- A new Nation
| Audrey Dighans editor-in-chief |
The last residence hall renovation at Pitt State is well underway this summer.
Even with all the rain, the $4.3 million renovation of East Nation and Mitchell Halls is estimated to be three days ahead of schedule.
Melissa Beisel, associate director of University Housing, says after the east side of Nation is renovated this summer, the residence hall will feature all new rooms, restrooms, a recreation room and laundry facilities. There will even be more student rooms in the building.
“Previously, only 85 student rooms were available for use,” said Lindell Haverstic, project architect for Facilities Planning. “The Nation ‘link lounges’ and additional spaces in Mitchell and Mitchell Annex are being converted into or back into student rooms.”
Beisel says the bathrooms in Mitchell and some of the custodial space has been removed to add to room creation.
Haverstic says the renovation will provide 104 student rooms, seven of which will be singles.
“This project tackles the remnant of the original 1951 Mitchell Hall, Mitchell Annex and Nation Hall, which was constructed in 1960,” Haverstic said.
This is the seventh and final summer of residence hall renovations at Pitt State. As a whole, the residence hall renovations were the first for all the buildings except Willard and Crimson Commons since their construction, starting with Bowen in the summer of 2009.
As far as progress goes, Haverstic says all demolition work has been completed and construction crews are now working on framing, furring, masonry and plumbing.
“So far we’ve been running ahead of schedule,” he said. “While inconvenient, the rains have had little impact on this project since the majority of the work is on the interior.”
Although the main focus is on adding residence rooms, a laundry facility is also being created.
“The most recent laundry facility in the building featured a few machines place in an unused bathroom in Mitchell Annex,” Haverstic said.
Nation’s new laundry facility will be located in the basement and feature sixteen washers and dryers.
Haverstic says the biggest changes will be noticed in the restrooms where new fixtures and tile will be installed. Some restrooms will also be expanded to provide more showers and each floor will have a single user restroom, similar to what is available in neighboring Dellinger Hall.
“The focus of this renovation was to provide safe, comfortable and modern housing for students living on campus,” Haverstic said. “An additional goal was to make Mitchell Hall remnants a cohesive part of Nation Hall East.
With the construction, part of the Nation parking lot has been zoned off for materials. South Elm St. has also been closed off on the campus side of Ford Ave. Traffic coming through the one way street behind Whitesitt, the Family Consumer Sciences building and Hartman Halls is still allowed and lets out through the open sections of the Nation parking lot.
- Pitt Briefs
Alum named CFO of the year
A Pittsburg State graduate is among the top chief financial officers in the Kansas City area, according to the Kansas City Business Journal.
Ryan Bevins, a 2003 graduate who double-majored in accounting and finance, was selected by The Journal as one of 10 CFOs of the Year in the KC region. Bevins is in his first year as CFO at Sioux Chief Manufacturing in Peculiar, Mo.
Bevins is one of four CFOs honored in the category of for-profit industries with at least $100 million in annual revenue. He and his fellow honorees will be recognized at an awards luncheon on June 5 in Overland Park.
Bevins previously served in the controller position at Sioux Chief. Before moving to the KC area, he worked as director of accounting for NPC International in Pittsburg.
Axe Grind reopens for summer
Axe Grind reopened for summer classes on Monday, June 1.
The counter-service shop, located in Axe Library, offers hot breakfast, lunch buffet, sandwiches, Starbucks coffee and baked goods.
The weekly menu is available online at www.gorilladining.com and the hours are as follows:
Monday-Thursday: breakfast at 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.; lunch at 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Friday: breakfast at 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and lunch at 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
For more information, call Sodexo Dining Services at 235-4992.
Pomatto named to national board
Mary Carol Pomatto, director of Pittsburg State University’s Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing, is one of two members recently named to the Ascension Health Senior Care national board of directors.
Ascension Health Senior Care offers programs to meet the needs of older adults. Its religious sponsors are the Daughters of Charity, Congregation of St. Joseph, Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother and Alexian Brothers.
