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looks to Sochi Winter Olympics

RMU remembers

Dr. Rex Crawley


Cultural rip-off or a salute to a great celebration?

“I had always thought that I was pretty open-minded about different people and different cultures. Just being around Rex reminded me that I have so much more to learn to be a better person; even a better human being. Rex had a near magical ability to integrate into any situation with all kinds of people. For this and his many other qualities, I will always admire him.” -Jon Radermacher—Associate Professor & Department Head of Media Arts

Table of Contents Remembering

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Dr. Crawley April 30, 1964 November 25, 2013

“Dr. Crawley inspired me since day-one at Robert Morris University. I truly gained a better understanding of Rex and his vision for young black men after being selected to be the first President of his Black Male Excellence Network (BMEN). Our motto is “Stand Together, Fall Alone.” To-this-day, my fellow brothers and I still hold onto that motto as we pursue our higher education. Dr. Crawley will surly be missed, but I know his legacy and what he has established will surly remain strong! I love you sir, rest easy in the Hands of God.” -Joel Gray, Senior at RMU

"Rex was a mentor, colleague, activist, and close friend who played a major role in hiring me at RMU. In his short life span, he contributed greatly to the betterment of those around him, especially in the African American community, and continually inspired me to be a better person. It's amazing how many great ideas came from above the bow tie." -Heather Pinson, Ph.D.—Department Head of Communication, Associate Professor of Communication and Media Arts

“Dr. Crawley was one of the best friends that anyone could ever have. I knew his through like faith, fraternity and friendship. He, Andre Gregory and I has a friendship that had depth beyond what words are capable of convening.” -The Rev. Dr. Keith Magee Senior Fellow on Race, Religion, & Poverty University of Birmingham, England

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“RIP to my mentor Dr. Rex Crawley. May your vision and inspiration continue to live on. I will continue to be who I am and work hard to be great because of what you have taught me, love you big guy!” - Jemel Sessoms, Junior at RMU



Brooke Smith: Editor-in-Chief

Rachel Calhoun: Art Director

Chris Mueller: Copy Editor

Cover photo taken by: Alissa Dorman

Leah Fleischel: News Editor

Nicole Eaton: News Graphic Design

Brianna Ferguson: Multimedia Editor

December 2013--Moon Twp, PA 15108

Tayler Wentz: Lifestyles Graphic Design

Alyssa Bishop: Advertising Manager

Leah Moose: Lifestyles Editor Nick Buzzelli: Sports Editor Paul Wintruba: Photo Editor

“Rex was the definition of kindness and class. He was that rare individual who saw an opportunity to make a difference and worked tirelessly to do just that. His passing will be felt far beyond Robert Morris University.” -Anthony Moretti, Ph.D. Associate Professor, School of Communications and Information Systems

Valerie Hogan: Sports Graphic Design

Carrie Moniot: Student Media Advisor

Robert Morris University Patrick Henry Room 100 6001 University Blvd. Moon Township, PA 15108

After peeling through the layers of the past 14 years, I am left with one theme, or as Dr. Crawley, a respected qualitative researcher would have said, the “essence” of my experiences with him: Dr. Crawley dedicated his life to mentoring scores of students, from teens through doctorallevel students. His profound and deep commitment to improving students’ academic achievement will live on through the research center he developed, the Uzuri Think Tank. I and countess others will remember Dr. Crawley for his the “life-changing research” efforts he initiated. I will also remember him as a gifted teacher and scholar, an influential community leader, a loving son, husband and father, and as a dear friend. -Dean Lavine, Dean of SCIS

PHOTOS COURTESY OF: Helen Crawley-Austin Arthur P. Woods Dr. Anthony Robins

The plan that sparked monumental growth

Plan for next five years at RMU underway



Year after year, Robert Morris University makes leaps and bounds in transforming and further developing as a university. Comparing the 2007-2008 RMU to the 2013-2014 RMU is almost unthinkable because of how much has changed. The reason this progress has been made is because of the implementation of a five-year strategic plan. “The university realizes that it faces many significant challenges in the next five years and that it must proactively shape its future. It will do so via a University-wide strategic plan,” stated the Aug. 20, 2008 document titled RMU 2012: Framework for the Future. This document, though five years old, holds the foundation that the RMU students attend today was built on. “The plan helped us focus on what we do and what we do well, which is why we’ve had strong enrollment the last six years. We don’t want to become complacent; we want to know why we’re having success. We want to stay on top of ourselves and stay disciplined on producing the quality we strive to produce,” said Dr. Gregory Dell’Omo, Robert Morris University President.

The initiatives RMU had in mind to improve by 2012 were continuous improvement of academic programs, student perception of RMU as a university of choice, improve RMU’s infrastructure, solidify and leverage the RMU brand, and strengthen RMU’s financial position. Within those initiatives are goals, and to achieve those goals, the individual departments must come up with strategies and measures to make it happen. The strategic plan was then carried out over five years. In order to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of the plan, the strategic review of the plan was headed by Dr. David Majka, Vice Provost. The review of 175 different units in the university was finished on May 2. “The review fulfilled one of the dreams I had for it, which was a dispersion of results,” Majka said. He then went on to explain that there was a grading scale in the form of re-examine, restructure, maintain, and enhance. “One of the great things about the review is that it calls attention to specific problems in organizations, and sometimes those can

be fixed rather quickly and easily so that operation can be more successful as soon as possible.” said Majka. Majka was not the only one pleased with the results of the plan, Dell’Omo saw great improvement as well. “I wanted to accomplish three main things. First was a stronger foundation for the university under the main strategic initiatives. I think we’re a much stronger institution on a variety of levels and I feel good about that. Second, I really wanted to create a transformative experience for the students,” said Dell’Omo. “We’ve had strong academics and we’ve always known students have done well after graduation and excelled with our professionally-oriented programs. We wanted to take all that success in the past and really incorporate the college experience for students to grow personally as well as professionally. The third is how to we continue to strengthen the value proposition, which is why students choose to come to Robert Morris.”

The looking back has been completed, and now Robert Morris University needs to look forward; all the way to the year 2018. According to Dr. David Majka, Vice Provost, the basic preliminaries for the new five year plan were completed over summer of 2013. After that, the steering committee was filled. The responsibilities for this committee consist of recommending any necessary adjustments to RMU’s mission statement, initiatives and goals to the President. The steering committee currently consists of 30 faculty members as well as administration. According to Majka, the steering committee is a unique and rewarding opportunity for those in higher education that are on it because so often they are departmentalized and do not get the perspective that comes with working with the other schools. From there, the plan has two phases to go through before it is complete. The first is the visualization phase to be completed by Fall 2013. This deals largely with the overarching parts of the plan. The second phase is implementation that will take place throughout Spring 2014. A large part of this will be putting the plan into action in the different schools of study, because each

school now has its own individual plan. The structure of working on the new plan is set up like a pyramid, and the committee is working from the top to the bottom. The pyramid is split into a mission statement, vision and core values, initiatives, goals and priorities, strategies and costing, and measures. There are three new aspects to the structure. The plan now includes a vision, allows for costing of each part of the plan, and plans on prioritizing the goals. The core values of academic excellence, changing lives, engaged learning, individuals matter, professional focus, and global perspective that now are proudly displayed on flags down the walk of the Nicholson front lawn will more than likely remain the same, according to Majka. The mission statement is in the works of being changed, but it is largely the wording. According to Dr. Gregory Dell’Omo, President of Robert Morris University, the only goal is to make the mission statement more measurable rather than just sounding nice like many mission statements for other universities/ companies. “The five initiatives are going to stay, but the detail below each one will change. One

of those being infrastructure and dealing with the nursing building, John Jay, a new rec center, the library, and student housing,” said Dell’Omo. One of the main decisions that still needs to be made is how large the university will become. That will be a driving force in deciding more of the specifics, according to Dell’Omo. Additionally, he stated a large interest in really expanding the online program to not replace the undergraduate experience, but expand it. A reason behind this is also to appeal to the “adult market” that is choosing to go back to school but do not want to be directly in the classroom. The new plan is to be submitted for approval by the Robert Morris University Board of Trustees on Dec. 6. If approved, the new plan will cover the years 2014-2018. “The last plan was very successful, there were some specific areas we may not have accomplished, but overall all of those areas have been significantly achieved. The foundation today based on that success is so much stronger than it was six years ago, so the only question is where the university can be moved next,” said Dell’Omo.

