PittLife

  • In the jungle, the real jungle

    International students from African countries, share their culture, customs

    | Robin Siteneski reporter |

    | Audrey Dighans copy editor |

    About 420 international students are enrolled at Pitt State this semester. Of that number, 30 celebrated their countries’ heritage at this year’s African Day, held Friday, April 11.
    About 150 students and residents attended the event celebrating the cultures of the African continent. Traditional food, dances, theater performances and a fashion show were showcased by PSU’s current international students who are from seven countries on the continent: Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Kenya.

    Ivory Coast

    Even if Americans have never heard of this country, they’ve probably enjoyed the guilty pleasure of its main export. About 198 square miles, the French-speaking country of Ivory Coast is the world’s largest exporter of cocoa beans, the main ingredient in chocolate. It is expected to produce 630,000 metric tons this year.
    VaNsah Aimee, graduate student in accounting, says she wishes people knew more about her home country.
    “We have beautiful places to see, especially beaches and nice dancing,” she said.

    Burkina Faso

    Aissa Barro, sophomore in international studies, says she usually doesn’t say the name of her country when Americans ask her where she is from.
    “If I say Burkina Faso, they ask, ‘Where is that?’ So I usually just say West Africa,” she said.
    Slightly larger than Colorado, Burkina Faso is a landlocked West African country which borders Ivory Coast and five other countries.
    The United Nations rates Burkina Faso as the world’s third-poorest country. While it has the largest gold reserves in the world, its main export is cotton.

    Kenya

    Esther Thuo, graduate student in math, says most people visit her country to tour the Maasai Mara, one of Africa’s largest wildlife reserves.
    “It’s a beautiful country,” Thuo said. “It’s very exciting for foreigners because it’s completely different from America, for instance.”
    The Republic of Kenya has a population of 45 million and two official languages: English and Kiswahili.
    The Maasai Mara is part of the northern section of the Serengeti National Park, located in Tanzania. Maasai Mara is home to one of the highest lion densities, and nearly 2 million wildebeest, zebra and Thomsons gazelle migrate across it annually.

    Egypt

    Mummies and pyramids aside, Egypt is one of the most widely known African countries because of its thousands of years of history. Though the terrain is more desert than jungle, millions of tourists flock to Egypt every year for a number of reasons.
    Markwan Shagar, graduate student in mechanical engineering, says he introduces himself by saying, “I am from Egypt and, yes, I have seen the pyramids.”
    The Great Pyramid at Giza is one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions. According to www.egypt.travel the best time of the year to visit is between the months of September and October, and April and May.
    Egypt is also famous as one of the starting places of the Arab Spring, a series of revolutions that began in December 2010, and still keeps the country far from political stability.
    Shagar says political violence is now directed toward both Christian and Muslim communities, which many people are unaware of when others come to talk to him about his country’s affairs.

  • Auction helps Make-A-Wish Foudation

    <h2> | Gretchen Burns reporter | </h2>

    Last Thursday night, April 10, saw 11 students being auctioned off in the U-Club of Overman Student Center for the Bachelor/Bachelorette Auction.
    The event was a senior project put on by Erica Gutierrez, senior in social work, who wanted to do a fun fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
    Students presented themselves on stage individually and were then auctioned off. If buyers wanted to have a “free” date, they could take their date to a dinner provided after the auction. Otherwise, buyers were required to take their dates on a “real” date elsewhere, where they would have to pay.
    “I searched for fundraising ideas online and saw a bachelor/bachelorette auction and I thought it would be something fun to do and people would want to come and watch,” Gutierrez said. “I raised almost $200, which was my goal in the beginning.”
    About 18 people attended the auction as potential buyers, with auctioneers being sold from $2-$20.

    During the bachelor and bachelorette auction on Thursday April 10, John O'Grady, junior in finance, is being auctioned off by Duffie Floree, a junior in psychology, to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation.

    During the bachelor and bachelorette auction on Thursday April 10, John O’Grady, junior in finance, is being auctioned off by Duffie Floree, a junior in psychology, to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation.

