Category Archives: Top Stories

Sodexo finishes semester, high hopes for next year

Students enjoy their meals in Ritchie Marketplace during the 2009-2010 school year. Sodexo is ending the school year with many upcoming events, and has big plans for the 2010-2011 school year. (Photo by Jon Wittkop)
Students enjoy their meals in Ritchie Marketplace during the 2009-2010 school year. Sodexo is ending the school year with many upcoming events, and has big plans for the 2010-2011 school year. (Photo by Jon Wittkop)
(Photo by Anthony Spangler)
(Photo by Anthony Spangler)

Throughout the 2009-2010 academic year, Sodexo has put on various events in Ritchie Marketplace.

“We try to do something every month,” Tim McLaughlin, the general manager for Sodexo, said.

According to McLaughlin, in October there was steak and shrimp night and in November they put on a specialty Thanksgiving dinner. In December, there was a Christmas meal and party. In February, a Valentine’s dinner was available and Chef Joaquin Suarez came to Adrian College from Columbia, as part of the global chef program to create a specialty menu for Ritchie. Suarez also made an appearance in professor of modern languages and cultures John Eipper’s accelerated Spanish literature class to talk about food and culture. Ritchie also had spring refreshers available for students the Thursday before spring break began, and has installed new cereal containers with different General Mills products.

“It was a good change for everybody,” freshman Alexandra Schaufele said about the specialty events. “I went to the Thanksgiving [dinner]. It was like a round table meal with all your friends. That was a lot of fun.”

Sodexo has also partnered with Chef Mai Pham, who owns her own restaurant in Sacramento, California, to create a menu for Ritchie every Tuesday and Thursday for the rest of the year, such as Thai spring rolls and curry.

“I think offering the international food is a good idea,” Schaufele said. “It provides more culture to AC campus.”

During finals week, Sodexo plans to put on a Breakfast under the Stars event, and is also going to provide food for commencement in April. After school ends in May, they anticipate having many catering orders to fill.

Also on April 22, Nikki Partee, the district marketing coordinator, plans on partnering with Adrian College’s Green Action Club (GAC) to offer a special event in honor of Earth Day, called “Pb and J for a Day.”

According to Partee, during Earth Day, Ritchie will provide various foods made of peanut butter and jelly, such as peanut butter and jelly cupcakes, as well as other standard food options.

She said that Pb and J Day saves water and carbon. dioxide and land.

According to Partee, eating peanut butter and jelly for the day saves 280 gallons of water, as opposed to eating hamburgers, and saves 12-50 square feet of deforestation, pesticide and pollution.

“It is astounding the difference [Pb and J Day makes],” McLaughlin said.

Sodexo has also partnered with many of its suppliers to offer a variety of opportunities for students.

Through General Mills, Sodexo sponsored the “Bike for a Better U” sweepstakes, where students could win a Timbuk2 backpack or a national prize of a school bike, which is like a bike share program for the campus.

There is also a contest that students can sign up for in the Caine Student Center, which is offered through Yoplait, a General Mills product, where contestants can win items such as a Wii or plasma screen TV.

“We have a lot of good relationships with our vendors,” McLaughlin said.

Sodexo is also planning a lot for next year.

The second day that freshmen are on campus for welcome week, they plan to put on an event, tentatively labeled “Bruiser-Palooza,” where Sodexo’s vendors will be invited to give out samples and small prizes, such as water bottles, as well as larger prizes like iPods.

According to McLaughlin, they are also looking into a sushi company that they could offer using dining dollars or a Mexican/Latin section in Ritchie, where they would offer food in a similar fashion to how the Mongolian grill is set up now.

They have also looked into offering Indian food once a month.

“It’s a traditional Indian boxed lunch,” McLaughlin said.

He also said that they are thinking about setting up a yogurt smoothie bar through the company “Freshens,” as well as a walk through pizza window.

“I really like the smoothie idea,” Schaufele said. “It would be really popular.”

They are also looking into a program for Ritchie similar to the Simply-to-Go program at Caine.

Sodexo has added Country Skillet onto the list of restaurants that accept dining dollars, as well.

“We’re always looking at new restaurants,” McLaughlin said.

One thing that McLaughlin said they are trying to improve is being able to get student opinions.

“There’s what the administration wants and there’s what the students want,” he said.

There are comment cards at the front of Ritchie available to students. There is also a link on the Adrian College website available for commenting about Ritchie and Sodexo.

McLaughlin said they are also looking into DTXT, a texting program that will allow students to receive texts about updates at Ritchie when they sign up for it.

“If we could get students to sign up, we could do different promotions,” Partee said.

Another thing that they are looking into for next year is partnering with GAC to have “Tray-less Days with a T,” where food trays will not be used in Ritchie on weekdays that have a T in them.

“I feel like that would be a good idea,” Schaufele said. “It’s not that hard to make a second trip for a drink or whatever else you want.”

According to McLaughlin, this will reduce a lot of waste and water consumption.

“In the U.S. the average food waste on our plate is 40%,” he said.

McLaughlin came to Adrian the second week of August, and has worked with Sodexo for five years.

“A position opened up and gave me an opportunity to come to campus,” McLaughlin said. “I think things have gone well. It’s been a great experience.”

Partee said that McLaughlin has created a completely different atmosphere since coming to AC, one that is more comfortable and clean.

“He’s made great changes,” Partee said.