AACSB accreditation Full implementation of the Student Engagement Transcript

Revamping of residence halls

ABET/CAC & EAC re-accreditation

36% of freshmen from outside 5 county areas



December 2013

Research support-$2,000,000 Middle States re-accreditation

TEAC accreditation

School of Business opens

2007 1,200 resident students

CCNE re-accreditation




Research support-$600,000 500 more parking spots

Salem Hall opens


45% of freshman from outside 5 county areas


Capital campaign completed Holiday Inn purchased Society of Actuaries Designation 1,700 resident students Nuclear Medicine Accreditation




PHOTO BY: GABRIELLA GASPARICH Nursing students in Nicaragua



December 2013

gathered from all different aspects within the university to represent a diversity in opinion. After coming together, their idea for the class gift was finally formed in August of this year. “Ultimately its about the seniors. I am kind of the liaison between institutional advancement and and the student body,” said Marie Claire Heller, Annual Giving Assistant. So far, the committee has been performing the best to date, compared the other past three years, with 188 donors and $2,274 as of Nov. 18. To spread the word of the cause, the class gift group have been reaching out to recent nursing alumni who have taken the trip, in hopes of encouraging others to donate. “By talking to alumni, I now view this as a gift to the people of Nicaragua for changing the perspective of the students. Not that we should apologize for how we live, but we should appreciate it,” said Heller. The collected amount of money will be donated into the School of Nursing and Health Sciences’ international fund that will be used under the discretion of Dr. Ross and his nursing team. The total fund may not be used all at once. Dr. Ross will use his professional experience during the deviation process. One notable change from the previous

“The main goal is the change and to help save lives of these Nicaraguans. To make sure seniors have that chance to give back to the school, take it forward. -Robert Byers


You’ve taken the classes, joined all the clubs, and all in all played the good student game. The next step? An internship. It’s your first step into the real world and a great way to get your foot in the door at a company you eventually hope to work for after graduation. However, more and more of those opportunities are unpaid, especially for those in communications or media arts. Although it has been a widely accepted practice in these industries to not pay interns in exchange for “invaluable handson experience,” it may not be as well known that unpaid interns virtually have no rights that employees have because they are not considered employees. Case in point, CNN Money reported in October that a New York federal district court ruled that Lihuan Wang, a Syracuse University graduate, who interned at the New York bureau of Phoenix Satellite Television, the American subsidiary of Hong-Kong based media conglomerate Phoenix Media Group, could not bring a sexual harassment claim against the company because she was an unpaid intern and not considered an employee under the New York Human Rights Law. According to the lawsuit, Wang alleged that the station’s Washington D.C. bureau chief, Zhengzhu Liu, lured her to his hotel room, telling her he wanted to discuss her

job performance and a possible full time position. Instead, the then 22-year-old Wang said Liu tried to kiss her and squeezed her buttocks. Since April 2010 when the United States Department of Labor issued “Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act,” which gave a set of six criteria as a test for employees to determine whether their interns could be unpaid, former unpaid interns have brought lawsuits against the companies who had them as interns. In some cases, such as the case against Fox Searchlight Pictures, the interns have won and were compensated for their work and time. This past June, Oregon became the first state to approve plans to extend workplace protections to unpaid interns. Yes, Oregon is the only state to extend these workplace “rights” to its unpaid interns in the year 2013. While a change in the wind seems to be evident, it clearly is a slow one, but one that is picking up steam. Many websites, including Intern Justice, have popped up, dedicated to getting the word out about the abuse some unpaid interns face at their internships and change the laws and conditions that allow the unfair treatment to prevail. Before you even interview for a potential internship, research the company and really

know whom you are about to give up your time to for free. While my three internships have all been unpaid, I can say that I have gained priceless work experience and have met people who have opened doors for me in my path for a profession in the media industry. If it weren’t for my internship experiences, I may have never made the advancements that I have thus far. Don’t hold your breath for the laws to catch up with the times. Instead, be prepared with the right information and seek advice from your professors and mentors. Being armed with that insight and information should lead you to come out with a meaningful internship opportunity that will advance you in your career search, even if it is unpaid.

Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standars Act that ployer The em the training es provid s no e e iv r de vantag iate ad and on d ; imme n e inter from th its n occasio ns may io operat be impeded. y ll a actu

e er th d to oy n pl ter hat itle t nt em in e he nd t e Th d t rsta no he an de is r t un ern fo t n s t in age spe . w e ip tim the sh in tern in

The 2014 Senior Class Gift Committee’s cause is underway as the group strives toward a new global perspective. Unlike the previous class gifts, such as Bronze Bob and the highway road signs, these seniors have been given a unique opportunity to go far beyond campus to change the lives of others. By the inspiration of RMU’s six pillars of core values, the group would like to make a positive impact on a local, national, and global level. However, the main focus for the donation is on the global aspect. Every year, the School of Nursing and Health Sciences sends a select group of students on a trip to Nicaragua. Under the leadership of Dr. Carl Ross, these student nurses help the people of the Managua barrios, who are living in severe poverty. The 2014 Class Gift Committee is looking to take a hand in the matter by collecting a monetary fund towards medical supplies and needed amenities for the individuals being served. They hope to raise money that will be ready to use for the November 2014 trip. “The main goal is the change and to help save lives of these Nicaraguans. To make sure seniors have that chance to give back to the school, take it forward. The school is giving us the tools for success and we want to pass those tools on,” commented Robert Byers, an officer of the Class Gift Committee. The nine students involved have been

years is that the current gift committee voted against selling class t-shirts. “It became a purchase and not an action of a gift. We definitely understand the significance of a class t-shirt, but I also think it shows the power of being more philanthropic,” said Heller. Although the senior class t-shirts have been eliminated for the year, the committee would love to transform the idea into a positive change by offering the chance to give back excess clothing to those in need. The intention is to help the Men of Quality and Leadership at a high school in Kentucky, by creating a clothing drive on campus for other students to donate spare t-shirts and professional attire to be utilized by the under privileged. The effort is a part of the national outreach step that the class is promoting. If the seniors are unable to donate clothing, the class gift committee would like to offer the opportunity of service for the initiative of the local impact. This earth day, April 22, the seniors can volunteer a few hours of their time in order to clean up the nature trail on campus. The idea is that there is always a way to give back. There is always an opportunity for the graduating class to take a step back and take the opportunity to make a selfless act of kindness. Whether it’s donating their time, money, or excess, there will be someone in need there with open arms of gratitude. “It’s all perspective, and I think something we are really excited about is that it was created by non-nursing majors. They of course had friends that were nurses, but they recognized what is happening at the nursing school. It is helping with the mission that RMU changes lives,” said Heller.

Unpaid internships: No rights. No pay. Something’s got to give.

The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern.

Th ev e in ac en ter fa tua tho nsh is cilit l op ugh ip, w sim ies era it i an hich ilar of t tion nclu en ed wo to he o d vir uc ul tra em f th es on ati d b in pl e m on e ing oy er en al gi , ve t. n in

Class of 2014 seeking funds to make difference in whole new way

The inte rn does not dis place r egular employ ee under c s, but works lo superv se ision of exisitin g staff.

The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship.



