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Holiday Gifts p. 16 Happy Flu Year p. 26 USF Faculty Feature p. 28-29

New Year, New You:

The Best Is Yet To Come p. 20-33

Looking Back at 2018 p. 32-33 For vs. Against Vaccines p.34-35

Editorial Board Delainey Smith

Editor-in-Chief Emily Plummer

Layout Artist Katie Wozniak

Assistant Online & Print Editor Antonio Smithberg

UNIVERSITY Election Update..................................4 Student Spotlight................................5

FEATURE New Year’s Resolutions.......................22 Maria Martinez Senior Feature ..........24 Happy Flu Year...................................26 Fighting Seasonal Depression..............27 Fr. Jankowski Setbacks to Comebacks 28 New Year: Same Earth........................30

Sports Editor Jalen Williams

Entertainment Editor Amber James

Feature Editor Chandler Kowaliczko

PR Manager


Campus News.....................................6 Joliet News..........................................8 World News.......................................10


Looking back at 2018........................32 For Vaccines.......................................34 Against Vaccines................................35 USF Parking......................................36 Benefits of a Four Day Work Week...37


Ask Ashley..........................................12 WCSF Top 10....................................13 Bar Review.........................................14 USF Play Review................................15 Holiday Gifts.....................................16 2019 Video Game Preview.................18 How USF Celebrated Christmas........19


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USF Sports Update............................38 Coach Interview ...............................40 Sports Spotlight................................42

Alex Guglielmucci

Promotions Manager alessandroguglielmucci@stfrancis. edu Blake Tomac

PR Specialist Angelica Bibian

Advertising Manager Dr. Scott Marshall


Staff Writers Ashley Hare Lauren Wozniak Evelyn Odum Sara Hill Richie Mroz Bennie Radford Ian Bond

Thank you for picking up the last issue of the Encounter for the Fall 2018 semester! This issue is very special to me because it is my last issue as Editor-in-Chief and as a USF student. It has truly been a joy to oversee this publication throughout this semester. My staff and I have worked hard to make strides adapting the Encounter to be more USF relevant. I feel confident leaving this magazine in the hands of my talented editors; you will see even more great issues to come in the Spring!


Letter From the Editor

As you flip through this last issue, I hope you ponder this past year and reflect on how to better yourself mentally, emotionally and physically. This edition is all about inspiring you to be the best version of yourself in 2019. Want even more updates from the Encounter? Check out our website (, to stay up to date on the latest news, entertainments and more. We are constantly adding new articles every week! Make sure to follow us on Facebook (USF Encounter), Instagram (usf_ encounter) and Twitter (usf_encounter). For more information on becoming a writer contact me at Without further delay, we hope you enjoy New Year: New You!

Delainey Smith Editor-in-Chief

As a Catholic university rooted in the liberal arts, we are a welcoming community of learners challenged by Franciscan values and charism, engaged in a continuous pursuit of knowledge, faith, wisdom, and justice, and ever mindful of a tradition that emphasizes reverence for creation, compassion and peacemaking. We strive for academic excellence in all programs, preparing women and men to contribute to the world through service and leadership. Policies

From the top, left to right: Delainey Smith (Editor-in-Chief ), Emily Plummer (Layout Artist), Katie Wozniak (Assistant Editor), Antonio Smithberg (Sports Editor), Jalen Williams (Entertainment Editor), Amber James (Feature Editor), Chandler Kowaliczko (PR Manager), Alex Guglielmucci (Promotions Manager), Blake Tomac (PR Specialist), Angelica Bibian (Advertising Manager)

The Encounter is published by the students of the University of St. Francis, 500 Wilcox Street, Joliet, Illinois, 60435. The newspaper office is located in room S413C of Tower Hall. The Encounter phone number is 815.740.3816. As a member of USF Campus Media, the Encounter strives to produce a publication that stresses quality writing and design. By reporting on issues that may be sensitive in nature, the Encounter aims to educate, inform and persuade students on topics that affect their lives on and off campus. Editorial pages provide Encounter staff with opportunities to express thoughtful views on controversial topics. Letters to the Editor represent the opinion of the author and are not necessarily opinions of the Encounter Staff. Publications of letters to the editor are subject to space availability and management discretion. Letters are also subject to editing. Letters to the editor or any other submissions may be dropped off at the Encounter office or emailed to The Encounter is printed by RICOH Services on the campus of the University of St. Francis.


Election By: Ian Bond Staff Writer While not the best result the Democrats could have hoped for, the midterm elections were still a blue wave. The Democrats will take back the House winning 233 seats, up from 195.The Republicans will keep the Senate increasing their majority to 53 senators from 51, but they will be on the defensive in 2020 when 21 Republican Senate seats face elections. Furthermore, the Republicans took losses in the states that helped President Donald Trump win in 2016: Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio. On a national level, the two elections to watch occurred in Texas and Florida. In Texas, incumbent Senator Ted Cruz (R) narrowly defeated Representative Beto O’Rourke (D). Despite this defeat, O’Rourke will have a bright future in the party and he had a positive effect for Texas Democrats. According to Manny Fernandez of the New York Times, “O’Rourke’s highprofile, high-energy campaign helped deliver victories for a number of Democrats in down-ballot races.” For example, Democrats won an additional twelve seats in the Texas House of Representatives.


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Meanwhile, in Florida, the year 2000 seems to be repeating itself, especially in Broward County. The Governor, U.S. Senate and Agriculture Commissioner elections all faced recounts. After a machine recount, Ron DeSantis (R) will be the next Governor of Florida, after a manual recount, current Governor Rick Scott (R) defeated incumbent Senator Bill Nelson (D) and Nikki Fried (D) will be the only Democrat in a state position. As for Broward County, Elections Supervisor Dr. Brenda Snipes came under fire for various mishandlings of the election. Some examples mentioned by Frances Robles of the New York Times include producing “unexplained new votes in the days after the election,” rejected ballots being mixed with valid ones, and a 2,000 vote discrepancy following the machine recount. When asked about what he was most surprised about, USF student and Political Science major Jose Munoz responded, “I was surprised Lauren Underwood (D) and Sean Casten (D) won. I thought one of them would win, but I didn’t expect both of them to.” The 14th and 6th Congressional

Districts were the last Republican districts in the Chicago area and will now be controlled by Democrats come January. These are not the only victories for Democrats in Illinois though as JB Pritzker (D) defeated incumbent Governor Bruce Rauner (R), receiving over fifty percent of the vote. Meanwhile, all other state offices will remain in the hands of the Democrats. Furthermore, the Democrats will have a supermajority in both houses of the General Assembly. All of this leaves the Illinois Republican Party in a greatly weakened state that Munoz describes as “a lost cause.” In Will County, Democrats won the elections for County Clerk, Treasurer and Sheriff. Meanwhile, the County board will be a split between the two major parties. In neighboring Cook County, Judge Matthew Coghlan lost his retention bid making him the first in almost thirty years to do so according to the Chicago Tribune.

Photo Courtesy of US Custom Tees, Chicago SunTimes and ABC13 Houston



By: Chandler Kowaliczko PR Manager Tell us a little bit about yourself. “I am a senior Radiation Therapy student here at the University of St. Francis.” What made you choose this major? “Ever since I was little, I knew that I belonged in the medical field and I have always been fascinated with medical oncology. So, from the first time I stepped foot on campus, I knew that radiation therapy was right for me. Helping others has always been one of my passions and the fact that I get to do this as a job is the best of both worlds. Now that I’m a senior, I am more sure than ever about my career path and am so excited to join the working world of radiation therapy!” Why did you choose to come to St. Francis? “One of the many reasons why I chose USF was because I love the small, family feel here. Since I live close to campus, it’s nice to be able to go to school and still be close to my family and friends. Every person I encountered while on my college visit was so welcoming and it just felt like I belonged here. They were also very accommodating to my financial situation, which was a huge plus!” What are you involved with on campus? “My largest role on campus is working in the Alumni and Family Relations office. I’ve worked there since my freshman year. Our role at St. Francis is to engage our alumni with the university through various events held during the year such as the Student Alumni Mentoring (SAM) program, Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, and other fantastic events. It’s really gratifying to be able to connect past alumni with current students and foster a greater sense of community at the university.” What does a typical day in the life of a radiation therapy student look like? “One of the things I love about the Radiation Therapy program is how it is structured. The weeks in the program alternate between clinical weeks and didactic weeks. In other words, one week we are in a traditional classroom setting with a professor, and the next week we

y ll o M unning G are in the clinical setting at a hospital. My first clinical rotation was at the University of Chicago and I am currently at the Radiation Therapy Center of Morris Hospital. This gives us students the opportunity to interact with real life patients in a professional setting outside of the classroom. It also gives us practical experience before we even graduate.”

If you could give your freshman year self a word of advice, what would it be? “I would tell myself to not stress so much over school and enjoy the process. Especially during your first few semesters in college, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and put unnecessary pressure on yourself to get perfect grades. I would encourage myself to get as involved as possible and branch out of my comfort zone every once in a while too.”


