House of Representatives Pass Health Care Reform Bill

House of Representatives Passes Health Care Reform BillLate Saturday night, Nov. 7, the House of Representatives passed what may become the defining piece of legislation regarding social policy this century- President Obama’s health-care reform bill.

The H.R. 3962, otherwise known as the Affordable Health Care for America Act, made it through the House in a vote of 220 to 215. The bill needed 218 votes to pass and the decision came down to the wire. The Democrats were able to rally 219 votes and were supported by Rep. Anh Cao of Louisiana, the only Republican to vote in favor of the bill.

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, commented that the passage of this legislation represents “a historic moment for our nation and for America’s families.”

Many Republicans disagree heartily, and warn that the consequences for Americans include higher taxes, increased insurance premiums and cuts to Medicare.

According to the Democrats though, the bill will be good for Americans, and the negative consequences stated by the Republicans will not come to pass. The $1.3 trillion bill will require individuals to have insurance on penalty of a fine and require medium and large businesses to provide their employees with insurance. A public option for insurance will be made available for those who do not have access to it through their jobs, and low to middle income families will receive subsidies through the government in order to purchase this insurance. The money for this will come from increased taxes on those whose income is $500,000 or more and from medical providers. The bill will also make it illegal for insurance companies to drop or deny an individual’s coverage based on a pre-existing condition or increased cost of care.

That is not all that the bill will do though. According to Pelosi, the legislation also prohibits unequal charging of men and women for the same coverage, reduces the cost of drugs for senior citizens and allows young adults to stay under their parents’ insurance coverage until their 27th birthday. Pelosi also guarantees that the bill will not add a dime to the national deficit.

There were a number of more conservative Democrats to whom concessions had to be made in order to secure enough votes for the bill to pass. The major issue concerned government funds that would go towards abortion services in the public option. An amendment was passed that would ban these funds except in cases of rape, incest or the mother’s life being in danger. This concession forced some of the Democratic representatives to have to choose between allowing what they feel is a severe restriction on a woman’s right to choose and having the whole piece of legislation scrapped all together. But the amendment passed 240 votes to 192, allowing for the passage of the whole bill.

These recent events have stirred up a lot of talk here at Southwestern, with students being on both sides of the issue.

Junior Sam Marsh stated about the bill, “While it is well-intentioned and has a few sound ideas, the bill is designed to mitigate the dysfunctions of the current system, rather than fixing the basic problems that create those dysfunctions in the first place.”

On the other side, “It is really great that our government finally got on the ball with healthcare. Although it has yet to be shown if this bill will actually do what it says and help Americans, I think that this is the right step to action. It’s about time we reformed healthcare in the U.S.,” says sophomore Kerry Spare.

The Colleges Against Cancer group is very excited about the passage of the bill as well, as it is a victory for those fighting against cancer. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network feels that the bill has “the potential to take the fight against cancer in this country to a new level.”

“This vote brings the country one step closer to enacting comprehensive reform that advances our mission to reduce suffering and death related to cancer,” John R. Seffrin, PhD and chief executive officer of American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said.

Now that the bill has gone through the House, it will be up to the Senate to pass their version of it as well before the combined version can be voted on in both chambers. President Obama has said that he is confident that the Senate will pass the bill, and is quoted to have said, “I look forward to signing comprehensive health insurance reform into law by the end of the year.”

Student Body Forum Presents Strategic Plan

Strategic Planning Tuesday, Southwestern’s Student Congress hosted a town hall meeting to discuss the University’s 2010 Strategic Plan. The University appointed a Commission on Planning and Action that was made up of students, faculty, staff and more in January 2009 to decide what direction of the university would be for the next 10 years.

According to the Strategic Planning website, the plan has had two guiding goals since its inception: It hopes to “increase the value of a Southwestern education for students” and ” ensure the financial vitality and sustainability of the institution.” The town hall meeting allowed the opportunity to voice their opinions on the proposed direction, which included a possible name change, the possibility of a football team and east campus development. The Megaphone’s web editor, Lane S. Hill, attended the meeting and tweeted about the experience.

