• Have you ever wondered if there were more doors or more wheels in the world? The thought seems interesting, as it is something to really think about. This random thought was brought up when a viral post on Twitter was posted by a group of friends who were said to be having a “pointless” debate

  • Egg hunts and Easter traditions shared by Fresno Pacific students, A focus on food, family, and faith The fun of a good Easter egg hunt almost always makes the work of putting on itchy Sunday Church clothes worth it. Whether you are finding shiny, aluminum-wrapped chocolate eggs or dollar bills stuffed in plastic shells, the

  • What’s yours? We all have our own way of getting our day started. For some of us, that requires our go-to morning drinks. It is often said that many cannot get their day started without an iced coffee, but that is not the case for everyone. We asked some fellow Sunbirds “What is your go-to

  • The struggle of bringing the birdcage on the road Students at Fresno Pacific University as well as student athletes are being deprived of one of the greatest community experiences that college has to offer: student sections. Earlier this year we talked about not having fans in the stands but just recently we had an opportunity


He’s been on the job since July, but inauguration welcomes FPU President Stephens

By Nicholas Steele
Syrinx Staff Writer

Fresno Pacific University inaugurated its newest president, Dr. André Stephens, in ceremonies March 31 at the university’s Special Events Center, in front of a crowd of faculty, students, staff and the Stephens family.

The FPU campus is already familiar to Stephens, who has actually been in the job as president of the university since July 2022.

The 90-minute celebration was filled with touching memories, stories, and compliments from people who know and have worked with President Stephens.

In his remarks, an emotional Stephens thanked everyone who has supported him in his career and put him in a position to become FPU’s president. “I vow to steward your support and goodwill to ensure FPU’s greatness into the future,” he said.

President Stephens is a man who has great knowledge and understanding of the faculty, staff and students at Fresno Pacific. President Stephens said one of his prayers for the university is for a stronger, greater imagination for the future than of memory of the past. As the FPU Idea states, it is a guide for forming a vision of the future.

Stephens came to Fresno Pacific in mid-2022 after serving as a vice president at Biola University in La Mirada. Biola president Barry H. Corey spoke at the inauguration and thanked Stephens for everything he had done at that university. Corey added that just being around Stephens makes one want to be a better human being.

The overall theme highlighted Stephens’ character as a God-fearing man that will do everything in his power to make Fresno Pacific University successful.

Social work majors at FPU now have a fast-track master’s degree opportunity

By Kristin Milligan
Social Media Editor

A $1.5 million grant to Fresno Pacific University is launching a program for students earning a bachelor’s degree in social work to pursue their master’s degree in one year instead of two.

The grant from the California Department of Health Care Access & Information will “cover the entirety of the direct cost to establish a new (masters of social work) and operate it,” said Anna James Miller, director of grant funding for Fresno Pacific.

The program will commence in 2024. The hope is that FPU students utilize this opportunity to complete their master’s degree in an efficient manner. At the same time, organizers said the program recognizes the students’ need for a space that supports the combination of their passion for empowering communities with the fundamental practices of their faith.

This $1.5 million plan also aims to provide funding for scholarships and childcare, and removes financial barriers that may prevent people from participating. After the grant expires, university officials expect tuition costs to sustain the program.

Depending on the demand for the program, the university plans on making the master’s program available at two additional campuses by 2026, North Fresno and Visalia, enrolling about 15 students per campus.

“Over the past eight years, our BSW graduates have consistently told us they are looking for an MSW option that is rooted in the values and peace tradition of an FPU education,” School of Humanities Dean Ron Herms said in a written statement. “I am thrilled that we can now offer an accelerated (one-year) MSW program for them and so many other regional social workers with such a well-respected faculty team.”

Herms added that the university expects to roll out a two-year master’s program in social work for students who have their bachelor’s degree in other disciplines.

The state issued $59.4 million in grants to support social work education at 23 schools on Feb. 1. Among seven universities starting new MSW programs, Fresno Pacific’s application had the second highest score. Other schools receiving grants in the category were University of Southern California, Palo Alto University, Point Loma University, San Diego State University, Samuel Merritt University, and California State University, East Bay. The funding also supports the expansion of 16 MSW programs.

What’s coming up at Fresno Pacific? Here are notable events through December

Hands with magnifier examining a calendar page.
Image by pch.vector on Freepik

Thanksgiving, giving, music, commencement and sports are on the FPU calendar for what’s left of the Fall 2022 semester.

As 2022 and the fall semester near an end at Fresno Pacific University, here are some of the notable events that remain on the calendar for FPU students, staff, faculty and the general public.

Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022 

Thanksgiving Luncheon, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., FPU Special Events Center, 1718 S. Winery Ave. Being held for the first time in three years, the Thanksgiving Luncheon hosted by FPU’s Campus Life department is an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to come together, give thanks, and connect with one another over a traditional Thanksgiving meal. A “parade of nations” will recognize the university’s international students. Tickets are free, but are required in advance. Details: events@fresno.edu.

Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022

FPU Giving Day, online event. National Giving Day is a national day of giving for support of nonprofits. FPU Giving Day is an opportunity for university students, faculty, and staff to contribute to a range of projects including global missions, student health services, academic success, career development, the university’s food pantry, the Casa Pacific retreat center, or improvements to the Steinert Athletic Complex. To donate, visit FPU Giving Day.

Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022

Festival of Lessons and Carols, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., First Congregational Church of Fresno. The annual Festival of Lessons and Carols presented by Fresno Pacific’s Music Department  celebrates the holiday season with a service of Scripture passages and carols performed by the several student ensembles. The off-campus event is at the First Congregational Church of Fresno, 2131 N. Van Ness Blvd. at Yale Avenue. Tickets: $5 for members of the FPU community, $5 for seniors age 65 and older, and $10 for general admission. Details, tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/annual-festival-of-lessons-carols-tickets-399630845617.

Friday, Dec. 16, 2022

Graduate Hooding Ceremony, 7 p.m., FPU Special Events Center, 1718 S. Winery Ave,. Graduate students who are completing their Master of Arts degrees in the fall 2022 semester will receive their hoods signifying their accomplishment. Each graduating student can receive free tickets for up to six guests. Tickets are not needed for children ages 5 and younger. Tickets are available from the university registrar’s office through Dec. 15.

Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022

Fall Commencement, 10 a.m., Selland Arena, 700 M St., downtown Fresno. Fresno Pacific will hold its fall commencement for undergraduate, graduate and degree-completion students who are completing their bachelor’s or master’s degrees in the fall 2022 semester. Parking in the Fresno Convention Center main parking lot is $20 per car; parking is also available in the convention center parking structure or at parking meters on the streets surrounding the center.

Upcoming Athletic Events

Thursday, Dec. 1

FPU Sunbirds Basketball vs. Biola University, FPU Special Events Center, 1718 S. Winery Ave. The Sunbirds women’s team hosts Biola University in a PacWest Conference matchup at 5 p.m., while the men’s teams will tip off at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $8 general admission, $6 for students ages 13 to 17 with student ID, $6 for seniors ages 60 and older, $6 for students from the visiting school with student ID. Tickets available online at https://www.fpuathletics.com/sports/2010/9/15/GEN_0915102117.aspx.

Saturday, Dec. 3

FPU Sunbirds Basketball vs. Azusa Pacific University, FPU Special Events Center, 1718 S. Winery Ave. The Sunbirds women’s team hosts Azusa Pacific University in a PacWest Conference matchup at 2 p.m., while the men’s teams will tip off at 4:30 p.m. Tickets $8 general admission, $6 for students ages 13 to 17 with student ID, $6 for seniors ages 60 and older, $6 for students from the visiting school with student ID. Tickets available online at https://www.fpuathletics.com/sports/2010/9/15/GEN_0915102117.aspx.

Friday, Dec. 30

FPU Sunbirds Basketball vs. Dominican University of California, FPU Special Events Center, 1718 S. Winery Ave. The Sunbirds women’s team hosts Dominican University of California in a PacWest Conference matchup at 5 p.m., while the men’s teams will tip off at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $8 general admission, $6 for students ages 13 to 17 with student ID, $6 for seniors ages 60 and older, $6 for students from the visiting school with student ID. Tickets available online at https://www.fpuathletics.com/sports/2010/9/15/GEN_0915102117.aspx.

“Harvey” hops into Fresno Pacific’s new theater venue

The cast members for Fresno Pacific University’s production of “Harvey” rehearse their roles at the university’s Warkentine Culture and Arts Center. Photo by Enzo Paraggine / The Syrinx

A mix of student thespians and community actors bring to life the story of a man and his invisible best friend.

By Enzo Paraggine
Syrinx staff writer

A group of student actors and local community actors under the direction of adjunct instructor Elizabeth Fiester are bringing Mary Chase’s award-winning play “Harvey” to Fresno Pacific University’s new Warkentine Culture & Arts Center Theater and Atrium.


After various adaptations by many different theaters and actors, “Harvey” is returning to the stage in 2022. This time, it is played by the FPU Theater Department. Under the direction of the experienced Fiester, and with a talented and varied cast, the play opened Nov. 10 and continues through Nov. 19


“Harvey“ is a very popular play in American culture, written by Mary Chase in 1944. In that same year, it debuted on Broadway and closed in January 1949 after 1,775 performances. It became the fifth longest-running Broadway play at that time. Chase was an influential American journalist and playwright.Throughout her career, she wrote more than 14 plays, three of them eventually becoming Hollywood movies, including “Harvey.” Chase’s influential play went on to receive a Pulitzer Prize for drama.


“Harvey” follows the story of Elwood P. Dowd, a very friendly man who claims his best friend is a giant rabbit named Harvey. Even though Dowd is the only one who sees the rabbit, he insists on introducing Harvey to everyone he meets. This “issue” is not well received by Elwood’s sister and niece who are trying to become members of high society. The sister, Veta Simmons (Stephanie Gonzales) and niece Myrtle Mae (Alex Hodson) decide to get Elwood committed to a psychiatric clinic. This action goes terribly wrong, which then results in the original play’s plot twists.


The FPU version of “Harvey” is a scene-by-scene interpretation. Fiester, an adjunct instructor at Fresno Pacific, has directed over 100 plays and has worked in places such as Good Company Players, where she had her directorial debut in 1983. Fiester has directed other famous plays like “Annie Jr.” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” This is her second semester at FPU, and she has decided to go with “Harvey” for the first play of this year. 


“We looked for a title that was recognizable for the FPU audience and the American comedy, and Harvey hit those two factors,” Fiester said. “Personally, I also deeply love this script and know it very well.


The non-student community actors, she added, “are people that I have worked with before and they are really easygoing and reliable, the whole cast is very committed to the work and have connected smoothly.”


Joseph Ayrton Ham is the actor playing Elwood. He is a well-experienced community actor who has many popular plays under his belt, acting at Reedley’s River City Theatre Company. He has worked in plays such as “West Side Story” and “Les Miserables.”


“FPU’s new culture and arts facilities are awesome, it has been great to work here,” Ham added. “It is very similar to other big theaters I have worked on. I’ve worked with Elizabeth before and I´m familiar with her way of directing. She is a great and very clear director.”


“I must figure out my own way of interpreting Elwood,” Ham said. “Jimmy Stewart (who played Dowd in the movie version of “Harvey”) is one of the greatest actors ever, so I try to get things from him while at the same time giving it my touch.”


Ham addressed the challenges of “interacting” with Harvey as a character that is only visible to Elwood. “Acting with an imaginary character is very similar to what is being done nowadays with CGI on the big screen,” Ham said. “What I tried to do is to always make it clear to the audience that Harvey is being a part of the scene.”


One of the most interesting storylines, and an undeniable highlight of the play, is the character Wilson. Wilson works at the psychiatric clinic and uses his “brute force” to keep the patients from leaving. He is played by Sabelo Mlaba, an international freshman from South Africa, who is also making his theatrical debut.


