Semester of Stories Concludes

As I head into my winter/holiday break from school, that will conclude my stories from this semester.

Overall, it was a very good learning experience for me. My reporting skills have grown and my writing improved. Being able to write for the Cleveland Stater has given me the opportunity to report on different topics and enhance my ability to create valuable and honest content that will look good in my portfolio.

With that being said, I am eager to relax and enjoy a few weeks away from my busy school and work schedule. Hopefully this time off will make me feel refreshed and ready for the Spring, which will be my last semester as an undergrad.

I am excited to get going on my reporting in January–until then– Happy Holidays!


CSU athletics posts high graduation rates, NCAA report says

The NCAA released its report detailing student-athlete graduation rates across the nation—and Cleveland State posted some numbers above the national average and atop the Horizon League.

Cleveland State athletes posted a multi-year graduation success rate of 94 percent, a single-year graduation success rate of 97.8 percent, and eight of the teams had perfect graduation success rates, according to the report.

Among the eight teams with perfect scores were men’s basketball, men’s tennis, cross country, women’s golf, softball, women’s swimming and diving, women’s tennis and volleyball.

Cleveland State’s 94 percent multi-year graduation success rate was top in the Horizon League.

Cleveland State Athletic Director Michael Thomas said that the high graduation rates for Cleveland State student-athletes results from the commitment to helping students earn a degree and hard work from everyone involved.

“Athletics high graduation rates is consistent with the commitment we make to our prospective student-athletes and their families in making it our top priority to ensure their son or daughter earn a degree,” Thomas said. “Making this a reality at such a high level is a real credit to our academic staff, coaches and student-athletes and reflects their continued dedication and hard work.”

Thomas also said that credit should go to the academic support services that are available for student-athletes at Cleveland state.

“CSU Athletics has tremendous support services which starts with incredible academic advisers who are passionate about the daily and long-term success of Viking student-athletes and play a significant role in each of these individuals earning a degree,” Thomas said. “Viking student-athletes have access to an extremely qualified and committed support staff who work out of academic space in both Woodling Gymnasium and the Wolstein Center.”

Thomas said that these types of graduation rate numbers for athletics start with the head coaches creating a culture of academic importance.

“Having high-achieving academic programs starts with the head coaches and the emphasis they place on student-athletes excelling,” Thomas said. “Establishing a healthy academic-centered culture is reflected not only in high graduation rates and GPAs, but also results in strong retention figures.”

Cleveland State’s 97.8 percent single-year graduation rate is nearly 10 percent higher than the national average. Thomas said that for this trend of student-athlete academic success to continue, athletics must grow areas of importance and continue to bring in people who believe in their mission.

“It starts with hiring personnel, coaches and staff and recruiting prospective student-athletes who believe in our mission to provide an outstanding overall experience and knowing that graduating with a CSU diploma is paramount to making this happen,” Thomas said. “It is imperative we continue to grow with facilities, staff, technology and programming if we hope to sustain a high-level of success in this very important area.”

USA Today article highlights CSU for increase in applications

In a USA Today article published on Oct. 13th, Cleveland State University ranked 43 out of 100 on the list of colleges with the greatest increase in applications.

With a 66.8 percent increase over the past five years, Cleveland State received national recognition by being featured on the list.

As for what sets Cleveland State apart from other schools, Lee Furbeck, Ph.D., Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Cleveland State, said that the school is growing along with the city—and the appeal of going to school in a big city plays a role.

“As the city of Cleveland has been on the rise for the last few years, Cleveland state is coming right along with it,” Furbeck said. “There are a lot of students who are interested in going to school in a city, not out in the middle of nowhere, so that has certainly helped.”

As for the specific growth in applications, Furbeck said that the number has grown substantially in the time since she has joined Cleveland State in 2014.

“I came in February of 2014 and we had 6,256 freshman applications for fall of 2014,” Furbeck said. “Then last year we had 13,352, so that is how we landed on that list.”

