Editor notes Netflix losses, additions

By Megan Ruge, Co-Editor in Chief

Netflix has done it again, friends. Starting Sunday, Oct. 1, Netflix will be removing some of our favorite classics. Who knows how long they will be gone for this time, but assuming they will be back isn’t really a good plan of action.

For those of you who are interested in the following films, your deadline is Sunday and now that you have it, get to it. Your time is limited.

“Hellboy” is one of many films that will be leaving us on Sunday. The film, about a demonic beast who becomes a hero, fights supernatural beings such as hellhounds.

Hellboy, a generally rough individual, must prepare to fight threats along side the much less prepared Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense.

“Love Actually,” another film to leave us on Sunday, is a time honored, star-studded, Christmas classic. The film follows several different interconnected couples whose relation- ships are put to the test during the holiday season. Some relationships grow stronger and others ultimately fail.

“Million Dollar Baby,” leaving us this weekend as well, follows Hilary Swank as Maggie Fitzgerald, female boxer, who begs a local gym owner to teach her everything he knows. Fitzgerald works hard to achieve her goals, eventually putting her skills to test in the fight of her life, the results of which will leave audiences in awe.

“Big Daddy,” an Adam Sandler movie, is a classic that will live on in our hearts forever, but unfortunately not on our Netflix accounts.

The film, staring the Sprouse twins in the same role, tells the story of a New York City man who ends up taking care of a 5-year-old. On the quest to find the father, the man falls for the kid and looks for ways to make his stay permanent.

“Across the Universe,” a Beatles musical, will be exiting as well. The film, based in the ‘60s, tells the story of many young people trying to find their way.

Throughout the film, Beatles songs are incorporated into the plot and the main characters are named after different characters in different Beatles songs, such as Jude, Lucy and Jojo.

“Happy Feet,” a beloved children’s film, will dance its way off our accounts on Sunday as well.

Following penguin habitation and mating in a very whimsical way, “Happy Feet” tells the story of a penguin unlike the others whose ambition in life is to use his flippers as tap shoes. He must defeat all odds to become the first tap-dancing penguin.

Though there are many other films leaving us in October, there are among those that will leave a hole in our hearts and Netflix accounts.

Even though we are terribly sad to see these fine films go, there are many films that will arrive on the same day that might just fill the gap.

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” starring Johnny Depp, is the new-age remake of the original 1971 film star- ing the late Gene Wilder.

The film tells the same story as the original, but we get to see a lot of contemporary and unique gadgets that allow the chocolatier to make a new twist on the original candies that drive the children wild in the original film.

“Miss Congeniality,” another Netflix addition, stars fan favorite Sandra Bullock as an FBI agent who gets sucked into the beauty queen world, trying to find out who wants to kill Miss USA.

“Must Love Dogs,” our final new film on Netflix, follows an older woman look- ing for love who creates a dating profile, highlighting the importance of a love for dogs. She finds a man who responds to her profile and meets her at the dog park, but he isn’t telling her a whole truth.

Guest vocalist performs at SU, exhibits ’emotional themes’

By Zachary Bonner, Assistant News Editor

Vocalist Jennifer Trost and pianist Svetlana Radionova performed a recital on Sept. 25 in Stretansky Hall.

The recital consisted of two pieces, which exhibited similar emotional themes. In both performances Trost portrayed a woman who had lost love.

“Frauenliebe und leben, Op. 42” is most commonly translated as “Woman’s Love and Life” and is a collection of poems by Adalbert von Chamisso put to vocal and piano music by Robert Schumann.

“Beethoven’s Slippers: A Monodrama” is a separate type of piece in that it is a contemporary work composed for Trost by contemporary composer and vocalist Judith Cloud.

The piece is set in the late 1980s and follows a wealthy, older woman who is scorned by a lost love. The piano accompaniment draws from various classical composers but is grounded in Beethoven’s “Piano Sonata No. 15 in D Major,” a piece the main character of the story plays often.

The world premiere of the piece took place in November 2016 at Northern Arizona University, and is currently being showcased in Trost’s tour through Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New York and New Jersey.

Students who attended the recital noted the subject matter throughout the performance.

“I thought it was beautiful,” junior Emily Curto said. “I appreciated the very cohesive theme throughout the performance.” The performance was also attended by students who had little exposure to opera.

The recital was more accessible to listeners who weren’t studying classical music because “Beethoven’s Slippers” was sung in English and composed in a contemporary setting.

“Personally, the majority of vocal performances I’ve attended have been in the realm of musical theater,” senior Emily Shellenberger said.

