Offices go residential

Molly Dean
mgdean13@transy.edu

Several Transy faculty members and staff have found new homes on campus.

The “Creative” and “C.A.R.E.” houses are campus-owned buildings that have the potential to engage students in ways that institutional office spaces may not.

“The Creative House”, located at 362 N.Upper Street adjacent to the Mitchell Fine Arts parking lot, is currently being used as office space for four professors:  Instructor in Writing, Rhetoric and Communication Martha Gehringer, Professor of English and Writer in Residence Maurice Manning, Kenan Visiting Writer Richard Taylor, and Lucille C. Little Professor of Theater Tim Soulis.

Interim Vice President & Dean of the College, Kathleen Jagger explained the decision as a temporary solution to simply running out of space for faculty offices. Among the faculty willing to move were three poets and a playwright and thus, organically, the creative title was fitting.

“One of the nice things about Transy is that the faculty doesn’t exist in individual silos in different projects,” said Jagger.  She views the collaborative nature “as part of the spirit of encouraging student learning in all dimensions.”

The new inhabitants of the Creative House are settling into their new space.  Though she has literally hopped around the Haupt building – this is her tenth move in 30 years at Transy, Gehringer is enjoying the change of scenery.

“It does feel really domestic,” said Gehringer, of the three-bedroom brick house on the corner.

Soulis described The Creative House as a “unique space with great colleagues literally a door away.”

“Already we’ve had the opportunity to laugh and commune, to praise our students, and to be glad to be together,” said Manning, of the first month in the shared space.   “I can’t imagine a better setting for work and good company.”

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Garden of TU class digs in more than dirt

Emily Martin

Staff Writer

With recent Lexington temperatures topping eighty degrees, the idea of taking a May term class outdoors has appealed to many students. Chemistry professor Dr. Eva Csuhai’s Garden of Transylvania class is doing just that and more – turning an unused plot of land on campus into a community garden while learning about various disciplines at the same time.

The garden class meets outside two or three times a week. The other days, the 13 students meet in Brown Science Center. Csuhai makes tea for the students to enjoy while they discuss books like “Second Nature” by Michael Pollan and readings by Wendell Berry.

Professors from other disciplines are invited to speak to the class as well. Dr. Scott Whiddon, assistant professor of Writing, Rhetoric and Communication, has spoken about gardening poetry and Dr. Wei Lin, assistant professor of Art History, has presented on Chinese gardening.

Students learn about the physical act of gardening, food preservation, community supported agriculture, as well as the philosophy surrounding gardening. All the while, they are getting fresh air and exercise. Studies show that one-hour of gardening burns up to 250 calories and increases mental alertness.

But what many say really draws students to this class is the opportunity to spend their mornings in May away from the classroom and in the sunshine. Students build and repair structures in the garden like sheds and rain barrels. They put up signs to label plants, as well as work to develop a composting program. On the class’s “inside days”, students read and discuss newspaper articles, write informal essays, give presentations, and create projects.

While this is more academic work than some students expected, the class does not have a final exam.

“It’s a lot of work,” said rising sophomore Stevie Morrison, “but I’m really enjoying the variety of topics. Plus, I get to play in the dirt.”

The Garden of Transylvania class was started four years ago by a group of faculty and staff.

“We wanted to do something better with the land we already have,” said Csuhai.

The university owns plenty of land around the existing campus that will eventually be used for expansion, but until that land is needed, much of it goes unused. The plot now taken over by the garden has been used as an occasional meeting place for classes from Nature Writing to Ornithology to Spanish.

Once May Term ends and students depart for the summer, the garden is sustained by those who have paid for plots. Ten dollars buys a four by twenty foot private plot to use as a personal garden. For five dollars, anyone can be a member of the community plot. These are the people who will take care of the garden – they are also the ones benefitting most from it. Members of the community garden have access to everything grown in the plot.

