Student Athlete Spotlight: Sophomore soccer player Emmanuel Hewitt discusses activism both in and out of athletics.

When George Floyd was murdered in May 2020, many young Black people came out to their local cities to march for Black Lives Matter. Emmanuel Hewitt, a sophomore at Eastern, was one of those people. The Mechanicsburg, PA native, found it important to bring awareness to the struggles of young Black Americans. Hewitt is a great example of an active member of the Eastern community: a student athlete who is passionate about social justice and loves the Lord.

Since last summer, Hewitt, a communication studies major, has become extremely involved with Black Lives Matter, the Black Student League, and has begun to educate his peers about the importance of including and listening to Black voices. Hewitt explained that he protested because “it was not just for [Hewitt], but for other people who go through discrimination” to elevate their voices. Not only is Hewitt marching for Black Lives Matter, but he is bringing the topic into the classroom. In his classes, Hewitt has done a number of papers and projects highlighting Black History Month, his identity, and the racism that professional athletes
face.

Similar to his in class projects, Hewitt discussed how Eastern’s soccer team has tried to make an effort to educate the team on racial injustices. Hewitt discussed a Zoom meeting that the team had over the summer that created a dialogue within the team. Had it not been for COVID, the team had hopes of bringing activism into
more events and activities.

On the field, Hewitt is a midfielder and a wing. Despite being in his second year at Eastern, Hewitt has had limited time on the field due to COVID restrictions. Hewitt, along with his teammates, have not seen a regular season game since the fall 2019 season. They played four scrimmages this spring, but the Eagles are excited to have a full season in the future. “It’ll be a lot of responsibility,” said Hewitt. Juggling academics, activism, and a leadership role within the team, Hewitt has a lot on his plate going into his junior year this fall. However, the team is looking to continue building their strength and hopes to come out on top in the 2021 fall season.

Despite the challenges and hurdles Hewitt has faced during his time at Eastern, he enters each day with a smile. He values his faith and trusts God more than anything else. He is a dynamic presence in the classroom and on the field, and his journey in life is just beginning.

 

The Art of Skincare: How beauty creates confidence and happiness.

It’s a common saying that if you look good, you feel good about yourself. While this has typically been understood as dressing up, doing your hair, and putting on makeup, I have found this to be true by simply sticking to a skincare routine. With a simple skincare routine, one can improve their appearance as well as their overall confidence!

The first step in a good skincare routine is cleansing. One’s cleanser should not be too intense; remember to shy away from cleansers that are meant to exfoliate or scrub (that is step number two). I gravitate towards fragrance and dye-free cleansers that are more lightweight. If you’re looking for an easier way to cleanse that is quicker and less work, cleansing milk or water on a cotton pad will do just fine.

My favorite step, the second, is exfoliating. Most people use a physical exfoliator, like a scrub, a few times a week. Additionally, I use a liquid exfoliant to help my sensitive skin. I use a 10% AHA/BHA salicylic acid a few times a week to brighten and exfoliate. Exfoliating can get the dirt and bacteria out of your pores, which prevents breakouts. It makes such a huge difference in your skin once you incorporate it into your routine, and it is one of the things that I attribute to boosting my
confidence.

The third step, which some skip, is toner. Toner is meant to balance the pH levels in the skin, which is super important for preventing any kind of flare-ups on your skin. Witch hazel toner is my favorite, but there are plenty of other kinds of toners like rose water or lavender water.

The penultimate step in a good skincare routine is moisturizer. Having dry skin, this step is incredibly important for me. I prefer a water-based moisturizer because it is easier for my skin to absorb. Like cleansers, I prefer my moisturizers to be fragrance-free, since this step goes underneath your SPF, which can get a little stinky.

Finally, it is time to put on some sunscreen. Even in the winter months, it is important to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays. Many foundations and BB creams have SPF in them, which could be a good replacement. But for those of us who forgo makeup, a nice light layer of SPF can help prevent sun damage, which will keep your skin looking younger when you start to age.

Remember that skincare is preventative care. While you might be glowing right now, you are protecting yourself from skin problems in the future. If you’re looking for skincare product recommendations, I would check Allure’s Best of Beauty. This is a list of the most highly recommended products from beauty professionals and consumers. If all else fails, get some products from highly recommended drug store brands like Cerave. Skincare is important, but it does not have to be expensive.

