Annual NPHC Yard Show kicks off start of school year

Photograph by Rebekah Martin

Fraternity Phi Beta Sigma and sorority Zeta Phi Beta hosted their annual Yard Show on Monday, as part of their combined Blue and White Week for the organizations.

The two Greek organizations hold Blue and White Week for students to “come out and get to know them individually,” Zeta Phi Beta senior Tyler Holliman said.

This year’s theme was “Home Improvement,” named after the newly completed Greek housing project that gave both organizations new dwellings. Zeta Phi Beta had previously occupied a small house behind Falcon Heights on Thurstin Ave., but now they have a new house in the new Greek Village, with Sigma Phi Beta across the walkway from them.

The two organizations, along with the other National Pan-Hellenic Council Greek organizations (also called the “Divine Nine”), have been doing the step show for over 10 years. Multicultural Greek organizations Sigma Lambda Gamma and Sigma Lambda Beta also participated in the Yard Show.

“It is specifically for Divine Nine. We do have them (Sigma Lambda Gamma and Sigma Lambda Beta) participate because they are considered our cousins,” said Phi Beta Sigma member Jay Wells, who participated in his last show as a senior.

“Over the years, other Intrafraternity Council and (Pan-Hellenic) have joined in,” Phi Beta Sigma chapter president A’Davius Chambers said, who’s participating in his third Yard Show. “They got invited for … certain things, but it’s based upon the Divine Nine.”

The yard show displays the Greek organizations stepping and strolling, which comes from African culture. The organizations dance together in various formations as one group.

“The way we look at it is like … a way to just advertise our organizations to … the students, especially the first years,” Chambers said. “Just trying to get them to want to join our organizations.”

Fraternity Omega Psi Phi participated in their first Yard Show in three years. New member Chris McClendon said the fraternity was “happy to be back on campus,” and is ready to serve their community.

For Holliman, it was her final year participating in the Yard Show and said the moment was “bittersweet.”

Historically, the two Greek organizations are the only organizations in the Divine Nine that are constitutionally bound as being brothers and sisters, so the two organizations made sure their houses were close to each other when Greek housing was being planned out.

The next event for Blue and White Week is a money management workshop at 7 p.m. Tuesday in BA 1002. A list of their other Blue and White Week events can be found on their Twitter page, @BG_Elite1914.

This story was edited by the original author.
This story was originally published in BG Falcon Media’s independent student publication, The BG News, which can be found here.


New graduate class coming this fall helps combat Islamophobia

A new graduate course coming this fall will help students understand Islamophobia in the past and present through media, such as film and literature.

Khani Begum, who will teach the course called “Deconstructing Islamophobia,” said the class is to help students understand Islam “is not exactly related to terrorism itself, but that it is something certain groups have tried to move in the direction of making Islam their ‘rallying call’ … for their own agendas.”

Begum was inspired to create the class after speaking on panels about Islamophobia in the Bowling Green community.

Growing Islamophobia rhetoric has made its way into politics and at the forefront of mainstream media. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump callied for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States and former opponent Ted Cruz demanded more policing and heavier monitoring on Muslim communities.

Begum, who is of Muslim, said the class shows how certain media and literatures view Islam and how to address Islamophobia in the graduate students’ own communities.

“When you see someone who is being demonized, what do you do? Do you step in there? How do you inform these people who are … trying to profile?” Begum wants to address these questions.

She said the new rhetoric society has seen post-9/11 isn’t particularly new at all, and Islam is not the first culture to be demonized or feared.

“The same thing happened with the Jewish populations in Europe,” she said. “It’s very similar, the way they were demonized by the Nazis.”

She hopes the course will get students to see this through both literature and film made by both the cultures that demonize Islam, but also medias made by others who showcase the lives of ordinary Muslims.

“We’re going to do a lot of theoretical writings that kind of trace the background … of Islamophobia,” Begum said. “When did it start … how was it first considered in the early centuries and now today? What are the different connotations of it?”

Begum also said the course is taking on a new and “innovative” task.

Students will complete a service learning assignment for their final class project. The students will be connecting with community groups such as Not in Our Town, The Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, or WBGU-TV to produce a project based on the knowledge they have acquired throughout the semester.

“The students will have a chance to either produce a little short that could be shown on WBGU-TV,” she said. “They could do a panel of discussion with people from the community or they could do a short film.”

Only three students have signed up for the class so far, but she’s hoping for more participation as the fall semester approaches.

She also hopes to create an undergraduate class pertaining to Islamophobia.

