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A year to grow REEL GOOD TIME


| Cal Poly graduate Katia Pawlak moved from San Luis Obisop to Sitka, Alaska for an “adulting adventure.” After her graduation, she went to work as a commercial fisherman on her uncle’s boat.

Katelyn Piziali Special to Mustang News

Three deep breaths is all it took. Three inhales followed by three exhales convinced Katia Pawlak that her impulse decision wasn’t a mistake. Just 24 hours earlier, she walked across the stage at graduation to receive her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cal Poly. The next day, she nervously stood 1,651 miles away from San Luis Obispo in Sitka, Alaska with a searing cramp in

her back from the three-and-ahalf hour flight. The next three months of her life would involve grueling work and wearying hours as a commercial fisherman on her uncle’s boat. It was just the beginning of her graduate gap year, or what Pawlak likes to call her “adulting adventure.” For students not working in the field immediately after receiving their degree, it’s possible to take a gap year, like Pawlak did. A gap year is when a student takes

a year off to travel, volunteer or prepare for graduate school after graduating college and before beginning their career. The tradition of taking a gap year was originally considered an option for high school graduates and began in the United Kingdom in the 1970s, according to the American Gap Association. By the 1980s, gap years appeared in America with the founding of the Center for Interim Programs. Interim is an independent gap year counsel-

ing organization that provides both high school and college graduates with resources about structured programs and volunteer organizations to enroll in during a gap year. As the tradition became more widely accepted for American high school graduates, it transformed and became an option for college graduates who wanted to take a year off before diving into their careers. Not much data has been collected on college graduates taking

gap years, but they are becoming increasingly common, according to the American Gap Association. Pawlak’s decision to take a gap year was partially whimsical and partially practical, she said. She has a background in counseling and clinical psychology, which led her to work with disabled and mentally ill people in the past. “While it’s very rewarding, it’s usually very low-pay,” Pawlak said. GRAD GAP continued on page 2

Magical movements at Mustang Ball Sabrina Thompson @sabrinaswriting

Sequins on dresses glittered as they twirled across the dance floor. The soft clack of heels was barely heard over music and audience applause. Dancers glided on and off stage, separating from and rejoining with their teams on the sidelines. Cal Poly’s Ballroom Dance Team hosted the 10th annual Mustang Ball Saturday. The event was a full day competition for ballroom dancers from all over the West Coast. Teams from the University of Southern California (USC), University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), Arizona State University (ASU) and more joined the Cal Poly team in a bat-

tle of skill and grace. Breaking down the lingo There were three ballroom dance styles allowed at the Mustang Ball competition. The first is American style where dancers step on a bent leg and straighten it. It can be smooth or rhythmic, depending on the type of dance. Popular smooth dances where dancers use the entire floor are the waltz, tango, foxtrot and Viennese waltz. During the waltz, dancers create waves across the floor, moving up and down with an effortless rise and fall of their bodies. MUSTANG BALL continued on page 5



| Advanced dancers glided on and off stage, their movements seemingly effortless at the 10th annual Mustang Ball.

Operation: Hip Hop

brings high energy in its second year

Anjana Melvin @CPMustangNews


MOBBING | Thirteen hip-hop acts performed at Operation: Hip Hop, organized by Flak Mob.

Pulsing bass, hula hoop dancers and the clamor of 200 students ready to listen to hip-hop filled Chumash Auditorium Saturday night. Industrial engineering senior Logan Kregness took the mic. “When I say ‘fuck with,’ you say ‘Flak Mob’!” “Fuck with,” “Flak mob!” Flak Mob is the unofficial group name for a hip-hop

subsection of Cal Poly’s Music Production Union (MPU). This is the second year they’ve organized Operation: Hip Hop, which features Cal Poly student acts along with guest artists from Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. “[Last year] it was a good event, but we had a lot of spare time towards the end that we didn’t really account for,” Kregness said. “This time we calculated everything to the ‘T;’ we have a perfect itinerary, it’s all fully fleshed out.” From the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) vs. Cal

News 1-3 | Arts 4-5 | Opinion 6 | Classifieds 7 | Sports 8

Poly B-Boy Battle to the Knowmads, a rap group based in Los Angeles, the three-hour concert was full of 13 high-energy performances. MPU hosted auditions to determine which acts got to perform in the show. Cal Poly staff and MPU mentors made decisions based on the quality of performers’ content, their stage presence and how much effort they put into their act as a whole. HIP-HOP continued on page 4

