Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ferris In The News

MCO Family Health Care Clinic Offers Vision Services for Community

Amber Roberts, 30, of Big Rapids, said she has needed glasses for months, but a recent cut in Medicaid means she cannot purchase them, reports the Big Rapids Pioneer. Roberts, a Ferris State University student, said she cannot afford glasses. The mother of four adds, “If it wasn’t for Medicaid, I couldn’t bring my kids to the eye doctor.” Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s executive order to balance the state’s budget cut funding to most state departments this summer. As a result, Medicaid coverage for routine eye exams were eliminated for patients 21 years or older starting July 1. Dr. Renee Mika, associate professor, Michigan College of Optometry, said the university has responded to an increase in Lake County by setting up an eye care center for uninsured and underinsured patients in Baldwin. At the Family Health Care Clinic, Ferris Optometry students – under the supervision of university faculty – provide vision services at reduced rates for eligible patients. “For those patients who have lost their routine vision services through Medicaid, I want them to know that there are resources available, such as community health centers that include sliding-scale fees,” she said.

Kendall Students Lend Artistic Hand to Benefit Guiding Light Mission

The annual event to support Guiding Light Mission was held in downtown Grand Rapids Wednesday night and was called “Faces of Homelessness,” WZZM13 reports. Kendall College art students helped to create decorative masks that were auctioned off during the dinner. The masks were molded from the faces of men who have escaped homelessness and addiction in Grand Rapids through help from the non-profit organization, which says it relies on private donations from the community to keep its programs running. According to Mary Stockreef, development manager, “Any one of us could find ourselves being homeless. All it takes is one parent to lose a job, some sort of setback, a death in the family or a mom that’s a working mom.” Guiding Light Mission helps individuals and families year-round by providing more than 100 beds per night and 2,200 meals per week. It also provides various programs to help homeless men like Bob VanLaan get back on their feet.

Coles Returns to Alma Mater to Discuss Collegiate Athletics

High school athletes hoping to compete at the collegiate level need to come up with a game plan in order to achieve their ambition. That was a message from Ferris State associate athletic director and Greenville High School graduate Jon Coles, who spoke to parents and student-athletes prior to the Ferris-Aquinas men’s basketball game, the Greenville Daily News reports. Coles detailed what student-athletes wanting to make that next move should do in order to get noticed. He used his own experiences as an example. “I didn’t do what I needed to do to get noticed,” he said, adding that one’s high school coach will be a student-athlete’s key ally. At Ferris, Coles' primary duties are overseeing the Athletics department’s business operations, working as the marketing and promotions director, and coordinating game day management for football and hockey. Read more at

A Behind-The-Scenes Look At Ferris State University Hockey

BIG RAPIDS - The Central Collegiate Hockey Association cameras always seem to find their way into some of the most interesting places around the league.

CCHA cameras went on a guided tour of Ferris State University's hockey locker room and offices area inside of the Ewigleben Ice Arena.

Your tour guide is Ferris captain Cody Chupp.

Source is the CCHA:


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

White Ribbon Campaign Sparks Awareness of Violence Against Women

BIG RAPIDS – Men at Ferris State University are saying “No” to violence against women with the White Ribbon Campaign, being held Nov. 5 through Dec. 5.

During the month of November, men around campus will be showcasing their commitment to ending violence against women by wearing a white ribbon, said Nicholas Campau, coordinator of Student Life at Ferris.

The purpose of the White Ribbon Campaign is to educate men about all forms of violence against women (physical, sexual and emotional), Campau explained. The campaign also will help young men become aware of the impact that violence has on women, as well as give them a chance to reflect on their behavior.
Organizers also hope the campaign will continue the dialogue that was started by “Take Back the Night,” a program designed for people to take a stand against domestic violence and sexual assault. The White Ribbon Campaign is a way for men and Ferris to say (by wearing a white ribbon) that they will never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.

“By including men in the efforts to end violence against women, we start to break down barriers and are able to start fostering change in our community,” Campau said. “Our hope is that the community will begin to embrace the idea that violence against women is everyone’s issue.”
Other activities supporting the campaign include tying white ribbons to all trees located in Ferris’ Campus Quad, creating bulletin boards with anti-violence messages to be displayed in campus residence halls and educational displays in the Rankin Student Center, as well as hosting educational informational tables in the Interdisciplinary Resource Center.

