The Buzz Announces 2019-2020 Editorial Staff

Hello SU and Buzz Community,


It gives me great pleasure to announce the 2019-2020 editorial staff:


Anna-Claire Hart – Editor-in-Chief

Bethany Melvin – Print Editor

Benjamin Mangubat – Visuals Editor


These individuals have put in countless time and effort to The Buzz and truly have a vision of success for The Buzz. I cannot wait to see all the wonderful things they will accomplish in the future. These roles could not have been filled better.

I can’t wait to hand the reins over to my trusty allies! Enjoy it and have a blast.


It has been a fantastic year for The Buzz and I am so glad and proud I got to be a part of it as Editor. As we descend into the final weeks of my last semester at Shenandoah, I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity The Buzz has given me. I developed a deeper love for journalism and curated friendships that I will have forever. I was able to write important pieces discussing the local opioid epidemic, fun pieces on fashion and delve into the kind of writer and leader I want to be. The Buzz made me a better student, communicator, and storyteller. It is an experience I will always hold close to my heart.


Thank you Buzz community for reading, listening, and watching.



Elise O’Neill-Eckman


Eurozone GEL Trip: Part 2

By Benjamin Mangubat

After spending our first two days exploring Brussels we entered into France, with our first stop being Paris. We spent three full days in Paris where we visited many iconic sights like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. Day one consisted of a guided tour around the city for our first taste of Paris. We visited the famous Notre Dame Cathedral and enjoyed authentic French cuisine for dinner at a local restaurant. The following day in Paris, we took a bus tour with a city guide and ended with visit to the Louvre.









Like most of our afternoons, we were free to explore the city on our own, and my group decided to embrace our touristic side and visit the Eiffel Tower. We walked about 45 minutes from the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower passing through a beautiful park where we sat at an outdoor cafe and had a mid-afternoon snack. Once we arrived at the Eiffel Tower, we decided to go to the top of the tower. Two of the girls wanted to go to the very top. I am afraid of heights and the top of the tower was the last place that I wanted to visit. Lucky for me, the top was closed and the girls had to settle for the second floor. It was still a challenge to go up to the second floor, but I conquered my fear and went up to see the amazing sight that is Paris from above.


Heading back from the tower, we had to navigate through the Paris metro during the rail strike. The regular metro time table was altered and many trains were not running. After getting back to our hotel we changed and went to find some dinner. We walked a few blocks away from our hotel, passing many fancy restaurants and bars, until we found a small little eatery where we could get things like croque-monsieur or a regular burger.     


Our final day in Paris was our one and only free day on the Eurozone trip. The class wanted to see and do many different things, so we split up into our usual groups and were set free to explore. My group decided to start with the Paris catacombs, relying on Google Maps to lead the way, however it lead us to the wrong place. By the time we had discovered our mistake and were headed to the correct place, we got a message from some of the other students letting everyone know that the catacombs were closed due to the rail strike going on in the country. How does a rail strike affect the catacombs? To this day I still don’t know. Our plans changed and decided to go to Versailles. Upon our arrival we discovered the wait to enter the palace was hours long, so we decided to instead visit the gardens of Versailles as there was a shorter line to get in. We spent the rest of the day exploring the gardens of Versailles and the surrounding area.


We ended our day by getting dinner at the same restaurant we ate at the night before and packed up to move on to our next destination, Aix-en-Provence and the south of France.

Be on the lookout for Eurozone Trip: Part 3!


Haunted House Review

By Jesse Ya Diul


This weekend, Shenandoah University was home to multiple festivities to celebrate Halloween, but the main attraction was the Haunted House at Parker Residence Hall which generated a lot of buzz throughout the week.

Going into the Haunted House, I did not know what to expect. I was nervous. Not nervous of being scared, but more nervous that I was going to react poorly and involuntarily knock somebody out. As a precaution, I recruited three other friends to go with me.

I am not a fan of haunted houses, but even so I had to appreciate the way this one was set up. There were three rooms each with a different scenario that was read out by a tour guide. It was then up to you to walk in the room knowing full well that something was coming for you. You didn’t know when or where, but you just knew it was coming. The anticipation was unnerving.