People of Eastern: A conversation with Health Center Director Damona Wilson.

Over the past academic year, Eastern has tackled the coronavirus pandemic with force. Behind the scenes of all the decision making, testing days, and quarantine management is one woman with a heart of gold. Her name is Damona Wilson. The director of the student health center and nurse of over two decades sat down and spoke to the Waltonian about her past experiences in nursing, the response to COVID, and the future of student health in the coming months.

Wilson joined the Eastern community in the summer of 2019 after being a traveling nurse for twenty two years. When asked about her outlook of her job, Wilson said that her job “is to ensure that the health center provides quality care to all students. Keep striving to maintain a healthy campus, with emphasis on prevention and promotion of wellness. While adhering to ethical, professional and legal standards.”

Only a few months into her time at Eastern, Wilson remembers hearing about the first cases of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China. Before the virus reached the United States, Wilson had a meeting with university leadership about the possibility of some kind of lockdown. Since that meeting, Wilson has led the COVID task force through overseeing student health.

The COVID task force, led by Wilson and vice provost Jackie Irving, created a plan to mitigate the spread of COVID throughout campus. While the plans put in place were not popular among the student population (with strict masking policies, limited visitation, and restricted eating spaces), the task force has been working around the clock to keep students, faculty, and family members safe both on and off campus.

This academic year has been one of the toughest years for the university to date and Wilson would like to commend the Eastern community for adhering to the COVID guidelines and being so passionate about the safety of the community. “The positive actions by the EU students has helped the university achieve our goal” said Wilson.

Over the past few months, Wilson has been aware of the rumors surrounding on-site vaccinations for Eastern students, and while that is something that the entire COVID task force hopes for, it is only in the discussion phase at this time. On the bright side, all Eastern residential students are eligible to receive the vaccine through the county.

While the beginning of the semester had the largest number of COVID cases on campus to date, the most recent testing cycle in April had 100% of the tested population came back negative. The end is in sight, for both the school year and the pandemic; and we wouldn’t be here without the support of Damona Wilson.

Two Young Victims of Police Brutality Start Another Conversation: The nation grieves 20-year-old Daunte Wright and 16-year old Ma’Khia Bryant.

The Brooklyn Center, Minnesota Police Department is under scrutiny after the recent shooting and death of twenty-year-old Daunte Wright. Wright, a Black man, was

killed on April 11th after he was pulled over for having a tail light out. The shooter, 48-year-old police officer Kim Potter, was placed on administrative leave and later resigned on April 13th. A day later, Potter was charged with second degree manslaughter.

Less than two weeks later, on April 20th, the nation grieved for another family. Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old Black girl, contacted the Columbus, Ohio police for help in a civil dispute. After exiting her foster home with a knife in hand, she was shot four times by officer Nicholas Reardon of the Columbus police department.

While there are complexities and nuances to both of these situations, social media has become outraged at the deaths of more young Black people, especially during the trial of Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty of murdering George Floyd on April 20th. A number of GoFundMe campaigns and bail funds have been established to aid in the legal and funeral funds for the Wright and Bryant families. A number of people have bought diapers and toys for Wright’s one-year-old son,
Daunte Jr.. Supporters have showed up, both online and in real life, for the friends and families of the victims.

Black deaths at the hands of police is not just a coincidence. According to a 2015 study done by NYU’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Black Americans are 2.8 times more likely to die due to lethal enforcement at the hands of police. Additionally, Black Americans were found to be unarmed more than any other ethnic
group that was studied.

With the large discussion that is being had around police brutality, systemic racism, and hate crimes, there is a glimmer of hope shining through: studies have found
that more people are becoming aware and advocates for social change in the midst of these discussions. The Pew Research Center found that 23% of surveyed individuals have changed their stances on these issues, with many citing the Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate movements as catalysts. America is changing at
the hands of racial justice. What happens next?

Sources: CNN, Pew Research Center, John Jay College

 

Squats with the Squad: A reflection on how workout activities with friends eases gymtimidation.

