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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.

Despite Block, Immigration Ban has International Students on Edge


Photo Courtesy of Brieanah Gouveia

Article Written by Paige Stewart


Thousands of students from across the globe attend college in the United States each year.  Within this figure is a unique pool of students at Roanoke College, who bring their own skills and ambitions for the future to the Salem campus.

Some of these students, however, are feeling uneasy about their time living and studying in the United States.  Last month, President Donald Trump introduced an executive order denying immigrants from seven countries entrance into the United States. The dominant religion practiced in these countries is Islam, and the ban is scheduled to last 90 days.

At Roanoke, about 50 students hail from countries other than the United States, according to the college website.  Witnessing this recent transition of presidents and the rapid institution of new law has consequently altered the goals they brought when they arrived, several said.

Maryam Bukhari, for example, is an exchange student from Pakistan who studies health sciences.  Her participation in the Fulbright Scholarship program made it possible for her to come to the United States.  She said she was disappointed, however, when she received news of the immigration ban.

Although her country is not directly impacted, she is worried about rumors she has heard concerning Pakistan being added to the list of banned countries.  In a composed yet assertive tone, she said that she has big plans to return to the United States to earn her master’s degree after completing her undergraduate education.  International students like Bukhari work hard to have opportunities like the Fulbright program, which helps them overcome political and financial obstacles associated with studying abroad.  However, with new measures like the immigration ban, they are slowly finding these opportunities to be jeopardized.

Sahar Mechmech, a student from Tunisia, is spending a year at Roanoke to study International Relations.  Her home school, INSAT University, helped her obtain a prestigious scholarship from the United States Embassy to study abroad.  After graduation, Mechmech plans to take what she has learned in the United States back to Tunisia to advocate for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) supporting the rights of women and LBGTQ communities.  Her vision is to add a sense of organization to the freedom her nation already enjoys.  Although Tunisia is not one of the seven countries banned from entrance into the United States, her J1 visa program is up for renewal next year, creating worries similar to those of Bukhari – that citizens from Tunisia will eventually be banished too.

Mechmech said she is grateful for her opportunities but she is apprehensive about the future.  Her sympathy for the students who do not have the same opportunities as her has carried over into action.  She has made efforts to become an informed student by attending the immigration ban teach-in on campus, rallying at the recent Women’s March in Washington, D.C., and interning with the college’s Office of Multicultural Affairs.

As a Muslim, however, Mechmech said she is still worried about her future in the United States.  “His [President Trump’s] attacks on religion come from a place of ignorance,” she said. “If he were to talk to the community instead of listening to third parties, he and his supporters would change their minds.”

Freshman Gastón Ocampo from Argentina voices a similar opinion about the immigration ban.  Studying International Relations and Business, Ocampo plans to remain in the United States for the next four years to complete his bachelor’s degree at Roanoke.

In reaction to the ban, Ocampo said, “You cannot generalize what one person does to a large group of people.  The United States needs those people. They might be engineers or doctors.  It is a stereotypical measure.”

With regards to the future, Ocampo worries that he will not be able to return to Argentina after graduation to get a job.  Argentina is not one of the barred countries, yet he believes that the immigration ban suggests a larger ongoing problem in the United States that may eventually impact him and other international students.  He said that people make sacrifices to come to the United States to realize their American dream, and while this ban does not affect them all, it marks the beginning of a new and less inclusive era.

Amidst these struggles, however, these students, along with the rest of their international peers, maintain a glimmer of hope.  Mechmech said that from her experience at Roanoke, she is confident that Americans are welcoming to other cultures, no matter the Trump administration’s actions.

Bukhari agreed.

“We are a really loving people,” she said. “We will give you anything you ask for.  And the people here are just the same.  Countries and borders are just lines on the maps.  The basic idea is about humanity, and we should be humanitarians.”



WRKE Makes Moves


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Article Written by Sohpie Bookheimer


On the main floor of the Colket Center, students can find Roanoke College’s own student-run radio station, WRKE 100.3 FM.

The station has been operating all day, every day since May of 2005. But in the past year, the station has made some significant changes to remain relevant to its student audience.

Most recently, the radio station has moved from a studio on the third floor of the Colket Center to its more visible location on the center’s main floor.  Also, it is making new attempts to reach more students.

Elijah Wilhelm, a sophomore and program director for WRKE, is leading a leadership team to boost the station’s success.

“We are going to be doing major updates to the automated music to reach our target audience,” said Wilhelm.

Additionally, the team will devote efforts to advancing the radio station’s presence on social media.

“It is a great experience,” he said. “I have super hard workers who are willing to do whatever is needed to progress the station.”

Students can listen to the radio online, follow the radio on Facebook, and participate in programs that the radio station organizes.

“We have expanded our programming by covering live events like the election,” said Wilhelm.

The radio has had several members of the women’s basketball team on the radio to play a game of family feud, according to Wilhelm.

Roanoke College students serve in various positions with the station, including as program director, assistant program director, news and information director, music director and public relations director.


Band Review: Twin Peaks


Photo Courtesy of Daniel Topete

Article Written by Alexa Dorion


The Chicago-based band Twin Peaks has been touring the nation on their “Down in Heaven” tour, the third album which the band has produced. With songs that both play on the punk style of music as well as uplifting melodies, their music has received even greater notice than prior albums. Their concerts illicit mosh-pits and stage dives, while the four band members drunkenly enjoy the chaos before them.

While the band is made of four fairly young members, the music they produce reaches a depth of youthful emotion and talent that makes them an addictive sound.

