U of L student podcast discusses race and LGBTQ+ issues on campus Friday, Oct 23 2020 

By Tate Luckey —

The University of Louisville was recently recognized as both a top university for diversity and among the best of the best for LGBTQ+ friendly universities. In an effort to explore this topic as well as create more ease-of-access, COVID-friendly programming, the Student Activities Board is producing a new podcast called U of L: UNCENSORED

In U of L: UNCENSORED, hosts Leah Hazelwood and Lilah Kahloon (Diversity chair and vice-chair for the SAB, respectively) spotlight their fellow students and foster an open dialogue about diversity and social inclusion at the University.

“We have chosen our topics based on what is happening in and around campus,” the pair said. “Our goal is to have conversations about relevant and pressing topics.”

A description of the guests on the first UNCENSORED podcast.

Case and point, for their first episode, Hazelwood and Kahloon interview Eli Cooper, a junior poli-sci major and director of the Community Peace Board, and Madison Fogle, a sophomore history major and co-director of the Community Peace Board.

Students and alumni are encouraged to tune in, as this podcast shines a light on the experiences of fellow Cards that aren’t easily known.

“It’s easy to not know about certain issues on campus if they don’t directly impact you,” Kahloon explained. “To us, it’s a great way to have conversations with multiple people, about many different subjects.”

While SAB’s diversity committee plans to continue the podcast into the spring semester, they also hope to create a bigger event for students to send in short videos introducing themselves and sharing their diversity experiences at U of L.

You can click here to watch the most recent episode of the podcast.

Photos Courtesy of Student Activities Board

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School of Music duo share acoustic folk sound online Friday, Sep 18 2020 


By Tate Luckey —

One University of Louisville duo is bringing authenticity to their music in hopes of connecting with listeners. 

Murphy Lamb and Andrew Chapman, both U of L School of Music seniors, started their band, The Brothers’ Mother, around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

So far, the self-described acoustic folk duo have cultivated a debut EP, Oasis, and multiple live streamed performances.

The pair, whose influences range from bluegrass and country groups like Tony Rice and Nickel Creek, to old school contemporary christian singers like Rich Mullins, have an authentic, folk sound that includes acoustic guitar, delicate harmonies and lush piano tones. 

“We have a real simple, ‘stripped down’ vibe,” Lamb said.

Lamb and Chapman know too that if there’s a time where authenticity is needed, it’s now.

“We wouldn’t exist if the pandemic didn’t happen,” Chapman said. The roommates-turned-musicians recorded all their songs on nothing more than a USB mic in their apartment. 

“We had been playing music for a while, but didn’t start writing until the pandemic,” Chapman said. 

They collaborate on both ends of the songwriting spectrum, meaning both can come to each other with ideas or lyrics.

Like a modern-day Lennon/McCartney, if Chapman comes to Lamb, he usually has a lyric or concept he needs to flesh out. If Lamb comes to Chapman, he almost always has some sort of chord progression or musical idea. 

The recording process itself is where both share a mix of excitement and nervousness.

“It was actually pretty convenient because of the limitedness [of the setup], but also super challenging because we hadn’t done it before or had had a time limit,” Lamb said.

Their 5 song EP, Oasis, is about getting to know someone and their feelings. An underlying theme present in their songs is a fostering of familial connection with the listener.

“‘Making it is not a goal of mine or Andrew’s,” Lamb said when asked about their future careers as musicians. “We’re just hanging out and writing songs.”

Chapman agreed, saying his biggest goal is to make the type of music people will love. His favorite song from Oasis is “Feeling Known.”

“To me, the whole idea is about a connection through music,” Chapman said.

Oasis is available on all streaming platforms. The band recently performed live in the Red Barn as part of  SAB Concert Committee’s  “SAB Live!”  You can catch the recap of that performance on Youtube here. Interested in keeping up with The Brothers’ Mother? Follow them at @thebrothersmother on social media.

Photo Courtesy // The Brothers’ Mother

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Floyd Theater reopens to students Monday, Sep 7 2020 

By Alex Tompkins —

A barren campus with an all-around strange semester may leave some University of Louisville students feeling there may be no way to connect with others. With the temporary shut-down of many businesses, including movie theaters, some may feel stuck at home.

