It’s Not Easy

Kim Johnson – It’s not easy to eat healthy. It’s not easy to exercise at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week. It’s not easy finding time to relax and de-stress. It’s not always easy to talk to someone when we’re not feeling “well” (physically, mentally, or otherwise).
I have two college degrees in health and still struggle with all this on a daily basis. Most days I would much rather have a quiet, leisurely lunch and skip cramming a workout and shower into the hour. It’s much less effort for me to grab take out or pour dinner out of a box or bag. And I actually have to practice going to a fast-food restaurant and NOT ordering French fries. (Even with practice, I’m frequently unsuccessful once I actually get to the counter and smell their greasy goodness. That then makes it a little easier for me to choose working out later. I guess there is a silver lining to French fries after all.)
Health and well-being are among the most important topics we can talk about, yet no one wants to touch either. That’s why we decided to take a light approach to a heavy subject in the latest issue of Wabash Magazine. We hope it was just the inspiration needed to jump-start a quest for better health.
Need some tools and tips to get started? Visit WM Online for a list of links to helpful websites recommended by physicians, a dietitian, and a health educator.
Also, in honor of this issue, we have added a new blog titled “Fit for a Dean.” Follow Dean of Students Michael Raters ’85 as he chronicles his journey to eat right, return to exercising, and achieve overall better health. He’ll share his successes as well as his struggles, the highs and the lows, his goals and how he’s going to get there. 

Dinner With Cook, Students Stir Italian Memories

Howard W. Hewitt – I’ve posted blogs from students traveling abroad for the past four years. During the immersion trips I’m always taken by students’ writing about the experience.

One aspect I never quite understood was Wabash men talking about making new friends and the camaraderie. Most of us – students, faculty, and staff – know most of the names and faces on campus. But it has always been surprising that students frequently mention the new friendships.
I saw that first hand in late December and early January when I traveled with Bill Cook and 16 students to Italy. Some of the guys on the trip barely knew each other, even though most of the group had been taking the same course all fall. By the end of the trip, each had made new friends. We teased each other, laughed together, and enjoyed each other’s company on long and often tough days.
There is some change in dynamic when traveling to a foreign country, living together, eating together, and spending the day learning together with friends you barely knew before the trip.
It may be one of the hidden benefits of Immersion Learning that helps bond all Wabash guys not as Independents, Betas, or Fijis – but as Wabash Men.
In that light, it was great fun Thursday night to join Cook and about 10 of those students I traveled with to Florence for dinner. Bill hosted the guys and two of the “old folk” – his words, not mine – in Rogge Lounge. The old folk turned out to be Dr. Keith Baird and the blog guy!
Bill fixed simple pasta with a very basic tomato sauce and a marvelous pork roast with an olive oil and herb rub. Bill then gave a little history lesson noting the pork dish recipe dated back to the Medici era in Florence.
The gathering was nothing more than getting together with friends who shared a common experience. It lasted only an hour but the group jelled as before. Doc Baird even led us in a “three cheers” for the cook or The Cook – whichever way you’d have it!
Plans call for Bill to lead an alumni group on a similar trip this summer. Registration is still open. I have traveled to Europe three times. This was my first trip accompanying Wabash students. I can only say the opportunity to go to these great sites, see the great art, and experience Italy with Bill Cook is an experience you can’t put a price on. You could not buy a tour guide with a fraction of this man’s scholarship and knowledge. It’s unlike any experience I’ve ever enjoyed.
We maintained two blogs while on our 10-day trip. The students wrote about the daily experience here – Florence & Italian Renaissance and I maintained a blog about the travels and lighter side of the trip –Cartolina da Italia.

