Creative outlets for college students


By Emily Brown



As I checked into the front desk at the Lawrence Arts Center, a performer with sparkly-grey face makeup and feathers in his hair popped into the office. Upstairs, racks of shiny outfits stood in the hallway as two women used a garment steamer to dewrinkle fabric. The women were putting final touches on glittery costumes — the Lawrence Arts Center’s School of Dance was preparing for an important performance the upcoming weekend. A group of returning potters listened to a faculty member in the ceramics studio, and original art hung on the walls of the visual arts studios.

The community arts center has numerous opportunities for students to learn, perform, and create. Style on the Hill wanted to check out the best options for college students.

The Lawrence Arts Center, one of the top three art centers in the nation, focuses on three things: exhibitions, performance, and education. The building is located downtown, a perfect location for students looking for a hobby outside of their major or for supplemental art education.


While performances and exhibitions occur regularly, the education part of the arts center permeates the entire building, Margaret Morris, the chief program officer, says.

There are dozens upon dozens of classes for students to try out, and the topics range from printmaking to Irish dance. There are classes for beginners and for more advanced learners.


Students can take classes in ceramics, digital media and photography, textile arts, drawing and painting, jewelry and metals, paper and book arts and writing. The Lawrence Arts Center School of Dance offers classes in tap, jazz, hip hop, and other dance mediums.

Olivia Hernandez, a KU student majoring in Fine Arts, began working at the Lawrence Arts Center in 2010 as an art model. After modeling for an art class, she saw a sign advertising for volunteers. She started volunteering as a way to give back to the place she loved, and in 2014, she was hired as the dance program coordinator.


Throughout the years, she has taken numerous classes at the Lawrence Arts Center, including Adult Ballet, Adult Modern dance and Imaginative Drawing. She says the arts center is a great place to receive a diverse range of teaching and instruction.

“If you are lucky enough to have a resource like the arts center, that offers great faculty and great financial aid, to a poor college student, there is nothing better,” she says.

Susan Tate, CEO of the Lawrence Arts Center, says the classes are perfect for students.

“It is not very expensive to take a class at the art center,” she says. “A student who is a business student might not have time in their schedule to take ceramics at KU, but might be able to come here and take ceramics. It is not the same commitment as taking a University class, nor is it the same expense.”

The cost can depend on the length of time the class meets and the medium. Classes can be as cheap as $80 (Adobe Illustrator) or as high as $273 (Ballet VI & VII).

The faculty teaching the classes have Masters Degrees in their area of teaching, and because the Lawrence Arts Center has a partnership with KU, many of KU’s faculty also teach at the arts center.

“What I really like is there is a real quality to the faculty,” Hernandez says. “Everybody has a strong background in what they are teaching. It is really, really enriching.”

The Lawrence Arts Center has numerous other opportunities for students to learn or engage in art. To learn more about what classes are held, or some of the upcoming performances, check out their website at


Married before graduation: trends, fears, and successes


By Katie Gilbaugh

Wedding 2

Two 15-year-olds sneak out of their homes at midnight to meet at a park in Derby, Kansas. They talk until 3 a.m., but the boy can only replay his script over and over in his head until he finally blurts it out. “Do you want to go out with me?” She smiles and says, “yes.”

Four years later, the couple, now college students, decides to spend their Christmas gift money on a trip to Houston, Texas. They are wandering in a nature center and notice a wide, open clearing. The boy asks to take a picture, and once again nervously plays his script over and over in his head. As the camera shutter snaps, he gets down on his knee and finally blurts it out. “Will you marry me?” Again, she smiles and says, “yes.”

Seniors Trevor Prater and Aurora Yager have been married for eight months, but have been together for nearly six years. They don’t give off the vibe of a young married couple. They don’t hold hands and touch each other incessantly. The only sign that they are married are the rings on their hands and their eye contact. It seems as if every time either one of them spoke or told a story, they looked lovingly at each other.

“I think that maybe some people want to get married young, but I think with us that wasn’t the case,” Prater said. “It’s just because we happened to meet each other so early that we ended up getting married.”

Saying “yes” to dating as a 15-year-old isn’t unusual, but sending out wedding invitations before senior year of college is something of a rarity. Prater and Yager, both 21 years old, are unusual, especially when compared to the average marrying age in the US. In 2013, the average age that a man married was 29, for a woman, 26.

According to a 2014 survey by the Pew Research Center, just 26 percent of people ages 18-32 are married. This statistic follows the declining trend of young people choosing marriage. In 1997, 36 percent of 18–32-year-olds were married; in 1980, it was 48 percent.

Dr. Randy Moredock says there’s a consistent trend of couples reaching their senior year and struggling to make a decision about whether to continue in the committed relationship. Moredock has experience with college students, having worked as a counselor at Brockport State College of New York for 25 years. He is now working as a therapist in Lawrence. He is a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and has counseled couples of every age.

“I think a lot of people don’t think about it in terms of a focused activity—a ‘love will conquer all’ type of thing,” Moredock said. “I’m a die-hard romantic myself, I’ll be honest, but love does not conquer all. It gets pretty lonely if you haven’t seen your significant other in a month or something like that.”

So what’s causing the decline in marriage rates since the 1960s? Moredock has a few theories—first that the high divorce rate is instilling a fear of marriage in younger generations.

“They may come from a family history of multiple divorces so there are a lot of factors impeding on them to get married,” Moredock said.

Maybe it’s not a lack of desire to be married, but rather a lack of finances. Sixty-nine percent of unmarried milennials said they’d like to get married; they’re just waiting for economic stability before making the leap to lifelong monogamy.

Moredock’s second theory is focused on how the function of marriage has changed.

“I think it comes down to, that the role expectation has changed so much over the years,” Dr. Moredock said. “There is no longer an expectation that the wife will move for the husband’s career and so there’s a lot of great stuff going on. I see it as ultimately a positive but it can be a real stressor.”

In 2013, an economist and MIT grad student published a report that says the economic value of marriage for women has been reduced. Because more women are getting an education, making money and exercising control over fertility choices, they simply don’t need the economic support of a husband.

Yager’s only mention of difficulty in marrying young was when she discussed their careers. Yager, a social welfare major, is applying for grad schools while Prater, a chemical engineer, begins working in Kansas City.

“That is something hard when you’re in a serious relationship with someone, because it’s like, how do we make this work?” Yager said. “How do we support ourselves while getting our immediate goals done? It’s a little more complicated in planning, but it works out.”

Kathy and Mark Schulte faced a similar complication when they got married in 1986. Kathy had just finished her junior year at the University of Kansas and Mark was three years older, already graduated, and working in Kansas City.


“It just made sense for us,” Kathy Schulte said. “I never doubted the decision for a minute. It’s not like we were rushed into it; for our situation it made a lot of sense. A lot of it was plain: we wanted to be together, and if we weren’t married then we weren’t together.”

In August they celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary.

She remembers having to switch colleges for a semester her senior year because of her husband’s job. She then transferred back to KU, then moved to Wichita and finished her degree in personnel administration as a guest student at WSU. For any couple wanting to get married while in college, Schulte strongly believes in the importance of finishing school.

“Marriage should be a partnership and I want my kids to feel like an equal partner in the marriage,” she said. “If they would choose to get married in college, I want them to feel confident in themselves and feel confident in their ability to provide for themselves and their families.”

