PittCulture

  • Chicken soup for the cross-cultural soul

    | Valli Sridharan reporter |

    Bafa bafa. Gi na no na no. Gibberish?
    No, this is what a group students actually said in the cross cultural simulation, Bafa Bafa, held on Thursday, Nov. 13, in Grubbs Hall. This annual event, organized by Harriet Bachner, associate professor of psychology and counseling, and her co-leader, Grant Moss, tries to help students understand the difficulties of being in a different culture.
    “Dr. Bachner and I believe strongly that this experience teaches students about feelings that one has about their own culture and other cultures, particularly when one has to attempt to understand the other while in it,” said Moss, associate professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literature.
    The participants were divided into two groups, the Alphas and Betas, and each group developed a culture of its own based on instructions. Later, when members of one culture were exposed to the other, they tried to make sense of each other’s idiosyncratic behavior. The struggle to understand each other and to feel accepted gave the participants a glimpse of culture shock.
    “After Bafa Bafa, I realized that going to a place that you have never been and having to learn their rules and customs can be very scary,” said Lacy Ivicsics, an Arma resident.
    Although it appears as a fun-filled activity, such cross-cultural simulations can often trigger strong emotions. A few years ago, some of the international students who were participating in this event got into an argument.
    “I noticed that they had probably felt the same feelings and lived the same experiences personally in their own lives when they arrived in Pittsburg only a short time ago,” said Moss. “The simulation created the same situations and their negativity came out.”
    As the members of each group struggled to understand the other culture, Bachner and Moss said they learned a lot, too.
    “As the co-leader, I have learned that the participants actually interpret the other culture from their own make-believe lens in less than 15 minutes,” Moss said.
    “Imagine, we have spent much more time in our culture than 15 minutes.”
    The students said the simulation helped them become more sensitive to individuals from other cultures.
    “You are around strangers, and you don’t exactly understand what you’re doing,” said Ivicsics. “It can be quite challenging.”
    Ivicsics added that the exercise may even change her behavior.
    “I would definitely be friendlier to people from a different culture,” she said. “I would try and help them out as much as I can, as well as try to get to know them.”
    The cultural mishaps resulted in some humor as well, said one Beta member, Lauren Woodall, graduate student in clinical mental health counseling.
    “The best thing about tonight’s experience has to be one of the Betas mistakenly calling the alphas ‘strippers’ instead of ‘stippers,’ (as they were known),” Woodall said.

  • Look of the week

    Having a little fun

    I never thought I’d pursue a fashion career. However, as I learned more about myself, I felt that fashion was something I was very much interested in and had a sense of creativity for. Not only do I feel I’m great in this field, but I have been complimented on my fashion skills and sense. That is why I’ve decided to pursue a career in fashion merchandising.

    Korchi Yang, junior in fashion merchandising, poses with her outfit she constructed from clothes in the Career Closet located on the second floor of Horace Man.

    Korchi Yang, junior in fashion merchandising, poses with her outfit she constructed from clothes in the Career Closet located on the second floor of Horace Man.


    My goal is to own my own boutique with my sister, who is studying fashion design. We would like to come out with a clothing line for working single women who are serious about work and enjoy single life. These would include outfits from nicely fitted business attire to casual outing wear to cocktail dresses for evening fun.
    I enjoy putting together clothes and outfits for others because I like to help people look great. Of course they already look great, but the clothes and accessories they wear are there to complement them, and I enjoy giving them the compliment they deserve.
    For this week’s look, I decided to do a fun interview look with patterns and bright colors. I paired high-waisted dress pants with a hot pink blouse. I added a black and white checkered print suit jacket. This outfit looks fun to me and can be appropriate for an interview or a casual meeting.
    When it comes to interview business attire, everyone looks for that plain matching color suit bottom and jacket. However, it’s not that serious and you can definitely play around with it and have some fun with your attire. As long as you look presentable and professional, you can wear almost anything that’s sitting in your closet. It’s how you put it together that makes it presentable and professional.
    Each of the looks featured in this article are available in the Career Clothes Closet located on the second floor of Horace Mann. All clothing in the Career Clothes Closet is free to all students. The Look of the Week is brought to you by a partnership between the Office of Career Services, the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences Fashion Merchandising program, and the Collegio. 

