C.O.W. plans commencement; seniors to move out the same day

Bijeta Lamichhane

News Editor

 

On March 25, President Sarah Bolton sent an email to the Class of 2021 detailing plans for commencement this year. While the organizers have taken several factors into account while making the plans to ensure every senior has the opportunity to celebrate — such as planning an outdoor event while also considering the possibility of severe weather — students have expressed concerns about the move-out time being on the same night as the commencement.

I am excited to share that we are moving forward with plans for an in-person Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2021, to be held Saturday, May 8 at 10 a.m.,” Bolton stated. “All members of the Class of 2021 — including those studying on campus and those studying remotely — are welcome to participate, and we will also be able to welcome a limited number of guests.”

Bolton added that students will also be able to participate in the ceremony virtually.

To comply with social distancing regulations, each graduate will receive two tickets to invite family members or guests. The ceremony is tentatively scheduled to be held at John Papp Stadium.

“The College will make all official weather calls no later than Thursday, May 6,” Bolton detailed regarding the plan to hold an outdoor ceremony.

The College has also made arrangements to hold the commencement ceremony at McGaw Chapel in case of severe weather. However, if the commencement is held in the Chapel, guests will gather separately at the Timken Gymnasium in the Scot Center to meet COVID-19 regulations. The event is set to start at 9 a.m., where students will march through the Arch and the commencement ceremony will start an hour later.

Several students have expressed excitement regarding the plan for the ceremony and the College’s determination to make it happen. “Overall, I feel great about the College’s plan for commencement,” Dante King ’21 said. “I’m so excited that our parents and other family and friends will get to attend in person!”

Another senior Dũng Chí Nguyễn ‘21 also echoed King’s sentiment. “It was a shame that our seniors last year could not have a graduation ceremony due to the sudden emergence of COVID, but it is impressive to see how far we have managed to come from that point,” he said. “Giving each senior two tickets is also a good thing, but hopefully will be done with caution, since quite a few seniors will be inviting family members from outside The States. I feel hopeful! The College has done a good job with managing the campus during the academic year so far.”

Although most seniors are excited about the graduation celebration, they have also mentioned discontent regarding the move-out time, which is at 8 p.m. on the day of the commencement.

“The move-out date being on the same day is a huge inconvenience, if I can be honest,” Dung said. “Before we reach the commencement date, there are a lot of responsibilities that seniors specifically have to deal with. These include finishing up I.S. procedures if we had not done so already, paperwork for possible employment, preparing for graduation and making the last memories with friends. For students from countries that are still not allowing the flights back like me, it is even harder to plan out our exact nearest future plan due to the predicament we are in. With these in mind, it would have been more favorable if the college had given us more leniency regarding the move-out date.”

Yuta Nitanai ’21, another international student graduating this year, also shared his dissatisfaction regarding the move-out time. “[Moving out] will be too much work for many seniors, especially for international seniors, to move out on the same day of Commencement,” Nitanai said. “I hope that the College changes their plan and delays the move-out time so that we will have some flexibility in our travel plans.”

For Independent Study, leniency is key

Samuel Casey

Editor in Chief

 

March Madness is finally over! No, not the basketball tournament; I’m talking about the rush to turn in I.S. before the deadline(s) at the end of last month. Regardless of when it was finIShed, every senior deserves a standing ovation for completing their thesis during a pandemic. With an abundance of free time, I’ve been able to reflect on the I.S. process and the necessary adaptations, many of which should continue in future years. Of course, I can only speak to my own experience as a political science student. How one approaches I.S. is often an individual decision based on what they want out of it, whether that’s the first step toward a career in research or just being good enough to pass and graduate. These determinations should be equally respected which, in my opinion, is currently not the case. Doing exceptional work should absolutely be honored and celebrated, but just finishing an undergraduate research that is, remember, not elective but required, deserves the utmost appreciation as well. This goes beyond Wooster and is a problem rooted in our education system where GPA and test scores are correlated with self-worth. I.S. should be strictly pass/fail, instead of the tiered system that currently exists, especially because getting “honors” is tied to inclusion in honors societies and graduation distinctions which is mostly subjective. Not to mention that the difference between “honors” and “good” rhetorically feels like the difference between Earth and Mars.

