Category Archives: Features

Humans of Etown: Sarah Hasenauer

Sarah enjoying the sunshine on campus.

Sarah Hasenauer, a first year student majoring in occupational therapy (OT), has settled in nicely at Elizabethtown College. Like most high school juniors and senior, Sarah was right there with them, stressing and struggling to find the right college to spend her next four years. After going through the painful application process and committing, Sarah couldn’t be happier.

Etown’s appeal

“I chose Etown because, as cheesy as it sounds, it felt like home the moment I stepped foot on campus” Sarah said.

After numerous emotionless tours of different colleges, Sarah was pleased to finally feel that thing that everyone talks about, the “home away from home appeal.” She was drawn to the personalities of the students; everyone was so welcoming and she could see that people actually cared about each other, not simply putting on the “welcome to our campus” façade that she felt at the other colleges she looked at. There was also a huge limiting factor for which schools she could look at: her major. There are only a few schools in Pennsylvania that offer OT, let alone a fifth year program that doesn’t require an application for the fifth year. The combination of personal touch and education made coming to Etown an easy decision for her.

Major choices

As a high schooler, Sarah struggled to find what she wanted to major in. She felt the pressure building as college became closer, but couldn’t find what she wanted to commit to. Physical therapy seemed to have some of the aspects Sarah enjoyed, like helping people heal and improving their lives, but she cringed at the thought of having to inflict pain on patients. In order to stay in rehabilitation services, Sarah looked into OT. With college application deadlines approaching, she warily declared OT as her major. Looking into it more, she organized an internship with the occupational therapist in her school district.

“I’d spend two hours every morning with her and would help with some of the planning and grading. This is when I fell in love with OT and I knew I chose the right major” Sarah said.

Life at Etown

When taking a break from studying for biology or her other OT courses, Sarah is usually off at dance practice. In her first semester, Sarah performed in a variety of dances at the Emotion Showcase. This semester, she has taken on the lead as a choreographer of her own dance to “Praying” by Kesha. She is excited to perform next Thursday and Friday at the showcase.

She is also a member of the dance team and just elected treasurer for next year.

“I love dance! It is a great way to destress and forget about all my obligations for a while.”

An average day for Sarah consists of her going to class in the morning, working at the college bookstore, then going to dance. Free from her weekly obligations, Sarah tends to go home on the weekends. She knows that her family are always up to something, and doesn’t want to miss out.

Sarah is excited for her coming years at Etown, but coming to the close of her second semester, she is realizing it is going by much faster than she would like.

Humans of Etown: Stepf Diaz

Stepf Diaz [center] surrounded by her student workers at the Mosaic House. [photo taken December 2017]
Every friend group has the mom friend and every girl scout troop has its den mother. A large group of students here at Etown have a campus mom. Stepf Diaz, the coordinator of multicultural programming and residential communities, is in charge of the Mosaic House on campus. The Mosaic House is a safe space, being the home away from home for people of different races, sexualities, and whatever else. Stepf, in charge of it all, became like the mom away from mom for many students here.

Continue reading Humans of Etown: Stepf Diaz

Humans of Etown – Grace Gibson

Grace Gibson in her dorm room.

Grace Gibson, a first-year biology and English double major, knew she wanted to come to Elizabethtown College after attending an accepted students day at Villanova.

“It was between Villanova and here, and I didn’t want to go to Villanova,” she said.

She followed up with her first memory of the College: November 2016, at an open house event. After driving the two hours from her home in central New Jersey, her parents were convinced that they were going the wrong way because they claimed that there were too many farms.

But upon seeing Leffler Chapel, they knew they were in the right place; that did not stop them from exclaiming, “We’re in the middle of nowhere!”

After her first week here, Gibson was in the mindset of wanting to impress everyone and showing them that she was cool. She interjected that she was still obsessed with the Broadway musical Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 and was upset that it was closing. Her love of the musical was also shown by a poster for the musical hanging above her bed along with a beautifully detailed drawing of one of the actors, Grace McLean.

“I wanted to be the most impressive person my professors had ever seen, and I was excited about meeting new people, but I still wanted to focus on my schoolwork,” Gibson said, looking at the homework splayed across her desk.

She also said that while college is overwhelming, slightly terrifying at all times, and full of repressing all of her issues, it is mostly fun and she has many memories of good times, even in her first year.

