Restoring the Soul
G R A N D VA L L E Y L A N T H O R N
Biden, Harris inauguration marks turning point for hopeful, weary America
GV Design Thinking classes brews beverage with local roots COMMUNITY | A9
GV Basketballâ€™s Christian Negron on Inauguration Day, social movements and athletic vaccinations PROFILE | A11
M O N D A Y , J A N U A RY 2 5 , 2 02 1 // VO L . 5 5 N O. 1 5
@ GV L A N T H O R N
A2 | NEWS NEWS BRIEFS GV COVID-19 CAMPUS DATA UPDATE
The GVSU community has had a cumulative total of 2,173 COVID-19 cases since Aug. 1. The university’s update for this brief was from Friday, Jan. 22. Through testing results this past week, GVSU’s Virus Action team have so far reported 76 current active cases including 3 faculty member case, 4 staff members, 18 on-campus students, 38 “off-campus Ottawa” students, 11 “off-campus Kent” students and 2 “off-campus other” students with active COVID-19 cases. “Current active cases” is the count of positive cases reported to the Virus Action Team over the past ten days. This is an estimate of those currently in isolation, assuming a ten-day symptomatic period following the reporting of a positive test result. Actual periods of isolation are specific to the individual and determined by the county health department. Testing and Incidence: GVSU’s own testing program has performed 38,960 tests overall since August 21, for a positivity rate of 0.91% from the latest update as of last week. “GV Surveillance” includes the GV/ Spectrum administered programs of: randomized testing, regular testing of high-risk groups, and invited testing of individuals connected to potential clusters. A calendar is available. “GV Total” includes surveillance testing plus all symptomatic/ exposure tests administered by Spectrum.
VIRUS ACTION TEAM STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF TESTING, SELF-ASSESSMENT IN LATEST UPDATE
JANUARY 25, 2021 GRAND VALLEY LANTHORN @GVLNEWS
Mantella announces Presidential Roundtable Series on political upheaval BY ELIZABETH SCHANZ NEWS@LANTHORN.COM
Following the storming of the Capitol building on Jan. 6, Grand Valley State University President Philomena Mantella issued an email condemning the actions and violence that took place. Mantella denounced the attempts to overturn a fair and free election. “Grand Valley is defined by fair, rigorous and open intellectual exchange offered with respect for the rule of law, democracy and the inclusion of people of all backgrounds,” Mantella said in the email. “Profound pain delivers to us the opportunity to strengthen ourselves, our community and our nation.” Following these events, Mantella announced her plans for the Presidential Roundtable Series entitled, “The Constitution, Elections and Democracy” in an effort to better connect these events to the campus community. This series will feature Mantella and three former GVSU Presidents: Arend Lubbers, Mark Murray and Thomas Haas. “We are so fortunate to have my three predecessors still in the area, still committed to education and Grand Valley and moved enough to join me in providing experiences that will both educate and inspire,” said Mantella. The event is partnering with many other organizations and programs found on campus. These connections include Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Brooks College
The GVSU community was notified on Jan. 21 of the Virus Action Team’s most recent update. In the update, the Virus Action Team reminded the community of crucial steps that need to be taken in order to control the spread of COVID-19. They emphasize the importance of getting testing and regularly filling out self-assessments before coming to campus. Faculty and staff who work on campus at least one day a week will be sent weekly invitations to participate in surveillance testing, as will selected student groups, including resident assistants, dining staff and student teachers. Students who regularly attend class on campus will also be randomly selected for testing. Along with participating in surveillance testing, the update notes the importance of documenting test results and symptoms in the online self-assessment. The Virus Action Team also announced a virtual hall meeting that will be held Feb. 23 from 11 a.m. to noon. This meeting was prompted by the high demand of people seeking more information on vaccines. The link to register for the Zoom webinar can be found on GVSU’s website.
of Interdisciplinary Studies, the Padnos/Sarosik Civil Discourse Program in the Meijer Honors College, the Office of Student Life and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation. By intertwining the university’s resources, it continues to connect the wider community to the liberal arts education found on campus. Working to actively have additional educational opportunities to help explain the turmoil within society and the foundational principles within the country are strong priorities to this series. The contents of this series will focus on topics that work to better connect the GVSU community to the world as a whole. The series will cover the topics listed in the title of the series — Constitution, elections and democracy — as well as the state of journalism and social media in the political landscape and dialogue. “We will bring out the best in our divided nation by talking to each other and more importantly by listening and learning,” said Mantella. By emphasizing the importance of these conversations on-campus, students will be able to have a plethora of viewpoints and knowledge. Mantella hopes to make the discussions interactive so that the viewers of the session will be able to engage in asking questions and having open conversations. LOG ON TO: www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE
UNITY: President Mantella announced a new roundtable to address political upheaval at the Capitol building on Jan. 6. COURTESY | GVSU
Despite thousands of new daily COVID-19 cases, students struggle to trust contact tracing apps BY JACOB DEWEERD NEWS@LANTHORN.COM
HEALTH: Today’s contact tracing apps have caused both some confusion and anger among student users. GVL | JONATHAN LANTIEGNE
As the state of Michigan continues to record thousands of new COVID-19 cases every day, contact tracing apps are helping users keep track of symptoms and potential public interactions with other users that record a positive COVID-19 test. While these apps are a great way to stay safe during the pandemic, many have issues regarding their widespread use and effectiveness. Contact tracing apps have become popular in recent months as a relatively easy way to pinpoint and track COVID-19 cases as they spread. These apps mostly rely on Bluetooth or ultrasonic signals to communicate with other smartphones, while some use location data to accomplish the same purpose. The main issue with contact tracing apps, though, is that many don’t work collaboratively. Contact tracing apps like MI COVID Alert and NOVID, which have been recommended to students by Grand Valley State University, use similar technology to communicate with
smartphones but only work if other smartphones have the exact same contact tracing apps installed. A user with MI COVID Alert installed would have no idea if somebody around them using NOVID recorded a positive COVID-19 test and vice versa. Kayla Lett, a third-year GVSU student, said “It seems like everyone needs to be using the same apps or they all lose their effectiveness.” There are many contact tracing options on the App Store and Google Play Store and it can be difficult to know which app is going to give users the best shot of knowing if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19. Users could just download as many contact tracing apps as possible and hope that the people around them do the same, but that just begs the question of why there isn’t just one standard contact tracing app that everyone can use. LOG ON TO: www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE
JANUARY 25, 2021 GRAND VALLEY LANTHORN @GVLNEWS
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A3 | NEWS BUSINESS
Allendale, GV welcomes Tea Time Café to community with bustling business BY HAILEIGH HUBER NEWS@LANTHORN.COM
