Stoplight to be Stationed on State Street Should Secure Strolling Students’ Safety this September

 

 

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  “I used to have friends who’d call and ask me to help them cross the street,” said Steffan Chapman, a PSC student. 

  For some PSC students, crossing 220 from Catamount Place is difficult due to the lack of a stoplight or crosswalk. The closest crosswalk is on St. Cloud Street, a block from Fort Ave.

  Recent events at West Virginia University Morgantown campus have revealed the urgency and importance for proper student traffic safety. On February 1, 2018 Leah Berhanu, a WVU student, was hit at the intersection of Morrill Way and Patterson Drive near Evansdale Campus entrance. Berhanu was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. 

What is PSC doing to prevent this? 

To prevent an accident like the one in Morgantown, the city of Keyser and PSC administration have plans to place a stoplight at the bottom of State street. This light will create a safer, more convenient place for students to cross. Discussion of the stop light began nearly two years ago under former campus president Dr. Colelli, said PSC Chief of Police Brian Kerling. 

  Construction of the light will be completed no later than the end of September 2018, according to West Virginia Division of Highways’ Kenneth Clohan who oversees the placement of stoplights and other road signs in seven WV districts. Until the light is in place, PSC drivers and pedestrians can take precautions to remain safe.

What can drivers and pedestrians do until light is installed?

“Actually pay attention,” said Kerling when giving advice to drivers and pedestrians on campus.  Kerling emphasizes that both drivers and pedestrians need to be completely aware of their surroundings.

Kerling said he was on Campus Drive recently in the patrol car, and a female was walking in the middle of the road. She had her face down, looking at her cell phone. The female headed straight towards the patrol car, and Kerling had to come to a complete stop before she walked into his vehicle. Kerling encourages pedestrians to use the sidewalks and look up from their phones. 

  WVU released a list of tips to pedestrians and drivers on how to stay safe on the streets. For pedestrians, WVU encourages students to obey all traffic signals, make eye contact with drivers, show your intentions of crossing and always assume a car won’t stop for you. The safe use of cell phone usage was emphasized within the tips.

  A study conducted by the National Safety Council in 2015 shows that cell phone usage while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. It also showed that one out of every four car accidents is caused by texting and driving.

In 2015 alone, 3,477

total deaths and 391,000 injuries were due to distracted driving in the U.S.

Source: DMV.com

  “When someone else is driving and they are checking their phone, eating or fidgeting with the radio, I tend to feel very nervous and uncomfortable,” said PSC freshman Mariah Boyce.   

  “I’m sometimes tempted to smack their phone out of their hand,” said Katie Shreve, PSC freshman, “it makes me cautious to ride with them again.”

  Most drivers will acknowledge that texting or being distracted while driving is dangerous. According to AAA poll, 94% of teen drivers acknowledge the dangers of texting and driving, but 35% of those students admit to doing it anyway. “To be honest, I eat, text and talk on the phone while I drive,” admits one PSC student who wishes to remain anonymous. 

  WVU campus administrators are working to protect their students and prevent any more tragic accidents. Kerling stated that last school year signs instructing pedestrians to use side walks were placed on State Street. 

   In Morgantown, University Police recently placed portable signs at busy intersections where accidents have occurred. Morgantown campus’ SGA also held two safety walks near busy intersections to identify where areas may need additional safety measures for pedestrians. “We recognize that all these immediate actions are not permanent,” said Rob Alsop, WVU vice president for strategic initiatives in a WVU press release, “but long-term solutions will take time to investigate and then implement appropriately.”

PSC Students Engage in Diversity Among Peers

 

2018 Diversity Ambassadors Group Photo color

Potomac State College students embrace diversity and get to know someone different than them. The students participated in a five week initiative where they spent time with a peer who came from a different cultural, religious, or racial backgrounds. Photo by Potomac State College.

Potomac State College encourages its students to embrace diversity and explore new cultures, and that was the ultimate goal of the Diversity Ambassador Initiative. This initiative challenged around 24 PSC students from different religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds to get to know each other over the course of five weeks. 

  Before the program began, the volunteers participated in a questionnaire to compare compatibility. Students were then partnered and spent the next five weeks together. Through the program, participants gained points from doing activities together like eating meals, studying in the library or just hanging out. 

   “We’d do things like play video games and just talk about what we go through in life and the struggles we have had to overcome as individuals,” said PSC freshman Canyon Hunt. 

