Indiana University Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Kristen Snoddy knows both sides of the story.Wild Bison in Yellowstone National ParkWild Bison in Yellowstone National Park

After talking with Montana rancher Druska Kinkie, she learned how her family’s livelihood is impacted by the wildlife from the nearby Yellowstone National Park. She felt pulled to agree with Kinkie, and others, who want the park services to limit roaming animals to protect their cattle herds.

But then Snoddy witnessed the bison, elk, and wolves wandering free in the majestic setting of the park, and talked to the rangers and environmentalists who fight to protect those animals. She then was drawn to that side of the conflict.

This experience showed her how easy it can be to learn a little about an issue, and form an opinion. Snoddy, a senior lecturer in English at Indiana University Kokomo, plans to challenge her students to become more informed, engaged citizens, who can think critically, consider both sides of an issue, and research intensely before forming an opinion.

“I want to help students understand that you can’t just quickly jump to a conclusion,” Snoddy said. “You have to consider multiple points of view, not just those that agree with yours. Sometimes you learn more from thoughtful consideration of views you disagree with.”

Snoddy and Todd Bradley, associate professor of political science, spent part of their summer learning about politics and conflict resolution in the awe-inspiring setting of the Yellowstone National Park, as part of the “Politics and the Yellowstone Ecosystem,” conference sponsored by the American Democracy Project and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).

Yellowstone, the first national park, is home to hundreds of species of animals, including the oldest and largest public bison herd in the United States, and is a tourist destination for outdoor sportsmen. The livestock and land use have been a source of conflict through the years, with controversy about ownership and use of the land by timber, mining, oil, and gas producers, developers, farmers, ranchers, hunters, business owners, recreational users, and environmentalists. Those attending the conference saw the animals in person at Hayden Valley, the best place to view wildlife in Yellowstone Park, and toured ranches impacted by the area wildlife.

Bradley, who researches and teaches conflict resolution, was interested in how the issues affect both sides of the park conflicts, and how those with different views have worked together to create solutions. For example, national park service leaders have worked to release more wolves back into the park, which has driven more elk onto local ranchers’ lands. The elk can carry diseases to the cattle, impacting their ability to sell their animals and meat.

In many cases, it is not possible to find a solution that both sides agree with 100 percent, so these case studies provide good examples of compromise he can share with his students.

“We had in-depth discussions about how to resolve conflict, especially in the long term,” he said. “It’s impossible to have all sides completely happy, but you can give a little and take a little, and work out an agreement everybody can accept.”

He plans to use what he saw and learned as examples of how the democratic process works, in his Model United Nations and government classes.

“Democracies are messy, and must be as inclusive as possible,” Bradley said. “My students will benefit by knowing that issues that appear to be simple are often more complex when we peel back the layers, especially in a democracy. My being in the park provided an opportunity to hear first-hand accounts, as opposed to what I may have learned in books, on television, or on the internet, which makes the experience all that more interesting and alive.”

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — It might be too early to talk about NAIA national championships or KIAC league titles, but after the IU Kokomo women's volleyball team swept Rochester College in a doubleheader to christen the new Cougar Gym, expectations for the team took a step up. Playing in front of a packed house, the Cougars played the maximum 10 games over the course of two matches to start the season 2-0.

IU Kokomo Gymnasium Opening, Tailgate, and GameMegan Riley watches the Warriors closely. See more pictures on Flickr.

"This was a whole team effort," said first-year IUK head coach Heather Hayes. "It was pretty fantastic. We called on people tonight who didn't have a lot of playing time to come in and serve in crunch time – and they did their job."

The Cougars took game one 21-25, 25-13, 25-19, 16-25, 15-9 and game two 25-20, 22-25, 20-25, 25-17, 15-12.

"It was truly a collective effort and I couldn't be more proud of how deep they had to dig to earn that first victory," said Hayes. "That shows a ton of maturity and heart for such a young team."

Moments after IUK Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke, Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight and Kokomo Schools Superintendent Jeff Hauswald cut the red ribbon to officially open Cougar Gymnasium, IUK freshman Teylor Rains (Martinsville, Ind./Martinsville) launched the first serve through the air and scored the first point on a Rochester error. Unfortunately, that would be the only lead the Cougars would have and the first set in the new gym went to the Warriors.

Set two was a different story. Tied at three, sophomore Megan Riley (New Palestine, Ind./New Palestine) delivered a kill, Kokomo libero Lael Burrus (Denver, Ind./North Miami) fired an ace, freshman Kaley Harness (LaFontaine, Ind./Southwood) followed with a powerful kill and junior Shelby Spall (Kokomo, Ind./Western) blocked a shot. And just like that, the Cougars owned a 7-3 lead and never looked back.

"They all did their job," said Hayes. "The whole team surprised me on how fast they were able to move. Tonight was just a team effort; it took every one of them to pull this out."

The third set started much like the second. Kokomo trailed 5-3 until Rachel Allen (Lizton, Ind./Tri-West) and Harness delivered back-to-back kills to tie the game. With Allen serving, Kokomo scored eight consecutive points to take an 11-5 lead. The Warriors cut the lead to two (14-12), but four straight Rochester faults ended any chance of a comeback and Kokomo led the match 2-1.

