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Campus Thefts Up, Campus Safety Gives Advice


Photo Courtesy of Brieanah Gouveia

Article Written by Brieanah Gouveia


This semester, the number of thefts on Roanoke College’s campus has increased, compared with the fall. Roanoke Campus Safety Director, Thomas Rambo, wants students to be more aware of the risks.

During spring break, Rambo sent an email to all Roanoke students to let them know about a high volume of thefts reported around campus. His message cited the means most often enabling this activity, common objects targeted and shared precautionary steps for students to take.

This semester, at least 12 incidents of theft or burglary were reported, with seven to eight happening in residence halls. These numbers are dramatically up from last semester, when only two to three incidents were reported, Rambo said.

However, for the entire calendar year of 2016, there were about 20 theft incidents filed. Comparatively, Rambo said, although there were “less incidents reported this time last year,” the increase in activity this semester is not too alarming.

Rambo classified these incidences of theft as “crimes of opportunity.” He said the stolen possessions are usually unintended items in common areas or unlocked dorm rooms, such as bags, wallets, or paper money to which people have easy access. In some cases, he said, “people have been invited in and then things go missing.”

“Most of the reports came in over a week-and-a-half period before break,” he said, so the spring break email was common protocol taken “when we [campus safety] see a pattern of behavior.”

The largest burglary was committed by a couple of juveniles, unaffiliated with Roanoke College, who stole unattended athletic equipment from Bast Gym, in addition to a car, he said.

“If you see something suspicious, say something,” Rambo said. “The juveniles were around for a while before any report was called in.” He noted that the culprits were eventually arrested for their crimes.

Since students have returned from spring break, “there have been no more claims made to campus safety,” Rambo said.

According to Rambo, theft report filing works by counting all associated thefts as one incident. For instance, if someone enters a coat room and steals 20 wallets, there are 20 individual thefts but all are recorded under one incident. If a person is caught in the act committing a theft, he/she will be arrested on-site or with a warrant.

Otherwise, if time has elapsed since the incident, Rambo said, the complainant will be asked if he/she wants to press charges. If so, the alleged thief will be arrested and an investigation conducted. The theft of expensive items can result in a felony charge, while less expensive items usually amount in misdemeanor offense, according to Rambo.

However, most of the time, people just want their things back, Rambo said. If no formal complaint with the police department is made, but the culprit is identified, it is considered a student conduct violation, with charges by the Student Conduct Board, headed by Dean Brian Chisom. Depending on the value of the item, there may be a fine, restitution for the victim or community service, Rambo added.

Rambo, who is from Philadelphia, said that he is more “anxious to work in good areas” like Salem, “because people let their guards down.”

Before spring break, he said that  many resident advisors held educational hall programs and information sessions about how to prevent or react to a theft/burglary.

“We want people to get in a good habit of locking their things and reporting suspicious behavior if anything has occurred,” Rambo said. “Partner with us – if you see something, call Campus Safety.”



Take a Hike: Student Gets Hands Dirty for AT Conservation Effort


Photo Courtesy of Brienah Gouveia

Article Written by Brienah Gouveia


Jane Rice likes getting her hands dirty.

Rice, a junior Environmental Studies ma-jor at Roanoke,is an intern at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, where she assists with the organization’s social media and communications work. But she’s also knee deep in recruiting volunteers for the Appalachian Trail’s flagship volunteer crew.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is an organization, one of a larger three-pronged team, maintaining the roughly 2,200 mile long stretch of land crossing through 14 Eastern states, in partnership with the National Park Service and Appalachian Trail Clubs. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy acts as a liaison between the Appalachian Trail Clubs, which according to Rice, primarily provides volunteers who carry out the grunt work of trail maintenance and the National Park Service, which handles administrative work.

Different trail clubs are assigned to different offices of the Conservancy. One of these offices is located in downtown Roanoke, where Rice interns as a social media and communications intern. In this role she has had a part in volunteer recruitment and campaign promotion.

She is currently heading the campaign, Trail Karma, with its motto “If you take care of the trail, the trail will take care of you.” Rice said that the idea of this motto is to promote “leave no trace principles,” adding that “while you’re out hiking, you should do your part to help the trail if it’s doing a lot for you.”

Another program that Rice is helping to promote is Konnarock, the Appalachian Trail’s flagship volunteer trail crew. From May 3 to Aug. 9, five days of every week are designated to particular trail work initiatives. This project’s base camp is in Sugar Grove, Virginia. Each week, two different crew leaders recruit up to 15 workers. So this summer Konnarock leaders are looking for as much help as possible.

The schedule of the outings are also meant to accommodate students who are 18 and older and the employed and who may not be able to become full-time members of clubs, but still want to give a few days out of their summer to maintaining the trail.

Projects conducted on previous trail outings include bridge building, log removal, and other cleanup or construction projects. Senior RC Environmental Science major Connor Martin volunteered for two weeks during June of 2016.

“My first week on the Konnarock Trail Crew was my favorite,” she said. “Three others and myself worked for five days to build a crib wall in a washed out section of the trail. To do this, we had to find around 70 rocks weighing from 60 to several hundred pounds, move them to where the washed out section was, and fit them like puzzle pieces to make the wall, sometimes having to chisel away edges to make them fit. We smashed just about as much to make gravel for the path itself. I found it rewarding because we were literally building a massive structure out of the natural resources around us, sharing stories and experiences in the down time.” Rice added that volunteers are responsible for their personal transportation to the basecamp in Sugar Grove, but from there the organization takes vans to specified trail locations. Volunteers enjoy camping, or as Rice called it car-camping/glamping. “Even if you’ve hiked the whole AT [Appala-chian Trail], or you’ve never done trail work before but are really interested, it suits everyone,” she said.

