Students present on body image, sexual assault at LVAIC Women & Gender Studies conference

Originally published in Issue 13, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (April 13, 2017). Click here to view the entire issue.

Senior Jennifer Thuss and junior Lauren Trumbull, both communication majors at DeSales University, presented at the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges (LVAIC) annual Women & Gender Studies conference on Saturday, March 25 at Muhlenberg College.

Students from LVAIC schools, which include Cedar Crest College, DeSales University, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, Moravian College and Muhlenberg College, along with Albright College and Kutztown University, presented research papers, videos, artwork, photography, poetry and dances.

GenderConf

Presenters Lauren Trumbull (far left) and Jennifer Thuss (second from the right) are supported by their friends Kimberly Semiday (second from the left) and Nadia Murray (far right). Photo courtesy of Dr. Katherine Grasso

Thuss and Trumbull both presented research papers that they wrote in their gender communication class from last semester. Thuss’s paper was “The Effects of Media Images on Young Girls” and she presented in the “Visual Culture” panel.

Thuss chose this topic because it’s something she’s always been passionate about throughout college. The main idea of her paper was how the media portrays bodies as unrealistic, which can have negative outcomes on young girls.

She hopes what audience members took away from her presentation is “that models in the media do not always look as they do in the picture,” said Thuss. “Photoshopping can completely change the appearance. Also, that media exposure should be limited for young girls since they are most susceptible to the images at a young age.”

Trumbull’s research paper was also a heavy topic, entitled “Sexual Assault on College Campuses and Its Effects on Reporting.” She presented in the “Gendered Bodies” panel.

Her presentation included statistics, such as that only 75 percent of colleges and universities have a procedure in place for reporting sexual assault. She explained victims aren’t reporting “because they know their documentation won’t result in punishment for the perpetrator.”

Trumbull also discussed the implementation of the Clery Act, which was put into place by the government and requires academic institutions to disclose data regarding campus crimes every year.

She explained how institutions skew their data to hide the real numbers of sexual assault on campuses. Other major points of her presentation included the impact of fraternities and sororities on hyper-masculinity, traditional gender roles and believing in rape myths.

After watching the documentary “The Hunting Ground” on sexual assault for her gender communication course, Trumbull knew she wanted to focus on this topic for her paper.

“Watching this documentary shocked and horrified me,” she said. “It made me realize that I wanted more information on this issue so that I could learn more and maybe someday help make the statistics on sexual assault drop.”

Trumbull hopes audience members learned that sexual assault on college campus is a major problem and conversations are needed to fix that problem.

“We need to be open and honest and facilitate an environment in which victims feel comfortable to disclose their assault,” said Trumbull. “We need to start punishing our perpetrators and send the message that sexual assault is not at all acceptable, and that the victim is never to blame.”

Thuss and Trumbull both enjoyed meeting other presenters at the conference who also shared an interest in gender studies.

“I was surrounded by mostly women—maybe one or two men—that are intelligent and kind, and worked so hard to present on what they are passionate about,” said Trumbull.

“All of the women were nothing but supportive and gave me the sweetest compliments after I presented,” she added. “The environment was just overall proud. We were proud of each other for standing up and speaking and proud of ourselves for having the courage to do it.”

Thuss, who is also president of The Birkenstocks (gender club), was inspired by a presentation on an online blog called Her Campus, a global online community for college women.

“They explained how it worked and how to bring it to DeSales so I think it’s definitely something that the gender club will look into starting,” said Thuss.

Additionally, Thuss, Trumbull and Nadia Murray, all members of The Birkenstocks, plus senior Kimberly Semiday, volunteered at the conference by checking in guests and participants, and stuffing their welcome bags.

Next spring, the annual Women & Gender Studies conference will be held at DeSales with Dr. Katherine Grasso, communication professor and Birkenstocks advisor, serving as the conference chair.

Muslim student Ayesha Riaz’s powerful message

Originally published in Issue 13, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (April 13, 2017). Click here to view the entire issue.

Ayesha

Photo courtesy of Ayesha Riaz

Senior biology major Ayesha Riaz embodied bravery and courage as the only Muslim student to compete for the Academic Excellence Address this year.