The owner of Allendale’s newest business, Faye Lee, is excited about welcoming Tea Time Café into the community. Located in the Meadows Crossing Apartment complex, directly across from Grand Valley State University’s campus, the is the perfect place to grab good food and drink while its modern interior design is ideal for snapping a picture or two, she said. Lee is no stranger to running a successful business as she owns the number one Chinese restaurant in Coopersville. Tea Time Café is only offering take-out service for now, but once they open for dine-in, there’s enough seating for people to study and hang out with friends while drinking tea or having a meal. Pizza places are one in a million in a college town, but “Tea Time Café is unique to this area,” Lee said. The Café’s menu offers a diverse option of appetizers, Japanese ramen, Hawaiian poke bowls, Taiwanese boba milk teas, and many other mouthwatering choices. Within the first week of their opening, the milk and flavored teas have been the Café’s biggest revenue drivers Kennedy Kirby, a junior at GVSU and resident of Meadows Crossing, Said that it’s nice having a different restaurant so close,
Business Manager RACHEL MCDOWELL
especially after the closure of the lot’s former occupant, Mully’s. “Having new and different options within walking distance is really convenient,” Kirby said. “Tea Time Café offers healthy and filling meals, and I know the food that I order will last me all day and not make me feel fatigued.” Due to COVID-19, many small businesses have had to temporarily close, while others had to close permanently. Opening a business during a pandemic and being so close to a university can be a strategic move, and the driving factor that led Lee to open was that Allendale lacks restaurants that sell the type
of food and drinks that Tea Time Café offers, Lee said. Being located right next to a busy road is perfect for attracting customers and “does a lot of the marketing for us,” Lee said. While the location is a major factor in bringing in customer’s, Lee said that it’s important to have “excellent customer service, high quality of food and drink, appealing interior design and marketing that reaches not only the student population but other residents of AllenLOG ON TO: www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE
Asst. Business Manager DAYTON HAMMON
New policy seemingly rings end of traditional snow days BY MACKENZIE KELLER NEWS@LANTHORN.COM
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OPEN FOR BUSINESS: The newest member of the Allendale business community, students and residents alike welcomed Tea Time Café to the neighborhood when it opened. GVL | KATHERINE VASILE
ONLINE ONLY: A new policy practically replaces snow days off due to incliment weather with online learning. GVL | SHEILA BABBITT
With the rise of accessible technology and online classes, snow days are becoming a thing of the past. The ability to run classes via Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate means professors no longer have to completely cancel classes when the weather is too rough for students to be on campus. Though classes are only starting to return to being in person, they won’t be canceled for bad weather anytime soon. Online classes are attended by most students safely from their homes with no traveling involved. In December of 2020, the Senior Leadership team met to revamp the Cancellation/ Closure/Remote policy of the University. The updated policy now has four categories: Open, Remote, Classes Cancelled, and Closed. Greg Sanial, Vice President for Finance and Administration, said that for weather-re-
lated instances, the university will transition to remote learning instead of closing. Classes that cannot be taught virtually, such as certain labs and courses, will still not be held. Even when the university has shifted to remote status, essential workers will still be expected to report to work, Sanial said. Essential personnel are designated staff members from the following departments: Department of Public Safety, Facilities Services, Athletic & Recreation Facilities, Food Service, Housing, Information Technology, Library, Facility Services Grand Rapids and Regional Campuses and WGVU Public Media. However, many employees would have the opportunity to work remotely when the university moves online. They also have the option of taking a vacation or electing to go unpaid. LOG ON TO: www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE
A4 | OPINION GVL EDITORIAL CARTOON
JANUARY 25, 2021 GRAND VALLEY LANTHORN @GVLNEWS By Lauryn Syrba
Internet trends must strike balance between issues, entertainment
Moving forward requires optimism, reconciliation
BY XAVIER GOLDEN JUNIOR ART EDUCATION WEB@LANTHORN.COM
On Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016 — the day after Election Day — I walked through my high school between classes, a significant portion of my classmates wearing Trump campaign merchandise and celebrating, now emboldened to publicly express their support. My sister decided to stay home that day, sleeping in after staying up late to watch the race come to a close and mourn the results. Sitting in the library during lunch, feeling like I was alone in my anxieties surrounding the election, it was clear that my sister had the right idea. So, on Jan. 20, 2017 — the day of Trump’s inauguration — I decided to play hooky. I watched Trump get sworn in and I listened to his horrifying speech. Back in November ‘16, my family feared that Trump’s presidency was going to cause a lot of harm for a lot of people, and in Trump’s first moments in office, our concern was validated; his inauguration speech echoed the voice of the genocidal Andrew Jackson, he
tried to reverse the Affordable Care Act and ramped up border security, which directly led to the inhumane mass detainment of undocumented citizens. The past four years have yielded a seemingly endless number of tragedies; a terribly mishandled pandemic, the unchecked growth of white nationalist groups, reckless foreign policy decisions, irreparable harm to the environment, and the list goes on and on. Now that his term is finally over, I think it’s fair to say that Trump’s presidency went poorly. Even his most faithful supporters are turning on him, although not for very noble reasons. I’m not one of those people who are excited for politics to get “boring” again, but on Jan. 20, 2021, I wasn’t glued to the TV. My family had Joe Biden’s inauguration on in the background all day, and we all sat down to watch some of the highlights — like poet laureate Amanda Gorman’s amazing inaugural poem — but we weren’t captivated by an intense sense of dread. We felt hopeful that at the very least somebody had put the brakes on our country’s race towards oblivion.
We felt hopeful that at the very least somebody had put the brakes on our country’s race towards oblivion. And in President Biden’s first week, our hopes have been amplified.”
And in President Biden’s first week, our hopes have been amplified. In just a few days, Biden has restored the collective bargaining power of federal workers, accelerated vaccine production and delivery, increased COVID-19 testing capacity, started the process of rejoining the Paris climate accord, reversed Trump’s 1776 Commission, taken actions to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and halted the development of the Keystone XL pipeline. And those are only some of the 30 executive orders he’s signed so far. I wasn’t directly harmed by Trump’s presidency. I’m a cisgendered, middle-class white man, so I wasn’t targeted by any of his administration’s discrimination, bigotry or economic collapse. The closest I’ve come to being endangered has been during this pandemic — my asthma makes me particularly susceptible to the coronavirus — but I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to isolate myself at my family’s home for the past 10 months. However, there have been millions of people who were harmed by the actions of the Trump administration and the GOP over the past four years — people who have been traumatized, injured and killed. The fact that this terrible period of American history is coming to a close is cause for celebration, but now is also the time to mourn the people we lost to Trump, hold responsible the people in power who supported him and attempt to deprogram his cult of followers. Some of us survived the last four years, but a lot of us didn’t.
