Love In Bloom: Six Stories on Love, Lust and Relationships

Premiering on Thursday, April 26, at 8:00 p.m. in Carver Hall, students of the Telecommunications Department at Bloomsburg University directed this series of short films about love, lust, and relationships on a college campus.

When walking into the back of room 1247 in McCormick, a person would expect to find a classroom or a normal office. But hidden in the back are a set of movie posters, and behind three large Mac monitors is a 27-year-old man who has already changed Bloomsburg University or at least the Mass Communications Department.

“I liked video production since high school because it was something to do rather than write papers,” Michael DiGiorgio, manager of Instructional Media Services, says. His career at the university started with his lack of interest in writing papers. “My friends from high school and I would have to write long papers about Julius Caesar so instead of writing them, we would do the film,” says DiGiorgio.

He attended Stockton College and majored in Video Production/Communication. He also did a summer internship at the New York Film Academy where he wrote his first short film, Natalie, which is highlighted on a shelf behind his desk along with his other films he created over the years. “It just seemed like the best major for me because I was already interested in it and I was good at it so I just continued it to college,” DiGiorgio says.

The turning point in DiGiorgio’s career was not in school but during the time he ran his own company and produced a video for a local DARE program in Franklin Township, New Jersey.

“We put this fifteen-twenty minute video together and it was like a dance off with the police officers and stuff. It was really silly.” But, the kids in the auditorium ended up screaming their approval.

“It was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen because these little kids were loving my work which was odd to me because I never experienced anything like it,” says DiGiorgio.

Now, DiGiorgio has older kids who look up to him. Chad Vanhorn, a sophomore telecommunications major, wasn’t exactly sure what DiGiorgio did at the university. “He was quiet but once I got to know him, I found he is really helpful and all around a nice person,” Vanhorn says.

DiGiorgio found coming to the university was a step up from what he was doing. “I was doing a lot of basic production work and freelance work for NBC and Comcast and any other company that I could find,” says DiGiorgio.

The university also gave him the opportunity to run his own studio. “It was hard to pass up when I saw all the things I would be able to do here.”

Since his arrival at Bloomsburg University, DiGiorgio has changed the entire studio. “When I first came here, we were all analog, very little digital. We did all the editing on a hard drive,” says DiGiorgio. He added HD equipment, green screens, blue screens, added more editing areas for the students and created more opportunities for students to produce their own shows and movies.

DiGiorgio’s latest film he wrote and produced was created in the fall. His ideas were written on a Word document describing quirky characters and six short stories of college romance. He chose five students to direct the short films, and Vanhorn also directed and played a main role in the movie. “He did a wonderful job with the script and had a great vision on how it should turn out,“ Vanhorn says.

After working diligently on the movie for almost five months, Love in Bloom has finally come to life. “He was positive on allowing us to be creative and work on our own ideas,“ Vanhorn says.

DiGiorgio’s short film will appear in Carver Hall Thursday, April 26 at 8 p.m. and another poster will be added to his wall and another DVD put on the bookshelf behind his desk waiting for his next creative idea to incorporate the BU students. “This film is something I wouldn’t be able to accomplish without the help of student workers,” DiGiorgio says. “Without the students, we couldn’t do a lot of the programming that we do and we wouldn’t have a lot of the content that we are actually able to produce.”

[box type=”shadow”]Tiffany Bellum is a senior Mass Communications major at Bloomsburg University[/box]

Community Profile: Tom McGuire

A cluttered desk scattered with weeks of mail, invoices, receipts and numerous other materials, would make it seem like an organizational mess to an outsider. However, beyond the desk, covering the walls and lining cabinets and bookshelves are numerous magazines, awards, and other sports memorabilia that portray the successes of a distinguished man. Behind the desk sits a man who seems to have all the time in the world, and is always sporting a smile on his face.

Tom McGuire has been involved with Sports Information at Bloomsburg University for more than 23 years, and is in his 14th year as Director of Sports Information. McGuire oversees the 20 varsity sports in the Huskies arsenal as well as performing duties as the Athletic Marketing and Promotion director. During McGuire’s tenure at Bloomsburg University, sponsorships have increased from $7,500 to nearly $50,000 per year, and overall he raised over $200,000 toward athletic scholarships across all athletic teams.

