Category Archives: Features

Social Media Is Winning This Election

Robin Butler / Staff Writer

Social Medias are Heating up Politically in this Election

Every time I go on facebook and scroll through my news feed I am confronted by a plethora of political information. It is that time of year after all, and if I thought a year ago that Facebook and other social medias were heating up politically, I had no idea the firestorm that was to come. 

Facebook in particular has come incredibly far since its introduction to the public in 2005. What was once simply another tool for connecting has become one of the strongest and most influential news outlets on the internet. Its ease of access and abundance of information has created a direct outlet for politicians to reach potential voters whether they are young, old, liberal, conservative, educated, or uneducated. Hundreds of thousands – even millions of people that typically would stay as far away from politics as possible, are forced into the fray with frequent videos and opinion pieces supporting or speaking out against various candidates. 

The king of this platform is the tv celebrity and businessman Donald Trump. From the beginning of his campaign, Trump and his campaign team knew they didn’t have to beat out other republican nominees by much, so establishing a strong online presence was a must. Donald trump currently has 12.6 million followers on twitter and these aren’t necessarily just Trump supporters. In addition to these twitter followers, every news outlet that likes a good story has paid close attention to Donald Trump on Twitter because of just how intense some of his posts seem to be. Put simply, Donald Trump has gained support and followers because he has an entertaining social media presence.  

Hillary Clinton has never reached the level of buzzworthy appearance on social media, but her supporters have taken it upon them to help her out on this front. Ten minutes scrolling through a democrat’s Facebook page will find you countless videos and articles, not necessarily approved by Clinton, but none the less coming to her aid in this election.  

The most fascinating part about the influence of social media in politics is the absolute power of confirmation bias. The way Facebook, for example, works is that every time you click on something a friend or a page you follow shares, it remembers. The more you click, the more it remembers. Facebook’s nature as a business makes sure that every one of its users has the most pleasurable experience as possible while browsing content.

This means that once Facebook has collected enough information on your preferences (not just political) it can start tailoring your news feed to fit those preferences. My facebook feed is drastically different than my girlfriend’s facebook feed even though our political affiliations are moderate left and moderate right respectively. Facebook will inherently only show you information that it thinks you want to see. This means that if you are a Hillary supporter you will almost exclusively be shown pro Hillary and anti Trump posts. If you are a Trump supporter you will see the opposite. 

This format is dangerous. When you have millions upon millions of relatively uneducated potential voters being hit with one opinion piece after another, the value of american politics diminishes. It becomes a war of who can reach technologically tethered voters better and who can send out the most propaganda regardless if the information provided is true or not.  

A popular type of video in the last few months are those that show clips of either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton saying something and then a clip of them years earlier saying the opposite. These videos call the targeted candidate liars and cheats, which regardless of being true or false, is agreed upon by viewers. Both videos are reaching the exact same point, except on two completely different candidates. But people never see the other side, they never see that the creators of these videos are aware of their counterparts and are only looking for views. Potential voters take these videos as fact and that drastically affects how they think. Having this kind of false information so heavily advertised limits the effectiveness of truth and reason in the world of modern US politics. 

It is shocking to see how both parties are manipulating the minds of potential voters, and this caused me to adjust how I see things. As a liberal, my Facebook feed was exclusively pro Hillary, anti Trump… until recently. I was so sick of seeing one side of the picture that I actually went to a friends Facebook page (who is a Trump supporter), looked at the conservative facebook pages that he follows, and I followed them. I was tired of getting only one perspective and I did something about it. Now I am able to see a mixed bag of political information that will help me make a more educated choice on Nov. 8. 

Unfortunately not everyone is as open-minded, and many people, if not most, only want to see the information that they agree with. In 2008 Obama’s election was dubbed the “Facebook Election” because of Facebook’s influence on the outcome. Facebook and other social medias such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter have only grown in the last eight years and will likely continue to grow in the coming years. Their heavy influence in United States politics could bring the end of educated, unbiased voting. 

Omicron Delta Kappa

Western Welcomes the First Circle

Staff Writer/ Grace Flynn

Omicron Delta Kappa inductees. Photo by Grace Flynn
Omicron Delta Kappa inductees. Photo by Grace Flynn

On Oct. 20, fifteen students at Western were inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa’s first circle of the year (OΔK). OΔK has more than 285 active circles at colleges and universities across the United States. OΔK remains committed to developing campus leaders who will become tomorrow’s community leaders.

These students at Western not only had high academic achievement, but also participated in campus leadership in one or more of the five phases of campus life: Scholarship, Athletics, Campus or Community Service, Social or Religious Activities, Student Government, Journalism, Speech and the Mass Media, Creative and Performing Arts.

