Monthly Archives: December 2016

The Next Chapter of History at Western

Western’s inductees into the Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society and their History League mission.

Nicholas A. Fischer Staff Writer

On the Night of Oct. 17, five Western students were inducted into the National Honor Society for Historians, Phi Alpha Theta. Their induction marked the revival of the society’s chapter at Western.

The students who were inducted into Phi Alpha Theta after meeting the societies requirements of achieving a 3.1 GPA in minimum of 12 credit hours of history courses and have an overall GPA of 3.0 are History majors Desiree Hunter, Colin Fogerty, Nicholas Fischer, Christopher Santangelo, and Political Science major Kyle Beyer.

The ceremony was conducted by Western State Professor of History, Dr. Heather Thiessen-Reily after taking over Western’s chapter of the honor society for the retired Dr. Stewart. Dr. Thiessen-Reily said when she took over the chapter all she received was a “sad little box” that had only a few candles, a box of matches, and part of an old induction speech. However, with a little research and ingenuity, Dr. Thiessen-Reily was able to provide the students with a unique ceremony.

The experience reflected what it meant to the students to be involved in the History program at Western. Senior, Christopher Santangelo, said that the induction, “made official our interest, involvement, and achievements in the History program at Western.”

In addition to hosting the induction at her Halloween decorated home, Dr. Thiessen-Reily also prepared a chili dinner for the students that senior Kyle Beyer said was, “some of the most awesome chili he has had.” A meal is always a true sign of appreciation for any hard working college student, especially if it is home cooked, and bellies were full for days with extras sent home with the students.

All five students are also members of Western’s History League, a fledgling club that has also been recently revived over the last two years.  

During the evening of Oct. 29, Western’s History League conducted a Halloween History tour of the campus. The tour was to highlight the history of the of the various buildings around campus as well provide some spooky stories about some of the buildings. The tour finished in front of Taylor Hall at sunset and was passed by group of deer on their own tour of campus.

Western’s History League is currently working on building a catapult to stage a snow fort siege to send off the club’s seniors with completion of one the clubs original desires. The History League also holds a game night for anyone interested in playing historical games like “Axis and Ally’s” or “Risk.”

As a club for the discussion of our histories, the History League is open to anyone interested in conversing and debating about any topic, as they all relate to our history, is welcome to join any meeting held on Thursday at 12:30 pm in the upstairs lounge in Kelly Hall or game nights on Friday in the library.

Colin Fogerty provided a quote from British Historian G. M. Trevelyan to sum up what being a historian means to those members of the History League that were inducted into Phi Alpha Theta, “Since history has no properly scientific value, its only purpose is educative. And if Historians neglect to educate the public, if they fail to interest it intelligently in the past, then all their historical learning is valueless except in so far as it educates themselves.”

An Ethical Movement

Western receives support to incorporate ethics into the classroom.

Kennedy Sievers/Senior Staff Writer

Western’s business school, and eventually Western in general, is getting a major ethical upgrade. Western and the business school have recently been included as part of an initiative to incorporate ethical thinking, learning, and behavior into daily curriculum.

The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative (DFEI) is intended to promote ethical behavior in educational institutions. The fund was started by Bill Daniels, the pioneer of cable television in the West, who made his fortune in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

Daniels chose to use some money to endorse and encourage ethical behavior in colleges across these states. Initially, eight colleges received a part of the $2.5 million fund: Colorado State University, New Mexico State University, University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS), University of Colorado Denver, University of Denver, University of New Mexico, University of Utah, and University of Wyoming.

The initiative proved to have positive results across the business schools in all of these universities. Since it proved to be successful, the fund was renewed in 2009 with three new additions: Colorado Mesa University, Northern Colorado University, and University of Colorado Law School.

There are several stipulations in gaining and maintaining these funds for universities, one of which is outreach to other educational institutions and the business world. As a part of this requirement, UCCS created the Southern Colorado Higher Education Consortium (SCHEC) this year.

They included eight schools into the consortium, one of which was Western. The consortium functions as a support system for Western to incorporate ethics into its curriculum. The fund was intended to begin in the business schools at these universities in order to teach students how to present themselves in the business world once they leave college. However, it is the hope that once Western establishes a good curriculum within the business school, the school and students will be able to transfer their ethical lessons into the other departments across campus.

Since it was only started this year, the consortium is still in the beginning stages right now. Western has appointed faculty member Michael Vieregge, professor in the business school, to spearhead the ethical movement.

Vieregge is excited to incorporate this into the business department, but also across the whole campus. “Ethics is not just an issue with business. We have business issues with ethics but the same is true with physics or somebody in biology. You are always confronted with dilemmas where you have ethical issues,” he said.

