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RC Hillel Speaks Out: Hate Has No Place


Photo Courtesy of Roanoke College

Article Written by M’Elise Saloman


On any given Saturday, most Jews are enjoying the last moments of their Sabbath: resting, reflecting, and preparing for the week ahead. However, on Saturday March 18th at 4 PM, one simple act sent shock waves through an entire community.


According to Rabbi Zvi Zweibel, the leader of the Chabad House at Virginia Tech, nearly a hundred leaflets with hand-drawn swastikas were scattered across the lawn of the Jewish student center in Blacksburg.


When I first heard the news, it did not really register with me. I understood that those leaflets were anti-Semitic and that people felt threatened; nevertheless, I reasoned that this was just a part of our ‘new normal.’ But, then I thought a bit harder: is my response to this incident an indicator of the rising tolerance for hate crimes, threats, and violence, or is it a testament to Jewish resilience? I think it can represent both.


For the past few months, we have been immersed in political turmoil, engrossed with policy changes, and embroiled in Facebook arguments. In short, the constant streams of violence that flash across our screens consume our daily lives. It is so easy to become desensitized. When we see swastikas tossed onto the lawn of a Jewish student center, we think that it could be worse. We envision the horrors of tomorrow’s news.


However, as a Jewish student, I feel the weight of my history every day. For centuries, people have labeled my ancestors as religious outsiders, as greedy businessmen, and even as threats to society. So, when I see a few swastikas, I am hurt but ultimately not surprised. This is my reality. Many Jews refer to this sentiment as Jewish resilience. We have been through it all—oppression, genocide, anti-Semitism—and we always bounce back. No matter what, we relentlessly trudge forward, refusing to acknowledge their hateful words or violent acts.


In Judaism, we are taught that the world is inherently broken. Like a shattered mirror, the entire planet is comprised of millions of pieces with crooked edges and sharp corners. And, it is our responsibility to help put the world back together. We call this Tikkun Olam, literally repairing the world.


So, the next time someone threatens Muslims, shouts a racial slur, flies the confederate flag, or vandalizes a Jewish space, remember Tikkum Olam. Do not just add the incident to the long list of American tragedies. Think. Reflect. Empathize. Repair the world.

10 Things that are Worse than Graduating


Article Written by Mackay Pierce


It’s that time of year, folks. Whether you are graduating in some 40-odd days or if you have four years left (yes, I realize that’s impossible but alliteration is fun so step off), we are all scrambling to finish the year and figure out what comes next. For many seniors, the slow steamroller of time and existential dread is particularly painful, because we have to figure out what we are doing with ourselves and stuff.

But, as many after-school specials and thanksgiving I guess have taught us, perspective is always important to keep in mind. And, as you may have noticed, the whole world is basically a dumpster fire at the moment. So, here are 10 things that will make you less sad by making you more sad (sadception, if you will):

  1. According to Congress, anyone with two brain cells, an increasingly potent smell of dead fish in the white house pressroom, and the goddamned FBI, our dear president may be a traitor.
  2. Climate Change totally ruined winter and Christmas and snow days.
  3. Daylight savings is still a thing so that sucks and I have a headache.
  4. Twenty-four million people may be about to lose their healthcare because of poor people and old people and old poor people suck.
  5. Apparently former happiest person in the world Richard Simmons has been missing for three years.
  6. Warner Brothers is planning on remaking “The Matrix” because what the hell, right?
  7. These huge crazy ass methane bubbles are about to explode in Siberia because of, you guessed it, Climate Change again.
  8. Last week our Secretary of State low key challenged North Korea to a nuclear pissing match (it’s cool though because those guys are usually pretty level headed.)
  9. Iron Fist really does suck.
  10. Oh, and Congress is about to send a bill to the president’s desk allowing hunters to kill bear and wolf puppies while they sleep on federal land. So that’s fun.

And if that’s not enough for you, global hunger is still a huge problem even though we have enough food to feed everyone. Most countries still seem pretty keen on trying to kill one another (and we are still pretty keen on bringing hellfire to our enemies from flying robots.) The world seems to be kicking the tires on this whole nuclear proliferation thing again. Climate change is still raging on to probably kill all of us in 30 or 40 years. And, who knows, if dystopian fiction has taught us anything murderous artificial intelligence, Martians, or something should be rolling along to establish a new world order any day now.

Basically, it’s not all bad. Shit, I mean it is, but also don’t worry so much because the sum of all of your failures wouldn’t even come close to breaking the headlines on any given day in the new world. So, idk, here is a quote I just made up: “The world is awful so chill the hell out and try to help fix it.”

Just, you know, call your mom, apply for that cool job or grant you don’t think you can get, and take a trip to Iceland or wherever it is that you people go these days.

Three Candidates Contend for Salem Sheriff


Photo Courtesy of Clark Ruhland

Article Written by Brieanah Gouveia


Since the reversal of Salem Sheriff Eric Atkins’s decision to run for re-election was announced last week, three individuals have stepped forward seeking to replace him. Whoever is elected will be filling big shoes, as Atkins is a 33-year-veteran of the Salem Sheriff’s Office, beginning his role as Sheriff in 2007, according to the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services’ website. The three individuals who have so far confirmed their candidacies are Jacob Carroll, Flint Wright, and April Staton.

        Carroll, 39, has served as lieutenant with the Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office for the past 12 years. According to the Roanoke Times, having filed his candidacy months ago with the intent to run against Atkin’s, Carroll stated that “he hopes to use his experience from Roanoke County to bring new programs and outreach initiatives to the Salem office.”

