The Red Door: Salt Lake City’s sleekest bar

Story and photos by MORGAN PARENT

Glasses clink together and again as they’re set on glass table tops throughout the room. The music is at the perfect volume for listening without having to shout to hold a conversation. You feel relaxed here.

This is the Red Door that faithful patrons have come to know and love.

IMG_6927Opened in October 2002, “the Red Door became the second non-smoking club in Salt Lake at a time when bars were private clubs which allowed smoking,” said Louise Hannig, the owner. “My vision was a comfortable warehouse vibe with a unique martini menu and liquor selection.”

Hannig’s vision continues to live on after 17 years. The Salt Lake City bar, located at 57 W. 200 South, specializes in craft martinis, cocktails, and ambiance. The red painted brick with subtle artwork, exposed lighting, and odd monkey in the corner give the spot an eccentric feeling, unlike any other in the city.

IMG_6926Getting the joint going was no small task. In the beginning, Hannig spent hours at the bar for eight months straight, working out the quirks and making sure it could run smoothly. Although preparing to open was occasionally challenging, the hard work and personality that went into the creation is evident.

The lighting was custom-made, the tables were handmade by a local artist, and Hannig and her friends painted the brick walls.

Down to the bartender name tags, the Red Door is a full experience. Though some say the styling of the name tags was a bold choice, “it actually happened as a happy accident,” Hannig said. “We had just opened the bar, but I hadn’t planned any name tags yet. A friend who was helping me said she had her actual missionary name tag with her, so she wore it the night we opened. We took the idea from there and I used a favorite line from my favorite show as a kid, “MASH,” and tweaked the wording.”

The name tags read “Sister” or “Brother” then the name of the bartender, followed by “Church of the Emotionally Tired and Morally Bankrupt.” This play on the influence of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues in the design of the A-Frame sidewalk board in front of the bar.

IMG_6919Martyn Duniho, a University of Utah graduate student, is a Red Door regular. He’s been patronizing the establishment for a few years and considers the Vesper Martini his go-to mix. “This is by far my favorite place to get a drink,” Duniho said. “The staff are excellent at what they do, and the crowd is rarely too rowdy. Weekend nights can get a little crazy, but weekday nights are just perfect.”IMG_6920

Lynnae Larsen-Jones, manager of the establishment, said those who know Red Door believe in its great drinks and mature atmosphere. Alternately, those who aren’t familiar with the bar tend to think it may be too fancy for them, there is a dress code, or it’s only for old people.

About this reputation, Duniho said he “fully agrees. The atmosphere can’t be beat, but before visiting the first time I assumed it would be a snooty kind of place.” Now he can’t imagine going anywhere else.

The people who frequent the Red Door are certainly a spread of personalities. Larsen-Jones said the people have been the most interesting part of working at the bar over the last 16 years. “Especially the couples who come in for a few drinks then start fighting with each other and want the bartender to weigh in on the argument, tell them which one is right, or play therapist. But that kind of situation isn’t super common,” she said.

“Most of the guests coming in are generally pretty alright — just weird in their own ways,” said Larsen-Jones. No matter the attitude of the customer, Larsen-Jones’ philosophy of bartending is to “be nice no matter what and don’t ruin your own night. Also, don’t worry about tips. You don’t know what’s going on for other people.”

As diverse as the individuals drinking here are, the types of cocktails are equally varied. Hannig has seen bar trends change time and again over her nearly 30 years of bartending.

IMG_6930Vodka martinis and drinks such as the Cosmopolitan and sour apple martini were very popular when the Red Door opened. Bourbon and other classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned were in vogue next, around five to seven years ago.

Gin has been the preferred drink base recently, although it was rarely ordered in a martini or craft cocktail 15 years ago. Tequila and mezcal, liquors which are typically shot, seem to be next up in the ever-evolving cocktail mix craze.

Witness to these changing trends, Larsen-Jones has adapted to each new style. No single drink tops her list of favorite drinks to make. Rather, making something up on the spot provides her the opportunity to have fun and use her knowledge of how flavors mix to create something in line with the customer’s desires.

“I don’t know how she does it, but every drink Lynnae makes is amazing,” Duniho said. “I can ask her to include a couple specific ingredients then she does her thing and hands me something delicious.”

At the end of the day, owning the bar throughout the years has been worth the effort to Hannig: “Pouring what you love to do in every drink makes a bar successful.”


Quincy Wansel



My Enterprise story idea actually came as a surprise. I was not aware of the situation, and neither was anyone else — including my sources. I first went up to Miller Cafe in Lassonde Studios to interview former Chef Mark Jacson about how the menus are chosen there and he revealed the issue to me. Because I am a Black woman and advocate for Black issues, this topic sounded like a no-brainer to me. I also spoke with Chef Francine Kahindo.

Next, I thought to talk to the staff in the Dining Services. I ended up only briefly talking to Jamie Denker, the director of marketing and guest experience. I tried to talk to Mark Morrison, the director of Resident Dining, but he declined an interview and referred me back to Denker. I attempted to reach out to Andrew Fuchs, director of Union Food Operations, but he never got back to me.

From there, I decided to talk to the Black organizations on campus. I went to the Black Cultural Center and spoke with Meligha Garfield and Jatara Smith who then referred me to Cha McNeil, a social justice advocate at the Office of Equity and Diversity. They also advised that I seek out an advocate to help me with talking to the Dining Services on campus, preferably Tawanda Owens. I was able to meet with Owens, who worked with me on my story. 


I encountered so many issues. First, people failed to get back to me while I was on deadline. Second, Denker did not give me any useful information for my article. Last, the information that I acquired from Jacson that birthed my story was not entirely true. With the help of my sources and an extension from my professor, I was able to obtain the true information and change the outline of my story for the better. 

My focus was handed to me when Jacson told me about the issue. I knew right then and there that I had to write a story about why Soul food was not being served anymore at Miller Cafe. Bits and pieces of my story were missing until I talked to Cha McNeil who flipped the script. She gave me all the information I needed to write a story, which ended up being more about what Soul food is and cultural awareness for the chefs instead of a potential aggressor renouncing Black History Month and Soul food and getting away with it. 

The writing process of this story was difficult, seeing as though I ran into multiple obstacles during the stage of gathering information. I learned that it can sometimes feel like the world is trying to stop you from writing whatever story you are on. Things will come up, people will cancel on you, mislead you, and ignore your calls for help. Regardless of what happens, though, I learned that you must power through — or the show must go on, as people say. You have to find a way to complete your story, even if that means going off the original path to make it flow and make sense. 

There is no more information that did not make it in my story — that I know about. I wish I would have been able to contact Chef Jacson again after all of the information was presented to me. I would have liked to see what he thought of the whole thing, and to have him involved in the 2020 Black History Month celebration at the U. I wish I would have been able to meet and talk with the students who filed the original complaint on the chicken and waffles fiasco. I think it would have been very interesting to see the faces of the students and hear what they felt when they saw the food. 

It did and did not surprise me that Black students were the ones who complained about the food. With the timing of the blatant racism on campus, I was thinking that a racist student had complained instead. But, I was relieved to hear that it was Black students who posed the question of cultural awareness. There was no ill intent behind the truth of the story, and that was more satisfying to me than my original idea being completely true. 

I am proud of my story, even though it did not turn out how I expected it to at all. But, I am very excited to see the impact that my story makes for the U, and hopefully shine a light on other issues hiding in the dark.


I am a full-time student currently at the University of Utah, and in spring 2020 will continue my academic career at Rutgers University-Camden until graduation. I am a poet, mentor, and future journalist. I aspire to use my platform to spread awareness for various issues regarding race, gender, and class, inspire people of all ages, and mentor the younger generations. Some of my hobbies include working with young poets, writing various forms of poetry, movie plots, and lyrics, cooking and creating new recipes, reading magazines and books, and analyzing films. 

Misrepresentation of Soul food at the University of Utah

Story and photos by QUINCY WANSEL

The University of Utah celebrated Black History Month in 2018 in a variety of ways. For example, the Office of Equity and Diversity hosted the Blackout, an event at the Peterson Heritage Center featuring hundreds of Black faces and a celebration of Black excellence. 

Others though, renounced Black History Month by hanging a White supremacist banner over the side of the George S. Eccles Legacy Bridge and posting hateful White supremacist posters around the campus. This is not the first time that racist posters have been found around the U, but campus police and students were quick to tear them down. 


Lassonde Studios is one of the residence halls on the University of Utah campus.

Meanwhile, Miller Cafe, located inside the Lassonde Studios residence hall at the U, celebrated the month by serving an interpretation of Soul food: chicken and waffles. 

Chicken and waffles is not entirely Soul food, but more a product of different regional cuisines. 

Chicken and waffles is a product of Pennsylvania-Dutch cuisine and Soul food, according to renowned chef Tori Avey. Fried chicken was already popular in the US, but waffles were brought over by the Pilgrims during their time in Holland. The Pennsylvania-Dutch were the first documented people to experiment with chicken and waffles.

The question then becomes — what is Soul food?

According to a popular source in the culinary community, Soul food is a staple in the African American community, and has been for decades. Soul food can typically include fried or smothered chicken, fried catfish, collard greens, candied yams, okra, cornbread, and so on.

This proves that Soul food and chicken and waffles are not the same. 

The stereotype is wrong — not all Black people like fried chicken. But, fried chicken is an integral part of what Soul food is.


A neon sign advertises Miller Cafe inside Lassonde Studios.

Miller Cafe received an anonymous complaint about the dish. According to Mark Jacson, former chef at Miller Cafe, the people who complained said they were “offended” by the food. 

In 2018, Jacson said he was upset, and that if Mexican food and Italian food can be served, then why not historically Black food? Jacson felt that because of low Black enrollment and racist media at the U, this was another attempt from someone not in agreement with Black History Month. 

About a year elapsed without further discussion until a reporter investigated the situation. Cha McNeil, a social justice advocate at the U, said Black students living in Lassonde were the ones who filed the complaint. McNeil said the students believed Miller Cafe was “promoting a stereotype.”

By serving chicken and waffles as Soul food for Black History Month, the meal choice highlighted the stereotype that all Black people like fried chicken. After the complaint, housing at the U told Miller Cafe that “they had to take it down,” McNeil said. After the complaint, Soul food was not served at the cafe again. 

The sign above the food did not say “Soul food,” it said “chicken and waffles.” The cafe meant to advertise Soul food, but did it inaccurately. 

The students who complained then brought another issue to light — cultural awareness for chefs at the U.

By getting rid of Soul food, with the assumption that chicken and waffles is a part of that, Miller Cafe missed the opportunity to correct the misunderstanding and celebrate Black History Month.

Meligha Garfield, the director of the Black Cultural Center at the U, said diversity is a “cross-cultural collaboration including various entities to accomplish a goal.” But how can there be diversity if the goal was never accomplished? 

Jatara Smith, the Black Cultural Center’s coordinator, said the U is “outshined in the diversity sector. The university should compete and model after other institutions.”

Many colleges in this nation serve Soul food on campus regularly. For example, Howard University in Washington, D.C., has Soul Food Thursdays at its cafe, serving fried chicken, collard greens, cornbread, and more. University of Hawaii-Hilo has Soul Food for Thought Cafe, where Hawai’ian and Black cultural food share the plate.

However, in 2015, Wright State University in Ohio served Soul food for Black History Month through its dining service vendor, Chartwells — the same vendor at the University of Utah. The menu depicted photographs of historical Black figures, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sojourner Truth, in the background of the menu. Black students at Wright were offended because “the vendor and school had juxtaposed Black History Month with foods associated with offensive racial stereotypes,” said Alan Yuhas with The Guardian.

