Archive for Campus News

Come and See “The Magic of Life”


The Magic of Life is not just an alcohol awareness program or an anti-drunk driving program; it is about a mother’s son sharing his story, trying to make a difference.


At 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 17, Michael Gershe will present his “The Magic of Life” alcohol awareness program.  Michael Gershe is a survivor of a drunk driving accident that killed his mother when he was only eight months old.

This alcohol awareness program isn’t a run of the mill presentation about the dangers of alcohol and drunk driving.  Michael’s approach is one of humor.  He keeps his program “funny, easy to relate to, and meaningful.”  He combines comedy, audience interaction, and his story to connect with the audience and share his message.

This event is sponsored by Bluffton University PALS and Marbeck Center Board.  Snacks will be provided.  We all hope to see you there!

If you want to learn more about Michael or his presentation you can go to

My Life on the Sidelines

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“Okay, you can do this, stay tight. Smile! Squeeze legs, lock out arms, and.. hit! YES! Crap, I’m supposed to be saying words too. Oh ouch, I can’t hold this stunt much longer. Smile! Ugh, so many blank stares. How many times have we repeated these words now? Six? Seven times? PAY ATTENTION TO ME I’M DOING A DANGEROUS STUNT. I’m seriously about to fall! Have I been grimacing in pain? For Pete’s sake, SMILE!”

These are just a few of the thoughts running through my brain during a single stunt while cheering at a Bluffton University football game. Most people don’t realize how much goes into cheerleading. First of all, the attitude. We’re not allowed to be upset or show anything but complete joy. No one wants to go to a game and see a cheerleader sulking. Even when the boys are losing and visibly showing frustration, we have to remain peppy and positive. When fans are yelling about a referee’s terrible call, we cannot join in but must instead look like we’re having the time of our lives while our cheers are drowned out by booing. Putting on a face, even if you’re having the worst day ever, is extremely hard sometimes, but completely essential.

Secondly, the lack of recognition and blasé attitude toward cheerleading is difficult to ignore. I’ve heard the question, “ do you even practice cheerleading?” asked way too many times. We have two hours of practice a day. We have 6 a.m. workouts like any other fall athlete. We condition when we mess up. We lift- both weights, and humans. We have 70+ chants to learn, and over 15 long cheers and dances. Our torsos, legs, arms, hands, feet, and faces must be in perfect synchrony with nine other women. We have to be extremely flexible and strong to resist gravity and hold stunts in the air – Not to mention, we’re supposed to look good doing it all. No grunting or wiping sweat or letting anyone see you’re out of breath. Smiling, Barbie hands, and pretty posturing.

So, why do we do it? Simple. We love it. Like any other athlete, our squad-mates are our family. We’re with them every day. They (literally) catch us when we fall. We pour hours and hours into promoting our school in any way possible.

It’s all worth it to get a few people to cheer along with us, to encourage the football team rather than yell against our opponent. It’s rewarding to see the players celebrate each others’ good plays and hear the motivating pep talks on the sidelines. And, in the end, it’s something that I’ve wanted to do since I was a little girl. I do it for her, and all the little girls with the same ambitions. I hope she would be proud.

Colombian Cross Cultural Students Help Victims of Cali, Colombia

Last week, Bluffton students who participated in the Colombian cross cultural experience in May held a coffee and hot chocolate sale. The proceeds benefited 42 families who were left homeless by a fire in Charco Azul, a marginalized neighborhood in Cali, Colombia.

Virgelino Cordoba, whom the group met while in Colombia, notified Bluffton associate professor of Education Paul Neufeld Weaver about the great need. Weaver, who served as faculty adviser for the trip, greatly enjoyed the strong Colombian coffee while the group was there, and brought some back. He suggested that the students hold a coffee sale in Centennial from 7:45-11 a.m. each morning the week of September 22.

The Columbian group was comprised of 10 students and three adults. They left for the South American country on May 8, 2014 and returned on May 29. While they were there, the group stayed in Bogota, the largest city in Colombia, and learned a lot about the conflicts of the past and the current non-military struggles facing the Colombian people.

Cordoba, who is an English professor at a school in Cali, allowed the Bluffton group to talk with his students. The school, CAU (Colegio Americas Unidas), is Mennonite-affiliated, and is in the same area as the Charco Azul neighborhood. Cordoba and his wife know people affected by the late-August fire, and started garnering support for the cause in any way they could.

To find out what you can do to continue the support for the victims, contact Paul Neufeld Weaver.

Fire Pit Comes to Fruition

During the 2013-2014 academic year, members of the Student Senate proposed the idea of building a fire pit for the student body to use as both a way to socialize and a way to increase student involvement in campus-wide activities. It is also projected to increase potential-student interest in Bluffton University. Due to time constraints, the project was unable to fruition, but the Senate is now pushing to finalize the design this semester. The current design includes seating for approximately fifty people and will cost about $45,000. The cost of the fire pit will be met using resources like the Student Endowment Fund as well as voluntary contributions from individual students and members of the Bluffton community. The fire pit is expected to be installed between Neufeld Hall and the volleyball courts. No specific construction date has been set at this time.


