Archive for Campus News

Lincoln Hall Update


After doing some digging, I have found that Lincoln Hall meets all building codes, but does not meet residents hall codes according to Mustaq Ahmed, Director of buildings and grounds.

Lincoln Hall is heated, but only enough to keep from freezing. Lincoln does not meet overnight standards because the exit lights have not been tested recently and the bathrooms are not cleaned regularly.

The 4-5 hour window where Lincoln Hall will be open this Friday the 31st for Residents Life’s MAD event will be supervised at all times by Residence Life staff. No fires, not even candles, are allowed, just like in all residents halls. Bathrooms will not be available for use either. Mustaq feels that with personal supervision from Caleb Farmer, Director of Residents Life, and Julie Degraw, Dean of Students the event and students attending the event should be just fine.

As for the asbestos question, Julie said “to my knowledge there is no asbestos” in Lincoln Hall.

Mustaq also has notified Fire Chief, Jon Kinn for extra awareness, just as notification would be made for any large event.

More news about Lincoln Hall soon.

Pipe burst in Founders Hall


October 29, 2014 around 12:10pm, a pipe under the sink of a biology lab station in Founders Hall spontaneously burst.


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The picture above is a puddle made by the burst spreading from underneath the wall to the other side of the hallway. Water also covered about a third of the floor in the biology lab.

The sink’s valve was turned off by Mark Bourassa, Director of University Events Complex; Conferences, in response to a student concerned about a “random growing puddle in Founders”. Brent Schroeder, Assistant Director of University Events Complex, Larry Maynard, University Events Complex Custodian ,and Jane Amstutz, University Events Complex Secretary were all at scene to clean up.

Thanks to our Marbeck Center staff’s quick response time large scale damage was avoided.

New Bike Path Connects Main Street To Fast Food Restaurants off I-75

President Jim Harder looks on at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Photo courtesy of

President Jim Harder looks on at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Photo courtesy of

After five years of planning, a new bike path was officially opened to the public at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 21, 2014. The 2009 Comprehensive Bluffton Bike and Pedestrain Master Plan needed upwards of $123,000 to commence. 36 area individuals and businesses are responsible for raising the required funds.

The path was initiated by the Bluffton Lions Club and Bluffton Lions Foundation, thus earning it the name “Lions Way.” The goal of the path is to improve public safety on a heavily-traveled route, where sidewalks are scarce.Spanning seven-tenths of a mile, the new path will allow bikers and pedestrians to safely travel from Main Street to the businesses off of I-75, among other places.

Bike paths have always been a big part of Bluffton’s past. Ropp and Mary Em Triplett launched the idea of several other bike and pedestrian pathways in the late 1970’s, which were implemented in the ’80s. For more on the history of bike paths in Bluffton, click here.

This whole initiative has been a part of the Bluffton community’s effort to connect the people to various destinations, and promote the health and well-being of area community members. The addition of the bike shop downtown last year, CG Pro Bikes, also furthered this mentality. Bluffton students with bikes on campus can utilize both this resource, and the new path.

Lions Way is not entirely completed yet. About 200 feet along Commerce Lane to Route 103 are scheduled for completion soon.

Lincoln Hall is opening up for an event?

Is anyone else curious as to why Lincoln Hall is “closed”?


Just like you, I’ve heard rumors like “Lincoln has asbestos,” “it’s dangerous,” “they can’t even tear it down because the air pollution would reach dangerous levels.”

This week I, Daila Moore, will be asking questions and hopefully finding answers to ease the minds of students who want to attend the Haunting of Lincoln MAD this Friday.

If the conditions of this building really are that bad, then why is an event being held there?

Check back Wednesday for updates.

Clarification on Bluffton Connection’s Role

Since our re-launch on Sept. 30 Bluffton Connection has successfully posted new content each and every weekday on which classes have been held. While this is exciting news, we realize that some mistakes have been made and that a few weeks of work is nothing to brag too much about.

Shortly after the re-launch we encountered some flak from anonymous readers. There were complaints about grammatical errors in stories and also expressions of disapproval concerning some of the content. Your input was received and it is appreciated. A student news source thrives on feedback, so we’d like to thank you for giving us something to work with.

That being said, there are some clarifications that need to be made to ensure that the Bluffton Connection staff and its readers are on the same page.

First of all, let me fully explain what Bluffton Connection is and what its role is so that both are perfectly clear to all. This is designed to be a student-driven news outlet fueled by Bluffton University students (hence the banner at the top of the page). Keep in mind that Bluffton Connection is an independent student-operated journalism laboratory and that its Editorial Board decides what is posted.

We are not a forum for the university to use as it pleases. We are not a branch of the Public Relations Department. Therefore, we are not responsible for spreading the politically correct, carefully crafted version of what’s going on here. There are plenty of people whose job it is to do just that. And while we respect them as well as their profession, we do not fit into that category, nor do we wish to.

Instead, Bluffton Connection coverage includes student-produced campus news, feature stories, photography, opinion pieces and anything else we consider important enough to be posted. All of which is presented from a student point of view. We completely comprehend that other demographics also factor into our readership but we do not aim to cater to those groups, but rather to the student body.

The Bluffton Connection staff firmly believes that the campus endorsed “Community of Respect,” allows for freedom of expression when it comes to language used and topics covered. At times these freedoms may appear controversial, but will, of course, conform to mainstream media standards.

Additionally, going forward please make sure to address any questions, comments, or concerns to me, Mitchell Gatzke. As the Executive Editor of Bluffton Connection I will take full responsibility for what is posted on the site regardless of whether or not I am the writer behind the story in question. However, in order to do that properly I need to be the one who is contacted when there is an issue. Not a faculty advisor, not a professor in the Communication Department, or even its Chair, but me.

A professor of mine once said, “Remember that Bluffton’s motto is ‘the Truth Makes Free’ and oftentimes Power is allergic to truth disseminated publicly.” This essentially means that those who have control in any situation would generally prefer to keep others in the dark simply because that makes it a bit easier to operate. I’d remind those who would disagree that freedom of the press is what makes the democratic process possible.

Rest assured that all of the above will be covered in a professional journalistic approach with the Bluffton Connection Editorial Board having the final say.

As the great Frank Sinatra famously sang, “You ain’t seen nothing yet. The best is yet to come.”

Please, don’t hesitate to contact me:
Mitchell Gatzke
Phone: (313) 377-6423

Student Senate Collecting Signatures for Water Bottle Filling Station


Another water bottle filling station is in the works for the Bluffton University campus. For the last few weeks, Student Senators have been collecting student signatures in support of this measure.

The purified water-filling station would be installed on the first-floor of Centennial Hall. The unit would be the same as the unit made by Elkay Manufacturing Co. near Bob’s Place in Marbeck Center (pictured above), and similar to the units in the Sommer Center.

Senators want to provide a place other than the Commons for students to get purified water throughout the day. Many students bring disposable water bottles to class. By installing an easy way to fill up reusable water bottles, Senators hope to encourage students to cut down on plastic waste and take in more water while in class.

This initiative has been in the works since the beginning of the calendar year. It was approved at a Senate meeting on Feb. 24, but did not receive enough support for it to be implemented over the summer. Student Senate needs 51 percent of the student body to sign the initiative for the units to be purchased and installed. This is equivalent to 415 student signatures. Currently, there are about 370.

According to 2014-15 Senate President Matt McCoy, if you also want to join the efforts, you can do so by contacting any Student Senator or signing the initiative at the Marbeck front desk before the end of the academic year.

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

Courtesy photo

“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.