‘Laughing helps your health’: Comedian Adam Norwest performs at Elon University

Marlena Chertock

MARCH 11, 2011

Adam Norwest began standup comedy at 13. He performed a show in Irazu at Elon University on March 11, 2011. Photo courtesy of adamnorwest.com.

Comedian Adam Norwest feels like he’s performed standup comedy since he was a fetus, he said. He gave a show in Irazu at Elon University at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, March 11, 2011 to an energetic, eager-to-laugh group of students.

Norwest has performed professional improv since he was 13.

“To me, comedy is like an adventure book,” he said. “I have to figure out where to take you guys.”

People who perform comedy are messed up in the head, according to Norwest.

Norwest was fired from a phone company for being insensitive, he said.

“People would call in, saying, ‘My phone’s not getting calls,'” he said. “I would say, ‘Get better friends.'”

His Friday act consisted of mostly dirty jokes, honest and personal humor and questioning people’s questions about his own sexuality. He is straight, he said repeatedly throughout the show.

Norwest targeted several audience members for added effect. He called one African American student Beyonce and poked fun of two male students sitting in the front row for their attempts to keep straight faces.

When he said his parents asked if he was gay, an audience member said her parents asked her too. He referred to her as “lesbian” for the rest of the night, even picking on her boyfriend.

“I’ve been told I look like Lance Bass,” Norwest said. “I think that’s rude.”

Norwest made a lot of jokes about being single.

“I use the second half of my bed as storage,” he said. “It’s a King size. I realize I’m not just single, I’m alone. That’s a true and depressing part of my life.”

Laughing helps your health, Norwest said.

“I think when people are having a bad day, they need to laugh,” he said. “When people are having a good day, they can laugh. It’s fun to be able to use my talents to help a bunch of people.”

***

Norwest talks about how he got into comedy

Norwest talks about why he loves comedy

Norwest describes his best experience on stage

Elon alumnus took grunt work, worked his way into Baseball America

Marlena Chertock

March 11, 2011

Nathan Rode uses a radar gun to check how fast a ball is going when it is thrown or hit in baseball. Photo courtesy of Rode.

Nathan Rode was willing to do grunt work to get where he wanted.

He took a position with a lot of data-entry at Baseball America, which is one way he got into the journalism business.

During his senior year of college, he interned at Baseball America for 20 hours a week.

“It was mind-numbing stuff,” Rode said. “But I wanted to work there, so I got my foot in the door.”

He was a part-time student and worked 30 to 40 hours a week at the magazine during his last semester.

“I paid my dues,” he said. “I was willing to do anything and everything to get me where I am now.”

When he graduated from Elon in 2007, there was an opening in the magazine and he went for it. He told the editors he’d been working with them for a while, gave them his work samples and expressed his interest.

Rode has always been a very sports-minded person. He played high school baseball and wanted to go into sports writing in college. He got interested in the reporting aspect when he came to Elon.

Graphic by Marlena Chertock.

He served as a sports reporter on The Pendulum in his sophomore year, sports editor and editor-in-chief during his college career.

It’s important to keep stories fresh, according to Rode. The question is how to make each story different and not to write the same way, according to Rode.

“Maybe the players have similar statistics,” Rode said. “In terms of being a person, they’re really different.”

Rode wants to work his way up in the magazine, he said.

“I started there and I’m still there,” he said. “I’m in there for long haul. This is what I want to do.”

The editors-in-chief have been there for six years or more, so they will be there for a while, Rode said.

“Maybe one day that’ll be me,” he said. “That’s my goal.”

***

Nathan Rode talks about practicing writing to improve

Rode talks about giving your writing to different readers (Ex. his editors, his wife) to get responses and see if readers understand

New Middle Eastern studies minor will offer opportunities for students, the community

Marlena Chertock

MARCH 1, 2011

Sophomore Laura Tucker has lived in Saudi Arabia since her family moved there in 2002 for her father’s job at a petroleum company.  As an international studies major at Elon University, Tucker plans on pursuing her interest in the region of the Middle East. But Tucker and other students don’t yet have the option to minor in Middle Eastern Studies at Elon.

“Other than the main religion courses or broad global and history courses, there’s not many really focused and specific courses dedicated to Middle Eastern studies,” Tucker said.

The Middle Eastern studies minor has been in the works since 2007. The curriculum review board is in the process of evaluating the program, said professor Brian Digre, international studies program coordinator.

“I feel confident that both programs will be available in the fall,” Digre said.

