Western Students on Ice

By: Sophie Pizzo

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Western Recreational Services hosted a free open skate for Western students at Danbury Ice Arena last Friday.

Directly after the Danbury Titans game, students hit the ice from 10 pm to 12 am, with music, free refreshments, and skate rentals provided. Shuttle service was also available to and from the arena.

The ice was brimming with students of all skill levels, from beginners to seasoned skaters. Though there were a few falls and bumps along the way, the night was full of energy and fun.

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The free skate was part of Rec After Dark, which provides opportunities for Western students to get together for fun night-time events. Past events have included a free skate session last semester, as well as a “Glow” event featuring laser tag, glow-in-the-dark dodgeball and Zumba in Berkshire Hall.

“It was really fun to go back and ice skate after last semester,” said Sarah Hoffkins, a junior at Western. “I really hope that it keeps going on!”

For more information about upcoming WesternRec events, including Rec After Dark, visit http://www.wcsu.edu/recreation/.

Summer Study Program in Spain

By: Josh Fox

Are you interested in spending your summer in Europe? Want to learn more about a foreign culture at an affordable cost? If so, the Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) Summer Study Program in Spain is perfect for you.

Running from mid-May to mid-June, the WCSU Summer Study Program in Spain allows for students to spend a summer attending class in Malaga, Spain at the cost of only $4,300 – an estimated thousand dollars less than other schools’ programs.

The program is open to all WCSU students, and not only can it be used to fulfill the Intercultural Competency/Foreign Language requirement, but all classes taken can count for electives or major/minor requirements in Spanish. In addition to education, the program also gives students opportunities to travel to the cities of Madrid and Marbella and learn how to dance the flamenco and cook Spanish food like paella and tapas.

“The strength of the program is not only in its linguistic immersion, but also in its cultural immersion,” said Dr. Galina Bakhtiarova of the World Languages and Literature department, founder of the WCSU Summer Study Program in Spain. “Students live with Spanish families who provide room and board. That allows students to be part of the community. We’re not tourists, we’re part of the community.”

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The WCSU Summer Study Program in Spain was founded ten years ago by Dr. Bakhtiarova under the belief that studying abroad is a necessity, and she has made it her mission to work with each student to help them fulfill and enhance their academic goals.

If you’re interested in applying to the program, go online to wcsu.edu/spain and fill out the application. All applications are due by February 15th. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Bakhtiarova at  bakhtiarg@wcsu.edu or in her office, Berkshire Hall 215D.

Summer Movie Madness

Alana Branch | Arts & Entertainment Editor

Still brokenhearted over the dullness of Batman v. Superman? Then no fear; Captain America: Civil War is here.

Well, almost.

The highly-anticipated blockbuster is set to hit theaters in the United States on Friday, May 6. Yes, it coincides with final exams, but it’s a welcoming reminder that summer is upon us!

Meanwhile in international markets, Captain America: Civil War is meeting all expectations, already surpassing the $200 million mark.

It’s safe to say that it’ll do just fine over here.

So, are you Team Cap or Team Iron Man?

Personally, I’m Team Black Panther.

Do yourselves a favor and check it out!

Happy Summer!

Zeta Beta Tau’s Get On The Ball Rolls All Across Campus

Andy Hsu | Contributing Writer

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Featured from left to right: Brothers Daniel Cummings, Andy Hsu, Ryan Manion, Jason Petraitis, Christian Rosendahl, and Ray Wolfram. Photo courtesy of Clarence Pacete

Many students are intrigued by the sight of the 5-foot giant ball that is rolling across the Midtown campus this week, surrounded by the brothers of the Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity.

Perhaps you’ve been stopped on your way to class, on the way to the shuttle, or about to enter the student center as a brother of ZBT calls out asking for you to sign the ball, and to kindly donate towards the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

 

Get On The Ball is an event, which originated from the Beta Zeta Epsilon chapter of ZBT at the University of Maryland.  Funds are raised for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals by businesses to sponsor the event, or by individual donations.