Ascension Health Senior Care includes 34 ministries located in 11 states and the District of Columbia. One of the Ascension Health Senior Care ministries is Via Christi Village in Pittsburg. Pittsburg’s Via Christi Hospital is one of the Ascension Health’s ministries.
Publication puts PSU on its list of top universities for veterans
U.S. News and World Report has placed Pittsburg State University at No. 29 of its 2015 list of the top regional universities in the Midwest for veterans. The Midwest region includes the states of Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio.
U.S. News compiles the list “to provide military veterans and active-duty service members with data on which top-ranked schools offer benefits that can help them pursue a college education.”
To compile the list, U.S. News selects institutions from its 2015 edition of U.S. News Best Colleges that meet certain criteria. Those criteria include being a member of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Consortium, having certification for the G.I. Bill, and participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program or having status as a public institution that charges in-state tuition, which can be fully covered by the GI Bill, to all veterans applying from out of state.
For more information on veterans services at PSU, call the Office of the Registrar, 235-4200.
Student project earns national award
A senior project by six engineering technology students recently received a national award.
For their senior projects this spring, students Tyler Casteel, Nick Crain, Brendan Herrera, Jeremy McLennan, Aaron Noack and Kyle Ragan created a mold for a hacksaw handle, improving upon and replacing the mold that has been used by Pitt State students for more than 40 years.
That project won first place in the American Foundry Society and Foundry Educational Foundation 2015 Student Technology Contest. The Pitt State team finished ahead of Virginia Tech University, which finished second.
For their first-place finish, the students received a $1,800 scholarship for their efforts, and their project paper will be published in the Winter 2016 issue of the International Journal of Metalcasting.
Math teacher gets award
Cynthia Huffman received the Kansas Section of the Mathematical Association of America Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics. The award recognizes university or college mathematics teachers “who have been widely recognized as extraordinarily successful.”
At PSU, Huffman has taught everything from The History of Algebra and Mathematics for Education to Algebraic Number Theory and Multivariate Polynomial Theory. In 2010 and 2014, she was selected by students for the Robert K. Ratzlaff Outstanding Faculty Award. She was named a University Professor in 2013.
Huffman earned two degrees from PSU before earning her Ph.D. from New Mexico State University.
Enactus finishes in top 12
Pittsburg State’s Enactus group finished in the top 12 out of 181 teams at this year’s Enactus United States National Exposition, the highest the team has placed since the competition’s restructure in 2001.
“We had an amazing team this year,” said 2014-2015 President Danielle Ackermann. “Our presentation was very good, the speeches were great and we were prepared to succeed. There are so many seniors on this year’s team, and it was great to perform so well in our final year.”
Along with its high finish in competition, the Pitt State Enactus team was awarded more than $7,000 in prize money for success in various projects throughout the year. The team received $4,000 for being a national finalist for the Partnership Grant, and another $3,200 in project-related prize money.
The Enactus students conducted four major projects this year, including the student-run Krimson Kultuur store in downtown Pittsburg, which generated $25,000 in revenue this year.
The Suit Up for Success and Community Employment Program both enjoyed success this year, as well. Also, through its Enactus Business Consultation program, the PSU team helped local business Odd Duck Soaps increase revenue by more than 285 percent.
Enactus has also begun an effort to establish a recycling program, with the help of a $1,500 grant from the AB InBEV Better World Project Partnership.
- It’s time for Africa
| Valli Sridharan reporter |
The Pittsburg State African Student Association presented “Africa Culture Day” on Friday, April 24, in Grubbs Hall.
More than 20 students attended the program where they had the opportunity to learn about Africa’s many countries; the cuisine, fashion, languages and regional dances.
“It was nothing like other international gatherings I have been to,” said Nurila Suleimen, senior in law science. “They really made an effort to get the audience involved which was so cool!”
Association members provided several African dishes for the attendees to try. The cuisine included a variety of fried chicken recipes, rice-based dishes and steamed vegetables.
