Healing the American Divide

By Tyler Worsham

As we all well know, the election is over. We the people have elected Donald Trump to be our next president of the United States. Some people are pleased and celebrate this outcome, believing maybe America will be great again.

However, Not everyone feels the same way. Across the country we can observe both peaceful protests and acts of violence and vandalism by those who do not agree with the results. Some are reacting better than others on all sides of the issues.

For better and for worse, this election cycle has exposed and exacerbated the deep rifts and divides in our society. Regardless of one’s personal view of the outcome or of the race as a whole, it is clear to everyone that problems exist and that change needs to happen.

Bridges need to be rebuilt and society needs to be civil again, but what will it take? Is it even possible?

Some Iowa State University students had their own opinions. Sarah, an agronomy major, had this to say,

“As a general comment, I think people need to think before they react. I don’t have a lot of opinions about this but people need to think before they react and a lot of people are reacting before they think.”

Dr. Michael Bugeja of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication emphasized the need to listen to one another,

“If we can affirm everyone’s conscience, we’ll elevate discussion in society. If people are listening rather than seeking affirmation and doing the hard work of reaching out, we’ll achieve a modicum of harmony. Right now, we have a leadership vacuum. People are just appealing to what others already believe and until we can cross the aisle physically, digitally, metaphorically and literally, I’m not sure many of these issues were dealing with right now can be adequately addressed.”

A great America is a united America, but as we can clearly see, we have a lot of work ahead of us.


Serial Effect

By Macy Griffin

A lot can happen in 17 years. Since 2000 we have had the economy collapse, our first black president, and been in several wars. Imagine if you narrowed it down to an hour. Or even more, down to 20 minutes. It may not seem like as much can happen, but it can be enough time to change the life of one young man.

Adnan Syed, the star of the podcast, is currently in prison, and has been for 17 years. There is a glimmer of hope for this jail bird. After Sarah Koening breathed new life into his case with her podcast “Serial”, and has turned a closed case into the most popular podcast’s focal point.

More updates are coming in the case. Syed, who is now 35, is asking to be released from prison.

Many people don’t believe it was possible for Syed to accomplish a murder within the small time frame that Hay Li, the victim of the crime, was murdered.

A petition filed early in November calls for his release. While in prison, Syed has had no behavioral problems, which is enough to let many convicted criminals free.

What makes this case different? Millions of ears have tuned in, hearing about all the accomplices, weapons, evidence, and even Koening’s attempts to recreate the crime.

With all this in mind, people believe not only is Syed innocent but maybe Jay Wilds, a key witness that turned Syed in, is the one to be charged. Since the first trail, when Syed has had no history of violence, Wilds has been arrested more than 20 times with incidents of rage and violence against women.

A Judge in Baltimore has ordered a new trail. Prosecutors are appealing this ruling, saying that this could take years of work.

Iowa State Dining

By Jared McKenna

Iowa State University serves thousands of students breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Many of the more than 36,000 students enrolled choose to eat their meals at a dining center. With daily traffic of students in the tens of thousands across dining centers on campus, Iowa State University has taken steps to create a better overall dining experience for customers. Some of these steps include recent renovations to dining centers, the construction of a new dining center on campus and even how students are served.

Marketing Coordinator for ISU Dining, Brittney Rutherford, says that some renovations were made to Clyde’s restaurant-style dining center.

“Our director came, he came in mid-year. He had heard from students and staff members and everything else that our lines are really, really long. He worked with the chef team to figure out how to make Clyde’s a grab and go concept, instead of a made to order,” Rutherford said.

Senior in Agronomy, Can Karacetin, agrees that the “grab and go” concept is one that should stay.

“Compared to last year, it’s much better, because last year, people would end up just waiting for quite awhile. But, right now, they can just, like, they are ready to go and they can just get it and eat it right away,” Karacetin said.

About five to six thousand students are served throughout the day at the Union Drive Marketplace Dining Center alone. How students are served at dining centers can affect their overall dining experience.

“Last fall, they tried to use student workers to serve you so that the lines would go quicker. It didn’t work,” Rutherford said.

According to Rutherford, many students disliked this option and the dining center service went back to a “self-serve plan.” However, some say this option is not the best logistical plan.

Manager at UDM, Joey Bergstrand, said a self-serve plan still may not be the best option.

“This semester, it might have been worse than what I’ve had in the past for lines. But a lot of that has been due to we’ve given the students the option to serve themselves,” Bergstrand said.

According to Bergstrand, some students may take a little bit more time to serve their own plate, but do not seem to mind as long as the line keeps moving.

“It’s kind of a hard medium to find. The problem here is just that there are so many customers at our lunch time period that it’d be really hard to do things plated,” Bergstrand said.

