From the Editor’s Desk: The Edgier Minstrel

Originally published in Issue 2, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (September 22, 2016). Click here to view the entire issue. 

“If it bleeds, it leads” is the popular quote in journalism. That’s why murder, assault, crime and disasters are always front-page, top story articles. And as you all know, these things don’t happen at DeSales. Last year, it was buzz when a student’s bike was stolen…and then rightfully returned to its owner. Not a whole lot of hard-hitting news there.

When my staff and I brainstormed ideas for this issue, we had a tough time. We want to bring our readers news they want to read. And while The Minstrel is full of quality writing, it is not always edge-of-your-seat news, so we write a lot about good people, doing good things. This issue we meet the study-abroad students spending the semester at DeSales, dance major Becca Mann who spent her summer in Israel and alum Pat Jacoby who has a passion for sports photography. So even though our news may not be “bad” enough for you, the students and alumni featured in this issue are pretty amazing people.

Despite this lack of “bad” news on campus, we should pride ourselves in the fact that DeSales is a great school and one of the safest schools out there. I love being a student at DeSales, and I don’t want to bash my school, but we need to address issues if they are happening. Don’t be naïve and say there aren’t any drugs or sexual assaults on campus. We all know it’s there, and it is rarely talked about.

We also want to hear the stories and challenges facing minority groups on campus and give you a voice. This year The Minstrel is giving literal meaning to being “the voice of the students at DeSales University.” Currently, the majority of those voices on campus are white, heterosexual and Catholic. Let’s hear from new viewpoints and expand our horizons.

Everything I mentioned above is a touchy issue, but they are real-world issues and The Minstrel wants to report on them. I know it’ll be difficult. I could hardly get people to talk to me about the water-damage on campus because no one wants to talk badly about this school. But don’t think of it as attacking DeSales, think of it as reporting the facts and truth. With that being said, we want to hear from you and help tell your stories. E-mail anything you want us to know or report on at minstrel.desales@gmail.com, or reach out to me personally at kd6695@desales.edu.

Welcome to the edgier Minstrel. We’re taking risks and you should too. Speak out and speak up.

Peace, love & DeSales,

Kellie Dietrich
Editor-in-Chief

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Students, Staff Respond to Water Damage in Harvey, Humidity Issues in Aviat

Originally published in Issue 2, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (September 22, 2016). Click here to view the entire issue. 

On Aug. 10, at 5:30 a.m. Wes Strickland phoned the DeSales police department to report water damage to his villa 1B of Harvey. Water soaked through half of the kitchen ceiling due to a pipe connection failure on the third floor, which was most likely caused by the connection working itself loose over time.

By 6:45 a.m., maintenance was on the scene and already began to rip out carpeting and drywall.

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All the water damage has been successfully removed from Harvey. Photo by Kellie Dietrich.

“All three floors had varying degrees of water damage to flooring, walls, electrical and insulation,” said Mike Duffy, director of campus environment. All damaged light fixtures, insulation, walls and ceilings, floorcoverings and paint were replaced.

The tenants from the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival left Harvey two days before the leak was discovered, so it is unknown how long the water ran for.

Stickland and his roommate were studying for finals and preferred not to move while preparing for them, and were granted permission to stay in Harvey while the kitchen was being reconstructed.

“With athletes and others returning to campus and having 60 beds suddenly made unavailable put the school in a very tough situation,” said Strickland. “I think it’s a small miracle that they had the building ready in time, and it goes to show how much hard work was put in by everyone involved to make sure that people had some place to stay when they got back.”

While Harvey was ready for students on move-in day Aug. 22, it was not ready for students arriving early to campus.

According to Jonathon Osborne, associate director of residence life for housing operations, facilities and ResLife worked hard to ensure all early arrivals had a place to stay on campus.

“It was an unfortunate situation that came up and the students impacted were wonderful and patient as we worked to get Harvey open for them,” said Osborne.

To prepare for freshman orientation, peer mentor Chris Murray arrived Aug.14, knowing Harvey had water damage, and stayed in Finnegan until he was able to move in on Aug. 20.

While Strickland is now in the Heights for graduate housing and is not sure of Harvey’s current state, Murray said his villa was perfectly fine when he moved in.

“I think they handled it the best they could. I was just happy to move in before classes started,” said Murray.

Other students on campus were not as lucky on move-in day. Freshman Leah McKenney quickly realized her room in Aviat had a moisture problem. Each day after pre-orientation, her dorm’s walls were wet so posters could not stick to them, and her and her roommate’s bedding and clothes were damp.

Once their suitemates arrived on Aug. 21, they noticed green mold growing on their suitemate’s bathroom door, and thought the bad humidity and mold may be coming from the leaking air conditioner unit. They notified maintenance who replaced the air conditioner, but they still had a humidity issue. They then asked maintenance for a dehumidifier, but they replaced the air conditioner again and added a large dehumidifier in their wing of Aviat.

