Painting with a Twist

The traditional carving of the jack-o-lantern took on a whole new colorful twist. On Oct. 25 in SAB Green, First Year Experience hosted their second annual Pumpkin Painting event.

The host of the event, Senior Jesus Santana said, “It started out as an idea, painting instead of carving like what the dining hall does.”

The political science major mentioned that he was surprised at the much larger turnout (100+) than last year, saying it was due to the larger freshmen classes.

“It’s for students to be creative and participate in a fun interactive Halloween event,” said Alicia Hall, a sophomore and criminal justice major who was co-hosting with Santana.

The two-hour painting event started with 120 pumpkins and was on a grab and go basis.

The students’ art ranged from colorful patterns, creative Halloween themes, well-known cartoon characters, and surprisingly Renaissance sculptures.

Junior and Sports Business Major, Mary Redmond explained what drew her to the event, “I was done with classes for the day and saw the tents for the event, I wanted to do something fun and colorful.”

Jose Baez-Deleon said he was so eager to come to the event that he came too early and waited for it to start. His fun glow-in-the-dark pumpkin painting was inspired by “Monsters Inc.” character, Mike Wazowski and is perfect for Halloween use.

Senior, Jahiedy Vinas utilized her pumpkin as the perfect canvas; her painting was modeled after Michael Angelo’s “La Pietà.”

“I’ve never painted like this before and wanted to try my favorite image,” said English major, Vinas.

Pumpkin Painting was a success, leaving no blank pumpkins in sight. Students happily took a well-spent break from their studies to paint in honor of the Halloween festivities and the spirit of the holiday itself.

“Pumpkin Painting was only step one in terms of campus Halloween events,” stated Santana. “This was to hype up the much bigger event (and maybe even recycle leftover pumpkins) to the Haunted Marmion.”

Santana invites all students to Resident Life’s Haunted Marmion on Thursday, Oct. 27. First Year Experience will be co-hosting the Haunted Marmion; providing games, costumes, and hospitality while Resident Life is responsible for jump scaring.


Halloween for Weenies

This will be your one and only guide to keeping up with the ever-changing Halloween trends, because we all know how hard it can be to keep up each year!

1. Buy anything and everything that looks like a pumpkin, smells like a pumpkin, and has the word pumpkin in it (and I mean everything).

2. Binge watch every Halloweentown movie and get angry when you notice that they replace Kimberly J. Brown with Sarah Paxton as Marnie in the fourth movie, Return to Halloweentown.

3. Wear black lipstick all month and if you already do that, then you’re on the right track.

4. Make sure you dress up as a black cat or a white bunny. They’re original yet classic so you will be sure to stand out.

5. If these costumes don’t interest you, your next best thing is to dress up as anything that is a humorous pun. It’s important that people ask you what your costume is and for you to take at least 10 minutes explaining it.

6. Let your friends pressure you into going to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal or Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens even though you hate it. Just make sure to wear a diaper.

7. Only go to parties where you can bob for apples, because who doesn’t love sticking their face in a barrel of spit?

Follow these seven steps and you will be sure to stand out and be a trendsetter among your friends this Halloween!

Clearly You

On Oct. 11, several students became a shining piece of art. As a representative from “Clearly You Crystals,” Sean Medina said he travels nine out of twelve months of the year, to various universities and various events to share the process of making memories “crystal clear.”

In between the hours of 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, students lined up to get a 3-D image of their faces either engraved in a crystal cube or a crystal key chain. Students had the option of either or, and the key chains even lit up.

“As a freshman, I love that Saint Leo has all these on-campus programs. Last week I got a customizable phone stand, and this week I got a crystal cube with my face in it! I use mine as a paper weight, and it’s a cute decorative piece for my desk,” said Tatum Anthony, a freshman.

In the middle of the SCC boardrooms, Medina assembled his sub-surfacing laser engraver, a fairly big machine. In front of a “Clearly You Crystals” backdrop was a little pop-up stool for students to sit on while their picture was taken. Once the student sits down, the sub-surfacing laser engraver took a 3-D scan of the students face from the back of the ears to the tip of the nose.

Within a few seconds after an image was taken, the process began. The machine used a laser to engrave the crystal. When the two laser beams came into contact with each other, it created a pulse. From standing beside the machine, one could see the orange beams of light, which were the pulse. The pulse itself was a small controlled explosion, fracturing and breaking the crystal glass from the inside 250,000 times to compose the image.

Troy Hunt, a freshman, said, “the clear crystal cube is amazing. I love the way the cube came out and the experience was interesting and was something I have never done before.”

It took a total of 3 minutes for the machine to laser engrave an image into a crystal cube, and it took approximately 30 seconds for the machine to laser engrave an image into a key chain.

Vanessa Reid, a sophomore said, “it was very intriguing, I have always wondered how they put people’s faces and different images into the crystal. My crystal cube looks exactly like me. It’s a mini-me! I definitely have something to give to my mother for Christmas.”

