Friday March 19, 2021 • Volume 104, Issue Number 8 • An Independent, Student-Run Newspaper
IN THIS ISSUE:
A-2 CLITHA MASON: OVERCOMING ADVERSITY
B-2 TRANSCENDING THE BINARY
C-1 ALUMI TRAINS YOUNG ATHLETES
D-2 BUSINESS BUILDS IN PANDEMIC
VIDEO: Breaking down SRSGA Student Life Survey
A perspective from the ivory tower
By Hannah Shumsky Editor-In-Chief
Growing up, Clitha Mason didn't have an African American studies or African studies class until her late 30s. Now, she is teaching two courses at Slippery Rock University and its first Frederick Douglass Institute Fellow. A Chicago native, Mason is currently working on her dissertation through Bowling Green University. Needing financial support to finish her dissertation and searching for opportunities for growth, Mason found support from a friend who was a scholar of color in the program. The Frederick Douglass Scholar Fellowships provide teaching, mentoring and potential employment opportunities to universities committed to cultural diversity. According to its website for universities within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), "applicants from diverse cultural backgrounds, especially those from historically underrepresented groups, are encouraged to apply." "I resonated with that personally, morally, philosophically," Mason said. "I needed what they provided, which was a stipend and opportunity to grow and learn and to continue to write my dissertation so that I can graduate so that I won't be another person that doesn't make it through a program or remains all but dissertation and never gets the Ph.D." Mason applied for seven different schools within the program and was approached by four. Ultimately, her research on each school's missions, visions and initiatives drew her to Slippery Rock University. "I want to contribute to this program and take what they're doing already and make it better, make it grow, make it bigger,
as well as use the program for my own personal support as an academic and a scholar with my own research and my own project." Growing up, Mason attended a Black Catholic school during the late '60s and '70s during the Black Power, Black Pride movements. In her early education, her schools did not have courses on Black history or culture. "As a kid growing up in that environment, I did have a sense of beauty and pride and stuff like that and Black history, but from that point on, like really in high school and in college, I've never even seen the courses offered, much less was it included in any of the courses of the programs I was taking," Mason said. While she described herself as a liberal, artsy type-kid and trivia and popular American culture fan, she did not see cultural studies of an area of academic study until later in life. "I didn't think anything of [American cultural studies], but what I didn't think was that it would ever become an academic study or something to pursue," Mason said. Mason spent over 20 years in the cosmetology and fashion industries. As a single mom, Mason also went to business school at Fayetteville State University, a historically Black university in North Carolina. At her time in business school, one of her final classes was a film class with Charles Tryon. At this time, even though professors were urging her to pursue an MBA program, she decided on a change of focus. "All I could think to myself was, 'There's no way you're going to push me into a corporate American setting,'" Mason said. "Wanting to be in the corporate culture was never anything that was an interest for me. For me, I just thought it'd be easy to get a job and get my daughter grown up and everything and live and not be
homeless and all these other struggles that we had to face." During her pursuit of cultural studies, Mason said she was more interested in examining films and filmmakers' techniques, which was when she discovered gaps in the film industry, not only in production, but also in scholarship. "That meant that there were very few Blacks, fewer Black Women, and so on and so forth," Mason said. "All the marginalized and minority cultures were not showing up in cinematic studies or as great directors or having any significant contributions, other than acting to the field, and including teaching it." Then, Mason sought to fill that gap. She became the first Black woman to graduate with a master's degree from North Carolina State University's film studies department. To Mason, this confirmed her theory of these gaps. "No one was reaching out to recruit, but no one was turning you away, but no one way making it available," Mason said. "It's just assumed that that's a white male thing, film studies and film production and stuff like that." As a professor, Mason views her perspective of academia from a variety of intersections, describing herself as a darkskinned Black, fat and poor woman. At the same time, she states that a lot of people are not aware of disparities in culture. "The classes or the people who I reach would rarely hear from a person that exists from my standpoint, because we're not supposed to have been here. A fat girl, a poor girl, a Black girl, a former crack smoker, a single mom, a former homeless person or a person that was born and bred in the general American's worst ghetto," Mason said. "I'm not supposed to be here in the ivory tower giving you an opinion or teaching your white children these things that I have
been omitted from the historical narrative, but I'm here." As the Frederick Douglass Institute Fellow at SRU, Mason teaches two courses: Intro to Gender Studies and Intro to Race and Ethnic Diversity. Both classes are housed in the nonprofit management, empowerment and diversity studies department, attracting students from a variety of academic disciplines. In her gender studies course specifically, she teaches from an intersectional perspective, focusing away from whiteness and focusing instead on color, gender and disability, to name a few. In these courses, Mason talks about fatness, LGBTQ+ culture, sexuality, eating disorders, race and ethnicity, and class. "All the things that get pushed to the margins," Mason said. "I bring to the center and I push the mainstream and the dominant to the margins but that's difficult to do because that's why they're dominant and mainstream. It's a difficult course to navigate, and to get the students to participate in the ride with you, and it is a ride because I use so many mediums." As the first fellow through this institute at the university, Mason views the role as a big responsibility and takes it as such. She wants SRU's program to be the best program, describing herself as a high overachiever. "The nature of me is to be a pioneer, to be innovative," Mason said. "I just think that I want the program to be different, but different in a better way, not to be better than the other programs but to be innovative, to take risks." Reflecting on her time at Slippery Rock, she specifically praised Dan Bauer, the dean of the College of Liberal Arts; Ursula Payne, the director of SRU's Frederick Douglass Institute who is currently on sabbatical; and Alice Del Vecchio, assistant professor of interdisciplinary programs and the chair of Mason's department.
PHOTO COURTESY OF CLITHA MASON
Slippery Rock's first Frederick Douglass Institute Fellow Clitha Mason teaches two courses at the university dealing with gender studies and race and ethnicity. Mason said she is advocating for another year in the program.
"I've had great opportunities, and it's been a very, very great welcoming opportunity to work at the school and environment," Mason said. Mason is going to advocate for another year in the program with the dean and provost as she feels that she couldn't "get it done, do it justice in a semester and make everything work well." However, Mason said this experience has been overwhelming and could be better designed. "I hope my contribution and the information I share becomes a way to make the program even better for the next person," Mason said, specifically suggesting to add more than one fellow at a time or extend the program because "it's just overwhelming." Looking forward, Mason's biggest plan is to be on track
to finish her dissertation by December. Ultimately, she wants to return to get a master's degree in librarianship, as she is interested in archives, museums, galleries and cultural institutions. In terms of the pandemic overall, Mason emphasized that while we should hopefully all be paying more attention to ourselves, our health and our mental health, people who have already suffered traumas— especially women, people of color, marginalized groups and homeless students—are likely feeling the impact more. "We need our allies to be there for us and to continue to speak when we can't on anti-racism in this country and closing some of these disparities and gaps that should be, that don't have to be, that only exist because people are different," Mason said.
Virus testing increases on campus !"#$% By Nina Cipriani News Editor
Editor's note: This story was published before SRU's announcement of delays in test results. As the COVID-19 testing center at the University Union enters its fourth week of asymptomatic testing, Kristina Benkeser, the director of student health services, encourages students on and off campus to get tested to know their status. Over 3,500 students have taken advantage of the saliva-based testing so far. According to the SRU campus COVID-19 cases webpage as of Wednesday, there have been 1,042 total asymptomatic tests administered to the general population. Five of those tests came back positive. For athletics, 2,531 asymptomatic tests have been administered, and 10 of them were positive. In the 3,573 asymptomatic tests administered, 15 tests came back positive, which is less than a 0.05% positivity rate. There are 32 students in quarantine and 17 in isolation. There are no faculty and staff in quarantine or isolation as of Wednesday. The campus cases webpage defines quarantine as a form of self-isolation after close contact with someone that has COVID-19 or someone who is ill and waiting for test results.
It defines isolation as a form of self-isolation for people with COVID-19 or who are ill and waiting for test results. As for testing through the Student Health Center, there’s been a total of 68 positive COVID-19 cases on campus since Jan. 19. In an email to stakeholders, SRU President William Behre said as we reach the midpoint of the semester, total case numbers represent a 44% decrease in cumulative cases at the same point in the fall semester. All information to schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 test can be found in the SRU Student Health Portal. Benkeser said students have been getting their results back from 24 to 48 hours after getting tested. But, there are students that have waited up to five days for their results. “The vast majority [of results] are falling in that window,” Benkeser said. “There have been a few sporadic days here and there where the times have been lengthened. You don’t know if there was an extraordinary demand at the lab, if there was an outbreak, you don’t know what causes a little bit of a delay.” The lab does not process specimens on the weekend, Benkeser said, so if a student got tested on Friday, they will not be processed until Monday. Benkeser said she believes that delays in results could have to do with the national shortage of lab technicians.
GRAPHIC BY: RAYNI SHIRING
“Right now, lab technicians are in extremely short supply,” Benkeser said. “So even if a lab can physically build capacity and you can get all the machines and all the pieces, if there isn’t the lab person there to run it, then it just gathers dust.” Symptomatic test results are the main priority, Benkeser said, so that is why the asymptomatic test results may take a little longer. The results of symptomatic tests administered at the Health Center typically come back within 24 hours. The free COVID-19 testing is mandatory for all residential students and student athletes. For off-campus students, testing is strongly encouraged, but not required. Benkeser said the hardest part of the saliva test is producing enough saliva to fill the tube, but other than that, it’s a “extremely simple process.” “It’s free, it’s easy, and it’s convenient,” Benkeser said in a Zoom call. “At the end of the day, what we’re trying to do is get back to where you can go to Rocky’s and get your lunch, you can go to the library, you can meet your friends, or whatever it is.” She emphasized that the community has the opportunity to define what post-pandemic looks like on campus. She hopes it looks “a lot like pre-pandemic.” Despite there being a total of 68 campus cases this semester, Benkeser said she worries
that St. Patrick’s Day events may be “superspreaders” of COVID-19. “It’s a lot of people in a usually relatively small space who are dancing, singing, laughing, yelling, shouting,” Benkeser said. “I hate to say it, but some may share drink containers. [A]lcohol lowers all the inhibitions, so people who might be good hand washers, good masker wearers and good social distancers aren’t doing any of those things.”
"At the end of the day, what we're trying to do is get back to where you can go to Rocky's and get your lunch." – Kristina Benkeser, director of student health services
NEWS Students: Stressed and depressed
March 19, 2021
By Hannah Shumsky Editor-In-Chief
Nina Cipriani News Editor
Editor's note: This article contains mentions of mental health struggles and includes students' stories of struggles during the pandemic. Certain student identifying information, including last names and majors, are not included in this article at the request of each student. On March 11, 2020, SRU students were on spring break and spread out from the community. Some were still in Slippery Rock, some were at their home with their family and others were on trips out of state. However, that day was the moment when all students received the same email: "SRU COVID-19 Update: Spring Break Extended Two Weeks; Instruction Moved Online." Now, after a year into the pandemic and a year of learning through D2L and Zoom, underclassmen look forward to returning to a somewhat normal capacity in the fall 2021 semester. However, this year has proven difficult for students, especially in regards to mental health. The initial shutdown and virtual learning Emily, a sophomore at SRU, was at home. It was a nice day outside, she said, and she was on a walk with her friends. When she came home, her mom asked if she had heard the news: SRU extended its spring break. "Oh no, this isn't good," she said, shaking her head. "A lot of things were going through my mind. I have friends that live far away, and that was the last time I saw them." Emily said she "didn't think too much" about her mental health because she thought she was OK. But it got worse as time went on. "I thought I was doing alright," she said. "Quarantine was pretty rough. I'm a very social person. I love to talk, and interaction is my thing. But, there wasn't much to do." She added that she spent a lot of time with her family, which she enjoyed. But she yearned for social interaction. "I felt trapped," she said. "I felt stuck. I didn't feel like I was progressing forward."