Membership is open to faculty, staff, alumni and graduate students. So not only were Western students inducted, but also was Gary Pierson, Greg Salsbury, Sara Philips, and Annie Westbury. This makes OΔK unique because it gives students a chance to have a diverse cross-section of the campus community. It strengthens each circle and allows students to learn from people in different stages of life.

 Omicron Delta Kappa inductees waiting to be inducted. Photo by Grace Flynn
Omicron Delta Kappa inductees waiting to be inducted. Photo by Grace Flynn

Western is just one of the five universities in Colorado to be part of an OΔK circle, and one of the 302 colleges and universities across the United States.

The event took place in the University Center Theater. Students and faculty being inducted were sat in the first two rows. Together they took a pledge to the circle and Western to keep being the great leaders they are. As Salsbury said “To be a leader takes courage.” These students were nominated by Western staff who note their dedication to the university and to their education.

The students inducted into the circle were Alejandro Alejandra, Hannah Braden, Sara Coblentz, Scott Doyle, Isabel Engeman, Bryan Gray, Alma Johnson, Courtney Kauffman, Kelly Limberg, Chelsea Meininger, Chevy Mohr, Hannah Montoya, Peter Noon, Emma Sellen, and Brenda Suarez.

Inductees being inducted. Photo by Grace Flynn
Inductees being inducted. Photo by Grace Flynn

During the ceremony these students accepted a certificate explaining their involvement, and signed a plaque that will hang up on campus. OΔK provides a chance to network with other campus leaders engage in leadership development training and resources, career resources including access to a jobs board, internship opportunities, and mentoring platform, as well as opportunities to explore career options through strategic alliances and partnerships, and an honor that speaks for itself—via the stole students wear at graduation or the three prestigious letters that appear on a resume.

Western students are now able to be recognized for their achievements and have support to further themselves on campus, and in the work field. Western plans on continuing the growth of the circle for years to come.

Western Welcomes Prospective Students

The first Preview Day of the semester showed students the Western Value

Bethany Eveleth / Staff Writer

Friday, Oct. 7 brought 130 prospective students from all over the state, and country, to Western’s campus for an all day event dedicated to educating future students about everything Western has to offer, as well as how to approach applying to and entering college life. This event is known as Preview Day.

The event started at 10am, where students were able to attend the Program Fair, which gave them the opportunity to talk to representatives of most of the campus programs, and understand what many of the majors on campus entail. Following the hour long fair in the Mountaineer Field House, families and students were directed to the University Center (UC), where they spent much of their day. Students attended open question and answer sessions as well as activities, while parents attended talks that provided an overview of the application process, financial aid applications, and more. Participants also get the opportunity to take a campus tour led by a Western student ambassador. The tours were split up into the various majors Western has to offer, many of them led by students who are involved in that particular area of study.

“I enjoyed [Preview Day] a lot. It is really cool to see how the environment and community here are,” said Elizabeth Posavad, a junior attending Legend High School in Parker, CO. “Everyone is really friendly, which is intriguing to me, because I’m from a bigger environment, which can be not so friendly.” Posavad went on the Recreation and Outdoor education tour with her mom and dad, and is looking forward to studying many things in college.

Aside from being a great way to spend the day at Western as well as hear from many of the different facets the university has to offer, Preview Day comes with some really unique perks. In the past, Western has offered free shuttles from Colorado Springs and Denver to give interested students and families a more accessible way to journey from the front range to the valley. For this Preview Day, Western was able to collaborate with some of the hotels in town to offer families a complimentary one night stay. One lucky student won tickets to the Broncos vs. Chiefs game on November 27. The tickets were a part of a ticket drawing that all attendees were entered to win.

Student ambassadors help to prepare the campus for visitors. Present for all of Preview Day, they offer prospective students first hand insight about anything they may be wondering about, and take students and their families on the tour that occurs in the afternoon.

“Preview Day is so much fun! It’s a great experience for students who are looking to come to Western to see what we are all about,” said Carly Zimmerman, a junior here at Western. “We get to show them a little snippet of the Western value.”

At the forefront of planning is Western’s Campus Visit Coordinator, Alyssa Magalong. Magalong is a recent Western graduate, and returned to fill the spot this summer.

“This Preview Day was my first one, and I could not have asked for a more supportive and collaborative team,” said Magalong. “I think the success of our Preview Days is from the collaboration.”

As a new graduate, Magalong also loves offering prospective students and their families a fresh perspective of what student life is like. There are three more Preview Days on the calendar for the year, each offering different opportunities to help prospective students experience Western and the surrounding community.

