PittOpinion

  • Letter to the Editor

    Fraternizing with our money

    Fraternal Leadership Summit, FLS, Greek Weekend, the answer to “Shark Night”, call it what you will but I call it a waste of money and an unnecessary burden on the financials of all PSU students.
    I recall when FLS was first created. It caused quite a debate. Was it really responsible to spend tens of thousands of dollars, at least $20,000 of which is student fees, to send 15-18% of the student body out of Pittsburg for the weekend of freshman move-in? At the time of the creation, I was a non-Greek student, but yet, I paid to send these Greek students to a “Leadership Programming” conference that was hosted on foreign campuses with classes and sessions hosted by a variety of individuals from PSU alumni and staff members to high dollar guest speakers. Why?
    I for one am a firm believer in leadership programming. I’ve taken multiple classes on leadership behavior and theory at PSU, I’ve gone to more than half a dozen conferences through my fraternity after I became a member (on my own dime), and I support individuals attending these conferences. However, I also believe in equal access, especially when student fees are in the mix.
    Why is this event catered toward only Greeks? If the Greeks want this event as badly as the university portrays it, why can they not foot the bill for it? Why are Greeks required to attend and issued a fine of at least $75 for not attending? Of all possible weekends, why must it be the first weekend of school? Why not the second when students are actually moved in and have had a chance to catch their breath? These are all questions that have been asked, but yet no real answers have been given, at least not that have been made public…
    I would like to see a change. If FLS is not abolished in its current state (which I hope it will be soon), it needs to open up to drastic change. First, it should be held on the campus of Pittsburg State University. The completion of the Fine and Performing Arts Center more than secures enough space to accommodate the event. Secondly, it should be rebranded as a “Campus Leadership Summit” open to all students and organized by the most widely known campus organizations, Student Government Association, Student Activities Council, as well as Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council. Last but not least, it should be held on the second weekend that school is in session, once students are settled in and have found their footing. I find it slightly disturbing that some students will never get to spend their first weekend in Pittsburg free to do what they please because after formal recruitment new members of sororities are sent on this “summit.”
    I hope that FLS will finally be brought into the spotlight. Increases in tuition and fees over the past 5 years have been immense, and it’s time to cut the fat. I hope that it starts with SGA and Fee Council. I implore you, the current students, to tackle this reckless spending and stand up for your rights. You are the majority stakeholder in PSU, it’s time to fight for your rights to a reasonably priced education. While leadership training is undoubtedly invaluable and essential, what is worth more, a conference that lasts less than 12 hours and ends with a trip to Worlds of Fun, or a new class offered to all students that is taught every semester?

    Rodney Kimlin is a PSU alumnus.

     

    Governor candidate differences

    “Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history,” said James Madison in 1817 in the William and Mary Quarterly.
    As everyone who has followed the history of Gov. Sam Brownback knows, he was previously a Washington, D.C., “C” Street congressman, whose church-related missionary visit to Africa has well-motivated him for foreign service.
    Further, I know Paul Davis, longtime leader of Democrats in the Kansas House of Representatives, and he is very well prepared to become the next Kansas governor.

    Gene Garman is a resident of Pittsburg.

     

    Brownback’s experiment failed

    The evidence that Sam Brownback’s economic experiment has failed is undeniable. Our state’s credit rating has been downgraded three times in a little over a year.
    Kansas is No. 45 in new business creation. Our job growth is lagging behind our neighboring states and the nation. The nearly $400 million surplus Kansas had on July 1 is projected to become a $1.3 billion budget deficit just a few years down the road.
    The responsibility for this crisis rests solely on Sam Brownback.
    Kansas public schools have always been my top priority. I will be the “education governor” Kansans deserve. My daughter is about to walk into a public classroom for the very first time and I want to make sure she – and all Kansas kids – get all the resources they need to be successful. We can ever do that if we hit the accelerator on the failed Brownback experiment.
    Sam Brownback created the equivalent of a second recession for Kansas. If he doesn’t like the commonsense approach I offered to clean up his mess, I welcome him to take responsibility for his mistakes and offer a plan of his own that addresses the budget crisis.
    No matter how much he denies it, the $1.3 billion budget deficit is real and it is a threat to our kids’ classrooms.”

    Rep. Paul Davis holds a seat covering most of Lawrence in the Kansas State Assembly and is the Democratic nominee for governor. The election is on Nov. 4.