Medieval event held at AC late last month

Saturday, March 27, Adrian College co-hosted the first annual “Medieval and Renaissance Studies Consortium,” in conjunction with Alma College. The event is the result of last fall’s call for student papers on the subject. Students from the region sent two hundred word abstracts and were chosen to present their papers from about sixteen local schools. Students came from Kalamazoo College, Wayne State University, Alma College, Calvin College, Albion College and seniors Chelsea Easter and Amy Dygert of Adrian College also presented. The event was hosted in Valade hall, and was comprised of four sessions lasting from 9 a.m., followed by breaking for lunch and finishing at 4:30 pm. Many of the presentations concerned the works of Shakespeare, while others focused on literature, religion, and cultural and comparitive Studies.

“This event gives students a rare opportunity,” said Robin Bott, Associate Professor of English, co-director of the English Department, Director of the Institute of Study Abroad and overseer for the event.

Submitting abstracts and presenting papers is an experience that, in the past, was limited to post-graduates and professors. This event gave students the opportunity to experience the process much earlier than has ever been available.

Students such as Chelsea Easter, who presented “Rape of Property: Comparison of Rape in Medieval and American Slavery Texts,” illuminated issues in an enlightening way and demonstrated their academic prowess in the question and answer session that followed. Professors and students, among other scholars and professionals in their field attended the event and presented often deep and open-ended questions that tested each students knowledge in Medieval and Renaissance Studies contexts.

“Adrian College was honored this year as the first site for this event because of its central location in the region, “Bott said, “In the following years the hosting school will be rotated.”

Docking delivers speech

Adrian College President Jeffrey Docking delivered his annual State of the College Address Friday in the Adrian Tobias Room. Several topics were discussed, with the main topic being college improvement. (Photos by Briana Doolan)
Adrian College President Jeffrey Docking delivered his annual State of the College Address Friday in the Adrian Tobias Room. Several topics were discussed, with the main topic being college improvement. (Photos by Briana Doolan)

docking2“Shared Vision, Shared Success,” was the title of Adrian College’s Annual State of the College Address given last Friday at noon in the Adrian Tobias room by AC’s seventeenth President, Jeffrey Docking.

“The preponderance of this message… will be devoted to looking ahead, planning, visioning and, most importantly, working together as one community to create a College so extraordinary that the achievements of the past five years, and perhaps the last 150 years, pale in comparison to the amazing things that lie ahead,” Docking said.

In his speech, Docking described the many accomplishments that AC has completed in the past five years. For instance, the student population has almost doubled, $25 million has been added to AC’s annual budget in revenues, 16 academic and athletic facilities have been built or remodeled, Internet bandwidth has increased and AC is receiving noticeably more press and news coverage, such as being the number one “Up and Coming Baccalaureate College in the Midwest.”

“Our future has never been brighter,” Docking said.

He also said that this year’s State of the College Address was the start of another five-year plan that will focus on excellence and a shared vision.

“Our strategic plan must have broad participation,” Docking said. “If we are seeking creativity, we cannot limit the voices of any in our midst.”

Docking asked his senior staff for new creative ideas for the college and received answers, such as selling a children’s book entitled “Bruiser Goes to College,” having a pet-friendly dorm, building a bonfire pit in front of Caine for students to enjoy and having students give their favorite recipes to Ritchie Market Place.

He said ideas that centered more on academics included a four-year promise to help students graduate college in four years or offer their fifth year free, creating experimental learning for each class, having J-term courses where students can take one college course in January, having a location to honor distinguished faculty and alumni, creating an institute for the Visual and Performing Arts, hiring an on-campus videographer to film aspects of AC to send to potential students or alumni and alternative spring break educational trips.

“The ideas are endless because the creativity on this campus is endless,” Docking said.

He said that planning for changes in the next five years should be finished in one year or less.

“We will not halt progress for even a day,” Docking said. “We can enlarge and define our vision for the next piece of the Renaissance II plan in one year without a problem.”

Students who took part in the State of the College Address included junior Sam Kuzyk, who is a finalist for the BNY/Mellon Hockey Humanitarian Award and talked about his community involvement, junior Jamie Besier, who talked about her experiences as a first generation student and member of the ACES program and sophomore Emily Engel who went with a team to Manaqua, Nicaragua last December to provide healthcare to the locals.

Other speakers at the Address were alumnus Steven Piorkowski and his wife Fran. The couple talked about their son Steve, who had quadriplegia, and the troubles he faced when he went to Adrian College and how the college accommodated to his needs.

“Our strategic plan should seek to create a campus culture that respects all students and employees equally… [And] sees the infinite worth of all human beings,” Docking said.

Freshman Chelsea Howe was one of many students who attended the Campus Address.

“It’s good to give an overview of what’s going on at our college,” she said. “I was interested to see what changes are coming to AC in the upcoming years while I’m here.”

Howe said she that what stuck out to her the most about Docking’s speech was how excited he seemed to be to receive ideas from his teaching staff.

“I think some of his new programs would be really neat,” she said.

Charles Vanderwell, professor of Social Work, Sociology and Criminal Justice said he is interested to see what the institution is going to do exactly in the next five years.

“One of the things that was clear was that [Docking] was trying to impress upon us a vision, not specific concrete things,” Vanderwell said.

He said that Docking didn’t lay out the exact plan that AC was going to follow, but invited everyone to join in collaboration to improve the college.

Vanderwell said that one thing he noted about Docking’s speech was that it emphasized the social justice aspect of AC’s mission statement.

“If this college isn’t going to live its 150th year its mission, then we’re in trouble,” he said. “I was happy to see it there.”