hen it comes to the unpredictable landscape of digital dialogue, it seems like social media is the grand arbiter. There seems to be an ecosystem of discussion that’s reflective of our international dialogue, but starkly different – and this is often dependent on trends, algorithms and memes. When Joe Biden was sworn in as president, Kamala Harris made history as the first woman of color and Asian-American to hold executive office, and over 30 executive orders were signed with immediate implications, what took social media by storm was a 79-year-old man with adorable mittens sitting in a folding chair. The popularity of the Bernie Sanders chair meme even made its way to Grand Valley State University social media accounts, but far more interestingly is how it represents this idea that significant world events often get overshadowed by the the easily shareable, insignificant aspects of life – especially when we look at Generation Z and Millenials as our sample population. This approach has to be delicately balanced, and what ultimately dictates which way this balancing act swings is intent. On one hand, it represents a sort of opting-out
of participating in large, difficult discussions (like the direction of our country) and focusing more on the insignificant. It feels like just yesterday that social media was a place of overwhelming support for demands to upheave racial inequity and the peaceful transition of power. At the peak of summer protests, we saw personal anecdotes, invitations to march and proposals to rebuild policing. Now, it feels like much of American social media has tired of this and moved on. But perhaps the images of Sanders photoshopped sitting in random, often ridiculous places shines a more hopeful light on who we are collectively, and the kinds of things we prioritize on social media when a major world event occurs. In the days following the photo, Sanders praised Jen Ellis, a Vermont school teacher who made them out of repurposed wool and fleece, as well as recycled plastic. Not only has Ellis sold out of her mittens, but Sanders is taking his internet fame and selling merchandise of his likeness to raise money for Meals on Wheels and other similar nonprofits. LOG ON TO: www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE
GVL OPINION POLICY The goal of the Grand Valley Lanthorn’s opinion page is to act as a forum for public discussion, comment and criticism in the Grand Valley State University community. Student and columnist opinions published here do not necessarily reflect those of the paper as an entity. The Lanthorn strives to be a safe vehicle for community discussion. With this in mind, the Lanthorn will not publish or entertain any forms of hate speech, but neither will it discriminate against any other views, opinions or beliefs. The content, information and views expressed are not approved by— nor do they necessarily represent those of—the university or its Board of Trustees, officers, faculty
or staff. Letters to the editor should include the author’s full name, relevant title and a headshot, along with a valid email address and phone number for confirming the identity of the author. Letters should be approximately 500650 words in length, and they are not edited by the Lanthorn staff except to fix technical errors or to clarify. Reader submissions on the opinion page appear as space permits. To make a submission, email email@example.com or drop your submission off in person at:
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JANUARY 25, 2021 GRAND VALLEY LANTHORN @GVLNEWS
A5 | NEWS
GV Sigma Pi chapter awarded Grand Council Award for 2018-20 biennium BY KYLIE ELWELL NEWS@LANTHORN.COM
This past year GVSUs chapter of Sigma Pi won the Grand Council Award for their extensive involvement and efforts within their campus community. Each and every member of Sigma Pi have had many memorable events, experiences and life-long friendships that were made over the past two years, including through many charity events, food drives, time spent with their brothers and even moving into their new house last year. Every two years, Sigma Pi Fraternity presents the Grand Council Award to the top twelve chapters within Sigma Pi. This award is won by the chapters that maintain a superior level of operations and involvement on their university campus throughout each biennium. Each chapter that wins this award will also be put in the running and considered for the Grand Sage’s Award. The chapters that show the most effort, involvement, and leadership will earn this award. “My most memorable experience in Sigma Pi was this previous year’s charity golf outing,” Sigma Pi President at GVSU Jake McDonald said. “This is an annual golf outing our chapter hosts at Meadows Golf Course where we raise money for the Hero Foundation, a local non-profit that supports families in West Michigan who are struggling with cancer. This is my favorite event every year, but it was particularly special this previous year. With the pandemic, many families have been struggling, and those who are suffering from cancer are struggling even more. We were able to raise
$7,000 for the Hero Foundation, which was then able to provide assistance to 10 families with children throughout the holiday season.” GVSUs chapter has been awarded the Grand Council Award three times since 2005. Winning this award shows the campus community that Sigma Pi makes it a priority to be involved within the community by participating in charity events, outings and more. “This award is a cherry on top of 3.5 incredible years spent with this Chapter,” said Dominic Cassisi, former President of Sigma Pi at GVSU. “I graduated from a small high school that only sent 3 seniors to GV my senior year. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious about where I’d fit in. Luckily, I found my home in this chapter. Every opportunity this chapter presented me, I seized. I hope that winning the Grand Council Award will remind our members of the great things our chapter has accomplished. And as I graduate, leaving my active days as a Sigma Pi behind, I hope this award can inspire younger members to take full advantage of the opportunities we’ve provided ourselves, just as I did.” Winning this award will continuously remind all of the brothers of all the effort and dedication that they have into their chapter of Sigma Pi. The award makes it known that their efforts and involvement within the community is noticed and commended by Sigma Pi and many others. If any current GVSU students are interested in more information regarding Sigma Pi, they can reach out to them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @ sigmapigvsu.
GRATEFUL: GVSU Sigma Pi President Jake McDonald said that the honor was exciting for every member of the fraternity and they’ll be celebrating in the future. COURTESY | SIGMA PI TWITTER
CHARITABLE: The members of Sigma Pi worked hard year round to give back to their community, and were awarded with the chapter’s Grand Council Award. COURTESY | SIGMA PI TWITTER
A6&7 | NEWS
JANUARY 25, 2021 GRAND VALLEY LANTHORN @GVLNEWS
MAKING HISTORY: Joseph R. Biden made history after being sworn in as the United States’ 46th president, only the second Catholic president since John F. Kennedy. Biden finally won the presidency after two previously unsuccessful presidential runs in 1988 and 2008 in which he lost the election to then senator Barack Obama, and was later nominated to be vice president. COURTESY | VOGUE
Biden inauguration sets a new tone BY OLIVIA FELLOWS ASSOCIATE@LANTHORN.COM
The 2020 inauguration that saw Joe Biden become the Unites States’ 46th President was a day unlike any other this country has witnessed. With a violent insurrectionist attack that ransacked the nation’s Capitol just days before the event was scheduled to take place, about 20,000 National Guard members became involved in securing Washington, D.C. before the inauguration. The event itself went off without a hitch — while most notably without former President Trump in attendance — and featured several well-known Americans delivering messages of hope as the country swore in a new leader and vice president. This year’s Inauguration made history, seeing former senator and prosecuting attourney Kamala Devi Harris sworn in as the country’s first first female, Black and South Asian vice president. Harris has ambitious plans for her first days in office, and she joins an administration that has made history for it’s record number of women in leadership positions. Twelve of Biden’s nominations for Cabinet and Cabinet-level positions are
women, including eight women of color. The Biden’s inauguration also saw the end of the Trump presidency, and ending one of the most tumultuous administrations in recent history. According to a Gallup poll conducted Jan. 4-15 and published on Jan. 11, Trump concluded his presidency with 34% of Americans approving of his job — making the new low his worst performance in Gallup polls since he took office in January 2017. Trump’s highest approval point was 49 percent, which came in early 2020 after he was acquitted by the Senate in his first impeachment trial but before the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. John Constantelos, a professor of political science at Grand Valley State University whose fields include comparative politics, Western Europe, and international political economy, said that he believes that the former president’s loss in Michigan in 2020 after narrowly winning it in 2016 should not have surprised anyone. Constantelos said that one need not look beyond Kent and Ottawa counties to see why the president lost the election, and why he could have won the election were it not for two main problems.
