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Bye Bye Birdie | 8

Malkan talks makeup Author and activist Stacy Malkan comes to Aquinas to discuss the ugly side of everyday beauty products.

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Bull riding in Detroit | 5


Friday, March 16, 2012 Volume 31, Issue 12

Let’s see some Student Senate reforms!

>>NEWS AQ in Japan


After the Fukushima power plant disaster, Aquinas students stepped up to the plate and helped out.

More sustainability


Aquinas’ Center for Sustainability brings a trash to treasure program to campus.

>>A&E John Carter review

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John Carter hits theaters with aliens, Mars and battles. Katherine Mata checks it out.

Sushi? Yes please!

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Editor-in-Chief Matt Kuczynski checks out Sushi-Yama, Grand Rapids’ (literally) underground sushi shop.

>>SPORTS Phil the Gymnast


Staff Writer Alyssa Freese talks to resident Aquinas gymnast Phil Gifford.

Men’s tennis

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Men’s tennis have been serving up a storm. Kay Borst has the details on AQ’s nationallyranked tennis team.

Aquinas volleyball coach resigns By George VanDenDreissche Staff Writer Dave Rawles, Aquinas’ women’s volleyball coach, announced his resignation from the head coach position on Monday, March 5. Coach Rawles has been with the program for the past five years. He is responsible for the saving the women’s volleyball program and bringing the program back to life. Rawles took over the Volleyball head coaching job in 2007. That year, the Saints finished in last place with a 0-14 record. However, Rawles was able to turn around the program the next year by going 10-4 in league play and finished third in the conference. In the 2010 season, he coached the team to the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament Final. During his tenure Rawles accumulated a 108-71 record. At press time, Coach Rawles was unable to be reached for comment. Rawles resigned, stating he needed to spend more time with his full time business. His coaching position was a part time position and discussions about his resignation had been underway since last year. Aquinas Athletic Director Terry Bocian said, “The fact that the volleyball coaching job is a part time position (as are many of our coaching positions) puts strain on the head coach.” “He put a lot of effort and enthusiasm into the program for which we are very appreciative. He rebuilt the program. We wish him all of the best in his future endeavors,” said Bocian. A replacement has not been named as of press time. Earlier this week, there was a posting on the Moose calling for any staff member interested in the job.



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Aquinas’ student government reforms ready for vote By Rachel Luehm Staff Writer “Senators who are currently part of senate—most of them—are in senate only to get their clubs money,” said Annie Parks, Director of the Student Senate Diversity Committee. “It doesn’t represent the student body, it represents clubs and orgs.” In response to concerns such as these, the Student Senate Ad Hoc Exploratory Committee on Restructuring was formed during the first senate meeting of the year. Led by seniors Annie Parks, Matthea Brandenburg, and Daniel Meloy, it has been working on new bylaws that will change Student Senate from a club-based entity to a policy-based entity that more accurately represents the student body. The committee looked at structures of student senates at other liberal arts schools that are comparable in

size to Aquinas, exploring how their governments worked and if their structures would work at Aquinas. The committee deduced that the new structure should be more policy based and focus on student needs such as the current policies on food, smoking, sustainability and campus speakers. Currently, Student Senate at Aquinas consists of 2-3 members from each club on campus, along with a few senators-at-large selected from the general student body and the Executive Board. 11 percent of the Aquinas student body is a member of an on-campus club or organization. Members of the committee on restructuring are proposing this change to accommodate a higher percentage of the student body by creating senate positions based on class level instead of club status. This new structure will mean the number of senators will go down as

well, from 77 to about 23. Under the proposed structure, each class will have 5 representatives, and the Executive Board will remain unchanged. Combined, these branches will have voting power. The Treasurer and the Parliamentarian –both appointed members—along with 12 non-senator members from the student body will be non-voting members of Senate. These 12 additional members, according to Brandenburg, “are there to increase transparency and have the ability to influence the committee, but cannot vote at the Senate meetings.” “They can, however, vote within their committee,” she continued. The Student Senate committee structure will also be changed if the new reforms pass. Under the new rules, Student Senate will be broken down into four committees that focus on specific issues that students may have. The Treasurer’s Committee will

focus on budgeting for clubs, the Traffic Board on parking tickets, the Grievance Committee deals with issues students may have with The Senate and the Commuter Committee will seek out and address concerns that commuters may have. F i n a l l y, t h e c o m m i t t e e h a s proposed creating a Registered Student Organization Assembly if the reforms pass. This assembly will have veto power over Senate votes and certain Treasurer allocations that exceed $1000 for clubs, which is the new limit for allocations. The assembly will be composed of a representative from each club in order to increase collaboration. The Vice Chair will be in charge of the assembly meetings. The proposal will be voted on Wednesday, March 21 by Student Senate. Preliminary straw polls showed the measure passing.

Romney leads latest GOP primary rounds By Yasmeen Ahmed The Saint Reporter With Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich left in the running for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, the primary elections are heating up. So far, Romney has won the most primary elections, with Santorum close behind, followed by Gingrich and Paul. On February 28, Michigan held its primary. Michigan native Romney secured the win, even with concerns that Santorum may steal the Michigan gain from Romney. Santorum came in second, with 38% of the vote, compared to Romney’s 41%. Romney also claimed victory in Arizona recently, becoming the frontrunner once again over Santorum who was rapidly catching up with three wins in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri in early February. Many predicted that Paul would take Alaska and Idaho and that Gingrich would take Georgia, his home state, and possibly Tennessee. Romney was slated to take Massachusetts and Ohio remained a swing state. However, the results on March 6 revealed Romney claiming Ohio, as well as Alaska, Idaho

and Massachusetts. Gingrich did in fact win his home state Georgia over, while Santorum took Tennessee, Oklahoma, and North Dakota. Paul had no wins. Freshman Mara Marin feels confident that Romney will sweep the remainder of the delegations and claim the Republican presidential nomination. “I figured Romney was going to win, I’m not a big fan of any of the primaries but Romney’s defeat was no surprise,” she said. “I also think Romney will be the main republican running against Obama because he seems like the most popular to the majority of people.” Although Romney is showing a strong lead among the current candidates for the GOP presidential bid, the race is far from over. As of print time, Romney has 484 of the needed 1,144 delegate votes needed to win. Santorum, Gingrich and Paul trail Romney’s lead with 239, 136, and 69 delegates, respectively. The final nominee will be known towards the end of June as the remaining primaries wrap up. The next scheduled primary events are the Missouri Republican county caucus on March 17, followed by the Puerto Rico primary elections March 18.


In the lead: Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is currently in the lead in the Republican primary elections. Romney edged out Rick Santorum 41% to 38% in the Michigan primary.

Meet the new boss. . . In Charge: The Student Senate e l e c t i o n r e s u l t s h a ve b e e n announced, and the winners are: Brandon Heritier, Chair; Chuck Hyde, Vice-Chair; Kaela Bouwkamp, Secretary (L to R). Congratulations to Aquinas’ newest leaders!

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Aquinas: Sr. Alice Wittenbach, O.P. to represent “Spirit of Ireland”

Grand Rapids: March to celebrate Cesar Chavez downtown

Michigan: Sales tax in the works for state prisoners

Nation: Detroit rep. introduces Student Loan Forgiveness Act

On March 17 in the annual Grand Rapids St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Aquinas’ very own Sr. Alice will be representing the “Spirit of Ireland.” The parade begins at 11a.m. at the corner of Michigan and Ottawa streets downtown and will end in front of the main public library where there will awards and Irish music.

On Thursday, March 22, from 11-11:45 a.m., several colleges in West Michigan, cooperations, and Grand Rapids Public Schools are collaborating to celebrate the Cesar E. Chavez Social Justice March and Community Gathering. Contact AQ student Kelli Dokes at for more details.

A bill currently headed to the Senate for voting would require all Michigan inmates to pay the 6% states sales tax on all prison purchases. According to Senate Fiscal Agency, this would bring in an additional $500,000 a year, with $366,500 going towards the School Aid Fund and $50,000 towards local governments.

Hansen Clarke, a congressional representative from Detroit, introduced a bill last week that would forgive outstanding student loan debt for Americans who have made payments equal to 10% of their discretionary income for 10 years. Currently not cosponsored, the bill would also cap interest rates for loans at 3.4%.

Some unsung news worth singing monica rischiotto |news editor Public speaking. The mere words for many trigger shaky knees, shortness of breath, and seemingly uncontrollable heartbeats. And when you stand out, I would imagine these feelings are quadrupled. This past Wednesday I had the privilege of attending the 23rd annual Pillar Awards event, hosted by the Women’s Resource Center of downtown Grand Rapids and sponsored by Huntington Bank (needless to say, an event consisting of several wellseasoned public speakers). The center prides itself on offering these awards which they distinguish as, “West Michigan’s only prestigious business award that showcases West Michigan employers who empower women at work.” This year’s recipients were Aquinas College, Axios, and Herman Miller, all of whom humbly and graciously accepted their awards. The event was complete with speeches, as well as heartfelt “thank you’s” and of course requests for donations. I would imagine that for the majority of people in that room, this was pretty familiar. There was the typical 2025 minutes of initial mingling and plastic name tag accessorizing, followed by the strategic eating of rolls in bite size pieces. The Pillar Awards event met all these “typical” criteria of your average luncheon, however, it offered something more. Someone, I should say, who stood out, and made it a luncheon worth talking about. I honestly do not even remember the name of the keynote speaker, and unless I researched Michigan’s penitentiary records, she is not someone that would be easily found through Google. Nonetheless, as this woman walked onto the stage, she immediately contrasted the norms of the both the men and women in the audience, and specifically the presenters who shared the stage with her as she spoke. She did not wear an elegant, form fitting suit, but instead an oversized red button casual looking blouse and loose, somewhat baggy black pants. Furthermore, as she approached the stage and stood up to the microphone, she let out a deep sigh and almost immediately you could feel her nerves. It was evident she lacked the same level of composure, the coached public speaking skills of her peers. Yet despite this, not only did she stand out, but she stole the show. Her story consisted of spending a number of years in prison. No details were given on what landed her there other than “poor behavior ” that ultimately tore her apart from friends and family, including her two children. While in jail, her daughter wrote only once, her son not at all. Upon leaving prison, she was introduced to several outreach organizations in Grand Rapids that assisted her in re-entering society, essentially giving her a second chance. The Women’s Resource Center was among these organizations. On the verge of tears, she shared the difficulties of attempting to re-enter society, of applying for jobs and colleges when on paper she was identified as a criminal. Yet with the help of the outside resources, she managed to escape a seemingly inescapable trap. She now works at Degage Ministries downtown and is taking college courses. She has mended many relationships, including those with her children. Her daughter now a senior in high school, and her son a student at Cornerstone University with aspirations to be a pastor. As she finished her speech, now completely crying, the audience all 500 plus people immediately stood up for a standing ovation (a response not received by any of the award recipients I might add). In the brief five minutes of her talk, she offered a different perspective to the meaning of success. Showcasing that anyone can get off track, but it is those who are willing to jump back on that truly have a story to tell. In the midst of sex abuse scandals and political and religious upheavals, here is to the news that doesn’t make the news. To the unnamed ex-prisoner who decided to stand out, stand up, and share a story that offers a new definition, a new perspective of the word “success.”