Campus News By: Emily Plummer Layout Artist

New Farmer’s Fridge Vending Machine Earlier this week, a new vending machine popped up on campus outside of the Terrace Cafe and Snack Shop. This fresh food vending machine from Farmer’s Fridge, although not filled yet, will offer students the opportunity to have healthy meals on-the-go. One of the biggest attributes to this convenience is benefiting the fast-paced atmosphere of college life. These vending machines have become a trend on college campuses across the U.S. for schools such as Purdue University, University of Illinois, Lewis University and University of Chicago. Other than the convenience of these meals, they have incredibly high ratings taste-wise. On Yelp, they scored a 4.5/5 star rating, followed by a 4.9/5 on Facebook and a 5/5 on Google Reviews. You can review their menu for yourself online at

Farmers Fridge prides itself on being eco-friendly while also being tasty and convenient. According to their website,, their salads all come in glass mason jars that can be recycled into the machine. They also require very little energy to run, costing only $25 a month for electricity. Lastly, all their meals are vegetarian friendly and all unpurchased foods are “donated to local community members in need.”

The Farmer’s Fridge vending machine is set to open within the next few weeks on campus. Although USF will be closed for winter break starting December 14, the new addition will be up and running come 2019.

Although these salads come at a hefty price of $9 a bowl, many students think it will be worth it. USF Senior Jessica Halas commented on the new food option stating, “I’m always on the go so this makes it easier to get lunch since I don’t have to wait in line at the Bistro or Pub get it. The price isn’t a big deal to me, as a commuter I’m paying about the same for food in the dining halls anyways.”

Cross Country Team Ranks Nationally The Fighting Saints took home some hardware following the NAIA National Championship on November 16 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Men’s division finished third place overall, following closely behind Indiana Weslyian University and Oklahoma City University. The team was lead by NAIA All American athletes Omar Paramk and Gabe


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Ceballos. Ceballos recalls the event saying, “It’s incredible and it still doesn’t feel real yet. I’m still wearing the medal and it doesn’t feel real. This was a great note to end my senior year on.” The Women’s Cross Country team also ranked the best in their program with an eighth place finish at Nationals, beating the

record holding twelfth place finish from 2012 and 2013. Both the Men and Women’s divisions are seen to be some of the best in the school’s history following the team of 2012.

On November 5, USF Director of Safety and Security, Jason Williams, was a guest speaker at a Student Government Association (SGA) meeting to discuss the annual Clery Report that was released from the previous school year. The Clery Report, as defined by, is a “federal statute requiring colleges and universities participating in federal financial aid programs to maintain and disclose campus crime statistics and security information.” This report shows that USF has some of the lowest on campus

crime rating among the state of Illinois. In an attempt to make that number even lower, the Department of Safety and Security has installed additional blue emergency pills around campus and installed over 25 new cameras on campus. These additions give students more protection and a faster response time in the event that a crime occurs on campus.

feel safe mostly because there are so many of the emergency lights scattered around campus.”


2018 Clery Report Released

Junior USF student Jessica Schram thinks that these new features are beneficial for student safety stating, “I feel very safe on campus when I’m here. I think I

The College of Business and Health Administration wishes you

Merry Christmas! Photos Courtesy of Lauren Wozniak


JOLIET NEWS By: Blake Tomac PR Specialist

Joliet Country Club Opening Public Golf Course The Joliet Country Club golf course will officially be open to the public in 2019 and it will now be known as the Joliet Golf Club. Board of Directors member Michael Hansen says the club will be open to the public seven days a week but memberships will still be available. In Hansen’s interview on WJOL, he also states that the golf course is now under the management of KemperSports, a Northbrook-based company that manages many golf courses across the country, including the Bolingbrook Golf Club. KemperSports has created guidelines that allow the golf course to be available to the public and also keep members happy.

more successful from a business perspective and it adds more competition to the other Joliet public golf courses.” As the course goes public, members will have certain slotted tee times that can be reserved 14 days in advance. Memberships for a single is $3,000 a year.

University of St. Francis women’s golfer, Kayla Garritson believes opening the course to the public is a good idea. Garritson stated, “I have played there a few times. I think the location of the course is not in an area where a private golf course would thrive. I feel like opening it to the public will be

Beef Shack Opens in Joliet The award-winning Beef Shack restaurant opened last week in Joliet. The new restaurant is located on West Jefferson Street in a building that used to house a Taco Bell. The Taco Bell had been vacated for years, leaving the place run down and empty. After several months of renovations, Beef Shack was able to transform the building into what is hoped to be a popular food spot for years to come. Beef Shack is a sandwich shop that is widely known for their Italian beef, specifically their Cheezy Beef. The Cheezy Beef is a beef sandwich served on a garlic bread bun that is topped with mozzarella and provolone cheeses and either hot or sweet peppers. The Beef Shack menu also features things like cheeseburgers, hotdogs, and salads.


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Beef Shack is located at 1606 W. Jefferson St. and is available for carryout, delivery, drive-thru and catering.


Doughnut Flavored Beer? Arrowhead Ales Brewing Company in New Lenox and Home Cut Donuts in Joliet have teamed up to make an in interesting new product.

The new doughnut-flavored beer, Home Cut Hero, will be available at 11 a.m. December 15 at Arrowhead Ales’ taproom, located at 2101 Calistoga Drive in New Lenox.

According to The Herald News, the limited edition doughnut flavored beer was brewed with more than 100 original Home Cut doughnuts at the New Lenox brewery and has been named Home Cut Hero — Imperial Donut Stout. The Brew will be available in “Original” or “Cherry Cake.”

Customers can try the beer on tap or purchase any of the 600 total 22-ounce bottles in each style.

When asked about the doughnut-flavored beer, University of St. Francis student Breanna Pearson said, “Sounds interesting. I would be willing to try it but I am a little skeptical about how it will taste.” USF student Paige Egan agreed, saying, “I would like to try the beer because it sounds new and interesting, however I do not know if the two products will mix well together.”

Photos Courtesy of the Herald News, and Yelp



By: Amber James Feature Editor

Aircraft sued for killing 189 people on flight Lion Air, an Indonesian low-cost airline, was recommended to improve its safety culture by Indonesian authorities. On October 29, flight JT 610 crashed into the Java Sea shortly after departing Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board. However, there does not seem to be a definitive cause for the accident according to A report by the Indonesian Transport Safety Committee said the airline “should ensure the operations manual is followed in order to improve the safety culture and to enable the pilot to make proper decisions to continue the flight.” According to The Seattle Times, the pilots responded to each nose-down movement by pulling the nose up again, but mysteriously they didn’t do what the pilots on the

previous day’s flight had done; simply switched off that flight-control system. Victims’ families are suing aircraft maker Boeing over alleged faults with the jet’s design, focusing on the automated safety feature. One of the black box recorders from the flight, the flight data recorder, has been retrieved. However, authorities have yet to locate the cockpit voice recorder, which could provide more information about how the pilots reacted, according to Channel NewsAsia.

Trump Says climate change did not cause camp Fires According to The Washington Post, reporters asked President Trump whether seeing what remained of Northern California made him rethink his opinion on climate change. “No, no, I have a strong opinion. I want a great climate,” Trump said according to “We’re going to have that, and we are going to have forests that are very safe because we can’t go through this every year.” Trump said he thought there were “a lot of factors” involved when asked about the role of climate change in contributing to the fires according to CNN.


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“We have the management factor that I know Jerry has really been up on and very well. And Gavin is going to — we’re going to be looking at it together,” said Trump when talking about Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. Trump’s remarks came after he was criticized the week before for initially blaming California forest management for the destruction brought by the fires, considered the deadliest and most destructive in California’s history. According to, “A lot of things have been learned.

And they’ve been working very hard and I think you’re going to see something very spectacular over the next number of years,” said President Trump.


Tijuana tear gas incident currently under review Top leaders at Customs and Border Protection in San Diego said the incident involving the use of tear gas to repel groups of migrants trying to storm the border in Tijuana is currently under review. According to USA Today, several hundred migrants marched toward the San Ysidro port of entry on November 25. Mexican police blocked their path and the large crowd tried to push past them, causing agents to launch tear gas canisters from the U.S. side of the border into Mexico. The US government has stood by its use of tear gas to disperse migrants attempting to rush the border, according to US Customs and Border Protection said

that some migrants were throwing rocks at Border Patrol agents, prompting the agents to respond with force to protect themselves. According to the Chicago Tribune, President Donald Trump believes the tear gas was “very safe.” The Mayor of Tijuana, according to CNN, said he has mixed emotions over what happened. On one hand, he said he is frustrated with those who are potentially putting children in harm’s way by bringing them to the border not knowing what they will face. “On the other side, unfortunately, I cannot agree on the use of force, not even that type of force that is tear gas or rubber bullets,” Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum said.

