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the rocket

Friday November 20, 2020 • Volume 104, Issue Number 5 • An Independent, Student-Run Newspaper


PASSHE tops 2,000 COVID-19 cases As fall semester ends, the 14 state system universities prepare for spring 2021

By Nina Cipriani News Editor

Editor’s note: All data regarding Coronavirus case numbers was collected on Nov. 19 at 3 p.m. For the most up-to-date case numbers, visit SRU’s COVID-19 dashboard or access a university’s dashboard using its website. With the fall 2020 semester coming to an end, the 14 universities of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) have totaled more than 2,000 positive COVID-19 cases as students wait for their respective universities to release their final spring 2021 semester plans.  In light of these unprecedented times, PASSHE released its framework for the fall 2020 semester in June, which outlined how the state system universities should approach the semester with specific guidance in areas like academics, face-to-face instruction, student life, and health and safety. The framework emphasized that it is each universities’ responsibility to determine

how they would engage in face-to-face instruction along with other aspects of the semester specific to each university. Because of the uncertainty of the pandemic and its potential effects, the state system universities were advised to create a contingency plan for alternate ways of operating should COVID-19 evolve. Since then, PASSHE universities have added COVID-19 dashboards to their websites to keep track of COVID-19 cases in the campus community, including student and faculty cases. Seven of the 14 schools (Bloomsburg, California, Indiana, Kutztown, Mansfield, Millersville and Shippensburg Universities) differentiate the COVID-19 cases of students between those who reside onand off-campus.

Spring semester plans As we near the end of the fall 2020 semester, the PASSHE universities are preparing for the upcoming spring 2021 semester with some of the same regulations. Of the 14 state system schools, eight are going into the spring with a hybrid approach, with a combination of in-


person classes and remote methods. The universities with a hybrid model include Bloomsburg, Clarion, Edinboro, Indiana,

Kutztown, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities. To be more flexible for students, Bloomsburg

University will be offering plans, nearly 40% of their courses in an in-person, curriculum will be face-toremote or hybrid format. face and hybrid. According to Bloomsburg’s web page for spring 2021 SEE PASSHE PAGE A-3

Periodically together Chemistry professors, students balance the need for scientific equipment and protecting oneself By Joe Wells Assistant News Editor

While many SRU students this year are attending classes from their couch or bed, some are in the classrooms, navigating complex assignments under not-sonormal conditions. When the university announced their fall reopening plan in July, administrators looked to ensure classes that provide hands-on learning which could not be replicated online would continue in some fashion on campus. Although they had an idea of what those classes would look like, it was up to the faculty to put the plan into action. Ashley Loe was one of many faculty members who had to adapt the laboratory portion of her Biochemistry I class into a safe and socially distant course that retained as much of the benefit of hands on experimentation as possible. Her course is one of 43 being taught multimodal this semester by the College of Health, Engineering and Science (CHES), according to Michael Zieg, interim dean of CHES. While students on campus are required to wear a face mask at all times while indoors, the mask has not been difficult to work with in a course that requires students to wear goggles and other personal protective equipment while working. One of the biggest changes brought to her class however, has been the elimination of lab partners. In order to comply with occupancy limits social distance guidelines in the lab, Loe had to keep students spread out and split the class into two



Masked up and socially distant, laboratory courses have to adapt to give students access to the state-of-the-art equipment. Splitting the class into two groups, during off-weeks students complete assignemnts in a virtual lab through Labster.

groups so they could rotate through every other week. While the smaller numbers allow the students to spread out, Loe added there is also the benefit that students are not forced to share equipment and more personalized attention. Still, some students opted to take the course completely online. Those students, along with those who are not in the lab that week, still participate in a lab exercise through the online learning tool Labster. “It’s basically a video game,” said Taylor Maxwell, a junior environmental chemistry major. A-3

New testing method for 2021

While Maxwell said the Labster assignments are no substitute for the hands-on experience she receives in Loe’s labs, the scenarios provide a practical base to build off. While the students in Loe’s class moved back to the area for classes this semester, many did so because their jobs were here. With no students in the lounges of the Advanced Technology and Science Hall or out in the quad between classes, being in-person feels a little weird for some. “It doesn’t feel like the semester started,” Maxwell said. Ashlyn Hildebrand, a junior chemistry major with a concentration in biochemistry,


Rocket staff goodbyes


said her and her classmates have always been close and worked together in and out of the classroom. Despite some face-to-face time in the lab, for Hildebrand it now it feels as though everyone is on their own. Loe said normally she has around five students in the lab but as the semester has carried on, some students have had to stay home temporarily due to possible exposure to the coronavirus, missing out of valuable hands on time. Having spent three years teaching at SRU, Loe said the changes this semester has been a challenge but has been nothing compared to the chaotic


changes that occurred during the shutdown last spring. Those students, who were in Biochemistry II at the time, were forced to scrap ongoing assignments and utilize mock data to complete their work on plasmids. Knowing that the upcoming spring semester will look more or less like the current, Loe said she has enough time to come up with creative workarounds to the upcoming challenges. One of the challenges she is tackling now is for students to be able to work with living organisms while not being around to take care of it all the time. Yet, despite the challenges, Loe and her students feel a little C-3

McIntyre's brochure moment

more confident about what the following semester will bring and their ability to adapt. “It probably will go better,” said Rachel Hemmerlin, also a junior chemistry major with a concentration in biochemistry. Hemmerlin said students and professors know what to expect and have been working out the kinks throughout the semester to find the right balance. No matter what the upcoming semester brings for Loe’s class, they agreed that right now they are just glad to be able to meet in-person, even if it is only for a couple of hours once every two weeks.

Campus Life

Community and Christmas



INTERACTIVE: PASSHE COVID-19 cases horse race


COVID-19 testing evolves for spring SRU President William Behre explains new protocols, existing regulations that will continue

By Nina Cipriani News Editor

With finals quickly approaching, SRU is starting to prepare for the spring 2021 semester with relatively the same protocols in hopes that students can have more in-person classes and social activities by fall 2021. The spring 2021 semester will implement new rapid testing regulations in which SRU will use saliva-based PCR COVID-19 testing. SRU President William Behre hopes by Thanksgiving the university will have made their final decisions about the new type of testing, including the specific testing supplier they are going with. Behre said he and the university are trying to be responsive to the community

"[Rapid] testing will allow you to know if someone has been exposed quicker than if you just wait for symptoms to show up." – William Behre, SRU president

that “clearly wants to have more face-to-face activities.” They are going to carry out this type of testing that has newly become “more accurate and more costeffective,” according to Behre. He said that it will “easily be a seven-figure effort” to have access to this technology, but it will “not make us go broke.” He added that at least it is not going to be a ten-figure effort. SRU is continually working with the Allegheny Health Network (AHN) to work toward a definite protocol for next semester, which includes this new method of rapid testing. As for the procedures of this rapid testing, Behre said he does not know any specifics yet. He added that many different groups of people in the university are looking at what things would look like going forward, including academics, housing and social life on campus. “Testing will allow you to know if someone has been exposed quicker than if you just wait for symptoms to show up,” Behre said. “Right now, everything is symptomaticallybased on our testing. But, when you move to asymptomatic [testing], then you have a greater chance of catching these things.” He emphasized that whatever testing method they come up with for the next semester, they have to combine that with the messages delivered to students. Students are reminded that they need to do their part as well, which includes being mindful of their behavior and following the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) protocols. He said no matter what regulations they implement, a singular


student’s poor behavior could undermine their efforts. Behre said they cannot require students to take part in the testing. However, they can implement a wristband policy, where whoever has been tested wears a wristband and can participate in more activities than those that did not partake in testing. He added that these specific protocols are not concrete yet. Other than the new policies, Behre said the university will continue to implement most of the same protocols from this semester to reduce risk on campus. This includes having a limited population that lives on campus, sanitizing as much as possible, contact tracing and

shutting down face-to-face class instruction when there is “an abundance of exposures,” according to Behre. Behre observed that the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) schools that were successful in their protocols this semester were those that did a good job convincing their students to regulate their off-campus behavior and kept up with symptomatic testing on their campuses. Behre said those are two factors that SRU can work toward. Right now, according to Behre, many conversations are happening about the spring 2021 semester. He and the university are talking about

athletics specifically. Behre said that if SRU resumes sports competitions, they will have to meet NCAA standards. If athletic competitions do not resume next semester, Behre hopes that athletics can at least have workouts together. Similarly, he said this also goes for dancers and band members as well. Behre is hoping that students will be able to have more in-person practices and social interaction either next semester or the following. Behre does not anticipate there being a shift in classes for next semester. However, he emphasized that the university’s goal is to have more face-to-face interactions by the fall 2021 semester.

With the COVID-19 vaccine that Pfizer and President-Elect Joe Biden have been working on, Behre said there could be some positive effects that come out of that for SRU. However, he said because college students may not necessarily be a top priority to get vaccinated, there is a chance that we could go into the fall 2021 semester with the vast majority of the campus population being unvaccinated “just because of a scale issue.” But as for the rest of this semester, Behre does not anticipate any “systemic shifts” in classes or on-campus living, unless there is a big jump in cases that would cause students with face-to-face classes to move online.

SRU honors veterans State restrictions keep ceremony small but reach, impact large

By Joe Wells Assistant News Editor

While the number of speakers may have been reduced and the guests at home or in their offices, SRU still took time Nov. 11 to honor those who served this Veterans Day. A collaboration between the SRU Office of Alumni Engagement and Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) has been going o n f o r w e l l ov e r 1 5 years according to Kelly Bailey, director of alumni engagement. Previously, the ceremony would last over a half hour and host over 100 veterans and guests, but due to COVID-19 restrictions on campus, the ceremony had to adapt. Still included were the singing of the national anthem, wreath laying ceremony and veteran and SRU senior Steven Pancoast reciting the poem “My Name is Old Glory,” which was written by Howard Schnauber. This year, in lieu of physical guests, the ceremony was livestreamed over Facebook. Pancoast, a ten-year Navy veteran who served as an explosive ordnance disposal technician, will be graduating in the spring with a degree in exercise science. He said he enjoys getting in front of group to talk about things from the veteran perspective since veterans make up such a small percentage of the SRU community. During the 2018-2019 academic year, SRU had 153 students utilizing educational benefits provided by the Department of Veterans


SRU senior and Navy veteran Steven Pancoast recites "My Name is Old Glory" as part of the university's Veteran's Day service. The Veteran's Day Ceremony, a tradition that has been held on campus for over 15 years, was moved online due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Affairs or Department of Defense, according to the Department of Education. For Pancoast, being able to show another side of who veterans are other than what is portrayed in movies and on television and “demystify” veterans for a younger generation that may be too young

to remember the Global War on Terror period is rewarding. As he finished reciting “My Name is Old Glory,” Pancoast stepped aside and Cadet Sean Aston moved to place the wreath at the base of the Alumni Veterans Memorial, a tradition used to honor all

veterans who gave their life in defense of the nation. With the completion of Taps, the ceremony finished in under ten minutes. Even though the conditions were not ideal, Pancoast said it was still nice to have something instead of canceling the event outright.

While there may not have been the hundred plus attendees to observe and pay tribute to SRU veterans and other throughout the country, the video from the ceremony had been seen by more than 3,000. Knowing the reach virtual events have and

how simple it was to setup, Bailey said it is pretty much guaranteed to be included in future years – but she also wants to have people back inperson as soon as it is safe. SRU’s 2020 Veterans Day Ceremony can be viewed on Facebook.

November 20, 2020



PASSHE case numbers rise as semester ends


Clarion University will also be delivering its classes in a hybrid model. The PASSHE school chose this method so that if students do not feel comfortable taking classes in person, they can continue to learn remotely. Similarly, the other six schools (Edinboro, I n d i a n a , Ku t z t o w n , Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities) are implementing the same format. In an email sent to SRU stakeholders on Oct. 8,

"This approach will provide for the continud health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, which, as always, is our top priority." – William Behre, SRU president

SRU President William Behre expressed how he understands that the current plans are nott exactly what he, students and faculty had hoped for, but “it is proven to work as evidenced by our low case count.” “This approach will provide for the continued health and safety of our students, faculty and staff,” Behre said. “Which, as always, is our top priority. It is our continued adherence to mitigation efforts that will hopefully help us return to our pre-pandemic methods of operation in fall 2021.” Similarly, Shippensburg University is using the same hybrid technique as the fall semester named the HyFlex learning model, which allows students to learn inperson and online. As for the rest of the state system, two schools (California University and East Stroudsburg University) will have some in-person classes and oncampus activities, but will be primarily online. Lock Haven University said specifically 85% of their spring courses will be taught remotely while the rest will have hands-on courses with face-to-face instruction. These in-person classes will mainly be reserved for courses like studio art, various labs, clinical work and student teaching.  With the same modality as their fall semester, Millersville University will operate with about 80% of their classes being remote. This approach includes classes that are either synchronous and asynchronous, which is similar to what many

universities are doing during the pandemic. Cheyney University has not yet announced their plans for spring 2021. Brian Dries, a Philadelphia director for Ceisler Media, the organization that manages Cheyney’s media inquiries, said their leadership team is currently reviewing its plans for next semester and will communicate them to the campus community when they are available. Mansfield also has not released plans for next semester as of press time.  Case numbers As of Thursday morning, there were a total of 2,031 cases reported between all 14 PASSHE universities.  Indiana University of Pennsylvania has the highest number of cases in the state system with a total of 419 cases, or about 20.6% of all cases. With 387 cases reported (or about 19.1% of the state system’s total cases), Kutztown University has the second-highest case number in the system as of Thursday morning. Bloomsburg reported 381 cases (18.8%), while Slippery Rock has 254 (12.5%) and Shippensburg University has 192 (9.5%). Lock Haven has reported 109 cases (5.4%) during the same date.  These six universities totaled to 1,742, accounting for 85.8% of the cases represented throughout PASSHE.  Millersville University’s numbers are significantly smaller than the larger six, with 98 cases and accounting for 4.8% of the total. While

Clarion has 63 (3.1%) reported cases, Edinboro (33), Mansfield (24), East Stroudsburg (27), California (8) and Cheyney (4) each have reported 50 cases or less and collectively contributing to about 4.7% of all state system cases. West Chester University has a total of 32 cases (1.6%) as of the end of September with student and faculty numbers combined. WCU changed its reporting method on Sept. 18 to count on students and faculty members who reported on campus within the past 14 days. The university has not reported any new cases in the months of October and November. In contrast with the total COVID-19 cases in the state of Pennsylvania, the 2,031 cases represented throughout the PASSHE system are only about 0.71% of the over 288,000 statewide cases. Additionally, there were over 6,000 new cases reported on Nov. 18 alone in Pennsylvania. Case reporting When it comes to reporting positive COVID-19 cases in the campus community, each university takes a different approach to doing so, and that approach may have changed throughout the semester. However, all 14 PASSHE schools are similar in the fact that they separate student and faculty cases. Only some of the universities differentiate between on- and off- campus cases, including Bloomsburg, California, Indiana, Kutztown, Mansfield, Millersville and Shippensburg Universities.

