Author: Tiara Maio

Many faces of autism

Portrait project puts a face on autism at Mental Health Symposium Four years ago, Congress passed the Combating Autism Act of 2006, which authorized $700 million in Federal funding towards autism through 2011. However, come September, the act will die. April is autism awareness month, and because of that the College of Humanities & Social Sciences and College of Science & Health presented the 2011 Mental Health Symposium: Focus on Autism conference on campus last week. The Sorenson Student Center’s Ballroom perimeter was lined with basic informational booths for family services and support groups. One booth was there primarily to raise the awareness of parents about free classes for mothers with autistic children. A visual display of 31 color portraits of people with autistic spectrum disorders was dispayed in hopes of raising awareness. The photos ranged from headshots of toddlers to adults, which hung neatly on the back wall in the center of the ballroom commons. An assistant professor of Art and Photography at Utah State University, Christopher M. Gauthier created this portrait art piece titled, “Evidence and Artifacts: 1 in 110,” to coincide with  recent statistics that one in 110 children is affected with autistic spectrum disorders in the United States. Gauthier consulted with his wife, Jacqueline Gauthier, who describes her occupation as “advocate mom,” about the nature and meaning of the portrait project. Together, they explained the...

Read More

Student speaks out on mental illness

Students and staff overflowed the library auditorium to attend The Awareness of Mental Illness symposium, led by Dr. Fullmer’s English 276R Heavy Metal class. UVU student Will Sears was the big attention grabber for the audience. “I was 21 years old and ready to go on a mission,” Sears said. “I was 6 weeks into the MTC when I had a psychotic breakdown. I started hallucinating visually, losing weight, unable to sleep — I was in a really bad place.” “I’ve been diagnosed with schizophrenia and schizoaffective,” Sears said. Further explaining that schizoaffective is kind of schizophrenia and major depression combined. As Sears courageously exposed the past 12 years of his everyday life experiences and struggles, the audience — intrigued and some able to relate — engaged with Sears through questions of curiosity and support. “What would happen every night, about 3:00 a.m. these demons and spirits or whatever would come through the floor, come at me and almost attack me,” Sears said. “I thought okay, [the MTC] is a religious place maybe this is a religious experience.” After four days of hallucinating, the spirits got so close that Sears ran out of the room. He was immediately medicated and sent home by the MTC psychiatrist for the sudden onsets of psychosis. The required medications cost thousands of dollars and Sears had to use his student loans to buy...

Read More

Silence the Violence

T-shirts promote awareness of sexual assault Over 1,000 voices will be free from storage boxes and hung on the clothesline again, ready to strengthen their right to be heard and support the new voices that will join them this year. Each April and October, t-shirts are created by survivors of violence and displayed side by side to remind people of the real meaning of violence statistics. In hopes to use the display as a motivation to end violence, each shirt displays their creator’s feelings and gives an uncensored opportunity for a violence survivor to voice their personal experience. “We don’t censor any of the t-shirts because our goal is to break the silence of violence,” said Jennie Briggs, director of the Equity in Education Center on campus. In honor of sexual assault awareness month, the Equity in Education, Turning Point and Women’s Resource Centers sponsor The Clothesline Project at UVU. This is a worldwide recognition project, as the official Clothesline Project website estimates there are projects in 41 states and at least 5 countries. The project has been displayed on campus twice each year since 1998. On April 5-6, between 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the UVU Student Center Grand Ballroom, t-shirts made from former semesters will be displayed and supplies will be provided for people to make new shirts, which will be hung on a new line....

Read More

‘Avatar’ videogame score composer comes to campus

The epic science fiction film, James Cameron’s Avatar, became the highest grossing film of all time worldwide after its release in 2009. It is the first film to gross over $2 billion. The music composer for Avatar: The Game, Chance Thomas, is coming to speak on campus March 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ragan Theater. Ubisoft Montreal developed the film’s action videogame prequel in partnership with Cameron as he simultaneously directed the movie. The game used the same stereoscopic 3D technology (creating an illusion of depth) and was released the same year as the film. In 2010, the game sold 2.7 million copies. Chance Thomas is known as a premier composer for the videogame industry. His score for Avatar: The Game was yet another successful entertainment property to add to his talented list. Thomas has composed and produced original videogame music for Star Wars, King Kong, Lord of the Rings and Avatar, to name a few. The Avatar videogame score was nominated for Music of the Year, given special recognition for Best Score and given an honorable mention for Best Game Score. A BYU graduate and currently homebound in Bountiful, Utah, Thomas loves the Utah music community. “None of these big productions that I’ve done are a one-man show,” Thomas said. “In order to pull off a world-class music score for one of these big, big games, it...

Read More

A day of mental awareness

Throughout the semester, the students of Dr. Fullmer’s heavy metal class create and carry out a class project. Fullmer uses this project as a tool for hands-on learning on how to organize a large event. Ultimately, however, it’s a hands-on experience of putting on a concert. Psychology major Jan Spencer is a student in the heavy metal class and founder of this semester’s class project: Awareness about those who have severe mental illness. As part of the project, Fullmer and his students are putting together a symposium to be held April 1 at 11 a.m. in the library auditorium (LI 120). “There is a strong correlation between heavy metal music and those affected by mental illness, as they resonate with each other,” Spencer said. Along with correlating mental illness to the class, Spencer is passionate about spreading the truth about those who suffer from mental illnesses. With her sister suffering from psychosis, Spencer has spent time with her sibling in the psych ward and has come to realize how much the mentally ill suffer almost every minute of every day. “The amount of emotional suffering they (the affected) have literally causes them physical pain. These are people that are struggling in a society that doesn’t understand or accept them,” Spencer said. Since there are many stereotypes of mental illnesses, the purpose of the class project is to educate people...

Read More
  • 1
  • 2