LEGACY L O U I S I A N A S TA T E U N I V E R S I T Y
GET T I N’ TI P S Y cupcakes with a twist
L S U GYM NAS TS beyond the floor
S G A PATH Y why such an enigma?
FA S H I ON p. 18
EDITOR IN CHIEF Sydney Blanchard
PHOTO EDITOR Jesse Guillory ART DIRECTOR Sarah Kershaw MULTIMEDIA DIRECTOR De’Andra Roberts WRITERS Logan Anderson Lauren Duhon Raina LaCaze Katie Macdonald Ashley Monaghan Aryanna Prasad DESIGNERS Claire Cassreino Cassidy Day Andrew Hebert PHOTOGRAPHERS Kristen Barrett Lizzy Caroline Charles Champagne Jordan Hefler Whitney Huet SALES MANAGER Katelyn Sonnier
ADVISOR Tim Schreiner
E DI T OR
MANAGING EDITOR Morgan Searles
TECHNOLOGY ADVISOR Alex Cook
Sydney Blanchard EDITOR IN CHIEF
t has been argued that millennials are a narcissistic generation. Sure, we may tend to be a bit self-absorbed, pioneers of the “selfie” and online “slacktivism,” but it’s just human nature to be concerned with the self above all else. As we tend to see ourselves as the center of our own universes, it’s hard to pay too much attention to those who orbit around us. We’re often more aware of our own struggles than the struggles of others. But perhaps it’s not too late for us millennials. Perhaps learning about the challenges others face daily will force us to be more empathetic and less self-involved. In this issue, you’ll read about young mothers who balance school, work and parenting. You’ll meet a renowned photography professor who refuses to accept his physical limitations and a student suffering with a disease that’s invisible to the outside world. What do all of these people have in common? They face their daily challenges with strength and unparalleled courage. It is really easy to give up in the face of hardship. Life can be overwhelming, and many times it’s tempting to throw in the towel when things get too hard. But that never makes for a good story.
PUBLISHER Office of Student Media
MISSION STATEMENT: LEGACY is a quarterly student-produced magazine that explores the diverse community of Louisiana State University through in-depth features, profiles and photography. LEGACY focuses on student entertainment, leisure and academics, and it strives to be informative, provocative and dynamic.
lsulegacymag.com LEGACY magazine @LSULEGACY
fe at ures 8
Photography professor talks recovery and craft.
off the mat
Chronic illness affects quality of life for spoonies. Parenting and studying is a balancing act. Meet the stars of LSU gymnastics.
ex t ras 4
Fitness freaks are hooked on Daisy Miller.
fashion: life aquatic
sand. set. spike.
drawing the line
SG faces challenges of diversity and communication. Alcohol-infused cupcakes are literally intoxicating. Make a splash this spring.
Cold-pressed juices - for your health! LSUâ€™s newest team talks taking their sport outside. Appropriation versus appreciation - whereâ€™s the line?
dirty dancing LSU fitness enthusiasts are hooked on Daisy Miller.
WORDS | Logan Anderson
PHOTOS | Charles Champagne
tanding in front of a class of 20 women, ranging from college students to grandmothers, Daisy Miller outlines the finer points of the stank face. Demonstrating a move from the upcoming choreography, Miller tells her class that “sometimes, you just need a little stank face. It just feels right.” The women laugh nervously at the suggestion of making stank faces, but when the moment comes in Miller’s hip-hop dance fitness routine, each face in the room contorts just as Miller’s had moments ago. It is impossible to stand in one of Miller’s classes and not want to follow her every move. Miller is electrifying, commanding the room just through her movement. She takes classes through lively routines set to upbeat Top 40 songs with a wide smile on her face, occasionally shouting encouragement at her students when she sees them getting into the routines. By the end of her classes, students are exhausted but exhilarated. Miller did not always have the dance skills she has now. She grew up playing volleyball and tennis. It wasn’t until she took her first Zumba class at the LSU UREC that she found her passion for fitness.
DESIGN | Cassidy Day
“I became certified to teach Zumba that summer, and I taught Zumba for two years before I kind of branched off and started my own class, Street Beats.” Though Miller loved Zumba, she found herself constrained by the guidelines issued to Zumba instructors. “In Zumba, each class has to be 70 percent Latin based songs and then 30 percent can be whatever you want. So I would do 30 percent hip-hop, and some of my students approached me asking if we could do a class that was just hip-hop, and I thought that was a great idea.” Miller describes her class as hip-hop-choreofitness, and her combination of fitness-style moves and booty-popping dances quickly made her class at the UREC famous. Every week, people lined up outside of Miller’s studio waiting for the chance to take her class, and with word of mouth the class grew every week. Miller believes that it’s the combination of fun and fitness that bring people back to her classes, and she loves that she is able to help people live healthier lives while they enjoy themselves. “Everyone needs a little twerk in their life,” Miller says. “It does the body good.”
ma st e r c rafts man 8
Esteemed LSU professor Thomas Neff talks about photography and recovery.
