PittLife

  • Sharing tradition with students

    | Haley Riebel reporter |

    In honor of Native American Heritage Month, the Native American Student Association (NASA) has sponsored a variety of events throughout the month to commemorate their nations and ancestors.
    To wrap up the month’s festivities, Nikki Stone, senior in communication and NASA president, set up a tribal panel to inform PSU students about a new take on Native American history.
    “I wanted the audience that is completely unfamiliar to have a more general knowledge of the workings within a tribe and what it’s like to be an active member,” Stone said.
    Although only a small amount, Stone is part Cherokee and she manages to keep in contact with the tribe, gaining valuable experiences in doing so.
    “I volunteer for them every semester to be able to receive my scholarship,” she said. “I also have to agree to work for them for two years after I graduate to be able to maintain it.”
    More than 20 students gathered in the Balkans room to listen to the panel, which unfortunately turned into a panel of one.
    Everett Bandy, tribal historic preservation officer for the Quapaw tribe and presenter, talked of the Quapaw government and how it is very similar to local governments with a financial committee, educational department, housing committee and a fire and EMS department.
    The tribe of 4,654 people even has its own insurance that is provided from extra revenue from Quapaw Casino, a casino in Miami, Okla., that the tribe privately owns.
    Bandy says the tribe, rooted in tradition, had to evolve to keep up with society, though it worked to hang onto the old ways as long as it could.
    In 1957, the Quapaw tribe, though it was one of the last to hold on to its longstanding form of government, was forced to change to a more modern, written form of government and with this came a slight loss in the tribe’s ancestral ways.
    “Our tribe members do the best they can to try to maintain those traditions and celebrations and ceremonies so we can remember them,” Bandy said.
    He added that in order to preserve traditions, the Quapaw ways must be protected long enough to be passed on to the next generation.
    “The traditions that our elders left for us are our identity,” said Bandy. “Without our language, traditions and beliefs, we wouldn’t exist as a people.”
    With Thanksgiving around the corner, one audience member asked if Native Americans celebrate the holiday, to which Bandy responded with a simple yes.
    “Most celebrate it, but instead of gathering around a table loaded with food we use the time to spend with our families,” he said.

  • Distinguished writer brings in crowd

    About 75 students, faculty, staff and residents gathered in the Crimson & Gold Ballroom of Overman Student Center on Thursday, Nov. 13, to hear excerpts from the works of Joy Harjo, the final guest writer of the Distinguished Visiting Writers Series for the fall semester.
    Harjo is a well-known Native American writer, nationally recognized as an outstanding poet, memoirist, teacher, singer, musician and is a member of the Muskoke/Creek Nation.
    Some of her numerous awards include the Oklahoma Book Award for Poetry, the Arrell Gibson Award for Lifetime Achievement, a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and the University of New Mexico Academy of American Poets Award.
    Her most recent publication is “Crazy Brave,” published in 2012.
    Harjo tunes her works to sound and rhythm.
    “All poetry has its roots in songs,” she said. “When poetry was born was when song was born. Song had its arms around dance and had its other arm around music. We must all add our part to the large song, the large poem.”
    Many of the stories Harjo shared during her presentation were stories that recounted times in the tribe, when she was in college at the Institute of Native American Arts, family stories and travel stories.
    Harjo told the audience that her mother was German, Irish and Cherokee while her father was a full-blooded Creek.
    She says her mother was born and raised on the Oklahoma/Arkansas stateline and ran off to Kansas to join the circus, but was brought back home by her brothers.
    Harjo added her father was a man who understood the cloud language and used his talents in many ways.
    For her high education, Harjo attended the Institute of Native American Arts and says she was excited to be there as a young Native American student as she was given the opportunity to learn about different worlds and knowledge. Harjo says she and her classmates knew there were more than 500 different tribes in the country and they wanted to create their own art, to recognize their individual tribes and make them stand out.
    Harjo’s first reading of the night, “The first day without a mother,” recounted what she felt after her mother had died.
    Harjo also read many unpublished works from her book “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings,” which she has just sent off to her publisher and is due to be published in the fall of next year.
    The ideas for “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings” came to life while Harjo attended a conference in which she dealt with much conflict and researched different ideas-for conflict resolution, six of which she utilized for her soon-to-be-published work.
    The last reading of the night came from “Crazy Brave.”
    Harjo said she spent 14 years working on the memoir before sending it to her publisher.
    Chelsea Lisk, sophomore in accounting and finance, attended the reading for something to do and says she did not know what to expect.
    “I kind of like it,” Lisk said. “I didn’t know people did this actually, I really enjoyed the first story about her parents’ history. Everything she read was great.”
    April Adams also attended the reading.
    “It was amazing,” Adams, junior in art education, said. “I’m glad my teacher convinced me to come to this.”
    Adams says she felt a strong connection with Harjo because of her ethnicities.
    “I’m part Native American and so it was really interesting,” Adams said. “I especially liked the pieces she pulled out of ‘Crazy Brave.’ Those were the ones that really showed who she was.”