Whether getting married in 2014 or 1986, both couples and Moredock emphasized the importance of communication. However, Kathy Schulte put it best.

“I think the best gift you can give your kids is a successful marriage so you have to make sure you’re still talking, still communicating and that you don’t grow apart,” Schulte said. “If you’re expecting every day, every year to be wonderful that’s just not realistic. There will be times when your spouse annoys the hell out of you, but you have to have that staying power, remember that you’re not perfect either, and have that gumption.”

For myself and for many unmarried college seniors, the thought of marriage is one that can instill annoyance and even fear. However, couples like Mark and Kathy or Aurora and Trevor might just be the examples the pessimistic Gen-X needs when approaching marriage.

“You’re rolling the dice at this point,” Dr. Moredock said. “You like this person and fit well with this person, do you want to change the course of your life to be with this person? It’s pretty spooky.”

Dressing to impress: a how to guide for landing the job


By Ashleigh Lee

It’s the night before a big interview and you are getting everything in order for tomorrow. Your resume is polished and printed. Your alarm is set, even though you won’t be able to sleep a wink. The only thing left to do is to figure out what to wear. You check the email again for the dress code– business casual. What does that even mean?

Kelsey Ploeger an assistant director at the University Career Center helps students with mock interviews, resumes and topical workshops. Ploeger helps break the differences between business professional and business casual. “Business professional is most normal for interviews, unless indicated otherwise,” Ploeger says. “Usually for women it’s plain colors, a blazer, pants, skirt and a blouse, and for men it’s nice slacks and a blazer.”

Business casual is less common, but allows for adding more personality to the outfit. “Here women can wear a casual dress or skirt without a blazer but maybe a cardigan or a sweater,” Ploeger says. “Men can wear slacks and a sweater as well.”

Ashley DeMond, a recruiter for Netsmart Technologies, recommends not being too bold in your clothing choices. “It’s more important to let your personality come out when you answer the questions during the interview than in the way that you dress,” DeMond says.

She says that it’s better to err on the conservative side and to always look sharp. “A lot of times people will come in and their shirts will be wrinkly or the shoes look worn,” she says.

One piece of advice that DeMond offers is to be comfortable in what you do end up wearing. You will appear more confident and know what exactly what you will feel good in.

Caitlin Uyemura, a senior in chemical engineering from Osage City, will begin working at Chevron Phillips Chemical in Houston after graduation as a stream process engineer.

“Engineering is pretty boring,” Uyemura says. “It’s usually frowned upon to be out the box.”

Uyemura interviewed for a summer internship at Chevron and kept her outfit simple. “For that interview I kept it pretty basic in business formal,” Uyemura says. “I wore dress pants, a blouse and low pumps.”

Uyemura’s advice to anyone going up for a big interview is to be overdressed than to be underdressed.

“More likely than not, a company is not going to not hire you for being overdressed,” she says.

Except maybe if you’re interviewing at Google. Kendal Harland a senior in computer science from Olathe, will be working as a software engineering after graduation for Google. He says that the recruiters told him specifically not to dress up for the interview.

“There were no specific requirements on what I couldn’t wear, as long as I just didn’t show up looking like a bum,” Harland says.

Start up and tech companies are usually very causal and do not require employees to dress up while interviewing or even while working. Most employees can be seen wearing graphic tees and shorts or jeans.

Fashion 0002


“For my interview I wore some nice brown boots and a button up shirt,” Harland says.

Harland recommends that people research what you should wear to the interview and the company by doing a Google search or talk to someone who already works there. He said that he saw what everyone was wearing when he visited.

“I think the only reason why I didn’t wear a suit and tie was because I looked at what people wore to those types of interviews,” he says. “It never hurts to do a bit of research.”

If you need help with your resume or searching for a job, contact The University Career Center or call 785-864-3624.

The Man Who DJs Your Night Out



By Lyndsey Havens

“Everyone will go crazy if you play this one song, I swear,” an unidentifiable club-goer says to the man behind the plexiglass. The request will go unanswered though, as they often do. DJ Savy already has 90 percent of his songs selected.

DJ Savy has two main “crates” or playlists that he uses, both which have well over 500 songs in them. One is called “General White Person Bar;” the other is “Club Goin’ Up.”

“Part of being a good DJ is knowing your music,” says DJ Savy, more commonly known as Josh Savitt, a Kansas alum from Hopkins, Minn. “How to react to a crowd and how to best play your music — in the right way and the right order — to receive the best reactions from the crowd or audience. DJs who play only music they like suck, and DJs who don’t know when to play the right songs suck.”

Intermixed within his playlist is what can only be described as a verbal logo—an automated voice that says “DJ SAVY” blares through the surround sound speaker system in the bar as one song fades into the next. Lights flash, drinks clink and above all else, people are dancing.

Savitt, 24, graduated from the University in 2014 with a degree in social welfare. Halfway through his final year in graduate school he decided to attempt to make a living off his passion. He also has been solely DJing as a means to support himself since May.

“It’s addicting,” Savitt says. He seems uncertain as to why exactly he is so passionate about DJing, but says he enjoys being his own boss, having the power to choose where and when he gigs.

Most weekends are set in stone for Savitt ­— he DJs at Tonic on Thursdays and the Cave on Saturdays. On Fridays he rotates among various places such as Power & Light, Westport or “random Kansas City bars.” He says if DJing doesn’t work out, he will get a “real job like everyone else.”

But until then, he is perfectly content—and tonight, he takes on Tonic.

The small size of the dance floor fools the eye, making it appear to be full even though the current crowd doesn’t nearly exceed capacity. Then again, it is only 11:30 p.m. DJ Savy has at least another two hours to go.

Savitt’s parents bought him his first two turntables and a mixer in 2006. He was 16 at the time. He says he has always loved rap and hip-hop music, and appreciates artists such as Atmosphere, Brother Ali and Doomtree/P.O.S that all hail from Minneapolis.

There may be no apparent connection between a degree in social work and a career in entertainment, but Savitt says the two “commonly share positive human relationships and working with others to obtain a set of goals.” He says a DJ must learn to create the “right atmosphere,” one that motivates people to buy drinks and spend money. This essentially creates a positive relationship with the owner, manager, bartenders and patrons of the bar or club. Savitt appears to be accomplishing this particular goal tonight, considering each of the four available bars within Tonic is busy.


Being a DJ creates an unusual juxtaposition by combining a night out with work. Savitt says he often sees friends out enjoying themselves while he is DJing, and while some fall victim to annoying antics such as requesting a song or attempting to engage in conversation, he says his friends “know it’s time for me to do my thing and not be distracted, and they respect that.” Though he says others sometimes fail to understand that his work “requires complete attention.”

Occasionally though, his attention is strained when out of the ordinary things occur. Savitt says when he was recently DJing in Lawrence, “I won’t say where,” he says, he remembers talking with a customer who had apparently “been drinking all day.” Savitt says later that night, as he was packing up, the same man was found sleeping in the bathroom. “I got a good kick out of that one,” Savitt says.

The perks of being a DJ often outweigh the distractions though. Savitt says he can’t believe he gets paid to “spin records for hundreds of people” while also receiving free food, drinks and anything else he may need from the bar, club or venue.

A common misconception about being a DJ is that you get booked based on skill and appeal, Savitt says, but in reality, “the shittiest DJ could be DJing at a venue or bar” because of something as simple as having the right equipment or being friends with the booker.