Film Review: Finding Dory

Pixar film delivers heart and fun while treading familiar waters.

Sam Thornley / Staff Writer

finding-dory

After thirteen years since the forgetful fish Dory charmed audiences in Finding Nemo, the blue regal tang has made a welcome return in Pixar’s Finding Dory. Starring Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks, reprising the roles of Dory and Marlin, Finding Dory features the fish of Finding Nemo in a new computer animated adventure filled with laughs and touching moments. The film, directed by Pixar veterans Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane, was released on June 17, 2016, and is due to be available on home media November 15 and digital platforms on October 25 this year.

Set one year after Finding Nemo, the story follows Dory as she enlists Marlin and Nemo to help her search for her parents in Morro Bay, California. The trio end up separated and land in a marine life institute, where they must use their wits to escape and find Dory’s parents along the way before the fish are moved to another institute.

What makes Finding Dory fun and unique is the heavy focus on Dory herself, given her disability of short-term memory loss. Thanks to this, Dory often has to improvise in order to survive and solve problems, which makes watching her efforts entertaining. This lends the film a fast pace and spontaneous feel, which helps stave off any feelings of boredom.

In addition, there is no romance to speak of between Dory or any other character in the film. When the general trend in films is to include a token romance of some sort, it nicely shows how people can be close friends with each other without needing to be romantic. Considering many films released by Disney and Pixar follow this trend, this makes it all the more impactful.

The setting of a marine aquarium is also handled in a fairly tasteful manner. In an era where there is much outcry over marine parks like SeaWorld, the film chooses to not have animals perform while giving them a degree of choice in their surroundings. On top of that, it avoids turning the park into a strawman for the negatives of such systems by showing the positive qualities of the park, which prevents the film from getting too preachy on the subject of captive animals.

In terms of the animals themselves, the voice performances are all well done. Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks are very charming and funny as Dory and Marlin, while Hayden Rolence compliments them as a snarky and surprisingly wise for his age Nemo. Ed O’Neill also shines as the grumpy but considerate octopus Hank, while Idris Elba and even Sigourney Weaver make amusing cameos throughout the film.

On the visual side, the film manages to live up to Pixar’s usual animation standards. The animators overhauled their lighting tools for the film and it shows with extensive transition shots from the water to the surface as the animals move about, along with well-designed luminescent sequences. Not to mention, the bright color palette of the film keeps it interesting and should appeal to adults and children alike.

Finding Dory’s biggest strength lies in the emotional focus that is Dory’s search for her parents, along with her memory. The search for Dory’s parents appeals to the fears of adults and kids with its subject matter making the film’s dilemma a very personal one. This dilemma makes the film very engaging and allows for the lack of an antagonist. Most of all, Dory being forgetful is treated as something everyone will get used to in living with her and not something to be ashamed of, which is a valuable message for parents of children with disabilities.

On top of this, the film manages an excellent blend of comedy and drama, often in the same scene. Between funny moments like Dory’s whale mimicry and touching interactions between Nemo and Dory, the film showcases a lot of heart while being able to make the audience laugh at the same time.

As for any major criticisms of the film, it is a sequel that leans on the past more than it should. The general premise is similar to Finding Nemo and the main characters get stuck in pipes, run into friendly aquarium life, and run away from sea monsters much like they did before. As a result, the film treads familiar waters a little too comfortably for its own good and doesn’t quite have a fresh feeling to it.

While the increased focus on Dory is welcome, Marlin and Nemo feel somewhat superfluous to the narrative. Since Dory has most of the character focus and the newcomer critters get their share of the spotlight, Marlin and Nemo spend a lot of time lurking in the background while Dory and the new animals get attention. As a result, they seem to largely exist just because it’s a sequel and they’re required to until the climax makes them important again.

Altogether, Finding Dory manages to be an entertaining adventure that should appeal to children and adults. Even if it is a little too derivative for its own good, the performances and humor are more than enough to justify giving it a watch. With an uplifting nature equivalent to the fish it follows, Finding Dory is jolly and a must see for animation fans.

Career Awareness Week

Western students prepare themselves for the professional world.

Stephanie Colton / Staff Writer

Western business students at Mile High Stadium for the Colorado Business School Career Fair. Photo Courtesy of Mariah Green
Western business students at Mile High Stadium for the Colorado Business School Career Fair. Photo Courtesy of Mariah Green

Over the course of the last two weeks, Western’s Career Success program coordinated multiple events to expose students to new employment opportunities. On Thursday, Sept 29, a group of business students attended the Colorado Business School Career Fair at the Mile High Stadium in Denver. Approximately 30 students traveled with the School of Business to seek out potential employers, chaperoned by Business Career Success director Chelsea Dalporto-McDowell and Career Services coordinator Mariah Green.