McGuire has been a sports enthusiast all of his life, since the age of five. He began competing in sports in 4th grade, and participated in high school cross country and basketball all four years. After high school McGuire attended Wilkes University, competing on the cross country team for four years, being named the team’s MVP as a sophomore.

After receiving a communications degree, McGuire worked as a disc jockey at a local radio station in the Wilkes-Barre area. After a few months, he received a phone call from the athletic director at Wilkes University asking him to become the cross country coach. He accepted the position and while coaching, McGuire fine-tuned his publicity skills promoting the cross country team in local newspaper write-ups. Within a year, the position of Sports Information Director at Wilkes became available, and McGuire submitted his resume and application with virtually no experience in the field.

Once hired as the information director at Wilkes, McGuire began a nine and a half year stint with his Alma Mater. In this role, McGuire’s primary duties were promotion and publicity for the school’s 13 varsity athletic teams. McGuire also hosted the television show Colonel’s Corner, which highlighted all of Wilkes athletic events and programs.

After his tenure at Wilkes, McGuire became the Sports Information Director at Bloomsburg, along with being a contributor to the Bloomsburg University Magazine.

“I always wanted to stay involved with athletics in some way,” said McGuire. “Being involved with Wilkes and Bloomsburg as a Sports Information Director has kept it in my life.”

Throughout the 14 years which McGuire has been associated with Bloomsburg University, he accomplished many feats. In 2006, McGuire promoted former BU running back Jamar Brittingham for the Harlon Hill Award and the D2 Player of the Year Award—taking the formerly unknown athlete to a third place finish in final voting.

McGuire repeated his accomplishments in 2010 by taking freshman running back Franklyn Quiteh to a sixth place finish in balloting.

Also in 2006, McGuire promoted head football coach Danny Hale which culminated in a top 10 finish in the first ever Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award. Hale and the Huskies were featured in a national television presentation hosted by Keith Jackson on ABC Sports.

As if the list of accomplishments was not long enough, McGuire also has mentored nine students in sports publicity, opening many doors for different careers. Students who shadowed under McGuire now work with the likes of the New Orleans Hornets, University of Alabama Birmingham, Georgia Tech, and IUP.

Sophomore mass communication major Enrique Josephs was recently employed by McGuire to announce the Huskies sporting events. In just one semester, Josephs has covered matches for the Huskies including men’s and women’s basketball, lacrosse, softball and baseball, and has high aspirations for the upcoming years.

“Thus far it has been great working with Tom,” said Josephs. “He has given me a great opportunity to kick start my possibility of one day becoming a sports announcer.”

In his capacity, McGuire’s position calls for countless work hours as well as a hectic work environment. McGuire holds two things important to his success very closely, his organizational skills and not being afraid to delegate some work to his undergraduate students. “You can’t survive in my line of work wanting to do everything,” said McGuire. “Many people have quit the job because they simply had too much to do.”

In the field of Sports Information, those involved have to stand out from the rest of the crowd. McGuire believes that his ability to take on extra work with sponsorships promotions and marketing differentiates him from others in his line of work. “The fact that I do both promotions and marketing, as well as hold the title of Sports Information Director makes me very unique in the PSAC conference,” said McGuire. “Not many people are able to do it all.”

However, success does not come easy for McGuire; there are many challenges in his line of work. Supervising 20 varsity athletic sports allows him to be involved with many different people, but there are some drawbacks. “Keeping everyone involved happy is very difficult sometimes,” said McGuire. “I just do my best to give each team equal share in publicity and give it my all every day I come into the office.”

McGuire’s motto of giving each team equal share certainly pays off. He sees that the most satisfying part of his job is giving publicity back for student athletes in their hometown newspapers or local television. “Sometimes whenever a student athlete graduates from Bloomsburg, I receive a thank-you note for getting their name out there,” said McGuire. “And that’s what makes this job worthwhile—seeing all the work I do pay off”.

McGuire draws most of his inspiration from his parents, who taught him to be a driven individual he was growing up. He has taken much of their advice into his personal life, and his professional life. “My parents gave me valuable advice when I was growing up,” said McGuire. “Whatever they did, they did it well. They taught me to do everything as best as I can, and to work as hard as I can.”