Getting motivated to work out is difficult. For twenty-two years, I rarely worked out. On occasion, I would go for a walk around my neighborhood, but I never knew how to properly
work out. I finally got the courage to go to the gym this semester, and I still found myself anxious and uncomfortable in the large and intimidating facilities. I realized that working out alone at the gym is not for me, and that group workouts work better for me. Group workouts come in many shapes and sizes, and I have found that they tend to be more supportive and less anxiety-inducing.

One of my favorite ways to work out in groups is (believe it or not) through FaceTime. With the risk of catching or spreading the coronavirus still in play, my best friend and I began doing YouTube workouts together over FaceTime. Doing workouts
over FaceTime with family and friends, one can stay in the safety of their own home (or in the case of Eastern’s students, dorm room) while still gaining the emotional support of a group setting. Each person in the group can choose their own personalized workout, or the group can do the same workout. Either way, it harbors a sense of COVID-safe community while still building strength and getting fitness into one’s daily
routine.

The second (and more conventional) way to do an easy group workout is to go on a hike. The communities surrounding Eastern are not only safe but aesthetically pleasing as well. Taking a walk around the neighborhood is not only a great physical workout but a great way to reduce anxiety as well.
Walking through the neighborhood while taking in the fresh air and talking about life is one of my favorite ways to spend a weekend. If you’re someone who is on campus without a car, it is a short twenty-minute walk to downtown Wayne, where one can grab some yummy treats or a healthy snack like a fresh fruit smoothie bowl at the Playa Bowls on Lancaster Ave.

No matter what way you choose to exercise, remember that you need to be comfortable and feel safe in the spaces where you are working out. Going on a fitness journey can be hard and tedious to achieve your goals, but you’ll get there eventually.

Sedona Fever: How one student-athlete took over social media and changed the NCAA women’s basketball tournament.

When pictures leaked of the NCAA women’s basketball training room, many fans were furious. A few hours later, Oregon Ducks basketball player Sedona Prince posted videos
on the social media platform TikTok that detailed the true extent of the inequalities between the men’s and women’s facilities, goodie bags, and food. Suddenly, the twenty-year-old forward became the face of the fight against inequality in college athletics.

Prince, a sophomore from Texas, not only gained traction for her sports activism. With her 6’7 frame and bright smile, she started to gain a following from women within the LGBT community. Dubbed “SedonaTok”, fans who dreamed of a romantic relationship with Prince posted millions of videos
admiring her. Prince, who has 4 different TikTok accounts, has amassed over 1.7 million followers on her main account, as well as hundreds of thousands of followers on her side accounts.

On top of the romanticization of Prince, she championed the discussion of women’s sports in general. Many fans were shocked to see that the accommodations given to Prince and her teammates were wildly different from the accommodations given to the men’s teams, even though their tournaments were relatively the same. Even after the Ducks lost to Louisville in the Sweet Sixteen round, Prince asked her supporters and fans to continue watching the tournament and to support the other teams.

Prince has started many conversations surrounding gender biases both on and off the court. She has discussed the pressures of being thrust into the spotlight in a span of days, and how her mental health has been affected. She has even discussed the differences between being single and in a relationship in the public eye, and how she began to get hateful comments only after it was revealed that she was in
a relationship.

With her talents on the court, her online following, and her good looks, Sedona Prince is not going anywhere. With three more years of NCAA eligibility, Prince is sure to become a women’s basketball superstar before she ever even joins the
draft. As her career continues on, fans are excited to see what she will do both on and off the court in the coming years.

The Diary of a Disabled Girl: The struggle of having a semi-invisible disability.

A few months ago, I was sitting in the break room at my job at a skincare clinic, discuss- ing skincare routines with my coworkers. We were debating methods of cleansing the face: do you use a wipe, a liquid cleanser, or a tool? I was on team cleansing tool. I told my coworker that I used a spin brush to buff in my cleanser, and her response confused me: “that’s gross,” she said with a cringe, “those things carry bacteria like crazy”. I sighed and explained to her, “I have a disability, I can’t cleanse my face without it”. She continued to tell me how my method of cleaning my skin was irresponsible and that I needed to throw the brush away. This was one of many examples of ableism in my life. Ableism, the discrimination or dismissal of people with disabilities, is one of the biggest hurdles our society has to face.