The Mile High Stadium hosted over 175 companies seeking both graduate and undergraduate students for internships and full-time positions. The employers came from various industries including finance, real estate, hospitality, and technology. Xcel Energy, Charles Schwab, and Scottrade were among the many well recognized and reputable companies that attended the career fair. Students had the opportunity to learn more about these businesses and network with their potential future employers. Many students were interviewed on the spot by employers for internship or full-time positions, and some were even offered positions after their interviews.

This opportunity allowed students to get into contact with companies that they may not have access to regularly. Many employers expressed that they would choose those who attended the Career Fair for consideration first out of other job applicants, because they showed initiative and a motivation for being in a professional work environment. The event gave students a head start on their job searches, as the end of the year is typically when employers seek new hires.  

Career Awareness Week kicked off with mock interviews to prepare for Resort Recruitment Day on Tuesday, Oct 4. Students that were interested in job opportunities in Crested Butte met employers in the Borick Business Building to interview for a variety of positions. A study abroad fair was also held in the University Center. Career Services also hosted a workshop in Taylor Hall about fixed mindsets versus growth mindsets, and how they can affect goals and decision making. On Wednesday, a workshop for finding jobs and internships was held in the University Center. An information session about Target Corporation’s internship program was held in Borick, hosted by a previous intern, Alex Peot. On Thursday, students could learn about opportunities to further their education at the Graduate School Fair, followed by an information session about the Boettcher Teacher Residency. The week-long event closed with an open house hosted by Career Services, where students could learn about the resources available to them.

Western’s Career Services offers many helpful opportunities for business students as well as any other students looking to get their foot in the door of the professional work environment. Students can fine-tune their resumes, cover letters, and interview skills. Other events hosted by the Office Career Services to look forward to this year are the “Networking How To’s” Workshop on Oct 27, the Gunnison Chamber of Commerce Networking Event on Nov 3, and the Professional Photos Workshop on Dec 1. Career Success events and workshops are typically held in the Borick Business Building. For more information about upcoming events, email businesscareers@western.edu.

Passover Seder at Western State Colorado University

Next Sunday, Apr. 24, a community B’nai Butte Seder will be held at the University Center Ballroom at Western.

This is the first community Seder held in Gunnison, and all are welcome and invited. If you have never attended a Jewish Passover Seder, it is an experience not to be missed! The Seder is not just a meal, but a retelling of the Exodus story, with specific foods symbolic of the redemption from Egypt.

Our Seder will be led by Rabbi-Cantor Robbi Sherwin of Congregation B’nai Butte in Crested Butte, and will contain traditional and contemporary songs and prayers. The meal will be prepared by Chef Jeffrey Cooper of Flavours at Western, and will include matzo ball soup, gefilte fish, chicken and lamb, a vegan entrée, potato kugel, roasted veggies, and special desserts.

This dinner is free for Western Students with Meal Plans!

For all other Western students or children under 12, the price is $12; adults $22.95

Please RSVP via email or phone at: Jeffrey.cooper2@sodexo.net or (970)943-2432.

Event Location:
University Center Ballroom
Western State College University
600 North Adams, Gunnison, CO

Spring Semester Looks for Ambitious for Mountaineer Media


Written by Stephanie Colton

Mountaineer Media, Western’s film club, has many projects in store for the Spring semester. Mountaineer Media is a co-curricular club which gives film students, and other students who express interest, an introduction to the medium. Members direct and create short narratives, promotional videos for the university, and a wide spectrum of class projects, such as stop motion films. This creates opportunities for all members, from beginners that are just learning how to operate a camera to dedicated film students that are looking to bring their own scripts to action.

One main objective for Mountaineer Media this semester is to create a video to present to the Council for Creative Expression (CCE). The CCE provides funding for many of the artistically based co-curricular programs on campus, such as Peak Productions, Pathfinder Magazine, and many others. This video will display the duties and accomplishments of the club to justify its funding.

The club also plans to collaborate on smaller projects, like a comedy involving a live-action version of Dungeons and Dragons. Mountaineer Media is also accepting script submissions, as new material is always encouraged. The deadline for the submission is Feb. 12. To introduce more students to the art of filmmaking, Mountaineer Media is hosting a storyboard demo on Feb. 15 in the Media Center, located in Taylor Hall. For any additional information about the club, feel free to email mountaineermediaproductions@gmail.com.