NEWS 2 GRAD GAP continued from page 1

Working in commercial fishing, on the other hand, pays an average deckhand $30,000 during the summer. Pawlak hadn’t yet heard back from the program she currently teaches for when she decided to take her uncle up on his offer. “Even if I didn’t get the job, it’d be a nice backup plan for finding a job afterwards having that money,” Pawlak said. “I decided that even if I hated this job, I’m making so much more and I’m outside, doing something different.” Pawlak ended up liking most of the job and wants to go back, she said. Commercial fishing isn’t for everyone, but it’s a great option to make money, Pawlak said. The benefits of a gap year The career-counseling center is a place where fourth-and fifthyear students can seek guidance and advice on life outside of college. Travis Raynaud, interim career counselor for the College of Liberal Arts, spends his days helping students with everything from resume editing to postgrad job applications. Gap years are almost always beneficial, Raynaud said. It gives students the time to better clarify their values and their interests, especially if they are considering going to graduate school after receiving their undergraduate degree, he said. “There’s this misconception, and I hear it all the time, that if you stop and take a gap year, you’ll never go back to school. I always

MUSTANG NEWS say, ‘School is like a bicycle. If you get off the bike, you don’t forget how to ride the bike,’” Raynaud said. “So if you take a year off to travel or to take a service year or to work in the field, you’re not only gaining more professional experience, you’re learning more about yourself.” Taking a gap year gives other students the time to explore their career goals and learn more about themselves. Ashley Nolivo, a University of California, Santa Barbara psychology graduate, backpacked through Europe after graduating a year earlier than expected in 2015. Nolivo met several English teachers during her year in Europe and found herself tempted to stay. She realized the solution was to work abroad and teach English herself. “I wanted to see what it would be like to live across the world,” Nolivo said. “I was considering a career in education and teaching abroad was a really good way to both travel and gain relevant experience. I didn’t really want to jump right into grad school because I still didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I thought I would gain some clarity with teaching abroad.” Nolivo now lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, working at Satit Rangsit Bilingual School nine hours a day. She teaches a mostly American curriculum to 14 children at the K3 level, equivalent to American kindergarten. Taking a gap year was the right decision for Nolivo, forcing her to step outside of her comfort zone and learn more about herself.



| Instead of jumping into grad school, Ashley Nolivo went abroad where she realized she wanted to teach English in other countries.

“It really depends on what type of person you are and where your passion lies,” Nolivo said. “Gap years are beneficial if your passion is traveling and seeing the world and gaining an international perspective. I don’t think for anyone they would necessarily be detrimental; it’s all perspective. It’s not for everyone, but it is for me and I love what I do.” Volunteering Instead of taking a gap year to travel abroad, others choose to work as volunteers to further their professional experiences or to try something new. Psychology graduate Lizz Kolokowsky decided to volunteer for AmeriCorps after her women’s and gender studies professor Jane Lehr recommended the position to the entire class.

“I knew that I wanted to go to grad school, but I also knew that I wasn’t prepared, so I just wanted to do something that was helping others,” Kolokowsky said. “I’m passionate about diversity work and I am going to continue that route.” Promoting Achievement and Student Success (PASS) AmeriCorps, the division Kolokowsky volunteers for, works with youth considered to be at-risk because of grades, behavior, truancy or gang activity, she said. Kolokowsky began the position after graduating in 2016. She mentors the students 45 hours per week to help them raise their grades, teach them how to communicate professionally and advocate for themselves in a respectful manner. Any stigma surrounding the

gap year didn’t faze Kolokowsky. To her, it was the chance to boost her resume before applying to graduate school. “I think it’s a benefit, especially for people who are planning to go to grad school,” Kolokowsky said. “A lot of my professors actually encouraged me to do a gap year, just because a lot of graduate schools are looking for more experience than just college.” Some see the gap year as an escape from entering adulthood and others as an opportunity to grow individually, but it might just serve as both. “If they’re unsure of a career field they want to go into, or if they’re unsure of whether they need to go to grad school, a gap year can give them some time to try out things,” Raynaud said.

“There’s not going to be any detriment to taking a gap year, if anything you’re just going to learn more about yourself.” Pawlak couldn’t agree more. After she finished the commercial fishing season with her uncle, she moved back to Spain, where she studied abroad. Now, Pawlak lives in Santiago de Compostela, where she teaches for the Ministry of Education and plans her next steps on a six-month basis. If all goes according to plan, Pawlak will stay in Spain and teach for another year. “As for the future? I have no idea,” Pawlak said. “I had no idea that my life would turn out this way after graduation. But I’m pretty happy with what I have done. I don’t consider what I am doing a gap year anymore, just another chapter in my life.”