These little rebuttals of my way of life have been happening for twenty-two years. Baristas scowl when I ask for a 16-ounce hot drink in a 20-ounce cup. Waiters are confused when I ask for my grilled chicken to be cut into bite-sized pieces in the kitchen. How can an adult not know how to cut her chicken? It’s simple: at the age of three months old, I had a traumatic brain injury. My parents rushed me to the hospital, and at the end of their visit, they looked at the evaluation sheet. The box
marked “cerebral palsy” was checked off. In a matter of minutes, my parents had a disabled child.

The muscles on the right side of my body have not grown since that day in 1999. Every few years, I would head to the Nemours DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del. and Dr. Kirk Dabney would open me up, inject me with muscle relaxers, stretch me out, and send me to therapy.

I’m aware of the financial and emotional burden I was on my parents, family, and friends. Too many times I’ve asked my friends to take a rest while on a walk or asked my parents for
extra physical therapy. “It’s okay,” they say, “you can’t help it”. I see a society that wants to pretend I don’t exist. I’m not seen as being a desirable partner because I’m not athletic, I have bad genes, and my arm and leg look funny. I’ve never seen a
girl who looks like me be portrayed as a love interest on television or in movies.

I’m tired of staying silent and pretending like ableism doesn’t affect me on a daily basis. Ableism exists anywhere and everywhere. From the lack of elevators in buildings, lack of disability awareness and education, the ableist language in our daily vernacular, the ableism in the American healthcare system, and the way our society looks down on disabled people, I’m tired. I shouldn’t have to explain my actions that stray from the societal norm. Disabled people shouldn’t be pitied; we should be celebrated.

The Eastern Election: Xeyah Martin’s hopes for his term as the Student Government Association President.

Xeyah Martin has big plans for Eastern University. The junior business administration major is the incoming SGA Executive Board President for the 2021-2022 school year, having previously served as the vice president and treasurer in the past. While his term as president will not begin until next semester, Martin has created a detailed plan on how the university as a whole can become an improved place for students to grow.

The first step in Martin’s plan begins here, in this article. Martin approached the Waltonian a few weeks ago as a step towards transparency
between university leadership and the Eastern community. Since a majority of the readers of the Waltonian are not only students, but also faculty members, staff, alumni, parents, and donors, Martin wanted everyone to know what his plan is for the future of Eastern.

Martin’s main goal is for Eastern to “become more student-focused”. The first way he thought of doing this was through creating a more cost-effective experience for students and those who pay for students’ tuition. Over the past few years, Eastern has raised tuition prices for students while the quality of student life has stayed stagnant. Martin’s suggested tuition cuts include removing the mysterious “green energy fee” that many seem unaware or unsure of the purpose of, and introducing a tuition freeze that will keep students’ tuition the same for their entire time at Eastern.

Another big change that Martin would like to do is he would like to increase both the size and impact of Eastern’s student government. With the introduction of representatives of commuter students, online students, international students, and Palmer Seminary, Martin hopes to diversify the perspectives that SGA has, thus increasing the awareness of needs from the nontraditional student population. Martin also would like to create student town hall events to create a conversation of the changes and administrative changes with the student body. Believe it or not, Eastern’s current board meetings are not town hall style; they are closed-door meetings that are accessible by invitation only.

Martin has a number of other initiatives that he hopes to begin in the upcoming year. He hopes to introduce a campus clean-up program for the ponds and other natural resources on campus. He also has the idea to introduce a charity pageant for Eastern students as a way to bring in money and boost morale. Of course, these events would need to happen post-pandemic, but Martin is staying optimistic about the outcome of both the pandemic and his proposal.

As Martin begins to prepare for his term as executive president of Student Government, he wants the Eastern community to know that he has the students at the forefront of his purpose. “I always want to be a listening ear for the students, because for far long students have gone unheard and unrecognized,” says Martin. Overall, he hopes to create a better Eastern for the next generation of Eagles.

Play Ball: Eastern’s baseball team prepares for their return to the mound.

As many teams wind down their seasons, Eastern’s baseball team is just getting started. Led by Coach Scott Renauro, an Eastern baseball alum, the team is trying their best to stay positive as they navigate their first season in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. With a roster full of new faces and new protocol set in place, the Eagles are hoping for a good season in 2021.

