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Friday September 10, 2021 • Volume 105, Issue Number 1 • An Independent, Student-Run Newspaper
Student crime increases in SR
By Emma Velesig Assistant News Editor
With the majority of the Slippery Rock University (SRU) student body back on campus, local and state law enforcement have increased their presence across campus and the surrounding community. On Sept. 3, Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) responded to two assaults at the offcampus housing complex, University Village. Those instances, along with a stabbing two weeks before at the property, has led management to make changes to keep residents safe. Alexandra Liston, property manager at University Village, said at least one individual was injured in the two separate fights. The extent of the injuries is not known. In both instances, campus security broke up the attacks. “There has been an uptick in unruly and dangerous behavior throughout the Slippery Rock community and ours here at University Village,” said Liston in an email sent to the residents. “Management is fully committed to doing its part in combatting this.” Three policies were listed in an email sent to residents Sept. 5 to combat the uptick in violence. Any nonresident that is considered an uninvited guest will be issued a defiant trespass notice and is subject to arrest. Security will now monitor the Happy Bus to ensure all guests are there to see a specific person.
University Village will also share information with PSP and SRU, regardless of residency. The stabbing incident occurred Aug. 22 and the PSP is investigating it as assault with a weapon. The victim, a 21-year-old male, confronted three unknown individuals for breaking beer bottles while at a large outdoor gathering and was assaulted.
"There has been an uptick in unruly and dangerous behaviour throughout Slippery Rock." – Alexandra Liston, property manager at University Village One of the attackers allegedly held a piece of glass from a broken bottle. During the assault, the victim was cut around six-to-eight-inches on his back. The offenders fled the scene soon after the attack.
JOE WELLS / THE ROCKET
A stabbing, fights and numerous vehicle break-ins have hit the Slippery Rock Unviersity campus and surrounding community since students returned Aug. 16.
No arrests have been made. Break-ins have been a recurring offense as well. On Aug. 4, a Slippery Rock graduate visiting friends had their Volkswagen GLI broken into while parked in the University Village guest parking. They reported multiple items stolen, including their work bag with paperwork, an iPad, golf clubs, fishing gear, boots,
sunglasses and Bose earbuds. The iPad was later dumped back in the parking lot where it was found and brought to the University Village office. Popular Slippery Rock area Twitter account, @ srucrushes1, received posts from community members about break-ins happening to cars parked at not only University Village, but Campus Side Apartments and
the Grove Apartments as well. Drug-and alcohol-related incidents have been repeatedly reported in the University Police blotter in the first weeks of classes. So far, there have been four cases involving marijuana. In two of the cases, the individuals involved were transported to the hospital. There have also been seven DUI arrests reported in the since the start of the semester,
not only by SRUPD but Slippery Rock Borough Police and the PSP as well. K r i s t i n a Be n k e s e r, director of Student Health Services (SHS), stated how this increase of drug and alcohol abuse could possibly be caused by heavy drinking that took place over lockdown. “ The severity (of alcohol-related instances) has increased due to the amount of alcohol students are drinking,” Benkeser said. “Then, mixing alcohol with Red Bull or another stimulant is causing blackouts.” Since 2018, there have been 12 substance abuse cases and 99 alcohol-related cases that were referred to her department, not including the current numbers from this current year. Although Benkeser said it was very rare, the SHS department does see the occasional case of a drug overdose. The most common form of abuses the SHS deals with is over the counter medicines, such as Ibuprofen of Tylenol. The Student Counseling Center (SCC) offers services for students struggling academically and personally, such as the adjustment to college, communication skills, depression, stress and anxiety. They also offer services related to drug and alcohol abuse. Students wanting assistance can visit the SCC in Rhoads Hall or call 724.738.2034.
Keeping up the fight !"#$%& By Joe Wells News Editor
Students at Slippery Rock University have returned to a more regular campus environment this fall and combatting COVID-19 has continued to be a priority for university officials. While students can expect more in-person university events and off-campus parties, plexiglass, social distancing and even masking still continue on campus. Pennsylvania ended its mask mandate June 28 and the university followed. However, on Aug. 16 the university reimplemented maskwearing while inside campus buildings, regardless of vaccine status. Other local businesses such as Giant Eagle and Sheetz have begun asking guests to wear masks as well. Kristina Benkeser, the director of Student
Health Services and a certified nurse practitioner, said the delta variant of the coronavirus’ spread and low campus vaccination rates were the main factors in requiring masks this fall. While the university is still focused on masking, social distancing and contact tracing their main focus is getting everyone vaccinated. The university asked students, faculty and staff to share their vaccination status to make more informed decisions with mitigation efforts. Despite offering $50 in flex credit to students who upload their vaccination card to their student health portal, only 48% of SRU students who are attending classes inperson have done so, according to Benkeser. As for those living in the dorms, a little more than 60% of residents said they were vaccinated, Benkeser said.
Divisive chalk messages
HANNAH SLOPE / THE ROCKET
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Slippery Rock Unviersity has been working non-stop to reduce the risk of COVID-19. Now, the university is pushing for everyone to be vaccinated.
In early August, the university put out a voluntary survey to all faculty and staff about their vaccination status. According to Benkeser, the survey received a 77% response rate and the results showed more than 70% of employees were vaccinated. If
Ending parking issues
every non-respondent was unvaccinated, that number would drop to the 60% range. “The staff and faculty rate is very, very good, Benkeser said. “They can be better but they’re good.” Benkeser added that the percentage of
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education has said it cannot require COVID-19 vaccines. Instead, SRU began promoting student leaders to tell their story on why they got the vaccination in hopes to encourage their peers to become immunized. The university has also hosted COVID-19 vaccination clinics on campus in partnership with Giant Eagle. The next clinic will take place Sept. 17 at the alumni house. The clinic will offer the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines. Despite low vaccination rates in the campus community, SRU’s online dashboard has reported 41 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 since Aug. 10, with students accounting for 29 of those cases.
employees who work closely with students that are vaccinated are in the 90% range. While administers, including SRU President William Behre, have been encouraging the campus community to get vaccinated, t h e u n i v e r s i t y a n d SEE VACCINE PAGE A-2
Rock football wins opener
Chances to get involved
INTERACTIVE: Storymap of recent crime in SR
Quad's mystery chalkings wiped
By Joe Wells News Editor
Messages written by an unknown person in chalk along the sidewalks around The Quad have s p a rk e d q u e s t i o n s o n the balance of free speech and insensitive remarks. Using the pseudonym MidKnight Wrider, the person has written about topics ranging from the 13 U.S. troops killed in Kabul last month and President Joe Biden’s administration to Black Lives Matter and critical race theory. Critical race theory looks at racial inequality from a legal standpoint as a systematic issue throughout the United States to keep those inequalities in place, according to Kimberlé C r e n s h a w, e xe c u t i v e director of the African American Policy Forum and co-founder of critical race theory. On Aug. 25 Slippery Rock University (SRU) removed the first chalking. “Black Lives Matter D o e s n’t Represent Innocence,” it said. Next to it, “Blue Lives Matter ROCKS!” David Wilmes, chief student affairs officer, had the chalking removed after
being informed by staff at Bailey Library because it violated the university’s chalking policy. The policy states all chalkings are removed unless done by a student organization or department. Students removed two other chalkings on Sept. 2 and 3, according to Wilmes. “We really don’t have control over what a student may decide to do to a chalk message,” Wimes said. “As a medium that is easily erased, it does not surprise me that others might erase chalk messages when they don’t like it.” After the erasure on Sept. 2, a Twitter account allegedly ran by MidKnight Wrider posted a video of the messages smeared. “What a disgrace to The First Amendment! I am deeply disappointed… ~MidKnight Wrider,” they wrote. Alexis Gish, Slippery Rock Student Government Association vice president of diversity and inclusion, said divisive messaging has “no place on this campus.” She added that the Social Justice Committee, which she chairs, works to create an equitable and inclusive environment. “I will continue to uphold this mission in my work, but would like to stray away from providing
PHOTO SUBMITTED BY DAVID WILMES
Shortly after this photo was taken, students at Slippery Rock University poured water onto the chalk message in disagreement with the messages put out by the individual known as MidKnight Wrider.
a platform to the party seeking such recognition,” Gish said. While Wilmes said the messages only violated the chalking policy, Gish said she believes it is a violation of both the chalking policy and student code of conduct. No formal investigation into the messages by the university or police is underway, according to the administration. The Twitter account’s bio, created in August states, “MidKnight Wrider
is a start of a Generation Revolution… Justice will be served!!! I stand by 45!” The number 45 is in reference to former President Donald Trump. The account has also shared memes and quotes by Trump. The Rocket reached out to MidKnight Wr i d e r f o r c o m m e n t on their position and the erasures but did not receive a reply. Wilmes has asked that if the individual behind the writings felt their first amendment rights
Zoom bombers still at-large
By Joe Wells
said the newspaper accepts editorials from anyone in the community, but she has final say it what is published. SRU President William Behre has not spoken publicly about the writings like he has with past incidents. Rober t King, Chief Communication and Public Affairs Officer, said in an email, Wilmes comments are on behalf of the university and “his comments stand for the institution.”
Vaccine rates low CONTINUED FROM PAGE A-1
Slippery Rock University Police’s (SRUPD) investigation into two racist Zoom bombing attacks in February has reached a dea d - end o ut-o f-s t a t e with no arrest. SRUPD executed at least six search warrants related to the case in an attempt to trace spoofed IP addresses back to the attackers, according to Kevin Sharkey, police chief of SRUPD. Those warrants led to home addresses in Kentucky but interviews with the residents there yielded little results leading investigators to believe those IP addresses were spoofed as well, Sharkey said. While no suspects were identified during the investigation, university police discovered some IP addresses matched another Zoom bombing that took place during a Yale University event around the same time. Those attacks took place on Feb. 5 and Feb. 12, according to a press release by the university. SRUPD did not say which events had matching IP addresses and whether the same addresses were found in both of SRU’s Zoom bombings.
were violated, to reach out to him. “SRU strongly supports the first amendment and our community members’ right to express their opinions,” Wilmes said. “However, we also believe that the best way to do so is to take advantage of existing opportunities such as attending discussion events on certain topics or writing a letter to the editor for publication in The Rocket.” Nina Cipriani, editorin-chief of The Rocket,
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With no new information about the case, SRUPD considers the case inactive until there are new developments, according to Robert King, chief communication and public affairs officer for SRU. SRUPD worked with Pennsylvania State Police’s (PSP) Computer Crimes Division out of Meadville, PA, who assisted with the analysis of the data from the school and search warrants. While the PSP assisted with SRUPD’s investigation, no independent investigation was
conducted by the PSP, according to Tpr. Cynthia Schick, PSP Troop E’s public information officer. Sharkey said the information from their investigation was handed over to the FBI through their Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). According to its website, IC3 allows anyone to submit a complaint of a possible crime committed online to the FBI. Last year, more than 790,000 complaints were submitted through the system and the FBI expects more than 1 million to be filed in 2021, FBI Pittsburgh
Public Affairs Officer Catherine Policicchio said in an email. In 2020, Pennsylvania ranked sixth in the nation, with more than 18,000 victims filing reports, according to the IC3 2020 Annual Report. Policicchio said it is FBI policy to neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation. She added once a complaint is filed through IC3, it is reviewed by an analyst and forwarded to the appropriate “federal, state, local or international law enforcement or regulatory agencies with jurisdiction.”