Creating a minor

There were several steps to get to this point. Digre traveled to Jordan, Israel and Egypt in the summer of 2008 on a six-week Fulbright-Hays seminar. The seminar allowed 10 U.S. professors to explore study abroad opportunities in the Middle East and enhance curriculum development at their universities, Digre said.

Digre also applied for a grant from the U.S. Department of Education Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program to help fund the establishment of the minor.

Elon provided matching funds for much of the grant, which allowed Elon to support faculty who wanted to develop new courses in the Middle East, to enhance library resources on the Middle East and study abroad programs and to hire a full-time Arabic professor.

For two years, the grant paid more than half of Arabic professor Shereen Elgamal’s salary. But now, Elon has made the position full-time and pays her salary, Digre said.

The department of foreign languages is exploring the introduction of elementary Hebrew courses for the minor.

Introductory modern standard Hebrew will be offered in the fall and introductory II in the spring, according to Scott Windham, department chair of Foreign Languges. The courses will be taught by a part-time professor.

“If enrollments are good, we will continue to offer more courses,” Windham said. “At some point, we might perceive a need for a permanent position in Hebrew, although that process could take many years.”

Students already showing interest

Many students in the international studies major havealreadyexpressedinterest in the region. Several students have asked for Digre’s approval of each course individually to count for the unofficial Middle Eastern concentration. Tucker has taken this route.

The Arabic Language Organization was created by students as a result of increasing interest in the language and region, according to Elgamal and many students have expressed interest in studying abroad in the region, Digre said.

There are several study abroad programs in place that will be related to the minor or concentration. There is a program at the American University of Cairo, Egypt, Council on International Education Exchange in Jordan and the University of Haifa, Israel that was just offered this year.

Broadening experiences and views

The classes will offer students opportunities to learn more about cultures and regions they are not familiar with and that are not well- known, Tucker said.

Arab culture and the Middle East have been stereotyped, intentionally or not, by people, governments and the media, Tucker said.

It will be beneficial for students to form their own opinions from truths rather than statements they hear, she said.

“You see students living in Israel, Jordan and Egypt for a semester and coming back,” Elgamal said. “These experiences are very important to campus. Instead of watching on television, they come back with experiences they encountered, actual people they interacted with. It’s a different outlook on things when you hear things from someone who was there.”

Tucker would agree. Living in Saudi Arabia helped shape her opinions and the way she views life and people, she said.

The minor will offer valuable career opportunities, according to Digre, as learning Arabic is important for careers today.

The outside community will also learn more about the region, Digre said.

The minor will bring in extracurricular activities, speakers and visiting professors, according to Elgamal. The awareness and knowledge would automatically spread, she said.

The minor is more important in light of the recent protests in several Arab countries,
according to Tucker. The prevalent and powerful stereotype of Islam and that every practicing Muslim is a terrorist needs to be combated, she said.

“Knowledge is power,” Tucker said. “And without it we’ll go on believing and continuing whatever we hear.”


Arabic professor Shereen Elgamal on importance of a Middle Eastern Studies minor

Greensboro show presents multiple sides, reactions to 1960 sit-in movements

Marlena Chertock

The stage for “Periphery” is set with background pictures of the Greensboro Four, a few tables and chairs. Photo by Marlena Chertock.

What surprises Bobby Pittman the most about the sit-in movement is not many people know it started right in Greensboro, in their city. The peaceful protesting of four A&T Universityfreshmen ignited a nation-wide movement of sit-ins and protests.

“I went to A&T University and didn’t know (the sit-ins took place in Greensboro),” Pittman said.

Pittman played Eugene in “Periphery,” a play hoping to inform the public about the sit-in movement and the diverse reactions.

Thursday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. 12 cast members took the small stage in the Broach Theatre at 520 S Elm Street in Greensboro, N.C. in pride and brought the audience back to 1960 and the civil rights movement.

The Community Theatre of Greensboro(CTG) put on its second-week production of “Periphery,” a play in honor of the Greensboro Four sit-ins. The play, written by N.C. playwright Ed Simpson, has been revived this year. It also ran two years ago to honor the anniversary of the opening of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, a museum in Greensboro in the original Woolworth store where the sit-ins took place.

The play is also a way to help increase visitor numbers to the museum, as it is suffering from lack of visibility, according to executive director of CTG Mitchell Sommers.

The play will be showing Feb. 18-27.

The sit-in movement encouraged other movements, such as read-ins at segregated libraries, kneel-ins at segregated churches, sleep-ins at segregated hotels and play-ins at segregated parks, the cast said in one scene.

