Bowling Green – Well over 400 people packed the Olscamp conference room on Bowling Green State University’s campus Thursday March 29th to see the abortion debate held by Veritas, a Catholic student organization. The theme of the night was “You decide” and those words were emblazoned on the flier that each attendee received upon entering.
With the rows and rows of seats entirely filled, participants were left with standing room only, and many lined the corridor into the main hallway of the academic building.
Booths were set up along the perimeter of the ballroom and different groups, like the Pregnancy center, passed out information and gave short prepared speeches to college students huddled around.
The atmosphere around the debate was ripe with apprehension from the anti-abortion exhibit that members of St. Thomas More University Parish put up a few days prior. The exhibit which was titled “Cemetery of Innocence” featured approximately 3,500 wooden crosses in Carillon Park, beside the Education Building on campus.
The exhibit sparked protest of students on campus and even prompted one student to rip the crosses out of the ground late one night.
The tension in the room before the debate began was almost palpable and attendees nervously shifted in their seats with bated breath, waiting patiently for the opening remarks.
Deborah Novak, assistant dean of students at the University, opened the debate.
“I am not taking sides on this issue,” Novak declared from the podium on stage. “However, I do feel that this is a great opportunity for different beliefs to come together.” The two belief systems certainly came together, but perhaps not as diplomatically as Novak would have hoped.
As to be expected there was some mud-slinging between the two sides, and backhanded compliments were hidden behind fake, toothy grins of the speakers.
The speaker for the pro-life side, Scott Klusendorf, is the founder and president of the Life Training Institute in Atlanta, Ga. His opponent James Croft, vice-president of the Humanist Graduate Community at Harvard, spoke for the pro-choice stance.
Croft spoke first and he made his two points clear to the audience from the beginning:
“a zygote or fetus is not a person, or a member of the human species and secondly, that women matter.”
The reason Croft gave for the argument that zygotes are not people, hinged on the fact that, “personhood is based on personality, and fetuses do not have a personality.”
Because a fetus has not developed a cerebral cortex, Croft assimilated it to a brain dead person that, “cannot be killed because is already considered dead.”
Croft added that a fetus is, “not worthy of the same moral concern.”
In conclusion of his opening remarks, Croft said that the pro-life side often overlooks the existence of the pregnant mother, who risks her life during pregnancy, according to Croft.
Klusendorf walked to the podium following Croft and asked two main questions of the audience: “What is the unborn? And do only some human beings have a right to life?”
During the first 15 minute segment afforded each speaker for opening remarks, Klusendorf showed a video clip of the aftermath of abortions.
“It is necessary to use something this provocative to make a case,” Klusendorf said of the video.
Klusendorf argued that from the earliest stages of development, one is a unique individual.
“It begins at fertilization,” he said.
Klusendorf concluded his opening statement by saying that Croft’s argument states that, “only some humans have the right to life.”
During their rebuttals, each speaker used metaphors, corvettes being assembled in a factory and cake’s baking, in an attempt to paint a picture in the minds of the audience.
At the end of the rebuttal period, Croft said that Klusendorf was avoiding one of his main points about women.
“What are the rights of women?” Croft asked. “Scott systematically avoided this question.”
Klusendorf called Croft out for an ad hominem, or attacking the person, fallacy and in closing said, “being pro-life does not mean I hate women.”
During the question and answer period, a long line of college students and community members snaked to the back of the conference room. However, the was only time for a handful of people to get their voices heard.
While Deborah Novak implored attendees to, “refrain from applauding or booing” at the beginning of the debate, the question and answer portion evoked some loud jeers and disagreement from the crowd.
When the debate concluded, many attendees remained in the conference room, and the babble of discussion rose to a crescendo as the speakers left the stage.
“I think [Scott’s] argument kills at the Iowa caucus,” Craig Flack, assistant pastor at Brookside church said. “It’s not going to work on a college campus.”
Bryan Mcgeary, a student at the University, was also underwhelmed by Klusendorf’s performance in the debate.
“I was disappointed with Scott,” Mcgeary said. “I felt like he repeated a lot of the same points. Rather than addressing James, Scott was evasive about the equality of women.”
Stephen Duraney, on staff with St. Thomas More, helped to organize the debate and helped to bring Klusendorf in to speak on the pro-life side.
“I am pro-life,” Duraney said. “But James did a really good job. He responded more to Scott and you could see his emotion.”
Duraney also said he was disappointed with Klusendorf’s performance.
“When you don’t tailor your message to the situation, your answers don’t seem relevant,” Duraney said.
[View the story “Abortion Debate ” on Storify]
It’s not all about pouring drinks and making tips.