However, Vanderwell said he would have liked Docking to note that the Social Work program recently became the first program on campus to receive accreditation.

“I wish [Docking] would’ve been open more to what the Social Work Program is doing,” he said.

Freshman Jacqueline Belman said that most everyone should attend the State of the College Address.

“It affects all of us,” she said. “We’re all paying for this, why not actually care?”

Belman said that having different students speak about their experiences at the college was a great aspect to the address.

“It was really cool how [Docking] did that,” she said.

Belman also said that Docking should have discussed whether or not the changes planned for the college would affect students’ tuition and that he should have elaborated on Renaissance II better.

“He should have brought up the Michigan Promise Scholarship,” she said.

Belman said that it’s important to have an annual State of the College Address to encourage people to become involved with Adrian.

“If [Docking] didn’t address the college, then there would be no way for people to tell what direction the college will go,” she said.

Chemistry student heads to California

Sophomore Krystin Stiefel does an experiment with methane gas in Chemistry class. Stiefel is attending San Jose State University in California this summer for a summer school program. (Photo Courtesy
Sophomore Krystin Stiefel does an experiment with methane gas in Chemistry class. Stiefel is attending San Jose State University in California this summer for a summer school program. (Photo Courtesy

From June 13 to July 24, sophomore Krystin Stiefel is going to San Jose State University in CA for the ACS Nuclear and Radiochemistry undergraduate summer school. Stiefel was one of twelve students picked for this six week program.

There are two sites for the Chemistry program, one in San Jose, the other in Brookhaven National Laboratory, NY.

“They went through selection processes and narrowed it down to 24 students,” Stiefel said. “They got over 140 applications.”

According to Stiefel, students from all over the U.S. are picked to attend the summer schools and receive college credit for participating in the program.

At the program, Stiefel said she will be doing a lot of class work, labs and attending seminars every Friday.

“I’m curious to see how they’re going to do labs,” she said.

Stiefel said she first became interested in nuclear power because her mother works at a nuclear power plant.

“I grew up around it,” she said.

Michael Claus, professor of Chemistry, told Stiefel about the summer school.

“It is a very elite program,” Claus said.

According to Claus, he knew of the program because his wife was a graduate of the program a while back and Dr. Paul Mantica, professor at Michigan State University, gave a seminar last year at AC for the Chemistry department and sent out an email about the program.

The summer program is sponsored by the Department of Energy and Claus said that those involved get to work with environmental nuclear physics, medicine, extra solar research and energy.

“[Krystin] gets to do hands on activities with nuclear science,” he said. “And [she] gets paid to do it too.”

Claus would encourage students to get involved with summer programs that pertain to their potential future career for various reasons.

“I would love it if every one of our students would do this,” he said.

According to Claus, at the institute he used to work for they sent many kids to these type of programs and the students would come back either really passionate about their field of study or completely turned off.

Claus also said that it helps prepare students for graduate school by giving them a taste of what it might be like. He said that this program will help Stiefel decide whether or not nuclear science is what she really wants to do, and could encourage her to excel even further with her educational career.

Stiefel is the first student from Adrian College attending the summer Chemistry program.

“I think it’s amazing,” Claus said.

Claus believes the acceptance into the program emphasized Stiefel’s ability and passion for nuclear science. He said that it spoke highly of AC too, and showed the teachers’ ability to prepare their students well.

Paul Rupert, professor of Chemistry, has had Stiefel in two of his college courses.

“I think this is an amazing opportunity for her,” Rupert said about Stiefel’s acceptance. “It really is quite an accomplishment.”

Rupert said that it was especially impressive that Stiefel was accepted into the program, even though she is a sophomore.

“It helps to show what our students can do in competition with other colleges and universities,” he said.

Rupert wrote a letter of recommendation to the summer program on behalf of Stiefel.

“I was delighted [to write the letter],” Rupert said. “This [program] is something that will provide her with knowledge and exposure on a nuclear level.”

Rupert also said that it is important not to over sell students when writing recommendation letters because students might not live up to the standards set for them. Students represent the college and build credibility where they go.

“I can’t think of many people who would be better to establish that credibility [for AC],” Rupert said about Stiefel.

Rupert said that it is a great opportunity for her because, not only will Stiefel be able to learn from world class experts in the program, but she will learn from her peers as well.

“It’s a cultural broadening experience for her,” he said.

Stiefel will also have access to equipment and research materials that has not been available to her before.

“I’m very honored,” Stiefel said about being able to attend the program. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I’m very glad to have been chosen.”

Circle K attends district convention in Lansing, MI

Freshman Sandra Bryan competes in the Hand on a Van competition, sponsored by the Adrian College Circle K group last month. (Photo by Anthony Spangler)
Freshman Sandra Bryan competes in the Hand on a Van competition, sponsored by the Adrian College Circle K group last month. (Photo by Anthony Spangler)
This photo is from the Adrian Kiwanis’s summer party. The group is part of a global service organization. (
This photo is from the Adrian Kiwanis’s summer party. The group is part of a global service organization. (

Over spring break, from March 12 to March 14, Adrian College’s chapter of Circle K went to Lansing for their annual district convention.

“We are a service organization affiliated with Kiwanis,” junior Jennifer Dawson said about Circle K.

Kiwanis is a group of volunteers that work together for community service activities. Circle K is particularly involved with the Kiwanis Club of Adrian, but that is only a small part of Kiwanis International, which is a global organization dedicated to changing the world, one child and community at a time.

