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Guiding Eyes for the Blind at AU by Madeleine Lomax-Vogt

                The number of students volunteering for the Guiding Eyes for the Blind has grown significantly over the past few years, where it has become a hallmark characteristic of Alfred University.

                “There’s no experience needed and anyone can raise,” puppy raiser and club advisor Shawn Carstens said.

                Students on Alfred’s campus have been raising puppies for the organization for several years now.  They do not formally train the dogs for guide work; instead they prepare the dogs for their futures by socializing them and building their confidence and exposure to new things.

                “There is a daily time commitment,” Carstens said. “Having a puppy can be like having a toddler.”

                 Students who are interested in raising a puppy must successfully complete their own training regimen for about four months before they are eligible to raise a puppy. This includes twice-monthly puppy classes in Hornell, which are required attendance for all local puppy raisers.

                They are instructed on proper techniques, such as how to teach puppies house manners and social skills, but they do not employ harness training.

                When “puppy pre-placement” requirements are met, successful applicants are matched with a puppy.  They must continue to attend classes with the puppy, and their progress is closely monitored.

                People interested in raising puppies must be aware of the time commitments involved, and they must be self-motivated and have the initiative to learn about the training

                “People need to use the resources for puppy raisers on the Guiding Eyes website and be willing to ask questions,” Carstens said.

                One of the misconceptions Carstens hopes to dispel is that while the pups get plenty of play time, they are not pets.

                “You wouldn’t just run up to a dog with a vest and pet them,” she said. “You wouldn’t want anyone to run up and bug you in class.  It’s no different with a service dog in training.”

                Students, faculty and staff at Alfred University are welcome to apply to raise dogs with Guiding Eyes for the Blind, but students living on campus must also be approved by AU Residence Life before they can raise a puppy.

                Carstens recommends that students who are raising puppies check with their professors before they bring their dogs to class.  Professors should know about the program and be comfortable with the puppies attending classes with their raisers.

                Anyone interested in raising puppies can attend the Bergren Forum on Feb. 20 at 12:10 p.m., or can find more information at www.guidingeyes.org.

WALF Press Release

On May 24, 2006, WALF was granted a license by the Federal Communications Commission to serve the public interest as a public trustee until June 1, 2014. Our license will expire on June 1, 2014. We filed an application for license renewal with the FCC on February 12, 2014. A copy of this application is available for inspection during our regular business hours. Individuals who wish to advise the FCC of facts relating to our renewal application, and to whether this station has operated in the public interest, should file comments and petitions with the FCC by May 1, 2014. Further information concerning the FCC’s broadcast license renewal process is available at WALF’s studios, 1st floor of the Powell Campus Center, 1 Saxon Drive, Alfred NY 14802 or may be obtained from the FCC, Washington, D.C. 20554, www.fcc.gov.

Super Bowl XLVIII by Kyle Merrifield

 

        Super Bowl XLVIII, the first outdoor super bowl in a cold weather city, was expected to be the coldest Super Bowl ever.


The temperatures were 10-15 degrees above normal in East Rutherford, New Jersey, with a temperature of 49 degrees at kickoff.


Despite being only the third coldest Super Bowl of all time, it was hard to be colder than Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. The Seattle Seahawks, despite being the underdogs, dominated from the first play of the game.


The 43-8 victory for Seattle was summed up in its first play, as Broncos Center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball before Peyton Manning was ready, causing the ball to sail right past him and into the end zone. Running Back Knowshon Moreno dived on top of the ball for a safety.


Not only was Super Bowl XLVIII the first to ever have a safety on the first play of the game, that safety, which came 12 seconds into the game, was the fastest score in Super Bowl history. That gave the Seahawks a 2-0 lead, and they would never look back.

       

        Seattle added two field goals from Steven Hauschka after the opening safety in the first quarter to take an 8-0 lead after the first quarter. They would push their lead at halftime to 22-0 after a 1-yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch and 69-yard interception return by Super Bowl MVP Malcom Smith.


To start the second half, Seahawks Wide Receiver Percy Harvin returned the kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown, making the score 29-0 Seattle. The score also happened with 12 seconds gone in the half.


Second-year quarterback Russell Wilson threw his first touchdown pass of the game to wide receiver Jermaine Kearse with 2:58 left in the third, making the score 36-0. The shutout bid for Seattle’s historically good defense would come to an end on the last play of the third quarter, when regular season MVP Peyton Manning hit wide receiver Demaryius Thomas for a 14-yard score.

