Category Archives: Viewpoints

What does Woo Memorial Mean to Woo?

Geoffrey Allen

Viewpoints Editor

 

As an outdoor enthusiast, I always get an itch to find a new spot to explore or pass that just might spice up my day. It is in part why I run around the city of Wooster almost every day. However, sometimes a slow stroll also fulfills my itch to be connected with the outdoors. Perhaps the Oak Grove, L.C. Boles Golf Course or Christmas Run Park may come to mind for such locations. However, nothing comes quite close in comparison to the vast scale and space for recreational venturing than the Wooster Memorial Park — a park that is ironically barely in Wooster! Hence, this park is lesser known amongst Wooster discourse unless you happen to know the right people, are an environmental STEM-related major, want to smoke a blunt, are a part of the WOODS outdoors club (which seems to be the only official organization that mentions it) or do acid. And that’s a lot of people considering we all go to school at a liberal arts college with a lot of things to do and little time! That said, this underappreciation is a shame because it has come to be one of my favorite places to visit outside of campus. Unlike Oberlin College or the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), we here at the College, lack an arboretum or decently sized park to accommodate such needs. And I believe that the College should take better action to address these lack of accommodations with the land and resources we have at Wooster. There’s more to this urgency for green space beyond using the right tree shading to take a decent instagram picture.

I was reminded of what made Wooster Memorial so important last Friday when my cross country season ended and I was left without a daily activity to do. That was, at least until I was reminded by one of my teammates how cool it would be to revisit Wooster Memorial and take the first-years and sophomores to a place they probably never knew existed, yet is only a 10 minute drive away from Beall Avenue. The park, formerly known as Spangler, has existed since 1963, which was largely donated by the former namesake local resident and teacher Paul S. Spangler to the city of Wooster, allowing this public land to become the recreational park we know (or just learned about) today. The donated land, which I have come to learn over the years is a very complicated thing in the outdoor conservation world, has expanded in the past couple decades since its establishment. Now it is maintained by the “Friends of Wooster Memorial Park” for residents of the city, curious college students like us and just nature lovers in general. 

So thanks to all of this history, you and I have this wonderful opportunity to venture to the 400+ acres of wooded ravines and creeks in the College’s ‘backyard’. It is truly a beautiful place to day hike alone, with friends or that significant other you were trying to get to know better. I know for some people it is what I see in my activity of running as– an escape from the troubles and stress of our current lives. And it really works to help too. Perhaps you may have heard of the term forest bathing 森林浴, which is a Japanese therapeutic practice involving simply being present in a forest of any kind feeling and embracing the senses a person experiences in that particular place. Wooster Memorial offers that physical mental health resource. 

Yet, why is this not more promoted by the College especially when there is a lack of open green space on campus? Not everyone can get transportation, but maybe offering college shuttles might be too out of the way for the College. Perhaps one can argue that the golf course offers this, however, it is not always the most public place to venture since it is always occupied by golfers, creating more of a sense of fear that you might get hit by a ball rather than enjoy the open green field. It also lacks the foliage that provides the necessary activities of forest bathing. However, this does not in any way mean golfers are a problem. If anything, the solution lies behind them. In addition to the College’s ownership of the L.C. Boles Golf Course, the College also owns acres of woods that are only used for nothing more than a biology IS project or two. But what if there was a set of nature-friendly trails in that part of campus that were accessible to anyone? I’ve heard from some students, as well as long-term faculty that such an idea has been discussed in the past and could be a very progressive move that all students could get behind. Yes, such a plan would be nothing short of ambitious, yet with support of the community such as the Friends of Wooster Memorial Park, the College’s WOODS and Environmental Justice Coalitions we could come together to make something beautiful and, most importantly, green. 

As the teacher, Spangler, gave back to his community, we the College could give back to our students, faculty and greater community as well.

Ode to Corn Nuggets

Kayla Bertholf

S&E Editor

 

Corn is in everything. It is the backbone of America and seemingly the backbone of my diet at Lowry. Corn-derived ingredients are not only in gasoline, the basis of some alcohols, in chewing gum and popcorn, but are also used as a staple of the vegetarian station. I live for the days when I wake up and Google “College of Wooster dining menu” and find mention of corn nuggets under the Lowry tab. These battered and fried portions of corn have a way of eliciting joy in my life that not many other Lowry foods can match. The sweet yet savory goodness of corn nuggets warms my soul from the first bite. 

Perhaps I am biased as a native Ohioan, growing up surrounded by corn fields and going as far as writing an essay about the prevalence of corn in America in high school English class, but there seems to be a divide between those who love corn nuggets and those who despise them. Perhaps others prefer cornbread or are made uneasy by the battered corn goodness pretending to be a nugget. Everyone seems to have a side—no one is neutral on whether corn nuggets are the best or worst food at Low. I have gotten into many debates over the deliciousness corn nuggets bring to the table and will hold strong to my values. 

