Why I’m a workaholic – and unapologetic about it

A single lamp shines on in a darkened high-rise office building in the middle of Manhattan. A man in a three-piece suit is silhouetted in the dim light of the bulb, as he types for a few minutes, signs a few legal forms and then moves back to typing again. He’s got a photograph of his family of five framed up on the wall, below it five bottles of liquor and a set of tumblers loosely situated around it, one of them still containing three millimeters of whiskey in the bottom.

There’s signs of life outside the four walls of his office, but there seems to be none inside. He’s a lonely, desolate man, replacing legal forms for his children’s love and long hours for the longing he feels for his wife’s intimacy.


Up until I started at college four semesters ago, this was my mental snapshot of a workaholic. It wasn’t until I got going at the Royal Purple and UWW-TV I realized the real depiction of a workaholic could be easily obtained by turning my front camera on in Snapchat or walking past a reflective window in the TV studio.

I never thought I would become that. I wasn’t a middle-aged man (nor will I ever be) who cut the throats of his colleagues to climb to the top. I didn’t plan on majoring in business or being an account executive. I didn’t plan on “hating myself” into a mid-life crisis where the only prescribable medication is a once-monthly car payment for a new Ferrari.

Nobody ever told me being in a creative field would result in being a workaholic.

But it does. It takes a lot of time to be a photographer, a writer, an editor, a videographer. One of those alone all take up so much of one’s time.

Being the News Editor of the Royal Purple has kept me in the office until 3 a.m. each Tuesday morning of production night and scheduling my week full of interviews, back to back. Juggling the multiple responsibilities at the TV station has had me there every day of the week, starting early and ending late.

I don’t mind any of it as I lock up the doors at the end of the night.

I’ll admit, it gets to me sometimes. I spend so much time in the studio and the newsroom that somedays, it takes effort to get back to my pre-journalism personality and remember who I used to be. I have a hard time discussing anything other than my work and the news. I have yet to strike a balance, which is okay for now. I’ll get there.

I was once told if you have extra time as a journalism major in college, you’re not taking full advantage of the resources available to you. You should be a workaholic, because it’s the work ethic you put forth that will get you hired. Being a workaholic has helped me build confidence in my work and allowed me to learn in excess from others around me. I’ll be a workaholic until I can’t sustain it anymore.

That being said, my sincerest apology goes out to all those business execs I’ve scoffed at in years past. You drink your whiskey with your monogrammed stones off Etsy and I’ll drink a juice pouch of fake fruit juice, and we’ll both burn the midnight oil together.

Three Kick-Butt Blogs

Despite having almost constant access to a wifi signal for the past five years, not many blogs have captured my attention in a such a way to keep me coming back to them as a form of entertainment. There are a few, however, that break the mold:

First Blog post – WKOW

Photo courtesy WKOW.com

1. “Dani’s Diary,” written by Dani Maxwell at WKOW-27

As a child, my parents played favorites.

Not so much with my brothers and I (although all three siblings have claims to support we’ve all been wronged at some point in our adolescence), but they definitely did with their preferred news stations. We’d watch WISC-TV 95 percent of the time, but there would be days we couldn’t get a signal to come through, and we found ourselves clicking to the next favorite station: WKOW-27.

That’s how I had the name recognition with Dani Maxwell earlier this year, as she wrote blog posts about the loss of her three triplet sons in April 2015. I was drawn to it, because even though I’d never lost a sibling or a child, I know someone who has: my own mother.

She talked about her brother Richard, born in January of 1969, and how she’d never met him, but felt a connection to him through her mother’s creative non-fiction writing, much of which she’d read after Grandma Toni’s passing.

Reading Dani’s Diary gave me powerful insight into the loss my four-year-old mother had dealt with, the quietness my grandfather exhibits when my uncle is mentioned and why it’s so important to my mother that she honored her little brother by christening my little brother with his name.

Dani’s blog posts convey raw emotion rarely seen, speaking about the ways she can honor the lives of her sons, who only lived for a few hours. The tone she presents her story with, one where she doesn’t hold back about how she struggled with the loss she felt, is what helped build her audience. By writing candidly about the loss of her children and turning herself into someone human, not just a distant TV personality, she gained an audience of those who had dealt with the loss of family members.

