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THE SPECTRUM VOL. 69 NO. 04 | SEPTEMBER 9, 2019

THE INDEPENDENT STUDENT PUBLICATION OF THE UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO, SINCE 1950

Impacting lives Florence Ayeni: a student entrepreneur with a desire > SEE PAGE 4

UBSPECTRUM

Humans of UB: Read your classmates’ stories

UB soccer wins first home game, ties in second

> SEE PAGE 5

> SEE PAGE 8

UB student fights for life after plane crashes into home Hannah Bocker’s brother, UB community describe Puzzling her as humble, intelligent and a fighter PathBRITTANY GORNY SENIOR NEWS EDITOR

in critical condition at Westchester Medical Center but her breathing improved on Sep. 3, according to the Facebook page Sarah updates daily. The crash remains under investigation. Wil said growing up, though three years apart, he and Hannah were “joined at the hip.”

HANNAH BOCKER IS IN CRITICAL CONDITION AT WESTCHESTER MEDICAL CENTER AFTER A PLANE CRASHED INTO HER HOME A WEEK BEFORE SCHOOL STARTED. COURTESY OF WIL BOCKER

Hannah Bocker, a junior civil, structural and environmental engineering major, sustained life-threatening injuries when a twin-engine Cessna 303 aircraft crashed into her home on Aug. 17 in Union Vale, N.Y. This happened just a week before she was getting ready to make the seven-hour road trip back to Buffalo to begin her junior year with her father, Gerard Bocker, who died on impact in the crash. “Hannah is still with us, and she will continue to fight,” Wil Bocker, Hannah’s brother, said. “She won’t let this change her mindset or determination one bit, she’s still going to be exactly who she always was, stubborn as all hell for sure, and a testament to perseverance.” The plane crashed into the Bockers’ home just after 4 p.m. killing Gerard and the pilot of the plane on impact, while Sarah Bocker, Hannah’s sister who was also in the house at the time of the crash, only sustained minor injuries. Hannah is

“She was my best friend, we would go to harvest festivals, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, get apple cider donuts, stomp down at the creek by our house and catch frogs,” Wil said. “We always had a lot of fun together.” Wil knows Hannah as “painfully intelligent” and one of the most humble people he has ever met. He recalled one of the last conversations he had with his father, who told him Hannah was in the driveway replacing her own exhaust system on her car. “She learned a lot about things she didn’t know how to do beforehand, and that was her push, her drive,” Wil said. Hannah loves her cat, brain games, geometric art and building, according to Wil. She also loves Buffalo. “My dad first took Hannah up to Buffalo and they both fell in love,” Wil said. “I don’t know how many times my dad came back from Buffalo and was like, ‘You know, it’s a really nice town up there, you

The rise of G Premacy UB alum and former track star crafts his future in hip-hop JULIAN ROBERTS-GRMELA ASST. FEATURES EDITOR

G Premacy remembers his first concert in Brooklyn. At the time, he was still a UB student. Unlike Buffalo venues where supportive friends dominated the crowds, the rapper –– ‘11 alum, Eugene Kennedy –– looked out at a crowd of unfamiliar faces. “I remember my first song, and they didn’t boo,” Kennedy said. “I got midway through, and they started rocking their ‘aye’ so I started to gain a little more confidence.” Since then, Kennedy’s career has taken off. He’s toured internationally, left a mark in Denver, CO winning the “Colorado Solo Artist of the Year Award” and this summer, Kennedy signed a deal with Equity Distribution: an independent label as-

sociated with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. He even has plans to perform at the tailgate for the Bills’ home opener. And it was the Brooklyn crowd that gave Kennedy the confidence to invest in his craft. “That’s when I got that confirmation,”

should check it out some time.’” Anthony Tessari, Hannah’s advisor at UB, said he remembers his first advisement meeting with Hannah, when she walked in with a “meticulously organized” binder. “The binder contained her career aspirations, courses mapped out through her senior year, plans to join student clubs and a well thought-out list of questions to ask,” Tessari said. “I still remember thinking I was probably the one who needed advice in that meeting.” Luis Hernandez, a family friend who grew up on the same street in the Bronx with Gerard, said Hannah took the brunt of the injuries but he’s grateful she survived. “It’s everyone’s worst nightmare, the family is so displaced right now and we’re all concerned about their welfare,” Hernandez said. “I wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemy.” Hernandez remembered Gerard as “the most considerate person” who sent him a care package when he moved to Toronto. “It was from the bottom of his heart, it

HANNAH BOCKER AND HER BROTHER, WIL BOCKER. WIL SAID GROWING UP HIM AND HANNAH WERE ATTATCHED AT THE HIP. COURTESY OF LUIS HERNANDEZ

was so kind and caring because that’s the type of person he was. And his children inherited that,” Hernandez said. Loved ones set up a Facebook fundraiser for the family to help pay for Hannah’s medical bills and for the family to find a new home. Thirty people have already raised $1,234 out of the $500,000 goal to support the family, as of Sunday afternoon, just five days into the fundraiser. “Whatever anyone feels heartfelt to donate would be huge for her and the family and just send prayers and support in a time like this,” Wil said. “We’re all humble people and are extremely grateful for any contributions, whether it be physically, spiritually or financially.” Wil said Hannah is “the strength everybody should look toward” when they’re going through tough times, because she survived something she “never should have.” “Things are serious, but she’s as tenacious as ever,” Wil said. “She’s got a long road ahead of her, but she’s a fighter.” The Bocker family fundraiser can be found at https://www.facebook.com/hghfight/. Email: brittany.gorny@ubspectrum.com Twitter: @BrittanyUBSpec