Samantha, a senior at SRU, was also enjoying nature in Nashville, Tennessee with her friends. When her friends got the email, they all stopped at a local restaurant parking lot and cried together. The spring 2020 semester was the most intense one for Samantha. Not only were exams difficult for her major in March of 2020, but she felt disconnected from everyone and was not dealing well with school and moving back home. "I just felt so disconnected from literally everyone I knew because I wasn't in that environment," Samantha said. "It wasn't great. It was actually a big wake up call." However, July was one of her worst months, as the anticipation of returning to SRU increased her anxiety. However, she ultimately felt comfortable with her multimodal classes as there were fewer students in the room. "July was like one of the worst [months] because it was so close to going back to school and it was just the anticipation of 'What's it going to look like?'" Samantha said. Hannah, a sophomore, was at her former high school's musical when she got the email. She originally saw the message as an added opportunity to be home with family, but two weeks into the pandemic, she didn't want to do anything. "I just remember being so anxious because we just didn't know," Hannah said. "I remember running through Giant Eagle to get in and get out. Otherwise, I didn't want to do anything. I didn't want to talk to anybody. According to Kenneth Messina, the clinical director of SRU's Counseling Center and associate professor, the majority of students during the March-May 2020 "shutdown" shared similar thoughts to Emily, Samantha and Hannah: increased anxiety and feelings of isolation, but with a temporary feeling. "I think there was just a lot of anxiety about what's next, but I think it was more hopeful," Messina said. "I think that was one of the things that students struggled with was the isolation, but it had this temporary feeling to it." Messina added that this time was more logistically focused, as students had to focus on time management
HANNAH SLOPE / THE ROCKET
Students walked and stretched out in the sun during Kickback Week, which took place March 7-13. SRU is operating without a formal break on its academic calendar, meaning that a traditional spreak break is not currently scheduled for the spring 2021 semester.
and adjusting to online learning. Mental health in the fall 2020 semester Leah, a freshman at SRU, lives off campus at home. She said because she doesn't live on campus, she has less resources available to her that could have been beneficial. She is "not doing too well" from an academic standpoint, and she said this negatively affects her mental health. "I'm failing one of [my classes]," she said. "So that definitely affects [my mental health]. Isolation and everything doesn't help either. I feel like it might honestly be worse on campus because at least I have my family when I'm here... But I feel like if I was on campus, I would just be alone and sad instead of [at home] and sad." For Victoria St. Claire, a senior elementar y education/special education major, the fall 2020 semester was "as up and down as it could have been." She described this as a mundane time for her, as her original plans for activities and events for the year were all cancelled. "Every month I had something very major, and none of it happened," St. Claire said. "I feel awful
saying that because people obviously had it worse, but I don't know, it's something I'm dealing with. It was hard to do nothing and it was very mundane.” The fall semester also posed challenges for Brett Hardy, a junior music education major, as he missed having daily interaction with other students and professors. But conversations with his professors in the fall 2020 semester changed his perspective on the multimodal semester. "I had one or two classes in person, so a lot of my other classes were online and I didn't get that human interaction, but it was about midway through the fall semester I would say where I had a change in mindset," Hardy said. "I kept feeling sad for myself and all, but I talked with a lot of my professors and I had a change in mindset where I know I can't control the situation, but I can control the way I feel about it." The fall 2020 data Through SRU's C o u n s e l i n g C e n t e r, Messina, John Mathe (assistant professor and counselor) and Megg Spierto (counselor) created a survey to study how the COVID-19 pandemic has
impacted college students' mental health in the fall 2020 semester. This survey was sent to all SRU students to complete anonymously via email in late October 2020. At the end of the survey, 716 students responded. Unlike some other college counseling center studies, this study included the general student population as opposed to only students w h o u s e u n i ve r s i t y counseling mental health services. "One of the unique things was a lot of the numbers that we see floating out there are based on counseling center only populations on college campuses," Messina said. "So this was university wide, and so that gave us a better kind of understanding of where all of our students are, not just the ones that are coming for counseling, but everybody." In the survey, 84% of students indicated that they had worse anxiety and 65% of students had worse depression. There was no change in completing assignments or attendance, but students reported worse focus and concentration. The majority of students in the study also reported reduced feelings of motivation.
"When we look at the isolation that's been happening, those numbers didn't really surprise us," Messina said. "So we know that students are anxious. We know students are lonely. They're missing that inperson feel. They're feeling stressed because of all the different pulls and demands on them right now, so it gave us a really good look at how are the students of Slippery Rock doing and what are the big things, and we saw motivation took a huge hit." Concerning workload, 77.25% of students felt overwhelmed or overworked in the fall 2020 semester. According to Messina, one of the more encouraging statistics was that almost 84% of students had no changes in thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Additionally, 82% of students reported no increase of substance abuse. " T h a t w a s re a l l y encouraging because even though we're seeing the stress level increase, even though we're seeing these depress symptoms increase, it's showing us that those high-risk behaviors aren't increasing. We're not having more suicidal thoughts."
SEE HOPE PAGE A-5
SRSGA survey results in ! !" By Joe Wells Assistant News Editor
Utilizing data from the 2020 Student Life Survey, the Slippery Rock Student Government Association (SRSGA) is pushing administrators to make changes to help students excel during another semester impacted by the pandemic. Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs Leif Lindgren and Sen. Caleb Covey have been meeting with deans and other officials to discuss what students have told them about their experiences at Slippery Rock University and learning in a virtual environment. While data from the survey showed 94% of students are either satisfied or highly satisfied with their academic program, the workload has been stressful for some. "I feel like now there is extra pressure and 10 times more work than in person,” wrote one student. “Over half the time you are teaching yourself and doing everything by yourself.” While survey responses are anonymous, the survey is only sent out to students with an SRU email address. For a majority of students who were dissatisfied with different aspects of the college
experience, many cited changes made due to the pandemic as the reason. For Lindgren, addressing the mental health situation is a top priority. “For students in fall 2020, especially with online learning, it just felt like students were just assigned work and weren't able to meet with tutors or other classmates where they could have talked over what was going on in the class,” Lindgren said. To help alleviate some of the stress students have been feeling, Lindgren and Covey would like to see the university implement an A-B-C-No Credit grading scale for the semester. Covey has taken that plan to one dean already, Michael Zieg, the interim dean of the College of Health, Engineering and Science. Lindgren has also sat down with SRU Provost Abbey Zink to get the initiative put in front of the president’s cabinet. With just over a month until finals, it is not known if that change can take place in time. The concern with grades this semester has only been amplified by the coursework and what some see as a degraded educational experience. One SRU senior said the time spent in class was much less than the
scheduled time and that some professors were not available during scheduled office hours. Along with other difficulties, like finding time for groups of remote students to meet virtually for projects, they likened the coursework being assigned to them as “busy work.” “This semester I may have earned good grades, but I'm not sure what relevant information I was actually taught in class compared to being forced to teach myself,” the senior said. A remote and unexpected educational experience has left some feeling as though they were not getting their money’s worth, with nearly 10% of respondents citing the changes made for the semester due to COVID-19 as why they were dissatisfied. While some said the online classroom experience did not meet their expectations based on the tuition, many did not like paying for services they could not utilize. “I live out of state and am still required to pay for the ARC, health center and other facilities that are only on campus,” wrote one out-of-state student. “Also, I am paying for the counseling center, but they are not even able to provide services to students out of state.”
GRAPHIC BY: RAYNI SHIRING
While SRU did reduce some of its fees for the year, like the student activities fees, those reductions only saved students a few hundred dollars. Tuition prices were also frozen for a second year in a row due to the pandemic. Still, full-time, out-of-state students can end up paying $3,000 to $4,000 more than their in-state counterparts. Learning from home in another state means they are not able
to use the gym or some of the technology resources SRU has on-campus despite paying for these services. As for counseling services, Kenneth Messina, the clinical director of the Student Counseling Center, said that because of state licensing requirements, the staff is unable to see students who are not residing in Pennsylvania. While the university continues to assist students
having a hard time this semester and provide opportunities to relax, like with its Kickback Week in lieu of spring break, Lindgren, Covey and the rest of the SRSGA continue to listen to student input in order to make positive changes for the semester and beyond. “We are working on certain things from the survey to try to implement so, be on the lookout for that,” Covey said. “Hopefully, we can get some of these things done.”
March 19, 2021
POLICE BLOTTER March 4 – University Police received a call from a nurse at the Student Health Center requesting an ambulance for transport. An ambulance arrived on the scene and transported one person to Butler Memorial Hospital. March 4 – Police received a call from the CA in Building A about an odor of marijuana coming from a dorm room. Officers on the scene discovered alcohol and drugs in the room. Jack Armstrong, 18, was cited for possession of alcohol by a minor and disorderly conduct, both summary offenses.
with the individuals, who were both juveniles. University Police contacted their parents. No further action was taken by University Police.
and discovered they were an SRU staff member that knew a founding member of the sorority. No further action was taken by police.
March 10 – University Police responded to the Student Union Commuter Lot after receiving a complaint about a person in the area that made the caller uncomfortable. Police located the person who was passing out religious material.
March 16 – University Police received a call from the CA of Watson Hall about a possible alcohol violation. Officers on the scene discovered alcohol and referred the case to Student Conduct.
March 10 – Pennsylvania State Police requested backup at a traffic stop along Kiester Road. The University Police officer stood by while the trooper conducted the stop. No further action was taken by University Police.
March 16 – Police responded to a fire alarm at the ROCK Apartments. The cause was determined to be burnt food. The alarm system was reset. 30 minutes later, University Police were back at the ROCK Apartments for another fire alarm activation. The cause was also burnt food. The alarm system was again reset.
March 6 – University Police responded to an intruder alarm at the Fowler Building. The alarm was set off by an individual working in March 10 – While on patrol, a University the building. The officer on the scene was unable Police officer saw an individual fall while to reset the alarm and notified safety. skateboarding. The person was not injured and refused medical treatment. March 7 – University Police were asked to assist Slippery Rock Borough Police with moving a March 12 – University Police responded to a vehicle off the roadway along Franklin Street. complaint at Building A of a person banging on doors. Officers on-scene checked all the floors March 7 – University Police responded to a call but did not locate anyone. from Building A CA for an alcohol violation. Kristina Corscarelli, 19, was charged with March 12 – Police received a call from the CA possession of alcohol by a minor. of Building E about a possible alcohol violation. Officers found alcohol and cited Rylee Hepler, March 9 – University Police were asked to assist 18, and Jocelynn Phillips, 18, with possession Slippery Rock Borough Police with a possible of alcohol by a minor. intoxicated person sleeping in their vehicle at Sheetz. The individual was not intoxicated, just March 13 – Slippery Rock Borough Police sleeping. No further action was taken by the requested assistance with traffic control along University Police. Franklin Street for a disabled vehicle. University Police assisted until the vehicle was towed. March 9 – Slippery Rock Borough Police requested assistance with a welfare check at the March 14 – University Police assisted Slippery Campus Edge Apartments. Officers spoke to the Rock Borough Police with a loud noise individual who declined medical treatment. No complaint on Center Street. University Police further action was taken by University Police. officers stood by while Borough Police officers spoke to the resident. No further action was taken by University Police. March 9 – A person arrived at the University Police Station to file a harassment complaint. March 16 – Police responded to the Rhoads The case is under investigation. Staff Parking Lot for a complaint from a person that an unknown individual wanted to take March 9 – University Police received a a picture of an AZD Sorority sticker on their call from SRU Child Care Center staff that vehicle. The person said they felt uncomfortable two individuals were taking pictures of the playground area. University Police made contact about the situation. Police located the person
March 17 – University Police received a complaint of unauthorized dumping of trash into a bin along Rock Pride Drive. Officers contacted staff personnel and the trash was removed. No further action was taken by police. March 17 – Police were requested to conduct a welfare check on a person who missed an appointment. During their investigation, University Police discovered the person was at the facility. No further action was taken by police. March 17 – University Police received a call of an individual running off and onto the roadway near the West Lake Commuter Lot. Officers made contact with George Lampman, 22, who was cited for public drunkenness. March 17 – While on patrol, a University Police officer was stopped by a motorist that a truck was off the roadway and stuck in a ditch along Kiester Road. Police notified Pennsylvania State Police and checked the area but the vehicle was gone when University Police arrived. No further action was taken by police. COMPILED BY JOE WELLS
To view The Rocket's blotter policy, scan the QR code or visit theonlinerocket.com/editorial-policy
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March 19, 2021
Senate amends bylaws By Joe Wells Assistant News Editor
T h e Sl i p p e r y Ro c k St u d e n t G o v e r n m e n t Association (SGA) approved two amendments to their bylaws Monday evening which requires additional yearly training for all senators. The two new rules will require all senators to receive mental health training and they must attend two diversity events in both the fall and spring semesters. Proposed last month, the amendments are part of initiatives the executive board has been looking to implement since last fall. The amendments were tabled back in February so the body could work out the specific language. Parliamentarian Grant Wa r m b e i n h a s m a d e it a goal of his to get these requirements in place. Requiring SGA members to partake in mental health training and exposing senators to different diversity events would allow them to be better advocates for all SRU students, he said at the meeting. "The aspect of having our senators attend two diversity events gives our senators the opportunity to learn more about other aspects of diversity, and to be able to grow with the knowledge and as an individual," Warmbein said in an email. Wa r m b e i n p ro p o s e d changes to both amendments to finalize the wording and to clarify some of the members’ confusion about requirements. According to Warmbein, senators will participate
in Kognito, an onlinebased health training used by education and healthcare organizations. That training is already provided to some student leaders by the Student Support Office. Along with the two amendments passed, two more amendments were brought to the floor to clarify language regarding GPA requirements. The bylaws require executive board members and senators to have a 2.75 and 2.5 GPA, respectfully as it reads right now.
"[H]aving our senators attend two diversity events gives our senators the opportunity to learn more about other aspects of diversity." – Grant Warmbein, SRSGA parliamentarian
The amendments clarify the requirement that the GPA standard must be maintained while the student holds their position. Both of the amendments were tabled to give senators time to review them, an action required by the SRSGA. Both are expected to be approved at the next formal meeting. The SGA also approved two funding requests for student media before closing out their meeting. The Senate unanimously approved $120.18 for WSRU-TV. The funding will be used to purchase equipment for field production, including cables and microphone windscreens. "Getting money from the SGA for this equipment is important, not just for now but in the future," said Aaron Marrie, WSRU-TV's president. "I want [the organization] to continue making shows no matter who is in charge." A larger request of $14,180.50 was also unanimously approved f o r W S RU - F M . T h e money is equal to funding cut by the SGA due to decreased funding for the academic year. That money will be used to cover fees and expenses for the rest of the semester and allow the radio station to update its music library. As for the next academic year, Vice President of Finance Nate Desing said student organizations that submitted budgets last week should see that funding approved. The SGA has a $2.5 million budget and it currently appears the budget, which w i l l b e a p p r ov e d o n
PHOTO COURTESY OF GRANT WARMBEIN
Parliamentarian Grant Warmbein works with senators and advisors to establish additional training for the Slippery Rock Student Government Association (SGA) members. Warmbein said he believes the new requirements will help senators become better advocates for the SRU students they serve.
