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Hunter Peterson

John Saunders

Yuyang Xiao

William Ravenstein

organizations We all want to belong, and at PSU, we know we can. Whatever our interests or talents, being a Gorilla means that we have a place. We have re | organized our resources effectively, and because of it, we have a campus that offers over 150 organizations for students of every make and model. Each person, within each organization, is a part of the intricate mosaic we call Pitt State. And the glue that holds it all together? Being a Gorilla.

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Lijun Shao, junior in marketing, and Chi Xu, senior in art, sign their names to support a tobacco-free campus during the Great American Smokeout in the Oval on Thursday, Nov. 17. | photo by Yuyang Xiao

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4Indian students celebrate Navaratri Pooja at the University Lake on

Sunday, Oct. 9. | photo by Srikanth Korlapati

6Chris Eveler, freshman in nursing, gets a henna tattoo in the Oval

courtesy of the ISA on Wednesday, Oct. 28. | photo by Srikanth Korlapati

5Shantanu Gavai sings a traditional Indian song during the Diwali Festival

of Lights in the Crimson and Gold Ballroom of the Overman Student Center on Sunday, Nov. 6. | photo by Yuyang Xiao


Ludhar and Feni Emin celebrate the first festival of the season, Navaratri Pooja, on Sunday, Oct. 9. | photo by Srikanth Korlapati

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Gill celebrates the first Indian Festival of the season, Navaratri Pooja, at the University Lake. | photo by Srikanth Korlapati

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Indian Student Association Shares culture and traditions with PSU


he Indian student community of more than 100 students and guiding faculty makes the Indian Student Association one of the most active student bodies at PSU. True to the culture of India, the organization is home to a myriad of cultural habits, traditions, costumes, religions, languages and dialects spread across the length and breadth of India. In an effort to familiarize the West with the diverse colors of India, the ISA organizes Diwali and Holi every year, two colorful festivals filled with entertainment and extravagance at their best. Abhishek Aloori, senior in automotive technology and president of the ISA, said the ISA has always been and will continue to be at the forefront in networking with different organizations on campus and students, be they Indian or otherwise. “ISA is proud to contribute its part toward sharing an ever fascinating Indian culture,” Aloori said. Aloori said that, as a president, his role is to connect with the Indian student body, the SGA, fraternities, sororities and other organizations around the campus to make them aware of the presence of ISA as a leading student organization at PSU. “Part of my duty as a leader in the organization is to stay connected with members of the association in their classes and general well-being issues to ensure that there is not much stress for them and let them know that if they need anything, the organization will always be there for them,” Aloori said. Vedant Dhruv, vice president of the ISA, said that the most significant part of being in the association is connecting with other Indian students from various regions of India and celebrating their culture as one family.

“Our objective is to promote service and leadership opportunities,” said Dhruv. “We know how tough it is to travel to a totally new country, thousands of miles away from home and settle down into a student’s life there. We aim to help new students with the educational and social issues that they may face at PSU and be the Indian gateway for them.” Hruturag Vartak, ISA event coordinator, said that, as an event coordinator for the association, he works to oversee the various events and festivals in which the association partakes. “One of my favorite festivals to coordinate is the festival of colors, which is also known as the Holi festival,” said Vartak. “I love being an event coordinator for the association because it helps me recreate in an original way the actual events in India here, and the Indian community loves that.” Vartak said that another part of his job as the event coordinator is to bring together the entire student body at Pitt State, not just the Asian community. “The purpose of the Indian Student Association is to promote and increase awareness of South Asian heritage and culture through education, community involvement, and providing a forum for social networking,” Vartak said. Saurabi Soni, graduate student in chemistry, said the ISA is a home away from home for all international students. “We are the periscope to apprehensive aspirants back home,” Soni said. “We are the religion which amalgamates castes, creeds, tongues and tastes into one. We are the family that stands up for one another, we are the one fraternitythe Indian Student Association.” | story by Ify Ossai

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Gavai, sophomore in advertising, and Digamber Eslampure, majoring in business, cool off in the lake during Holi on Saturday, March 31. | photo by Kenzi Jordan

4Aiperi Imankulova, junior in finance, participates in Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors. | photo by Kenzi Jordan

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Students share widespread Indian tradition with PSU

5Val Vita, communication major, participates in Holi,


Photo by Kenzi Jordan

the Indian Festival of Colors. | Photo by Kenzi Jordan

he energy was high and colors were flying at the Holi Festival of Colors. The festival included food, music and the throwing of different colored powders in the Holi tradition. Music blared as students from all backgrounds threw powder and sprayed each other with water cannons. The vibrant celebration, hosted by the Indian Student Association, also included dancing on tables and “mudsliding.” The Holi color festival is a religious holiday primarily celebrated in India, Bangladesh and other Hindu countries. According to the PSU website, “In India, participants light bonfires on the eve of the festival in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahlad accomplished when Demoness Holika carried him into the fire.” Some students like Pa See Vang were minimally familiar with the festival and went to experience it firsthand. 3Talal

Alshwaiky, IEP student, celebrates the Holi festival on Saturday, March 31. | photo by Srikanth Korlapati

“I didn’t know very much about the Holi festival,” said Vang, junior in communication. “I remember watching Bollywood films growing up, in which the Holi festival would sometimes be shown. The festival just seemed like a great opportunity for me to capture some amazing images as well as learn about the Indian culture.” Vang said she grew up on Bollywood films, and the festival met her expectations, and it proved to be a great stress reliever. Vang said she can’t wait for the next festival and, like other students, praised the overall feel of it. “The atmosphere was just amazing, and there was such high energy,” Vang said. “It reminded me of childhood when the only true care we had was just to play, and we definitely did that at the Holi festival.” Jacob Rudolph said he had no knowledge about the festival, but he still had a great time. “I knew absolutely nothing about what was going to happen, other than my clothes were going to get stained,” said Rudolph, freshman in mechanical engineering technology. “The Indian Student Association was very inviting and have a really exciting time together.” | story by Carl J. Bachus