Aquinas students work to rebuild post-tsunami Japan

The tsunami of 2011 that devastated the east coast of Japan may be a year in the past, but three Aquinas students know firsthand there is still much more to be done for the country to recover the first to participate in the Help Japan Service Volunteer Program for a week. “It was an innate desire to help A year ago, on Sunday, March 11, a 9.0 others… I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t magnitude earthquake caused a tsunami nervous, it was God calling me to go to that hit the coast of Japan, devastating Japan,” said Scott. the country. Once in Japan, Scott helped Mr. Japan’s disaster has come to be known Santo, a city manager in Takata City, as “3/11” and caused an estimated 19,000 clean debris for one day and then spent deaths and $200 billion in damage, another two days helping to clean a according to The Washington Post. river. “Everything was bent towards And while most of the world watched the ocean,” said Scott, describing the Japan and prayed for its victims, others landscape torn by the tsunami. Scott turned and decided to participate first was joined by Aquinas sophomore Matt hand in the relief effort. Banas. In the summer of 2011, Aquinas Annie Quinlan was one of the more College senior Brianna Scott was among recent students to have gone to Japan this past spring break. Quinlan, alongside the Kamaishi volunteer group, helped to organize an event for the people of Miyako to recover family pictures that had become lost in the wreckage. Her last day was spent in Ofunato (Big Ship Town), one of the hardest -hit towns. The focus was primarily on cleaning a fishery so that work on rebuilding it could start. “Afterwards we went around to the rest of the COURTESY AKIRA HATAJIRI town. There was nothing Working to rebuild: AQ students Matt Banas and there, just nothing. There Brianna Scott work in Iwate, Japan to help clean-up after were piles of debris and the 2011 tsunami. nothing.” By Laura Rico Staff Writer


Remembering a year later: AQ student Annie Quinlan spent this past spring break volunteering in Japan’s continuing efforts to rebuild following “3/11.” On March 11, at exactly 2:39 p.m. when the tsunami struck one year ago, a moment of silence was observed. Through the town’s speakers, a broadcast on the horrendous event that unfolded a year ago and prayers for the dead and for families who had been affected by it were heard. “We threw flowers into the harbor as an offering to those that had died…[but after] the moment of silence people still kept going…all the volunteer centers

decided to work instead because why would we stop when there is work to be done?” said Quinlan. The relief effort in Japan is ongoing and will likely be for years to come. Both Scott and Quinlan would both like to return back to Japan at some point in the near future, but both agree that volunteers and funds need to be sent to Japan to help the people rebuild now.

A night for the Saints

Student leaders and sophomores who have declared their majors will be honored during the first annual Students in Action Awards Ceremony By Laura Farrell Staff Writer It is no secret that the last few weeks of school are always busy for both students and faculty. Always added on top of the busyness are the many awards ceremonies celebrated on campus recognizing the best of the student body. This year, the Dean of Students Office, Campus Life, and Student Senate have planned an event to not only combine some of the many events and to have an event the whole Aquinas family, students, faculty, and parents can enjoy together. Associate Dean Jennifer Dawson

said, “We wanted an event that combines some of the awards ceremonies and try and make it a spectacular and fun event that is student and parent friendly. The event will celebrate the Outstanding Student

The outstanding student awards will recognize the chosen freshman, sophomore, and junior who have had an exceptional school year.” The sophomore pinning event recognizes the sophomores who

>> RSVP for the Students in Action Award Ceremony at www. a q u i n a s . e d u / c a m p u s l i f e << awards, for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, Sophomore Pinning for students who have declared their majors and the Dean’s List ceremony.

have declared their major. They will be welcomed in to their respective departments. Dawson recognizes that declaring a major is a significant life

moment. “It is an important and crucial step in your college career and should be celebrated,” she said. The event will also include Student Senate awards, presented by Dean Brian Matke and Senate chair Joshua Theil. The event will kick off with Aquinas College President Juan Olivarez giving the welcome. Addressing the rumored senior dean’s list coffee cups, Dawson says that if there are such coffee cups at the event, you must be present to receive. The event will take place on Friday, March 30 at 7 p.m. in the Wege Ballroom. Parents and students are all welcome but students must R.S.V.P. online, on the campus life page.

What kind of make-up do you use? Best-selling author and environmental advocate Stacy Malkan will be speaking to Aquinas about harmful, chemical toxins that can be found in beauty and self-care products By Monica Rischiotto News Editor When it comes to cosmetics shopping, checking the components of anything from lipstick to concealer to mascara is not always high a priority for the average consumer. According to bestselling author and environmental advocate Stacy Malkan, however, it absolutely should be. Malkan, who will be speaking at Aquinas College on Wednesday, March 21 from 7–8 p.m. in the Wege Ballroom, is the cofounder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and author of the award-winning Not Just A Pretty Face:

The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry. In addition, Malkan has built a movement that triggered the cosmetic industry to move towards producing safer products. Admitting to have been a dedicated fan of Seventeen magazine as a teenager, Malkan’s advocacy has landed her interviews from the New York Times to the Washington Post and Good Morning America, with dozens of others in between. She first discovered the issue of harmful chemicals being using in cosmetic products when working as a reporter in Colorado. In 2002, Malkan and a group of environmental activists

News Editor Monica Rischiotto E-mail

launched the Not Too Pretty report, which determined harsh realities in regards to the popular cosmetic products used by consumers around the world. Potentially significant problems, such as chemicals that linked to birth defects, were found in more than 70% of body care products. Since 2001, Malkan has served as the Director of Health Care Without Harm, an international coalition working to reduce the environmental impact of the health care industry. The Jane Hibbard Idema Women’s Studies Center is will be sponsoring Malkan’s lecture, which is free to the Aquinas community.

Phone (616) 632-2975


Defining “ides” and “ites”: Stacy Malkan has dedicated her career to promote non-threating cosmetic products.





Study charism lectures start discussion of Aquinas’ Catholic identity Professor Gary Eberle kicks off the series with his reflections of the role of faith and reason in Catholic education By George Van Den Driessche Staff Writer The Aquinas 125th Anniversary lecture series showcasing the Dominican charism of Study kicked off this past Tuesday on March 13 with a lecture from professor of English Gary Eberle. The lecture was entitled, “Faith AND Reason: My 60 Years in and around the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.” Professor Eberle has written several books about spirituality in the modern world and also serves as the Master of Revels for the 125th Anniversary events. This specific lecture focused on Aquinas’ identity as a liberal arts college and its identity as a Catholic institution. Professor Eberle wanted to focus on issues such as: What does a Catholic intellectual tradition mean to a non-Catholic faculty and student body? Can and should the college provide an education rooted in Catholic values and teachings without the majority of the community being Catholic? The lecture offered history and insights to the fundamentalist viewpoints of faith and reason, with Professor Eberle suggesting that these are not in alignment with the foundation of Catholic education, which is to develop critical thinkers that could go beyond a literal interpretation. He explained that all

ultimately embraced in a population that consists of a significant number of both Catholic and non-Catholic alike. S c o t t Tu r o w, C o n t e m p o r a r y Wr i t e r Series Speaker, served as the second speaker in the Study charism speaker s e r i e s . Tu r o w s p o k e o n March 14. The next speaker is Sr. Barbara Reid who will be presenting on the Dominican intellectual tradition on March 19 at the Wege Ballroom at 12:30 p.m. George Weigel will be the last presenter on April 11 at 7 p.m. Weigel’s lecture is titled, THE SAINT/MORGAN DANTZER “John Paul II, Ex Corde The grey side of Catholicism: Professor Gary Eberle discusses the Catholic identity of Aquinas Ecclesiae, and the Future of College, suggesting it is rooted in providing an education that goes beyond a world view Catholic Higher Education.” To c o n c l u d e t h e S t u d y limited to black and white. charism events, a student too often, whether it be religions, and work together, Professor Eberle panel discussion will take place on individuals, and even in our own supported the idea that both faith Tuesday, April 17 at 9:30 p.m. in the Aquinas community, the emphasis of and reason are two separate entities Wege Ballroom. Questions will be faith and reason becomes limited to that are necessary in creating a whole. focused on what it means for Aquinas His hope is that his lecture, as “faith or reason.” to be a Catholic school, and how the In support of this, Professor Eberle well as the Study charism speakers college can support students of a added that specifically within an to come, will raise questions and wide range of religious and spiritual academic environment, “The Faith is provoke discussion amongst the backgrounds. meant to keep the intellect humble.” Aquinas community in regards to the By highlighting how rational thinking college’s Catholic identity and how it and faith based thinking interact should be exercised, conveyed, and

Center for Sustainability launches new online resources Three new forumbased initiatives can be found on “The Moose” By Monica Rischiotto News Editor

