Category Archives: UNI

Congratulating the UNIFI Class of 2016

13077247_10153757930301219_1326827823_nRyan Lode
Director of Activities 2014-2015

What are your plans after you graduate?

As I am typing this now, I am in the interview process for a couple of biotech jobs. I can’t say much more than that, but what I can say is that I will be moving to the Des Moines area after graduating.

What was your all-time favorite UNIFI event?

Darwin Week 2015. After putting in a ton of hard work, it was extremely rewarding to get Dr. Kurilla from the National Institutes of Health to come speak at UNI, and to help get the rest of the pieces of the Darwin Week puzzle to come together. It was stressful for sure, but the payoff was definitely worth it.

What role has UNIFI played in your college career?

The UNIFI community has really challenged me to think much more critically. I’ve come a long way from the idiot teenager to the slightly wiser person I am today and UNIFI definitely played a role in this. There are a few online arguments that stand out in my memory where I suffered a brutal intellectual beat down at the hands of several UNIFI members.  I was extremely irked at the time, but as time went by I began look back at how I argued with some embarrassment. Now I’m nothing but grateful for UNIFI’s role in helping me become a more thoughtful person.

I’m also extremely grateful for the friends and memories I’ve made during my time at UNI. All of you guys are great.

Toko Strongshell extends his thanks to all of you.

What is one piece of advice you would give to incoming freshmen to make the best of their college careers?

Once you decide what career path you want to take, find out what skills those jobs or graduate programs need, and make a list of them. Then develop a detailed plan of how you are going to acquire practice in those skills.  It seems like a silly piece of advice, but a lot of undergraduates don’t take it seriously until they have to apply. They end up struggling to get hired or accepted into grad programs because they don’t have enough specific experiences to tailor their resumes for those positions. So yeah, don’t let that be you. Be smart about your goals and how to obtain them.

13081722_10209194412717873_844444567_nHunter Thompson

What are your plans after you graduate?

I am moving to Muncie Indiana, to pursue my Masters at Ball State University.

What was your all-time favorite UNIFI event?

Easily has to be when Nate Phelps came to speak for Darwin Week. The stories he told about growing up in the Westboro Baptist Church Cult were hilarious, fascinating, and horrifying. He sent an important message to those listing about the dangers of belief systems.

What role has UNIFI played in your college career?

For me college was about challenging what I believed and learning new things. My favorite memories of college are the amazing conversations I have had with others who shared their experience and knowledge with me. UNFI is a great place to do that.

What is one piece of advice you would give to incoming freshmen to make the best of their college careers?

Find what you love and commit 100 percent to it. If you don’t know what it is you want that’s ok most of us are still figuring that out, myself included and I am graduating. You don’t have to have all the answers right away. Just make sure you set short term goals if that’s the case.

For me college was about challenging what I believed and learning new things. My favorite memories of college are the amazing conversations I have had with others who shared their experience and knowledge with me. UNFI is a great place to do that.

abbieAbbie Shew
Director of Public Relations- 2013-2014
Director of Finance- 2014-2015

What are your plans after you graduate?

Next year I will be returning to UNI to pursue an MA in Communication Studies. I will be working as a research assistant on a project called Science in the Media.

What was your all-time favorite UNIFI event?

I think my favorite UNIFI event is Darwin Week. The Darwin Week my freshman year of college particularly stands out to me because it was really the first time I was exposed to UNIFI as a group. I remember attending one of the keynote talks (now I don’t remember who it was) and being so impressed at the number of students that had showed up at 7pm on a Monday to come hear someone talk about science. That was so cool to me, and I knew I had to join UNIFI. From there, I became very involved, especially with Darwin Week because I understood its potential and was so genuinely excited about what Darwin Week could bring to campus.

What role has UNIFI played in your college career?

UNIFI has played a large role in my development as a leader and as a person. One of my first leadership experiences was as the Director of Public Relations for UNIFI my sophomore year. I very clearly remember Stef telling me I should apply for an officer position and being absolutely terrified of doing so, I’m pretty sure I sounded incredibly nervous in my first officer interview. After they gave me the officer position, I learned so much about UNIFI and came to deeply appreciate its place on campus. The mission of UNIFI is essential to our campus environment, and I truly hope they continue to promote science, reason, and intellectualism for as long as UNI is an institution.

