Allie Tapanes: A Milestone Career

March 1, 2016

By Christopher Sich

Saturday, Feb. 20, was a nerve-racking day for senior Allie Tapanes. At 7 p.m., Dominican’s Women’s basketball team had their second to last game of the season against rivals Concordia University, and Tapanes was only 15 points away from reaching the 1,000-point mark.

“The closer I got, the more pressure built,” Tapanes said.

Tapanes ended the game three points shy of the milestone, but remained positive knowing she had one game left to play. Midway through the first quarter of the final game of the season against Wisconsin Lutheran College, Tapanes spotted up for a jumper and drained it, reaching her touted goal. Tapanes became the third player at Dominican, since the Stars joined the NCAA Division III ranks in 2000, to reach this milestone.

“It is a big milestone for me; it’s an amazing feeling,” Tapanes said. “After I reached the 1,000-point mark, a huge weight fell off my shoulders.”

Her journey to this milestone began at a young age. Basketball was the third sport that Tapanes picked up, and ended up being the sport she loved most. She began playing basketball when she was 10-years-old, and started playing fulltime when she began high school at West Chicago. This is when her skill came to fruition.

“Coach Walner, my high school coach, taught me a lot, and playing travel basketball helped take me to the next level,” Tapanes said.

As a senior in high school, Tapanes helped take the West Chicago Wildcats to regionals and also had a personal accomplishment of making the state finals in the 3-point contest.

After high school, college basketball was not in her plans. Her journey as a Star almost never transpired.

“At first I didn’t want to play college basketball, but I thought I would give it a shot,” Tapanes said. “I gave it a shot in fear of missing the game and missing out on the opportunity.”

Upon deciding to play college basketball, Tapanes knew she would have the endless support of her parents.

“My dad goes to every single game; his presence makes me keep playing,” Tapanes said. “I could not have done it if my dad did not go to every single game.”

At some points, it was hard for Tapanes to balance basketball and school. However, the acquired discipline, along with the support of her teammates and family, kept her on track even in the moments that tested her strength.

During her junior year, Tapanes injured her knee and her career was put on hold. The fear of a torn ACL made her question if she would continue playing. However, the diagnosis of a torn meniscus only made her miss a month and a half.

“My doctor said I would miss half the season, but instead I opted for a minor procedure and missed only three games,” Tapanes said.

Her perseverance through her injury exemplified her leadership skills and made her milestone exemplary.

“Being the senior naturally made her the leader of our team,” said junior Angela Evola, a teammate and friend of Tapanes. “She is our captain. She brought us together, and was an intense source of motivation. I was so happy for her because after four seasons, it was such an incredible accomplishment for her.”

The constant support from her teammates, along with the support from her family, helped Tapanes reach this special milestone. Her teammates have left a positive mark on her career and life.

After graduating, Tapanes does not intend on continuing her basketball career but she is grateful for every second of her journey.

“I couldn’t of done it without my teammates and parents,” Tapanes said. “I value every moment that basketball has brought and the journey that it has taken me on.”

Her 1,000-point milestone is in the books. Her basketball career may be over, but the memories and friendships Tapanes has made will last forever.

Dominican University Becomes Ally For Inclusion This March

March 1, 2016

By Tiffany Skelnik

The month of March is a busy month for the Dominican University’s Disability Support Services Office. March is Disability Awareness Month and there are many events on campus that provide more information. One of these events is Allies for Inclusion: The Ability Exhibit. The St. Louis University website describes the exhibit as “a traveling interactive display designed to develop allies for people with disabilities” and it will be brought to campus on March 21 in the Parmer Atrium and on March 22 in the Social Hall from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Disability Support Services Coordinator, Judy Paulus, commented on the event.

“This is in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the signing of the ADA,” Paulus said. “Bringing a project this large to the university is really about celebrating the 25th anniversary of the ADA. I wanted to do something special this year for Disability Awareness Month. It’s been fliers, it’s been a table, nothing to this level.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed on July 26, 1990 and has been instrumental in making life easier for people with disabilities in a variety of ways. Because of this act, there are curb cuts on sidewalks, ramps into buildings and students with disabilities have opportunities to further their education. This is only one of many things that participants can learn about when they attend the Ability Exhibit.

The Ability Exhibit is made up of ten interactive stations, each of which promote a different aspect that can help in becoming an ally. Participants can learn about the history of the Disability Movement and the Americans with Disabilities Act, quiz themselves, find out their “Ability IQ”, learn about person-first language and become an Ally for Inclusion. These stations are just a few of the ones the exhibit will showcase.

“I want people to understand that supporting individuals with disabilities is an institutional responsibility, not a one office responsibility,” Paulus said. “And while accommodating students with disabilities is also a legal mandate, it is more importantly an educational and moral imperative and providing equal access to individuals with disabilities to all of our curricular and co-curricular activities is paramount to creating a more just and humane society.”

