Regina Carter jazzes up PAC

An engaging sound is about to arrive at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center at Mercyhurst College – the sound of acclaimed jazz violinist Regina Carter. Lauded as “wonderfully listenable, probingly intelligent and, at times, breathtakingly daring...taking the listener into the future of jazz,” by Time magazine, Carter is known for her interesting combination of the African Diaspora and more standard jazz sounds. Regina Carter first pursued a career as a jazz violinist against the wishes of her parents, who were concerned for her financial future. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Performance with a double major in classical music and African American music, studying at both the prestigious New England Conservatory and Oakland University. She then forged ahead with her career, carving a path for herself within a difficult field. Among her many varied accomplishments, she was the first jazz musician and African American to play the Guarneri del Gesu, the renowned violin owned by Nicolo Paganini, and she has played alongside jazz legends like Ray Brown and Dr. Billy Taylor and popular musical icons Dolly Parton and Billy Joel. Carter is known for giving riveting performances and has ambitious national and international touring schedules.

Since her arrival on the music scene, Carter has had success that shows no indication of ending. Downbeat magazine named Carter the world’s greatest jazz violinist for four straight years. The album “Reverse Thread,” a collection that offers a contemporary interpretation of African folk music, is Carter’s newest work. This album is set to be released in 2010 and will feature the talents of accordionist Will Holshouser, kora player Yacouba Sissoko, bassist Chris Lightcap and percussionist Alvester Garnett. When asked about the upcoming performance, Music Department Chair Louisa Jonason said, “Regina is a jazz artist, although classically trained. I look forward to hearing her.” “Talented violinists really impress me because the violin is so hard to play,” junior Leah Kroll said when discussing Carter. The performance is Friday, Oct. 2, at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the PAC box office or by calling extension 3000. Tickets are $15 with a Mercyhurst student ID. More information on Carter is available at


Professors EXCLUSIVE: teach to empty Off-campus seats Dec. 21 policy eased for juniors
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Jeffrey Pollard Tapping into finds strength faith at the from teammate Cornerstone
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current economic situation. He said the “economic problem is a big deal because the rich people are becoming poor.” During one of his routines, he discussed the differences between a shy guy asking a girl out and a stalker asking a girl out. “There is a thin line between stalker and shy,” Garrity said. Garrity went on to explain the shy guy can appear to be cute when he stumbles over his words, but the creepy guy who just stares can come across as a stalker. Garrity made facial expressions, crazy movements and sound effects to go along with his jokes. “It was very original,” freshman Jennifer McCurdy said. “It was thrilling,” freshman Molly Beichner said. Garrity performs at college campuses and clubs throughout the United States.

December 16, 2009

Comedian covers contemporary issues
By Chelsee Callahan
Staff writer Comedian Patrick Garrity entertained the Mercyhurst College community on Friday, Dec. 11, by telling jokes that covered many different topics. His comedic act covered topics such as traveling, being broke, being single, television, siblings, parties and police officers. Garrity made jokes about some controversial issues, as well. These controversial issues included race, the military and religion. “Why do we train the military with bayonets?” Garrity asked. “You have to run and scream with them. Like the enemy won’t see that coming.” “He made controversial topics funny and fun to talk about,” freshman Rebecca Conley said. One of Garrity’s jokes was about the

Ethan Magoc photo

Comedian Patrick Garrity performed at Mercyhurst College on Friday, Dec. 11. Besides telling jokes, he entertained the audience by making facial expressions while doing celebrity impersonations.

Christmas on Campus brightens children’s holiday
By Kelly Dempsey
Staff writer As part of Mercyhurst College’s annual Christmas preparations, the college hosted children from the Erie community for a day of fun and holiday cheer. On Saturday, Dec. 12, approximately 100 children visited Mercyhurst for Christmas on Campus. The children were each assigned a Mercyhurst student as their buddy for the day. Students helped the children carry around bags full of Christmas goodies, decorate cookies and make various crafts. The children participated in activities such as face painting and paper hat making. Santa and Mrs. Claus, played by freshmen Braiden Ross and Miranda Flores, presented a gift to each child. The children were provided snacks, including pizza, candy and cookies. Campus Ministry provided entertainment for the children by dressing as various children’s television and movie characters. The costumes included Cinderella, SpongeBob, Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Pocahontas, Buzz and Woody. The crafts were provided by various clubs on campus. “Seeing all the little kids was great,” freshman Giulia Parli said. “They were so cute and so excited for Christmas.” Christmas on Campus has been a fixture of the holiday season for the past seven years.

Johnson & Johnson Properties Rental Houses available for next year call now to lock yours up! 814-860-8817

Santa delivered gifts to children at Christmas on Campus.

Tyler Stauffer photo

December 16, 2009

Criminal mischief to vehicle Saturday, Dec. 5 Larceny/ theft Saturday, Dec. 5 Larceny/ theft Sunday, Dec. 6 Liquor law violation Wednesday, Dec. 9 Liquor law violation Thursday, Dec. 10 Liquor law violation Friday, Dec. 11 Disorderly conduct Saturday, Dec. 12 Dec. 5 - 12, 2009 Briggs Avenue Referred to other agency Zurn Hall Closed 3808 Briggs Avenue College discipline 3925 Lewis Avenue closed 3809 Briggs Avenue closed

