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.

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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.

Students For Kids

By Tyler Worsham

Every child needs a role model. College students in Ames, Iowa are stepping up and making that difference in their lives here in the Ames community. Students of Iowa State University, in partnership with Cornerstone Church of Ames and their college ministry The Salt Company, are helping the teachers and spending time with the kids in Ames elementary schools during the school day.

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The Salt Company is the college student ministry of Cornerstone Church. The students who attend have various opportunities to attend Thursday night service, join groups of other involved students and engage in active service to the community.

According to Steven Greig who helps lead the mentorship program, former senior pastor of Cornerstone Church, Troy Nesbitt, suggested to teachers at Kate Mitchell Elementary School that in order to meet the needs of the growing student body, the college students involved in Cornerstone Church’s Salt Company ministry would be happy to lend a hand.

“A lot of kids come from broken homes and they just need someone to love on them.” Greig explained.

Students take time out of their busy schedules to leave campus once or twice a week for an hour or so a day to spend time with the kids doing whatever is needed of them.

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elementary student service project leaders, Steven Greig and Amalie Parmerlee

The idea became a reality 6 years ago at Kate Mitchell Elementary School. College students have had a presence ever since, but their impact on the lives of those younger than them are not limited to the confines of Kate Mitchell. The program continued to expand. In the years since, thanks to positive word of mouth, Salt Company and ISU students were given the same opportunity to expand their reach to help the children of other elementary schools throughout the city.

“It started only at Kate Mitchell for about four years until last year when we expanded to Sawyer and Meeker Elementary as well. This year we’re adding Edwards, so that’s four out of five besides Fellows.” Greig said.

 According to Greig, all it takes for college students to make a difference is to be willing and able. “We don’t do anything that special. Any college student who can breath and likes being around any sort of people at all can help.”

 Jacob Dereus, student at ISU and Salt Company participant, is one such college student who wants to make a difference. Dereus loves spending time with kids and hopes to become a teacher. His goal in participating in the program is to hang out with the kids and let them know someone cares about them.

“I want to get involved this semester because I’ve done it the past two years and I really enjoy it. It’s fun walking into the room and all of the kids are excited that you are there. It’s something I work my class schedule around so I have time for it.”

 Greig likewise mirrored the sentiment about the impact college students have on the lives of children, “We’ve all been in second grade where we’ve looked up to any sort of adult figure who just wanted to play with you and paid attention to you at all, and that’s honestly what most of these kids need. They don’t need, you know, a special calc tutor or anything. They just need someone to sit with them and be like, ‘Timmy, you should pay attention’, ‘let’s read this book”, ‘hey, kids on the playground.’”

 Although the program was almost shut down for a time due to not enough students volunteering, thanks to the 180 students currently involved, the program doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. In fact, the program intends to further expand this coming spring semester with the greater involvement of the Cornerstone Church community in addition to The Salt Company who is already involved. Greig looks forward to seeing church deacons connecting with school officials to get parents involved as they continue to try to make a positive impact in the Ames community.