My Civic Engagement Day experience


by: Justin Mattix

Civic Engagement Day is an opportunity for all of Bluffton University students to engage in a wide range of issues. The day is filled with many sessions that encompass one theme. This year’s theme: Education.

Many speakers gathered around the idea of speaking about something that they are very passionate about. During a session held in the Kreider room, four students and a recent graduate from Bluffton University gathered to speak about learning that doesn’t take place within the classroom. They titled their discussion, “Learning without a Syllabus”.

The participants who led this discussion talked about many experiences they have had. Their focus was to promote internship opportunities. These students have experience more by doing, rather than by learning in the classroom.

Becca Lapp, a Spanish and TESOL major, describes learning outside of the classroom as an “opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture of learning”. She goes on to explain that when students immerse themselves in a learning community outside of the classroom, they expand on horizons that only deepen relationships and the ability to experience problems that will never occur in a restricted classroom. Becca has experienced many of these difficulties in her own experiences in other countries such as: Honduras, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, as well as Guatemala.

Experiences trump all learning through worksheets. Emotional stimulation isn’t something that can be simulated in the classroom. Rachel Keske, a Math Education major, describes that serving in college is an opportunity that should be experienced by all students on campus. “They must broaden their views on surrounding environments while they have the chance”, she said.

Eric Wilfer, a recent graduate of Bluffton University, backed Rachel up on her claims. He promotes learning by doing as one of the best suitable techniques for all those attempting to learn something new. Internships for him, propelled him towards getting a job straight out of college as a sales representative at Fastenal.

One last leading determiner for learning is passion. According to Appiah Adubafour, “passion equates learning”. When one attempts to learn, they must pursue it with all out desire for growth. He also urges students, as well as any other students of life to find mentors to walk along with for a communal learning experience. Mentors offer encouragement when things aren’t looking fruitful.

Griffin Kuras, a student and attendee of the discussion, left the session inspired. “A lot of the things that we heard seem to promote opportunities for deeper, stimulating learning.” He has already accepted an internship opportunity for the summer.

Daniel Piero, a Math and Physics double major, describes similar uses of mentors. He urges all students to find a professor on campus to help them in their learning. “Professors know a lot- they also know a lot about opportunities for worthy students.” This is an important aspect for Daniel Piero’s success. One of his mentors, Steve Harnish, presented him an opportunity to becoming an intern at Blue Waters working with the concept of Parallel Computing. His passion and pride for learning has pushed him to succeed in fields of Physics.

He ended the discussion with a powerful message to life-long learners. “Everyone can learn a lot, but it takes a special person to be interested in one topic.”

Former NFL star Darren Sharper pleads guilty to sexual assault

by: Delano Whidbee

According to an ESPN report, former NFL star Darren Sharper pleaded guilty, Tuesday in Las Vegas, to a reduced felony attempted sex assault charge, in the third part of a four-state plea deal that prosecutors say will put him in federal prison for about nine years.

The plea agreement calls for Sharper to serve 38 months to eight years in prison for the Nevada conviction, but at the same time as sentences from California, Arizona and Louisiana.

On Monday, the 39-year-old Sharper pleaded guilty to sexual assault in Arizona — again using an internet hookup — and no contest in Los Angeles to raping two women he drugged after meeting them in a West Hollywood bar.

Sharper retired in 2011 after a 14-year NFL career with the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints. He won a Super Bowl in New Orleans.
One of his former teammates, Scott Fujita, called what has happened “disgusting.”

“He was a great teammate, a great player,” Fujita told TMZ. “But all that aside, it’s disgusting and beyond repulsive. Look, I’m a dad of three daughters … If he ends up only serving nine years, it’s an absolute shame. It’s way too short.”

Sharper was working as an NFL network analyst when women began telling police in several cities similar stories of blacking out while drinking with him and waking up groggy to find they had been sexually abused. His arrest came as the league dealt with off-field problems with players accused of crimes ranging from spousal abuse to murder.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Civic Engagement Day keynote speaker: Larry Starr

by: Dyson Bowman

Yoder Recital hall was filled with students on the night of March 25, 2015 as Bluffton University’s Civic Engagement Day brought in former athletic trainer Larry Starr. Starr was first introduced to athletic training back in 1960, in the summer before his freshman year of high school, when his brother was doing lessons from the Cramer Correspondence book on athletic training.dhte

He eventually went on to attend Ohio University, where he decided that athletic training was the career for him, while learning the ways of Al Hart. While Starr was a junior at Ohio University, Hart offered him a job as assistant athletic trainer. He could not take that title due to not having his degree yet so they settled on Star being the assistant to the athletic trainer.

At the age of 23, Hart called Starr asking if he wanted to interview for a Major League Baseball team, the Cincinnati Reds. During the interview Starr was told that they loved him but were concerned with his lack of height, or in his words “vertically challenged,” and youthful appearance. A week later he was asked to come in for another interview where the same things were said about his appearance. He was hired anyway based on an impressive reference.

An orthopedic physician in Columbus, Ohio, told them that Starr “stands tall above all men,” when asked about his height. Starr second guessed his decision, wondering whether or not he should take the job. Starr’s brother persuaded him to take the job, as it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

1974, after being with the reds for a few years, Starr noticed that the players weren’t as fit as they should be. Asking for money and permission, Starr was able to start a strength program for the team. Much of the staff/coaches believed that a strength program wasn’t smart for baseball players, and to their surprise Starr’s program led the Reds to a World Series in 1975.

“No matter what kind of player they are, there is always something good in that player,” said Starr, “You have to understand the people you work with.”
Starr believes that athletics teach individuals great things. According to him, athletics teach players to develop a great work ethic, how to overcome adversity, mentorship, and the importance of family. Being in athletics involves being away from family, as well as causing many obstacles that athletes have to overcome. You must remember where you came from, and who has helped you out along the way.

Starr concluded by saying, “It doesn’t matter how much I know, if the athlete doesn’t trust me, I am of no help to them.”

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.”