“The food was very unique,” said Mariah Hull, senior in sociology. “Wow, I didn’t know that Africa cuisine had shrimp in it.”
Africa’s diverse cultures were presented through slide-show presentations, dances and skits. A video was also shown depicting a marriage ceremony and the dances that accompany it.
“Africa might have a variety of cultures but looking right from the root, those cultures are very similar to each other,” said Patrick Foyet, international graduate student in engineering technology from Cameroon. “We might speak different languages but we are very similar.”
Many audience members say they enjoyed the program but they were not the only ones; African Student Association members say the event was fun for them as well.
“One of the best things about African culture day in my opinion is the part where we dress up,” Foyet said. “I always find African girls much more beautiful when they dress up traditionally.”
Audience members were invited up to the front of the room near the end of the program to learn some of the traditional dance moves. Those with the best moves were rewarded with prizes.
“It was fun to watch everybody trying to learn those funny moves and dance to a different genre of music,” Hull said. “They made the whole culture come alive.”
Foyet says the point of the presentations was to grab students’ attention to build more interest about African culture.
“I had an opportunity to work with many people in our university,” said Opeyemi Olomola, graduate student in International Business. “The whole thing was an adrenaline rush.”
- Dodging for a wish
| Charles A. Ault reporter |
It takes $8,000 on average to grant a wish of a child with a chronic or terminal disease.
With hopes of raising enough money to do just that, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee hosted a dodgeball tournament on Thursday, April 23, as part of the organization’s ongoing fundraiser to grant a child’s wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“We are trying to gather some money and do positive things,” said Eric Brantley, senior in business management. “Hopefully, we get there and grant somebody’s wish by the end of the school year; that’s what’s most important to me.”
Five teams competed in the tournament, which raised $150 from registration fees.
L.A. Purnell, junior in therapeutic recreation, was a member of the “Tinder Matches” team.
“I got four of my teammates and two lady friends and they came out and joined us,” Purnell said. “This is a good time, everybody is out here having fun, trying to compete and win.”
Another team was an assemblage of co-workers from an area juvenile detention center in which Kiara Jones, alumnus, is a member.
“One of my co-workers found out about it and got us all together and said, ‘Hey, let’s put something together for the Make-A-Wish Foundation,’” Jones said.
Team “Balls of Fury” was composed of staff from BMO Harris. Though Balls of Fury didn’t have quite the fury its name implied, the team members say they enjoyed the tournament and the opportunity to raise money for charity.
“We played three games and we lost every single one of them with pride,” said Kim Nolan. “But we had fun and would do it again.”
Heidi Johnson, director of media relations and promotions for intercollegiate athletics, says all DII athletic departments are challenged to grant a wish for Make-A-Wish. She added reaching that goal has been an ongoing process for Pitt State’s athletic department.
“$8,000 is the average cost for a wish and once you raise it you get to grant a wish for a local kid,” Johnson said. “This is our first dodgeball tournament, but we also did several other things during the fall semester to raise money and we have another fundraiser coming in the Wichita area next week.”
Attendance at the tournament was less than Johnson and other organizers had expected but she says she hopes the tournament will grow in future years.
“I wish we had a better turnout but we hope to continue this and have more teams from the community and school each year,” Johnson said.
Advertising and scheduling issues may have contributed to the low turnout.
“We changed the date a couple of times and people didn’t know exactly when it was,” said Haylee Gregory, senior in graphic communications. “If we had sent out something like a month early, I think we would’ve gotten more people out here.”
Johnson too wishes there had been a better turnout.
“We did not have a specific goal for the tournament but we raised $1,120,” she said.
Despite the low turnout, many participants echoed Dylan Donley’s, senior in business marketing, statement: “Raising money for a good cause, that’s what it’s ultimately about at the end of the day.”
He added that whether teams did good or bad, it was nice to raise money for Make-A-Wish.
