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“The Guys” of Grant County honored

Thirteen years ago, journalist Anne Nelson, now teaching at Columbia University, sat down with a New York City fire captain to help him write the eulogies of eight firefighters who died in 9/11, according to an article on the Columbia News webpage.

After hearing their stories, Nelson was extremely moved. Just a few weeks later, on a chance meeting with Jim Simpson, artistic director of the Flea Theatre, Nelson proposed the idea of a play based on her experience with the fire captain.

Eight days later, she’d written her first play, and two days after that, Simpson had scheduled it to be performed. Simpson’s wife, actress Sigourney Weaver, expressed interest in performing it and asked her friend actor Bill Murray (yes, the Bill Murray) to play the other role. Within a week, meetings for rehearsal had begun, according to the Flea Theatre website.

On Sept. 25, the Indiana Wesleyan University Theatre Guild will put on a free performance of Nelson’s play, “The Guys,” for the firemen of Grant County to honor and thank them for their work, some of whom actually went out to New York to help during 9/11.  

The following day, Sept. 26, the play will be open to the public.

Joan, played by Ashley Nossett (sr), interviews fire captain Nick, played by Seth Lawrence (sr), about the men he lost on 9/11. Photo by Hannah Whelchel.

Joan, played by Ashley Nossett (sr), interviews fire captain Nick, played by Seth Lawrence (sr), about the men he lost on 9/11. Photo by Hannah Whelchel.

Director Sharla Ball (sr) chose the play for her senior project as “a chance to share a story that I knew most of the audience had been a part of, … and I knew everybody would remember it.” She described it as less of a historical play and more of “a memory play.”

With an uncle who was a career firefighter and a grandpa who was a volunteer firefighter, Ball is most excited for the performances for the fire station. They will also be touring the play, getting another chance on Oct. 10 to perform for Hendricks County fire departments.

The show was cast in May, with Ashley Nossett (sr) portraying Joan, based off Nelson herself, and Seth Lawrence (sr), portraying Nick, the fire captain. They also met with Fire Chief Paul David and Captain Paul Thompson in May in order to start communicating about the performance for the fire station.

To begin their research for the play, Ball and Nossett got the chance to go to New York City during May term and tour a fire department that was just a block away from Ground Zero, right across the street from the towers, and hear one of the fireman’s stories. They saw the plaques on the wall of the station for the men that died in 9/11. They also saw the 9/11 Memorial. They also got to see a show at the Flea Theatre, where “The Guys” was originally performed.

To prepare for the role as fire captain, Lawrence shadowed the firemen of Grant County for a day. Getting up at six in the morning to be at the fire station for roll call, he got to hang out with the firemen, hear their stories, see how the fire truck worked and understand what their daily routine was like. 

“After time, things become diluted,” Ball said. She hopes that the play will be a good way “to remember what it was like back when it happened.” 

“Most of our generation has been living in a society where we’ve been in war since then,” Ball said. “People don’t realize that we’re still living in this era where we’re not at peace.”

Ball said the play is a chance to see what the world was like before 2001, before 9/11 changed everything.

Doing the Tango. Photo by Hannah Whelchel.

Nick teaches Joan how to dance. Photo by Hannah Whelchel.

Thirteen years after 9/11, “The Guys” has touched people in multiple ways.

Nelson referred to a Cambodian student who once spoke to her of the performance. The student said, “I just lost my best friend to cancer. This play is about me.”

“Some take it very literally,” Nelson said, “as a piece of history; some take it as a piece about mourning; some about finding friendship. I think where a person is at in life affects how they hear it.”

At the beginning of the play, Joan delivers a monologue about how different people have different degrees of distance from an event, like the ripples of being affected. 

“Everyone’s trying to find their own relationship to the event,” Nelson said.

The play will run Sept. 26-27 and Oct. 3-4 at 7:30 p.m. Saturdays will also have a 2 p.m. matinee. Tickets are $7 for students, $10 for IWU employees and $12 for adults, according to the IWU Theatre Guild website.

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Lilly grant funds 20 paid internships

The Center for Life Calling and Leadership has matched 20 students with paid internships at local business startups — and the startups don’t have to pay.

The internships are instead funded by a $3 million Lilly Endowment grant awarded to Indiana Wesleyan University this summer. It’s one of several projects the “Accelerate Indiana” grant will be funding, according to Carol Brown, director of career development.

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Angela Herrington (center), founder of ReEngage Consultants, meets with her two IWU interns at Abbey Coffee Co. // Photo by Hannah Whelchel

The internship program aims to “help the economy of Indiana,” Brown said, pairing students with businesses up to five years old in Indiana. It’s offered to sophomores, juniors and seniors, regardless of major.

“The students get exposure to … the whole process of starting a new business,” Brown said. “We want to encourage that entrepreneurial thinking. … It’s fast-paced. It requires creativity.”

At the same time, the entrepreneurial business is “casual in nature,” which appeals to students, she said.

Students apply for the internship program, Brown said, answering questions about their skills and why they want to be considered. At the same time, businesses apply, detailing what type of students they’re looking for (e.g. business students, marketing students).

Students work approximately 15 hours per week at $9.50 per hour. The grant also reimburses students for gas mileage if they are required to travel to and from their internship’s office.

