Archive for Campus News

See you in the spring semester!

Bluffton student body, faculty/ staff, community members and anyone else who might be reading this:

On behalf of the Bluffton Connection staff I would like to thank you all for your support in what has been an interesting rebuilding period for us. Due to final exams the week of Dec. 8-12 and Christmas break after that, there will be no new content posted until we return to school in the new year. Please check back with us on Jan. 5, 2015 when we will begin our spring semester.

Facing our fears for Spiritual Life Week

The overall winners of the Fear Factor event: Josh Burkholder, Alicia Rodriguez, Aimee Lugibihl, Katey Ebaugh, and Tobin Eicher

The winning team of the Fear Factor event: Josh Burkholder, Alicia Rodriguez, Aimee Lugibihl, Katey Ebaugh, and Tobin Eicher

Sometimes, being a follower of Christ means doing stuff we really don’t want to do. Sometimes, we have to take a leap of faith and pray that everything will be ok in the end. And sometimes, we have to transfer wet dog food from one bowl to another using only our mouth to carry it.

That’s what participants in Spiritual Life Week’s Fear Factor event last Monday did. Founders Gym turned into a game arena as teams of four or five were pushed to their limits in food-related challenges. One student from each group competed at a time, attempting to beat the clock and the other groups.

Pig’s feet, dog food, spam, and sardines were among the foods consumed during the various challenges. While a few got sick, most contestants kept the food down and walked away from challenges smiling and laughing.

After each fear factor challenge, members of the spiritual life week planning committee asked students to come up with an analogy pertaining to the previous food item consumed and relate it to the theme for the week, No Fear in Love. It’s based off of 1 John 4:18, as were the rest of the week’s activities.

The highlight of the week was a free concert by Christian rapper “KJ-52” (pronounced kay jay five two), and Florida native Jonah Sorrentino on November 20th.

Guns near Bluffton Schools

by: Lucas Augustine

On April 20 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris walked into their high school in Columbine, Colorado and shot twelve students and one teacher. Since then, school shootings have become a great concern for many Americans.

In the village of Bluffton, Ohio many of the university students are unaware that there is a gun store not too far from campus. Riley Creek Mercantile is a store that is one mile from the university’s campus, half a mile from the Bluffton high school and on the same street as the Bluffton elementary school.

Mercantile’s inventory has an assortment of firearms, from pistols to rifles and shotguns. The highest caliber ammo that is sold there is a “thirty ot six”. The “thirty ot six,” which is designed for rifles, hits targets up to one thousand yards away.

The price range of the firearms at The Riley Creek Mercantile ranges from $150 to $2000. In order to purchase a shotgun the customer needs to be at least eighteen years of age. While the age requirement to buy a pistol is twenty-two, as long as the person is able to pass a background check, eighteen is an acceptable age.

According to the sales associate at the store, a background check only takes about five minutes to complete. After the background check is complete and the customer is deemed “clean,” the customer is able to buy whatever gun they desire and in this case, walk outside and be standing on the same road as an elementary school, half a mile from a high school and only a mile from a college campus.

Owning a firearm is a right granted to us by the constitution, but should a store be able to sell firearms so close to schools? What about our “Mennonite” school and the Mennonite beliefs of nonviolence? These questions are for you to think about.

Busy weekend for Beavers athletics

This past weekend was a busy one for Bluffton athletics as the fall sports concluded and the winter sports began. The cross country, volleyball, and football teams finished their 2014 campaigns in championship competitions while both basketball squads started their push toward championship runs of their own.

Cross country runners competed in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship which was hosted by Wilmington College. Though none of the Beavers qualified for a spot in the NCAA Championship you have to like the fact that a team with no seniors on the roster is gaining valuable experience which will certainly help them going forward.

The volleyball team fell in straight sets to the seventh-ranked Washington University Bears in the First Round of the 2014 NCAA Division III St. Louis Regional (which was on the Bears’ home court). With just one senior graduating the volleyball team’s future is also quite bright as they add much-needed experience to the obviously talented roster.


2014 HCAC MVP Mackenzie McFarlin

Sophomore Mackenzie McFarlin was named the 2014 HCAC MVP complimenting her HCAC Tournament MVP award quite nicely. Juniors Jenny Brown, Sara Roth and Kendra Parmenter received First Team HCAC honors for their efforts during the campaign. Head coach Steve Yarnell also took home some hardware this season as he was elected HCAC Coach of the Year by the other coaches in the conference.

