PittLife

  • Speaker touches on leadership differences across generations

    | Tyler Koester reporter |

    A dozen students were schooled in the importance of possessing leadership skills in these times by motivational speaker Corey Taylor in Yates Hall on Thursday, Feb. 19. Taylor spoke at Pitt State as part of the school’s celebration of Black History Month.
    Taylor is a producer, speaker and author. One of the films he helped produce is The Wayman Tisdale Story, which tells the story of the late NBA player and jazz musician. He was awarded an Emmy Award and three Telly Awards for the film.
    Taylor has also directed federal grant-based programs and worked as a school board member. His other titles include the co-founder and president of Conquest Inc., and former member of the National Speakers Association.
    Taylor, who had the energetic and vivacious delivery of a preacher, started the evening off with a funny anecdote about his time as a Pitt State student. He even said he remembered having a physics class in the room that he was speaking in that night. On the first day of class, his professor came in, dropped a ball on his desk and told the class, “OK, for your homework tonight I want you to tell me how fast that ball was going.”
    “I said ‘what?’” Taylor said. “So, needless to say it was my first time coming and my last because I went to him and said, ‘I’m not going to be able to do this, I thought I could do physics but I don’t understand that’.”
    Besides sharing college stories other students could relate to, Taylor’s main purpose was to talk about the importance of recognizing leadership differences across generations. That recognizing those differences may help someone understand why their parents or grandparents act the way they do.
    “Leadership evolves,” Taylor said. “Leadership from one generation to the next is never the same.”
    With a PowerPoint presentation as his aid, Taylor discussed the various traits of the Baby Boomer, Generation X and Millennial generations. He laid a heavy emphasis on the “chain of command” and “respect from each other’s loyalty” qualities of the Baby Boomers, the “desire for mentoring” and the “necessity for personal values to matter” qualities of Generation X and the “value of involvement and self-promotion” and group think qualities of the Millennials.
    It was Taylor’s breakdown of these qualities that stood out to Kasey Ruark, freshman in accounting who attended his speech as part of a class assignment.
    “I never really took the time to think about that like he did,” Ruark said.
    In the context of Black History Month, Taylor’s discussion of different leadership qualities could help explain the motives of such leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcolm X. They both advocated solutions to racial inequality and they accomplished this through their own unique leadership styles. Martin promoted a peaceful style, while Malcolm promoted a more aggressive style.
    Speaking of unique leadership styles, Taylor concluded his speech by expressing the necessity for the attendants to adopt their own leadership style.
    “Going into the future, you all need to understand your own leadership.”

  • ‘Breakfast at Night’ at Gorilla Crossing

    | Charles A. Ault reporter |

    For Jordan Riggs, the event’s main attraction was bacon.
    “The bacon was good, the eggs were delicious, the hash browns were great, the pancakes were pancakes, and pancakes are always good,” said Riggs, senior in music education.
    Riggs was just one of a number of hungry Gorillas to attend the “Breakfast at Night” dinner at Gorilla Crossing in the Overman Student Center on Friday, Feb. 20.

    Ali Aldawood and Mohammad Alidarous, juniors in electronic engineering, garnish their food with provided condiments at the Student Activities Council's Late Night Breakfast event on Friday, Feb. 20, 2015.

    Ali Aldawood and Mohammad Alidarous, juniors in electronic engineering, garnish their food with provided condiments at the Student Activities Council’s Late Night Breakfast event on Friday, Feb. 20, 2015.