    Megan Pavlu, junior in psychology, was one of four girls auctioned off at the event. Although she disagreed with the concept of “selling people,” she says the cause of the proceeds was a good idea.
    “I did not love the idea of being auctioned off,” Pavlu said. “I mean it is pretty much the antithesis of who I am and what I believe. People are not expendable and do not have monetary value. That being said, I did have a good time just being around old friend and meeting new ones who had all come together to do something good for a good cause.”
    Quentin Cook, junior in general studies, also attended the event, but as a buyer.
    “I think the Make-A-Wish Foundation is a wonderful foundation,” he said. “It’s a great cause and I don’t mind spending the money. The people who volunteered to do this are amazing. I imagine it’s pretty awkward to be up on stage and be bid on. However, I only brought $20 so I can’t go very far with how much I spend tonight.”
    Annie Myracle, senior in general studies, says she was nervous to be auctioned off but volunteered anyway.
    “I was really nervous but excited because I wanted to contribute to the Make-A-Wish Foundation,” Myracle said. “I went for $2 but that was mainly because the crowd was low on guys there.”
    Pavlu says she was a bit disheartened by the amount of money she went for, $5.50.
    “It was not a lot of money,” Pavlu said. “As a person it did not feel like I was worth much. I suppose any amount of money would do that to a girl. As far as charity goes, it may not be enough to make a wish come true, but every little bit counts when you are making dreams into realities.”
    Gutierrez says if she were to do the fundraiser again she would not change anything that happened during the event but she does wish she had advertised more.
    “The event went well, but I think if it was in a different location, maybe upstairs, which we tried for instead of down, it would’ve been better location-wise,” Myracle said. “A child’s wish was granted because of the money we made, and I think that’s the most rewarding of the whole part of the fundraiser.”

  • Special Olympics
    James Leeper stood on the podium for the 50m walk during the Special Olympics held in Carnie Smith Stadium on Wednesday, April 16

    James Leeper stood on the podium for the 50m walk during the Special Olympics held in Carnie Smith Stadium on Wednesday, April 16

  • Student Pub cleans up at state conference

    | Special press release |

    A four-peat? Hey now, that’s something worth putting in the yearbook.
    On Sunday, April 13, Pittsburg State’s Department of Student Publications made its annual trip to the state conference of the Kansas Collegiate Media, the authority on all student-journalist content for all Kansas postsecondary colleges and universities.
    Held in Wichita, the conference sponsors several education sessions for students on attending institutions and introduces them to important professional contacts at publications like The Wichita Eagle.
    Over the course of the conference, individual and overall awards are handed out.
    The most prestigious of these is the All Kansas Award, which Pittsburg State’s student yearbook, Kanza, and newspaper, The Collegio, are eligible for in their respective categories.
    On Monday, April 14, Kansas Collegiate Media honored the Kanza staff with its fourth consecutive gold medal and All Kansas Award, as well as 16 individual awards; the yearbook received the same recognition in 2013, 2012 and 2011.
    The Collegio earned a silver medal and 22 individual awards; the recipient of the four-year public newspaper All Kansas Award was The Collegian of Kansas State University.
    Kenzi Jordan, Marcus Clem, Katie Wright, Michael Bauer, Garett McCullough, Haley Reynolds, Kelley Macek, Mandy Reno, Haily Ayres, Chris Medved, Ahmad Alsayeed, Alberto Soto, Val Vita, Jessica Sewing, Jay Benedict, Carl J. Bachus and Casey Beal each won awards.

  • Cosmologist

    | Erika Hall reporter |

    On Monday, April 7, Felipe Menanteau, a research scientist, astrophysicist, cosmologist and professor of astronomy from the Harlow Shapley speakership of the American Astronomical Society, lead a lecture about the universe and astronomy.

    On Monday April 7, Felipe Menanteau, a research scientist NCSA and professor of astronomy, lead a lecture about the universe and astronomy.

    On Monday April 7, Felipe Menanteau, a research scientist NCSA and professor of astronomy, lead a lecture about the universe and astronomy.

