Deliberation Reflection

I attended two other deliberations after my group had our own: “Me 2, You 2, We All Want 2 Reduce Sexual Assault” and “Happy Hour Valley: Thinking about Drinking.” I enjoyed attending both deliberations, and I was glad to be a part of some very important conversations on campus. I think the students in each group did a very fine job.


The first deliberation I attended was  “Me 2, You 2, We All Want 2 Reduce Sexual Assault” which was a discussion on the best potential ways to reduce sexual assault, especially pertaining to our campus. Their three approaches were education, consequences, and what to do on our campus. We had a very good discussion on education and especially pertaining to teaching consent at a young age. It was generally agreed upon that teaching even simple consent at a young age could be very proactive and beneficial. In terms of consequences, the group was generally torn. Some people suggest that perpetrators of sexual assault deserve severe punishment and jail, including a permanent registration of being a sex offender. Others said that a permanent label of being a sex offender may be too harsh. Generally, we did agree upon the fact that different cases should be treated differently dependent on the severity of the harm done to the victim. Then we talked about resources on campus, or in schools in general, and that faculty and teachers need to be informed about how to effectively help survivors of sexual assault. We talked about how CAPS is a good resource, but some people may feel uncomfortable with it or not aware of its effectiveness, and that maybe, they should do more to advertise their services for students to be aware of.


The second deliberation I attended was “Happy Hour Valley: Thinking about Drinking.” This deliberation was centered around the drinking culture on our campus and what changes might need to be made to make a more pleasurable environment. They focused on drinking education and safety, consequences, and the negative effects that drinking can have on our community. There was a lot of discussion centered around the idea that (underage) drinking cannot possibly be monitored completely, because it would simply be impossible. Therefore, the focus on consequences and policing drunks should be on those who are causing severe distress or harm to themselves or others. We also agreed upon the fact that the education currently setup to prevent dangerous drinking is generally ineffective and should be made more enjoyable and informative in order to increase its effectiveness. I really likes how this group structured their deliberation as opposed to the other. This group had a very large attendance, so in order to combat this, they split up the large group into three smaller groups to go over each approach. Then, after the three approaches, we summarized our smaller discussions as a whole. I found this to be more effective than the other group, who also had a large attendance, that had the discussion as a whole group, in a small space. Overall, I enjoyed the experience of attending deliberations and having this community style discussion on important topics concerning our campus and the greater State College area.

RCL #2

In a Time article, the administration of the University of Chicago discussed why freedom of speech is important on their campus and why they’ve banned trigger warnings and safe spaces. By censoring various phrases and ideas from being used on campus, they believe that certain people and their beliefs may not feel accepted, and they, as an institution, want to promote diversity. With students from a wide variety of backgrounds, one of their goals is to ensure that everyone can feel safe to practice and discuss their beliefs. With this idea in place, students at the university can also explore their own beliefs by exposing themselves to the other ideas that are out there, rather than keeping themselves sheltered from potentially controversial ideas.

Similarly, Greg Lukianoff and Johnathan Haidt discuss the concept of “The Coddling of the American Mind” and how college students demanding trigger warnings and protections against certain ideas surrounding free speech is extremely limiting. Not only do trigger warnings and the banning of certain topics prevent students from a misguided view on the world, but it can cause them to be ill-prepared for the future. Out in the real world, no one can really control what anyone may potentially say to anyone else, so by sheltering kids in college, they’re not going to be ready for what may come after they leave their bubble.  Controversial and potentially harmful and discriminatory topics are never going to cease to exist. So, instead of creating an environment where these topics are barred from being talked about, they should rather be encouraged to be discussed in order to create these intellectual conversations to occur.

Another point that Lukianoff and Haidt address is the use of trigger warnings to prevent people from reading or listening to something that may give cause them to experience PTSD or anxiety due to past traumatic events. Although this seems like a great idea, there’s actually proof that, psychologically, the best way to treat PTSD and fears is actually through exposure therapy rather than avoiding the problem. Pavlov’s discoveries with people using exposure therapy to get over certain phobias is actually very effective; so, while people think that avoiding their fears will cause less stress, the opposite is in fact more verified.