Guevara, IEP student, Bea Cindoncha, senior in English, and Hana Park, senior in broadcasting, celebrate the Holi festival on Saturday, March 31. | photo by Srikanth Korlapati

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6Charini Wanigarachchi, Michael Urteaga, Dong-qing Huang, Tyler Costantini and Chris Ward gaze at Jupiter and its moons through a powerful telescope during a Society of Physics Students event near the University Lake on Wednesday, Oct. 5. | photo by Bethany Wolverton

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Stargazing and Holograms Society of Physics Students tests theories beyond the lab


uper conductors, holograms and unmanned aerial vehicles are not normally associated with the typical college student, but nothing interests the members of the Society of Physics Students more. The Society of Physics Students are striving to get people excited about physics again. In the fall of 2010, when Charini Wanigarachchi, sophomore in physics, and Mike Urteaga, junior in physics, first met after the IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) convention in Arkansas, they decided they wanted to start a physics club on the PSU campus. When the two physics-passionate students asked Serif Uran, associate professor in physics, he informed them that there was already a club in existence; it just didn’t have any members at the time. Wanigarachchi and Urteaga, along with a couple of other physics students, decided to reboot the club. “We just wanted to have fun,” said Urteaga, vice president of the group. “We wanted to get people back into physics. I mean, we obviously saw a dead club, we’re both very enthusiastic about physics, and we want to get other people very excited about it.” The Society of Physics Students has five different committees in which they complete research: magnets/superconductors, weather balloons, astronomy, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and holograms. They use these committees to split up the group’s interests. During each meeting, a time is designated for an update from each committee about their progress. New committees can be formed at any time; the member simply has to bring it up in the meeting and discuss what kind of research and experiments will be done. Each committee has a head who is usually most knowledgeable about the subject. “Tyler, he’s very up to date on all the rules of unmanned aircraft vehicles and all of that,” Urteaga said. “I know nothing about UAV’s, but he’s very knowledgeable in the field, which is why we give it to him.” This method gives members of the group an opportunity to explore their interest and educate other members of the group, making them more informed on the subject.

The INBRE convention, held in Arkansas every year, is something the society plans to attend annually. Undergraduates and graduate students from schools across the country who are in the fields of chemistry, physics and biology all come to present their society’s research. The convention also has several workshops for students, where they can learn about new methods of research and what they can implement into their group’s work. The first year that Urteaga and Wanigarachchi attended, they went to a workshop on holograms, which really piqued their interest. “We somehow picked the hologram one and really liked it,” Wanigarachchi said. “It’s a pretty easy method. We have everything; we just need to put it together.” The biggest project that the group is working on right now is hologram research and applying what they saw at the convention to what they are doing now. Wanigarachchi hopes to make the PSU chapter of the Society of Physics Students more known by bringing the members to the INBRE convention and really standing out. “When you tell them you’re from Pittsburg State, they don’t even know what that is,” Wanigarachchi said. She plans on that changing in the future and putting Pittsburg State on the map in the physics world. Chris Ward, sophomore in biology, joined the group at the beginning of the fall 2011 semester. He heard about the club when they were doing an astronomy project that they needed help with, and decided afterward that he would be a part of it. “It’s awesome,” Ward said. He said it gives him time to think about some of the physical ends of the chemistry that he learns. Ward said chemistry is about all of the formulas and details, so sometimes he doesn’t take a step back to look at the bigger picture. “It’s kind of cool to have a hand in some of these experiments that kind of show you real life applications as far as the chemistry in the process that’s going on.” | story by Ali Clark

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Victoria Smith spins the wheel about alcohol awareness trivia during Alcohol Awareness Week, sponsored by Gorillas in Your Midst in the Oval on Monday, Oct. 3. The theme for the week was “IT’S UP TO US!” | photo by Yuyang Xiao


students answer alcohol awareness trivia after spinning the wheel during Alcohol Awareness Week. | photo by Yuyang Xiao


Wilson, sophomore in psychology, assists Gorillas in Your Midst by selling flowers on Valentine’s Day in Yates Hall. Proceeds helped fund the Midwest Conference in Kansas City. | photo by Kenzi Jordan

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in Your

Students seek safer alternatives


ccording to members, this year was an important one for Gorillas in Your Midst. The group was nationally recognized for its effort to encourage students and faculty to quit smoking, and it is one of the six university organizations to be given the title “Outstanding Program of the Year” by the parent organization, BACCHUS. Sarah Duffy, senior in communication and student coordinator of Gorillas in Your Midst, had submitted a proposal and outline of the group’s activities so they would be considered for the award. After submitting the proposal, however, she got caught up in the year’s activities. “I had honestly forgotten about it,” said Duffy of the proposal. “I wasn’t listening. We’d been there all weekend. We were tired. Then I tuned in and realized they were talking about our program.” They received a check to use for future programs, as well as the recognition. “It was a good morale-booster,” said Duffy. “People kept telling me that the look on my face was priceless.”