The play was filled with messages of standing up and acting, messages that talking is not always enough to bring about change.

“It’s not about words, it’s about action. It’s not about logic, it’s about heart.”

—Eugene, played by Pittman

A subtitle on the playbill describes the show as “Conversations about the ‘Greensboro Four’.” The play isn’t only about the four freshmen who started the sit-ins, it’s more about the reactions that people in the community had to the sit-ins, Sommers said.

“Periphery” showed how difficult it was for some people to accept change, how difficult it was for some people to understand why their college students, sons and daughters, black and white, were becoming involved in such a movement and being arrested for peaceful protests.

Several members of the cast became white, rich folk, holding wine glasses and wearing vests and hats with lace.

“I don’t understand why things have to change,” one rich, white woman said in the scene. “They have their own places, we have ours.”

A black shop owner discouraged his son from getting involved in the protests.

“Their (the students involved in the protests) mama’s didn’t send their kids to college to skip class and sit around a dime store all day,” the shop owner said.

The play also offered perspectives of people who were drawn to the movement, who believed in it.

Mike, a white student, played by Lee Wilson, a freshman from UNC-G, went through a change in the play. In the beginning, he was confused about what his professors were pushing and asking of him. But by the end of the play, he shouted at his father in a standoff.

“If something is wrong now, then waiting a week, a month, a year is making it wronger,” Mike said.

The cast ended the show by standing together and singing Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” reminiscent of the protest and revolution songs that were sung throughout the sit-ins and other protests, to keep spirit and resolve alive and show the will of the protesters.

Much like these songs demonstrate will, a statue on the A&T campus memorializes the Greensboro Four, the freshmen from A&T who started the sit-ins. Pittman said he knows about the statue, but never realized the sit-ins happened in his city, down the street.

“People tend to forget their bad history,” he said of the challenges of the sit-ins. “So if you have a black mark on your record you kind of sweep it under the rug hoping everybody forgets about it. But history is history, everybody needs to know about it. Good, bad, whatever.”

That’s one of the reasons he wanted to be in the play, he said. He was able to pass the knowledge along.

Williams had the choice between Tuscon, Ariz. and Greensboro, N.C. when looking for a job. She chose to come to Greensboro.

“This is a really important part of the country for me and I’m really proud of it,” Williams said.


Alison Williams of the cast talks about moving to Greensboro in part because of the sit-in movement

 

Williams talks about the importance of sharing the message of the Greensboro sit-ins

Executive director Mitchel Sommers talks about people not knowing the sit-ins happened in Greensboro

Sommers talks about informing the public about  the Greensboro sit-ins through the play

Greensboro show presents multiple sides, reactions to 1960 sit-in movements

Marlena Chertock

FEB. 24, 2011

The stage for "Periphery" is set with background pictures of the Greensboro Four, a few tables and chairs. Photo by Marlena Chertock.

What surprises Bobby Pittman the most about the sit-in movement is not many people know it started right in Greensboro, in their city. The peaceful protesting of four A&T University freshmen ignited a nation-wide movement of sit-ins and protests.

“I went to A&T University and didn’t know (the sit-ins took place in Greensboro),” Pittman said.

Pittman played Eugene in “Periphery,” a play hoping to inform the public about the sit-in movement and the diverse reactions.

Thursday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. 12 cast members took the small stage in the Broach Theatre at 520 S Elm Street in Greensboro, N.C. in pride and brought the audience back to 1960 and the civil rights movement.

Information from the Community Theatre of Greensboro website. Graphic by Marlena Chertock.

The Community Theatre of Greensboro (CTG) put on its second-week production of “Periphery,” a play in honor of the Greensboro Four sit-ins. The play, written by N.C. playwright Ed Simpson, has been revived this year. It also ran two years ago to honor the anniversary of the opening of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, a museum in Greensboro in the original Woolworth store where the sit-ins took place.

The play is also a way to help increase visitor numbers to the museum, as it is suffering from lack of visibility, according to executive director of CTG Mitchell Sommers.

The play will be showing Feb. 18-27.

The sit-in movement encouraged other movements, such as read-ins at segregated libraries, kneel-ins at segregated churches, sleep-ins at segregated hotels and play-ins at segregated parks, the cast said in one scene.

The play was filled with messages of standing up and acting, messages that talking is not always enough to bring about change.

A subtitle on the playbill describes the show as “Conversations about the ‘Greensboro Four’.” The play isn’t only about the four freshmen who started the sit-ins, it’s more about the reactions that people in the community had to the sit-ins, Sommers said.