WORDS | Katie Macdonald
PHOTOS | Jordan Hefler
tudents always knew photography Professor Thomas Neff had high expectations. The 65-year-old artist’s dedication to technique and traditional black and white photography, combined with uncompromising honesty, make Neff’s classes challenging, but transformative. However, a stroke in October 2013 left Neff temporarily paralyzed and mute. His only way to communicate was gently squeezing with his left hand. Family, friends, students and coworkers feared he might never recover. But Neff always had high expectations. From his recovery, to his craft and classroom, Neff is defined by his persistence. Neff is quick to say he loves his students. “Always have, always will,” he said, smiling. “They are my joy.” But in his 32 years at LSU, Neff’s relationships with his students have been shaped by his resolute demand for excellence, a demand that tests and transforms. Photography seniors Brittini Bell and Katie Crawford first met Neff as sophomores in his intermediate photography class. Both students described Neff as a film-extraordinaire and master technician. “I was a little intimidated,” Bell said. “Everyone talks about how serious he is about it [technique].” But learning techniques like the zone system, a method of capturing the range between true black and white in film photography, helped convert a subjective art form into a procedural operation. Bell and Crawford described how Neff requires students to keep extremely detailed technical notebooks, which he uses to correct composition, exposure or even concept. “He was very hands-on,” Crawford said. “If we were a minute off he would let us know and help us redo it.” Neff explained that learning and executing proper technique is the fundamental principle of good photography.
DESIGN | Sarah Kershaw
“You have to make your photography as convincing as possible. Technique is only a way to say it better,” Neff said. “You have to convince the viewer that you put your heart into it.” Neff also emphasized composure behind the camera, reminding students that they decide what a picture looks like – no one else. “A photo is not the photography of one thing,” Neff said. “It is also a the relationship with the surroundings, deciding what to leave in and what to leave out.” And Neff isn’t afraid to be brutally honest, saying it benefits no one to let mistakes slip by. In fact, Neff’s honesty helped Crawford and Bell realize intermediate photography wouldn’t be like their previous classes. While graduate students who taught lower-level classes were quick to encourage personal growth and learning, Neff called out bad work. Crawford described how Neff told a student her work was not was not good enough for the photography program in a final critique. “He made a point to say, ‘You didn’t come and see me the entire semester. I could have helped you.’” Helping struggling students find their photography style is what Neff finds most rewarding, he said. Ultimately, he believes students can find their true nature through the lens. “My outlook of life is integral to my photography,” he said. “I only photograph what I feel passionately about. Over time, students can find that, too.” Neff’s discovery of his true nature came when a friend in the Army Reserves introduced him to his first camera. “I was curious about what he was doing,” Neff said. “Then I took a look in the camera lens.” Curiosity turned into a passion, leading Neff to enroll in Riverside City College in 1969 and later to University of California at Riverside, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in fine arts.
As a student, he met Herb Quick, an industry-renowned photographer famous for his command of light. “I didn’t know his work,” Neff said. “I just heard he might offer a job. So I pestered him to hire me every week for eight weeks. I was determined to work with him.” For five years, Neff worked under Quick as an apprentice, learning the zone system. Quick also taught Neff how to use a view camera, a machine the size of a bowling ball developed in the 1850s, which Neff continues to use today. However, Quick’s most valuable lesson was his unwavering work ethic. “The way Herb pursued his work, he was a great technician and master printer,” Neff said. “I could say it shaped my life.” Neff also studied briefly under Ansel Adams and Paul Caponigro during a weeklong workshop, which inspired Neff to pursue large-format and landscape photography. Neff’s interest in large-format photography stemmed from his obsession with detail. “The large negatives provide an element of control. The process drew me in,” he said. Throughout his training, Neff’s persistence to mastering detail and technique gave him an uncanny familiarity with his large, highly technical 5x7 view camera. He lugged his camera across the country as technique transformed into instinct, capturing diverse landscapes, architecture and people along the way. After completing his master’s at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Neff struggled for two years before finding a job at LSU in 1982. He decided if he didn’t live in Colorado, then he wanted to live in another place entirely. “Louisiana is the drippy South – both in the summer and the winter,” he said, laughing. In Louisiana, Neff’s environment changed, but his devotion for capturing his subjects’ stories remained. Assistant Professor Kristine Thompson, who has worked with Neff since 2012, said Neff’s work exemplifies his interest in getting to know his subjects, especially in his series following survivors of Hurricane Katrina. In the months after the storm, Neff traveled around New Orleans, capturing the images of survivors and their environment. He spent hours speaking to each subject. “He’s very interested in getting to know people, very easy to talk to,” Thompson said. But a post-surgery stroke on October 16, 2013, left Neff speechless. Damaged receptors on the left side of his brain struggled to connect simple physical messages like swallowing. Doctors predicted Neff might never regain use of his hands or be able to speak again. Emotionally, Neff also faced significant challenges. Although paralyzed, Neff was cognitive, meaning he was trapped inside of a body that couldn’t obey him.
But Neff was determined to break through. Beginning by squeezing his left hand, Neff astounded doctors and nurses by standing up just weeks after the stroke – even when he wasn’t supposed to, according to his wife, Sharon. “He was very dedicated to showing he was going to get better,” Sharon said. Neff’s tenaciousness made him an excellent candidate for rehab, where he focused on intensive physical, occupational and speech therapies. But as Neff’s recovery progressed, he became aware of his absence from the classroom. He worried about how his students, especially seniors completing their final projects, were progressing without him. Meanwhile, his students worried about Neff. Bell and Crawford explained how upset they were to learn of his stroke, and they both wanted to find a way to show how much they cared. “He means too much to us,” Bell said. “A card wasn’t enough.” Students in the department worked together to make a quilt, decorated with drawings and signatures from dozens of Neff’s students. Neff beamed as he showed off the blue and
white blanket. It was a surprise he said he’d never forget. But Neff had a surprise of his own. While it is customary for photography professors to visit the final art shows of graduating seniors, no one expected Neff to attend – no one, except Neff, himself. When Neff walked into graduating senior Desiree Watkins’ final show, students were shocked, Thompson said. “It was obviously important to Tom for [the students] to see how important they were to him,” Thompson said. “He was breaking all the rules, displaying the feistiness of his personality. That desire to be the old Tom was very present.” Still on sick leave, Neff doesn’t work officially for the University. Instead, he unofficially assists undergraduates and graduate students by offering advice and critiques, and helps maintain the darkroom. He plans on returning to campus in fall 2014. In the meantime, Neff’s constant presence is sorely missed, Thompson said. “He’s such a remarkable person,” Thompson said. “He’s clearly working so hard, and to see the progress he’s made — it’s really hopeful.”
