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Vol. 136 • Special J-term Issue

A Troubled Past Exploring Luther’s Racial History

Sailing Toward a Distant Horizon

Also in this issue:

• Studying Art in Italy • A new kind of New Year • Decorah Pizza Reviews

Katie Storey (‘15) at the helm of the Roseway


Vol. 136 • Special J-term Issue

From the Editor I am proud to present the second ever Chips Special Issue J-term Magazine. Last year Michael Crowe, Ethan Groothuis and contributing writers temporarily broke off from the newspaper world and explored magazine journalism. They set a precedent that has been a joy and a challenge to duplicate. In this Chips special issue, study abroad trips are highlighted with many students studying away from Luther during this month-long term. Walker Nyenhuis tested his sea legs aboard an old wooden boat, while Jayne Cole contemplated Italian art in the place it calls home. Matt Yan writes about our own home here at Luther, but illuminates the lesser-known history of its racial tensions. While this article is difficult to read at times, its truth pulls you in. To start off the spring semester, Brita Moore reports on our Opening Convocation lecturer and his warning about our constant Internet connection. I hope these stories provoke thought about our present time and place, as well as allow you to see into another world beyond Luther.

Ingrid Baudler Editor-in-Chief

CONTACT Chips Phone: 563.387.1044 Fax: 563.387.2072 E-mail: Advertising: Website: Twitter: @lutherchips Facebook:

EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief: Ingrid Baudler Managing Editor: Jayne Cole Current Editor: Brita Moore Features Editors: Katherine Mohr, Sam Molzahn Perspectives Editor: Noah Lange Review Editor: Katie Hale Copy Editors: Cameron Meyferth, Katie Hale

CONTRIBUTORS Brita Moore, Matt Yan, Walker Nyenhuis, Jayne Cole, Hans Becklin, Laura Hayes


Chips is a student publication of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. The publication is designed, composed, edited and managed entirely by Luther students. It is published weekly during the academic year. Opinions expressed in articles, editorials or columns do not necessarily represent the views of the Chips staff. The author is solely responsible for opinions expressed in Chips commentary. Chips will not accept submitted articles or campus announcements. Submissions for letters to the editor should be submitted as a word document to with “Letter to the Editor” as the subject line. Letters to the editor are subject to editing without changing the meaning of the letter. Authors will not be notified of changes prior to publishing. Letters must be signed, 300-400 words and submitted by Sunday at 5 p.m. the week before publication. Publication of all letters is at the discretion of the editor.

Table of Contents CURRENT 5

Out of the Shallows The Internet’s effect on our brains


A History in Progress Race relations through the years Studying Aboard Experiencing life at sea


Old Art, New Sights The importance of place My New Year’s Resolution Trying something unselfish


Battle of the Slices Finding the perfect pizza in Decorah

ON THE COVER Katie Storey (‘15) at the helm in the Virgin Islands Photo By Walker Nyenhuis



Chips • Special January Issue


Heavy use of technological gadgets is strongly affecting how our brains work, Nicholas Carr says

Out of the Shallows

Nicholas Carr speaks at Luther about the effects of technology on the human mind. by Brita Moore (‘14) A group of students sits at a table in the cafeteria, unwinding after a busy day. They are talking, but not to each other. Rather, each one has a smartphone out, and they are tweeting, texting and Facebooking. Later, they watch movies on Netflix in their rooms instead of having conversation. This increasingly common phenomenon is troubling to author Nicholas Carr, who will speak at Luther on Feb. 6 as the Center for Ethics and Public Life Distinguished Lecturer. “The Internet, an immeasurably powerful computing system, is subsuming most of our other intellectual technologies,” Carr said in his article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” in 2008. “It’s becoming our map and our clock, our printing press and our typewriter, our calculator and our telephone, and our radio and TV.” With the Internet accessed very often via small gadgets, its potential to affect the human brain is only growing. Center for Ethics and Public Life Director Greg Jesson pointed out evidence that the quick speed of information affects the human brain’s neuroplasticity, which has grave Photograph by Toby Ziemer/Photo Bureau

implications for higher education. “Once [the Internet] starts taking the place of thinking, once it starts giving us the answers in these little bullet points, it starts to change the neural pathways of the brain,” Jesson said. “That means it becomes more and more difficult for students to study a sustained presentation or argument over a long span of pages or time.” In other words, students will be less likely to fully comprehend the books they read for class or have deep discussion about the issues in the text. “In Google’s world ... there’s little place for the fuzziness of contemplation,” Carr said in the same article. “Ambiguity is not an opening for insight but a bug to be fixed. The human brain is just an outdated computer that needs a faster processor and a bigger hard drive.” Carr, who most recently published “The Shallows” in 2011, will speak twice on Feb. 6 as part of his visit. The first time will be at Opening Convocation, at 9:40 a.m. in the Center for Faith and Life, about the promise of community and the challenge

of technology. The second will be his evening Distinguished Lecture at 7 p.m. in the Center for Faith and Life. Jesson found this message particularly important for the kind of academic community that Luther claims to be. “Abraham Lincoln was educated on three books: the King James Version of the Bible, the works of Shakespeare and Euclid’s ‘Geometry,’” Jesson said. “And now, for all of our gadgets, are people becoming better thinkers, writers, leaders?” This is not to say that smartphones and other gadgets are always detrimental. Professor of Religion Jim MartinSchramm noted the power of technology to spread ideas. “I share [Carr’s] fear that these forms of communication may make us more shallow and less critical,” Martin-Schramm said. “At the same time, the potential for this technology to break down boundaries and to disseminate ideas to a broad audience is exciting and encouraging.” Jesson hopes that Carr will improve students’ awareness of the effects electronic media has on them and that there is something they can do about it. “We want Carr to help students think about how to draw these limits,” Jesson said. “How do I use these things as genuine tools and not replacements, and how do I say no to myself? There’s a temptation to just say, ‘Well, I’m going to go back to my room and watch movies all day.’ But that doesn’t sound like a very full life.” •