Students may pass over it every time they scroll down “The Moose” forum page, but on the right hand side is a list of informative links under the word “Resources” that might be worth a gander. One in particular that has added new information is Sustainability Initiatives. Powered by the Aquinas College Center for Sustainability, this link now showcases three initiatives that were specifically designed to serve students and provide beneficial resources to build community in an environmentally friendly way. The first initiative, “Got Art?” offers a database for artists, and those seeking art, to connect. Those who are offering up their artwork to be displayed are welcome and encouraged to upload pictures of the work for the space requestors to view. Departments and areas on campus can access the link and submit a request for student artwork to be displayed. Student artists can then check out the list and make contacts with the requests to showcase their work. The second initiative, “One Saints Junk is Another Saint’s Treasure,” serves as a Craigslist-like resource where members of the AQ community can upload things they are either getting rid of for free or selling for a reasonable first open day this price. This program is hoped to be year, total trade was especially of interest as the school year worth $ 3 billion. The comes to an end and those packing up exchange had 10 comfor the summer have a resource to share panies on it. unwanted, but good condition items. Currently, the AQ Physical Plant Cuba : A group has uploaded unused file cabinets that of dissident Catholic are available for those who want them. activists are occupySimilar to “Got Art?” those wishing to ing a church in Hasell or donate their items can access the vana in protest, delink and fill out a simply submission manding an audience form and their items will be uploaded with the Pope when onto the page. he visits Cuba later The third opportunity is “Rid e this month. The dissiShare,” an effort to promote carpooling dents claim that they and provide a safe way to connect with want to encourage the peers and organize rides both during Pope to pressure Raul the regular year, as well as for breaks Castro into allowing and holidays for students going home. more freedoms and Students looking to use this resource releasing political can either post a message if they have prisoners. At press time, the Pope has not COURTESY U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE extra room in their car or post a request to carpool. announced any plans The handshake: Afghan President Hamid Karzai shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of Defense Questions regarding any of these to meet with the dis- Leon Panetta at a summit in December 2012.. initiatives can be directed towards Jessica sident group. low any “kidnapper ” of a minor to sought refugee in Turkey from Syria, Eimer, Program Director for the Center over three times more than had been Morocco: Activists in Mo- marry her and avoid jail time. for Sustainability. For more information coming in daily. Work on a 20,000 rocco are working to overturn loopregarding the Center for Sustainability Turkey: Violence in Syria is person refugee camp is underway. holes in the legal code after Amina and the programs that they offer, visit creating a stream of refugees pourFilali, 16, killed herself after being ing into neighboring Turkey. Within forced to marry her attacker. Out24 hours on Thursday, 1,000 refugees dated sections of the penal code al-

World News Update By Matt Kuczynski Editor in Chief

Afghanistan : After opening a diplomatic office in Qatar in January for talks with the U.S, the Afghan Taliban closed it on Thursday. Taliban leaders cited frustration with the U.S’s lack of carrying out promises, and also with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. There has been no response from Washington at press time. Karzai also stated on Thursday that international troops should take a step back and allow Afghan forces to take over countrywide security in 2013, a year ahead of current plans. The announcement came after Karzai’s meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, in the wake of an alleged shooting spree committed by a U.S. soldier that resulted in 16 dead.

Libya : Libya’s domestic economy took a step forward in recovery Thursday with the reopening of the Libyan stock exchange. The exchange had shut down after a proGadaffi brigade occupied the building last June. On the exchange’s

Opportunity in Detroit for new leaders and entrepreneurs Birmingham non-profit group establishes 12-month paid program for college graduates interested in community building, programming, and collaborating with Detroit companies and non-profits By Monica Rischiotto News Editor When the word “Detroit” enters the average person’s conversation, hopeless sighs or concerned looks seem to be the typical modes of response. Businesses and non-profits alike, however, have created an entrepreneurship initiative that is hoping to draw young, creative minds to Detroit for a unique career development opportunity. The initiative is called Challenge Detroit and was designed by The Collaborative G r o u p , a Birmingham-based non-profit dedicated to opening doors for aspiring entrepreneurs. Deirdre Greene Groves, executive director of The Collaborative Group and Challenge Detroit, was quoted in a CBS Detroit news article shortly after the initiative was launched stating, “Challenge Detroit is founded on the belief that 30 of the best and brightest, passionate, hard- working and inventive leaders of tomorrow can make all the difference in the world, let

alone a city.” The program will be selecting 30 innovative leaders from across the country who will live in Detroit and work roughly 32 hours a week with local organizations to plan, organize, and execute community building programs. The program states this will consist of eight hour work days MondayThursday. Also, each month participants

developing environmentally sustainable strategies for the City of Detroit. Challenge Detroit is a 12-month program, and each month the groups will be working with the same companies and organizations in hopes of building relationships and utilizing resources for the Detroit community. In terms of compensation, participants not only receive a $500 stipend each month for housing, but they also receive a $30,000 salary. Applications for the program are due by Sunday, March 25 and are available o n l i n e a t w w w. Accepted applicants will begin the program in August 2012. In its inaugural year, Groves said she excited about the promise Challenge Detroit has to offer and said, ““We believe, through their experiences with Challenge Detroit, these individuals will be intrigued to stay in Detroit, work in Detroit, bring new ideas to Detroit, even start their own business in Detroit, and by doing so, they will have a positive influence on our region today and in the future.”

>> C H A L L E N G E D E T R O I T W I L L

SELECT 30 PARTICIPANTS TO WORK AND LIVE IN DETROIT FOR 1 YEAR << will be grouped together with 4 of their peers to create teams of 5. These teams will work directly with local companies and organizations “on projects focused on economic development efforts in the city based upon our community’s needs,” according to the Challenge Detroit website. Examples of these challenges include working with public schools to create after school programs, establishing strategies for the local art community, or

News Editor Monica Rischiotto


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opinion >> FROM THE CROWD

APPLAUSE TO... Summer pretty much starting early; March Madness;

North Korea, for trading nukes for food; Meat-free Fridays keeping Catholics healthy; The Aquinas men’s lacrosse team, for beating Calvin; Tigers baseball season (it is almost here!); Jersey Junction. HECKLES TO... Midterms after midterm week; Professors who make students cry; People who make more than one bracket; Anyone who thinks they are Irish just because it is St. Patrick’s Day; Defective climate control in AB and the library; Denim suits.


CORRECTIONS AND CLARIFICATIONS In the Feb. 22 issue, pg. 3, in the headline, “Chelsey Ashcroft” should be spelled “Chelsea Ashcraft.” We apologize for this mistake and any inconvenience it caused.

theSaint 2011-2012 E D I T O R I A L B O A R D Editor-in-Chief News Editor A & E Editor

Matt Kuczynski Monica Rischiotto Stephanie Giluk

Dan Meloy Sports Editor Miriam Pranschke Photo Editor Nick Signore Managing Editor

Hospitality and love in the Big Easy

By Nicholas Signore Managing Editor They called it “Hell on Earth.” They said not to go out night. They even warned against going out alone during the day. They were speaking of the neighborhood Treme (truhmay), a rough New Orleans neighborhood that would be our home during Spring Break. I, along with seven other Aquinas students and one staff leader, spent our Spring Break volunteering at St. Peter Claver Catholic School in Treme. The school and church is an all-African-American parish where 80% of the parishioners live below the poverty line. Treme is a culture-rich neighborhood that has fallen on hard times since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Despite their tribulations, the residents are proud of their community. There is even a critically acclaimed program on HBO (Treme) that focuses on life after Katrina in the neighborhood and surrounding areas which has helped to revitalize the community somewhat. Needless to say, I was apprehensive about so many different aspects of the trip. It is one thing to live in

*** Please note that the views expressed on this page are those of their respective author(s), and do not necessarily represent the views of The Saint as a whole.

MISSION The Saint has worked diligently for the past 30 years to produce an informative, entertaining and journalistically-correct student publication. The Saint is distributed by students at Aquinas College and in the surrounding community. Our goal is to continue to provide an open forum for the ideas, views and concerns of the Aquinas community.

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Managing Editor Nick Signore

a city you’ve never been to before, but it’s another to live in a rough neighborhood in the nation’s murder capital. Because of this, many of us did not know what to expect and were nervous. Would the school be a run-down nightmare? Would the students have no respect for anyone? Would we get looks from people for being the only white people in the area? The answer to all of those questions was an emphatic “no.” For starters, the school, which is made up of pre-K through eighth grade, was newly remodeled and absolutely gorgeous. I was also blown away by both the levels of education and discipline in the school. Most of the students had the utmost respect for both us and their teachers. The kindergartners knew and could recite the Preamble to the United States Constitution. The mandatory school uniforms also helped to instill a level of discipline. As for the neighborhood, Treme, itself, it was a far cry from what we were led to believe. Every person we passed was friendly and greeted us with smiles. Every time we went to mass or a religious revival

at church we were treated very well and constantly thanked for helping the community. In Treme, we definitely looked out of place but rarely felt as such. Our group began to learn that the people that find trouble in the area are the ones who go looking for it. A few of us did, however, stay out on the front porch late one night just conversing and taking it all in. This was a unique experience because it was something that just a few days prior was never thought to be possible. My time in New Orleans taught me a lot. It showed that we should not jump to conclusions about people or places until we’ve experienced them first hand. Going by what we see and hear both on television and the internet can be a grave mistake. Treme showed me, more than anything, that stepping outside of the small box that we call our comfort zone and living a little can go a long way, because outside of our comfort zone is where life is happening.

