VIDEO: Hogan and Uveino reflect on busy summer, look ahead to unique school year

By Jeff Uveino and Mike Hogan

ALLEGANY, NY — St. Bonaventure University began its fall semester this week, welcoming students to campus for the first time since March.

As they begin their senior year of undergraduate coursework in SBU’s Jandoli School of Communication, Jeff Uveino and Mike Hogan sat down to reflect on recent experiences as student journalists.

The duo discusses covering the Coronavirus pandemic, summer internships and fellowships across various media outlets, and how they envision student journalism will be different in the upcoming school year.

A link to Uveino and Hogan’s discussion can be found on The Intrepid’s Youtube channel here.

 

Jandoli School alumnus establishes scholarship in honor of George Floyd

photo: Tony Lee

By Jeff Uveino

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — St. Bonaventure University’s Jandoli School of Communication will award a new student scholarship beginning in 2021, with the creation of the George Floyd Memorial/The Intrepid Scholarship. 

Tony Lee, a 2013 Bona’s graduate and founder of The Intrepid, established the scholarship in response to Floyd’s death on May 25, and the movement that has resulted from it. 

“The date itself has a lasting impact on me,” Lee said. “I wanted to have a lasting impact and make this not just a moment in time that we remember in history, but have a profound impact.” 

The scholarship will be awarded based on academic merit and financial need, and will be received by a Jandoli student who is Black, indigenous or a person of color (BIPOC).

“I wanted to empower and provide effort to the next generation of journalists,” Lee said. “There is such an important need for communicators. People who can do it in an articulate and unbiased way, and also be able to report facts without any fear of retaliation or public outcry.”

Lee, who works at STARZ as its paid director of social, recalled some of the classes that he took during his time at SBU, and how the Jandoli school not only prepared him for a career in media, but shaped the way that he viewed the field.

“One of the most important things I learned at SBU is that you don’t need to have an established platform, you already have one on your phone,” Lee said. “Whatever type of message you want to share, don’t let fear stop you from doing that.”

Of the $5,250 donated (as a tribute to the day Floyd died), half will be awarded during the 2020-21 academic year in the form of an annual scholarship, and half will be awarded as an endowed scholarship that the school plans to give each year moving forward.

Aaron Chimbel, dean of the Jandoli school, said he was grateful for Lee’s desire to make an impact. He also stressed the importance of diversity among communicators.

“(Lee) reached out and said that this is something he could do that could really bring positive change for people, particularly those from underrepresented groups,” Chimbel said. “One of the challenges of systemic racism is educational opportunities. I think it’s really important that newsrooms and communication companies have a diverse pool of candidates to choose from, and a diverse workforce so that they can be inclusive of different viewpoints.” 

Chimbel stressed the importance of being able to help students afford the cost of higher education, which is a concern for many. This scholarship, he said, is just the latest example of Jandoli alumni giving back to their alma mater. 

“One of the things that distinguishes the Jandoli school is how passionate people are about it,” Chimbel said. “Some people have the financial means to give money, while others are able to mentor students and come to campus to speak. It’s really inspiring to me to see how much our alumni care about the school and want to give back, and also because a lot of them had the same done for them.”

Lee said that he was proud that he could contact SBU and quickly make the scholarship happen, and hopes that he can help a new generation of journalists get their voices heard. 

“Now is time more than ever to tell incredible stories with incredible details and historical significance,” Lee said. “I want the candidate to know that their voice not only can be heard, but should be heard.” 

 

COLUMN: Equity isn’t a competition — A rebuttal to “All Lives Matter”

photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

By Akim Hudson

Imagine attempting to equate the struggles of a populous that has been oppressed for generations.

All because you feel left out.

All because you are concerned about preserving your privilege, that you are ultimately myopic of. All because you would rather feel like your plight is so agonizing, than understanding that the black struggle is much more than hashtags and slogans.  

Yes, everyone’s life matters, obviously. But when you attempt to use “all lives matter” as an antithesis to “black lives matter,” what you are doing is contributing to this everlasting problem.

You are basically saying, “blacks have a rough life, but I do too,” or attempt to compare your petty struggles to systemic oppression. The black struggle isn’t a trend on social media. It isn’t a concept that one should tag along with due to feeling left out.  

Until you dwell amongst your own home with an innate target on your back.

Until your people are constantly being slain and senselessly murdered. Until your community suffers from perpetual oppression.

