Speaker to discuss disability, business

February 25, 2015 3:00 PM


Stevie Hopkins, a serial entrepreneur and curious individual, will share his perspective on people with intellectual and development disabilities tonight in Parents Hall.

“I am a proud man with a disability, but my disability doesn’t define me,” Hopkins said. Hopkins is passionate about bringing more awareness for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in the community. He travels around giving notable speeches, and his next stop is Drake University.

The Best Buddies chapter at Drake is eager to welcome Hopkins to the university.

“We are extremely fortunate to be able to host Stevie and hear him talk about his life and shed light on the importance of respecting people with IDD,” Chapter president Conor Wells said.

The members of Best Buddies have invited people from all around, including local high school Best Buddies chapters, families and members of the community and all Drake University students.

“Stevie can really speak to everyone because he has so much experience,” Wells said. Hopkins has not only overcome the challenges of having a disability, he has also started his own business: 3E Love,

This business was started by Hopkins and his sister, Annie,  and promotes the acceptance of people with disabilities and challenges the community to love and embrace them. Annie Hopkins developed the logo of a wheelchair heart that is depicted on the company’s clothing and accessories.

His success as an individual can inspire students and community members alike.

Today, Hopkins continues to expand upon 3E Love, explaining that his sister, who has now passed, would be upset that he hasn’t incorporated brighter colors in his clothing choices.

Students and community members are encouraged to attend his speech, even if they are not active participants of Best Buddies.

With Spread the Word to End the Word, a week nationally devoted to stopping the use of the word “retard” beginning on March 4, Wells thought Hopkins was the perfect way to kick start a week of awareness. Banners and bracelets will be available in Olmsted during the first week of March, continuing to promote Hopkins’ message of positive awareness for people with IDD.

Students work to combat sexual assault within Greek life community

9:00 AM


A new Drake University organization is in the works to confront the troubling presence of sexual assault within Greek life communities.

Helmed by sophomore Gabrielle Landes and junior Justin Dwyer, the yet unnamed organization is intended to prevent violence and raise awareness amongst members of Drake University’s fraternities and sororities.


Love Your Melon

6:00 AM


Elyse Webb, senior, chartered the Drake chapter of buy-one, get-one organization “Love Your Melon” after being inspired by a friend from University of Minnesota. PHOTO COURTESY OF ALLYSA BARBER

Elyse Webb, senior, chartered the Drake chapter of buy-one, get-one organization “Love Your Melon” after being inspired by a friend from University of Minnesota.

Last Saturday, Drake University received its first shipment of “Love Your Melon” gear.

Love Your Melon is a one-for-one non-profit organization that donates one hat for each purchased to children with cancer.

The idea originated at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota from two men, Zachary Quinn and Brian Keller who were assigned the task of creating a non-profit for a class capstone project.

Once they graduated, they took the idea and made it a reality.

Love Your Melon is spreading across the Midwest and has made its way Drake University via Elyse Webb, senior psychology and education double major.

“I have a good friend from back at home who goes to University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and she was really heavily involved with it,” Webb said. “I just really fell in love with it. She explained how I could get the program started, and then I did.”

This friend, Christine Tomlinson, a senior kinesiology major at the University of Minnesota, explained her passion for Love Your Melon and the possible reasons behind its growth.

“Love Your Melon is one of the coolest organizations I’m a part of,” Tomlinson said. “Instead of a lot of the cancer non-profits that stress to donate money … Love Your Melon does something where you can physically see your purchase help a child battle cancer.”
Tomlinson first introduced Webb to the program in December.

“Well, honestly, when I learned about Love Your Melon, I was so obsessed with the mission, and I still think its just an amazing organization,” Tomlinson said. “When I was home from winter break I saw Elyse and started talking about it, I think it was just me being a little annoying … talking about it all the time.”

From there, Webb officially started the program at Drake on Feb. 1.

Webb is currently building her crew and Love Your Melon’s popularity around campus.

“I just charted this organization here and so basically, my crew and I, we have 17 people total, and it’s mostly seniors,” Webb said. “We’ve been looking for younger people too, but we’re just letting people know of the product release date. If they (the customer) chooses Drake University campus crew on the website, then we get that one credit that their hat was sold from our area, meaning that a hat will be sent back to our area.”

The organization’s impact will directly affect the Des Moines community.

When the Drake University crew sells 100 hats, another 100 hats will be taken a local hospital to be donated.

“My crew and I will go dressed as superheroes, and we’ll get to meet all the kids and all the doctors,”  Webb said. “We’ll spend a whole day of programming with them and we’ll get their hats to them. I think when the kids receive the hats, not only is it a cute, comfortable hat that warms their little heads, but it’s just another reinforcement that someone is looking out for them and recognizes that they are very strong human beings for being five-years old. I think it has a strong impact.”

While the company is steadily growing, the crew is struggling to keep up with the demand.

“So, the thing that I think Drake doesn’t understand, that a lot of people are getting frustrated with, even my crew, is that our hats keep selling out, which is good,” Webb said. “But, within the last 11 weeks this organization has sky rocketed. We have tripled in size, so they don’t even know how to manufacture enough hats.”

While sales are important, Webb highlights the significance of giving back to the community.

“The hardest part that my crew and I are trying to do right now is to let Drake know that it is a staple organization that you should invest in because these children are from our area,” Webb said.

Measles outbreak at Disneyland sparks vaccination discussion

February 21, 2015 1:15 PM


In wake of a Disneyland measles outbreak, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported 121 cases of the measles since January.

The outbreak has caused concern throughout the nation, but also at Drake University.

Kathryn Marwitz, a third year pharmacy student at Drake and Patient Care Vice President for the American Pharmacist Association- Academy of Student Pharmacists, sees the danger in this.

