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New Home for Outdoor Adventure Opens in Bast

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Article Written by Hannah Vandegrift

Photo Courtesy of Brieannah Gouveia

 

An old athletic storage space in Bast has been convert- ed into the new headquarters for Roanoke’s Outdoor Adven- tures Program.

Chad Heddleston, Out- door Adventures Coordinator, said the initiative has been in the works since the beginning of the academic school year, but construction of the OA Center did not begin until this semester. The contractors, RL Price, nished the main renova- tion two weeks ago, Heddleston said, and students have been working on interior design and decoration since.

Previously a very con ned space, the room has been opened up and made more inviting. Framed by a landscape mural painting and accentuated by a wall of bright- ly colored storage cabinets, the room is also equipped with

wooden pegs and hangboards. Heddleston said the OA Center will serve as the headquarters for weekly OA meetings, trip planning and skill teaching sessions. Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m., it will also act as the of cial gear rental room, where, according to the OA rental form, students can go to

check out kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, mountain bikes, tents, backpacks, bouldering pads, trekking poles, cooksets, sleeping bags and pads.

Heddleston added that OA will be hiring employees to work in the new space and as trip guides in the coming fall. “Right now we have an amazing group of guides,” he said, adding that

“we offer the best, most excit- ing, fun things that you can do in the Roanoke area.”

Junior Brian Matera serves as a lead guide for OA and has been a part of the club since his freshman year. “My favorite thing to do with OA is climbing; it does not matter if it is indoor or outdoor. And my favorite thing about OA is the inclusiveness, be-

cause no matter what your level of experience or what you are into, we can accommodate you and broaden your horizons, or just take you to do fun things.”

The Center will be dedicated this Satur- day at 1:30 p.m. to McMillan “Mac” and Marcy Johnson. The commemorative plaque outside of the center’s entrance lists the highlights Mac’s role

Brieanah gouveia/staff

as “the Dean of Students, Vice President of Student Affairs, and Senior Advisor to the Pres- ident from 1976 to 2014.” It also mentions that he helped establish the Outdoor Adven- tures Program at Roanoke.

Heddleston noted that the ceremony will be of ciated with a “rope untying, not rope cutting. There will also be giveaways!”

Teach-in Addresses Student Debt

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Photo Courtesy of David Hall

Article Written by Joe Krzyston

 

On Tuesday, April 4, faculty, staff and students attended a teach-in about student debt, which was held in the atrium of the Colket Center. The teach-in was organized by Daniel Osborne, a senior history major. The event began with remarks from Osborne, who emphasized the scope of the issue and the extent to which students were affected.

“Even those of us who hold no debt are affected by this issue. It has wide-reaching effects on economic, social, and political issues,” said Osborne at the beginning of the event. Osborne, who personally holds no debt, takes interest in the issue as one side of a broader conversation about debt.

“Our economy is primarily a debt economy and that is not without consequence. If we could move debtors to vote as a bloc and to come together around this issue it could really move the needle on a lot of issues.” Osborne’s sentiments were echoed in large part by the faculty members on the panel.

“Being free from debt is a form of privilege,” said Dr. Gregory Rosenthal, a history professor. “And to carry debt is a form of oppression. We forget that and we rarely discuss the issue in that framework.”

Dr. Edward Nik-Khan, a business professor, also spoke about the social aspects of debt, aspects that seldom receive attention outside of the depths of academia. “Debt is a limit to individual freedom, and the last thing that some forces want is a widespread awareness of limits to personal freedom,” Nik-Khan said.

Towards the end of the hour, President Mike Maxey made statements regarding the issue. His perspective was one of conflicting responsibilities, given his duty to keep the college financially solvent and to keep tuition affordable.

After noting that the single largest part of the budget is financial aid, President Maxey said, “The path that we are on is not the right path, but we know that, and we are doing what we can to change it.”

Osborne is pleased with the result of the teach-in, though he is quick to acknowledge the need to do more on the issue. Although he graduates in May, he is working with students who will be around next year to keep the discussion going. Osborne said, “I wish I could have done more during my time here, but I’m glad that we got the ball rolling and I’m hopeful that students who come after me will continue the discussion.”

Roanoke Graduates Open Escape Room

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Article Written by Mikaela Wall

 

Last month, two Roanoke College graduates and new entrepreneurs joined a business trend that is sweeping the country.Brandon Ford ‘16 and Ben Shaw ‘16, both alumni of the college’s business major, opened Deciphered Roanoke, an escape room, in down- town Roanoke. Ford and Shaw are co-founders, and two of the space’s three owners.