“I was so happy just to be at Bacchus,” said Keyvin Roach, junior in nursing, who also attended the BACCHUS convention, “but winning the award for an event we barely had time to put together was really rewarding.” Duffy said that the award was granted because of the level of cooperation in the production of the Great Gorilla Smokeout, first in 2010 and again in the fall of 2011. During the Smokeout, they gathered signatures to petition for the campus-wide smoking ban, a movement proposed by the SGA. “The ban is important to Gorillas in Your Midst,” said Duffy. “It’s not that we’re trying to take over the freedom to smoke; it’s us supporting a greener and healthier campus.” Because of their successful petition, the issue will be put on the ballot to be voted on in the spring of 2012. Duffy has high hopes that it passes. “Regardless,” she said, “I have a feeling a smoking ban would become regional, anyway. But Pitt State has a history of tradition, and we want to be the first university to go smoke-free.” Another event Gorillas in Your Midst got involved in this year was Jungle Nights, a new late-night program put on by the SAC. Beginning around 10 p.m., students had the opportunity to gather and participate in interactive games such as the Wii, Xbox Kinect, board games and more. Free food was provided and karaoke continued until the early hours of the morning. This event was designed to provide students with an alternative evening activity. “We try to promote events on campus that give an alternative to typical college life,” says Duffy. “It really shows freshmen on campus that there are other things to do.” In addition, Gorillas in Your Midst has put on various other events this year, including multiple programs to promote safe sex. Roach’s favorite moment was participating in the activity in which he dressed up in clothes covered in condoms and ran around campus passing them out to students, a program that elicited a lot of laughter. As this year’s student coordinator for Gorillas in Your Midst, Duffy has tried to make this year the best for the group. “Sometimes it gets stale when you fall into a comfortable place,” she said. “I’ve been really hard on the group to step it up.” For Roach, the national award given by BACCHUS was important to the group and its success on campus. “Gorillas in Your Midst has been a well known group on our campus for the past few years,” he said. “I definitely expect our group to be catching the attention of students, faculty and the community of Pittsburg.” | story by Jennifer Katzer

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rom public outreach to the raising of new campus structures, members of Pitt State’s ROTC lived up to their reputation of leadership and excellence through the school year. Brandon Aeschliman, freshman in criminal justice, said that joining ROTC has changed him overall as a person. “ROTC’s main mission is to develop better leaders, and look at life in the bigger picture,” Aeschliman said. “We’re here to help, especially with our community.” ROTC pursued that very mission on Nov. 12, with the promotion of its second annual “Gorilla Warfare” event held behind Carnie Smith Stadium before the football game. According to Capt. Drew Polen, the main of objective of the event was for the 90-some students in ROTC to attract notice and show the purpose the organization serves. “What we really aim for is to have a day completely dedicated to our college and community, while at the same time promoting ROTC,” Polen said. As a part of Gorilla Warfare, ROTC supported various fundraisers such as the Wounded Warrior Project, and collected cans as part of a food drive held for The Wesley House. Fundraising was not the only act of community outreach ROTC provided that day, however. Tables were also set up at the back of the stadium, where children could get their face painted in camouflage. “While having my own face painted, I saw about ten kids at least come up to the table looking to get their faces painted as well,” freshman Boone Myers said. “The

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excitement I see coming from those kids really makes the event worthwhile. It’s something I look forward to being a part of in the future.” The promotion for Gorilla Warfare was not limited to just outside of the stadium, but could also be seen inside, as well. For the football game, in which the Gorillas triumphed over rival Missouri Southern, team members sported customized military jerseys. “It really is a big part of the entire day,” Polen said. “When people see those jerseys, it draws more overall attention towards the whole event.” At this event, Maj. Christopher Lambert, professor of military science of the Gorilla Battalion, also accepted a $2,000 check from Community National Bank for ROTC during halftime of the game, and Cadet Lucian Myers was awarded the medal of heroism due to his actions of leadership and heroism on May 22 during the Joplin tornado. “It’s definitely a humbling award,” Myers said. “It’s a great honor to accept it as a part of Gorilla Warfare. In the three years I’ve been in ROTC, I’ve always enjoyed being a part of the opportunities for our organization to interact and become involved with everyday people.” Following the Gorilla Warfare event, a milestone was made on Pitt State’s campus with the unveiling of a new $8,000 rappel tower near the Student Recreation Center. The Ivan Crossland rappel tower, a 40-foot-tall structure, was made possible

Cadets strive for leadership and excellence by donations from throughout the PSU community, in particular from Crossland. Col. Dean Sholtis followed up the ceremony by delivering a speech to illustrate the significance the new rappel tower holds. “Rappelling is a great example of how one’s success on the front lines depends on the realism of their training,” Sholtis said. “The person rappelling is counting on the backup of his or her belayer, who can tighten the rope to prevent them from falling.” As the members of ROTC continue to make extensive contributions to Pitt State’s community, one cadet and veteran, Matt Gallagher, said that the principles in ROTC ensure a positive future for the men and women in uniform. “Serving overseas really opened my eyes to the camaraderie of brotherhood, and how much of a difference each one of us can make with anything we do when working together,” said Gallagher. “Coming here this year and seeing the same values that I worked with during the war, being displayed by members who haven’t yet been overseas, ensures me that a promising future lies ahead for ROTC.” | story by Zach Wagner

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5Kristina Willis points out enemy forces to Kyle Dietrich on a situation training exercise during the Joint Field Training Exercise at Ft. Riley on Friday, April 13. | photos by Hunter Peterson

5Stephen Cuff takes notes after a situation

training exercise during the Joint Field Training Exercise at Ft. Riley.


tackle the under-over obstacle during the Joint Field Training Exercise.

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Student Government Association: Rule makers and


ver wondered who takes care of the dead week policy? Or who makes


Ong, freshman in biology, counts items donated during the SGA canned food drive on Thursday, Oct. 13. | photo by Kaela Williams

sure the USA Today newspaper is available for free to students at locations on campus? Who gives out free Scantrons and makes the Gorillas Rental Guide? The Student Government not only takes care of these projects, but implements many other programs, as well. “This year the main goal of SGA was to increase student involvement across campus,” Eric Jones, president of SGA and senior in economics and finance, said. One of the ways they are doing this is with their new Pitt Points Program. Pitt points are points that students can earn when they attend campus events such as sporting events, Student Activity Council events, SGA events and fine arts events. Students with the most points at the end of the semester win a scholarship based on the number of points they accumulated. This year the program is on a trial run and if it works well it will be kept for next year. Another project that SGA is pushing this year is the tobacco-free campus initiative. This initiative began last year, but SGA is still working on promoting it. Jones said he believes

a smoke-free campus will make Pitt State more marketable as well as friendlier for all students. “Some people say we’re trying to take away the smoker’s rights,” Jones said, “but I feel like smokers take away the rights of non-smokers every day because nonsmokers don’t really want to be breathing in second-hand smoke all day out in the Oval.” Every year SGA puts on the Big Event, led by director Emily Smith, senior in family and consumer sciences. The Big Event is the biggest community service project put on in southeast Kansas and is completely student run. This year Commerce Bank became the event’s corporate sponsor, enabling SGA to give a free T-shirt to the first 700 students who preregistered for the event. “Last year we had over 10% of the student body, so over 700 students, come out to the Big Event and participate,” Smith said. Senator Elle Walker, freshman in communication, is on Smith’s Big Event

