Learn to love yourself with the Spreading Beautiful Body Summit

Ryan BallweberIf you are like me, or anyone else in the world, you may have struggled with some body issues in the past. For almost all my life there has been that little voice in my head that tells me that I am too fat, too skinny, too ugly and so on.

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You could imagine my excitement when I read about the Spreading Beautiful campaign. The Spreading Beautiful Body Summit is the brain child of the one and only, Katie Quinn. Katie Quinn had the idea of the body summit when she was in middle school. When she started working with Ally Initiatives, she realized her dream could come true.

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Katie Quinn, UW-Stout Ally Initiatives

“I thought it would be really cool if there was a place where everyone was taught how to love themselves and counter the voices in their heads telling them that they aren’t good enough.”

The Spreading Beautiful Body Summit is a half day workshop that was started last year. The purpose of the summit is to help eliminate bad body image, because all bodies are beautiful.

When I went to the summit last year, I was incredibly moved. The most powerful moment that sparked a change in how I thought about myself was one of the large group activities.

We stood in a circle in the room, and then we stepped forward if the statement that was read out loud resonated with us. Being intimate with others and seeing that I was not the only one to feel these ways was really moving. It really started a complete change in my thought process. The rest of the summit involved how to start to change how you feel, and also how to help others through tough times.

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This year there are some exciting new plans for the summit!

This year there will be a keynote speaker, Amber Krzys. Amber Krzys is the founder of the bodyheart campaign, Ted Talk presenter, and has been on Broadway.

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Amber Krzys, keynote speaker

Another change to come this year is the fact that the summit will NOT have a focus on any gender. This summit will be focused on everyone and anyone who identifies in any way and to help them find their beauty within and to help them with their struggles with body image.

To register follow the link below:


To purchase tickets visit http://uwstout.universitytickets.com/user_pages/event.asp or stop by the service center in the lower level MSC.

You must register by February 29th, so get you tickets now!

Dog Lovers: Let’s Walk

BDDPhotosBenAlmost everyone has a four-legged friend they care about. Even if it’s not yours, spending time with animals can put a big smile on anyone’s face. I was recently fortunate to get to spend some time with my friend’s dog named Belle. She is 7 years old and tends to snort all the time, which I found rather amusing.


Having a dog in town can be tough if your backyard doesn’t have a fence, and most of us students don’t even have yards. Conveniently for the residents of Menomonie, there happens to be an off leash dog park just west of town, over the river.

This dog park is quite the place. It has a very large loop for walking your prized pooch about, and a separate area for small dogs (less than 25 lbs). Both are fenced in, of course. From my experiences at places like this, the dogs love it.


While at the park, you will be able to socialize with other dogs, and it also happens to be conveniently located about 20 feet from the Brickyard Disc Golf course. The recent spring-like weather really makes being outside pleasant again, and heading over to the dog park is a fantastic way to enjoy the change of the season. Be sure to clean up after your dogs!

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A.M. Stryker Strikes Stout’s Stage

Annalise MarkTravis Collins, or A.M. Stryker, was the opener for the folk music themed Thursday night out last night with Blue Devil Productions. Travis is a familiar face here on campus, as he is the bass player of the band We are the Willows, who were here back in 2014. I had a chance to sit down with Travis before the show to get to know him and his music.


Travis has been playing music for 20 years, spending a predominate amount of time playing with We are the Willows and running a record label, Homestead Records. The side project of A.M. Stryker began after We are the Willows put out their most recent record. Travis had some of his own ideas “kicking around” in his head and decided to make an album.

A.M. Stryker’s music style is inspired by the guitarist, John Fahey. Travis comments, “I’m a big fan of John Fahey, I don’t know if you know who that is… He’s sort of like an Americana, steal instrumental guitar player.” Travis continues, “I lived overseas for a while and the four records I brought were his, so I just dug into his picking style. I wrote a lot of instrumental stuff and then it kind of turned into the songs that are on my first record.” Travis was studying literature in Dublin while simultaneously infusing his music with inspirations of his surroundings, along with Fahey.

Travis comments, “That was the start of the project and it just became something else entirely. It was going to be some instrumental stuff, some instrumental stuff paired with writing and then it ended up being songs.”

