BROADSIDE AND CONNECT2MASON PRESENT
FOURTH ESTATE George Mason University’s oﬃcial student news outlet Sept. 16, 2013 | Volume 1 Issue 3
Kappa Sigma brother represents fraternity in Richmond NASCAR race | page 17 (COURTESY OF PAUL ECKELMAN/KAPPA SIG NATIONALS)
Sept. 16, 2013
In this issue
Letter from the Editor-in-Chief
COLLEEN WILSON EDITOR-IN-CHIEF email@example.com
Cadets act as first line of defense for Mason Police
New greenhouse offers home to research plants
Wake up with a cup of Joe at our favorite local coffee houses
Dance major Sajen Banister shares her summer internship at the Kennedy Center in Mason makes careers
Every year when the US News and World Report releases their rankings of the Best Colleges in the country, universities fawn over the numbers as if they had found Regina George’s burn book with a gold star on their page. But this isn’t high school. The ballgame at college is not about rankings and popularity contests; it’s about real results. The US News and World Report compiles rankings based on a wide range of factors, but it is cold and formulaic and just doesn’t seem to capture the beauty and depth of any of the schools on the list. My experience at Mason has nothing to do with retention rates or SAT scores. For me, my time here will be framed by the class that pushed me out of my boundaries, the professor who went out of his way to meet me for coffee and catch up and the sense of home and belonging I feel on the Fairfax campus. But I know that not everyone
will feel that way about Mason, and that’s okay. In fact, I think that’s our best feature. Some are here for the easy access to internships in D.C., others because the commute makes Mason an affordable alternative. I just can’t believe that any of us are here because of a ranked list that fluctuates each year and doesn’t seem to have any lasting value. I’m not trying to undersell Mason’s achievement as number 141 out of 150. Only four Virginia schools made the list, including Virginia Tech, UVA and William and Mary, so I actually consider it to be quite an accomplishment. But there is a big difference between a sense of pride and accomplishment over an award and a sense of validation. I did not need US News and World Report to tell me that I am a student at one of the best universities in the country. On page 14, columnist Nate Falk speaks at length about the pride and joy he felt when he heard that Mason made spot number 141. I’m happy for him, but I have to take offense at his broad association between university pride and a third-party ranking. I’ve never felt like an idiot for enrolling at, or attending, Mason. I’m proud of Mason for being
the youngest four-year university in the state and still managing to keep up with our antique counterparts. I’m proud of Mason for providing a diverse and unique learning environment that feels comfortable. I’m proud of Mason for encouraging student feedback and letting us help shape the school’s future. For those students who need the justification of a report based off of criteria like freshman retention rate, six year graduation rate and class size, I hope you find richness in your college experience beyond statistics. This recognition is not the kind of thing Mason should be striving for. Let’s be honest, no one is ever going to complain over any sort of award or recognition. I’ll take an A in any class, from advanced physics to rudimentary English. But the important part is the take away. Luckily, fancy plaques and banners on the wall don’t seem to be our administration’s focus. I hope to see Mason continue its path to success by the beat of its own drum, complete with a band of middle-aged students, six-year graduation rates and all of our non-traditional statistics.
Why FOURTH ESTATE ? Prior to Broadside, the student newspaper was called The Gunston Ledger. It was changed in 1969 to better represent the politically out-spoken student body at the time. A “broadside” was a pamphlet used during the American Revolutionary War to help spread information. While Broadside has become an important part of life at Mason, we believe it no longer represents the overarching goals of student-run news. Though not specifically outlined like the three branches of government, the concept of a fourth estate referred to journalism and the media as an important tenet in upholding justice and liberty through establishing an informed public. These historic roots coincide with the transforming industry of modern journalism.
Sept. 16, 2013
Newsbriefs School of Law professors announced Two School of Law professors were announced on Sept. 12; Douglas H. Ginsburg and Damien Geradin. Ginsburg currently serves as the senior Circuit Court Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. region. Ginsburg also previously taught at New York University’s Law School and Harvard Law School. Geradin taught law at the University of Michigan.
Research center cited in Washington Post article In a Washington Post article, research from Mason’s Center for Analysis was cited on the possible outcomes for how baby boomers relocating will affect the Washington-area economy. If baby boomers leave their longtime residencies, David Versel, a senior research associate said, the housing market in the area would change. If the baby boomers remain in their homes, local government will feel pressure to provide services for aging citizens.
Sept. 9 corrections
Photo of the Week: Like you
(AMY ROSE/FOURTH ESTATE)
In recognition of Suicide Awareness Week, Active Minds hosted “What Would a Friend Say” in the Johnson Center. Students could share their thoughts by writing on the table.
In “Exceeding expectations: a second look at the figures shows a new model of education at Mason” on page 5, the graphic incorrectly said that Mason has an 86 percent graduation rate. The figure is actually Mason’s retention rate for the 2011 cohort. The data comes from the Office of Institutional Research and Reporting, irr.gmu.edu.
What do you think about unpaid internships?
“As long as the person is learning something from it, it’s okay. My brother, for example, is doing one right now, and he’s learning new stuff.” Gerardo Morales, Business, sophomore
"It depends on what they are. If they're for a company that's sort of a specialized thing and they're a good way of getting experience, that can be one thing. It seems like for the most part, if it's technical enough to be useful and you're doing that kind of work, that seems like something you should get paid for. Unless they were offering you some other sort of compensation like a fast track to getting employed there, then it's probably not worth it," Kelsey Gardner, Computer Science, senior
“It’s okay if it’s a good learning experience for someone. As long as they’re not taken advantage of.”
“I would not work for an unpaid internship. If I’m working I should be getting paid.”
Mikayla McKee, Dance, freshman
Anna Strider, Tourism and Event Planning, freshman
Sept. 16, 2013
Cadets act as eyes and ears of police department
(JENNY KRASHIN/FOURTH ESTATE)
Police cadets patrol campus and alert Mason police of any suspicious or deviant activity. Their duties also include locking and unlocking doors, supervising events and providing escorts for students. AMY WOOLSEY STAFF WRITER Mason Police are a fixture on campus, frequently seen roving the streets in white sedans marked with green and gold and standing guard by campus buildings. The police cadets, who are students, are distinguished from them only by the miniature radios on their shoulders and the block letters on the backs of their beige shirts. Although located in Nottoway Annex, far away from the police department headquarters at the Rappahanock Parking Deck, the Police Cadet Program has evolved into a major component of the University Police Department since its inception in 2003. Since they are not sworn employees of the police department, cadets do not have powers of arrest. Rather than getting directly involved in rule enforcement, they simply provide additional support to the university police. “They are the eyes and ears of the police department,” said Officer-In-Charge Philip Surber, an officer with the University Police
Department assigned to oversee the program. The cadets have a variety of responsibilities. Most notably, they patrol the campus on foot and in university vehicles, keeping their eyes open for any suspicious or deviant activity, as well as helping direct the flow of traffic on Mason’s busy roads. Other duties include monitoring the dining facilities, locking and unlocking the doors of university buildings, supervising events and providing nighttime escorts for students who might feel uncomfortable walking to their dorms or cars on their own. The program hires new cadets every semester. Ben Charnrissuragul, a senior majoring in criminology, law and society, joined after seeing a flyer posted on campus. “The reason I joined was because I was too old to join the Fairfax County Police cadet program, and for this cadet program, there was no age restriction for it,” Charnrissuragul said. “As long as you are a student, you are able to become a cadet, so I hopped on the opportunity once I saw it.” Joining the program is an involved and
somewhat complicated process. After completing the online application, candidates have to go through two interviews: one via telephone and another in person. They have to pass a polygraph test and a background investigation as well. Cadets are required to have clean criminal and driving records and must have not used illegal drugs at any point in the past year. Even after getting accepted, they must undergo a rigorous 102-hour training program before becoming official cadets. Nonetheless, students are drawn to the cadet program for a variety of reasons. Members get paid $10 an hour, and the program is a good résumé builder for those interested in law enforcement. “A lot of students in the program are criminology majors, so this gives them an opportunity to work in a real police station,” Surber said. Charnrissuragul has little to complain about his role. He enjoys interacting with his fellow cadets and others in the Mason community. However, he does acknowledge one
downside. “There are parts of the job where you do see the bad in people,” Charnrissuragul said. “I guess, especially during traffic with pedestrians just not crossing, crossing without being told to. Sometimes [people in cars] do give us the finger, shout at us, scream at us, because we’re not letting them go through, but at the end of the day, there’s only so much we can do with the amount of traffic that comes in.” Surber, who only joined the program recently, also remarked that the cadets often report getting negative vibes from other students. “I guess people see the patches and associate them with the police department,” Surber said. “They don’t really trust the cadets; [they] think they’re out to get them into trouble.” The cadets are engaged in ongoing efforts to build a more trusting relationship with the rest of Mason by helping to maintain a secure campus environment and working closely with the local community.
