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University to arm campus police in Spring 2015

News Editor

Published: Thursday, April 17, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 17, 2014 10:04

When University of Rhode Island Police Officer Michael Novak arrived as a first responder to a call of a potential active shooter at Chafee Social Science Center last spring, he couldn’t do anything but wait.  He was unarmed.

After a yearlong campus-wide discussion initiated by the gun scare in Chafee last spring, URI announced Monday that a comprehensive decision has been made to arm campus police.  Previous to this decision, URI was the only state university in the country with an unarmed police force.  

“All police officers should be armed,” Novak said.  “How can we protect you if we cannot protect ourselves first?  A classic case of that would be the shooter on campus scenario.  If I arrive before any other police officer and I am unarmed what am I going to do?  What if there was an actual shooter there and I was able to do nothing and something horrible happened to people? How would I feel about myself and what would I say to the parents of those students if anything bad happened to them?  I’m a liability at that point instead of an asset to students.”

The decision to arm police was a “transparent, inclusive and open” one according to URI President David Dooley and recommendations from law enforcement officials, input from the student body, faculty and staff and community feelings were all taken into consideration.

“It’s a wise step,” Dooley said of the decision made earlier this week.  “I think it’s prudent, it’s appropriate and it represents what institutions like URI and law enforcement agree is best practice, and that is to prepare your campus base force to be the first responders in the case of any emergency.”  

As someone who has experienced first hand the ineffectuality of unarmed campus police officers in a emergency situation, Novak described experiencing feelings of frustration and concern while waiting for South Kingstown Police to arrive at Chafee to secure the area last spring and is a firm advocate for arming campus police.  

In light of the gun scare, Dooley took campus security in a potential emergency situation seriously when making his decision to arm campus police and make them active first responders.  

“I can understand how our officers felt,” Dooley said.  “They have a responsibility, that they take very seriously, for the students. They are sworn to go in there and do everything they can to protect you and I know that they felt completely helpless in the face of that potential threat.  I think that speaks to the larger issue…that it is important for our officers to be in a position where they can respond.”  
All URI police officers are graduates of the Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy and are trained to carry firearms before their graduation.  URI’s Department of Public Safety will additionally develop a plan of policies, procedures and trainings police officers will have to complete before being armed, according to a release.  URI’s police are currently expected to complete training and be armed by the start of the 2015 spring semester.  

“I’m grateful that President Dooley has taken the initiative to arm the police here not only for my protection, but for the protection of the community as a whole,” Novak said.  “In the short time he’s been here he’s done more for the university safety than any other president I’ve known of in the past.”

Due to the URI police force’s previous inability to secure events, armed South Kingstown police officers are frequently stationed at URI events, according to Dooley.  South Kingstown Police Chief Vincent Vespia believes that the decision to arm URI police was the right one.  

“I have been an advocate of arming campus police and fully support the concept,” Vespia said in a written statement to the Cigar.  “They are trained, certified, professional police officers.  They should be allowed to utilize a basic tool of our trade, the firearm.  It is in the best interest of everyone in the campus community.”  

Though there has been some opposition from students and community members who believe arming campus police is a unnecessary step, Dooley stands firm that the decision to provide URI police with firearms was the right one.  

“We knew that there would be people who would not be in favor of this and some of them have expressed their disappointment in this decision in their continued belief that this is the wrong course for the university and I understand that and I appreciate it but we disagree ultimately,” Dooley said.  “I think this is the right course for the university, I think it’s a necessary step for the university.”

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New student-athlete center opens, contains various improvements

Contributing Sports Reporter

Published: Thursday, April 17, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 17, 2014 10:04

The $2.5 million Ryan Family Student-Athlete Center had its official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday afternoon. The ceremony was packed with URI student-athletes, staff and donors, including the two lead contributors, Tom and Cathy Ryan.

“Cathy and I are very proud of our relationship with the University of Rhode Island and URI Athletics and we are delighted to support this most recent project,” Tom Ryan said in an interview with GoRhody.com. “The Ryan Family Student-Athlete Complex is going to benefit all URI student-athletes for years to come.  It will improve and enhance all aspects of the student-athletes’ experience at Rhode Island.”

Construction on the formerly designated Student-Athlete Development Center began back in July 2013, and the 400-plus student-athletes have had access to the new and improved facilities since returning from winter break in January.


“This important project reflects on the deep appreciation of URI for the numerous, high-impact contributions our student-athletes make to our community,” URI President David M. Dooley said. “We want them to be even more successful in their programs of study, in competition and in the leadership and service they provide.”

The previous Tootell East Gymnasium transformed into a nearly 8,000-square foot, state-of-the-art strength and conditioning area renamed the Eleanor Carlson Strength and Conditioning Center.  The facility is now one of the best among Atlantic 10 schools.

The space includes new technology as well as high-tech sports equipment. A 30-foot by 20-foot yard turf space for speed and conditioning drills, Keiser Functional Trainers, Just Jump System, TRX Suspension Trainers and Vertimax V8 machines are among the vast improvements. The Keiser Trainer allows student-athletes to train in a multitude of ways and at their own speed and the Vertimax helps athletes improve speed and vertical performance.

The Anthony J. Rose Athletic Training Room and Sports Medicine Center expanded upon the previous URI athletic training room. The new renovations include upgrades in technology, a new hydrotherapy room and examination rooms.

The Katie DeCubellis Memorial Foundation Student-Athlete Athletic Commons and Advising Center now occupies the entire hallway in the Keaney Gymnasium, adjacent to the Tootell building.

The new home for academic advising for the student-athletes features upgraded computer labs, tutorial rooms for one-on-one counseling, a student lounge and high-tech meeting/presentation rooms.

The Winter Family Foundation and Wicks Family Champions Gallery is located throughout the East corridor of Tootell. The Eleanor Carlson Strength and Conditioning Center features custom-designed wall treatments making up the storied history of URI Athletics.

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SEC to host 25th annual Spring Fest next week

Staff News Reporter

Published: Thursday, April 17, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 17, 2014 10:04

The Student Entertainment Committee will host their annual Spring Fest throughout next week, holding several daytime attractions and events for students before finals begin.

“It’s something fun to get everyone’s mind off of things before the end of the semester and before finals begin,” said SEC President Sarah Moffitt.

For about 25 years, SEC has hosted Spring Fest every year for URI students. This year’s theme is “Life is a Beach.”

At the Quad on Monday, there will be a lobster bake for $10. They will also be serving chicken for $8. In addition to this, they will be giving out free smoothies and promotional items in the “Life is a Beach” theme.

On Tuesday in Hope Commons from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be free personalized greeting card making, as well as giveaways of promotional items.

Tuesday night is the double feature movie on the Quad, which will begin with The Lorax at 7:30 p.m., followed by That Awkward Moment at 9 p.m. The rain date for the movie night is to be announced.

Starting at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, SEC is teaming up with the Office of International Education and the Memorial Union Board for the Indian Block Party, where they will be giving out ice cream.

Wednesday night, Evan Peters from the hit show American Horror Story will be a guest in Edwards Auditorium at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 for URI students and $25 for the general public.

For the same prices, on Thursday, SEC will host Nasim Pedrad and Jay Pharoah from Saturday Night Live in Edwards Auditorium. Reserved seating is available and tickets can be purchased in the Memorial Union Box Office and The Ryan Center.

“At the end of the year, it’s a good way to go out with a bang,” said Moffitt. “It gives the whole campus something fun to do and it helps us to get SEC’s name out there.”

SEC encourages anyone who wants to find a fun way to get involved to join. There is no application process and requirements are only to attend one meeting per week.

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WOWW keeps member’s spirit alive with ‘Remembering Lindsay Day’

Staff News Reporter

Published: Thursday, April 17, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 17, 2014 09:04

On Saturday, April 12, We’re Offering Women Wisdom, a student organization at the University of Rhode Island, held an event entitled “Remembering Lindsay Day.”

WOWW strives to create a home for freshman women at the university. Older members hope to help younger women adjust to college life through several on-campus and off-campus activities, while maintaining a comfortable atmosphere. Each freshman receives an upperclassman, or “big sister,” to help them cope with the extreme transformation from high school to college. These big sisters teach their “littles” how to balance academic and social life, how to deal with time management, stress techniques and most of all, how to be a leader.

Lindsay Freeman was a freshman at URI when WOWW was created. Keith Labelle, Coordinator of the Violence Prevention and Advocacy Services Program and founder of WOWW claims that Freeman was “exactly the type of person we had in mind when the organization was created.” Freeman attended every meeting her freshman year and when she came back in 2006 as an upperclassman, she had gained the leadership skills necessary to become a WOWW mentor. She attended every event and put 100 percent effort into everything she did.

“Lindsay was a selfless friend and mentor,” said Colleen Riley, a member of WOWW. “She never needed validation-she simply did her part to make sure WOWW and everyone involved was taken care of.” says Colleen Riley.

According to Riley, all of the WOWW sisters looked up to Freeman, wanting to spread the love she embodied.

Freeman was known for her most empowering line in her application speech to become Vice President of WOWW in 2008.

She stated, “There is nothing on this campus that means more to me than this group of women.”

Even after she left URI, she always came back to see other alumni and did whatever she could to still contribute to the club.

When Freeman died in a car accident three years after she graduated in 2011, the entire WOWW organization was devastated. To keep her memory alive, WOWW members created a “Live.LAF.Love.” award in honor of Freeman. This memorial award is presented to a WOWW mentor who properly portrays aspects of Lindsay through her spirit, passion, enthusiasm, commitment and dedication to the organization. Applicants of the award must be an upperclassman and are required to write a two-page letter highlighting what WOWW means to them and what they can contribute as a mentor.

This year’s 2014 winner, junior Kelsey Lever, was picked out of the top three nominees for the award. Lever was chosen by the board of directors, including all past presidents and vice presidents of WOWW, as well as Freeman’s family and her widower, Justin.

In Lever’s essay, she stated, “WOWW has not just been a support group to me- I have literally found myself through this group. I have learned to love myself no matter what and I have definitely met some of my very best friends through this group.”

Lever’s enthusiasm and commitment towards WOWW inspired the board of directors. Her essay portrayed exactly what Freeman lived for and promoted during her time as a mentor.

Naomi Thompson, Chief Diversity Director, said about the event, “This day was fabulous. It’s wonderful to see so many women coming out to see Lindsay.”

About 70 people attended and Labelle was honored to have so many students and staff come in support of Freeman.  
“Lindsay embodied WOWW,” said Labelle. “She lit up the room and knew exactly what she wanted to create.”

He explained how Freeman was loved as a freshman and through her upperclassmen years, she offered to take on numerous amounts of “littles,” expanding her “family” more and more each year. Everyone in WOWW will remember Freeman for her radiant love and laughter, as well as her undeniable support towards the WOWW organization, where she “bled teal.”

“[Remembering Lindsay Day] was great,” said Labelle. “It’s always going to be sad, but it’s great to keep her spirit alive. It’s wonderful to give back.”

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P.I.N.K organization empowers all women with week of events

Contributing News Reporter

Published: Thursday, April 17, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 17, 2014 09:04

Powerful, independent, notoriously, knowledgeable; all words of confidence and hype. They’re all words of anticipation and build up the acronym P.I.N.K., one of the University of Rhode Island’s on-campus organizations.  This week, P.I.N.K. is hosting a week of their own to show the extent of their community involvement and significance as a women’s organization.

With approximately 70 active members of the student organization today, P.I.N.K seeks to illuminate others on the issues concerning multicultural women and to focus on the positive advancements of minority women and their families. Each day during P.I.N.K week will feature a different way to support the P.I.N.K women and the messages they stand for.

 “We want the whole URI campus community to know about P.I.N.K. Women,” Tobi Raji, a publicist and leader for P.I.N.K., said.  “We want people to help with our goals and mission as an organization and attending our events this week and outside of PINK Week will help portray it. By attending our events for the week, a person gets the opportunity to interact and learn about P.I.N.K Women.”

On Monday, there was a fundraising event at Applebee’s in which 15 percent of the proceeds went to P.I.N.K. women if customers present their flyer.

“[The proceeds] will help fund activities sponsored by the organization,” Raji said.  “We are funding anything that needs to be purchased to a make a successful event being put on by P.I.N.K. Women. URI students would be helping our organization put on more events that pertain to the URI student community beyond raising money for our philanthropy of breast cancer and causes pertaining to women.”

On Tuesday, there was a screening at Swan Auditorium of “Real Women Have Curves,” a film about a Latin-American woman who is a first-generation college student from her family.

“We are an organization of women who are diverse in a variety of ways through our majors, interests, cultural backgrounds, personality and physical attributes,” Raji said.  “This [screening] is to help embrace these differences in an uplifting way.”

Last night, there was a Karaoke Night at Rhody Market and tonight there will be an Unsung Heroine Awards in the Memorial Union Ballroom from 6 to 9:30 p.m.

“These awards can be given to any women,” Raji said.  “This awards banquet serves as a platform to recognize women in the community who help people every day and may not be recognized for their actions.”

P.I.N.K week will conclude on Friday with The P.I.N.K Women Flag Football Game on the quad from 2 to 6 p.m. It costs $3 to attend this event.

Their banners read “pride,” “community” and “respect” and this week seems to culminate all of these words quite seamlessly by allowing members to showcase their creative, athletic, political, and leadership strengths.

“We want to give back to the community and continue our involvement in events that portray diversity on campus and also the advancement and perception of multicultural women on campus,” Raji said.  “We as a whole want to portray an image of women obtaining a college education and its importance. We want to give women a sense of belonging, support and advancement in leadership within our community.”

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Chinese flagship group host movie night, screen remake of American film

Staff Entertainment Writer

Published: Thursday, April 17, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 17, 2014 08:04


Students of the Chinese Language Flagship Partnership Program hosted a Chinese movie night in the main lounge of Hillside Hall on Friday evening.

The film screened was “What Women Want,” a 2011 remake of a Mel Gibson-starring romantic comedy from 2000. While the basic premise and plot are still the same - a chauvinist businessman discovers he can hear women's thoughts after a freak accident, uses it to his advantage and charms the leading lady - there are several slight differences that ultimately make it better than its predecessor.

The original doesn’t particularly have a sterling reputation. Magic realism portions of the narrative aside, it was criticized for being formulaic and for Mel Gibson not being a good choice for a romantic lead. The Chinese adaptation stars actor/singer Andy Lau, better known in America for appearing in high profile Hong Kong productions such as “Infernal Affairs” and “House of Flying Daggers.”

Lau is considerably more charming as a screen presence than Gibson, and much more believable as the lead in a romantic comedy. His co-star, Gong Li, who has appeared in Hollywood films such as “Miami Vice” and “Memoirs of a Geisha,” is also a radiant screen presence.

The source material was never the best, and the basic plot still comes off as a poor, strange idea for a film. The writers did a decent effort in rewriting the script and adapting it to Chinese audiences, fixing several flaws in the narrative in the process. The storyline feels streamlined and less messy than the American film, and several unnecessary plot points are cut.

Much of the film is quite funny, and several of the small gags are improved from the original. However, several set-piece moments from the original, such as the accident at the center of the narrative, do not hold up as result of clinging to that original screenplay.

The most striking thing about the film is its visual style. Chinese and Hong Kong comedy films use things like space and lighting in ways that are starkly different from Hollywood, British or even Japanese films in the same genre. While flawed, this Chinese adaptation is a marked improvement on the original 2000 film, and many of its issues stem from its baggage as a remake of a mediocre movie.

It’s a decent introduction to modern Chinese comedy films, and one that the group from the Chinese LLC seem to  greatly enjoy watching. If you’re a fan of the original, or your interest has been piqued in Chinese comedy, “What Women Want” is available for streaming on Netflix.

The Chinese Language Flagship Partnership Program also hosts a tea time conversation hour every Thursday at 3:30 p.m., in which native speakers and students of Chinese can converse together in Mandarin. The last two tea times for the semester are schedule for April 22 and 29.

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Rhody baseball team struggles on road trip to University of Dayton

Staff Sports Reporter

Published: Thursday, April 17, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 17, 2014 08:04

The University of Rhode Island baseball team continued their losing streak when the University of Dayton swept them in a three-game series this weekend in Ohio by scores 8-3, 1-0 and 9-5.

The Rams’ record falls to 6-25 overall after they dropped a 5-4 decision to Stony Brook University yesterday. Rhode Island has a 2-8 posting in Atlantic 10 Conference play and is now on a five-game skid.

In the first game against the Flyers, Rhode Island sophomore designated hitter Connor Foreman scored redshirt senior Shane O’Connell on a one-out single to give URI an early 1-0 lead. However, conference rival Dayton had other ideas. They quickly responded and tied the game at one in the bottom of the inning. A pitcher’s duel then ensued between Rams’ starter Ty Sterner and Flyers’ starter Joe Wahl. Over the next five and a half innings, both teams managed two total hits between them. Both teams also managed to draw six walks.

Dayton then got their offense rolling and scored six runs in their half of the seventh inning, three of which were charged to Sterner, and then added another run in the eighth. URI got their offense in gear in the ninth when pinch hitters Nick DeRegis and Derek Gardella got on base with a single and walk. O’Connell and Mike Sherburne then scored them on back-to-back singles of their own. The Rams would fail to get closer though as Sherburne was stranded on third and Dayton preserved an 8-3 victory.