Due to the anti-Muslim sentiment that is present around the world today, Riaz felt fear being the only Pakistani, Muslim student competing in a competition that was primarily white, Catholic students.

Riaz moved to the United States from Pakistan two years ago. She struggled with having to learn English and becoming accustomed to the cultural differences in the U.S. She plans for a future in the medical field as a physician assistant and knew she would need English to succeed, so she challenged herself and taught herself English.

During her struggles with the language, she never imagined having the opportunity to compete for the Academic Excellence Address.

“The presence of my professors on the day of the speech to support me, gave me a sense of strength and energy, which I probably can’t express in words,” said Riaz.

Riaz’s speech explained her adjustment from moving from Pakistan to the U.S.

“The gist of my speech was, ‘We can conquer the world following the virtues of perseverance.’ We can achieve whatever we desire in life if we’re hard working, determined, honest and respectful to those who have taught us,” said Riaz.

After the first round of the competition was over, Riaz was unsure if she would move on to the next round, and was moved with emotions to hear that she made it through.

“I was uncertain about how much support I might receive because I am a Muslim student in these uncertain times,” she said. “But the result announcement brought tears in my eyes and totally changed my perspective about DeSales’ faculty and made me feel proud that I became a part of this institution where decisions are made on the basis of capabilities and talent, and not on the basis of race and religion.”

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“So many people have shown me compassion and love, and I realized that they really care about me and they don’t consider me a bad person as being a Muslim,” Riaz adds.

Riaz had two main reasons for competing in the Academic Excellence Address. She recalls her first day at DeSales in the admissions office where she saw a photo of Madame Benazir Bhutto, the 12th Prime Minister of Pakistan and the first Muslim woman to head a Muslim majority nation.

“She lectured in DeSales University once, and that was such an inspiring moment to me,” said Riaz. “So I prayed to God, and I want to see my photo or name plaque on the wall of this intuition as a Muslim woman due to my accomplishments.”

Her other main reason for competing was to be able to express her thoughts and thank the people who have helped her succeed at DeSales the past two years.

“I really could not have accomplished all this without their help and support. So, this speech was just a way to pay tribute to all those people especially my family and teachers who have helped me going through tough times,” she said.

Riaz made it to the second round of the competition where she delivered her speech to the Academic Oversight Committee, which is made up of the five division heads; the deans of undergraduate education, graduate education and lifelong learning; and the Provost.

Junior pharmaceutical marketing major Jenna Haydt was selected the winner of the competition and will be giving the Academic Excellence Address at the Academic Excellence Celebration on Sunday, April 23 at 1:30 p.m. in Connelly Chapel. She will be awarded a prize of $500.

Lastly, Riaz wishes DeSales would have a club specifically for Muslim or International students who move to the U.S. in order to help them with the different cultural, religious and academic backgrounds they are exposed to and make their transition easier.

“In the end, I would like to say, I love this institution and I wish I could stay here longer, but this institution taught me way beyond my expectations and made me a strong and confident person who can now confront all challenges,” said Riaz.

 

April Fools: DSU PD breaks up St. Patty’s Day party, finds a leprechaun

Originally published in Issue 12, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (March 30, 2017). 

Once upon a freezing Friday night, a lucky four-leaf clover was buried under a foot of snow. Students clad with green walked right by it to the party, never knowing it was there.

This was not the “luck o’ the Irish” kind of night.

At approximately 11:00 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day, campus PD busted into Finnegan, the more Irish sounding of the two villas, to break up a party featuring your typical green beer and the cheapest vodka college students can afford.

“When the police showed up, I said, ‘You’ve got the wrong holiday. This isn’t Halloween,’” said freshman Scott Land. “Then I realized it was campus PD and I was out the window faster than you can say, ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.’”

Most students were not fast enough to make it out the window, and the police wrote up 37 students.

“The cops took our names and now I have to pay a fine plus complete community service for underage drinking,” said sophomre Al Coholic.

“The party was definitely worth it though. Everyone who’s anyone was there,” he adds.

Sources confirm that yes, everyone was there, except the other 1,500 plus undergraduate students at the University.

“The party was lit,” said one of the officers Paul Ice. “It was a shame we had to bust the party, but I managed to swipe some delicious guacamole on the way out.”