What is one piece of advice you would give to incoming freshmen to make the best of their college careers?

I know it’s cliche, but get involved. Join a club, play intramural sports, invite people to sit with you in the union, start a club if you can’t find one you like, whatever you do make sure you form connections with people. The people you meet will shape your experience and you really never know when you’re going to run into that influential person that will push you to try something you never would have, or who will introduce you to new ideas you weren’t aware of. Push yourself to meet new people, try new things, and grow as a person throughout your college experience.

13139236_10154188805892238_7255544853703618914_nJesse Moeller
Director of Activities- 2012-2013
Director of Finance- 2013-2014
Director of Public Relations- 2015-2016

What are your plans after you graduate?

First I will fly to Norway and Iceland with the Men’s Glee Club and be glad. Then, for the rest of the summer, I will be interning with CBE Companies (local cedar falls based debt collection agency). In the fall I will begin my Ph.D. in Mathematics at University of Nebraska-Lincoln

What was your all-time favorite UNIFI event?

This is hard. It is probably a three way tie between CampO’NEILLing,  Pint with a Prof, and Hy-Vee brunch (when they had full service breakfast).

What role has UNIFI played in your college career?

UNIFI has played a gigantic role in my college career. Besides the immediately obvious intellectual health benefits provided by being involved with UNIFI, UNIFI deepened my UNI experience in almost every dimension. My hobbies became richer as I connected with people in UNIFI, my academics, like philosophy and even my math courses, became more interesting as I had peers to talk about them with, I met my future wife in UNIFI Laurelin Berkley, and I have made almost all of my college friends in UNIFI.

What is one piece of advice you would give to incoming freshmen to make the best of their college careers?

You must connect. Participate in the activities. Don’t waste away in front of your bad habits: don’t spend nights scrolling facebook, playing call of duty, doing internet prestige battle on Leddit, none of that. Get involved in student organizations, pick up hobbies, and find your values. Populate your experience with as much as you can; college, and being surrounded by all of your friends as well as by people who are trying to learn and better themselves in mass, is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

13162097_10154154558621484_339354126_nO’neill Goltz
Coordinator of Activism – 2014-2015
Director of membership- 2015-2016

What are your plans after you graduate?

I’m planning on taking a gap year to save up some money and assess what I actually want to do. Essentially I’ll be the UNIFI Uncle for a while.

What was your all-time favorite UNIFI event?

The best time I had was when UNIFI made a trip down to Skepticon. It was really cool event with great speakers and interesting places to go. It also helped that I went with a bunch of awesome people.

What role has UNIFI played in your college career?

UNIFI has been the bedrock of my college career. It’s where I made the majority of my friends and contacts who helped me through the rough patches. I can’t imagine going through college without the people I met and the skills I gained as a member and an officer.

What is one piece of advice you would give to incoming freshmen to make the best of their college careers?

Find your passions. Be weird. Take your time. Do what you want to do and don’t worry what other people think of you or how long you’re taking to figure things out. It’s better to spend your time wisely and come to the correct answer, than to rush through and come out disappointed.

Copyright Infringement in the Modern World

Near the end of the spring semester here at UNI I was accused of uploading Game of Thrones: Season 5 Episode 3 without permission on the university’s network. As one of the sanctions placed on me by the university I was required to write a research paper about “the history and importance of copyright infringement”. I did honest research, albeit with an initial bias, and came to my own conclusions about modern copyright law. I did not write an apology letter. Indeed, I wanted to challenge dogma. Here is what I gave the Office of the Dean of Students:

A culture is not complete without its own forms of literature, film, drama, music, and other creative works. In order to ensure the flourishing of these arts, and hence the flourishing of a large and diverse part of Western society, it is necessary to protect artists and their rights. This is precisely the motivation behind the Copyright Act of 1790, as well as its major revision in 1976. Times have changed, however. With the advent of computers, DVR, camera phones, and the internet, it is has become very easy to copy, reproduce, and obtain media of all kinds from all over the world. With the development of these technologies, and the ease of obtaining and distributing copyrighted media, contemporary intellectual property law was born.