SSI shows encouraging results for RMU


Last spring, over 600 Robert Morris students participated in the campus wide survey known as the Noel-Levitz Student Inventory (SSI). The SSI was most recently conducted March and April of 2013. The SSI is measured on a largely quantitative level which covers a broad range of questions. These are mainly geared towards the services that the university provides: parking, the student center, the bookstore and residence halls. The SSI has 73 standard questions with an additional ten demographic identifiers. The survey is sent to all current students enrolled, including commuters and online students, but the ideal target is the residential undergraduate student. The main idea is that the more time a student spends on campus, the more likely he or she takes advantage of the services provided by the university. Vice President of Student Life, John Michalenko, along with the Office of Student Life, has made the process a joint venture with Vice Provost David Majka. Student Life sets up the background work of registering the survey and emailing the information out to students, while Majka is the head administrative figure behind the data collecting for the SSI. “I like to tell people its about a mile wide but a foot deep...So it’s a very broad based survey. But we use it to look at how people view the whole gamut of the services that the university offers,” said Majka. The plan of action for the survey is to look for trouble spots, as well as give credit to the improvements that have already been made to the campus. “We want to be a little more cognisant of places where we are not doing a good job to see if there are things we can do to improve it,” said Majka. “And one neat thing about it is that if we make improvements in specific services, we know that the students notice them. So the next time we do the SSI, the satisfaction levels will come up.” A good example of this situation is the recent move and expansion of the Student Health Services. After a downward trend of low satisfaction levels from students’ opinion of the health center, the university took action to improve the quality of the service. As of early November, the Student Health



December 2013

Services has found a more appropriate home in the Jefferson building where there is more space and a convenient location in the center of campus. The expectation then for the 2015 SSI is for those scores involving the health center will come up drastically. One of the highlighted goals of the SSI is to analyze the correlation between how important the issue is to the students and how satisfied they are with the current situation. The combination of the two is

“So we are grateful for the students investing their time and responding to these surveys. We do respect the investment they made on them and try our best to use the results to improve things around here.” crucial when planning future changes to the school. RMU is proud to report the high satisfaction in foundation fundamentals such as academic practice, safety standards, reputation within the community, and the overall look of the campus. Unfortunately an issue that still holds high importance with low student satisfaction is still amount of adequate student parking on campus.

After the data is collected from the inventory, Majak prepares several graphs and charts to organize the information (as seen below) to present what has been gathered to other high administrative groups. One way he has illustrated his point is by comparing the results of Robert Morris to other competitive four-year private universities. Over the last 15 years since the first survey was conducted, RMU has drastically improved itself from trailing behind to being a top contender of providing excellence to their students. “We’ve come a long way and we are proud of that progression,” reported Majak. The most recent rendition of the SSI was also the first time that Robert Morris has exceeded all comparison groups when reporting satisfaction in a general sample of questions. Majka explained, “I want to emphasize that this information is extremely important and helpful to us, both the student satisfaction inventory and the NSSE...It is really for the benefit of the institution as a whole. So we are grateful for the students investing their time and responding to these surveys. We do respect the investment they made on them and try our best to use the results to improve things around here.”


Top 5 Items of Importance:

1. The instruction in my major is excellent. 2. The content of classes within my major is valuable. 3. I am able to register for classes I need with few conflicts. 4. Nearly all the faculty are knowledgeable in their field. 5. The quality of instruction I received in most of my classes in excellent.

Top 5 Items of Importance:

Bottom 5 Items of Importance: 1. A variety of intramural activities are offered. 2. Males and females have equal opportunities to participate in intercollegiate athletics. 3. The intercollegiate athletic programs contribute to a strong sense of school spirit. 4. The student handbook provides helpful information about campus life. 5. Library staff is helpful and approachable.

Bottom 5 Items of Importance:

1. The campus is safe and secure for all students. 2. This institution has a good reputation within the community 3. As a whole, the campus is well-maintained. 4. Security staff respond quickly in emergencies. 5. Major requirements are clear and reasonable.

1. The amount of student parking space on campus is adequate. 2. There are a sufficient number of weekend activities for students. 3. Residence hall staff are concerned about me as an individual. 4. Billing policies are reasonable. 5. Tuition paid is a worthwhile investment.

2011-2013 Largest Increases in Importance:

2011-2013 Largest Decrease in Importance:

1. I can easily get involved in campus organizations. 2. The campus is safe and secure for all students. 3. The institution has a good reputation within the community. 4. I am able to experience intellectual growth here. 5. The campus staff are caring and helpful.

1. Males and females have equal opportunities to participate in intercollegiate athletics. 2. Bookstore staff are helpful. 3. Channels for expressing student complaints are readily available. 4. I seldom get the “run-around” when seeking information on this campus. 5. The Student Center is a comfortable place for students to spend their leisure time.

2011-2013 Largest Increase in Satisfaction:

2011-2013 Largest Decreases in Satisfaction:

1. Living conditions in the residence halls are comfortable (adequate space, lighting, heat, air, etc.). 2. Residence hall regulations are reasonable. 3. I feel a sense of pride about my campus. 4. There is an adequate selection of food available in the cafeteria. 5. The intercollegiate athletic programs contribute to a strong sense of school spirit.

1. The amount of student parking space on campus is adequate. 2. Wireless internet access is adequate on campus. 3. My academic advisor is knowledgeable about requirements in my major. 4. Faculty are usually available after class and during office hours. 5. My academic advisor is concerned about my success as an individual. News


Campus Changes:


The old and the upcoming By: MYLANA CHURILLA & KENDALL VALAN STAFF WRITER & ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR A small parking lot is finished being built at what could eventually be the front door of the School of Nursing once funds have been raised.

The Office of Global Engagement has moved to Colonial Village, into the former Alumni House. The lower level of the house is now a lounge for the global engagement students and the second level holds the offices of the advisors.

One change that has been much anticipated by students is the opening of Yorktown’s café. The café officially opened Monday, November 11 and is located on the lower level of Yorktown Hall. Yorktown is now entirely a residence hall and home to over 500 students.

The Office of Health Services has moved to the Jefferson Center and is being renovated. The new change to Jefferson gives more room to the staff and patients, allowing for more people to be looked over and more medical equipment to be available.


Robert Morris University is equipped with 12 university police officers and two public safety officers. While the amount is appropriate, it is quite obvious that those 14 officers cannot see nor stop students from running into a bad situation or making a bad choice. The fire and safety report of 2013 shows that an average of 29 offenses including violations of the liquor law or drug abuse law happen on campus per year. In this semester alone, the weekly police blotter posted online shows about 35 of offenses attributed to drugs and alcohol. What was usually done in a school year is now being matched in one semester, raising concerns from many students, faculty and administrators at RMU. One of these concerned individuals is the President of the university himself, Dr. Gregory Dell’Omo. His worries are directed mostly towards the personal usage of marijuana on campus, which has seen a steady increase over the years. He attributes this to a nation-wide stance on the drug that has lessened its opposition, as multiple states have legalized recreational usage of the drug, and made clear that the school as a whole is keeping a very close eye on this issue. President Dell’omo labeled this as “an important issue. It’s a common issue and it is viewed on the same level as alcohol.” The president partially attributed the

rising numbers in regards to alcohol to the continued increase in the number of freshmen being brought in, a number steadily approaching 1,000 students. As the numbers increase, so does the likelihood of underage drinking

“We’ve got it in our culture where we go from no drinking to now you can drink. We don’t give people a chance to learn how to drink socially and responsibly.” - President Dell’Omo

and organizations bringing forward information regarding the cons of using these substances, is a good start. Both President Dell’omo and RMU police chief Randy Mink discussed that the county magistrate, who sees these cases once the university has notified them, has stood their ground. Fines that used to be 100 dollars for these offenses are now ranging upwards to 250 dollars. If safety issues will not stop students from drinking irresponsibly, it is the hope that perhaps a chunk out of their pocket book will. This trend is not confined to the campus of RMU, but the nation as a whole. In a political administration oriented on change, one can only hope that trickles down to students across America as they encounter alcohol and marijuana.

occurrences. But deeper than that, President Dell’omo again commented on the culture in America. “We’ve got it in our culture where we go from no drinking to now you can drink. We don’t give people a chance to learn how to drink socially and responsibly.” So what happens now? What will stop students from continuing this trend, and possibly putting lives in danger? The presence of alcohol prevention in FYSP classes, as well as campus groups



Career opportunities for college graduates.

Grant enables RMU documentary on conference that shaped Pittsburgh

From the courtroom. To the classroom. To success. When court-adjudicated youth enter the residential program at The Summit Academy, they truly begin the journey of a lifetime. While seeking to capture our students in their best moments, we work to instill pride, discipline, and responsibility. We strive to motivate them to reach their highest potential.