Sophomore pitcher Lou Distasio, who was just named the College Sports Madness Atlantic 10 Player of the Week, took the mound for the Rams in game two. After a Rhode Island error in the bottom of the second inning, Flyer infielder Ryan Berry scored on a sacrifice fly by catcher Kris Duggan. That unearned run would prove to be the difference in another pitcher’s duel that saw Dayton come away with a 1-0 victory. Despite allowing only that one unearned run across four hits in his seven innings of work, Distasio took the loss. He also walked one batter and struck out two. Dayton starter Noah Buttgen pitched a complete game shutout and scattered five hits over nine innings. He also walked one and struck out one.

“Lou keeps getting better, he’s come a long way,” Rhode Island head coach Jim Foster said. “It’s been a big improvement, having him and Steve Moyers is a big plus for us.”

Dayton picked up right where they left off in the third game of the series taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning Sunday. URI would respond in the top of the third as a TJ Lynch leadoff double led to a tying run after he scored on a single by DeRegis. URI would also go on to plate another run in the sixth inning as well as three in the eighth. Dayton scored five runs in the fifth and sixth innings and three runs of their own in the bottom of the eighth. Dayton went on to win 9-5 and sweep the series.

“We played a bad series against Dayton,” Foster said. “We have a few more injuries, [we have] 10 guys on the DL [who are] some of our better players, and we’re playing a lot of young guys. It’s going to take time to get better. It won’t happen in a day, a week or a month it’s going to take time over the whole season. I’d like to see guys settle in. They’re trying too hard and don’t trust what they’re doing. I like to see guys playing fast and free and not trying to do too much.”

R.J. Warnock took the loss in relief against the Seawolves after squandering a 4-3 Rhode Island lead and allowing two earned runs in two innings. DeRegis, Gardella, Caputo and O’Connell each registered one RBI and the Rams left nine on base during the game.

Rhode Island will host George Mason University this weekend for a three-game series at Bill Beck Field. The Patriots are tied for third place in the conference at 7-3 with Virginia Commonwealth University.

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URI basketball looks to build for future on National Signing Day

Staff Sports Reporter

Published: Thursday, April 17, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 17, 2014 08:04

 

Yesterday marked one of the premier days in the college basketball season; a nerve-racking, intense and busy day for athletes, players, coaches and fans alike. For athletes, however, it is perhaps more fun.

This is National Signing Day, where players choose where they want to play college basketball. Yesterday kicked off the signing period and the University of Rhode Island, coming off a 14-18 year that featured nine losses by 10 points or fewer, is looking to repeat its success on the recruiting trail from a year ago. Last April, URI was able to land E.C. Matthews and Hassan Martin, who showed immediately this season why they could help lead the Rams back to the NCAA Tournament. Matthews was second on the team in scoring and turned down the Syracuse Orange for the Keaney blue. Hassan has emerged as a strong defensive presence in terms of blocking shots and also played 25-30 minutes a game. With these two sophomores already in place, as well as returning veteran T.J. Buchanan, there is a strong, established foundation.

As of today, URI will have 10 players on scholarship on their roster. Nine from a season ago, as well as junior college transfer Earl Watson, who committed to the Rams in November. Combining that with star Xavier Munford graduating, Mike Powell transferring and Mike Aaman still being on scholarship but not counting against the team’s total, URI currently has two scholarships to give possible recruits. URI had three to give, but has already successfully brought aboard Jarvis Garrett, a 5-foot-10-inch point guard who played for Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass. Garrett, a Milwaukee native, chose URI over his hometown school Marquette University, the University of Indiana, the University of Memphis and University of Missouri. He will join returning sophomore Biggie Minnis as the only point guards currently on the roster. Garrett signed his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday.

Garrett showcased his talents and raised his value in November, mainly because he was arguably the best performer in the National Prep showcase. In two games, he averaged 26 points, six rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Another player that has been linked to URI for quite some time has been Rokas Gustys. Gustys is a Lithuanian center who plays for Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. Along with URI, there are also seven other schools currently recruiting him. At least six of the other teams have made a scholarship offer to him. URI is the only Atlantic 10 school recruiting him.

Time will tell if Gustys joins Garrett as URI’s 2014 recruiting class. We also have to wait and see who else may join the team and whether the Rams can make another significant jump this coming fall. This much we do know:  Dan Hurley, with his connections in the New Jersey tri-state area, and veteran associate head coach Preston Murphy are great recruiters. They have gotten great players to turn down big-time schools to come here to Kingston. They will need to keep that going for URI to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999. Signing Day is the first step to making it a reality.

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URI Remembers the “Excellent Lady”

Contributing News Reporter

Published: Thursday, April 10, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 10, 2014 09:04


Helen “Nonnie” Plummer, a head cashier at the CVS in the Kingston Emporium known fondly by many University of Rhode Island students and local customers for her catch phrase “have an excellent,” passed away on Monday, April 7. At the age of 67, she was a proud grandmother and great-grandmother and the favorite cashier of many CVS customers. Even if the line was long, students would await their turn specifically to check out with Nonnie.

“One customer actually said to me, ‘No offense, but, I really wanted to have her as my cashier,’ meaning Helen,” said current store manager, Michelle Loiselle.

Nonnie was referred to as the “Excellent Lady,” a nickname she received due to her famous catch phrase, “have a excellent.” In an interview with a Cigar reporter in 2007, Nonnie explained the reasoning behind her phrase.

"It's intended to be whatever they want it to be," Nonnie said. "It can be an excellent life, an excellent day ... This is what it boils down to. That's where the 'day' went."

She even printed out her catch phrase and brought it into work to be used on mugs.

Nonnie has a Facebook page dedicated to her called, “Nonnie the cashier at CVS in the URI Emporium who says, ‘have a excellent.’” The page currently has over 3,100 “Likes”.

Nonnie worked at the Emporium’s CVS for 20 years, touching many lives in her two decades of spreading excellence. She was able to form deep connections with many students and customers through her frequent interactions with them.

“Everyone on campus knows who she is, like if you went to CVS you wanted to check out with her,” URI Sophomore Brandon Ryan said.  “She’d guilt you into buying things for charity.  She would always be the one to ask you, ‘Do you want to buy this? It donates money,’ and she was the nicest lady, so you couldn’t say no to her.”

Loiselle, Nonnie’s twentieth and last store manager, often saw how the beloved employee connected with her customers. She remembers that Nonnie always made a point to ask about their day and their plans for over breaks, and how she never missed a chance to wish someone a happy birthday. Just last week, Nonnie was able to get her entire line to sing “Happy Birthday” to a customer, according to Loiselle.

“She picked up our telephone and went right over our paging system and sang happy birthday to them,” Loiselle said. 

The entire CVS team was devastated by the sudden and unexpected loss of their dearly loved co-worker.

“I had just seen her Sunday, [when] I was closing and she came in to visit and was just sitting in my office doing paperwork, and she was just chatting away and everything was all great,” Loiselle said about her final day with Nonnie. “She was very happy and in a wonderful place; she was always in a wonderful place… she could have a really bad day, or not feel well, and it was [still] like a brightness in the sky when you were around her.”

The sad news of Nonnie’s passing was spread through Twitter and other social media outlets. A vigil was held Wednesday at 11 a.m. outside of CVS for anyone who wanted to come together in remembrance or speak about the unforgettable CVS employee. There was a small area set up outside of the store for anyone to leave flowers, sign the board and reflect. Some came by with chalk to make pictures for Nonnie on the sidewalk.

“She loved all of her students and her customers; this was like her second home,” Loiselle said. “If she wasn’t at her house, she was here, to the point that she would not even be on the schedule to work and she would come in [to] visit us, or to shop, and then to sit around and just chat with us, she just absolutely loved everybody here and everybody here just loved her.”

A wonderful presence in CVS who had brightened many days, Nonnie will be warmly remembered as the charming and talkative cashier and friend.

“I think everything was funny with her,” Sue Lawson, Nonnie’s last store manager before Michelle, said. “Anytime we’d be doing an up-sell with the Gummy Bears, she’d say, ‘Listen, I gotta tell you, we’re having a contest, and I’m trying to sell [however many] gummy bears, and I wanna win’... I don’t think a customer actually walked out that door without gummy bears.”

CVS is currently doing their gummy bear contest again in hopes to have more customers buy them in memory of Nonnie. Last year, she was able to sell 2,200 bags for the contest and she was always trying to beat her own record.

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Award ceremony honors black scholars

Staff News Reporter

Published: Thursday, April 10, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 10, 2014 09:04

On Monday night, the 17th Annual Black Scholar Awards were held to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of graduating University of Rhode Island seniors of African decent.

“It has been a labor of love for all of us to recognize these outstanding contributors to the University and the outside community,” said Dr. Donald Cunnigen.

Cunnigen and other Black faculty began the awards program in 1998 when it started as the Black Students Awards Dinner. The program began as a way for the African American faculty to show their support and commitment to black students at URI.

The program included an address by keynote speaker Carmen Fields, a journalist and television producer from Boston. Fields stressed the importance of giving back to the community in her address to the awarded seniors.

“Those who learn must teach,” said Fields. “Make sure the doors to education are open for as many of those who are around you.”

She said that education is the best investment one can make to have a better and more upwardly mobile life. She also expressed the importance of service in the community.

“All around us, there is work to be done,” she said. “Get involved with the issues and causes around you.”

Eight awards were given to seniors for overall achievement in academics and for community service. Following these awards, the Onyx Senior Honor Society members were also recognized.  

Many of the recipients were dean’s list students and involved heavily in campus life, through anything from athletics, to residential life and academic clubs.

Those awarded included Jawaun Wynn, a member of the football team who was given the Estes Benson Award for holding the highest overall grade point average of Black male seniors.

Another among the awards was Christina Onassis Lewis, who was the recipient of the Noreen Coachmen Award for Outstanding Achievement by an Older Student. Lewis excels in the nursing program at URI while raising her 11-year-old daughter.

“It isn’t getting the degree that counts, it’s what you do with it that counts,” said Fields.

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Over 800 dollars raised for Project HOPE

Staff News Reporter

Published: Thursday, April 10, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 10, 2014 09:04

Sunday, April 6 became a beautiful day for a 5K as the sun cleared and 60 participants alongside 60 volunteers showed up for Lambda Kappa Sigma’s second annual Project HOPE charity event on 7 Greenhouse Road.

“It was perfect,” Grace Mortrude, community service chair for Lambda Kappa Sigma said. “The weather was not too hot and not too cold.”

Students of all years arrived at 11:30 a.m. in front of the Pharmacy Building and were able to raise over $800 for Project HOPE by the time they crossed the finish line. The first three to pass earned Dunkin Donuts gift cards of $10 for first place and $5 for second and third place, a reward well welcomed by its recipients after a long day of running.

Project HOPE is a charity that brings health care to those in need in over 120 countries around the world and has been the official philanthropy of Lambda Kappa Sigma for over 30 years. It hopes to educate health professionals and community health workers, strengthen health systems, improve the health of women and children, fight diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and provide dominated medicines, supplies and medical help.

Lambda Kappa Sigma also sold T-Shirts featuring their Hope WALKS logo in purple and yellow, as well as $1 bracelets. The University of Rhode Island’s Xi chapter plans to continue the event in the future after enjoying the event in previous years.

“I couldn’t have been happier with it,” Mortrude said. “Everything ran so smoothly, all the volunteers did exactly as we needed, and we had a great time.”

Future events from Lambda Kappa Sigma include a bowling event to be held April 16 at 9:30 p.m. at Old Mountain Lanes for $15 to the public and will be the final event to close off the semester.

Lambda Kappa Sigma has a Twitter (@lambslovexi) that posts periodic updates on their activities.

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URI theater actress prepares for role as Velma Kelly in musical ‘Chicago’

Contributing Entertainment Writer

Published: Thursday, April 10, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 10, 2014 09:04

The University of Rhode Island Theatre Department is home to not only great plays, but to great students who dedicate their lives acting in the shows. Senior theatre major Julia Bartoletti will be acting in her tenth show at URI this April when she plays the powerful character of Velma Kelly in the musical “Chicago.”

Bartoletti has been acting her whole life while also dancing in a studio, making her a great addition to the URI theatre program. She came to URI planning to focus on musicals, but has been cast in both musicals and plays during her theatre career.

"Through the acting process, I realized what I like about musical theatre is the acting," said Bartoletti. "The things like dancing and singing are expressions of that."

In “Chicago,” Bartoletti's role of Velma Kelly is a strong character who ends up in prison for murdering her sister and husband and claims she doesn't remember a thing.

"She thinks she's Queen Bee of the prison," said Bartoletti. "She's a very rich and fun character."

While “Chicago” follows lead character Roxie Hart's storyline, Bartoletti is featured in musical numbers and with at least five costume changes throughout the show. Her character will be one to watch.

Bartoletti said, "Usually I read a play and I know which part sort of clicks better, like this is the part I'm going to read better. It was evenly split for this musical, but I connected to Velma."

According to the actress, memorizing lines is the easiest part of being cast in a show, but musicals are different because they must also learn dances and songs.

"This show I'll probably be nervous for because it just seems like a big mountain to climb," added Bartoletti. "Everyone knows the show, so that's going to be nerve-wracking.”

Bartoletti plans to continue her acting career after graduating this May by applying to graduate schools and getting involved with local theatre.  “Chicago” will be an event to attend and its opening day is April 17, with a run that will go through April 27.

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Guitar Night features music department talent of the present, past

Entertainment Writer

Published: Thursday, April 10, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 10, 2014 08:04

By Ryan Gibbs
Entertainment Writer

The University of Rhode Island Guitar Studio held its annual Guitar Night on April 6 in the Fine Arts Center. The concert, which featured performances by students of the studio, featured an array of classical guitar pieces.

The concert’s four main performers, students Céilli Connors, Thomas Hug, André Marcelin and Conor Ragas, began the night with two quartet pieces written by 16th century music printer Pierre Attaingnant and adapted for guitar by Randall Nye. The group performed the rhythmic pieces in an intricate style, each guitarist performing an integral part of the pieces’ interlocking rhythm.

The next section of the concert featured individual showcases for each guitarist. Thomas Hug performed David Pritchard’s “A Pale View,” A light, moody piece with flowing rhythmic repetition. Hug was followed Marcelin, who performed two melodic pieces from Fernando Sor’s “Estudio No. 17 & 18.”

After Marcellin, Ragas played three pieces that showcased his darker, rollicking style. Connors had the final slot, but she wasted no time in impressing the audience. She performed two Gaspar Sanz compositions, the laconic  “Pavan” and the peppy “Canarios,” before moving to the anonymously attributed “Sakura.” Connors’ performance of the lengthy, sparse piece included intricate fingerpicking and a distinct use of silence at several points.

After these showcase segments, the four performers again performed a selection of pieces, including Rex Willis’ “Fuego,” which featured distinct percussive sections, and a heavy focus on melody.

The final portion of the concert was an appearance by Raffi Donoian, an alumni of the guitar studio, who performed three pieces. His technical style was highlighted particularly during his performance of Bach’s melodic “Lute Suite in E Minor.”

The concert moved a brisk pace, with Donoian’s segment beginning within an hour of the show starting. It did an exceptional job showcasing the present and past talent of URI’s Guitar Studio. The music department will be holding several more concerts through the end of the semester. Among these is a free performance in the Fine Arts Center concert hall by the URI Chamber Ensemble on April 13 at 3 p.m.

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URI graduate opens yoga studio in Kingston Emporium

Staff News Reporter

Published: Thursday, April 10, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 10, 2014 08:04

Have you ever wanted to try yoga but didn’t know where to start? Now the practice is right at your fingertips.  University of Rhode Island graduate Lauren Toracinta recently opened a yoga studio in the emporium called The Rhode Island Yoga Center.

Toracinta has incorporated yoga into her gym routine for years, however she discovered heated yoga about five years ago.

“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Toracinta said.  “I quit the gym and I scoured yoga studios throughout the state to find what I liked and I just ended up sticking with my hot yoga.”

Toracinta describes yoga as being akin to religion.

“I could clear my mind as well as work on my body and feel strong,” Toracinta said. “It really helped me by just having one hour a day to myself, so I thought I totally want to share that with other people.”  

She describes how the practice of yoga is centered on your spine, and says that when you take care of your spine you will see the benefits not just physically but also mentally.

“I think it’s a really healthy practice,” Toracinta said. “I think that students in particular are extremely busy, they have a lot of stuff on their plates, and I think that if I had had yoga when I was in college it would have changed my life completely.”

After getting her certification, Toracinta began teaching yoga, which led her to open her own studio.

“It was just one of those things you kind of knew you were always going to do and then it just happened,” Toracinta said.

The staff at the Rhode Island Yoga Center includes yogis Toracinta has practiced with for years. She also trained with some of them while getting certified to teach. They are all trained in the same background, Baptiste power vinyasa, which, according to Toracinta, is a heated practice that combines vinyasa, iyengar, and bikram yoga.

The Center offers mostly heated classes, but they also offer other classes that are non-heated.

“I didn’t want to limit it to just hot yoga because the heat works me, but it doesn’t work for everyone,” Toracinta said.

The Center offers traditional vinyasa classes without the heat as well as Dharma Mittra, which is a non-heated practice that incorporates breathing, stagnant poses and chanting.

“We’re here to offer whatever people want,” Toracinta said. “We’re probably going to be incorporating some meditation classes and whatever else people want to see.”

She notes that she would one day like to expand the schedule, including a wider variety of practices rather than just heated.