“Periphery” showed how difficult it was for some people to accept change, how difficult it was for some people to understand why their college students, sons and daughters, black and white, were becoming involved in such a movement and being arrested for peaceful protests.

Several members of the cast became white, rich folk, holding wine glasses and wearing vests and hats with lace.

“I don’t understand why things have to change,” one rich, white woman said in the scene. “They have their own places, we have ours.”

A black shop owner discouraged his son from getting involved in the protests.

“Their (the students involved in the protests) mama’s didn’t send their kids to college to skip class and sit around a dime store all day,” the shop owner said.

The play also offered perspectives of people who were drawn to the movement, who believed in it.

Mike, a white student, played by Lee Wilson, a freshman from UNC-G, went through a change in the play. In the beginning, he was confused about what his professors were pushing and asking of him. But by the end of the play, he shouted at his father in a standoff.

“If something is wrong now, then waiting a week, a month, a year is making it wronger,” Mike said.

The cast ended the show by standing together and singing Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” reminiscent of the protest and revolution songs that were sung throughout the sit-ins and other protests, to keep spirit and resolve alive and show the will of the protesters.

Much like these songs demonstrate will, a statue on the A&T campus memorializes the Greensboro Four, the freshmen from A&T who started the sit-ins. Pittman said he knows about the statue, but never realized the sit-ins happened in his city, down the street.

“People tend to forget their bad history,” he said of the challenges of the sit-ins. “So if you have a black mark on your record you kind of sweep it under the rug hoping everybody forgets about it. But history is history, everybody needs to know about it. Good, bad, whatever.”

That’s one of the reasons he wanted to be in the play, he said. He was able to pass the knowledge along.

Alison Williams of the cast talks about moving to Greensboro in part because of the sit-in movement

Williams had the choice between Tuscon, Ariz. and Greensboro, N.C. when looking for a job. She chose to come to Greensboro.

“This is a really important part of the country for me and I’m really proud of it,” Williams said.

Williams talks about the importance of sharing the message of the Greensboro sit-ins

Executive director Mitchel Sommers talks about people not knowing the sit-ins happened in Greensboro

Sommers talks about informing the public about  the Greensboro sit-ins through the play

Comedian shares personal experiences as humor at Elon University

Divorce, hippie parents, run-ins with the law make up comedic content

Marlena Chertock

FEB. 17, 2011

Comedian Collin Moulton performed in Irazu at Elon University on Feb. 11. Photo by Marlena Chertock.

Imagine a comedian jumping into the audience and giving a male in the front row an unexpected hug. This is part of comedian Collin Moulton’s normal routine.

Moulton performed in Irazu at Elon University at 8:30 p.m., after he finished talking with a few members of the audience before the show.

SUBlive will bring in a comedian the second Friday of every month this semester in hopes of creating a lasting comedy series to diversify the types of performances offered at Elon.

Moulton said his comedy aims to relate to his audience through real-life experiences and personal stories.

“My comedy is really personal, high energy, and some observational,” he said. “I have a lot of interesting characters in my life.”

Moulton’s stories cover run-ins with cops, jokes about romance, his unusual life growing up and other real-life topics.

The small audience didn’t keep Moulton from getting students to laugh and sometimes feel uncomfortable.

Moulton repeatedly picked on one male member of the audience.

He explained that at shows he comes up to guys and hugs them, or puts his leg on them, purposefully creating an awkward situation.

The audience member said he’d break Moulton’s jaw if he came up and hugged him.

“I think you’re lying,” Moulton said. “People don’t know what to do because it’s a surprise. It’s paralyzing.”

People are frightened by their own homophobia, Moulton said, calling it a neurotoxin.

Moulton’s comedy focused on homosexuality and people’s reactions, his gay uncle, how his parents raised him, his parent’s divorce and taking care of his aging parents as they are put into hospices.

Moulton will appear in an episode of Laugh Out Loud Comedy Festival that will debut on Showtime Feb. 24.

***

Moulton explains how he got into comedy.

Moulton describes an embarrassing experience

Moulton said his comedy aims to relate to his audience through real-life experiences and personal stories.”My comedy is really personal, high energy, and some observational,” he said. “I have a lot of interesting characters in my life.”Through stories about run-ins with cops and jokes about romance, Moulton covers all kinds of real-life topics that, to some college students, may seem quite familiar.