“The most memorable moment so far has been Schlossmas, especially when we stole trays from the Marketplace and tried to go sledding before winter break,” Gibson said.

The name “Schlossmas” comes from a combination of the dorm she and her friends live in, Schlosser, and Christmas, since it was a celebration of winter break. She also recounted the movie night following snow-filled activities, like singing “Frosty, the Snowman” around a “sad and dirty” snowman wearing one of her friend’s hats and one stick arm.

“One day, my friend drove me and another friend to a pet store and one of my friends impulse-bought two small Fiddler crabs,” she said, followed by a few chuckles, when talking about funny moments at Etown.

Gibson also told the story of the not one, but two times her and three other friends stood in one of the very small service closets near the stairwell in Schlosser. They just hung out in the closet for at least 20 minutes, scaring half of the people walking by and receiving worried and confused looks from the other half.

“The second time we did it, we played music and one of my friends who was able to see into the stairwell kept making eye contact with the people walking down the stairs. I think we played the trap remix of the yodeling Walmart kid for most of the second time in the closet,” she said.

As I walked out of Gibson’s room, she turned back to her homework with a small sigh, resuming the never-ending studying for organic chemistry.

Humans of Etown

The subject of the article (who wishes to remain anonymous) drums on a drum practice pad in his room.

When I met him in his room, he was drumming away on a drum practice pad — rat-ta-ta-tat, ratta-tat-tat-tat, rat-ta-ta-tat — occasionally twirling the drum sticks and flipping them in his hand. He’s a secondary English education major at Elizabethtown College, who’s known since his junior year of high school that he wanted to come here.

Broken spoons

His love of drumming and percussion has been with him since he was 4-years-old, when he was given a tiny Fisher Price drum set.

“My mom was tired of me taking spoons and hitting the edge of the tables and breaking both the corners of the tables and the spoons,” he said.

From then on, drumming became one of his passions. He has ADHD, so for him, drumming is a good physical release of energy that he can channel to calm his brain.

He still remembers the joy he felt when he got his first real drum set in seventh or eighth grade. While he’d known his parents had been talking of getting one for him, he hadn’t expected to come home from school one day to find giant boxes in the living room. Immediately, he wanted to get them out.

“So I called my mom, and I didn’t know she was in a meeting at work, and I just called her like five times, and she was like, ‘For the love of god, what do you need?’” He laughed. “And I was like, ‘Can I open these boxes?’ And she was like, ‘What boxes?’ ‘The drum boxes.’ And she goes, ‘Well that was supposed to be your Christmas gift, but go for it.’”


Although he enjoys drumming, he hopes to become a high school English teacher. A self-proclaimed English nerd, he loves not just the literature — Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” is his favorite book, both because of its strong story and always-relevant lessons — but also all of the quirks and “odd little intricacies” of the language’s grammar itself.

He’s always known that he wanted to be a teacher, and pairing it with his love of English seemed natural, especially since he believes in the power of the written word to change the world.

“Through elementary school I always kind of idolized my teachers, because when you’re little you just have this vision that ‘Holy cow, this person can do anything,’” he said. “I figured that I can still kind of fulfill that wanting to be a superhero case through the role of a teacher.”

A miniature zoo

In the corner of his room are two aquariums sitting on a desk. Inside of one there’s a beta fish, a catfish, and a frog. In the other, there are two tiny fiddler crabs.

While those are the animals he has on campus, he actually has a lot more pets back at home, including two guinea pigs, a bearded dragon, two turtles, a hermit crab, and a dog. When asked which pet was his favorite, he quickly protested: “I can’t choose favorites! That’s like a parent choosing their favorite child, I refuse to answer that question.”

The funniest thing that one of his pets has ever done was when his hermit crab escaped from his cage.

“He crawled down the side of his dresser, out the hallway, through the kitchen, down a couple of stairs, up a curtain, and sat on top of wind chimes,” he said. “And when I went to open the door, he fell off the wind chimes and scared the crap out of me.”


As the interview came to a close, he picked his drumsticks back up again and started beating out another tune on the practice pad, skillfully spinning the sticks in his hand — rat-tat-tat, rat-tat-tat-tat, rat-tat-tat. In the corner of the room, his fish continued swimming in their tank. Later, he will open his laptop to work on his next paper he has due. But for now, he enjoys the time to make some music.