“There are as many different types of yoga as there are different types of ice cream, and you’ve just got to find the kind you like,” she says. “I definitely encourage everyone to maintain a practice because the benefits physically and mentally are just amazing.”

The class schedule and pricing information can be found on the Rhode Island Yoga Center’s website, http://www.riyogacenter.com/. If you are new to the practice of yoga, $2 Tuesdays might be a good place to start. Each Tuesday evening, the Center offers a $2 yoga class run by a different instructor every week “to keep it fresh.” Toracinta invites those who have never tried yoga before to take advantage of this class,

“You don’t have anything to lose, come have a good time, check it out and enjoy yourself,” Toracinta said.

 

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Cigar sport’s reporter suggests five changes for future athletics

Contributing Sports Reporter

Published: Thursday, April 10, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 10, 2014 08:04

With the spring semester winding down and the beauty that is summer break right around the corner, now is as good a time as any to reflect on the past school year and look forward to the next.

Without further ado, here are five things Rhode Island sports need to change, modify or improve on in the not too distant future to give some sports more recognition and to increase success in some areas.

To get things started at No. 5, club sports need more advertising. While resources like GoRhody are excellent, including club sports on the site could have a great impact. Finding scores for hockey games is a task I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. It’s like playing Where’s Waldo in the dark. A little more recognition for these teams is all we’re asking for here.

On to No. 4, Meade Stadium, the home of the football team, needs lights for night games. How cool would it be to watch football games at URI at 8 p.m. rather than 11 a.m.? Day games are great and all, but night games and sports go together like white on rice. Everybody loves the idea of playing underneath the lights and this case is no different. Why it has taken the school this long to make the change is not known for sure, but it is very necessary nonetheless.

With the news that Cathy Inglese wouldn’t be retained as head coach of the women’s basketball team, the Rams could really use a new leader that can provide an immediate upgrade. While Inglese is no slouch of a coach with more than 400 wins under her belt, the 16-41 record the Rams had during her tenure here suggested that a change was needed for the team to continue to grow. At number three, the million-dollar question of whether Director of Athletics Thorr Bjorn will look to hire internally or opt for some outside help still needs an answer.

At No. 2, the university needs to upgrade both hockey programs from club teams to varsity. Though it does not look like this will happen any time soon, both squads are more than deserving with consistent spots in the top-20 rankings in the country. Teams obviously can’t just declare the move to varsity, so the biggest and most painful obstacle here is the money. Though it is no fault of their own, these teams will have to sit tight as a club sport with no immediate signs of an upgrade.

Coming in at No. 1 is for the basketball program to lock up another high quality recruit. Preferably, someone who can play the shooting guard position as the team’s leader and top scorer, Xavier Munford, will be graduating next month. With E.C. Matthews and Hassan Martin showcasing this year’s freshman class, Hurley and company will be hard-pressed to find talent on par with these two. The team has already announced a couple players coming on board next season, like junior college transfer Earl Watson, but if they can grab a good shooter within the next two seasons, the offense has the potential to be better than any Rhode Island team in recent memory.

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Rams take two out of three against Fordham over weekend

Contributing Sports Reporter

Published: Thursday, April 10, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 10, 2014 08:04

By Miles Montgomery
Contributing Sports Reporter

The University of Rhode Island baseball team was victorious in their first and third games against Fordham University this weekend, winning 8-6 and 2-0 respectively, but dropped the middle game 3-0.

The Rams snapped their budding win streak when they fell to Bryant University 8-3 yesterday afternoon in Kingston. Their record stands at 6-21 overall with a 2-4 posting in Atlantic-10 Conference play.

The Rams opened their home series at Bill Beck Field against Fordham on Friday with an 8-6 victory to snap their six-game losing skid. The Rams got off to a good start, pulling ahead 3-2 in the bottom of the second after Mike Sherburne, Mike Corin and Dan Hetzel each crossed the place and Rhode Island added two more before the top of the seventh.

Fordham was able to plate three runners in this inning, but Rhode Island took the lead for good in the bottom half when a ground ball rolled by second baseman Joseph Runco allowing Corin and Derek Gardella to score.

“We got off to a good start,” Rhode Island head coach Jim Foster said. “We’ve had trouble recently scoring runs so to put up eight runs on the first day was a big positive.”

On day two of the series, the Rams offense was shut down as they produced only six hits against Fordham pitcher Brett Kennedy, who tossed a complete game and struck out seven. Rhode Island was only down 1-0 before a pair of errors by second baseman David Hopkins allowed Fordham to extend their lead.

Senior Shane O’Connell and Corin were the only Rhode Island players to record any hits during a tough second game, grabbing two each on the day. Rhode Island was in serious position for a late comeback on a potential grand slam by Mike Sherburne, but the ball was caught at the edge of the left field wall.

“On the negative side, we didn’t hit the ball and we had some errors,” Foster said. “I’m very disappointed with the strikeouts and the errors and those are some of the things that we’re trying to clean up. On the positive side, we got another quality start out of [Steve] Moyers.” 
Rhode Island won game three and the weekend series on Sunday after shutting out Fordham 2-0. During the bottom of the third inning, center fielder Jonathan Nazarko scored after Tim Caputo knocked him in on a sacrifice fly to put Rhode Island up 1-0. Rhode Island Junior outfielder Mike Sherburne scored the second run of the game on an RBI single from Nazarko in the seventh inning that gave pitcher Lou Distasio some extra insurance.

Distasio went the distance for the Rams only surrendering one hit and striking out 10, which is a new game-high for any Rhode Island pitcher this season. Distasio and Moyers were tied for the previous record at seven.

“Lou has been getting better every week,” Foster said. “He’s a talented kid and a really good player. He’s starting to learn what it takes to be a really productive player. He’s doing a great job in all areas and I’m really proud of him.”

O’Connell, Hetzel and R.J. Warnock each drove in a run for Rhode Island yesterday against the Bulldogs, but Jack Patterson remained undefeated for Bryant after going seven innings and only allowing one Ram to cross the plate.

The Rams will travel to Ohio this weekend for a three-game series against the University of Dayton. The Flyers are 12-17 overall on the season but 5-4 against Atlantic 10 Conference opponents. Dayton is coming off an important loss to the University of Massachusetts, but took two out of three from the Minutemen last weekend.

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Column: URI, Inglese part ways after five seasons of coaching

Staff Sports Reporter

Published: Thursday, April 10, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 10, 2014 08:04

On March 28, the University of Rhode Island announced they would not renew the contract of women’s basketball head coach Cathy Inglese after five seasons. This announcement was over three weeks after the Rams lost to Duquense University in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament on March 6.

Inglese was able to achieve overwhelming and sustained success with her previous stops at the University of Vermont and Boston College. At the University of Vermont, Inglese had a stellar record of 120-74 over seven seasons. Over her final three seasons, the Catamounts compiled a 79-9 record. This also included a 57-2 record over her final two seasons 1991-1992 and 1992-1993 while earning NCAA Tournament berths. They also were the first teams to go undefeated in back-to-back seasons and won a record 52 straight regular season games.

On May 12, 1993, Inglese left Vermont to assume coaching duties at Boston College. In 1999, the Eagles made their first of seven tournament appearances during Inglese’s reign. Three of those appearances resulted in Sweet 16 berths in 2003, 2004 and 2006. The team also won its first Big East Championship in 2004 upsetting the No. 4 ranked Connecticut Huskies. Inglese resigned following the 2007-2008 season after her Eagles posted a 20-10 record and defeated her former team, the Catamounts, in the second round of the Women’s NIT Tournament. Much like her tenure with the University of Vermont, Inglese achieved great success and left Chestnut Hill with an impressive record of 239-151 and 359-225 overall in her 20 seasons between the schools.

Inglese then took control of the Rams prior to the 2009-2010 season, but struggled to find similar success here in Kingston. Her career record with the Rams was 30-115 after five seasons, with her best year coming in her inaugural season after securing nine wins. Life away from the Thomas M. Ryan Center has not been kind to the Rams. Since 2011, they have lost 38 straight road games under Inglese’s watch. They also have struggled with their conference play under Inglese. Over her five seasons, the Rams achieved only a 6-66 against their fellow Atlantic 10 counterparts.

Cathy Inglese will no doubt always be remembered for what she was able to accomplish throughout her lengthy and illustrious coaching career, as her overall record now stands at 389-340. Few women in college basketball have as lengthy a career as Cathy Inglese. She has won five Coach of the Year honors and is already a member of several hall of fames. She also has 11 20-plus win seasons and has developed six WNBA draft picks. She also oversaw 39 all-conference players and 13 all-rookie resumes.

Putting all this into consideration, who could potentially replace Inglese this coming fall? Sharon Dawley, currently coaching UMass, has ended her fifth season coaching the Minutemen. UMass also happens to be Athletic Director Thorr Bjorn’s alma mater. Also, much like Inglese before her, Dawley previously coached at the University of Vermont. Assistant coach Marcus Reilly will be retained to assist with the transition of the new coaching staff and two other assistants and Rhode Island natives, Chris Passmore and assistant director of basketball operations Piper Chapman, will have their futures decided once a new coach is hired. Whoever does assume the coaching duties at URI, though, can look forward to coaching Dominique Ward, Tyler Raysor and Adre’onia Coleman who signed National Letters of Intent in November, along with further developing the talents of players like Tayra Melendez and Samantha Tabakman.

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Gambian journalist talks dictatorial censorship at Amanpour lecture

News Editor

Published: Thursday, April 3, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 3, 2014 12:04


When henchmen of the country’s dictator hacked the online newspaper he had been anonymously feeding stories to, University of Rhode Island alumnus and Gambian journalist Omar Bah thought he was dead.  

Bah didn’t think he would be caught as the author of news stories that exposed the wrongdoings of the Gambia’s corrupt dictatorial regime.  He didn’t think he would be able to escape from the Gambia and relocate to Providence, R.I. in 2007.  He didn’t think his wife would be able to relocate to be with him and that they would have two American-born sons.  He thought he was dead.   

Bah, ’10, spoke in the Agnes G. Doody Auditorium in Swan Hall last Thursday for the Christiane Amanpour Lecture on Global Journalism. He spoke about being tortured, declared ‘WANTED’ and fleeing from his native country at the age of 26 to avoid being killed for his work as a journalist.

“My reason for wanting to be a journalist in the Gambia was primarily driven by what was happening in the Gambia and I think that set the agenda and the vision for me because there was so much poverty and I…experienced that,” Bah said in an interview before the event.  “There was no freedom, there was a lot of oppression, and there was a lot of hopelessness.”  

As a student in a two-year post high school law program, Bah was able to gather political contacts while observing the Gambian court system.  Compelled to publicize the governmental corruption he was seeing, Bah decided to get a job at a newspaper.  

“I walked into a small newspaper and I said ‘I see a lot of things that should be reported that are happening. Can I report it?’’ Bah said.  “By being a journalist I could give voice to the voiceless and express my own opinion and most of that would be [by] talking about issues happening in the country.”  

A few months into his career, Bah  was tortured at prison where he went to conduct an interview.  He wrote stories on governmental corruption and had a weekly column where he interviewed government officials.  As the newspaper became increasingly censored by allies of the country’s dictator, Yahya Jammeh, he turned to foreign-based media and began anonymously submitting stories to an online newspaper, the Freedom newspaper.  

“I knew if I got caught something [serious could happen], but I never thought I’d get caught,” Bah said.  “I didn’t really care what the dictator thought.  What I thought was I have to express my opinion.”

Bah understood what happened to people who spoke out against the government.  He had seen people mysteriously disappear without a trace after being declared ‘WANTED’ by the government.  He had seen people tortured, imprisoned and shot.  One day while at work, he received a call from a friend who was checking to see if Bah was still alive.  The Freedom newspaper had been hacked and Bah’s name had been released.  He had been declared “WANTED’ by the government.  

“To be honest even today if I think about it I start having natural flashbacks coming, I think I am dead at that moment,” Bah said.

The American Embassy was too dangerous for Bah to get to and he knew that any African embassy would hand him over to the dictator.  After spending the night in hiding with his friend, Bah began the journey to flee the Gambia without the opportunity to say goodbye to his friends, family and wife of two months.  

“At some point I wanted to report to them [the government],” Bah said.  “For religious purposes I am not supposed to think about suicide in the first place so I did not think about suicide, but I was not worried about anyone killing me at that point.  I wanted to surrender, to present myself to any security post, any police station, so they can do anything they want.”  

Bah’s closest encounter with death came on a  bus that he was taking to a ferry that would take him to Senegal and safety.  A soldier got on the bus to check passengers identification and Bah knew if he gave up his identification he would be arrested and killed.  When the soldier got to Bah, Bah stood and raised his hands in surrender.  

“All I knew then was a flashlight was flashing into my face and a gun was pointed into my face,” Bah said.  “I looked at him and I recognized him.  I was still standing raising my hands in surrender.  I was shaking uncontrollably.  Luckily this soldier used to be a schoolmate ten years earlier in middle school. I did not mention [that he was a] schoolmate in the book because he is still in the Gambia so I said he is a former acquaintance just to make it as vague as possible because somebody’s life is at stake here.”

After his close encounter with death, Bah escaped to Senegal and spent one month in extreme hiding before spending 11 months in Ghana under less security.  While in Ghana he was able to speak with his family every few months without identifying himself to let them know he was alive.  In 2007, he was relocated to Providence, R.I. as a refugee.  

Bah’s wife relocated to Providence two years after he did and they have two American-born children together.  His mother relocated to Providence a month ago.  Since coming to Rhode Island, Bah recounted his story in the memoir “Africa’s Hell On Earth:  The Ordeal of An African Journalist.”  

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LKS walks to raise money for Project Hope Sunday

Staff News Reporter

Published: Thursday, April 3, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 3, 2014 12:04

On Sunday April 6, Lambda Kappa Sigma will be hosting their second annual 5K walk/run, HOPE WALKS at 11:30 a.m. in front of the University of Rhode Island Pharmacy Building in order to raise money for Project HOPE.

Project HOPE is a charity that brings health care to those in need in over 120 countries around the world and has been the official philanthropy of Lambda Kappa Sigma for over 30 years.

“It’s great because the charity helps the people in these countries get started with health care of their own,” said Grace Mortrude, community service chair for Lambda Kappa Sigma. “They don’t just help out and leave.”

Fellow community service chair Hannah Zawia shared similar sentiments towards the charity.

“It’s a good cause for everyone,” she said. “Because it’s a global organization—they do disaster and relief funds too— any major can connect.”

Registration for the event is $5 and is entirely open to the public. A registration link is available through the URI events page and Lambda Kappa Sigma’s Facebook; however, students can also pay at the event.

The walk is expected to last until 1 p.m. The first three to finish the run will be given Dunkin Donuts gift cards, according to Zawia.

Booths promoting the event have been around campus to allow students to register, buy a T-Shirt featuring the HOPE waLKS logo or buy a bracelet for one dollar. Their last booth will be in Hope Commons from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. today.

Mortrude is one of two community service chairs for Lambda Kappa Sigma, who, after joining the organization last year, came to adore her experience.

“I really love being community service chair and the opportunity to do things,” she said. “I really like knowing older girls in pharmacy… especially with jobs, internships and advice for classes— and I met my best friends there, too.”

Future events from Lambda Kappa Sigma include a bowling event to be held April 16 at 9:30 p.m. at Old Mountain Lanes for $15 to the public. URI’s Xi chapter plans to continue the 5K for years to come in accordance with their mission.

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New gym programs finish semester strong, help students to healthier life

Staff News Reporter

Published: Thursday, April 3, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 3, 2014 12:04

The Anna Fascitelli Fitness and Wellness Center is holding several 30-minute workshops each week to promote physical and psychological wellbeing as the semester dwindles down.

Fit 4 You is one of many 30-minute workshops that allow students to learn from experts to guide their behavior change, create positive habits and track progress towards healthy goals. These workshops will be held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each week beginning March 19 and ending April 23 at 7 p.m. in the Fascitelli Center’s Seminar Room.

“There’s a lot of information out there nowadays accessed through the Internet, and [they] aren’t always credible sources,” said Courtney Mackey, Fitness and Wellness Specialist of the Fascitelli Center. “It’s important to keep [URI students] guided.”

Mackey emphasized the importance of a healthy lifestyle so students can realize how to balance not only exercise, but diet choices as well.

Monday Night Nutrition with Malorie is a 30-minute workshop that provides these steps towards a healthier lifestyle. The workshop includes a free smoothie and is open to all URI students for free. As the name suggests, they are held Mondays at 7 p.m. beginning on March 24 until April 14 in the Fascitelli Seminar Room.

Thirsty Thursdays are similar in that they also provide a free smoothie for those that attend, but runs from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Fascitelli Wellness Resource Center.

“Thirsty Thursday is exciting, I think,” said Mackey. “The volume of participants can be challenging at times but it’s very interactive.”

URI students are welcome to explore any free program; however, several group exercises are also available after the purchase of a pass. These passes vary in price depending on how many classes a student wishes to take, but offer more opportunities to exercise in unique ways.

Mind/Body is one group exercise, which ranges from Gentle Yoga to Beyoncé Booty Barre classes, all offered at several times.

“We have more to offer than exercise machines and Zumba classes,” said Mackey. “It’s important to get a holistic experience.”

Students can find a detailed schedule of group exercises as well as a list of the workshops available online at http://web.uri.edu/campusrec/fitnesswellness/fitnessworkshops/.

