Archive | Front Page

A tricky holiday

“As a Christian community, IWU is careful not to celebrate the pagan holiday called Halloween, with its emphasis on the occult, witches, the dead, ghosts, and rituals. For this reason students should avoid dressing in costumes or otherwise promoting Halloween during this time of year. Therefore, any event or activity on or near Halloween which may include costumes must be approved by Student Development in advance of the promotion and marketing of the event.”

This is Indiana Wesleyan University’s policy on Halloween as it appears in the Student Handbook. Any student who lives on campus, however, knows the rule is not so black and white. In the past, there has been some amount of freedom granted when it comes to this policy.

It is not uncommon to see students in costume around this time of year. Many decorate their dorm rooms and even McConn workers wear the occasional fairy wings and tiara as they work.

“In my opinion, the university has gone with the spirit of the law, rather than the letter,” said Vice President for Student Development Andrew Parker. “I think it’s important to remember the university is more looking at what’s the intent, what is it promoting, things like that.”

photo 1-1

McConn workers dressed up every day the week of Halloween despite the holiday’s controversial origins. Photo courtesy of Hannah Whelchel.

Parker said the policy is about not promoting things that go against the values of IWU, no matter what time of the year, but especially around Halloween because of its association with the occult.

“However, I don’t think the university has cracked down on that if a student is dressed up as a cowboy going to class,” Parker said. “I would hesitate to say it’s a hard-fast stance against costumes. That’s why the university allows for that [permission from student development] exception.”

When students tried to have a Halloween party in their town house in October 2012, Parker said Student Development was willing to work with them, as long as the kinds of costumes were monitored and the name “Halloween” was kept out of it.

The party did not happen, but this was because of policies besides the Halloween one.

Associate Vice President for Residence Life Bronson Pasko said that within ResLife, they try to use the university policy as the standard, but policies like this “will always be open to some interpretation.”

“Sometimes it can be hard. … This year half of our resident directors are new,” said Pasko in reference to informing new Resident Directors about all of the policies and expectations of the school.

He said ResLife tries to be consistent, but sometimes policies are treated differently in different dorms. These issues are dealt with as they come up.

“I would prefer to have something that allows us some space to have some discretion rather than something that has every single … [little] item that is allowed and isn’t,” said Pasko.

According to Parker, this is not a policy that has come up much in the past, and Student Development has not received many complaints from students. If students want to initiate conversations about the policy, Parker said he would be open to discuss it.

Posted in Front Page, News, On CampusComments (0)

Is studying abroad really that expensive?

Wendy Brown (jr), center, travelled to Italy for a study abroad program, paying slightly more than a regular semester at IWU.

Wendy Brown (jr), center, travelled to Italy for a study abroad program, paying slightly more than a regular semester at IWU.

Photography major Wendy Brown (jr) had a life-changing experience in Orvieto, Italy, last spring, studying art at a Gordon College facility and raking up 18 credits in the process, all of which counted toward her Indiana Wesleyan University degree.

Brown paid about $1,000 more than a semester’s tuition at IWU–a cost that was more manageable thanks to an outside scholarship she received. Even without the scholarship, she said she would have paid it all.

“That experience is worth every penny,” Brown said. “I would have paid $4,000 [more than IWU tuition]. I didn’t have to, but I would have, looking back. I think it’s invaluable, the experience you have.”

Contrary to what many students may think, the cost of study abroad programs is not much more than a semester at IWU, Education Abroad Supervisor Sandy Emmett said. According to Emmett, costs aren’t the problem concerning students as much as a lack of financial aid.

“Everybody needs to be on the same page when they’re talking [about studying abroad],” Emmett said. “It doesn’t cost more. … It’s just more out of pocket for the students.”

The average semester study abroad program costs about $16,000-16,500, Emmett said. This year, a semester at IWU, including room and board, is $15,907.

Since students receive IWU credit for courses they take abroad, they are charged at least full tuition at IWU, which currently stands at $12,051 per semester. Students also pay the remainder of a program’s tuition cost (if it exceeds IWU’s) as well as the program’s room and board and additional fees.