March 29, will be under that amount. The SGA is still accepting applications for its executive board. According to SGA Advisor Lauren Moran, the turnout so far has been high, with every position having at least one candidate. The deadline for application is March 19. Before elections start on April 5, The Rocket
along with WSRU-TV will host an Online Candidate Webinar on March 30. The time of the forum will be announced at a later date. Last week’s drive-in movie night was rescheduled to March 26. The previous event was canceled due to high winds causing the screen to be unstable. The movie showing and location for the next showing have not been determined.
The SGA has also started planning for Student Safety Week, held April 5-9. According to the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs Leif Lindgren, the SGA will host events throughout the week along with a campus walk-around on April 7. The SGA will hold its next formal meeting on March 29 at 5 p.m. on Zoom.
Hope amidst COVID-19 trauma
CONTINUED FROM PAGE A-3
Specific recommendations from this study included the promotion of resources to students, increasing grace and flexibility from staff and recognizing student burnout and getting creative to address it. Also during the fall 2 0 2 0 s e m e s t e r, t h e Slippery Rock Student Government Association (SGA) organized its annual Student Life Survey. While there were no questions specific to mental health, multiple students left additional comments concerning their mental health: "Classes being online has [affected] my learning & mental health in a very negative way. We discuss prioritizing mental health, but don’t match our actions to our words. Other campuses across the state are back in person, so why can’t we be?" one junior said. "I wish that we had a few days off here and there this semester (even if it was a random Wednesday or something) as towards the end of the semester I have gotten burned out and am ready to be done even though we still have a little bit of time left in the semester," one senior said. "Can you all please do something about breaks? We need a group to advocate for students to have a break because we are burned out, exhausted, and do not feel well represented in that regard," one junior said. "I know from my own personal experience, and all of my friends, that being online and trapped inside ever y single day over and over has absolutely taken a toll on our mental health. I don't even feel like myself anymore. I feel like even just being around others would be nice," another senior said. In an emailed statement, Leif Lindgren, the vice
president of student and academic affairs for SGA, said that he will share more of these notes with the executive board and SGA president. Student mental health a year into the pandemic Emily is "very relieved" to be back on campus this semester. Being employed at the SGA Bookstore in the Smith Student Center, she said she's happy to be back in person and interacting with people. "I'm interacting with people, which is nice, because I didn't have that in the fall," she said. "This gives me a little bit of relief and hope for next fall that this will all get back to normal for us." Leah said her mental health is "not that good" because her academics largely contribute to her mental well-being. But, she feels that her mental health would be even worse if she were on campus. She hopes that as summer approaches and there are less pressures on her, her mental health will improve.
"There is support available. If anyone's struggling, don't wait, make an appointment." – Kenneth Messina, clinical director of Student Counseling Center
An end to the pandemic in sight Emily said the vaccine has been "a good reliever" for a lot of people and helps them feel better about being around others who are vaccinated. “People will feel more connected,” she said, and won't feel so "isolated from the world." "I see more light at the end of the tunnel now that things are progressing forward a little bit," Emily said. Leah said the development of the COVID-19 vaccine has made her less nervous and changed her perspective. She added that her mom, who works in health care, has already gotten her vaccine. She hopes that the vaccine will eventually d e c r e a s e C OV I D - 1 9 case numbers on campus and make people "less concerned" about the pandemic. "We should still follow our procedures, though, with masks and social distancing, but hopefully more people can get access to vaccinations and then we can be safer," Leah said. "I think as we all get vaccinated and see its effects, then we can make our regulations be a little more lenient in the future." Leah said that the weather positively affected mental health, adding that when she can see the sun and the sky, it "definitely improves things." "Seasonal depression is a real thing," she said, "and it definitely affects people. It had to have been even worse [for people who are] stuck at home." Looking forward, Messina believes that there is a sense of hope with the end of the pandemic in sight. While he expects a return to preCOVID-19 levels of stress and anxiety, especially as
social connections make a return, he also expects a sense of fear with the uncertainty and anxiety over the next big changes. "We've already been through this once to some degree," Messina said. "There's the 'What's next?' mentality that will kick in. With that comes a lot of worry, which increases our anxiety and stress, so I think we'll hopefully see greater social connections, but I think we're also going to see a lot more students that are probably going to be coming for services because of become back on campus and because of having to deal with this very traumatic experience over the past year." Where do we go from here? Emily said she recognizes that "everyone is struggling right now, and we do need to take care of ourselves." When she gets stressed and burnt out, she takes breaks and does things she enjoys, like being outside and hanging out with friends and family. " I t h i n k k n ow i n g everybody's in the same boat, but we're there to help each other and talk through it," she said. "That really helps a lot, and I would say I'm doing a lot better now." For self-care practices, Emily has been focusing specifically on creating a skincare routine and meditating. She said it's also important to relax the mind as well, so she likes to complete crossword puzzles, read books and journal. She emphasized social interaction as one of the main ways she alleviates stress. "I have to talk to people," she said. "I wear my emotions on my sleeve, and I cannot bottle it up because it makes me even more anxious and stressed out.
I usually talk to my family or friends, and they really help to put things into perspective and calm me down a little bit." Leah said she's had a decline in self-care recently but wants to get back into exercising like she used to. "I just haven't had the motivation, the energy in so long," she said. But she said she likes to do face masks to maintain basic self-care. She also keeps her workspace clean and organized to make it easier to focus. "For me, my workspace is my bedroom," she said. "What I tr y to do to make it easier to sit and work is make sure that the floor is cleared at least. I also tr y to make sure that the laundr y isn't overflowing because if I can see it, it's going to distract me." When Leah gets stressed, her go-to de-stressor is consuming any type of media, like watching movies, YouTube videos and listening to music. Like Leah, Hannah also relies on digital content to continue interpersonal connections. For her, while she still missing physical connections with friends in person, she makes sure to schedule monthly movie nights and phone calls with friends. "I think that's been the hardest on my mental health, not being around my friends and other people," Hannah said. "[It's] just making time to either call my friend in between a class, or we set up like monthly movie nights where a few of us get on Netflix party or we get on Zoom or whatever and talk." For St. Claire, who is set to graduate from therapy next month, finds herself as an advocate, especially for showing the importance of
medication in treatment for mental health. "I had taken antidepressants and they had to be increased multiple times from the start of the pandemic to now," St. Claire said. "I think that's something that a lot of people are afraid of, but if you have an injury, you take medicine to get better. If you have a wound, you put medicine on it to make it better. Your brain is something that can get sick, and being able to allow yourself to do things to take care of it even more, I think a lot of people are really scared of that." And for Samantha, being in nature, especially as springtime is arriving, is part of her self-care. When she was inside, she used a yoga and meditation app daily for over two months. "All I need is 10 minutes and that's enough, just that m o m e n t t o yo u r s e l f, literally just being with yourself," Samantha said. At the counseling center, Messina emphasizes to students to remember that support is available and to not wait to get help when needed. "I think the biggest thing for students is to not lose hope and don't forget there's people here to support them," Messina said. "There is support available. We're here just like every other office on campus, to make sure that students are doing well and that they have the tools to be successful here at Slippery Rock. If anyone's struggling, don't wait, make an appointment.” For more information on resources available through SRU's counseling center, call 724.738.2034, email scc@sr u.edu or visit SRU's website.
No time to vibe
Volume 104, Issue Number 8
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: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
EDITORIAL BOARD Hannah Shumsky
Campus Life Editor
Assistant News Editor
Assistant Sports Editor
Assistant Campus Life Editor
Ryanne Dougherty Rayni Shiring
Assistant Copy/Web Editor Assistant Photo Editor
Dr. Brittany Fleming
ADVERTISING STAFF Elisabeth Hale
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
GRAPHIC BY: RAYNI SHIRING
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.
NOTICE: This staff editorial includes mentions of suicide and mental health. While college is often filled with numerous surprises, approximately one year ago, university faculty, staff and students were confronted with unprecedented challenges put forth by the increasingly emerging COVID-19 outbreak, forcing university life to transition to an unfamiliar, virtual format. This transition would enable Slippery Rock University, like many other institutions, to protect its faculty, staff and students from the threat of physical illness and we commend SRU faculty and staff for their efforts in making that quick, difficult transition. Though, while mitigating the risks of physical illness, overall mental health would be severely challenged through numerous obstacles in navigating the new normal. Looking back on the last 365 days, the student mental health crisis has grown for college students who feel isolated and uncertain about their future. The mental health of students has been routinely challenged as students must now also be their own educators to some extent, while family members have increased expectations of household contributions from students residing at home. Ultimately, this unstable balancing act between home
life and school life with little to no outlet through means such as socialization or environmental change to break up these dueling obligations wear down students, making them prone to situations such as burnout. In trying to address declining mental health, though, it becomes significantly more challenging when your only form of outlet is through a computer screen. While SRU has made significant efforts in trying to connect with students, we truly need more support from the university and from each other. Because we are expected to prioritize our academics and continue to give as much effort as a more traditional semester, we have seen the mental health of students has progressively gotten worse over the past year. We especially need to consider our mental health this semester for a few reasons. Last week was the time when we would traditionally have a spring break. However, SRU had no break integrated into the schedule, instead giving the option to professors to cancel classes or "go easy" on students for a Kick Back Week. The thought and planning behind the week was appreciated by students, but a scheduled break still felt needed. We acknowledge that the school is aware of students' mental health and had the best intentions of helping us. Ultimately, though, for students and professors alike, it felt like businessas-usual as many professors remained unaware of the week and students needed to prioritize class attendance and homework. We are now in the final six weeks of the semester, but the only hope in sight is that there will be a more open fall semester. However, this doesn't solve our current mental health crisis, and our mental health and perceptions of college life
now will absolutely dictate the mental health of SRU students in the long-term. Based on that, we must also acknowledge the collective toll this pandemic has had on an already concerning mental health crisis. While SRU has unfortunately seen this in the past few years, we most recently saw this at Gannon University where students are mourning the loss of a student to suicide. It is through this tragic loss that we must recognize the further steps that must be taken at the university and student-body level in order to ensure the complete safety of students' well-being. As a university, we must consider the ways in which wellness can be integrated within the framework. This could include the integration of wellness days to offer a momentary pause of peace or by providing designated, creditrewarding courses dedicated to helping students improve their mental health. While there are resources for students to seek help and incredible staff members at SRU who care, it is through these means that could really help to remedy a deeply inflicted hurt felt by many students by integrating wellness into overwhelming schedules. Additionally, faculty need to take an honest look at how their students are coping with what they feel is an increased workload in a virtual environment and adjust accordingly instead of pushing through to the end. To that end, the university could benefit in integrating a grading scale with a no credit option to relieve some stress felt by struggling students. Yes, we have a more traditional fall semester to look forward to, and some SRU students and faculty members already have access to a COVID-19 vaccine. However, this outlook of hope isn't enough to get us through this difficult and relentless semester. If there is anything to be taken away from this pandemic, it's that we need to be kinder to
In the Quarantine By: Aaron Marrie
ourselves and be more gentle with our mental health. While students manage to do their best, it doesn't make it any less hard, stressful or draining. In moments like these where burnout is prevalent and ultimately hard to avoid after a year of pandemic life and virtual learning, we must prioritize mental health and take action steps now. School is not the first priority anymore. It's never been. We as a community must come together to realize that what must be our first priority is ensuring that students are wellrested and supported. We can continue to "push through" these trying times, research and discuss ways to improve student life in the following semesters. But, to do so knowing that the price of that action is having student mental health crumble to a point where they are unmotivated to complete the semester or return, or worse, take the drastic action of self-harm is impermissible. As for university administration, taking a bigger role leading the community through this crisis is a must. Students and faculty alike need to know exactly who is leading the charge to correct the problem instead of the ever expanding number of groups, committees and figureheads. Bringing up another conversation now around mental health is justified, but it really is always justified. However, this should not be an invitation to establish another committee to look into the problem and kick the problem down the road. We must not wait to see what lengths it will take to finally have mental health recognized as the serious issue that it is because, by that point, we will all be too late. To this end, we urge university administration and faculty to consider what is occurring outside of Zoom classrooms and to support the student body and its supporting organizations, such as SRSGA, in instilling positive reform for a more promising tomorrow.
Question: Now that we are nearly halfway through the semester, what are your plans for your organization for the remainder of the semester?
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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: email@example.com.
Mikala Claar President Sigma Sigma Sigma
Sarah Anderson Campus Life Editor The Rocket
Morgan Miller Asst. Campus Life Editor The Rocket
"Tri Sigma plans to continue pursing service opportunities virtually and remotely as well as keeping sisters connected through virtual sisterhood events such as movie nights and game nights. We’re also going to continue supporting one another, whether it be with academics, mental health or anything a sister is struggling with, in any way that we can. Being there for each other and having a strong support system is critical in times like these."
"I feel like campus life has made a lot of progress this semester and have brought some new ideas to The Rocket's campus life section. I'm excited to see what other events we cover but I think we have some ideas for possibly adding columns into campus life."
"Campus life is working on providing stories that relate to students and could benefit from information we share. SRU has dealt with some challenging situations this semester regarding the Zoom bombings and the frustration of spring break. The stories we have produced so far has covered many hard topics that can be uncomfortable for people to discuss, but it is important that we use our voices as the campus life editors to encourage the conversations and educate the community."
March 19, 2021
Nurturing better body image in college
interest, Mingus educates readers on transformative and disability justice in her blog, Leaving Evidence. @haleymossart
Kaitlyn Myers Kaitlyn Myers is a sophomore professional writing major with a minor in gerontology. Kaitlyn is an active member of Best Buddies at SRU.
