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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.”

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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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