By: LEAH FLEISCHEL NEWS EDITOR for the documentary will be WQED, according to Dilauro. In the short time since the green light has been given, a lot of work has been done on the project. Many interviews were scheduled and completed in the summer and early fall. Interviewees range from Donald Carter, Director of Remaking Cities Institute to Dick Thornburgh, former Governor of PA, to Dennis Yablonsky, current executive director of the ACCD, and many other extremely influential figures. Filming a documentary of this size in a limited amount of time requires a team to make it possible. Beth Dolinar Kusbit, a part-time faculty member in the School of Communications and Information Systems, has played a primary role in gathering research information and has been focusing on this project for some time. A few PHOTO PROVIDED BY: MICHAEL DILAURO students working in the Academic Provost Jamison and Michael DiLauro sit in on an Media Center are helping transcribe all interview with a subject for the ACCD . of the interviews with participants in the conferences over the years. Dilauro. “I am honored that I was chosen to Dilauro also said that he hopes to keep the be a production assistant for Remaking film around an hour. Documentaries can Pittsburgh: A Documentary Story. Working range in length, but his priority is to keep the with Professor DiLauro has been an enjoyable audience captive and not keep too much of learning opportunity. The documentary is the footage just because he as the director my first real world experience, and I have values it. The primary goal is to not just learned production techniques, especially in make a strong documentary, but to produce lighting, that will benefit me in my classes something that really teaches people about and future career. It has also been a pleasure the ACCD and helps them to realize the working with Ray Zaparoni and Ian Ferguson. impact it has had on the city in which they I am grateful for all the live. advice and experience I have gained while working this internship.” said Katie Withrow, student at RMU. After the interviews were completed, the next step was to transcribe them all, which is largely where the students came in. From the transcriptions, Dilauro and Jamison will make decisions as to which reactions and explanations to place in the film. “We have a general idea of the sequence of events and topics the documentary is going to PHOTO PROVIDED BY: MICHAEL DILAURO More interviews are conducted to gain a better insight on the cover, we just need to figure ACCD. out who said it best,” said

In just a few decades, the city of Pittsburgh did a complete, 180 degree turn-around from a grimy, smoky center for steel mills to the most livable city in the United States. Earlier this year, the Richard King (RK) Mellon Foundation awarded Robert Morris University $170,000 dollars to fund a documentary on the Allegheny Conference for Community Development (ACCD) – the reason many believe these changes to the city happened the way they did. David Jamison, Provost at Robert Morris University, has been the driving force behind taking the idea of this documentary and making it a reality. He wrote and submitted the proposal in January, telling the evolution of the ACCD within the 70 years it has been in existence. Another key player in creating the documentary is Professor Michael Dilauro, Director of the Academic Media Center at Robert Morris University. Dilauro is serving as the director and producer of the documentary. In addition to overseeing production, he is also in charge of the project from a budgetary standpoint. What makes the ACCD notable is the idea of the public and private sector coming together to make Pittsburgh a better place, as both Jamison and Dilauro stated. According to Dilauro, the documentary is projected to be completed and ready for showing by Sept. 2014. Currently, the documentary is to be shown at the university’s Moon campus, as well as at the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management downtown. The main outlet


December 2013

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Lifestyles Q- Why did you film here in Pittsburgh?

Q& A

Q- Did filming in Pittsburgh cause any

The future of film

obstacles for the filming process? The film is, after all, set in New York? A- It really didn’t. I did a few days of principle photography in Pittsburgh and it was during those few pick-up shots that I had known the movie needed to be filmed there. As I said, we did a few days of shooting in Los Angeles, and boy was that expensive. It’s not practical for a low budget film like ours. I’d shoot a movie another movie in Pittsburgh, in a second though.

Independent movies prove what filmmaking is all about

By Eddie Sheehy, Staff Writer


ights. Camera. Million dollar budget. Hollywood star. Special effects. Action. This might as well be the sequence of commands used in today’s modern film industry to signal the creation of a new movie. Unfortunately for all of us, we live in the cinematic era of remakes, sequels, and spin-offs. Movies that are hardly original, and barely thought-out, yet are successful as a whole. How did the film industry get to this point? The blame, as depressing as it may sound, lies with us. That’s right- you and me. We are, after all, essentially the bosses of Hollywood producers. They answer to us. What we pay to go see today influences what they make tomorrow. A producer’s first job is to make money; the quality of the movie is secondary. Unfortunately for those of us that love and value original, creative movies, this is and has been bad news. In the year 2013, the less risky, the better. Superhero movie? Cleared. Animated movie about animals that can talk? Cleared. Big name comedian on a whacky adventure with his


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other big name comedian friends. Cleared. Anything original? We’ll get back to you. Perhaps I’m being unfair. Naming Hollywood as the only way to get a movie made would not only be a lie, it would be a complete injustice to many people who call themselves filmmakers. While it’s true that the best distribution and the biggest budgets typically come from Hollywood, plenty of aspiring, and even some more well-known filmmakers have embraced a new way in the art of cinema: The independent film. Not bogged down by million dollar production companies and their bureaucratic methods of operations, the experimental and free-nature of independent films is becoming more and more attractive to filmmakers. I was lucky enough to be present opening night at the release of a movie called “A New York Heartbeat.” It was filmed here in Pittsburgh on a limited budget and in just three short weeks. Helmed by director, Tjardus Greidanaus, this film landed in my “favorite movies of all time” list in just one viewing. This film is only independent in the sense

that it did not have any big studio’s support. A gangster noir themed film, “A New York Heartbeat” takes place in, you guessed it, 1950s New York. The story of a young gang leader named Spider who finds himself in life-threatening danger as a result of stealing money from a notorious mobster, Casket Mike, this movie is layered beautifully, from start to finish. While on the run, Spider takes shelter with a beautiful young woman named Tamara. Tamara, who is forbidden to leave their home, begins nursing Spider back to health. Spider and Tamara quickly fall in love, but trouble arises when Tamara’s Uncle Didi finds out about the two. Fearful of the danger Spider has put Tamara in, Uncle Didi bans the two from ever seeing each other again. But will love conqueror all? Will Tamara and Spider be able to stay together? Or will Casket Mike kill Spider, and ruin everything the young lovers have going for them? The ending, much like the whole movie is a dramatic, stunning masterpiece, the likes of which no one can resist.

A- I filmed in Pittsburgh for a few reasons, really. First my wife, who is the producer of the movie, grew up in Pittsburgh so there was a familiarity there. Price was also a reason; filming a movie in Pittsburgh is really reasonable. I filmed a few scenes here in Los Angeles and it really was so expensive. Also, Pittsburgh really played the part of 1950s New York. We filmed in locations that we really needed to do nothing to. Everything about this movie I researched very carefully, and everything had to be really perfect. When did we start using sodium vapor lights? When do certain traffic sign come in? Pittsburgh was just the perfect place.

don’t normally do a period piece. You don’t do a gangster movie with real fire arms, gunfire and period costumes, you don’t usually do thatbut we were able to make it work. Q- How long have you been working on “A New York Heartbeat”? A- The making of this film has been the process of a couple of years. The writing of the script took the longest time. I wrote the script over a period of about 10 years. I’d work on it for a few weeks or a month every year, then I’d put it back on the shelf, then I’d come back to it a little later. It’s something I really feel has helped the story. I think it turned out better having been worked on in small increments, so yeah, that took a long time. But then the production was short. You really have to make that as short as possible, especially on an independent budget, so we filmed it all in 22 days. Then post took a long time, the editing, and sound effects took a while, and I had a few jobs in between, but it got done. It really was a labor of love. Q- Do you have any advice for anyone interested in making movies?

