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Lent me give you a hand

Fat Tuesday, one of the most coveted times of the year, where guilt-free binge eating is acceptable and encouraged. While I’m not Catholic, I still choose to participate in Fat Tuesday shamelessly. Although Fat Tuesday isn’t really any different than any other day, lent, on the other hand is a different story.

I grew up in a small country town where half of my high school was Catholic, nonpracticing Catholic at that. And while the majority did not attend weekly mass, the one thing they participated in was Lent. I’m not Catholic, in fact I’m probably the opposite of Catholic, but I still enjoy participating in this six week experience.

A lot of other people, whether they are religious or not, participate as well. The idea of lent is to prepare yourself through prayers, repentance of sins, and thanksgiving all leading up to the week surrounding Jesus’ resurrection.

I would go out on a limb and say that a lot of people who participate in the act of lent are not preparing themselves for the Holy week, myself included.Ultimately I think lent has come down to a mid-year crisis of forgetting our New Year’s resolutions and trying to justify the cheating that happened two weeks after the new year. Ironically, the redemption a lot of people seek for cheating diets and lost volunteer motivation is not the redemption that is meant to be given.

I like to think of lent as sort of a fasting experience. Fasting is typically giving up food or something sustaining in order to grow closer to God. During lent, the time spent eating or doing or using whatever it is you gave up is meant to be a time where you seek God’s direction and guidance. Now how am I supposed to do that if I have a caffeine headache from giving up pop, you ask? Simple. Don’t.

Lent, if not meant to help you recognize that you are a sinner, is just another way for people to claim religion or get back in shape. If you are not seeking God daily, then he probably won’t show up when you’re crabby from sugar withdrawal or irritated with a caffeine headache. If you’re not willing to give up little things like social media or sweets everyday in order to see God work then what makes you think that six weeks out of the year is going to do anything?

I’ll let you in on a secret; I complain, a lot. It’s true, complaining is how I get through the day. I complain about how much I complain. It’s sort of ridiculous and I’m sure my friends are tired of hearing it. So in rebuttal to their constant nagging, I’ve decided to give up complaining for lent.

Six long weeks of keeping my irritation and annoyance to myself. I’m not sure if my head will explode from holding it all inside, but I presume that it will brighten my spirit subtly and will make my presence much more enjoyable. (I’m giving up sweets as well, I could stand to lose a few pounds. My body is temple unto the Lord, right?)

I don’t plan on using this six-week period to better myself but I plan on using it better the world around me. This is going to be the spring board for what I want my life to reflect. When this lent period is over, I don’t want to go back to the way I was. Who wants to gain the 20 pounds they lost right after they just started looking hot? I want my life to be different in the words I say and the attitude I present. I want to keep that 20 pounds of complaining off my shoulders and out of my heart.

So why did I ramble on and on about something that most people already know about? I just want to push your comfort zone. I want you to take this seriously, and to really immerse yourself in the time you spend away from this world and the time you spend with God.

Fat Tuesday is meant for binging food, not binging sins. And lent is meant to cleanse you from sins and not just from food.

College athletes: rate your coach

Locker Room Talk® ( is a rating and review website for college coaches which compiles information in an easy-to-search format so that high school athletes undergoing the varsity recruiting process can make educated decisions.

Through a short, anonymous online survey, Locker Room Talk gives college players the unique ability to easily rate and review their coaches.  The website is a positive platform for college student-athletes to express their views so that high school athletes can better evaluate the programs they are considering.

“We need current and recently graduated college athletes to fill out our simple, fast, anonymous online survey to provide information about your experiences with your coach. By sharing your honest opinions, you will be helping high school athletes make the best choices for their futures,” said Oliver Loutsenko, co-founder of Locker Room Talk.

Created by former varsity college athletes as a “force for good,” Locker Room Talk® is an invaluable resource for high school athletes and their families as they prepare to make one of the most important choices of their lives.  It covers both men’s and women’s teams in sports such as football, baseball, basketball, tennis, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, skiing, swimming and more.

For more information, call 203-556-5839, visit, Facebook, Instagram (@lockerroomtalk) or Twitter (@LRTsports).

Click here to take the quick survey!

We’re back!

The holiday season is officially behind us and all the students have returned to campus for the spring semester.  The Bluffton Connection staff is hard at work producing new content for the site.  Please bear with us this first week or so as we get back into the swing of things.

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.

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.

Fall play goes off without a hitch

This past weekend, the production “The Skin of Our Teeth” written by Thornton Wilder was performed by Bluffton University students in Ramseyer Auditorium.  This theatrical performance was directed by Dr. Melissa Friesen, professor of theatre and communication at Bluffton University and there were approximately 30 students that partook in this show along with three staff members.

“The Skin of Our Teeth” was the Pulitzer Prize winner in 1943 for Best Drama. The play stars the Antrobus family, an allegorical family that faces struggle after struggle to survive. The production spans over many timeframes from past events such as the Ice Age to present day which was represented by students coming out of their roles and speaking directly to the audience. In the program Dr. Friesen writes, “Wilder collapses time and place throughout the play – the family is living simultaneously in 1940s New Jersey, the dawn of human civilization, and the present moment”.  Emily Koller, a freshmen student at Bluffton University and assistant stage manager of this fall’s production, when asked what the play was about said “it is essentially about the human struggle to survive and persevere”.

Dr. Friesen decided on “The Skin of Our Teeth” for many reasons. She said that she enjoys picking plays that are “educational not only for the cast but for the audience as well”.  She also picked this play because it had roles that would challenge the student actors as well as the members of the production team.  She also liked the strong script of this play and the opportunities that this type of production would allow.  Dr. Friesen said when asked how she felt about the play choice after the fact that all of the pros of the play choice such as its complexity and opportunity were also what made it so difficult.

Cast members for the fall play were: Reid Maus, Brianna Lugibihl, Jil Bornhorst, Rebecca Juliana, Alex Lugibihl, Emily Short, Lucas Augustine, Joe Wilson, Carrie Blust, Alex Parker, Theran Carrol, Miriam Fike, Micayla Hanover, Brooke Ryman, Nathaniel Haas, Jesse Roth, and Dana Otto.

When asked if there was anything else she would like to say, Melissa said, “this was a challenging play and the way it was written was tough so I want to applaud the cast and production crew.”

The next major Bluffton University drama production will be the Mayday musical during graduation weekend.

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.

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