Martin Luther King Day

Ames Middle School held a celebration for Martin Luther King Day. David Harris, senior associate at Iowa State University’s Athletic Department talks about what the day means to him. People of all ages and races gather to remember the man widely known for his leadership during the Civil Rights Movement.

Iowa Caucus 2012

A supporter of Mitt Romney takes a picture while Romney shakes hand and signs books after his speech at Competitive Edge, Clive, IA. Romney met with his supporters the night before the Iowa Caucus to talk about the causes and believes that he supports.
Ann Romney hugs a friend while on her way out after Mitt Romney's speech, Tuesday, Jan. 2, at Competitive Edge, Clive, IA.
Mitt Romney pauses during his speech as his supporters cheer and clap in support of him, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2012 at Competitive Edge, Clive, IA.
Sen. John Thune introduces Mitt Romney to his supporters, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2012 at Competitive Edge, Clive, IA.
Tagg Romney and his brothers hand out signs to supporters before Romney's speech, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2012 at Competitive Edge, Clive, IA.
A high school student and her classmates wait for Mitt Romney's arrival, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2012 at Competitive Edge, Clive, IA.
Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania senator and Republican presidential candidate smiles while his supporters cheer for him during his Iowa caucus victory party, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2012 at Stoney Creek Inn, Johnston.
Rick Santorum's supporters clap in agreement while Santorum gives a speech on stage, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2012 during his Iowa caucus victory party at Stoney Creek Inn, Johnston. Santorum came to close to Mitt Romney, losing by eight votes during the Iowa caucus.
Kathy Carley, 64, of Des Moines checks for live updates of the voting while reporting on the tv goes into commercial during Santorum's Iowa caucus victory party, Wednesday, Jan. 3, at Stoney Creek Inn, Johnston.
Zoey McCarty, 5, holds up a sign in support during Rick Santorum's Iowa caucus victory party Tuesday, Jan. 3, at Stoney Creek Inn in Johnston. Her family drove all the way from Texas to Des Moines to support Rick Santorum.
Brian Burch, of Chicago, checks his phone for the latest update on the voting results while waiting for Rick Santorum to appear during his Iowa caucus victory party Tuesday, Jan. 3, at Stoney Creek Inn in Johnston.

Winter is coming

While I was working for the Iowa State Daily, I remembered that on big snow days, I would be out shooting feature photos.  I always underestimate the cold in Iowa. Two layers of gloves, a coat, a sweater, a hoodie and a beanie are not enough to keep me warm. Although I’m not a big fan of the short days and long nights, I’m looking forward to shooting in the cold again. Maybe this time I’ll be smarter. 🙂


Updates on Flickr!

I just updated my Flickr page with photos from today’s Tar Sands rally.

I really do enjoy rallies that involve a huge amount of singing, chanting slogans and friendly people. I also like that students and people my age are out, trying to change the world.

One of the best slogans that I heard today is “There is nothing like the power of the people, because the power of the people don’t stop.”

I felt very overwhelmed when I heard this, because thoughts about Malaysia came flooding into my head. The rally that happened in Malaysia early July came into my mind. The power of the people. We had thousands of people on the streets crying for change, and that is the power of the people.

But is the government listening to our cries or to their own greed?

Malaysian Muslim community gathers to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr

Siti Sabtu-Schaper, ISU administrative specialist, greets Siti Noridah Ali, graduate in curriculum and instruction, during the Eid ul-Fitr celebration Saturday, Sept. 11 at SUV Community Center.

By Karuna Ang,

The month of Ramadhan ended Thursday, Sept. 9, and it marks the beginning for Eid ul-Fitr, which goes on for three days. Two days later, the Malaysian Muslim community gathered at the SUV Community Center to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr. People from Iowa City, Des Moines, Polk City and other different parts came to Ames for the celebration.

Nurhidayah Azmy dressed her daughter, Nur Fatimah Ahmad, in new clothes and new shoes Saturday morning. The Malaysian Muslims wore the traditional Malay outfits for the celebration. The traditional Malay outfits are usually colorful and have a lot of details in it. They are also usually worn during religious occasions.

Usually before meals, events or celebrations begin, it is a traditional thing for them to pray. Known as “doa” in Malay, they ask for blessings from God. All sorts of traditional Malay food like rendang ayam — a spiced dish using blue ginger, ginger, garlic, cili and lemon grass — were served. A lot of Malaysians enjoyed the taste of authentic Malaysian food.