    The dinner began at 8 p.m. and lasted until midnight, when students were treated to a free full “brinner,” door prizes and Nickelodeon trivia.
    The meal’s price of $0.00 was a big draw for many students, such as Jamellia Rothschild, sophomore in communication.
    “I needed some food and who doesn’t love breakfast, especially a free one, so why not stop by,” Rothschild said. “And we got some prizes, some free things to take home with us, too.”
    Besides being free, many students say they came just for the good food.
    Jesse Blake, sophomore in music education, says he heard about the event on Facebook.
    “I got a picture one of my friends shared with me and I got really excited because I like breakfast food,” Blake said.
    Breakfast at Night was catered by Sodexo and organized by Student Activities Council (SAC). Jordan Simoncic, graduate student in business and member of SAC, was the event’s student director. He says Breakfast at Night was put on as part of SAC’s “Jungle Night” series, nights in which SAC sponsors events designed to give students alcohol-alternative options on how to spend an evening.
    “Tonight, in addition to partnering with Sodexo to do breakfast at midnight, we partnered with the bookstore who is doing a flash sale,” Simoncic said. “Since we were partnered with them they helped spread the word about tonight.”
    The bookstore’s flash sale featured all clearance items marked an additional 50 percent off. However, the sale was not as well attended as the breakfast, and also ended at 10 p.m. whereas breakfast was served until midnight.
    Drew Mitchell, sophomore in nursing, says he attended previous Jungle Nights and always enjoys the hypnotist show SAC puts on at the beginning of the year.
    “I enjoy events like these,” Drew said. “But this is a freaking awesome idea. I’m not going to lie, free food is always a win.”
    SAC will host its fourth and final Jungle Night of the school year later this semester.
    Simoncic says students should expect a “game show night and a pop culture clash.”

  • Making memories

    | Gretchen Burns reporter |

    Gorilla Nation got a bit more ‘family-ier’ during the university’s annual Family Night at the Pitt State basketball game on Thursday, Feb. 12.
    While PSU took on the University of Nebraska-Kearney on the court, families took in the thrill of the game and some fun during the Alumni Center hosted event.

    Kindergartener Zoey Howard wins a pink bike in a raffle at family night that took place at the Weede during the women and men's basketball games Thursday, Feb. 12.

    Kindergartener Zoey Howard wins a pink bike in a raffle at family night that took place at the Weede during the women and men’s basketball games Thursday, Feb. 12.


    “Every year we try to do better than the year before,” said Jon Bartlow, director of the Alumni Center. “We worked with both the athletics department and Sodexo to make it better than last year.”
    To increase family attendance, fliers were sent to area elementary schools so pupils could take them home to their parents. A ticket covered the cost of the game and a meal.
    In conjunction with the university, Craw-Kan became a sponsor of Family Night this year as well and provided a boys and a girls bike and an iPad Mini, the three prizes ticket purchasers were eligible to win.
    Children were also invited to help make cheer signs for the Gorillas behind the student section.
    “The majority of people who come to Family Night are alumni,” Bartlow said. “We wanted to change that.”
    Overall, 191 tickets were purchased.
    Rusty Flack says he was grateful the university was reaching out to the community to attend the games, especially the elementary school pupils.
    “This is really awesome for the kids,” said Flack, whose daughter Rhian, participated in the event. “It’s just really nice to see everyone get out there and see the interaction between the university and our elementary schools.”
    Rhian says she was excited to attend the collegiate game and watch the Gorillas play.
    “My favorite part about this is watching the Gorillas kick the other team’s butt,” she said.
    The first prize was given away during the women’s halftime show and Zoey Howard was the lucky winner of the girl’s hot-pink bike.
    “I’m going to wait a while to ride it,” she said. “I’m super excited to get a new bike. I can’t wait to tell all of my friends.”
    Zack Howard, Zoey’s father, was also excited that his daughter had won.
    “It’s pretty cool that the school and Craw-Kan worked together to bring out these prizes for the kids,” Zack said. “The school has created such a good event with the community. It would be nice to see more events like this.”
    Mona Spencer says she bought tickets to Family Night so she could take her granddaughters to the games.
    “My daughter and her family live in Pitt and it’s nice to come for Family Night and it gives us something to do,” Spencer said. “My husband and daughter both graduated from Pitt and my husband is in the Hall of Fame from here.”

  • Slammin’ on the issues

    Poetry slam brings ‘real talk’ to campus

    | Audrey Dighans copy editor |

    A poetic aura filled Whitesitt 103 for the Black Student Association’s and the Office of Student Diversity’s co-sponsored Poetry Slam on Tuesday, Feb. 17, in which roughly 30 students attended.
    Though the slam was held in honor of Black History Month, spoken-word artists Brandon Thornton and M’Vyonne Payne emphasized the night’s poems would focus on not only black history, but other issues as well.

