Cronkite Goes East

'And That’s The Way It Is' performs in New York and Washington D.C. Missouri Western’s “Cronkite” on-the-road performances celebrate the centennial of the birth of native son Walter Cronkite. As a part of the memorial, three live performances have been developed and put into a trilogy. The three part trilogy 'And That’s The Way It Is' includes 'Harry & Walter,' 'King & Cronkite,' and 'Cronkite.' These three different performances are 20 minutes long each. Dr. Bob Willenbrink, Dean of Fine Arts, expressed how he became one of the directors for this trilogy. “After the Cronkite Memorial was built, President Vartabedian constructed this idea of a live performance to enhance the memorial,” Willenbrink said. “It was a real boost for Missouri Western, and I’m glad to be apart of it.” Dr. Robert Vartabedian, President of Missouri Western State University, explains his thoughts on how the Cronkite performances came to be. “With the grand opening of the Walter Cronkite Memorial three years ago, I thought it would be nice to have a live show to go with it,” President Vartabedian said. The on-the-road tour started in Independence, Mo. on May 8, 2016 and continued to Kansas City, Mo. on July 11, 2016. But the tours didn’t stop there. “Chip Cronkite, Walter Cronkite's son, said it sure would be great to bring the show out east to where his father spent most of his career,” President Vartabedian said. It took some planning and several phone calls, but with the help of benefactors the trip was off to a good start. Once the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center and Newseum expressed an interest, after seeing a video from one of their performances, did they have their opportunity. Cast and crew, along with students from the journalism department and student government, left for New York City for the first performance on Sept. 23 and Washington, D.C. on Sept. 25. Director of External Relations, Brandt Shields, had helped arranged the 30 students from both departments to explore the convergence of journalism and democracy in conjunction with the performance of 'Cronkite' at the Newseum. Shields hopes that this opportunity benefits all members of the university and community. “The Cronkite shows are a reflection of the quality that exists in all areas of Missouri Western, and greater name recognition of our university helps our student’s degrees go farther,” Shields said. The on-the-road performances conclude on Nov. 4, 2016 at Missouri Western in Kemper Recital Hall. The trilogy will be performed for a private audience on Cronkite’s 100th Birthday.

The world of Greeks gets a bit bigger

The numbers are in, and 88 people have made the decision to go Greek. The past two weeks have been hectic for both the sororities and fraternities of Missouri Western. The sororities held recruitment during the week of Sept. 12-18. Alpha Gamma Delta welcomed 12 new members, while Alpha Sigma Alpha and Sigma Sigma Sigma both welcomed 19 members each. The following week, Western’s fraternities held rush week. Alpha Sigma Phi brought in 13 new members, Phi Delta Theta brought in 17 and Tau Kappa Epsilon brought in 8. All of the Greeks had been working on recruiting new members since the summer by attending events like Griffon Edge and Griffon Warm-up and holding informational nights. “We really tried to let them know what we are all about and present that to them as best as possible,” said Conner Samenus, president of Phi Delta Theta. Samenus believes that going Greek is a great way for students to get involved on campus and within the community. “The main benefit is just being involved on campus,” Samenus said. “I think that’s huge, and one of the best ways to do that is joining a fraternity where you can meet  so many different people. Networking is definitely the biggest opportunity that being a part of a fraternity or anything in Greek Life has to offer.” The Greeks also held events where potential new members could come and spend one-on-one time with members throughout the two weeks of recruitment. “Through the rest of the events we’re trying to get to know the freshmen and the other potential new members on a better basis personally,” Samenus said. For some Greeks, getting new members is more difficult. Alpha Sigma Phi, a fraternity that just relaunched on campus last semester, faced the problem of not being well-known by the student population. “For people who’ve been with Missouri Western that aren’t freshman this year, they’re not necessarily aware that we’re here,” said Kelsey Cartlidge, president of Alpha Sigma Phi. “You do the best you can and strive for good numbers.” Regardless of what fraternity or sorority potential members chose, the Greeks consider themselves a family and plan on promoting each other. “We really want to promote all of the fraternities on campus, because as long as Greek life is growing as a whole, that’s our main goal,” Samenus said.  