“This is my first play here at FPU, and my first play as me being an actor,” Mlaba said. “Doing such a big play as my first is like walking into gold. I feel honored and blessed being a part of this.”


“FPU is great and very welcoming,” Mlaba added. “The artist’s environment here is good and you can grow as an actor. Elizabeth is an incredible director; it is an honor to work with her and I am thankful to get so many lines in my debut role.”


The rehearsals for the play flowed through the final stages. From production to actors and director, the staff worked as a unit to make this an amazing experience for the FPU students and audience.


Remaining performances are at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, and Saturday, Nov. 12, 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, and at 7 p.m. each night Nov. 16-19. Tickets are $15 for general admission or $5 for members of the Fresno Pacific community. Tickets are available at the door or online at www.eventbrite.com/e/fpu-theater-presents-harvey-by-mary-chase-tickets-399615078457.

‘Mystery Masquerade’ theme attracts students to annual FPU fall formal

Fresno Pacific students show off their dance moves at the Mystery Masquerade fall formal on Oct. 28. | PHOTO COURTESY OF FPU STUDENT LIFE
By Brandi Aguilera
Production Manager

When planning for the 2022 Fall Formal on Oct. 28, Fresno Pacific’s student activities team chose a venue close to home: the new Warkentine Culture and Arts Center Theater and Atrium. That way, students who wanted to attend the dance did not need to stress about transportation.

Students felt relaxed in a familiar environment and danced all Friday night long. The new building, spacious and beautiful, is also a location that “added to the mysterious ambiance of the dance,” said student activities representative Brooke Barham.

“Mystery Masquerade” was the theme for the dance. “Since Halloween is just a few days away,” Barham told The Syrinx prior to the event, “we have envisioned the theme … to be a spooky, mysterious event that is formal enough to where anyone can come and enjoy it.”

About 100 students attended.

“Masquerade” comes from the term “masquerade ball.” Attendants usually dress in ball gowns or suits and ties, with a mask as an accessory to the outfit. The “mystery” part alluded to the spooky nature of Halloween.

The organizing team said they were most excited to see everyone’s masks, considering the masquerade theme. Although masks were not required, students fit the theme as they wanted. Residence director and head cheer coach Rayna Harris, who has supervised student activities since 2019, said she encouraged attendance over attire.

“We always think it is fun when students dress formally and find a way for their attire to fit the theme,” Harris said, “but even your Sunday best is welcome.”

The Fall Formal is a longstanding tradition at Fresno Pacific. The most rewarding experience of  planning the dance was the aftermath of setting up, said Aryanna Guzman, the planning lead for the 2022 event. “Seeing everyone having a great time and seeing how much everyone is enjoying the work that student activities put in,” she said.

Barham encouraged students who might compare FPU’s dances to experiences from high school dances. “I promise that college dances are different,” she said of students who may recall unpleasant experiences at high school dances.

Art professor urges honors students to value GE classes

FPU art professor Chris Janzen / Photo from FPU biography

Fresno Pacific professor Chris Janzen says general ed classes broaden students’ horizons, strengthen critical thinking.

By Belena Pranger
Copy Editor

Fresno Pacific University art professor Chris Janzen urged scholarship and honors students at the university’s recent honors banquet to consider their general education classes as more than just a set of requirements for graduation.

In his keynote address at the Oct. 13 event in the university’s Rose Garden, Janzen encouraged students to think of their GE classes as a way to enjoy broadening their knowledge in multiple areas of study and as tools to develop critical thinking skills.

“My call to everyone at this banquet is: ‘Stop thinking about GEs as a boring list of boxes to check,’” Janzen said. A general education class provides an opportunity to learn about a subject outside of their major from an expert in the field. “This might be the only time as an English major that you’re going to be taking natural sciences, or perhaps the only time a nursing major would take a painting class.”

Janzen said his speech was inspired by a July 2022 conference he attended in Chicago that focused on classical Greek thinkers like Plato and Socrates, humanist writers of the Renaissance and postmodern philosophers. The conference allowed him to contemplate issues outside of art and understand that an area of study isn’t confined to only one subject.

In the liberal arts, he explained, there is more than just drawing and painting. Art, Janzen said, is a discipline that derives from more than just what most people imagine when they think of a visual artist.

Art can come from subjects like geometry or geography, he added. “Each of these is actually an art,” Janzen said. “There’s an art to thinking about the physical world.” 

The professor said every person brings an artistic skill to whatever is being studied, especially when actively seeking to learn more about the world. And, he added, people who are able to be creative within their profession are also going to be successful in society.

An English major’s awareness of natural science equips them with more ways to write and interpret literature, Janzen said. The nurse who has experienced paint color-mixing will develop a visual awareness that could come in handy when assessing a patient.

General education classes also offer an opportunity to experience other students’ viewpoints within an area of study, he added: “The rest of society is better if we understand a variety of different points of view, if we can embrace diversity.”

Meet Fresno Pacific’s new president

Dr. André Stephens, the 13th president of Fresno Pacific University, began the job on July 1, 2022.

Four months into the job, Dr. André Stephens is ‘listening, learning as he settles into his role as FPU’s 13th president.

By Saraleim Mozqueda Saldana

Editor in Chief

Dr. André Stephens, who worked for three decades at Biola University in southern California, is the newest president of Fresno Pacific University. Stephens was named to the position by the university’s board of trustees in May and started his new job in July.

Stephens, the son of immigrants from Panama, becomes the 13th person to hold the university’s top leadership post in its 78-year history, and only the third person of color to fill the role.

“Beth and I were drawn to Fresno Pacific because of its clarity of mission, partnership with the church and commitment to students,” Stephens said in a statement issued when his hiring was announced. “We are thrilled to join the FPU family and look forward to contributing to the ongoing success of the institution.” Stephens and his wife Beth, both alumni of Biola University, have three children.

The FPU presidency is the latest step in a long career progression for Stephens, whose ambition was fueled by seeing his parents’ hard work after they came to the United States. He’s not exactly a first-generation student, but he said he can relate to many of the experiences and challenges faced by Fresno Pacific’s first-gen students.

Stephens has already gotten involved in Fresno and the FPU community. In just a few short months he has attended many Fresno Pacific events and is looking forward to more. One of his favorite experiences so far was attending a women’s volleyball game against Biola. He said he loves supporting students at events like the upcoming Pie and Praise as well as the new theater production. 

While it might be expected for a new president to have plans or goals to carry out, Stephens said he is first focused on observing what’s already in place.

Stephens said he believes the role is one that offers the opportunity to make some changes. But, he added, he doesn’t want to “come in with a prescribed, like, ‘This is what we’re going to do,’ without really spending time with the community, listening, learning.”

He has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Biola University, earned his master’s degree in speech communications from California State University, Fullerton, and received his Ph.D. in education from Claremont Graduate University.

Stephens began his career in higher education as an enrollment counselor at Biola University in 1991. Stephens was gradually promoted through various positions of responsibility at his alma mater, culminating with his appointment as the vice president of student development for the past six years.

His career journey took a turn northward when he learned that Fresno Pacific was searching for a new president to succeed Dr. Joseph Jones, who held the position for five years. Stephens started by browsing the FPU website, where he noticed a photograph of student leaders in front of a fountain. He said he was struck by seeing the university’s focus in the students’ faces and realized that he would be a fit candidate for the job.

Stephens said that once he met FPU students in person, he realized he made the right choice. His first student interactions were with the track team. Their school colors caught his attention, but he said their height made him question if they were students. When he spotted the coach, however, he realized they were indeed students. Stephens said his conversation with the team confirmed his faith in his decision.

One thing Stephens said he realizes is that overseeing student life at Biola and serving as president at FPU are two very different things. His role as Biola’s vice president was focused on a very specific aspect of the university. At Fresno Pacific, however, the job is more wide-ranging. As a result, he is focusing on multiple tasks at a time and said he is still growing into the position.

The Liberator Delivers

Mini-series on Netflix brings history to life in new way

Netflix’s new series, “The Liberator”, may have been short-lived, but its impact  on viewers has proven longer-lasting. The mini-series centers around a soldier’s 500-day experience in World War II. The series depicts the harsh realities that he  and many other soldiers faced at the time. The show came out just in time for Veterans Day 2020, honoring the men who served during such a brutal war. 

    The mini-series is an adaptation of Alex Kershaw’s book “The Liberator,” which depicts the Thunderbirds in their fight against the Axis powers. The Thunderbirds, according to the Smithsonian Magazine, were “the U.S. Army’s 45th Infantry Division, one of the most racially integrated units of the era, [who] went into battle wearing on their shoulders the image of the Thunderbird.” The Thunderbirds have also been described as “a disparate collection of Native Americans, Mexican Americans and Southwestern cowboys.” They were led by Felix Sparks, the gritty company commander, who was able to ease the tension in his diverse group. After getting everyone on board to fight for, rather than against,  each other, Sparks and his company take to the field amidst the tough conditions of WWII. 

    The main characters of the mini-series are Felix Sparks (Bradley James), Sergeant Samuel Coldfoot (Martin Sensmeier) and Corporal Abel Gomez (Jose Miguel Vasquez). Sparks serves as the show’s lead, as he was the commander for the platoon as well as one of the only American rooted soldiers in this diverse group. He is a fierce leader who  recognizes the heart and pride his company has  in their serving and protecting the U.S., even though they aren’t given the same opportunities as other citizens. Early on in the show, he is put in charge of J Company, which is revealed as the jail of the base. When he meets his men, they are busy fighting each other and giving their superiors a hard time due to the constant racism and slander they endure. Sparks is presented as the perfect leader, because everyone on J Company buys into his message, and the company quickly becomes the leading squad on the base. 

Sergeant Coldfoot is the Native American leader of the group. He has been denied promotion so many times, but is finally given a chance by Sparks. He quickly shows why he should’ve been promoted by using his anger and sheer passion as the second leader of the crew. 

Abel Gomez is the show’s funny guy, the glue that holds the team together, and is truly one of the most selfless fighters ever portrayed on screen. He is easily the fans’ favorite, because everytime he speaks it is either funny, truly relatable or inspiring. Though the show has many other heroes, these three are the ones that make J Company run.

What makes the show different from the rest of Hollywood war media we have seen before is how it is actually portrayed on the screen. The series  is both live-action and computer animated, giving it the look of a comic book.  Trioscope Studios was able to achieve this through a method called rotoscope animation. Trioscope’s CEO, L.C. Crawley,  and its CCO,Brandon Barr, told Deadline they believe  rotoscope animations is a step in the right direction for films and shows:““Trioscope can effectively produce in ways no other platform can . . . So often, dramatic material can’t get made because it’s too creatively ambitious or costly. This technology allows creators to imagine without limits – from contemporary to historic periods, and from fantasy to reality – and all on an achievable budget.” Not only does such animation save money, but it also allows viewers to enjoy a war show without extreme gore. Such a business move gives more flexibility to the budget and brings in more viewers, thanks to how different the animation looks when compared to others Netflix has to offer. 

    “The Liberator” received some love when it became available. It received a 7.5/10 from IMDB, a 6/10 from Rotten Tomatoes as well as 7.1 from Rotten Tomatoes audience, and was amongst the top 10 on Netflix U.S. on opening week. This show is an easy watch and tells the story of how such a diverse and often belittled  platoon put hate aside to fight a common enemy. It was a gorgeous show to watch, and is an excellent nod to our combat heroes and veterans. 