In my opinion, the best room (and when I say best I mean the scariest) was the room featuring a toy clown that had come to life. Before even entering the room you could hear the clown hollering and laughing throughout the hallways. As we walked in, I noticed a small doll on the ground and I was fixated on it. I waited for it to get up and start walking towards me, but it didn’t. Instead, I heard something move behind me and turned around only to be face to face with a screaming clown.

There were two other rooms; one with a demented butcher, and one with abandoned children who were horribly disfigured. Both were done exceptionally well. In the room with the butcher, I felt like I was in the movie Saw. I wanted to help the “hostages” who were tied up but I had to remind myself that it was a safe environment.

Overall, the Haunted House at Parker exceeded my expectations. It was very well put together and the performances of the students/actors were absolutely outstanding. I tip my hat off to them. I was totally floored by their absolute commitment to their roles. Without them, the Haunted House would not be the success that it was . The only issue that I had was that it was too short. I wish there were more rooms because I felt it ended just as it was starting to get good.  Nonetheless, I would give it an 8.5/10. Would definitely recommend.


From the Editor: On Journalism and the First Amendment

Over the course of the last several months, it has become increasingly obvious that there is an inherent mistrust of what many refer to as simply “the media” in the United States. It’s time to set the record straight.

By Michelle Adams, Editor in Chief

Photo by Amanda Grantham
Editor In Chief, Michelle Adams

Over the course of the last several months, it has become increasingly obvious that there is an inherent mistrust of what many refer to as simply “the media” in the United States. Some of this comes from top government officials, who have publicly denounced several major news outlets as inaccurate“fake news.” Other criticism comes from the American public, which is picking up on complaints from government officials.

That said, the widespread mistrust of media outlets is not the biggest issue we, in the media, are faced with in this day and age. It is the limitation, and the acceptance of this limitation, of the First Amendment that has journalists worried for the future of the news industry and the nation.

When the public fails to have faith in their news sources, the media loses its value in society. When the people feel that news outlets have been dishonest with them, they choose not to defend the media against prior restraint and other censorships. Instead, they encourage leaders—like the current administration—to push the media out of the White House. They encourage law enforcement when reporters are arrested—and charged with felonies—because they were on the scene of a riot, doing their jobs. They encourage public officials to speak directly to them, instead of going through the media middle-man, which closes the door to fact-checking and, thus, opens the door to government dishonesty.

And all of this stems from a mistrust that comes not from the media’s faults, but rather, from the public’s inability to discern fact from opinion.

When The Buzz ran a poll in January asking the Shenandoah community where they get their news, the majority of respondents—36.3 percent—reported that they learn about current events via social media, either from articles shared by their friends or from the “Trending Topics” that are shared on Facebook and Twitter. But what many fail to realize is that these articles—while sometimes shared millions of times over various social media platforms—are unreliable because real journalists aren’t writing them.

It is a rare occasion that a viral article comes from a reputable news source, like The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal—and when they do, they are oftentimes editorial pieces (like this one) that are based in opinion, not fact. More often than not, however, the articles come from a blog written by a citizen who has little means to verify his or her facts and fails to understand the accepted ethics of professionals in the journalism industry.

While there will never be a news source that not is biased in some way, it is important for the American public to realize when they are being presented with factual news, and when they are being presented with commentary.

Every day, it becomes easier for bloggers and amateur journalists to trick the public into thinking that their news is legitimate. With credible-looking websites and channels called “FOX News,” it is no wonder that so many Americans think they are reading, watching, and listening to news most of the time. But it is time for the record to be set straight.

“Reporters” like Megyn Kelly are not news anchors—they are commentators. Publications like Her Campus are not news sources—they are places to go when you want to be told how to react to an event. These places are not where we should be getting our news.

Gone are the days when only legitimate journalists had access to resources that allowed them share news with the public. With the rise of the internet, access to the public is plentiful and virtually free. So while it is increasingly difficult, and will take much more effort than it did a century ago, it is time that the American public stops mistrusting the media, and rather, starts evaluating the media.

