Category Archives: On-Campus

Frequent Student Center Group Dismissive Towards Stereotypes

By Eric Bedner

While the large group of gamers, seated at the couches in the Student Center, have found their niche in society, they often find it difficult to escape the similar labels they experienced in high school.

“There was an immediate connection,” said senior, Patrick Willkinson, a Communications major. Willkinson’s sentiment is shared with nearly all of the so-called “couch people,” who more often than not, were considered by others to be outcasts in their respective high schools.

“In high school I didn’t have many friends, and now I have a ton of friends who all have similar interests,” said junior, Emily Dombroski, a Biology major.

The interest in numerous computer and console games is a contributing factor to the comradery in the group, but Magic: The Gathering is the most popular game, by far. Magic, the first game of its kind, is a card based game, derived from other fantasy role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons, with approximately 12 million players worldwide.

There are some commonalities among the group members. One being that although they played the game while they were in high school, they rarely, if ever, played where their peers could see them. Many went to card shops or events to avoid the ridicule they may have received otherwise.

Junior, Frank Gialluca, a psychology major, says he is one of the few exceptions. While attending University High School of Science and Engineering, Gialluca had a group of friends that he would play with, and said that 99 percent of people in my high school played Magic.

Magic players and other gamers were clearly far more accepted at his high school. Again, this is the exception.

In general, people noticed the “couchies” very early on in their career at CCSU. Their position in the Student Center makes them hard to miss to passersby, and gives those with similar interests a wide, accepting door to walk through.

Bethany Kiefer, a student at Tunxis Community College, met her boyfriend, senior, Nick Lowe, a biology major, at the couches. They have been going out for two years, and he taught her to play Magic.

“At some point in our lives, we didn’t belong anywhere,” said Kiefer. Even in their group there are cliques. According to the group, some of the complaints were that people could be loud and disrespectful, leaving large amounts of trash on the tables, only to be cleaned every night by the custodians.

Even though, at times, there may be some personality conflicts, the ridicule many of the “couchies” have experienced affords them empathy.

“They come in because they don’t fit in,” said Kiefer. “And we don’t want to push them away.”

The CCSU Memes Facebook page is a place where the term “couch critters” is often used. The amount of posts mocking the group are too numerous to count. They include various posts implying that the “couchies” are dirty, odorous people, and Jonathan Pare claims that he left the University to avoid such mockery.

While there are minor conflicts, they tend to be ended relatively quickly. There are, however, exceptions, such as the debate that started over who was the best captain of the Enterprise. The jury is still out.

Often the so-called “nerds,” people criticized for their intellect, are ostracized from “mainstream” society, affording them the ability to empathize with others. Their relative isolation can also help them to hone their particular skills, in the same way it enabled Bill Gates, the king of the nerds, to write the program for Windows. Time will tell who the outcasts of society truly are.

Faculty Presents Work At Art Exhibit

By Tyler Scott

The faculty art exhibit in Maloney Hall kicked off Thursday afternoon with crowds of people filling the second floor gallery.

The myriad of different works on display were accompanied by talks from artists Terry Feder, Ron Todd, and Charles Menoche.

The variety of pieces featured in the exhibition encompassed the diversity of visual arts. Those who attended the opening reception that took place 4-7 p.m., orbited around sculptures in the room and pictures on the wall.

There was a feeling of “randomness” due to the lack of a prevailing theme. Political works were juxtaposed with portraits and landscapes, which did not seem to bother the equally ecliptic students and teachers observing them.

Terry Feder had 3 works on display; ‘Flowers’, ‘Candy’, and ‘Birds’. She went into detail explaining her piece, ‘Birds.’ Made with oil paint on a canvas wrapped in aluminium, the painting featured a metal pitcher with red and green birds flowing out. The piece expressed how nature cannot be contained by modern technology.

“Writing teachers tell us to write about what we know and love, I believe it should be the same for visual arts,” said Feder.

Ron Todd and Charles Menoche presented their project, ‘ANT,’ a 3 minute video loop of a swarming ant colony in the desert with a surreal, ambient audio component. The artists explained the tedious, and sometimes dangerous, means by which they filmed the colony. They related the hazards of working with the ants and encounters with scorpions.

The audio track played behind it provided an anxious tone to the video. Menoche went into detail about the different audio programs he used to synthesize the track. Todd told the audience process of selecting the various sounds they used. The artist team incorporated more synthetic sounds to acquire the eerie tone and rejected a lot of organic sounds. When put together with the video, the sound provided a sense of motion that blended with the video zooming in and out on the bustling colony of ants.

Other works on display included a huge piece by Mark Stapthy, called ‘Berlin Turnpike 1848.’ The wide picture, crafted from distemper on paper, added a localised touch to the mix of art.

