Online Learning Continues to Grow at IPFW

More college students are choosing laptops over lecture halls.

According to the Online Learning Consortium, a continuous growth and enrollment in distance education, in spite of decreased overall enrollment, marks a substantial transition in contemporary learning.

The newest study from Babson Survey Research Group indicates the growing trend, with 5.8 million college students or 28 percent of the college population currently enrolled in online courses.

At IPFW, distance education is experiencing proportionate growth.

“Overall enrollment has gone down a little bit,” said Assistant Director of Continuing Studies James Cashdollar, “while online enrollment has continued to expand.”

According to the Distance Learning website, IPFW provides 220 distance courses per semester, with four bachelor and three graduate degrees offered exclusively online.

Still, the Online Learning Consortium reports despite growth and expanded online programs, overall confidence among faculty members in distance education effectiveness is down.

Cashdollar doesn’t see it that way. Behind his standing desk he admits online learning has been stigmatized in some academic communities as less effective than face-to-face courses, but insists confidence among faculty at IPFW has only progressed.

Professor Adam Dircksen is the online course director for the department of communication. Before teaching online, he devised a thesis surrounding the ineffectiveness of distance courses. His experience teaching shifted that perception.

“If I were to have written my master’s thesis later, it wouldn’t have been an argument based on courses being ineffective due to a lack of interpersonal communication,” said Dircksen, “it would be online courses are more challenging to build connections.”

Dircksen said his present goal is to activate a sense of community in his online courses through strategic design and personal engagement.

“Building community in online courses is a lot of little things,” Dircksen said. “Video updates, smaller discussion groups, and weekly emails allow students to sense that someone is actually there.”

To compliment her busy work schedule, Jenna Fritz, a senior OLS major, said she has taken a third of her classes online.

Based on her experience with distance courses, Fritz considers certain subjects more effective when taught online than others. She said when it comes to online courses, small discussion forums and instructor input are key.

“I took some type of Photoshop class and I had no idea what was going on the whole semester.  I had to email other students for questions,” Fritz said. “She wasn’t there for us.”

Fritz and Dircksen both suggest the importance of engaging students online through contact extending beyond basic correspondence.

“Online learning can encourage an instructor to find more creative ways not only to engage students,” Dircksen said, “but to distribute materials and design assignments.”

Dircksen said it will be the willingness of faculty to embrace and transition into the online format that will define course effectiveness.  IPFW, he feels, is on board.

“We’ve grown tremendously in our online course offerings,” said Dircksen. “Faculty development of online courses is well supported here.”

Thousands Participate in the Women’s March on Chicago

Over 250,000img_1043-jpg women and allies gathered in downtown Chicago carrying vibrant signs for the Women’s March on Jan. 21.

Event Emcee Fawzia Mirza said the march was cancelled due to the unexpectedly large turnout that created a safety issue, and was instead a standing rally.

But people were still marching. Supporters formed small groups and marched independently through the packed streets, where other supporters were participating in the standing rally.

“If a woman’s right is affected or at stake, it’s important for everyone to show up,” Mirza said. “That’s why we’ve been hearing from the organizers that allies are welcome. Allies are needed. Allies are important.”

img_1164-jpgHundreds of these allies filled the provided seats to watch an array of speakers and performers present onstage.

These speakers included Broadway performers Ari Afsar and Karen Olivo from the cast of “Hamilton”.

One of the performers, Vernon Mina from So Chi Voices, said his group was there to represent issues that minorities and women face.

Mina said he was told to expect around 3,000 people, and was shocked when he heard there were hundreds of thousands in attendance.

“You see little girls and little boys with signs that say ‘stand up for my mom,’ or ‘women’s rights,’” Mina said. “It tells you that despite what’s happening in the government right now, there’s so many people here ready to fight for all these rights.”

Volunteer Betimg_1093-jpghany Williams said the event, held the day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, was meant to create a sense of unity and support amongst women and minorities whose rights are being threatened.

President Trump recently proposed plans to build a border wall with intentions of keeping immigrants out, as well as targeting women’s healthcare.

Two days after the marches, President Trump reinstated the “global gag rule,” banning U.S. funding to international healthcare organizations that provide abortion information or services.