Outside of Finnegan, the police saw a short man with red hair, a beard and a green sequined top hat prancing around the grassy fields.

“He did not look like a student, so we decided to investigate, which led to a full-fledged pursuit,” said Ice.

“Think ‘Fast and the Furious,’ but on foot instead of cars,” he adds.

Three police officers chased the dwarf-sized man, who they presumed to be leprechaun, all around campus.

“‘Fast and the Furious?’ More like kindergarteners on a goose chase,” scoffs senior Jen Eric.

After chasing the leprechaun around Labuda to Trexler and circling the Jesus statue approximately six times, the chase continued across the wide- open space of the McShea Mall.

This is where the police lost him.

“Small legs, fast runner,” explains another officer, Percy Veer.

The police continued to do a sweep of the Mall and found a black pot. It was heavy when the police picked it up.

“We thought it was filled with a gold,” said Veer. “A Saint Patrick’s Day miracle.”

However, upon opening the lid, they discovered black hunks of coal.

“Wrong holiday, again!” shouted Land.

The leprechaun has been causing havoc on campus for the past two weeks now by putting extra bacon on students’ cheeseburgers, adding money to students’ Paw Bucks accounts and slipping candy into backpacks.

Sightings of leprechaun should be reported to campus PD immediately. The mayhem must be stopped.

DeSales alumna Anne Gurtowski opens Apple Mill Bakery

Originally published in Issue 11, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (March 23, 2017). Click here to view the entire issue. 

Anne

Photo courtesy of Anne Gurtowski

After only a year and half after graduation, ’15 alumna Anne Gurtowski opened her own business Apple Mill Bakery in Cullman, Ala.

“The bakery was my pipe dream for a long time, and I always thought if it ever happened, it would be a long way off. I’m really grateful that I have to opportunity to do this now,” says Gurtowski. “God is very generous.”

Gurtowski majored in marketing at DeSales and always liked the idea of starting her own business.

“Having classes in subjects such as accounting, finance, management, marketing and business law, has helped me to have a well-rounded approach to the small business world,” says Gurtowski.

Before deciding on opening a bakery, Gurtowski considered other businesses, but says baking was always her dream and held importance to her at a young age.

“My grandma would let me help her bake from the time I was old enough to hold the spoon or put sprinkles on her cookies. I grew up helping both her and my mom bake,” she says. “My mom definitely inherited Grandma’s love of baking, and they both passed it down to me. Some of my best memories growing up are with them in the kitchen.”

Many of Apple Mill Bakery’s recipes are from Gurtowski’s Irish grandmother and some of her recipe cards are written in her grandma’s hand.

AppleMill

Apple Mill Bakery offers a wide variety of delicious homemade cookies including raspberry thumbprint, spritz, congo bars, and rugelach. Photo courtesy of Anne Gurtowski

Some of her grandma’s most iconic recipes include congo bars and crumbcake. Apple Mill Bakery’s cookie tins are the most popular item and are a great gift around the holidays. All of the bakery’s items are made from scratch and have no added preservatives.

“I think something is lost when food is made in large factories with a lot of added ingredients. The people element is missing,” says Gurtowski. “I want my customers to know that real people who care about what they do make the food.”

Before opening the bakery in November 2016, a lot of work and planning needed to be done. There are many health regulations that need to be met, accounts to set up, paperwork to file and construction of the commercial kitchen.

Gurtowski says opening a business was full of new challenges, but has advice for young entrepreneurs.

“Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t open your own business; you’re too young and you don’t have the experience. Just try it. You’ll never know if it will work unless you try. It’s all a process and a learning experience.”

“I think it’s important to find what makes you happy in life and pursue it. Find a way to do what will make you feel fulfilled at the end of each day,” she adds.

Currently, Apple Mill Bakery is housed in a commercial kitchen, but Gurtowski is hoping to move into a full-fledge storefront in the future. Right now, business is mainly done on their Etsy, which can be reached at applemillbakery.com, and also local farmers’ markets.

This spring the bakery will widen the reach of local farmers’ markets, which are expanding and growing in popularity.

“People want to buy local, support small businesses, and know exactly where their food is coming from. It’s a good match for our commitment to fresh, made-from-scratch food,” says Gurtowski.

They are also looking into various wholesale opportunities, such as becoming a supplier to local restaurants.