An escape room is a space filled with interactive puzzles and games that requires a group of people to solve problems in order to free themselves from the locked space. These rooms are used for team-building activities by schools, businesses and groups of friends. These mind-game businesses are sprouting up in cities all across the United States. Ford said he got the idea for the escape room business when he visited the Roanoke area last summer.

“I immediately called Ben to see if there was one around the Ro- anoke area,” he said. “To our surprise, no rooms existed, so we thought that Roanoke’s up-and- coming downtown was a

great place to start one.” Ford said he wants to “give everyone in the Roanoke area the chance to think out- side the box and really enjoy the bene ts that our rooms have to of- fer, whether that be team-building for corpo- rate management teams or entertainment for friend groups.” Both Ford and Shaw said they are in- terested in building con- nections in the Roanoke area, and they want to help college students who have the same en- trepreneurial spirit as they do.

They each take pride in Roanoke, want to see it grow, and want to see people capitalize on the countless oppor- tunities that the city offers.

Stevens Joins Board of Trustees

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Article Written by Paige Stewart

 

Roanoke Col- lege recently welcomed a big name to its Board of Trustees. Thomas Ste- vens, a current advertis- ing executive who gradu- ated from the College in 1990, has recently joined

as its newest member. Before earning a position on the Board, Stevens worked in ad- vertising and sales for various well-known me- dia corporations. He is currently senior vice president of sales for NBCUniversal, main- taining working rela- tionships with the sales divisions of NBC News, CNBC, and MSNBC. Before that, he worked for Turner Broadcasting

Sales, Inc. for 18 years. Stevens identi- ed several key moments from his college expe- rience that contributed to the successes in his career. He witnessed the value of a small lib- eral arts setting when he transferred to Roanoke his junior year. This new environment, he said, al- lowed him to draw prac- tical applications from textbook knowledge in

class as well as practice working with other peo- ple as a resident advisor.

“All of these ex- periences prepared me well for situations I’ve faced after graduation and throughout my ca- reer,” Stevens said.

Despite the de- mands of professional life, however, Stevens has managed to remain in touch with Roanoke College since gradua- tion. One of his recent responsibilities includes serving as chair of the President’s Advisory

Board, which enables him to directly contrib- ute to the advancement of the school. Endeavors like this one allow him to maintain an active rela- tionship with the College leading up to his new ap- pointment, he said.

“I’m honored and humbled to join the im- pressive leadership team on the Board of Trust-

ees,” he said. Nowthatheisa

member of the Board, Stevens said he hopes to learn more about what challenges Roanoke as well as the areas in which it excels. That way, he will be able to apply his advertising and market- ing experiences for the best possible results.

According to the Roanoke College web- site, the Board of Trust- ees works with the rest of the College to pro- pel its mission into the future. Together, they hope to land Roanoke a spot in the top 100 liber- al arts colleges ranking by focusing on academ- ic quality, experiences outside the classroom, meaningful partnerships and attracting the best

faculty and staff.

Gearing up for Local Elections

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Complied by Paige Stewart

Steve McBride

Question: What specif- ic event or experience moti- vated you to run for of ces?

Answer: I have been thinking about it for about ve years, so what it really comes down to is what activated me to actu- ally do it. And so there are two main things to that. I would say the first is that I decided that if our government was going to represent teachers and scientists and farmers and construction work- ers, then teachers and scientists and farmers and construction workers were going to have to run. AndthatiswhatIam.I am an educator; I am a researcher. That falls into one of the main reasons. The other part is that you do not see many teachers or farmers – you know, non-traditional politi- cians – running. The vast majority are lawyers. Not all, but the vast majority. This government route really showed me that you could be a successful politician without being a traditional politician. Speci cally, you can be a scientist and be a success- ful politician.

Q: How would you evaluate the incumbent’s performance and what would you do differently or the same?

A: I think what we really have to think about here is how is Richmond benefitting Appalachia. And, at the moment, I think that Appalachia is getting left behind. We really need to work to- gether, both within our Appalachian communi- ties and with our state legislator to ensure that we are no longer leaving Appalachia behind.

Q: How might the re- sults of this election impact students who are currently attending or are about to graduate from college?

A: The biggest im- pact that I would like to talk about is how it can impact our future training of the workforce, and that is by making sure that there are mul- tiple pipelines for train- ing individuals for the workforce. One way our campaign intends to do that is by making tech- nical school and trade school, apprenticeships and community colleges both more affordable and more accessible to the community at large and graduating high school seniors as well.

Q: What is your stance on the Mountain Valley Pipeline?