McGuire also received professional advice from Pete Nevins, former East Stroudsburg Sports Information Director. Nevins served as the director from 1969-2002, until losing his battle with brain cancer at the age of 68. McGuire holds Nevins advice very close to him as he comes into the office every morning. “He always had great advice, and he has been doing my job since the time I was born,” said McGuire. “He was a guru, pretty much everyone around the country knew him.”

Being involved with athletics his entire life; McGuire does not plan to stop now. He has many personal and professional goals that have yet to be attained, but one thing holds true—he is making collegiate sports a better all-around experience for all student athletes affiliated with him. The accolades that McGuire holds are only the beginning in a career that will soon blossom with more success.

[box type=”bio”]By Bloomsburg University Student, Dylan Spangler. Dylan is a Junior majoring in Mass Communications.[/box]

Author Stephen Elliot Comes to Bloomsburg University

Award winning author Stephen Elliot spoke at Bloomsburg University’s Kehr Union on Wednesday, 28 March, offering his views on the various modern media available to authors through which they are able to present their work.

An author of four novels as well as collections of essays and short stories, Mr. Elliot achieved critical acclaim for his 2009 work The Adderall Diaries, a self-described “memoir of moods, masochism and murder” which Elliot claims to be the result of a relationship. Called a “provocative, masterful, thrilling ride” by the San Francisco Chronicle, The Adderall Diaries was named as one of the best books of 2009 by Kirkus Reviews.

“‘The Adderall Diaries’ was a book I was very proud of,” said Elliot. “But the idea of writing personal, creative, non-fiction like that, didn’t appeal to me very much.” Looking instead for other outlets though which authors could make connections, Elliot founded The Rumpus, a website and forum that bridges the gap between writer and reader.

“The Rumpus is not worried about being the first to break the news,” writes Elliot in describing his online project. “We care about good writing, and we’ll publish essays just because the writing is good. We’re focused on culture but not ‘People Magazine culture.’ We want to introduce readers to things they might not have heard of yet. The Web was supposed to diversify content and so far it hasn’t. If anything, the Internet has amplified the echo chamber so all the big online magazines are focusing on the same stories.”

Speaking to his personal motivation for founding The Rumpus, Elliot said, “I knew I wanted to be in editing and I knew I had a lot of free time on my hands. I wanted to build a website for people like me.”

The Rumpus grants readers an intimate connection to their favorite authors, more than they were able to have in the past. Readers receive a letter from their author of choice three to four times a week. Elliot believes that by receiving a letter, the subscribers have a more personal connection with the author.

“Letters are more intimate than magazine articles, the same way emails are more intimate than blogs,” said Elliot. “Even if it’s written to 11,000 people, it feels like it is written to you.”

According to Elliot intellectual mediums offered to writers, such at The Rumpus, affect the creative writing method. The way a writer would present a piece of creative writing in a novel isn’t the way they would exhibit their writing in an email or a blog.

“There are a lot of mediums going on here [at The Rumpus] because we are living in a fractured medium landscape,” said Elliot.

Elliot also presented a reading from his memoir The Adderall Diaries on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 in McCormick at 7 p.m.

[box type=”shadow”]Mr. Elliot’s personal website is http://www.stephenelliott.com/ and The Rumpus is http://therumpus.net/. Mr. Elliot is @S___Elliott on Twitter.[/box]

[box type=”bio”]Brianna Albertini is a student in the Mass Connunications program at Bloomsburg University. Photo Credit: Black Pearl 10 used under a Creative Commons License.[/box]

A Bridge Over Troubled Streets

Fast cars, limited crosswalks, and no crossing guards. To many these seem like the situations that occur on busy urban streets, but for many students living in The Honeysuckle and 500 Club apartments this is just a part of their daily commute in crossing Lightstreet Road on their way to campus. The Bloomsburg University’s student Community Government Association (CGA) and the University noticed this daily struggle and are discussing the possibility of constructing a pedestrian bridge to better accommodate students. This second pedestrian bridge would extend from the Honeysuckle and 500 Club apartments to campus in between the Haas Center and the Bakeless Center.

Lightstreet Road, or PA Route 487, is a busy thoroughfare separating the main lower campus from the athletic field and student housing to the north. In recent years as student housing has expanded away from the main campus, pedestrian traffic from that direction has increased.