The women’s basketball team was also in St. Louis. They played two games in the Webster Tip-off Classic, losing the opener to Spalding University on Saturday night, and then winning the second game against the host Webster University on Sunday. They’ll play their first home game of the season this Saturday as Wooster comes to the Sommer Center.

The men’s basketball team welcomed Kalamazoo on Saturday evening, grabbing an exciting first victory. An onslaught of three-pointers and sound free-throw shooting propelled the Beavers to their impressive win. They’ll travel to Naperville, Ill. this weekend for two games in the North Central Tip-Off Tourney.

Not to diminish any of the aforementioned accomplishments, but the biggest news from the past weekend came from Dwight Salzman Stadium where the Beavers stomped the Defiance Yellow Jackets to keep The Hammer in Bluffton for the fifth consecutive season. The 44-23 final score doesn’t accurately reflect the type of game this was. The Beavers dominated their arch-rivals from the first drive of the game until the clock hit zero.

Senior quarterback Nick Sheehan set a school-record with five touchdown passes.  Four of the five were caught by senior receiver Jack Tomlinson, who, by doing so, also set a school-record.

Congratulations to the twenty seniors who ended their collegiate football careers in grand fashion and have no idea what it’s like to lose to Defiance.


Jack Tomlinson became the only receiver in Bluffton history to catch four touchdown passes in a single game.

Last weekend officially flipped the sporting calendar from fall to winter and four inches of snow were dumped on us to drive home that fact.

So, get out your cold weather clothing, and when you see them around campus, be sure to congratulate fall athletes on their accomplishments and wish winter athletes luck in their upcoming competitions.

Fire alarm interrupts Keeney Peace Lecture

As Dr. Stanley Haurwas gave the annual Keeney Peace Lecture in Yoder Recital Hall to a crowd of around 100 on Monday evening (Nov. 10), something out-of-the-ordinary occurred. The noted Episcopalian theologian had finished his presentation of an hour and a half and was beginning to answer questions from the audience when the fire alarm began to sound.

The presentation, which started at 7 p.m. in Yoder Recital Hall and was free to the public, focused on discipleship and caring for the poor. He explained the criticisms Christians often receive whilst doing such, and proclaimed charity still essential to Christian living. After the alarm was pulled and lecture-goers exited the hall, students left despite an interest by older folks to reconvene.

One anonymous student said “The content was interesting. The mode of presentation was what sort-of put me to sleep. While the event definitely brought in a lot of community members, it seemed that the majority of the crowd were members of the AARP. Only about 20 students attended. When the alarm was pulled, I assumed it was another student. ”

Haurwas is the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law at Duke University Divinity School. He has written over 40 books, and holds four degrees from Yale University. He was even included in Time magazine as “America’s Best Theologian” in 2001.

According to Bluffton’s website, “Bluffton’s Keeney Peace Lectureship was established in 1978 by the family of William Sr. and Kathryn Keeney to express appreciation for Bluffton’s influence and to strengthen the continuing peace witness among the community.”

To our knowledge, nothing quite like this has happened at a Bluffton lecture in the recent past. Our sources tell us that it was a child and not a University student who pulled the alarm, although nothing has been confirmed.

Renowned theologian speaks at Bluffton University Kenney Peace Lecture

Dr. Stanley Hauerwas, world renowned theologian and Time magazine’s 2001 “America’s best theologian”, was this year’s Keeney Peace Lecture key note speaker.  The event was held Monday, Nov. 10 in Yoder Recital Hall on the Bluffton University Campus.


During the speech, titled “How to Remember the Poor”, Dr. Hauerwas discussed ways in which one should care for the poor and how caring for the poor should be an ongoing act of Christianity. A key tagline he shared was, “charity is the heart of living”. Hauerwas discussed his criticism of the word poor and how it is used. During the speech, it was discussed how the system of charity seems to be corrupt and broken because the money that is given is not always used in an appropriate manner. Dr. Hauerwas emphasized the concept that being poor is not about money but about not knowing what to do or knowing the resources to do it. He touched on the example of how many times during mission trips, the recipients do not benefit from the resources they are given because they are uneducated and unable to use the technology and resources once the missionaries leave.