At the SRSGA formal meeting on Monday, Behre said Shippensburg University is doing more face-to-face than Slippery Rock, and yet they have fewer cases than we do. “[Shippensburg] has a local government that honestly has cracked down on parties a little more than our local government has,” Behre said. Bloomsburg University has “The Husky Safe Seven” showcased on its COVID-19 dashboard. Graphics and pictures accompany the health and safety reminders to tell students to always wear a face covering, wash their hands frequently, practice good health habits, always social distance and monitor your health daily.  BU also states on its dashboard that the Office of the Dean of Students is committed to “protect the pack” and therefore takes all violations of the Student Code of Conduct “very seriously,” including violating health and safety COVID-19 protocols.  As of press time, Bloomsburg is the only university to list the consequences of violating COVID-19 protocols on their website. There are seven students who have lost housing privileges, two that are currently on interim suspension and one student that is currently suspended.  Similar to the way it was in the beginning of the semester, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Lock Haven and Slippery Rock do not separate on- and off-campus student cases. Lock Haven and Indiana University of Pennsylvania are

the only two universities that do not specify if the cases are student or faculty. Only three universities (East Stroudsburg, Indiana and Kutztown Universities) explicitly list the number of recovered cases on their COVID-19 dashboards. As of press time, East Stroudsburg has zero recovered cases, Indiana has 359 and Kutztown has 372.  However, five schools (Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Millersville and Shippensburg Universities) explicitly display their active cases in their campus community on their respective COVID-19 dashboards. As of press time, Indiana has 60 active cases, Kutztown has 14, Lock Haven has 9, Millersville has 10 and Shippensburg has 92.  COVID-19 Testing Of the 14 PASSHE schools, 10 universities offer testing on-campus at their respective health centers. The universities that provide testing are Bloomsburg, Cheyney, Clarion, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Millersville, Shippensburg and Slippery Rock Universities.  Four of the universities (California, East Stroudsburg, Mansfield and West Chester Universities) refer students to their own healthcare providers off campus. WCU specifically suggests that students contact the Chester County Health Department and other commercial facilities to get tested. PASSHE has yet to announce any framework for the spring 2021 semester like they did for fall 2020.

SGA finishes business for 2020 SRU President Behre addresses senators' concerns in formal meeting

By Joe Wells Assistant News Editor

At the final formal meeting of the semester for the Slipper y Rock Student Government Association (SGA), SRU President William Behre took time to address the body’s concerns regarding COVID-19 and mental health. During the open forum portion of the meeting, Behre stressed the importance of acting in safe manner to help slow the spread of the coronavirus so the university could stay open for students looking for some form of normalacy. With the administrations determination that currently SRU’s spring semester will look very much like the fall and the cancellation of fall sports, Behre said he was looking to set The Rock up for success to that can lead to an increase of face-to-face courses next fall. “ We are working as hard as I’ve ever seen a group of people work, to bring us back much more face-to-face next fall,” Behre said.

"We are working as hard as I've ever seen a group of people work, to bring us back much more face-toface next fall." – William Behre, SRU president

Increasing testing on campus is important to the plan. In the upcoming weeks, Behre said the university should have a contract with a supplier to provide rapid testing of asymptomatic students regularly. He said he expects providing this sort of testing regiment will cost more than $1 million. Even if there are not more classes held on campus in the spring, the increased testing will allow for more events to be held and help spring sports to move forward. Yet, Behre does not believe testing alone will be enough. He said what is important, and where other universities have had success with increased face-to-face learning, is community buy-in. “In truth, a substantial subset of our students have not taken this pandemic as seriously as I would have liked them to see off-campus,” Behre said. “And if we’re going to come back more fully, people are going to have to take it more seriously.” Part of the university’s plan has been to cancel fall and spring breaks in an attempt to keep students from travelling around and not abiding by recommended guidelines. Some senators, like Sen. Gabriel Stiles, wanted to know if the university has thought about how this is affecting students’ mental health. “I kind of want to know what your thoughts are on implementing maybe just a few day breaks … because, overall students are just really burned out,” Stiles asked. Behre responded by saying his issue with announced mini breaks is that it provides an oppor tunity for large numbers of students to travel and spread infection. He said the idea of popup breaks is “attractive” because students are not given advanced notice and they cannot do something


SGA President Joey Sciuto discusses new business in the SGA formal meeting on Monday. Sciuto and the senate approved multiple initiative requests, including The Rocket's request and approving Chi Sigma Iota as an organization.

he sees as “a knucklehead move.” He added that it was just an idea he heard about and was not a formal plan or something he has discussed with his cabinet. Still, Behre said he is tired like everyone else, but he hopes the extended break between semesters is something everyone will find welcoming despite the lack of break during the semester. Discussing the financial state of the university, Behre welcomed SGA in using their position to talk with legislatures about increased funding for higher education. Pe n n s y l v a n i a has consistently ranked toward the bottom of the list in funding of higher education. In 2014, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center found the commonwealth 46th in the U.S. in per capita spending on higher education. Behre added the Pennsylvania State System

o f Hi g h e r Ed u c a t i o n (PASSHE) has been frozen over the years and has not changed with the increases SRU has seen in its enrollment. He estimated that SRU receives roughly $1,000 less per student than the total of what PASSHE receives per student. After the open forum, SGA President Joey Sciuto moved to entertaining agenda items. SGA voted to approve an initiative request by The Rocket for $6,490.90. The request, half of the paper’s budget, was requested after the SRSGA voted to cut club and organizational budgets 50% two weeks ago due to reduced fees collected this year. Editor-in-chief Hannah Shumsky said that without the funds, recover y from the cuts would be difficult. “As we continue to navigate through the pandemic, we need transparency more than ever, and we hope SGA

sees the value of student journalism not only at SRU, but nationwide by approving this request,” Shumsky said in the open forum. “Without this request, our fees for national recognition and affiliation, printing fees, and online website fees will be cut to a point that would be difficult for us to speedily recover from before the start of the spring 2021 semester.” Speaker of the Senate Ky l e Me n n o r a s k e d i f a p p rov i n g t h e re q u e s t would open the door for other clubs to do the same and if so, what would be the position of the senate. Vice President of Finance Nate Desing said the majority of organizations have not touched their funds this semester and he did not expect there to be a high demand. Shumsky added that The Rocket has already made budget cuts and shrunk its circulation to account

for the reduced number of students on campus. They have also raised over $3,000 in ad revenue this semester, Shumsky said. The senate approved the measure with Speaker Me n n o r a s t h e l o n e dissenter. SGA also unanimously recognized Chi Sigma Iota as an SGA organization. The professional honor society for those in the counseling field became the sixth organization approved this semester. One of the last orders of business handled by the body was the nomination and approval of SGA Parliamentarian Grant Warmbein to the SGA Board of Directors. Sciuto said Warbein was the only person to apply for the position. Monday was the final formal meeting of SGA for the semester. They will be having an informal meeting Monday, Nov. 23 at 5 p.m. and the link can be found on CORE.



November 20, 2020

POLICE BLOTTER October 30 – University Police responded to a trouble alarm at the Smith Student Center PNC ATM. A Loomis employee was at the ATM. The alarm was reset.

November 3 – University police responded to a fire alarm at the Boiler Plant. Upon arrival, officers found a technician working inside. The alarm system was reset.

November 14 – Police responded to a fire alarm at the ROCK Apartments. The cause was determined to be burnt food. The alarm system was reset.

October 30 – Police responded to Watson Hall for an alcohol violation. Paula Bravo, 18, Rachel Smith, 18 and Sara Teachout, 18, were cited for underage possession of alcohol.

November 3 – Police received a call from a motorist that they had backed into a vehicle in the Founders Upper Staff Lot. Officer was dispatched and owners exchanged information. No injuries occurred.

November 14 – Police arrived at Building E for a fire alarm. A person spraying Febreze was determined to be the cause of the activation. The alarm system was reset.

October 31 – University police responded to an E-Phone alarm at the Central Loop. Police checked the area but did not find anyone. The Alarm system was reset. October 31 – Police responded to the ROCK Apartments for a ‘LOW AIR ATTIC’ alarm. Officers checked the area and found everything to be OK. The alarm system was reset. October 31 – University police were stopped by a jogger along Rock Pride Drive who stated there was a person slumped over the steering wheel of their running car. Police approached the vehicle and found Patrick Phillips, 18, intoxicated. Phillips was cited with underage possession of alcohol and operating a motor vehicle with alcohol in their system, both summary offenses. Phillips was released to their roommate. October 31 – Police were called to Building B for a possible drug violation. Officers on scene detected an odor of marijuana. Police attempted to talk to an individual but described them as “uncooperative.” Police are referring the matter to student conduct. November 1 – Pennsylvania State Police requested assistance at University Village with an intoxicated person and possible break-in of a nearby house. Security guard at University Village stated that he heard gunshots. Police searched the area but did not find anything. November 1 – Police were called to Building E for a possible drug violation. Officer talked with the resident and found drugs and alcohol. Colin Kennelly, 19, was cited for underage possession of alcohol and disorderly conduct. November 2 – Police responded to a possible domestic at Building A. Officer made contact with the individual and found them to be alone. Person was having an argument over the phone with their girlfriend. Police told the person to keep his voice down. November 3 – Police received a call from a security company that there was an alarm activated at the PNC office inside the Student Smith Center. An officer on scene found the door to be ajar. Area was checked and all appeared to be OK. Police secured the door and security company was advised of what was found.

November 6 – University police filed charges against Alexis Carpenter, 21, for furnishing alcohol to minors – a third degree misdemeanor. In their criminal complaint, police allege Carpenter supplied an SRU student and two other females, all 18, with two bottles of Pink Whitney and a bottle of Malibu Mango on Oct. 30. A preliminary hearing for Carpenter has been set or Jan. 27. November 6 – University police received a call from an individual who said they had spotted a missing SRU student along William Flynn Highway. University police contacted the Pennsylvania State Police who informed them they had received numerous calls and the person was not the missing student. November 6 – Police responded to Building E for an alcohol violation. In the room, officers found multiple occupants and alcohol. Cited for underage possession of alcohol were Savion Harrison, 18, Zaire Hart-Hawkins, 18, Aimee Johnson, 18, Andrew Miller, 19, and a 17-yearold juvenile. November 10 – Police responded to a fire alarm at Maltby. Upon arrival, officers located a room on the bottom floor that had a strong odor coming from it. Police notified maintenance and IT who responded to the room. The alarm system was reset. November 11 – University police received a call that a dog was running loose along Rock Pride Drive. An officer located the dog and brought it back to the station. Owner was notified and picked up their dog. November 13 – University Police responded to an intruder alarm at the bookstore that was accidently set off by staff. The alarm system was reset. November 13 – Police received a complaint of an individual on the roof of the Jack C. Dinger Annex and another riding their bicycle in the area. Officers located the individuals, both juveniles, in the East Lake Parking Lot. Parents were notified of the incident. No further action was taken by police.