As a small business owner, Gurtowski enjoys the variety and different hats she gets to wear.

“On Monday, I could be doing R&D [research and development] for new products. By the time Friday roles around, I’ve been a food photographer, lead marketing manager, and as always, head baker, which is my favorite role,” she says. “It’s a lot of work, but I wouldn’t change it.”

Gurtowski is thankful for her family who has been very involved in the process of opening Apple Mill Bakery and loves that she gets to share her passion with the rest of the world.

“Baking to me is an extension of family life,” she says. “Food brings people together.”

For DeSales students and alumni interested in purchasing from Apple Mill Bakery, use the code DSU10 for a special discount rate on applemillbakery.com.

From the Editor’s desk: Sexism in the workplace

Originally published in Issue 11, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (March 23, 2017). Click here to view the entire issue. 

A recent Twitter thread about an email experiment has been going viral and caught a lot of attention, including my own. If you haven’t seen it, the thread was from Martin R. Schneider who worked at a small employment service firm with Nicole Pieri, whose boss complained took a long time working with clients.

Schneider recalls having accidentally sent e-mails under Pieri’s name and having clients being rude and dismissive towards him. After changing back to his own email signature, he received positivity and gratitude from the same client.

Schneider and Pieri then began an experiment where they switched email signatures for two weeks.

The results? Schneider tweeted, “I was in hell. Everything I asked or suggested was questioned. Clients I could do in my sleep were condescending. One asked if I was single.”

As for Pieri, Schneider tweeted, “Nicole had the most productive work week of her career. I realized the reason she took longer is because she had to convince clients to respect her.”

This experiment reveals that sexism still exists in the workplace today and is a daily obstacle for women.

“I wasn’t any better at the job than she was, I just had this invisible advantage,” tweeted Schneider, who realized his unearned privilege of being a male.

Twitter users were also quick to bring up the fact that if Pieri had a black-sounding female name, she would face additional struggles.

This incident also reminds me of the Howard/Heidi experiment. Half of a Harvard class was given the case study of Heidi Roizen, a real-life entrepreneur. The same case study was given to the other half of the class except the name was changed to Howard.

Both groups found Heidi and Howard equally competent, as it should be since the accomplishments were identical. However, Howard was seen as more likeable while Heidi was seen as selfish and not someone you would want to work with.

It is sad that while success and likeability are positively correlated for men, it is negatively correlated for women. Additionally, women are often sexist against other women, so it’s not like sexism exists solely because of men. Women and men both need to reflect on the respect, or lack of respect, they give others.

I have been applying to jobs and I wonder if my resume is perceived as less strong because of my gender. Will that affect my job opportunities in the future? I sure hope not, but like Pieri, I will work twice as hard to get the job done.

This issue is full of successful (and likeable) women such as alumna and business owner Anne Gurtowski, CSSJ volunteer of the month Erin O’Neil and the women’s lacrosse team who will be making DeSales history all season long.

Peace, love & DeSales

Kellie Dietrich
Editor-in-Chief

Catholic leaders send Clean Power Plan support letter to Trump

Originally published in Issue 11, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (March 23, 2017). Click here to view the entire issue. 

One hundred and twenty five U.S. Catholic leaders signed the Catholic Climate Covenant’s letter to support the Clean Power Plan and sent it to President Donald Trump, the new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt, top Congressional leaders and state governors.

The Clean Power Plan is a major EPA effort to reduce carbon emissions from power plants with a goal of 30 percent reduction in 2030 when compared to 2005 levels.

Former President Barack Obama and the EPA announced the Clean Power Plan in August 2015.

Catholic Climate Covenant’s letter mentions Pope Francis and says everyone has a role to play in keeping our Earth safe.

“In Laudato Si’ (LS), his groundbreaking encyclical on ecology, Pope Francis echoes Saint John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI by calling climate change an urgent moral issue that wounds creation, threatens human life and dignity, and disproportionately harms the poor and vulnerable who contribute the least to climate change.”

In addition to reducing power plant emissions, the letter mentions the other benefits of the Clean Power Plan.

