Beach bash brings banging beats

Kate - Phi Delt ConcertWebsite
There are a lot of mixed reviews concerning the concert which was put on by one of MWSU’s social fraternities, Phi Delta Theta, and held in Kemper of the Fulkerson Event Center on Wednesday, Sept. 2. The beach-themed event was coordinated by Phi Delta Theta member Alec Smith and featured DJ Apollo who entertained the students with his “club banger” beats. Phi Delta Theta is the only fraternity on campus to put on an event like this and it marks the third year that Phi Delta Theta has done it. “It shows that we’re a force on campus so basically come check us out,” Smith said. “If anything, it’s a big recruitment tool. We’re the only ones who do something like this; but in reality we’re still Greek and hopefully a bunch of Greeks will be there intermingling with the freshmen.” He hoped to get the new students interested in joining Greek life this way. “It was a giant thing for me when I was going through rush,” Smith said. “Phi Delt had this really fun concert that I enjoyed so I kind of want the same idea. I want freshmen guys to come in and have good time and see that Greek life likes to have a good time, too.” The theme, chosen by Smith, was beach-party social and he explained why. “I just wanted something fun and easy. People can just come in in their Hawaiian clothes, flip flops and trunks and have a good time like a day at the beach.  Definitely a fun welcome back to school; a ‘Welcome to Western’ to the freshmen." The music, also chosen by Smith, was mixed by DJ Apollo and is classified under the genre of “club bangers.” “It’s club music. Today’s music mixed with a little bit of old school hip hop rap. It’s gonna get people dancing and moving, it’s gonna be a ‘hey start having fun now type of thing.’” Smith said. “We had the room cut in half this year so it’d be tighter and more compact to really give it that club-type feel.” Also part of the event was a surprise beatboxing performance by Terin Wade, also a member of Phi Delta Theta. "The experience was kinda cool. The mic was hooked up to the DJ’s equipment and he was able to control the frequency so it was a little more crisp," Wade said. Outside of the concert Wade was able to interact with the DJ a bit before it started. “I beatboxed and he actually rapped over it. He’s a pretty cool dude,” Wade said. When asked about his thoughts on the concert Wade said, “It was a pretty good turnout for the most part. A good way to get out of the dorm and go do something.”     While some students weren’t particularly feeling the music and atmosphere that night, there still remained those who genuinely had a good time. A common complaint from students who didn’t really enjoy the concert was that there were  “people just standing around everywhere not really doing anything.” Among those who enjoyed the concert was student Doug Deering. “It was cool,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting anything big but I liked it. It had a real party feel to it.” Further information on events and happenings with Phi Delta Theta can easily be found on its twitter page @PhiDeltMOWest.

Foaming Fun

Kate - Foam PartyWebsite
The commons were filled with music on Thursday, Sept. 3, as students made their way to the basketball courts where the annual foam party was being held. Every year as a new semester begins, the student group Western Activity Council (WAC), puts on a party for all of Missouri Western's students. A machine is attached to a basketball hoop and dispenses gallons of foam to rain down on students while a DJ plays music. The event has been put on by WAC four years in a row now. Candice Jenkins, the director of WAC, said, “There was a great turn out this year. 728 people came this year. The numbers were down from previous years, there were other activities going on that could have been a big reason why there weren’t as many people this year, but there was still a really good turn out.” This year the foam party was not the only party happening on campus. To get the freshman excited about their first year, Griffon Edge threw a Glow Party the weekend before classes started. This party was meant to be a fun event like the Foam Party, but with a twist. Instead of foam, glow in the dark paint was thrown around and shot at the students. Events like these are good outlets for students to enjoy their peers in a safe environment. Although the foam party has proved to provide exactly this safe environment in the past years, Jenkins could not stop worrying a bit when the Glow Party resulted in incidents involving alcohol and medical emergencies. “I was a little concerned; I didn’t personally go to the Glow Party, but I heard the ambulance was called three times, but I remember from previous foam parties there was never really any issues, health issues or fights or anything else that had gone wrong with the foam party. Of course we had waivers that everyone had to sign, security-wise we had all of our e-board members there to keep track and make sure things ran smoothly,” Jenkins said. Every year in order to enter the foam party, students have to sign a waiver that is distributed by the WAC members working the event. This was a safety precaution along with having staff members standing watch over the party.   No extra security personnel was hired specifically for the event. There were no reported incidents during the party and everything ran smoothly. The only issues that WAC ran into were problems getting the area set up. “We did have some technical issues with getting the tarp up around the basketball court but we got that taken care of. We were going in head strong, ready to get it done," Jenkins said.  Since the foam party takes place on Residential Life property, the campus resident assistants were also included in the people who kept watch over the event. Typically, parties such as this result in behavioral issues among the residents, and the resident assistants are the ones who handle it. RA Drew Miller was on duty the night of the event. He recalled that he did not have to deal with any behavioral or alcohol incidents, just an increase in the number of lock outs. “It wasn’t near as bad as I expected it to be; I think they kept it under control, better than what I heard of the glow party," he said. The foam party once again proved itself to be a fun and safe campus event that draws a lot of students in, but the fun doesn’t stop there. WAC has many events planned throughout the school year. Chevy Ingebritson, WACs co-chair of entertainment, explained more about future events.  “On Sept. 16, there will be a “WAC Movie Wednesday” which happen monthly and the movie we are showing is Pitch Perfect 2. Oct. 21 is when The Voice of Western starts; it is a three week competition and the winner gets $1000.”    