  Founder of the program, PSC Activities Program Manager, Dr. Edward Brown, stated that this initiative challenges stereotypes and fears. Brown also said that this program has a lasting impact on the students, whether it be in their casual social lives or in the workforce. 

   Participants learn how to work with diversity and “take down barriers and stereotypes to get to know someone,” said Brown. 

  “I think the program went very well,” said PSC sophomore Serena Redman. “I would have to say that my favorite part would be getting to know someone and how different they can be.” 

   Being bi-racial, Redman said the initiative really stood out to her. “It got me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to really get to know someone for who they are, and not what they look like,” said Redman.

  “I’m an introvert,” said PSC senior James Beall, “so the program itself made me get out there and talk to someone I hadn’t before.” Beall stated that through this program he and his partner became friends and continue to do things together. 

   The initiative also helped to knock down the cultural barrier between rural and urban students. “There’s a cultural divide between urban and rural, so the program is really beneficial in that sense,” said Beall. 

  “To bridge that gap we definitely need this program because it brings people together in a friendly environment. It encourages people to get to know ‘other’ people. I really hope the program progresses every year. We need it to.”

  Brown is seeking funding for next year; he hopes that it will continue at PSC campus and expand to other college campuses. He will be presenting the program in Morgantown to WVU campus administrators and other institute observers at the Student Success Summit. 

For information contact Brown.

PSC Fly-Fishing Course Coming Back this Spring

 

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Students and community members will get the opportunity to learn the aspects of fly-fishing in PSC’s returning Spring course. Photo by The New York Times.

By Levi Linn

 

Students and members of the community can take a course that isn’t about hitting the books — it’s about learning how to fly fish. Potomac State College’s Introduction to Fly-Fishing course returns this spring.
Professor Tom Sydow is co-teaching with Charlie Laffey who has extensive knowledge of the Savage River watershed and regional Brook Trout streams. “He’s like a walking encyclopedia,” said Sydow regarding his colleague.
In this course, students will gain all the tools and knowledge they need to pursue this unique hobby. Students will learn about the equipment used, knot tying, entomology (the study of insects), how to read the water and on-stream tactics. All equipment for this course will be provided by the instructors.
“I’m always excited,” said Sydow when asked how he felt about the class starting soon. Sydow has been fly-fishing for almost 30 years and still enjoys it. “It means spring’s here.”
Sydow describes fly-fishing as far more advanced than regular fishing. It’s more difficult but more rewarding and far more interactive as opposed to sitting and waiting for a fish to bite. “Students will be interested because it’s an entirely different style of fishing than most people are used to,” said Sydow, “It’s interesting and takes a lot of skill.”
As for teaching with his colleague Laffey, Sydow can’t wait to get started. “It’s always fun with Laffey,” said Sydow, “We’re both easy going and very enthusiastic about teaching this subject.” Sydow and Laffey have fished together for years.
The fly-fishing class starts on March 8, with meetings every other Thursday in Science Hall 120 from 5-8 p.m. The cost is $99, and the course fills up quickly. The course is open to both students and the public, and registration is available on the PSC website. For more information on the course, contact
Sydow at Tom.Sydow@mail.wvu.edu

PSC’s “Willy Wonka” Opening on March 16

 

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Photo from Potomac State College Website.

 

by Sevohn Hunter

On Friday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m., Potomac State College’s theater program will present its spring production of “Willy Wonka” at the Church-McKee Arts Center.
This production of “Willy Wonka” is based on Roald Dahl’s book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and will include all the songs from the 1971 movie. “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” tells the story of Charlie Bucket, a poor boy who lives in a tiny house with his parents and grandparents. Charlie and four other children find the five golden tickets placed in Wonka Bar wrappings and win a tour of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
The cast and crew are comprised of college students and community members. The five golden ticket winners are played by middle and high school students: Elizabeth Badillo, Dylan Dolley, Brendon McCabe, Clayton Muir and Brielle Windle. The adult roles are played by community members who have participated in other productions or are parents of children participating. Willy Wonka is played by Robert Godfrey, who is a veteran of PSC productions.
Sean Beachy and Debi Beachy are the music directors for the production. Debi Beachy teaches vocals, and Sean Beachy provides accompaniment. Kimberly Rowley is a co-director who also creates and teaches all choreography.
Jordan Kline is the director the show. Kline previously directed productions in Frostburg and Cumberland, Maryland. Kline also performed in previous productions at PSC. Brian Plitnik is the producer of this production and chooses each year’s show. Plitnik said he cannot credit himself for the idea of recreating “Willy Wonka.” Rowley originally proposed the idea, and she and Plitnik agreed that “Willy Wonka” would be a great success for PSC.
Cast members shared how much they love the story of “Willy Wonka” and how eager they were to join. McCabe auditioned because he “loved the book, movie and any work by Dahl.” Windle said her dreams are coming true because she “always wanted to play the role of Veruca.”
“Willy Wonka” will be showing from March 16-18 and March 23-25. General admission tickets are $12 for children and $18 for adults. Regular VIP tickets include a backstage tour and priority seating. VIP Golden Tickets also include a chocolate reception as well as other VIP benefits. To reserve tickets, call the PSC Box Office at (304)-788-6855.