The exhibit is not the only event taking place in March. On Thursday, March 17, there will be an awareness table in the Lewis Alcove where more information will be provided about the exhibit and disability awareness.


#MAPmatters: Dominican Prepares For Budget Cuts By Covering Grant Losses

March 1, 2016

By Mary Alice Maloney

On Friday, Feb. 19, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed Senate Bill 2043, a bill that would have helped fund the college education of low-income students throughout the state of Illinois who have been financially stranded without MAP grant funds since the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year.

Senate Bill 2043 was intended to appropriate $721 million in funding to the Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant and community college programs. According to an official press release from Gov. Rauner, the bill would “explode the State’s budget deficit, exacerbate the State’s cash flow crisis, and place further strain on social service providers and recipients who are already suffering from the State’s deficit spending.”

The ongoing budget battle between Republican Gov. Rauner and Democratic lawmakers, including Speaker of the Illinois House of Representative Michael Madigan, has left 1199 Dominican undergraduate students without MAP grant money. MAP grant funds make up $5.2 million of Dominican’s total tuition revenue, and if no budget is passed in Springfield by the end of this school year, Dominican will be without 8.1 percent of its $64 million operating budget.

Dominican officials recognize the stress students are facing and understand the difficulty of finding the extra money to cover the tuition bill without the assistance of state funding. Just this year there has been a 4 percent drop in student retention rates. Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration, Amy McCormack, has outlined a contingency plan for the Fall 2016 semester.

“Assuming that the state does not support any MAP grants for this year, yes, it is Dominican’s intention to try to cover 50% of the students’ loss, or the equivalent of the fall semester grants,” President Donna Carroll said. “It will be a big stretch for the university, but we are deeply committed to the welfare and continuing education of our students.”

Dominican is still awaiting a resolution from the state. While Gov. Rauner’s current budget proposal for 2016-2017 appears to include allocations for MAP funding, nothing is for certain, and planning for the 2016-2017 academic year here at Dominican has proven to be a little more challenging. Dominican officials are preparing to budget conservatively, as a drop in enrollment is expected due to the lack of MAP funding. This tight budget will most likely include only essential hiring, reduced operating budgets, a tight handle on course offerings and class sizes and, very likely, no salary increase for faculty and staff.

“The above plan will eat into our savings and require significant budget reductions, not only this year, but looking forward,” Carroll said. “We are working on that budget plan right now.”

While Dominican fully sympathizes with students and is working hard to help, many students are still concerned about the possibility of their college educations being jeopardized. They are worried about the immediate implications of the vetoed MAP grant bill.

Some students found Gov. Rauner’s vetoing of Senate Bill 2043 surprising.

Senior Sara Angel said, “I found the decision to be very unexpected. I knew the veto was a possibility, but with all the struggles students are already going through, I didn’t think it would actually happen.”

Freshman Ramiro Urquiza shared Angel’s sentiments saying, “I’m in disbelief because it seems like the majority of students out there need the MAP grant to continue their college education.”

Other students questioned Gov. Rauner’s respect for students in higher education.

“The governor’s decision to not pass the bill is not allowing a lot of college students to eventually finish their degrees,” said sophomore Morganne Schmidt. “Students can take out loans, but that money adds up, and a lot of students are trying to just pay for college right now. Gov. Rauner isn’t recognizing that fact.”

While it’s difficult to stay optimistic in the face of such an indefinite challenge, students adamantly believe that not all hope is lost in this matter and realize that the fight for MAP grant funding is not yet over.

“Even though I’m a graduating senior, I’m concerned about many of the students here at Dominican who have already expressed financial struggles,” Angel said. “I was glad to see the post card writing event held on campus to motivate students to take action. Student action is the most important thing.”

“This is a devastating situation, but I think students should continue to fight for the MAP grant and let their voices be heard,” Urquiza said.

Schmidt found one positive in the vetoing of the MAP grant bill.

“The only good thing about this situation is that students are becoming more aware of their financial aid and what it all means,” Schmidt said. “When they think about how they’re not getting this grant, it puts the rest of their finances into perspective, which is good because you need to be aware of that for the rest of your life.”

“That’s the only good thing, though!” Schmidt continued. “Students are truly struggling and are being affected in a lot of ways, as are colleges and universities throughout Illinois. There are a lot of problems that need to be solved.”

Students, administration and the entire state of Illinois are left in limbo as politicians in Springfield work to find solutions to these problems.

Carroll added, “Our priority in all of the above is to care for our students and preserve that quality and integrity of the academic experience. Dominican University is a resilient institution, with an industrious spirit and a big heart. When the going gets tough, we put our heads together, roll-up our sleeves, and ‎take the challenge as an opportunity to build an even stronger university. I am not just saying that. That’s the truth, and our history.”