Monthly Archives: September 2016

Gunnison Valley Volunteer Opportunities

Local non-profits who are always looking for volunteers

Roberta Marquette-Strain / Senior Staff Writer

The Gunnison Valley offers various volunteer opportunities for community members as well as students. Many of the local non-profits are always in need of extra help within the organization or for events.

“My position has always been that everyone should volunteer in general,” said Dave Wiens, founder and Executive Director of Gunnison Trails, a non-profit trail advocacy group. Wiens believes that whether it is with his organization, the Gunnison Valley Mentors, or the other groups listed here, volunteering is important to take part in.

Gunnison Trails: Gunnison Trails volunteers are able to contribute to the widely used local recreational trails by conducting local trail maintenance, assisting in educating trail users on responsible trail use, working closely with local land managers, and various other trail advocacy tasks.

Trailwork Tuesdays are weekly opportunities for trail work. Volunteers meet at locations such as Hartman’s Rocks to complete trail maintenance that is needed to keep up the overall function of the trails. Volunteers are needed through October.

“The best volunteers are responsible people that can take direction, people who understand the value of trail work, and have a willingness to learn,” said Dave Wiens, founder and Executive Director of Gunnison Trails. “Experienced workers are great too because they can take the reigns and have the education and experience they need for certain projects.”

Wiens added that there are other volunteer opportunities that do not focus specifically on trail work.

“We can use a wide variety of volunteer work,” he said. “Any type of skill that somebody has is another potential volunteer opportunity.”

Wiens explained that for events like the Original Growler, a yearly mountain bike race that occurs in the summer, volunteers are needed to be “the eyes and ears” of the course, running the food and drink station, helping with registration, and other jobs.

Students who are interested in volunteering for Gunnison Trails can visit their website or send an email to

Those interested in Trailwork Tuesdays should email a week in advance to receive updates on the site they will be working on.

Gunnison Valley Animal Welfare League (GVAWL): Volunteers for GVAWL get to help the shelter’s furry animals by working with the dogs or cats one on one, or helping out with adoption fairs.

Volunteers can choose to work with cats or dogs, both needing similar care like feeding, cleaning out kennels, and spending time with them. Some animals need to be socialized, meaning to learn how to be around people, so volunteers will also work on that.

Those who offer their time with GVAWL can also assist with adoption fairs and other fundraisers such as the upcoming 5-K Fun Run happening Oct. 29 to serve as course marshals.

Darrah Miller, the volunteer coordinator for GVAWL, said that they look for volunteers who are hardworking, reliable, and out for the animal’s best interest, but most of all, compassionate. Miller mentioned that many of the volunteers they receive are there because they miss their pets at home.

“We are a great outlet to come and give your time that way,” Miller said.

Students interested in giving their time to GVAWL can email, contact Miller at 970- 596-2226, or stop by their facility located at 98 Basin Dr. during their regular hours of Wednesday 5-7 pm or Saturday 10 am – 1 pm.

Gunnison Valley Mentors: For those interested in serving as an advocate in the life of a child, working as a mentor for the Gunnison Valley Mentors is the place to go.

“We believe that every child deserves a mentor,” Program Coordinator Aubree Scarff said.

The non-profit is committed to helping out the lives of Gunnison’s at-risk youth. Mentors work one on one with a child to create a relationship and serve as a role model. There are also after school programs as well as summer camps.

Scarff said that anyone who plans on working with children in the future should consider becoming a mentor, but also anybody at all who is willing to help in a child’s life.

Before becoming a mentor, applicants have to go fill out an application with four references, go through a background check, participate in an in-depth interview, and go through mentor training.

To apply to be a mentor, visit where there is an online application available under the mentoring resources tab on the left-hand side.

Project Hope for Gunnison Valley: Project Hope is a non-profit committed to “supporting, educating and providing confidential advocacy to individuals affected by relationship violence, child abuse, and/or sexual assault,” as stated on their website.

At the moment, volunteers for Project Hope can assist by volunteering for their upcoming HopeFest event Oct. 16. Volunteers can help run games and serve chili. Executive Director Shayla Fenti said that students may be able to receive extra credit from their professors. The deadline for this event is Oct. 4.

Volunteers can also serve as a victim advocate, a position to provide direct services to those who are affected by relationship violence, child abuse, or sexual assault. Project Hope is not able to take any more advocates as of right now, but more positions will be available Fall 2017.

