PittLife

  • Willkommen in Deutschland

    German International students host gathering

    | Audrey Dighans copy editor |

    While a late summer storm brewed outside, inside the lobby of Grubbs Hall a much more tempting storm of smells brewed during the International Gathering for German exchange students.
    Six International Gatherings are held each year at Pitt State, three a semester. The events consist of a presentation and a taste of the featured country’s cuisine, and the German international students did not disappoint.
    Although the evening started with about 100 people present, it quickly doubled to about 250 when it was time for the food to be served. Tables were lined with fresh fruit, cookies and three varieties of a chicken and rice stew: veggie, tortilla and creamy chicken. But the real delicacy of the evening was curry wurst, a beef sausage smothered in a curry sauce and sprinkled with Dijon. In fact, it was popular enough to be the first item to run out.
    “The food,” said Sarah Potter, freshman in sociology. “The food is so good.”

    Dennis Deckenbach (on left), graduate in MBA, and Birte Witek (on right), graduate in MBA, prepare a typical German fast food, called Curry Wurst, during the German gathering, at Grubbs Hall, on Thursday, Sep 5.

    Dennis Deckenbach (on left), graduate in MBA, and Birte Witek (on right), graduate in MBA, prepare a typical German fast food, called Curry Wurst, during the German gathering, at Grubbs Hall, on Thursday, Sep 5.


    Potter says she had visited Germany the past May and was interested in learning more. She and her Pitt Pal, Lena Rabet, international student from France, were one of about a dozen Pitt Pal couples to attend the event.
    “We get lots of support from the other international students,” said Ozkan Gedik, graduate student in business and international student from Germany. “We had one week to prepare for tonight and I completely believed the eight of us would be able to pull it off and so far, we have.”
    Gedik was one of the German students in charge of running the presentation. The slideshow provided geographical, population and fun facts about his home country.
    “Initially we wanted this to be a sort of ‘brainstorming’ night where everyone asked lots of questions and we answered them,” Gedik said. “It’s a bit more formal now, but we are excited to share and watch people learn more about our way of life.”
    Birte Witek, graduate student in business and international student from Germany, also shared in Gedik’s enthusiasm.
    “There are stereotypes about my country,” Witek, who helped prepare the food, said. “Tonight we will disprove them and show lots about our culture. It’s going to be a fun night.”
    Gedik says the German way of life is not greatly different from that in the U.S.
    “We are in Europe and we have all the modern conveniences, but it is different. The transportation here is not the same, the drinking laws and perceptions are different as well.”
    Gedik added the culture shock for him has not been one big specific moment, rather all the little things combined.
    “Back home we are always complaining about the train being a little late,” Gedik said. “We are used to the convenience and we expect it to be right there on time. Here, we don’t even have a train, or a bus. Everything needs cars.”
    Along with food and the presentation, a raffle was held for attendees with prizes at the end. Raffles will also be featured at other International Gatherings later this year. A list of dates can be found on the PSU website.