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Yearbook club has low participation, high hopes

Staff News Reporter

Published: Thursday, April 3, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 3, 2014 10:04

Yearbook serve as a keepsake and are meant to keep memories alive after school is over, a tradition the Yearbook Club Staff at the University of Rhode Island plans to uphold.

Emilia DeMarco and Lauren Neely, two of the five club members, describe creating the yearbook as a “great experience.” DeMarco explained how she worked on her high school yearbook and Neely said she always had wanted to, but never had the chance. DeMarco and Neely both agreed that they joined because they couldn’t find a club they fit into well.

“It’s my creative outlet,” Nealy said.  

The Yearbook Club is student-run and is in charge of designing the entire yearbook, including the theme, cover, colors and fonts. The most important parts of the school year are divided into different sections: senior portraits, student life, sports, Greek Life, theater, music and events.

DeMarco and Neely talked about how senior portraits at college are nothing like high school, since only about 300 of the three thousand graduating class actually get a senior portrait.

“I think it’s a great idea to get a senior portrait for future reference,” DeMarco said. “Some jobs require a resume with a professionally done picture.”

Senior portraits are only $35 dollars and allow the student to have five different poses. The yearbook committee believes this price is “very reasonable” since the online price for undergraduates is $68 dollars online.

Although the only portraits in the book are seniors, undergraduates still have a chance to shine. The staff tries to cover as many school events as possible to make sure the main occasions on campus have an opportunity to be properly exposed.

Over the past year, the Yearbook Club has lost many of its members due to graduation and students having to drop because of more advanced courses. The staff is in need of new members and anyone is welcome to join. Neely and DeMarco encourage everyone to participate and have a part in this precious keepsake.

“It’s such a good experience that allows you to get involved,” Neely said. “There isn’t a strict schedule. You can come to the office whenever you like.”

DeMarco refers to the Yearbook Room as her “office” where the team can work quietly by themselves after their classes. Yearbook Club usually meets on Thursdays at 3:15 p.m.  No experience is needed and many positions are available. Students can have the opportunity to take pictures, write snip-its of information about URI or work on the layout.

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‘Noah’ movie is dark, but fascinating

Staff Entertainment Reporter

Published: Thursday, April 3, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 3, 2014 10:04

Similar to Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” made a decade ago, Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” has attracted quite a bit of controversy on a religious level, having been banned in numerous countries such as Pakistan and Indonesia. The main reason for this controversy stems from the “creative liberties” that Aronofsky took in bringing the story of Noah’s Ark to the big screen. Religion aside, Aronofsky crafts an interesting take on the story, one that is more character driven than one might expect.

For the record, it’s still the same story. The titular Noah (Russell Crowe) receives a prophetic vision where he learns that God (referred to in this movie as The Creator) plans to destroy the world with a massive flood in order to wipe it clean of the sins that mankind has committed. In order to survive the flood, Noah builds a giant ark with the help of his family; his wife Naameh (Jennifer Connelly), their three sons; Shem (Douglas Booth), Ham (Logan Lerman), Japheth (Leo McHugh Carroll), and their daughter-in-law Ila (Emma Watson).

Aronofsky delves deeper into the character of Noah. We see the burden placed on him to protect the innocent. As the movie progresses, Noah starts to question whether or not he and his family are worth saving.

It all boils down to another task that the Creator asks Noah to do, which I won’t spoil. Needless to say, it’s a pretty dark and disturbing one. In fact, that description actually perfectly sums up the movie. It may be PG-13, but it gets brutal at times.

This film does things that weren’t necessarily in the Bible, like the portrayal of the mysterious creatures known as The Watchers. However, on its own merit, the movie is visually stunning thanks to the excellent visual effects and the cinematography. The film also benefits from excellent performances from all involved, with Crowe giving one of his best performances as he perfectly captures the struggles and anguish of Noah.

This will be one of the more controversial films of the year, not just for its religious aspects, but for also being much darker than expected. But, with that dark tone comes a fascinating character study of a man who was given a monumental task. The film explores how there is darkness in all of us, yet we have the power to keep ourselves from doing horrible things.

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‘Storm Chasers’ star Reed Timmer talks tornadoes

Staff Entertainment Writer

Published: Thursday, April 3, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 3, 2014 10:04

Reed Timmer, a storm chaser and meteorologist, spoke at Edwards Auditorium on Monday night about his experiences chasing tornadoes and other weather patterns. A native of Michigan, Timmer began chasing storms as a teenager in the late 1990s.

“When other people were sneaking out in high school to go to parties, I was sneaking out and chasing lake-effect snow storms,“ Timmer said.  

From 2007 to 2010, Timmer appeared on the Discovery Channel series “Storm Chasers,” on which he was featured with his team and their fleet of armored storm-chasing vehicles, dubbed “Dominators.” He is the operator of the website TVNWeather.com, where visitors can watch live video feeds of his team chasing storms throughout the country. He is also employed by the Oklahoma City television station KFOR as a meteorologist and resident storm chaser.

During his talk, Timmer played and commentated on several videos from his website. He stated that there are three primary motivations for storm chasing: storm reporting, disaster response and tornado research.

“The network of storm chasers out in the field, they act as the eyes underneath a storm and relay those reports to the National Weather Service and local media, and they’ll keep people warned in the path of these storm,” Timmer said.  “If everyone’s prepared and has their weather radios charged up and has access to a tornado shelter, there’s really no reason why there should be any loss of life in tornados, because the warning process has advanced so much.”

Timmer talked extensively about the Dominators, a fleet of three modified sports utility vehicles, that were built to measure wind speeds while they were inside, or close to, a tornado. He stated that each of the vehicles are fitted with a hydraulics systems and an aerodynamic shell.

“When we drop the vehicle flush to the ground,” Timmer said. “It eliminates the wind underneath, and that way we don’t have as much uplift.”

Timmer noted that the Dominators drive roughly 50,000 to 100,000 miles each year, traveling to and from different weather events throughout the United States and Canada.

“We storm chase from the Mexican border up to Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta to as far east as the Atlantic Ocean,” Timmer said.  
Although known for chasing tornados, Timmer’s team also chases other storms, including blizzards and hurricanes. The group followed Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He said that during Katrina, his team lost their car to the flood waters and the group had to find shelter in a jail in Slidell, La.

“We ended up going to the roof and then had to hitch a ride by fishing boat and then walked five miles up an elevated railroad track,” Timmer said.

He then said that after the group hitched a ride and spent a night at an abandoned hotel, they then hitched a another ride to Jackson, Miss., where they were able to get a cell phone connection for the first time since start of the storm.

“I called my mom and found out she had filed a missing persons report,” Timmer said.

Even though the turnout for his appearance was small, Timmer’s enthusiastic analysis of extreme weather patterns captivated the audience. He also lingered near the stage at the end of the show to informally talk with audience members. Timmer was originally scheduled to appear at the University of Rhode Island on February 9. However, that original date was canceled, coincidentally, due to weather.

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Men’s track and field compete at University of Connecticut

Contributing Sports Reporter

Published: Thursday, April 3, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 3, 2014 09:04

The University of Rhode Island men’s track and field team competed in the University of Connecticut Invitational this past Saturday in Storrs, Conn. The team totaled six first-place finishes on the afternoon.

Redshirt senior sprinter Anthony Davidson placed first in the 100- meter dash with a winning time of 11.24. Davidson also won the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.21. Sophomore sprinter Kebba Nasso outpaced the competition while taking first place in the 400-meter dash with a time of 47.80. Freshman Carl Whitham came in first place for the shot put with a distance of 14.60 meters. Freshman thrower Nick Danner competed in is first event on the year winning the javelin throw with a toss of 60.10 meters. The 4x100 relay team consisting of senior Michael DiMambro, senior Jordan Burandt, freshman Jalen Evans and junior Jalen Young came in first place with a time of 41.92.

“Overall our guys had a successful day, accomplishing exactly what we wanted to with six first-places finishes,” Rhode Island head coach John Copeland said. “Our 4x100 team really had a great showing, and Danner did very well in his first event on the year winning the javelin throw. Davidson also did a tremendous job in winning both the 100-meter and 200-meter dash. We hope to come back and do the same next week, which will help us prepare for the Florida Relays”.

The men’s track and field team will return to Storrs next week from April 3-4 to compete in the UConn Decathlon that begins at 1 p.m. They will then be traveling to Gainesville, Fla., to compete in the Florida Relays from April 4-5 that begins at 10 a.m.

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URI softball splits series vs. Saint Louis, fall to PC

Sports Staff Reporter

Published: Thursday, April 3, 2014

Updated: Thursday, April 3, 2014 09:04

The University of Rhode Island softball team dropped their first decision against Saint Louis University 7-2 on Saturday while taking the second half of the doubleheader 2-1.

The Rams also fell 3-1 to Providence College on Wednesday afternoon and saw their record fall to 7-20 overall heading into the weekend with a 2-2 posting in Atlantic 10 Conference play.

With only the University of Massachusetts and St. Bonaventure having fewer than Rhode Island’s seven wins, URI looked to get into the midst of the Atlantic 10 Championship chase. To do, they would need to play well against Saint Louis, a team very much already in that position in a two-game series on the road.

Sophomore pitcher Caitlin Kennedy took the ball for the Rams in game one, hoping to not only help URI avoid a three-game losing streak, but also to improve upon her 1-7 start thus far in the young season. However, Billiken center fielder Lindsay Friedman got the scoring started by leading off the bottom of the first with a home run to left center to give St. Louis a 1-0 lead early on. She finished the game going 3-4 and accounting for two of St. Louis’s runs on the afternoon. A three-run home run by pitcher Brianna Lore helped to extend the St. Louis lead to 5-0 after the first inning.

URI got its offense going in the top of the third. They cut into the lead thanks to a two RBI single by third baseman Lauren Klepchick. The Rams have struggled this season at the plate, compiling the lowest team batting average in the conference at .211. Opponents are currently hitting .312 against them..

“I’m very pleased with the team and the fact we are healthy,” Rhode Island head coach Erin Layton said. “While we are young in some areas we are anchored by upperclassman in other places. We have some great leadership and good age balance with this team.”

In the second game, URI was determined to reverse the momentum and escape the doubleheader with at least one win. To do so, the Rams turned to senior pitcher Sam Bedore. URI was able to provide Bedore with run support early in game two when Jenna Cubello scored pinch runner Olivia Hendricks on a single in the top of the second for a 1-0 URI lead. St. Louis responded in the bottom of the third to tie the game before Taylor Archer’s RBI single in the top of the fifth put Rhode Island back on top for good. Bedore was successful in getting her 25th win by pitching four and two-thirds innings of scoreless softball. She allowed two walks and struck out six batters. With the strikeouts, she also moved into third place on the all-time strikeouts list with 314 in her career.

“I don’t think I could ever accurately describe just how much [Bedore] means to us as a program,” Layton said. “It’s been exciting to watch her progress and development. She has been a pleasure to watch and to coach, she has worked very hard.”

URI returned to the field yesterday to play rival Providence College here in Kingston. Last Thursday they got shutout 5-0 when they last played the Friars. URI used four pitchers in the game and it was Bedore who pitched the most innings with three, allowing no runs. Ashley Dumoulin took the loss for the Rams as she gave up two runs, one of which was earned in her third of an inning of work. URI had as many hits as the Friars with five but also left more runners on base with eight. PC only left five runners on base on the afternoon.

URI returns to the field again this Saturday for a doubleheader against Saint Joseph’s University in Kingston. The first game is scheduled to start at noon while the second is slated to begin at 2 p.m.

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Social Media Social to feature public relations panelists, free ice cream

Staff News Reporter

Published: Thursday, March 27, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2014 10:03

The University of Rhode Island Public Relations Student Society of America will host their 3rd Annual Social Media Social on Tuesday, April 1 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union Ballroom. URI PRSSA Events Chairperson Heather Hermanowski shared her enthusiasm for the event.

“I think it’s really important,” said Hermanowski. “Most students use social media for personal reasons but don’t realize how everyone needs to learn how to use it professionally in their future careers.”

The social is titled “The Tradigital Age” and will focus on how businesses integrate digital and traditional media into their public relations and marketing campaigns. The event is free to the public and will serve ice cream sundaes to all who attend. Students can register online through an Eventbrite link on the URI PRSAA Facebook or at a registration table outside the Ballroom around 6 p.m.

The main speaker will be Rafael Sulit of National Grid, Director of U.S. Brand Implementation and Strategy. A panel will also be present, including Lauren Bettencourt of Alex and Ani, Charity by Design Brand Manager, Kerri Hicks of URI, Manager of Web Communications, and Giselle Mahoney of Tech Collective, Manager of Communications and Media Relations.

Hermanowski shared that she was able to contact these speakers through a previous internship, as well as reaching out through social media. As URI’s PRSSA became nationally affiliated with the Public Relations Student Society of America this month, the society has grown substantially.

Topics to be discussed include uses of traditional versus new media, how companies deal with the reliability of online media and ways to utilize media professionally. Questions will be taken from the audience and the event’s Tweetdeck, which will allow attendees to stream questions in real-time through Twitter.

“Tweetdeck allows attendees to participate in discussions,” said Hermanowski. “It’s a way for people to be included in the event; instead of just attending, they’re going to be a part of it.”

The event will close with sundaes of chocolate or vanilla ice cream with a variety of toppings available. People will be able to interact with professionals at this time and network with local companies.

URI PRSSA was founded in 2006 as the Public Relations Society. Independent and student-run, it aims to educate and provide networking opportunities to students and community members with both local and international companies. Students interested are invited to look them up on Facebook and Twitter @PRSSA_SMS.

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Hillel Center commemorates Holocaust with week of events

Staff News Reporter

Published: Thursday, March 27, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2014 10:03

From March 30 to April 4, the University of Rhode Island’s Hillel Center will be sponsoring several events in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Week.

Jaclyn Rubin, student at URI, was “honored” when the president of the Hillel center offered her the opportunity to be student chair of Holocaust Remembrance Week.

“I always found interest in the Holocaust,” Rubin said. “I’m intrigued by the tattoos and the people who were lucky enough to survive.”

The first event starts on Sunday, March 30, entitled “Field of Flags.” This is a mini display at the Multicultural Center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be 2,400 small flags spread around the room, where each color will represent a different group affected during the Holocaust.

During the following day, members of the Hillel Center will be in the Memorial Union giving away coffee, munchkins and lollipops. This Tuesday will be all about spreading different acts of kindness, called “Mitzvah Day.” Rubin describes how the focus of the day is to “do a good deed and pass it on.” She encourages everyone to also stop by the quad, where there will be a big banner. Students can paint a hand or thumb print along with a signature to “unite” the school.

“Power of Nazi Propaganda,” also taking place on Monday, is an event being held in the Galanti Lounge of the Multicultural Center at 12:15 p.m. Guest speaker JoAnna Wassernan, Director of Education at the U.S. Washington Holocaust Museum, will speak about past events and the effects of the Holocaust.

Tuesday will consist of two events, the first one at 12:15 p.m. at the Multicultural Center, which will be a memorial vigil. This will consist of a gathering of prayers and songs in memorial for those who passed away. Rubin says the half hour ceremony should be “very moving.” Later in the day, in Swan Auditorium at 7:30 p.m., a documentary film will be shown about Aushuwitz survivors. The film will cover the meaning behind branding and how it correlates with present day. Rubin says how “inspiring” it will be to see how the children of those who were killed, as well as Holocaust survivors, are getting tattoos of their parents‘ branding numbers.

On Wednesday, April 2, there will be a “Kiddish Cup Making” activity in the Hillel Center at 7:15 p.m. Students can make a Kiddish, also known as a wine cup, to drink, while stories are told from families of those who have passed away.

On April 3, Dr. Paul Bueno DeMesquita and Tutten Tehbhar, professors at URI, will hold a workshop for non-violence. This will take place in room 360 the Memorial Union, called “Break Up or Make Up.” Both professors hope to help students understand and manage conflict as a college student.

The last event, held in the Hillel Center, will include Ruth Oppenheim, a Holocaust survivor, who will have the chance to speak about her experience. Students will have the opportunity to meet her and ask questions after the event.

“It will be a great way to end the week on a good note,” Rubin says.

Throughout the week, there will also be two week-wide events taking place. The first is a food drive for “Full Plate Kosher Food Pantry” where students can give away non-perishable food items. Boxes for the food drive will be in Hope Dining Hall, the Fascitelli Center, as well as the Hillel Center. The second event will be a mini museum/exhibit in the Hillel Center. The event is going to have photos hanging all around the room along with free refreshments all throughout the day.

“I encourage everyone to go to at least one of these events,” says Rubin. “We should never forget what happened to the Holocaust victims.”

Every event will be free and details will be posted on the URI Hillel Center website. Rubin, as well as the rest of the committee, believes this is a week to “unify our school as a whole.”

“This week will be great to learn so much that goes on,” Rubin said.  “I think sometimes people forget we should always reach out and help one another.”

 

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URI students perform recitals for music degree

Entertainment Writer

Published: Thursday, March 27, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2014 10:03

This past Sunday, two University Rhode Island students performed recitals at the Fine Arts Center in order to fulfill a requirement for a Bachelor of Music degree.

URI senior Chelsea Anderson performed a trumpet recital at 1 p.m. and junior Nina Kate Perry performed a cello recital in front of a full audience of her friends and classmates at 3 p.m.