“It would have to be more literature and film based, and not as much theory,” she said. “But we’d do a few essays … and maybe some media things.”

Unnecessary trash clutters campus, audit finds

One person looks through garbage that is in on a tarp in the Union Oval at Bowling Green State University

Environmental Service Club and Environmental Action Group conducted a rescheduled waste audit on Thursday, April 14, to determine how much was being used in certain academic buildings on campus.

Originally planned for April 6, it was rescheduled due to bad weather.

The two groups wore Hazmat suits and took trash from the Business Administration, Eppler, Hayes and Olscamp buildings, dumped the trash onto a tarp near the Union Oval and sorted through it.

They separated the trash among multiple categories: cans, plastic bottles, disposable cups, paper, glass bottles, bathroom trash, compost, cardboard, plastic bags and general plastic. Five of these categories (cans, plastic bottles, disposable cups, glass bottles and plastic bags) are recyclable materials.

A bar graph from the Environmental Service Club tallying their total amount of recyclable waste found.
The count of waste of all recyclable materials. Now that the audit is over, these items will be taken to a recycling center where they will be properly disposed of.

The groups spent eight hours Thursday in the Union Oval, counting the buildings’ waste and monitoring their count on a white board that was displayed outside of the garbage zone. The board was frequently updated throughout the day allowing students to see the progress throughout the day.

The waste audit is meant to see what people are throwing away that could potentially go to other forms of waste disposal such as recycling and composting.

Environmental Service Club president, Lily Murnen said the Union throws out nearly seven tons of trash weekly, which converts to 12,000 to 14,000 pounds.

“By purely looking at pounds trash (428 pounds in total), 45 percent of the waste stream was recyclable or could have been prevented by personal lifestyle decisions or a revised campus policy,” Murnen stated in an email. “Pounds, however, are deceiving and not all types of waste weigh the same amount per item … We audited categories that could be easily counted, we made sure to count them individually along with the weight.”

A bar graph showing the total amount of waste sorted through by the environmental service club
All of the waste that was sorted by Environmental Service Club was separated into 10 categories. The items that cannot be recycled will be taken landfills.

Of all the categories, bathroom trash had 46 pounds of waste, the most of all the categories. The least pounds of waste was general plastic.

Compost, which is a decayed mix of organic matter (such as fruits, vegetables, grass and leaves), accounted for almost five percent of the audit’s waste.

“If BGSU invested in composting, we would be able to reduce this number drastically, she wrote in the email.

While the University does not have a composting program or policy in place, Environmental Action Group has put in another policy that has helped reduce waste in the Student Union.

“There is a policy that (we) put into place at the beginning of the semester,” President Matthew Cunningham said. “Cashiers no longer ask if you would like a bag. It’s a simple policy; just that policy alone has reduced bag consumption on campus by 18,750 in the past two months.”

But Cunningham knows that this policy isn’t the end of his work in the environmental groups.

“We still have a lot of work to go,” he said. “We’re still using almost 2,000 bags every single day on campus.”

Murnen thanked everyone who participated in the audit and helped engage people during the event.

“We hope that you will continue to think about what you buy and throw away and that you will use your voice to push for sustainable reform here on campus.”

Editor’s Note: This article was updated to correct the number for bag consumption reduced from 750 to 18,750
This article was updated by the original author and edited for the web.
This article was originally printed by independent student publication, The BG News, on April 19, 2016 which can be found here.

Richard Racette on Running for USG Vice President

I’m running for USG vice president to make the changes that are necessary to the Undergraduate Student Government as well as Bowling Green. It is an honor to be able to be [Amanda Dortch’s] running mate. Amand and I … promise … we will put our everything into our community, Bowling Green State University, a better place. 

Nathan Burkholder on Running for USG’s Senator At-Large

I am running … To ensure that the undergraduate student body at BGSU is well represented during the next academic year …. I love the feeling of community that comes from the student body …. We are all part of a community of achievers, and I want to see this community thrive. The community will thrive if there is proper representation that allows it to thrive. As a Senator At-Large, I will provide this representation so all of our concerns are heard

Zhane Ceasor on Running for USG’s College Health and Human Services Senator

I decided to run because I feel that the students’ needs within my college aren’t being met as adequately and efficiently as they should/could be …. I feel there is a huge disconnect between the students and the higher up personnel in the college …. I want to change that. I want students who belong to this college to … feel like they belong and bring more awareness to the services it has to offer. I want them to see the college as more than just a ‘building with advisers and classrooms.’