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Streme, senior in automotive technology, sorts through a bag of donated goods during the annual SGA canned food drive on Thursday, Oct. 13. Over 1,800 items were donated during this homecoming event. | photo by Kaela Williams

3James Smith speaks during the weekly SGA meeting in the Governors Room of the Overman Student Center on Wednesday, Feb. 1. | photo by Srikanth Korlapati

game changers

committee this year and says she enjoys it. Walker joined SGA during the fall of 2011 because she was involved in her student government in high school and wanted to get involved in college from the start. “I thought it would be a great way to not only meet more people, but also to just

in the fall of 2011. He is involved in a number of committees, including the student fees committee. Alomenu enjoys getting to have a voice in the student body and discussing issues with other SGA members at the meetings. “It’s nice to hear the opinions of our issues and discuss,” he said.

put whatever they wanted on the bulletin boards without having to go through SGA for approval. “He had a lot of interest and a lot of passion about it,” Jones said. “Since then we’ve set up a bulletin board advisement committee, and Clinton actually helped sit on that and is actually kind of helping us move forward, trying to figure out a free flow information area on campus as opposed to all the bulletin boards.” and Not only is SGA working on these new developments for this on the campus, which was year, but it continues to represent the student body by holding to me,” events, contests and doing its best to handle student issues. | Elle Walker “I think the purpose and goal During SGA’s weekly meeting, they have a of SGA is always going to stay the same,” student opinion time when students may come Jones said. “Just to represent the students and voice issues, problems or concerns. One of as best as possible, represent Pitt State as these opinions came from Clinton Bell, who had best as possible, try to better Pitt State, a problem with SGA’s bulletin board system. make it more marketable and make it a more He believes that students should be able to enjoyable place to be.” | story by Ali Clark

I thought it would be a great way to not only meet more people, but also just be able to get myself involved

make a difference something that was really important be able to get myself involved and make a difference on the campus, which was something that was really important to me,” Walker said. Senator Kafui Alomenu, graduate student in technology, also joined SGA

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PSU’s Gay Straight Alliance takes a stand against bullying and prejudice 3Victoria Kennedy, from Joplin, Mo., sings to the audience at the GSA Drag Show on April 11.

6River Wild, from Springfield, Mo., rocks out to a song in the U-Club at the GSA Drag Show.


he Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), led by president Holden Kraus, kept busy this year promoting the importance of equality. “I initially took over GSA so the group could continue,” Kraus, graduate student in mathematics, said. “I have grown to truly appreciate the job. It gives me the ability to interact with every member and not just old friends.” Justin Hardwick, junior in creative writing, said he was repressed before he finally found the Gay Straight Alliance. Once he found the group, he said he found a place where he could be himself. “GSA has helped me not die, because without them I probably would’ve been dead by now,” Hardwick said. “It was really hard to be gay until I found them. I’m extremely thankful for GSA.” Following his coming out moment, Theo Hines, sophomore in art, joined Gay Straight Alliance. He had never heard of it until he came to Pittsburg State, but said the people have provided him with a safe place to open up. “GSA isn’t just about educating people about homosexuality, it provides a place with people who understand,” Hines said. “We’re definitely a group who will be faced with adversity, because we’re in the Bible Belt. I feel we have an impact on campus, though,

because we refuse to back down.” Hines said his favorite Gay Straight Alliance event is National Coming Out Day, which was observed on the Oval Oct.11. This is the second year for both National Coming Out Day and Pride Week. “National Coming Out Day is about people coming out to friends and family, but it’s also coming out against bullying and things that negatively impact our lives,” Hines said. A door was set up on the Oval that students could walk through if they wanted to finally “come out” about being homosexual. Students could also wear name tags that stated whether they were gay, bisexual, or straight allies. There was also a paper hanging on the door students could sign and add a message stating that they were against bullying of homosexuals. Pride Week, however, held April 9-13, is the biggest Gay Straight Alliance event of the year. Activities included a pride rally, pride prom and a drag show. The drag show featured three professional drag performers from Joplin and one from Springfield who performed to a packed crowd in the U-Club. “Many people never get the chance to see a drag show, because they usually take place at a gay club or gay bar,” said Kraus. “We wanted to bring this to a place where all are welcome and give everyone this experience.” | story by Jen Rainey

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Robbins, junior in graphic design, and Andres Myers, junior in engineering technology, dance at the GSA Prom on Friday, April 13. | photos by John Saunders

6Holden Kraus, graduate student in math, works on a banner for National Coming Out Day on Tuesday, Oct. 11.


P SU Students dance to the song “YMCA� at the GSA Prom on Friday, April 13.

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SAC SAC Bored? Never!