  • Lorelei Enseble enchants audience

    | Charles A. Ault reporter |

    The angelic voices of the Lorelei Ensemble filled McCray Hall Friday, Nov. 14.
    The ensemble, founded by director Beth Willer in 2007, is based in Boston and composed of nine women.
    Each of the women hails from a different state and along with participating in the ensemble, are actively involved in their solo careers.
    The Lorelei Ensemble sung poems from the ancient writings of Tacitus to verses of Emily Dickenson, tuned to American folk songs. The concert was also arranged to mimic a Catholic mass, with a section serving as the Curare, one as the Gloria, one the Credo, and so on.
    With the exception of the American folk song “Saro,” featuring PSU’s Raul Munguia, assistant professor in music, on violin, the ensemble performed entirely a cappella.
    Munguia says he loved performing with the ensemble.
    “It is great to have these kinds of artists here in town but it is even more special to be able to play with them,” he said. “I had to practice on my own first and then we put it together today in one rehearsal only so I had to be prepared for that.”
    Students who attended the concert were not disappointed.
    “My favorite song was ‘Saro.’ I was literally crying a little bit by the end,” said Macy Gerken, sophomore in vocal music education. “I thought it was amazing, honestly. I’ve always really loved a cappella Americana folk songs and that sort of thing, so it was right up my alley.”
    Randalin Ward, freshman in instrumental education, also enjoyed the show.
    “I enjoyed the first song. I thought it set the tone for the whole concert,” Ward said.
    Sam Ortiz says he loves coming to these concerts.
    “They’re amazing,” Ortiz, sophomore in music education, said. “The very last tune was my favorite, it’s still ringing in my ears, it was so beautiful.”
    Members of the ensemble were also glad to showcase their talents at Pitt State.
    “I absolutely love coming to schools like Pitt State,” said Emily Culler, member. “(McCray) is a beautiful hall, it rivals anything else we’ve sung in. I went to a small liberal arts college, so I really appreciate the atmosphere of the campus. It’s really conducive for music like this and for me in general to be in a small, supportive community where you can know everyone and encourage everyone through your studies, it’s really great.”
    Gerken added one reason concerts such as this are so entertaining is that students have the chance to learn about the artists.
    “I look forward to coming to performances like this in the future,” she said.
    The next concert in the Pittsburg State University Solo and Chamber Series will be baritone Sidney Outlaw on Jan. 30.

  • If you’ve got it, flaunt it

    | Valli Sridharan reporter |

    More than 100 students cheered for their peers as six teams participated in “Gorillas Got Talent” on Tuesday, Nov.18, in Weede Stadium.
    The annual event raises money for the Make A Wish Foundation, an organization that grants wishes to children with terminal illness.
    “The performances were outstanding and this is a great way to raise money,” said Jacob Stevenson, senior in education.
    The six participating teams that performed were softball, baseball, volleyball, women’s track and football.
    The athletes practiced for several hours to create their dances and many say they were motivated to show their talent for a good cause.
    “Showing that the track team does have a presence at this school and is involved in the community is what kept me motivated to practice for the Gorillas Got Talent,” said Heather Glenn, sophomore in nursing and member of the women’s track team.
    The presence of students and community members were other incentives for most participants to push themselves.
    “The students and community members that came were great,” Glenn said. “They gave us a lot of support to go out there and do something that was a little nerve-wracking for most of us.”
    To determine the winning team, points were calculated based on the scores given by judges and the money donated by the audience for each team. The softball team came first, followed by baseball while the women’s track team came third. In total, they managed to collect $2,208, double the target.
    Glenn says she was excited to be on a placing team.
    “I think it is a great way to raise money,” she said. “The entertainment aspect actually brings more people to donate for Make A Wish.”
    There was some disappointment from those on teams that did not win.
    “I really wanted to win, winning feels good,” said Eric Brantley, senior in management, a participant from the football team.
    But Brantley added that it was more for entertainment and the cause that they participated in the first place.
    “More than anything, it was a great cause,” he said. “The crowd participation was fantastic and they showed a lot of support.”
    This year’s judges panel consisted of Kaylee Cole from KIX 102.5 Morning KIX with Randy and Kaylee, Phil Scott, Dan Peak, Crawford County Sheriff, and Patty Horgan.
    “The baseball was my favorite performance,” said Scott. “They had some pretty good ideas and were very creative. Judging such talented teams is a lot of fun.”
    Scott added that the teams were very talented and it was a close call.
    “Oh, it was a tough competition and the teams were pretty evenly matched,” he said. “We had to get down to details when giving scores.”
    Brantley also says the whole event served as a great learning experience.
    “While practicing, I gained a better appreciation for the men and women that are entertainers and dancers for a living,” said Brantley. “It’s not easy work by any means, they just make it look that way.”