Fried chicken may be a staple in Soul food, but ever since the 1915 film “The Birth of a Nation,” fried chicken has been tied to the Black stereotype — along with watermelon. In an NPR interview, race and folklore professor Claire Schmidt, at the University of Missouri, said, “It’s a food you eat with your hands, and therefore it’s dirty. Table manners are a way of determining who is worthy of respect or not.” With “The Birth of a Nation” being arguably the most racist film ever made, this stereotype took off without hesitation. “[It’s] the way people eat it,” she said. 

There is no dedicated restaurant on campus that regularly offers Soul food options, but Tawanda Owens, the executive director of Diverse Student Advocacy at the U, has plans for that. Owens suggested bringing Black culturally-aware chefs to the U for Black History Month in 2020. She hopes there will be an appropriate celebration of Black excellence at the U in collaboration with the Black Cultural Center.

The recovery of Soul food at the U is underway, along with cultural awareness and the diminishment of a stereotype that has made Black History Month a challenge in the kitchen.


Bears Ears under threat of destruction after drastic reduction in size

Story and gallery by TANNER FAUST

After President Trump cut the size of Bears Ears National Monument by nearly 1 million acres, activists feared that was the beginning of the end for protected land in Utah. The monument’s size has been reduced from 1.35 million acres to 200,000 acres.

“This reduction in size poses a great threat to the native population and artifacts in the area. These are sacred lands and should not be tampered with,” said Ashley Soltysiak, the director of the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club, in a phone interview.

The monument contains many ancient artifacts that the Native American population holds sacred. Moon House is one such artifact. It is a cliff dwelling that has been with the native population for nearly 1,000 years. The reduction to the monument put Moon House and other ancient artifacts at risk.

When President Obama expanded the land of Bears Ears in 2016, he did so with the ancient artifacts in mind. An official press release from the White House stated, “The area’s cultural importance to Native American tribes continues to this day. As they have for generations, these tribes and their members come here for ceremonies and to visit sacred sites.” 

Soltysiak said, “It feels as though this was an attempt by the Trump administration to undo as much of the former president’s work as possible.” The reduction favors economic interests over the interests of ancient artifacts and sites. 

The Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club also runs campaigns aimed at protecting these ancient artifacts. One, “keep public lands in public hands,” is directed toward stopping the increasing cuts to Utah’s public lands. The campaign runs on the basis of keeping our American history safe. 

The new bill, created by President Trump, signed also by Utah Congressman John Curtis, and Utah representatives Rob Bishop, Chris Stewart and Mia Love, would reduce the size of the monument by 85%. It would create a new monument at the same time out of the remaining land. 

The new monument, named Shash Jáa National Monument, would be created out of the remaining land in Bears Ears. The bill would open the land to three new opportunities. 

Mining, geothermic leasing, and the sale of Bears Ears would be allowed by the Utah legislature. The economic expansion of this land would allow for more industrial activities to be carried out in the national monument.

Mining sites across the world have all seen similar beginnings. Sites like Tanami mine, located in Tanami, Australia, were created on land that was once protected by the government. The Tanami mine has since led to numerous environmental problems, such as cave-ins that threaten the lives of the native population working at the mine.

Another similar event happened in the Four Corners National Park. The land was taken away from the National Park to create more power plants to supply the area with power. 

Like the Bears Ears National Monument, the Four Corners National Park was opened up to industrial activity. The Natural Resources Defense Council says this was in an attempt to solve the energy demands of the area. As the Four Corners area grew, its demands for energy became overwhelming.

This affected the native population of Navajo people. The largest effect was on local residents like Daniel Tso, a Navajo activist. Tso said, “The plants were giving off dangerous chemicals all the time. While we lived around it we were all breathing in those chemicals every day,” he said in a phone interview.

Native people all over the world have experienced a similar phenomenon. Government land grabs not only threaten the environment but the people living in the area as well. The Yanacocha mine in Lima, Peru, has an abundance of native protestors outside of its perimeter. They struggle to find the footing to overpower these industrial titans and take claim to their ancient land.

In many places around the world, industrial activities are the epicenter for conflict. Another example is the Tarkwa mine in Ghana, Africa. In 2018 the mine saw a hostile takeover as the native population violently fought to take the land back.

The controversy in Bears Ears has environmental groups worried. Like many places around the world, Bears Ears is under threat of losing important land and artifacts. The area means so much to native populations who have a rich history and priceless relics.





LGBTQ+U: The community at the University of Utah

Story and photos by ANDREW LURAS

Salt Lake City is known as being one of the most Mormon cities in America. And to counter the common knowledge of that, it’s also known as one of the “gayest” cities, which many people find hard to believe.

With it being known as this type of city, many different students from out of state are probably wondering how the University of Utah may reflect those values.

The conversation of the LGBTQ+ has always been around, but it’s become such a widespread debate through politicians, news, and just everyday conversation. This community is constantly fighting for its well-deserved rights in this country, as well as the freedom to walk around safely without the lingering fear of running into the many hateful people who reside within America. 

LGBTQ+ students are seeking out which colleges and universities to attend based on many differing factors such as how accepting toward them will their future campus be. With the U, at new student orientation, the staff will kindly ask you to state your name, without it even having to be your birth name, and your pronouns, such as he/him, she/her, they/them, etc.

The LGBT Resource Center is located on the fourth floor in room 409 inside the U’s A. Ray Olpin Union building. The center was founded in 2002 by Stayner Landward and Kay Harward, both retired and moved on. This was during a time when the Mormon church was “anti-gay” with many of its teachings and practices showing some distaste toward gay marriage, according to Whit Hollis, the director of the Student Union. It started out as just an LGBT student organization with weekly meetings garnering a range of 80 to 250 students. 

Hollis attended a few of these meetings. “There was a clear need for services for that group of students, faculty, and staff of course due to the sheer size of the student organization,” Hollis said. When creating the resource center, Landward and Harward found support from the student body and administration at the U but it wasn’t always like that. 

Proposition 8, also known as Prop 8, came about during 2008. It was a ballot proposition against same-sex marriage. During this time the LGBTQ+ found themselves being targeted for hate-speech and microaggressions. “They would tell us, ‘Why do you need more rights, you already have equal rights,’ which was bullshit,” Hollis said. 

“Things have definitely been better recently. There’s still these microaggressions going around but the U has improved since the resource center first started,” Hollis said. He commented on the many different locations the resource center has occupied as it’s grown. “There was a point where I had to convert a storage closet to be the center’s main room which was ironic for the gay director to put all the gays in the closet,” Hollis said as he laughed at the idea. 

“Right now it seems to be quite successful, but we all can strive to do better, no matter where we are,” Hollis said. “The U isn’t as safe as it needs to be and that we must always strive to make the U a safe campus for all students, faculty, and staff who attend or work here.”

As of February 2019, the resource center’s director is Clare Lemke, the former assistant director of the Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success at Iowa State University. “I was looking for my next step and Utah wasn’t on my radar,” she said. “I’ve been looking for different opportunities in the West and this job came up.” Lemke had been moving in order to try to find something closer to her partner’s career. When this job opportunity appeared, she became surprised by the vibrancy of diversity in the U’s campus with the many queer and transgender people she has been able to meet on campus. 

Originally, she thought she was studying to become a professor but over time she found that working in a resource center felt more “collaborative” than being a traditional educator. Currently at the resource center there are three full time staff members and two student staff members. “All of our staff here bring a wealth of different backgrounds and personalities. It’s refreshing to see for the students who visit the center,” Lemke said. 

When it comes to the changes the U has gone through in terms of LGBTQ+ acceptance, Lemke feels as if the U “isn’t just a place you go to and leave at 5 p.m. anymore.”

Lemke finds that the U is very different from her previous institution. “I don’t think I’ve been anywhere with so much of its influence being made by the different cultures within the U.” She added, “We’re constantly striving to make the U a safe space for queer and trans students, we just want to make sure we don’t let these negative experiences an LGBTQ+ student might have affect the rest of their life here.”

One student in particular, who asked to be identified as “G,” said she had some pretty odd experiences at the U as an LGBTQ+ member. “I’m a business major and a lot of the students in those buildings in particular are pretty discriminatory towards my sexuality.”

G also said her Mormon peers have invited her to church. “They would be overly friendly at first,” she said, but she felt like they were only inviting her to change her sexual orientation.

G doesn’t know how accepting the rest of campus is, but that experience left her with much anxiety. She found it harder to reach out to many of her peers or professors about this issue but she found solace in the many other friends outside of school who were LGBTQ+ accepting. G used to go to Westminster College and she felt the transition from there to the U was “an odd experience.” G said there is room for improvement at the U and we should be looking for ways to help students have an overall great campus life.

“I’ve been to the resource center a few times,” G said. “Clare [Lemke] and the staff at the center are very helpful, though I had trouble finding it at first. If you are a part of the LGBTQ+ you should definitely check out the resource center, they’re a really great group of people, especially if you had an experience on campus like mine.”  Even with G’s experience at the U, she has decided to stay and not let it affect her pursuit of a business degree. This is just one in the many cases of what it’s like to be a student at the U who is a part of the LGBTQ+. 

As much as Salt Lake City has this good image on being an open and welcoming city to the LGBTQ+, students, faculty, and staff at the U are always working on improving upon the areas they may be lacking in. Whit Hollis believes we need to focus more on the safety of our LGBTQ+ members. And Lemke knows we must prioritize these students because the negative experiences they might have on campus may affect their education here. As Hollis, Lemke, and G have agreed on, the U should always be striving to do better in order to figure out the best way to serve its students so they can have an educational, safe, and happy experience here on campus. 


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The startup of Simply Açaí at the University of Utah

Story and gallery by GRIFFIN BONJEAN

University of Utah student Seth Neelman, 23, has opened his first location for his company Simply Açaí in the Lassonde Studios building on campus. 

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he spent two years on a religious mission in Brasilia, Brazil, to help the community. 

While in Brazil, he met the friends who introduced him to açaí berries. “It was like the most amazing thing ever,” Neelman said, “and from then on out I was eating açaí like two to three times a week.” 


Freshly made Simply Açaí Power Bowl.

After finding his love for açaí, he later joined a summer 2019 internship with Makai Fruits. It is a company that ships hand-picked açaí berries from the Amazon Forest to customers in the US. Through the internship, Neelman got to travel to Belem, Brazil, to check the açaí harvest and factory.

Neelman also met and helped support locals in Brazil by purchasing bracelets made from the açaí berry shells. He handed them out for free after opening in Lassonde on Aug. 19, 2019. 

Neelman believes that this internship taught him information that was used to help the start of Simply Açaí. He also credits Lassonde for giving him his entrepreneurial spirit because he lived there as a freshman student. 

Being a student at the U helped him gain the ability to connect with the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and its food partner Chartwells Catering. Neelman wanted to stay on campus with Simply Açaí and felt that the food trailer in the Lassonde lobby would be a good place to start. 

In order to open, he had to hire employees. Neelman said, “First I started with a manager because I wanted someone that was familiar with the restaurant industry.” He wanted someone who would lead by example and enforce the rules involving cleanliness and health codes. Neelman interviewed the job candidates. He said many of the employees whom he found were references from other employees. Not only did he want to find good employees, but he wanted to create an experience where his employees could have fun and enjoy the work.

Employee Reid Lanigan feels that Neelman has succeeded in doing so. “I’ve loved it so far,” Lanigan said. “I have class after it on some days and class before it on some days so it works out well with my schedule.” 

Lanigan only works an average of three shifts a week with each of his shifts only lasting about three hours. He works Monday mornings, and Tuesday and Thursday lunch shifts. His duties are to follow the health codes as he makes food that customers order from the menu and to serve it to them. He said the company encourages employees to “try to get the food out as fast as possible and try to make sure that the food is correct.”