Joliet’s Favorite Since 1966 815 W. Jefferson St., Joliet, IL 60435

(815) 727-3511

OPEN 24/7 - FREE WIFI 10% OFF Purchase with USF ID

Photo Courtesy NDTV, Toronto Star, Mid-Day News, NY Daily and CNN



How I Make Thousands Just Walking Dogs

By: Ashley Hare Staff Writer

Ashley and client Charlie


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Many college students are always looking for a quick and easy way to make money. As long as you are comfortable around dogs, I have the perfect way for you to earn some extra cash. Over the past summer, I was recommended by a friend to join the program called Wag and another called Rover. Both phone apps provide services for clients to have dog sitters and walkers. The way each app works is a bit different. All you must do is pay a reasonable fee for a background check and if you get cleared, you can begin your journey as a dog sitter and walker. At first, I was very leery to join because you will be entering a stranger’s home and you never know how the dog may react. However, that was not the case! Wag is where you book walks with a trusted Wag dog walker either on-demand, in advance, or recurring. Wherever you are, the client can track the dog’s journey with Wag’s live GPS tracking. The client will also receive a report card upon the dog’s safe return home. I describe Wag as Uber; you base your schedule upon your availability. Whenever you want to walk, you can. Just open the app and see what’s available to walk. Wag goes by a first come, first serve basis. Whoever is the first person to request the walk will receive it. You can set pin points to your specific location or places you go to often. Wag gives you a tenmile radius from your current location. Wag also offers sitting and boarding, however Wag is more popular for walking. On the other hand, Rover clients will pick the sitter or walker of their choice. Whether you need in-home dog boarding, pet sitting, dog walking or day care, Rover connects pet parents with dog people who’ll treat their pets like family. At first, my business on Rover

wasn’t as popular as Wag. You have to build your profile up with reviews and testimonies that will attract clients to pick you. After I booked my first sitting, my profile began to receive several requests. All the requests I have received on Rover have been sittings. When an owner requests a sitting, you schedule a meet and greet first to discuss what the owner wants and your feel for the stay. If you and the owner agree to the sitting, you book the request on the app. Throughout the stay, you update the owner with pictures, videos and report cards on the dog. Every stay I have booked was overnight and I had no issues. You may be a bit leery to sleep in a stranger’s home for a weekend or even a week, but the owner is trusting you with their home and pets. The best part about both Wag and Rover is that you make great money. I have been on Wag and Rover for about five months and have earned over $3,000. Three grand in five months is pretty good for a college student. However, both applications have different pricing and payment options. Wag has set pricing. For a 30-minute walk, you will receive 12 dollars plus a tip. For 60-minute walk, you receive 18 dollars plus a tip. And if you wear the Wag t-shirt and put the Wag bandana on the dog you will receive a bonus extra dollar. Wag pays you every week on Friday through direct deposit. On the other hand, Rover allows you to set your own rates. If you want to charge 20 dollars for a walk, you can. Rover depends on your preference and choice. However, Rover pays you through PayPal two days after your sitting or walk rather than once every week. Both Wag and Rover are great companies to work for. You meet new people and gain a trustworthy reputation as a dog sitter or walker. I have met very nice people who love their dogs just as much as I love them. The best part about it all is you get to enjoy the company of dogs while getting paid!


Spirit of

Christmas Dec. 7

Christmas Comedy 7 p.m.

Dec. 9

Christmas in Our Town 7 p.m.

Acapella Christmas 7 p.m.

Christmas Across America 7 p.m.

Rockin’ Christmas 8 p.m.

Swingin’ Christmas 8 p.m.

Joliet Symphony Orchestra 8 p.m.

Dec. 11 Dec. 12 Dec. 14

Dec. 17 Dec. 21 Dec. 23

Old-Time Radio Christmas Classic 12 p.m.

Dec. 24

Top 25 Christmas songs of 2018 12 p.m.

Cinnamon Bear 5 p.m.

Dec. 25

Photos courtesy of WVXU, Chrsitmas Stock Photos, NPR and


Local Bar Review By: Jalen Williams Entertainment Editor For every college out there, there’s a bar willing to serve those college students thirsty for an escape from papers and exams. If you’re looking for somewhere close and collegiate, then look no further than O’Charley’s Pub right down the street from USF! My experience at the pub was rather odd, as I’ve never been to an actual pub before. Going in, I had no idea what to expect. What I expected was a bunch of college students drinking and playing beer pong, but what I experienced was totally different.

bartender told me of some special cocktails that she could make and I picked the Green Lizard. I’ve heard about this drink from some of my friends and never heard complaints, so I thought maybe I would like it too.

As I watched the bartender mix the Green Apple Pucker, Blue When I walked in, I was surprised by the atmosphere. Everywhere Curacao, vodka and top it with Monster Energy Drink, I couldn’t you looked was Irish green and clovers. The decor definitely matched wait to taste it. I could tell it was going to be sweet and boy was I the theme of the bar. I felt like I walked into a pub in Ireland. right. My second surprise came when I ordered my drink. I ordered a beer and went to hand the bartender my debit card when she informed me that they only took cash, which I thought was odd, but not totally unreasonable. Thankfully, I had cash on me so I could avoid those nasty ATM fees. I ordered my favorite drink, Angry Orchard, and was surprised it was a dollar less than at the last bar I reviewed. It didn’t taste as crisp out of the bottle as it did on tap, but it was still delicious. The food options were my next surprise. The bartender offered me some popcorn, which I happily accepted. I looked behind the bar and saw they had a makeshift kitchen set-up. For the sake of my stomach, I stuck to the free popcorn. The popcorn strangely paired well with my beer and before I knew it, both my beer and bowl were empty. I decided instead of ordering my usual drink of choice (Captain Morgan and Coke) that I would give a signature drink a try. The


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I could taste the green apple and blue raspberry liqueurs, hardly tasting the hefty pour of vodka the drink contained. The presentation was well, as the drink was a teal-green and looked great in a glass. Overall, my experience at O’Charley’s was a positive one. I had a good time while I took a trip to Ireland and escaped the stresses of school and work and enjoyed a night out. For any USF college student of age, I recommend O’Charleys if you want a fun night out with friends and are looking for a classic college bar.

By: Bennie Radford Staff Writer

On the weekend of November 9, I had the privilege to view the fall play at the University of St. Francis, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles.’ Don’t let the title deter you, though. This was a Sherlock Holmes mystery-solving play that everyone, including myself, seemed to enjoy. As a music student worker, I had the opportunity to see the play multiple times. When I saw the play for the first time, it was on Thursday, November 8. Technically, this was not on the schedule since it was a “preview night.” Basically, it was a full run-through of the play but students, faculty, and people in the community could see it for free rather than paying for a ticket. On the Thursday showing, everything seemed to run pretty smoothly. However, there were only seven or eight people that came and it did not seem as nerve-wracking for the performers. On Friday November 9, however, the performers seemed more nervous than the night before. If I had to guess, it was due to the amount of people that came to experience the performance. The play was located in the Turk Theater at the University of St. Francis, with a maximum capacity of around 141 people. To say the least, it was a full house.

Photo courtesy of and Bennie Radford

Friday was also the first night that people could enjoy a dinner before the show, which is a first for USF’s Music and Performing Arts department. Overall, despite the nervousness, the performers did a fantastic job at recreating the adventures and mysteries of Sherlock Holmes. Caleb Campbell, who played Sherlock Holmes says, “We got better, we improved and we really overcame some of the difficulties during the show.”



Don’t let the title deter you, though. This was a Sherlock Holmes mystery-solving play that everyone, including myself, seemed to enjoy.”

My third and final time seeing the show was on Sunday, November 11. This showing of the play was, in my opinion, perfect. The jitters were gone and they were exceptional at their roles. The start of the weekend may have had a few bumps here and there, but this showing specifically made up for all of them. It was amazing to see how the performers evolved from start to finish. If you or someone you know is interested in auditioning for any theater production here at USF, don’t hesitate! USF theater director Daina Giesler says, “Anyone can audition because you may have some hidden talents that you’re unaware of.” To learn more about upcoming shows, please visit


HOLIDAY GIFTS Your guide to gift giving this holiday season With the holidays approaching, you might be wondering what you should get your family, friends or your significant other. Buying gift cards are an easy way to give last minute or if you have no idea what to get your friends for Christmas. The best way to buy gifts are to buy them weeks ahead of time instead of waiting last minute before Christmas. If you don’t want to give a simple gift card, here are some popular gifts to give this holiday season. By: Angelica Bibian Advertising Manager

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Camera Target Price: $69.99

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Game Stop Price: $59.99

The Instax Mini Camera is a great gift to give to any of your friends. This camera will print out the picture you just took in seconds. This camera even has a selfie mirror so you can know if you’re in frame. They come in multiple colors such as ice blue, flamingo pink, cobalt blue, smokey white, lime green and rose quartz. However, the film for the camera is not included. You will need to purchase the film to print out your “insta” pictures. The cost of the film can vary depending on which one you buy. The film price ranges from 14 to 20 dollars.

A perfect gift that you could give somebody who has a Nintendo Switch is the new Super Smash Bros game. This new game is featuring 72 fighters with more than 100 stages. It comes out on December 7 and the game is available at any store that sells video games. With the Nintendo Switch, you can play this game anywhere at any time.