Student Activities Council lights up campus


rocery bingo, movie treat nights, safe trick or treat, hypnotists, and open mic nights are just a few of the events that the Student Activities Council plans and executes during the year. SAC is committed to hosting fun and free events for all students and is composed of six committees that help organize the different categories of events taking place on campus: club entertainment, issues and ideas, campus stew, visual arts, promotions and public relations. With these committees, SAC tries to reach as many diverse students as possible. Every year SAC brings on a new board of directors who plan the events for the next two semesters. “This semester we are working with what they planned last year and the next semester we will get to implement our own events, which is kind of nice and challenging for us,” said Jordan Simoncic, senior in business management and secretary/treasurer of SAC. This year, the board has found from students’ input that many would be more interested in coming to one big event than three or four smaller events. Kyla Henderson, junior in biology and president of SAC, said that they are trying to implement these student desires into their budget. “Our planning for next semester will see that come out, so that’s something to look forward to,” Henderson said. Henderson said another goal that she has for next semester is to give the meetings and their style a makeover. She said that she wants them to be more of a sharing time so that everyone knows what each committee is doing, rather than each member being limited to his or her own committee. Some changes to events are coming for SAC as well, along with some new events. The treat night at the movies event will now be held in a lecture hall in Grubbs. Many students attend these treat nights and many have had to be turned away because of fire code, so the group decided to move these movie nights to a bigger location. SAC is also planning to bring back the open mic nights, making it a monthly event. Other plans include partnering

with the live action role play group that is on campus and hosting a zombie Nerf war. Alex Rausch, junior in elementary education and vice president of SAC, said, “We try to be prudent with our money in stuff like that because it is the students paying for these things to come.” SAC has about 30 active members who participate in weekly meetings and help run events. Henderson said that they are responsible for everything and it is a bit more detailed than what people might think. When a performer comes, they have to oversee everything. “We organize everything from the transportation from a flight, to a rental car, to a hotel, to what food they’re eating, to what time they get in,” Henderson said. This type of detail planning can become frustrating when a performer makes demands that have to be met. “Performers are just very nitpicky about what they want,” Henderson said. “They want a fruit basket and three waters with two ice cubes.” Any student can join SAC and become a general member; all they have to do is show up to a meeting. “When they first come they are kind of given a broad overview of what we do and what each committee does, and they are allowed to either try out committees for a couple weeks or jump right in,” Henderson said. Edwin Stremel, senior in automotive technology, just became a member during the fall semester and is on the issues and ideas committee. Stremel said that this semester he is trying to step out and try new things. “I really wanted to do some stuff I hadn’t done before,” Stremel said. “That’s kind of my goal here, to do some stuff I wouldn’t normally do.” General members are a part of whichever committee they choose, and they help choose and run events in that committee. Simoncic says that all members help in a big way; the head of the committee doesn’t run everything. “It’s kind of a group decision on what we bring,” Simoncic said. “It’s not just the chair saying, ‘We’re going to do this.’ We bring ideas to them and they decide.” | story by Ali Clark

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students are hypnotized to think they are driving a car in front of the student audience. SAC hired a hypnotist to perform on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011. | photo by Srikanth Korlapati


McConnell receives a churro, a Mexican dessert, from members of SAC in the Oval for Hispanic Heritage Month on Thursday, Sept. 15. | photo by Srikanth Korlapati


Leal, member of the Anime Club, helps a girl fish for candy during Safe Trick or Treat, sponsored by the Student Activities Council in the Crimson and Gold Ballroom on Thursday, Oct. 27. | photo by Yuyang Xiao


Dale K keeps a student from falling off her seat during the hypnosis presentation on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011. | photo by Srikanth Korlapati


freshmen take a group photo with the band Soulicit after an outdoor campus concert, sponsored by SAC for the “Off to PSU� event on the first day of fall classes. | photo by Bethany Wolverton

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itt als

International students introduced to American culture


ith students from more than 41 countries around the world, Pitt State’s campus is teeming with a variety of languages, cultures

and cuisines. One opportunity to experience this variety is the Pitt Pals program, which pairs international students with American students for an opportunity to learn about other languages and cultures. Brenda Hawkins, administrative specialist and coordinator for Pitt Pals, said that she came up with the idea for the program because there wasn’t any program that encouraged American students to be of any help to international students on campus. “There have been American students who would have never spoken to an international student in their class had they not been a Pitt Pal first,” she said. “But now their hearts go out to them and they understand that international students are in a whole different world, which makes American students reach out to help them.” Hawkins added that American students have always been willing to do this program. Tyler Egbert, junior in biology, is one such student. Egbert said that he wanted to know more about international students and learn about different cultures to get an idea about where he would want to study abroad some day. “My Pitt Pal is from Korea, and I have learned how differently he lives, and how strange the food from his country is,” Egbert said. “We meet each other at least once a week for lunch or dinner, and I am also going to take him to my farm for Thanksgiving.” Kwenwong Hur, junior in accounting, said that Pitt Pals is a nice program that allows him to meet American friends. “My friend took me to his house for Thanksgiving pumpkin carving,” said Hur. “It helped me adjust in American culture and better know American people.” | story by Shantanu Gavai

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3Brenda Hawkins, Pitt Pals coordinator, helps Wanying Li, senior

in human resources, scoop out the pumpkin seeds in the PSU Pitt Pals pumpkin carving activity at the University Lake on Tuesday, Oct. 25. | photos by Yuyang Xiao

5Yazeed Aldhwayan, freshman in management, Mary Butler, undeclared, and

Zheng Wang, student in the Intensive English Program, make caramel apple magnets during the Pitt Pals Craft Night.


Woo, senior in political science, Pai Hsuan Yung, senior in international business, and Jacob Mendez, member of Residence Hall Assembly, draw a pattern on a pumpkin at the pumpkin carving event.

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k r a p S

Flash Mob


members perform “Thiller” by Michael Jackson in the Oval. | photos by Sam Pester

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Students spread dance moves and cheer