New Man on Campus

Caleb Farmer, the new Director of Residence Life, is one of many new faces on campus.  Originally from Indiana, Caleb traveled to Waco, Texas to attend Baylor University where he received his undergraduate and masters degrees. Baylor University is where Caleb’s passion for residence life began. While at Baylor University, he was an assistant hall director and the program director of residential life. In addition to his work at the college, Caleb had been a youth pastor for the past four years.

Caleb Farmer and his wife Ryn

Caleb Farmer and his wife Ryn

Caleb is not the only person who has jumped on the Bluffton University train wagon! His wife Ryn, of seven years, came to be a part of the Bluffton community as well. Caleb says that he loves the atmosphere downtown and enjoys the flavor of all the local businesses. Like a lot of students on campus, Caleb enjoys music. He interviews bands and writes in a music journal. Along with his love of music is his love for racquet ball; he is always looking for a new partner to play with.  The role Caleb plays as the Director of Residence Life is to ensure that students feel safe and involved, to help make Bluffton feel a little bit like home. Caleb plans to help our residence here be just that.

The excitement Caleb shows to get to know all the students, faculty, and staff on campus is inspiring and ensuring. We look forward to getting know to our new Residence Life director and his family. So, let’s give Caleb a warm welcome, and if you see him roaming around campus make sure to make an effort to get to know him a little bit better.

YikYak: Harmless Fun or the Worst Thing to Hit College Campuses in Years?


YikYak is a new form of social media that has recently become extremely popular among college students.  It is an anonymous forum where one can post whatever they want about their school and the people that attend the school with them.  With the emergence of this new technology there are both people who love it and see it as fun way to interact anonymously with classmates and others who think that this form of social media is harmful and that its whole premise is grounds for anonymous cyber bullying.

This app was created and launched by Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington both students at Furman University.  In three months the app already has 100,000 monthly active users and there are roughly 15,000 messages that go up every day (Crook). According to creator Tyler Droll “Yakking is the welcoming, authentic and anonymous version of tweeting”.  According to psychiatrist Keith Ablow this translates to a chat room where people can post his or her comments completely anonymously regardless of if they are untruthful, mean, or character-assassinating.  He also states that psychologically YikYak removes all human characteristics such as empathy and connecting with other human beings because when you are anonymous behind a screen these emotions are not there (Ablow).

When a student gets onto YikYak, they feel like they can do whatever they want because no one will ever know who it is and that gives them power. Some things posted on YikYak can harm a person’s self-confidence and reputation even if they aren’t true.

Since its launch YikYak has already received flak from many schools and organizations because of the ease of causing problems not only among people but also causing problems in whole communities and schools. There have been schools in Massachusetts, Chicago, Connecticut, and California who have had to evacuate because of shooting and bomb threats made on YikYak that are still unsolved.

YikYak has already infiltrated Bluffton University’s campus.  If you were to get onto the app right now there would be a newsfeed of a variety of things.  Some of these things are harmless and fun while other posts are vicious and target out specific people on campus.  These kinds of posts can deeply traumatize the people that they are directed at. How would you feel if you were the one being targeted? Would you want your reputation tarnished or your heart broken by a fellow classmate? Is what you are posting something that you would want to see about yourself? Would you post this post if everyone could see who was saying it? These are all things that you should consider before you post anything about anyone on this anonymous app.

New Living Opportunity for First-Years


First-year students at Bluffton have a new living option available for the 2014-2015 school year. Education majors coming to campus for the first time now have the opportunity to live with other like-minded students on the fourth floor of Neufeld Hall. The program is called Community-to-Classroom, or C2C.

As well as living together, the C2C students are enrolled in some of the same classes and get to enjoy a community of like-minded education students. This is an exciting opportunity for incoming students to consider, because it is not available anywhere else on campus. Most other residence halls on campus combine students of all years and majors. The floor is also co-ed, with the floor’s lobby open for the C2C students 24 hours a day, while the rest of the residence halls only have the main lobby of the building open 24 hours.

C2C has two mentors, and education students, living on the floor, as well as an education major Resident Advisor. “All of the students get along so well! Our lobby is always being utilized for homework and recreational activities! I really enjoy interacting with the first-year students that have a passion for teaching just like me. I’m looking forward to future community building with this group.” Sophomore mentor Rachel Keske said about the new program.

Students wishing to join the C2C living-learning program next year must fill out an application to be considered. Not all applicants are accepted due to limited spots.

Relaunch Date

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We’re getting organized to relaunch the site for the new academic year.  Check back in with us on Tuesday, September 30, 2014.