Only three degrees away By George VanDenDreissche Staff Writer Spring break is officially over and the start of the last eight weeks is upon us, but something more is also upon us; spring. Yes, spring is literally “in the air ” as the snow has all but melted and tornado watches are announced; thunderstorms shake the foundations of our homes and lightning turns night into day. Yet, spring break itself (for those of us who remained here in Michigan anyway) was a windy and ultimately relatively chilly break. Yes, the temperature topped 50 degrees, but the wind chill was 32. And yes, the sun decided to show us a glimpse of its beaming smile, before shyly ducking behind the clouds; but it appears those days of wind and hiding suns are behind us as we enter our last eight weeks. The realization that spring had arrived announced itself to me on the last Saturday of Spring Break: I was walking to St. Thomas the Apostle for breakfast and tea with Fr. Jim and at the conclusion of our breakfast; it hit me that spring was a mere three degrees away. We were three degrees away from the first official game of Ultimate Frisbee, three degrees away from lying out in the sun, three degrees away from skipping classes for the sun (to our professors’ dismay), three degrees away from professors having lecture outside, three

degrees away from Dr. McDaniel transforming the sidewalk into the largest chalk board I have ever seen. Yes, spring was a mere three degrees away from being on that Saturday. And what awaits us now that those three degrees are here? Well, we are still only three degrees away. Easter is looming upon us, and many of the seniors are starting to lose touch with reality as the dawning realization of graduation in May begins to sink in. Spring sports are looming over our shoulders as each team bombards us with Facebook


invitations to their sporting event. We are three degrees away from concluding the 125th Year of Aquinas! We are only three degrees away from the budding of new flowers and witnessing winters icy grasp relinquished in the place of new life. We are three degrees away from becoming wonderful, glorious, brilliant; tremendous…we are three degrees away from becoming Saints. And the temperature is only rising.

“Literally” is the new “Like” By Rachel Luehm Staff Writer

Adviser Dr. Dan Brooks



from our view

At Aquinas, we count on our student leaders to be a formal, cohesive voice representing the student body to the administration and the public. This is not a trivial responsibility. It is a challenge to represent one’s fellow students to the outside world in a way that is accurate, effective and fair. The Saint would like to welcome Brandon Heritier, Chuck Hyde and Kaela Bouwkamp to their new positions in Aquinas’ Student Senate. However, recognizing the difficulty in trying to take in all sides of the issues, we have a few pointers for our new Student Senate Executive Board: Do not be afraid to adapt. Always remember that Aquinas is a dynamic community with multitudes of views and perspectives. The community wants you to be in touch with them, so stay ready to embrace change and understand your peers. Remember that you are working for the good of all your fellow Aquinas students. This means keeping in mind those who are not at Student Senate in every decision you make. It is easy to start thinking that the only people who impact your decisions are on Senate. Do not fall into this trap. In doing your duty in your elected positions, always consider those who are not officially represented in front of you, because most of us are not. Communicate with us. Let us know what you think is good. Tell the student body what you see, and ask questions. We do not want to be apathetic, but we need ways to reach you. Finally, remember that you do make a difference. There will be days when bureaucracy seems to bog everything down, but eventually, action is always possible. Thank you for your service to each and every student. We cannot wait to see what you can do!


“So the other day I was, like, walking and fell in front of everyone.” Sentences like the one above have been constructed by youth for at least the last decade. However, recently the term “like” has not had quite the same reign over people’s vocal fillers. “Like” has been usurped by “literally.” Take the first quote and insert the word “literally” instead of “like.” You will get a very common stated way that people today try to convey their message with emphasis. In reality, these people end up confusing their audience or simply do not make sense. The person listening in a conversation has very little reason to believe that the speaker is not being literal. Although the term literally is listed in the dictionary as being usable as an intensifier, it is preferable to, when in doubt, not use it at all. Used in this way, it has the tendency to be redundant. The sentence is just as serviceable

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without the word. Another example of the term used incorrectly that I saw on Twitter was: “I literally have no idea.” The problem with this is that there really is no way for that sentence to make sense in any way but literally. The person did not need the term at all. I guarantee no one would have been confused if he/she had left it out. Essentially, using the term “literally” means that you are not using figurative language. It should only be used in situations which need clarification on which type of speech the person is using. For example, one could say “Daniel and his friends were literally thrown into the lions’ den.” Since “thrown into the lions’ den” is a figure of speech meaning a place of extreme disadvantage, it is important to distinguish whether or not the speaker is being literal. My favorite use of the terms “like” and “literally,” however, is together. With both inserted, the original example sentence would

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read: “So, the other day I was like literally walking and fell in front of everyone.” Thus, when the speaker uses both, what would be seen as a very straightforward statement is now jumbled with a word that is typically reserved for metaphors (figurative language) AND the use of the word “literally.” When both words are used, it makes the person listening wonder whether or not the speaker was literally or figuratively walking. (And if it is the latter, how do you figuratively/metaphorically walk?) With all that said, I must confess that I may have fallen privy to this mistake a time or two. However, it is my hope that this article will draw attention to the improper use of “literally” by others as well as myself. Unfortunately, many grammar mistakes have become a habit of society, but that does not mean we should ignore them.




Red Wings: Three game losing streak sends Detroit into second

Pistons: Signs of a pulse coming from Auburn Hills.

College Hockey: Final Four set in CCHA playoffs.

The Detroit Red Wings fell to the Anaheim Ducks 4-0 on March 14. The loss marks the third straight for the Red Wings who have also lost to the Los Angeles Kings and the Nashville Predators on their most recent road trip. The Red Wings are now 44-24-3 and are in second place in the Central Division, seven points behind the St. Louis Blues.

It appears that the Detroit Pistons are conscious after all. The Pistons are 5-2 in their last seven games and are three games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the final playoff spot. On March 14 the Pistons defeated the Sacramento Kings 124-112 to improve to 16-27 on the year. Rodney Stucky led Detroit with 35 points.

Only four teams remain in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs. Top seed Michigan will face fourth seed Bowling Green in the semifinals. The Falcons are coming off an upset of league champions Ferris State in the quarterfinals. In the other semifinal Western Michigan will face Miami. The final will be March 17.

Give me league champions or give me death dan meloy | sports editor Arguably the best time of the year for any sports junkie is about to begin: March Madness. The thrill of the games, the nailbiting finishes, the dramatic buzzerbeaters and the always classy rooting for a school you never heard of before because, “Hey, they are taking it to Duke.” According to an article from the Washington Post, the first two days of the tournament proper (not those First Four games that they try to pass off as March Madness but are really just the “off-brand” product) are the days that are most skipped at the work office. Friends, family, and coworkers gather to get to watch some hoops and fill out their brackets with hopeful glee. It is a system that is almost perfect. Almost. However, I have one small suggestion that to tweak the tournament just a little to make it that much better. Now before you get your alwayshandy torches and pitchforks and find me on campus, just hear me out. The automatic bids for the 31 conferences should go to the league champions and not the conference tournament winners. As of right now only one conference follows this practice, the Ivy League. (Here is a helpful hint: Anything that Ivy League schools are doing is probably a good idea). This concept is not all that foreign to power conferences. The Big Ten did not adopt the conference tournament style since 1998, until then they too sent the conference champion to the tournament as the league’s representative. Having all of the conferences send their league champion to the tournament and not their end of season tournament champion will increase the overall quality of the tournament and guarantee that all of the teams that are in the tournament actually belong. Now I know what some critics of this proposal might say, “But doesn’t having the conference tournament champion make for a better March Madness because the teams with the momentum are in the Big Dance?” The counter to this argument is a pretty simple one: There is no such thing as momentum. Momentum is the most overrated concept in all of sports– there, I said it. Look to the bottom of the page if you want to send in your hate mail. But think about it: if momentum was so powerful, would a team like North Carolina in 2009, after barely making it through the quarterfinals and losing in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament, go on to win the National Championship? Having the league champions represent conferences as automatic berth into the tournament guarantees that the Big Dance will be compiled of teams that can sustain success over a period of time and not just sporadically. Yes the tournament is a single-elimination format, but the tournament also lasts two and a half weeks, noticeably longer than conference tournaments that last on average about three or four days. Awarding the league champions with the automatic berths into the tournament is the most fair way of allocating spots for the field of 68 (68, really NCAA? Can’t we just keep it to 64, we like square numbers). This holds true for the mid-major conferences where in all likelihood only one team will get to represent the conference. I mean who should represent a conference? A team that goes 14-2 in a league play and has already proven they know how to win or the team that went 5-11 and somehow by the grace of God put together three wins to go 8-11 and we somehow give them a trophy for it. The tournament should be reserved for teams that are truly the best in the country, or at least the athletic affiliations that they are a part of. Now I know the conference tournament is exciting, I know they raise a lot of money. But March Madness is the real exciting tournament and as for the money factor I’m pretty sure the NCAA and its schools do just fine pulling in revenue. So call me crazy, but I am not a fan of conference tournaments. I know this is not a popular opinion, but hey–at least I have the Ivy League on my side.






The Aquinas College men’s lacrosse team will host Grove City College tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Aquinas Field. The Saints will then host Indiana Tech the following day at 2 p.m. The Saints are 4-2 and are 1-0 in division play. Aquinas is coming off a 15-3 trouncing of rival Calvin College.

Men’s tennis team off Bulls on parade in to a 10-1 start Detroit By Kay Borst The Saint Reporter The Aquinas College men’s tennis team is 9-1 this season and is on a seven match winning streak. They are ranked 14th in the country. The team faced Wheaton College on February 25 at the MVP Sportsplex, winning 8-1. In the singles competition, sophomore Aaron Hendrick defeated his opponent 7-6, 2-6, 10-5. Sophomore Nik Artaev defeated his opponent 6-4, 6-0. In the doubles competition Hendrick and Artaev defeated their opponents 8-2. “Wheaton was a pretty straight forward match that wasn’t really a challenge for us, but our Spring Break trip was a crucial part of the season,” said Aratev. “I think we adjusted well to playing outdoors in the wind quickly and had some really good wins out of it. Throughout the trip our doubles came up big and set up the wins for us down the line. Most importantly we beat our rivals Olivet Nazarene. It was really special for our seniors to have the last match of their Spring Break be

a solid win against a good team that has battled us hard for the past several years.” The team went down to Orlando, Florida during spring break and competed in six meets, winning all of them. The meets against Judson and St. Joseph’s were particularly successful, resulting in a 9-0 win at Judson and 6-1 win at St. Joseph’s. “Our team had high expectations in Florida,” said Hendrick. “We knew we had some tough opponents, so we just took one match at a time. The biggest win was probably Olivet Nazarene. They were nationally ranked at 20, so to come out on top 7-2 felt pretty good.” On March 14 the Saints throttled Hope College 9-0 in Holland, Michigan. The team’s next meet is March 16 against St. Francis followed by a meet on March 17 in Ohio at Roberts Wesleyan. “Looking ahead, our team is playing well at every spot and competing hard. We are all excited for our next couple matches and hungry for some more wins,” said Hendrick.