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Vanilla Bean Noel

Bath & Body Works Price: $12.50

If you’re looking for a simple gift to give somebody then a gift from Bath & Body Works is the place to go. They have tons of gift sets for women and men. Bath & Body Works also has tons of deals and coupons around the holiday season. This gift set comes with a shea body cream, a fragrance mist and a small hand sanitizer. The bag is already wrapped for you so you can just write who you will be giving the gift to. It’s as simple as that!

3 Samplers Votive Holder Set Yankee Candle Price: $12.50 Yankee Candle is a perfect gift to give anybody! During the holiday season, they have numerous holiday-scented candles that smell amazing. USF student, Daniel McGee, buys his mom’s Christmas gift at Yankee Candle every year! This set comes with three different candles and a holiday candle holder. Two out of the three candles are new scents. One of the new scents is called Frosty Gingerbread, which will make any room smell sweet. Icy Blue Spruce is the other new scent that has a smell of the fresh breath of the winter forest. The other candle is called Sparkling Snow which is a scent of gleaming, snow-covered pines.





Video Game Preview

By: Richie Mroz Staff Writer

Over the past 50 years, people of all ages have been immersing themselves in their favorite video games. From “Pong,” “Galaga” and “Pac-Man” to “Call of Duty,” “Fallout” and “Fortnite,” video games have become increasingly more popular. Innovation in graphics, gameplay and performance year after year have gamer’s expectations set high, with 2019 being no exception. There is a substantial line-up of games set to release in the coming year and you better believe it when I tell you that gamers are thrilled. PlayStation exclusive “Days Gone” and Xbox exclusive “Gears 5” are just two of the several new games set to release in 2019.

“Days Gone” is an open world action-adventure survival game being developed by Sony Blend and is releasing exclusively for the PlayStation 4. “Days Gone” is set two years after a global pandemic has taken over civilization, turning many into zombies or “freakers” as they are referred in the game. In this post-apocalyptic open world the player experiences the life of biker Deacon St. John. He is part of a rebellious biker gang which struggles to survive in a world where the dead are as dangerous as the living. Throughout the game, the player has the freedom to traverse a vast open world in which they can complete missions, ride on a motorcycle, shoot some zombies and much more all while experiencing a full day and night cycle. The game is set to release on April 26, 2019.

“Gears 5” 18

December 5, 2018

“Days Gone”

Microsoft Studio’s “Gears 5” is the fifth direct installment in the “Gears of War” franchise, releasing exclusively for the Xbox. The “Gears of War” franchise takes place on the planet Sera, an Earth-like world where inhuman monsters, known as the Locust, are roaming free and humanity struggles to survive. The first three games follow main protagonists, Marcus Fenix and Dom Santiago, as they fight to save humanity from the Locust. “Gears of War 4” takes place 25 years after the third game and focuses on Marcus’s son JD, his friends Del Walker and Kait Diaz. The friends are a part of a bigger group known as “The Outsiders.” When the rest of their group is abducted late at night, the three are left to figure out what happened. “Gears 5” continues this story as the player follows Kait Diaz throughout the adventure. According to the Gears of War website, “As Kait you must journey across the biggest, most beautiful Gears world to uncover the origins of the Locust, and fight with your squad to protect what’s left.” The game does not have an official release date yet but is confirmed to release in 2019.

tmas risStudents CWithhUSF

By: Katie Wozniak Assistant Editor

It’s that time of year again! Time to whip out the old family recipes, your favorite holiday sweater and call up distant family members. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, this is the season of traditions and celebration. The University of St. Francis is incredibly diverse with different cultures, religions and customs. The campus itself has traditions of its own, including the decorations such as the lights in the trees, the wreaths hanging on Motherhouse and decorated trees throughout Tower Hall. USF also has an annual Campus Lighting and Blessing of the Creche, where the campus comes to life. Apart from the university, the students on campus all travel back home to traditions of their own. With the Christmas spirit in the air, we set out to ask USF students how they celebrate the holidays.

Las Posadas is another tradition many students celebrate during the holidays. Las Posadas is a Mexican tradition that lasts nine days to honor the nine months Mary was pregnant with Jesus. This prayer and preparation is the acting out of the days Mary and Joseph experienced as they journeyed to Bethlehem, according to www.catholiccompany. com. Robert Santillan, a senior at USF, talks more about the celebration of Las Posadas with his family saying, “It involves making a nativity scene in your house and singing Mexican Christmas carols as if you were welcoming Joseph and Mary to your own home. It is one of my favorite traditions with my family.”

USF junior Kylie King tells about her traditions around the holidays, saying, “My family always does matching Christmas pajamas. I remember doing this even as a kid! We also have some friends near and dear to our heart that we invite over for Christmas that get their pajamas as well! My host brother will get to experience this for the first time.” King goes on to explain who her host brother is by saying, “My host brother’s name is Nick but in Ukranian, it is Mykola. He prefers we call him Kolya though! He is an orphan from Ukraine that gets to live with us for a little bit during the holiday season. He is fourteen and my family is planning on adopting him. However, Ukraine is strict with their rules on what my parents and my family had to do as a whole in order to adopt him.”

Photos courtesy of Pexels, The Joliet Patch, Bealstreet, Robert Santillan, Madelyn Barrett and Kylie King, Wikipedia, and Giant Bomb, Amazon



Madelyn Barrett, a sophomore at USF, shares her heartwarming tradition of how her family remembers the life of her grandfather. “For Christmas every year we have a family party dedicated to lighting a Christmas tree in honor of my grandfather who passed. He has over 25 grandchildren and each has their own angel ornament with his or her name on it. We each place ours on the tree and say our favorite memory of him and some prayers,” she says. “It’s our way of keeping his warm, kind-hearted spirit alive at the heart of our family.”


New Year, New You: The Best is Yet to Come


December 5, 2018

FEATURE As 2018 comes to a close, we’re left looking back at the good, the not-so-good and the downright ugly. 2019, however, is going to be all about setting ourselves up for emotional, mental and physical success. In this section, we reflect on what 2018 has brought us and what 2019 will bring. The best is yet to come.


“New Year, New Me,” has been the phrase that has been used the most this year when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. Every year, millions of people make a pact with themselves or within a group to change their habits and to, hopefully, improve their lives. Yet, many people are just simply unaware of how New Year’s resolutions came about and if people actually stick with their resolutions the entire year. While the origins of New Year’s resolutions may surprise you, the amount of people who actually go through with them may not be. The origins of New Year’s resolutions can actually be traced back thousands of years to the Babylonians. They would hold ceremonies that would celebrate and honor the new year, even though their new year would start in mid-March rather than in January. This is because that is when they would plant their crops. According to Sarah Pruitt, a writer for, “During a massive 12-day religious festival known as Akitu, the Babylonians crowned a new king or reaffirmed their loyalty to the reigning king. They also made promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed.” These promises are considered to be one of the first forms of New Year’s resolutions. Similar practices occurred in ancient Rome with Julius Caesar after he reformed the calendar and declared January 1 as the beginning of the new year. It was named after Janus, who was a two-faced god that inhabited spirits and doorways. Pruitt writes, “Believing that Janus symbolically looked backwards into the previous year and ahead into the future, the Romans offered sacrifices to the deity and made promises of good conduct for the coming year.” Because of this belief of Janus’ ability to look back on the

The O By: Sara Hill Staff Writer


December 5, 2018

New Ye

In 1740, English clergyman John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, started the Covenant Renewal Service that was held on either New Year’s Eve or Day according to www. It was started as a more religious and spiritual alternative to ring in the new year. It included hymn singing and reading from scripture. Nowadays, it is more popular with evangelical Protestant churches, where, as Pruitt writes, “watch night services held on New Year’s Eve are often spent praying and making resolutions for the coming year.” New Year’s resolutions today have become a mostly secular practice, making promises to themselves that are more focused on self-improvement rather than to gods or deities. However, this could be a main reason that most people aren’t able to follow through with their resolutions. According to U.S. News, around 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. The reason that most people aren’t able to stick with their New Year’s resolutions is that they either make resolutions that are impossible to keep up with or they are too far-fetched in terms of completing it in only one year. Even though the majority of people aren’t able to keep up with their resolutions, there are some that are able to stick it out, like University of St. Francis student Hannah Nevin. “I have stuck with many [New Year’s resolutions] in the past and I do this because I need something to be proud of myself for. It’s more of a personal achievement.” With this mindset, people are able to use their New Year’s resolution as a motivator to achieve

“New Year’s resolutions today have become a mostly secular practice, making promises to themselves that are more focused on selfimprovement rather than to gods or deities.”


year before and to see ahead into the future, January became a significant and special time of the year for the Romans.

their goals, whether it be to lose weight or to work their way up at their job. There are also those who don’t believe in making New Year’s resolutions. “I don’t make New Year’s resolutions because for me, I don’t understand the need to wait until January to make a change,” says Joanna Kourtidis. Many people agree with her. If you really want to make a change in your life, then you shouldn’t be willing to wait and would want to be changing your life now. Whether you make a New Year’s resolution and stick with it, get lost in that six week slump or are just not interested in making one at all, “New Year, New Me” is something that has flooded social media and our timelines for the past year. People making promises of self-improvement and overall improving their positivity is something that is truly inspiring. However, if you end up getting off track in the middle of it all, don’t worry, because there’s always next year!