“The Plan would also reduce other dangerous power plant pollution like sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide. These reductions are expected to prevent up to 3,600 premature deaths, 90,000 asthma attacks in children, and 300,000 missed work and school days,” the letter reads. “They are also anticipated to produce up to $54 billion in public health and climate benefits—benefits that would be lost if the Clean Power Plan is not upheld and implemented.”

These efforts will promote human equality and environmental justice. According to the letter, nearly 40 percent of Latinos and 68 percent of African Americans in the U.S. live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant. This means that they have a greater risk of facing premature deaths, asthma attacks and other health problems.

Unfortunately, Trump plans to scrap the Clean Power Plan. Shortly after being sworn into office, Trump published “An American First Energy Plan” on whitehouse. gov.

His plan reads,“President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Lifting these restrictions will greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years.”

Wind Energy

Trump is focusing on shale, coal, natural gas and oil instead of renewable energy. Wind and solar costs have been declining dramatically since their peak prices in 2011. 

The Climate Action Plan includes the Clean Power Plan. The Waters of the U.S. rule protects streams and wetlands that have been scientifically shown to impact downstream water quality. According to the EPA, one in three people get drinking water from streams that were vulnerable to pollution before the Clean Water Rule.

Ultimately, Trump wants to focus on shale, oil, coal and natural gas in order to create jobs. He also wants to open up this billion-dollar industry to include Yellowstone, Yosemite Valley, Mt. Rushmore and other nationally protected areas.

EPA administrator Pruitt, like Trump, is in denial about climate change and does not believe carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming despite ample amounts of evidence available.

Removing the Clean Power Plan will be a complicated process. The EPA went through a long rule making process to enact the plan and it will take many years to undo it. Additionally, the EPA is legally obligated to regulate CO2 through various Clean Air Act programs.

The climate action group 350.org is doing everything they can to stop Trump from removing the Clean Power Plan.

“Trump’s energy plan is par for the course of the President’s climate denial, but it’s nonetheless alarming for the movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground,” said 350.org executive director May Boeve in a statement. “Fulfilling this plan would not only set back years of progress we’ve made towards protecting the climate, but would undoubtedly worsen the devastating impacts of the climate crisis, from rising sea levels to extreme weather.”

Trump also plans to remove the U.S. from the 2015 Paris Agreement, the first global climate effort to reduce emissions. There are 194 nations involved in the accord and if the U.S. withdraws, it will take a four-year process to withdraw the world’s largest economy and second-largest climate polluter.

EPAchart

Human activity is responsible for almost all of the increases in greenhouse gases, which trap heat and make the planet warmer. In 2014, there were 6,870 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent. Photo courtesy of  the EPA

This would be a large step back for the U.S., who refused to ratify the emission-reduction 1997 Kyoto agreement. This resulted in global emissions surging rather than declining due to lack of U.S. participation.

Foreign leaders say that if the U.S. leaves the Paris Agreement, it will have ramifications for the diplomacy and credibility of the U.S. as well.

As for Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf’s spokesman said they are in the review process to evaluate how communities will be harmed and affected by eliminating the Clean Power Plan. If Trump removes the Waters of the U.S. rule, Pennsylvania’s waterways are actually offered more protection under the state’s Clean Streams Act. However, the rule’s removal would make it easier for states to abolish environmental protections.

Overall, the letter from the Catholic Climate Covenant puts pressure on U.S. leaders to take steps forward, not backwards, in global warming, which is a crisis and not the “hoax” that Trump refers to it as.

From the editor’s desk: Discrimination is not dead

Originally published in Issue 10, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (March 2, 2017). Click here to view the entire issue. 

In November, The Minstrel published my article “‘Sexual orientation’ missing from non-discrimination policies.” Seeing this article published was a proud moment for me as a journalist. I’m glad my article is still leading to faculty discussions four months later, and was glad to see “sexual orientation” being included in the NSSEE survey, which DeSales did not include in any previous years.

The Notice of Non-Discrimination found in the student handbook and faculty handbook says, “DeSales University will accept and make available to all students, faculty members or employees on a non-discriminatory basis, without regard to age, sex, race, color, disability, veteran status, national origin, or ancestry, all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students, faculty members, and employees.”

Clearly, sexual orientation is missing (and many non-discrimination policies list gender expression and gender identity as well), but it’s about way more than adding words to a list.

