First-years wow audience at Woo Idol

Libba Smith

A&E Editor

We all know that Wooster is brimming with talent, and this year’s first-year class is no exception. From spoken word poetry to tap dancing and plenty of songs in between, Woo Idol, the annual first-year talent show put on by the Orientation Committee, highlighted the creative abilities of Wooster’s newest students.

After root beer floats in the lobby, the night kicked off with Vanessa Logan ’14 and Paul Joseph ’14, the co-emcees of the night. Releasing bags of colorful balloons into the audience and running onstage beneath American and Wooster flags to “Bring ’Em Out” by T.I., Logan and Joseph set a high-energy tone for the evening, letting the witty banter flow throughout their time onstage.

“Paul and I made sure to keep up the stamina the whole time,” said Logan.

While the New Student Orientation Committee put on the event, Logan and Joseph planned and executed the entire evening, which consisted of twelve acts.

Sarah Bradley and Ruku Borah tied for third place. Bradley sang and played acoustic guitar for an original song, “Things Happen for a Reason,” a beautiful ballad about making sense of life’s seemingly cruel or confusing occurrences. Ruku played “The Banjo” on piano, a rousing, fast number that had his hands flying over the keys.

Brandon McDonald took second place with “Stay with You” by John Legend. The opening act of the first years, the powerful song perfectly suited his soulful voice.

The first place winner was the crowd favorite from its opening notes. Summit Star sang and Michael Osthimer played electric guitar for “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone. Both seemed unassuming during their setup, but they transformed into pro performers and rattled Freedlander with their dazzling rock-and-roll rendition of the popular song. They received multiple well-deserved standing ovations.

Logan and Joseph interspersed the first year acts with several humorous sketches. The first had them acting as dorky middle school teachers at a mandatory drug awareness assembly, where they changed the words of well-known pop songs to be anti-drug. The second sketch was a flashback to an orientation idea meeting with surprise guest Dean Buxton, which included a “Hunger Games” scenario to bring down the class size and a fight club in the UG. Dean Buxton was a crowd pleaser and emcee favorite.

“The fact that Dean B went on stage with us really surprised me; she was a really great sport about it,” said Joseph.

All of the acts that performed at Woo Idol were outstanding and should be commended for braving the stage so soon after arriving at Wooster. The talent show was a fun, entertaining way for the first years to show each other, and the rest of campus, what they can do.

Faculty encourages student voting

Kim Schmitz

Features Editor

With a vital election fast approaching, some members of the college are working hard to encourage students to vote.

“The College’s position is if you are 18 years old or older, it is your right, it is your responsibility, to vote,” says Dean Carolyn Buxton, Senior Associate Dean of Students.

The biggest issue that students are faced with is whether to vote in Wooster or at home. If students choose to register in Wooster, they recognize Wooster as their home and must make their dorm room address their official permanent address. This takes away their ability to vote for state senators, representatives, and local issues outside of Ohio.

On the other hand, if the vote for president is their top priority, students may find it wise to register in Ohio, a critical swing state. With 18 electoral votes, Ohio has voted for the winning presidential candidate in all but one election since 1944.

The primary objective of the registration efforts on campus is simply to make students able to vote, regardless of where they choose to do so, insists Dr. Denise Bostdorff, Communication studies professor.

Students receive a letter at the beginning of the school year urging them that if they want to vote at home, to take care of the registration before coming to school. If they want to vote in Wooster, there are plenty of resources which will answer questions and help them register.

Registration forms are located in several public campus spaces upon request, including Dr. Bostdorff’s office in Wishart 103. Additionally, booths will be set up at campus gatherings such as sporting events and Scot Spirit Day, according to Dean Buxton.

The college is under obligation to make a “good faith effort” to make it possible for students to register to vote by the 1998 re-authorization of the federal Higher Education Act.

Once registered in Wooster, students will receive a letter detailing which precinct they are assigned to. If they vote on Election Day, proof of residency at the listed dorm room address is required. Students can request this from the college in advance, and will receive it in the form of a letter. Dean Buxton suggests, however, that students vote early (in which case proof of residency is not required). Transportation to the Board of Elections will be available.