According to their website,, the group meets at the Lenawee Christian Center, located on US 223, every Wednesday at noon. The Adrian branch of the Kiwanis Club was founded in 1940, approximately 35 years after the foundation of the Kiwanis Club in Detroit. Since their foundation, the group has done hundreds of projects for the Adrian community. Some of those projects include installing the “Welcome to Adrian” signs at  the North and West city limits, developing the Kiwanis trail and installing the flag pole that sits atop the Lenawee County Courthouse. Circle K is just one of the eleven Kiwanis committees that is listed on the website.

In the past, Circle K has held the Dining for Dimes benefit dinner, Hand on a Van, worked with Catherine Cobb Domestic Violence Center and is currently raising money for Habitat for Humanity.

The district convention was for all the Circle K groups in MI to come together and elect a new governor and executive board. Each chapter of Circle K was allowed two votes in elections. At the conference, they also had an icebreaker, where groups had to come up with a song and dance, gave out awards to various Circle K chapters, had workshops, service projects and a formal ball.

Dawson said there were 14 Circle K groups at the convention. This year, the students from AC that attended the convention were Dawson, junior Anthony Spangler, junior Alicia Bushor and sophomore Samantha Sloan.

This year was Dawson’s third time attending the district convention. She participated in the dancing through leadership, Kiwanis family relations and officer training workshops.

“I like going and seeing people,” Dawson said.

She said some of the most beneficial parts about the conference are talking to people, discussing new ideas and helping out new groups.

“I highly encourage people to go,” Dawson said. “It costs money, [though]. That’s why most people don’t go.”

According to Dawson, this year the convention cost $140 per person, which included all the activities, three meals on Saturday and a brunch on Sunday.

Dawson said her favorite part about the conference was the awards ceremony. In order to be eligible to win awards, a chapter of Circle K must be considered active by having 20 members. This year was AC’s first time considered active and they won eight awards.

Anthony Spangler was presented the Distinguished President award, Jennifer Dawson won the Outstanding Vice President award, Krystin Steifel won Distinguished Bulletin Editor and Alyssa Allen won the John Nash Outstanding Circle K Member award, along with a $250 scholarship. The AC chapter of Circle K as a whole won the second place Scrapbook award, Outstanding District Participation Award for their work with Habitat for Humanity, Participation in District Projects and the Distinguished Club Growth award.

“I think it’s awesome,” Samantha Sloan said about winning the awards.

Sloan attended the international Circle K, officer training and marketing workshops.

She said she found the marketing workshop to be very beneficial.

“It gave me some really good ideas,” Sloan said. “It was very informative.”

For her service project, Sloan volunteered at a food bank sorting through boxes of potatoes.

“It was a lot of fun,” She said. “I really enjoyed it.”

Alicia Bushor joined Circle K in the fall.

“I thought it could give me a good taste to what Circle K is all about,” Bushor said about the reason she attended the convention.

She participated in the Circle K international, public relations and life reflection workshops. For her service project, Bushor went to a retirement home and played bingo.

“It ended up being a lot of fun,” Bushor said. “I had a good time.”

Bushor said one of the only parts that she didn’t like was the food. However, despite that she said she would encourage others to attend the convention.

“Any member can go and get a lot out of it,” Bushor said. “If you are a Circle K member, you should definitely go to the Circle K district convention.”

Sloan said she would also encourage other members to attend the conference.

“Sharing ideas is very helpful,” Sloan said. “It’s so cool to get to meet other people from clubs who enjoy community service. It’s a very good learning experience.”

Japanese students fold cranes in hopes of peace

Students in the advanced Japanese language class are asking students to fold paper cranes to send to Hiroshima, Japan as a sign of peace. (Photo by Jennifer Miller)
Students in the advanced Japanese language class are asking students to fold paper cranes to send to Hiroshima, Japan as a sign of peace. (Photo by Jennifer Miller)

With a square piece of paper, color side up, make a fold diagonally corner to corner.

When I first walked into the advanced Japanese language classroom, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Yet when the light poured into the movie-darkened room, five determined faces were looking at me with such intensity; I knew the project they had undertaken was more serious then I had imagined.

Repeat the diagonal fold in the opposite direction.

Juniors Kristen Barnes, Donald Ball, Jacob Ryan Norman and Edgar Frank, along with fifth-year senior George Mathis have begun what they hope will become a campus wide project, called Senbazuru.

Open the paper into a square once more, and fold the paper edge to edge in both directions.

The name “Senbazuru” means “thousand origami cranes” and that is precisely what the class has set out to do—fold 1,000 cranes.  With guidance from assistant professor of modern languages and cultures Bryan Bott, these five students hope to complete their goal and send these cranes to Hiroshima, Japan.

With the white side up, bring the side corners in while pulling the top corner down.

As I sit down at the table, I can not only feel their desire for the project to succeed, but also see it.  Throughout the entire interview, all five students are folding paper cranes, so methodically that they seem to not even notice they’re doing it while talking to me.

With the open side pointing to the left, fold one corner of the square so the edge lines up with the center line, repeating on the other side.

“It is said that if you fold a thousand cranes, you get a wish,” Barnes said, when discussing the reasons for the project.

The 1,000 cranes are a symbol of world peace, and with the completion of the project, this dedicated group will send them to the Hiroshima Peace Park as Adrian College’s own cry for world peace.  The idea of the 1,000 cranes is the cessation of arms throughout the world and the abandonment of the nuclear arms race.

