PittLife

  • 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.

  • Rain or shine, Greeks have a blast

    | Gretchen Burns reporter |

    This past week, rain wasn’t the only thing to flood the campus of PSU.
    Greek Week 2015 began with its annual kickoff last Friday, April 10, with an all-Greek photo in front of Russ Hall and viewing of banners in the Oval.
    Greek members were also able to earn points in advance for attending the Tunnel of Oppression, held last week in the Dellinger Underground.
    This year’s theme for Greek Week is “America.”
    “Rylie and I were up really late finishing our banner,” said Molly McVey, junior in art and member of Alpha Gamma Delta. “We wanted to do something that was going to really stand out and be different.”
    McVey and fellow sister Rylie Miller, junior in graphic design and Spanish, helped create a banner that channeled “Schoolhouse Rock’s” Election episode. The Alpha Gamma Delta banner shows the Bill sitting on Capitol Hill.
    Other banners feature the Statue of Liberty, fireworks, the American flag and other iconic, patriotic, American items.
    On Saturday, April 11, many of Pitt State’s 600-plus Greeks joined the 900 volunteers for the Big Event community-wide service project.
    “I really enjoy the Big Event,” Miller said. “It’s always enjoyable when you get to meet the person you are helping and really see how much they appreciate the gesture.”
    This past Monday, April 13, each Greek chapter brought breakfast and thank-you notes to PSU’s academic departments in honor of Faculty Appreciation Day.
    On Tuesday, April 14, the competition was turned up during the annual Greek Games as sisters and brothers raced, hopped and tugged for first place.
    After falling over his partner as they leapt toward the finish line together during the three-legged race, Justin Stone said that thoughts of stretching might have gotten them farther.
    “I think I pulled my hamstring,” said Stone, junior in marketing and member of Phi Sigma Kappa. “It just really proved that stretching can go a long way.”
    Phi Sigma Kappa won against the other fraternities in the relay of carrying an egg on a spoon via four different members. Alpha Gamma Delta won on the sorority side of the competition.
    Other games were a balloon toss, potato sack race and a canoe race on the University Lake.
    Wednesday, April 15, the Greeks tried to see if they had those “wings” Redbull is always talking about in the Redbull Chariot Race.
    This year the chariot race was held in the Weede and Irene Bradley School of Nursing parking lot.
    Three members of each chapter competed in the race, two pulling their hand-made chariots and one riding. Though the goal was to make it around the hay bale loop, some teams took a more straight-on approach.
    Taylor Blackburn was panting after she and the Alpha Gamma Delta team finished the first round of the races.
    “It was a lot of fun to do this,” said Blackburn, sophomore in exercise science. “However, we should have run around in circles to practice. We didn’t prepare for the exercise party hardly at all.”
    Alpha Gamma Delta won the top sorority award as well as the Greek Spirit Team and Creativity Award along with free Red Bull energy drinks for each member for two semesters.
    The Archimedes Design Award was awarded to Sigma Phi Epsilon. Each crew member for the chariot race won a $20 Chatters gift card. Sigma Chi won the overall award.
    Tonight, Thursday, April 16, the Pitt State Greeks will compete in the annual Airband & Greek God/Goddess competition.
    The event will be at 9 p.m. in the Weede Gymnasium. Patriotism welcome.
    Greek Week will conclude on Friday, April 17, with the Order of Omega Awards Ceremony where the Greek Week winners, one sorority and one fraternity, will be announced.
    Order of Omega will begin at 6 p.m. at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts.