As for encounters with wild animals on the trail, Rice has not had any personal experienc-es, but added, “It wouldn’t surprise me if there have been some, but I don’t know. It might be one of those things like ‘what happens on the trail stays on the trail.”

Rice said that everyone working for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is dedicated and passionate.

“We get young people, retirees, and even veterans, who get the opportunity to bond over service in a way they probably wouldn’t have before,” she said.

The most fulfilling aspect of the internship, is that “every day in the office, people are so excited about new projects coming up…[and] the organization as a whole promotes such great ideals and values,” Rice said. “They are all about meeting new people, getting people more connected to nature, and preserving the land that we have for future generations.” In addition to Konnarock being a great resume builder, Rice said “it’s a free opportunity to get your hands dirty and meet new people” interested in preserving this historic American trail.

For volunteer sign ups with Konnarock, visit: http://www.appalachiantrail.org/crews

Fallen Bittle Tree Takes on New Life


Article Written by Joe Krzyston


Though the tree that Rev. David Bittle planted over a hundred and fifty years ago no longer stands, its legacy is made manifest in the cross now displayed in Antrim Chapel. Steeped in symbolism and heritage, the cross has a history nearly as extensive as that of the college itself. It is made of the wood from the Bittle Tree, which was said to have been planted by the first president of Roanoke College.

“The removal of the Bittle Tree was a big deal” said Rev. Chris Bowen, College Chaplain. “A ceremony was held to honor the tree before it was removed. Classes were cancelled. Things briefly came to a halt on campus.” The tree, a tulip poplar, was removed due to lightning damage that made it structurally unsound. Though “baby Bittle” seedlings that descended from the original tree were planted after the original tree was removed, a direct link to our past was thought to have been lost. A timely encounter between Rev. Bowen and George Arthur, a retired Roanoke College professor, set in motion the events that led to the building of the cross.

“The old cross that hung in the chapel was damaged during renovations” said Rev. Bowen. “It was a fine cross, but there was nothing about it that really connected it to Roanoke. Around that time, George showed me a bowl that he made from the wood of the Bittle Tree, and it was beautiful. I asked him if he’d mind making a new cross from that wood, and he was happy to do it.”

Rev. Bowen set about researching various symbols that could be incorporated into the design of the cross, deciding on a design that used the Celtic concept of a tree on a cross. To make the cross unique to Roanoke, he and Arthur decided to make the tree a leafless tulip poplar, reminiscent of the Bittle Tree in winter.

“We wanted to make it clear that this school had both branches and roots” said Rev. Bowen. “The branches are empty to say that we have room for people here. This is a welcoming place. The roots are to symbolize our strong foundation, our history.”

There is no stain on the cross, which on account of its lightweight construction is suspended inconspicuously so as to appear almost weightless. The natural grain of the wood is easy to see, and it is light in color. This was intentional on Arthur’s part, as he wanted to preserve as much of the natural condition of the wood as was possible.

The new cross has proven popular with students as well as clergy. “It’s beautiful” said sophomore Deanna Bracken. Bracken works for Rev. Bowen, and spends a lot of time in the chapel orchestrating events. This has given her ample time to observe the cross and consider its importance to the college. “And there’s meaning behind it, which just makes it so much more powerful. I’d love to see the cross displayed for a long time, because it’s such a direct link to our past.”

“Symbolism,” said Rev. Bowen, “points to the things that are important in our lives. It shows us what we value. I think this cross honors our past while pointing its way towards our future.”

Oh Snap! Tree Falls, Campus Freaks, Slight Damage


Photo Courtesy of David Hall

Article Written by David Hall


As a result of a brief, but torrential rainstorm Wednesday afternoon, the first day of March, a tree snapped at its base and fell onto Bittle Memorial Hall on Roanoke’s campus.

The building’s slate roof was not damaged, said Bill Martin, Roanoke’s manager of landscaping and grounds. The structure was built in 1878.

It’s not the first time trees have caused some trouble on Roanoke’s campus. In 2014, the famous Bittle Tree was cut down to avoid safety risk.

Students, who were having lunch in the Commons and already on alert for the storm, rushed to the windows to observe the unfortunate result of the weather.

The tree was about 60 years old, according to Martin. It was not on the list of historic trees and no record of its planting exists.

Ecohousing Takes Shape


Photo Courtesy of Roanoke College

Article Written by Sophie Bookheimer


Next fall, Roanoke College will offer new housing option for students who are environmentally conscious.

The eco housing will be located on the first floor of Crawford and provide students with a space to promote their efforts to conserve the environment. In this residence hall space, students can live among others who are interested in conservation and the environment.

In addition to the eco housing, Roanoke College offers other housing opportunities, including communities for Honors, arts and culture, sports and recreation, and a multicultural living community.

“I love the idea of it and think it will help promote more eco – friendly living practices all throughout campus,” said Jane Rice, a student on the committee that advocated for adding environment-related housing to the community.

Students have the option of choosing from four doubles and one apartment, which is suitable for four students.

“Promoting sustainable living can make students more conscious of the everyday decisions they make and how easy it can be to reduce your carbon footprint,” said Rice.

Students can reduce their impact in ways like “saving water, turning lights off, unplugging things when they are not in use and so on,” she said.

According to Rice, students who live in the eco housing will be able to create programs that promote environmental and sustainability causes. Students can also work with environmentally-purposeful clubs at Roanoke College, including Earthbound, Roanoke College Beekeeping Society, and Roanoke College Garden Club, as well as other students on campus. The community will be given a budget to use for environmental programs or improvements to the community.