The location of this additional housing relative to the lower campus academic buildings poses concerns for Bloomsburg drivers and student pedestrians alike. At present the existing pedestrian bridge at Penn and Lightstreet does accommodate some who choose to walk, but this bridge was installed years ago when volume of foot traffic as well as commuting patterns were much different. Originally built to provide safe crossing from the parking lot along Lightstreet, the bridge leads away from the two apartment complexes built in subsequent years.

Students who choose to walk to the lower campus estimate that the location of the current bridge adds an additional ten to fifteen minutes to their travels. In addition to reducing walking times, it is also hoped that the bridge would reduce the need for shuttle buses in the area.

“The bridge would make the trek up to class more timely, definitely quicker than the buses that take forever”, said sophomore Honeysuckle resident Devon Seier. “In the wintertime students could have a quicker access to the school and not have to wait on the buses,” stated Seier. When asked about his use of the current bridge he replied “Personally I don’t use it because it’s a longer walk for me. The bus is definitely the more logical choice at this point.”

The current shuttle schedules and the long, unsafe walks for the students in the Honeysuckle complex have led many to find housing elsewhere in town. “If I wanted to walk to campus on a nice day I would have to leave a half an hour early just to make it to class on time, I thought that was ridiculous and it motivated me to find a house closer to campus”, said former Honeysuckle resident Rich Lopez. The bridge project would put an end to these travel issues and could increase the number of students deciding to live at Honeysuckle and the 500 Club.

According to CGA President Dave Abrams the bridge project would be part of a joint campaign between CGA and the University to beautify Lightstreet and increase student safety. The CGA is considering using their reserve fund to clean up the area while the University would fund the bridge project.

“I love the bridge idea,” said Mr. Abrams “I think it’s something that the students need. I am a resident of Honeysuckle; if you look at where Honeysuckle is located according to campus it actually takes longer to drive to the University then it would to walk. The complex is right next to campus and the bridge would take you right to the quad. It is something that needs to be done.”

[box type=”bio”]By Bloomsburg University Student, John Catona. John is a Junior majoring in Psychology..[/box]

More than Football: BU Camps Develop Character

Playing football at Bloomsburg University goes much farther than being just an athlete

Playing football at Bloomsburg University goes much farther than simply excelling at sport; the idea of Bloomsburg Husky Football is to help develop each athlete into a well-rounded human being. In a series of annual summer camps, the coaches and players of the BU Huskies football squad actively apply this ideal, teaching younger athletes not only about football fundamentals, but about individual moral decisions and working as part of a cohesive team.

For every camp, the Huskies incorporate motivational speakers as an integral part of the routine. Touching on subjects such as the importance of academics, dangers of drugs and alcohol, proper social behavior, nutrition habits and much more, each day a different speaker presents a valuable message to all of the campers. The staff hopes that these sessions provide a positive influence and inspiration which can be used in everyday life.

“We want the campers to become better athletes,” said Coach Jack Lydic, Assistant Camp Director for the Huskies. “But there is more to life than just football. Our goal is to lay the groundwork for being a well-rounded individual.”

Love of sport and football is what brings the youths to these camps, and there the Huskies offers a variety of options which serve all aspects and age-ranges of players interested in furthering their football aspirations. They offer a Youth Camp for yonger players, specialty camps that develop specific football skill sets, camps for teams, and a Prospective Athlete Camp for graduating seniors aspiring to play at the next level.

The latest addition to the series of camps is the Defensive Lineman camp organized by Coach Bill Perkins, designed to improve defensive lineman’s techniques and skill sets. Regardless of the skills involved, all members of the Huskies’ coaching staff are available, as well as the coaches from the attending school’s staff.

“We try to get the coaches from the other teams involved in our coaching methods,” said Lydic. “It’s really important to get as many coaches for the kids as we can, so they get proper instruction.” Personal and small group instruction is important as well, with the player to coach ratio at these camps is less than 10:1.

Bloomsburg’s Football staff cares about the quality of instruction that all of their campers get; so they incorporate their own varsity athletes as assistant coaches. Roughly 10-12 of the Huskies’ own athletes are involved annually in the instruction, teaching the campers basic fundamentals, and giving them advice about teamwork and sportsmanship.