Tweeting live from the student body forum:

Starting.Alex Caple introducing Matt Hansen and Leah Jones. Everything will be recorded and given to representatives.

“Not a definite plan, but a vision”.

Goals of stratgic plan: increase educational value, ensure financial viability

Talking about directions: academic life, student life, reach, growth, etc.

In 3-5 years SU wants to be top liberal arts unis by focus on science, tenure, interdisciplines, paidea, study abroad, technology

Campus Life: focus on athletics (all sorts), community, diversity enrichment, student activities, res-life

Football: feasibility study being studied by alumni. Nothing has been done yet, student input will be welcomed later down the road

Visibility & Reach: name change, increased visibility

Name Change: feasibility study, examples of schools who changed their names, not a band-aid fix, taken seriously. And yes, you would be given new diplomas with new name.

Growth: 250 FTE over 5 years, partnerships, centers and institutes (center for eco-justice?), east campus visioning

East campus development: for the betterment of students, student life, education, research.

Next: student, faculty, staff input, meetings, etc, questions are beginning.

There are measures in the plan for prioritizing, looking at the feasibility, making sure things things are achievable.

How to accommodate 250 new students? Cooperative housing, special interest houses, more housing east campus, staff would address issues

Money for increased salary coming from? Tuition from students increase, there will be no cost on rest of student body

Transitioning from endowment to tuition-funded institution. That’s VERY interesting.

Diversity section language: diversity is high priority, address needs as money would allow, plan taken from Diversity committee

Athletic center priority: high priority, first initiative, lots of people raised hands for this.

Concerns: weight room machines old, no school spirit, athletics and diversity, fixed athletic facilities,

Name change destroys tradition (lots of people against name change), lack of a track, endowment -> tuition scholarship concerns

Increased scholarships, bettering Commons nutrition, sustainable methods and nature preserves, more name change concerns and funding concern

More athletic center concerns, weight rooms concerns, locker room concerns, field house, football team concerns, sex ratio.

Football team had about even approval/disapproval, academic improvement is online, transfer student concerns, athletic equipment obsolete

School spirit initiative, more competitive whether its football or debate, study abroad concerns, football scholarships concerns

Gender neutral housing (has to go to University Council then faculty, then president Schrum, then trustees who will decide), feminist studies concerns

Getting rid of sexism or racism, decrease in alumni support, name change bidding war, athletic center concerns – faculty problem too

Follow through concerns, email Matt Hansen or Leah Jones for specific questions, StuCo will send out key points, leave comments on plan website (or here. -Ed)

For more information about the strategic plan, please pick up this week’s Megaphone or visit the official strategic planning website.

Season of Giving Inspires Angel Tree Adoptions

Angel Tree LogoDuring the holidays, it can be easy to get caught up in all of the festivities and excitement and forget about those who are less fortunate. But each year, the sisters of Sigma Phi Lambda, aka Phi Lambs, host an event called Angel Tree.

Angel Tree is a program sponsored by the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army is a Christian organization whose mission is to preach the word of God and to provide resources for basic human needs to those who require assistance. The Angel Tree program benefits local Austin-area children who have at least one parent who is incarcerated.

This event is on going through the month of November.

According to Randi Spencer, a junior and member of Phi Lambs who was working the Angel Tree concourse table this week, being a part of the Angel Tree program is great because “it’s all for the kids and being able to help facilitate [the kids receiving gifts] is fun!”

There are tables set up in the concourse during lunch and dinner where there are lists of kids from which to choose. If you are interested, you can stop by and talk to one of the ladies working the table and they will explain the process to you. Or, you could just read it here.

There are lots of kids to choose from – boys and girls ranging from infancy to 11 and 12 years old. You can sift through the mounds of names and pick a child who catches your eye. They all have a few wish-list items listed on a card with their name on it. For example, Manuel is nine and he really likes football and needs some new shoes this year. All of the kids have wish-lists similar to these.

If you find a child you would like to sponsor, you ‘adopt’ that angel from the concourse table. By ‘adopting’ this child’s wish-list, you are pledging to put thoughtful effort into choosing and purchasing age-appropriate items which are similar to the ones on the list. No one is expected to buy a Wii for a child this season!

