Benedictine University Student Dies

7 Dec

Michelle Reilly

News Editor

The Benedictine community is mourning the loss of a fellow student, John Pundsack. Pundsack was just 22 years old and a senior Pre-Med student at the university and was very passionate about his studies and looking forward to graduating in the spring. He was a Batavia resident, but passed away at Delnor Hospital in Geneva last Tuesday, November 29th, surrounded by his mother and stepfather. The cause of John’s death has not been publicized. Pundsack was an intelligent student who was great with computers and the biological sciences.

Dr. Jayashree Sarathy, a professor in the Biological Sciences department, has been trying to come to terms with this loss. “John was a deep thinker and love to learn about the human body. He was interested in learning about recent advances made in the fields of Physiology and pathophysiology. He did what we hope students would do – he tried to integrate what he learned in different classes”, Sarathy discusses Pundsack’s love of science. “For example, he was in Microbiology, cell biology and physiology at the same time and when he learned about infectious diseases in Physiology, he would extrapolate what he had just read about the pathogen microbiology and look into the signaling pathways for these disease. He was also very good with technology and would pull up interesting articles on his phone and email them to me. One of the videos that he sent me when we were discussing the nervous system in class was about an ABC news clip on a girl with half a brain. I will truly miss the smile, the curious mind and the wonderful, warm heart.”

He is survived by his loving mother, Marina Amoroso-Levato, stepfather, Frank Levato, grandparents, three step-brothers, a niece, two nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.  If you wish to send your condolences, you can visit the funeral home’s obituary page at and leave an online post. The Campus Ministry is also collecting cards if you wish to send one to his family. You can bring the card to their office, Kindlon 419.

Christmas Party Ensues Before Study Sessions Begin

7 Dec

Jessica Buettner

Staff Writer

As the semester comes to an end, students are beginning to really focus on tests, projects and papers they have to get together for finals week. This past weekend, however, students got the chance to really enjoy themselves at the final Club Ben of the year.

The theme was Ugly Christmas Sweaters and the students came decked out in their Christmas attire. There were some sweaters that lit up and others that just had really strange and ugly designs on them. It was a great opportunity for students to have fun and destress for a night.

“Being able to go and socialize gave me the chance to get finals off my mind for the night,” stated freshman Samantha Tikalsky.

Having the chance to go out and enjoy the night can be a great way for students to get their mind off of things before they start to get really hectic. The night was full of great music, enjoyable company and memories that were made amongst the students in attendance.

Freshman, Monica Wedemann, agreed to the idea that it gave her the chance to socialize and spend time with some of her friends.

“It was something fun to get the chance to do before the hustle and bustle of finals comes around next week,” commented Wedemann.

The next Club Ben won’t be until January or February when we come back from winter break, so be on the lookout.

“I definitely plan on attending the future Club Ben events in the future,” added Tikalsky, “They are a great way to hang out with friends”.

Benedictine Men’s Basketball Wins First Conference Matchup

7 Dec

Logan Hanson

Sports Editor



The Benedictine men’s basketball team defeated conference opponent Rockford 96-65 on Wednesday night at the Rice Center. The win marked the first for the Eagles in conference play as the win marked a 26th straight over NACC conference opponents.

“Great win for us. You always want to start the NACC season with a win,” Head Coach Keith Bunkenburg said, “For us if we are to continue to get better and play at a high level. Good win and good start to our (conference) season.”

Rockford scored on their opening trip, but the Eagles quickly took over opening up a 13-point run on a jump shot by Senior Guard Michael Blaszczyk. The Eagles completed the run on a deep three pointer by Senior Forward Shawn Soelter with 15:02 left in the half. Rockford stormed back into the game as they came within one point, but the Eagles went on another big run to take a hold of the lead.

A layup by Freshman Forward Kenny Bogus with 6:59 left in the half finished off the 14-point run for the Eagles. The teams would trade points until the end of the half where the Eagles held the lead 48-30 at the break. The Eagles held as much as a 23 point lead in the dominant first half.