Future advocates should be able to commit a full school year with Project Hope and do not have to have any prior experience.

“[Advocates] learn not only how to provide services to those in need, but also how to make an impact in society around issues of domestic violence and sexual assault,” Fenti said. “This is not an office job filing paperwork, you get real experience both in the office and on the crisis line.”

Anyone interested in volunteering for the HopeFest should call the Project Hope office at 970-641-2712 or email There is more information on their website, for future advocates.

Fenti added that anyone who has been affected by relationship violence or sexual assault are able to use the services from Project Hope. An advocate visits the Leslie J. Savage Library room 319 every Monday throughout the school year, excluding holidays and breaks, from 4 to 5 pm. Students can also call their 24/7 hotline at 970-275-1193.

Gunnison Country Food Pantry: The Gunnison Country Food Pantry offers food assistance to people in the Gunnison area who are in the food stamp process, are undocumented, or are dealing with financial problems. Volunteers have the opportunity to connect with these individuals and create a kind environment at the facility.

Volunteers work the Pantry during its open hours as well as help out around the Pantry by restocking and taking inventory of the food and picking up deliveries.

The Pantry is run entirely on volunteers so they look for committed and hardworking individuals as well as people who are kind and compassionate. The non-profit is always open to new volunteers and will be able to find work for anyone.

“If you want a satisfying experience, come here. I will help you,” said Katie Dix, president of the governing board of the pantry.

Possible volunteers can call the Pantry at 970-641-4156, email, or stop by the facility located on 321 Main st, the southwest corner of Main and Ohio during their hours, Monday 10 am – 4 pm, Wednesday 10 am – 7 pm, and Thursday 10 am – 2 pm.

No matter what volunteer opportunity you are looking for, Gunnison has a non-profit that can fit your needs.

Vinotok 2016

Burn the Grump!

Grace Flynn/ Staff Writer

Audience members gathering to enjoy the ceremony! Some members get dressed up to attend the event. Photo by Grace Flynn
Audience members gathering to enjoy the ceremony! Some members get dressed up to attend the event. Photo by Grace Flynn

Crisp air, warm smiles, spiritual dancing and the burning of the sour spirits from last winter is what Vinotok is all about. For the past 32 years, a local artist in Crested Butte builds a giant figure made out of wood, steel and “grumps.” The grumps stand for grievances that locals share. They write them down and put them in boxes to be washed away for the new season.

On September 24, locals and visitors gathered on Elk Street, which is in the middle of Crested Butte, and share the experience of people dressed in character, playing drums and dancing to the beat of the music.

The street is crowded with people listening to the story of the harvest and what each character plays a part in. This ritual is described as mumming. The story moves down the street until each of the characters reaches a large stage where the trial happens. This is where the audience listens to the agreement that the Grump needs to be burned along with evils of man like technology.

The green man that represents earth and nature, and a figure that represents technologies and the influence of development on nature, fight and battle each other until there is an agreement.  The grump is described as a scapegoat that is sentenced to death. The grump is about 25 feet tall and it is brought in during the trial.

Once the trial takes place and the agreement is to burn the Grump, a procession marches him down to the end of Elk Street where there is an open space. Once there, the characters place him in the middle of the open space and set him on fire.

When talking with locals and visitors, there are many different reactions to this ritual. People from all over Colorado come to watch and observe what happens every year in this small town. “A group of friends and I just happened to stumble upon this event years ago, and we try to come up as much as we can. We have been to this event four years now,” said a visitor from Vail.

A group of drummers follows the story down the street while playing. The drums are played by members of the Gunnison and Crested Butte community! Photo by Grace Flynn
A group of drummers follows the story down the street while playing. The drums are played by members of the Gunnison and Crested Butte community! Photo by Grace Flynn

First timers describe this experience as unique and say they feel welcomed during this event. It is an obscure event, and everyone is encouraged to take part. When asking first timers what they were expecting, different responses were given.

“I am expecting the ritual to be awesome and the thought of cleaning the soul of anger is pretty cool!” said Melanie Turner, who is a freshman at Western.

At the end, new comers are left with the vision of the giant statue lit up in flames, the characters from the stories, and the community members who take the tradition to heart.

Second timers are more prepared for what is going to happen, and are excited to participate for yet another year. One notable difference at the 2016 event was that the Grump was not as intensely burned as it was last year.

