God and Jackie Robinson: Long Hits It Out of the Park

Tuesday, February 6— I rushed to the Hoover Center of Business far later than intended. At 7 p.m. on the dot in Hoover 212, the case study room was filled to brim with people and Dr. Monica Smith, director of diversity and inclusion, was already introducing the man of the hour himself. As luck would have it, there was a seat in the front open and with just enough time to get settled, the lecture began.

Dr. Michael G. Long, associate professor of religious studies and peace and conflict studies, is considered one of the best scholars on the life and faith of Jackie Robinson, having written and co-written multiple books on the subject.

“God and Jack Robinson: A Lecture by Michael G. Long” is in part to talk about Long’s research for his most recent book, “Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography,” which he is a co-author of.

The other point of this lecture was obvious; its Black History Month.

Long was invited to share his work, talk about Robinson’s life, not just promote a book. Humanity has a tendency to idolize the past. Robinson was a multifaceted human being, but you only hear about his baseball career, only see photos of him smiling during those years.

“What we tend to do as whites is focus on 1947,” Long said “While Jackie Robinson is turning the other cheek.”
Robinson is defined by more than just baseball or his smile.

“We all, throughout history romanticize some of these people,” Smith said, after the lecture. “But [Long] really showed us Jackie Robinson, the man, and I appreciate that so much. It gave me a greater appreciation of him.”

Yes, Long was teaching the audience that Robinson was just as human as the rest of them.

Long is a teacher. He teaches what he is passionate about and he’s passionate about a lot of things. When someone is enthusiastic about something, it makes people want to listen and that shows.

Although the lecture itself was informative on Robinson’s life, the question and answer section was where it truly shows just how knowledgeable Long is on Robinson and how much he thrives while discussing him.

“This is really interesting to me, too.” Long said, interrupting his own story to give the audience a disclaimer and laughing as he did. “Actually, I find everything about this story interesting! Sorry about that.”

Long was answering a question given by his own son, Nate, asking about how often Robinson when to church. Long answered the question itself quick, but it lead him to a story of Robinson that he could share, so he shared it. He ended up doing that with most of the questions asked.

Guest Lecture on Solving Problem of Incivility in American Democracy

Monday, Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m., the Center of Global Understanding and Peacemaking at Elizabethtown College hosted a guest lecture in Gibble Auditorium on conflict in today’s political climate and how to improve civility in political discourse.

The speaker for the lecture was the president of the Gettysburg Foundation, Dr. Matthew Moen. He opened the lecture by talking about the horrors of the battle of Gettysburg, before speaking of the reconciliation and unity that followed in the aftermath. Nurses had cared for the wounded of both sides, regardless of which side they had fought for.

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was more than just a moving tribute to the soldiers that died — it also spoke of redemption, forgiveness, and resilience. Dr. Moen compared the words of Lincoln with the rhetoric of today’s politics.

“Consider what’s conspicuously absent from his speech: triumphalism,” Dr. Moen said in his lecture. “[Lincoln] doesn’t gloat or malign the other side, doesn’t mention victory, or either side.”

Dr. Moen noted that the next generation of citizens must earn our democracy, as generations before have done. He argued that we must look for solutions to the problems we face today. While democracy is durable, it is not guaranteed, evidenced by how in recent years the United States has gone from a “full democracy” to a  “flawed democracy,” according to The Economist’s rankings of democracies.

“Hearing him list off all of the things that have happened in America within the last year, and hearing it all within a span of a minute or two, is rather alarming,” senior Sean McCubbin said. “But I think he did a good job of presenting a more optimistic tone and a list of realistic things that we could do.”

Dr. Moen gave many suggestions on how to improve civility in our democracy. To start with, he noted things people could do on an individual level, which included finishing their education, to embrace the world’s complexity, and to have a greater sense of personal humility in their political views.

“I think colleges should be models of civil discourse,” Director of the Center of Global Understanding and Peacemaking, Dr. Kenley, said. “If we cannot have disagreements in a respectful manner on a college campus, I’m not sure it’ll happen anywhere.”

Dr. Moen’s other suggestions were directed towards Congress. They included the removal of the one-minute speeches that often begin the legislative day, having citizen commissions draw districts to remove gerrymandering, and to make a switch to a system to publicly finance elections. He also made a call for tech companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter to do a better job policing violent content, and to consider the possibility of regulating them as media companies.

“He not only talked on the level of civilians, but on the level of politicians and corporations and even included the tech aspect, which I think is really neat,” junior Amanda Ralff said.

Dr. Moen said he doesn’t expect every solution to work, but believes experimentation is key. With so much at stake, it is important to try, and he has faith in the new generation to do just that.

 

Are You Excited About the Bowers Center for Sports, Fitness and Well Being Facility?

The new Bowers Center for Sports, Fitness and Well Being has been in progress since the groundbreaking ceremony held on February 2. According to President Carl J. Strikwerda, the new addition will be “the largest facility to be constructed on our campus since Leffler Chapel and Performance Center was added over 20 years ago.”

 

The new building is being built with the idea that it is for “every student, every day.” With the idea of the new edition to the college, Madeline Bender, who is a first-year student, commented on her views. She admitted she did not know much about the facility before the groundbreaking ceremony. She thinks it is a great idea because the current fitness center, the Body Shop, can become a little cramped, preventing her from going. “I think it will also be very valuable to all the athletic teams we have on campus,” Madeline said. She thinks she will use the facility once it is completed.

 

Dante Allen, a junior, will have graduated when the building is complete. He believes it is a waste of money and will not be a good addition. He explains that since Etown is not a Division 1 school, the money should be put towards academics. “I think the students are looking forward to it foolishly, but I would like to believe the faculty sees the problems with the new structure,” Dante said. He does not currently use the Body Shop and said that he would not use the building given the opportunity.

