I heard “Speaking of crossing cultural boundaries…” shouted across the table as I put some Indian yogurt sauce on my jambalaya.
In an exploration of different people and cultures from around the world, ArtStreet hosted ArtStreet Intersection: “Real” Food. Adrienne Ausdenmoore, associate director of arts initiatives, explained that there would be one large table. “It will be like one big family dinner. The idea is to intersect tonight,” Ausdenmoore told the crowd.
The evening began with a 15-minute session at each one of three chef tables. The dishes included a spicy Louisiana dish, traditional Indian cuisine and a Puerto Rican delicacy.
Chef Dave was the jambalaya master, teaching us all that onion, green pepper and celery are the “holy trinity of jambalaya.” He informed us that it gets its roots from Spanish paella.
“It was really cool to see the different types of rice displayed and what type of resources they used based on what area they were from,” Luke Kapolnek said.
The Indian chicken dish prepared during family gatherings is also rooted in another culture other than its own. “It is an Indian and Persian fusion,” said Chef Anirban. He explained that the dish can take up to 12 hours to marinate the meat and four to five hours to prepare.
“I would choose this over Chipotle. You can taste the culture and labor. It’s cool to actually taste the culture from each dish instead of eating the American version of it,” Elisha Evanko said.
Bringing her Puerto Rican and Guatemalan heritage to the United States, Chef Susie prepared arroz con gandules. As she was explaining her process, she confessed that she was not able to find the pigeon peas originally used in the recipe. Instead, she settled on chickpeas and chose to leave out the pork to create a vegetarian dish.
While we all sat around the table to reflect on what we learned, we came to the conclusion that everything is influenced by everything else.
“Cultures can’t exist within their own borders. We are all merging together,” Molly Guinan said.
The clock begins, a countdown of 60 seconds. Once the timer strikes zero, the audience in O’Leary Auditorium in Mariam Hall hear a loud buzzer and the person standing in front of judges, business professionals and students must stop. Such was the scene for UD’s School of Business Elevator Pitch Competition winner Jess Kerr ’16 while pitching her product, the Shake-N-Bait.
The Shake-N-Bait is an electro-active fishing lure that imitates a struggling fresh-water fish, which, as Kerr pointed out in her pitch, would replace hundreds of manually controlled lures. The universal lure, designed by four UD engineers as part of their senior innovation class and then marketed by three business students as part of the UD Business Plan Competition, is targeted to lessen the price Americans spend on fishing equipment.
Kerr knew she had to hook (pun intended) the judges and the audience with the Shake-N-Bait, so she prepared the only way she knew how: research.
The entrepreneurship, leadership and marketing triple major had a few business professors look over her speech, watched past winners and found the right angle on how to deliver the pitch. “The speech was all about telling a story. The person had no idea about the product before, but after your story it’s like they can see it placed in their life,” Kerr said.
As an entrepreneurship student at UD, Kerr knows that the elevator pitch, one part of the University’s business plan competition, is meant to help her future in the business world. “As entrepreneurship majors, we have to know how to pitch our ideas to investors,” Kerr said. “You aren’t just going to get out of college and expect businesses to listen, so you have to know how to market yourself and pitch something no one has ever heard of.”
By the time Kerr approached the podium to deliver her pitch to a packed room of people, from professionals to her peers, her speech was engraved in her mind from the numerous amounts of rehearsing and research. Kerr won a prize of $1,500 dollars and accomplished her goal of putting Shake-N-Bait on the map.
Hook, line, sinker.
When it comes to the rushing attack for the UD Flyers football team, 2014 has been all about senior Connor Kacsor. The Leo, Indiana, native and finance and marketing double major not only led UD in rushing yards this season, but also led all rushers in the Pioneer Football League.
In 11 games, Kacsor amassed a total of 1,547 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns, leading UD to an 8-3 record and a second place finish in the PFL standings. In his final game of the season against Campbell University, Kacsor’s 90 yards on the ground were good enough to set the all-time career rushing yards record in Dayton history.
Kacsor’s stellar play this season could have something to do with the clock winding down on his playing days.