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Trustees vote against certification of Warde
By Jennifer McCurdy
Staff writer The Mercyhurst College Board of Trustees voted unanimously against the pursuit of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for Frances Warde Hall during their meeting on Thursday, Oct. 29. According to the motion passed by the Board of Trustees, “The $85,000 needed to embark on Phase II in LEED certification…would be better spent to support future green initiatives on campus.” Rather than spend money on LEED certification, which proves the sustainability of the building without necessarily improving it, the Board of Trustees developed alternative plans to use the money. These plans include the development of a solar composter, solar and wind energy sources for the Mercyhurst West County campus or a project to convert fat and oil used in the cafeteria into biodiesel fuel. Members of the board particularly favor the idea of building a green roof in Zurn Hall. The building needs to replace one roof in the near future, and the construction of a green roof would both boost Mercyhurst’s environmental efforts and possibly provide research material for the biology department. LEED certification, which rates how ‘green’ a building is according to third-party commissioners, provides proof to the public that a building has been designed to “increase profitability while reducing the negative environmental impacts,” as reported by the Natural Resources Defense Council. State and local governments may provide incentives as well, but for the most part, certification acts as a status symbol or, as Executive Vice President for Administration Thomas Billingsley said, “a badge to carry.” Warde Hall may be eligible for LEED certification. Buehler & Associates, Inc., who designed the student housing project with its sustainability in mind and later donated the $12,400 fee to the college, achieved 26 out of 69 possible credits toward certification, meaning that Mercyhurst achieved the minimum number of credits required for certification. The Board of Trustees ruled

against certification due to the cost of the application process. Depending on commissioning fees, the estimated total LEED cost could amount to over $85,000. Furthermore, the subjective process does not guarantee certification despite the fact that the college met minimal requirements. “While the (LEED) certification would have been a good public relations move for the school’s reputation as a green campus, it’s true that the money can be put to better uses that the school has proposed,” Green Team Student President senior Zoey Alderman-Tuttle said. “Working on other green projects is good,” freshman Sacha Chadwick said, “but having that LEED certification shows that the first project is complete.” Amidst diverse student sentiments, the Board of Trustees released this statement: “The committee is satisfied that the college, architects, developer and committee practiced due diligence to produce a sustainable building on the Mercyhurst campus in line with the core values of the college. No memorialization of the effort is needed.”

Wayne Street Apartments College discipline Outside Warde Townhouses College discipline

Hammermill Library Christmas Break Hours
Tuesday, Dec. 22: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 23: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. Friday, Dec. 25 Saturday, Jan. 2: Closed Sunday, Jan. 3: 1 p.m. – 1 a.m. Monday, Jan. 4: Resume Regular Hours

The 24/7 Study Lounge will only be available during these hours.

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altogether or found alternative ways of holding class. Sophomore Tyler Stauffer’s art education class will be held via Skype and live blogging. “Having class online is a good alternative to actually going to class. You can go home but still attend class,” Stauffer said. Vice President of Academic Affairs Phillip Belfiore encourages faculty and students to talk to each other about issues concerning Christmas break. “Faculty are generally good and compassionate people and will work with students.” However, 12 percent of students who responded to The Merciad’s poll said their professors made attendance mandatory. “My one teacher is making it double attendance points, but all my other classes are cancelled. It’s pointless,” senior Lacey Neugebauer said. Several professors made offrecord comments stating the situation is unfair to teachers without tenure, as these professors are more afraid of receiving repercussions from canceling class than professors with tenure. This may be the reason senior international student Michelle Simpson’s professor refused to reschedule her quiz. Simpson said her plane ticket to Jamaica would be $400 less expensive if she could leave on Dec. 19. The extra day of classes puts a burden on students who live far away from campus. “International students are a big part of the campus population. They should have taken us into account when they made the schedule,” Simpson said. Assistant Vice President for Academic Services Michelle Wheaton is responsible for creating a tentative academic schedule for final approval by the college council. Wheaton said this year was a challenge because of the way the holiday fell. “I apologize for the way the calendar worked out this year... Truly, we understand the challenges students are faced with, but we have to at least have it on the books that way.” “The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires we hold 40 contact hours per term for semester credit,” Wheaton said. Another concern among students is the lack of a reading day or a weekend between the end of the term and finals. As the schedule stands, classes will end on Tuesday, Feb. 16, with finals beginning the next day. While senior Adam Olszewski said, “I don’t have enough time to drink before finals,” freshman Tori Spada is concerned she won’t have enough time to study. “I’m a little overwhelmed. A lot of freshmen took a heavy course load this term, including me, and I think it’ll affect our finals,” Spada said. English professor Heidi Hosey

December 16, 2009

Professors teach to empty seats Dec. 21
By JoEllen Marsh
Editor-in-chief As Mercyhurst College’s students and faculty prepare for the holiday season, one date seems to have surpassed Christmas as the hot topic of conversation: Monday, Dec. 21. Despite the difficulties imposed on the college community, the college scheduled class four days before Christmas in order to get the required number of class hours. Only 25 percent of students who responded to an online survey plan to be in class on Monday. Senior Ray Horton said, “It doesn’t make a lot of sense. I’m an RA in Warde and I have maybe three residents in my wing staying until Monday. Professors will be teaching to an empty room.” Many professors made attendance optional, cancelled class said, “I think it’s more pressure for the faculty to grade finals... Grades tend to be due fairly quickly, often as early as Monday.” Wheaton said the alternative to the current schedule was to hold classes on Martin Luther King Day, but the administration was reluctant to cancel the celebrations planned for the holiday. Senior Sherette Almandez participated in Martin Luther King Day events last year. “I guess in that respect I could understand, but maybe they could have taken a couple of days off Thanksgiving break,” she said. By shortening the time between terms, however, Wheaton worried students would not have enough time to recuperate before starting a new term. “There is not much wiggle room when you’re working with a trimester,” she said. There is a light at the end of the tunnel: Next year students will have all of Christmas week off, according to Wheaton.