In 1998 the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a document which serves to establish and protect the rights of artists in the case of online copyright infringement, was signed into law by Bill Clinton. The DMCA passed through senate with a unanimous vote. (DMCA, 1998) To combat redistribution and infringement, the DMCA empowers artists by strengthening their copyright on the internet. For example, a young artist trying to make money from selling singles may invoke the DMCA in order to remove a YouTube video featuring the artists’ content without the artists’ consent. In such a case YouTube is responsible for removing the video and informing the user, but YouTube is not liable for damages. This is another facet of the DMCA. Since it is unfair to require internet service providers of such large scale (YouTube has more than one million users who make profit from advertisement revenue) to be held accountable for the actions of their clients and users, the DMCA limits the liability of the providers.

Although the DMCA limits the liability of service providers like YouTube, there is still conflict between content providers and the large video streaming website. In 2007 Viacom filed charges against YouTube for copyright infringement. Viacom claimed that the volume of different users uploading Viacom’s content accrued more than $1 billion in damages. (Helft, 2010) The initial verdict was that YouTube was protected by the DMCA, but in the sequence of appeals there was a ruling that YouTube could be held liable due to YouTube having “general knowledge” that “many people upload copyrighted content.” In the end of the court battle, the DMCA acted as a shield for YouTube rather than a sword for Viacom and no damages were paid. Though it is obvious that YouTube is not interested in committing infringement, their liability was the subject of heated debate – the case took 6 years to settle. When it comes to the case of file sharing with copyrighted media, however, the verdict is clear. Using file sharing services to download or upload files is a violation of copyright law.

Since file sharing software is so commonplace, copyright infringement is happening more now than ever. Those who stand to challenge copyright infringement are, of course, those who feel the effect most of all. The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) manufacture and deliver 85% of all media in the United States and have sued more than 20,000 individuals for distributing copyrighted media. (Kravets, 2010) Since the DMCA protects internet service providers, the RIAA may only sue individual violators directly. Out of the 20,000 cases that have been opened, only 2,500 have been settled. The RIAA’s litigation campaign has been incredibly unsuccessful and has even been accused of being nothing more than an “intimidation campaign”. Such allegations are easy to believe knowing that the RIAA has also sued the families of dead men; the RIAA gave the family of Larry Scantlebury 60 days of grieving before the attack on his estate in the courtroom. (Bylund, 2006) As indicated by only 2,500 settled cases, this behavior from the RIAA does not go unchecked. The RIAA has been met by the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), a pro-open culture litigation shield for vulnerable parties, in court many times. (EFF, 2015) With their defeat on the front of individual lawsuits the RIAA has resorted to tracking peer to peer uploads and asking the service provider to dispense its own form of justice to the users, this comes typically in the form of a three strike system.

But do not forget that the original intent of copyright law is to protect artists and their rights. The fans, believe it or not, are actually interested in compensating artists.
The RIAA has spent long hours and many resources on its campaign and they are legally in the right. But do not forget that the original intent of copyright law is to protect artists and their rights. The fans, believe it or not, are actually interested in compensating artists. The staggeringly high amount of illegal downloads might not be very persuasive, but if one considers different mediums then the fact becomes obvious. There is a new form of entertainment present on the internet today called “streaming”. With online videogames, a professional player will share their screen activity with the world through a website for free and anyone can come to the website and watch them play. The interesting thing about this arrangement is that thousands of these professional players make a living from fan donations. The professional players build a connection with their fans and, with support from donations, these professional players spend their days doing what they love – providing content.

Some may argue that if fans want to support music artists then they should just “suck it up” and buy the albums. This argument is flawed because it assumes that the profits of the purchase will benefit the artists. While it is true that some of the profits will go to the artists, the split is nowhere close to fair for the artists involved. According to a report done on music sales artists only make $24 for every $1,000 sold. (Jefferson, 2010) Therefore it is in the artists’ best interest (that people buy albums) in the same way that a starving person would prefer a plate with crumbs rather than a plate with nothing on it at all. A new system, one which protects the artists and the fans, is necessary.