Many would believe that the surge in applications would make for a lower acceptance rate and more competitive applications process—but Furbeck said that the school was able to admit and enroll more students as the number of applications grew.

“Our admissions requirements are pretty straight forward and they really haven’t changed during that time period,” Furbeck said. “We are not more selective, the selectivity is about the same actually. We are definitely admitting more students and we are enrolling more students, too.”

Cleveland State was the only public university from Northeast Ohio featured on the list. Furbeck said this is because of the exciting and positive image that the university displays, as well as strong leadership—all the way up to the presidency.

“This has been a very positive and exciting place to be,” Furbeck said. “We have been lucky enough to have great leadership and a stability in the presidency.”

Furbeck said that the strong leadership from the president will only continue now that Harlan Sands has taken over, which gives Cleveland State an edge over other public universities in Northeast Ohio.

“By the looks of it, our new President Harlan Sands is ready to hit the ground running,” Furbeck said. “He is very interested in admissions and enrollment and growing our student body and making Cleveland State even more of a first-choice school. He is very interested in academic reputation and research and those are all really good to see in a new president–and I think that some of the other schools around here maybe haven’t been as lucky with this, at least in the last few years.”

Furbeck said that the national recognition from the story and positive publicity is always a good thing for the university.

“Anytime we get some national recognition in a positive way, then we will take it,” Furbeck said. “I was pleased that CSU was recognized and hopefully some positive publicity will come out of it and more students will want to find out what the big deal is.”

Furbeck said she hopes that the application surge continues, but also realizes that for this to happen, there must be some type of investment of resources to support the growth.

“I think that we are kind of at a point where we have done a lot of good work and we have made a lot of changes, and I think that to take that next leap forward, there may need to be some sort of investment,” Furbeck said. “I mean you can only grow the application numbers, the number of schools you are visiting, and the number of students that you are doing outreach to a certain point with existing resources. If we are going to continue to grow, I think we need to look at what kind of resources need to be put into that effort if we are going to continue on that upward trajectory.”

CSU Athletics release Men’s Basketball promotional schedule

Cleveland State University Athletics has released the promotional schedule for the men’s basketball season with giveaways, cheap eats, student perks, and the return of 216 Hoopy Hour highlighting the list.

For 16 out of the 17 home games, a certain number of fans will receive some type of giveaway– anything from T-shirts to yo-yos to bottle openers. For Brandon Longmeier, assistant athletic director in charge of marketing and promotions, these giveaways are about added value.

“We just want some added value for people,” Longmeier said. “It is ‘What can we do to make it a memorable experience?’”

Not only this, but Longmeier said that some of the promotions directed toward children will help spread the Cleveland State message and get the Viking logo into people’s homes.

“A lot of the giveaways on the weekend are simple things that kids can play around with in their house,” Longmeier said. “Just to know that the Viking logo is on something in their home is important to us to continue to spread that message.”

By popular demand, 216 Hoopy Hour is returning for this season for weekday home games. Two-dollar food items and $1 draft beers are available until tip-off. Longmeier said the return of 216 Hoopy Hour is due to its popularity, but also because it gets people into the arena—and encourages them to spend throughout the game.

“It just gets people into the arena,” he said. “That is what we want. We want them there earlier and we want the players that are warming up to feel that energy pregame rather than just at tip. They’ve found that if people have a beverage before the game, they also will do some stuff during the game.”

Longmeier said that one of the biggest challenges when creating the promotional schedule for the season is trying to compete with the other opportunities that Downtown Cleveland has to offer.

“It is always a challenge knowing that we do have professional sports, we have the theatre district, and there are so many opportunities in Cleveland to take advantage of,” Longmeier said. “We just want to be one of those opportunities for people to take a chance on–and we believe that when they are here, being able to sit in the lower level on top of the basketball action is quite the benefit for what we have to offer.”

As far as student attendance, Longmeier said it is important to head coach Dennis Felton that there is a student presence provides an electric atmosphere.