A- Wow. Oh boy, how do I sum that up? I don’t want to sound cynical, but what I’d say is that if you want to make movies, make sure you really want to do it, because it is so difficult. You Q- A New York Heartbeat is an independent really need to have a passion for it, if you don’t, you won’t stick with it. There are so many other film, but the genre is gangster noir. What things in this world that are easier to do, but made you put these two things together? if you have a drive to tell stories, I don’t think A- Well, the thing that really interests me is there’s anything better. It involves all the arts, that in big Hollywood movies, story seems to storytelling, photography, cinematography. I be in a decline, which is really quite sad. It used think it’s the most amazing way to tell a story, to be that the script was the most important and that’s what I consider myself: A storyteller. thing, but it’s not anymore. What I’m just And a storyteller Tjardus definitely is. That really interested in is telling good stories, and may be the problem with Hollywood today. independent film was the best way I could get it We’ve stopped valuing storytellers, and put the done. It just kind of happened where I created cin-ematic emphasis on the movie that can this world on paper, that I was fascinated with, visually stun us the most. and it just so happened to be gangster noir. There’s something that can be said for people I was Dutch-born, so I feel like there’s a big like the entire cast and crew of “A New York gap in my cultural up-bringing, and I figured Heartbeat,” people who still make movies for that if I took a small time and place, and really its intended purpose of story, not money. Right researched it, I could really do it justice. now they’re in short supply it seems, but give it Q- Did making a gangster noir themed time, and the movies that once made cinema so independent movie create any challenges? great, I’m sure, will be around to entertain us A- When you’re doing a low budget movie, you again. PHOTOS COURTESY OF Tjardus Greidanaus



THE FIGHT FOR SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN PA Assistant Lifestyles Editor, Ryan Bunker, shares his opinion on the movement By Ryan Bunker Assistant Lifestyles Editor “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” In this very state of Pennsylvania, more than 200 years ago, the monumental document that would serve as the foundation for our nation was penned; letting the world know that America was a free nation with liberty and equality intertwined in its very make up. Interestingly enough, if we fast-forward to Pennsylvania today, members of the homosexual community still feel the tyranny. As a state rich with our nation’s history, one would expect Pennsylvania to be a leader in championing for liberty and justice, facilitating the pursuit of happiness, and seeking equality for all. Sadly though, one would be mistaken, as Pennsylvania still remains a repressive state for this subgroup of its citizenry. However, thanks in part to changing societal views, recent court decisions and those motivated within our state’s legal system, the fight for equality, specifically the right for same-sex couples to enjoy the right to be married, has never been stronger than it is today. Within the past year alone, in response to a growing number of those in support of samesex marriage, quite a few things have changed. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court struck down a key provision in a piece of legislation, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), that prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriages by those married in states where it is

legal. This created an inability to enjoy certain benefits that heterosexual couples are entitled to, benefits such as the ability to file a joint tax return or Social Security benefits. After the ruling made by The Supreme Court in June of this year, three courageous elected officials raised the stakes and decided that based on this ruling, the legality of Pennsylvania’s DOMA-like Marriage Act forbidding same-sex marriage should be called into question. After The Supreme Court made its landmark ruling on DOMA, elected officials began

certificates to grant over 100 same sex couples with documents, allowing them to get married. In a statement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Hanes gave some insight into his actions in very simplistic terms: “I decided to come down on the right side of history and the law.” The dilemma for these couples recently granted licenses to wed, however, was who would officiate these ceremonies and make them legally binding. The answer to their question came from none other than outspoken and somewhat unorthodox Braddock Mayor

“AS A STATE RICH WITH OUR NATION’S HISTORY, ONE WOULD EXPECT PENNSYLVANIA TO BE A LEADER IN CHAMPIONING FOR LIBERTY AND JUSTICE, FACILITATING THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, AND SEEKING EQUALITY FOR ALL.” questioning their moral, ethical, and legal obligations to uphold the United States Constitution. After such a pivotal decision was handed down by our nation’s most powerful court, officials began to challenge the idea. Specifically, Register of Wills for Montgomery County, W. Bruce Hanes. Hanes decided that he had a legal and ethical duty to allow samesex couples to marry, and thus began a national media firestorm. As County Register of Wills, Hanes used his authority to issue marriage

John Fetterman (D). Fetterman, known for his unusual tactics and redevelopment of Braddock, a town that has fallen on hard times since the collapse of the steel industry, is no stranger to controversy. When he saw an opportunity to do the right thing, he pounced on it. After Hanes decided to issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples, Fetterman did not miss a beat, letting it be known that he, in fact, would be more than happy to use his authority to preside over these unions.

Please visit to read Part 2 of Ryan’s article


December 2013



ALL PHOTOS BY Paul Wintruba

A colorful controversy By Leah Moose Lifestyles Editor

Before this year, I would have never thought of myself as a “runner.” At least not in the way real runners do. Real runners meaning those with high-end sneakers, trendy GPS watches, and neon-colored Nike gear, of course. Once I redefined my skewed perception of a “runner,” I signed up for my first 5k with my roommate. The Color Run, a race new to Pittsburgh this year, is a 5k that douses its runners in colored cornstarch as they pass by. Dubbed the “Happiest 5k on the Planet” the event focuses on “promoting healthiness and happiness by bringing the community together” according to their website. Because of its casual nature, (the race would be untimed) my roommate and I felt confident that this would be the perfect first race. And so, race day came. We rose at 5 a.m., pinned our first race numbers to our shirts, and were saturated in floating bursts of color. Seeing photos of fellow Color Runners being painted with the same mysterious hues was nothing like actually running through the clouds, actually breathing in the color. After the race, we decided to enjoy some


December 2013

victory carbs at Pittsburgh’s Breugger’s Bagels. We raised many an eyebrow as spectators eyed up our rainbow-splattered clothes and faces. But what I didn’t expect came from a curious lady in line. She asked the expected question, “Why are you two a colored mess?” but then she told us she thought perhaps we were celebrating Holi, a Hindu celebration. After a little research of my own, I found that Holi is a large festival that douses its participants in colored powder in celebrationsounds a little similar, right? One particular blogger thought so too, and explained her thoughts on the two events in a blog post titled, “Dye-Ing Culture: Color Run, White-Washing Holi Since 2012.” “The Color Run™,” and other similar ideas like “Run or Dye™,” is a great and fun way to run with your friends, come together as a community, get showered in colored powder, and not have to deal with all that annoying culture that would come if you went to a Holi celebration. There are no prayers for spring or messages of rejuvenation before these runs. You won’t have to drink chai or try Indian food

afterwards. There is absolutely no way you’ll have to even think about the ancient traditions and culture this brand new craze is derived from. Come uncultured, leave uncultured, that’s the Color Run™ promise,” wrote blogger, Nadya Agrawal. Although, in an article published in The Washington Post, a long time participant in the festival said that in years past, its popularity has increased for people of all backgrounds. “It’s a wild and fun cultural event that’s focused on spiritually uplifting themes, amazing colors, exotic music and some of the best food you’ve ever tasted,” said Anuttama Dasa, 58, who has been attending since the temple opened in 1975. “And it’s literally for people of all ages.” Whether or not The Color Run truly is a ripoff of Holi depends on your own perspective. While I did enjoy running my first 5k with The Color Run, I still feel it’s important for me and other runners, for that matter, to consider where the idea may have came from and to respect other cultures and their traditions.



JUST MOVE It seems as though the fitness craze has taken a hold on individuals from all ages. With a record high amount of new fitness centers to join, creative races to run and even unique workouts such as pole dancing, it’s becoming clear that people want one thing: to move. Now, more than ever, we are finding our niche and new ways to exercise, battle stress, and express ourselves with our bodies. And Robert Morris University, a notoriously athletic campus, is no stranger to this trend. Whether or not you’ve found your preferred method of body expression, there are countless ways to exercise on this campus. From the brand new center in Yorktown Hall to the Island Sports Center Ice Rink, it’s a good time to be a fitnesscrazed college student.