“I’ve been around long enough and gained enough respect from the people in the industry that I’ve been able to secure steady, weekly gigs,” Savitt says.

One person he has gained the respect, and friendship, of is local singer-songwriter Brian Lockwood, a fifth year Communications major at the University from Vernon Hills, Ill. Lockwood says he met Savitt early in his college career. They have remained close friends ever since.

“I knew him as the guy to talk to about booking shows or really making any kind of moves in Lawrence,” Lockwood says. “He was just always putting cool events on that everyone I knew went to.”

As of lately, a usual day for Savitt is fairly formatted. He says he wakes up around 10 a.m. after coming home between 2-4 a.m. He first does some “normal day stuff,” which he didn’t specify, and then he reviews and critiques his set list from the previous night.

Savitt says his ultimate goal is to become a national touring DJ “playing gigs in different clubs and states every weekend.” The job does come with its fair share of challenges, such as carrying gear, getting gigs, staying focused for over five hours, and, of course, “making money while spinning records.” But for Savitt, such tasks are trivial.

Lockwood says Savitt is in a different position than most other DJs. “This is not what he has to do, this is what he loves to do,” Lockwood says. “And that true passion can be seen in every set.”


Edited by Erika Reals

Heard on the Hill



The SOTH spies are at it again and have continued listening to professors, students and campus randos for the funniest, weirdest and most out of context quotes. Each week we’ll be posting a compilation of the best ones. If you’d like to contribute to Heard on the Hill, email your overheard quips to

Heard on the Hill graphic

  • Guy1: “Should we pick up girls at the bar or a house party?”
    Guy2: “Cheaper to pick up a girl at a house party. But we have the same chances of getting the clap, so fuck it.”

  • Teacher: “Do what you’ve gotta do to get in the writing mood before Thursday’s class.  Take a shot of liquor, a couple hits… you know, whatever.”

  • Girl 1: “What are you like politically?”
    Girl 2: “At heart, I’m a communist.”

  • Girl in bar bathroom to friend: “My boyfriend is so cool when he buys Chapstick he is able to keep it the whole time until it runs out.”

  • Friend 1: “I’m so pasty and pale.”
    Friend 2: “You’re not pasty and pale, you’re shiny and clear.”
    Friend 3: “Like Twilight.”
    Friend 1: “You guys are so high.”

A Night to Remember: Dancing With KU Tango Club


By Mark Acre


On a Thursday night, the unofficial start of the weekend for college students, I’m in the English Room of the Kansas Union for a meeting of the KU Tango Club.

Dimly lit chandeliers illuminate the white and brown walls and mahogany floor. I wait for the class to start in one of the chairs lining the wall of the room, observing other participants who were seamlessly dancing before the class formally begins. This makes me painfully aware of one fact – I don’t know how to dance. The subtle uneasy I feel in the moment harkens back to high school dances of yesteryear where much like the dress clothes I would wear, my dancing never seemed to feel right. I specifically recall a moment during my freshman year homecoming dance with Shelby, a girl from the homecoming group I went with. We stayed arms length apart as we danced, hands mostly at the shoulders. While subsequent dances were much more enjoyable, I was wondering if this tango class would make me feel like that experience did – graceless, gawky, inexperienced.

Every Thursday the club has structured lessons for beginners and intermediate level dancers. People can attend either or both, with the beginner lesson starting at 7:30 p.m. and the intermediate lesson starting right after. Every Monday night the club has “practicas” at the upstairs of the coffee shop Signs of Life. They’re more social and people just dance without any organized instruction. Both nights are free to students; my only required cost for this night was the courage to try something new.

My fears were quickly put to rest. The small group of ten people – a mixture of students and community members – was very welcoming.

Ali Imran, a graduate student from Lawrence and president of the club, led the group the entire evening. He first asked us to separate, with guys on one side and girls on the other. Imran then asked one of the participants, a girl who from what I saw earlier seemed pretty experienced, to help demonstrate some tango moves. Imran reviewed the previous week’s lesson, which delved into things called the cross and ochos.

I learned while tango has “leads” and “followers” both collaborate during the course of the dance.

This is what in part attracted Shalinn Starkey, a senior in Film and Media Studies and a regular to the club.

“I’ve done a little bit of other kinds of dances, but this is different because of the connection I think you have with someone,” Starkey says. “Like in Ballroom dancing for example, it’s all in the lead, but I feel like in Tango it’s more of a partnership. It’s kind of like your creation with someone else.”

With the floor as their canvass, Imran and girl with the blue dress kept their feet close as they walked, with their ankles and knees brushing as one leg passed the other, painting an elegant picture. After they showed the basics of the cross – taking a side step and then walking for three steps – we partnered up. A woman generously asked if I wanted to dance with her. Tango is danced in a counterclockwise circle so as the various partners danced, Ali walked around looking to help. He taught me my first lesson saying, “You need to get closer to her. Oh an put your hands on her waist.”

Partners usually spend most of the dance in embrace according to Daniel Trenner, nicknamed the “Johnny Appleseed of Tango” for his role in teaching and spreading the influence of tango since its revival in the U.S in the mid 1980s. He says Tango is more connection and relationship-based than other dances such as Salsa or Ballroom dancing. “Tango has this character of an intimate social dance that involves an intimate and personal connection between the partners.”

We switched partners several times, taking breaks to listen to Imran and critique our form. While they were all strangers to me, I became more comfortable with them and dancing as more time passed. But there was something else about the dancing that was appealing to me, something Shaher Ibrahimi, a senior from Kansas City majoring in biochemistry, helped articulate.

“It’s like a release, it’s fun” Ibrahimi says. He admits it was the Al Pacino movie A Scent of A Women, which features an “awesome” tango scene that first made him interested in finding the club.

I began the evening fearing the worst, but ended up enjoying myself and it will forever be a night to remember.

Edited by Katie Gilbaugh

Toning On Twinkle Toes: Barre Workouts Come to Lawrence


By Hayley Francis


My legs were burning halfway in to the first set of second position pliés; the term just as foreign to me as the inner quad muscles that had apparently been hibernating. I firmly told myself I could handle this as the sweat accumulated on my upper lip. Relevé, down, up, relevé. Pulse, pulse, pulse. Several rounds of various plié and squat series followed, one arm on the bar and the other firmly outstretched and curved in second position. I thought I was fit, having run competitively for the Division I KU track and cross country teams for over three years, but this was an entirely new type of workout experience. I could feel every muscle I was working; they were all screaming at me.

Local Barre:
RydeBarre Cycle + Sculpt
1520 Wakarusa Dr., Suite E, Lawrence, KS
Student Prices:
New Client Special: 3 classes $15
Drop-in $10
5 classes $45
10 classes $80
20 classes $140
30 classes $180

It was a Saturday morning and my roommate, a pregnant woman and I were the three sole victims of a barre workout at local RydeBarre. Not only was it my first stab at the trending exercise, my last ballet experience was when I was six years old. Needless to say, I didn’t know what to expect when I signed myself up for a class; but my body quickly learned barre’s burn. My internal dialogue as soon as we began: “Respect, ballerinas.”

