Category Archives: Features

The Story Behind The White House on the Corner

Feathers are strewn across the tables. The room is buzzing with excitement and chatter. Someone shout outs that all of the supplies are gone, but that doesn’t seem to prompt anyone to turn around and leave. Students continue to trickle in through the front door of the big white house on the street corner, curious to see what all the commotion is about. Once inside, each student finds a comfortable space within the room to call their own. It feels open, full, cozy and safe all at once.

Welcome to the American Indian Heritage Month dream catcher workshop at the Mosaic House.

Located at 346 East Orange Street, the Mosaic House serves as a safe place for students of diverse backgrounds and interests to come together to socialize, have meetings  and study. Throughout the year, the Mosaic House will be hosting educational programs, such as the American Indian Heritage Month dream catcher workshop, that are developed by students and faculty in the hopes of creating a welcoming and supportive environment on campus.

The House also offers workspaces for student groups who have demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“We really wanted to make sure that we had some unique features for the house and to use those features to really encourage student involvement,” said Interim Coordinator of Multicultural Programs and Residential Communities Stephanie Collins. “The house can’t exist without student involvement.”

Collins, whose office is located in the Mosaic House, reached out to every student organization on campus to hear about their commitments to diversity and encouraged each one to apply for a designated workspace in the House. She was both surprised and excited to see that so many organizations that people wouldn’t normally refer to as diversity-oriented are working to be more inclusive of all groups of people.

“We had a really interesting application from a new electrical engineering club on campus called High Voltage,” Collins stated. “The club does have diversity because it was started by a history major and most of the students involved are not engineers, but rather students from all different backgrounds who share this common interest.”

Every student organization that seeks to acquire a workstation in the Mosaic House must be willing and able host a program in the house each semester that promotes diversity and inclusion, regardless of the focus of the club. Currently, there are five student organizations with workspaces in the House but any group or individual can ask to host a program in the house.

“I don’t think that I would ever turn someone’s idea down as long as it has something to do with diversity, which is honestly almost anything,” Collins said. “Any educational opportunity for students is important.”

The College Democrats are one of the five student organizations that acquired workspace in the Mosaic House this year.

“We are a club that supports diversity and the Mosaic House was offering support to clubs who were willing to create programming focused on diversity,” sophomore John Koons, Vice President of the College Democrats said. “We wanted to make sure that we took advantage of that.”

The College Democrats have already hosted their first event this semester at the Mosaic House: a promotional campaign highlighting the presidential candidates’ views on diversity issues.

“We created posters that detailed where each candidate stood on diversity issues such as religion and same-sex marriage,” Koons said. “We kept it as unbiased as possible to appeal to the greater audience of the Mosaic House.”

Next semester, the College Democrats plan to focus on facilitating conversations around diversity-related issues that people don’t feel comfortable talking about.

“We want to start conversations that help people gain an understanding of different identities they might not have been aware of before coming to college,” Koons mentioned.” As a private institution, Etown might not get the same diversity levels that state school do so it’s even more critical to have that conversation.”

Noir, the student diversity union on campus, also earned a work station in the House.

“The Mosaic House is a place where I can embrace the idea of being a minority and feel safe doing so,” sophomore Noir member Guadalupe Carnero said. “It’s a place where I can learn about who I am and my place in society.”

Noir has been a key advocate for the Mosaic House all along, speaking out about the importance of creating a safe place for diversity and inclusion on campus. The organization was highly involved with last year’s Six-Word-Story project and hopes to continue participating in local actions and advocacy.

As long as students are willing to participate, Collins is willing to provide programming that incorporates student-driven ideas.

“The house to me is about breaking down barriers when talking about identity,” she said. “It’s about creating a space where students feel more safe and more heard.”

The Mosaic House expected a turnout of around 40-50 students at the dream catcher workshop. Over 85 students showed up. Whether they realize it or not, those 85 students who crowded into the Mosaic House revealed that support of multiculturalism, of diversity and of acceptance is alive on our campus.

Check out a quick walk through tour of the Mosaic House here.

Sensitively, Spring Awakening

Elizabethtown College students, faculty and staff walked into the Tempest Theatre at various times in the past two weeks expecting a show, and it was a show they got. The college’s theatre department decided to put on Frank Wedekind’s “Spring Awakening,” directed by Michael Swanson with music by Duncan Sheik. Despite the various warnings posted in the programs, outside of the box office and the announcements prior to the show, the risers were packed with people who came to be awakened and watch their peers be awakened themselves.