For students who contract the virus and live on campus, the university has set aside 87 isolation rooms throughout Buildings A through F and Watson Hall, according to Dan Brown, director of housing. If a student in either North or Rhoades Hall tests positive for COVID-19, they would have to isolate in one of those rooms for 10 days regardless of vaccination status, according to university guidelines. Students living off-campus are not able to isolate in those rooms. If a student is exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19, whether or not they quarantine will depend on their vaccination status and if they are showing symptoms. Unvaccinated students will be required to quarantine for 14 days while vaccinated students will only be required to wear a mask for 14 days unless they show symptoms. SRU is still offering asymptomatic testing by appointment at the mass testing center located in the Student Union building. Th ose showing symptoms will need to be tested at Student Health Services. There, staff will administer a rapid COVID-19 test via nasal swab that returns results in 15 minutes. If that test is negative, students will have to take another nasal
swab to be sent off to a lab for verification. Currently, the mass testing center and athletics department testing is handled using Shield T3 saliva collection kits. Shield T3, which is part of the University of Illinois System, has been providing the university with kits since this past spring. Symptomatic testing is conducted through Quest Diagnostics. Both kits tests for nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2 and are authorized for use under U.S. Food and Drug Administration Emergency Use Authorization. Benkeser said she is not worried about whether students will follow the university’s and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines when it comes to COVID-19 as they are quite used to the expectations. Hearing students outside her office for the first time in over a year is welcomed return and one that she wants to keep, even if she must remind students to pull up their mask every now and then, she said. For Benkeser, she just wants to see everyone get vaccinated to put this pandemic in the past. “Please, please vaccinate,” Benkeser said. “Do it for you, do it for your classmates, do it for the university, do it for your family.”
September 10, 2021
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JOE WELLS / THE ROCKET
Left: Catherine Massey, psychology professor and Air Force veteran shows students the route four planes flew on their way to targets in Washington D.C. and New York City. Massey and Jennifer McGraw spoke with students on the tramua of the attacks on the country.
JOE WELLS / THE ROCKET
As Massey and McGraw walk students through the timeline of events, they discuss not only the fear of those in New York and the Pentagon but those watching at home as well.
JOE WELLS / THE ROCKET JOE WELLS / THE ROCKET
Starting off her lecture on the role of nonprofit organizations during 9/11, Alice Del Vecchio, professor of non-profit management, takes students back 20 years to what it was like to watch the terrorist attack unfold from the same room she watched it.
From where she sat 20 years ago, watching the attacks unfold on the only TV in Spotts World Culture Building, Del Vecchio talks wanting to help students not be scared. A day later, Del Vecchio and others organized a vigil on campus.
JOE WELLS / THE ROCKET
Looking at the attack on the World Trade Center, Steven Wei discusses the engineering aspects that brought down the Twin Towers. Maddy Callahan, a junior homeland and corporate security major said the presentation opened her eyes. "Seeing (the WTC) collapse in 13 seconds ... it's heartbreaking," she said.
JOE WELLS / THE ROCKET
The 9/11 memorial, gifted to the graduating class of 2005, not only serves as a reminder of those who lost their lives but was dedicated to bring hope that no other freshman class would have to ever experience an event like that.
September 10, 2021
POLICE BLOTTER August 30 – University Police received a call from a parent stating their child hurt their foot during the fire alarm activation in North Hall. The officer contacted the individual who said they were in little pain and had a friend help them to the Health Center. August 30 – Police responded to a trouble alarm activation in the Aebersold Recreation Center. The officer on the scene found a storage room with water leaking and a strong odor of chlorine. The officer evacuated the building and Safety and Maintenance were notified to respond to the facility. August 31 – University Police received a complaint from the parking office at the University Union for a check with non-sufficient funds to purchase a parking e-permit. Police were unable to contact the individual involved and the case is under investigation. August 31 – University Police were requested to assist at Old Thompson Field with a landing zone for STAT Medevac for an emergency that occurred off-campus. August 31 – Police assisted O’Hara Township Police Department with serving a protection from abuse order (PFA) to a non-student that was visiting a friend on campus. Contact was made and the individual was served the PFA order. O’Hara Police were notified and no further actions were taken. September 1 – Police received a call from a concerned family member who was unable to reach their sibling since the night prior and requested a welfare check. While officers were attempting to contact the individual, police received a return call from the family member stating they made contact and all was okay. No further police action was taken. September 1 – Police responded to a fire alarm activation in Building F. The alarm was set off by a person burning a candle in their room. They were advised that burning candles is not permitted inside the resident halls and the alarm system was reset. September 1 – Police received a call from a CA in Building D for a strong odor of marijuana coming from a dorm room. The officer on scene contacted to person and marijuana was found along with drug paraphernalia. Nathaniel Benson, 18, was cited for disorderly conduct. September 2 – Police received a call from Butler Control that an ambulance was dispatched for a person wanting to harm themselves on Rock Pride Drive. University Police and EMS were on scene and the individual was taken to Butler Memorial Hospital.
September 2 – An individual came to the police station to file a hit-and-run report that took place in the Alumni Commuter Lot between 10:45 and 12:15 p.m. After reviewing security footage, the vehicle was not hit on campus property. No further action was taken and the individual was referred to Pennsylvania State Police. September 2 – Slippery Rock Police Department requested assistance with a domestic issue at Madison Grove. While university police were en route, Borough Police called stating the individual was gone upon arrival. University Police stood by while Borough Police conducted an investigation. September 2 – Police responded to a fire alarm activation in ROCK Apartment #7. The alarm was set off by burnt food and the system was reset. September 3 – Slippery Rock Police Department received a call from 911 for a possible overdose offcampus. Pennsylvania State Police located the person at Moraine State Park by pinging their phone. September 3 – An individual reported that their vehicle was damaged in the Union Commuter Lot. Security footage showed no one hit their car and the person was referred to Borough Police due to the damage possibly occurring while parked at her residence. September 3 – Pennsylvania State Police requested assistance with a traffic stop on Keister Road. No other action was taken by Slippery Rock Police Department. September 4 – Slippery Rock Police pulled over a car on Keister Road for speeding, resulting in an arrest for drugs. Zyhaire Young, 18, was charged with disorderly conduct and cited for exceeding maximum speed limits.
September 7 – A person reported that there was a truck bumper laying on Centerville Pike causing a driving hazard. The information was relayed to the State Police. September 7 – An officer on patrol observed a person in the East Lake Parking Lot that appeared to be intoxicated. The officer spoke to the individual who said they lived on Cameron Drive. The person’s friend picked them up and took them back to their apartment and no further police action was taken. September 7 – Police received a call for a person in the lobby of Rhoads Hall having stomach pains. An ambulance was called and EMS on scene transported the individual to Butler Memorial Hospital. September 7 – University Police responded to a person who was hit by a vehicle on Stadium Drive while riding an electric skateboard. The officer spoke to the injured skateboarder who stated the vehicle was possibly a Volkswagen Jetta. The vehicle pulled out of the Swope Music Hall Parking Lot, causing the skateboarder to swerve and brake to avoid collision. They fell to the ground, causing injuries to their left elbow, both knees, and left ankle and the vehicle proceeded without stopping to see if the skateboarder was okay. The case is currently under investigation. September 7 – Police responded to a traffic accident in the Alumni Commuter Lot. A person was jumping another vehicle in the lot when their vehicle drifted backward and hit a parked car. Both individuals exchanged information and no further police action was taken. September 8 – Police responded to a fire alarm in Building F that was set off by burnt food. The alarm was reset.
September 5 – Slippery Rock Police conducted a traffic stop on Keister Road. Clemente Runas, 22, was charged with a DUI and careless driving.
September 8 – Police received a fire alarm activation in ROCK Apartment #8. The officer on location found the cause to be burnt food. The alarm system was reset.
September 5 – Police received an alarm activation in Building E. The rooms were checked and all appeared to be fine. Safety was notified to check the detectors.
September 8 – Slippery Rock Police Department requested assistance with a domestic issue on East Water Street. Both individuals were separated and no action was taken by University Police while Borough Police conducted the investigation.
September 6 – Police responded to a fire alarm activation in Building E. The alarm had been set off by burnt beef jerky and the alarm system was reset. September 6 – Police received a call from a sibling stating that their sister was assaulted on campus the previous evening. An officer contacted the person and found out the incident occurred at the Grove Apartment complex. They were referred to Pennsylvania State Police to file an additional report.
COMPILED BY EMMA VELESIG
September 10, 2021
SGA votes in new VP of Finance By Emma Velesig Assistant News Editor
The Slippery Rock Student Government Association (SRSGA) elected a new Vice President of Finance on Monday during its first in-person meeting since the campus shut down last year. Newly-elected President Mia Graziani welcomed new and returning senators at the Smith Student Center theater with fresh popcorn. The former Vice President of Finance Dean Chasser resigned prior to the first formal meeting. The resignation prompted the senate to hold an election at the meeting according to the body’s bylaws. Only two current senators applied for the position; Business Senator Sydney Rezzetano and Liberal Arts Senator Amanda Brock. Rezzetano won the vice presidency with a vote of 17-9 and was immediately sworn. Rezzetano is a sophomore finance major and a member of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority. In Rezzetano’s first year in SRSGA, she was a residence hall senator and member of the finance committee, working closely with previous Vice President of Finance Nate Desing. Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs Grant Warmbein directed a question to Rezzetano during the debate and discussion
about her commitments as a community assistant and if they would interfere with the added responsibilities of vice president. She responded that her schedule is flexible and she would be able to take on the workload of the position with support from her graduate resident director (GSD), Graduate Senator Laken Draksler. “Sydney has done an exceptional job already early on in the semester,” Draksler said. “She really is dedicated to her role.” Brock, a junior political science major, served as a senator this past year and as a member of the finance committee. Along with being a senator, Brock currently serves as treasurer for three other organizations. While Brock and Rezzetano stepped out for the second portion of debate and discussion, opposition toward Brock was brought up. Aiden Donnelly, vice president of outreach, voiced his concerns for Brock’s oversight of the SRSGA budget while also serving as treasurer in other organizations. “She potentially could be biased towards the three organizations that she is already a member of,” Donnelly said. Other actions the Senate took included swearing in three senators elected in the spring semester. Christopher Dang along with Draksler will serve as graduate senators, and Madeline Smith, senior
HANNAH SLOPE / THE ROCKET
As part of their first order of business, the Senate elected Sydney Rezzetano as vice president of finance. With a full exeutive board, the body worked to get reaquainted with one another face-to-face for the first time since the spring of 2020.
psychology major, as atlarge senator. SRSGA Advisor Lauren Moran spoke briefly about the ongoing ‘Rock the Weekend’ program. It will include bus trips to places like the Grove City Outlet Mall, movie showings and more. For more information, students are encouraged to search the SRU CORE events page, Moran said. Roberta Page, the new director of athletics, addressed the Senate about her position and role. Page promised that SRSGA will always receive “fully transparent information” from her and her program.
Members of the Student Organization of Latinos/Hispanics and Allies (SOL) executive board, Christina Vega, junior French major, and Ian Arteaga, senior creative writing major, talked about their current project for Hispanic Heritage month celebrated in October. They asked SRU clubs to create an artistic trifold to display information on a Hispanic country. O r g a n i z a t i o n s interested in participating can reach out to the SOL executive board. S OL’ s f ir s t me e t in g will be held on T u e s d ay , S e pt e mb e r 7
at 12:30 p.m. in the Smith Student Center. Mo re i nf o rma t i o n ca n be f o u nd o n t he SO L CO RE p a ge. The SRSGA’s next formal meeting will be held on Monday, September 13 at 5 p.m. in the Smith Student Center Ballroom. During that meet i ng, t he Sena t e i s expected to vote on the stipend budget for the SRSGA, The Rocket, WSRU-FM, University Program Board (UPB) and Sound and Literary Art s B o o k (SLAB ). The meetings are open to all Slippery Rock University community members.
