Chatham Graduate To Open Cat Cafe

By: Claire Rhode

This summer a new cat café will be opening in Pittsburgh. Cat cafes, which are popular in Japan and Taiwan, have been coming to American cities recently. They have a room for patrons to play with cats for just a few extra dollars and the Black Cat Market (a play on the infamous black market) has added an interesting twist: all of the cats are adoptable on the spot.

The cats are from the Humane Animal Rescue, and Baloch and Ciotoli are being trained by the rescue to be able to adopt them out, which means that it’s possible to walk into the café looking for some coffee and walk out with a cat. When Baloch first visited a cat café, she hadn’t really known to expect, but after realizing what it was she was hooked.

The owners, Indigo Baloch, ’17, c reative writing, and Olivia Ciotoli, a graduate of Point Park University, have been working together for a long time, and when they had the idea to open a cat café, they realized they could combine Baloch’s barista skills and Ciotoli’s business and marketing knowledge. Ciotoli owns two black cats, and they chose to honor them in the café’s name, as well as trying to bring awareness to the lower adoption rates of black cats.

They started a Kickstarter in 2016 and raised $20,000 to open before the Kickstarter’s time even ended. “It came together really well,” Baloch said. And would add that it was a “really good feeling” when they realized how much they had raised.

They’re hoping to open this summer, but have to first find a good place for the café. They have to make sure that their space is large enough to have a separate cat room, hopefully separated from where food and drinks are stored by at least two doors in order to avoid any risk of contamination.

The Black Cat Market won’t only be helping cats who need homes. They have partnered with several small local businesses as well. “We want to support others who are in the same position as we are, especially if their product is amazing, which all of the businesses we are partnering with, they really are,” Baloch said.

Their coffee comes from Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co., who will donate 20% of the proceeds back to the Humane Animal Rescue and their tea comes from Three Rivers Tea, which Baloch believes provides a connection back to the roots of cat cafes in Asia. They’ll also have vegan donuts on Mondays so you can start your week out right.

They’re also planning to invite in plenty of people for events, including Chatham students, as they hope their café can become a place for community-based activism events and student organizations to meet. Indigo is hoping that Chatham students feel welcome there. They want to live up to their motto, “Cats, Community, Coffee.”

Reflection on the Women’s March on Washington

Author: Maggie McGoveney

I didn’t know whether I would be able to go to the Women’s March on Washington until two days before, and to be honest I was a little scared.  My Facebook feed on Friday was filled with news of violence, tear gas, and arrests at the inauguration.  I didn’t know if the march would be the same.  I found out later that my dad had called my mom and told her he wished I wasn’t going; what if I got hurt or arrested?  My mom, a lifelong feminist, replied that she didn’t care, that this is something I needed to do regardless of the risks.  In the end, I decided that was what I thought too.

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Chris Musick: A World Traveler

Author: Edymar Hurtado

Living in a small town in Indiana, Chris Musick developed his love for adventures while he was having a Tom Sawyer childhood. With a river beside his house, he spent most of his time building forts, making fires and camping. These were only the first steps for later becoming a world traveler and later being the Assistant Vice President of International Affairs at Chatham University.

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FEATURES: President Finegold On Being New At Chatham and his Views for the Future

David Finegold (pictured)
Photo: Unknown

Author: Atiya Irvin-Mitchell


On March 3, nearly a year after President Esther Barazzone announced that she would be stepping down, Chatham students and staff alike gathered in the Chapel to meet her successor. A Harvard alumnus, Rhodes Scholar and holder of a PhD, David Finegold introduced himself as Chatham University’s 19th president. But who is the man behind the credentials and what is his vision for Chatham?

When David Finegold was an undergraduate, he considered becoming a journalist or judge, and never imagined becoming a university president. However, while working on his dissertation, learning about education policy inspired him.  Over the past 30 years, from an assistant professor to a dean, Finegold has served in almost every academic position.  

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Feature: Chatham Conservative Students Weigh In On Their Minority Voice

Author: Jamie Wiggan

It will not come as news for any reader to hear that Chatham both identifies and is identified as a predominantly liberal school. From its founding in 1869 as one of the first colleges in the country to offer college education to women, right up to current developments at Eden Hall—the first campus in the world dedicated solely to the field of sustainability—Chatham’s 147 years have consistently modeled progress on social issues.  Some may be tempted to make sweeping generalizations about the student body, squashing individuals into neat labels: liberal, progressive, modern.

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The American Investigative Society of Cold Cases comes to Chatham

The American Investigative Society of Cold Cases (AISOCC) is a non-profit, volunteer based organization of professional investigators whose sole mission is to, “actively assist law enforcement, criminal justice and legal professionals in the development of cold case investigations.” They have an elite group of experts that use tools such as crime scene reconstruction, crime scene assessments, and inductive/deductive criminal profiling to solve these crimes. Recently, it has popped up at Chatham.

Dr. Christine Sarteschi, assistant professor of social work and criminology at Chatham, serves as the faculty advisor for the Chatham chapter of AISOCC. She is also a Consulting Committee member of The American Investigative Society of Cold Cases itself.