Anyone who ‘adopts’ an angel from Angel Tree is encouraged to bring back two toys and one article of clothing unwrapped. The ‘unwrapped’ part is important because the Salvation Army will screen gifts for appropriateness once Sigma Phi Lambda returns them all. All gifts will then be distributed to the families just in time for the holidays!

Want to sponsor a child but feel like it could be expensive? That’s what student Natalie Thaddeus, a junior, first thought.

But she told me that she believes a “good idea would be to go in and ‘adopt’ an angel with your mom or your cousin Samantha or with your roommate. That way, you still get to help out a child in need and you give your wallet a break”.

If you have any questions about Angel Tree, what it is all about, you can contact Brooke Blomquist.

College Board Introduces BEER

BeerAfter years of receiving complaints for ineffective prediction, the College Board has revised the SAT to feature, what CEO Gaston Caperton calls, “a totally awesome set of predictors for college success.” This Monday the company introduced the new test called BEER, “Better and more Effective Evaluation of Reasoning,” which features drinking tests, beer-pong skills assessments and dancing contests.

In an interview Caperton gave the media this week, he stated, “For too long kids have been fooled into thinking that the Pythagorean theorem will actually help them or that words like ‘mendacious’ and ‘perspicacious’ could actually be used in speech without making them look like total pretentious d-bags. Well, guess what kids? We were fooling you the whole time.” Caperton was there with his wife who comforted him as he bawled over how his company lied to the nation for over “100 freaking years.” He said, “I’m so sorry I made kids think that knowing the formula for the volume of a sphere would ever help them hook up and get laid while in college, which is the only reason why to go in the first place.”

After several hours of answering questions, Caperton revealed a sample BEER test to a select group of college-bound high school seniors and said, “Everybody get your Keystone Lights out. It’s time to see if you all are going to be good college students.”

The BEER was reportedly in works for over 10 years. In regards to the contents of the test, students are still required to bring calculators but that is only for the portion that requires the test-takers to calculate how much money has been tallied up to make a few beer runs. Furthermore, there will still be a reading assessment featured, but this is reportedly only to “read beer labels.”

The test is no longer measured out of 2400 either. Caperton stated his grievances over the former scoring system when he asked, “Why the hell did we put it at 2400 and each section at 800? That means losers could score in the hundreds, which is a number that can make them feel good about themselves.” To counter this misrepresentation, College Board just uses labels to be more accurate. Students that hold their liquor well, along with knowing every brand of vodka, dancing well and reciting the alphabet backwards while drunk are given the label “totally effing awesome.” The other levels, ranked from best to worst are as follows: “standard frat boy/sorority girl,” “average partygoer,” “nondescript casual drinker,” “guy/girl you have to watch after they passed out to make sure they don’t die,” and of course, “the roommate you wish you never had.”

Rihanna Exploting Her Abuse to Garner Publicity For Her Album Release?

Rihanna and Her Friend Chris BrownRihanna recently released her album “Russian Roulette.” This would have passed as uneventfully as most CD releases generally go, except that this was no ordinary release. It was the first release by the singer since her much publicized assault by singer Chris Brown. Furthermore, it took place the same week that the singer went out and finally answered questions about the assault and her relationship with Brown. Coincidence? I think not. In fact, I am fully convinced that this was a strategy used by Rihanna to promote her album. The issue I find in this is the fact that she seems to be profiting from an issue that affects many women, children and even men, people who are not always fortunate enough to escape the chain of violence between family members.

And yes, Rihanna is clearly exploiting an issue which causes plenty of pain and suffering, because it is undeniable that violence towards anyone, especially someone whom you are supposed to love, is a problem that needs to be addressed, not made profit from. Rihanna said in her interview that she decided to speak now about the tumultuous relationship because she realized that many little girls look up to her, and she needs to be a good role model and teach them that putting up with domestic violence is not right. I am not belittling the message that she is pretending to transmit, but my question is, why did she just realize that she is a role model? And why did the publication of this realization have to occur the same week that she was set to release her album? It is all too coincidental, and she is obviously using the publicity of her assault to produce more sales of her album.