Peyton then hit Wes Welker for a 2-point conversion making the score 36-8. Seattle would add one final score in the fourth quarter, a 10-yard pass from Wilson to Doug Baldwin, making the final score 43-8.


        Despite a great effort from Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense, the game was won by their defense.


The Broncos had the best offense in NFL history in the regular season, scoring a combined 606 points in their 16 regular season games. The Seahawks defense also led the league defensively by allowing only 231 points.


It was the first Super Bowl since 2003 that featured the league’s top offense vs the top defense. Peyton Manning was held to 10 passing yards in the first quarter and threw two interceptions. Both Manning and Demaryius Thomas lost fumbles.


This was also the first Super Bowl since 2003 where the MVP was won by a defensive player. Seahawks linebacker Malcom Smith won MVP honors with a fumble recovery and the huge 69-yard pick-six in the second quarter. Smith also finished the game with 10 total tackles.

 

AU gets an “F” by Madeleine Lomax-Vogt

        The college ranking website “What will They Learn” failed Alfred University for it’s general academic curriculum.

          “I think we have a broad base of general education requirements,” Acting Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Lou Lichtman said. “We have what all liberal arts schools should require.”

            “What Will They Learn?” ranks schools based on their core curriculum requirements. For a school to receive an “A,” it must require that its students take 6-7 core subjects that correspond exactly with the site’s requirements. Core subjects include composition, literature, foreign language, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics, and natural or physical science.

            AU received an “F,” the lowest grade possible on the grading scale, from the site, as the site says that AU only requires that its students take science.

            AU’s CLAS, though, does require that students take a broad range of courses.  The college has nine requirements that students must complete.  Students must take 32 credit hours chosen from the “Areas of Knowledge” which are spread out over six attributes, and students must show that they have proficient skills in written communication, foreign language and quantitative reasoning.

            “What Will They Learn?” does not consider many of the required classes at AU legitimate requirements because students can test out of classes or bring in credits that satisfy the requirements.

            “Why should students be required to take Writing I if they don’t need it?” Lichtman said. “Testing out [of classes] allows students more time for their other work.”

            Additionally, “What Will They Learn?” has strict requirements.

            “[What Will They Learn?] might require course “x,” while we might have course “xy.”” AU Provost Rick Stephens said.

            Websites that rate schools have become more prevalent over the last few years.

            “Students and families are trying to find a way to measure the value of higher education,” Stephens said. “They are seductive to people in times when resources are tight.”

            Colleges are ranked based on two competing models: The first model ranks schools based upon input values, such as the number of faculty with PhDs and the number of books in a library, while the second ranks schools based on the output of a school which is determined by whether a college is meeting its goals.

            “What Will They Learn?” is based on the first ranking model. It looks at what courses AU has to offer, but it does not look any further than that.

            “Their ratings are incredibly limited in what they claim to tell consumers,” Stephens said.

            Alternately, AU is going through a period of reaccreditation that follows the second ranking model. The Middle States Accreditation Board will look at whether the university is meeting its objectives. The chair of the Middle States Accreditation Board visited AU once and will return with a team of analysts to look at the school. They will stay on campus and learn about AU firsthand.

            “They’re going to look at the whole picture,” Stephens said.

            “What Will They Learn?” also gives very low scores to some of the top-ranked liberal arts colleges in the country. Williams College, the top ranked Liberal Arts College in the country by U.S. News, received a “D” from the site. They require that students take at least three courses in each of their education divisions, “Languages and the Arts,” “Social Studies” and “Science and Mathematics.”  

            AU’s requirements are similar to Williams, and AU’s decision to give students flexibility in their class choices means that students have the opportunity to learn from a diverse pool of subjects.

            Ultimately, “What Will They Learn?” gives students a way to look at schools, but it only gives a very small piece of the picture.

            “I’m pretty dismissive of a thinly veneered snapshots,” Stephens said. “They have no real knowledge about these schools.”

Zu Zu Acrobats flip for Alfred by Cassie Klipera

Mouths dropped and hands ached from clapping this past Saturday as a crowded Holmes Auditorium watched the Zu Zu Acrobats balance and flip their way across the stage.

Coming from Mombasa, Kenya and East Africa the six Zu Zu Acrobats preformed a jaw dropping set which included a terrifying chair balancing, limbo, jump roping, flips, juggling and human pyramids.

This fun and energetic group of acrobats performed on “America’s Got Talent,” for the Harlem Globe Trotters, and for former President Bill Clinton in the White House. The Alfred community got to enjoy this wonderful event thanks to Umoja and the Caribbean Student Association who hosted the event as a part of Black History Month.