The only fault: she’s only written a few posts, but there will likely be more to come as she continues to cope.

A few links to her posts:





2. Love and Lemons Healthy Eating Blog

First Blog Post – Love and Lemons

Photo courtesy of loveandlemons.com

General knowledge about nutrition doesn’t come easy for a girl who ate maybe three slices of whole wheat bread up until the age of 16. That led me to becoming a vegetarian for a few years that still ate complete processed garbage with a Pinterest account of “Healthy fun recipes!” that I was never going to try.

That’s when Love and Lemons, a food blog focusing on mainly vegetarian dishes not filled with junk prompted me to put down my “vegetarian” cinnamon roll and seriously reconsider what my goals were. Was I not eating meat because I wanted to stick it to my steak-a-day family, or was it a long-term health goal I had for myself?

I’ll be honest, one of the things that stopped me dead in my tracks was the quality of the art on their blog. It made healthy eating look glamorous, and simple to obtain. Using quality photography to show the ease of eating healthy can aid anyone to at least giving it a shot, and IMHO, that’s one of the best strengths you can have. Showing that anyone can do it is basically saying your audience is as infinite as the number of people who are willing to try.

They’ll build more of an audience come March 2016, when they release their first printed cookbook. If anyone wants to buy me an apartment-warming gift two months early, you know what to get me.


3. 500px ISO Photography Blog

First Blog Post – 500px ISO

Photo courtesy of iso.500px.com

Looking at this blog makes my soul hurt.

Not just because I’m nowhere near as good as all of the photographers writing blog posts for 500px ISO, but because it shows the infinite potential of how creative you can be with photography. The articles range from the ugly beauty of the recent snowstorm hitting the East Coast, to how do create multiple exposure photographs and how to become a novice travel photographer, etc.

Going off the list I spewed off above, it’s easy to say this blog’s biggest strength is its diversity in the types of photography and the experience level needed to comprehend the material. Finding a way to reach the most basic learners while still engaging the most advanced photographers is can be quite the undertaking because of the differences in technical knowledge, and they seem to be able to do it pretty well.

Here’s where you can see some of the most breath-taking photos on the internet, and learn how to take them: https://iso.500px.com/

Haunted Mansion gives students a scare

Career and Leadership Development holds first-ever event

By Kimberly Wethal

When Haley Tyrrell decided to attend the Haunted Mansion last Saturday night in the University Center, she was expecting a predictable college haunted house, one that wasn’t really all that scary.

She got the exact opposite instead.

“It was terrifying, actually,” Tyrrell said. “With these [haunted mansion actors], you don’t even know when they’re going to come out. There were ones that were hiding behind the walls that would just pound right into you, and when they screamed in your ear, they made you scream yourself.”

The Haunted Mansion, a first-year event, was hosted by Career and Leadership Development (CLD) and was started to be “fun and different for Halloween,” said junior Jessica Faust, one of the event’s organizers. 

A Second Salem Paranormal Investigation Team member lurks in the hallways of the haunted mansion.

A Second Salem Paranormal Investigation Team member lurks in the hallways of the haunted mansion. Photo by Kimberly Wethal.

The first hour of the four-hour event was PG, but the rest of the time, scarers were allowed to jump out at those in attendance. The idea behind having a PG version at the start of the event was so students could bring younger family members to let them have fun as well.

Faust said that anyone in attendance should have prepared to be frightened, seeing that she went through it before anyone else was in there and was terrified.

“They’re going to be scared,” Faust said at the beginning of the event. “For the PG [version], there’s no touching [of patrons by scarers] but there’s still some things hanging down, so it’s pretty scary.”

The setup of the haunted mansion was done by an outside entertainment company called Simplified Entertainment, which brings the haunted mansion to a location and only requires an event to have a minimum of ten of their own scarers.


Props such as demonic baby dolls could be just as terrifying as the human scarers. Photo by Kimberly Wethal.

The Second Salem Paranormal Investigation Team (SSPIT), formerly known as the Second Salem Spooks, assisted with the Haunted Mansion as the scarers inside the event.

For SSPIT team members, being on the other side of the scare for once gave them a different perspective than usual.