And it was exactly the publicity of her assault that saved her from continuing this destructive relationship with Brown. There were reports of her having put up with his violence on previous occasions, but it was not until a severe assault occurred and was publicized that she was forced, due to public pressure and the possibility of her contract being dropped, to end her relationship with him. Unlike most people facing domestic violence, Rihanna profited monetarily from ending her relationship with Brown. This does not imply that she should never have left him, it merely points out the fact that Rihanna seems to be profiting from the publication of this assault the most that she can profit. And considering how serious domestic violence is, these actions of her are simply immoral.

Unfortunately, most people will not stop to consider her actions, and will buy her songs, and watch her shows and not think about the serious repercussions of her long silence on domestic violence. They will only rejoice as they listen to her new singles. Never mind the fact that after the publication of the assault she suffered, plenty of young girls posted on message boards the fact that they thought she deserved what she got, or that they still thought that Brown was a good man. Never mind the fact the fact that Brown has managed to semi-salvage his career because of her long silence. Rihanna, clearly, deserves all the attention that she and her album are getting.

Men's Cross-Country Finishes 10th At Regionals

Men’s cross country team at SUThis year, the cross country DIII South/Southeast Regional race was held in the beautiful state of North Carolina. A land inhabited with luscious vegetation and pacifying Bluegrass makes for a pretty picnic in Greensboro. Unfortunately, the teams could not predict the weather. Earlier in the week of the race, a tropical storm hit, leaving the course mangled with mud otherworldly.

“These were the worst conditions I have ever seen,” proclaimed head coach Francie Larrieu Smith.

Nonetheless, the race went on and the runners persevered, fighting mud and sinister desires to quit along the entire trek.

The men’s team finished 10th just behind UT-Tyler and ahead of Hendrix, equaling the school’s all-time best finish at regionals. The men were led by senior Daniel Rudd, who finished 39th out of 194 with a time of 28:50, four spots out of All-Region. Following Mr. Rudd’s tracks closely was sophomore Zach Freeland with a time of 29:05, whom senior Josh Gideon chased to finish in 29:40. First-year Thomas Bobbitt and junior Allen Smith rounded out the top five with times of 30:13 and 30:19, respectively.

There were some scares (for myself) after the race, however, when Bobbitt had to be carried over to the training grounds and treated with medicinal Gatorade to relieve his suffering of extreme heat exhaustion. “After the race I was just really dizzy, but slowly I became number throughout my entire body and less able to breathe.”

Luckily, one of our very own trainers was able to get Bobbitt back on his feet. With the season over, the men’s team is now able to drink soda, but missing those 6 a.m. runs.

Good Sportsmanship: A Rarity, But it Exists

An example of bad sportsmanshipWhat is the place of sportsmanship in our culture today? We all were required to participate in some form of sports from a young age, in P.E. class, if nothing else. These games were intended to instill ideas of fair play in our young brains (in addition to physical fitness, of course), but there are also numerous examples of our “role models” looking out only for themselves, and trying to take any advantage, fair or unfair, that they can. And when they succeed, celebration is almost a prerequisite. How do these conflicting influences play out in the larger world we live in?

Recently, in a game against Brigham Young University, University of New Mexico soccer player Elizabeth Lambert threw punches, tackled players and pulled an opponent to the ground by her ponytail. And the only time she was called by the officials was for mouthing off on an unrelated call. She has since been suspended for her behavior, but it is clear that she was taking out her frustration at her team’s lack of success on the other team’s players, instead of focusing her energy on contributing to her team’s play.

But, last year, in the playoff game between Central Washington and Western Oregon, a player from WOU hit a homerun and after rounding first, collapsed with a leg injury. Unable to continue, she didn’t want the hit counted as a single, or to be counted out if her teammates helped her. Then two of the players from CWU asked the official if they could help her round the bases. As there was no rule against it, the official allowed Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace to carry Sara Tucholsky around the bases, touching each base for her first career home run. In doing so, they contributed to their own elimination from the playoffs, and the end of their season.

Holtman said of her gesture, “She hit it over the fence and was in pain, and she deserved a home run.”