“Measles is extremely, extremely, extremely contagious if you are not vaccinated,” Marwitz said. “If you are vaccinated, there is no chance at all, so it goes both ways. It is super contagious. If someone on your first year floor gets sick with measles and you don’t have the vaccine, then you’ll probably get sick.”

Although the disease is contagious, Drake requires students to be vaccinated. According to Health Center Family Nurse Practitioner Janet Fink, very few students waive out of vaccinations for various reasons, including health or religious reasons.

“We have a good immunization rate,” Fink said. “We require them [students] to have two MMRs, which is measles, mumps and rubella, and if they don’t have two that they can verify, we can give them immunizations here at the clinic. If they are older or are graduate students coming back, and can’t find those records, we can always draw a titer to make sure they are immune, instead of giving them more vaccines.”

Students are also required to take a tuberculosis screening. If they answer yes to any of the questions, they will be tested for tuberculosis.

Being vaccinated not only affects little children and those immunocompromised, but it may affect the profession students choose to go into.

“Students should know if they are vaccinated or not. It is important to know your status on that. We have education majors on campus who are going to schools, we have health science and pharmacy students who are in the clinic studying all the time, so those people should definitely be vaccinated,” Marwitz said.

Marwitz works in the community and at Drake to promote awareness about vaccinations.

Marwitz, along with the Drake chapter of the American Pharmacy Association, goes to health fairs and the Des Moines Farmer’s Market in order to spread the word of the health benefits of vaccinations.

This spring, she hopes to educate students about possible diseases they could contract during spring break.

“My goal in the spring is to raise awareness about immunizations that you might need if you go on a spring break trip,” Marwitz said. “If you are going to Asia, you might have the threat of contracting Hepatitis A. So just kind of reminding students that if you are traveling, you should go get this vaccination.”

Although Marwitz works with Drake students, she finds greater influence in the community.

“We’ll do a little bit more awareness out in the community because I think it is slightly more valuable for other vaccinations, though the flu is huge here, so that is our promotion on campus: go get your flu shot, we’ll give it to you, etcetera.” Marwitz said.

Fink hopes that through the Disneyland outbreak, people in the community and throughout the world can see the importance in getting vaccinated.

“Hopefully it is a wake up call for people, and will make them think twice and will make them take their child to get vaccinated,” Fink said.

For Marwitz, getting vaccinated is a no-brainer because it helps those around students.

“When in doubt, go get vaccinated,” Marwitz said. “If you care about the people around you, go get vaccinated.”

Over 90 years spent in the Des Moines grocery business

11:30 AM


A man, fading red hair caught in a ponytail at the nape of his neck, carving knife in a bare hand, works calmly on a side of beef that barely fits on the counter.

He explains his technique to another man, Stubbs, the soon-to-be owner of a portion of the meat, who watches intently atop a nearby stool.

The butcher is John Brooks Jr. and he, along with his brother Joe, represent the fourth generation of the Brooks family to own and operate the counters at B&B Grocery Meat and Deli, a grocery store that first opened in 1922.

Since then, it has become a Des Moines landmark, a designation fueled primarily by the brothers’ commitment to doing things the way their ancestors did.


Non-profit record label launching

February 20, 2015 9:00 AM


The Des Moines Social Club (DSMSC) is partnering with Drake University to launch a non-profit record label in April.

The label is called Station 1 and will give students hands-on experience to learn the process of the music industry. This will begin as a January term class in 2016 and could turn into a major or concentration, depending on the popularity of the course.

Tobi Parks works for Sony Music in New York as the Director of Copyright for Columbia Records and Epic Records. She conceived the idea of a record label after she and her partner decided they wanted to move to a quieter city to raise their children. She reached out Zach Mannheimer, the executive director of the DSMSC.

Mannheimer said there’s a lot of musical talent in Des Moines, but not a lot of options for musicians. He wants to use Station 1 to keep young people in the area by offering them exciting career opportunities.

Parks said students would get more action at Station 1 than at an internship for a large music corporation. She said students’ ideas would be put into action and could really formulate how the label runs.

“The genesis of this came out of collaboration and out of a sense of community, and I know that Drake is such a huge part of Des Moines and is such a big part of the overall community that it seemed like a natural fit,” Parks said.

Carlyn Crowe, visiting assistant professor and internship coordinator at Drake, was contacted by Parks in search of interns for the label.

Although the curriculum hasn’t fully been decided, the course or concentration would include an interdisciplinary education between multiple schools at Drake.

Classes for the concentration would include studies in public relations, promotions, marketing, recording audio and business classes to study how to financially organize a company.

Parks said there’s not a lot of overlap between business, journalism and music students.

“This would be a magnet to bring all of those different elements together so you can have cross-collaboration across different schools and business areas,” Parks said.

Mannheimer said the ultimate goal is for Station 1 to help make Des Moines a cultural mecca. He said the music scenes in cities like Austin, Portland and Seattle helped bolster their economy.

“I think Station 1 has the ability to jumpstart that. It can’t do it alone, but it could do it in concert with a whole lot of other things,” Mannheimer said.

Parks said the DSMSC plans to raise money for the non-profit label through fundraising and donations. They also received a grant for Station 1. The partnership with Drake will help solve staffing problems to counteract the low budget of the organization.

The label currently has three bands signed to it: Holy White Hounds, MAIDS and Fields Division. Parks said an important aspect of Station 1 is educating the band members. Then, they understand what they’re getting into and can make smart business decisions.

“The idea of doing a record label where it’s focused basically just on the artist and building the artist and building the culture and art scene of a city is way different than focusing on the bottom line of a corporation,” Parks said.

Crowe said she has asked people about their thoughts on the label and no one has had anything negative to say.

“It’s something new and different. There are not a lot of other places, certainly not in this area, that are doing anything like it,” Crowe said.