Perry is double majoring in music performance and textiles, merchandising and design. She has been playing the cello since she was in the fourth grade and had played in the Somerset School District Music Department during her high school years.

She began the recital by playing Cello Suite No. 3 in C Major, one of the six suites for unaccompanied cello that was composed by German composer Johann Sebastian Bach, presumably around 1717-1723. These six pieces are some of the most notable pieces written for cello musicians. This piece consisted of six separate sections of music, “Prelude,” “Allemande,” “Courante,” “Sarabande,” “Bourrees” and “Gigue.”

Finally, she performed Cello Sonata No. 2 in G minor Op. 5, a 25-minute piece composed by German composer Ludwig van Beethoven in Berlin in 1796. The piece was dedicated to Prussian king, as well as music lover and cello player, Friedrich Wilhelm II, who Beethoven had met during his time there.

The piece consists of two parts, referred to as “Adagio sostenuto e espressivo- Allegro molto piu tosto presto” and “Rondo Allegro” respectively. Melissa Woolverton, a member of the music program’s faculty, served as the piano accompaniment for Perry.

Perry was the cellist in the Bay Youth Honors String Quartet from 2008 to 2011. She is currently a member of the URI Symphony Orchestra and the URI Honors String Quartet. Currently the student of URI guest artist and teacher Carly Fleming, Perry has also studied under teachers such as Charlene Monte, Johann Soults, Susan Robison and the late Perry Rosenthal.

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The Tymes perform at 193 Coffeehouse in Union

Entertainment Writer

Published: Thursday, March 27, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2014 10:03

The Tymes, a rock group from Westford, Mass., performed to a near-capacity crowd during a three-hour set at the 193 Coffeehouse on March 21.

The band, consisting of singer/guitarist Jon McNamara, guitarist/drummer Connor Wyke, bassist Ben Andrews and drummer/guitarist Mike Dee, played a selection of covers and originals to an enthusiastic crowd.

Coming fresh off a win at a battle-of-the-bands at the Hard Rock Cafe in Boston a few days before, the band opened their set with a heavy blues-rock cover of The Hollies’ “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress.” The band also played several other covers during their set ranging from Gordon Lightfoot’s folk-rock hit “Sundown” to Doobie Brothers’ “Listen to the Music. The band also played the Grateful Dead classic “Scarlet Begonias” with guest Jason Greenberg on guitar.

The group also played several covers, ranging from the Led Zeppelin-influenced “Let Loose” to several numbers showcasing similarities to jam-rockers Dispatch and alt-blues act Cage the Elephant. The audience was enthusiastic and responded well to the positive energy the band radiated during their performance.

The Tymes are due to return to 193 on April 25 for another free show. If you enjoy bluesy jam-rock and missed them the first time around, it may be worth your while to check them out on the return engagement.

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Alternative spring break trip teaches nonviolence in Nepali culture

Staff News Reporter

Published: Thursday, March 27, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2014 10:03

Over spring break, 20 University of Rhode Island students and faculty traveled to Nepal for an alternative spring break as an opportunity to complete a peace and nonviolence training and have an immersive cultural experience.

The trip was sponsored by the Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies. Center Director Paul Bueno de Mesquita has co-coordinated the trip since 2012 with School of Education faculty member Kay Johnson.

“The way the trip goes, almost everyday we have a new experience, a new adventure,” Bueno de Mesquita, who has traveled to Nepal four times, said. “Everyday there is something memorable.”

The trip started in the ancient city of Bhaktapur with a trek to a Buddhist monastery and temple. In the next three days, the group headed into the mountains for the intensive nonviolence training in Nargarkot, where they worked with other Nepali’s and students from Tribhuvan University.

After the training, they traveled through the heartland of Nepal from city to country and into the jungle, then went river rafting, elephant riding and visited children at the Early Childhood Development Center.

Sanju Dhital, a senior at URI who moved to the U.S. from Nepal when she was 15, said visiting the children was her favorite part of the trip. At the Center, which is for children of incarcerated parents, the group gave gifts of toys and made an $800 donation.

“I didn’t really know what to expect because I had lived there before,” Dhital said. “I didn’t know how much the trip would affect me.”

Even though she is from Nepal, the trip was still a moving experience, said Dhital.

“I can’t describe the emotions I went through,” Dhital said.

Associate Dean for Development in the College of Nursing Karin Conopask also joined the trip.

“There is such a sense of peace there that makes you want to go back again,” Conopask said. “It kind of attacks all of your senses at once and draws you in.”

Conopask said being able to talk to and interact with the Nepali people at the nonviolence training and hearing their experiences was one of her favorite parts of the trip. That and the bus rides.

“The bus rides were just a fascinating experience,” Conopask said. “You never know what you’ll see around the next corner.”

Conopask described seeing a bus full of hundreds of Nepali people with about 50 more on top, all waving and smiling as they passed by. Johnson said that this welcoming spirit of the Nepali people is one of the best parts of being there.

“Despite the poverty and hardships they go through, they are the most happy and welcoming people,” Johnson said.  

On the last day in Nepal, the group had the unique experience of seeing the Holi festival in one of the cities. Holi is a festival once a year when the people celebrate Spring by throwing vibrant colorful powders throughout the streets.

“Although Nepal is a really poor country, its people were full of cheer and joy during the holi, like nothing else mattered but having fun and enjoying the first day of spring,” Brian Hernandez, a student who went on the trip, said.

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URI equestrian team captures regional title, plans for zones

Sports Editor

Published: Thursday, March 27, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2014 09:03

The University of Rhode Island equestrian team was crowned regional champions this weekend after amassing 338 points through 10 shows over the course of their season.

Rhode Island was victorious by 20 points over second-place Roger Williams University after capturing at least second place in six of their competitions and scoring no fewer than 24 points in any of them.

Equestrian, competitive horseback riding that involves a series of jumping and riding events, has existed at URI since 1985 and has grown from a program of five to more than 35 riders. After more than two decades of working toward their goal, the squad achieved a regional championship and a spot in zones for the first time last year.

The Rams’ riders were awarded their region against this year after triumphing over their formidable competition, which included Brown University, Roger Williams, Clark University, College of the Holy Cross, Rhode Island College, University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth, Assumption College, Salve Regina University, Becker College and Johnson & Wales University.

This year, Rhode Island continued their string of success after selecting strong point riders for each of their events, which are held each weekend at one of the schools competing in their region. A point rider is one who competes in an event, such as fence jumping, with the rest of the team, but is the only one who receives points for their performance. The riders are judged and awarded a certain amount of points for how well they did. Captain Amelia Bradley said that though other riders may not be awarded with points, they serve the vital function of blocking players from opposing teams and preventing a better finish.

“You want to have the best riders as your point riders so you know they’re going to win,” Captain Lisette Dubin said. “Everyone shows, but there is only one person who will be getting the points. So a lot of girls will be in one class, but whoever we submit to be the point rider, their points will go on to count for our score.”

For example, Bradley may be selected as point rider while Captains Dubin and Emily Caron also participate in the event. Dubin might place second overall and receive no points, but in turn blocks a rider from RWU or Brown who could have taken the spot. Oftentimes a non-point rider can be extremely skilled and fast so as block opposing riders from points.

Rhode Island will compete next in zones, which will feature four teams (one from each region) against each other for a chance to go to nationals. Nationals, which would include one team from every zone, will be held in Harrisburg, Penn.

“We’re definitely going to keep up with the competitiveness that our team has held,” Caron said. “We take our team very seriously and because we take it so seriously we work very hard and we understand what it means to hold our title.”

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Andre Malone makes shift from basketball court to the outfield

Contributing Sports Reporter

Published: Thursday, March 27, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2014 08:03

Almost a year after Andre Malone’s last collegiate basketball game at the University of Rhode Island, he spent his February afternoon in the outfield for URI’s baseball team against Florida Gulf Coast University.  Malone recorded five put-outs from the field along with a hit and an RBI in his first game.

“It felt really good getting a hit in my first game,” Malone admitted.  “I’ve been working so hard.”

Under the NCAA’s jurisdiction, Malone, 23, is eligible to play baseball after using his previous four collegiate years on basketball.

Malone’s struggles at the plate are expected in his first year of baseball.  He has recorded just two hits and two RBIs in seven games played for Rhode Island. In the field, Malone has been close to perfect.  He has made just one error in seven games, already recording 14 outs.

On the court, the 6-foot-6-inch shooting guard averaged about 10 points per game and three rebounds in his two years at Rhode Island.  He was one of the best shooters on his team and was known for his hustle on both ends of the court.  URI basketball Head Coach Dan Hurley even said this past season that he missed the effort Malone possessed on the court.

But his dream was always baseball.

Growing up in Atlanta, Malone was a shortstop in high school but started playing baseball at 5 years old.  In fact, he was close to being drafted by the Kansas City Royals out of high school.  As much as Malone loved baseball, he stuck with basketball.  After all, Rivals.com rated him the No. 19 best shooting guard his senior year, averaging 20 points per game, five rebounds and four assists.  

After playing 41 games with the University of Auburn in his first two years where he averaged 5.2 points and 2.4 rebounds, he transferred to Rhode Island.  

Malone played just 10 games his first year at Rhode Island. He had to sit out for the first half of the year because of the NCAA transfer policies, and then missed the last 10 games due to injuries.  The following year, Malone played under Hurley in his first year as head coach and shot 41 percent from the field.  Besides junior Xavier Munford, who was the second leading scorer in the conference. Malone was the only other player who was looked to create his own offense.  

“[The coaching styles of URI baseball Head Coach Jim Foster and Hurley] are more similar than different,” Malone explained.  “They both inspire and expect you to be the best you can be.”

In an article in the Providence Journal earlier this year, Malone admitted he thought he made the wrong decision to play basketball.  Now, he has his chance.  With conference play just beginning, Malone has plenty of time to show his value in the field.

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Individual college commencement ceremonies to be ticketed

News Editor

Published: Monday, March 24, 2014

Updated: Monday, March 24, 2014 12:03

Due to space limitations and safety precautions, among other factors, the University of Rhode Island has decided to ticket individual college commencement ceremonies this year.

Though the amount of tickets allocated to each student is dependent on the number of students graduating from each respective college, Director of Public Planning and Special Events and Commencement Co-Chair Diana Blanda estimates that each student will get approximately five tickets.

In previous years, students have been allocated two tickets to the URI main commencement “rain plan” ceremony in the Ryan Center; however, the individual ceremonies and the main ceremony on the quadrangle have not been ticketed. The main commencement ceremony on the quad will remain un-ticketed this year.

“We have the most wonderful problem,” Blanda said. “We have increased enrollment and increased number of graduates. We have exceeded the capacity of the spaces that we have.”

Though safety and adherence to Rhode Island’s strict fire code laws were both factors that played into the decision to ticket the event, fairness was also an issue considered.  

“This is all being done to make sure [the ceremonies are] smooth and people who are very connected to the family, they actually get in,” Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications Dave Lavallee said. “When you don’t ticket, those people may not get in because you have 15 people from one family and then there’s no room for anyone else.”

In order to determine how to ticket the ceremonies, URI had to evaluate the campus’ capacity to accommodate between what Blanda estimates to be 16-20,000 people.

“In working with the State Fire Marshal to evaluate our spaces, we are in a position where some of the buildings they’ve increased our capacity and some of them they said, ‘nope, lower than that,’” Blanda said. “A lot of effort was put into identifying what the capacity of these buildings actually are for commencement.”  

So far, the feedback Blanda and Lavallee have received from the colleges on ticketing individual ceremonies has been positive.  
“We’re trying to be fair, we’re trying to be safe and we’re trying to have fun,” Lavallee said.

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Fencing Club to perform at Providence Bruins Game

Staff News Reporter

Published: Monday, March 24, 2014

Updated: Monday, March 24, 2014 12:03

The University of Rhode Island Fencing Club will be performing during an intermission at the Providence Bruins Game on Friday, April 4 at 7:05 p.m.

The presentation will consist of Fencing Club members conducting competitive matches with all three weapons: foil, sabre and épée in the lobby for about 15 minutes. Foil is used to poke while sabre is used to slash, both with a right of way method and a targeted area to determine who earns a point. Epée is different in that it allows the entire body to be a targeted area with points given, regardless of priority.

“They’re all really exciting and they’re all really different,” said Sara Facincani, president of the Fencing Club. “So it’s great that we’re able to share that with the community.”

The opportunity was presented via an email from David Denitto, who invited URI to perform at the game. Events that occurred during these intermissions are generally dance groups or martial artists, so the chance to expand proved appealing.

The game itself will be against the Worcester Sharks with discounted tickets accessible for friends and family for $17 each.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity because a lot of people… you’d be surprised in how many you could just ask [who] want to join fencing and how many people say, ‘oh, I’ve always wanted to do that!’ and have never tried it or had the opportunity,” said Facincani. “It’s really fun.”

Students interested in fencing are welcome to contact the club at any time throughout the year and attend their practices. Their practices are commonly held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Atrium 1 Memorial Union on Mondays and Thursdays. The club accepts members of any skill level regardless of experience.

“At URI, we’re not really that competitive,” said Facincani. “We’re more interested in teaching and having people actively learning.”

The URI student organization page online provides an email for contact (urifencing @gmail.com) as well as a link to their Facebook. The club hopes to promote more events on campus for next year.

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Coffeehouse hosts worthwhile Open Mic

Entertainment Editor

Published: Monday, March 24, 2014

Updated: Monday, March 24, 2014 12:03

For another night of music and some comedy, the 193 Coffeehouse hosted an Open Mic Night on Thursday, March 6 just before spring break. Although any acts were allowed to go in front of the Coffeehouse crowd, the majority of them were of the musical instrument variety.

After a waiting period, where everyone got comfortably situated with friends and the technical kinks worked out, the Open Mic eventually got underway. With guitar pieces being the most frequent acts onstage during the night, and at least two or three songs provided for each set, there was certainly a variety of talent to go around as the night’s event went on.

Starting things off for the audience was Alfredo, whose singing voice elevated the songs he played for everyone, and then frequent Coffeehouse visitor Ikeland, who played a mix of original work and covers with his patterned guitar. Crossing genres wasn’t out of the question either, with participants like Tim blending covers of Drake with his guitar playing.

There were other acts sprinkled throughout that broke up the guitar backed songs too. Poetry and other spoken word presentations were made, with one particularly humorous poem about getting ready in the morning standing out. Another act that incorporated humor was a short rap set to a Dr. Dre beat, which displayed a good amount of self-deprecation that pulled laughs from those watching the show.

It was not too long until the guitars broke out again. Folk act Side Car came out with a song of their own, as well as covers of famous songs like “I’ve Just Seen a Face” by The Beatles and Maroon 5’s catchy “This Love.” Musicians Nate and Matt broke up these performances with some good-natured banter as they prepared for the next play.

The duet of Connor and Rachel, whom had also played at another Coffeehouse Open Mic a couple weeks prior, were also popular with the crowd playing “Just One Yesterday” by Fall Out Boy. Later on, a different guitarist named Connor performed a cover of Kid Cudi’s “Soundtrack to My Life,” but personalized and tweaked it a bit to fit him.

With so many University of Rhode Island students participating that night, it’s hard to reference them all in a wrap up. The only way to really get the full experience is to go to another Open Mic. They occur every other Thursday in the 193 Coffeehouse in Memorial Union.

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‘300: Rise of An Empire’ entertains amidst flaws

Entertainment Reorter

Published: Monday, March 24, 2014

Updated: Monday, March 24, 2014 11:03

When it was released in 2007, ‘300’ was a huge hit and is now considered as the film that put director Zack Snyder (‘Watchmen,’ ‘Man of Steel’) on the map. Seven years after that film hit theaters, Snyder returns to the world of ‘300’ with ‘300: Rise of An Empire,’ albeit not in the director’s chair this time.

Instead, he hands the reigns over to Noam Murro, whose only credit to date is the 2008 dramedy ‘Smart People.’ He’s a rather odd choice to take over as director of this action franchise, but Murro delivers a solid, though flawed follow-up to Snyder’s film. ‘Rise of An Empire’ is actually more of an “interquel” story to the original film, as it mainly takes place during the same period of time as the original ‘300.’

This film follows Greek General Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) as he leads the Greek naval fleet into battle against Persia’s navy, led by Artemisia (Eva Green), who seeks revenge against Greece after Greek soldiers murdered her family when she was young. At the same time, we also see how the Persian ruler Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) became the ‘God King’ following the death of his father Darius at the hands of Themistocles.

Fans of the original ‘300’ won’t be disappointed with this film. Even with a different director behind the camera, this film maintains the same distinct visual style as the original; it’s just as bloody and has as much slow motion as its predecessor, resulting in a very entertaining movie.

Interestingly enough, this one tones down the mysticism of the original quite a bit. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a film featuring an eight-foot-tall man covered in piercings among other things; it’s still a historical fantasy. It’s just that this one feels a bit more grounded in reality, as much as a film of this genre can be.

However, at the same time, this film is a case of style over substance and unfortunately, is a more obvious example than the original. The only character in the film that gets any real character development is Artemisia, as she’s the only one who really has a layered back-story.

As such, Eva Green is the standout of the film, overshadowing everyone else in the process, even leading man Sullivan Stapleton. While he may not have the same bold attitude and presence that Gerard Butler had as Leonidas, Stapleton still does a rock-solid job with what he is given.

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t go into this movie expecting top-notch writing, because you won’t find it. This is just a fun popcorn flick that is as entertaining as its predecessor; it’s simply just an enjoyable swords-and-sandals flick.