Authors: Danielle Mercado & Julian Alcaraz | A&E Editor & Staff Writer

Six Feet Closer

The Case For Returning to In-Person Classes

On October 2 and 10, Fresno Pacific University announced that it planned to reopen for the upcoming Spring 2021 semester, and offered a mix of in-person, online, and hybrid classes for students. This decision sparked a large-scale, but ultimately little-publicized, debate among students and teachers alike about the efficacy and safety of returning to campus at this time. Neither side is without points, and while I cannot speak for everyone else who wishes to return this spring, from the perspective of an out-of-state student, the benefits can be seen as far outweighing the risks.

    It is true that the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging, and that returning to school will reintroduce the risk of infection, especially for those with compromised immune systems or other underlying health problems. Those who are in close contact with such people are also justifiably worried and so cannot return in good conscience. Their concerns are valid and should not be addressed as anything else.

    Yet it is many of these very concerns that FPU is addressing. The smorgasboard of safety features, from the plastic dividers in classrooms and dining facilities to the required health check-ins, are more in-depth than many public locations or institutions. Gyms, for example, are opening up again in numerous locations around the country; few outbreaks have been traced to them, and often there is little regulation beyond the need to wear a mask, maintain social distancing and wipe down the equipment after use. These facilities are also open to a much wider range of people (in terms of age and background) than Fresno Pacific. If they are able to do such a thing without any rashes of infection or (God forbid) casualties, then surely FPU’s far more advanced measures can be effective as well when dealing with an age group that, in general, has been affected less than others by the virus.

    Places like stores and gyms are reopening as a matter of necessity: the services they provide to the public (and especially to their employees) are too invaluable to be shut down for long. Similarly, those students who attend FPU from outside California (and perhaps outside the United States) are being given precedence by the school in housing and moving back in. This is likely because they have needs that can be addressed by campuses reopening.

    In the first place, moving between school and home in the usual school year-summer cycle often creates a separate mindset for each. When at home, we are used to allowing our mind to wander and to relax about scholarly pursuits. Being restricted to one’s house so far away from the school therefore increases the challenge of keeping one’s mind on their schooling, which is already difficult due to the inherent nature of online classes. They are also restricted in terms of the resources at their disposal: Herbert Library is all but impossible to make use of without access to physical books, and different time zones between states can result in tremendous scheduling conflicts between both home and school. This goes double for those student athletes who traditionally come from abroad—and the situation is even worse for those who have not been able to return to their home country.

    The FPU campus also offers an easily controllable and monitorable environment. Out-of-state students will be further away from those friends and family members back home who are at significant risk, and will be an environment where their health, by rule, must be regularly verified. Quarantine and recovery of infected students are also easier tasks for the administration and students if they are relatively close to the school, especially with stringent social distancing rules and private housing in place. If anything, it may prove safer than some students’ homes: chores and the needs of their family can often cause one to venture out more often, putting themselves and those at home (where more strict and professional safety standards are often not enforced or difficult) at risk. This is not a demand that FPU become entirely locked-in and not allow students to leave campus at all, but the social-distancing policy and health checkups ensure that any risks will be under greater control than at home.

I, at least, feel that the resources and environment of a Fresno Pacific with such safety measures in place are well worth returning to campus for. This is not a prescription for everyone; there are those who doubtless have good reasons for wanting to stay away until the situation is more cleared up. However, returning to Fresno Pacific would provide me with an environment in which I am used to doing the strenuous academic work required as a student, and it has been fortified in such a way that I feel, at the very worst, no less safe than my own home.

Author: Luke Fredette | Chief Copy Editor

The Case Against Returning to In-Person Classes

On November 2, Vice President for Campus Life Dale Scully and President Joseph Jones released an email to all traditional undergraduate students announcing that FPU would be returning to campus for the spring 2021 semester. Registrar Danielle Jeffress also released an email on November 10 that detailed specifics about returning to campus: according to Jeffress’ email, courses will be offered through three different delivery methods next semester: face-to-face, hybrid and remote. 

While I share excitement with many at the prospect of returning to campus, it must be said that both face-to-face and hybrid classes are too ambitious given the current state of the pandemic. As of November 12, Fresno County was averaging 162.9 new cases of COVID-19 per day according to The New York Times. The Washington Post also noted that the United States reached 150,000 infections as of November 12—a record high, and the number has continued to climb. With several European countries entering their second lockdown, many suspect that the US will do the same, as mentioned in a recent article published by Insider.

    It cannot be stressed enough that Fresno Pacific is still susceptible to the pandemic. Even with pandemic protocols in place, there is no guarantee that all members of the FPU community will wear masks or socially distance properly: in fact, on September 18, Student Life released an email admonishing resident students for failing to wear masks on and around campus. Although Student Life promised to assert stricter policies—“documentation of mask policy violations will ensue and students will be subjected to the student conduct process who refuse to comply,” according to the email—it must be recognized that those members of the community who neglect the protocols put the rest of the community at risk. 

Furthermore, as recently as November 10, Human Resources announced that a member of the FPU community had tested positive. Admittedly, Fresno Pacific University News reported that the university has only seen eight cases total since the start of the pandemic; however, these cases developed during some of the emptiest months on campus. The number of COVID-19 cases at FPU could easily swell in the coming months. In a recent issue of Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, staff writer Sara Weissman noted that many higher education institutions which attempted to reopen in August saw a flux of COVID-19 cases on their campuses. The University of North Carolina (UNC) was among the hardest hit after several clusters of COVID-19 were discovered among students. “Ultimately,” Weissman wrote of UNC, “university leadership decided to reclose campus.” 

Perhaps it is most important to note that this is not the first time that Fresno Pacific has planned for a semester of blended courses and failed to uphold that promise: on July 7, 2020, Provost Gayle Copeland released an email to the FPU student body stating that “Blended and online instruction will be available and previously scheduled online courses will continue” for the fall 2020 semester. But only two and a half weeks later, President Jones announced on July 24 that “FPU, along with all other private colleges and universities and public school districts, needs to continue classes online for the fall semester.” With only a month to prepare for this sudden change in course delivery, faculty scrambled to piece together new syllabi for their online courses, and residential students were forced to reconsider their housing situation for the next few months.    

While FPU’s efforts are laudable, our administrative leaders must recognize that current trends may not guarantee a safe return to campus by next semester. I admit that I am tempted by the idea of returning to a semblance of normality and share the opinion that our current situation is less than ideal; however, wishful thinking will do little to preserve the health and safety of our community. Until the pandemic poses less of a threat, I strongly urge the university against a return to campus. 

Author: Kassandra Klein | Copy Editor

Is hybrid helping your students?

Taking a chance for socialization by lowering face-to-face opportunity

A majority of students spend a required 13 years of their lives in a classroom or having similar in-person instruction. Then the pandemic came and closed classroom doors. Students could no longer  physically interact with their teachers or peers .  Across the country, we began to see our educators scrambling to bring whatever they could to the table and continue educating their students to the best of their abilities. Throughout the spring, the result was chaos. The country remained hopeful over the summer that COVID would run its course and school could resume in our “new normal.”. We now know how disappointing things turned out. However, our school districts and educators have pulled through and given our children fantastic educational opportunities via several online platforms. On Zoom, teachers have given live lessons multiple times of the day and five days of the week.

Fresno Pacific has also modified its approach to education in order to adapt to the pandemic. The instructors have worked hard to deliver interactive class experiences  and the essential information we need through Zoom.

There’s a hiccup, though: it began when our student-parents were juggling their distance-learning education with that of their children. The Syrinx published an article earlier in the semester addressing this very subject. Distanced learning has its difficulties and complications, but now we face something new. Many elementary schools in the San Joaquin Valley have started to reopen, using a “hybrid” schedule. This schedule looks different depending on the school district and county. Still, regulations by the state of California help to keep them very similar to each other. To reduce the number of students on campus, the schedule either alternates the days per week, or hours per day, that students should be present. While this seems to be an improvement—providing children with much needed in-person time with their teachers and peers—it could also create new problems.

Student-parents have established a routine that works with both their children’s distance-learning situation and their own. When their child now has to return to school for specific hours a day, or only certain days a week, with special release times to boot, this could create schedule conflicts. Many schools are not offering after-school programs right now. What programs are offered have a limited capacity or first-come-first-serve policy for working families. This means that a student-parent may be in class while their child is released from school. This would require the student-parent to work closely with their advisor and instructors in order to manage courses.  

The other potential problem, that I have encountered myself with my own child, is the trade-off that a hybrid schedule has created. Distance learning provided five days a week of Zoom-hosted, face-to-face time with the teacher. There were two to three live Zoom lessons a day, every day. The entire class was able to talk to each other and interact, even through Zoom. When the hybrid schedule started, my child began to attend school two days a week, 8 am-1:30 pm. On Monday, the entire class Zooms with their teacher for fifteen minutes. The rest of the day consists of unstructured activities, including working on three separate computer programs, and features no actual organized lesson plans. This isn’t because the teacher fails to teach them, but because the teacher needs Mondays to record the other four days in the week. When my child is home, she has one Zoom in the morning for thirty minutes with her class. She is then on her own for the entire day, doing assignments based on either her teacher or computer programs’ pre-recorded lessons. While I think the crucial in-person aspect of hybrid is essential for socialization purposes, I can’t help but wonder where the trade-off in primary education will show. The teachers at our Valley schools are working in unprecedented times. They continue putting in long hours preparing lessons and striving to find new ways to engage our kids with the tools given to them.

Student-parents have one other problem with hybrid schedules, and it’s one that I think any family could face:.  the increased risk of COVID-19 infection.  I am not claiming that sending our children back to school means we are all going to get COVID. Schools are taking severe precautions to prevent infection, but the issue doesn’t necessarily reside with the schools themselves. Going back to a semi-school schedule may include the need for children to begin attending a school or daycare programs. While these facilities can maintain excellent health and safety protocols, when we have several children together from several different places, who then leave to go to their homes, we are still increasing the risk of exposure. Even if we do our best, the very nature of the situation creates danger.

While there is no right or wrong answer to the current crisis, we all know how important it is for our children to be in school. The reality is the pandemic has given us the frustrating need to compromise. FPU also wants all of our student-parents to succeed. Our advisors and faculty are there for students whenever there is a situation. In an ideal world, we would all be able to be on our campuses. The Syrinx hopes to support all students at FPU and student-parents who may be struggling; they should remember that FPU is for them, too.

Author: Janelle Fontaine | Opinions Editor

Inside the Intensity

A look at the Intensive English Language Program at FPU

The Intensive English Language Program (IELP) here at Fresno Pacific may be a lesser known feature of the school for many of its students. Nonetheless, it has a pivotal role and considerable impact, as it prepares potentially degree-seeking students for English fluency. Like most successful programs, the IELP depends heavily on the people who comprise it. I had the opportunity to interview one such person: Kelly Schroeder. Schroeder is the program director and has worked with the IELP at Fresno Pacific for many years.

Schroeder’s passion for her students and their progress was evident from the beginning of our interview, and she was able to clarify the function and nature of the program for me:

Not only does it exist for international students, but also domestic students who need to learn English before enrolling in a degree program at Fresno Pacific. 

Its purpose is to get students to a point of academic language proficiency, so that they can enter into their academic degree program” Schroeder said. In order to prove their proficiency students must pass an exam, such as the IELTS or TOEFL. 

Schroeder explained that while the IELP can use a variety of exams such as the IELTS, “the United States tends to rely on the TOEFL – Test Of English as a Foreign Language. It is an American based exam by ETS; the same folks who do SAT, CLEP and other college level exam placement.” The IELP prepares students to pass these tests so that they can be ready for their respective degree programs, Bachelor’s or Master’s. The students who go through the intensive program are not limited to attending FPU: they can matriculate in their university of choice after completing the program. 

Schroeder also noted that, even after completing the intensive program and entering into their degree, students are still offered linguistic support—sometimes in the form of courses— that “goes beyond a composition course.” Students can also retroactively apply some credit from the IELP program as electives to their degree program. 