Another way Iowa State University plans on cutting down long lines and creating a better dining experience for students is by constructing a dining center near the Union Drive Marketplace. The new dining center will be called Friley Windows and is expected to begin serving students in fall 2017. According to Bergstrand, the new facility will be able to serve more than 300 people.

“Having that facility open to have taking a way just a certain amount of customers here would make the dining experience better for everyone,” Bergstrand said.

Some tips to reduce wait times, according to materials posted at dining centers, is to eat during “lower traffic times” if your schedule allows for it and to sit with other students you may not know if there is an open seat and you are both comfortable to do so.

Post Election Reflection and Support

By Mumbi Kasumba

The Multicultural Center in the Memorial Union hosted an evening of support, discussion and reflection following the outcome of the presidential election. Students and faculty discussed what America under a Donald Trump presidency would mean for them.

“It’s brought a lot of fear and a lot of confusion,” said Mwape Mwanakatwe, “Today was definitely the most terrifying experience,” she continued. The Multicultural Center set out to create an open and safe environment for all students and faculty in attendance. Students expressed a need for a place to openly speak on the election. “It was a great and effective event, it’s just good to see there’s support like this on campus. We can only hope for the best now,” said Chuck Madu, a senior in engineering. Sandra Alvrez believed the event succeeded in bringing together those who may have felt alone at this time. She stressed it would have made more of an impact if people who are not minorities participated in the conversation.

Other students weighed in on the steps the university and privileged persons need to take in order for all students to feel safe and welcome. “I think it’s an education on which ever side of the fence you lie on,” said Benjamin Kwasa, “If the people who represent the university as a whole don’t feel like it’s something to be addressed, it becomes very difficult to get change to be implemented at the ground level where each student is having their day to day activities take place,” he continued.

Student Government President Cole Staudt encouraged Caucasian students to voice their support for minorities on campus. “I want to be, and I am an ally for everyone who is not coming from a place of privilege,” he said. Staudt expressed his sadness when hearing about the experiences of other students in attendance. “It’s horrible to see the students that I represent feeling this way and not feeling safe on their own campus.” Staudt said.

The Multicultural Center encourages all students and faculty in need of support to make use of their services.

Marijuana usage among college students at an all time ‘high’

By Paul Hadish

More college students in the United States are smoking marijuana than anytime in the past 36 years. 1980 was the last time statistics of marijuana usage in college has been this high. According to a study done by the University of Michigan, 1 in 17 college students regularly use marijuana 20 or more times every month and 34% of students report marijuana usage in the last 12 months.

With states legalizing marijuana, the growing number of users, and influence from the media, college aged students are becoming more accepting of the drug. NORML Iowa State, a marijuana activist organization, feels as though the drug has been given a bad rep and it should be more widely accepted.

Anastasia Smith, a member of NORML, discusses the club’s view on marijuana and what they are hoping for the future of the drug.

“Hopefully we see it completely legalized throughout all 50 states,” said Smith. “It’s a big jump to have because there’s a huge war on drugs going on right now, but hopefully we can get more word out there about medical uses and the good things that marijuana can bring to the United States.”

According to the same study done by the University of Michigan, 53% of Americans say they support marijuana legalization however, MDMA and cocaine usage among college students has also gone up which means marijuana could be a gateway to other drugs.

Trenton Mein, a freshman in criminal justice, says how he thinks safe usage of marijuana can be beneficial.

“College is a very stressful time for students and I think they can use marijuana to just calm down and relax,” said Mein. “I think eventually it will be legalized everywhere, I think it will take a while, but I think before anything it will be used medically in the next couple years.”

Hy-Vee Night Workers Benefit College Town

By Nate Barnes

There’s only one place in Ames to buy groceries at 3 A.M. Hy-Vee is open 24 hours, and has two locations in Ames. This model fits well in a college town, where there are always people awake.

West Hy-Vee frequenter Noah Johnson is one of many “night owls” in Ames. “It’s rather convenient to have a Hy-Vee open real late into the night,” Johnson said. “It’s nice to be able to have a grocery store to go to.”

Customers seem especially pleased with the workers manning Hy-Vee in these later hours. Johnson said that they are “friendly and chatty, and make you feel rather welcome there.”

Many of the employees that work late do so often, and there are usually only a few of them, since it is almost never busy at three in the morning. This gives them the chance to talk to their customers, and provide a more relaxed experience.

These workers are greatly underappreciated, and provide an important service to our town. Next time you take a late-night trip to the grocery store, don’t be afraid to say hello.

“Sunvault” anthology brings the solarpunk genre to a wider audience

By Christine Salek

Iowa State’s MFA program in Creative Writing and Environment produces authors, poets and playwrights well-versed in what the program refers to as “the environmental imagination.” But for two students, exploring this idea meant setting out to advance a whole new genre.