Off-campus policy eased for juniors
By JoEllen Marsh
Editor-in-chief More students returning to Mercyhurst College means current freshmen and sophomores will be allowed to live off campus when they are juniors. The decision not to implement the new policy, which required students to live on campus until their senior year, was made at a president’s staff meeting held in early December. According to Vice President of Residence Life Gerry Tobin, the large freshman class and the high sophomore retention rate would have caused housing congestion for upper classmen by 2012 had the college implemented the policy. Sophomore Matt Cirell is among the students happy with the decision. “We are no longer children; we are adults,” he said. “If we are expected to take care of ourselves in the real world, we should at least be able to choose our own college living space.” “This past year we were able to offer a number of triples, and students have responded very positively to that living environment,” Tobin said. With the current mix of triple and quadruple occupancy, the capacity of the upper class area is 1,303 and current occupancy is 1,255, according to Tobin. If juniors were required to live on campus in the 2012-13 school year, residence life estimates the capacity would remain at 1,303 but they would need to provide housing for 1,408 students. This would force the Briggs and Lewis Avenue apartments to revert to quadruple occupancy. “We don’t want to revisit that again if we can help it... We hadn’t implemented the policy, so it made sense to delay it until we figure out how to expand capacity,” Tobin said. Expanded capacity could come in the form of a new residence hall, depending on the outcome of a new study. The study is focused on the needs of upperclassman student housing and the feasibility of making repairs to the worst buildings (especially Highland Square) versus building a new residence hall. The administration has not given up on the idea of making all juniors live on campus, but current freshmen and sophomores will not have to worry about the policy. Sophomore Courtney Clair said, “It’s a big step for juniors to be able to live off campus… It’s another way to live on your own, a bigger leap into the real world.” “I think that it still would be a very good idea for students to live on campus. It’s a safer world and it’s a good opportunity, we just have to have the right environment to be able to do that,” Tobin said. The new environment created by the addition of Warde Hall has increased freshman satisfaction, and may be a good indication that the retention rate will continue to increase. Approximately 81 percent of

the class of 2012 returned this year as sophomores, a six percent increase from the previous year’s class, according to Tobin. Mercyhurst has a strategy for increasing retention. The college has “really aggressively looked at students who have not registered on time, (and) instead of just letting them sit out,” Tobin said, the school is looking to assist them, whether through the help of academic counselors, academic support or financial aid. The key to retention ultimately does not lie with the college, Tobin intimated. “It’s one of those things where you can offer the program and the opportunities, but it’s up to the students in the end to avail themselves,” Tobin said.

December 16, 2009


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PRSSA connects students, professionals
By Jennifer McCurdy
Contributing writer The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) recently accepted Mercyhurst College into its membership. The goal of PRSSA is to create relationships between students and professionals in the field of business, communications, marketing and public relations. According to its official Web site, the PRSSA “began with nine alpha chapters on November 11, 1968. We have since grown to include 284 Chapters and more than 9,600 ety of America because networking in today’s job market is essential; 80 percent of job seekers say networking has enhanced their search or got them their job. The PRSSA offers students this advantage by connecting them with industry professionals and providing the students access to the latest industry information.” Freshman communication major Danielle Battaglia said, “I did not see the point in joining when I’m a freshman since it doesn’t really benefit me yet.” Battaglia also mentioned her reluctance to pay the fees, which amount to $75 to become a national member and receive full benefits. “I think it might be worth it to a senior or upperclassmen when they start searching for a job, but I don’t see a freshman getting much out of going to these meetings besides free food,” she said. Another freshman, Chelsee Callahan, disagreed. “I actually (think joining is) a good idea. It’s an opportunity to meet people in your field and toss around new ideas,” Callahan said. Students interested in the PRSSA should contact senior Brittani Devore, the group’s president, or check out prssa. org for more information.

members across the nation.” Members of PRSSA have access to many benefits such as competitions, national and regional conferences, job boards and scholarships. Members of the Mercyhurst College PRSSA will also have opportunities to network with professionals from the

Erie and Pittsburgh Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) chapters. The goal of these activities is to support students in their efforts to network and develop professional skills. Faculty adviser Meghan Corbin said, “We started the Public Relations Student Soci-

Lake Pleasant Road: Enjoy an Erie Treasure
By Katie Atkins
Contributing writer Just south of the hubbub, the traffic, the crowded streets of the city of Erie lies a stretch of land unknown to some, a treasure to others. Some hunt or fish for trout in the clean and clear bodies of water there, while others simply drive down the almost nine mile road that leads into the country, lined with trees. Lake Pleasant Road isn’t just another stretch of pavement. It doesn’t seem to belong anywhere near a city. Houses sit sporadically, people are sometimes seen tending to their gardens or children playing in acres of grass. Roughly halfway down Lake Pleasant Road sits a dirt race track, set a quarter of a mile back in a clearing. Prior to the race track is a mini golf course and driving range, lit up on summer nights with a sign advertising special deals and ice cream. Seven miles down Lake Pleasant Road is West Greene Road, and on the corner sits Tri-State Taxidermy, a small shop with a self-explanatory name. Other than these three establishments, not much other than houses and barns line the road. “Lake Pleasant is an escape from reality,” one Mercyhurst senior who travels the road often to relax said. “The energy there is completely different than on campus. It’s serene and calm. You can hear yourself think.” “It’s not uncommon to drive behind a tractor on Lake Pleasant Road,” said senior Piasha Chanda, a frequent Lake Pleasant Road driver. “My favorite thing about Lake Pleasant Road is Lake Pleasant itself ” she said. Just under a half a mile long and a quarter of a mile wide, Lake Pleasant is a small freshwater lake located eight and a half miles outside of Erie on Lake Pleasant Road. A few houses dot its edges, surrounded by greenery. It’s easy to imagine the serenity of living in such a quiet location, away from city life. “I like to climb the trees on the roadside and sit with my friends, talking about life,” Chanda said. “At night, the stars shine bright and can be seen with clarity,” another Mercyhurst student said. A fan of Lake Pleasant Road said he and his friends went to Lake Pleasant in the past week to take pictures of fall foliage. On sunny days, Lake Pleasant Road is busier than usual. Not only do college students unfamiliar with the area and looking for a simple escape enjoy the seemingly foreign stretch of land along Lake Pleasant Road, but longtime Erie residents also enjoy the road, which makes it one of Erie’s natural treasures.

Contributed photo

Senior Piasha Chanda climbs one of the many trees lining Lake Pleasant.


An Erieite Appetite: Joe Roots Grill
The Original Erieite

Merciad. Features

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December 16, 2009

‘Joyeux Noel’ rejoices Christmas in wartime
By Kathleen Vogtle
Staff writer Let’s face it: In this day and age, it’s often difficult to find the good in many situations. But every so often, usually when we least expect it, an illustration of humanity will show itself. Perhaps the most obvious of these experiences occurred on Christmas Eve, 1914. Most, if not all of us, have heard this story through our various history classes, how in the midst of World War I an informal truce was called and Christmas was celebrated amidst the warring factions. This week’s segment of the Guelcher Film Series, “Joyeux Noel,” lends a reality to this event which no history book
MET simulcast “Hoffmann” tells tales of romance
The opera “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” will be streamed to the PAC on Saturday, Dec. 19, at 1:00 p.m.