PSC’s Lady Cats Beat ACM in Women’s Basketball

 

2017-2018 Potomac State Womens Basketball

2017-2018 PSC Women’s Basketball. Photo from Potomac State College Website.

The Potomac State College Lady Cats brought in an exciting win for Women’s Basketball Monday, Feb. 5, against Alleghany College of Maryland. This home game marked the 10th win in their season of 18 games at this point in the season.

 

Going into the game Sydney Lyons stated they anticipated a win but were sure to be cautious because there is always a chance of losing.

During the entire game, PSC had a strong lead against ACM. After the first quarter PSC was up 24-10, and by the end of the first half, they were leading 65-22. PSC managed to break the 100th point mark by finishing the game with a final score of 118-65. “We were excited afterwards because we nearly doubled their score,” stated Lyons

PSC’s top scorers of the game were Kaliyah Creasy, Johnee Durham and Hayley Butcher all of which scored 17 points. Other high scorers were Katlyn Tichnell and Lyons both scoring 14 points. ACM’s top scorer was Jayln Whitlock with 23 points.

As of Feb. 18, PSC is at 11 wins and 10 loses for their season, and ACM stands at 10 wins and 13 loses.

Growing Textbook Prices a Problem on the Rise

For some college students, textbook prices are a heavy weight that they can’t always afford. Potomac State College business student, Zoe Sypolt, stated she budgets $500-$1,000 for her text books each year. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the price of textbooks has risen from January 1977 to June 2015 by a 1,041 percent increase.

GRAPH FOR PAPER

The chart above shows the increase of textbook prices from 1977 to 2015, based on information from BLS.

Impact on Students

Lesley Nester, a PSC freshman, typically uses her financial aid to pay for books but still explained, “it’s a lot of money for books I don’t use.” Payten Reese, PSC sophomore, finds himself in the same scenario. “It’s ridiculous, considering you don’t use them half the time,” said Reese. Alex Ritte, a PSC student, said she uses rentals and online option to try to “take down cost as much as possible.” Sarah Hutton, a nursing student at Allegany College of Maryland, stated she spent $1,500 for one semester of books, $500 for another semester, and $400 for her most recent books. All of these she said she only used “a couple of times.”

Online Course Materials

Some classes don’t require a traditional textbook but online access codes. These codes are typically used to do online homework and provide access to a digital copy of the textbook. These codes also provide extra resources like studying tools or help from tutors. The only downside to this option is the cost. According to The New York Times the average online textbook access code bundle costs $126.

Math professor Dr. Stephanie Beck Roth explains that the benefit of these codes outweighs the cost. Through the program Beck Roth uses, students perform mastery learning. Through this method of learning, students must repeatedly get questions correct before they can move on to the next section. Beck Roth stated that with this program she has seen an increase in test scores. She believes with this system of learning, students are understanding more material.

Beck Roth also sympathized with the struggle to buy expensive books as a young person. “I was a student in this situation, it wasn’t easy,” said Beck Roth. She recollects stressing to the point of tears over having to purchase a $300 textbook in her college days.

“I typically don’t purchase textbooks for classes,” said PSC student James Beall. Beall expressed his frustration in already having to pay heavy amounts in student loans. “It would be a different story if I were failing classes, because then it would just be irresponsible for me not to buy books. But anything I need to know that goes unanswered in class I can find on one of the many databases provided to students by West Virginia University Libraries or other scholarly sources.” Beall also explained that his primary professor, Nicklaus Goff, is so good at teaching, that his ample class notes enable him to succeed.

This situation isn’t uncommon for students, however. Based on a study by NBC news, 65% of students admitted that they skipped buying books– some because they couldn’t afford them.