It’s about the students.

It’s about the faculty and staff.

It’s about equal treatment.

One of the key reasons same-sex marriage was legalized in the U.S. is because of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. It says states should not deny any person “the equal protection of the laws,” so I don’t think it is fair for DeSales to deny recognition to the LGBT population in their policies.

However, do you notice anything else missing from the non-discrimination clause?

Ironically enough, the nondiscrimination policies of this religious-based institution are lacking religion, which most non-discrimination policies include.

The students and staff at DeSales have diverse religions. Of course, Catholicism is the majority on campus; however, people practicing different religions may feel like the odd man out and unable to express their views.

Discrimination is not dead.

According to Pew Research Center in 2015, anti-Muslim assaults in the U.S. were at the highest level since Sept. 11 era levels. In 2001 there were 93 reported aggravated or simple assaults motivated by anti-Muslim bias while in 2015, there were 91, and that number most likely increased for 2016 and still increasing today. Additionally, there were 257 anti-Muslim hate crimes incidents in 2015, which is 67 percent higher than the previous year.

Sexual orientation and religion need to be protected by the University.

I have de nitely made my opinions clear on the subject, but read Father Dailey’s “Letter to the editor,” which also relates back to my sexual orientation article and gives context to the most popular DeSales’ phrase: “Be who you are and be that well.”

I appreciate hearing the feedback and different voices at the University. If you would like to send a “Letter to the Editor” for a future publication, e-mail me at kd6695@desales.edu.

Peace, love & Desales,

Kellie Dietrich
Editor-in-Chief

DeSales’ first-annual Mini-THON raises $2,864.52 for pediatric cancer

Originally published in Issue 10, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (March 2, 2017). Click here to view the entire issue. 

Sponsored by Alpha Pi Omega (APO), the rst-annual Four Diamonds Mini-THON raised $2,864.52, well over APO’s goal of $1,000, for pediatric cancer and took place Friday, Feb. 17 at 10 p.m. to Saturday, Feb. 18 at 8 a.m. in McShea.

The idea for Mini-THON surfaced after surveying the raise money and awareness commit to stay on their feet brotherhood about service opportunities.

“Thankfully, Mini-THON was one idea brought up,” said Amanda Kaschak, president of APO. “Many of the brothers actually participated in Mini-THON in high school, so their experience was a plus as well.”

Leading up to Mini-THON, APO held two fundraisers to raise money and awareness

for the main event. The staff of Donahue made pancakes and took donations for the fundraiser “Thonaue,” which raised $60, and the second event, “Pie in the Face,” raised $125.

mini-thon

Mini-THON participants hold up their hands to form a diamond, the symbol of THON and the Four Diamonds Fund, which represents the four diamonds of the fund: courage, wisdom, honesty and strength. Photo courtesy of Morgan DeAntonio

Mini-THONs are modeled after Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, where students commit to stay on their feet for 46 hours. This year they raised $10,045,478.44 for Four Diamonds at Penn State Children’s Hospital.

DeSales’ Mini-THON participants asked friends, family members and coworkers to make donations and committ to dancing, or at least not sitting down, for 10 hours. In addition to a DJ and dancing, there was a life-sized game of Hungry Hungry Hippos, tug of war, ping-pong, a frisbee toss, merchandise, a bake sale and free food available from the DUC and Now That’s Italian in Coopersburg.

One of the highlights of the night was the group dance to “Just Hold On” by Steve Aoki and Louis Tomlinson.

“Even though people were with their friends, and there was some team rivalry for events like Hungry Hungry Hippos, everyone did the dance together on the hour and it was a really fun way to unify the group and mark the passing of the time,” said Leslie Myers, vice president of APO and senior event chair of Mini-THON.

Overall, 93 participants from DeSales, Cedar Crest College and Kutztown registered for the event, but not all of them made it until 8 a.m.

“I wasn’t able to stay the full 10 hours, but I was happy to see that we went beyond our goals,” said Tina Tran, APO member and chair of the entertainment committee for Mini-THON. “People had such amazing energy and spirit, and I truly admire the dedication of everyone involved, especially Leslie, and those who made it through all the way to the end.”

Kaschak also noted that the energy of Mini-THON was incredible.