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ear’s Resolutions Photos courtesy of Lifehacker





December 5, 2018

“Now I have to be an adult-adult, find a big girl job, find a house and blah, blah, blah,” said Maria Martinez when talking about the responsibilities after college. She will be graduating in December with a degree in Biology. A few months from now, she will find herself in a lab extracting DNA from pieces of evidence. It could be an item of clothing from a homicide victim. She may even find herself in court presenting her DNA findings to a judge. But for now, Martinez is just trying to maintain her grades and finish all her schoolwork by their deadlines. With the future on the horizon, she is planning by looking and applying for jobs. She is on a state website that alerts her when new openings are available. “If you’re in the state system, it is easier to bounce around,” she said. The only problem being: she could be relocated to any lab in Illinois. She’s not sure how far she and her mom are willing to move. Having a Biology degree allows her to be a forensic scientist, do cancer research or work in a crime lab. So far, she has applied to be an evidence technician where she will process evidence and hand it off to a scientist.

Photos Courtesy of Pexels

She has always found herself interested in criminology, although, a few years ago, she attended JJC to be a vet technician. “Being a vet tech takes a toll on your body, especially wrestling dogs. I could not have done that forever. I was confident on going back to school,” she said. It was then that she decided to study what she loved biology. Martinez said the biggest change will be going home and not having to worry about homework and having time to relax. This freedom will also allow her to attend more social events. The commute will also be a new obstacle. To get to USF, she only has a 10 to 15-minute drive, but if things go according to plan, she will have to go all the way to Chicago for her job. The other large fear is the financial situation. Most colleges have a few months grace period before you have to start paying the debt off, the University of Saint Francis included. Not knowing what job and salary she’ll start out with is stressful. She doesn’t feel that the social aspect of her life will change much since she already has friends who aren’t in college. But she does expect to make friends with


“Remembering all the procedures may be overwhelming, but that’s nothing a little time, practice and repetition can’t fix... It’s high intensity because it’s sensitive material. If you mess it up, then you just destroyed a piece of evidence that could’ve helped in a case somewhere.” her coworkers so long as “work problems stay at work and don’t follow me home,” she said. Currently, Martinez works in a hospital. “So, I already have the working vibe,” she said. Upon hiring, she will have to go through a training period. This, she claims, won’t be much different from school now. “You have someone you’re reporting to who’s guiding you through the way,” said Martinez. After that, she will finally be turned loose to do her own work in a lab. Remembering all the procedures may be overwhelming, but that’s nothing a little time, practice and repetition can’t fix. The stress from college to work will be different. “It’s high intensity because it’s sensitive material. If you mess it up, then you just destroyed a piece of evidence that could’ve helped in a case somewhere,” she said. Even amongst all of Martinez’s fears and concerns for the future, her excitement was clear. She is ready for the change. Her parents, she said, are also ready for her graduation. “We’ll see what the future holds,” she said. Good luck to Maria and all the other seniors graduating!


Happy Flu Year! By: Lauren Wozniak Staff Writer Sore throat, runny nose, headache. These are some infamous signs that you’re sick. It’s flu season, everyone! Time to break out the tissue boxes and cough drops! While you may be tempted to just hide away from the world until spring, I have some helpful tips and remedies for preventing and treating the cold and flu during the winter season. To prevent getting sick, you must first know how the illness spreads. The flu spreads when you come in contact with the particles that someone has sneezed or coughed up. This can be spread on objects, through the air or by direct contact with the person. The disease can only affect you, though, if those particles reach your eyes, nose or mouth, according to WebMD. There are many different ways to prevent getting sick and some prove to be more effective than others. Many students around USF have their own methods of staying healthy. When Pauline Areno was asked what she does to prevent getting sick, she said, “I have found it helpful to have hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes, especially after using computer labs.” Lizzy Tuck added that, “Honestly, if I think I’m getting sick, I will sleep a ton so I have fewer symptoms.” WebMD does explain that keeping your hands clean and keeping up a healthy lifestyle is beneficial to preventing the flu. Sometimes, though, remedies are based on old tales and superstitions.


December 5, 2018

Sophomore Caleb Campbell recalled a trick his mom uses back home. “My mom will cut open an onion and

Know Your Flu Facts

set it out to collect all the germs and flu stuff in the air, which supposedly helps but might be an old wives’ tale.” According to www., onions do contain sulfur compounds and were used in some cultures for medical purposes, but the effectiveness of this treatment is not significant. What happens when you do get sick, though? USF students shared solutions for that, too! Kayla Icenogle shared that, “A natural way to ease a headache instead of taking pills is to invest in a peppermint essential oil. Rub where your head hurts and put a little behind your ears.” Aromatherapy is also a growing evidence-based practice where stimulation of smell receptors assists healing, according to www.medicalnewstoday. com. Icenogle also explained that, “If you have an extreme coughing fit, rub Vicks vapor rub on the bottom of your feet. Put on socks for an easy night sleeping.” Chelsea Hizon also said that, “Raw honey works wonders. A little goes a long way compared to normal honey.” The flu comes around every year and it is basically impossible to escape exposure to it. There are many steps that can be taken to prevent and treat the flu, though. Whether you take the advice of fellow students, follow the remedies you grew up with or search the internet for new tips and tricks, make sure to take proactive steps towards a safe and healthy winter season. Images Courtesy of and Pexels

By: Misael Tobais Staff Writer

We are well into the winter now; the leaves have fallen off the trees, snow has fallen on a couple of occasions, the Christmas lights and decorations are up and you are still stuffed from Thanksgiving leftovers. It’s a joyous time and yet, something feels off. As everyone’s lives are filled with that great holiday joy, there’s times where you are feeling out of it. It’s not that you don’t like the holidays or winter, but you’re just not as excited as you would like to be. If what I just described fits you, then you’re not alone. I had always thought feeling this way was just me not being a big fan of the winter and while that is a big part, there’s more to it. Seasonal affective disorder, or more commonly known as seasonal depression, is a type of depression that is very common. According to the Mayo Clinic, while it may cause depression to some in the spring or summer, it’s much more common to start in the fall or winter. There isn’t an exact known cause to seasonal depression but according to WebMD, many experts think that a common cause is the lack of sunlight that occurs during this time. Sunlight helps create serotonin, a chemical in the brain that helps regulate mood. With that lack of chemical in the brain, the nerve pathways that regulate mood don’t function as well and can cause seasonal depression. Symptoms can include trouble concentrating, weight gain and lack of energy. Sometimes the effects can be a little rougher and may affect relationships or work. If you share these feelings with someone, they will probably tell you they’ve been feeling that way too, Photos Courtesy of YouTube

especially fellow college students. Senior and Track and Field athlete Lesley Lopez commented on the troubling subject. “Well, I do believe it’s a thing and it tends to happen a lot around this time. Even when things are going okay, one can still feel upset or off without really knowing why…but then other times you feel fine. It’s so weird yet so common.” According to WebMD, seasonal depression begins among young adults and is more common in women than men. It is much less common in places that have sunlight throughout most of the day. While it is troubling, thankfully there are ways to battle seasonal depression. Of course, you can go to your doctor if you feel you have any of these symptoms and they can help you with medications. They may also recommend receiving light therapy. This type of therapy is different for everyone but usually involves standing near a very bright, full spectrum light for a small amount of time every day according to edu. You can even get some of these lights yourself online. However, if you don’t want to spend the money, there’s always the option of getting up earlier. While that may sound less convenient then staying in your bed a little longer, it will allow you to get a little more natural sunlight in your day.


Battling Seasonal Depression “It’s not that you don’t like the holidays or winter, but you’re just not as excited as you would like to be.”

Other small but effective ways include exercising, having a well-balanced diet and getting support from family and friends. These small but effective ways can help your winter days get a little better and get you to brighter and (literally) more sunny days.


Turning Setbacks Comebacks: Fr. “I promise to remember all of you in my prayers so that you can just be good people and do what is right for the sake of another... we will all, one way or another, come together and embrace our ultimate destiny in peace.� - Father Pete Jankowski


December 5, 2018

As the first semester of the school year ends, we reflect on what it means to be an outstanding professor at the University of St. Francis. What qualities does an outstanding educator possess? What impact do outstanding teachers have despite life’s adversities? Drawing from his own statements, Theology adjunct professor Father Pete Jankowski has shown outstanding attributes that are admired by professors and students alike.


Into Jankowski

By: Amber James Feature Editor

According to, the book is based on sports reporter Mitch Albom whose busy life is filled with work and travel. He has become so absorbed in his work that it consumes his life until he gets in touch with his old college professor, Morrie Schwartz.