Luckily, U of L’s Floyd Theater has finally reopened and is now offering students the chance to safely enjoy second-run, indie and classic films throughout the semester. Students have free admission to kick back and relax every Wednesday and Thursday evening at the theater located in the SAC.

Student Activities Board Film Chair, Jennings Collins, said there will be many precautions taken in order to safely accommodate students this year.

“Since the Floyd is now being used as a classroom during the day, we’ve been equipped with sneeze guards as well as cleaning supplies to use around the room,” Collins said. “We are also choosing to refrain from selling concessions to prevent any unnecessary contact.”

Following the precautions being taken by the theater, seating will be limited and accessing entry has been moved to reserving online.

“Students can reserve a seat for any screening on Engage. There are a limited number of spots for each screening, so it is mandatory that students who wish to attend do this,” Collins said.

The re-opening of the Floyd Theater has definitely been anticipated by the theater’s crew. In reopening, Collins wanted to keep students’ best interest in mind when it came to showing films in an accessible and relaxing environment.

“Our goal for this year is to give students a place to unwind. Movies are where I go to relax, and the Floyd was a great resource for me when I was a freshman, so I am determined to keep what we have going in order to bring a fun experience for new and returning students,” he said

The theater will be running “Knives Out” on Sept. 9-10 at 6:00 p.m., followed by Pixar’s “Onward” on Sept. 16-17 at the same time. Closing out September will be the biopic of Mr. Rogers, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” showing on Sept. 23-24. Future showings are listed on the Floyd Theater’s website.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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Indoor roller-rink invites students to enjoy socially-distant fun Monday, Aug 17 2020 

By Zoe Watkins —

Campus has been mostly empty since students left back in March. However, last week was full of events tailored for freshmen to adjust to their new campus life. Welcome Week is the first taste that incoming freshmen get when they first arrive on campus, spanning across the week before classes. This year Welcome Week was from Aug. 12 through Aug. 16.

Due to COVID-19, a lot has changed including new protocols and rules to help keep students and faculty safe and healthy. Despite this, there were still many socially distant Welcome Week events going on, including a regular event hosted by the Student Activities Board.

Julie Nwosu, vice-chair of the campus life committee, said this year’s event “Cardinal World,” is an adapted take on their “Cardnival.”

“Every year, SAB hosts a Welcome Week event,” Nwosu said. “Every year it is kind of a different theme, so we went with a theme that would stand out more,” Nwosu explained.

The event took inspiration from “AstroWorld” by Travis Scott. “Cardinal World” featured an indoor roller-skating rink where students could skate and listen to music. Dinner was provided in the Red Barn as well.

Leanne-Sarah Dnamba, who serves as the campus life committee’s chair, said that having a roller rink indoors was like a carnival theme to them. The committee wanted it to have similar visuals to AstroWorld, think glow-in-the-dark, universe imagery and good music.

“Obviously, with the new COVID regulation it was a little bit hard for us to find activities to have for returning and incoming freshmen. So, we thought of a skating rink,” said Dnamba.

SAB had other events scheduled for Welcome Week, but due to the new regulations, most were canceled due to concerns of being able to follow proper social distance guidelines. In total, there were three other events planned besides the roller rink, which Nwosu said were trap-karaoke, Zumba and a silent disco.

Despite all the cancellations, the roller rink was decided to be the best course of action since there was a way to keep practicing social distancing while people could still have fun at the event.

Dnamba explained that cones were set out throughout the SAC to keep a six-foot distance between students who were waiting in line. A max limit of 50 people were allowed into the ballroom where the skating rink was, and anyone who attended the event was required to wear a mask. There was also someone regularly sanitizing tables once students left.

SAB also used different colored wristbands to schedule times when students could come.

“It would give us enough time to clean all the roller skates and clean the place they’re going to be roller skating so we could follow all of the guidelines of the university that they gave us,” Nowsu said.

Even with all the new regulations and social distancing, many students still showed up to skate and have fun.

Freshman Ellie Bruner came out to the event with some friends to enjoy the night. Despite not being able to participate in many of the events planned for Welcome Week, she said that the roller-skating rink was her favorite so far. “I’m not very good at it and I haven’t skated in a couple years probably, but I think its fun,” Bruner said.