Chips • Special January Issue




Chips • Special January Issue

Members of the BSU perform at Club Ebony circa mid-1970s

Photographs by NAME NAMERSON


A History in Progress by Matt Yan (‘14) Photographs courtesy of Luther College Archives

A look into the current racial climate at Luther and how it has changed over the years. Chips • Special January Issue




Sheila Radford-Hill looked at the faces of the hundred-odd people staring back at her, unable to read their reactions. It was 2003 and Radford-Hill had just finished giving a presentation to members of the Luther community outlining her plans for the Diversity Center that was to replace the old Multicultural Center. Months of back-and-forth calls had led up to this event, months of deliberation over whether or not to apply for the newly created position of Executive Director. RadfordHill was a visiting assistant professor at DePaul University in Chicago and had finally relented to Luther College President Richard Torgerson’s requests that she apply for the position. As she scanned the faces of audience members, she thought to herself that it had been an interesting experience and it was time to go home and get back to work. What Radford-Hill didn’t know was that in the next decade, she would be instrumental in alleviating racial tensions at a school with a troubled past. To put it bluntly, history has not been kind to people of color at Luther. In March of 1968, one month before the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., four black first-years were picnicking in the woods near campus when a man with a rifle shot at the trees near them. According to the Luther College Archives, coordinator of the

original Black Student Union Mel Whitfield claimed, “the administration told us that this incident was none of their [business].” In January of 1968, another first-year was allegedly urinated on by a white student. In March of 1968, a visiting black man had the top of his convertible slashed, his antennae stolen and his windows cracked by an unknown vandal. This string of incidents triggered an investigation by the Iowa State Civil Rights Commission, which ultimately found that seven of eight reported incidents were “foundationless.” The racial climate was so toxic in December of 1971 that, for the first time in Luther history, the college had to cancel finals for the entire school because of tensions between minority students and their white classmates. According to a November 2001 Chips article, three administrators were held hostage by black students who were tired of the systematic discrimination against them. Administrators agreed to let some black students skip finals because of their unique stresses, but the student body held an impromptu meeting in the cafeteria to discuss the unfairness of the allowances.

Radford-Hill talks with students


Chips • Special January Issue

The administration was pressured into letting all students leave school early and guaranteeing at least a C in each of their classes. Letters and phone calls flooded in from parents as many students went home without taking finals. President Elwin D. Farwell wrote in a letter to parents, “Sometimes there are no right answers. There are only what seem to be the best answers out of several alternatives.” Fast forward nearly 30 years and racial intolerance still had not relented. In November 1999, an anonymous message was written on a Multicultural Center whiteboard that read, “f*** niggers, spics, slopes and fags.” In January 2001, an unidentified Luther professor received an email with the header “Organization: Niggers.” In March of the same year, a Black History Month concert poster was defaced with racist language. In April 2001, Saye Cole (‘04) had eggs and racial slurs launched at him by Decorah teenagers. Luther struggled to maintain a sense of security and community, holding numerous forums and a “Rally for Solidarity,” but the incidents continued. Needless to say, Luther needed a miracle. Enter Sheila Radford-Hill. In 2003, Luther hired Radford-Hill to head the brand-new Diversity Center. Formerly the Multicultural Center, the Diversity Center would welcome all students, not just those of nonwhite cultures. The administration sought to make the Center less polarizing; Radford-Hill was the appropriate fit that Luther was looking for. Moderate in stature but large in persona, the Ivy Leagueeducated Radford-Hill can lift anyone’s mood with her infectious smile. She leads with a lethal combination of bravado and poise. With her leadership, the racial climate at Luther has improved to the point where intolerance has seemingly been driven underground. Those with intolerant attitudes appear to be the minority on a campus where whites comprise 88% of students. A casual observer might see that the level of violence in cross-cultural Photograph by Matt Yan

FEATURE 2014 miscommunication has dropped over the years, but have the racist views gone away for good? “I don’t think racism has gone away despite many efforts,” Radford-Hill said. “It isn’t what it was then, but it’s still present.” Radford-Hill and Diversity Center Director of Student Services Wintlett Taylor-Browne believe that Luther needs work when it comes to recruiting AfricanAmerican students. African-American enrollment has fluctuated over the years. In 1971 there were 84 African-American students enrolled at Luther. By 1986 there were as few as 12, and by 1994 there were only 5. Today, there are 37 African-Americans enrolled at Luther, a number that Radford-Hill and TaylorBrowne hope to see rise. “It’s important for the campus to represent the society,” Radford-Hill said. “If we’re going to have people coming to Luther at all, they’re going to be different because America is changing. But beyond that, it’s important because if we want to have a more equitable society, we have to have more people from underrepresented groups seeking and completing their degrees at liberal arts colleges like Luther, where the overall grad rate is much higher than public institutions. So we want more people of color to come to those kinds of institutions and get those degrees so we can break the cycle of poverty and reduce the achievement gap and earning gap in society.” Diversity Scholarships were implemented at Luther to help bring in more students of color. This has prompted discontent among those who believe that the scholarships are unfair and that students should only be admitted based on academic merit. Radford-Hill disagrees that the scholarships don’t reward students based on merit. “First of all, diversity brings merit,” Radford-Hill said. “Why do I say that? Because if you really want to understand a topic, a subject, a discipline, or even social interactions, you need to do it around a diverse group of people. Not a group of people who all look like you and think like you. So the intentional and ongoing engagement with people from diverse backgrounds is part of the best education you could ever get. You shouldn’t be paying almost fifty thousand dollars a year for an education that doesn’t include diversity.