Although FPU has many international athletes, the IELP program has not had a single athlete in recent years as a result of its switch from NAIA to NCAA collegiate sports divisions. In the NCAA division, athletes are required to already have a declared major, so only students that do not need the IELP are eligible. Schroeder mentioned that at first “It was a real hit for some of the teams, but the teams have managed to recruit athletes with academic English proficiency, and it has worked out.”

Most students will come into the program with at least basic knowledge of English, but Schroeder informed me that some students will very rarely come in Ab Initio, which is Latin for ‘from the beginning’, for which the English equivalent would be ‘starting from scratch’. These students come in with no English language ability, but are able to make progress quickly regardless due to the program’s fast-paced structure and immersive design.

Schroeder said that “Motivation is the single most important factor in learning a second language, and so if you are motivated enough to travel across the world, you are going to do it; it is going to happen.”

The program is also more directly affected by world events than most other FPU populations. National and international politics, as well as the US’ appearance in the international eye can have an effect on which countries international students come from. Foreign wars, disputes and, of course, COVID-19 have impacted the program’s enrollment significantly. 

There is high student turnover as each student is usually in the program no longer than a year, or year and a half. The IELP staff want their students to go through the program quickly as this is a sign of its efficacy, but Schroeder mentioned that forming relationships with their students is an important part of their program. Subsequently, it is difficult to say goodbye to students so often because they constantly cycle through and move on to their next goal. Despite this, Schroeder asserted how rewarding it still is to know the students and be a part of their foray into academic life, even if just for a short time. 

One thing that makes the IELP unique is its diverse nature as a program: every student represents a different culture and walk of life. I got the opportunity to speak with Bénédiction (Benny) Kitenge. She is an international student who has gone through the IELP program and is now a Degree Completion student at FPU, studying Business Administration with a focus on management. Coming from Congo and speaking both French and Swahili, Kitenge shared some of her early thoughts about what it was like to start the program: “It was a really hard time for me to adapt to this country because I didn’t know the language, and then I got to the program and everyone was speaking English, no one spoke French. So how can I learn if I don’t know how to speak English? That was my question.” Kitenge shared how there were times when she didn’t want to do her challenging homework or watch required films in English. Even her roommates had to use Google Translate. Despite such initial difficulty, however, Kitenge noted that she was eventually able to get past the hurdle of having no English vocabulary and ultimately made real progress. “Thank God I had the best teachers,” Kitenge stated. She spoke especially highly of her grammar teacher, Shannon.

When asked what she would like to do when she gets her degree, Kitenge said: “I really want to be a businesswoman. I’ve loved traveling since I was small; that’s why I’m here!” She claimed that she would love to open and own a small business specializing in women’s beauty products, such as hair and makeup. When asked if and how the IELP program helped her get closer to her goals, Kitenge laughed before giving the all too obvious answer that it certainly did: it successfully taught her her English, after all. Kitenge explained that without the IELP program, “I couldn’t go to my undergraduate program; I’d be stuck over there.”

Kitenge is a great example of how students who have gone through the IELP program are able to open more doors with their English fluency. When asked if she had any advice for students who are in the program currently, she said: “It’s a really good program, but you have to focus. It’s not like you can just go to class and then go to bed and sleep. You have to do research sometimes, go to YouTube, and then try to read a lot of books.” She also advised learners to watch movies and type out the subtitles, saying that some words can look similar to other languages, such as French, but their pronunciation and meaning can be quite different. 

Students like Kitenge that go through the IELP program at FPU go on to a host of different careers. Not only are these students able to pursue their educational and career goals, but they become multilingual; a huge advantage in itself in an increasingly interconnected world. The IELP at Fresno pacific proves that a motivated student with enough support can surmount any language barrier, no matter how tall.

Author: Timothy Myracle | Features Editor

What Does TikTok Mean to You?

FPU Students Weigh in on the Popular Video-Sharing App 

TikTok may be the newest platform to evolve out of the social media frenzy over the last two decades. I’ve personally seen it’s success and popularity increase significantly in our small part of the world. Its form of communication feeds the human need for exhibition and connection to others. When COVID hit, TikTok finally became a household name. The app created a bridge among users, giving people an outlet to express themselves and share feelings in a less intrusive manner while maintaining a semblance of genuine connection. People often feel the need to share the most personal aspects of life with others, and posting or watching content on TikTok helps people  meet others who share their experiences. In this way, TikTok has created communities and networks that might have never existed otherwise. TikTok has also provided an outlet for stress. 

Senior English and history major Gabriella Quijano says that “It makes me feel happy scrolling through and seeing all these dumb/really funny videos. Watching TikTok is definitely a way for me to cope with stress and just procrastinate. For the most part, it’s just stress.”

There are almost 100 million Americans (60% women, 40% men) regularly using TikTok. It has been downloaded more than 2 billion times. Almost 50% of users are under 34 years old, and 26% are 18-24 years old. It has swelled in popularity, and it is likely that even those who don’t have the app either know or have heard about it.  Many people know someone who posts content. Many more have likely heard about the dance challenges, and even participated in some of them. TikTok is more than a passing fad. For many people, it has become a lifestyle; for others, a platform for advertising, politics, awareness or acceptance. Some use TikTok to cry for help, learn delicious recipes or simply enjoy a laugh or two.  

John-Russel Laforteza, a senior history major, focuses on posting content that makes people laugh, stating: “I want to make people laugh, especially in these times of uncertainty and fear.” The type of content he posts makes him feel less lonely and he hopes to spread a message of positivity to his viewers.

From my personal experience,scrolling through my For You Page. The algorithm created by this unique application fills me with the feeling that I am less alone. It gives me much needed adult time. My algorithm is filled with other parents and crazy, funny content  and pranks my husband and I do to, and with, our children. My For You Page is filled with people singing, and I love to watch them. 

What am I when I log in to TikTok? TikTok is a way for me to connect with my teenage daughter. I see the content she posts and it is a glimpse into her world that she may not communicate to me. maybe that is what TikTok is really all about. It is freedom: freedom to be who you want and freedom to share yourself with the world. We tend to think that screens provide us with a safety net, but TikTok has stripped this safety net away because the content—though often edited—is still out there for the world to see and must face whatever comments may come.  After all, the point of posting content is so that someone else can view it.

Choosing to simply view content is choosing to find a community to identify with, or choosing to break up the loneliness or monotony of one’s day. Maybe we just get lost down the proverbial rabbit hole that is the For You Page. Whatever our reasons for using TikTok, it has become an important part of our lives. I think we should all take a step back and ask ourselves a question: what does TikTok mean to you and why?  

Authors: Janelle Fontaine & Kassandra Klein | Opinions Editor & Copy Editor

Five-Year Diversity Plan in Action

The UDC’s comprehensive University Diversity Plan is beginning to be implemented at FPU

On June 8, 2020, in light of the murders of Ahmaud Arberry, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, as well as the subsequent protests, the Fresno Pacific University Diversity Committee (UDC), Staff Caucus Executive Committee and Faculty Senate Executive Committee released a statement through the FPU President’s email, announcing the ongoing creation of a “University Diversity Plan.” According to the statement, the Diversity Plan “is aimed at actively engaging anti-racist actions.” Spearheaded by the UDC, the Diversity Plan is connected to FPU’s broader Strategic Plan

Assistant Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies Dr. Melanie Howard and Senior Admission Counselor Martha Fregoso are the acting co-chairs of the UDC and were interviewed about the details of the University Plan. According to Dr. Howard, “The University Diversity Plan is a document that casts a vision and sets a strategic direction for the diversity, equity and inclusion work of the university for the next five years.” The Diversity Plan was created in response to a perceived lack of comprehensive or systematic plans for supporting diversity, equity and inclusion at Fresno Pacific. Dr. Howard explained that “the University Diversity Plan is attempting to fill that hole by setting goals and creating a unified vision for diversity that can guide future work in this area.”

The Diversity Plan seeks to achieve six long-term goals, in the areas of environment, infrastructure, student success, employee success, instructional integration and partnerships. It describes each goal’s “potential success indicators” and details the “action steps” that will be taken to meet them. Both Dr. Howard and Fregoso described the Diversity Plan as “ambitious” but “not unattainable.” 

The next immediate goal of the Diversity Plan is to turn its plans into actions, according to Dr. Howard. First, the UDC has formed an executive committee made up of ten individuals, called “Goal Shepherds,” who are responsible for one or more of the Diversity Plan’s six goals. The Goal Shepherds will recruit other individuals from the UDC in order to create sub-committees. Fregoso added that the Goal Shepherds will be responsible for monitoring the progress of the sub-committees and reporting or establishing the necessary support to ensure each achieves its success indicator. Dr. Howard explained that the sub-committees will be responsible for implementing the action steps described in the Diversity Plan. 

Students and the larger community might have already begun to see the UDC’s action steps impacting their FPU experience. According to Fregoso, “These recent action steps or activities include, but are not limited to, 1.) the ‘Department Reading Groups’ for Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk about Race, 2.) the recent invitation to participate in the Undocu-Ally trainings for faculty and staff, 3.) the newly formed affinity groups 4.) . . . regular listening sessions with staff, faculty, students, and governing bodies to assess needs and areas for improvement, and 5.) the creation of a bias incident report system.”

Both Dr. Howard and Fregoso acknowledged the need to and expressed anticipation for partnering with individuals across campus to bring the Diversity Plan to fruition. Dr. Howard stated: “The success of this historic and comprehensive plan requires the support of a wide array of individuals across campus. There is a place for everyone in making this plan a success, and we look forward to partnering with students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community partners in helping to take this plan from being a dream to being a reality.” In  similar spirit, Fregoso stated: “We recognize that the work of diversity, equity and inclusion cannot be done alone. Therefore, we look forward to partnering with many individuals across campus to make FPU a more vibrant community.”  

The Diversity Plan is available for viewing or downloading as a PDF document on the Diversity Plan and Initiatives page of FPU’s website.

Author: Kassandra Klein | Copy Editor

Being grateful for the return to in person church

schools and even churches were closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, stores and restaurants have begun to open up again, albeit with restrictions. It feels as if things are starting to return to normal. However, while some stores and restaurants were able to open, churches remained closed. Many were forced to live-stream their services so families could watch from home. 

My own home church closed in March and began to stream their Sunday service on Facebook Live. We remained on Facebook Live until a few weeks ago, when we were able to meet for an outdoor service, and are currently having live indoor services with COVID restrictions in place. 

I’m currently employed to help my church with making bulletins and PowerPoint slides for its services. However, when quarantine began,  I no longer had a job at the church. It was just a few weeks ago that I was asked to come back and begin working again. When I began to make the bulletin, I realized the last time I have worked there was in March. I was making a bulletin for October. 

It had not occurred to me that I had been watching church from the comfort of my bed and pajamas for roughly 7 months until I came in to work. I’ve grown up in church all my life, and to not be able to physically attend church was very strange. It never really hit me that most churches had been closed so long. 

Church, to me, has always been a part of my Sunday morning routine. It’s been a place where I got to see those close to me. Typically, after a Sunday service a group of friends or family from church would always invite me to go out to eat. However, without any warning all of these Sunday norms stopped. COVID did not really disrupt my life, but it significantly disrupted my Sunday mornings. I had never not attended church on Sunday, with the exception of a few times I was out of town. 

It was strange to wake up five minutes before church. All I had to do was turn on my phone and click on the Facebook app and there was the service,  right on my screen. Admittedly,  I was starting to get used to rolling out of bed a few minutes prior to church starting and just having to open an app to watch. However, there was something about watching a service on my phone that seemed to lack meaning. At first it was enjoyable to stay in bed, but as the months went on I began to miss attending church in person. I longed to see my  community . 