“Even though [Trost] was singing in a language I don’t speak and in a style I’m unfamiliar with, I was still able to understand and enjoy the story that she was telling,” Shellenberger continued.

Trost has an extensive performance resume and a varied history as a recitalist.

According to her biography, she has performed most frequently as a lyric soprano, and moved into young dramatic soprano repertoire as her career progressed.

Currently Trost performs both soprano repertoire and mezzo-soprano repertoire.

Her career started as a resident artist at the Los Angeles Music Center Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, as well as Wuppertal Opera and the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. She has performed in operas such as Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro”, Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” and Wagner’s “Die Walkure.”

In addition to opera singing, Trost also works as a voice teacher and a masterclass technician. She is also a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the National Opera Association.

Trost is currently an associate professor at Penn State, where she teaches voice, song literature and opera literature.

Radionova started her performance career in St. Petersburg, Russia, and holds a doctorate from the Rimsky- Korsakov Conservatory.

She emigrated to the United States and has been a soloist in State College with the Nittany Valley Symphony, the Pennsylvania Center Orchestra, and the Penn’s Woods Festival Orchestra.

Editor discusses safe space controversy

By Zach Bonner, Assistant News Editor

One of the most volatile debates in our current political discourse is the need for, or problems with, safe spaces. Academic and political speakers alike sit on either sides of a stark dichotomy—one that is a vote of confidence for existence of safe spaces for intersectional thought and one championing our rights as citizens of this country to speak what they believe and to do so without censorship.

As I see it, the opposite sides of our nation’s debate on how we should speak to and about each other is this: do we treat people with respect and in turn avoid certain turns of phrase, or do we keep our language the way it is as to avoid violating our first amendment rights?

To take contemporary examples of either side of this argument, first, I’d like to highlight the words of Ben Shapiro. Ben Shapiro attempts to explain to college students across the nation that their need for safe spaces and their aversion to micro-aggressions is creating within them a group of people who feels that anything that doesn’t align with their beliefs is an offense or an arm of oppression.

Conversely, in an opinion piece for The Washington Post, the president of Northwestern University, Morton Schapiro, explains why he believes that safe spaces are necessary for all people. He says that people, specifically college students, are unable to embrace uncomfortable learning without feeling comfortable themselves. He believes that every person, regardless of their identity markers, deserves a space to speak their truths without backlash or fear of being made to feel invalid.

I think the major disconnect between people who disavow safe spaces and people who feel that safe spaces are necessary for the proper functioning of our institutions of higher education is the basic definition of what safe spaces are and where they exist.

A common misconception is that safe spaces are entire campus communities. As someone who is a member of a marginalized community and has eyes and ears, I assure you that public spaces on campus are not always safe

spaces. Anyone can say virtually anything they see fit and, depending on what kind of administrative authority is present, can do so without consequence. Safe spaces are autonomous areas inside these public spaces where members of marginalized communities can go to exist without the possibility of being harassed for their identity.

I’m not a person who thinks that censoring harassment or rhetoric of people who wish to marginalize others is a viable solution to this problem. A fundamental truth of our country is our collective right to freedom of expression.

Considering this, I believe that if you agree with the sentiment that safe spaces are unnecessary and harmful to the education of students as a whole, you have a basic misunderstanding of what they are, willfully or otherwise.

Directors Discussion

By Eli Bass, Director of Jewish Life

“The University’s history and heritage lead us to affirm the dignity and worth of all persons. Consequently, we must be vigilant to ensure that we do not exclude or marginalize individuals and groups because of such differences as gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, social class, marital and parental status, disability, age, religion, gender identity or expression, geography, and national origin. As Susquehanna seeks to embody the rich diversity of the human community, we commit ourselves to the full participation of persons who represent the breadth of human differences,” says the Statement of Diversity and Inclusiveness from Susquehanna University (SU) board of trustees.

Part of our commitment as a university forces us to ask large questions around how to process and support those who are different from us. This Saturday marks the end of the high holidays as the Jewish community observes Yom Kippur. There are many moments that make it challenging to be a religious minority on a campus. The appearance of a swastika on Rosh Hashanah makes it clear that there are voices opposed to our university commitments, on campus. These moments of bigotry on campus should not be tolerated. Instead, they must be confronted and removed.

I’m deeply grateful to President Green, public safety and other staff and students across the university who had responded to both recognize the unacceptable nature of the swastika and have extended their support to Jewish and other affected students.