  • Hotel SGA: no vacancy

    | Marcus Clem guest writer |

    Student government now has a full roster of senators after their approval and swearing-in at SGA’s meeting on Sept. 10.
    A group of 15 students were sworn in following the completion of the vacancy process: Calle Callaway, Michael Spiller, Kenna Bideau and Denna Thompson of the College of Arts and Sciences; Grace Geiger and Zachary Green of the Kelce College of Business; Riegen Anderson and Katherine Gray of the College of Education; Josh Bosley and Larry Overman of the College of Technology; and Hank Cloninger, Haley Northcutt, Maya Dandu, Justin Stone and Ryan Magee representing the university at large.
    Jordan Schaper, SGA president, said he will be filling vacancies in the SGA judicial board in the near future. Expanded powers of judicial review for the board were also given final approval at this meeting.
    Several projects and ideas for the year were discussed.
    Sen. David Schlee, SGA’s member on the university’s Sustainability Committee, reported that 240,000 pounds of recycling was collected in the last year and that the campus saw nominal savings of energy in the last two years.
    Schlee also announced that a grant from Westar Energy has allowed the planned installation of solar power cells into the under-construction Robert W. Plaster Center.
    The cells will power the building for 2,500 watts. They will be placed on the roof and in the surrounding area.
    “The question was raised, ‘Is that going to make a dent in the center’s energy usage?’” Schlee said during his presentation. “And the answer is basically no. But we will be able to check out the ones on the ground.”
    Sen. Bryce Schuetz discussed his work as part of the university’s parking committee to explore the possibility of a partnership with the Southeast Kansas Community Action Program (SEK-CAP) shuttle service, the Pittsburg Area Community Transportation (PACT) bus.
    Under Schuetz’s idea, in addition to serving a route that covers more stops near campus as it has since July, the PACT bus could also be used at select times of the day to ferry students from parking lots to campus buildings.
    Schuetz said that approval from campus police will be needed to be finalized before discussions can be opened with SEK-CAP and that he was working on getting that done.
    Lindsay Ong, SGA legislative affairs director, announced that SGA has invited Jean Schodorf, a former senator of the Kansas State Assembly and the Democratic contender for Kansas Secretary of State, to visit campus.
    Schodorf will visit campus from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 15, as part of SGA’s observation of civil awareness in the week of Constitution Day on Wednesday, Sept. 17. She will not actively campaign and is visiting to encourage voter registration, tour the campus and get to know student senators, Ong said.
    Schaper says he was happy with the high pace of senator committee reports and feedback this meeting.
    “The Senate is engaged in a healthy and productive environment that is conducive to making a difference,” he said. “It’s all about chemistry.”

  • Watermelon bust party
    Activities of watermelon party organized by Lambda Chi Alpha on 4th September, 2014

    Activities of watermelon party organized by Lambda Chi Alpha on 4th September, 2014

  • Go Fish

    Black Student Association hosts game night

    | Brett Collier reporter |

    The Balkans Room in Overman Student Center was filled with laughter and the smell of chicken wings Thursday night, Aug. 28, during the Black Student Association (BSA) game night.
    Kimberlee Fields, senior in psychology and president of BSA, says it’s a group effort when planning events like game night.
    “Someone will come up with an idea and then we’ll all work together to make it happen,” Fields said.

    Nick Sims, junior in psychology, places a card on the pile during an intense game of UNO at the Black Student Association game night held in the Balkan's room on Thursday, Aug. 31

    Nick Sims, junior in psychology, places a card on the pile during an intense game of UNO at the Black Student Association game night held in the Balkan’s room on Thursday, Aug. 31

    For game night the goal was to keep it laid back and as casual as possible. BSA works to encourage diversity on campus by hosting a variety of events on a range in topics throughout the year. Some dive into serious topics while others are more geared toward recreation.
    Attendees of the game night were welcome to free food, card games including UNO and Taboo, as well as group games like Twister.
    Several students who attended say they were grateful for the opportunity to get together. Deja Snell was one of those students.
    Snell, sophomore in general studies, says game night was her first time to get involved with BSA, and it won’t be her last time, either.
    She added BSA is a great way for people to get out and make new friends.
    “I feel like it’s an opportunity for everyone to come together and learn different things,” she said. “People who are shy or aren’t as outgoing, they can come here and do different things.”
    BSA encourages all students, whether they are members of the organization or not, to become involved and join BSA at its activities.
    Fields says the organization will be very active this semester.
    “We’re trying to have at least one event a month or every other month this semester,” she said. “We obviously do a lot during Black History Month later in the year. Last year we held a vigil for Martin Luther King Jr. We’ll do a fashion show, date auction, stuff like that.”
    Fields added it’s good for the university to have opportunities like this for students and she hopes that students will take advantage of this.
    “It just kind of brings us all together,” Fields said. “I try and tell all my members that just because it’s Black Student Association, it doesn’t mean it’s just for black students. Our campus is diverse, and I want everyone to feel welcome and to come here and do stuff like this with us, too.”