Many students seemed fascinated by the experience. Vanessa Reid had a smart idea, if students didn’t have a Christmas gift for a family member, then Tuesday was the perfect time to get one.  

Fright or Flight: Why Thrill Seekers like being Scared

Most people plan on wandering through a pitch-black haunted house or watching a nail-biting horror movie during the month of October, especially in honor of Halloween. Some people’s addiction to fright can be dissected using expert opinions.

People’s enthrallment with horror and fright is evident in the fact that Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights has become the theme park’s signature attraction for now 26 years. Although the park does not release official attendance figures, Fox News experts estimate an extra 600,000 guests attend the park during the extended hours to get scared.

“The appeal of evil drives the $500 million haunted-attraction industry and $400 million at the box office for horror films each year,” states The Haunted House Associations.

Frank Farley, Ph.D. and former president of the American Psychological Association, explains our morbid curiosity in fright during an interview with Apex Magazine, “Through movies we’re able to see horror in front of our eyes, and some people are extremely fascinated by it.”

“Another perspective is Freud’s Thanatos or death drive theory, which relates to a general fascination with death violence and aggression,” said Dr. Antonio Laverghetta Ph.D. and psychology professor. “By seeing it in films and wanting to experience it first hand in the haunted house, it’s sort of like a modeling effect.”

“In terms of biology, the amygdala is the particular part of the brain related to learning and fear. It is a tiny almond-shaped structure deep in the brain connected to other structures, such as the frontal lobes and the cortex,” said Laverghetta. “The amygdala plays a role in recognizing fear in coordination with the outer part of the brain, the cortex, which is used for decision-making.”

According to Business Insider, Psychology Professor Abigail Marsh of Georgetown University describes in depth how the brain physiologically processes fear:

That signal travels to the amygdala (located near the base of the brain.) The amygdala fires off a chemical called glutamate into two other brain regions. The first will cause an automatically freezing or jumping response to being scared, while the signal is sent deep in the brain’s base. The second signal is sent to the hypothalamus and triggers the autonomic nervous system. This section of the nervous system is responsible for the fight or flight instinct- the elevation of heart rate, blood pressure, and pumping of adrenaline through the body, causing the rush felt experiencing fear.

When Laverghetta was asked why people like being scared, he responded using the theory of classical conditioning in terms of physiological responses: “Being scared causes elevations in dopamine and adrenaline levels in response to the stimulus, which produces an addicting and rewarding feeling; it’s a lot like riding a roller coaster.”

This explanation goes along with Farley’s studies of people who thrive on riding roller coasters: “there’s almost nothing else, including sex, that can match it in terms of the incredible sensory experience that the body is put through.”

To summarize the stages of fear, the first evolutionary response is to freeze and stay hidden from the sensed predator; second, the adrenaline coursing through the veins is the instinct to escape that danger; third, if running away is not an option, the adrenaline aids in mustering up the strength to fight off the predator.

However, if there is not any real life danger, the body reverses the response to fear with the parasympathetic nervous system. This system changes the adrenaline flow and lowers the heart rate. This is the reason behind the reaction to a jump-scare during a scary movie is after the brain recognizes the threat is not real, the parasympathetic nervous system calms the body down.

“In the James-Lange theory, physiological arousal makes you scared … For example, if you see a bear in the woods your initial response is to run,” explained Laverghetta regarding one of the many different philosophies that can explain why people like being scared. “Lange’s theory differs in that the physiological arousal of running – the adrenaline rush is what makes you afraid.”

Also, according to Advocate Health News, Glenn Sparks, Ph.D., a communications professor at Purdue University, further explains the need for people to expose themselves to horror:

“It’s not that they enjoy being scared, but they get great satisfaction from being able to say that they conquered and mastered something that was threatening,” said Sparks. “They enjoy the feeling that they made it through … At the end of a terrifying movie, an individual may walk out of the theater with a profound sense of relief.”

People expose themselves to horror through the indirect fright in films and direct fright in haunted houses because of they enjoy the release of built up tensions.

Also, people use movies as a vicarious way to escape from the daily stress of life.

“If you look back through history, horror tends to be popular when there is stress in the population,” said Leonard Pickel, owner of Hauntrepreneurs Themed Event Consulting, as an alternative perspective of the allure of horror in an interview with Advertising Age. “When the economy is bad, stress levels are high, people are having trouble, their future is uncertain — that tends to increase the interest in horror and apocalyptic entertainment. It’s an adrenaline rush.”

This underlying stress explains the raised interest in shows like “The Walking Dead,” “Penny Dreadful,” and “American Horror Story,” as well as increased attendance at scary Halloween attractions like “Halloween Horror Nights.”

“It could be a combination of all of those things to explain why thrill seekers like fear,” said Laverghetta. “The thrill and adrenaline rush of danger can be reinforcing and rewarding; seeing these things can be a vicarious way to experience them; and it can relieve tension by escapism.”