A student holds a sign at a Black Studies rally circa late 1960s

95% of students who come to Luther have scholarships. This is one scholarship. I don’t think it implies anything about merit other than merit is inclusive.” The lack of understanding of diversity has created problems for students who come from cultures outside the United States. Siphamandla Simelane (‘14) has experienced the harsh reality of ignorant attitudes at Luther more than once. Sitting in the open area of Oneota Market, he is hesitant to discuss these events at first but eventually begins to open up. He says that he has had three experiences where people called him the n-word, but only one in which the offenders didn’t apologize. Simelane was studying in his Dieseth room his sophomore year when his neighbors were playing loud music. He went next door to ask them to turn it down and then went back to his room. Someone else went into their room and asked what had just happened. According to Simelane, an unidentified resident of the room made a hateful comment. “When they were referring to me, they just said, ‘the nigger came in, said lower down the volume,’” Simelane said. “‘That nigger said this and that, that nigger, that nigger.’ I was really mad at them because

Photograph courtesy of Luther College Archives

for me, it was something I didn’t expect to happen here. What the hell are these guys thinking, why are they doing this? I tried to calm myself down so I could talk to them in a good way, not to challenge them.” Simelane ended up talking to his RA about the problem. The RA then talked to the residents of the room and Simelane never heard what happened afterward. It ultimately ruined his relationship with his neighbors. “I knew the group of guys that was in there,” Simelane said. “They were baseball players. Even when they said hi to me [later], it didn’t have any meaning to me because I didn’t know who said that and called me that. I wish me and the guys would have sat down and talked about it. I didn’t want that tension between us. They might not have had the tension but for me, I ended up not trusting them because I didn’t know who they were.” Simelane appears very level-headed when discussing these encounters, but the emotional toll of dealing with ignorant people has clearly worn him down. “Sometimes people, they say things they don’t know [are] ignorant or they hurt your feelings,” Simelane said. “When you start acting on that, they become defensive. ‘I

Chips • Special January Issue


2014 FEATURE didn’t mean to do that, I was just joking.’ It pisses me off, and I walk away immediately. If they become defensive, I don’t see the reason to talk to them because if every time I talk to them they become defensive, it’s pointless for me to talk to this person.” N.J. Maseko (‘15) went to school with Simelane at the United World College in their home country of Swaziland. She shares some of the problems that Simelane has had about personal interactions in Decorah. Maseko is noticeably apprehensive when speaking about these uncomfortable situations, but like Simelane, she soon opens up as she recalls the moments that have stuck with her. “One time I was walking from the caf to Miller with my friend,” Maseko begins. “There were these boys behind us taking pictures of our butts with their camera phone. When we turned they quickly put the phone away. We told [our male friends] and we asked them what is this, what is going on? Even when they talk to us about what American boys say about us, [what they say is] always sexual. They never say N.J., the one who is nice, it’s never anything about the character, it’s always about the physical. So it’s like they’ve already put this barrier, ‘I’m not going to make an effort to know these people. Whatever I see is what I’m going to go with.’” International students aren’t the only ones who cite uncomfortable interactions in Decorah. Radford-Hill has also had runins with people who say things without

understanding the impact of their words. “I was standing, waiting to pay for an item and a person came up to me and said, ‘I’m so happy you moved to this community,’” Radford-Hill said. “And at first, I didn’t know what she was talking about. I didn’t know her. She didn’t know me. So I just had a blank look. And then she looked a little confused. And then in that moment of confusion, I realized what she meant. She wasn’t talking about me moving into the community. She was talking about this black person moving in.” Radford-Hill passes her hand over her face at this point to emphasize the figurative masking of her identity by this stranger. She speaks as if she has told this story many times. “She wasn’t acknowledging me.” RadfordHill said. “This was a political statement. And she thought this wasn’t offensive. She thought I would immediately understand, smile. So the confusion was when I looked blank. I’ve seen that confusion before, many times. But it kind of makes you a little bit angry every time.” Does Radford-Hill ever get used to this kind of treatment? “It’s hard to get acclimated to people kicking you in the head,” Radford-Hill said. “But what you do is you consider the source. You consider the context from which that person is operating. You understand that person’s cultural perspective and view. That helps you return to your own source, your own perspective and viewpoint, which is a source of grounding and strength. If you

don’t have that, then yes, you can become very resentful.” Radford-Hill doesn’t seem to hold any resentment toward people who have wronged her. This seems to be a common theme among interviewees. Simelane and Maseko have found that, while they may be hurt by certain individuals, it hasn’t made their overall experience in the United States a negative one. Maseko has enjoyed her time here despite her frustration with the misunderstandings that are all too common in international students’ Luther experiences. Her attempt at a stoic front is admirable but she easily breaks into a huge grin as she talks about her expectations of Luther before coming to Decorah. “The longer you’re here, the more positive experiences you have because you learn to understand the culture and the people around you,” Maseko said. “Because if you’re in a different place, then you have to learn to adapt. Before I came here the only thing I knew about America was what I saw in the media, like ‘Blue Mountain State.’ I came here with the excitement to be a part of that culture. When I came here I found it was completely different than what was portrayed in the media, just like what is portrayed in [American] media about Africa is not what you really get there.” One surprising discovery is that some international students don’t identify with American racial descriptions. Coming from a United World College in Norway, Sukeji Mikaya (‘17), who is originally from South