Before assembling the group, Sarteschi initially surveyed students to determine their interest in developing a chapter on campus. The interested students then developed a constitution and applied to become an official student organization. After being assigned their first case, Sarteschi then contacted the sergeant working on the case, who was happy for the help. The group currently has 19 students and interested students can apply at two points in the academic year — at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters.

Hannah Gross, the chapter president at Chatham, said the AISOCC is important because, “there are approximately 211,000 unsolved homicide cases in the United States. Many police departments might not have dedicated cold case units or units large enough to cover the immense volume of cold case materials that are still waiting to be reviewed. We wish to assist police agencies and families with solving these cases.”

She says that it is beneficial for outsider’s to help because they, “assist police agencies in reviewing case files, essentially serving as a ‘fresh set of eyes’ hoping to uncover anything that may have been overlooked. We search for new leads, discuss any interesting details, develop a social media presence to bring awareness to the case and otherwise do whatever the case requires of us. We can be followed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.”

Currently, the Chatham chapter are working on the unsolved murder case of 18-year old Wendy Welborn who was killed in 1980 in Tennessee. Wendy’s mother contacted the president of AISOCC asking for assistance in solving her case and the president assigned the case to the group at Chatham, who have been working on it since October of 2015.

Students are encouraged to join the group next fall, and help the team make an impact on the lives of many. Gross says it is a powerful opportunity, “to gain experience in solving a real unsolved case. It is a great way to develop one’s writing and analytical skills. The work is tedious but rewarding. Your efforts might actually lead to solving an unsolved homicide case. You have a chance to truly make a difference in someone’s life. We welcome new members, but they must be serious about the work. We are dealing with real people and real cases. There are many leadership roles within the group as well. Students have the opportunity to specialize on a certain portion of the case and lead others in exploring specific categories. This organization also gets students directly involved with the workings of the criminal justice system. For some, this could open potential doors to future jobs or interests.”

To contact the organization, students can email Dr. Sarteschi at, or Hannah Gross at

Valentine’s Day sex workshop: educating students on safe sex

Sex. According to network television and cheesy after school specials: everybody’s doing it. There may be some debate and some truth about that. The CDC has estimated that individuals between the ages of 15 and 24 make up over one quarter of sexually active people. However, the 15 to 24-year-old sexually active crowd also makes up for half of the reported sexually transmitted diseases.  So the question is, does everyone who may become sexually active know how to do it safely?

With only twenty-two states that require sex education to be taught in schools, the answer depends on where you live and what your parents believe in. For this reason, many universities and colleges have taken it upon themselves to incorporate information on sexual health into their orientation.

What’s Chatham’s approach?

At Chatham University you can get a lot of things from Student Health Services: bandages, a flu shot, and even resources for sexual health. They go further than simply passing out pamphlets and condoms. For the past few semesters, in an attempt to dispel the myths and get people talking, Student Health Services has been hosting workshops to educate students on sexual health. In the Valentine’s Day season, Health Services intern Renee Pacella ventured to the Carriage House with pamphlets, prizes, and sexual health jeopardy.

“It’s supposed to be an interactive and unintimidating conversation about sexual health, awareness, consent, and being aware of what’s available to you,” said Pacella. “So at health services we actually aren’t allowed to treat anything.” They are however allowed to offer over the counter medicines.

What are frequently asked questions?

“We get a lot of questions about birth control. People just don’t know what’s out there and how to get it, so we just provide what we can as far as information and resources,” she said.


“I feel like nowadays there is more in regards to conversations about sexual health and more sex education. But, if someone’s coming from a more sheltered home or a more religious background where they’re not allowed to talk about it and then they step into an environment where they have all this freedom, then they don’t really know what to do to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Or prevent spreading diseases.”

Health Services provides referrals, consultations, and answers to those questions.

“We want to pass on knowledge to students whether they received it in high school or not,” she explained.

To this end, Student Health Services took a somewhat unconventional approach to educating students at the Valentine’s Day sex workshop, opting to play Sexual Health Jeopardy.

“The jeopardy game primarily serves as a means to open the discussion and get more students involved and talking,” Pacella said.

“No one wants to talk about sex with someone in their sixties,” Pacella said with a laugh, “So we try to get the students talking with each other. We just present the facts like, if you do this you’re gonna get pregnant. Or if you don’t do this, you’ll end up with an STD. We’re just promoting safety and knowing who to talk to.”

Acknowledging that there are people who object to sex education because they feel it encourages young people to become sexually active, Pacella responded, “When people do that, it’s never going to prevent people from having sex. You’re not going to be there when two consenting adults, hopefully over the age of eighteen, are having sex. It’s just not gonna happen. You can say as much as you want or preach as much as you want; that’s their decision. If you don’t teach kids what’s going on, they’re just going to do harm to their bodies and make preventable mistakes.”

Student Health Services is located outside of Woodland Hall next to the bookstore.