A&E online

’Hurst choir sings Vivaldi, carols
The college’s choir sang at the PAC and at Immanuel Lutheran Church on Sunday, Dec. 13.

could ever hope to capture. “Joyeux Noel” focuses on one particular stretch of the front lines and the experiences of several individuals. Sprink (Benno Furmann) is a German tenor who left the opera to serve the military; Jonathan and William (Steven Robertson, Robin Laing) are two Scottish brothers who joined the army to accomplish something with their lives.

‘Joyeux Noel’ documents the actual events of Dec. 24, 1914. photo

The boys’ parish priest, Father Palmer (Gary Lewis), is present as well, lending his services as a stretcher bearer. On Christmas Eve, the Danish singer Anna Sorensen (Diane Kruger) is brought in to sing for the German officers, but insists on being taken to the front lines to sing for the troops and, hopefully, to see her lover Sprink. The events that follow are

inherently sentimental, kept from going overboard by the poignant humanity which is displayed and the knowledge that in 24 hours these men will be killing each other again. Soldiers tentatively gather in No Man’s Land to listen to Sorensen and Sprink sing duets, to admire the thousands of Christmas trees set up by the Germans, to share stories of home and to bury the dead. Viewers could easily be seen as overly optimistic, except

that these events actually took place. With the world we live in, such reminders of the good of humanity are more important than ever, especially at this time of year. “Joyeux Noel” shows in the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center today at 2:15 and 8 p.m. Tickets are free for Mercyhurst students with ID.

An unabridged version of this profile can be found online.

Dancer profile: Mastrocola dances own song
By Emma Rishel
Staff writer Sarah Mastrocola is a junior dance major with a minor in English. What made you decide to major in dance? I have danced for as long as I can remember, and I have found that I truly love it. Thus, I knew that I wanted to continue dancing, but as a senior in high school I was not yet ready to seek professional employment in a dance company. Being a college dance major seemed like the best option for me. What is your favorite part about the dance department? I love how close-knit the department is and all the good friends that I have there. I also like that the department is heavily based in ballet, as that is where most of my training has been as well. I appreciate the opportunities that I have had to choreograph within the department as well, as choreography is another artistic outlet that I enjoy. What do you hope to do with your dance degree? My hope is to secure a job as a dancer with a professional dance company. I also want to continue choreographing, whether during, after or in place of a performing career. Are you going to be auditioning this year? If so where? As I am currently a junior, I intend to audition a few times in the spring/summer, mostly for practice. My main auditioning I am planning for my senior year. I have several possible companies, but I am mainly interested in looking for a company that is based in ballet but also works heavily within a contemporary vein. What is your advice for incoming freshman dancers? The advice that I have somewhat jokingly given to freshmen for the past two years is to always set two alarm clocks. I would also advise them to not be afraid to try new things and to develop interests outside the dance department. College can be a great opportunity to discover oneself as well as learning academically, and so integrity to oneself and openness are definitely key! What do you like to do in your free time? I really love to sing and I also like baking and doing crafty things (knitting and such). Are there any particular professors here at Mercyhurst that have influenced or inspired you? I have gained a lot of valuable experience and knowledge from many of my professors, both in and out of the dance department, but I have an especially strong connection to Ms. Partusch. I feel that we understand each other very well, and she has been one of the most helpful and caring professors with whom I have had the honor of working, both in an academic and personal setting. I definitely attribute much of my progress and growth to her teaching and dedication in and out of the classroom.

Mastrocola is a junior dance major with a minor in English.

Tyler Stauffer photo

An unabridged version of this profile can be found online.

December 16, 2009

name was Sparky’s Flaw, tore up the Charlottesville music scene with their catchy lyrics and plain, likeable tunes. After scoring the opportunity for their song “She Is Love” to be featured in a Nivea television campaign, Parachute started to make their mark. Their major label debut, “Losing Sleep,” was released in May and answered with rave reviews. The first single from “Losing Sleep,” “She Is Love,” is one of the more introspective tracks on the album. It is a basic love song with a repetitive chorus that brings drama to the recording. The second single, “The Mess I Made,” is a song written about regret and love that ends with the lyrics, “I’m staring at the mess I made; as you turn, you take your heart and walk away.” The third single off the album, “Under Control,” tackles longing for someone, taking a protected heart and risking exposure for the sake of love. One of my personal favorites on “Losing Sleep” is “She (For Liz).” Singer Will Anderson wrote the song for a girl he knew in college who did not know he existed. The lyrics, “...the devil on

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Parachute crashes charts with debut
By Casey Harvilla
Staff writer Parachute is a Virginia-based band whose sound mixes rock, soul and R&B with a little sprinkling of harmonious pop. Lead singer Will Anderson, bassist Alex Hargrave, drummer Johnny Stubblefield and saxophone/keyboardist Kit French met while in high school in Charlottesville. Anderson attended UVA, where he met guitarist Nate McFarland, and Parachute was born. The band, whose original my shoulder stares; laughing that to continue the Kelly Clarkson the one thing I can’t get is what I tour. Parachute does not disapneed,” define the theme of want- point in concert; if you get the ing something you can’t have. chance to see them, take it. You For those of you in the mood will not be disappointed. for Christmas, Parachute has something for you as well. In October, the band released the “Winterlove EP,” which features three tracks, including the title track, “Winterlove,” a cover of the holiday song, “What Child Is This,” and a new version of “The New Year,” one of the tracks from “Losing Sleep.” Parachute embarks on a headContributed photo lining tour with SafetySuit in ‘Losing Sleep’ has three January before heading overseas singles already released.