"Sydney [Rezzetano] has done an exceptional job already early on in the semester." – Sen. Laken Draksler, Graduate Senator SRSGA
Student leaders prevail ! By Joe Wells News Editor
The Slippery Rock Student Government Association (SRSGA) announced Monday it will not be seeking to cut stipends for its executive board and some club leadership when it holds its meeting next week. The decision is completely opposite of the cuts proposed last April. At the SRSGA’s final meeting last spring, the finance committee proposed a 50% cut in stipends for members of The Rocket, WSRU-FM, University Program Board (UPB) and SLAB Literary Magazine. SRSGA executive board members would only see a 10% cut under the previous proposal. That proposal was shot down by the Senate and referred back to the finance committee after numerous members of the affected organizations spoke out against the cuts. Many of those members attended Monday’s informal meeting to defend the work they do, the compensation they receive and to understand the next steps to ensure officers are paid in the future. The SRSGA budgets nearly $83,000 to fund stipends for the five organizations. That money comes from commissions through the vending machines found throughout campus. Due to the pandemic, last year stipends were funded in full using a reserve fund to cover stipend funding shortfalls. According to Vice President of Finance Sydney Rezzetano, there is enough money
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in reserves to fund three years in stipends but if vending machine revenue continues to drop, other sources of revenue will need to be found or cuts will be necessary. By not cutting stipends this year, the committee will have more time to
research ways to keep funding stipends as is while preparing for any possible shortfalls in the near future, Rezzetano said. Alec Taylor, president of WSRUFM, addressed the body to discuss all the events the radio station works
to DJ around campus for various events along with maintaining a 24-hour radio station along with developing streaming and an app for anyone to access all the organization’s programming. “I know how much we have to do and how
much we’re about to start building within the next year or two,” Taylor said. “I would hate to see people not be able to participate or do what they want to do … because they have to work two extra jobs, just to even be in a club.”
The Rocket’s Editorin-Chief Nina Cipriani said that anything she would say about the amount of work staff members do in a given week would not do them justice but invited Senators and executive board members to sit in on a planning meeting where so see what the newspaper covers, and the time invested preparing for and publishing that content. UPB President Natalie Glenn informed the body that like SRSGA officers and Senators, their members are required to fill a number of office hours. With the work they do, planning movie nights and organizing concerts on campus through talent agents, some members put in more than the required hours often late at night due to the time difference with those they are contacting. “In an average weekend for putting on a concert, UPB plans to work a minimum of 30 hours in one weekend … in order to make those happen for the entire student body,” Glenn said. Both Rezzetano and SRSGA President Mia Graziani urged not only those receiving stipends but all students to attend committee and formal meetings whenever possible. The Senate will vote on the proposed stipend budget Sept. 13 at 5 p.m. at the Smith Student Center Theater. If the budget passes, students receiving a stipend can expect to receive payment on Sept. 24. A list of all the SRSGA formal, informal and committee meetings can be found on CORE.
Our View Striving to end the parking epidemic
Volume 105, Issue Number 1
220 220Eisenberg EisenbergClassroom ClassroomBuilding Building Slippery SlipperyRock RockUniversity University Slippery SlipperyRock, Rock,Pennsylvania Pennsylvania16057 16057
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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 Nina Cipriani
Madison Williams Sarah Anderson
Sports Editor Campus Life Editor
Assistant News Editor
Assistant Sports Editor
Assistant Campus Life Editor
Assistant Copy/Web Editor
Assistant Photo Editor
Dr. Brittany Fleming
ADVERTISING STAFF Brooke Miller
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 2021 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.
The age-old issue of parking on campus has returned as students come back for in-person classes. With the on-campus student population increasing so drastically over such a short amount of time, students are left fending for themselves when it comes to finding the last spot in the entire commuter parking lot by Boozel Dining Hall before running to the Quad with three minutes left before class. The Rocket has covered this topic over eight times since 2015, and, of course, students have brought up this issue at the start of every academic year. For some students, it may be hard to feel heard by the university because this issue is repeatedly discussed with no solutions introduced. But for those students who have been ticketed, been late to class or have to walk long distances to their class in rain and cold, this is a persisting issue that needs university intervention. It will continue so long as the university student population continues to grow, and the parking lots consequently continue to shrink. If the university wishes to grow its community both on and off campus, they need to account for the logistics of that growth. In The Rocket's "Students voice their concerns about parking" from February 2020, students complained to the university about ticketing and possible unsafe conditions walking large distances to and from their cars. In "Parking issues have blinded students' perception of SRU" from February 2018, The Rocket recognized students' frustration with renovations to Bailey Library, while neglecting the increasingly dire parking situation. In "Now is the time to address SRU's commuter parking problems" from September 2017, the staff discussed the university's hope that a new president would solve
the consistent campus parking problem, to no avail. When thinking of SRU as a whole, there are an estimated 6,700 students that have inperson classes this semester. With such a large student body, there should be enough parking lots to compensate for a large majority of the population. The parking lots on campus provide a fraction of the parking it should: about 1,000 parking spots for residents, almost 950 for staff, over 880 for commuters, about 800 open parking spots with permit and 400 spots in the West Lake Lot for staff and commuters. Even at first glance, these numbers seem minuscule compared to enrollment rates. SRU sold over 5,100 parking permits for the 2021-2022 academic year, with as little as 4,000 parking spots available on campus. This number includes other permits like vendor, handicap and medical. More specifically, the university sold parking permits to more than 3,000 commuters, almost 1,500 residents and 166 staff. To compensate for lack of parking, commuters must arrive on campus much earlier than class time just to guarantee a spot at all. Even then, students arrive late to class because of parking complications. Resident and commuter parking spots are never guaranteed. Although everyone parking on campus has a guaranteed parking permit, the availability of spots is never secure. This is especially true during prime parking hours on campus, which fall between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. During this six hour period, there is a high demand for parking spots as students move to and from campus for classes. At the peak of this time, spots are few and far between. Often, students must park in the open with permit lots located by the the Jack Critchfield Park, Mihalk-
Thompson Stadium Complex, the Storm Harbor Equestrian Center and the Women's Soccer and Softball Facility. Directly correlating with location of parking is the time spent actually walking to buildings located around the Quad. After securing a parking spot, depending on the location of the lot, students can be walking five to 10 minutes before reaching their final destination. This adds into the time that students have to give themselves when planning to make it class and meetings on time. As an exact location for parking is never known, students may plan for too much or too little time spent obtaining parking, which in turn affects arrival time to classes or meetings. To avoid being late, students often illegally park either in the grass, staff parking lots or other unmarked locations, but this results in tickets and citations. So much so that there was roughly 5,300 parking violations that totaled about $23,325 in citations from Aug. 1, 2019 to Sept. 1, 2021. With such dismal parking circumstances, students are frequently left feeling anxious, stressed and inconvenienced. There is a certain dread that students know all to well when driving up and down rows of filled parking spots trying to find just one open space. Despite all of this, we are grateful that the parking permits are generally only $25 per year. At other Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities, parking passes can be anywhere from $75 per semester to $225 per year. We also recognize that Slippery Rock allows freshman students to have a car on campus. It's convenient in a more rural area such as Slippery Rock where Walmart or Target are a 20 minute drive, and walking
In the Quad
outside of the downtown area of the town is difficult and dangerous. This is a huge perk that allows incoming freshman to have a sense of freedom. Considering the mass student displeasure, there must be a way to even partially solve this issue. We suggest that there be an allotted number of permits given out each semester or year. With less permits given out, the university could control the ratio of permits to parking spots and not oversell parking permits. The university could also limit the areas that are reserved for staff parking only. While SRU staff do deserve designated parking areas, there are currently many available options specific to staff. Staff permits only account for 166 of the total 5,100 permits allotted this year. Out of the 4,000 available parking spots on campus, there are roughly 950 spots reserved for staff members only. Based on the numbers, only 17% of staff parking will be fully used this year. By limiting staff specific lots or creating more areas that are for staff and students to park, both parties would see parking options. Students would see the availability of more parking and staff would just experience a shift in parking lots. Finally, SRU could create more parking for commuters and residents. Parking garages or the creation of more paved lots that would be designated for student parking are just a few options. Parking on campus is an issue that continues to plague students every semester. There needs to be legitimate action taken in response to the concerns of SRU's student body. As students ourselves, we hope that the issue can be addressed soon so we can fully focus on our academics and not be concerned with circling parking lots everyday.
Question: What song have you listened to the most this past week?
By: Brandon Pierce
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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.
Isaac Valasek Sophomore Computer Science
"Believer by Imagine Dragons."
Abbey Di Gravio and Ilisa Chasser Juniors Dual Early Education and Dance Erin Brod Junior Dance
"Isombard by Declan Mckenna; Fragile by Kygo and Labrinth; Wavey (feat. Alika) by CLiQ."
Jay Fowler Freshman Managing and Marketing
"Jonah by Kanye West."
September 10, 2021
Sustainability: What, where and how sup p or t t h e Ea r t h w e inhabit. To keep it simple, living an eco-friendly lifestyle is living in a way that is not harmful or limits the amount of harm done to the environment, which includes making decisions during your everyday routine that consider the Kaitlyn Myers environmental impact your actions have. Sustainability at Kaitlyn Myers is a Slippery Rock junior professional There are already efforts to make our writing major with a community more minor in gerontology. sustainable. The Office of Sustainability works Kaitlyn is an active to help SRU reach member of Best Buddies c a r b o n n e u t r a l i t y b y 2037, which is a goal at SRU. outlined by the Climate Y o u h a v e h e a r d i t Action Plan crafted for a l l b e f o r e , t h e e c o - the university in 2012. Carbon neutrality is friendly slogans t e l l i n g u s t o " G o when carbon emissions g reen!" and "Li ve li f e r e l e a s e d w o u l d b e s u s t a i n a b l y . " M a y b e equal to the removal of y o u t h i n k i t ' s t o o carbon dioxide. Carbon daunting, maybe you e m i s s i o n s r e l e a s e d don't understand what would cancel out with it means or maybe you c a r b o n c o n s e r v a t i o n efforts such as ju st do no t agree. I becam e i nteres t e d c a r b o n o f f s e t t i n g o r i n s u s t a i n a b i l i t y , o r reduction of emissions. the process of avoiding C o i n c i d i n g w i t h t h e d e p l e t i n g n a t u r a l Climate Action Plan, resources for future there are recycling g e n e r a t i o n s t o u s e , efforts, which stop 200 d u r ing the s tart o f t h e tons of material from COVID-19 pandemic. being placed in landfills As the world was going e a c h s c h o o l y e a r , through an i ncredi b le a r o u n d t h e c a m p u s . a m o u n t o f t u r m o i l , There are filter water I w a s a s k i n g m y s e l f bottle refill stations in how I could make a all buildings, which d i f f e r e n c e i n s o m e promotes reusing water w a y. As I m o ved b a c k b o t t l e s a n d a v o i d i n g t o t h e S l i p p e r y R o c k single-use plastic. The Macoskey Center community, I have f o r Sustainability continued trying to l i v e a n e c o - f r i e n d l y Education and Research l ifestyle that wo rks t o w a s n a m e d a f t e r t h e SRU professor Dr.