Community members remember that the fire from last year was so hot, it caused audience members to be burned by the flames. The flames from the fire also reached extreme height, and caused parts of the statue to fly into community member yards and cause damage to their property.

Vinotok is a tradition that starts the year off right for the avid skiers and snowboarders. The tradition is a vital part of the Crested Butte community, and the season would not feel the same without it!

 The bad memories of what happened in the year before are no longer on the minds of the snow shredders, and the community is ready for a new season to make new memories on the mountain!

Film Review: The Revenant

Thriller shows Leonardo DiCaprio at the top of his game and wonderful cinematography.

Sam Thornley / Staff Writer


Revenge is a dish best served cold, and nowhere is that more evident than in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, The Revenant is a revenge thriller with strong performances, beautiful camera work and gripping set pieces. The film was released on Dec. 25, 2015, and won Leonardo DiCaprio his long awaited Oscar as well as a second Best Director Oscar for Alejandro G. Iñárritu.

Loosely based on a true story and the novel by Michael Punke, The Revenant follows frontiersman Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) leading fur trappers through unorganized United States territory in 1823. After being attacked by a bear and left for dead by fur trapper John Fitzgerald (Hardy), Glass must survive the winter wilderness as he seeks his revenge.

The film features amazing cinematography of wildlands, all filmed using natural lighting in Canada, Argentina and the US. This pays off with the long and flowing shots of wilderness and that set up the cold and hostile environment. These shots manage to add to the brutal and agonizing conditions and action Hugh Glass goes through, all focused on in length without interruption. These long takes draw the viewer into the moment with their intensity, showcasing Iñárritu’s masterful direction through their duration and precision.

Without a doubt, The Revenant is brutal in its exploration of the harshness of survival, and the toll it takes on Glass. The gory violence is visceral in its nature and the men are all appropriately grizzled in appearance and outlook as they weigh the merits of looking out for each other. Fitzgerald is a repugnant racist whose brutality and deception make Glass’ pursuit all the more justified. Needless to say, the film is not one to watch for those easily put off by cruelty and nightmarish conditions.

At the same time, it is not a film without heart. Glass’ interactions with those he trusts and cares for are surprisingly heartfelt and filled with conviction, and he is shown to be a caring man who refuses to let tragedy turn him into something worse. This makes the toll his revenge quest and need to survive take on him more engaging, as the audience is reminded that he is a human being suffering through this and keeps the viewer hoping he is not consumed by the revenge he seeks and emerges a better person from it.

The performances are also top notch, especially from DiCaprio and Hardy. While usually a handsome and charming man, Leonardo manages to capture the grizzled nature of Hugh Glass in his looks and behavior while remaining a human being through his more emotional moments, displaying a surprising amount of range for an actor typecast as pretty boys. Tom Hardy is also quite memorable, as he portrays the hateful and bigoted nature of John Fitzgerald convincingly enough to make one root for Leonardo to succeed in his quest, Hardy perfectly embodies a villain that one can love to hate.

If there are any faults in The Revenant, it is that it plays very loosely with the historical events that inspired it to a noticeable degree. While not obvious to those unfamiliar with the real tale of Hugh Glass, a quick jaunt in research will reveal that entire characters were made up and even the season and outcome of the story. This manages to severely hurt the impact of the story upon finding out how much of it was fabricated or altered even if it makes for a much more interesting film. Additionally, there were some sequences that seemed a little unrealistic in their nature that can stretch the suspension of disbelief.

Overall, The Revenant manages to be an engaging and gripping thriller that will keep the viewers on the edge of their seat as they watch to see if Hugh Glass succeeds. With excellent performances from Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy along with beautiful camera work, this film manages to showcase Alejandro G. Inarritu’s talent with directing and serves as an outstanding tale of revenge and survival that will undoubtedly become a classic in the years to come.

Press Release: Rosh Hashana 101


Sunday night, October 2, begins the most holy of all Jewish holidays, Rosh Hashana (“head” of the year), or the Jewish New Year. According to Jewish tradition, this marks the anniversary of the creation of the world – welcome to the year 5777!  All Jewish holidays begin at sundown – in the Book of Genesis, after God created a ‘day,’ it says, “it was evening, it was morning, the first, (second, etc.) day.” The Hebrew calendar is lunar, so although Rosh Hashana always occurs on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishri, it will correspond to a different date each year in the Gregorian calendar. It is always in the fall. Rosh Hashana is a celebratory holiday, but there are also deeper spiritual meanings.

