Protesters ‘Fight For $15’ worldwide

Originally published in The Globe on April 22, 2015

Co-byline with Anthony Mendicino

Photo by Liz Berie Minimum wage mascot Ahmarée Osborne shows his support by chanting out songs at Market Square on Wednesday, April 15.

Ahmarée Osborne, son of fast food worker and protester Ashona Osborne, shows his support by chanting out songs at Market Square April 15. Photo by Liz Berie.

Market Square was buzzing on April 15 at noon and not just from the lunch crowd. A large crowd had started to grow in a pre-rally for the global Fight for 15 protests that took place in over 200 cities around the world.

The rally attracted people from SIEM 15, UPMS, United Steelworkers, fast food workers, Fight Back Pittsburgh, security guards, adjunct teachers, students and more.

For several protesters, this wasn’t their first rally.

“This is my third or fourth,” said Will Boas, a worker at the Northside McDonald’s. “And the turnout is better and bigger with every strike we have. The hope is it’ll get better as the day goes on.”

Boas was there in solidarity with his fellow workers.

“I’m here to stand with workers for better wages, better work conditions and a better level of respect,” Boas said.

Ashona Osborne, an employee of the Edgewood Arby’s, and Lolene Germany, from the KFC in Wilmsburgh, were there together on their fourth strike as well.

“Full-time workers should get full-time wages,” Osborne said. “We’re the ones doing the work… I want to be comfortable like my boss is comfortable.”

Germany wanted people to understand the hardship faced by those on minimum wage.

“They tell us to go to school and get a degree, but even when you’re in school, you’ve got bills to pay,” Germany said. “We want people to understand the struggle.”

She also asked corporations to realize the sacrifice minimum wage workers made for their benefit.

“We are how you’re able to do for your families. We just want to do the same [for ours],” she said.


SSO meets with administration to discuss student rights, tuition transparency

Originally published in The Globe on April 22, 2015

University President Paul Hennigan, Dean of Students Keith Paylo, Vice President of Student Affairs Karen McIntyre and Student Solidarity Organization (SSO) representatives met last week to discuss SSO’s charter of student rights and tuition transparency.

The administrators present were unable to be reached for comment, but Lou Corsaro, public relations and marketing manager, said this about the meeting.

“The administration at Point Park University maintains an open door policy for any students who have issues they wish to discuss,” said Corsaro in an email interview.

Samey Lee, Hana Valle and Justin Karter represented SSO at the meeting and considered it a good start to a larger discussion.

“We met with the administration, and we are excited to start working with them towards more tuition transparency and gaining more of a voice in where money within our university is being spent,” the statement, drafted by SSO member and chair of Fight Back Pittsburgh Samey Lee read.

According to Lee, the administration agreed to answer tuition transparency questions with facts and data from the budget, but not give access to the raw data. The administration also committed to review the charter and meet with Valle, who authored the document, for a more in depth review.


POP PUNK dot PIZZA 2015-04-21 12-42-57POP PUNK dot PIZZA is my new website. I pretty much just bought the domain to see what I could do with it. It’s only been three days but I already have over a hundred twitter followers for the site and about 20 views on the site itself.

I’m trying to do music reviews, concert briefs, festival coverage and hopefully eventually even more. There’s not a lot going on right now, but the goal for this summer is to have a brand and logo put together and be posting at least twice a week. In four months the goal is to have at least one Pittsburgh band interview, go to one concerts a month, review three albums a month, and update the Current Jam every week. (more…)

Psychologist, filmmaker take on mental illness misconceptions

Originally published in The Globe on April 15, 2015

On Saturday, Point Park hosted a joint book launch and film screening for Dr. Sharna Olfman’s “The Science and Pseudoscience of Children’s Mental Health” and Kevin Miller’s follow up to “Generation Rx,” “Letter from Generation Rx.”

The focus of Olfman’s presentation and Miller’s film was the corruption with the field of psychology, especially with the pharmaceutical industry, and the myth of chemical imbalance being the main cause of mental illness. There was also an emphasis on how that intersects with the treatment, and in some cases, mistreatment of child patients.

Olfman is a psychology professor at the University and clinical psychologist, and Kevin Miller is a director, producer and writer.

“I want them to feel inspired that there’s some really good science on issues of mental health available to children and adults,” said Olfman after the event. “We need to support documentaries and research that informs the public and empowers them to make healthy choices.”


Seniors begin to say goodbye

Originally published in The Globe on April 15, 2015

This Monday, Point Park’s seniors gathered in Village Park for Fuel Up, the launch of this year’s Senior Week.

According to Assistant Community Director of Residence Life Tom Snee, Senior Week is relatively new in Point Park’s history.

“We’re trying to make a tradition,” said Snee in his office on Thursday.

For senior acting major Rachel Medori, Senior Week makes graduating more sweet than bitter.

“It makes you excited about being a senior rather than sad about leaving,” Medori said during the festivities in Village Park Monday. “It’s time with my friends and with my class.”


Pay It Forward club replaces CAB Community Service Committee

Originally published in The Globe on April 1

When Patty Sorg, Mackenzie Sugrue and Meredith Kubic heard the Campus Activities Board (CAB) community service committee wasn’t coming back next year, they decided to do something about it.

The three freshmen, who live within one floor of each other, decided to take their collective experience from CAB and their passion for doing good and create a new club, Pay It Forward.

“We wanted to keep the community service going, so we decided to start this club,” said Sorg, club co-president, in Lawrence Hall on Friday. “The three of us have such a strong belief in the world and a strong belief in ourselves and our fellow Point Park students. We want to make a difference while we’re here at college. We want to pay it forward.”

The freshmen joined the Community Service Committee last semester and hope to carry over some of the events they planned to their new club.

“We started this series called Bag It Forward,” said Kubic, club co-president, in Lawrence Hall on Friday. “It’s a type of assembly line where students and faculty come through and make bagged lunch, and then we deliver those to the homeless shelter.”


Students to document sharks in South Africa

Originally published in the Globe on January 14, 2015

photo by Victoria A. Mikula Sophomore cinema major Jaz McKibben, sophomore cinema production major Jordan Durham and freshman global cultural studies major Blaise Kepple will travel to South Africa to film a documentary on shark finning this May.

photo by Victoria A. Mikula
Sophomore cinema major Jaz McKibben, sophomore cinema production major Jordan Durham and freshman global cultural studies major Blaise Kepple will travel to South Africa to film a documentary on shark finning this May.

Three Point Park students are traveling to South Africa this May to make a documentary about great white sharks.

Sophomore cinema production major Jordan Durham, sophomore cinema major Jaz McKibben and freshman global cultural studies major Blaise Kepple will be working on a conservation project with, an international volunteer organization.

The filmmakers will be documenting their experiences working with scientists and other volunteers on beach clean-up, shark tagging and other conservation efforts in a project titled “Rock Bottom:  The Truth Behind Shark Finning.”

The idea to make a documentary did not come from an assignment or project, but out of a mutual interest in conservation.

“Jordan and I started talking about our interests and we both found out that we’re both interested in documentaries and wildlife conservation, and we were just brainstorming ideas of things that would be cool to do,” McKibben said Jan. 11.