If a student missed this event, there are still some coming down the road this fall semester; however,  it remains to be seen on what they are. Nowsu said that the board has decided to host all future events virtually for the time being.

“Right now, we’re just taking our time. We are seeing how this event goes and how everything is going to go and move forward with the fall semester. We have a few things planned, but we’re going to keep that to ourselves for now until we see how things go.” Dnamba said.

Photo By Anthony Riley // The Louisville Cardinal

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Exploring intersecting identities with Queer Eye’s culture expert Tuesday, Feb 11 2020 

By Joseph Garcia —

Karamo Brown, culture expert on the Netflix reboot of “Queer Eye,” came prepared to laugh and get deep with the Louisville community Feb. 5. Students, staff, faculty and community members alike packed the Student Activities Center’s ballroom just to see the three-time Emmy winner and hear his thoughts on the intersections of identity.

Along with “Queer Eye,” Brown also appeared on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2019 and “The Real World: Philadelphia” in 2004. He has also worked as a social worker, written a memoir and co-authored a book with his son Jason. Lately, Brown has been working on his podcast, “Karamo,” and a new skin care line.

The Student Activities Board, LGBT Center and Black Student Union coordinated the event.

Brown learned how to grow and learn from his multitude of identities as a black man, an openly gay man, a son of immigrant parents, a Christian, a single father and former social worker.

“Being here in this room with us, sends a powerful message about who we are, what we care about and value. And that’s inclusion and celebrating all the identities that make us a community,” said Brian Buford, director of employee development and success at the University of Louisville.

Brown talked about his childhood and how it was a struggle for him to celebrate who he was.

“Growing up in Texas, to immigrant parents, with the name Karamo, it was not cute, okay?” Brown said. “There were a lot of times I felt alone and isolated. I knew that I was different because I would bring things to lunch that I loved, like curry goat or ox tails, and people at school would immediately let me know that it wasn’t okay to bring.”

As a child, Brown began to internalize that being different was a bad thing. He even changed his name to Jason because people would make a face when he said his real name.

“Sometimes the faces hurt more than the words, because it was like I ‘m showing you who I am and I’m proud of who I am and then your response to be curious is ‘What?!'” Brown said, “That is a very hard pill to swallow when you’re a kid, especially when you’re still trying to build your self-esteem and figure out who you are in this big world.”

Phoenix Washington, a recent Liberal Arts graduate, said it was freeing to hear Karamo speak.

“It was nice to hear about someone with a checkered past who used their identities to build themselves up,” Washington said. “Even more freeing as a queer black person trying to figure out where you fit.”

On being “marginalized.”

This discontent to all his identities, Brown said came from a shared understanding from the people around him and the media: different meant not as good.

“It meant you’re not as special, that you don’t deserve as much,” Brown said.  “And I remember getting around the age of 13 or 14 where I started to hear this word marginalized.”

It’s something we still hear to this day and is all over news outlets. Brown said at 14 he didn’t really understand what it meant when people around him began saying he was apart of marginalized communities, but now fully understands the power and implication of the word.

“There’s an undertone. When someone says you’re part of a marginalized community, they’re saying you don’t deserve access, you’re not going to attain what someone else has attained, you don’t have the right to do so,” Brown said. “When I look at myself as a black man, as a son of immigrants, as a gay man–I don’t think of any of these things as marginal. I think of all of these things as gifts that I’ve been given to create a better life for myself.”

Battling a diminished self-esteem.

But at the time, his self-esteem was still lacking due to all the negative things he was hearing from people around him. Brown realized they were projecting their fears and issues on him. “It was causing me anxiety,” Brown said.

“I realized if I wanted to have better self-esteem, one of the things I could personally do and start doing immediately was practicing not repeating the negative things I heard about myself.”

Brown said the only way to combat that feeling of waking up in the morning and wishing something about yourself is different is to stop repeating the negative things people say about you. He said you have to start saying the good things about yourself.