Members of the Black Student Union 1975-76


Chips • Special January Issue

Photograph courtesy of Luther College Archives

FEATURE 2014 Sudan, got a taste of Western culture but wasn’t prepared for the racialized world of the United States. “Most people don’t understand why I’m not familiar with the word ‘black,’” Mikaya said. “For me I feel like it’s moved from [the N] word to black. It’s like, ‘let’s use a much better word.’ But yes, I do accept that it’s a political term used worldwide and I’m aware of it but that doesn’t mean I should accept it. When you’re put in that category, it changes the whole way people look at you. It makes it somehow uncomfortable.” Mikaya sees herself as South Sudanese instead of the generalized “black,” which she says tends to lump everyone including African-Americans and black international students into one group. She says that in America she might refer to herself as black because of the culture, but in Norway she would refer to herself as African because that is how they saw her. Mikaya is one of five Luther students who are trying to revive the Black Student Union, which has been inactive for several semesters. She was initially interested in bringing the BSU back because she wanted a forum where black students could speak freely about the issues affecting them without fear of judgment. Despite the focus on black students, Mikaya stresses that the BSU would be open to the entire student body. “I think it’s a chance for [people] to get to know their friends,” Mikaya said. “Their music, their food, their way of living. It’s supposed to be a fun kind of thing.” Is there an invisible barrier between international and American students? Taylor-Browne smiles warmly at this apparently naïve question and lightly scolds your correspondent for singling out the international students for congregating with other international students. “Affinity groups are always going to hang out,” Taylor-Browne said. “So to single out the international students as if they are the only ones doing this is not fair. This is what affinity groups do. And when you are part of the minority population and you’re always hyper-visible, you’re always answering questions about your background, you find yourself being the only one in your classes, it’s perfectly understandable to hang out with people who get you.” The Diversity Center has become a refuge and second home for students looking for someone who understands their point of

view. Student after student echoed the same thing: they just want to be understood. Students like Joel Clarke (‘15) come to TaylorBrowne, Radford-Hill or International Student Coordinator Amy Webber for help and guidance when they feel lost or need support. “Whenever I have problems, I need to get something off my chest, I go to Ms. Wintlett [Taylor-Browne] or Sheila [Radford-Hill], just so I can feel the whole motherhood thing I have at home,” Clarke said. “I live all the way in Connecticut so I go home twice a year. I need that black motherly influence. Otherwise it’s just like, whenever I have conversations with people, they always say ‘that sucks’ and it ends there. I don’t want to keep wasting their time. It’s just sympathy, not empathy. And I don’t like people’s sympathy.” Because Clarke has been living in the United States since moving to New York from Kingston, Jamaica at age 8, he doesn’t feel the culture shock as much as international students do. Clarke talks more about his personality as a factor in misunderstandings he has had, but still recognizes the role that his race plays when people misjudge him. “I like to hang out with girls more than boys,” Clarke said. “Every time [people] see me with a different girl, they say ‘you’re a pimp. Black people get all the girls, damn.’ I feel like they’re prejudgments. Instead of asking me how was my break, it’s like ‘how are those girls, I see you with them all the time.’” Clarke’s voice is wrought with frustration as he elaborates on one of his more memorable run-ins with strangers who make assumptions. “This dude saw me talking to his girlfriend [outside of a bar] and gave me all these dirty looks,” Clarke said. “I understand it’s a Saturday night, but your automatic instinct is to think I’m trying to take her back home? He came up to me and said, ‘Yo, you need to stop talking to her.’ So that means I can’t have a conversation with her? He was trying to get me to hit him. So just because I’m black you think I’m going to be the first one to fight? So I just walked away and went back inside.” Clarke was able to walk away that night, but in the past, black students haven’t always been so lucky. In 2002, two Decorah residents were arrested for allegedly assaulting two international students outside of a bar. Both sides were reportedly being aggressive and confrontational. Thankfully, the number

of violent incidents has declined in the last decade, but stories like Clarke’s may be a sign that racial tensions in Decorah haven’t disappeared. Taylor-Browne feels that with more education, people will become less focused on perceived racial differences. She stresses the need for experiences with people from all over the world. “Many of our students don’t have the kind of experiences that teaches them this kind of ability to relate to people from different cultures,” Taylor-Browne said. “If you come from a graduating class where everybody looked like you and you come into a situation where everybody does not look like you, you have not learned how to deal with it and you default to being polite. You have to go beyond being polite; you have to ask the questions that you think might be stupid. Learning only takes place when you’re willing to take the risk to ask, to engage.” Maseko agrees with Taylor-Browne that people just need to stop being afraid to engage those from non-American cultures. She welcomes any attempts to bridge the cross-cultural gap between international and American students. “We always hit this brick wall, like ‘this is my space, I’m not allowed to talk to you,’” Maseko said. “‘Hey, I don’t know how to speak to international students.’ Speak to me like I’m a human being. Where I’m from, if you don’t know people, you accept them, you welcome them, you teach them what they want to know. Here, curiosity has led to fear. They fear what they don’t know.” Simelane had some universal advice for Luther students. Taking into account the scope of Luther’s history with race, Simelane’s words bring insight into why people of color have been able to overcome racial intolerance and other institutional obstacles. “Educating others and making people aware of different cultures that are here at Luther [is important],” Simelane said. “As Luther students, we have to understand that there are different people with different cultures. Don’t expect people to understand your culture but try to integrate yourself and have a better experience while you are here. Once we get over the pain of getting hurt and you move on, you learn that not everything is going to hurt. There are so many things you’ll miss out on if you stay in your own little bubble.” •

Chips • Special January Issue


Roseway from the water


Studying Aboard by Walker Nyenhuis (‘15) Photograph by Jane Wilson (‘16)

One student’s hands-on lesson in seamanship, literature and snorkeling—and how it all fits together.

