Editor speaks on community volunteers

By Kyle Kern, Co-Editor in Chief 

Growing up, I wanted to be a park ranger as a profession and a volunteer firefighter to give back to my community. My father had been a volunteer member at our local fire company since he was in his 20s and had been in every leadership position serving terms for the company, the social aspect and the Fireman’s Relief Association. I got to know the children of the other firefighters and social members because my father would make frequent stops there on the way back from a family outing or even just a Sunday drive.

Volunteering at their fundraiser events and other social gatherings has been instilled in my being,however I am not actually considered a member there currently. Although when I do stop by nowadays, there are rarely any children or young adults there. It is the same people I grew up with that keep coming back.


Growing up, you can almost see a slow motion of wrinkles appearing, limps forming, grey starting to show on their hair, and the technology barrier being created. These factors led me to me think about volunteering overall in our nation today.

I am aware, as many others are, of membership declining in youth organization like the Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of America, as well as the junior firefighter programs for volunteer fire companies among many other organizations. Studies have also shown that volunteerism from first-year college students through a couple years after graduation have a sharp decline in participation in volunteer activities.

In fire companies, 788,250 volunteers were recorded in 2014 compared to 808,200 in 1986 per the informational news Fire Rescue 1 website. The change is often attributed to our change in society. Where more individuals have households that commute to the city to work, where both parents work, the family has financial stability concerns and more commitment to other activities which might advance their career.

To me, this absolutely must have something to do with it. As a member of multiple organizations and professions that hold activities throughout the year, I understand this poke at a probable cause. Individuals, especially Susquehanna University students who seem to be involved in everything, have a lot of things that they are involved in.

In a Neon article by Andrew Dain he states, “What seems to be the most worrisome (and somewhat inconclusive) statistic is a sharp decrease in volunteering rate among highly educated Americans.”

According to The Non-profit Times, the rate of volunteering among people with a bachelor’s degree or higher plummeted from 42.8 percent in 2009 to 39.8 percent in 2013.” The researcher from the Center on Nonprofits & Philanthropy, Nathan Dietz, expressed that the loss of educated individuals volunteering could be a “canary in the coal mine” to future drops in volunteers.

“Education is the single best predictor of volunteering. It’s people with a job, and a good one,” Dietz said. However, in the age of institutions claiming “Service” as a pillar of their embodiment, how does one make sense of that? While we are immersed in service learning at school and on the job, we tend to fall out of contributing our time back to our many communities.

Do we do the service at college for the sense of fulfillment and to actually help someone? Or is it to add to our resume, add to our experience to become hired and further ourselves and use the service to others as a means to an end?

Student talks on MLK events on campus

By Shannon Weisbrod, Contributing Writer 

“It is not the color of your skin but the content of your character.” These words spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and on Jan. 24 these words were brought back to life by Vy Higginsen and the sing Harlem choir.

An event that was put together by Dena Salerno, the assistant dean for diversity and inclusion on campus. Salerno calls this event, the launch into the week of remembrance for Martin Luther King that would bring students and faculty together.

This event helped keep the students unified into the following event where is- sues of race and power were discussed and the unity of students was present and they were interested to learn.

Salerno says, she found out about the choir through Mary Markle, the administrative assistant in the leadership and engagement office, who saw them perform and was blown away by their talent. Salerno then called them and since most of the kids are in high school they were thrilled to be visiting a college campus.

This event was powerful and most importantly taught everyone how to love one another for who they are. With opening words from President Green and the Chaplin, the audience learned this was going to be a night they would never forget.

When Vy Higginsen took the stage, she looked into the crowd with a smile and the excitement to be here was gleaming in her words. She talked to everyone about why she started the choir and how she wanted to give kids the chance to have an amazing life through the power of music.

Higginsen told the audience about all that gospel music was for her, a saving grace for herself and the amazing kids in her choir.

The night began when she had everyone in the audience warming up with breathing exercises and stomping our hands and feet just like we were kids again. From that moment on, the audience was hooked by participating in the routine and could not wait to see what the rest of the night had to offer.