One of the interns, Rachel Ozios (sr), is working for Cast a Bigger Net, a marketing firm in Indianapolis. This internship marks the first time Ozios, a marketing major, has worked in an area directly related to her field of study.

“It’s an area where I’m passionate,” Ozios said. “I’m very excited to have a little bit more experience under my belt.”

Students like Ozios aren’t the only ones to benefit from the internship program. Because of “Accelerate Indiana,” startups get free help to forward their business.

Marion resident Angela Herrington, who founded the women’s ministry Broken Beautiful BOLD with her husband in 2013, established a new organization, ReEngage Consultants, to help ministries use social media sites as a ministry tool.

Having the help of two IWU interns will progress Herrington’s business “two to three times faster” than without them, she said.

“I’m just blown away by the caliber of the interns,” Herrington said. “I think they’re going to bring a ton of things to the table.”

Brown addressed possible concerns in collaborating with startups, since there is no guarantee whether or not the business will survive.

Internship Coordinator Tiffany Snyder said the Career Development Office “processes” employer applications, looking for “meaningful projects for interns and high potential for full-time hire following the internship period.”

This evaluation process also ensures the legitimacy of the startup. Career Development also coaches interns on how they should and should not be treated as an employee.

Overall, Brown said this grant allows the Center to reach students “more than we might have in the past.” They’re learning earlier the importance of building a resume, networking and personal branding.

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Photo by Hannah Whelchel

By the end of the internship, Herrington hopes her students walk away with something more than new business skills.

“I really want them to know that they don’t have to chuck their faith out the door after they walk out of their commencement ceremony,” she said. “Everything is a ministry. … I hope that our students walk away and see that.”

The next internship application process begins Oct. 1 for students.

Other projects the “Accelerate Indiana” grant funds include:

-Three new staff members in the Center for Life Calling — graduate Tiffany Snyder, internship coordinator; Jordan Delks, employer relations coordinator; and an unfilled co-curricular coordinator.

-“Experience Indiana,” a four-day event in March celebrating different Indiana experiences. A job fair for students will be held on the final day, March 19.

-Classes for entrepreneurs

-$30,000 per year in field trip money, for which faculty members can apply. Nine faculty members have received it already.

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Pioneer responds to Baldwin’s dirty glasses

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As Kenzi Ahnert (fr) walked into Baldwin on a Monday morning, she was looking forward to a refreshing glass of milk. However, as she picked up a glass from the crate, she was disgusted by the mystery fog covering it.

“I was nervous to drink out of my glass,” Ahnert said. “It did not look like it had been washed thoroughly.”

According to James Lipetri, Pioneer College Caterers’ Food Service Director, Baldwin staff is aware of the problem.

“This issue has been addressed as we have had multiple issues which can cause the buildup of hard water deposits on the glasses,” Lipetri said in an email to The Sojourn. “It is much more noticeable on the clear glasses than the white china.”

According to Lipetri, Pioneer has been making an effort to change the state of the glasses.

_MG_1786-2“We had the dishwasher serviced and have had the water softener checked,” Lipetri said. “We have called our janitorial company to verify the wash and rinse on our machine.”

Lipetri also said since the janitorial company serviced the machine, he has seen a significant improvement in the state of the glasses.

The janitorial service is scheduled to return for one more check up within the next two weeks, according to Lipetri, who hopes the second trip takes care of the problem.

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Admitted students Weekend a success

IWU march 296Have you finished registering for classes yet? Because 405 incoming freshman have.

Indiana Wesleyan University explored the idea of springtime new student registration by hosting Admitted Student Weekend March 14-15. Janelle Vernon, IWU’s vice president for enrollment management, believes this weekend was a success and plans on continuing it in the future.

On Saturday, March 15, 405 students registered within four hours. Last year, only 511 incoming students registered during four summer registration dates. The largest amount of students registered last summer in a single day was 142, with the lowest amount being 42.

IWU’s enrollment management office decided to hold an earlier registration because they noticed they were losing a significant number of students who had committed to attend the university, according to Vernon.

“We wanted to develop a registration process that would allow them to register earlier and improve their experience,” Vernon said.

The class selection process was different than it has been in past years. Incoming students were able to register themselves online instead of filling out a paper and having Residential Academic Services input their class choices.

“Registration was very simple and the professors and student advisors made it really easy,” incoming freshmen Rachel Manfred said. “It only took 20 minutes and I was glad that I got to choose some extra classes that I had interest in.”

Manfred is coming in as a Strategic Communications major from Greentown, Ind. “Getting all my classes has definitely made me feel like I am committed,” she said.

Dr. Mark Perry, associate professor of communication, helped admitted communication students register. He said it was beneficial everything was done at the same place at the same time, and that current students taught incoming students the registration process rather than having faculty or staff do it for them.

“It’s always a really enjoyable thing to meet the students and their families when they are that excited about school,” Perry said. “The whole atmosphere felt very positive.”

Vernon said early registration also allows housing to make room assignments earlier. Housing will start the first round of housing assignments June 7, instead beginning in August.

“Every time I come to IWU, I get more excited to be a student here,” Manfred said. “I just can’t wait to move in and start my college career.”

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