The Eagles continued to pull away in the second half as a layup by Blaszczyk gave the Eagles a 67-40 lead with 13:45 left in the game. The Eagles went on to win easily 96-65 as they held leads as large as 35 points in the ending half.

“I thought we did a really good job pushing the ball tonight,” Junior Guard Brayden Olson said, “Just tiring Rockford out to help our unit.”

The Eagles lead for over 38 minutes in the game and 18 players saw game action during the contest. The Eagles also had a season high total in points scored as well as shot 53.2% throughout the contest.

The Eagles will travel to MSOE for their next conference game which will take place on Tuesday night at 7.

A Chicago Sports Weekend Recap

7 Dec

Daniel Dalenberg

Staff Writer

Picture from

Picture from

It has been slightly over a month since the Chicago Cubs won the World Series and Chicago is still basking in the glory.  On Friday night, the MLB’s annual movie about the World Series debuted on national television.  As that was going on, Chicago villain, Cleveland Cavaliers Small Forward Lebron James, paid a debt to his former teammate, Chicago Bulls Shooting Guard Dwayne Wade.  Before the Indians and Cubs began the World Series, Wade and James decided to wager on which players’ city would take home the Fall Classic.  The loser would have to come to the December 2nd Bulls-Cavs game in full uniform of the winner’s team.  As you can probably tell James, to the great delight of Chicago and Wade, showed up to the United Center in a full Cubs uniform.  Despite all the fun, there was still basketball to be played.

Whenever a Lebron James led team takes on the Bulls it has a little extra meaning than most regular season games.  Beyond the history of Lebron versus the Bulls, this was the first time Lebron faced Wade as a Bull.  As former teammates, great friends and tremendous competitors, this game meant that much more.  As per usual, the Bulls rose to the regular season challenge, defeating the Cavaliers 111-105.  The game was highlighted by 26 points from Small Forward Jimmy Butler, 24 points from Wade and a triple-double from Point Guard Rajon Rondo.  While a great win for the Bulls, many looked to future games to see if this big win could be a springboard to a good stretch of basketball.  As it seems to always happen, after convincing you they might be better than you thought, the Bulls lost embarrassingly to a 3-15 Dallas Mavericks team on Saturday.  The Bulls 107-82 loss highlighted the main weakness of the 2016 Bulls thus far, the bench, getting only 28 points from the reserves.  While a talented team that can compete with most teams in the East, there needs to be more consistent effort from this Bulls team against teams that they should beat.

Following the Bulls embarrassing loss Saturday, Chicago fans looked to the Chicago Bears versus the San Francisco 49ers matchup Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field.  Except this is a game a majority of Chicago fans wanted the Bears to lose.  A Bears loss would plant them as the second worst team in football, giving them the number two overall pick in the draft in April.  A Bears win would put them at three wins, vaulting them ahead of the Jaguars and 49ers, and putting them in place for the fourth selection of the draft.  So, losing seemed like the best option for the Bears.  But, it’s the Bears and they usually find a way to mess up, just like Chicago famous blogger, Dan Katz (better known as Barstool Big Cat) said on his twitter account Sunday morning, “It would be beneficial to the Bears future to lose today and that is exactly why they are the lock of the century to win.” So, right on cue, the Bears went out and beat the 49ers 26-6 on a snowy afternoon at Soldier Field.  The game was highlighted by rookie Running Back Jordan Howard and Outside Linebacker and fellow rookie Leonard Floyd.  Howard led the Bears offense on the ground, carrying 32 times for 117 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Floyd finished with 2 sacks.  In such a dumpster fire of a season, it has been nice to see two young Bears perform well.  But, the Bears still found a way to disappoint, this time by winning.


Stigmatized, Neglected, and Misunderstood: The Various Challenges of College Students with Mental Illnesses

7 Dec

Omair Ali

staff writer

A Sending Silence Packing® exhibition. Photo courtesy of Active Minds.