Men, women and children were carrying signs with positive messages on them, but not all of the signs were as optimistic.img_1281

Some signs included more negative messages, such as one sign that said “sexual harasser in-chief” and “not my president.”

Despite some of the pessimism displayed on the signs, Mirza said she considered the march a success.

The Women’s March on Chicago was one of hundreds of women’s marches that were held worldwide. The total attendance was in the millions, making it one of the largest marches in history.

“Women’s rights are human rights,” Williams said.

The phrase was chanted loudly by the thousands of women and allies, reinforcing the inclusive message of the march.


Let Us Learn – IPFW Students and Faculty Fight Program Eliminations

Their signs, hand-crafted in Sharpie and tattered from the wind, said it all.

“My major matters.”

“IPFW leaders, stop lying to students.”

“Let us learn.”

For two days, IPFW students, faculty, and community members gathered outside of the school’s engineering building, drawing a crowd from the Obelisk to Kettler Hall.

The event, which served as a rally and “teach-in,” was created by faculty and the student group Not in Our Future intended to spread word about the proposed department cuts at the university.

Under the cover of a few tents, students and faculty braved the cold and spoke out against the closing of various majors.

“I was blown away with everything the students had to say,” said Janet Badia, director of the women’s studies program. “It didn’t surprise me students in the affected majors would have a lot to say, but it did surprise me that students who aren’t in those majors could see the way their education was going to be impacted by the changes.”


On Oct. 18, just a week prior to the teach-ins, Carl Drummond, the university’s vice chancellor for academic affairs, announced the closing of 25 departments and majors.

The departments to be cut included women’s studies, philosophy, and geology. The French and German programs were also suspended.

Audrey Leonard, a junior from Columbia City majoring in women’s studies and communications, is one of the students directly impacted by the closures.

Like most of the students in the affected majors, Leonard says she is disappointed in her university.

“The fact that it feels like they’re not valuing certain degrees, that’s the most heartbreaking, disappointing thing to hear,” Leonard says, “especially from a place that’s considered comprehensive.”

Leonard, a member of Not in Our Future, says the group wanted the event to be a teach-in so professors and their classes could come to the event and learn about what is happening on campus.

One of the most challenging things for the student group so far has been getting others to believe them.

“One of my professors used the term, ‘It’s like Chicken Little,’” Leonard says. “You’re saying, ‘The sky is falling, the sky is falling,’ but no one believes you. And then the sky is literally on the ground now.”

While the original USAP recommendations to restructure 13 departments came out in June, Director Badia says she was still devastated when upon finding her program would be eliminated.

In fact, she had been working hard to save it.

The recommendation was initially to merge women’s studies with anthropology or sociology, so began meeting with the chairs of both departments to create a new, interdisciplinary unit.

She was later told these plans were not drastic enough.

And Badia fears this is not the end.

“We’ve been talking a lot about the majors that are closing, but I hope people can see the big picture here, because those of us who have been saying this is the tip of the iceberg, we’re not exaggerating,” Badia says. “We’ll see more cuts to the humanities and the fine arts, and Fort Wayne will lose its only comprehensive, public university.”



Steve Carr, interim chair for the department of communication, went up to the microphone several times to speak out against the cuts.

Even though his department was not affected, he says the lack of transparency in regards to IPFW’s budget is frustrating.

He says while the university has made its financial documents readily available, they have not done so with all, including cash flows and how money is transferred between accounts.

“These particular cuts have absolutely no savings. All of the programs either cost no money, so they make their costs back, or they actually make money for the university,” Carr says. “I think a big part of the problem is that these cuts are really not serving a financial agenda, because we don’t even know what the financial is here. They’re serving an ideological one.”

With the cuts officially going into effect place on Jan. 1, Director Badia says she is still working to save the women’s studies program.

“We’re still fighting. I’m not giving up. I know we have lots of support, and I think the Dean supports us existing,” Badia says. “We’re still working to try and make a plan. I think we’re still working to try and make a merger happen. We have definitely not given up.”

But the area by the Obelisk is much quieter now. Messages written in chalk, such as “Save liberal arts” have faded now, but are still visible.

