It’s Easy When You’re Big in Japan

By Rodney Lamp

Throughout the latter half of this semester, I have covered a wide array of student organizations, from the Photography Club to the International Students Organization, and everything in between.  In keeping with the global feel of last week’s post, I will be taking you on a trip to Japan as we take a look at the WVU Official Anime, Cosplay, and Asian Entertainment Club.  Say that three times fast.

I was not familiar with any of these elements prior to attending a club meeting this past Saturday.  Even now, I’m only barely acquainted with any of it.  The only anime I can recall seeing ahead of time was Dragon Ball Z, though I wasn’t an avid fan.  However, for what it’s worth, I have always been a Godzilla fan, and I’ll watch those movies any day.  But I digress.

Club President Amanda Rohr (left).

As the title would suggest, this club is about watching anime, engaging in cosplay, and enjoying various forms of Asian entertainment.  I experienced and/or witnessed the first two.  We watched anime for probably 90 minutes or so, and I have to say it was quite entertaining.  Two of the members, including the president, were cosplaying.  Also, I have to give props to the guy who brought white chocolate macadamia cookies.

Watching some anime.

A typical club meeting consists of playing a game and watching anime, along with discussing upcoming events.  The club also tries to get involved with community service, and its members recently took part in the Morgantown Relay for Life.

President Amanda Rohr, a senior forensic biology, biology, and psychology major, says that more than anything else, the club is about having fun.

“We like to pretty much just have fun in general,” Rohr said.  “We like to have a game night, just about anything fun we’re up for.  The main objective of the club is basically to have fun and meet people of similar interests, who like anime, who like manga, who like Asian culture, who like dressing up in weird costumes.”

Club member Liz Fairfax, a sophomore puppetry and creative dramatics major, said she enjoys the close-knit atmosphere the club offers.

Club member Liz Fairfax

“I really love, just the atmosphere,” Fairfax said.  “We all feel like a big group of friends, even when you have like 20 people here, we all feel like we’re friends.  It started out small, and it got bigger, but because everyone here is so friendly, and we all enjoy similar things, you know, we just get to know each other, and it’s really fun.”

Along the lines of being friendly, I have to agree with Fairfax.  There were club members whom I had never met before who were coming up to me to introduce themselves as soon as I arrived.  I couldn’t have asked for them to be more welcoming.  A few of them knew why I was there, and they were very willing to talk to me.

Rohr said she encourages anyone who might have some interest in anime, manga, cosplay, or Asian culture in general to give the club a try.

“If you like anime, if you’re interested in anime, if you just want to know what on earth we’re doing, come find out.  You’ll have fun,” Rohr said.

The club has one more meeting this year, a picnic that is happening tomorrow, April 30, at 2 pm between Evansdale and the Rec Center.  I wish I could be more specific as to the location, but if you want to go, just look for the group of people in that area having a picnic.  The club plans to continue meeting on Saturdays in 225 Brooks Hall, but you can check with the club in the fall to be sure.  Dues are $10 per semester or $15 for the year.  For more information, you can contact Amanda Rohr here or visit the club’s facebook page here.

Well, my friends, so ends the hitchhiking journey we’ve taken together this semester.  I hope that we at the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Morgantown have provided our readers with interesting and useful information to make your stay in Morgantown a more enjoyable one.  Thanks for reading, and wherever the road takes you, remember that you can always thumb a ride back to Dub-V, should you ever start to miss the mountains.

Take it away, John.


6 Life-Changing Words

Everyone knows someone who has had, or is still struggling the dreaded six letter word: cancer. It may be a family member or a friend, or an acqaintance, but chances are you’ve been affected by cancer in some form, a some point in your life.

My first experience with cancer was my childhood best friend’s grandmother. I was only around 13. It was lung cancer. But until then, I always thought that cancer was something that happened to everyone else’s families and not mine. And even though my friend’s grandmother wasn’t exactly family, it was almost the same, it still shook me when she passed. I haven’t smoked anything a day in my life, because of that.
My dad’s mother has had cysts on her skin they believe could be associated with melanoma, but they were removed before the cancer could spread. Last week, my mom’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a shock to all of us, but when isn’t it?

This week I really wanted to talk about my favorite Cancer Research event — Relay for Life, and its impact.

Relay for Life is the main volunteer-driven fundraising event for The American Cancer Society. It’s a way for a community to come together to support those battling cancer, remember those who have lost their lives to it and to fight back and find a cure.
Relays last 24 straight hours. There are tons of different events, but there are also several traditions practiced at Relay. First is the Celebration, or Survivor’s lap, during which survivors of cancer carry a banner and walk a lap around the track. Every Relay is started off this way.