A Sending Silence Packing® exhibition. Photo courtesy of Active Minds.

College is often understood to be a time where students can take advantage of a newly found life of independence, academic freedom, and all forms of pleasure. However, this image of college is very distorted in comparison to its actual image. College can be a great time for many students, but can be overwhelmingly troubling for others. Currently, mental illness is a significant problem for college students, and mental illness is also a subject that warrants contemplation and an honest discussion.

A mental illness or mental disorder is any serious condition characterized by a significant change in behavior, emotions, or thinking. A mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, nor should anyone facing a mental illness feel helpless. the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), America’s largest mental health organization, reports that over 40 million cases of mental illness occur every year, and 75% of chronic illnesses began by the age of 24. That’s a significant amount of people that battle mental illness at any given time, many of whom begin experiencing mental illness before reaching adulthood. So, we must be wary of the existence of mental illness, and how it may affect our friends, colleagues, and even loved ones.

A study conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness between August and November of 2011 indicates that 64% of survey respondents dropped out of a higher education institution because of a “mental health related reason”. More than 45% of these surveyors felt that they “did not receive accommodations,” for their health. These statistics indicate that there are barriers to effective mental health care on college campuses, which include: limited on-campus support for those with a mental illness; lack of self-awareness about one’s well-being; and most importantly, the stigma associated with having a mental health problem.

Our culture has adopted a “hush-hush” policy in regards to mental health, believing that it’s better to not be open about personal issues. Our society has also been pushing academic-perfectionism, loyalty to individualism, and the philosophy of “fake it till you make it”—faking smiles and pretending that everything is okay– throughout this generation. As well, our society tends to isolate people with mental illnesses, which is certainly a recipe for disaster. Therefore, it’s no wonder that many students feel discouraged from seeking help, which also causes their conditions to worsen over time.

People also tend to make the mistake of assuming the well-being of others, thinking that one’s external expression is representative of one’s internal expression. But, it can be very difficult to discern one’s true emotions during a social interaction. That’s because many people hide their feelings as well as personal issues, which can include: bullying, substance abuse, abuse by family members or loved ones, school or job-related stress, or anything that can cause distress. Therefore, the best assumption to make is to assume that we don’t really know how someone else is feeling so that we don’t offend them or hurt their feelings.

So, is there anything we can do to make sure to reduce the stigma of mental illness on campus?


The best way to support those who might have a mental illness is to detect the problem early on, which may require a vigilant eye. NAMI states that unusual risk-taking behaviors, chronic sadness, withdrawal from normal activities, having unusual concerns or fears, extreme mood swings, difficulty, and excessive use of drugs and alcohol are all signs of mental illness. So, if you notice someone that has these signs, it would be wise to direct them to professional care as early as possible.

Another way to fight the stigma against mental illness is raising awareness campus. Active Minds, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “empower students to change the perception about mental health on college campuses,” runs a program called Send Silence Packing®, which displays backpacks and personal stories of students that have committed suicide at campuses throughout the country. The purpose of the program is to send an emotional message to all students that suicide is a sad reality that takes the lives of 1100 wonderful students (according to Active Minds) each year; they also try to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health care. Inviting nonprofit, mental health organizations such as Active Minds to come to campus, or organizing an event independently would certainly improve the student body’s consciousness of mental health on campus.

Finally, being compassionate or friendly is a way to help affected individuals. Although it may seem obvious that being compassionate to others is a surefire way of preventing mental illness, people might not be very receptive compassion that is overwhelming or annoying. That’s why it’s important to use a more flexible version of compassion—compassion that isn’t suffocating, but can be used to make someone feel better or find out what problems they have. It is also important to treat people with mental illnesses like independent, human beings, not sob stories that are pitied upon. College is a crucial process for student to mature and become able to manage their own lives independently, no matter who the person is.