The Right to Learn

“Let us learn” is the message IPFW students and faculty want the administration to consider before suspending liberal arts programs, but that message has resulted in harassment from other students and the community.

Protests, calls for resignations, and sexual harassment have been products of the USAP report in October, leading to backlash between students, administration, and the community.


The three major departments being slated for suspension at the start of the 2017 calendar year are women’s studies, philosophy, and geology.

Not In Our Future, student and faculty-run organization started in May against Purdue and IPFW’s decision to cut liberal arts programs being suspended Jan. 1st of next year.

The group held protests at the obelisk between Kettler Hall, Neff, and the engineering building on Oct. 26 and 27 in cold and cloudy conditions.

Janet Badia is a professor and director of the women’s studies program at IPFW, and is one of the many school professors who were at the protests last month in support of the students.

“I am here to help them, support them, make sure their voices get heard,” Badia said, “amplify their voices, second what they have to say, and help them make the arguments they want to make.”

Cody Fuelling, an IPFW student associated with Not In Our Future, said women’s studies students and professors have been sexually harassed.

“There is a study lounge (associated with women’s studies), and Dr. Badia has a door, and these doors have been covered in sharpie of male genitalia,” Fuelling said, “and this has happened to women’s studies before, and it’s continuing now.”


At one point, there were Twitter accounts made to troll Not In Our Future, but Fuelling said many of them have since been deleted.

Twitter troll.jpg

The group is comprised with others on campus who feel that the cuts could lead to bigger problems.

“It doesn’t affect me directly,” Jalyn Ely, an IPFW communications major said, “I’m afraid of how it’s going to affect the community in the future.”

Not In Our Future’s Facebook page, which as of yesterday has 1,504 page likes, describes itself as, “IPFW students, alumni, and Fort Wayne community members resisting Purdue leadership and complicit members of IPFW administration as they attempt to deprive Northeast Indiana of access to affordable, comprehensive education.”


As a result of the backlash surrounding the USAP report, many at IPFW have shifted blame toward the university’s chancellor, Vicky Carwein, resulting in an official document, “A Faculty Notice of No Confidence in Chancellor Carwein.”

In the document, the faculty states that Carwein has failed the campus as followed: failure to represent the interests of the campus, lack of commitment to the stated mission of IPFW without the ability to articulate a clear vision or rationale or changing the mission, mismanagement of USAP and lack of commitment to operationalizing the 2014-2020 Strategic Plan, and damage to the campus morale by creating a culture of fear.

The full document can be read here: statement-of-no-confidence.

These claims have led people in the community to criticize the protests in the comment sections on Facebook posts related to the issue. Many believe the protestors are just being immature and do not understand these cuts are happening for a good reason.

“Get over it,” one Facebook user said, “change your major to something that has meaning in the REAL world.”

In an email sent to students from Chancellor Carwein on Nov. 15, she made it clear that harassment has no place at IPFW.


“It’s all being magnified, because women’s studies is being slated for elimination,” Fuelling said,” women’s studies says, ‘Hey don’t eliminate us.’ And then people who want to see women’s studies go away now have this opportunity to voice that it should be eliminated.”

A common concern for students and alumni is that the changes now will lead to bigger ones down the road, and the IPFW brand will be terminated. Leaving the 52-year history of the school in limbo.

Alexander Sanderson, an IPSGA officer, says that kind of thinking is wrong, because “IPFW will never die.”

Not in Our Future plans to hold more events by the end of the school year as the women’s studies, philosophy, and geology are suspended.

Women’s Studies, Case in Point


The women’s studies department is being cut, but all women are being affected.

IPFW is losing a number of academic programs and departments at the end of this school year as a result of the the University Strategic Alignment Process (USAP).

The USAP recommendations propose cuts of the philosophy, women’s studies, and geology programs, along with as two dozen other majors within larger departments.

“They called it a recommendation, but as soon as they made the recommendation, they suspended admissions to our program. So you can no longer sign up for a philosophy major here,” says Charlene Elsby, assistant philosophy professor.


Elsby is one of nine female professors whose job is in danger come Jan. 1, when the preliminary cuts take place, eliminating three departments entirely. She is not directly involved with women’s studies, but these cuts affect the livelihood of herself and others.