Haley Moss is a lawyer with Autism in Florida. Although a busy role on its own, Moss is also an artist and author of two books. At the college level, her book Freshman Survival Guide for College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Stuff Nobody Tells You About, is a valuable resource for students. Moss does public speaking events to share her story and encourage hope in individual’s with Autism. @thewheelsammyrose
March is the month for women, but women with disabilities are often still not highlighted. Although hidden in the shadows, fearless women living with disabilities are helping to reform inclusion. The best part is that these women are right under our fingertips on social media. To further all women this March, please give these women a follow!
Samantha Dwyer lives with Friedreich ataxia, a progressive disease that causes nervous system damage and movement problems. Dwyer’s undaunted spirit is seen with her smiling and motivating Instagram photos. She spreads awareness for disability rights by proving people wrong with all she accomplishes from the seat of her wheelchair.
Madeline Stuart is shaping the catwalk with diversity. She is the first professional adult model with Down syndrome. Since eighteen, Stuart has helped to fostered inclusion in the modeling community. Stuart has been featured on CNN, the Cosmopolitan, the New York Times, Vogue, and People.
Imani Barbarin is a disability representative and inclusion activist. Barbarin has Cerebral palsy, which affects her posture, movement, and balance. She is a communication professional, a writer, and a public speaker. Barbarin helps to promote recognition, empowerment, and inclusion for underrepresented groups. She aims to break stereotypes and misconceptions that plague the abilities of people with disabilities.
@mia.mingus Mia Mingus is a physically disabled woman with a blend of humorous and serious content on her Instagram. Mingus lives and supports the motto, “Accessibility is love.” If blogs are more of your
@pcdiatsru Although not a specific woman, the President’s
Commission for Disability Issues (PCDI) at Slippery Rock University is a good account to follow. The idea of the program is to create a college campus that is free of discrimination and barriers. The PCDI is starting to break free of these barriers by celebrating women with disabilities this March. Consider PCDI for a Slippery Rock exclusive take on women’s month.
"In a social media culture, activists are easy to find. Whatever your interests, use socal media in a positive light towards a world of inclusion, diversity, acceptance, and support." In a social media culture, activists are easy to find. Whatever your interests, use social media in a positive light to help further our society towards a world of inclusion, diversity, acceptance, and support. This idea can continue well beyond March and women. Feel free to join Best Buddies at Slippery Rock on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month during common hour (12:30-1:30) to further inclusion at The Rock. Check it out on Instagram at @bestbuddies_attherock!
MiKaila Leonard and Leigha Hoffman
MiKalia and Leigha are the president and vice president of the Reflections Body Image Program.
NOTICE: This opinion piece includes mentions of eating disorders. People have often placed a focus on attractiveness throughout history. These attitudes are often shaped by society, media, social media, and popular culture, and they can have an impact on how an individual views their own body. Body image can change throughout a person’s lifetime and can be strongly connected to their self-esteem and healthy lifestyle choices. Individuals with a positive body image are more likely to have good physical and mental health. However, many people
struggle with developing and maintaining a positive body image, but putting time into it can allow an individual to be comfortable with who they are. While social media can create a positive influence on the mental health of some users, early evidence shows that it actually can have a negative impact on people’s perceptions of their bodies. Users must be mindful of social media’s negative impact on their body image because the effects can be devastating to the user’s mental health. As college students, feelings of one’s body image are incredibly important during this time. A positive body image may be difficult to maintain due to lifestyle factors and changes we experience during these years. Especially now in a generation where media consumes most of our lives, we are constantly exposed to a world of comparison. According to a National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) report, 95% of universities report an increase in students using mental health services. These are students who are struggling with body image or any psychological issues that are related such as specific eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder. NEDA suggests these 10 steps to work towards having a better body image. 1.
Appreciate your body for all it can do. 2. Keep a top-ten list of things you like about yourself. 3. Remind yourself that “true beauty” is simply not skin deep. 4. Look at yourself as a whole person. 5. Surround yourself with positive people. 6. Shut down those voices in your head that tell you your body is not “right” or that you are a “bad” person. 7. Wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you feel good about your body. 8. Become a critical viewer of social media messages. 9. Do something nice for yourself. 10. Use time and energy that you might have spent worrying about food, calories and your weight to do something to help others. Within this club, the e-board members work hard to provide a safe, inclusive, and diverse environment while spreading awareness about body image and everything that follows. In previous meetings, we have discussed underrepresented groups; women, aging, and pregnant people, as well as eating disorders and how to overall maintain positive body image. With high hopes of the opening of campus next semester, and face-to-face interactions being permitted, we will expect to continue our meetings and spreading awareness about body image.
Transcending the binary
Desolina Valenti Desolina (they/them/ she/her) is a senior cultural studies major with a minor in professional Japanese. They work part time as a student worker at the Women's and Pride Centers. Every year, March is referred to as “Women’s History Month” in order to celebrate the achievements, contributions, and lives of women worldwide. At the Women’s and Pride Centers, we spend our time honoring women and LGBTQIA+ people throughout the year, and Women’s History Month is our chance to highlight women and their often underacknowledged achievements. When planning ahead for the month, we discussed what we would want our theme to be for this year, and we decided upon “Transcending the Binary,” which would focus on trans women and their achievements and history. Trans women, especially those of color, are among the most marginalized groups in the United States, and we deemed it our duty to celebrate, uplift, and protect them, not just this month but every day of the year. We dedicate this Women’s History Month to the trans women of Slippery Rock University and everywhere. Whether you are publicly out or not,
CORRECTIONS NOTICE: After the production of The Rocket's Feb. 26 print editions, edits were made to the following articles: PHOTO SUBMITTED
you are still a woman and are more than welcome to join us in celebrating this month. The Women’s Center and Pride Center are a safe space for anyone who may need it. Please remember you can always DM us on social media or visit the centers (safely) whenever you please. To kick off the month, located by the Commuter’s Lounge in the Smith Center is a display of trans women throughout history. You can also find them highlighted on our Instagram Stories if
you are not on campus. On March 24 at 6 p.m., we are hosting a trivia game night celebrating women and their achievements. Near the end of the month and into April, we are hosting a virtual fashion show. We encourage anyone to send in photos of yourself or friends, your clothes on the hanger, or any fashion inspiration you have. We are accepting them through DMs on Instagram and through email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can remain completely anonymous if you please, and
we will not share anything other than what you send us. Wo m e n’s H i s t o r y Month is very important to us, and we hope it is to you as well. Please join us in celebrating women all around the world. You can find us on Instagram and Twitter @ sruwomenscenter and @ srupridecenter. Follow us for more updates and information about events! We hope you have a wonderful and loving Women’s History Month 2021!
NEWS: Manifest the negative test SPORTS: Lights shut out on men's hockey For more information on these changes and to read the most up-to-date versions, please visit theonlinerocket.com
March 19, 2021
VIDEO: Felix helps athletes hone craft
Rock alum guides athletes to goals Former women's soccer player helps others improve their talents
By Brendan Howe Sports Editor
It’s funny, sometimes, how things work out. A former scoring threat for the Slippery Rock University women’s soccer team, Andi Felix tells the athletes that she trains today that everything happens for a reason, but you can’t understand it until you experience it yourself. “I think I went through just about every up and down you could get throughout my four years [at Slippery Rock],” Felix says. Felix began her career at SRU as a freshman in 2013. She entered as a substitute for the first two matchups of her rookie season, but it didn’t take long for her to make an impression on her coaches. She notched both a goal and an assist against California (Pa.) and followed with another marker at Clarion. Called off of the pine to start against Indiana (Pa.), she ended up producing like few others in the PSAC could in that 2013 campaign. She tied for the league’s thirdmost goals (10) and ranked fourth in points (25). In the Rock’s 6-0 dismantling of Mercyhurst that October, she detonated offensively,
depositing three goals and adding an assist. Her seven points are still tied for the third-most in a single game in SRU’s record book. The more she fired soccer balls past opposing goalkeepers, the more her confidence grew. She was
named PSAC Freshman of the Year, a second-team All-PSAC honoree, and a member of the Daktronics All-Atlantic Region’s first team. “I was on top of the world,” Felix says. “It was like everything I’d worked for my whole life kind of fell into
place then […] But then, going into sophomore year, I feel like it actually kind of hurt me.” The team marched into the PSAC’s postseason tournament as the second seed, ranked 15th in the nation, and having not lost
a decision in nine games. Looking to defend their league title, Slippery Rock hosted unranked Gannon in the quarterfinals. Unexpectedly, it found itself trailing by a score in the waning minutes. Suddenly, the Rock had a two-on-one breakaway, with
PHOTO COURTESY OF ANDI FELIX
Felix joins a few of her athletes for a picture after a weekend of games in Knoxville, Tennessee. Felix opened her performance facility about six months after graduating from Slippery Rock.
a prime opportunity to even the score. The goalkeeper left her post to play the ball, leaving the net as empty as a financially-strapped college student’s refrigerator. Felix kicked her shot, which dribbled slightly outside the goalpost. “Once you get into your head, it’s hard to get out of your head if you’re just trying to do it on your own,” Felix says. “I think that’s really when my confidence crumbled.” In the middle of a game during her sophomore year, Felix remembers, she more than once found herself unimpeded by any pesky defender, facing the keeper head-on. Each time, she reared back and let loose, but the ball floated wide of the goal mouth. She was pulled from the field and worried that she’d be back on the bench for the rest of the season. Rather, her coach pulled her aside. “She was like, ‘Hey, I just want you to go out there and have fun,’” Felix says. “’Don’t try to prove anything to me. Don’t try to prove anything to anybody else. Just go out there and play your game. Do something cool.’”
SEE FELIX PAGE C-4
Lacrosse captains keep team afloat Former women's soccer player helps others improve their talents
By Tyler Howe Assistant Sports Editor
Just as it’s been for everyone else, the past few weeks have been a learning experience for the Slippery Rock University women’s lacrosse team. The team is just getting back into the swing of things but, unlike other PSAC teams, The Rock is doing it under different circumstances. In the fall, the team was faced with a problem that no other team had to face. There were no coaches on campus for most of the fall, so the team turned to captains Hayley Pimentel, Emily Benham, and Katie Hart in a time where they couldn’t really be together. The three players stepped up during this time and, because of that, they’ve already seen some success on the field. “[Our captains] are a great representation of what it means to be a Slippery Rock
student-athlete,” the team’s head coach, Kelsey Van Alstyne, said. “They’re really hard-working and dedicated, and I knew the team was in good hands with me not being around in the fall.” Van Alstyne was on maternity leave with her first child and, in that time, COVID-19 stopped almost all in-person interaction between players. There were only voluntary workouts in the fall, but most of the team showed up for these workouts and, according to Van Alstyne, this helped the team build chemistry. “We put a lot of emphasis on culture here, and I truly don’t believe that you can be successful if you’re not thinking about the bigger picture and if you don’t have a strong culture, and what they did off the field this past fall was amazing,” Van Alstyne said. This chemistry led The Rock to a 16-9 win over
Tiffin University in the season opener at home. In this game, The Rock had multiple players score more than one goal. Among those players were Pimentel and Benham, who both had hat tricks. Pimentel netted four goals in the game, all coming in the second half and the final two within eight seconds of each other. Benham scored her first and second in the first half, which contributed to a 6-1 halftime lead, and then scored her final little over a minute after Pimentel’s fourth. This game also featured Katie Hart’s first collegiate marker. “I think it was groundbreaking to be honest, to go from not playing at all to stepping out and showing up against Tiffin,” Pimentel said. “It was a great way to open the season and it gave us a lot of confidence, and it showed us we can have amazing, outstanding games.”
Photo courtesy of Michael Schnelle
Captain Hayley Pimentel charges throuwgh a tunnel of lacrosse sticks before a game. The senior attacker has five points through three games this season.