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Featured from left to right are Ray Wolfram, Jason Petraitis, Jeff Moffat, and Ciara Lubus. Photo courtesy of Andy Hsu

In a recent interview with the Humans of WestConn Founder, Clarence Pacete, brothers Ryan Manion and Daniel Cummings had valuable input regarding the importance of the Get On The Ball event and Greek Life in general:

“Being part of ZBT and in Greek life in general has given opportunities to us and a purpose for being here on campus,” the brothers of Zeta Beta Tau of the Zeta Tau chapter say.

“We advocate Greek life and how valuable it is to be a member of it. One of our responsibilities is to spread the word about our events and our fellow Greek life organizations’ events. People want interaction; so when we talk to people on campus, you’ll be seen as a friend not an associate. Also, talking to the students helps with leadership. Being a part of greek life looks good on a resumé. We know about the stereotypes that go along with Greek life; but we are a non-pledging and non-hazing fraternity. They were the standard when our organization was created. You shouldn’t be afraid of being ostracized if you decide that going greek isn’t for you. One takeaway from this organization is being able to wear these letters with pride, even when you aren’t actually wearing the letters on a shirt. We encourage any to try going greek, we are happy to talk to you more about it.”

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Brothers Daniel Cummings and Jason Petraitis roll the ball to patrons of our sponsors, Soho’s Pizza. Photo courtesy of Andy Hsu

An important aspect of the event is raising funds from local businesses to sponsor our event.  Currently, Soho’s pizzas restaurant; Double Twister’s Ice Cream shop, Kitchen Traditions, and Chamomile Natural Foods are all proud sponsors of ZBT’s Get On The Ball at Western Connecticut State University.

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Brother Nico Dee. Photo courtesy of Matthew Mendillo

More information can be found about the Get On The Ball event by going to www.zbtgetontheball.com and information on Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals can be found by going to give.childrensmiraclenetworkhospitals.org where spokeswoman Jennifer Lopez advocates the benefits and importance of the foundation.

 

Stop Recycling My Childhood

Alana Branch | Arts & Entertainment Editor

In movie news, Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book was released this past Friday to critical acclaim and dominated the box office with $103.6 million for Walt Disney Studios.

And soon there’s to be another live adaptation of the beloved Rudyard Kipling classic, helmed this time by Andy Serkis.

Recently, several entertainment outlets reported that there could be a remake of a Robin Williams favorite, Jumanji, starring dynamic duo Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) and Kevin Hart, whose film Central Intelligence hits theaters June 17.

After reading this, immediately three words come to mind: WHAT. THE. FUCK.

Added to the long list of questionable trends in Hollywood is live reboots/remakes of some of our favorite childhood movies; movies we grew up watching and continue to watch because why not? Most of them appear on TV.

Do you know how many times I’ve seen Toy Story parts 1, 2 & 3 with commercials around the holiday season?

Just last year, Disney put out the very successful Cinderella, and next spring, Emma Watson, who I’ll honestly always see as Hermione Granger, will portray Belle, seen for the first time on big screen in the live version of Beauty & the Beast.

Is it safe to say that originality is lacking like it always has been in Hollywood? For a normal movie-going person, it may not be as big a deal as it is for someone like me, an aspiring screenwriter who strives to look for something different, even if just a speck in a pool of similar ideas.

If it screams big money, then studios will go for it even if it’s been done several times before.

However, if they touch The Lion King, I’m going nuts.

 

 

Brothers McClurg to bring indie folk style “Worship Round The Mic” to Danbury

Worship leaders and songwriters Brothers McClurg are set to bring an evening worship,stories, and songs to the Community Coffeehouse (7 Madison Ave) in Danbury at 8 p.m. on April 16. The night will include a time of folk style “Worship Round The Mic” and will be followed by a chance for those in attendance to meet the artist while enjoying free coffee and refreshments. Tickets are $12 in advance and can be purchased online at http://www.communitycoffeehouse.org or at the door.