On the topic of subjectivity, the I.S. experience of many seniors is based on their major and advisor. While I’m sure most students leave I.S. meetings stressed, yet supported, I know of others who have felt the complete opposite. The project is supposed to be challenging, but the level of challenge truly depends on the faculty you are working with. In general, I felt that professors were more understanding about missed deadlines than ever before due to the pandemic, but we should normalize this in any given year for many reasons, only one example being first-generation/limited income students who are often working maximum hours and cannot dedicate the same time to I.S. each week. It also isn’t a secret that I.S. takes a toll on students’ mental health and this is only amplified for students who already have conditions that make completing a thesis even harder. Are professors adequately trained on what to do if a student is having an anxiety attack, for example, during a weekly meeting? Much like anti-bias training, it should be thoroughly discussed and practiced continuously. This could also benefit faculty who may be in unfamiliar territory if they are new to Wooster and could easily find themselves overwhelmed.

I would also like to see the I.S. process become less restrictive. We all know that Independent Study is supposed to be a “class of one.” But is this really feasible? The spread of majors is not evenly distributed across departments, and some faculty find themselves many more students. This year, my own political science advisor decided to create cohorts among his advisees, grouping students with similar topics together and meeting with the group as a whole each week. There can be a lot of pressure meeting individually with your professor each week, especially if you did not get all your assigned work done, but hearing other students going through the same thing was quite relieving. It also gives you extra people to reach out to who are working through the same thing at the same time (shoutout to Stachal and Elizabeth). This should not be required, but I’d love to see more professors adopt this cohort model as it can be very helpful to students and will alleviate the schedules of the advisors as well. Also, it would be awesome if students had the option to do more creative projects, outside of studio art and music, as writing a 100+ page paper is not always the best, and definitely not the only, way to exemplify the goals of I.S.

These are only a few suggestions and, of course, I do not know everything about what works and what doesn’t for Wooster students. More than anything, the College should be having conversations about how I.S. can evolve because what worked when it was created (or even ten years ago) does not necessarily work now.

I.S. has major limits in COVID

Sydney Barger

Contributing Writer

 

Writing an Independent Study (I.S.) during a pandemic is difficult, especially when you have to write two. As a double major in Music (B.A.) and German Studies, I was required to write a 50-page German thesis, a 10-page program and perform a 45-minute recital in order to complete both degrees. I expected this to be difficult as a junior, but then COVID-19 hit me like a brick. I could not perform my junior recital at the end of the Spring 2020 semester and was already nervous about completing next year’s senior recital. I was told at the end of the semester that I needed to complete this recital the following semester while also preparing for my senior recital. Completing my Junior I.S. alone was an overly complicated process, as both my flute professor and I were given little instruction on the recording procedure other than renting cameras from I.T. This was partially due to Scheide receiving new recording equipment and not having a recording crew at the beginning of Fall 2020. Initially, I was expected to record my recital as soon as I returned to campus, which did not happen, causing me to reach out to the department for further instruction. I had to extend the deadline for turning in my Junior I.S. to accommodate for these changes. On top of that, the recording process itself was frustrating and confusing. I was told by the department that I could complete my recital recording with only my professor and accompanist in the recital hall. Since my professor was remote, I had to record each take on my own, running on and off stage between pieces to push the record button. I also had to call I.T. during my recital as the camera’s microphone did not have great audio quality. Even then, the audio quality was still not the same as most music department recordings. This process was stressful and frustrating during an already challenging performance.

My Junior I.S. in music pushed starting my Senior I.S. over by a few weeks, which, in hindsight, was more stressful as I had no advisor to write my program notes for Senior I.S.. I realized the weekend before the final I.S. deadline that I needed a full-time professor in the department to assist writing this program. I spent a whole weekend trying to write the program notes while not knowing how to write them. I panicked and emailed the department about this issue. I am thankful it was resolved quickly, and that I was granted an extension on this I.S., but this meant that I would have to complete the paper the same week I would be recording my senior recital. Completing both I.S. projects had given me less time to focus on practicing for my recital.

As for my German I.S., I received a Copeland Grant the summer before my senior year to complete my research in archives in Washington, D.C., which I was unable to do as many of them were closed. My research was limited as very few documents of my topic are digitized, which made I.S. a much more difficult process. With the added stress of writing my program for music Senior I.S., I had to extend my turn-in deadline for this project by another week.

Having to balance ensembles, student activities, work and three full classes on top of two Independent Studies has proved to be extremely difficult, especially with no fall or spring break. I feel that if I had a break away from classes to write, I could complete my I.S. projects and notice these mistakes much earlier in the semester.

