Category Archives: Features

The Features section caters to everything you need to know about culture on campus and the Louisville community. Here we explore the arts, student events and the latest trends that make U of L unique.

By Austin Lassell

U of L policy changes freshmen housing options

Miller Hall is one of three dorms on campus that provides housing exclusively to freshmen.

By Genevieve Mills–

The freshmen on campus are now almost a month into their first semester at U of L and are the first group who have been required to live on campus by the new housing policy. According to the housing website, by this policy, “all U of L first-year students under 21 are required to live on campus, unless living at home with a parent or guardian.

For some freshmen, this new policy made no difference in their housing plans. When asked if the new housing policy affected his decision, Justin Sierkowski, a freshman music major said, “I would have lived on campus regardless.” Sierkowski lives at Community Park, one of the suite-style dorms located on campus. He said he liked living on campus because, “I enjoy being close to everything and always knowing about cool events.”

According to the housing website, the policy has been implemented because freshmen who live on campus tend to finish their degree at the university more than those who live off campus. This isn’t a belief held only by U of L, as almost every state school in Kentucky requires students to live on campus their first year – UK is the only exception.

The freshmen that choose to live off-campus often do so because of financial reasons. Alex Cooper, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, lived at home last year. “I lived off campus because it was just cheaper to do so . . . I would again because, though I used more gas, I saved a lot of money,” said Cooper.

Miller Hall, one of three freshmen-only dorms, is $3,785 including the required meal plan, for one semester. The other two freshmen-only dorms are Unitas Tower and Center Hall. Center Hall, located on the west side of campus, became a freshmen-only dorm this fall.

The problem some students have with the new policy is that the university is restricting their choices.  Cooper said,  “I don’t think it affects that many people, really, because most freshman either live on campus or with their parents. But I think you should be able to live wherever you want.”
Photo: Austin Lassell/The Louisville Cardinal


UofL Anime Club offers diversity and opportunity

Louisville student dresses up as Ash Ketchum from “Pokemon.”

By Simon Isham–

“My science is hurting!” moans last year’s Anime Club President Christopher McClain, as Vice President John Doyle attempts to explain the infrastructure of the “Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game” or VRMMORPG “for short”—I challenge you to come up with a longer acronym—that features in “Sword Art Online”, to the newbies.

This interaction is not typical at a meeting of the University of Louisville’s Cardinal Anime Club, which meets from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Tuesday in Vogt Hall. Members range in interest from those who enthusiastically dress in cosplay just for a meeting to those who just play World of Warcraft throughout the entire proceedings. Discussion is at a high enough level that the most fervent of connoisseurs will not be disappointed but not quite so lofty that complete beginners will feel excluded. Like with any club, the only attributes you’ll need are an interest and a willingness to learn.

Due to the fact that the club boasts over 30 members, it has great potential as a resource for finding buddies to attend an anime convention. Their current focus is on Sugoicon in Cincinnati, which runs over the Nov. 16-18 weekend. McClain has taken the liberty of becoming the liaison and registrar for the club’s representation at the conference and is working on rooming arrangements. Admission for the full three-day weekend is $35 pre-registration plus a lodging fee, which McClain promises he will finalize shortly.

After hearing the news and announcements, which typically last for half an hour, the club takes a vote about which anime to watch for the remaining two hours. Their new policy is to watch five single episodes from different series, two original video animations (OVAs) or one two-hour movie. The club does not watch any anime that have lasted for more than 100 episodes and reminds members that it is not a Japanese pop-culture club, therefore barring live-action movies based on anime from the club’s canon. Anime that have been played in previous years include Hellsing, Guilty Crown, Persona 4 and Eureka 7A0. All are watched with original Japanese voice-acting and English subtitles.

One of the major upcoming events that the Anime Club holds every year for members is the Halloween Party, the theme of which will be Pokemon/creepypasta. For non net-denizens, the meme dubbed “creepypasta” refers to short stories intended to deliberately scare or unnerve the reader—much like the works of Poe, but much more plentiful and much less well-written. For entry, participants are asked to bring a snack to share with everyone but are reminded that meetings are often inundated with chips. As the party will be in celebration of the trick-or-treating season, dressing up as your favorite anime character is not only allowed but also encouraged. For more information on this event or others hosted by the club, President Jason Lee recommends joining the club’s Facebook group.