Essentially, experts believe that it is common for individuals to push their nervous systems to the edge, seeing how much they can tolerate fear, and feel a sense of satisfaction after enduring the anxiety.

Photos of the Week

Thrice for Men, Second Title for Women

On Oct. 22, the Saint Leo Cross Country teams participated in the Sunshine State Conference Championships in Melbourne, Fla. Both the Men’s and Women’s teams won the competition. For the Men, it was the third consecutive title while the Women won for the second time in the school history. The Lions also captured the individual titles for both Men and Women for the fourth and third consecutive year, respectively.

The meet was held by the Florida Institute of Technology at the Wickham Park. It began with the Men’s team, who competed against each other on an 8K long course which consisted of 3 even loops. Six teams, which accounts for 54 individuals, finished the race.

A Junior from Florida Southern College, Bobby Ormsby, paced the pack from the very beginning. The runner had about a 100-yard lead over the rest of the competitors after the first loop. Beginning the second loop, Freshman Ronald Cheserek began his chase and managed to close the distance, leaving his opponent a few seconds behind his back.

Cheserek managed to win the race with a time of 24:24.79, which is a new Sunshine State Conference record. The previous record of 24:26.43 had been set in 2010 by Ben Martucci of Florida Southern College.

Cheserek is the fourth Lion to become the SSC individual champion after two graduates, Carl Dunne (2013) and Valentin Lenz (2015), as well as Senior Niclas Bez, (2014) who finished the race in seventh, clocking the time of 25:11.59.

The points of the first 5 runners count towards the final result, and the Lions managed to place all of them in the top 15. Consequently, the Lions won the competition scoring 30 points while Florida Southern College was second with 41 points, and Nova Southeastern was third with 64 points. The remaining three Lions who scored the points were Senior Rafal Matuszczak in third place, Junior Anthony Deleva in fourth place, and Junior Joe Fuller in fifteenth place.

When asked about the Lions’ tactics for the race, Head Coach Kent Reiber said: “On the Men’s side, we wanted to go out and compete with Florida Southern College, who we thought would give us the most challenge for the title. We are a veteran squad you could say, with only 1 underclassmen in the top 5, so we were comfortable with any race scenario that was thrown at us.”

The Saint Leo Women’s team, who competed at a 6K long course immediately after the Men, nearly duplicated the Men’s results. The Lions won the competition with a score of 28 points while Junior Colett Rampf captured her third consecutive individual title, winning the race with a 39-second lead over the next runner. Rampf finished the race with a time of 20:26.67.

“Based on the past year’s experiences, I knew that this race would go out slower than our usual races…Around the first mile, I started to push a little bit to actually start the race. Several girls responded and followed me for a bit,” said Rampf after the race.

During the first loop Rampf was challenged by Tampa’s Claudia Cancello. Nevertheless, beginning the second loop, which was the final one for the women, Rampf decided to start her attack, and she began to increase her lead with every move.

“Around the second mile, I started to get a bigger gap between me and the next runner behind me. After I had reached a comfortable gap, my coach told me to slow down and just finish the race. Overall I think it was a good race tactic and at the end it worked out well and was able to safe myself for the upcoming races,” said Rampf.

Junior Alyssa Bayliff also managed to pass Cancello, and she finished the race second with a time of 21:05.64. All the Lions’ scoring runners were placed in the top 12, with Sophomore Laura Tobin finishing fifth, Junior Laura Tobin finishing eighth, and Senior Natalie McCormick finishing twelfth.

“For the women, the goal was to go out there and compete like we have been throughout the year. We wanted to be aggressive in the second half of the race, but maintain a tight pack into the finish,” said Reiber.

Even though the second team, University of Tampa, placed all their scoring runners in the top 15, they scored 55 points which was 27 points more than the Saint Leo Women’s score. Florida Southern College completed 102 points which gave them third place.

“We knew the women just needed to run the same way as the men and the same way they have all season. We wanted our women to run together as much as possible so that we could win a conference title,” said Callahan.

Even though both men and women captured the SSC titles, the task is getting more difficult every year. “Over the last 5 years the SSC is getting much more competitive, and from a coaching/recruiting standpoint it’s tough. We always find ourselves thinking outside of the box to find our next potential championship recruit,” said Reiber.

The performance might have a positive impact on the regional rankings. Currently, the Women are ranked as number one in the South region, and the conference title might allow them to be ranked in the top 25 in the national ranking.

The men who are currently ranked as number three also have the potential to jump up in the ranking. “The Men’s rankings could change after Florida Southern had been ahead of Saint Leo’s men throughout the season. Lee who is first in the region is a great team that we will have to compete within two weeks,” said Callahan.

Both the teams will come back to action on Nov. 4 to participate in the regional championships. Similarly, to last year, the race will be hosted by Saint Leo at the Abbey Golf Course. The regional championships will be the qualifying race for the national championships which, for the first time in Saint Leo history, will also be hosted by Saint Leo two weeks later.