“There’s some things on this record about how you kind of do the stuff that you love, but how it kind of depresses you,” said guitarist, Clay Frankel in an interview with The Line of Best Fit.

However, don’t expect the swaying-hips and charming smiles of the normal boyband in this set. These musicians reflect on a era of music born in the nineties and stretched into a fan-base that is now known as “Crust Punks.” These fans are ones devoted to the music and feel the connection on more than just a base level.

The band was brought together by member Cadien who presents a laid-back but important aura on stage. Cadien fondly has the nickname “BIG TUNA” and is credited for creating the band from the bottom up and producing their first album with a close hands-on approach.

The first album produced was recorded in a friend’s basement with only two microphones. Since then, the music has grown in quality as the band continues to gain fans across various platforms and backgrounds. While the main fanbase is the young punk crowd, there seems to be something about the music that also draws in various other types of audiences as well. Their music touches at the strings of optimistic and yet melancholy tones which pulls in listeners to relate to the confused state of youth that everyone experiences.

While the band’s name grows in recognition, so does the television show that they got it from. The show “Twin Peaks” has been picked up for a third season recently, and the band members are only mildly excited at this news. In fact, they admit that they had never watched an episode of the cult hit before naming the band. Now they’ve begun to get into the show that created the name for their work.

Recently, the band has released two new songs, “Don’t wanna miss you” and “Disappear” from the limited release version of their latest album. Following the announcement of these additions to Spotify, the band also told fans that they would be going on tour with the all-female punk group from Spain, Hinds.

Currently the band is finishing a successful European tour with Cage the Elephant that went from Oslo to Prague to Madrid. The recent spike in their fame has even landed the indie band a place on the Coachella stage this spring.

The band admits that they used to play to a lot of empty crowds during their tours. Their music has gained momentum and the members find themselves travelling upwards of six hours in a car from city to city to play at sold out shows. Still, the members say that they’re favorite city to play is right at home in the heart of Chicago.

How to Teach English Abroad


Photo Courtesy of Maximo Nivel

Article Written by Brieanah Gouveia

  1. Decide what country you would most like to teach English in.
  2. Consult Google to assess what ETA programs exist.
  3. Set up a meeting with your academic advisor, professors in the Language Department, and/or Roanoke’s Director of Scholarships and Fellowships, Ms. Jennifer Rosti.
  4. Based on your academic credentials, and possibly your foreign language skills, discuss what ETA programs you are eligible to apply for.
  5. Research the eligible program. Visit its website and familiarize yourself with factors such as financial assistance, living accommodations, teaching responsibilities, application requirements, and program deadlines.
  6. Start the application process as soon as you have decided on a program(s) and location – most students begin months, some even a year, prior to the program start date. If an official or unofficial version of your academic transcript is required, contact Patty Gladden of the Registrar’s Office for a copy.
  7. Write multiple versions and drafts of every required essay and seek out individuals to read them and offer feedback; those who apply for select ETA programs, such as Fulbright or Rotary Scholarships, will be invited to join weekly writing workshops with Jenny Rosti for tackling personal statements and special essay topics.
  8. Once you have finalized your application, or when there are t-minus 30 minutes until the online submission portal closes, ensure that all the required materials have been uploaded or sent .
  9. After your application is received and reviewed, some programs will invite semi-finalists to interview. If this is the case for your program, wait for a follow up email from the organization with specific steps for their interview process. Depending on your program, interviews may be conducted over the telephone, Skype video, or in-person, and range from 15 to 45 minutes.
  10. At this stage, the waiting game begins, and it is always best to ensure that you have a back-up plan.
  11. Whether you are selected for the program or not, there is a lot to be gained simply from applying. Don’t be discouraged from applying again in the future or to a different program entirely – every year presents a fresh start!
  12. Go out and celebrate your ETA program acceptance with friends by letting them pick up your tab!

Flu Season Ravages Roanoke


Photo Courtesy of Liberty Distributors

Article Written by Sarah Joseph

Flu season is here, and Virginia has been identified as one of eight states with widespread flu cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Flu also is rampant at Roanoke College, where some professors have been cancelling class in order to halt the further spread of the illness.

About 75 percent of students who have came into health services in the past three weeks have been diagnosed with the flu or have had flu-like symptoms, said Katie Parrish, a nurse practitioner for Roanoke’s Health Services.

Colleges and universities are particularly vulnerable to viruses spreading quickly as students live in close quarters. Especially as Roanoke is a majority residential college, this close community is less able to isolate viruses. College students are more susceptible to the flu as lack of sleep, heavy drinking, and smoking are three major factors that could lead to catching the flu according to the Richmond Department of Health.

According to Sarah Fenno, Virginia’s Influence Surveillance Coordinator, this year’s flu vaccine is a good match for the flu strain this season.

Parrish said “a handful of students” who got the flu had gotten a shot previously. However, a majority of the students who did not get shots caught the flu.

It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to be effective, so anyone who is hoping to beat the flu by getting a vaccine now may not completely prevent the flu. However, getting the vaccine helps to make the flu strain less severe and reduces the amount of work the body’s antibodies must undertake to fight the virus off, said Fenno.

To prevent catching the flu, Dr. Gonzalo Bearman, the medical director of infection prevention at VCU Health, suggests a few things on the Richmond webpage: Get enough sleep as it is vital to helping strengthen your immune system, wash your hands particularly before you eat, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and stay home if you’re not feeling well.