It was also a time for people to catch up with each other. When they see each other, they greet each other with a hug or a light handshake.

Traditionally, men and women do not shake hands with each other. A Malay man greets another man with a light handshake using their right hand that’s more like a light clasp. They will then bring their hands toward the heart, meaning “I greet you from my heart.”

View gallery here.

International Adjustments

Nidhi Shah, left, current president, Ahmad Al-Saygh, newly elected president, Wiwi Sanusi Tjandra, newly elected vice president and Sarini Mapalagama, current vice president of ISC, talk about creating a more diverse committee for next year's International Student Council, Tuesday, March 8, at the ISC Office in Memorial Union.

By Karuna Ang,

Coming to America might be a cultural shock to many international students, but Ashvin Sudhaharan, junior in open-option liberal arts and sciences and events coordinator of the International Students Council, said he didn’t experience any cultural shock.

Sudhaharan grew up in Kuala Lumpur, a bustling city in Malaysia.

“It’s very westernized,” he said of life in Kuala Lumpur. “Everything is fast paced and quick.”

Sudhaharan said he thinks the pace in Ames is slower than Kuala Lumpur. Many students find life in Ames is peaceful, and some are used to the quick pace and exciting lives they had.

However, not many students are as lucky as Sudhaharan, who didn’t face any cultural shock.

“Students find it different, especially if they are from the Asian countries where they have more conservative cultures,” said Danny Eshcol, a previous coordinator for international students’ orientation.

They go through cultural transitions, he said. There are many cultures in the world, and all of these cultures have their own set of values and traditions: language, television shows, food, music, weather, communicating with other people – all are things that people find different from their own culture when compared to the American culture. It takes patience and time for one to be able to feel fully comfortable in a different environment, especially when they’ve been in their own culture for the past 18 years of their life.

However, Sudhaharan said the local people help a lot as the international students are going through the changes.

“People are really friendly in Ames,” Sudhaharan said. “I didn’t have much problem adjusting and adapting to the lifestyle here.”

Common Problems:

Sudhaharan said Iowa weather was something he had to adjust to. International students should be aware that winter in Iowa can get very cold. Students from tropical countries where it rarely gets below 80 degrees, like Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand, might have trouble adjusting to the cold winters in Iowa.

Researching beforehand about the types of clothes suitable for the weather is highly important. International students can also seek help from multicultural associations, such as the ISU Bangladeshi Community, Indian Students’ Association, Japanese Association and many more. The International Students and Scholars Office usually plays a part in helping incoming students contact associations of their nations, in case any questions arise.

It would be the best option for students to ask their fellow countrymen questions regarding the weather, as they came from the same environment and would have a better understanding of what future problems incoming students might face.

Another problem students might face while studying abroad is a language barrier.

“Sometimes [international students] understand the materials in class,” Sudhaharan said. “But the language becomes the obstacle for them.”

“If you think of Chinese students or Indian students, they are not as outgoing as Americans are,” Eshcol said. “Some of them feel insecure about their language skills.”

“Coffee, Tea and English” is a program international students can join in order to improve their English language skills. International students have the opportunity to meet with volunteer native English speakers. This is also a good time for international students to get to know more about American culture.

The International Students and Scholars Office offers a conversational English program. International students will be matched up with American volunteers. Partners will meet for one hour per week in a one-on-one setting. Other than improving their language skills and sharing cultures, the program also aims to develop friendship among participants.

Other than that, there are also friendship partner programs on campus that pair up international students with Americans so that international students can practice speaking English.

Making new friends is another stage international students have to go through. “Everybody coming to college faces the challenge of making friends,” Eshcol said.

It makes it harder for international students as they are leaving their friends behind, Sudhaharan said.

These are also the times students will feel homesick. Being in a different environment can sometimes be hard for international students, as they are far away from the things that they are used to.

Eshcol said it is very important to make sure students make a routine of the things they are interested in, in the culture they are engaging.

“Join toward your interest or your own culture,” Sudhaharan said.

It makes it easier for international students to make new friends when they have something in common.

When students feel like they are alone and helpless, they must remind themselves they are in a different country, Eshcol said. Sometimes students can feel helpless and lonely when they first arrive in a different country. It would make the transition easier for them if they expect difficulties before coming to the United States and, through those difficulties, maintain a positive attitude.

International students are not only learning about a new culture, but when they immerse themselves in another culture, they learn about their own culture as well, Eshcol said.

“Students will learn things they haven’t thought about their own culture, and they learn more about their background,” he said.