Pimentel is in the midst of her first season being a full-time starter. She started out her freshman year only playing in seven games and did not start one. Her sophomore season was a breakout one, as she scored 14 goals and started eight of the 14 games she appeared in. This season, she already has nearly half of her sophomore season stats, with a half-dozen goals in only two games. “It was great being on the field again and I think that we’re all playing with that ‘play every game like it’s your last mentality,’ and that’s our biggest nod of this season and because of that we’re working hard every day and we’re hoping to have a lot of positive outcomes,” Benham said. Of the three, only Benham is not a senior. Through only one full season and the seven combined games from last season and the beginning of this one, Benham already has scored 30 goals. Her freshman year she had 16 goals and seven assists, which totaled 23 points. Those 23 points were second to only ShyAnne Toomer, who had 25 goals and 10 assists totaling 35 points. The difference is that Benham only started seven of her 16 games played, while Toomer started 15 of 15. Van Alstyne believes that her three captains couldn’t be any more different, but their leadership also couldn’t be any better. Their approaches on how they lead the team are very different, but when they are all mixed together it helps the team get better as a whole. “I think all of them are a little bit different personalitywise, which is great for this team,” Van Alstyne said. “Katie is the vocal leader of the team. Emily is our sole junior captain and she’s really stepped up in these three years and proved herself to be a leader. And Hayley brings a very different dynamic because she’s from Canada and she’s very keel and steady,
and that helps balance out the team.” Pimentel was stuck in Canada during the fall, and during that time she made sure to keep in touch with her teammates. All three captains mentioned that they believed that getting to know each player was the first step in the fall and they’d regularly have zoom calls to keep everyone connected. Pimentel has made up for that lost time quickly as her and Benham have been very good together in the first two games, and she hasn’t missed a beat. Hart also hasn’t missed a beat, picking up right where she left off being the heart and soul of the defense. On and off the turf, Hart is the most vocal player on the team and her defensive play sets the tone for the entire team. Hart was excited to get back to PSAC play for the first time since a 14-6 loss to No. 22 Mercyhurst last season. “It was really fun to play IUP, but it was very different because it’s the PSAC and it’s a whole different level, and we definitely saw where we need to tighten up and we’re excited for these upcoming games,” Hart said. The goal during the fall remained simple for the captains: instead of focusing on the on-field stuff, get to know the new players coming in. There are essentially two classes that are just starting to get adjusted to the college game, and all three of them agreed that they wanted to just become friends with these new players before they focused on playing. And in the long run, they hope that this builds to the already strong culture the team has. “We have a lot of underclassmen who have proven their abilities, and this is a year good year to build off of that and bring them up and mentor them,” Pimentel said. The fall was also really difficult for the captains, and not only because there were no coaches, but also
due to the fact that there were so many COVID-19 procedures. At points, they didn’t really know what to do and even got help from the field hockey coaches. But, given the circumstances, they feel that they did a very good job and helped set this team up for success this season. They have many goals for this season, from building the culture to staying healthy. The biggest goal though is establishing Slippery Rock as the foremost team in the PSAC. Van Alstyne has repeatedly said that the PSAC is an extremely tough conference to play in, and her captains have also made it known. But they all consider it to be a challenge and they feel that they have a very good team that could be on top of the conference by the end of the season. “Our overall hope for this season is to definitely play with an attitude and gratitude, and to build the culture and I think this is the best group we’ve ever had here,” Benham said. “I think we can be the best team in the PSAC, if we play to our strengths and if we do, we can make ourselves the team to beat.” For Pimentel and Hart, this is the last ride and they want to go out with a championship. Like every other team, the goal is to win a championship and Hart, Pimentel, and Benham all agreed and emphasized their desire to be one of the best teams in the PSAC. But another main goal is to make sure that they’re being good examples for the future. “We’ve gained everyone’s trust and [the underclassmen] look up to us and watch how we approach things, and we’ve pushed that on to them,” Pimentel said. “We have freshmen playing in the games and they’re doing really well, and that makes us really confident as captains because we can say that what we’re doing is working.”
March 19, 2021
Home SWWWWeet Home Baseball sweeps pair of doubleheaders, stretches win streak to six
ByJosh Albert Rocket Contributor
Last Friday, the Slippery Rock University baseball team (6-1, 0-0 in PSAC) kicked off its slate of four games in three days at the generatorpowered Jack Critchfield Park with a doubleheader against fellow PSAC West contender Indiana (Pa.) (1-5, 0-0 in PSAC). The first game was slated to start at noon with a pitching matchup between SRU’s Luke Trueman and IUP’s Ben Hudock. After two scoreless innings of play that saw Trueman record four of his seven strikeouts on the day, a double by Alex Robenolt to center field gave The Rock a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third. The Crimson Hawks struck back in the top of the 5th off a two-run scoring single from Harrison Pontoli. After Slippery Rock’s Jon Kozarian, a junior infielder, got on base by way of hit by pitch, he was immediately driven in by the first of two round-trippers on the day by catcher Connor Hamilton. Continuing he back and forth affair in the top of the 6th, IUP scored a flurry of 3 runs by way of a run-off of a fielder’s choice, wild pitch, and Markus Cestra single. Heading to the bottom of the 6th down a pair of runs, the Rock regained the lead thanks to a Kozarian sacrifice fly, a Hamilton single, and a Quentin Brown double that brought in a pair, giving the Rock a two-run lead over the Crimson Hawks. That was all junior Travis Holman needed to close out the first game of the doubleheader, as he struck
out two on the way two the Rock’s 7-5 victory. Trueman showed great command on the mound, striking out seven and not allowing any walks. He allowed two earned runs over five innings of work. Junior JT Wolke earned the win after coming out of the bullpen for an inning of work in the 6th. Holman shut down the Crimson Hawks in the 7th to earn his first save on the year. Hamilton mashed the baseball turning in a 4-4 performance with his first homerun and three RBIs. Abraham Mow, Kozarian, Robenolt, and Brown all added doubles for the rock with Brown scoring two. The back end of the doubleheader would see a pitching matchup of the Rock’s Christian Seelhorst and the Crimson Hawks’ Nick Kuhn. Both teams hit the ground running in the first, with IUP scoring off of a Chris Eisel home run and Slippery Rock countering with a pair of consecutive run-producing at bats from Hamilton and Robenolt. The Rock would control the rest of the game by putting another seven runs up on the board, beginning with a three-run blast from Hamilton in the bottom of the 3rd, his second in the doubleheader. Additional offense for Slippery Rock came by way of an Anthony Cinicola single, a Trueman long ball, and a Colin Cain run-scoring single. After giving up the early run, Seelhorst locked in, mowing down 11 Crimson Hawk batters over 4.2 innings of work and picking up his first win of the young season. Sophomore Andy McClymonds dominated in
PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL SCHNELLE
Infielder Koby Bubash readies for the next pitch. Bubash scored the walk-off run against Frostburg State on Sunday afternoon.
relief, striking out five, allowing only one hit, and picking up his first save. The Rock swept the doubleheader, finishing out a 9-2 win over its archrival. Nick Kuhn picked up the loss for the Crimson Hawks after going 3.2 innings, surrendering five, and striking out four. Slippery Rock head coach Messer was content his team’s ability to take advantage of IUP’s struggling pitching and the effectiveness his own staff, which he says has more depth than in recent seasons. “There’s no bad team in the PSAC,” Messer said. “Everybody is very
competitive and usually pitching matchups determine how the game is going to go. We were fortunate to go into the weekend with four, five, six strong pitchers ready to go. They got us four great starts. They got us into mid- or lateinnings, then our relievers were able to come in […] Our starting pitching, as well as McClymonds, has been outstanding.” Hamilton was crucial to the Rock offense again, driving in four in producing another home run and triple. Trueman came off of his strong pitching performance in game one to turn an equally
good performance at the plate in game two, launching a homer and picking up two RBIs on the day. Even with all of Hamilton’s offensive prowess, Messer recognizes his catcher’s work behind the plate. “[Hamilton] is an allaround player,” Messer said. “He basically runs the show for us […] He’s in the middle of every pitch. He’s involved defensively. If you ask any of our pitchers, that’s been the difference maker […] We knew we were getting a good player, but, I’ll be honest, he’s even better than we thought he was going to be.”
“IUP, I think, maybe, they’re not the strongest team that we’ve played yet in this season,” Messer said. “But, I think they’re probably the most important wins because we’re going to see them again. Plus, you know, it’s IUP.” On Sunday, the Rock looked for a repeat doubleheader performance against Maryland’s Frostburg State (2-6), a last-minute addition to the schedule, according to Messer. A 1 p.m. start featured a rubber match of the Rock’s Ricky Mineo and the Bobcats’ Hayden Ford. SEE BASEBALL PAGE C-4
Rock lacrosse opens PSAC play Van Alstyne and Co. outlasted by Indiana (Pa.) and No. 22 Mercyhurst
PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL SCHNELLE
Captain Emily Benham toils past a Mercyhurst defender in Wednesday's 16-12 loss. Benham netted four goals and passed out two assists during the contest.
By Tyler Howe Assistant Sports Editor
The Slippery Rock University women’s lacrosse team (1-2, 0-2 in PSAC) opened conference play for the first time in over a year when they faced Indiana (Pa.) (1-2, 1-1) Sunday and continued action against No. 22 Mercyhurst (3-1, 1-0) Wednesday. The Rock is now in the midst of its 13-game schedule, and the rest of it comes against PSAC West opponents. SRU got its first taste of the PSAC against IUP and feels that it has what it takes to be up there in the league this spring. “I thought that we worked very hard for 60 minutes and we were able to do some nice things in transition, but on both ends we just didn’t execute the fundamentals like we have been in practice and we did against Tiffin,” head coach Kelsey Van Alstyne said. “We had some very fixable mistakes and we beat ourselves a little bit.” The Rock went down early in the first half when the Crimson Hawks’ Leah Hunter scored first and then only about five minutes later Jordan Kulp put them up 2-0.
The Green and White had a strong push over the next six minutes and went up 3-2, when junior attacker Emily Benham scored her fourth goal of the season. A minute later sophomore attacker Jamie Dicarlo scored her second goal of the season to tie the game and then she scored her third of the season shortly after. Benham and Dicarlo led The Rock with three goals. Benham has been a streak lately and has been scoring all over the place for The Rock. The team has fed off of her energy. A junior from Rochester, New York, Benham has led the team in scoring thus far. She has had a hat trick in every game this season and she doesn’t look to be slowing down. “I feel like it was a game of back and forth, at one point we made it a one point game and then they brought it back,” Van Alstyne said. “I think every time that happened, we tried to use our timeouts to talk about what we needed to adjust and change to stay in the game, but the same problems plagued us for 60 minutes.” At the half, the game was 5-3 with IUP on top, but Van Alstyne said that the
team used the break to go over things and try to figure out a way to stay in the game. And that talk helped the team get back within one point.
"Hopefully as we play each of these teams we get better and better." – Kelsey Van Alstye, head coach , SRU lacrosse But then, Kulp scored her third goal of the game to put IUP up by two. The Rock would get it back to a one-point game one more time with 15 minutes left in the game, when Benham scored her third goal.
KEEGAN BEARD/THE ROCKET
Defender Rachel Shaw protects her zone in a game last season. A senior, she's been named to the All-PSAC team two times.
“It was awesome [getting back to PSAC play for the first time in over a year], IUP is a very fast and physical team and we were supposed to have that game May 1, but we actually had to bump it up because of playoffs,” Van Alstyne said. “Every time we play them though, it’s always a lot of fun. And the PSAC is no joke, so we have to clean up a lot of things if we want to be successful.” The Rock ultimately dropped the game to IUP, 12-8, but they had a lot of glimpses of hope in a game where they made a lot of mistakes. They believe that if they are to fix these mistakes as the schedule moves along, that they can be a force in the PSAC. Slippery Rock returned to action against #22 Mercyhurst Wednesday and held their own in very tightly contested game. The game featured multiple lead changes and saw Benham score three goals in a row to register her third straight hat trick. “I thought it was a really hard-fought game, and it was tied at the half and we had a few mistakes that got away from us a little bit, but we never stopped fighting,” Van Alstyne said. “I really applaud my girls for that, and I think we’re
really close to putting it all together.” It was The Rock’s second PSAC game of a dozengame PSAC schedule. It was a tough one against a nationally ranked team. The Rock had a few mental errors that helped the Lakers get back into the game multiple times. Mercyhurst was able to tie up the game with only eight seconds left in the half, and less than three minutes into the second half, Paige Cocina put the Lakers up by two. “I told the team that typically we get to play 17 games and not only 13, and you learn some of these things throughout the [non-conference games] and because we only had one, we’re still in the early part of the season,” Van Alstyne said. “We definitely got better from the mistakes we made at IUP, which is a huge testament to this team and I’m really proud of them.” The Rock was hit hard by the runs the Lakers had, and those are what wound up deciding the game. In the second half, Mercyhurst scored nine goals and had back-to-back goals three times. But, Dicarlo and Benham kept the team close and the team needed every goal of theirs.
“They both are doing really well, they have very different styles as Emily is a big driver for us and she’s been taking her girls one on one and Jamie draws the defenders towards her, but overall, they’ve just been playing really well,” Van Alstyne said. “We have a lot of kids scoring right now, and every goal helps get the momentum back in our corner and the team does a nice job of rallying around everyone and anyone.” The Rock dropped the game to Mercyhurst, 16-12, but didn’t go down without a fight. They play IUP and Mercyhurst again in just a couple of weeks and are hoping to be an improved team by the time they get there. In the meantime, they’ll be going on the road to face Seton Hill and Edinboro this upcoming week. In the return to action on Saturday at Seton Hill, the team will look to do what Van Alstyne thinks they are close to doing and put it all together. “My hopes are that the things we weren’t able to be successful at, that we come to practice and fix those mistakes, so hopefully as we play each of these teams we get better and better,” Van Alstyne said.