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Multicultural faculty fellow talks Latina media, feminist ideals

News Reporter

Published: Monday, March 24, 2014

Updated: Monday, March 24, 2014 11:03

Dr. Marilda Oviedo, a multicultural faculty fellow in communication studies at the University of Rhode Island, gave the Gender and Women’s Studies Program’s Dana Shugar Colloquium lecture on Tuesday afternoon. She discussed a research project that examines the dominant ideologies found in two online magazines directed towards Latina adolescents.

Oviedo discussed how media helps to shape identity, especially in adolescents. “What does media tell us about how we shape our gender identity, what does media tell us about how we shape our sexual identity, our ethnicity, our race?” are a few of the questions Oviedo is interested in.

According to Oviedo, we can promote resistance to potentially harmful media by educating people, particularly adolescents, about how media works.

Oviedo’s current project concerns an organization whose purpose is to promote media literacy among Latina adolescents. She is interested in seeing what kinds of messages and ideologies are imbedded in the content of this organization and whether these things are different from what is found in mainstream media.

She focused on an online magazine for young Latina girls and examined the articles to see whether they used feminist or traditional ideas, whether these ideologies were challenged or supported and how ethnicity was covered.

Oviedo also discussed what constitutes feminist ideologies versus traditional ideologies. Topics of feminist ideologies that she included in her study are education, career, non-romantic relationships and both physical and mental health. Topics of traditional ideologies included in her study are sex and romance, fashion and beauty, diet and body image, domestic issues and childrearing.

She believed that feminist ideologies would be more frequently mentioned and supported. She found that feminist ideologies were more frequently mentioned than traditional ones. The category of non-romantic relationships was the most frequently mentioned, followed by education, career and mental and physical health.

In regards to the traditional ideologies mentioned in the articles, fashion and beauty were mentioned the most frequently followed by diet and body image, sex and romance, domestic issues and childrearing.

All the feminist ideologies were supported or mentioned favorably. There was more variation among the traditional ideologies, but domestic issues and childrearing, and sex and romance were talked about more positively than they were talked about negatively.

Oviedo found that ethnicity was only mentioned 24 percent of the time. Cultural values were spoken of positively, but not mentioned often. Ethnic pride was mentioned the most followed by strong motherhood and family.

“This means that the organization’s purpose is to advocate for a different view of gender than we find in mainstream media,” Oviedo said.

“It promotes an agenda that features education, family, friendship... and it’s all tied together with advocacy and seeing media literacy as a vehicle by which to enact change.”

Oviedo questioned whether we can talk about feminism and separate it from the role it plays in society. She also questioned whether talking about these things is enough.

“For an organization whose goal is to promote media literacy for Latinas, ethnicity [is] left by the wayside. Even the things that were talked about in ethnicity correlated to feminist ideals, like ethnic pride, empowerment, family, motherhood, girlhood,” Oviedo said. She finds this to be a problem not just in this organization, but in feminist theory in general because “you are talking about gender at the expense of ethnicity.”

“We are not just this one person composed of this one thing; we are gender, we are culture, we are ethnicity, we are sexuality, we are society, we are all these things… we can’t just talk about one and leave everything else behind,” Oviedo said.

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Women’s hockey takes fourth place at nationals

Sports Editor

Published: Monday, March 24, 2014

Updated: Monday, March 24, 2014 11:03

The University of Rhode Island women’s ice hockey team lost their semifinal matchup against the University of Massachusetts 2-1 on Saturday, a matchup that could have secured them a spot in the American Collegiate Hockey Association National Championship Final against the University of Miami – Ohio.

The Rams played Liberty University in the consolation round on Sunday to try to capture third place but were defeated 2-1 in overtime.

Miami secured the national title afterward when they defeated the Minutemen, 3-1.

The Minutemen looked for revenge against the Rams, to whom they lost the Eastern Collegiate Women’s Hockey League title in late February. UMass jumped on top early when Raschelle Bram scored 41 seconds into the game and Caleigh LaBossiere tacked on another nearly two minutes later. Lauren Hillberg scored on a power play midway through the third period but the Rams were not able to take advantage of the two 5-on-3 opportunities they had earlier in the game.

“We know they’re our rivals and it came down to one fluke goal allowed by [goaltender Kayla] DiLorenzo,” Rhode Island head coach Beth McCann said. “Our focus moving forward is developing players to score goals and to find goal scorers on the team.”

In their consolation effort the Rams forced overtime after Kristy Kennedy leveled the score with just more than six minutes remaining in the third period. Marissa Graham dashed Rhode Island’s hopes in overtime, though, when she scored the game-winner.

Rhode Island grabbed two wins in pool play when they defeated the University of Michigan, 4-1, and Michigan State University, 4-3 on Thursday. Friday’s action saw the Rams tie Miami 1-1 to qualify them for the Final Four with a 2-0-1 record.

Rhode Island scored two second-period goals during their opening game against the Wolverines and never looked back. Cassie Catlow netted a power-play goal and Kristen Levesque tacked on another before the second intermission. Emily Fox and Catlow added two more scores in the third period to ice the victory.

Later in the day the Rams played a closer game with the Spartans. Michigan State saw scores from Kelsey Patten, Lauren Grigg and Brighid Noone in the first three periods, but the Rams kept it even at three goals apiece heading into the third period after Lauren Lanoie recorded a hat trick. Hillberg scored the eventual game-winner two minutes into the final period after an assist from Catlow.

“We did excellent in pool play and the tournament was very competitive,” McCann said. “Most games were decided by one goal or overtime. We played well but we needed to score a couple of goals [each game] and it’s tough to win a game on one goal.”

The Rams looked to complete their Pool A sweep over Miami on Friday, and led after Catlow scored with five minutes to go in the second period. Rhode Island was 58 seconds away from a 3-0 record when Kaley Mooney put a shot past DiLorenzo to bring the score level.

DiLorenzo and Alisha DiFilippo were named First Team All-Americans and Hillberg was named to the Second Team. Hillberg and Lanoie were the All-Tournament Second Team.

Seniors DiLorenzo, Hillberg, Lanoie and Amanda Taylor will be leaving the team after this season, but McCann said there is some potential for DiLorenzo to return for a fifth year.

DiLorenzo was tied for second in the ACHA in goals-against average with 1.27 and was first in minutes played with 2117.98. The next closest player in the latter category was Kelsey Duggan of Michigan with 1691.35. DiLorenzo also led the ACHA in shutouts with 12 (the next closest player had five) and was tied for first place with a .950 save percentage.

“We have four goalies accepted to URI, we are just waiting to hear on finances,” McCann said. “It’s been difficult to recruit out-of-state students when there are options for them in Massachusetts [or other in-state locations]. We are just waiting for the last finances to be distributed and waiting to calculate if they can be here.”

The Rams will participate next in the Rhody Plunge on Saturday, April 19, at Wheeler State Beach. Registration will start at noon with the plunge at 1 p.m. Part of the proceeds will go to the Gloria Gemma Foundation.

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Rams ousted in first game of A-10 tourney

Contributing Sports Reporter

Published: Monday, March 24, 2014

Updated: Monday, March 24, 2014 11:03

Saint Joseph’s University won their fifth Atlantic 10 Championship over the Virginia Commonwealth University at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Sunday.

With the Saint Joseph’s nail-biting 65-61 win, the team finally made their near-guaranteed road to the postseason official. In the process, then-no. 23 VCU lost the A-10 Championship for the second year in a row. While VCU has only been in the Atlantic 10 conference for two seasons, it has reached and lost the final game both times. Last year’s loss came at the hands of the Saint Louis Billikens, a team which many thought would earn itself a repeat title.

Ranked as the no. 18 team in the country at the time, Saint Louis shockingly lost to the St. Bonaventure Bonnies, a team that has gone only 6-10 in the conference this season. Despite the Billikens’ loss, the rest of the games played did not include too many upsets although there were plenty of close calls.

The University of Rhode Island played in one of these games, as they lost a nine-point lead with less than 10 minutes to go against the University of Massachusetts Minutemen. With that loss, the Minutemen have now beaten the Rams six consecutive times. After having control for a good portion of the game, URI let the win slip through its fingers after being outscored 36-24 in the second half with just one field goal in the final 9:51 of the game. When the final buzzer blared, Rhode Island lost for the 18th time this season by a final score of 65-61 in a game that could very well have been a surprise victory.

Despite missing 15 consecutive shots in the second half, the Rams were led by senior shooting guard Xavier Munford who finished the contest with a game-high 24 points. 18 of those points came in the first half from 6-for-6 shooting and three 3-pointers. Junior power forward Gilvydas Biruta also nabbed eight of the Rams’ 35 rebounds along with 10 points of his own.

After the loss, the Rams will look onto next season where it will have to find a player who can replace the massive shoes Xavier Munford will leave behind as well as some more help for the bench. A strong candidate could be T.J. Buchanan who will be a senior next season. While Buchanan does not have the same scoring ability Munford does, he would bring along a defensive prowess that he has been very well known for in his three years as a Ram.

With the tournament now over, six of thirteen teams from the often overlooked A-10 have made it to March Madness. All six have now had the opportunity to focus all attention on the postseason which began today. The teams that made it to the big dance include the George Washington Colonials and the Dayton Flyers, as well as the previously mentioned Saint Louis, Saint Josephs, Massachusetts and VCU teams.

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Italian writer presents discussion for International Women’s Day celebration

Staff News Reporter

Published: Monday, March 24, 2014

Updated: Monday, March 24, 2014 11:03

In honor of the University of Rhode Island’s Second Annual International Women’s Day, renowned writer Dacia Maraini, as well as several scholars from other universities, spoke about the problems facing women around the world in Swan Hall from 4-6:30 p.m. on Feb. 28.

Gathered in the Agnes G. Doody Auditorium, panels were formed to discuss women’s issues in Cuba, Italy, North Africa and the United States with scholars from Harvard University, Fordham University, DePauw University and more. The event was entirely free and open to the public with light refreshments provided. Every woman received a small, yellow mimosa flower at the door, a symbol of celebration used in Italy for International Women’s Day.

The event opened with words from President David Dooley and Nancy Pelosi, 60th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Although Pelosi did not attend the event, her letter of appreciation addressed to URI was read.

“Mr. Dooley should be applauded for his tireless advocacy and steadfast efforts on behalf of women across our nation and around the world,” it said. “In the spirit of the suffragettes, may your dialogue today help unleash the power of our nation’s women, strengthening our democracy.”

Topics discussed then ranged from tracking the 59-year-old Castro Regime in Cuba to domestic violence in other countries. In addition, the movie Bedwin Hacker (2003) was featured the day before, Feb. 27, providing the story of a Tunisian female hacker and generating further discussion on the strength and worth of women. Issues outlined in the opus of Dacia Maraini were also examined.

Maraini is a writer, poet and scholar of Women’s Studies having contributed several traditional scholarship and creative works and won multiple Italian literature awards. Her books have been translated in 22 countries and will also be brought to URI to be available to students.

“We are working on a publication of a volume, which will be a collection of articles and translations of Dacia Maraini’s work,” said Michelangelo La Luna, URI Associate Professor of Italian who moderated the International Women’s Day event and helps manage Maraini’s tour. “The idea is to give everything as a donation that fights for women’s rights.”

La Luna welcomes other departments to contribute to the cause and hopes to invite Maraini again next year.

“It’s not an Italian section event,” he said. “I want it to be for everybody.”

Marani is currently on tour and will be traveling to schools in Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York in the coming months to continue to promote gender equality.

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Summer institute to teach on Dr. King’s philosophies

CNPS Intern

Published: Monday, March 24, 2014

Updated: Monday, March 24, 2014 10:03

The Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at the University of Rhode Island is hosting their 13th annual International Nonviolence Summer Institute, introducing Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation Training from June 2 to June 13, 2014.  Based on the philosophy and ideas of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., this summer institute teaches participants the necessary skills and actions for promoting peace and nonviolence.  In addition, people attending for the institute will learn to apply King’s nonviolence methodology to civil resistance, and social change both on a community and international level.  Individuals who complete the program earn certification as level one affiliates of the center, joining a network of program alumni working in 34 countries, on five continents and in 21 states throughout the U.S.

There are approximately 162 people who have applied for the summer institute, and that number is continuing to grow.  44 applicants have been accepted, and are now just counting down the days until they start this new experience.  Their days throughout the program will be split up into sessions during the day, where they will learn both intensely and interactively the different principles and methodologies to effectively respond to conflict peacefully.  They will also have opportunities to explore the beautiful state of Rhode Island and interact with each other on a social level.

Although hosted on the URI Kingston campus, this summer institute is reaching a very diverse group of people that live way beyond our miniature state of Rhode Island.  Past participants have included human-rights and peace activists, environmental advocates, governmental leaders, educators, students and faculty, clergy, law enforcement, health professionals, community organizers, and many others.  What’s almost more amazing is that these people arrive from places such as Pakistan, Brazil, Ghana, Haiti, Nepal, Rwanda, South Africa, Thailand, and countless other countries and cultures, including a mix of U.S. citizens and URI students.  The diversity among this learning community is truly astonishing, and stands as a great example of people coming together from all over the globe in order to create positive change in the world.

This unique program will be facilitated by the center’s team of experienced nonviolent trainers.  Special returning guest and distinguished visiting scholar Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr. will be sharing his own personal experiences as a colleague and close associate of Dr. King during the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.  In addition to teaching the level two advanced seminar, Dr. LaFayette will be speaking extensively about his recently published book In Peace and Freedom: My Journey in Selma, co-authored with Kathryn Lee Johnson of the Center and URI School of Education.

Registration for the summer institute is still open and URI students are especially encouraged to take full advantage of this unique opportunity.  If interested, contact the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at URI or email summerinstitute@dept.uri.edu for more information.  There are leaders needed globally to make this world a more peaceful, nonviolent place; will you step up to the plate?

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URI writing center leads the way for diversity, academic success for students

Contributing News Reporter

Published: Monday, March 24, 2014

Updated: Monday, March 24, 2014 10:03

The University of Rhode Island often searches for ways to include diversity into the bigger picture of academic success. The university’s Writing Center wants to fit into this equation.

On the fourth floor of Roosevelt Hall, you’ll find a place to laugh and space to have serious discussions about your writing process. Students who are interested in working with a peer on their academic or social projects often come to the Writing Center not sure what to expect, but usually leave with more than they thought possible. Administered by the Interim Director Jennifer Lee and the Assistant Director Nancy Caronia, URI’s Writing Center provides an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines to bring any assignment, ranging from resumes to research papers, for feedback and advice from the center’s writing tutors.

“Writing Centers are uniquely positioned to work closely with all students on campus, no matter how many credits they have or what major they are in,” Lee said.

The Writing Center has been a visible presence on campus since the 1990s, but this year, they’ve worked on creating a more interactive space outside Roosevelt Hall. The Writing Center pledges to be a working environment for all students and individuals. A group of hardworking tutors are dedicated to assisting anyone who needs an extra hand and an active listener.

“I believe we are the most diverse place on campus,” Caronia said. “We have undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines and backgrounds who want to talk to us about their writing processes.”

The Writing Center hopes to continue expanding their resources across campus. This semester, there will be opportunities such as Tutor-To-Go, where graduate and undergraduate tutors will be available in the Robert L. Carothers Library 24-Hour Room. Tutors will be in the 24-Hour Room from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. during midterms on Wednesday, March 5, Thursday, March 6 and finals on Tuesday, April 29, Wednesday, April 30, and Thursday, May 1 this spring semester.

Alex Keresztes, a tutor in the writing center, is among the 13 tutors who work in the center or as writing consultants this semester.

“The Writing Center really contributes to a student’s confidence in his or her abilities as a writer,” said Keresztes. “My favorite part about working in the center is seeing a light bulb go on over students’ heads when they either get the assignment or surpass what they were struggling with.”

As the Writing Center increases the amount of outreach on campus, they hope to employ more tutors next year. The process to become a tutor is open to students of any discipline. Each student must take the course WRT 353: Issues and Methods in Writing Consultancy. This experiential course involves learning and implementing rhetorical and writing pedagogy to insure that the tutor is prepared to work with others in the Writing Center environment. Students are required to observe the center’s tutors as they conduct tutoring sessions.

“We are a safe space where students can discuss their writing process without being evaluated,” Caronia said. “In this age of hyper-vigilance regarding academic standing, it’s good to have a place where students are able to discuss process without feeling the need to prove anything.”

Lee and Caronia are both hoping to expand their resources going into the next academic year.

“We would like to offer a once-a-week, no appointment necessary, stop by our table and ask a question or just sit and talk with us about writing time in the library, since there is so much foot traffic daily,” Caronia said.

The Writing Center also hopes to collaborate with places like the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer center, which recently hosted a Nitty Gritty Writing Workshop on plagiarism. It was a standing room only event with almost 30 undergraduates in attendance.

For now, the Writing Center continues to expand its offering and serve the URI student population, whether the individual is an undergraduate or graduate student or working in any of the many courses of study at URI.

For more information about the Writing Center, visit the website at http://harrington.uri.edu/about-main/student-experience/learning-spaces/writing-center/ and to make an appointment. Visit URI WConline at https://uri.mywconline.com/to book a 45-minute session with a writing tutor.

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Groups compete during One Love Weekend event

News Reporter

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014 13:03

One Love Weekend invites all students to represent their student organization while competing in multiple events from March 21 to March 23.  