    Brandon Thornton presents his poem and asks students to stand up repeating his poem during Poetry Slam and Xplicit the Poet event in Whitesitt Hall 103 on Monday, Feb. 17.

    Brandon Thornton presents his poem and asks students to stand up repeating his poem during Poetry Slam and Xplicit the Poet event in Whitesitt Hall 103 on Monday, Feb. 17.


    “Artists such as myself and M’Vyonne are big believers in energy,” said Thornton. “With that being said, ‘energy’ is not as strong when it is dispersed like it is in here so if you could all come up to these first few rows and get nice and close we will give more power to the energy we are going to create.”
    After the attendants reseated themselves, Thornton explained they were no longer in a classroom but in an arena at a concert, and he began with a series of haikus.
    Mixed into the haikus, Thornton explained the theory of “real talk,” and how if whatever the audience heard related to them they should feel free to snap and shout out “real talk” at any point of the performance.
    Thornton’s haikus were followed by a longer poem centered on life in the United States where he brought up the issues of safe sex, respect for women, equality, money, the importance of education, relationships and generational habits.
    “Who has time to sleep when you’re living your dreams,” Thornton said in his poem. “Ignorance is expensive, stop over-analyzing. Life should be explored.”
    Payne then performed “Propensity of being Precocious,” an alliteration poem discussing the stereotypes, stigmas and issues faced by young African-American women in today’s society.
    “Have you ever counted how many ‘P’s you have in that poem?” Thornton asked Payne afterward.
    This was one of several side conversations interwoven with the performances that effectively bridged the gap between Thornton and Payne and their audience.
    Thornton and Payne continued to take turns performing their compositions about life in college, the importance of education, empowering yourself and life’s struggles.
    “I wrote this poem for a 13-year-old girl who wore her pain on her wrists like bracelets,” Payne said during her piece entitled “Struggle.” “I wrote this poem for a 17-year-old girl who cared more about the shape of her body than the shape of her mind for a college exam.
    “There ain’t a person you meet who won’t hurt you, you have to decide who’s worth suffering for. Use your mind to find knowledge, ‘cause your life depends on it.”
    Both artists also shared poems with themes of black history, pride and empowerment.
    “’My Hair Story’ chronicles the journey of acceptance of my hair,” Payne said pointing to her hair. “My roots were thick. Denying the slave in me made me slave to a flat iron…I couldn’t stare in the mirror for fear of a kink because I worried about what others would think.”
    After their performances, Thornton and Payne encouraged audience members to share their own poems if they had any and invited those who did not to try anyway.
    Ally Lubowicz, with some prompting from the audience, was the only student to stand up.
    “Mine are nothing compared to that,” Lubowicz, freshman undeclared, said.
    Payne responded saying, “It’s not about the comparison but about your expression.”
    Lubowicz’s poem was received well by the audience as well as Thornton and Payne, who thanked her for her courage to perform.

  • Wings, sauce and fundraising?

    | Gretchen Burns reporter |

    Buffalo Wild wings is allowing groups and organizations to raise money across the nation and Pittsburg State University organizations are beginning to take advantage of the offer.
    Ryan Mendoza said that there are two types of fundraising events that organizations can participate in: the Eat Wings, Raise Funds event and the Hometown Advantage event.

    Dagen Worthington, sophomore in chemistry, and Brittany Mundy, freshman in chemisty, spend time eating together in Gibson dining hall. People in healthy relationships do many things together including eating a meal with one another.

    Dagen Worthington, sophomore in chemistry, and Brittany Mundy, freshman in chemisty, spend time eating together in Gibson dining hall. People in healthy relationships do many things together including eating a meal with one another.