Students also pay a $50 IWU Global Engagement fee, which covers pre-orientation and application processing fees.

The cheapest semester abroad trip is the Uganda Studies Program at about $14,601. The most expensive trip is the Los Angeles term at Azusa Pacific University, totalling at about $20,823.

IWU carries over federal and state financial aid into these study abroad programs, Emmett said, but the same doesn’t quite go for institutional aid.

Students who have been approved and accepted into a study abroad program can apply for the IWU Global Studies Grant, a pool of funds the Board of Trustees has set aside for education abroad programs, Emmett said. This fund is distributed among students in fall, spring and beginning this year, May and summer programs.

“I would love to give every student the same amount that they would get here. That would be wonderful,” Emmett said. “We just don’t have that amount available to us.”

Brown received about half the amount of her academic scholarships, which were not too large to begin with, she said. To compensate, she applied for about 15 outside study abroad scholarships and received one or two.

Director of Financial Aid David Solms said when IWU hands out academic scholarships, it is actually just “discounting” the price of tuition for students who bring academic merit to campus.

“When a student chooses to go and study at another institution for the semester, we are not in the business of discounting [those costs],” Solms said, “but the institution does want to be able to help students.”

This led to the creation of the Global Studies Grant. As more students study abroad, however, the funds are more thinly distributed among students. Solms said he is “hopeful” that as more students express an interest in education abroad, there will be more resources available.

According to Emmett, the number of students studying abroad for a semester has grown, jumping from three in fall 2011 to 16 in fall 2014.

Director of Global Studies, Dr. Jim Vermilya, outlined two proposals the Global Studies Committee has worked on to address students’ financial challenges with education abroad.

The first proposal, recently approved, extended the IWU World Changers Scholarship and Global Studies Grant to May and summer IWU-run programs, Vermilya said via email to The Sojourn. These were previously available to semester trips only.

A second proposal is now in the works that would request tuition costs for IWU-run travel classes and abroad programs cross over into some in-country expenses for the class. This, in turn, would decrease travel costs for students.

According to Vermilya, the proposal “has been received positively” and “is currently under review.” He expects an answer by the end of the semester.

“The ultimate hope is that … more students will have an option of doing education abroad,” Emmett said. “In the long-term look, this is going to open up education abroad to a lot more students.”

Until then, the Global Studies office continues to give students a list of resources on how to receive outside financial aid.

When preparing for a semester abroad, Brown said “you really do have to think through every little thing.” One must consider passport payments, visa payments and additional costs surrounding those.

“It is intimidating at first, but when you really get down … and look at your options, it’s … actually very doable,” Brown said. “Don’t write it off right away.”

Posted in Front Page, News, On Campus, World StoriesComments (0)

Longboarders skate to relieve stress

By Heather Cox, contributing writer

It’s a breezy, early morning as Ruth Wooster (fr) comes out of Beckett Hall, steps onto her longboard and rolls down the sidewalk toward class—the fresh morning air waking her up and melting away her stress.

Colin Jensen (so) rides his longboard outside the Philippe Performing Arts Center.

Colin Jensen (so) rides his longboard outside the Philippe Performing Arts Center. // Photo by Becka Roth

Hundreds of students on campus have taken up longboarding over the past several years for those same reasons: it’s a relaxing mode of building-to-building transportation on the university’s ever-expanding campus.

Longboarding began as a sport called “downhill skateboarding” in the late 1970s, and the first longboards began appearing on IWU’s campus around 1998 and 1999, according to Joel Cash (sr).

Cash has been longboarding since 2000, when he first attended IWU before taking a multi-year break from his studies, which he recently resumed.

Wooster, who has been longboarding for around 3 weeks now, said “it’s super relaxing and gets you places faster.”

Jonathan Daugherty (so), who has been longboarding for close to a year, agrees and adds: “it’s a stress release, and it’s a fun thing to do with friends.”

The Midwest Longboarding Association states longboarding began picking up popularity around 2010. The Ripple, a longboarding shop in Carmel, Ind., said its board sales began rapidly increasing around 2006.

