186 South College

grab your coffee, sit back and hang out with the UD Honors Program for a while

Author: Ashley Dayne Bostwick (page 1 of 8)

Nights at the Theatre by Amanda Langell

Being the Broadway enthusiast that I am, I was ecstatic to find out the plays put on by the REP here at the University of Delaware are of equal caliber to the shows lining the streets of Manhattan. For a little over two weeks, the REP has been showcasing two plays at once: Red and The Things We Do For Love. The plays are wildly different; while one focuses on abstract messages of life through art, the other delves into the twisted feelings of love present in a three-story home. However, despite their contrasting tones and messages, both scripts are compelling, brilliantly executed, and effortlessly manage to captivate audiences.

Red highlights the relationship between Mark Rothko, a well-established artist, and his new employee, Ken, in a breathtakingly intimate performance in the Studio Theatre at the University of Delaware. The two characters battle through their individual ideas concerning art, life, and commercialism for ninety minutes with no intermission. It is an organic display of passion as principles of the past conflict and interchange with introductions to the new world of art. There are no overdramatic costumes, flaunty sets, or any other material objects that would take away the rawness of the performance. As an audience member, I felt every pulsating wave of emotion emitting from both actors on stage and left feeling inspired by the ideas presented throughout the show.

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How to Watch the Sunset by Gillian Zucker

Every day, we travel to another world where we can do anything and be anything we want to be. We are scientists researching cures to deadly diseases. We are pilots, flying high-speed planes to tropical destinations. We are authors or artists, receiving praise for our masterpieces. If I told you that this alternate universe existed within your reach, would you believe me? With the help of the services and apps that our phones, laptops, or tablets grant us nowadays, we can do anything and be anything we want to be. But are we losing something in the process?

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Villanova’s Upset: The Magic of Sports by Amanda Langell

Some monumental things have already happened in 2016: Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Oscar, the trailer for Finding Dory was released, and Justin Bieber now has dreadlocks. The world of pop culture and cinema has a way of drawing everyone into a seemingly endless void of fame, debate, and gossip within seconds of each new event that sweeps the tabloids. Even though people are consumed by the drama of Hollywood, when it’s the month of March, all of that comes second to the NCAA tournament. Suddenly, every commercial on television is about March Madness and everyone around you is talking about college basketball, whether they are a big fan or just making a bracket for charity. For a month, it is a pulsating time that is undoubtedly more noteworthy than Justin Bieber’s dreadlocks.

There is a certain passion that erupts when watching sports that cannot be duplicated. Sure, when Leo won his Oscar, everyone was extremely happy, but after three minutes, it was over. There was no jolt of electricity like there is when thousands of people scream for a common cause in an arena for an extended period of time, all wearing their team’s colors and almost dizzy with anxiety and excitement. The adrenaline that causes fans to instinctively spring up and scream in ecstasy when a tied game is decided in the final dwindling seconds is, in my opinion, something that is unique and unprecedented. It produces tiny strikes of lighting that curl around your heart, dance around your chest, and refuse to simmer even when you are trying to sleep that night as opposed to the ephemeral feelings Hollywood draws from us. The NCAA final produced all of these emotions and more with Kris Jenkins’ buzzer beater three-point shot to bring glory to Pennsylvania.

When you think of colleges with power basketball teams, the obvious answers are always Duke University, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Kansas. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is always up there as well, so it did not surprise anyone when they made the final. But Villanova? They are not typically on that list; however, they prevailed throughout the tournament and managed to upset UNC with their offensive determination. With the last possession of the game and only seconds left on the clock, Villanova had to make something happen quickly or else the game was going to overtime. When Jenkins set his feet for the three and let the ball leave his hands, millions of eyes, both in the arena and at home, followed the trajectory of the ball as time seemed to slow down. The country went silent and then it erupted in chaos. There are some occasions in sports that unfold as perfectly and dramatic as if they were scripted and they just do not compare to the faraway events happening on the west coast. There is an overwhelming element of human drama in sports that makes moments like these historic and everlasting, both in the minds of fans and on the replays of ESPN.

Why I Dance by Gillian Zucker

Sadly, everyone has been affected by cancer in some form. From the day I understood what this horrible disease was, I decided that I would fight it once and for all. So, I participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event in my community, later becoming its Activities Co-Chair and Event Lead. In these roles, I put on a successful event that celebrated cancer survivors, remembered the loved ones we have lost, and fought back against the disease, while funding cancer research. Naturally, I wanted to continue my involvement in the fight against cancer at UD, but I wasn’t sure where to start.

Now, let me tell you something about myself. Everyone who knows me and ever sees me in any sort of celebratory setting (proms, weddings, even in musicals) says that I’m a really bad dancer. I’ll admit, this is pretty true. And while bad-dancing is exhilarating, my skills – and stamina – typically quit after a simple “Cotton Eye Joe.” As you can imagine, when I first heard about UDance, the University of Delaware’s 12-hour dance marathon, I was very excited but also a bit overwhelmed. To me, a three-hour-long school dance where I was fist pumping and jumping to Kris Kross’s “Jump” seemed like a lot of time and a lot of energy. For weeks, I wondered: “How do the dancers and moralers at UDance keep up their energy for 12 hours straight? Why do they dance?”