Hailing from Buffalo, NY, the Brothers McClurg has brought warmth and hope to an area known for its frigid winters, as well as its depressed economy—now making national headlines for as upswing. The band’s mission is to carry Jesus’ message of life, hope and forgiveness to cities that have been told they’re dead, hopeless and forgotten. thumbnail_Brothers+McLurg+Flyer+04-16-16.jpg

Brothers McClurg’s legacy of music and ministry spans three generations and has a rich heritage of serving the local church. What started out as two bands fronted by brothers Anthony and Chris Hoisington, has turned into a group of Christian brothers who share a desire to see lives changed through worship.

The band name pays homage to Anthony and Chris’ greatest influence: their maternal grandfather Pastor Bill McClurg, who led the southern gospel group The McClurg Family Singers.

“We see it as a way of continuing the legacy and ministry while giving it a fresh vision,” says Chris.

The Brothers love their community through prayer and acts of service, blessing the Church and uniting the Body of Christ in worship. Their goal has always included breaking down denominational barriers, starting with themselves as each band member comes from a different church tradition.

“We want to spur one another on, lifting up the name of Christ inside the church, as well as in the streets,” says Anthony. “Our goal is to rally the church to action, loving one another and also loving the ‘unlovely’ and replicating this passion in every city and community we encounter.”

Chris explains, “Brothers McClurg is a traveling version of your church’s worship team, with many players and faces each adding to what God is doing in times of worship.”

The band, with four previous albums, is pleased to announce the release of their newest LP entitled Home. The record was going to be independently released following the band’s amicable parting with Integrity Music, but now finds its home on the Sprig label. Additionally, Around The Mic is Home’s companion release, celebrating the band’s southern roots heritage. Both albums are available on iTunes, Amazon, and other retailers.

For more information about this event or the Community Coffeehouse visit them online at http://www.CommunityCoffeehouse.org.

WestConn Alum Makes New Music

Alana Branch | Arts & Entertainment Editor

WestConn alum Drew Mazur is making new music!

Starting on April 13 you can preorder his single “Big Eyes” on all digital outlets (iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Amazon, etc.).

The single will be released on May 6.

When asked what the inspiration was behind “Big Eyes,” Mazur, who wrote and co-produced it, said that it was “for those guys who try to get to know a girl as a friend instead of rushing into it for the obvious reasons.”

And he thanks Daniel Chironno aka “DTronic” who helped produce the track, Danny Lipsitz on the saxophone and his brother, Rory Mazur, who provided guitar.

Congratulations, Drew!

Go and support!

 

The Case Against Whacky-Inflatable-Arm-Flailing-Tube-Colonials

By Anonymous. 

Over spring break, the Board of Regents for Connecticut state schools approved a 5 percent tuition increase for the 2016 year. According to the CT Mirror, tuition has doubled in the past 13 years.

Yet today, after doing work in the library, I walked out to see a massive, cobalt, arm-flailing-tube-man outside the main entrance to Berkshire hall.

Of course, I knew that it was for the purpose of attracting students to WestConn; I had seen the flocks of 12th graders walking across the quad for a few months now. But as a student who participated in the college search, I know that not only that arm-flailing-tube-men do not attract me to universities, but also that they shun me away with their obscene tackiness.

As a student, what disgusts me is what this money could have gone to. The CT Board of Regents recently decided to issue a harsh ruling on University Professors—tenured professors at WCSU could have been shifted around to other schools, while the already high adjunct ratio would skyrocket. The only reason that the BOR was not able to ruin any sort of academia at WCSU was the AAUP stepping in to protest.

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The inflatable blue man outside of Berkshire gym.

The fact is that Connecticut’s Scott Walker-esque austerity is crippling our school. WCSU, and its predecessor Danbury Teacher’s School, were founded to further education. The fact that tuition increases are becoming a fact of the Public School life only makes it all too easy to obstruct the goal that the CSU schools were founded upon.