Chips • Special January Issue



“Haul away!”

Aboard a ship, there are few events more exciting than the raising of its sails. It is a community endeavor, needing many hands ready to work in unison. Once our hands are in position, and the line is uncoiled, the tug-of-war against gravity begins. We furiously pull the line, and the sail responds, steadily rising up the mast in rhythm with our efforts. Within minutes, the sails are set, and we are officially underway. This J-Term, 15 classmates and I experienced firsthand the intensity of life at sea. As students of English 239: Tales of the Sea, we ventured to the U.S. and British Virgin Islands with Professor of English Nick Preus (‘69). For nearly two weeks we lived aboard the schooner Roseway, a National Historic Landmark, exploring maritime literature in context while also engaging in hands-on seamanship. What follows is my account of the voyage. Roseway is the primary educational platform for the World Ocean School, a nonprofit organization specializing in experiential learning throughout

the Atlantic East Coast and Caribbean Sea. It is one of six remaining Grand Banks schooners and has served as a fishing yacht, pilot boat and charter windjammer since its commissioning in 1925. Early in our voyage, we learn the importance of on-deck communication. We alternate shifts on bow watch, using a series of hand signals to inform the captain of upcoming boats and buoys we spy from the forward deck. With feet planted firmly and grip held tightly on the foremast or rigging, we keep our eyes peeled, often facing a salty spray. Sailing aboard Roseway is many things, but rarely is it dry. In our watch groups, we also perform boat checks on Roseway’s utilities, including its bilges, generator and engine. And, every hour on the hour,

we record our longitude and latitude position in the ship’s voyage log. During seamanship rotation, we learn sailing theory. With assistance from the crew, we practice tying knots, coiling lines and identifying the schooner’s pins, to which essential lines and tackle are fastened. We also practice for the Deckhand Olympics, a competition designed to test our sailing skills and knowledge. Throughout our voyage, we saw many other ships, but none are quite like Roseway. Cruise ships, mega-yachts and hobby sailboats litter the Caribbean during winter months as vacationers seek a refuge of warmth. The sight of our 1925 schooner never failed to grab attention. Professor Preus called many of the popular sailing vessels “stick-

A view from the porthole


Chips • Special January Issue

Photographs by Walker Nyenhuis

FEATURE 2014 boats,” since they rarely use their sails for anything other than decoration. It becomes abundantly clear throughout our voyage that life aboard Roseway is not a vacation, but rather an opportunity to prove oneself as a legitimate sailor. Every night, we took hourly shifts on anchor watch, sleepily performing boat checks, gauging the weather and ensuring that the ship’s anchor is holding its position. To help pass time before these boat checks, Professor Preus challenged us to compose searelated writing assignments, which we performed at muster (assembly) the following morning. From poetry to shanties to raps, these performances never failed to entertain. It is frequently clear that the writers created their work while half-asleep, having just risen from our cabin, the appropriately-named “Fish Hold.” I see nothing but blue and some netting beneath my feet. I am riding the bowsprit, a thick wooden post extending from Roseway’s bow, the foremost point of the ship. Harnessed to a wire, I straddle the bowsprit as the ship tacks up the Sir Francis Drake Channel. My group rides the watery rollercoaster for nearly a half hour, throughout which time we see the islands from a completely new perspective as the waves roll just a few feet beneath us. On one of our first days sailing, we have individual opportunities to take the helm. With guidance from the captain, I carefully steer the ship up a port tack, feeling her power as she harnesses the wind. Our voyage took us all throughout the Virgin Islands. On our second day aboard, we sailed to the British island of Jost Van Dyke, home to a hideaway cove known as the “Bubbly Pool.” Standing in the chest-deep water, our class waited in anticipation. Suddenly, we heard a noise approaching from behind the rocks. “Here it comes!” Water rushes toward me as I grip the nearest rock. Despite my best attempts to hold on, the waves force me back to the shallows. Taking the hit in stride, I immediately venture back, ready for another. Again and again, the sea forces its way inland to the delight of the group.

Jenna Myers (‘16) and Mark Laffin (‘15) present at morning muster (assembly)

Hermit crab on St. John

Caribbean sunset

Chips • Special January Issue


2014 FEATURE Sam Hedrick (‘14) is starstruck

Two days later, we visit “The Baths” on Virgin Gorda where volcanic rocks dot the southwestern shoreline, forming tidal caves. For several hours, I lose myself exploring the rocks and caves, while occasionally returning to swim in the clearest water I have ever seen. Amusement parks can hardly compare to these natural wonders.

We try our hands at small boat sailing at Virgin Gorda’s Bitter End Yacht Club. Taking the tiller of a 19-foot Rhodes sloop, I immediately feel the influence every small action has on the boat’s progress. Only fools would call this style of sailing a leisure activity. After several days aboard Roseway, walking onshore became a surreal The ship is ready for departure

experience. Accustomed to the constant swaying of the ship, the earth appeared to move. The crew refers to this condition as “land wobbles,” which acted as a constant reminder that our home on this voyage was aboard. Halfway through our voyage, we anchor off the coast of Norman Island, which Robert Louis Stevenson used as inspiration for the 1883 novel “Treasure Island.” We have dinner aboard The William Thornton, or Willy-T, the most popular floating restaurant in the British Virgin Islands. Huddled together at a long table, it is easy to imagine pirates dining in this festive environment, though their feasts did not likely include chicken nuggets or baby back ribs. The next day, I find myself face to face with the ocean floor. Fins on my feet, I paddle through the water, eager to see what I can find living amongst the coral. A few minutes later I am completely surrounded. Thousands of small fish engulf me in their school, an underwater cloud of iridescence.