There are many organizations that can help students feel at home.

“The International Students Council always welcomes international students to drop by and ask us questions,” Sudhaharan said.

“We advise students on their I-20 documents,” he said. “We network students to other international students from different countries as well.”

Other than that, ISC provides a place for students to promote their own culture. Students can also get to know the locals because not all ISC members are international students, Sudhaharan said. ISC also serves as a platform of communication for all members of Iowa State, especially for the students, faculty and staff.

Organizations that aim to help international students:

Bridges International is a student organization that helps international students in getting accustomed to the new culture through service activities, social networking opportunities and spiritual resources. Staff members of the organizations know how to deal with the problems that international students face as they have traveled, lived, studied and worked abroad. These staff members have experienced culture shock while they were abroad as well. As they’ve gone through the same experience, they understand the challenges that international students face while being in a foreign country.

Students can learn more about the organization at

American Culture Club, formerly known as American Culture Acclimation Society, hopes to help encourage interaction between international students and Americans through activities. The club provides useful information about surviving in Ames, such as places to buy textbooks, how to buy a car and introduces students to the driving laws in America. The club encourages discussions between international students and Americans, and one of its responsibilities is to help facilitate those discussions.

To learn more about the club, visit

International Friendship Connection, sponsored by Cornerstone Church of Ames, seeks to serve and support international students, scholars and their families. IFC has hosted many events that help connect international and American friends together. Fusion, a monthly event which is on the first Friday of each month, invites students to meet together to sing worship songs, learn more about God, play games and have fun.

IFC also has several yearly events, including Independence Day Celebration, Hayride and Farm Visit, Winter Getaway Camp and Spring Break trips. Jack Owens started IFC in 1996 after his own experience of being a foreigner in South Korea. He remembered the support and understanding that he received from the locals while he was adapting to the new culture. He started IFC so that he could do the same for others who are going through a similar experience.

For more information, visit the website at

ISU dining center Seasons adds variety

By Karuna Ang,

Ever wonder how the recipes get created for the food courts and cafes? Many of them are the creations of our chefs, and some are submitted by students.

“I have a couple of students who are from the southern states like Georgia, all they want is sweet potatoes and fried chicken,” said Bethany Landon, Seasons marketplace manager. “Their mother had a special sweet potato recipe, they brought in the recipe and we had our chef play with it.”

Landon said the recipe will be on the menu this coming fall because it received really good reactions. Recipes submitted will be reviewed by nutritionists.

“Some of that stuff also has to deal with nutritional value,” Landon explains. “Some of that has a ton of salt, a ton of fat in it.”

There was a competition for students to submit their recipes; however, many of the managers that judge the competition didn’t have time for that this year.

“Students had to submit a standardized form of recipe by a certain date,” Landon explained of the competition’s process. “A panel of judges which ended up being our culinary team throughout ISU Dining as well as our nutritionist went through and chose a number of recipes.”

Portions of these dishes are created and then they had them sampled, critiqued and judged.

“It was a way to see what people liked,” she said.

Food science and human nutrition interns are creating recipes for ISU Dining as part of their course, Landon said.

Other students working at dining locations noticed what they are doing and Landon encourages them to submit recipes as well.

“Some recipes from FS HN 104 class will actually be implemented in the menu coming fall,” Landon said. “We have one that is garlic orange chicken.”

FS HN 104 is an introductory culinary class offered at Iowa State.

Sous chef Torin Munro at Seasons received high praises from Landon.

“My chef is extremely talented,” Landon said. “He worked with our executive chef Everett Phillips to combine a lot of flavors and figure out what we can do to make it more of a fresh concept on this side of campus.”

The spicy sweet potatoes and the roasted cauliflower are both recipes submitted by students.

Landon likes to try new foods and she always welcomes new recipes from students.

“If students have some recipes that they love from home and they want to see it, give them to the manager at food operations,” she said.

Landon has also taken a liking to ethnic food.

“The Yakitori Skewers Chicken during International Food Fair is amazing,” she said.

“I tried to implement them into our menu, but it is so labor intensive. Sadly, I can’t make 2,000 portions of it for one meal.”

Some of the challenges they usually face is trying to prepare the food in smaller batches and making them not so labor intensive.

To show a variety of flavors, the department is always working on new recipes.

“Chef Torin is working on some Thai recipes right now,” Landon said.

She hopes to bring more choices for students to experience without having to travel far for them.

A new addition to Seasons next fall is a fresh fruit smoothie bar.