Student work ‘Saudi Scenes’ highlights personal experience

By Darian Rahnis, Staff Writer

Senior Faisal Al Yousif debuted four scenes collectively titled “Saudi Scenes” in the studio theater in Degenstein Campus Center on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

The scenes were directed by associate professor of theater Anna Andes and co-directed by Al Yousif. The scenes featured Al Yousif in addition to senior Violeta Migirov, junior Kemah Armes, sophomores Sarah McMillin, Nolan Nightingale, Stephen McKnight and Joanna Kantz and first-years Emily Dellinger, Samuel Emmanuel and Rowan Miller.

The four scenes performed were titled “Ducks in a Train,” “Angels,” “1953” and “Behind the Doors.”

Al Yousif became aware of the lack of Saudi plays compared to other Arabic plays when he was a student in Andes’ Non-Western Theatre class.

“It didn’t take [Al Yousif] long to quickly look through the book and say to me, ‘There are no Saudi plays,’” Andes said. “We have Lebanon and Palestine and Syria and [United Arab Emirates], Egypt, all around but

there were no Saudi plays.” “We do have [Saudi] plays,” Al Yousif clarified. “I guess nobody had ever tried to translate them and let them be read.”

Al Yousif remembered watching “Tom and Jerry” as a child and thinking about how far American culture can travel. “Even though ‘Tom and Jerry’ is not the correct representation of the culture, it has something that’s there and we can all enjoy it,” Al Yousif said. “I tried to create something similar that’s not light, not heavy: something that the audience would find enjoyment to see as well as to learn.” According to Andes, Al Yousif was adamant that it be obvious he was writing in his second language.

“[Al Yousif] felt very strongly that the play’s language, the text, reflect the fact that he is writing in his second language and that we not [remove] any awkwardness or word use or what have you,” Andes said. “We wanted it to reflect that and try to bridge culture there and bridge language.”

Al Yousif became serious about filling this gap regarding Saudi plays and his commitment was evident to Andes.

“He’s very committed to this and he’s very committed to these plays having a future beyond here as he steps out into the world as a Saudi playwright with a Saudi voice,” Andes said. 

Al Yousif also added an innovative element to his work by having men and women perform together on stage.

This comes up in the last scene, “Behind the Doors,” which is a love scene between a man and a woman.

“Within that short scene I think the audience could get the message that we are trying to send,” Al Yousif said. “We have a door that’s separating both genders and it has deep cultural ideas in it.”

Armes commented on his surprise when he first read the scene. “I described it to my friends as the shortest and most romantic love scene that I’ve ever read and I don’t put that lightly,” Armes said. “I think the shortness adds to the quality of the scene… I find it super sweet and super romantic.” According to Andes, Al Yousif drew from personal experience when writing the scenes.

Multiple cast members highlighted the experience of learning more about Saudi culture. Emmanuel said, “For me, I always like to learn about different cultures and experiences.” “Working with [Al Yousif] is an enlightening experience because when I go home I go, ‘A lot of people need to see this, get a little bit of Saudi to take home with them,’” Emmanuel continued.

Kantz said, “When I auditioned for this, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into.”

“I didn’t know a whole lot about Saudi culture, but during rehearsal, just hearing [Al Yousif’s] stories, it really made the play come alive,” Kantz continued. “Hearing his stories made it even more wonderful to be a part of because it’s something real.”

According to Miller, each night provided a new learning experience for the cast.

“I was very confused when I first got the script: the scenes didn’t at first seem to make a lot of sense, but every night I would ask questions and every night I would find out more of the story and culture and it was such an enlightening experience,” Miller said.

Audience members echoed the cast’s sentiment about experiencing a new culture.

Sophomore Richard Berwind said, “I don’t know a lot about Saudi culture so I thought it was really interesting seeing all these different scenes written by someone I’ve seen around campus.”

“I thought that was really cool, seeing someone’s work brought to life before it was actually published,” Berwind continued.

Armes echoed the same sentiment when speaking about Al Yousif and his work on throughout writing and directing “Saudi Scenes.”

“It’s original art, who doesn’t want to be a part of that,” Armes said. “I think [Al Yousif] has a personality on this campus that not a lot of people have.”