For Joei Aragon, who started a bartending workshop this semester at the University with her husband, teaching safety is equally if not more important than some of the more stereotypical benefits of bartending.
Aragon said she has seen too many bartenders allow people to cross the line, which can have some pretty awful consequences, she said.
“When people leave our class, they can say they know how to do it right,” Aragon said.
Aragon and her husband both have more than 25 years of experience in the bartending business. She started in Cleveland at 18 years old and has bounced around to Chicago and Los Angeles, “working in some pretty high profile places,” she said.
These “high profile” locales have addresses like Rodeo drive.
“With this class, students are getting our life experience,” Aragon said.
The couple has owned bartending schools in California, “In Ventura, right in the hub of everything,” she said.
Aragon said she wanted to continue this service when she and her husband came to Bowling Green.
“This is the one thing we really know,” she said. “We just moved to BG a year ago and wanted to bring it to people here.”
The bartending classes have ended for this year, but Aragon is looking to the future.
“We would love to keep doing it at BG,” she said. “As long as students are interested we will keep doing it.”
Rita Myers, a resident of Bowling Green, frequently attends the bartending classes in Olscamp Hall.
“I have wanted to open a pub since I was young,” Myers said. “This class has given me basic knowledge of the background workings of a bar and helped me to learn the laws, which is important.”
Myers discussed why a knowledgeable bartender is vital in a town like Bowling Green.
“It is important to have a bartender that can cut you off,” she said.
Audrie Veres said she has been friends with Myers for quite some time and also took the bartending classes.
“Rita and I have had a dream to open an Irish pub and work with each other,” Veres said.
She added that she does not want to be the stereotypical bartender.
“I have had so many friends in accidents and I want to make it safe,” Veres said.
The classes have not just been a bartending course, but a tips course with a legal aspect, she said.
“Joei has taught us how to check IDs, what percent alcohol is in each drink … we learned how to do it right,” Veres said.
Veres also had some positive remarks for Aragon’s instruction.
“She is a fantastic instructor,” Veres said. “I’ll be honest I didn’t exactly know what to expect with the class … but it was everything I could have hoped for times ten.”
The cement foundation has been poured, the wooden frame built, windows set and the carpet lain. Jeff Wilbarger’s dream has become a reality. The Daughter Project is putting the finishing touches on the home it has been building for women rescued from sex trafficking.
Awareness of sex trafficking has been promoted by numerous anti-trafficking groups throughout the country and even in the blockbuster film “Taken” starring Liam Neeson. However, many in Wood County and the neighboring counties are unaware that trafficking is taking place in their area.
“John Kasich signed an executive order creating a 90-day task force to develop a coordinated game plan for attacking modern-day slavery in Ohio,” reported Jim Provance, Columbus Bureau chief, in an article for The Toledo Blade published March 30.
The “slavery” Provance refers to is sex-trafficking, and in this category Toledo ranks third in the nation.
When Wilbarger, a math and physics instructor in Bowling Green, first read about this “modern-day slavery” taking place all throughout the world, he felt compelled to help women unfortunately put in this position. What Wilbarger did not know initially was that Toledo marked a major hub for sex trafficking, due in large part to the intersection of two major highways: Interstate 75 and Interstate 80.
“About three years ago I began to sense that God wanted me to do something more with my life,” Wilbarger said. “This was not ‘midlife’ crisis or simply a time for a career or life change. I was very content with my life, my family and my career. Rather, this sense of calling was to continue in my career but to also step up and do something more.”
During this time his son-in-law gave him the book, “Not for Sale” by David Batstone, which documented the stories of the lives of people who had been trafficked for labor or sex, both internationally and domestically, Wilbarger said.
“I only read the first two chapters because the reality of the stories was too intense for me and that was all I needed for motivation,” he said.
His response to this motivation in his life was to create a home for women rescued from sex trafficking.
The home will house six women at a time. There will be house moms who will prepare meals for the women and mentors.
What makes The Daughter Project different from other organizations is that the mentors in the home will teach the women the Gospel of Christ.
Many people have become involved with the mission of the Daughter Project throughout this past year, joining committees and giving time and energy to help the cause.
Megan Metzger joined the spiritual mentorship committee, which is in charge of interviewing the house moms and mentors that will be staying with the rescued women in the house.
“It will be a Christian home that the girls can receive counseling in,” Metzger said. “We want them to go out and live normal lives, have good marriages and build good families.”
Metzger said that the response to the home has not been all positive.
“Some people in the community were not happy about the home being built,” Metzger said. “They didn’t understand the purpose of it and were afraid that pimps were going to come to their community looking for the girls.”