Rosh Hashana is the beginning of the 10 days of Awe, during which Jews reflect on their actions over the past year and seek forgiveness from those they may have wronged, including God. However, before we can be forgiven by God, we must right the wrongs we have committed against humans. In Judaism, the word for a “sin” is “chet,” from an archery term, which means “to miss the mark.”  Judaism’s view is that all people are essentially good, and sin is a product of our errors, or missing the mark. We are imperfect, but can return to a better path, a truer arrow, and a better way of doing things. We must sincerely try not to repeat our mistakes and must grant forgiveness to those who may have done us wrong, as well.  It is an amazing opportunity to start fresh again!

A highlight of the High Holy Days is hearing the Shofar, a ram’s horn that is blown daily during the month before Rosh Hashana, and on Rosh Hashana itself.  It represents the ram that was sacrificed by Abraham, instead of his son, Isaac.  Its specific calls or blasts are meant to wake us up and give us as keen sense of awareness. It is commanded that you must hear the call of the Shofar during Rosh Hashana.

There are many food customs (and a festive meal is a must!), but the most common food practice is dipping apples in honey for a sweet new year. As Rosh Hashana represents the birth of the world, our traditional sweet bread, challah, is braided into a round shape, representing the circle of life and seasons and the shape of the earth.  We have some of the best challah bakers in the world in Crested Butte.

B’nai Butte, the East River Valley’s Jewish community, will observe Rosh Hashana on October second, third, and fourth. Our celebration includes services with both traditional and contemporary music; festive meals, a hike and a Torah reading (from a sacred 150 year-old scroll), discussions and a Shofar of the service in the mountains, and the opportunity to do “tashlich” – the casting away of our shortcomings in Peanut Lake, using crumbs.   We welcome students of all faiths to join us – there is no charge,  and we will feed you some pretty awesome meals!  Details can be found at:, or on our Facebook page: B’nai Butte Congregation, or here in the pages of the Crested Butte News or the Gunni Times.

Next week: Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) 101

Wishing everyone “Shana Tovah” – a happy New Year!


Prentiss Ponders Abbey: A Craft Lecture on The Importance of Friendship With Our Planet

Marisa Cardin / Senior Staff Writer

At 7pm on September 14, hundreds of students, faculty members, and community members flocked to the South Ballroom in the University Center to see author Sean Prentiss. This event was hosted by The Contemporary Writer Series, headed by Dr. Elizabyth Hiscox, and the National Park Service Centennial Speaker Series, headed by park ranger, Bruce Nobel.   

Though there were some technical difficulties that occurred, even the shift in location to the Ruby Theatre didn’t upset the excitement in the room. Everyone, from the English department to the Environmental Sustainability department was eager to listen to Prentiss speak on his novel, Finding Abbey: A Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave.

Prentiss, an alumni from Western, opened the evening by explaining the novel’s muse, late author Edward Abbey. Prentiss spoke of the immediate inspiration he felt upon reading some of the author’s work, famous novels such as The Monkey Wrench Gang, and Desert Solitaire. Abbey, who was a park ranger in 1956 and 1957 for Arches National Park, was highly involved in restoring the environment, an opinion widely shared throughout his closest friends and family. Upon his death in 1989, he left specific instructions to his friends to bury him in an old sleeping bag, and to be buried in the desert.

Josiah Miranda-Troup, a junior at Western, enjoyed the event particularly because of its connection to both creative writing and environmental studies. “It was really cool to see the combination of ENVS and English students there. I think that totally lent to why it was so popular. I thought Sean had a great energy that he brought to the event, and he has a lot of personality in his writing.”

Marlida Mear, another junior at Western, agreed with Miranda-Troup. “A wide multidisciplinary audience was great,” she said. “Sean was fun to listen to and you could tell that, in coming to Gunnison, he was coming to a place he considered home.”

Prentiss, who was always interested in Abbey’s work, went looking for his burial site with a close friend. Finding Abbey is both a tribute to Prentiss’ experience in the search, as well as the magnificent lands in which they were searching in. Along his journey, Prentiss also interviewed many of Abbey’s closest friends, who were involved in his illegal burial, and also the basis for characters in Abbey’s novel The Monkey Wrench Gang.