Last season, the team played a mere 10 games before the University sent students home and the NCAA canceled all athletics for the year. “It was devastating,” said Renauro. “Within a matter of two hours, we were completely shut down… the sadness of being told we were not playing this year was a shame for the whole team, but especially the seniors.” Dominique Johnson, one of many seniors who lost out on their senior season due to COVID, said that he knew it was “the right thing to do” but given the fact that it was his last year with the team, he “wasn’t prepared to just let go like that.”

While the team was getting ready for the season, both coaches and players were getting used to the new COVID protocol. COVID testing three times a week is not the only hurdle the team faces; they have to spread out in the dugout, mask up while in close contact, and keep track of their symptoms. While Renauro says that these protocols are keeping the team safe, it has hindered the camaraderie that is typically seen in the dugout.

Along with the stresses of COVID, the team saw nineteen first-years join the team. With a large number of rookies on the team, some might not be optimistic. Renauro, however, sees a tight-knit group that bonded in the most unusual of circumstances. “They’re going through it together,” said Renauro, “it’s building their bond even closer.” This sentiment was echoed by the first-year players as well; pitcher Sean Cottrell said the closeness of the team was a highlight of his experience so far.

As far as gameplay goes, the team has an overall optimistic approach. Junior Matt McHale said that he is “very hopeful” about the season.“We have a team with some decent talent and a ton of potential,” said the outfielder, “I don’t think everyone realizes it yet.” With a strong pitching rotation that includes ace Mickey Foytik, senior Tyler Bennett, sophomore Henry Hutchinson, John Beck, as well as Cottrell, the Eagles are hoping to have a strong season of play.

With the support of family, friends, coaches, and teammates, the Eagles are trying their best to have a fun season filled with strong offensive and defensive play. To check when their next game is, check goeasterneagles.com.

Student Athlete Spotlight: Graduate student Meghan Johnson reflects on the challenges of her time as an athlete, academics, and her role as a team captain.

Marguerite “Meghan” Johnson can be described as many things: she’s a leader, an aunt, an activist, and a warrior, just to name a few. The 23-year-old clinical counseling student and softball athlete is one of the many people who realized their potential in the age of COVID.

Before the coronavirus pandemic hit the world in 2020, Johnson had an incredibly tough journey athletically. During her junior year, Johnson was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation, a condition where the brain is too big for the skull. She was taken off the field and into the operating room, and she cheered on her teammates from the sidelines in the 2019 season.

When COVID rolled around during her senior year, Johnson realized that not only did she have an extra year of playtime, but she had a second due to her brain surgery. It was at this time, in the midst of applying for graduate programs and full-time athletic training jobs, that Johnson decided to apply to Eastern’s clinical counseling graduate program.

Being a part of this program, Johnson could not only get back to playing the sport she loves, but she could also get the mental health education that she had wanted to pursue. “I switched up all my plans,” Johnson said with a chuckle, “honestly, this aligns more with what I foresee my career path doing anyway… I was trying to make all these other graduate schools work for what I wanted, and I don’t have to make this one work, it just works.” Johnson, who has been an athlete since she was in elementary school, says that she was always fascinated by injury psychology and the mental health aspect of athletics.

While her education in athletic training did cover mental health, she wants to be educated and aware of when athletes are having mental health problems. “I still want to be an athletic trainer, but I just thought that becoming a counselor would give me the skills to have connections to refer athletes that are having mental health issues.” Johnson, an auxiliary writer for the Waltonian, has previously written about mental health and suicide within the athletics community, specifically with college athletes.

On the field, Johnson has taken her athletic and counseling training into her role as a team captain. “My favorite part about being a captain is being someone that other people feel like they can rely on,” she giggled. One could relate Johnson’s captaincy style as one of a loving older sister: “I’ve positioned myself in a way that the underclassmen can come to me and talk to me about anything.” Johnson is the type of leader that would drop anything to help her teammates, including listening to her teammates on the phone in the middle of the night. She says that these connections and openness have created a healthy and loving team that has become like a family.

Few people have the passion and drive to help others as Meghan Johnson does. The pitcher and outfielder for the Eagles is a great example of someone who overcame adversity with a smile on her face, and she keeps herself happy through the happiness of others (Romans 12:15).