Travis talks about his music in comparison to We are the Willows. “My stuff is fun to play, but it’s a whole other animal,” says Travis. “Not playing with a full band, its playing things that are way more personal.” He continues, “It’s like playing tennis as opposed to playing baseball or a team sport. You get out on the field in a team and you’re like ‘Alright, if I mess up or if something happens to me, not everyone will notice. It’s not all on me and not quite all about my skill’, but with tennis it’s like, if you mess up it’s all on you. It’s not so much about messing up either- you always mess up, it doesn’t matter. It’s more so of the personal aspect of it. It’s just you, it’s your life that you’re putting out there.”

Travis writes his music about things going on in his life, giving it a purpose for him. He comments, “Music that is just there and doesn’t serve a purpose for anyone or the artist themselves… you can tell. It’s like, ‘what is this?’ Incorporating his life’s moments into his music gives him a way to write about things happening in his life, giving a reason for what he makes.

A.M. Stryker makes its way around Minneapolis playing shows. One of Travis’ favorite things is getting inspired by other artists in runs into while on tour with especially We are the Willows.

Okay so I have to ask, the big current debate is- duck duck gray duck or duck duck goose?  

Travis: “Oh, duck duck gray duck.”

Me: “Everyone from Wisconsin that I talk to here always says goose.”

Travis: “It’s not even a question at all. It’s gray duck.”

Now that everyone can sleep better knowing the true answer to the childhood riddle is gray duck, Travis extends his gratitude for playing at UW-Stout and looks forward to putting out new music.

The opening band, Harbor and Home, wasn’t available for an interview, but we got some great photos.

Keep on rockin’ Stout!

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Two Hat Games; Developers on a Mission

Eric KrauseI visited the game design and development project team known as Two Hat Games while they presented their semester project to their classmates and faculty. The team showed off their noir mystery game, “Building 37” while their instructors gave them feedback.


This is a very valuable part in the game design process, as it allows the team to narrow their focus to specific parts of the project. After Two Hat’s presentation, I interviewed the four team leaders.


Left to right: Two Hat Game team leaders William Folk, Austin Stewart, Jeremy Rodgers and Adam Toth

What exactly are your roles in the whole game design process?

Jeremy: I have multiple jobs, that’s why we’re Two Hat Games because everyone has two jobs. I’m a programmer as well as the lead design and I specialize in narrative. What I did was write out the story for the game, and I’ve been testing it. Also, I am in charge of hiring voice actors, putting subtitles in the game, and making sure everything fits together.

Austin: I’m the lead programmer. A lot of what I do is make sure that the game is actually working.

Adam: As the art lead, I really focus on [organizing] the artists because, as creative types, everyone wants to do their own thing. So I work a lot with Will on solidifying the art style we want to go for. So I make sure that everyone is following that same style.

William: I am the lead game designer focusing on the mechanics.


Can you describe general theme and vision behind “Building 37?”

Jeremy: The general theme of the game is a noir, science-fiction, mystery where you play as a private detective who has been sent to out to investigate the mystery behind a disappearance that happens to be part of a larger incident that had happen sixteen years before. Then you, as the main character, arrive at the ground zero site where the incident happened, and discover a large underground facility that has all these weird devices. Things don’t seem as they’re supposed to be and everything is shrouded in mystery.

Have there been any games that have served as an inspiration for Building 37?

Jeremy: – Gone Home is mentioned a lot

Adam: Gone Home, when it comes to the exploration, serves as an inspiration. The Wolf Among Us was an inspiration when it came to the art style. This comic book art style allowed us to have a stark contrast in light, which is a huge theme in noir. Also, the comic book feel gave us the freedom to poke fun at things but still have a dark tone.

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What aspects of the project are you most proud of?

Austin: For me, the part I really enjoy the most would have to be the backend stuff — making sure saving and loading works. Just the fact that it does work is exciting, because we have hundreds of different [components] and the fact that they’re working coherently in one system, in one game. I’m just like, yes!

William: I like it when we do these play tests and the best thing is when we see the player figure it out on their own. When they love a puzzle and have that ah-ha moment — I think that’s the best, especially for puzzle games. It helps encourage us and let us know we are on the right track. It reminds us why we are making this game.

Austin: In one of our previous play tests, we had these boxes and people would just stack them. They’d just stack these boxes to see how high they could get it. For a little bit I was like why? I hate these people. But then they were enjoying and loving the game and I’m like, I love you!


