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On Feel-Good Media

“Feel-good” content often implies a picture of a cute shiba inu staring at you from the cozy inseams of a Buzzfeed article, usually doe-eyed, usually the color of buttered toast. A feel good story, on the other hand: that’s something surprisingly personal. You’ve got a whole world of content that can distract you from failing statistics and all your other existential miseries here at The College of Wooster, after all!

As medications vary for different illnesses, feel-good narratives vary based on the relief you’re looking for. So, let’s move past the universality of the beloved shiba inu for a breakdown of different emotional cleansers on the proverbial narrative shelf:

1. God, I Just Need Something Familiar

This type of story is the feel-good equivalent of a six-year-old sticking their hand in a bucket of popcorn upon their first Harry Potter film experience. These stories stick around, unlike a treasured girlfriend or a professor’s faith in your ability. Consult Star Wars, any novel you actually enjoyed in your K-12 education, Pixar films or ABC Halloween films, the middle of April aside.

2. Almost Real-Life as the Opposite of Escapism

Sometimes, the pressures of building a fictional reality’s a painful task for the weary mind. If you can sympathize here, I recommend reality television: The Great British Bake-Off offers a wholesome competition for anyone faintly interested in decorous cakes and gentle contestants trying their best. Netflix documentaries and otherwise educational television will enlighten your perspective, without capturing a real-world that’s too close to home.

3. Angst Catharsis

If you’re drifting in the direction of this relief, you’re painfully aware of the world’s faults. Stories in this category reemphasize these feelings, reaching the point of a productive numbness. Whether it’s the pessimism of Bojack Horseman, the sarcastic darkness of the film Heathers or a chapter out of David Foster Wallace’s oeuvre, you can chuckle wickedly from the shadows of your dorm bed as self-aware writers represent all your misanthropy.

4. Scare It Away!

You know how people always try to spook you whenever you’re suffering from the hiccups? This category takes the same approach. Watch something that sends all your negative feelings off edge of your suspense: consider a novel by Shirley Jackson, the films Get Out and Let The Right One In, or an especially chilling episode of Black Mirror.

5. Funny, Hopeful, Or Anything Else: Choose One

You’ve read all these; you’re at a loss. In your worse-for-wear emotional state, you may suffer from apathy or indecision. Fair enough. ‘Choose’ an emotion you’d rather have. If that’s hope, try a Studio Ghibli film; if it’s amusement, an episode of Community or The I.T. Crowd’s worth your time. These emotions are only starting points — if you associate something generally “good” with any title, a path’s opening for you despite any initial melancholy. Best of luck, and always consult a health care professional if a longstanding wellness dilemma overtakes the power of a good narrative.

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Wooster community plans to rally at March for Science

Anna Hartig
Contributing Writer

The College of Wooster’s staff, faculty and students will rally at the March for Science on Saturday April 22. The event starts at 2 p.m. at the Wooster downtown gazebo. Speakers from Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, The College of Wooster and local schools will all be gathering at this time to support science.

Following the rally at 3 p.m., a variety of break-out sessions will be held regarding Economics of Environmental Issues, Science and Food Security, Evidence-Driven Social Policy, Science and Habitat in the Great Lakes Region and Climate Change. The locations for each topic can be found on posters around campus.

Chemistry Club President, Jake Polster ’17, has hung many of these posters in residence halls to get more STEM-oriented students to join the march. All students and faculty are invited to take part in the discussions and all the topics are supposed to relate to the fight for science.

“All of the action sessions look interesting, but I think the ‘Pseudoscience & Fake News’ and ‘Climate Change’ should be interesting sessions, given the recent political situation!” said Polster.

Heather Fitz Gibbon, professor of Anthropology and Sociology, is a planning committee member for the Wooster March for Science, and has encouraged all students to get involved along with many other staff members as well. “Those of us who are teachers and learners should care about supporting a community that believes in the importance of science and the value of making decisions based on the reasoned evaluation of evidence,” said Fitz Gibbon.

Many students have already expressed interest in joining certain break-out sessions and are coordinating directly with the session leaders to help participate in discussion. Professor of Chemistry Karl Feierabend will be one of the leaders of the “Pseudoscience & Fake News” action session with Professor of English Nancy Grace. Feierabend has encouraged students from his Environmental Chemistry course to help with the session.

While the March for Science is not affiliated with The College of Wooster, many of our students and staff have volunteered to help. The event features a range of topics in the hope that the entire Wooster community comes out to support the global movement to defend the role science plays in our lives. Rallies in over 500 cities will be gathering. The event held here at Wooster highlights the importance of science in the modern day. Fitz Gibbon also said, “Sessions will be aimed at generating ideas for action to counter attacks on science and science funding.”

If you’re interested in the march, stop by both the rally at 2 p.m. in the public square of downtown Wooster as well as the break-out sessions held afterwards. There will be a lot of familiar faces from The College of Wooster attending as well as some from the local community which should make for profound discussions. If you have any questions regarding the event or where the specific activities take place, contact Fitz Gibbon at hfitzgibbon@wooster.edu. Information can also be found on posters around campus.