“We get scared sometimes, so I think it’s cool to in turn scare people,” said Libby Huggett, SSPIT member. “I think that’s really exciting.”

The structure of the haunted mansion itself consisted of a plastic tent-like structure, with walls inside that allowed those looking for a scare to weave their way through narrow corridors from room to room, where members of the SSPIT were waiting in costume.

“It’s cool, since I’ve never seen a travelling haunted house before,” Huggett said. “It was cool to see how effective it was. You don’t notice the vinyl walls.”


A scarer reaches out towards the camera through layers of white streamers. Photo by Kimberly Wethal.

Rooms consisted of a combination of a child’s nursery and a surgery room, rooms full of fake dead bodies wrapped up like mummies and plenty of rooms that doubled as hallways, with neon strings lit by black lights or thick layers of white streamers hanging down, making it sometimes hard to see while walking through.

When walking through, one could expect to meet their fair-share of SSPIT members disguised as clowns and characters in masks or heavy face paint with dark black cloaks.

The scarers from SSPIT inside the haunted mansion really got to freshman Samantha Polize.

“It was really scary,” she said. “Every time I went around a corner, I almost had a heart attack … I cannot handle that.”

‘Dig deep, tighten your belts’:Proposed 2016 budget cuts police, garbage services

*Note: this story is a class assignment, and is was staged in class for the purpose of the professor knowing the accuracy of the numbers and quotes in the story.

By Kimberly Wethal

Mayor Gustavus Petykiewicz unveiled the proposed budget for the City of Kittatinny on Tuesday “with a heavy heart.”

His proposed 2016 budget involves cuts to programs such as the police department and involves a tax increase for residents to help cover the loss of $100,000,000 in property value. The loss can be attributed to Susquehanna Steel Corporation, as the company shut down one of their two blast furnace units earlier in the year, taking 24 percent of the industrial property’s tax revenue and 600 local jobs with it.

Petykiewicz said the actions resulting from the budget cuts are “not ones I take lightly.”

“The situation at Susquehanna Steel Corporation is forcing us to make some very difficult choices,” Petykiewicz said. “Today I have set forth a budget that would be balanced, but would involve items that would be painful or controversial.”

That controversy includes the layoff of two police officers, the elimination of the police’s morning shift running from 4 a.m. to noon and garbage services for residents and the purchases of new equipment.

Pennsylvania state law requires the budget for the upcoming year to be signed and in place by Dec. 1, leaving the mayor and the city council less than two months to come up with a finalized version of the budget.

The city’s proposed tax budget for 2016 totals $3,189,740, down $114,600 from the year prior. This leaves the city with a xxx percent cut in tax levies, even with a proposed tax increase of .3 mills, a number Petykiewicz said is “negotiable.”

The current mill rate for the City is at 4 mills. If the proposed tax increase remained the same and is signed into law, a homeowner with a property value of $100,000 would see their property tax rise by $30.

New equipment purchases are also in store for the city, including a new police cruiser, a new riding lawn mower, a combination dump truck/snow plow for the streets department and a drivable weed removal vehicle for the beach at White Deer Lake.

The weed removal vehicle is slated to cost the city $100,000, Petykiewicz said.

With all of the cuts, Petykiewicz is willing to take one himself.

In the budget, he’s frozen his salary, along with the salaries of the other non-unionized department heads, and would take a 10 percent cut in pay if other city officials agree to do the same.

“I do need to step forward,” Petykiewicz said. “I will make that offer.”

By the numbers

Kittatinny had property value totaling $826,100,000 in 2015.

For 2016, however, that number has dropped to $741,800,000, due partially in part to Susquehanna’s lost blast furnace and a slight decrease in residential property, about $1.2 million’s worth.

Petykiewicz’s version of the budget would raise the tax levy to 4.3 mills, bringing in $3,189,740. That still leaves the city with $114,660 less to work with, a 3.5 percent decrease.

The total collection number is also just an estimate; with former Susquehanna employees still potentially out of work, Petykiewicz hopes to be able to collect all of the $3.1 million tax levy.

“I would encourage people to help us through this difficult time and to be good citizens, because taxes are part of citizenship,” he said. “Taxes are a price of citizenship. Dig deep, tighten your belts; I think we’re all going to have to do that.”