The deadline to apply is March 3rd at 8:00 pm. The application can be turned into the Residence Life and Housing Office or emailed to Dalny Ruel at ruel@roanoke.edu.

Students Get Ready for Second Film Festival


Photo Courtesy of Roanoke College

Article Written by Sarah Joseph


Hold on to your popcorn. The Basically Tarantino Festival is here again.

Like the Austin, Texas, semi-annual Quentin Tarantino Film Festival, future student filmmakers at Roanoke College are debuting their own short films.

The festival will be held in the Ballroom on March 23. At least four Roanoke students plan to produce films for the festival.

Last year was the first year for Roanoke’s Basically Tarantino film festival. The idea for the festival took shape after Roanoke College student’s screenplay that eventually became a film.

The story began in the spring of 2015, when Joe Boucher, a former producer of “The Simpsons” visited Roanoke, his alma mater, to teach a one-week screenwriting class. In his class was Steph Spector ‘16, a student who Boucher mentored and who won the class’ screenwriting competition.

The following fall, Boucher was hired as director of Student Activities at the Colket Center at Roanoke. Around the same time, Spector’s script, “Daylily Day,” was chosen for funding by the Virginia Association of Independent Colleges to become a film.

Boucher helped Spector to produce the film.“We decided to make it a student activity and use as many students as possible,” Boucher said. About 75 students participated.

Boucher also recruited local filmmakers, Steve Mason and Jamie Nabers, to assist in the production and give the students real filmmaking experience. They shot the film last winter.

Boucher and Spector met with several English professors – Martha Kuchar, Bob Schultz, Wendy Larson-Harris and GuanSoon Khoo – and they decided that “Daylily Day” should premiere with other student films as part of a film festival in the spring of 2016.

Students Andrew Miller and Madeline Turner came up with the rules and idea for the Basically Tarantino Film Festival, said Boucher. Four student films and Spector’s film premiered for the festival on April 14 in the Colket Center Wortmann Ballroom.

Since Spector graduated, “Daylily Day” has landed spots at four film festivals in New York.

In last year’s festival, David Hall, editor of the Brackety-Ack, won the Audience Choice Award for the film “The Mackay Pierce Story.”

This year in honor of the 175 anniversary of Hollins and Roanoke College and inspired by last year’s festival, Hollins student films will also be screened as part of the three week gallery show called Screen Swap in March and April at Roanoke and Hollins.

Several students are already planning film entrees in this year’s Basically Tarantino Festival. One is Ben Mowers, a junior. He said his film will “be taking a Wes Anderson spin on mental illness, focusing on five patients in a ward who plot an escape. The work will look at each

character individually, and show how their illnesses can be used as skills when they all work together.”

Another film that will premiere at the festival also focuses on mental illnesses but in the form of social anxiety. Jaclyn Frost, a senior, is using an interesting subject to broach the stigma of social anxiety.

“The movie is about a girl who decides to start wearing fairy wings wherever she goes and how it affects her and her best friend,” said Frost, who participated in last year’s festival and won an award for the best use of a line or prop.

Another film inspired by the controversial, unaired Super Bowl commercial by 84 Lumber featuring President Donald Trump’s proposal for a wall at the border of Mexico and the United States inspired Brenda Prieto Velasquez, a senior. Just as the commercial makes one think about the current political arena, Velasquez said she wants to “transmit at the beginning some sadness that at the end makes you reflect on the immigration situation.”

Another student filmmaker, Ben Cowgill, a senior, said he was inspired by last year’s comical Mackay Pierce film. He hopes to produce a film remotely comparable or slightly funnier, and he said he wants the viewers to walk away bemused.

RC Poll Reveals Division, Distrust


Photo Courtesy of Roanoke College

Article Written by David Hall


Virginians are deeply divided by party lines, especially in regards to the media, according to a recent poll from Roanoke College’s Institute for Policy and Opinion Research.


The institute, headed by public affairs professor Harry Wilson, conducted its survey of 616 Virginia residents between Feb.12 and 18 for the purpose of gauging their sentiments towards the most recent events in politics. One of the biggest takeaways from its results was general dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump’s first few weeks in office.


According to the poll, 32 percent of those surveyed approve of Trump’s handling of the job while 50 percent disapprove. These results mostly fall in line with national trends. According to Fivethirtyeight, a statistics-based news website, when those numbers get broken down by party, the results show that an overwhelming 83 percent of those who self-identify as Democrats disapprove of Trump’s performance while a near equally stark 73 percent of Republicans approve.


Also shown is a growing feeling of mistrust of the government that permeated throughout the 2016 campaign. Trump won on being an outsider and regularly and viscerally criticized Washington bureaucrats, going as far as calling the election rigged on several occasions. Sixty-two percent of those surveyed in the Roanoke College Poll said they believed the government in Washington can be trusted only some of the time while 18 percent said that the government can never be trusted.


When the poll inquired about the media, similar results surfaced. Respondents said they do not have very much or any trust in the mainstream media.


However, Virginians showed some optimism as well. A majority (56 percent) believe that the country’s best years lie ahead despite widespread fears and following an election that made many on both sides feel disillusioned.


The poll’s margin of error is +4 and it was conducted via phone, including both home and cell phones.





Battling Mental Illness


Photo Courtesy of Roanoke College

Article Written by Vicki Daguerre


Mental health is a key focus on college campuses across the nation as research and advocacy have grown substantially in recent years. Roanoke College is no exception, as testimony from students on campus has shown. While not every student will seek counseling through the on-campus Counseling Center, students who have used outside resources have felt the steady encouragement and support of the greater Roanoke College community.


It can be difficult to reach out to friends and family about what a person is feeling or going through. It can make the person feel more isolated and, in so doing, perpetuate the feelings she struggles to understand and process.