The media is a necessary piece of the puzzle that is the American political system. Its purpose is to hold the government accountable, to fact-check our leaders, and to share only the facts with the public—while also providing a forum for commentators who write editorials to spread their opinions. All we need is to be aware of this distinction, and confidence in our news sources will return—and for the good of the country, we ought to allow that to happen.

Review: ‘Dr. Faustus’ impresses community and campus audience

“It was like watching paintings come to life and it was beautiful to see.”


By Kendall Melton, Reporter

Shenandoah’s “Shut Up! It’s Shakespeare” theatre troupe showed their movement and acting skills as they performed Christopher Marlowe’s play “Dr. Faustus” last weekend in the basement of the Health and Life Sciences building.

Students of Shenandoah and people from the Winchester area were at the first showing on Friday at 11 p.m., leaving only a few empty seats. The seats were on three of the four sides of the stage (a very large white canvas), so each audience member could see the show from a different angle.

Every actor was scattered throughout the basement, wearing black pants and white T-shirts, and smeared all over with paint. They were contorting their bodies and doing yoga poses.

The opening of the show started with the good angel (played by senior acting major Taylor Bloom) and evil angel (played by senior acting major Sidney Rubino) giving a synopsis of who Dr. Faustus (played by junior acting major Tyler Clarke) is. The black lights showed off their glow-in-the-dark body paint.

Faustus was in his chair, continuing to read books on philosophy, law, God, and necromancy. Actors came on to the stage while music was playing, and strobe lights pulsed in sync.

(Photo by Kendall Melton)

Throughout the show, ensemble actors sat on the edges of the stage, continuously moving around in different positions and staying invested in whatever was happening on stage.

In one scene, Faustus had to sign a contract with Lucifer (played by senior acting major Joanna Whicker) in blood that allowed Lucifer to take Faustus’ soul for 24 years, so Mephistophilis (Lucifer’s servant played by sophomore acting major Annanoa Kauffman) simulated cutting Faustus’ arm by using red paint.

A few scenes of the show were only music and movement. In one scene, the good angel and Faustus moved together and you could feel how much Faustus wanted to repent for selling his soul and how the good angel wanted to help him. It was absolutely beautiful.

In the final scene, Faustus’ 24 years were up, and Lucifer and Mephistophilis came to take Faustus to hell. Faustus felt terrible for everything he had done, so he tried to repent and call on God, but it was too late. Every actor did wonderfully in this scene because Faustus was screaming while dying, Lucifer was stopping Mephistophilis from helping Faustus, and every other actor held Faustus up as he died.

Overall, Dr. Faustus was an interesting and artistic show that showed the struggles of choosing between good and evil. It was like watching paintings come to life and it was beautiful to see. Every actor worked to get this show to be as amazing as it was, and I would love to see it over and over again.


The Inauguration: Through A College Student’s Eyes

“The news footage of the protesters was not an accurate portrayal of what I saw.”

Editorial by Manny Vasquez, Reporter

The Capitol Building was decorated with flags and banners for the 58th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony. (Photo by Manny Vasquez)

Despite living in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., for my entire life, I’ve never attended an inauguration. I was never interested enough in politics to want to brave the crowds to see a political event, but the over the last four years, I have grown increasingly interested in not only politics, but experiencing historical events and uniquely American experiences. So when Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States, I knew it’d be an event worth experiencing, if only to see what the capitalmy home cityis like on one of its most patriotic days.

I had a rough plan in place. I had no way of procuring tickets, but I figured I would go with some friends to take in the sights and sounds. Finding people to go with wasn’t the easiest. Many, including my own family, were worried about the protestors. Many I know who wanted to go ended up not attending. Early Friday morning I boarded the metro and made my way into D.C., to see our new president take office.

“Finding people to go with wasn’t the easiest.”

Metro was running trains frequently enough that I easily landed a standing spot. It was hard to tell who was going to the inauguration. A few wore the classic red “Make America Great Again” hats. Many were worn by young people about my age.