Chips • Special January Issue

Photographs by Colin Robinson and Walker Nyenhuis

FEATURE 2014 the high branches of some trees. Our hiking guide informs us that, because of the termite’s prompt consumption of fallen trees, the island has never experienced a forest fire. Halfway through the hike, we find petroglyphs, pre-Columbian drawings presumably etched into the rock by the island’s first known inhabitants, the Taino people. Archaeologists believe that the Taino came to the area nearly 3,000 years ago, using dugout canoes to navigate the islands. At the end of the trail, we explore the Reef Bay Sugar Factory, a remnant of an era when sugar and cotton production dominated the island. Under Danish rule, slaves from West Africa worked the land, providing valuable exports for European markets in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Emancipation came in 1848 and the United States took possession of the island in 1917, but St. John still feels the effects of slavery, with major wealth disparities existing between many of the island’s residents and winter vacationers. Despite a turbulent past, the Virgin Islands have a rich cultural heritage and promising future. From November to May, Roseway offers programming for the Islands’ secondary schools, blending academic studies, sailing knowledge and community building. Aboard it, students not only have a great experience, but discover their potential.

Allison Dippel (‘16) climbs the rigging

After a full day of sailing, snorkeling is a refreshing break from the hurry of life on deck. Throughout our various underwater excursions we swam with sea turtles, reef squid, stingrays and countless species of fish, all members of a biological community thriving beneath the waves. Even out in open water, the Caribbean is teeming with life. A pod of dolphins play along our port side during the fortymile crossing to the southernmost island of St. Croix, and birds use our sails to

catch an easy ride, occasionally breaking to chase schools of flying fish. To further explore Caribbean wildlife, we make our way to the American island of St. John, our second-tolast destination, where Virgin Islands National Park covers over half of the island. Hiking the Reef Bay Trail, we embrace the island’s ecological richness. A thick canopy offers protection from the sun, while vines and young trees fill the understory. We see termite nests, gigantic mounds of clay wrapped around

In one of our final days aboard, we climb the ship’s rigging. Nearing the top of the mainmast, I look around. Islands and boats make up the immediate landscape, but beyond the harbor it is impossible to see anything but the sea. It’s daunting, but also exhilarating. So much to discover, and with the help of loyal shipmates, I am ready to face the unknown horizon. • “…that which we are, we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.” —“Ulysses,” Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Chips • Special January Issue




Chips • Special January Issue

PERSPECTIVE 2014 Michelangelo’s Pieta, a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture

St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City

Old Art, New Sights A Luther College art student travels to Italy and affirms the relevance of physical art in an increasingly digitized world. by Jayne Cole (‘14) How should art be seen? In what forum? Does context matter? Ambience? Lighting? Room Temperature? Why are there so many fat babies? Is that a man or a woman? What does it mean? These are the questions we ask upon viewing a work of art. However, when standing in front of the original we find ourselves not only asking those questions but actually caring about the answers. And whether the puffy sleeves in the portrait are femininely elegant or masculinely regal. This past J-term I found myself in Italy studying Renaissance art and drawing with 17 other aspiring artists. As we traveled from Rome to Florence and now Venice, I realized more and more why it was important to see the masterpieces Photographs by Nicole Billips

in context instead of only in a picture. “It is a visceral experience to see something that important historically in context,” Jess Zottola (‘14) said. The first time I really understood what Jess was saying was when viewing Michelangelo’s “Pieta”. Suddenly the ridiculous proportions made sense! At least seven classmates cried upon viewing the piece in St. Peter’s Basilica, not because the golden gilded ceilings were too bright, but because it was so moving to see this famous sculpture in its context. I have concluded that seeing art in person is important for many reasons. The first is the contextual component that is not included when studying from a slide. Seeing a piece of art hung

in its original location, surrounded by pieces from other artists, will change your perspective on a piece either for the better or for the worse. “It is really important to see the context and why they are in a certain place,” Jenna McGee (‘15) said. “I realized that churches actually have a f***ed up context for curating art.” The additional detailing around the art also makes you realize that there was a lot more that went into a painting than just, well, the painting. The frame, the gold ceilings, the floor tilings, even the white walls in modern museums, are all a part of the experience as well. “A major difference between seeing the piece of art in person versus on the computer is the actual room it’s in because the added grandiose of its environment,” Evan Sowder (‘15) said. Even the time of day affects the piece in a way that different class times can’t translate. “For example when seeing Bernini’s ‘The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa,’ you have the added element of the time of day, not only of your perspective at that point in the day, but the added element of a unique lighting experience during that time,” Micayla Irmiter (‘14) said.