  • Students, faculty adjust to room changes

    | Tyler Koester reporter |

    It goes without saying that the first day of class, especially for freshmen, is filled with a lot of adjustments. One adjustment, however, that all students, new and returning, probably didn’t anticipate is the temporary switch of classes out of Heckert-Wells.
    This three-story building is under renovations to install a new HVAC system, and some classes and offices have been moved to other campus locations to accommodate the project.
    For the time being, chemistry offices have been moved to the second floor of Whitesitt Hall while the biology offices have been relocated to the second floor of Hartman Hall.
    A few chemistry researchers for PSU even have offices in the Tyler Research Center.
    The installation of the HVAC system in Heckert-Wells was coordinated so that the move back into the building will not interfere with lab components many courses in these departments require.
    As renovations are coming to a close, some students anticipate good things on the horizon, even though the current situation may seem like a hassle.
    As they say in physics, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
    Britnee Pond, senior in biochemistry and biology, is one of those students who sees past the mess and views an opportunity for science students like herself to study in a much more comfortable atmosphere.
    Pond says Heckert-Wells will be a much easier center to learn in as a result of the renovations.
    Students such as William Sisson, junior in biochemistry, are looking forward to the opportunity to work on newer resources. Like Pond, Sisson says the temporary relocation of labs is a little inconvenient due to the size of the classes.
    One class in particular is physical chemistry.
    “We are cramped in a really small lab right now,” Sisson said. “We don’t have access to the nice big open stuff.”
    Students aren’t the only ones getting a little stir crazy due to the relocations. Animals are also reacting to the switch.
    The residents of Pitt State’s Nature Reach program got a wake-up call when they were shuttled to Hartman 216 at the end of the 2014 spring semester. Changes in temperature during the transfer were a concern.
    But Delia Lister, director of the Nature Reach program, says the transfer went easier than expected.
    “I had a very helpful crew of students and physical plant workers, so things went fairly smooth,” she said. “It takes weeks of prep work and planning to make something like this go well, so when it came to the actual move day we had very few problems.”
    Lister added the animals seemed to warm up to their new surroundings fairly quickly.
    “The transfer didn’t bother very many animals after the first day or two,” she said. “We had some hiccups along the way dealing with low humidity issues, but all seemed to be OK.”
    Sometimes, things have to get worse before they get better, and many Pitt State students are starting to realize this.
    “It’s a little inconvenient right now,” said Pond. “But I think it’s going to be better overall for science majors.”

  • Balkans Day still entertains

    | Daniel O’Rear reporter |

    Temperatures in the 90s didn’t stop residents and visitors from enjoying and tasting a variety of beers in the Beer Garden as part of the festivities of the 30th annual Little Balkans Days.
    The festival lasted from Friday, Aug. 29, to Sunday, Aug. 31, and celebrates the culture of the Balkan region, which for many Pittsburg residents is also a celebration of their heritage.
    In the early 1900s many immigrants from the Balkans traveled and settled in Southeast Kansas, creating a rich history for Pittsburg.
    The Labor Day weekend festival brings hundreds out to drink, eat, enjoy and celebrate the Balkan influence on Pittsburg.
    “I’m having a great time,” said Darren Mitchell, president of Little Balkans Days association.
    One attraction of this year’s festival included the beer garden, sponsored by the Kiwanis organization. Admittance to the garden was $1, which did not dissuade many from buying a beer or two.
    But Jamie Patterson decided not to capitalize on people’s thirst, but their hunger.
    She opened a crepe stand for the event.
    “I traveled to Austin, Texas, to learn how to properly make crepes,” she said.
    The stand offered a variety of crepes from desert, such as lemon and sugar, to more filling versions such as roast beef, chicken and even the “Cuban,” a spicy combination of beef and veggies.
    Lemon crepes weren’t the only sweets of the festival.
    The Hotel Stillwell and the United Way held a cake-judging contest in the hotel’s ballroom. For a $4 admission fee, guests escaped the heat and enjoyed the air-conditioned room while viewing more than 50 cakes divided into four categories of competition.
    The winning cake was determined by the amount of money placed in its coin jar. At the end of the day, a Yoda-shaped cake took first place for the adult-professional category. The cake was almost as tall as the stack of coins standing next to it.
    Those looking to buy cake instead of looking at it headed to the United Methodist Church for its annual cake, homemade ice cream and pie social.
    The social began at 10 a.m. on Saturday, with not a seat open.
    “We’re close to parking,” said Rodney Augers, church member and volunteer for the social.
    Augers says the parking proximity led to easy access for the social, creating a high attendance.
    For those who liked to run, an invitational run was held at 11th and Broadway on Sunday morning at 7 a.m. with a heat for adults and one for kids. The first 50 children entered into the free race received T-shirts.