Shakespeare talk covers race, immigration issues

By Danielle Bettendorf, Living & Arts Editor 

Author Joyce MacDonald spoke on race and immigration in Susquehanna’s annual Literature Program Lecture on Oct. 4 in Stretansky Concert Hall.

MacDonald’s lecture, titled “Extravagant and Wheeling Strangers: Shakespeare, Race and Performance,” related race in Shakespeare’s time to current issues in the present day.

MacDonald was introduced by associate professor of English Rachana Sachdev, who noted racial issues that have happened in the U.S. over the past year. Sachdev specifically spoke on protests against police brutality, attempts at bans against travelers from certain countries and the calls for a wall to be built between the U.S. and Mexico.

MacDonald said the title of her lecture came from the first act of “Othello.” Throughout her lecture, MacDonald analyzed the roles of black and Jewish characters in “Othello,” “The Merchant of Venice” and “Titus Andronicus” and how characters of color are perceived as “outsiders” in comparison to their white counterparts.

One thing MacDonald noted about Shakespeare’s plays is how there is often only one character of color among an otherwise white cast.

“Being the only one, the only black character that is markedly different from everyone else gives one place for all these free-flowing anxieties and fears,” MacDonald said.

“Even though other people in the play do horrible things, what is happening is the power and vigor with which Shakespeare draws these characters from [comes] directly from the fear that was in this society,” MacDonald said. “He’s drawing something that’s real. Maybe not something that’s objectively real, but emotionally real.”

MacDonald also analyzed how people of color were treated in Shakespeare’s time, such as Roderigo Lopez, a Jewish doctor who was executed in the 1500s and may have inspired the character of Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice.”

“The hateful ideology you see in stuff like Lopez’s execution, the hateful ideology that you see put into action often takes on a political life and power of its own,” MacDonald said.

MacDonald said that there are differences between Shakespeare’s time and now, but less than we might want to admit.

“Too much has changed, too much is different,” MacDonald said. “Yet, my mind kept going back to our own political moment and the role that immigration is playing in it.”

Students who attended also noted the connections between the past and the present.

Sophomore Hannah Phillips said, “I think the beauty and relevance of continuing to study classics like Shakespearean plays lie in making these connections between the author’s time and our own.”

“Sometimes, literature forces us to say, ‘Yes, times are different, but maybe not as different as we want them to be,’” Phillips continued. “And Wednesday’s presentation was an important reminder of that.”

Writer gives films to fill fall break

By Megan Ruge, Co-Editor in Chief 

Fall break is fast approaching. With midterms right on our tails and free time about to be endless for four days, many of us have plans. Plans to go on fast adventures or to see old friends, but not everyone. Some of us plan on working most of break, others plan to Netflix the break away. Whatever the plan, there is a movie out there to help make the break seem to last forever and here is where you can find them.

“Made of Honor,” staring the ever handsome Patrick Dempsey, is for those of you looking for a rom-com to fill the void that is fall break.

In this film, Dempsey plays a womanizer who feels he has everything he wants. That is, until his platonic female friend gets engaged and asks him to be her “maid” of honor. Realizing he has romantic feelings for her, he decides to use his position in the wedding to win her for himself.

This film is the perfect rom-com. There is a smitten best friend who can’t get the girl because she’s with another guy, but there is something about him that is a little different than the norm. In these films, we usually root for the underdog, but Dempsey’s character isn’t really the underdog in this movie. He is the kind of guy who is used to getting what he wants, which throws a twist into the plot.

This film defies most stereotypes of the typical underdog romance and is sure to tickle the fancy of any rom-com enthusiast.

Our next worthwhile film is a new documentary that focuses on one of America’s largest pop icons. “Gaga: Five Foot Two” is the story of the pop culture queen Lady Gaga. In the prime of her life, Gaga has never claimed for fame to be easy. Now, after many years of connecting the past and the future, Gaga released “Joanne” and is ready to show the world what happens behind the glitter and the crazy costumes.

Gaga’s documentary has been called “telling” and that couldn’t be more true. Gaga is opening up to the world and showing them a side of her that is different from what she puts on stage.