ART+FM: Giving local artists a radio voice

By Alex Gaughan–

There is no shortage of excitement over innovation in the tech industry as last week’s latest i-Product announcement demonstrated. Yet with all of the advancements in content delivery since the iPod, support for FM radio has continued. FM radio remains the most accessible platform for millions of Americans, and FCC rule changes could bring new community radio stations to metro Louisville by the end of the year.

ART+FM, a Louisville based nonprofit organization, is hoping to snag a frequency and create programming by and for the Louisville art community– something founder and Hite Art Institute graduate Sharon Scott said, “has never been done before on radio.”

According to its website ART+FM will provide a space on radio for artists to experiment with voice, community outreach and promotion. The intent is to make radiobroadcasting possible for anyone with a creative interest in the community. The first chance to see what Scott and others are talking about will be during this year’s IdeaFestival where ART+FM will be broadcasting live for the first time.

“100 years dominated by commercials and religious group, but artists haven’t had the opportunity to access it,” said Scott. “We’re going to be experimental with sound art and thinking about what radio is, and how it can be used to effect people.”


ART+FM lists the Hite Art Institute and the Speed Art Museum as organizational partners. Kirsten Popp, Public Relations Coordinator for Speed, says ART+FM will provide an opportunity for the Speed to continue contributing to the community once its doors close for renovation. The exact details have yet to be worked out, but both sides remain optimistic about the potential of the partnership.

There are hurdles ART+FM must cross before listeners can tune in with a flick of the radio dial though. The FCC specifies that organizations applying for a frequency should have NPO status for at least two years. ART+FM will fall short of this requirement by several months if the frequencies open up in the third quarter of this year as expected, but this does not necessarily disqualify ART+FM.

There is also speculation that few, if any frequencies, will be made available to Louisville organizations due to an already crowded radio scene, and ART+FM is not alone in its ambitions.

Forward Radio (WFOR), which falls under the Fellowship of Reconciliation umbrella, is in the process of gathering partners and donors for a community activist station.

“Through WFOR’s programming, both local and global voices will be given a platform,” said co-founder and University of Louisville graduate Jared Zarantonello. “And because of our commitment to an independent non-corporate media, our goal will be to air those voices that too often go unheard.”

As the organizations gear up for an active fall preparing for the FCC’s announcement, each is seeking volunteers and participants to push their campaigns forward. According to Scott, ART+FM is seeking volunteers “from all walks of life.” There is a link on the ART+FM website,, to get more information.


IdeaFest provokes Louisville thinkers

By Aimee Jewell–

Nearly 12 years ago, an innovative proposal, IdeaFestival, was created in the rolling hills of the Kentucky Bluegrass. This ground-breaking event celebrates the uniqueness of those who contribute and presents it in a fun and interesting way. The diverse presentations, taking place Sept. 19 through Sept. 22 at the Kentucky Center for the Arts, include a plethora of pioneers. The line-up has ranged from creative computer engineer Steve Wozniak, the Co-Founder of Apple, to the social media expert Dom Sagolla, the Co-Creator of Twitter, to the multi-talented Sir George Martin, CBE, English record producer, arranger, composer, conductor, audio engineer and musician. But that’s not all the intellectual entertainment provides for its patrons.

According to their website,, the distinctive celebration honors thinkers from around the globe, taking their one-of-a-kind ideas and presenting them to an audience. From philosophy and design to business and education and everything in-between, Kris Kimel, founder of the IdeaFestival, seems to have caught on to something. President of Kentucky Science and Technology, Kimel seems to have found a novel crowd-pleaser. In a recent interview with USA Today’s Jessie Halladay, Kimel explains, “Hopefully, we are inspiring people to think big thoughts and expand their dreams.”

Among the featured presenters listed on for this year’s conference, Micelle Bombe, costume designer for Shakespeare Behind Bars, Sarathabu Elumalai of Thrivals 5.0, Greg Van Kirk, Co-founder of Community Enterprise Solutions and Social Entrepreneur Corps. and Rosalind Picard, a Professor at the MIT Media Lab. With the tagline “Stay Curious,” the IdeaFestival wants attendees to begin thinking out of the box, starting now.

Thousands will flock to the Kentucky Center from Wednesday to Saturday to see what ideas they can watch take shape. Idea forums are open to the public, but sessions are filling up fast. Tickets for specific events can be purchased at the website,, or at
Photo courtesy IF

The Gaslight Festival, which took place in Jeffersontown last weekend, offered a chance for Louisvillians to experience the many cultures of Derby city.

