South Asian Student Association travels to St. Louis for show

April 1, 2015 6:00 AM


Drake University’s South Asian Student Association (SASA) spent March 28-29 at St. Louis University.

They attended SLU’s Indian Student Association’s Spring Show, a mash-up of Indian culture that included dance, song, and skits.

SASA president Nikita Khara enjoyed each performance, but says that her favorite was the classical dance.

“To coordinate that many people and with such intricate moves and keep to the tradition of the dance and keep it as authentic as possible is very difficult,” Khara said. “And I love how they put a very modern twist on it by synthesizing modern, pop styles with Indian music.”

Sophomore Drake student Anthony Pawnell also enjoyed the classical dance. “They were the most sharp, the most clean, everything was precise,” Pawnell said.

Pawnell also enjoyed the skits between each performance, which depicted two brothers starting their freshman year of college. Their parents go undercover to make sure their sons do not make mistakes.

“The dialogue about the generation gap reminded me of my uncle,” Pawnell said. “He’s one of the older guys who wants to be young and hip, but he’s not, at all. I just related to it personally.”
However, some people thought the skits lasted too long. “I felt like they took away from the rest of the show,” Khara said.

Tikku George, the treasurer for SLU’s ISA, said that each part of the skit was only supposed to last five minutes. However, improvisation from the actors exceeded that limit.

George was overall happy with the show, especially the large turnout of 550 audience members.

“We heard a lot of good things from a lot of the audience, and a lot of the participants were really happy as well,” George said.

The fun continued with an after set at The Landing, a club in downtown St. Louis.

SLU’s ISA set up buses to shuttle students to the party, but a series of delays left many standing outside in the cold for an hour.

“The bus schedule was really thrown off because a student had to be taken to the hospital,” George said.

George did not have details about the incident, but explained that the ambulance stopped the bus from leaving on time.

“Certain things such as  traffic and the ambulance were just out of our control,” George said.

“At the time I was pretty upset about it, but now I feel very neutral towards the topic,” Khara said of standing in the cold.

“There was nothing they could do. I have a lot of empathy for them.”

After an hour of huddling together, the Drake group crammed three to a eat on the bus, eventually making it to the after-set. Students danced to a mix of Bollywood and American pop music.

“I enjoyed it,” Khara said. “Everyone got a chance to really get to know one another.”

Khara said 20 Drake students attended, a record for SASA’s spring trip. She was excited to see that many were not of South Asian dissent.

“It shows that people from different background and different perspectives can get together and have fun, even though that’s maybe not what they’re used to,” Khan said.

Departure of theater professor angers students, fuels tuition debate

March 26, 2015 10:00 AM


The departure of visiting professor Jason Bohon leaves students in the theater department questioning the recent tuition increase.


On the morning of January 27, Drake student’s received an email from President David Maxwell stating that tuition for full-time undergraduate students will increase by $1,775, or 4.28 percent next fall.


The email said one of the reasons for the hike in education fees is to “ensure that our compensation is competitive  so that (Drake) continue(s) to attract and retain the very best.”


While the news of more money out of students’ pockets was not welcomed by most, it infuriated students in the College of Arts and Sciences.


New data analytics major coming during fall 2015 semester

March 25, 2015 9:30 AM


DATA ANALYTICS is a new major for the fall 2015 to be offered in the College of Business and Public Administration, located in Aliber Hall, and in the College of Arts and Sciences. PHOTO BY JOEL VENZKE

DATA ANALYTICS is a new major for the fall 2015 to be offered in the College of Business and Public Administration, located in Aliber Hall, and in the College of Arts and Sciences. PHOTO BY JOEL VENZKE

Numbers and statistics definitely are not everyone’s thing, but to those of you who “geek out” when it comes to information systems, you are in luck.

A data analytics major will be introduced to both the College of Business and Public Administration (CBPA) and the College of Arts and Sciences in the fall of 2015.

What exactly is data analytics?

“The difficulty of defining data analytics is that it is used in a number of ways and contexts,” said Professor Bradley Meyer, operations management professor. “It is using data to make decisions and a combination of statistics of computer science or information systems.”

Meyer and a few other professors from fields such as computer science and information systems have been collaborating since last summer to create this program and are now ironing out the final details.

Credit hours may vary depending on the specialty, but the major will consist of 30 core hours and a specialty area that is nine to 17 credits.

“I can’t say at this point how much tweaking will be done and to which courses,” Meyer said. “Many of the classes may have to be tweaked to shift the focus from actuarial applications to a broader range of application of the techniques taught in the class.”

To pair up with the new courses, the major will also be hiring two new professors: one in computer science and one in the business college.

There are also some additional financial needs.

“There are some technology costs, such as for servers, access to databases, perhaps hardware for work stations, and then software cost,” Meyer said.

Students will be able to start taking data analytics classes next fall with the hope that a student who is a current first-year or sophomore could jump into the program and finish it in two years. “But we’re hoping it will bring in a new set of students that maybe in the past wouldn’t have chosen to come to Drake University,” Meyer said.

The students in both the CBPA and College of Arts and Sciences in the data analytics program will need to have certain distinct qualities.