Sept. 16, 2013
Student conduct revises firstoﬀense marijuana policy ELLEN GLICKMAN STAFF WRITER Last semester, Student Government met with the Office of Student Conduct to discuss a marijuana sanction issue bothering the student body. “I’ve been in Student Government for four years,” senior Attorney General Rachel Grimesey said. “This comes up every single year, but it’s always dropped because a new administration, a new group of students come in, but every year we’re seeing the same issues.” According to Grimesey, students’ biggest concern was harsh sanctions for a first violation of marijuana possession. “Students are not happy with the way the first sanction was administered,” Grimesey said. “So oftentimes for their first possession of marijuana sanction, they would be permanently removed from housing and removed for the semester.” Alongside other members of Student Government, Grimesey collaborated with university offices to find a solution that satisfied both parties. “Last year, we had the opportunity to sit down with Brent Ericson, who is the director of Student Conduct,” Grimesey said. “He’s very open-minded, very willing to work with students. We sat down and had a discussion about [the drug policy]...That was kind of the beginning of evaluating it having
student voice.” While the policy’s wording has changed little from previous years, slight changes could reflect a new outlook toward first violation sanctioning. Concerning expulsion from residence halls, the old policy states a student is likely to be evicted from the residence halls for one year. The new policy mentions that a one semester suspension will probably be the standard. According to Todd Rose, associate dean of University Life, students should not count on this new standard. “Anytime a student gets disciplined for a violation of policy we take into account a couple of things,” Rose said. “Two students who may not have the very same penalty or sanction because of policy violation may have a different context in which that happens.” Rose also stressed that any changes in the sanctions will only be for students with their first possession violation. Students facing a second violation or a distributing/intent-to-sell charge will face the same range of penalties from previous years. The main change for first possession violations is a turn towards more education-oriented penalties. “The goal of the Office of Student Conduct is to enhance student learning, improve decision making and better the Mason community,” Ericson said via email. “Our hope is that with a greater emphasis on educational sanctions, students
Student Government continues work on student bill of rights REEM NADEEM MAHMOUD BEAT REPORTER Since the start of fall semester, Student Government has been busy with numerous projects, the largest of which is the completion of a student bill of rights, pioneered by the attorney general. “Last year there was a different attorney general under a different cabinet, so I have his old document, but it’s very formal and there wasn’t really a plan for it under the old executive group,” said Rachel Grimesey, current attorney general. “We have a broader plan for it and what we want to do but it hasn’t been written yet.” The new bill of rights aims to establish clarity with policies and address concerns many students have had. The goal for the document is accessibility to students and establishing a set of rights and policies agreed upon by both students and administration. “We want it to be kind of an agreement of procedural and expected rights that students have in the judicial systems on campus,” Grimesey said. The bill of rights, however, will not be a legal document. It will serve more as an
understanding between the student body and the administration. “A lot of it will be taking Virginia and federal laws and making it into a condensed, understandable version that is relevant to what students deal with on a day to day basis,” Grimesey said. The document is still in its research stage but Grimesey plans to have the bill of rights finished or close to being finished by the end of the fall semester before being presented to students and administration. It should be finalized by the end of May 2014. “We have to hold a town hall before we present to the [student] senate to vote. So students are going to have to be notified. Whether people show up is up to them, but we will have to advertise two weeks in advance,” said Matthew Short, secretary of university services. Until then, Grimesey is taking suggestions and concerns through email and during office hours. “It’s work in progress. We’re all really excited about it. We just keep building and building on top of it so that’s why it hasn’t be written yet,” Grimesey said. “It’s going to be a long process I think, but that’s a good thing.”
(ILLUSTRATION BY COLLEEN WILSON/FOURTH ESTATE)
will avoid making future decisions that may negatively impact their educational careers.” Grimesey attributed the successful cooperation to organized discourse and a changing nation. “I think a lot of it was organization [and] timing and national trends have effected it,” Grimesey said. “I think it’s very true something Dr. Ericson said - five to ten years ago we would not be having this discussion. This wouldn’t even be possible”.
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Sept. 16, 2013
Student-run websites provide alternatives to find dining and laundry availability Students create their own resources after frustration with university-run sites (JENNY KRASHIN/FOURTH ESTATE)
Aaron Hunter and Garrett McNamara created FoodFinder, a website that lists campus dining locations that are currently open. They created the site after realizing the Mason Hour of Operation site was cluttered and hard to navigate. JULIANNE WOODSON STAFF WRITER If time is money, then these three students are out to save a couple bucks. Tyler Hallada, Garrett McNamara and Aaron Hunter have created alternatives to Mason Dining’s Hours of Operation and eSuds websites in order to quickly convey information to busy students. Hallada, a junior at Northeastern University and former Mason student, created GMU Laundry, a website that provides washer and dryer availability details for Mason’s laundry rooms. McNamara and Hunter, both graduate students at Mason, co-created FoodFinder, a website dedicated to showing students open dining venues. FoodFinder allows students to see what dining venues are open on campus at any given time in an easy-to-navigate list. It was created as an alternative to the Hours of Operation page that Mason’s Dining Services runs on its website. “It’s really supposed to be a simple answer to the question ‘where can I eat right now?’” said McNamara, who is currently earning his master’s in applied information technology. “It’s really hard to find out where you can eat
because what you get from the Dining Services website is a big list of open and close hours. It’s not really sorted in any way.” Hunter, who is earning his master’s in computer engineering, and McNamara launched FoodFinder in February. The website’s display is relatively simple, showing a list of all dining options open at the time of user access. According to Hunter, the website automatically weeds out venues that are closed, allowing users to determine what is available with just a quick glance to avoid “digging through the dining page.” Hallada, a computer science major, has a similar goal of simplicity with his website GMU Laundry. GMU Laundry was launched last semester in April. It shows the number of washers and dryers that are taken and available in a dorm’s laundry room. This information is the same basic data that eSuds, Mason’s laundry availability website, provides. However, Hallada believes that the design of eSuds is cluttered, so he programmed his website to be a simpler experience. “I wanted to build something that you could visually understand in under five seconds. It’s very minimalistic,” Hallada said.
The website is a single page containing a drop-down menu where a user can select his or her laundry room preference. The number of washers and dryers available in that area is then presented in basic graph format. Users of the social media website Reddit may already be familiar with these two websites. Both GMU Laundry and FoodFinder were posted on Mason’s subreddit after being launched last semester. Hallada, McNamara and Hunter have all reported that feedback on their websites has been mainly positive. “So, right off the bat, the GMU subreddit really liked [FoodFinder] and it was at the top spot for a couple of days,” McNamara said. Hallada in turn saw a spike in his website’s page views after he posted a link to GMU Laundry in Mason’s subreddit. With the popularity of their site increasing, McNamara and Hunter hope to expand to potentially include features such as a warning system that tells users when dining venues are about to close and increased accuracy during holidays when dining locations have varied hours. There is also potential for a FoodFinder mobile app.