It is not hard to imagine what these alternative support systems might look like. The model might function in the same way that it does for radio stations; they pay a recurring fee to play whatever music they like. It might function in the same way that it does with streaming; artists connect directly to their fans and collect donations. In any case, file sharing is not going away. Despite the fear tactics and lawsuits, file sharing is at an all-time high. It is time to change the rules of the game. Artists and fans deserve a system that will allow culture to flourish.

Works Cited

Bylund, A. (2006, August 12). Retrieved from ArsTechnica:

EFF. (2015, June 3). Retrieved from Electronic Frontier Foundation:

DMCA. (1998). Retrieved from U.S. Copyright Office:

Helft, M. (2010, March 18). Technology. Retrieved from New York Times:

Jefferson, C. (2010, July 6). Culture. Retrieved from The Root:

Kravets, D. (2010, September 21). Security. Retrieved from Wired:

UNIFI as a community for faith and worship at UNI

The Panther Caucus, an alumni organization for the University of Northern Iowa, recently published Creating a welcoming community for faith and worship. Until I read that, I had no idea UNIFI was such an organization for faith and worship. It was startlingly easy to rewrite their article to be more inclusive, or even exclude other groups, so I did. This is my response, and does not represent the views of any other individual or organization.

Creating a welcoming environment for reason and achievement at UNI

The University of Northern Iowa is home to more than 240 recognized secular student organizations. The groups offer community and activities for students, faculty, and staff. Some of the groups are oriented around majors and departments, like the Philosophy Students Club and the UNI Physics Club. Others are general, such as the Financial Literacy Club, a campus organization that promotes good habits and understanding personal finances.

There are groups for athletes and artists; groups that are for students interested the celebrating physical achievement and the performing arts.

“We want you to feel welcome. We want you to come and feel like you’re part of this community,” said Aaron Friel, president-elect of the UNI Freethinkers and Inquirers, a group open to students wanting to ask questions about and challenge religious ideas.

UNIFI was founded more than seven years ago and has collaborated with a variety of progressive and secular student organizations on campus as well as local churches. One event UNIFI participates in is Darwin Week, which promotes scientific achievement and humanist ideas. Other events have included 24/7 Service Week in which students volunteered in non-profit organizations across the Cedar Valley, an event scheduled to coincide with another group’s 24/7 Prayer Week.

These organizations provide students with the opportunity to connect on a more personal level, offering programs for smaller groups and casual social events, and larger-scale events, such as camping trips, retreats and spring break trips.

Friel says the main goal for UNIFI to create a welcoming environment where students can grow and feel comfortable questioning religious ideas. “I think everyone should be able to find a group, a community for them at UNI.” Friel added. “For me, that means UNIFI, but there are groups here for everyone.”

Some of UNI’s secular organizations include:

  • Actuarial Science Club
  • Alpha Delta Pi
  • Alpha Phi
  • Alpha Phi Omega
  • Alpha Psi Omega Theta Alpha Phi Chapter
  • Alpha Upsilon Alpha
  • Alpha Xi Delta
  • American Choral Directors Association
  • American Marketing Association
  • American Sign Language Club
  • Art for El Salvador
  • Association of Criminology Students
  • Association of Technology Management & Applied Engineering UNI Chapter
  • Autism Advocates
  • Baseball Sport Club
  • Bedsider UNI
  • Bender Hall Senate
  • Best Buddies
  • Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society
  • Black Male Leaders Union
  • Black Student Union
  • Camp Adventure Child & Youth Services
  • Campbell Hall Senate
  • Campus Activities Board
  • Cedar River Productions
  • Cedar Valley Linux Users Group
  • Cedar Valley Support A Student
  • Chi Sigma Iota
  • Chinese Students and Scholars Association
  • College Republicans
  • College of Business Administration Presidents Council
  • Colleges Against Cancer
  • Common Sense Action
  • Communication Student Association
  • Computer Club
  • Connecting Alumni To Students
  • Corey and Eric for UNI
  • Dancer Hall Senate
  • Daniel Webster Law Society
  • Digital Collective
  • Drug-Free Panthers
  • Economics Club
  • English Club
  • Ethnic Student Promoters
  • Explorers of Religion
  • Film Appreciation Club
  • Financial Management Association
  • Gamer Brigade
  • Gamma Phi Beta
  • George Walker Society of Music
  • Golden Key International Honour Society
  • Graduate Student Social Network
  • Greek Week Committee
  • Green Project UNI – The Panther Plot
  • Hagemann Hall Senate
  • Hispanic Latino Student Union
  • History Club
  • Honors Student Advisory Board
  • Humans vs. Zombies The UNI Chapter
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers UNI Chapter
  • Interfraternity Council
  • International Cultural Exchange
  • International Dance Theatre
  • International Student Association
  • International Student Promoters
  • Iowa High School Model United Nations
  • KULT Radio
  • Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society
  • Kappa Kappa Psi- Eta Pi Chapter
  • Kappa Sigma Fraternity
  • Kevin and Paul Students for Students
  • Korean Language and Culture Club
  • Lawther Hall Senate
  • Legacy PR
  • Management Information Systems Association
  • Middle Eastern Dance Club
  • Multicultural Teaching Alliance
  • National Residence Hall Honorary-UNI Chapter
  • National Society of Collegiate Scholars
  • National Student Speech Language Hearing Association University of Northern Iowa Chapter
  • Noehren Hall Senate
  • Nonprofit Leadership Alliance
  • Nontraditional Student Organization
  • Northern Iowa Anime Association
  • Northern Iowa Democrats
  • Northern Iowa Family Service Organization
  • Northern Iowa Potters and Sculpters
  • Northern Iowa Student Government
  • Northern Iowa Wishmakers
  • Northern Iowan
  • Omicron Delta Kappa-UNI Circle
  • One Iowa at UNI
  • Orchesis Dance Company
  • Order of Omega
  • Panhellenic Council
  • Panther Leadership Service Club
  • Panther Pacers Running Sport Club
  • Panther. Magazine
  • Panthers For Anesa
  • Panthers for Andrew Miller
  • Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society (Pi-Lambda Chapter)
  • Phi Beta Lambda
  • Phi Beta Sigma
  • Phi Eta Sigma
  • Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Beta Nu Chapter
  • Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity
  • Phi Upsilon Omicron
  • Philosophy Club
  • Physical Education Club
  • Physical Education Club
  • Pi Kappa Alpha
  • Pi Sigma Epsilon
  • Political Science Society
  • Pre-Dental Club
  • Pre-Medical Club
  • Pre-Optometry Club
  • Pre-Physician Assistant Club
  • Pre-Veterinary Club
  • Project Marrow
  • Public Policy Club
  • Public Relations Student Society of America
  • Relay For Life Committee
  • Residence Hall Association
  • Rho Epsilon
  • Rider Hall Senate
  • Saudi Students Club
  • Service and Leadership Council
  • Shull Hall Senate
  • Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity
  • Sigma Alpha Iota
  • Sigma Delta Pi
  • Sigma Gamma Epsilon
  • Sigma Iota
  • Sigma Phi Epsilon
  • Sigma Tau Delta
  • Society for Human Resource Management
  • Society of Manufacturing Engineers
  • Society of Professional Journalists
  • Student Admissions Ambassadors
  • Student Affairs Pre-Professional Association
  • Student Affliates of the American Chemical Society
  • Student Association of Middle Level Educators
  • Student Athlete Advisory Committee
  • Student Health Advisory Committee
  • Student Interior Designers Of Northern Iowa