Soon enough, the answer came to me. In the fall, Joe McDonough was invited to Redding Hall to tell the residents his story. I could feel the tears falling from my face as he spoke about the passing of his son, Andrew, after his battle with leukemia in 2007. In order to honor Andrew’s life and help other kids (our “B+ Heroes) who are battling childhood cancer, McDonough started the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation. The money raised at UDance helps the B+ Foundation directly support the families of our heroes and fund pediatric cancer research. In this moment, I had an epiphany. I thought back to my own experience helping fight cancer with the Relay for Life. I signed up to get involved in UDance immediately.

When we raised $1,701,667.81 on March 13th, when we proudly displayed our “B+ Foundation” gear all year on campus, and when we pledged to be dancers or moralers at the event, we were not doing any of it for the pictures or primarily for our own enjoyment. We did it all FTK (For The Kids) so that one day cancer in every form will be a myth of the past. Oftentimes, when we are busy with our own lives, we forget just how much of an impact we can have on others. But we need to remember that when we are involved in UDance all year, we are making a difference and saving lives. And that is exactly why I dance: for a smile, for a life, for a cure.

Heather’s New Groove: Volunteering in Cusco, Peru by Heather Brody

I wanted to go somewhere new. I needed to go somewhere new. The school year was draining me of all of my energy and focus and I knew that I needed to get away from my normal routine. I had been searching for months for the right opportunity, and in October I officially signed up to volunteer in Peru with UBelong during my winter break. I didn’t know what to expect, and there were many times in those next few months that I debated calling up my UBelong Mentor to tell her that I had changed my mind and would be staying in the United States. But I knew that this was something I needed to do. I needed to take a risk and do something new and exciting instead of sitting around at home all winter doing nothing. I had travelled to other countries a few times before, but never for more than two weeks and never completely on my own. I was terrified, but looking back, I am so glad that I decided to take this trip and I can’t wait for my next opportunity to travel.


I spent 5 weeks in Cusco, Peru, where I volunteered at a shelter of about 15 girls ages 12-18. All of these girls had been sexually abused and, as a result, were taken away from their families by the state and placed in the shelter. Their families either had to take the time to prove to the state that they were safe and could be trusted to have their daughters back again, or the girls would just sit in the shelter until they turned 18 and were released back into the world. They had so little in the shelter, and what they did have was shared among the girls. They were rarely allowed to leave the shelter, which the women in charge said was because they didn’t want the girls to try to escape. While it was very sad to see how these girls had to live, I loved spending time with them every morning. They were all such wonderful and unique girls who I know have the potential to do amazing things in life. I wish I could have stayed longer with them. 5 weeks is nice, but it isn’t going to make a lasting impact on their lives. I wanted to help them, I wanted to do so much more to give them better lives, but as a random volunteer from America, there wasn’t much I could do in that sense. So I used the time that I did have with them to try to make things more fun, teach them about the things that I enjoyed doing, and help them see how great they are.

The other volunteers that lived in the hostel with me were placed at other projects, like nursing homes, day care centers for kids, and centers for children with disabilities. They came from all around the United States and the rest of the world – from Texas to Germany to Australia to New Hampshire, we spanned the globe. Some of my fondest memories were simply spending time with them, whether it be haggling prices in the markets, befriending a group of wild dogs, or buying too many empanadas at the grocery store. I experienced so many amazing things with them – one weekend we went to a part of the Amazon called Tambopata, where we ziplined through the trees and road boats across the river in search of caymans. We went to the Salineras de Maras, giant salt mines that were stunning from up close and afar. We visited tons of ruins, including the most famous of them all: Machu Picchu. We were a family, and each time a new volunteer checked into the hostel, they instantly became a new family member as well. I remember feeling so nervous before my trip, wondering whether the other volunteers would be nice or whether there would even be any other volunteers there at the same time as me. I ended up meeting a group of amazing people who taught me so many things, and I know I will always look back at our time together and smile.

I know that soon enough people will get tired of hearing about my adventures. My friends will roll their eyes at the mention of Peru and I will repeat the same stories again and again, trying to hold onto things that are now part of the past. The other volunteers and I will move on with our lives. The inside jokes will fade from our memories, and our tongues will forget the taste of yoguis on a warm evening in the Plaza. The girls that I spent my mornings with will become attached to new volunteers, and I will become just another “Miss” that left them forever. I am the type of person who does not handle change very well, so having such an amazing experience and then having to go back to my normal life in Delaware has been a difficult adjustment for me. And while I wish I could go back to those nights of eating alpaca burgers and rapping in the hostel lobby, I know that I will eventually be able to move on and take the things that I learned from my trip with me. Traveling to Peru has helped me become more confident in myself and curious about the world around me. I have decided that I want to take time off after graduating from college to travel around the world and see what else is out there. I feel like I am moving forward with a new perspective on life, as cheesy as that sounds, and I will always be grateful for the experiences that I’ve had this winter.

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