Men’s tennis coach set to leave at the end of the season

Laura Haley

Chief Copy Editor

 

For the past seven years, Head Coach Zach Hasenyager has been the linchpin for The College of Wooster men’s tennis team. In his time coaching the Fighting Scots, Hasenyager has led his teams to a No. 25 slot in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Region Rankings, coached NCAC Players of the Year, aided athletes in beating all-time records and mentored academically exceptional students.

After completing this season, Hasenyager will transition to Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa where he will continue his coaching and mentoring with the Pioneers.

Coaching at Wooster for almost a decade, Hasenyager attributes his focus to DIII and the liberal arts on his positive experiences he himself had at the University of Redlands as a standout in the classroom and on the court. “My time in college was really impactful on me so I always get excited at the opportunity to, in whatever ways, pay those experiences forward to our students and players,” he said. “I also really appreciate and relate to the liberal arts curriculum. As a student who wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but liked learning a lot, a liberal arts program just felt right.”

In order to have a successful team, camaraderie is necessary. In terms of building that synergy, Hasenyager states, “It starts by bringing in the right people. One thing I think we’ve done a good job of is empowering players to become leaders in various roles. One guy is an on-court leader, another academic, one is our spiritual leader and another leads in strength and conditioning. When everyone feels like they’re contributing, buy-in and camaraderie come easily.”

During the recruitment process, Hasenyager looks for students who are well-rounded and understand the importance of balancing their athletic and academic success. “Wooster is a high-academic school where class work is going to be a priority, so it always starts by finding players who want to be student-athletes, not just tennis players,” he said. “I’ve talked to kids who are solely focused on tennis, and even if they’re strong players you know Wooster won’t be the right environment for them.”

In terms of his coaching philosophy, Hasenyager emphasized the big picture, saying, “I tend to focus more on the strategic than the technical; finding repeatable patterns that bring success every point, game, set, match, day or year. Focusing on a strong strategy provides a blueprint for the player to follow so even in pressure-filled moments they can excel.” In addition, within his coaching approach, Hasenyager focuses on athletes’ skills while playing smart tennis. “Finding ways of using what they’re already good at and becoming smarter in analyzing our opponent’s game is a huge focus,” he said. 

When asked about his favorite memory from his time at Wooster, many came to mind. In addition, Hasenyager recalls a 2016 thriller against Wabash University: “It was a home match, senior day, and it came down to the last match on, senior Davis Elkins at #4 singles,” he detailed. “They were ranked in the region at the time, but we had tons of fans out cheering us on and the atmosphere was incredible. I have this great picture of a guy hanging out of his dorm room window to cheer on Davis. Needless to say, he won, and we celebrated!”

As his time at the College draws to a close, Hasenyager admits a few things he will miss. “Honestly, the food in Lowry,” he admitted. “I think it’s tasty for sure, but my favorite part is it’s All-You-Can-Eat. I definitely get my money’s worth when I go in!” On a more serious note, he emphasized the relationships he’s created. “But really it’ll be the people. You come to Wooster for the community feel and the relationships, whether you’re a student, faculty or staff,” the coach said. “And I’ve definitely made some great relationships, particularly with [Head women’s tennis] Coach Amy Behrman who has been a fantastic source of wisdom and humor and help throughout my career here.”

As Hasenyager bids adieu to the underclassmen, he provides some insight for those graduating this May. “You don’t have to be in a rush to start your life,” he advised. “There is plenty of time to try things, make some mistakes, travel, learn about yourself, embrace that liberal arts education and get out into the world. You know a lot and will be prepared for many challenges but there’s always more to learn, so be open to new experiences. Make a point to stay in touch with your college friends. It’s easy to lose track of each other as people move away… but even if it’s been a while, reach out to them and reconnect. It’ll be as easy as ever to talk and hang out. These are friendships that should last forever.”

Before Hasenyager moves on from the Fighting Scots, the team aims to continue their winning streak on Saturday, April 17 as they battle the Kenyon College Lords on home turf.

We have a name

This Viewpoint was submitted anonymously by a College of Wooster student following the March of AAPI lives.

“You think the only people who are people 

Are the people who look and think like you.”

 

– Colors of the Wind, Pocahontas 

 

The statistics: disheartening. 

The victims: countless. 

The perpetrators: walking free. 

As per the current situation, many Asians, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are angry, hurt, sad and afraid. These are all very real and very valid feelings that are most definitely being experienced at this moment in time. Lives have been lost. Changed. Completely uprooted, like a tree that’s fallen in the woods with nobody around to hear it. Yet, the rest of the world acts as if they were not the ones who cut the tree down in the first place. 