Residential property value decreased by 0.6 percent for the upcoming fiscal year, seeing as the City condemned 11 properties lining the east bank of Loyalsock Creek earlier in 2015. Other homes in the City did not have their property reassessed.

Existing commercial properties also did not see a change in their worth, but overall property value went up 9.7 percent to $232,300,000, thanks to the completion of Tohickon Creek Plaza, which houses Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Radio Shack and the Acme supermarket.

Additional income to the city is planned in the budget, as Petykiewicz expects to see $15,436 more in higher parking fees (rising from a dime to a quarter an hour for parking meters and from $65 to $75 for the two city parking lots) and a rise in parking tickets, along with more revenue from a higher number of police citations.

With all income combined, the budget would give the city $3,315,946 to work with, a decrease of $99,044 from last year’s $3,414,990 budget.


‘Taking danger, and compounding it’

Bjarne Westhoff, president of the Pennsylvania Police Association Local 34, said cutting the police force’s personnel and hours is the Petykiewicz’s way to take a jab at Police Chief Roman Hruska.

“The mayor and the police chief don’t get along,” Westhoff said. “You all know that; you all see the way they snarl at each other … personally, I think this is a really bad way to solve a personal dispute.”

Two police officers are being laid off, and pending city council approval, the budget would cut the 4 a.m. to noon morning shift for the department as well, leaving emergencies to be handled by Schuylkill County sheriff deputies.

The contract with the county would cost the city $35,332 for the 2016 fiscal year.

These proposals don’t make Kittatinny Police Chief Roman Hruska happy.

“I cannot stand idly by and watch a city of this size be deprived of their police protection for a third of each day,” he said. “I think it’s a terrible idea, and I have told the mayor as much.”

Hruska says that while the 8-hour span is the quietest shift of the day, that doesn’t mean nothing happens.

“You’re not likely to have a violent gang incident at 7 in the morning, but I’ll tell you what you could have at 7 in the morning,” he said. “You could have a domestic violence incident. For a police officer, there is nothing more dangerous than a domestic violence incident.

“You get a call that a man is holding his wife at knifepoint in an apartment, and you enter that hallway with your gun drawn because you know her life or your life could be in danger.”

Petykiewicz stated during the press conference that the cuts to the police department were purely due to the city’s high cost of personnel expenses.

“I did it simply because as you know, with a city government, our overwhelming cost is personnel, payroll and benefits,” Petykiewicz said. “By reducing the force by two officers, we’ll save a lot of money. This is a major item for cost-savings.”

In order to make these changes, contracts will be have to be renegotiated by the Pennsylvania Police Association. The contracts were originally scheduled to expire in June of 2017.

It would break Westhoff’s heart to see the two police officers go.

“I feel awful, on a couple of fronts,” he said. “First of all, they’re excellent officers; I consider them my friends and my comrades and my colleagues. We work together very well … if they’re career police, they’ll go somewhere else and leave town. On another front,  I think their absence would be a terrible loss for the city because it would put our citizens in jeopardy.”


New Equipment Purchases

While the police department might be losing two officers in the next budget, they might be gaining new equipment.

A new police cruiser is set to replace the decade-old Ford Fairlane, which has around 220,000 miles on it and is fitted with outdated technology.

Technology is the big cost of the vehicle – fitting it with the electronics costs $20,000 alone.

Squad cars are usually replaced when they reach the age of 5 years or climb past 175,000 miles, Petykiewicz said.

“The problem with that cruiser is that it is no longer reliable,” he said. “Which is to say it could be en route to an emergency and conk out on the street … we cannot let that happen. That’s the kind of thing that’s going to end up on the TV news up in Scranton.”

In the budget, there’s also money set aside for a new $12,000 industrial-grade riding lawn mower. The city usually depreciates for 15 years before being replaced. The current one is going on 20.

“Some people have said to me, ‘why don’t we just let the lawns grow up and be like natural prairie?’” Petykiewicz said. “The problem is, even though we are having trouble in Kittatinny, we simply can’t let things go to pot. We have to maintain our appearances.”