The menu displayed on the red and white Lassonde trailer gives students a variety of different açaí bowl options. Each item on the menu contains the pureed frozen açaí palm fruit berries. Customers are also able to choose additional toppings like dark chocolate chips, goji berries, almond butter, Nutella, and many more. 

FullSizeRender-compressed 2

Employee Reid Lanigan adding the final ingredient into a customer’s açaí bowl.

An avocado toast menu is now a new addition to the menu items that are offered to add to the different flavors. Avocado toast is an example of how businesses have to make adjustments to change. Employee Grayson Goodyear has had to deal with business changes for the company. He said, “We’ve actually started to run out a lot mid week and I’ve had to do two grocery store runs for Seth [Neelman].” The employees of Simply Açaí are adjusting as the business makes its way through its early stages.

These changes contribute to the success of the startup of Simply Açaí, and the employees face these changes to help with company success. Goodyear believes that the bosses did well with hiring their employees. He thinks this is important. “Seth has done a really good job hiring just like friendly people and people that seem inviting to the customers, and I think that creates a lot of attention,” he said. 

Goodyear believes that this attention to the relationships that are built between the friendly employees and customers contribute greatly to the success of the business. 

When it comes to the success of the business, customers returning is one of the ways to measure Simply Açaí’s success. “It started off a little slow, but after the first couple of weeks it picked up,” employee Reid Lanigan said about his first few shifts after opening. “The longer it’s been open, the more word has definitely spread.” He believes that the company continues to grow as it gets further and further away from its opening day.

As a student entrepreneur, Neelman feels that he is able to gain knowledge in the classroom that he can apply to his business. In a follow-up FaceTime interview he said, “It is kind of cool now that I’m in a lot of my management and leadership classes, like that make sense or that would work in my situation.” Neelman has started his journey toward success as a college student entrepreneur.

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Randall Whitmore



I developed my story idea because I was in a moderately severe electric scooter accident in the past. The injuries I sustained were due to the newly modified electric brakes which improperly engaged, causing the scooter to suddenly stop. The front wheel of the scooter locked up and sent me flying face first over the handlebars. A couple months later my roommate, Elan Maj, also fell on a scooter and that’s when I became very skeptical of the electric scooters and their safety.

I started to notice the lack of maintenance to the electric scooters as many of them around the city and campus have flat tires or missing components. I have also seen a number of students fall off the scooters on campus grounds and I figured this may be a larger issue. 

Locating my sources was fairly easy. I reached out on Instagram and received a lot of input from friends and family who have either crashed an electric scooter or knew someone who has. After talking to both nurses and injured riders, I decided to reach out to the University of Utah Department of Public Safety to see if this was a large issue on campus.

I went to the Public Safety office and spoke with the woman at the front desk to put me in touch with Officer Ryan Speers. The employees at Public Safety were extremely helpful and gave me a lot of great information. This was probably my best resource in regards to information pertaining to scooter accidents on campus because it included actual figures and evidence.

Initially I thought the story would consist of sources and information providing only negative feedback around electric scooters. With that said, Public Safety provided a lot of positive feedback around the scooters. This really helped my enterprise story by giving me opposing viewpoints which helped me to remain more objective. 

I encountered a couple obstacles while trying to locate my sources. It was very difficult to get in touch with Speers due to his busy schedule. I also learned a very valuable lesson regarding note taking after receiving great information from another source within Public Safety. Since I did not think I was conducting an interview, I did not collect her information nor did I record any of the information that she provided. This would have been an issue if I was unable to conduct an interview with Speers. 

The hardest part of the writing process for this piece was deciding how to organize the sections and interviews in my story. I wanted the story to be structured properly in order to keep a linear direction so it was easier to follow. Remaining objective and keeping my experiences and viewpoints out of the story was also difficult.

I was most surprised with the amount of advocates for electric scooters both on and off campus. I was shocked there have not been any reported scooter accidents on campus since they were activated in 2018. The interview took a very interesting turn due to the fact that most of my questions were positioned as if the scooters were an issue on campus. I had to think quickly to come up with new questions to take advantage of the interview with the Speers.


Busy is my standard!

I moved to Salt Lake City in 2017 with a car full of clothes and a couple hundred dollars. I was unemployed for five months as snowboarding was my only priority. The fun halted when $97 was all that remained in my bank account. I was poor and I did not have a job nor did I have any connections outside of my fellow ski bums. My back was against the wall and I was forced to make drastic changes in order to survive.

I began working odd jobs until I found a sales position at a local tech startup company, PillPack Pharmacy. After months of excelling in a sales position, I progressed to become the corporate sales trainer. As the first sales trainer, I created and optimized the sales training program to help the company grow to 300 times larger in just over a year. 

After taking three years off of school, I realized how much I needed to finish my college degree. PillPack Pharmacy eventually sold to Amazon and I decided it was the perfect time to finish my collegiate career. I began attending classes at the University of Utah in the fall of 2018 and will be graduating in the fall of 2020.

I am a third-generation business owner and I truly enjoy the art of arbitrage. I have been buying and selling antiques, clothes, and cars for most of my adult life in order to pay for the unbearable cost of tuition.

Being an entrepreneur and a college student is extremely tough because school often keeps me from embarking on my dreams as a creator and business owner. All of my extracurricular profits help to pay for school and my living expenses; however, I find it hard to strive when the confines of the educational system keep me tethered financially.

As a 25-year-old senior I see the value in education but not at the cost of financial freedom. My eldest sister graduated from college in the fall of 2008 with nearly $60,000 in student loans. I witnessed her as she embarked on her professional journey during the midst of the recession. Debt became such a burden and I promised myself I would not make the same mistake. My plan is to finish school without accruing debt along the way.

As a communication student and journalist, I want to help other students to be their own part-time boss in order to create their own financial freedom. With my experiences, I truly feel like I can help students by making sound financial decisions and embracing the part-time hustle. I also want to help students to understand money as they enter the adult stages of their lives. I am fascinated by the global and local economy and I would love to report to students how they can leverage their money to make multiple sources of income. I would also like to share the importance of credit, loans, savings, and other financial nuances. I want to fix the way students look at money by providing entertaining and educational messages that are useful for a broad audience.

The Brighton Resort gears up for the 2019-20 ski season

Story and photos by ISA ALCARAZ

The snow falls lightly on the massive mountains that hug the Salt Lake Valley. It’s November, but the snow already finds a place on the hills, its home for the next five months. The arrival of snow this early often creates pandemonium among many locals. They scramble to crank their thermostats and shelter in, wrap themselves in blankets and simply watch from their windows.

But for some, winter’s arrival is a “call of the wild,” and the snow is a sign of the most wonderful time the year: ski season.

Skiing, snowboarding, and other snow activities act as a fundamental pillar for the tourism industry in Utah. Utah is home of the “Greatest Snow on Earth” after all. But IMG_2975what does it actually take to be a ski resort in Utah, a place with a prominent ski culture for locals and tourists?

The Brighton Ski Resort knows exactly how to get the job done.

The Brighton Resort, just 20 minutes up Big Cottonwood Canyon, features over 1,050 acres of skiable land and gets 500 inches of snowfall annually. That being said, there’s a lot of groundwork that goes into being one of the biggest ski resorts in Utah.

The Technical Side

“There are so many departments, you have your tickets department, your maintenance department, you have your lifts departments, your ski schools, and food and beverage,” said Jared Winkler, Brighton’s director of marketing, about what the pre-season looks like for the resort.

“Everyone kind of has their own set list of things to do to prepare for another season or the following season,” he said. And some departments, like ticketing and marketing, are already planning for next season. “We’re working on 2020-21 already, if you can believe that,” Winkler said.

However, some departments need less time to get ready. For example, the food and beverage and ski school departments begin only a month before it starts getting cold. Other aspects of the resort, like the ski lifts and equipment, require year-round maintenance, and are inspected all summer long.

Winkler said the biggest task for the Brighton Resort is hiring a new seasonal staff each year.

Luckily, Brighton keeps a staff of about 30 people who hold down the fort all year long. They take care of all the busy work so when that first snow hits, they’re ready to open.

“We can usually open off of a forecast,” Winkler said. “We usually will open just with a week or two’s notice, even to all of our staff.”

Due to the system and flexibility it’s developed, Brighton is traditionally the first Utah ski resort to open each year.

Utah Skis

Utah has created a prominent “ski culture,” especially for locals. They grow up skiing, and many choose to help instill the love of it in younger generations by becoming instructors.

Jayde Shepherd, a junior at the University of Utah, was a ski instructor at Snowbird for three years after finding a passion for it.

“Teaching kids how to ski was so much fun because I learned more with every class that I taught,” she said. “But also because the kids were so sweet, and I got to know most of them so personally. They trusted me and looked up to me.”

Shepherd was just 3 years old when she was first put on the slopes. After learning how to ski, she stopped going because she didn’t have anyone to go with. But many years later, she found herself up there again after being re-taught by her boyfriend at the time.

“Once we got up there it was like I had found my people and one of my passions again,” she said. The mountains became a second home to Shepherd.

“I love everything about skiing. Once I started again, I knew that I would never be able to live somewhere without mountains,” she said. “Once I became a part of the ski culture, I found a source for my identity.”

Brighton’s Culture

The Brighton Resort is the place where a love for skiing originated for many locals. And it takes pride in its uniqueness compared to the 10+ other resorts in Utah.

“Brighton is historically known to be a place where people learn to ski and snowboard,” said Winkler, director of marketing.

Brighton is home to all degrees of skiers. From beginners who are learning for the first time on a bunny hill, like Explorer, to elite experts who shred down giant trails, like Great Western, all levels have a place on the mountain.

Brighton also takes pride in the many “genres” of snow activities that are welcomed at the resort. Not just skiers and snowboarders, but snow-bikers and snow-skaters are also included.

Gavin Skirucha, a local skier and freelance ski instructor, favors the Brighton Ski Resort over other resorts in Utah for one main reason — its terrain parks, where skiers can practice and perform tricks.

“Brighton’s cool in a way that it embraces a culture of riding that other resorts are starting to reject,” Skirucha said. “Brighton’s terrain parks embrace and promote advancement in your skills as a skier, they even offer junior slope style courses for the very early skiers.”

Like Skirucha, many other skiers in Utah are looking for that extra value for the money they pay to spend the whole winter riding.

“The lift tickets are some of the cheapest in the state,” Winkler said. Brighton Resort lift tickets range from $28 to $65, while Solitude Mountain Resort charges from $72 to $105. Also, parking at Brighton is free.

These are important aspects to keeping local skiers skiing, and keeping the diversity of the riders alive at Brighton.

The Brighton Resort’s contribution to Utah’s ski culture is immense, and allows people to find the adventure and community they seek when it’s cold out.

“It’s hard to fit in in a place so dominated by religion,” said U student Shepherd. “But on the mountain, everyone is placed in a position of excitement, adrenaline, and even fear. I feel like that unifies us and makes everyone so kind to each other. It’s like we all found a common ground just for a moment.”

Get Involved

As the Brighton Resort indulges in the excitement for the big opening, it also keeps in mind the importance of helping those less fortunate during this time of the year.

On the first three Wednesdays in December, Brighton puts on charitable donation drives: a toy drive, a clothing drive, and a food drive. In exchange for donations, they offer $25 lift tickets.

The first donation drive will take place on Dec. 4, 2019.

For updates on Brighton’s charitable donation drives, and for more information about the resort, visit the website, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook @brightonresort.

The Brighton Resort’s Majestic and Explorer lifts are now open, and staff have been greeted with many early-bird skiers, clocking in as many hours on the mountain as possible. As the deep cold creeps in and the snow begins to stick, consider taking part in the adventure. The ski season is just beginning, and plans to stay around for the upcoming five months. Six, if we’re lucky.

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The importance of student access to sexual and reproductive health services

Story and Gallery by ASIA BOWN

Now more than ever students have ready access to sexual health resources through their campus health centers and their local Planned Parenthood center.