Why does my opinion on corn nuggets matter? As human beings, we can always find something to dislike about what we are given, be it something as inconsequential as corn nuggets or something as consequential as corn’s position in society. We hold strong to our opinions and resist change, myself included. It is something we all can work on. We can have differing opinions over something as mundane as corn nuggets and remain civil. We cannot do this for larger societal issues that affect the lives of our friends and family. Further, we think our negative words about corn nuggets or the daily chicken dish do not affect anyone, until the underpaid workers that spent the last few hours making them overhear. We have the right to complain about things that do not sit right with us as this is what leads to change. However, we should keep in mind the intended audience and whether or not it is something they can fix. The main sentiment that I like to think of on corn nugget day is to be grateful for what you have, make the best of what you are given, and appreciate those who work hard so that you do not have to make your own corn nuggets (trust me on this, homemade corn nuggets are not the move).  

Winning the Race Against My Struggles

Julie Fiori

Contributing Writer

 

Content Warning: Mentions of Eating Disorders

If you know me well, you know that I love to run — a lot. I have been running for the greater half of my life, and it is something I hold close to my heart. At first, I had a very bad relationship between food and running which affected my performance and my mental health. For my entire life, I have struggled to have a healthy relationship with food. At a young age, I was exposed to calorie counting and foods deemed “healthy” and “unhealthy.” All of my thoughts were surrounded by what and when I would eat and if someone or something came up to affect this, my day would be ruined. 

Running was a way to escape these thoughts, but it also fueled bad habits for a few years of my life. I would perform horribly at races and feel so exhausted at every practice because I would refuse to eat an adequate amount of food to achieve the “perfect body” that everyone else on my team seemed to have. I would constantly compare myself to other runners and assume that I was not as fast as them because I was not as skinny as them. I would often question my self worth if I was not able to run one day or if I ate too much and so on. My eating disorder not only took over my body, but also hurt me mentally. I would spend many nights alone in my room upset because I would not let myself go out if I knew there would be food involved. I would sulk about all of the good times I was missing because of how much I worried about food. 

At home, it was difficult to reach out to people because I felt that I would be looked down upon. I never fully came to terms with the fact that what I was doing was hurting my body until I came to college. At first, the thought of being away from home and not being able to restrict myself as much was terrifying. On my first day on campus, I met my cross country team. I clicked with all of them and found a real support system immediately. Everyone that I opened up to listened to me and talked to me about my eating disorder that I had internalized for years. I never came to terms and accepted that what I was doing was harmful until I listened to my teammates. 

I realized that the anxiety I had around food was a waste of my time. I started to realize what was really important to me: feeling good while running and being able to hang out with friends. The only way to be able to do these things is to eat more and take care of my body. Without the help of my current teammates and friends I have made, I do not think I would be able to make it here with my old habits. The constant support and reassurance from friends and teammates have made me realize that people value me for who I am rather than how I look. If I told my sad, high-school self that I would be eating an adequate amount of food every day now, she would think it was a lie. Running has felt so much better physically and mentally. Going on a run used to be a punishment for me, but now it is an activity I genuinely look forward to and enjoy. At college, it is hard to reach out to others about your struggles with an eating disorder. Many more people struggle than you think. Do not hesitate to reach out. I will always be in your corner.

Please Say Please, Thanks for Saying Thanks

Tali Lansing

Contributing Writer 

 

Working in Lowry is not an easy job. Sometimes it looks like the employees are standing around while we grab food, but there is so much more that goes on in the background. Feeding over 2,000 people who each have their own dietary restrictions, preferences and opinions is a challenge and it is made more impossible when students are not appreciative of their efforts. Furthermore, I have seen students be blatantly rude to Lowry employees. 

Unlike us, they do not get a fall break. They do not get to wake up at 7:50a.m. for an 8:00a.m. class. They do not get to be done with classes by 4:00p.m. These workers are up before the sun, and are supplying us with food until midnight every single day. It is important for us to do everything we can to make their jobs easier because being mad at an employee who can not change what happens does not help anyone. Most of the time, employees there have had very long and difficult days and would love for you to smile and say “hi”. 

 I have to admit, there are days where I am rushing up to Lowry to fill my to-gobox and leave quickly. On those days, it’s hard for me to remember that everyone is doing their best with a difficult scenario. The stairs are burdensome, the long line at Basics makes me impatient and the food options make it difficult for me to find a healthy meal. The lack of vegetarian options frustrates me enough not to smile and greet them. I often forget to thank the workers behind the food lines for their hard work. 

 Do you remember when you were little and an adult would ask you, “What’s the magic word?” To this day, please and thank you are still magical words. I don’t mean that they are going to fix the food situation at Wooster, but saying them makes everyone feel appreciated. The employees preparing your dinner are people too. They have days that are stressful and long, just like we all do. There is no reason to treat them as if they are not there. 