The next film on this list is for those of us who enjoyed “The Fault in Our Stars,” which is about a sick girl finally living her life. In “Kiss & Cry,” a figure skater with a rare form of throat cancer finds herself falling apart in the face of her situation. Looking for something to hold her together, the girl finds her strength through singing to an online audience.

Through her journey, the girl finds unlikely company and allies in unexpected places. Though things happen so fast for her, she is able to remain strong through everything and decides that the journey is worth taking to meet the people who are there for her.

In a new Netflix original, the executives at Netflix decided to take on a new topic of conversation: eating disorders.

In “To The Bone,” we meet a girl struggling with anorexia nervosa who is finding out that she needs something else in her life to bring her out of this rut she’s in. She moves into a group home to help her find her way.

During her journey, she meets many unlikely friends who lend her a hand in the home that’s run by an unusual doctor. This makes for many funny moments that liven up the mood of the film.

Our final film is new to Netflix but debuted in 2015: a flick about a woman who is getting married to her soulmate, but will need to come clean to her family first.

In “Jenny’s Wedding,” a woman plans to marry her girlfriend and has no intention to change that plan, but as her family has never heard the news of her sexual orientation, there is a bump in the road. Before plans for marriage can commence, she must tell her family she is a lesbian and hope that they want to be a part of her union.

Common reading lecture argues for empathy over hostility

By Kelsey Rogers, Assistant Living & Arts Editor

Writer Hanna Rosin approached the idea of answering hostility with warmth in the common reading lecture on Oct. 2 in Weber Chapel.

Rosin, a journalist and co-host of the National Public Radio’s show “Invisibilia,” ad- dressed the class of 2021 along with other students and faculty members on her report, “How a Danish Town Helped Young Muslims Turn Away from ISIS,” which appeared in this year’s common reading anthology, Perspectives on Conflict.

The report began with a story to explain the concept of “non-complementarity,” where individuals respond to interactions or arguments in a way they would not do initially. In other words, instead of fighting fire with fire, fight it with flowers: answering anger with kindness.

In the story, eight individuals are having a dinner party when suddenly, a man shows up with a gun and demands money or else he’ll begin to shoot. The problem was that nobody at the party

had any money. They immediately grew desperate, thinking of anything they could in order to get the armed man to change his mind. The daring moves that one of the guests made as a gun was pointed at her was to offer the man on the other side of it a glass of wine.

The element that makes the story told on Rosin’s report seem so odd is that the man did in fact sit down and enjoy a glass of wine. He later asked for a hug from the group and left.

This story was a way to introduce “non-complementarity” before introducing it on a larger scale with the report of “How a Danish Town Helped Young Muslims Turn Away from ISIS.” Law enforcement in a town in Denmark reached out to any young Muslims who had decided to join ISIS (Islamic State group) and offered them the option of being able to return home. When the young individuals arrived, they weren’t met with prison time, but rather medical care and coffee with the chief of police.

Rosin took the audience through the process in which she investigated and reported the story.

“The first thing we did was create an opening to the story that was fairly mysterious,” Rosin said. “We’re just trying to get you to feel a universal sense of fear the way any horror movie would.”

The opening reports that 25 children have gone missing over a period of two weeks. Rosin began with this statement to make the listener realize that this event is a real, scary thing.

“Why do we do that? We do that because we want you to care,” Rosin said.

Another trick to creating a great story, according to Rosin, is creating a character that people care about. They do not need to agree with the character’s choices, or sympathize, but simply understand them.

The character Rosin chose was Jamal, a teen who was accused of being a terrorist and as a result had his online profiles searched, his home raided and as a result was not able to take his exams for high school. Jamal had to repeat some high school classes to graduate and his mother died of a heart attack shortly after. The obstacles Jamal faced led him to decide to join the terrorist organization.

“You might think he overreacted to what happened to him, but let me ask you this question: do you understand what happened to Jamal?” Rosin said. “You are looking for a character whose motivations are rich and complex.”

First-year student Cameron Jacoby said that the Rosin’s lecture was very eye-opening.

“The text itself wasn’t a hard read,” Jacoby said. “However, when she explained how she makes her stories and her characters the way she does, it helped me understand why she wrote it the way she did.”

Tamara Ozlanski, a faculty member in University Relations, said that Rosin did an excellent job with relating her experiences in reporting the story to situations others can find themselves in.