Women’s tennis has a strong finish to spring break trip

By Yasmeen Ahmed The Saint Reporter

On March 9, the Professional Bull Riding tour made a stop in Detroit for the PBR Last Cowboy Standing event at Ford Field. The Professional Bull Riders Inc. is the world’s premier bull riding organization, with over 1,200 bull riders from various different countries all over the world. It was the first time that the PBR tour has visited Detroit. The top 35 bull riders in the world and the toughest bucking bulls on the planet were on show with the last cowboy standings taking home a prize of $100,000. The points and money earned in the competition be used to qualify for the Built Ford Tough World Finals held in Las Vegas on October 24-28. The riders and bulls were scored by four judges on how well the cowboy rides. The rider has to stay on the bull for eight seconds to get any score. The rider may not touch the bull with his hands during the ride and they are only allowed to hang onto a single rope.

The riders were required to wear a cowboy hat or helmet, a protective vest, gloves, rosin, chaps, a bull rope, boots, and spurs. During the event country music megastars Big and Rich made a guest appearance to add to the already exciting occasion. The lower level of Ford Field was filled to the brim with 26,000 excited bull riding fans. The choir from the Detroit Academy of Arts and Science sang the National Anthem, and also put their own spin on the song “Empire State of Mind” by showing their “Detroit State of Mind” video during half time. “Bull riding is the toughest and most extreme sport,” said Leland Bassett, spokesperson for Professional Bull Riders, Inc. “The crowd loved everything, it was a fabulous time and a spectacular evening.” Silvano Alves of Brazil won the event and was named Last Cowboy Standing and received the cash award of $162,733. Despite being a newcomer to the sport Alves is the defending World Champion and in 2010 was Rookie of the Year.

Aquinas athletes shine at NAIA indoor track and field championships



Strength through unity: The women’s tennis team gather around for a team photo. The women’s tennis team is 7-5 this season. By Kay Borst The Saint Reporter The Aquinas College women’s tennis team is 7-5 this season after going 6-3 during their spring break trip in Orlando, Florida. On Feb. 25 the Saints faced Hope College and fell 8-1. Sophomore Lauren Ramey defeated her opponent 6-3, 2-6, 10-6. “It was a good win for the first match of the year,” said Ramey. On March 1 the Saints faced archrival Calvin College and defeated the Knights 8-1, making a strong comeback after the Hope meet. Ramey won her match 6-2, 6-0 and freshman Daniela Fonseca defeated her opponent 6-0, 6-1. Junior Jessica LeMire placed in defeating her opponent in perfect sets 6-0, 6-0. For the doubles competition, Ramey and senior Emily Decker combined efforts to defeat their opponents 8-3. The team went down to Orlando, Florida over spring break, competing

in eight meets and winning six. Highlights of the trip were the Saints’ victories over Judson and Bethel both of which were 9-0 routs. “Florida proved to be a real test of mental strength and endurance,” said LeMire. “We played more matches then we have ever played in Orlando, including two back-to-back days of double headers. Although we were all bandaged up by the end of the week, we finished strong with a come-back victory against Evangel. Our week not only bolstered our skills on the court but also strengthened our closeness as a team.” “Bonding over this Spring Break in Florida was seriously one of the best things that I have experienced at Aquinas all four of my years,” said Decker. Aquinas’ next meet is on March 17 against Roberts Wesleyan in Lima, Ohio. The Saints will return home on March 22 against city rival Davenport.

Aquinas thrashes eternal rival Calvin 15-3 By Dan Meloy Sports Editor The Aquinas College men’s lacrosse team defeated crosstown rival Calvin College 15-3 on March 13 at Aquinas Field. After a close first quarter that saw the Saints carry a slim one goal lead, Aquinas pulled away in the second quarter and led the Knights 7-2 going into halftime. Aquinas put the game out of reach by outscoring Calvin 4-1 in the third quarter and then outscored the crosstown rivals 4-0 in the fourth quarter for good measure in a 15-3 rout of Aquinas’ long standing rivals. Freshman attacker Casey Coretti and senior attacker Nate McCorry each scored three goals in the win. Freshman goalie Joe Manuszak Sports Editor Dan Meloy

stopped nine of the twelve shots he faced to cripple the Calvin offense. “We’re doing well, the team has really grown under great senior leadership,” said men’s lacrosse Head Coach Luke Griemsman. “We are getting closer, closer than I have ever seen before.” The team’s goal this year is to make it past the first round the Central Collegiate Lacrosse Association. Last year the Saints made it to the CCLA playoffs for the first time in school history. With the victory over Calvin the Saints are now 4-2 this season and are 1-0 in the CCLA West Division. The Saints’ remaining division games are against Siena Heights University, Grand Valley State University and Ferris State University. Aquinas’ next home game will be this Saturday at 2 p.m. against Grove City College.


All-American, All-Aquinas: Eight Aquinas athletes were recognized as All-American at the National Championships in Geneva, Ohio on March 1-3. By Kay Borst highlight for the women’s team at naThe Saint Reporter tionals, clearing 11 feet and nine threeThe Aquinas College men’s and quarters inches in the pole vault, comwomen’s indoor track and field team ing in 6th place. Junior Ryan Helminiak competed at the NAIA Nationals came in fourth place in the men’s high Championships in Geneva, Ohio on jump, clearing 6-08. March 1. The men’s team finished in For the women’s weight throw, 10th place and the women’s team fin- junior Emily Smith came in 21st place ished in 40th. throwing 49-06 1/2. Junior Joe StachoSenior Rumeal McKinney came in wicz came in 24th place for the men’s a close second place for the finals in the weight throw with a distance of 51-03 60-meter dash after being beat out by a 3/4. Smith also competed in the finals miniscule .002 seconds. for the women’s shot put event, coming “It sucks to have come short in the in 22nd place throwing 40-01 1/2. 60 m but I gave it my all and that’s all I The men’s team competed in the can do,” said McKinney. “I just want to distance medley with sophomore say that I am very proud of the way our Grant Gunneson, freshman Ray Borteam competed at nationals.” deaux, senior Nick Thelen and senior Senior Samantha DeStefano also Dustin Heiler. The medley placed in ran the 60 coming in 15th place for the third with a time of 9:52.89. semi-finals with a time of 7.79, winning “[The team is] always hopeful and a point for the girl’s team. optimistic going into a national meet,” In the 600-meter run, freshman Ca- said Mike Wojciakowski, head coach leb Teachout came in fifth place with a of the track and field team. “I was very time of 1 minute, 20.06 seconds. pleased with how our athletes compet“I owe all of my success to my ed and represented Aquinas College. coach and teammates. They push me The group as a whole exceeded expecto get faster every day in practice,” said tations. I am very excited to see what Teachout. the outdoor season brings.” Sophomore Alicia Dorko was a

Batter up for Aquinas By Alyssa Frese Staff Writer The Aquinas College baseball team is back for the 2012 season and is prepared for success. After finishing 24-161 last season the Saints are 6-8 to begin the 2012 campaign. Over spring break the Saints traveled to Ormond Beach and Daytona Beach, Florida where they played in 12 games over the course of six days. Aquinas finished spring break with a record of 4-8. On March 13 the Saints swept Bethel College 16-3 and 7-0 in a doubleheader in Indiana. The Saints have been working very hard in their offseason and are determined to play hard and do well this 2012 season. “We have been working really hard this season and going to Florida was a great opportunity to get some more experience,” said junior infielder Austin King. “Some keys to success this season are play as a team, believe in one another, and individually do our jobs, so we can put it all together and see

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what we can pull out this season and beyond into the postseason.” The Saints have a mixture of both experienced and younger players this year. The younger players will be able to test their abilities in twelve junior varsity games this season. Head Coach Doug Greenslate is entering his tenth year as head coach for the Saints. He is hopeful for the Saints success and is determined that the returning players as well as the new players can achieve a higher level of success than the previous season. “The Aquinas College Baseball team enters the 2012 season hopeful that last year’s success and disappointment will motivate this year’s ball club to work harder to achieve its goal of winning a Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference championship,” said Greenslate. The Saints will face Madonna in a doubleheader on March 17 and March 18 to begin conference play. They will also play Grand Rapids Community College in their home opener at Kimble Stadium located at Fuller Park on Tuesday, March 20.




Gymnast Phil Gifford defies gravity and pursues excellence

March Madness has arrived By Meghan Gray The Saint Reporter It is that time of year again: Shamrock Shakes, warmer weather and of course, March Madness. With Selection Sunday behind us, we can now all fill out our brackets and hope that we win those awesome cash prizes given out by ESPN and the liking. Kentucky might be the luckiest of the four, the way the rest of the South bracket turned out giving UK home court advantage for most of the tournament. The Wildcats will play their first game in Louisville and if they make it to the Sweet 16 they will have SEC support in Atlanta. There are a lot of Kentucky supporters no matter where you go, some even on the Aquinas campus, and they will all be cheering “Go Blue!” The East region gets a little tricky, especially in terms of competition for Syracuse. Vanderbilt and Wisconsin could easily give them trouble with the game both teams like to play. Wisconsin loves to slow down the offense to eat away time on the clock before they score, hoping that their opponents transition into a fast break or quicker offense to make up lost time defending the Badgers. The East better be careful with Wisconsin sitting as one of its sleepers. If Syracuse plays their game, they might be making a trip south to New Orleans.