  • Take chance to be part of student politics

    Staff Editorial

    Student government is important.
    As we begin a new academic year, we urge all Pittsburg State students, whether they’ve just begun their collegiate career or already imagine themselves in commencement robes, to keep this fact in mind.
    Few things concern all college students more than money, and this organization has the original responsibility for deciding how much each student pays for everything from parking to today’s constant pace of campus construction.
    Steve Scott as university president is reliably true to his responsibility to talk to students should the need arise, but SGA works with him regularly to emphasize all student concerns.
    SGA’s president, Jordan Schaper, represents Pitt State to the state government on a regular basis and the president speaks for the students whenever required.
    The cabinet serves a variety of important roles, from organizing the annual Big Event community-service project to managing an on-campus food pantry.
    Individual senators have the closest ties to each college and the student body at large and may advocate for bills and resolutions that can devote time, resources and a significant amount of money to any student-affiliated project.
    Yet all of this happens without all that much student participation. Less than 15 percent of the student body votes for SGA every year. A lot of students don’t even know that SGA exists or what it is for.
    Vacancies in the Senate are a persistent problem, and even after the Senate reduced its size for this year, 14 out of 40 seats remain open.
    SGA’s office in Hartman Hall is quiet, other than the occasional rush for the Scantron test-taking forms the organization provides.
    Even a handful of students showing up to meeting to watch, never mind take the chance to speak during student-opinion time, is a rare event.
    The new student government administration has resolved to do what it can to improve SGA’s situation, like most of its predecessors. Schaper will periodically contribute his thoughts as president to The Collegio starting with the next issue of Thursday, Sept. 4.
    Excepting perhaps Pitt State football, every organization on campus has issues with attracting participation by most students.
    Government isn’t something that’s appealing to even the entire community, as about 15 percent of voters turned out on Aug. 5 when races for the U.S. Congress were at stake.
    Yet such trends are a poor excuse to do nothing.
    All students have the chance to be involved with SGA in some way. Before Friday, Aug. 29, applications will be accepted to fill a Senate vacancy.
    For everyone else: Attend weekly SGA meetings, held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. Find out who your senators are and if you have a problem about the university or have an idea for improvement, tell them about it.
    Pitt State can and should set an example for student involvement and representation.

  • My pride as a Pitt State international Alumni

    | Alheli Aranda guest writer |

    As a graduating student, I am delighted to have the chance to speak about my experience here in Pittsburg.
    I am a music major with an emphasis in piano performance and I have a minor in international business. I have had a great four years full of growth, experiences and friends.
    Pittsburg has become home to me after I decided to start a new life away from my own culture. I came for the international environment, great facilities, meaningful connections and incredible mentors.
    The school focuses so much on its students that it made me feel as if this institution made sure I had all the tools to be successful right from the beginning.
    Since the beginning, tasks such as writing an essay or working on math in English, my second language, were very hard. I had resources like the writing center and the tutoring labs to make sure I could keep up.
    This all gave me the opportunity to work with faculty that cared about me and that inspired me to become a better artist and a better leader within my community.
    I also had the honor to serve as an international advocate in 2011, 2013 and 2014 for the International Programs and Services office.
    This marvelous experience gave me the chance to receive approximately 100 new international students a year, and to work with other advocates who inspired me to become a better person all around.
    It is really hard to express in words all that Pitt State means to me.
    After four years of devoting myself to my education and improving international students’ relationship with the community, I would just confirm the well-known cliché that college is the best time of my life.

  • Get involved with student government

    | Jaci Gilchrist SGA Vice President |

    Student Government Association serves as the governing entity for all students at Pittsburg State. We are composed of senators representing each of the four colleges: Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Technology.
    As a hybrid organization, student government acts as the middleman between the student body and the administration. Representing the interests of all students at both the state and local levels lies at the heart of SGA.
    Throughout the year, SGA continuously works to involve the student body. The campus is constantly growing and changing. We task ourselves with not only informing students of changes, but of gauging opinion and appropriately expressing it.
    Allocations are one of the ways that students directly benefit from all that student government does. Student organizations are able to apply for monetary reimbursements for activities and programs they hosted or partook in during the semester.
    Every month, members of student government travel to Topeka to meet with representatives from six other schools across the state of Kansas.
    This also provides a chance to sit in on the monthly Kansas Board of Regents meetings. Once a year, a delegation of students is assembled to lobby members of the Kansas State Assembly on issues pertinent to students at Pitt State.
    Our commitment to the student body also extends to academia. Representatives serve on external committees that are concerned with curricula, educational improvement and the assessment of educational programs.
    Student government firmly believes in giving back to the community that tirelessly supports this campus. SGA has adopted a highway and a street, and prides itself on philanthropy events during the school year. These aim to impact areas of need throughout Southeastern Kansas.
    The Big Event is an example of this, and is a one-day project that utilizes hundreds of student volunteers to service every possible home in Pittsburg.
    Becoming involved in student government is one of the greatest decisions that I’ve made during my college experience.
    I have been afforded many amazing opportunities that I would not have otherwise had. I can also say that the connections I have made and the people I have befriended are gifts that I did not anticipate being bestowed upon me.
    This semester, there are opportunities to get involved with student government. I highly encourage anyone interested to apply for a position.
    For everyone else, keep posted on our Facebook page: facebook.com/psusga or follow us on Twitter @psusga.