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The way people move is their

autobiography in motion. - Gerry Spence

PHOTO BY Ashle y McLaughlin Lifestyles


PHOTO BY Ashle y McLaughlin 22 THE SENTRY

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PHOTO BY Ashle y McLaughlin Lifestyles




During her time as an assistant coach with the program, former Robert Morris women’s hockey goaltender Brianne McLaughlin would pass down a piece of information to net minder Courtney Vinet, which the junior believes is the greatest guidance she’s ever received from her mentor. “The best advice was just to stay positive and to keep working hard because in the end it will pay off,” Vinet said. It’s easy to see why McLaughlin has earned, what most consider, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Twice. This past summer, McLaughlin was selected to represent Team USA for the second time in the Winter Olympics. The RMU’s women’s hockey program was, of course, hoping for the best for its former goaltender. “I think everybody was kind of eagerly and quietly awaiting any word, and you don’t want to be the one to ask the question, ‘Did you make it? Did you make it?’ because making a team like that is just a huge deal and the competition for the spots are so tough that truthfully, it could go either way, so we all kind of sat on pins and needles,” said head coach Paul Colontino of the Ohio native’s selection. But making the team is only the first challenge of donning the red, white, and blue. The squad balances practices, games, and community events. On top of that, the athletes need to adjust to an all-new coaching staff headed by Katey Stone, the first female to ever be in charge of the U.S. women’s hockey team. 24 THE SENTRY

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PHOTO BY: Alissa Dorman “I think our staff this time around is pretty tough on us,” McLaughlin said. “They expect a lot every single day and to bring everything every single day. I think they’re truly going to be what prepares us the most when we finally get to Russia.” Situated in Boston, Massachusetts, McLaughlin’s day begins at 9:30 a.m. for lifting. After an hour in the weight room, the team heads about twenty minutes down the road to the rink, where practices can range from one to two hours. When the scheduled practice ends, players remain at the rink for an extra half hour or so to work on various skills depending on their position. Coaching the Colonials has proven advantageous for McLaughlin. As an athlete inexperienced in the realm of coaching, the goaltender focused only on the puck in front of her and not so much the movement of the players on the ice. After some time standing behind the bench, however she sees things differently. “I’ve been coaching the last couple of years and you try to look at things from a coach’s perspective and now that I’m a player again, I’m much more in tune with their thinking,” she noted. “When they pick out little things going on, I’m noticing them and thinking about it from both sides. I’m much more aware of what’s going on on the ice, which has made me a better goalie.” Just because the Olympian has a busy schedule far from the 84 Lumber arena doesn’t mean she doesn’t think back on her time spent at RMU. “There’s five or six of us that have a text messaging chain and I get the texts from

them all the time and it’s fun to hear from [them],”she said. “It’s this whole experience; playing Division I hockey is being around how many, near 21 players or something like that, every single day. Going to practice, going to class, traveling, that’s what I miss about being on a team.” McLaughlin had the chance to return to her collegiate barn a few weeks ago to catch up with some of the current athletes as well as fellow alumni. “It was nice to see them and hang out with them not as their coach. It was a change to watch the games, too, because I got to watch it from the stands instead of being on the bench. I like both, but it’s more fun watching and being able to cheer.” Although McLaughlin has reached great heights in her hockey career, RMU will always be a special place for her. And vice versa, the women’s hockey program at RMU can’t forget about McLaughlin. “The fact that she’s now been able to get there twice and be a part of that team is just huge, not only for her, but for RMU women’s hockey and the university as a whole,” said Colontino. “Her dedication is huge and if we can get each and every player with the same type of character and the same type of determination, we can go a long way.” “I think it’s great for the image,” agreed Vinet. “She’s our only Olympian, and I think we needed everyone to see that we aren’t Minnesota-Duluth or Wisconsin that has many Olympians coming in and out of the system, but we are a very strong program.” Sports


PHOTO BY: Kyle Gorcey



After graduating from West Allegheny Senior High School in 2012, Garrett Browning had the opportunity to golf at various collegiate programs, but ultimately chose Robert Morris for its academics over athletics. “It [RMU] is a good business school, which is my major and that was a deciding factor. My parents were real big on academics and that helped me make my decision,” said Browning, whose high school sits nine miles south of the entrance to campus. “It doesn’t bother me that I’m so close to home. I had some other opportunities to go places, but I thought this was the best fit, so here I am.” Browning, a sophomore, finished his freshman campaign with a 79.4 average and recorded three top 20 finishes in seven tournaments last year. However this season he has stepped into a leadership role for a Robert Morris club that lacks senior experience. “I try to set a good example since we have a pretty young team. We have a couple of young guys who are looking to contribute,” said Browing, who also played varsity basketball at West Allegheny. “I’ve played 26 THE SENTRY

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competitive golf since I was little, so it’s kind of an experience factor to set an example for everyone and we’re just kind of working together.” RMU head coach Jerry Stone liked what he saw from Browning in high school and ultimately offered him a scholarship. “I’ve known Garrett for a long time, being from the same area I saw him grow up, as a five, six, seven year old kid playing golf, I’ve known his family quite a while, and it doesn’t help that he won the state championship two years in a row in high school,” said the 12th year skipper. “He’s a great player and I thought it was a good fit for the university and also a great fit for the team. He was a kid I wanted.” The local product admits that having a successful career at West Allegheny has enabled him to carry his experiences over to the collegiate game. “I was always looked to as a leader because the competition at high school is a little bit lower and I helped the younger kids try to get better,” he said. “Obviously being successful in high school carries over a little bit of confidence, but I’m in college and I know I

could play with these guys.” “He works hard, he continues to work to get better, strives to get better, and hopefully that rubs off onto the younger kids and even some of the older guys on the team as well,” said Stone, the Northeast Conference’s Men’s Coach of the Year for the 2009-10 season. “He wants to be number one, that’s important to him and that would be nice for us as well.” In the Colonial Classic, RMU’s only home match of the season, Browning captured the tournament crown, knocking off Saint Francis’s Shane Crampton in a playoff round by shooting one-under par. Although Browning has accomplished his ambition of golfing at the Division I level, he believes that his work on the links for Robert Morris isn’t done yet. “When I was in high school I was just trying to get to the next level. That was the goal, and it’s nice [to see the hard work pay off],” he said. “We had a tough year last year, we didn’t really play well as a team. It’s a tough game and it will beat you up if you let it.”

Members of the Robert Morris women’s golf team agreed that the 2013 season was a positive year, but the club is optimistic and excited about next year. The Colonials had strong finishes and good performances this season, including an 11th place finish at Bucknell’s Invitational, a 7th place achievement at Cleveland State’s Invitational, and sophomore Halley Morell also tied her career low stroke score of 74 at the University of Dayton’s Fall Invitational. Junior Sarah Weber felt that the team excelled this season, but believes that they have work to do to prepare themselves for the spring. “Overall, this season was good, but it could be better,” Weber said. “We had a lot of talent and a lot of good girls this year.” Head Coach Jerry Stone concurred. “We have played against some of the better teams in the conference and with a few shots here and there we could have played right with them,” Stone said. “The younger players are now coming in and have more experience as in the past which means the will to be better is there as well.” The Lady Colonials began the season finishing 11th out of 17 in the Bucknell Bison Fall Classic in Lewisburg, Pa on September 7 and 8.




Robert Morris then placed seventh at the Cleveland State Invitational. The highlight of the season was when Morell received medalist honors at the RMU Colonial Classic, where the team finished second overall. Finally, at the University of Dayton Fall Invitational, RMU once again garnered 11th place honors, while Morrell finished fourth. The players were equally excited about the friendships and fun they were able to have this season. The girls agreed that they want to keep “the friendship thing” going in to next season because they feel it helps them perform better as a team. Sophomore Amanda Reach transferred to Robert Morris this season and was pleased with how the team treated her. “[They] were really welcoming for me as a transfer student,” she said. “Even though we didn’t play the best we could play, I had a lot of fun especially as my first season here with the other girls.” Stone has taken notice to the positive way the girls acted towards each other this season saying that, “the players all got along great this year.” During their time together this season they were able to establish who’s who on the


team. “Chloe [Wong] is like the baby, Tori [Zachman] is the mom and Amanda, Annie [Bozich], and I are the roommates of the team,” Weber jokingly said. When it comes to next season, the entire team has various goals they want to achieve, such as top-10 finishes, lowering their scoring averages and finishing strong in tournaments, but the main goal they share is finishing at the top of the conference. “We need to continue to make some adjustments throughout the winter,” Stone said. “Our goal is always the same when we step up to the first tee; be competitive and always strive for winning the NEC Championship.” Although she won’t be competing for the Lady Colonials next season, senior Annie Bozich believes that the women’s golf program can make strides toward decreasing the team’s overall score. “Our ultimate aim is to capture a conference championship at the end of next season and to finish higher than we did this year,” said Bozich, an Aliquippa native. “During the fall season, we had the lowest team average, and if the program’s scoring were to decrease, then we would have a strong chance to be NEC champions.”



