Musical honors Mexican-American activist

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Mar 312009
Authors: Scott Callahan

Hard daily manual labor, less-than-minimum wages, limited access to education and unfair prejudices were the lifestyle of a mix of minorities in 20th century America. That is, until few select leaders decided that enough was enough and sought equality.

Tuesday evening, the Denver-based theater-company Su Teatro acted out the story of the March for Justice, a 350-mile civil rights march led by Mexican activist Cesar Chavez in 1966.

“Cesar Chavez was a man, much like Martin Luther King Jr., who believed in non-violence and social justice,” said Su Teatro Company Manager Mica Gracia-De Benavidz. “Chavez grew up a migrant and didn’t want his children to live that life too.”

His efforts immortalized Su Teatro’s musical “Papi, Me and Cesar Chavez.” Chavez led the march from Delano, Calif. to the state’s capital Sacramento to demand the governor to increase access to education and pay, reduce prejudice and improve working conditions for migrant workers and farm hands.

Ultimately, the march’s success resulted in the creation of the first union for farm workers, United Farm Workers.

Gracia-De Benavidz said Chavez was an influential activist worthy of recognition.

“The work that Chavez did is still important and continues to resonate with people today,” Gracia-De Benavidz said. “(Chavez) gave people a voice they didn’t know they had; he showed them that they could speak up.”

The musical, written in 2003, was a tribute to the story of Chavez through song and spoken word. It was told from the perspective of a 10-year-old girl, and written by Anthony J. Garcia, a member of Su Teatro.

Gabe Barela, CSU student and co-chairman of the Denver-based Cesar Chavez Community, said watching the story unfold from a little girl’s point-of-view made history resonate at a deeper level.

“The little girl gives the story a humanistic point-of-view and takes the audience back to the root of basic human rights,” Barela said. “This play helps students realize that day-to-day interactions can make an impact in the community. It doesn’t have to be something as big as what Chavez did.”

The march and all of Chavez’s efforts were strictly passive, non-violent acts to promote change. Several of his main tactics included open protests, boycotts, strikes and fasts.

In the play, Chavez’s character called the farm workers seeking civil rights, “The children of the sun, out of the fields, out of slavery.”

Illustrated too was the conflicts workers faced — deciding whether to strike and potentially lose their jobs by angered employers or not strike and endure further injustices.

Throughout the reenactment, the small cast of six actors would pause the play intentionally to recruit audience members to act out scenes, all the while alternating between English and Spanish.

Chavez’s immediate improvements to farmer’s lifestyles were important, but more important, was the Civil Rights movement he initiated, which motivates a drive for equality in race and labor.

Shanneyvie Johnson, a sophomore political science and international studies double major, noted that the harsh working conditions of American-Mexicans is only one of many issues that needs attention.

“(The play) was about freedom and not being oppressed,” Johnson said. “It’s a good idea to get it out there, it’s something that did impact us, it has influenced all of us, and there’s a lot more gong on out there.”

Staff writer Scott Callahan can be reached at

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New doctorate program ‘puts CSU on the map’ for developmental science

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Mar 312009
Authors: Kelley Bruce Robinson

With the addition of its newest, 76-credit-hour doctorate program, CSU is now the first university in the state to offer Ph.D. degrees in Human Development and Family Studies as well as degrees in the baccalaureate and masters level.

The new degree, Applied Developmental Science, is offered through the College of Applied Human Sciences. The department said students will be trained in the fields of school readiness and success, aging and promoting positive social and emotional development in families and communities.

“We really are the only school in the region to have a program like this,” HDFS professor Karen Barrett said. “It’s a growing field and it’s applied. We want to meet the needs of real people and we are tackling issues from a scientific standpoint.”

It also will teach graduates how to prevent violence, addictions, unhealthy lifestyles and risky behavior in an array of developmental stages of human maturation, Barrett said.

Barrett also claims it is one of 14 programs in the country to offer this kind of degree, and is the only program offered west of the Mississippi.

Barrett called the degree pioneering in nature, saying it will further the education of those in careers geared toward youth, community and elderly assistance — such as district prevention programs and statewide health organizations.

It seeks to equip those doctoral students with the skills to understand and record basic research in evidence-based programs and practices. Department leaders agreed it empowers them to research issues such as vulnerable youth and families, care for the elderly, the early school success of children, gang violence and substance abuse.

“Given the accelerating complexity of issues confronting children, families and the aging population today, it is critical to train future leaders who can work toward creating solutions to societal challenges and promote opportunities for healthy and positive development,” Department Head Lise Youngblade said in a written statement. “This new program is on the cutting edge of this effort.”