“Coach Felton is very big into the student body and the atmosphere that a passionate group of students can bring,” Longmeier said.

And if the promotions aren’t enough, Longmeier said he wants the students to know that their support is appreciated—and that they receive two free tickets to each home game.

“We just want them to come out, and we want them to know that they get two free tickets to every home game,” Longmeier said. “We want the students to be a part of it and not just show up, but make noise and enjoy themselves while they are here.”

For students interested in attending home games, a new student entrance—the Medical Mutual gate at 21st and Prospect allows students to swipe their student ID cards to gain admission into the student section.

CSU Volleyball catches steam, wins 8 of last 11

After a shaky start to the season, Cleveland State University Women’s Volleyball is beginning to catch steam, winning eight of its last eleven games.

After losing four straight, their run of success began on the weekend of Sept. 14, in which they won two out of three games. Then, the team really caught fire, winning its next six.

Prior to the six-game win streak, the team was sitting with a .500 record at 6-6.

Sophomore middle hitter, Hannah Greene, said that the team’s mindset has changed since it has been winning.

“We have really picked up our work ethic and our mindset,” Greene said. “We believe in each other and play together, and we have fun while doing it. It makes it a lot easier to win games.”

Greene said that the recent success for the team can be attributed to hard work in practice—and what their coach uses to motivate them.

“We like to go off of an acronym our Coach made up “C.U.B.I.E.  Can you bring it everyday?” Greene said. “We pretty much say this before every practice.”

The CSU Volleyball team is no stranger to success, coming off three-straight Horizon League championships. The adversity of climbing back from a .500 record could stall some teams, but Greene said it has only helped this group.

“It just makes the team closer,” Greene said. “We become a lot stronger together when we truly are pushing and fighting toward being better and pushing for the same goal.”

Expectations for the team are already high, but Greene said they have a bigger goal this year—to make it past the first round of the NCAA tournament, something that Cleveland State’s volleyball team has never done.

“Obviously, another [Horizon League] championship is always the goal but to make it past the first round of the NCAA tournament is one of the many things that has motivated us to better ourselves,” Greene said.

Greene said that having fun while winning is important—and as long as they continue to keep the games fun, the team should continue its success.

“Everyone loves to win but I believe a good win is one that is earned and that was fun to earn. We have had a good amount of those,” Greene said. “I think that is what gives us steam. We love the thrill and the feeling of that.”

When asked if the team is getting hot at the perfect time, Greene’s answer was simple.

“I think every time is a good time to be hot. There is no good time for it–it should be all the time.”


CSU Athletics to introduce new #UniteforGreenandWhite hashtag

Cleveland State University Athletics will introduce its new hashtag, #UniteforGreenandWhite, in the coming weeks.

This news comes after the removal of its original hashtag, #GetOnTheShip, amid complaints over its sensitivity.

Although it has not yet been introduced, Cleveland State’s Chief Marketing Officer Robert Spademan said he is confident it will be used soon and be integrated across all Cleveland State athletics.

“My guess is it’ll be in the next couple of weeks,” Spademan said. “The idea is to use the theme across all our athletic endeavors, all the sports, as we go forward.”

Spademan said he did not want to risk making the hashtag confusing by taking words out and is confident that having “for” and “and” lower case makes it easier.

“We had an internal discussion because my social media guy thought it was too long of a hashtag,” Spademan said. “But to us, if you take the word for out, it loses its meaning. So it’s long but it’s all lower case so it is easier to type.”

Since scrapping the previous hashtag #GetOnTheShip because some students consider it offensive, the marketing team’s approach to creating this one could have been different. But Spademan said, for them, nothing really changed.

“I think it was really the same,” Spademan said. “It was, ‘Okay let’s start over and think about what embodies our athletic program here.’ One of the things that athletics does for a university is sort of bring unity to everybody. It is something that everybody can rally around and be proud of. It speaks to school spirit. When we hit on this, it was like ‘Yeah, that’s it.’ Unite for green and white is really what it’s all about.”