These articles will ameliorate our second approach of our deliberation where we discuss the positives of the freedom of speech on campus. The idea that the freedom of speech provides suitable conditions for controversial beliefs to be discussed, therefore exposing impressionable minds to new ideas, is one of our main points. Although we believe that some restrictions may be necessary, this section is to focus on why it’s important. By implementing the ideas in these articles to our discussion, we can have a clearer and more justifiable “argument” per say.

Works Cited
Desk, Ideas. “University of Chicago: ‘We Do Not Support Trigger Warnings’.” Time, Time, 25 Aug. 2016,
Lukianoff, Greg, and Johnathan Haidt. “The Coddling of the American Mind.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 31 July 2017,

RCL #1: Deliberation

Deliberation title: WE ARE… Free To Speak. Or Are We?

Description of the deliberation: We’re planning to talk about free speech and the institutions of safe spaces on college campuses, specifically Penn State’s campus. We want to question what the definitions for free speech really mean, and where would (or could) any restrictions lie. What right does the school, as a public university, have to control certain aspects of “free” speech, if any, that does not go against the constitution. Of course we are free to speak, but where is the line drawn to where restrictions need to be put in place; for example harassing or harming other students, professors, or faculty members. We will also bring up the idea of safe spaces, and what constitutes a safe space. We’ll start with the negatives of free speech and how the ability to say whatever you want, whenever, can be threatening to others, and can even lead to violence or unsafe conditions. Then, we’ll bring up the positives of free speech and how it’s good to have a wide variety of ideas out and to be able to discuss controversial topics. Then, we plan to discuss current and possible future policies that we have in place, and what is lawful and should/ should not be done about them, especially as a public institution.

Your role(s): Taking on the second approach (positives of free speech), and researching/ forming the ideas surrounding the topic. Also possibly the moderator.

What you’re currently working on (individually or with your mini team): My group (Marinelle and I) are currently working on researching the facets of free speech and safe spaces and the benefits they have, especially on college campuses.

This I Believe: The Power in Language

The Power in Language


During the winter of freshman year, my French class had the opportunity to travel to the charming city of Quebec. We were free to roam around town all we’d like, except we had one rule: we could only speak in French. However, when we were on the spot, simple words such as “please” seemed to slip our minds. Although most people appreciated our attempts to speak French, they would nonetheless laugh, be disenchanted or sometimes even irritated, and would just resort to speaking English.

Just as we decided to give up and attempt to spare our dignity, two very amicable teenage girls standing in front of us in line on top of the snow-capped mountain of the ski-slope whipped their heads around when they heard us talking. With beautiful french accents they emphatically asked us where we were from. We told them where and that we were there in Quebec on a trip with our French class. That information somehow made them filled with even more joy, evident by their beaming smiles, as they walked closer to us and immediately started speaking to us in French, rapidly asking all sorts of questions. My friends and I probably looked like deers in headlights. Our blank stares made it clear that we were oblivious to what they were saying, and the girls just laughed, much like everyone else had.

Except, their laughs were different. They weren’t snickering at our ignorance, but instead delightedly chuckling at the opportunity they had at hand. They told us they wanted to practice their English, and clearly, we needed to practice our French. We hopped out of line, sat down on the icy snowbank, and decided to have a bilingual conversation; they were only going to speak to us in English, and we we’re only going to speak to them in French, respectfully helping each other out along the way.  We talked to each other in depth about what our lives were like. We spoke about things like our hometowns, friends, school and what we did for fun. We were sitting there, in the below freezing snow, for about forty-five minutes just talking to each other, and laughing, just as any other group of teenagers would do. Though I couldn’t tell you their names, and although we did not keep in touch, I’ll never forget the time we shared. It was the most fun we’d had on the whole trip, and getting to know these girls and learn about each other’s lives was an eye-opening experience. Though we learned many similarities about our cultures, learning about everything new and different was so intriguing. Our French skills we’re definitely not as efficient as their English skills, but with both our patience and eagerness, we made the best of it.

