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Student Devastated by News of Typhoon; Asks for Prayers

Vanessa Coy was “devastated” when she learned about the powerful typhoon that struck her native Philippines last week.

Her first concern was for her relatives—aunts, uncles, and others—who lived in towns and cities that felt the brutal force of Typhoon Haiyan, which brought sustained 147 mile-per-hour winds, 45-foot waves, and more than 15 inches of rain to some areas.

“Everyone is OK,” said Coy, a senior adolescent education major from Wellsville who came to the United States at a young age.

Coy was born in Olangapo City, a city located in the province of Zambales, northwest of the Philippine capital of Manila.

“My relatives in Zambales were not hit, but my family in Manila was,” said Coy. “I recently found out they lost their beach homes, farm animals, everything. They are relying on U.S. troops to supply first aid, food, and water.”

That information came from a cousin in Japan, according to Coy.

“We have not been able to get through [to our relatives],” said Coy, who last visited the Philippines in 2012. “We have sent money, but don’t know if they received it.”

Officials estimate that at least 4,200 people were killed and three million displaced. Nearly 500,000 homes were damaged.

The Center for Spiritual Life is leading a Keuka College drive to raise funds for the Philippines through ShelterBox USA ( ShelterBox is an international organization that “responds instantly after natural and other disasters by delivering boxes of aid to those who need it most. Each ShelterBox supplies an extended family with a tent and essential equipment to use while they are displaced or homeless.”

A complete box costs $1,000 “but we will donate whatever funds we raise,” said Rev. Eric Detar, College chaplain.

Donations (cash or check) may be dropped off in the Center for Spiritual Life (Dahlstrom  13). Checks should be made payable  to “Keuka College” (indicate Shelter Box – Philippines in the memo line).

“In the past, our community has come together to support those around the world who have been devastated through natural disasters,” said Rev. Eric Detar, College chaplain. “We responded when the earthquake crippled Haiti and the tsunami hit Japan. Today, we have the opportunity to come alongside the people of the Philippines, who were hit so hard by Typhoon Haiyan.”

Coy is appreciative of the College’s ShelterBox initiative and said there is one other thing people can do to help.

“The Filipino people have a very religious background,” she explained, ”and they need every prayer they can get because it is going to take years to rebuild the country.”

Kayla Curtis Among Top Student Employees in the Country

Kayla Curtis (l) poses with Valerie Webster, co-curricular transcript coordinator (Photo by Stephanie Lockhart '15)

Kayla Curtis, a senior psychology major, found out today (April 18) she made it to the Final Four of the National Student Employment Association (NSEA) Student Employee of the Year competition.

Curtis was honored at a luncheon for being the 2013 Keuka College, New York state, and Northeast Association of Student Employment Administrators (NEASEA) Student Employee of the Year. As the regional winner, she went up against three other regional winners (from University of Iowa, California Polytechnic State University, and Auburn University) for the NASEA award, which was won by the student from Auburn University.

Nonetheless, winning the NEASEA award is impressive because nearly 100 schools/institutions from 11 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and six Canadian provinces are members of the organization.

“Two-hundred students, including six from Keuka College, were nominated at the institutional level,” said Sally Daggett, associate director of the Center for Experiential learning and director of student employment. “Nineteen schools from nine states submitted their winners for state awards and the regional winner was chosen from that group.”

Curtis, who hails from of Red Creek, is a psychology major who has served as student coordinator for the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) chapter on campus since arriving on campus as a transferring sophomore. BBBS pairs volunteer “Bigs” (college students) with “Littles,” young students befriended and mentored by the Bigs.

Curtis was nominated by Valerie Webster, co-curricular transcript coordinator in the Center for Experiential Learning

According to Webster, Curtis increased the number of matches from one to 12, handles all aspects of training and data entry for the “Bigs,” and does “98 percent of the work to keep the program operational.”