Barre is an intensive full-body conditioning class that combines aspects of Pilates, ballet, and often yoga, incorporating the ballet barre. There are various variations, some that are more ballet-based and others that emphasize Pilates aspects or incorporate weight exercises. All are focused on toning and strengthening abdominal, glute, thigh and hip muscles through high-intensive, fast-rep exercises. Eliza Hale, co-owner and barre instructor at Lawrence’s only barre studio, RydeBarre, says she and her partner decided to offer barre classes as a complementing workout to their cycle classes because they work all different plains of motion.

“I think it’s an excellent workout because it fuses a lot of different disciplines into one,” Hale said. “You get strengthening and toning, you get increased flexibility with the stretches that are done, and there’s a great cardio element to it.”

RydeBarre opened two years ago, adding to the nation-wide, blossoming craze. Kansas City also has three barre studios, and Genesis Health Club is currently training staff to instruct classes in the near future, according to Genesis Lawrence Group Fitness Coordinator Cristal Barnes.

Other companies nation-wide are also capitalizing on the workouts’ benefits, evident of the nearly 700 corporate-owned studios now in the United States, with an estimated additional 100 opening within the next year, according to a wellness news article.

Much of this growth in popularity is due in part to celebrity endorsement, says Celebrities from Taylor Swift, Madonna, Natalie Portman and Drew Barrymore have all voiced positive feedback for barre, emphasizing its noticeable physical benefits.

The physical benefits are real, according to a 2010 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. It found that participants who did two 60-minute Pilates workouts a week over a 12-week period had increased abdominal and upper-body muscular endurance and hamstring flexibility. The study said the Pilates benefits can help improve overall sport performance or athleticism.

Hale says anyone can reap the workout’s benefits as a complement to other cardio workouts. Although Hale says there haven’t been many students in her classes, she’s instructed both sexes of various ages, ranging from pre-teen to 70 years old. The workout is ideal for all ages because it’s physically and mentally challenging for all levels.

“You have to really think about the muscles you’re contracting. You can’t just make your grocery list while you’re doing pliés,” Hale said. “I have seen people who have been very, very physically fit be very humbled by the workout.” Check and mate.

After a testing fifty minutes in my first barre workout, I wanted to give myself a high-five. I had survived a class I never expected to be so challenging or rewarding. We had worked almost everything from head to toe. I was also addicted. While I was tired, I wanted to do it all over again.


Student Perspectives:

My roommate and former KU rower, Abbey Lozenski, experienced barre for the first time with me, and was also pleasantly surprised by its intensity (and her soreness the next day). “I thought it was going to be a little too prissy for me at first, but I was definitely wrong. It’s definitely a different workout than rowing,” she said. Lozenski also said she liked the class because it worked muscles she didn’t regularly target in other workouts, and it was a hard, different challenge, even for someone in good shape. “I like that you can push yourself as much as you want. I would definitely do it again,” she said.

My friend, Kaitlin Rabe, a senior engineering student from Stilwell, KS, has taken barre classes for over two years now. She says she enjoys barre because it is a great total body workout and is also fun. “Barre is one of the few workouts where I’m not constantly looking at the time to see how much of the class is left. It helps me to de-stress and focus on myself for a little bit,” she said. While she takes most of her classes in KC, she thinks many KU students don’t know about barre due to the local studio’s location and lack of advertising on campus.

Photo by Maddy Rich

Edited by Katie Gilbaugh

Dark Ages: Dealing with Depression as a Millennial


By Austin Fisher

On a cold January night during my sophomore year at the University of Kansas, I’m lying awake in the pitch black of my bedroom at my father’s house in Lawrence. I should be asleep but I can’t stop worrying about school, money and family issues. After hours of thinking about how hopeless life seems, my legs tangled in my sheets and my mind as active as the moment I had lain down, a thought passes through me.

“Do I have enough money in my bank account to buy a gun?”

I was disturbed by the thought because I didn’t need to articulate those that would follow. I immediately knew what I was doing; I was considering suicide. Feeling trapped alone in the darkness, I woke up my dad, told him what was happening, and we agreed that I needed to seek help.

For a year and a half leading up to that night, I had been feeling what I now understand to be symptoms of depression. I am one of over 30 percent of college students who have felt so depressed in the last year that it was difficult to function. I can tell you this story because depression no longer has a stigma attached to it, which was an obstacle to me in seeking help.

Feeling sad or alone and need help? There are many resources available to you.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

Headquarters Douglas County Crisis Line:

KU Counseling and Psychological Services (for students):

“It’s no more anybody’s fault that they have depression than if they had diabetes or other physiological issues,” says Sara Barnes, who has been practicing family counseling for 17 years. “I think that there’s been a big change in the last 10 years.” She says people—especially younger generations—are more open to talk about depression. Studies show that while most college students try deal with stress themselves, 90 percent don’t see anything wrong with seeking help. Most delay seeking clinical treatment because they feel the stress they’re experiencing is normal, they feel they could handle it on their own or with help from friends and family.

However, sometimes depression itself can prevent one from sharing their feelings. “I consider my academics to be a really big part of my identity,” says Calvert Pfannenstiel, who was diagnosed with dysthymia, a mild but chronic form of depression, along with seasonal affective disorder in June. In 2012, returning to the U.S. from a liberating summer internship in Switzerland, Pfannenstiel’s grades were floundering as he had difficulty readjusting to normal life and “the disheartening dynamics of my family,” referring to his parents’ divorce. That winter he became more reclusive, stopped going to class, slept too much and was hiding it all from professors, friends and family because he felt embarrassed about not succeeding in school. Depressive feelings that were present before the internship became amplified by a return to reality. After he opened up to his girlfriend Kayla DuBois and others close to him, he briefly entered the KU Counseling and Psychological Services program before switching to a private therapist, from whom he learned about lifestyle changes like exercise, disciplined sleep and exposure to sunlight. He also started taking 150 mg of bupropion and krill oil supplements, which contain fatty acids that help regulate his mood and prevent him from slipping into a depressive mind set.

“The difference is surprisingly noticeable when I don’t take it for a day,” he says.

Pfannenstiel admits that at one point DuBois was his sole source of happiness and pride. They have helped each other through rough patches since they met two years ago. “Calvert is one of the only people that’s never made me feel like I’m broken,” she says. Since childhood DuBois has felt depressive symptoms, but she assumed her problems weren’t worth bringing up. Her family didn’t validate her feelings and told her not to share her depression. She started seeing a therapist in November 2012, but stopped after ten months. Talk therapy isn’t for her. “Sometimes they’ll grab something that you say and go off on this tangent that wasn’t what you were getting at.” In January she moved to Austin, Texas, where her brother Ryan gave her a room of her own and got her into yoga and group anxiety therapy where she learned that it’s okay to ask for help. Caring for her infant nephew, Archer, was deeply therapeutic. “I would look at him and he had all this faith in me that I didn’t have in myself.”

There are many types of depression, and they can increase a person’s risk of having other disorders. “A physician could look at someone recently diagnosed with diabetes and say it was caused by their earlier depression, but it could also be that both were caused by something in the background,” says Dr. William Eaton, a professor of mental health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. Background causes of co-occurring disorders could include genes or childhood trauma. Eaton says the risk for depressive disorder peaks between 25 and 30 years of age for women, and 30 to 35 years for men. “Anxiety and depressive disorders are very much comorbid,” he says, meaning they tend to occur together. Pfannenstiel still experiences dysthymia and seasonal affective disorder, DuBois also suffers from fibromyalgia and panic attacks, while I have major depressive disorder and social anxiety disorder. Major depressive disorder, or clinical depression, is typically a period of intense sadness and lack of motivation that lasts at least two weeks. Either way, talk or group therapy can help. Drugs can too, like with Pfannenstiel, but I chose to avoid them.

