Track and field team suits up for nationals SPORTS, A7 THURSDAY, MARCH 13 Lanthorn WWW.LANTHORN.COM G R A N D VA L L EY ST U D E NT- R U N P U B L I C AT I O N S L A NT H O R N . C O M PRINT . ONLINE . MOBILE ARTS, A10 GV TO HOST MTV’S ‘GIRL AND GUY CODE’ FOR LAUGHFEST GV students don headscarfs for Islamic Awareness Week BY CARLY SIMPSON NEWS@LANTHORN.COM Oppression is a word often associated with Muslim women who are seen wearing a hijab or headscarf. To combat this stereotype, the Muslim Student Association handed out 40 hijabs to students at Grand Valley State University to wear for “Try the Hijab for a Day with the MSA” on March 10 and March 11. “It’s naive to think that those stereotypes don’t exist,” said Nargilya Gasanova, the risk management officer for MSA. “It’s upsetting to know those ideas exist and that there is a mentality of ‘them’ versus ‘us.’” The event was concluded by a discussion with members of the MSA, which allowed students to ask questions about Islam and the practice of wearing a hijab. The biggest misconception is that the hijab is only practiced by women, said Gasanova. “It’s very inaccurate to think that,” she said. “It’s for all of us. The whole idea is to make sure it’s going to be balanced and fair. The reason men don’t have to completely cover their bodies is because women are the ones that are seen as the beautiful creations.” The translation for hijab is barrier. It is meant as a form of protection and discipline. Many Americans view it as a sign of oppression, though, saying that women are forced to wear it. “When and if someone looks different from you, you’re already comparing them to your standards and to your norms,” Gasanova said. “If you feel free to wear short sleeves or a bikini, then you automatically assume that someone who doesn’t do that is oppressed. I don’t wear a headscarf all day, but I only wear long sleeves and long pants, and I can assure you that is my comfortable level. If one day I were to wake up in a country that bans me from wearing long sleeves and long pants, that would be oppression to me.” Jenna Stoken, the president of MSA, has been a Muslim for six years and does not wear a hijab. “It’s a personal choice and I know I’m not ready SEE HIJAB ON A2 State representative to speak on leadership at Venderbush Lecture students connect the leadership experiences that they’re having at Grand Valley State University Grand Valley to being a leader in will host state Rep. Winnie Brinks the community after they graduto tell her story of her rise to a lead- ate,” Thome said. Brinks received a bachelor’s ership position in the Grand Rapdegree in Spanish with a minor in ids community. The event is being organized sociology from Calvin College. She by the Office of Student Life for its went on to lead a local nonprofit biannual Venderbush Leadership and worked in local schools before Lecture. The lecture will take place becoming a state representative. “We try to choose people in on March 17 at 2 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Mary Idema different fields, and we hadn’t had someone from the government or Pew Library. “Anytime someone does some- political sector in quite a while,” thing to help improve their com- Thome said. Along with the keynote speaker, munity — whether it be at school, the lecture will celein their neighborhood brate on-campus leador even in a group of ership by recognizing friends — they are the nominees and anleading,” Brinks said. In her keynote ...get involved nouncing the winner of the Immediate Imspeech on Monday, Brinks will offer advice and don’t quit pact Award. The award to students about tak- until the job is is given to outstanding student leaders on being on leadership roles. half of their registered “Wherever your in- done. student organization. terests and skills lead WINNIE BRINKS Nominees for the you, get involved and STATE REPRESENTATIVE award this semester don’t quit until the job are Julie Bartkowicz, is done,” she said. This is Brink’s first term serving Amanda Martin, Lydia Wright, as a state representative. She repre- Cassie Trapp and Zack Morford. The Venderbush Leadership sents the 76th district of Michigan, which includes part of the city of Lecture has honored the memory of long-time employee Kenneth R. Grand Rapids in Kent County. Brinks said she found herself in Venderbush since 1999. Venderthe position by looking for prob- bush was vice president for Student lems she could solve and always Affairs at GVSU from 1969 until 1973. trying to make a difference. During his time as vice presiMichelle Burke, director of Student Life, said that telling a real dent, he was committed to student story that students can relate to and affairs and specifically advocated be inspired by is common among the importance of student leaderVenderbush Leadership Lecture ship. “The speeches that are given are keynotes. “We tell our speakers to talk inspirational. They really do make about how they use what they you want to be a leader and make learned in college in their leader- change,” Thome