Jarrett Pidgeon, three year starter at linebacker for the Huskies, has been attending the Youth Camp that the Huskies offer since his freshman year.

“I think it’s really important for the players to be involved coaching the kids,” said Pidgeon. “When I was a kid we always looked up to the older athletes as role models, it’s only proper that we do the same.”

During the team camp, the Huskies coaching staff has drills in order to test the competitive skills of the athletes, and present awards to those athletes whom excel at their specific position. However, the focus for the youth camp is to collectively promote sportsmanship, team camaraderie, and basic skills of the game.

“The purpose of the team camp is to promote synergy and competition for all teams that attend,” said Coach Lydic. “But the underlying theme for our youth camp is to stress the fundamentals of football and just focus on having fun.”

[box type=”shadow”]For more information on all Bloomsburg University Sports Camps, please visit the BU Camps Website or contact the Camp Directors for individual sports directly. The dates and costs for 2012’s football camps are as follows:

Youth Development Camp, June 11-13: 9:00am-1:00pm $100.00 per camper ($50 for additional siblings)

Defensive Lineman Camp, June 30: 9:00am – 4:00pm, $100.00 per camper

Team Camp July 22-25: $300/camper – Boarding, $225/camper – Commuting[/box]

[box type=”bio”]By Bloomsburg University Student, Dylan Spangler. Dylan is a Junior majoring in Mass Communications.[/box]

Sexual Abuse Q&A with Bloomsburg University

Dr. David SoltzGiven recent events at Penn State, we felt it might be helpful to talk with Bloomsburg University officials to discuss the policies and procedures related to sexual abuse on campus.  President Soltz issued a statement several days after the events at Penn State transpired which encouraged those in the university community to alert authorities about potential sexual abuse that may be occurring on campus.  However, we wanted to dig a little deeper in order to discuss what training and procedures are in place behind the scenes and what the requirements for reporting are for university police.  In addition, given that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men are sexual abuse victims, we wanted to find out what types of resources Bloomsburg University provides for those impacted by sexual abuse.

We read your statement about defining the process for reporting potential sexual abuse cases, with people encouraged to go directly to university police.  What compelled you to make the statement?

With the recent headlines, this was a good time to review BU’s current policy as well as remind the campus community of the proper protocol.

You encourage anyone in the university to notify campus police if they have reason to believe there is abuse going on.  That is fantastic, but on the other side, what are you telling campus police? Are there training or sensitivity programs going on there to help them deal with any potential cases?  Are they equipped to respond?

BU takes a team approach in addressing cases of sexual abuse / sexual harassment. Our campus police are part of that team. Within the last three weeks, the team attended a training session on this topic. Additionally, BU hosted a two-day workshop on how to conduct investigations involving sexual assault/sexual harassment cases. The university also consults with PASSHE (Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education) legal counsel on a regular basis to ensure we are handling cases of this nature in an appropriate manner.

With regard to campus police, what is their reporting role/process to town or state police?  If a case of abuse is brought forward, are they legally obligated to share that information?

If a crime is reported on campus, it is in the jurisdiction of Bloomsburg University Safety and Police Department. BU Police will investigate, consult with the DA and file charges. Like our counterparts, Bloomsburg Town Police, we submit a unified crime report monthly to the State Police.

Clearly in the case of Jerry Sandusky, people were potentially incredulous — when faced with rumors and potential incidents –because he was thought to be such a good, upstanding person who had such high standing. And with 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men sexually abused at some point in their life, this is probably going on in every town and on every campus across the country.  How do we convey to the university community that anyone can be a victim and anyone can be a perpetrator?

There’s information on the University Web site regarding sexual assault/sexual harassment. (http://www.bloomu.edu/Title_IX) Educational information is emailed and posted around campus detailing how to report allegations of sexual assault / sexual abuse. (http://www.bloomu.edu/wrc)

What resources do you have on campus for sexual abuse victims?