    “The Eat Wings, Raise Funds event is a one-day fundraiser where fliers are handed out before the event telling of the organization wanting to fundraise,” said Mendoza, assistant manager for Buffalo Wild Wings for the Pittsburg location. “Each person who mentions the flier will get 10 percent of their total donated to the organization. At the end of the day, the total is figured and 10 percent of the sales is given in check form to the organization.”
    The Lambda Chi Alpha chapter in Pittsburg participated in the Eat Wings, Raise Funds event and would do it again if given the chance.
    “We heard about the fundraiser and saw the posters hanging on the walls,” said Mitch Ralston, senior in construction management and president of Lambda Chi Alpha. “We sat down with the manager and went through the pamphlet. It worked good enough the first time we did it and we plan on hopefully doing it again many more times.”
    Ralston did not know how much funding was obtained for Lambda Chi Alpha after their fundraising day.
    The second fundraiser is the Hometown Advantage. It takes place over a determined amount of time instead of just one day.
    “For the month, we give the organization cards to hand out,” said Mendoza. “Each person that brings in that card for the fundraiser during the time will end up having 10 percent of their purchase donated to the organization.”
    According to Mendoza, an organization that has participated in the Hometown Advantage has been the Pittsburg State University ROTC. Organizations and schools that have participated in the Eat Wings, Raise Funds event were Pittsburg High School, St. Mary’s Colgan, Lambda Chi and other local organizations.
    Organizations that wish to apply for either fundraising event can obtain a form at https://www.buffalowildwings.com/fundraiser-application/. Those who apply must specify what type of fundraising event they would like to participate in and how the funding will be used. A contact must be specified as to whom the check will be mailed.

  • Love Monkey is prize for raffle

    | Gretchen Burns reporter |

    A giant 4-foot stuffed monkey has been making the rounds on campus and it will become the prized possession of one lucky student.
    The stuffed monkey fundraiser has been dubbed “the Love Monkey Competition” and is part of the annual Gorillas in Your Midst raffle to raise funding for an annual conference.
    Kelsey Lueck said the reason for the chance tickets is that many times, items have been donated and the organization raffles them off as fundraisers.
    “Essentially, we get a lot of things donated to us and we decided to have a healthy competition for students and raise some money at the same time,” said Lueck, senior in psychology.
    Gorillas in Your Midst conducts a Valentine’s Day-themed event every year, and works with college students to supply some form of gift idea while raising funds for the conference.
    “It’s a Midwest area conference, the Meeting of the Minds,” said Lueck. “All the regional peer leaders gather together, from Missouri, KU, K-State and Wichita State, all come together and network and talk about what they’ve been doing at their schools and meet with each other to swap ideas. It helps us plan for the future with our section for what we’ll be doing.”
    Another conference the organization attends is the BACCHUS conference in Kansas City in mid-April.
    “It’s a big, national conference,” Lueck said. “We’re raising the money for our travel expenses and essentially we get to learn how to educate the students on our campus really well and see what other campuses are doing that are helping their students, and networking to figure out the best way that we can help our campus and figuring out new ways the whole time.”
    J.T. Knoll says that while the conference will cost about $2,000, currently only $82 has been raised.
    “I saw the monkey in Dillons,” said Knoll, Gorillas in Your Midst adviser. “We talked it over and decided it would be a fun way to raise money for the group. Students have named him ‘Gary the Love Monkey.’”
    The main fundraiser for Gorillas in Your Midst will be on Friday, Feb. 13, when members participate in their annual Valentine’s Day flower sale. Knoll says they hope to raise $250-$300.”
    Vases will be given out when flowers are bought on Friday, but they will be available only in a limited quantity. Flowers can be found in the Yates Hall lobby. Roses are $3.50 each and white, pink, or red carnations will be available for $1.50 each. Chances to win the 4-foot stuffed monkey will also be available. Tickets are six for $5 or one ticket for $1.

  • Valentine’s Day Events

    Brass O’Grams

    The PSU Student Brass Quintet or “Horns of Harmony” will offer its musical talents for Valentine’s Day by performing a love song for the sender’s Valentine in their office, classroom or off-campus location, as well as delivering a bag of Hershey’s Kisses.
    A Brass O’Gram will cost $15 for on-campus delivery and $20 for off-campus. A group performance after 5 p.m. is available for any off-campus delivery for
    $100. Money raised by the quintet will help
    pay for the PSU Wind Ensemble’s trip to
    New York City to perform at the
    Lincoln Center. For more information
    and to set up delivery/payment
    options, email
    ajbeau@gus.pittstate.edu

    Valentine’s Day Fundraiser

    The Pitt State chapter of Gamma Epsilon Tau, PSU’s graphics honors society, will host the organization’s first ever Valentine’s Day photo booth to raise funds for the group’s yearly activities on Thursday, Feb. 12, and Friday,
    Feb. 13. Quality photo prints for $3, easy
    sharing uploads to Facebook for $3 or
    for $5 receive both prints and
    digital copies.The booth will be
    set up from 10 a.m. to
    2 p.m. in Overman
    Student Center

    Singing telegrams

    Phi Mu Alpha will deliver serenades Friday, Feb. 13, and Saturday, Feb. 14. The cost for an on-campus delivery will be $10 and for off-campus $15. Each serenade is accompanied by a carnation from
    Gorillas in Your Midst.
    Call 272-2014 for
    more information.