Young adults pursuing some form of education are in an interesting position; their school will more than likely have an office that provides sexual and reproductive health guidance and counseling. For many students living alone away from home it’s their first time exploring and attempting to maintain their sexual health, and they often do so with limited resources and guidance.

Many campuses utilize groups of students in the pursuit to provide better sexual health resources that can help students who didn’t receive proper counsel earlier in their lives. At the University of Utah, a group of students has been trained to assist other students with sexual health guidance and provide counsel through the ACES Peer Health Education program, which operates out of the Center for Student Wellness located in Suite 2100 of the Eccles Student Life Center.

Maya Jolley, a health educator at the Center for Student Wellness and creator of the ACES Peer Health Education program, says that we need to improve upon the current sex education curriculum and it should be introduced before students have the chance to develop bad habits. (Jolley said that ACES was once an acronym but is no longer used that way.)

One of the biggest misconceptions Jolley has encountered in her career as a health educator is that sexuality is a mere fraction of our lives. She explains a crucial lesson she learned from a mentor during her time in college, “Sexuality — regardless of what form it takes — is essentially a river that is constantly running through our body.” She added, “We need a strong, humane education to match the intensity of it (sexuality) in our bodies.”

Jolley’s team of student educators has organized numerous presentations on campus geared toward sex education and wellness. Linda Derhak, one of the original student leaders, describes one of her most rewarding experiences on the team wherein she partnered up with another team member to create a basic sex education presentation. According to Derhak, they included “general facts and communication pieces, or how to talk about sex with your partner.”

Elnaz Tahmassebi, another team member dedicated to providing education on sexual wellness, discussed the STI clinics her team organizes every semester, during which students have the opportunity to ask questions about their sexual wellness. “With the STI clinics,” she said, “I speak to people one-on-one and can actually see, like, a change and address their concerns and I feel like I’m making more of an individual change.”

For students who live in the school’s dorms or spend a considerable amount of time on campus, getting access to these STI clinics and other services is as easy as getting to class. But for students who don’t live on campus and don’t want to be there for anything but their classes, their city’s Planned Parenthood is another viable option, provided that there is one nearby. These centers provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, like contraception, cancer screenings, STD/STI testing, and various birth control options.

In college, students have enough bills to pay and it may seem unnecessary to visit a health professional for an education that many medical and education professionals argue students should have received in grade school. This assumption is entirely false and local Planned Parenthood centers offer inexpensive sexual healthcare.

For many students, Planned Parenthood centers are their primary resources for sexual and reproductive healthcare. It’s extremely important that they have continued access to these resources because without them, they’ll resort to neglecting their sexual health and develop bad habits, like never getting tested for STDs and STIs, foregoing a cancer screening because of the high price tag, and practicing unsafe sex.

In August, it was revealed that Planned Parenthood refused Title X funds in opposition to a Trump administration rule that would prevent centers from referring patients to doctors who provided abortions. While the organization’s actual abortion numbers are erroneously exaggerated by various groups working against it, it is one of the fundamental rights people have in our country. Planned Parenthood is doing everything in its power to defend these rights and continue to provide necessary healthcare services to people across the country.

In addition to STD/STI screenings, various forms of birth control, and cancer screenings, people also have access to counsel from doctors who specialize in sexual and reproductive health. People can make appointments to discuss procedures, safe sexual behavior, and past experiences to gain a more thorough knowledge of their sexual health.

As young adults grow and mature, so should their knowledge of healthy sexual practices. Without a proper sex education, young people are more likely to engage in unhealthy sexual relationships and develop negative attitudes toward sex, which can set the course for the rest of their lives if they continue to go uneducated.

If they’ve had a proper sex education students can learn to avoid abusive relationships, recognize their boundaries and those of their partners, and engage in safe sex practices. These are important lessons to learn as they get older and begin to enter more frequently into sexual relationships. Often times, students seek guidance from trusted friends and confidants, but the information they get isn’t always dependable or even true.

“There’s a lot of bad information that young people get when they only talk to their friends because they aren’t actually talking to a professional who knows what they’re talking about,” Derhak said. By seeking help from trained professionals at school health centers or local Planned Parenthood centers, students are more likely to get accurate information that will allow them to make better decisions regarding their sexual health.

The importance of access to sexual and reproductive health services for students is still grossly underestimated in our society, though strides are being made to improve student sexual health.


Before coming to work at the U’s Center for Student Wellness, Maya Jolley worked at Planned Parenthood. Photo courtesy of Center for Student Wellness.


The Center for Student Wellness is located near the end of a quiet second-floor hallway to the left of the main staircase.


The center is located in suite 2100 of the Student Life Center.


The center advertises such services as condom sales, victim-survivor advocacy, and STI testing in its window.


Elnaz Tahmassebi, a sophomore at the U, has found purpose in educating her fellow students about their sexual health.


Linda Derhak was one of the first students to be recruited for the ACES Peer Health Education program.


Derhak (left) and Tahmassebi have worked to give sex education presentations and set up free STI clinics during the spring and fall semesters.


Located at 654 S. 900 East in Salt Lake City, this Planned Parenthood center offers inexpensive sexual healthcare to its community.


The center’s clinic is located at the bottom of the staircase in front of the building.


Planned Parenthood’s Metro Health Center is located at 160 S. 1000 East in Salt Lake City.


Electric scooters and skateboards on campus

Story and photos by CHRISTOPHER STENGER

Electric scooters and skateboards are everywhere on the University of Utah’s campus. These personal transporters have such a large impact on campus and anyone who walks the campus will see the hazards they have created.   

Electrical powered personal transporters are still required to follow the same rule of non-motorized personal transporters, like bikes, which include a 10 mph zone all throughout campus. When class is getting out or about to start and the sidewalks are filled with students, it makes it more difficult for those on electric scooters and skateboards to keep a consistent speed and direction without either crashing into people or forcing pedestrians off the sidewalk.

Students have bought their own personal electric scooters or skateboards to avoid having ton pay the rental cost. The electrical scooter companies require a small fee before you use every time. Companies like Lime and Bird provide electric scooters to rent for $1 with a per minute cost ranging from 25-50 cents.

According to the U’s policy code 3-232, skateboards are defined as ‘a non-motorized device consisting of two or more wheels affixed to a platform or board upon which a rider stands and which does not have steering capability similar to that of a bicycle or brakes which operate on or upon the wheels of the skateboard.” Having these electric skateboards around campus is technically violating school policy.

According to Ginger Cannon, the University of Utah’s active transportation manager, ‘The current contract prohibits Lime and Bird from deploying scooters on school property, but does not ban the operation of the vehicles.” This stops these large companies from having the ability to mass drop scooters all around campus, she said in an email interview.   

Students around campus who do not ride these electric scooters or skateboards explained that they actually do not have serious issues with these personal transporters. Alex Dasla, a senior here at the U, said, “I believe that the scooters might be more safe to use on campus than the skateboards, but still would prefer that they both stay in the biking paths instead of the walking paths.” 

People are caught off guard when an electric scooter or skateboard flies past them while walking to their classes. Since they’re electric, it’s very difficult to hear the scooter or skateboard approaching.

William Slicer, a junior at the U, explained how he was actually involved in an electric skateboard crash, as a pedestrian. Slicer believes that “they should be required to ride in the bicycle paths and only those areas when on campus because of their stealthiness and quickness.” He added, “I am just lucky I was hit onto the grass and not into another person or the concrete.” 

Lt. Terry Fritz of the U’s campus police explained that he believes that “the issue isn’t the electrical part, but it is the mode of transportation in general. I think that the human powered and electric powered scooters as equally as dangerous on our campus.” Fritz also said “he sees more bicyclist abusing the speed limit of 10 mph than of the skateboarders and scooter riders.” This happens because they do not have a set max speed and can go well above 15 mph.

Fritz explained how he thinks that with all the electrical scooters being stranded outside campus buildings, that “they’re creating not the best image for campus.” He said that “hub locations would be very helpful with correcting the bad image of the scooters stranded all over campus.” 

Cannon has been working at the U for nearly two and half years and is constantly working to improve the ways of transportation around campus. Cannon uses social media, like Twitter, to spread news of her work to improve campus mobility. Her Twitter handle is @GingerCannonU.   

Walking around campus you will see scooters scattered all around building entrances, in bike racks or even just in front of doors. Cannon says she wants to create “Mobility Hubs” for the scooters and skateboards in the near future.

These scooters and skateboards are still new to the U but are on the uprise for campus. The U will have to adapt to these electric personal transporters and work to better their operation, as people are not going to stop riding them on campus. 

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Students in the University of Utah’s Greek life 

 Story and photos by TAYLOR SCOTT

Many people have it engrained in their mind that Greek life creates a distraction from academics. However, the Greek system at the University of Utah provides an opportunity for students to become more involved in academics and the community. Since 1909, students involved in Greek life have proven to achieve better grades and earn positions as leaders among campus organizations and clubs.

The first Greek chapter was created shortly after the University of Utah was founded in 1909. Since then, there have been 11 fraternity chapters and seven sorority chapters established on campus. Throughout past years, some people have viewed Greek life as a way for students to become distracted from academics.

While this may be the case for some students, the U’s Greek chapters have proven otherwise.

The Greek system is one of the smaller Greek organizations in the country holding 1,600 active members. With that being said, students are able to join an immediate community of students in the early stages of their college career.

Ryan Miller, assistant director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, said, “While Utah has around 30,000 students, you are joining an organization of approximately 1600 – so it brings the large campus to a more intimate space.”

Students are able to connect with the sorority and fraternity chapters to choose their top house. All the chapters on campus have their own common areas of study for students to build relationships with scholars of the same interest.

Statistics have proven that students are more successful when they are a part of such groups. “You have a more direct group watching over you, similar to athletics. Instead of having a coach watch over you, you now have your peers watching you and guiding you through the proper steps,” said Walker Nasser, president of the Interfraternity Council at the U.

Enrolling into a Division 1 university with around 25,000 students can be overwhelming for students coming directly out of high school. Students are able to build relationships both academically and socially by enrolling in Greek life. Ronnie Kaye, from Sigma Phi Epsilon, said, “Joining a house is the best thing I could have ever done. I was able to meet a ton of students who share the same interests in academics and outside of school.”

With the help of your fraternity/sorority, students are able to sync up with friends of the same major and share resources with one another. “Grades do typically go up; the average Greek GPA is 3.7 which is just above the campus average,” Nasser said.

The Greek system on campus provides many different outlets for students to become involved with the community. According to Miller, “Most of the time the Associated Students of the University of Utah president and vice president are Greek as well as student alumni boards, the Mighty Utah Student Section, and Latter-day Saint Student Association.”

Each of the 18 groups at the U have their own nonprofit organization they support every year. Students work together as a community to raise funds for their chapter’s philanthropy.

“I would look at everyone’s philanthropy as great. Beta, for example, does a lot of work with the Rape Recovery Center,” Nasser said. “Phi Delt does a lot of work with Alzheimer’s and all of their projects, Sig Chi is the leading chapter for the Huntsman Cancer Institute.”

Each chapter is able to make students aware of issues in the community and allow students from all over campus to help make a change.

Greek students are given many resources guiding them to potential job opportunities throughout the world. Students currently enrolled at the U have access to a plethora of different scholarship opportunities and connections for those eager to enter the business world. “A lot of the alums stay around the Salt Lake Valley, so if you are looking for jobs most likely there will be some connection to the fraternity and sorority community,” Miller said.

Not only does the U provide current Greek students with these benefits, there are also many alumni associations that can extend your connections worldwide after college. The creation of clubs and academic resources throughout the Fraternity and Sorority chapters has allowed students to become involved within the university and gain the resources to be successful. The relationships that are built with your brothers and sisters will continue on after college allowing you access to an endless amount of connections.

