PittLife

  • Bras for a cause

    | Haley Riebel reporter |

    As the holiday season rolls around, festive songs can be heard on nearly every radio station when hunting for that perfect present. While some can afford to spend large amounts of money on gifts, others cannot.
    To help combat this, donation boxes have been set up at Axe Library and the information desk in the student center to take gently used bras during Dead Week through Friday, Dec. 5.
    The fundraiser, sponsored by Margaret Bradford, Shelby Kuhns and Beverly Withers, began as a project for the sponsors’ women’s studies course. Bradford, Khuns and Withers will donate the bras to Safehouse Crisis Center (SCC) where victims of abuse or those in need will be able to get a “new to her” bra, something many of the women need.
    “The project is designed to get the students involved in the community and to help make a difference,” said Bradford, senior in psychology. “We chose to collect bras for the Safehouse Crisis Center here in Pittsburg so that the women there will be able to have good quality bras.”
    For those who have ever gone shopping for a bra, buying a new one can easily run upward of $40.
    “It’s something we think every woman deserves,” Bradford said.
    The three added that one of their goals is to unite PSU students with the Pittsburg community and help those in need. Students who are unable to donate a bra can make monetary donations by logging onto SCC’s website at www.gofundme.com/gmtt70.

  • Beer Killer

    | Gretchen Burns reporter |

    Letting beer drain out of a punctured beer can isn’t what most college students would think of fun. But for the students involved in the Sustainability Club, it’s a way for them to help the environment and recycle at the same time.
    Jim Triplett had been approached by Dallas Gossett of Eagle Beverage and asked if the club would like to find a way to drain and recycle the outdated beer cans the company had.

    Members of the Sustainability Club take turns puncturing beer cans to drain the beer so they can recycle the cans.

    Members of the Sustainability Club take turns puncturing beer cans to drain the beer so they can recycle the cans.


    “He approached me at SEK Recycling while I was volunteering one day and told me that my environmental life science class several years ago was the reason that he was recycling today,” said Triplett, adviser of the Sustainability Club. “He asked if we would want to try to find a way to recycle and drain the outdated cans that were sitting in the warehouse.”
    Triplett says the outdated cans were removed from Eagle Beverage and taken to the landfill where many were then run over with a steam-roller.
    “Dallas told me that he just didn’t want to see all of that aluminum sit in a landfill and be wasted,” Triplett said.
    Triplett filled in the Pitt State Sustainability Club and the entire organization went out to assess the situation. Once back on campus, brainstorming what could be done began.
    Adrian Hillman and Chris Jenkins, both juniors in diesel technology, started designing a device capable of puncturing several cans at a time to drain the beer from inside.
    “We took a three-and-a-half-foot-long PVC tube that was large enough to fit the can in and set several tubes onto a stand that we had built,” said Jenkins.
    A nail board was used to puncture the cans and the beer was drained into a vat where it was disposed of.
    Hillman says the crusher can puncture and crush six 12-ounce cans at a time. Besides 12-ounce cans, the PVC pipe can hold 16-ounce and 25-ounce cans at the same time.
    “Right now, we’ve probably drained about 25 cases of beer through our trial runs,” said Hillmann. “That doesn’t sound like a lot, but we’ve got at least 100 more cases to go.”
    Hillmann says Eagle Beverage has a shed in which they store the outdated beer.
    “We’ve only been able to do trial runs so far, going in on a Monday afternoon and working until we had class again,” Hillmann said. “We’re going in on Dec. 6th to work all day and see how much we can get done in a day and not just get a little bit done at a time.”
    While club members have a device ready to puncture and crush cans, they are working toward a device that can pop several tops off of bottles as well. The bottles will be drained like the cans and the glass will be recycled and not taken to the landfill.
    Designs are being practiced and brought forth, but one has not been created yet.
    “I like sustainability and I like what we’re doing,” said Hillmann. “It’s small, but impactful. Things aren’t getting wasted. I like being a part of the club and helping in whatever way that I can.”