Stories that make national news make good examples and are usually either the worst or the best. Overall, I would hope that college athletes would be well enough led to be good sportsmen. At the professional level, it is generally accepted that the people who make it to that level will have an inflated view of self-worth to begin with and will have their faults mocked as much as their successes praised. The college level ranges from Division I football, where each week the stars are discussed at length and hidden away by their coaches, to Division III cross country, where players often go unnoticed and unappreciated, competing for their love of the game. I believe it is at the smaller level that you see sports playing a positive role more than at higher levels, because the attention is not on them to just win at any cost. The sportsmanship of players at higher levels is often good, but can be quite negative. That is one of my favorite things about playing sports in Division III.

This leads to athletes that graduate with concern for those around them, who will usually work well in a group and advance any team well. The ability to lead and be led is one of the many ways that sports allows athletes to be versatile, and the organization it takes to be a full-time student as well as an athlete is certainly valuable. What is speaks to us as a culture is that at close, personal levels we generally play fair, and it is rewarded with success. However, the professional athletes of business have always been just as selfish and whiney as the worst football stars. Who blames each other and refuses to take responsibility more than banking leaders at corporations such as AIG? Maybe Tony Romo? TO? Hard to say.

Some Tips and Tricks to Stress Relief

Bang Head HereI am not going to lie: being a college student has been one of the most difficult parts of my life. Though I have learned a great deal and would not trade my experience for anything, this one fact remains: college life is stressful.

Between several extra-curricular activities, going to class, writing multiple papers on a fairly regular basis, finding time for family/friends, I find myself to be spread thin a lot. My first few years of college were the most difficult, but there are times when I still find myself stressed. The question remains, however, what is it exactly that stresses me out? For me, the bulk of my stress occurs when I find myself bombarded with multiple tasks that have a similar deadline.

For whatever reason and every year, I have at least three classes that have the same deadline for major assignments. It has taken me nearly three years to figure out effective solutions as well as coping strategies for this specific stress inducing activity. First of all, I am in the process of learning how NOT to procrastinate. This is one of the most difficult habits to break in my opinion because it is easy to get distracted and sidetracked with more entertaining things like my favorite television shows or movies. I have punished myself enough with the consequences of procrastination. I do my best to sit down, get to work and leave playtime for later. I have significantly less stress when I utilize the aforementioned method effectively.

Of course, there are other things that stress me out that are not academically or school-related. One major source for me stems from planning various events, especially when it involves a group of people. Getting everyone to first agree on something to do, the time and day to do it, and transportation can be seriously tricky and, unfortunately, a lot of times I am left to plan because people know my dirty secret: I am incredibly organized as well as controlling (when I say controlling, I mean it in terms of not trusting other people to have competency to plan or come through on their end).

Even though I enjoy planning and organizing, I still stress myself out about it at the same time. I have learned through practice as well as the trial and error method that it is best to plan things ahead of time. Another method that helps relieve stress for me in this particular case is to send the same, mass texts to everyone involved who is planning on hanging out and doing something. Everyone gets the same exact message and, thus, everyone is on the same page. I also assign people to do certain things like drive or go buy whatever needs to be bought (it seems silly for a simple night out, but it works).

I still get stressed at times and small things have a way of tipping me over the edge, but I have learned some useful coping mechanisms and life has become easier because of it. I know we are all stressed out by different situations and we all cope in different ways, but academics is most likely one area where a lot of people can find common ground. Moreover, procrastination is one behavior that a lot of people tend to exhibit so take my advice: force yourself to sit down, be productive and get something done, especially if you have multiple assignments due on or around the same time. Planning and forcing yourself to get to work will make a world of difference in your stress level.

Are You Interested in Learning About Other Cultures?

Flags of the WorldAre you interested in learning about different countries and cultures around the world? Have you studied abroad or are you interested in doing so? Would you like the opportunity to listen to different languages and music while sampling food?

If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, the Global Expo next week might be of interest to you. The Expo, sponsored by SU International Club, will showcase different countries and cultures around the world.

