LCSA struggles to hire new staff member

Bijeta Lamichhane

News Editor

The search for a staff member to assist Lowry Center and Student Activities (LCSA) is ongoing. Although the College hired a part time staff member, Jean Graf, she left shortly after accepting the position.

LCSA’s struggle to hire employees is often reflected in both the results they produce and the role of the Director of LSCA Julia Zimmer as the only resource in resolving issues related to student activities. Dean of Students Scott Brown mentioned that Zimmer has “been doing essentially three jobs.” The lack of an adequate number of staff members in LCSA to address students’ issues caused concerns with organizations’ budgets last year. It also continues to make LCSA inaccessible to students due to lack of communication.

When asked about the reason behind the staff member leaving, Brown stated, “We were hiring for a part-time, temporary position, which means that if someone wished to find full-time employment, that would be more attractive. We were hoping we would be able to cover for the rest of the spring, but unfortunately we were not able to.”

Zimmer shared Brown’s reason- ing, explaining that temporary staff members often leave when they are provided with a permanent position. “The position was a temporary position to get us through the rest of the academic year,” Zimmer said. “In these cases, the person often times is given other opportunities that are better fits for them and provide them with a permanent position.”

However, the lack of an adequate number of staff members continues to conflict the communication between LCSA and the students. When Zimmer sent an email about budget trainings on Feb. 18 — with the first training happening the next day — organizations mentioned that they should have been told about the events earlier.

For their part, LCSA continues to search for a staff member to provide assistance in their activities. “We had hoped the temporary position would [suffice],” Brown stated. “[For now,] we will continue with our plans to hire a permanent full-time person — now we are in the prime season for student affairs hiring.”

Zimmer added, “We will be focusing on hiring the assistant director for student organizations, with the goal to have the person start [work- ing by] July 2020.”

In the meantime, LCSA has hired a student intern, Courtney Lockhart ’20, to help students during the bud- get process. Matt Mayes ’20, chair of Campus Council Budget Committee and Isaac Weiss ’20, a member of the committee, are also available to help organizations with questions related to budgeting.

PPR 2020 discusses the state of politics during annual retreat

Kidi Tafesse

Contributing Writer

This past weekend, students, staff and faculty joined to partake in the annual PossePlus Retreat (PPR). Situated in Salt Fork Park Lodge, a two-hour drive away from the College, this year’s participants were treated to the fun exercises and valuable activities that usually characterize PPR. This year’s theme was “PPR 2020: The State of Politics,” which couldn’t have come at a better time as the 2020 election approaches and it becomes increasingly impor- tant to engage in healthy and productive political discourse. Students, staff and faculty alike got the opportunity to engage in an informal setting and discuss both comfortable and uncomfortable topics.

“I learned about tools to use when having a political discussion: consider being wrong, attack the idea not the individual and just be an active listener,” said Delitza Nieves ’22, who attended the retreat. This can be seen in some of the activities the retreat involved: “One exercise that stood out to me the most was when we were presented with 11 or 12 different qualities posted around the room to make a productive conversation. We were then asked to stand next to the ones that we have the most difficulty with and the ones that we thought we had a good read on; just hearing people reflect on the things that they weren’t good at was nice to hear because it gave people a chance to think about why they were having difficulties in the first place and to think about what steps they can take to become good at it,” said Aryana Rhodes ’22, who was invited to the retreat by a Posse scholar.

Moreover, the retreat involved activities that engaged everyone in simulations of real-life issues so they could have a better understanding of the delicate balance between politics and issue resolution. For instance, one exercise involved a scenario in which a city was hit with an unexpected drought, and the members of the exercise acted as policy makers and had to decide which problems took priority and what the most effective wayof handling the situation was in a designated time frame. These exercises, of course, were not lacking in their production of diverse opinions. “The politics portion of the weekend reminded me of how everything in this country is politicized, and it seems as though you have to have an opinion on something,” added Posse Scholar Perry Worthey ’21. Although the focus of the retreat was embracing different beliefs and discussing difficult topics with an open mind and no judgement, PPR was definitely not short of fun, relaxing activities too. A no-talent talent contest and “warm and fuzzy” (an activity involving writing sticky notes to people to compliment them on their qualities) were just some of the numerous playful events everyone got to enjoy during the weekend.

There was also an emotional event as the last activity of the retreat. “Taps” involved sitting with your eyes closed and everyone taking turns to tap participants on the shoulder in response to prompts such as “tap someone who inspired you.”

