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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.”

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Administration plans to replace fountain

Facilities services deconstructed the fountain Oct. 17 when most students were home for fall break.

Facilities services deconstructed the fountain Oct. 17 when most students were home for fall break.

Although the Eastburn Plaza outside of the Jackson Library is empty for now, administration is working to replace the fountain with something new.

“The [fountain had] really reached the end of its cycle,” Randy Dewing, associate manager of building systems and safety, said via email to The Sojourn. “Retiring it after the current season really [was] the right thing to do. … It’s progress.”

Facilities Services deconstructed the fountain Oct. 17, the first day of fall break. Many Indiana Wesleyan University students expressed their sadness via social media. Others posted it was a good decision to remove the fountain.

“I feel the fountain was a fun campus landmark,” Mandie Lenar (jr) said. “I think they should build another fountain or something else new.”

 Facilities Services has not yet announced what will replace the fountain.

 “We have some ideas, which must remain mysterious at this time,“ Dewing said. “The administration is hearing suggestions and thinking them over.”

Anyone is allowed to send suggestions to John Jones, vice president for Residential Education Operations. The ideas so far have ranged from a putting green for campus golf to a fire pit.

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Facilities Services plans on fixing Eastburn Plaza and making it look nice until a permanent structure is built.

Jones expects a new and permanent structure to be in place by this upcoming summer, and in the meantime is planning to put something there, such as a planter box with a small tree or benches.

Don Rowley, director of Facilities and Operations, says they need to first work on cleaning up the area, such as removing the blue from the cement.

Facilities Services knew when it first put the fountain in that it would only last for about 12 to 15 years. Jones says it is “kind of like buying a car. … you don’t expect it to last forever.”

“We could have put something in that was solid stone or something that was [that] huge, but that comes at a cost, that is a very expensive thing to do,” Jones says. “It was kind of an experiment back then to some degree as a focal point on our campus. I think getting 10-15 years on something like that was pretty normal.”

 Dewing thinks students and faculty should anticipate what will be next on Eastburn Plaza.

 “Students should look forward to what great possibilities exist … and imagine what might be next,” Dewing said. “I believe the IWU community will be pleased with what we come up with to replace the current fountain.”

Check back with The Sojourn for more developments on this story.

 

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Yik Yak app gains popularity and infamy on campus

“For fun, I sit in McConn with headphones that are playing nothing and listen to people’s conversations. Priceless!” yakked an anonymous student recently.

Actually, there’s no way to know if the user is an Indiana Wesleyan University student because of the complete anonymity afforded by the newest fad mobile app: Yik Yak.

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Yik Yak is the newest social app used by many students on IWU’s campus.

Yik Yak is a social media app that, according to their website, allows users to “get a live feed of what everyone’s saying around you.” Like an anonymous twitter, users post 200-character “yaks,” which are then upvoted or downvoted by other readers.

Five downvotes removes the yak entirely, while upvotes will increase visibility on the app’s “hot” page. The complete lack of usernames or profiles means one cannot follow or unfollow people. Messages show up from every user in your location, approximately a mile radius.

“I think it started out harmless,” Connor Neel (jr) said. “I didn’t see a problem with it. I liked it at first.”

Neel has been using the app for about three weeks but less lately.

“At first, maybe I just didn’t notice as many of the bad yaks, but now, some of them are getting very out-of-hand,” he said.

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People feel free to post whatever is on their mind since they will be anonymous.

Jossy Carder (fr) also has been involved with Yik Yak since it started gaining popularity.

“You didn’t really connect with students, but you were talking to other students so it kind of felt like you were part of IWU,” Carder said.

Due to the inappropriate nature of some of the yaks, students have questioned whether the administration will get involved.

“I think Yik Yak is still in the stages where most people don’t know about it, its just still making its way to us,” IWU Social Media Manager Jay Filson said. “I think they [the administration] are still trying to figure out what it is.”

Yik Yak does allow for communities to self-monitor, Filson added, encouraging students to “band together” and downvote yaks that are detrimental to the IWU community.

However, Cindy Coats (sr) decided to simply delete the app.

“I saw it and I wasn’t going to sit there and read it,” Coats said. “It doesn’t build up IWU at all. It makes us look bad. We’re supposed to be a set-apart school for Jesus; we really are. We aren’t living a beyond-reproach status, in my opinion.”

Neel is also concerned about how this makes IWU look as a school. He does not believe that our feed is a true representation of our student body.

“If someone were visiting and were to look at our Yik Yak, it might give them the wrong idea about how the people are,” Neel said.

Carder has seen the positive side of the student body through Yik Yak.

“If someone posts something about feeling down, there are some people on there that will say, ‘It’s okay, God will help you through this,’ but then there’s other representations of people too,” Carder said.

If Yik Yak continues to grow in popularity and in inappropriate qualities, the anonymity of the app makes it difficult to monitor. At this point, he doesn’t feel there is a reason to get involved, but admits it could be a problem in the future.Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 12.53.15 PM

“There’s a couple college campuses [Norwich University, University of Iowa] that have already banned it. I don’t know if theres a way that we could regulate it without banning it, or if we would even want to,” Filson said.  “We don’t want to have to step in, but if it got to a point where students are being harassed or bullied or really hurtful things are being said, then I think its probably something we would look into.”

This has already been part of Carder’s experience.

“I’ve already been targeted twice with Yik Yak. Someone said, ‘The annoying girl in Hodson, please get out,’ and that made me really upset,” Carder said. “There was another time when they said, ‘I don’t know why Jossy’s so mad, if we all know she’s a slut.’”

Yik Yak is also full of Yaks complaining about roommates, teachers and classes.

“Quiet hours clearly mean nothing to my suitmate [sic] who is currently blasting ‘smack that’ while she’s showering,” a user posted.

Still, many other Yaks have a more positive nature.

“It’s crazy how spending 5 minutes in the presence of God can change my attitude completely #iloveJesus,” another user posted.

“What we would really hope, as a university, is that our students would be mature enough and would be conscious enough about the things that they say that we don’t have to worry about it,” Filson said.

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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.

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