Grady Enjoys Capstone Moment

Jim Amidon — Cody Grady has less than a month left in Crawfordsville. He’ll graduate as a theater major with the rest of the Wabash College Class of 2010 on May 16.
But rather than coasting to the finish line, Grady stepped up in a big way and will enjoy a “senior capstone moment” when the Wabash theater department presents the classic Shakespearean play,The Tempest, which opens Wednesday.
Grady has spent the last four years behind the scenes of the Wabash College Theater. He’s been a stage manager, properties master, technical director, and set designer. He spent a summer researching and cataloging Wabash’s vast dramatic history — collecting posters, programs, and cast lists, while reaching out to alumni across the country.
Now as he prepares to graduate, he’s had the ultimate Wabash theater experience: he’s co-directing The Tempest with his professor and mentor, Michael Abbott.
“I want to thank Professor Abbott and the department for giving me a great four years here,” Cody told me. “There’s no better way for me to leave the Wabash stage than by pulling the strings behind the scenes of a very ambitious and prominent production. Just as it was Shakespeare’s farewell, it will be mine as well.”
I’ve written a good bit about theater — and the arts generally — this year. In many ways, the arts at Wabash demonstrate the richness of the liberal arts. And by their very nature, the arts are collaborative and require participants to listen to one another, experiment with new ideas, and form a collective finished product.
Cody’s Wabash experience mirrors that ideal. He’s taken courses in science, foreign language, and history. His co-curricular activities have focused on the theater, but not exclusively. His study abroad experience in England helped him mature and develop confidence.
His return to campus for his senior year has been filled with hands-on opportunities for him to apply what he’s learned throughout his time at Wabash — from across the academic disciplines — to his work with the theater.
From stage managing for The Bacchae, to his role as technical director for the stunning production of Terra Nova in February, to his co-direction of The Tempest, Grady has learned much about collaboration, which will serve him well throughout his life.
“Theatre is inherently cooperative, and Wabash’s department works very well together on a regular basis,” says Grady, who calls Redkey, Indiana, his home. “With a show this ambitious — both technically and the fact that its a classic theater piece — everyone really had to come together to pull this off. All the actors have been great to work with; every night we reinvent the show, and each night it is better whether that’s from adding a tech aspect, on the suggestion from an actor, or direction from Mike or myself.”
Grady and his fellow cast and crewmates in The Tempest aren’t the only Wabash artists having capstone, year-ending experiences.
Wabash’s senior art majors — who have spent four years learning art history and practicing different techniques — will host an opening of their Senior Exhibition in the Fine Arts Center tonight.
Seniors Miguel Aguilar, Juan Diaz, Korey Pazour, David Rosborough, Michael Scott, and Dan Sutten will have their work on display in the Eric Dean Gallery from now through May 16 — visual art that has been influenced by the full range of courses in the liberal arts these young men have studied.
The paintings, sculptures, video, and photographs they have produced also reflect their roommates, professors, the pop culture they live in, sports, travel, as well as their personal successes and failures.
The end of the spring semester is always an interesting time at Wabash. There are students who already have been admitted to medical or law schools or accepted job offers, and are biding their time until the “real world” beckons.
Others, like the seniors involved with The Tempest, the art exhibition, Thursday’s Brass Ensemble concert, and next Sunday’s Chamber Orchestra concert, are facing their own “final exams” in their artistic pursuits.
Seeing the students pull all of their Wabash experiences together in a creative pursuit reinforces how the curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular come together for a full and rich liberal arts education.
Which takes me back to Cody’s comment about how the actors in The Tempest had to “come together to pull this off.” Students of the arts at Wabash are forced to pull everything together — and do it when so many of their fellow students have shifted into coast mode.
Note: The Senior Art Majors Exhibition opens tonight at 8:00 p.m., and remains on display during normal gallery hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday) until May 14. The Tempest, by William Shakespeare, opens Wednesday and runs through Saturday with an 8:00 p.m. curtain every night. The Brass Ensemble Thursday begins at 8 p.m. in Salter Concert Hall. The Chamber Orchestra concert Sunday begins at 7 p.m. in Salter Concert Hall. All of these arts events are free and open to the public.