Adam Niklewicz contributed a rotating sculpture constructed from the remains of a chicken soup. Niklewicz arranged the chicken bones into a sculpture that balanced on an overturned glass pot top.

In the center of the gallery, Vincente Garcia’s ‘Steel Disk’ sculpture stood. The intricate metal work filled the room nicely, as people circled it to move about the gallery.

The artwork will be on display through Oct 11, 1-4 p.m. Monday- Friday. Anyone can stop by the second floor of Maloney Hall to experience the diversity of modern art and the incredible talent of the faculty that run CCSU’s Art Department.

Controlled Chaos: Slipknot Concert Review

By Danny Contreras

Shawn Crahan, Slipknot
Shawn taunts the crowd during Slipknot's performance.

“We’re more than just a band and its fans. We’re family,” said Corey Taylor in between songs, pumping the Comcast Theatre crowd.

Slipknot closed Rockstar Energy Drink’s Mayhem Festival after The Meadows were battered by a thunderstorm. Heavy metal cannot describe the intensity of this festival. The two smaller stages contained some of the leading acts in the industry with Dirtfedd, As I Lay Dying and whitechapel opening a chaotic day.

Danger filled the day. Amidst the heavy crowd, rain poured throughout, and the audience had to seek shelter due to an impending thunderstorm, with cloud to ground lightning, slowly making its way to Hartford.

Slipknot took the stage at 9:15 PM, following a Satanic set by metal gods, Slayer. Thrash pumped everyone in the crowd up before a video with Anthrax’s Scott Ian asking: “are you ready, maggots?” the endearing term by which Slipknot refers to its fans. And how could anyone argue otherwise when bodies just amassed everywhere in the Comcast Theatre?

Opening with “(sic)” Slipknot got down and dirty from the beginning. Dropped tuned guitars machine gunned for fifteen minutes as they made their way through their earlier songs. “Wait and Bleed” played fourth; the crowd echoing Corey Taylor’s melodic voice, as the extra percussion provided by Shawn and Chris, thundered along  with the light show nature provided the audience.

The band wore red jumpsuits similar to the ones they wore during Iowa. The masks had changed for about 50% of the band members, with half of them wearing their Vol. 3 get ups, and the other wearing masks from the self-titled and All Hope is Gone.

Midway through their fourteen song set, a dark interlude akin of gothic metal bands lowered the intensity and gave the band the chance to sing one of their darker songs, “Gently.” Dropping from above, white confetti mimicked fragments of skin which glistened with the yellow and purple lights. Corey dropped his microphone and kneeled, yelling low notes from a short distance to the microphone. Sid withdrew himself from the throng and sampled distorted voices.  The demons had been summoned. “Gently” transitioned into “Vermillion.” Obsessions were burned on the pyre as the creepy chorus was sang by the audience and the band members: “She isn’t real. I can’t make her real.”

Then, everyone present had to face a daunting, painful memory: the death of Paul Gray, a founding member, and bassist. The background changed to reflect his number, #2. The air stood still, and the audience knew why. Chaos incarnate was only words away. “I push my fingers into my eyes,” and the crowd sang along in memory of Gray. Reminiscent of the music video, “Duality” started with slow moving audience members ready to tear everything apart. People started hugging each other, arm in arms, swaying to a decaying rhythm, the only thing that made all the maggots feel part of the Slipknot family. This wasn’t just a concert. This was a ritual—a rite of passage for fans because doing this “is the only that slowly stops the ache.”

Unfortunately, things had to come to an end. But still, this whole concert, the very first one in Hartford since Paul Gray’s death, needed to end with the exorcising of demons and so the best way to honor a man, and save ourselves from personal destruction was to “Spit it Out.”

In search of a concert record, Taylor commanded every audience and band member to get down on the ground. A grenade had been thrown and we needed to avoid it by “jumping the f*ck up.” And we all obediently agreed. He rapped his way through the chorus, then the bridge, then he commanded us to jump. That split second of clean air, felt like a realization of a dream. And right after everyone headbanged.

And while it may have been an amazing ending, the band needed to get a message straight. A message of solidarity: you’re not alone, and you will get through it. “People = S#!T,” and “Surfacing” played after as conclusions to an epic journey. What a blissful moment.

The sky lit up to the voices of the fans and the band members. The ecstasy had run its course, and coming down felt bad. This is one thing one can experience every day; a dangerous drug with everlasting side effects. But one that we cannot blame addicts for choosing. This band provided an escape for all its fans. And before the band said good-bye, Corey needed to warn everyone. Warn the world that things, no matter how bad they seemed, “were just beginning.” Oh, 2013 will be a great year for maggots.