SPORTS off to slow start PSAC WEST Softball Offense looks to get on board after losses to Seton Hill C-3
March 19, 2021
Senior Rocket Contributor
Baseball 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
Seton Hill Slippery Rock Mercyhurst California (Pa.) Gannon Pitt-Johnstown Indiana (Pa.) Clarion
7-0 (1-0) 6-1 (0-0) 5-2 (0-0) 6-3 (0-0) 2-2 (0-0) 4-4 (0-0) 1-5 (0-0) 1-5 (0-1)
Softball 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
Seton Hill California (Pa.) Indiana (Pa.) Mercyhurst Edinboro Pitt-Johnstown Gannon Clarion Slippery Rock
7-3 (4-0) 5-3 (5-3) 5-3 (5-3) 5-3 (5-3) 2-2 (2-2) 2-4 (2-2) 3-7 (3-5) 3-5 (1-4) 1-7 (1-7)
Lacrosse 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Mercyhurst Lock Haven Seton Hill Indiana (Pa.) Edinboro Slippery Rock Gannon
Tennis 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Mercyhurst Clarion California (Pa.) Indiana (Pa.) Seton Hill Slippery Rock Edinboro
By Madison Williams
4-0 (2-0) 1-0 (1-0) 2-0 (1-0) 1-2 (1-1) 0-0 (0-0) 1-2 (0-2) 0-2 (0-2)
1-4 (0-0) 0-0 (0-0) 0-1 (0-0) 0-1 (0-0) 0-1 (0-0) 0-2 (0-0) 0-3 (0-0)
As the Slippery Rock women’s softball team (17, 1-7 in PSAC) laced up their cleats for another series of games, the outcomes remained the same. The Rock was swept in both doubleheaders against Seton Hill (7-3, 4-0 in PSAC) this past week. Head coach Stacey Rice commented on the girls’ performance, saying, “The girls are playing well offensively for not having much outdoor practice.” Sp e c i f i c a l l y, Rice commented on sophomore infielder Cami Fisk who she says has consistently showed up each game putting up power numbers. Fisk came in as a transfer, so her abilities were unknown to the team and coaches prior to the season. Rice also added, “It was nice to see her hitting cleanup and actually having runs produced as planned.” With a final score of 3-2, the game was kept within reach the entire time. The pitching changes between sophomore Chloe Sharman and freshman Claire Zimmerman allowed for a good day from the circle. Lauren Dellet of Seton Hill quickly halted the bats of Slippery Rock from the mound, allowing only two runs, which evidently helped to secure a win for the Griffins. Alexis Vargas doubled and Morgan Toal singled to start the 2-0 lead for the Griffins. A fielding error allowed senior outfielder Alexa Guglielmino and sophomore utility player Regan Hozak to tie the game early on. The rest of the game fell flat and Seton Hill struck again, scoring just once more to seal the winning run-in. Guglielmino, Zimmerman, Anna Villies, Julianna Hutchinson, and Erin Gardner stood out offensively, all with at least one hit a piece in game one. In game two, The Rock fell 6-2, even after giving it a strong effort. Villies had a day along with Leah Vith, who went 2-for-3.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL SCHNELLE
Senior outfielder Alexa Guglielmino catches a fly ball. Guglielmino ranks second in SRU history in triples.
Rookie Kelsi Anderson threw the first pitch for Slippery Rock in game two and allowed five runs, only four being earned by the bats of the Griffins. Coach Rice said, “Kelsi is a big part of the good.” After a five-run sixth inning, Anderson was relieved by Sharman, who allowed one run in one inning. The sixth inning was a mix between wild pitches and errors to allow the closer matchup to slip away. Jenna Osikowicz went 3-for-3 with a triple to increase the lead. The combined effort of the Slippery Rock defense wasn’t enough to compare to Lauren Bertig, who completed the game and sealed the victory for Seton Hill. After losing the first doubleheader, the team cleared their heads and practiced before hosting the Griffins on Saturday for their first home series. Coach Rice told the team if they “eliminate the fielding errors, they will begin to see change.” She also added that keeping realistic expectations for stats and swinging their bats will be what it takes to get the team going. Six was the lucky number as Seton Hill shutout Slippery Rock, 6-0, in game one of the second doubleheader series. In addition to the first loss, the second game was also a sweep of 4-0. Between the
two games The Rock fell flat and couldn’t get into the groove they needed to score runs. Sophomore outfielder Anna Villies was led up to bat, notching three hits. However, it wasn’t enough to get others in scoring position. Overall, game one was held to lack of walks and a lot of control from the Griffins pitcher Lauren Dellet, who struck out four in a great effort to get her fourth complete game win. Kelsi Anderson took the loss for Slippery Rock, allowing five earned runs and four strikeouts over 5 innings. Osikowicz led at the plate yet again, with a two RBIsingle. In addition to her, Samantha Estupinan and Nichole McClendon, who each scored for the Griffins, added to the lead that shut Slippery Rock down. Coach Rice said the good pitching from Seton Hill along with the offense being unproductive is why the team struggled in the series. Zimmerman kept the game alive with a solid effort from the mound in game two. The first four innings of the game were a shutout by Zimmerman, until four runs were allowed in the later innings of the game, before she was relieved by Sharman. Those four runs would
be the only runs scored the entire game, with a final score of 4-0. The Griffins strengthened their record and Slippery Rock returned to the locker room with another round of losses within PSAC West play. Villies, Gardner, and Hutchinson all added hits on the day, but none would score. After the great hitting displayed in the season opener, the dynamic changed against Seton Hill. “The effort against Seton Hill was much better than Indiana (Pa.)," said Rice. “It’s time to get polished up and face California (Pa.) next.” She added that more upcoming outdoor practices would benefit the team greatly. “If we continue to be better than we were yesterday that is all I can ask for,” said Rice. Although the team is off to a rough start, they’re getting better and with more action from the offense and defense combined, they will begin seeing the results they want. The overall record is now sitting at 1-7 in conference play. The next competitor on their list is California (Pa.) Vulcans, on Friday, March 26, and Saturday, March 27, for another round of doubleheaders.
Track and field set to compete Team to start abbreviated season on March 27 By Tyler Howe Assistant Sports Editor
Coach John Papa and his team will have their first competition in a very shortened season on March 27 at Lock Haven. It will be one of only six competitions that will take place this season, including the Dave Labor invitational, the Bill Lennox invite, and the Slippery Rock invitational. “A big part of coaching is developing and maintaining relationships, and last semester was tough, and it was not what we’re used to,” Papa said. “In my opinion it wasn’t good, and we had the same negative type effect that academics had, but we did the best with what we were given.” And the Slippery Rock track and field team was given the same thing as everyone else last season in an abrupt end to the year. Last year, The Rock didn’t get to compete in an inseason track competition as the season was called off just one day before the Coastal Carolina invite, which was scheduled to be a two-day event in Myrtle Beach. It was one of ten competitions that were in place for last season. “Right now, we’re all in the mindset that anything can happen, but back then we obviously were not and even I was thinking that something like this could never happen. And think about it, as college students you’re so worried about what’s going on with you that you’re almost in your own little bubble,” Papa said. At this time last year, the track and field team were getting ready to start their
outdoor season and they were coming off of a really successful indoor season, and then the unthinkable happened. As all-around them other teams’ seasons were being canceled, Papa didn’t want to believe that Slippery Rock would get that call, but they did only a matter of hours after other teams from all over the country found out. “We got through the indoor season and our ladies actually won the championship and the men placed pretty high, and we were really riding high off of that,” Papa said. The indoor season concluded only 11 days before the outdoor season was canceled. The boys had 12 particpants qualify for the PSAC championship including John Eakin and Brennan McTighe in shot put. McTighe also qualified in the weight throw and he was the only boy to qualify in two different events. The girls had 16 participants qualify including three participants in three different events. Jena Reinheimer and Abby Way qualified in both the shot put and weight throw. In the indoor championships, the girls had Cecily Greggs place first in the high jump and she’s someone that Papa expects to make a real splash this upcoming season. She’s been conference champion in the high jump twice already. Jena Reinheimer, who placed 12th in the shot put in the indoor championship last season will also be back. And a freshman who has already made a real impact is Jamie Macecevic, who does pole vault. “[ Jamie] has already vaulted high enough to be
the best vaulter in the entire conference if she vaults to the level that we know she’s capable of vaulting,” Papa said. “We have a whole group of people who are going to do great things for us this season.” On the men’s side, in the PSAC championship in the indoor competition last year, they nearly ran the table in the heptathlon with Jason Goodman placing first, Dylan Colcombe placing second, and Ryan McQuown placing fourth. In total the boys finished with 23 points from that one event. However, it wasn’t good enough to earn first place in the competition as the men eventually finished third, but Papa thinks that those results are something that they can build off of and he a lot of praise for multiple players on the team. “ [ Ry a n ] Mc Qu ow n , [Jason] Goodman, [John] Eakin, and so many other people who are unproven are going to do really good for us this season, so we’ve got the fire power and we’re just going to see how it rolls out,” Papa said. While some athletes won’t get back out to running, throwing, or jumping competitively until the end of March, there are a select few who returned to action for the cross country team on March 6 at the California University of Pennsylvania invite. They’ll also hope to compete at the PSAC championship on March 20. Because they didn’t compete in the fall due to the season being canceled, they’ll get a very short, abridged season that will culminate in the span of only two weeks. And the
first track meet is scheduled to happen on the only a couple of weeks later. “We’re going to have a scrimmage race and then we’re going to have the championship really soon after, so it’s nothing close to what a typical cross country season should be and obviously it’s better than nothing,” Papa said. While he’s excited to have a cross country season, he’s also being realistic and believes that most schools will be focusing on the upcoming track and field season more than the cross country events. Though, he is happy for the seniors that they get a chance to finish cross country out unlike so many others around the country. Recently the team has been able to be back together, but like many other teams only in small groups. This is actually s o m e t h i n g Pa p a h a s actually taken a liking to as he’s been able to see all of the athletes. He’s been able to see all sorts of events, when in a normal year he’d only be dealing with distance. This change has been helpful for Papa in getting a feel for the team, and because of what he’s seen he thinks that his team is poised to be one of the best in the conference. “I think part of it is that we’ve had all these restraints and to be completely honest, we’ve already been so successful. We’ve been able to break up into groups and practice and that’s been great, and we have no idea where we’re going to finish this season, but we have a good idea that it’ll towards the front in both men’s and women’s,” Papa said.
SPORTS Felix gives back Baseball stays hot
CONTINUED FROM PAGE C-1
Felix now had no reason to fret. With the weight lifted from her shoulders, she recalls, she went back onto the field and soon scored from near the end line. “That was my first time back on the field since the PSAC game my freshman year when I had a wide-open net and put it wide of the net,” Felix says, going on to explain that, even though she’d helped her team earn a bid, she was dealing with mono and couldn’t dress for the NCAA Tournament. With her coach’s backing, her confidence was restored. “I think that’s what a lot of kids don’t do nowadays is have fun,” Felix says. “If you love the game, go out and play like you love the game. Don’t play for anyone else, play for you […] If you’re not enjoying your time out there, you’re not going to do well.” For the second successive campaign, Felix paced the team in points. Her eight assists were also the most of any Slippery Rock player. She matched her career high with seven points against PittJohnstown. Again, she was listed as an All-PSAC athlete. In 2015, Felix started Slippery Rock’s first eight games. At Mercyhurst, she was working down the sideline with the ball when a defender robbed it from her control. Felix took another step and threw her hands in the air. She saw her knee pop out of place and she collapsed to the ground, concerned for the rest of her season. The injury didn’t hurt, Felix says, but she felt her heart drop. She sat the next game, at Mansfield, and returned to the lineup less than a week later at Gannon. About a half hour into the game against the Golden Knights, Felix was on her way down the sideline once again. “A girl barely nudged me while I was mid-stride,” Felix says. “I landed on it weird and [my knee] popped out again. I was like, yeah, now my season is probably over. That was hard because that
March 19, 2021
was when I really felt like I got my confidence back and I was doing well […] Having that happen and not really being able to see the season out […] was tough.” Felix found a positive in becoming a spectator. “Having people step into roles that they didn’t think that they were going to ever have or ever be able to take on, and seeing them really take it in stride was really cool,” Felix said. “And just seeing it all from a different perspective was probably the best thing to ever happen to me, honestly.” Felix went home for the month-long winter break after suffering the injury, unsure of what she was going to do to continue her recovery process without her athletic trainer. A friend of hers referred her to Balconi Top Training, a place that she used to train at. “I went in there and it was a soccer-based strength and conditioning place and I was like, ‘Wow, this is awesome,’” Felix says. She trained there the entire winter and returned to work out with the college group after the next semester for summer break. Halfway through that summer, she was offered a job. Her knee repaired and rehabbed, Felix worked her way back into the lineup, starting a dozen games in her senior season. She tied for the team’s lead in assists and ranked second in points. Upon graduating, she worked in a full-time position at Balconi for nearly five months. Then, she was told that they were leaving and shutting down. “I was like, ‘Well, this is my dream job, I don’t really want to do anything else, and I can’t see myself doing anything else,’” Felix says. “I loved it so much I [thought] ‘What if I take over?’” Basically, Felix says, there was a transfer of business. Their place closed shop. Hers opened. At 23 years old, Felix was already running her own company. Over time, she developed her own training perspective, a lot of which came from
her own mentors, with her own flavor. Although she had a number of clients who she’d worked with before the change, Felix also had to grow her own clientele. All of the company’s growth has come from its athletes’ appreciation for their progression in their sports. “We grow organically,” Felix says. “We grow based on our athletes going and telling their friends, or their teammates, or their families, versus putting our name on a big billboard and hoping people come to see us.” During the school year, sessions are open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Felix says her athletes see the facility as a home, sometimes stopping by not even to train, but to hang out. She encourages her athletes in whatever they want to do, even if it doesn’t end up being a physical endeavor. “If they quit soccer and they want to go do something completely different, I’d still support them,” Felix says. “If they go and become an actress or an actor, I’d go watch them in their plays. It’s a matter of understanding that they’re human beings. They’re not just athletes.” Felix refuses any payment that parents offer to watch their kids play. It’s something that she loves to do for free. “I see them do their training in here, but seeing them take that and put it out on the field and really put it to use is really, really cool,” she says. Felix also speaks excitedly about the satisfaction she gets when her athletes commit to playing at the collegiate level. As for her time in green and white, the upsurges and descents of a theme park’s main attraction are called to mind. But, it turns out that what appeared to be one of the lowest dips of that rollercoaster ended up being one of its most appreciated peaks. “I always say that I have [my performance facility] because I tore my ACL,” Felix says. “That’s literally the point that got me where I am today. If that never happened, I would not be where I am.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL SCHNELLE
Sophomore Luke Trueman fires a pitch. Trueman, along with the rest of the pitching staff, have played a large role in the team's recent success.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE C-2
Slippery Rock plated a run in the bottom of the first off the hot bat of Hamilton. Frostburg State’s Andrew Smith tied the game with a homer to center in the next half inning. The Rock would add runs in the home half of the next four innings with 3 runs coming off the bat of leadoff hitter Abraham Mow and an additional 3 from Robenolt. Slippery Rock’s Mineo kept the Bobcats’ offense in check through his five innings of work, giving up two earned runs and punching out ten. Heading into the 7th, Slippery Rock led 8-3. Frostburg made a bid for a comeback, plating two runs, but Slippery Rock pitcher Andy McClymonds was able to shut the Bobcats down in his second appearance of the weekend, giving The Rock their 5th straight victory with an 8-5 score. Mow had a big game, launching a home run and producing a two-run scoring double. Robenolt tallied three RBIs for the Rock. Hamilton and senior outfielder Nick Reynosa had multi-hit performances and drove in a run. Mineo picked up his second win. The last game of the weekend saw an explosion of offense from
both sides, ending with a walkoff win in extras for the Rock. It featured Slippery Rock’s Andrew Shivak and Frostburg’s James Stefanowicz. After a first inning home run from the Bobcats Bryce Jackson, Shivak was able to hold Frostburg State scoreless over the rest of his appearance. During this time, the Rock’s offense tallied a double-digit run total. The flurry of offense included homers from Kozarian in the 2nd and freshman Eddie Morris in the 5th. Frostburg State showed no quit after being down nine and put up seven runs in the sixth. A bases-loaded walk in the bottom half of the inning left the Rock with a diminished three-run lead. The Bobcats picked up where they left off in the last inning, scoring four and taking the lead back from Slippery Rock. “To jump out like we did, you do not like to give up [that big of a] lead,” Messer said. “There was a lot of nervous people, but win or lose, I was very interested to see how we’d react to the tough time. And they responded.” A clutch single by Robenolt tied the game in the bottom of the seventh. McClymonds shut down Frostburg in the top of the 8th, striking out two, giving Slippery Rock the
chance to walk off and sweep the doubleheader. Mow answered the call of opportunity, lacing a double down the left field line, allowing freshman Koby Bubash to cross home plate and celebrate with his teammates. Kozarian plated four in as many hits, a triple away from the cycle. Eight Slippery Rock batters had multi-hit performances in a 21-hit effort. McCylmonds picked up the win in his second outing of the doubleheader. “It gives us momentum going in, especially after you lose that lead,” Messer said. “If we had lost that game, I think all of your momentum, you can forget about that […] As much as you say not to think about it, you are going to think about it going into the next game.” The team’s belief in itself after last year’s 7-3 start has carried over, Messer believes. “The opportunity to play the beginning of March in Slippery Rock, and all of our games so far have been in Slippery Rock […] is a special thing,” Messer said. “We cherish every game that we play because, after what we missed last year, they know that things could change in a hurry.”