The music master, came out to sing a song to kick off the night and in that song, was a quote, “How could anyone tell you that you’re anything less than beautiful.”

This lyric was alone so powerful, this had you thinking, if this was already so moving and strong, I can’t imagine what the rest of the night had in store. The choir walks on the stage, and the kids were in their teenage years looking out to the crowd. In those few moments of silence you wondered what those voices were going to sound like. Just then, it hits you like a train, and they start to sing and you are blown away by the joy that lights up on their faces when they begin to perform.

You find yourself clapping along and wanting to dance along with the kids. Salerno says she felt the audience become one around mid-performance and saw these people from diverse backgrounds and religions just enjoying the moment and putting their hearts into the music.

The members of the choir were able to get the audience involved, making them laugh, cry, and sing along to all the songs. They ended the night with the song “Let It Shine”. This song led to them jumping into the audience and getting everyone involved. Higginsen dancing around the isle taking in all the wonder and magic that she saw within the community that was there.

The Vy Higginsen Sing Harlem choir was a show that brought beauty, love, and inspiration to the campus of Susquehanna that will last a lifetime.

Writer sees difference in experiences

By Megan Ruge, Staff Writer 

Before I woke up on Jan. 14, I dreamt that I had just moved back in to start another semester at Susquehanna and was preparing for class.

When my roommate opened the ho- tel room curtains, I woke to remember that I would not be returning to Selinsgrove this semester and that I was in London for 20 weeks.

On our way to our host university, we fantasized about the school. “Would there be a welcoming committee? Would we have help with our bags?”

These questions swirled around in our heads but when we arrived, our dreams were shattered in a matter of seconds. There was no one there to greet us and there wasn’t school spirit.

As the week went on, my roommate and I fell in love with London. We walked in the footsteps of legends, but the longer we were here the more we saw the university’s short comings. We wanted to resume our gym schedule and maybe get a flu shot, but the school doesn’t have a gym or health services.

After talking to many full-time students, we learned that the school used to have these facilities.

Our frustrations grew as we had trouble with our class schedules and just the inconvenience of life. We thought that being in a city would be easier, but it seemed like no one wanted to help you find the stores you needed.

We were tired, hungry and irritable to say the least. We missed Wal-Mart, Benny’s and my boyfriend’s car.

Susquehanna not only provides us with accommodation, they give us accessible food, many opportunities for involvement and the convenience of Selinsgrove, a place that has a little bit of all the necessities.

Though my experience here has made me extremely homesick, I couldn’t imagine a better place to be. London is a unique and wonderful city. Receiving this opportunity has given me the motivation to make positive changes in my life. I cut off a foot of my hair, began to exercise and took public transportation by myself, all things I never considered before.

I’m truly on my own and that can only cause positive change. I have always been the person with so many things to do, but I have given myself a freedom I didn’t know I needed.

The idea of a semester abroad was absolutely terrifying, but it was the push I needed to start seeing farther than the end of my nose.

I need to be more independent, I need to try new things and I need to be more grateful what I’ve been given.

Though there isn’t much to report after three weeks, I can say that I am grateful for Susquehanna and for the things they do for us, but most of all I am grateful this opportunity and I plan to take advantage of it.

Editor talks job on campus

By Kara Little, Asst. Forum Editor 

Many perks come with being a student at Susquehanna University. The atmosphere, the academic rigor, the job opportunities; one of the smaller, short-term advantages here were the smoothies.

Yes, the smoothies. Scholarly Grounds, located in the Blough-Weis Library and Clyde’s located in the gymnasium, sold fresh smoothies during the week. Combinations of strawberries, bananas, and pineapples were put into a blender so a student could get a refresher as they tackle the day.

Unfortunately, as most students know is, due to the fact that an ingredient in the smoothies had been discontinued, the smoothies were no more.

I, in fact, am a barista at Scholarly Grounds, and I can say that taking the smoothies away definitely had an effect on the business. Less customers were coming by, making the work load slower. Everyone kept asking where the smoothies were and when they were coming back, but none of us at Scholarly Grounds could really give an answer. Well, I am also here to say that smoothies have officially made a comeback!