Flip the paper over and repeat the folds.
The emotion for the project is palpable in the room as Barnes begins the story of the little girl in Japan who started the project after the bombing of Hiroshima during World War II.

Fold the top flap down and crease, flip the paper over and fold top flap down on opposite side.

Sadako Sasaki, just 2 years old when the atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, developed leukemia at the age of nine.  Knowing of the legend of 1,000 cranes, she began to fold the cranes in an attempt to have her own wish fulfilled, to get better.

Open up one side and lay flat on the table, lift the top flap on the open end and fold upwards, bringing in the sides.

However, Sadako had finished only 644 cranes when she passed away on Oct. 25, 1955.  Her friends finished the cranes for her, and when she was buried, she was laid to rest with all 1,000 of the paper birds.

Flip the paper over and repeat. Position the paper so the open end is to the left.

After her death, a memorial was erected in the Hiroshima Peace Park for children, with Sadako on top holding a giant golden crane in her hands. This statue marks the place where AC’s 1,000 paper cranes will be displayed.

Fold in one flap so the edges line up with the center line. Fold in the other flap to meet the center line.

There are as many reasons to complete this project as there are cranes to fold.

“We are also doing it in the hope of breaking down the barriers between foreign countries and their different languages,” Norman said. “This is a single unifying task.”

Flip the paper over and repeat the folds. Fold over one side and lay flat.

With this in mind, the advanced Japanese language class is seeking volunteers to help complete the project.  Folding a paper crane is easy, and each of the students working with the project are more than willing to demonstrate.

“It doesn’t take long,” Mathis said.  “We’ll teach you how to fold it step-by-step.”

Fold up the top flap on the open end so the tip of the lower flap touches the tip of the upper flap. Fold two flaps over.

Even students who have never done origami before, and have a terrible time folding paper, like me, are encouraged to stop by the table the group has set up in Caine Student Center this week, and in Ritchie Marketplace next week to lend a hand.

“We want to make it a campus wide event,” Barnes said.

Not only has the class talked to different organizations and students groups on campus, but also has a trip planned to a local Adrian Elementary School, where the class will also participate in the project.  Alpha Sigma Alpha, Safe Place and the AC Art Club have already agreed to help fold cranes, though any and all organizations and students themselves are encouraged to help.

Repeat previous fold for the other lower flap. Fold one flap over and lay flat.

I agree to fold a paper crane to help the project.  Norman walks me through the steps, demonstrating with his own piece of paper.  I was awestruck when I witnessed the simple piece of paper take on the beautiful and complex shape of a crane.  I was even more surprised that, by the end of the process, my paper also resembled a crane.

To help with the Senbazuru, just drop by the table set-up in Caine on Friday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.  The class will be in Ritchie Marketplace on Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting March 22 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.

Fold the top flap down. Flip the paper over and repeat fold.

Part of what makes the project so special is not only sending wishes for world peace; everyone who participates also gets their name inscribed in a record book sent along with the cranes that will be kept at the Peace Park forever, and each individual who folds a crane is asked to sign their name on the inside of the paper.

“If every single person on this campus folds one paper crane, then we’d already have our thousand there,” Norman said.

If the project produces enough cranes, a second set of Senbazuru will be kept right here on AC’s campus, he said.

Fold one of the tips to form the head. Pull the other tip slight back to form the tail.

In just the first day, more than 100 cranes were folded.  Through the course of the interview, the class folded 27 cranes.  At the time of publication, more than 250 cranes had been folded.  With four days left in the project, everyone is encouraged to participate.

“We want as many people from campus to participate as possible,” Bott said.

Complete: one crane in a thousand.

Professor and wife achieve year long goal

AC Professor Derek Brereton’s wife lights the stove in the cabin Brereton’s constructed. The cabin, constructed of dead ash trees that were cut into boards is located in Washtenaw County, Michigan. (Photo courtesy of Derek Brereton)

One complex man, one simple goal: To build a genuine log cabin entirely from scratch.

Assistant professor of sociology, social work, and criminal justice, Derek P. Brereton (known simply and affectionately as “Dr. B” by any student who has ever taken one of his classes) first got the idea to build a cabin of his own last February. It is nestled on his and his wife Pam’s 12 acre plot in Sharon Hollow, a part of Washtenaw County.

“We wanted someplace in the country,” Brereton said. So with that simple intention they purchased the land.

Brereton explained that they always wanted a place of their own on the property and explained that they “didn’t want to pay someone to do it, so we did it ourselves.”

So, when May rolled around, Mr. and Mrs. Brereton, along with a few friends, started construction on the camp.

“I was looking at all these dead ash trees,” Brereton said. “The problem was that A. They’re too heavy and B. They’re irregular. So they needed to be cut into boards.”

And cut into boards they were, and a lot of them. 35 trees were used to make boards for the support posts alone. The fallen ash logs were also used for the porch, roof and porch of the cabin.

Brereton admits that there were a lot of mistakes made during construction and lots of things he would have done differently, but, nevertheless, they got the job done and couldn’t be prouder of the finished product.

The cabin represents not only a landmark of personal accomplishment, but has also already served as a home for many memories.

Brereton recalls an anecdote from last winter. A friend explained how to keep a fire going all night by filling the stove full of logs and shutting the damper and the flue (components of the stove) completely.

“I didn’t believe him,” Brereton said.