“All of your identities make you special, like I said, they are gifts to me,” Brown said, “The reason I have my job on ‘Queer Eye’ is because I literally went into a room full of 100 other gay guys and decided I was not going to be ashamed of any part of my identities. I said to myself, ‘no one in here has all of my identities, I’m going to share with them what is great about me.'”

Brown said that despite this, people will try to stifle your voice, or that we ourselves will stifle our own voices.

“Social media culture makes it so very easy to look at someone’s life and say ‘Wow. Look at what they’ve done, what’s wrong with me?'” Brown said, “Let me tell you something, when it comes to your identities and appreciating and loving every part of you–comparison is the thief of joy.”

More than just black and gay.

This is all to say that the biggest part of Brown’s identity has nothing to do with his appearance, sexuality or background. It’s his ability to ask for help and his ability to start again.

“That’s why I don’t like New Year’s resolutions,” Brown said, “No one says that if you don’t make your New Year’s resolution in the timeline you thought, that you can actually start again. I want everyone in here to remember that part of your identity is your ability to ask for help if you don’t know what you’re doing and also to start again.”

“Every day is a brand new day and we know that to be true. One of the things I know to be true, and I’ve said this on ‘Queer Eye,’ is that failure is not the opposite of success. It’s part of it.”

Brown said that by doing this and allowing yourself to make mistakes, you free yourself from the shackles of yesterday.

“If a little child were here right now, and we were like ‘He’s about to start walking for the first time!’ and he fell and busted his head,” Brown said, “none of us would be like ‘You’re never gonna walk again!'” To which Brown and the audience laughed.

Curiosity and the soul.

Another one of the many big takeaways Brown wanted the audience to remember was that they should strive to stay curious. As kids, we were continually told to explore and try new things, but at some point that stops.

We get into cliques and avoid anything different.

“I’m a big believer that’s where we stop learning how to connect with people and with the world around us–when we stop being curious,” Brown said.

Instead, Brown wants people to be excited about different cultures and foods.”When you get excited about something new you start to begin to open yourself up to new possibilities. You start to find yourself getting curious about so many things around you that you didn’t know you could be curious about,” Brown said.

“Curiosity feeds your soul and mind in such a way, believe me.”

And Brown does this everyday.

“What it does for me is I start to learn. The more I learn, the more I grow, the more I grow the more I can connect with other people. The more that I connect with other people the more I feel alive and apart of this world.”

Photo by Anthony Riley // The Louisville Cardinal

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Inaugural Moon Festival shines light on east Asian culture Thursday, Sep 19 2019 

By Jordan Geisler —

Lights and decorations were all around the Red Barn for its first ever celebration of the Moon Festival Sept. 12. The holiday is celebrated in eastern Asian countries during the eighth lunar month to give thanks for the harvest, as well as to celebrate fellowship and family.

Other than the Chinese New Year festival, U of L doesn’t have a lot of events recognizing the eastern Asian population on campus. Taleah Gipson, chair of the student activity board’s diversity committee, took it upon herself to change that.

“I wanted to bring the Moon Festival to U of L’s campus because there isn’t a lot of East Asian representation on campus. I wanted to throw an event that celebrates people and also brings them together,” she said.

Gipson worked with other groups on campus including the Vietnamese Student Association, the Chinese Scholars Union, the Japan Club and the Chinese Club. Together they created an event that brought people together.

Students could learn how to write Japanese and Chinese calligraphy and there was a station for painting your own paper lantern. There was even moon cake, a traditional dessert eaten during the Moon Festival.

The Moon Festival also had several performances from local groups and students on campus. There was an extreme Chinese yo-yo act, a martial arts session and a dance from U of L’s own Cardinal K-Pop dance team. Attendees also enjoyed a recital involving the Chinese instrument the Erhu, some traditional Chinese dances and a festive lion dance featuring the River Lotus Lion Dance Team.

“My inspiration is to make everyone feel welcome and make them feel that they’re seen,” Gipson said.

Mariko Chou, a junior majoring in social work, is a member of the Vietnamese Student Association. She came to the Moon Festival and felt represented.

“I really love going to student events,” said Chou, “and I think it’s really cool that we’re getting our names out there because a lot of students don’t know about our clubs or cultures as much as others.”

Photo by Jordan Geisler / The Louisville Cardinal 

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