The hope is that people will learn ethical behavior and thinking before entering the professional world and making an ethical mistake because of a lack of education. One mistake can cost people their jobs, and the goal of this consortium effort is to give people the tools they need in order to effectively handle issues in the workplace after graduation.

Students can benefit across campus from this new program. Despite it being so new to Western, Vieregge has high hopes for the education that students will receive about ethics. “Students are getting involved in national ethics competitions, ethical conferences, so that they saw that kind of a progression. It’s the same on most campuses; there are also other departments buying into it and looking at it from their perspective as well,” he said.

There are already some notable changes happening in the business school because of this program. On Thursday, November 3rd, a group of six students traveled to Colorado Springs to compete in an annual statewide ethics competition. The students able to participate this year were Canyon Mueller, Jack Millard, Michael Feng, Warren Knutsen, Erik Hillman, and Jake Veronda. This was Western’s first time competing in this competition; six schools presented their pitches.

The students compete in teams of two and are given three weeks to analyze a case with multiple ethical dilemmas, and then have ten minutes to present their solutions to a panel of eight to ten judges from different professional realms. The teams are scored on the content and format of their presentation.

Western’s teams were commended for their strong use of formatting; fitting so much information into ten minutes is not an easy task, and they did extremely well, especially considering that this was their first competition. Vieregge hoped to learn about the structure of the competition and give both himself and the students experience with it in order to compete in future competitions as effectively as possible.

Vieregge says that he is proud of the students for getting together during a busy time of the semester and traveling to compete in this competition. “I’m not really worried about where we end up. I’m just proud that the students decided to take the challenge. It’s a busy time right now in the semester, and on top of that trying to prepare for this is quite a commitment, so I think that’s more important,” noted Vieregge.

He is also excited to get Western’s name in the ethical debate community, win or lose. He believes it is important “for Western to be out there. People see us and see who our students are and how they perform,” he said.

This competition was a great learning opportunity for the students who were able to participate. Vieregge really wants them to “do well for what they try to do. It’s a learning process and I think it’s invaluable to have to do this. You have a limited amount of preparation time, and you have to be very concise and very convincing. Whatever you put in your presentation has to count.”

Being part of SCHEC has already had some great benefits for students, and Vieregge hopes to further those benefits across the campus. He would like to have a speaker series discussing ethical dillemmas and solutions, and he wants feedback from other departments about how to include ethics in daily lessons.

Vieregge hopes for the program to expand throughout Western as a whole, although that process may take some time. He hopes to potentially start student clubs, compete in more competitions, and make ethical behavior a common occurrence on the Western campus.

Cooking Matters

Western students learn how to cook healthy meals on a budget

Grace Flynn

October 21st 2016

On every Thursday in Oct., thirteen students occupied the Mears and Moffat kitchen. They participated in a Cooking Matters class which is a program designed for adults to learn the proper way to cook, how to buy groceries on a budget, and making healthy decisions about the temptation of easy meals. This is the first year that the program was brought to the Western campus.

This class allowed students to feel more prepared for when they have to cook on their own. They signed up for reasons varying from missing the cooking from home, to being tired of burning everything they cooked. Students worked together to prepare the ingredients and make their dinner for that night, all working to learn new skills.

This September was the first time Mountain Roots brought this event to the Western campus. Students would have been able to attend the event off campus as well, but this allows students to learn in their own space.

“If this class was offered again I would take it again. It is a great experience and you learn a lot of skills like how to properly handle foods and cut foods. I really enjoyed it!” said sophomore Alexis McGuffie, Mears complex resident.

The Cooking Matters class was led by three volunteers along with one member from America Corps VISTA. They bought groceries for the students to cook a meal, and to take some home to make again another time. Gunnison Public Health become involved to provide this service to the community. Mountain Roots is the agent with public health, and they are official partners.

Danielle Petruzzell works with American Core VISTA, and she was in charge of planning and coordinating the class on and off campus. Kim Bemis is involved with Gunnison County Public Health, Women Infants and Children (WIC) and came with supplies. Susan Harrison also worked with WIC and is a nutritionist who explained to students the meal they were making and how it is a healthier option compared to fast food. Elena Marguez works at The Eleven Experience in Crested Butte and worked with the students about food safety, how to prepare to cook the materials and allowed students to ask questions about the cooking.

“I enjoyed the instructors who taught this class. They helped me gain knowledge on how to have a cost effective, but healthy diet. I knew how to cook before, but this class helped me refine my skills and learn different techniques for cooking,” said sophomore Audrey Bell, who attended every class.