Both of these websites were created to ensure that busy students have quick and convenient access to important dining and laundry information. “At the end of the day I was happy to make something that I myself found useful,” Hunter said. Visit GMU Laundry http://hallada.net/ laundry/
Visit FoodFinder http://www.gmu.foodfinder.me/
Sept. 16, 2013
Reserve program oﬀers textbooks on loan JAKE CHAVARA ADMIN. REPORTER According to a report from the Government Accountability Office, college textbook prices have risen in step with tuition increases at nearly twice the annual rate of inflation. However, this trend may fade as a growing number of students and universities seek more affordable methods. This fall, Mason began to offer its own solution. To mitigate the financial burden that rising textbook costs place upon students, University Libraries is debuting a free textbook checkout service for all 100- and 200-level classes that satisfy general education requirements. The textbooks will be put on reserve at the Johnson Center library. “The library isn’t renting textbooks to students,” said David Gibbs, the head of Collection Development & Preservation. “We’re buying them from the bookstore and putting them on reserve at the Johnson Center library for two-hour checkout at no charge.” Textbooks are put on hold behind the JC circulation desk and organized by class number. To checkout a book you need, simply look up the textbook’s call number, found on the library online catalog, and provide the information to an available librarian at the desk. The “Reserves Project” came to fruition based on recommendations of a task force on textbook affordability convened by Provost Stearns last year. According to Diane Smith, associate
university librarian for research and educational services, the service has been very popular so far. “The concern was with [helping] students who are first coming to the university,“ Smith said. “So we said start with low level classes everybody has to take.” This project was paid for by the library materials budget. The bookstore also contributed by offering a substantial discount on most material. While no text under $20 was purchased, multiple volumes of the same text will be available for checkout to accommodate for the numerous students in large general education classes where enrollment exceeds 500 students. “The libraries had already been putting engineering textbooks on reserve, and that was successful and popular, so this was a natural extension of that project,” Gibbs said. “We know that high textbook costs are an issue for students, and we wanted to do our part to help.” Presently, the Reserves Project will be capped to include just the texts for general education courses as well as some 300 level English courses. Gibbs notes that the potential to expand to include higher-level material is being considered for the future. “We will be studying usage and effectiveness of the program at the end of the [Fall] semester,” Gibbs said. “If it’s successful, we may look at expanding the program in the spring.” (ILLUSTRATION BY WALTER MARTINEZ/FOURTH ESTATE)
FREE TICKETS FOR MASON STUDENTS! VISUAL VOICES SPEAKER SERIES Media, Art, and Money: Alyce’s Adventures in the Screen(s) Trades Alyce Myatt, speaker September 19 at 7:30 p.m. FREE HT PETER NERO - Classic Connections September 21 at 8 p.m. $44, $52, $60 HC 2 Free Tickets per ID avail. NOW FAIRFAX SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA September 21 at 8 p.m. $25, $45, $60 CA 1 Free Ticket per ID avail. NOW
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Sept. 16, 2013
Fourth Estate is on Twitter Follow along @IVEstate for the latest news and notes around Mason
(JENNY KRASHIN/FOURTH ESTATE)
Greenhouse technology provides plant security MEGAN REIFFENBERGER STAFF WRITER Home to several varieties of aquatic and desert plants, the greenhouse on top of Exploratory Hall operates 365 days a year to keep these plants alive and healthy. As part of the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, the greenhouse enables students majoring in biology or ecology to learn more about plants and how to grow them. According to ESP Greenhouse Manager Monica Marcelli, the types of plants vary from ferns, bryophytes,(mosses, liverworts, and hornworts), angiosperms (flowering plants) and gymnosperms (plants that produce naked seeds). In the greenhouse, the temperature and climate can be reset so that each plant is able to adapt to the new surroundings. According to Marcelli, the plants in the greenhouse hold many purposes for the university. “The greenhouse provides plants for many biology labs,” Marcelli said. “Students experiment on the plants we grow, and the plants can be used for research and teaching purposes. We also grow and care for the seedlings used for the Potomac Heights vegetable garden. Once the seedlings are strong enough, they are transported to the field.” Marcelli said many of the workers who
come into the greenhouse are biology majors who know about the plants and how to care for them. Students of any major can volunteer to take care of the plants. These workers and volunteers come in every day of the year to ensure the plants’ survival. Even during holidays and breaks, the plants must be attended to. “I feel more secure with the newer greenhouse because of the newer technology it has,” Marcelli said. “Sometimes the heating and cooling systems in the greenhouse fail and we have to attend to the plants immediately. With new technology, if any of the temperature settings fail, we receive a text message alert so we know we must tend to the plants. It makes me feel much more relaxed about how the plants are doing. We also have a back up generator if the power were to go out on us.” Some of the plants in the greenhouse are grown for purposes beyond those at Mason. The greenhouse collaborates with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and other institutions on plant-related projects. The labs also grow produce such as tomato, tobacco and radish plants to study the eating patterns of tobacco hornworm larvae. The extra plants grown during these experiments are donated to other institutions to be used for other research and projects.
Student organizations bolster Mason’s gaming culture
(AMY ROSE/FOURTH ESTATE)
NATHAN AMMONS LIFESTYLE EDITOR According to a recent Pew Internet Research study, 70 percent of college students play video games “once in a while.” The study attempted to shed some light upon the scarcely researched phenomena of gaming in college. On Mason’s campus, popular online games such as League of Legends and Starcraft have developed a unique gaming culture. Two student-gamer Organizations, eSports, a competitive gaming club, and Game Analysis and Design Interest Group, or GADIG, have amassed a generous following amongst the student body. As Mason has grown to accommodate more on-campus students, the on-campus gaming culture has grown to match it. Despite their increase in number, gamers on campus have to deal with the stereotype that tags all those who partake in virtual reality as “anti-social” or “loners.” Melanie Miles, a sophomore English major, believes that gamers on and off campus must
deal with stigma. “There’s always a stigma attached to gaming everywhere you go. That’s probably because the people that stick out as gamers are the ones that allow it to take over their lives,” Miles said. Ever since it was revealed that Seung-Hui Cho, the student responsible for the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, played violent video games in his dorm room. Video game critics have pointed fingers at games such as “Counter-Strike” as the cause. Miles rebukes this suspicion. “There are tons of people walking around every day on this campus - showing no immediate indication of being gamers - that have logged well over 100 hours of their lives into video games. No one thinks of those people, though, because they lead normal, social, responsible lives,” Miles said. Many gamers also face the stereotype of the irresponsible shut-in. According to the Pew Research poll, almost half of the respondents said playing video games keeps them from studying “some” or “a lot” of the time. Alex Holton, a sophomore graphic design
major, admits that his gaming occasionally got in the way of his studies. “I waited until the night before to begin a rather long research paper during my first semester because I procrastinated by gaming,” Holton said. Although he concedes that gaming might have hindered his studies in his freshman year, he says his gaming habits have become tamer with time. “I am the current president of AIGA-GMU, the GMU chapter of AIGA, a national graphic design organization,” Holton said. “It has opened my eyes to noticing and accepting opportunities when they present themselves. I’m much more cautious about letting gaming get in the way of those opportunities”. While gaming can seem like a distraction, it can also be beneficial in a student’s life. In the Pew Research poll, 36 percent of participants indicated they felt pleasant while playing games, and 45 percent said they felt challenged. Playing video games can be conducive to a good learning environment since students feel more willing to study when they are in a good mood and are better at retaining information
when their brains are regularly exercised. Gaming can also create a very social environment. For example, one of Mason’s most prominent student organizations is GMU eSports, which fosters camaraderie amongst its members through competitive gaming. Jonathon Aslanian, the founder of eSports, believes gaming culture can bring people together. “I definitely think there is a [gaming culture] emerging on campus, starting with a tight knit group playing Starcraft and expanding into a spectator sport with tournaments and prize pools,” Aslanian said. By hosting regular gaming competitions at Cornerpocket in the HUB, Aslanian’s organization focuses on bringing students together, both on and off campus, and encouraging friendship through competitive gaming. “Not every gamer is anti-social. If they are, they are aware of it. Some of them are working to fix it, others don’t care,” Holton said.