In this situation, McKenney believes maintenance did the bare minimum. Although her suite was the only one in Aviat with mold problems, other dorms are suffering from humidity as well.

“If there is a humidity problem in the dorms bad enough to grow mold, they should offer dehumidifiers because it is just uncomfortable and gross. I specifically requested a dehumidifier but they just kept replacing the A/C, which didn’t really make much sense to me.”

McKenney said maintenance removed the mold with a special cleaner and it has not grown back; however, her and her roommates still can’t get any posters to stick to the walls and their A/C occasionally leaks so they avoid using it. Additionally, they bought a dehumidifier for their room in hopes to solve the humidity issue themselves.

From the Editor’s Desk: My Senior Year at DeSales

Originally published in Issue 1, Fifty-first year of The Minstrel (September 8,2016). Click here to view the entire issue.

Welcome to DeSales, class of 2020! You’re next four years will be full of amazing memories, new friends and piles of homework. (Hello stress, I did not miss you over the summer.)

Speaking of summer, I placed a lot of importance on this past one. As a senior, I realized this could be the last summer that I could wake up whenever I wanted, do whatever I wanted and basically be as close to a kid as I could get. Because I, like most seniors, are praying I land a job by next summer that doesn’t involve fast food or retail.

So this past summer, I crossed some things off my bucket list. I read the entire Harry Potter series for the first time. (I can hear you all gasping, “WHAT?”) I tried new things like yoga, and found out I’ll stick to running. I played hide-and-seek with the kids I babysat, and I’m proud to say my basketball skills are still better than a 12 year olds. I turned 21, which is quite the milestone because I look like I’m 17, so now I can look 17 while legally consuming alcohol.

I rounded off my summer by flying to Miami with my best friend. It was my first time flying, and my ears didn’t even pop, so apparently, I’m one of the lucky ones. Besides clear blue oceans and palm trees everywhere, I really enjoyed meeting an array of people from Texas, Missouri and even Switzerland.

We finished our trip in the happiest place on earth, and now I can say I’m also a 21 year old who hugged Daisy Duck and held Minnie Mouse’s hand, and I can’t wait to continue traveling all around the actual world, and not the one in Epcot.

Now, as I write my first editorial for the ’16-17 year, I plan to cherish the memories I make in my last year at DeSales, my home away from home since my first campus visit. I encourage you all to do the same and find the balance of having fun, but also taking your schoolwork seriously. You are first and foremost here to learn, so soak up the information your teachers are giving you.

Additionally, I’m very excited to unveil The Minstrel’s new look for our 51st issue, and a big shout out to our layout editor Alex Lingle for coming up with the new design. The Minstrel prides ourselves in bringing you news and we want to keep improving all aspects of our paper, keeping you both engaged with our content and also our visual design.

In this issue, we see a lot of changes at DeSales. We welcome the largest freshman class DeSales has ever seen, and also 13 new professors on campus. We also begin to say goodbye to Father O in his last year as president. We have new parking regulations, and even the reinstatement of a varsity sports team: tennis. So whether it’s your first year at DeSales or your last, don’t be afraid of the changes in your life, and welcome the journey ahead of you.

Lantern Fest ’16 Reflection

Twelve thousand people together for the same reasons: to lift our hopes, dreams, goals, regrets and wishes into the air, to be lighter and feel free.

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“Live your DREAMS. Travel. Laugh. Love. Never stop writing.” – Kellie A.D.

The Lantern Fest was a magical experience. Strangers shared fires to roast marshmallows and helped each other light their lanterns. Tiki torches were every few feet in order to light lanterns and alternative music played like “Sky Full of Stars” to set the mood.

You wouldn’t think it, but it was a multi-person job to light one lantern and lift it off into the night sky. And if your lantern fell to the ground, no need to worry because someone would pick it up and help it along. There was a wonderful feeling of peace and togetherness as the lanterns floated in the sky.

When it was time to leave, I couldn’t help but feel happy and uplifted after that experience. Numerous couples were now engaged, birthdays were celebrated an I enjoyed the company of my DeSales’ friends.

My friends and I just entered the parking area when two cars had their windows rolled down in order to scream at each other.

Well, that peace and happiness was short lived.

“Why are you yelling?” I shout in their general direction. “We just lifted our dreams into the sky.”

To my amazement, they stopped yelling, but it honestly bewildered me how savage everyone had become over trying to leave the parking lot. We just witnessed such peace. We even shared a powerful moment of silence for Sept. 11 the following day. And somehow, people have the nerve to argue about traffic. I really don’t understand people.