Nevertheless, he followed his friend’s suggestion, but decided to leave the damper open about an eighth of an inch. After he and his wife had fallen asleep, Brereton recalls waking up in the middle of the night extraordinarily hot. After Mrs. Brereton checked a digital clock/thermometer, it was 1 a.m. and 94 degrees.

Brereton couldn’t believe it.

“I had absolutely no idea it would get that hot,” Brereton said. “Next winter I’ll have to see what will happen if I close the damper all the way.”

The cabin was originally supposed to be a three season construct, designed to be useable in summer, fall and spring, but it has proven it’s useable in the winter.

Overall, Mr. and Mrs. Brereton have fallen in love with their Lincoln-esque camp.

“The absolutely amazing thing is that it doesn’t leak and that it’s holding together,” Brereton said. “It has a primitive quality that I enjoy.”

It hasn’t even been a year and Brereton is already thinking about his newest project, constructing a timber bark canoe.

“Sometime between now and the fall I’m going to start on it,” Brereton said of the canoe.

Brereton has been building canoes and canoe paddles for some time.

“I love pioneery kinds of things,” Brereton said.

And it is that love of nature and the American frontier that is so prevalent in his work.

Acclaimed author speaks at convocation yesterday

Author Ryan D’Agostino visited campus yesterday, to speak as part of the on-going Convocation program. D’Agostino’s speech was about becoming successful and recognizing when you have a good idea, and, most importantly how  to put that idea into use. (Photos by Jennifer Miller)
Author Ryan D’Agostino visited campus yesterday, to speak as part of the on-going Convocation program. D’Agostino’s speech was about becoming successful and recognizing when you have a good idea, and, most importantly how to put that idea into use. (Photos by Jennifer Miller)

convo2It all starts with an idea. Most people meet success when they get a good idea, recognize it for what it is, and run with it. Or, at least, that’s what Ryan D’Agostino, author of “Rich Like Them” and the articles editor for Esquire magazine, said yesterday during convocation. To write this book, which is being read by the Honors Colloquium class, D’Agostino went door to door in 20 of the wealthiest zip codes in the United States and asked them how they got their mansions and what the story of their success is. “Rich Like Them” is meant to be a “book of inspiration for anybody who has anything to do with business,” D’Agostino said. It wasn’t meant to be a self-help book about the stock market and money management. He said he wanted to tell the stories of people who had done well but whom he could still relate to.

“A lot of them didn’t want to talk to me,” D’Agostino said. “They thought I was asking about money.” The fact was, he wasn’t asking how they made their money. He was more interested in the ideas and methods they employed to get where they are. D’Agostino learned quickly to approach them by asking the people to tell them how awesome they were and not asking them how they made their money. He still met with a lot of rejections because he was “essentially asking for lessons they’d impart to their children.” When D’Agostino did find people who were willing to talk to him, he found they didn’t think they were different or special. “[The people in the book] simply think they worked harder than anybody else,” D’Agostino said.

What D’Agostino wanted to focus on was how to have an idea, and what to do once a person has an idea. According to him, people have good ideas all the time. It’s the people who can recognize the potential of their idea and make it a reality that makes them money.

Another person had an idea they put into action and made money doing became the owner of a travel company. The man began looking at everything through the lens of “how can I use this for my company” and began heli-hiking and the yellow routs of Europe tours. Heli-hiking was born from heli skiing, where a person is flown up to a part of a mountain that ski lifts can’t reach. The man wondered what was down with the lodges and helicopters during the summer, and found out that they just sat idle until winter. The yellow routes of Europe actually came from the man’s experiences in WWII, when the soldiers used yellow roads, or back routs, to get where they needed to be.

Another lesson D’Agostino got for generating ideas was from a venture capitalist in Silicone Valley. Her lesson was you never know where your next idea will come from, so listen to everyone. D’Agostino said. She makes it a habit to sit for a cup of coffee and listen to whatever idea the person has if the person has the guts to ask her to. “Eight out of 10 times, the idea’s not so great, but two times out of ten, it’s great,” D’Agostino said.

Once a person has a good idea, the most important thing it to stick to it. He spoke to a stock broker who cold called people who sold their stocks during an economic downturn to try and sell them CDs with a guaranteed seven percent annual interest. For every CD sold, the broker got a small commission. He did that for a couple of years, according to D’Agostino, and people started getting back to him looking for investment advice because he had “done right by them.”

One thing D’Agostino said was important to keep in mind “the plan may not go the way you think it’s going to go.” A common denominator he saw in the people he spoke to was that they were “obsessive people.”

Another reason the people he talked to managed to retain their money even with the economic crisis is because the people he spoke to didn’t take risks with the money they had earned. “They took risks when they had nothing to lose,” D’Agostino said.

AC junior Mario Oliver thought D’Agostino was a great person to have speaking to people about to leave school to seek their fortunes.

“I thought [the speech] was informative, inspirational and interesting to the young Americans who want to live the dream,” Oliver said.

Agnes Caldwell, dean of academic affairs, said D’Agostino was a good speaker to have wrapped up the years convocation series. “I’m pleased Ryan was able to end,” Caldwell said. “He was a great addition to the series this year.”

D’Agostino advised students to be like Lady Gaga. According to him, she decided she was famous before she recorded her first song. “She happens to be great singer, but she insisted she was going to be famous and successful. She wouldn’t take no for an answer.”

Adrian College musicians host concert to benefit Haiti

Adrian College alumni and students organized a benefit concert to help rebuild the New Victorian School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Photo by Jon Wittkop)
Adrian College alumni and students organized a benefit concert to help rebuild the New Victorian School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Photo by Jon Wittkop)

Last Friday, Adrian College hosted a benefit concert in Dawson Auditorium for the country of Haiti. All proceeds went to help rebuild the New Victorian School in Port-au-Prince.