said. Registration for the event is free ship role today,” Burke said. Kate Thome, the event coor- and can be done online at www. dinator, said she hopes students gvsu.edu/leadership. The deadline will make their own connections for registering is March 14, but between leadership and the real Thome said everyone is welcome as long as space is available. world after hearing Brinks’s story. “This lecture is looking to help BY CLAIRE FODELL GVL | HANNAH MICO ASSISTANTNEWS@LANTHORN.COM With loud voices: The Saakumu Dance Troupe from Ghana performs at Grand Valley State University on Wednesday afternoon. The troupe is an artist-founded association that performs all over the world. The university hosted the group as a part of its Intercultural Festival, which involves celebrations of various cultures. A GROUP EFFORT Second ‘SynergyWorks’ to improve university, community partnerships sity filled with knowledge and skills and ways to access information, and we have a community of people Grand Valley State University will feature the sec- finding ways to make things better themselves. The ond annual “SynergyWorks” on March 14. The con- conference is about collaborating between the two.” The conference’s keynote speech will ference is centered on improving univerfeature Daniel Hall, vice president for sity and community partnerships. Community Engagement at the UniverHosted by the Office of Community sity of Louisville, who will describe the Engagement, it will further explore methuniversity-wide initiative being used in ods to integrate GVSU with its surroundWe have a neighboring West Louisville. ing communities through the theme of Hall’s topic, “Transforming Commuuniversity synergy. nity: A University-Wide Imperative,” will Inspired by the “Signature Partner- filled with provide a case study for how a university ship Initiative” started at the University can work with its local neighborhoods to of Louisville, the model consists of a uni- knowledge... achieve, impact and benefit both sides. versity effort to enhance the quality of life Cynthia McCurren, dean of GVSU’s and economic opportunity for neighbor- GEORGE GRANT, JR. CCPS DEAN Kirkhof College of Nursing, has worked ing communities. The goal of the initiawith the University of Louisville in previtive is to work with various local partners ous years and encouraged GVSU to observe its model to improve the education, health and social status of of neighborhood partnerships. individuals and families. “We can consider what might be replicable in our “The idea of SynergyWorks is all about collaboration,” said George Grant, Jr., dean of the College of Community and Public Service. “We have a univerSEE SYNERGY ON A6 BY PETER CHHUM PCHHUM@LANTHORN.COM Blind student creates opportunities for those with disabilities to study abroad BY STEPHANIE BRZEZINSKI SBRZEZINSKI@LANTHORN.COM Studying abroad is often encouraged at universities, but not to all students. Oftentimes, students with disabilities have a harder time organizing a trip abroad than their peers do. Juanita Lillie, a senior at Grand Valley State University who is legally blind, is working to change that. After talking with friends and family, Lillie decided to travel to Costa Rica. The Spanish major spent the 2013 winter semester there earning credits and having fun. While studying abroad, she lived with a host family that she said is “like a second family to me.” “As long as I told them what I needed, more inclusivity. The page can be found at they would do anything,” Lillie www.facebook.com/Disabledsaid. “Everyone was willing to StudentsAbroad. assist me. Everyone would help She hopes the page will everyone.” raise awareness at universiAbout a month ago, Lilties and increase recruitment, lie started researching study It is a platform training and faculty advising abroad opportunities for other to share for students with disabilities to students with disabilities. She study abroad. found that there wasn’t a lot of experiences “It is a platform to share exinformation available on the and resources. periences and resources,” Lillie topic so she decided to create said. “It allows students with JUANITA LILLIE her own site for students. disabilities to speak with other Lillie created the Facebook SENIOR students with disabilities. The page “Abroad with Disabilities” ultimate goal is to provide an to encourage more universities to have open networking opportunity to students Want to relive your favorite memories of Irish on Ionia? with disabilities despite the university they come to.” She added that she hopes this project expands to other universities so that more students can access study abroad. She emphasized that it needs to be more diverse and inclusive of other disabilities, such as colorblindness and dyslexia. Natalie Gomez, a GVSU Spanish professor, met Lillie in their Spanish 410 class last fall and shared the idea to start researching study abroad for students with disabilities. SEE ABROAD ON A2 Leave the photos to us! Go to lanthornphotos.smugmug.com to capture the moments.