  • Great Gorilla Smoke-out

    | Audrey Dighans copy editor |

    The Pitt State campus may have been less smoky Wednesday, Nov. 19, and Thursday, Nov. 20. That’s because Gorillas in Your Midst (GIYM) is in action to help people stop the use of tobacco products during the organization’s Great Gorilla Smoke-out.
    J.T. Knoll, programing coordinator for campus activities and GIYM adviser, says the Great Gorilla Smoke-out coincides with the national Great American Smoke-out as a way to provide people with a day, or two, to focus on stopping smoking and the use of other tobacco products.

    Antonio Escoe, sophmore in graphic communication, poses for a picture to support the Great Gorilla Smokeout on Wednesday, Nov 19.

    Antonio Escoe, sophmore in graphic communication, poses for a picture to support the Great Gorilla Smokeout on Wednesday, Nov 19.


    “We are working with the tobacco-free campus initiative using “Breathe Easy” as our theme,” Knoll said. “Beginning January first, the soft implementation of the policy will go into effect, so the Great Gorilla Smoke-out is a way to promote a campus that has taken the initiative to go tobacco free.”
    To help smoke-out tobacco, GIYM is hosting interactive activities and providing free ‘quit kits.’
    The kits come with cessation tips and campus, state and national resources for support in quitting.
    “I’ve been smoking for 30 years,” said Rick Fox, custodian specialist, “and at this point it’s catching up with me.”
    The group had a booth set up in the Yates Hall lobby on Wednesday and today can be found in the main lobby of Overman Student Center, near the information desk.
    “We’re also handing out free T-shirts to those who support the campus Breathe Easy campaign,” Knoll said.
    Students who agree to post a picture to social media pledging support of the tobacco free policy will receive a shirt. GIYM members have also set up a display depicting the history of tobacco, including its rise to popularity, and how the implementation of Pitt State’s tobacco free campus policy will take hold this upcoming year.
    “PSU will be the first four-year institute in Kansas to go tobacco free,” Knoll said. “Tobacco products are responsible for 450,000 deaths annually, the fact we can help promote a tobacco free campus, ask people who do use tobacco to stop and take a look at what they are doing to their health and also protect those who do not want to be exposed to second-hand factors is great.”
    Though GIYM is promoting quitting and sharing support for the campus going tobacco-free, not everyone agrees that it will do much.
    “It’s a good thing they’re making smoking stop,” Fox said. “But people will still find a way to do it.”
    Luke Walker, junior in automotive technology, agrees with Fox.
    “I don’t know how they will enforce it and good luck to them at the KTC,” Walker said. “A lot of us use tobacco products out there. I chew and if I don’t spit it out, how will they know? Besides, people have a right to make choices whether those choices are harmful to themselves or not.”
    Though the decision to make the PSU campus tobacco-free was brought up by students and voted on by students in 2012, Walker says he had no idea about the survey when it was conducted and therefore did not partake in it.
    “I haven’t seen the results of it either, but just cause they did a survey and some students voted on it doesn’t mean it is an accurate representation of what student’s want,” he said.

  • World Cup: part 2

    International students sponsor soccer tourny

    | Haley Riebel reporter |

    The Pitt State Recreation Center was crowded Saturday, Nov. 15, as students gathered to escape the wind and cold and enjoy a day of the world’s most popular sport: soccer.
    The tournament, originally scheduled to be played outside, was moved indoors because of weather.