The last piece of equipment is the weed removal vehicle for White Deer Lake’s beachfront, a cost of $100,000. Petykiewicz did not comment on the weed removal vehicle during the press conference.


Changes in Garbage Services

For City of Kittatinny residents, garbage disposal services have only been visible to them for the few minutes the trucks are stopped outside their house.

Now, they’ll see it on their water bills as well.

Garbage services will add an additional $30 to their monthly bill, should residents choose to keep it.

The proposed budget cuts garbage disposal from the tax levy, forcing residents to pay for it themselves if they are interested in keeping the service.

The service will remain to be contracted through Tioga Sanitation Company for residential customers. The city is currently negotiating with Tioga to work through the fine details of the contract.

Commercial and industrial properties are not impacted by the removal of trash pick-up from the tax levy because businesses have already been handling their own disposal services.

“The services are being paid for specifically by the people who use them,” Petykiewicz said. “I know this will not be an easy item. There is some pain to be spread around here, and I think this spreads it around uniformly.


Andrew Eppen: The life of a student DJ

By Kimberly Wethal

Sept. 23, 2015

You know him on stage as “McCoy’s Boy.”

For now, that is.

Originally choosing a name based off a love for “Star Trek” and the show’s character Leonard McCoy, DJ and UW-Whitewater senior Andrew Eppen is looking to rebrand himself as a professional performer as he strives to reach new heights in an ideal music career.

Opening for Timeflies at UW-W’s second-annual Welcome Back concert on Sept. 1, Eppen achieved another milestone as he played for hundreds of peers: his biggest crowd, and his “best show yet.”

“I was so nervous to play before the show,” Eppen said. “Once I got on stage, I was in the zone.”

It’s a “big deal” to be a DJ in the United States, Eppen says, because most come from other countries. Most notably, The Netherlands.

Eppen’s appreciation for music started with school band and the Backstreet Boys.

“I was always someone who listened to music,” Eppen said. “That’s something that I got from my dad. He was in just a fun band in college, and he was a guy who really showed me a lot of music when I was a kid.”

He had a friend as a senior in high school who listened to Electronic Dance Music (EDM) and deadmau5. He wasn’t sure if he liked it.

EDM is dance music commonly played at raves, nightclubs and festivals.

At first, Eppen thought the genre was weird.

“The more I listened to it, the more I got into it,” he said.

That led him to go to Pandora Radio and search for more DJs who would eventually become his favorites and that convinced him to try his own hand at it.

Eppen started to play around with DJ software and EDM with friend Mark Jansky as a college freshman and found a passion in creating electronic dance music sets.

“During that first semester I started playing around with some DJ stuff, and Andrew joined in because he thought it looked cool,” Jansky said. “We just started with some programs on our computer without any external DJ gear, and we slowly bought bigger and bigger stuff, and now we have a pretty professional setup.”

Mixing music in a free DJ app led Eppen to play venues in Madison and Milwaukee clubs, most notably The Rave. He’s gone so far as to travel to Missouri to play with DJ S3RL, an internationally known artist.

“I road-tripped it out, and for one show I got to taste what it’s like to be a real DJ,” he said.

National and international DJ radio stations from California and England, respectively, were taking notice of him during his sophomore year of college.

“There’d be international DJs from around the world, and we’d have our set time for an hour to play all different kinds of EDM,” Eppen said. “It was a really good community and we’d have a chatbox … really support each other.”

Eppen also did monthly mixes for a record label before they decided to part ways due to artistic differences, among other things.

He describes opening for Timeflies as “euphoric.” He overcame any pre-show jitters once he was on the stage and was “in the zone.”

Once comfortable on stage, Eppen lets the music move him and reads the crowd, playing different music styles the audience likes and responds to.

“The reactions the audience had right away to my set … I was clapping, and then the whole crowd started doing it,” he said. “The whole experience is amazing. The feeling I get on stage is unlike anything else.”

On stage is where he wants to be for the rest of his life.

He recently started talking into the microphone, which he says breaks down barriers between the DJ and the crowd and makes a DJ look like an actual person. It’s one of his biggest pet peeves when a DJ isn’t doing all they can to interact with and engage with their audience.

“If they look bored, it’s like, ‘why are you up there?’” he said. “I want to be up there.”