Cooking Matters was funded by Share Our Strengths Grants, which is dedicated to ending child hunger. The grants allow for the event to provide books, cutting boards, knives, and videos for volunteers to learn how to improve the education of the students involved in this program.

“I would suggest that, yes, students should go to this class if they are interested in learning some basic cooking skills, getting free food, and meeting new people,” said Adam Parks, who is a sophomore living on campus.

These volunteers were dedicated to teaching students and were passionate about what they do, making the classes more fun and informational. They took time out of their days to come work with Western students, facilitator positive, lasting learning experience

Cooking Matters has been going on for three years, with courses offered three times annually. Before this class was offered to Western students, it was offered to the Gunnison community at the Fred Field center.

The students cooked everything from pizza to chicken and found healthy ways to cook the ingredients. Starting in September, this class ran every week – for six weeks- ending in October. If a student attended half of the class, they get a certificate of completion, but if a student attended all classes, they were rewarded with their very own chef’s knife.

Not only did these students make new friends and eat good food, they learned a life time skill that they will be able to use and refer back to for the rest of their lives.

Western Young Life Takes Part in the First Ever College Weekend in Colorado

Morgan Aragon / Special to the Top

WSCU Young Life embarked on a road trip with 20 Western students to Crooked Creek Ranch, joining over a dozen Colorado and Utah colleges for a few days of rest and fun.

On Oct. 21, five cars lined up outside the Pinnacles apartments, waiting for students to arrive. Patagonia jackets on and Chaco’s packed, Western Young Life members were thrilled for a weekend getaway to retreat and grow deeper in their faith with Jesus Christ.

Young Life College, a national organization focused on building relationships and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, traveled four hours to Fraser, CO, where the prestigious Crooked Creek Ranch resides. Dozens of schools traveled far distances to this ranch for College Weekend. This is the first ever College Weekend in Colorado since Young Life was started in 1941 by Jim Rayburn.

“This is the most fun I’ve had in my college experience so far. By being here, I’ve been able to get to know the other girls better, and through that, experience God in a deeper way that I hadn’t before” said Western freshman, Madison Northen.

Activities such a ziplining, rock climbing, singing, games, volleyball, ping pong, a Halloween dance, the Young Life store, and so much more awaited the college students as they drove into the gates of camp. The retreat lasted only three short days, but the sight of familiar faces and relationships developing with others and their Heavenly Father left students with an eternal impact.

The Western students, along with hundreds of others, gathered before “club,” playing games and singing songs. As the doors swung open, students came rushing in to sing songs and hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. San Diego State Young Life Director, John C. Byard, flew from Southern California to share the story of Jesus in three club sessions. His enthusiasm and love for Christ served as a vessel to students’ hearts.  

“Camp was so much more than I expected it to be. It gave me the opportunity to take a serious look at my faith while also giving me endless opportunities to build relationships with tons of new people,” said Western freshman, Lindsey Herman.

Students from UNC, CSM, UCC, WSCU, and more parted ways once again on the last day back to their schools, refreshed and with a strengthened relationship with Jesus, radically changed and motivated to make a difference on their college campus.

Young Life College meets every Monday at 8:01 p.m. at Webster Hall: 107 N Iowa Street. Small groups, for deeper conversation about faith, meet every week. Girls meet at 8:01pm on Wednesday nights at Brushfire Coffeehouse. Guys meet every Thursday at 8:01pm at 910 Sunny Slope Drive. For more information, visit Western Young Life’s Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Assassins by Stephen Sondheim

Cast and Crew Had a Total “Blast”!

Marisa Cardin / Senior Staff Writer

Peak Productions wrapped it’s most recent show, Assassins, by Stephen Sondheim, on Sunday, Oct. 23. With a cast and crew of almost thirty people, this show sure was a sight to see, with warnings of live gunfire, strobe lights, and fog machines. The story takes place in a range of different years, telling the stories of all the successful (and unsuccessful) assassinations of US presidents. It included a cast of almost 25 people, as well as a running crew of about 15. It was a huge uptaking, seeing as Western hasn’t done a musical for over five years, since “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”.

Throughout the rehearsal process for Assassins, Top interviewed several different key members of the crew in order to see what it was like putting the show together. Top asked the crew what “the most challenging part of being involved with Assassins was.” Lauren Ryals, who works at the Crested Butte Community School, was the music director of the show. Ryals helped students learn to sing their parts (often extremely challenging, with overlapping melodies and harmonies throughout each piece). She responded, “The most challenging part of being involved with Assassins was accepting that we were ending the show! The prep and show cycle flew by!” Western students and faculty had little over two months to prepare for the opening night of the show, and the process was made an even bigger challenge due to the demanding size of the show in relation to the somewhat smaller size of Western.