Nonprofit founder inspires self confidence in students Cassandra Garabay @CPMustangNews

Sometimes negative body image and mental illness go hand in hand. After hearing mental health advocate Amy Waddle share her story during a panel for her General Psychology (PSY 202) class, resident advisor Erin Moore felt inclined to reach out. With Waddle’s help, she coordinated the “I am Enough: A Body Journey Workshop” event which took place in Sierra Madre Community Center Friday. “There is always that stigma that everyone comes into Cal Poly with the ‘Everybody here at Cal Poly is super fit’ mentality,” civil engineering junior Moore said. This assumption can lead to people comparing themselves to their peers, Moore said. To combat this, she wanted to share what she learned from Waddle’s testimony about believing you are enough. Waddle’s journey Waddle founded Dancing with ED, a nonprofit organization which originally focused on the dance community but has expanded to other groups. The organization is dedicated to promoting eating disorder recovery, using the motto, “You don’t have to dance through

this alone.” Waddle, a former ballet dancer, suffered from an eating disorder, among other mental illnesses, after learning she could no longer dance. Years later, she uses the story of her “body journey” as a way to advocate for others. “I decided to share my story because I felt there was a purpose. I don’t think anything happens by chance or by coincidence,” Waddle said. “For me to go through all of that, just keep it to myself, I just thought, ‘No, this has to be out there.’ Being able to share my story is like going back into the prison and helping other people get out.” Body journey workshop During the event on campus, Waddle said she intended to use the “mirror effect.” Her goal is not simply to share her journey, but to help people find a better understanding of themselves and their own journey. Waddle said she calls it a “journey” because people are constantly evolving and adapting. Accepting change was a theme throughout her presentation. After telling her story, she shared ways to develop an “I am enough” mindset. Through daily affirmations, positive influences and self acceptance, Waddle said she found the will to choose life.


MIRROR | Speaker and nonprofit founder Amy Waddle shared her own personal story to help people better navigate their own body positivity journey.

Her presentation also focused on the importance of separating yourself from things that do not define you. “I am more than my broken dreams,” Waddle said in her presentation. “You are more than your dreams and you are more than what you want to do

with your life. So much more.” The audience then split into smaller groups for personal discussion. They also participated in activities that exemplified how they could apply the “I am enough” mindset to themselves. “I expected to hear about Amy’s story and learn more

about eating disorders,” kinesiology junior Hanna Doting said. “But I definitely left knowing more about myself and my own body image.” Many audience members felt moved by Waddle’s message. She gave insight into a dark time in her life that many peo-

ple could relate to. Waddle said her purpose is to give hope to those who have not yet realized they are enough. “If one person could take away some confidence, more confidence, I would be like, ‘Wow, this was a successful program,’” Moore said.

Entrepreneurship minor comes to Cal Poly Megan Schellong @meganschellong

Come Spring 2017, Cal Poly students across all majors will be able to minor in entrepreneurship. Orfalea College of Business’ 24-unit minor provides the foundational knowledge needed to grow a business with classes such as Introduction to Entrepreneurship (BUS 310), Introduction to Design Thinking (ENGR 234) and Business Basics for Entrepreneurs (BUS 210). “The classes will teach you to be a leader,” Charmaine Farber, creative director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), said. Students graduating with the entrepreneurship minor will gain valuable skills regardless of whether they choose to pursue a start-up

business after college. “They will have negotiation and design skills, creative ways to attack problems and skills in presenting and pitching business ideas,” entrepreneurship minor coordinator Jonathan York said. The minor has officially launched for a limited number of students who will begin their entrepreneurship classes this spring. The minor will be open to more students in Fall 2017. “It’s almost like a pilot project,” York said. “We will see how many students enrolled and where the demand is.” Students with credit in Introduction to Entrepreneurship (BUS 310) and involvement in the CIE have preference in the selection process, but are not guaranteed a spot. By learning more about how to sell an idea, students gain knowl-

edge necessary to move into the CIE’s Hatchery, a room in Cotchett Education (building 2) that serves as a space for students to begin brainstorming the logistics of a start-up company. From the Hatchery, the SLO HotHouse provides the next level for student entrepreneurs who want to continue developing their business. Examples of start-ups that moved to the HotHouse include Current Solutions, a platform that gives victims of sexual assault the opportunity to share their story, and BoltAbout, a business allowing students to rent bikes at a monthly cost. “It’s about working together to see an idea and carry it through to execution, what would an employer not like about that?” Farber said.



| Cal Poly is launching an entrepreneurship minor in Spring 2017.



Student-led startup to optimize rental

process for landlords, tenants Our whole business revolves around being able to quickly review tenants CAMERON WIESE

Sydney Harder @CPMustangnews



| PolyRents is a rental system that digitizes rental applications, ultimately simplifying the way landlords and property managers view the applications they receive. It will launch to the general public in spring.