Sept. 16, 2013
Published student author finishes Staying safe on second science fiction book and off campus
Avoid becoming a victim of a crime by following these simple tips from the police and other on-campus oﬃces:
MARK ZALASKUS STAFF WRITER Ryan Pfeifle, a sophomore double majoring in astrophysics and public administration, recently finished his second full length science fiction novel, The October Virus. The October Virus takes place 800 years in the future and centers around multiple military units commanded by the United Nations focused on colonizing foreign worlds. After Earth comes into contact with a newly colonized planet, the main characters discover a violent virus that has stowed away onboard a returning ship. Eventually, the virus spreads and the community reacts. While The October Virus is classified as a science fiction novel, Pfeifle uses elements of action, adventure and horror as significant cornerstones in his novel. “It dives into how the virus takes hold and what happens to them during that process,” Pfeifle said. Pfeifle indicated that the reader will experience multiple viewpoints and story lines within his novel. “One of the main perspectives that you will see is the commander of one of the squads,” Pfeifle said. Pfeifle mentions that the perspective bounces between different characters’ unique story lines and their families, all of whom are influenced by the virus outbreak. Pfeifle’s initial inspiration for The October Virus developed with the conceptualization of a character that he created in middle school. “Somewhere along the line, I had a small idea for a storyline, and the character fit. I was really excited because finally I could use this guy,” Pfeifle said. When writing The October Virus, Pfeifle aimed to involve his degree programs as much as possible. “Even though most people are not physics savvy, I try to mention as much as I can,” says Pfeifle about explaining the internal operations of a spacecraft mentioned in the novel. He mentions that the largest portion of his writing was completed during his senior year of high school, specifically during the National Novel Writing Month, which occurs annually in November. However, he did not complete the The October Virus until July of 2013, due to “running out of juice.”
1. “See something, say something,” said Deputy Bruce Jackson. He stressed that it is the job of the Mason Police to look into anything you may find suspicious.
2. Be aware of your surroundings. “One thing I wish students would do is remove the headphones and put the cell phone in your pocket,” Jackson said.
3. Stay within well-lit areas and areas that you know. Jackson encouraged students to use the Mason Escort service. “Call the police department at any time of the day and a police cadet or on duty oﬃcer will escort you to and from your destination,” Jackson Said.
4. Keep a look out for your peers. “Step in when someone is trying to make an advance,” said Hope Salvolainen, WAVES Coordinator.
(PHOTO COURTESY OF RYAN PFEIFLE)
Ryan Pfeifle, sophomore, just finished his second novel, a science fiction tale called The October Virus. After a struggle with writer’s block, Pfeifle added more plot line to develop a more finished product. “Once you get through that block, your mind starts working around issues, and you can find ways to streamline the plot to make it better,” Pfeifle said. After he makes final tweaks to The October Virus, Pfeifle hopes to send a completed manuscript to agents to seek publication. He is currently seeking agents for his first novel, You Are Not Alone, a thriller about a global war focusing on a group
of friends attempting to survive against looters and other factions after a worldwide missile attack. Pfeifle cites Michael Crichton, American best-selling author of Jurassic Park, as his biggest influence. “He had a career as a writer, but also a professor,” Pfeifle said. Pfeifle mentioned that if his books gain a following, he will follow in Crichton’s footsteps and pursue his science fiction writing as a career.
5. Walk with purpose and travel in groups.
6. Be aware of who is in your group. Sexual assault crimes often happen within the people you are around, explained Savolainen.
7. Jackson recommends keeping your belongings with you. Students often decide they need to use the restroom and leave their belongings behind opening themselves to crimes of opportunity.
Sept. 16, 2013
Customize your morning mug
(PHOTO BY MAURICE C JONES/FOURTH ESTATE)
Behind the letters Greek organizations begin fall recruitment MARY OAKEY LIFESTYLE EDITOR Rush Week has arrived at Mason’s Fairfax campus, and with that the Kiosks in the JC are filled with almost every Greek organization and brothers and sisters have taken over North Plaza to hand out flyers and stickers to promote their organization. With over 35 sororities and fraternities on campus, it is easy to see why students looking to rush could feel overwhelmed. Students may even believe that sorority and fraternity life is only about wearing letters around campus and throwing get-togethers on the weekends. But, at Mason, that’s not the case. “For me, rush was really a spur of the moment kind of thing,” said Niki Luong, an active sister of the Kappa Phi Lambda sorority. “I had no intention of joining one, even before college.” Kappa Phi Lambda is one of Mason’s multicultural sororities on campus. The sorority, while an Asian-interest sorority, is not exclusive and accepts sisters of all different backgrounds and ethnicities. “We have Cambodian, French, Mongolian, Vietnamese and Chinese. We also have Thai as well so there are a lot of ethnicities in our group,” Luong said. Kappa Phi Lambda is just one part of Mason’s diverse Greek life. The list of available groups spreads across the board from religiously-based fraternities to co-ed fraternities, service fraternities, business fraternities, cultural fraternities and sororities and social fraternities and sororities. While Mason has the standard Pan-Hellenic sorority and fraternity organizations on campus, there are many that are not a part of Pan-Hellenic society that are on the rise. “That corner stone with service, along with leadership and friendship is really what I think differentiates APO from other Greek Lettered organizations,” said Saber Chowdhury, Alpha Phi Omega’s mediation coordinator. Alpha Phi Omega is Mason’s co-ed service fraternity on campus. Focusing on the values of service, leadership and
friendship, this newer co-ed fraternity is high on the rise. With a requirement of each brother completing 25 hours of service and each pledge completing 15 hours of service, Alpha Phi Omega holds strong to their values centered in serving the community. “One of our main aﬃliates are the Boys and Girl Scouts of America, and we do have certain traditional service ones like the Brides Against Breast Cancer, the Petsmart in Chantilly,” Chowdhury said. Every fraternity and sorority on campus has their own set of values they want their pledges and their brothers to uphold. For social fraternities like Pi Kappa Alpha, better known as PIKE, they stand by their four pillars to be scholars, leaders, athletes and gentlemen. For the Alpha Xi Delta sorority, their values center on sisterhood, leadership and service to the community. Brothers of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, one of Mason’s Jewish fraternities, have similar values to other brotherhoods on campus but also center their focus on cultural matters. “We have core values like helpfulness and honesty,” said Erez Cramer, the president of Alpha Epsilon Pi. “Our focus tends to be different when it comes to philanthropy and other types of things within our education. A lot of our philanthropy has to do with stuff regarding Israel and other Jewish causes, although we also do causes for the communities like Relay for Life.” Joining a fraternity or a sorority on campus has even helped some members improve upon themselves beyond the social atmosphere. “I am still an introverted person, but the sorority really taught me not only to work with many different organizations of people, but also to be more open minded and just motivated me to do a lot more and be a lot more active,” said Ada Yang, a current Kappa Phi Lambda sister. Her fellow sister Anna Chun agrees. “I actually joined last fall semester,” Chun said. “I actually knew a lot of the people in the sorority before I became a sister and you know them being in the sorority and outside of a sorority they’re still the same person.”
(KAYLA COHEN/FOURTH ESTATE)
KAYLA COHEN STAFF WRITER Whether I’m running from work to class or trying to keep up with my Border Collie, I’m always on the move. Eating and drinking on the go is inevitable, which causes my little Civic to sometimes look like a tornado hit a recycling plant. When I was out shopping last week, I saw the cutest Vera Bradley to-go coffee mugs and I was instantly obsessed, but not with the price. $23 for a plastic cup—you’ve got to be kidding me. Then I realized I could totally make a cute to-go cup on my own for a substantially lower price. I went to the Dollar Store and found design your own to-go coffee mugs for a dollar, and that was all I needed to spend. A dollar for a cup I could use every day? That is definitely worth it. I went home and pulled out Mod Podge, scrapbook paper and glitter from my past projects and I was ready to go. First, I pulled out the paper insert from the mug and used it as a stencil for the scrapbook paper I wanted to use. When I finished tracing it, I cut out the shape from the scrapbook paper and added a little glitter to random sections for a little something extra. I waited a few minutes until I was sure it was dry and placed it inside the mug where I pulled out the original sheet. After I made my first to-go mug I made a few more so I’d always have extras. They’re cute, stylish and were so easy to make. Since the paper insert is between two walls of plastic, you never have to worry about ruining the design when washing them. The best part is that they’re so inexpensive to make that you can purchase them with change you have lying around. The mugs can also be great presents. You can easily fill them with small candies like Hershey Kisses and give them to a family member, friend or co-worker. I’m in love with my new to-go coffee mugs and use them on a daily basis. My car will never be mistaken for overflow of a recycling bin again.