HANNAH BOCKER AND HER FATHER, GERARD BOCKER, WHO DIED ON IMPACT IN THE CRASH. COURTESY OF WIL BOCKER

Kennedy said. “You don’t necessarily need confirmation –– it depends on where you are personally in your life, whether you need that confirmation or not –– but I wasn’t completely there yet. So I needed that confirmation to help get me through.” Kennedy didn’t always expect his life to turn out how it did. > SEE G PREMACY | PAGE 6

UB named No. 31 public university in U.S. Wall Street Journal/Times ranks UB in 2020 college rankings BRITTANY GORNY SENIOR NEWS EDITOR

UB is No. 31 among the top public universities in the U.S., according to the 2020 Wall Street Journal/ Times Higher Education College Ranking. This year’s ranking is seven spots higher than last year’s ranking of No. 38. UB also jumped to No. 110 out of 801 total U.S. universities, up ten spots from the 2019 rankings. UB ranked No. EUGENE KENNEDY — G PREMACY — PERFORMS AT BUFFALO’S MUSIC IS ART FESTIVAL ON SATURDAY, SEPT. 7. PHOTO BY VINDHYA BURUGUPALLI | THE SPECTRUM

> SEE UB 31 | PAGE 2


NEWS

2 | Monday, September 9, 2019

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Student Association kicks off International Week with block party SA celebrates international students with week of events ALEXANDRA MOYEN ASST. NEWS EDITOR

The Student Association kicked off its International Week with an International Students Block Party on Sunday in the Student Union Courtyard. SA is hosting its second-annual International Week Sunday through Saturday, as the block party welcomed students with free food and activities such as a bag toss and mega-sized chess game. The event also featured flags representing different countries decorating the trees around the courtyard. SA will run various activities this week week including a club fair and “Pie International Council” on Monday, where students can enjoy the opportunity to pie their executive boards. SA’s movie night on Tuesday at the SU field and Taste of Culture on Thursday will allow students to enjoy food from various restaurants and check out a few films. Rounding out the week will be a Fashion Showcase on Friday and the first of the Fall Fest Concert Series shows, titled “International Fest” on Saturday. The Afro-Caribbean show features artists Burna Boy, Kranium and Koffee. “International Week is about bringing everybody together, both international students [and] domestic students,” Omran Albarazanchi, SA international council coordinator, said. “And it’s really to bring

out UB pride. We don’t see enough of that here and we really hold these events to try to change that.” For Albarazanchi, this week is about bringing students together, but it’s especially for the international students who UB’s health office said “suffer the most from depression and loneliness.” Albarazanchi said “A woman from the health office here said one of the interna-

tional students came up to get counseling and she just said something simple that really moved me.” “It was, ‘The only two things I say throughout the whole day is good morning to the bus driver and when I go back, I say good evening,’ so he really doesn’t speak to anyone else on campus. He doesn’t do anything [on campus] and these stories matter. So we’re trying to change that.”

Crystal Couch, a junior international studies, history and Spanish major, came to the party with the Filipino American SA. She said events like these are important because they promote different types of cultures. “I feel like we often kind of go to our own groups of people, things that we’re familiar with, but to see all of us here celebrating each other,” Couch said. “It’s something that this school stands for so I’m hoping more people will be able to bask in the amazingness of this, to see how diverse we are.” Email: alexandra.moyen@ubspectrum.com Twitter: @AlexandraMoyen

UB KICKS OFF INTERNATIONAL WEEK WITH BLOCK PARTY PHOTO BY TRISTAN GELLATLY | THE SPECTRUM FROM PAGE 1

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5 among public universities in the northeast and No. 48 among all colleges in the northeast, up eight spots from last year’s rankings. UB ranked highest of all public universities in the northeast for resources, which considers university spending on instruction and student services. The ranking takes into account student success and learning by including the results of the Times Higher Education U.S. student survey. The survey asks 174,000 students if they feel motivated by other students, if they think their college is worth the money and if they’d choose the same school if they had to start over again. UB students rated UB 7.5 out of 10 in “feeling motivated by other students,” 8.1 out of 10 in “worth what they’re paying” and 7.9 out of 10 in “if they would choose UB again.” Email: brittany.gorny@ubspectrum.com Twitter: @BrittanyUBSpec

You are not alone.

UB OFFERS GROUP COUNSELING. buffalo.edu/studentlife/counseling


OPINION

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THE SPECTRUM Thursday, September 3, 2019 Volume 69 Number 04 Circulation: 4,000

A reminder. Words of wisdom after a near-fatal car accident BRENTON J. BLANCHET

EDITORIAL BOARD

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Brenton J. Blanchet MANAGING EDITORS Jacklyn Walters Lauryn King, Asst.

CREATIVE DIRECTORS Jessica Sutton Matthew Koons Paolo Blanchi, Asst. WEB EDITORS Savanna Caldwell, Chief Cassiana Enderle, Chief Reilly Mullen, Asst. Nicole Waddington, Asst.

NEWS EDITORS Brittany Gorny, Senior Alexandra Moyen, Asst.

FEATURES EDITORS Samantha Vargas, Senior Julian Roberts-Grmela, Asst.