  • It’s B I G

    Annual ‘Big Event’ this weekend

    | Audrey Dighans copy editor |

    Saturday, April 12, is a big day for Pitt State students and the Pittsburg community with the 11th annual Big Event scheduled to take place.
    “This is Southeast Kansas’ largest community service project,” said Jake Letner, junior in history and director for the Big Event. “Hundreds of PSU students gather each year to help area residents who apply.”
    The Big Event began in 1982 at Texas A&M University as a way to say ‘thank you’ to the College Station community. The one-day community service project has since expanded to middle schools, high schools and universities nationwide.
    “It’s such a great day,” said Marjorie Sells, junior in graphic communications. “Helping residents who need our help and giving back to the community is just such a great feeling.”
    Sells participated in the Big Event last year with her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta.
    Letner says more than 850 students are registered for this year’s event with about 125 job sites needing work done.
    “Most job sites need general yard work done like leaf raking, cleaning gutters or painting,” he said. “Each year Big Event is a massive undertaking. There is always a lot to do and it would be impossible without my committee and the support we get from Pitt State, the students and community.”
    Students may register for the Big Event individually or through campus organizations they participate in. Job sites are collected by the Big Event committee through an application process residents complete by going to the Pitt State website.
    Job site requests and student registration ended March 14 this year. The first 500 volunteers to register will receive a free Big Event T-shirt on Saturday before the start of the event.
    The Big Event will start at 9:30 a.m. with volunteers meeting at 9 a.m. in the Weede Gymnasium. Doughnuts and juice will be provided.
    Job site assignments will also be distributed to student groups, either by campus organization or randomly. The event has no scheduled ending time, as each job site requires different tasks to be completed.
    “Usually it seems to be done around noon,” Sells said. “Sometimes groups will be at a site all day, though.”
    Sells added she and many of her sorority sisters are excited for Saturday.
    “I personally hope we get to be outside,” she said.
    Letner also participated in the event last year.
    “I love to meet people,” he said. “Projects like these make me proud to be a Gorilla.”

  • 1,000 Reasons

    Love you! Photo booth captures love of body, self

    | Audrey Dighans copy editor |

    Throughout the year anyone who visits Pitt State quickly learns the Oval is always busy, be it campus commuters, bake sales, 72-hour teeter-totterers or more recently, photo-booth goers.
    Kendra Beye, senior in social work, set up the “Love Your Body” photo booth in the Oval on Wednesday, April 9, as part of her senior project.
    “The photo booth was aimed at raising awareness about the dangers of eating disorders and the way the media portrays men and women in television, ads and movies leading to body dissatisfaction,” Beye said.
    As April is Love Your Body Month, Beye says the photo booth project seemed like a great idea. For $2 students may take a photo of themselves or with friends while holding signs saying what they love about themselves, including their bodies.
    “Proceeds will go to the National Eating Disorders Association,” Beye said.
    Christy Perez, mental health counselor, says in the last five years at Pitt State, 24 students struggling with eating disorders have sought help from the health center.
    “This is not to say there are not eating disorders on our campus now, it just shows how many students have actively sought treatment,” Perez said.
    Perez says the most common diagnosis seen at the counseling center is anxiety; depression is a close second.
    Gorillas in Your Midst also worked with Beye by spreading body-positive messages to Pitt State students and staff throughout the campus.
    Beye says eating disorders range from 8 to 17 percent of all students on college campuses with anorexia taking the lead in cause of death.
    “It has the highest death rate of any mental illness and yet it doesn’t get the funding other mental illnesses do,” Beye said. “Mass media has put such a negative light on the way women should look. They promote poor self-image and cause body dissatisfaction that is just unacceptable.”
    Beye added she hopes students will leave the photo booth with a positive view of how they see themselves.
    “I want them to love themselves for who they are, flaws and all,” Beye said.
    Perez says students are welcome to use services at the University Counseling Center in Bryant Student Health for any concerns related to eating disorders, depression, anxiety, family and or relationship concerns, attention problems or substance abuse.
    “For those concerned about themselves or a friend with an eating disorder I would encourage them to seek help,” Perez said. “We also offer medical assistance and dietary follow-up for students.”
    Other events on campus this month will also be centered on the theme of Love Your Body including a poetry slam on April 16 and healthy eating tips sponsored by Gorillas in Your Midst at the Student Recreation Center.

