Editor makes case for relief conversation

By Megan Ruge, Co-editor in Chief 

The day before we returned to campus to start the fall semester, the students here at Susquehanna received a text message about possible immediate danger on campus.

The text read: ‘There has been an incident on campus and/or in the Selinsgrove Borough involving a gun. Please shelter in place until further notice.”

Of course, knowing many of my friends and loved ones had already returned to campus, I immediately took to contacting anyone I could think of.

I texted, emailed and Facebook messaged anyone I knew had returned. I felt helpless, but this way I was doing my part in the only way I could think of. It was important to me to make sure that people I knew were safe and that they were sure of the safety of others.

Thankfully, the situation was resolved quickly and it turned out that no one was in any kind of danger. There was no gun and campus was safe, but I was still glad I had reached out because no matter how small, it’s important to do your part in your communities.

On August 25, Hurricane Harvey first touched land. Within days, areas of Texas were flooded with 50 inches of rain. Many of us who were unaffected took to Facebook to offer thoughts and prayers to those affected. Though this is similar to how I reacted in my situation, when disaster like this happens, there is so much more we can do.

After the destruction in Houston became a headlining topic, many organizations and companies advertised that a portion of sales would be donated to relief funds, specific the American Red Cross. Just this week, I went into TJ Maxx and found myself adding a donation to my receipt at check out.

But it isn’t just businesses that are pulling their weight. Many of our own clubs and sports team on campus are raising funds and collecting items such as clothing and school supplies.

The Susquehanna Track and Field team are donating cases of water to people affected by Harvey’s destruction. The Johnson Center for Civic Engagement is collecting monetary donations and will make a collective donation on behalf of the school. There are so many outlets for donation on our campus alone.

But the ability to help doesn’t end with Harvey relief. There are many ways to contribute to the community you live in. Donating blood at a local blood drive or clothing to community aid are just a few ways to help out.

It’s important to help out and contribute. Saying something is “not your problem” is a poor outlook. If a person wants to be part of their community and have a voice in it, it is important for that person to be there when things are bad.

As an American citizen and a citizen of the world, we have a responsibility to take action and lend a hand.

SAC opens the year with Pete Lee

By Benjamin Roehlke, Staff Writer 

Susquehanna hosted comedian Pete Lee on Aug. 31 at 9 p.m. in Stretansky hall.

The event was put together by the Susquehanna Student Activity Committee (SAC) to welcome first year students to campus as well as provide students with some light-hearted entertainment.

The Student Activity Committee is an Student Government Association funded group that strives to promote community aspects while providing quality entertainment throughout the academic year, much like hosting Pete Lee.

According to his website, Pete Lee is a Wisconsin native. Growing up, he had always envisioned a life as an entertainer and so when he realized his own talent, he began to create a series of online web shows.

Soon after, Lee was approached by talent scouts and was given the opportunity to become a writer for several networks.

Pete Lee has been featured on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend as well as NBC’s Last Comic Standing.

He has also traveled and performed at over 500 colleges and universities across the united states.

Lee was also able to perform on the late show with David Letterman before Letterman retired in 2015.

When asked why Lee was selected to perform, SAC President, senior Bianca DiTrolio, said: “Our exec board splits up responsibility for planning events, but I actually was able to see Pete Lee perform at the National Association of Cam- pus Activities conference last year in Baltimore.”

“I thought he was hilarious and energetic, so our advisor at the time and I reached out to book him,” DiTrolio continued.

Morgan Wallace, a freshman at Susquehanna said: “[Lee’s] stand up felt very casual. He would ask audience members conversational questions and would follow with jokes or stories based on the response he got.”

“He talked a lot about day to day life as a ‘feminine’ straight man and related to the audience through a more positive twist on the typical self-deprecating joke, instead of focusing on the negatives,” Wallace continued. “He also talked about how happy he is being the way he is but recognized the silliness in the simple things almost all of us do.”

“Overall, it was a very good show. Being a part of the audience felt like a hysterical conversation with an old friend,” Wallace concluded.