A group of eight student protesters and two older adults who looked like faculty boarded the train. Many had colored hair, piercings, and unique clothing choices. One, who sat by me, carried a sign. A man standing nearby, taking his son to the inauguration, asked one of the protesters, with a septum piercing, why she was protesting today.

“I don’t know really,” she replied. “I just think the president-elect spreads a lot of hateful rhetoric. I think it’s important for kids to experience protesting.”

Inauguration | The Buzz
Protestors hold rain-proof signs near the grounds of the Capitol. (Photo by Manny Vasquez)

I emerged from the subway at Federal Center into a sea of people. Merchants who had previously peddled Obama souvenirs now hawked their Trump buttons, pins, hats, and T-shirts. I saw a Russian Orthodox priest and two bagpipe players in traditional Scottish garb, Hindis and Jains, people wearing yamakas and shirts that read “Jews For Trump,” a Chinese man who could barely speak English.

Metro security, D.C. police, the National Guard, and soldiers lined the streets. I was there without a ticket, and I was confused when I saw gates for visitors with tickets, but none for general admission. I decided to stick with the other young man named Connor. He was an American University student from Buffalo. Bonded only by our interest in seeing history unfold, Connor and I began our adventure to find our way to the Capitol through the busy, blocked streets.

We seemed to be moving in a zigzag pattern, trying to find our way. I asked a man and his wife how to get to general admission, and when I told him we didn’t have tickets, he reached into the pocket of his overcoat and pulled out an envelope.

“Here, have some of mine. I have a whole bunch I can’t use,” he said.

Inauguration | The Buzz
(Photo by Manny Vasquez)

He gave us two tickets to the “blue” section. The ticket was a fine piece of memorabilia in its own right, with a holographic capitol building printed on the back. Eventually arriving at the Blue Gate, we were greeted by another large crowd and, for the first time, active protestors.

The news footage of the protesters was not an accurate portrayal of what I saw. If the camera crews had turned for a moment, they would have captured a jovial crowd. People applauded the American flag. They reacted calmly to the shouts from the protestors. I took pictures of signs ranging from “Make America Hate Again” to “Not My President,” to “Hillary Won the Popular Vote” to “Trump and Melania Are Russian Spies,” and even a Communist Flag painted with “Hello Comrades.”  

“The news footage of the protesters was not an accurate portrayal of what I saw.”

When we got into the National Mall, the Army band played patriotic music. “Glory, Glory Hallelujah” heralded the event was soon to start. I wound up settling in front of two people who were as proud of Trump as anyone I’ve ever seen. Next to me were two ladies from New Jersey who raved about Melania’s elegance, taking guesses on how she’d be dressed. They settled on her having her hair up and being dressed like Jacqueline Onass. They were overjoyed to see their predictions were right on when Melania emerged wearing a powder blue Ralph Lauren suit with her hair swept up.

Inauguration | The Buzz
The ceremony was broadcast on large screens to onlookers in the National Mall. (Photo by Manny Vasquez)

One by one the politicians and families came out. There was applause for Jimmy Carter. The man behind me told his wife, “I don’t like his politics, but he is a good man.” The Clintons emerged and there were a few boos, though mostly disgruntled sounds. Some sounded happy, as if glad to see her up there somewhere other than in Trump’s seat.  

George W. Bush got tepid applause. Bernie Sanders’ face appeared on the Jumbotron and some pointed at him. People seemed to be enjoying that he was joking with John McCain, despite their different political opinions.

Finally, Obama came out. There was a solid amount of applause, but I get the feeling most of it was for the fact that he was leaving. Someone yelled, “It’s finally over.”

When Trump’s family came out the excitement was already off the charts.  People called Ivanka “future first female president” and 10-year-old Barron Trump got more applause then any of the past presidents. The ladies next to me declared, “elegance is back in the White House” when Melania walked out. And then came the man himself.

Trump gave a thumbs up that sent the audience over the moon with excitement. USA chants began again, as well as some cries to build the wall. It was clear that, to everyone around, Trump represented a real hope.