  • Recent article that bashes the Art Department is incorrect

    | Gretchen Burns reporter |

    Recently, the Atlantic, a collegiate source, released a list of colleges and universities that were the biggest waste of money in the United States. An art degree from Pittsburg State University ranked at number 10.
    The information from the story was based on a report from the online service PayScale, that concludes high school graduates would make significantly more money over a lifetime if they chose to go straight to work rather than pursuing certain college majors.
    Rhona Shand and other veteran academic researchers on the PSU campus looked closer at the study and found several problems and inaccuracies.
    “It makes a sexy headline and plays into some common misconceptions, but it doesn’t paint an accurate picture of the career opportunities available for art majors or graduates of many other programs,” said Shand, chairperson of Pittsburg State University’s Department of Art.
    Recent graduate DeAnna Morgan felt that the article slammed itself by using limited information that hardly applied to a percentage of Pittsburg State students.
    “I was hired to the Wellsville Unified School District 289 one week from my graduation as the Middle and High School Art Teacher, Art Club Sponsor, Senior Class Sponsor, and Assistant Softball Coach. My degree screams art teacher, if I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t have been hired,” said Morgan 2013 graduate. “Sadly, the article comes back on Porter Hall and their credentials as being valuable and worth students’ money.”
    The author from the article in the Atlantic acknowledges a number of conditions.
    According to Shand, the original PayScale article is clearer than the Atlantic about the limitations of the study. Those limitations make the data useless because it lumps together a wide number of programs under the general heading ‘Arts.’
    “These aren’t just art majors they’re talking about,” Shand said. “It’s students in upwards of a dozen programs across campus.”
    The data itself excludes any graduate who has gone on to earn a degree higher than a Bachelors and includes only graduates working in the United States. It excludes any graduate who is self-employed, project-based or is a contract employee. Small-business owners and/or contract-based graphic designers would be excluded.
    Shand listed of Art Department Alumni who have been highly successful but would not have been included in the PayScale report including a graphic designer for the Kansas City Chiefs, a production artist for Hallmark, the owner of an independent illustration company, an editor of a national magazine and a local business owner who was recently named the small-business owner of the year for the State of Kansas.
    I cannot say anything but positive comments about the faculty and staff in the Art Department at Pittsburg State. If it weren’t for my professors, I wouldn’t be the Art Educator that I am today,” said Morgan. “They taught me history, creativity, color theory, design, technical skill, hard work, dedication, professionalism, and passion for what I love most. That is a debt that I can never repay- unlike student loans. Therefore, Pittsburg State and my Art Education degree are incredibly valuable.”
    After reading the article, Janelle Cowan felt that everyone was entitled to their own opinion and whether or not the person though thought that an art degree was a waste of time, no one is forced to major in art.
    “My degree was worth every penny. I would not have the career I have now without my degree. I was given a gift from God, the ability to create artwork, and thats the best way I can make a difference,” said Cowan 2013 PSU Art graduate and a composition designer at Ward Kraft Inc. “I love creating art and nearly every class at PSU taught me something about what I am doing today. Whether it be technical skills, design, composition, or simply how to work hard in order to succeed.”
    Shand is used to answering questions about employment opportunities and usually meets with skepticism about the value of a fine arts degree and said that the questions about the value of the arts in education are not unusual, especially during certain times.
    Shand mentioned the data that shows graduates who earned a degree in art or other artist programs are just the kind of employees a lot of businesses are looking for and quoted the Governors’ commission on the Arts in Education.
    “The Creative Economy…relies upon people who can think creatively, adapt quickly to new situations, and problem solve. This industry, which is growing at a faster pae than total U.S. business growth, increases the demand for workers with the skills that are gained through the arts in education.”
    Alana Utterback is a graduate of the PSU Art Department who is further her education in Fine Arts.
    “I graduated in 2013 and I’m currently enrolled in the Art Therapy Counseling Graduate Program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. I am one of ten students, chosen from 70 applicants, that was invited to attend next fall,” said Utterback. “I had to go through a two day interview process, show my credentials and have 3 letters of recommendations. I owe everything to my professors and education that I’ve received. If I hadn’t have had that, I wouldn’t have even been chosen for the interview process.”
    Although the Atlantic article portrays an inaccurate picture of art education, Shand is not losing sleep over it.
    Shand said that compared to the other schools who were one the list, she felt it was a good list to be on.
    “Really it comes down to HOW you want to use the knowledge you learn, and the attitude you have about it. I am proud of my degree, and the hard work and time I sacrificed to receive it,” said Cowan. “If you are passionate about something, and are willing to put in countless hours, and years of your life towards achieving it, then do it. But do it for you, don’t listen to what others say about it, because chances are they wouldn’t have it in them to receive it anyhow.”

  • G3 Expo: success

    More than 100 people attended the first “Graphic, Gadgets and Games Exposition” or “G3 Expo” held at the Kansas Technology Center (KTC) on Saturday, March 29.
    “We feel that it went really well,” said Akram Taghavi-Burris, assistant professor in graphics and imaging technologies and supervisor of the G3 Expo. “The speakers were awesome, the exhibitors were informative and everyone seemed to have a great time.”
    Megan Meyer, junior in graphic communications and committee chair of G3, says she and many members of Gamma Epsilon Tau (GET), Pitt State’s Graphics Honors Society, were very excited to have more than 100 attendees.

    During the G3 Expo on Saturday March 29, Blake Broaddus, a recent PSU graduate, gives a presentation on video work flow.

    During the G3 Expo on Saturday March 29, Blake Broaddus, a recent PSU graduate, gives a presentation on video work flow.