This frivolous spending combined with tuition increases only amounts to less funding towards students’ education.

Is WestConn going private? Tuition hikes push away lower-income students, so are the tube-men infantry in WCSU’s army to court higher income *cough* white *cough* students. This sounds a lot like for-profit schools like DeVry University, or University of Phoenix…or Trump University. These schools provide less than satisfactory education, for a higher than palatable price.

Obviously, this is somewhat an exaggeration. Google whacky-inflatable-arm-flailing-tube-men, and you’ll see that they can cost less than $100. But it is this pattern of spending hikes that worries me.

It is not the fact that whacky-inflatable-arm-flailing-tube-men are on our campus that bothers me. It is the fact that our campus spent our tuition dollars buying whacky-inflatable-arm-flailing-tube-men that bothers me.

It is now understandable and normal for prestigious colleges to have sushi bars (which ours now does), or other luxuries of the like, but WCSU is not UConn. Our school does not have millions of dollars to pay for a basketball coach (as the CT government allows UConn to do) coming from out-of-state students (and tax dollars). With what little money we are given, our school needs to fulfill its first priority: educating students to their highest potential.

And I’m just not sure that whacky-inflatable-arm-flailing-tube-colonials will do that job.

Western Connecticut State University is not a used car dealership. It is a university. We should treat it as such.

Not so Artsy

Alana Branch | Arts & Entertainment Editor

There is art that can inspire and then there is art that can spew anger. Try a whole student body!

Columbia University is making headlines over a sculpture that is causing protest and bringing out a petition, particularly among its undergraduates.

The sculpture, called “Reclining Figure,” was created by beloved British artist Henry Moore circa 1969-70 and has not yet arrived on campus since the announcement was made late last month via a blog post by Roberto Ferrari, the curator of art properties at the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library.

Ferrari suggested that the controversial piece was in “the form of a woman with her legs outstretched before her, propping herself up with her forearm.”

Meanwhile, most students find it ugly and unfit for Columbia. One student might have said it best: “It interrupts the architectural harmony.”

The university plans to place Moore’s work in front of the Butler Library, which happens to be a hot spot for picture taking. 21-year-old Daniel Stone, one of the creators of the petition, thinks setting the sculpture there would throw off the “Versailles-like symmetry.”

Columbia has since issued a brief statement on the protest:

Discussing the merits of Moore’s sculpture is a conversation quintessentially appropriate for a university community. Successive generations of Columbia students, with their own strong opinions, will no doubt continue debating whether this modernist work of art enhances or diminishes our classically beautiful Morningside campus.

All Hyped Out

Alana Branch | Arts & Entertainment Editor

Well, the comic book crazies have spoken. “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” was meh. Despite mixed to negative reviews, the highly-anticipated blockbuster topped the box office over the Easter holiday weekend, pulling in almost $500 million.

I think it’s safe to say that this movie fared way better than last year’s disastrous “Fantastic Four.” Then again, any movie – even an Adam Sandler movie (and I really hesitated to write that, by the way) is better than “Fantastic Four.”

Nothing hurts more than getting hyped up for a big time cinematic adventure (and it doesn’t help that there are numerous trailers that give way too much, plus merchandise) and then walking out of a theater and asking yourself, “So, umm… wow?”

I understand that all filmmakers can’t be like J.J. Abrams, who, back in January, pulled a Beyonce when he dropped the trailer for “10 Cloverfield Lane.” Sometimes less is more.

So should we be worried for upcoming blockbusters like “Captain America: Civil War” or “Suicide Squad”? Probably not, but at least for me, I try not to garner such high expectations.

If it’s good, then my day is made. If it’s great, then my week is complete before it even begins.

Besides, for some, and particularly movie fanatics, hype surrounding a film and its build up is what makes the cinematic experience that much more grand.

Did you see “Batman v Superman”? Did you enjoy it?