The embarrassing language barrier that we had been encountering on our trip up until this moment seemed to fade, almost to nonexistence. Instead, it became a bridge that connected our two cultures. The impact of this seemingly insignificant encounter left me with such a greater appreciation for the ability to have an education in a foreign language. I believe that harboring the knowledge of at least one language other than your primary one, is the key that opens the door to the one of the beautiful wonders of our world that is diversity.

Anyone can travel abroad, or in my case even just five hours across the border, and simply view another culture from the outside. However, until you attempt to actually immerse yourself in the culture, and put in effort to communicate with the people native to the area, you’ll never get the best experience you can truly have. Of course there’s a lot in this world that many people will never have the opportunity to see and appreciate, but exploring other cultures can be a lot easier than it looks. Consider the perspective of the Quebec girls: you could be just fifteen minutes from your home, but when you possess even a basic understanding of another language, you could amazingly be someone else’s foreign experience, and inevitably creating one of your own.


History of a Public Controversy Contract

“Me Too” Movement

Malisa Yin, Emma Davies, Liz Druschel, Kristin Sickau, Nora Tietjens, Eva Ragonese


For our history of a public controversy movement project, we are going to investigate the controversial “me too” movement that has sparked conversation across social media these last few months. In our video, we will highlight the different opinions on this subject and controversy and how influential it is to our society.


Below is our group contract of our assigned roles for the project.


Editors- Kristin Sickau

  • This role will fulfill our final edits on the research of our project as well as digital editing of the video


Filming- Nora Tietjens and Malisa Yin

  • This role will function as the main camera person and director of the video portion


Research- Liz Druschel, Emma Davies, and Eva Ragonese

  • This role will focus on gathering sufficient information to fulfill the video portion of the assignment and research the controversy behind this movement


Through the project, we will follow our assigned roles and collaborate to create our final project.

Ted Talk Draft

Topic: Mental Health Awareness for Today’s College Students

Purpose: I think it is necessary to shed light onto the fact that in just even the last decade, there has been a significant increase in the diagnosing of mental illness and disorders in college students, however there are still thousands that will go left undiagnosed. My purpose is to make more people aware of the effects that avoiding their mental health can have, and what resources and tools are available and also what needs to be improved in the world of college’s relations with mental health care.

Thesis Statement: Mental health has long been stigmatized and dismissed though it is a very real and common factor in life, especially for college students.  It is necessary for not only students, but parents and peers as well, to be educated on the effects and severity of mental illnesses and the resources available in order to properly take care of yourself and be able to succeed.

Introduction: In college students, mental illnesses are a very real and common aspect of life, yet many people are often left untreated. This can lead to very serious consequences such as self-harm, erratic and dangerous behaviors, and suicide. In our modern day, numbers of students experiencing at least one mental illness have skyrocketed due in part to many factors including the abundant stressors of school as well as exposure to social media. While there are many resources available to students, many colleges still lack proper attention to care for mental health; this is something that needs immediate changes in order for students success and health. The biggest problem that needs to be addressed is the lack of education for it all. It’s because of peoples unawareness of the reality of this situation that perpetuates the problem.


I. I think it’s clear that college takes a toll on students, and no one ever said it’d be easy. But what many people don’t realize is that that toll, that effect that these stressors have on you could be more than what you think it is

1. Recent studies have reported many findings to prove that college students today are facing the highest amount of mental illnesses than ever before.

  • One in every five students will be diagnosed with a mental health condition; it is important to realize how common this is so that people understand that they are not alone
  • A 2014 study reported that 33% of students were feeling too depressed to function and 55% experienced overwhelming anxiety
  • According to the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors survey of counseling center directors,  Seventy percent of directors believe that the number of students with severe psychological problems on their campus has increased in the past year.

2. The growing rates of mental illness, treated and untreated, have also coincided with growing numbers of self-harming and suicidal behaviors.

  • 33.2 percent had considered suicide
  • One in every 12 U.S. college students makes a suicide plan, according to National Data on Campus Suicide and Depression.
  • Research taken from studies at 139 institutions have reported that 26% of students who sought help said they had intentionally hurt themselves

II. Colleges and universities have a growing range of networks and support systems put in place to help students who are struggling, but there is still so much room for improvement.