  • Gorilla Games brings in record number students

    | Michael Bauer Sports Editor |

    On Tuesday April 7, high school students from the Four State Area flocked to Pittsburg State to participate in the Great Gorilla Games.
    The event took place throughout the day as students competed in science, technology, engineering and mathematics-or STEM, for short- competitions at John Lance Arena.
    The event’s purpose was to promote STEM-oriented curricula, collaboration, teamwork and the practical application of STEM concepts to real world scenarios and problems.
    Mike Neden, associate professor of technology and workforce learning, said this year’s games were an improvement over the past years.
    “I feel like we’ve had a great response,” Neden said. “We’ve had a lot more students and a lot more events. It’s been a good response. Some of the new events have been pretty good and the others need some work. We’ll see how that comes out next year.”
    The event was put on by the Technology and Engineering Education Program and the College of Technology at Pittsburg State.
    The Great Gorilla Games included a variety of challenges and competitions for all STEM students to participate in. the events included rubber band dragster race cars, rubber band powered airplanes, a Titanic tubular bridge and a LEGO dream house challenge. In all, there were 40 events.
    This was the fourth year of the Great Gorilla Games and while the activities were helpful for high school students, there were plenty of benefits for the university.
    “It brings 500 to 600 students from high schools that are prime time candidates to be recruited to Pittsburg State and we think it’s a win for them and for our students,” Neden said.
    But while monitoring how many high school kids have chosen PSU over other schools because of the event remains to be seen, Neden says they will be observing that in the future.
    “We haven’t really tracked that as well as we should but we are this year,” Neden said. “We’re trying to follow up with kids who have been here and see how that works out.”
    Some of the participants had already made up their minds of where they will attend college. Mitchell White, senior from Pittsburg High School will be one of those.
    “I think it’s a blast,” White said. You get to come from different schools and compete with different people and have a fun time.”
    White will be majoring in construction engineering with a minor in architecture. This was the first year he competed at the Great Gorilla Games.
    Other PSU students say they would have profited from participating in the event but never had the opportunity.
    “I would’ve benefited from this experience if I was in high school,” said Ross Riggs, senior tech education major from Olathe and one of the volunteer workers. “This is my second year doing the Gorilla Games since I changed majors.”
    Riggs, who ran the quadcopters challenge, said a few high school kids got a little disgruntled during the event.
    “All the kids had a lot of fun. Some of them kind of got frustrated,” Riggs said. “It’s pretty difficult to fly the helicopters but they still had fun.”
    White, who participated in five events, said one of the benefits of the day was the variety of different competitions offered.
    “You get to expand your mind to literally anything. You have the space portions, the aero portion. It opens your mind into different things,” White said.
    There were about 540 participants from close to 21 high schools. According to Neden, those numbers represent an improvement from last year’s Great Gorilla Games.
    “It’s about 100 more than last year,” he said.
    There were about 90 volunteers, most of whom are PSU students.
    “My students are highly involved in the planning and developing with the different challenges of the competition,” Neden said. We try to build that into the curriculum and I think that’s a great way for them to learn to use math and science and technology in a fun way.”
    But it wasn’t only PSU students who volunteered.
    “We have quite a few from the university but we also have quite a contingent from the Home Depot, PITSCO, the U.S. Army,” Neden said. “We have quite a bit of support from those folks.”
    The first year of the event saw approximately 100 students while the second year brought in close to 200. Last year and this year’s figures have trumped those numbers and the university will continue to look at ways to expand the number of high school students.
    “We’re going to take a look and see if the idea is to have more or to have better,” Neden said. I think we’re going to reach out to schools and services in this area and see if we can increase the number. We may look at structurally how we plan and handle the whole operation.”

  • Parking or landscaping?