My introverted personality led me to stigmatize my own mental illness. Like DuBois, in the depths of my depression, I felt like my internal problems didn’t deserve to be expressed to the outside world, and sharing them would just burden others. This contributed to a mental isolation. I would be sitting next to an old friend but feel a nonexistent tension, like the space between us was filled with heat and static. At parties I would sit alone or never join conversations. But my friends and family were supportive when I started opening up. Many were surprised to hear that I was depressed; they told me I hadn’t shown any signs. I still struggle with why I stayed silent for so long. In 2007 only a quarter of adults with symptoms of mental illness believed that people were supportive while over half of all adults believed that people were supportive. Perhaps the stigma felt worse to me than it actually was.

Unable to tell anyone but my dad about my feelings, I went to the KU Psychological Clinic and started seeing a therapist, Katie. Initially I reported feelings of depression, loneliness, and infrequent, passive thoughts of suicide. Through therapy I would begin to understand why I was feeling this way.


Kayla DuBois made the above piece of art, called “Sorry I Spilled Your Coffee,” during her junior year of high school in 2009. There are about 200 different paintings underneath what you can see on the surface. While the original intent of the piece was different, DuBois says the process of making it was therapeutic for working through the events of an abusive relationship. The piece won a silver medal at the National Scholastic Arts Competition.

Part of the problem was I was still reflecting on the end of a three-month long relationship, over a year later. Ruminating on that and subsequent rejections led me to question my self-worth. Paradoxically I was both afraid of being close to someone again and of being alone forever. I wanted to forget the relationship, but I couldn’t move on. I also felt guilty for being so far away from my mother in Boston, who was unhappy with her job and begging me to come help her. I started questioning my worth as a son. By talking with Katie once a week, I would learn that I was obsessed with the past, unable to deal with the present, and unconcerned about the future. She found that I had increased emotional sensitivity, self-doubt, feelings of worthlessness, indecisiveness and a tendency to lose pleasure in things I once enjoyed. I had a general feeling of emptiness and lack of purpose. My grades had fallen, and I was questioning the entire prospect of being a writer. Before that hopeless night in my bedroom, my family dynamics, grades and sex life made me hate myself.

My therapy focused on changing my thoughts, attitudes and habits. I learned to recognize feelings of sadness or anger and to question these feelings, which forced me to consider how much control I have over them. Now I can recognize when I’m thinking in a depressive pattern, and try to get myself out of it. Getting enough sleep and exercising are now central to my well-being. Studies show that physical exercise does have an antidepressant effect for people suffering from mild to moderate depression. At Katie’s suggestion, I started running once a week, which became four times a week. This new habit, along with my own experiments with mindfulness meditation, made me healthier and improved my self-esteem.

For others, formal therapy just doesn’t work. Elliot Yochim has had clinical depression and bipolar disorder since the summer before he started college in 2011, when he also experienced a breakup. After having an emotional breakdown last year and losing interest in school, Elliot entered therapy for about a half a year until he felt like he wasn’t getting anything out of it anymore. “It was like talking to a wall. I didn’t get anything back except my own voice,” he says. For two months he was on antidepressants but they didn’t really help. Instead, he runs, writes, plays music and applies himself to his new major in theater design. “Having your life consumed by something you love is way better than just doing it on the weekends and between bathroom breaks.”

For anyone considering suicide, the causes are numerous and complicated. Unfortunately, people assume those considering suicide have reached that point because of character flaws. “The stigma about suicide is that this person is deeply troubled individually, and we often accredit all of that to their individual character rather than considering what’s going on around them,” says Jared Auten, a volunteer counselor for Headquarters Counseling Center in Lawrence. Auten works on a crisis line for Headquarters, where people can call if they feel depressed or are considering suicide. He gives callers a safe space to talk through problems and have their feelings validated and not judged. He joined Headquarters in the spring of 2013 both for the counseling experience and as a form of therapy and personal understanding. He lost his dad to suicide in 2006. He says he did experience grief, but not depression.

Like anyone else I have good days and bad, but now I know how to deal with the bad and appreciate the good. I no longer blame myself for everything that I don’t like about my life, and I see that people will support me. Overcoming depression is different for everyone, but the first step is the same: telling someone how you feel.


Edited by Erika Reals

From KU to KC: Girl Friday, Fabric, & Fashion



Photos and story by Aleah Milliner

Located at the historic Katz Drugstore building on the corner of Westport Road in Kansas City, vintage enthusiasts and design duo Lyndsey Helling and Lauren Tweedie spend their time dreaming up ideas and inspiration for their clothing line, Girl Friday.

They occupy two spaces out of the studio, a shared building for artists in the community, and have filled the walls with sketches, chalkboard wall quotes – “selling feelings from wall to ceiling “ – fabric samples, magazine cutouts (including a photo of delicious looking doughnuts), and various other materials. Silver and gold tinsel hang from the walls, and their hand painted fabric scraps are tucked away in a corner.

IMG_0041 (1)

Upon walking into their space, you get a sense strong sense of creativity and a fun, unique style that translates into Helling and Tweedie’s various clothing collections.

The girls met while working at Donna’s Dress Shop, a vintage clothing shop in Kansas City, MO. They worked together every Friday and bonded over their mutual interests in art and design, and especially of vintage clothing.

“The shapes are really striking. It is so much more unique than modern clothing. Vintage style is really unafraid,” said Tweedie, on why she gravitates toward the style.


The pair began designing their line in their free time outside of their work at Donna’s. All of their clothing design has been a collaborative effort between the two, stemming from sketches and inspiration in the studio, and resulting in many hours and late nights of sewing.

Girl Friday debuted in June 2014 with a collection of shift dresses, circle skirts, and tunics, all constructed from vintage fabrics. They debuted their third line in September 2014, a dress collection using hand painted fabric, which included an eyeball-patterned dress.

Screenprinting was not an option for their designs, so they turned to hand painting.

“For the eyeball dress we painted yards at a time. Like a football field length of fabric. We just paint all of it, cut it up and assembled it. We wash all of the fabric first, paint it with textile pigment, let it dry, and then heat set the fabric. It is a very time consuming process,” said Tweedie, who worked with textiles in the Art and Design School while attending KU.

Both girls agree that they have grown creatively through designing Girl Friday.


“I have gotten more confident. I don’t have the best sewing skills but I have learned a lot through this whole process. I jump at making the clothes instead of being hesitant about it,” said Helling.

Helling credits Finnish textile and fashion design company Marimekko as a major influence in her creativity. While her husband was conducting research in Finland, Helling had a lot of free time to explore, and there she discovered the company.

“I have this really amazing Marrimeko book that is so good and so inspiring. It talks about the company’s history, how it started, and how it evolved. I look at that book often for inspiration.”

As for Tweedie, she sparks her creativity through shopping, wandering through antique malls, and visiting The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. She also credits Instagram as a source of inspiration.

Helling and Tweedie are currently spending their time in the studio creating their new line.

The line will be a collection of 1970s Sportswear and will debut at the 18th Street Fashion show in Kansas City June 13th, an event open to the public.


“We have a friend who can really rock a jumpsuit. We wanted to make a jumpsuit with a hood on it, and we designed it around her,” said Helling.