  • Student Leadership Advisory Panel
  • Student Nature Society
  • Student Reading Association
  • Student Social Work Association
  • Students Today Leaders Forever-Pay It Forward Tour
  • Students for International Peace and Security Studies
  • TESOL/Linguistics Club
  • Tau Beta Sigma
  • Teaching Educators About Mathematics
  • Technology and Engineering Education Collegiate Association
  • Textiles & Apparel Association
  • The UNI Financial Literacy Club
  • The UNI Halo Covenant
  • The University of Northern Iowa Council of Teachers of English
  • The University of Northern Iowa Masters of Social Work Student Association
  • The University of Northern Iowa Supporters of the United States Army
  • To Write Love On Her Arms UNI
  • Turkish Students Association
  • UNI 4 Kids
  • UNI Accounting Club
  • UNI Advocates for Alzheimers
  • UNI African Union
  • UNI Archery Sports Club
  • UNI Badminton Club
  • UNI Ballroom/Swing
  • UNI Blackhawk Ever Enthusiastic Rooters
  • UNI Business Prelaw Club
  • UNI Capoeira Sports Club
  • UNI Chess Club
  • UNI Circle K Club
  • UNI Climate Movement
  • UNI Collegiate 4-H Club
  • UNI Construction Management Club
  • UNI Dance Marathon
  • UNI Disc Golf Club
  • UNI English Club
  • UNI Entrepreneurs
  • UNI Feminist Action League
  • UNI Fencing Club
  • UNI Forensics Speech and Debate Teams
  • UNI Habitat for Humanity
  • UNI Hardwoods
  • UNI Harry Potter Club
  • UNI Health Science Club
  • UNI Hockey Club
  • UNI Mandarin Chinese Club
  • UNI Mens Ultimate Frisbee Sport Club
  • UNI Mens Volleyball Sport Club
  • UNI Model United Nations Competition Team
  • UNI National Wild Turkey Federation
  • UNI Panthers Allied with Local Schools
  • UNI Percussive Arts Society
  • UNI Physics Club
  • UNI Pre-Chiropractic Club
  • UNI Pre-Occupational Therapy Club
  • UNI Pre-Pharmacy Club
  • UNI Printmaking Society
  • UNI Proud
  • UNI Quidditch Club
  • UNI Right to Life
  • UNI SAVE (Students Against a Violent Environment
  • UNI Salsa Club
  • UNI Ski & Snowboard Sports Club
  • UNI Sociology Club
  • UNI Solar Panthers Club
  • UNI Student Theatre Association
  • UNI Supply Chain Management Association
  • UNI Tae Kwon-Do Club
  • UNI Tennis Sport Club
  • UNI Trap and Skeet
  • UNI USITT United States Institute of Theatre Technology Student Chapter
  • UNI Varsity Mens Glee Club
  • UNI Veterans Association
  • UNI Women in Physics Club
  • UNI Womens Soccer Sport Club
  • UNI Womens Ultimate Frisbee Sport Club
  • UNIBusiness Global Associates
  • University of Northern Iowa Anthropological Association
  • University of Northern Iowa Cycling Sport Club
  • University of Northern Iowa Freethinkers and Inquirers
  • University of Northern Iowa Geography Club
  • University of Northern Iowa Grafx Club
  • University of Northern Iowa Longboarding Association
  • University of Northern Iowa March of Dimes
  • University of Northern Iowa Pre-Physical Therapy Club
  • University of Northern Iowa Psychology Club
  • University of Northern Iowa Student Athletic Training Organization
  • University of Northern Iowa Student Cable Programming Service (UNI Sketch)
  • University of Northern Iowa Student Early Childhood Association
  • University of Northern Iowa Students Today Alumni Tomorrow
  • University of Northern Iowa Students Together for the Advancement of Reproductive Rights
  • University of Northern Iowa Tourism Assocation
  • University of Northern Iowa Triathlon Team Sport Club
  • Vocal AmmUNItion

A note from Adam Butler.

Prof Adam Butler sent us this note sharing his concern for the recent budget fiasco. We have posted this to raise awareness of a faculty members concern.

Academic freedom is a significant component of free-thought and inquiry. Shared governance, whereby faculty members participate in important decisions regarding the university, preserves and protects academic freedom. Unfortunately, the actions of President Allen and Provost Gibson have seriously eroded shared governance at UNI. These include recent academic program cuts and the imposition of an overly narrow definition of faculty scholarly activity, both of which were undertaken without faculty consultation.

On Monday and Tuesday (Feb 27-28), UNI faculty will observe a minute of silence in classes as a symbolic protest over the loss of our voice in the decision-making process at the University. I hope that UNIFI members will support UNI faculty during this protest.

You can do two things: (1) Email and tell him you support shared governance, and (2) If you observe a protest during class, take a photo and post it on Facebook with an acknowledgement of your support.