Pence’s swearing in began first, and it went off without a hitch. Trump was next. Again, more immeasurable cheers. Suddenly, there was the sound of explosion. There were shocked gasps from the audience, but another sigh of relief as the screen cut away to cannons giving a salute.

People settled in for Trump’s speech, which was well received. Trump wrote his speech himself, and it showed, as it doubled down on topics popular in his rallies. For his audience, it was perfect.  

“It was clear that, to everyone around, Trump represented a real hope.”

After the speech, I got caught in a long line on the way out. Connor, who had been my friend for the adventure, said goodbye. I figured I would stay for the parade. While waiting, I talked to a great number of people. A woman who opened a charter school said she voted for Trump because he was an advocate for charter schools. Twins, one of whom recently had been hired as a photojournalist for the Air Force, were not on board with Trump at first, and said they were afraid he would start World War III. However, they said that after his speech, they felt good with America’s choice.

Inauguration | The Buzz
Two ceremony onlookers carry an American flag with them down the streets of D.C. (Photo by Manny Vasquez)

This sentiment was echoed by an African American man and his Asian wife who came to see their son in the parade. The man said that when he told those in his office that he’d be at the inauguration, they responded with surprise because, as he said, “It didn’t fit their view of someone like me.”  

My adventurous day ended with the motorcade speeding by. Through limo windows, I saw the president and vice president, and received an excited wave from Tiffany Trump. Before boarding the metro, I stopped into an Irish pub, grabbed a beer and listened to some live Irish music. I had never seen the city so alive. A man with a twirled moustache and a giant yellow foam hat was having a hoedown style dance with a random old woman. Trump supporters and protestors alike mingled over glasses of Guinness, Budweiser and Yuengling, enjoying the patriotic day, whether their idea of patriotism was celebrating America’s new president, or protesting him.

President Fitzsimmons signs letter to President-elect Trump

Fitzsimmons is one of over 100 college administrators from across the United States who signed a “non-partisan letter to President-elect Trump.”

By Michelle Adams, Editor in Chief

In response to the diverse reactions from the Shenandoah community regarding the results of the recent presidential election, University President Tracy Fitzsimmons announced in an email Friday that she is one of over 100 college administrators from across the United States who signed a non-partisan letter to Trump.

President Tracy Fitzsimmons
President Tracy Fitzsimmons (Photo courtesy of Shenandoah University’s official webpage)

The letter, which Fitzsimmons said in her message to the campus community, “aligns well with Shenandoah University’s commitment to being an institution of advocacy, justice, responsibility and compassion,” calls for Trump’s public condemnation of the acts of “harassment, hate, and…violence,” that it claims are taking place throughout the nation, “sometimes” in his name. 

“One of the roles of leaders is to protect and empower the most vulnerable,” the letter reads. “As President-elect, this responsibility rests heavily on you. Let this be a mark of your leadership.”

The full text of Fitzsimmons’s email to students, faculty, and staff, and the letter to Trump are posted below.


“As we enter into Thanksgiving week, I am grateful for the continued warm weather and the bursts of colorful leaves that remain on the trees. I am grateful for the break, during which we can all catch our breath, eat heartily, rest and prepare for upcoming exams. And as a college president and political scientist, I am grateful and mindful that we live in a democracy where our students can register their well-thought-out preferences by voting for the candidates of their choice. It is a country where, in a post-election period, students can participate in the political system by celebrating civilly, protesting peacefully, and using their strong analytical skills to understand the how and why of the electoral outcome.

As I gathered with members of the university’s administration on the morning of November 9, we engaged in an important conversation about how we thought the 2016 presidential election results would affect members of our university community. We acknowledged that, just as we saw our country split between candidates, within our university community there are individuals on both sides of the aisle and everywhere in between – many with very strong feelings about the direction our country will move in as we navigate the next four years.

While the meeting was in progress, we continuously received messages from members of our community, particularly from students, discussing ways in which they were already organizing to support one another and come together to move forward in unity. I was encouraged that what I know in my heart was confirmed… ours is a community of individuals who respect one another and care for one another, regardless of political affiliations and policy stances. And ours is a community that expects and demands that we treat each other with kindness.