Graeme Duke played the character Leon Czolgosz, a former steelworker who assassinated President William McKinley. He said, “The most challenging thing about being in Assassins was wrapping my head around the challenging music involved in the show. Stephen Sondheim is clearly a musical genius, known for shows like Sweeney Todd, but his songs are very complicated to sing,” Duke explained. “So doing his music justice was a huge challenge.” Students involved in big (or small) musical numbers worked with Ryals even outside of rehearsal, in order to make time to understand Sondheim’s work.

“In the end, it sure paid off!” Kathryn Tech, the costume designer, said. “The most challenging part was definitely making sure every cast member was accurately represented by their costume, and making sure each one was unique to the character.” With most of the characters in Assassins being actual, historical people, it was easy enough for the costume designers and director to get a basic idea of the costume, based on pictures of the people; it was the extra touch of Western, however, that made the costumes so original. Top asked the crew members what “the most rewarding part of being involved with Assassins was.” Ryals said that “the most rewarding part of being in Assassins was watching everyone grow and mature into their characters. It was a magical experience.”

This being said, it is important to remember that the characters on stage were real people, often times outrageously different from the characters the actors are portraying; it takes a lot of talent to so easily “flip the switch”. Tech said that the most rewarding part of this production was “getting to see it all come together. My favorite is the “trio from Hell,” Bella Lewis, Sean Coughlin, and Skyler (???).” The “trio from Hell” played the antagonists in the musical, and were all appropriately adorned with black and red costumes, fancier than any of the other actors on stage. “They have some of the most intensive costumes,” said Tech. “And some of them have multiple quick changes, but seeing the three of them together on stage makes all that work worth it.” Duke said that “the most rewarding part of the show was seeing opening night from the wings of the theatre. After all the hard work this whole case put into the show, seeing our first audience’s positive reactions to our efforts made it all worth it.”

These answers speak for themselves; after months of preparation, it is seriously rewarding for the cast and crew to have so many people enjoy the production. Top asked the crew what they hope for Western to gain after seeing Assassins. “I hope more people are willing to give theatre a try, to see what it’s like working as an actress or actor, and to see the mechanics of backstage,” said Tech. “It’s really fascinating to see, and a thrill to be a part of.” Truly, throughout the entire process of the show, actors and crew members alike were challenged to bring something so big together in so short a time, but that was what turned out to be the most rewarding part of it.

In true nature to the current political climate, Ryals said, “Western should understand it’s all about perspective when picking a political party, choosing someone to love or hate, and beyond.” The point of Assassins was not necessarily to advertise the strength that could come from assassinating a world leader, but more the strength that comes from fully supporting your ideas. “The main thing I hope Western Gains from this show is a new appreciation for the craft of theatre. Coming from someone who never did theatre before college, this art form has become one of my greatest passions in life,” Duke answered. “Every aspect put forth in its craft, from the acting, lighting designs, music, set design…once they’re all put together in front of a live audience, it becomes one of the purest forms of entertainment we have. At the end of the day, our job is to entertain people, and I hope everyone in our community continues to come out and support us moving forward.” Top also asked the crew to summarize the experience of Assassins in one word. Tech said: “Formidable. There are few things that are as hard or enjoyable than theatre to me. Things can go wrong, but things can give you goose bumps when they end up perfect – so you strive for the best.” That is why live theatre is so magical; there are no repeats, no calls for line, no second chances throughout the evening’s performance of the show.

Theatre requires a tremendous amount of dedication, focus, and love of the art in order for the show to truly go on. When asked this same question, Duke immediately responded with, “Rewarding. I have only been in one musical before Assassins, and getting back into it as someone who is insecure about his singing voice was a great experience from beginning to end. Every opportunity I have had here at Peak Productions has given me more experience and love for theatre, and I hope to continue all of that until I graduate.” When asked this question, Ryals said, “Magical, because of the many amazing people that worked together to bring the musical to life.” Regardless of if the audience sees them on stage, there is a great amount of work that goes into making a show possible.

Assassins will go down in history as yet another successful show here at Western, with nearly all of it’s evening performances sold out. If you’re interested in seeing the next show, join Peak Productions on December 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the Studio Theatre for an evening of Student Directed and Student Written plays! All four plays will run back to back, and are about ten minutes long. See you there! Event Announcement: Word Horde’s Poetry Slam Competition.