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Historical Preservation class seeks to preserve on-campus houses

Lily Iserson
Chief Copy Editor

Every Wooster student is a temporary guest. Our dorms and houses hold our things, our schoolwork and all our good and bad decisions until we graduate: a stopping-point that never feels real enough. Over a period of time lengthier than our student tenure, dorms and residences too undergo the quiet change of renovations, as well as the more dramatic change of demolitions. Will anyone remember the drama of the Holden Annex’s existence in a few years? Will anyone remember Scot Cottage, a building set for destruction at the end of this year? Students in Professor Madonna Hettinger’s Historical Preservation workshop are interested in exploring the histories of these buildings, and all the culture and community that exists in tandem with the memories they bear.

As part of a series of independent research and projects, Hettinger’s students are investigating the pasts of campus houses, and the preservation initiatives required for each building’s conservation. Houses being studied include ones currently in use, such as Westminster, as well as Overholt House, a special mansion that teams will dismantle and restore entirely at another location.

“My students in this class really decided to take a novel approach to the ideas of historical preservation, so instead of worrying about paint colors and trying to recreate a perfect house from the past, we focused on these houses as places where communities were built. And so, we are really interested in how people have made a house meaningful. There are plenty of examples of that on this campus,” said Hettinger.

Kimi McBryde ’18 was excited to join a team exploring Scot Cottage in light of its upcoming demolition.

“In my freshman year, that was a facet of the campus, everyone knows Scot Cottage. To see the administration take away something so central to student life is really upsetting, and in this project we’re talking about how to preserve this space even if we can’t preserve the building,” said McBryde.

Its history stretches over multiple student organizations, from Men of Harambee and various Greek groups to a Vegan co-operative. Before these student groups became involved with Scot Cottage, its inhabitants ranged from the children of missionaries to U.S. Marines in hiding. These marines were considered AWOL, as they refused to fight in the Vietnam War.

McBryde talked about discovering that latter bit of history in the journal of an alum, which showcased Scot Cottage as a place with a past more extensive than a mere party house: “It was so special to learn about that history.”

In order to preserve memories of Scot Cottage before its demolition, members of the class are in talks with Special Collections about archiving some stories and materials for future generations of Wooster students. For other houses, especially ones that aren’t at risk for demolishment just yet, students of the class are interested in rolling their sleeves up for the practical work of house upkeep.

“Professor Hettinger wants us to use hammers and to go in and get that real world experience,” said McBryde.

As such, in a future iteration of the workshop, students may get to live in the very houses they’re refurbishing. “We’ll begin restoring these houses, room by room,” Hettinger said; with this energy, these living spaces can endure both inside and outside the archive.

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First generation students find community on campus

Sally Kershner
Features Editor

This semester, students have come together to form the First Generation Students Organization (FGSO), a group that aims to combat the issues and struggles of students who are the first in their family to attend college.

On April 26, FGSO will host their first event in Babcock that will allow for students to get to know the initiative behind FGSO and gauge what the Wooster community can benefit from this organization.

“Transitioning to college is difficult for anyone, but for first-generation students, it’s especially difficult. Too often first-gens are vastly unprepared for the transition and end up dropping out, and that is something we wanted to combat,” said Co-President Emilee McCubbins ’20.

Co-Presidents McCubbins and Margie Sosa ’20 are taking the initiative to organize a community first generation students can seek comfort and understanding in. Advised by Professor Medina, FGSO executive board also includes Alberto Peralta ’20 as treasurer, Andre Baronov ’20 as secretary and Emily Gamez ’20 as public relations commissioner.

Both McCubbins and Sosa recognize that it is a challenge in itself for first generation students to get into college, but notes that there is another challenge in keeping first generation students at college.

“Because The College of Wooster has successfully been making an effort to increase the socioeconomic and racial diversity of its student body, I realized that we put all of our focus on getting first-generation students into college, but do very little to keep these students here,” said Sosa.

To encourage and guide first generation students, FGSO plans on hosting workshops about FAFSA, discussion panels, study breaks and various social events to bring the first generation student community together.

After becoming further established on campus, FGSO also hopes to branch out to the local community by working with high school seniors applying for college and financial aid.

They also are planning to invite alumni Jim DeRose to speak about his experience at The College of Wooster as a first generation student. Bringing in DeRose would be real life evidence of how first generation students that have attended the College can succeed.

FGSO is dedicated to working with students of all familial backgrounds, aiming to educate others on the stigmas that are attached to being a first generation student.

“Most of the stigma around being a first-gen lies in racist and/or classist views; that first-gens are lazy and poor and that our families simply don’t care about education, otherwise they’d ‘just go to college,’” said McCubbins. “A lot of people don’t realize just how hard we have to work to get to the same place they have. By presenting ourselves as serious, professional individuals with a plan, we can combat all the unfortunate and vastly untrue ideas people have about people like us.”