- Symphony, choir perform works of Handel, Verdi and Dvorak
| Gretchen Burns reporter |
The PSU Choirs and Southeast Kansas (SEK) Symphony performed works from Handel and Dvorak at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts on Sunday, April 26.
Nikki Stone, senior in communication, says ending her college career with the concert was a perfect way to go out.
“This music couldn’t have been better to end on,” she said. “It was such a challenge to sing some of the notes and it felt so good to be able to know that we truly mastered the two pieces. My favorite part was probably the pieces where we got really intense with the symphony and soloists. It’s such an awesome sound and I’m so proud to be a part of it.”
Wyatt Smith, junior in music education who performed with the SEK Symphony, says he felt the experience of performing such pieces in the Linda and Lee Scott Performance Hall.
“The Baroque era pieces we performed were beautiful pieces of music written to praise God,” Smith said. “My favorite part of the performance was getting to collaborate with such great musicians and guest artists. Making music with others transcends any words that we can put to it.”
Justin Crossman agrees that the experience was one-of-a-kind for students.
“Playing the Oratorio was a fantastic opportunity for myself and the other performers on stage because it was a difficult piece of music that we performed well and we are able to perform it on a stage built for music production,” said Crossman, senior in music education.
Works performed by the choirs and the symphony included “Dettingen Te Deum, HWV 283” by George Frideric Handel and “Te Deum, Op. 103” by Antonin Dvorak.
Mara Knight adds she felt the pieces helped work the students’ minds, voices and talent in ways they were unaccustomed to.
“It is interesting to sing two difficult, complex and completely different settings of the same text; one in Latin and one in English,” said Knight, junior in music education. “I think it was amazing to sing in the new hall for these works because we could focus on the expression and beauty of the music, because the acoustics of the hall helped the projection and blending of the sound to take care of itself. We got to focus on telling a story and sounding as beautiful as possible while doing so rather than needing to over-project our voices.”
Guiseppe Verdi’s piece “La Forze del Destino Overture” was also performed during the concert.
“Performances like these are a feeling of being connected with so many people through music,” said David McTeer, junior in management. “In rehearsals every member of the choir and orchestra is connected and that’s a great experience.”
- Pitt Briefs
SAC executive positions
Student Activities Council is now accepting applications for the organization’s 2015-2016 executive board. Applications may be picked up in the Campus Activities Center in Hartman Hall room 203 and are due back by Friday, May 1.
Interviews will be held on Sunday, May 3.
For more information on the duties of each position, go to ww.facebook.com/PSUGAB?fref=ts.
Applicants should sign up for an interview when returning the completed application.
Axe Grind extends hours
The Axe Grind will have extended hours during Dead and Finals weeks and is now open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“Dead Week Deals” will also take place at both Axe Grind and the Gorilla Crossing both weeks, featuring up to 50 percent off certain items at certain times and reduced prices.
Must mention the “Dead Week Deal” to the cashier to obtain the discount.
Textbook rentals due
All textbook rentals from the Gorilla Bookstore are due by Friday, May 8. Replacement fees will be charged to the credit card on file on Wednesday, May 13.
Students are asked to not sell or return rentals to any other location if originally obtained from the Gorilla Bookstore as the Gorilla Bookstore is the only place to return them.
The Gorilla Bookstore is located on the main level of Overman Student Center.
Beware of phone phishing
Pitt State’s IT Security warns all students, faculty and staff to beware of phone phishing scams. At least one PSU-affiliated person has received a scam call where the caller claimed to be from Validity Screening Solutions, the company that performs Pitt State’s background checks for employment. Phishing can happen in non-email related communication and all suspect calls should be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complaints may also be filed with the FTC at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1.
For more information, contact Amanda Williams at email@example.com.
Kansas Kids Fitness Day
Pittsburg State will host Kansas Kids Fitness Day from 10 a.m. to noon at Carnie Smith Stadium on Friday, May 1. About 1,000 third-grade pupils from 18 schools in Cherokee and Crawford counties will be on campus for a day of running, jumping, stretching and dancing.