    | Audrey Dighans copy editor |

    Money is the root of all evil, as the saying goes. During Student Government Association (SGA)’s meeting on Wednesday, April 1, money was the route of the Senate’s debate.
    The university’s building trades and landscape maintenance department has proposed a project to landscape around Grubbs Hall. On behalf of the university master planning committee, Michael Haynes, campus affairs director for SGA, presented the project ideas and requested $14,175 from the campus capital improvement (CCI) fund, which currently sits at $22,000 and is allocated $10,000 annually from a non-PSU organization, to fund the project.
    “I would ask all of you to consider not whether or not you want the project to happen, but do you want student money to be used for this project,” Haynes said.
    Senators were reminded by Haynes and Michael Giffin, legislative affairs director for SGA, that if the Senate does not vote in favor of this project, the money would be allotted to another CCI proposal: the creation of a fund for the planetarium to acquire a new projector.
    However, the landscape project is still only a proposal and has not yet been fully approved by the master planning committee. Then comes catch no. 2: motorcycle parking at Grubbs would be removed with no defined relocation in mind.
    “Are you kidding me? A ton of people park there,” said Sen. Deana Thompson.
    Haynes’ response to the Senate floor is that master planning is looking to double the size of the Grubbs parking lot in the future and is debating the topic of motorcycle parking and where to move it.
    “I don’t feel like we can support this with no clear plan of where the parking will go,” Giffin said.
    Sen. Marcus Clem says he also dislikes the idea of approving the plan when it would eliminate parking.
    “I’ve had exams in those classrooms on the other side of the wall from the motorcycle parking and it is trying,” Clem said. “They rev up their engines right next to the window. Yes, I think we can all agree that Grubbs could look nicer and it would be nice to move the parking elsewhere, but I am concerned about there being no defined parking.”
    Sen. Jennifer Bradley strongly opposed the project, especially the expense of “some grass and trees.”
    “Given how much sunlight Grubbs sees throughout the day, have we explored any into the idea of putting solar panels on Grubbs and making the building completely self-sufficient,” Bradley said.
    Later in the meeting after continued debate, Bradley proposed eliminating all the parking in front of Grubbs, including teacher parking, so that all would be affected equally from the landscaping proposal.
    Other concerns brought up by the Senate include the fact that SGA has not used CCI funds in nearly three years, resulting in the large budget of the fund.
    “The money isn’t going to vanish at the end of this year,” said Jordan Schaper, SGA president. “But our failure to use it in the past few years means SGA has left no large contribution to the campus. If we pass this project we can have two short-term goals met: landscaping Grubbs and starting a fund to benefit the planetarium. Or, we can meet one long-term goal and give all the money to the planetarium, which would take a big chunk out of the needed $50,000 for that project.”
    Steve Erwin, vice president of campus life and auxiliary services and SGA adviser, added to the Senate debate that the Grubbs motorcycle parking was never intentionally meant to exist.
    “That was our fault,” Erwin said. “People started parking there, we put a sign up to regulate it, we never should have done that.”
    Haynes also added that though there were 20 projects researched for CCI funds, the university’s master planning committee has shot down all but three.
    In the end, the landscaping project was adopted and will be further discussed at SGA’s next meeting on Wednesday, April 8, after the Senate has had time to discuss it with constituents.
    Following the landscaping discussion came the proposal to create an account using the remaining CCI funds to help buy a new projector for the planetarium. This proposal was met with little opposition or debate as it is so closely tied with the landscaping proposal. It too was adopted for second reading and will receive further discussion next week.
    In other business, a proposal for a “parking ticket one-time forgiveness plan” was brought to the Senate floor by Schaper and Sen. John Botts of the transportation committee. Giffin also proposed SGA take a stance on Kansas Senate Bill 175, which if passed could limit the university from regulating any student organization violating discrimination policies. Both resolutions will be discussed further at SGA’s next meeting.