“I would say there was a sense of urgency,” Kacsor says. “This could be my last time to play for UD, I wanted to be able to leave something for this program as a way to show the younger guys what kind of team we are.”
In addition to the all-time rushing record, Kacsor has left a pretty memorable mark on the UD football program. Kacsor was nominated to the Walter Payton Award Watch List for his efforts this season. The Walter Payton Award is awarded annually to the nation’s top player in all of NCAA Division I FCS.
The lone representative from the PFL on this year’s list, Kacsor is the first Flyer to be named to this prestigious award watch list since Steve Valentino in 2010. The winner of the award will be announced Dec. 15 at The Sports Network FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation in Philadelphia.
“This is a special honor,” Kacsor says. “I never thought I’d be on a watch list for the equivalent of the Heisman trophy for FCS football. Walter Payton is my favorite player ever, so to have the chance to win an award in his honor is incredible.”
Since 1986, students have been singing — or signing — a different tune.
Hands in Harmony, a music ensemble at the University of Dayton, offers students the chance to learn sign language and perform choreographed pieces to music. No experience is necessary, and students can earn a half credit with no extra fee over 18 credit hours.
In the early 1980s, music therapy clubs on campus broadened their scope beyond examining therapy methods for the disabled and explored ways to communicate with different groups of people across the board. Hands in Harmony was born.
Heidi Reynolds, the group’s current professor, took the class as a senior in 1989, just a few years after the ensemble’s inception. She assumed the teaching position in 1995 from founder Mary Beth Brown, an adjunct faculty member at the time and UD music therapy alumna.
“Our goal is not only to provide service for the deaf and disabled, but to make people more aware of sign language as a communication tool,” Reynolds said.
Once the ensemble decides on songs they’d like to learn, Reynolds leads the class in lessons while Mary Ann Fraley, a certified interpreter, observes and ensures proper form. Even the slightest changes in hand positioning can mean different interpretations, Reynolds said.
“It takes a lot of confidence and hand-eye coordination, and you have to consider your body language and facial expressions when you’re on stage,” she explained. “You can hide in a choir, but signing is a whole different level of performance. You perform, but also stand out.”
Hands in Harmony has performed at the Dayton and Fairfield Commons malls, various nursing homes, the Still Water Center, a residential facility for those with intellectual disabilities, and DINGO (BINGO for the deaf).
“People respond very positively and are so amazed at the things we do,” Reynolds said. “There is a high energy level among the students, and we are always welcomed to come back and perform.”
Many alumni take advantage of that offer. A group will be returning to UD to perform with Hands in Harmony at Christmas on Campus at 7:15 p.m. in Torch Lounge. Other alumni have said their experience in sign language has benefitted them in their therapy careers, while some have passed their skills on to their children, Reynolds said.
The class will be offered again in the spring, and is open to students, faculty and staff.
For Delta Sigma Pi, Concert for Life was a chance to bring together the campus community — and the Dayton community — in support of a cause that touches everyone, on campus and off.
In collaboration with Colleges Against Cancer, Relay for Life and Holy Angels Parish, UD’s international business fraternity hosted its first concert Nov. 14 to benefit the American Cancer Society.
The event’s origin stemmed from student Madeline Felipez’s hometown church. “Back home, they host a Concert for Life every year, and I wanted to bring that atmosphere to UD,” she said.
The night was full of music performed by students and the Holy Angels choir. Along with hosting the event, Felipez also got on stage and “sang her heart out” for the cause.
“It’s a great way to bring together so many people, since everyone has been touched by cancer in some way,” Felipez said.
Another of the evening’s high points was a bake sale. There were no prices on the treats; only a donation was asked for. The group offered all different types of goodies, from fudgy brownies to lemon squares.
In total, the night brought in nearly $700 for the American Cancer Society/Relay For Life of UD, said fraternity member Lauren Schwieters.
“We hope to get even more involvement from the community next year,” she said. “Everyone is welcome. Not just students, but anyone who feels strongly about this cause.”
In today’s media-saturated world, it is all too easy to believe that merely skimming headlines can provide us with an accurate understanding of world affairs. But many of these conflicts – particularly those in the Middle East – are so much more than a headline.