A: I do not think that the Mountain Valley Pipeline is good for our region. It does not bring jobs to our region, it does not reduce the cost of natural gas in our region, and it is impeding on our citizens’ land through land acquisition and em- inent domain. It has the potential of affecting the beautiful Appalachian landscape that we have through building a pipe- line right through it.

Q: What message are you trying to convey to con- stituents through your cam- paign?

A: If our legislators listen to and work with our community, then we can revitalize Appalachia. What we have seen is that when our Appala- chian communities work together, they can be in- novative and they can do great things. As legislators we need to harness those skill sets, that energy, and that innovation and help Appalachian communi- ties be more successful.

Gearing up for Local Elections

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Article Written by Vicki Daguerre

What to know about the 8th Delegate District vote:

In November, 2017 the 8th Delegate Dis- trict of VA, and all oth- er Districts Common- wealth-wide, will hold an election. Incumbent, Greg Habeeb will be chal- lenged for the rst time since he was elected to of ce in 2011.

His opposition will be chosen through a pri- mary process and will either be Democrat Bryan Keele or Steve McBride. In the weeks that follow, the Brackety-Ack will do an in depth special on all candidates.

The 8th District rep- resents 80,685 citizens as of the 2010 census. The citizens in the District identify as 91.7% White, 4.5% Black, 2.1% Asian and .5% American Indian. 78.3 % of the population throughout the District is of voting age; 18 years of age or older. The siz- able district represents citizens throughout Craig County, the City of Sa- lem, part of Montgomery County and part of Roa- noke County.

Delegates are ap- pointed to committees by the Speaker of the House of Delegates. The Speaker is elected by the House “in even-num- bered years for a two-year term.” The duties of the speaker include “assign-ing bills to committee” and “appointing members to the House standing committees.” The 2015 Delegate election con- tinued in a majority lead for the Republican party, Republicans held 66 seats and Democrats held 34.

In order to cast a ballot in the Common- wealth of Virginia a per- son must be registered to vote. Conveniently, for the college, the Salem City registrar is located very close to campus at 19 E. Clay Street. For reference, it is between the Mill Mountain Coffee parking lot and the on campus commuter park- ing lot. When registering to vote you will need to know your Social Secu- rity Number and your campus post of ce box.

Here’s how each of the candidates responded to some questions asked by The Brackety-Ack.

Virginia Governor Race Heating Up, Expect Tight Dem Primary, Polls Show

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Article Written by Mackay Pierce

Many Roanoke College students may have expected a breather from elec- toral politics after the divisive presidential campaign of 2016. Those people may be out of luck, however, as every year is an election year in the Commonwealth, and currently Republican and Democratic candidates are competing for their party’s nomination to be Virginia’s next governor.

For Democrats, Lieutenant Gov- ernor Ralph Northram and former Con- gressman from Virginia’s fth district Tom Perriello are vying for the democratic nomination. Lieutenant Governor North- ram was long thought to be the party’s presumptive nominee before a late entry by Perriello this January.

The Republican side is slightly more crowded. While ve candidates ini- tially declared for the race, only three now remain. Republican strategist and former chairman of the Republican National Committee Ed Gillsepie is the current frontrunner of the group, followed by for- mer Trump campaign’s Virginia Chairman

Corey Stewart and Virginia Beach area State Senator Frank Wagner.

Roanoke’s Institute for Policy and Opinion research took some early polling on the race in mid-January. At that time, they showed Northram tied with Per- reillo, who had only just recently joined the race. Each candidate held roughly 12 percent support with 76 percent of likely voters undecided. The Republican side was a little more uneven, however, as Gillespie held 24 percent support of likely voters while each of his opponents re- mained in single digits with 62 percent of likely voters undecided. In projections on possible general election matchups, the Roanoke poll indicated that either North- ram or Perreillo would defeat each Re- publican candidate with varying degrees of support, though their projected wins over Republican frontrunner Ed Gillespie were within the margin of error.

Fast forward to March 28, last Tuesday, and a new poll released by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Chris- topher Newport University showed some movement in the race. The center con- ducted their own poll in late January that

indicated there was a wider gap between Lieutenant Governor Northram and for- mer Congressman Pereillo. Their new poll, however, shows that Pereillo and North- ram are now tied at 26 percent apiece with 45 percent of likely Democratic primary voters still undecided. This was a jump for Perreillo who gained eleven points since a previous poll conducted by the center in late January.

For Republicans, the Christopher Newport poll af rmed that Ed Gillespie still enjoys a sizeable lead over his prima- ry opponents. Gillespie holds the support of 38 percent of likely Republican prima- ry voters while Corey Stewart and Frank Wagner hold 11 and 10 percent support respectively.