“It will consist of different booths representing different countries that may have an interactive component, such as language learning, music to hear or food to sample,” senior Jessica Bolton said. Bolton, along with senior Leslie Lube, are not only members of the International Club, but also worked to revive the club this year. They, along with the Office of Intercultural Learning, are hosting this event.

“The whole SU community is invited to participate as well as to attend, and we hope that the Georgetown community will come also, particularly children from local schools,” Bolton said. This event will also serve as a fundraiser in support of OxFam International, an organization that works with countries around the world.

“We would like to raise $1,500 to go towards rebuilding a primary school somewhere in a country of need in honor of International Education Week, which is Nov. 16-20 this year,” Bolton said.

International Education Week is an initiative of the U.S. State Department to encourage cross-cultural communication and learning. Throughout the week schools and organizations across the country will be hosting global events.

The club has plans to encourage donations to their cause by selling paper “bricks.” Visitors can make a donation in the amount of their choice and decorate a brick. “When we put them up together the bricks will symbolize the rebuilding of the school,” Bolton said.

The bricks will be sold at the event as well as throughout International Education week. The club suggests that students donate bricks as gifts for the holidays. Recipients will be provided with a copy of the brick that explains the purpose of the project as well as the amount of the donation made in their name.

Individual students as well as departments will participate in the Expo. Senior Giulia Giuffre will host a table about Turkey. She traveled there during high school and is excited to share her experience with visitors during the Expo.

“I’m really excited about the Expo,” she said. “I’m going to have a lot of souvenirs from my travels in Turkey. I’m also going to have supplies so that people can make Evil Eyes.”

For those who are interested in the International Club, here are key points regarding the organization. The International Club is attempting to create a community of persons who have studied abroad along with others who are interested in studying abroad.

“We are trying to provide a forum to match up people who have studied abroad or would like to study abroad in order to encourage discussion and put on events representing a certain region so that others can learn more about the place,” Bolton said.

Lori Ivins, the adviser to the International Club, echoed her statement. She said, “The International Club is open to anyone interested in other countries and cultures. We also provide a forum for our international exchange and degree-seeking students to assist them in navigating our SU, Texas and U.S. culture.”

It is a goal for the Office of Intercultural Learning to obtain more exchange and international students to further diversify the SU community. However, this club does not only serve these two purposes. The International club is also looking to further reach out to international students currently attending SU in concrete ways.

“Another function of the club is to make the international students currently studying abroad at SU feel more at home and allow them to travel more widely throughout Texas because there is no way for them to get around here like their public transportation systems back home,” Bolton said.
Later on in the year, the International Club plans to go on several field trips. Possible places include Enchanted Rock or the Houston Rodeo.

For more information on the Global Expo, please contact the Office of Intercultural Learning or the International Club. To learn more about International Education Week, see their website here
The Global Expo will take place on Thursday, Nov. 19, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Bishop’s Lounge in the McCombs Campus Center. This event will be free of charge; however, donations are welcomed and will go towards the aforementioned fundraiser.

Tobias Wolff: A Profile

Tobias Wolff lecturingAuthor and Stanford Professor Tobias Wolff spoke Tuesday evening, Nov. 5, for this year’s Writer’s Voice event. Entitled “Saved by Stories: This Writer’s Life,” Wolff discussed how the events in his life, from boyhood to his return from the war in Vietnam, and up to his present experience as a professor, led him to become the talented writer he is today.

During his visit here at Southwestern, a few groups of students had the opportunity to meet with Wolff for different special topic discussions. Beginning his eventful agenda on Monday evening, Associate Professor of English Dr. Piedmont-Marton and her senior Capstone students met with Wolff to discuss topics related to the theme of their Capstone, “War in American Literature.” On Tuesday, through recommendations by various professors, several students were invited to attend a lunch at the San Gabriel House in which Wolff participated in an informal discussion, answering questions offered by students as well as asking students about their experiences with literature. Shortly after, on Tuesday afternoon, Wolff held a creative writing workshop which gave him an opportunity to share some helpful tips in writing fiction. A faculty panel selected 15 of the 30 creative pieces that were submitted by Southwestern students to participate in this workshop. Wednesday morning Wolff was kind enough to lend some of his time to be interviewed before heading off to meet with a class taught by Dr. Evans.