Welcome back, learners
Kali Davies-Anderson Kali is a senior public health major. She is a non-traditional student and plans on applying to grad school when she graduates. She has previously worked with the New Castle News. The sun is shining (on most days), the air is warm and it is impossible to find a parking spot anywhere on campus in the middle of the afternoon on a Tuesday. In-person learning is back in business. I must admit that I did not mind a completely remote class schedule. After all, there is something to be said about taking an exam in your pajamas with a mug of coffee and a fluffy goldendoodle at your feet. But, when I sat down in my first in-person class this semester, it felt like a breath of fresh air (even though it was really just my own air... masks). The sights, sounds and smells of campus are a familiar one to many of us, and as I (finally) enter my senior year, I am embracing these inperson experiences, as
they will be some of my last as an undergrad. I c a n’t s p e a k f o r everyone, but I missed human interactions. Even something as simple as raising my hand with a question that was already asked (and answered) because I am deaf in one ear and can’t read lips through the masks, seems...familiar. So, as we all embark on fall semester 2021, I encourage my fellow students to take these experiences in. Unfortunately, the world we live in right now is one riddled with uncertainty and only peppered lightly with normalcy that acts as a seasoning for an otherwise cautious and careful day-to-day existence. Form the relationships with your peers that you were pining for last year. Engage in campus activities if you feel safe doing so, and take in what we now all realize to be the luxury of being together. Have a great semester, and stay healthy and safe!
"But, when I sat down in my first inperson class this semester, it felt like a breath of fresh air (even though it was really just my own air... masks)."
Robert A. Macoskey in 1990. This 83acre property offers community gardens and greenhouses, chickens, hiking trails, classroom settings, composting opportunities and a solar PV system. The Macoskey Center offers sustainable education and demonstrations for the Slippery Rock community. The philosophy of The Macoskey Center
Gateway Park right off of Main Street, the farmers market operates every Saturday from May to October from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. All participating businesses supply only locally grown or hand-crafted items. You can find fresh vegetables, fruits, baked goods, bread, beautiful wildflowers and unique crafts. Not only are there direct-to-consumer
"On the most basic level, turning off the lights when you leave a room and turning off the water when it is not in constant use can have significant impacts on energy and water conservation efforts. Bring your own water bottle to campus and use the water refill stations. There are hundreds of great water bottle companies, so you can absolutely find one that works best for you." centers around creating "an environmentally, socially and e c o n o m i c a l l y sustainable and just future." Another place to catch The Macoskey Center is at the Slippery Rock Farmers Market. Located in the
sales occurring, but relationships with community members and SRU students form, too. Simple Switches You Can Make Clearly, the Slippery Rock community is full of sustainable opportunities, so
what can you do to participate in them? Start small! Changing and adapting to new ideas is never easy, but The Rock community can be a guide. On the most basic level, turning off the lights when you leave a room and turning off the water when it is not in constant use can have significant impacts on energy and water conservation efforts. Bring your own reusable water bottle to campus and use the water refill stations. There are hundreds o f grea t w a t er bo t t l e companies, so you can absolutely find one that works best for you. If you like using a straw, try ditching the plastic ones and carry your own instead. There's a set by Ello that can be found at Target and includes a carrying case that can go right on your key chain, four straws and a cleaning brush. If you have a dishwasher, an added bonus is that this product is dishwasher safe. During the next two months, the Slippery Rock Farmers Market will continue to be open on Saturday mornings. Gather some of your friends and make a morning of it. Consider buying local, fresh products that you can use to cook with during the next week. This action promotes local business and helps to avoid carbon emissions that come from transporting imported produce to grocery stores.
Along the same line, eating your leftovers helps reduce food waste. Who knew that just simply eating a meal twice can help you live sustainably? If you do happen to have spoiled leftovers or food scraps from fruits and vegetables, consider composting. All you have to do is collect the scraps, as The Macoskey Center has a bin where community members can drop off their compost piles and leave the process of developing soil to The Macoskey Center staff. To start this, as you need to do is email The Macoskey Center at macoskey.center@ sru.edu. To help change your mindset and learn more about eco-friendly living, follow sustainably focused social media pages and sign up for daily sustainable newsletters. These online resources become accounts you see every day, which serves as a reminder to live sustainably. A great site to start with is The Good Trade. This online platform has social media accounts, blog posts, and a newsletter that centers around sustainable and holistic living. Consider looking on your own, too. There are hundreds of people blogging and posting about eco-friendly lifestyles and tips and tricks to help you make a lifestyle change that betters the world we call home.
Back to campus, but how diﬀerent is it? Madeline Bundy Madeline is a junior converged journalism major. She is also a content creator for WSRU-TV News and a member of Jumpstart. We f in al l y g e t t o b e back in person, and everyone is back on c ampu s . Howe ve r, it’s n o t l ik e it w as b e f o re the pandemic. This begs the question: What is different, outside of mask we ar in g , an d c o u l d b e making it harder to g e t u s e d t o b e in g b ac k in pe r s o n ? A noticeable difference is the big tent in the Quad with folding tables a n d c h a i r s . Pe o p l e can sit outside and s t u d y, e a t , c a t c h u p with friends, or just take a break between classes. Students aren’t required to wear masks outside and the tables a r e s p r e a d o u t . Ho w comfortable is it to study in that space if you’re there for a long period of time between classes? Or when y o u’r e d o n e f o r t h e day, but not ready to go back to your dorm or house? It’s not too c o m f o r t a b l e i f yo u ' re t h e re l o n g e r t h a n 3 0 minutes to an hour. Yo u m a y s a y, w h a t about the librar y? Isn’t it open? Yes, it is, but you have to wear a
mask, and not everyone may be able to focus to their best ability while studying or taking a test online when they have to wear a mask while they study. Plus, if you're someone who uses disposable masks, ever y so often you may have to change your
everything went online, you could eat anywhere on the first floor of t h e l i b r a r y, o r o t h e r study rooms in the o t her bu i l di ngs w here classes take place. Now, yo u ca n o nl y ea t i n t h re e l o c a t i o n s i n t h e l i b r a r y, a n d t h e
"There are also many differences in dining locations. SRU still has Boozel and Weisenfluh Dining Halls, but the vendors have changed. A lot of people have noticed the difference in the quality and quantity of food. In previous years, Boozel had options for almost everyone. If you were vegan or vegetarian, you had the option to make a wrap at the wrap station, but that doesn;t seem to be an option this year. You can make a sandwich or salad, but there isnt a large variety of choices. Plus, the sandwich can't be toasted like in the past."
mask out. So, along with other costs that come up in college, you also have to spend additional money on more masks so t h a t yo u ' re f o l l ow i n g campus masking guidelines. Before the campus shut down and
study rooms in the c l a s s b u i l d i n g s d o n’t a l l ow f o o d o r d r i n k s a nymo re. Tw o o f t h e t h r e e places in the library a re t o o s ma l l a nd f i l l up too fast. One of t h e l o c a t i o n s d o e s n’t even have outlets, s o i f y o u’re s t u d y i n g
and getting a quick s na ck bet ween cl a s s es , h o p e f u l l y y o u d o n’t have to charge your laptop or phone for yo u r nex t cl a s s w hi l e yo u’re ea t i ng. There are also many differences in di ni ng l o ca t i o ns . SRU still has Boozel and We i s e n f l u h D i n i n g Ha l l s , bu t t he vendo rs ha ve cha nged. A l o t o f people have noticed t h e d i f f e re n c e i n t h e quality and quantity o f f o o d. In previous years, Boozel had options for almost everyone. If yo u were a vega n o r vegetarian, you had the o p t i o n t o ma ke a w ra p at the wrap station, bu t t ha t do es n’t s eem to be an option this y e a r. Yo u c a n m a k e a sandwich or salad, bu t t here i s n’t a l a rge variety of choices. Plus, the sandwich c a n’t b e t o a s t e d l i k e i n t he p a s t . Is this a result of the staff shortage in the dining locations, or is it because of the change in dining vendors from AV I Fo o d s y s t e m s t o Aramark Corporations? No t t o m e n t i o n , t h e wait time in all dining locations seems to be l o n g e r. B u t a g a i n , i s this due to short staff or the difference in vendo r? With the change in food vendors, people may be stuck getting the same thing time after time or forced to order food to campus from places like DoorDash and Uber Eats. This is one of the only ways to get different food options outside using meal plans that students pay for at the beginning o f e a c h s e m e s t e r.
VIDEO: A talk with the new athletic director
Page takes the helm as new AD
PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE SCHNELLE
Page spent seven years as the athletic director at Shippensburg, and then she left to take a position with the NCAA. Now, she returns home to Slippery Rock.
By Tyler Howe Assistant Sports Editor
When former athletic director Paul Lueken retired at the start of 2021, it sent Slippery Rock into an immediate search to find someone to fill his shoes. It was a task that would be just as challenging as anticipated, as it’s hard to replace someone who brought so much success to the university, from the 39 PSAC championships on the field to the 3.064 GPA average from all athletic programs combined since he took over in 1994. However, in May, the Rock finally found their person in Dr. Roberta Page. Page became the 14th athletic director in school history. Out of those 14, she is the first woman to hold the position. Page doesn’t think about that though, in fact, she emphasized her hopes that this isn’t the first thing
people think when they talk about her getting the job. “I hope that [being a woman] isn’t the reason I got the job, and I wanted to be the person that they felt was in the best position to lead the department,” Page said. Being the first woman to head the athletic department at SRU is a big accomplishment and something that young women can look up to. Page doesn’t only want to be a role model for women. She wants to show that anyone can get where they want to go with hard work, and it all starts somewhere. For Page, she felt that her work started at SRU. She noted that she knew what she wanted to do from the time she was in high school, but her time at SRU put her on the path to accomplish her goals.
Page had her Michael Jordan moment her freshman year when she was cut from the women’s basketball team. Only a few years later, Page tried out again and made the team, and that drive is something that set her up to be exactly where she is now. “I got cut my freshman year from the basketball team, and it really opened my eyes to ‘oh my god I failed,’ I really thought that I failed," Page said. "I thought I failed myself, I felt I let my parents down a little bit and I felt like I let my high school coaches down a little bit. It made me work harder, and I didn’t give up.” Her failures helped shape her mindset for life, in that they helped her understand that there are always going to be setbacks. Not everything you are going to attempt is going to be a success, but in
those failures and setbacks, you can always find positives. “Reality of life is that we’re not going to get everything we want, but you have to continue to work hard to continue to get a little bit better,” Page said. Page was a two-sport athlete at The Rock, playing softball along with basketball. She is still eighth in single-season triples for the softball team, from when she hit three in 1988. Being on those teams was integral to her success today because those teams held her accountable. She said that is what being a part of a team is about. Page is no stranger to the athletic director position. She held the athletic director position at the high school level before finally moving to college where she was named associate athletic director at fellow PSAC school Shippensburg University. When the athletic director retired there, she was named the interim athletic director. At the time, she felt she wasn’t ready to take on the position. But soon, the interim tag would be removed from her. “I was not ready to be the athletic director, I was the associate athletic director, and I was going back to school to obtain my doctorate, but the one thing I will never forget is my vice president and the president having the full support of me,” Page said. “They had so much confidence in me, that it gave me the confidence to think I could do a good job if I got the [athletic director position].” That confidence did transfer, and Page excelled in the position. Shippensburg won the PSAC’s Dixon Trophy three times during Page’s
tenure. The trophy is given annually to the top overall athletic department. And Shippensburg had a threepeat under Page, winning it from 2003 to 2005. And the school was also runner-up twice, in 2006 and 2009. Under Page, Shippensburg earned 14 PSAC championships, two individual national titles and 60 All-Americans. Page and The Raiders accomplished all this in only six years. In 2009, Page decided to move on after receiving a call in which she was asked to find some candidates for a position with the NCAA. After some consideration, she gave a call back expressing interest in the job. “I went out and I interviewed, and I knew when I got there I knew it was going to be the greatest job I could have ever thought about having,” Page said. “I was called the director of championships, and my focus was on Division II.” At that job, Page held a number of positions, including being the overseer of the committee that made all the decisions on championships. A big takeaway from her time there was that she noticed people didn’t compete with each other, they challenged each other, and it led to success. “I often said there was only one other job I wanted, and that was to come home,” Page said. “When it opened up, I thought I’m either going to go for it now because I don’t know that it’ll be open again at a time when I’m interested in leaving, and the rest is history.” Now in her first two months of being athletic director, Page is starting to settle in. As she's settling in, she has made sure
to make her own mark and do things her way. Lueken reached out and advised her to do so. In those talks, Lueken made sure to let her know not to do something just because he would have done it. “A lot of people don’t like someone new coming in that they think they’re going to change things,” Page said. “Paul and I have talked numerous times and he said, ‘don’t do things because that’s the way we’ve always done them, do your own thing and be your own person.”’ The biggest thing that Page wants, is for people to be open to change. She wants to keep her eyes on Slippery Rock by not only winning with class but doing so in losses too. Page wants to bring her own identity but doesn’t want to do it in a way that “upsets the apple cart.” “I think it’s important for me to have my own identity as long as people understand that my identity is always trying to continue to make us better,” Page said. Last Thursday marked the start of the fall season, this being her first season as athletic director. Page couldn’t have asked for a better opening. The Rock had wins in almost every sport, with Rock football, men’s and women’s soccer and field hockey each securing a victory in the first weekend of games. Through it all though, the message remains the same. Page wants to set all student-athletes up for success and doesn’t want to compromise the way it’s done. “I want our kids to succeed, but I want to do it the right way,” Page said.