“(President Trump’s) personal popularity remained relatively low — in the 40-46 percent range — for his entire presidency,” Constantelos said. “His approval ratings were especially low with the college-educated public, who disliked his divisive rhetoric and boorish behavior, and it was primarily the failed response to the pandemic that allowed Biden to be competitive. The 2020 election outcome in Wayne County was very close to the outcome in 2016. Trump’s share of the vote changed by less than one percentage point. The most significant change was right here in West Michigan. Kent County and Ottawa County both swung away from Trump by about nine percentage points, compared with four years earlier. If there was an anti-Trump conspiracy in Michigan, the Republican clerks of these two counties would have been involved, but they were not, of course.” In Michigan, it was voting in Detroit that was most carefully scrutinized after Biden won the state by over 150,000 votes. The president also fell six percentage points in Oakland County, Michigan’s second largest county. The president suffered big losses in the suburbs,
and his margin of victory declined in nearly two-thirds of the “red” counties that supported him in both elections. Trump’s insistence on voter fraud in several states, including Michigan, persisted throughout the final days of his presidency. With violent protests and anger surging in the last days of his presidency, Trump’s White House was a darker one than most Americans had experienced. Biden’s inauguration proved that he has hopes for making his administration the absolute opposite. Featuring performances by artists Lady Gaga, J. Lo, and poet Amanda Gorman, who’s words “stole the show” for many Americans watching at home and individuals in attendance, Biden’s own message in his speech following the swearing-in also resonated with messages of progress, and he didn’t shy away from difficult topics, either. In his speech, Biden highlighted the issues of systemic racism currently surging protests around the country, as well as addressing the discord that has been present in government leadership in recent years. “We have learned again that democracy is precious,” Biden said in his speech.
MESSAGES OF HOPE: The 2020 Inauguration saw the swearing in of the country’s first Black and South Asian-American vice president in former senator Kamala Harris. COURTESY | VOGUE
“Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed. So now on this hallowed ground where just a few days ago violence sought to shake the Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries. We look ahead in our uniquely American way — restless, bold, optimistic — and set our sights on the nation we know we can be and we must be.” The inauguration marks the beginning of new leadership in American politics, and a clear shift from Trump’s often divisive and harmful rhetoric that often tacitly encouraged the support of racist elements in the electorate to a more open encouragement of racial and religious bias. Watching the inauguration, there were many that were joyous and some who were spiteful. Knowing this, Biden made a promise in his speech to be a president for the people, not just those who voted for him, and to listen to and aid those who did not support for him. For Paul Cornish, an associate professor in the Political Science Department at GVSU with a focus in political theory and American politics, he said that the inauguration left him with a sense of hope that government politicians and discourse may once again have executive
WORDS HAVE POWER: 22-year-old American poet Amanda Gorman stole the show during the ceremony with her moving poem entitled ‘The Hill We Climb’ that was a highlight the afternoon. COURTESY | VOGUE
branch leadership. Cornish also said that he considers himself to be a socially and politically conservative person, and that Biden is the first Democratic presidential candidate for whom he has ever voted. “The experiment of a reality TV presidency was a colossal failure on many levels, but most of all because there has been no competent political leadership in the midst of multiple crises,” Cornish said. “The remaining members of President Trump’s administration who have experience and competency, like Secretary of State (Mike) Pompeo, seem to be off freelancing without any clear strategy for national security and the promotion of peace and human rights. I am hopeful in that President Biden is an eminently experienced public servant, who I know will appoint qualified people to rebuild the institutions that have been vandalized over the past four years.” The Biden administration already has plans for the first ten days in office, with each day following inauguration focusing on a specific topic or issue, which includeseconomic relief, climate, health care, and immigration. Biden has already signed 30 executive orders in his first few days in office, which include ceasing funding for the construction of Trump’s border wall, reversing Trump’s travel ban targeting
largely Muslim countries, imposing a mask mandate on federal property, ramping up vaccination supplies and requiring international travelers to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to traveling to the U.S. The President has promised even further actions in the coming days, and has already signed to rejoin the World Health Organization, and the Paris Climate Agreement. Pressure has been mounting on Biden regarding his aid for college-age students and young workers, and many have pushed for him to endorse raising the minimun wage, lengthening the halt on evictions during the pandemic, and increasing student loan forgiveness and deferment programs. Biden is expected to introduce his proposal to raise the federal hourly minimum wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 since 2009. Regarding action on student loans, Biden took action early, requesting that the Education Department extend the suspension of federal student loan payments through Sept. 30. As for how this election and inauguration has impacted GVSU, on Election Day, hundreds of students gathered to register and vote, and Kent county itself went blue for the first time in a long time. Students have also gathered a number of times to protest for Black Lives Matter following the civil unrest across the
country after the deaths of George Floyd and other Black citizens at the hands of law enforcement, which former President Trump said little on other than to voice his support for police officers. Paul Cornish said he believes that GVSU has always been an accepting community with students who pay attention to world and national events and issues. In his mind, the over 700 students that voted on campus this year made their voices known, and will most likely continue to do so in coming years, especially with so many current issues on the forefront for many young people. “I have found students and faculty at Grand Valley State to be extremely open and tolerant,” Cornish said. “That, I believe, is in large part due to the intellectual honesty and humility that comes with being engaged in an ethic of investigation and life-long learning. So, I believe we will be resilient through the bitterness and anger that has been provoked by our degraded political discourse. There is a lot to be hopeful about, we have a new generation of activists and public servants who seem dedicated to forming a more perfect union. A union that is inclusive and treats all citizens with equal concern and respect.”