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Hearing loss affects more than just your grandparents

Story and gallery by WILLOW GALVAN

“No one thinks that hearing loss will happen to them, until it does,” said University of Utah student Dallin Wilkins, 20, while sitting at a local coffee shop.

Wilkins was just 13 when he started shooting guns frequently with his dad, and without using ear protection. Unfortunately that decision, and his habit of playing loud music through his headphones, catalyzed his hearing loss at a young age.

It didn’t take long for Wilkins’ hearing to quickly start to deteriorate. By the time he was 18, he depended heavily on reading the lips of those he spoke with. He also experienced an almost constant ringing in his ears. At that point, he realized it was time to see an audiologist for answers.

At first, the audiologists were surprised at the amount of hearing Wilkins had lost at such a young age. However, after learning more about his habits that led to the damage, they were surprised it wasn’t worse. It was then that Wilkins underwent the process of receiving hearing aids, which he has now worn daily for over two years.

Liz Hankins, director of audiology at House of Hearing, which has multiple locations across the Salt Lake Valley, said that noise exposure is one of the most common reasons for people to experience hearing loss. This could happen as a result of various activities including shooting guns, going to concerts, or working in loud environments.

Younger people generally assume that older individuals are the only people to experience hearing loss to this degree. “People need to just be mindful of the fact that hearing loss doesn’t just happen to old people, it can happen to younger kids. And the problem is that once those hair cells and the hearing has been affected you just can’t get it back,” Hankins said.

In fact, she said it is actually very common, with 50 million Americans experiencing hearing loss and 1 in 5 teens struggling with it as well.

Hankins also recommends those struggling with hearing loss see an ear, nose, and throat physician or an audiologist immediately. If any parents are concerned with their children’s speech or language development, Hankins said these issues are likely caused by hearing loss, and it should be ruled out immediately.

Hearing loss is so common that many companies are developing services with the intent to educate individuals on the issue at hand, including powerhouse company, Apple.

In the Apple iOS 13 update that came out in September 2019, the Health app offers a new hearing section. Here, Apple users can read about what causes hearing loss and the different levels of hearing loss. It also includes indications of when you might be experiencing it.

Some of the indications of hearing loss that are listed are: when you meet someone and it is hard to hear their name, in loud places when you miss part of conversations, and when you have ringing in your ears.

The app also has a section that provides information about why hearing health matters. It shows how hearing is measured in decibels, and how you are generally in a loud environment when decibels are over 80.

Aside from the Health app being updated with this new information, Apple Watches also have new technology to protect hearing health. If you have one of these devices, you can set up the Hearing app available on them. After it is set up, the app will monitor the level of noise exposure you are in, and alert you when it reaches a potentially dangerous level.

Josh Hankins, a hearing care specialist who also works at the House of Hearing, said the best way to preserve your hearing is by letting discomfort be your guide. By this, he recommends that when you are in an environment that feels uncomfortably loud, you change the situation by leaving or getting ear protection.

There is also a misconception when it comes to how to care for your ears. “Take care of your ears by leaving them alone,” he said. He reassures people that a little earwax is normal, and if it becomes excessive, you should seek care from a specialist. The general population uses cotton swabs to clean their ears, which is very damaging. In fact, the boxes themselves advise users not to use them in their ear canal at all.

The reason that cotton swabs are so damaging is because they actually do not clean your ears. They just push the ear wax further down your ear canal, which can lead to difficulty hearing and an uncomfortable sensation. An even more detrimental consequence of using these in your ears is the possibility of bursting your eardrum, which can cause permanent damage, according to WebMD.

While drinking his coffee, Wilkins said he wishes there were resources such as the Health app available to him when he was younger. He hopes that others use this information to protect their ears and take it more seriously than he did.

Wilkins knows firsthand how heartbreaking it was to lose his hearing, especially when it could have been prevented. He warns others to protect their ears because once they are damaged it is irreversible. “When you have hearing loss, you aren’t just missing some words in some conversations,” he said. “You are missing time with your loved ones, you are missing out on memories, you are missing out on everything.”

Expansion of Rice-Eccles Stadium

Story and Photos by TUCKER SCOTT

In Salt Lake City, 1927 marked the first time the Utah Utes football team defeated the Colorado Mines in their first home opener in Ute Stadium. 

In 1972 The University of Utah was donated $1 million by Robert L. Rice  to create a football stadium by the name of Rice Stadium. 

Fast forward to 1997 when a Utah alumnus, Spencer Eccles announced that George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation would donate $10 million toward the construction of the new stadium. They agreed to keep the previous donor’s name along with their name as part of the new stadium called Rice-Eccles Stadium. 

They started the remodel by replacing the stadium frame with modern steel, including a concrete and glass facility. The football schedule was never interrupted by the construction as they had it built in less than 10 months. 

Since the previous rebuild of the stadium, Rice-Eccles Stadium has hosted a variety of events from concerts, super cross, monster jam, and also the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Since the last stadium expansion, Rice-Eccles Stadium has been home to the Utes for over 20 years, giving fans the experience they have always wanted. 

In 2010 the Utah Utes received an invitation to join the PAC 10 Conference, which is now the PAC 12 conference. Since joining the conference Utah has gained a larger audience that attends the football games. For consecutive years they have been selling out the stadium and only having standing room only tickets available. 

Then there was some buzz going around about another stadium expansion. Plans started to develop as the Athletics Program wanted to expand the size of the stadium by around 5,000 seats. The estimated funding for a project like this was around $35 million in donations. 

On Aug. 13, 2019, the unexpected occurred. The Ken Garff family gifted Utah Athletics the largest donation in the history of Utah Athletics. They donated $17.5 million to the renovation of the new stadium. The other amount needed will be donated by several other revenue sources.

In a recent interview with Coach Kyle Whittingham, he said, “This really cements this project and makes it an absolute reality.” Whittingham expressed his gratitude toward everybody who is helping make this stadium expansion happen. 

The number of seats that will be added will be around 5,144. The stadium currently holds a capacity of 45,800 and the Utes have sold out 57 consecutive football games. The plans are about 1,000 more stadium seating in the corners and the rest will be premium seating with terraces on each side of the goalposts, suites, loges, club seats, and rooftop seating. 

The south bowl will be enclosed allowing fans to walk around the entire stadium without having to leave the stadium.

Ron McBride, the University of Utah head coach for the football team in 1990, took a team who was barely winning five games and turned the program around. In two years he took the program to the Copper Bowl, the program’s first bowl appearance in 28 years.  McBride said that he was excited to see the tedium expansion be complete. “This has been a long time coming,” he said. “We have been needing some more room for our fans to cheer us on.” McBride still attends the games on the sideline as he watches the team take on their opponents in Rice-Eccles Stadium.

One major thing that was discussed with the designers of the stadium expansion was seats. Fans wanted more seats so they could enjoy the game and not only be in the standing room only section. 

Cade Carter, a student at the U, was late in buying his MUSS student section ticket so he has the standing room only tickets. Although he enjoys watching the games, he dislikes the fact that he has to stand the whole game. “I really enjoy watching the games and being in that type of environment, but I really dislike how much standing I have to do,” he said. “With the stadium expansion I really am excited to see how the seating will play out next year.” 

With all this excitement about the stadium being rebuilt it has everyone anticipating the final result. The stadium is set to be finished in August 2021. 

Sundance is evolving: how the Sundance Institute’s programs are encouraging artists and locals alike


Story and photos by Charlene Rodriguez

The Sundance Institute has been a prominent organization for independent filmmakers and Utah culture since its creation. However, the Institute has significantly evolved. While filmmaking and collaboration remain at its core, the Institute continues to expand its reach by encouraging diversity and inclusion through its programs. 

According to the Institute’s website, the Sundance Film Festival was first established in 1978 by Sterling Van Wagenen in Salt Lake City. Yet the Institute wasn’t founded until 1981 by Robert Redford. 

 Having initially started as an organization aimed at promoting American-made films and Utah filmmakers, the Institute now extends past its local reach, offering opportunities for upcoming filmmakers from national and international backgrounds. 

Hands-On Experience 

Among the plethora of programs the Institute provides, its fellowships for young filmmakers stand out.

The Ignite Fellowship, as detailed on the Institute’s website, is a collaboration between the Institute and Adobe that is open to filmmakers between the ages of 18-24. Out of thousands of applicants, only 15 are selected for the year-long fellowship. The experience includes an all-expenses-paid trip to the Sundance Film Festival, as well as mentorship from Institute alumni professionals and access to workshops, labs and other associated programs.  

“The Sundance Ignite Fellowship is a great opportunity to learn more about the ins and outs of the industry and also be connected with other emerging filmmakers,” stated Maya Cueva, a 2019 Ignite Fellow, during an email interview.

Ignite Fellows are selected based on their submission of their one-to-eight-minute short films as well as “their original voice, diverse storytelling and rigor in their filmmaking pursuits,” according to a 2018 news release posted on the Institute’s website. 

Cueva detailed her experience attending the 2019 Sundance Film Festival: “It was an amazing experience going to films and events, being able to discuss and pitch my first feature documentary, and being able to connect with the other fellows in the program.” 

When asked how this experience has impacted her perspective on filmmaking, Cueva said, “This experience has definitely given me an opportunity to challenge the way I make documentaries and my style of filmmaking, particularly because the group of fellows do both narrative and documentaries.” 

Opportunities like the Ignite Fellowship allow young filmmakers to network and learn from professionals in the field. This has the potential to jump-start careers while providing the professional environment to further foster individual voice and style. 

Rooted in Utah

While expanding its home offices, broadening its reach and diversifying its stories, the Institute remains grounded by its Utah roots. It aims to encourage the participation of audiences of all ages through its community screening programs. 

The Filmmakers in the Classroom program began in 2000 but is now an annual opportunity for local high school students to view and later discuss a short film with the creators themselves. 

“We’re definitely doing those to bring those middle, junior high and high school students in and kind of expose them to independent films but also giving them the opportunity to meet filmmakers as well,” said Laralee Ownby, assistant director of Utah Community Programs, during a phone interview. 

Year-long programs like the Summer Film Series serve as an option for Utah locals across the state to experience independent films without having to trudge through the grueling festival traffic and crowds.“All of our year-long Utah programs are free and open to the public. That’s one thing that we want to make sure of. That we’re reaching everyone in Utah.” 

The effectiveness of these programs speaks for itself. Through an email interview, Jenny Diersen, Park City special events and economic development manager, shared statistics from previous years’ programs. 

During the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, the Institute’s Utah Community and Student programming reached a total of 11,387 people. This includes Filmmakers in the Classroom, free screenings for high school and college students and various other community screenings. The 2018 Summer Film Series reached a total of 4,113 people over the course of eight screenings. 

Elevating Art and Culture Locally 

Even outside of its own programs, the Institute continues to contribute to community programs that support the development of art and culture in Park City. Project ABC is one of these outreach efforts. 

According to the Project ABC: Arts, Beauty, Culture website, Project ABC is a Summit County initiative that focuses on the promotion, expansion and implementation of artistic and cultural opportunities for local emerging artists and individuals interested in the arts. 

This project includes recommendations for City, County, Businesses and individuals to help grow many areas of arts and culture,” Diersen said. “As arts and culture grows in our community I think it will be important to make sure we continue [to] represent our unique community, history and environment.”  

Collaborative community efforts like Project ABC ensure artistic sustainability throughout the city. Although Sundance focuses primarily on filmmaking and film production, its outreach encompass a variety of expressional styles. 

While the Sundance Institute continues to grow and develop new opportunities for upcoming filmmakers, it doesn’t lose track of its background. With its community programs reaching thousands of individuals each year and support for local artistic cultivation, the Institute keeps inspiring new generations of artists and filmmakers.