Vernick tackles senior year By Tyler Howe Assistant Sports Editor
When it comes to the Slippery Rock football team, 2019 is a year that has been talked about since it ended. The success on the field was unlike anything The Rock football program had experienced before. In the middle of it all was Tim Vernick. “Words can’t describe [how much he’s meant to me], guys like him don’t just come around,” Coach Shawn Lutz said. “He’s a coach’s player and a captain, and when you have a leader like him they police it themselves, the best teams are when the players take control of anything that comes your way.” Vernick comes from just a few miles down the road, where he played for Butler Area High School. Coming to Slippery Rock, Vernick felt that he didn’t know what he should have when walking in here. As a result, he felt he was behind when he first joined, and in 2016, he was redshirted. “[My redshirt year] was huge for me, they taught me really what college football was all about that year,” Vernick said. “I got a whole year to practice and get better in what they needed me to do, and honestly getting red-
shirted was one of the best things that could’ve happened to me.” Coming out of his redshirt year, Vernick was finally ready to get on the field and play in an actual college game for the first time. Vernick stepped on the field for The Rock in Frankfort, Kentucky. The Green and White faced off against Kentucky State University and in that game Vernick was able to make his mark. He totaled ten tackles and a sack in his first collegiate game, that ended in a 42-21 victory. “2017 was a learning year and my realization was our first game against Kentucky State, I ended up with ten tackles and a sack, and after that game that’s when I realized I can play at this level and I can do the things I need to do,” Vernick said. Vernick faced another setback that season only one week later, when he went down with an injury. The injury kept him sidelined for three weeks, but he eventually made his return against California (Pa.). In that game, he recorded his first career interception. In total he ended the season with 28 tackles, three tackles for loss, an interception, and a sack.
SEE CAPTAIN PAGE C-2 KEEGAN BEARD / THE ROCKET
PSAC WEST STANDINGS Football 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
Slippery Rock CALIFORNIA (PA.) GANNON MERCYHURST SETON HILL Indiana (Pa.) Edinboro CLARION
1-0 (0-0) 1-0 (0-0) 1-0 (0-0) 1-0 (0-0) 1-0(0-0) 0-0 (0-) 0-0 (0-0) 0-1 (0-0)
Men's Soccer 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
GANNON Slippery Rock MERCYHURST PITT-JOHNSTOWN SETON HILL CALIFORNIA (PA.)
2-0-0(0-0) 1-0-2 (0-0) 1-1-1(0-0) 1-1-0(0-0) 1-1-1(0-0) 0-1-1(0-0)
Women's Soccer 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
EDINBORO GANNON INDIANA (PA.) Slippery Rock SETON HILL MERCYHURST PITT-JOHNSTOWN CLARION CALIFORNIA (PA.)
1-0-0(1-0) 1-0-0(1-0) 2-0-0(1-0) 2-0-1 (1-0) 1-0-0(0-0) 1-1-0(0-1) 1-2-0(0-1) 0-1-0(0-1) 0-2-0(0-1)
September 10, 2021
Captain has eyes set on title CONTINUED FROM PAGE C-1
“[My 2018 season] was a big step for me, it’s when I finally felt comfortable with what I was doing and everything else that was going on,” Vernick said. “It felt good to stay healthy and go out and play every game, and it’s just something I’ve been looking to build off of since.” Vernick had his breakout year in the 2018 season. For some people, it’s limited to a game where they break out, but after every game, Vernick just kept topping the last. He became a large part in the success of the team. He started all 14 games and one week was even named PSAC West Defensive Athlete of the Week. Vernick totaled 92 tackles, including 13 being tackles for loss. It doesn’t come as a surprise that as Vernick developed, so did the team. The Rock had their first deep playoff run that same year. Slippery Rock made it to the PSAC Championship where they lost against No. 9 West Chester University 33-10. That wasn’t the end of the season though. The next week, Vernick played in his first ever playoff game at any level against Long Island
"I can speak for our seniors when I say, we wanted to finish what we started though."
captain University and in the game, he had eight tackles and a sack. The Rock’s season came to an end two weeks later in a close game against Notre Dame College. “I really liked experiencing playoffs, it was the first time in my life I was able to do that and losing to Notre Dame just made me want it even more and it made me want to work even harder so that we wouldn’t lose those big games deep in the playoffs,” Vernick said.
Vernick and the team came back the next year and did what they did in 2018, but even better. The team went undefeated throughout the regular season and this time was able to win the PSAC Championship behind Roland Rivers and company. The Rock even got their redemption against Notre Dame College, this time with a home field advantage. And one year and six days later, the Rock pulled out a win against the same team they lost to by three points. The Rock was able to make it to the national semifinals against Minnesota State, where they would eventually lose their first game of the season. The Rock dropped the game 58-15, and before their season opener in 2021 against Wayne State University, they had not been on the field since. “That loss against Minnesota State was definitely a heartbreaker, because we felt we had the better team and talent to win a national championship,” Vernick said. “That gave us some perspective, it showed us that no matter what we think it may not be what reality has.”
After the 2019 season, The Rock’s expectations for themselves went even higher. And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and everything became uncertain after the season was canceled. However, in the offseason of this past year, many veterans told the team that they would be returning and among those players was Vernick. “[Coming back for this season] was a tough thing to think about, I knew I wanted to get my masters and with COVID canceling our senior year it made us think about what we wanted to do,” Vernick said. “I can speak for the other seniors when I say, we wanted to finish what we started though.” Now, The Rock is back on the field, and Vernick is one of the captains of the defensive team that made a big stop at their goal line to secure their first win of the season. The goal remains simple for Vernick and the rest of the team. “We’re expecting a national championship, we were so close in 2019 and honestly we failed. We failed on the biggest stage,” Vernick said. “We have a veteran group coming back and we have all the pieces, we just have to work for it every day.”
Field Hockey 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.
INDIANA (PA.) kutztown Mansfield Millersville Shippensburg WEST CHESTER Slippery Rock bloomsburg E. STROUDSBURG Seton Hill mercyhurst
2-0(0-0) 2-0(0-0) 3-0(0-0) 2-0(0-0) 1-0(0-0) 3-0(0-0) 1-1(0-0) 1-2(0-0) 1-2(0-0) 6-8 (1-5) 0-2(0-0)
Gannon CALIFORNIA (PA.) CLARION Slippery Rock INDIANA (PA.) PITT-JOHNSTOWN MERCYHURST EDINBORO SETON HILL
Football escapes with win
Volleyball 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE SCHNELLE
Henry Litwin and Cinque Sweeting celebrate during win over Wayne State in 2019. Both decided to return for their senior season.
4-0 (0-0) 3-1 (0-0) 3-1 (0-0) 2-1 (0-0) 3-2(0-0) 1-1(0-0) 2-2(0-0) 0-0(0-0) 0-3(0-0)
For more Rocket sports content, visit theonlinerocket.com with the QR code below
By Madison Williams Sports Editor
After a long 628 days, Rock football is finally back. After an impressive pull-away win, Slippery Rock sits ranked at number eight in all of Division II nationally. The team prepared in the off-season ready to get back to work. The Rock traveled to Wayne State University with a win in the back of their minds. "Any time you get national publicity, it's a great thing and it's well deserved," coach Shawn Lutz said. "To me, [Henry Litwin] is a legitimate NFL prospect." Slippery Rock’s very own Litwin made his debut on the big screen nationwide Thursday. His one-handed tumble into the endzone scored him a touchdown and the number two play on Sports Center’s Top 10 college football openers. The play against Wayne State earned him Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West Offensive Athlete of the Week. His 159 yards set him ahead of all other receivers as well. The streak from last year continued starting off the season 1-0 and
picked up their 21st consecutive win. Compared to last year's game, this one was much closer. The final seconds of the game decided who would win, whereas last year it was a blowout. For the vast majority of the game, Slippery Rock fell behind Wayne State. It wasn’t until Henry Litwin made an NFL worthy catch that the intensity grew. Going into halftime, the Rock was down 14-0 but rallied to earn a 24-21 advantage going into the 4th quarter. Tim Smith and Andrew Koester came up big for Slippery Rock to add points on the board. For the remainder of the game, the Rock played tough defense, enough to hold out the lead and prevent any more touchdowns from the Warriors. In the final minutes of the game, the Warriors had a chance to take the game, or tie it at least. Isaiah Manning, Garrett de Bien and Cody Ross all prevented extra yards from being gained. With seconds remaining and a good field placement at the third yard line, Wayne State went for the winning touchdown and failed. From that position, they could have got a
game-tying field goal and had the chance at an overtime victory. However, after two field goals and one extra point were missed earlier in the game, it seemed like their best bet. The victory was sealed with 18 seconds remaining when Manning, in his first career start, along with de Bein got ahold of the Warriors quarterback for a two-yard loss. It was an inconsistent game, and everyone needed to shake off the rust from the offseason. However, the end goal was to win, and they did exactly that. There were a few fumbles and turnovers, but nothing out of the ordinary coming off such a long break in gameplay. Ko e s t e r c o n n e c t e d with Jermaine Wynn Jr. to add to the total 403303 advantage in offensive throwing, rushing for 89 and throwing for 314. The leading rusher, Koester, also accounted for a total of 10 carries. Wayne State Warriors completed 247 yards and threw for a total of 56 yards. Defensively, Dalton Holt, Trysten McDonald and Chad Khun allotted tackles, stops and sacks to squeeze out the threepoint victory. Khadir
Roberts and Selvin Haynes also came up strong for the Rock defense. Kyle Sheets, Cinque Sweeting and Wynn Jr. caught a combined 145 yards. Coach Lutz keeps his men in top shape to compete in every game. It all paid off and the plan is to not stop until they reach their goals; PSAC Champions and National Champions. This is their year. Slipper y Rock will open its conference season with a home opener this Saturday, Sept. 11 at the Milhalik-Thompson Stadium at 6 p.m. facing East Stroudsburg. They’ll remain home for back-toback weekends taking on Lock Haven Sept. 18 at 6 p.m. for another PSAC West conference game.