Same Old Busch

Jim Amidon — Roger Busch has almost never turned down a challenge.
The head coach of Wabash’s cross country team and assistant coach of the track team was known as daredevil of sorts when he was a Wabash undergraduate in the mid-1990s.
It wasn’t uncommon for Coach Busch — and his best friends Jeremy Wright and Scott Gall — to run a dozen miles, bicycle 20-30 miles, and then play ultimate or water ski or wrestle — all in the same day.
I fondly remember the ferocity with which the "Three Amigos" approached cross country running, which I always figured as a docile, individual event. Those guys were off the charts in their training — and in their lives.
They moved to Colorado every summer to work crummy jobs and run 70-100 miles per week in high altitude and race their mountain bikes. Back in Indiana, I once waterskied with them at 6:30 in the morning — after they had run 10 miles to get to the lake. When we were done and each of them had a couple of classic crashes, they ran another 10 miles back to their campsite. (Busch took a short, 40-mile bike ride that same day, as I recall.)
Later that same year, Busch and his teammates booked a perfect score at the Great Lakes Regional (taking the top five places) and finished third at the National Championships. Even in a field of hundreds of runners, Busch stood out — he had dyed his hair Raggedy Ann orange just for the national meet.
Fifteen years after becoming an All-American in cross country and track, Busch continues to push the limits of his body.
Last weekend, he ran in the first-ever Southern Indiana Classic Half Marathon and finished first in a time of 72 minutes. Busch was interviewed after the race and in typical fashion, gave the reporter an “aw, shucks” interview. He said he was just putting in the miles and ran the race to see where he was in his training.
He literally ran away from the competition — nobody else was close.
And I’m guessing he put in a few more miles that way, just for kicks.

Wabash College in Color

Kim Johnson – With a nineteen-month-old daughter, my perspective on things has changed a lot. Thanks to her, when it was time to grab my camera to capture spring it was easy to find focus. In fact, the focus actually came first and inspired me to grab my camera to capture spring.
Paige recently learned her colors so as we explore our surroundings on walks, in the car, reading books, and playing we make use of our time by practicing. We talk about the green grass, the blue sky, the pink flowers, and so on. My mind has become particularly in tune with finding shapes, colors, and new objects to point out to her.
I was on campus Monday evening to photograph the senior rhetoric majors. As I headed up the walk to Trippet Hall I was struck by the warm light of the setting sun on the side of Detchon Hall and the blooming trees in multiple colors on all sides. Of course, I could not pass up the opportunity to stop and capture the yellow and pink blooms alongside the red bricks.
Thus, my inspiration was born. Campus is a great place to explore or just relax. There are hundreds of species of trees, flowers, grasses, and other plants (of which I know about eight). Every season brings its unique colors, scents, and textures to light. Here are a few of my favorite Spring colors of Wabash.

Bowen Takes Initiative On Greenhouse Video

Howard W. Hewitt – There are many great staff people at Wabash College who are great to work with and go out of their way to do good things for the school.

It’s a little extra special when some take initative beyond that and do even more. Adam Bowen joined Wabash as our Media Services Specialist about one year ago. Adam has been one of those "above and beyond" kind of guys since his arrival.

Just a couple weeks ago he said he wanted to show me something. He was working on a video showing off the greenhouse in Hays Hall. He just thought we needed one because there was no representation on the website and he’d seen similar videos on other college sites.

That is why Wabash College can be such a great place to work.

Here is Adam’s introduction to the vid, and you can watch it at the bottom of this post. It’s also permanently anchored on the Biology page.

Adam Bowen – The Wabash College greenhouse, which is located in Hays Hall, is a not-so-hidden treasure on the Wabash campus. The greenhouse stands out, especially in the cold and dark winter months, as a source of inspiration for students and a reminder that spring is never too far away. 

Many Wabash students appreciate the greenhouse, but there is not a student on campus that appreciates the beauty and serenity of the greenhouse more than sophomore and greenhouse caretaker Kristijonas Paltanavicius. Please join Kristijonas as he discusses his position and his admiration for the greenhouse.

Health Can Be Fun, Collaboration Joyous

As the new issue of Wabash Magazine reaches mailboxes this week, readers may do a double-take.

We’re counting on it.

It’s been a while since a WM cover promised to tell you “What Women Want from Their Wabash Men” or offered tips for “More Sex & Better Sleep.” Not to mention shown Wally Wabash leering at them over a set of dumbbells in what appears to be a knock-off of a cover from Men’s Health magazine. (We prefer the word “parody.”)

But when we first envisioned this issue and I asked Kim Johnson—a health educator by degree and our designer, photographer, and writer in Public Affairs—to co-edit, we knew one thing: If we were going to try to convince Wabash men to take care of themselves, we were going to need a hook to hold their attention. A big hook.