Sydney Harder @CPMustangNews

Sorting through hundreds of applications and answering the many calls for a rental unit is a tedious job for landlords. Filling out paperwork and running to various properties to deliver applications is an equally time-consuming chore for students. Pioneered by psychology senior Cameron Wiese and his four-person team — CTO Alex Kavanaugh (software engineering alumnus), Frontend Developer and business administration junior Reese Woodard, Operations Manager and business administration senior John Corotis, and Cal Poly alumnus and software engineer Quan Tran — created PolyRents aims to alleviate the stress of receiving and sending rental applications by streamlining the process for both landlords and tenants. A landlord product PolyRents’ core function is to digitize rental applications. The online platform consolidates all applications, ultimately simplifying the way landlords and property managers view the countless applications they receive. “Our whole business revolves around being able to quickly review tenants,” Wiese said. A common misconception of PolyRents is that it is geared toward the tenant; though PolyRents does provide added benefits to applicants with features like a single application for tenants planning to live together and the elimination of multiple forms, Wiese said, “PolyRents is a landlord product.” “For us, the most important

thing is building relationships with property managers and landlords because if they’re not on the system, if they’re not willing to use [PolyRents], it doesn’t work for anyone,” Wiese said. “We can’t solve the problem for tenants if the landlords aren’t on board.” The current application process for most rental units in San Luis Obispo involves a prolonged series of steps before lease agreements are officially signed. According to President and General Counsel Derek Banducci of California-West, Inc., the San Luis Obispo-based property management company for several apartments close to campus, applicants must first view the property with a representative from their company, then turn in completed applications and co-signer agreements. The applications are then processed, candidates are selected and approved applicants must come to the office with the deposit on-hand to sign the lease agreement. “Being able to better communicate with applicants would be of great benefit to us and also to applicants,” Banducci said. “I do anticipate that new technologies will improve our ability to communicate in the near future.” PolyRents currently has 10 betacustomers testing the program before it launches in spring. “We’re taking these landlords like a plate of hot chocolate chip cookies and they’re like, ‘Wow, I don’t have to deal with all the paperwork or unorganized applications, or people calling me to ask what their status is because it just takes care of it on the website,” Wiese said.

The students’ dilemma Running back-and-forth between several property management companies and coordinating the completion of all applications is an ordeal for students who are already burdened with other responsibilities. Those without efficient transportation to get off-campus, tour properties, hand in paperwork and return to sign the lease have an even harder time. Recreation, parks and tourism administration freshman Katie Essayan began the search for off-campus housing with her two future roommates last November. “The most difficult part was contacting people,” Essayan said. “Emailing doesn’t work, no one really replies. When you call, sometimes [landlords] don’t answer. You really have to take time out of your day to go and see them in person.” Four months and $65 in application fees later, Essayan has yet to sign the lease for an off-campus apartment. The story behind the startup The journey toward making PolyRents a reality has been filled with the inevitable challenges that most entrepreneurs must overcome in the startup world. The idea for PolyRents can be traced back to Wiese’s freshman year at Cal Poly, when he helped approximately 100 students find housing and recognized what he called the flawed rental application system in San Luis Obispo. Landlords can change their minds on a whim and competition is stiff, especially for units close to campus. “Unless you have a lease on hand, you keep looking because

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things change all the time,” Wiese said. PolyRents was initially not accepted into the CIE’s HotHouse Accelerator when it was pitched in spring of 2015. However, fully invested in his idea and convinced of the success that it could achieve, Wiese successfully pushed for accep-

tance into the program. There was a caveat: his team could use the office space and Accelerator resources, but they would not receive funding. Following a failed launch of PolyRents last winter, Wiese joined another project to regain confidence: Wiese helped bring TedX to Cal Poly for the

first time. After TedX’s successful run, Wiese recruited a new team and began to rebuild PolyRents. “Things take a lot longer than you expect,” Wiese said. “Take whatever time you think it’s going to take and multiply it by 10 and you’re in the ballpark. It’s the nature of startups.”



Greg Llamas @CPMustangNews

Greg Llamas is a journalism senior and Mustang News columnist. The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints and editorial coverage of Mustang News. It has become popular to bash superhero movies as being lazy and predictable. Sadly, this is because these things are true: the superhero genre has become creatively bankrupt during the rise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a constant barrage of superhero movies that all look and feel the same. After all, the story of most superhero movies these days is basically the same. The bad guy does something bad and the hero has to stop them from destroying a city. Maybe the hero’s origin story is thrown in. I can’t think of how many times I’ve seen that. So it may come as a surprise that “The LEGO Batman Movie,” a film aimed toward a young audience, is one of the few superhero movies in recent years to actually make an impression on me. Compared to the likes of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which is brooding, pretentious and just flat out bad, “The LEGO Batman