  • Governor sponsors delusion in Pittsburg

    Staff Editorial

    Earlier this month, Gov. Sam Brownback visited Pittsburg High School as part of an event Awakening for Freedom.
    Held by the activist group called the Culture Shield Center, the event purported to be a seminar on Christian faith and how morals may guide policy.
    Brownback used the event to promote his re-election campaign. That’s to be expected, although event organizers had previously said it was meant to cover themes on religion and morality in government and would otherwise be apolitical.
    “My opponent [Rep. Paul Davis of Lawrence] is an Obama-style Democrat and I’m a Reagan-style Republican,” Brownback said as part of his remarks to attendees.
    That aside, most of the content offered during the event ought to be thought of as paranoid, delusional claptrap, rather than religion.
    Of chief concern to The Collegio are the statements by keynote speaker Neil Mammen on the culture surrounding higher education.
    Mammen dug up a tired scare tactic: the idea that parents should fear sending their children to universities because liberal or “socialist” college professors will strangle their religion.
    He went as far as to say that as many as 75 to 80 percent of all of today’s college students will have abandoned the faith of their family by the time they graduate and that it was parents’ responsibility to prevent this.
    Without doubt, anyone who comes to Pittsburg State or any other college campus will be exposed to some ideas they may not have encountered before. Indeed some may find their old way of thinking, in all contexts, may be altered by their experiences. That’s the point of education, not some farcical notion of assault on faith.
    A variety of other troubling things said at this event, from a denunciation of homosexuality as an “abomination” to a promotion of a crackpot theory of economics in which public support for the most needy is a theft of tax dollars.
    This kind of cartoon idiocy has no place in our community or in our government and at least some several dozen Pittsburg-area protesters turned out during the event to make this known.
    Brownback did not directly echo the worst ideas shared at the event because that wouldn’t be wise on the campaign trail. Even so, sharing a stage with them is akin to an endorsement.
    That’s something no one should offer the governor if he can’t recognize that no representative of Kansas should be associated with this “Awakening.”

  • Welcome to the Gorilla family

    It’s my pleasure to be among the first to welcome you to Pittsburg State University.
    The start of the fall semester is a time of new beginnings, familiar friendships and endless possibilities. Our faculty and staff share in your excitement at what lies ahead and are here to help you achieve your academic goals.
    Whether you are a new student or a returning senior, you’ll notice a lot of changes taking place at your university. Pittsburg State is abuzz with activity and in the process of completing several major additions and renovations to campus facilities.
    We’ve renovated more than 89 rooms in Nation Hall and completely updated the heating and air conditioning system in Heckert Wells. But that’s just the beginning.
    We’re working hard to improve student life with improvements and additions to the Overman Student Center. This $14 million expansion and renovation will add new offices and meeting spaces for student groups, additional dining and recreational offerings, and a new 600-seat ballroom. It is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2015.
    A little farther to the east, great progress has been made on two of our most prominent projects. The Plaster Center, our 154,000-square-foot indoor event center will host the 2016 and 2018 NCAA Division II National Track Championships and is on schedule to open in the spring of 2015.
    And after nearly two years, the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts is nearing completion. This $33 million facility will feature a 1,100-seat performance hall, 250-seat theater, and much more. Look for an official ribbon cutting in December.
    I know that you had many choices when it came to selecting a university, and I thank you for choosing Pittsburg State.
    You’ll find that one of the great things about being a Gorilla is that you are now part of an extended family whose members include more than 63,000 alumni throughout the world.
    I encourage you to be an active student and to engage in academic discussions. Help lead your university by becoming involved in the Student Government Association or any one of the more than 150 student groups on campus. And, of course, cheer on the Gorillas as they compete in sporting events.
    This is your opportunity, and it begins today.
    I look forward to seeing you on the Oval. Let’s make it a great semester!
    Sincerely,
    Steven A. Scott, PSU president

