Renegade Community

By Tyler Worsham

Video games have swept across the globe as a favorite past time over the last 30 to 40 years. They started out as a simple distraction for kids and niche audiences. Today they are a multibillion dollar industry rivaling Hollywood and the music industry, boasting gamers of all ages, backgrounds and demographics. As the medium has expanded, people from across the world who might otherwise might have nothing to do with one another have created friendships and communities, all through their shared love of the medium. Communities of gamers exist across the world, the nation and even right here at Iowa State University.

Game Renegades is Iowa State’s resident gaming community. It is a microcosm right here on campus of what is seen around the world. While the Game Developer’s Club maintains more of a focus on developing games, Game Renegades is the only club dedicated to connecting Iowa State University students through their shared love of playing games.

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Game Renegades club logo: public image from their Facebook page

According to Game Renegades PR Officer Keegan Ferreter, “Game Renegades started 10 years ago as a club designed to help bring gamers together on Iowa State campus.”

The gaming industry never sleeps, there are always new games coming out for people’s enjoyment. Because of this, Ferreter says the club is always busy.

“Club meetings involve having discussions about club activities and hosting LAN parties where people can bring their systems and we game on weekends on campus. We also host events throughout the year such as themed LANS (Halloween/spooky LAN, Red vs. Blue, Civilization V, etc.) and our big open LAN tournament at the end of the year. We got 220+ people there last year,” Ferreter said.

Ferreter described how the club wants everyone to feel welcome because there’s a place for everyone to find their niche. According to Ferreter, gamers have broad tastes and that Game Renegades is supposed to be a place for people to share their interests with others.

“The goal of the club is simply to provide an outlet and space for people to come, meet and play with other gamers on campus. Whether you are super competitive or really casual, chances are, someone, if not a group of people, are interested in the same thing!”

Ferreter explained that the mission of Game Renegades to connect gamers on campus has been as successful as it has for one primary reason.

“The big pull for us is that people love gaming competitively. In the same room or online, they like playing with their friends. We host many platforms to help them succeed in that.”

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People play competitively and cooperatively: public image from the Game Renegades Facebook page

Across the world, cooperative and competitive gaming is on the rise. Ferreter’s enthusiasm for the competitive scene in the club is reflected in his statements on the rising E-sports phenomena throughout the country and around the world. He’s glad that the fans in Game Renegades are a small part of the scene on campus.

“E-sports is now getting some actual recognition and professional organizations like the NBA and the NFL are seeing this opportunity now. The League of Legends World Finals had 334 million views over 4 weeks and 14 million people watched the final match! In perspective, the NBA 7 game series only got 30 million! Lots of amazing things are happening and though they aren’t where they could be, gaming wouldn’t be anywhere it is today without its fans.”

Because of the competitive and cooperative gaming scene in the club, Ferreter expressed how the future of Game Renegades looks bright.

“We are entirely club driven. Our members change every year and with the release of new games every year, club interest changes yearly which keeps it fresh and interesting! Our members help share ideas with us and as a result, we are able to give back and make cool things happen! Currently, we are showing an impressive 710 people on our Facebook, 250+ emails on our emailing lists and that keeps going up!”

With video games only growing in popularity and daily use, it appears that for the ISU gaming community, Game Renegades isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

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The powerless people need to speak up

By Jue Wang

Miles Moffeit, a veteran investigative reporter with The Dallas Morning News and a reporter for the Denver Post, has been working on investigating corruption within the criminal justice system for about nine years. He’s also a finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting of “Trashing the Truth,” which was a series uncovered the “gray zone” and mistake of law enforcement agencies to DNA evidence and to uphold the justice for victims.

September 27, Miles Moffeit gave a Chamberlin Lecture named “Investigating the Corrupt While Protecting the Powerless” in Great Hall. At the beginning of the lecture, he emphasized the importance of empathy, which helped the investigative reporters to be aware of other’s feelings, attitudes and sorrows.

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When he explained the things that investigative reporters must confront to endure, Moffeit stated he had experienced plenty of hardships that he encountered in the previous work, and he also used to be rebuffed by the city agency or the government.

“You might be shoved against the wall by a city manager who says, ‘You are ruining my legacy.’,” Moffeit mentioned. “You might even be warned to stay away by army commanders who don’t want you investigating their practices. It’s never about you; it’s always about the story. It’s about the people whose lives have been forever changed.”