Thankfully, Benedictine University is a university that offers many services to its students. Whether you feel stressed about school, are troubled by peculiar circumstances in your life, or you just feel completely off, our university’s counseling center is able to offer support every day. Additionally, the campus ministry is also willing to accommodate any spiritual or emotional needs during difficult times. There are also many kind students that are willing to help others in need, so there is no shortage of help on our campus!

Remember that no one deserves to feel left behind if they have a mental illness, and it’s very okay to help those with mental illness through early detection, following the “Golden Rule, and raising awareness. Students facing a mental disorder must also understand that it is crucial to seek help, and that the stigma against mental health is the fault of society’s illogical pursuit of unrealistic and unhealthy ideals, not the affected individuals themselves.

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2016

7 Dec

Marissa Perez

Editor In Chief

On Monday, December 5, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show aired on CBS. The show was pre-filmed in Paris, France and was bigger and more star-studded than ever.

The show is known to have their models show off the lingerie company’s best designs and taste in fashion. The show featured models like Kendal Jenner, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Jasmine Tookes and Karlie Kloss.

According to, the 2016 Victoria Secret Fashion Show was seen in almost 200 countries and featured 68 different runway looks.

Jenner strutted her stuff on the runway in a raspberry-colored lace bra and matching panties with aqua and scarlet colored wings and embroidered over-the-knee boots.

Bella Haded stunned the audience in a dove-gray lingerie set whoch included a corset, cold-shoulder bell sleeves and flowing train during The Weeknd’s performance. The Weeknd is Bella’s ex, but the two seem to be getting along just fine. After the show, Bella went on to tweet about how the performer did a great job on his performance on the runway.

Gigi Hadid stole the show in her strappy black angel-inspired lingerie and peek-a-boo bra look as Lady Gaga took to the stage to perform. There was a minor wardrobe malfunction, causing one of her straps to pop loose, but not too many seemed to have noticed.

A pregnant Irina Shavk took to the stage in a dazzling scarlet laced set and fringed jacket to conceal her baby bump. Shavk is currently dating “The Hangover” movie star, Bradley Cooper.

It has been another successful fashion show, leaving the audiences excited for what is in store next year.

Former Benedictine University Student Gets Prison Sentence After Trying to Join ISIS

30 Nov

Michelle Reilly

News Editor


A former student of Benedictine University, Mohammed Hamzah Khan, was arrested back in October of 2014 for trying to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Khan was taken into custody after allegedly attempting to travel overseas to join ISIS, according to the United States Attorney’s Office’s press release. Khan had been a student at Benedictine during the 2013-2014 school year, but was not enrolled at the time of his arrest.

Now, two years later, the verdict is in and the sentence is much shorter than anticipated. According to a report by CBS Chicago, the 21-year-old Bolingbrook native pleaded guilty to trying to join ISIS and has been sentenced to 3 years, 4 months in prison. However, with his time already served, it looks like he will be freed in time to enroll in college next fall. The judge did order that when Khan is released, he will be under supervision for 20 years.

Khan and his family told CBS they are grateful for the decision and made sure to tell the judge, FBI and other government officials that. But, the judge wanted to make sure Khan understood something.

“I hope you appreciate what happened in this case… You, who profess to regard this country as your enemy: Here you have not been treated as an enemy.”

At the time of his arrest, authorities obtained a search warrant to Khan’s residence, where they found a 3-page letter he had left for his parents before his flight, according to the release.

Khan states in the letter, “FIRST and FOREMOST, PLEASE MAKE SURE TO NOT TELL THE AUTHORITIES. For if this were to happen, it will jeopardize not only the safety of us, but our family as well. My dear parents, there are a number of reasons I will be going to the blessed land of Shaam, and leaving my home. We are all witnesses to the western societies getting more immoral day by day. I extend an invitation to my family to join me in the Islamic State.”

This portion of the note was taken for evidence, along with an ISIS flag and a calendar with drawings in support of ISIS, all of which the authorities turned over to the United States District Court. Khan was taken into custody at O’Hare International Airport and was then thought to be given a charge that could be up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, all according to the United States Attorney’s Office.