Metzger said a lot of this negative reaction has died down since a year ago.
“The FBI told us that we would have no problem filling the house,” Metzger said, in relation to how rampant sex trafficking is in Toledo.
Metzger spoke of how the build process has been going as of late.
“Basically, they are just finishing up putting appliances in,” Metzger said. “We hope to be up and running this summer.”
Metzger mentioned that the contents of the house, from rugs and bedsheets to wood and concrete has been fueled by donations.
Chelsea Groenewegen, a University alumna and staff member with H2O Church on campus, recently hosted a shower for the Daughter Project home.
“I have friends involved with The Daughter Project,” Groenewegen said. “It really disturbed me what these girls go through.”
Guests at the shower brought appliances, lamps, pillows, gift cards and anything that would create more of a home feel for the interior of the rescue house.
“Being a woman and seeing girls trapped breaks my heart,” Groenewegen said. “I wanted to shower them with blessings so the home looks beautiful. Even contributing a lamp to The Daughter Project is awesome.”
Just The Facts
Friday at 7:30 p.m. the 13th annual BGSU Film and Media Festival gets underway at the Gish Theater.
Friday night: Showcase of stand-up comedians and judges will take questions from the audience after a screening of their work.
Saturday: Student film exhibition, student work will be screened in two blocks, the first from 3-6 p.m. and the second from 7-11 p.m.
Sunday night: 7:30 p.m. The awards ceremony (has been moved from the Union theater to the Gish)
A night of stand-up comedy, student film and awards are in store this weekend as the 13th annual BGSU Film and Media Festival gets underway. The event is dually hosted by BG Reel and the University Film Organization.
Quinn George, University Film Organization president and senior, said he hopes the festival will do two things.
“I hope that it brings attention to the high quality of work being created by BGSU students,” George said. “And that student’s work will be recognized and rewarded amongst their peers.”
George discussed why they have decided to show some of the judges’ work to start the festival.
“It will help the participants know who they are being judged by so they have a point of reference,” George said. “We brought in an alumnus, Matt Smith, as one of the judges to show the work that BG film graduates have been able to accomplish outside of college.”
Jordan Salkil is the other judge, and he is a local film-maker who runs Eye Open Pictures.
More than 30 student films will be shown on Saturday, the number was difficult to come to, George said. Last year there were only 30 submissions, but this year submissions included 50 films, and it was difficult to cut a lot of them, George said.
As president, George has had a lot on his plate the last month. He aided in selecting the student films and making sure all are “up to par,” secured the judges and locations, tracked down prizes and awards and basically took care of any of the organizational minutia that goes into an event of this size.
“It has been quite stressful,” George said. “This is the second year I have helped organize the festival, and I would not have been able to do it without all the help of the UFO officers. They have been a huge help.”
George discussed why the festival is so important to the film community and the campus in general.
“We want to have a big blowout event for all the film students at the end of the year,” George said. “So they can see other work that has been going on outside their circle of friends and can have their work recognized.”
Ethan Roberts is the treasurer of UFO and is on the planning board for the Film and Media Festival. He also discussed the festival and its significance.
“Any university with a film production program needs a venue for students to showcase their work,” Roberts said. “There is an important tradition of viewing film.”
This year the Festival opened up for students all over Ohio to submit their work, and while it was only University students who submitted work this year, Roberts explained why they decided to make it available to everyone.
“We are hoping to increase our size and name brand,” Roberts said. “That way, winning the festival will have more weight and create as much diversity as possible.”
Not all of the students who submitted films are film majors, and Roberts said anyone interested in media production, including telecommunications, visual communication technology and broadcast, should get involved with the festival.
Richard Sanders, a sophomore film student, submitted two films, but neither was accepted into the festival.
“It is a very strong year for the media festival,” Sanders said. “There were strong submissions in the drama and comedy category and overall a very competitive year.”
While Sanders did not have any films accepted, he is hopeful for the future.
“You learn better for the following year, and it allows you to work on your craft more,” Sanders said. “Not getting in was disappointing, but hopefully I‘ll be there next year. It is a great opportunity to grow as a film-maker.”
Sanders said he is really looking forward to two films; “Funeral Procession” by Courtney Hutton and “Razorblades” by BG Reel.
“[Razorblades] looks to be a pretty killer film,” he said.
Cynthia Baron, an associate professor in the film department, has seen the progression of the festival.
“It’s a neat process to see the evolution because I’ve seen all thirteen years of the festival,” Baron said. “It is part of a continuing tradition and builds on past ones.”
Spring in January and Summer in March.
Unseasonably warm weather is not only impacting clothing choices for students, it is dictating what they are drinking. Beer companies have been coming out with Spring and Summer beer selections a season early throughout the past few years.