In addition to the BU Police, the team includes representatives from the Office of Social Equity, Women’s Resource Center, University Counseling Services, Residence Life and the Office of Student Standards. When an incident is reported, the Title IX coordinator is obligated to coordinate services with all of the offices involved. This ensures our police are notified and involved immediately. Additionally, if a student is harmed, residence life and the counseling services are on hand to provide support and resources. It’s important to note the Women’s Resource Center is readily available to assist any individual who has been a victim of sexual assault or abuse.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on gender in educational programs which receive federal financial assistance. Programs and activities which may be included are: academic programs, admissions, athletics, employment and recruitment, financial aid and university housing.

Title IX clearly prohibits sexual harassment which includes sexual assault and violence.

Bloomsburg Nursing Leader Elected to Post in Nursing Honor Society

The Community Accomplishments Column focuses on the great things local people are doing both in town and around the world.  If you have an accomplishment that you would like to see featured, feel free to email us at info@thebloomsburgdaily.com.

Dee Welk, Faculty Emeritus of the Department of Nursing, Bloomsburg University, and member of the BU Theta Zeta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), the Honor Society of Nursing, was recently elected to the Indiana-based STTI’s Board of Directors and as the Chair of the Regional Chapters Coordinating Committee. The mission of the Honor Society of Nursing is to support the learning, knowledge and professional development of nurses committed to making a difference in health worldwide. Dee will chair a 20-member committee of nurse leaders throughout the world who support some 500 honor society chapters and their officers to accomplish the goals of the honor society.

For the first time, in addition to North America, nurse leaders have been elected from Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, and Latin/South America/Caribbean regions as more chapters are forming in the Society’s global outreach. Dee says, “I am really honored to be able to serve this organization, having been elected to it 37 years ago when I was a graduate student at Penn. I was also able to be an organizer and chartering member of BU’s own chapter, Theta Zeta, in 1986 and have received much support for my professional career through these affiliations. Except for one meeting in January 2012 with the 20 members in Indiana, my work will be electronic and I know my online teaching experiences will be very useful over the next two years in working with this large widespread group. I never imagined having such an opportunity to work with nurses all over the world but I will certainly enjoy the challenge!”

Dee resides in Bloomsburg and St Croix with her husband Fran.

BU Welcomes Students’ Parents and Families

BLOOMSBURG— Families of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania students will get to sample campus life during this year’s annual Parents’ and Family Weekend Friday to Sunday, Oct. 28 to 30. The weekend’s events will include athletic events, professional entertainment and recreational opportunities.

BU President David Soltz will welcome family members during an open forum Saturday, Oct. 29, at 1 p.m. in the Kehr Union Fireside Lounge. Other weekend events include:

-A show by comedy magician, Adam Trent, Friday, Oct. 28, at 9 p.m. in the Kehr Union Ballroom. The event is free for BU students and family members

-BU’s Quest’s open high ropes and climbing wall event on Saturday, Oct. 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

-A football matchup between BU’s Huskies and C.W. Post Saturday Oct. 29, at 2:30 p.m. in the Redman Stadium.  At halftime the Huskies Marching Band will perform and the winning essay in the Parents of the Day contest will be read. Tickets, at $10 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens will be available at the gate.  Admission is free for BU student and children under 5.

– A Celebrity Artist Series performance by comedian Josh Blue. The winner of 2006’s “Last Comic Standing” will perform Saturday, Oct. 29, at 8 p.m. in Haas Center for the Arts, Mitrani Hall. For this show, BU students, parents and family members receive a BU student ticket price of $15 per person. Contact the Box Office at (570) 389-4409 for tickets or information.

The weekend’s events will begin informally Friday, Oct. 28, when family members may sit in on their students’ classes, with permission from instructors.  On Saturday, Oct. 29, a buffet dinner will be served in Scranton Commons from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Activities on Sunday, Oct. 30, will include a Protestant worship service and  Catholic mass, both at 11 a.m. in Kehr Union.

For a complete Parents’ and Family Weekend schedule, see www.bloomu.edu/family/ParentsWeekend.pdf.

Article Courtesy of Bloomsburg University

An Interview with Bloomsburg University President David Soltz

Many of us have the impression that given a week off from school due to a natural disaster, the typical college student would go home to see family or take a road trip to visit friends.  The scenario we envision would probably not include staying in a flood-ravaged town without running water and scooping sewage-laced river mud out of a home twelve blocks away from the student’s apartment.  However, in the aftermath of the 2011 flood, Bloomsburg University students gave tremendously to the relief effort. In addition, the entire university community — faculty, staff, students, and administrators — came together and assisted in nearly every aspect of the relief.