JANUARY 25, 2021 GRAND VALLEY LANTHORN @GVLNEWS
A8 | NEWS SCHEDULE
GV adds two ‘Break Days’ to winter semester BY ZSOLT PALMER NEWS@LANTHORN.COM
This winter at Grand Valley State University, students are being faced with a nearly nonstop semester, with the notable exception of two single days off on March 10 and April 1. These ‘mini-breaks’ were added to the semester to give students a mental health break from their studies and were not originally planned to be a part of the schedule. Originally, the winter semester was to consist of fifteen consecutive weeks of academics. COVID-19 concerns had caused spring break to be canceled, with university administration moving that week of vacation to the end of winter break, and leaving the winter semester without any breaks at all. These plans were changed after a November recommendation from Student Senate asked to include two break days in the semester. “Members of the Student Senate, including President Kelly Dowker, sit on the Faculty Senate and have a direct line of communication to the Provost,” said Ed Aboufadel, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. “The Student Senate’s Nov. 11 memo to the Provost and the chair of the Faculty Senate ignited the conversation to create the two break days.” But even once it was decided that these break days would be added, there was still the matter of where to put them, which had to be done with the pandemic in mind. The decision to choose April 1 and March 10 was done to lower the risk of bringing COVID-19 back onto
campus as much as possible. “One of the rationales for starting the semester a week later and eliminating spring break was to discourage two activities that can accelerate the spread of COVID: extensive travel leading to large gatherings,” Aboufadel said. “So, the break days were chosen to be mid-week rather than on a Monday or Friday. We settled on a Wednesday and a Thursday. Thursday was chosen rather than a Tuesday, because there are fewer 3-hour graduate courses on Thursdays. March 10 was chosen to be after midterms exams and April 1 was about halfway between March 10 and the end of the semester.” The addition of the break days was generally welcome for the campus, particularly considering the alternative of fifteen unbroken weeks of academics. “I’ll take two days of break over nothing, but I’ll still miss spring break,’ said Second-Year Student Katie Peterson. “To be honest, I’m glad they added those breaks in the middle of the week,” said Second-Year Student Dustin Danckeart. “Having them next to a weekend could make people want to go home, or travel, and bring the virus back to campus. A rise in cases could potentially cause us to go into a quarantine again, and I don’t think any of us want that.” The reaction from faculty was a little more lukewarm, raising concerns about scheduling for classes and labs. “Anyone with only Monday, Tuesday or Fri-
GIVE ME A BREAK: In a change of pace from the initially-proposed 15-week-straight semester, two break days have been weaved into the week in March and April this semester. GVL | SHEILA BABBITT
day classes — which is quite possible with all of the staggered courses — does not benefit from these breaks,” said Richard Lord, associate professor of chemistry. “It’s a nice gesture, but feels more symbolic than useful.” Others understood the concerns, but focused more on the respite that the days off provide students than their clunky application in the classroom. “I think that a break in the middle of the semester is always necessary,” said
biology professor Bruce Ostrow. “I understand that the GVSU administration canceled spring break this semester to discourage people from traveling during the pandemic. In my opinion, it would have been better to have those two days be consecutive, and thus provide a short but real mid-semester break. LOG ON TO: www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE
GV ranks sixth in nation for number of study abroad students BY AUDREY WHITAKER NEWS@LANTHORN.COM
GO GLOBAL: GVSU was recognized for its study abroad programs. GVL | ANNABELLE ROBINSON
During the 2018-2019 academic year, 722 Grand Valley State University students studied abroad in the 4,000-plus programs available. This number ranks GVSU as sixth in the nation for study abroad participation in the master’s colleges and universities category, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE). The ranking is a credit to GVSU students and their interest in learning about and exploring new cultures, said Study Abroad Outreach Coordinator Alissa Lane. “While being ranked is a really cool thing, I think the way cooler thing is all the stories and experiences that our students have been able to have all over the world,” Lane said. “Being ranked sixth is a celebration of that.” The Padnos International Center and GVSU are committed to creating valuable, global experiences for students. Part of what makes this possible is the variety of programs available, including shorter faculty-led programs, summer semesters and year-long exchange programs, Lane said. “The best thing about our study abroad pro-
gram, in general, is that students have so much variety,” said Lane. There are also study abroad peer advisors, who are international students and students who have already studied abroad. Peer advisors can offer advice about their international experience, help find scholarships and explore different programs, Lane said. “They are the absolute best advocates for study abroad, and it allows students to hear from a fellow student that has had the experience which makes it really personal, and those peer advisors are like really dedicated to helping other students have that opportunity,” said Lane. GVSU student Audrey Haines studied abroad in Spain during the winter 2020 semester. As a nursing and Spanish double major, Haines plans to pursue a career as a medical interpreter, which made being immersed in a Spanish-speaking country the perfect fit. “I’ve always known that the best way to develop your Spanish speaking skills is to just completely put yourself into that culture, giving yourself no other choice but to take it on,” Haines said. “It opens up a whole different world, you get to see different ways of life and make friends from all over the world.”
Although her semester abroad was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, Haines said that her experience was life-changing and she hopes that other GVSU students will take advantage of the opportunity in the future. “People always make fun of kids studying abroad but like ‘all they ever talk about is studying abroad,’ Haines said. “It’s because it’s such a great experience, it really does just change your life.” While COVID-19 safety and travel restrictions have drastically changed the study abroad program for 2020-2021 year, Lane said that the Padnos International Center has continued to find ways to connect students across the globe. Lane said that the Jan. 22 study abroad fair was held on Zoom, and included students from GVSU’s partner universities in other countries. Also new this year was the language exchange partner program, which paired GVSU students with partner university students who could meet to chat and learn from each other. “It shows that even though we’re all disconnected from each other in some ways, Grand Valley students still have that desire to learn about people and other places around the world,” said Lane.
JANUARY 25, 2021 GRAND VALLEY LANTHORN @GVLARTS
ARTS AT A GLANCE BINGE LIST: NEW YEAR WELCOMES WAVE OF SHOWS TO STREAM
Three weeks into 2021 and it still doesn’t seem like we’ll be able to hang out with friends or go to public events for quite a while. Luckily, the prevalence of streaming services has bolstered our traditionally slim pickings as the new year begins. January is infamously known as a “dump month” for movies. It is during this time of the year where studios unload their projects that are most likely to underperform because people are either too busy with the holidays to notice or they don’t want to go to a theater in the cold. This year with theaters closed and loved ones calling instead of visiting, people are spending a lot more time at home, causing several television shows to jump in popularity much quicker than they might have before. Here’s what everyone has been watching while staying warm and staying safe. Read more at www.lanthorn.com.
BILLY MADISON FINDS HIS WAY TO KIRKHOF THEATER
The movie “Billy Madison,” featuring Adam Sandler, follows the story of a spoiled rich man-child who has gone all his life without having to lift a finger. He spends his days drinking and partying until his father becomes fed up and gives Madison an ultimatum. GVSU’s Campus Activities Board will be screening “Billy Madison” in the Kirkhof Theater every day from Jan. 22 to Feb. 4. Showings will be at 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
A9 | ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT COMMUNITY
GV Design Thinking classes brews beverage with local roots BY ALLISON RAFFERTY ARAFFERTY@LANTHORN.COM
Thanks to a project started in a Grand Valley State University Design Thinking course, beer aficionados across the state will be able to get their hands on a new beer from Founders Brewing Co. this March. Darien Ripple, an assistant professor in the Integrative, Religious, and Intercultural Studies Department, and students from his Design Thinking class partnered with Founders to create a new beer and accompanying label for the brewery. GVSU students also worked with Founders on its strategic plan to promote local farming and highlight the history of beer in Michigan. The idea for the project came about when Ripple worked alongside Founders’ sustainability coordinator, Liz Wonder, during a previous project. Wonder told Ripple that Founders was doing a new project on beer that was to be born and brewed in Michigan. They were looking to create a Michigan-based beer that is only sold to Michiganders. She offered to introduce Ripple to some of her team members to see if they’d be interested in working with Ripple and his class, and the rest is history. Ripple explained that the project was originally only supposed to be two semesters long, but the unpredictability of the pandemic re-
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES BOARD STARTS SATURDAY NIGHT TRIVIA TRADITION
GVSU’s Campus Activities Board (CAB) held their first virtual Saturday Night Trivia event this semester on Jan. 23 with general trivia questions and CAB recruitment information. CAB plans to continue to hold trivia nights every other Saturday at 6:00 p.m. for the duration of the semester. The trivia will either take place through a Zoom call or while playing the game of Kahoot, and prizes will be awarded to the winners. The themes of the trivia night will be announced the day-of and anyone is welcome to join. Students are asked to RSVP on LakerLink in order to get the link to the Zoom call and reserve their spot.