When it gets dark, the Luminaria Ceremony begins. People write the names of their lost ones on paper bags, and the bags, are placed along the track with lit candles inside them. It is a very emotional time for everybody as many are crying. Usually there are speakers, and some stories you hear break your heart.

Really, Relay for Life is one of the most influential ways to bring people together, uniting for a cause. I live in a small town (less than 1,500 people) and when we host our annual Relay for Life, the huge turnout is incredible almost 900 people came out to the last one. To see so many people selflessly supporting something with so much power is incredible.

Morgantown recently had their own Relay, and according to The Daily Athenaeum, it was a huge hit. The article said that $84,166 was raised at the event, and around 2,000 people attended, myself included. It’s incredible what people can do when they come together and it’s so inspiring.

I encourage you to get out there and give it a try the next time you hear about it. I can guarantee you’ll be floored.

Make a difference.

Student Recreation Center Challenge

Well its challenge time everyone! Being the Sports and Nutrition beat writer I have a wide variety of options to pick from in order to organize a challenge. For this one, I’ll keep it simple for students here at WVU. All you need is a student ID, a bathing suit, and some motivation! This challenge will feature three of the main features of the rec center, in the form of the track, rock wall, and pool.

When you get to the rec do a routine if you have one already established, preferably stretching and maybe some light jogging on a treadmill. Then its time to go up to the track! The first leg of the challenge features the mile. I know you might be thinking I’m crazy asking you to run a mile since you might not have run a continuous mile since high school. It really isn’t that bad considering the upstairs track is kind of small. All you have to do is run around the track nine times and your done. To show that I’m not just telling people to do this challenge, I put myself to the test and ran the mile in 7:53. So get some motivation and run!

Well after that nice run, take a little breather, get some water, stretch very lightly so your muscles don’t cool and tense up too much before the next leg of the challenge. This leg will send you down to the pool, so get your bathing suit on and head down there! You probably want to go into the hot tub and not the fitness pool, but you can hit up the hot tub after taking a couple laps. Now I want you to swim down to one end of the pool and come back. Each lane is 25 yards long so you’ll be doing a 50-yard swim essentially. Once again I timed myself in this event and finished the laps in 1:18.

Your probably winded, so go hop in the hot tub and take a minute to gather yourself. I hadn’t done cardio like that in a while so my body began cramping so make sure you keep hydrated!

Well your almost there, after drying off get into some shorts and get ready to climb the rock wall. The school offers a program called a “Try-Climb” where you can try climbing the wall one for free. I wrote about this a few weeks ago for those who are new readers. Well its time to harness up and get to the top of the wall as fast as you can. Since I already did my “Try-Climb” I wasn’t allowed to do it again so I couldn’t participate in the leg of the challenge.

Well after you finish the rock wall, you can get out of your harness and call it a day! I hope this challenge was fun and exciting as most people haven’t climbed the wall or haven’t been in the pool. This school provides a lot for its students and its time we took advantage of what they have to offer!

Theatre & Art Challenge

I’ve decided to recap all of the theatre and art venues that have been featured the past few weeks. On this interactive map, you can see a list of the places you can go, their contact information, and how to get there.


Your challenge: attend 4 out of the 8 venues on the map. Tweet or Facebook us pictures of your day, or receipts from purchases (depending on where you go), to prove you went!

The places on the map include:

  • The M.T. Pockets Theatre
  • The Gladys G. Davis Theatre at the CAC
  • The Mesaros Galleries at the CAC
  • The WOW Factory
  • The Appalachian Gallery
  • Bead Monster
  • The Monongalia Arts Center (MAC)
  • Zenclay

View Theatre & Art Challenge in a full screen map

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

Dead week is next week.  We all know the semester is almost over, but that doesn’t mean your opportunity to get involved in a student organization has passed you by.  While it is true that some clubs have closed up shop for the year, it is not true for all of them.  So, I am issuing a challenge for our readers.  Get out to a club meeting this coming week.  If there is some organization you’ve considered joining, or if there is a club that has been highlighted on this blog that piqued your interest, go check it out before the school year is over.  At the very least, find out what you can for next year, so you’ll be all set to get involved right away in the fall.

Hitchhiker Rodney out.