STORY: Men & the Mental Health Stigma At theonlinerocket.com
Jennifer McGraw: 20 years at SRU Sarah Anderson Campus Life Editor
Jennifer Sanftner McGraw, a professor at Slippery Rock University, has been at The Rock for twenty years. Starting in the Psychology Department in 2001, McGraw has left an impact in many different areas. McGraw began her undergraduate career at Northern Virginia Community College, where she began as a business major. Early on, McGraw made the decision to switch her major after having an Introduction to Psychology class that sold her on the field. Eventually transferring to George Mason University where she eventually got her
"I've been doing research in eating disorders, disordered eating and body image." – Jennifer McGraw, psychology professor at SRU
Bachelors of Arts, she had a mentor she did research with on the topics of shame and guilt. Her mentor helped push McGraw personally and professionally. "As an undergraduate, it's pretty daunting to think about getting a PhD, and she was really encouraging and helpful," McGraw said. "As part of the work that that I did in her research lab, she allowed me to include some psychological measures in a study that she was doing." By having these handson experiences in her undergraduate program, McGraw had was able to eventually find her niche in studying eating disorders, disordered eating and body image. An eating disorder is a diagnosed condition that you have to met certain criteria for and a clinician can make that diagnosis. Disordered eating is the behaviors including binging, overly restrictive eating or similar behaviors. She eventually used the research she did in her undergrad in a study that was published once she was in graduate school. Graduating from George Mason University, she moved onto Kent State University where she pursued her masters and PhD in Clinical Psychology. McGraw is a listened, but no practicing clinical psychologist. It was through her education that taught her how to do therapy and assessment. Since being at SRU, McGraw has narrowed
her focus on study and research. "I've been at Slippery Rock now since 2001," McGraw said. "I've been doing research in eating disorders, disordered eating and body image, and I look at different body images and different populations of people." T h ro u g h ye a r s o f research, McGraw has come to many conclusions, but her biggest lessons have been through refl ection. She mentions some of the biggest things she has learned over the years. "What comes to mind first is that almost all women struggle with body image at some point," McGraw said. "I don't think I really realized that I thought all these other women had it together. "The reality is, we live in a culture that is so toxic for women's ability to love ourselves and accept ourselves as we are. We're very much raised to believe that there's something wrong with our bodies, regardless of what shape they are, what size they are. . . that realization really propels me to keep doing the work." Her time at Slippery Rock has flown by, between getting promoted, tenured and becoming department chair, McGraw has a deep love for what she does. Working with students and higher education has proven to be the right path for her, she said "[it's] where my heart has always been." McGraw, as she said, "wears a lot of hats,"
as being Department Chair of the Psychology Department, directs Reflections, a club on body image at SRU, while also being the director of the internship program in the Psychology Department. Beyond that, she is also a member of the President's Commission on Mental Health and involved with the Women's and Gender Studies' work at the University. She mentions that she has always had interest in minist perspectives and she has been involved with Women's studies very early on in her time at SRU. "I've always had an interest in the feminist perspectives because there's so much that feminist perspectives teach us about eating disorders and how societally created they are," McGraw said. "We have higher levels of eating disorders in societies where we have a lot of media presence where women are portrayed in ways that are unrealistic physiologically." McGraw's perspective also helped aid her on another journey in her career where she co-authored a book that was released in November 2020 titled, "Multifamily Therapy Group for Young Adults with Anorexia Nervosa." This book was a product of a collaboration with Mary Ta n t i l l o , a f a c u l t y member at University of Rochester Medical Center where McGraw did her internship and two years of postdoc.
PHOTO COURTESY OF JENNIFER MCGRAW
Head chair of the Psychology Department Jennifer McGraw has been teaching at SRU for 20 years and is involved in many different projects. Inside and outside of SRU, McGraw keeps herself busy.
Their research began then and has been a continued collaboration. McGraw is also involved in a research group with other professors in the Psychology Department. Working with Katherine Massey and Emily Keener, they are studying body image and disordered eating across a wide range of people. They are specifically gathering a large LGBTQ+ sample, and making sure to keep the study diverse with different identities and sexualities across the board. McGraw mentions the importance behind the study. " We know that LGBTQ+ populations are more prone to disordered eating and eating disorders
. . . they can really be susceptible to those kinds of problems as a result of facing oppression and discrimination." The COVID-19 pandemic has paused a lot of projects that McGraw is involved in, but she is missing seeing her students and colleagues. She recognizes the fact that everyone is experiencing some level of Zoom fatigue and feeling disconnected from many things as a result. In her 20 years at SRU, McGraw has had many professional and personal accomplishments, and has built great relationships with both faculty and students. She is ready to be back in person and getting back to work on
SRU hosts first Kickback Week
Sarah Anderson Campus Life Editor
Slippery Rock University hosted its first "Kickback Week" from March 7-13. Events ranged from in-person workouts at the ARC, games for students to get involved in, speakers and more. The events from the week are available on CORE. Lacking a fall break, students were vocal in their need for a break in the spring semester. This was something that couldn't happen in time, so Kickback Week was a way to attempt to give students a chance to have some relaxation.
"Maybe we need to find kind of that, just like, fun events where we can kick back and enjoy our time at SRU." – Lauren Moran, director of student engagement and leadership
Kickback Week took place during a time when m a n y s t u d e n t s we re taking and preparing for mid-terms. There was no way to prepare for this impediment, but many students were left feeling more frustrated because of this. Fa c u l t y w a s m a d e aware of the importance of Kickback Week, but not required to make any changes to their schedules by cancelling class or postponing due dates. Some professors indulged in the week to relax, some did not know it was happening. Lauren Moran, director of student engagement and leadership, facilitated the week. She helped direct all events and organizations that are outside of the classroom. Moran recognized some of the letdowns of where Kickback Week fell in the semester. "It's hard for [students] to kickback and relax when they have all of this academic work," Moran said. "You know, that's the balance of we didn't have a spring break and so this sits in the middle of the semester. So, you know, I'm a little disappointed that we couldn't have gotten more students because of how busy they have felt." While recognizing that students have missed out, there was also a good bit of active involvement. Having multiple departments involved with the weeks
festivities helped aid in the participation. More work could have been done to increase participation. "I think . . . we needed a s stronger University message of what this week should have been," Moran said. "Dr. Behre did send out an email to faculty weeks ago about potentially easing the load, but sometimes that's hard because of schedules and those kinds of things. "So sometimes it's a balance between what happens in student affairs and what happens in the classroom. I think as a university we might have needed to have a little bit more consistent of a message overall." Although there were complaints and positive reactions to Kickback Week and its process, it is important for students and faculty to recognize that people relax in different ways. Relaxation can vary from having no organization meetings, class time off, running or even sleeping a little bit more than normal. Relaxation is not a one size fits all thing. Many classes did not have room to adjust schedules, but many organizations took the week off with no meetings or minimal work requirements, which served as a breath of fresh air for many students across campus. Mo r a n o n c e a g a i n acknowledged the challenges that arise this time in the semester.
HANNAH SLOPE / THE ROCKET
SRU students are playing basketball to take time to relax during Kickback Week. Many students find ways to stay active, but this week gave them more chances to see friends.
"It's a tough balance, I know it is," Moran said. "That's something we couldn't have anticipated. We've never had to deal with not having a spring break and so I think everyone's used to this week being literally a time where we can all check out." The hope is that SRU will return to a more full campus and potentially a spring break in the 2022 spring semester, ensuring Kickback Week will not be a replacement for what students are missing, but it has proven to be of some value. The spring is full of history months
coupled with educational events, though, there needs to be a few more events solely for fun. "I kind of was relating it to a homecoming in the spring. . . Maybe we need to find kind of that, just like, fun events where we can kick back and enjoy our time at SRU," Moran said. "I think there's potential [for a possible future for Kickback Week]." Kickback Week was impactful on the level of stress-relief but it also gave those working behind the scenes a chance to work on some professional skills and relationships.
"Sometimes in higher ed. you see departments or student organizations functioning in silos and I really want to break some of those down and I think that Kickback Week helped us to do that a little bit more." Mo r a n e n c o u r a g e s students to take a break in the weeks following Kickback Week, if they were not able to during the week of the events. Take meetings off your calendar, hang out with friends, reach out to resources on campus, and breath a little.
March 19, 2021
Small businesses build amidst pandemic
By Morgan Miller Asst. Campus Life Editor
Virtual small businesses have grown since the COVID-19 began. Four s t u d e n t s a t Sl i p p e r y Rock University have started small businesses to share their hobbies, passions and creativity. Dre w L e w i s , Jo rd a n Hare, Amanda Reilly and Kaylin Tretinik have shared their experiences creating a small business. Made for You by DrewDrew Lewis Drew Lewis, senior early childhood and special education major o f B e a v e r C o u n t y, Pe n n s y l v a n i a , o w n s Made For You by Drew. Lewis started focusing on making personalized cups in early 2020 when she made some for her three roommates. Lewis posted them on her Instagram without much intent of turning this craft into a business, but after her post on Instagram, Lewis got about 40 orders in 48 hours. Lewis primarily specializes in custom St a r b u c k s c u p s a n d tumblers, as shown on her Etsy page, but she also takes customer requests and will personalize any kind of cup they ask for. Lewis sold her cups on Instagram and was paid through Venmo in the beginning, but now she has an Etsy account to reach a greater amount of potential customers. She has now sent her products to all 50 states, several U.S. military bases, and countries like Italy, Japan and Spain. Lewis’ cups range from $15-$25 depending on the design and the materials used to create the final cup. She also p r ov i d e s o p t i o n s o f designs on her Etsy page and accepts custom designs from customers.