  • Collegiate Readership Program hasn’t disappeared

    | Gretchen Burns reporter |

    Students, professors and faculty will have a more difficult, and in some cases longer walk, to find The USA Today, The Joplin Glove and the Pittsburg Morning Sun newspapers this year.
    The papers are part of the Collegiate Readership Program, a program sponsored by the Student Government Association (SGA). To retrieve a copy of any paper within the program, students simply swipe their student ID card into the machine and take which copy they like. However, several of the distribution machines disappeared over the summer, leaving the question of whether the program still exists or has become extinct.
    Newspaper readers will be glad to know the program has not disappeared, it has merely been scaled down due to low readership. Last year, there were six distribution centers across campus for students to pick up papers. This year, there are three.
    Thomas Myers, senior in biology, wasn’t pleased when he went to pick up a paper in the Gibson Dining Hall to go along with his coffee, only to find there wasn’t a distribution center there anymore.
    “I think it is a shame to scale down the program across campus,” he said. “It is a nice way to reach the students and inform an age group where we are becoming adults and becoming aware of current events. We are beginning to form opinions that actually are listened to. Having a source of information helps us learn more about an event.”
    Bailey Jones was also looking forward to her morning paper and was irritated at the lack of her usual distribution center in the dining hall.
    “I don’t go into any of those buildings for my major,” said Jones, sophomore in justice studies. “I liked the one in the dining hall. I would grab one to read on my way out from eating breakfast.”
    The program was originally initiated to get news into classrooms across campus.
    Professors once had access to their own copies of the papers and many would use them to introduce current events in their courses. Over time, however, professors’ access to the bins was cut off and only students were granted access.
    The papers provided have also changed overtime. The Kansas City Star was one of original papers issued through the program, but when distribution zones changed, The Joplin Globe was introduced in replacement of the Star. Two years ago, SGA considered adding the New York Times or the
    Wall street Journal, but the price with each was too much, so the program stuck with the current three papers.
    SGA is charged for the papers taken, not the number issued per day. The money that funds the program is not provided through student fees. Instead, it comes from a pool of money raised in 2001, specifically dedicated to the Collegiate Readership Program.
    Clark Neal, senior in Spanish, says he feels that fewer distribution centers is an improvement on the campus.
    “I just read the news online,” he said. “If we had Vice magazine, or the Wall street Journal for sale, I’d buy them but that’s the only print news form I would pay for, or consider picking up,”
    “Print media is continually proving itself to be too slow to efficiently inform the people on domestic and global issues. There’s no sense anymore in sitting down to a morning paper with a cup of coffee to read about what happened yesterday. We have to know what’s taking place today or it’s too late.”
    For now, SGA is attempting to boost the program and hopes to have a fourth distribution center located in Overman Student Center once renovations are complete.

  • Flat tires

    Campus Christians run out of bikes

    | Val Vita reporter |

    If you have been looking for a way to make that old bike in your garage, the one you never ride, useful again, now is the chance. Don Smith, Campus Christians minister, currently has 52 people on his bike wait list.
    The list, which keeps getting longer every day, is something new for Smith. He says in his 32 years of renting out the bikes via Campus Christians, this is the first time the organization has ever run out of bikes before classes start.
    For students, especially internationals who rarely have cars to move around, the lack of bikes is more than an inconvenience.