Dr. Hauerwas is currently Chair of the Theological Ethics Department at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.  Before his job at the University of Aberdeen Dr. Hauerwas was a long-time professor at the University of Notre Dame. He was the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law and a senior research fellow at Duke University Divinity School.  Dr. Hauerwas earned his Ph.D. from Yale University and a Doctor of Divinity degree from the University Of Edinburgh, Scotland. He also received honorary doctorates from DePaul University, the University of Edinburgh, Virginia Theological Seminary, and the University of Geneva.

Dr. Hauerwas has also written over 40 books and numerous articles as a theologian including most recently: “Working with Words: Learning to Speak Christian” (2011) and “Approaching the End” (2013).

The “Haunting of Lincoln” party

by: Ryan Laidlaw

On October 30th, Marbeck Center Board, Theme Housing, and the Residential Life Department held a haunted house party in the former residential hall, Lincoln Hall. Nathaniel Haas was the coordinator for the event; he is who requested the approval of Dr. Julie DeGraw to host the party in Lincoln. “Lincoln is creepy even during the daytime as well as night time and people’s reactions changed when I told them about moving [the party] from Neufeld to Lincoln,” Hass said.

Since the building’s closing in 2011, many students believed that Lincoln was considered to be condemned. ‘The Haunting of Lincoln’ concept was created last year by students in Neufeld when they held an event called ‘The Haunting of Neufeld.’

The usage of Lincoln for the party was approved by the Dean of Students, Dr. DeGraw. Nate affirms, “Julie was really excited and wanted to do it, so she said she would talk to a few people and see if it was possible.”  Nate stated that Julie spoke with members from the Buildings and Grounds Department. Buildings and Grounds workers are in charge of the residential halls and making sure they are fully functional. They went through Lincoln to see where the event could take place and what places were off limits. Hass stated that Buildings and Grounds workers told him that he had to have two exits, including a main entrance. The workers told him that he had to keep the bathrooms locked off due to the bad plumbing. “Hopefully it holds upright, so that next year we can come back and use it a lot more,” said Haas.

According to Ravi Knutson, the Hall Director of Ropp and one of the people who assisted with the event, Lincoln might not be used for the haunting party next year because of the plans that the university has for it. Lincoln will likely be torn down to make space for the new science building, but there are a lot of conflicts about this idea because alumni want to keep it as Lincoln, while the university wants to do other things with it.

Schumacher back in classes after eye complications scare

Bluffton Senior, Isaac Schumacher had a very eventful fall break – but not in the way you might think. The Pandora, OH native discovered that he had retinal detachment and had an invasive eye surgery while most of us were arriving back on campus for classes after break.

It all started when he noticed a dark spot in his peripheral vison about two weeks prior. Schumacher mentioned it to his father, but assumed it would just go away on its own. However, it did not. His close-up vision was becoming blurred as well. He went in to his family eye doctor and was told he had retinal detachment and needed immediate surgery.

Schumacher’s father has bad near-sightedness, and the doctor concluded that Isaac did as well. They both have oval-shaped eyes, as opposed to a rounder shape, which are prone to thinning and retinal detachment. “It’s not that my eyes were falling out, which is what it sounds like,” Isaac said. “It’s more of a tear, which can lead to total loss of vision.”

He had surgery on his right eye, and they put in a buckle in the back. Laser eye surgery was done on the left to add scar tissue. Both eyes are fine for now, though his eyes are sensitive to light (he’s wearing sunglasses for the next few weeks) and he has to put drops in that blur his vision. Other than his eyes looking bloody, they are back to being functional.

Retinal detachment only occurs in about 5 people each year, so it’s somewhat rare. “It’s usually something found in pretty old people, not 21 year olds,” Isaac said. “They were definitely surprised [that he was so young]. When you go into retinal surgeons, it’s older people in the waiting room. And then I was there.”

So did something other than the hereditary concerns cause all these eye problems? “Nothing I did knocked my eyes out or anything like that. Even if something had sped up the process, it’s something my eyes were already prone to. I’m kind of glad it happened now so that I could get it taken care of.”

Isaac is a graphic design major with an art minor, so his eyes are a huge part of his career. He returned to classes after a week and a half off, on Oct. 27. “It was pretty scary, but it did happen quickly and I’m glad it’s over.”