Gaslight Festival celebrates culture of Louisville

The Gaslight Festival, which took place in Jeffersontown last weekend, offered a chance for Louisvillians to experience the many cultures of Derby city.

By Esther Lee–

Starting out as a small street party in 1969, the Gaslight Festival has definitely grown into one of the largest events that Jeffersontown has to offer. Always held during the third week of Sepetember, the Gaslight Festival is an anticipated tradition that showcases eight days of events. This past week from Sept. 9to Sept. 16, the festival boasted eight events such as the Gaslight 5KWalk/Run, Gaslight Balloon Glow and the Arts and Crafts Extravaganza,.

The Gaslight 5K Walk/Run was held this past Tuesday, Sept. 11. This evening run welcomed anyone who wanted to participate and started and ended at the Jeffersontown City Hall.

Ben King, participant of the Gaslight 5K Walk/Run and employee at the University of Louisville Ekstrom Library, described his experience. “It was pleasant. The mayor, Bill Dieruf, spoke to J-Town before the run. The run went right down my street, and the guy next door cheered me on. It was a lot of fun, and it was fun running since it was so close to home. Everyone had a really good time.” After the run, there was an award ceremony and snacks. “They gave us bananas,” King laughed.

On Sept. 14, Friday evening, Skyview Park displayed a handful of hot air balloons to the residents of Jeffersontown. The Gaslight Balloon Glow event was very family-oriented. The park overflowed with parents and children who were all excited to see the gigantic hot air balloons light up in the dark. The operators turned on the flames which gave the balloons their “glow.” Vendors sold glow-in-the-dark accessories and typical festival foods. The table booths gave out orange and green helium-filled balloons and operated children’s activities.

The overall atmosphere was very light and cheerful. A sense of child-like fun filled the air: a fun that can only be found with children playing in the dirt or running through the grass. While leaving the park, I couldn’t help but look behind me. The view was stunning with the gigantic hot air balloons and the flashing glow-in-the-dark toys brightening the night sky.

The Arts and Crafts Extravaganza was at the Gaslight Square on Taylorsville Road and Watterson Trail. Parts of the roads were blocked off for the three-day event. Over 140 vendors filled the streets. “The Gaslight Festival shows a part of Louisville that isn’t seen very often. The community’s culture is rich and enthusiastic. It exudes life throughout each booth there,” Amna Zolj, age 19, a physics major, explained. Zolj also bought a Christmas ornament for a family friend at one of the art vendors. The types of booths ranged from beautifully handcrafted jewelry to wooden rocking horses to do-it-yourself candles.

Also, a festival wouldn’t be a festival without festival food and music, right? The aroma of grease-infested funnel cakes and fried Oreos mingled with the sound of blasting musical performances coming from the Entertainment Garden. The festival thoroughly presented the creative and lively side of J-Town.

Without a doubt, the festival brought the community together in Jeffersontown. Every year, about 200,000 people come to the Gaslight Festival to celebrate the town and have fun. “It reminds you of the small towns long ago when everybody met in the middle of the town to have a good time together,” Kevin Tran, 19, a bioengineering major, said.
Photos: Tricia Stern/The Louisville Cardinal

Lotus prepares to flower over Louisville

By Anna Meany–

On Sept. 24, instrumental band Lotus will take the stage at Headliners Music Hall in Louisville. It’s not the group’s first time in the area, having played at Headliners once before and toured also in Lexington.

I caught up with Luke Miller via phone last week to discuss the history of Lotus.
Formed at Goshen College in Indiana, Miller said that the band “really hit the scene” in 2003. The band has evolved to include Mike Greenfield, Luke Miller, Jesse Miller, Mike Rempel, and with the addition of Chuck Morris in 200,1 the band stuck to instrumental music.

It’s hard to describe the exact style of Lotus. They utilize both traditional instruments, but manipulate synthesizers and electronic devices.  WTMD radio of Towson University reported that Jesse Miller said their style comes “from the roots of rock and roll mixed with electronic beats that are popular today” and claims they experimented before deciding on anything permanent.

Even as we’re talking, Miller is playing a soothing, improvisational guitar riff in the background; it’s no wonder that the band has been playing music for 13 years. For true artists, creativity comes at all hours.