There will be a new comedian Thursday Sept. 14 in Charlies Coffee House, Lafayette Wright. As per Comedy Central’s website, Wright has been featured on comedy specials alongside other prominent comedians like Kevin Heart.

The Student Activities Committee is preparing for a host of activities for the current semester.

Fall Frenzy, the next SAC planned activity, is a fall festival put together by the Student Activities Committee.

The event is focused on providing the fun and community inspired entertainment that the committee puts on week after week. The committee is also preparing for events next semester as well as the ones for this semester.

There is a Fall and Spring Concert where the committee brings in artists or bands to play for the Susquehanna Campus exclusively.

Past artists have included Snoop Dog, All Time Low, Sage the Gemini, Nick Jonas, and other popular artists and bands.

The committee also offers Movie Nights on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the semester showcasing movies that have left the movie the- ater such as Baywatch for last week and Wonder Woman for this week.

For updates on what activities and events are being planned by the Student Activities Committee, you can check out The Weekender, as well as contact the president Bianca DiTrolio.

The Weekender is released weekly on Thursdays and includes not only just the Student Activities Committee’s events, but other events that are begin offered for the upcoming week.

 

Country music artists coming to play at SU

By Michael Bernaschina, Staff Writer 

Later this month Sept. 16, country music duo Dan and Shay will be performing on campus in an event hosted by the Student Activities Committee (SAC).

“I wanted to get a variety,” said senior Bianca DiTrolio, president of SAC, on the decision to get Dan and Shay.

“We’ve done pop and hip-hop, but since we’ve been here we haven’t had country.” SAC also seeks to make this event different from prior events that have been held in the past.

“I wanted to make it more of an event than just a concert,” DiTrolio said. “We’re trying to get yard games, and Aramark said they can do dinner outside that night, which would lead into the event.”

The outside dinner is scheduled to follow normal dinner hours, 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., after which the doors to the concert will open and the opening act will then perform.

Devin Dawson, another country singer and song-writer, is scheduled to perform at 7:30 p.m. as the opening act. House music will then be played at 8 p.m., after which Dan and Shay will come on at 8:30 p.m.

The two men who make up the duo, Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney, first met in 2012 and began writing songs and performing together. They were signed to Warner Bros. Nashville, and wrote their first single “19 You and Me,” with country songwriter Danny Orton, which was released in 2013, as per their website.

In 2014, Dan and Shay released their debut album “Where It All Began,” which included “19 You and Me,” and in 2016 they released their second album, “Obsessed.”

“I think a lot of people like that country feel, where it’s a festival and you can hang out and listen to music,” DiTrolio said. “With it being in early September, that’s what I was going for, a more summertime, country, chill feel.”

Last semester the Student Activities Committee brought SU’s campus two concerts in the Spring semester. The two individuals who appeared last semester were Sage the Gemini and Andy Grammer.

The concerts were featured within a two-week period. Andy Grammar started the two part concert series by playing hit-line songs like,” Keep Your Head Up,” and,”Fine By Me.”

Sage the Gemini finished the two-part concert the following week. Sage the Gemini headlined songs from his albums such as two widely known party singles, “Gas Pedal” and “Red Nose,” both of which were featured on the Billboard Hot 100.

Be on the lookout for the announcement next semester for the Spring Semester Concert. If you are interested in working with the Student Activities Committee, contact DiTrolio at ditrolio@ susqu.edu.

Middle School theme at Trax event reminiscent of the 2000s

By Kyle Kern, Co-Editor in Chief 

On Sept. 2, the night club on campus, Trax opened up the year with a blast from the past Middle School Dance theme event. The Trax night club was decorated with pictures of early 2000s hit artists like Destiny’s Child, Jesse McCartney, and many others.

Jason Bonner, a junior, is a Trax manager that was on duty that night.

“The entire Trax staff and I had an amazing time both pre- paring for and hosting the Middle School Dance event,” he said.

At Trax, students can enjoy free entertainment, music, a bar and refreshments, and billiard games while participating in a safe and fun weekend activity provided by the University. The Trax night club is run by Beth Winger, a coordina- tor of the Leadership and Engage- ment Department, and several hard-working student managers.