During his reading, Prentiss urged listeners to pay attention to the state of the earth around them, which is something that Edward Abbey surely would have appreciated. Prentiss said that “overpopulation is what is killing the earth, and climate change is a side effect of that.”

As a tribute to his love of the planet, Edward Abbey once said, “It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space.”

Prentiss’ message was clear, so take his advice and go out into nature and play!

Peace Corps Prep Program Unveiled

Western brings new program for service-minded students

Bethany Eveleth / Staff Writer

Western students at Peace Corps launch events. Photo by Bethany Eveleth.
Western students at Peace Corps launch events. Photo by Bethany Eveleth.

To better prepare students for service of the workforce, Western collaborated with the Peace Corps to bring their preparatory program to the university. The program was officially launched on Wednesday, Sept. 14. Key figures of the program gathered to share their experiences with the Peace Corps and answer interested students’ questions.

Christopher Nutgrass, a Master’s in Environmental Management (MEM) Program, who served in Guinea, West Africa, introduced the program briefly as a panel of volunteers arranged themselves. The discussion panel covered everything from life as a Peace Corps volunteer, to loan deferment for volunteers.

“I am so excited for this program [to come to] Western! So many of our students are adventurous, curious, daring, and have leadership potential,” said Amanda Campbell, a junior at the university. “The Peace Corps Prep will fit in perfectly at Western.”

Completion of the program not only makes students more competitive in the Peace Corps application process, but also increases their marketability in any job sector.

“This program builds professionalism and leadership development,” Nutgrass said. “The program itself exposes you to some different opportunities, classes that you might not have taken, studies that you would not have studied, and opportunities that you would not normally have.”

There are six potential sectors in which applicants can apply. Those sectors are: education, public health, environment, agriculture, youth development, and community economic development. Once students pick their area of interest there are particular classes they must take that include foreign language courses and intercultural development, work as well as volunteer experience, and development of leadership abilities and professionalism.

Nutgrass says that students are able to fulfill these requirements retroactively, which means that juniors are not out of the running to fulfill the necessary requirements. Students who want more information are encouraged to explore Western’s Peace Corps Prep web page.

“Once the program has been completed, [the student] receives a certificate from Western and from the Peace Corps,” said Nutgrass. “Which makes them more likely to be accepted to the program.”

Completion of the prep program does not guarantee acceptance to the Peace Corps, but does make applicants more competitive. It is also important for students to know that, by participating in the prep program, they are not obligated to apply for service in the Peace Corps upon graduation.

Richard and Linda Barrows, a couple who served in the Peace Corps in the late 1960s, came to campus for the event. Mr. Barrows briefly talked about his service, and Mrs. Barrows was a part of the discussion panel.

“[The Peace Corps] is a place to go if you want to find out who you are,” Mrs. Barrows said. “You learn a tremendous amount about your own self, capabilities, limits, and capacity.”

The Peace Corps has volunteers in more than 60 countries around the world. Volunteers serve for two years in their assigned country, as well as go through a rigorous three month training period.

The prep program is still in the beginning stages, and will continue to develop and evolve. Nutgrass said that an abundance of applicants have made the Peace Corps into a very competitive program because students recognize the value it provides when entering the job market.

On a positive end note to the launch Campbell said, “The Peace Corps Prep will make us all more globally aware, better leaders, and will help us get out and make this world a better place. I can’t wait to see what happens!”

Column Title: In These United States

Headline: Polls, Policies and Protests – Where the Presidential Race Stands

Michael Troutman/Staff Writer

After hard campaigning by both candidates in North Carolina recent polls from CNN show Hillary Clinton receiving enough votes to put her just over the 270 Electoral College votes required to win the election. The marginal percentage of which candidate will win has been growing narrower and narrower, with the most recent poll placing the difference between the candidates at 15 percent. The closest margin had been 10 percent back in July with the largest margin being 20 percent in mid-August following the GOP and Democratic National Conventions.

According to the candidate’s websites, they care about many of the same issues. Both think the other is unfit for the presidency on some level. Both seem to agree about many of America’s flaws with Hillary giving more time to social issues and Trump to economic issues. However, the candidates do not offer many pragmatic plans for how they hope to accomplish reform in America, at least not in their campaign literature.

In a surprising speech possibly timed to influence the debates, former Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz made the decision to publicly endorse Donald Trump on Friday, September 23,  nearly two months after his unpopular decision to not do so at the GOP convention, “After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.” Whether or not this will give Trump greater support in so called battleground states such as North Carolina, Ohio and Florida in the wake of the first debate remains to be seen.