Mike Grant, manager of the BG Liquor Outlet on East Wooster, said that spring beers come out earlier and earlier every year.
“We had Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy in the beginning of March,” Grant said. “It is like an arms race for beer companies.”
Grant explained why there is such a craze around seasonal beers.
“It is the one time a year you can get these beers,” Grant said. “People want something different than what they have been drinking, and breweries create a sense that there are availability problems.”
Beer drinkers can expect a lighter style and ingredient changes such as the addition of lemon or lime in their spring and summer drinks, Grant said.
Griffin Jones, co-owner of Reverends, explained a bit more of what makes a spring and summer beer different.
“These drinks are more hop forward, more citrus flavored and can have more fruity aspects,” Jones said. “As opposed to chocolate or caramel notes you would find in winter beers. You want something more refreshing for pounders as opposed to sippers.”
During this time of year, students will find more wheat ales and pilsners, Jones said. Jones makes sure “anything with a lighter body,” is on tap.
Issa Baiz, manager at Falcon Food Mart, is amazed by how early seasonal beers have come out this year.
“I was so surprised some of these beers came in when they did,” Baiz said. “Beer companies probably wanted to take advantage of the good weather.”
Baiz said that there are a lot of summer beers lining his shelves right now, and he does not remember summer beers being out so early last year.
“Sam Adams spring beer came out in winter, and by the time it was actually spring it was off the shelves,” Baiz said.
Nate Ballinger, an alumnus of the University and Bowling Green resident, said he loves spring and summer beers.
“It’s great to drink light, crisp, refreshing beers in warm weather,” Ballinger said. “A lot of people go nuts for fall beers; I go nuts for spring.”
Ballinger commented on spring and summer beers seemingly coming out earlier every year.
“Breweries are smart,” Ballinger said. “They know people get excited when they see new seasonal beers. The only downside is that people might get tired of a seasonal beer by the time it actually gets to the season.”
So break out the folding chairs, fill the coolers with ice and grab your favorite summer drink, because they are here, whether you are ready or not.
Nicholas Kulik | Director
“With a small shop, we need to manage our time well and work together so that all our projects move forward … I want to make sure nothing gets left on the back burner.”
The United Way of Greater Toledo has appointed a new director in Wood County.
Nicholas Kulik, a resident of Bowling Green and an alumnus of the University, is now in charge of the United Way operations in Wood County.
While at the University, Kulik majored in journalism and served as the philanthropy chairperson of Pi Kappa Phi. He also served in the AmeriCorps program, where he managed after-school events for Bowing Green Teen Central, according to a press release sent out by Keli Kreps, marketing manager for the United Way of Greater Toledo.
Before he became the new director, the United Way hired Kulik as a development officer, where he managed a portfolio of more than 500 accounts while he supervised United Way’s loaned executive team.
His other experience includes work with the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Northwest Ohio and Push America in Charlotte, N.C.
Kulik said he is adjusting to the new position of director.
“I have to wear a lot of different hats, because it’s a small office,” Kulik said. “I am the only full-time staff person right now in Wood County.”
Kulik said his roles as director will entail working with other nonprofits for “community impact,” marketing work and fundraising.
However, talking to people and getting a sense of what Wood County needs as a community is top priority right now, Kulik said.
“With a small shop, we need to manage our time well and work together so that all our projects move forward,” he said. “I want to make sure nothing gets left on the back burner.”
While no official partnerships have been made, Kulik listed some organizations he hopes will work with the United Way in the future. The exchange club at the University, Kiwanis Club, Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce a nd the Northwest Ohio Association of Fundraising Professionals were organizations that Kulik named.
Atonn Smeltzer, administrative assistant and communications and IT manager at the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, said he hopes the United Way will work with the Chamber of Commerce in the future.
“The United Way has a great reputation for volunteerism and community service, which would make them an ideal partner for almost any community-based initiative,” Smeltzer said. “They also have access to a large workforce of volunteers, so they could potentially bring a lot of hard-working people to help with any such event.”
Smeltzer said the Bowling Green 4th of July fireworks display and the holiday parade are two events the Chamber of Commerce and the United Way could partner on.
Theresa Kelso, who works in donor services and administration at the United Way in Wood County, said working with Kulik has been very enjoyable.
“He brings a lot of energy to the position,” Kelso said. “And a lot of enthusiasm.”
Kelso talked about what Kulik has been doing since appointed to the director position.
“He has been spending quite a bit of time meeting with volunteers and community members to talk about their hopes and aspirations for the county,” Kelso said. “He is connected to our community and cares about what happens in Wood County.”