I spoke to Mochi Meadows ’24, who had a lot to say regarding the matter. As a multi-ethnic, Asian-American individual, they articulated just how angry and frustrated they felt, and that they are disappointed in the way that overall authority figures (eg. police), and influential individuals, such as government officials, have chosen to react … or not to react. The killings of multiple Asians within America has been treated like a trend — as if this is something that is completely isolated and not actually happening in our day to day lives. No human is a trend. No one’s pain is a trend. 

At this moment in time, it is imperative that we be there, not just show up for the sake of showing up. Mochi spoke up against performative activism, which is something they, among other members of our community, have seen becoming more prevalent on our campus, specifically from the white students who think they have fulfilled their community service quota by reposting something on Instagram once or twice. The AAPI community needs support, love and respect. We are all humans, and yet somewhere along the line, some people thought they were more human than others. When I say be there, I mean check in on your Asian friends. Donate to worthy causes. Support BIPOC-owned businesses. Educate yourself. Read a book, an article, listen to a podcast. Watch a documentary. There is so much around us. This world is not our own. And in this moment of fear, hate and destruction, it is imperative that we play whatever part we can.

A website with links to different resources for AAPI individuals: https://asianamericanstudies.cornell.edu/anti-racism-resources-aapi-community

Dedicated to all the lives lost, to all the ones who are gone but never forgotten. You have a name. You have a name. You have a name. 

College shares plan to open vaccine clinic “very soon”

Bijeta Lamichhane

News Editor

 

On April 2, President Sarah Bolton sent an email sharing that the College will be partnering with the Wooster Community Hospital to provide a vaccination clinic for the campus community. “The timing depends on exactly when the vaccine is shipped and made available, but we expect to be able to do several clinics on campus within the next two weeks,” Bolton stated. In the coming weeks, those on campus will have access to Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, which only requires one dose for a person to be considered fully vaccinated.

According to the CDC, the vaccine exhibited a 66.3 percent efficacy rate in clinical trials to prevent COVID-19 after two weeks of receiving the vaccine. The vaccine was also fully effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths in clinical trials. The CDC has stated that “no one who got COVID-19 at least four weeks after receiving the J&J/Janssen vaccine had to be hospitalized.”

This news comes following Governor Mike DeWine’s announcement that every person in Ohio above the age of 16 would be eligible to receive a vaccine after March 29. In a survey that Bolton had sent after the vaccine eligibility expanded to include college-aged students, 79 percent of the 755 respondents stated that they had already made plans to receive vaccination, and 30 percent had already received their first shots.

Many students have expressed relief about the eligibility as well as the availability of vaccines, and several have been diligent about getting vaccinated as soon as possible. On March 24, Ashland County Health Department announced that anyone over the age of 18 would be able to receive a vaccine that day on a walk-in basis between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., and several students took the opportunity to receive their shots. Likewise, several students also called different pharmacies nearby and asked to be put on a ‘no-waste list,’ and many received calls from the pharmacies to get their shots several days before the eligibility to vaccines had expanded. One student, Emma Saxton ’22, shared her experience about how she received her vaccine.

“It was one of my teammates who told me that the Ashland pharmacy had extra vaccines and that I could call to be on the ‘no-waste list’ or to schedule an appointment,” Saxton detailed. “I wasn’t expecting to hear back from them for a while, so I was really surprised when they called me three days later saying they had an extra if I could get there in the next hour. I figured other pharmacies would have similar programs as well to reduce vaccine waste.”

When asked about what the process of getting vaccinated was like, Saxton explained, “The process was pretty easy, I didn’t even need to wait in a line. I just filled out some paperwork and waited 15 minutes afterwards until they said I could go!”

In an effort to offer flexibility with scheduling appointments, the College has also announced that students will be paid for the hours they miss if their appointment conflicts with their work schedule. “If the vaccination is scheduled during the student’s regular work hours, the student will be paid for the time they have missed,” an email sent by Student Employment read. “The supervisor should use the student special pay code (SSP) for that period when approving the student’s time in Scot Web.” It clarified, “If the student is not normally scheduled during the time of the vaccine, they would not receive any pay.”

To schedule a vaccine appointment, visit gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov/. To learn more about the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, scan the QR code:

 

The Official Student Newspaper of the College of Wooster since 1883