Western remembers Jordan Swearngin

Jordan Swearngin, 22, died Sunday, Sept 6th at her home in Maryville, Missouri. She was a Western student working toward a degree in Health and Exercise Science. She had planned to graduate in May of 2016. Jordan was a happy individual and a devout Christian. "Jordan definitely had a heart for God, and to us that's why she was the way she was," Jordan's father, Nick Swearngin, said. "That was just Christ shining through her." He also described her as being beautiful, but also a bit of a goofball. "She could be silly and goofy and fun,"Jordan's mother, Jennie Swearngin, said. Jordan's parents say that she had a way of walking into a room and becoming friends with everyone.  She would command a room, but not in a snobbish way.  She would simply become friends with everyone in the room. "She always had a positive outlook on everything, only saw the good in people and so very forgiving," says Ashley Berger, Jordan's best friend and fellow Western student. "I've never met anyone who disliked her." Ashley and Jordan met for the first time when Ashley told her that she had a booger hanging out of her nose. "... We became friends in that exact moment," says Ashley. Ashley believes that Jordan's main focus was improving the world around her. "She left the world a better place than when she found it, and for that we will always be grateful," tells Ashley. She was preceded in death by her uncle, Joe; cousin, Lisa; grandpa, Len; and cousin, Nicholas. She is survived by her father, Nick; mother, Jennie; brother, Blake; Papa John; grandma, Sherry; grandma, Dorothy; and many cousins, aunts, and uncles. Services were held at her church, Abundant Life Baptist Church in Lee's Summit, Thursday and Friday. Jordan is buried at Floral Hills East Memorial Gardens in Lee's Summit.

Rush numbers released

GreekLettersWebsite

The second week of class is over, which also marks the end of rush and recruitment week for Western’s two fraternities and three sororities.

64 girls and 33 boys received bids from their Greek organization of choice on Sunday’s bid day.

While fraternity Phi Delta Theta (called “Phi Delt”) welcomes 26 pledges, seven new members join Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE).  TKE president Taylor Bryant offers a positive summary nonetheless.

“I’m happy with the amount and quality of the guys we got. The whole week was pretty fun.”

According to him it’s “quality over quantity” and he looks for “ambition, dedication and energy” in TKE members.

“We pride ourselves in diversity as well,” Bryant said.

Phi Delt’s president Colin Rosenow is equally happy about the tunrout of rush week.

“26 news guys makes this the the biggest pledge class since 2010. It was definitely a stressful week – and a big chapter effort. We put a lot of activities and events on, and a lot of actives attended, which definitely helped. I’m very happy.”

Still, Rosenow agrees that numbers don’t define what is a good or bad fraternity.

“Both fraternities are pretty similar. TKE is definitely a competition for us,” he said.

Overall, it is about having a “great Greek community” on campus, Rosenow said.