“I thought she did such a wonderful job of telling the human experience in a way that we could all understand it,” Ozlanski said.

Chaplain’s Corner

By the Rev. Scott M. Kershner, University Chaplain

I write this days after the massacre of 58 people and the injury of over 500 by a shooter in Las Vegas.

The sheer scale of what happened in Las Vegas is terrifying, made more terrifying by the fact this person rained bullets on people from 32 stories above.

These events bring the now predictable public exchanges about gun control, with Democrats arguing that for legislation that would tighten gun availability, and Republicans rebuffing these initiatives as unwarranted and unnecessary.

But, no matter what one thinks about gun control, the sorrow and fear these events inspire is common to all. I, personally, am both a gun owner and a proponent of gun control. I believe the buying and selling of guns should be regulated to keep them, as much as possible, out of the hands of the wrong people.

I am also a pastor. Part of the work of a pastor is to speak with conviction on matters of conscience, not because being a pastor makes my opinions correct, but because earnest moral dialogue is essential for a healthy society. Whether we agree or disagree, we won’t get anywhere without the conversation.

I believe we need to start here. We have a gun problem. No amount on invoking the second amendment takes away that fact. Gun related deaths in the US far exceed that of any other developed country. More guns mean more gun deaths, by homicide, and even more commonly by suicide.

How can we address our gun problem together? Even more, how can we acknowledge, across the political divides, this very fact that we have a problem? How can we establish and work from, what some communication experts have called, a “pool of shared meaning”? What might that shared meaning be?

Can we agree that no one, no matter their stance on gun control, wants to see guns used to kill and injure innocent people? Shared meaning is essential if we are to find shared solutions.

Those on the political right frame the issue of guns in terms of individual liberty, and tend to see any restriction on gun ownership as a slippery slope to some sort of government tyranny. Those on the political left tend to frame the problem of gun violence in terms of public health, and see gun control measures as a means of reducing preventable, violent deaths.

Until we find way to arrive at a pool of shared meaning, and see one another as partners in solving a common problem, we will continue to be victims of a problem of our own making.

For better and for worse, we’re all in this together. All our blood runs red. Lord, have mercy.

Editor feature gives insight on rap today

By Liz Hammond, Digital Media Editor 

 

Looking back, the definition of a “rock star” changes. In the 60’s, it was The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and The Who. In the 70’s, it was Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, and Led Zeppelin.

Fast-forward to today and the music industry is dominated by Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty, and Post Malone. What do they all have in common? They got their start on SoundCloud.

SoundCloud itself is a massive entity that is home to an entire nation of rappers trying to “make it.” While there is a lot of amazing music to be found on the app, there is a lot that isn’t worth a listen.

Without the help of Chance the Rapper, SoundCloud would have gone down the drain. By early July of this year, the company fired 173 employees and only had enough money to sustain till the end of the year. But in the end, Chance saved us, like he always does.

Once an artist builds enough of a following on SoundCloud they shy away from it and start to branch out to Spotify and Apple Music, where they can be put on playlists that undoubtedly help make artists famous.

Looking at the top charts on Apple Music, there is no denying the influence that these rappers have. The number one song right now is “Rockstar” by Post Malone (feat. 21 Savage). This song has toppled streaming records since its release. Not only that, but A Boogie wit da Hoodie has four songs in the Top 10 right now and his album was just released last week.

But they aren’t the only ones who are dominating the charts.

Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Yachty are the face of SoundCloud rappers.

Yachty made it big when his song “One Night” was used in a viral comedy video. He then really stated his dominance with the iconic song, “Broccoli,” on which he partnered with D.R.A.M.

Lil Uzi was noticed for his rapping skills right away. When he released his mixtape, “Luv Is Rage,” everyone started to hop on the bandwagon. It got intense when another iconic song, “Bad and Boujee,” was released featuring Lil Uzi and Migos. His fame only grew when he debuted, “XO TOUR Llif3”.

Whether you think it’s lame or stupid that these people are making it big, it doesn’t change the fact that they changed the way music is shared and played. It took me a long time to be okay with this.

I idolize old rock idols like my stepdad did, but times are changing and we can either support it or sit and groan.