Jordan, whose name has been changed for the purpose of anonymity, was willing to provide the Brackety-Ack with an honest view about what the process of recovery can look like and how best to support those who are going through it.


For Jordan, his biggest hurdle was reaching out to his friends and family. His recovery has been twofold, as many are, since sessions should remain ongoing. After his first recovery, he expected that everything would return to normal; that he would no longer need as many sessions and that his progress would only get better. Others who face similar challenges often rationalize the healing process in a similar way, but “it’s not like a cut where it heals and then it’s over with,” says Jordan. The feeling that the recovery was not as final as he had hoped caused Jordan to disconnect from his support system once more, in an effort to not worry them.


After an incident that made his lapse in recovery known to his friends and family, he was able to seek the support that he needed again. This time, the support system came to him. “What started to really turn things around was when people started to know what was going on, and they didn’t treat me any differently.”


The fear that a person may treat you differently based on the stigma associated with mental health was proven untrue in the case of Jordan as it is in so many others. Instead, quite the opposite happened. Friends began to share their own journeys and recoveries with mental health. Often the conversation just needs a facilitator, because “once they realize that other people go through this too, that’s when they’re comfortable talking about it.” That’s when a support system can be built.


A support system can make the difference for a student dealing with mental health challenges. According to Jordan, be aware that “as much as you think your situation is exactly like someone else’s your situation is never the exact same.” It is best to just let them talk to you. Allow them to hear your story or path and “it can make things clearer about different options that they have.”


Jordan noted that throughout the process, the administration and the Roanoke College Community gave wholehearted support. The school did not regard him any differently and handled the situation with compassion and empathy. The administration only acted in his best interests. When classes had to be dropped, the process was seamless, preventing a failing letter grade and protecting his transcript.



Throughout the process, Jordan realized that recovery is a process that needs continued support and management unlike other forms of healing. He now knows when to seek support and from whom. For him, seeking multiple forms of therapy helped in the process, and he would recommend giving forms other than standard counseling a chance.


Further, Jordan realizes that there are stigmas associated with being a man and seeking counseling or therapy. The idea that “boys shouldn’t cry or talk about their feelings” becomes a challenge in its own sense. “I don’t need help; I can figure this out on my own” is what some men think instead of seeking help. As Jordan realized when his recovery became difficult, this is not the case. He since learned that there is no shame in seeking help, “I don’t know the perspective of a girl, but coming from the perspective of a guy, I thought it was proving to myself that I could figure it out by myself and on my own.”


Research has shown that “men of all ages and ethnicities are less likely than women to seek help for all sorts of problems—including depression, substance abuse, and stressful life events.” Data gathered in one such study showed that “a full two-thirds of mental health outpatient visits were made by women.” Conclusions in research have found that the casual factor in this difference is “socialization and upbringing: men learn to seek less help.” As advocacy in the area of mental health continues, advocates for men’s mental health with continue to grow.


As Jordan said, “there’s no shame in it.” The Counseling Center has flexible hours, and there are centers in the area that could also be good fits for students.

New Fall Semester in Germany


Photo by Brieanah Gouveia

Article Written by Brieanah Gouveia


Roanoke College’s International Education Office will be offering a new study abroad opportunity to up to 15 students every fall semester, beginning in 2018. Spearheaded by history professors Rob Willingham and Michael Hakkenberg, the semester experience will take place in Leipzig, Germany.

According to the program description, in the first month students will take a German language course at the Herder Institute. Two other courses will be taught for the remaining three months by a Roanoke professor heading the trip, and another one or two by a local adjunct lecturer. These will count as standard Roanoke courses, equating to INQ classes, that do not require any major-specific prerequisites; thus, alleviating any trouble with transfer credits.

According to Willingham, the cost is the same as tuition and housing for a semester at Roanoke with an additional $3,000 program fee.

The motivation behind creating this program Willingham said, is that “we want everybody to have the chance to study internationally, but it can be very expensive, and for many students who would like to travel, the conversation stops there. The College has responded in part with a pair of faculty-led programs, the first currently running in the Yucatan, with the second in Germany to follow. These programs both offer students an entire semester abroad for less than the cost of a May Term.”

The city’s proximity to the birthplace of Martin Luther and Berlin (only a 90- minute train ride) made the location even more appealing. Willingham added that Leipzig is “big enough to get lost, and small enough to get home.” Both he and Hakkenberg have lived in the city and have taken students on May Term trips there in the past.

Erin Hannon, a history major who participated in Willingham and Hakkenberg’s May Term to Germany last year, said that “visiting Leipzig was an incredible experience. The city is rich in history, with amazing museums and monuments; yet, also has all the benefits of a modern city.”

According to the program description, “Leipzig is also a city where one can easily get around in English.” Willingham said that the region may appeal to students interested in topics ranging from history, art, and music, to business and economics.

The program is essentially a semester-long Intensive Learning course taught abroad.

“You’ll have one of our faculty around as a matter of course, as well as an onsite professional to help in times of emergency,” Willingham said. The aim is “to encourage some people who aren’t sure about going abroad by themselves to consider this trip. As always, though, young people, try not to break the local laws and get thrown into prison. We will come get you, but it might be a day.”

Other Roanoke faculty members involved in this project and who may lead the program in the future include Dana-Linn Whiteside, Andreea Mihalache-O’Keef, Daniel Sarabia and Wendy Larson-Harris.

Building Homes, Serving People


Photo Courtesy of Habitat for Humanity

Article Written by Sarah Joseph

Spring Break – two words that convey so much for college students. Almost immediately, images of the ultimate college spring break come to mind. These may be somewhere on a beach, maybe Mexico, chilling and hanging out with your closest friends, sipping on cool drinks and working on those tans. Some Roanoke College students who have more altruistic interests are heading to South Carolina with Habitat for Humanity to build a house and eventually, a community.