I don’t want to hear this “all lives matter” malarkey that you spew out of your mouth. Stop being more upset about the results of injustice than the injustice itself.

Stop treating equity as if it is a competition. 

COLUMN: Blakely looks back on time at SBU; leaves underclassmen with departing message

photo: Jeff Uveino

By Isaiah Blakely

First and foremost, congratulations to the Class of 2020. We made it! Today is very special for all for us despite the circumstances. We have worked very hard to get to this point and I hope everyone enjoys the day.  

Today is bittersweet. I want to be overjoyed and excited about the accomplishments and the great feat I have achieved of finishing college. And I am happy and grateful that I have made it this far, but I had this feeling last night that I just had a little bit left in the tank. I didn’t get to just go all out and enjoy the final stretch of college before getting thrusted into the real world. 

It’s clear that I haven’t been able to find a sense of closure since I left campus for the last time on March 23. I’ve just acted like it never even happened and that this whole time being a way from campus is like an extended vacation. But today, the Class of 2020 becomes a part of the fantastic alumni of St. Bonaventure University. I’m excited for that. 

I’m excited to eventually come back to campus and see what has changed and see old friends at the place we once called home. All of that will be great, it’s just tough that we didn’t get the swan song we deserved.  

I know coronavirus has taken the entire world by storm. And that there are much bigger issues going on than schools losing out on graduation. My main message is to everyone who isn’t graduating to really live it up and enjoy every moment. I took for granted the end of my time at Bonaventure. I assumed I had almost two months left of college, and then it was taken away.  

I know it’s a cliché that every senior tells the freshmen, but your four years at St. Bonaventure University really fly by. All I’m saying is to just be grateful for the time you have and enjoy the moment because you never know what could happen, and your college career could be over.  

I am forever grateful to all my friends, professors and Bonaventure community as a whole for this unique experience. We created a lot of memories, and I’m going to miss everyone a lot. It’s a family like atmosphere that is tough to find anywhere, and that is what I will cherish the most. 

Congratulations to the Class of 2020 again. We’re going to do spectacular things in the real world, and I can’t wait until we all get back together. 

COLUMN: Myers reflects on time at SBU; how COVID-19 changed senior year

photo: Jeff Uveino

By Justin Myers

Your senior year in college is not something you can redo in life. You only get one chance to make the lasting memories you’ll never forget before heading into the real world. But for this year’s class, we don’t get that opportunity.  

When the Coronavirus became more serious back in March, there was a lot of uncertainty about not only my classes senior year, but the safety of society .

During my senior year at St. Bonaventure University, I was making memories with everyone at school because I knew in that May it would be all over. Whether that was taking a trip to Toronto to see the Bonnies play, game nights at my apartment, or doing activities on campus, I made sure to do everything I wanted before it all ended.  

With the school year being cut two months early, there were so many more memories that were supposed to happen. That was the part I was looking forward to the most, even though I was dreading the end of college.

For the past 3 years, I saw senior classes before me get their last spring weekend, last time on campus, and last goodbyes before they headed into the real world. With my senior year being cut short, that’s the part that hurts the most.  

Like every other college student in America, I had to adjust to being back home and being taught online for the rest of the semester. I know it was rough on everybody, but especially us seniors, as we had to give rushed goodbyes to people who have been part of our lives for the past four years. 

Being at home has given me a lot of time to reflect on my time at St. Bonaventure. When alumni told me that being at SBU for 4 years will be the best years of your life, they didn’t lie.

Bonaventure has helped me develop relationships with professors, faculty, and friends that will last a lifetime. For that, I will always be thankful for all the memories I had time to make while being at school.  

While today is a happy day for the class of 2020 as we start the new chapters of our lives, it is also a sad day because I won’t be able to walk the stage with my classmates. Even though we won’t be together today I will cherish all the memories we made during our four years together. Hopefully one day we can get the graduation we deserve. 

Once a Bonnie always a Bonnie. 

American interest in Korean baseball shows power of sports

photo: Mamta Popat/Arizona Daily Star

By Jeff Uveino

As the waning hours of Monday night crept into the early hours of Tuesday morning on the east coast, many American sports fans found their attention focused half way around the world.

It wasn’t until earlier that day that sports television giant ESPN announced that it would be broadcasting games from the Korea Baseball Organization, or the KBO.

Suddenly, thousands of baseball enthusiasts who had been deprived of the sport due to the postponement of Major League Baseball’s season became interested in South Korea’s premier baseball league. And, every major sports media outlet scrambled to put out a story that would help readers become familiar with the league.