WORDS | Aryanna Prasad
DE SI GN | S arah Kershaw
here are two weeks out of the academic year that make or break every member of LSU’s Student Government: election season. Every spring, LSU students can vote for their next president, vice president and members of the Senate and Judicial branches. Yet some students who want to make a change never come close to the Capitol Chamber. Though all its information is open to the public, LSU’s Student Government is an enigma to a large portion of the student body. With an average of 200 votes per Senate candidate in last spring’s election, the lackluster participation would indicate most students are uninterested. Whether the disinterest arises from a lack of diverse representation or inadequate communication is up for debate. SG is well aware of these issues, according to Trey Schwartzenburg, the Senate Speaker pro tempore. “As a whole, Student Government has been doing substantially bigger things in certain areas, but not communications,” Schwartzenburg said. “I don’t know if students are seeing it. That’s one department I haven’t seen drastic improvement in.” In 2012, only one in four students voted in Student Government elections at LSU, the lowest voter turnout in the SEC. Few students know what goes on in SG, but there’s no simple explanation. It’s unclear whether the burden of political communication falls on students or their elected representation. Either way, political involvement at LSU is lacking compared to other SEC schools. Understanding how most students typically get involved in SG may shed light on why the student body does not. HOW IT WORKS There are three branches of SG: legislative, executive and judicial. Senators, led by the Speaker Pro Tempore, draft bills on behalf of student concerns, with multiple senators endorsing each bill. Wednesday Senate meetings include debates about legislation and proposals, such as whether a smoking ban on campus will be enforced or whether gay faculty engaged in civil unions can receive benefits. The executive branch, headed by the president and vice president, houses different councils that meet weekly to address specific issues. The chief justice governs the judicial branch, which serves as the judicial review for cases brought up concerning SG.
Elections are held twice a year, with each legislative and College Council candidate running for a half seat (one semester) and others running for a full seat (two semesters). For the Judicial Branch, a half seat is two semesters, and a full seat is four semesters. A president and vice president are elected every spring in the more popularized election. This is when most students meet hopeful candidates as they receive push cards in Free Speech Alley. The push cards list the members of the ticket or group of candidates who run under a unified identity and platform. Rather than individual candidates, it’s the ticket name that is promoted, a tactic that leaves independent candidates at a disadvantage.
Alexander DeBlieux, chair of Student Life, Diversity and Community Outreach, welcomes the idea of students outside SG becoming involved. “Honestly, I think that if you educate yourself, you’re more than capable of holding office,” he said. “It’s great to have fresh faces.” Because of an inability to reach a sufficient number of voters, victorious independent candidates are an anomaly. Then-freshman David Scotton overcame these odds, winning as an independent Senate candidate during the fall 2012 semester. Scotton was an active member of Senate, proposing and sponsoring several bills. When he recognized issues with communication, he set out to bridge this gap with transparency videos. His ideas weren’t accepted, so at the end of the term, he made a video documenting his experience in SG. “It needed to be exposed for what was happening,” he said. “Students loved it. It was real. Student Government obviously did not.” Scotton was told that communication was not his role in SG, while others commended him for his initiative. He served out the fall semester, resigning in November to focus on other extracurricular activities. Scotton spoke candidly about the ticket system. “A big part of it is because of cliqueness in SG,” he said. “It becomes just a select few who represent a select few. There’s not widespread reach to students. Because of the way elections are done [with tickets,] there’s no thought of who the person is
or of their ideas. That’s the main problem. If students are engaged with a candidate whose ideas are represented, they’re connected.” DeBlieux said he sees this potential for connection with students, citing it as one of the biggest challenges SG faces. Through his leadership role, DeBlieux has a plan to change that. He wants to contact and meet with nearly 400 student organizations on campus to discuss how SG can best be of service. DeBlieux even proposes tailoring messages and presentations to each organization. “It’s a big undertaking,” he said, “but that’s what Student Government is here for.” However, according to T. Graham Howell, who lost last year’s presidential election amidst controversy, there would be no need for this meeting with 400 student organizations if the current administration simply followed Student Government’s bylaws. Currently, the student government Constitution calls for one meeting per semester of the president’s cabinet, which includes representation from student organizations, student media and other interest groups. The cabinet was designed to command input from all around campus, Howell said. “The President’s cabinet hasn’t met in two and a half years,” Howell said. “This is my biggest issue with Student Government. They’re trying to get rid of the President’s cabinet.” Howell said that instances like these are not isolated. If time goes by, and rules written in the Constitution or bylaws are now follows, the powers that be try to simply strike the law.
Some students don’t wait to be given information. Some feel compelled to seek out information online or at Senate meetings. Schwartzenburg said Helen Frink, University College Center for Freshman Year senator, attended Student Government meetings for a semester before she was elected to learn about the process. Frink, now an active senator, recently sponsored a bill for water bottle refill stations in the Student Union. Schwartzenburg also recalled a student filing a Senate application for a vacancy from seeing it on the SG website alone.
