Article and photos by Tiffany Gilbert

Extraterrestrials crash-landed their spacecraft into Seton Hill University’s hillside on October 9, 2008. Wary students and faculty gathered behind the McKenna Center to examine the unusual spacecraft. The onlookers were greeted by “Men in Black” and unknown characters in hazmat suits. The confused bystanders were assured “it was just a weather balloon and there was nothing to worry about.”

The spacecraft was a prop provided by the Squonk Opera in support of a free series of performances of their new musical event “Astro-rama,” held in Schenley Park from October 15-18. The alien crash site contained aliens, alien “gunk” (a substance resembling green Jell-O), and several alien artifacts constructed by students in the Seton Hill Art department. Pati Beachley, associate professor of art, encouraged her students in a 3-D Design class to imagine and construct these relics. The students include: Thomas Caruso of Lawrenceville, N.J., April Ashoff of Pittsburgh, Pa., Abby Leone of Latrobe, Pa., Melissa Riggatire of Tarentum, Pa., Lara Heinz of Austinburg, Ohio, Desmond McCoy of Ambridge, Pa., Katie Fritsch of Allison Park, Pa., Christian Levkus of Harrison City, Pa., Lindsey Potter of Spruce Pine, N.C., Curtis Tucak of Irwin, Pa., Ashley Jervis of Lower Burrell, Pa., Maury Smith of Claridge, Pa., Meghan Adams of Ligonier, Pa., Christine Scholl of Johnstown, Pa., and Josh Menhart of Lower Burrell, Pa.

Some of the frantic and perplexed onlookers and characters in hazmat suits were students of the theatre department. Seton Hill students also helped install the exhibit. These students included Ashlan Luft of Frederick, Pa., Molly Huffman of Holbrook, Pa., Kelsey Patsch of Rochester, Pa., Ali Naples of Greensburg, Pa., Marie Manski of Blairsville, Pa., Brittany Huffman of Tyrone, Pa., Ryan Carroll of Freedom, Pa., Matt Mlynarski of Lower Burrell, Pa., Sarah Beresh of Donora, Pa., Natalie Zambotti of Kittanning, Pa., and Ryan Seman of North Versailles, Pa.

Tiffany Gilbert is a Seton Hill journalism major and a communications intern in the Office of Public Information.