Both Clyde’s and Scholarly Grounds have received a brand new smoothie menu, now including ingredients like chocolate, coconut milk, and yogurt as add ons to the strawberry, banana, and pineapple fruit selection. Also, for bases, apple or orange juice are now listed as options. Some of the smoothie names include “Chocolate Covered Strawberry,” “Strawberry Orange,” and “Pina Colada.” The smoothies have only come back this week, but I have already noticed a huge increase in our number of customers at Scholarly Grounds. Besides that, I have tried a few of the smoothies within the past few days, and they are definitely delicious!

My personal favorite so far is “Strawberry Banana,” but as of now, I have only heard positive feedback back from all of them. The smoothies are $3.99 each, and can be paid with as a meal swipe, flex, or cash. Scholarly Grounds is open Mondays to Thursdays from 8 a.m.-10 p.m.,

Fridays from 8 a.m.-3 p.m., and Sundays from 3 p.m.-10 p.m. Clydes is open Mondays to Fridays from 9:45 a.m.-3:45 p.m. Now with all that said, make time for yourself to try one of the new smoothies as soon as possible. You definitely will not regret it!

Editor talks on sexism and mistreatment

By Megan Ruge, Co-Editor in Chief

Since the beginning of time, women have experienced stereotyping and mistreatment based on gender. An old and archaic thought stemming from the beginning of most religions, women have been continually oppressed by the concept that men should head society.

The first wave of feminism broke out when women achieved suffrage in 1920. This wave continued through the ‘40s when the U.S. entered the second World War.

At this time, men were be- ing drafted to fight for their country, leaving holes in the industrial labor force. With women stepping into these roles, they finally got the chance to show that females are just as hard working as their male counterparts.

By 1945, nearly one out of every four married American women worked outside of their home. Since then, the path has been wide open to allow other ambitious and strong willed women to prove that they are just as powerful as men in our society.

You would think that when women showed they could be both factory workers and homemakers, moms and bosses, the world would start to see women a little differently. You would be wrong.

Though it is pleasing to believe that the 21st century has been welcoming to all kinds of change, we are still under a society that holds a man to higher power.

As a society, we still, to this day, see our women fighting to close the gap between their wages and that of their male counterparts. A woman in any business should be afforded the same opportunity and starting wage as any man applying for the same position.

Though it seems that working class women are the only ones struggling with the effects of sexism, women are feeling this in all walks of life.

As a woman myself, though I have felt the hardships of the current economic situation, I cannot actually say that I had to deal with sexism in my life before this year.

When I stepped into the position of co-editor in chief, I worried about many things.

My fears included a lack of knowledge of newspaper design, Associated Press style and overall editing as well as confidence in running meetings. Never did I worry that I would be subject to sexism.

As the semester progressed, I found myself taking on a lot of the roles previously shared with my male counterpart, co- editor in chief Kyle Kern, after asking him to help me take on more responsibilities. Slowly, my colleague allowed me the responsibility of final editing on my own and eventually, I began to run meetings. He helped me ease myself into the things I had previously been uncomfortable with.

We decided to redivide responsibilities so that I could learn these new techniques.

Toward the end of the semester, I began to realize that things weren’t as equal as we wanted after all and it was nobodies fault but society.

Kyle and I realized that even though my name was at the top of the masthead, Kyle received the majority of emails with concerns or questions from outside and issues from the general staff.

After a meeting in which I had to “lay down the law,” my words were perceived as angry and mean, but the same words delivered by my male counterpart were received much better.

This is something I didn’t understand and spent plenty of time pondering. Why was I the last to know about an issue but the first to fix them.

Though I am not the first female editor and I will not be the last, why should my bodies overproduction of estrogen determine my qualification to address your concerns and be the reason my credibility is questioned. Please…consider.

Director’s Discussion

By Eli Bass, Director of Jewish Life

The season of light is a critical time for us to work on clarifying our values. Chanukah, in particular, places a strong focus on our values. The holiday is a relatively minor one on the Jewish calendar. It commemorates the pre-common era victory of the Maccabees, a group within Jewish community, who fought against the Seleucid kingdom, which was transgressing Jewish laws.