Hitchhiking Goes Global

By Rodney Lamp

West Virginia University has over 29,000 students, and more than 1000 of them hail from nearly 100 other countries.  With such a diverse population, integrating these students into the university community can be a challenge.  That’s where the International Students Organization, or ISO, comes in.

ISO is a student run organization that, according to president and senior Print Journalism major Samantha Cossick, can help international students find their way when they come to Morgantown.

“I think being involved in ISO would give a new international student a chance to really just, you know, kind of fall into WVU and learn that, you know, there are other students here who are going through the similar situation, or have gone through it and know how to navigate it,” said Cossick.

Courtesy ISO

On a very basic, practical level, ISO serves to help students learn about Morgantown, including how to get around town, the best places to eat, and what events they can get involved in.  In addition to these functions, the outside community benefits from the organization as well, as it serves to educate others about this diverse group of students here in Morgantown.

“The main objective of ISO is to foster cultural awareness on campus,” said Cossick.  “We try to do events throughout the year that kind of promote diversity, cultural awareness, cultural understanding, and just kind of educate the students about, you know, different countries, cultures, and everything that are represented here by our international students.”

Some of the regular activities the club participates in include mentoring programs to assist international students, becoming English as a second language conversation partners, international movie nights, and fundraising events for countries like Chile and Japan, which have dealt with recent disasters.  Cossick said there are also two major events the organization sponsors, one in the fall semester and one in the spring.

“In the fall semester, we do our mini World Cup, which is a five-week soccer tournament, in which we have more than 300 students participate in, both international and domestic, and in the spring we do our international dinner, which is based on a region,” said Cossick.  “This, you know, past dinner was a South American sampler and features food from South America, and we host the dinner for about 300 people in the Mountainlair.”

The 2011 International Dinner. Courtesy Samantha Cossick

Contrary to the organization’s title, it is not a club solely for international students.  The club welcomes domestic students, too, and Cossick said they have a lot to gain from it as well.

“It’s a chance for me to kind of broaden my horizons and the other domestic students in our organization just to broaden their horizons, learn a little bit about what it’s like, you know, to come to a foreign country with no knowledge whatsoever of, you know, where are you going, what are you doing, how much stuff can you bring with you?  You have one suitcase, this is your new life,” said Cossick.

2011 International Dinner. Courtesy Samantha Cossick

The club is winding down for this school year and has just one meeting remaining on Wednesday, April 27th, at 7:00 pm in the Vandalia Lounge of the Mountainlair.  Club meetings and times tend to vary with student schedules each semester, and there is a $5 per year fee to be a member.  If you are interested in the club for next year, you can contact Cossick here, view the organization’s website here, or see its facebook page here.

WVU BFA Art Exhibition

Electronic media & graphic design, paintings and sculptures, printmaking and photography, sculptural pieces & interactivity.

This is what you’ll find in the Mesaros Galleries at the Creative Arts Center (CAC) today. The galleries currently house WVU’s BFA Senior Project Exhibition, which opened April 14th.

According to the Daily Athenaeum, the exhibition is a capstone event and graduation requirement for studio art seniors.

A student interacting with an electronic media piece.

A view of the other gallery.

“Each studio major has prepared work in the area of their specialty in senior projects class,” said Bob Bridges, curator of the exhibition. “Each student produces a body of work in the spring semester and with the professor in the area of their specialty selects from one to six works that best represents their highest quality of art created.”

The exhibition will be on view until May 15th at the CAC.  The galleries are open Monday through Saturday, noon to 9:30 p.m.

I must say, after drifting through the exhibits, I was very impressed. In particular, the work of Aaron Williams struck me. His electronic media pieces were very interesting and interactive. As you can see below, the piece in the middle of the room at first looks like a sculpture. But notice the make-shift bed underneath it.

No titled provided, Aaron Williams

Viewers are encouraged to interact with some of the pieces. You’ll have to find out for yourself what was under the sculpture. Let me know what you think if you go see it.

Finals Relief Tips

You in a few weeks??

Not to freak or stress anybody out but the year is almost over which means finals are around the corner. If your like me its hard to concentrate with the warm weather and the temptation to sit outside and enjoy the weather. Most of us will end up in the library for countless hours trying to finish final projects (like our Knight New Challenge), papers, and studying for exams. If your looking for a couple ways to relieve some of that stress for finals I’m here to provide some helpers!

-The first thing I would recommend is to plan things out ahead that way you can try to plan accordingly. Whenever you can break assignments up it makes life easier that way your not pulling all-nighters trying to finish papers right before an exam. Though it might be hard to do a little bit of work everyday it will pay off in the long run, I can assure you that!