Traveling with a purpose

Students hold a 2-day environmental conference in Sri Lanka, film and conduct research

Marlena Chertock

FEB. 6, 2011

Senior Natalie Lampert teaches Malmi the lyrics to “Lean on Me” at Panangala Mahabodhi School. The Sri Lankan school children taught the scholars lyrics in Sinhalese. Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Leman.

Fourteen seniors walked through tea country, rolling green hills of tea all in lines on hills. They were in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka.

“The word that kept coming to mind was lush,” Elizabeth Leman said. “Everything was so lush and colors were so vibrant.”

The Periclean Scholars class of 2011 traveled to Sri Lanka from Jan. 7 to 26 to conduct research, produce a documentary and hold a conference. The class of 2011 focuses on environmental issues in Sri Lanka.

They visited the schools they’ve been working with for three years, donating supplies and books. They also held a two-day conference called LEAF, Leaders in Environmental Advocacy Forum, at the University of Colombo.

“People can’t be expected to act sustainably unless they’re informed,” Jesse Lee said.

That’s where LEAF came in. LEAF forged a partnership with experts, professors, non-profit organizations and people, Lee said.

“We tried to invite a lot of academics, students, businesses, non-profits, to get everyone together and foster conversation, build relationships between the people there and us as well,” Leman said. “Hopefully that will be something sustainable after we graduate.”

Documenting environmental issues

Lee, Chas Smith and Jack Dodson, multimedia editor for The Pendulum, took on a separate documentary project during their time in Sri Lanka.

“The documentary is looking at the environmental issues for Sri Lanka as an example of what the rest of the world is facing,” Lee said. “While it’s all shot in Sri Lanka, the message is global.”

They looked at waste management, water quality, deforestation, mangroves and the human-elephant conflict, Lee said. The human-elephant conflict is due to overpopulation of both humans and elephants in Sri Lanka, according to Lee.

Some scenes in documentaries unfold spontaneously, according to Lee.

“There’s a scene that I didn’t expect to get at all, it wasn’t really on our radar,” Lee said. “We were on an island with Charith Senanayake, a director of Rainforest International.”

Nuwara Eliya, rows of tea in Sri Lanka. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Leman.

The island is home to a school for young boys to learn to become Buddhist priests.

“We were walking by a building and there are no doors and no handles on the outside,” he said. “And as we go by, the doors open up and we go inside and take off our shoes,” he said.

The group had ended up inside a Buddhist priest’s mediation room.

“Without any prompting from us, this priest just begins speaking about how connected his faith is to the environment and how important it is for them to have that as a part of their religion,” Lee said.

The documentary is in the editing stages. Lee said they hope to have a feature-length documentary finished before the semester’s end.

Researching the effects of war

Leman researched international humanitarian law. She is researching three case studies: the Nuremberg tribunal, the Rwanda tribunal and the Sri Lanka war crimes situation.

Even though the situations are different, Leman said she is trying to find common threads between them.

“Overwhelmingly, what I’ve found was that people want to move on with their lives,” Leman said.

“They want to rebuild; they’re more worried about having enough to eat and sending their kids to school than they are about finding out who killed their loved ones (in the war).”

Leman came away feeling more pro-government than she said she thought she would.

“The government feels like its been singled out,” Leman said. “For having defeated terrorism, it feels like it should have a pat on the back instead of being pointed fingers at.”

Sri Lankans are ready to talk about and work through the issues surrounding what happened with the war, she said.

Researching water quality in Sri Lanka

The students at Panagala Junior School and Elon painted a mural together at the Panagala Junior School. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Leman.

Senior Julia Crowley researched water quality in the country. She focused on discrepancies between urban and rural quality and availability. She conducted a survey in English and Sinhala, a language in Sri Lanka.

People in Sri Lanka are starting to realize the impacts that development will have on their water, according to Crowley.

“I’m just hoping that my survey, as small as it was, can add to that body of knowledge as they start to gather more data,” she said.

She also said Sri Lankans come from a Buddhist culture and have a different relationship with nature than Western people.

“They view themselves more directly a part of nature as I feel we view ourselves in Western culture as above nature,” Crowley said. “We view ourselves as stewards, which sounds nice but is actually patronizing. It reduces the importance we put on nature.”

Giving the underrepresented a voice

Student starts up homeless newspaper in Greensboro

by Marlena Chertock, December 8, 2010

The first edition of The New Greensboro Voice. Photo courtesy of Mary Yost.

The shelter sees 40 or so homeless people a day. They come in and out, some stay for lunch and then they have to leave because the Interactive Resource Center (IRC) is a day shelter.