Movie” is lighthearted, while the central conflict still gives the movie weight. Content with living as a lonely vigilante, Batman’s (Will Arnett) way of life is threatened when new police commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) proposes a joint effort between the police force and Batman to fight crime. Batman’s life is thrown even more out of sync when his longtime enemy, the Joker (Zach Galifianakis), suspiciously turns himself in without a fight. Convinced that the Joker is scheming something, Batman and his accidentally-adopted son Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), who later becomes Robin, set out to send the Joker to the Phantom Zone, a prison that no villain can escape from. Batman’s personality in “The LEGO Batman Movie” is essentially the same as it is in “The LEGO Movie.” He’s as selfabsorbed and vain as ever and it’s genuinely entertaining. Seeing him go back and forth with Gordon and making fun of Robin feels more real than anything we’ve gotten from a Batman movie in quite some time. This egotistical personality is a welcome break from the brooding and emotional iterations of Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” Trilogy and

“Batman v Superman.” Arnett’s voice in “The LEGO Batman Movie” is also a great parody of the over-the-top deep voice Batman has in those films. Normally, I am quickly tired by a character whose main quirk is that they’re unabashedly vain; those characters are usually good for a couple laughs but fall flat and become unbearably obnoxious soon after they’re introduced. However, Batman’s egotism is compelling because it’s the driving force of the film and the main conflict. On the surface, it may seem like the Joker’s suspicious surrender and Batman’s attempt to stop this potential threat is the whole plot of “The LEGO Batman Movie.” But as Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) mentions to him, Batman has a fear of commitment and connecting with others, which is disguised by his commitment to being a badass loner. It’s been awhile since we’ve gotten a unique conflict in a superhero movie that isn’t “look at the damage superheroes can do” (“Batman v

Superman” and “Captain America: Civil War”) or “stop the bad guy from doing the bad thing” (every superhero movie ever). Honestly, I can’t think of a recent superhero movie where the most important conflict of the movie was internal. Part of the reason that it’s become trendy to make fun of superhero movies is because they don’t have any compelling main or side characters. Generally, the most you can expect from a superhero character is that they’re buff and beat up bad guys, with not much in terms depth. They may have a personality, like the sarcastic and witty nature of Tony Stark, but their character eventually ends the same way it starts. It felt worthwhile to watch “The LEGO Batman Movie” because I was seeing the transformation of a character and it was written in a way that didn’t feel forced. While the climax involves Batman fighting villains in Gotham, it is superseded by Batman’s inner conflict. Another element that helps Batman’s transformation of character is his rivalry with the Joker. Even though he hides his hatred for the Joker by saying that he doesn’t have a main enemy and likes to “fight around,” we get the sense throughout the film that Batman hates him much more than he lets on. After all, he tries to banish the Joker to a

prison he should never be able to escape from. Even though he’s not the insane genius that he is in “The Dark Knight,” the Joker in “The LEGO Batman Movie” is still intelligent enough to take advantage of Batman’s egocentric personality. While there’s much to like about “The LEGO Batman Movie,” there are times where the writers try to fit in too many LEGO versions of Warner Bros. villains. The Joker teams up with Voldemort (Eddie Izzard), King Kong (Seth Green) and the Eye of Sauron (Jemaine Clement). These types of crossovers worked better in “The LEGO Movie” than in “The LEGO Batman Movie,” since the latter takes place in a more contained universe. “The LEGO Batman Movie,” in addition to being a welcome reprieve from predictable superhero movies, is a godsend in the face of the current state of children’s entertainment. With the likes of the Minions being popular, it’s not hard to see what’s wrong with the industry. God has clearly forsaken us, as garbage such as “Despicable Me 3” and “The Emoji Movie,” designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator, will be released later this year. Thanks, “The LEGO Batman Movie.” Hopefully you’ll be able to tide me over until we get a kid’s movie that doesn’t suck.


HIP-HOP continued from page 1

“We have so many different personalities, so many different opinions and we operate democratically,” Kregness said. “So sometimes some peoples’ ideas don’t make it through, sometimes they do; that’s just the way it works. We decided that everything should be up to the input of the community, rather than one person taking the lead because this is for us. It’s not a platform, this a group.” For agricultural business sophomore Rohan Moorjani, being a part of the community means writing music, doing marketing for the event and making mixtapes. Moorjani performed six songs for Operation: Hip Hop. “I think it went really well,”

Moorjani said. “We had really good response from the crowd and a lot of people were really into the energy.” The crowd really got excited when the Cal Poly and UCSB BBoy teams took the stage, working the space with back spins, windmills and hand glides. Many rappers performed songs from their albums that were either just released on Soundcloud or are coming out in the future. The crowd went crazy when the Knowmads performed their song “Weed.” “I loved all the sets and the hype,” Flak Mob member Jonathan Sahyoun said. “We brought everyone in, the B-boys did well, the Knowmads killed it. It went really well, I really enjoyed it.” While the rappers themselves

enjoyed the night and agreed that the event turned out much better than last year’s event, they also agreed that despite increased marketing efforts, the turnout wasn’t as high as expected. “It was pretty much the same turnout as last year when we didn’t really try,” business administration sophomore Sahyoun said. “[But] we did a great job We brought all in all and we aren’t goeveryone in, the ing to be too B-boys did well, the critical right Knowmads killed it. now. I know people really JONATHAN SAHYOUN like this music, I just don’t think it reached enough people. Seven hundred [or] 1,000 people, that would be something.”


THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16 3:00 – 5:00 PM Join your colleagues to mingle at Myron’s and enjoy a Thai-inspired menu featuring Thai Larb, Moo Ping and Pad Thai as well as beer and wine for a cost of $5 per guest. For more info, visit CHRISTA L AM | MUSTA NG NE W S

LIVELY | Anthropology and geography junior Cat Cuthrell twirls a hula hoop during Operation: Hip Hop.



The best part of ballroom, especially at competitions, is the social nature of everyone involved. SKIDMORE

MUSTANG BALL continued from page 1

The rhythm dances featured more sharp and precise choreography. Popular styles like the cha cha, rumba and mambo are full of energy and usually feature faster music. For beginning competitors, the rules require dancers to stay with their partners, building trust between the leading and following dancer. In international style, dancers start with a straight leg and bend it with each step. Like American, there are standard dances that require dancers to travel across the floor and Latin American styles which keep the dancers in place. Some dances carry over to international style, with small changes in detail. The final style is night club. Far more causal and social, dances like the salsa, hustle, Argentine tango and merengue do not have a set range of moves or particular rules to follow. They feature more interaction and creativity. Newcomers and seasoned pros For some dancers, the Mustang Ball was their first time competing in ballroom dance. For others, the competition was like those they’ve seen many times before. The teams consisted of junior high school to collegiate levels. As the competition went on, more advanced dancers performed and movements went from being practiced

and precise to languid and creative. Judges critiqued the couples based on skills, presentation and showmanship. Each style was given two minutes of a song that fit the tempo needed for the type of dance. For example, the waltz had a triple meter while the jive was much faster. The couples were surprised each time with a new song. From classical jazz to orchestral tunes to popular modern songs, the dancers had to make whatever song they were given work with their dance. At the end of each division awards were given out to each pair. Time for fun The competition was not all serious. During the “Fun Event,” all dancers were welcomed onto the floor to dance with someone new. During the Team Dances, five schools competed in creative renditions of their favorite styles. Zombie samba had dancers falling across the floor and dancing like the undead. Variable speed Viennese caused some trip-ups as the tempo fluctuated. The themed rumba mixed styles, making contestants dance the rumba with the attitude of other dances like smooth West Coast swing or feet stomping Paso Doble. Cal Poly’s Ballroom Dance Team President Andrew Skidmore assisted in coordinating the event and competed in multiple sections.

“The best part of ballroom, especially at competitions, is the social nature of everyone involved,” architecture junior Skidmore said. “They’re free and willing to communicate no matter which year or school or level.” Students mixed and mingled between events. Though rivals on the dance floor, they shared amicable congratulations off the dance floor. The night ended with professional ballroom dancers and newlyweds Kris Suakjian and Briana Haft, showcasing incredible choreography and connection. The two danced as one with their complex lifts and spins. The Mustang Ball featured incredibly talented dancing by students from all over California and Arizona. The months of practice and preparation proved worthwhile as dancers left it on the dance floor for judges and audience to see.


TALENT AT ALL LEVELS | The competition featured dancers ranging from junior high to collegiate levels.


MASTERING IT ALL | Dance styles at the Mustang Ball included American, international and night club.


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| Some celebrities are beginning to show off their feminist chops, but some of their voices are falling flat as they miss the mark entirely.

STAFF REPORTERS Sydney Harder, Megan Schellong, James Hayes, Connor McCarthy, Elena Wasserman, Allison Royal, Cecilia Seiter, Brendan Matsuyama, Austin Linthicum, Sabrina Thompson, Nicole Horton, Carly Quinn, Greg Llamas, Olivia Doty, Frances Mylod-Vargas, Mikaela Duhs, Francois Rucki, Tyler Schilling, Erik Engle, Michael Frank, Tommy Tran COPY EDITORS Quinn Fish, Andi DiMatteo, Monique Geisen