"To me, [Henry Litwin] is a legitimate NFL prospect."
–Shawn Lutz, Rock football coach
September 10, 2021
Rock men's soccer kicks oﬀ
HANNAH SLOPE / THE ROCKET
Harry Griffin attempts to steal the ball from Lake Erie College, in a game that saw 110 minutes of action. The Rock opened up the season with 1-0-2 record, with the only win coming on the road against Findlay.
By Tyler Howe Assistant Sports Editor
The Rock men's soccer finally returned to the field on Thursday and played No. 25 Lake Erie College in a game that went 110 minutes. While this was The Rock’s first matchup in over 600 days, Lake Erie has seen some action in the past six months as they were able to play a spring season. “It felt great [being back on the field], it’s exactly what our guys were craving since November 2019, when we got knocked out of the playoffs,” Coach Kevin Wilhelm said. “It’s been a very long wait and it’s been hard because a lot of the teams we play in the early part of the season played full conference schedules last year.” Slippery Rock immediately set the tone for the game as Arturo Pla Hernandis got a shot off in the first 11 seconds of the game after he penetrated the defense of Lake Erie. The shot was fended off by the Storm’s goalie, Tom John, who made a spectacular save right out of the gates. “It’s important for us to believe in the system, and the way our off the ball play and defensive set up was to create moments [like Pla Hernandis’] and getting the opportunity in the first
minute of the game gives belief to the guys on the field,” Wilhelm said. The Green and White earned a corner kick off that save, but nothing came of it. There was not another shot registered by either team until the 13th minute of the game. Over the next minute and a half, Slippery Rock went on the attack and took four shots with two on goal. John made two very good saves to keep the score even. “Lake Erie is a very good team. You know if you’re ranked 25th in the nation, you’re going to face a strong team and the game plan was essentially just to not give anything away cheap, absorb pressure, and use their weakness against them,” Wilhelm said. This is something that worked very well for The Rock, as the defense absorbed the pressure like Wilhelm mentioned. Lake Erie had multiple scoring chances with one of them going just wide of the goal. In the first half, things were dead even with there being four shots for each side and the score at the half was 0-0. The second half was very physical and that resulted in nine fouls between both teams and there were also two yellow cards. Both were given to Slippery Rock players, with Joe Skillicorn receiving one in the 67th
minute and Dan Schearer in the 71st minute. The first goal didn’t come until the 83rd minute after The Rock was awarded a penalty kick. The kick was taken by Alejandro Fernandez, who sailed the ball into the top right corner. The goal broke the deadlock between the two teams and sent Lake Erie into all-out attack mode as they hoped to avoid a loss in the season opener. “The feeling was that the goal was justified, and I believe the shot total at the end of the game was tied, but we had the better clear-cut opportunities,” Wilhelm said. “We had some golden opportunities throughout the game that if we were in better form if we had a season last year, or if we had a full schedule in the spring, you would think that a normal Slippery Rock team scores two or three of those chances no problem.” The Green and White were immediately sent into defensive mode, trying to clear the ball while giving as few opportunities as possible. This approach worked up until the last 30 seconds of the game. The Storm was awarded a free kick near midfield and they were able to capitalize. Tom Pearson, who had been substituted in only three seconds earlier, was able to beat Rock goalkeep-
er, Hossam Aly, and put the equalizer in the back of the net. In the overtime periods, there were five shots in total and the only save was made by Aly, who ended with six saves. The Rock and Lake Erie played to a draw to open the season. The Rock returned to the field on Sunday, Sept. 5, against the University of Findlay and took home their first win of the season. In the game, Aly recorded his first shutout of the season and he faced 13 shots with five being on target. And his five saves are a big reason why the Green and White walked away with the win. In total, Findlay outshot Slippery Rock 13 to 7. The first goal of the game didn’t come until the 57th minute of the game and it came off an assist from Ramses Minaya to Alex Plimmer for his first of the season. The Rock got three more yellow cards in the game, which were given to Minaya, Pla Hernandis and Benjiman Trevino. The Rock played their third game of the season against Walsh University on Sept. 8. The game was opened up quickly when Dominic O’Connor scored off an assist from Nathan Kolke just two minutes in. It would be the only goal scored in the first half, but
Slippery Rock would immediately fight back taking two shots seconds after the Walsh goal. The Green and White’s physical play this season has gotten them into some trouble. After Wednesday’s contest, they have been given seven yellow cards. Trevino was given his second yellow card of the season only 11 minutes in and Fernandez was also given his second in the 103rd minute. The Cavaliers led the game in yellow cards though. They received three in the game with the first coming at the 36-minute mark. The rest of the first half was fairly quiet, but both teams had a few scoring opportunities. It wasn’t until the 73rd minute that a goal would be scored by Jake Cunningham, giving Walsh a 2-0 lead. The Rock was unable to break through until the 87th minute when Minaya finally got them on the board. Just two minutes later, the game would be tied up by Schearer, and the game would enter overtime. In the overtime periods, The Rock had four shots and kept the Cavaliers to just one. The teams would take all 20 minutes, though, and play to a draw. This is the Rock’s second draw in their first three
games, and for Walsh, this is their first game where they add to the win column. The Rock returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 11 at James Egli field to face off with Daemen College. Slippery Rock will be looking for their first home win of the season against a 1-1 team.
"It felt great [being back on the field], it's exacty what our guys have been craving since November. 2019, when we got knocked out of the playoffs."
Wilhelm, men's soccer coach
Women's soccer opens with draw
By Madison Williams Sports Editor
The sun was shining and not a single cloud was in the sky as Slippery Rock took on West Virginia Wesleyan College at Egli field Thursday, Sept. 2, for a non-conference match. Heading into the season, women's soccer is projected to win the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) for the second year. To start, Slippery Rock was sending good kicks to their forwards and had many hard shots on goal. However, the Bobcats struck first with a penalty shot with 19 minutes remaining in the first half. Not long after with 5:55 to go, they scored another goal to give themselves a 2-0 lead going into the second half. Although Th e Bobcats had the advantage in goals, Slippery Rock was leading in shots taken by the halfway mark. Th e 12-4 difference in shots gave The Rock good momentum heading into the end of the game. Emma Yoder, SRU's goalie, tallied multiple saves throughout the game, which helped give
The Rock a solid chance at regaining an even playing field. Coach Giegucz's ability to motivate,"[read] energy and get the ball moving," helped set the tone for The Rock's first goal. With 39 minutes remaining in the half, Jordyn Minda scored her first goal this season off an assist from Sydney Patrick. The goal sparked something in the team, as the game became more aggressive. The ball remained in The Rock's possession most of the time allowing for multiple goal opportunities. At halftime, Coach Giegucz told the girls that the back fielders needed to drop and play in line with the rest of the team to avoid Bobcat goals. They did exactly that and were able to stop West Virginia Wesleyan from scoring again. A chance for Slippery Rock to tie the game came off a hard shot ball, but it ending up being called offsides and not counted. That didn’t stop the team from testing the Bobcats goalie, Ally Moore, who had an impressive nine saves. Eventually, the repeated shots at goal paid
off. With 1:44 to go, Nina King passed the ball to Rachel Edge, who hammered a goal deep into the left post to tie the game. After a scoreless attempt from both teams in overtime, the game processed into double overtime. From there, the result was the same and both teams walked away with a tie at 2-2. Overall, the team led in all categories including corner kicks, shots, and shots on goal. Minda and Edge used seniority to their advantage to help put Th e Rock back into the game. For West Virginia We s l e y a n , S a v a n n a h Masterson and Natalie Pireu tallied one goal each. On Sunday, Sept. 5, The Rock ventured to Fairmont State University for another non-conference game. This time, the end result was a win. Forward and senior player Edge was named PSAC West Player of the Week following her two goals in the weekend matchups. In her career, this marks her third time being honored with this title. The next chance to see The Rock in action is Saturday, Sept. 11 vs. Pitt-Johnstown at noon.
HANNAH SLOPE / THE ROCKET
Brooke Riefenstahl looks to cross the ball in a highly contested game. She finished with two shots.
September 10, 2021
Field hockey splits first two contests By Tyler Howe Assistant Sports Editor
The Rock field hockey team played their first two games of the season on Thursday and Sunday. They split the two games, losing the first against Lindenwood University and pulling out a win against Queen's University. “It was great for us to get on the field again and experience a full, actual game so it was just exciting and I’m happy we were able to do it,” head coach Rayall Heistand said. The Green and White opened their season at h o m e w i t h He i s t a n d’s debut game, dropping it 3-1. The Rock played a solid first quarter as they were able to hold off Lindenwood’s attack. After the first quarter, the game was tied at 0-0 still, and Slippery Rock's lone shot came from Jessie Trube. The second quarter was a faster pace for both teams, and they each were able to give themselves more scoring opportunities. The Rock went on the attack early in the quarter, and in a matter of only 34 seconds, they took four shots on goal. The team was unable to beat Lidenwood goalkeeper, Leah Brozovich, who recorded four saves. It was not until nine minutes into the second quarter that the tie was broken. Pauline Terwindt put the ball in the back of the net to give the advantage to Lidenwood. The Rock would get one more scoring opportunity when Trube took a shot seconds before the end of the period, but it was wide of the net. “I think no matter win or lose, or any type of game
you have, you can always learn from the game that was played whether it be positive or negatives that come out of it,” Heistand said. “We improved upon the scrimmages we had, so I’m happy about that, but we also need to be more consistent in general.” The second half was opened up with yet another shot from Trube, who for the third time in the game had her shot go wide. Lindenwood took advantage of the miss and Makenna Rugani was able to score another goal only a few minutes later. This was Rugani's first goal of the season and what would be the game-winning goal. The Rock was able to score in the third quarter, with a goal from Jordan Isner with about six minutes left in the quarter. “We’re there in the offensive game, and I said that at halftime, we just need to finish and staying in the moment and slowing it down that will help us,” Heistand said. Rugani put the final nail in the coffin when she tallied her second goal of the game late in the fourth quarter. And just like that, The Rock found themselves in the loss column for the first time in the 2021 season. The Rock played another game against Queen's University on Sunday. The game finally finished for The Rock like how Heistand mentioned earlier. Queen's started out slow for the Green and White and allowed the first goal of the game. Gabe Lechner was able to break the game open just ten minutes in when she beat Burker on an assist from Molly Walter. In the first quarter, Queen's outshot The Rock 6-2, but by the second quarter, the
game was much more even. The quarter was dominated by Slippery Rock up until there was about a minute and a half left in the period. In that final 90 seconds, Queen's took all three of their shots they recorded in that period and Burker was able to fend them off to keep the game at 1-0 entering the half. The Rock took over in the second half and was on offense more than they were in the first half. The Rock finally broke through when Trube was able to score her first goal of the season. Trube's goal tied it up at one, and after the goal, The Rock continued to stay on the attack. Trube took another shot that went just wide of the net with a minute left in the quarter and then a few seconds later Bailee Christman took a shot that was stopped by Queen's goalkeeper Avian Thompson. The game-winning goal was scored just four minutes into the final quarter. The goal came from Trube, which was her second goal in the half. Trube was finally able to finish in the second game after taking multiple shots that were going just wide of the net. After the goal, The Rock did not allow another shot in the game and was able to pull out their first win of the season. The win marked Heistand’s first career win at Slippery Rock. The Rock will return to action this Saturday, Sept. 11 and will finish out their homestand against Belmont Abbey College. The Rock will look to start their season above .500 after their first three games of the season. They have not done so since 2018 when they opened up 3-0. HANNAH SLOPE / THE ROCKET
VIDEO: Involvement Fair, Fall 2021
Annual parking frustrations continue
By Sarah Anderson Campus Life Editor
As the fall semester unfolds, there is excitement in the air as students look forward to getting "back to normal" as much as possible, but the parking lots on campus are representing the chaos that is welcoming back such large numbers. Between commuters, residents and faculty and
" I think it's more of a walking issue. People don't want to walk. There's the happy bus, people need to take the happy bus." – Christine PeaseHernandez, professor in SC&M
staff, the parking lots are filled to the brim by 8 a.m. Residents and commuters are frustrated by the lack of accessible parking available. The campus offers almost 950 parking spots for staff, about 880 for commuter, roughly 1,000 for resident, around 800 open parking spots with permit available to residents, commuters and staff and 400 for staff and commuter in the West Lake Parking Lot, according to University Police Chief Kevin Sharkey. The East Lake Parking Lot is marked as open parking with a permit, located near the Jack Critchfield Park. With a total of 400 parking spots, 95 are restricted from overnight parking, with 12 being handicapped parking. This means student can't park in this lot after hours from 5 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. Although parking spots on campus total over 4,000, students feel there still isn't enough spots. As of Sept. 1, the university sold over 3,000 commuter permits, roughly 1,400 resident permits and 166 staff permits for the 2021-2022 academic year. There were over 5,000 permits sold this year, with about 4,000 spots available. Taylor Godleski, a sophomore resident majoring in marketing, has expressed her frustrations with lack of parking and the ticketing system at SRU. "You can either go the
stadium, and over half of those spots are filled up, or you basically just have to wait until someone leaves to pull into a spot," Godleski said. "[After hours], there's tons of commuter spots that are always open. If you park there, you will get ticketed." Residents and commuters pay $25 per academic year for parking e-permits. Residents feel frustrated because they live here and are unable to find parking close to where they live. "I don't really think there's a need to have a giant chunk of the parking that could be right there for people who lives [in the dorms]," Godleski said. "I just wish since I'm living in the dorm that when I bought a parking pass that I was guaranteed a spot by the dorms, versus having to parking by the baseball fields or the stadium." Godleski parked in a commuter lot after hours, resulting in a citation. She said this was frustrating because the lot was located right behind the resident parking. "It was right there by the resident parking," Godleski said. "I don't know who's going to be a commuter that's going to park by the dorms." From Aug. 1, 2019 to Sept. 1, 2021, there were about 5,300 parking violations that totaled to about $23,325 in citations. Paul Novak, executive director of planning and environmental health
HANNAH SLOPE / THE ROCKET It's the beginning of a new semester which means parking is being disucssed among students. Commuters and residents share similar frustrations with lack of parking available.