WINTER SEMESTER WRITER’S SERIES BEGINS WITH GV FACULTY READINGS
A GVSU faculty reading, “Art in a Time of Crisis,” will be the first event in the Writer’s Series this semester. The reading will be taking place this Friday, Jan. 29 from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Zoom. W. Todd Kaneko, the author of the poetry books, “This is How the Bone Sings” and “The Dead Wrestler Elegies” will be reading at the event. Kaneko is co-author alongside Amorak Huey of “Poetry: A Writers’ Guide and Anthology” and “Slash / Slash,” winner of the 2020 Diode Editions Chapbook Prize and set to be published in 2021.
OLD FASHIONED FUN: Design Thinking students worked with Founders Brewing Co. to develop a new beer modeled after an Old Fashioned for Michigan residents. COURTESY | VALERIE HENDRICKSON
quired an additional third semester. “Originally, I had four teams of five working on this, and they were researching their own idea,” Ripple said. “They all pitched their ideas to Founders and they were so impressed by the work that the students were doing that they couldn’t choose one beer. So, they decided to look at two.” Eventually, Founders chose the “Old Fashioned,” a beer that is modeled after the classic drink of the same name. Integrative studies major and former Design Thinking student, Christina Stankewitz, said that to create this beer, her team zeroed in on familiarity while creating something new.
“Our team focused on the feeling of nostalgia and connecting people to Michigan roots,” Stankewitz said. “That aided in making the beer by focusing on familiar flavors such as oranges and cherries.” Joycelle Shoemaker, studio art major and former Design Thinking student, helped with the aspect of label design for the project. The final design she came up with was of a group of friends sitting around a campfire near a lake. LOG ON TO: www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE
Festival full of frozen fun returns to Grand Rapids BY MARY DUPUIS ARTS@LANTHORN.COM
Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., the City of Grand Rapids and numerous community partners have come together to hold the city’s fourth annual World of Winter Festival. With aspirations to make Grand Rapids a more active winter city and provide its members with some free, socially distanced outdoor fun, the festival has returned this year. Taking place from Jan.
15 to Feb. 28, Grand Rapids will be chock full of things to do and see. Samantha Suarez, Communications Specialist for Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., said the community can expect the same fun from the festival, but with a different focus this time around. “This year we’re focusing on ice sculptures, artwork and outdoor performances because we can’t do indoor events with crowds of people like we have before,” Suarez said. “Instead, we doubled our investment on outdoor art and ice sculp-
tures. There will be way more of that than in past years.” Suarez said the artwork installed due to this new investment is actually what she is most looking forward to. “It’s hard to choose a favorite attraction, but I’m a fan of the outdoor art,” Suarez said. “We have 15 sculptures this year. I’m also excited for our new ice sculpture gallery scattered around downtown. There are 80 ice sculptures this year and last year there were only 40.” Some art installations throughout downtown include Ice Luminaries, the Grand Illuminations art installation, the Path of Encouragement and the Color the Skyline art installation. One of the biggest art pieces featured downtown are large-scale installations at Ah-Nab-Awen Park by Hybycozo, the Hyperspace Bypass Construction Zone. LOG ON TO:
GLOWING WITH EXCITEMENT: Grand Rapids is lit with snowy outdoor exhibits for its World of Winter Festival. Activities range from ice piano music to glowing art. COURTESY | WORLD OF WINTER GR
www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE
A10 | LAKER LIFE LOOK AT LAKER LIFE DIGITAL DIALOGUE ENCOURAGES STUDENT HEALTH, BALANCE
Working in America (especially the service industry) doesn’t allow for much respite, even during a global pandemic. Having strategies to build boundaries and create space to rest is always important, but in our current climate, it’s absolutely vital. The GVSU Recreation and Wellness Center is looking to help students in this area through a Digital Dialogue discussing how to find balance between the demands of your work life and your health and well-being. The Dialogue, hosted by Student Health Promotions Coordinator Katie Jourdan, will be held over Zoom at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 26. Registration for the event is available now at www.gvsu.edu/alumni.
CSLC PROVIDES POLITICAL CONTEXT WITH DISCUSSION EVENTS After the inauguration on Jan. 20, the American political landscape has changed considerably, but some things have stayed static throughout the transition. This week, Grand Valley State University’s Community Service Learning Center will be hosting two events discussing the past, present and future of the American political machine. The first, held from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27, will discuss the census, redistricting and gerrymandering; the second, held from 7-8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28, will be about the history of presidential wins, losses and transitions. Those interested can register for the census conversation on Lakerlink or tune into the presidential discussion at the CSLC Instagram @gv_cslc.
SERVE AND SIP PROVIDES VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITY The Office of Student Life is partnering with the CSLC to host a “Serve and Sip” event to create Valentines Day care packages for the elderly in our community staying in hospitals and nursing homes. All the necessary materials to make cards and candy packages will be provided, as well as snacks and drinks. If you’re interested, please register ahead of time on LakerLink, as the in-person event has space limitations in accordance with health and safety guidelines. Volunteers will meet from 7-8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30, in the Grand River Room of the Kirkhof Center.
JANUARY 25, 2021 GRAND VALLEY LANTHORN @GVLLAKERLIFE
Career Center prepares students for pandemic job, internship hunts BY KATHERINE ARNOLD LAKERLIFE@LANTHORN.COM
Where do we go from here? This question has been asked countless times over the past year, and graduating college students have certainly been wondering the same thing. As juniors and seniors begin to make their preparations for graduation and beyond, it can be hard to imagine starting a career in the world’s current climate. Thankfully, the Career Center and their advisors are still dedicated to helping students navigate their job searches. The Senior Associate Director of the Career Center, Rachel Becklin, works as a career advisor in addition to working with internship programming and internal operations. “Many students come to college to increase their chances of finding a ‘good job,’” Becklin said. “Asking questions such as, what do I like to do, what skills do I have and enjoy using, what’s important to me; they’re all ways students can begin thinking about their future careers.” In order to fully support students during their career search, the Career Center has transitioned into offering their services and events in digital formats, starting at the beginning of the pandemic. Assisant Director Meghan Veltri said she believes that the center has done a great job staying accessible to students over the trials of the past year. “Thankfully, many of our Career Center re-
POST-PANDEMIC PLANS: Grand Valley State University’s Career Center is continuing to offer digital services to students who are wary of an uncertain job market after graduation. COURTESY | GVSU
sources were already available online and accessible to students on demand,” Veltri said. “We did have to transition our events and career fair to a virtual setting, but that lead to our Work Like a Laker Conference which was a huge success in the fall semester.” Even though advising sessions have moved to a virtual setting, advisors are still able to connect with students. In fact, advisors have found that the virtual process has made it easier and more convenient for students overall, and the Center has been able to extend their hours into the evenings and weekends to meet student demand.