When the day finally came that my pastor announced we’d be meeting in person, first with an outdoor service and the following Sunday with an indoor service , I was shocked. It felt like it had been an eternity since my church had met in person. There are many restrictions to meeting in person for our Sunday service, however. Masks need to be worn all the time, the chairs were spaced out 6 feet from each other, and the taking  traditional communion was modified to a prepackaged version. At times, it didn’t feel like I was really attending my church. There were so many restrictions that I almost didn’t want to attend. This wasn’t the church I had known all my life. 

Despite the restrictions and lack of an authentic  church feeling, I realized that being able to physically attend during this chaotic period of time is a blessing. Church may look different right now, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy its somewhat normal return. It is very easy to be upset and frustrated with the way the world looks right now, especially with the way churches have had to modify their services in the face of the pandemic. However, I’ve decided to put those things aside, and am grateful to see my church family on Sunday morning—even if it is done social-distancing style. 

Author: Nikki Campos | Editor-in-Chief

Broadway Coming Our Way

Musicals arriving in the Valley

Broadway may be the pinnacle of musical theatre, but not everyone can make it to the Big Apple. Fortunately, it does do traveling shows. Broadway is planning on returning to Fresno with several major shows, starting in January 2021. 

The first show to grace the stage is the classic musical Cats, recently adapted into a film released in late 2019. Many fans of Broadway, such as myself, will beg viewers to forget that the film exists and instead allow the show to speak for itself. The story is about a group of cats competing to determine which is best. The best then gets to go to Heaviside Layer, a heaven-like place where cats are reborn. It is regarded as one of the greatest shows of all time and will be in town January 5-6. It’s the purrfect way to spend an evening. 

One man’s story will be the main event in March, and his name is Hamilton. This show took the world by storm when it first premiered in January 2015. The story follows the life of Alexander Hamilton and the many people who come across his path. Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of Hamilton, wrote much of the music in the style of rap. Broadway fans adore both this show and the fact that they learn more about the founding father. Due to its popularity, it will be the longest running show of the year, running from March 2-14. 

The third musical is Hairspray. This show follows the plucky and voluptuous Tracy Turnblad on her journey to participate in a local dance show. This show takes place in the 1960s, in the midst of the civil rights movement. Tracy befriends some African American teens through their shared passion for dance and realizes that discrimination is both terrible and close to home. Tracy decides to bring her friends with her to the show and turn the tide with peaceful protests. It features upbeat songs with powerful solos. Hairspray runs April 5-6.  

The final musical set to run is Anastasia. This is a relatively recent musical that first premiered in 2016, and is adapted from the 1997 animated film, regarded as a staple children’s musical. The show is about a long-lost Russian princess captured during the Bolshevik Revolution. Due to her amnesia, Anastasia spends her life wondering about her origins, until she meets two men who believe that she could pass for the lost princess and want to reap the rewards. However, all three are ignorant of the fact that she truly is  the missing princess. This show is great for people who love its grandeur of costumes and strong ballads. Anastasia runs June 22-23.

Broadway has been a constant source of musical entertainment for ages. The shows coming next year will be a mix of classic and new age productions. Each brings an air of splendor and awe. The shows’ content range from serious issues to more lighthearted fun. All of these musicals’ albums are available on audio streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music and many have their own websites. If you’re feeling particularly eager to show your support, some sites currently have merchandise available for purchase. If you’re not sure what to wear to a Broadway performance, merchandise can provide the perfect outfit. With these shows arriving, there is something exciting on the horizon. It’s Broadway or the highway!

Author: Danielle Mercado | A&E Editor


We All Have the Opportunity to Join Together and Vote and Let our Voices be Heard

“Voting is the expression of our commitment to ourselves, one another, this country, and this world,” New York Times best selling author Sharon Salzberg once said.

Many of us at Fresno Pacific University are facing this election year as either new voters or potential ones. If you are at all hesitant about voting, I am here to tell you that your vote matters. This is about why you, dear reader, matter in any election.

Our country’s democratic system is founded on our freedom to vote. We have come a long way in providing the right to vote to all citizens of the United States. It was a battle fought with our cultural and gendered ancestors’ blood, sweat and tears. Only now can we begin to appreciate the power of every vote cast at an election.

But does the vote of a single person really matter? Certainly. In 1800, Thomas Jefferson was elected President of the United States by one vote in the House of Representatives after a tie in the Electoral College. In 1868, President Andrew Jackson was impeached but not convicted because the Senate was one vote shy of the necessary two-thirds required. More recently, in the Presidential Election of 2000, President George W. Bush won the race by a narrow margin of 537 votes in Florida. Considering almost six million people voted in Florida during that election year, every vote evidently mattered. I would hope that history alone would compel you to vote; if not, then I cannot emphasize enough that there is even more to our privilege and right to vote.

As college students, many of us are on the precipice of adult life. Most of us plan on beginning our lives and starting careers as soon as we can afterwards. This means that if we have not already, we will soon start paying our own taxes. We will also start providing our own healthcare coverage and finding our own housing, if we have not done so already. These are difficult decisions, and those of us who have already been making them know the level of responsibility that comes with each choice or necessity. We have new questions to ask, or at least should be asking: What are my state or federal tax dollars being used for and why? Are my health insurance benefits affected by state or federal government spending policy? How is the purchase of a home (taxes), property taxes, or the cost of rent affected by state and/or governmental policy? Of course, there are many more questions to ask once we reach adulthood; I have merely touched on a few post-graduation and career-focused concerns.

Educating yourself about the policies and government officials that will influence (and essentially control) your financial spending will set a solid framework for your socio-economic world. Regardless of which party you affiliate with or which policies, laws, amendments, etc. you agree or disagree with, being thoroughly informed about them will equip you with more knowledge to cast your vote with distinct purpose. This is not to say we cannot involve our own personal feelings during election season. Often, the person running for office may go against a belief or issue or a policy or proposition that in some way emotionally affects you. In fact, as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs for the U.S. Department of the Treasury Monica Crowley once said, “Voting is as much an emotional act as it is an intellectual one.”

Whether this is the first election you have the opportunity to vote in or if you have had it in previous elections, I encourage you to look and see how important your own individual voice and vote matters. Even if you are indifferent about the election, your voice is just as important: you might very well offer an alternative to our current dichotomous political climate. I strongly urge you to fill out your ballot and mail it or drop it in one of the designated locations, such as this one:


I will leave us all with a quote from the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg: “By voting, we add our voice to the chorus that forms opinions and the basis for actions.”

Author: Janelle Fontaine | Opinions Editor


Amazon Prime releases their new show “Utopia” with mixed reviews

Be advised! This article is not related to any actual, related or current events. This is a work of fiction. 

Or is it?

After a long day of Zoom-held classes, don’t we want to curl up on the couch, turn on a show, and distract ourselves from all of the chaos outside? But what if the thing we’re watching mirrors our reality a little too closely? Such is the case with Amazon’s new series Utopia, an American adaptation of the 2013 UK version. Utopia, created by Gillian Flynn,  depicts a conspiracy theory unraveling amidst a viral pandemic. Sound a little familiar? No doubt the number one thing on everyone’s mind right now is how COVID-19 is running rampant across the world, and particularly in our own backyard. The release of this show seems to have had the worst timing ever, he show began filming in 2018, finished in 2019, and premiered in fall 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Described as a “conspiracy thriller,” the series follows several individuals chasing after a fringe comic book that could give answers to ending an extinction-level pandemic. This comic book is sought after by both good guys and bad guys.  We have the pharma-doctor playing the evil nemesis and a love interest between two endearing characters. .The 50 minute episodes are fast-paced and sadly feel rushed, sometimes relying too heavily on violence rather than character development to drive the narrative. In fact,the hyper-violence often overshadows the storyline.It does have a cool Alice in Wonderland-esque twist involving the comic book the characters are seeking, with the White Rabbit being the evil character who will release the extinction-level disease and Alice as a gun-toting super-hero. I won’t get too heavy into the UK version description other than saying this cult classic is less violent and more analytical with character development a key factor and the storyline less trite.

So if you’re feeling the Zoom blues, give Utopia a binge, but be careful and prepared. The disclaimer is there for a reason.  More than the parallels that could be drawn between the show storyline and today’s life, the level of violence is intense. The show does hold up to other Amazon Prime shows like The Boys and is an interesting watch besides. Enjoy at your own risk, and always remember to wear your mask!

Authors: Janelle Fontaine & Shawn McCurry | Opinions Editor & Staff Writer

Bingeworthy: Spooky Edition

Ghouls, goblins and ghosts, oh my! Halloween, the season of fright, is upon us. During this time there are many new shows to watch if you want to enjoy some scares from the comfort of your couch. 

One new show on Netflix that is sure to bring some fright is Ratched. This show is inspired by the book (and film) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest starring Jack Nicholson. It depicts the journey of a man in the mental health system while during his stay at a mental institution. Throughout his journey, he makes friends and develops relationships with the other inmates. They are subjected to daily medications and witness psychotherapy first hand. The woman who is in charge of ensuring these patients take their medications and follow the rules is a nurse named Ratched. 

This show is the story of how nurse Ratched came to be. Portrayed by Sarah Paulson, she is depicted as cold and lifeless in the original film—a woman of small words and cruel action. Patients regularly become enraged with her, but she cares little for their outbursts. This is a good one to binge if mind games are your choice of chills. 

Another Netflix original show is The Haunting of Bly Manor, set to release October 9. This is the follow-up season to The Haunting of Hill House. The first season, released in 2018, was a resounding success and garnered many fans. Bly Manor, however, depicts an entirely new story from that of Hill House. The show’s storytelling is very similar to American Horror Story, in that there are multiple seasons with a recurring cast but a different story each season. 

This new tale focuses on the character of Dani Clayton, who is hired to care for a man’s niece and nephew. These children came into his care under mysterious circumstances. As she begins working at the Bly manor, Clayton becomes increasingly aware of strange figures lurking in its shadows. Clayton is not the only one to notice them, however: the children see these figures, too, and treat them as entirely harmless. But as the story progresses, these friendships quickly turn sour. 

Continuing on with Netflix originals, a movie that has been recently added is the Korean film #Alive. Director Il Cho had Hollywood ambitions when he decided to direct this zombie thriller. The film is a spin on Matt Naylor’s original #Alone script, which he co-adapted with Cho. The movie has received a score of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes as well as a 6.2/10 on IMDB. It topped the charts on Netflix in 35 countries (the U.S. included) when it was globally released on September 8. 

#Alive focuses on the streamer/gamer, Joon Woo, who is streaming from his apartment in Seoul while his family is out. During one of his streams, his friends tell him to check the news: a mystery disease has infected the population, and infected individuals are attacking and gorging on the flesh of others. Joon then barricades himself in his apartment while trying to get help through a social media post. Days go by, with no help in sight, and Joon finds himself trapped with a whole apartment complex full of the infected. Many viewers found Joon’s struggles relatable  in light of the ongoing quarantine. This thrilling zombie film will make movie night all the more scary. 

Finishing off our list of spooktacular shows is the upcoming anthology series, Monsterland, from Hulu. Each of its eight episodes are named after a city in the U.S., and feature a different director. Monsterland is based on Nathan Ballingrud’s book North American Lake Monsters: Stories, and it offers a scary twist on an already thrilling anthology. Mary Lewis is the creator and executive producer for the show, which is a part of “Huluween,” their annual Halloween-themed celebration. 

Monsterland dives into the human psyche. Each episode has its own story and feel. They mix horror with the emotions and thoughts we as humans face (like jealousy and greed for example), all the while still being grounded in reality so as to allow viewers to easily relate to the story and characters. Much like The Twilight Zone, each episode has a “bigger picture” that might be lost if you place too much focus on the horror.. The newly released show is definitely one to look out for if you are hungry for horror!