The IRC in Greensboro offers services such as job training, case management, laundry, showers and support groups. Now the IRC has another opportunity for homeless individuals. The New Greensboro Voice, a homeless newspaper set up by Elon University junior Mary Yost, operates out of the IRC.

Gaining skills to form a homeless newspaper

Yost interned at Street Sense, a homeless newspaper in Washington, D.C. over the summer.

“While I was at Street Sense I met with one of the founders, Ted Henson, and I just tried to get as much information as I could as to how he started Street Sense and how that could be replicated in another city,” Yost said. “I got all that information before I left in August.”

As an editorial intern she wrote articles, updated the blog with breaking news stories, helped with layout and production and worked with vendors, homeless people who sell the newspaper. She said she helped type up articles, edit, as well as sit down with homeless individuals and edit for AP as they edited for word choice.

She gained many skills to help her start up a street newspaper in North Carolina.

“I learned a lot about layout because I didn’t know how to use InDesign before I started,” she said. “I laid out the first issue of The New Greensboro Voice. I also learned about patience from working with people and their writing.”

From idea to print

In the middle of Aug. Yost spoke with director of the IRC Liz Seymour to discuss the idea of a street newspaper being founded in the day shelter.

Yost said Seymour told her to come back to the IRC during one of their Friday meetings with all of the guests at the shelter. She did and pitched the idea Sept. 17. During that meeting a team of 10 or more rotating people was formed.

“A month and a half after that we got our first issue out,” Yost said. “Thankfully (Seymour) set us a deadline and we got there.”

The newspaper comes out monthly. The second edition came out Dec. 3 and the next will be out in the middle of Jan., Yost said.

There is a submission box in the IRC where people can put their poetry and art. Or they work more closely with Yost and the team to write articles.

“Since it’s not printed on newspaper yet we started calling it a newsletter,” Yost said. “It has that pamphlet kind of layout, so it doesn’t match the description of a newspaper yet, but it will one day.”

Having a voice

A The New Greensboro Voice meeting at the IRC. Photo courtesy of Mary Yost.

Elizabeth Chiseri-Strater was at the first meeting where Yost pitched the idea. Chiseri-Strater is a professor at UNC-G who is researching the IRC. She’s working on a book about the shelter.

She called The New Greensboro Voice an alternative newspaper and a way for homeless individuals to be heard.

Yost said she thinks the newspaper serves as a good outlet and resource for homeless individuals.

“The Street Sense office gets calls asking what happened to their vendor if they don’t show up,” Yost said. “They become like a friend, someone you see every day. It works in D.C. and I think it’ll work in Greensboro. If people know their reporter’s, their vendor’s name, it might be a start to encourage dialogue.”

In the first edition, reporters talked to politicians who are running, interviewed other homeless people in the IRC and people who run homeless or social service programs.

Shorty, a homeless individual, writes book reviews and distributes the paper to other homeless people, local churches, businesses and the Greensboro Public Library.

“I was involved in helping to distribute another homeless newspaper in Florida called The Emerald Coast Sun,” he said. “I didn’t write for it, but made a small amount of money and contributed a few ides. I liked the camaraderie and the organization and of course a few dollars in my pocket.”

He said he’s not good at interviews but likes to read and provide objective reviews of books. The hardest part is trying to make deadlines and stay within word limits, he said.

“Everyone has a story and eventually I plan to write urban and woodsman survival tips,” he said. “Concrete is not comfortable to sleep on, but a piece of cardboard will insulate one from the powerful heat-sucking potential of manmade stone.”

Shorty said he is involved in the paper to raise awareness for the homeless, nearly-homeless, poor and the general education of those interested in learning about poverty or volunteering to help others in need. He said he loves doing something that will help his brothers and sisters on the street.

“I’m new to this writing thing and am still getting my bearings,” he said. “With everyone’s help I’ll figure it out. This is what I think God put me here to do. Plus it keeps my mind active, as it is a challenge. And it helps me to stay out of trouble.”

The newspaper’s challenges

UNC-G Professor Elizabeth Chiseri-Strater works with a reporter on an at the IRC. Photo courtesy of Mary Yost.

This is the first time many of the homeless individuals have written for a newspaper, Yost said. To teach the reporters AP style and journalistic principles, Yost brought in her Media Writing handouts, detailing lede writing, story structure and more.

“(Chiseri-Strater) is a writing professor at UNC-G,” Yost said. “She has taken a forefront. I’m obviously still learning it and she’s a master.”

When she edits stories, Yost said she looks for AP style errors and shows them to the reporters so they can be corrected next time.