When I asked Miller what he thought about being called a “multi-genre band” in online articles, he called that an easier way to say their style is simply Lotus. “We don’t play a jazz song and a bluegrass song and then a punk song – we play what we play. It’s a sound that no one else really has.”

Maybe the coolest thing about Lotus is their knack for putting on a creative live show. A few Google searches will prove very interesting to Lotus fans – members dressed as different David Bowie characters and covered the singer’s music for an October 2009 Halloween show. Lotus even performed a themed show in which every member dressed up as a musician from the infamous 27 Club – a group of musicians who died prematurely at age 27. Miller said that Lotus does it to give their audience a “special concert and make it a little different than what we normally do.” He said his favorite show was dubbed the “The Greatest Riffs in Rock Music”. “We incorporated catchy riffs through the years and melded them into our songs” Miller explains.

And they’re absolutely warriors. They’ve “been on the road for nine years playing 90 shows a year.” Miller also commented that they prefer the “grass roots method.” They’re serious about keeping their publicity low-key and focusing on the music. “We’re real people playing real instruments and real music, and we’ve built it by talent and effort.”

Opening for Lotus is Cincinnati-based band, Freekbot. General admission tickets can be purchased for $18 at Headliners, located at 1386 Lexington Road in Louisville, or online at
Photo courtesy


Book-in-Common: author Wes Moore leads service projects on campus

By Ryan Considine–

There are books written every day intended to inspire their audiences, but are readers inspired to take action?

Wes Moore, author of this year’s Book-in-Common, “The Other Wes Moore,” said “If we’re willing to get engaged, if we’re willing to get involved, then we can really make a substantial and permanent impact, not just in the life of someone else but in the life of our entire society.”

The University of Louisville has organized many service events in conjunction with this year’s Book-in-Common.

What can students at the University of Louisville do to impact their community?  Star Webb, a freshman, answered the question by beginning the West End Book Drive last year.  Students can participate in the event by donating books at drop boxes in McAlister’s, Damon’s Grill, the Ville Grille and other places on campus.  These items will be given to the West End School, a preparatory school for misguided youth.

Webb began the organization simply because she wanted to help people.

“This year it’s been much easier for me because I know people.  They’re willing to help me out, and they believe in me more,” said Webb.

Starting an organization at the University of Louisville takes more than just knowing the right people; you must also know how to advertise and stay organized.  Since Webb began to utilize mass media devices, such as Facebook and Twitter, she has been able to reach a larger audience.

“I think that’s what people pay attention to more than anything these days.”

Alongside the book drive is a food drive. Donations will be given to Dare to Care, a food bank located on Fern Valley Road. The food drive shares the book-drive drop boxes.

According to Christy Metzger, director of the Office of First Year Initiatives, book and food contributions will be the highest during Moore’s keynote speech.  She estimated 700 people attended last year and 900 tickets have already been reserved this year.  When students go online to print their tickets, they are reminded to contribute to the book and food drive. If attendance reaches 900 people, the Student Activities Center could reach full capacity.

Metzger has been impressed by the feedback she has received from U of L students.

“It’s been overwhelmingly positive.  These are issues they really care about and feel they can connect to.”

Metzger believes students are able to relate to Moore because of his strong sense of humanity and compassion.

“When people share their stories, we see shared humanities,” said Metzger.

Webb agrees with this statement because she is able to see the similarities she shares with Moore rather than their differences.  Moore and Webb both grew up with single mothers and received scholarships for their academic excellence, allowing them to receive higher education.  She believes in order to break the cycle of poverty, children must have opportunities to be educated.

“Education means everything.  I was blessed because I went to a private school and received an amazing education.  These kids who grow up in the West End deserve the same thing,” said Webb.

The Wes Moore Keynote presentation will take place Wednesday, September 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the SAC Multi-Purpose Room.  Tickets can be printed online free of charge at

Photo courtesy


Matchbox Twenty’s comeback album bittersweet for longtime fans

By Aimee Jewell–

Matchbox Twenty’s newest album, “North,” hit shelves Tuesday, September 4, nearly an entire decade since their last studio release. Fans held high hopes for the fifth CD released by the Grammy-nominated, hit-generating nineties band. “She’s So Mean” is the first single off of the album and is currently ranked number eight on the Adult Contemporary chart, proving a good start for the band’s comeback. But how easy is it to release an entire album after a ten year hiatus?