We wanted to find out the exact details of the university involvement, so we went straight to the top.  Dr. David Soltz, the President of Bloomsburg University, recently took time from his busy schedule to answer questions related to the university’s role in the flood relief for Bloomsburg.  He also provided us with a detailed list of the facts and numbers associated with the university’s assistance to the effort.

Not only did the university community stick around to help, but they did so in a way that demonstrates a great deal of concern for the town they all call home — whether for four years or a lifetime.

Was there any official call from groups like The Red Cross or AGAPE, or did the Bloomsburg University community just respond to the flood relief spontaneously?

Initially the university responded spontaneously. As an official call was made, we responded directly to those needs, such as providing gloves for cleaning, food to AGAPE and porta-potties. Our efforts were coordinated with AGAPE. We sent buses to AGAPE to transport volunteers to locations where assistance was needed.

Are there housing issues that have arisen because of students whose residences were affected by flooding?

Fortunately, we were able to identify the potential number of students impacted early on and provide alternative housing options on campus or locally. Our Community Government Association (CGA) reached out to students, notifying them of CGA’s ability to assist them with replacing personal items and property lost, as well.

On a personal note, the tremendous involvement by the university community must make you proud.  Do you have any comments related to that?

I am very proud of the BU community. Their efforts made a great difference and exemplified our core values of community, collaboration, respect and integrity. We proudly served our close-knit community as a resource and with action.

Town and Gown relations can be difficult for any community or university.  Do you think the significant involvement in flood relief efforts will create new or ongoing opportunities for town and gown engagement?

Yes. Our involvement with the town recovery efforts has favorably changed the perception of BU faculty, staff and students for many town residents. They see us as a resource and neighbor. We’d like to continue to build upon that sense of community.

There seemed to be a heavy involvement from sports teams.  Which teams participated and who organized their efforts?

All sports teams were involved. The effort was organized by the Athletic Director Mike McFarland.

Do you have stories of faculty, staff, and students who were personally affected by the flooding?

44 faculty and staff were impacted. 120 students resided in the affected areas and an estimated 13 experienced significant loss.

Are there ongoing or future plans for flood relief assistance that will involve the university?

We are working with Bloomsburg School District to provide alternative venues for their athletic activities.  Acacia (a student greek organization) volunteered to help restore the local ball fields at Town Park.  We continue to provide assistance through a coordinated effort between BU’s SOLVE office and AGAPE.  And we currently are in discussion with town officials regarding other needs we may be able to help meet.

How can we better share these positive stories of town and gown engagement?

Communicate the outstanding academic accomplishments, community initiatives and programs that are taking place on BU’s campus. Many of our programs are open to the public and serve BU’s surrounding community, including the Celebrity Artist Series, reading and math programs, athletic camps, the Hearing and Speech Clinic, teaching and tutoring partnerships with the local school districts, and events sponsored by our living and learning communities that integrate the academic curriculum, leadership opportunities and civic engagement. Additionally, we need to communicate the impact of our students and faculty in their respective academic disciplines and local communities.

Bloomsburg University’s Involvement in Flood Recovery:  The Facts and Numbers

Approximately how many students helped in the flood recovery effort in Bloomsburg?  How many Faculty/Staff?