“I’m usually sitting in a puddle of emotional tears by the end of it—it is a moving experience to be the recipient of these anonymous gestures of appreciation,”said Director of Campus Dining and Conference Services Marjorie Shamp.

Overall, this was yet another successful and well-rounded PPR and matched the expectations of the previous years. The wide range of events and topics from stimulating political issues to fun icebreakers and activities made the PPR experience one to remember.

New initiative works to highlight individuals on campus

Chloe Burdette

Managing Editor

Have you ever wanted to share your own unique story with others around you? Do you wonder if others in The College of Wooster community have shared a similar experience? Do you want to feel more unified with your classmates at the College? Wooster Threads was created with these exact ideas in mind.

Wooster Threads, an Instagram page created in the fall of 2019, is dedicated to giving individuals at the College a platform to share their personal stories to inspire others. The idea came to fruition through the efforts of campus photographer Matt Dilyard and Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Melissa Anderson. The idea is inspired by Humans of New York, a photography project created in 2010 by Brandon Stanton that highlighted the many stories of people who inhabited the city.

Anna Russell ’23 was a fan of the idea and decided to aid the creation of the page and make it her goal to feature Wooster students in their truest form. “I believe that everyone deserves a voice — an opportunity to share their story undisputedly,” Russell said. “The mission of Wooster Threads is really to highlight tidbits of individual students’ lives within the larger Wooster community and hopefully continue to unify the community.”

Each Instagram post focuses on one particular student or member of the campus com- munity. Interviewers consist of Russell, Kennedey Bell’21, Patrick Redrick ’21 and Yuta Nitanai’21.“I think the people I interview often surprise themselves with how much they are willing to speak about,” Russell said. “Life moves so fast and there is very little empha- sis on actively listening to others, but I think everyone just wants to be heard. If you ask people with genuine interest and show empathy, there’s very little they won’t share, even with a complete stranger.”

The project soon collaborat- ed with the Soft Power Project (SPP) to gain more traction. After hearing about Armel Lee ’19’s Independent Study — which focused on expanding cultural relationships on campus — SPP was conceptualized this past year. “Armel’s project inspired an entire organization dedicated to forming cross-cultural communication on campus with a desire to expand into the greater Wooster community as well,” Bell said.

The three branches of the SPP — WooStories, OpenTable and Wooster Threads — all aim at starting themed conversations between campus and community members to get a glimpse of peoples’ unique circumstances that may be different from their own. “[The SPP] hopes that people will begin to reach out to others who don’t come from the same racial, ethnic, religious, socio- economic, etc. background as they do,” Bell added.

The addition of Wooster Threads was a way for the SPP to have student stories become more individualized and allow students to learn more about people on campus even if they cannot make it to a panel or discussion. “We think interviewing gives a special look into peoples’ lives,” Bell stat- ed. “WooStories and OpenTable are both themed and require people to show up; with WoosterThreads, our inter- viewers go out and find people they may know well or not at all … with sharing on social media, viewers hear deep stories from people who they may never get to have class with or be in a club or in Greek Life together. Wooster students can take five minutes looking through the Wooster Threads page and connect with someone they may only see in Lowry.”

Wooster Threads has already made an impact on students at Wooster and has encouraged them to be vulnerable and share their stories. Liz Olsen ’22 is one student that is honored to have been featured on the page. “I was approached out of the blue and I didn’t really know what to expect or who would end up reading my story, so I had to be vulnerable,” Olsen said. “I’m glad now that I shared what I did; I think it’s a great way for people to tell as much as they want and allow others reading to relate and appreciate others’ differences.” Even those who work for the SPP have been influenced. “I believe that reading about and learning the complex lives of the people around us helps us grow and maintain empathy for each other, which ultimately makes us feel more connected to the community that surrounds us,” Redrick said.

“Silent Sky”unites theatre, social change and science

Megan Tuennerman

A&E Editor

This weekend, the theatre and dance department is sharing the story of Henrietta Leavitt through a production of “Silent Sky,” directed by professor Jimmy A. Noriega. Leavitt, who is being played by Annie Sheneman ’22, was a female astronomer who worked at the Harvard Observatory in the 1900s as a “computer” for the male scientists. “Henrietta Leavitt was limited in a lot of ways: she was female, hard of hearing and generally treated as lesser in her academic field. How- ever, her work has become the foundation of our understanding of cosmic measurement; her work on the Period-Luminosity relation to cepheid stars allowed the first calculations of intergalactic stellar distance to be made,” commented Sheneman. She continued, “it has been wonderful to inhabit the character of Henrietta Leavitt. She was such a passion- ate and interesting person and performing as her has been such a wonderful experience.”