Yost said the hardest part is encouraging homeless individuals to write.

“They’re afraid to type on the computer or doubt they have talent,” she said.

Yost said she hopes to start homeless individuals with smaller articles, interviewing other people in the shelter who are in the same position as them.

“Hopefully they’ll build up to go interview their politician who represents them, to ask them about homelessness and poverty,” she said. “We try to get them out there, and even if they don’t want to, (Chiseri-Strater) will sit and call the person with them.”

Yost said they’re trying to build up homeless individuals’ confidence to conduct interviews on their own.

“It took me a while to feel confident with it,” she said. “I can say I’m a student, I have that to fall back on. It’s practicing the interview process, practicing asking each other questions.”

The newspaper has not yet received word if they are allowed to sell on the street. The vendors in D.C. make money and Yost said she would love if people at the IRC could use this as a job, since they’re hunting for jobs.

Reactions from IRC guests and the community

Yost checks the newspaper’s e-mail and said there are always e-mails from the community.

“(They) tell us they picked up a copy at the library, they say they’re glad we’re encouraging people at the IRC and other shelters to write,” she said.

Shorty, one of the reporters, is the main newspaper distributor to the shelter.

“He’s gotten a lot of interest from people and helped people start to submit art and poetry,” Yost said.

In Jan. the IRC is moving closer to downtown Greensboro, right across from A&T University. Yost said with this move, she hopes some type of internship program can be established for the newspaper and A&T.

“I learned so much at Street Sense,” she said. “Even if you just go to the IRC you’re still going to learn a lot. I think (the newspaper) could really take off with that kind of connection.”


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Collecting canned food through a common love

Literature brings people together at Will Read for Food

by Marlena Chertock, December 1, 2010

Students could bring donated food during this year’s Will Read for Food Event and read from their favorite author or writer. This year, the group raised 180 cans for the homeless. Photo by Molly Carey.

What’s a place to enjoy a love of food and books? The fourth annual Will Read for Food event at 7:30 p.m. combined the two on Nov. 17 in the Isabella Cannon Room in the Centre for the Arts.
English professor Tita Ramirez said the Arts and Letters Learning Community started the event in 2006 to promote literature.

“There’s a lot of readings on campus where people read their own work,” Ramirez said. “There are faculty readings, student readings and visiting writers who read their work.”

She said she realized there wasn’t a reading where students and faculty could read other writers. A place where people who might not be writers can share writing they enjoy with others, she said.

“Where people just share their love of literature,” she said.

Will Read for Food always occurs during National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. Students and faculty read excerpts from writing they enjoy or that relates to the themes of hunger, being underappreciated, giving, family and homelessness. The admission fee is a can or more of food, which are then donated.

“We dedicate these excerpts, and the food cans we’ll donate abade the craving for a moment,” said English professor Prudence Layne. “But they’ll do little to fend off insult and hunger and homelessness.”

It’s all about raising awareness, she said.

“It’s a great opportunity to do the most important work,” Ramirez said.

The writers read varied greatly, from nonfiction to poetry and fiction to excerpts of books.

Layne said this event and the readings offer an opportunity to learn more about ourselves, isolation and the view of imprisonment.

“Might I suggest that we expand homelessness to include imprisoned people,” Layne said.

She explained that currently the government does not consider those held in prison to be homeless.

English professor Kathy Lyday-Lee discussed the new government word that describes hunger: food insecurity.

“The number of people suffering from severe food insecurity doubled from 2007 to 2009,” she said.

Traditionally, students and staff of all different majors and departments read and attend, Ramirez said. The Arts and Letters Learning Community is composed of a mixture of majors, which contributes to the diversity.

This year, Arts and Letters partnered with the Service Learning Community, who collected the cans of food at the end of the event and distributed them to the Alamance County Food Bank. There were at least 180 cans collected and donated from the event, according to sophomore Will Brummett, a member of the Service Learning Community.

Selections from Will Read for Food:

Sophomore Elliot Luke
“Boa Constrictor,” “One Inch Tall,” “The Garden,” “Treehouse” and “Spaghetti” by Shel Silverstein

Professor Prudnce Layne
An excerpt from Nelson Mandela’s recent book, “Conversations About Myself” and the prologue of Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”

Sophomore Chris Sonzogni

“Onions” by William Matthews and “Oranges” by Gary Soto

Senior Tosh Scheps
“Keep One’s Treasure Protected” by Stephen Dobyns

Professor Kathy Lyday-Lee
“The God of Hunger” by Sonia Huber

Junior James Shaver
“Luciano,” by A.A. Gill

Senior Natalie Lampert
Excerpts from a blog by Tuscan chef Faye Hess

Professor Paula Patch
“Every Little Hurricane” from Sherman Alexie’s “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven”

Senior Jon Bolding
“Test” by G.A. Ingersoll

Sucking up knowledge and light: Professor and students collaborate on black hole research

by Marlena Chertock, November 16, 2010

Physics professor Dan Evans is researching the physical properties of black holes with two Elon freshmen. The team will look at images from the Chandra Observatory telescope in May. Photo courtesy of University Relations.