During the lecture, Morreit presented lots of photos of the victims he once explored, which could give a chance to tell more people about those powerless people’s situations. Regarding the stories Moffeit shared, Echo Zhao, a student who attended the lecture said, “I was deeply impressed by the experiences of those victims, because it noticed me there were amounts of powerless people who were still suffering behind the power.”

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Besides, Moffeit especially illustrated the principle of being an investigative reporter. “ A key principle in investigative reporting is what I call orbiting. To get to the truth, you build from the outer edges and you move in, talking to people until you get to the middle, where the people who made the bad decisions are, ” he said.

“Through his speech, it reminds me to pay more attentions on the people who are

under the repression and power in society,” Wee Yee, a student that attended the lecture said. “Journalists should not just focus on the hot topics, but we should use our journalist power to uncover the injustice things and help the powerless people get their rights back,” she said.

The Vice-Presidential Debate

By Cayle Suntken

While the average knows who the main presidential candidates are, it’s a completely different story with vice-presidential candidates Mike Pence and Tim Kaine respectively. The Vice-presidential debate on Wednesday night was a perfect opportunity for the two candidates to defend their platforms in front of a national televised audience.

“If the polls are close such as this year they can convince undecided voters,” explains Steffan Schmidt, a political professor at Iowa State University. “If a candidate blows it that can be the end of their campaign. A super strong showing can be the necessary push to put someone over the top.”

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Mike Pence, who is Republican candidate Donald Trump’s running mate, is the incumbent governor of Indiana. Pence is a prominent member of the Tea Party movement, which is a grassroots conservative that aims to cut taxes and government spending.

Tim Kaine, who is candidate Hillary Clinton’s running mate, began his political career as a member of the Richmond, Va. City Council in 1994. He became the mayor of Richmond in 1998. After a stint as a lieutenant governor, Kaine became the governor of Virginia from 2006 to 2010. He was also the chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2009 to 2011. He is now serving the state of Virginia as a junior senator.

The two candidates squared off in a national televised debate Wednesday night at Longwood University in Farmville, Va. The debate was moderated by Elaine Quijano, who is a correspondent for CBS News. The main topics of the said debate included a mix of domestic and foreign policies offered by both candidates. One aspect of the debate that was noted by commentators is the fact that Tim Kaine interrupted Mike Pence a total of 70 times (Pence interrupted Kaine 40 times in comparison).

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According to a poll conducted by CNN, 48 percent of potential voters thought that Mike Pence won the debate while the other 42 percent of voters thought that Tim Kaine won the debate. This was a far cry from the poll of the first debate, which favored Hillary Clinton as the winner (although the poll suggests a more Democratic favoritism compared to similar polls). Despite this victory, Pence was criticized for not defending Donald Trump on certain issues such as his tax returns and his supposed ties to Russia.

This will be the only vice-presidential debate in the election cycle. However, there will be two more presidential debates in the month before election day. According to the poll aggregation website 270towin, Hillary Clinton has an average of 48 percent compared to Donald Trump’s 43 percent average. Whether or not the two last two debates in this election cycle will have impact remains to be seen.

Originally apart, two ISU clubs now dance together

By Mollie Shultz

At the beginning of this year, two long-standing Iowa State dance clubs joined together to create one, cohesive group that now dances to the name of Cyclone Ballroom.

 

Two of Iowa State’s ballroom dance clubs, ISU Ballroom and Cyclone Ballroom have joined forces this year to create a club that brings both competition and social dancing. The decision to merge the two was not made lightly, but it has been working out well according to executive members of the club.

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Dancers from multiple schools compete at an event Cyclone Ballroom competed in last year.

 

Originally, ISU Ballroom was the social club. They did not dance competitively. Instead, they taught people how to dance, and had social events for people to dance in. This club was more for fun and inclusiveness.

 

Conversely, Cyclone Ballroom was originally the competitive club. They would travel to competitions to see how they stacked up against other college’s clubs. Typically, the people involved in this were more experienced and wanting to compete, as opposed to ISU Ballroom.

 

The confusion over which club was social and which club was competitive, along with membership numbers caused the two clubs to join together. The club is now known as Cyclone Ballroom, and it involves aspects from both of the clubs that formed it.