Though Indiana doesn’t have many steep hills, there are still ways for people in the Midwest to get more involved and serious about downhill skateboarding. The MLA advertises and organizes events for the sport and recently had one at Indiana University.

The longboarding culture is improving and moving rapidly and constantly, on and off campus.

“I think a lot of people would find it fun and stress relieving like I do. I definitely like seeing a culture of longboarding,” Daugherty said.

Jesse Turcott (sr) explained, “I like the challenge of learning a new trick or skill. I also love going on solo rides late at night if I need to get away or think or just enjoy a nice evening breeze.”

As colder weather is rounding the corner, longboarding might get put on hold for some people.

“My longboard usually gets put up once it gets cold, as I only use it for recreation,” Daugherty said.

Some, such as Turcott, will continue with the love for longboarding throughout the cold seasons.

“I actually board throughout the year,” Turcott said. “As long as there isn’t snow on the sidewalks, I’ll still go out and board. I just have to layer up a little more.”

Posted in Features, Front PageComments (0)

The inside scoop on chapel worship

Meg Sanders (jr), Taylor Showley (jr) and their band lead worship in the Chapel Auditorium.

Meg Sanders (jr), Taylor Showley (jr) and their band lead worship in the Chapel Auditorium.

Before each designated chapel, worship leaders Taylor Showley (jr) and Meg Sanders (jr) meet to pray about which songs they want to sing at the service. After shooting around ideas, they leave, pray on their own and convene before making a decision.

“Our motto is that we seek God first, and he takes care of the rest,” Showley said.

Worship teams at Indiana Wesleyan University have garnered both praise and criticism for the songs they perform in the Chapel Auditorium, especially the new songs. But regardless of certain comments, the worship teams have one goal in mind: to honor God.

“We’re praying about everything … but also taking into consideration and praying about what our student body wants,” worship chaplain Rachel Rubadiri (jr) said. “We’re just here to be with Jesus.”

The chapel worship team consists of five bands on rotation. Each band has at least one worship leader who proposes which songs they will perform.

Rubadiri, Assistant Professor of Church Music Dr. Michael Dennis and Chapel Coordinator Jennifer Martin review the list of songs submitted by worship leaders.

The team assesses each song based on a rubric from Dr. Constance Cherry’s book “Selecting Songs for Worship.” The rubric’s three categories include theology, lyrics and music. They either approve the list or make some suggestions.

The topic of introducing new songs in chapel has come up several times in weekly meetings, Rubadiri said. So far, the group is beginning to “lean more towards getting back to the basics.”

“A new song can be great, but it can be hard sometimes,” Rubadiri said. “[People] really enjoy when we do traditional songs as well, and that’s something that we’ve really looked at.”

When the worship team introduces several new songs on one day, it can be “alienating” to students who are unfamiliar with them, according to Ariel Blocher-Smith (jr).

“It’s good to have some more familiar ones to draw people in and … make them feel welcome, especially if we would have students visiting,” Blocher-Smith said.

Showley said introducing the audience to new songs is “really a challenge for us as worship leaders to do.”

Whenever the worship band introduces a new song, Rubadiri said, the intent is to repeat it enough so that the audience becomes familiar with it.

Another challenge worship leaders face is that everyone on campus comes from a different background, Showley said. Sometimes, everyone on the worship team will know a song and perform it, only for the audience to not receive it well.

Showley said the worship leaders are constantly in communication about how and when to introduce new songs.

“We’re students,” Showley said. “We’re learning too.”

Showley said she and Sanders have some new songs they think will be received well. They are waiting for the right time to introduce them.

“We want to create an atmosphere and a space where people can meet with God. That is our number one goal,” Showley said. “If it’s where God’s place is and it’s what he wants to do in that chapel service, then we’ve done our job.”

This semester’s worship chapels fall on Oct. 15 and Nov. 24. On these days, the worship bands will play for the entirety of the service.

Posted in Front Page, News, On CampusComments (0)

Follow The Sojourn on Twitter