In spring elections, heading each ticket is a presidential pair that largely represents the whole ticket. Despite the assertions that each presidential ticket differs, their platforms and candidates share demographic qualities. The ticket typically consists of a male presidential candidate and a female vice-presidential candidate. Usually, one of them is Greek to secure the “Greek vote.” This year, both running teams include a male presidential candidate and a female vice presidential candidate. DeBlieux said the majority of voters are Greek females and freshmen. “It’s somewhat of a formula, but you have to be very careful,” he explained. There’s the possibility of splitting the Greek vote, which can weigh heavy on the election outcome. Tickets that challenge the traditional structure of the presidential ticket have run in the past, but each election yields a pair demographically similar to the incumbent. LSU hasn’t seen a female President in years, and the first and last African-American president was elected in 1972. Caucuses, or groups of elected officials representing a political interest, have made an effort to incorporate diversity, but Schwartzenburg said the system is ineffective. “In my opinion, the caucus system has failed Student Government,” Schwartzenburg said. Currently, there are three caucuses: the Greek Caucus, the First Year Caucus and the Black Caucus, but recently there has been a movement to abolish the caucuses and change them to delegations. The first two seldom meet, and there is currently one member in the Black Caucus. A movement to abolish caucuses altogether is up for a vote this spring. Instead, Schwartzenburg and other members of SG have outlined a delegation system to represent student groups. A member of SG would represent each special interest, such as a Spectrum delegate on behalf of LGBT interests. The delegation system could serve academic interests that aren’t covered by other colleges, such as the LSU Honors College. A group would simply need to apply to be assigned an SG delegate. Ultimately, Scotton feels the responsibility of incorporating diversity does not fall on SG. “That’s a total lack of motivation
on students,” he said. “It’s not Student Government’s fault. It’s easy to be in Student Government, and it’s not Student Government’s role to be diverse.” This year’s election includes a presidential ticket with no SG ties, an anomaly in the normal pattern of student government at LSU.
LOUD & CLEAR
Thousands of voices go unheard, but SG insists they try to listen. Increased outreach has been an initiative of SG during the Woodard/Parks administration. Both Schwartzenburg and DeBlieux praised President John Woodard for developing a strong relationship with University administration on the LSU Board of Supervisors. “The amount of respect students have earned from the administration is unbelievable,” DeBlieux said. Though he criticized past outreach tactics, Scotton says that this year, they’re doing a good job. The increased outreach may yield different results this election. Scwartzenburg noted a record number of people who’ve filed for election, meaning more students are interested in getting involved. Rather than push a particular message, sharing what accomplishments could be enough to spur student involvement. “We would hope that people see what we do, like what we do and want to get involved with Student Government,” he said. Ideally, Student Government is meant to represent and serve students, a philosophy Schwartzenburg and DeBlieux endorse. The issue is with the followthrough. “Every person [in SG] needs to have one thing in mind: Making the life of every student that much easier, better, safer,” he said. But that can be hard to believe, especially with some voices, including Howell’s, calling for impeachment. “If you’ve got a Vice President getting more money than they should and not telling anyone about it, and you’ve got a President who’s not getting his cabinet together and not looking for input from people...if you’ve got a problem then fix it,” Howell said. “People aren’t following the rules.”
cocktail cupcakes WORDS | Sydney Blanchard
PHOTOS | Whitney Huet
| Andrew Hebert
Alcohol-infused cupcakes are literally intoxicating.
fter a long, hard day, there’s no better way to relax than sipping on a strong, refreshing cocktail. For others, a sweet treat at the end of the day washes all cares away. But what if we told you it’s possible to combine the two? Let us introduce you to Treat Me, Baton Rouge’s best-kept secret. Treat Me offers alcohol-infused cupcakes that mimic all your favorite cocktails. Just don’t ask owner Angela Eaglin about the calorie count. “Don’t think about it. Cheat.” Eaglin comes from a long line of bakers and decided to open Treat Me in 2011. The nurse practitioner and mother conceptualized the idea of infusing alcohol in her cupcakes in 2005 but didn’t act on the idea until recently. Alcohol-infused options include flavors like White Russian, Appletini, margarita, mojito and strawberry daiquiri, all made with high quality liquors like Patron and Grey Goose. But Eaglin is open to new challenges. If you can dream it up, she’s willing to make it. “I will try something, and it will just come out right,” Eaglin said. Eaglin is a perfectionist, and her dedication to her craft shows. Though arguably less fun, Treat Me’s non-alcoholic cupcakes come in countless mouth-watering flavors like Pistachio Cream, Hummingbird and Birthday Cake. According to Eaglin, Treat Me’s bestseller and a favorite of Coach Les Miles’ is the Berry Chantilly cupcake topped with icing made by combining butter icing and whipped icing and adding real berries and almonds. Treat Me even hosts 21+ parties for birthdays or for a little pre-gaming before going out. In the future, Eaglin hopes to open Treat Me’s doors to students looking to satisfy their sweet tooth with a cupcake and some coffee while studying. The Coursey Boulevard location sells cookies, cakes, cupcake pops and recently added macaroons to the list. But if you’re feeling indulgent, the alcohol-infused cupcakes will run you $24 for a dozen minis. There may be no better way to eat your feelings.