“The more Greek organizations the better. When Phi Sigma Kappa left campus it changed the aspect of recruitment. A bigger community attracts a bigger crowd of PNMs [Potential New Members]. Less competition is definitely not better,” Rosenow said.

Sorority recruitment leader Caitlin Edwards is happy with the past week as well.

“I thought it was a very successful year, especially with such a small incoming freshman class.”

Sororities Alpha Sigma Alpha (ASA) and Sigm Sigma Sigma (“Tri Sigma”) both have 22 new members while Alpha Gamma Delta (AGD) has 20.

Edwards also agrees with Rosenow and Bryant that it’s quality over quantiy.

“The amount of members in my opinion does not and should not matter. I would rather have five girls who are involved, go to events and run for positions than 500 who join for the social aspect and just to show off the organization letter,” she said.

The same goes for Greek life on campus in general.

“I love Greek life on campus. Having a small Greek life, in my opinion, is more beneficial. I love being able to know everyone in my sorority and the other sororities. It makes our friendships and chapter that much stronger,” she continued.

Although each sorority looks for different aspects in a girl, there are some values they all share.

“[They look for girls] who they can communicate with easily, possess the values of their sorority, hardworking, value school and involvement in high school,” Edwards said as she explained the selection of new members.

Joining a sorority is a great way to get involved on campus, as Edwards explained on last Tuesday’s sorority info night.

“It is a great way to get to know people and make friends. And there are also opportunities to run for positions.”

According to Edwards, it’s worth it to make an effort.

“You get out what you put in and your experience is much more rewarding when you go beyond what is asked and stray away from the bare minimum requirements.”

Western introduces food bank for students

Missouri Western’s campus will be seeing a new addition in the form of a food bank this month.

The food bank is located in Blum 214 and opened on Thursday, September 8. The official ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on Thursday, September 24, and anyone is welcome to come.

The food bank will allow students to fill up two bags of food, free of charge. This is limited to twice per month per student. It will be open to full- and part-time students on campus who will need to show their student ID.

The food bank will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. during the entire year. It will be run by volunteers, and anyone is welcome to volunteer including faculty, students and staff.

One of the volunteers and organizers involved is Elise Hepworth, the music director at Western.

Hepworth is no stranger to volunteering. After working with Rotary International and working on projects with Big Brothers and Big Sisters – as well as doing food drives for the food pantry – she is very excited to see the Missouri Western food bank take off.

“The Rotaract club wanted to host a project that was meaningful and impacted our student body.  A food pantry didn’t exist on our campus prior to this project, and we were happy to fill the void,” Heptworth explained the club’s motive.

Hepworth said that Rotaract saw a opportunity to help students and that the food pantry would be a great way to start. Their ultimate goal is  to reach out and to help others.  She can’t estimate yet how many students will take advantage of the opportunity but they will be collecting data over the next six months to see the impact of the food bank.

Western’s volunteers work closely with Second Harvest, St. Joseph’s community food bank. Executive Director Chad Higdon thinks that college students can profit from a food bank as much as people from any other age group.

“Second Harvest finds hunger through all ages and college students are just starting their career and they study long hours. This food bank will be a great opportunity for students to get food, no questions asked,” Higdon said.

Hepworth adds that “Our area has a high percentage of food insecurity, and it carries over into college.”

But volunteering, helping others and “remembering that we are human”, as Heptworth said, is not only giving but also about building a community.

She said the greatest rewards she has gained through volunteering is the “family” she has met.

Part of this family is Mashel Keplinger, a student volunteer.

When asked what advice she might give someone looking to volunteer, Keplinger said “don’t hesitate: go for it.”

Keplinger is the president of Rotaract, which is a branch of Rotary International. Keplinger is also part of the group Lingering Melodies, which visits hospice patients and sings to them.

Another student on campus, Jackie Mott, commented on the food bank.

“It could help both traditional and non-traditional students. People who don’t have a lot of money can go out and get groceries but want to still get their degree... the food bank can help them,” Mott said.

There is often only a main focus on students in grade school and high school or older adults, and college students often get overlooked. While trying to balance school and food, sometimes the need for food gets left behind. This will also be an opportunity for students to get out there and volunteer and get involved.