For those who are not current members of the community garden, there are other ways to participate. Besides actually joining the garden, the rest of the Transylvania community is always invited to stop by and help the class in their work. Csuhai’s class meets from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. every day during May Term.

Cooking costs time, effort: savor every bite

Cooking for one is no easy task, so if you multiply that by 50, cooking becomes even more difficult. This is what any restaurant chef has to do on a daily basis, except there are usually more than 50 people to serve and a variety of dishes to make at once.

But it’s not simply cooking, the restaurant has to determine what and how much food is needed, purchase it within a limited budget, make sure it arrives on time and designate a price for the individual meals based on the original cost of the food. For example, try calculating how much you spent on the tablespoon of salt that went into a soup when the entire package costs 64 cents—that right there is a tricky math problem.

For anyone that has been a restaurant or catering manager, or has taken Quantity Foods Management at Transylvania, this is nothing new, but often the dirty work of buying the food and calculating individual servings gets lost in the eyes of the customer. When eating at a restaurant, you are not only paying for that food, but you are paying for the gas and electricity to run the kitchen appliances, the food transportation (gas and driver), the water to wash your dirty plates, the chef, the cooks, the dishwashers, and the managers.

But what happens when the managers absentmindedly leave the potatoes at Kroger on the bottom of the shopping cart and head back to the kitchen? 50 people don’t get the potatoes they paid for as a side dish. But this can’t happen. There are no late potatoes accepted, potatoes are not papers and they cannot be pushed back to a later date. There is no rescheduled time for cooking; everything is final. As humans we are going to make mistakes, but one way or another, problems have to be solved in the restaurant, and fast. The missing potatoes will create yet another trip to the grocery as soon as possible and must be pushed into the “unexpected cost” category.

The managers have to know the budget and serving sizes by heart, constantly calculating in their heads how much food should be left. The food and service is a direct reflection of them, which is why anyone working in food service has to love what they do. The amount of work that goes into creating food for people is indescribable, and stressful in a different way than a test—but when you love something you’ll do whatever it takes.

It’s a passion, and when I see people’s faces as they try something I’ve made, those are the moments I remember. It’s pure joy for me, and I’ve even made cakes with no flour (unintentionally, of course). Mistakes and bad recipes are inevitable, but regardless I love cooking and the more time I can spend in the kitchen, the better. I look for these reactions in the faces of restaurant managers surveying the dining area—their job is to make the customer happy. And when they do, their face lights up and you can witness a sigh of relief.

So the message is simply to remind yourself of the effort that went into the food you made, and how much someone cares that you like it. Take the time to enjoy what you spent your scarce dollars on and enjoy food with company. Eat for pleasure and taste, the chance to be with friends, and embrace the experience that was so carefully planned out whether you realize it or not.

Even Goodfellas has an atmosphere. For example, it tastes best around 2 a.m. and is meant to be enjoyed with friends at the nearest place to sit, which is most likely the sidewalk curb. As simple as this production seems, the Goodfellas manager had to make sure all that cheese was in the refrigerator before you arrived at 2 a.m., along with several other components, and they thought about where you might sit.

The nutritionists will tell you to eat slowly for physical health, but because I am not yet a registered dietician, I am telling you to eat slowly for the experience. You will notice so much more in terms of the food’s flavor and your surroundings if you take your face out of the pizza box for a second.

SAB to sponsor Holi festival

Erica Clark

Campus Life Editor

On a campus like Transylvania University, stumbling upon an event or an organization promoting unity or equality is no difficult task. On May 16 from 3 to 5 p.m. in Back Circle, you may have a chance to promote these things in a way you’ve never done  before.

This May Term, Transy is having its very own Holi celebration – a Hindu tradition in which participants throw brightly colored powder (and in other cases, perfume) at one another in order to observe the new season of spring and the passing of winter.

“The meaning behind it is to make everyone equal and to bring everyone together as one,” said rising junior Casey McBride, president of the Transy Student Activities Board (SAB) which is funding the event.