Cronkite show performed in DC, NY

In celebration of Walter Cronkite’s upcoming 100th birthday, the Cronkite show premiered at the Newseum in Washington D.C. on Sunday, Sept. 25. The showing of Cronkite was part of a series of events at the Newseum, an interactive museum dedicated to journalism and news, in honor of the “Most Trusted Man in America.” Missouri Western President Dr. Robert Vartabedian, who conceived and edited the show, helped introduce the show to the audience. “We’re here and we’re very happy to be here to celebrate the centennial of Walter Cronkite’s birth that was back in 1916 in St. Joseph, Missouri. We’re also here to share with you our live, multimedia show entitled Cronkite,” Vartabedian said. John Maynard, director of programs at the Newseum, said it was nice having the play performed at the Newseum. “Of course, Walter Cronkite holds a very dear spot here in the Newseum. You’ll find his work throughout the Newseum, which looks at the history of journalism…It’s been a great partnership with Missouri Western State University.” The showing at the Newseum, however, was not the only place the Cronkite performance has appeared recently. “Just Friday night, we played the Lincoln Center with the entire trilogy,” Vartabedian said. “This is one show of three. The other two acts of this trilogy, And That’s the Way It Is: Cronkite’s Journey, starts with Harry and Walter: Missouri’s Native Sons as act one and act two is King and Cronkite, and then this is the finale or third act. We’ve done this in New York and we’ve had some people ask us if we’d like to extend our run to a regional or off-Broadway venue. We’ve also done it at Union Station in Kansas City and the Truman Presidential Library, so it’s getting more and more exposed.” Missouri Western has continued to expand its memorial in Spratt Hall in honor of the famed journalist and St. Joseph native. Speaking of Cronkite after the show, Vartabedian remarked on Cronkite’s integrity and legacy. “He shared with the world the major stories or most of the major stories of my lifetime and did so with a tremendous amount of integrity. It’s easy to memorialize someone of Cronkite’s character, it truly is,” Vartabedian said. Missouri Western will be hosting its own Walter Cronkite centennial event at the Walter Cronkite Memorial on Nov. 5, a day after Cronkite’s 100th birthday.

Komastu Ramen is as good as it sounds

komastu_ramen_20161 When college students think of ramen, the first thing that typically comes to mind is the 99 cent packets that can be bought at any supermarket in America. Komastu Ramen shows St. Joseph what ramen is truly supposed to be. Komastu Ramen is downtown at 724 Felix Street. This restaurant has a beautiful atmosphere, between the hanging lights and upbeat music played in the background. There are no tables, but booths that are surrounded by a wooden canopy that resembles a canoe tipped on its side. Another unique facet of Komastu is the way you order. I was greeted by a waitress and then told how to use their iPad to order off the menu. Meals, drinks and desserts were all ordered by iPad. They have a wide variety of ramen, all with different types of broths, noodles, meats and vegetables. They have Tonkostu style ramen (pork broth), Shoyu ramen (soy broth) and Miso style Ramen which is made with miso broth. There wasn’t just ramen though; they also had appetizers that were gluten-free, such as the cucumber salad and seaweed salad. Some specialty items include oysters, as well as olive and cheese carts. I went with my friend and we both ordered the miso style ramen. She ordered the vegan ramen which came with tofu, cabbage and enoki mushrooms. I ordered the oishi ramen. This ramen had pork belly, roasted chicken, and a hardboiled egg as well as a plentiful amount of veggies. The portion sizes were very hefty. The chopsticks available were unlike traditional chopsticks. They were thicker and white, with carvings to help grasp the thick noodles easier and fit more comfortably in your hand. The actual ramen was amazing. The broth brought the perfect amount of savory to the dish; between the pork belly and green onions, the ramen flavor was divine. The vegan ramen was just as excellent. The enoki mushrooms gave it a nice flavor, and the consistency of the tofu was high quality. Everything was very high quality considering the affordable price. We also splurged on Japanese soda since we were there. The type of soda you could buy from a comic convention or at select grocery stores around St. Joseph. The brand of soda, however, I had not found in town before. The bottles had marbles inside that fit in the lid. You had to press down firmly on the marble and pop it into the glass in order to drink from it. It’s a really fun experience to drink it. Overall my experience at the restaurant was very good. The only negative aspect of the restaurant I’d say were the flies. As we sat there were about two or three flies buzzing around our table, they would leave and come back throughout our meal. Despite this, the quality of the meal was very good and the atmosphere was one I’d love to take a group of friends to. I would recommend Komastu to my friends and I will definitely be going back.