    Competitors battle for control of the ball during the ISA Soccer Tournament at the Rec Center on Saturday, Nov. 15.

    Competitors battle for control of the ball during the ISA Soccer Tournament at the Rec Center on Saturday, Nov. 15.


    Nine teams competed, seven in the men’s division and two in the women’s. The teams were divided by nationality and represented Brazil, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Paraguay and the continent of Africa. Six players and two subs were allowed per team participating in the double-elimination tournament and trophies were awarded to the top teams.
    Though many of the athletes participating in the tournament were international students, not all of them hailed from other countries.
    “When defending one on one, I could stop pretty much anything that came my way,” said Tieler Commons, sophomore in mechanical engineering.
    Commons was also the goalkeeper for the Stronda team and helped the team in its close 9-7 win over Paraguay.
    “My team was so good I didn’t really get a chance to show my skills,” he said.
    The Saudi Student Association also won in the first round, 4-0, against Africa and Brazuca conquered the Korean Student Association 7-0.
    The competition may have been fierce during the game, but attitudes changed during the rounds and by lunch break, when many enjoyed a quick game of basketball and helping each other practice for upcoming matches.
    “Unlike the men’s teams, I believe the girls were playing just for fun,” said Flavia Queiroz, senior in pharmacy and member of the Brazilian team, the Bonitas. “I had a good time playing at the tournament, it makes you relax during a stressful end of semester.”
    In the end, the Brazilian team, Stronda, took the first-place trophy for men, and Bonitas, also representing Brazil, took first place for women.

  • SGA discusses allocations for student organizations

    | Audrey Dighans copy editor |

    The Student Government Association (SGA) will vote on approving $27,500 for fall 2014 allocations during the organization’s meeting on Dec. 3.
    More than $37,000 was requested by Pitt State’s various student clubs and organizations for this semester’s allocations period.
    Treasurer Austin Bailey said that many groups who applied for allocation funds received close to the regular amount requested and less money was allocated overall for this semester because several organizations failed to meet allocation requirements.
    The Senate will also vote on whether to grant $71,555 to the Educational Opportunity Fund from student fee dollars during the meeting on Dec. 3.
    The Educational Opportunity Fund provides financial support for tutors, scholarships, Pitt Points, labs and some student employee salaries.
    “We usually give between $70,000-$72,000 for this fund,” said Jordan Schaper, SGA president. “We have run the numbers and the amount proposed to withdraw from student fees is reasonable.”
    All Senate members have been provided with documents detailing which organizations will receive funds and the amount of those funds for both upcoming votes.
    Further debate and any amendments will be made during the meeting on Dec. 3.
    In other news, Sen. John Botts was named the new chairman for SGA’s transportation committee and Sen. Brendan Finley updated the Senate on the campus’ shifting tobacco policy.
    “Many people are asking how the soft policy will work, how the policy will be enforced and the focus is really to ‘kill them with kindness’ during this soft policy era,” Finley said. “We will hold a survey during the spring semester assessing the situation of stopping tobacco use on campus and what enforcement policies need to be changed.”
    Finley added that the university’s tobacco task force, Gorillas in Your Midst, campus police and the SGA committee will focus on education to ensure all students know the campus is tobacco free.
    “The website is also up and running,” Finley said. “FAQs are listed there as well.”
    For more information on the tobacco policy, log onto www.pittstate.edu/tobaccofree.

  • Appetite for helping

    | Tyler Koester reporter |

    The PSU chapter of the International Justice Mission raised $292.82 at the organization’s “Cookout for Freedom” event Thursday, Nov. 6, as part of the Justice Week activities.
    “The first step towards any advocacy is awareness,” said Alison Smith, senior in communication and president of International Justice Mission at PSU. “That’s something we really strive for throughout this whole week.”
    The cookout was a way for the organization to raise awareness of the 29 million people worldwide currently held in slavery.
    For a $5 donation, donors were offered free hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and beverages.

    Nelson Elbers, graduate of chemistry, and Zach Sachs, senior in elementary education, cook hotdogs for those attending the Cookout for Freedom event held by Campus Christians on Thursday, Nov. 6.