Photo by Stephanie Lockhart '15

Curtis exhibits a “work ethic, initiative and commitment to understanding and serving others” that will make her an asset to any organization after graduation, said Webster. “Her positive attitude, patience and ability to work with people are refreshing and energizing.”

Curtis has also been a resident assistant, a three-year member of the Psychology Club (current vice president), a member of two honor societies, and holds a 3.8 GPA.

Curtis received a certificate and a check for $250 from NEASEA, and a plaque and $100 gift card to the bookstore from the College.

Kelly Coordinates Events for Student Life

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of profiles of Student Employee of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon Thursday, April 18.

Michael Kelly ’14 of Black River, a junior organizational communication major, has been nominated for the Keuka College 2013 Student Employee of the Year award for his work as the marketing and advertising assistant in the student activities office.

In that  role, Kelly has been bringing fresh ideas that support and grow campus programming, said Eva Moberg-Sarver, director of student activities. Kelly is responsible for the advertisements and promotions students see in the window of the office, as well as on digital signage, Campus Activities Board (CAB) bulletin board, and social media accounts, said Moberg-Sarver, who nominated him for the award along with Kevin Perry, resident director.

After taking the initiative to attend a regional training conference, Kelly collaborated with two offices, a campus club, and  Student Senate to bring a new program to campus. As a result, motivational speaker Erin Davies, known for her FAGBUG vehicle, presented her documentary on her experiences touring the country with the car and speaking to the LGBTA community. Kelly also coordinated the Enactus “Green Bingo” event, held on St. Patrick’s Day, to raise awareness and encourage students to “go green” in a number of ways.

According to Moberg-Sarver, Kelly has gone “above and beyond” with his marketing ideas, even going so far as to investigate a texting program that would enable updates to be delivered directly to students’ cell phones, and researching  promotional pieces for prospective students that could bring multiple campus offices together.

“Overall, we could not be more pleased with his work ethic and dedication, as well as the opportunity to work with him,” she said.

Holidays Happier for Residents of Penn Yan Manor

The requests were simple: a teddy bear, a baby doll, books, CDs, puzzles, pajamas, and slippers.

Erica Piedmonte helps deliver holiday gifts to residents at Penn Yan Manor.

And for the 46 residents of Penn Yan Manor Nursing Home, these requests—and more—were fulfilled by 23 members and advisers of Keuka College’s Student Senate and Sigma Alpha Pi Honor Society.

“Heather Reed, activities director at the nursing home, contacted me and asked if we had any student groups interested in pairing up with Manor residents,” said Eva Moberg-Sarver, director of student activities. “Britani Pruner, a junior English major from Penneville and president of Student Senate, jumped at the chance to help. She then worked with members of Sigma Alpha Pi, who volunteered to co-sponsor the event.”

Erica Piedmonte, a senior management major from Auburn and secretary of Sigma Alpha Phi, assisted in the delivery of the gifts.

“My mother made two of the residents two hand-knitted scarves each, and I gave them everything they requested,” she said. “I think this was a great opportunity to give people some Christmas spirit.”

Madeline McColgin, a junior unified childhood/special education major from Penn Yan, liked adopting a resident “because I work in a group home, and I know how the residents feel when they do not get Christmas and do not get to see their families. Each resident said ‘thank you’ to me and you could tell they were filled with joy from having us there.”

After speaking with each of the residents, Reed sent over paper angels with gift ideas, according to Moberg-Sarver.

“The residents’ wish lists were heartwarming,” said Moberg-Sarver. “Some of them offered to share gifts with their spouse who was also at the Manor, or asked for donations to local places in need for the holidays. Each student was able to take an angel and choose gifts according to these wishes.”

Piedmonte bought things like holiday pins, blankets, books, and calendars, while McColgin gave her resident a blouse, earrings, and a CD. Stephen Funk, a junior psychology major from Homer, donated money to Milly’s Pantry in honor of his resident.

“She was so pleased with this kind gesture she had a thank you card written for Stephen before we left the building,” said Moberg-Sarver. “One student purchased a baby doll for a resident who never had one growing up.”