Susquehanna’s board of trustees statement is one of a visionary ideal instead of a current reality. I’m asking for your partnership to bring this vision. I believe in the power and goodness of our Susquehanna community. Having the Jewish holiday season, at the beginning of a school year is often challenging for our Jewish community who are typically deeply committed across campus. I believe that little actions help us to be the kind of community we should be. I want to point out a few actions, which help us move towards this vision.

I’d like to recognize the community members who spoke up when actions of hate have occurred on this campus. Each individual on campus deserves dignity. Communicating with public safety and administrators helps us to maintain a safe environment. For those who have spoken up, thank you!

Scheduling has been a critical issue for many of the Jewish students on campus. I know that campus activities continue to move throughout Jewish holidays. I know that Jewish students, like students of every religious and ethnic background are involved in every part of campus life. To departments, organizations, and individuals who worked to accommodate individual religious observances – thank you. Especially, thank you to those who changed schedules or adjusted them to support Jewish students. Thank you!

Sensitivity to minorities doesn’t just extend organizationally. It is also interpersonal. Checking in with friends and students you know goes a long way. It could be after a specific incident. It could also be that you saw a post about an approaching Jewish holiday and felt it was important to check in with your friend on the holiday. These moments go a long way. For those who were able to check in, thank you! For those who checked in with Jewish, LGBTQQ, and racial minority students after the swastikas occurred, thank you! Our ability to become more sensitive to the experiences of others is critical as we aspire to be a better community.

The Jewish holiday season is about looking at yourself and looking to improve in the coming year. When I reflect on the past year, I know there are many ways I can seek to improve and grow in how I support fostering the community I’d like at SU.

Two questions I’d encourage you to reflect on: How was I a good ally this past year? How do I seek to be better going forward?

Editor makes case for NFL protest

By Alex Kurtz, Sports Editor 

Sept. 23 was a normal day for most Americans, but for Stephen Curry and the reigning NBA-champion Golden State Warriors, their decision that day inadvertently put forward the chain of events that would eventually lead to the death of “shut up and play” in sports.

President Donald Trump revoked his invitation for the team to come to the White House after Curry expressed his hesitancy to go.

The visit to the White House in past years has been an honor, but with the controversy surrounding the Trump presidency, many athletes have expressed frustrations with the president.

That weekend, different NFL teams united in an almost league wide showing of unity during the national anthem.

The Jacksonville Jaguars locked arms in London. The Pittsburgh Steelers stayed in the locker room aside from offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a former army ranger, who stood alone with his hand over his heart during the anthem.

Football fans around the country were in outrage on how nobody should kneel for the anthem as it dis- respects Americans who fought for our freedom. That statement could not be farther from the truth. These Americans fought for all of our freedoms, including our right to protest and the right to free speech. Trump later came out on Thursday in an interview to state that “NFL owners are scared of their players.”

He must have not been watching the games though because most NFL owners were in complete supports of their players. Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones kneeled with his team during the anthem. Jaguars’ owner Shahid Khan stood with his players on the sideline, arms locked. This list goes on and on.

Fans in years prior did not want see politics during their hours of disconnect, even if it was already there to an extent, i.e. the national anthem, which was only made mandatory for players to stand on the sidelines in 2009.

Nowadays, fans are more active in the political spectrum, and the fight against social injustices has escalated to the most extreme it has been since the civil rights movement in the ‘60’s. In a political era where social media is so prominent, having a disconnect from sports and politics is impossible.

While there is NFL policy stating that one must stand for the anthem, and players could receive fines or suspensions for their actions, this showing of protest from almost the entire league shows that “shut up and play” no longer exists in sports, and if Trump continues on his current path during his tenure as the leader of the free world, this is only the beginning, whether you like it or not.

Sexual assault film shown for SU Greek life hazing prevention week

By Michael Bernaschina, Staff Writer

The film “The Hunting Grounds” was shown in Isaac’s Auditorium in Seibert Hall on Monday, Sept. 26 as a part of Hazing Prevention Week.

“The Hunting Grounds,” written and directed by Kirby Dick and released in 2015, is a documentary about rape and sexual assault on college campuses, their institutional cover-ups, and the impact these crimes have on victims.

After the film was shown, a panel took the stage to answer questions from the audience. The panel consisted of Barbara Johnson, Title IX coordinator and director of workforce diversity and inclusion in human resources office, Cheryl Stumpf, counselor at the counseling center, Scott Kershner, the university chaplain, Coleen Zoller, head of the philosophy department and part of the women’s studies program, Rabbi Nina Mandel, adjunct professor in both Religious Studies and Diversity Studies, and a rabbi in Sunbury, and Angelo Martin, director of public safety.