The way I see it, I’d rather sing along to Post Malone than think I’m too good for it. These artists are around to stay no matter how much hate you have for them. Welcome to the new generation, where SoundCloud rappers are the new rock stars.

New York Times’ sports columnist talks the steps of writing new book

By Alanna Dent, Staff Writer

Susquehanna’s
for Lifelong Learning and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts brought The New York Times columnist turned author George Vecsey back to campus for the third time on Oct. 4. Vecsey is a seasoned writer who has covered events such as the FIFA World Cup, the Olympics, and has even interviewed the Dalai Lama.

His speech on Oct. 4th was focused on his books, and in particular “Stan Musial: An American Life” which was published in 2011. The book is Vecsey’s biography on St. Louis Cardinals player Stan Musial.

Vecsey stated that the publisher wanted this book to be written and then asked him to be the one to do it given his extensive experience in sports writ- ing. Vecsey agreed, explaining that many players of the time had great books written about them that would immortalize their careers. He wanted Musial to be one of those players.

Shortly after agreeing to write the book, Vecsey faced his first obstacle. Stan Musial refused to be interviewed after reading a previous book about himself that he found unsatisfactory.

Vecsey said the result of this was that, “He put out the word to his friends, and a lot of his ex-teammates, and people he was really close to and his family ‘Don’t talk to the press. Don’t talk about me, don’t do this or that.’”

Vecsey described just how seriously people took Musial’s request, detailing a breakfast where he was promoting a book written by other players Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson.

Vescey decided to try his luck and ask if Bob Gibson would answer one question about Stan Musial, “He looked at me with that glower and he said, ‘absolutely not.’”

Vecsey then described his process of learning to use what you can. He discusses his process in this specific case, watching old films and reading past newspaper clippings about Musial. He even went to Musial’s hometown, Donora, Pennsylvania, to try to get a feel for what kind of man he was.

Vecsey went into some of the specifics of the book, in- cluding Musial’s acceptance.

According to Vecsey, Musial was a progressive man for the time period, especially when it came to racial diversity. Musial was the son of a Polish immigrant, and grew up in an area with people of all colors and races. This was not so for many of the other Cardinal’s players at the time.

Vecsey said: “… then came 1947 and the Brooklyn Dodgers brought in Jackie Robinson, this college educated army officer [who] had already learned to speak his mind up in the military…no back of the bus for him. The Dodgers signed him because he would be able to take it. He’d be a pioneer, and if he failed it could set things back.”

Vecsey went on to tell the audience that in May of that year there were meetings between the Dodgers and the Cardinals.

“Some of the cardinals, and not all of them from the deep South, had decided that they were not going to play. They were just going to boycott ‘no black players’…People who knew him best said Musial harkened back to his life in Donora…because of the steel workers, there were black kids in the town. And two of them were on the basketball team, Musial was a great basketball player…”

Vecsey described experiences Musial had playing with black children and his early activism. It was from these experiences that Musial was willing to play the game with Jackie Robinson. According to Vescey, at the time he told his close friends, “I grew up with them.”

Because of his early life and the diversity in his hometown, Vecsey was able to detail a few instances where Musial had stood up for minorities during his professional career. He even was able to meet Barack Obama in 2011, where he received The Presidential Medal of Freedom. Musial died in 2013, but Vecsey was able to keep his word by publishing a book that would immortalize the player forever.

Breakthrough D.C trip presents job shadowing

By Michelle Seitz, Staff Writer

On September 28, the Career Development Center hosted its Breakthrough networking event in Washington, D.C. At this event, students had the opportunity to job shadow and network with Susquehanna alumni.

The Breakthrough DC event is similar to other Breakthrough events in which a group of students and faculty take a bus trip to a specific destination and the students had the opportunity to experience a certain field of work firsthand. Breakthrough DC alternates every year with the Career Development Center’s Break- through trip to Philadelphia.

According to Whitney Purcell, the director of Breakthrough, 22 students of a variety of majors attended the event. In groups, the students visited five job sites of Susquehanna alumni where they had the opportunity to see how he or she performed his or her job as well as ask questions on how to make the most out of their experiences both at Susquehanna and in the work force.