On Tuesday evening, University of Dayton Human Rights scholar-practitioner in residence Fateh Azzam lectured to a packed Sears Recital Hall on human rights in the Middle East. Emphasizing the complexity of the region’s conflicts, Azzam said it is crucial for us to gain a deeper understanding, especially when human lives are at stake.
“The media reduces the issue to age-old religious conflicts and sectarianism. In truth, it is much more complicated than newscasters and writers tend to show,” Azzam said.
According to Azzam, the media’s simplification of the conflict has negatively skewed Western perceptions of the Middle East. Perhaps even more sinister is the media’s failure to critically analyze the United Nations’ actions in the Middle East, which have contributed to the exacerbation of the conflict, he claimed. Azzam said that mainstream news outlets have failed to break down popular misconceptions, which has damaged the integrity of international law as a whole.
“It is a dangerous time for the entire construct of human rights and international law. The actions of the United States and other nations have shown, at best, an indifference to the region as a whole. This has resulted in a politics of despair,” Azzam said.
Azzam’s “politics of despair” reflects the hopelessness of Middle Eastern citizens that has resulted from both Western misconceptions and the damaged integrity of international law.
“The international community no longer trusts political decision making. We need to defeat the politics of despair, but the dynamics are not only local. It is crucial for us to take a law-based approach to how societies should be governed,” Azzam said.
Linda Majka, professor of sociology, died Nov. 17, in Dayton. She was 67.
In more than 30 years on the UD faculty, she was author of three books and more than 20 scholarly contributions on human rights, economic policies, farm labor movements and immigration.
“Linda was always more eager to listen than to speak. But when she spoke, she spoke with deep conviction and absolute sincerity,” said Mark Ensalaco, associate professor and director of human rights research.
“Linda represented what is best about higher education. She had a fierce devotion to freedom of inquiry and education,” said Ensalaco, co-author with her of Children’s Human Rights in 2005. “She was committed to the pursuit of the truth, and she devoted her marvelous talents as a sociologist to the cause of justice.”
Linda and Theo, her husband, came to the University of Dayton in 1981 from Portland State University where they both taught. She earned tenure and was promoted to associate professor in 1984 and was promoted to professor in 2002. Illness forced her retirement in January 2014.
She played an active role in various programs at the University, especially CORE, human fights studies, and women and gender studies, serving as director of the Women’s Studies Program from 1995-99.
The Majkas, who were married for 44 years, were joint recipients of the College of Arts and Sciences 2011-12 Award for Outstanding Service for their service to the Dayton community and the University, particularly around the issues of immigration and social justice.
They have been leaders in Dayton’s Ethnic and Cultural Diversity Caucus, a program initiative of the National Conference for Community and Justice of Greater Dayton, organized forums on immigration at UD in 2008, 2009 and 2012 and helped create the Welcome Dayton: Immigrant-Friendly City initiative.
“I knew of Linda’s work on immigration long before I joined the department through one of my Marianist sisters who worked with Linda and Theo on local migrant communities,” said Sister Laura Leming, F.M.I, former department chair.
“Linda was a welcoming and supportive presence when I became a sociologist, and her engagement in Women’s Studies and in writing for justice helped encourage me to forge my own path as a scholar engaged in local and global communities.”
Plans for a memorial service will be announced later.
“It isn’t just about a bunch of hairy guys in Spandex.”
That was the message associate professor of English Bryan Bardine wanted to promote at the University’s first Metal and Cultural Impact Conference, Nov. 6-8.
Scholars and members of the UD and surrounding community gathered on campus to attend 38 presentations and three keynotes. The conference concluded Saturday night with a heavy metal concert at Oddbody’s Music Room in Dayton, featuring special guest Alex Skolnick of the band Testament.
“The conference was a great success,” Bardine said. “There was great attendance, and we’ve gotten a big response on Facebook. It exceeded all expectations.”
But that was the point. While there are expectations and stereotypes surrounding metal music – hairy guys, stage makeup, tight pants, head banging, loud guitars – Bardine said he hoped to highlight the culture and scholarship behind the metal scene.
Events explored the interdisciplinary aspect of metal music, incorporating history, sociology, musicology and more ideas from around the world.