Sept. 16, 2013
ROAD TRIP Coﬀee shops FRANK MURACA EXECUTIVE EDITOR
Beanetics 7028 Columbia Pike, Annandale Hours: Mon - Thu: 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. Fri - Sat: 7 a.m - 9 p.m. Sun: 8:30 a.m - 6 p.m. Why we love it: Visually, Beanetics is very unique. Walking in, you can see the area where the coffee is roasted in a large metallic machine. To have your coffee roasted feet away from where it’s brewed gives Beanetics a great taste.
29th Parallel Coﬀee & Tea 10160 Fairfax Boulevard, Fairfax Hours: Mon - Sun: 6:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. Why we love it: 29th Parallel puts a lot of work into each individual cup of coffee. Using the manual pour-over method, this is one of the best places to get a quality cup of Joe.
(JENNY KRASHIN/FOURTH ESTATE)
(VERNON MILES/FOURTH ESTATE)
American Bistro & Coﬀeehouse 10407 Main Street, Fairfax Hours: Mon - Thu: 7 a,m. - 9 p.m. Fri: 7 a.m. - 11 p.m. Sat: 9 a.m. - 11 p.m. Sun: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Why we love it: Located right in Old Town Fairfax, American Bistro offers many discounts to students and provides a very laid back environment. They are open late on weeknights and even host musical events from time to time.
Coﬀeesmiths 13924 Metrotech Drive, Chantilly Hours: Mon - Sat: 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. Sun: 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. Why we love it: Coffeesmiths offers a lot when it comes to food. Some of their pastries are influenced by Asian cuisine, a rarity for coffee shops.
Sept. 16, 2013
Breaking Bad closes the lab A look back to the beginning of the iconic television show BRANDON KATZ STAFF WRITER
(JENNY KRASHIN/FOURTH ESTATE)
Mason makes careers Each week, Fourth Estate features a student or alumnus with a great internship or job to highlight the opportunities a degree at Mason can provide. COLLEEN WILSON EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Sajen Banister is a senior from Knoxville, TN in Mason’s dance program and spent the summer interning at the Kennedy Center.
Where was your internship? At the DeVos Institute. Michael Kaiser, president over Kennedy center, is a huge proponent of arts management, teaching people how to work with the arts in order to be self sustained and produce works, so he has the DeVos institute summer interns. You can be any kind of person, typically in college, then they have the fellows bring in adults in the business from around the world, come in and take lessons. What was your job? I worked in the Corporate and Foundation Relations Development oﬃce. We basically research and discuss
and figure out the best route to go about soliciting and sending proposals to foundations and applying for grants and getting sponsors from corporations and foundations. It’s fun though, especially the ones who were completely out there. General Dynamics, a science corporation, supports opera. It’s neat to see how different parts of our culture support the arts. My field will always need it. What was your biggest take away from the experience? One, learning how to talk to people in this area, even just co-workers. [I] learned a lot about confidence and how to hold your own. Also how to build the connections to get where you want to go. Why Mason? Their dance program is fantastic, it really is. I actually transferred my sophomore year from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A friend from my hometown danced at Mason and loved it. One of the reasons
most people choose Mason is because it’s diverse but geared towards modern dance. What’s something people don’t know about what it takes to be a dance major? It’s a lot more hours than most people think. When you [other students] want exercise you just go to gym. I’m required to exercise, then go to rehearsal, then go to class. What is your dream job? I think teaching might be down the road. I love kids and want to work with inner city kids. My ideal dream is to start and be able to sustain an inner city arts program. I’ve kind of always known, always worked with inner city kids in Knoxville with the inner city swim team. So when I came here, it’s become more prevalent in my life. I’d like to teach dance and be the artistic director. [This internship] definitely helped me learn how to apply for grants and proposals.
Breaking Bad is coming to a close. While we are all excitedly anticipating how it will finish, I can’t help but shake the sadness that it actually has to end. For five seasons, Breaking Bad has stood as a pointed examination of the choices we make and the consequences that result. With each decision Walter White has made, there has been a ripple effect throughout his family and peers. It is in these subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, shifts that the show has captivated audiences with intricately smooth plots, entertaining visuals and superb acting. The show has been as addicting as the blue meth its characters cook. As we come to the end, I can’t help but look back to the beginning. Walt’s cancer diagnosis didn’t transform his character. Instead, it liberated what was always lurking under the surface. At his core, Walter White is just an angry man deliriously fuming at the fact that he did not make more of his intellect. Haven’t we all, at times, felt under appreciated or unhappy with our lots in life? Granted, we did not start cooking meth and going on murder sprees as a result, but you get the picture. Although you could point to the Jane incident in season two as Walt’s tipping point, he has consistently drawn lines in the sand only to cross them when they present a benefit. Will he end up crossing the Jesse line if Todd’s neo-Nazi family doesn’t beat him to it? The juxtaposition between Walt and Jesse is the most potent sub-plot of the series. We’ve seen Walt, a seemingly decent man, desert his morality in his lust for power and wealth. Simultaneously, we’ve seen Jesse, a drug addict and dropout, make attempts to lead a life of substance and ethics. The divergence of these two paths of surrogate father and son is incredible to watch. But will it end with one killing the other? This is the last time we will have an opportunity to ask these questions. Breaking Baddicts will have to get their fix elsewhere once the show comes to a close. What will TV’s landscape be like without Breaking Bad? Homeland is coming off a somewhat creaky second season. Game of Thrones has a road map laid out that any curious individual can Google for answers. Breaking Bad is one of the few remaining shows with no visible weaknesses. Every season has incorporated new wrinkles into Walt’s professional and personal life, keeping the show fresh and suspenseful. It is widely considered one of the best dramas of all time. Unfortunately, we know that the show must end. But fans should savor the few hours of unknown that we have left.
Sept. 16, 2013
Colleen Wilson Editor-In-Chief firstname.lastname@example.org
Degree value rises with Mason stock
Andrew Stevenson Managing Editor
Niki Papadogiannakis News Editor
Janelle Germanos News Editor
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Hau Chu Sports Editor
Daniel Gregory Asst. Sports Editor
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David Carroll Associate Director Fourth Estate operates as a publication of Broadside. Fourth Estate is printed each Monday for George Mason University and its surrounding Fairfax Community. The editors of Fourth Estate have exclusive authority over the content that is published. There are no outside parties that play a role in the newspaper’s content, and should there be a question or complaint regarding this policy, the Editor-in-Chief should be notified at the email listed above. Broadside is a free publication, limit one copy per person. Additional copies are 25 cents payable to the Office of Student Media.
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NATE FALK COLUMNIST Another year, another increase in Maosn’s rank of on the US News and World Report rankings of Best Colleges in the United States. According to the report released on Sep. 10, 2013, Mason is ranked in their top 150 universities in the country. This is not just a victory for President Cabrera, the faculty or the staff—this is a victory for the students. For me, this brings great pride, joy and justification. Justification originating from selecting to pursue my higher education, at a university that is respected, renowned and recognized by the US News and World Report. Every student at Mason should be proud of this latest news. Mason has quickly become a well-respected university considering its young age in comparison with other Virginia universities.