ARTS EDITORS Julianna Tracey, Senior Anastasia Wilds, Asst.

ENGAGEMENT EDITOR Benjamin Blanchet

MULTIMEDIA EDITORS Vindhya Burugupalli, Asst. Wayne Penales, Asst.

PROFESSIONAL STAFF OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR Helene Polley ADVERTISING MANAGER Nathan Stutz GRAPHIC DESIGN MANAGER Nicholas Meurer

ABOUT THE SPECTRUM The views expressed – both written and graphic – in the Opinion section of The Spectrum do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial board. Submit contributions for these pages to The Spectrum office at Suite 132 Student Union or news@ ubspectrum.com. The Spectrum reserves the right to edit these pieces for style and length. If a letter is not meant for publication, please mark it as such. All submissions must include the author’s name, daytime phone number, and email address.

For information on adverstising with The Spectrum: VISIT: www.ubspectrum.com/advertising CALL US: 716-645-2152 The Spectrum offices are located in 132 Student Union, UB North Campus, Buffalo, NY 14260-2100

JOIN OUR STAFF Do you have an interest in journalism, graphic design, photography, social media, advertising, cartoons or copy editing? The Spectrum is always looking for enthusiastic students who want to be part of our team. Join our 45-time award winning independent student newspaper for hands-on, real-world experience in your field. Anyone interested in joining The Spectrum’s editorial staff can email Brenton J. Blanchet at: eic@ubspectrum.com. Anyone interested in joining The Spectrum’s professional staff or advertising team can email Helene Polley at: hapolley@buffalo.edu.

Monday, September 9, 2019 | 3

I can’t wrap my head around where I am right now. Not physically. Where I am right now, on this Tuesday afternoon, is on a train to Buffalo from Schenectady. My head is pounding, my body aches and I desperately need sleep. After everything I’ve gone through in the last day, I fully understand why I’m on this train. But what I am struggling with is comprehending how much my life has changed in just 24 hours. A day ago, I wasn’t in any pain. I was listening to my favorite summer albums, driving my new car down I-90 westbound and excited to start a new school year. I just purchased the car –– my first ever –– that week and finally had something of my own that I worked all summer for.

But it was taken away from me in just three seconds. And it almost took me with it. I was driving in the left lane going 65 around Oneida and saw a saw another vehicle drift into my lane. Instinctively, I turned my wheel to avoid it, lost control of my vehicle and, from there, all I could do was grip on to my wheel, slam my break and pray. My car went through the meridian, hitting wet grass and accelerating into oncoming eastbound traffic. My airbags all went off and took over my whole vision. I couldn’t see anything. I had absolutely no way to stop myself from what was about to happen to me. I vaguely remember hitting something and slamming into a guardrail. It happened so fast and it was hard to even make sense of it. At the time, I didn’t know I flew into a tan minivan, striking the back of the vehicle and causing it to roll over three times. My car kept moving and eventually crashed into a highway guardrail. When I opened my door and stepped outside, I screamed. I was staring at everything I worked for this summer, completely and utterly finished. The front of my vehicle was destroyed, my wheel popped off, my windshield was nearly shattered and all of my belongings were scattered around the inside of the car.

Then I looked over and saw the car I hit, in a similar condition: airbags released and windows broken. Without hesitating, looking at myself in a mirror or even making sure I was in one piece, I sprinted to check on the other driver. He was fine, just shaken up. I ran back to my vehicle in tears, realizing I walked out of the car with only a PHOTO BY BRENTON BLANCHET | THE SPECTRUM bruise on my nose. I was really, really I realize, as I’m writing this, lucky. that life is something that can A passing driver named Mary be taken from you in seconds. stopped to keep me company If anything were to happen to and gave me guidance through it me yesterday, I would’ve missed all. She was the first person to tell out on a lot. Weddings. Achieveme I was blessed to be alive after ments. New music. what happened. I’m thankful to be here, I’m After her, it was the doctors, thankful to have another day of the insurance company, the pogrowing and doing what I love, lice officers, my family and everywhich is running this newspabody else I told the story to. per, and I’m thankful to still be And I’ve been reminding myaround for my family and loved self of it every minute since. ones. Every breath I’ve taken since I only have so much time here the accident, every friend who and I’m going to use it to be evhas told me they love me and erything I was meant to be: every word I type may not have A writer and –– more imporbeen possible if I hadn’t reacted tantly –– my best self. how I did, if I hadn’t had a seatbelt on or if the guardrail didn’t Email:brenton.blanchet@ubspectrum. com Twitter: @BrentonBlanchet stop me from flying any further.