Organizers of the campaign include Ferris’ Dean of Student Life Office, Counseling Center, Committee on Sexual Assault, Delta Chi Fraternity, Inc., and Women’s Information Services, Inc.

For more information or to help with the campaign, call Campau at (231) 591-2949.
Check out News Services at Ferris State University:

Question of the Month: "White Man's Burden"

November 2009

Q: A speaker came to (our) campus this semester to discuss world poverty. His major point was that America and Europe, because of their great wealth, had the responsibility to lead the worldwide fight against poverty. Most of the audience agreed with that, but he angered some in the audience when he referred to this responsibility as the "White Man's Burden." Should the people in the audience have gotten angry?

Jasmine Mitchell
Bloomington, Indiana

A: To answer your question I will need to take your attention back more than a century. In 1899, Rudyard Kipling, a famed English poet, had his poem "The White Man's Burden" published in McClure's, a monthly magazine popular at the turn of the 20th century. The poem found online at and subtitled "The United States and the Philippine Islands," was an appeal to the United States to assume the task of developing the Philippines, a country recently won in the Spanish-American War. Of course, "developing" a nation won in war looks a lot like empire-building, a fact that did not trouble Kipling, who respected the British Empire to the point of hero worship.

The first stanza of the Kipling poem reads:

Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Kipling's poem is unabashedly ethnocentric. It reflects a worldview that sees and treats non-European people and cultures as primitive and childlike. Kipling's poem is a patronizing charge urging White people to help develop (read: civilize) the people of color found in the Philippine Islands and other "inferior" cultures. For Kipling, the brave philanthropic conquerors – whether from the British Empire or the fledgling American Empire – would provide the dominated people with food, medicine, and Western ways of living. The vanquished would have stability and peace, and would eventually morph into dark clones of their supposedly benevolent vanquishers. Though, in the third stanza, Kipling conceded that the experiment – owing to "sloth and heathen folly – might not work:

Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest

The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Although my doctorate is in sociology and not literary analysis, I believe that the word burden in the poem has multiple meanings, including the responsibilities of empire-building, generally; the burden of developing and governing a specific people; and, the vanquished people themselves. In Kipling's worldview, these would all be real burdens to be carried on the shoulders of superior White civilizations. For Kipling and like-minded others, this worldview was not jingoistic imperialism; rather, it was the natural order of things.

Words matter. Words are more than sound signs; they are carriers of meanings. To say, as the speaker did at your campus "White Man's Burden, "is to tap into centuries-old notions about racial and cultural differences. Even today the phrase retains the idea of the presumed responsibility of White people to care for and impart Western culture to nonwhite people; though, the concept does not usually extend to justifying colonizing other cultures. It nonetheless remains a condescending view of non-Western national culture and economic traditions. Given this, I understand why some members of a present-day audience would object to its use.

But please keep in mind, some things are bigger than others. Whereas I might have disapproved of the speaker's use of the phrase, I believe that the bigger concern should be our need to focus on strategies for addressing world poverty. Almost 2 million children die each year for want of a glass of clean water and adequate sanitation.1 More than a billion people in the world are hungry and do not have the resources to satiate that hunger.2 If today is like yesterday and the day before that, almost 16,000 children will die from hunger-related causes. That's one child every five seconds!3 In 2005, almost 1.4 billion people lived below the international poverty line, earning less than $1.25 per day.4 Almost half the world – over three billion people – live on less than $2.50 a day.5 These statistics are bad and they will be made worse by the worldwide economic crisis.

The implicit messages in Kipling's poem – that Western cultures are morally and culturally superior to non-Western cultures, that they have an obligation to spread Western traditions, and inferior nations and peoples will benefit from being subsumed into White empires – are deeply troubling for me. These 19th century feed-the-heathens messages are best left in the past. Philanthropy wrapped in notions of cultural superiority is not true altruism. We must let go of the perceptions of others as "Half-devil and half-child."

That said, I want to make a point clearly: We should help poor nations and poor people! This help should be collaborative and led or guided by the people in those nations. If we have technology that they believe is useful we should share those tools. We should share our resources, and do so not because we want the beneficiaries to walk like, talk like, act like, pray like, and govern like we do. We should help not because we are "better," but because we may have the good fortune of having more economic means or food, educational, or other resources. Helping others is simply the right thing to do. Helping others is not a burden for White men or any other group, but is an opportunity for all men and women, irrespective of hue.