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November 15 – Police responded to a tent damaged by storms on Morrow Way. Maintenance was notified and had it removed from the roadway. November 15 – University Police responded to a fire alarm set off by burnt food in Building E. The alarm system was reset. November 16 – Police received a call from Butler County 911 requesting them to check on Slippery Rock Borough Police. Butler County 911 said the Borough police were on a traffic stop, but were not answering their radio. University police on scene assisted with DUI stop. University police transported passenger to the police station. No further action taken by university police. November 18 – University police responded to an intruder alarm at the Fowler Building. Staff called the police station to say the alarm went off when they entered the building. The alarm system was reset. November 18 – Police responded to a panic alarm at Building D. Safety was notified and responded. They believe there is an issue with the wiring. The alarm system was reset. November 18 – Police received a call from a CA at Building E about an odor of marijuana coming from a dorm room. Officer arrived and contacted the resident. No odor was present and incident was considered unfounded. COMPILED BY JOE WELLS


November 20, 2020


PA releases state, local election results

Department of State announces unofficial returns for Butler County in 2020 election By Nina Cipriani News Editor

E d i t o r’s n o t e : A l l results were updated as of Nov. 18. This unprecedented election process amid the Coronavirus pandemic has neared its end, as Presidentelect Joseph R. Biden will become the 46th president of the United States Saturday after amassing more than 75 million votes. While the presidential election is happening at a national level, there are also elections happening at the state and local level. This includes the attorney general, auditor general, state treasurer and state representatives races. Out of the 3,822 registered voters in Slippery Rock Township, there were 2,033 ballots cast, with 484

– Check out the PA Department of State webpage for Butler County unofficial returns

being mail-in and 1,549 being in-person on Election Day. The voter turnout total for the township was 53.19%. T h e Pe n n s y l v a n i a D e p a r t m e n t o f St a t e released the unofficial election results on Tuesday for the following races: the attorney general, the auditor general, the state treasurer, the representative in congress (Districts 15, 16 and 17), the senator in the general assembly (Senatorial District 21, 41 and 47), and the representative in the general assembly (Districts 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 60 and 64). The New York Times also released election results for Pennsylvania. This webpage is continually updated as ballots are counted. Democrat incumbent Jo s h u a S h a p i r o w i l l become the attorney general. Shapiro ran against Re p u b l i c a n c a n d i d a t e Heather Heidelbaugh, Libertarian candidate Daniel Wassmer, and Green Party candidate Richard Weiss. Republican Stacy Garrity claimed victor y over Democratic incumbent Joseph Torsella after Torsella conceded. The New York Times has not called the state treasurer race for Pennsylvania yet. The winners of the race for representatives in Congress of the 15th, 16th and 17th Congressional Districts were all Republican as well. In the 15th Congressional District, Republican Glenn Thompson won against Democrat Robert Williams, amassing over 15,000 votes. George Kelly won against Kristy


Gnibus with 52,593 votes in District 16, and Conor Lamb won against Richard Parnell in District 17. Republican Scott Hutchinson won the 21st Senatorial District with more than 47,000 votes. Joe Pittman, the Republican candidate, won the 41st District with about 20,000 votes. Republican Elder Vogel Jr. won with more than 7,000 votes in the 47th District. For the representative in the general assembly race, Republican Timothy Bonner will serve in the 8th Legislative District, as he won against Democrat

Phillip Heasley with 9,755 votes. In the 10th Legislative District, Republican Aaron Bernstine won with 1,705 votes. Bernstine ran against Democratic candidate Kolbe Cole, who received 1,338 votes and Johnathan Peffer with 100 votes. Ma r c i Mu s t e l l o , a Republican candidate, won the 11th Legislative District race with over 22,000 votes. Mustello ran against Democratic candidate Samuel Doctor. Republican Daryl Metcalfe won against Democrat Daniel Smith Jr. in the 12th Legislative

District with more than 26,000 votes. The 14th Legislative District race included Democrat Zachary Wilson and Republican James Marshall. Marshall won this election race with 6,018 votes. With only one candidate running for his district, Republican Jeffrey Pyle won the race for the representative in the general assembly for District 60. For the 64th Legislative District, Republican Lee James ran against Green Party candidate Michael Bagdes-Canning. Lee won with 2,305 votes.

– Look over the New York Times election results for Pennsylvania

Rebuilding ahead of a new semester The Rocket welcomes five new staff members for spring 2021 semester By Hannah Shumsky Editor-in-Chief

As the fall 2020 semester comes to the close, the staff of The Rocket hired five new staff members to take over for departing staff members across the campus life, sports, photos and copy/web sections. The new hires come as four seniors on staff are set to graduate next month. Seniors Karl Ludwig (sports editor), Hope Hoehler (campus life editor), Keegan Beard (photo editor) and Sam Shiel (assistant copy/ web editor) will depart from staff at the end of the semester. Another current staff member, Jack Konesky, who served as assistant campus life editor this semester, will also leave the staff. Ludwig and Hoehler served as managing editors for The Rocket since last fall. For Hoehler, she valued the familylike atmosphere of staff she helped lead since her original appointment in the fall 2018 semester. "I think it's going to be really important that collaboration and the sense of being there for each other is something that they definitely continue to carry on," Hoehler said. For Ludwig, he hopes that the new staff members embrace their enjoyment of being on staff and their opportunities to try new ideas for the newspaper and website. "I think what I most want to see from the new staff is just enthusiasm from people who haven't been on staff before, people who will take the places of myself and Hope," Ludwig said. "And people like Sam and Keegan who have this enthusiasm for journalism really get a chance to show it off now." To a d j u s t f o r t h e graduating staff members, three current members


were accepted into new positions. Hannah Slope and Brendan Howe were promoted to the section editor positions for the photos and sports sections, respectively, and Rayni Shiring will move

"I think what I most want to see from the new staff is just enthusiasm from people who haven't been on staff before..." – Karl Ludwig, current sports editor

from assistant advertising manager to assistant photo editor. The new hires include Sarah Anderson, a freshman integrated marketing communication major; Ryanne Dougherty, a freshman integrated marketing communication major; Tyler Howe, a s o p h o m o re c o n v e r g e d journalism major; Brooke Miller, a junior advertising major; and Morgan Miller, a junior integrated market communication major. Anderson, who began her Rocket journey as a contributor to the campus life section this semester, will take over Hoehler's position as campus life editor. Morgan Miller, a former lacrosse player along with her sister, Brooke, will ser ve as Anderson's assistant. "What I'm looking forward to the most about being a part of The Rocket is probably just getting to have the experience with everybody and working with a group of people that are also passionate

about the same thing I'm passionate about," Anderson said. Dougherty will take over Shiel's position as assistant copy/web editor. A former layout editor-inchief for her high school

"I think it's going to be really important that collaboration and the sense of being there for each other is something that they definitely continue to carry on." – Hope Hoehler, current campus life editor

newsmagazine, Dougherty hopes to design social media campaigns for companies one day. Ty l e r Howe has contributed to The Rocket's sports section for three semesters, making him one of the most long-term contributors in recent memory. He will serve as the assistant sports editor under his brother, Brendan. Br o o k e Mi l l e r w i l l join Elisabeth Hale in the Rocket's advertising section, which has accumulated over $3,000 in print and social media advertising in the fall semester alone. The Rocket will open applications for all positions after midterms in the spring semester. As of press time, four current staff members are set to graduate in May 2021: Hannah Shumsky (editorin-chief ), Brendan Howe, Lesa Bressanelli (copy/web editor) and Aaron Marrie (multimedia editor). The Rocket will return in the spring semester with

five planned print dates: Feb. 5, Feb. 26, March 12, April 9 and April 23. Anyone interested in contributing next semester should email Shumsky at hms1015@sru.edu.

"What I'm looking forward to ... is probably just getting to have the experience with everybody and working with a group of people that are also passionate about the same thing I'm passionate about."

– Sarah Anderson, newly hired campus life editor



Our View

Reflect, react, prepare           


Volume 104, Issue Number 5

220 220Eisenberg EisenbergClassroom ClassroomBuilding Building Slippery SlipperyRock RockUniversity University Slippery SlipperyRock, Rock,Pennsylvania Pennsylvania16057 16057 Phone: Phone: (724) (724)738-4438 738-4438 Fax: Fax: (724) (724)738-4896 738-4896 E-mail: E-mail: therocketnewspapersru@gmail.com therocketnewspapersru@gmail.com



Nina Cipriani

News Editor

Karl Ludwig

Sports Editor

Hope Hoehler

Campus Life Editor

Lesa Bressanelli

Copy/ Web Editor

Keegan Beard

Photo Editor

Aaron Marrie

Multimedia Editor

Joe Wells

Assistant News Editor

Brendan Howe

Assistant Sports Editor

Jack Konesky

Assistant Campus Life Editor

Sam Shiel

Assistant Copy/Web Editor

Hannah Slope

Assistant Photo Editor

Dr. Brittany Fleming

Faculty Adviser

ADVERTISING STAFF Elisabeth Hale Rayni Shiring

Advertising Manager Assistant Advertising Manager

ABOUT US The Rocket is published by the students of Slippery Rock University five times per academic semester. Total weekly circulation is 1,000 (for fall 2020 semester only). No material appearing in The Rocket may be reprinted without the written consent of the Editor-in-Chief. The Rocket receives funding from the SGA Student Activity fee paid each semester by students. All other income is provided through the sale of advertising. Advertising inquiries may be made by calling (724) 7382643 or by emailing rocket.ads@sru.edu.

CORRECTIONS If we make a substantial error, we want to correct it. If you believe an error has been made, call The Rocket newsroom at (724) 738-4438. If a correction is warranted it will be printed in the opinion section.



Our View is a staff editorial produced collaboratively by The Rocket Staff. Any views expressed in the editorial are the opinions of the entire staff. Since mid-August, students nationwide have returned to a sense of normalcy with their education, adjusting to Zoom classes and deadline management as needed to succeed this semester. While we finished this semester without a fall break and most of the inperson activities engrained in SRU's tradition, we have now approached the muchanticipated Thanksgiving and holiday break. During this annual season of thanks, this staff wants to turn our sincere gratitude to the SRU community members who have led on-and off-campus efforts to respond to the pandemic. We thank the Student Health Center, which has provided guidance for students who have tested positive and been exposed. This staff has worked 24/7 since the start of the semester to protect and provide guidance to all students in the SRU area. As a newspaper staff, we also thank the nurses and staff, especially Kristina Benkeser, the director of student health services, for all of their openers to answer our own questions for our print publications this semester. We thank the Student Counseling Center for continuing to operate during this unprecedented time and for setting up support groups and resource programs for

those with heightened anxiety over the coronavirus, seasonal depression and moving back home for winter break. We thank all of SRU's essential workers who have been reporting to campus regularly, even as the semester total of faculty and staff cases increases. We also thank all SRU alumni who are working in essential services and working through the holidays to ensure we have access to health care, food and other essential items during this pandemic. And last but certainly not least, we thank all SRU community members who have done their part by social distancing, wearing masks and quarantining or isolating when directed to do so. While we believe these standards are the minimum expectations for going through this pandemic, we understand that these life changes are more longstanding than we originally hoped. Now, SRU students are about to head home for well deserved breaks, especially during a semester in which fall break was removed and Thanksgiving break now occurs after the end of finals week. Still, we cannot forget our own responsibility to each other and especially our friends and families back home. With Butler County being one of the 59 counties in the state with substantial community transmission, we must recognize that the mass student travel back to their hometowns could be opportunities for further spread of the virus. In this sense, we

must be mindful that even though most students may not be actively experiencing symptoms, we may very well unknowingly spread the virus to one of our loved ones.

"... we want to make sure we're spreading joy this holiday season, not a highly infectious disease." As we prepare to head home for Thanksgiving and the holiday season, we want to make sure we're spreading the joy this season, not a highly infectious disease. We must continue to follow the same guidelines repeated throughout the past nine months, including social distancing, limiting trips outside the household and limited trips to see people outside our households and (especially without wearing masks). As we hear about the developments of leading COVID-19 vaccines produced byPfizerandModerna,wecannot relax on our personal efforts to slow the spread of the virus.Time alone will not improve the state of the pandemic. Our own actions

In the Quarantine

and decisions, especially over this holiday break will drive how our local community and state responses to the unprecedented stage of the pandemic. If we have this lightest hope to transitioning to a more in-person fall 2021 semester, your actions now will decide that future and thus have the opportunity to positively or negatively influence the experiences of thousands. As we reflect on our first full semester at a mostly-virtual model and act to prevent the spread at our hometowns, we must prepare for the next semester. While students do their part to prepare themselves and each other in anticipation of the spring semester, we call on SRU administration to continue their planning preparation. Especially with the removal of spring break, the staff members of The Rocket have felt the collective exhaustion and burn out that is affecting students and faculty across our virtual campus. We need a solution to support students' mental health next semester and limit opportunities for the spread of the virus, and we call on administration to continue these conversations over the break and for students to voice their concerns either directly to administration or through The Rocket's opinion section. This pandemic has been far from ideal for our community, but our reflections, actions and preparations now are what is in our power the make the most of our two-month break and the start of our next semester.

Question: What are you most thankful for?

By: Aaron Marrie

Subscriptions to The Rocket are available. Subscriptions are $20 per academic semester and $35 for the full academic year. Inquiries should be directed to the Editor-in-Chief at the address listed here.

EDITORIAL POLICY The Rocket strives to present a diverse range of opinions that are both fair and accurate in its editorials and columns appearing on the Opinion pages. “Our View� is the opinion of the Editorial Board and is written by Rocket editorial board members. It reflects the majority opinion of The Rocket Editorial Board. “Our View� does not necessarily reflect the views of Slippery Rock University, its employees or its student body. Columns and cartoons are drafted by various individuals and only reflect the opinions of the columnists.

LETTERS POLICY The Rocket welcomes letters to the editor and guest columns, but does not guarantee their publication. The Rocket retains the right to edit or reject any material submitted. Submitted material becomes the property of The Rocket and cannot be returned. Anonymous submissions will not be published. Those who submit letters must identify themselves by name, year in school, major and/or group affiliation, if any. Please limit letters to a maximum of 400 words. Submit all material by noon Wednesday to: The Rocket, 220 ECB, Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, Pa. 16057. Or send it via e-mail to: rocket.letters@sru.edu.

Dr. Brittany Fleming Adviser of The Rocket Indiana, PA "I'm most thankful for all of my student media advisees, students and mashed potatoes."

Elisabeth Hale Junior Advertising Manager Chambersburg, PA

Rayni Shiring Junior Asst. Advertising Manager Bridgeville, PA

"I'm thankful for my friends and family especially during the pandemic. It has given us time to get much closer, spend more time together and made staying in more memorable."

"I'm most thankful to have supportive people around me and for the opportunities that I've had over the past couple months."