and safety, has been active in plans regarding restructuring parking. "We did a bit to address some past parking issues," Novak said. "There were two, and we call them affectionally gravel lots that were installed. These lots are having work done to them to have those paved. As far as additional lots or additional spaces, I'm not aware of [plans for more], at least not to the Office of Design and Construction." Novak recognized that parking has been a challenge at the university, and SRU wants to try and make more parking available. If students have concerns, Novak encouraged students
to come to his office, email him or contact the Parking Services Office. Nazmul Rony, associate professor in the strategic communication and media department (SC&M) experienced issues at the start of the semester, but the problems have been resolved. His first-year students offered him their perspectives. "In the first week, I had issues finding parking. I think that many students don't know where to park," Rony said. "I was talking to some of my students in my FYRST seminar class, who are freshman, they told me that some of them got
tickets and they realized that they couldn't park in a certain spot." C h r i s t i n e Pe a s e He r n a n d e z , a n o t h e r professor in SC&M, shared her experience with parking and gave advice to students. "I plan [parking] so I get here between classes, but I'm very strategic about it," Pease-Hernandez said. "[For students], I think it's more of a walking issue. People don't want to walk. Th ere's the happy bus, people need to take the happy bus. . . There are resources and I would encourage students to take advantage of those resources."
Dining changes come to The Rock
By Morgan Miller Asst. Campus Life Editor
In the past, Slippery Rock University used AVI Foodsystems for dining on campus. This semester, the AVI Foodsystems contract expired and SRU is now using Aramark Corporation to provide food on campus. This change has caused conversations among the students on campus. This year's dining options include: Boozle Dining Hall, Boozle Express, Quaker Steak & Lube, Good Day Grab & Go, Limon & Chile, Sandwich Shack, Greens to Go, Ignition, Starbucks, Bento, Sear & Sizzle, Revolve, Butter & Honey and Crafted by Commonplace. A hot topic on campus is the the fan favorite Umami being taken away. Umami was subcontracted by a company called AFC through AVI Foodsystems. Aramark subcontracts with Bento which replaced Umami on campus. SRU football widereceiver Jermaine Wynn tweeted about his heartbreak of learning Umami was no longer at SRU. “Heartbroken to learn that Umami is not at The Fluh anymore,” tweeted Wynn. Junior homeland security major Noah Burchett also expressed his favorite vendor was Umami. Burchett spoke on his opinions about the vendors on campus changing. “I understand the new vendors are going to try different stuff, but you
cannot really take Umami away,” said Burchett. “That was the staple of campus.” SRU is understanding of the student concerns but also encouraging students to find the good in this change. During the first week of school, tents were set up around campus to provide students with assistance and answer questions. Some students were under the impression that they would be able to speak to the SRU dining director. There was confusion due to the large number of tables set up, and no clear direction of who to talk to. Senior integrated marketing communication
"They were so forthcoming with their aspects of school, but I felt like the food aspect was ignored.” – Bianca Musone, senior integrated marketing major and statistics minor
BROOKE MILLER / THE ROCKET SRU switching food providers sparked conversations between students across campus, frustrations range from a decrease in food quality to vendors closing early. Staff shortages caused SRU to have to cut hours at most of the vendors.
major and statistics minor Bianca Musone commented on her thoughts about the dining changes. “It really just took a lot of us by surprise because none of us were aware that the AVI contract was ending and it seemed it sprouted out of nowhere,” said Musone. “They were so forthcoming with their aspects of school, but I felt like the food aspect was ignored.” SRU Dining Director Christopher Cole spoke on the change of dining and the biggest issue the university is facing. “We have a new contract with Aramark who took over
our dining services as our contracted provider back on June first,” said Cole. “We were moving smoothly and steadily towards the start of the semester, until they started calling back all of the workers who had been laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Cole stated that over a third of the employees opted not to return to work due to other employment opportunities or retirement. The university was aware of the staff shortage three weeks before the semester started. Due to the staff shortage dining halls hours have been
cut short, or some vendors have closed completely. “We have had to make some decisions to say we just cannot keep everything open the way we thought we would, until we hire more staff,” said Cole. SRU has the lowest employment in the western Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) area. 35 out of 110 employees did not come back to work this semester. This has forced SRU to limit the hours of the dining halls and vendors. The SRU dining department has created phases for the opening of
all Aramark vendors. These phases include the need to hire more staff to open all vendors for the full duration expected. “ It i s re a l l y t h e experience of the students that is most important to us,” said Cole. “As much as I wish we could provide the extensive variety we have done before, it is still our goal to provide variety, provide choice, [and] to provide healthy, nutritious meals.” Students are able to stay actively informed about SRU Dining promotions, changes or other information via their instagram, @rockdining.
September 10, 2021
The blessings of liberty and education !" By Ursula Payne Rocket Contributor
The semester is off to a solid start, particularly as COVID-19 cases continue to rise nationally and weather events increase in intensity. The news carries multiple issues of the day, jostling between U.S. troops leaving Afghanistan, questions about COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, the passing of the Texas abortion law 2021, and whether states should ban critical race theory in schools. In light of these issues, I am encouraged and hopeful because of being able to reconnect with students, faculty and staff across campus. The energy in my classes has been electric and exciting. It brings me joy to see students creating new
"We have returned to campus to engage our minds and bodies in the work of learning and advancing our human condition." – Ursula Payne, professor of dance, SRU's liason to PASSHE for Diversity, Equtiy and Inclusion (DE&I), and Director of the Fredrick Institute
and deepening established social bonds in my classes. As I was thinking about what to write for this commentary, Frederick Douglass’s address Blessings of Liberty and Education, delivered on Sept. 3, 1894 provided me with inspiration and guidance. Fr e d e r i c k D o u g l a s s delivered this address at the dedication of an educational institution for Black children in Manassas, Virginia. With this in mind I have identified three items to consider as our campus community progresses boldly into the 2021-2022 academic year. Our ability to strengthen our social and community context The 2020 Healthy People Initiative identifies social cohesion as being integral to developing strong relationships and achieving feelings of solidarity within a community. Frederick Douglass felt that education enhanced our ability as people and leaders to work in collaboration with others and to self-reflect as a way of rising to a higher plane of service. The relationships that we develop at SRU are not only important for our wellbeing, but also for developing strong networks. There are two dynamics at work on the SRU campus, the first being the excitement of contemplating your life’s work in the world. The second dynamic holds the tension of wondering what the future has in store for you. SRU’s campus is where students can test their liberty and expand their world views in conversation with other people who will challenge their perspective. Douglass believed that educational institutions were spaces where students learned how to build economic stability for themselves, while transforming their minds and environments. Understanding why our collective focus needs to be on increasing educational attainment across race, gender, region, economic and academic disciplines
We have returned to campus to engage our minds and bodies in the work of learning and advancing our human c o n d i t i o n . Fre d e r i c k Douglass believed in the power of the human mind and he championed education for unfolding and strengthening the human soul. Douglass warned that without education, the human mind would descend into ignorance as a prisoner without hope. The State of Pennsylvania Education Attainment Charts shows PA as being slightly below the national average for bachelor’s degrees at 31.4%. The breakout by race is 32% white, 19% Black, 18% American Indian, 56% Asian, 23% Native Hawaiian, 16.2% Hispanic. Why should this matter to the SRU community of students, faculty, and staff? In order to keep up with the future of workforce demands, the educational levels in the state of PA and the across the United States needs to increase. The relationships between educational attainment, employment status and economic performance impact how one experiences social cohesion and wellbeing. Douglass talked about the dignity of labor and incentives towards creating a noble life. Graduating with your degree from SRU represents a major step towards meeting your life goals and realizing the blessings of liberty and education. Acknowledge how we have all changed for the better as we move through stages of the COVID-19 pandemic Frederick Douglass drew upon his experiences of chattel slavery to illustrate his transformative journey towards emancipation. Education was a critical component of his experience. Overcoming ignorance and coming into contact with diverse populations of people throughout the U.S. and abroad, led him to embrace the expansiveness
PHOTO COURTESY OF URSULA PAYNE Ursula Payne, the university liason to PASSHE and dance professor at SRU, reflects on Fredrick Douglass's speech as she thinks about the future of the universiy and it's students.
of humanity. We have a collective responsibility to our future selves and our current community to be better human beings for the future of our world. We have all been impacted and humbled by the pandemic. Acknowledging each other’s humanity even as we disagree uplifts our community. As I consider my own time as a student at SRU in the 90’s, I was able to develop social networks that still support my personal and professional life today. As a Black female, cisgendered college student on a predominantly white campus I stumbled my way through learning
how to reach across the boundaries of race, gender and class to develop and deepen relationships with my peers and faculty members. Engaging with peers and experiencing faculty guidance in student/ faculty research projects or community-based initiatives helped me to mature as a human being and explore the potential of my life work. One of the great joys of my work as a professor and the director of the Frederick Douglass Institute is to participate in the evolution of my students as they discover their future aspirations. One of the ways we do this is by engaging
each other (and other faculty) in various creative, informational and academic collaborative projects across campus. Friendships have developed across academic and disciplinary silos which bring into view the complexity and challenges of the institution, along with the daily blessings of life, work and education. In closing, these items are ways to get us thinking about how to enhance our solidarity as a community, move forward together as a diverse body of learners and adapt to changes as we encounter the unknown challenges of the year.