After job shadowing, all participants attended a dinner reception where the students were given the opportunity to network with 25 alumni. It features an event known as “speed networking.”

In speed networking, students and alumni have a few minutes to get to know one another and discuss a topic of their choice. This allows students to reach out to alumni they may not have had the chance to communicate with throughout the day.

Many alumni are living proof that there are many jobs students can receive from their field. Purcell spoke of Pete Rendina, an employee at the United States Postal Inspection Service. She feels he sets a “great example of how diverse government jobs are.”

Purcell and the entire Career Development Center staff cannot stress enough the importance of networking. They believe it helps build a competitive strategy where a student befriends an alumnus and seeks out his or her advice prior to entering the workforce.

Sophomore business administration major Michaela O’Connell attended the Breakthrough trip, visiting the Food and Drug Administration. O’Connell shadowed an alumnus who works to regulate smoking paraphernalia. Throughout the day she realized, “There is much more work that goes into [cigarette regulation] than I realized and there is an endless amount of opportunities for students to conduct research and make lasting impacts.”

In regards to the overall experience, O’Connell said: “In addition to making some great connections, I also was put and made to maintain myself, in a professional environment, which was a great practice. Overall it was an incredible experience and I encourage everyone to take advantage of these Breakthrough trips.”

The next Breakthrough trip will be to New York on Nov. 1.

Trax hosts imaginative ‘Nerf battle to end all Nerf battles’

By Zachary Bonner, Assistant News Editor 

The “Nerf Battle to end all Nerf Battles” took place Friday, Sept. 29, at Trax from 8 p.m. to midnight. The event was sponsored by SU Nerf, a club on campus that runs Nerf related events and games.

The entirety of Trax was filled with barricades and walls, and an arena was created to hold the battle of the two teams.

“I wasn’t a participant in any of the battles, as I’m not sure how Nerf games are run,” said senior Emily Shellenberger, “but I’m very glad that Trax allows campus organizations to use their space to run inclusive events.”

Each member of the five person teams was equipped with a Nerf gun and protective glasses, and sashes that denoted their team color, pink or green.

Then, they were cordoned off in two separate sides of the battlefield. A flag was placed on the stage, and the teams had to compete to capture it and bring it back to their base.

The game consisted of different rounds whose rules varied, and each game was ten minutes in length.

Students came from all different walks of life on campus, with different levels of preparedness for the battle.

Students were provided with blasters and protective gear by the Trax staff, but others went above and beyond.

“People seemed really excited when they came in,” recalled junior Justice Bufford, “A team of [Phi Mu Delta brother] came in full team outfits, and one person even brought full on gear of some kind.”

Students could show up to see how the battle worked even if they didn’t have a team and get put onto a team that need players.

Those who signed up in teams were given a preselected time-slot and pitted against one another. Despite the set schedule, many people who had already played stayed after their slotted time.

“People generally were ready to have a good time,” Bufford continued, “I also noticed that a lot of teams decided to stay well after their time-slot in order to play a couple more rounds as long as there was space for them.”

The DJ played music fit for a battlefield and Trax student manager James Foster officiated the game, called people out when they were shot and commentated each match.

Buckets containing Nerf darts were placed strategically across the floor and moved around as the time in each match ran down to zero.

“My team and I had the last available time slot at the end of the night,” said sophomore Manny Binford, “It was an awesome mix of capture the flag and a typical Nerf battle.”

The event was run through the SU Nerf club, a club on campus that is officially recognized by the Student Government Association, which provides a safe play environment for students interested in Nerf and related games.

The club allows students to bring their own equipment to meetings and events, and even allows for modified blasters if they fall under certain safety regulations.

“I’m very proud of my club for what we accomplished,” said Matt Washlick, president of SU Nerf, “I was scared at the beginning of the night that thing would fall apart, but more and more people came through.”

According to the attendees and the organizers, the Nerf Battle at Trax was a rousing success. “This was a historic event for SU Nerf, and Trax,” Washlick continued, “I realized that the many hours of preparation and planning had finally paid off.”

The first annual battle was a good start for SU Nerf this semester and allowed the club to garner more campus-wide interest.

“We’re still very small, as most of our frequent members have graduated,” Washlick explained, regarding their influence on campus, “but usually you’ll find us out on Seibert lawn, hosting smaller battles, scenarios, and challenges.”