  • ‘Suit’ yourself, it is the career – fair

    | Valli Sridharan reporter |

    Students had the chance to showcase themselves during the annual Spring Career Fair on Tuesday, Feb. 10. With new companies, new internships and a new venue, this year’s fair made many changes for both students and prospective employers.

    Pitt State students look for internships and full-time professional positions during Spring Career Day in Student Rec Center on Tuesday, February, 10.

    Pitt State students look for internships and full-time professional positions during Spring Career Day in Student Rec Center on Tuesday, February, 10.


    “We have over 100 companies participating,” said Mindy Cloninger, director of career services. “We have the police-department, mental health organizations, universities and others. This gave students a huge opportunity to get an internship or a job.”
    One student said he is happy with the choice and number of companies that attended.
    “Compared to last time, this fair is very diverse in terms of types of companies,” said Lucas Pryer, junior in diesel heavy machinery. “There are a lot of different organizations ranging from healthcare to machinery. This is a pretty good idea.”
    The companies were also pleased with the fair’s organization.
    “The organization of the fair is pretty good,” said Timothy Gleydura, human resource manager for Wal Mart. “The aisles are nice and wide allowing the traffic to get by comfortably. It has been a great response. We have had a lot of different people coming to us and we gathered some impressive resumes.”
    Pryer says students should do a bit of homework to improve their chances of getting the desired internship or job.
    “I normally try to go over my resume to update it,” he said. “This ensures that I have included all my achievements. It is also a good idea to look up the companies that are coming for the fair. This lets the companies know you are prepared and serious.”
    Nathan Cooper agreed with Pryer.
    “It is very important to know where your want to go,” Cooper, sales support at Central Power Systems and Services and PSU alum, said. “Having a good vision of you future is very important. The employer must know that you know what you can do and what you want to learn.”
    Cloninger says that many students in the past have mistakenly assumed that career fairs were excusively held for technology and business majors and that liberal arts students could not benefit from them.
    “Businesses and industries recruit in an organized and structured way,” Cloninger said. “I agree that it is very different from the way the liberal arts sector works. We encourage students with liberal arts or other fields to still attend the career fair and find out who is there and get acquainted with the firms. They can get accustomed to articulating their choices. And they may even find a job that you never expected to be there.”
    Cooper added that his own career fair experiences provide the perfect example of how attending fairs can give you an edge over other applicants.
    “Learning how to talk to people is a very important professional skill. I could nail my main interview because I had the experience of talking to people in the previous career fairs.”

  • Lecture series brings topics together

    | Gretchen Burns reporter |

    The Linda & Lee Performance Hall in the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts saw nine lectures on the topic “art and healing” for the art department’s annual Interdisciplinary Lecture series on Friday, Feb. 6. The series topic centered on the art exhibit by Maria Lupo, currently on display in the University Gallery of Porter Hall.

    Deborah Fischer and Karen Tompkins-Dobbs, members of the faculty in PSU's Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing, talk about art therapy during the interdisciplinary lecture series on Friday, Feb 6.

    Deborah Fischer and Karen Tompkins-Dobbs, members of the faculty in PSU’s Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing, talk about art therapy during the interdisciplinary lecture series on Friday, Feb 6.