Though no Carver, Porter’s stories still impress
By Kyle King
Copy editor I love short stories as a genre. Several of my favorite contemporary books are collections of short stories, including Dave Eggers’ “How We Are Hungry” and Miranda July’s “No One Belongs Here More Than You.” The one book of short stories that got me started on the genre, however, is short fiction master Raymond Carver’s bestof collection, “Where I’m Calling From.” Contributed photo Carver was a blue-collar writer This collection talks about whose three-act life was full of issues like family and college. squalor and hardship, even as within-a-shower-of-gloom tone, he gained accolades. He grew minimalist style (think Hemingup modestly in the Northwest way but even terser), resonant Pacific, then traveled the country final lines and richly symbolic with his wife and children, trying titles became a model for wanto hold down menial labor and nabe stylists and burgeoning not to succumb to alcoholism. MFA programs in the 1980s. Later in life, he finally remarried Carver’s mark is indelible on and rededicated himself to his much of the short-story writing craft, sobering up and publish- of today, including the debut ing a number of great stories, collection by Andrew Porter, including “Cathedral” and “The “The Theory of Light and Bath.” Matter.” Carver’s glimmer-of-hopePorter’s work has been highly acclaimed, earning him the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction in 2007 and garnering praise from such high-profile writers as Pulitzer Prize-winner Marilynne Robinson, who wrote that Porter has an “honest and grave,” “universal” voice “with transparency as its adornment.” Of all the stories in the collection, the titular story, “Azul” and “River Dog” are personal favorites. Many of the stories are about students and academics (Porter teaches creative writing at Trinity University in Texas). “The Theory of Light and Matter,” is about a co-ed undergraduate who has a close, almost romantic (but not sexual) relationship with an elderly physics professor. “Azul” is about a couple (the woman is a professor) that takes in a young gay Latino transfer student for a year while her career falls apart. “River Dog” is about a boy about to graduate high school and his vagabond older brother. The sense one gets after reading the stories is never particularly concrete. The protagonists are guiltless and wounded, full his manuscripts. But there’s still of wonder and wanderlust; the something of a kind of terseness antagonists are ephemeral amal- in the work of Porter, who’s got gamations of happenstance, a contract with Knopf to publish poor decisions made in crucial an upcoming novel. moments and transient ill will. Even when Porter’s stories Most often, one feels as though seem formulaic, it’s as though one has lost the ability to will there’s an understood grief and one’s surroundings after reading anguish that would be almost Porter’s stories. too much to bear were he to say The tone is remarkably con- any more. And so Porter’s short sistent across the entire collec- stories become representative tion of stories. There is a melan- of fine craft: subtly understated cholic sense of aging and loss of and nuanced, a balanced and agency, a sense of slipping down consistent tone and tenor. It a hole out of whose shadow one will be interesting to see how might never completely escape, Porter’s style translates to longer as in the first story, “Hole.” prose works. Think of the set of stories as a series of barely perceptible, infinitesimal strokes, rendering the heart incapable of loving at full capacity. Despite this, it is as though every story forces readers to take a broad perspective, concluding that almost every character is worthy of love, flaws and all. If you can handle the sadness, give Porter a chance. He’s not Raymond Carver, at least not as Contributed photo Carver was published after long- Porter won the Flannery time editor Gordon Lish retooled O’Connor Award in 2007.

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The views expressed in the opinion section of The Merciad do not necessarily reflect the views of Mercyhurst College, the staff of The Merciad or the Catholic Church. Responses on any subject are always welcomed and can be e-mailed to

December 2008 September 3,16, 2009

Response to the MTV Spring Break Ad
By Greg Baker
Director of Campus Ministry For many Americans the images of last week’s paid advertisement for MTV’s are “normal.” There was no blatant nudity and no one can prove what was in all those plastic cups. I deeply admire many staff members of the Merciad. JoEllen, you make me so proud to work at Mercyhurst: for the compassionate person you are and the many fantastic causes to which you dedicate yourself. However, including this advertisement was a very poor decision. Mercyhurst should in no way condone the binge drinking and “hooking up” culture which has been portrayed and defined by MTV for decades. When I told this to a faculty adviser for the Merciad, he responded that three things worry him concerning what should be advertised: (1) promoting alcohol, (2) messages contrary to Catholic values and (3) particularly sensitive political issues. Apparently this advertisement did not qualify. Did I miss something? From my perspective, to quote the band Meatloaf, “Two out of three ain’t bad.” Across the world, women’s dignity is being systematically threatened (through slavery, prostitution, pornography, domestic violence and policies intended to keep women “in their place”). This sexist attitude begins with the wet t-shirt contestants lined up in the background of a photo on the SpringBreakMax. com advertisement and in the “banana eating contest” publicized on the Web site. There is a distinction between what students write in the Merciad and what advertisements are placed inside. Advertising for MTV Spring Break does not necessarily mean that we condone this, but it says (unequivocally) that we do not oppose it. I do oppose it, along with the Catholic Church and the Sisters of Mercy. If you know me, you know that I am not a moral prude. I simply believe, as a husband, father and proud Catholic Christian, that every human is created with profound, inherent dignity. When anyone’s dignity is demeaned, I am demeaned, and so are you. How much money did we receive from MTV for these advertisements? Is it enough to justify the prospective parent and student who were handed a copy of the Merciad during their campus tour? Does it distress anyone that the Sisters of Mercy will see this?