Open hearts and open doors I adopted Simon, my orange tabby cat, last August as a kitten and he quickly became my entire world. Crazy cat lady doesn’t even begin to describe it. With that in mind, it was only a matter of time before I began considering adopting a friend for him. I spent hours scrolling through Petfinder and Craigslist, looking for a sign from the universe for the perfect companion. But nothing ever stuck out to me. It had only been a few hours after I woke up when I received a message from a friend. The SAMANTHA VARGAS SENIOR FEATURES EDITOR friend asked if I was free, and being the introvert that I am, I When I woke up on May 21, promptly avoided opening the I adamantly decided to wait to message. It was only until they adopt another cat. became more frantic that I spied Throughout the month, I de- the words “found kittens” within bated on whether to adopt a the sea of message notifications. friend for my own cat. But I spent Within minutes I was out the the previous night looking over door, driving across town. my finances and knew I couldn’t Different thoughts filled my afford such an investment with head as I drove to pick up the kitrent and other bills coming up so tens. I wondered if this was the quickly. sign I had been waiting for, hopI had no idea that I would end ing they would still be there when up with two kittens later that day. I arrived. After driving unnecessarily fast, I finally arrived at the elementary school and approached the building through a sea of screaming children. It definitely wasn’t the most suitable environment for kittens. But there it was, right next to the front entrance, the cardboard box I was searching for. I checked inside the box and there they were: two orFERNANDO THE KITTEN ARRIVED AT SAM’S HOUSE ange tabbies, about WITH AN UPPER RESPIRATORY DISEASE. HE NEEDED A LOT OF TLC BEFORE HE WAS ABLE TO six weeks old, BE APOPTED OUT. PHOTO BY SAM VARGAS | THE SPECTRUM huddled together

How I started fostering kittens through the SPCA

in the corner. I could’ve died right there. They were dirty and thin, but I could tell they were still healthy. While sitting with them in my car I knew this was something important. I felt that it had all happened for a reason, but I still knew I couldn’t afford to adopt another cat, let alone two kitROSIE AND RIZZO WERE APOPTED OUT TOGETHER tens. So, I did TO SAM’S PARENTS, WHO HAD JUST PUT DOWN the responsible THEIR DOG. NOW THEY ARE SIMON’S COUSINS. PHOTO BY SAM VARGAS | THE SPECTRUM thing and called kittens still searching for their the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Ani- forever homes. So, I partnered with the SPCA to provide a lovmals serving Erie county. The SPCA is a non profit ing, temporary home for the two animal rescue center that pro- stray kittens. I also went on to vides adoptions, medical ser- sign up for indefinite fostering vices and animal rescues among for the rescue. I’ve modified a spare bedroom other things. While this shelter into a full-fledged cat room, fulis nationally renowned for its resources and commitment, I was ly evolving into a crazy cat lady. greeted to a voicemail asking if The money and time I’ve spent I would be willing to foster any on this project seems like nothing stray kittens that I might be look- compared to the future I foresee in animal advocacy and rescuing. ing to admit to the rescue. Although they were only in my March to October is kitten seacare for two weeks, I feel driven son, which is when the majority of unspayed female cats go into to keep pursuing this cause and heat. This results in an influx of advocating for the wellbeing orphaned kittens within rescues of innocent lives. I was lucky and shelters. Although the SPCA enough to adopt these kittens out does not euthanize animals to to people I knew, which guaranmake room within their shelters, teed that I would be able to watch it was clear that they needed to them thrive and grow up. While it may not seem like rely on a strong channel of fosters to accommodate this yearly much to essentially babysit a few influx. Every year approximate- kittens at a time, I know that this ly 860,000 cats are euthanized is what the universe intended for across shelters, according to the me. I know that I’m still making ASPCA, and I wasn’t going to a difference. risk it. Email: Samantha.Vargas@ubspectrum. This is when I knew that I was com not meant to adopt another cat, I Twitter: @SamMarieVargas was supposed to foster cats and


4 | Monday, September 9, 2019

NEWS

Impacting lives Florence Ayeni: a student entrepreneur with a desire to help others BRITTANY GORNY SENIOR NEWS EDITOR

Florence Ayeni’s father taught her that helping people can, in turn, allow people to help themselves. When Ayeni was young, her father, a pastor, selflessly brought a homeless man into their home. He told her the man was her uncle from Nigeria who came to live with the family. And when Ayeni’s father was deported for four years and nine months in 2008, the man who she believed to be her uncle took care of Ayeni and the rest of her family. “That inspired me so much,” Ayeni said. “You never know what people are going through, and how much you can impact someone’s life.” Ayeni, a senior health and human services major and president of the Black Student Union, still uses the lessons her father –– and biggest inspiration –– taught her. Ayeni grew up in Brooklyn with her two Nigerian parents and is now a fulltime entrepreneur and student leader who dedicates her time to helping and teaching others. She started an event called Creative Minds last year, which takes place annually in New York City, as a space where people come together to display their art and mental health. Ayeni said being around so many different cultures growing up helped shape her. “Growing up in Brooklyn I got to see so many different things,” Ayeni said. “I just envision Brooklyn as a layer of colors because you never know what to expect, it’s always something new.” Ayeni often reflects on her high school trip where she visited Nicaragua. During the trip, she helped a man clean his coffee

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themselves in the mirror and saying, ‘I’m a great person and what I’m doing is really great.’” The event creates a space for people to talk about their mental health struggles and individual journeys. Ayeni wants people to relate to each other through Creative Minds by sharing their own stories and work. But it helped Ayeni realize something, too. “The event showed me I wasn’t alone,” Ayeni said. “A lot of people want to hear others’ stories and I love seeing people have fun and smile.” Alison Garcia, Ayeni’s roommate, said Ayeni is the most driven and determined person she knows. “She gets an idea and before you know it her mirror is filled with maps and bubbles,” Garcia said. “Within a short time she makes those thoughts and ideas come alive.”