Taylor Smith watches as a resident opens her gift.

Carlie Ellison, a senior occupational science major from Belfast, “felt great after leaving Penn Yan Manor. I felt like I had made someone’s day, and it made me feel a little better about myself. It was great spending time with residents, hearing some of their stories, and seeing pictures of themselves and their families in their rooms.”

Another highlight of the gift delivery for Piedmonte was being able to “sit down with one of the residents I bought for and having a long talk with her.”

Ellison “would like to do it for holidays throughout the year.”

Other students who participated in the delivery included Meghan Marks, a senior childhood education major from Horseheads; Jeff Miller, a sophomore occupational science major from Bloomfield; Becky Allen, a sophomore childhood/special education major from Oxford; Taylor Smith, a junior occupational science major from Webster; and Bridgette Fletcher, a junior psychology major from Walton.

College Marks 9/11 Anniversary

College Chaplain Eric Detar lights a candle at the College's 9/11 remembrance service.

Keuka College marked the 11th anniversary of 9/11  with a candle-lighting and bell-ringing ceremony at the September 11 Memorial Tree outside Dahlstrom Student Center.

At each time a plane crashed Sept. 11, 2001—8:45 a.m. (North Tower of the World Trade Center); 9:03 a.m. (South Tower of the World Trade Center); 9:43 a.m. (Pentagon); and 10:10 a.m. (Somerset County, Pa.)—the bells in the Ball Hall bell tower rang, and a candle was lit at the base of the tree.

“While it is important never to forget what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, you must also find a way to heal and move on with your life,” said College Chaplain Rev. Eric Detar.

Detar was “touched by the number of people at the service last year, and the number of people personally affected by the tragedy. I listened to the stories students, faculty, and staff told of the people they knew who were in the towers, or who should have been there, but for some reason, were not.”

Before coming to Keuka in 2009, Detar served as associate pastor at Grace United Methodist Church in Indiana, Pa., and fulfilled the role of campus minister to the students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP).

“The Shanksville field, where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed, is about 45 minutes away from Grace United, and we had a camp—Camp Allegany—that backs up to that field,” said Detar. “Camp Allegany was turned into a place where workers stayed and people received help. Tim [White, residence director for Blyley and Harrington Halls] and I have been to the field, and it seems to me that the people on that plane chose that spot specifically in hopes of saving lives on the ground.”

The tree, planted last year to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the attacks, also held a vase with one red, one blue, and one white carnation. A plaque by the base of tree reads: “To honor and remember the victims, emergency personnel, and other heroes who died in the attacks on our country.”

Good Fashion, Good Cause

Ruby Nguyen at he 2011 Fashion Show, photo by Hung Do Le '12

Keuka College’s Multicultural Student Association (formerly the Bearers of Ancient Kultures Club) will hold its 10th annual fashion show Saturday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Weed Physical Arts Center.

Some 30 Keuka College students, along with seniors from Penn Yan Central School, will take part in the event that that raises funds for sickle cell anemia research.

One of the highlights will be a performance by David Rush, who had a hit single (Shooting Star) in 2009 and is touring with Pitbull. The DJ is Rochester-based DJ Gweedo, who has performed at Pulse Nightclub, The Penny Arcade, Pineapple Jacks, and Frequency’s Night Club.

Some of the modeling scenes include “Recycled,” “Urban Style,” “Inner Animal,” and “Embracing Your Culture.” Poetik Clothing Co. has donated clothes for a scene.

Senior Allie Walker, a Penn Yan resident, is executive director of the fashion show while senior Ngoc (Ruby) Nguyen, a former fashion model in her native Vietnam, heads up the Fashion Show Committee. Poetik, Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), and the Office of Alumni and Family Relations are sponsors of the event.

Tickets are $4; $2 for faculty and staff and may be purchased at the door. Students are free. Ticket buyers have the option of upgrading to VIP status for an additional $1.