November 20, 2020

It's not goodbye, it's see you later

Hope Hoehler Hope is a senior converged journalism major. She has served as The Rocket's campus life editor for three semesters and first joined the staff in the fall 2018 semester as the assistant campus life editor. I have never been good at goodbyes, it would always be “see you later,” so this will not be my goodbye column, it is simply my see you later column. One would think that as a journalist and a writer I would have an abundance of words to express how wonderful my time with The Rocket and the staff has been. That’s the problem, I have plenty of words, wholesome experiences, and friendships that’ll last a lifetime, that I simply cannot express them all in a single column. Entering college, I was a shy, scared and an introverted person. When I entered The Rocket office my freshman year to interview for the Assistant Campus Life position, I was terrified. I had never interviewed in front of a staff of 14 people, better yet been in an interview for a position I was so passionate about. Little did I know that those 14 people and the future staffers taking their positions for the next three years would become my best friends, my second family. There have been plenty of people who have supported me throughout my college journalism career, even when I didn’t believe in myself (which happened more often than it should). However, I express the greatest gratitude to Dr. Fleming, not only an incredible advisor and professor, but a kind motivator and encourager. Thank you for always believing in the work The Rocket published, and thank you for always believing in me. It means more to me than you could ever know. Throughout my years with the staff, I have experienced turnovers in positions, happy memories and sad experiences, but most importantly, I gained the love of friendships that will last a lifetime. There are so many people that have come and gone that I wish I could personally thank, but if that were the case, this see you later column would turn into a novel. With that being said, thank you Megan Bush, my Campus Life Editor my sophomore year for teaching me and guiding me through the Adobe Suite and long print nights (P.S. I’m sorry the very first story I wrote for you was terrible). I would not have gained the confidence to lead the Campus Life Section upon your graduation without your support. Taking over the Campus Life Editor position was a goal that I had set since my freshman year of college, and believe me, I learned more than I ever thought I could learn about journalism and myself. If someone had told me that a global pandemic would take over during my last semester of college, I certainly wouldn’t have believed them, but here we are. Reporting during a pandemic has been far from easy, but it has also been the most rewarding experience of my college career. It brought me the closest friendships I could imagine. I wanted to join The Rocket to establish myself in the field of journalism and share the stories of the Slippery Rock community. The reward from those experiences has been astounding, but I gained something even better than the experience. I gained a family, and to me that means everything in the world. Hannah Shumsky, a roommate, an incredible EIC and best friend, you are an incredible person and leader who has upheld The Rocket’s credibility. I always knew you would be there for advice in



It's time to wake up

going to class more, but I was drifting aimlessly. I was lost in all senses of the word. My GPA life and to offer support in improved minimally, but it was whatever I was doing. I am still below a 2.0. so proud of you and all you I remember sitting in my have and will accomplish. Keep bedroom in my parents’ being amazing. house, playing Skyrim one Nina, words cannot express day in January, waiting for how much your dedication and the mail to be delivered. I determination to the field and wasn’t 100% sure how the The Rocket has awed me. I am expulsion process worked, I so happy that I was able to work Karl Ludwig was too scared to look, but with you before I graduated, I was a nervous wreck as I you will do amazing things with Karl is a senior sport waited for a letter from SRU. the remainder of your time on The letter came that day, and management major staff, I am absolutely sure of it. I got it before anyone else Thank you for always being up and communication could discover my failure. My at 1 a.m. for my rants about life. I love you more than you minor. He first joined the eyes raced across the page, for the proverbial will know. staff in spring 2019 as scanning axe drop. I didn’t see it. OK, Karl, I guess I should thank assistant sports editor maybe I had another chance. you too for the part you have Fall 2017 was important played in supporting me before serving as the for a number of reasons. It was through my work and always being a good friend I know I sports editor for the past the beginning of the climb to fix my GPA, and, now I don’t can trust. You always knew how three semesters. want to say more importantly, to lighten up the room with but more importantly, it was a joke, even if it was making a pun from my name. I am Throughout the course of the semester I finally started honored to have worked with your lifetime, you will make contributing to The Rocket. Adam Zook was the you on staff and gotten to know thousands, maybe even you as a good friend. I know millions, of choices (don’t assistant news editor at the that you will achieve success, quote me on that, I don’t do time; he was also my best any business, publication or math). Every so often, there friend. If there was ever company would be lucky to comes a choice that will leave an anyone who was born to be a have you. indelible mark on the course of journalist, it was him. He was your history on this small rock insightful, curious and had a in the middle of nowhere. A lot way with words that few could of those marks are individual match. He encouraged me achievements, but if you’re truly – relentlessly – to contribute lucky, you will get to share them for The Rocket, just go talk with the people who truly make to Cody Nespor and Justin Kraus, he said. Well, I did. those achievements possible. I am truly lucky. I am so And it was the best decision damn lucky that it feels like a I’ve ever made. Even if it didn’t dream. A dream that I don’t feel like it at first. My first assignment for want to wake up from. But if you spend too much time in The Rocket was a men’s soccer your dreams, you’ll eventually article. “Men’s soccer ties again.” forget how to live. The first 337 words of complete and choice was choosing Slippery utter perfection. … Well, Rock University, but the more it wasn’t an abject failure, I important choice was choosing guess. But it was the first of 200 articles written during my The Rocket. I was never good at math time with The Rocket. My first or science in school. It was interview came a short while complex, it challenged a part of later, an interview I scheduled my brain that must have never with then-men’s soccer head developed and I just didn’t like coach Steve Small in his office it. I barely scraped by physics after class (I was attending class my senior year of high school regularly finally) one morning. With my heart hammering (although we’ll just chalk that a million miles an hour, I up to senioritis) and I had to get a tutor for whatever math nervously walked into the I took as a junior. So, what Field House a good 15 did I do coming into college? minutes before the interview. I chose a major heavily reliant I had a rough idea where his on math AND science. But it office was, tucked away inside kind of, sort of, almost was a the sprawling collection of… offices above the court. I had life in sports. To say my first semester in a list of questions on my college went poorly would be an notes app, my voice memo understatement of rather epic pulled up with all the other proportions. A colossal failure? apps cleared (a habit that Aaron, I’ve known you I sure felt like one. As it turned carries through today) and since freshman year and always out, utterly unpredictably, I no idea what to do or say. I knew that you would be a hard know, I wasn’t good at anatomy. found Small’s office, knocked worker. I am happy I got to I wasn’t good at going to class twice and no one answered. work with you through The either. To blame my failures on He wasn’t there. I was kind Rocket. I am extremely happy a disliked major or anything of relieved, maybe this that you have been around other than myself would be wasn’t a good idea after all. to help with video when able unfair and wrong. I own my I was about to leave when he walked into the sitting room to, because I certainly do not failures now, but I didn’t then. include it in my strong suits. I rolled into my second outside the offices, absolutely I know that you are going to semester with a new major, no recollection of who I was continue to create opportunities my current major, and a GPA on his face. “Rocket?” he asked me. for yourself and I hope to hear of 1.0. It was embarrassing. Pause. you as a sports broadcaster one I went to my probationary “Yes,” I stammered. day. meetings, but I didn’t really “Well… come on in.” If my experiences with improve my behavior. I was The Rocket had taught me anything, it’s that I was not alone. In fact, I was far from alone. I was part of not only a staff that cared about their March when the news broke work and each other, I was part that Slippery Rock would not of a family that supported each be participating in any Spring other. Break travel, devastating Of course, I could not leave students and faculty members without thanking the Strategic alike.   Communications and Media Department. I’ve had at least one class with almost every professor, and I have enjoyed and learned valuable aspects of journalism and life through all of them. Kali Coming into college, I feared that I would be entering Davies-Anderson a department of taking classes where the professors only cared Kali is a junior public about grades or assignments, health pre-PT major. thankfully, that was far from true. Eisenberg became my She is a non-traditional home away from home with student and a mom of professors and faculty who cared about their students and five children between wanted what was best for them nine months and nine in life. I was comforted to talk about class and personal life years old. She has with professors, knowing they previously worked with would offer advice if need be. Thank you for welcoming me the New Castle News. and making me feel at home. As this semester draws to a Although I know I am The following weekend I nearing the end of my column close and the end of one of the and graduating soon, I wish most unpleasantly surprising was visiting an Easter display that I could keep writing so the years in recent memory does as with my two oldest daughters experience never ends. Thank well, I find myself reflecting on when it was announced yous have been expressed, the ups and downs of the past that they would be moving to virtual learning for “two memories have been shared, nine months.    I was taking an International weeks”.  and a family was created that Health course in the Spring And that was officially the will last a lifetime. With tears in my eyes typing and in January, my professor end of my life as I had known this final paragraph, I could not began sending our class news it.   Suddenly, my family of be prouder to talk about and reports coming out of China, share my experiences with the talking about something called seven was sequestered in our three story home for what Rocket and the department. “coronavirus.”   I was sitting in my would be the longest season Thank you. Thank you for Wednesday evening class in of our lives.   everything. I’ll see you later.

"Throughout my years with the staff, I have experienced turnovers in positions, happy memories and sad experiences, but most importantly, I gained the love of friendships that will last a lifetime."

I don’t think he understood a word I said when I asked my questions. I stammered through my four questions, not really listening to the answers so much as I just wanted to get through it. I muttered a thanks, and I was back outside. Pretty good start, huh? That was three years ago? Somehow, after a few more articles, one of which being my first feature story in which I called coach Giegucz Jennifer (sorry, coach…), I started to get used to this lifestyle. The thought of talking to coaches and athletes didn’t leave my stomach in knots. Funny enough, I was actually liking it. As a kid who flunked out of athletic training, was listless in sport management and had no real direction in life, The Rocket saved me. I had a purpose, a reason to wake up every day with new excitement. It’s no coincidence that my first Dean’s List (Not to brad but multiple Dean’s List appearances now…) came as I was elected to assistant sports editor. I was fortunate enough to spend two years on staff, rising from the rank of Padawan learner under Jedi Knight Matous to being promoted to Jedi Knight myself, and while I’ll never reach the rank of Master, I trust that I was able to pass on valuable knowledge to those who needed it. I actually spent an entire night in the Rocket office once, the Star Wars prequels playing in the background. With my time at The Rocket coming to an end, it’s a bittersweet feeling. It’s comparable to a dream when you come to the realization that you’re dreaming. You can hold on for a little bit longer, or you can open your eyes. It’s time to open my eyes. These past two years have been the best of my life, finding my passion in life, getting to live and explore that passion every day and working with some incredible people. I’ve written about Harlon Hill Award winners, incredible student-athletes with even more incredible stories, every sport that SRU has to offer and more. I’ve been blessed, truly. And it wouldn’t be possible without the help of so many people. To my professors: Dr. Higgs, thank you for holding me – and the whole major – to a higher standard. Dr. Crow, thank you for being someone who values laughter in a classroom, it’s much needed. Dr. Zeltner, thank you for teaching me what it means to be a journalist – and more importantly someone I can always ask for advice. Dr. Harry, thank you for dragging this random kid through journalistic writing, I’ll never forget it. And most of all, Dr. Fleming, thank you for being my SRU mom. None of this, literally none of it, would be possible without you. To my dear Rocketeers, I stand on your shoulders. There

are, have been and will continue to be incredibly talented and dedicated journalists on this staff. To the staffers who hired me, thank you for welcoming me with open arms. I hope I made you all proud. To the staffers of present, thank you for letting me help you produce quality content. I’m only as good as all of you. To the staffers of the future, thank you for keeping this paper going. I’m eternally grateful for you all. To Oscar, future Pirates beat writer and aspiring PGA Tour pro, thank you for being more of a brother than a friend. I hope I have lived up to the magnificence that was your writing. Let’s watch Rise of Skywalker soon. To Hope and Hannah, it feels like we’ve been through everything there is to go through together, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. You are both incredible journalists, better people and I’m proud to have gotten to work with you both. Hannah, you are truly the kindest person I’ve ever met. You can do whatever you want in life, please never limit yourself. Hope, you have a strength of spirit that I don’t think you even know. Believe in yourself. To Keegan and Brendan, thank you for being my boys. Keegan, you are the most talented photographer I know (sorry, Paris), and I cannot wait to see what you make with your talent. Thank you for being a true friend. Brendan, you are one of the most talented writers I know. When you put it all together, I expect to find your byline in Sports Illustrated. To Tyler and Madison, you are the future. I have the utmost faith that pair of you will transform the sports section far past anything I ever imagined. No pressure now. To Nicole, there is nothing that I could possibly say to thank you enough. For everything. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. You have challenged me to be the best version of myself like no one ever has. To Adam, thank you for being my best friend. I’ll never be able to repay you. I just wish you were here to see me now. To my parents, thank you. Mom and Dad, I don’t know what I’d do without you. Thank you for believing in me even when I didn’t deserve it. Kole, let’s play some Mario Kart tonight. I love you all. There are so many people that I am thankful for, too many to thank in one column, so I limited this to majority Rocket. And this seems to be a good place to wrap things up. Never be afraid to dream, but don’t forget to live. This dream of mine may be over, so now it’s time to open my eyes.

2020: Life as we knew it "... in times like this I am finding myself wanting to look on the bright side, and remain hope that this, too, shall pass."

No school, no work, no church or dance. No gymnastics or theater or birthday parties. We spent Easter separated from our loved ones, and trucked through virtual learning with the elegance and grace of an elephant doing ballet.    I can hardly recall most details from this time, because it was truly like living on autopilot.   As the seasons changed and the air grew warmer, the kindness of summer allowed many of us to enjoy the presence of a more “normal” life.   School began for SRU in late August and three days later my own children returned to school for in-person learning.    It felt like a dream come true that we could all be doing something that I admittedly had taken for granted in the past.    Months flew by and we began to see a surge in what we all most likely think of as a “four letter word” and despite many of our hopes for a better fall, we see a nation once again struggling to get a firm grasp on a virus that seems to have boundless energy and determination.    I have family members that have had it, others that have passed away and many more that are simply terrified to leave their houses.   Whether or not you believe you are susceptible to the grasp

of COVID-19, you must acknowledge that the fear encompassing those around us is palpable. It is real. So, what can we do to ensure our survival in these times of unimaginable chaos, confusion and tragedy?   We can choose to be kind to one another. We can appreciate one another’s differences but respect one another’s humanity. We can set an example to those around us that even when things get tough or scary, we are still human beings. We can still laugh, cry and love and we should not allow any virus, illness or time of peril rob us of that.   I have never thought of myself as a “glass half-full” kind of girl (in fact most of my family members will tell you that my level of negativity could rival even the most down of any debbie downer), but in times like this I am finding myself wanting to look on the bright side, and remain hopeful that this, too, shall pass.   So, fellow classmates of SRU, congratulations on enduring one of the hardest moments of your life, while also tending to the most important stepping stone of your future careers.   Have a great, and safe break, and I hope that when we all meet again in January things will be better.   I really, truly believe they will be. 