The Rev. Chris Bowen, who students know as Chaplain Chris, will be leading a group of 12 students to Columbia, South Carolina. Bowen has taken every spring break Habitat trip for the past four years that he has worked at Roanoke.

This year RC celebrates its 17th spring break Habitat trip. The first one began with the Rev. Paul Henrickson, who was Roanoke’s long time former chaplain.

Thus far, there has been 42 trips done by Roanoke College students, including fall and occasional winter break trips.

The spring break Habitat trip consists of a week in South Carolina where for six hours a day the students help to build houses. Typically, they build one to four homes per trip, depending on the size of the house and the level of experience of the students. Lunch is typically provided by Habitat.

Bowen said the atmosphere is fun with music playing, sing-a-longs, and occasional dance breaks.

“Here is where connection are made,” he said. “I love how having a common mission can bring people together who come from different backgrounds.”

While students bond over hammers, saws, and sweat, they also make t-shirts to commemorate their week of service.

But it is not all hard work. After their six hours of work per day, students can explore and hit the town of Columbia. Various host families provide dinner and movie nights.

Last fall break, they went to the movie theater and saw “Ghostbusters.” Students typically visit a local ice cream shop called Zesto’s.

Bowen said his favorite part of this annual trip is the bonfire that, according to him, roars upwards of 20 feet high. This huge bonfire is a great place to bond and enjoy the time with the people on the trip, he said. The bonfire is hosted at a Habitat worker’s house a little bit outside of the city.

Also, Bowen’s birthday falls during spring break many years, this one included. Traditionally, he takes the students to a nearby Waffle House to celebrate.

“I love the chance that students get to see that there really are small ways to make a real difference,” Bowen said.

Seeking the Alternative: Native American Appalachia


Photo Courtesy of David Hall

Article Written by David Hall


Images of Native Americans permeate our culture from sports teams to movies, but according to juniors Megan O’Neill and Leah Weinstein, they are often forgotten about in conversations around social justice, especially in Appalachia. It is for this reason that they decided to lead an alternative break trip into Appalachia to learn more about this disenfranchised group and contribute to some of their well-being.


“All of the time we forget that Native Americans have some of the highest rates of poverty,” said O’Neill.


O’Neill is correct on this point. At 28.8%, Native American’s have by far the highest poverty of any race group according to statistics from the United States Census Bureau. The national average is 15.5% according to that same census. The group will travel about 4 hours by car to Maryville, TN to visit and experience the eastern band of the Cherokee Nation.


O’Neill was originally inspired by her interest in Native American culture, as well as her initial partner junior Alex Wegley’s interest in conservation, to design a trip that was a happy marriage of both. After something came up and Wegley could not come on board, Weinstein took her place. Weinstein said that although previous alternative break trips have ventured to Appalachia and have been successful, she notes the differences between those and the trip she will lead next week.


“They talk about the side-effects of coal-mining and coal-mining communities and what happens to those communities when coal is no longer a part of it,” Weinstein said. “But this is talking about another community in Appalachia that is not recognized or talked about. I did not know there were Cherokee in Tennessee. I knew they were in Georgia, North Carolina, but I did not know they were farther in.”


The group will conduct their trip with help from Once Upon a Time in Appalachia, a Breakaway approved site for conducting alternative break trips. According to their website Breakaway is a nonprofit devoted to supporting alternative break programs and building a society of active citizens.


Ben Vester is a freshman and participant of the trip. He said that being from West Virginia, he knows the woes of coal-mining communities well, but is eager to spend his spring break heading to somewhat unfamiliar territory.


“[Native American disenfranchisement] is something that I do not know know a whole lot about but I recognize it is an area I want to learn much more about and reach out to people who are informed and gain their expertise,” said Vester.


All three, ONeill, Weinstein, and Vester, emphasized the importance of working with an organization in the community for its educational value. Weinstein said that although much of American philanthropy does a lot of good work, she believes it is important to not be too intrusive and to make a real connection with those who she helps.


“You can go in anywhere and rebuild houses which is great,” Weinstein said. “The big point about alternative break trips is that you are going down for a week to invest in a community not only by the work you are doing, but by meeting people, talking to people and understanding their stories and their way of life. And understanding what type of injustices they face on a daily basis.”

Q&A with Coach Bill Pilat


Article Written by Ray Osterhout


Men’s Lacrosse Coach Bill Pilat speaks about his goals for the season.

Q: Being ranked #1 in the ODAC, does it put any extra pressure on the team?

A: “Being ranked in the ODAC isn’t anything new to us, it doesn’t add more or less pressure really. It’s just saying that we do have a strong team and a good nucleus to build around going forward. It’s our job now to go out and prove that.”

Q: What is the key to recruiting the right player’s year in and year in and year out?

A: Recruiting is critical for
our success; we have to look
all over the country with the players that we get. We work really hard in the summer by attending camps and getting kids to come to our camps to be able to see what they got. Showcases help too, we already have a big, big freshman class coming in next year. We are nished recruiting and have 18 kids coming in from all over

the country, we also have six juniors visiting this weekend. Also with Roanoke being a great academic school it helps our recruiting. The Lacrosse tradition that is here as well helps us in the process, just looking for kids that work
hard on the eld and in the classroom. If they happen to come from winning teams it helps as well. But we want kids that want to compete for a spot on the team, in the starting lineup and with the mindset to win a National Championship.”

Q: What is the ultimate goal for the team this season?

A: “The ultimate goal for the team this season is to have a successful season, we have the same goals every year pretty much. We want to work hard every day in practice, improve as a team and individual players. But most importantly plating together as a team.