 

Club president, Nicole Bramow, a senior in civil engineering said, “Having them separated was only hurting the clubs because we have some members in one that didn’t know about the other one and vice versa. So, combining them helped in both ways in just getting members to know more about what’s going on.”

 

In Cyclone Ballroom, members can decide whether they want to begin with the free lessons during the week and not compete, or they can choose to compete. That decision is left solely up to the club members. The club members are also allowed to choose which competitions they participate in.

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Two members of Cyclone Ballroom, Logan Halverson and Jimena Ojeda Ramirez compete at an event last spring.

Overall, the joint venture has been a success in the eyes of the club members. Bramow has been involved with ballroom dancing since her freshman year. According to her, the talks to conjoin the clubs took about a year before they officially decided to do it.

Bramow said, “We spent a year talking to our advisors, talking to club members that were involved, talking between the cabinets, just trying to figure out reasons that we were separated. And we only found like one or two reasons from a long time ago that somebody had had a dispute, so they split the club. And so we didn’t see any reason anymore to have them separated.”

Sarah Weuve, a junior in event management, is also a part of Cyclone Ballroom. She serves as the secretary, and she is in charge of the performance team and beginner lessons. She said that not much has changed since the two joined together.

Weuve said, “It really hasn’t changed that much for us. We really just absorbed ISU Ballroom. We took over their club and hold their Friday socials. We still hold all the events they did, its just a little more work for us. It’s working out well, so I really like it.

The club will be competing about every other weekend this semester beginning this weekend on Oct. 8 in Illinois.

The bonds of siblinghood: Inside Iowa State’s LGBTQ+ sorority

By Christine Salek

What do you call a sorority that prides itself in “siblinghood” (not sisterhood), educates the community on LGBTQ+ issues and is more than happy to show off their pets for a good cause?

Just call them Gamma Rho Lambda – Omicron Chapter.

This chapter of the social, non-residential sorority more commonly known as GRL came to Iowa State in April 2014 and brought with it a whole new outlet for social change.

“One huge factor [that makes us different] is our diverse atmosphere,” said Kate Smith, senior in public relations and Spring 2016 inductee. “It is a very accepting space, and not just for identities but for personalities as well.”

Aside from its primary messages of inclusivity and acceptance – including being open to people of any gender – GRL plays a vital role in educating Iowa State students on issues related to the LGBTQ+ community.

“We host workshops at Iowa State to help further education about LGBT issues and causes,” said Jackie Horsfall, senior in public relations and founding member of GRL. “Being in the Multicultural Greek Council, you stand for more than just yourself. It’s a duty to do outreach, educate and have a platform.”

“Our push for educational outreach [is important],” Smith said.

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Members of Gamma Rho Lambda – Omicron Chapter pose outside Iowa State’s Memorial Union.

This push begins even before a student becomes a member of GRL. Unlike a traditional sorority, GRL’s recruitment activities take place after the school year begins, where interested students must attend at least one social event and one educational event. Following an interview process, they learn whether their potential new siblings voted them into the sorority.

New members don’t have to be part of the LGBTQ+ community, but they should be committed to being strong allies if they aren’t. According to its Iowa State Greek Affairs description, GRL “exemplifies the qualities of acceptance, diversity, unity and trust” – and Horsfall and Smith can tell you exactly how they continually strive to uphold these virtues.

“We are very big on [gender] pronouns: asking and giving pronouns and not assuming others’ pronouns,” Horsfall said. “We make sure all activities are inclusive for those with disabilities. And when planning holiday related events, we don’t have a ‘Christmas’ party, we have a ‘winter’ party.”

More generally, Smith said GRL “[makes] sure people are validated through their identities.”

“We are a unified group of individuals who share common bonds through our lived experiences in marginalized groups,” she said, also echoing Horsfall’s stress on ensuring everyone knows and respects each others’ pronouns.

As the year continues, GRL members will both engage in the aforementioned educational activities and hold fundraisers that benefit their local philanthropy, which they have yet to choose.

To benefit the sorority’s national philanthropy, The Trevor Project – an LGBTQ+ youth suicide prevention organization – GRL will create and sell calendars of their pets.

“We all have an insane amount of pets,” Horsfall said.