Are there any aspects of the game that you are looking forward to finishing?

Austin: (Jokingly) Everything.

Adam: From the artist stand point we’ve been working a lot in the rooms. The next big step we are taking is adding all the textures, colors, and look for everything. It’ll go from this washed out grey to, all of the sudden, these saturated colors. Being able to see that, in all the rooms, in a finished environment, is a huge reward.

Austin: These guys are excited to get it done to see it. I’m just excited to be done because I’m sick of it. There’s a saying that goes around all the time in game development that the last ten percent of a game will take ninety percent of your time. And it’s just so. We have all these bugs and I just want them to go away.

Adam: It’s just one of those things where once you fix one thing, you’ve broken three other things.



What are your guys’ favorite games?

Jeremy: – Dead Space is defiantly one. I love that trilogy and the story behind it. I’m a big narrative guy, I like a really good story, and I want to be able to get invested in a game. I also like the basic titles like Call of Duty and Mortal Kombat.

Adam: As of recently ,Wolf Among Us is one of my favorite games. Firewatch just came out and I love that. That’s a huge narrative game. It’s interesting how in high school I was more into action-oriented games and things like that, but now in college I’m like narrative all the way.

Austin: I really like racing games for some reason. I hate them in practice but in playing them, they’re fantastic. I also like puzzle games. The Witness just came out and I dropped forty bucks on it and haven’t looked back.


You can expect to play Building 37 on April 27th on PC and Mac. To keep up on the game until it’s out you can head over to Two Hat Game’s blog. You can also head over to their home site at building37.com. Also follow them on Twitter @TwoHatGames and like Two Hat Games on Facebook.

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Kevin Breel: Comedian, Mental Health Advocate

Andrew KleiberKevin Breel, a comedian, writer and mental health advocate, was on campus Tuesday night to speak about mental health. The Counseling Center held the free event in the Memorial Student Center Great Hall.

Kevin spoke about his experiences with depression and how he handled his situation. His story is truly moving and gives hope to anyone battling not just depression, but any mental illness. He is well known for hisTED talk called “Confessions of a Depressed Comic.”

Being a part of a diverse community means that we’re all likely to at least interact with someone with a mental illness, whether it’s depression, anxiety, eating disorder or addiction. So I asked Kevin what advice he had for someone dealing with a mental illness.

“To start, you have to be honest and be able to talk about it. After that it’s just figuring out what help looks like to you. For some people its counseling or exercise. For other people it’s getting together with close friends for conversation. It’s different for everyone, but I just think that finding a way to connect to something or to other people is really healthy.”


Kevin put on a great job show. He, in turn, had a some good things to say about his audience. “Everyone was so positive and kind. They really connected to my show and were so honest and open. And that’s the kind of thing that keeps me moving forward.”


The Counseling Center welcomes any student who would like some help or guidance and their services are free to enrolled students. Their number is (715) 232-2468. They are located in Bowman Hall and host other events throughout the year. You can check them out online at www.uwstout.edu/counsel.

See you next time Stout!


Dance-A-Thon: Dancing for a cause

Shannon HoytOn February 19 from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., the UW-Stout fraternity, Pi Lambda Phi, Swing Club and Dance Ensemble co-sponsored a Dance-A-Thon to raise money for two foundations.

“We were approached by some of the leaders of Pi Lambda Phi,” said Meghan Olson, representative from Swing Club. “[The Dance-A-Thon] is something that they do on other campuses in the U.S. and it’s gotten to be really successful.”



Over $1,700 dollars was raised for the foundations, The Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and the Elimination of Prejudice.

Just Dance!

The event took place in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center, where the floor was cleared for swing dancing, Zumba and freestyle. Dancers of all kinds hit the floor, shaking, jumping and spinning for a cause.

Two screens lit up the back of the room, presenting quotes, information about the foundations, and a schedule for the night.



Pi Lambda Phi

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Pi Lambda Phi is a UW-Stout fraternity that focuses on community service and other activities. They strive to be, in their own words, the gentlemen of UW-Stout. Alex Schuette, member of the fraternity, explained that the organization aims to enrich students academically and to achieve a higher level of leadership qualities.


Learn more about how you can get involved with projects, charities and campus events like the Dance-A-Thon at www.uwstout.edu/involvement.

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