“Without looking at the clock, you never would have known it was 3 or 4 in the morning. Even as people got tired, we had an amazing group to keep spirits up and remind us that we were doing it for the kids.”

Although the cause made Mini-THON worth it in the end, APO faced dif culties putting on the event. Myers said that the biggest challenge of hosting Mini- THON was the time constraint.

“I found out that we were hosting it one month and eight days before it happened,” said Myers. “Usually Mini-THONs take eight to 12 months to plan.”

With the help of the APO brotherhood and members of the DeSales community, the event was made possible.

“This could not have been done without the help of Jaime Gerhart our advisor, Vicky Gaffney and Matt [McMonagle], Tracy [Gallagher] and Nick [Luchko], Linnae Budusky and Lyndsay Driscoll, just to name a few,” said Kaschak.

Overall, the night was deemed a success.

“The moment the nal total was revealed, all of the hard work paid off. Not only did we exceed our goal, but through our efforts we are able to help the life of a child affected by this monstrous disease,” said Kaschak.

“Seeing the sun come back up was the most amazing feeling,” added Myers. “I have done Mini-THONs in high school so I knew what I was asking of everyone, but still having people there with me at 8 a.m. at this event that I had put together was something that I was so thankful for.”

APO plans to make Mini- THON an annual event, but Kaschak says they want to move it to the fall semester.

“We are currently working on collecting suggestions for improvements including the possibility of the timing, length and activities planned,” she said. “The main improvement to be accomplished is more advertising and participation.”

Students can donate to the ght against pediatric cancer until June 1. Help APO reach their new goal of $3,000 by searching “DeSales donor drive” to contribute online to the Four Diamonds Fund or at the URL http://fourdiamonds.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donordrive.event&eventID=1743.

As Four Diamonds says, “One day we will dance in celebration, until then we will dance for a cure.”

New album by Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness balances thought-provoking lyrics with fun dance beats

Originally published in Issue 9, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (February 16, 2017). Click here to view the entire issue. 

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness released its second album “Zombies on Broadway” on Feb. 10. The indie rock/pop album, full of well-written lyrics and music perfect for dancing, is a follow-up to the self-titled debut of Andrew McMahon’s solo project Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, which featured the Billboard Hot 100 single “Cecilia and the Satellite” about McMahon’s newborn daughter.

McMahon began his music career in the early 2000s with pop- punk band Something Corporate and ventured off into his rst solo project Jack’s Mannequin. Before Jack’s Mannequin’s first album was released in 2005, McMahon was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. About a year later, McMahon started the non-profit charity The Dear Jack Foundation, to raise funds for adolescent and young adult cancer (ages 15-39).

After a three-album journey using the moniker Jack’s Mannequin, McMahon was

ready for his next solo project: Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.

andrewmcmahon

Possibly explaining the split image of himself on his cover art, McMahon writes on his website, “What I found; I have always been two people; One in search of peace and the other in search of whatever makes my hair stand up and my heart beat faster.” Photo courtesy of anderwmcmahon.com

 

The new album “Zombies on Broadway” features 11 tracks and opens up with the sounds of New York City subways in “Zombie Intro,” which quickly leads into “Brooklyn, You’re Killing Me.” The lyrics are more spoken than sung, but the song is still catchy and fun to listen to.

If it’s not obvious from the first two tracks, “Zombies on Broadway” is based on McMahon’s experiences in New York.

“I wrote this album in the middle of a whirlwind, when the future was unclear. Isn’t it always?” writes McMahon on his website. “I found my way to the city, thinking I could settle a score with a ghost. You can’t, so I came home and rewrote the ending.”

The album’s hit-single “Fire Escape” truly gives the feel of spending a night in the big city and being in love. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure to sing and dance along to. Verses are backed up by McMahon’s piano playing, which leads up to a bass drop

and a catchy chorus utilizing his distinct voice.

“So Close” is another fun, pop song, about being on the verge of success or failure.

“So close to giving up, so close to going all the way,” sings McMahon in the chorus.

McMahon mixes up his style with country elements in “Walking in My Sleep” and slows things down with “Don’t Speak for Me (True).” On the surface of the latter song, the story seems to be about getting over a breakup, but looking deeper, it could actually be about McMahon surviving cancer.

