Students help to rebuild hope

by: Chay Reigle, Bluffton public relations

More than two years after Hurricane Sandy slammed the East Coast, residents of Far Rockaway, Queens, New York, are still rebuilding what was lost. For a week in March, 13 Bluffton University students and staff spent their spring break trying to help.

In association with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS), the group assisted Sandy victims whose homes had been heavily damaged by the storm, which caused more than 200 deaths and an estimated $68 billion in damage overall. Among other things, they repaired cracked walls and floors and painted the homes of residents who couldn’t afford to fix them anymore.

“Hearing there was still work to be done from Sandy really hit me hard, and I wanted to go make a difference there,” said Rachel Keske, a sophomore from Lima, Ohio, and president of the campus organization SERVE. “The impact I had in helping these families take one step closer to normalcy will be one of the most beneficial feelings I’ll ever have.”

Keske worked for the same residents throughout the trip. She and MDS members mudded and sanded cracked and patchy drywall before applying a long-needed, new coat of paint. Although the process took all week, that week was full of laughter and inspiration for Keske.

“I never dreaded waking up at 6 a.m. to begin the day because I knew we would be helping them move their lives to the next step, after sitting still since October 2012,” when the storm hit, she said.

Jenna Moreo, a sophomore from Spencerville, Ohio, worked in several homes. She helped repaint the interior of a house that had endured extensive water damage, loaded shipments of drywall for delivery to the houses and insulated a basement that had been flooded to its ceiling. “It may seem like all we had to do was work on houses, but it was so much more than that,” she said. “We actually got to meet the homeowners and talk to them about what happened.”

“Hearing how the people whose homes were damaged still have so much hope after two years” was definitely worthwhile, said Kati O’Neill, a sophomore from Wapakoneta, Ohio, who worked with Moreo on the basement insulation project. “You can’t even imagine what happened to them and what they are going through. God is truly incredible and moves mountains.”

Although there’s still much to be done in Far Rockaway, the Bluffton students were happy to help as much as they could before returning to school, and many are eager to serve next spring break, too.

“To be able to give someone something back that we take for granted is a wonderful feeling,” said Danielle Moore, a sophomore from Plymouth, Ohio. “It was a blessing to get to know the families and people at MDS.”

“The thing is, we didn’t ‘give up’ our break; that thought never crossed my mind,” Keske said. “Serving in Far Rockaway was exactly what I wanted to spend my break doing.”

Technology geeks wanted


by: Kristina Ciminillo

To your Geek on in BU Tech Center. They are looking for friendly, experienced personnel to work between 6 and 10 hours per week.

Think you can handle it?

Talk to Sam Stucky at ASAP for an app

Students to speak out on peace and violence

by: Caitlin Nearhood

The annual C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest will occur Wednesday, March 25 at 6 p.m. in Yoder Recital Hall as part of Bluffton’s yearly Civic Engagement Day activities.

Six students will speak on topics of peace in various contexts and include:

• Emily Huxman, “Reducing Global Violence Against Women Through Education.”
• Rebecca Lapp, “Love Like Jesus: A Lesson in Immigration.”
• Charles Miller, “One Size Does Not Fit All: Embodying Peace in Education.”
• Venessa Owsley, “Making Bluffton a Safe Space.”
• Chay Reigle, “The Fourth Estate of Peacemaking.”
• Shannon Thiebeau, “Teaching Gender Roles in Youth Ministry: Why it Needs to Stop.”

The event will also have a reception for the winning speaker and refreshments for everyone. Arts and Lecture credit will also be available.

Welcoming women writers


by: Kristina Ciminillo

Last week Susan Carpenter’s Writing Seminar class hosted Spoken Word Poet Kyla Lacey and inundated her with questions she more than obligingly answered.

Spoken word is a type of poetry popular on YouTube these days. You may have enjoyed some yourself. This is performance of poetry that is emotionally charged and focuses on word play and spiritual or psychological insights the author wants to impress upon the audience.

Lacey told us “I write to convey a story.” She is “Into how words work and interconnect and how they are literally made. She was a French and German major and in High School studied Latin.

One poem she talked to us about was “Letter to Ronald Regan” which is about his not wanting MLK to have a holiday. She said “Going back to change certain words comes from having a rich vocabulary…meaningfulness and connection come before being clever.” Lacey discussed “Delta mode” which she explained is a “different wavelength like when driving or first laying down in bed, or the middle of the day when I’m completely alone and have been for several hours.” She claimed “Cats are always in this mode of heightened perception.”

Lacey talked about the common ABAB rhyme scheme which is more rigid and limiting than internal rhyme scheme. She confessed that she wished she “were more imaginative and less narcissistic.” When asked if there is a difference between poems that could be performed Lacey said “I do write a lot of poems just for me. There are some that look better just on the page.”