Abbie Lauten-Scrivner @CPMustangNews

Abbie Lauten-Scrivner is a journalism sophomore and Mustang News columnist. The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints and editorial coverage of Mustang News. Recently, it seems as though the trendiest accessory celebrities are toting is feminism. It’s edgy, it’s bold and it looks great in a headline. On the one hand, it’s exciting that more and more celebrities are feeling empowered enough to claim an identity that was historically met with condemnation and violence. For individuals who are so susceptible to backlash from the public and the media, it takes bravery to risk their reputation and career in such a way. It’s definitely valuable for celebrity feminists for provide an amiable face to a movement often perceived as menacing. Their fame provides a simple introduction to feminism for an enormous audience that traditional feminist scholars would likely never reach. On the other hand, I find the particular narrative of feminism promoted by many pop stars to be so hollowed out and weak that it scarcely resembles feminism at all. Celebrity feminists often dilute feminist values into a bland, two-dimensional brand that is pleasant, palatable and extremely passive. Their feminism strives to avoid the political and the controversial through vague, nonconfrontational statements manufactured to appeal to the masses. Thus, it fails to challenge any specific institutionalized patriarchal norms that foster unequal environments for women. Feminism is about furthering intersectional equality. Dialogue that replaces the struggles of the marginalized with “squad goals” is not effective feminism. Advocating for “girl power” while accepting roles that reinforce sexism or racism, like Scarlett Johansson’s whitewashed portrayal in the film “Ghost in the Shell,” is not feminism. Collaborating with artists who degrade

women, like Miley Cyrus’s 2013 Video Music Awards (VMA) performance with Robin Thicke, is definitely not feminism. Feminism is not simply another name for female pride. While it certainly includes this, claiming to be a feminist mandates actual action toward equality. Celebrities identifying as feminists are making a political statement. They are committing to use their influential platforms to advocate for equity and respect. This is not to suggest that every individual must act one specific way to be truly included in “the feminist club,” but there are basic guidelines that form a feminist school of thought. Using the label of “feminist” to excuse any real effort toward change is a perversion of the movement itself. It reduces feminism to a flashy buzzword and publicity magnet. Like many trends, the recent spike in celebrity feminists can be traced back to the queen herself: Beyoncé. When she concluded her 2014 VMA performance against the backdrop of the word “FEMINIST” in dazzling lights, it became the performance of the year. Not wanting to be left in Bey’s dust, other stars quickly followed her example, many without attempting to understand what they pledged to advocate for. This caused the conversations of celebrity feminists to center almost exclusively around hardships faced by wealthy, white, cisgender, straight and able-bodied individuals. While such individuals’ experiences are valid, it is crucial that they do not overpower the voices of the marginalized. Because marginalized communities are so underrepresented in pop culture and Hollywood, celebrities have a unique insight into the disparity the industry so heavily relies upon. Seventy-nine percent of Hollywood films have more male roles than female ones. Just 28 percent of speaking roles

go to women of color, despite the fact that this group makes up 40 percent of the population. Coachella finally has its first female headliner in 10 years. One cannot claim to be an effective feminist while failing to hold their own industry accountable for prospering off of inequality. Lena Dunham’s self-proclaimed feminist show “Girls” is a prime example. While it should be celebrated as one of very few successful television shows that is about women, created by a woman and produced by a woman, it features an almost entirely white cast. Yet the show takes place in Brooklyn, the population of which is only 35 percent white. So-called feminism like this enforces the toxic narrative that feminism

Swift’s particular brand of feminism is almost exclusively limited to celebrating her “girl squad” — a group of wealthy, conventionally attractive cisgender women who are mostly white. She does little to expand her feminism to women who are not like her. Yet she continues to masquerade her shallow efforts behind the powerful label of “feminist.” A few celebrities are effectively using their distinctive platform to raise awareness of the institutional injustices they have suffered in their own lives and those of the less fortunate. Such stars stay politically and socially vocal via interviews, social media, activism and performances. Despite her worldwide fame, Rihanna managed to march alongside women in New York City for the Women’s March. Beyoncé regularly uses her art as a form of activism and harnessed her enormous wealth to donate $1.5 million to the Black Lives Matter movement. Laverne Cox frequently speaks about being black and transgender, and collaborated with feminist author and activist bell hooks on a discussion of the patriarchy. Following her famous United Nations speech, Emma Watson used her privilege to create a scholarship that seeks to unite intersectional feminist activists from around the world. Even more celebrities are calling out specific individuals for paying actresses far less than their male counterparts. Others draw attention to the shameful lack of roles for people of color. Individuals who feel emboldened enough to speak against Hollywood’s toxic norms are beginning to hold the industry accountable for fear that anyone could be exposed next. These inclusive acts that target precise institutional problems are what effective celebrity feminism looks like. It is so much more than an occasional, calculated but vaguely noncommittal tweet that superficially supports a movement.