The bloody war, led by the Mattityahu of Modiin, defeated the kingdom and resulted in the rededication of the temple, which had been defiled. The true historical story of Hanukkah is one of violence. This history, however, is not codified into Jewish scripture. Chanukah celebrates a military victory, but this is not the central story typically explored in Jewish homes.

The Hebrew word Chanukah translates to “dedication.” Dedication and oil are the central themes of the holiday. The Talmud, a book of Jewish law and practice, tells a story of rededicating the holy temple in Jerusalem. In the story, leaders of the rebellion were only able to find one small container of sacred oil; enough to light the menorah for one more day.

Legend teaches us this oil lasted a full eight days, until new oil could be produced. This traditional emphasis on oil should give us pause. Why celebrate a miracle jug of oil instead of an incredible military feat? In the Northern Hemisphere, Chanukah is near the winter solstice. It is a holiday where we celebrate light in darkness, encouraging spiritual awareness over military conquest.

Of course, this story is also a metaphor. How do we do more with less? How do we consistently live following our values? These are hard questions. Chanukah is a chance to recognize small miracles in our lives that make a big difference for our- selves and others.

As an environmentalist, I am personally captivated by the miracle of oil. When I think of oil, I tend to not think of the small pure vessel of olive oil in the temple. I look around and see oil all around me. It is in the plastic products that surround me and in the lights that keep me awake beyond sundown. Oil is a huge part of my daily activities and is an inescapable piece of living at this time. I also think about the negative effects of fossil fuels: removing mountains, contaminating drinking water, destroying air quality and creating violent storms. As humans and consumers, I believe we are all at fault.

I connect with the miracle of the Chanukah story. It is the story of how we can work to continue to empower our lives while reducing our environmental impacts. I know I need to challenge my- self with my own overuse of fuel: driving when I could walk, leaving lights on, and buying too much.

I celebrate innovation. Lighting and electricity use have become far more energy efficient. It is a miracle, as electric and hybrid vehicles become common and reasonably priced. Smart metering, energy star appliances and more efficient homes are all helpful in reducing environmental impacts.

Technology is also creating a substantial fall in the cost of renewable energy. Utility companies, like local power company PPL Electric, allow consumers to choose their power sources. Using fossil fuels has hidden costs. The costs to the planet and to human health are not mentioned on my electric bill. Personally, I choose to only purchase renewable energy. It is in this choice that I am able to honor the miracle of the oil. I pay a small premium for this, but to me it is being part of an energy miracle. It is a moment where I can align my consumption with my values.

Wishing you success on finals and Happy Holidays.

Writer talks taking every opportunity

By Jill Baker, Abroad Writer

There were nine minutes to disembark from the train, find the ticket booth, find the next platform and board the connecting train through Switzerland. There was a 12-second window to decide what was next.

“Wait,” I said. The decision was made; we were staying. We stepped from the train and into a large dome station. Pushed by others rushing to catch their own connections, we snapped back to reality.

In Milan Central Station gathered our thoughts and asked the looming question, “Well, what now?”

My best friend and I had traveled Europe for a week at this point, with no plan and no destination. The only parameters we had were our flights out of Paris, France on Nov. 25.

We started in London, England, made our way to Venice, Italy and had to make it back to Paris. Waking up each morning unsure of where we were to sleep that night was exactly how we wanted it. If we were drawn to a place, we would hop off that train and explore.

Nearing the end of our trip, we had woken up that morning in Venice, both having the romanticized vision of traveling across Italy and France seeing the countryside through the train’s window.

We had found a route from Venice to Milan and Milan to Paris, our final destination. We boarded the first train. The idea to explore Milan came up as we were pulling into the city’s central station; the skyline looked intriguing. It was a city we had both heard stories of. But it was still ten hours from where we had to fly out of two days later.

I self-describe as “option paralysis.” When posed with choices I simply stall, panic over each variable and am paralyzed as how to proceed.