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Editors Positions JoEllen Marsh Editor-in-Chief editormerciad Kelly Luoma News Editor newsmerciad Javi Cubillos Features Editor featuremerciad Jordan Zangaro Opinion Editor opinionmerciad Nick Glasier Sports Editor sportsmerciad Alaina Rydzewski A&E entertainmentmerciad SamWilliams Graphics photomerciad Tyler Stauffer Photographer photomerciad Ethan Magoc Multimedia Editor emagoc80 Ethan Johns Web Editor ejohns89 Gaby Meza Advertising Manager admerciad Kyle King Copy Editor copymerciad Bill Welch Adviser wwelch Brian Sheridan Adviser bsheridan

Merciad staff responds to Baker’s assertions
The Merciad staff apologizes to anyone offended by last week’s advertising promoting We in no way “condone the binge drinking and ‘hooking up’ culture” represented in the advertisement, as Mr. Baker asserts, but we do believe in the advertisers’ rights to control advertising content. The Merciad is funded in part by advertising profits. We need advertisements for our production, including weekly printings and online updates which brings important news to students, faculty and the community. As Mr. Baker must have seen, we ran a ‘March for Life’ advertisement in last week’s issue without comment from those who disagree with the moral beliefs implied therein. We trust that Merciad readers can distinguish between our published news and advertising content. We pride ourselves on a standard of journalism that intentionally avoids the tabloidstyle gossip prominent in today’s mass media. Whereas other campus newspapers feature sexual how-to columns and hesaid, she-said slandering, we try to bring to light in a fair and evenhanded manner all the sourcebased news we can. We want to point out that we regularly cover such spring break alternatives as Habitat for Humanity service trips and rowing and tennis athletics campaigns. We believe our newspaper is written very much in the spirit of Mercy and are especially proud to have added a Green page concerned with promoting environmental sustenance to our usual sections this year. We follow Pennsylvania law in that we do not permit advertisements for Pennsylvania-licensed establishments to sell alcohol and refuse to promote any oncampus consumption of alcohol. Decisions beyond that lie in our discretion. While we wish we had paid more attention to the photos in the SpringBreakMax. com advertisement, we find it a slippery slope to equate the advertisement to the Merciad’s condoning of women’s subjugation and diminishment and hold ourselves in no way responsible for the Web content of our advertisers.

The Merciad is the official student-produced newspaper of Mercyhurst College. It is published throughout the school year, with the exception of finals weeks. Our office is in Hirt, Room 120B. Our telephone number is (814) 824-2376. The Merciad welcomes letters to the editor. All letters must be signed and names will be included with the letters. Although we will not edit the letters for content, we reserve the right to trim letters to fit. Letters are due Mondays. by noon and may not be more than 300 words. Submit letters to box PH 485 or via e-mail at

December 16, 2009

were decorating the tree. I found myself upset, which shocked me. I found myself saying, “You guys couldn’t have waited until I got home next week?” Of course, when my mom said “no” I couldn’t tell her that I was upset. I immediately felt older than I have ever felt before. I couldn’t believe traditions I once hated were continuing on without me there. It made me feel homesick — which I never feel. As I go home for my last Christmas break, I am hoping I find a new appreciation for all the small traditions, the stressful family events and the overwhelming full house that usually makes me insane. I think that I have finally realized that I don’t know where I am going to be or what I am going to be doing next year, and I may miss these things more than I was ever willing to admit. Perhaps this Christmas, while the presents are being given, or the Christmas music is on the radio or your family is bundling up for church on Christmas Eve, you will take a minute and be thankful and appreciative and let the little stressors go for the time being. Merry Christmas, everyone! I believe in loyalty. Loyalty is a devotion or allegiance to someone or something and should be expressed in both thought and action. I think of one who shows loyalty as one with strength of character, sound will and someone to be depended upon. People have many things on which they focus their loyalties. In my life, I believe in loyalty to God, country, family, friends and self. I declared my faith in the Lord when I was 11 years old and I was baptized. I was young, some say too young to make such a commitment. But some of the experiences I had had so early in life made me realize what was important, and I felt the need to make an affirmation of faith. Although I have changed a lot since then, I believe that once a vow is made, it should never be broken. God is one who provides, supports and loves, through the good and the bad, and my declaration and faith is a simple task compared to that. We live in the greatest nation in the world, and loyalty is something I feel very strongly about in this time of economic and social strife. It is hard when I do not always agree with

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Lost traditions make student appreciative
By Jordan Zangaro
Opinion Editor There are some traditions my family has that drive me up a wall. I cannot tell you the number of times I have rolled my eyes at my mom when she makes my three siblings and me come downstairs and decorate the Christmas tree. We each have our own bin of ornaments collected over the years; most of mine are horribly embarrassing homemade ornaments with unfortunate pictures of my years in the middle. Every year we all complain about being too old and too grown up—every year the living room seems to get smaller as we all point out that my mom makes us decorate, and then the minute we’re all in bed, she moves everything around to make sure it looks beautiful and the way she wishes. It happens every year—except this one. I was on the phone with my mom this past Sunday and she was just calling to check in and to let me know she, my dad, my younger brother and older sister

Power through faith, devotion and commitment
government policies and politics, but this is still our country, and we must be faithful. I took an oath in September of this year to uphold the Constitution and defend this country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make, but I know it was the right one. I trust that God is putting me on the right path. It will be challenging, but my declaration to pronounce my loyalty to this country outweighs all of the fear and uncertainty that comes with this vow. My family and friends are the ones who support, love, guide and help me, through the tough times and the bad times. They are the people for whom I would lay down my life. They may frustrate or anger me at times, but I would do anything for them. They have raised and taught me to be the best that I can be, and I will forever be grateful and loyal to them. Finally, I believe in being loyal to one’s self. Everyone develops the morals and beliefs that shape

their characters throughout life. It is necessary to make the decisions that will benefit me the most in the long run. I have not always made those right decisions, but I pray that I have learned from them, and will forever remain loyal to what I believe to be true and honest. Brittany Wzontek is currently a junior at Mercyhurst majoring in Intelligence Studies with a minor in history. She is originally from Buffalo, N.Y., and upon graduating will enter service in the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant seeking to work in military intelligence. Her favorite things about Mercyhurst are its small, close campus and the uniqueness of the Intelligence Studies program.