Great coaches and parents have had a strong impact on sophomore Nik Artaev’s tennis career


Souring to the top: Freshmen Phil Gifford is a top-notch gymnast who will be competing at the national championships this summer. By Alyssa Frese Staff Writer For most boys, participating in sports such as baseball and football seemed like the cool thing to do growing up, but freshman Phil Gifford decided to defy the norm and give gymnastics a try. “I joined gymnastics about ten years ago, so I was around eight years old. I got interested because I went and saw a live band perform and the performers were doing flips and back handsprings and it made me want to be able to do those tricks as well. I found a trampoline gym near where I live and saw the team practicing and I got involved as soon as I could,” said Gifford. Gifford, a Colorado native, has had to dedicate a lot of time over the years to his passion for gymnastics. There are usually around two competitions per month during the season, with national meets being held once every couple of months. Gifford

trains at least four times a week at a gym in Kalamazoo that offers the necessary equipment for him to practice. “There are other gymnasts in Grand Rapids, so we carpool to practices. It is cool to see other people sharing the same passion as myself,” said Gifford. The most recent competition Gifford participated in was the Winter Classic, held in Tampa, Florida. He performed so well that he was one of two national qualifiers. He placed first in the trampoline and will go on to compete in the national competition this summer. With a full college load and staying dedicated to practices and becoming a better gymnast, Gifford needs to stay motivated all the time. There are many things that keep him motivated, a huge reason being the simple feeling of success. “The feeling of victory is incredible. When you compete and know you did well and you step up on the podium to receive that gold medal,

it’s really amazing and addicting,” said Gifford. Being involved with gymnastics has required a lot of hard work from Gifford but it has paid off in many ways. He has had the opportunity to compete all around the United States. He has even had the chance to compete in St. Petersburg, Russia. He has had many people to support him and has enjoyed the progress he has made every step of the way. “My family and friends have been so great. When I was back home in Colorado they came to every meet and they are still supportive of my involvement in gymnastics,” said Gifford. “I have also learned so much from other athletes. I consider everyone better than me to be a huge inspiration and I’ve met so many athletes from around the country who have influenced my career,” he said.

Shaky start to a challenging women’s lacrosse season By Laura Farrell Staff Writer Looking forward to warmer weather and some competition, the Aquinas College women’s lacrosse team had high hopes for spring break. The team headed down south to Alabama to play two games and play two more on the return trip home. Looking forward to a new season, in a new conference, with many new players, the spring break games were an important start. The team first took on Birmingham Southern College on March 5. The Saints lost 15-13 in a tight game. Captain and senior attacker Michelle Murphy and junior attacker Lauren McCarty both had three goals while junior captain goalkeeper Breanne Stockall made eight saves. The Saints bounced back the next

day, beating Reindardt College 22-11. Captain and senior attacker Hannah Brogger and McCarty both had an impressive five goals. Brogger also had five assists. Aquinas lost both games on the way back up to Michigan, first losing to Centre College 19-8. Stockall remained consistent and had nineteen saves in the game. McCarty scored another three goals and freshman attacker Alexa Burns added two. In Ohio, Aquinas lost a close game to Tennessee Wesleyan 9-7. A total of six Aquinas players scored and Stockall had another twenty saves. Women’s lacrosse head coach Frank Rogers reflected on the competitive week. “Our Spring Break trip was an education for us, our freshmen get a good taste of their first college experi-

ence and we learned where we need to improve,” said Coach Rogers. Looking forward to another winning season, McCarty and the rest of the team remain focused on how to carry on their tradition. “We are in a bigger and better conference this year, we are ready for the competition and we are going to do our best.” The next women’s lacrosse game is March 22 against Midland College at home at 5 p.m. After the Midland game the Saints will have a three day run of home games. The Saints are 1-3 overall with a 1-1 record in the National Women’s Lacrosse League. Aquinas is now sixth in the 11 team league and need to be in the top four in order to qualify for the NWLL Tournament.

Softball playing this season like it is now or never

By Alyssa Frese The Saint Reporter

After a successful spring break trip to Tucson, Arizona, the Aquinas College softball team is 9-6 and ready for an intense, competitive 2012 season. The Saints finished the 2011 season with a 28-20 and look to improve upon a fifth place finish in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference. Head coach Crystal Laska will be entering her fifth year as head coach for the Saints. There are many returning players as well as a few new faces to the roster this year. The Saints have been working very hard in the offseason and are determined to push the boundaries and surpass

limits that have not been broken before. “The whole team has been working really hard in the off season to prepare for this year. We’ve got a lot of talent and are doing what we can to get the most out of it,” said senior pitcher Ashley White. “We started a little rough in Arizona but we did figure out that when we keep our energy up and work hard the whole game that we can make good things happen, we won our last six games down there so we have some good momentum going into the season. The team is extremely close this year and our chemistry definitely shows when we are out on the field, we play for each other as well as for our coaches. We have worked too hard to settle for anything less than our best this year.”

Sports Editor Dan Meloy

The Saints have amazing chemistry as a team that is already inevitable even this early in the season. They have the drive and power it takes to do great things this season. “We have this goal of winning a national championship and being the best we can be for ourselves, our school, and our community,” said junior first baseman and outfielder Renae Tubergen. “Through our faith and determination we will succeed. Because of one of our great senior captains we wear on our backs a quote that we play for, ‘There is no next time. It’s now or never.’ If we live for the moment we will be on top. We are looking forward to bringing in our new field with a bang.”


In the Midwest region this March, the favorite by far is North Carolina. But do not get on the bandwagon too soon because Creighton and Temple will be the sleeper teams to watch out for and Kansas and Georgetown can also give North Carolina a run for their money. The Rock Chalk Jayhawks could easily upset North Carolina, in fact, some can see them making it to the Final Four in New Orleans. As far as the West region is concerned, Michigan State will have to play their best against tough competition. If they meet Missouri in the Elite Eight, the Spartans will have to keep up with some serious speed and adapt to Missouri’s perimeter offense. If Michigan State meets Marquette in the Elite Eight, Marquette will also be challenging for Michigan State. Not only does Michigan State have one of the toughest brackets to play through, they are also playing away and the travel might wear and tear on the performance of the team. Many see Missouri taking it all the way to the Final Four and are picking Long Beach State as an upset favorite making it to the Sweet 16. My predictions are as follows: Kentucky meeting Michigan State and Syracuse playing Kansas in the Final Four with Michigan State beating Kansas 74-69.

By Yasmeen Ahmed The Saint Reporter Sophomore men’s tennis player Nik Artaev has been involved in tennis pretty much his whole life, but had a bit of a different development of being a tennis player. Artaev was born in Russia when his father decided to move to America and stabilize and then moved the rest of the family over when Artaev was only a year old. Artaev describes tennis in Russia as an aristocratic sport, so when his dad moved here he liked the idea that anyone could play or watch it. His dad began bringing him to play tennis all the time when he was young, which sparked his interest in the sport. Artaev explains the beginning of his tennis career and developing by playing local rivals. “The development of me as a tennis player was certainly an interesting one because I didn’t grow up in a large city like Grand Rapids or Kalamazoo that has lots of tennis clubs and really good players to practice with,” said Artaev. “I came from a small town, but tennis was a large part of the community. There was a club where every player within several counties would go and practice. There were two other players around me that were at the same level of tennis as I was. We’d go to the same tournaments, practice at the same club, and eventually we’d play for the same high school team.” Artaev’s parents were both involved in his tennis career. He says, “My mom was also a pretty big part of me growing up as a player. As my dad was like my coach in terms of tennis, my mom always took me all over the Midwest to play in tournaments. She watched all of my matches and shared the same emotions that I did. She was always there for emotional support and comfort after a tough loss and would always be the first to hug me and tell me good job when I had a good win.” Artaev had several coaches who tried to develop his skills. However, it was not until late in his career that he found a coach that had a profound impact on him. “His name was Mark Ficks, and he certainly revolutionized tennis in the area,” said Artaev. “He brought a new approach to the game, and really was passionate about developing the junior level of tennis. I remember then first lesson I had with him, I was out of breath and my knees were shaking by the first fifteen minutes. He asked me if I had ever done off court training and was baffled when I told him no.” In high school Artaev also had a coach that he appreciates a lot, and who made him continue to work hard. “Our high school team was a powerhouse, and that was largely attributed to my dedicated high school coach Pat Hoffmann,” said Artaev. “He spends so much time and effort working with the team and shaping them up for next season. He is a wonderful coach and has a great passion for tennis that spills over into whoever plays for him.” Artaev worked hard during high school and during his senior year he had a record breaking season, going

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COURTESY ASHLEY HENDRICK Serving up a storm: Sophomore Nik Artaev’s 13-1 record is the one of his many reasons the men’s tennis team is ranked 14th nationally.

31-0, set the all-time school record for wins, won regionals without losing a game, won conference and ultimately the state title. When looking for colleges a big factor in why Artaev was attracted to Aquinas was the tennis team. Tennis is a big part of his life and he wanted to be able to play it competitively but also be able to focus on school. Aquinas men’s tennis head coach Jerry Hendrick offered Artaev a chance to play at Aquinas and Hendrick understood there needed to be a focus on tennis and school equally. “I’ve known Nick since I was very young from tennis tournaments,” said teammate Aaron Hendrick. “He has always been a great competitor on the court and one of the most honest players I’ve ever known. He brings a competitive fire to our team along with great leadership.” “I’ve learned a lot about both life and tennis since being here at Aquinas,” said Artaev. “Coach Hendrick is not only a coach, but he is a father and a professor as well. Coach is always interested in our lives and is always there to listen if we have some sort of concern.” Artaev goes on to say that Coach Hendrick’s influence has given him a profound outlook on what it means to be a tennis player at Aquinas College. “School and what we want to do afterwards is held to a much higher degree than tennis here,” said Artaev. “Mentally, this is a comforting ideal to go by and it allows me as a player to not think about the future, but rather what I need to accomplish in that particular moment on the court. He really makes us appreciate the time we have together as a team because we have a fun group of guys to be around and we know it doesn’t last all that long. ” Artaev plans to continue playing tennis after college, possibly in adult leagues or maybe even coaching.

arts & entertainment Internet: Big Brother is always watching

Movies: Disney to make Avatar theme park

Books: Fans need more Harry Potter

At this years South by Southwest, it had been reported that homeless people are being used as Wi-Fi hotspots. BBH labs, which is obviously the corporation of some mad evil genius, outfitted volunteers with wireless transmitters and t-shirts that read, “I’m [name], a 4G hotspot.”