  • Look of the Week

    A good fit

     I’ve always had a love for creating and exploring this thing we call earth. I have explored many avenues throughout my college career and am very happy where I am ending up. I’m a professional wedding photograper based in Wichita, spending most of my time on that. I love life and can’t wait for the crazy adventures I’ll have.

    Merrick Rhodes

    Merrick Rhodes


    So I was supposed to create an outfit for an interview and, seeing that none of the clothes in the Career Closet fit me, I just made do with the patterns that I enjoyed most. I was going for more of a casual interview look, which can be seemingly difficult to pull off. You don’t want to come off as too under-dressed or over-dressed. I started with a nice pair of brown leather boots. These complement most colors that could be thrown into the outfit later. Pants were next. Here is the most important part of the outfit. If you decide to go with a pair of denim pants, you need to make sure they are just classic, raw denim. These give off a very casual, yet professional feel.
    The upper half of the outfit is also key in pulling off this look. I went with an army green jacket with a simple patterned shirt and a green flannel tie. These colors were specifically chosen to show off my creativity, but not sacrifice professionalism.
    Many of you might not have access to a mass amount of clothes or have access to the Career Closet when you need it. My most useful advice is choose something that expresses who you are, because they are trying to decide whether you are a good fit for their company. The worst thing you want to do is try to be something you aren’t, and then get hired at a place that doesn’t even fit you. You want them to hire you for YOU. Nothing else. 
    Each of the looks featured in this article are available in the Career Clothes Closet, located on the second floor of Horace Mann.  All clothing in the Career Clothes Closet are free to all students.  The Look of the Week is brought to you by the partnership between the Office of Career Services, the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences Fashion Merchandising program, and the Collegio.   

    Merrick Rhodes is a senior in fashion merchandising

  • Mind games

    | Audrey Dighans copy editor |

    The International Gathering was not the only gathering of the night Friday, Nov. 7, in Grubbs Hall.
    While many learned about African countries, some passed through the lobby crowd to Grubbs 107 for the Student Activities Council (SAC) Quizbowl.
    “Quizbowl is a competitive academic exercise with questions covering all sorts of topics from pop culture, history, science, math, sports, anything, where teams ‘buzz-in’ to try and score points,” said Meagan Smejdir, programming coordinator for campus activities. “SAC has hosted several Quizbowls in the past, it’s always a fun event to participate in and watch. It’s impressive to see what people know.”
    This semester’s Quizbowl featured a total of nine teams, with a maximum of four to a team, which Smejdir called a good turnout.

    Dagen Worthington, a sophomore in Chemistry, answers the question in Quizz Bowl in Grubbs Hall on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014.

    Dagen Worthington, a sophomore in Chemistry, answers the question in Quizz Bowl in Grubbs Hall on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014.