“In many ways, advising has stayed the same,” Veltri said. “I’m still able to connect students with resources and prepare them for the next steps in their career planning. I like that I can still see students and catch up with them.” With events and advising still going strong, there is still another question that has been concerning students: how does the pandemic impact their job search? LOG ON TO: www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE
Students find ways to adjust to asynchronous learning BY AUTUMN PITCHURE LAKERLIFE@LANTHORN.COM
This winter semester at Grand Valley State University, many classes are still online only. Students are learning in a variety of ways; some in-person, others in synchronous online classrooms and many in asynchronous courses. Asynchronous classes are courses that do not have a designated meeting time, where the bulk of coursework is done by students on their own time. For those asynchronous students, there is
DIGITAL: Students are learning to navigate asynchronous classes, which have no course meeting times. GVL | JONATHAN LANTIEGNE
a large amount of freedom. More than ever, the time that students devote to assignments and learning is whatever they choose. Managing time can be difficult when there are no structured class meetings telling them what to do at what point in their week. The Student Academic Success Center (SASC) is offering a “Managing Asynchronous Classes Workshop” in hopes of helping students navigate what for many is a new way of learning. “We have found that these classes can prove to be difficult because it’s really up to the student to be self-motivated and create time within their schedule to work on these courses,” said Elizabeth Chase, Special Projects Coordinator at the SASC. “Since there is no set meeting day and no instructor to give verbal assignment reminders, it’s important for students to be organized to keep themselves on track.” Jessica Fillmore, a Graduate Assistant at the SASC, came up with the idea to offer an asynchronous-specific workshop based on many conversations with her students last semester. “The goal is to provide information that will help students set a schedule, and ensure
coursework is finished in a timely and successful manner,” said Fillmore. The workshop will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 27, from 2-3 p.m. Students can join through Zoom. A RSVP is required to obtain the Zoom link, and registration and a full workshop schedule can be found on the Student Academic Success Center website (gvsu.edu/sasc/coaching), or on the university events calendar. “Any student who is enrolled in online courses this semester could benefit from some time management resources,” said Fillmore. Throughout the workshop students will get a developed plan on how to understand their personal learning process, so it becomes easier for them to manage. The workshop will also help students to develop a set schedule to stay on track with their classes and workload. It informs students on healthy habits such as getting an adequate amount of sleep each night and fueling themselves with beneficial foods. LOG ON TO: www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE
A11 | SPORTS
JANUARY 25, 2021 GRAND VALLEY LANTHORN @GVLSPORTS
GV BASKETBALL SPLIT PARKSIDE SERIES
Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams at GVSU split their series against Parkside last weekend. In their first game of the series, the women’s team (5-1) lost 64-68 to Parkside in Kenosha, Wisconsin. While they did lose, junior forward Hannah Kulas scored a career high 28 points. Junior guard Emily Spitzley also had a career high 22 points, also contributing eight rebounds and four blocks. After leading Parkside coming into the second half, Parkside came back and took over the lead at the end of the third quarter. The Lakers cut the lead to two nearing the end of the fourth, but they were unable to seal the victory. The Lakers would have to wait for the following day to earn their first victory last weekend. They beat Parkside 77-54 and were led by Spitzley who scored 20 points. Freshman guard Ellie Droste scored a career-high 13 points along with grabbing four rebounds and having three assists. Freshman guard Hadley Miller also had a big game, scoring 12 points and grabbing seven boards. After falling behind by five in the first quarter, the Lakers regained the lead and never looked back for the rest of the game in their dominant win. It was an opposite story for the men’s team (4-2), who won their first game against Parkside and lost their second in Allendale. In an assertive defensive performance, the Lakers won 59-42. Seniors Jake Van Tubbergen and Christian Negron scored 12 points apiece to lead the team. The Lakers defense forced Parkisde to shoot just 28% from the field and 16% from the three. In the second game of the series, the Lakers fell to Parkside 63-76. Tubbergen scored a season-high 24 points and five rebounds. In this game, Parkside came to play draining threes from all over the court. They shot 52% from the three and 51% from the field. It was a close battle for most of the game, but the Lakers couldn’t overcome Parkside’s shooting from behind the arc.
SWIMMING AND DIVING SWEEPS HOPE, SAGINAW VALLEY
The GVSU swimming and diving team has started off hot this year. They have won both the meets they’ve competed in this year and swept Hope and Saginaw Valley last week. The men beat Hope 150-90 and beat Saginaw Valley 143.5-91.5. The women beat Hope 167-74 and Saginaw Valley 148-90. Senior Cade Vruggink won both the 1,000-yard freestyle (9:35.63) and the 100yard freestyle (47.93). Freshman Eric Hieber won the 500-yard freestyle (4:32.31) and the 200-yard freestyle (1:40.59). Senior Chris Kelly won the one-meter diving event with a score of 290.05 and made the NCAA cut. Sophomore Kelly Peasley won the 50-meter freestyle (24.61) and the 100-yard freestyle (52.62). Junior Melina De Cort won the 100-meter backstroke (57.12). Sophomore Delaney Wihebrink won the 100-meter breaststroke (1:03.87) and made the NCAA B cut.