shop, and told him how much she loved the “Starbucks by 100” coffee. When she got home to New York, she realized the man sent coffee to her home address. Ayeni didn’t expect the man to remember her at all. “Whenever I feel like I’m being naive or spoiled I think about the people I met in Nicaragua,” Ayeni said. Ayeni’s impact on the people in her personal life is apparent in her relationships back home, too. Nicole Hernandez, one of Ayeni’s close Email: brittany.gorny@ubspectrum.com friends, called her a “go-getter” who inTwitter: @BrittanyUBSpec spires her to be the same. “Being around her, she constantly inspires me to work harder and reach for the stars, because she makes it seem possible,” Hernandez said. But Ayeni –– who has always been driven to help others –– said she found herself struggling with depression and anxiety in her sophomore year at UB. “It was a scary thing for me,” Ayeni said. “It’s not a feeling [I had] ever felt before, so it’s something where [I had] a lot of questions.” So, in an effort to help others cope with similar experiences, Ayeni started Creative Minds. The event allows entrepreneurs and creatives to come together and show off their craft and openly discuss mental health. “Creative Minds isn’t about me at all, or about making me big,” Ayeni said. “It’s about making FLORENCE AYENI, SENIOR HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES MAJOR AND BSU PRESIDENT, IS A FULL-TIME ENTREPRENEUR AND STUDENT LEADER others feel appreciative WHO DEDICATES HER TIME TO HELPING OTHERS. of their work, looking at VINDHYA BURUGUPALLI | THE SPECTRUM

UB’s fall musical leads share their audition experiences Actors prepare for ‘Guys and Dolls’ ANASTASIA WILDS ASSISTANT ARTS EDITOR

While audiences won’t see the finished product until later this fall, performers in UB’s upcoming musical have been hard at work since the beginning of May. Even though the actors are students, they receive the same treatment as professionals, and are expected to work just as hard. ​From Nov. 15-24, UB’s Department of Theatre and Dance will present the Tony Award-winning musical “Guys and Dolls” in the Drama Theatre at the Center for the Arts. “Guys and Dolls” first premiered on Broadway in 1950 and has since been continuously revived. The musical follows two “guys” –– Nathan Detroit and Sky Masterson –– and their “dolls” –– Sarah Brown and Miss Adelaide –– as Nathan tries to win money from a bet with Sky in order to run an illegal gambling game in a safe space away from cops.

RORY TAMIMIE WAYNE PENALES | THE SPECTRUM

​Rory Tamimie, a senior music theatre major, will play the role of Sky Masterson. As soon as Tamimie heard the department was planning “Guys and Dolls,” he imme-

This year, Ayeni took on a new role outside of Creative Minds. As this year’s BSU president, she hopes to use her natural drive to help others to bring communities together and educate people on how far African Americans have come while leading UB’s largest club. Ayeni is looking forward to starting more conversations, but this time on her campus. “Don’t be scared to do what you have to do to be where you want to be,” Ayeni said. “I feel like it’s time to show who you are, show what you’re doing, because everyone is destined for greatness.”

diately began researching the show and its characters. While he was familiar with the story and some of the songs, he wanted to better understand the details to prepare for auditions. ​Tamimie said auditions at UB are “a simple process and actually rather fun.” For the first audition, actors perform part of a song that matches the style of the show as well as a short monologue. Once they perform the two pieces, the audition process is over for the actor. ​“I’ve never been a fan of auditions, but if you treat it as an opportunity to perform, it makes it so much easier,” Tamimie said. ​Michael Wells, a junior music theatre major, will play Nathan in the upcoming production. Wells said auditions at UB are similar to auditions in the professional world. ​For his audition, Wells chose to perform a comedic monologue and a song written in the same era as “Guys and Dolls.” The song was “I Could Write A Book” from the musical “Pal Joey,” and the monologue was from the show “Rumors”. ​“I love being able to put my creativity into a character and bring it to life on stage,” Wells said. “Theater is the one thing that I do where no matter how many times I do it, I could never get sick of it.” ​Cassandra Elkin, a sophomore music theatre major, will play the role of General

MICHAEL WELLS WAYNE PENALES | THE SPECTRUM

Matilda B. Cartwright. Elkin performed a monologue from “42nd Street”’s character Dorothy Brock and sang “It’s a Perfect Relationship” from the musical “Bells Are Ringing” for her audition. “After solidifying my audition song choice, I would go to a practice room almost every day to work on my song and monologue,” Elkin said. “I would spend almost an hour each time I went.” While Wells and Elkin picked songs and monologues that were around the same era and theme as “Guys and Dolls,” Tamimie chose pieces from the show itself for auditions. And Tamimie knew he wanted the role of Sky before auditions and researched and prepared with this in mind. “I made sure to know every detail ​ about [Sky’s] character,” Tamimie said. “I watched as many productions of the show that I could find so I could see different portrayals of Sky and find the best way I could portray the character myself.” ​Along with initial auditions, actors often attend callbacks. Unlike the typically quick

first round, callbacks last for hours and may keep actors until midnight. “The director wants to make sure he has the perfect cast, and callbacks are a very essential part of the process to figure that out,” Tamimie said. Once music director Nathan R. Matthews decided and released the cast list, Tamimie was ecstatic to see he had secured the role he trained so hard for. “I was beyond thrilled,” Tamimie said. “Classic shows are my favorite shows to perform and I believe [they] best fit my voice.” Guest director Keith Andrews will both direct and choreograph the production and Matthews, UB’s director of music theatre, will be the production’s music director. Andrews previously directed and choreographed UB’s 2015 production of “Legally Blonde.” His return as a guest director is just another reason Tamimie is excited about the production. “I have many friends who have told me [Andrews] is great to work with,” Tamimie said. “I’m also excited that we are finally