There is one note of the debates that many Americans, particularly college age, will be disappointed about. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson did not take part. The former New Mexico Governor was not able to meet the required 15 percent popularity needed in key polls to warrant inclusion by the Committee of Presidential Debates.

The results of this election are sure to be controversial. Read further instalments of this column to keep updated on all the election events.  

The Mountaineers Have Come Home

A look into the start of the season for Western Athletics.

Nicholas A. Fischer / Staff Writer

Members of the Mountaineer sports team. Photo by Nicholas Fischer
Members of the Mountaineer sports team.                                      Photo by Nicholas Fischer


While classes have been in session for over a month, and games have already been played at home, homecoming weekend has officially launched the start of the 2016-17 year for the Mountaineer community.

On Friday September 23, 2016, Western students embraced the town of Gunnison with a parade of club floats through downtown before lighting the world’s largest collegiate symbol, The W on W Mountain, on fire, in addition to a bonfire above the Mountaineer Bowl. To cap off Homecoming week on Saturday, the Mountaineers hosted a 5k run to benefit student athletes, and a football game against in state rival #23 ranked Colorado School of Mines.

Mountaineers representing the various NCAA sports teams at Western joined together on what was the largest float in the Homecoming parade, a flatbed trailer filled with members of the wrestling, swimming and diving, basketball, and track teams. However, this was just a small fraction of about 370 student athletes on one of the eleven NCAA Division II teams at Western. In addition to the NCAA team float, the Mountaineer club and mountain sports teams came out in force to represent their respective teams on their own floats.

NCAA student athletes make up one fifth of the academic community at Western and have a history of success in the classroom as well as out of it.

On September 23, it was announced that 49 Mountaineers received Academic Achievement awards from the Division II Athletic Directors Association for cumulating a 3.5 GPA over two academic years. This year’s awards make it consecutive years that the Mountaineers took home the most Academic Achievement Awards of all schools in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC).

Football player, Austin Eckler, with his mother Suzanne Eckler. Photo by Nicholas Fischer
Football player, Austin Eckler, with his mother Suzanne Eckler. Photo by Nicholas Fischer

In addition, those national awards come on the heels of a spring 2016 semester that saw 84 mountaineers make the Athletic Directors Honor Role with a GPA of at least 3.5. In addition, the 360 student athletes posted and impressive cumulative GPA of 3.01 for the 2015/16 year. This sets a high academic bar for the current student athletes at Western to strive for.

At the inaugural Homecoming Mountaineer 5k run on Saturday, Western students Brandon Supernaw and Katelynn Martinez were the first to cross the first line. The Homecoming Race was organized as a fund raising event for Mountaineer Athletic Association and their support of the student athletes at Western. J.E. Dunn Construction sponsored the race held above the Mountaineer Bowl.

Then with a large and loud homecoming crowd leading the way, Austin Eckler rushed for three touchdowns while catching two more to help the mountaineers win 45-31 against the Colorado School of Mines. When asked what helped the team the most to get the win, Eckler said, “The crowd was awesome today. They really helped push us over the top to get the win.” The crowd for the Homecoming game was filled with students and families that got louder as the back and forth contest went on. It did seem that every time Eckler broke a tackle or ran over a defender, the crowd would go nuts and propel him into the end zone time and time again. And when the game was on the line in the closing minutes, the defense stepped up and sent the Colorado School of Mines high powered offense to the bench scoreless two times.

Mountaineer Football started the season with a disappointing 34-14 loss to Colorado Mesa University on September 23. Since then, the Mountaineers have come on strong winning their next three games. Senior running back Austin Eckler and senior quarterback Brett Arrivey, have kept the offense running on all cylinders this season while the defense has been improving with every down they play under the leadership of a large senior class.

On September 10, the Mountaineer Football team was able to bring the Colorado Classic trophy back to Western with a 56-25 victory over Adams State during the Hall of Fame Game. That game was followed up by a 24-15 road win over Chadron State College. Those two victories set up a conference match up for the Homecoming game that the Western fans were aching for.

The homecoming win moved Western into third place in the RMAC standings with a record of 3-1. Mountaineer Football will return to Mountaineer Stadium on October 15 to face Black Hills State University in their second to last home game of the season.