EYES ON THE PRIZE: Senior Christian Negron looks to sink a shot. Negron shared his thoughts on America’s turbulent present. GVL | MEGHAN LANDGREN
GV Basketball’s Christian Negron on Inauguration Day, social movements and athletic vaccinations BY ZACK GOODROW SPORTS@LANTHORN.COM
On Jan. 20, 2021, the United States swore in its newest President. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris bring in a new administration to the White House after four years of division, deception and partisanship. While a new man and woman leading this country may bring people hope, there are still several issues that dominate this country and its citizens. COVID-19, unemployment, climate change and systemic racism are just a few of the issues the new administration is forced to handle. Christian Negron, a senior basketball player at Grand Valley State University, is just one of these people who has optimism that the country may begin to finally change. “It was a good feeling on Inauguration Day,” Negron said. “It was definitely time for change. I think a lot of people just didn’t feel protected under Trump during his presidency. A lot of people I’m close with, and obviously a lot of people around the country, are very happy that he’s finally out of office.” While Negron isn’t necessarily dialed in on every political debate and Senate hearing, he is an activist for social justice. He’s participated in numerous protests in his home state of Illinois and even here at GVSU. He has led conversations with teammates about the deaths of innocent black men and women over the summer. Under Trump’s presidency, these social issues were politicized and weren’t seen as an injustice to some. Instead, these integral issues in the country were divided between race and party. That’s what troubles Negron the most. “I’m not the most political person, but when it comes to social justice, human rights and civil rights, I tend to get involved,” Negron said. “The crazy thing is that I don’t think that these things should be politicized. However, they have been for the past four years. A lot of us Black people feel like these things didn’t matter to (former) President Trump.” While capitol rioter Jake Angeli is given
organic food in jail after making a case that as a shaman, he has strict dietary restrictions, innocent Black men and women around the country are murdered by police in the streets and even in their homes. Negron wants to see legislation put into action to change this white privilege around the country and to protect the lives of black people. He and the rest of his teammates knew that one way to see this legislation happen as citizens was to vote. “In November and the weeks leading up to the election, Coach Wesley was very adamant about us players being registered and having a plan to go out and vote,” Negron said. “I sent in my absentee ballot and checked online to make sure that my vote counted. Wesley really wanted to make sure that we all went out to vote.” Voting isn’t the only means to seeing change in the country. An individual can use their voice on social media, with friends and family, and in rallies and protests marches. Negron encourages anyone who cares deeply about the BLM movement to continue to speak up. “I feel like anyone who feels the same way about these injustices should use their voice,” Negron said. “It doesn’t matter how big or small your platform is, I feel like anyone can speak out on these issues. Enough is enough, and it’s not the time to be silent. We all have to come together and speak out on these issues.” In 2018, FOX News anchor, Laura Ingraham, made headlines by saying athletes like LeBron James and Kevin Durant should, “keep political commentary to themselves and just shut up and dribble.” Athletes speaking out and protesting has been a popular topic in the country over the past several years. Negron thinks it’s ridiculous to tell anyone to not use their voice. No one is paid to protest or to be a social advocate. It’s the right of every American citizen, whether they’re an MVP NBA player, a nurse or a cashier, to use their voice. “These issues affect our community, us Black athletes,” Negron said. “The NBA and NFL is made up of predominantly Black athletes. It’s just absurd to me that anyone
would say they shouldn’t use their voice and speak up about something that personally affects them. I don’t understand it at all. People make the argument that sports are supposed to be a distraction from these issues. I couldn’t disagree more because enough is enough and it’s time to speak.” Another racial issue sweeping the sports landscape is the lack of Black coaches and general managers in leagues. In the NBA, the newly signed Detroit Pistons forward, Jerami Grant, revealed he not only signed in Detroit because of a big role on the team, but because he wanted to play for a team with a Black head coach, Black general manager, and in a city filled with a strong Black population. While the NBA may be better with having Black people in management positions, the NFL is another story. The Rooney Rule has been a controversy in the NFL for years. The Rooney Rule ensures that NFL teams in search of a head coach or general manager must interview at least one minority candidate for the position. In 2020, the NFL passed a new rule stating that teams would be compensated with draft picks if they hired a minority. While the new rules show the NFL is trying to do something about this matter, it hasn’t exactly worked out. Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has led the league’s best offense for the past three seasons, but Bieniemy has seen less qualified white coaches get jobs instead of him. The Black coach has yet to get a head coaching job even after winning the Super Bowl last year. “It’s a glaring issue across all sports,” Negron said. “It’s coaching positions, management positions, and executive positions. With Bieniemy, I don’t think there’s a more glaring issue of someone being qualified and not even getting calls, interviews, or being given a chance. There’s still no action being done.” It’s also obvious that COVID-19 is a major issue in this country today. LOG ON TO: www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE
JANUARY 25, 2021 GRAND VALLEY LANTHORN @GVLSPORTS
A12 | SPORTS BASKETBALL
GV basketball seniors reflect on no crowds at games BY HOLLY BIHLMAN HBIHLMAN@LANTHORN.COM
After a full year of COVID-19 living, Grand Valley State University athletes have had some time to adapt and embrace some of the changes being made to slow the spread of the virus. With constant COVID-19 testing, socially distanced practices and workouts, and less time to play the sports our athletes love, COVID-19 has taken its toll on this past year while also strengthening students in ways we may not realize. One of the biggest factors in keeping athletes motivated involves the strength of the crowds, but this year, the Lakers have had to adapt to playing in silent stadiums. Michigan Governor, Gretchen Whitmer announced on Jan. 22n that stadiums with less than 10,000 seats can occupy 20% capacity, which doesn’t leave much room for fans. With this new regulation, GVSU has already started pumping crowd noises into home games, including basketball games in the Fieldhouse. A Senior on the men’s basketball team, Christian Negron said games feel much different without the support of the crowds. “You can’t ignore the element of the fans, they’re such a big part of college basketball,” Negron said. “I get really into it and you definitely miss them there and you definitely miss playing in front of your classmates and other GV athletes who come to support you.” Negron talked about missing the support of his family at games nowadays, and especially always being able to spot his mom’s voice in the crowds. Kiri Tiemeyer, a senior on the women’s basketball team, talked about
a similar feeling: missing her parents’ support at the games in her last year at GVSU. “When I’m playing the games, I’m always really focused in, so it’s not like it really bothers me and I don’t really notice the fans in the stands,” Tiemeyer said. “It’s more or less just after the game, looking up and seeing my parents there knowing after the game I get to go sit with them and watch the guys game and talk about what happened.” For some, however, the big crowds at home games isn’t really missing from their experience. Tiemeyer thinks that a lack of crowd may affect younger athletes on her team that have never played at the college level before this year. Their high school experience isn’t much different from what’s going on now, so their motivation might actually helps the girls on the team who are really missing the bigger crowds. “We have a lot of young kids that never really got to experience the big college experience with all the fans in the stands,” Tiemeyer said. “I think that’s kind of nice as well because they’re super used to it so it’s not that different for them. As close of a team as we are, we always have a lot of energy on the bench and everyone’s always picking each other up, which I think helps a lot.” In many ways, the internal motivation athletes have to win is amped up through the support of each other when there’s no audiences to help out. Both basketball teams have experienced a closer bonding experience with playing this season in empty stadiums, because when it comes down to it, their love for the game is what they’re really on the court for. “You definitely want the fans there, but for us, it’s (still) worth it because we’re just happy
AND THE CROWD GOES CARDBOARD: GVSU plays Ashland in front of a cardboard cutout crowd. Sports around the state will see barren bleachers due to the pandemic. COURTESY | GVSU ATHLETICS
to be out there playing again,” Negron said. “Especially playing at home, you definitely feed off them a lot. One thing I notice is once you go a few trips up and down (the court), it doesn’t really feel that different; basketball is basketball, it’s just back to the fundamentals really, and we’re all just locked in.” Similarly, Tiemeyer agreed that the crowd noises GVSU has been putting in through the speakers in the Fieldhouse helps out a lot, but what really keeps her going is the companionship she’s found through her team both on and off the court this year. “You just kind of have to create your own
energy every game, obviously the crowd does help, especially in tight situations,” Tiemeyer said. “Because you just never really know what’s going on, you have to really adapt to that and go with the flow. But it’s also kind of brought us together as a team and I think it’s built up our chemistry. It’s helped us outside of basketball as well as on the court, and I think it comes from the unknown, so we just have to stick together.” LOG ON TO: www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE
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