    “To be honest it wasn’t too much of a challenge running the event,” Meyer said. “It all went very smooth, and we only heard good comments about the expo from attendees, exhibitors and speakers.”
    Meyers added it was also great to see potential students from Rumble in the Jungle come over to the KTC to spend time at the Expo and learn more about the Graphics & Imaging department.
    Starting at 9 a.m. various speakers, exhibitors, clubs and competitions were held throughout the KTC, all related to the world of graphics, the gadgets used to create graphics and output methods, such as games.
    For recreation attendees could participate in “Call of Duty,” “Super Mario Smash Bro’s,” and a Photoshop cut-and-paste competition. The Pitt State Robotics club also demonstrated the capabilities of the club’s robots.
    “They put a black line down on the floor and the robots could follow it using a sensor,” said Matthew Polak, undeclared sophomore.
    Polak says he also enjoyed looking at the exhibitor’s booths, especially the one that prints money.
    “It’s a printing group that works with security,” Polak said. “They had lots of cool stuff including the new $100 bill that has more than 100 different safety features printed on it to protect against counterfeiting.”
    Other booths included anime artists and other printing companies.
    Meyer enjoyed the speakers the most.
    “My favorite part of the Expo was listening to the key note speaker Chris Kelly,” she said. “His seminar featured some very important content that was interesting and geared towards my major. I learned a lot.”
    Presentations on various topics were also open for attendance, such as a lecture on design winning apps.
    “That was my favorite part of the event,” Polak said. “The InDesign workshop showed how apps are made, and I learned you can take a class here at PSU to learn how to design apps.”
    The G3 Expo was sponsored by the GIT Department, GET and the Graphic Arts Club.
    “We already have our save-the-date cards for March 28, 2015,” Taghavi-Burris said. “We hope to start advertising for the next Expo in the fall to increase our number of speakers and exhibitors, which we hope will lead to more attendees coming.”
    Polak says he intends to bring all of his friends with him next year.
    “I had so much fun, I just wish there would have been more people,” he said. “Hopefully it will be a bigger event next year.”

  • Singing in Scotland

    Choir students travel abroad for biennial trip

    | Robin Siteneski reporter |

    The crimson and gold colors of Pittsburg State University traveled a long way during spring break. A group of about 40 students made its way somewhere that would make Gus proud. The University Choir carried the school’s colors and voices to Scotland.
    The group, formed by members of all Pitt State’s choirs, sang in six cities in historical sites. They even spread their voices where kings and queens once lived. The great hall at the 17th-century Stirling Castle was the location of one of the performances.
    “It was really exactly what you’d picture,” Laura Holthus, junior in graphic communications, said. “A castle like you see in medieval movies and literature. It was neat to walk around inside it. The sound really reverberated in the hall.”

    Members of the PSU choirs took a trip to Europe over spring break

    Members of the PSU choirs took a trip to Europe over spring break


    Holthus and other choir members also visited and sang at Iona, Oban, Saint Andrews and the capital, Edinburgh. They sang sacred music and folk songs such as the “Scottish Wild Mountain Thyme,” the “Canadian Fogarty’s Cove” and “She’s Like the Swallow.”
    At the capital, they sang with the Chamber Choir from the University of Edinburgh, Holthus’ favorite performance abroad. She remembers, however, of a moment with a smaller audience.
    “I liked performing in the abbey on the Isle of Iona,” she said. “The space was just beautiful, and the sun came through the window on us during a piece, which was a big deal because it was cloudy and windy most of the time.”
    It was the first time Holthus has been so far away from home. She says a lot of things are different in the United Kingdom, which were hard to adjust to, but she would go back “in a heart beat.”
    “Everyone was very patient about my inadequacy at making change in pounds and pence,” Holthus said. “I half-expected local people to be annoyed by Americans. If they were annoyed, they did not show it.”
    Joshua Crown, senior in music education, has sung abroad with the Pitt State Choir before. He went on the group’s last trip to Italy.
    “When we were in Italy, we could only do sacred literature mostly since we were singing in Catholic churches,” he said. “They have strict rules on what kind of music can be performed, although in Scotland we sang in some amazing places that had great acoustics.”
    The university’s choir travels every two years with funding from student fees and donations. Choir director Susan Marchant says they held several musical and non-musical fundraisers to finance this last trip. Students choose the country and a travel agency was hired to plan the trip, she says. The tour in Scotland cost about $4,000 per student.
    “We can talk about what it means to sing in a very rich acoustic room,” Marchant said. “But when you are in a cathedral, that’s where the music really comes alive.”

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