Wolff expressed during his public appearance Tuesday evening in the Alma Thomas Theater how impressed he has been with Southwestern students’ engagement in their academic studies. In fact, he even mentioned how grateful he is to not have to write the Capstone paper he heard discussed in Dr. Piedmont-Marton’s class. Wolff also went on to discuss his experience in writing memoirs – being the “lead actor” in his own memories and wading through the process of imposing form on his memories in order to help them make sense as well as to enforce a structure with a beginning and an end.

As with many writers, Wolff’s fiction often stems from true-life events. When asked during the interview how he decides whether to create a short story from a specific memory or to embark on a memoir, Wolff states that it’s an “instinctive choice” and that “you just have to know” when a “memory isn’t enough to carry a story.” Along with his success with the memoir, he is renowned for his mastery of the short story. His fascination is attributed to its fragmented form and the variety that it allows the writer. Having such variety is especially significant in collections of Wolff’s short stories, noting that he pays particular attention to the “movement” that each story takes to the next and how it leads the reader.

However, the authorial intention is certainly not always the same as what the reader infers. When asked about his thoughts on different interpretations of his work, he admits that his “best work is complicated,” and he has no problem with others’ interpretations of it “if evidence can be found in the text.”

On this subject, Wolff stresses the importance of readers to “think for themselves,” and he often asks his students not to consult secondary sources for this reason. He considers reading to be “transformative,” making one more “imaginative,” lending “empathy” and a “mastery of language.”

In addition to teaching a course on creative writing at Stanford, Wolff also teaches literature courses on various topics such as the short story, the modern novel and novella, and a course titled “Great Books.” In his writing workshops, Wolff incorporates a selection of readings for the class to think critically about, to provide common references and vocabulary and to set a higher standard than if the class were only reading other students’ work.

For example, if the short story form is being taught, Wolff will assign several examples of short stories by acclaimed writers to illustrate how the language and form works. He enjoys being a professor because of the “freshness” in interacting with students who have a love for literature. In addition to the pleasure Wolff receives in helping others and making a difference in their lives, he also admits that his students occasionally turn him on to new music and writers that he may never have discovered. The greatest advice that Wolff has for aspiring writers is to have patience. Overcome the frustration by understanding that it takes time to become a good writer; “Writing is a kind of instrument that you have to learn to play,” and once you do it becomes easier and fun.

Wolff stated that he is currently working on a novel, although still in its early stages. He was unable to say much more about it, confessing that he is superstitious and did not want to “talk it away.” For those interested in a reading list, perhaps for the upcoming holidays, Wolff’s recommended greatest works in American literature are as follows: F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby, Mary McCarthy Memories of a Catholic Girlhood, James Baldwin The Fire Next Time, William Maxwell So Long See You Tomorrow, and Ernest Hemingway The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway.

Theatre for Young Audiences Presents Pinnochio

Pinnochio, he runs!Although sometimes it may be tough to bring back childhood memories, there are some you just can’t go wrong with- – like Pinocchio.

Southwestern’s theatre department will be putting on “Pinocchio” Nov. 17-21 in the Alma Thomas Theater. Day showings will be for school children to attend, while the night showings on Friday and Saturday and the day showing on Sunday will be for Southwestern students and the community.
“This show was developed for youth, but because this version of ‘Pinocchio’ by Leon Katz is closely based off of the original story by Carlo Collodi, its complexity surpasses most children’s stories,” senior and director Molly Rice said.

The cast of “Pinocchio” has gone through some very interesting rehearsals consisting of much exercise and movement work.

“The most fun parts of rehearsal have been the movement work,” sophomore performer Rachel Hoovler said. “We also worked with a professional clown the first week of rehearsal learning acrobatic stunts and other tricks, like juggling and balancing objects.”

Much rehearsal time for “Pinocchio” has dealt with this idea of incorporating animalistic movement into the characters as well as combining appropriate voice into that.

“We have done a lot of movement work in relation to the animalistic qualities of our characters,” Hoovler said. “The challenging part for me has been incorporating my physicality and my voice along with the lines and the blocking.”