  • New person Same Gus

    Mascot trials a success

    | Charles A. Ault reporter |

    Pittsburg State University hosted tryouts for Gus, the school’s iconic Gorilla mascot, on Saturday, March 28. The tryouts were open to all students, current or incoming, interested in donning Gus’ attire for the upcoming school year.
    “Gus is a huge part of Pittsburg State,” said Marissa Poppe, assistant director for strategic partnerships and community outreach. “He’s kind of the face of the school, so we are looking for somebody who can fill that role and really represent the university well.”
    Poppe added the university is hoping to start a longer-reaching mascot program through these tryouts.
    “We are trying to get a really good mascot program,” she said. “A lot of D-1’s do it, so we are trying to go off of what they do.”
    Four individuals took part in Saturday’s three-part tryouts for the position.
    “We tried on the suit and talked to previous mascots to kind of get a persona built,” said Michael Karraker, incoming freshman in psychology. “From there, we went to one-on-three interviews.”
    The interview portion of the tryout assessed how well each individual could handle representing the university at a variety of events, from athletic to community.
    “Gus does so many appearances on campus and in the community,” Poppe said. “We’re looking for someone who can be a representative of the university.”
    Following the interview, the contestants performed a routine in the Gus suit for the judges as well as the PSU Cheerleading Squad. The four routines contained everything from cheers with props to ballroom dancing with members of the audience.
    “I was disappointed with my routine,” said Jordan Abbiatti, freshman in marketing. “It wasn’t that I wasn’t prepared, it was just that I didn’t have a lot of things go my way props-wise.
    “Gus is just an incredible experience and just to be able to try out is pretty great.”
    Some of the tryout participants came with mascot experience.
    “I was the mascot for my high school,” said Karraker. “My friends were like, ‘Hey, why don’t you try out for this’ and I decided I might as well try it.
    “It’s something I’ve done so I’m used to it already and it’s fun to make kids happy when you’re a high school mascot. Putting a little bit bigger to a college scale could be fun.”
    Gus himself says being a mascot is fun.
    Gus attended the tryouts to help judge and offer advice.
    “I did this last year, this past season for basketball and football and I loved it,” Gus said. “I love the atmosphere and I love the way people look at me. When you get in that suit, everyone loves you.”
    Gus added he hopes that those trying out take up the suit themselves.
    “I can’t wait to see these guys perform and I can’t wait to find out the results,” Gus said.

  • Pitt Briefs

    Holi rescheduled

    The Indian Student Association has rescheduled its annual Holi celebration for Saturday, April 4. The event will be held at 1 p.m. at the Bicknell Sports Complex.
    For more information, call 650-825-0941.

    International gathering

    Pittsburg State University’s International Gatherings will continue at 6 p.m. Friday, April 3, with Malaysia in the Grubbs Hall lobby.
    This event is free and open to the public. It will feature a taste of Malaysian cuisine, made by PSU’s Malaysian students as well as a presentation on the country.
    For more information, call 235-4607.

    Poetry reading

    Sally Keith will read from her works at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 2, in the Governors Room of Overman Student Center, as part of the English department’s Visiting Writers Series.
    The event is free and open to the public, with a reception to follow.
    Keith is the author of three collections of poetry, has been published in journals and anthologies and has been awarded fellowships to the BreadLoaf’s Writer’s Conference as well as being a recipient of a Pushcart Prize.

    Family Art Day

    The Department of Art will host a “Family Art Day” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 4, in Porter Hall.
    The department invites families with children ages 5-12 to tour PSU’s three art galleries, make take-home projects and contribute to a collaborative project.
    The event is free and open to the public.
    Students ages 5-8 should be accompanied by an adult.
    For more information, contact Josie Mai at jmai@pittstate.edu.

    Artist lecture

    Ariel Bowman’s “A Magnificent Migration” is now on display in the University Gallery of Porter Hall. Bowman will speak about her work at 3 p.m. Thursday, April 2, in Russ Hall room 301. A reception will follow.
    “A Magnificent Migration” will be on display through May 2.
    For more information, call Rhona McBain at 235-4202.

    Fall Honors College selections

    Thirty-seven incoming freshmen have been selected to join the university’s Honors College for the 2015 Fall semester.
    Honors College was established to attract and retain high-achieving students to Pittsburg State University. Applications for Honors College are offered to incoming freshmen with an ACT composite score of 28 or higher or an SAT composite score of 1240 or higher, in addition to having completed a pre-college curriculum and have a high-school GPA of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale.

    Softball, sand volleyball leagues

    The Intramural Sports Program will host softball and sand volleyball leagues starting Monday, April 13. The deadline for team registration for either league is Sunday, April 5, and must be done via IMLeagues.