  • More than 350 students volunteered.
  • About 100 Greek students assisted in local homes and organized various aid drives in their hometowns. 95 percent of all fraternities and sororities participated in the cleanup in some way. All have plans to continue with their service projects.
  • Bloomsburg University provided 168 hours of support to the county through clerical staffing of the Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Phone Bank and other assistance to the Emergency Operations Center. 16 staff participated in this effort over the four-day period.
  • BU Athletic Department staff and athletic teams logged a total of 2,542 hours of volunteer time. Teams participating include: women’s basketball, wrestling, men’s soccer, cross country, men’s and women’s tennis, baseball, women’s soccer, men’s basketball, lacrosse, softball, football, field hockey and swimming.
  • University Police logged 83.25 hours in support of the town police.
  • Facilities Management logged 1,853 hours in support of the cleanup efforts in the town and the county.
What types of things did they work on?
  • BU buses and operators transported displaced residents to the Berwick emergency shelter.
  • 10 pieces of heavy equipment and operators assisted in cleanup efforts.
  • Student-athletes and other students assisted with cleanup efforts. For example:
– Kappa Sigma fraternity helped the cleanup in town.
– Nancy Gentile Ford, professor of history, volunteered with the local Red Cross from the first warning of the flood. Michelle Kurtz, a BU senior, was active with the Red Cross and posted many messages on Facebook leading others to the Red Cross.
– Chi Theta Pi sorority organized efforts to help clean local houses and worked at the shelter in Berwick.
– Delta Epsilon Beta sorority assisted with cleanup at the Barn at Boone’s Dam, helping owner and BU alumna Ruth Kranig ’94, who provided free meals for volunteers and those affected by flooding.
– BU student-athletes volunteered before and after their practices and competitions.
– BU field hockey and soccer teams ripped out a ruined floor on West Third Street.
– BU wrestling team demolished a ruined wall on West Third Street and emptied buckets of sludge from homes on Leonard Street.
  • Annie’s Place animal shelter on BU’s upper campus housed as many as 20 dogs and five cats.
  • We communicated all town information, including road closings and press releases, to the BU community (many of whom are town residents, PPL and United Water customers) via emails, texts, Web, radio and TV announcements.
  • Volunteers removed mud, dry wall and soiled belongings from homes.
  • Volunteers either helped homeowners clean and save them, or put them curbside for removal.
  • BU loaded a pickup truck with soft drink and Rita’s water ice and distributed the refreshments every afternoon to flood victims and their families for a break.
  • Volunteers washed loads of laundry.
  • BU purchased mops, buckets, latex gloves, work gloves, water, cleaning supplies, bleach, food and other supplies for donation.
  • Volunteers sorted and folded clothing at local churches for distribution and worked at the Wesley United Methodist Church/Caldwell Consistory serving food to flood victims.

What other types of flood assistance did the university provide to the town?

  • Supplied and placed 50 porta-potties in the Town of Bloomsburg
  • Bused student volunteers for house cleaning; provided transportation to and from the flood area for other volunteers
  • Collected and delivered cleaning supplies
  • Helped pump water out of homes with the fire department
  • Helped deliver drinking water, which was stored and distributed from BU’s upper campus
  • Provided large equipment, such as bulldozers to help with the cleanup
  • Housed the National Guard at Monty’s on BU’s upper campus

Saturday Morning Sports Links

We have three great local football match-ups on tap for today.

The rain may have postponed the Bloomsburg High School Panthers’ game versus Hughesville yesterday, but it gives us all a second chance to get to Hughesville and support the Panthers tonight.  The game is at Hughesville Junior/Senior High School at 7:00 PM. Also, you should definitely take a few minutes and read about quarterback Blake Rankin and the Panthers overcoming the adversity of the flood in this great Reading Eagle article.

The disastrous flood which moved foundations and canceled the traditional Bloomsburg Fair, hasn’t derailed a Panthers squad which has stuck together like a family and suffered just their first loss of the season Friday night to Southern Columbia. That’s a miracle of sorts for a team that was displaced from their practice facility at Bloomsburg High School, losing most of its equipment and its field house.  The Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets as well as area high schools have made donations to the Bloomsburg football program. The Jets donated 300 boxes of cleats. “Very difficult time for people in our area and we were very fortunate as a football team that only two kids were affected,” Rankin said. Underneath the mud and water that ravaged Bloomsburg is a Division-I bound quarterback. Earlier this year, Rankin gave a verbal commitment to play quarterback at Rutgers University.

At the college level, the number three Bloomsburg University Huskies will play the Shippensburg Red Raiders at 1 p.m., with pregame coverage starting at 12:45 p.m.  If you can’t make  it to Redman Stadium, watch the game via Bloomsburg University’s Live Streaming Channel.

Also, we have homecoming in Happy Valley today as the Penn State Nittany Lions take on the Purdue Boilermakers  at 12:00 PM.  If you aren’t in State College tailgating or can’t catch the game on the Big Ten Network, check out GoPSUsports.com or follow Onward State on Twitter for live tweets of the play-by-play action.

Photo Courtesy of Anderson Mancini