“My dad says I can move back in with him,” Elsby says with a nervous laugh.


Laura Laudeman, a junior theatre major, is also beginning to feel the ripple within her department, one not even on the long list of cuts.

“We’ve even decided that for this upcoming season, instead of focusing on shows, selecting shows that they thought would be beneficial to students,” Laudeman says, “one of the major factors in choosing the shows was, ‘Will they make money?’”


Money seems to be a driving factor in all of the decisions that will force change on students.

In 2015, 7,106 women were enrolled at IPFW, compared to 5,703 men. Women have been the majority of students on campus since before 1985, according to the annual IPFW Statistical profile.

Janet Badia, professor and director of the women’s studies program, realizes that it’s not just her colleagues or students that are feeling the changes.

“The students who are impacted in the other majors,” Biday says, “I see them around, they go to our events, I go to their events.”

One thing is agreed upon by many: the community will change because of USAP.

Jalyn Ely, a senior communication major, says this makes her look at the university in a different light.

“There are people who care about this,” Ely says, “There are people who are genuinely affected by this, who are seeing their hopes and their dreams and their career paths destroyed.”

Ely’s family members who were previously considering attending the university have decided not to in the wake of the cuts.

Worse yet, community members feel they are out of the loop regarding the changes affecting them.

Professors like Elsby and Badia, whose jobs are on the line, have known about the changes for almost a year, but students only recently found out details about the USAP recommendation in a campus wide email blast from Chancellor Vicky Carwein.

“They keep talking about, ‘we’ve tried to be really open and communicative about this,’” Laudeman says, “but I feel that there’s been a real lack of transparency.”

Laudeman is not wrong. In fact, a freedom of information on open records request regarding details of the USAP process and recommendations has been denied by university lawyers.

The recommendations have been the central focus of campus for weeks as IPFW approaches the first leg of USAP eliminations.

The university is also undergoing Legislative Services Agency (LSA) recommendations to repurpose the Fort Wayne campus. The process will put more of an emphasis on certain departments and could possibly mean major changes to the curriculum and programs offered.

Reasons given for the LSA changes by administration are budget adjustment and best-serving the purposes of the Fort Wayne community.

Mitch Daniels is the president of Purdue University and a driving force behind the LSA recommendations.

“He has underestimated the value of our campus and all that we do here when he says that the point of a regional campus is to train our students to be good employees,” Elsby says. “That negates their possibilities to become the innovators or the good employers.”


Tensions are rising around campus as the true consequences of the recommendations come to light. Women are beginning to realize the 22 students seeking degrees in women’s studies are not the only people affected.

IPFW Says No More Philosophy


The recommendations started promisingly enough.

Little did faculty know, philosophy professors, among others, would lose their jobs, and students could no longer earn a degree in this and other departments.

“They are planning to cut our program and our department as of January first,” said Charlene Elsby, assistant professor in philosophy.

But philosophy is just one of the many programs IPFW plans to cut next year part of the University Strategic Alignment Process.

The Legislative Services Agency was brought in to review to programs and departments that listed recommendations they should complete by the university.

“They call it a recommendation,” Elsby said. “But as soon as they made the recommendations, they suspended admissions to our program.”

She said a month after the philosophy department received its notice, they started to change the courses based on the report.

According to the “USAP Recommendations 2.2 and 2.3”, the philosophy department is to “develop and implement a plan for attracting and retaining students from introductory courses.”

The report showed the department had a 11.6 percent graduation efficiency and an average of 27.6 graduates within the major every year, higher than many programs like biology and computer science that were not suspended.


Students affected by the suspensions and cuts were also vocal.

Shortly after the announcement, on Nov. 2 and 3, students and faculty gathered to share their frustrations, as a Teach-In was held outside of Kettler Hall. It drew 1,000 students throughout both days.


“I wanted to be out here because I am kind of passionate about this,” said Jalyn Ely, a communication major.

Ely said she is passionate about education because she enjoys learning and studying. It is important to her that other people get those opportunities also.