    Don Smith, minister of Campus Christians, fixes a bike at his shop, to loan to one of the 54 students who signed up for bicycles in the beging of fall semester, on Friday, August 22.

    Don Smith, minister of Campus Christians, fixes a bike at his shop, to loan to one of the 54 students who signed up for bicycles in the beging of fall semester, on Friday, August 22.


    “I have been walking to places,” says Leila Kola, international student from Finland in business. “I like the warm weather, but when walking, sometimes, it’s a bit too much.”
    Besides walking to the buildings for her classes at, Kola says she walks to the Rec Center as well.
    “I also walked to Walmart with my friends once, but I don’t think I’ll do that again,” she said.
    Kola is one of the 52 on the list.
    Abhishek Hebbar, whose name is currently the 50th in line, says walking during these hot August days is also giving him a hard time.
    “I live at Crimson Villas, and it is kind of hard to walk in the sweltering heat,” Hebbar, international student from India, said. “When I need to go to places away from campus, I travel with my friends in their cars.”
    Campus Christians has 250 bikes rented out to students for the price of $35 each. All of these bikes were donated.
    This fall, PSU received 180 international students, 80 more than last spring.
    Smith says many students who rent the bikes have failed to return them. Last year, 20 bikes were stolen.
    All of these factors have increased the problem of providing bicycles to students who need and want them.
    Tamires Lietti, international student from Brazil in communication, says she had the bad luck of having her rented bike stolen this summer, only a week after moving to Pittsburg.
    “My only solution was buying one,” she said. “I spent $120 and I had to call my dad to explain it, because that was not in our budget.”
    Campus Christians’ bikes are not only for international students. Any student who needs a bicycle may rent one, if there are any.
    Ayman Syed, junior in communication, says he decided to put his name on the waiting list because a bike is an easy way to save gas.
    “And it’s easier to go around campus and find a place to park,” he said. “Plus, it’s also a good way to exercise.”
    Getting back to that old bike in the garage, anyone interested in helping to cut the wait list down should contact Campus Christians at 213 E. Williams St. or call (417) 529-6470.
    “If you have a bike and you are not using it, why not giving it? We would love it,” Smith said. “Even if the bike needs to be repaired it’s OK, just bring it here and I will repair it. Everybody can be a participant on finding bikes.”

  • It’s a rush

    Fall recruitment ends, begins for PSU Greeks

    | Audrey Dighans copy editor |

    Students who moved back early probably noticed members of Pitt State’s seven fraternities busy fixing up their houses for another school year. That’s because the first week of classes is also the first week of Fall rush and the men of Sigma Tau Gamma, Sigma Chi, Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Sigma Kappa and Sigma Phi Epsilon are all hoping to gain new recruits.
    While the frats were busy fall cleaning last week, PSU’s three sororities; Alpha Sigma Alpha, Sigma Sigma Sigma and Alpha Gamma Delta, were participating in multiple rush, or as it is more formally called, “recruitment” events.
    All three of PSU’s sororities are National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) members, which means they must adhere to rules of recruitment.
    This means that women who are interested in joining a sorority at Pitt State must register during the summer for formal recruitment. The women, mostly incoming freshmen, move into the student residence halls a week before classes begin for the fall semester and are given a schedule of the week’s recruitment activities.

    Alpha Sigma Alpha member Morgan Robbins, shows off a handmade sign during the sorority rush week.

    Alpha Sigma Alpha member Morgan Robbins, shows off a handmade sign during the sorority rush week.