Some students have expressed concern that certain states have recently chosen to require a valid state ID upon voting, essentially meaning that students who are from out of state often do not have the opportunity to vote in the state in which they go to school.

Although some Ohio counties have tried to enact this policy, Ohio as a state does not currently allow any precinct to require a state ID, according to Dr. Bostdorff.

“For the time period that students are here, there are lots of [local issues] that do affect them,” says Dr. Bostdorff. Students can access information about these issues and all voting inquiries, including possible times to vote early, at votewayne.org.

“I am incredibly dedicated…every person who wants to vote should vote,” urged Dr. Bostdorff.

Dean Buxton added, “we are encouraging everyone to be responsible, exercise this right, register and then vote.”

 

Recent graduate creates cross-cultural non-profit

Culbertson’s Project Odakniwa hopes to empower indigenous Chileans

Wyatt Smith

Features Editor

For 2012 Wooster alumnus Chris Culbertson, it’s hard to pin down the exact moment of his non-profit’s creation. Rather, he describes the development of Project Odakniwa as a lifelong process filled with self-discovery.

Culbertson was born in southern Chile and was adopted by a couple in the U.S. when he was six months old. After being told about his heritage, he began to question his cultural identity. Culbertson first visited Chile when he was sixteen, but met his birth mother during college. It was through her and the rest of his biological family that Culbertson discovered his Mapuche heritage, an indigenous ethnic group in southern Chile.

Culbertson continued to delve deeper into his connection with the Mapuche, even using his senior Independent Study to further explore his complicated identity.

“I’m as American as they come,” says Culbertson, “… but when it comes down to it, there really aren’t that many differences between me and my [birth] family.”

While talking to one of his cousins, the idea that would eventually become Project Odakniwa emerged. His cousin proposed that they try to bring more Americans to Chile so that they could experience Chilean culture first-hand. He hoped these people would see how Americans and the Mapuche are not so different after all.

Culbertson replied, “I think I can help you do that.”

Project Odakniwa works to support indigenous communities in southern Chile. The group’s initiatives include sustainable agriculture and technology, a language preservation program and the promotion of local artisans.

One more of the organization’s specific plans is to construct a community center. According to Culbertson, it will be shaped like a traditional indigenous dwelling, but feature modern aspects such as solar panels.

“It’s a merger of the two worlds,” he notes.

“What we’re doing is intensely historic,” says Culbertson, “because it’s never been done before the way we want to do it.”

Culbertson is planning on devoting the next five to ten years of his life to this project; as evidenced by his one-way plane ticket to Chile. However, a big goal for him is keeping his involvement temporary.

“There’s a few younger people in the community who are interested who would hopefully be able to take over the reins so that I could come back to the U.S.” Culbertson says. “The idea is to empower the community so that they can do it themselves.”

Of course, Culbertson doesn’t manage all of this by himself. Besides very supportive parents (both biological and adoptive), Culbertson is aided by several individuals and organizations, including his elementary school, which is holding bake sales to help fund the project.

Project Odakniwa might also benefit greatly from grants, such as sustainability grants offered by the non-profit Terra Viva, which they are currently applying for.

Since the Project has yet to finalize its non-profit 501(c)3 status, it needs a fiscal sponsor to receive donations. Appropriate Technology Collaborative, a non-profit based in Michigan, currently fills that role. If people donate to ATC and specify that they want their money to go to Project Odakniwa, 100 percent of it will go straight to Culbertson’s organization.

Culbertson even visited Wooster to talk to the Center for Diversity and Global Engagement about the possibility of sending student groups down to Chile to aid Project Odakniwa, much the same way the Akaa Project is currently set up. The exact nature of the College’s relationship with the project is still being figured out, but Culbertson is very optimistic.