PHOTOS | JESSE GUILLORY
DESIGN | SARAH KERSHAW
A Q U AT I C 19
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juiced The cold-press juice trend isn’t just for health freaks.
fast food fanatic
or many college students, gone are the days of kickball games and balanced home-cooked meals. Eating salads and visiting the UREC are great ways to stay healthy, but realistically, not every college student has the time or motivation. There are some quick fixes that can fit into any booked schedule: chugging a juice or protein shake can keep up with your recommended fruit and vegetable intake. The latest trend in health food culture isn’t food at all: meet the superjuice. This isn’t like your cup of OJ in the morning — cold-pressed juices are packed with nutrients that adequately supplement and sometimes substitute meals. The Big Squeezy, a juice bar specializing in cold-pressed juices, might be your one-stop shop in tailoring your diet to your lifestyle. Located on Perkins Road, these Californians brought their sunny project to revitalize Baton Rouge health culture. Need an energy boost? There’s a juice for that.
no cold immunity They can’t plan your life for you, but they can show you how to shape things up a bit. Here are some tips and tricks for unhealthy habits college students struggle with.
FAST FOOD FANATIC Between classes, work and whatever else that’s consuming your time, fast food is a convenient way to fuel up for the day. No matter how much you can fill up on five bucks in the Student Union, your body isn’t getting all the nutrients it needs. A juice cleanse may be what you need to break the cycle. A juice cleanse is a consistent diet of juices, giving your body a break from processing all that processed junk. In addition to giving you more energy, a cleanse can also curb unhealthy eating habits. It’s not as tough as it may sound: The Big Squeezy has specific instructions and plans, making the switch as convenient as a combo meal.
AMATEUR COLLEGE VEGETARIAN
NEVER EATS VEGGIES
Part of the college experience is finding out what you like or don’t like — and some students discover they’re not too fond of meat. Becoming vegetarian is not as easy as cutting the meat of your diet: protein deficiency is a serious problem new vegetarians sometimes overlook. There are other ways to keep the meat on your bones without touching any. Nuts are a good source of protein, so an Almond Mylk could hold down your hunger for the day. Spinach is also a good way to get protein, so Sweet or Skinny Greens can create muscles like Popeye’s without eating there. The Easy Being Green superfood smoothie makes it exactly that — avocado, green superfood powder and almond milk make the transition easy for any green vegetarian.
Then, of course, there’s the other end of spectrum that is endorsed by south Louisiana culture and our delicious local eateries: perhaps you’re a raging carnivore. Unlike the Californian obsession with avocado, good ole Louisiana cookin’ doesn’t leave much room for salad. If green things aren’t your thing, a green juice may be a good idea. When kale and spinach are mixed with pineapple and lemon, it makes the veggies go down much easier.
NO COLD IMMUNITY Considering what college kids typically put their bodies through, an apple a day may not be enough to keep the doctor away. Having a cold really puts a stop on your daily activities and school work, not to mention the headaches, breathing problems and inability to taste food. Taking a shot of Immunity Booster will have your health looking peachy. Immunity Booster. This potent mix of orange, lemon, ginger, cayenne and oil of oregano will help you survive the rest of the semester.
CAFFEINE ADDICT Let’s face it: you haven’t proven yourself as a college student unless you’re nursing a caffeine addiction. There’s a reason you can’t walk ten minutes on campus without running into a coffee shop, but that doesn’t mean this is the best way to keep your energy up. If you want the caffeine effect sans crash, a Root Awakening may be the way to go.
PARTY ANIMAL I get it — you just couldn’t resist Wine Night. Or 50 cent shot night. Or keg stands. Point is, we’re serious about our fun here at LSU, but it eventually catches up, probably by the next morning. Switch the Tigerland specials for a few Remedy Shots and flush out your poison of choice.
quiet pain Some sickness canâ€™t be seen. Chronic illness patients often suffer silently.
Olivia Toney cites her dreams as a primary inspiration for her paintings.
WORDS | Raina LaCaze
PHOTOS | Kristen Barrett
ward-winning writer Christine Miserandino developed the Spoon Theory while trying to explain to a friend what it was like to live a single day as a Lupus patient. Miserandino used a bouquet of spoons to represent the amount of energy she is allotted each morning. After each step in her day, a spoon was taken from the bunch. Simple tasks like getting out of the bed required the use of one spoon. Factors such as bruises, fever chills and aching hands had to be considered when getting dressed. She explained that people with a chronic illness need to have reserve spoons for evening tasks such as eating dinner or getting ready for bed. One LSU spoonie has lost countless friends because of her struggle with Crohn’s Disease. They don’t know that she silently suffers each day and had to cancel a lunch date because she was in too much pain to move. Painting and drawing major Olivia Toney, 21, was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at 19 years old. A spoonie is someone living with a chronic, tiring and most likely
DESIGN | Claire Cassreino
painful illness. She said her constant abdominal pain comes in waves of intensity. “There are some days when it’s really debilitating to where I’ll just be really sluggish and I honestly can’t get out of bed,” Toney said. Sometimes we take for granted our ability to go to school and have enough energy to simply make it through the day; never thinking that the person sitting next to us may only have a couple spoons left before their energy is all dried up. Each day offers a new amount of spoons. Some days there aren’t enough spoons for spoonies to make it to school or work. Toney said she misses many classes because of her endless fatigue. The more stressed out she is, the harder it gets. She said the excess stress during finals causes her to do poorly. “It [Crohn’s disease] makes me feel really guilty, especially when it comes to school, because I might come off as lazy to professors or other students,” she said. Toney said that before now, she did not tell many
people about her illness aside from her family. It was not until after she began dating her boyfriend that she found out he also suffered from Crohn’s. She was reluctant to tell friends or join a support group in the past because she felt embarrassed of her disease. “Being around comforting people makes me feel better,” Toney said. Before she was diagnosed, Toney said her parents struggled to understand her demand for frequent ER visits and refusal to do chores. Even though her family is more understanding now, she said that it is tricky dealing with friends. Because of her reluctance to tell friends, Toney said she lost many of them. They didn’t understand why she would often cancel plans at the last minute. As a spoonie, Toney draws in bed to keep her reserve full. The silver lining, she said, was no longer taking her random spurts of energy for granted. “The pain bothers me, but not as much as being
unproductive,” she said. Vacations and birthdays don’t mean the same thing to spoonies and healthy people. Toney said that being sick during family trips prevents her from doing the very thing vacation is designed for: relaxing. Toney did not celebrate her 21st birthday with the ideal extravaganza most underage students dream of. She spent the night in bed because of her inability to do anything but that. Luckily, she said her mother’s insurance covers the cost of her medications and doctor visits. But for patients like Toney’s boyfriend who don’t have that kind of coverage, the daily medication can be extremely costly. Since many drugs for chronic illness are fairly new, there are no generic alternatives. “It makes me really mad and upset that it’s never going to go away and it’s always going to be like this,” Toney said. “It’s hard to find a balance of dealing with that and dealing with my responsibilities at the same time.”