Chips • Special January Issue


2014 PERSPECTIVE Space not only applies to the physical object but also within the image itself. Suddenly Carvaggio’s paintings seem to jump off the canvas and the lighting creates a depth that no amount of PowerPoint slides and detailed lecturing could help you to imagine. “I am fascinated by the between looking at a picture and the real thing,” Carly Ellefsen (‘15) said. “Photographs always flatten an image whether 2-dimensional or not.” It is also hard to comprehend size until you actually see the piece. Because most images are viewed only on a computer screen, it is impossible to comprehend the actual dimensions of a work unless viewed in person. “Titian’s ‘Venus of Urbino,’ for example, was much bigger than I thought it would be, making it far more impactful,” Peter Eckland (‘15) said. Perhaps what is most important for this class is just how the artist did it. It is impossible to translate the subtleties in brushstroke, or how insanely smooth the marble actually is upon completion, or what David actually looks like in the round rather than on paper, towering high above. One must experience those in person to truly understand why those images are being printed thousands of times over. “You lose the detailing that is so expertly included in works through the added layers of the photographic lens, wear and tear of an image’s file, the projection of the image, and even the screen which it’s projected upon,” Irmiter said. “You miss out on the 360 experience of a sculpture in the round. You miss seeing the difference of an artist’s hand throughout a piece, helping to determine why parts of a painting feel more resolved or successful than others.” I am not saying that to be as successful an artist as Picasso you must travel to New York to see “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” but seeing the pieces in context can make you more appreciative and aid in understanding what these pieces all mean. Seeing works of art in person not only gives you a better understanding of what you are studying, but also helps give you reason for what you are trying to do with your own practice. And, it’s pretty badass to say you have seen the Sistine Chapel. •


Chips • Special January Issue

The dome of the Roman Pantheon in Rome, Italy.

A collage of photographs by Evan Sowder from the group’s trip to Italy Photographs and Collage by Evan Sowder and Noah Lange

PERSPECTIVE 2014 A student walks past the Luther College bell near Bentdahl Commons.

My New Year’s Resolution A Luther College senior discusses the selfcentered traditions of annual resolutions and proposes a change. by Hans Becklin (‘14)

Well, it’s that time of the year again. After another year of living a little less than ideally, we all seem to get introspective in January. We promise ourselves that we’ll lose a few pounds, study harder or make more time for ourselves. These are all laudable goals—in fact, they’re the goals I’ve had the past three Januaries. But this year, it seemed like these “traditional” resolutions wouldn’t cut it, in large part due to my relatively dismal record in previous years. Whether they fell victim to my deep desire for another cookie, my sense that the library wasn’t an appropriate venue for a Saturday night or my packed agenda, by mid-March I had invariably forgotten that I had even made a resolution in January. This year, however, I’ve felt especially

contemplative. Maybe it’s because the year on my calendar finally corresponds to the year encrusted in the red ring on my right hand. College, that state of suspended reality, is coming to an end. Looking back to my previous collegiate resolutions, they all seem a bit selfish. Losing weight, while ostensibly related to my health, probably has more to do with my fear of social ostracism than my desire to, say, avoid bypass surgery in middle age. Additional studying might help burnish my standing before a prospective employer or graduate school, but it’s just another way of making myself look good before the world. More “me time” might not seem especially selfish—sometimes we all need to curl up with a book and a cup of tea. Yet at their core, all of these

Photograph by Aaron Zauner / Photo Bureau

resolutions are about self-betterment, and this year that seemed, well, selfish. So, where could I turn? I suppose I could give money to a worthy charity or volunteer more—but, like most activities, I imagine that this would lose its luster and become neglected as the year beat on. The idealism of January is rarely found on a dreary March day, and since my intrinsic motivation would be significantly less, I doubt that I’d even make it that long. I really like my money once it has become even scarcer midsemester, and my equally scarce free time also seems to appreciate in value. The more I thought about it, I realized that a worldview change was needed. I was being so selfish because I see the world through my eyes and my eyes only. I might think about what’s good for my family, girlfriend or close friends. Yet in those cases our similar motivations and reciprocal relationships make this altruism little better than unabashed selfishness. I guess January wanted a larger change of heart.

Chips • Special January Issue



Sunset coming down over the Luther College wind turbine As I pondered, I thought of what the Christian tradition calls “the greatest commandments.” The first refers to our relationship to God, calling us to love our creator. As a person of faith, this is challenging, but it also seems easy to compartmentalize. Yet this is infinitely less challenging than the second command: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” For me, this has always been far more difficult, as it is something that demands constant attention. It seems we can love God on Sunday and go on living our lives the other six days of the week, but people (especially those we don’t like) are always around. Yet these are inexorably

linked. One’s love for God feeds one’s love of one’s neighbor when one sees the grace of God in their neighbor, and sees the neighbor as a creation of God equal to oneself. To me, this holds the solution to that shallow selfishness. Give love and be receptive to love. Love—not just for some, but for those who I don’t think deserve it. Actually, I guess it’s especially for them—even though, revoking my resentment and substituting love probably has a greater effect on me than on them. Like the other yearly resolutions I have made, I know this will require constant attention. In a way, it’s much more difficult. If I’m serious about it, I’ll have

to keep making it until my final January. Unlike most resolutions, though, keeping it shouldn’t be the goal. It’s enough to try. If we focused more on love than our self-betterment, maybe the new year would seem more like a gift than a burden. In a world filled with a bit more love we would all be better off, free from a focus on self-betterment. Maybe we wouldn’t feel the social pressure to lose ten pounds every January, or to be more studious. Maybe our selfish selves would be sated by love rather than unsatisfied by a futile appeal to an unachievable ideal. So, even though I know I won’t keep it, this year I resolve to love. •

A late January afternoon on Bentdahl Commons


Chips • Special January Issue

Photographs by Aaron Zauner / Photo Bureau


The site of Jarzyna’s Western Adventure

Pizza Ranch is located half a mile from campus

Mabe’s Pizza in downtown Decorah McCaffrey’s Dolce Vita and Twin Springs Bakery is located a couple miles from campus

Battle of the slices

One hungry writer gives us a “pizza” her mind in search of the best pizza in Decorah. by Laura Hayes (‘15) One of the many charms of Decorah is the wide variety of restaurants that are designed to appeal to different tastes. While each is unique in its own way, a number of these restaurants have overlapping items on the menu. Throughout Decorah, there are at least six separate restaurants that sell pizza; some of the restaurants are chains like Pizza Hut or Pizza Ranch, and others are unique to Decorah, like Mabe’s Pizza or Photographs by Katie Hale

McCaffrey’s Dolce Vita. I decided to go to three of these restaurants in search of the best pizza in Decorah.