 Sometimes, talking to the person making my scrambled eggs or preparing my veggie burger completely turns my day around. The people that work at Lowry are some of the kindest and most selfless people I have ever met. They spend their days making sure we are taken care of and fed the same way they would care for and feed their own families. Even though they have a million and ten things to do at once, they do their best to improve the Lowry situation for our benefit. After all, they’re eating the food they prepare as well. 

 I promise you that saying “thank you” to the person refilling the chipotle mayo will not harm you in any way, but it might turn their day around. I completely understand why we are fighting for the food situation to change, but the person that is serving breadsticks would really love it if you would say “please” before asking for 50 of them.

BIPOC PAA Releases List of Demands

BIPOC Performing Arts Alliance Demands of Theatre/Dance and Music Departments:

  1. The resignation of Shirley Huston-Findley from department chair until further substantial equality education is reached and the DEI plan is completed. 
  2. A public and formal apology for inflicted harm and racism against our BIPOC students on behalf of Huston-Findley.
  3. The hiring of a Black Theatre AND Music professor (with equitable pay) before the graduation of the Board in 2023.
  4. The substantial and outside training of Huston-Findley in not only racial issues and equity, but also in Directing and in teaching holistically in order to better direct and educate BIPOC students in her courses and productions. This demand will bar Huston-Findley from direction until this education is complete and audited thoroughly. 
  5. The transparency of investigations of racial and incident bias reports and their outcomes for any staff members from these departments.
  6. The completion of the BIPOC and revised Theatre library before the start of the Spring Term.
  7. The proper introduction of BIPOC curriculum in all Theatre History courses with a variety of artists that are not tokenized or misrepresentations of their cultures/racial groups. 
  8. At least one department play yearly that is BIPOC written or starring a BIPOC student (this student should not be the only BIPOC student in the cast) in one of its leading roles. This can also be fulfilled by student productions that are treated like main stage productions. The department must show a vested interest in BIPOC work.
  9. Continued and perpetual auditing of the education and resulting conduct of the faculty and staff in each department.

College Democrats Call for Admin Action

(College Democrats)

Contributing Writers

 

Tuesday, Nov. 2, was election day. Across the country, people voted to fill offices ranging from governor to mayor, as well as local down-ballot seats. Here in Wooster, voters elected new school board and city council members as well as enacted a tax levy. It was also an election with historic firsts—for instance, Michelle Wu became Boston’s first elected woman mayor while Aftab Pureval became the first Asian-American mayor of Cincinnati. 

Unfortunately, off-year elections like this one receive less attention and lower voter turnout. College Democrats, in conjunction with other civic and service engagement organizations, organize voter registration each semester. Over the years, we have noticed that voter registration numbers dip in non-general election years. That also occurred this year, which, while disappointing, was not necessarily surprising. 

What was surprising, however, was the College’s lack of support in helping the campus community vote. We understand that admin and staff are very busy and that responsibilities have changed hands due to turnover. We should also note that after the College Democrats executive board members brought certain voting related issues to the administration’s attention, they were very receptive to improving this process for the future. Yet, it is unacceptable that information about voting did not get sent out until the afternoon before election day, and that there was no assistance from administration in conducting voter registration. Furthermore, the utility bills sent out last-minute were difficult to access and often incorrect, jeopardizing students’ ability to vote. If College Democrats’ executive board did not make voter registration a priority and then recruited volunteers from our club, Wooster’s NAACP, the Leftists of Wooster and College Republicans, it is likely there would have been no voter registration drive at all. If our executive board and volunteers did not keep track of forms and information by lugging a bag of supplies around campus to set up at random tables in Lowry, drive completed forms down to the Board of Elections or provide essential information to students, there would be fewer people on this campus registered to vote. 

Voters also had to contend with limited transportation to the polls. In years past, shuttles to and from voting locations were available, and we have heard from students that the lack of shuttles this year led to their inability to vote. Even though we registered sixty new voters on campus, those students still may not have been able to cast their vote due to lack of access to the polls. 

Students cannot be solely responsible for voter education on campus. When we graduate, who will take it over? College Democrats are more than happy to volunteer our time for voter registration, but we need institutional support. In an election of small margins (this year’s tax levy passed by only nine votes!), every vote counts and local elections are critical to determining policy that impacts this campus. Voting is not some fun club activity, but something that affects every student. While other colleges like Oberlin and Otterbein University are considered Voter-Friendly Campuses in Ohio, Wooster is not on that list — and without a concerted effort from the College to help students vote, it’s not hard to see why. 

Wooster prides itself on being a civically engaged campus and frequently encourages students to use their voices. Going forward, we hope that means the admin will do better to help students vote during every election.