We would like to compete
in the ODAC, hopefully win and get selected to the NCAA tournament to hopefully make a run at a national championship.”

Class Takes Service to Central America


Photo Courtesy of Forbes

Article Written by Paige Stewart

As students finish up their last midterm exams and look forward to catching up with family and friends back home, 10 are preparing to spend the coming week in the rural Nicaraguan village of Ochomogo.

These students are a part of the course “Self, Culture, and Civic Responsibility Through Service Learning,” which enrolls a small group of students to prepare for and later reflect on the highlight of the agenda – an alternative service trip to Nicaragua.

For the next week, the class, under the leadership of Director of Civic Engagement Jesse Griffin, will build latrines for the village inhabitants, hike to the top of a dormant volcano, and visit two Nicaraguan beaches.

Griffin has strong bonds with the homestay families that Roanoke students will be helping. Griffin first encountered their village during his time in the Peace Corps, and he has taken Roanoke students to Nicaragua for service visits annually for more than 10 years.

The students in this course have spent the first half of the semester reading and discussing literature selections about the nature of service, participating in activities geared towards self-reflection, and, perhaps most importantly, getting to know each other better.

The course meets Wednesday afternoons for an hour and a half. Discussions center around the book “How Can I Help?” by Ram Dass, which provides various perspectives on how to mentally prepare to make a significant difference in the lives of others.

In one group assignment, students were asked to draw a made-up person on a whiteboard and describe his personality traits to the rest of the class. The purpose of this assignment was to explore how people of other cultures live by different social and cultural standards, as well as to allow students to develop a group dynamic before spending a week in close quarters with each other.

Freshman Alanna Higdon, a student in the class, shared her thoughts about the upcoming trip. She is well-accustomed to service, having participated in many projects with her church at home, but the only time that she has traveled outside the United States was during a family vacation to Jamaica in the fifth grade. She said she decided to take Griffin’s course because she was interested in developing relationships with the people in Nicaragua.

As for the class preparations for the trip, Higdon said, “They have been helpful because they put you in the mindset for what to expect, but I don’t think it is possible to fully capture what we need to be prepared for.”

Higdon said she is excited to be immersed in a new culture. She also said, laughing, that she is worried about bugs, but even more so she fears that her Spanish will not be sufficient.

Greater than these fears, however, is her hope of forging deep, lasting connections with the families that she meets.

“I want to gain a new perspective and more of an open mind,” Higdon said. “Instead of looking at them like they’re impoverished, I want to see them as family.”

The group left for Nicaragua on Thursday night and will return on March 11. Upon returning, they will develop digital stories that document their personal experiences.

Baseball Heads to Myrtle Beach for Spring Break


Photo Courtesy of Visitmyrtlebeach.com

Article Written by Ray Osterhout


While many college students will spend spring break on the couch watching Net ix, the Roanoke baseball team is heading to the Cal Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. They will play four games in four days in what some consider baseball heaven. This will set them up for their rst league games when they return from break.

Five seniors have played in all 11 games this season, including some with multiple duties. They include Craig Kiley, who not only had his first home run of the season recently, but he has also played in five games with four saves.

Another player who has been moving around is Will Black. He been playing shortstop and also keeping the game intact behind the plate as catcher.

The team hasn’t necessarily made easy wins by getting down most games and coming back at the last second possible to pull off some unbelievable wins.

Now it’s up to them to see what they can do in conference play and make some noise in the ODAC tournament at the end of the year.

Roanoke Baseball Logs Win Against Ferrum


Photo Courtesy of Roanoke Athletics

Article Written by Ray Osterhout


The Maroons have been off to a hot start in their rst 10 games, recording an 8-2 record.

On Feb. 28 in a game against Ferrum College, it was no different, as senior Will Black record- ed for hits for the team.

Also Black had three RBI’s and two runs scored.

Sal Trancucci pitched 2.1 innings of relief to improve to 2-0 on the season, allowing only three hits and one run. John Ruhlman picked up the three inning save, allowing one hit and striking out two. Ruhlman had been struggling a bit over his last two games as the starter, but looked to regain his condence by coming out of the bullpen.

Roanoke took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Black scored on a wild pitch.

Ferrum then scored single runs in the second and third innings to go out in front 2-1. In the bottom of the third inning, back-to-back doubles by Dan Brodeur and Cody Shell tied the game at 2-2. Black then singled to score Shell and give RC a 3-2 lead. After Sean Guida doubled to put runners on second and third, Drew Mikula singled to plate them both and make it a 5-2 game.

Ferrum got a pair of runs back in the fourth inning, scoring two unearned runs following a Lane Deaver RBI single that made it a 5-4 game. Ferrum tied the game at 5-5 in the fifth inning, but the Maroons took the lead for good in the bottom of the fth behind an RBI single from Collier Donald. They capitalized on a throwing error by the Panthers and went up 7-5.

From there, Ruhlman closed the door and Black tacked on two more of his RBI’s in the late innings to send the Maroons to 9 and 2 on the season.

Roanoke will host Susquehanna on March 4 for a double-header at noon.

Men’s Lax sees Defiant Win, Heartbreaking Loss


Photo Courtesy of Roanoke Athletics

Article Written by David Hall


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times this week in two action packed home games from men’s lacrosse.


The Maroons, ranked 19 in the nation, overwhelmed Birmingham Southern with a 20-8 win Thursday to start the season off at home. However, that following Sunday they suffered a double overtime 13-14 loss to No. 14 Denison.