Dispelling these stigmas associated with first generation students allows other students to realize that while it is common for first generation students to come from a lower income or minority family, first generation students can come from all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Next semester, FGSO plans to work with the Center of Diversity and Inclusion and Student Government Association to collaborate on different social events and programming related to first generation students.

For any questions or concerns, email Sosa at MSosa20@wooster.edu or McCubbins at EMccubbins20@wooster.edu.

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Seniors present Independent Studies at academic conferences

Theresa Dunne
Features Editor

Although the I.S. process may be nearing the end, some seniors at The College of Wooster are giving new life to their undergraduate research projects as they present their findings at academic conferences across the country.

Earlier this month, political science majors Lucy Brazil ’17, Michael Herman ’17, Jack Johanning ’17 and Anthony Malky ’17 attended the Midwest Political Science Association’s (MPSA) annual conference in Chicago, Ill, which caters to many graduate students and professors of political science from Midwestern academic institutions in addition to experts from think tanks and other political analysis institutes.

Brazil gave a poster presentation of her I.S. on how female Senators advocate for women’s issues during time periods which haven’t been dominated by masculine issues.

“I was attracted to the fact that I would be presenting to a group of people that have a genuine interest in my research and could help me think about my process in a new light. Most people I talked to and the other undergraduate presenters I met were impressed not only by my project but also by the idea of I.S. in general. The concept of a year-long mentored project that was a requirement for all students was virtually unheard of, and it reminded me just how special this experience is,” said Brazil.

Additionally, biology major Avery Wilson ’17 found the opportunity to discuss his research with experts in his very specific field of study at the Oomycete Molecular Genetics Network Meeting (OMGN) in Pacific Grove, Ca. the most rewarding. “Oomycetes are really obscure organisms to the general public,” said Wilson. “So it was rewarding to be able to share the work I’ve done with a group of people who could more easily grasp its significance.” Engaging with other researchers reaffirmed the truly collaborative nature of scientific research for Wilson.

“I think there’s an idea in the general public of scientists as people who work independently, locked away in their lab and isolated from the real world. But through this conference I was able to interact with some of the biggest names in this particular field, and everyone was excited to hear about the work of others, and to push the research community forward through collaboration,” said Wilson.

Staying closer to home, Wooster seniors from a variety of social science disciplines presented their independent studies at the Northeast Ohio Undergraduate Sociology Symposium (NEO-USS) hosted at The College of Wooster on April 8. Caitlin Ziegert McCombs ’17, a sociology major who gave an oral presentation on her I.S. which explores the role of ethnic enclaves on modern immigrants’ integration processes, enjoyed getting to present her project in an academic environment and receiving feedback from students and professors in attendance.

“Surprisingly, I found that I loved the critiques of my project just as much [as presenting],” said Ziegert McCombs, “Hearing fellow students and professors from other schools ask me questions about my methods, theoretical approach and even vocabulary choice has really pushed me to get the most out of my research experience.”

To see these seniors and many more present their I.S. research on-campus, stop by presentation and poster sessions during Senior Research Symposium on Fri., April 28.

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Global and International Studies Department hosts conference

Ellie Kahn
Contributing Writer

This coming Saturday, April 22, the Global and International Studies Department (GIS) at the College will host the 3rd annual Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) Undergraduate International Studies Research Conference. The conference is an installment in a series called “Challenging Borders,” which is a collaboration between The College of Wooster and Denison University.

The conference on Saturday kicks off with several presentations by students from various schools within the GLCA as well as other Ohio colleges, such as Kenyon, Oberlin and Ohio Wesleyan.

The student presenters will discuss the research and findings from their respective senior theses, which all relate back to the central theme of the conference.

There are several Wooster students that will present research from their Independent Study projects; Rachel Wilson ’17 will present her topic of “Politics of the APolitical,” Michaela McNaughton ’17 will discuss “To Protect and Serve: Homicide Rates and Policing Policies in Central America” and Sam Waters ’17 will speak on his topic of “Economics Under Fire.”

Other students from Wooster who will also present include Haley Davis ’17, Megan Koeneman ’17, Cara Peterson ’17 and Sarah Strum ’17.

Later on in the conference, there will be a faculty panel discussing “Contemporary Issues in Migration Studies.” Moderated by Dr. Amyaz Moledina, the chair of the GIS Department at the College, the panel will feature Dr. Isis Nusair, an Associate Professor of International Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies from Denison University, as well as Dr. Brian Miller, an Assistant Professor of History from Allegheny College.

Throughout the year, both Wooster and Denison have collaborated to bring an array of speakers and events to their respective campuses, featuring individuals such as Arab-Israeli author and journalist Sayed Kashua, as well as journalist and civil rights lawyer Alia Malek. According to the event’s program, “the Challenging Borders project seeks to strengthen collaborative research and teaching pathways between GLCA schools,” and the conference will exemplify just that.

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