Tue. Jan 25th, 2022

Does West Chester University get the credit it deserves? Outsiders are constantly admonishing on the students for being crazy, party-goers. Finally, Melissa Cujdik steps up and proves that WCU students are more than party animals. Cujdik is a third year student, majoring in communicative disorders with a minor in dance. She is a member and a choreographer for the University Dance Company.

For the spring show, she is responsible for choreographing a dance. Her piece will be a modern dance, and she decided on the theme of making a difference in today’s world and lending a helping hand. The two songs that they will be dancing to are from John Mayer, “Waiting On The World To Change” and Ben Harper, “With My Own Two Hands.” In the background of the dance there will be a slideshow of West Chester student organizations volunteering and doing community service.

Cujdik believes that lending a helping hand is incredibly important. This is a main reason why she chose to be a communicative disorders major. It involves working with people who have disabilities, which she feels is extremely rewarding. Her passion in helping others has inspired her to come up with her dance piece. The slideshow reinforces that anyone can make a difference.

“There are so many negative stereotypes out there for college students,” Cujdik said. “I think it’s interesting how many people focus on the negative instead of the positive. My dance piece is a very positive number to reinforce that it’s up to us to make the changes we want to see in the world, and to also be proud of all of our achievements.”

WCU has over 200 organizations that have done many wonderful things for the community. This modern dance piece will prove what great work the students have done. Cujdik believes that anger, hate and negativity does not get anyone anywhere in life, but keeping a positive attitude can get you anywhere. It is absolutely fantastic what Cujdik and the University Dance Company are doing. No matter what status or age, anyone can make a difference. This is reinforced with one of Cujdik’s favorite quotes from Ghandi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

For help in obtaining photographs of the students volunteering, Cujdik contacted Charlie Warner, director of student leadership and involvement, and Maggie Tripp, director, service learning and volunteer programs. From there, Warner sent out an email requesting photos to the presidents of many organizations. Within three hours, Cujdik had an inbox full of photos. So far, Cujdik’s task has been a success.

“I came into the project extremely nervous about my finished project, but after all the endless support and interest I am extremely excited to see the outcome,” Cujdik said. “I am so thankful to have all the support from these organizations.”

Putting together this dance is not an easy job at all. It involves putting the piece together, shopping for costumes, making sure the music hall is prepared and of course, creating the slideshow. Cujdik is doing an excellent job, and the student body should show her its appreciation for all of her work and for what she is doing.

The spring show will be held at Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, Philips Memorial Building. Various dance styles in the show include modern, tap, jazz and hip-hop. Come see the show, and keep an eye out for Cujdik’s piece dedicated to the student organizations.

Elyssa Sobel is a student at West Chester University. She can be reached at ES608235@wcupa.edu.

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