CASSANDRA ELKINS WAYNE PENALES | THE SPECTRUM

doing a classic show and I get to do it with all my fellow cast mates who are some of my closest friends. Being in a show is always an incredible bonding experience for the entire cast and we are going to have so much fun with this one.” Music rehearsals for the show began last week and the first staging rehearsal will be Monday, Oct. 7. Email: anastasia.wilds@ubspectrum.com Twitter: @AnastasiaWilds


FEATURES

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Monday, September 9, 2019 | 5 @humansofubuffalo

HOUB AT BUFFALO ALO HUMANS OF UNIVERSITY A T BUFF

“I came to UB with the desire to double major in theatre design and Asian studies. It was easy for me to tell people I’m a theatre design major but when it came to telling people my second major, I was hesitant. This is due to the fact that I’m a white American in an Asian studies major. I’ve been interested in Asian culture and history [from] a young age, so I was excited go-

“I was ready for the class, I’m outside the door and ready to go inside. I was [one of] the first few people who were there and I sat all the way by the window and everybody else filled in. Then the professor came and said, ‘Welcome to this 400-level class.’ I realized I had to walk out because

ing into the major. But I was worried that people may think I was weird for doing it. Throughout my freshman year, I told more and more people about my major and they didn’t judge me but rather asked me why I was interested. This helped me realize that, there’s nothing to be ashamed of [with] my major. Some people may not fully understand why I’m doing Asian

studies, but I realized nobody judged me and it was just my anxiety getting the best of me.” -Sophie McGuire

“There hasn’t really been any struggle with me trying to be part of the LGBT community or anything like that, but there [have] been problems with me sharing it with certain people. Family has always had this importance to me but I know that at the same time I cannot share everything that I want to with the people that are closest to me in my household. Probably just because there have been troubles with knowing how to express myself in a

proper way that is understood as a ‘parent’ to the child, sort of a relationship. In that sense, I haven't had the opportunity to fully feel like myself around my family and I don’t completely like that fact about myself. There’s not much I can do and in my perspective, I sometimes wish that my relationship between me and my parents was better and it’s sad that I feel that friends have a better understanding of who I am. There’s this whole thing of how family always seems like it should come first and I miss not having that relationship that I sometimes wish that I could have.” -Eric DeVore

it wasn’t my class. I’m a sophomore. I had to push my desk all the way through while everyone stared at me awkwardly.” -Alyssa Garner

“Going home on the weekends is kind of hard for me sometimes because I’ll go home and I’ll see my mom after a really long day at work, and she won’t really sit down and take a rest. She’ll go and make dinner and get on us siblings about not cleaning up after ourselves or like cleaning up in general or just doing

chores and then she says those and it just makes me feel bad. My mom works long hours all the time and here I am at college, living it up with my friends while she’s working. Sometimes I just want to let her rest and take care of her the way she takes care of me so well all the time.” -Aneesah Karim

PHOTOS AND STORY DOCUMENTED BY WAYNE PENALES


FEATURES

6 | Monday, September 9, 2019 FROM PAGE 1

G PREMACY Growing up in Troy, NY, his childhood was dominated by competitive sports. Kennedy won the high jump state championship for track and field in his senior year of high school. Back then, rapping was nothing more than a pastime.

He came to UB on a track scholarship, double majored in communication and African-American Studies and was captain of the track and field team for three years. Kennedy’s interest in music grew, but his demanding schedule limited the amount of energy he could devote to his hobby. Greg Tarshus, Kennedy’s friend and former UB teammate, remembers how Ken-

nedy managed fitting in some time for rap. “We would get back from practice and eat and then when it was time to go chill [Kennedy] always just went his own way to work on his music,” Tarshus said. “Even during practice he’d bring his phone with him, and in between sets he would type bars in his phone of whatever lyrics came to him.” To Kennedy, graduation meant moving on from the demands of his student-athlete schedule, giving him an opportunity to pave his own way. He was confident that he could direct his future toward a career in music. Soon after graduation, Kennedy started his own label, Lunar Music Group, with some friends from Buffalo. They had a good run, but Kennedy still had to keep his day job. He soon decided it was time to move on. He joined a tour that took him all the way from Toronto, ON to Austin, TX. Kennedy then spent a short time in Florida for a friend’s wedding before plan-

ning his return to Buffalo. As Kennedy’s friend began a new chapter in his life, Kennedy became unsure of what would become of his own. One thing he did know was that he wanted to make his mark out west. Instead of returning to Buffalo, Kennedy took a leap and moved to Denver, only knowing one person in the state.