November 20, 2020


One chapter closes, another one opens

Sam Shiel Sam is a senior English: film, literary and cultural studies major. She has served as The Rocket's assistant copy/ web editor for three semesters. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve found comfort in reading. I remember being about six years old and writing little stories on post-it notes, forcing my family to read them (not that they were very intriguing, as I could barely write). They indulged me, thinking it was cute but not something that would stick with me my whole life. As I got older, I never thought I could go into a career where that passion, that drive, could be something I got to experience every day. I’m never happier than when I’m reading. I was discouraged by countless people when I told them I wanted to make a career by pursuing an English degree. The Rocket staff were people I could count on – people who encouraged me to do what I wanted to do, not what other people were trying to push on to me. My experience at Slippery Rock has been a wild ride. I started off as an Exercise Science Major: sensible

and practical. Until I found myself miserable two years later (as apparently, I very much do not enjoy math) and made the bold move to change my major not once, but twice. Let me tell you, my family was not pleased. But it was the best decision I could have ever made, as it led me to The Rocket and the wonderful people who helped encourage me to break out of my shell and become a part of something greater than myself. I’ve been the Asst. Copy/ Web editor for over a year and no other job has given me the joy that this one has. Passing on the baton will be a hard and bittersweet moment.

"This is not an end to a story, but simply a new chapter in my life. I will take with me lessons I have learned from all of you, especially my teammates on The Rocket staff. " Hannah Shumsky, you’ve been an inspiring EIC. I’m not sure if I ever thanked you for what you did for me, but I will do so now

with absolute sincerity. Thank you. If you never would have reached out and talked to me about applying to The Rocket, my life would be drastically different. It’s because of you that I discovered my love for editing stories. I honestly don’t know if I ever would have considered this as a career path if I had never met you. You changed my life for the better. A little-known fact about me is that I only applied to one college way back when I was just a teenager in high school. As a 23-year-old woman, five whole years later, I can say with utter confidence that Slippery Rock has not failed me and I made the best decision when choosing who to trust with my education. Going to this school has brought me friends that will last a lifetime, professors who genuinely cared about my future and lessons I will never forget. These experiences forged me into the person I am now and I can say that I am proud of who I have become. So thank you, Slippery Rock. Thank you for giving me some of the best years of my life. I put my faith in you and I was not let down. I will be graduating soon and I can scarcely believe it. In many ways, I still feel like a freshman, frightened yet excited by the journey ahead of me. This is not an end to a story, but simply a new chapter in my life. I will take with me lessons I have learned from all of you, especially my teammates on The Rocket staff. I promise to always do my best in my work, to encourage and check in on my teammates and friends, to never be afraid to speak my mind and pursue my dreams.


An Irish goodbye

Keegan Beard Keegan is a senior integrated marketing communication major and American history minor. He has served as photo editor since the fall 2019 semester.

I’ve always been a fan of what my predecessor, Paris, would call an Irish goodbye. In more gentle words than his it’s basically going quietly into that good night without telling anyone, so this will be short. Though shorter than most, my time at The Rocket afforded me some of the greatest and most memorable opportunities and friends I could have ever asked for. I was thrown unexpectedly into my position but because of the support around me I was able to thrive and become a better photographer and designer than I ever thought I could be. Two years and one pandemic later, my time with this staff comes to an end, and I leave my

friends with a quote from Gandalf the White. “Here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the sea comes the end of our fellowship…I will not say; do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.”

"...I was able to thrive and become a better photographer and designer than I ever thought I could be."


Follow The Rocket sports online coverage At theonlinerocket.com


Lueken did things the right way, now it's time to step away SRU AD says it's the right time to retire and spend more time with his family


SRU AD Paul Lueken celebrates the Slippery Rock football team's victory over Indiana University (Pa.) on Homecoming last season. Lueken's early headshot from his time at Eastern Illinois is the bottom photo.

Have you ever built a tile shower? If Brian Crow, the chair and a professor in the Sport Management department, wants to install a tile shower or build a back deck on his house, he calls Paul Lueken first. While Crow admits that Lueken isn't that much older himself, he still looks at Lueken as a father figure of sorts. If you want to build a deck, he's your guy; if you need advice on Division II softball, he's your guy. If Crow and Lueken are out on the golf course together -which may or may not have occurred at least 30 times this summer -- the pair can't go a full 18 holes without six or seven phone calls or text messages blowing up Lueken's phone. On any given day, Lueken is flooded with requests about how to handle a certain situation or how to solve a problem in an athletic department. After 26 years serving as the Director of Athletics at Slippery Rock University, Lueken has been through almost any challenge you could imagine as the AD of a major Division II university. Sports have been cut, sanctions have been weathered (handed down from the administration before Lueken) and Slippery Rock has had an entire semester of athletics wiped out from a global pandemic. Now, Slippery Rock must weather the changing of the guard as Lueken has announced he will step down as the AD, effective Jan. 1, 2021, through Rock Athletics. Joanne Leight, the chairperson and professor of the Physical and Health Education department, will serve as the interim athletic director next semester -- a role she says she's happy to

serve as a way to give back to the university she calls home -- while Slippery Rock University will conduct a nationwide search for the person brave enough to step into Lueken's shoes. How it should be done First to arrive, last to leave. That's a mantra that Lueken lives by, even as a veteran AD of nearly three decades. A self-proclaimed grinder, Lueken isn't happy to rest on his laurels. Even when it would be an easy excuse now. A man hardened by years spent mowing lawns, laying bricks and building houses as a youth, Lueken has let that work ethic carry through his entire SRU career. When the world turned gray -- both literally and figuratively -- as sheets of snow and sleet fell from the skies at nearly 90-degree angles, Slippery Rock football trailed Minnesota State-Mankato in the NCAA Division II national semifinals decisively. Thousands of SRU fans who braved the arctic weather in the cold, wet metal bleachers had left, but, still bundled up from head to toe, Lueken dutifully trotted across Bob DiSpirito Field, snow shovel in hand, to ensure the lines were able to be seen by officials. Trailing by 40 late in the game, Lueken stood on the sidelines, unwilling to abandon his sinking ship -frozen ship? "That's another thing the new AD is going to have a tough time doing; you're going to have a hard time finding someone who will go turn the lights off at the fieldhouse at 10 o'clock at night and then be there at 7 o'clock to water the softball field grass," Crow said. "Not that he had to do it, but he wanted it done right."

Lueken loves college athletics, especially Division II athletics, and above all else, he loves Slippery Rock University. But it's finally time for a new path in life; Lueken is almost 60 years old now, and he's right on track with his life plan. The coronavirus pandemic, while it did re-introduce Lueken to a life where he isn't seated in his office at the Morrow Field House at the crack of dawn every morning, wasn't the reason why Lueken chose now to retire. "It was all part of my plan my life plan or whatever you want to have it," Lueken said. "It was to retire at age 60 if I could comfortably. I turn 60 in December. It was a good time for that; I could retire comfortably and do some other stuff." The timing was perfect, Lueken said, but COVID-19 just sort of popped up. If you want to define "popping up" as forcing the cancellation of all remaining athletic activities back in March and the suspension of almost all athletic activities this semester, yeah, it just popped up. It was one of the few negatives in Lueken's decision to step down. Besides the obvious disappointment of being unable to interact with Slippery Rock University student-athletes and the shutdown of nearly everything related to SRU athletics, Lueken had his goodbye planned perfectly. That will not be the case anymore; it will be an unceremonious end for the man who revolutionized Rock athletics. "I'm on the Division II national football committee," Lueken explained. "I wanted to go out with a full fall sports season -- with successful

seasons -- and my last athletic event would have been at the Division II national football championship game, hoping that Slippery Rock was in that game. That would have been my culminating experience because that game would have been in December and I would have been there no matter what. After last season's near-miss in the national semifinals, Rock football had geared up for another run. Lueken wanted to be a part of that championship run -- that celebration -- just once. That won't be possible now. There will be a new benefit of not being the man in charge anymore, however. "I actually look forward to going to the games because when something goes wrong, I don't have to fix it," Lueken said. "If we're up by 50, in the fourth quarter, I can leave and not have to stay around." Yes, Lueken will only be a fan now. But he'll be a big fan. A legacy to be remembered for Where do you start when bringing up the legacy Lueken has created for himself at the only place he's known as "home" in his professional life? The record athletic and academic growth? The ways to save money while rapidly increasing the scholarship pool for SRU studentathletes? ... The "rightsizing" in 2006? Maybe just the beginning? August of 1994 was well before most current students at SRU were born. It was a different time, a different world than the one we live in today, and Lueken was handed the reins of the SRU athletic department on the heels of an athletic scandal that rocked the university with heavy sanctions stemming

from a violation of the men's basketball program in 1993. Lueken, in a prior interview with The Rocket, admitted it was a tough time as he was a coach and revenue generator, not a compliance officer. But he learned quickly, and he put the situation behind him. Aside from handling NCAAlevied sanctions, Lueken dealt with the task of attaining tenure as all faculty members are required to do. Previously wondering whether he'd just spend three to five years at SRU, potentially using his position as a stepping stone to a Division I institution, toward the end of the tenure process, he realized that Slippery Rock was where he wanted to be. His children were enrolled in the Slippery Rock School District, Slippery Rock was a great place to raise a family and it was suddenly hard to leave -- not that he really wanted to leave in the first place. If Lueken likes a place, if he and his family are comfortable, he prefers to stay in one place. One place to grow and transform as his own. The idea of jumping from job to job, a common theme in today's athletics climate, is an extremely unappealing thought for Lueken. Lueken couldn't imagine the strain constantly moving, from Illinois to Pennsylvania to potentially New York or California, would have on young families -- as his had been at the time. "We came out here, and we left where I grew up -where I grew up in Illinois -- and we came out here and started a new life," Lueken recalled. "Now, we've got four adult children, a granddaughter with another grandchild on the way, and this is now home for our family." Few coaches have outlasted Lueken at SRU -- Laurie Lokash in her 37th year with Rock volleyball, Jeff Messer in his 35th year with Rock baseball and John Papa in his 34th year with Rock cross-country and track & field to name them -- and he's hired all the rest. Starting with Aebersold all the way through Bill Behre, Lueken has worked with six SRU Presidents. Aside from the six coaches in place before Lueken arrived, along with the aforementioned "Big 3" of Rock coaches, Lueken has been responsible for the hiring of 35 Rock coaches of varsity athletics currently offered by SRU. One of those hires was Leight, a softball coaching hire in 1996. A two-time SRU grad, Leight will be forever grateful to Lueken

for the opportunity to return to her alma mater. "That was 25 years ago, and Paul [Lueken] has been a constant presence in the field house all that time," Leight said. "His loyalty to the university is a reflection of his character."Â Lueken brought in Kevin Reynolds to turn around the basketball program after years of languishing in the basement of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, and after the Reynolds situation went south, he kept Ian Grady on to right the ship. After legendary Rock football coach George Mihalik retired in 2015, Lueken gambled on Shawn Lutz to continue Mihalik's legacy (rewarded with two PSAC titles and a trip to the national semifinals in 2019). After the legendary Noreen Herhily retired from Rock women's soccer in 2014, Lueken hired Jessica Giegucz, who has just won 64% of her games with SRU and a PSAC title. In 1998, after a successful but unspectacular career from Jim McFarland, Lueken replaced McFarland with Matt Meredith and the SRU tennis has experienced record growth and success. Headlined by a PSAC title in football, women's outdoor track & field and women's soccer this past season, SRU has won 39 PSAC titles and 11 individual national titles since Lueken ascended Rock athletics. The crowning achievement, a 2007-08 F. Eugene Dixon Trophy for overall athletic excellence, for Lueken was the continuation of two decades of sustained consistency. SRU finished in the top five 12 times since the 200001 season and never lower than eighth in the same time period. In this past decade, Lueken has brought in coaches that have allowed SRU to flourish not just from an athletic perspective, with PSAC titles in football, women's soccer and women's indoor and outdoor track, but from an academic perspective. "I'm most proud of how we've transformed the studentathletes' academic performance here," Lueken said. "The coaches bought in, the student-athletes bought in, the administration bought in and we were able to get some things accomplished through the help of the whole campus community with some priority scheduling, a variety of different things -- different scholarship funds -- so we could bring better, more highquality student-athletes here. It's equated into championships."