“Silent Sky” is presented as part of the dialogue on “Women in the Sciences” at the College. “My research and creative work is focused on theatre for social change, so I was drawn to this text be- cause it reveals the significant ways women scientists have contributed to our knowledge of the universe, while also being denied the opportunities and tools that were provided to men,” explained Noriega when asked how he chose “Silent Sky.”

The importance of the show in a social context was echoed by Sheneman, when she explained, “I think we tend to assume that scientific ideas are too complex for those without prior training to understand, but the collaboration of the sciences and the arts can make those complex ideas more accessible to a broader audience.”

Bridging the gap between theatre and science, “Silent Sky” brings representation to under- represented groups in a way that is accessible to many. “There are so many women like Henrietta Leavitt, Williamina Fleming and Annie Cannon [all characters in the show] that get lost in history because of the way we learn about history in our education system. This is a story that everyone needs to know, especially since it has a lot to do with our universe, which is a pretty big deal,” commented Amari Royal ’23, who plays Cannon in the show.

The cast and crew have put tremendous work into the production. “It has been really wonderful seeing all the technical elements be added to the production; the show is set from 1900-1920, so seeing the beautiful period costumes be constructed has been so interesting. I am really proud of this show and all the hard work that has gone into it,” commented Sheneman.

Royal agreed. “I am super excited to show everyone the work that not only the cast has put in, but the rest of the theatre department. They’ve made a show about science look like magic, which is amazing,” she said.

“More than anything, I hope students learn to appreciate the ways people have fought for our rights to learn and discover. Access to research, specialized tools and learning have not always been guaranteed to all segments of our society and this show represents a piece of that struggle,” commented Noriega.

Steve Moore finishes last regular season game

Chloe Burdette

Managing Editor

Saturday, Feb. 23 marked a monumental moment for not just Head Men’s Basketball Coach Steve Moore, but for the entire College of Wooster community — Moore coached his last regular-season home game in Timken Gymnasium. With a full house of students, community members and Moore’s past players there to watch, the Fight- ing Scots fought hard into overtime (OT) against the DePauw Tigers and lost by a mere point. Nevertheless, the loss did not alter the gratitude served up by fans for Moore and the team after the final buzzer.

Going into the game, the Scots knew that this game was historic for Moore, but Moore told the team to treat it like any other home game. “Coach stressed to us not to make that game or day about him,” Keonn Scott ’21 said. “He wanted to make everyone feel that it was their day and that he would be absolutely nothing if it weren’t for the players,” said Scott.

From the tip-off to the end of OT, the Tigers and the Scots were neck-and-neck for the entire game. A late three-pointer by DePauw’s Aaron Shank ’21 in the few final seconds of OT silenced the Scots for an 88-87 victory.

“We fought till the end, and sometimes, that’s just simply not enough,” Danyon Hempy ’20 said, who scored an astronomical 40. points in the game against DePauw. “DePauw played a very solid game; we just didn’t get it done on the defensive end in that game and it cost us.”

Blake Southerland ’20 agreed, adding that DePauw had more energy towards the end of the game. “We just needed to have the same intensity for the entire game, and we needed to get more stops. Regardless, it was a hard-fought game for both teams.”

Moore mentioned the Scots’ struggle with defending the Tigers’ three-point shots as an obstacle. “We played well enough offensively to win the game, especially in the second half,” Moore said. “Our players did a great job coming from behind and getting the game to over- time … However, we struggled all game long in defending the three- point shots of DePauw as they made 18 three-point field goals; including the game-winner with three seconds left.”

Upon the completion of the game, a ceremony dedicated to Moore’s illustrious coaching career began with President Sarah Bolton giving thanks to Moore and highlighting his many remarkable moments at the College. Then, eyes were directed to the video board as graduated Fighting Scots basket- ball players thanked Moore for his dedication to the Wooster basket- ball program.

Moore was overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness of the ceremony.

“When I looked at the group of men standing before me, I thought, ‘how very blessed and fortunate I have been to have had the oppor- tunity to coach and develop special relationships with them.’ I thought of Lou Gehrig’s famous speech in Yankee Stadium when he said he was the luckiest man alive.”