Barrett hopes the doctorate program will dig deeper and find more viable solutions to social issues and seek to serve careers based in research at universities or private institutions.

“We are drawing upon many interdisciplinary resources to do this,” Barrett said. “This puts CSU on the map for applied developmental sciences, because the degree is about the person. We are focusing on all different ranges of cultures and age groups to appropriately meet the needs of people our students can assist. CSU is unique in its ability to offer such a ground breaking opportunity.”

Staff writer Kelley Bruce Robinson can be reached at

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Scouting Ahead

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Mar 312009
Authors: Bryan Schiele

His territory spans from the majority of the western United States all the way to Hawaii, Alaska and Japan. While tending to business across this hemisphere, people literally wait in line for an autograph and a picture. He is a celebrity in every sense of the word. Caring and humble, his actions prove he never passes up an opportunity to have a positive influence on someone.

Meet David Harrell, a junior at CSU and Eagle Scout who is the Western Regional Chief in the Order of the Arrow, a national honor society within the Boy Scouts of America. Harrell is one of just four regional chiefs in the entire country.

If the hierarchical organization of Boy Scouts was a fourteener, Harrell would need oxygen to breathe at such an elevation. Or maybe he could handle the extremes.

In summer 2005, as a member of the Order of the Arrow Service Core at the National Boy Scout Jamboree in Virginia, Harrell braved temperatures of up to 110 degrees to help provide first aid assistance to about 100 Boy Scouts stationed in the unexpected heat for four hours that day. Many boys were passing out and suffering from heat stroke, and there were more scouts than Army medical supports.

Harrell acted quickly with his team and the Army assistants.

Nobody died.

At the tender age of 20, his dedication to success and strong desire to lead and positively influence others are what many say make him one-of-a-kind.

Harrell joined Boy Scouts at the age of 11, after spending five years in Cub Scouts. It was then that he began following the Scout Law.

“A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.”

“The values and characteristics from scouting drive the other aspects of my life,” Harrell says, managing to be firm yet down-to-earth — the qualities that make him so likeable and easy to respect.

Always eager to lead and follow the examples set by those before him, it did not take much pushing from his parents for Harrell to get involved with scouting, he says.

Passion runs in his veins

Scouting is in Harrell’s blood.

His late father, Marc, was also an Eagle Scout and a member of Order of the Arrow. His mother, Gaylia, was involved with scouting as a den leader when Harrell was a Cub Scout.

Harrell’s father passed away when he was 11, just after he had crossed from Cub Scouts into Boy Scouts.

His mother said Harrell and his father are very similar in regards to their love of scouting.

“He set a good example for me; I wanted to keep doing it,” Harrell says. “It’s something he wanted me to do.”

Harrell quickly began working his way up the ranks. His fellow scouts immediately took note of his excellent leadership ability, kindness and tremendous commitment to scouting.

Harrell was chosen by other scouts in his troop to be elected into the Order of the Arrow when he was 13, just two years after joining Boy Scouts and one rank below Eagle Scout.

Almost as quickly as he ascended through the ranks of Boy Scouts, Harrell pursued high leadership positions within the order.

In his seven years as a member of the order, Harrell has been elected to serve as Chapter Vice Chief, Lodge Vice Chief, Lodge Chief, Section Vice Chief, Section Chief and, finally, Western Regional Chief.

He is currently three months into his one-year term position as Regional Chief, the highest possible position attainable by a youth.

His responsibilities have never been greater. Harrell says there are about 40,000 order members in the western region that he leads.

“He isn’t just a leader,” says Allan Brown, Order of the Arrow member and close friend to Harrell. “He has the unique ability to lead leaders.”

Harrell is responsible for planning, organizing, and running programs such as induction ceremonies and any other Order of the Arrow events in his region. He also plays a major role in organizing the national event of emphasis for Order of the Arrow, which Harrell says will take place at Indiana University this summer and host over 7,000 people.

“His position is one of image and promotion and keeping things going,” Mike Bliss, a current adult adviser to Harrell said. “David is doing very well.”

But almost more important is Harrell’s role as a representative of Order of the Arrow and Boy Scouts.

Sink or swim

Harrell says that on average he travels about every other weekend to events all around the western region, giving keynote speeches and meeting younger scouts who aspire to hold high positions themselves one day.

“So far he is succeeding on all levels,” says Neil Gabriel, one of Harrell’s past advisers. “He is willing to work and serve and has a fantastic attitude.”

Harrell also sets a prime example for youth with his strong academic resume. He has earned 10 scholarships, including the CSU President’s Outstanding Scholar award, for a combination of his academics and service related work.

He has a 3.575 cumulative GPA as a Business major. He aspires to be a supply chain analyst and said he would “ultimately like to run for office and pursue a career in public service.”