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The women of LSUâ€™s newest official sports team talk taking volleyball outside.
WORDS | Raina LaC aze
PHOTOS | Charles Champagne
o you like favorable weather conditions, endless imprints in the sand and making new traditions? So do the four women who decided to kick their shoes off and wave goodbye to an air conditioned court to play LSU Sand Volleyball, the first sport added to LSU’s lineup of teams since women’s soccer and softball were added in the 1996-97 athletic year. Five years ago when sand volleyball was on the brink of becoming an “it” sport, head volleyball coach Fran Flory proposed the addition of sand volleyball to the women’s varsity lineup. During the last fall semester, sports administrators gave her the green light and hired Associate Head Coach Russell Brock from Rice University. “Adding Russell to our staff has been seamless,” Flory said. “We knew from the start who we wanted to lead this program. I wasn’t sure I could get him…He has worked tirelessly in terms of recruiting for this year and beyond. He has already created the image that LSU Sand Volleyball is going to be one of those truly elite programs that is the same as every other program at LSU.” Nationally, Flory said men’s volleyball is not the hot commodity that women’s is. The sand-only roster includes Kaitlin Hatcher, Meghan Mannari, Victoria Boraski and Emma Hiller. Hatcher’s mother was one of the first to be on the women’s indoor volleyball team at LSU. Flory explained that the volleyball IQ of spectators is much higher while watching sand volleyball versus indoor volleyball because fans do not have to follow the intricacies of six people moving on a court. She said when viewers get confused they don’t enjoy the sport. In indoor volleyball, players are highly specialized in their position. Flory said that sand volleyball is an unforgiving sport because teams target an individual opponent. Since there are only two players per team in sand, each player must be highly proficient in every position. “Do I hate coming out here and practicing and getting my butt kicked?” Hatcher said. “No, I love it, and Russell makes volleyball interesting again.” Games are played like a tennis match; the best three out of five pairs wins. The type of athlete is also different, even though Flory said some indoor players transition well. Hatcher said she likes not being in a controlled environment where there are different variables like the wind and sun. “First and foremost, in terms of my responsibilities, I am an indoor coach,” Flory said. “My forte is not on
DESIGN | Andrew Heb ert
the sand. That’s why I wanted Russell. He is a great sand coach.” Brock started playing sand volleyball competitively toward the end of his college career. As his first head coaching experience, Brock said he was thrilled to be a part of the vision for the whole program rather than being responsible for different parts of it. “In my understanding, when you have opportunities to do work, eventually you find what you were created to do,” Brock said. “I could do whatever and probably live a fairly joyful life, but when I coach it’s clear to me that that’s what I was made to do.” Brock said his main focus is on recruiting. For a process that would have been going on for three or four years, Brock has to play catch-up because of the constrained timeline. Unlike indoor, Brock said there was no formula for position recruitment. Sand athletes can come in all shapes and sizes, but Brock said they all have one thing in common: great ball control. He said the unformulated process requires a lot more watching to see how players are effective. The final step is pairing a recruited athlete with a teammate that enhances their current skillset. “I truly look forward to being in the office and being out in the sand with the girls,” Brock said. Training, planning practices, recruiting; all of it has been better than it should be.” Brock said he wanted to start traditions that create a certain vibe when the women walked onto the sand. He said the groundwork is being laid to build on, so the team can look back and know how they have always done things and continue down the same path. Hiller said she hopes to make sleepovers one of the first traditions. “Everything is a new tradition,” Brock said. “We have none. That’s part of the fun in doing something new. Everyday is the first of everything we’ve ever done.” While the indoor women practice with Flory, the sand women train with Brock. The indoor members sank their feet in the sand for the first practice as a full team on March 10. Flory said the element of surprise might be their best asset for the first season. She said the goal is to get exposure and experience. Brock said it will be up to the sand-only women to help train and ingrain sand game plans into their mindset. The indoor members will only have had seven practices to transition before their first match at Mangos on March 19 against UL Monroe. “Getting to play a sport where you get to take off your shoes and socks, it’s awesome,” Boraski said.
instinct For moms on campus, parenting & studying can be a balancing act.