“It’s wide open to everybody,” Kabir Lambo, a member of Uhuru Sasa and facilitator of the event said. “It’s mostly an opportunity for groups who don’t usually see each other to be able to hang out and have a fun, friendly competition.”

The weekend will begin Friday, March 21, in the Memorial Union Ballroom from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. where a unique version of Jeopardy will be played involving musical chairs. The event Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. will be obstacles courses, tug of war, an egg drop from the bridge of the Union and a scavenger hunt in the Multicultural Center and Union Ballroom.  Sunday will be a day to relax with games like Monopoly and Scrabble as well as Mario Kart in Atrium 1 from 12 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“It’s so much fun,” Lambo said. “By the time you’ve spent two hours looking for a random checker piece for the scavenger hunt with a group of people you’ve spent the whole day with, you end up having a great time.”

Teams are organized in colors of red, green, yellow and blue, with a prize offered for the winning team. Groups involved in the collaboration of One Love Weekend include Brothers On a New Direction (BOND), Powerful, Independent, Notoriously, Knowledgeable Women (P.I.N.K), SASA and more. The event is entirely free and can be registered for online or through secretaries of student organizations.

“Last year we decided to do our own music video to Suit and Tie [by Justin Timberlake ft. JAY-Z],” Lambo said. “We had background dancers coming in and a guy in the crowd stand up to do the JAY-Z part and no one saw it coming.”

One Love Weekend hopes to distribute T-shirts to those who participate, but the idea is still a work in process.

Students interested in the event can check out their twitter @OneLoveWeekend for a registration link and updates on the team’s scores.

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Ethics column to debut March 17

Contributing News Reporter

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014 15:03

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Singer-songwriter Corey-RJ, others, play coffeehouse

Entertainment Writer

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014 12:03

On Saturday, March 1, singer/songwriter Corey R-J performed a free show at the 193 Coffeehouse. The Warwick native performed with his trio Corey R-J & The Colony, which also included backing vocalist and keyboardist Kara Lia Miller and drummer Brian Dlhopolsky.

The show was opened by acoustic set from solo act Moving & Storage, which replaced scheduled opener Trains Through the Countryside. Despite some microphone issues, Moving & Storage completed a seven-song set, which included songs from full-band electric record he put out in September.

Corey R-J & The Colony’s set followed. The trio, whose stop at 193 was the second show of a 35 show spring tour, played nine songs. The group’s indie-pop/folk-rock sound recalled groups like Fanfarlo, Straylight Run and Milo Greene. Their set featured several songs from a record they are in the process of record and many songs featured R-J alternating between acoustic and electric guitar mid song. It was an intriguing set and was full of good songs that resonated with the audience.

As with many 193 performers, R-J’s music can be found on his Bandcamp profile. While the headliner of the night, Corey R-J was not the final performer. The group Land of Fires, an instrumental rock group from Warwick whose set was their first ever public performance, was the final performer of the night.

The group, which also featured R-J’s drummer Brian Dlhopolsky, played a set of experimental post-rock songs that immediately recalled similar groups like Explosions in the Sky and the Providence-based act A Troop of Echoes. For a first performance, their set was good, although I imagine they will improve steadily as their career continues.

Overall, the show was another reminder of 193’s strength as a venue. While a small space, 193’s prime location and good atmosphere make it the best place on campus to see concerts from local and national independent musical acts.

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Oscar-winning ’12 Years a Slave’ hard to watch, but emotionally resonant

Staff Entertainment Writer

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014 12:03

This past weekend during the 86th Annual Academy Awards, “12 Years a Slave’”took home three Academy Awards, one of them being for Best Picture.

“12 Years a Slave” truly was the best film of 2013. Sure, the film itself can be very tough to watch at times due to some of its more brutal moments, but it’s also an emotionally powerful film as well as one that is anchored by outstanding performances from its cast.

The film is based off of the 1853 book by Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who, in 1842, lived a peaceful life as a carpenter/fiddle player in New York with his family. All of that changes the day he meets two men (Scoot McNairy, Taran Killam) who offer him a job in their traveling circus.

Solomon accepts their offer but instead, he finds himself sold into slavery, unable to tell anyone that he’s actually a free man. The rest of the film follows his story as he spends many years as a slave under two separate masters, the kindly preacher William Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch) and the viciously cruel Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender).

Most films regarding slavery have usually ignored some of the more graphic details of the practice, but in this film, director Steve McQueen and writer John Ridley don’t skimp on anything, hence why the film can be difficult to watch. At that time, slavery was everywhere in the United States and it could even corrupt the nicest people, like Solomon’s first master William Ford.

Ford is a kind man who treats his slaves well, but at the same time we must not forget that he’s still a slave owner. Yes, there were obviously owners like Edwin Epps but in those days you would most likely be looked down upon if you weren’t a slave owner. That’s just what it was like in this country at the time.

At the same time, the film is a powerful and emotionally gripping story of a man who does whatever he must in order to stay alive. He knows that if he ever told anyone that he was a free man, he would be killed; he’s in a situation that he can’t get out of that easily. This film also boasts an outstanding ensemble cast. In the role of Solomon, Ejiofor says very little but gets across so much emotion through his facial expressions.

Equally outstanding is Fassbender, who really gets into the role of Epps, and Nyong’o (making her film debut), who gives an equally powerful and emotional performance as a fellow slave named Patsey. Simply put, “12 Years a Slave” is a film that rightfully deserves the praise it has received.

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Star player performs in last game

Contributing Sports Reporter

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014 11:03

After two years of service with the University of Rhode Island basketball team, star shooting guard Xavier Munford has now played his last regular season game as a Ram.

Despite the end of his URI career looming right around the corner, Munford appeared to be cool, calm and collected during the senior night ceremonies and at tipoff before last night’s game against Fordham. After an acrobatic assist to freshman point guard E.C. Matthews on a fast break early in the game, Munford followed it by drawing a charge call towards the end of the half which resulted in a score for the Rams.

Once again however, shooting percentage hit the team’s senior hard as he went on to finish the first half going 2-8 in shooting with six points, three assists and a block while playing all 20 minutes.

During the second half Munford came out much stronger than he did in the first this time making five of his six shots four of which came from behind the arc bringing his total on the night to 21. In the opening five minutes after the intermission, he and Matthews reciprocated their fast break from the first half with the freshman providing the pass this time around while Munford drained the layup with heavy contact. About halfway through he also had a block that temporarily halted a Fordham fast break, followed by three straight 3-pointers that sealed the win for Rhode Island and kept Fordham out of the game for good.

“I’ve known him since he was twelve,” head coach Dan Hurley said. “That’s where our journey began. He’s matured into such a great student athlete and he’s going to have such a great professional career.”

In the wake of Munford’s departure, fans will be hard pressed to forget games such as his 24-point, six-rebound performance last season against Virginia Tech or when he knocked down eight three pointers including a buzzer-beating 30-footer to force double overtime during his career-high 33-point night against Auburn University.

As the Rams were up by 16 with about 30 seconds remaining, Coach Hurley took a timeout to call Munford to the bench for the first and only time of the night. Munford headed to his team with a smile on his face followed by a warm embrace from Hurley as the crowd went wild with a well-deserved standing ovation.

Even though his playing career with the Rams is coming to an end, Munford and teammates both said that their relationships will continue for the rest of their lives.

“This is my family on and off the court,” Munford said. “We’ve been through a lot, our trips to Italy, all the ups and downs, a whole bunch of stuff. It’s been great though playing with them, it’s been great.”

As the season comes to a close, junior guard T.J. Buchanan said that he expects to see Munford a lot next season despite  his collegiate playing days being over.

“We’ve developed a brotherhood over the past two years,” he said. We’re definitely going to miss him next year but he’s still going to be around. This is a lifetime relationship we’ve built here and it’s great to play with a guy like him.”

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Rams’ strong second half not enough against Duquesne U

Sports Editor

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014 11:03

The University of Rhode Island women’s basketball team extended their losing streak to six games after they fell to Duquesne University on Saturday, 54-51, on Senior Night.

The loss drops Rhode Island to 7-22 overall with a 2-14 posting in Atlantic 10 Conference play. The Rams have lost 11 of their last 12 games and lost their eighth game of the season by 10 or fewer points.

One week after seeing the University of Massachusetts pull off a 25-11 run to snatch victory away from them, the Rams came up short after their own 25-11 tear when they trailed the Dukes 43-26 about midway through the second half.

“I think it was just that we were a little flat in the first half. I think our defense got us into the game,” Rhode Island head coach Cathy Inglese said. “We got a couple of steals, our guards attacked, Tayra [Melendez] attacked, our post got inside. So that was our message at halftime, that we aren’t going to win the ball game by moving the ball around the perimeter.”

Sophomore Tayra Melendez missed a game-tying 3-point attempt at the buzzer after Rhode Island regained possession with 6.9 seconds remaining. Melendez was tied in second for points overall on the evening with 15, adding six rebounds, four steals and four blocks. Saturday marked the sixth time this year that Melendez totaled three or more swats in one game.

It was Melendez’s free throw shooting that cut the Dukes’ lead to only two with 31 seconds left to play. Sophomore Samantha Tabakman missed a long jump shot on their next possession, down by three, but poor shooting at the charity stripe for Duquesne kept Rhode Island in it. The Dukes were 17 of 31 (54.8 percent) from the line Saturday, while Rhode Island drilled 16 of 23 (69.6 percent) attempts.

“I think our stops really started it,” Melendez said. “Once we got a couple stops and we got a couple buckets in transition, I think the girls are feeling ‘Okay, maybe we get this and a couple rebounds here and there.’ I think the defense really started us off and then being able to get some easy buckets was good.”

Neither team was able to generate much offense in the first half as Duquesne held a 26-15 advantage at the break. Rhode Island could not take advantage of nine turnovers and Wumi Agunbiade and Raegan Moore each contributed six points while the Dukes closed the first 20 minutes on an 11-2 run. The Rams made only five field goals in the first half and shot 20.8 percent from the floor, before flipping the script to hit 12 of 28 attempts and shoot 42.8 percent after the intermission.

Seniors Kerry Wallack and Emilie Cloutier were honored before the game as the only departing members of the team. Wallack has started every game of the season for Rhode Island and is third on Rhode Island with 9.1 points per game and is their leading rebounder with 216. Cloutier missed the 2013-14 campaign with injuries.

Rhode Island will look to exact revenge on Duquesne when they oppose them tomorrow in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament. If the Rams get past the Dukes, they would play No. 3 Fordham University in the next round of competition. Fordham, who is 22-7 overall and 11-5 in A-10 play, defeated Rhode Island at home, 64-51, in their only meeting of the season on Jan. 29.

“We’ve had some scoring woes, but these guys battle,” Inglese said. “We are better than last year, and even though we haven’t won many more games, we’re in every single game and that’s the good news. We got to find ways to close out games and be more consistent, throughout practices, throughout games.”

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URI professor offers insight from frontlines of Kiev

News Editor

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014 11:03


The University of Rhode Island has an inside source of information to the revolution currently going on in the capital of Ukraine, Kiev. Professor of political science Nicolai Petro offered firsthand insight from Ukraine on the overthrow of the Ukrainian government this past week.

Petro, who specializes in Russian affairs, is currently on sabbatical leave in Ukraine as a Fulbright Research Scholar at Odessa’s I.L. Mechnikov National University. He described via email interview the events and atmosphere in Kiev.

What started as a peaceful protest of the government’s decision to delay the signing of the European Union Association Agreement turned bloody last week when violence between police and protesters left as many as 100 people dead and hundreds injured in Kiev’s Independence Square. This decision to delay by Ukraine’s former President Victor Yanukovych was heavily influenced by pressure from Russia.

“Any revolt has many authors, some of whom were probably on the other side before,” Petro said. “In this, events were set in motion by genuine civic frustration with the government’s decision to delay the signing of the EU Association Agreement. This was then seized upon by the parliamentary opposition parties, who pressed the government for further concessions. Finally, it was actually accomplished thanks to the armed intervention of extremist nationalist groups [which has] put the nationalist in the driver’s seat.”  

Yanukovych has since fled Kiev, and on Feb. 20, was stripped of his power by an incomplete group of members of parliament. Parliament, encouraged by the Ukrainian nationalist party Svoboda, initially granted expanded powers to its new speaker, Oleksandr V. Turchynov, who is acting as president of Ukraine. On Wednesday night, lawmakers announced an interim government led by Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, who will serve as prime minister.  

“I would describe what happened last week as a textbook coup d’état,” Petro said.  “You see, under the acting constitution the president may resign or be impeached, but only after a review of the case by the Constitutional Court and a vote by a three-fourths majority of parliament. There were 10 less than that in the chamber at the time. Instead, an extraordinary session of parliament was held after most members were told there would be no session and many had left town. Under the chairmanship of nationalist Svoboda party, this rump parliament declared that the president had ‘self-removed’ himself from the presidency.”

Yanukovych’s location is currently unknown and Petro has little predictions on what will happen if he is located.

“No one has any idea what to do with the former president if he is captured,” Petro said. “Some Ukrainian politicians have suggested that it would be safest to try him in the Hague Tribunal on ‘crimes against humanity.’”

Though the protests in Kiev were initially fueled by public discontent in their government, Petro feels that the protests continuing are being fueled by a different sentiment.  

“The protests before Feb. 20 had a variety of constituents,” Petro said. “The one thing they wanted was radical change, which some described as a ‘national revolution.’ Now, the protestors in the East and South are protesting the way the national revolution was accomplished.”

Petro was able to offer first hand observation of the current atmosphere in Ukraine.  

“There are areas of confrontation (Crimea and Kharkov), quiet areas (Odessa) and an overall increase in vandalism and hooliganism,” Petro said. “People everywhere are talking about what is happening, but often do not feel they have any part to play in these events.”

Though the ideal outcome of Ukraine’s governmental coup d’état would be a reformed, accountable government allied with the European Union, Petro feels that parliament’s first actions after impeaching Yanukovych do not bode well.  

“The hope is that the parliament will reach out to the majority of the population, that live in the East and the South, and convince them that this is not a revolt designed to undermine their interests,” Petro said. “Their first steps are not encouraging.”

Petro outlined these first steps in three main points:  

1.    “The repeal of the 2012 law allowing Russian to be used locally. This is the main irritant in relations between the predominantly Russia and the predominantly Ukrainian speaking regions of the country. The new parliament has now re-opened this wound.”

2.    “The introduction of a resolution to outlaw the Communist Party of Ukraine which is, de facto, the country’s last remaining functioning opposition party.”

3.    “The consolidation of the powers of speaker of parliament and acting president in one man, amassing greater powers in a single individual than is allowed under any Ukrainian constitution. It recently went even further, dismissing several justices of the Constitutional Court, and asking the newly appointed Prosecutor General, a member of the radical Svoboda party, to bring charges against them.”

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Fulbright sends postgrads international

Staff News Reporter

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014 10:03

On Tuesday, Feb. 25, Kevin Fomalont, Fulbright Student Alumni Ambassador, held an informative workshop about the Fulbright Program in Swan Hall.

The Fulbright Program is designed to give an international opportunity to postgraduate students. Fully funded grants are given to a variety of students who would like to conduct study, research or English teaching assistantships in another country.

Every year, the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs sponsors the Fulbright Program. Fomalont discussed how there are 8,000 grantees from 155 countries annually.

The first type of grant that can be presented to a student is for research or study. There are 1,000 awards, which give students an eight to 12-month trip with an option of 140 different countries. On the other hand, the English Teaching Assistantship Fund, which helps teach English and U.S. culture in the classroom, only gives out 700 awards to a choice of 70 countries.

Eligibility requirements are to be a U.S. citizen, have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent by the start of the grant and proficiency in the language of the country the applicant chooses. When applying, students will need to complete an essay, a report of future goals, references and a transcript. Fomalont encourages students to consider community engagement the most when referring to their application.

Fomalont, who studied abroad in Russia on a whim, ended up receiving a $2,000 grant from Fulbright and attended the Institute of Experimental Medicine. While working on physiology research, he ended up taking a job offering in Saint Petersburg. Now, to promote his journey to other students interested in medical research, he started his own summer program for American students.

“If you don’t do it, someone else will,” Fomalont said, claiming that the journey can be created however you like.

For junior undergraduate students, the time to apply is now. The summer before senior year is best to start thinking about Fulbright because applications are open from May to September.

To learn more about the Fulbright Program, there will be a workshop in Lippitt Hall on April 22 at 6:30 p.m.

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URI alumnus discusses economic impacts of climate change

Staff News Reporter

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014 10:03

Dr. Robert Johnston, a URI alumnus, spoke about the economic impacts of climate change. He discussed three of his projects, which look at economic tradeoffs of coastal management systems from different perspectives- the natural or biophysical sciences, and the social sciences. He is trying to understand what the social gains and losses are. He focuses mostly on non-market economics, which he describes as being the values and benefits of things that we don’t buy in the store.

The first project Johnston discussed regards evaluating economic and ecological tradeoffs in the management of coastal riparian land in Maine. His concern is water quality and fish abundance. He talks about how people living on the coast may want a view of the river or beach, thus clearing trees; this has negative effects on fish abundance and water quality, and may induce erosion. He also discusses natural riparian buffers, which prevent flooding and filter pollutants.

There are tradeoffs, however. According to Johnston, this land is coveted for development; homes in these areas are highly valued. He says that some people are in support of greater land restriction, while others say, “stay off my land.”