Fort Drum Delivery an “Eye-Opening” Experience

College Chaplain Rev. Eric Detar had mixed emotions when the last of the College’s three shipments to the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) in Afghanistan was “returned to sender.”

“I was disappointed that our Keuka College t-shirts and various supplies didn’t get to the soldiers but on the other hand, ‘return to sender’ meant that they had returned home and I was happy for them,” said Detar.

Detar’s emotions turned to all-out joy when he, Resident Director Tim White and three students presented the t-shirts to their adopted platoon in person at Fort Drum Nov. 18.

“We were invited to attend the CAB’s uncasing ceremony,” said Detar, who was accompanied by Samantha Chesnut, a freshman sociology major from Mexico, N.Y.;  Kathryrn Drueschler, a freshman childhood education major from East Aurora; and Amanda Collins, a sophomore early childhoodASL major from Manchester, Conn.

When CAB deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, its colors were cased—taken down, rolled up, and placed into a protective case. Upon its return to Fort Drum, where it is part of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division, the colors were uncased, unfurled, and flown.

Mighty Mito Stroll

Story by Ryan J. Nichols ’12,  Photos by Sarah Marquart ’14

Sophomore Emily Wilson, an occupational studies major from Binghamton, organized a walk on campus Saturday, Oct. 22, to raise awareness of mitochondrial diseases.

Wilson is acutely aware of mitochondrial diseases; her younger brother Tyler was diagnosed with “mito” when he was 18 months old.

Mito results from failures of the mitochondria, specialized compartments present in every cell of the body except red blood cells. Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90 percent of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support growth. When they fail, less and less energy is generated within the cell. There are many different forms of mito, and they can affect different parts of the body. People who suffer from mito do not all share the same symptoms and some people may be affected more severely than others. In Tyler’s case, it is not know what form of mito he has.

Wilson said Tyler has difficulty walking and talking. He uses a machine to help him communicate better, but when he is at home, he uses sign language to talk with his family.  Emily said mito is progressive and affects people differently.


I (Heart) Me Club Debuts at Keuka

You don’t have to be a beauty queen to believe in yourself and your dreams.

Nguyen models a dress for Keuka's spring fashion show, sponsored by BAKU (Bearers of Ancient Kultures United)

That’s what Ngoc “Ruby” Nguyen, 21, of Hanoi, Vietnam believes. In her home country, Nguyen has modeled fashions for online magazines. She was also a student at Keuka’s partner school, the International School – Vietnam National University, Hanoi, choosing to study in Keuka Park about a year ago. Her modeling skills served her well last spring as coordinator of Keuka’s annual multicultural fashion show, sponsored by BAKU (Bearers of Ancient Kultures United). Yet while she certainly loves beautiful clothes, shoes and accessories, Nguyen says she is about much more than shiny hair, perfect skin or a fan club following.

That’s why she helped form the “I (Heart)* Me” Club at Keuka early this year. So far, some 34 people, including one man, have attended meetings where Nguyen and other members work together to build self-confidence, self-esteem and a positive mental image. Indeed, “Embrace Self-Esteem” is the motto for the club.

“So many girls don’t think they are beautiful. They have problems with image: not pretty enough, not thin enough, not good skin, not good hair,” she explains. “I think the media says, ‘You’re not good enough. You have to use this product or something to be beautiful.’ Why put yourself under such pressure?”

Nguyen says each meeting has a dual focus: tips on outer beauty are a part, yes, but a connection is always made to inner beauty, self-confidence and strength of character. (more…)

Fits Like a Glove

Students, faculty, and staff from across campus recently put on their dancing shoes–and pink gloves–to raise breast cancer awareness.

The were filmed at various campus locations dancing to singer Katy Perry’s Firework. In addition to  pink gloves, pink shirts and pink feather boas can be seen in the video.  Some students used American Sign Language to sign a portion of the lyrics.

The video–Keuka’s version of the Pink Glove Dance–was posted on such social media outlets as YouTube and Facebook.