AC Alum Erick Swanson (‘07), in conjunction with Tom Hodgman, associate professor of music, and Cecilia Johnson, lecturer of music, was responsible for the concert and much of the preparation that went into it. The admittance cost was $10 at the door.

“I organized a concert in January which raised close to $1000. I wanted to do a second concert so I approached Dr. Hodgman and asked if I could organize an alumni concert,” Swanson said in an e-mail. “He connected me with string instructor Cecilia Johnson who was simultaneously organizing a concert of her own. We decided to join forces and create one massive concert.”

The concert was split in two halves. The first half consisted of current AC students and the second half featured alumni, including Makenzie Fader (‘09), Gerianne Ditto (‘07), and Swanson. Between the two halves, there was an intermission with refreshments donated by Sodexo. Pieces preformed included show tunes, instrumental arrangements, gospel music and songs in foreign languages.

The concert audience and performers were not limited to music majors. Some students assisted with taking chairs and music stands on and off stage and other duties that made the concert run more smoothly.

Because there was so little time to prepare for the concert, no rehearsals were held. The performers were asked to choose pieces that were in “their standard list of repertoire” and that required little rehearsal, Swanson said.

In addition to the concert at AC, there was a, encore performance at the First Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Mich. where Swanson works.

“That concert [featured] many of the Adrian alumni, some faculty from the school I teach at, and several current students from the college like Steven Rolph and Brittany Ward, who are from the area,” Swanson said.

Romel Joseph, founder of the New Victorian School, was a colleague of Johnson’s when they were attending the University of Cincinnati College Conservatively of Music. According to Johnson, Joseph is a Haiti native who has been blind since a young age. After attaining his Bachelors degree, Joseph went on to get his Masters from Julliard School on a Fulbright program. After that, Joseph and his wife went to Haiti to start the New Victorian School.

According to Johnson, the devastation from the earthquake is not the first the New Victorian School has faced. Ten years to the day before the earthquake, the school burned. Johnson assisted in fundraising to help rebuild the school after the fire. Because there’s no insurance in Haiti, Johnson said, they have to start from scratch every time the school faces a disaster like the fire or the earthquake. And Joseph didn’t just loose the school to the earthquake. His wife and the child she was pregnant with were killed and Joseph’s legs and left hand were broken.

“For a violinist, that’s devastating,” Johnson said.

Even with all he’s lost personally, Johnson said he’s impatient to get out of the hospital and start rebuilding his school and working with the orphaned children in Haiti. That Joseph was able to soldier on like he has is incredible to Johnson.

“He’s a brilliant person with a brilliant spirit,” Johnson said.

The highlight of the night for Swanson was when Joseph called and greeted the audience.

“It was really cool to hear from him,” Swanson said. “He insisted on calling, even though he had a major surgery only a matter of hours before.”

Children at the New Victorian School learn to play stringed instruments “which is unusual for Haiti” according to Johnson.

In addition to learning to play music, the children learn to speak English and French along with their native Creole. The elite in Haiti speak French, and Johnson said the children are being given every opportunity to enter elite society. Johnson had the opportunity to visit the school five years ago and thought “the school is good and the curriculum is awesome.”

Johnson is impressed with the way AC has managed to pull together a concert to benefit the New Victorian School in such a short time. She said it’s an example of the closeness of the music department and the generosity of the school as a whole.

“This college has an incredible spirit that I’ve never seen,” Johnson said.

According to Hodgman, this sort of action in a time of need is a college-wide phenomenon.

Between the two concerts, around $3500 was raised for the school. Also, according to Swanson, Shar Violin supply donated new uniforms to the school.

Second annual Make-A-Wish dinner raises funds, adds laughs

The bride and groom share a romantic moment on the dance floor. (Photo by Skyler Lambert)
The bride and groom share a romantic moment on the dance floor. (Photo by Skyler Lambert)

The drunken and flirty wife wandering around in cahoots with everyone.

Daniel comforts Megan during their speech. (Photo by Skyler Lambert)
Daniel comforts Megan during their speech. (Photo by Skyler Lambert)

The tipsy best man still in the immature college party mindset.

The bride’s sister focusing the spotlight on herself at all times.

These and other wedding party members were all on stage this past Saturday in the Adrian-Tobias Room for the second annual Chi Omega Make-A-Wish benefit dinner.

“I feel like it went really well,” organizer and junior Emma Donelson said. “I think that it was a good follow-up to our first year and we built off of it. We have enough room to build off [of] for next year. The style of the play this year was a lot better than last year. I think the audience had a lot more fun being involved in it, as opposed to just sitting and watching.”

This year’s event, “The Magical Happily Ever After Wedding Reception,” benefitted six-year-old Heath from Jasper, Mich. Heath, diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, had his wish granted to visit Walt Disney World in December. The dinner raised funds to foot the bill for Heath’s trip.

The dinner began with a short speech by Chi Omega president and junior Jessica Shovan about Heath and his background. Following the introduction, senior Ashley Bujega was asked to give the invocation over the food and have a moment of silence for the recent victims of the earthquake in Chile.

Donelson (Marissa-Clare, wedding planner) opened the “reception” by explaining how the groom (freshman TJ Behling as Eean Vanderson) met the bride (freshman Sammy Flores as Isabelle Vanderson). The audience watched a video of the proposal while the salad course was served.