“Every day I feel a little bit stronger than I was when I was, when I was with you,” he sings.

McMahon’s clever lyrics often utilizes similes; “You’ve got a heart like a neon sign,” he sings in “Shot Out of a Cannon,” and also metaphors, such as comparing love’s strength to a building in the song “Love and Great Buildings.”

The album closes strong with “Birthday Song,” featuring strong soaring vocals accompanied by the piano and wraps things up with more sounds from New York City.

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness is touring with alternative bands Atlas Genius and the Night Riots in the Zombies in America Tour. Catch the tour at The Fillmore in Philadelphia on April 7. More tour dates and information can be found at andrewmcmahon.com.

 

From the editor’s desk: Online health information, abortion inaccuracies

Originally published in Issue 9, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (February 16, 2017). Click here to view the entire issue. 

At this point in the semester, you’re either one of three things: about to be sick, sick or just got over it. Unfortunately, I currently fall under the “sick” category.

When I’m sick I do two things. First, I Google my symptoms and nd out from WebMD that I have cancer. Then I panic and text my sister, who is an RN, and nd out that WebMD is wrong and I’m not dying.

Most likely, you also fall under the category of googling your symptoms. According to a Pew Research Center 2013 survey of online health information seeking, 77 percent start with search engines like Google or Yahoo instead of going to a health-oriented site.

This may not sound problematic, but most people do not try and decide if the sources they are looking at are credible and trustworthy. They most likely choose the first source on the page and work their way down.

Additionally, many people have confirmation biases. If they believe they have the flu, they are going to look for websites telling them they have the flu in order to confirm what they already believe.

Most people are satisfied with their searches; however, many websites contain inaccurate health information. Once a lie is told on the Internet, it tends to spread. Health information is sometimes syndicated, so it appears on multiple sites. This means they are verifying their information with multiple sources, but they have really read the material from the same syndicate on two different websites.

Information is often misleading to set certain agendas and one of these is the pro-life agenda. In December 2016, the French Senate signed a bill criminalizing the posting of misleading pro-life information online. They believe it is unlawful for sites to pose as neutral sources of information but promote anti-abortion agendas.

In the last issue the article “Pro-Life Club attends 44th March for Life in D.C.,” quoted a student who stated that having an abortion could cause their mental and physical health to suffer such as damaging reproductive organs, causing infertility and leading to emotional trauma like PTSD.

As the editor, I read every article before the issue is sent to the publisher. After reading this, I was unsure if the information was true or not and a quick Google search confirmed what the student said, or so I thought. Unfortunately, I fell into the trap of inaccurate information being falsely spread around the Internet. I’m not trying to argue for or against abortion here, but as a journalist, it is important to me that the facts are presented accurately and that lies do not spread out of control (i.e. for the hundredth time, vaccines do not cause autism).

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, abortion is a low-risk procedure. Fewer than one in 100 women have complications from an abortion performed before 14 weeks of pregnancy and up to two in 200 women after. Additionally, the risks from an abortion are less than the risks of giving birth.

Going back to abortion inaccuracies, a 2010 study “Informed or misinformed consent? Abortion policy in the United States,” found that one-third of informed consent information is inaccurate. Most states have informed consent statutes, which require that a woman seeking an abortion receive a state-authored informational packet before an abortion is performed.

Researchers found that 31 percent of the information was medically inaccurate ranging from 15 to 47 percent across states with Pennsylvania averaging to 24 percent. Most of the inaccuracies were about the first trimester of the pregnancy, and among women who have abortions, 90 percent do so in the first trimester. The patterns of inaccuracies included accelerated fetal development, especially size and weight.

Similarly, a 2014 study, “Crisis pregnancy center websites: Information, misinformation and disinformation” looked at a total of 254 websites of crisis pregnancy centers (348) referenced in state resource directories for pregnant women. A total of 203 out of 254 websites had at least one false or misleading piece of information. The most common being mental health risks, preterm birth, breast cancer and future infertility.

Now that the facts are straight, you should de nitely check out The Minstrel’s new “Volunteer of the Month” section honoring students dedicated to service. There’s also an ice hockey double feature on the back page and lots of great reading in between.

Peace, love & DeSales,

Kellie Dietrich
Editor-in-Chief