About 40,000 students at 40 sites throughout the state will participate in this year’s Kansas Kids’ Fitness Day.
This will be Pitt State’s 24th year participating in the event.
Fundraiser for cancer group
The Pitt State Pre-Med club and Relay for Life of Crawford County will join forces to raise money for the American Cancer Society from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, April 30, in the Oval.
The Pre-Med Relay for Life team will host a “bra-pong” for breast cancer awareness along with raffles for a 42-inch riding lawn mower and a cancer ribbon quilted wall hanging.
Relay for Life will also be held from noon to midnight on Saturday, May 2, at Carnie Smith Stadium as well as the 5k Fun Glow Run/Walk starting at 10 p.m.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wood tech Educators of the Year
Pitt State’s wood technology faculty members Doug Hague and Charlie Phillips were named the Educators of the Year at the Wood Industry Conference.
The award is given by the Wood Machinery Industry Association from nominations supplied by woodworking technology companies and programs.
Hague and Phillips were nominated for the Boot Camp session held during the Wood Technology Industry Institute at the Kansas Technology Center earlier this year.
Powell named Outstanding Adviser
Brooke Powell, sexual assault advocate and adviser for Students for Violence Prevention, was named Outstanding Adviser at the BACCHUS Area 5 Meeting of the Mind conference.
The BACCHUS Network is a university and community-based organization focused on the promotion of comprehensive health and safety initiatives.
Cow Creek Review publication party
The Cow Creek Review, the student literary and arts magazine of Pitt State, will unveil the 2015 edition at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 30, in the Governors Room of the Overman Student Center.
The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments and free copies will also be available.
Awards and recognition of students whose works appear in this year’s magazine will start the event followed by excerpts.
Women’s Studies contest winners
The Women’s Studies Program announced the winners of its annual essay contest and creative writing awards. This year’s contest drew more students than all previous years.
Essay contest first place: Taylor Elliot
Second place: Christina Platt
Honorable mention: Megan Reed
Creative Writing first place: Valli Sridharan
Second place: Zoe Busey
Honorable mention: Olivia Ellison
- International students celebrate graduation
| Audrey Dighans copy editor |
International students graduating or finishing their exchange program this semester were given their special night on Thursday, April 16, at the Weede Athletic Complex.
The international graduation dinner was attended by Steve Scott, university president, staff members of the International Programs and Services office and more than 100 international students.
“This is a big day for all of you,” Scott said. “But it is also a big day for all of us because you remind us of the diversity you bring to our campus.”
Students from India, Kazhakstan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, China and other countries all say they will miss Pitt State.
“All of the faculty and students, and most important of all, the friends that I made here,” said Joy Liu, graduate student in communication. “Pitt State has so many internationals. We are all lonely souls here in the Midwest, and so when you put all of them here, they form some kind of a group that almost like a family.”
The dinner was not just in recognition of upcoming graduations, but an evening of awards as well. Mayuri Murali was one student to receive an award.
“I want my parents to know that their efforts to send me out and all those loans were not in vain,” said Murali, senior in developmental disabilities. “Of course my whole dream to succeed and become a millionaire did not fall far from this motivation.”
Those who organized the event say they enjoyed hosting as the students all seemed to enjoy their special night.
“This is the moment when you see how much the students have grown,” said Stephanie Gonzalez, international programming coordinator. “Personally, I feel proud to see them transform over the months into confident and motivated people.”
Friends of the international students also attended the dinner to celebrate their accomplishments.
“It was very sad knowing so many people dear to me are leaving so soon,” said Lauren Tan, senior in early childhood development. “But at the same time, it made me so glad and grateful for the opportunity to meet so many amazing people from far parts of the world.”
- Students attend Out of the Jungle
| Gretchen Burns reporter |
More than 100 graduating seniors attended the bi-annual “Out of the Jungle” Senior Send-off on Tuesday, April 21.