Although difficult to say in only a few words, current players con- veyed their appreciation to their be- loved coach. “Coach Moore means everything to me,” Scott said. “If it wasn’t for him believing in my abilities, I wouldn’t be a part of this pro- gram. He just cares so much about each and every guy and is more concerned with us becoming better people rather than just better bas- ketball players.”

Hempy, who also played his last regular-season home game in Tim- ken Gymnasium, couldn’t put into words how Wooster basketball had an impact on him for the past four years. “I could say so many things to Coach. I would just thank him for taking a chance on me. My time at Wooster has been incredible and I would have never had the opportu- nity if it wasn’t for him and Coach Cline.”

As for Southerland, Wooster basketball and Moore have shaped him into who he is today. “I just hope Coach knows how grateful I am to have been a part of this team for the past four years, and what a great ex- perience it has been for me,” he said. “I would like to just encourage him on what a great job he has done inspiring us and teaching us what it means to compete and how to be a good man off the court.”

Trenton Tipton ’20 added, “There are many things I could say, but we still have a chance to play a lot of basketball, so I am focused on winning the game against Allegheny and live to fight another day.”

Moore is beyond grateful for the teams he has coached and the College of Wooster community.

“I want to say to everyone in the Wooster Basketball Family that the program will continue to be very special and successful in all ways with Coach Cline as the Head Coach. He is as responsible as anyone for Wooster Basketball being what it is.” He also added, “Simply, thank you. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to coach at a tremendous institution for 33 years and to be associated with so many special people.

Synetic theatre’s “Phantom” lacks catharsis

Elena Morey

Washington D.C.’s Synetic Theatre is no usual performing arts company. In Synetic’s own words, their name comes from “synthesis: the coming together of distinct elements to form a whole, kinetic: pertaining to or imparting motion, active, dynamic” which equals “Synetic Theatre: a dynamic synthesis of the arts.” It was founded in 2001 by the husband and wife team of Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili, who dedicated their work to creating art from text and drama, aided by movement, acrobatics, dance, film and music. In the span of almost 20 years, they have received 134 Helen Hayes nominations and 34 awards.

This unique blend of styles creates a truly new form of theatre. Most of their more notable works are done without words, and rely on artistic movement, original scores and the dedications of the actors to carry the plot. Such works include “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Tempest,” “The Taming of the Shrew,” “Dante’s Inferno” and “Phantom of the Opera.”

As a theatre company and concept, Synetic Theatre is well-respected and renowned in D.C, and rightly so. I have been a fan and in attendance since I first saw their wordless “Romeo and Juliet” many years ago. I have attended every show since, wordless or not. I have even become very familiar with the regular cast members and sit in the same seat every time I see the show. To see their “Phantom,” I flew back to D.C. this past weekend.

Usually, Synetic leaves their viewers in awe of such a special performance, from the set, costumes, act- ing quality, storyline and movement. However, with all of the potential of “Phantom of the Opera,” Synetic failed to even come close to the infamy of the characters, score and set. Even if the original was not a musical, and was merely a drama, Synetic failed to come close to the depth of the plot. There were many ways Synetic could have adapted their version to retain the emotional depth and significance that the original possesses. There were many ways they could have used their creative angle to create something truly inspiring and new, even though they were using the famous opera by Andrew Lloyd Weber. Yet, I. Tsikurish- vili took center stage, and brought the entire show down with her and the chandelier in an anti-climactic and boring fashion the original phantom would be ashamed of.

Director P. Tsikurishvili and choreographer I. Tsikurishvili attempt to breach the famous opera without music, incorporating dance and their original score to transform a singer named Christine into a ballerina. The infamous “Phantom of the Opera” is more of a ghost who likes dancing.

This “Phantom” interpretation is far from Synetic’s usually dazzling and breath-taking performance. Instead, I. Tsikurishvili drags her audience through her slow two- hour, often painstakingly boring, rendition of the opera ghost’s ob- session with a younger ballerina who reminds her of herself before she suffered horrific burns dur- ing one of her own performances.

With this basis for the character of the Phantom, I. Tsikurishvili takes away the love between Christine and the ghost, which is arguably the strongest part of Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom.” With plot hole after plot hole in Synetic’s “Phantom,” the overall relationship between the infamous shadowy character and his Christine is weak and confusing. I. Tsikur- ishvili’s “Phantom” lacks any sort of emotional cathartic release.