“I applaud the system here for putting this together, for inviting people to talk about it, and to being open and to say that it is everybody’s responsibility,” Rabbi Mandel said.

In response to the film’s depiction of the lack of accountability, one student in attendance opened the discussion by asking what the panel would say to potential assaulters who saw that they wouldn’t face any punishment.

“I know since I’ve been here that there have been cases reported, and cases have gone through the conduct system, so students are held accountable for their actions,” Johnson said.

“One hopes that part of the moral education people are getting is there are things that are bad and wrong to do, it doesn’t matter if you get caught,” Rabbi Mandel added.

Concerns were also raised about how the university deals with victims of sexual assault, as well as an investigation if the victim wishes to pursue one.

“I think the first thing we need to always do is make sure the victim feels comfortable when they’re talking,” Martin said.

“We have to be respectful of where the survivor is in their process, because we don’t want to prematurely push them into something that they’re not ready to do,” Stumpf said.

“Oftentimes, I’m calling [Martin] and his staff and asking if the survivor can come over and ask some questions,” Stumpf added. “So I make sure that the survivor is receiving information that is going to help them to make an informed decision about pressing charges and pursuing whether they decide to press charges legally or just here on campus.”

“It’s really important if you have friends who are experiencing something that you let your friends know that they can get the support that they need,” Johnson said. “Often- times, what I’ve learned in the Title IX trainings I’ve attended, is that if students experience sexual misconduct and then get the emotional support that they need, sometimes that will turn into wanting their case to move forward.”

However, if students are unable to get the emotional sup- port they need and attempt to handle the situation by themselves or with friends who are not equipped with the professional skills necessary to deal with it, they won’t be able to go forward, Johnson added.

“What I would recommend is that we continue this conversation,” Stumpf said. “This is not a once-and-done conversation. This is not a one-time program. We need to keep this conversation going.”

Stumpf continued: “I’m in the process of developing a group in the counseling center for survivors, and I know there are survivors out there, I know there are friends of survivors out there. I would like to talk with you, I would like to talk with you.”

“I would like to have a conversation about how we can better serve our survivors on our campus,” Stumpf added. “I think we could do a better job with that too.”

Professional journalist talks political situation

By Ben Roehlke, Staff Writer

On Wednesday Sept. 27, the Center for Intercultural and Community Engagement (CICE) sponsored a guest to come speak in the Degenstein campus theater.

The guest speaker was Michel Martin, National Public Radio, host and veteran journalist. Martin gave a lecture titled “Going There: Seeking Civil Discourse in the Age of Anger.”

Martin is the weekend host of the show “All Things Considered” on National Public Radio and has previously written for the Wall Street Journal and well as the Washington Post.

This lecture covered talking points related to recent social and political tensions. Some examples of the dialogue included differing opinions over the Trump administration, as well as discussion over protests across the nation.

A major theme that echoed throughout the lecture was an encouragement to take action and create discussion. Martin said that often times, when people found themselves in a heated discussion over sensitive topics, they tend to leave the situation or shut the other person out before hearing their side of the debate.

She stressed that no matter the difference in opinion or views politically or socially, it is important to hear all sides of a story and only then determine what is fact and what is fiction.

Martin then touched on recent accusations in the media that have come to be known as “fake news.” She said that many news providers have been accused of fake news and again stressed the importance of educating oneself on the facts of a story from all credible sources.

“The lecture was quite interesting, especially with what’s going on in the world today,” said, Charlie Riley, a junior who attended the lecture, “It’s important that people stay informed on these important issues.”

Senior Austin French discussed how he felt after the lecture: “I’m glad that [Martin] is encouraging people to continue the discussion when things get uncomfortable. I feel like people have taken the idea of ‘safe spaces’ too far, and seem to hide behind that when someone has an opinion that is different than their own.”

French continued, “I hope that people will be more open to this style of educated discussion, and make progress towards creating change, but it all starts by setting aside our differences.”

Martin is a part of Susquehanna lecture series titled “Public Culture in a Time of Hyperinformation.”

Trax hosts successful disco party despite fire alarm

By Alanna Dent, Staff Writer

Susquehanna’s on-campus nightclub, Trax, held its annual Silent Disco on Sept. 23.

Students were able to trade in their school identification cards for a pair of wireless headphones to listen to the different mixes of DJ Jbonax, DJ Victor. E and DJ Mocha.