Dan Evans never knew exactly what he wanted to do until college when he first saw the images from the Hubble telescope. Now, as an Elon physics professor, Evans studies one particular cosmic body — black holes.

Evans said he wants to understand the physical processes of the cosmic bodies in space, which is the focus of astrophysics.

He described black holes as enormous cosmic vacuum cleaners.

“It turns out that just as the material takes its last death plunge into the black hole, it also releases a huge birth of X-ray emission and gives off a big flash,” he said.

This flash can be tracked by the Chandra X-ray Observatory telescope, the telescope he is using to conduct research.

“If I take an X-ray photograph of the night sky, we can find out what (black holes) are doing, what they’re eating,” he said.

Evans said he plans to use black holes to test Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

“This is part of the $3.5 billion mission from NASA that I’ve been working on for the past decade now,” Evans said.

The funding for this project comes directly from NASA, he said.
Before coming to Elon this year, Evans worked with NASA at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institution of Technology.

“My research involves supermassive black holes, which are incredibly massive black holes,” Evans said. “They have a huge amount of gravity associated with them. What I try to do with them is to understand how they work.”

Evans is bringing two Elon freshmen onto his research team, Todd Calnan and Matthew Barger. A third student will start next semester.

“I really like the undergraduate program here,” he said. “I’ve always placed a firm emphasis on undergraduate research and it seems like Elon is really making a substantial push to put itself on the map for leading undergraduate research. I wanted to be a part of that effort.”

They started the research in mid-September. In May, they will view galaxy NGC 1068 through Chandra.

Evans said the students are researching to understand how black holes flow material.

“It turns out it’s actually a very complicated process,” Evans said. “If we find out that, we can measure out the process of the black holes.”

Calnan said he wants to get a solid foundation in this type of work, which he said he’s confident that Evans can provide.

“I’m a physics major and I’m particularly interested in cosmology,” Calnan said. “This type of research is what I’m going to be doing for quite some time and I thought it would be good to get a head start.”

He said that he’s learned to use the computer programs, which analyze data, and the basic physics of black holes.

Calnan and Barger have also learned how to program UNIX, which they use for entering data Chandra supplies.

“The point of the research is to determine how fast the black hole is rotating given certain data,” Calnan said. “I also like the idea of being able to find something out that nobody else knows about yet.”

Barger said he sees this research as a way to broaden his view of the world of physics.

“(Evans’) presentation (on black holes) in the beginning of the year really captured me,” he said. “He talked about the different situations of black holes throughout the universe. There are quite a handful of them. Each one of them has their own story. I thought that was interesting.”

A certain set of principles in space applies to every single black hole in different ways, Barger said.

“Dr. Evans’ research will allow you to apply the principles to all of these different black holes and see things that other people have yet to see,” he said.

Evans creates a comfortable, motivating atmosphere, according to Barger.

“The way Dr. Evans presents our tasks to us makes us feel we can do it,” he said. “I didn’t know (Calnan) before, but (we) work well together. Dr. Evans keeps us on the same page. We started out doing the same thing, but I think Dr. Evans is trying to make it so that the tasks we’re doing are slightly different than the other’s work.”

Evans said he tries to take his passion directly into the classroom and research. He said he wants to encourage students to take astronomy classes.

“I want to give them the training so they can embark on careers, hopefully as professional scientists,” Evans said. “I think that’s a big part of the Elon experience.”

He said he hopes the students will continue researching with him for four years.

“I don’t take students on unless they have a lot of passion themselves,” he said. “I don’t take them on unless I look forward to the next four years together.”

Both Calnan and Barger said they plan on continuing this research.
Evans said he wants to take students to an astronomy conference in May.

“It’s not so much what I have to do, it’s what they have to do,” he said. “They’ve got to show that they have the hallmarks of becoming professional scientists. They have to do a research project at professional or near-professional standards.”

Evans said he hopes to expose students to what life as a scientist is like.

“It’s actually an exciting one,” he said.