In the book, Morrie Schwartz teaches Albom lessons about life, love, etc. and Father Jankowski has taken those lessons to heart as well. “To me, Morrie offered a Father Jankowski is in his twenty-third year wonderful thought concerning our own as a Catholic priest and also just finished purpose in life: ‘Once you learn how to a twelve-year assignment at St. Patrick’s die, you learn how to live’,” says Jankowski. Church in Joliet. Currently, Jankowski is “On the last day, I am going to be taking “a ‘gap-year’ from parish ministry, accountable to God for the way I conduct celebrating daily Mass for a group of my life, just like everyone else.” cloistered nuns.” Jankowski also jokes that he “puts students to sleep” with the Jankowski, despite his illness as well as university classes he teaches. his father’s, still tries to do good in the world every day. “As a Catholic priest, I However, being a priest does not mean very much believe that God has called me his life is perfect; Father Jankowski is no to a specific role of ministry, just as each stranger to adversity. “I am recovering from of you are called to play a role in your a medical condition called ‘spontaneous own journeys. Over the last twelve years, pneumothorax,’ which is the doctors’ I have had to deal with the growing pains way of saying that they have no idea of starting a Hispanic Ministry, as well as how I ended up with a collapsed lung.” defending the rights of children.” According to, “A collapsed lung is caused by the collection of air in His good deeds never go unnoticed by the space around the lungs.” Father Jankowski’s friends and colleagues. “We appreciate Fr. Pete’s service to the “While I am recovering from my own USF community and this inspirational illness, I am spending a great deal of time reflection,” says professor and chair of the with my father, who is at the latter stages department, Tim Weldon. of his own battle with cancer,” Jankowski continues. Even the students at the University of St. Francis appreciate his teachings and To get through the tough times, he wise words. Antonio Smithberg, current refers to the famous book, “Tuesdays student in Father Jankowski’s “Death and with Morrie” written by Mitch Albom. Dying” Theology course says, “He is a Photos Courtesy of Father Jankowski and Ken McCafferty via Google Photos

very knowledgeable and student-friendly professor. He allows his students to easily grasp knowledge on such a complex subject.” Emily Plummer, former student of Father Jankowski’s online class, also shared her thoughts. “He was cool and super nice,” she says. “His weekly emails updating us about the course and even his life was a nice addition to the class and something you normally wouldn’t get in an online class.” While the subject of Theology at the University of St. Francis is unlike any other, Father Pete Jankowski’s interesting and thought-provoking testimony is one that we can all relate to. He has experienced the struggles and adversities that life may bring, but also how to live and prosper despite them. “I promise to remember all of you in my prayers so that you can just be good people and do what is right for the sake of another,” Jankowski says. He believes that if we dedicate our lives to being good human beings, no matter our faith, “we will all, one way or another, come together and embrace our ultimate destiny in peace.” On behalf of the USF Encounter, we would like to thank Father Pete Jankowski for taking the time to write his personal and thoughtful reflection and allowing us to see a side of a professor that we would not normally see. We wish Father Jankowski and his father nothing but health and happiness in the future. To view the entire reflection written by Father Jankowski, please visit www.usfencounter.


New Year Same Earth The Earth is dying. So, it’s time to do something about it. Yes, businesses are at fault for 70 percent of pollution but that doesn’t mean there aren’t personal responsibilities and buying choices everyone can make to ensure the problem doesn’t increase. Here are a just a few ways, that go beyond recycling, on how to help lessen your carbon footprint in 2019. By: Delainey Smith Editor-in-Chief

Single-Use Plastic? That’s so 2018 First things first: ditch single-use plastic and utilize reusable replacements. According to, 335 million metric tons of plastic was produced in 2016; half of this plastic production was destined for a single-use product. Meaning at least 167 tons of plastic was used once, then discarded. Need some more convincing? Waste Management states, “four trillion plastic bags are used worldwide annually, only one percent of these bags are returned for recycling and 100 billion bags are thrown away by Americans every year.” Even Forbes reported that roughly 1 million plastic bottles are purchased per minute and only 23 percent of the plastic bottles are recycled within the U.S. According to, 500 billion disposable cups are consumed every year; Americans alone throw away 25 billion Styrofoam coffee cups every year. Styrofoam cannot be


December 5, 2018

completely recycled and the Styrofoam that is disposed today will still be present in landfills 500 years from now (pending the Earth hasn’t busted into flames by then). Senior nursing student at the University of St. Francis, Rachel McMurray, believes in cutting back on her use of single-use plastic items. “I really care about the environment, so slowly, I’ve made switches to using reusable alternatives for daily life such as, metal straws and cloth grocery bags,” McMurray shared. She continued, “I know it’s not much, but I believe every little bit helps!” There are thousands of ways to ditch single-use plastic and put a dent in these numbers. You can purchase reusable shopping bags and produce bags, a reusable straw and a reusable coffee mug and water bottle. Instead of wrapping food in Saran-Wrap, or using Ziploc bags, use Tupperware, reusable silicone bags or beeswax wrap.

Buy Less and Buy Local

One of the main causes for the all of this plastic production is plastic packaging. According to, a statistics portal that studies statistics from more than 22,500 sources, “Plastic packaging was 42 percent of all non-fiber plastic produced in 2015, and it also made up 52 percent of plastics thrown away.”

Everything you have ever owned still exists, that toothbrush you had in third grade – it still exists somewhere, whether it’s in a landfill, in the ocean or still in your house (gross). This calls for some consideration when making purchases and whether it is a necessity or not. When you buy less stuff there is less stuff made, it’s simple supply and demand economics. Reducing the amount of stuff one buys is the most environmentally friendly choice possible.

Choose to “go naked” and buy items with little to no packaging. Single-use plastics are likely to never make it to a landfill or be recycled. According to the Plastic Pollution Primer and Action Toolkit written by the Earth Day network, a full 32 percent of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging produced annually is left to float into our oceans; the equivalent of pouring one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute. As the use of single-use plastic rises, so do the numbers. By 2030, it is expected to increase to two trucks of plastic per minute and by 2050, four per minute. A report by the World Economic Forum states that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. By choosing to buy products with less packaging or no packaging altogether, shopping at bulk grocery stores and supporting companies who have “gone naked,” you alone can make a big difference.


Go Naked

When you do have to buy things, try and buy local. A great place to start is your food. Your last meal may have traveled 1,500 miles to get to your table. By finding food near you at green markets, farm stands and conscientious supermarkets you can conserve fuel, reduce pollution and enjoy fresher food. It’s a win-win! The only reason to not follow these simple steps to help reduce your carbon-footprint is convenience. Some of these changes may affect your day-to-day schedule and add extra steps in your life but it’s time to stop being ignorant and adapt to what our home, the Earth, needs from us in order to flourish and survive.

#Meatless Monday Over the past 50 years, there has been a large increase in meat consumption globally. As the socioeconomic status of communities has risen and the transportation of meat has become easier, more and more people have started eating large quantities of meat. In fact, the global meat consumption has grown 20 percent over the last 10 years, according to This has taken a toll on the environment. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, livestock contributes to 14.5 percent of global human-caused greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that in the U.S., livestock contributes to more than one-third of methane emissions, a type of GHG. Forgoing meat also saves all of the vast resources used to maintain livestock. According to, approximately 70 percent of deforestation of the Amazon is to provide land for cattle ranches. Also, producing an eight ounce steak requires 900 gallons of water and the world’s cows consume enough to feed nine billion people (the Earth’s population is currently at 7.5 billion).

“Everything you have ever owned still exists, that toothbrush you had in third grade – it still exists somewhere, whether it’s in a landfill, in the ocean or still in your house (gross).”

If the entire U.S. did not eat meat or cheese for just one day a week, it could help reduce our carbon footprint tremendously; equivalent to not driving 91 billion miles – or taking 7.6 million cars off the road entirely.

Photos Courtesy of Pexels, Brittanica and Redtri


Looking Back at

January 20-22

To begin the year, the United States Government shut down over disagreements in passing legislation to fund federal government operations, according to the BBC. This sparked talks over the status of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy and if funding should be allocated for the Mexico-United States border wall.


By: Katie Wozniak Assistant Editor

Here we are, at the end of 2018. It feels like just yesterday we were trying to stick to our resolutions back in January. Now, we look forward to 2019 and all it has to offer. It always seems like when we look back at past years, we tend to focus on the bad. It is easy to say, “2018 was the worst!” and move on. While there were many parts of 2018 that were not happy, there were still plenty of firsts and great things that happened. Let’s take a look back at 2018, the good and the bad.

June 24 Saudi Arabia allowed their women to drive. This royal decree was announced on state television and in a simultaneous media event happening in Washington D.C., according to The New York Times. While it is still a battle for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, it is a step in the right direction.

June 12 The North Korea-United States summit was held in Singapore. This was the first summit held between a U.S. President and a North Korean leader.

July 10

12 boys and their Wild Boars soccer coach were rescued from a Thailand cave. After being trapped in the dark for two and a half weeks, an intricate plan into the depths of the Tham Luang cave saved the whole team. Saman Kunan, a former Thai Navy SEAL, however, died in the rescue while delivering oxygen to the perishing team.

November 8 The Camp Fire in California began on November 8 and was 100 percent contained on November 25. The number of civilian casualties was 88. The Camp Fires has been named the fifth deadliest U.S. fire overall, estimating to have cost $7.5-10 billion in damage.