The newest Girl Friday line will include bold, graphic prints and their first men’s outfit. The collection will be for sale immediately after, however only five outfits will be created.

Looking to the future, the girls hope to be designing full time for Girl Friday and to sell their clothes in as many retail stores as possible.

“I feel honored when anyone expresses interest,” Tweedie said.

Edited by Katie Gilbaugh

THE Definitive Guide to Leggings


IMG_5473 By Audrey Danser

5 ways to wear ‘em

For many students, throwing on a pair of leggings is the warmest and most comfortable solution to the bitter Kansas wind this time of year. However, instead of using leggings as an excuse for dressing down, here are five simple ways that leggings can be worn to dress comfortably while also achieving a polished look. Pulling together a more fashion-oriented outfit does not have to take much effort.

1. Save the athletic wear for the gym.

Leggings that look like athletic wear (you know, the black ones with bright pink V’s at the calf) should be saved for working out. I understand that it is convenient and comfortable to throw on the ‘athletic’ outfit for those early morning classes and just stay dressed that way for the rest of the day until you do actually make it to the gym, but that’s no justification. The rec center has locker rooms for outfit changes.

2. Tunics cover more than a T-shirt.

Tunics are too short to wear with tights, yet they look odd when paired with jeans. However, with skin-hugging leggings, the proportion is perfect: not too revealing and not too conservative. Now throw on a thick knit scarf and riding boots and you’re ready to face the winter wind. Tunics also, ahem… cover your booty (see October’s article ‘Butt Why: the Return of the Backside’).


3. Wear them like tights.

The thought of wearing a dress or skirt in the winter can be chilling. However, if you pair a dress or skirt with more densely knit leggings, the weather and coverage is no problem. Although traditionally black, just like tights, leggings come in all different patterns and colors. When paired with a simple, neutral outfit like a solid black or grey dress, colorful leg wear can be a fun detail.

4. Wear it with a blazer.

What’s more striking than juxtaposition? Full-length black leggings can actually be quite sleek if paired with the right combination. Try pairing your outfit with black booties, a fit-and-flair-blouse, statement necklace and top-knot for a polished look. Alternatively, continue with the theme of juxtaposition and replace the blouse for your favorite band’s vintage T-shirt.

5. Think Audrey Hepburn.

Go for simple, yet elegant. Try pairing your 3/4 length black leggings with a black and white striped long sleeve T-shirt and flats. Top off your look with bold red lips for a pop of color. Now, how is that any more difficult to throw on in the mornings than what you’re already wearing?


 Photos by Hannah Mougel

Modeling by Bailey Degnan

Edited by Katie Gilbaugh and Erika Reals

Heard on the Hill: The Chaos Continues


After a bit of a hiatus, our SOTH spies have continued listening to professors, students and campus randos for the funniest, weirdest and most out of context quotes. Each week we’ll be posting a compilation of the best ones. If you’d like to contribute to Heard on the Hill, email your overheard quips to

Heard on the Hill graphic

  • Girl to friend: “Full disclosure, you were in my dream last night and I was really mad at you, and now I’m trying to not be mad at you in real life.”

  • Stranger at bar: “Your roommate tells me that’s your Keith Langford jersey?”
    College senior: “Sure is.”
    Stranger at bar: “So, you must have bought that when I graduating from KU, then. That was also Bill Self’s first year.”
    College senior: “Uh, I gotta go.”

  • Girl: “Did you see the opened bottle of cooking wine by the bathroom sink? Wonder how that went over.”

  • Guy 1: “So sex is a sin? Does butt stuff still count?”
    Guy 2: “Nah, man. It’s the poophole loophole.”

  • Girl: Is it normal that I’m basically looking forward to getting drunk just so I can be hungover and get Chipotle the next day?


Slack lining: the new rock climbing?



By Riley Mortensen

“Just go up,” said the voice in my head as I stood in a gym, one foot perched on a plastic red crate used as a stepping stool and the other gripping a long nylon tight rope looking line. I was preparing to walk at what felt like skyscraper height, but was no more than 4 feet off the ground. My heart was racing and bare feet tingled. I wiggled my toes nervously, took a deep breath and pushed off the crate throwing my body up and onto the line. I wobbled like a baby doe learning to walk. One step, two step and down I went, but I had done it. I was slack lining.

In a rock climbing gym called The Cave, for $15, I had decided to give slack lining a go.

I giggled, as I got ready to give it another try.

“Did you ever dance or anything like that,” said Lyle Harte, a tall friendly fellow in a t-shirt, shorts and climbing shoes. “Did you do ballet? It helps if you pick a point to focus on and just go straight up.”

Harte is a senior at KU studying economics and political science. Harte is also a member of the KU rock-climbing club, which is where his interest in slack lining stemmed from, but it all began with a deep love of being outdoors.

Harte and Mitch Friedeman, the current president of KU’s rock-climbing club, are my instructors for the evening. The two prefer slack lining outdoors, but because it’s 17F, we opted for a trip to The Cave, the only gym in the area that offers slack lining.

You have probably seen Harte, Friedeman and other students wobbling on their slack lines in front of Frasier Hall and Watson library, or South Park on Mass. St. They also like to “duel” or meet in the middle to see who can knock the other off first.

Despite numerous tries, five steps was as far as I got. Friedeman and Harte insisted that it just takes practice and it’s all about having fun.


“What I really love about slack lining is when we get a little community of people on campus, like in front of Frasier and you know there’s just a bunch of us friends hanging out,” said Friedeman who is a senior studying visual communication. “It’s a good social thing because most people talk while one person walks. You can duel each other and it’s just a fun pastime activity.”

According to, the sport’s origins lie with a group of rock climbers experimenting in Yosemite National Park in the 1970s. Adam Grosowski and Jeff Ellington began practicing their balancing skills in the valleys and between trees. The two could do numerous tricks including juggling and handstands. Friends of the two soon brought the sport back to Pasadena, California and from there it slowly spread. Now it’s finally making it’s way to the Midwest.

Kansas native and recent KU graduate, Julia Yang first began slack lining after joining the KU rock-climbing club about a year ago. She’s now a regular at The Cave.

“At first I thought it was something college people did to get attention on campus and it wasn’t a real thing,” Yang said. “But then once I joined the climbing community, I saw how it was another way to take you cool places outdoors.”

Yang said she really likes the challenge of slack lining. It’s one activity that you want to try over and over until you master it, Yang said.

Want to try slack lining for yourself? Here are some of Friedeman and Harte’s top tips:
1. Keep your knees bent. Do not lock them.
2. Use your arms to counterbalance your body. Keep them above your head if it helps, like you’re directing a plane.
3. Keep your feet straight on the line. Don’t turn them and keep your toes facing forward.
4. Pick a point somewhere beyond the line to focus on.
5. Don’t rush it.
6. If you’re falling, just jump off. You don’t need to try and save it. That’s when things go bad.

Many rock climbers take up the sport because it’s a good way to relax and waste time at camp while on rock-climbing trips, Friedeman said. It’s also a good way to not use your arms, Harte added.

Slack lines can run anywhere from $60 to $200 depending on the brand, and they typically cone with a ratchet, which is used to tighten the line. The wider the line, the easier it is to balance, said Friedeman and Harte. Slack lining is also an approved on-campus activity according to KU’s website, as long as you pad the trees where the line wraps around it.