The event was hosted by the Office of Alumni and Constituent Relations where they inform attending students about what PSU can offer them after graduation.
Richard Potts, senior in sociology, says he learned Pittsburg State could assist him in staying in touch after he graduates in May.
Stopping by the Alumni Center for the event, students were also able to obtain an official PSU Kansas or Missouri License plate and have the chance to win one of several prizes, from an iPad Mini to football tickets for the Rua Skybox for all 2015 home games.
“The money paid for the license plates can go to either the Legacy License Plate scholarship for freshmen or can go to the department or an area of one’s choice,” said Alex McCormick, freshman in elementary education. “The designated money could benefit the nursing department or wherever the donor saw fit.”
Students were also informed on how they can become involved with the County Champions or Alumni Association after graduation.
“The County Champions are individuals in our top population counties who help plan events and volunteer their time at those events,” said Jeremiah Reece, senior in marketing and international business. “The Alumni Association is a little more stringent and requires a voting process. There are 21 members who represent different geographical areas and help shape the events and activities of the Office of Alumni and Constituent Relations.”
The panel of 21 offers ideas and advice for events like hosting people in the Rua Skybox, Gorilla Fest, A Taste of Pittsburg and Out of the Jungle.
Peter Polizzi, senior in wood technology, says he was unaware of the different ways one could donate to a specific program as an alumni.
“I think it’s cool that one can stay connected to the university,” Polizzi said. “There’s different exclusive offers and discounts that I didn’t know about.”
Students were also led through on how to stay connected to the Jungle in the digital world from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram and of course, the Pitt State website.
Alumni can also sign up for a free newsletter to keep them up to date on what is happening at PSU.
“It’s a great way to stay connected with PSU and a great opportunity,” said Gregor Kalan, university marketing specialist.
Graduating students also learned about the benefits and services of the Awards Programs, which include awards alumni can be offered. There were also applications for the Pitt State Platinum VISA card, the only official split-face card on the market. The Alumni Association receives a percentage of every dollar spent to help with outreach programs and putting on more events for alumni throughout the year.
- Jazz concert offers rich history of PSU
| Tyler Koester reporter |
Guests were greeted with African tribal music as they filed into the Linda & Lee Scott Performance Hall at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts on Tuesday, April 21, during the Jazz and PSU Retrospective concert.
The event featured two PSU jazz ensembles and guest musicians. The musicians performed a selection of popular songs from a variety of jazz styles, all in time to a presentation of stories of Pitt State’s history. Todd Hastings and Robert Kehle, both professors of music, conducted the PSU ensembles. In between songs Karl Kunkel, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, narrated a chronological history of PSU since the university’s inception in 1903.
The historical presentation touched on milestones of the university such as the Russ Hall fire of 1914 and the completion of the Bicknell Center in 2014. Along with what was happening in the Jungle, Kunkel touched on what was occurring in the world of jazz music during each of these milestones.
Lem Sheppard had the honor of playing the first piece of the evening with his selections of “Crawdad Song” and “Trouble in Mind.” Sheppard, Kansas City Blues and folk musician, performed in a style reminiscent of Robert Johnson, with twangy acoustic guitar and bluesy vocal accompaniment.
Randalin Ward, sophomore in music, was the next solo performer. He played a new take on Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer,” to showcase ragtime jazz.
After Ward’s performance, the saints literally marched in as Doug Whitten, Joanne Britz, James Clanton and Wyatt Smith entered the auditorium single file playing “When the Saints Go Marching In” on their way to the stage. The performance of this popular gospel hymn paid homage to Louis Armstrong and his orchestra, who originally recorded this song in 1938.
The concert picked up when Britz performed “Sing, Sing, Sing” on clarinet with Clanton on percussion and Kehle’s jazz ensemble as accompaniment. Swaying and rocking back and forth, Britz really seemed to get into the upbeat mood of the piece partially created by Clanton’s tribal drumbeat and the jazz ensemble’s big-band sound.