Each Trax event has a distinct set of entertainers ranging from DJs, bands, and various artists.

“We strive to create a safe and fun environment by having professionally trained staff and providing a wide variety of events every weekend,” Bonner said.

The Middle School Dance themed event’s entertainment was DJ Franklyn, a student here at Susquehanna. There were drinks provided to students and alcoholic beverages were provided to students over the age of 21.

The night included classics such as “Bye Bye Bye”, “Get Low”, the “Macarena”, and many more.

First year student, Morgan Wallace exclaimed that,” It was awesome knowing all the songs that were playing and reliving the early 2000s.”

There were snacks provided for the students who attended. Teddy Graham crackers and assorted flavors of icing were available for them to enjoy, as well as refreshing Capri Sun juice packs.

Wallace also found the graham crackers with icing to be excellent, stating that they were, ‘A-1.’ The night could not have been accomplished without all the students who attended.

Bonner said, “I would like to give a big shout-out to everyone who came out to the event and if you haven’t seen the Trax Managers middle school photos on our media pages, go check them out.”

Trax had already welcomed in the first-year students with a Spirit Party on Aug. 26 durring orientation weekend. The theme was a colorful barrage of maroon and orange that included streamers, pictures, t-shirts and a variety of glow-sticks.

There was a variety of snacks for the new students, while the tech staff and DJ played music videos of the songs on the wall of Trax with a projector.

“As a first-year student at SU, I can honestly say that experiencing TRAX for the second week in a row is now an anticipated night for my friends and me”, said Malia Simon, a first-year student.

The next Trax event will be September 9th. The theme will be Riverhawk Rodeo, a western theme that will allow you to bring out your inner wild west.

There will be a mechanical wine bottle that students can test their merit and strength against. S’mores and Rita Ice will also be provided for the event.

Trax staff and management encourage all students attending to dress up to fit the theme.

Simon is definitely ready, saying,” I have visited multiple campuses across the states and none of them have a great nightclub for students. Trax is so unique, and I can’t wait for the weekends.”

Activities fair showcases campus’ community organizations

By Zachary Bonner, Staff Writer

The Fall Activities Fair was held on Sept. 5 at 4:30 p.m. in the Weber Chapel following a rain-change due to impending weather.

Lining both wings of the chapel, tables representing student organizations from Greek Life to Club Sports who awaited curious students from all walks of SU’s campus life.

The Activities Fair is a chance for students at Susquehanna to find an organization that represents their interests.

“We put out a survey to incoming students, asking if they’re interested in a list of clubs or activities,” said Beth Winger, the Activities Coordi- nator on campus. “I compile that data and send it out to club presidents, in hopes that they’ll reach out to interested students.”

These surveys go out to students before the fair is held, so that they have an idea of what is available before coming to the fair, Winger says, “The Activities Fair is a more traditional way of reaching out and getting students engaged.”

Besides these more removed methods, there is one method that she has come up with and utilized the past few years that really bolsters the attendance and attentiveness of students that go to the fair.

“To encourage students to go to multiple tables, they’re given a passport,” Winger said. “[The clubs] will stamp the students’ passports, and if they get five stamps, they get free Rita’s Water Ice.”

This new tactic was implemented over time as the number of campus organizations has grown. Over the past decade, according to Winger, more new and different clubs have arrived on campus.

“The amount of clubs on campus has really grown,” she said. “When I started there was around 70 clubs, and now we have well over 100.”

On campus organizations exist to supplement the education across the board. Many students could find clubs that would allow them to get real world experiences in the courses of study they are pursuing at SU.

Early Education majors Kallie Honstine and Hannah Maykut, Class of 2021, were interested in the Best Buddies Club, an organization that works with children with special needs.

“So far, I really liked the Best Buddies Club. They team up with kids with special needs and work one-on-one with them,” Maykut said. “I’m really interested because I want to be certified in Special Education.”

“I found Best Buddies really interesting as well,” Honstine said. “Considering it goes well with being an Early Education major.”