"The name of the game tonight was serving," said Hayes. "We played very disciplined tonight; it was great to watch. Serving is the name of our game, and when we lost the games we lost, it was because serving wasn't very good. But we had a talk (during a break) about weak serving, and you see what happened. (The Warriors) fast offense wasn't able to be as conductive against our serve."

Rochester (0-2) won the fourth set with ease to set up a decisive fifth set – much to the delight of the nearly 500 spectators in Cougar Gym. The Warriors scored the first two points and led 7-5 before Allen scored on a kill down the sideline. Rochester faulted to tie the set and Harness provided another kill to give Kokomo the lead. Allen then provided her second long serving string of the night, scoring on six plays in-a-row to give the Cougars a 12-7 lead. Harness and Spall fired a pair of kills for the 13th and 14th points and Micayla Speidel (Columbus, Ind./Columbus East) provided the match winning shot to give Indiana University Kokomo its historic first win in Cougar Gym.

"With what we had coming back and what we recruited, we thought we had a chance to be good this year," said Hayes. "I think we will have our ups and downs – but this was a heck of a way to start."

The Cougars travel to Berea College on Aug. 24 to play matches against the host squad and Tennessee Wesleyan. They return home to Cougar Gym on Aug. 29 for a 4 p.m. match against Point Park University.

Story by Dean Hockney, publisher, Sports Journal of Central Indiana, for Indiana University Kokomo.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Cougar fans packed the tailgate party and grand opening of Indiana University Kokomo's new gymnasium on Wednesday (August 21), with more than 350 people gathered to celebrate the campus' historic milestone.

IU Kokomo Gymnasium Opening, Tailgate, and GameThe "Cougar Crazies" cheer on the volleyball team. See more pictures on Flickr.

Students, athletes, fans, community supporters, faculty, and staff showed their Cougar pride as the official cutting of the ribbon took place at the Cougar Gym, located at Apperson Way and Superior Street in downtown Kokomo. The first women's volleyball game of the season followed the festivities.

"Now we have a home," said Brian Arwood, student body president. "The location is perfect because it's close to campus, and there are other things to do downtown before and after the games. That's great for us, and it's great for the city."

Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke cut the ribbon alongside Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight and Kokomo Schools Superintendent Jeff Hauswald, whose partnership made the gym a reality.

"We couldn't be more happy and more proud," Sciame-Giesecke said. "Tonight is about saying thank you for all the support we've received from our community."

The opening of the gym was a homecoming for the athletes, who are excited to practice and play on their own home court.

Junior Lael Burrus joined the volleyball team in its first year, and was thrilled to open her third season in the new gym.

"It's awesome," she said. "I didn't think we would get our own gym while I was still here, so I am grateful and thankful."

Many of the basketball team members cheered in the Cougar Crazies student section, and look forward to their turn playing in front of the home crowd.

Jerome Campbell, a sophomore, said he is proud to call it his home court.

"This is better than anything I could have imagined," he said. "It's going to be a great place for all our athletes. We're just so glad to have someplace to call our own."

The gym is part of Kokomo's historic Memorial Gym, a legend among Indiana athletic facilities. Sciame-Giesecke partnered with Goodnight and the city council members and Hauswald and his school board members to convert the former swimming pool into a college regulation basketball court.

She recognized both men, and their boards, for their vision and dedication to the campus.

"This partnership model, between IU Kokomo, the City of Kokomo, and Kokomo Schools, is being talked about all over the state," she said. "They knew we had a great start to our athletic program, but we needed a home. We wouldn't have a gym without these people. We have one because they believe in us."

Hauswald said school officials had talked about using the former swimming pool as a storage area, or about demolishing it, so he and the school board were happy to find a way to repurpose it to benefit the community. He likes the idea of Kokomo's student athletes practicing right next door in Memorial Gym.

"I'd like to see our students build relationships with IU Kokomo, and maybe become Cougars after they've been Wildkats."

Goodnight was pleased to partner with the campus and school to provide a benefit to the entire community, and commended his city council.

"It is an honor to partner with such innovators," he said. "We are very fortunate to have people who work together to do what is best for the community."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo invites all Howard County women for a morning of networking, inspiration, and discussion of the issues they face.

Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke will host the inaugural Howard County Women's Summit, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 14, in Alumni Hall. The theme is Thrive, Empower, Advance (TEA), Not Your Average Cup.

T.E.A. LogoT.E.A."I initiated this project because I believe IU Kokomo needs to play a leadership role in facilitating community conversation around important issues," she said. "I look forward to meeting women from all walks of life, who are invested in making Howard County a better place to live, work, and play."

The event begins with breakfast and a vendor fair, followed by a presentation from motivational speaker and humorist Suzie Humphreys. Attendees will meet in small groups and talk about issues challenging women and families in the area.

"Our goal is to identify one or two of these issues we can tackle in the next year," Sciame-Giesecke said. "We also want to provide a chance to network with and support one another."

She thanked the Community Foundation of Howard County for supporting the summit.

Admission is $15, and each person who registers may bring a friend for free. To register, go to

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.