The upbeat tempo of the evening continued with guest singers Stella Hastings, Lisa Gerstenkorn and Madison Youngberg-King rendition of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” by the Andrews Sisters. The guest singers worked to impersonate the Andrews Sisters and along with the accompaniment of a blaring trumpet solo by Jacob Caffrey, the audience seemed to approve.
Another hit of the evening was Patrick Howle’s vocal performance of “Fly Me to the Moon,” written by Bart Howard. For this piece, Howle worked to reincarnate Frank Sinatra and his timeless era of jazz.
“I feel like I’m in the mood now,” Kehle said to the audience right before his ensemble broke into the finale, a work entitled “In the Mood” by Joe Garland.
The audience clapped along to the beat and cheered, perhaps stating their love of the finale choice. One audience member was even heard saying to a friend “I just love jazz.”
- Pride week draws crowd
| Gretchen Burns reporter |
High kicks, splits, turns, intricate footwork. The Dellinger Underground pulsated with music and lights as the fourth annual GSA Pride Week Drag show started on Wednesday night, April 15.
The Drag Show is the middle event in a greater week-long event supported by the Pitt State Gay-Straight Alliance for its “Pride Week” to celebrate the LGBTQ community.
Ila Phelps squealed as she sat waiting for the show to begin.
“I’ve literally been waiting for this all week,” said Phelps, freshman in communication.
The popular show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has brought more attention to the art of drag and has helped increase popularity and support.
Five performers worked the stage to the cheers, whistles and applause of the more than 100 students in attendance. Dollar bills were creatively passed to the performers in appreciation of what they did.
The co-hosts, Roxanne Kennedy and Jaidyn Campbell, kept the audience laughing with jokes, banter and lip-sync performances. Campbell’s attempt at high kicks that ended up with her landing in the splits also generated many cheers from the audience.
“It’s a new experience to have the younger generation here cheering us on and supporting us,” said Campbell. “Usually we’re just in bars and it’s a whole different crowd. It’s really nice to be supported by these kids who will be able to support us later and they love what we’re doing.”
Grace Fritz’ jaw dropped as she watched the performances.
“I’ve watched RuPaul before but I’ve only seen one drag queen perform in Kansas City,” said Fritz, senior in sustainability. “This is the first actual show that I’ve been to and it was really awesome.”
Zach Wiltz, sophomore in business and management, says he had also never been to a drag show, but his cheers were some of the loudest when the performers did an intricate twirl or “twerked” in a good way.
“It’s just so cool that all of these people are here to support these amazing performers and accept them for who they are, what they do, and what they enjoy,” Wiltz said. “I’ve never been to anything like this before but you can bet that I won’t miss one after this. It’s too amazing to pass up.”
Opposite of Wiltz, Lexi Odell has been to drag shows before. Odell, freshman in communication, says the Pitt State show was a closer connection.
“I think the fact that they came here to us and brought their talent to share with us is pretty amazing in itself,” Odell said. “I wish that we could see them every week. I’d pay to come to these shows because they give you your money’s worth.”
One of the performers, Savannah Twist, says she loves bringing the show to campus to share with her friends as well as other small-town students.
“The one thing I love about Pitt State the most is that it’s like performing for family,” Twist said. “There are so many good people here who help support what we love to do. I love bringing something like this to such a small town because it’s a way to share with my friends, classmates and other community members what I do.”
GSA’s Pride Week began on Monday evening, April 13, with a panel of LGBTQ students answering questions about their lives, including the biggest struggle when they came out. The panel defined some of the different forms of sexuality and others pulled questions written in by the audience from a bowl.
Tuesday, April 14, GSA members offered passing students to decorate a cupcake in honor of Pride Week in the program “Gay Cakes.”
Thursday, April 16, those who walk through the Oval will have a chance to win candy while learning statistics about the LGBTQ community with “Sweet Knowledge.” The event is scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Pride Week will top it off with the annual “Pride Prom” at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 17, in the Dellinger Underground.