Authors: Danielle Mercado and Julian Alcaraz | A&E Editor & Staff Writer


Traditional Fair Activities given a make-over this year

There is something special in the air during a particular week in Tulare County. School has already started, and September quietly follows. You begin to see bracelet booths crop up, and that’s when you know. Fair Week is coming.The people of this outspread county come together to share their best creations, cultivations and fruits of their efforts from over the course of the year. Anything, from the most beautiful quilts a guild has been working on to the largest vegetable grown, can be seen. Our county’s many amazing artists can showcase their art, photography, paintings, drawings, woodwork, baking and mechanical wonders in the gallery.  Students who have raised and tended livestock have an opportunity to showcase their animals and sell them to farms or interested buyers. People get to see how they measure up against others and share their work with everyone else. It usually starts on a Wednesday in September. People line up on Tulare Ave or K St,  getting there early in the morning to claim a spot that has been theirs for three generations. There is a time-honored tradition among Tulare County schools to have a holiday for students to not only experience the many aspects of the parade, but also because, somewhere within the many school marching bands, sports team/cheerleading floats, family work affiliated floats and other various floats exhibiting the various activities within Tulare County, our kids may be found. 

         The cacophony of sound once you enter the fair can usually be overwhelming.  Depending on which entrance you use, it will open up to a variety of scents and sounds. If you enter on the Ag/Animal side, you will smell the fresh hay for the animals and the distinct smell of manure. Your ears will be filled with the awe of the spectators, kids and adults alike, loud over the sounds of  animals grunting, mooing, braying and squawking away. You can hear the judges in the showroom. For many of us in this county, the smell and sounds of the ag side evoke  extremely nostalgia for our respective hometowns. For the fairgoer entering from one of the various other entrances, you will most likely hear the music from the speakers or the variety of shows going on all at once. As you enter, your senses are overwhelmed with sights, scents and, of course, even more sounds. For those who have never been interested in the rides, or agriculture or who have even come from beyond the neighboring towns, there is always one thing that becomes a staple, not just of the Tulare County Fair, but of all fairs:: the deliciously deep-fried fair foods. Whether it’s the trusty corndog, or the deliciously delicate funnel cake or that flat and fluffy elephant ear, there is always something special about the food, something about it you can’t easily whip up at home. Fair food is no joke;  it is by far the best and worst food in the world.  But not one of us can turn our heads away from the over-fried deliciousness available. You then approach the infamous midway. I can’t explain the love-hate relationship I have with the midway. When I was a teenager, the fair was where your significant other took you on the best date of your life. The midway is where you spent all your time. They can spend all their money trying to win you that cheap, sawdust-filled, jumbo-sized unidentifiable animal, yet together you still proceed to ride the questionable rides through the night. You spend hours cuddled up with each other in different sweaty, overly crowded lines for various attractions.The fair is a week-long affair for teenagers, them spending multiple evenings after school at the fairgrounds with each other.Then there are the parents and families who come with their younger children. Parents swarming the kids’ ride area and mothers looking, like ostriches, for a place to sit when it’s time to eat. The exhibit halls are full of venders, all asking you to vote for this candidate, or buy this product or specialty item.  

But I stray from my point in reminiscing. This Wednesday slipped by with a whisper. The only noticeable difference was the silence of laptops with no Zoom sessions thrumming on throughout the day. The fair looks drastically different. Many parts of the fairgrounds are virtual ghost towns. Exhibit halls are closed and the midway a long stretch of empty grass. People have still entered their different wares for various awards. Others still create their exhibits to be shown differently. While the FFA/4H portion of the fair is also still being held, it is in a different manner: the number of people allowed within is considerably lower and the show area is controlled with no audiences and all is done virtually. 

         The most unique venue the board has created to accommodate the needs of our COVID era is a drive-thru exhibit. The Fair has partnered with several different organizations to create a semblance of the experience all fairgoers have come to cherish. There will be a Fair food option offering our favorite corn dogs, cotton candy, lemonade and funnel cakes, along with ability to see several entries from county members and other special exhibits and shows along the way. While it may not be the Fair we know and love, we can still enjoy it and show support for what the talented people of Tulare County can create. The Drive-thru option not only showcased Tulare County talent, there is great music from local bands playing live during the evenings, side-show circus acts and some fun animatronics for the kids. Cars lined up for hours to eat and view all there was to offer.

         Many Fresno Pacific students hail from Tulare County towns and know what the Tulare County Fair has been in their lives. For those who aren’t and don’t, maybe your home has something similar, something that awakens the nostalgia for a time honored tradition like our little exhibition. For me, the County Fair has been a generational tradition of parade participation, baked goods, photography, the best in show and first place ribbons and passing on the enjoyment of the midway. This year may be different, but I hope that us Tulare County citizens can still feel the heartbeat of the Fair, the community putting forward its best efforts to be recognized.

Author: Janelle Fontaine and Shawn McCurry | Opinions Editor and Staff Writer

Selena Gomez Launches New Makeup Line

Rare Beauty is true to the name

Selena Gomez—well-known for her role as Alex Russo on Wizards of Waverly Place, outspoken advocacy of health issues, and rising music career—is constantly bringing new creative outlets and works to the table. Gomez’s most recent project was her very own makeup company, called Rare Beauty. 

Rare Beauty was launched on September 3, 2020. It was met by many eager fans and beauty critics alike. The company launched various products, ranging from foundations and blushes to blotting sheets and compacts. The products are intended to leave a natural dewy, rather than matte, finish. 

Rare Beauty also has an inclusive range of shades for their foundation and concealers; there are 48 shades available. This has been praised by fans and critics alike, since there are plenty for people to choose from. On the Rare Beauty site there are videos of Gomez using the products herself to help people with the application process. The products are also reasonably priced, with foundation being $29 and liquid lip being $20. 

People were quick to comment on the sleek, easy-open packaging of Rare Beauty products. It is important here to note that Gomez suffers from lupus disease. She received a kidney transplant in 2017 and continues to receive treatments on a daily basis. Some have inferred that, since Gomez’s condition has a shaking hands side effect, she made the packaging easy to open for anyone. In a video with Vogue, Gomez used her own products in her makeup routine. Viewers could see her hands visibly shake as she attempted to use her eyeliner, further perpetuating the idea that the packaging was made with easy opening in mind. 

Gomez is also an advocate for mental health, and encourages her audience to know about self-worth. Gomez mentioned in her Vogue video that she wants people to know that they don’t need makeup to be beautiful; she wanted to create something that people would feel the most authentic in. Rare Beauty and Gomez have also announced that they will contribute to the Rare Impact Fund, which set a goal of giving 100 million dollars toward mental health causes. Rare Beauty products are also vegan and animal cruelty free. 

Critics have their fair share of opinions. YouTube beauty guru Patrick Starrr reviewed the products, but people were less than pleased with the review. It seemed that Starrr would not allow the products to stand on their own, as he would constantly compare his own beauty products to them. When a product did not satisfy him, he would then state that viewers could buy his instead. This has left a poor taste in plenty of people’s mouths, so much so that Starrr removed the like to dislike ratio on his video and spoke about it on Instagram. 

Another critic was Fenty Beauty, which, on the day of Rare Beauty’s release, tweeted about the benefits of a matte finish foundation when compared to a dewy finish. Rihanna’s beauty company has since deleted the tweet after facing backlash; fans of Gomez felt that it was unprofessional. Both Rare Beauty and Fenty Beauty, it is worth noting, are sold exclusively through Sephora. This could be a reason for Fenty Beauty to tweet about their competing company: They have a new, rare competitor. 

Rare Beauty is new, fresh and socially impactful. I don’t know about you, but I know where my next paycheck is going. I guess you could say that Gomez has killed me with kindness.

Author: Danielle Mercardo | A&E Editor

The Legacy of Casa Pacifica

Hear stories from members of the FPU community 

Last week, I covered a story on the loss of our cabin, Casa Pacifica, to the Creek Fire. In the course of my research I encountered many who had stories to share about their experiences there. I had the honor of interviewing a few from the FPU community: senior Kinesiology major and ALAS Peer Mentor DJ Maxwell, Assistant Dean for Student Development Lynn Reinhold and professor emeritus (as well as one of the former owners of Casa Pacifica) Dalton Reimer. 

What retreats or events have you visited Casa for? 

DJ: “I’ve been to retreats since my freshman year. I’ve gone every winter with the track team, intramurals my sophomore year, and with the track team and Res Life my junior year.”

Lynn: “Over the last 14 years, I have taken numerous groups to Casa: student leadership groups, commuter students, peer mentors and cheer team retreats.”

What was significant about Casa to you? 

DJ: “What was significant about Casa to me is that, before going to the retreats, I never ever wanted to go, but when I was leaving after the retreats, I was more than glad that I went.

Lynn: “Casa was a special place, where students could come together without all of the distractions of the world and build deep relationships and friendships that have lasted beyond their time as a student at FPU. Casa provided the perfect environment for team bonding.  Every August the cabin was booked solid by FPU leadership groups and athletic teams who will never forget their time at Casa.”

Dalton: “Places of retreat from the ordinary routines of life are special. To escape the Valley for the cool mountain air, congregations of trees pointing to the heavens above, and the sky populated with an amazing canopy of stars, on a dark night not seen in the Valley below – all lift one’s spirit as one is renewed for continuing life back in the Valley. Universities deserve such a place for their students and staff. There we learn the rhythm of engagement and retreat that makes for a life more fully lived.  Jesus provides a good model, escaping from the press of the villages he served to the mountain, sometimes alone, and sometimes with his small group of disciples. So it is that one is renewed for continuing study, service and life, preserved as a hedge against burnout.”

What’s one special memory or story that you have about Casa?

DJ: “One special memory I have about Casa is seeing snow for the first time, both on the ground and falling from the sky.” 

Lynn: “I have so many favorite memories of Casa. Listening to students share their life stories and how they found their way to FPU. Late night dance parties, preparing and sharing meals together. I could go on and on.” 

Dalton: “Memories shared, even now, of what students and others experienced at Casa Pacifica are special. And memories of beginnings sometimes stand out at endings. What started it all was a vision of several of us on the faculty during the 1970s—a vision of a retreat center that would be Fresno Pacific’s very own and serve the institution in the years ahead. This beginning was unique, in that it began as an exercise in recycling. We won a sealed bid purchasing a mountain cabin that had to be removed. That was the seed that began a rebuilding process on the present site with the salvaged lumber as its core. What emerged was a combination of old and new.” 

Not a single one of these words makes up for the loss of the cabin or the new jeopardy of memories—much less for any of the other tragedies that people are facing as of late. But while the building once known as Casa Pacifica no longer stands, the memories and friendships forged around its walls remain. It is critical, perhaps now more than ever, to grip memories and friendships close, and refuse to let the weight of loss or anguish pull them asunder.   

Author: Kassandra Klein | Copy Editor

Photo by: Lynn Reinhold


Disney + streaming 

While the world continues to face this global pandemic, it has left many of us with an overwhelming amount of fear, anxiety and boredom. Despite this hard time we are facing, a lot of us are self-quarantining which means a lot of free time on our hands. Let’s look on the bright side though: binge watching! With so many streaming services at people’s fingertips it can be hard to decide what to watch. On Disney+ alone there are so many wonderful options. From the classic original films to the modern sci-fi saga, there is truly something for everyone. Below we have listed our top 5 Disney+ categories with a few of our favorite movies from each to help pass the time everyone now has. 

As we try our best to cope with such issues, these movies are one way to occupy your time as well as, allow us a moment to focus on our mental health

Our first category we have chosen is: classic films. For those of you who enjoy a good happy ending or crave the nostalgia of early childhood memories, this is the category for you. A few princess movies we have put into this category are Moana, Frozen, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Princess Diaries and Cinderella. However, the original movies would be 101 Dalmatians, Lilo and Stitch, High School Musical, Cheetah Girls and The Lion King. This is a category that has the ability to send you back to your early childhood years and give you that warm and fuzzy sensation you had years ago.