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October 17 Canada legalized cannabis for recreational use, becoming the first major world economy, according to the New York Times, to do so.

On Valentine’s Day, 17 people were killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. Gunman Nikolas Cruz infiltrated the school for only six minutes, carrying in a duffel bag with an AR-15 rifle.

February 9-25

38 days after the fatal Parkland shooting, the first March for Our Lives was held in Washington D.C. There was a crowd estimated at about 200,000 people, according to The march in D.C. was organized by survivors of the shooting and hundreds of other marches were organized across the country.


March 24

February 14

March 9-18

The 2018 Winter Olympics were held in PyeongChang, South Korea. According to www., after a final medal count, Norway came out on top, winning the Olympics with a total of 38 medals. Sean Gregory, a writer for Time, also writes, “Norway’s final medal tally breaks the record for a single nation at a Winter Olympics set by the U.S. at Vancouver in 2010.”

The 2018 Winter Paralympics took place in PyeongChang, South Korea for the 12th annual Paralympics. With a total of 36 medals, the United States came in first place, leaving South Korea with 13 gold medals, according to

June 14-July 15

May 19

The 2018 FIFA World Cup took place in Russia. The games ended with France beating Croatia 4-2, winning the title of FIFA World Cup Champions.

Approximately 1.9 billion people tuned into the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The two became the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as established by Queen Elizabeth.

August 2 Apple became the world’s first public company to achieve a market capitalization of $1 trillion. This is in part of the sakes of the iPhone 8 and X in mainly China and Japan.

October 10 Hurricane Michael ripped through the southern US states and killed 36 people. Thousands of people from all over the United States came together to help with relief efforts in light of this natural disaster.

Photos Courtesy of VideoBlocks, Philosphical Disquisitions and StickPNG

September 2 A fire destroys the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. Almost 90 percent of its collection was lost while the structure of the building still stands.


PRO-VACCINES By: Amber James Feature Editor

Let’s just get this out of the way: vaccines are one of the most effective and innovative things to happen in the field of medicine. However, the idea of vaccines and their purpose is often misunderstood thanks to the internet. So, the only way to fix this issue is to explain simple as possible. As we have probably learned in science classes from our younger years, we’re protected from infectious diseases by our immune system, which destroys diseasecausing germs. If our immune system isn’t quick or strong enough to prevent these germs from taking hold, then that is how we get sick. According to www.wellcome., we use vaccines to stop those diseases and illnesses from happening. So, why would people choose to not get vaccinated? Bridget Burke, an alumna of the University of St. Francis, seems to know why. Burke graduated in May of 2018 as a biology major and has taken medical microbiology and immunology, giving her plenty of time to research. When asked to share her thoughts regarding vaccines, she did not hesitate. “Vaccination is one of the most crucial aspects of leading a healthy, sustainable life. Those who believe in ‘natural immunity’ and don’t vaccinate are also advocates for needless suffering,” says Burke. Some people, as Burke mentioned, believe in “natural immunity”. What those people do not realize is that the only way to get natural immunity is through infection with the actual disease. This means that you have to get sick—sometimes severely ill—to develop resistance. Ironic, but true, according to Some opponents to vaccinations are also concerned with the ingredients within the vaccines themselves. However, according to, that does not seem to be an issue. The source states,


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“Ingredients, such as thimerosal, formaldehyde and aluminum can be harmful in large doses but they are not used in harmful quantities in vaccines. Children are exposed to more aluminum in breast milk and infant formula than they are exposed to in vaccines.” Also, the FDA requires up to 10 or more years of testing for all vaccines before they are licensed, according to There are some people that also believe autism and vaccines are related. According to, “Two studies have been cited by those claiming that the MMR vaccine causes autism. Both studies are critically flawed.” My first and only point regarding this is that autism is a genetic disability that is decided before a person is born. Vaccines cause living, breathing adults...not autism. The fact of the matter is that vaccines do have plenty of benefits. According to www., vaccines save children’s lives and in turn, save future generations. Danielle Walczak, junior nursing major at USF says, “A vaccine does not only protect one child, it protects a community of children. Vaccines have saved so many lives and continue to protect us from diseases that have once killed thousands.” Plus, diseases that can be prevented with vaccines are not completely gone just yet, which is why we need to keep getting vaccinated. Polio has come back in full swing, attacking children around the world. So why stop now? Is it really worth the risk? Think of your family, friends, etc.; think of the children you may have in the future. Sure, the internet has misled many individuals in terms of vaccines. But now we know the truth: vaccines can protect us. All of us. Are we really going to ignore the possibility of having a healthier world?

The first issue with vaccines is who makes them and the profit behind the system. The pharmaceutical companies, FDA and CDC should not be trusted to make and regulate safe vaccines. The connections within the pharmaceutical company, the FDA and the CDC is abhorrent. William Posey, Congressman (R-FL), stated in a 2014 interview, “The incestuous relationship between the public health community and the vaccine makers and government officials should not be allowed to continue.” He continued, “I mean, you know, too many top CDC personnel go to work for the vaccine makers when they leave. That’s a revolving door that creates a serious conflict of interest and perverts’ incentives that compromise integrity.” The primary goal for pharmaceutical companies is to sell drugs for a profit. According to, the vaccine market is worth nearly $24 billion and America accounts for about 45 percent of this total revenue. Vaccines are quite profitable if you can convince the world they need one. Merck, a pharmaceutical giant licensed to produce and sell the measles vaccine, called Prodquad and the MMR II (also used for the measles, mumps and rubella) as well as, Varivax, a vaccine for the chicken pox. According to Lam Research, all three vaccines combined amounted to more than $1.4 billion in sales profits for Merck in 2014. Whether you believe vaccines are beneficial or not, the amount of money and greed these so called “healers” and “helpers” make off of vaccines is ridiculous.

Profit isn’t just made by the higher ups either; even your trusty doctor has stake in the game. According to www.projects., doctors receive financial rewards from insurance companies for having patients fully vaccinated ($400 per patient). They are advised NOT to share all the risks or the vaccine package inserts. Meaning they may “forget” to inform you that aluminum is used in some vaccines and excess aluminum in human bodies can cause neurological harm, or that formaldehyde is a carcinogen, that is used in vaccines and according to, exposure can cause side effects such as cardiac impairment, central nervous system depression, changes in higher cognitive functions, coma,

“To properly inform of all the risks, it is important to research what ingredients vaccines have and understand the possible side effects that can be caused by the “simple” flu shot.” convulsions and death. The list of potentially harmful ingredients in vaccines does not end there. One should not trust the doctors who receive financial compensation for administering the vaccinations. To properly inform of all the risks, it is important to research what ingredients vaccines have and understand the possible side effects that can be caused by the “simple” flu shot.

Understand, vaccines are not natural. Even pro-vaccine organizations state that natural infection causes better immunity. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia notes, “It is true that natural infection almost always causes better immunity than vaccines. Whereas immunity from disease often follows a single natural infection, immunity from vaccines occurs only after several doses.” Mayo Clinic states that natural infection “often provides more complete immunity than a series of vaccinations.” A vaccine violates all laws of natural immune defenses by taking a potential pathogen along with all the toxic ingredients (aluminum, formaldehyde, adjuvants, etc.) directly into your blood system. This process would never occur in building natural immunity. Immunity is a natural thing. Vaccines are an artificial thing.


Okay, first things first, I am not about to argue that vaccines cause autism like some “anti-vaxxers” just because Jenny McCarthy says so. However, whether you believe in vaccinating or not, it’s still important to know the corruption behind the industry and understand why some are skeptical over the ingredients or why they are against them entirely.

Now, I am not saying that vaccines have not saved lives. However, I will say I believe the empathy humans possess and the medical advancements made, allowed more humans to survive than nature intended. The United States population alone is expanding rapidly, and at some point the Earth will reach carrying capacity. According to, the population is expected to increase by 340-500 million by 2050. When too many humans inhabit the Earth and the carry capacity is reached, no amount of vaccines will help the outbreak of disease. Overall, whether you are blindly for or ignorantly against vaccines it’s important to know the profit behind the vaccine industry and to take the time to research what you consider putting into your body.

By: Delainey Smith Editor-In-Chief


Photos Courtesy of Pexels


TOO MUCH Parking? By: Chandler Kowaliczko PR Manager

Since I have been at USF, parking lots have been opening, closing and added onto at a constant rate. With the opening of the Taylor St. parking lot across from Motherhouse fresh on my mind, I began to reflect on how the university has changed since my freshman year. In 2015, there was no science hall, no Wilcox St. parking lot and a lot more houses surrounding the school. All of these additions beg the question, “Is USF’s campus turning into nothing but asphalt parking lots and brick buildings?”