  • Brazil’s World Cup: an $11 billion trap

    Val Vita

    Here in my country, if you were to ask 10 little boys what they want to be when they grow up, it’s very possible that eight of them will tell you the same thing: soccer player. I’m not overreacting when I say that soccer in Brazil is like a religion. People here go crazy because of it – maybe even more than Americans go crazy for football. In Brazil, all the boys want to be Neymar.
    This year, as we all know, we are experiencing the delight (or the curse, depending on whom you ask) of hosting the FIFA World Cup. It’s interesting to be here on vacation and have the opportunity to see this particular phenomenon happening. Especially because a year ago the streets were filled with protesters (including me), screaming “Nao vai ter Copa” (which means “There won’t be World Cup”). A large part of the population is unhappy that our developing country is spending billions with soccer stadiums, instead of investing in education, health and infrastructure for our population.
    Well, it turns out the World Cup is here. And the people who were protesting at the time are now paying a huge amount of money to go to the stadiums to watch the games. Why? Because everyone here lives and breathes soccer.
    Don’t get me wrong. The protests are still occurring, but with very few people compared to last year. Instead, people on the opening game booed the president, Dilma Rousseff, who was kind of already expecting that. That’s why she didn’t speak at the opening ceremony, as expected.
    Brazilians were so excited with the start of the event and with all the tourists walking the streets of our capitals that they decided to forget how much money we lost because of the Cup.
    Brazil invested $11 billion in infrastructure related to the Cup and a third of this amount was spent on the stadiums. Well, putting money on stadiums is not exactly an investment. One, because all the money raised from the matches goes to FIFA and not to Brazil. Second, because some of these stadiums are never going to be used again.
    Here’s an example: $217 million was invested in a single stadium in the city of Manaus, and the place is destined to be used in four World Cup games. Four. There’s no soccer team in Manaus, and famous singers will probably not choose the city as part of a big tour. So, as comedian John Oliver said, Brazil constructed “the world’s most expensive bird toilet.” Sad, but true.
    What I’ve been seeing on the streets, though, is pure happiness and excitement. Every time Brazil plays, the country stops. Literally. If the game starts at 5 p.m., businesses allow their employees to leave at 4. The schools do the same. There’s traffic jam to go back home on game days. It’s as if it’s forbidden to do any thing during the games besides watching them.
    Brazilians go home earlier, they dress in green and yellow and they cheer. They cheer as if soccer were the most important thing in the world. As they cheer, they forget that we spent $11 billion that we didn’t even have. Go Brazil!

  • “X-Men” sequel an emotional roller-coaster

    Casey Matlock
    “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” directed by Bryan Singer, brings in stars from the old and newer X-Men films for a battle of time-linear proportions. The film is picturesque of an apocalypse that takes place in the present day. The future looks bleak, and it is up to present-day Professor X, played by Patrick Stewart, and his rag-tag team of mutant cohorts to resolve the problems of the past.
    The older version of Professor X explained to Wolverine how he’s going to have Kitty, played by Ellen Page, send Wolverine’s consciousness back to the past and into his younger body and that time will continue to pass normally in the present day, even as Wolverine changes past events. Nevertheless, those changes will take effect only when Wolverine wakes up again in present day.
    This film is a roller-coaster of emotions from beginning to end as the past and present versions of our favorite mutant collide. If you enjoyed the previous film, “X-Men: First Class,” you surely will not be disappointed. There is a smidge of skeptic opinion when it comes to sequels, but saying that this film is an exception would be an understatement.
    Fans of the comics will be pleased along with the naïve Marvel fans who are just looking for a little escapism along with the eye candy of the fairly attractive actors. The “Days of Future Past’s” plot is mildly explosive and can be compared to the previous films when it comes to conflict between the mutants and society’s prejudice against them. What this film offers that the previous films don’t is some genuine resolution whereas the previous films practically left viewers hanging by a limb.
    Each character holds his own in this film and equally provides a sense of power and excitement to the roles. Characters from the first three X-Men films have a slightly smaller part to play, although the majority of the film takes place in the 1970s, thus creating a plausible reason for their absences.
    This film also introduces new mutants, such as Quicksilver, played by Evan Peters; Warpath, played by Booboo Stewart; and Sunspot, played by Adam Canto. Evan Peters’ Quicksilver steals every moment of his screen time. There are also a number of nice cameos and fun nods to both comic book and historical figures.
    “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is successful at being a thrilling superhero movie by balancing dramatic weight with comedic moments and closure from problems that came from the previous films.