These polls seem to portend that the matchup on the Republican side is set while the Democratic primary is shaping up for a tight horse race. Though nearly two months still remain before the prima- ry date, Perreillo seems to be continuing to pick up steam as he notched an en- dorsement from Senator Bernie Sanders earlier this week and they held a cam- paign event together on April 6.

A First Look at the New Science Center

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When we here at the Brackety-Ack heard there was a model of the proposed new Science Quad, naturally we got curious. Not to mention being the nerds we are, we love models. So we tracked down said model to President Maxey’s office where he gave us a peak at the ambitious plan. Here’s a few pictures and some information about what to expect.

1. Massengill will be leveled to make room for new space for an atrium and a new auditorium.

2. That atrium will provide gathering space which will include a new food venue and a large glass feature to let in natural light.

3. Speaking of natural light, glass will be heavily featured in a tower designed to connect the lower parking lot to the quad.

4. The fate of what’s called “the cheese graters,” or the polarizing brick architecture features that characterize Trexler and Life Science, is yet to be decided.

5. The new additions are being designed by EYP Architecture and Engineering, a rm out of Washington D.C..

6. Although the plans are exciting, the money is not all raised. President Maxey said that about $9 million of the estimated $40 million is pledged currently.

Hurdling Expectations: Track & Field’s Nauman Settles into New Role

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Photo Courtesy of Maroon Athletics

Article Written by David Hall

 

Spring has sprung and with it Roanoke’s track & field team, which began its outdoor season on Saturday at Washington & Lee University’s Track & Field Carnival.

There were notable performances by senior athletes Kerri Dalton and Claire Brooks and sophomore Paige Olausen, who all placed first in their respective events.

It’s track & field’s first outdoor season with new head coach, Kirk Nauman. Nauman holds a glowing optimism about the team’s potential reinforced by a combination of factors. According to Nauman, those factors range from world class facilities, thanks to the new Cregger Center, as well as less obvious attributes only a newcomer would notice.

Nauman said the college’s inviting atmosphere sells itself to potential students, attracting those from across the country who are not only good athletes and good students, but most importantly, good people. Nauman said that if his athletes embody these three attributes, it makes for a successful team. Nauman also mentioned the change in climate helps, as he came to Roanoke from frigid Minnesota’s College St. Scholastica.

And if growth is to be regarded as an indicator, Nauman is on his way.

The track team’s numbers off the track (and the field) are on the rise with 63 students this year, up from 45 students last year. Nauman said he hopes to have the team in the 70-member range by next season.

With this growth, Nauman said he hopes for equally big results, a women’s ODAC championship in three years as well as team-oriented improvement from the men who have a long history of individual success, but less group victories.

With a new multimillion dollar indoor track to help and a track & field tradition that stretches back to 1895 at the college, that adds up to pressure for the still young head coach.

All this pressure seems to sit calmly on Nauman’s shoulders, whose unassuming midwest candor exudes a stoic confidence reminiscent of basketball coaching giant Gregg Popovich.

The team’s next test will come Friday and Saturday when Roanoke travels to Lynchburg College for the Dr. Jack Toms invitational.

 

Ultimate Comeback: Frisbee Team Flies High

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Photo Courtesy of Sophie Youtz

Article Written by Leah Weinstein

 

There is a revival happening on Roanoke College’s Ultimate Frisbee team.

In the past two years, the team has amassed up to 20 players per tournament, the largest of all other Roanoke intramural teams. It also has turned around a sorely losing record.

Junior Matt Puryear came to Roanoke College to play soccer, and now, he is the co-captain of the co-ed club ultimate frisbee team. Puryer credits the renewed success of the team to three factors: strong leadership in head coach Kevin Foster, a competitive nature, and a familial culture tailored to having fun and supporting one another.

Before the 2014-2015 season, the team was not competitive, only winning two games total, and it had a very distinct party culture, Puryear said. Now, the team goes to three or four tournaments a semester, most recently placing second out of a 10-team pool at the Mars Hill University tournament in February.

After last fall’s activities fair, the team had nearly 100 students at its first practice of the academic year.

Also, a rise in commitment to the team from the freshmen class of 2014, paired with Foster’s leadership, has led to huge improvements. Students report being excited to return to the team each year.

“Officially having a coach helps a lot and having a culture where we want to improve,” said Puryear. “It’s easier to improve with people you really enjoy being around.”

The team suffered a tragic loss in 2015 when teammate Kevin Hartley died. His loss helped center the frisbee team and created an even stronger bond.

“That kind of brought us even closer and that first tournament after [Hartley’s death] was our best tournament of the year,” said Puryear.