Though the festival is held in March, for the purposes of free time and a higher attendance number, SAB decided to hold the event during May Term. Their vision is that the celebration will do the same for the community at Transy.

“It will bring together people from all different organizations, such as different sororities, fraternities, or organizations,” McBride said.

SAB bought 350 packets of a variety of different colored chalks of reds, blues, pinks and yellows for the students to use on the day of the event from local Indian grocery store, Rahul Food and Spices, located on Euclid Ave. The gathering will be filled with Indian music in the background.

During the first round, everyone in attendance will receive a pack of colored chalk powder and then throw it at everyone at their own liberty. The rounds will be repeated as often as needed.

“We are also going to have sprinklers and hoses to get the powder off and to also enhance the color,” said McBride.

The colors are all natural so they will not stain the grass, and will be washed away with the rain.

“I’m excited because everyone else seems super pumped about it,” said rising junior Garret Gabriel who brought the idea to Transy. “Any opportunity to broaden cultural horizons while having a blast is something you don’t want to miss.”

A-term leaves traditions behind

Scarlett Blevins

Staff Writer

It is no secret that with the installation of August term, many past Transylvanian traditions will no longer be in existence. One of these long standing traditions that will no longer be present is the opportunity to participate in pre-orientation service programs, including the First Year Urban Program (FUP), Jump Start, Rising Through Education (RiTE) and CLASS.

Many of these service programs have been in existence for several years. FUP, which allows for incoming freshman to complete a week of community service at a various organizations, has been in existence since 1989. Jump Start, in which students perform a week of service to the Land Between the Lakes, was founded in 2002. RiTE was founded in 2009. The RiTE program studied the origins of poverty and tutored at Kids Cafe and the East Seventh Street Center. CLASS, which focuses a week of service on environmental and sustainability issues, is the youngest of the three service organizations as it was founded in 2010.

Although these programs were very helpful to both the Transy and the Lexington community, their loss does not necessarily harm the organizations that benefited from them. Karen Anderson, Coordinator of Community Service and Civic Engagement, believes that many other groups will step up to fill the places originally filled by these service programs.

“Lexington is very community service oriented,” said Anderson. “The short-term service projects often offered a great introduction to the Lexington community. The community needs short-term projects, but there is usually a greater need for on-going service, donations, and advocacy. I’m sad that we won’t have this week of service as an introduction, but believe we can find other ways to reach the same goals.”

University of Kentucky first-year students perform a day of service. Plus, since UK begins classes in August, many UK student volunteers will begin their service placements before Transy upperclassmen even return to campus. In addition, service is a component to several summer camps in the area. Many Fayette County Public Schools students also perform service for the community year-round, including during the month of August.

There is concern about how the absence of these programs will affect student bonding. The first-years are already experiencing an entire month of school without the presence of upperclassmen, so could the absence of these programs lead to poor relationships between the freshman and upperclassmen?

Anderson doesn’t think so. She believes that first-years will have the opportunity to bond with each other and build up a sense of comfort at Transy before the upperclassmen arrive. She also believes that bonding with the upperclassmen will still occur when classes begin, just in different ways.

Though pre-orientation programs are gone, first-years will not be deprived of opportunities to serve the community. Anderson has proposed an August Term service program schedule which incorporates direct service experience and agency tours. She has also proposed a short August Term service trip and a first-year student day of service.

Anderson hopes upperclassmen may pick up the slack, such as a week of service for sophomores, juniors, or seniors. Anderson said she would welcome student leaders proposing a program to replace week-long service programs like Jump Start and FUP, which instead focus on sophomore, junior and senior participants. Planning for such programs is expected to begin in March 2013 for August 2013.

VOICE joins feminists from across US

Erica Clark

Campus Life Editor

From left to right, first-year Lydia Lissanu, seniors Lindsey Jagoe, Emily Evans and Vika Safarian, and junior Jessica Obi attended the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference this month in Washington, D.C.