  • ‘No animal should be left behind’

    | Erica Wilson guest writer |

    Pets can make the best companions, so it makes sense that sometimes college students feel the need to get a pet.
    The downside to owning a pet in college is that when students graduate or go home for the summer, they are often unable to take a pet with them.
    Pets establish strong bonds with their owners. No animal deserves to have that bond broken.
    The excuses for abandoning an animal can range anywhere from the choice of a landlord who does not allow pets, to claims that animals require more time and money than a student can provide.
    College students should think long and hard about their animals’ lives before they go through with a pet purchase or adoption. No pet should be left behind.
    Moving is one of the biggest reasons for surrendering animals to the care of a shelter, especially at the end of the school year.
    People don’t realize the responsibilities involved in owning a pet. Pet owners need to put the quality of their animals’ lives as a top priority. They need to consider the cost of vet expenses, living arrangements and look toward the future. They must ensure that an animal will be taken care of for its lifetime.
    Students who are thinking about getting pets in college should consider the needs of the animal before making any type of commitment. Then and only then should students, who truly understand the responsibilities of having a bet, think about adopting.
    No animal should be left behind. Every animal deserves a loving home forever, not just August through May.

    Erica Wilson is the promotional director and business manager for the Southeast Kansas Humane Society. She may be reached at 620-232-1840 or at info@sekhs.org. The Humane Society is located at 487 E. 560th Avenue in Pittsburg.

  • New edition

    Another page turned

    | Marcus Clem editor in chief |

    They say time flies when you’re having fun, but that’s not really true; time flies when you’re too busy to notice it. Though I’ve certainly had some fun along the way.
    This issue will be my last as editor of The Collegio. I would like to think that I’ve managed to leave the newspaper better than I found it, though at most I’ve been a channel for a Pittsburg State community.
    I envy my successor, but even more, the editors who will be here in the years to come. More and more people will join Pitt State’s ranks and I know the newspaper will get to be a window to an even brighter future.
    We’ve achieved a lot in this year. With a silver medal from the Kansas Collegiate Media, we showed how The Collegio is among the best student projects in the state.
    Some of our content complemented this year’s Kanza, which was named the best publication of its kind in the state for the fourth year in a row. Both publications saw staffers take home dozens of individual awards.
    We’ve built coverage of local, state and even national or international news events as a consistent front-page element.
    We held public officials to account and placed a well-organized and easy-to-understand window for important issues into readers’ hands.
    Our entertainment section informed people about fun things to do before they happened and served as the one of the best platforms in Pittsburg for students to share information about the performing arts.
    Our opinion page provided well-researched and thoughtful viewpoints from the staff and our community guest writers, to whom I offer my immense gratitude.
    A lot of ways to improve this newspaper lie ahead. We need to build a consistent social media presence, though I was proud to see our Facebook followers recently near 1,000 in number.
    We need to plug firmly into breaking news as it happens, and avoid simply reacting to events that are concluded. We need to tell more personal stories and build in-depth features on complex, ongoing issues.
    I offer my sincerest thanks to our loyal readers, who have been and will remain part of everything we do, to build Southeast Kansas’ strongest medium for the free exchange of ideas.
    If you want to be part of this incredible project, reach out to my successor at 620-235-4901, or email psucollegio@gmail.com.
    And don’t worry, I’ll still be around.

    Marcus Clem is a junior in
    communication and Spanish.

    New girl in town

    | Kelsea Renz managing editor |

    Most of you may not know me. I’m the new girl this year: a transfer student, somewhat of an outsider.
    And I’m your new editor-in-chief.
    I do mean yours. I may now bear the title of editor of The Collegio and must now follow in the footsteps of those fantastic editors before me to continue the legacy of The Collegio, but I serve you, the readers.
    It is for you that the staff and I work long nights and take on immense stress to bring you timely and entertaining news.
    It is for you that we are present at almost every event, happy or sad, that has to do with Pittsburg State.
    And it is for you that I embark on the journey of being your editor, to accurately and fairly represent you on this campus, in this town and in this state.
    I came to Pitt State from Baylor University in Texas. I grew up around the area because my parents are alumni, yet I was still an alien here.
    I joined The Collegio on a whim the first week of school, having never done newspaper before but wanting both a job and a way to be involved in the university.
    I could never have imagined it would grow to mean so much to me so quickly.
    I add to a rare class of Collegio editor in that I am not a communication major.
    As such, I have much still to learn, and I must rely on my staff and you, the readers, to help me. Because without you, there would be no paper.
    I don’t just mean that if you stop reading, we’d not be able to put out papers, although that is true. I mean that you are whom we write to, whom we write for.
    You are the voices from the outside, the very heartbeat of this school and this town. I am honored to be your editor and give you the opportunity to express yourselves.
    I look forward to another great year for The Collegio, for Pitt State and for you.

    Kelsea Ranz is a junior
    in international business.

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