    The teams competed in a double elimination tournament. Four teams, two to a room, were able to compete in each round, which consisted of 15 questions.
    “I hope I know most of them,” said Travis Eppinger, senior in graphic communications.
    Eppinger says he joined his team at the last minute because his friends needed a fourth member.
    “I thought, ‘Why not?’ it might be fun, and it’s turning out to be a lot of fun,” Eppinger said. “I like the competiveness of it.”
    To keep it fair and suspenseful, Smejdir says the questions are preordered by a company that specializes in making Quizbowl questions for competitions such as SAC’s.
    “No team has access to the questions beforehand,” Smejdir said.
    Phillip Foster, sophomore in history, says the questions were esoteric but not necessarily difficult.
    “My favorite one of the evening was, ‘What video game had these final words: wake me when you need me?’” Foster said.
    Many competitors also say that they enjoyed getting a free meal during the event.
    “It’s an added bonus for the students who sign up,” Smejdir said. “These competitions usually start at 6 or 7 and will go until 9, maybe 10.”
    In the past, Quizbowls have taken place in Overman Student Center with the meeting place in the Crimson & Gold Ballroom and the smaller meeting rooms used for rounds. Due to other campus events and construction on the student center, SAC made the decision to use Grubbs this semester. Future Quizbowls will most likely be held in Grubbs as well, Smejdir says, since the ballroom will be offline next semester for renovations.
    After rounds and rounds of competition, at the end of the night, Foster and his teammates Marcus Platt, Christopher Gordon and Tanner Christy, “The Boxists,” took third place.
    “I am happy with the place we received,” Foster said. “I like Quizbowls, it was a good Friday night.”
    Second place went to team “White Dynamite,” composed of Zachary Botkin, Reed White and Tyler Casteel while first place went to team “Astronaut Sloth,” consisting of Charles Ault, Gage Davies, Mason Williams and Gavin Houser.
    Astronaut Sloth also took home $400 in prize money and will have the chance to compete at a regional level Quizbowl next semester representing Pitt State against other universities.

  • Flapjackin’

    | Haley Riebel reporter |

    Up in the air

    Footballs weren’t the only objects flying through the air on Saturday, Nov. 8.
    While Pitt State took on Central Missouri, a second crowd gathered outside the stadium to watch 9-year-old Amanda Shore flip pancakes.
    The pancakes were doled out by Shore and other employees of Chris Cakes, a family owned company in Kansas City. Shore is a descendant of the owners and one of the company’s youngest employees.
    Chris Cakes was started by Christiansen 45 years ago in Pocahontas, Iowa, with the goal of providing a lot of pancakes in a short amount of time. This is done with a specially designed batter dispenser and grill that allows the cook to make 12 pancakes at a time.

    Max Dresner, resident of Pittsburg, catches pancakes flipped to him by Amanda Shore of Chris Cakes at the Gorilla Village on Saturday, Nov. 8.

    Max Dresner, resident of Pittsburg, catches pancakes flipped to him by Amanda Shore of Chris Cakes at the Gorilla Village on Saturday, Nov. 8.


    The company has gone on to bigger and better things, growing away from the 1,800-population town. Chris Cakes now caters nationwide with 10 franchises across the U.S. and holds two world records, including “Highest Flipped” and “Fastest Flapjack Flipper.”
    This was useful information for Meagan Stafford, assistant director of alumni and constituent relations, when she set up the event with the intent to feed students something other than the stereotypical pre-game foods.
    “We do tailgating events every home game and we always try different things every game,” she said. “I figured a chilly day and warm pancakes would go good together.”
    Cheyenne Garrison, junior in graphic design and self-proclaimed chocolate chip pancake lover, agreed.
    “It’s a different kind of food besides hamburgers and hot dogs,” she said.
    Chris Cakes came to the Gorilla Village prepared to flip pancakes for more than 100 people, which some may think is a lot of batter, but it’s nothing compared to the group’s largest event in which they served more than 5,000 people a few years ago. Chris Cakes has been featured multiple times in the Guinness Book of World Records, appeared on television, and flipped flapjacks approved by four presidents. A degree of seriousness is needed but a sense of humor is required.
    “My favorite pancake is one that someone else makes for me,” said Steve Hamilton, owner.