1. There is a growing demand for mental health support on campuses due to the increase in students who are (1) suffering and diagnosed with mental health conditions and (2) seeking help for their problems

  • A Center for Collegiate Mental Health study from 2012-2013  found that 48 percent of students had sought counseling for mental health concerns which had increased by six percent from the previous year. This is good and bad; it shows that more students are willing to seek help, but it also shows that more students are suffering these problems.
  • Increased treatments for mental illnesses have also allowed more students who may have previously not been fit to go to college, to actually go to school; this increases the demand for institutions to keep up

2. Although many schools do have resources for students, there is still a large population that is either lacking any support, or lacking adequate funding for programs

  • Many large institutions, including Penn State, do provide counseling and mental health support, however there is not nearly enough support in relation to student population
  • Many universities offer counseling, but often times it is at a large cost. Some students are afraid to get parents involved or insurance to cover the costs and are likely to not seek out help
  • Some universities have had increased amount of peer support. Programs will offer students to receive mental support from other students at no cost, and often times students can remain anonymous
  • This shows that there is hope that greater support will be put in place, but there is still much room to go.

III. The two main reasons that students lack proper mental care is stigmas attached to mental illness, and lack of education and awareness by both students and parents.

1. Many people still stigmatize mental illness, dismissing them of having any serious effects. Though these stigmas have decreased, their ideals have perpetuated and have infiltrated the minds of students into often feeling shameful about their mental state.

  • Often people will think that they should be able to pull themselves out of the rut that they are in, and though that’s true for some, not everyone has this ability.
  • This is when self-destructive behaviors can take place
  • People should be aware of the symptoms of the most common mental illness in college students like anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder, in order to properly take care of themselves when needed, and even provide help for their peers
  • It is such a common attribute in college that many people are unaware of, knowing you’re not alone can help many people come to terms with their own mental states
  • the stigma also often denies the fact that mental illness are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain; often can be controlled by medications

2. Parents and students combined are uneducated on the effects of mental health, this causes there to be a lack of a necessary conversation between the two to normalize mental illness.

  • 50% of students have reported to receiving no prior education  of mental health before college. This is a serious problem because you can’t help yourself or others if you don’t know what to look for or how to get treatment, and it could have serious damaging effects before help is sought
  • Only 7% of parents reported their college students to have experiences mental health issues, while 50% of students reported their mental health to be below average. This rift in statistics proves the uncommunicative relationship between parents and students
  • people with mental illness need support systems to properly help themselves, whether that be one person or 20 people, it is necessary to have an outlet that many times parents can provide, this means that the taboo surrounding mental health must be lifted

Conclusion: Mental health is extremely imperative, probably more so than most people think. It’s the kind of thing where it can build up without you knowing until it gets really dangerous. Most mental illnesses are diagnosed before the age of 24 which is why college students are in a critical time. You can’t take care of yourself or others or even your own responsibilities until you are mentally sound. We need to live in a world where not only is it okay to be vulnerable and seek help when its needed, but where help is widespread, common, and accessible. To quote Alex Lindley, a creator of Project Wake Up aiming to increase suicide awareness, “people don’t have the choice of obtaining a mental illness, but people do have the choice to perpetuate the stigma.”


James, Susan Donaldson. “Mental Health Problems Rising Among College Students.”, NBCUniversal News Group, 28 June 2017,

Henriques, Gregg. “The College Student Mental Health Crisis.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 15 Feb. 2014,

Ally Holterman on August 25. “Mental Health Problems for College Students Are Increasing.”Healthline, Healthline Media, 25 Aug. 2016,

Simon, Caroline, and University of Pennsylvania. “More and More Students Need Mental Health Services. But Colleges Struggle to Keep Up.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 4 May 2017,
Wilson, Matthew. “For College Students Grappling with Mental Illness, the World Can Seem Colorless.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 4 May 2017,
NAMI. “NAMI.” Mental Illness Prolific Among College Students, NAMI, 25 Aug. 2004,
Sabatke, Sarah. “Mental Health on College Campuses: A Look at the Numbers.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 30 Jan. 2016,

Mental Health as a Paradigm Shift

In our world today, many people know someone who suffers from some type of mental illness, sometimes whether they actually know it or not. Almost one fifth of the American population suffers from some type of mental illness. For many people, the idea that this exists at such an extremely high level is shocking and obscure. Why? it’s because it’s not quite getting talked about as much as it needs to.