“It can be bad for the bark,” Harte said. “But its not just specific tree pads you can use; people use towels too.”

The next morning, I woke up to throbbing legs and a few scrapes on my ankles. I was thankful I hadn’t racked myself as the guys call it. That’s a kind of recreational hazard where you fall with one foot on each side of the line and smack your groin. I had my reservations about slack lining before, but conquering my battle with balance had left me wanting more.

Time for you to give it a try. We know you know you want to, so here’s where to go:

The Cave

(816) 569-5792 //
3150 Mercier St., Suite 641A
Kansas City, MO 64108
Monday-Friday: 3pm-10pm, Saturday and Sunday: 12pm-8pm
Cost: $11 per visit, $4 to rent rock climbing shoes


KU Rock Climbing Club

KU Rock Climbing on Facebook
Club hours: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday 8:30pm-10:30pm, and Fridays 5:30pm-8:30pm at the “Chalk Rock” climbing wall in the rec. during the fall/spring semesters.


Photos by Axel Cornejo

Edited by Katie Gilbaugh

The Tart Trend of Sour Beers


By Alec Weaver

On a hot day last June my friend Corbin and I were spending some time at our favorite watering-hole. Trying to decide what to drink, the young woman behind the counter recommended we try the new “sour beer.” At first I was skeptical but after taking my first sip of the refreshing, lemony beverage I was sold. There is definitely something in the spectrum for everyone. From fruity Lambics to tart, crisp Berliner Weisses, Food and Wine has called the budding sour beer trend “the most exciting brewing trend right now.”

At first the phrase “sour beer ” might raise a few eyebrows, but the term is just a catch-all for five distinct styles of brew namely; Gose, Berliner Weisse, American Wild Ale, Lambic and Flanders Red Ale.

“Each style is going to have varying degrees of tartness and funkiness depending on the different strains of bacteria and yeast that are used” says Chris Cordero, who works for Cork & Barrel at 9th and Massachusetts.

Sour beers are by no means new, but there is a gathering interest in this style of beer. At Kansas Crown Discount Liquor, employee Kyle Wolfe says that he has seen this growing interest first hand. “I’ve definitely had more people asking about sour beers over the past year, it seems that more and more people want to try them.” Kansas Crown currently offers four different styles of sour beer; a Gose from Anderson Valley Brewing, a Berliner Weisse from Eviltwin, an American Wild ale from Boulevard and several Lambics.

Cork & Barrel offers the same beers in addition to a second Berliner Weisse from Eviltwin and several Flanders Reds and Cordero says that while there hasn’t been a sour beer boom in Lawrence, they have been getting more variety over the past year, with their popularity peaking last spring.

“We sold more sour beers during the warmer weather because they are really refreshing and work well as more of a session beer,” says Cordero.

So what gives sour beer that distinct taste? The secret lies in the bacteria. Geoff Deman, head of downtown brewing at Free State Brewing Co. says that sour beers get their distinct taste from two types of volatile bacteria which produce high amounts of acid during the brewing process. These yeasts can be added deliberately or can be cultivated from “wild” bacteria that occur when the beer is exposed to the open-air during the fermentation process. According to Deman these bacteria can be finicky and can even “infect” other beers, turning them sour.

“For this reason, breweries producing Sour Beers will dedicate specific fermenters, hosing, parts, and even entire packaging lines to the production of Sour Beers,” says Deman.

So are sour beers merely a fad among foodies or should you expect to see more cropping up?

“I think that sour beers are here to stay, but like all things food and beverage will likely see peaks and valleys with regards to popularity,” says Deman. “Classic beer styles that were popular over a decade ago, like Brown Ale, or Stouts, are less so now, with beer styles that push the envelope becoming more and more popular.”


If you’re curious about sour beers, you might want to give one of these brews a try, all of which are available locally.

pic 1

Name: Lovechild No.4
Brewery: Boulevard Brewing Company
Style: American Wild
Sourness rating: 8
Purchase at: Kansas Crown Discount Liquor, $17.99, 750ml
Description: Man oh man, this beer is funkier than James Brown in a paisley cape. Aged in both whiskey and wine barrels, Lovechild No.4 is without a doubt the most complex beverage that will ever pass your lips. The aroma of this beer is reminiscent of a good white wine, similar in astringency to chardonnay. The taste opens with a pleasant tartness before giving way to a more pungent flavor, similar to Roquefort cheese. This quickly fades to a subtle fruity sweetness that begs you to take another sip.

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Name: Justin Blåbær
Brewery: Evil Twin Brewing
Style: Berliner Weisse
Sourness rating: 5
Purchase at: Cork & Barrel, $9.99, 22 FlOz
This offering from Evil Twin Brewing is exactly what you’d expect a sour beer to taste like. Pronounced tartness at first sip gives way to the familiar maltiness of a macro lager. The Label claims that this beer is brewed with blueberries, but that flavor didn’t really come through.


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Name: Blood Orange Gose
Brewery: Anderson Valley
Style: Gose
Sourness rating: 6
Purchase at: Kansas Crown Discount Liquor, $8.99, 6 cans
A very refreshing session beer for the impending heat of summer. This offering from Anderson valley has a very bright and crisp orange flavor throughout.


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Name: Duchesse De Bourgogne
Brewery: Verhaeghe
Style: Flanders Red
Sourness rating: 10
Purchase at: Cork & Barrel, $4.89, 11.2 Fl Oz
This is a very intense sour beer. The initial sip is a huge fruity affair with a grape and red berries being the most prominent flavors. This then fades into a very tart punch, much like expensive balsamic vinegar.


pic 5

Name: Kriek Lambic
Brewery: Lindemans
Style: Lambic
Sourness rating: 1
Where to buy: Alvin’s Wines & Spirits, $9.71, 750 ml
Kriek is Flemish for cherry, and this traditional Lambic doesn’t lack for cherry flavor. Think of an Italian soda with a splash of alcohol and you’ll have the just of what this beer tastes like. There are several other flavors of Lambics (Peach, Raspberry, Grape) and the Lindemans Lambics are fairly easy to find around town.


pic 6

Name: Nomader Weisse
Brewery: Eviltwin
Style: Berliner Weisse
Sourness rating: 8
Where to buy: Mass Liqour, $18.00, 6 cans
Eviltwin’s Nomader Weisse is a little too tart to be a true session beer, but nevertheless it has a very crisp, clean flavor. Don’t let the exorbitant price tag fool you, there was very little complexity to the flavor and absolutely zero maltiness. In other words buy something cheaper and more drinkable or spend your money on one of the better brews listed above.


Photos by Jordan Thompson

Edited by Katie Gilbaugh

Made for the Middle


Kansas City’s fifth annual Middle of the Map Festival dominates the month of April to bring the best music, film, and discussions to the heart of the Midwest.

By Hannah Pierangelo


Like with Oreos and sibling order, sometimes the middle is the best. For Kansas City, it’s never been better to be in the middle. Of the map, that is.

Kansas City has seen more than a little national attention over the last year. We can thank America’s favorite pastime and the Royals for its time in the spotlight, as well as The New York Times’ shout out to the city for a revitalized urban setting that’s attracted many millennial residents. Being right in the middle of the country, the city is able to draw from the biggest and best ideas in art, culture, and music. Kansas City is, simply put, the pulse of the Midwest.