Thursday marks 55 days without a ‘major four’ professional sporting event being played in the United States, and 190 days since MLB played the last game of its 2019 season.

Under no other circumstances would American sports fans be inclined to follow the KBO. After all, the product put out by MLB is widely regarded as the highest level of baseball in the world, and most weeknight Korean games start at 5:30 a.m. eastern time— perhaps the worst possible time for most in the US.

However, in a time when live sports are nearly impossible to come by, Korean baseball played in the middle of the night with no fans in attendance is oddly attractive for disciples of the sport, myself included.

You’d be hard pressed to find American baseball fans who followed the KBO before this week. Now, names such as the Samsung Lions, Kia Tigers and Lotte Giants suddenly carry weight.

American interest in Korean baseball not only shows the desire that we have for sports to return, but also the power of sport, which on several hours’ notice, caused thousands to stay glued to their television screens late through the night to catch this phenomenon.

Naturally, if one is going to follow a sports league, they will pick a favorite team. After some brief research, I was drawn to the Changwon-based NC Dinos. Despite lacking a championship in nine KBO seasons, the Dinos feature several bona-fide stars.

Catcher Eui Ji Yang was the league’s batting champion in 2019, hitting .354 with 20 home runs and 68 runs batted in. Outfielder Min Woo Park wasn’t far behind, batting .344 with six homers, 45 runs driven in and 18 stolen bases.

Outfielder Aaron Altherr, who played in over 350 MLB games from 2014-19, signed with the Dinos this past offseason, as did Drew Rucinski, a former Miami Marlin.

Now-Washington National Eric Thames became a breakout star in KBO with the Dinos, winning the league’s Most Valuable Player award in 2015 after posting a .381 batting average with 47 HR and 140 RBI.

The Dinos led the KBO in home runs in 2019, and their games are sure to feature an abundance of the league’s signature ‘bat flips’ that are not typically seen in the North American game.

The Dinos began KBO action on ESPN by beating the Lions, 4-0, on Tuesday’s Opening Day. The game was the first of six that will have aired live on the family of ESPN networks throughout the week.

While late-night KBO may not be the ideal fix to the baseball cravings of US fans, it will have to do for now as the COVID-19 crisis continues.

And, I will say, as I struggled to stay awake on Monday night to watch a baseball game played over 6000 miles from my home in upstate New York, I found the crack of the bat and the pop of the glove to sound comfortably familiar.

Column: Hudson, Bona softball players react to ongoing pandemic, canceled season

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Akim Hudson

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — COVID-19, Coronavirus or whichever you prefer to call it, has struck the United States and has sent waves of peril and panic from coast to coast.

Unless one has been living under a rock, they can observe the effects of Coronavirus.

No, I don’t mean the biological and anatomical effects and so forth, I mean the fact that approximately every square inch of the United States is paused. The New York State government was one of the first states on the quarantine wave, practically setting an hourglass on the fate of the St. Bonaventure school year.

But before I even breakdown how that went, I can’t just subside the termination of all sports in the world, yes literally the world.  

I remember, it was a Wednesday evening, I was just finishing a workout at SBU’s Richter Center, then I get a notification from ESPN reporting that the remainder of the NBA season has been suspended.

The NBA, being the eminent force that it is, practically made every other sports league play hardball. One by one, they all fell. MLB, MLS, even the damn NASCAR shut down.

I personally blame Rudy Gobert, but that’s neither here nor there.  

With all the sports leagues shutting down, reality sunk in and we all knew the inevitable NCAA shut down, but everyone avoided the elephant in the room and stayed as optimistic as they could.

Thursday morning, I attended a (mandatory) SGA meeting where Rob Defazio, director of the center for activities, recreation and leadership at Bona’s, broke the news that the Atlantic 10 basketball tournament had been cancelled, along with all of SBU’s spring sports.

Immediate shockwaves moved through the room.

It was just a sudden moment of shock, like one of those utterly unbelievable moments that couldn’t even elicit any reaction.  

I couldn’t help but feel a robust sense of sympathy for spring athletes for their loss (and empathy because my season for club basketball was also terminated).  

After that announcement, everyone really began to comprehend just how serious this whole situation was. Over the ensuing couple of days, many left St. Bonaventure, while some stayed until the week came to a halt, constantly pondering, “what’s next?”  