Student rhymes about secrety society’s holiday spirit
By Devin Ruic
Staff writer Christmastime may very well be my favorite time of year, for any number of reasons. It is doubtless that almost everyone gets in the mood to be merry, and the decorating helps us all become a little brighter during the season – part of the reason I go crazy with decorating every year. If you could see my apartment, you’d probably think I was a little crazy. Heck, you might have even seen the tree for a club of mine, the MSBA. It’s the belligerently patriotic tree in the union. Actually, it’s the work that I had our members do on that tree and for our club that brings me to the interesting part of this article. There are plenty of trees in the student union, and most of us walk around without a care as to who made them, instead simply admiring the fact that so many students got their clubs in gear to spread some Christmas cheer. From abolitionists to archaeologists, there’s no doubt that Mercyhurst is excited for the holidays. As a matter of fact, it would appear that there are even more students excited than we usually talk about here. One night last week I was plugging in our club tree when I noticed there had been addition. I only really noticed because the tree was so much different, a shorter, potted tree sitting on a table when I walked in. On my way out, I took another glance and was quite surprised at what I found. Well, now the tree has been moved, and sits by a window, but the RMB written on the pot is still quite visible. Aside for the letters, the red monkeys abound – as ornaments they do quite astound. Another trifle some of the members of MSBA did find, is when they went to hang posters last night. If you look around, apparently you’ll find, a poem with much rhyming – much better than mine. A story of Christmases past, present, and

future, with Saint Nick himself - perhaps an English major, or even an elf. Now stopping this travesty, I do end this soon, thereby saving us all from my own impropriety. I’m not sure that made sense, you can ask a friend; I’m done with College Writing, and have become quite dense.To wrap all this up, it does indeed appear, that when Christmas is near, Rho Mu Beta is full of good cheer. Merry Christmas, everybody.

Page 10


December 16, 2009

Ethan Magoc photo

The Lakers evened their record to 3-3 this past week. To see more photos, go to to view a slide show of the women’s win over Wheeling Jesuit.

Mercyhurst College junior Jason Snow dribbles past a Virginia Union defender in the Lakers’ 73-61 victory on Saturday.

Tyler Stauffer photo
Online sports articles...................... Women’s hockey rolls against St. Lawrence

Lakers’ offense red hot
By Samantha Sellinger
Contributing writer The season is looking bright for the Mercyhurst College men’s basketball team, as their extraordinary efforts pay off on the court. Last week, the Lakers picked up three consecutive wins, making their record 6-2 overall and an undefeated 3-0 at home. The men started off their week with a game against Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, where the Lakers made a comeback to take the win, 90-87. The previously undefeated Mountaineers thought they could defeat the Lakers, but thanks to their performance from the free-throw line and a season-high of 10 three-pointers, Mercyhurst was able to close an 18-point deficit for the victory. Next on the schedule for the Lakers was the Mercyhurst Holiday Tournament, which they hosted this past weekend. Their first match-up was Virginia Union University, whom the Lakers dominated from the start in a 73-61 victory. The team was led by careerhigh scoring from senior Ryann Bradford, who scored 18 points, and junior Heiden Ratner, who put in 21. For the last game of the tournament, the Lakers met Washington Adventist University in what would be a game for the books for Mercyhurst. With the Lakers’ 101-59 victory over the Pioneers, the Lakers scored triple digits for the first time under head coach Gary Manchel and for the first time since Dec. 2002, when Mercyhurst defeated Point Park University, 102-68 in his largest margin of victory ever. Seniors Elliot Englemann and Nnamdi Nnadilli finished with 19 and 17 points, respectively. With less than a minute and half left to play, Bradford dunked the ball to push the men’s basketball team into triple digits for the first time in seven years. The men will be back on the court after a two-day rest to host Urbana University on Wednesday, Dec. 16.

Women’s hockey makes a huge statement with a sweep of St. Lawrence.

Women’s basketball evens record

Women’s basketball evened its record with a win over Wheeling Jesuit.

The great goalie debate

Columnist Devon Swanson discusses who the greatest NHL goalie ever is.

Winter Classic losing luster?

Columnist John Baranowski questions the NHL’s direction with this year’s Winter Classic.

December 16, 2009

the woods yet. “After the surgery it was discovered that the cancer had spread and I needed to go through chemotherapy,” Kensy said. Despite being in Buffalo most of his winter term going through the chemotherapy, at Mercyhurst Garrett was still fresh on everyone’s mind. Back at Mercyhurst some of his teammates shaved Garrett’s number into the side of their heads. “We tried to step up as a team and give him the spiritual support that he needed during those tough times,” Schaetzle said. “Everyone was great at Mercyhurst, especially the teachers. They were very understanding with me and really made it easy for me to attempt to keep up with classes while I was at home,” Kensy said. “The reaction to my situation around campus was great and people really made it easy for me to get through it,” Kensy said. Kensy was free of cancer

Page 11

Survivor finds strength from teammate
By Nick Glasier
Sports editor For most college students these four years are the last years of their lives without tremendous worry. At least that is how it is supposed to be. On Sept. 16, 2007, Mercyhurst College’s then-sophomore and current senior Garrett Kensy had his world turned upside down as the days of being a carefree college student went out the window. That day the doctors informed Kensy that he had testicular cancer, and the shock began to set in for Kensy and those close to him. “When I heard that Kensy had cancer, I was completely shocked. It’s hard to believe someone that takes such good care of their body like Garrett did could get such a thing,” head coach Marty Schaetzle said. Garrett came back to Buffalo, where he went through surgery in order to remove the tumor, but he was not out of

Tyler Stauffer photo

Sophomore Jeffrey Pollard and junior Garrett Kensy meet in front of the football offices before a meeting. They look forward to next season, when both are expected to play big roles.

during spring after the long treatments of chemotherapy and has then stayed cancer free since. However, two years later another Mercyhurst football player’s life was affected by cancer in an eerily similar way. On Jul. 10, 2009, sophomore Jeffrey Pollard was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Four days later Jeffrey underwent surgery in order to remove the tumor, but as with Kensy, they later discovered that the cancer was more aggressive than previously thought. He too had to undergo chemotherapy. When Kensy heard of Jeffrey’s diagnosis, the memories of his ordeal and the shock

of Jeffrey having cancer set in. “I was completely stunned about Jeffrey and really felt the pain he was going through. I called him immediately after I heard, so he knew if he needed anything that I would be there,” Kensy said.

For the rest of this story, visit merciad/mercyhurst. edu.