After splitting its first two conference games, Western’s Women’s Soccer team has found itself in the middle of the RMAC standings with a 3-3-1 overall record as of September 23. After a four game road trip that started on September 18, the Mountaineers will get their homecoming when they play Fort Lewis College on October 2 at Gateway Field. This will start an important four game homestead during conference play in which the team can make a push for the conference tournament.

Western’s Women’s Volleyball has been finding its stride as they start conference play after mixed success in the season’s opening tournaments. Seniors Allison Walker, Tori Gehrty, Amanda Maestas, Avery Buckholder and Molly Hothan have led their fellow Mountaineers through 6 hard fought victories. Western was sitting in a five-way tie for second place in the RMAC with a 2-1 conference record and are 6-5 overall heading into their Saturday night match against Regis University. The Mountaineers Volleyball will make their homecoming to Paul Wright Gym on October 7 vs New Mexico Highlands University.

Seniors Georgia Porter and John Patterson and junior, Alicia Konieczek, as well as redshirt freshman Ross Husch have been pacing the Mountaineer Cross Country Women’s and Men’s teams this season. At the 2016 Mountaineer/Cowboy invite at Gunnison Middle School on September 17, Porter and Patterson won individual titles while leading their teams to second and first place finishes, respectively. Porter was also awarded the RMAC Runner of the Week for that race. The Mountaineer Cross Country teams will host W Mountain Race on October 8.

Up to date schedules, results, and standings about Western’s NCAA teams can be found at To discover all the cool things that Western’s Mountain Sports teams have been up to on the mountains visit: And check out the Western Club Sports at or stop by campus recreation.

Gunnison Farmers’ Market

Gunnison locals and Western students host a weekly community market.

Stephanie Colton / Staff Writer

Joanne and Paul Ferron display their homemade jewelry. Photo by Stephanie Colton
Joanne and Paul Ferron display their homemade jewelry. Photo by Stephanie Colton
Sarah Baughman shows off her all organic products. Photo by Stephanie Colton
Sarah Baughman shows off her all organic products. Photo by Stephanie Colton

Western students and Gunnison community members alike gather at the Gunnison Farmers’ Market every Saturday from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM to show support for local vendors. The fair takes place on the intersection of Main Street and Virginia Street from now until Oct 8. The Market will then be held at the Fred Field Heritage Center until Oct 29. Vendors come to the Farmers’ Market from all over the Gunnison Valley to sell locally grown produce and handmade goods to the Gunnison community.

Beth Coop, manager of the Gunnison Farmers’ Market, works with a board consisting of all volunteers that work to coordinate the marketing and logistical aspects of planning the event. The Market thrives on volunteers, so Western students, clubs, or organizations are encouraged to lend a hand to both help the community and represent Western.

The Western Organics Guild sets up a tent at every Farmers’ Market. Sophia Fontana, the Organics Guild president, describes the campus club as an outlet to “teach, share, and promote sustainable agriculture.”  The Organics Guild tends the two campus gardens: the Chipeta Gardens and the Pinnacles Greenhouse. The Greenhouse even supplies fresh herbs for Sodexo at the Rare Air Cafe, so the student body can experience what the club has to offer to Western. Organics Guild members appreciate that they can produce something that can be shared among the community. At every Farmers’ Market, the Guild offers up to five dollars’ worth of free produce to all Western Students.

The vendors at the Market come from a variety of different backgrounds. Some have participated in the event for over a decade. Joanne’s Fine Jewelry, developed by Joanne and Paul Ferron, has sold handmade jewelry at the Gunnison Farmers’ Market for what will be twelve years. They are a retired couple that lives in Gunnison during the summer and fall, and Tucson, Arizona, during the winter and spring seasons. They have worked out of their camper as a hobby for fifteen years, and have converted their toy-hauler into a workshop to make jewelry.

Sarah Baughman is participating in the Gunnison Farmers’ Market for her first season. She makes homemade soap, bug spray, sunscreen, salves, and many other organic products from her own kitchen. The Market is a great opportunity for individuals to share their products with the community, but other well known businesses also come to promote their trade. Cherisse Morgenstein designs organic clothing made of cotton and hemp for her business, Damsel Fly Clothing, and participates in other festivals and markets aside from the Gunnison Farmers’ Market. Doodlebug’s Bakery sets up a tent and also offer discounts to Western students.  