I am grateful for all the work that is being done to decrease abject poverty in South Asian, sub-Sahari Africa, the United States, and in every country. There are thousands of people who have made their life's work the improvement of the lives of poor people. These people should be applauded. Unfortunately, much of the poverty that chokes this world is a product of institutionalized patterns of inequality. It will take decades, maybe centuries, to address these patterns. In the meantime, I applaud the fact that you, others in the audience, and the speaker took the time to dialogue about poverty. Please continue that dialogue. When we look at poverty throughout the world, there is a tendency to believe that our actions can not matter. One way to make sense of this is to direct some of your advocacy toward local people. Trust me when I tell you that there are people in your town who go to bed hungry.


1 "Beyond Scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water supply," Human Development Report 2006,, accessed October 14, 2009.

2 State of Food Insecurity in the World, 2008 FAO."Food Security Statistics".

3 Black, Robert, Morris, Saul, & Jennifer Bryce. "Where and Why Are 10 Million Children Dying Every Year?" The Lancet 361:2226-2234. 2003.

4 Global Purchasing Power Parities and Real Expenditures. The World Bank. 2005 International Comparison Program. August 2008.

5 Shah, Anup, "Poverty Facts and Stats,", accessed October 4, 2009.November 2009 response by David Pilgrim, Curator, Jim Crow Museum


Learn more about the case for expanding the Jim Crow Museum and how you cna help:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ferris In The News

Grand Haven’s Marc Sheehan’s Passion is Poetry

Marc J. Sheehan may be a communications officer for Ferris State University in Big Rapids, but the Grand Haven resident’s true passion is writing poetry, reports. In 2008, a collection of his poems entitled Vengeful Hymns was awarded the Ron Snyder Prize given by Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio. As a result, his poetry was published and released in 2009 by the Ashland Poetry Press. “Being a poet is to be a member of what seems to be an ever-diminishing community,” Sheehan said. “There are few in history who have ever been able to support themselves solely as poets. You don’t do it for the money.” Sheehan said that he writes about the powerful themes of life, which for him are nature, irony, joy, life, death, loss and loneliness. “Ideas come to me and I have a need to exercise the idea, scratch that itch because it’ll just keep gnawing at you,” he said. “What is my purpose in writing poetry? In the words of Wordsworth, ‘to enlighten and entertain.’ If I can do that, it’s about as good as it gets.” As with many writers, place provides a solid ground to the writing and location informs a major role in Sheehan’s work. Read more at

Chesaning High School Tennis Team Sees Advantages From Ferris PTM Program

There’s a pipeline to professional tennis that runs through the Chesaning boys tennis program, reports While the Indians aren’t grooming players for Wimbledon or the U.S. Open, they do have a program that is finding a way to have former and current players stay involved in the sport for a living. Senior Troy Harmon, only the second singles player in school history to record more than 20 wins in a season, will continue in tennis at Ferris State University. He’ll become the seventh player to join the college’s Professional Tennis Management program. “The kids here play a lot of tennis,” Chesaning coach Dave Gasper said. “They’re out there every summer playing. We had five kids a while ago that went to tennis camp up there and got really good. They got hooked and wanted to go to college there.” Gasper’s two sons, Mark and Adam, both went through the program and have jobs in the field. Read more at

Ferris Professors Discuss Lure of Vampire Lore

Since Author Bram Stoker unleashed Dracula in 1897, vampires have long been a part of the world’s pop-culture scene, especially in literature and cinema, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. Why is popular culture enjoying such a feeding frenzy on these scary stories? It could be because they’re so subversively sexy, said Lynn Anderson, bookseller at Great Lakes Book and Supply. “It’s all about holding back temptation,” Anderson said, particularly of the Twilight series. That drama, and romance, is what Ferris State University professor Robert Von der Osten believes is driving the current vampire craze. Beginning with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, audiences have loved the tale of dangerous and forbidden love affairs between vampires and humans. Avid vampire and zombie fan, and Ferris professor Randy Groves said humans have always desired immortality – something vampires possess, even though they are technically dead. The fantasy surrounding vampires allows people to vicariously deal with many things considered “taboo,” he added.