UB ALUM EUGENE KENNEDY — G PREMACY — SIGNS DEAL WITH EQUITY DISTRIBUTION: AN ARM BRANCH OF JAY-Z’S LABEL ROC NATION. HERE IS THE STORY OF AN ALUM DEFYING EXPECTATIONS AND REACHING THE FUTURE OF HIS DREAMS. PHOTO BY VINDHYA BURUGUPALLI | THE SPECTRUM

The expenses of his new home forced Kennedy to hustle. In addition to his musical endeavours, Kennedy worked as a canvasser for social change and environmental protection. “It just seemed like what you’re supposed to do in Colorado,” Kennedy said. “Save the Earth.” Within the year, Kennedy was dubbed “Colorado Solo Artist of the Year” by Bridging the Music. His mark was made, so it was time to return to his old home. He reconnected with the Buffalo hiphop scene and made a name for himself, his deal with Equity Distribution allowing him to quit his job as a car salesman. Kennedy’s producer and friend Brennon Hall –– a.k.a. Beats Anonymous –– insists the deal is the result of hard work. “People are like ‘you got so lucky,’” Hall

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said. “It’s not luck. It’s persistence, talent and opportunity. If you keep doing the same s––t over and over and over, people know you for that.” Looking back on how his life has changed since parting ways with UB brings a smile to Kennedy’s face. It only grows when he thinks of his future. “I’ve done so much damage in those nine years. It’s wild,” Kennedy said. “[Eventually] I want to set something up back in Troy to help that community.” Email: julian.grmela@ubspectrum.com Twitter: @GrmelaJulian


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SPORTS

8 | Monday, September 9, 2019

ubspectrum.com

French Connection

BENJAMIN BLANCHET ENGAGEMENT EDITOR

The Bulls football team (1-1) quieted roughly 104,000 Penn State fans and shocked a national TV crowd, leading 10-7 after the first half of Saturday night’s game. But the second half was just too much for the team, as the No. 15 Nittany Lions (2-0) won 45-13 to keep the Bulls caged. Here’s what you need to know about the Bulls’ early grind and eventual loss.

WHAT LED TO THE LOSS

The Bulls’ first-half steeze was made up of a string of third-down conversions, a gritty rush reliance and quarterback Matt Myers’ hot passing game. Myers often met with Antonio Nunn and Kevin Marks on drives, but Penn State kept the Bulls out of the end zone in the first quarter. The Bulls dazzled in the second quarter as 716 Twitter exploded with celebration. UB swung in a monumental drive late in the first half, with Myers’ throw to Julien Bourassa for a touchdown. A tight offensive line made these plays possible, as the Bulls whipped up 96 yards on 10 plays for a touchdown. But the second half wasn’t it. An early Myers’ giveaway, which led to a Penn State pick six in the third quarter, shifted the pendulum to the Lions’ way. The Bulls’ defense, despite taking in a loose ball early in the third, quickly gave the field up to the hometown team at times. Penn State often scored in less than a minute, as the Bulls gave up touchdowns and saw their upset hopes deflate.

WHO SHOWED OUT

Matt Myers was a social-media talking point when the team stunned fans in the first. He grinded away and offered a glimpse at the allure of last season’s record-breaking Bulls, but the pick six popped a hole in an otherwise flawless tire. UB’s defense forced the Lions into limiting drives in the first, one which pushed the top-25 team to deal with a 3rd-and-12 and another when Chibueze Onwuka sacked quarterback Sean Clifford to keep the team from Bulls’ territory. Rushers also made it happen. UB’s 184 rushing yards exposed flaws in the Nittany Lions’ defense. It was a bright light during a high-pressure game.

WHAT WENT WRONG

The second half, Penn State made necessary tweaks in its offense to prove its power. Penn State cornerback John Reid helped shift the storyline with his interception in the third to put the Nittany Lions up again. Tight end Pat Friermuth also snuck in two touchdowns with Clifford as the Lions’ game plan smoothed out. It was unavoidable, the Bulls knew they were in for a challenge. But eight penalties (78 lost yards) and Myers’ throwaway were weak points for the team. The Bulls may be on the verge of a pivotal loss to their kick game. Evan Finegan, a punter who recently hit the Ray Guy Award watch list, left Beaver Stadium on a stretcher after a gruesome hit to the leg. The Bulls may be on the verge of a pivotal loss. Punter Evan Finegan left Beaver Stadium on a stretcher after a gruesome hit to the leg. Finegan received surgery for a broken fibula and tibia on Sunday.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Bulls will head south to Virginia and take on the Liberty Flames (0-2) after the Flames’ two losses this season against Syracuse University and Louisiana-Lafayette. Liberty went 6-6 in 2018 but the Bulls will be tough competition after the young guns proved themselves in Beaver Stadium against a ranked opponent Saturday. Twitter: @BenCBlanchet Email: benjamin.blanchet@ubspectrum.com

Jordan Avissey is sixth French national to play in FBS JUSTIN WEISS STAFF WRITER

Jordan Avissey was 19 when he stepped onto the gridiron for the first time, but that didn’t stop him from becoming the unlikeliest of football stars. In February, Avissey became the sixth French national to ever sign with a Division-I Football Bowl Subdivision team, committing to UB over schools like Colorado, Idaho or Temple. Avissey joined names like Anthony Mahoungou (Purdue), Jethro Franklin (Fresno State), Pat Saindon (Vanderbilt) and Richard Tardits (Georgia), according to The Growth of a Game, a website that advocates for European football players. But, unlike those before, he found a home in Buffalo. Avissey, 21, was born in Togo, Africa and moved to France at the age of three, where he settled with his family in La Courneuve, a commune outside of Paris. Growing up, he played basketball, excelling due to his imposing stature and advanced athleticism. One day at basketball practice, a friend encouraged him to try football. He hasn’t looked back since. “Honestly, it wasn’t that hard,” he said about the transition to the sport. “I am a really curious person and I love to learn new things.” At 19, Avissey left France for Thetford Mines in Québec, Canada. At the airport, local high school football coaches asked which position he would like to play. Initially a wide receiver because of his strong hands, size and speed, Avissey said he wanted to play defensive end. He has played the position ever since. Under the direction of an accomplished coaching staff, Avissey blossomed into a premier defensive line talent. When it came time for Avissey to start the college recruiting process, he was ranked No. 1 in France and No. 165 overall for side-defensive end prospects. “The recruiting process was kind of a childhood dream,” Avissey said. “To have coaches from [around the] country calling you and offering you scholarships, it was really a dream for me.” Avissey said the entire process was emotionally and