 

Dr. Kirsten Johnson, professor of communications, hopes that the new fitness center will be a critical focal point to possible incoming students. Johnson currently uses the Body Shop but is not happy with the facility. “I’m excited for it to open, to be able to use a state of the art facility that’s less dingy,” Johnson said. She feels the new facility will give her more opportunities to workout since the Body Shop is usually overcrowded.

 

In the email sent to the students by Strikwerda, the building will be, in total, 78,000 square feet. There will be room for the wellness and athletic programs that can use the new group fitness studios, wellness classrooms, spin studios, training treatment areas, and office spaces. There will also be a demonstration kitchen that can be used for health programs or courses.

 

For the athletic teams, there

Current Fitness Center

will be six team locker rooms, three courts and a 180-meter track. There will be no competitions held since the track is not to regulation. Instead, the building will be used for practice, strength and conditioning. “The price tag went up millions when we looked into expanding the track,” said Johnson.

 

The new building will not only be a fitness center but will also have a café and smoothie bar to offer healthier snacks to students. Hopefully, students will be attracted to the relaxing fire place located in the new living room. There will also be a fire pit outside.

Bowers Center Groundbreaking met with Celebration, Apprehension

Elizabethtown College President Carl Strikwerda and other prominent figures broke ground for the Bowers Center for Sports, Fitness and Well-being Friday, Feb. 2 at 4 p.m.

Administrators, student athletes, donors Kenneth and Rosalie Bowers and members of the Board of Trustees gathered in the Jay Walk to celebrate what for some has been a decades-long project.

“I remember them [the administration] thinking about building a field house when I was a student here,” executive director of college engagement opportunities Mark Clapper said. “And I graduated in 1996.”

Strikwerda opened the ceremony by reminding everyone of the groundbreaking’s status as the start of the largest construction project in the College’s history. He, dean of students Marianne Calenda, board of trustees chairman Robert Dolan and campaign steering committee chairman Jim Shreiner then thanked everyone who helped with the project.

Calenda ended her speech by thanking Etown students and calling them “a group of believers.”

Not all students believe in the Bowers Center, though. Senior track and field captain Mitchell Schlegel did not attend the ceremony because he feared he would stand up and interrupt it. In explaining why he did not attend, he mentioned other things the College could focus on, like residence hall renovations.

“It is easy to relish in the glory of a brand new building,” Schlegel said in an email. “The more you don’t look at anything else, the better the building looks.”

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Bowers Center for Sports, Fitness and Well-being kicked off the biggest construction project in Elizabethtown College history.

According to Calenda, the building has four purposes. These include engaging all campus community members and attracting new students.

Professor of communications Dr. Kirsten Johnson’s opinion on the building hinges largely on how well the latter goal is accomplished.

“If the building can bring in students and make current ones satisfied with the College, then it’s great,” Johnson said. “If not, I think it’s a colossal waste of money.”

Now that the College has taken the first official step in construction, Johnson said she plans to use the building, but is concerned about the planned lack of locker room space. Unlike students who have easy access to their residence halls, faculty cannot go back to their rooms to shower if they work out in the middle of the day.

Following the ceremony, everyone moved outside for the actual groundbreaking near Wolf Field. Shovels lined nearby bleachers and were distributed to trustees and administrators. The Bowers couple stood front and center, armed with a golden shovel Strikwerda gave them during the ceremony.

The building will open in Fall 2019. As a senior, Schlegel said he no longer cares much about the building, which he said could spark the end of the College if it makes the administration neglect other problems too much.

“Why would a freshman go and sit in a specialized living room with limited seating and no white boards on the other side of campus when…there are much better facilities for doing school work?” Schlegel said. “Raising enrollment is about making better everything that we already have.”

UPS Raise

Hard working United Parcel Services (UPS) employees get the raise they’ve deserved, increasing their rate of pay from $10.20 an hour to $14.00 an hour. Some UPS employees like Devin Shertzer and Darnel Ramper as well as UPS head supervisor Robby Swartz wanted to share there feelings on the recent wage increase and other upcoming changes.

Shortly after the UPS peak season was over, which started on Black Friday and didn’t end until the second week of January, the Middletown UPS hub met with the part-time workers union to change contracts. The most significant change was the raise. Some smaller, but substantial changes were allowing breaks for employees that work over a five-hour shift and on occasion free meals provided by the company. These are welcome changes, especially to the more seasoned workers who have been awaiting a raise for some time.

It is also believed that with this wage increase the jobs at UPS will become more attractive to younger generations and provide more help for the Middletown Hub and relieve some of the strain of other employees especially during peak season when they work seven days a week.

These changes have been a long awaited improvement to the staff and the Middletown Hub’s productivity. Darnel Ramper who is an experienced worker said, “I’m really excited to see where this takes us as a company and as a unit, I believe production will go up because of these changes and I feel the staff will perform their duties more efficiently.”

Devin Shertzer one of the newer employees agreed. “This is a surprise to me. They never told us something like this might happen I thought we would stay at our starting pay rate for some time, so it’s definitely appreciated.” This is just some of the positivity that is already resonating at the Middletown UPS hub and promises to show overall improvement in the staff and it’s productivity.

However, at the other end of the spectrum, their supervisors aren’t very happy about these changes, as they did not receive a raise. Supervisors make $14.85 an hour, now only an 85 cent difference between hourly employees and their supervisors.

“I’m happy for the hourly employees because they do deserve it and they work hard, but we’re doing the same work as they are most of the day and in addition to that we have the added responsibility of doing paperwork.” Robby Swartz Head Supervisor said. “I’m hoping they’ll give us a raise as well.”

Life of a UPS Employee By:David Varner

 

 

Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania Citizen Journalism