Our attitudes towards people with mental illnesses, treatments, and even media representation with mental health has severely changed over the years. And while this shift from almost completely taboo to more legitimate attention being received proves hope for the future where there is proper care for those with mental disorders and illnesses, there is still quite a long way to go.

  1. People with mental illness used to be looked at as threats to society or simply just deplorable. They were either expunged by being placed in jails or inhumane mental institutions where they were relaly just left to suffer and die, or they had to face extreme treatments such as lobotomies or shock therapy; these treatments did little to help. As psychology and neuroscience grew, and our understanding of mental illnesses increased, people gained a greater knowledge of what was going on. Simpler treatments such as counseling and psychotherapy began to be used, although societies still had somewhat of a disconnection to people who suffered as being human, and yet they were still viewed as debilitated. Now, precise treatments as well as counseling and medication are used to treat patients who suffer from a wide range of mental illnesses. And while it’s great that it’s being talked about more, there are still many stigmas attached to mental illnesses.
  2. Kind of already mentioned but this part will look at how the attitudes have changed over the years. From crazy and threatening to harmful and helpless to then being overdramatized or under appreciated. There will tend to be less job possibilities or social connection or ties for people with mental illnesses. Where now, more and more it is “acceptable” to have some mental illness and does not always have to be shushed or put down by anyone.
  3. How mental illness in the media has changed. Movies and TV shows which included people with mental illness used to be centered around that of violence or psychotic and wild behavior. This attribute of mental illness though true, is only a very very small percentage of people with mental illness. It only heightens this stigma of why people with mental illness should be feared. Now, not only are characters with mental illnesses/ disorders being represented more accurately and less viciously, many celebrities are also speaking out about their battles with certain mental illnesses and are allowing the topic to actually be talked about in proactive ways.
  4. Then, I will talk about governments approach to mental health and similar to how people used to just be locked up, there have been improvements to government efforts to help people with mental health such as the affordable care act. However, we seem to be degenerating in that sense where people may have less access to proper care.

Conclude how the views of mental health and people with mental illnesses have changed, and while yes some of it is for the better, there is still an awfully long way to go. Mental health shall not ever go ignored or mistreated.

Picture This

Authors use many literary techniques in order to convey whatever emotion, message, or story they want to their audience. Among these copious techniques lies imagery, or the ability to use descriptive language in order to provide the reader with a clear visual. While Lynsey Addario can explain her journey through the use of her writing, she ameliorates her manuscript by adding actual photos as well.

“Addario is an artist of empathy” – The Boston Globe

One photo that stood out very well and resonated with me was that of the decomposing skeleton laying on the foreground of the battlefield with soldiers walking around in the background (found on the sixth page of the third picture insert between pages 210-211). The clarity of this image is impeccably gruesome. You can see the remnants of flesh on the bone, as well as the fully exposed skull. But I think what makes this photo even more impactful is the fact that the soldiers in the back have almost a complete disregard for the body. It creates this sense of what the horrible norm at that time was- a dead body was not unusual. The gut-wrenching feeling I got when I first turned to this page was immediate.

The second picture, the one that caught my eye the most, is impossible to miss. Taking up the entirety of the sixteenth page of the third picture insert (between pages 110-11) lies a young boys face. One word comes to mind when I see this image: pain. The bandaids, the dried/splattered blood, and mostly the welled up tears in his eyes made me instantly distraught. You can’t even begin to imagine what this boy has been through at such a young age, yet this photo allows the reader to feel that agony.

In my own passion blog, I use and will continue to use photos as well as other sources of media such as videos, songs, and gifs to allow my audience a stronger connection to the topic. Quite conversely from Addario, my goal is to convey intrigued readers through pleasant and upbeat additives to in turn possibly change some people’s views on theatre. I think that being able to use multi-media is crucial in my blog which is centered around being able to watch and listen to the pieces; without it my blog may almost be rendered useless.