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Gamma Rho Lambda – Omicron Chapter, Iowa State’s LGBTQ+ sorority, recruits new members every semester.

Efforts like this might be made easier by having a chapter residence where all members can provide live-in help, like a traditional sorority. However, neither Smith nor Horsfall believe the lack of a house takes away from the most important thing: sibling bonding.

“We have weekly business meetings that bring us all together, as well as socials and events to attend,” Smith said. “I think it’d be great to have a residence, but it’s not feasible for our sorority at this time.”

Even without a house, GRL still makes sure that members of the LGBTQ+ community can come together in a safe environment with allies that can help amplify their voices.

“Those who are [part of the LGBTQ+ community] experience GRL on a different level than our allies,” Smith said. “We have a personal stake in the sorority as it specifically stands for us and our identities.”

And as a group committed to the advancement and positive visibility of minoritized individuals, the more diversity within their ranks, the better.

“Representation is key to acceptance,” Horsfall said.

A Look Inside Salt Company

By Ashley Ruden

Salt Company is a weekly gathering about celebrating Jesus as a family on Thursday nights at Cornerstone Church in Ames.

For more than 40 years, Salt Company has been a big part of the Iowa State Community.  It started off as a small bible study of 12 students led by Jack Owens.

“We meet in Cornerstone Church, which is an auditorium that holds 1,793 people, which is crazy,” said Mark Vance, director of Salt Company.

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The worship band playing to the Salt student crowd during a Thursday night gathering.

Vance has been the director of The Salt Company at Iowa State since 2012.

“I love it here at Iowa State, Salt Company is a huge part of my life and for it to be one of the largest student ministries in the country is absolutely amazing,” Vance said.

Salt has smaller group meetings throughout the week for the people seeking a more personal setting for worship and discussion; these are called connection groups.

In connections groups, the students talk about what was covered in salt and apply it to their lives, as well as discuss the bible. They are held at various times throughout the week and usually take place at one’s home or in dorms around Iowa State’s campus.  These groups can range from 8-12 sometimes even more.

“Connection group is a place to grow in your faith or to seek out your faith,” Jaclyn Repplinger, student leader of Salt Company said.  “It is a place to be in community with others who want to love and live for Jesus.”

Aside from connection groups and Thursday night gatherings, Salt Company has three different retreats you can attend throughout the year.  They also usually have some type of mission trip you can go on over the summer.

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Director Mark Vance speaks to Salt Company on a Thursday night service. Photo credits Salt Company website.

All people are welcome to Salt no matter what background they have.  They’re very open and accepting.

“What I like most about Salt is that they talk a lot about not needing to be perfect and how it is okay to be broken and that Jesus loves us anyways.” Molly Fink, Salt attendee said.

To put on a gathering as big as Salt Company, it takes a lot of people to make everything flow.  Salt has about 20 executive members, and many student leaders to help put on the Thursday night gatherings of about 1,200 people.

“Our student leaders are really important to us, without them we wouldn’t be able to put on our Thursday night gatherings or have many connection groups,” Vance said.

Salt Company is always eager to get new people to walk through the doors of Cornerstone Church, if you ever get the option to experience it they encourage you to step through those doors and give it a shot.

“I got involved my freshman year because my sister was involved in salt, Repplinger said. “She was a leader and always talked about how great it was so when I came to college I wanted to try it out and I loved it instantly.”

Waka Flocka Flame to bring hip-hop to Ames

By Parker Reed

American rap/hip-hop artist Waka Flocka Flame will perform in Ames at 8 p.m.Tuesday at the Hansen Agricultural Learning Center.

Tickets are $18 with an ISU student ID and $30 to the public, and all tickets are subject to a $2 MidwesTIX service fee. Tickets can be purchased online via midwestix.com.

Waka Flocka, as his fans refer to him as, first rose in popularity in 2010 when he released his debut album “Flockaveli”, which featured singles like “O Let’s Do It”, “Hard in Da Paint” and “No Hands”.

“Having [Waka Flocka Flame] come to our campus is an awesome opportunity. He’s such a known name in the hip-hop scene and I’m glad students are excited to go,” said Hannah Nation, National Events Director of SUB.

But it’s not just students from Iowa State that are gearing up for Waka’s stop in Ames. Logan Abdulghani, a junior at the University of Iowa, has seen the rapper live in concert three times prior to his performance at Iowa State.