Other campus organizations that were recruiting new members included Circle K, a service organization on campus, Disciple Makers, a new religion-oriented club, and ASL Club, an organization geared to teach students basic American Sign Language.

If you felt that there was not a club for your particular pas- sion, then there is another option for you to explore. You can organize a club for oneself through the Office of Leadership and Engagement.

To find out information on different clubs or organizations, contact Beth Winger, the Activities Coordinator in Degenstein Campus Center at bethwinger@ susqu.edu, to get in touch with extracurricular club leadership.

Free discourse panel discussing increase in hate speech

By Kelsey Rogers, Assistant Living & Arts Editor

A free discourse forum was held on Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. in Degenstein Center Theater. Hate speech and how it should be interpreted was the topic of discussion at the president’s forum. The forum hosted a full house of students, faculty and staff that were encouraged to be proactive in asking questions re- solving conflict around freedom of speech and hate speech.

This was the first in a series of open forum discussion to be held throughout the academic year, featuring a 90-minute conversation moderated by As- sistant Dean of Intercultural Engagement Dena Salerno and Chaplain Scott Kershner.

Panelists in the forum were Susquehanna faculty members: Nick Clark, Michele DeMary, Laura Dougherty, Jeff Mann, Laurence Roth, Hasanthika Sirisena, Apryl Williams, and Coleen Zoller.

Clark, Sirisena, Jacobson and Mann each delivered five- minute remarks before the following question and answer period from the audience.

“The debate, however, about how we respond to these [neo nazi protestors] seems to have changed somewhat, shifted within the last two weeks” Clark said in his opening ad- dress. “The tenor surrounding this whole protest really took on a new level with the reaction of President Trump.”

“And whether you support the president or not, it’s pretty clear that’s where there was suddenly a shift in how we were reacting to what is going on,” Clark continued.

Sirisena told the audience how hate speech affected her personal life, stemming from her youth when her parents emigrated from Sri Lanka.

“It is humiliating,” Sirisena said. “I am a tough person and smart, but I’ve never had a good comeback.”

Sirisena shared her experiences to let others who have been affected by hate speech to know that they are not alone. “As far as I’m concerned, you are, every one of you, welcome here,” Sirisena said.

Sherry Jacobson approached freedom of speech from a disciplinary perspective. She elaborated on how speech is never free in the sense of being restricted by authority.

“Freedom isn’t a static possession, but rather a set of conditions constantly in flux,” Jacobson said. She said that as a community, we have a unique opportunity to make a decision on what is okay.

Jeff Mann said he would be happier if people stopped using the term hate speech entirely.

“This is by no means an effort to undermine the damage that speech can do, the awful things that are said in our society,” Mann said.

He explained that who decides what is and is not hate speech is a dangerous situation due to only those in power being in control.

 

After the panelists delivered their presentations, microphones were open at either side of the theatre for students to ask the panelists questions.

Students could also opt to submit a written question on a note card.

Students asked the panelists about how to approach hate speech from multiple perspectives, including from a stand- point of sociology and philosophy. Two students also asked the panel how they felt about using art as a form of counter protest, in reference to a video of a tuba player marching alongside neo-Nazi protesters.

Marquise Richards, a senior at Susquehanna University, posed the question of what is being done in order to protect students on campus from hate speech and the dangerous situations that follow suit.

“I expected the forum to be more of a tangible conversation when we were being gathered. I know that it would be more of a dialogue that would occur, students to want to go into the forum with hard-hitting questions that would be directed at the safety necessary against hate speech,” Richards said.

“Those expectations were not met until I asked the question at the end to actually challenge the panel,” Richards continued “I was disappointed in how it became more a philosophical conversation about hate speech, rather than get- ting a better sense of how the administration would be able to tackle a subject, particularly for students of color.”

Richards would like the conversations to continue with having more transparency in procedures that will be happening in the community.

“I keep hearing ‘we have plans in place,’ except I don’t see any of those coming to fruition anytime soon.” Richards said. “I’m tired of the hypotheticals, but I want to see strategic and proactive practices being put into place.”