“They need to have strong mathematical skills,” Meyer said. “And think analytically, almost like a natural curiosity.”

Splitting the major between two colleges was a deliberate choice.

“Data analytics can apply to people working with health care or marketing data,” Meyer said.

As Meyer pointed out, this major may even draw in students already pursuing other majors.

Erin Sawasky, a first-year actuarial science major, explained she might be interested in analytics as a career.

“I’ve always liked math and thought about doing something in business and in math,” Sawasky said. “Actuarial science was a good way to mix the two.”

Sawasky sees the new major as providing opportunities for all students at Drake, not just students with an interest in numbers.

“Data analytics is interesting and a good step for the business school and not just for actuarial science,” Sawasky said.

“It’s beneficial to have additional background in data analytics,” Sawasky said. “ It would make resumes more competitive for jobs or internships.”
Sawasky’s observation summarizes the reason the faculty chose to introduce the new major now.

“Employers in Des Moines were saying we have lots and lots of data,” Meyer said. “We need people who can look at it and make sense of it. There’s not enough of them who have been trained in that area.”

Chuck Hinkle, a training developer at Shell Exploration and Production Company and a 1982 Drake University alumnus, could not agree more.

After 33 years of experience in the working world he is an expert in business intelligence with years of background knowledge in data analytics.

“I’m glad to see a curriculum develop around data analytics and for universities to be paying attention to it,” Hinkle said. “It means that companies can hire people who already know the tools and techniques.”

Hinkle is cautious because data analytics is still an emerging field.

“It’s an idea that lots of people are just getting introduced to,” Hinkle said. “Lots of companies will kick off projects so that they don’t get left behind. Lots of those projects will be rushed and will fail.”

However, it is not all bad.

“I see good prospects for this major,” Hinkle said in his email. “More graduates with this major mean more successful projects, which leads to more companies implementing analytics which leads to more demand in the field.”

The CBPA and the College of Arts and Sciences look forward to enrolling students in the data analytics courses this coming fall.

For more information about the major visit

Music venue to replace The Dublin in coming weeks

March 11, 2015 6:00 AM


ThE DUBLIN, a popular local bar in the Drake neighborhood, will close its doors for good in the next few weeks, after opening in 2007. A music venue, called Lefty’s Live Music, is coming to take its place. JOEL VENZKE | PHOTO EDITOR

THE DUBLIN, a popular local bar in the Drake neighborhood, will close its doors for good in the next few weeks, after opening in 2007. A music venue, called Lefty’s Live Music, is coming to take its place. JOEL VENZKE | PHOTO EDITOR

It might get loud. It will sound awesome. That’s the mentality behind Lefty’s Live Music, a new concert venue slated to open this spring in the Drake neighborhood.

“We want to have the best-sounding music venue anywhere around,” the booking manager and co-founder of Lefty’s, Erik Brown said.

“A lot of times (the sound) seems like an afterthought,” Lefty’s co-founder and owner, said Anne Mathey. “We want to … create an epic sound system that really brings in bands that may be too big to play the room.”

At this moment, that room is delineated by a half-wall partition inside 2307 University Ave — the location better known to Drake students as The Dublin. (more…)

Annual J-Term fair showcases potential classes, travel seminars

March 5, 2015 9:00 AM


The annual January-term fair, which showcases three-credit winter break options, will take place on Monday, March 9 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Parent’s Hall of upper Olmsted.


The fair will provide an opportunity for students to see all of the available travel seminars and some of the on-campus classes that will be open for registration and offered in January 2016.


“In general, J-term travel courses are looking to attract relatively broad audiences,” professor Arthur Sanders said. “Some courses are targeting particular audiences.”


The fair will have a complete list of definite travel seminars and on-campus courses that have been very popular in the past and are likely to return again.


“Some faculty have time conflicts so they will send former students to sit at the table and pass out informational sheets and email sign-up sheets for more information,” Sanders said.


While January-term classes that travel outside of Iowa are often more attractive to students, especially those who cannot spend a semester abroad, Sanders said not to count out classes that are based on campus.


Some classes, such as advanced piano ensemble, are catered to specific students and majors. Other on-campus courses, however, often spend time exploring Des Moines and some fun classes, like one about winter birds, spend a lot of time outside.


“Professor Keith Summerville has taught a course in the past on environmental biology,” Sanders said. “Some people might be a little apprehensive but it has no pre-requisites. It’s open to students who happen to be interested.”


Registration for the fall 2015 semester and January 2016 courses begins on Monday, March 30.

Anti-Semitic posters found on campus

March 4, 2015 6:00 AM
This #JewHaters poster was found taped to a trash can outside of Meredith Hall on Feb. 23. PHOTO COURSTEY OF ALI JANDAL

This #JewHaters poster was found taped to a trash can outside of Meredith Hall on Feb. 23. PHOTO COURSTEY OF ALI JANDAL

A number of Anti-Semitic posters with the hashtag #JewHaters were found at various locations on Wednesday, Feb. 23, citing to be from the organization Students for Justice in Palestine.


The posters were seen at a handful of other universities across the country including University of California, Los Angeles and University of Massachusetts, Amherst, creating controversy from coast to coast. They have been taken down since the photos were taken.