    Nelson Elbers, graduate of chemistry, and Zach Sachs, senior in elementary education, cook hotdogs for those attending the Cookout for Freedom event held by Campus Christians on Thursday, Nov. 6.


    “I think the food is just a way to gather people in and for people to fellowship with each other,” said Smith.
    The national branch of the International Justice Mission is a faith-based, non-profit global team of lawyers, investigators, social workers and community activists who protect those impoverished from violence in 20 communities throughout Africa, Latin America and south and southeast Asia.
    Even though the Pitt State branch of the group did not make its goal of raising $1,000, it was still an animated night of socializing, food and music.
    Katy MacGill and Hannah Whitesell both attended the cookout and were eager to participate in conversation about the fundraiser.
    “I think it’s heart-breaking that there’s still slavery happening,” MacGill, sophomore in international business, said. “I feel blessed that I live somewhere safe and that I have people who love me that will take care of me.”
    Whitesell, sophomore in elementary education, says she’s more concerned for those who are oblivious to the current statistics.
    “I think it’s really sad how some people don’t realize the issue,” she said. “They just don’t understand the magnitude of the problem and that it happens everywhere, especially here in this country.”
    Though neither Whitesell or MacGill are active members of the International Justice Mission, both say they are good friends of one of the group’s members and wanted to show support for her, as well as make donations. MacGill added it was the least they could do to show that the issue of slavery is on some people’s minds.
    “It’s just a really tangible way to help out and hopefully make a difference,” said Whitesell.
    Justice Week concluded Friday, Nov. 7, with a showing of the film “Finding Home,” a documentary that sheds light on the issues of slavery as well as raising awareness.
    Smith says by just obtaining freedom, everything else for the victims will fall into place.
    “Freedom is having the opportunities to do what you want with your life,” Smith said. “The opportunities for success and for education come out of freedom.”

  • Brown graces sports illustrated

    | Michael Bauer sports editor |

    John Brown former PSU football player, now wide reciever for the Arizona Cardinals on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

    John Brown former PSU football player, now wide reciever for the Arizona Cardinals on the cover of Sports Illustrated.


    Former PSU wide receiver John Brown will grace this week’s cover of Sports Illustrated.
    Brown, who graduated from PSU in 2013, is shown leaping for the ball on the cover.
    The former PSU All-American scored the go-ahead touchdown for the Arizona Cardinals in Sunday’s 31-14 win over the St. Louis Rams. He also had the game winning touchdown catch in Arizona’s 18-17 victory over the San Diego Chargers in week one on ESPN’s Monday Night Game. Brown has scored five touchdowns so far this season while recording 29 catches for 399 yards.
    The rookie wide receiver from Homestead, Fla., was drafted in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft and was referred to by Sports Illustrated’s Peter King as the best rookie in football.
    Brown had five receptions for 73 yards in the Cardinals’ recent win.
    He will be featured on one of multiple cover photos for this week’s Sports Illustrated, one that will be delivered to readers in Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and California.