When asked about her favorite books she replied with The Great Gatsby, Toni Morrison “who is visceral and paints a scent for you, and Memoirs of a Geisha. She said she even liked the movie version of the latter.

Her favorite quote is her mentor’s, Anne Lamott’s, empowering advice to “Tell your stories, you own them. If people wanted you to write nicely about them they would have treated you better.”

Lacey is currently working on a book which she explained is similar to Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me (and Other Concerns I Have). She told us she tries “…to be as honest as I can. Psychologists say lying successfully takes higher intelligence. I try to be 95% more honest.” And “Poetry is therapy. There needs to be the statement “Wow! There’s a lot of rape.” instead of “Wow! There’s a lot of rape poems.””

Lacey resided in Chicago until age nine, the Florida suburbs, in “Seminole County-Where Trayvone Martin was killed”, until July of 2014. She now lives just 30 minutes outside of Atlanta, Georgia where she moved “for performance opportunities.” She asked herself the question “But what are you doing in your own backyard: Are you doing anything to facilitate change or just writing a poem about a social issue for influence and power?”

Foreign baby born in Bluffton


by: Kristina Ciminillo

Meet Janeth and Nataniela Makene. Nataniela was born at Bluffton Hospital on March 3, 2015.

Janeth is a 1st year Master’s Degree Program student here at BU. She is studying Production and Operations Management.

KC: How did you manage to have a baby and be in a Master’s Program?

JM: I was inspired by a story written by a Kenyan author titled “Is it Possible?” It’s a Masai story which was all about carrying books on one hand and carrying a spear on the other hand.

KC: Tell me a little bit more.

JM: Masai people in both Kenya and Tanzania do not believe in education. Due to change the government encouraged the Masai people to get an education.

KC: What is the spear about?

JM: The Masai are livestock keepers so they use the spear to defend their animals from wild animals and enemies. So for them education is not as important as a spear.

KC: How did the story then encourage you to get an education?

JM: I was inspired by a Masai boy who decided to go to school.

KC: What made him want to do that?

JM: He saw the importance of education and he wanted to be educated while, at the same time, maintaining his culture. Through the story of the Masai boy I came to realize that it is possible for me to have a baby and still continue with my studies.

KC: So, are you from Kenya or Tanzania?

JM: I’m from Tanzania.

KC: What is the population of Tanzania?

JM: It’s 4.4 million.

KC: How many languages and different dialects do you speak?

JM: I don’t speak any of the native languages, I can only hear my mom’s and my dad’s and respond to them. I grew up speaking Swahili which is our national language.

KC: How did you learn English?

JM: I started learning English in third grade. It was difficult.

KC: Do you mind if I ask how old you are?

JM: I am 27.

KC: You mentioned to me before that your husband is possibly going to follow work to Australia.

JM: He went for a fellowship, which was for three months, now he is back home.

KC: What is his name?

JM: Benjamin Makane

KC: Do you live on campus or have a host family?

JM: I live with Ron and Sue Epp, who kindly host me.

KC: Tell me about your culture shock coming to Bluffton and a village.

JM: I didn’t have any culture shock. I live in a village and have been to America before so I knew what to expect.

KC: How did you find Bluffton?

JM: Through friends that I worked with in summer camp in Michigan in 2007.

KC: So you have experienced our cold winters before?

JM: Yes.

KC: What do you miss from home?

JM: I miss the food, most especially ugali, which is like stiff porridge.

KC: How do you communicate with your family and husband?

JM: Skyping, email, and Facebook.

KC: What are your plans in life?

JM: I will go back home and open a business and maybe look for a good job.

KC: Thank you for your time today.

JM: My pleasure.

Bluffton Public Library announces its first Adult Spelling Bee—Cash grand prize to be awarded.

BPL announces its first Adult Spelling Bee, to take place Thursday, March 26 at 6pm.  Anyone over age 13 may participate, so teens can compete against their parents, grandparents, or teachers —  Are they smarter than a teenager?

Adults will notice this is not the Spelling Bee they remember from school; dressing up in bee colors or wearing your favorite “geek glasses” is encouraged (this is a library—creativity is appreciated).  Professional photography for this event will be provided by Elysian Fields Photography and will be featured on our website and social media.

Registration forms are available at the library’s front desk and the contestant fee is only $2 — however, larger donations will be accepted.  Half of every donation will go toward the cash grand prize while the other half will go toward a literacy-supporting non-profit, the Bluffton Area United Way.

Every contestant who donates more than $2 earns a lifeline to use at any time during the competition.  When using this lifeline, the contestant has 60 seconds to use any library material to find the correct spelling of a word which has them stumped.

Be sure to sign up for this event today, as registration closes March 16th.  Every registrant will receive a study pamphlet to use in preparation for this event.  If there are any questions, BPL encourages you to email or call 419-358-5016.  Support your community, advocate for education and literacy, compete for cash and have some fun while doing it.  It’s just one more reason to love your BPL!