  • Writing love on their arms

    Group tries to help ease pain of depression

    | Charles A. Ault reporter |

    Annie Kratochvil stands in front of a lecture hall with a few dozen people witnessing as she tells her story of struggle with self-harm and suicide.
    Both issues are major focuses of a nationwide organization dedicated to spreading hope, help and love: To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA). The organization, founded in 2006, specifically states in its mission “to present hope for people struggling with addiction, depression, self-injury, and thoughts of suicide while also investing directly into treatment and recovery.”
    On Tuesday, Dec. 2, the Pitt State chapter of TWLOHA held a “Night of Hope” devoted to sharing and supporting those who have suffered with a variety of mental issues. The evening started with a few songs by five local musicians in attendance.
    “Our musical guest was really great. It’s great when someone will give not their money but also their time to what you do and what your cause is,” said Chris Holweger, senior in psychology.
    Between sets performed by the band members, members of Pitt State’s TWLOHA gave presentations, two of which were about the TWLOHA organization and others featured members such as Caitlin Martin and Kratochvil sharing personal stories.
    “My heart’s still racing from telling (my story) but it’s something that gets easier every single time I talk about it,” said Kratochvil, senior in psychology and substance abuse services. “I’ve shared it with the TWLOHA group so many times, so being able to share what I’ve been through to let people know that they can get out of that deep hole that is depression makes me feel better on the inside because I’m giving hope to people.”
    Sharing stories is exactly why TWLOHA was founded.
    “One thing about TWLOHA is that we believe that your story is important, so just being able to share my story with everyone so they could know that I have personal experience was great,” said Martin. “I feel like if people know and get to hear other people’s stories it makes them more open to share their own story and that’s important to me.”
    After the presentations, the floor was opened up to audience members to share their personal stories. One individual rose.
    “I think that chance to share stories was pretty good but it put a lot of pressure when you ask people to come up, and that’s why no one really wanted to come up. Especially because stage fright is a real thing for people,” said Stormy Teague, senior in computer information systems.
    Members of Pitt State’s TWLOHA said they were happy with the turnout of about 30, more than previous years.
    “Tonight went really well,” Holweger said. “I can’t say that there was a whole lot that I was left desiring from the night.”
    Hannah Wright, senior in nursing, says she’s glad that such a group exists on campus.
    “I thought tonight was a really great chance for everyone to share what people go through and be able to support each other,” Wright said.

  • Overman Student Center Q&A

    | Gretchen Burns reporter |

    Questions answered by Jeff Steinmiller, director of Overman Student Center

    Q: What will be included in the new student center?

    A: We are adding 31,000 square feet to the student center. There will be a brand new ballroom with a capacity of 650 that will also be divisible into three separate rooms for more meeting areas, more meeting rooms and spaces, three to be exact, and a brand new student activities complex. This complex will feature Student Government Association (SGA), Student Activities Council (SAC) and Campus Activities Council (CAC) all together. A new entrance on the south side of the building is being constructed and the Greek Office as well as Gorillas in Your Midst will also be located near the activities complex.

    The U-Club is being enlarged to accommodate around 150 people. Holy Habanero and Einstein’s Bagels will replace Jazzman’s and Ultimate Baja and the renovations will allow for some much needed natural light to reach the basement.
    There will also be an outdoor terrace on the west end of the building.
    Q: What do you think makes a good student center?

    A: The student center is considered the living room of the campus. We have added a ton of lounge space that we used to have. Over the years we took that away to make room for all the offices but now it is coming back. One of the things that makes a good student union is the ability of being inviting and comforting. It’s all about the out-of-classroom experience. There will be needed amenities and other fun things for students to do in between classes.

    Q: Was there anything that you felt wasn’t added?

    A: There were a lot of things we wanted to see. Early on, we had students say it would be great to have a bowling alley but those run at about $100,000 per lane, not to mention the staffing and everything else. Other things we would have liked to have seen would have been the enlarging of the mini theater, expanding the billiard area, really renovating the entire building all at once. That would have been the goal, to renovate the entire building.

    Q: How are you hoping students, faculty, staff and visitors will benefit from this?

    A: Increased usage of the building. I think we will see more traffic in the building and it will become cemented as the living room of the campus.

  • “The best way to spread Christmas cheer…”
    The music department performs classical and holiday music at the annual Timmons Chapel performance on Wednesday, Dec. 3. There will be another performance on Friday, Dec.5 at 7:30 p.m. with a slightly different program that is free to enjoy.

    The music department performs classical and holiday music at the annual Timmons Chapel performance on Wednesday, Dec. 3. There will be another performance on Friday, Dec.5 at 7:30 p.m. with a slightly different program that is free to enjoy.

  • 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.

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