-The school provides a lot of activities that can help get your mind off of the frustrating work before finals. I’m sure you don’t need me to that you can always go to the recreation center to run, rock climb, workout, and play basketball. You can also play bad mitten or ping bong… whatever floats your boat, the rec has a lot to offer (check out the SRC homepage).

-One of the hidden gems at WVU is the games area in the Mountainlair. Most people just go into “the  lair” and go upstairs and never check out the lower level of the center. When you can get away from your school work your mind will really absorb the information and process it. That is why they never recommend “cram studying” because your brain can’t fully process everything. The games area has bowling, billiards, video games, and table tennis so it has a variety of accommodations.

-Another suggestion would be SLEEEPPP!!!! there isn’t anything more important than sleep!  When you schedule and get your sleep that is when you perform at your best! (extra emphasis with these tips… in case you couldn’t tell with the exclamation points).

I hope these couple of tips help you out before you get ready with your final preparations!

Where the Wild Things Are

By Rodney Lamp

West Virginia is known for its wild and wonderful activities, and many natives pride themselves in being adept hunters, anglers, and general outdoor enthusiasts.  So it comes as no surprise that WVU has a Wildlife Society, a place where students can get their fix of the many offerings available among the forests and hills of this region.

Dr. Katzner answers questions following the lecture.

I made it out to the club’s most recent meeting, and I was able to hear a guest speaker, Dr. Todd Katzner, who talked about the work he has done involving eagle tracking and conservation issues.  Wildlife Society president Geriann Albers, a graduate student at WVU, said the club offers a variety of activities like this to keep things interesting for club members.

“At the meetings themselves, usually we just discuss upcoming events, and activities, and projects we have going on, and we try to get guest speakers in as often as possible, “ Albers said.  “We have workshops, too, like a resume writing workshop, we’ll have our chemical mobilization workshop, we’ve had a trapping workshop.”

Not only that, but the Wildlife Society engages in many activities outside of regular club meetings, such as frog calling surveys, Saw-whet Owl banding, elk bugling, and field trips, like a recent one to the national aviary in Pittsburgh.  Albers said the club also likes to get involved with the community through outreach activities.

WVU Wildlife Society President Geriann Albers, Courtesy WVU Wildlife Society

“We participated in the trunk-or-treat events they had at the Coliseum back around Halloween, and then we do work with some local boy scout groups, 4-H clubs, presentations with them to get them interested in wildlife, and actually, if we get our Saw-whet Owl banding station going, that would also be an outreach activity,” said Albers.

And if you think it’s too late in the year to get involved, the club still has a few events left before the semester is over.  On Saturday, April 16th  at 6 pm, the club will put on its annual wild game dinner, which serves as its main fundraiser.  In addition to eating various wild game dishes, there will be a silent auction and raffle drawings at the dinner.  Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door, and $5 for children under 12.  The dinner will be held at the Clinton District Volunteer Fire Department, which is on Grafton Road, outside of Morgantown.

One of the many friends you can make in 308 Percival Hall at a Wildlife Society meeting.

Also, the club will be involved in the Sierra Club’s Green Show on the Green, which takes place from 10 am-4 pm on Thursday, April 21st, Earth Day, at the Mountainlair.  They will be distributing information about the club and wildlife in general.  Then on Saturday, May 7th, the club will join with the American Fisheries Society to get involved with the Cheat River Festival.  They will be engaging with the public to answer wildlife questions and raise interest in related activities.

Owls are awesome.

You wish these were in your living room.

With all of the different activities the Wildlife Society offers, there is something for everyone, Albers said.

“We have a lot of activities, we have a lot of meetings, we have a lot of opportunities for people to get involved, and it’s variety,” said Albers.  “So if you’re not really excited about one thing, like maybe you don’t really want to see elk bugle, but you know that you want to learn about boat safety, or you want to come, and you know, do frog calling surveys, we have a big variety of activities to participate in, so, and we try to get a variety of guest speakers, as well.  Like, we try to span a lot of different topics, so it covers a broad range of interests.”

A quick rundown of what the Wildlife Society is all about.

If you are interested in joining the club, it meets on alternating Wednesdays at 6 pm in 308 Percival Hall, which is next to Towers.  The club has one more meeting this school year, on April 27th.  The club dues are $10 per semester or $15 per year.  If you would like more information, you can contact Geriann Albers here, visit the club’s website here, or its facebook page here.