Disney CEO Bob Iger let it slip that Disney is formulating plans to build a new theme park based on James Cameron’s Avatar. It will be situated in the Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. Though plans are underway, the park won’t be open until 2015 at the earliest.

Pottermore, the interactive website based on J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, is finally set to open to the public this April. Though many fans were able to score early access, technical glitches and bugs were still being ironed out. When the site officially opens, it should deliver quite the Potter experience.

Bookworm problems stephanie giluk | a&e editor Over break, I do my best to catch up on reading. Not reading for school, because breaks aren’t for useful things like getting started on big projects or papers. Breaks are for wasting large amounts of time doing fun and mostly useless things so that when I come back to school, I have a mental breakdown over everything I didn’t do over break. Anyway, I caught up on reading for fun, or, at least, I tried to (I’m not even going to get into what it says about me that I look forward to reading for fun when I have the time). I’ve been trying to re-read the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini since Christmas break. It hasn’t been going well, and I’ve noticed this trend a lot when I try to read books and series now that I started when I was younger. I just can’t manage to get through them. I’ve read the first three books in the Inheritance series before, and the final book came out somewhat recently, so I wanted to reread the whole series before I read the last book, since it’s been a while. Usually, I’m a fast reader. It should have taken me a few days, tops, to read Eragon, the first book, again, but it took me the better part of two weeks because I got so bored. Reading a chapter was like pulling teeth out of a dragon’s mouth. It didn’t go smoothly. I finally gave up when I started to reread Eldest, the second book of the series. I just couldn’t stay interested to save my life, and I’ve been trying to figure out why. The books certainly haven’t changed since I last read them, so it must be me. I’m a lot older than when I last read the series, so it could be that I’ve outgrown them, but I don’t know if that’s the case. Several friends my age are still interested in the series, so it’s not that it’s too young. I like plenty of young adult books out today, so it’s not that I think I’m above reading books written and marketed to a younger audience. Why, then? When I tried to read them again, I picked up on how young the writing was. Paolini was fifteen when he wrote Eragon. Maybe it’s that creative writing class I took, but I can certainly tell his writing style isn’t that of a skilled writer. I actually cringed reading some of the dialogue. I have to give Paolini credit for writing a fantasy book so young, since I probably wouldn’t have been able to pull that off at fifteen, but maybe he should have held on to it for a few more years and reworked some of the finer points. I also think after reading so many other fantasy series and seeing those books do a million times better what Paolini tries to do colored my attempted re-reading of the Inheritance series. Patrick Rothfuss, George R.R. Martin, Anne McCaffrey, and a large group of other fantasy writers all can craft a much more entertaining, complex and well-written fantasy story. And, finally, would anyone like to draw up a list of all the Lord of the Rings parallels in those books? No wonder the Inheritance series feels so familiar. While I’m glad I’ve solved this little mystery of my failed attempt to reread Paolini’s books, it still makes me a little bit sad. This inability to get through books I read when I was younger happens more and more often, and while there are still plenty of books I enjoy and can reread now, I feel like I’ve lost something. Learning how to become a better reader and writer myself has changed the way I approach everything I else I read, even if it is just for fun. I can’t just read now, I analyze, and that’s taken some of the simple joy out of discovering and appreciating a book. For me, books have always been about escape, a way to visit brave new worlds I would never be able to in real life. When things like literary analysis and a less than amazing writing style intrude on my ability to lose myself in a story, I know I’m an English major.







As one of the most highly anticipated shows of the year, Game of Thrones comes back with (hopefully) a bang in its second season. Fans, cross your fingers for more action, gore, intrigue and Tyrion Lannister.


New horror film Silent House delivers a spine-tingling experience

By Alyssa Frese Staff Writer

The movie Silent House, directed by Chris Kentis (Open Water, Grind), starring Elizabeth Olsen, (yes, she is the younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley) is a thriller unlike any audiences have ever seen. The movie begins with the camera shooting above Olsen, who is sitting along a lake. Beginning its one long unbroken shot, the camera follows Olsen throughout the movie in a Paranormal Activity fashion. The use of the camera adds a lot to the movie in most parts, but at times it becomes nauseating and a bit annoying. The plot of the movie is brilliantly written, as audiences follow Olsen and her father through the eightysome minute terrifying encounter the two experience. The creepy element of the camera shooting mixed with the darkness and the lack of electricity in the lake side house automatically set the haunting tone for the whole movie. The background music was surprisingly light for a scary movie but it too added a lot to the overall feeling and tone of the entire film. The perfect combination of terror and plot line are applied to Si-

lent House. Elizabeth Olsen does a fantastic job. The role she plays would be a difficult task for any bigtime, experienced a c to rs , let alone a rising star. She has to play the sweet d a u g h ter role as well as the terrorized COURTESY TAZORA FILMS female victim. For a young, Hell house: Elizabeth Olson holds her own in a scary movie that genuinely thrills. relatively inexperienced actress this could ie seems to be a typical mediocre adds horror as well as schizophrenic be difficult to do, but Olsen defi- horror movie such as Nightmare on elements. Silent House is truly one of the nitely holds her own. There are so Elm Street or House of Wax, but Silent many twists and unexpected events House combined elements of mov- best horror movies that have been rethroughout the movie and Olsen de- ies such as Blair Witch Project and leased in a long time and audiences The Devil Inside with original horror should keep their eyes out for Olsen livers each part flawlessly. Silent House is not like many movies like Secret Window and Hide in future films. other horror films out there today. and Seek to create a movie that not After watching the trailers, the mov- only has the real-life element to it but

LaughFest’s got the giggles

I am so glad with LaughFest’s choice of adding Madigan to list of comedians that will perform this week. The only season of Last Comic Standing that I watched was the season with Madigan so I was very excited that I won tickets from Wake Up People to see her performance. Madigan was a great choice to be one of the first big comedians to start off LaughFest. She had so many stories about her time in Afghanistan, Iraq, on a cruise and many stories about her and her Irish Catholic family. I thought it was quite funny when Madigan was describing the cruise she went on and how it was basically as if the Bellagio in Las Vegas had up and sailed away with an endless MEGHAN GRAY/THE SAINT supply of drinks and For grins: Come have a good time at LaughFest. activities for the TypeA organized people to By Meghan Gray sign up for. What was also hilarious The Saint Reporter and had me in tears were Madigan’s stories about her drunken Irish CathoLast Monday night, Last Comic lic family and all of their family getStanding alum, Kathleen Madigan, togethers at Christmas and her techwent “Madigan” with jokes during nologically challenged parents. Her her show held at the Fountain Street attorney father also questioned MadiChurch in downtown Grand Rapids. gan’s support for former presidential The headliners for the show were Jacandidate, Hillary Clinton, pointing son Dudey and Cristela Alonzo. out that if Hillary is more experienced Dudey definitely had a great because she lived in the White House sense of humor making fun of the fact for eight years, then Madigan’s mother that his own last name sounds like might as well be qualified to be an atthe result of a bodily function. His bit torney after living with her father for about his father being in the military 40+ years. and progressing from Private Dudey I think the idea of LaughFest to Major Dudey to Sergeant Dudey is fantastic, with proceeds going to brought me to tears, I was laughing so cancer research with the mantra that hard. laughter can be a method of healing. Alonzo was also quite funny. She This year, LaughFest goes until March added the physical aspect of humor 18. If you have a chance, go to a Laughinto her routine, showing how girls Fest event! There are over 100 free will go cry in their rooms after a breakevents, so even broke college students up listening to a song that her and her can partake in the hilarity. With only ex-boyfriend used to share a liking to, a few days left, LaughFest is perfect when Alonzo was on the floor of the for making those mid-semester blues stage with her feet in the air and fake go away. See for crying, I about died. Both headliners more details and an event schedule. were a great build-up to the kind of comedy in Madigan’s routine.

A & E Editor Stephanie Giluk


Get lost in the Ting Ting’s Nowheresville


Rock on: The Ting Tings are back with a vengeance. By Colleen Schmidt The Saint Reporter After a lengthy wait, the British duo Jules de Martino and Katie White, better known as the The Ting Tings, have finally released their second studio album, entitled Sounds from Nowheresville. According to, when asked about their new sound and songs, the band commented: “On “Hang it up” and “Hit Me Down, Sonny,” I can hear that we’d gotten some fresh air and sunshine.” They continued to talk about the album’s beginnings, saying that “we felt like we wanted to write something honest and authentic and not pressured.” Listening to Sounds from Nowheresville, The Ting Tings are spot on about their own sound. The first song is entitled “Silence” and is thought-provoking and message-driven. The main chorus of the song projects a message that holding your tongue is powerful, with the band urging listeners to “let them listen to our silence.” The song “Hit Me Down, Sonny,” is upbeat and fun. The bells in the background are an eclectic touch and give the song some variety. Halfway through the song, the beat picks up and includes a jazz rhythm. The song

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is very catchy because of the rolling percussion. The next song, “Hang It Up,” is very rock-oriented and somewhat depressing as a follow-up to “Hit Me Down, Sonny.” “Guggenheim” is the most unique song on the album. The song is a surprise because it starts out with just a narrative and a backbeat. It has a retro feel due to its old-school background music. The shouting in the song is very powerful and the rock ballad progresses until the end. “Give It Back” switches it up, adding de Martino’s voice to White’s, and both want their possessions returned since their relationship ended in a fun song. “One By One” is more techno and laid back. White drags out her voice on the track for an interesting sound. The song talks about how people are “not kind” and they “should be having them one by one.” It’s a rebellious chant. After so much energy and plenty of infectious beats, the last song, “In Your Life,” is very sad and has a continuous guitar refrain with heartbreak included. Though Sounds from Nowheresville ends on a low note, the majority of the album is worth listening and dancing to.