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Art with a cause: artwork from cancer patients, caregivers, and staff at the Huntsman Cancer Institute

Story and gallery by MADISEN GATES

The Huntsman Cancer Institute stands as a gentle giant overlooking the University of Utah from the northeast corner of campus. Its massive glass structure is a symbol of excellence and elegance. The building illustrates its mission statement; “The patient first, a united effort, excellence in all we do.”

Treatment can be a stressful time for those who have cancer. The side effects for most people range from physical symptoms to emotional ones.

But what lies inside the facility is more than a treatment center for cancer patients.

For years, HCI has been a leading innovator for cutting-edge cancer research, including creative and emotional therapies.

Shelly White founded the Artist-in-Residence program in 2012 and has served as its director since then. Patients, caregivers, and HCI staff can participate in group or individual art projects every Tuesday throughout the year.  

Coming from a musical family, White said she believes that art can be both mentally and physically supportive.

She applied and was approved for a LIVESTRONG grant that offers funding for creative arts programs nationwide. She was determined to find a way to implement these benefits at HCI.

But these weekly classes are not just art workshops.

The artists leading the program each year act as mentors. Participants can learn skills in pain management and how to relieve stress. They can also spend quality time with loved ones through various art projects. These projects can include painting, mask-making, ceramics, and even designing maps. The patient is able to gain control over one aspect of their treatment – their art.

“I think a lot of the time people feel like they’re having all these things done to them that they wouldn’t choose. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, you wouldn’t choose those things,” White said. “And you get to make choices about ‘what do I want to get engaged in.’”

Each current artist will choose the artist for the next year to ensure the quality and engagement during these workshops. Every prospective artist can attend a session as a guest presenter. The current artist observes how the guest presenter interacts with the patients and attendees. This improves the success of the project to continue enriching the patients’ time in treatment.

Laura Wilson, the current mentor for the program, has been making art her whole life. Her favorite form of art is fine arts, which she studied at Carnegie Mellon to earn her BFA. Every artist is free to run the sessions in their own way. “People are just really happy to be here. The level of creativity here is really high,” Wilson said. “You have people dealing with very hard things, and they just free themselves.”

White said the greatest motivation to continue searching for artists to expand these projects is watching patients flourish creatively. “Seeing the whole person” develop, she said. “Giving people an opportunity for people to express themselves beyond words.”

The sessions are always kept open to allow participants more freedom while they create. There are no rules as to what a participant can or cannot create and participants are able to come and go from the art sessions in between regular treatments.

Vibrant clay tiles form a legacy piece displayed in White’s office.

A brown and red clay art piece is displayed in White’s office, which became a legacy project for one participant.


 “With some people, it’s a legacy,” White said. “There was another woman who was in her 40s who had daughters that were probably in their 20s who did this piece. It was a legacy piece because she wasn’t going to survive the cancer, but it was a really meaningful thing she could do with her daughters to make this piece.”

For most participants, the art represents much more than a fun craft project.

Caren Pinson has been attending the sessions for many years as a cancer survivor. She described her time in the Artist-in-Residence program as “life changing.”

“I have medical post-traumatic stress, from long before I moved to Utah and when I actually did first move over it was pretty bad. I didn’t ever really want to see a doctor again,” Pinson said. “But being here, this is really the safest place I’ve ever felt.”

Pinson continues to contribute many ideas to improve the program. She recalled a previous conversation with one of the HCI acupuncture specialists who said, “Huntsman hires compassion and they can teach everything else.”

Seven years later the program has flourished. In addition to the Artist-in-Residence program, a Writer-in-Residence and a music therapy program can be found on the HCI calendar throughout the year.

The programs aim to go even deeper in the upcoming years. It is the hope of the director to pair biologic researchers with participants to show the value of arts through basic science.

The emergence of these programs is a testament to the dedication of the staff at HCI. It is a giant not only in dominating the cancer treatment field, but also for the heart that lies within the walls.


Zions Bank Real Academy

Story and gallery by TANEON ROOD 

Zions Bank Real Academy, located in Herriman, Utah, has established itself as one of the best soccer academies in all of North America. The academy has been operating in Utah since 2018 and has already developed some of the greatest soccer prospects in the United States. 

Dell Loy Hansen, owner of Real Salt Lake, privately funded the Zions Bank Real Academy. The academy broke ground in August 2016 and officially opened on Feb 28, 2018, with dignitaries from the state, Real Salt Lake and Major League Soccer, including Commissioner Don Garber in attendance. Building the facilities cost $60 million. It is the largest pre engineered freestanding steel structure in North America, said Taran Meyer, senior manager of communications.

Before Zions Bank Real Academy was built, Real Salt Lake’s only academy was located in Tempe, Arizona, and started operating in 2010. 

Real Salt Lake Academy High School is a charter school located right next to Zions Bank Real Academy, which gives high school students an opportunity to play soccer at Zions Bank Real Academy if they want to. 

Real Salt Lake Academy High School and Zions Bank Real Academy fly under the same flag. While they operate differently on the school side, all soccer-related activities of the sanctioned U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams are overseen from Real Salt Lake down. However, both of them help complement each other in many different ways.

About 30% of the 163 students who attend the high school, also train and play at Zions Bank Real Academy. Real Salt Lake Academy High School uses the STEM program, to ensure that the players who attend the charter school get the highest level of education they possibly can get. 

This means that the players not only get top training and development in soccer, but also a top education to go along with it. This ends up making the academy experience for players really rewarding. 

Real Academy President Jacob Haueter has confidence in the academy and thinks it’ll help grow the amount of local soccer talent. “I see more of an opportunity for players within Utah to play at the professional level,” Haueter said.   

A few players from Utah have played for the academy and gone on to play for Real Salt Lake in the past, like Taylor Peay and Phanuel Kavita. Now the number of players coming from Utah who play for the academy continues to grow at a fast rate.  

The format that the academy uses to develop players is really similar to how European clubs develop their talent. Zions Bank Real Academy is one of the only soccer academies in North America that has player housing, so academy players can stay on campus.

Fans of Real Salt Lake might be familiar with what a “homegrown” player is. But in case some people don’t know, a homegrown player is a player who played for the academy when they were young and can later on be signed by Real Salt Lake. The homegrown player then gets signed to a homegrown contract, where they will not count against the club’s salary and will sign for a minimum amount of money. 

The homegrown system is a great way for clubs around the world to get young talent that they’ve already been developing themselves. Real Salt Lake currently has 13 homegrowns on the roster, and the numbers will keep growing in the future as the academy continues to expand.

While there have been many players in the academy who are from Utah, the academy gets most of their prospects from other states. “A majority of the academy players are from out-of-state, so it allows us to scout and recruit more and more players, which is helpful,” said Academy Goalkeeper coach Mirza Harambasic. 

Each club has its own territories for where they can choose to get their players from. If a player who is in another club’s territory wants to train and develop under Zions Bank Real Academy, they will need to ask for permission to be released from the current academy they’re with. Utah currently has two states where players can be signed, which are Utah and Arizona. Under Major League Soccer regulations, Real Salt Lake is the only club allowed to recruit youth players from Arizona. 

There are open territories where any club can sign players from, Las Vegas and Northern California being the main territories where the academy finds its out-of-state prospects. Any area within a certain mile radius where there isn’t a professional Major League Soccer club is an open area for any club in North America to find young talent. 

Eventually, some of the young prospects at the academy will become signed by the top European clubs in the world like Real Madrid of La Liga and Liverpool of the English Premier League. The academy encourages the young players to sign with European clubs if it’s the decision they’ll be the most happy with. There’s also a positive to young academy players signing in Europe, as these clubs pay money for these young players and it helps the academy get money. That is the business side of the academy, which is what helps keep it running and continuously developing talent. 

In January 2019, Taylor Booth became the first Utahn from the academy to ever be signed by a top-tier Bundesliga club in Bayern Munich, which is located in Munich, Germany. 

Harambasic added that the academy has grown and improved since expanding to Utah from Arizona, and he hopes that the academy continues to grow and become more successful going forward. However, Harambasic still thinks that the academy isn’t world-class yet. “There’s definitely still time to improve. I definitely think we’re a top-tier academy in the United States, but comparing it to a world quality academy, we’re not there yet, but I do think we’re taking the right steps to get there one day,” he said. 

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How being involved in college can help shape one’s leadership journey and future outlooks 

Story and photos by GWEN TRAPP

With over 600 student organizations at the University of Utah, there’s something for everyone to become a part of.

From the Union Programing Council (UPC) to the Prose and Poetry Writing club, involvement on campus allows students to find their own sense of community within the hustle and bustle of college life.

Not only does being involved make the U feel smaller, but it also can help students to discover the passions and future outlooks that they didn’t know they had.

“FAB (Freshman Ambassador Board) was my favorite leadership experience to this day by far,” said Austin Matsuura, the executive director of UPC. “I always wanted to have that leadership journey, to teach people certain skills to succeed.”

Matsuura was the director of FAB within UPC his junior year of college. He worked closely with a group of around 40 first-year students, teaching them the essential skills to become campus leaders. By mentoring first-year students and inspiring them to achieve, Matsuura was able to discover his passion and future goals.

“I found that organizing in a business setting is something that I really enjoy,” he said. “It’s where I belong.” By becoming involved within UPC, Matsuura ended up changing his major from kinesiology to business management. Instead of becoming a physician’s assistant, he now plans to one day become a small-business owner.

“Being involved on campus completely changed my outlook of what I’m good at and what I like to do,” Matsuura said.

From working with first-year students to finding one’s true passion and goals, it’s important to note that not all leadership journeys are exactly the same.

Current Student Body President Anna Barnes plays a crucial role in ensuring that student voices are heard through the Associated Students of the University of Utah (ASUU). She and her team promote involvement, advocacy and student wellness via the different types of positive programming and outreach. With this being said, there are many benefits to being involved.

But there can also be unexpected challenges in one’s leadership journey.

“One [challenge] that really stands out is when we got news that a University of Utah student, Mackenzie Lueck, was murdered,” Barnes said. Even though this tragedy took place off campus, she struggled with knowing exactly how to console students. “I remember having to prepare a statement at her vigil to read,” she said with emotion. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced.”

Despite the challenges Barnes has recently had to face, she has found that her leadership position has helped her to see what she wants to pursue in the future. “Before coming into this, I had a pretty good idea for what I wanted to do, but I didn’t realize I had a real desire to focus on policy and the legislative process.”

Barnes plans to continue to go into law, but from finding new passions in ASUU this year, she hopes to become involved specifically with policy as a potential future leader in a think tank.

Luckily, the benefits of being involved don’t stop there. Through volunteerism at the Bennion Center as both an undergraduate and graduate student, Bryce Williams, a U alumnus, shows that being involved can lead students to their future professions.

“This January will mark my fifth year working here,” Williams said.

Williams attended the U as a first-year student in 2005, where he began his leadership journey with the Bennion Center. He got involved with it through the Salt Lake Peer Court program that was originally affiliated with the Bennion Center at the time.

Williams was highly involved on campus throughout his undergraduate career. From ASUU to becoming a residential advisor, he ended up staying a total of six years as an undergraduate before making the decision to go to the U’s graduate school.

Throughout his graduate career, Williams continued to stay involved with the Bennion Center by becoming an Alternative Break staff partner. He mentored students who planned community experiences for U students to participate in during school breaks.

After a year and a half into his career and volunteering as a staff partner with Alternative Breaks, Williams met with Dean McGovern, the executive director of the Bennion Center. He offered Williams its newest position as the student program manager.

In this role, Williams is responsible for supporting and advising programs and the student leaders who run them.

“I do think it helped to have been a part of the Bennion Center because they [McGovern] were specifically looking for someone who was a former student leader and an alumnus from the Bennion Center,” he said.