Moving on from this, we have settled on old Disney Channel shows as our second picked category. In between all of the more modern shows they have added to Disney+, nothing beats the early 2000s TV shows. Some oldie but still goodie shows include Wizards of Waverly Place, That’s So Raven, Boy Meets World, Hannah Montana, Lizzie McGuire and who could forget Suite Life of Zach and Cody/ on Deck. Between the chaos of school, work, and friends we often forget about these classic TV shows that became a part of our childhood. Now with our “break,” it is an excellent time to revisit these classic shows.

Next in line we have the creative and more imaginative side to Disney that we all know and love, Pixar. Throughout our lives Pixar has created 22 heart-warming movies that have continued to stay with us for many years. These animators have created some of our favorite movies with an animation quality that has seemed to grow more life-like throughout the years. Whether you are in a mood for action, nostalgia or a movie more heart-felt, Pixar has the movies for you. With movies like Cars, The Incredibles, Up, Coco, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc. and Toy Story your time is sure to be occupied. 

On August 31st, 2009 Disney changed the movie industry forever and bought Marvel Entertainment. With this sale they captured the rights to anything part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, pleasing many Marvel fans around the world. While Disney pleased fans 9 years ago with this sale, fans are even more pleased now as those who have Disney+ have access to many shows and movies created by Marvel Entertainment. Having said this, it was only fair that we dedicated an entire category to these cinematic masterpieces. After much consideration we narrowed our top 5 Marvel movies down to the following: Thor Ragnarok, Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, Captain America Civil War, Avengers Infinity War and Ant Man. With Disney announcing the opening of their Marvel-inspired land, Avengers Campus, on July 18th, now is the perfect time to rewatch or newly watch these epic movies!

Star Wars is another world of film that Disney branched into in 2012. Diehard fans of the franchise were skeptical at first. People wanted to ensure the content of the Star Wars films would remain true to their story and roots. Star Wars has its own category on Disney+ and consists of not only the original films but series and specials as well. I personally have been watching the original Star Wars films for the first time in my life and have been blown away by the story. From the beautiful cinematography to John Williams’ stellar compositions the films are a thing of beauty. When discussing it as a team we agreed that Star Wars Episode 3 was a collective favorite. Aside from the films, Disney+ added its own hit series, The Mandalorian. The show was a resounding success with baby Yoda, or the child, being brought into the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set to release its second season in October of this year. 

Although it is hard being stuck inside, it is a good way for us to protect ourselves and those around us. Now is a great time to escape into another world or reminisce about some past favorites. As we try our best to cope with such issues, these movies are one way to occupy your time as well as, allow us a moment to focus on our mental health. Disney is known for its ability to bring magic to all ages, so (pixie) dust yourself off and enjoy some stories. 

Editor’s Note

The Syrinx will be making adjustments in publication

In response to the recent changes on our campus due to COVID-19, The Syrinx will be making adjustments in publication. 

The Syrinx will be temporarily suspending the use of print publication and moving to an entirely online platform. We will be producing new and exciting content that will be released multiple times per week. 

We hope that in doing so, we can continue to represent our student body while accommodating members of our community who will not be on campus in the coming weeks.

All stories and content will be posted to our website thesyrinx.com and updates will be posted on our social media platforms regularly.
For any questions or concerns, please contact editor@thesyrinx.com or fpusyrinx@gmail.com

FPU’s theater production of “Falling” inspires to love unconditionally

Show depicts the dedication of a family despite complicated realities of having a child with autism

The theater program is about to debut their first fall production: “Falling”, an emotional story about autism and unconditional love. It will be sure to tug on the heartstrings of audience members as it depicts the complicated relationship between a mother and her autistic child.


Tyler Miller, theater faculty,  opens up about the impact students are making in this program, through this production. “My students here have been working extremely hard in ways they are not traditionally asked to do. It’s a lot more creative, and I have them thinking in a new and different way. I want them to be in the moment and theater is all about being in the present,” Miller said.

The hard work at this play can be attributed to both the dedication of the students and the stage director Shannon Brewington, who has given the students a space to both perform and grow as individuals.

Regarding the upcoming play, she states how she appreciated the way the author portrayed a family dealing with a son suffering from severe to low functioning autism, giving a reason to care for people who are difficult to love.

According to Brewington, “a lot of people can sympathize, but it’s really hard to empathize with families who deal with this struggle, so hopefully we can bring that perspective.” The whole family struggles together, and this play reveals the universal truths of challenged parents in such circumstances.

This is the first time that an FPU play has featured a disabled character. As this is their first play concerning autism, Shannon has hopes of building a bridge into the community to bring forth families who have similar struggles.

The theater program has reached out to the Central California Autism Center by giving them flyers, in the hopes of bringing in an audience who can relate to the unwavering compassion it takes for a parent to love unconditionally.

Kathryn Fleener plays the role of Tami, the mother, and she states that the biggest obstacle in playing this role has been trying to understand what it means to be a mother who is forced to let go of the hopes and dreams she has for her child. This specific character challenges Kathryn as an actor because she hasn’t experienced what it means to have a child of her own, and then how to deal with such a child diagnosed with autism.

Kathryn describes her understanding of this role, saying: “I’ve tried to use my own experiences with some of my extended family members on the spectrum as inspiration for understanding what it means to deal with something like autism every minute, of every day, for the rest of your life.”

This play will leave you walking away with a heart full of compassion, and a different perspective about what goes on in the daily lives of families with a child who suffers from autism.

Shannon Brewington, Tyler Miller and Kathryn Fleener highly encourage students to audition for the next spring play! Tyler Miller would like for students to know that “the upcoming spring show is going to be Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’, and we want everyone to come audition for that. Even if you are not in the theater program or a theater major, we encourage you to come audition”. College is an amazing time to break out of your shell and try something new.

Words for the Weary: Emotion

Engaging your emotions makes college a better experience

In order for us to thrive in the college experience, we have to nurture a key facet of our human experience: emotion. What we feel is an important part of who we are. We are students, but this does not mean that we forfeit or misplace our capacity for emotions when we come to the university.

Emotions help us register our life experience on a visceral level; this is crucial to being human. And yet, sometimes we do not engage our emotions well enough because we are moving quickly through a phase of life that demands the whole of our minds and hearts. But that is exactly why we need to make time for comprehending our world of emotions. College engenders a life of emotional challenge because we are constantly navigating relationships, ideas, academic demands and assessments.

If we attend to the feelings that come up on a regular basis, we will nurture a realistic sense of self: the self that is being changed by our time at university. You are not just a brain. You cannot separate yourself from emotions; they play a role in defining who you are. Knowing what and why we feel will help us to navigate the college experience with a sober understanding of what we are noticing, valuing, and interpreting.

“if we attend to the feelings that come up on a regular basis, we will nurture a realistic sense of self, the self that is being changed by our time at the university.”

It cannot be assumed that all emotions are helpful or desirable, but they certainly are relevant. We may not want to feel depressed, or angry, or jealous or fearful, but since these emotions are a natural part of being a person, they warrant our attention. Yes, even as we try to get all of our homework done.

Being burdened with grief, or depression or jealousy can mean needing support, and keeping these feelings at bay can mean compromising the life we intend to enhance at the university. Feelings like these that we struggle to embrace can be less ominous when we try to articulate them. Describing an emotion, such as sadness, can lead to discerning that what you feel can be resolved by understanding it better, or that there is a need for support from others.

College doesn’t just bring up difficult feelings; we also experience happiness and inspiration, both of which deserve our attention as well. Many times we can be so focused on moving things along that we fail to celebrate. One example is what happens when a professor gives us feedback which brings us joy or courage. If we are not careful, we will look at the good grade or the meaningful feedback and come away just feeling relieved we didn’t fail.

Instead, we should celebrate our accomplishments, and squeeze every bit of joy out of achievements both big and small. In this case, an emotion like happiness can lead to courage, a new sense of confidence in how future assignments will be handled. If we fail to process the joy that comes with being affirmed, we may miss the chance to build a momentum of encouraging emotion that leads to future successes.

Here’s the invitation: keep a journal to keep track of your emotional well-being on a regular basis. Be spontaneous, be scheduled, and in any case be attentive. When you write, be as specific as you can; specificity is the heart of narrative and naming your emotion means detailing the story of your life.  Knowing what you feel can lead to knowing how you want your relationship with someone to change. It can mean deciding that what you feel is too difficult to manage on your own. Whatever they reveal, emotions deserve the same attention we give to our thoughts while we move forward as college students.

***Note: In the print version of the article, there was an erroneous juxtaposition of the text columns that made this article difficult to read. The article has been corrected here.

Campus nurse, on-site counseling among health services offered at FPU

Students have options for physical and mental health treatment.

The new nurse, Cheryl Nichols, and various on-site counselors are part of the physical and mental health services provided to students. Dale Scully, Vice President of Student Life, emphasized the availability of these services and stressed that students who want or need to see these staff members should feel free to do so.

“We want all of our students to feel comfortable when they’re feeling sick or have any issues, mentally or physically. We want them to feel like [Nichols] is their first stop, rather then going to the doctors so students don’t have to miss any class.”

Scully also pointed out the negative stigma of that addressing mental health comes with, and hopes that the counseling services provided can be a part of normalizing the seeking of help. “If you are feeling depressed, or struggling with stress or anxiety, you should not feel ashamed or embarrassed to go see a counselor, because they are more than happy to help. It is completely normal for students to feel this kind of pressure.”

We want all of our students to feel comfortable when they’re feeling sick or have any issues, mentally or physically.

Nichols is excited to help students in any way she can. “I want everyone to feel comfortable being able to come to me if you feel sick, need help or just want someone to talk to. I will do my best to help you,” she said. She is also very grateful for the welcoming and friendly nature of the FPU community.

Nichols brings a lot of experience with her, and has a background of working with people. According to Lynn Reinhold, Director of Student Programs, “Nurse Cheryl Nichols provides years of medical experience to Fresno Pacific. She has a background of working in public schools and has seen a wide variety of illnesses. She has a passion to help students.”

According to Student Service’s On-Site Counseling Program website, counseling is confidential and meant for students who need help with “relationship problems, adjustment issues, grief and sadness, worry and anxiety, and unhealthy coping patterns”. Counseling is available to traditional undergraduate, degree completion and graduate students. Angela Turner, Director of On-Site Counseling, was unavailable for comment.

Fresno Pacific has had 3 nurses in the past 5 years due to the competitive nature of the field. “There hasn’t been a full-time nurse in this position for a while, so we’re trying to refocus this office to better suit the students’ needs,” said Nichols.

Nichols is in her office, located by The Forest near the entrance to the Strasbourg quad, from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM Monday through Friday, and on-site counselors are located in the Seminary Hall and are available by appointments. Sessions cost $5 co-pay per counseling session for traditional undergraduate, and $10 co-pay per session for degree completion, graduate and seminary students.

FPU choir, musicians team up for ‘Americana,’ vocal choral concert performances

Fresno Pacific University director of bands George Dougherty, left, and vocal faculty instructor Alyson Moore were featured in separate back-to-back concert performances on Feb. 23 and 24 in Fresno. Photos: GeorgeDougherty.com, AlysonMoore.com
By Enzo Peraggine
Syrinx Staff Writer

Several groups of musicians from Fresno Pacific University offered up a playlist of American music in a concert Thursday, Feb. 23, in the Warkentine Culture & Arts Center on the southeast Fresno campus.

The university’s jazz, symphonic, alumni and choir bands and the Madera Community Band collaborated to present “Americana,” featuring music from across the continent. The performance included special guest George Dougherty, associate professor of music at Fresno Pacific.