Student Senate puts commuter proposal on back burner

by: Brianna Lugibihl


Bluffton University’s Student Senate placed commuter space proposal aside a month after its proposition.
In September, Student Senate President Matthew McCoy proposed designating a specific place for commuter students to keep their belongings in response to various commuters’ requests throughout the year. Senate debated locations and requirements, such as space, centrality to campus, and accessibility. At Monday’s meeting, it was not on the agenda.

Alex Lugibihl, a commuter of three semesters, supports the proposal. Last year, he not only slept in his car during inclement weather, but had his laptop stolen. He says, “If I had a place that was relatively central on campus where I could store things without going to my car, it would cut down on my stress and make me more confident in the security of my belongings.”

When informed that Student Senate had postponed progress, he stated, “Commuters often get treated like second rate students anyway. . . it is kind of unfortunate that we are being shoved aside again.” Lugibihl keeps his belongings in Mosiman when he is unable to go to his car between activities.

Alex Parker, a third year commuter, stashes his belongings in the library on days when he doesn’t have access to his family car. He said, “It would be nice to have a place to stay instead of being left to the elements . . . if you are a commuter student and you are stuck on campus, that’s on you.” He responds to Senates postponement stating, “I have accepted that I am like a second class citizen, so I have stopped complaining.”

Student Senate Treasurer, Charles Miller, says that “this issue of commuter representation has been brought up several times in Senate” and Senior Representative, commuter Jeremy Basinger, speaks on the commuters’ behalf.

Earlier attempts at a commuter lounge in Ramseyer Hall and Centennial Hall have both failed. McCoy guesses that it was overlooked. He says, “The vast majority of students are students that live on campus. Not that the campus doesn’t care about commuters, but there have been issues that have come up that a greater amount of students would benefit from.”

Lugibihl says, “It is already difficult to be involved in campus and it is difficult to see that just because we try to save a little money, we suffer for it.”
Bluffton University currently has seventy-nine full time commuter students versus six hundred sixty-seven residential students.

McCoy says the proposal will be revisited at end of November or beginning of the next semester.

Students may contact Student Senate at the Bluffton University Student Senate Facebook page or by talking to local student senators. Student senator profiles are located on the Senate bulletin board across from the bookstore in Marbeck Center.

Beavers’ winning streak ends


by: Joel Jacobson

The battle for 2nd place in the HCAC football rankings ended in defeat for the Beavers. The Mount Saint Joseph Lions traveled to Salzman Stadium Saturday afternoon to challenge the Beavers for 2nd place in the HCAC.

The Lions struck first with a field goal. The Beavers responded on their next drive with Nick Sheehan tossing a strike over the middle to receiver Micah Roberson who then muscled through three defenders to get to the endzone. On the next drive, the Lions were able to reach the red-zone and punch in a two yard rushing touchdown. On the ensuing kick-off the Beavers fumbled the ball and the Lions would recover the ball 33 yards away from the end-zone. The Beaver defense was about to complete another stop by forcing the Lions into a 3rd and long situation, but Lion’s quarterback Greg Simpson tossed a bomb up to receiver Leonard Riston for a 33 yard touchdown. The next score would come from the Beavers by way of a field goal by freshman Jordan Watkins just before half, leaving the Beavers with 10 and the Lions with 17 going into the 3rd quarter.

After unsuccessful drives from both the Lions and Beavers, MSJ’s Simpson would throw up another bomb to a wide open Ronnell Colbert giving the Lions a two touchdown lead. On the next drive the Beavers would have the ball intercepted again. The very next play the Lions fumbled the ball and the Beavers would get the ball back and capitalize with Sheehan connecting again with Micah Roberson for a touchdown pass. The Beavers then held the Lions to a field goal and the next drive Sheehan hooked up with receiver Donovan Brown for a 40 yard touchdown pass with 14 minutes left in the 4th quarter. This would leave the score at 27-24 with the Beavers just 3 points down from the Lions.

With the game winding down, both defenses began tightening up with neither of them giving up scores for the next 13 minutes in the final quarter. With little time left, the Lions orchestrated a long drive ending with a 12 yard touchdown pass from Simpson to Riston. This would put away the Beavers with the Lions leading by two scores with only 1:27 left in the game.

“When you make big mistakes against a good team they capitalize and (Mount Saint Joseph) is a good team. They did what we’ve been doing to teams these past two weeks by causing turnovers and capitalizing on them.” Said Bluffton Head Coach Denny Dorrel after the loss. “We still have two games left to play our hearts out for these seniors.”