Studying abroad, this is a massive obstacle as each weekend opens the opportunity for adventures; you can go anywhere. But that’s exactly it, how are you ever supposed to decide between all the beautiful places in Europe.

In this moment in Italy I was forced to make a decision, to choose something and stick with it. It ended up being one of my most rewarding decisions.

Milan was one of my favorite cities I visited all semester.

It could’ve gone wrong, but the important part was taking the chance, making the adventurous decision.

I like to have things planned to the minute, but if you’re studying abroad or can budget for a trip, plan one, but not too much. Don’t over schedule so you can jump on an unforeseen opportunity.

If I had plans in Paris I would have had to swallow the urge of hopping off that train in Milan. My biggest adventures over these months have not been written on my itineraries, but the ones spurred on by seeing something and my whole body telling me to go do it.

Student reminisces over GO application

By Kelsey Rogers, Asst. Living & Arts Editor 

As the semester comes to a close, students at Susquehanna University need to look ahead. Next fall will be here before we know it. This means that we need to plan accordingly for our GO trips, so hurry up and quickly decide where you want to spend your time at for three to 14 weeks.

The time has come and gone for GO applications to be submitted, and I just wanted to tear up because the process was truly insightful and as smooth as it could possibly be. I would (and will) apply again in a heartbeat.

Thankfully, I did get the experience to apply multiple times because the application does not save automatically. Even when you do think it saved, it turns out it didn’t and you get to start the process all over again; what a rush.

The questions asked in the essay portion are clear as day, melting my nerves away. Since it’s never clear whether or not I should answer with a few sentences, I felt inclined to write a novel about why I’m so interested in a country that I just decided ten minutes ago to apply for.

All while, people who submitted only two or three sentences will receive a confirmation straight away, even though they have the mental capacity of a loaf of bread, but that’s just fine. The waiting process makes everything so much more exciting because it possibly means that I’ll have to do it again.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the part where I had to explain why I wanted to study abroad without mentioning travel reasons, family reasons, or fun.

Ignoring the fact that I am required to go abroad during my time here, I wrote that the main reason why I wanted to go abroad was to scam some European men into wasting their time and money on me. Although, I guess that would fall under the category of “fun”, so let’s hope that my application doesn’t get denied.

What else could I have put? “Oh, I’m very interested in doing an actual tour of Italy, not like the one you order at Olive Garden, but the real deal.” I suppose that me wanting to consume as much food and wine as possible would also be a sufficient answer.

If you’re applying for the spring semester, good luck. Those who applied in the fall will receive confirmation eons be- fore you do, so you get to sit and twiddle your thumbs for weeks while wondering if you’re going to have to make living arrangements in case you end up being at

Susquehanna for another semester while you were supposed to be across the globe. Questions? Look no further, because they will “tell you later” or “cover it in your GO class” which is sometimes a random mush of 25 students who are each going to a completely different country. Every foreign country operates exactly the same, so once you get sent off on that plane into the unknown, you will be fine. Just smile real wide and say that you’re an American and people will get you to where you want to go.

Going abroad is quite the adventure and here at Susquehanna, I feel as if I could take over the whole world. Now that the ever so easy process of begging to be selected for the next shipment into the abyss is over, I get to wait and ask my friends over and over what they put as their written responses. Did I mention that I submitted my application at 11:59 p.m. Bon voyage.

SU student gives Selinsgrove travel tips

By Dylan Smith, Contributing Writer 

Is your family coming to an upcoming game? Most athletes say they eat, play, and breathe sports because of how much they practice and dedicate their time, but there is plenty to do around the Selinsgrove area on a budget. The community is looking for you to make yourself at home.

A low cost eatery and local favorite for families to check out is the Wicked Dog Grille. Owned by Susquehanna graduate Jeff Ries, ’86, the Grille has a cheap menu with great food. The menu ranges from $2 to $8. Many “Yelp” reviews gave them five stars.

Wearing a smile and a Boston Red Sox hat, Jeff makes sure that you feel at home in his shop. His menu can be found at, https://www.facebook.com/ pg/wickeddoggrille by clicking the side bar menu tab.