“Spring Awakening” takes place in a small town in Germany in 1891 and focuses upon the minds of the youth and changes going on with them at that time. From 1890 to the end of World War I, Germany experienced a kind of social and moral conservatism that was promoted by state government officials and prevented a lot of “body” knowledge from reaching their youth. Michael Swanson said that the adults held a “unified but ancient discipline and the teens [yearned] for modern freedom.” Most of the cast represent characters who are in their pubescent years, discovering their bodies and minds, and, generally, figuring out how the world works. Although the characters in this musical are played by college-aged students who are in a different stage of life, several actors have found similarities between the actors whom they played and their own lives.

Kevin Hughes, a senior communications and German as a foreign language double major, played the main male lead named Melchior. “Wanting to know all things all the time is definitely something that I can relate to,” he said. “It’s very easy to let yourself slide into a bad place, and there’s a certain amount of self-checking that you have to do throughout the show. There are abuse scenes, sex scenes, a suicide, a funeral. There’s a certain part where I have to ‘hit’ my counterpart, Wendla, with a stick, and, of course, I don’t actually hit her, and the first thing we do after we get off-stage is to check to make sure that both of us are alright and that there aren’t any emotions that are left brewing in us after that. It’s a lot to consider and more to handle.”

It is important to remember that these actors are not being paid for what they are performing. Hughes continued to say that he has absolutely no connection to the theatre department on campus aside from the fact that he enjoys performing. But what kind of toll does this take on the students who are performing in these sensitive roles and balancing schoolwork and looking to see how their peers are reacting?

“There were certain moments when I was emotionally overcome by the stuff I was portraying, and that’s a lot to say because I’m participating in this just because I can,” Hughes said. “My studies have definitely slipped under the radar. Sometimes I think we all forget we’re at school, not just in the theatre.”

Connor Burke, a senior theatre major, played Moritz in “Spring Awakening.” Even with a clear interest in theatre, Burke found it hard to be involved. “My sleep definitely suffered,” he said. “You’d think it would be good for my time management skills, but sometimes we drown in our schoolwork and three-and-a-half hour practices. It’s alright. It helps that my friends are all in the same boat too.”

It seems to be a sensitive balancing act for the student-actors to keep their “real life” and “stage life” separate from one another. With constant reminders that these students are here to learn, the directors and play selection committee seemed excited to put on “Spring Awakening.” Burke, a member of the selection committee, was especially ready to participate since he had a role in picking what to put on.

“It’s been a huge learning experience for all of us,” Hughes said. “We’re not being paid. I’m still a kid, just like Melchior. Still trying to figure stuff out. There wasn’t anything we could do but take it one scene at a time, something I suppose we, metaphorically, do in real life, too.”

Presidential election

Political Interview 

News Story

With the upcoming presidential election this November, the debates heat up between democratic and republican nominees. On the democratic side you have Bernie Sanders as well as Hilary Clinton and on the republican side you have Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

This Tuesday will be the Pennsylvanian primary vote and we shall see if the state is going to vote for. Each candidate has their own views and their own stands on certain political issues that are going to be big in this upcoming election. Some of these issues consist of the current economic issues, climate change, social issues especially with criminal justice issues, health care, privacy and data security, education as well as many other issues that are currently happening in this country. We asked some Elizabethtown College students what they thought were the biggest issue in this election.

With graduation only weeks away one issue on many of the senior’s minds is the economy and more specifically the job market. Senior lacrosse player, Jordan Bowser, said “it’s a scary thought to come out of college without a job, but I believe that the economy will improve with a change in Washington.” He believes that a good choice for the next president would be Bernie Sanders.

Junior business administration major, Erik Haas, believed the economy was a big issue but he thought the issue of national defense and security from foreign enemies was a bigger issue. He said, “We need to protect America on the home front and we need to make America great again. That’s why I hope to see Donald Trump in office next year.” Erik also said, “I also believe that we are too politically correct and it’s causing us to go downhill and quick.”

Everyone has their own opinions on what the big issues are and also who is best prepared to take on the role of president and tackle these issues. We shall see on Tuesday who Pennsylvania thinks will be best with the primaries on the 26.

 

Candidate-Collage

 

Feature Story

Donald Trump has shocked the nation with his current campaigning strategies, but he still manages to succeed and attract millions. Much of this is due to the media and self-sufficient funding gained from his life before politics. This is not his first appearance in a race for candidacy, but it is definitely the biggest one yet. Trump, who has filed bankruptcy for 4 of his businesses and gone through 3 marriages, but still manages to return and construct what has been an intense campaign.

Trump was born in Queens, New York, into a comfortable family and took advantage of the means he was given to become successful. His father owned an up-and-coming construction company named Elizabeth & Son. After being sent to New York Military Academy at the age of 13; trump graduated in 1964, a gifted student and athlete. He graduated from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania in 1968, with a degree in economics.

Trump went to work for his dad and immediately exceeded expectations and advising his dad to expand, a profitable decision by the company. Trump was so productive that he was given control of the company in 1971, naming it Trump Organization. This was the foundation to his future endeavors and helped him to own some infamous real estate and businesses.