Starting in a poor village of which they named their group after, Zu Zu, the acrobats taught themselves how to perform by watching the Olympics and other examples on TV. They got their start performing in Europe where an American agent noticed and started working with them and have been performing for ten years since then.

During their performance they told the audience about their background and taught them some Swahili. Coincidently the audience was taught the meaning of one of the host club’s name, Umoja, which means unity, reminding us that anyone can be a part of these clubs.

The Zu Zu Acrobats also invited audience members up on stage for a round of limbo, dancing and hat juggling.

 “I thought it was really cool they brought kids up on stage,” said Roxanne Baker, a junior Geology major. She also said that although she understood why they wanted us to clap so much she preferred the last part of their act the best, which was like a continuous human puzzle where the six acrobats kept forming different human pyramids. During this part of the set they abstained from prompting the audience to clap. 

Throughout the show their was a fun little rivalry between two of the acrobats on who could get the most applause, so the audience was definitely tired by the end of the show. Also one of the acrobats had a unique yell he used in order to heighten the applause.

By far the most heart racing moment of the show was the chair-balancing act. Not only was one of the acrobats balanced on four chairs but those chairs were all balanced on an unstable plywood box that the acrobats found behind stage when they got here.

One of the chairs actually had a piece break off while the acrobat was climbing. He then proceeded to brush off this alarming event by shrugging his shoulders, laughing a bit and throwing the broken piece of wood to the side. If the audience wasn’t already scared for him they were now. The balancing was a success and at the end of the act the audience was able to breath again. 

Olin Struggles to Stay Warm by Jordan Loux

After a severe cold front hit Alfred University earlier this semester, the campus struggled with managing it’s heat in many academic buildings.

The Franklin W. Olin building, in particular, had some of the worst heating problems on campus.

“The past week was un-teachable,” said Professor of Political Science Robert Heineman. “I had to wear my heavy coat on the third floor.”

In the first two weeks of classes of the semester, many classrooms in Olin were left without heating, leaving some rooms and floors of the building freezing cold. Many students and professors had to wear their winter gear inside to get through the classes.

For faculty, students and members of the Physical Plant, Olin was one building that everyone wanted fixed as soon as possible.

This was the worst winter that Professor Heineman has seen in the 42 years that he has been teaching at Alfred University, and he felt that Olin should have been able to handle the cold better.

“My office was fine, but my classroom was freezing,” Heineman said. “The worst classrooms were on the second floor, which you could hardly spend any time in before the cold got to you.”

While the cold bothered him, Heineman said the ones who suffered the most were the students since it impacted their chances to learn.

“The common area on the third floor was all right, but the second floor was freezing,” one student said, who also had a class canceled because of the cold. “Room 207 was so cold that we had to move class upstairs,” another student said.

While some believe that the poor handling of the cold in Olin is because of budget cuts within the university, this is not the case.

“We lost control with Olin,” Physical Plant Director Brian Dodge said. “This should not have taken as long as it has.”

Dodge explained that three to four months ago, the university hired a new energy management control company to rewire and replace some of the water pumps in the heating system.

“There are over 100 heat pumps in Olin, and each pump has it’s own control board,” Dodge said. “The new system will make heating the building easier to manage.”

However, delays and issues occurred, such as the Physical Plant losing it’s satellite connection to Olin, causing the project that was supposed to completed before the Christmas break to drag on two extra months.

“We don’t blame them for this happening,” Dodge said. “We know that it’s a very hard job and they have been working hard to fix it.”

The heating of Olin during the cold temperatures was an issue that many had to force themselves through. The solution to this problem took longer than previously hoped, but Olin should now be prepared far down the line.

“The energy management system should be back up in a week,” said Dodge. “We’ll have better control of the building and the heat pumps.”

Documentary: The Act of Killing by Jordan Loux

Social Activist Nadine Hoover discussed the mass killings that took place in Indonesia between 1965 and 1966 on Oct. 23 in Alfred University’s Judson Leadership Center.

           “It has been about 50 years since the killings in Indonesia,” Hoover said. “And soon those responsible will die never facing trial for their actions.”

           Hoover’s discussion, attended by several members of the Alfred community, followed the viewing of a documentary titled The Act of Killing. The viewings took place on Oct. 21 at Alfred State and Oct. 22 at AU.

           The documentary began explaining the Indonesian military coup of 1965 which overthrew the government. Following the coup there was purge of the country’s  “communists,” in reality the mass killings of the ethnically Chinese in Indonesia as well as anyone who stood against the new government. Thugs and criminals were hired by new government to become their personal killing force.