  • Spice it up

    Look of the Week

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

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

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


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

    Kylie Kendall is a senior in fashion merchandising

  • The road to self-empowerment

    | Tyler Koester reporter |

    William Shakespeare once said: “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” The English writer’s quote became the main theme for Chippewa-Cree Indian Carmen Davis’ speech Monday, Nov. 3, in the Crimson & Gold Ballroom during the kick-off event for Native American Heritage Month.
    An audience of about 50 joined Davis and members of the Native American Student Association for the speech, in which Davis emphasized and acknowledged not only his history, but the history of Native American peoples.
    Bringing in some personal experiences, Davis talked about her childhood, growing up with an alcoholic father and her grandmother, who was forced to never speak her tribe’s language or voice her feelings as a child herself.
    “To this day she still can’t say ‘I love you’,” Davis said.
    In addition to acknowledging family history, Davis spoke of empowerment. She says the first step toward empowerment starts from within and finding one’s purpose and journey in life is more important than anything else.
    “If you’re floating along and just getting by, you’re not living, you’re surviving,” Davis said.
    Pulling from her experiences as a student, Davis says there is never a straight path to follow and it is fine if life detours a little.
    When Davis began studying law, she had just gotten married. She and her husband traveled to several reservations and during this period Davis decided she wanted to start spreading positive messages.
    “When I saw the positive impact it had on the people,” Davis said, “It moved me.”
    She emphasized how adversity is inevitable in one’s journey. No matter what a person does in life, there are always going to be people tell them they will fail.
    “You’re going to hear ‘no’ more than you’re going to hear ‘yes’,” Davis said.
    Davis says the perfect antidote is putting up a wall in the face of negativity and remaining positive. In doing this a person will succeed.
    “I think you can combat any negativity with positive thoughts,” said Davis. “You do matter, you do have a voice.”
    To conclude her speech, Davis mentioned that as soon as someone is empowered, they will empower others.
    “When you’re blessed, you have to be a blessing for other people,” said Davis.
    For Jacob Qualls and Tam Tran, Davis’ message was achieved in their eyes.
    “I think what stood out the most to me was her dedication,” Qualls, freshman in engineering electronics, said. “It’s good to believe in something and keep yourself motivated, she’s clearly motivated.”
    Tran added a lot of the experiences mentioned in Davis’ speech felt familiar to him.
    “I liked when she said when you empower yourself, you empower others,” Tran, freshman in engineering electronics, said. “That’s what my culture and religion are teaching, too.”

  • There’s more to Brazil than soccer

    | Kyleigh Becker reporter |

    More than 250 students gathered for the Brazilian Student Association’s Brazil Day on Wednesday night. According to Renan da Cunha, the group’s president, all 70 Brazilian students enrolled at PSU were involved with the event. Their goal, he said, was to break American stereotypes of the largest country in South America.
    “Most of the people already know about soccer, about Carnaval and we don’t want to talk about it,” da Cunha said. “We decided to show a new Brazil.”
    Other Brazilian students agreed.

    Brazilian students line up at the front of Grubbs 109 to display the flags of their ancestors' nationalities to show Brazil's diverse culture on Wednesday, Nov. 5.

    Brazilian students line up at the front of Grubbs 109 to display the flags of their ancestors’ nationalities to show Brazil’s diverse culture on Wednesday, Nov. 5.

    “We have more than that in Brazil,” said Ana Laura Ayers, sophomore in English. “Way more.”
    The focus of the evening was on food, folklore and the country’s different cultures and holidays.
    The students served Brazilian hotdogs, cocadas (coconut sweets), empanadas (chicken pies) and arroz doce (rice pudding).
    Kelly Wilkinson, psychology major, gave the food a five-star rating.
    “This sweet rice is bad-ass,” said Wilkinson, as she tilted the rice cup to her mouth.
    José Sampaio Magalhães, junior in automotive technology, helped with the food, mainly preparing the cocadas.
    “I think the people will like the food because it’s totally different,” he said.
    “It’s pretty good,” Sarah Jones, senior in psychology, said. “Whatever it is.”
    The Brazilians didn’t serve brigadero because they were trying to step away from stereotypes, da Cunha says.
    Sharing folklore was another element of the evening. Magalhães says he thinks people may enjoy it the most.
    “People really don’t know about it,” Magalhães said. “Each country has their own, so I think it’s a good part.”
    Ayers was the presenter on Brazilian folklore.
    “There is one story that is commonly known,” Ayers said. “You can stop a Brazilian on the street and ask.”
    The story is about a one-legged man and his journey through life.
    “He’s really mean,” Ayers said. “He plays tricks on horses and he burns your food.”
    Ayers chose this story because it is the most well-known, unique and complete story in Brazilian folklore.
    “It’s a real treat,” Ayers said. “It’s an amazing story.”
    Another part of the presentation explained the different regions of Brazil and their unique celebrations, such as the Northeastern Festa de São João and the Western celebration of Cururu. Cultural diversity was also highlighted. Natives, immigrants and those forcibly brought to Brazil to be slaves in previous centuries have all contributed to the vast diversity of the country in food, dance and holidays.
    “Since I got here, I had in my mind to show what Brazil really is,” da Cunha said. “(The event) is talking about who I am, where I’m from, about my culture and what it really means to me.”

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