Speaker: consumerism hurts feminism

A picture of Bitch Media co-founder, Andi Zeisler speaking at a podium

The University Culture Club brought co-founder of Bitch Media Andi Zeisler to the Ray Browne Conference as the Battleground States Keynote Address speaker on Saturday, where she warned the audience of the effect consumerism has on feminism.

Her presentation, “From Riot Grrrl to Marketplace Feminism,” discussed how feminism in past years has not only become actions, but also an identity that has been adapted by popular culture and businesses.

The Guerrilla Girls' movie poster titled, "The Birth of Feminism." On the poster from left to right are actresses Pamela Anderson, Halle Berry and Catherine Zeta-Jones
Andi Zeisler spoke about the Guerrilla Girls in her presentation. Founded in 1985, they’re an anonymous group of female artists dedicated to fighting sexism and racism in the art world. Since 2002, they have designed and installed billboards in Los Angeles to expose white male dominance in the film industry.

“Feminism, just in the past couple of years, has become this identity that has really been taken on by Hollywood and by mainstream popular culture,” she said. “And we see it increasingly as an identity that’s filtered through images … through Hollywood … through advertising and through branding.”

Zeisler found feminism in high school in New York City, studying visual art while working under women artists.

“They … were very aware of the institutional sexism in the world of fine art, and so through them I was exposed to pop culture critique and response like this.”

In the 80s, she said, people weren’t interested in adopting the “feminist” label and was often discussed as a “finite movement that had come and gone.”

But now, growing up and coming to feminism at a time when people did not want to identify as such, Zeisler said it’s indescribable how the evolution of feminism the past few years has a desirable identity. “It’s been really gratifying to see feminism become a lens through which mainstream media increasingly looks at politics and pop culture and current events.”

In some industries, such as the fashion designers, “feminism” has become a buzzword for a category of products.

“There’s feminist jewelry, there’s feminist underpants,” she said. “In Sweden, there’s a feminist energy drink.”

An ad for the company Brawny which features four women.
To honor International Women’s Day this past March, paper towel company Brawny launched a #StrengthHasNoGender campaign in which they featured women “embody strength and resilience in male-dominated fields.”

She calls this “marketplace feminism,” because it builds on the long history of advertising to women using the language of liberation.

“I see marketplace feminism simply because feminism itself has changed so much in just the past few decades,” she said.

In the 90s, the “riot grrrl” was a subculture that came out of punk movements and pointed out the general lack of girl power from society. At the end of the decade, “girl power” was appropriated in the form of the Spice Girls.

“They were created to be a vehicle for dolls, backpacks and lunchboxes,” Zeisler said, adding that their music became secondary to their marketing and merchandised products.“In a way this … marketing has really informed how marketplace feminism looks. “Forty years ago … there were no gendered earplugs …. Part of marketplace [feminism] is not feminism at all in the sense that it’s really biological essentialism dressed up as girl power.”

She cautioned that every feminism movement has the possibility to be taken over by both capitalism and consumerism.

Jenn Brandt, a 2007 masters alumna, has been teaching Andi Zeisler’s work in her feminism and popular culture classes for the last 10 years.

Brandt graduated from the pop culture department and currently teaches at High Point University in North Carolina. This was the first time she has heard Zeisler’s talk in person and though the talked reflected what she sees with her students.

“I see more media celebrities embracing the term, ‘feminism,’ which on one hand is great because it introduces students to a topic that they might not immediately gravitate toward,” she said. “Feminism has become more an identity than a political activist movement.”

Brandt wishes more people would have attended the speech.

“I think what she is saying is very important,” she said. “It’s a really great component of an excellent conference.”

This article has been updated for the web and edited by the original author.
This article was published in print by independent student publication, The BG News, which can be found here.

Amanda Dortch on Running for USG President

I am running for President because I want to serve the undergraduate student body. My running mate and I have seen a need in ensuring that the undergraduate voice is not only being heard, but being empowered as well.

This institution is currently going throw a lot of transition with new additions in academia, construction and incorporating new staff. Our job is to ensure that students are always at the forefront of people’s minds when decisions are being made and that students are aware and engaged in those conversation of change.

Our goal is to be of service students first. We want not only to be the student voice, but to empower the student voice.

Initiative uses sports for social justice

Last semester, black players on the University of Missouri’s football team called for the university president to resign from the administration after slowly responding to a number of race-related incidents on campus.

A campus-wide initiative at the University is hoping to also bring sports into the discussion of social justice, but with collaboration of university organizations.