Attendees were able to control which station they were listening to with the flick of a switch on these specialized headphones.

“The DJs had specific channels, and it was amazing seeing how many people were dancing in groups and dancing alone to their own jams,” said senior Eyana Walker, Trax employee.

Each of the three DJs played multiple genres, ranging from top 40 hits to electronic dance music to throwback jams, but for the most part there were three different styles being played at any given time. Senior Dylan Smith was enthusiastic about having the three DJs,

“I like having the variety because it also allows me to DJ in my own sense as well,” Smith said. “I select my favorite out of the three songs being played and I jam out.”

“The event is a unique way for students to listen and dance to different songs at the same time,” Smith continued. “So I may listen to a top 40 hit and dance one way and there could be someone dancing the same way to a techno/EDM song and it is amusing to see the similarities. Plus, nothing is better than taking the headphones off and hearing people sing at the top of their lungs with no music being played.”

Around 11:30 p.m., students in headphones rushed out of the building due to a fire alarm being set off.

The alarm was due to the smoke machines being used on stage, and the issue was quick- ly resolved. Junior Sydni Holloway said, “It made me feel like a real college kid.”

“The speed and direction that came from the Trax staff turned what could have been a disastrous situation into a funny memory,” Holloway continued.

Despite the fire alarm, the silent disco was one of the better attended Trax events of the school year thus far. When asked about its success, senior Sam King, Trax employee, commented, “This event was pretty popular and people told me it was because they got to choose what music they got to listen to.”

“Also, having a variety of music is always a good thing because different people like different genres and this way we can cater to those different preferences all at one time,” King continued. “It’s more inclusive and makes more people happy, so more people show up.”

Holloway said, “It’s funny how something that was so ‘disconnected’ brought everyone in the room together. It was a real feeling of community.”

Holloway was speaking to the idea that although students could be listening to different channels on their headsets, they were still connected.

Walker wanted to remind everybody that the fun is not over yet. Sign-ups are available now for “Trax Battle,” a Nerf battle to end all Nerf battles, which is being held Friday, September 29 at 8 p.m.

The “Trax battle” will include an obstacle course type map that the four-person team will have to overcome in order to win.

There will still be refreshments available at the event, but alcohol will not be allowed in to the building or served at the ‘Trax Battle.”

Coming up in the next week, there will actually be two events on the weekend: a rave and an escape room.

The Escape Room is sponsored by Trax and will be one of two events that could help de-stress students for mid-term week. The event will run from 8 p.m. until 12 a.m.

The Rave being held at Trax will be sponsored by the Student Activities Committee and held the next night on Oct. 7 from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

For more information on Trax events, contact the student help desk.

Hazing prevention focuses on community for the weekend

By Parker Thomas, Staff Writer

The Inter-Fraternity Council and Panhellenic Council held Field Day on Degenstein Lawn on Sept. 23 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. as part of their Hazing Prevention Week.

With most of the initial events of the week focused on educating students about hazing and how to prevent it, the organizers decided to host a different type of event focused on the positivity of Greek life and connecting to one another, Field Day.

“Field day is meant to be more of brotherhood, sisterhood type of bonding event so that we can be outdoors and showing the campus community that instead of hazing people this is what we are doing,” stated assistant director of Greek life Bryan Rivas.

The event included a free barbeque with hot dogs, hamburgers and veggie burgers, free beverages, music and several outdoor recreation activities. Students, both Greek and non-Greek, were encouraged to come and go throughout the day. Inter-fraternity president, senior Michael Sharer, who was manning the grill at the event, stated his overall goal of the Field Day event.

“All of our organizations on campus do not haze, following university policy, but we also want to take that next step and show that we promote and foster that type of environment for people to succeed and really build relationships without needing that,” Sharer said.

“So, we wanted to end on a high note by just having a nice barbeque for everyone on campus just to let them realize that we are here on this campus, we try to strive to do great things and that we can be better and work to be better than what the national stereotypes are.”

Organized by Panhellenic Council president, senior Kayla Schneider, as well as Sharer and Rivas, Hazing Prevention Week sought to bring awareness to fraternities, sororities, and the public about the abusive nature of hazing that continues to inflict the nation, while reassuring students not part of Greek life that hazing does not occur at Susquehanna.

Through chapters’ cooperation with Hazing Prevention Week, the societies and councils delivered a positive message about the beneficial civil service that Greek chapters provide to campus and the community.