    Poetry slam

    Students for Violence Prevention will hold the organization’s 2nd annual “Poetry Slam Against Violence” at 7 p.m. Monday, April 20, in the Dellinger Underground. Students interested in participating in the slam should email Ali Smith at pittstatesvp@gmail.com to register their poem(s) by 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 7.
    Performances must be limited to three minutes and participants are encouraged to memorize their works, which may be original or from another poet.
    This event is in honor of both Sexual Assault Awareness Month and National Poetry Month.

    SGA elections

    The annual Student Government Association elections voting period will be Monday, April 6, through Thursday, April 9. Students are encouraged to log on to the GUS system under Ballots & Surveys during this time to cast their ballot for president, vice president and Senate candidates.
    Problems with GUS should be reported to the Gorilla Geeks, located in Whitesitt Hall Room 109.

    Blue is for autism awareness

     
    The Bicknell Family Center for the Arts will be going blue on Thursday, April 2, in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day.
    Joe Firman, director, said the Bicknell Center will join iconic buildings around the world that are participating in the event.
    “We have the ability to light the Bicknell Center with colored lights, which adds to the natural beauty of the building,” Firman said. “Hopefully, when people see the blue lights on April 2, it will help build awareness of autism and the struggle that families affected by autism face every day.”
    Light it up Blue is a project of Autism Speaks. For more information about Autism Speaks, an advocacy group, visit www.autismspeaks.org.

    PSU hosts Great Gorilla Games

     
    Hundreds of high school students from the region are scheduled to join the second annual Great Gorilla Games.
    The day-long event begins at 8 a.m. Tuesday, April 7, in the Weede Physical Education Building and aims to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Featured will be contests, challenges and exhibits.
    Mike Neden, associate professor in the Department of Technology and Workforce Learning and an organizer of the Great Gorilla Games, says he expects 600 to 800 high school students to participate.
    Challenges range from building rubber-band-powered dragsters and airplanes to designing and building an autonomous robot.
    A full schedule and list of events are available at http://www.greatgorillagames.com. 
     

    Easter bake sale planned

    Social Work Plus will hold an Easter Bake Sale 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, April 2, on the Oval and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, April 3, at the Tech Center.

    Cardiac stress tests

     
    The Bryant Student Health Center is offering heart stress tests to students. Rita Girth, director of operations at the center, said Pittsburg State is the only four-year institution in Kansas to offer stress tests to students.
    Stress tests, conducted on treadmills, test how a person’s heart responds to exertion. By monitoring the heart during physical activity, medical officials can determine whether there are signs of heart problems. The tests can also show how much exertion the patient’s heart can handle.
     Girth says each semester the center conducts stress tests on about 10 students who request the test because of an abnormal feeling in their chests.
    The cost is $60.
    For more information, call 235-4452.

    Korean Culture Day scheduled

    Performances for Korean Culture Day will be at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, in the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts. Dinner will be at 7:30 p.m. in the United Methodist Campus Ministry.
    There will be several performances, including fan dance, nanta (Korean percussion), fairy tale play, traditional kids’ stories, samulnori (Korean traditional instrument performance) and taegondo (Korean martial arts).  
    Tickets are $5 and can be purchased in the student center, Oval, or the international office in Whitesitt Hall. The price includes a bowl of rice with Korean barbecue and fried kimchi.
    For more information, call Sumin Lee at (201)257-2820 or sumin.lee@gus.pittstate.edu.

  • EMPOWER

    Women – Social Work – Awareness: Students promote social issues

    | Audrey Dighans copy editor |

    The Oval was the place to be Wednesday, March 25.
    Besides a Greek philanthropy, “Where It’s At Wednesday” by the Student Government Association, pedestrian traffic and a puppy, students in the Advanced Practice Three course occupied much of the campus hub to raise awareness and collect donations for a variety of life issues.

    Darla Ross, senior in social work, buys some hygiene products and donates the money for Pittsburg Middle School on Empowering Women event on Wednesday, March 25.