    Pinwheels for change

    Flying flapjacks weren’t the only attraction at Saturday’s Gorilla Fest.
    Laura Worley, senior in social work, sold pinwheels with proceeds benefiting the Kansas Children’s Service League (KCSL), a private, non-profit organization with the goal to protect the well being of children who have previously suffered abuse or neglect.
    “As seniors in the social work program, we are encouraged to choose a cause in the community we feel strongly about and find a way to help the cause,” Worley said. “Child abuse and neglect is a big issue everywhere and Kansas is no exception. The Healthy Families program reduces child abuse and neglect while promoting healthy family relationships.”
    KCSL serves more than 40,000 children and families a year by taking them in at both shelters and safe homes where they can offer professional help and support.
    The pinwheels were chosen for the fundraiser by Worley. She says they were a good way to represent what KCSL stands for, the pinwheels never stop spinning as KCSL never stops working for the betterment of children.
    Worley challenged herself to sell 100 pinwheels for a total of $200 raised for KCSL. By the end of the day, $114 was raised.
    “We didn’t sell as many as we wanted to,” Worley said. “I plan to sell the remaining pinwheels on campus at a later date for a discounted price.”

  • Spice it up

    Look of the Week

    As a fashion merchandising major, picking out an appropriate outfit for an interview from the PSU career closet was more of a hobby for me than an assignment.
    I did not know what to expect, but was so surprised to see the variety of clothes that are offered to students in the career closet.

    Tyler Conkiln, senior in polictial science and internal studies, shows off the look of the week constructed by Kylie Kendall, senior in fashion merchandising, from clothes out of the Career Closest located on the second floor of Horace Man.

    Tyler Conkiln, senior in polictial science and internal studies, shows off the look of the week constructed by Kylie Kendall, senior in fashion merchandising, from clothes out of the Career Closest located on the second floor of Horace Man.


    I brought a friend of mine to dress, rather than dressing myself because I have always loved to help other people pick out outfits for special occasions. Being a senior about to step out into the real world, it is very important to know what an “appropriate” outfit for an interview would consist of.
    The outfit I chose for Tyler, my friend, was a simple red pencil skirt, tucked in black blouse, and a blazer to throw on over the blouse that completed the outfit. I even put a set of simple pearls with it, just to spice it up a bit. I was very satisfied with how the outfit turned out because it was very stylish, yet still had a professional and sophisticated look to it. It took awhile to pick out the outfit because there are so many options in the career closet to choose from. However, it was fun to mix and match different outfits and looks together.
    The red pencil skirt instantly caught my eye when I walked into the career closet, so I decided to build off of that. The black blouse was an easy item to pair with the skirt, so I decided to use it also. I thought it looked much better tucked in because it gave it a sharp look rather than a slouchy look. Finally, the blazer I picked just completed the outfit and I loved how it turned out.
    I would definitely recommend all students to stop in the career closet if they ever have any trouble finding appropriate clothes for an interview in their own closet. There are so many different options and sizes to choose from, both men and women. I feel that it is too good of a resource for PSU students to pass up!

    Kylie Kendall is a senior in fashion merchandising

  • Chunkin’ Punkins

    | Haley Riebel reporter |

    At the end of every Halloween season there seems to be more than enough candy around, but the once intricately carved jack-o-lanterns start to rot and it’s time for them to go. For those whoforgot to Pinterest a way to make their pumpkins last longer, the rotting ball of moldy mush usually gets thrown out. But Sara Pope had a different idea.

    Sara Pope, senior in social work, launches a pumpkin at the PKD Pumpkin Chunkin fundraiser on Sunday, Nov. 2.

    Sara Pope, senior in social work, launches a pumpkin at the PKD Pumpkin Chunkin fundraiser on Sunday, Nov. 2.

