Grill.
Art to fill streets of downtown
Audrey Dighans | reporter
A celebration of the city’s downtown culture is set for the end of this week.
The Pittsburg Art Walk is this Friday, April 19, in downtown. Local artists, musicians and even magicians will be showcasing their talents from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event will take place on Broadway from Euclid to 10th streets.
“The Art Walk has been popular ever since Lastacia Ross and I started it,” said Heather Horton of Sweet Designs Cakery. “This will be the biggest one yet.”
Many downtown businesses will also be open during the event, along with the Pittsburg Farmers Market.
Bamboo Chinese Restaurant will be giving out free egg rolls to those in attendance, and the Colonial Fox Theatre will offer tours and live music. Gus will also be making an appearance.
In total, 53 artists and 25 musicians/bands will participate. Art Walk maps will be available from Sweet Designs Cakery or from Kris Hartley at Europe Park.
Magician Jay Temaat will also conduct a magic show in the parking lot of Colonial Fox Theatre at 7:15 p.m.
“We are trying to showcase as many talents as we can,” Horton said. “There is a ton of awesome stuff downtown, this is another way to draw the community together to support each other, the arts, and enhance the culture of Pittsburg.”
Events will continue past the art with more music at JST Bobby G’s and other local bars. All of those bars will be providing drink specials.
There will also be a showing of “Cats” at Memorial Auditorium. Members of the cast will distribute fliers along the route of the Art Walk.