McHale Schneider led Birmingham Southern with 2 of the 8 eight goals with 2 assists to match. But it was not enough to stop the Maroons who took more than twice as many shots (73-32), recovered more than twice as many ground balls (62-28), had half as many turnovers (14-7), and won more than four times as many faceoffs (25-6).


Roanoke dominated the first half by holding off Birmingham Southern from scoring until the last six minutes. The halftime score was 13-1. This trend continued through the second half, but at a slower pace ending in a 20-8 conclusion. However, Roanoke’s match a few days later turned out to be a far greater challenge.


Denison pushed the Maroons as far back as 5 points behind in the second half. Roanoke brought it all the way back with key goals from Senior Kevin Jackson and Junior Peter Lindley, the former of whom took the first lead for Roanoke.


The game ended tragically when Roanoke, attempting to take a possession from Dennison, allowed the ball to roll over the line in double overtime. The Maroons are off until March 4 when they face Swanee on the road.

Why Can’t We Be Friends?


Photo Courtesy of Roanoke College

Article Written By David Hall


Fellow students,


Think for a moment about where you sit in the Commons, if you go to the Commons. I can tell you where I sit: back corner, front room, by the infamous cowgirl painting. Okay, now think about where everyone else sits. Make a little map in your head if you want to. I’d be willing to bet that we’re all imagining the exact same map.


Last issue, I did some reporting about campus culture and how it may be affecting drug arrests here at Roanoke. It has lead me to think about some more ethereal problems on this campus, problems that are hard to define and even harder to solve. I’m talking about our school’s vicious cliqueness, something that affects us all and benefits no one.


When I was a freshman I sat down one time at some table and all the members of that table’s clique began to sit around me and talked across me until I was uncomfortable enough to get up and leave. I think we all remember what it felt like when we realized there were places we could sit and places we couldn’t sit when we go in for a meal. I can tell you what I felt: confusion, anger, frustration, disgust, and ultimately like everyone else who eventually finds their place, acceptance. I’ve got my corner, and I don’t leave it often.


The divisions in the Commons are talked about a lot because they’re inherently visible and immediate. But make no mistake, the imaginary lines we draw on our maps are only a reflection of the bigger problem related to culture on this campus. We’re divided. We’re deeply divided and it hurts everyone.


How does it hurt us? I’m glad you asked.


Some are terribly lonely. Some of us are terribly lonely in the last place we ought to be. I came to Roanoke because I sensed a community where people care for one another however upon arrival I’ve realized that although we strive towards this ideal, we’re far from it. Loneliness, especially when preventable, is one of the humanity’s greatest tragedies.


We lose the valuable perspectives and experiences from people who are not like us. Stuck in our corners, we interact with a small sliver and lose as a result. It’s hard to describe how great that loss is, to not learn how to interact with people not like ourselves.


A hostile atmosphere permeates where a positive one could exist. All our stress, academic, professional, and personal is amplified by the hostile atmosphere that we all participate in creating. I’m suggesting that a culture with less barriers and more bridges would probably lead to a tangible personal benefit for all of us.


So, as solutions are always more interesting than problems, how do we fix it? It’s a hard question, one that’s escaped the best among our administrators and faculty alike. Ultimately, it’s on us. And it’s a lot more complicated than just sitting sit next to one another in the Commons.


I don’t have the answer to that question, but in the meantime I charge everyone who reads this to help me begin this discussion that will hopefully lead to some change. Because not only are we better than this, we’re better off without it.


It’s Really Warm Y’all, Too Warm


Photo Courtesy of David Hall

Article Written by Mackay Pierce


Has your winter coat and scarf been collecting dust in a Roanoke College approved wardrobe these past couple weeks? Don’t worry, you are not alone. This February has been unusually warm and for Roanoke College students who have become accustomed to mid-semester snowfall and school cancellation that could come as mixed news.

The warm spell that we have been experiencing over the past couple months has basically made winter fake news. And Virginia has not been alone in the abnormally warm weather. The whole country has seen some unprecedented highs. Denver experienced a day of 80 degrees this month. Oklahoma meanwhile saw readings over the weekend of the 11 that would be more consistent with mid-summer. The highest record they saw was 99 degrees with most other counties hovering around the mid-80s to 90s. Virginia has been no stranger, either, with Norfolk seeing an 82 degree day (not seen since 1890) and the high in Salem, to date, in February has been 78.

What’s going on?

Let’s get it out of the way: Climate change is totally real and it is absolutely humanity’s fault. Sixteen of the 17 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001. Ice caps and glaciers are melting. And 2016 was the first year on record to stay above 400 parts per million Co2 in the atmosphere over the course of human history; all of which are the kinds of records we do not want to be setting.  NASA, NOAA, and the IPCC all have loads more data for further homework.

Nevertheless, one warm month in February does not climate change make, just as it snowing sometimes does not mean that climate change is not real. To truly get a sense of whether a warm month means something, you have to take a look at trends. Weather is what may happen on any given day, whereas climate is the accumulation of weather over a long period of time. This February is indeed significantly warmer than usual.

What does it mean?

The possible implications of climate change are both too broad and grave for the scope of this article. But, in short, it means end of the world sort of stuff. In the meantime, there are a few observable consequences we can see due to such an abnormally warm February.

Roanoke College biology professor Michael Wise detailed some of the things that could happen. Our ecosystems are all about schedules, and while most respond more to the length of days than temperature, there can still be some pretty big effects.

“Some fruit trees may bloom too early and then freeze. Some migratory birds could come north too quickly and freeze. Some insects could come out too early and without any leaves to feed on,” Wise said.

According to the National Phenology Network, Virginia is now experiencing spring three weeks early.

Wise mentioned that in particular some less popular insect populations, like deer ticks, may benefit from the warm winter and escape the deep freezes that should kill many of them off. Alternatively, some other insects may not be able to properly diapause, a process similar to hibernation, and be negatively impacted by that very same warm weather.