SPARK! members perform a Flash Mob during Safe Trick or Treat in the Crimson and Gold Ballroom of the Overman Student Center on Thursday, Oct. 27. | photo by Yuyang Xiao

ichael Jackson’s “Thriller” begins to play in the Gibson Dining Hall as students wearing black hats, white gloves and black masks creep among chattering diners. The masked performers collect at the front and break into dance as excited onlookers whip out cell phones to take photos. SPARK! Theatrical Flash Mob began this year, and has done flash performances in various areas around campus. Lydia Rohner started the group early in the year because she wanted to share her joy of dancing with students. She had been teaching dance in the community for 13 years, and realized that she wanted to do something similar on campus. “I always wanted to do flash mobs,” said Rohner, junior in English education. “It was pretty fun,” Rohner said of SPARK!’s first performance. “We were all kind of nervous because it was our first time, but people were following us outside afterward telling us what a good job we did.” Sally Stamback, junior in psychology, said that the performance in Gibson needed a little more work on the choreography. “It was a good effort,” she said, “but next time, they need to have more people and a shorter song because it’s supposed to be a flash mob. But overall, they did a good job.” Brittany Nichole Robbins, junior in commercial graphics and SPARK! member, said that it doesn’t matter if a member can’t dance. “It’s not too difficult to learn; it just takes time and practice.” SPARK! has done more than just dance, however. Deanna Minton, junior in commercial graphics, said that the goal of the group is to inspire happiness in others. “We brainstormed ways to make people happy, and came up with free high fives and hugs on the Oval. It was raining and cold, so people congratulated us on our motivation and perseverance.” Both Minton and Robbins first learned about the group during the Activities Fair put on in the Oval. “I was looking for

something to be connected with on campus,” said Minton, so she put her email down and attended the first meeting. She said that everyone wanted to learn the dance to Michael Jackson’s song “Thriller.” Minton and Rohner agreed that the group needs more members. “Our numbers are dwindling,” said Minton. “We only have six right now, and we can’t do much with smaller numbers. I wish the meetings and performances could be something people look forward to.”

Everyone sees the YouTube videos of performances around the country, but they don’t expect to see it in real life.” | Deanna Milton She said that the group is planning on having a performance every week, handing out fliers, and talking to friends to raise awareness of the club and hopefully gain some new members. “We really want people to spread the word.” Minton also said that introducing the idea of the club to friends is sometimes entertaining. “Everyone thinks it’s really funny,” Minton said. “You have to laugh about it. Everyone sees the YouTube videos of performances around the country, but they don’t expect to see it in real life. People joke about us and make fun of us, but we’re just trying to make people smile and be happy.” Practicing famous dances has had a positive side effect for Minton. “Allison Short and I went to a party and started dancing to ‘Party Rock,’” she said. “People were amazed that we knew it, and no one else did!” Minton said that, overall, she enjoys the group’s atmosphere. “We’re just random and silly. We have fun. I love the songs, I love dancing, and we get to be ourselves.” | story by Jennifer Katzer

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Voices heard round t Choir members sing their way through Italy


SU’s choir spent nine days and seven nights in Italy during Spring Break, viewing the old monasteries of the 17th century, attending concerts in Rome, eating gelato and touring the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But despite all the side attractions of Italy, choir members traveled to Italy primarily to do what they love the most: sing. “We sang in several different places during our time in Italy,” said Josh Donaldson, senior in music education with a vocal emphasis. “The actual cities we performed in were Spoleto, Norcia, Florence, Lucca and Rome. All of our venues were cathedrals.” When performing at concerts, the music that is sung can range between different languages and types of music. “We sang sacred pieces by composers like Palestrina, Busto, Tallis, and a few others,” said Tracy Fog, senior in psychology. “Most of the music we sang was either Latin or Italian.” “What many people find is that it’s actually much easier to sing in a foreign language because the vowels are much purer than in the English language,” said Donaldson.

Kalee Woody, freshman in biology, said that two of the most important songs that they sang in Italy, in her opinion, were “Absorbeat” and “Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy.” “We sang at the festival honoring St. Benedict in Norcia, who is the patron saint of all of Europe,” said Woody. “This was the final destination of torches that were carried by runners all the way from Switzerland. It was a huge deal. The president of the Vatican was there and listened to us sing.” Donaldson said that his favorite part of the trip was the free time. “Yes, I love singing, and it’s my passion, but my main goal in life is to travel and see the world,” Donaldson said. “There was one day we had entirely to ourselves in Florence, and I discovered an amazing wine shop called ‘Bacco Nudo.’” Woody said that she loves choir because of the alternative it offers to her usual classes. “It gives me the chance to take a breather from hard classes and just be able to enjoy singing and being with other people who love music,” she said. | story by Jessica Looslie

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3Women’s Choir sings the song “This Can’t Be

Love,” in the annual fall concert in McCray Recital Hall on Friday, Nov. 4. | photo by Yuyang Xaio


Haynie, Caleb Hays and Brett Thomas enjoy Italian-style pizza in Florence, Italy, during some free time on the choir trip. | photo by Adela Milburn

d the world

5Jazz Choir sings the song “Blue Moon” in the annual fall concert in McCray Recital Hall on Friday, Nov. 4. | photo by Yuyang Xiao

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Gaining an optical


Student photographers develop new skills through travel, experience


n the main floor of Grubbs Hall, students, alumni and residents gathered to listen to four photographers speak about four fields of study. Perspectives of Photography, put on by the Student Association of Photographers (SAPS), began early in the morning and continued until late that afternoon. This year’s event celebrated 10 successful years for Perspectives of Photography. This 10th year has been an important marker for many reasons, but primarily because SAPS members have learned an important lesson in initiative and responsibility. “Up until now, Mike, our adviser, had done all of the planning,” said president Tiffany Moore, senior in communication. “This year, the students took over and set it all up. It benefited us because it gave us more responsibility, especially for the younger students. We’re getting the experience that college organizations are supposed to give you, which you don’t normally get. We put on our big-kid pants and got it done.” Another leap this year was SAPS’ movement into social media to advertise for the event. Using Facebook and other social media, members were able to get the word out faster and cover a wider target audience. Moore considered this to be something they’ll continue to develop for next year. “Before, we’ve only used print, but we should use social media a lot more and use other ways of getting information out there for this event. Next year we’ll push that.”