Zapolski leads men’s hockey to AHA lead
By Steve Bukowski
Staff writer The Mercyhurst College men’s hockey team tacked on three points via a win and a tie to move to a conference record of 9-5-2, good enough to move into a first-place tie with the Air Force Academy Falcons. Mercyhurst and Air Force both have 20 points heading into the second half of the season. The Lakers can attribute their recent success to junior goaltender Ryan Zapolski. Zapolski has amounted a 2.47 goals against average and a .925 save percentage for the season. Over the weekend Zapolski saved 85 shots from the Falcons and only allowed four goals. He credits his success in goal so far to the play of his teammates. “The team has been doing a great job at limiting the other team’s scoring chances lately, and we’ve been scoring a lot of goals, which takes some pressure off of the defense,” Zapolski said. Mercyhurst took a six-game winning streak into Colorado Springs, Colo. to take on the Falcons. The first night, the teams split at 3-3, each earning a point. The Lakers rallied from a two-goal defecit, with junior Mike Gurtler and sophomore Derek Elliot scoring to erase the Falcons’ early 2-0 lead. Junior Scott Pitt added another tally to give Mercyhurst the lead, but Air Force struck back and scored one of their own, giving the game its 3-3 final score. Ryan Zapolski faced 52 shots in the game, blocking 49 of them. The Lakers and Falcons faced off again on Saturday, with Mercyhurst walking away with a 3-1 victory over Air Force. Juniors Brandon Coccimiglio and Steve Cameron scored the first two Laker goals, with Derek Elliot adding a late score in the third period. Air Force only managed to score one, and Mercyhurst earned the two points necessary to tie the Falcons for first place. This weekend’s wins have proven to be the type of hockey the Lakers have been trying to play, with new offensive sparks and a steady defense. Conference rivals Air Force and Rochester Institute of Technology are proving to be the main contenders, along with Mercyhurst, to capture the conference title. “We just need to remain confident in ourselves, stay focused and keep working hard every day…if we do that then hopefully we can get another shot at a (conference) championship,” Zapolski said. Mercyhurst has the next few weeks off before heading to Burlington, Vt., for the Catamount Cup tournament on Jan. 2, against Minnesota-Duluth.


Tapping into faith at the Cornerstone
By Jemma Homer
Contributing writer As college students, we are encouraged to take a long hard look at our core beliefs and the foundations of our faith. Recognizing this critical time in our lives and looking to assist us in getting answers to our spiritual questions, Mercyhurst College has taken part in Theology on Tap. This program, which is open to the whole campus and Erie community as well, provides Catholics with the opportunity to more accurately understand the practices of Catholicism and to allow non-Catholics a chance to gain more knowledge on the faith. This is Mercyhurst’s second year participating in this event. Theology on Tap is a nationally recognized program

Laker Life

December 16, 2009

which consists of two parts. The first part, on Sunday Dec. 13, was an Explanatory Mass which involved conducting a regular Mass while taking time to acknowledge individual parts and further explain their significance. “The idea for the Explanatory Mass came out of a perceived need to explain some of the theology of why we do what we do at mass, hopefully providing students with a deeper understanding of the mass that will assist in their participation and Eucharis-

tic spirituality,” Rev. Fr. James E. Piszker said. The second part of Theology on Tap, held on Monday, Dec. 14, was geared toward allowing students to actively and openly pose questions about faith and have their peers relate to them and assist them in a relaxed atmosphere. For the Mercyhust community, this portion of Theology on Tap is held at the Cornerstone. The meeting took place in the basement where students ate food and even enjoyed an alcoholic beverage or two (if they Contributed photo were of the legal age to do so). Students worship at the Explanatory Mass on “Theology on Tap allows you Sunday, Dec. 13. to explore personal questions The focus of discussion was may include the role of Mary on faith and relate to other students who are experiencing on the necessity of Mass atten- and the Saints in the Catholic tradition and the question of a similar dilemma, especially at dance in the 21st century. “As more Catholics opt out of 2012, Nostradamus and end this time in our lives. Best of all, the discussion is done in a laid regular Mass attendance, this is an time predictions. Stay tuned for announceback, nonjudgmental environ- important issue,” Piszker said. Future topics of discussion ments of future gatherings. ment,” senior Beth Boyd said.

Serving the community on ice with Gliding Stars
By Priscilla Chavez
Contributing writer The Sisters of Mercy take a vow of service which we carry on today. Mercyhurst students have actively lent a hand to the community through their involvement, even on the ice. The Mercyhurst Ice Center is recognized for its Men’s and Women’s Division I ice hockey teams, but many students and members of the community also know it as the benevolent place to host Gliding Stars. Gliding Stars is a non-profit organization serving individuals with disabilities with opportunities to develop ice-skating skills. The Ice Center, being handicap accessible, graciously offered to host the organization after it their time to instruct individuals with disabilities. The number of participants and volunteers has grown in the past years. As of this year, 87 people have come to skate as opposed to the 28 people who participated the first year. “Helping out makes their day, and they know that you are their friend for a day,” Mercyhurst Preparatory School sophomore Cielopris Chak said. Without volunteers the program would not be able to run. This year 97 volunteers are helping to provide the skaters and their families with friendship, encouragement and support. Volunteers can make a difference on the ice, at the rink or at the offi ce, depending on how they want to help. “I love seeing them smile and

Contributed photo

Students help out and have fun with Gliding Stars.

began 10 years ago when Jack Shultz introduced the organization to the community. To this day, Mercyhurst provides the organization with the time and place needed to make a

difference happen. On Monday evenings from 6 to 7:45 p.m., the Ice Center shines with smiles as students and faculty enjoy a night of skating while also volunteering

just helping them progress,” senior Shea Grimaldi said. The skills acquired by the participants are then put together in an end-of-session ice show choreographed by volunteers. This year, the performance will be held on March 27. “(The skaters) put so much work into the show with their volunteers, and they are eager to show their family and friends what they have been working on. The show is full of energy and excitement,” volunteer Cindy Dixon said. Director and Coach Linda Althof said the program’s future plans are to keep it growing and keep it going. Volunteering or observing, the smiles here are guaranteed to be contagious.

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