To get involved with SU Nerf, contact Matt Washlick at washlick@susqu.edu. You can also follow the Susquehanna Nerf Organization’s Facebook page to find out information about further events.

The Trax staff will be hosting two more events this weekend as the school gears up for mid-term break.

The Escape Room event will take place Friday, Oct. 6 and feature several types of room one has to “escape” from.

The second event is the Su Rave sponsored by the SAC. It will be hosted on Oct. 7th at 10 p.m. and feature DJ Almand.

SU campus garden is a hidden ‘crop’ to the student body

By Michael Bernaschina, Staff Writer 

The Susquehanna Campus Garden, located near W. Sassafras Street and Airtower Road, is a big contributor to the local community, though not many students are aware of it’s existence on campus.

The garden spans over 1600 square feet and includes 25 individual plots. Students and faculty are able to take care of their own garden plot through the campus garden. All that is needed to start the process is to contact one of the co-coordinators.

The campus garden began as a community garden before being flooded and subsequently rebuilt to be used by the campus. Aside from its faculty supervisors, the garden is entirely student operated.

The three students in charge of the garden are senior ecology major Jacqui Meredith, junior ecology major David Huntzberry, and junior graphic design major Hannah Johnston, all of whom have been working at the garden since their respective freshmen years.

“The campus garden, to me, just seemed like a project,” said Meredith on why working at the garden appealed to her. “It was something that I could work on and see results, and really leave a mark on campus. I’m leaving something behind, and that was important.”

Something the garden heavily prioritizes is being natural in the way it operates. This includes using recycled water for the beds, as well as not using pesticides or insecticides. The garden also makes its own compost through natural means, including using food scraps from the dining hall.

“We get help from the school and we put that stuff in our compost, and then that compost goes into our beds,” Johnston said.

The garden has also worked with and donated food to many community partners, including Selinsgrove Senior Center, Meals for Seals, St. Pius X Church, and Haven Ministries.

This past year, the campus garden donated 800 pounds of produce and so far this year they’re already up to 600 pounds. This year, they’ve also installed around 30 raised beds and hope to do another 30 or so by the end of the fall.

In an article released by the Campus garden in 2016, the garden had yielded over 1,000 pounds of food in three years.

“Everything is sustainably grown and all of the produce that we grow goes to community partners, to provide access to people in the community who don’t have the money or the means to acquire fresh produce,” Meredith said.

Despite the success they’ve had and their level of involvement in the community, the campus garden still remains a relatively lesser known part of campus life, something that the three heads would like to see change.

“It was something that should have been a staple of our school, and it wasn’t as fully as I think it could have been, so coming in and building it up, and getting more students aware that we have a campus garden,” Johnston said.

“I think that was a big thing for me,” she added. “Getting students aware that we have a garden, what we do, and how big of an impact we can have on the community.”

“Some people who go to school here have never grown anything in their live, and it’s great to see them come out here and learn about it and educate people on where their food comes from,” Meredith said.

Recently, the garden held a fall harvest party, where students came to the garden and picked vegetables for donation. Last week, the garden also held an open house, where faculty, staff, and students were able to see the garden and enjoy food and refreshments.

The event not only showcased the garden, but was advertising for upcoming events sponsored by the Center for Environmental Education and Research.

An event is currently being planned where students can make and can their own apple sauce, though no date has been set as of yet.

“I hope to see the garden become more of a student hot spot,” Johnston said. “It’s one of the greenest spaces on campus, so I hope to see more students and clubs and organizations coming down and using the space.”

The campus garden has an Instagram page, @susqugarden, where students can go to follow the garden’s activities. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., the garden offers open hours to those willing to come by and help out on whatever they might be doing there that day.

Even if you are busy during the regular volunteer hours, the co-coordinators do not want you to be discouraged. The campus garden will work with any perspective volunteer on hours on the weekend if they can not make regular hours.

You can even organize group volunteer shifts, but the staff ask that you e-mail them at least 24 hours a head of time.

“When you come down to the garden, you don’t always have to be in the dirt doing manual labor,” Meredith said. “You can come down, hang out, just enjoy the space, and get away from campus for a while.”