The ranking signifies another milestone reached by Mason. You are standing on a campus that is nationally respected and attending classes taught by professors who have a passion for teaching in their fields. You are members of academic and social programs that are among the best in the United States. And a greater respect for Mason translates to greater respect for you when you’re applying for internships, traveling the country or meeting new people. When you tell them you are a student of Mason, a new respect will be gained simply for being enrolled. I was excited to hear of Mason’s rising rankings not just because Mason’s respect is continuing to grow, but for more selfish reasons—I do not look like an idiot for enrolling at the university. In my senior year of high school, the university you picked either led to huge congratulations or a monotone “that’s so great,” regardless of the university’s lack of reputation. I wanted to enroll at a school that would signify that hard work does pay off. I enrolled at Mason because it provides the best venue for an education and for the smaller benefit of gaining respect for attending a great university. The latter element was not my main
Comic Corner by Katryna Henderson
motivation for attending Mason, but was only a small element in my choice. At most, the element was a supplemental perk. And yet, my main reason and supplemental perk for enrolling at Mason were both justified by the latest US News and World Report, because it profiles Mason as a university with great opportunities. The new report has created a buzz at Mason that will hopefully continue to aid in the creation of students that positively change the world.
Read more about the US News and World Report ranking for Mason on gmufourthestate.com
Sept. 16, 2013
Terry McAuliffe is not ready to be Virginia’s governor
JOHN HILL COLUMNIST Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate in the Virginia gubernatorial race, recently made a campaign stop at Mason to speak to the GMU Democrats and other Mason students. I’ll admit that I have not been planning tosupport Mr. McAuliffe as a candidate for various reasons, but I still wanted to hear what he had to say. He was about half an hour late to the event, and I had a class to get to, so I didn’t get to hear him speak. However, I did have a brief encounter with him on his way inside the building. I had been trying to get in touch with the McAuliffe campaign for a while because I have quite a few questions for them.
I first contacted the McAuliffe campaign with a question by calling them on Aug. 13. I had to leave a message because the person who could answer my question “was not available.” Almost one week later, I received an email from the campaign, not addressing the question, but asking me who I was and why I was asking the question. The email encounter was really odd, but I played along because I wanted answers about McAuliffe’s stance on some important issues. This was not just because I want to know, but because Virginia deserves to know. Eventually I was told someone else would email or call me with an answer. But guess what? It didn’t happen. Unfortunately, this kind of behavior seems like business as usual when dealing with the McAuliffe campaign. Just look at his website— you’ll see mostly vague statements. For example, the campaign talks about how we need to “cut red-tape” and have “fewer and smarter regulations.” Fantastic—that’d be great. But which ones are you referencing? What are the details? What is the plan? There is so much that is unclear or that we
don’t even know about Terry McAuliffe. What are his intentions when it comes to guncontrol in Virginia? What is his view on late-term abortions? What is his tax plan for Virginia? The list of important questions goes on and on. If he wants our vote, we deserve clear and detailed answers to those questions. When I managed to speak one sentence to Terry McAuliffe as he was late to the event at Mason, he referred me to an assistant. Who was the assistant? Is it the same person I talked with through email and ended up emptyhanded? She told me to contact her about possibly having him on my radio show, and I will. Frustration is the appropriate word to describe how I felt not having answers to my questions, especially since it had been a month since I first contacted them. If Mr. McAuliffe expects to represent me as governor, he better get his game together. I’m tired of him not giving the general public a chance to ask him questions. He wines and dines big money donors, shows up to the occasional business for a good photo to post on Facebook, and then attends the usual
Vote or Don’t: An informed citizen and an informed voter are not two of the same
BILLY BORMAN COLUMNIST As I was returning home from class earlier this week, I was seized by volunteers offering the paperwork required to become a registered voter. The seizing was—of course—done by way of gentle suggestion, uttered by a kind lady representing the Fairfax Democratic Party. I hadn’t registered to vote, and when she asked me if I was interested in becoming a participatory Democrat, I believe I gave a vague and cryptic “yeah, sure”. I had thought about registering myself to vote last year when I turned 18, but decided against it for various reasons. Chiefly among these reasons was the fact that I didn’t know how to register and wasn’t terribly excited to learn how. I think I might also attribute some amount of my hesitation to partake in that glorious
method of political efficacy to a character in the children’s book “The Kid Who Ran for President” by Dan Gutman. In the book there is a character named June Syers, an elderly African-American woman who eventually becomes the twelve-year-old protagonist’s running mate for the office of President. A few times in the book, Ms. Syers declares that the first and last candidate she ever voted for in an election was “Franklin Delano Roosevelt” because she hadn’t “come across anybody worth votin’ for since FDR”. This sentiment, I think, echoed loudly in my romantic and contrarian spirit. The British author Evelyn Waugh refused to vote in elections. He would sometimes express hope for a Conservative victory, but would not vote, saying “I should feel I was morally inculpated in their follies”. Woe to the person today who would express similar attitudes. There is a grave problem, we are told, in our voter turnout rates—particularly amongst young people. Young people, for whatever reason, do not vote like their grandparents do. While the bright young things sleep in and have a casual breakfast, the elderly mob set their jaws and march out to fill the polling stations.
We are told that the solution to this problem is to vote – and then, as a meager afterthought, to vote informed. There is a problem here, to be sure, but it is not widespread non-voting—that is only a symptom. The disease that afflicts our society is one of widespread non-thinking. People rightfully do not vote about politics because they first do not know about politics. We cannot fix this problem by coercing people who do not know anything to go out and elect politicians who will decide the fate of our nation. So I say to you –inform yourself. Research issues, meet politicians, attend protests, write letters to your representatives, voice your opinions and choose a candidate. Vote, or abstain from voting on principle. Make the choice to vote for a candidate who you believe will make the changes you wish to see. Or do none of those things. Forget about politics. Enjoy tall trees and picnics by the river. Take a walk with a friend at dusk and buy ice cream at the local shop. And do not vote, nor be made to feel bad about it, nor regret it.
supporter/volunteer event to keep them happy. Maybe I hold my standards a little too high, but I want a candidate who actively pursues opportunities to speak with the public about their concerns, regardless of whether they’re a supporter or not. I want a candidate who can give you a clear answer about his stance on any position. I want a candidate who cares. Unfortunately, I don’t think Terry McAuliffe is that candidate. I hope McAuliffe proves me wrong. I will continue to give the campaign opportunities to prove me wrong, they just need to answer my questions. Or he could just have a staffer reply to one of my emails. Anything works, just start giving us serious answers. Until then, we can assume he’s hiding something. Mr. McAuliffe, it’s your move. Don’t let Virginia down. John Hill hosts a weekly conservative talkshow on WGMU called “Take it to the Hill”
What do YOU think? In our Oct. 7 issue, editors and columnists will discuss Ángel Cabrera’s strategic vision in line with the Mason Vision approved by the Board of Visitors in March 2013. Get in on the discussion by emailing 400-800 words on the topic to gmufourthestate@gmail. com by Sept. 30 and we will consider it for publication. Read the draft for the proposed strategic plan at http://bit.ly/1efMr8r
Sept. 16, 2013
According to a Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission report, men’s basketball only brought in $683,000 despite a $3 million expenditure. In 2011, Mason used six percent of tuition and fees to support athletics.