John Carter a fun, high-flying Springsteen’s Wrecking sci-fi adventure Ball not quite a wreck


A Princess of Mars: For those that enjoy pulp sci-fi journeys to Mars, jump on over to the theater nearest you. By Katherine Mata Staff Writer In a journey across space and time, Disney brings to theaters a foreign and exotic story with John Carter. The movie is fun, exciting and inspiring to all ages. John Carter, played by Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights), is a civil war veteran after only one thing: gold. What he ends up accidentally discovering is a way to travel to Mars. Once transplanted, Carter is caught in a war to save the last free people of Mars. Carter, hesitantly, joins Dejah, played by Lynn Collins (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), in the war. Forced to make a decision, John Carter is torn between which planet to call home: Earth or Mars. Although the plot is comparable to James Cameron’s Avatar, John Carter creates an entirely differ-

ent world for audiences to get lost in. On Mars, there is one city left standing. That city, Helium, represents the last of Mars’ free citizens who face destruction from a powerhungry foe. Carter wanders along the once lush land, stumbling upon a princess in desperate need of a savior. Making the biggest decision of his life, Carter becomes Helium’s hero. With such a seemingly simple plot, John Carter delivers an extraordinary performance that audiences will not forget. Kitsch is a wonder on-screen. His movements and lines are performed with ease as Kitsch becomes his character. His co-star, Collins, has a harder time fitting into the film. While Collins is remarkably beautiful, her acting is somewhat awkward and forced, making audiences finding it hard to believe and love her character. De-

spite this, Kitsch and Collins are a strong duo on the big screen. Aided by Samantha Morton (Minority Report) and Willem Dafoe (Spiderman), Kitsch and Collins won the audiences’ hearts with their strong performances together. Much credit can be given to the director, Andrew Stanton (Toy Story 3, WALL-E) who is responsible for giving the audiences a memorable film. With its unique characters, language and world, John Carter is enjoyable for all ages. There is a balance between action, comedy and romance, which gives everyone something to love about the film. Words do not do this film justice and movie-goers who enjoyed Cameron’s Avatar are strongly encouraged to explore the world of John Carter.

By Matt Kuczynski Editor-in-Chief Springsteen’s latest album, Wrecking Ball, released on Columbia Records March 6, brings more innovative pieces than the straightforward rock that old fans might have come to expect by now. The blend sits somewhat uneasily throughout the album, with the two sides never really meeting in the middle. Wrecking Ball opens with “We Take Care of Our Own,” a E Street Band-style number that any Springsteen fan will feel fine with, especially if they enjoyed The Rising (2002). Springsteen croons his anthem-tinged common-man lyrics over the driving, fully-instrumented backdrop: “Wherever this flag is flown / we take care of our own. [. . .] From the shotgun shack


and mandolin progression. Springsteen goes so far as to adopt a bizarre, kind-of-Irish accent as he sings, “The greedy thieves who came around / who ate the flesh of everything they found / who went unpunished now / walk the streets as freemen now. . . Death to our

>> THE BOSS LEAVES A BIT TO BE DESIRED HERE. THAT DOES NOT INCLUDE HIS CELTIC TOUCHES. << / to the Superdome.” From there, things get weird. The next track, “Easy Money” throws down a heavy barn-stomping beat and a growling Bruce that seems like it’s straight from the Bible Belt. Following this, he ties in some mundane, threechord plodding, a bit of gospel and soul, and a lot of Irish influence. There are times when it seems like Springsteen cannot decide whether he wants to be The Pogues or The Boss. This becomes especially apparent in “Death to Our Hometown,” a commentary on the financial crises that’s set to a folksy, repetitive tin whistle

hometown.” He continues this multicultural influence in several other songs. While it is not a bad thing to branch out, the Boss leaves a bit to be desired on Wrecking Ball. That does not include his Celtic touches. What is missing is more of the guitar-driven, hometown Bruce that the album opens up with. Although Springsteen does not fall flat with this album, it does get tedious and questionable at points. Fans of old Springsteen, be warned: this will not be what you expect.

Sushi-Yama falls short of perfect, Civic’s Bye Bye Birdie a but still a great downtown value musical and charming blast from the past


Back in time: Bye Bye Birdie, performed by the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, serves up a fantastic show. By Laura Farrell Staff Writer MATT KUCZYNSKI / THE SAINT

Choices, choices: Sushi-Yama has a variety of tasty, unique dishes at serviceable prices. Clockwise from top: A spider roll stuffed with soft shell crab and cucumber, salmon nigiri and baby octopus nigiri as served at Sushi-Yama. By Matt Kuczynski Editor-in-Chief Sushi is a food that is always hitor-miss. There simply is nowhere to compromise when eating raw fish. This means that good, real sushi usually comes with a fairly steep price tag that keeps it an occasional treat for a money-starved college student. Enter, Sushi-Yama. A tiny, nearly one-man operation in the basement of the McKay Tower located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, Sushi-Yama is easy to miss if you are not looking for it. However, a quick walk down the stairwell next to the elevator banks takes diners to a small, tiled dining area loaded with slightly kitschy potted artificial bamboo plants and fountains. A single counter greets customers with checkthe-box ordering menus that list a multitude of delicacies at surprisingly affordable prices. Basic 8-slice California rolls start at $3.95, with more elaborate rolls in the $7-10 range. The nigiri selection, although limited, is affordable at no more than $2 per piece. At these prices, it makes it possible for even budget-conscious sushi fans to enjoy a wide variety. For my test run of Sushi-Yama’s fare, I ordered the Lunch Combo C,

which consisted of a California roll and five pieces of Nigiri, chef’s choice. My lovely dining companion Liz had a yellow tail roll and a salmon roll to start. We picked seats directly across from the frame shop, next to the wooden screens that made up the kitchen wall. After a short, ten-minute wait, our plates came out with the sushi meticulously arranged. Aside from the cheap plastic frond used to hold the pickled ginger, presentation was flawless. With our first few bites, we immediately came to the conclusion that Sushi-Yama, overall, was good. The nigiri pieces showcased the raw, delicate flavors of each cut of fish, and the rolls were neat, dense, and tasty. In both, Sushi-Yama’s precisely seasoned rice enhanced the fish and other ingredients used with a hint of saltiness and a delicate, aromatic tanginess. We ordered another round, just to try a few of the more challenging dishes on the menu, such as the baby octopus nigiri, and to check if the freshness of other fish was on par with what we just had. The baby octopus pieces exceeded my expectations, once I got past the odd texture of lightly cooked entire miniature octopi between my teeth: the sauce enhanced the sweet sea flavors of the octopus, and a sprinkling of toast-

A & E Editor Stephanie Giluk

ed sesame seeds brought in a pleasing nuttiness that faded in and out over the rice and mollusk. The rest of the more typical raw nigiri also featured fair slices of fish. However, some varieties seemed to be fresher than others. The salmon melted on the tongue as if it was caught five minutes ago, while the snapper slices looked and tasted somewhat dull. However, even the less-fresh fish was definitely still safe to eat–just a bit beyond the point where its flavors would have been at their peak. Also, after ordering a few more rolls, we noticed that the fish and meat content was less than what we had expected. Although this did not make our sushi less tasty, it did drop our view on Shushi-Yama from being an excellent value to just an average one. Overall, Shushi-Yama is a great place for affordable eating downtown. The quality is not as perfect as at sushi restaurants that cost a few dollars more down the street, and the aesthetics of the restaurant area might be questionable. However, Shushi-Yama still provides a quick, tasty, reliable meal on a budget. Shushi-Yama is open Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.


Being a citizen of Sweet Apple, Ohio once myself, in my sixth grade summer theater production of Bye Bye Birdie, I had high hopes for the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre production. Conrad Birdie did not disappoint. Michael Stewart’s Bye Bye Birdie tells the story of an Elvis-like singer, Conrad Birdie, on his way to join the army. His manager, Albert Peterson, has decided that he will give one lucky girl, Kim Peabody, one last kiss before he heads off to war. Teenage love and a nagging mother get in the way of Peterson’s perfect plan, however. The story is a classic peek into the 1950s life: girls in poodle skirts, pining boyfriends, rock and roll, and worried parents. Originally a book by Stewart, it was written and set to lyrics and music by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, set in the year 1958. The Civic Theatre production, impressively made up completely by members of the Grand Rapids community, was directed by Bruce Tinker. Matt Dixon and Aimee Hampton Workman were in charge as Albert Peterson and Rosie Alverez of AlMay-Lou Record Label. Not only did Dixon and Workman impress the audience with their charming voices, they showed off their dancing skills in songs like, “Put on a Happy Face” and “Shriner’s Ballet.” Jacob Loader was perfect as Con-

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rad Birdie. His moves not only had the Conrad Birdie club in screams but he kept the audience laughing hysterically as well. The teens of Sweet Apple, Ohio were led by Katie Duiven as Kim MacAfee, the lucky girl who Conrad kisses, and Rebekah Karel, as Kim’s best friend and Conrad enthusiast. Duvien and Karel were more than believable as high school fanatics (think Beiber Fever) but it was Karel who stole the show with her giddy screaming fits and comic relief. The parents rounded out the rest of the cast. Charles Hutchins and Kathie Johnson played Harry and Doris MacAfee, who bring Conrad Birdie and his crew in their home. As a frustrated dad, Hutchins beautifully channeled a dad who power is tested and whose daughter is growing up. The comical, infamous song “Kids,” sung by Hutchins and Johnson, spoke to everyone in the audience, parents and kids alike. Albert Peterson’s mother Mae, played by Darla Wortley, was very entertaining as a mom who cannot let go of her now adult son. The set design and dance numbers only added to the 50s feel that had the audience singing and swaying even after the curtains closed. A musical full of life and love, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s splendid production of Bye Bye Birdie brought back vivacious memories of rock and roll for all to enjoy.


The Saint :: Issue 12  

Aquinas College Student Newspaper

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