Unfortunately, not as easy as the gang might think. Still donning front man, Rob Thomas, Matchbox Twenty’s new bubble-gum pop ballads are mixed in with some strong beats and slow melodies as the band attempts to make their new album more relevant and less Matchbox. Unlike their Grammy Award nominated anthem “Unwell,” and the ever-so-popular “If You’re Gone” and “Bent” (just to name a few),“North” sounds like an entirely different entity. With honest lyrics and foot-tapping beats, Matchbox Twenty has created an album like their previous releases. However, their overall sound is what has thrown listeners for a loop. After a ten year period, supporters expected “North” to be Matchbox Twenty’s greatest album to date. Yet despite fans’ hopes, Matchbox has failed to deliver.

Possessing a more modern sound than before, Thomas and the boys seem as though they’re striving for something that just can’t be reached. It is not to say that “North” is not a quality pop album. “Put Your Hands Up” and “Our Song” are beat-heavy and contemporary, urging listeners’ to shake what their mamas gave them. However, the get-up-and-dance singles are contradicted by slow, solemn tunes, such as “Sleeping at the Wheel” and “English Town.” The album is not consistent and proves to be a constant rollercoaster of emotions for anyone listening. With an album title such as “North” and 10 years to work on new material, one would think synchronization on the record would come naturally. But sadly, this is not the case.

At the beginning of a interview, Thomas shared that instead of bringing his own work to the table like he did for previous albums, the band started from scratch with “North,” and composed the songs together rather than letting Thomas take the creative reins. With nearly 60 songs to choose from, the band had a difficult time picking out the songs for the record – which is most obvious by the random switches in tempo.
Maybe Thomas and the rest of the band were “Unwell” when organizing the album? Maybe they were up until “3 a.m.” trying to pick the songs to put on the record? Whatever the excuse may be, their new album gets a three out of five in my book. Great tracks are necessary for a comeback album, but so is overall cohesion, something that Matchbox Twenty definitely did not consider before releasing “North.”
Photo courtesy Atlantic Records

SAE member Dakota Hepke joins the support of cancer research at Sunday’s fundraising event where brothers both gave and received buzz cuts. SAE has generated more than $5000 in donations to the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

3rd Annual Buzz for a Cure

Sigma Alpha Epsilon raises money to support cancer research

SAE member Dakota Hepke joins the support of cancer research at Sunday’s fundraising event where brothers both gave and received buzz cuts. SAE has generated more than $5000 in donations to the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

By Anna Meany–

Sunday marked the annual Buzz for a Cure, hosted by Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Talking with Abhi Mehta, president of the Sigma chapter of SAE, he says this fall’s event has shown the best fundraising so far.

In its third year, the brothers invite everyone to visit Bernie’s Volleyball for a “day of fundraising, cooking out, sand volleyball and … gentlemen who care for the cause symbolically buzzing their hair.”

The annual event encourages young men to shave their heads for a $10 preferred donation in support of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, a member of U of L healthcare, whose work affects the greater Louisville community.

Event director Jon Glass started Buzz for a Cure three years ago after his father was diagnosed with cancer – brothers stepped up not only in support of Jon’s dad, but cancer patients everywhere. Surprised every year by the turnout, he curates the fundraiser to promote awareness and realizes that what they’re doing is “only minimal in comparison to his battle.”

Parents and cancer survivors joined SAE on Sunday for grilling out and playing volleyball.

The gentlemen of SAE aren’t strangers to philanthropy – they’ve partnered with Bernie’s Volleyball for other events, like Slam N’ Jam, an annual spring volleyball tournament benefitting Kosair’s Children’s Hospital. “SAE also generates a great deal of fundraising throughout the year for Relay for Life,” an organization that benefits the American Cancer Society. Mehta mentions that even survivors attend the fundraiser, including Jon’s dad, – calling it an experience that “really helps (them) put (their) lives back into perspective.”

The act of shaving one’s head in support of cancer victims is not uncommon. “Getting your hair shaved or buzzed gives you a priceless sense of gratitude” says Mehta. Events in Louisville, such as “St Baldrick’s Day” at Fourth Street Live also work to promote the awareness and support of cancer research. And country music artist Kellie Pickler recently shaved her head on Good Morning America in support of her best friend, who is currently diagnosed with breast cancer.

The brothers don’t intend to halt their support anytime soon, “hoping that one day our society can move past this devastating illness as a whole.”
Photos: Eric Voet/The Louisville Cardinal