PHOTO BY: RMU Athletics Sports


DEFENSIVE COMMUNICATION: Key to success of RMU basketball





PHOTO BY: Paul Wintruba


The RMU women’s basketball team had one of their worst seasons last year in head coach Sal Buscaglia’s eleven-year tenure in Moon Township. Injuries killed the squad, forcing them to go with an eight player rotation as their roster for three quarters of the season. The Colonials ended 2012 with a 7-22 record, finishing ninth in the Northeast Conference. The end result was rather dark, but there were a few bright spots that provided hope for a future of the team. “We’re very excited about this year, you know, especially if we can stay healthy,” said Buscaglia. “We have some new kids coming in and really solid returners. Once the returners who were injured last year return from their injuries and the new ones get adjusted to Division I basketball, I think it’s going to be a good year. We just have to take it one step at a time.” Junior forward Artemis Spanou earned conference MVP, after playing nearly 40 minutes per game night in and night out. Freshman guard Ashley Ravelli was named conference Rookie of the Year. Other freshman like Lou Mataly and Randi

Jackson were given unique opportunities. Due to the tough roster realities, they were forced to grow up fast, averaging large amounts of minutes per night that the common freshmen aren’t given. “Those three, especially last year, had to come in as freshman and play a lot of minutes. I think they’ve grown up a lot from that and have showed that on the court this year. We need them, they know that, so I think they’re ready to have good sophomore seasons.” Through the rough patches that occurred over the 2012 campaign, hope for a brighter future was always in place. The ‘big picture’ had to be remembered, and not the problems that plagued the present. Those circumstances, along with the addition of five talented freshmen, have propelled the 2013 squad to the top of the conference, as they were voted first in the NEC preseason poll. “I’m really excited,” said Spanou, who will be called upon to lead the team as one of the three seniors on the roster. “Last year, we seemed to have a pretty good team and came along together. The five new freshman are

really good and will really help us.” Spanou is back. Ravelli, Mataly, and Jackson are back. Stud freshmen like Anna Niki Stamolamprou, Janee Brown and Cassie Oursler have joined the squad. The situation surrounding the team has almost made a complete, 360 degree turnaround from a year ago, and it sure is sweet. “We have a really young team,” added Spanou. “I try to get everyone motivated and keep them energetic. Most of all, we want to have fun out there, and enjoy what we’re doing while doing well.” The 2013-14 addition of the RMU women’s basketball team is fun to watch. They are relatively on the younger side, with four of the five players in the starting lineup being underclassmen. The youth in the starting five has to be remembered because they are destined to make mistakes. But, those mistakes come on the fly, because the current team prides themselves on hustling, pushing the ball, and playing tough. The season is sure to have its up and downs. But with a healthy, likeable team this time around, the rollercoaster ride will definitely be enjoyable.

Over the course of the previous five seasons, the Robert Morris men’s basketball team has prided itself for its stringent defense, holding opponents to an average of 65.2 points per game during that time. But because of six players who are new to the Division I level this year, the Colonials need to lay down the foundation of defensive dissemination in order to make a run in the Northeast Conference playoffs. “I don’t think the new guys understand how important it is to communicate in every situation because one little mess up, and it could be an easy bucket for the other team. I feel as though, even with the returners, we weren’t really 100 percent with our stuff either, we were just as bad as the new guys and that put us in a bad situation,” said center Mike McFadden. “Everybody is understanding that communication is key to any DI basketball game.” Since RMU has three community college transfers on the roster this season, Anthony Myers-Pate believes that it’s difficult for the new players to mesh with the veterans on the court. “With the game speed being a little faster, with the new guys and with us, it’s kind of hard to talk about some stuff you don’t really know like the back of your hand,” said MyersPate. “When somebody is sprinting down the court, you got to worry about stopping the ball, then you have to screen right.” After a shaky start to the season in which Robert Morris narrowly outlasted Division II foe California University of Pennsylvania,

McFadden noted that communicating when the Colonials don’t have possession of the basketball is imperative to their success. “Hands down it’s the defense. The offense, that flows well, we’re a pretty good offensive team this year, and everyone can score. It’s more the defense,” the native of Newark, New Jersey said. “In high school and [Junior College] you really don’t communicate that much. That split second you’re late with it, or if you just don’t say anything, that could be a foul, or two points for the other team.” Head coach Andy Toole agrees. “A lot of those things aren’t judgment calls anymore, they’re absolutes and what people are going to have to do and what we’ve been trying to do forever is teach defense,” said the fourth year head coach. “People are going to have to be really proactive, well positioned, and they’re going to have to have great technique to how they do things.” Guard Desjuan Newton, who attended Central Arizona College before arriving in Moon Township earlier this year, said he’ll do whatever it takes in order to get his teammates to talk on defense. “At my JUCO, we communicated, but the arena wasn’t as big, so you could hear. Here, we don’t have the biggest arena, but it’s still a big atmosphere,” he said. “Communication is going to be big here. We have to project our voice, so whatever we have to do, jump, swing some hands, or something to get our message across, we could become a better defensive team.”

PHOTO BY: Paul Wintruba 28 THE SENTRY

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By: Chris Mueller Copy Editor

Joe Walton means everything to the Robert Morris football program, and the Robert Morris football program means everything to Joe Walton. The program’s founder, leader and only head coach for over twenty years is set to retire at the end of the 2013 season. As Walton hangs up the spikes to put a close on his legendary career, his memory will surely live on throughout the campus community. “I don’t know where those twenty years went,” he said. “But I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.” Walton founded the football program at Robert Morris in 1993 after a long career as both a player and coach in the NFL. Most recently an offensive coordinator for the Steelers two years prior, Walton described what drove him to leaving the professional level and starting a program from scratch at a small school like RMU. “My first wife was quite ill at the time, and I was dealing with UPMC to get her taken care of. I didn’t think it was the time for us to be moving or going someplace else.

I had several opportunities to stay in the NFL, but I just didn’t want to move again,” said Walton. “Corky Cost and Dr. Bill Amos, who I played with at Pitt, were both on the board at RMU. They both mentioned to me about Robert Morris investigating starting a football program.” And the rest was history. Before he knew it, his team was atop the Northeast Conference by 1996, running the table to a 9-2 record as Walton was named coach of the year. Robert Morris spent the following next three seasons as conference champions, making their mark as a legitimate I-AA program. They won two mid-major national championships in 1999 and 2000, and earned the first ever automatic playoff bid out of the NEC in 2010, cementing their head coach’s spot in the school’s hall of fame. “I had never coached college kids before. I thought that would be kind of fun. I figured I’d stay there a few years until my wife was feeling better, and then go back to the NFL,” Walton explained. “As

Walton brought numerous years of NFL experience to Robert Morris

Joe Walton speaking to the media on founding a program at Robert Morris

Robert Morris implemented their first set of night games under Joe Walton on Homecoming weekend in the final two seasons of his tenure Coach Walton with longtime assistant coach Dan Radakovich after winning his first game at Robert Morris

PHOTOS BY: RMU Athletics Chris Bombardo 30 THE SENTRY

December 2013

I stayed here and got to know people around the college, I started to really enjoy it. It was a great experience and I wouldn’t change anything right now.” But as Walton described it, his favorite memory with the program came far before all the success. “One of my most exciting times in football period was taking that group of guys down to Waynesburg College and winning that first game,” said Walton. “It’s something that’s so amazing to me that we were able to pull that off. It’s one of the highlights of my career.” What comes next for the legendary coach? It has already been announced that at the conclusion of the 2013 campaign, Walton will be promoted as a special assistant to athletic director Dr. Craig Coleman, working within the athletic department on day-to-day operations. “I think it’s time for me to back off and let these younger guys take over,” said Walton. “In all phases of my life, I’ve never looked back. I’ve always just put it aside and went

for the new challenge. I’m anxious to find out the operations of the athletic director and what I can do to help him.” Walton may not be at the helm of the football team next year when camp starts in August, but he does have a high regard for the future of the program, along with the presuming coach in waiting, John Banaszak. “Coach Banaszak brings a tremendous amount of knowledge about football. The players like him, and he’s a very good recruiter. I think John’s a great choice and I’m very happy for him,” said Walton. “I think the program will continue to grow. Who knows, it may not happen in our lifetime, but there could be a day where we move up even further.” It will sure be different next fall when the Colonials take the field at Joe Walton Stadium without their long-time leader. But the RMU community should not feel sad because it’s over, but rather smile because it happened. Walton has done so much for the school and athletic community in his time here at Robert Morris, and his legacy truly will live on forever.