The issue with #GetOnTheShip was less about the ship or hashtag—and more about the Viking mascot itself. When asked about whether or not they avoided the Viking altogether with the new campaign, Spademan didn’t back down.

“No. Not really. The Magnus was another thing we tossed around but the alliteration part [of #UniteforGreenandWhite] we felt very strong about,” Spademan said.

One thing that may have had students excited for the #GetOnTheShip campaign was the real-life ship proposed to be built in the Wolstein Center for basketball games. Although the details haven’t yet been worked out, it appears a new student section is still a possibility.

[Athletics] are working on where [students] sit and so forth. Traditionally that has been behind the north side of the building,” Spademan said. “We may try some different things but that is yet to be worked out with the season still being a few months away.”

Spademan said he believes how the community will react to the new hashtag could depend on how much the teams win.

“We have said this before with athletics,” Spademan said. “When you are winning it makes everything easier. So depending on which sport you are talking about, it should be an easy sell.”






CSU Athletics abandons recently introduced hashtag #GetOnTheShip

Cleveland State University Athletics has decided to abandon the recently introduced hashtag #GetOnTheShip after criticism for its insensitivity.

Cleveland State Athletics introduced the slogan over the summer to create unity and encourage support. Several team’s Twitter accounts would frequently use the hashtag when sending out tweets related to their sport. Graphics of the hashtag and its corresponding logo appeared online and on t-shirts seen around campus.

Cleveland State’s Chief Marketing Officer Robert Spademan noted that the intentions of the new hashtag were to create spirit for Cleveland State’s sport teams.

“The get on the ship thing was intended to be a spirit campaign,” Spademan said. “We have 16 sports here at the campus, so the idea is to create spirit around that and get students involved.”

In an attempt to create excitement and make the Cleveland State basketball games more intriguing for students, the plan was to actually build a ship structure in the Wolstein Center, where fans could watch the game.

“What would have been cool about this is they were going to build like a set in the basketball court that was like a Viking ship and you could hang out there,” Spademan said.

#GetOnTheShip and the physical ship structure in the Wolstein Center would been signs of unity often seen in professional sports. Things like the Cleveland Indians’ use of #RallyTogether, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ #AllIn, or the Cleveland Browns Dawg Pound section of the stadium.

But, after receiving criticism regarding the hashtag’s sensitivity, Cleveland State’s marketing team has decided to get rid of the idea altogether and start over.

“We got feedback from one individual who felt that maybe there is a negative connotation to get on the ship, and then others who said I don’t get it,” Spademan said. “So we decided actually on Friday that we would can it and start over.”

Spademan said that what made people upset might be less about the hashtag and more to do with the Viking mascot itself.

“I’ve been here 11 years and when I came here they had just done this whole Viking thing, and if you study the Vikings, they’re kind of [brutal],” Spademan said. “My whole time here, people at various times have felt like that is the wrong image.”

Despite how much work went into creating the #GetOnTheShip idea and time spent marketing it, the marketing team made the decision to respect people’s feelings about the topic and start from scratch.

“You do these things and sometimes people read other things into them and we’re sensitive to that, so I think we did the right thing,” Spademan said.

More important than the idea itself, the marketing team’s goal is to drive up attendance and to increase students’ involvement in Cleveland State athletics, no matter what the marketing technique is.

“We want to get more kids to our games. In the past, basketball tends to be our big sport and we haven’t had great student attendance,” Spademan said. “Part of the story here is that the university recognizes that and we are trying to create not only school spirit, but drive more school attendance to games. And not just basketball, but all sports.”

Spademan is unsure of exactly what will be the next marketing approach and what it will include, but their goal is to make sure they are sensitive when creating it, so that no one feels uncomfortable or sees it in a negative way,

“We’re going to come up something and hopefully people get it and nobody sees it in any kind of negative way,” Spademan said.