November 20, 2020

Noah's Arc: Grover lands at The Rock SRU quarterback's journey to land in PA from AZ By Brendan Howe Asst. Sports Editor

“Without a doubt, coming here has been the best decision I’ve made,” the junior quarterback said. “I’ve felt the biggest family shift in how the team acts and how the coaches hold themselves and how the coaches interact with their players. It’s been incredible.” Most probably, Noah Grover didn’t foresee the stops on his college football route. Surely, he did not expect to end up in Western Pennsylvania, the furthest he’s ever been from his home in Arizona. Grover didn’t play football in his junior year of high school. In his senior season, he played a handful of games before breaking his femur at the base of his knee. The setback would effect the path Grover would take over the next three years. Absent on the radar of major college programs, he elected to go close by to junior college (JUCO). “I broke [my leg] and [recruiting] kind of just fizzled out for me,” Grover said. “I had a few smaller schools that were reaching out and recruiting me but at that point, my mindset was, like, ‘Okay, I only played six, seven games total. What could I do?’ I just wanted to live up to a potential dream that I always had.” It’s known, Grover said, specifically with series on streaming services, that JUCO football is a different breed of football. “I got to really experience that close-up,” Grover said. “At first glance, it’s kind of like everybody is out for themselves, trying to bring themselves a scholarship to get to the next level. It was really cool, too, to not only be in that position, but to also bring the team-level aspect into it.” For Grover, being at a JUCO school was a lot like having time docked from the beginning of recess. Forced to sit and watch the lively playground. He kept tabs on high school teammates such as Isaiah Pola-Mao, a

former Max Preps All-American who now starts at safety for the University of Southern California. “It’s really tough also to go somewhere and to have to watch your guys, from somewhere else, play and try to fight for their dreams, and still be [JUCO],” Grover said. “That was probably the hardest part for me.”The most precise description Grover can offer for JUCO football is that it was different. Onfield play? Different. Talents? Different. Walks of life? Different. “You had different guys,” Grover said. “You had guys that didn’t want to do the school part, but they were insane on the field. It was like, if you could just get the school down and get your mentals straight, you could go anywhere you wanted.” At Phoenix College, Grover completed 85 of his 171 throws, passing for 1,207 yards and nine scores. Yet, off the field, he still had to personally pitch his abilities. “The thing with JUCO is, you’ve got to be your own advocate,” Grover said. “You just throw emails and stuff to reach out to the coaches. So, I was just throwing my tape out there to every coach in the nation, basically.” Normally, Grover explained, student-athletes spend two years at a junior college. The University of North Dakota and head coach Bubba Schweigert were the first D-I school to show interest in the signal-caller’s aptitude. “I spent one [year] just because, I had the mindset going in there that, if I was going to get a chance, or that driving force, or if I felt like I was being called to go somewhere else, that I was going to take that opportunity,” Grover said. When presented with that prospect, it was difficult for him to think about migrating to North Dakota. Everything on his visit, however, indicated that it was the correct choice. Others misunderstood his new school as being the


Slippery Rock transfer quarterback Noah Grover looks to complete a pass during a game in his time at the University of North Dakota. Grover is competing against SRU senior quarterback Andrew Koester for the starting spot.

state’s other FCS program, which has claimed eight of the classification’s last nine national titles. “People would always come up to me, ‘Oh, North Dakota State!’ and I was like, ‘Eh, whatever,’” Grover said with a chuckle and a wave. “I spent so much time correcting them and I was like, ‘You know, this is taking up way too much time.’ If I’m not close in contact with you all the time, then it’s whatever.” North Dakota, as predictable as the sun setting and rising, was a culture shock for Grover. First snowfall was in October. Temperatures plunged into the negatives in the winter. “It was a whole new world,” Grover said.

Grover quarterbacked the scout team in practice. He saw the field in only one game, the Fighting Hawks’ season opener against Drake. In the smallest of sample sizes, the 6’2” passer completed both of his passes for a total of 11 yards and scampered for a five-yard touchdown. He built a relationship with his team and also built a relationship with Christ. He was brought into the FCA and would attend meals and bible studies on Thursday nights. But, he realized that he wasn’t in the right place just yet. “It just ended up not being the case where I was going to stay there,” Grover said. “Coaching problems

and stuff like that, it was just time for me to leave.” Grover logged back into his email and began feverishly sending messages. It took less than a month for him to visit Slippery Rock. “The biggest thing is, right when I got on the phone with Coach [Neugebauer], I immediately felt a good relationship with him and I understood he was a good guy,” Grover said. “He was just talking about the program and what they value and we were just talking about the offense and what they did last year. Obviously, Roland winning the Harlon Hill [shows] Coach [Neugebauer] knows what he’s doing.”

Jermaine Wynn, he of the fifth most receiving yards in America in 2019, hosted him on winter break, joining him in watching film, drawing on the whiteboard with Neugebauer, and going out to Ginger Hill for dinner and a basketball game. Grover left the visit with a good feeling. He took another visit to South Dakota Mines. He was going to visit another school in another state. Missouri, maybe? He doesn’t remember. He also had a coach from his JUCO reach out from defending national champion West Florida, but the quarterback room was already full. The Rock, it was. His mind was made up.

Through injury and a pandemic Willard has cherished the opportunities from Rock volleyball

By Madison Williams Senior Rocket Contributor

It’s a Friday evening in the Morrow Field House, and the Slippery Rock women’s volleyball team is taking the court for a match. The squad, including Jalyn Willard, the team Libero, was anticipating a win. After an intense five-set match, they lost the game and Willard could no longer lift her shoulder without immense pain. That Friday would be her last match played since October 2019, and any hope of playing the remainder of her junior year was gone. Throughout her injury, Willard remained hopeful that following the diagnosis of her injury, she would still have a senior season. After seeing a lot of doctors and receiving multiple opinions, Willard knew she would eventually need surgery to repair her injury. A couple of months without playing had passed and there was still no direct answer on the diagnosis of the injury. Many doctors suspected a torn labrum, and after eight weeks of rehabilitation,Willard was still in excruciating pain and had lost strength. On Feb. 11, it was finally time to get surgery in an attempt to fix her left shoulder. What surgeons suspected to be a torn labrum was actually

extensive nerve damage that put Willard in a sling, followed by physical therapy. Fast forward to April, the end of the season was approaching, and Willard finally got the clearance she needed to return to the court. Once that was said and done, Willard was looking forward to spending her last season on the court with her team, but this all came crashing down as the COVID-19 pandemic had shut down the United States.While the team was away on vacation, SRU volleyball coach Laurie Lokash called on Zoom to give the devastating news. Understandably, the team was confused, shocked and overwhelmingly sad that they could no longer compete in the sport that they loved. For Willard, who had just come back from an injury to finish her senior year, this was not the news she wanted to hear. A small glimpse of hope was received in September when the squad was approved for small group practices, separating players in groups of 3. “It is truly heartbreaking to not know if we will ever get a last game,” Willard said. With the possibility of an eight-game season beginning in January, there is still hope as the current fall practices are wrapping up this week. As a volleyball player from age 10 to 22, Willard has learned to

overcome adversity in these situations Even if that Friday night in October was unknowingly Willard’s last game as a collegiate student athlete, she still plans to incorporate the sport in her life by helping younger volleyball players develop. In her hometown of Columbus, Ohio, there are camps that she someday plans to attend to help growing athletes. Through all of the ups and downs, there was an underlying lesson: “Cherish the memories, the traveling, and every single moment,” Willard said. In tough times it is much easier to have a negative outlook, however, Willard remained focused on the positive side of things. The mindset Willard held was that it was all out of their control. Being a volleyball player the past 12 years has also taught Willard how to deal with difficult relationships, whether it be with coaches or teammates. “You don’t get along with everyone in this setting, and the same can apply to a job,” said Willard. If the opportunity for senior recognition night doesn’t come, Willard wants her coaches and teammates to know that she is thankful for everything they did for her both as an athlete and a person.



November 20, 2020


Rock athletics will be back Despite cancelations, SRU will be back in action this spring By Karl Ludwig Sports Editor

Despite the cancelations of fall and winter sports in the PSAC for the 2020-21 season, the spring season may just be busier than ever in Slippery Rock. If, and only if, a return to play remains a viable option for all of those involved in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference announced Wednesday morning that all winter sports had been canceled, one week after the conference had announced the cancelation of all fall sports. Though, after at least six member institutions opted in before Wednesday night's deadline, there will be league championship opportunities for men's and women's swimming and men's and women's cross country. Slippery Rock Director of Athletics Paul Lueken said he contacted PSAC Commissioner Steve Murray to tell him that SRU did not opt in to any fall or winter sports besides men's and women's cross country, citing cross country's low-risk status and that SRU student-athletes would compete in just one meet. However, that does not mean that the fall and winter sports will just be taking the semester off. Once SRU is back on campus in the spring, at some point, Lueken hopes that the fall and winter sports will be able to play a few contests. If things go well, he said each of those teams will possibly be able to have a Senior Day. Those contests just will not be mandated by the PSAC. Rock football will likely not compete in any contests, running its spring semester as business as usual, all culminating in the traditional Green and White game in April. "We do hope to play a game or a scrimmage with some opponents later in the spring," Lueken said. "Most of it will be likely done in April." Those contests for fall and winter sports teams will not be played against PSAC mandated teams, with that schedule still undecided. Lueken said whoever it may be, their testing must meet SRU's requirements for a contest to take place. While disappointing for everyone involved in fall and winter athletics across the PSAC, the decision to cancel those

conference mandated schedules did not come on a whim. That decision came in conjunction with the NCAA guidelines on COVID-19. "The most important aspect that we took several weeks ago was that we made the choice to follow the NCAA's guidelines," Murray said. "There are many conferences in the country that are trying to play -- even ones that you're watching on TV -- that aren't necessarily following the NCAA's guidelines. That's their choice, that's not a choice that we made, and that's not what I would have recommended." The biggest in the PSAC, besides the obvious health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and staff, comes in the form of testing capabilities. "If you add them all together, if we were playing everything in the spring semester, testing would cost over $350,000 here," Lueken said. "That's for every single sport, fall, winter and spring. We mapped it out. And that's provided we can get a test for $30 apiece." The expensive testing requirements, especially for highrisk winter sports like basketball and wrestling, was the deciding factor in canceling fall and winter sports. Lueken said that while it wouldn't be ideal, SRU would be able to handle the financial burden of COVID-19 testing. "That isn't the case for every member of the PSAC," he said. A few factors have led Murray and the PSAC to feel hopefully confident in the resumption of PSAC mandated scheduling for spring sports. "We're much more confident for the spring. In the first place, none of the spring sports are high risk categories; they're either low risk or intermediate risk in the NCAA's guidelines," Murray said. "That takes down the testing levels considerably." By the spring, when the spring seasons would be starting in mid-to-late March, Murray felt hopeful that testing would be more widely available. After having lost a majority of their schedules last spring, including all championship opportunities, the last thing Murray would want is another lost season. He said it's going to be all hands on deck to prevent a scenario in which those student-athletes would lose two seasons.


Senior wide The Slippery Rock football team celebrates after a win over Indiana University (Pa.) last season. Rock football will not compete in the 2020-21 season.

In the case of SRU, if the fall and winter sports are not on a PSAC mandated schedule, testing requirements would be cut even lower. "If you're not competing and just practicing, we feel that we're still going to test but not quite as often," Lueken said. "One of the approaches we're going to take for fall sports practicing in the spring and the winter sports practicing is they'll practice three days in a row. Then they'll be off for four days. During that four day period is when we'll conduct testing." In that four day rest period, SRU student-athletes, coaches and staff will be able to go through testing and if a test comes back positive, SRU will be able to better handle the situation. "Depending on if we get some positive tests, which invariably we will, we'll have to do some pauses," Lueken said. "If you saw the D-I ticker this morning, there's probably 15 or 16 Division I basketball teams that are currently on

pause for two weeks because they had positive tests." In NCAA guidelines, if one positive test comes from an individual sport's "team bubble" of student-athletes, coaches and staff, there is a mandatory two week pause. For SRU and all PSAC members, spring sports will follow PSAC mandated scheduling, unless notified otherwise by the conference. "We're pretty good in our protocol setup," Murray said. "Right now, what we've got to focus on and pay attention to is how we can roll out testing. There are a couple of plans in place right now, mostly at the institutional level." As of now, Murray said Harrisburg will likely help with testing in the spring. While he's confident that will translate to state schools, he's hopefully members not in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education will receive assistance as well. SRU's slate of spring sports will begin in the middle of

March, but the process is already underway. "90% of our student-athletes did a good job [following guidelines in the fall], but it's gotta be 100% in the spring," Lueken said. SRU athletics are on a break right now, with the semester winding down and Finals Week approaching. Once the semester is over, the university will go on a two-month break before resuming preparations for a spring sports season in early January. "First two weeks back in January will be a resocialization period," Lueken said. "We won't have practices; we'll start phasing into schedules, we're still going to social distance, wear masks and all that stuff. We're gonna temperature check our coaches and student-athletes every day. We're gonna take every precaution we can to have safe opportunities for our student-athletes." Weather permitting, Lueken hopes to be back outside in February. But he acknowledged

the risk in counting on that in western Pennsylvania. With spring sports on the path back to PSAC mandated athletics, Lueken said he felt for all the student-athletes and coaches impacted by the decision to cancel fall and winter athletics. "It's disappointing that we're not going to be able to play a PSAC schedule for fall and winter sports," Lueken said. "It's very disappointing. I get it, we went through it last year with spring sports." Murray said there was no right or wrong answer with how to safelycompeteduringapandemic, only answers. It's tough to judge, he said, as no one really knows what's right right now. Whiletheoutcomeisn'tperfect, not universal in like or dislike, that isn't the point. Regardless, COVID-19permitting,SRUwill be making every effort to ensure that all student-athletes will be doing something. "It's gonna be busier this semester than it was last semester," Lueken laughed.

McIntyre's brochure moment at SRU How SRU has become a family through honest conversations


Senior midfielder Shannon McIntyre dribles down the field during a contest against Kutztown University last season. McIntyre scored three goals and assisted on seven last season.