Mabe’s Pizza Standing in the heart of Water Street is Mabe’s Pizza, one of the most well-known restaurants in Decorah. Distinguished by its bright red sign outside, Mabe’s has a lively and

energetic atmosphere. The restaurant, with a mixture of booth seating and tables and a window into the kitchen, was filled with a mixture of Decorah residents and Luther College students. Mabe’s also offers delivery for those who would rather eat from home. Mabe’s menu features a selection of specialty pizza from the Taco Pizza to the Chicken Mushroom Alfredo. Their pizzas come in a wide variety of sizes, ranging from the smallest at six inches to the largest at sixteen. The restaurant provides a visual representation of the exact size of those pizzas, edged with Rosemaling in keeping with the Nordic spirit. For customers who aren’t in the mood for pizza, the restaurant offers burgers, sandwiches and pasta. In order to accurately compare the restaurants, I decided to order a

Chips • Special January Issue


2014 REVIEW pepperoni pizza from each location. I chose to use Mabe’s delivery system and ordered their small, twelve-inch pepperoni pizza. After a little longer than a half an hour, the pizza arrived. The pizza had a thin crust and was full of flavor. With each bite I could taste the separate components of the pizza— the salty pepperoni, the tomato sauce, the thick cheese—that combined to give a unified taste. The quality of the pizza was well worth paying $11. With a wide range of meal options, Mabe’s is a great restaurant for casual dining and affordable food.

mushrooms and black olives. Each pizza comes in three sizes with a choice of three types of crust (thin, original and skillet). Prices range from $6 for a small pizza to $12 for a large. After visiting the restaurant, I decided to test their delivery service. True to their word, my small pepperoni pizza was delivered within the half hour for about $7 with tax. As soon as I opened the box, I was taken aback on how small a small pizza really was, with a diameter of approximately nine inches. The pizza itself was not spectacular, with a disproportionate sauce-to-cheese ratio that favored the sauce and a thicker “original” crust that had a doughy aftertaste. Overall, the ingredients tasted more commercial than fresh. While the pizza did not impress me, Pizza Ranch is convenient for people looking for an affordable meal.


Food: 7/10 Price: $$ Service: 5/10 Atmosphere: 7/10 Distance from campus: 1.2 miles Delivery? Yes

Pizza Ranch Food: 5/10 Price: $ Service: 8/10 Atmosphere: 7/10 Distance from campus: 0.5 miles Delivery? Yes

Pizza Ranch Located on College Drive, Pizza Ranch is within walking distance of Luther College and offers a number of coupons for students. But for customers who would rather stay at home, Pizza Ranch also delivers. As I walked into Pizza Ranch, I immediately noticed how warm the atmosphere was. With wooden beams stretching up to the ceiling and lights dotted throughout the dining area, the restaurant has a “home-style” setting. Similarly, the menu is full of comfort food other than pizza, such as mashed potatoes and gravy and potato wedges. A buffet of pizza, fried chicken and salad is located near the back of the restaurant and gives alternative options to customers. Pizza Ranch also offers a variety of pizza from the BBQ Chicken to the Roundup, which is made of beef, pepperoni, Italian sausage, onions,


McCaffrey’s Dolce Vita and Twin Springs Bakery McCaffrey’s Dolce Vita and Twin Springs Bakery truly emulates the “sweet life” of Decorah. Just off of Highway 52, McCaffrey’s is located on Twin Springs Road and away from the hustle and bustle. Standing in the middle of the woods and up a winding gravel road, the restaurant has a wall of windows to look outside and offers patio seating when the weather allows. With white Christmas lights strung

Chips • Special January Issue

along the periphery and candles on each table, the restaurant is filled with soft light. The restaurant is complete with a wood-fired stove for cooking pizza. Their pizzas range from unique Thai Kickin’ Chicken with a peanut sauce to the classic Italian Margherita. All of the pizzas are made on a thin, sourdough crust and come in one size. The restaurant offers a selection of pastas and sandwiches as alternatives to pizza. My friend and I decided to order a Margherita pizza topped with pepperoni. After one bite, I soon concluded that this pizza could not even be compared to the others. Infused with olive oil and basil, the pizza tasted fresh, and the tomato sauce did not taste artificial but homemade. Each ingredient was carefully selected to create a pizza that was a delight to the taste buds. Furthermore, the food took only ten minutes to prepare. The pizza totaled to around $18. Although the price may deter some customers, McCaffrey’s serves excellent gourmet pizza and is perfect for a night out. •

McCaffrey’s Food: 9/10 Price: $$$ Service: 9/10 Atmosphere: 9/10 Distance from campus: 2.6 miles Delivery? No

Overall ranking McCaffrey’s: 9/10 Mabe’s: 7/10 Pizza Ranch: 5/10

Photographs by Laura Hayes


Chips • Special January Issue



Super Sunday Deals Extended To Each Sunday In Feb.


Chips • Special January Issue


Chips • Special January Issue



Special January Issue 2014

Chips J-Term Issue  

Chip's J-Term Special Edition Issue