SAPS has gained many new members this year, as well. “There aren’t as many upperclassmen,” said Moore, who added that there are about six instead of at least 10. “The majority of us are new members. They’ve been very active, which has kind of breathed new life into us.” “Everybody’s very friendly, very inviting,” said new member Casey Beal, junior in communication. “It has helped me be more critical, look at pictures differently and find different qualities.” Beal said she hadn’t been involved in much planning for this year’s event, but tried to make herself available if help was needed. “All members were expected to go to local businesses and ask for donations,” Beal said. “It made me step out of my comfort zone.” When asked for her favorite thing about belonging to the organization, she said she liked the camaraderie the group provides. “I like meeting people on campus who are as interested in photography as I am,” Beal said. She also liked the monthly contests the group puts on over Flickr. The contests are themed, and the group has pizza, looks at the contestants, and the winner gets a gift certificate to Wheat State Pizza. Beal said that she hopes to get one of the scholarships SAPS gives out to qualifying members. “I’ll change the way I do things next year and try to get more involved,” she said.

SAPS also encourages its members to explore new areas. To facilitate this, the group takes trips to new, random locations to shoot unfamiliar subjects to practice their photography skills. Beal said her favorite moment of this year was being able to go out to Columbus and shoot hot air balloons. About 30 grounded balloons were lit up at random or in sync, and members were allowed to practice photographing them. “I got some really good shots for my portfolio,” said Beal. As for the future of the organization, Moore has specific hopes. “I hope that our initiative this year will stay true for next year,” said Moore. “We need to take hold more. It’s a student organization; we need to take more action. We need to keep it in our hands.” | story by Jennifer Katzer


Professor Mike Gullett takes photos of people fishing at Roaring River on Thursday, March 1. | photo by John Saunders


Will Ravenstein, Hunter Peterson and Mike Gullett prepare for the trail walk at Roaring River on Thursday, March 1. | photo by John Saunders

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Kaitlyn Doherty takes a picture at Roaring River State Park during a Student Association of Photographers trip on March 1. | photo by Hunter Peterson


Sam Clausen, sophomore in communication, takes photos of other SAPS members at Roaring River. | photo by John Saunders

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Broadcast Bunch The

Student broadcasters let their personalities shine on and off campus


nown as a hands-on organization, members of the Student Association of Broadcasters are the students who broadcast all the Gorilla football and basketball games from the Athletic Department each season. They also have their own television news show called GTV that is broadcast live every Thursday at 4 p.m. on the cable access channel 13, in which students of both television production and directing classes come together to produce the show. In addition to regular broadcasts, members also produce public service announcements for the Pittsburg community, one of which was a commercial for the Humane Society. This commercial starred Adrien Stolifer, graduate student in communication. “In the Student Association of Broadcasters we like to be social and make people around campus feel like they can always come to us,” said Stolifer. “We are very laid back and we like to have fun.” SAB puts together news packages about activities organized by student organizations and different PSU departments, as well. Stolifer, who has been a member for five years, said, “We’re about togetherness and we always try to be present in almost every event on campus. It’s a great way to

take the campus and put it together as a whole, by showing what students do.’’ She also said that joining the Student Association of Broadcasters is an amazing way to practice everything learned in broadcasting classes and get the experience required to become a professional broadcaster. “We do everything ourselves, we work with clients and produce our own TV shows,’’ she said. This year, SAB students filmed a segment encouraging animal lovers from the Pittsburg community to adopt a pet. “I was in the Humane Society commercial that now airs in several channels, which was a lot of fun filming, and it was also a great way to help the community by volunteering,” said Stolifer. “And at the end all our work looks great on our portfolios.” Brandon Sutterfield, senior in broadcasting and another active member of SAB, has only been in the association for one year but has already been part of numerous television programs; such as the production of a commercial to help PSU become a greener campus. He is also one of the students from GTV and provides a technology segment for the news show. Sutterfield decided to join SAB when he realized that as a broadcaster, he needed to be more involved in his own broadcasting

department. SAB was a perfect way to achieve that. “If you are looking to build your portfolio, gain experience or just find projects to work on for fun, then SAB can supply you with that,’’ he said. ‘’Also, we do lots of educational things, like field trips and hockey games.’’ Sutterfield said that he is mostly interested in the post-production aspect of broadcasting. “I’m an aspiring video producer, so I enjoy the creative aspects of the field, like some forms of advertising and documentaries,’’ he said. “I also like shooting video because the backbone of a great video project is great footage.’’ According to Sutterfield, SAB is a very active organization filled with dedicated students and a great adviser, that helps its members gain the knowledge and experience they need to excel in the field. They also help others around campus with their video projects to help showcase college activities. “All I can say is that in broadcasting, we are all probably closer to one another than most can say in other departments,” said Sutterfield. “We aren’t all just students in the same college of interest, we are actually kind of family.’’ | story by Adriana Perez

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5Members of the Student Association of Broadcasters, (top row) Taylor Dawson, Jacob Welander, Kersee Currier, (middle row) Sydney Ward, Callie Ronan, Tim Spears, (bottom row) Brandon Sutterfield, Adrien Stolifer, and Matt Henderson, show off their personalities. | photos by Kaela Williams

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All-Access Pass

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Student ambassadors give a glimpse into the inner workings of PSU


s the organization on campus responsible for conducting campus tours for prospective students, the student ambassadors serve as visitors’ first window into life at Pitt State. On average, 70 Gorillas also hold the title of ambassador, all coming from different majors and organizations.­ Not only do student ambassadors give tours throughout the school year, but they play an important role in PSU outreach during the summer, as well. “We all have an obligation of one office hour a week,” said Cassie Temaat, senior in family and consumer sciences. “We give tours to prospective students and our Pitt CARES leaders help out with Pitt CARES in the summer. We are there to help out when people have questions about campus.” Student ambassadors’ primary job is to help incoming students become familiar with the PSU campus and all it has to offer.