Williams still works as the student program manager today, but plans to continue working and growing in higher education as well as getting involved with other student leadership opportunities.

Wanting to get involved on campus? From becoming the student body president to working for the Bennion Center, there are multiple organizations at the U that can help you get started on your own leadership journey.

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Park City locals discuss Epic and Icon Passes’ impact on the community

Story and photographs by ASHLEIGH THOMAS

Vail’s Epic Pass and Altera’s Icon Pass have changed and shaped the landscape of the modern-day ski culture and business. Park City, Utah, is growing and changing at a rapid rate due to the passes. They invite skiers and snowboarders all over the world to buy a single ski pass that allows them to ski at multiple ski resorts.

Utah locals must prepare and consider the new changes to the Utah ski industry as the upcoming season approaches.

Park City is home to Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Mountain Resort, two culturally rich and unique ski areas that many people call home. These passes are altering the “Park City ski culture” as we know it, in part because the ski industry has been globalized on a huge scale. These passes give access to resorts all over the world including in Australia, Europe, Asia, Canada, and South America. But at this scale what are the lasting effects on small ski towns like Park City and the Park City way of life? Are these passes changing the industry for the better or for worse?

Many locals have described their feelings about the Icon and Epic Passes’ impact on Park City as a mix of good and bad.

Kathy Burke, the buyer for Cole Sport, described her feelings in an email interview about whether the Icon and Epic pass are beneficial to Park City or not. “I have mixed feelings about this. Being in retail, I am in favor of controlled growth and commerce. The town has grown and has more job opportunities for jobs.” However, she added, “the impact on traffic and the carbon footprint is having an impact on this town.”

Another Park City local, Renee Godin, PSIA ski instructor and level 300 ski coach USSA, discussed her experience with the growth. Godin said in an email interview that she has noticed the town has become busier. She also has experienced the impact of increased tourism with crowded restaurants, scarce parking spots, and slower commutes. “These are problems that locals find to be annoying, but more tourists for the local business is what it’s all about, it is what a small town thrives on. Tourist dollars, and that’s what people sometimes forget.”

Park City is known all over the world for being a unique ski town with something for everyone to enjoy and experience. Park City’s charm and ski culture is what made many Park City locals want to lay down roots and live there. “What brought me to Park City was the idea of being able to jump on a bus and ski 3 different ski areas, in one town making a European experience in the middle of the USA!” Godin said.

Park City’s Historic Main Street is one of the main attractions of Park City. Burke said Main Street is changing quickly due to the fact national corporate retail chains are seeing incentives to open their shops where locally-owned business have existed for years.

“My favorite characteristic is the community spirit of Park City and its heritage to its mining history,” Burke said, “specifically characterized through the historic commitment to preserving Main Street and Old Town. I think the Epic and Icon transition is bringing a commercial element to Main Street with its national chain stores. The growth in mono brand stores and national chains diminished the charm and uniqueness of specialty retail and character and integrity of Main Street.”

The economic development and change in the community’s character aren’t the only things that are evolving from the Icon and Epic Passes. The “on the hill” experience is also changing, said Chuck English, a former mountain manager at Deer Valley. He added that a couple of years ago locals could ski on wide open runs on the weekdays and sometimes even on the weekends. But that is no longer a reality. The number of visitors on the hill has greatly increased, creating longer lines, crowded runs, and busy lodges.

“The Icon has definitely changed DV (Deer Valley). Their stated intention of limiting skiers to the maintain quality experiences has gone by the wayside. They are not able to limit Icon pass holders even though they encourage them to make reservations,” English said in an email interview.

The Icon and Epic Passes may be attractive to some and less attractive to others. When asked about the expense of skiing and the experience as a whole, English added, “To a person who is already a skier the passes make it more affordable. Season pass prices were getting very expensive and I feel like some people might have started to drop out based on cost.” He thinks that there is less of an incentive and focus for new skiers to participate or buy a season pass. “This is a serious problem for the industry,” he said. This is an aspect that will change ski culture in the long term and is something to consider for new skiers and snowboarders.

With all things considered the Epic and Icon pass are creating an evolved modern ski and snowboard experience. They are a force to be reckoned with and will have a lasting impact on the industry and ski culture in Park City.

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Isa Alcaraz



This story developed from a hobby that I recently picked up: skiing.

I met somebody in 2018 who is very passionate about skiing, and he told me I should give it a try, so I did. I instantly loved it. This story idea developed as I was making goals and thinking about this upcoming ski season. I thought it would be interesting to focus on a ski resort, and learn more about the behind-the-scenes aspects of it and culture that has come out of it. My story had two main focuses: Brighton Ski Resort’s preparation for the ski season, and ski culture in Utah. I tried to connect these two ideas because I didn’t want the whole story to be focused on just one part of it. The skeleton of this story is Brighton’s preparations, and the heart is the ski culture.

When it comes to writing, I like to write as much as I can to begin with. I like to trust my gut at first, and write in the style that I keep hearing the story being told in my head. Usually that ends up being a big pile of words and random sentences, but that’s when the revising comes in.

Through this project I’ve come to make peace with revising. It’s now something I can get lost in and find myself doing for hours, which I’ve never really done before. I always thought that what I first said was good enough. I still believe in “spilling your heart” in writing, or free-writing as much as you can, but polishing is good and necessary. You always want your message to be clear.  

My sources came from people I thought would give me good insight into the different aspects of what skiing is in Utah, at different levels. The biggest obstacle I faced was scheduling time with my sources. When I think about it now, it’s actually very reflective of my experience learning how to ski for the first time. At times I felt frustrated because I thought it would be much simpler than it was. I wanted to scrap the whole thing and find something else to do. However, in writing and in skiing, persistence is key. Even if you lose your balance, you’ve got to just get back up, because it’s the only way to get down the mountain.


biopictureI am a communication major with an emphasis in strategic communication at the University of Utah. I grew up with a love for the performing arts, film, and photography. I also enjoy writing, and took COMM 1610: Intro to News Writing to gain a different kind of writing experience. After graduation I hope to travel to new places and work in a communications field, either marketing or public relations. I plan to graduate Spring 2021.

Utah musicians discuss struggles for work and appreciation from residents

Story and illustrations by NATALIE ZULLO

Upon graduating from college, professional musicians look toward their careers with hope. But outside of the campus, they worry about their careers due to the lack of professional opportunities available.

Hallie Mosteller, a violin teacher in the Sandy, Utah, area and member of the Orchestra at Temple Square said, “I maybe thought I would have a little more option. But I have found that I’ve had a lot of opportunities that I never thought I would have, like the Orchestra at Temple Square.”

Joanne Andrus, owner of Andrus Music, agrees that there are a lot of opportunities in Utah for music. She said, “I think the thing that’s great about living in Utah is that that there are a lot of avenues, a lot of venues, that you can use to make money.”

But opportunities to share music on the professional level do not come to everyone. “I think if you have a talent level, there is a lot of work out there,” Andrus added. “But you have to be the best of the best to have those kinds of opportunities.”

Those musicians who are not “the best of the best” worry about their financial future.

In a previous interview, Kasia Sokol-Borup, assistant violin professor and director of the String Preparatory Division of the University of Utah’s School of Music, said, “When people think that what we do is just this constant inspired magical moment, they feel that we should feel lucky when we’re asked to do that in front of other people.”

Mosteller, violinist in the Orchestra at Temple Square, said she gets asked to do a lot of performances for free. “Especially in Utah, you get asked to do a lot of church things like performing in church. It definitely takes a lot of work to be able to make a living performing. It’s tough. I’m a little worried about it.”

To help make ends meet, many musicians have turned to teaching children and owning their own studios. But they fear that their rates are an issue for parents.

“I do feel like music is highly valued and the arts are very import to our culture,” Andrus said. “But I do feel like people don’t like to spend a ton of money.” Andrus charges $25 per private lesson but has had experiences with parents who refuse to pay her rates.

Mosteller, who is both performing and teaching, said she worries about her future as a teacher. “I feel like you hit a brick wall teaching. I probably would need to get another job.”

Sarah Affleck, Utah mother of six, feels differently about the rates musicians offer. She said in reference to hiring private music instructors for her children, “Price was never an issue for us because we were happy to invest in that for our children. I would pay their prices because I know how genius they are.” No matter how high the price of the musician, Affleck said she feels that music is a long-term investment for her children. It is a skill that can be taken with them throughout their lives no matter their age.

Affleck’s children have been privately taught piano, guitar, voice, cello and composition from instructors around the Salt Lake Valley. When asked if Affleck hired an instructor based on a music degree and skill, she replied, “Their background in music education was less important to me. What was important to me with the instructor was how well they interacted with children. That was probably the number one over degrees or skill.”

Mosteller has felt in her performing career that her degree is not as important to employers as her skill and experience. She said, “I feel like experience is definitely more valued, like with the Orchestra at Temple Square.”

Musicians tend to take up other musical careers to help with finances giving private lessons, including teaching the arts in school orchestras, choirs and bands. But musicians are seeing the loss of music in the education system.

Sokol-Borup said, “I think the fact that people ask for so much music and [desire] it shows that music actually is a basic human need, which when you look at the way our education works, it’s as if it wasn’t.”

In reference to the current school system, Andrus said, “It’s not just STEM it should be STEAM. It shouldn’t just be science, technology, engineering and math. We need to throw the arts in there. Because that’s what makes our children people. That is what humanizes all of us is the arts.”

Leslie Henire, concert mistress of Sinfonia Salt Lake, also has noticed the lack of arts in the lives of children. “It’s necessary for us as humans to have beauty and art and culture in our lives. I just don’t see any other way. It’s a necessity and it’s becoming less and less,” she said.

Affleck feels strongly about music in the lives of children. She wants her own kids to be involved in music “for their own self-expression and creativity. Music is a powerful brain tool.” She added, “It can be used for education. It stimulates the brain.”

For many Utah musicians and parents, music is crucial in school curriculums and individual lives. Andrus said it is also a crucial part of humanity.

“That creative part of life gives a huge reason to get out of bed every day and if we lose that, we lose part of our culture, part of our humanity and we lose all the benefits that come to our brains by creating and being more than just robots,” Andrus said. “We have things that we can accomplish that are so much bigger if we include the arts in our curriculum for our kids and in our lives as adults.”

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Tucker Scott



The way I developed my enterprise story was by finding a topic I thought I could relate to and also have it be an interesting topic for the people reading my story. While doing research on some of the ongoing things happening in the Salt Lake area I stumbled across the stadium expansion of Rice-Eccles Stadium.

The way I located my sources was by asking my football coach to be interviewed along with the former head coach of the University of Utah, Ron McBride. I have a previous relationship with both coaches considering the fact my dad played for both of them during his collegiate career, so it was fairly easy getting in contact with him.

I felt like these two sources primarily were the best sources because they are the face of Utah Athletics. Although there are other coaches and teams I personally feel like they are the most well-known people in the state of Utah. I enjoyed the writing process throughout the whole assignment.

I feel like if I struggled on anything it would be the AP style which I am getting better at. Another thing I ran into was I wanted to interview the new athletic director but he never got back to me until the assignment was due. He was in California dealing with PAC12 issues.

I really enjoyed learning about the history behind the stadium. Growing up always attending the games and then eventually playing in that stadium it blew me away the amount of rebuilds that have been done and how old the stadium actually is. Overall it was an awesome experience and I really enjoyed becoming a journalist. 


I am a former student athlete at the University of Utah. I played football there for two years until getting a career-ending injury. I started to follow my other passion for photography and videography and decided to stick around the team and help out with creating content and helping run the different social media platforms.

Over the summer I interned at STANCE at the corporate office in San Clemente, California, helping create content and also helping run the social media. Now back at school I currently do a lot of freelance work for a variety of different companies.