    PKD Pumpkin Chunkin
    Pope, senior in social work, decided to organize “Punkin’ Chunkin,’” an a fundraiser in which she raised awareness of polycystic fidney disease while allowing people to dispose of unwanted Halloween leftovers in a more splattering way.
    About 20 residents and students joined in Pittsburg’s first Punkin’ Chunkin’ on Sunday, Nov. 2. where the top chuck of the day was recorded at 24 feet.
    “There were not as many people as we wanted…but she (Pope) got a lot of awareness out,” said Valerie Ashcraft, senior in social work, who brought her children to participate in the event. Ashcraft’s son received third place with a launch of 17 feet, 4 inches.
    Punkin’ Chunkin’ Pittsburg began as a project for Pope’s field study. The state of Delaware hosts a world championship Punkin’ Chunkin’ each year and Pope chose to bring the event to Pittsburg to discard of old jack-o-lanterns and raise money for PKD research, a disease that hits closer to home for Pope as her husband and three of her siblings have all been diagnosed with it.
    “I’ve always wanted to go to Delaware’s Punkin’ Chunkin’,” Pope said. “I’ve not gotten the chance so I made the best of my circumstances. As a social work student we are given opportunities to interact in environments we may encounter. This was my way of bringing an experience to SEK.”
    PKD affects one in every 500 people, with most cases becoming present during childhood. Cases tend to gradually become worse when an individual with the disease reaches adulthood, as it spreads from the kidneys to other organs such as the liver. Children with one parent suffering from the disease have a 50 percent chance of getting it themselves.
    Pope was not alone in her fight for awareness.
    The catapult used during Punkin’ Chunkin was brought by a resident and other organizations. Including Home Depot, The Medical Lodge, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Chatter’s, Sweet Designs Cakery, TJ Belcher Insurance, Jock’s Nitch, and Mall Deli teamed up with Pope to organize the event and make supply donations.
    Pope set a goal of raising $500 during the event, $90 of which was met through entry fees and concessions.
    “I am working on another fundraiser with the remaining supplies and prizes from this event to reach the rest of my goal,” Pope said.
    The first Punkin’ Chunkin’ may not have had a high turnout, but Pope says it is still a fundraiser in the making.

  • A Night of Lights

    Students celebrate India’s Diwali

    | Charles A. Ault reporter |

    A little bit of India came to Pittsburg State on Saturday, Nov. 1, when the Indian Student Association held its annual celebration of Diwali, the festival of lights.
    “Those who aren’t able to go to India have an opportunity to be exposed to the culture and to celebrate our friends and family from around the world,” said Lynette Olson, provost. “I’m so pleased to be here.”
    Diwali is often regarded as one of the largest and most celebrated holidays in India.
    “I miss Diwali in India,” said Pranami Mendpara, international student. “This is my fourth semester away from home, and it is so nice being able to celebrate it here because there are no Indian restaurants in Pittsburg. Our culture is a bit limited here, but Diwali makes us excited.”
    Mendpara says she and other students spent more than two weeks preparing for Diwali.
    “We ordered food from Kansas City and all of our outfits we brought from home,” Mendpara said.
    Diwali in Pittsburg began with attendees entering the Crimson & Gold Ballroom and receiving a red Bindi on their foreheads. The Bindi is a traditional forehead decoration typical of South Asia. It is most commonly seen as a red dot but can be shown in other colors or marked by a piece of jewelry.
    The crowd was then welcomed with a short speech by the president of the Indian Student Association. The president asked Olson to join him on stage once more to light a lamp, which during Diwali signifies the triumph of knowledge over ignorance. In Pittsburg, it signified the start of the celebration.
    Multiple presentations from various Indian students covered an array of Indian culture, traditions and history. Mendbara and others danced in traditional outfits to Indian music. Classical dances such as Bharata and Natyam were performed.
    “I thought it was really entertaining, they are great performers and also it was just really culturally interesting to see the blending of the old and the new,” said Garrett Harmon, freshman in biology.
    Singing is also a part of Diwali and many of the songs impressed students such as Amanda Brunellie.
    “I liked the singing and the dancing,” Brunellie, freshman in nursing, said. “The presentations were interesting, I have not been exposed to very much Indian culture before tonight.”
    After seeing a little bit of India, the audience got to taste a little bit of it, too.
    “The food is fantastic,” said Harmon.
    Rice is one of the main dishes in India and to provide some variety, several sauces varying in spice and flavor were provided for everyone to mix, match or enjoy favorites. Indian bread, dough in sweet sauce, chicken and a fruit puree helped to balance the buffet.
    “I’d heard minimally about Diwali,” Harmon said. “This has really brought my preconceived notions together and made it a solid idea. I for sure don’t want to miss this next year.”
    Dinner wasn’t the end of the evening, though. After the food, the crowd moved outside to watch fireworks, which for Diwali lovers, furthers the celebration of the triumph of light over darkness.
    “It was a great evening,” Mendpara said. “It was fun to present, it was fun to celebrate.”

Leave A Comment