She is afraid of how the suspension of these programs is going to affect the community in the future. Ely is not from Fort Wayne, but enjoys it here. She is afraid the cuts will force students to leave IPFW to find a better education.

“I have three younger siblings,” she said. “At least two of them were considering coming to IPFW, and they’re not anymore.”

She explained the protest is encouraging, because students are willing to listen and talk about why they do not want these cuts to happen.

Ely said she is also skeptical with the metrics they are using to cut the programs, especially the philosophy department.

“You can’t justify cutting a foundational discipline,” she said. “They didn’t even have a good reason for philosophy.”


Steve Carr, chair of the communication department, said he does not understand why they want departments to market themselves more.

He said universities usually hire the faculty to teach classes and conduct research.

“Wanting faculty to have to conduct marketing and recruitment on top of everything else they already do seem to undermine the core mission,” he said.

He said with Indiana University and Purdue University splitting, as a result of the recommendations, it has forced Purdue to look at all the programs and make cuts.

According to the LSA study, IU will change hands with being in control of the nursing program, causing it to change from a Purdue degree to an Indiana degree.

“Purdue is going to lose a lot of money because of that,” he said. “Purdue sees a lot of small programs that either pay for themselves or make money for the university.

Charlene Elsby is not sure what is going to happen to her after the cuts have been made either. She said there has been a lack of communication between the faculty and Vice Chancellor Carl Drummond on what is to come.

“I have a contract until May,” she said. Whether that will be renewed is completely up in the air.”

Gap Years Create New Opportunities for IPFW Students

Marlie Reed traveled the Pacific United States for 10 months, and in return, she received an education award for nearly $6,000.

The IPFW alumna was a part of a program called AmeriCorps, where she volunteered to aid communities and organizations in Alaska, California and Oregon while she secretly struggled with what direction to take in life.

“I was unsure of what I should do next,” Reed said, as she combed her fingers through her hair. “I had a friend who did the program and told me he gained a new perspective on himself, so I wanted to try it.”

According to the American Gap Association, interest in gap years has increased substantially. High school and college graduates are electing to take a gap year by traveling nationally or internationally.  Graduates are also volunteering or working at home before enrolling into an institution or beginning their career.

Amanda Grace, a student from North Webster majoring in office administration at International Business College, said she decided to work before continuing her education to save money and figure out what she should major in.

Through her experience, Grace said, she learned how to be more responsible, and never lost her work ethic because she finally felt like she wanted to go to school, not that she was supposed to.

Deidre Hoffman, another IBC student majoring in office administration from Norwell, said she was unsure of her plan after high school. She joined the U.S. Army, and while serving, she gained skills similar to Grace’s, such as time-management, maturity, and life-experience.

According to the AGA website, Grace and Hoffman are among the students who have shown that taking a break between high school and college renews interest and increases motivation. Another AGA study shows 90 percent of students are enrolled in a four-year institution within one year of time off from academia.

The AGA also surveyed students and found they can gain useful, job-related skills from their personal experiences during their time off.

“Employers are looking for students who have communication skills, interpersonal skills, and leadership skills,” said Ashley Calderon, IPFWs director of career services.

According to the AGA, the University of Colorado Denver, and the AmeriCorps website each of these options — volunteering, enlisting in the military, traveling, and working — will teach students some of the skills to prepare them for their future careers.

Students could highlight their skills on their résumés and during their job interviews, Calderon said. She also believes getting involved with these organizations are exceptional ways to network.

“It made me more self-aware and more appreciative of what I have and the family I have, even the material things,” Reed said about her AmeriCorps experience. “I am just alive and well, doing something different made me more adventurous.”


Service Journalism:

AmeriCorps NCCC Program:

  • Available for 18- to 24-year-olds
  • Must complete 10 months of service to be awarded education award
  • Government pays for housing, food and stipend.
  • Volunteers can choose from five different regions in the U.S. and can apply for their fall or winter cycle.




Drinking Creates New Dangers for College Students

While most college students think nothing of a night out drinking with their friends, for one family, it became their worst nightmare.

According to 20/20, Lauren Spierer disappeared from Indiana University just over six years ago in early June after a night of heavy drinking.