By Tyler Howe Senior Rocket Contributor

In the past, the Slippery Rock women’s soccer team has prided themselves on the culture that the team has. This culture

doesn’t only include winning, but it includes values that bring everyone together and makes it a family-like atmosphere. A huge part of maintaining that atmosphere has to do with a few things, but one of the biggest

is the leadership on the team. And one of the best examples of leadership on The Rock Women’s soccer team is Senior Captain Shannon McIntyre. “Shannon just cares a lot and it’s a genuine, deep care for her

teammates and this coaching staff, and she’s so selfless. She does a lot for everybody else, and her dedication to caring for other people is so admirable,” Coach Jessica Giegucz said. McIntyre was brought in by Coach Giegucz and at first, she didn’t even know what Slippery Rock University was. McIntyre was at a competition in Columbus when she was first introduced to the coaches of Slippery Rock. Then she took a visit to Slippery Rock, where she met one of the leaders of The Rock soccer team, Emily Aldridge. And then, after seeing that Slippery Rock had her desired major (early childhood/ special education) and talking to Giegucz and her staff, McIntyre made the decision to come to Slippery Rock. McIntyre had an immediate impact as a freshman, as she appeared in all 18 games and had 8 points. The following season she would start all 19 games for The Rock and wouldn’t miss a start after as she started all 22 games her junior year. And it turns out, that nothing would compare to the challenge that McIntyre has faced her senior year, and the challenge has nothing to do with soccer. “[During this time] it’s been hard trying to keep everyone connected and it’s been hard to keep morale high, especially being a senior, and I try to go all in on everything I do and try to keep hope on when we get to play again,” McIntyre said. Whenever you talk to any player or coach on the women’s soccer team about anything, you’ll more than likely hear McIntyre’s name mentioned. McIntyre is part of a long line of leaders on the women’s soccer team that includes Aldridge, Tyler Spence, and now McIntyre.

“I’ve been really fortunate in the time that I’ve been here with the leaders I’ve had on my teams and I talk a lot about Tyler Spence and her leadership and you always wonder what’s going to happen, but Shannon really stepped into that role seamlessly,” Coach Jessica Giegucz said. McIntyre was a key part of the 2019 PSAC championship team and was named to second team AllPSAC West. McIntyre in her first season as a captain took on the role of being the younger captain and learning under Tyler Spence and seeing what she liked about Spence’s leadership. According to Coach Giegucz, their leadership styles are pretty different, but both are just as effective. “Shannon is just a great person, we always talk to the girls about how you’re not going to remember the times on the field, you’re going to remember the experience. I have great memories of watching her score her first collegiate goal and then she played an entire season with a broken wrist and didn’t complain once, but just the banter and the relationship that we have is amazing,” Coach Giegucz said. “She’s just a wonderful, wonderful kid and our relationship is undoubtedly going to last long after her graduation.” Because the season is officially canceled, McIntyre may have played her final game for The Rock. McIntyre will graduate this upcoming Spring and then will be going to grad school, and while she could choose Slippery Rock, she would only get one more semester of playing soccer, but would be at Slippery Rock for another two years. McIntyre

along with the other seniors (Sofia Harrison, Madison Thierry, and Elise Forry) will make that decision over the course of the next few months, but as of now, it may not be realistic to come back. But McIntyre has made it her goal, whether she returns or not, to keep the team ready and keep them focused on when they can play again. “One of my goals as a captain has been to keep this team engaged and keep them focused and I’ve told them we’ve made it through the hardest semester. It’s not going to get much harder than what we just did because that is the furthest we’ve ever been away from soccer and every day we make it through is one day closer you are to being on that field again,” McIntyre said. One of the running jokes throughout the team is that the seniors aren’t going to get their brochure moment, which is when players on the team are featured on the front of gameday brochures. And if there’s one thing about this senior class and McIntyre in general, it’s that they’re not focused on the individual achievements or moments, but more so how they get to share special moments with each other, and McIntyre is the perfect example of that. “This is so much bigger than me and I wouldn’t have any impact on my own and everything I’ve done, I’ve done with this team. And I hope I got people to see that hard work will get you somewhere and that staying positive and motivated is worth it, but the most important thing on this team is to be bought in and create relationships because that is what you’re going to remember,” McIntyre said.



November 20, 2020

Lueken's career plan has reached the end CONTINUED FROM C-1

When Lueken took over in 1994, thanks to Rock Athletics, we know that the SRU student-athlete GPA was 2.614. In 2020, that number has risen to a 3.552 GPA among all SRU student-athletes -- the highest in single semester history. Lueken could not claim all credit, pointing to the "pass/no credit" option for students in the coronavir us-shor tened spring 2020 semester. Regardless, since 1994, the GPA of SRU studentathletes is 3.064. "I think Slippery Rock really does follow that model of 'student-athletes' instead of 'athlete-student' that you see at other places," Crow said. "And that probably comes from him being a student-athlete at Division III, and he's always known the importance of getting a good education." Torry Rollins, associate athletic director at SRU, points to the academic success of SRU studentathletes as the highlight of Rock athletics during his time at SRU since 2011. Athletics have been emphasized at SRU, and Lueken has been a driving force not just among student-athletes but among all students. Crow calls Lueken the "Godfather of PSAC ADs" for his ability to place former students in positions not just around the conference but around the country. SRU Assistant Athletic Director of Compliance and Senior Woman Administrator Andrea Miller Grady wouldn't be in the position she's in now without Lueken's guidance. As an exercise science major during her undergrad years as a lacrosse studentathlete at SRU, wouldn't have typically interacted with Lueken. Instead, he provided mentorship during and after her time at The Rock. "We just really have a good group of kids -- of young people that are here -- doing what they want to do, and we're trying to help them succeed in doing that and everybody's going in the same direction," Lueken said. "That's what is the most pleasing and comforting thing to know walking away." However, like any leader in the history of ever, life hasn't always been easy. Work hasn't always been easy. "If you're someone in a leadership position, it doesn't matter what position you're in, you're not going to make everybody happy," Lueken said. "If you are making everybody happy, it probably means you're not doing anything." In 2006, SRU made the decision to cut eight varsity sports: field hockey, golf, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's water polo, men's tennis and wrestling. The

decision, which Lueken said was in the efforts to sustain and become more competitive across the department (along with a lack of funding), led to a Title IX lawsuit from members of the women's swimming and water polo teams. "That day we announced we were cutting college sports, it was probably, in terms of my jobs at Slippery Rock, the hardest day of my job ever," Lueken said. "I didn't want to discontinue any of those programs." SRU eventually reinstated the field hockey program, but for Lueken, the damage had been done. The alumni of the sports that had been cut, on both sides, did not -- and still don't --think too kindly of him. But he understands that. It wasn't easy for anyone. "I've heard from some alumni that I'm the reason why they don't give to athletics -- financial aid," Lueken said. "Well, now that I'm gone, now that I'm retired, open up the checkbooks, baby. I jokingly say that, but I've heard that, trust me." The decision to "rightsize" the program wasn't easy, it wasn't well-received, but it was necessary for the future of Rock athletics. The decision made SRU stronger as a whole, evidenced, as Lueken said, by the Dixon Trophy soon after. The money that those sports did not receive was used through the rest of the department, leading to new facility upgrades and stronger teams. The decision to cut those sports isn't too far off the decisions most ADs are facing around the country. "Right now, across the country, guess what?" Lueken asked. "What are they doing? They're cutting sports. Because the money is not there. And that's not the reason we did it. I feel bad for all those sports that are getting cut, mainly at Divison I institutions, because the money is not there. I feel bad because football is not getting touched, and they should." " S RU i s i n f u l l compliance with Title IX and one of only two schools in Pennsylvania that meet compliance through proportionality as reported on EADA reports submitted to the Department of Education," Rock Athletics said. Among the broad success of SRU athletics, Lueken was able to allocate funds to redesigning and revamping many athletic facilities across the campus. Almost every facility has seen upgrades, MihalikT h o m p s o n St a d i u m , Morrow Field House and among others, but under Lueken, Jack Critchfield Park has been built, upgraded and turned into one of the premier baseball facilities in the country. Additionally, the women's soccer, field hockey, softball


SRU AD Paul Lueken (right) and SRU football coach Shawn Lutz (left) stand for the national anthem before a football game last season. SRU won the game 54-19 against Shippensburg University.

and lacrosse offices have all been constructed on the SRU campus. Rollins feels like he can firmly say he was partially responsible for some of the upgrades to SRU's facilities, having overseen the financial aspects of most of them. "During his tenure," Rock Athletics said, "SRU has increased community and alumni involvement in the athletic program. Lueken also initiated The Rock Athletic Club and a corporate sponsor program, with annual fundraising for Athletics increasing by more than 250%. The athletic scholarship program is now supported by more than 50 named scholarships. During his tenure, Slippery Rock's scholarship fund has climbed from just over $300,000 awarded annually to more than $1.1 million awarded annually." With a state-of-the-art football and baseball field, hosting football, baseball, field hockey, lacrosse, men's and women's soccer on occasion, and improved facilities for all varsity athletics, SRU boasts one of the best athletic departments in Division II athletics. Where to go from here? Through all the hardships faced in his athletic career, by far the most difficult moments came at home. Lueken's beloved wife, Rose Ann, had fought a 13 year cancer battle when she passed away in 2010.

Lueken went through the darkest days of his life. Thoughts of work, thoughts of sports, meant little -if anything -- as Lueken coped with the loss of his partner in life. He leaned heavily on the support of the SRU community -- and of course his family -- in the days, weeks and years that followed, crediting that support system as getting him through the dark days. Crow was one of many who reached out and helped bridge an impossible transition. "I thought, 'what could I do to help my buddy, Paul?'" Crow said. "So I arranged a golf trip to Myrtle Beach; we went for five days and played 10 courses -- probably lost a hundred dozen balls each. Going through that with him, we became pretty close and it's remained that way since." When Lueken came out to Slippery Rock, a brand new adventure for his burgeoning family, he wasn't sure what the future held. Upon being hired as a young AD, a message was drilled into his head, one he wouldn't soon forget. " W h e n D r. B o b Aebersold hired me -- he was the President here when I came -- he told me, he said, 'Paul, you're not going to accomplish what you want to accomplish in a year, or two, or three, or five, or maybe even 10. What you want to do is a long-term

commitment. But there's a lot of opportunities here for you, so the longer you stay, the more you'll get done,'" Lueken said. "And, he was right." Lueken loves Illinois, but Slippery Rock is home now. And it's been home since that talk with Aebersold sold all those years ago. Life without Division II athletics -- SRU athletics in particular -- will be weird at first, but there's plenty to do around the house. The house that Lueken and his wife, Donna, plan on staying in for a while. Donna still teaches at the high school after all. The writing has been on the wall for a while now, even if it wasn't always with a sharpie. When Lueken's family tailgated before a football game last season, he was able to stop by. For a short time. He stopped by, said hello, took some pictures and headed back up to the field. It was short and sweet. After the game, Lueken's granddaughter stepped onto Bob DiSpirito Field for the first time. What more can you ask for after half a lifetime spent in SRU athletics? Life moving forward will be different, weird at times, but it won't be without college athletics. As a true Division II and PSAC lover, Lueken has offered to help PSAC commissioner Steve

Murray with challenges arising in the spring. If consulting work and helping friends and colleagues in their pursuits arise, Lueken won't say no. But he won't have to say yes anymore. As the AD of a major Division II program, Lueken hasn't avoided criticism, as he said -- if you're making everyone happy, you aren't doing your job -- but he's pleased he can hold pleasant conversations with most of the studentathletes he's had during his time. The ones with the b i g g e s t p ro b l e m s - recent football alums -tend to find issue with being unable to crowd the home sidelines during Rock football games. It's a tough choice, and some of the former studentathletes don't much like Lueken for it, but after an all-day tailgate, it's usually the right decision. Despite the difference in opinion, Lueken puts his arm around those guys and says, "I'm sorry, you still can't stay down here." You can't stay anywhere for too long, but you can love the journey. And like all stories, all journeys must come to an end. Just don't say goodbye quite yet. In the meantime, don't look for Lueken on the golf course. He's rather busy.


Paul Lueken stops by his family's tailgate before the Homecoming game against Indiana University (Pa.) last season. Lueken said he plans to spend more time with his family with his retirement pending at the end of the year.


Matt Berwick speaks on resilience Watch at theonlinerocket.com


Emerging choreographers and creativity                


Top: Kari Hoglund, performs his routine for the concert, edited and choreographed to his creative mind. Bottom (left to right): Naomi Bates, Riley Smith and Kaitlin Yankovich all perform their choreograpy in a location fit to support their style and dances.

By Sarah Anderson Senior Rocket Contributor

On Nov. 18 the Slippery Rock Dance Department held their final performance in their virtual concert series. The concert was hosted on Youtube with an exclusive link that was received once patrons purchased their $5 ticket. This performance, titled "Emerging Choreographers," included pieces from fifteen different student choreographers who were all of either junior or senior status. The week prior, they also hosted their "Fresh Moves" student concert with the same format. Student choreographers included Reva Adams, Olivia Barner, Naomi

Bates, Kari Hoglund, Anna DeRubeis, Kaitlyn Falce, Isabel Farr, Brenna Kloes, Mollie Sweeney, Lauren McBarron, Bethany Joyce, Kelvin Rodriguez, Alanna Rygelski, Riley Smith, and Kaitlin Yankovich. All of these students collaborated as choreographers, dancers, directors, editors and even cinematographers. The students in the Dance Department are clearly a multi-facetted, talented young group of people. With a fully virtual performance from each student, they had free reign of where they would perform. There were many powerful performances across many areas: the studio, Slippery Rock's campus, the city of Pittsburgh and some very earthy and open fields. There was no creative hinderance where these artists could go.