If you’re a high roller, BJ’s Steak and Rib House is the most popular place in town. When you want a good steak or nachos, BJ’s is the place to be.

If you are a group of four or five, you will be looking at a minimal $100 check not including tip. Friendly wait staff and hostesses who are more than willing to tell you about their hit appetizer, the Bongo- Bongo dip, a spinach and hot cheese dip with a side of garlic toast.

If that doesn’t get your mouth watering, there are other options on their menu at www.bjsribs.com/menu.cfm.

If you’re looking for a low cost way to play, run the bases and live among child legends at the World of Little League Museum in Williamsport. With interactive screens and simulations, small video segments, and historic moments, it’s some- thing you do not want to miss out on.

About 37 miles north of Selinsgrove, the Museum is worth the trip that has all ticket prices under $7 and filled with the Hall of Fame for Little Leaguers. More information can be found on their website, www.LittleLeagueMuseum.com.

For high rollers, there is nothing like some good family competition with a couple of rounds of bowling. Best Bowl, located at 2208 Route 522 in Selinsgrove, is under $15 for anyone that comes in from 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. with the shoe rentals included. Strike up a great deal by visiting their Facebook page, Best Bowl.

Looking for a low risk way to breathe in the outdoors, gander down to Pine Street that overlooks the Susquehanna River. Continue your walk to the Isle of Que and its boat launch area to watch the calm water flow with the rustle of trees for a mellow afternoon.

Immersing yourself in the atmosphere can provide quality down time with your family. In addition, it’s free of charge.

A high-risk opportunity is taking in the scenery central Pennsylvania has to offer at the Bald Eagle State Forest.

This State Forest, known for its parks and hiking trails is unknown to many peo- ple unless you live in the area. According to Susquehanna junior Zachary Groce, the Harry John Trail is great if you are willing to “conquer the elements,”

There are wild animals around, Groce said, but you can “overlook the mountains and the Union County Flatlands are beautiful.”

Engrossed by many things, you crunch your way to find the most enjoyable things in the Selinsgrove area.

Editors view about media and scouting

By Kyle Kern, Co-Editor in Chief 

What ever happened to “you don’t judge a book by its cover”?

I am not talking about recent allegations of Hollywood elite or political scandals. I am talking about the public attention to issues that are raised in media reports. People know the title but never read the full story or follow up on the facts of the situation.

Humans are social beings, they like to get to know one another by our famous pastime. No, it is not baseball, but praise be to the Yankees (some of you already dislike me from saying that).

Our most famous pastime is gossiping. It is the main way we get our information, which stems from incomplete media that reaches our stimuli.

Do you remember where you were when the Boy Scouts of America announced they would allow girls into their program, being involved in the same camp outs, the same meeting locations, the same equipment and activities? Were you outraged or happy? Well, that story was false and entirely blown out of proportion by the gossip- ing majority of the nation and the misleading headlines.

The actual case was that the Boy Scouts of America had never talked to the Girl Scouts of America about the issue and the Girl Scouts program became enraged. The girls joining the Boy Scout program would be organized into their own troop, separate from the boys.

Everything besides the parent program would be separate. However, supporters and opponents of the integrated troops idea were intense. People on both sides were upset, yelling at each other on Facebook. The majority believed the first story instead of the actual plan.

We, as a population, thrive on gossip. It makes us outraged for no reason and the media often portrays the information in bad light. The media’s job is to be unbiased, no matter the topic or parties involved. I understand that it is hard to have enough journalists to get adequate story coverage, but this type of misdirection is unacceptable.

As a communication studies, public policy, and environmental studies triple major, I make sure my argument and discussion is entirely sound and truth- ful, while in a discussion. The headlines I use for my news articles showcase a general, but accurate, idea of what the article is about. The media’s job is to not provoke controversy by vague headlines or mismanaged journalism. The media’s job is to keep the world informed.

I do not need the personal view of the reporter or the views of the managing news agency or donators. I do not need to hear a meteorologist saying,” Are you not entertained?” I would like to be informed, rather than being entertained, thank you.