The department of applied health at Indiana University defines binge-drinking as consuming five or more drinks in one sitting for men and four or more for women. Using this definition as a basis, this department concluded that a large number of students develop excessive-drinking habits during their college years.

“I am finding more and more college-aged people are beginning to drink earlier in the day,” said Pat Clancy, Fort Wayne family and individual therapist.

Indiana University also reports there are sociological consequences of heavy-drinking tendencies, such as an increased crime rate, increased number of unintentional injuries among students, as well as an increase in student assaults.

Clancy said that with more students engaging in early drinking activities, more alcohol is consumed over the course of the day, leaving a bigger window of opportunity for dangerous situations to occur, and added motivation.

Breeanna Fusselman, a junior in communication from Ossian, said drinking on college campuses is an expected activity.

Fusselman said she believes incoming freshman are at the highest risk for alcohol abuse and poisoning, due to the fact that they are unaware of their limits.

Chad Landez, IPFW and IU alumnus, said he thinks heavy drinking is a coping mechanism that many college students turn to automatically, due to the association society places between college and drinking.

Landez went on to say he believes many college students make it a goal to drink excessively when they go out on the weekends. In other words, they drink to forget.

Courtney Bourne, a Ball State junior in criminal justice from Markle, said college students tend to have a work hard, play harder mindset. They get all their work done during the week. Then come Thursday or Friday, it’s time to loosen up. Bourne said the problem with this mentality is people tend to get carried away, especially after encouragement from peers.

“They live for the weekends,” Bourne said. “There has to be a way that college students can relieve stress from the week, and most of them turn to alcohol because it an easy fix, and they like the way it makes them feel.”

According to an IU on student drinking patterns, Greek houses and college athletes are at the highest risk of engaging in heavy drinking. The department found that as athletic participation increases, so does alcohol consumption among athletes. In terms of fraternities and sororities, the department reports heavy drinking is the central activity at most social events between the houses.

Emma Browning, an IPFW freshman undeclared major from Fort Wayne, said she recently learned in her psychology class that alcohol was a more addictive substance than marijuana. Browning believes police departments should crack down on college drinking, in order to deter students from drinking so excessively.

As for the Lauren Spierer case, 20/20 reported no further progress has been made. Spierer remains amongst the many college students who have gone missing during a night out gone wrong.

Fort Wayne Men Retell Their Tales of the Refugee Trail

Near the border of Slovenia and Croatia, Amar Masri watched hundreds of Syrian refugees pour out of buses and into the cornfields.

After the first few buses, Amar noticed a man with his wife and two children, a huge smile on his face.

Chaos ensued once the buses began to leave, the man’s smile vanishing as he ran after, his wife screaming, her two children clinging desperately to her.

Amar thought they had left one of their children on the bus, but the family left their money instead, their only way of traveling to another country, a new home.

“With that particular gentleman, I didn’t know what to do,” Amar said. “But I know I have money in my pocket from home, and I looked at my friend and told him, ‘Officially, I am broke now.’”

Amar gave the man and his family what was left in his wallet, ultimately helping them reach their destination in Sweden.

Amar, born in Palestine and now living in Fort Wayne, was once a refugee himself. Knowing what it’s like, he said he felt something needed to be done.

“I’ve been through that once before. I’ve lost my homeland,” Amar said. “I became homeless overnight, but I was one of the luckier homeless people.”

He accompanied Sam Jarjour, a son of Syrian immigrants, and Caleb Jehl, a Fort Wayne native, on their trip to Europe last September.

Sam, Amar, and Caleb are each members of an informal group called Fort Wayne for Syrian Refugees.

Sam said the goals of the group include both educating the community and even resettling refugees in Fort Wayne.

They have spoken at many venues in Fort Wayne, including IPFW and Saint Francis, presenting the documentary of their trip, “The Flight of the Refugees.”

“They’re good people. They’re hardworking people. They’re fleeing incredible violence and incredible uncertainty in hope of a better life,” Sam said. “I really think it’s my, and our, humanitarian duty to do something to try and help.”

Sam said the trio, along with his cousin Elias Matar, a filmmaker living in Los Angeles, set out to document the massive amount of people fleeing to the refugee trail, helping as they could.