Whether students want to volunteer or contribute to this local novelty, or just enjoy what the local businesses and community members have to offer, the Gunnison Farmers’ Market is a great way to support the Gunnison Valley.

For more details on the event, visit  

Bryson Hsiang Darnel’s Dystopia

The story behind Western art alumnus’ latest sculpture show

Roberta Marquette-Strain / Senior Staff Writer

Darnel's sculpture 8/20/1966. Photo by Roberta Marquette-Strain
Darnel’s sculpture 8/20/1966. Photo by Roberta Marquette-Strain

Bryson Hsiang Darnel’s sculpture “8/20/1966 depicts a metal skeleton breaking through a propaganda-styled poster, its limp hand reaching toward the viewer.There is a story behind that piece and the various other sculptures that the Western art alumnus created for his show Dystopia which was featured in the Quigley Gallery from Sept. 8 – 23. Darnel’s intricate sculptures were inspired by the Chinese Cultural Revolution that officially began in August of 1966. The show was an extension of Darnel’s senior show of the same name.

The revolution was a result of China’s communist leader Mao Zedong’s movement to dispose of the capitalistic and traditional elements of the culture at the time, known as the “Four Olds” – old customs, old culture, old habits, and old ideas. People were persecuted, temples were destroyed, traditions were lost. The country crumbled under Zedong’s decade-long power.

“I felt there was a dystopic disconnect from it,” Darnel said.

In Darnel’s representation of Foo Dogs, or Chinese guardian lions, there are pieces of wood material weaved throughout the wire sculpture. For Darnel, the wooden details are supposed to represent the broken symbols that will never be complete again following the revolution.  

“[Zedong’s followers] destroyed temples and smashed antiques,” Darnel explained. “And after [the revolution] they were trying to get that back, but they can’t.”

In his own words, Darnel described China’s state of dystopia as a “disillusionment of a culture or a society of current affairs and events that are done on the basis that it is for the betterment of the people.”

Darnel never meant to find himself exploring his artistic connection to the Cultural Revolution or the Asian culture, but he has found himself dedicated to this inspired art for the past seven years.

Darnel's depiction of the Foo Dogs, or Chinese Guard Lions. Photo by Roberta Marquette-Strain
Darnel’s depiction of the Foo Dogs, or Chinese Guard Lions. Photo by Roberta Marquette-Strain

The sculptor said he has never felt connected to the Asian culture, even though he was born to an Asian mother who moved to America when she was 12. “At that time, once you became an American, you didn’t speak Chinese, you didn’t talk about China. You were an American,” he said. But Darnel always found Asian themes being created though his art, he saw it as a longing to somehow connect to that culture.

It wasn’t until 2008 that Darnel began preparing for his senior art show at Western that he decided to dig deeper into the culture, after being encouraged by his professor, Dr. Al Caniff.

Darnel always tried to avoid creating work just focused on Asian themes to avoid appropriation, so Dr. Caniff told him to research the culture to have a firm understanding,

“So I started to research it, and I researched it to death,” Darnel said. “I expected to find dragons and happy things, but I ran into a lot of things that were disappointing.”

Darnel began to explore the topic deeper and reached out to his mother’s side of the family for more information. However, Darnel had no success because they were not willing to talk about the past mistakes of their culture.

So Darnel’s research fell on his shoulders. He learned of the pain the nation felt and the trauma its people had to go through, and through his research, various Dystopia pieces were born.

After his senior art show, Darnel continued to learn more about the revolution and create more sculptures inspired by it, but he also was able to discover a little bit about himself in the seven years.

Bryson Hsiang Darnel outside of the new Quigley Gallery where his show Dystopia was featured.
Bryson Hsiang Darnel outside of the new Quigley Gallery where his show Dystopia was featured.


“[Dystopia] is a body of work that was an expression of self, but didn’t start out that way,” Darnel explained. By thoroughly researching the Asian culture and its low points, Darnel learned more about his history and discovered why he was always so intrigued by the Asian aesthetic.

Dystopia closed Sept. 23 and Darnel thinks that he most likely is done with pursuing the style of work inspired by the Cultural Revolution as well.

“I feel like I’ve taken it to where I need it to be,” Darnel said. “It was something I did to explore myself to start with and I feel like I’ve answered a lot now.”

So like any true artist, Darnel is walking away from his dystopic world with a better understanding of his art and himself.