Celebrity feminists often dilute feminist values into a bland, two-dimensional brand that is pleasant, palatable and extremely passive.

excludes women of color. Self-described feminist Taylor Swift promotes a similar narrative. When she tweeted support for the Women’s March, people were puzzled by the criticism she received from other feminists. Despite Swift’s commitment to her image as a politically engaged feminist, she is notoriously silent and absent when it comes to real conflicts. During the entirety of the 2016 election, she remained nonpartisan. Even after President Donald Trump’s pussy-grabbing statement was publicized, she had nothing to say. The day of the Women’s March, Swift gave her most political statement: a quick tweet in celebration of womanhood.

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Spring sports preview Ayrton Ostly @AyrtonOstly

With February halfway finished, Cal Poly spring sports teams are taking to their respective fields to start the season. Here’s what to look out for from the Mustangs this spring: Baseball 2016 record: 32-25 (12-12), fourth in Big West Conference The Mustangs had a relatively successful season last year, finishing with a winning record for the fifth time in the past six seasons. Six players made it to an All-Conference team: junior utility Brett Barbier (First Team), freshman catcher Nick Meyer (Second Team), junior third baseman Michael Sanderson (Second Team), junior pitcher Justin Calomeni (Second Team), freshman second baseman Kyle Marinconz (Honorable Mention) and senior outfielder John

Schuknecht (Honorable Mention). Meyer also took home the Big West Freshman Field Player of the Year award. This season, head coach Larry Lee leads a team loaded with young talent. Barbier and Schuknecht were drafted into the professional leagues, but Meyer and Marinconz, now sophomores, will step into their roles on offense. All three starting pitchers from last season — juniors Jarred Zill, Kyle Smith, and Erich Uelmen — return for another year on the mound. Despite their young and improving talent, the Mustangs were picked to finish fourth in conference in a coaches poll before the season. The Big West has two teams, Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara, ranked in the top 25 nationally, and defending runner-up Long Beach State is always a tough opponent. But with the pitching group more experienced than last season and Meyer

and Marinconz stepping up, this team could be one of the better teams Lee has coached in the past five years. Softball 2016 record: 27-23 (10-11), fifth in Big West Conference Last season was the breakout year for junior pitcher Sierra Hyland in the circle. She finished eighth in the country in ERA (1.19) and led the team with 29 RBI. After missing time due to injury, she’s back and surrounded by a team with talent at multiple positions and the most successful head coach in Cal Poly softball history, Jenny Condon. Hyland wasted no time in starting strong: During the team’s first weekend she threw a no-hitter and a perfect game. With her starting in the circle, Condon’s team can rely on a bevy of talented hitters: junior utility Stephanie Heyward (2016 Big West All-Conference First

Team), junior outfielder Amanda Sandoval, senior infielder Ashley Tornio and junior infielder Chelsea Convissar. Junior pitcher Lindsey Chalmers (2016 Big West All-Conference Honorable Mention) can also spell Hyland in the circle without much drop-off in production. The Mustangs were also picked to finish fourth by the Big West coaches, but if Hyland continues her early-season form and stays healthy, this team will have a shot at Condon’s third Big West title. Men’s golf 2016 finish: Second in Big West Conference Championship Last season ended close to glory for the Mustangs as they finished just three strokes behind winner UC Riverside in the Big West Championships. Junior Cole Nygren was also barely edged out for the individual championship, losing to UC Santa Barbara’s Brandon Bauman by

one stroke. This season, Nygren and fellow 2016 First Team All-Big West Conference selection Justin De Los Santos come back for their senior seasons. With junior Jesse Yap, there are three upperclassmen conference team selections leading the Mustangs this spring. After coming so close in both individual and team competitions, the Mustangs will again contend for the Big West title come May. Until then, Nygren, De Los Santos, Yap and the rest of the team will continue their good performance from the season so far. The fall portion of the season included a pair of top-five team finishes and the team finished third on Tuesday’s Pro Compression Invitational in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Women’s golf 2016 finish: Second in Big West Conference Championship Similar to the men’s team, the

women were narrowly edged out by UC Riverside for the Big West Championship. Despite having more top-10 finishers (three) than the Highlanders, the Mustangs lost on the final day by blowing a three-stroke lead to finish four back from the winners. Second place in the championship was the best finish ever for the team, earning coach Sofie Aargaard Big West Women’s Golf Coach of the Year last season. Although the Mustangs lost Second Team All-Big West player Madison Hirsh to graduation, junior Desiree Gillaspy and the rest of the team haven’t skipped a beat. The team has finished in the top two in four of its six tournaments so far this season. Two wins at the Hobble Creek Fall Classic in fall and the Battle at the Rock on Tuesday put the team in good position to improve on their second place last year.


Feb 16, 2017  
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