“[Waka’s] live shows are a lot of fun. They’re just full of so much energy that everyone there gets so into it,” said Abdulghani. “He’s a great performer that plays to the crowd really well.”

Waka Flocka followed up his debut album with “Triple F Life: Friends, Fans & Family” in 2012. The rapper’s sophomore effort featured the singles “Round of Applause” and “I Don’t Really Care”.

“Round of Applause” featured fellow rapper Drake, but Waka has worked with a number of other artists from the genre including Future, Machine Gun Kelly and Gucci Mane.

Outside of music, Waka was also featured on VH1’s third season of “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta”, the rapper’s hometown.

“[Waka’s] shows are always great, this shouldn’t be an exception,” said Abdulghani.

Nashville, Tennessee’s Mike Floss will open the show.

Son of jazz musician, Rod McGaha, Floss’ focus on the feel and groove of his music has earned him credit as a solid up-and-coming artist in the hip-hop scene.

The concert is co-sponsored by the Iowa State University Student Union Board (SUB) and Iowa State University’s Black Student Alliance.

For more information, visit sub.iastate.edu.

Brewery rally aims to stop TPP

By Aaron O’Neill

“This is what democracy looks like,” said Larry Cohen, holding up a “No TPP” sign as he stood next to a projector screen in Torrent Brewing Company. Larry Cohen is a Board Chairman for Our Revolution, an organization started by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to take on a number of political objectives. That includes halting the passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership, the largest regional trade agreement to date.

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Susie Petra asks Larry Cohen about the best way to contact her congressmen

Over 50 people gathered in the local brewery on Wednesday evening, October 5th for a town-hall style meeting to discuss and ultimately rally against the trade agreement. Attendees sipped craft beer and read pamphlets as they listened to presentations from the chairman and others.

Cohen explained the complicated negotiation process the agreement has been stuck in since the United States, along with 11 Pacific Rim countries, signed the deal in February of 2016. The TPP has been given “fast track” authorization that requires congress to vote yes or no on the deal without modification, but most likely won’t be voted on until after elections in November.

Cohen mentioned the potential harm the deal could have on U.S. manufacturing industries, as well as the global environmental damage that could result from the lack of regulation in developing countries that would take on those cheaper manufacturing jobs.

“The rights of citizens, whether it’s our food rights, our workers’ rights, our environmental rights should at least be at the same level as the rights of multi-national corporations to at least make back their investment,” Cohen said. “This is the loss of future profits.”

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Larry Cohen explains to Ames residents what they can do to fight the TPP

 

Cohen urged the crowd to take action, passing around petitions, volunteer cards, and urging the crowd to call representatives. Not only to voice their concerns, but to find out what their representative’s stances on the partnership are. Kim Weaver, Democratic challenger to Congressman Steve King for Iowa’s fourth Congressional District, took the opportunity to go on record in front of an audience.

“I am against TPP and I will always be against TPP,” Kim Weaver said to the crowd. Weaver acknowledged backlash she has received for publically opposing the deal that some large-scale farmers find beneficial. “It’s recorded, it’s on TV for all the world to see, and that’s my stance.”

Susie Petra is a resident of Ames and vocally opposes the TPP. When asked what she takes issue with about the trade deal, she expressed concern for increasing drug prices, manufacturing wages, and environmental problems. “I do think that any time a country considers giving up sovereignty on some issues means the demise of a democracy,” Petra said.

Gina Folsom, another Ames resident who wore a Bernie Sanders shirt and a Hillary Clinton button, came to the rally to learn more about the TPP and to hear Larry Cohen speak. Folsom’s biggest concern stemmed from the secrecy with which the agreement was developed, as well as the loss of state sovereignty. “I’m going to be making phone calls and writing letters,” she said.

The Trans Pacific Partnership continues to be just one of the many issues to be discussed in this year’s presidential election and beyond.

SIR Magazine Restructure

By Julian Neely

SIR magazine has opened their doors to new leadership and ideas. The magazine is branching away from a gender specific theme to focusing on the voices of the unheard. Tre Moore, new Editor-in-Chief, has taken this opportunity and has an extraordinary agenda for the magazine.