    Darla Ross, senior in social work, buys some hygiene products and donates the money for Pittsburg Middle School on Empowering Women event on Wednesday, March 25.


    “I am collecting craft items for Unlimited Hope,” said Lannatte Wood, senior in social work. “Unlimited Hope is a shelter for women and they want to start a craft group for those they are helping. There they can provide a fun activity and have another outlet to spread information.”
    Wood says she chose her topic in honor of a friend who was killed in 2010 due to an abusive spouse.
    “She was such a free spirit,” Wood said. “She always wanted to help people, she has three lovely daughters who very much live up to her memory.”
    Wood added she was also in an abusive relationship in the past.
    “I lived in fear for many years,” she said. “He died while in Iraq and that was the end. Afterward I realized I will never be in that situation again.”
    Wood says those who are suffering from an abusive relationship should reach out and seek the help of friends, family and law enforcement.
    “Safehouse Crisis Center is Pittsburg’s local place where women can go for help if they need it,” she said.
    Wood will continue to collect craft supplies until Monday, March 30. Anyone interested in donating can drop supplies off in Russ Hall room 412.
    “Anything crafty,” Wood said. “Mason jars, tempera paint, fabric.”
    Kelsey Peckman, senior in social work, manned a booth to provide information about Down syndrome and passersby could sign up for a pool tournament she is organizing at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 28, at The Break.
    “I chose Down syndrome because I have a 5-year-old cousin with it,” Peckman said. “I want people to know that people affected by Down syndrome are capable of so many things.”
    Peckman says all the money she raises from the pool tournament and donations will benefit the Down Syndrome Clinic of Kansas City.

    “Except for the prizes of the tournament,” she said. “First place is already guaranteed to win $100 and second will win $50. All the prizes will increase based upon participation.”
    Peckman’s tournament costs $10 to enter with registration starting at 1 p.m. Saturday. The tournament will begin at 2 p.m.

  • Pitt Briefs

    SAC executive board openings

    Student Activities Council is now accepting applications for the 2015-2016 executive board. Applications can be picked up in the Campus Activities Center office located in Hartman Hall room 203 and are due back by Friday, March 27.
    For more information, visit the SAC Facebook page: www.facebook.com/psusac?_rdr.

    T.A.G.

    The T.A.G. event reminds all to Thank a Gorilla.
    A variety of statues, buildings and other on-campus objects will be decorated with red bows and tags until Friday, March 27. The tags signify how much Pittsburg State benefits from the private giving from alumni and friends.

    Early enrollment

    Early enrollment for Summer 2015 and Fall 2015 is this Sunday, March 29.
    Students are encouraged to meet with their advisers to receive their enrollment code and review enrollment time, which is based on the number of completed credit hours.
    Updating demographic information through GUS is also required before a student may enroll.
    For more information, visit the Registrar’s office in Russ Hall room 103 or call 235-4200.

    Newman Center tobacco-free

    St. Pius X Newman Center has announced it is now a tobacco-free site, including its sidewalks, driveways and parking lots.
    For more information regarding PSU’s Tobacco Policy log onto the Pitt State website at www.pittstate.edu/tobaccofree.

    Holi celebration

    The Indian Students Association (ISA) will host the annual “Holi, the Festival of Colors” at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 28, near the soccer fields of the Bicknell Sports Complex.
    Holi is a Hindu festival observed at the end of winter to mark the victory of good over evil. It is most recognizable by the participants’ use of colored powdered, water and dancing.
    PSU’s Holi is free and open to the public with colored powders and music provided by ISA.

    Career positions/internships

    There will be a recruiting event for mathematics, computer science, engineering, statistics and economics students at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 26, in Yates Hall room 215.
    The Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) of the U.S. Army will give a presentation for available civilian positions, both summer and career, at Fort Leavenworth.
    The summer intern salary is $13.68 per hour ($15.31 with 90 hours or more completed) and career salary is $18.96 per hour.