The final home opener of Joe Walton’s career was a 31-14 win against Morgan State

Coach Walton never shied away from interviews, always willing to give his thoughts on the play of his team

Referees knew not to miss calls while calling Robert Morris games, knowing they’d get an earful from Coach Walton on the sidelines

Coach Walton with quarterback Paul Jones after his final home game at Robert Morris



HOMETOWN TALENT Grese eclipsing expectations for RMU women’s soccer squad By: JAROD JOHNSON STAFF WRITTER During her tenure at Moon Area High School, Antonia Grese always had hopes of playing collegiate soccer, but never expected to compete for her hometown university, until Robert Morris offered her a scholarship last year. “My dad wanted me to come down close to him, but he came to watch practice and he even told me that I made the right choice,” said Grese, a freshman. “This is the perfect place for me. Even if the games were really far away, [my family] would still come, but since this is my township, more than just my parents will show up.” In her senior season at Moon, she led the Tigers to a 24-2-0 record and a national ranking of 10th, while scoring 29 goals and adding 37 assists. At the start of the season, Robert Morris head coach John Kowalski believed that she could become a very successful collegiate athlete. “In practices, she’s been doing some terrific things, she’s coming with tons of accomplishments and credentials,” Kowalski said. “I think it will take half a season or the games out-of-conference to make a transition to the college level. I think we will see a significant contribution from her as the season is going.” His prediction rang true. But it didn’t take quite as long as he had originally thought for

PHOTO BY: Chris Bombardo

her to get comfortable with the speed and strength of the college game. The forward’s first collegiate goal came in just the fourth game of the season. Grese played in all 16 contests during the regular season, earning nine starts. She finished her freshman campaign with three goals and six points, both good for fifth on the team in their respective categories. She especially did a nice job stepping up offensively when fellow forward Katie Austin went down earlier in the year with a season ending knee injury. “During the season, her hustle really surprised us, she doesn’t give up,” said junior goalkeeper Becky Schoenecker. “She sprained her ankle during the season, it was pretty nasty, but she played through it, and her being able to play through things because she cares about it, because she has the passion and drive to do well is really strong and is a great impact on our team.” Some collegiate teams go to the ends of the earth in a search for the best athletes. As for the RMU women’s soccer club, a player with stellar high school credentials and extraordinary potential was right under their nose. “All the other schools I looked at weren’t as pretty as Robert Morris, and my mom went here, and I grew up here,” Grese said. “This place means more to me than just a school.”


Neco Brett’s 14 goals in 2013 have marked a dramatic change in his performance, which has built confidence in both himself and the Robert Morris men’s soccer team. “It feels amazing. Scoring goals feels great,” said Brett. “I have been working hard this season and it has paid off.” In his second year as a Colonial, Brett has racked up a tremendous 36 points (14 goals and 8 assists), which led Division I this season. RMU head coach Bill Denniston believes that Brett’s talent and unselfish characteristics have played a huge part in the club’s success. “Neco is a class player. He could be selfish and score more goals, but he has had four assists this weekend,” the 17th year coach said after the final home contest of the season. “He is very unselfish and a very talented player.” Denniston also said that the improvement of Brett over the past year has been unlike any he has ever seen, a complete turnaround in his mind. A turnaround, he said, that is not only apparent in Brett, but in the team as well. “I just think that he [Brett] gives the team confidence,” said Denniston, “If we give up a goal early in the game, we know that we have a guy that can put it in the back of the net. We have a weapon that not a lot of teams have and that helps us keep our focus, which was a problem last season.” Brett’s 13 tallies in the last 16 games not only put him at the top of RMU men’s soccer in scoring, but it is also two goals fewer than last season’s total for the entire team. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Brett picked up the game of soccer at age six and never looked back. His determination and passion for the game earned him spots on the Jamaican U-17, U-20 and U-23 National teams. Now in his second year at RMU, Brett has found a home with the Colonials, helping the team in any way that he can, even if that means keeping spirits up with a few pranks. “He is a great player on the field and he is prankster off the field,” said Matt Fonagy, a midfielder. “He likes to joke around and he keeps the team together. He’s just an overall great kid.” Although only in his second year with the Colonials, Brett already has his sights on the pros and is keeping his options open. Denniston believes that at the rate Brett is going, his options aren’t limited. “I don’t think there is any stopping him from getting in the top spots in scoring,” he said. “And that is going to greatly affect his chances for the pros and open all kinds of doors for him.”












31 PHOTO BY: Amy Shubilla



For everyone other than the senior class, having Kushneriuk at practice was a new experience. It was up to guys like South to talk about just what kind of leader Kushneriuk was and can be. “We told them what a great leader he was and what a great player he was,” said South. “I think they’ve been able to witness it themselves with him practicing with us, so I think anything we’ve told them, they’ve been able to see themselves.” Sophomore forward David Friedmann is now able to experience firsthand what kind of person Chris Kushneriuk is. “All I knew was what Zach Hervato told me told me last year on the road. He always spoke about Kush and how strong he was and about everything he was going through and how optimistic he was,” said Friedmann. “I was pretty much living vicariously through him. When he came here, it was the first time I really met him, and it was awesome. Just seeing him and seeing his presence about how happy he is about life was amazing.” For Kushneriuk, he knows he’s fortunate to have the hockey community supporting him, and with their support, he knows he can only get better from here. “The thing about hockey players and the hockey world is that it’s so interconnected. You seem to have a relationship, or a connection with all of them somewhere down the line, so it’s very easy to get along with them. They really welcomed me,” said Kushneriuk. “They all know my story and I’m looking forward to learning more of their stories. It’s not necessarily about me, it’s about them and everyone around me.”

PHOTO BY: RMU Athletics

Since being diagnosed with Stage 4 testicular cancer on June 19, 2012, former Robert Morris University NCAA men’s hockey captain Chris Kushneriuk has been through a whirlwind of emotions. After being cleared to play hockey on July 20, 2013, Kushneriuk knew he wanted to be back at RMU with his former team. “This is where I wanted to be, and this was where I was hoping I would end up,” said Kushneriuk. “I’m able to come here, get a great education and be around a great group of people and be involved in the community, and help with the hockey team. That’s the stuff that I’ve dreamed of, and I’m living my dream right now.” Head coach Derek Schooley supported Kushneriuk’s decision to return to RMU. “He came back for the alumni weekend and was here for a week and we started discussing it around there,” said Schooley. “He’s got such a positive attitude and we thought it would be great for our hockey team to have him around and learn from his experiences and for them to know not to take anything for granted and treat every day like it’s your last.” Kushneriuk has also noted that he is starting to feel better each and every day. “I can almost completely forget about what I’ve been though, but my energy is really good,” explained Kushneriuk. “I feel like I’m getting a lot stronger. I guess I’m just making strides every day.” Having Kushneriuk back at practice has been very beneficial to everyone, especially senior captain Colin South. “It’s incredible to see him healthy. It’s a pleasant surprise because he had such a huge task ahead of him, it was such an uphill battle,” said South. “So the fact that he is back healthy is incredible.” Kushneriuk has also served as a mentor of sorts for South. “Dating back to when I played with him when he was a senior, he was a great captain and a great leader,” added South. “He just gives me little bits of advice every so often, and he helps keeps things in perspective for me.”


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Issue 1, Fall 2013  
Issue 1, Fall 2013