Men’s basketball posts $2.3 M budget shortfall PAT CARROLL MANAGING EDITOR On Monday morning, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission released a report detailing non-academic services and costs of higher education public institutions in Virginia. The report addressed a number of issues facing the current landscape of Virginia college athletics including funding, student fees and revenue generation of basketball and football programs. Schools like Mason, James Madison University and Virginia Commonwealth University have struggled to bring in revenue for men’s basketball, each taking over $1 million shortfalls after dealing with the high level of expenditures. Mason managed to raise only $683,000 despite facing $3 million expenditures, taking a $2.3 million shortfall in 2011-2012. VCU, amid a magical run to the 2011 Final Four, raised $1 million in revenue
and, yet, still had a shortfall of $3 million with over $4 million in expenditures. Of the 15 Virginia public institutions studied, only four of them generated over 40 percent of the required revenue to operate their athletic program. Virginia Tech (89 percent) and University of Virginia (84 percent) led the pack, while Old Dominion University (26 percent), VCU (24 percent), Mason and JMU (21 percent each) rounded out the group under 50 percent. Student fees are a main source of funding for athletic programs, accounting for $160 million in Virginia public institutions in 20112012 alone. Without revenue from mandatory athletic-related fees, athletic programs could not support themselves with the day-to-day operations of each program. However, each institution is faced with a different situation as far as reliance on these fees goes. According to the report, in the 2011-2012, Mason used $13.4 million of the state’s $160 million total athletic fees income to fund the
athletic department, equating to 67 percent of the school’s total athletic revenue. Tech relies on 10 percent of student fee revenue, while Radford University pours 88 percent of their student fee revenue into athletics. In Virginia, the average mandatory athletic-related fee per year is around $1,185, across the 15 public institutions. Mason had the second-lowest mandatory athletic-related fee in the state ($577 per year), just behind Tech with a mere $267 of fees annually. The average percentage of in-state tuition and fees distributed for athletics amongst the state reached 12 percent. Mason used six percent of tuition and fees to support the athletic department. With the rising costs of college athletics over the past six years, the demand for increased revenue streams has become a vital commodity for athletic programs across the state and the country. ODU, with the reinstatement of football in 2009, saw the student fees double from $641 in 2004-2005 to $1,185 in 2011-2012.
To make matters worse, only two Virginia schools (UVA and Tech) turned a profit on both their basketball and football programs in 2011-2012. UVA. drove in a combined $5.7 million in revenue from the sports, while Tech raised a surplus of $18.9 million with over $13 million generated from football. The JLARC is an independent watchdog agency whose goal, according to their website, is to “evaluate the operations and performance of State agencies and other programs.” This story appeared on Sept. 9 on gmufourthestate.com
Sept. 16, 2013
Senior Ryan Ellis races toward lifelong dream HAU CHU SPORTS EDITOR For most kids growing up, you learn to crawl before you learn to walk. Mason senior Ryan Ellis, meanwhile, took to four wheels before he took to two feet. “When most kids were sleeping with teddy bears, I would sleep with toy cars and toy motorcycles,” Ellis said. “I used to crawl up to my Power Wheels and drive that around before I could actually walk. My whole life I have wanted to be a race car driver and nothing else.” For Ellis and his family, racing is in their blood. Ellis’ love of racing was instilled by his father, who raced professionally before retiring to focus on managing his son’s racing career. Ellis’ grandfather was a race car driver as well until he died in a racing accident in 1958. “I have been around the track my whole life and fell in love with it myself and have never looked back,” Ellis said. Ellis started his racing career at age four and won his sixth career race in Quarter Midgets racing at the age of five. Ellis continued his youth racing career on tracks throughout Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio. In the process, Ellis earned honors that cumulated into a selection in 2009 by Volkswagen of America as one of 15 North American drivers invited to race in the 2009 Jetta TDI Cup series. “The TDI Cup was my first real step from the amateur and regional ranks into the professional ranks of racing,” Ellis said. After winning various races in the TDI Cup and participating in the series for two years, Ellis transitioned into racing in Grand-Am Road Racing. While TDI Cup and NASCAR races typically take place on the more traditional oval tracks, road-racing tracks are meant to mimic standard, purpose-built paved roads with left and right turns. Ellis excelled immediately in the Grand-Am series and was named the 2011 Grand-Am Rookie of the Year. Ellis used the reputation he earned in the Grand-Am series as a steppingstone into the world of NASCAR. “I got pulled into NASCAR through my knowledge of road courses and I was kind of a road course expert. Lately, I have been using [road course knowledge] as a route into NASCAR. Where most people have been racing ovals their whole life, I have been trying to work the back door route into NASCAR,” Ellis said. Ellis’ first NASCAR race came in 2012 in the Nationwide Series, which is considered the minor leagues of NASCAR to the more prestigious Sprint Cup Series. Ellis raced in the Sargento 200 held at the Road America course -- a road-racing track -- in Elkhart Lake,
(COURTESY OF PAUL ECKELMAN/SIGMA KAPPA NATIONALS)
Senior Ryan Ellis has been interested in racing cars his whole life. Recently, he was sponsored by his fraternity Kappa Sigma to compete in a NASCAR race in Richmond. Ellis hopes to eventually turn his passion for racing into a career. Wisconsin. Ellis’ participation in the race resulted from a combination of networking, timing and luck. “A friend of a friend knew a team that needed a driver and it was two days out of a race. I needed to get my drug test done and have my physical done and not many drivers thought they would be able to do it, so I ran out and got that done, pulled out to the race and made [the team] happy and I have just been trying to continue to satisfy them and meet their expectations,” Ellis said. Ellis has since raced in three more Nationwide Series events, all of which took place on road tracks. Ellis’ fifth Nationwide Series race was the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at the Richmond International Raceway where he finished 31st out of 40 racers. It was Ellis’ first oval track race in the Nationwide Series. “I thought my result at Richmond was pretty good for my first oval race in NASCAR. It was a really tough field with a lot of the Sprint Cup regulars in Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray and Kyle Busch also racing in the Nationwide Series race. My main goal was to finish and stay out of trouble and I achieved both of
those,” Ellis said. Ellis’ participation in the race at Richmond came about through a partnership with his fraternity, Kappa Sigma, to promote the fraternity as a whole and to raise awareness for its Military Heroes Campaign, which honors and donates money to military veterans, their families and non-profit organizations who work on behalf of veterans. While Ellis was happy to represent his fraternity in this particular race, he also saw it as another opportunity to transition his passion into a full-fledged career. “It was nice to be able to give back to the fraternity and race for a cause greater than myself. It was also good to give them a spotlight just like they have been able to give me and they have helped network me into NASCAR and hopefully now I can network myself to stay into it,” Ellis said. Ellis will now focus on getting fully certified to race a full season in the Nationwide Series. Ellis hopes to compete in Nationwide Series races in Kentucky, Kansas and Delaware. “I am making the phone calls right now to find the sponsors -- because I have gotten a lot of positive feedback from the race at
Richmond -- and hopefully create a relationship to get me through these two or three races and then to a bigger [sponsorship deal] next year for a full season,” Ellis said. Ellis estimates that the cost of a full season in the Nationwide Series would range from $7 million to $10 million dollars, so fostering relationships with sponsors is essential. Despite his involvement with racing, Ellis is still enrolled at Mason as a marketing major and competed for the Mason inline hockey club until last semester. Ellis intends to pursue a career in racing even if that means sacrificing and prolonging his time at Mason. “It is not easy, but I schedule most of my classes so that they are Mondays to Thursdays -- or Mondays to Wednesdays, if I can do that --- because I end up leaving usually Wednesday afternoon or Wednesday night and do not come back until Sunday night or Monday morning,” Ellis said. “There have been times that I have been gone for 40 days straight and obviously that does not make it too easy on school. But it is my dream and if it extends school a year or two, I am more than happy to keep doing it.”