Throughout this journey I have learned a lot of new things with working with people. I have had to produce work in a timely manner in order to make deadlines. I have learned to work as a team and learn to have patience with some of the companies that I work for.

I also do real estate photography for a specific team in Salt Lake City. My goal is to end up doing commercial photography for large corporations and eventually one day run my own business. 

Charlene Rodriguez



When initially given the enterprise story assignment details, I thought the assignment seemed pretty straightforward and simple enough. This proved to be a little harder than I expected as I got further into the project and realized just a small portion of what journalists have to manage when crafting and publishing a story. 

I knew I wanted to present an idea around arts and culture so I played around with the theme in my head for a few days until I remembered Sundance plays a huge role in Utah/Park City culture. While the actual festival is well known, the Institute and what it offers for new, emerging filmmakers as well as locals was pretty vague. 

I started contacting sources at the same time that I was conducting research. I knew the best sources would probably be individuals involved in local government and within the Sundance Institute itself. I sent out interview request emails and luckily got responses back pretty quickly from there. 

After getting a response from the Institute, a source shared with me more information on the fellowship programs and directed me to LaraLee Ownby, who is the assistant director of Utah Community Programs. She was an excellent source for information about local screenings and different outreach programs the Institute offers both during the festival and year round. 

Jenny Diersen, who is the special events and economic development manager for Park City Municipal Corporation, was also a great asset to my story. She shared specifics on how Sundance is contributing to the growth of the arts and culture scene in Park City. Diersen also shared a lot of statistics with me about how many people the Institute reaches and explained how Sundance is ingrained within the culture. 

The most difficult part of this process was probably the scheduling and managing of different sources. Attempting to be persistent with communication while respecting schedules and response times became hectic. I had a few sources who were all set to go on record, but for outside reasons backed out pretty close to deadlines. This was stressful as I had to cut out and restructure portions of my story and reach out to new sources asap. 

I knew I wanted a source who could comment on the effectiveness of the fellowship opportunities as it would make that portion of my story a lot stronger. I decided the best source I could get was someone who’s been through the program themselves. This led me to reach out to my last source, Maya Cueva, a current Ignite Fellow. Cueva was able to give me the personal experience with the Institute’s programs that rounded out my story nicely.

In terms of the actual writing process, I found it difficult to sit down and just write. I was overanalyzing my writing style and not sure how I wanted to organize my story so it felt cohesive. It wasn’t until I forced myself to go to the library, set aside all other distractions, and poured out all my ideas onto a page that I was able to get a good draft going. 

This actually helped me learn that at least for me, the best way to start drafting is to simply “word vomit” on the page and then start organizing and refining from there. Although this project was stressful and frustrating at times, it did help me grow as an emerging professional and writer and ultimately has been a rewarding experience. 


Charlene Rodriguez was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and at 3 years old, moved to Park City, Utah, alongside her parents. Growing up in the small ski town, she enjoyed spending time with her friends and family, serving the local community and learning about society and culture. 

As she grew up, she found herself interested more and more in understanding multiculturalism both within her community as well as a part of her identity. In attempting to better grasp her cultural identity of balancing both the Guatemalan and American aspects of her identity, she joined Latinos In Action. 

Latinos In Action is a community service based elective offered in various high schools throughout the U.S. aimed at developing, encouraging, and engaging young Latinx students through education, leadership, and social advocacy.

She participated in the program for five years from eighth grade through her senior year of high school, during which she was president.

Beginning college at the University of Utah, she initially went in with the idea that she wanted to pursue a degree in business. After her first semester taking entry-level business classes, she quickly found this just wasn’t the exact match. From there, she switched to a communications major with an emphasis in strategic communication. 

This was a simple call for a number of reasons. Firstly, this career path would run in the family as her father has a background in advertising. Secondly, the topics covered and discussions had in communications classes mirrored her interests in analyzing society and culture. Throughout this time she also decided to further pursue an interest in social psychology, a subject she found particularly intriguing since her AP Psych class in high school and made this her minor. 

Now a junior at the University of Utah, she is looking forward to making the most out of her remaining time on campus before graduating from the U in the spring of 2021 with her first bachelor’s degree under her belt. 

While still debating whether or not to attend graduate school right after, she aims to secure a job position at either a PR/advertising firm, or within the media relations departments of larger production companies. She looks to find employment within companies whose core values include promoting positive representations of women and people of color. 

She’s excited to continue growing and learning in both her personal life and career as she navigates the complexities and joys of being an immigrant women of color entering the professional world. 

Taylor Scott



While developing a topic for my enterprise story, I tried to think of topics that would stand out here at the University of Utah. Due to my current affiliations with Greek life on campus, I decided to address the concerns around how Greek life affects students. In order to develop a story idea, I talked with my classmates and they helped me on my decision. I chose to write about how Greek life allows students to become more successful on and off campus.

Due to the popularity of Greek life, I felt that my story will help explain a little bit more of what Greek life entails. I started off by visiting the University of Utah’s Fraternity and Sorority Life website and reaching out to potential interviewees. Without much time I had many members from the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life staff and Interfraternity Council reaching out to me.

Prior to interviewing my sources, I thought that I had already known a good amount about Greek life but I was wrong. I had constructed a long list of questions for the individuals whom I was interviewing in hopes to gather information on every topic I wanted to write about. During the interviewing process I quickly found out that there was a lot of information that I didn’t know about. While interviewing Walker Nasser, it made me think of a plethora of new questions that I was able to use on my next interview. This then led me down different topic paths that added more information to my story than I had ever imagined.

As a result of this experience, I have pushed myself to always dig deeper even when I feel content with my knowledge.


Screen Shot 2019-10-23 at 2.24.55 PMAction sports are what make me.

I grew up in a small surf town in Southern California and spent most of my time surfing, skateboarding, riding dirt bikes, and snowboarding. Growing up I was always busy running around the small town of San Clemente trying to make the most of every hour of sunlight. I was always motivated to be the best at every sport I took part in and competed as much as I could to test my skills. Once it had become time to graduate high school, I decided it was time to try something new.

I decided to ditch sunny California weather for the frigid snowstorms Utah has to offer. I decided to try something new and enroll in the strategic communication major here at the U. Ever since I have been improving upon my writing skills in hopes to become the best at what I do here at school. Growing up I have become aware of the importance of trying your hardest at everything you do, and I have transferred that over to my studies.  


Christopher Stenger



When I heard about this assignment in the beginning of the year, I was very nervous because I have never written a story in an attempt to have it published. I was inspired to write about the electric skateboards and scooters on the University of Utah’s campus because I often ride the electric scooters on campus to get to class when short on time. I also have many friends who have the electric skateboards and ride them every day on campus for transportation. These personal transporters are unique and are improving constantly and help students and faculty get around campus, especially when they’re in a rush.  

However, I do believe these personal transporters are not creating the best image for the U. The electric scooters are being ditched all over campus and not in designated locations like bicycle racks. I think hub locations would really help solve this image. If all the scooters were to have a central or a few spread out smaller hubs on campus, the bad image would disappear and they would actually look more organized. 

Another problem with the electric scooters and skateboards that I believe needs to be discussed is the speed of these devices and the hazard they create when students are walking to class. The sidewalks get crowded on campus and it makes it difficult for these skateboard and scooter riders. People can get seriously injured with these devices going up to 20 mph, when the U’s policy is to not exceed 10 mph. This also applies to bicycles and non-electrically scooters and skateboards. I don’t think I really encountered any problems with writing about this topic, but was surprised with what I learned from my sources on campus. 

I interviewed a few students on campus and was actually surprised with how the people who do not ride these scooters or skateboards don’t really have serious issues with them being on campus, but do agree that hub locations would be very helpful. Lt.  Terry Fritz of the U’s police department was very helpful to interview as he really cares about the U’s students and joined the department right after the tragic deaths of students we had on campus the last two years. He showed a lot of concern for the scooters and skateboards as well as bicyclists and pedestrians. Ginger Cannon, active transportation manager at the U, seems to be on track to have the hubs in the future. In the meantime, we have to be very careful with these devices and those who ride them on campus should try to stay in the bike paths and not the walking sidewalks, including myself.


I have wanted to become a real estate agent and sell homes since I was in high school.

My mother was previously a real estate agent in Pennsylvania before my family moved to Utah in 2017, when my twin brother and I graduated high school. I would often help my mother set up open houses or stage homes and would feel a strong connection to real estate when seeing different unique homes and their interior layouts.   

I grew up in Philadelphia for most of my childhood and was able to see 100-year-old homes as well as 1-month-old homes and saw the different styles of interiors. Whether the house was old, new, large, or small, each house has its own unique feature to it. The difference in the types of houses really intrigued me and made me more interested in real estate as I saw more houses. 

When I am driving around Salt Lake City, I pay attention to the small details of homes I drive past for sale and brainstorm ideas of how they could be improved. It’s important to pay attention to the small details in and out of homes and not just the large ones because it could deter a buyer.  

Currently, I am finishing up the first half of my junior year at the University of Utah. When I came to the U, I started off as pre-business and found myself struggling constantly with my classes and started to lose interest. I found my way to the Department of Communication from a friend who was in the same situation a year ago. I couldn’t be any happier to now be studying strategic communication and to actually enjoy my classes.  

I hope to obtain my real estate license in the next year and to start building my reputation as a licensed agent for future clients or buyers all around the state of Utah. 


Griffin Bonjean



Before I started writing about Simply Açaí, my class was given an assignment to walk around campus and find a topic for a story. I made my way to the Lassonde Studios on campus at the U, and had never seen the açaí trailer before. I decided to ask one of the workers some questions about the business and knew I had found a topic for the assignment. After pitching two separate story ideas to the class, I chose Simply Açaí and the company employees to be the topic and sources for my story. 

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3d0Locating my sources didn’t come with much difficulty. The first time I visited Simply Açaí, Reid Lanigan and Seth Neelman were the two employees working. I asked the two if they would be willing to go on record. Through a reference from Lanigan, I was also able to connect with another employee named Grayson Goodyear to be my final source.

I wanted to interview Neelman because he could give me the best information for my story. As the owner of Simply Açaí, he started the company and had all of these experiences to guide him toward that accomplishment. Lanigan and Goodyear were both qualifying candidates because they answered my questions that I had about business tactics. The process of finding the best sources came straight from the employees at this new company. 

From the beginning I wanted my topic and theme for the story to be focused on the startup of Simply Açaí. What happened before opening and the early stages after opening. This made it easier to focus my interview questions on the company and how it started. This helped me greatly in the writing process.  

My writing process was different for this story. I feel that I usually excel in formatting, but the AP style formatting proved difficult for me. I also have a tendency to write a lot without reading back over what was written. This requires me to make plenty of simple corrections forcing me to give myself extra time to write the material. 

Although my process changed, I truly enjoyed writing this story and experiencing what it is like to write an article. I am glad that I got to write about Simply Açaí and meet some amazing new people. 


I grew up and lived my whole young life in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Participating in as much physical activity as possible was typical for me when I was younger. I started skiing at the age of 3, playing lacrosse at the age of 7, and snowboarding at the age of 8. 

Since the day I watched my first NCAA Lacrosse game, I always dreamed of playing lacrosse at the collegiate level. I was able to make that dream a reality in the spring of 2018 when I signed a letter of intent to play lacrosse at the University of Utah. I played only my freshman year, but I had to take an entire ski season off. Even though I no longer play for the school, it was an amazing experience. 

Although I only knew that I was playing lacrosse freshman year, I had no clue what I wanted to major in. The spring 2019 semester is where I decided I would pursue a major in strategic communication and a minor in business.  

I am currently finishing the first semester of my sophomore year at the U. The knowledge and experiences that I am gaining will hopefully continue to guide me toward graduation and my career in life. I cannot wait to see where these upcoming years take me!