Wright, 58, is a retired law enforcement agent of the Salem Police Department and veteran of the US Marines, according to the Roanoke Times. After 20 years of service with Salem PD, he “worked as a part-time deputy for the sheriff’s office from 2012 to 2016.” The Times also wrote that Wright has “vowed to cut fat out of the budget and revamp the office’s leadership.”

        Staton, 36, is the youngest and only female running in the election. She has worked for the Salem Sheriff’s Office for the past 14 years, serving as chief deputy since 2014, as stated on the official website for the Salem Sheriff’s Office. In this role, Staton has been responsible for “overseeing administration of operations, assisting in budget development and managing its accreditation.” According to the Roanoke Times, Staton said “she’ll continue building on the office’s current direction,” but “cited responsive customer service and strong professional development for employees” as areas she’d give special attention.

        Only a couple of weeks into the election cycle and this year’s race is already breaking historical precedent. The Roanoke Times highlighted that the last contested race for Salem Sheriff took place in 2001. Adding that if Staton wins the election, she “would be the first woman to serve as Salem sheriff since the title was created in 1971.”

        However, the prospect for more people to join the race is high, as the candidacy deadline is not until June 13. The official election for Salem Sheriff will take place on November 7.

Dr. Ivonne Wallace Fuentes: Making History Beyond the Classroom


Photo Courtesy of PR

Article Written by Paige Stewart


Many college students are unaware of the lives their professors lead outside the classroom.  Dr. Ivonne Wallace Fuentes, a professor in Roanoke College’s History department, however, makes her activities quite transparent, not only to her students, but also to the greater Roanoke community.  


Wallace Fuentes is the founder of the Roanoke Indivisible group, which is a local chapter of the national political movement by the same name.  This group of progressives works to combat the policies of President Donald Trump by coordinating bands of local members to lobby, make phone calls, and collect donations within their communities.  


At its forefront is the Indivisible Guide, a clear, step-by-step manual that is available on the national website for anyone interested to explore.  It outlines opportunities for protesters to take direct action against Republican policy.  By fighting at the grassroots level, the Indivisible campaign aims to make a national impact.


Wallace Fuentes was prompted to initiate a chapter of Indivisible in Roanoke County after the presidential election last November.  Her immediate response to the election results was to gather a group of activists who sympathized with the condition in which minority groups such as Latinos, women, and the LGBTQ+ community would be treated.  When this movement began accepting applications for local chapters on Jan. 2 of this year, Wallace Fuentes decided to start the Roanoke chapter.  She also runs the Roanoke group’s Facebook page, which has expanded its audience from 12 people to almost 900 in just four months.


Since its inception, Wallace Fuentes said she has made many contributions to the Indivisible campaign.  She is responsible for coordinating group actions against the local Republican agenda.  Because Representative Bob Goodlatte has not held a town hall since 2013, for example, Wallace Fuentes organized one in Vinton in February.


She also joined a group of Indivisible that protested proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act at Goodlatte’s office.


By taking these actions, Wallace Fuentes said she hopes to show that the American people have more power over political events than they might think.


“The impact I hope to make is to remind myself everyday that this is not something that is just happening to me and over which I have no control,” she said. “As a citizen and a constituent, our system depends on my participation and my consultation with my elected representatives.”


Students at Roanoke College who are interested in getting involved with Indivisible are welcome to attend a discussion panel entitled “Ask Me Anything About Immigration” this Saturday from 10 am – 12 pm at the Metropolitan Community Church of the Blue Ridge.  


The panel will consist of immigration activists and experts in immigration policy.


Looking towards the future, Wallace Fuentes feels that her job is fairly clear.


“It is my job now to give the Congressional representatives who speak in my name an incentive to listen to my opinions on the life and death decisions they are making every day,” she said.

Disruptive no Divisive, Black Lives Matter INQ Course to be Offered


Photo Courtesy of Black Lives Matter

Article Written by Leah Weinstein

A new INQ course at Roanoke College will focus on current issues surrounding the black community in America.

Beginning next week, Roanoke students, including incoming freshmen, can register for Black Lives Matter, a new INQ 110 course offered this fall. History professors Gregory Rosenthal and Jesse Bucher will teach two sections of the course.

The idea for the course arose from students who told the professors that they wanted more classes centered on the black experience and African American studies.

Rosenthal, a professor of Public History, has taught independent study courses centered around African-American perspectives and black public history. He said he sees the addition of the Black Lives Matter course as student led.

“Students have the power to tell us [the faculty] what kind of stories matter,” said Rosenthal.

The Black Lives Matter movement began in 2012 after the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch administrator who fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida.

The group’s mission is outlined on its Black Lives Matter website, stating “#BlackLivesMatter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society.”

The new course will be taught in two sections on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1:10-2:10 p.m., with the possibility of holding open discussions on campus that would welcome all students.

Both Bucher and Rosenthal plan to leave time for guest speakers and room for flexibility as the main goal of this course is to expand students’ minds on issues.

Rosenthal said he hopes “students have those tools and skills to talk about W.E.B. DuBois.” Also, he wants the course to “cultivate a core of freshman who are comfortable talking about this stuff, so that race is not divisive on campus.”

In addition, the course seeks to help freshmen learn how to think critically and analytically, while providing a comfortable space to speak about contemporary racial issues that plague the United States today. Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors are encouraged to audit the class as well if their schedules permit.

This class will reflect lived experiences of African-American communities.

Bucher, a professor of History who focuses on Modern Africa, South Africa, East Africa, and Postcolonial studies, emphasized the importance of students’ input.

“The curriculum is designed by faculty while constantly responding to student interest,” he said. “Students can have a real impact on how we think about curricular issues and curricular design.”


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.