“I usually have people message me and then I create the design on my software,” said Lewis. “I then send them an example before I have them pay to make sure the like it.” To shop from Made for You by Drew, you can go to @.made.for.you on Instagram, or shop through Etsy. JHareCreations- Jordan Hare Jordan Hare, senior secondary education and social studies/ h i s t o r y m a j o r, ow n s JHareCreations. Hare started her business in October of 2020 and sells reusable and reversible masks made by hand. She started out making masks for just a couple of friends, then she decided to create an Etsy page for JHareCreations. In addition to sales, Hare donates $1 of everything she makes to different charity each month. So far Hare has donated to the Trevor Project, the National Park Fund and the MS Society. “It’s been really great to not only get to do this
– Watch for more information about these businesses
GRAPHIC BY: RAYNI SHIRING
as a creative outlet and help outfit people with masks, so they get to have something cute to wear, but I also am able to give back,” said Hare. Hare’s masks typically cost $5, which does not include shipping. This past October, she made masks that were Halloween themed for $6, and customers were able to pick the colors inside the mask. Hare ships all over the country and has sold masks as far south as Florida and as far west as Missouri. To shop from JHareCreations, you can follow @jharecreations on Instagram, or shop through her Etsy store. Thrifty Lou- Amanda Reilly Amanda R e i l l y, sophomore public relations major with a focus in journalism, owns Th rifty Lou. Reilly start
Thrifty Lou in December of 2020. Customers can shop off of Reilly’s business Instagram to purchase used clothes. Reilly sells her own clothes, as well as other items she finds at thrift stores. She focuses on making her online shop size inclusive so that it meets all customer’s needs. Reilly’s clothes range from a XXSmall to a 4XL. “I star ted putting everything together at home, printing out the label and then take it straight to my post office in my town,” said Reilly. “I also bought stickers, scrunchies and diff erent little things to add to whoever the customers that purchased from me.” Reilly runs an Instagram and Facebook page for Thrifty Lou. On Facebook, Reilly will occasionally hold a bid for certain items. There is also an option that if the
customer does not want to bid, they can purchase the piece of clothing for the price listed. Reilly also takes requests if a customer is looking for a specific piece. Price range from $5 - $20 which may differ according to shipping fees. You can check out Thrifty Lou on Instagram @thrifty_lou. Totally Rad RugsKaylin Tretinik Kaylin Tretinik, junior dual major early childhood education and special education of Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, owns Totally Rad Rugs. Tretinik makes handmade custom rugs that she draws, designs and produces herself. “I draw out the designs of the different rugs,” said Tretinik. “I then project an image or the design I drew out and then you can trace the exact image you want on the rug.”
Tretinik’s prices depend on the size and design of the rug. Th e largest rug Tretinik makes is two feet by two feet. She can also make rugs that she connects to a foam board so that customers can hang the rug on the wall. Customers can ask for a custom rug or gain inspiration for Tretinik’s previous work and designs. Totally Rad Rugs ships all over the United States and delivers locally. To shop from Totally Rad Rugs, you can direct message the Instagram @ totallyradrugs or fill out the Google Doc sheet in the bio. Supporting small businesses has been especially emphasized during these times. For any questions or to find out further information, customers can contact the business owners through the linked social medias.
Suicide prevention walk at SRU
By Sarah Anderson Campus Life Editor
Un i v e r s i t i e s a c r o s s Western PA are bringing a w a re n e s s t o s u i c i d e and mental health by working with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Ty p i c a l l y events would be held per university, but the virtual environment has led to collaboration. The AFSP's mission statement is "established in 1987, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death." Universities included in this virtual event are Slippery Rock University, C h a t h a m Un i ve r s i t y, Waynesburg University, Duquesne University, the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) and more. Alison Vlasnik, a senior public health major at SRU, has taken lead of bringing these resources t o t h e u n i v e r s i t y. Vlasnik is considered the campus walk chair and communicates directly with AFSP. There have been and will continue to be events helping to promote suicide awareness, the biggest event being the virtual walk happening on April 17. Typically these walks are hosted in person as a community experience, and some people even create teams during it, but
to abide by COVID-19 guidelines the walk is happening virtually. " Eve n t h o u g h i t ' s virtual, we are encouraging people to walk with their family or a couple of friends or something like that," Vlasnik said. "It doesn't have to be by yourself." Participants are able to register for the walk online. There is no fee to sign up, but donations to AFSP are encouraged. When signing up, it is possible to choose being on the Slippery Rock team, which Vlasnik is the captain of. "[People can] . . . designate Slippery Rock, unless they want to make their own team, because
". . . we are encouraging people to walk with their family or a couple of friends or something like that." – Alison Vlasnik, senior public health major
sometimes people make their own team to remember someone that they've lost to suicide," Vlasnik said. With spring on the way and the weather getting nicer, this is a great time for people to get involved with the suicide awareness walk. Of course, that's not all to come and there are many more events happening leading up to the walk. When participants sign up, they will be provided with the information about the rest of the events. Many college students have been struggling with mental health and the pandemic has made it harder for students. According to AFSP, in 2019 there was a rate of 13.95% of people ages 15-24 who died by suicide. 2015 data shows that approximately 575,000 people were hospitalized for selfharm related injuries. These are scary realities for students and people across the nation. Vlasnik paired with the AFSP two years ago when they gave a presentation in her residence hall, and she has been involved trying to bring awareness to these issues at SRU. Sh e re c o g n i z e s t h a t these can be difficult topics to discuss, but she hopes to help fight the stigma around these conversations. "We need to remember that everybody's human, like, just because you have a disease, disorder, or whatever it is with mental health, we're all still human," Vlasnik said. "We need to start normalizing this."
GRAPHIC BY: HANNAH SLOPE
March 19, 2021
Women in Power in History
By Morgan Miller Asst. Campus Life Editor
On Tuesday, March 16, Phi Alpha Theta and history professors hosted Women in Power in History. The speakers discussed how women in history have negotiated power and leadership throughout the years. The panelists spoke on a few women in history
"Knowing the history of women and their struggle, whether it's women in power, or a politician, or your mother is important." – Melissa Ford, assistant professor in the History Department
that have exerted power in different ways. This discussion is one of many events hosted by SRU in honor of Women’s History Month, a month dedicated to celebrating the history of women who have made an impact and difference in our communities, nation and world. The speakers during this event were Carlis White, Melissa Ford, Paula Rieder and Alan Levy who are all professors in SRU’s History Department. The three professors spoke about the impact of Cleopatra VII, Harriet Tubman, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Bella Abzug. Each speaker spoke about the history of each woman and their impact on power and leadership. They explained how power is often perceived as a masculine and dominate narrative so it was important to speak about the women who were in a position of power. The panelists challenged the listeners to think differently than our traditional conceptions about the term “power”. “Knowing the history of women and their struggle whether it’s women in power, or a politician, or your mother is important,” said Ford. “Knowing that they have struggled for you and nothing about where we are today is guaranteed or inevitable. I grew up with Hilary Clinton who has been a huge political female figure and so understanding what she went through and continues to go through makes you understand and appreciate more.” Some additional topics discussed regarding women
include motherhood and family, women on U.S. dollar bills, gender roles, femininity and the perception of these women in power during their time. “Knowing what women are capable of doing,
k n ow i n g w h a t t h e y have gone through in times past, knowing and demanding their rights in the future is something that's just a crucial thing with regard to social justice for the future,” said White.
“I think it’s really great and horrifying to see the change and lack of change over time,” said Ford. Phi Alpha Theta will be hosting Imagining Modern Babylon: Mass society, politics, and media in Victorian London on
March 25. This event will set up the discussion of the following event about the life of Jack the Ripper. To join Phi Alpha Theta, students can search the organization on CORE or email Ford at email@example.com.
GRAPHIC COURTESY OF MELISSA FORD
WEEKLY STUDENT ORGANIZATION SPOTLIGHTS: Women in Reflections: Body Computing Image Program
By Morgan Miller Asst. Campus Life Editor
Women in Computing at SRU is a student run organization that encourages and motivates women to join fields of technology. This club hosts events to create a support system between classmates within technology-based fields. When incoming freshman decide to study in this field, they are partnered with an upperclassman so they have a connection if there are any questions or need assistance. Many females who pursue this field of study become intimidated because it is male dominated. Women in
Computing is composed of males and females who suppor t women in technology related majors. Women in Computing President, senior Brooklyn Hauck, spoke about the club. Hauck is majoring in information technology and cyber security and has a minor in information systems. “A majority of the women who are in our major leave within the first year because they do not think they can do it,” Hauck said. “That is because of the male dominance in this field.” Women in Computing also participates in giving back to the community through community
service and workshops. Women in Computing has worked with women’s shelters and hosted a Microsoft workshop for any students who want to learn more about software. “Do not be discouraged because you are intimidated,” Hauck said. “If you think that you can’t, then you’re never going to be able to.” Women in Computing is open to all students, male and female. Students interested in joining Women in Computing at the Rock can check the club’s profile on CORE. Students can also e-mail any members on the board or the club advisor, Dr. Whitfield.
PHOTO COURTESY OF BROOKLYN HAUCK
Members of the Women in Computing Club got together for a frozen yogurt social. As a group they went to local Yumberries in the town of Slippery Rock .
By Morgan Miller Asst. Campus Life Editor
The Reflections Body Image Program is dedicated to encouraging all individuals to challenge media-based body ideals. The club promotes an environment for self-talk and addresses issues related to media’s emphasis on beauty and appearance. Reflections is a form of education and includes discussions about body image and eating disorders. Pr e s i d e n t M i K a i l a Leonard spoke about the discussions within Reflections Body Image. “We want every single person to be able to come in and be able to talk,” said Leonard. “It's real fun and a lot of what we learn comes from our discussions that we have with our members. We hold an open forum that we always go by." Reflections includes all genders and people on campus. The club also holds one big event each semester. In the spring, the club hosts an event during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Vice President Leigha Hoffmann spoke on how the club has become more inclusive and diverse within the club members and the discussions. “We have made it more inclusive instead of just talking about women and
now branched off into sub categories such as women in pregnancy, LGBTQIA+ and disabilities,” said Hoffmann. “That’s one thing I like about our club is it’s not centered on the stereotypes and stigmas people have of the media.” Reflections will occasionally co-host with other clubs when holding events. For example, recently Reflections was involved with the Bob’s Cupboard event. Club meetings are held every other Thursday at 1 p.m. They have two more meetings this semester. On April 1 the topic will be "How to Foster a Healthier Body: Eating Healthy vs Eating Order."
The final meeting on April 15 will be a discussion around "The Four Aspects of Body Image." To get involved with the club, students can find Reflections Body Image on CORE or follow updates and announcements on the club's Instagram page @ bodyimagesru. “Being able to be a part of this club and have the role that I do is very important to me,” said Leonard. "To be able to promote that kind of thing even if it’s to one or two people, or if we can teach one person something is definitely important especially for special interest groups like our own."
GRAPHIC COURTESY OF MIKAILA LEONARD
THE ROCKET Black athletes and racial injustice
March 19, 2021
By Brandon Pierce Senior Rocket Contributor
Sarah Anderson Campus Life Editor
The Phi Alpha Theta History Honorary Society and the History Department co-hosted an event on Feb. 25 c a l l e d “ W h e n Bl a c k Athletes Protest.” Panelists spoke about the history of protests and how Black athletes advocate for racial justice and inclusion inside and outside of sports. This event featured different student presenters who spoke
"[In regards to professional sports] . . . we see all these amazing athletes who are fundamentally changing the way we think about sports and race." – Melissa Ford, assistant professor in the History Department
about the evolution of Black protesting, while discussing both historical and modern examples of protesting, with an emphasis on athletes. Additionally, Melissa Fo r d , a n a s s i s t a n t professor in the History Department, who helped facilitate the event, taught a class in fall 2020 called “the history of pop culture.” In this class there was a focus on pop culture that takes focus on contributions from people of African descent in the United States. A conversation was then started about Black athletes and this d i s c u s s i o n f o l l ow i n g the Black Lives Matter protest made some of these discussions difficult to have. “It was really actually quite hard to teach a class on pop culture as everything was changing i m m e d i a t e l y,” Fo r d said. “But it really helped to kind of drive the importance of understanding the history of Black athletes protesting.” After receiving students essays on Black history and having these discussions in her class, Ford felt that students would be interested in furthering the discussion of the topics learned in class by having a panel discussion about Black athletes protesting. Ford also spoke of the roles and responsibilities of students when discussing protests related to racial justice and mentioned ways in which students can and need to get involved with these discussions to further change. “This is a responsibility for everyone, and specifically the students
who don’t feel that they’re affected,” Ford said. “We have to work at all levels on this, not just personally, but in our interpersonal communications and systems.” Everyone is encouraged to be an active participant in anti-racism movements, and panel discussions similar to Black athletes protest. These are important places where Black voices can be heard. The panel of students were all volunteers. Ford wanted to include as many as possible, but Zoom creates a barrier for many students which limited participation. To help boost conversation, Alan Levy, another professor in the History Department, also spoke at the event. Levy, who is also an author, talked about the early Black players in professional football. Ford paraphrases some of the important talking points this discussion brought up. “[In regards to professional sports] . . . we see all these amazing athletes who are fundamentally changing the way we think about sports and race,” Ford said. The discussion was interrupted by the second Zoom bombing during Slippery Rock University’s Black History Month events. The first bombing took place the night of Feb. 13. Fo rd s p o k e a b o u t how the Zoom bombing effected the remainder of the evening. “We were all in shock when the bombing started," said Ford. “I just tried to ignore it, because any reaction is exactly what they want, and there needs to be a reaction absolutely, but I
GRAPHIC BY: RAYNI SHIRING
needed time to process, so we kind of forged forward.” This disruption did not to take away from the importance of this discussion. The event continued after the attack. Dan Bauer, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, spoke at the end of the event, reminding everyone in attendance why these events are so important to talk about. Ford paraphrased what Bauer said.
“He said that this was an example, we got zoom bombed because people don’t want this history to be told and that makes it so much more important.” While Black History Month 2021 has concluded, it is important to remember the lessons and topics that have been discussed make in impact on the future. Conversation should go beyond Black History Month to talk about inequalities.
Ford wants people to know that the change starts with all of us. “I’m formally inviting you to get active, start questioning those you know uses slurs, go to events,” Ford said. “Take a Black history class, take a history class for any marginalized people. “Take something out of your major that will challenge the way you think."