At times, the cast has even been working out in Robertson in order to prepare for the show. Although early morning workouts aren’t many people’s favorites, the cast has kept good cheer and has put in much hard work in order to make this show a success.

They have also worked with a professional acrobatic performer from Indonesia to help with stunts, acrobatics and all of the physicality of the show.
“As far as preparation for Pinocchio goes, this has been the most physically demanding production that I’ve ever been a part of,” junior actor Chris Weirhert said. “After that week of acrobatic stunts, I could barely move my legs, but I definitely feel that all the intimate work helped our ensemble cast to build trust.”

Several of the actors and actresses have been asked to play several different roles, such as different animals. One of those exceptions is Weihert, who will be playing Geppetto.

“Playing Gepetto is definitely a new experience in many different ways,” Weihert said. “Aside from being my first-ever production on an SU stage, acting in ‘Pinocchio’ has called for a performance style drastically different than I am used to, one that depends on ultra-precise actions which can either make or break the show’s aesthetic.”

Weihert commented on the joy that he has had in getting to know his character and learning how to represent that on the stage.
“I’ve had a lot of fun learning about the kind of person that Gepetto is,” Weirhert said. “Apparently, for a man who lives alone building puppets all day, he’s a happy fellow with a brilliant sense of humor who finds joy in routine and simple pleasures, and I’m trying to allow that to translate onstage as much as possible.”

Every year Southwestern puts on a show related to their program titled Theater for Young Audiences. ‘Pinocchio’ happens to be that show this year with specific showings for the youth of Georgetown and the surrounding areas.

“This year we will have four daytime performances for local schools that see the show at no cost,” Rice said. “Southwestern’s theatre department has made a commitment to introducing youth to theatre and live performance and will continue its advocacy for the arts through this program.”
This show is expected to be an all-around success for audiences of all ages.

“I think the kids will really like the show,” Hoovler said. “I think students at SU will also be interested in the visual aspects of the show like the costumes, lighting and even the set itself.”
This article cannot be concluded without putting the spotlight on student-director Rice. Rice has been a powerful part of the theatre department for four years here at SU.

“Last year, I co-directed “This is Not a Pipe Dream” with professors Rick Roemer and Sergio Costola,” Rice said. “This was my first main stage production to direct, but I previously assisted on “SubUrbia” and directed a student show in the Black Box Theater my sophomore year.”

As the director of the show, Rice has a great responsibility but commented that the challenge has been rewarding and the support offered at SU has been very helpful.

“Pinocchio has been very challenging for me to work on in a myriad of ways,” Rice said. “Leading a production team to design and carry out your vision for a piece is something that takes years of experience to master. Luckily I’ve had extensive support from my professors and advisors in developing this project.”

From the content of the article above, it is no mystery how this show could appear to be a challenge but Rice does not fail to enjoy her responsibility and find joys in directing.

“Despite any challenges that ‘Pinocchio’ has offered, the rehearsal process and specifically working with the actors is my favorite part of directing,” Rice said.

“My concept for the piece gives the story a playful environment that makes ‘Pinocchio’ enjoyable for any age,” Rice commented.

As part of their continuing efforts to introduce young people to live theatre, Rice and the cast participated in a special enrichment activity with the Operation Achievement mentoring program. Students from the three Georgetown middle schools visited the theatre during their sessions this week to talk to the cast and learn about what it takes to put on a performance. The cast answered questions from the kids about the technical aspects of theatre and performed some of the stunts they have learned for the show. They have also arranged for the middle school students to receive a complimentary ticket to one of the weekend performances.

“OA would like to thank the Theater Department, Molly Rice and the Pinocchio cast for such a wonderful enrichment activity this week,” said Joni Ragle, director of the Operation Achievement program. “All the students and their mentors so enjoyed meeting the cast and watching them perform. And another thanks for not only sharing your time and your talents with us but also for your generous donation of tickets for the OA kids to attend the performance next weekend.”

At Southwestern: 11/19

Just a pictoral scene of what has been happening on campus: from bazaars, to volleyball’s good sportsman ships, to someone tweeting on their phone.