SRU Greek Life transitions to informal recruitment # # By Morgan Miller Asst. Campus Life Editor
Slippery Rock University Fraternity and Sorority Life is changing fall recruitment to be informal, unlike the formal style that has taken place in past fall semesters. Fall 2021 informal recruitment officially started on Aug. 29. Formal recruitment, also known as Bid Day, would usually take place in the Quad involving all the chapters, members of the chapters and those looking to get recruited. This would usually take place in the fall semester, but this year formal recruitment is being pushed to the spring semester. Informal recruitment is a more relaxed way of joining a chapter. During this process, each chapter is on their own schedule and can plan their own events. This involves bid parties, one-on-one dates, coffee dates, hanging with a small group or any way for individuals to get to know one another. This way of recruitment is more common during the fall semester for colleges in the Northeast. Fifth-year senior, early and special education major, who also serves as the Vice President of Recruitment for the Panhellenic Council, Madeline Reno spoke on the reasoning behind
"It is not only helping the chapters, it is helping the individuals and letting everyone get a chance to figure out what their college life is going to be like."
– Madeline Reno, fifth-year senior and vice president of recuitment for the Panhellenic Council
HANNAH SLOPE / THE ROCKET Sisters of Delta Zeta gathered in the Smith Student Center for their first bid party of the fall 2021 informal recruitment. All of Greek Life is participating in bid parties or open rush events.
changing to informal recruitment this semester. “We started doing it like this because we wanted to make sure the incoming freshmen had this semester to work on their academics,” said Reno. To join a fraternity or sorority, you must have at least one
semester of college completed and a college GPA. “It is not only helping the chapters, it is helping the individuals and letting everyone get a chance to figure out what their college life is going to be like,” said Reno. “Then they will be able to add a fraternity or sorority
on top of that instead of throwing everything at them at once.” To join Fraternity and Sorority Life, student can find an interest link to fill out on CORE, as well as reaching out to chapter presidents. To stay up to date on events and meetings within Fraternity
and Sorority Life, follow these chapters on Instagram. Slippery Rock Panhellenic: @ srupanhellenic SRU Interfraternity Council: @ifc_sru SRU Fr a t e rn i t y and Sorority Life: @ sru_greeks.
CAMPUS LIFE Fall 2021 semester kicks off with the Involvement Fair
September 10, 2021
By Sarah Anderson Campus Life Editor
On Tues. Aug. 31, The Office for Student Engagement and Leadership hosted this year's Involvement Fair. This was one of the many month-long WOW (Week of Welcome) events for students. The Quad was filled with students discovering the over 200 clubs and organizations at SRU. Whether it be Student Government Association (SGA), University Program Board (UPB), Psychology Club or something as simple as Chess Club, students were able to engage with and hopefully find something to peak their interest. With it being so many student's first time on campus, whether a freshman, sophomore or someone coming back from a year and a half at home, it is important for students to find a group they can connect with. UPB is hoping to help students both new and returning to reconnect by providing entertainment and education for students at SRU. Natalie Glenn, senior and president of UPB, talks about the transition from virtual to in-person regarding the organization's participation and plans for the semester. "It's definitely interesting because having little to no interaction with students,
because students, I think, were just so burnt out from Zoom." "Going in, everyone wants to do something," Glenn said. "It's definitely a little overwhelming at times. I think it's gonna be a really good semester. I feel like everyone's excited, like they're itching to do something." Director of University Events and junior student Carriebell Sampson highlights events to come in the next few weeks. "We got this coming up, the drive-in movie theater that people will be looking forward to. We got a trip to the Pirates game." The Pirates game is currently sold out. The game is happening Sept. 10 and UPB will be providing transportation via bus, which will be picking students up at 3:30 p.m. at the Smith Student Center. The drive-in movie is happening Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. in the Swope Music Building Parking Lot. They will be playing "In The Heights," and will have food and concessions provided. Clubs and organizations on campus also give students a chance to get more involved with their majors. Clubs such as Psychology Club, Early Childhood Club, Recreational Therapy Club and many more give students these opportunities. A full list of these clubs and organizations can be found on CORE. During the online semesters, students found a
HANNAH SLOPE / THE ROCKET Students filled into The Quad to learn about the 200+ clubs and organizations on campus. This was many clubs first opportunities to meet returning students in-person.
chance to begin new clubs. Senior Nick Uba founded the Exercise Science Journal Club last semester. This years involvement fair was the club's debut to students on campus. Uba explains the struggle of starting a new club while being virtual. "So online it was difficult because it was hard to draw interest when you're not seeing anybody," Uba said. "We had to just send a bunch of emails out and hope people came back." Exercise Science Journal Club is a way for students to engage with their peers while discussing their
Find Delight in a new club at SRU By Morgan Miller Asst. Campus Life Editor
Delight Ministries, a brand new club at SRU, invites college women into a Christ-centered community that encourages vulnerability and transforms stories. Delight Ministries meets weekly to share stories of God at work, incorporate worship nights, and provides opportunities to serve God and create relationships with one another. Delight Ministries is brand new this semester and had their first meeting Aug. 24. T h e p re s i d e n t o f Delight Ministries Trinity Romesberg spoke about their kickoff event Tues. night. “Kickoff was amazing, and I am so glad we were able to do this in a safe way with COVID-19 and still be able to have a big group of people,” said Romesberg. Delight Ministries is a community that provides a space on college campuses
for women to grow their relationship with Christ and how He has been at work in their lives. The five core values of Delight Ministries include: invitational, vulnerable community, effective innovation, equipping and discipling, and spirit led. Delight chapters are located at colleges and universities all over the nation. The first club meeting was a success with 95 girls in attendance. The club discussed Delight Ministries as a whole and at SRU. Romesberg shared her story on how Delight Ministries began at SRU. “My friend introduced me to this podcast, and it happened to be affiliated with Delight Ministries,” said Romesberg. “Because of that I was able to have a connection and from there I followed Delight Ministries on Instagram. The algorithm is really weird and I happened to come across their Instagram story which never ever did that.”
Romesberg said she will never forget when she clicked on the Delight Ministries story which provided a link to fill out a form to start a Delight Ministry. She felt Delight Ministries could be something very powerful at SRU. From there she completed an interview with the Delight Ministries headquarters and then worked with the University to start a new club. “I am glad to see this huge group of girls established and I think that last night was a monumental night because it’s not just about what is happening right now on campus,” said Romesberg. “It’s about planting this seed that is going to continue on after we graduate.” Students who are interested in joining Delight Ministries at SRU can find more information through CORE or Instagram @delight_sru. Weekly meetings will be held every Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. in Eisenberg 111.
MORGAN MILLER / THE ROCKET Trinity Romesberg brought Delight Ministries to SRU as a way to connect Christian women on campus. Club meetings have had large turnouts and the group continues to grow.
interests on the topic. Students get to read articles, take notes, ask questions and discuss with others. "[I hope] most of all we just grow as students and as citizens in society," Uba said. Whether it be getting involved with majorspecific clubs or campus involvement, there are clubs for all students. There are even organizations on campus that are geared to helping support the student population. BOOST Peer Coaching is one of those organizations, focusing on peer coaching and personal, emotional and
social wellness. Students can use BOOST as a resource for any struggles they may be having, or join if they are interested in being able to support their peers. Nick Condon, a senior student and member of BOOST discussed the transition from online to in-person. "We've had a lot more participation in events and a lot more chances to connect with students." Condon continued, "We're all really excited because there's a lot more programming we get to do and things in person that we've been putting off."
BOOST didn't let the online format ruin their spirit. They tried to keep students engaged with game nights, collaborations with other organizations and general programs that could be done virtually. The fall 2021 Involvement Fair was a strong welcome back for students across the board. New and returning students had a chance to reconnect with clubs and organizations that bring campus to life. More information about all clubs and organizations on campus are available on CORE.
September 10, 2021
Who are they: YEAT By Owen Myers Review Columnist
Over the summer, t h e r e ’s o n e a r t i s t who’s been booming underground. He had the opportunity to perform live for the first time, alongside two of his affiliates. He trended on TikTok multiple times, which created a ton of buzz around his name. He’s been thrown into the Playboi Carti niche of rap. This artist goes by the name of YEAT. In an interview with Our Generation Music, YEAT said he is a rapper out of Portland, OR and has Romanian and Mexican roots in his
" In the interview with Our Generation Music, YEAT said he’ll try his hardest to get the song on the project, but there’s no guarantee."
– Owen Myers, review columnist
family. He is affiliated with the underground c o l l e c t i ve Sl a y w o r l d , which features other bubbling ar tists like Autumn!, Summrs, and Kankan. YEAT currently has four albums and four EP’s available for streaming. The first time YEAT caught the attention of the public was his song “Sorry Bout That” from his project “4L” that dropped on July 11 of this year. The listener is immediately introduced to the memorable hook and a somewhat odd cadence. After a few listens, people may add the song to their personal playlist and may even listen to the rest of the song’s respective project.
The artist’s latest project release is an EP titled “Trendi.” The EP contains four solid songs that I recommend for people to give a listen to. The project features one of the many songs that has trended as a snippet on TikTok called, “Mad Bout That.” This sequel to the previous song mentioned had the same kind of flow and subject matter, with even better production. YEAT has released an iconic song which he has titled, “Get Busy.” The song contains a line where YEAT says, “This song was already turnt but here’s a bell” and a low-pitched bell “dong” is added in. Before its release, the sound started
to trend when the user @ kaballer72 posted a TikTok of him dancing to the song. The sound gained so much attention that Drake followed him on Instagram and repeated the iconic line on his own Instagram story. In an Our Generation Music vlog of Y E AT ’s first-ever live performance, he announced he has a song with rapper Lil Yachty. He also mentioned he had the song with Lil Yachty in the previously m e n t i o n e d i n t e r v i e w, but the bubbling artist said he would perform the song live. I’m not s u re i f t h e s o n g w a s performed based on the footage in the vlog,
but there were songs t h a t t h e c r ow d , a n d myself, did not seem to recognize. On Ju l y 1 7 , t h e user @oi30tna took to the Playboi Carti Reddit and shared an Instagram story b y Y E AT t h a t a s k e d fans if he should drop the song he has with underground legend UnoTheActivist. This would be a great collaboration considering the amount of traffic YEAT would gain from the featured artist’s name alone. Will we receive both songs on the next project? Who knows. In the interview with Our
Generation Music, YEAT said he’ll try his hardest to get the song on the project, but there’s no guarantee. As for the other song, there’s no new news on it, so there’s no sure answer. YEAT ’s next album will be titled “UP2ME,” which he announced o n Tw i t t e r. He s a i d it will be dropping “sooner than soon.” I recommend people to give it a listen and hop on the new wave of this underground artist. Here are some of my personal favorites: Sorry Bout That, Mad Bout That, Off Tha Lot, Testlas and Rovers and X ta C.