    PSU makes list on college guide

    The Washington Monthly has ranked PSU as No. 10 on its “Best Bang for the Buck” list out of 403 colleges and universities in the Midwest.
    The monthly’s newest college guide attempts to rate schools based on their contributions to public good by social mobility, research and service. Factors such as percentage of students receiving Pell Grants, net price for families of varying income levels, ACT/SAT scores, student loan default rates, graduation rates and percentage of applicants admitted were also taken into account.

    GIT launches packaging

    The Pittsburg State Graphics and Imaging Technologies (GIT) Department has launched a new emphasis area: packaging.
    The packaging emphasis will focus on how product packages are designed and marketed. This emphasis joins the existing five to make six emphasis areas for GIT. The current five offered are graphic design, management, web and interactive, print media and digital media. Packaging courses will be offered as part of the full curriculum starting in Fall 2015.

    National Geographic at PSU

    Albert Yu-Min Lin, explorer, research scientist and engineer for National Geographic, will give a presentation at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 27, at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts.
    The presentation, entitled “Chasing Ancient Mysteries: A Digital Expedition,” will focus on exploration and technology. The audience will travel with Lin’s photographs to Mongolia where Lin has been searching for the lost tomb of conqueror Genghis Khan.
    Tickets for Lin’s presentation are available at the PSU Ticket Office in the Weede or online at bicknellcenter.com. Tickets are $5 for PSU students with ID and $15 for the general public.

    Travel to Korea

    Spots are still available for the 2015 PSU delegation trip to Korea.
    The two-week trip will begin Sunday, May 10, and last until Saturday, May 23. Those who attend will travel to Pitt State’s three sister schools for the opportunity to learn about a different culture.
    There are currently 10 students, three faculty members and two guests signed up for the trip.
    The cost is $2,875 per person and includes airfare, hotel, meals, transportation and admission fees.
    For more information, call Choong Lee at 235-4587.

    Sally Keith to visit campus

    In celebration of Women’s History Month and National Poetry Month, the PSU Distinguished Writers Series has announced a reading of Sally Keith’s works by the poet herself. The event will be at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 2, in the Governors Room of the Overman Student Center.
    Keith is an associate professor of creative writing at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. She has published three collections of poetry and her works have been featured in publications such as the Colorado Review, Conjunctions and New American Writing.
    This event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the English Department, the Women’s Studies Program and the Student Fee Council.

    The Great Debate

    Student Government Association will host “The Great Debate” tonight, Thursday, March 26, at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts. The event will feature two debates; one between SGA president hopefuls starting at 6 p.m. and the second featuring four of the five candidates for the Pittsburg City Commisioner’s race, starting a 7 p.m.
    Students will have a chance to win pizzas for their student organizations as well as a Kindle Fire and $50.

  • Disconnected is the price of being connected

    | Val Vita reporter |

    A few days ago I saw a father and his two baby boys sharing an interesting scene. The kids were playing happily all around him, making noises, and trying to get his attention. The father, though, had his total attention focused on his iPhone. My curiosity got the best of me, so I got closer to see what the hell was so important in that phone. It was Candy Crush.   
    Often (more frequently than I would like) I see couples sitting in restaurants waiting for their food. Instead of talking to each other, each is checking Instagram. It’s not rare to see entire families checking their Facebook news feeds. Or then, a group of friends hanging out together, each one of them staring at that bright and addicting device: posting pictures, tagging friends, reading comments, looking for likes, giving random likes, swiping out photos on Tinder (or Grindr, depending on your sexual orientation), using Snapchat to send silly selfies to a bunch of people, or connecting Facetime to talk to someone who is not there.
    The fact that I’ve just realized that my mother would not understand many of the words I used in the previous paragraph is a clear sign of how the world is changing very fast (and in a very weird way). So did it take only one generation for our habits to change so drastically? Doesn’t it scare you when you think of what is coming next?
    I know you have probably seen these scenes, too, of people together but not actually together because everybody is entangled in this online world. But have you ever wondered why? Why do we feel we need to post a picture with hashtags before going to a party, instead of just going to the party? Why do we need to instagram our food, instead of just eating it? Why do we use our phones to make a video of the concert that we paid good money to watch live?
    Have you ever felt surprised when someone called you instead of texted you? Isn’t it ironic that you feel that way when your phone rings? A phone, which was specifically designed for phone calls, was invented years ago.
    It seems to me that all of these are symptoms of an invisible disease in a generation that is connected all the time, and, at the same time, is the most disconnected of all.
    Today, I don’t have happy solutions to propose in the last paragraph of this column. Today, instead of thinking of answers, I could only think of questions. But luckily, I might have at least been able to make you think, too.
    Val Vita is a graduate teaching assistant in communication.