Trump accumulated numerous influential acquaintances and soon after, took over some of the biggest projects in Manhattan. Some of his biggest properties include Trump Tower, Trump Castle, the Plaza hotel, the Taj Mahal, and Trump International Golf Club. In 1977 Trump married his first wife, model, Ivanna Zelnickova. 1990 he claimed his net worth was as high as $1.5 billion, but after a Forbes investigation, it was actually estimated at $500 million.

In 1991 Trump and Ivanna file for divorce. His businesses have gone bankrupt four times between 1991-2009 forcing him to take out various loans to keep his empire running, but still managed to marry Marla Maples in the mean time in 1993. In 1997 he once again publicly claimed he was worth around two billion dollars; but it was again estimated to actually be about five hundred million dollars.

Trump was not only able to climb put of a nine hundred million dollar deficit but divorced his wife in 1999 on the eve of his run as a candidate for the reform party. He managed to win primaries in California and Michigan but backed out of the race soon after. Trump, regardless of his race for the reform party, was a democrat most of his life until recently when he swayed back and forth from the republicans.

Trump openly supported Reagan and Clinton but made contributions to both parties, more to the democrats until 2011, when it shifted. His affiliations have changed but some things remain the same, like the Clintons attended Trump’s wedding. And Trump even said publicly that Hilary would make a good president or vice president. Between the two elections in 2005, Trump married model Melania Knauss.

On June 16, 2015, he officially began running for the republican nomination and his campaign has been very interesting to say the least. Despite his sexist, demeaning remarks about women, and his offensive statements towards Muslims and Mexicans, he is still leading the race. Trump is not inexperienced and is able to rally support because his campaign successfully focuses and emphasizes American patriotism more so than political correctness.

Donald has received prominent media exposure and fame well before this election, mainly due to the drama of his three marriages and massive real estate holdings. All of these previous events had established him, so all Trump had to do was apply his wealth that he accumulated. His open behavior and demeanor is something we have never experienced, and it is all possible because he has amassed the resources and followers necessary.

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Why should we fund planned parenthood?

Planned Parenthood Federation of America supplies reproductive health services in the United States and internationally. This nonprofit organization began as a birth control center clinic in 1921 Brooklyn, New York and has expanded to many facilities throughout the world. Planned Parenthood deserves funding to be continued because these services are irreplaceable to those who cannot afford them through other means.

Some of the services provided by Planned Parenthood include birth control, long-acting or emergency contraceptives, breast and cervical center screening, pregnancy, pregnancy options counseling, testing and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, sex education, vasectomies, LGBT services and abortions, depending on location. Approximately 75% of the clients that use Planned Parenthood services make an income below the federal poverty level.

There has been federal funding for Planned Parenthood since 1970. Since then, over a third of its money has come from government grants and contracts. Within the law it states that no federal funding can go to abortions. There are pro-life activists that believe the funding will be re-allocated for abortions so no money at all should be given to the organization. The other services provided are without a doubt a necessity to today’s American woman. This program deserves funding so that in can continue to provide these services. Associates at Planned Parenthood said, “Payment works so that a client pays what they can afford, sometimes even for free. This is something that’s really important for people, and we’re glad that we can give these services.”

The student wellness office on campus works closely with Planned Parenthood in order to provide education to college students. Laura Jobe, a sophomore member of the student wellness team, “They have more resources for all stages of sexual life. There’s a stigma about abortions being conducted, but it is not true, that’s not a big part of what they do. Some people need contraceptives from them because it is safe and effective.”

Abortions only make up 3.4% of the total services provided, but many political leaders still see this organization as a war on life. 12% of clients receive this procedure. The largest portion of the services is contraceptives, providing 3.6 million in 2014. There are many people who rely on these services. Without them there would be many people with large issues that can be easily prevented or solved with Planned Parenthood. An unnamed student who has used the services said, “Without Planned Parenthood I wouldn’t have been able to get the help I needed, and I’m really thankful for them.”

Pro-life activism should not have control over the entire population. Restrictions on a woman’s body are an example of the misogynistic ideals of American society. Every woman should be able to decide for herself what she would like to do with her own body. Limiting funding to the organization shows the gender inequality that is so prevalent in our culture.

When speaking about the services provided by Planned Parenthood, former president Richard Nixon said, “No American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition.” There is no reason that anyone should be denied basic medical assistance especially if that reason is monetary.

A portion of funding comes from donations but that cannot be a reliable source of income since it is voluntary. Steady federal funding would greatly improve the quality and ability of performance of the services. A small portion of tax money being spent on Planned Parenthood is more cost-effective than unwanted pregnancies. The health and safety of American women should not be a question.

Planned Parenthood Services