Sept. 16, 2013
SMART lab concussion research aids local youth sports Researchers monitor brain activity through helmet sensors and saliva samples (GRAPHIC BY WALTER MARTINEZ/FOURTH ESTATE)
DANIEL GREGORY ASST. SPORTS EDITOR This fall the Jets football team will wear helmets with sensors that monitor the force of impacts sustained throughout games and practices while also submitting saliva samples for potential biomarker research relating to concussions. But these Jets are not professional NFL athletes. They play in the Central Loudoun Youth Football League. Today, concussions are discussed far more frequently in the sports world due largely to recent rule changes in the NFL designed to increase player safety. Most recently, the league settled a multibillion dollar lawsuit with ex-players over league negligence concerning concussions sustained throughout players’ careers. Some suggest the professional football culture must change in order to protect players. In a recent interview with 106.7 The Fan, ex-Washington Redskin Ken Harvey suggested the change needs to start at the youth level. Mason faculty and students are helping to make that change. By participating in concussion research, the CLYFL continues a partnership with the Mason Sports Medicine Assessment and Research Lab and the lab’s director Dr. Shane
Caswell. Founded in 2008, the SMART Lab focuses on conducting research on injury prevention and optimizing human performance. Researchers for the lab include members from the College of Education and Human Development, the athletic training education program, the kinesiology program and the graduate program in exercise, fitness and health promotion. Caswell, a Ph.D. in education and assistant professor to the Mason athletic training program, led extensive research on concussions in scholastic and youth sports through the SMART Lab with assistance from various medical research organizations, youth sports leagues and the Mason athletic training program. Currently, Caswell and the SMART Lab are conducting over 20 projects relating to injury and concussions. Concussions In Youth Scholastic Sports Through their concussion research, the SMART Lab benefits the Northern Virginia community. The lab provides education and athletic trainers to multiple public school systems in the area, working most closely with the Fairfax County and Prince William County School systems. “Through my work with these two organizations, I have been able to work with the leadership in these organizations to help provide
guidance about issues relating to health and safety relating to student athletes, particularly centered around the area of concussion,” Caswell said. “If concussions go unrecognized, they can potentially have long-term consequences for these kids.” Through research with US Lacrosse conducted in the Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) system, Caswell and his team created a video analysis of high school lacrosse impacts in both the men’s and women’s sport. The analysis directly contributed to rule changes in the game across multiple levels from the NCAA to youth lacrosse. The partnership with FCPS led to the longest study of concussions in secondary sports. That study, in coordination with Dr. Andy Lincoln with Med Star Research Institute and FCPS, indicated an over-400 percent increase in concussions from 1997 to 2008. In 2010, the Virginia state legislature passed a law requiring school divisions to educate coaches, student-athletes and parents about the nature of concussions and the risks associated with the injuries. With the law passed, PWCS decided to take action. “It was our school board’s decision to ramp up that effort and to include a little bit more of a management program to enforce return to play and enforce concussion education for student and staff,” said Fred Milbert, the
“Through my work with these two organizations, I have been able to work with the leadership in these organizations to help provide guidance about issues relating to health and safety relating to student athletes, particularly centered around the area of concussion. If concussions go unrecognized, they can potentially have long-term consequences for these kids.” -Dr. Shane Caswell
supervisor of health and education for PWCS. The SMART Lab, supported with grants from the Potomac Health Foundation, then founded the ACHIEVES program, which helps provide care to underserved students.
Fourth estate This program provides student-athletes and their parents with concussion education information both in person and online. In three years, the program delivered concussion education to over 150,000 people. “We’re more aware of concussions and their occurrence in our school division. We are having students recover and get back into the classroom as well as athletics a little bit sooner,” Milbert said. Moving forward, the ACHIEVES program hopes to develop return-to-learning protocols to help students with concussions not fall behind in the classroom. PWCS has already begun developing protocols for this process. “Concussions aren’t a student athlete issue, concussions are a student health and learning issue,” Caswell said. Providing Mason Students with Experience The ACHIEVES program also provided the county high schools and middle schools with athletic trainers to provide additional medical care for student-athletes. Where FCPS provides two athletic-trainers, Prince William schools only provided one trainer at the high school level and none at the middle school level. With the help from Mason graduate students, the school system can see and treat more students. “[The SMART Lab] provided on-site medical care to help better treat and care for the athletes in the county and provides our graduate students with a great learning experience,” Caswell said. Through partnerships with local public school systems, Mason students studying athletic training gain valuable first-hand experience working with patients through clinical studies. Students also gain valuable opportunities to work with the SMART Lab performing cuttingedge research in the field of sports science. For example, Mason graduate students are working with the Central Loudoun Youth Football League providing care as athletic trainers and collecting data for the study on the Jets team. The trainers install technology and record the impact data to assess the force of collisions while also recording video of practices and games to be used as qualitative data. The need to go beyond scholastic sports While their work in scholastic sports is important to injury and concussion research and education, the SMART Lab decided to extend research and education beyond scholastic sports. Kids also sustain serious injuries, including concussions, while playing sports outside of school. In order to address this need for research, the SMART Lab teamed up with the CLYFL. Since 2011, the SMART Lab has provided the football league with athletic trainers while also instituting an educational program to better inform parents and coaches about sports injuries and concussions. This program can now serve as a model for
Sports other youth sports organizations. “I think youth organizations saw the writing on the wall and it was in their best interest to take steps from an administrative level to develop policies and procedures to promote health and safety, not just for concussions but for a host of other issues involving participant well being,” said John Reynolds, the athletic training program administrator for FCPS, who worked with Caswell to adapt the CLYFL program to market to other similar youth sports organizations. “[The lack of health education programs in youth sports] couldn’t be ignored. We needed to reach out to these groups. The [CLYFL] serves as a great case study on how to reach out to these organizations,” Reynolds said. Potential ground breaking research The study on the CLYFL Jets’ current season could add valuable information to current concussion knowledge. The sensors placed in the helmets record the force and location of impacts sustained in practices and games. This data from the helmet sensors can help researchers better understand the frequency and intensity of youth football collisions. The video data allows researchers to monitor various factors, like if players are using safe tackling techniques. In addition to monitoring impact force, the SMART lab collects saliva samples from players once a week to see if the impact data correlates with changes in salivary biomarkers. While this research is still in its infancy, Caswell feels the initial data shows promise. Caswell serves as one of the primary investigators in this research along with Dr. Chip Petricoin, the co-director of the Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine. Together the two have applied for a grant to continue research through the GE Head Health Challenge to continue their work. Caswell hopes their work will help develop a sensitive and specific diagnostic test for concussions. “[The test] would not only help us understand when someone suffers a concussion, but whether or not they are still suffering from a concussion and if it’s OK for them to return to play. Right now, there is no quantitative measure that is available,” Caswell said. The SMART Lab continues to move forward with numerous studies researching sports injuries and concussions in youth athletes. While the research focuses on youth athletes, the bigger implications are not lost on Caswell. “I think educating youth athletes and researching the issue of concussion in youth athletes is in the best interest of all professional sports,” Caswell said. “Before you’re ever a professional athlete, chances are you were a youth athlete.”
Sept. 16, 2013
(COURTESY OF SHANE CASWELL)
(DANIEL GREGORY/FOURTH ESTATE)
(Above) Caitlyn Cortese, a student in the Master of Science and Exercise Fitness and Health Promotion program helps with youth football. (Below) Special helmets monitor G-forces experienced during collisions.
Sports Workout of the week: Pull-ups
Sept. 16, 2013
to accommodate the one You aLreadY have
MICHAEL SNOWDEN STAFF WRITER Just hearing the term “pullups” can stir up an entire batch of emotions for people. Some might recall the days in 7th grade P.E. class when getting one full rep was a struggle. Others may feel good knowing they could rep out 20. This iconic and initially difficult exercise is beneficial because it works a number of muscle groups and joints including the lats, rhomboids, biceps, triceps and forearm muscles simultaneously. There are many techniques for completing pull-ups. Traditionally, both hands will either grip the bar overhand or underhand. An additional grip option is mixed grip, where one hand is placed in an underhand position while the other has an overhand grip. When training with the mixed grip, always make sure that you perform sets alternating both grips for each hand. When performing pull-ups, the abdominal muscles should be braced in order to prevent the body from swinging under the bar. Leg kicking and body swinging should be minimized during the exercise as each repetition should be performed in a smooth rather than jerky manner. If you can perform 10 pull-ups with your chin passing the bar on each repetition, a good way to increase the intensity of the exercise would be to perform the exercise while wearing a weight belt with weights connected. To regress the exercise for beginners, the exercise can be performed on the assisted chin up machine, from an inverted position on a smith machine or by standing on a chair and allowing your legs to assist you as much as needed throughout the movement.
(JENNY KRASHIN/FOURTH ESTATE)
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(Above) Underhand grip works the bicep. The abdominal muscles should be braced to prevent the body from swinging. (Below) The overhand grip works more on back muscles.