Q&A with Sarah Barren

by: Ryan Laidlaw

Q: What is your favorite sport?
A: “Softball.”

Q: What professional teams do you like?
A: “Red Sox, Steelers.”

Q: What’s one thing you love about Bluffton University?
A: “The people and community, because they are friendly.”

Q: Who do you look up too?
A: “My mother.”

Q: What are you afraid of?
A: “Nothing.”

Q: What’s your ideal vacation destination?
A: “Somewhere warm and fun.”

Q: What kind of pets do you like?
A: “Dogs.”

Q: Name one professor on campus that you were happy to have met?
A: “Jackie Slinger.”

Q: What career do you want?
A: “Something that has to do with early childhood education.”

Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: “The Harry Potter series.”

Shalith and Inspiration Point

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Meet Christina Klahre – fairy tale fan and master storyteller

by: Kristina Ciminillo

Senior student Fremont, Michigan
English and Writing Major
Lives in Ropp Hall
Works at the Writing Center

If you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing or reading one of Christina’s stories then you are missing out on creative genius right here in Bluffton. I sat down at Common Grounds one day to speak with Christina and get the details on her adventure to Ohio.

Kristina C: What brought you to BU?

Christina K: I was looking for a small liberal arts college that had a good writing part to their English Program. I read about BU in a brochure and came down for the Presidential Scholarship Program.

KC: You said “down”, where are you from?

CK: A small town in Michigan called Freemont.

KC: How does Bluffton compare to Freemont?

CK: It’s not too different. It is a little smaller, which makes it nicer for everything to be within walking distance of the University.

KC: What is the most rewarding thing about your BU experience?

CK: A combination of the community- I’ve made a lot of good friends here- and the improvements in my writing.

KC: What or who influenced that?

CK: All the chances to write for different assignments. Trying different types of writing; like short stories, poetry, and literature papers. It created goals for my writing which was very helpful.

KC: So your major is Writing?

CK: And English.

KC: What are your plans after graduation?

CK: I’m not certain yet. I’m going to take a year off and then start looking into grad schools probably.

KC: What is the most interesting thing you’ve found about BU?

CK: My cross cultural experience to Northern Ireland. I’d always wanted to go there, so that was very exciting.

KC: What did you come away with from that experience that you have used or think you may use in your writing?

CK: I got to know a lot of interesting people and I think they may become characters in future stories. I also saw a lot of beautiful places which would help create scenes and construct different worlds.

KC: So you lean towards the fantasy/fairy tale genre from what I’ve noticed. What age audience do like to write for?

CK: Young adults, a lot of my stories have younger protagonists.

KC: So, do you hope to publish short stories, a novella, or a novel in the future?

CK: Definitely a novel, but probably short stories as well, later.

KC: How many days a week do you work at the Writing Center?

CK: Three.

KC: What do you like about it?

CK: It’s nice to see I’m helping people, the people that come in regularly. It’s nice to see the way that their writing improves.

KC: Thank you for your time. Best of luck in the future.

Jesse Roth and Fault Lines win big in Fort Wayne

by: Alex Parker

While some students were heading off to warmer locations during that first weekend of spring break, Jesse Roth and a few of Fault Lines dancers traveled to Fort Wayne to win a huge competition.

Roth, a senior majoring in writing and business administration, choreographed four dances for the Fort Wayne Dance for All Choreography Exhibition, a line dance competition. The Dance for All celebrated its 20th anniversary and remains the biggest line dance convention in the United States. This meant a tough competition for Roth and her dancers.

The competition was split into three divisions; Newcomer/Novice, Intermediate, and Phrased. The top three dances in each division placed and a final prize awarded to the overall winner. Roth had entered one dance in the Newcomer/Novice division, one in the Intermediate division, and two in the Phrased division. Each division had a total of seventeen dances competing for the right to be called the best. “I thought a third place finish would be good,” said Roth considering the competitors.

The competition got underway and all the dances were performed in front of a few select judges as well as a large audience. Roth felt good dancing despite losing her name tag in the beginning of her dance. “I was more comfortable knowing [Fault Lines] was with me, and that’s the biggest number I’ve competed with.”

The award ceremony began and the choreographers were lined up so that prizes could be dealt out. Roth took third in the Newcomer/Novice division, first place only escaping by a mere 5 points. She then took first in the Intermediate division by a few points. Finally she dominated the competition in the Phrased division, taking first by a whopping 17 points.

The final listings showed that her winning streak wasn’t quite over. Jesse had received a total score 607 points, putting her 27 points ahead of second place which shocked her. She said “I figured someone was going to run onto the floor shouting they had miscalculated and someone else was the winner.” She then accepted the $250 dollar grand prize for being the best overall choreographer.

With the competition over Jesse and the other dancers enjoyed the rest of their break knowing that moving to those warmer locations wouldn’t have had the same results.