    Input and perspective of many Pitt State professors, employees as well as invited visual and performing artists, healthcare professions and more spent the day giving 30 minute lectures on how art and healing have been involved in their fields of study and work,
    Xiaolu Wu, professor of biology, was one of the presenters. Her lecture covered the art of healing from a cell and molecular perspective.
    To begin her presentation, a picture of Wolverine from Marvel Comics was projected onto the drop-screen, to not only give some humor to her lecture but to offer the audience something to identify with as she began to discuss regeneration.
    “Cells are programmed to die within the body,” Wu said. “When certain cells die the death of those cells can create the five fingers that are on your hand instead of just having a solid pad.”
    Wu says that programmed cell death, apoptosis, causes 50 billion to 70 billion cells to die in the human body each day.
    Jamie McDaniel, guest speaker, discussed the disability and deviance of Daria Argento’s “Phenomenon” and the maintenance of abled-ness in his presentation. McDaniel says that in many horror films the disfiguration of characters leads people to believe that those characters are evil and terrible.
    Josie Mais, professor of art education, says art and healing had a big impact on the Joplin, Mo., community after the tornado in 2011.
    “We asked children how they would rebuild Joplin if they were given the chance,” Mais said. “There were some interesting ideas. One was rebuilding Joplin as ice cream. There were huge ice cream cone towers.”
    Mais added many of the submitted children’s drawings were included and influenced several of the murals that can now be seen throughout Joplin.
    While the lectures on cells, disfiguration and children’s drawings seem to have no inter-relation, many students who attended the lectures say they were intrigued by the realization there was a relationship between all the discussions.
    Brittany Walton, junior in commercial art and graphic design, says she thought the lectures were interesting and previously didn’t think of how the campus’ different departments and areas can inter-relate for a given topic.
    “I thought it was a really cool day and it was really informative,” Walton said. “It was a wide variety of subjects and topics and I thought it was interesting how they all fit together.”
    To tie things together for everyone, the final speaker of the series was the artist herself, Maria Lupo.
    “I’m so grateful that I was able to stimulate such conversation and discuss such fascinating topics that are so interconnected,” Lupo said.
    Lupo discussed in her lecture how her personal therapy, art, takes place in two forms: the image itself and the working of the art.
    Lupo gives a gender to all of her creations after creating the nose, classifying them as either “he” or “she.”
    “With each creature that I make, I feel that they should have a world to go with them,” she said. “So with each creature, I create a map of the world that they belong to.”

  • Best of both worlds

    | Valli Sridharan reporter |

    Would you like to take the opportunity to visit a new country?
    How about meeting new people and exploring another culture?

    Students consult infomations about study abroad on Thursday, Feb 5.

    Students consult infomations about study abroad on Thursday, Feb 5.


    And all of that, while earning credits and adding a valuable credential to your resume?
    If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you have been bitten by the “Study Abroad” bug.
    Whitesitt hallways were crowded Thursday, Feb. 5, as students explored the Study Abroad Fair. Many of Pitt State’s international students from countries including Finland, Germany and Kazakhstan, participated in the fair by providing information on their home countries and their currently on-going study abroad experience.
    “Education in Finland is completely free,” said Aino Niukkala, sophomore in education. “So if you come from PSU, you pay the tuition here and study in Finland for free. Also, you don’t have to buy books. This cuts down a lot of cost for students.”
    Cost can and is often a deciding factor for many students on whether they will study abroad and finding funding can be difficult.
    To help combat this, Shelia Foster, counselor at the Office of Financial Assistance, says students should consider using their financial aid.
    “A lot of students think that financial aid is just grants,” Foster said. “But it is a lot more than that. There are federal student loans, scholarships, subsidized loans, etc. Students need to realize the value of financial aid because that could determine if their study-abroad plan will work or not.”
    A few students who visited the fair have already had the experience of studying abroad and were looking for new programs to try and have that experience again.
    “I would love to be able to go back and do study abroad again,” said Nikki Stone, senior in communication. “The entire experience and interacting with the people is so amazing. It is something you don’t really get to experience unless you go for study abroad. That is definitely worth any kind of money.”
    Many professors say studying abroad offers students the chance to step out of their comfort zones and learn more about the world they live in, which also gives them an edge in their professional lives.
    “Graduate schools and recruiting companies give preference to students who have had a study-abroad experience,” said Tillie Fathbruckner, assistant director of the study abroad office. “Students can start early by looking at the programs they might be interested. Some programs are indeed expensive, but if they take up a job and start saving early enough it can be done.”

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