Dougherty, a trumpet player, was appointed as the university’s director of bands and coordinator of instrumental music in 2021. Prior to joining Fresno Pacific, Dougherty was an adjunct instructor/affiliate artist teacher at Simpson College in Iowa, and has more than 30 years of experience in higher education in North Carolina and Iowa.

“It is my privilege to introduce the next generation to the sonic splendor, subtleties, challenges, and joy that is music making on and through the trumpet,” Dougherty said on his website, “combined with initiating the scholar’s exploration and appreciation for this great instrument.”

Although he has recorded two music CDs with the brass quintet Artisans in Brass and performed internationally, “my greatest accomplishments are measured through the success of my students, many of whom have gone on to become educators in their own right,” Dougherty said on his website. “Several now hold teaching positions in schools throughout the Midwest, and some have successfully applied for entrance into programs at Iowa State University, Bob Jones University, the University of Minnesota, Westminster Choir College, Viterbo University, Central Michigan University, and the University of Northern Iowa.”

A day later, on Friday, Feb. 24, the FPU choir teamed up with Fresno’s University High School choir, the San Joaquin Chorale and the Fresno Choral Artists to perform at the Midwinter Choral Concert at University Presbyterian Church.

Fresno Pacific’s music program director Jeffrey Wilson conducted the groups for a performance of John Rutter’s Requiem and selections from the individual choirs.

FPU voice faculty member Alyson Moore, who is also the director of choirs at University High, performed as a soprano soloist for the concert. Moore, the artistic director for the Fresno Choral Artists, has performed internationally, including with the Ho Chi Minh Symphony Orchestra in Vietnam and in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and she led choirs that performed at the International Kodály Symposium in Hungary.

Some Sunbirds fall teams celebrate success, others look to future promise


By Enzo Peraggine
Syrinx Staff Writer

Athletics are a big part of the Fresno Pacific University community, and Sunbirds fans want their teams to have good seasons and perform to the best of their ability.

The fall semester brought mixed resuIts for the athletes representing FPU´s colors and values. At this early stage in the spring semester, here’s a look back at what happened during the fall.

Men’s soccer

The Sunbirds men´s soccer team ended its season with a 3-11-3 overall record under veteran coach Jaime Ramirez. While the season fell short of what the team and coach were expecting, the team provided an exciting late comeback in a 3-2 win at home against the Academy of Arts.

It’s fair to mention a lot of positive aspects of the up-and-coming freshman that showed undeniable talent and potential during this season.

Women’s soccer

The Sunbirds women’s soccer team rolled up a positive season with an overall record of 8-7-2, and 5-5 in Pacific West Conference play. The season included several matches in which the Sunbirds prevailed by multiple goals.

Joel Robinson, the Sunbirds women’s coach, left the program after one season to pursue other opportunities, according to the university. Amanda Valentine is serving as interim coach during a nationwide search to replace Robinson.

Men’s water polo

Coach Bryan Suhovy’s’ Fresno Pacific’s men´s water polo team, populated with nine freshmen players, experienced a disappointing 3-23 record (0-8 in Western Water Polo Association play). The evolution from high school to the college level takes time, but FPU did score a highlight win with a 13-11 double-overtime victory over rival Biola University in the WWPA championship tournament.

Women’s volleyball

The FPU women’s volleyball team, guided by first-year head coach Mike MacNeill, gave Sunbirds fans a season to remember with a 16-9 overall record, including an 8-2 record at home in Fresno. The team finished second in PacWest conference play with a 15-5 record.


Sunbirds swimmers and divers began training in August and competed throughout the fall, and are competing in the Pacific Collegiate Swim and Dive Conference championships starting Feb. 8 at East Los Angeles College.

Both the men’s and women’s teams under head coach Brian Sharar scored victories over The Master’s University in their Senior Day meet at Sunnyside High School.

Madden, Horton share ‘Love of the Piano’ in Pacific Artist Series show

Fresno Pacific University pianists Karen Madden, left, and Matthew Horton.
Fresno Pacific University pianists Karen Madden, left, and Matthew Horton.
By Enzo Peraggine
Syrinx Staff Writer

Karen Madden and Matthew Horton, a pair of prominent local pianists, will perform in the next installment of the Pacific Artist Series at Fresno Pacific University.

Madden’s and Horton’s concert performance, entitled “For the Love of the Piano,” will be at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, in the university’s Warkentine Culture and Arts Center on the university’s main campus in southeast Fresno.

Madden, Fresno Pacific’s director of keyboard studies and an alumnus of the university, has performed with the Fresno Grand Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Central California Children’s Choir and ensembles at Fresno City College and Fresno Pacific and other local or regional groups. She has also performed across Europe and the U.S. and was founding chairperson of the Music Teachers Association of California’s Central California Baroque Festival.

Madden, who earned her bachelor’s degree in piano performance at Fresno Pacific with a minor in audio production, and her master’s in piano performance from Fresno State.

Horton is a frequent accompanist for many of Fresno Pacific’s music programs including the concert choir, Crosswind choral and instrumental group, Opera at Pacific, and theater performances. He is a native of Tulare and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano performance at Fresno State.

In addition to performing in concerts across the U.S. and Europe, Horton has taught at Fresno State, Fresno City College and Porterville College.

Madden and Horton will be performing compositions by Bach, Brahms, Schubert, Debussy, Rachmaninoff and Arensky, and will be joined by guest vocalists Sherah Moore Burdick, Kaylene Clark, Aaron Burdick and Joseph Camaquin-Vigil.

Saturday’s concert is the third of four performances of 2022-23, the 20th season of the Pacific Artist Series. Tickets are $5 for members of the Fresno Pacific community and alumni cardholders, and $15 for general audience and are available at www.fresno.edu/arts/music/pacific-artist-series.

Coming in March

The final performance of the 2022-23 Pacific Artist Series will be “Emergence,” a benefit concert featuring four-time Grammy award-winning cellist Eugene Friesen at 7 p.m. March 18 at the Warkentine Culture and Arts Center.

Joining Friesen will be renowned gospel singer Thersa Thomason and pianist Joel Martin, who in 1985 became the youngest person – and the first African American – to compete in the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Tickets for the “Emergence” concert are priced at $35 for general audiences or $20 for students or faculty at any institution. Tickets are available at www.fresno.edu/emergence.

The Syrinx seeks student writers, editors for Spring 2023 and beyond

By Tim Sheehan
Syrinx Advisor

The Syrinx, “the student voice of the Sunbirds” at Fresno Pacific University, is actively recruiting for student writers and editors for the Spring 2023 semester and beyond.

Print publication of the university’s student newspaper was interrupted in the spring of 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic. Efforts are under way now to rebuild a fully operational staff and resume print publication sometime in 2023.

In the meantime, with a limited staff, The Syrinx continues to post new stories online at www.thesyrinx.com and to its social media accounts on Instagram and Facebook.

Resumption of print publication, however, will require a significantly larger staff. We have numerous editing positions open that come with scholarship opportunities, and for non-scholarship staff writer/reporter positions there is practical experience and byline credit for stories that are published. Fresno Pacific also has two journalism practicum sections, COM 155 and COM 325, which award academic credit for active participation on The Syrinx team.

As full operation and print publication resume, students on The Syrinx may also have opportunities to attend collegiate journalism conferences and competitions.

In addition to staff writers/reporters, positions to be filled include editor-in-chief, production manager/chief copy editor. copy editors, graphic artist/visual journalist (still photos and/or videography), features editor, arts & entertainment editor, social media editor, and opinions editor.

Previous student journalism experience, such as writing or editing for a high school or college newspaper, is helpful but not required. What’s more important is curiosity about what’s happening at Fresno Pacific and its community; a sense of fearlessness in taking on difficult or challenging topics; attention to accuracy and fairness in reporting and writing; an appreciation for the deadlines necessary to produce an online and print publication; and a strong desire and commitment to help inform your fellow students, as well as FPU faculty and staff, with meaningful and timely stories about issues, features and events on and related to the Fresno Pacific community.

The Syrinx staff meets each Monday during the semester (except for school holidays) at 10 a.m. in the basement of Strasbourg Hall, STRAS 019, and editors meet each Friday at 10 a.m. in the same location.

Students who are interested in more information can attend a staff meeting or contact Syrinx advisor / adjunct instructor Tim Sheehan at timothy.sheehan@fresno.edu.

First-year coach leads Sunbirds volleyball rebound

FPU women’s volleyball coach Mike MacNeill is a study in intensity as he talks with his players. Photo by João Perez / The Syrinx

Mike MacNeill was hired as Fresno Pacific’s women’s volleyball team just weeks before the first game of the season. Here’s how that worked out.

By Enzo Peraggine
Syrinx Staff Writer

In just his first season as head coach of the Fresno Pacific University women’s basketball team, Mike MacNeill orchestrated a turnaround for the Sunbirds following a disappointing 2021 season.

Under MacNeill, the Sunbirds women played their way to an overall record of 16-9, doubling the number of wins compared to last season, and a 15-5 record in the PacWest Conference – good enough to place second in the season-ending conference standings.

It was a remarkable season that surprised many, and represented a marked improvement from the 2021 season when FPU finished with a record of 8-22 under former coach Shasta Millhollin.

MacNeill brought to the team a change in mentality which led to a unified team that provided Sunbirds fans with outstanding performances on the court, compiling a home record of 8-2.

Three Sunbirds seniors were recognized with all-conference honors for their efforts in the PacWest Conference: Corinne Acosta as a first-team selection, and Chloe Melis and Makena Ogis as second-team honorees.

As a player, MacNeill knew how to achieve success. As a libero and outside hitter at California Baptist University in Riverside, he played in four NAIA national championship matches for the Lancers. The team won national titles in 2010 and 2011, and MacNeill led the country in aces per game in 2011.

MacNeill has continued to experience success as a coach, building a resume of winning records. He coached for three years at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, finishing his time there with a record of 52-25. MacNeill went on to coach for two seasons at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas, racking up a record of 43-21.

MacNeill said his experience as a player has informed his coaching. “It is helpful to have seen from a player perspective what an athlete is looking for in a coach and in a program,” he said.

Fresno Pacific hired MacNeill as its new head coach on Aug. 8, 2022, with the first exhibition game of the season less than four weeks later, on Aug. 31. With so little time, MacNeill quickly got to work with the team to prepare for the season.

“The team battled from the first practice to the end of the season,” MacNeill said. “Special groups like these don’t come around often. They believed the plan and believed in themselves, and that was a difference maker.”

The Fresno Pacific Sunbirds women’s volleyball team rolled up a 16-9 record for the 2022 season under first-year head coach Mike MacNeill, back row at left. Photo by Matlyn Peden, Fresno Pacific University.

Gathering in gratitude

Clip art illustration / douglasschneider.com
By Maddy Ward
Syrinx Guest Writer
For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic struck in 2020, Fresno Pacific University hosted its traditional Thanksgiving luncheon for the campus community. About 400 students, staff and faculty attended the Nov. 22 event celebrating the start of the holiday season at the university’s Special Events Center. “The tradition of the Thanksgiving Luncheon has continued for many decades here at Fresno Pacific,” the university’s Student Life department declared in a statement. “We gather as a campus community to welcome all our international students to the American tradition of sharing in the Thanksgiving meal and fellowship.” The luncheon featured an international Parade of Flags to honor and recognize students attending Fresno Pacific from around the world. The event, sponsored through a donation from the FPU board of trustees to cover the cost of the food, also included a performance by Christian illusionist Brady Lee. “The lunch provides a time for the community to engage with one another and to reflect on the diversity of culture we all represent here in this community,” according to the Student Life statement. “In addition, it is a time to celebrate and express gratitude for one another.”
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