So we took a little advice from Vic Powell (“I don’t know how you get through this life without a sense of humor”) and we took a light-hearted approach to some serious matters. Threw in Garrison Keillor, sex, a little erectile dysfunction. Did I mention Garrison Keillor?

Will it work? You’ll be the judge of that.

What I do know is that putting this one together has been joyous. Dozens of alumni and faculty freely contributed their thoughts and experiences (and a recipe) to Kim for her many contributions to this "Be Well" issue. Kim’s question—"How do you define well-being, and how do you achieve it?"—drives the book, and the energy and creativity she brought to it never flagged, no matter how many obstacles she encountered.

Professor Greg Redding ran 100 miles in the mountains for us (at least he wrote about it for us.)

President White offered an illuminating take on “live humanely,” First Lady (and family nurse practitioner) Chris White batted cleanup with a thoughtful End Notes piece.

And senior Daniel King as Wally Wabash not only didn’t complain from inside that sweatbox of a costume (no matter how many places Kim dragged him around campus), but enlisted his friend Sara Bobay for some of the funniest photos in the book.

By the time all the material got to WM art director Cathy Swick (including Kim’s great cover idea), we were on a roll. The greatest reward of being on a team is seeing your teammates at their best, creating something different, and better, than any one of you could have imagined or done yourself. That’s the joy of collaboration, and it has been a joy to be a part of these past few months.

And there’s more to come. Kim has enlisted Dean of Students Mike Raters ’83 to chronicle his own efforts to get in shape starting later this month in a blog we call “Fit for a Dean.” It’s a response to the number-one answer we received when we asked wives of Wabash men what their husbands could do for their wives’ well-being: “If he would take better care of himself, my well-being would be improved.”

Those words are printed on the back cover of the Winter 2010 issue of Wabash Magazine, coming to a mailbox near you (and available on campus later this week.) We hope you enjoy it, that it gets you thinking, and, even better, gets you moving.

And for a sneak preview, check out the new WM Online site here.



Physics 105 Gets Stuck in the Mud

Kim Johnson – Isn’t it every boy’s dream to spend a sunny morning outside playing in the mud? Add on top of that, getting college credit for it, and it becomes Wabash Physics 105.
It’s not quite that simplistic, and honestly, I am glad I do not have to do the lab report that goes along with this day in the mud. But for the Physics 105 class, known on campus as “Mythbusters,” it’s really just another day in the lab. See photos here.
When Professor of Physics Martin Madsen literally got stuck in the mud a year ago, a lesson plan was born. “For two hours I tried everything I had heard of to get my truck unstuck – put weight in the back of the truck, put stuff under the wheels, put boards under the wheels,” Madsen said. “Nothing worked.
“I thought since we’re dealing with friction this semester, we’ll make this one of our myths.”
The class began with remote control cars and then wanted to move on to actual trucks for testing. Madsen, who coincidentally is a member of the campus safety committee, had to deny that request, but when he saw a member of campus services drive by one day in a golf cart, he thought that might be a plausible option.
Thanks to Mother Nature’s soaking earlier in the week, the guys didn’t have to tote too many buckets of water to a low-lying area of Mud Hollow. With shovels, sticks, saw dust, gravel, and mulch in hand, the real trick for the student teams seemed to be getting stuck rather than getting unstuck.
After a couple hours of testing a variety of methods to get out of the mud, the teams began the real work of this class – the reporting.
What’s cool about the class is it doesn’t have a textbook. And rather than memorize formulas, compute numbers, and recite facts, every member of the class carries a video camera as his lab “notebook.”
In some ways, that’s also what makes the class more difficult than one with a textbook full of formulas and numbers. Students research the myth, figure out which formulas and calculations they need to make an educated guess at a solution, record all the raw data, and then turn the hours of video into a 10-minute presentation proving (or disproving, as the case may be) the given myth.

The most recent adventure at Mud Hollow is only one of many myths the teams are studying this semester. To meet the Mythbuster teams and see all their “lab reports” from the semester, visit Wabash College’s YouTube channel. As a fan of the “Mythbusters” television series, let me say, these are every bit as good as those by Adam, Jamie, Grant, Kari, and Tory.