We Are One Team is an initiative that “brings together a strong group of advocates for positive social change who are united by their mutual love of sport,” according to their Facebook page.

President and doctoral student, Yannick Kluch said when he first came to the United States from Germany to participate in the master’s program, he noticed how major sports were in the U.S.

“We don’t have sports in college or high school,” Kluch said. With an academic background in feminist studies and a love of sports already, he decided to combine his two passions.

“Our goal is to promote social justice by using sport,” he said. “Sports can be a very meaningful place to start discussions of gender equality or other social justice issues.”

According to their identity statement and vision, WA1T uses sports as a platform to not only raise awareness about social injustices and promoting inclusiveness, but also hopes to bridge and create friendships between stereotyped groups on campus.

The idea took form in January 2015, but became active in the fall and has been a productive initiative ever since it launched. WA1T has 12 different collaborators, including the Women’s Center, BGSU Athletics and the Intrafraternity and Panhellenic Greek Councils.

“Everybody was really excited about it,” Kluch said. “We want this to be successful at BGSU … We want to take it to other campuses too. We really (don’t) want this to be a one year thing.”

The initiative has had events already both this semester and fall semester, and is currently holding a year long photography campaign for the initiative.

Last semester, WA1T held a panel discussion and speaker event called “What Does it Mean to be a Transgender Athlete?” where 160 people attended to hear University cross country member Brent Darah speak about his transition and how it has impacted his athletic career.

Currently, WA1T is having events all through the month of March for Women’s History Month, including more panels and speakers.

Kluch emphasized that people don’t have to love sports in order to be involved with the initiative.

“You don’t have to be crazy about sports to be part of We Are One Team. Our message is that as Falcons, we are all one team.”

WA1T’s next event for Women’s History Month will be Wednesday, March 16.

To find out more about We Are One Team, visit their Facebook page.

This article has been edited by the original author.
This article was originally published in the independent student publication, The BG News, which can be found here.

Speaker at Black Issues Conference highlights role of activism in shaping politics

A picture of activist Rosa Clemente speaking to an audience at a podium at Bowling Green State University.

More than 300 people attended the 17th annual Black Issues Conference keynote luncheon to hear hip-hop activist and 2008 Green Party vice presidential candidate Rosa Clemente speak on Saturday.

Clemente spoke at the University this weekend as part of her “If I Was President” Tour.

Before stepping onstage, student Ashli Ericka Hunter introduced her.

“Rosa has spent her life dedicated to scholarly activism,” Hunter said.

In 2001, she published an article in the Chicago newspaper, Final Call, called “Who is Black?” which sparked discussion about cultural identity, political identity and racial identity.

Both Clemente and Hunter identify as Afro-Latino, a term used to describe people who identify with both African and Latino heritages.

“’I am so tired of having to prove to others that I am black,’” Hunter quoted from Clemente’s article.

Following her introduction, Rosa Clemente took the podium and read the article in its entirety.

“Being Latino is not a cultural identity, but … a political one,” she said to the audience. “Being Puerto Rican is not a racial identity, but … a cultural and national one … Being black is my racial identity.”

Clemente brought up a lot of issues affecting both Latino and black communities, including education.

She discussed how power of protest helped in getting people of color into colleges and universities in order to have the same educational opportunities as their white peers.

“We changed these institutions,” she said. “Why did we get in here? Because of protest. Not because of Civil Rights legislation, because of the Black Power Movement.”

She also called out the public education system for only having students focus on standardized testing and not helping them prepare for college.

“No Child Left Behind Act destroyed public education and critical thinking,” she said.

She connected this with the School-to-Prison Pipeline, which refers to policies that push schoolchildren (often of color) into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.

“We have young people graduating with records. Ninety percent are African-American and Latino students,” she said.

Clemente also shared her story of going to college and being open to new information about both her identities.

“When I went through school, I was going through moments of a lot anger,” she said. “Like, wait a minute — why was all this kept from me? Why didn’t my parents tell me this?”

She said it was through her studies that she became an activist.

“It’s usually something that sparks you to become an organizer, an activist. I became an activist and a scholar through my college experience. I became an organizer when I moved back to New York, started teaching, left … and I joined the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.”

Clemente closed her speech by encouraging the audience to be aware of who they’re voting for when they go into the booths.

“Be radical in this movement around black lives,” she said. “We don’t have time anymore for games.”

The article has been updated by the original author.

This article was originally printed on March 1, 2015 in the independent student publication, The BG News, which can be found here.