WORDS | Lauren Duhon
PHOTOS | Whitney Huet
arah Guillory’s morning routine is similar to most college students. She wakes up, gets ready, eats breakfast and goes to school or work. The only difference is that she is also responsible for getting her 3-year-old son Cade ready for the day before heading to campus. Guillory, along with 3.9 million people, is a student and parent, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. In April 2010 when Guillory was a senior in high school, her son was born just in time for prom and graduation. Since then, the human resource and leadership development senior, 21, simply describes her daily routine as a balancing act. “As he gets older, I have to juggle entertaining him and playing with him while doing my schoolwork,” she said. “It’s a lot of multitasking.” Certain semesters have been harder than others, she noted, but not so much now. She said she believes her son understands when she is busy with schoolwork. “He entertains himself when he needs to,” she said. “He is a pretty good kid.” Although his father is not in the picture, Guillory has found the necessary support in her family, friends and her fiancé, Thomas. In addition to her immediate family, her friends have become an extension of that. She said that her friends come to Cade’s soccer games and always demand photos of him. Guillory also uses the University’s child care center for daycare. Her father, who worked at LSU, played a role in securing a spot for Cade. However, not all student mothers are as lucky. Kinesiology senior Deadrian Ireland, 21, was unable to secure a spot for her 13-month old daughter Charleigh who was born in January 2013. “If you think your child can use the day care services, your child just won’t be able to go
DESIGN | Cassidy Day
there, because the waitlist was full for up to a year,” she added. The program is available for children of LSU students, staff, faculty, alumni and those not affiliated with the University, but there is a priority system, according to the website. For students who are able to secure a spot for their child, the tuition is $660 per month. Ireland said she received individual help from her professors who were willing to make adjustments for her workload and accommodate her daughter in class. The University can do more in her opinion, she added. “The little things make a big difference,” she said. Child and family studies associate professor Cassandra Chaney agrees. She said she believes the University has room to improve. “Being a mother is stressful, and having that support from the administration is important,” she said. Chaney said she doesn’t want college-age mothers to be deterred from going to school because it is difficult to balance. In addition, she said that it is important to ensure these women succeed and graduate. “I feel like young mothers are generally an invisible group on campus,” she said. “There are probably more than we realize, and they don’t always talk about their experiences as mothers. It is important that the University supports them as best as they can.” Chaney said there are a lot of external factors, financially and emotionally, that affect young mothers. She said these women deal with a lot, so the system needs to be accountable in helping them, especially for mothers like Ireland. “I’m basically doing it by myself,” Ireland added. Her boyfriend and Charleigh’s father helps in any way that he can, but her family
Jasmine Plowe with her son Jace
isn’t in Louisiana for her to rely on. Ireland said she wouldn’t have it any other way. At one point, her mother mentioned the idea of taking care of Charleigh, but she couldn’t bear to be separated from her daughter for that long. “I didn’t want to miss her ‘first’ moments,” she said. Unfortunately, this is the reality that kinesiology junior Jasmin Plowe, 20, deals with. She made the hard decision to have her parents care for her 4-year-old son Jace in Franklin, La., while she attends LSU. Plowe sees her son every other weekend and often struggles with the separation, but her son’s comfort was the most important thing in her decision, she said. “I realized how complicated it would be,” she added. “But I want nothing more than to graduate and live with my son.” Even though it is hard for her to be away, she said that she talks to her son at least twice a day. “Every time I leave, I will tell him where I am going and he will say ‘I gotta be a big boy,’” she said.
Plowe said it breaks her heart, but everything she does is for her son. She plans to go to medical school one day and knows the road to get there will be long and difficult. “I know I will have to take a slower route to get where I need to be, but I know what I want,” Plowe said. “I will do what I need to do for my son. I think about it every day.” All three mothers agreed on doing the best for their children, even if that means sacrificing “college experiences.” Guillory said young mothers are forced to mature and prioritize things. Analyzing things that she wants to do versus things that she needs to do is important when considering how it may affect her child, she added. “I applaud young parents who are there for their children,” Guillory said. “Some people focus on the negatives, but everything I have done with my son is worthwhile. Yes, it can be hard, but watching him grow and teaching him new things has been rewarding.” As Plowe said it, none of the “college experiences“ matter to her if she can just spend time with her son.
OFF THE MAT Meet the LSU gymnastics power houses with personality.