Time management is crucial to Harrell’s success both in the Order of the Arrow and his school work.

“It’s basically sink or swim,” Harrell says. “You have to get better at managing your time because you have no choice.”

Although Harrell admits that his responsibilities do impact his social life at times, he says the people he has met through Boy Scouts and the Order of the Arrow has made it the most enjoyable.

Harrell’s family members are not as concerned with the number of badges and medals he has received over the years but with the person he has become.

“He has become a man of honor,” says Gaylia Harrell. “That’s what I’m most happy about as a parent.”

Staff writer Bryan Schiele can be reached at

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Associated Students of Colorado State University student government candidates push for student representation

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Mar 312009
Authors: Aaron Hedge

As the race for student government executive seats rolls into its last week, candidates for the top spots pushed for more student representation and efficiency in leadership at CSU Tuesday, emphasizing that their respective campaigns are what will bring positive change to CSU.

Every campaign touted saving money and alleviating textbook costs as important items on their docket but disagreed on the level of representation students should have at the state Capitol.

Dan Gearhart, who is vying for the presidency alongside Tim Hole, admitted his ticket’s main goal to get student-voting rights on the CSU System Board of Governors is lofty, but said it is a goal that is necessary for CSU students.

“We need this,” the senior political science major said. “The students are paying more and more and more money.”

Student leaders brought a legislative measure to state lawmakers at the beginning of the semester that would have granted the presidents from the Fort Collins and Pueblo campuses, who are currently ex officio members on the board, full voting rights.

The measure was subsequently killed in the House Committee that reviewed the bill.

Paul Wade, who is looking to gain the vice presidency, said he supports like legislation but that it’s probably a pipe dream that won’t be realized during the next administration.

Wade, who campaigns with presidential hopeful Andy Moores, said candidates need to focus on more realistic goals, adding that his ticket offers simple solutions to problems, including a lack of transparency at the university.

“Simplicity and practicality are what mold our decisions,” Wade said. “Our goals might seem limited, but we’re running on goals we actually think we can achieve.”

He called for more transparency in the CSU budget, which he said is hard to interpret through university fact publications.

“That’s sort of what we’re being fed is this mystery meat,” he said.

Shaun Reed, a presidential candidate who lobbied heavily for the BOG student-voting bill, echoed Gearhart and Hole’s main campaign goal, saying that student-voting rights on the board are a priority for student government.

He said if elected, he would revisit the legislation.

“I went down to the Capitol three times for House Bill 1177,” he said. “The way I walked out of that is, ‘I’ll see you next year.'”

The bill received resistance in the House Education Committee because, lawmakers said, a similar bill for faculty voting right on the board was also overturned a month prior.

Reed said the bill died because it didn’t receive enough support from higher education institutions across the state.

“We need more support from Colorado abroad,” Reed said. “We didn’t have enough of a lobbying effort coming from everywhere.”

William Overmann said he and his running mate Ben Walker, who joined the contest for the presidency and vice presidency as write in candidates, plan to act as a “bridge between faculty and students.”

He also placed an emphasis on fostering a free flow of information between administration and the student body by strengthening the relationship between student leadership and the university’s top offices — a relationship he said has been thin in the past.

“I think that would make the process easier to have face time instead of just e-mails,” Overmann said.

Conrad Miller and Jake Donovan, who are also vying for the presidency and vice presidency respectively, said in an interview with the Collegian editorial board Tuesday that student efforts should be focused on campus activity, saying that state representation should be left to board appointees.

“There were some problems with that and the way it was shot down in the first committee,” Miller said. “When you add in students, and then faculty, which happened about a month before the student proposal, that’s a bias.”

Miller and Donovan touted their flagship goals of eliminating final tests before 9 a.m., establishing free printing in the library and free online textbooks.

Development Editor Aaron Hedge can be reached at

Candidates’ main campaign focuses

Gearhart/Hole: Increasing student involvement on campus

Donovan/Miller: Increasing efficiency, involvement in ASCSU

Moores/Wade: Shoring up student feedback

Reed/Panagakos: CSU budget transparency, student representation

Overmann/Walker: Increasing communication between leadership and student body

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Life on the Edge

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Mar 312009
Authors: Dave Anderson

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Aisle 9

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Mar 312009
Authors: Jenna Allen

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Wear Am I?

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Mar 312009
Authors: PJ Spokas

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Pex & Solly

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Mar 312009
Authors: David Myers

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Mar 312009
Authors: Ashley Rosson

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Campus Eye

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Mar 312009
Authors: Mike Kalush

A construction worker at the site of the Academic Instruction Building takes a drink of water in his tractor Tuesday afternoon.

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