But perhaps Culbertson’s greatest help comes in the form of Sophomore Heidi Strike. Strike met Culbertson in a class last spring, and first learned about his story during his Independent Study presentation.

“It kind of just snowballed from there,” says Strike, “we talked a bit more about his project and what he’s doing with it, where it was going. I was so excited.”

When Culbertson asked if she wanted to join the project, Strike enthusiastically agreed. Since then, she’s been helping Culbertson with all the paperwork and complications that come with the creation of a non-profit.

Formally, Strike is the Volunteer Coordinator for Project Odakniwa. She’s central to the Project’s attempt to send Wooster students on a volunteer trip to Chile.

“We have everything set up,” says Strike, “so now we’re just waiting for the funds, the volunteers.”

Dinner at Kittredge

Lee McKinstry

Editor in Chief

Fans of the no-fry zone are celebrating this school year. Following a steady increase in admissions and a number of fervent student petitions, Kittredge Dining Hall has officially reopened for dinner for the first time since the 2008-2009 academic year.

Open on Monday through Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m., the cafeteria will be serving vegetarian, locally-grown, non-fried dinner options. Kittredge will continue to offer lunch options 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday through Thursday.

The decision to re-open the cafeteria comes after three consecutive years of increases in freshman class sizes. Over 600 incoming freshman arrived on campus in the fall of 2010, and the class of 2015 and 2016 both numbered above 560. During these three years, smaller senior classes graduated, numbering into the 400s. Lowry Dining Hall grew over-crowded as a result, prompting two different student-run Facebook campaigns to re-open Kittredge for dinner.

Kittredge was closed during the 2009-2010 academic year, with the exception of special events and club dinners. The dining hall reopened for lunch hours two years ago.

Chuck Wagers, Director of Campus Dining and Conference Services, proposed reopening  Kittredge to the administration as part of this year’s Campus Services Dining Plan, a move that he hoped would reduce the congestion in Lowry Center.

“Our student population is significantly larger than it was three years ago,” said Wagers. Opening Kittredge for dinner provides no additional revenue for the College, but hopefully it provides more convenience for our students.”

The new dinner plan is just one of many changes that the department made to campus dining this year. More card merchants have been hired to staff dining sites, and “ManageMyID” launched, a website that allows students to check meal plan balances and add funds to their COW card debit account.

 

 

 

APEX brings together student resources

Whitney Siders

News Editor

Along with other visible changes on campus, APEX is now open in the basement of Gault Library. This new construction offers a space that combines Academic Advising, the Learning Center, Career Services and Experiential Learning.

Dean of Curriculum and Academic Engagement, Henry Kruezman, explained how the offices housed in APEX will now function as compared to past years.

“These resources were located on the boundaries of campus, and so it was not the most convenient way for students to get to those resources.” APEX can be reached through the existing entrance to the Registrar’s office and as well as through the basement of Andrews Library.

Dean Kruezman said that, as was anticipated, APEX is “bringing people together. These offices are collaborating.”

As for what APEX will actually be ‘doing’ for students, Dean Kruezman draws attention to the APEX mission: APEX encourages students to become passionately engaged in their education and to empower them to make informed, intentional choices about academic, personal and professional opportunities.

“[APEX] will help students develop an intentional educational plan that will actually lend to a post-Wooster trajectory,” said Dean Kreuzman, “which could be graduate school, career opportunities, professional school, or law school.”

The liberal arts are often challenged because of a lacking career preparation and this is the college’s attempt to combat that.

“APEX will help move the college forward by being a way of helping students think about the skills and knowledge that they acquire as liberal arts students in a larger context.” Dean Kreuzman went on to explain that higher education believes in the liberal arts as it provides “a good foundation for all kinds of career opportunities.”

“In fact, when you ask employers for the characteristics that you want in employees, they are the characteristics that the liberal arts fosters,” Kreuzman said. “You have to be active and engaged employees just as our students are active and engaged learners.”