It has been amazing to see the good work all of you have done over the past week and a half. Forums, discussions, community service projects – all centered around the Shenandoah University values of inclusiveness, respect and understanding. We have worked together to build that type of atmosphere so that all may feel welcome and safe at a university which places great value on educating, inspiring and protecting all of its community members. We are, after all, a family – and we are a family that has each other’s backs.

I want to let you know that I am one of more than 100 college and university presidents who have signed the attached non-partisan letter to President-elect Trump, which aligns well with Shenandoah University’s commitment to being an institution of advocacy, justice, responsibility and compassion. The full text of the letter is also copied below my signature line.

I would encourage all members of the Shenandoah University community – students, faculty and staff – to continue the positive dialogue that has already been happening on our campus. There are a great number of opportunities to come together in a respectful manner to discuss how we move forward, together – while recognizing that the diversity, quality and compassion of our university community are what make us, as one parent told me earlier this fall, Shenandoah Strong.”


Dear President-elect Trump,

As do you, we “seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict.” In order to maintain the trust required for such productive engagement, it is essential that we immediately reaffirm the core values of our democratic nation: human decency, equal rights, freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination. As college and university presidents, we commit ourselves to promoting these values on our campuses and in our communities, and we stand alongside the business, nonprofit, religious, and civic leaders who are doing the same in organizations large and small.

In light of your pledge to be “President for all Americans,” we urge you to condemn and work to prevent the harassment, hate, and acts of violence that are being perpetrated across our nation, sometimes in your name which is now synonymous with our nation’s highest office. In our schools, on job sites and college campuses, on public streets and in coffee shops, members of our communities, our children, our families, our neighbors, our students, and our employees are facing very real threats, and are frightened.

One of the roles of leaders is to protect and empower the most vulnerable. As President-elect, this responsibility rests heavily on you. Let this be a mark of your leadership.

Tracy Fitzsimmons
Shenandoah University

From The Editor: We made some big changes!

We feel that the time has come to make a few changes to how our student paper operates.

By Michelle Adams, Editor In Chief

Dear Hornet community:

In its short existence, the student newspaper here at Shenandoah University has made quite a splash on campus. We’ve been there through it all, from four-foot snowstorms to Halloween costume contests, and that will continue for years to come. That said, we feel that the time has come to make a few changes to how our student paper operates, and we jumped in with both feet this semester to implement all of these immediately, so that we could start fresh for our official launch.

Our first and most immediately visible change is our name. While The ‘Doah was an important part of campus for several years, we wanted to start fresh, and give the paper a name with meaning not only to current students, but also to faculty, alumni, and our families. We want to be a larger, more prominent part of the Hornet community, and our new name is the first step in doing that.

Alongside this, our growth as a presence at Shenandoah means that we need to be more efficient and accessible. We want everyone involved in the University, whether they are on campus or off, to know what the buzz is at SU – so we’ve opted to become a fully online news source. Gone are the days when you needed to be in Winchester to pick up a copy of yesterday’s news in the student paper. With our new and improved site, we are able publish the most up-to-date action as it is happening, to share with Hornets all over the world – whether they are in bed in the University Inn or halfway around the world on a trip for GCP. We are no longer limited to hundreds of lines of black text in columns with a single photo; online, we can utilize dozens of forms of multimedia to share what’s important efficiently and effectively. From now on, no matter where life takes you, you can always know what’s going on at Shenandoah, and you can easily share it with your family and friends across the country and around the world.

The primary goal of this student paper has always been to share quality, relevant news with the campus community, and that will never change – but we, now as The Buzz, will continue to adapt and grow as needed, and we hope to have the full support of the Shenandoah University family through this transition, and the many that may arise in years to come.

On behalf of The Buzz staff,

Michelle Adams
Editor in Chief

If these new changes excite you, and you want to be a part of The Buzz this semester, click here for more information. We accept new staff members on a rolling basis, and we’d love to have you!