The Guy you should know

He’s never been the super outgoing type. He focused on grades in high school rather than being the popular guy. He was never the really outspoken one, but rather somewhat reserved. He is friendly and personable, but he’s quite never been “That Guy.” Yet Alec Guy is a guy with a plan and a mission: to be the voice for the students. When he was elected Student Government Association president for the 2016-2017 school year, he ran on a few simple tenants: transparency, outreach and inclusion. Most importantly, Guy wanted to reach out to the students and to show them that SGA was there for them. “When we were campaigning, we talked in all classes, we went through a ton of organizations, and one thing that I started off with is asking ‘how many of you know when SGA meetings are?’ And you know, very few hands would go up every time. Then I would ask, ‘how many of you know that you can come and voice your opinion in an SGA meeting or come to the SGA office?’ and again, there were very few hands. So, I think that one of the biggest things that I would like to focus on in the administration is getting the word to students and make sure they know SGA is here to represent them. If they have something that they want to see addressed on campus or if they have something that they think should be talked about, that they can come to SGA and they can do that,” Guy said. While Guy may be concerned with reaching out to students today as their student government president, it was in part an outreach effort from a member of SGA that brought Guy to where he is today. Guy attributed being first introduced to the organization almost two years ago by his running mate and the current SGA vice president. “The first time I got involved in SGA was my sophomore year, second semester,” Guy said. “I hadn’t really known much about SGA until then. I had been involved in other organizations, but when it came to SGA, I didn’t really know that much about it. I started talking to the current Vice President Conner Samenus actually about it and he really kind of motivated me to come out to SGA, and he gave me a lot of information, told me when meetings are, and things like that.” Vice President Samenus first met Guy in an honors class and then developed a friendship with him as they both pledged Phi Delta Theta. Samenus said he knew Guy, a political science and economics major, would enjoy student government. “I tried to get him involved in student government because I know he has a passion with political science and I knew he would fit really well into student government,” Samenus said. “Once he told me about it, I came to my three meetings, and then I got accepted as a senator and have never looked back,” Guy said. Guy first entered SGA as a senator, but would rise through the ranks of the organization and to its highest office. After a semester as a senator, he then applied and moved up to an executive board position as the director of communication. Here, he managed the group’s communications as well as carried out secretarial duties for SGA meetings and coordinating community service projects. Guy then ran against then-SGA Vice President Brad Stanton for president in the March of 2016 and was elected 263-216. As communication director and now as SGA president, communication between SGA and the students at Missouri Western has been important to Guy. As president, he wants to increase the dialogue between students, student groups and their student government. He wants to make the campus community more inclusive and welcoming. Guy talked about holding SGA and other meetings occasionally in the downstairs of Blum Union to encourage student participation in meetings. His administration also talked about plans to hold dinners with student organizations to facilitate a family feel. Guy even talked about rearranging the SGA office to promote a more open and welcoming space for students to visit. While his administration has placed a special emphasis on communication, Guy does not describe himself as outgoing, but is friendly nonetheless. “I think I’m still pretty reserved and I’m not the outgoing person that’s loud and always talking, but I’m the kind of person that can be friendly and can enjoy talking to people, but I can also speak my mind coherently and clearly when I need to,” Guy said. Despite not being super outspoken himself, Guy maintains the ability to be a leader and a voice for the students. SGA Advisor and Vice President of Student Affairs Shana Meyer described Guy as a “quiet leader” who takes his leadership responsibilities very seriously. “Alec has been one of those quiet campus leaders, and his involvement across campus has been numerous, but he hasn’t necessarily been one of those people who have been in the spotlight,” Meyer said. “That being said, I think he’s an excellent leader. He’s somebody who gets other people on board and leads by example.” Samenus, who has known Guy since their freshman year, said that Guy has grown as a leader and developed more of a voice over the years he has known him. “He was such a reserved, quiet guy as a freshman. Just the process of going through Phi Delt and how he’s joined more organizations along the way has brought him out of his shell,” Samenus said. “He’s become more of a social guy. He’s not afraid to talk to anyone now. Back in the day, he was more on the reserved side and now he can have conversations with anyone, no matter who it is.” Guy’s ability to converse and his personable attitude is an asset for Guy’s administration as it hopes to secure more student participation and involvement in the coming year. While occupying one of the highest positions a student can have at Missouri Western, Guy said that he is just like other students. He hopes his position as SGA president does not make others shy away from talking to him, but rather encourage them to talk to him about the issues they care about. “One thing that I want students to know is that I’m always here and I’m here for them,” Guy said. “I want them to know that I’m approachable. I’m here to represent them and I want them to feel comfortable talking to me… I want them to know that I’m not some super professional person that can’t have fun or can’t interact with them. I want them to know that I’m a normal student just like them and I’m here to represent them.”