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Image from screenshot of video by NBC News.

 What’s the Solution?

This epidemic hasn’t gone unnoticed, either. On Oct. 8, 2015, the Affordable College Textbook Act was presented to Congress. Within the bill it states, “more must be done to address rising costs.” It argues that with the rising price of books, opportunities for higher education diminish for some who can’t afford it. The goal of this bill is to expand the use of digital open textbooks to achieve savings for students. This would be made possible with educational grants.

Open textbooks are “high-quality college texts with an “open” copyright license allowing the material to be freely accessed, shared and adapted,” as defined by StudentPIRGS.org. WVU is now offering training to faculty on open textbooks.

Professors can also place their textbooks on reserve for students to use within the library. More than 70 courses have texts on reserve. One professor who makes most of her required textbooks available is English professor, Dr. Martha Johnson-Olin.

“I believe in providing my students with as many opportunities to succeed as possible,” said Johnson-Olin, “I worked my way through school, so I know what it is like to need two or three paychecks to buy a semester’s worth of textbooks. I want my students to know that they can succeed in my classes regardless of any financial struggles they may be experiencing.” Johnson-Olin stated that she makes sure her students know her books are available in the library, but they don’t always take advantage of it. “It depends on the student’s drive to succeed. I make the resources available to help, but it is a student’s choice to use the materials.”

Johnson-Olin also stated how she dislikes the rising textbook prices just as much as her students do. She attempts to provide open online access materials to help save money. “I have passed on excellent textbooks when I feel the cost is not reasonable for my students,” said Johnson-Olin.

Lastly, Johnson-Olin wishes that students understand a key aspect about textbooks: “Most teachers do not decide to use a book randomly or on a whim, and we build our courses carefully around the book(s) we ask students to purchase.” Johnson-Olin also explained that if students expect professors to be prepared for class, they should do their best to be prepared as well.

The rise in textbook prices is due to lack of competition in the textbook publishing industry. According to StudentPIRGS.org, only five publishers control 80 percent of the market. One of the most commonly known and wealthiest of these is McGraw-Hill Education. McGraw-Hill made a revenue of $2 billion in 2014 alone.

With this kind of industry, the average college student will spend approximately $655 on text books each year, based on information from The National Association of College Stores (NACS). But this price could be much higher with books costing as much as $300. The PSC website does not list an average cost for books per semester.

Potomac State College Veteran Goes From Building Bombs to Hitting the Books

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Steffan Chapman said he has been a West Virginia University fan ever since he was little. He followed a dream and ended up at PSC. Photo by Molly Browning

“I was a troublemaker. I needed to get some foundation under my feet to kind of start a decent life,” Potomac State College student and veteran Steffan Chapman stated, explaining his original reason for joining the military.

Chapman worked on ships as Aviation Ordinanceman during his time in the military. “I built bombs, missiles, rockets, anything that went boom pretty much,” said Chapman. His training began in Pensacola, Florida. He then was stationed in San Diego, California for a short time before being deployed to Japan.

Traveling was Chapman’s favorite part of his time in the service. He’s been to Guam, South Korea, Hawaii, Florida, California, Chicago and Japan. “I have friends from all over the world now,” stated Chapman. “No matter where I go, there’s probably somebody kind of close to me.”

Chapman is an Upstate New York native, so the question arises: How did he end up at PSC? “Funny story, actually. I’ve been a West Virginia fan since seventh grade. Figured I’d try to follow a dream, and here I am at Potomac State.”

Chapman is studying psychology at PSC, with plans of becoming a high school guidance counselor. The laid-back atmosphere of Keyser allows Chapman to spend time focusing on his studies.

Although WVU and PSC are very helpful and offer plenty of veteran benefits, Chapman stated that the government made it especially difficult for him to receive the benefits. The process took over two months to finally get them. “The government isn’t only paying me, they are paying every single veteran who’s attending college, so they get backed up a lot.”

PSC also offers veteran parking and a veterans’ lounge, but Chapman said he doesn’t like to receive these special privileges just because he’s a veteran. “I’m just a normal person, you know? I had to take a different road.”

Chapman is also the Veterans’ Representative in the Student Government Association. Chapman expressed how it is somewhat hard trying to make a difference on the campus for the veterans, primarily because most of the veterans he knows are commuters who come to class then leave. However, Chapman states that he’s still working on ideas.