Last week, six Transylvania students returned from Washington, D.C., where they attended the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference, an annual gathering that brings together young feminists from all over the United States who inspire one another and exchange ideas while learning about the new issues in the fourth wave of the women’s movement.

Those who attended were seniors Austyn Gaffney, Lindsey Jagoe, Emily Evans and Vika Safarian, junior Jessica Obi and first-year Lydia Lissanu.

“VOICE (Transy’s feminist organization) went because it is just now getting fired up again this year,” said Evans. “We wanted to know what feminist groups on other campuses are doing to get rid of the negative stereotype associated with feminism at their universities, and how they were fighting for current feminist issues.”

Among those who spoke at the conference included a Virginia senator and delegate and Shelby Knox, an advocate for comprehensive sex education and a star in the documentary “The Education of Shelby Knox.”

“She’s my personal hero,” Evans said about Knox.

The students attended workshops, one of which was entitled “Rape is Rape,” where they learned about the implications of sexual assault.

“The women on the panel emphasized that there is a strong connection between rape and control of women and their bodies, and they encouraged us to be the generation that ends rape culture,” said Evans. “This means taking the matter seriously and ending victim-blaming. We learned that there are 500,000 untested rape kits in the U.S. So after a rape survivor has gone through the difficult process of having her body examined for her rapist’s DNA after being violated, the kit isn’t even being tested. It is infuriating. There are rapists still running free and possibly raping others.”

According to http://familydoctor.org, a doctor will examine a rape victim’s body for injuries. In most hospitals, a rape kit is used to help collect evidence such as clothing fibers, hairs, saliva, semen or body fluid that may help identify a rapist and be used in court.

The conference attendees were divided based on regions of the United States, and the six Transy students were part of the southern caucus.

“While in the southern caucus group, we exchanged ideas for possible conscious-raising events and discussed issues specific to our region, where it is even harder to fight for equal rights because of its conservative nature,” said Evans. “We left the conference with new enthusiasm and passion for feminist issues in the world and on our campus. We would like to see more students with an awareness of feminist issues including access to contraception, personhood amendments and rape culture.”

Anyone interested in becoming a part of the organization can “like” VOICE on Facebook and see when the group’s next meeting is.

Dance marathon benefits kids

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Alissa Stieha

Staff Writer

When a 5-year-old girl starts dancing to “I’m Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO with a bunch of college students, you know that the night will be one of joy and entertainment. Phi Mu’s recent philanthropy project, a dance marathon in support of the Children’s Miracle Network, was just that kind of night.

 

In the past, Phi Mu has organized Hoop-a-Palooza to raise money for its philanthropy but decided to turn to a different event this year. Junior Laura Miller, the philanthropy chair, proposed the new idea to the chapter only a few months ago.

 

“I was really thrilled with how my chapter responded to the change,” said Miller.

 

While Hoop-a-Palooza is an event that Phi Mu holds nationally, the Transylvania chapter discovered that it just wasn’t having the same effect on Transy’s campus. The idea of a dance marathon quickly became a reality after Miller found out about the Children’s Miracle Network and the idea of Dance Blue, a dance marathon held at the University of Kentucky.

 

Transy’s event, however, directly benefited the Kentucky Children’s Hospital rather than the general organization of the Children’s Miracle Network, which UK chose to support.

 

The dance marathons are sponsored nationally by the Children’s Miracle Network at over 150 universities. These marathons typically range from 12 to 40 hours, but the Transy marathon lasted only four hours.

 

“Full-fledged, 12-plus-hour dance marathons usually take eight to 10 months to plan,” said Miller. “Because our chapter had only had a few months to pull this event together, we advertised it as a ‘preview event’ (for marathons to come).”

 

During the event, participants danced to music from all different genres, made cards for the families of the Kentucky Children’s Hospital, took pictures in a photo booth and watched the UK vs. University of Louisville game on one of the two screens set up.