physically draining, but he enjoyed the opportunity to interact with coaches and visit different programs in the U.S.. He was looking for a place to call home, and at UB, he found it. “It was a really difficult decision to make, but during the official visit I felt [at] home,” he said. Avissey is already familiar with the cold climate — after all, he attended high school in Québec. That familiarity, along with and the program’s high number of international players, helped solidify his decision. “First of all, it’s close to Canada, and I have my big sister in Montreal. After that, there are already some Canadians in the program that I spoke to in French. … — Tomas [Jack-Kurdyla] and Dev [Lamour]. It’s a treat to be with people who share the same background as me. … I can relate to them and it’s something special about the program that I feel at home [with].” The support from Avissey’s family and friends has been unwavering. “I talked it over with my family, and everybody’s behind me,” Avissey said. “My family might be more excited than I am.” Entering the 2019 season, the Bulls have nine international players on their roster: Avissey, Fabian Weltz from Germany, Alain Schäerer from Sweden, and Tomas Jack-Kurdyla, Dev Lamour, Gabe Wallace, Dominic Johnson, Cole Burniston and Julien Bourassa from Canada. The diversity of the team impressed Avissey during the recruiting process, leading him to sign with the Bulls. He also knew of the program’s success in 2018, when the Bulls went 10-4 and came just one point away from winning the MAC Championship Game.

“He’s been a pleasure to have in the program. American Division 1 football has been new to him,” said head coach Lance Leipold. “He’s learned a lot over the summer. He’s gotten bigger and stronger. He still has some developing to do. And how we use him this season has yet to be determined at this time. But, what an outstanding young man. And the story and his passion to try to make this work is really neat. I have a special admiration for all of our international players and their ambition to live the dream and play NCAA football.” Brandon Collier, the founder of Premier Prospects International, was effusive in his praise for Avissey. “He’s very athletic, long, and he’s the most loyal kid I have ever met,” Collier said. “He’s in that one percent, above and beyond any other guys I’ve ever worked with. Football-wise, I think that Buffalo has a potential NFL kid right there.” At 6’5”, 265 lb., Avissey is an imposing figure. But for all of his physical gifts, he will still need to prove that he has the mental stamina and proper conditioning to excel on the gridiron. For Avissey, it is important to set an example for the next generation of French prospects. “I just want to inspire as many people as I can,” he says. “I’m just going to put in the work and be ready. I am a competitor and all I want to do is win.” Email: sports@ubspectrum.com

JORDAN AVISSEY SHOWS OFF AT AN EARLY UB PRACTICE THIS SEASON. BENJAMIN BLANCHET | THE SPECTRUM

Bulls dominate in first home game, tie in second Soccer team wins 3-0 against Houston Baptist, ties 2-0 with UAlbany BRENTON J. BLANCHET, GERMAIN BROWN EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, STAFF WRITER

The Bulls soccer team (1-2-1) dominated the Houston Baptist Huskies (1-4) and tied with UAlbany (1-3-1) during UB’s first weekend of home play. The Bulls lost two straight on the road prior to Friday and failed to score any goals in both of the losses. But there really was no place like home Friday, as they started off fast and never looked back at UB Stadium while beating the Huskies. The team shared a strong offensive presence, with goals from sophomore Katherine Camper (minute 31), senior Carley Zoccali (minute 50) and senior Adrianna VanCuyck (minute 57), as the team attempted 16 shots and seven shots on goal. To top off their offensive showcase, the Bulls played strong defense and didn’t give up any shots to the Huskies, controlling both the game’s pace and possessions throughout. Head Coach Shawn Burke said the team still has little things to improve on, but was

happy with its overall play. “That was our best 90 minutes,” Burke said. Houston Baptist, on the other hand, had a very tough time against a smothering Buffalo defense and looked like the Buffalo team of two weeks ago. The Bulls then showed up at their second home game of the season Sunday but fell just short, as they tied 2-2 with the Great Danes. The game saw an early lead for Buffalo, as junior Marcy Barberic brought the Bulls up with a penalty kick just five minutes into the first.

SENIOR CARLEY ZOCCALI WAS ONE OF THREE BULLS TO EARN A GOAL DURING FRIDAY’S HOME VICTORY. PHOTO BY WAYNE PENALES | THE SPECTRUM

Albany’s Jada Colbert then took one to the goal before UB sophomore Hannah Callaghan brought the Bulls back up in minute 74. But at minute 79, Albany tied it up with a shot from Jasmine Colbert, bringing the game to overtime. The Bulls took three shots in OT compared to Albany’s one shot, but couldn’t capitalize, as the game closed off in a 2-2 tie. UB’s next game will be Thursday in Pennsylvania against a 1-3-1 St. Francis squad. Email: sports@ubspectrum.com

Profile for The Spectrum Student Periodical

The Spectrum Vol.69 No.04  

The Spectrum, the independent student publication of the University at Buffalo.

The Spectrum Vol.69 No.04  

The Spectrum, the independent student publication of the University at Buffalo.

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