“Not only is there an economic issue here but there’s kind of an ethical, philosophical issue about the role of government,” says Johnston, “so the question is- how can we balance these gains and losses? This is what the project is about.”

A goal of this project is to identify what the primary ecosystems services are, what it is that people care about in this land. Secondly,

Johnston aims to quantify how those services would change if riparian land changed and to quantify the benefits and costs (the tradeoffs) of these changes. Finally, he evaluates these tradeoffs, which are involved in making decisions such as whether or not to spend money on restoring riparian land that has been cleared, for example.

He discussed Policy Choice Models, which are surveys that provide biophysical information to people and allow them to vote for different policies that would affect riparian land in their area. By the way these people vote, Johnston can evaluate the tradeoffs that people are willing to make. In developing these choice models, Johnston focuses on linking “changes in nature, things we can measure, with the things we can value.”

Johnston wants to get people to understand relationships within the environment so they can make informed decisions about tradeoffs.

“I may know that I like to go fishing and I like to catch brown trout, but I may have no idea that the abundance of brown trout is related to whether there are trees on the bank of the river,” he says.

The second project Johnston discussed has to do with quantifying economic tradeoffs and values for Northeast coastal adaptations. He uses the same approaches mentioned previously to assess tradeoffs in how people choose to adapt to coastal hazards and flooding. According to forecasts, if there were a category three storm in 2025, about 50 percent of Old Saybrook’s homes would be flooded.

“It’s such a challenging set of tradeoffs when you’ve got such large flood risks,” says Johnston. “What do you do? Do you let the homes be flooded, do you pull them out?”

Johnston is using these approaches to figure out what is it about a town that community members care about. According to Johnston, the general consensus is that people care about homes being flooded, however “if you actually talk to people, it’s not the homes that are driving them. It’s things like, ‘what’s going to happen to the town beach where I take my kids?’”

Johnston uses choice models to evaluate what would be most highly valued from the possible biophysical scenarios. Johnston found that some of the things people care about most include homes vulnerable to flooding, and the loss of natural habitats such as tidal marshes, beaches and dunes, “which drive people’s sense of community.” He also discussed coastal armoring.

“Most people realize that coastal armoring is important to protect certain things, but they don’t like to see lots of sea walls, so there’s a tradeoff there.”  Johnston says that these choice model surveys are currently under review by stakeholders and are expected to be implemented by early spring or summer.

The final project Johnston discusses is a new project that will be implemented within the next few weeks. It concerns property values and tax-based impacts of coastal vulnerability and adaptation. According to Johnston, it will combine coastal hazards data with property value matching models to quantify the economic consequences of Northeast vulnerability and adaptation.

“The idea of these economic evaluations,” Johnston said, “is to really help communities and states understand the tradeoffs- what do you gain and what do you lose, and who gains and loses it as a result of the decisions you might make.”

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Student brings water spectacle ‘Aqua’ to URI

Contributing News Reporter

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014 10:03

University of Rhode Island senior Pat Brown and graduate Luca Rietti have revolutionized water celebration productions to a whole new level as they launch their upcoming spring tour headlined by DJs Hardwell, Dyro and Dannic.

Brown and Rietti, who launched Aqua earlier this year, have been working on these water designs specifically for almost two years. The tour is coming to the Ryan Center on April 17 and will have a mind-blowing display of water effects.

“Hardwell jumped on because they saw what we were bringing and it was way bigger than anybody else,” said Brown. “What you can do with water and light is just unbelievable.”

According to the Aqua website, the event has been referred to as an “H20 Spectacle,” complete with water cannons, pools and fountains mixed with every color imaginable.   

“There was like six million possible colors we could do [with the water],” said Rietti.  “This is all about the visuals and experience.”

Two shows have already sold out in Ohio and Pennsylvania and they expect to sell out the floor tickets for the Ryan Center by the end of this week. The Kingston concert has sold tickets faster than any other concert on tour. Brown and Rietti won’t even be on the floor for the concert.

“We’re probably going to sit in the seats,” said Brown.

“Most EDM shows people don’t want to be in these seats because they want to in the middle of everything, but this is completely different,” said Rietti. “So if you’re in a seat, it will still be amazing.”

To learn more about Aqua or to buy tickets to Hardwell, visit their website at aquaedm.com

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193 Coffeehouse Holds February Open Mic Night

Contributing Entertainment Writer

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014 10:03

On Thursday, 193 Coffeehouse held another open mic night. Although acoustic guitar performers largely dominated the night, there were some surprises and curveballs that made it enjoyable for all who attended.

The first act was Rachel and Connor, a duo of freshman singer/guitarists, who performed covers of Passenger’s “Let Her Go” and The Civil Wars’ “From This Valley.” The duo’s harmony laden folk stylings proved to be a decent opener to the night. Another performer, Nick Bottai, performed a handful of covers, including a rendition of Elvis Costello’s “Alison.”

One of the highlights of the night was a performance by popular local musician Jordan Sereno. Sereno played several of his original compositions in addition to a cover of “You Walk with Me” from the musical version of “The Full Monty." Sereno, president of the University of Rhode Island Strike a Chord group, proved to be very popular with the crowd and several of those in attendance knew the words to his songs. I personally found him to be quite good, rather talented and full of contagious enthusiasm. To hear what the crowd at 193 enjoyed, you can download Sereno's EP at his Bandcamp page http://jordansereno.bandcamp.com.

Eikeland Kotke, a frequent performer at open mic nights, performed three covers before joining former Cigar entertainment writer Adam Hoffstein for another one of his bizarre, yet hilarious Casio-backed performances. Before his performance, Hoffstein told me he composed the lyrics to his song in a random lyrics generator. It showed in the song’s bizarre and uproarious lyrics about sex.

The 193 Coffeehouse does open mic nights throughout the semester, often on Thursdays, but occasionally on other nights of the week.  
The next event at 193 will be a concert at 6 p.m. on March 1 headlined by singer/songwriter Corey R-J. Support will be provided by local groups Land of Fire and Trains Through the Countryside. Admission to the show will be free, although donations will be accepted.

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Vagina Monologues mixes laughs, candor

Contributing Entertainment Writer

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014 10:03

Last Thursday night, under the direction of Kelly Cambrola, “The Vagina Monologues,” an episodic play of womanly dispositions, got down and dirty with the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston campus in celebration of URI’s 2014 VDAY.

Not surprisingly, the event, which drew a primarily female audience, made Edwards Auditorium shake with unbridled laughter and at times, pensive silence. The delightfully diverse cast broke down stigmas and opened a door that is usually slammed, locked and welded shut; all by telling the true tales and spilling the secrets of women of all ages, races and sexualities. The roughly two-hour-long show played like an adult-version of a child’s sleepover party; full of excitement, giggles and sometimes, raunchiness.

It should be noted that all proceeds of the productions went to the service provider, Day One. From the program: “(Day One’s) mission is to reduce the prevalence of sexual abuse and violence, and to support and advocate for those affected by it.”

It was evident that the tone of the evening, although serious at times, was generally light and frank. Upon walking into the auditorium, one was called over to purchase “goodies,” cookies and treats that displayed designs of the feminine mystique. The 20 cast members each had a hand in some part of the individual stories told via notecards, which often treaded comical.

These included “The Flood,” in which Cambrola donned an old woman’s accent and relayed early sexual frustrations, and “Because He Liked to Look at It,” where Rachel Simon, along with a very talented male audience member, depicted the story of a woman’s struggle accepting her own bits and pieces. There was also “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vagina’s Happy,” performed by Emily Goupil, which involved a plethora of loud noises and jerking movements followed by uproarious laughter from the crowd.

But the night also became somber with tales such as “My Vagina Was My Village,” by Caitlin Nickerson, and the closing two “Spotlight” acts featuring Simon and Annie Russell. Each of these stories conveyed strong emotions along with dramatic imagery. Speakers were shaking with zeal and rawness.

The final story, which served as an almost call to arms to those in attendance, lead the packed auditorium to their feet, applauding in support. As one who had never considered the potential of recognizing such a “hush-hush” topic, the evening’s performance was a nice reminder that there are people out there that are passionate and willing to dedicate themselves to equality.

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Melendez’s return spoiled by UMass, second half struggles

Contributing Sports Reporter

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014 09:03

The University of Rhode Island women’s basketball team lost their fifth straight game Sunday, falling to the University of Massachusetts 69-56. After only being down one at the intermission, the Rams failed to come back in the second half.

The Rams started off hot in the second half. After trailing by eight with 12 minutes to go in the half, Rhode Island pulled ahead 45-44.

In the last 10 minutes of the game, UMass went on a 25-11 run to outscore the Rams 40-28 in the second half to win.  The Rams have now dropped 47 games in a row away from the Thomas M. Ryan Center.

“I liked how we played in the first half,” Rhode Island head coach Cathy Inglese said. “It was a tough defensive match throughout most of the game, and then we lost focus.”

Despite the loss, the Rams welcomed back Tayra Melendez, who has missed the past five games. Melendez had a team-high 19 points in her return, and added five rebounds and two assists off the bench.

“Tayra is a tough competitor,” Inglese said. “We were happy to see her back out on the court and she contributed a lot in the game.”

Rhode Island’s Samantha Tabakman was also in double-digits, scoring 13 points and adding six rebounds before fouling out of the game. Kerry Wallack contributed nine rebounds and four assists on the game. Wallack is now nine rebounds short of 500 on her career.

The Rams here evenly matched in stats with UMass, but had an edge in bench points. The Rams earned 30 points off the bench, with Melendez leading the way. Kiara Palmer also had a strong game off the bench after she tallied seven points, seven rebounds and three steals.

Rhode Island continued to struggle with turnovers as well as shooting the ball from 3-point range. The Rams had 19 turnovers, which led to 18 UMass points. They were 1-for-6 from beyond the arc, and are 3-25 over the last three games.

The Rams close out the regular season at home this Saturday against Duquesne University. It will be the last home game for seniors Wallack and Emilie Cloutier, who will be honored before the game.

“It will be nice to honor our two seniors,” Inglese said. “Duquesne is a very talented team with a good record, but we will play them tough.”

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I Heart URI Week

Staff News Reporter

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014 09:03

Next week, the University of Rhode Island Student Philanthropy Council will be hosting I Heart URI Week to raise money for their Students First Fund, a fund for URI students facing adverse or unexpected circumstances, according to SPC Chair Chip Redihan.

“The fund provides expenses that students wouldn’t be able to get themselves, for anything from an unexpected plane ticket home to a medical emergency,” said Redihan.

From Feb. 24 to 28, the SPC will be collecting donations for the Students First Fund around campus.

During I Heart URI Week, there will be booths at Hope Commons and in the Memorial Union from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. accepting donations for the Students First Fund.

“We’re hoping to build and cultivate a culture of giving,” said Redihan.

Those who donate will receive a tank top with an I Heart URI Week design on it. Redihan said they were originally going to sell the tank tops, but decided to give them out to those who donate instead.

“We wanted to use the idea of paying it forward,” said Redihan. “For donating and doing something nice, you get a tank top.”

The SPC will hold additional events throughout I Heart URI Week. On Tuesday, Feb. 25, the SPC will give out Hershey’s Kisses to students wearing URI gear. On Thursday, Feb. 27, there will be a giant thank you card at Hope Commons for anyone to sign to show appreciation for URI donors. On Friday, Feb. 28, Rhody the Ram will be at Hope Commons to take pictures with students. The SPC will also be at Saturday’s men’s basketball game vs. Richmond at the Thomas M. Ryan Center.

The Students First Fund works through the Division of Student Affairs. Those who are facing a difficult situation are always encouraged to request assistance through them.

The SPC has recently become a committee of the Student Alumni Association. It started during fall of 2012 in an effort to build a culture of philanthropy, pride and donor appreciation across campus, and has since worked closely with SAA.

For more information about the Student Philanthropy Council or the Students First Fund, contact Redihan. The SPC meets Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. in the Alumni Center.

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Whitehead kicks off the Inaugural Distinguished Visiting Artists Program

News Reporter

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014 08:03

On Tuesday evening, distinguished artist Frances Whitehead kicked off the Inaugural Distinguished Visiting Artists Program. She spoke about her background in addition to her recent work, which combines art, design and science while addressing climate change and sustainability.

Her interest in the dichotomy of “the natural and the artificial” began when she moved to Chicago in the 1980s to teach. Whitehead describes how gardening led her to this interest.

“I transformed a derelict city lot into an urban laboratory,” Whitehead said, “but it also transformed me.”

She describes how this project brought her into public practice and collaboration.

“But perhaps most importantly, it turned me towards the future, towards climate change, adaptation, sustainability, and the challenges facing all post-industrial cities,” Whitehead said.

In discussing community, Whitehead states that we must work to embrace the relationship between “the symbolic and the practical.” She notes that artists have recently begun coupling these two components, diverging from work in the symbolic economy inwhich they have formerly primarily worked.

“Artists have entered both the ecology of place and the ecology of ideas with their irreverent and lateral skill set,” Whitehead said.

Whitehead had two hypotheses driving her recent projects. One being “that sustainability is largely a cultural problem and thus requires a cultural framework that accounts for intangibles to succeed,” and the second being “that artists’ particular expertise can be of great value to trans-disciplinary teams due to their largely unexamined tacit knowledge that contemporary artists deploy.”

Whitehead then describes the post-normal, citing a quote by Sardar, which describes this time as, “the in-between period when old orthodoxies are dying, new ones have not yet emerged and nothing really makes sense.”

Whitehead has recently been working on four different projects at four different sites, which all incorporate plants and botanic elements in the goal of enhancement. She describes these sites as “symbols of passing eras of materialistic prosperity” and notes how local communities affect them. “The prefix ‘post’ not only describes the current state of ecological, economic and sociocultural affairs, but also implies that we are indeed living in the future of a past era.”

“We evoke our past as part of our current paradigm,” Whitehead said.

The first project Whitehead discusses is a remediation program for abandoned gas stations in Chicago. Whitehead notes the negative impact that these abandoned gas stations have had on the community. The project’s goal is to clean up the brownfields through the use of plants and phytoremediation.

“The site was designed for beauty and function and also for maximum legibility as a form of environmental education,” Whitehead said.

The second project she discusses took place in Lima, Peru. Working with a team of artists, architects and preservationists, Whitehead created a civic hive café and education center. This structure supports a program where students grow greens at their schools and bring them to the hive. With this project, the team aimed to enhance the community’s participation in civic life and prepare them for coming environmental challenges.

Whitehead’s third project integrates art and landscape into an old rail line in Chicago. The aim for this project is to innovatively integrate art, design and civic engagement. The historic rail line will be converted into a park and greenway and will include a bike trail.

“Our vision is to create a green-scape that can withstand public use and keep the wild, untouched quality that the line has at present,” Whitehead said, adding that they want to “make the trail a living work of art.”

Inspired by ancient astronomy, Whitehead and her team intend to create an “earth work” that will provide views of sunsets and stars, acting as a seasonal observatory. They will also create a skate park that doubles as a performance venue.

 “Our vision is kids skating on one side, and Yo-Yo Ma on the other,” Whitehead said.

Additionally, temperature-sensitive plants will be planted along the length of the trail. In respect to the practice of phenology, these plants will provide data that will give information about climate. The final project Whitehead spoke about regards the steady population decline that has been occurring on Chicago’s South Side. Whitehead and her partners intend to transform the vacant, city-owned land of this area into a city park that is both a research orchard and a remediation arboretum. The aim of this project is to help educate the public about the importance of urban soil work and of urban trees. In addition, students and faculty from the School of the Art Institute will be preserving and restoring a historical building that has been vacant since the 1960s.

According to Whitehead, as a whole, these projects connect inherited cultural realities with remediated and agricultural plant uses and join art, design, science, climatology and sociocultural affairs.

“I believe that the future of integrated creative practice is here,” Whitehead said. “I invite you to get comfortable being uncomfortable, working in the uncertainties and possibilities of the post-normal.”

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Finish What You Started program give students second chance for degree

Staff News Reporter

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014 08:03

As of December 2013, 197 adults ages 25 to 72 have enrolled in the Finish What You Started Program, which gives students who did not complete their studies a second chance to obtain a degree.

Connie Pritchard, program coordinator, emphasized the connection returning students have with the program.

“It’s a personal relationship and that’s why it’s successful,” Pritchard said. “We don’t just email them-- we call them, speak with them, help them overcome barriers and provide logical solutions.”

Adults of all ages can be admitted into the program provided they have left URI for at least two full semesters. From there, the program provides full guidance with academic advising, financial aid and scholarships for those who qualify.

Classes can be held on both the Kingston and Providence campuses, as well as online. J-Term and summer courses are also available to Finish What You Started participants. Academic credit can be earned for out-of-the-classroom experience, combined with tutoring and workshops by staff and peer mentors, to ensure the successes of those who return.

“There’s always room for improvement,” said Pritchard. “We reach out to students all the time, but we mostly get people through our website.”

The program was founded by Dean Libutti, the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management. As a strong advocate for returning students, it is seen that each student who reaches out is relieved of worries he or she may have after returning from a long absence. The program even offers free babysitting for students with children.

Those interested are encouraged to call the Finish What you Started Program line at 401-277-5454. More information can also be found online at http://web.uri.edu/finish/.

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Make your vote count this year

Contributing News Reporter

Published: Wednesday, March 19, 2014