After learning about solarpunk in a Tumblr post that gained popularity last September, now second-year student Phoebe Wagner came to fellow second-year Brontë Wieland with an idea.

“Phoebe approached me and asked me if I wanted to put together an anthology of environmental science fiction,” Wieland said.

“Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk & Eco-Speculation” was born out of this conversation.

Solarpunk is an emerging genre focused on working toward a better environmental future in science fiction as well as the associated positive solutions. The “-punk” suffix refers to its association with countercultural ideology.

“There’s also a lot of social justice that’s also associated with it,” Wagner added. “This idea that you can’t take environmental justice away from social justice, that they’re just sort of woven together.”


Phoebe Wagner is creating spray art as a Kickstarter reward for “Sunvault” backers. (Courtesy of Phoebe Wagner)

Wieland and Wagner turned to Kickstarter at the recommendation of their publisher, Upper Rubber Boot Books, and leaned on their own previous experiences with the platform to make it successful. One of their major goals was to raise enough to pay every author whose work they decided to publish in “Sunvault.”

“It also seemed right that something like solarpunk that’s so based in community is also funded by the community,” Wagner said.

In less than a month, “Sunvault” reached its initial goal of $5,000. By the end of the funding period, 236 backers had helped them exceed their goal to the tune of $6,121.

“Having the Kickstarter funds allowed us to be generous so we were able to up how much we were paying for art,” Wagner said.

With solarpunk being such an unexplored genre, Wieland and Wagner were both worried and excited about the kind of submissions they might receive, as well as how people might interpret the genre and how they as editors would select the stories that would help define and embody solarpunk for a wider audience.

“We wanted to be able to give authors the chance to expand that without necessarily breaking the genre,” Wieland said. “I think we did a pretty good job; we’ve taken it interesting directions.”

The pair promised backers and fans on their Kickstarter that submissions would open as soon as they reached their initial funding goal. But in addition to open submissions, they also solicited work from some of their favorite authors, including A.C. Wise, Nisi Shawl and Daniel José Older.

“Probably our most exciting one was Margaret Atwood,” Wagner said. “We don’t have a Margaret Atwood story, but Atwood did email back our publisher and say that she liked the idea. So we were very thrilled about that.”


Brontë Wieland “exercises his limerick muscle” completing rewards for “Sunvault” backers. (Courtesy of Brontë Wieland)

In the two months where submissions were open, “Sunvault” received more than 200 submissions, of which around 35 stories, poems, and black and white line art pieces were chosen for the final anthology.

The anthology is due to be published in May, but in the meantime, many backers of the Kickstarter have some unique rewards coming their way as a thanks for their contributions. Wagner is creating several spray art paintings, while Wieland is writing around 30 personalized limericks.

“Limerick is a fun form, and I think Kickstarters usually work better when they have something a little bit different in them,” he said. “I was excited to get a chance to exercise my limerick muscle.”

Throughout what will turn out to be an 18-month journey from conception to publication, Wieland and Wagner both learned valuable lessons about the publishing process.

“[We’ve been] writing copy for the Kickstarter and creating our website and doing social media, and we’re currently proofing the entire book at this point,” Wagner said. “That’s been a unique experience. And working with a publisher and soliciting authors is not something you generally get on your own, so that’s been a really big learning experience for me.”

“Now we’ve got a pretty good idea of all the legwork that goes into it,” Wieland added.

And as for a second volume of “Sunvault”?

“We’ll see,” Wagner said. “Probably some of it will depend on [the] response and if Upper Rubber Boot offered and said, ‘we would really like to put out another one,’ then I think we would definitely both be involved. But we’ll see.”

Millennials Driving Up Coffee Demand and Prices

By Mollie Shultz

According to a recent study, coffee consumption and demand is set to reach historic highs in America. Much of this consumption is coming from the millennial generation.

According to the study, millennials are consuming more coffee than adults, and more than people their age have in the past. Because of the high demand for coffee, prices have skyrocketed across coffee shops nationwide. In addition, more and more coffee shops are popping up around the country, especially in areas where there is a high concentration of young adults.

An example of this trend can be seen at Iowa State University. In the last couple of years, many coffee shops have popped up both on and around campus, and in the Ames community. Just last year, a new Starbucks opened on Lincoln Way across from the Memorial Union, along with new university apartments, immediately giving the new Starbucks their target customers.

Along with that Starbucks, smaller shops have been popping up around campus. There are small cafés in the Gerdin Business Building, Curtiss Hall and Parks Library. These cafés, and others not listed, joined Caribou Coffee, which has been around for a number of years and is located in The Hub.