3Elliot Ivory, junior in engineering,

works as an ambassador and shows a group of prospective students around campus on Tuesday, April 10. | photo by Kaela Williams

“When on my tours, I usually tell the students about the history of PSU, Greek life and other organizations that you can become involved with on campus,” said James Saltat, sophomore in graphic communication. “I give them a tour of the dorms and take them to eat lunch in the Gibson Dining Hall with the rest of the groups.” Saltat said that being a student ambassador has given him an opportunity to meet people that he might not have otherwise. Another ambassador, Hannah Hunsinger, senior in nursing, said that her favorite part of being an ambassador is sharing her love of PSU with others. “It is really helpful to incoming students to hear a current student’s point of view about the university,” said Hunsinger. “Students should get involved in student ambassadors to share with potential students how great PSU is and to help recruit future students.” | story by Jessica Looslie

5 Student Ambassador Ryan Woodruff, junior in biology, shows prospective students around campus on Wednesday, March 14. | photo by Kaela Williams

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community outreach and competition

[students in free enterprise]


uring its 22nd year at PSU, Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) once again left its imprint on PSU and surrounding community. The 2011-12 year marked the second year in a row that SIFE was implementing its “Building Pittsburg” project, which helps unemployed and underemployed individuals gain the skills they need to obtain jobs. According to SIFE President Katie Aikins, completing outreach projects is an overall effort that takes dedication of all the members. One new member, Reed White, freshman in computer information systems, said that the work is tough at times but has its benefits. “It takes a lot of time and dedication,” White said. “It was worth it at the end of the year when we put together a 24-minute presentation covering everything we did.” That presentation was given at the 22nd regional competition that PSU has attended, in Rogers, Ark. According to Aikins, preparation for competition took place throughout the year with community outreach projects, and the competition is an opportunity to showcase the projects they have completed. This presentation is aimed at showing what SIFE has done in the past and plans they have for the future. “Each year, our goal is to improve and expand our projects and additional partnerships with other organizations in the community,” Aikins said. Every year there are 11 to 12 different regional competitions held around the United States for Students in Free Enterprise organizations nationwide. Aikins said that succeeding in the competition is an overall goal for every member of PSU’s SIFE. Students at this competition are judged on the relevant economic, social and environmental factors and which team most effectively empowered people in need by applying business and economic concepts and an entrepreneurial approach to improving their quality of life and standard of living. “We always have expectations of doing well,” Aikins said. “While competition is a big part of what we do, the actual community outreach projects we complete are even more important.” | story by Zach Wagner

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4Esther Chang, senior in finance and accounting,

discusses Students in Free Enterprise in Grubbs Hall with Molly Miller, senior in physical education, on Thursday, Sept. 15. | photo by Jim Quist


S.I.F.E. member Natalia Lorandi holds up a sign at the 3rd annual Paint the Town Red 5K Fun Run on Saturday, Sept. 10. | photo by Kaela Williams


S.I.F.E. President Katie Aikins, junior in management, stands at the finish line of the 3rd annual Paint the Town Red 5K Fun Run to congratulate the runners on Saturday, Sept. 10. | photo by Kaela Williams

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6 Debbie Lin, graduate student in business accounting, plays the traditional Chinese bamboo flute during the annual Chinese Moon Festival.

Chinese Culture Club

Students from around the world get a taste of Chinese traditions


he Chinese Culture Club’s job is twofold: welcoming Chinese students as soon as they arrive on campus and sharing Chinese culture with other Pitt State students. Members of this club include students from Taiwan, China, Singapore, as well as Americans. Chinese Culture Club welcomes anyone who would like to know or learn more about Chinese culture. Qiawen Deng, junior in English education and CCC president, said that, just like the name implies, the club is mostly concerned with cultural things. The aim is to introduce Chinese culture to local students at PSU, but international students are also welcomed. “We are just trying to let the people here know more about Chinese culture,” Qiawen said, “and to break the cultural barrier.” Qiawen said that during the weekly meeting, Chinese snacks are presented to the attendees for refreshment and PowerPoint presentations are made covering topics that that week’s learning calendar has laid out. “Last time, I made a presentation about

how to write Chinese characters,” Qiawen said. She said the biggest Chinese gathering is to celebrate the Chinese New Year, which is the most important celebration to the Chinese nationals. “Usually the festival lasts for 15 days, and we prepare a big dinner for family and friends on the eve of the New Year,” Qiawen said. “There are also some spectacular fireworks, followed by the dragon dance. The main important dish for the festival is Jaize, which brings good luck.” When the Chinese New Year is celebrated, everything is usually red, which symbolizes good luck. Ivy Wang, vice president, said the primary goal is to provide a friendly atmosphere for the Chinese students to gather and not miss home so much. She also said that sharing the Chinese culture is a very important objective of the club. “I always want to share my culture with people who are interested in hearing it,” Wang said. “The Chinese culture is very fascinating, so I’m always trying to share it.” Weekly gatherings also include teaching

Americans and other international students how to speak Chinese and use chopsticks. “I like seeing people come to learn about the Chinese culture,” Wang said. “It makes me feel like the world is one and that’s very good.” Shuaibib Guo said the club provides a place for Chinese students to spread Chinese culture and for students in other countries to exchange ideas about Chinese culture. “Typically, we will have a presentation regarding different topics of Chinese culture,” said Guo. “After that, we will encourage students present to learn Chinese songs, poems,  Taichi and Chinese Kungfu.” Guo said the Chinese culture club is very important to him. “It is a club that ties the hearts of all Chinese students in PSU together. It provides us opportunities to communicate with American students and other international students about Chinese culture. Also, we improve ourselves through talking to people in different cultures.” | story by Ify Ossai

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6 Chris Roberts, senior in Spanish, and Xiao Fu, graduate student in business, make Chinese traditional cuisine, Bao Zi, during the annual Chinese Moon Festival.


Lisa Yang, senior in accounting, sings a Chinese song during the annual Chinese Moon Festival at the United Methodist Campus Ministries building on Friday, Sept. 16.


5A small chorus, including Chinese and American students, sings a Chinese song, “Jasmine Flower,� during the annual Chinese Moon Festival at the United Methodist Campus Ministries building on Friday, Sept. 16. | photos by Yuyang Xiao

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Preview 2012 Organization  

This is the organizations section from the 2012 Kanza.

Preview 2012 Organization  

This is the organizations section from the 2012 Kanza.