Conflict with the Enemy: Gender Inequity

Gender roles and inequalities within the workplace, though believed to be outdated, are still very prevalent. For Lynsey Addario, being a female photographer in a war zone was not always easy, especially when her partner was also a woman, and a pregnant one at that. Being perceived as weaker made her experience a lot of missed opportunities.

“I felt like a failure and sensed the limitations of my gender.”

Her expression of regret for something she can’t control is the reflection of poor social construct and standards that have yet to be extinct. Addario attributes the reasons for her “[failure] to witness” the imperative aspects of the war to her weaker standing to that of her male counterparts. Being prohibited from being on the foreground of the action because she was a woman was just the horrible face of reality. It meant that she was unable to properly do her job by missing out on integral aspects of the war.

Another personal restriction that coincides with her gender inequality was that of her loyalty. Her partner, Elizabeth Rubin (who was pregnant), was in no place to be immersed directly into battle and trudging the horrendous terrains; and when they were they faced many struggles along the way. Addario claims that had her partner been male, she would have a stronger desire to fight for her right to capture the fatalities if it meant putting herself at risk. But she was not to leave Elizabeth behind.

As a woman myself, I can relate to Addario’s strife. Her anecdotes and the way she expresses her emotions when being faced with this adversity evokes similar feelings within myself when I think of my struggles of facing gender inequities.

As an athlete all throughout high-school, I was constantly being compared to my male counterparts, and in most cases viewed to have lesser value. For a quick example, sophomore year of high school my varsity basketball team had a terrific season; almost undefeated (except for state finals), section and regional champions, and state finalists. With some of the best statistics in a decade, our team was historic. Yet, I can assure you the audience was never half as full as our losing-season boys team. Now, my struggle may not’ve been as detrimental as Addario’s but it just goes to show how this conflict of gender inequality spans from all different types of situations, locations, and even time periods.

This is similar to inequalities within musical theatre as gender as well as racial discrimination within casting. Many roles are specific and a very certain type of person is targeted, leaving out many eligible people behind. The music Hamilton by Lin Manuel Miranda defies these stereotypes to bring light to underrepresented population on broadway. In my next passion blog with Hamilton in the spotlight, I will partially discuss how this prejudice has diminished thanks to the great Lin Manuel Miranda.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Draft

While some may think that the Confederate Flag in comparison to the pride flag is of equal value, I believe they are very wrong. People will claim “southern pride” but is that what this flag really represents? Or is there more to it?

The significance of the flags historical background is not to be ignored. The ideals founded in congruence with the emergence of this flag are that of racism, slavery, segregation, and white supremacy- nothing to be prideful about at all. These antiquated commonplaces are not as extinct as you may believe, and yes people do express pride about inhabiting them.

-Charlottesville white supremacist rally: KKK and other racist beliefs, flag was displayed very promptly and “proudly”

-Charleston church shooting, brought up the protesting of the display of the flag at South Carolina’s capitol building

Logos: it seems that people who display the flag with “pride” have one of two arguments. Either “learn your history” about the confederacy and why it wasn’t “all bad,” or the confederate flag doesn’t represent racism, it represents southern pride.

-neither argument has any source of logic justifying the “good” of the confederacy of the flag

-the confederacy WAS bad, for the reasons I mentioned above

-“southern pride” does nothing other than promote more segregation and lack of unity within the country. Southern pride should just be American pride

-Pathos: the emotions one feels when looking at this flag can vary. For most, it’s offensive, it reminds us of a time of hatred and bigotry, and a far from ideal society

-Ethos: many credited historians could tell you that the civil war was in fact fought on the ideals of slavery and the south’s fight to keep it instituted. On this basis, the flag (which represents the confederacy) does call for racism and therefor hatred.

-People have argued that the pride flag is the new confederate flag meaning that it is a symbol of a representation of a group of people that exclude others who do not agree. The pride flag does the opposite. It includes a group of people formerly oppressed to have a sense of belonging society.

-(Like in my speech) Though it is our civic duty to express our opinions, it is also our civic duty to spread positivity, equality, and peace. This flag does not represent those ideals. Everything it represents only regresses our societal standings and shows us whats wrong with our country.

Not Just Any Other RCL Blog

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