In the film, Eean is nervous about the situation, so he consults his friend (and later best man) Caleb DeMartzo (freshman Bryce Greenfield), who gives him some tips on how to approach Isabelle when he pops the question. After stumbling, Eean finally finds the right words and things fall into place.

Eean and Isabelle were then introduced to the stage where they gave thanks to all who were in attendance and announced their decision to donate all funds from their “reception” to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They couple then presented the remainder of the wedding party to the audience with flashy introductions. As the wedding party was seated, the characters were brought to life.

After introductions, Marissa-Clare rushes around to accommodate the final details of the reception. Her assistant, Natalie Block (director and junior Angelica Lopez), consults with her on a major issue about how “the band isn’t exactly a band.” Tom (junior Nathan Marks), the DJ for the reception, enters with a swagger in his stride, but Marissa-Clare doesn’t buy it for a second. As she prepares to give Tom the boot, Isabelle convinces her to let him stay. In the process, she discovers Eean went behind her back to help pick out the musician for the reception and she becomes distressed.

A second video was shown, detailing a scene between Isabelle and Christopher Michaels (junior Jacob Norman), Isabelle’s best friend and one of the groomsmen. Isabelle feels undermined because no one is aware it’s her wedding. Plus, her sister, Casey DeMartzo (sophomore Gabrielle Piazza) is grabbing all the attention and Eean’s  widowed mother, Victoria Vanderson (junior Sherry Linton), doesn’t like her.

Isabelle’s parents, Daniel (freshman Garrett Beitelchies) and Megan Tifton (junior Dominique Fernandez), take the stage to give a small speech about how they are so pleased with Isabelle. Megan then invites Victoria to say a few words, who keeps it short and simple. Casey prays over the dinner, before relating the reception to her own personal experiences.

After the prayer, “guests” were dismissed by table to fill their plates with food from the buffet. The Sodexo-catered menu included green beans, mashed potatoes, pasta primavera, chicken marsala and rolls. During the dinner portion, the wedding party mingled with audience members.

“They were very generous and gracious and accommodating,” Donelson said of Sodexo. “They’re a really good company to work with. They were very personable and very good to have at the event.”

Following dinner, Caleb decides it’s time for him to make his best man speech about how he and Eean will no longer be as close as they once were. He then asks for Isabelle’s ring which has been resting on a stand next to the wedding cake. When Casey (his wife) opens the box, she discovers the ring is missing and problems arise among everyone. Isabelle storms away, while Chris vows to find the thief.

Emmaleigh Monroe (sophomore Laura Ashley Greer), takes the microphone to explain (in her obsessive nature) how grateful she is to be the maid of honor. Isabelle returns to the front table to be comforted by Rachel Walters (freshman Stephanie Pridgeon), one of her maids of honor. Chris continues his quest to find the ring by pestering audience members for their rings, but still comes up empty-handed.

The dance floor was then opened with the couples dance, daddy-daughter dance and dollar dance. (All money donated for this was also added to the Make-A-Wish fund.) Guests were permitted to boogie down after the preliminary dances took place.

Isabelle and Eean seem to patch things up a bit as they cut the cake (and feed it to each other in the traditional sense). Then, they toss up the garter and bouquet to the guests at the event.

Meanwhile, Chris’ rampage to the find the ring reaches an all-time high as he badgers all the audience members. Fed up with the chaos, Isabelle steps forward to protest against the harassment.

“What it comes down to is Eean and I’s happiness,” she declares loudly.

Victoria steps forward at last to admit to the thievery. Through gritted teeth, she reaches a compromise with Isabelle and all the pieces seem to fit back together.

Aside from Victoria and Natalie, the wedding party all leaves in pairs: Isabelle and Eean, Daniel and Megan, Casey and Caleb, Emmaleigh and Tom, Chris and Rachel and Marissa-Clare and guest Josh White all exit the “reception” for the after-party.

“Having the end result, knowing that we’re granting Heath’s wish, made it a lot easier,” Lopez said. “When things come up, I know that I have an entire sisterhood full of sisters who are willing to step up to make this event good, not just for this chapter, but for Heath’s family as well.”

Throughout the night, guests were permitted to place bids in a silent auction. Items which were up for sale included pictures, articles of clothing, a clock, candles, jewelry, gift cards, a pillow, a handbag and gift baskets.

Counting the Chi Omega sisters, approximately 160 guests attended the dinner. Each individual was seated at a table with seven other guests with personalized name cards at each setting.

Despite last minute changes, including a switch from senior Laura Shank to Piazza for Casey DeMartzo, Lopez believes the event allowed the sisters to bond together under pressure.

“It just shows how close we are,” Lopez said. “No matter what came up we were able to handle it and we are all happy with how the show went.”

In addition to the benefit dinner, Chi Omega also volunteers in other community service projects throughout the semester. A number of sisters recently participated in the Daddy-Daughter Dance at the Adrian Community Center for a second straight year. They also hold a Pie-A-Chi event during the fall semester and many sisters volunteer at institutions like the Humane Society and the local nursing home.

Victoria exposed herself as the ring thief. (Photo by Skyler Lambert)
Victoria exposed herself as the ring thief. (Photo by Skyler Lambert)

Lopez and the other sisters are considering a children’s birthday party theme for next year’s event.

Eean and Isabelle cut the cake together. (Photo by Skyler Lambert)
Eean and Isabelle cut the cake together. (Photo by Skyler Lambert)