37 Lloimincia Hall
WORDS | Logan Anderson
PHOTOS | Lizzy Caroline
hen Rheagan Courville and Lloimincia Hall take the mat in gymnastics meets, both women seem superhuman. They fly through the air, moving in seemingly impossible ways as they flip, spin and jump across the floor, flawlessly executing their choreographed routines. They are simultaneously powerful and graceful, moving through amazing feats of athletic ability with ease and elegance. While watching them perform, it is hard to imagine that both women are anything but supernatural. Off the mat, Courville and Hall are like many other LSU students. Courville is anxious about graduating and feels she can be too hard on herself sometimes. Hall misses her family, who live in Dallas, Texas, and she tries her best to live each day keeping in mind the ideals that her father instilled in her. Before practice, both girls chatted with their friends on the team, laughing and joking. Courville took deep breaths as she looked around the practice space, trying to take it all in. “It’s sad that I’m already a junior,” Courville said. “I wish this could last forever.” Courville, a 20-year-old Baton Rouge native, feels her entire life has led up to her time on the LSU gymnastics team. She began gymnastics lessons at the age of 5; within seven years of her first lesson, Courville was competing as an elite gymnast. “I literally cannot recall one memory in my life that gymnastics is not the center of,” she said, laughing. That intense training has allowed Courville to become one of the most celebrated athletes in the history of LSU gymnastics. Her freshman season, Courville led her teammates in individual event titles, nabbing 17. Last year she earned three gold medals at the SEC Championship, was named SEC Gymnast of the year and became one of only six gymnasts to win an individual national title in LSU history. Despite all of her successes, Courville still sometimes finds it difficult to be confident on the mat. As a self-described perfectionist, Courville tries her hardest to execute every routine flawlessly. When something goes wrong, she is her own harshest critic. “I’m really hard on myself sometimes, and it’s already a hard enough sport that you just have to make sure you don’t beat yourself up,” she said. Luckily, Courville always has her family around to remind her of her triumphs. “My dad always tells me to congratulate the girl in the mirror, because she works so hard. And I do. I have to.” As the daughter of a pastor, gymnastics has never come first for Lloimincia Hall. Her family values were always “Christ first, academics second,
DESIGN | Andrew Hebert
gymnastics third,” Hall said. “It was a privilege to do gymnastics in my home.” Hall did not take that privilege for granted; she graduated from high school with high honors, as a member of the Nation Society of High School Scholars and as an elite gymnast who held the Texas State allaround title. In addition to teaching her to value faith and academic service, Hall’s family also instilled in her the importance of giving back to the community. Each Wednesday, Hall volunteers by teaching spiritual dance at Greater Mount Olive church. Hall choreographs dances for the young women of the church to perform during services and loves giving back in a way that combines her spirituality and her creative training. She loves working with the children of her church, and says they love working with her too. “They are very supportive,” Hall said about her students. “They come to the meets, and they get to see some of the moves they do in church in my floor routines.” Much like spiritual dances, Hall’s floor routines are an electric combination of spirit and soul, mixing typical gymnastics moves with a flair that is uniquely Hall’s. For her junior season, Hall decided to use music for her floor routine that tells the story of who she is. Her routine is performed to a mix of gospel music and upbeat R&B throwbacks, combining Hall’s love for both her family and her faith. The combination has been a winning one. Hall has established herself as one of the best floor performers in LSU history, scoring two perfect 10s during her sophomore season; she is one of only six LSU gymnasts to record two or more perfect 10s, and the first to do it in the same season since 2008. Hall attributes these successes to God. “With floor, I take Lloimincia out and put Christ in, and things just come so much more naturally through Him.” The 2014 Gymnastics season is shaping up to be one of the best in LSU history. On Feb. 28, the team posted a score of 198, a record for LSU. Hall has already posted two perfect 10s with her famous floor routine, and Courville has earned a 10 on vault. Courville is adamant that the best is yet to come for LSU gymnastics. Her biggest goal is to win a national title for her team, and she feels that this will be the year she achieves that goal. “Thus far we’ve accomplished so many of our goals that we just want to stay confident. It’s all been coming together up to this point, and we’re all in for this one goal, and we’re not going to stop until we get there.”
39 Rheagan Courville
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drawing the line WORDS | Lauren Duhon
PHOTOS | Kristen Barrett
DESIGN | Claire Cassreino
There’s a fine line between appropriation and appreciation.
ne who adopts specific elements of a culture by a different cultural group is one who appropriates. You may not be familiar with the term “cultural appropriation,” but at one point or another you have come into contact with it. Oftentimes, the term has a negative connotation. Everything from wearing ethnic items of clothing to Miley Cyrus twerking at the VMAs, from Madonna using certain derogatory terms to perpetuating cultural stereotypes can fall in the realm of appropriation. Dressing up in racially stereotypical costumes for a party is a prime example. It might seem like fun and games, but LaKeitha Poole, Office of Multicultural Affairs African-American student affairs coordinator, said it can hinder important conversations about culture and portray people in a negative light. “I do think there are important opportunities for students to discuss aspects of culture,” Poole said. “But we can all tell when the tone is genuine.” When there is sincere interest in a particular culture, people recognize it. It is important to ask questions and aspire to learn as much as you can about different groups of people. In fact, this is what Poole said she hopes for all students to achieve. Unfortunately, inappropriateness can come into play. “People pick apart culture, even within specific groups,” Poole said. “What opens the door to other opportunities to understand
appropriateness is when you become the minority and can be reflective on the situation.” As OMA cross-cultural affairs coordinator Krystie Ngyuen said, there is a necessary invitation to a culture. From my own experiences, I wholeheartedly agree. Growing up, I was invited in to experience my friends’ cultures, such as my friend from Pakistan who dressed me in a salwar kameez, a traditional dress worn by both men and women, and brought me to family dinners where I tried regional food. When you are invited into a personal environment and try to absorb customs outside of your comfort zone, you are in the realm of correctness. It’s when you judge certain practices without concern of offending individuals or take cultural customs out of context and frivolously use them in your day-to-life that you cross that blurred line. Appropriation is a privilege and an assertion of power on a cultural group, Ngyuen said. By doing so, you can wrongly highlight aspects of a cultural, she added. “We can’t claim to know everything about a culture, nor can we,” she said. “We all hold multiples roles and identities. But, we can try to represent ourselves authentically and promote a positive, inclusive climate at LSU.” It is important to reflect on how we want to be perceived in our own culture before we potentially offend another.