  • Apple Day No. 108

    Old tradition, new digs

    | Audrey Dighans copy editor |

    More than 300 students, faculty, staff and guests filled the Linda & Lee Scott Performance Hall in the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts for the annual Apple Day Convocation on Thursday, March 5.
    This was the 108th Apple Day at Pittsburg State.
    “Apple Day is a tradition commemorating success,” said Randy Roberts, dean of library services and university archivist. “The success of the university, the success of the students.”
    The ceremony began with Jordan Schaper, Student Government Association president, welcoming the audience and introducing the day’s speakers, including keynote Andy Tompkins.
    “In many ways, he does not need an introduction,” said Steve Scott, university president.
    Tompkins, president and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents, spoke about his belief in “service leadership,” the idea that the “we” is bigger than the “me.”
    He says the idea of being in service to a broader good was more important for the good of society than simply serving himself.
    “These traits of service leadership can be applied to any situation,” Tompkins said.
    Following Tompkins was Susan Marchant, professor of music, and the PSU choirs in a performance of “Begin the Beguine,” by Cole Porter.
    The 2015 Dr. Ralf J. Thomas Distinguished Service Awards followed the music and was awarded to Jan Allai and Pete and Shirley Esch.
    Allai and her late husband, Wayne, established the university’s first capital campaign in 1985. Together they created an endowment to provide scholarships for student athletes.
    The Esches have established two scholarships for students in the Kelce College of Business and are both lifetime members of the President’s Club.
    Dylan McCollar, academic affairs director for SGA, was next welcomed on stage by Schaper to present the Outstanding Faculty Award Winners: Jeff Poe, Phil McNew and Phillip Harries.
    “He made my education feel of great value … I feel like he truly cares,” said Cassidy Barnard, of Harries in the convocation program.
    Poe’s nominator, Myka Ross, said Poe is one of the most approachable and encouraging professors she has ever had the pleasure to be taught by.
    McCollar also took the time to thank students for sending in nominations.
    The winners of the annual Apple Pie and Desert Contest were also announced during the ceremony.
    Nichole Kolarik won first place in the pie division with her “Apple Pie” and Lisa Gritz won first place in the desserts division with her “Apple Upside-Down Cake.”
    Up next were the 25 student recipients of the Golden Gorilla Award. The Golden Gorilla was established in 1997 to honor students who have made contributions to the community in service, academic excellence and campus involvement.
    Finally, 2014-2015 Homecoming King & Queen Brian Walker and Emily Mika came on stage for what many students say they view as the most important part of convocation: the scholarship drawing.
    This year was the 11th year of the Centennial Scholarships at Apple Day, courtesy of the PSU Foundation. This year’s winners were Charles Ault, sophomore in chemistry, who won the $500 award, and Christina Platt, junior in psychology, who received the $1,000 award.
    “I’m shocked and excited,” Platte said. “This is my first semester here at Pitt State. What a way to start number two.”
    Convocation ended, as always, with the audience members receiving their choice of a red delicious or granny smith apple as they filed out of the performance hall. This year’s apples were provided by the unclassified staff and faculty associations and Marrone’s.

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