Hazing’s roots extend back to the foundations of fraternities and sororities. As part of a pledging process, chapters would subject pledging students to cruel, violent, abusive and humiliating acts. Initially done in the open, pledging was forced to go underground at the founding of inter-fraternity council and the Panhellenic council, which created new member education programs instead, and the outlawing of many pledging events, but continued nonetheless.

Over the course of the last fifteen plus years, however, many Greek organizations have taken on initiatives to conform to new member education initiations that teach new members the history, goals, mission values and ceremonies of the brotherhood of sisterhood they wish to join. These programs are not harmful and are strictly enforced at Susquehanna.

Though irregular, hazing continues to occur at other campuses across the nation. This is why campuses like Susquehanna host hazing prevention weeks to emphasize the negative results of hazing to dissuade organizations from allowing this to happen and demonstrate to new students and those considering Greek life that the school and chapters do not allow hazing to occur.

Beginning on Monday, Sept. 18, Hazing Prevention week began with the signing of banner in the Degenstein Campus Center, in which members of sororities and fraternities were at a table asking other brothers and sisters and the public to sign a banner that stated “These Don’t Haze.”

Additionally, various Greek members hosted a fundraiser table that sold bracelets for a dollar, with proceeds going toward the Timothy J. Piazza memorable foundation, all week long.

On Sept. 19, a Bystander Intervention workshop, facilitated by Title IX Coordinator Barbara Johnson was held in Benjamin Apple Meeting Rooms one and two, in which Johnson encouraged students to be involved and active bystanders in cases of hazing and quizzed students on actions they would take to stop an incident of hazing.

The hazing prevention week ended on Monday, Sept. 25 with the showing of the sexual assault awareness film, “The Hunting Ground.”

Campus embraces activist’s message of caring over hate

By Michelle Seitz, Staff Writer

The Student Activities Committee hosted the Free Hugs Project on Wednesday, Sept. 18 as a part of Hazing Prevention Week. The Free Hugs Project is run by Ken “Kenny” Nwadike, a former track star turned peace activist. The goal of the project is to deescalate violence between different races and with law enforcement.

Junior Valerie Smith-Gonzalez said, “I really appreciate the work [Nwadike’s] doing as a middle man, listening to both sides where conversations can happen.”

During the event, Nwadike told the audience about his life story and the back story of the Free Hugs Project. He also spoke about what he has done with the project thus far.

When Nwadike was just seven years old, he witnessed his father get arrested. His mother then relocated him and his brother from Seattle to Los Angeles in the ‘90s. The family then resided in homeless shelters as they struggled as African Americans living in a mostly white neighborhood.

In high school, Nwadike began running track after his favorite teacher confronted him about avoiding eye contact with other students to which he responded, “If you don’t look at people, you can zone out negativity.”

The teacher then encouraged Nwadike to run track. Because Nwadike’s family struggled financially, he practiced wearing leave behinds, or articles of clothing leftover in the locker room. Being on the track team, Nwadike finally felt like he belonged and had friends.

Nwadike earned a college scholarship and later ran with Nike for two years prior to becoming a political activist.

Nwadike also served as a peer mentor for homeless teenagers, visiting the homeless shelters he and his family used to live in. While there, he wanted to raise awareness and money for the homeless community and eventually decided to launch the Hollywood Half Marathon. The event closed off Hollywood Boulevard and originally was met by harsh criticism from law enforcement.

Nwadike then took matters into his own hands and reached out to the media. NBC was the first to pick up his story, it was then aired on other news platforms as well. The event received support from famous

celebrities, most notably Nwadike’s best friend Andrea Barber and the cast of “Full House,” who offered to run the marathon.

The Hollywood Half Marathon featured over 10,000 runners and raised over $1 million. Three days later, however, the Boston Marathon bombings occurred. In response, Nwadike decided to train to qualify for the Boston Marathon, a long stretch for someone running the mile.

Unfortunately, Nwadike missed the qualifying time by 23 seconds; however, he later decided to stand at the finish line wearing a t-shirt that read “FREE HUGS.” His decision earned him international recognition.

Nwadike then decided to attend riots and protests in desolate areas to strike up a conversation with people. This caused an issue at a riot in Charlotte, North Carolina, when a police officer asked him for a free hug, enraging protestors to the point where they attempted to kill Nwadike.

Later, during the inauguration of President Donald Trump, there was another incident involving vandalism in the streets. Nwadike was also in attendance of the protests and protected the life of a limo driver caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The overall message of the Free Hugs Project is to encourage people to become active bystanders and promote love over hate in situations.