    This year, each day of recruitment week featured a different activity, starting Monday, Aug. 11, with house tours. Potential recruits visited each house for a chance to meet with sorority members.
    Tuesday, Aug. 12, was sisterhood night; Wednesday, Aug. 13, philanthropy night; Thursday, Aug. 14, preference night; and Friday, Aug. 15, was Bid Day, the day potentials, those wishing to join a Greek organization, find out which house they are in.
    Although freshmen typically make up the recruitment pool, Rush is not limited to them. With more than 130 potentials in this year’s pool, many rush participants were upperclassmen.
    Taylor Heuertz, junior in elementary education, says she was nervous at recruitment but happy that she was accepted by Alpha Gamma Delta.
    “I felt super comfortable with all the girls there,” Heuertz said. “They were easy to talk to and I felt at home when I was there.”
    Heuertz says her favorite part of recruitment was seeing all the houses.
    “It was the first night, I got to meet everyone and it prepared me for the rest of the week,” she said.
    Rush may be over for the sororities this fall, but for the fraternities it is still recruitment season. In the past, recruitment for the fraternities has been informal at PSU. This year, however, Pitt State’s seven fraternities are holding both formal and informal.
    “The last time we attempted formal recruitment was in 2012,” said Jarrett Robertson, junior in history, member of Sigma Tau Gamma and vice president of recruitment for the Interfraternity Council (IFC). “It did not go well, we had three men sign up.”
    IFC is the fraternity version of Panhellenic. Both organizations work to run the Greek community at Pitt State.
    Robertson says there are more than 40 men signed up for this year’s recruitment process.
    “I think the big difference this time around is that I eliminated individual houses having booths at Pitt Cares over the summer and had just an IFC table to recruit potentials for the entire fraternity community,” he said.
    Formal recruitment for men is similar to the sorority version. Each day of the week will have different events for potentials to meet the members. Monday, Aug. 18, featured a tour of all the houses; Tuesday, Aug. 19, saw an all fraternity barbecue in the Oval; Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 20-21, are rush events; and Friday, Aug. 22, is Bid Day.
    “Each house will be hosting different activities on Wednesday and Thursday,” Robertson said. “Potentials are required to attend at least three chapter events each night.”
    Recruitment events during formal recruitment are alcohol-free. Fraternities are also banned from handing out bids to potentials until noon Friday, and then only to the Greek adviser or IFC Recruitment.
    Bids will be announced at 5 p.m. Friday.
    “Students should know that all the recruitment events this week and next week are open to anyone interested in joining a fraternity,” Robertson said. “This is meant to be a community involvement, not just a particular chapter.”

  • Campus clubs to meet, greet students at Activities Fair

    | Casey Matlock reporter |

    Sandra Floras says the Activities Fair helped her with her major.
    “My favorite booth from last year was the education booth because it helped me to further my major by building connections and experiences,” said Floras, senior in education.
    The Student Activities Fair will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3, in the Oval. Megan Smejdir, campus activities coordinator, says 60-70 organizations will showcase for potential club members. Free food, drinks and several activities will be provided.
    “My favorite booth from last year was Gorilla Radio because I had a couple of friends at the booth, and it was fun to meet new people, listen to music, and there was the free barbecue,” said Clara Stiles, senior in business management. “You get free stuff left and right.”
    One of the main activities students can look forward to is the barbecue held by the Office of Student Diversity, which will offer free burgers and hotdogs.
    “The Activities Fair is a great opportunity for our student organizations to get some exposure to all of the students on campus,” Smejdir said. “This event only happens once in the fall, which makes it a unique activity, and we want our students to not only succeed academically but be involved in causes and meet fellow students and faculty.”
    For organizations to be eligible for a booth, they must be registered with the Campus Activities Center. Registration forms for the activities fair must be turned in by Friday, Aug. 29.
    Priscilla Adamah, senior in justice studies, says she found student organizations at the fair that she didn’t know existed.
    “My favorite booth from last year was the TOMS club because it combined both charity and fashion,” she said. “Also, there were some clubs that I didn’t think would exist, such as a gun club.”
    Smejdir says organizations try to be as sparse as possible so that the campus can reach as many students as possible and provide various opportunities on and off campus.
    “Last year, I went and received a lot of free swag such as candy and shirts,” Stiles said. “Students gain a lot of information about the campus and the community such as what is available to them and what events they can attend.”

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