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However, because USF is located in the Cathedral Area of Joliet, respecting historic homes located right next to the university has been a priority throughout the years. These houses not only add to the aesthetic of the surrounding community, but also make the vicinity around the campus feel safer. By leveling mistreated or abandoned houses that hold no historical significance, students are able to park in lots where these houses once were and respect our surrounding neighbors. From personal experience, the newest addition to campus parking has

guaranteed me a parking spot at any given time of the day. Along with parking lot additions, a call for more green space on campus has been requested by students and faculty for years. This request was obliged in the form of a “green roof ” in the LaVerne and Dorothy Brown Science Hall. This roof was included in the design of the building so that professors can utilize it to teach botany, ecology and sustainability. As the university expands, the demand for more parking spaces grows and limitations on parking structures on campus aren’t always feasible. So far, the university has respected the area and integrated parking into appropriate areas, even if it means cutting down a tree or two in the process. As long as this mindset is a priority for future development projects, the campus will continue to expand and maintain its classic architecture and green space.


The Benefits of a Four-Day WorkWeek By: Antonio Smithberg Sports Editor Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, repeat. The grind of a five-day workweek is grueling and Saturdays and Sundays never seem to be enough to provide a sufficient work-life balance. But what if you had an additional day off to add to your weekend? The idea of a four-day work week is becoming increasingly common as employers seek to attract staff and increase productivity. According to Forbes magazine, the notion of a four-day workweek was introduced by American Labor Union leader Walter Reuther in the 1950’s but failed to fully be adapted by business owners. However, now businesses are taking into account the true benefits of working less. It may sound a bit contradictive, but there is tangible evidence of the effects of a shortened workweek. Recently in Wellington, New Zealand, a firm named the Perpetual Guardian decided to implement a 32-hour four-day workweek as an experiment. According to The New York Times, they ran the experiment from March to April and asked two Photos Courtesy of VectorStock

researchers to measure its effects on the staff. When the study had finished, the researchers concluded that the employees had increased their productivity by 24 percent. In addition to the increase in productivity, a majority of the employees reported feeling more energized after their extended weekends. “Supervisors said staff was more creative, their attendance was better, they were on time and they didn’t leave early or take long breaks,” said Jarrod Haar, one of the researchers assigned to the study. In an interview with The New York Times, the Perpetual Guardian’s founder, Andrew Barnes, said that he came up with the idea to transition to a four-day workweek after reading a report that stated employees usually spend less than three hours of a work day being productive. According to the research of work psychologist K. Anders Ericsson, that statistic is true. Multiple experiments performed by Ericsson show that, on average, people commit themselves to only four to five hours of concentrated

work before losing significant productivity. "If you're pushing people well beyond that time they can really concentrate maximally, you're very likely to get them to acquire some bad habits," Ericsson said in an interview with www. In addition to workplace success, a four-day workweek would allow for people to decompress and optimize their time outside of work. University of St. Francis junior Alex Ruettiger shared his thoughts on the idea of an extra day off stating, “I think the extra day off would make people more productive. They would get an extra day to spend time with family and friends, exercise more and explore hobbies. The usual two day weekends are constricting at times, which usually causes people to cram in activities which leads to just as much stress as a typical workday.” Increasing productivity, maximizing time in and out of work and preventing the creation of bad habits are all benefits of adapting to a four-day workweek.


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Bowling Both the University of St. Francis men’s and women’s varsity bowling teams reached the semifinals of the Illinois State Youth Leaders (ISYL) Leatherneck Classic. According to www.gofightingsaints. com the men’s team entered bracket play as a number three seed. In the quarterfinals they matched up with Midland University. The Saints won game one by a score of 222-173 and game two at 215-201. The men carried their momentum on to the semifinal game against William Penn University by winning game one.

Football During the final game of the season the Fighting Saints football team had a dominant victory against Trinity International University Trojans. With a balanced offensive attack they put up 20 points in the second quarter and another six in the fourth. Along with a great offensive performance, the aggressive defense forced three turnovers to help top the Trojans by a score of 26-7. This season they won their final two games to finish fourth in the MSFA Midwest League with a record of 4-7.


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However, the Saint lost the following two games by scores of 192-178 & 216169. The women’s team entered bracket play as the number six seed. After defeating third-seeded Newman University, they advanced to the semifinals to face number two seed

Lindenwood University. In the semifinals after winning the first game, the ladies were defeated in games two and three by scores of 161159 and 208-169. The Saints travel to Addison for the Ebonite Warhawk Open on December 1 and 2.


UPDATES By: Antonio Smithberg Sports Editor

Basketball The University of St. Francis men’s basketball team began their season with a win on Sunday, November 11 at home against Aquinas College. The Saints battled in a tight knit match to top Aquinas by a score of 73-70. According to game recap on the men’s basketball homepage, St. Francis shot 51 percent for the game and hit seven 3-pointers while managing to hold on to its lead. With the return of Ryan Marks, for his sixth season as University of St Francis’ head men’s basketball coach, the team will look to improve from last season’s 10-19 record.

Cross Country Athletic Conference (CCAC) Cross Country Championships under CCAC Coach of the Year Jeff Barker. For the third consecutive year, the University of St. Francis swept the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships. According to www., this marked the fifth-straight title for the USF men and the third-straight win for the USF women. The Saints have won 10 of 14 Chicagoland Collegiate

Photos courtesy of USF Athletic’s Flickr and Vecteezy

On the men’s side, a pair of USF freshmen paced the field with career-best times. CCAC Runner of the Year and the CCAC Freshman of the Year, Omar Paramo, won the individual title with a time of 25:12. USF finished with 21 team points and an average time of 25:28, over 20 points and 25 seconds ahead of second-place Olivet Nazarene University.

In addition to the men’s success, the USF women also ran well. They had five top 10 runners and six all-CCAC performers. The team finished with 26 points and an average time of 19:02. The Saints top individual finisher was Taylor Conroy who took second place with a time of 18:50. Ashlee Knott, Sabrina Baftiri and Laisha Corona were fourth, fifth and sixth respectively. The Saints travel to Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Friday, November 16 to compete in the NAIA National Championships.



AMY POLHEMUS Q: USF track and cross country has had a lot of success in past years. Do you have any expectations for this season?

Q: First off can you please give some background on your coaching career and your role for the University of St. Francis track team? A: This is my second year coaching at USF. I got the job right out of being a graduate assistant at North Central. I am the sprints/hurtles/jumps coach here. I am in charge of the training regimen for that whole group. I don’t do much for distance or throwing however. I have about 30 athletes that are broken up into about three groups that I work with throughout the season.


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A: Yes, a couple of our sophomores such as Celina Mayforth and Eva Bruno stand out. They were All-Americans as freshmen and I think they can accomplish even more this year. They could possibly place in a few events rather than just one at nationals, which would be awesome. I also think Brandon Ruffin can do even more at nationals. We have worked a lot more on technical stuff with him this year and I have already seen him improve.

A: Yes I do. We have our best freshmen sprints recruiting class this year. So our freshmen are amazing and I think they are going to do really awesome things. We have Brandon Ruffin as well, who is a football player but he placed second in the high jump last year and eighth in the hurdles. Q: Is there anything you have learned as an athlete from past coaches that you We also have a junior that placed in the try to incorporate into your coaching triple-jump. With our new freshmen, philosophy? the two athletes I mentioned and our distance crew I think we could possibly A: I have always built really good trophy at indoor nationals, which would relationships with my coaches in the past be awesome. It would be the first men’s so I have taken that with me. Having a track trophy on that side. They have good relationship with your athletes can gotten a bunch in cross-country but be more important than just knowing never in track, so that is my biggest hope the right workouts and techniques. for this year. Showing the athletes that you truly care helps keep them motivated. Q: Are there any athletes that have really grown or improved from last year that you expect more out of this season?

Photos Courtesy of USF Athletics Flickr


Saint’s Spotlight: Stephen Vaughn By: Alex Guglielmucci Promotions Manager

Every year, the University of St. Francis holds a winter graduation ceremony for those who have earned enough credits and want to graduate before May. Also, there are the students that have to take a certain amount of credits and it is almost impossible to do in four full years, so they go an extra semester. I had the opportunity to sit down with Stephen Vaughn to ask him some questions about his experience at USF. Alex Guglielmucci: Hey Stephen, how are you today?

AG: Who has been the biggest influence to you here at USF?

Stephen Vaughn: Doing really well, thanks! SV: One of my biggest influences would have to be my bowling coach, Tony Talley. AG: What sport did you participate in If it weren’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be while attending USF? so determined to finish getting my degree. SV: I was a part of the Men’s Bowling team. AG: What is your major? SV: My major is Digital Audio Recording Arts (DARA). AG: What has your experience been like here at USF? SV: My experience at USF has been awesome. There is a great sense of compassion everywhere you look! I really enjoyed having that my four and half years here.


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AG: You talked about being in the DARA program, what is your dream job? SV: My dream job is to be a recording artist and own a studio in all larger cities. AG: What cities would you choose first? SV: Probably Los Angeles or New York. AG: Do you have any advice for the underclassmen? SV: My advice is to stay ahead. Things happen and if you stay ahead on assignments, it allows you to not fall behind if some reason you cannot make class.

Encounter Puzzles


Puzzels Courtesy of and, Photo Courtesy of USF Athletic’s Flickr



New Year, New You: The Best Is Yet To Come  
New Year, New You: The Best Is Yet To Come