Major events included a presentation on metal music and sexuality; a documentary on the heavy metal community in Botswana, Africa; an art exhibition displaying masks, face paint, and head coverings used in metal music and other performances; and a keynote about metal music in the past and future.
The most popular event was the concert, which drew more than 125 people and raised over $700 to benefit Project READ of Dayton and the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund.
“It was great to see people come out to the concert after they had been at the conference all day for nine or 10 hours,” Bardine said. “Some may think people who like metal music are all loners and do our own thing, but the Dayton metal community is very tight. People are already asking about next year’s event.”
For more information, visit the conference’s Facebook page.
ArtStreet exists to incorporate the creative process in every aspect of the University experience, and that progression boils down to one idea: collaboration.
Over the course of the 2014 summer months, members of the UD community were encouraged to submit original scripts for 10-minute plays inspired by “Imprints and Impressions: Milestones in Human Progress,” the Rose rare book exhibit that ran in Roesch Library through Nov. 9. The results were pleasantly unexpected; 17 plays were submitted.
Josh Chamberlain ’14 took a gamble when he proposed the idea — combining student artwork, words and actions with University resources inspired by a generous book collector. He saw the opportunity for excellence, and raised it.
“I wanted to develop a theatre project that allowed for the development of original work,” he said. “I initially wanted to contract the festival for production in the spring of 2014 with Studio Theatre as the supervising organization.”
However, interning for ArtStreet director Brian LaDuca challenged Chamberlain ’14 to develop the idea “into something more experimental.”
Between Studio Theatre, ArtStreet and the work of famous authors and almost entirely student-drive production, the first inaugural White Box Theatre Festival was born.
“I believe shows were selected based on how conducive they were to the space, length, number of actors and overall development of the central concept,” Chamberlain said. “While the aim of the festival was to allow the development and incubation of new short plays, if something was underdeveloped upon its initial entry, I don’t believe it was chosen.”
Thirteen plays written, directed and performed by UD students and alumni were selected, and last week were showcased in separate sections continuously in ArtStreet Studio D, the gallery in which Impact, an exhibit inspired by the Rare Books collection, was also displayed.
The future of White Box is still being determined, but according to Chamberlain, it should be produced every two years, with the next one taking place in fall 2016.
“I’m proud to say White Box is something Brian and I created and it’ll always be special to me, but I’m not going to be nostalgic or romanticize it,” Chamberlain said. “I designed the production to function in Brian’s hands alone and for the moment, that’s the plan. He’s a creative genius who is more than capable of stretching and bending my original idea into something beautiful and controversial.”
For many people, peace means happiness and mutual friendliness. For others, it means freedom. For poet and screenwriter Sherman Alexie, peace is much more passive. In his eyes, peace can mean indifference.
As part of the 2014-15 University of Dayton Speaker Series, “Perspectives on Peace,” and the annual Native Peoples of the Americas Colloquium, Alexie shared his perspective on the complex topic. His stories of growing up on a reservation in Spokane, Washington, were woven together by his reflections on identity, privilege, and the pressure to conform to society. Punch line after punch line, Alexie lit up the Kennedy Union Ballroom with his iconic wit, but also challenged the audience to consider the peace of indifference in their own lives.
Alexie recounted an incident at his high school — an all-white school which he had chosen instead of remaining on the reservation for schooling — in which a bully had pinned him against the wall in preparation of a painful punch. As a scrawny teenager, Alexie said he had feared for his life in the face of the bully, but suspected the bully had felt that fear before, too.
“How many times in their life has the person in front of you thought, ‘I’m not going to survive this’?” Alexie asked the audience.
Silence filled the room as students, faculty and community members reflected on his challenge to see things from another person’s perspective, especially in a situation where peace can take a form as simple as tolerance, acceptance and an attempt at understanding.
Alexie also described the injustices inherent in Native American reservations and the struggles his family faced. While his humor and writing have helped him overcome these challenges, forgiveness has also played a role.
“What does poverty teach you? It’s impossible to have peace in the midst of poverty. But what is forgiveness? It’s forgiving the structures as well as the people who have hurt you. Sometimes peace can just mean indifference,” Alexie said.