According the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, millions of Syrians continue to flee into neighboring countries and into Europe, due to the outbreak of a civil war in 2011.

“We have this connection to Syria, and we’ve had to sit by and watch the civil war destroy our country, and watch our relatives flee either by leaving the country or being internally displaced,” Sam said. “The huge numbers of people being killed or injured, it just really felt horrible not to be able to do something.”

So the group spent nine days on the refugee trail, starting their journey in Austria and making their way through countries such as Serbia, Croatia and Macedonia.

After renting a van and hiring a cameraman in Vienna, they purchased food, water and blankets at a grocery store for the refugees.

The group first planned to go through Hungary, but the country closed its borders a day before they arrived.

Forced to take a different path, they ended up in Sid, Serbia, where busloads of refugees were being dropped off in a cornfield with no one to guide them.

“These people have to walk between three and five miles that take you out into a field, around the actual frontier, and back into the next country,” Sam said. “Since they didn’t have visas, they had to walk around the borders, and they were allowed to do it in a semi-organized fashion.”

One of the people Sam remembers was a 3-year-old girl named Elma. Sam watched her cross into Serbia, along with a female aid who helped take care of children.

“There’s always this uncertain future. They weren’t free from violence once they hit Europe,” Sam said, his voice cracking a little. “To see Elma like that, with such an uncertain future, was really hard for all of us.”

Sam said Elma safely made it to Sweden.

But for Caleb, one of the most challenging things was wondering what would happen to the refugees.

He said he thought people coming from the Middle East would have basic survival skills, but found they were pretty much exactly like him.

“I think that’s an important thing to remember,” Caleb said. “A difference in religion, culture, or skin color doesn’t really make us all that different in the end.”

Caleb said the group plans to take a trip to the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon in October, to help the refugees in the same way they tried to help the Syrians.

Amar said the refugees in those camps go as far back as three generations.

“Those people are the forgotten people,” Amar said. “They have no identity, no passports. They can’t go anywhere, so they are stuck in those refugee camps.”

As for the family that accidentally left their savings on the bus, Amar stayed in touch with them.

“Through social media we connected, and then all of the sudden they just fell off the face of the earth,” Amar said. “But I’m sure they’ll come back.”

He still has a picture of the man and his two children in his pocket, just in case.

Moss, Isenbarger Return to the Rink for IPFW Home Opener

The Mastodons hockey team will play Adrian University at 6 p.m. Oct. 15 at SportONE Parkview Icehouse.

“I’ve lived my whole life revolving around hockey,” Captain Derek Moss said. “All the kids that have played hockey, we’ve always had the dream of going and playing pro.”

A senior general education major from Fort Wayne, Moss said Adrian will be one of their toughest games of the year. Moss believes they are a good school because they have a feeder system, which draws many hockey players, allowing Adrian to have four hockey teams.

Senior accounting major Grant Isenbarger, who was on skates around the age of 2, said the team will need to be selfless, and trust one another when playing against Adrian.

“One of our main focuses going into this year is staying out of the box, because we have 11 skaters,” Moss said. “So we are going to have to stay to our systems, keep everybody rested and fully energized.”

After serving as captain last season, Moss returns for his senior year as captain once again.

Last season the Mastodons played teams such as Michigan State and the University of Michigan, but Moss said he believes the Indiana Tech game is their most emotional one of the year.

Others are easier to enjoy.

“Eastern Kentucky University is our funnest trip of the year. We did it two years ago, and they came to us last year, but we go down to them this year,” Moss said. “It’s called Midnight Madness. We play them at midnight. It’s a crazy atmosphere, and they draw a lot of fans.”

Moss, Isenbarger, and Brendan Lewis tied for the most goals on the Mastodons team last season, according to the Pointstreak website.

Isenbarger said they also gained a better appreciation for hockey, especially at this level, because they know it will be over soon.

Despite this, they try to have fun in the meantime, because that is what the sport is all about, Isenbarger said.


IPFW Hockey event information:

  • IPFW Hockey Home Opener
  • Location: SportONE Parkview Icehouse
  • Date: Oct. 15 at 6 p.m.
  • IPFW Mastodons vs. Adrian University Bulldogs.


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