Conversations that the administration has had with alumni of the college have revealed the need for more emphasis on career preparation. Dean Kruezman explains that about eight years ago administration took a close look at the process of advising. “While we had a good one-on-one faculty advising relationship, we had advising resources on campus that students weren’t taking advantage of.”

In spring of 2010, Administration identified five strategic priorities, which are answered in part by CoRE and APEX.

“CoRE speaks to our I.S. program, and APEX speaks to student educational planning and advising and integrating theory and practice,” explained Kreuzman.

In June of 2011, following graduation, the physical construction of APEX began. Dean Kruezman also speaks to the further development of each component of APEX.

“In terms of new resources we have put two-and-a-half new staff lines into helping students move forward n their careers and to get internships.” A new staff person, Associate Director of Internships, has been added and Career Services now has an Assistant Director of Employer and Graduate School Outreach. John Ramsey has also been named the Associate Dean for Experiential Learning, splitting his time with the Math Department. The new director of Entrepreneurship will also split his time between the Center for Entrepreneurship in Morgan Hall and APEX.

Dean Kreuzman emphasizes that “it’s not just the space; it is an intentional effort to put more resources here. It helps us exceed other liberal arts schools of our size in terms of resources devoted to students’ long term trajectory. We have heard student concerns that they want a more robust career services, and they want more guidance on internships, so that’s what we are doing.”

New Judicial Board for Greek students

Wyatt Smith

Features Editor

Greek leadership is petitioning to implement a Greek Board, a second Judicial Board which will hear cases when the offender is a member of a Greek group. This new set-up is designed to allow student leadership and the administration to more easily spot trends in Greek behavior.

According to Matthew Stouffer ’14, co-president of the Inter Greek Council, the Greek Board would handle some cases currently adjudicated by J-Board, if the offender is Greek. Greek Board would be made up of one representative from each of the 11 Greek groups on campus as well as Stouffer himself, in his role as the head of Inter Greek Council’s Standards Committee. In addition, all Greek Board hearings would be overseen by Joe Kirk, the Director of Greek Life.

Both Stouffer and Kirk emphasize the similarities between the proposed Greek Board and the current J-Board. They both mention how the student members of Greek Board would receive the same training as J-Board members. Stouffer holds that the punishments meted out by Greek Board would be no different than those of J-Board, since the College has set standards for what punishments accompany certain offenses. Just like in J-Board, any member of Greek Board who shares an affiliation or has a relationship with the offender would not participate in that particular case.

Kirk says that a Greek Board would help him detect trends and hold certain Greek groups accountable for the actions of their members. Under the current judicial system, Kirk does not receive information about offenders’ group affiliations, but under Greek board, hearing reports would go not only to the Senior Associate Dean of Students but also to Inter Greek Council. Kirk would also have greater authority to issue group-wide punishments to sororities and fraternities, such as taking away their Greek housing for the following year.

According to Kirk and Vanessa Logan ’14, the other Inter Greek Council co-president, other schools already have the equivalent of a Greek Board. Kirk specifically identified Davidson University and Ohio Wesleyan University’s judicial systems as ones he investigated. However, Kirk is quick to admit that any change must be tailored to fit Wooster’s judicial process.

Stouffer stressed that the proposed creation of Greek Board does not imply any fatal flaw in Wooster’s current judicial system. The only limitation he sees is the lack of group accountability, a problem he believes Greek Board will address.

“When Greek Life in the spring typically ranks around 15% of the student body, it makes sense for us to have kind of our own checks and balances, to a degree,” said Stouffer.

According to Kirk, the idea for Greek Board was first brought up several years ago when Greek standards were implemented. He says the deans support the idea, a sentiment echoed by Logan.

If Greek Board passes the petitioning process, which Kirk views as likely, it will be presented to the Inter Greek Council, who would then vote on it. Kirk’s hope is for Greek Board members to begin training at some point this school year, although they probably wouldn’t see actual cases until the following year.

Logan said, “It’s a huge year for Inter Greek Council [and a] huge year for the Greek community and this is just one of our steps that we’re taking to really… hold ourselves more accountable.”