Opening at the Welcome Back concert gave Eppen a chance to showcase his work to peers who’d only heard about his passion in the past, and show them what EDM is all about.

“I think Timeflies was a really cool experience for me, because going to school here, most people know me as a DJ and I would talk about the music and how awesome it was, but the thing is people didn’t know. They didn’t know the music, and they didn’t know what it was like to experience it,” Eppen said.

One thing Eppen says is “in the works” is learning to produce his own music and play new instruments to add to the music-mixing and set-creating skills he already has.

“DJing is all about knowing people, and I think I can do a better job of getting my name out there within the community.,” Eppen said. “Sometimes it’s about stepping outside of your comfort zone … that’s gotten easier for me because as I progress in my DJ career. I’ve gotten more confident.”

Kopper honored to be UW-Whitewater’s 16th Chancellor

By Kimberly Wethal

Royal Purple News Editor


Chancellor Beverly Kopper speaks the audience at her State of the University address on Monday, Aug. 24. She talked about the strategic plans the university has to get around budget challenges and mentioned the highlights of the incoming freshman class.

Chancellor Beverly Kopper speaks the audience at her State of the University address on Monday, Aug. 24. She talked about the strategic plans the university has to get around budget challenges and mentioned the highlights of the incoming freshman class.

Chancellor Beverly Kopper has a closet overflowing with purple.

It’s not all Warhawk purple, she admits, but the days she’s not donning one of the many shades of the color, she’s almost invisible.

“One of my co-workers saw me today not wearing purple and said I was almost unrecognizable,” Kopper said.

Wearing the color daily is just one of the ways Kopper shows her love and enthusiasm for UW-Whitewater.

Kopper was named chancellor in late May to replace former chancellor Richard Telfer, who announced his retirement in November 2014.

She was hired at UW-W in 2010 as provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Kopper has been in the role of interim chancellor before, when Telfer took the role of interim UW System President in early 2014, so the transition has been “wonderful.”

“Some of the responsibilities are similar,” she said. “I’ve had the opportunity to be out with some of our alumni and donors, as well as spending time on campus.”

Spending two months meeting with faculty, alumni and legislators to talk about UW-W and the challenges it faces due to the $125 million cut to the UW System in the ’15-17 biennial budget, Kopper has kept her calendar plenty full.

While her schedule will become a balancing act of engaging with students through event attendance and the time spent off campus when classes start, student arrival is an event Kopper said she was looking forward to during an interview in mid-August.

“I’m anxiously waiting for all the students to come back,” she said. “ … There’s just a sense of energy on campus that you just feel.”

Kopper’s new vision for UW-W  is one that is shared, and has had cross-campus input on how to improve and move forward.

A task force will be launched this fall on how the university can manage the budget cuts, and goals will be made on how to close the equity gap between underrepresented minority students, creating institutional diversity within the faculty and a focus on how student advising can be improved.


Love for higher education

Kopper first came to Whitewater on a cold, windy day in November of 2009.

John Stone, now interim provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, was the first person she’d met.

“A windy Friday the 13th, in 2009, I picked her up in front of the Baymont Inn to interview as provost for this university,” Stone said as he introduced Kopper to the stage during the State of the University address on August 24. “She has distinguished herself in every way, placing value on the notion of building community. She has lived the UW-Whitewater family motto.”

Kopper took the microphone after the applause, saying Friday the 13th is now one of her favorite days.

Prior to being hired as a UW-W provost in 2010, Kopper earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of Buffalo, and continued her education at UW-Madison, earning a master’s in social work and psychology.

Kopper then earned her Ph.D in counseling at Iowa State, where she then proceeded to work at University of Northern Iowa, working her way from a faculty member to part of the administration.

Kopper said it was the love of higher education’s dedication to student success and the innovative spirit on college campuses that pushed her toward a career in a university setting, and it’s those same things that brought – and kept – her here at UW-W.

“Even during difficult times, and we are in difficult times, you still find passionate, dedicated  individuals on campus who still care about one another. That’s very special,” she said.


‘Going 100 mph’

On her first day as chancellor, Kopper worked to establish “a new normal” on campus.