           The documentary followed Anwar Congo a man who proudly boasts about killing communists, he is challenged to re-create his crimes on film in any style he wants, including Broadway musical. As he watches and takes part in these re-creations, he seems to become aware for the first time that he has committed horrible crimes, such as slaughtering a whole village and strangling dissenters with metal wire. By the end of the documentary, he is seen becoming physically ill due to his new-found knowledge.

           The Act of Killing  then focused on Indonesia today and how massacre perpetrators are now running the country. They are portrayed as abusing their power and shamelessly covering up their own crimes.

           Hoover’s post-documentary talk focused on the difficulties of making this controversial documentary, the U.S. government’s involvement in the 1956-66 uprising and massacre and the generational post-traumatic stress suffered by victims and perpetrators alike.

           “This documentary took the director eight years to make,” Hoover said. “He faced nearly constant interference from the Indonesian government.”

           The U.S. government helped fund the military coup, which is detailed in the documentary. For example, Congo would boast in the documentary how his styles of killing were based off of American films he had seen.

           Hoover pointed out how many of the scenes of violence in the documentary were followed by scenes of empty shopping malls, as if the director was trying to say that this was the final result of the coup. The U.S. government gave the coup leaders money to build new structures, but now there is no one left to enjoy them.

           According to Hoover, The Act of Killing focuses on the killers realizing the horrors of their  past, but it does not shy away from the psychological impacts that the massacre had on the Indonesian people.

           Killers and survivors, not actors, acted out these scenes of murder and, Hoover explained, that doing so was the perfect way to contract Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), which can lead to multiple personalities, amnesia, and other mental health problems.

       Hoover continued that not only does the massacre affect those who lived through it, but it influences future generations as well.  It has been scientifically proven that if a child sees his parent experiencing post-traumatic stress he will be likely to experience it as well, added Hoover.

           “Say you were eight when the killings happened,” she said. “You move on, and start your own family. But on the day your first child turns eight, subconsciously you remember the killings and become angry and scared, which passes onto the child.”

           Hoover concluded that it is important to be aware of what happens in our world so tragedies like the 1965-66 Indonesia uprising will not be repeated.

           “If nothing is done, this abuse will repeat itself for generations,” said Hoover.

Lefkowitz Lecture 2013 by Jasmine A. Ramon

The Jewish Haggadah, a Jewish text usually read at Passover Seder, has a rich past that continues to raise important questions, Vassar Professor Marc Michael Epstein told the AU community on Oct. 28 in Nevins Theater.

           The Lefkowitz Lecture series began in 2010, funded by AU alumni Leonard Lefkowitz and his wife, Saradona. Every year they invite a speaker to talk about Jewish culture and history. Epstein, the Corcoran Visiting Chair of Jewish-Christian Relations at Boston College, delivered the fourth annual speech, titled “Old Haggadot for New Audiences: Art, Story-Telling and the Religious Imagination,” to an attentive audience.

Passover is significant to the Jews because it marks the slaves leaving Egypt, the exodus commencing their liberty. The Haggadah’s illustrations display that journey and help make it relative to today’s Jews.

Epstein’s speech, based on his recent book The Medieval Haggadah: Art, Narrative, and Religious Imagination, focuses on what the illustrations say about the Exodus and its relationship to Jewish culture past and present.

“[The Exodus] should not be forgotten,” Eptstein said. “Jews are obligated to view themselves as though they just came out of Egypt.”

Epstein’s research drew comparisons between Christianity and Judaism in their illustrations.

The Plague of Frogs is described in both the Bible and the Haggadah. The Bible tells how Aaron raises his staff and the frogs come out of the Nile. Another reading in Judaism is that a single frog came out of the Nile, was beaten, and from its mouth spewed more frogs. A more renowned haggadah, the Golden Haggadah, illustrates both versions of this scene.

An interesting observation Epstein made of the Golden Haggadah was the prominence of women throughout the text even when they weren’t really necessary, a rather controversial pattern.

“I see things and cannot keep silent,” he said.

Epstein spoke about the importance of raising questions with every minority group, because there is always evidence that will reveal the true identity of a group. It is more important to make your own observations.

“The answer matters infinitely less than the question,” he said.

The Haggadah is nothing without the illustrations according to Epstein, which is why he studies them so closely despite people deeming his speculations “far-fetched” because of the lack of concrete evidence.

He said to the audience what his wife tells him when he fears rejection: If they tell you you’re wrong, ask if they have a better idea.

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