Costumes were chosen by the students, dances were choreographed by them, while also being filmed and edited by the same creative minds. Naomi Bates and Kari Hoglund, both senior dance majors, were interviewed over Zoom to ask about their experience with this event. When asked about what they feel the pandemic has done to the arts, they both had very touching responses. Hoglund had started off the conversation by saying, "It has made it difficult for class. What's important for dance is community and feeling the energy. It's definitely pushed us past our boundaries and challenged us as artists." Bates continued the conversation by saying, "It has forced us to have more ownership as artists. We have to be more intentional

with what we're doing in a virtual space." Commenting on her experience as a senior dancer during a pandemic, Bates continued, "Our senior year is all about investigating and experimenting. Now with the pandemic, we are taking that to a new level as dancers." Hoglund took the conversation to an even deeper level. "Lacking touch in dance [because of the pandemic] has been hard. Human contact is comforting. It's a form of bonding. I was feeling very nostalgic for that sense of touch. The first time I danced with someone and had contact was very emotional." Bates and Hoglund are two very passionate students. Passionate about the arts and about working with each other. The pair are

often seen working together on all different sides of this dance project. Bates talked extensively about the impact that Hoglund has had on her creatively, and how well the two work together. Olivia Barner, another senior in the dance department, had very powerful words about being an artist in the midst of a pandemic. "Creative outlets are at a low during the pandemic, it feels as if it is impossible to create. I am thankful for the arts, and dance specifically, for being there for me when the world seems to be falling apart around me." When asked about her experience being a choreographer, Bates has a similar response to her peers. "This was really challenging, but I think more than anything this

experience has forced other choreographers and myself to push ourselves. This opened up a whole new realm of possibilities." Despite the learning curve, Bates was proud of the work her and her peers worked so diligently to create. Whether it be solo performances, duets, or large group pieces, these students came together during a time where it is so hard to connect, and created the beautiful pieces of art they did. They persevered through the virtual challenges to produce something to really be proud of. The Slippery Rock Dance Department creates more than just wonderful dancers. They lend a hand to creating very creative, sensitive and strong-willed minds and people.

A season of giving

       By Brandon Pierce Senior Rocket Contributor

The Office for CommunityEngaged Learning (OCEL) of Slippery Rock University has partnered with the Butler Salvation Army and their Angel tree program to form the Elf Project.This project is designed to provide gifts to children in families that may need help gathering gifts for the holiday season. OCEL is a very active organization at SRU. The main mission of OCEL is to have students engage with the community in order to provide volunteer work, charity, or helping local fundraisers. From engaging in community service, students learn not only how to become an active community member, but also of their civic identity, and leadership and social skills.

The Elf Project allows for any club or organization to become a part of a great cause. The Elf Project works by providing the different clubs or organizations with the name of a child to be sponsored. That club or organization is then able to spend between $100 and $125 on the sponsored child and buy them presents. After the gifts have been gathered, each club or organization will drop off the gift at the OCEL at their respective time. This is a wonderful way for any club or organization oncampus to become involved with the community and to help a great cause. It is important for every child to have a wonderful holiday season, and community service opportunities like the Elf Project work to make that goal a reality. Not only is the Elf Project rewarding to the children sponsored, it

is also enriching to those who help make the project possible. Community involvement and service allows for students to grow as an individual and to help create a thriving community. Students love helping in the community, especially when it helps make another person’s day even better. In total, OCEL has released 35 names of children to be sponsored. In the past, the names have been selected very quickly and with much enthusiasm. It is important to assist those in need, especially during the season of giving. The OCEL has had much success in the past and is on track for another successful project this year. The first drop off date was on Nov. 19, but the second drop off date will be on Dec. 4, following Black Friday, which is on Nov. 27 this year.


CAMPUS LIFE 'Rock'ing around the Christmas tree              November 20, 2020


By Hope Hoehler Campus Life Editor

The Slippery Rock Christmas Market will take place Nov. 21 from 4-7:30 p.m. in Gateway Park. With food, crafts and entertainment provided by numerous Slippery Rock businesses and nonprofit organizations, Mayor Longo said that the market was a necessity in order to keep holiday goings continuing. Typically, over the past couple years, Longo partnered with Slippery Rock Development to put on Light Up Night. However, there were individuals that felt uncomfortable with the street festival idea. Still wanting to keep the holiday spirit alive, Longo invited local businesses, vendors and nonprofits to share a sense of community during the holiday season. Santa Claus will ride around town on a float and the lighting of the Christmas tree donated by the Kovacik family of Ginger Hill, will still take place. This year, two trees will be lit in the town, the other one being a 35-foot artificial tree from the Hospitality and Tourism program placed in Memorial Park.

"I thought it was really important that we give people who are comfortable with doing so the opportunity to go outside and have a safe time," Longo said. "Typically, this time of year is chalked full of bright lights, beautiful tress and garland. We wanted to offer that to the townspeople." Since Longo came into office a few years ago, the Holiday Festival has grown exponentially. With hopes of allowing growth within the community, Longo wants to give the townspeople and students the ability to enjoy and appreciate something during the pandemic. "A few years ago there was a little bit of hesitancy, but we have beaten the odds and they have been a big success," Longo said. "What I hope the community will gain from this is an opportunity to share good company with their friends and neighbors. [It's] something to look forward to in a time where otherwise there isn't a whole lot to look forward to. Things are very doom and gloom right now and hopefully this is something that will lift the spirits of folks." Aside from providing an uplifting opportunity for the community, the Christmas Market also

serves as an opportunity to stimulate the local economy. Local vendors and business owners will be able to make a profit selling their products and services. Longo also invited Slippery Rock area charities and nonprofit organizations such as the Butler County Alliance for Children, Toys for Tots, Slippery Rock Community Library, Girls and Boys Basketball Boosters and Slippery Rock Baseball Association. "We are going to see this stimulate our local economy, help to keep some of these businesses open, and help some of these organizations to continue to operate in their nonprofit and charity capacity," Longo said. For students at the university nearing finals week, Longo hopes that the Christmas Market acts as an opportunity for students to have a stress reliever. "People are separated from their families and loved ones for a number of reasons and students are far from home," Longo said. "They need to have something to look forward to and obviously we are dealing with COVID-19 that has definitely drawn some separation between people."

Longo has looked forward to the holiday event every year and the sense of community that it brings. He hopes to see families come and invite other family members from out of town to celebrate with the Slippery Rock Borough. "[I look forward to] showcasing all the great things about the town, our people, our businesses, our

charities and nonprofits," Longo said. "[To] have that Christmas cheer that we always see in Hallmark movies." Longo notes that it is important to understand the team effort behind the event and achievements of the community over the years. "[It] wouldn't be possible without business owners and

individuals who contribute to the whole and make things like this possible," Longo said. "I want to thank them and everybody who are participating and supporting in any capacity." Those interested in attending the Christmas Holiday Market can do so while still following social distancing guidelines in the outside environment.


'Onward' provides Zoom relief      




By Tyler Howe Senior Rocket Contributor

On Friday night, the University Program Board (UPB) and SGA will be holding a drive-in event for students at Slippery Rock. The event gives them the ability to play a movie for students before finals week starts. Although they are hosting this movie event, it is going to be limited due to Covid-19 guidelines. “We wanted to give students the opportunity to have some sense of normalcy, but make it safe and that’s why we’re calling it a socially distanced Drive-In and SGA is being super nice and anyone who comes to this will get a pretty big snack bag,� Natalie Glenn, the UPB Director of Concerts said. The Drive-In will only be able to host around 20 cars, and this decision was made to make it as safe as possible for those who choose to attend. The decision came to limit the attendance from a possibility of 40 cars in the lot to only 20, because there has been a spike in the amount of Covid-19 cases. New restrictions will also go into effect on Friday. “We just wanted to give students something to do on a Friday night before finals technically start and we wanted to be able to give them that sense of normalcy,� Glenn said. Students will be given the opportunity to sit outside of

their cars, but if they choose to do so they must wear a mask and they must sit in areas where they will be socially distanced. There will be up to four people allowed per car.

"Right now a lot of people are having Zoom fatigue, so hopefully we can help students have some fun." – Natalie Glenn, UPB Director of Concerts

“Rock the Weekend got an actual Drive-In movie screen that they can use to hold movies outside and stuff, but because it’s going to be cold we obviously don’t want to have students sit outside for two hours or however long,

so we decided that a Drive-In movie would be a good idea,� Glenn said. The organization process for getting the Drive-In set up has been a difficult one because nearly every day there has been new guidelines coming out. Due to these guidelines there has been constant changes to the Drive-In event. “We were thinking what would students want to do on a Friday night before finals and we thought a movie was the perfect idea, because students can come and eat food and watch a two hour movie before they start getting ready for finals and preparing to go home for thanksgiving,� Glenn said. The Drive-In will be held before finals get going on Saturday for some students and the movie that was chosen was Disney Pixar’s Onward. To further simulate a Drive-In movie, UPB and SGA teamed up with Slippery Rock’s student run radio station WSRU to play the movie over the channel. “When you come to Slippery Rock you meet a ton of different people and we’re giving them something to do but in a safe setting and it gives them the chance to have one last hurrah, because all we’ve been able to do is virtual things and I feel like right now a lot of people are having zoom fatigue, so hopefully we can help students have some fun,� Glenn said.


November 20, 2020



Review: ‘Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales’             

By Dereck Majors Review Colomunist

2020 is the first time in eleven years where a Marvel Cinematic Universe film has not been released. And maybe after 23 films nearly back-to-back we needed a break. And yet at the very end of a disastrous year, a superhero story that is bold, brave and unique arrives to save the day. Marvel’s SpiderMan: Miles Morales is both a sequel and a fresh start for one of the best superhero video game franchises. Miles Morales offers a proper introduction to both the title character and the new hardware offered on the PlayStation 5. The game starts where the title character is still coming to grips with his new powers and abilities that he discovered at the end of Marvel’s Spider-Man, which smashed records during its release in 2018. Peter Parker has left for a photography session overseas leaving Miles to watch over New York City and take up the reigns as Spider-Man. Almost naturally trouble ensues and Miles is left to deal with an ordeal between the Roxxon Energy Corporation and a new terrorist organization known as the Underground. And

in true Spider-Man fashion, Miles has some personal connections to each set of new villains, causing him to pick his battles carefully as both Miles and Spider-Man. As clichÊ as sounds, this game literally makes you feel like you’re Spider-Man in ways the original only dreamed of. The game features new, improved graphics and haptics on the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller that make every punch, jump, and bioelectric Venom shock a unique experience. And while this game can be played on PlayStation 4, it almost is an injustice to not experience this game for the first time on the new PlayStation 5 (if you can manage to get your hands on one, that is). The DualSense controller takes the experience over the top with adaptive triggers that cause every web shoot to have slight tension that feels as though you are the one slinging each individual web from your wrist. And even though the game only offers around seven hours in its main story, it improves on nearly every aspect of the original 2018 game. But don’t get it confused: This is a game about Miles Morales. Key aspects like blending the booming orchestra that was used in the first game’s

soundtrack with hip hop give Miles a unique beat that perfectly encapsules the spirit of the title character. And fans of the film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (which was the first major introduction for general audiences to Miles Morales) will feel like they are almost playing a video game adaptation of the Oscar winner. Whereas Marvel’s SpiderMan placed players in the hands of a more seasoned and well-trained hero, Miles Morales does almost the complete opposite. When Miles jumps off a skyscraper and slings a web, it feels like he’s doing it for the first time. He spins as the web glides him throughout New York City. He occasionally will be facing the wrong direction before he catches himself. It’s these little moments that flesh the humanity of the character in ways the main narrative could never hit on in such a short time. These moments along with the excellent story make Miles such a distinctive Spider-Man. He is influenced by the past while still maintaining his own sense of character and purpose for the future. Miles Morales respects the Spidey lore and the infamous “with great power comes great responsibility� while still maintaining to be a SpiderMan for the ages.

A conversation with Matt Berwick                 

SCREENSHOT COURTESY OF AARON MARRIE Matt Berwick speaks to students and faculty through Zoom on his disability and the challenges he has overcome from it. Berwick was a quad rugby player and a program manager for UPMC.

By Aaron Marrie Multimedia Editor

Matt Berwick, who up until 15 did not have a disability, has taken advantage of his opportunities, even while being in a wheelchair. This past Tuesday, Rock U invited Berwick, a quad rugby player and a program manager for UPMC, who suffered a spinal cord industry at age 15 to speak about his disability and some of the challenges that have come from it. Although Berwick has had to learn to adapt after his C5 and C6 (neck) spinal

core industry, that has not slowed him down when it comes to competing. On top of being a quad rugby player, Berwick participates in curling and has tried bocce, water skiing, handcycling, and softball. Berwick also went on to say if it is adventurous, then he will give it a shot. "I did get confirmation from one of my favorite people at Slippery Rock that we are going to go sky diving together," Berwick excitedly mentioned. When looking at his experience, it made it so he could not become the flight attendant that he had once planned to be, he joked adding

"I was knew to the whole injury thing. I wasn't sure what life was going to look like." – Matt Berwick, Quad rugby players and progam manager for UPMC

that he could not reach the overhead bin to get luggage in or out anymore. However, Berwick felt that his disability helped shape his future. "I had an experience, it really shaped how my life has gone," Berwick said. After opening the floor up to a Q&A, Rock U's Vice President, Taylor Peacock, asked Berwick how he was introduced to the world of disability sports. Just six days after his injury, Berwick was introduced to the wheelchair rugby team while in a rehab hospital. "If you haven't seen wheelchair rugby, it is one of the more violent

wheelchair disability sports," Berwick continued to joke "You couldn't introduce me to golf or bacha?" About three months after discharge, his doctor suggested that rugby was a great option for him, however, an additional three months was required to make sure that he did not cause any additional injuries, the especially due likelihood of him running into people while participating in wheelchair rugby. Berwick also was a substitute teacher for a short amount of time, being that he would have to get dress up, it took

over an hour for him to get ready and to the school to be ready to teach, a fast turn around in the mornings. Overall, Berwick said that he was not sure knowing what things were going to look like after his injury, but has stayed positive. "I was new to the whole injury thing. I wasn't sure what life was going to look like," Berwick said. "So I think [not knowing what life would look like] that was the toughest part because school was still in session, but I wasn't going to school but all of my friends were in school during the day."

November 20, 2020




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