Holding an open forum on the morning of that first day, 100 faculty and community members showed up.

“The campus is really interested in what she has to say, and what her plans are for us,” said Sara Kuhl, Marketing and Media Relations director at UW-W.

Kopper also held “Tea with the Chancellor” sessions throughout the summer. It’s something she said she’ll be continuing throughout her first year.

“This is really important because I want to be able to see all of you and keep you updated on the critical issues that we’re facing,” Kopper said.

“I have plenty of tea on standby in my office, drawers and drawers. Some days I look like a cafe.”

Coffee drinkers are still invited to bring their concerns to the chancellor–she has coffee on hand as well.

One of the biggest changes Kopper has seen in herself is she “probably travels more,” thanks to the amount of alumni, donors and legislators she meets with off campus in order to “energize our allies.”

When she is on campus, she finds herself meeting with the leadership teams of each department at the university as she works to get to know people on a different level.

Juggling the duties of chancellor has come mostly easy to Kopper, Kuhl said, but has its limitations.

“She’s had to say no to some things, because there’s only 24 hours in a day and she needs to have a little bit of time with her family,” Kuhl said. “I think she’s done an amazing job of handling the demands that are out there for her.

“She’s just very cheerful, and oozes excitement for who we are,” she added. “The passion she has for UW-Whitewater is amazing, and I think it’s going to be contagious.”

As Telfer could be easily seen around campus at events, Kopper is planning on cultivating the same kind of community involvement.

“Both of us liked to be very involved on campus,” she said. “Certainly Dr. Telfer was an avid supporter of athletics, and I am as well. I just love being out at student concerts and performances and faculty events. It’s the vibrancy of this campus.”


A vision for campus

Whitewater’s campus has always had a family feel for Kopper.

She says it’s “critical” to keep it that way.

In her State of the University address, she talked about the challenges and successes UW-W has accumulated since the last campus address.

One of the biggest challenges UW-W faces is the decrease in state aid in the biennial budget, but Kopper put the minds of many faculty and staff in the audience to ease, as she told them there was no plans for layoffs, job outsourcing or early retirement incentives.

She announced one way UW-W will “weather to the budget cuts” is the launch of a task force whose main initiatives will be to manage the budget cuts’ affect on campus and look for more innovative practices that will cut costs without eliminating quality for students and staff.

“We need to remain a university that is laser-focused on student success,” Kopper said. “That means we need to have a shared vision of excellence that really transcends all boundaries, where everyone is reinforced for their contributions to UW-Whitewater.”

The task force will develop key performance indicators to track the progress of the goals set and ensure that short-term goals match up with the university’s long-term vision.

Academic freedom and the preservation of tenure is also a part of the budget plan that Kopper said she, along with the UW System President Ray Cross, is dedicated to protecting, despite new wording changes from lawmakers.

Her stance on tenure got a small burst of applause from a faculty member in one of the front rows.

Another solution to the budget deficit will be to raise out-of-state and graduate tuition up 2-3 percent from last year, a move that will generate $800,000 in order to minimize the blow of a $125 million cut.

This plan comes with problems, completely out of the university’s control, however.

Kopper talked about how UW-W relies heavily on its enrollment and retention for funding, but is already at a student housing over-capacity. The university has lost transfer students due to not being able to have places for them to stay on campus, and will have 170 incoming students living in lounges at the beginning of the school year.

Yet with the budget cuts, building renovations and new construction have either been halted or severely delayed due to a lack of state funding.

The State of the University address wasn’t all negative, however; Kopper said there’s plenty to be celebrated.

The class of 2019, which had a record amount of applicants, totaling 7,200 in all, will be starting this week as the class to have the highest ACT average of any class before them. Out of the 2,100 members of the incoming freshman, 16 percent identify as under-represented minorities, and 18 percent are from out of state.

Retention rates from the class of 2018, this year’s sophomore class, are also slightly above 80 percent for the second year in a row, and graduation rates within a six-year time frame are nearing 60 percent.

The rates are “outstanding” and are above national rates, Kopper said.

The highest priority in Kopper’s vision for the campus, however, is never compromising the student experience as the university works to find ways around the challenges they face.

“We have a very special sense of family here that we will protect,” she said.