Despite all of the areas to buy coffee on campus, lines are usually extremely long, and some students believe it is getting worse. Inna Komm, a junior in marketing said that although she does go to Starbucks and Caribou Coffee for specialty drinks, she has started making her own coffee at home to save money and time.

Komm believes she needs coffee, and this is a necessary step. “So, since I started college, I have definitely started drinking more coffee. I think it’s really important to be able to get through the day because otherwise I’m just really tired,” said Komm.

Komm has come to the realization that because of the rising prices, homemade drinks are the best way for her to save her money.

In addition to consumers feeling the pressures of rising demand and prices, baristas and other employees have noticed the changes among millennials and feel the pressure as well.

Ashley Buising, a junior marketing student and former barista has seen the changes firsthand.

“Last year, I used to work as a barista, and while I was working, the lines got a lot longer during the school year, and it was all college-aged students,” said Buising. Buising stated that part of the reason she got a new job was because of the craziness of working in such a high-demand area.

The demand for coffee and rising prices are not going away anytime soon, and according to the study, some believe it is changing the landscape of this business for good.

Changing Majors

By Hugo Bolanos

With college well into affect, students are full of stress and also have plenty overwhelming homework. Iowa State newcomers such as freshmen or transfer students quickly jump into the college experience. These students try to adjust to class sizes, campus life and life away from parents.

At first, new students along with returning students are not entirely sure with their major, it mostly consists with being pressured to choose what students would like to do for the rest of their lives.

One distraction about choosing a major or knowing about what to do with their lives can be class sizes, Iowa State has an average class size of 33 students. (Academics).

To some small town students, this seems like a bit of normality, but with big city students coming from nearby states (Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City) a class size of 33 sounds a bit of relief.

“The lecture hall classes are huge, but that goes into consideration with classes that all students no matter of majors need to take. Other than that coming from Chicago, I see the classes a bit less than my high school,” says Nick Mulderink, sophomore in Biochemistry.

While walking on campus, many students can see plenty of student tours going on. Iowa State looks to recruit high school seniors and transfers by showing them around campus and getting them familiar with the campus life.

“Campus life can make or break it for some colleges” says Edi Gracanin, sophmore in Kinesiology. Gracanin recently changed majors from Mechanical Engineering to Kinesiology, due to the fact that he was not “happy” with his old major. “Iowa State is cool because you can have a great school known for engineering, but then switch to Kinesiology because their program is also great” added Edi.

Gracanin told JLMC 206 that his main reasoning for changing majors was due to a stranger that he met on campus and having a brief conversation getting to know each other and their majors.

While taking a tour of Iowa State, visitors are asked to bring their parents along to get familiar to the campus as well. Having parents tag along during the tour can make the new students more comfortable when facing a new journey in their lives.

For the most part newcomers have had mom or dad or even both in their lives through schooling. Coming in the fall with a new roommate and not having your parents push you to get good grades is probably the biggest adjustment students make.

Parents play a great deal into helping their son or daughter choose their major. Sometimes parents choose their son or daughters major for them, maybe because they have a company back home or because they would like to see their kid earn good money.

“Being on your own you have plenty of time to think,” says Christine Lawler, junior in Psychology. “The time without them you mature and that’s what really helps you make the big decision of choosing your major.” Added Lawler.

Without a doubt, coming to college is a big deal for students and their families. Students expand their minds in and outside of the classroom, maturing greatly and enter into adulthood by the end of their college career (hopefully). Changing majors can be the starting stone into a whole different world; it’s just choosing which world to go into.

Conference Coverage

By Felipe Cabrera

Tensions are rising in the days leading up to the election and the Safety, Justice, and Students of Color panel at the Sun Room in the Memorial Union aims to ease tension between the Ames Police department and students of color.

“I don’t think I came here looking to get anything out of it,” Tasha Hill, a pre-law student at ISU, said. “I think I’m going to see how Iowa State is handling the culture regarding racism and bigotry.”

A Conversation on Safety, Justice, and Students of color was designed to raise awareness of the challenges students of color face in their interaction with local law enforcement, as well as creating an open dialog between the two groups. Police Chief Aaron Delashmutt and Police Commander Jason Tuttle were on the panel representing the Ames Police Department, while Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Reginald Stewart, Student Counseling Services psychologist Dr. Raghav Suri represented various roles of ISU’s faculty and administration.

The Sun Room was packed with students; some looking forward to an engaging panel, others looking for extra credit points. The topic is heavy, but some were hopeful for a positive outcome.

“I’m familiar with who will be presenting and they seem like leaders in the community,” John Wright, a mechanical engineering student at ISU, said. “…I’m just really excited to see what leaders of the community have to say on these topics and their points of view.”