Ultimately the most reasonable response may be to just enjoy one of these unintended consequences of climate change. It isn’t all good news, however; farmers of various kinds of fruit trees, such as Paw Paws, cherries, or peaches can get decimated by unexpected warm spells; with their yields getting frozen out. And, perhaps the biggest question, if it’s this warm now, what can we expect in the dead of summer?

Review: Amazon Show Falls Short


Photo Courtesy of Amazon

Article Written by Alexa Doiron


Amazon released its new historical fiction series based on the life of Zelda Fitzgerald this winter. While excited fans awaited the series’ premiere date, their expectations were not met when the show finally aired.

“Z: The Beginning of Everything” drew inspiration from the popular novel with the same title. The novel garnered great interest after its publication and fans were thrilled to see the show add a new element to the fantastic and mysterious life of Mrs. Fitzgerald. However, where the book let readers into the mind of this great woman, the show fell short in keeping viewers interested.

One of the first issues concerns the cast that was picked to play these large roles. The only actor that succeeds in his role is David Stratharin, but his talent is wasted in a character that merely contributes cheesy dad lines. While Christina Ricci crosses the screen in her shiny flapper gowns, her co-star and on-screen husband, David Hoflin, portrays a Scott Fitzgerald that is so transparent and dull, it is no wonder she turns down his first marriage proposal. Zelda’s mother is played by Kristine Nielsen who acts as a literal idiot throughout the show, always saying “Be good, Zelda,” despite knowing very well that Zelda is never good.

The show also drags out the beginning of the relationship between Zelda and Scott in an attempt to include more information on their first courtship. However, the only thing this method succeeds in is thoroughly boring the viewers. In fact, it isn’t until halfway through the first season that Zelda leaves Montgomery. While it is nice to have such a close look at the life of Zelda before Scott, it honestly isn’t very interesting. The first few episodes repeat scenes of Zelda going to parties with her friends, flirting with young men, and being reprimanded by her father. All of which could have been conveyed in only one of the thirty-minute episodes.

However, an aspect of the show, and one that made the novel so popular, is that from Zelda’s point of view we are able to see in full force the emotional abuse, mental illness, addiction, and controlling nature of the infamous writer. Most only remember the portrayal of Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston) from the movie “Midnight in Paris” (2011) where Zelda (Alison Pill) was the only one in the relationship seen with some sort of emotional imbalance. This show  reveals another side of the relationship that had been ignored for decades.

In terms of how the show relates to the novel, there seems to be a lot of dissimilar aspects. For example, while the book does give background on Zelda’s life in Montgomery it is not nearly to the painstaking extent that the show does.

It will be interesting to see if Amazon picks up the show for a second season, especially after advertising it so much. If not, this will be the second show of the year for the company that fails, following the sad demise of the highly anticipated show, “Good Girls Revolt,” which was also based on a popular book.

Hopefully, however, the company will be able to recover from this dusty first season to create a second that both accurately portrays Zelda’s life as well as entertains viewers. The story of Zelda Fitzgerald is one that needs to be told, from the misdiagnosed schizophrenia to the broken artist. If it isn’t through Amazon, then hopefully some other platform will come forward to expand on this illustrious character of literary history.



Book Review: The Average American Male


Photo Courtesy of Amazon

Article Written by Alexa Doiron


First, I would just like to announce that the vulgarity in this novel is absolutely brilliant. Being from the male perspective, it is no surprise that “The Average American Male” but Chad Kultgen is littered with sex scenes. But not like those ridiculous and overly dramatic scenes in books like “Fifty Shades of Grey”. These sexual encounters are realistic and an honest insight into the male mind. This novel is essentially telling us that men are almost always singularly thinking about sex.

For most of us, this comes as no surprise. There has always been that running joke that men think more with their penis than their brain. However, the actual extent with which men think about sex is honestly shocking. It’s hard to depict just how much this novel is saying men think about sex, but let’s just say it is more than any woman could predict.

When this book was first published, though, Harper-Perennial had a hard time getting any press on it. Which is surprising considering the content. So the publishers went to YouTube and started making videos as promotions. These videos are less than a minute, low-budget films that express some of the ideas written in this book. Truthfully, I find that to be an ingenious form of marketing. It seemed to work for them because the videos went viral. They’re so blunt and vacant of any sugar-coating that it seems like people are really looking to them as insights into the male mind.

However, I don’t even see why they had trouble in marketing because this concept was such a revelation to me. Reading this brutal truth explained a lot of behavior that I’ve noticed throughout the years. The main character in this novel, a typical 20-year-old man, possesses emotions but it seems that they are controlled by his sex drive. No matter how much I wanted to hate this character for his view of women, though, I found rooting for him in the end. Looking at this character, the reader feels almost sorry for him. Here is this man who really just wants to not be bored in bed but he can’t stop dating these ditsy, one-layered women. It’s not his fault though, right? He can’t help who he is attracted to.

Here’s the thing though; there are so many women out there who wouldn’t bore a man to tears. But these are not the ones that the main character wants. He wants the body. The body is what leads to good sex. As a woman, though, my opinion lays towards the more emotional side. Towards the end, the character starts to learn this. He falls in love with the girl that can give him the relationship, and sex, that he has been dreaming of.

However, when the sex slows down in the relationship, he gets bored again. This is something that I think Kultgen is really trying to drive home to readers about the mid-twenties male. He is honestly trying to make us realize just how much the sexual drive controls these men. Which maybe it isn’t all true. I don’t own a penis, so I don’t know. But if it is, I suppose that explains a lot of strange activity from men since the dawn of time.