After only two years of creating a new culture for themselves, the team has become one of the most successful club sports on campus, alongside the club rugby team.

“We’ve struck a good balance between being competitive and having fun; it is hard to keep that balance, but we’ve done a pretty good job so far,” Puryear said.

With freshmen through seniors leading the team, the team’s goals continue to grow. The team is planning to reach the sectional tournament for the second time next year. The players hope the popularity of the sport continues.

“Anyone who wants to come play, come and play,” said Puryear.

You often can find members of the team slinging discs on the Back Quad on sunny days in addition to at their games.

 

 

Confessions of a Recovering Music Snob

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Photo Courtesy of Drake

Article Written by David Hall

It comes as no surprise to those who know me, but I can be a bit picky when it comes to music. Okay that’s an understatement. Let’s put it like this; it’s tragically ironic how much music I don’t care for considering that I love music more than Kanye loves Kanye and even more than I love Kanye (I really love Kanye).

There are many artists still on my blacklist that probably won’t leave anytime soon. Among them The Dave Matthews Band, Michael Buble, and like pretty much all EDM music. (Quick sidetrack on Buble for a second. Riddle me this; why would you ever listen to Buble when you can just listen to Sinatra? Answer that impossible question and I’ll consider warming up to those Canadian croons fabricated in a J.C Penny focus group.)

But as I’ve gained a little age I’ve warmed up to artists and bands that I would have never touched in my angsty teenage years. For example, I’m all aboard the Bieber train these days. Yeah I know some of that early stuff was silly, but anyone who doesn’t feel something when they hear Love Yourself is lying to me or themselves.

Where was I? Oh right, Drake. So Drake has always been one of those guys I just never got. I found his rhymes weak and the beats devoid of all soul. But everyone loves Drake! And he seems like such a nice dude I always felt bad about not liking his music. Like, I don’t like music, but I would never tell him that.

Well, the winds of change are blowing and I think with the release of his new LP More Life I finally get it. The man carefully and creatively wove beautiful beats and sounds from dancehall as well as thriving in his trademark athletic rhymes that seethe competition. Drake understands that at its heart rap is a game, a game he’s been winning for nearly a decade now.

The album begins “Free Smoke,” a song that perfectly captures Drake’s dichotomy between the warmth of the music he’s been sampling and the absolutely frigid nature of the music that put him on top. The song starts with a soulful sample from a piano accompanied female vocalist which quickly transitions into Drake’s signature minimalist beats accompanied by some angsty lyrics from rap’s most famous sadboy.

The dynamic continues. My personal favorite on the LP “Passionfruit,” contains subtle synth hits and light swing from a drum machine provide a lovely backdrop for Drake to croon about love lost.  It’s as if the album’s changing as fast as feelings change during tumultuous relationships: defiant anger, reluctant optimism, and the kind of sweet sorrow you pray will end, but never want to leave.

It would be an insult to not acknowledge that More Life contains some serious bangers. Fake Love is killer radio rap that’s dominated the airwaves since its release back in October. And if the subdued Get It Together doesn’t make it to major FM stations then we should seriously consider abolishing pop radio.

Drake nods to serious new kids Sampha and Jorga Smith, cornerstone of popular hip-hop 2 Chainz, and pop’s crazy uncle Kanye with impressive appearances from all of them. These features bring some needed sonic variability that, especially for me, make the album far more palatable.

So I’m finally in the Drake club and I gotta say it feels good. And now that More Life has brought me to the table, I’m starting to enjoy the rest of the fixin’s you might say. Nothing Was The Same? Take Care? Look out, here I come.

Conspicuous Dog Siting Sparks Questions

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Photo Courtesy of Roanoke College

Article Written by David Hall

 

Editor’s note: Lack of a concrete explanation led us to mark this story opinion, which is subject to change depending on potential availability of information.

 

A canine led by what looked to be a uniformed police officer was spotted leaving New Hall on Friday, March 17. Campus authorities said they were unaware of the animal on campus.

 

Three students, including a Brackety-Ack staffer, witnessed the animal, led by a man in a blue uniform conducting what appeared to be a search of the premises. However, when asked about the incident, neither Campus Safety nor the area coordinator for New Hall had any knowledge regarding the presence of such an event.

 

K-9 divisions exist in police departments across the nation. The animals are trained to sniff out illegal narcotics hidden from plain sight. Salem Police has no such division and the nearest one belongs to Roanoke County.

 

Campus Safety Director Tom Rambo suggested that the animal was a service dog in-training.
The Brackety-Ack welcomes any information regarding this event.

RC Hillel Speaks Out: Hate Has No Place

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.”