                    KEEP IN TOUCH
Record Machine
Twitter: @lerecordmachine
Facebook: /therecordmachine
Middle of the Map
Twitter: @motmfest
Facebook: /motmfest

That’s where Middle of the Map Festival comes in. Now in its fifth year, the fest isn’t a toddler anymore; it’s finally hitting a growth spurt and standing on its own feet this year, having matured in more than a few big ways since its birth. What started as a music festival has expanded to add film and forum, much like the popular South by Southwest Festival held in Austin, Texas, each March. The music component has also added multiple days and venues to coincide with its ever-growing lineup, which passes 120 artists this year. To top it off, the festival expects to draw more than 10,000 people over three weekends to the beating heart of Kansas City.

“Music happens there 365 days a year,” said Nathan Reusch, co-founder and curator of the festival and founder of independent record label, The Record Machine. “It’s not like we’re entirely throwing this festival in a field in the middle of nowhere.”

For first-time attendees, this is a good year to introduce yourself to one of the more successful urban Midwest fests. The music weekend, held April 22-25, will span seven venues including the historic Uptown Theater, an outdoor stage in the district lot, and in smaller venues like The Riot Room, Record Bar, and Westport Saloon in Westport, said Reusch. Though fans must be 21 to attend shows at The Riot Room, Westport Saloon, and Ernie Biggs bar, Uptown Theater will be open to all ages and The Record Bar open to those 18 and older.

While the country’s most popular music festivals are hosting upwards of 50,000 people a day in empty fields, Middle of the Map is able to incorporate the best venues, restaurants, and the entirety of downtown Kansas City’s vibrant atmosphere into the event.

“That’s the thing about Kansas City,” Reusch says. “We’re not the largest market. We’re not New York, we’re not LA, we’re not Chicago. Lollapalooza, and Bonnaroo, and Coachella—those things exist. [Middle of the Map] is providing something that’s an alternative to that.”

The festival is also includes local acts on its bill as well as national ones. Iron and Wine will headline this year’s festival, but hardworking bands from Kansas City will share the stage with some of the festival’s bigger names in keeping with the festival’s local values.

Iron and Wine, pictured above, will be headlining this year's Middle of the Map Fest.

Iron and Wine, pictured above, will be headlining this year’s Middle of the Map Fest.

Hembree, an indie/alternative rock band based out of Kansas City, will play the third night of the festival before indie-folk artist Lord Huron at the outdoor stage.

“What’s unique about Middle of the Map is a lot of the local venues work together and you buy admission for the festival and you can walk in through anybody’s door,” says Matt Green, Hembree’s bassist. “It’s just cool because it’s a full city event, it’s not just grouped in one area like a normal festival would be. It creates a unique vibe. People can text each other and say, ‘You’re at the Jerusalem café? Well get down to The Riot Room, this band’s really good.’ It creates a lot of buzz really fast around the city.”

For more information and to buy tickets, visit


Edited by Katie Gilbaugh

Photos provided by Nathan Reusch and Iron and Wine

Street Style: Spring Dreamin’


Photos by Hannah Mougel

With spring quickly approaching (ignore the fact that there’s still snow on the ground) it’s time to dust off your favorite sandals and boyfriend jeans. Paired with a loose-fitting knit cardigan, simple tunic shirt and bold necklace, model Hannah Lieberman has created the perfect spring ensemble. The super cozy cardi still has an element of style when paired with gold accessories and black leather bag.


Heard on the Hill: Second Edition


Our SOTH spies have been listening to professors, students and campus randos for the funniest, weirdest and most out of context quotes. Each week we’ll be posting a compilation of the best ones. If you’d like to contribute to Heard on the Hill, email your overheard quips to


Street Style: Denim Daze


Photos and interview by Aleah Milliner
Street Style 2.18
Molly Hennessy / Sophomore
Who & What Influences Your Personal Style?
I get a lot of inspiration from Instagram photos and Free People catalogues. I like to look at the outfits and make my own, cheaper version. My roommates are easy to draw style inspiration from. We all share clothes. Growing up, my mom taught me that fashion is a really important way of expressing yourself. I try to do that as much as I can.
What are you staple clothing items?
I wear my jean jacket a lot. I have a lot of them. I’m all about the jean jacket. I wear my short booties daily. I also really like flannels.
How do you feel about dressing up for school?
I think when you look good, you feel good. I feel better when I dress up.

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M.O.T.H Valentine’s Edition


Roses are red
Violets are blue
Here’s some hot music
You should f*!k to

~Happy 50%-off candy week~

Created by Emily Donnell

Heard on the Hill


Our SOTH spies have been listening to professors, students and campus randos for the funniest, weirdest and most out of context quotes. Each week we’ll be posting a compilation of the best ones. If you’d like to contribute to Heard on the Hill, email your overheard quips to


Life from a Suitcase: Tips for Study Abroad Packing


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By Audrey Danser

Packing for a long-term trip is no easy ordeal, especially if you’re concerned with fashion. I was recently faced with this packing predicament (and might I add much fashion anxiety) when I prepared my luggage for a four-month long study abroad experience.

How was I going to do without my vintage gold beaded clutch with the delicate nearly-there strap or that perfectly structured LBD that makes me feel like Audrey at Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Or even my yellow snakeskin sandals that are completely impractical for city walking but are just too cute that the look themselves make up for the blisters that come later. As I tried to pick out what I was going to bring with a 50-pound limit, including all of my other essentials packed alongside, I couldn’t help but wonder, would I have to be unstylish in Europe?

I answered my own question in the first week on location. If you pack smartly, a minimized wardrobe can be quite versatile and a 20″ suitcase is more than enough room.

If you’re anything like me, I envisioned myself with a changed fashion style across the pond–perhaps a little more edgy and daring. Chances are, however, if you don’t wear it at home, you won’t have a sudden and drastic change in style while traveling. After the first few weeks, no matter how hard you try, you’ll revert back to what is most comfortable for you to attend class, study and play in.

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Sophomore Megan Reschke, who studied for a semester at University College Cork in Ireland, avoided packing frivolous statement pieces by receiving guidance from blogs of students who had studied abroad in Europe.

“I spent a significant amount of time looking into the general style of my particular country,” Reschke said. “I decided not to bring anything too trendy, just because I wasn’t certain that trends in Kansas were the same as trends in Ireland.”

Making a wardrobe feel new during several weeks and the same clothing is all about working with the composition–pairing unexpected materials, textures or subtle patterns to create a unique look.

Senior Mary Rose Scarpelli, who just returned from her second KU study abroad experience, advises that shoes are the best investment.

“Here I walk a lot, there I walked a lot,” she noted, and adding that an investment pair of versatile boots and walking sandals purchased specifically for these trips were worth the while.

Apart from smart shoe choices, neutral outer wear is important because a jacket is how you present yourself to the world: it is worn walking to class, worn out to the pub on chilly nights, and is seen in all of your tourist photos that you’ll post on your blog. It is key to keep the design, fit and color (camel or black) simple. A basic form can easily be transformed by a bold scarf, broach and statement bag.

Ultimately, when choosing the perfect travel wardrobe, keep in mind that the less you pack now, the more room in your luggage later for unique finds you’ll discover abroad. Those pieces will be introduced into your home wardrobe soon enough and will have a much more significant meaning to you than that extra pair of plum-colored Harlem pants you had once considered packing.


Edited by Katie Gilbaugh

Photos by Audrey Danser

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