I held a rather spontaneous interview with several spring sports athletes on campus about their reaction to the sudden termination of their season.

Freshmen softball players Shannon Costello and Bella Reese, along with senior softball player Mckenna Holtz, voiced their opinions on the situation.

The first question was obviously how they felt about their season coming to a halt. Costello said that she was “extremely disappointed” about her season coming to a halt, yet she wasn’t “entirely surprised” because she’d already expected shut down after SBU’s weekend series in Maryland got cancelled.

Knowing the intentions of the NCAA were to keep them safe along with the knowledge that she is only a freshman and would have another season, Costello found clarity in the whole situation.

However, her “heart truly broke” for the seniors whose college careers have been vanquished. Which is a perfect Segway to our senior.

Holtz was in an absolute shock when she got the news.

She even took the initiative to meet with Bona coach Mike Threehouse because “part of [her] couldn’t believe it could be real” until further confirmation from him.

Reese had a reaction that was pretty much an exact conjugation of both Costello and Holtz, also in shock and disappointment, but a different sense of disappointment.

Reese’s disappointment was spearheaded by the team’s hard work basically being deducted to futility.

Divulging that there were changes during the offseason that put the team in position to improve, now it felt like the team had spent months constructing some sort of building only for it to be ravaged within a day. 

Next, I asked the student athletes how this pandemic had affected their day to day schedule.

Costello said she went home on the ensuing Saturday and swung at the batting cages, but there “definitely [was] like a void in [her] daily life.” Swinging at the cages just “wasn’t the same.”

After playing three previous seasons, Holt naturally built her schedule around softball. She said she “[doesn’t] know what to do with all [her] free time” and staying active without her teammates being available to go down to the fields with her is a “huge adjustment…[and will] take a long time before [she] can ever get used to not having practice”.

It’s human nature to be very habitual once we get conditioned, and it is very difficult to break that conditioning, I must say, this quarantine is making me go through withdrawals of my own as far as being active goes.

Reese, who redshirted this season, said her schedule wasn’t really that different after the termination of their season, but she was now “left accountable” of her workouts and so forth.

I must say that there was an archetypal response from all three student athletes of utter shock with somber overtones.

This quarantine has set us back as a nation, but when our safety is being put in perspective, whatever is necessary, I suppose I’ll conform. Sympathy to those whose season came to a screeching halt, or whose schedule has been bewildered by this quarantine.  

Stay as productive as you can amid the current circumstances. This is a time to focus on the betterment of yourself, especially health-wise.

Be smart, stay safe, live healthy, and work on yourself. As always, it is an honor to be able to express myself to you all, peace and prosperity, beloved.  

SBU students from infected areas choose to stay on campus during online instruction period

By Jeff Uveino

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — When St. Bonaventure University made the decision to cancel all in-person instruction from Monday until March 27, it gave students the option to remain on campus.

For some students, the unprecedented situation provided an opportunity to return home until classes resumed.

For others, especially those whose hometowns had been infected by the Coronavirus, it gave them the chance to remain in an area that the virus has not yet reached.

“Students who feel safer staying on campus — and many have indicated that to myself and colleagues — can do so,” said Dr. Dennis DePerro, president of the university, in a letter to the SBU community on Friday. “I’ve received many messages from parents expressing the same sentiment.”

Priscilla Contreras, a junior from New York City, said that staying at SBU was a better option for her than returning home.

“The best thing for me to do is stay on campus because I’m young and could fight off the virus, but if I go home, I could pass it on to my parents, my grandmother and everyone else,” Contreras said. “I don’t want to feel guilty for doing so, and staying (at SBU) is better for their safety.”

Contreras said that if she could not stay on campus, she would have concerns over storing her belongings and being able to get home on short notice.

“If I run out of food, I can easily just go to the Hickey (dining hall),” she said. “How will I able to get home and get all of my stuff with me home?”

As of Monday, there had been nearly 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in NYC, and none in Cattaraugus County, where SBU is located.

Anthony Adams, a freshman from Philadelphia, said that being able to stay on campus made him feel safer than if he was forced to leave. As of Monday, there were eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Philadelphia County.

“Yeah, I think that staying on campus is safer because the virus isn’t here,” Adams said. “SBU is located between two very small towns with little interaction from outsiders, so there’s really no chance of people getting it here.”

DePerro said that he and senior management would meet regularly to determine whether an extension to the suspension of in-person instruction would be necessary.