 

Part of the dance included meeting one of the families that benefits from the Children’s Miracle Network, the Schmidts. Kyleigh Schmidt, age 5, and her mother Amber Schmidt spoke briefly at the beginning of the event before the dancing started. Kyleigh even once grabbed the microphone and said, “Thank you all for being here.”

 

Once she left the stage Kyleigh began to run around and dance with everyone she saw, including Stitches, the mascot for the Kentucky Children’s Hospital, who made a brief appearance at the event.

 

“This is why we’re here, to do this for the kids,” said first-year Nzinga Donovan, a member of Phi Mu.

 

The fraternity raised a preliminary amount of over $3,750, with other sponsorships and donations still being tallied.

 

Of the 100-plus participants who showed up to the dance over the course of the night, Miller reports only hearing good things.

 

“At the end of the night I kept hearing people say how they wished ‘so-and-so’ had come. That really is encouraging for next year,” Miller said.

 

Phi Mu hopes to make this event a yearly occurrence with increasing size and awareness as its knowledge of and experience with holding a dance marathon expands.

 

Although the event is over, people can still donate and those interested should contact Miller via email at lcmiller13@transy.edu.

Students take a break for a picture during Phi Mu’s dance marathon event Saturday, which raised money for the Kentucky Children’s Hospital.

 

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Ever wonder why we’re required to submit writing samples to the school at the end of each year? And, not to mention, to do so during a time in the term when we’re all fighting to make it through the most treacherous parts of our classes and our millions of extracurricular activities?

Logging on to Moodle and clicking a few buttons might seem to some like another mindless and pointless task to add to your to-do list. Others, however, including Dr. Scott Whiddon, the director of the Writing Center, see it as helping the university improve its curriculum.

This portfolio project, which has been under way for several years, is not solely for major courses and classes with a writing focus.

“It allows students to turn in pieces of sustained writing from a variety of genres, from a variety of disciplines and from a variety of rhetorical situations,” said Whiddon. “This is not to assess the students but to assess ourselves as faculty.”

The project is meant to answer questions such as “How successful is Transy at teaching writing?” and “How successful is the faculty at developing a culture of writing at Transy?” and “How can the faculty help students become better writers both in their own disciplines and across disciplines?”

“In this job market, biologists have to have the skills not only to write in their discipline, but also to explain themselves to people from other disciplines,” said Whiddon.

At the end of the academic year, first-years are required to submit four writing samples, and students are required to submit two for every subsequent year. While in the past this has been a paper-based initiative, those in charge of the project have jumped on the “going green” movement and, with the help of Instructional Technology Coordinator Steve Poynter and Vice President for Information Technology Jason Whitaker, the project is now paperless.

Whiddon emphasized that by submitting their writing samples, students are contributing to the intellectual mission of the college.

The committee hopes to measure growth in writing from the first year to the fourth year and how Area V classes play into student growth.

“We are looking at such questions as ‘Does the number of Area V classes that a student takes overall in her or his time as a Transylvania student drastically affect their overall growth as a writer?’” Whiddon said.

With great success, Whiddon and one of the writing assessment committee’s chairs, Dr. George Kaufman, assistant professor of chemistry, presented the project at a faculty open hour meeting. It has now been accepted to the International Writing Across the Curriculum Conference this June.

Other members of the committee include Dr. Melissa Fortner, associate professor of psychology, and Dr. Jeremy Paden, assistant professor of Spanish.

“This isn’t a punitive thing,” said Whiddon. “We aren’t judging individual writing. We’re about gathering a large body of texts from a variety of rhetorical situations, disciplines and genres so we can get a ground-level sense of the kinds of writing students do at Transylvania, how they grow as students, and what we can do in terms of faculty development to help us be an even better faculty than we already are.”

Portfolio submissions are due April 13. Simply log on to Moodle and follow the instructions to submit your samples.

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