“Fortunately, Devon Johnson, the previous Editor-in-Chief, saw that I had a vision and believe in me enough to pass the torch along to me. I wish to put out a publication that isn’t restricted to one genre, gender, or set of ideas,” said SIR magazine editor Tre Moore.

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Josh Knight, Public Relations for SIR magazine posing for the camera. Photo by Julian Neely

Moore is a senior in journalism and mass communications from the Quad Cities. Last year, he spent a great amount of time trying to develop his own magazine and funding it himself. Devon Johnson saw the passion and drive that Moore obtained and selected him continue the magazine.

The past couple of years, SIR magazine focused on masculinity and a male audience. The magazine attracts males by the topics and photos in it. Moore wants to detach that image from SIR and use the platform to broader issues and audiences. It is important to Moore to be an androgynous publication.

“I believe that in the year 2016 and moving forward we must confront issues and old mindsets head on. We have a platform and opportunity to broadcast the voices of the underrepresented and shine a light on the topics that you won’t see in other outlets,” said Moore.

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Ariel Reaves, a model for SIR magazine, hanging out in the Eastern Student office space and sharing how excited she is for the photo shoot. Photo by: Julian Neely

Moore has an extraordinary agenda that consists of changing the focus to culture, the world that we live in and the people in it. He has created a team that consists of individuals with different perspectives, backgrounds, and majors. The team is diverse that creates a creative environment that can change the culture of SIR magazine.

“We are taking in poem submission, social media, and more diverse models. Reaching out to students that want to be part of the magazine. More inclusive to what people are doing on campus,” said Josh Knight

“I would love if people were blown away or cracked a big smile when they see our first cover and open those pages for the first time. I hope this magazine is something that makes people think “Wow, Iowa is cool,” explained Moore.

The enthusiasm that the Editor-in-Chief brings to the table you can imagine that the team is absorbing it as well. This is a new year for SIR magazine and they have a big agenda that they are pushing to fulfill. There upcoming photo shoot, which consists of many students of color that are male and female.

Iowa State University Diversity

By Jared McKenna

Iowa State University’s student population of over 36,000 brings a variety of cultures to Ames. While it is easy to notice differences in other groups of people, it is not as easy to see the diverse cultures behind these groups. The Multicultural Student Affairs organization, located in the Student Services building on campus, creates an outlet for often underrepresented cultures to be understood.

Graduate assistant for the Achieving Program for Excellence at Iowa State University, Jesus Galvan, says that underrepresented groups can find resources at Student Services to be heard.

“Our staff is good to help spread the word,” Galvan said.

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The Workspace, located in the basement of the Memorial Union, is a location on campus for students to express their creativity and heritage.

Many cultural organizations are already represented by the Multicultural Student Affairs organization and are listed as official Iowa State University clubs. These organizations range from the African Students Association to the German Student Association (Zeitgeist). These organizations represent students of a wide variety of cultures and differing backgrounds.

“Under represented [groups] could come to talk and get resources for an organization,” Galvan said.

The staff at the Multicultural Student Affair organization’s A.P.E.X. advises the group organizations and even schedules events for members of the different organizations to attend.

“We [the organization] set up a ‘tailgate social’ for the San Jose State game… This community is very strong, this is just a place like home,” Galvan said.

Other events are organized by the university to provide a space for different cultures to come together and spread awareness. One event to bring awareness to ‘Latin X’ cultures is organized by the Workspace in the Memorial Union. This event is the “Dia de los Muertos Skull Decorating” event.

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The Student Services Building provides resources and organizations, like the Multicultural Student Affairs Organization, to represent the culturally diverse student body of Iowa State.

Supervisor at Workspace, Aston Chang, says that the many cultural events held at the Workspace can help spread awareness in what is today’s culture.

“This is a very open community to use the space for creative needs,” Chang said.

The “Dia de los Muertos” event is held in the Workspace throughout the month of October to bring awareness to the “Latin X” cultures. Other cultural crafting events the Workspace organizes are “Rainbow Necklaces”—held in November for the L.G.B.T. community,—winter holiday events, and crafts including Chinese calligraphy.

“[Art] helps the community stay engaged and keep connected to the culture of the area… [It’s] a cultural aspect of the city too… It’s more about the experience and positive energy,” Chang said.

Cultural diversity is a large part of the community of Ames and Iowa State University.

“No matter your background it can be a home away from home,” Galvan said.