Friday, February 26, 2010

Vol State students hear message of reconciliation from Archbishop Desmond Tutu

On February 22, a group of Vol State students journeyed to Murray, Kentucky to hear the message of reconciliation from Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In support of its mission to “internationalize the curriculum,” the International Education Committee of Vol State committed funds and time to transport the group to Murray State University. They heard Tutu, the retired Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa speak for over an hour on the topic of reconciliation and harmony. He expounded on human interpersonal relationships, whether it is between spouses or individuals of diametrically opposing political viewpoints (e.g. black South Africans vs. white supporters of apartheid).

Tutu briefly mentioned in his opening comments the recent historic commemorations in his native country. The noteworthy events were twofold: the release of Nelson Mandela from prison (11 February 1990) and the legalization of apartheid opposition parties by then president of South Africa, F.W. deKlerk. Reconciliation by African National Congress (ANC) members paved the way for universal elections in 1994 – when Mandela was elected president – without widespread retribution and reprisals by blacks against whites. Tutu noted that many blacks had reason to take revenge on whites because of the murders perpetuated by them with tacit government support. And although some violence did occur, Mandela, Tutu and others spoke to harmony and a general amnesty. They knew a new South Africa could not be born if the new leaders of the “Rainbow Nation” kept fighting old battles.
Tutu also spoke about international issues such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, noting them as “illegal and immoral,” and the continued tit-for-tat violence between the Israelis and Palestinians. At this mention, approval poured forth from the crowd in the form of applause.
Tutu also related the story of Amy Biehl, an American working to register voters in South Africa for the coming election. At this time in South Africa (1993) there were still many blacks who held anti-white views. These radicals had a saying, “One settler, one bullet.” This meant that they wanted to remove whites from the new South Africa, even if it meant they had to kill them. Amy Biehl, unfortunately, was in the line of fire. While traveling with three black friends, her car was stopped and she was beaten and stabbed to death. As Tutu pointed out, it might strike someone as odd that Biehl’s parents would want to meet with the perpetrators, not to condemn them but to forgive them. Tutu stated that Biehl’s parents could have coupled their loss with revenge, but that would of course waste their lives as well. Instead, he noted that her parents started the Amy Biehl Foundation to develop political prisoner rehabilitation programs, literacy training and instruction in job skills. The Foundation now employs some of Amy’s killers.
In the end, Tutu’s message was for today’s youth to love one another, to be idealistic and to dream big. He didn’t want us to continue to be intolerant and sow the seeds of hatred in the form of racism, homophobia and religious violence. I believe that message came through loud and clear for those in Murray State’s Regional Special Events Center. Hopefully, this message will reverberate in a new generation and around the world. Change is within us all, and to quote the Archbishop: “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”

-- Keith M. Bell, associate professor
Pictured left to right: Vol State students Adam Johnson, John Clark, Amber Bond, Rachel Sexton and Maggie Homolya. The dais in the background is where Tutu gave his speech. [Photo credit: Keith Bell]

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Vol State Students Ready to Fire Up the Grill!

The props are set, lighting ready to go, and lines are memorized.

The cast of the musical “The Spitfire Grill” is made up of Vol State students. Here is a glimpse of the cast gearing up for dress rehearsal in the back of the house and onstage.

The role of Sheriff Joe Sutter is played by Deron Martel. “This is my second musical at Vol State.

I just love it. Vol State’s theater program is top notch,” he said. Martel is a theater major and remembers the first time he knew he wanted to be an actor. “When I was five or six I saw the ‘Phantom of the Opera.’”

Not everyone in the cast is a theater major. Tayler Swanner plays the role of Shelby. “I’m a foreign language major, and this is my second musical," she said.

“The Spitfire Grill” is directed by Judi Truitt, Associate Professor of Communications and Theater. “I’ve directed for 30 years. This is my second show at Vol State. I saw it (‘The Spitfire Grill’) a couple of years ago at the Cumberland County Playhouse. It has something for everybody. It has laughter and tears; it deals with domestic violence; it deals with friendship, self confidence, and acceptance," Truitt said.

Craig Griffith said, “I play the bad guy. I am Caleb, the husband of Shelby.”

“I like that it’s a folk musical and I like the story it tells,” said Samantha Campbell, who plays Percy. “It’s folk rock,” Griffith said about the style of music in the show.

Show times are Thursday Feb. 25,-Sat. Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m., in the Wemyss Auditorium of Caudill Hall. Tickets are 5 dollars for non-students. Students are free with ID, but a 5 dollar donation is suggested.

Volunteer State Community College

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cultural Mixer

If you have ever wanted to learn about other cultures, your chance is at Vol State on Thursday February 25, from 12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

The Visa Club invites everyone to a cultural mixer in the Great Hall of the Ramer building.

Tonya Daniels, Spanish Instructor emailed to say, “It's a mix between ESOL students and native-English speaking students here at Vol State. Students will interview each other in English to exchange information about their native country and its culture.”

Light refreshments will be served.

Students Take a Break

Students are relaxing and having fun while playing games in the Carpeted Dining Room today and tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Students came for both the games and the free food. “We played Spoons. It’s a card game. It’s fun to be in an atmosphere when people are enjoying themselves,” said Emily McGinty.

“The cookies and the game Apples to Apples has been the best part,” said Jessica Sadler.

Jennifer Johnson is part of the leadership class and said, “We all came up with the idea as a group."

“I didn’t have classes, so I decided to mingle and work on my social skills,” said student Andrew Moore with a smile. Moore was seated at the Scrabble table, and said, “It works up your vocabulary.”

Students were playing card games, board games, and there were a few who played Twister.

Volunteer State Community College

Vol State Goes Hybrid!

The phrase “Going Green” seems to be the universal phrase for becoming eco-friendly, and Vol State is doing their part to help the environment with the recent purchase of Toyota Camry Hybrid vehicles.

“We got seven new Toyota Hybrids. We thought it would be a good time to green up the campus. The state of Tenn. wanted us to reduce our use of petroleum consumption by 20 percent. This is one way we will do this,” said Jerry Whitaker, Assistant Director of Plant Operations.

Whitaker said that since they are on state contract, they did get the state contract price.

The question of safety was brought up with the recent recall history of Toyota. “None of the hybrids we have were on the recall list. We waited to make sure we didn’t have any problems. We purchased these from Alexander Toyota of Murfreesboro. Alexander had the state contract,” Whitaker said.

“They are going to save money on gas for sure. They are better for the environment because they don’t produce as much smog. They do still have to be emissions tested,” said Michelle Boyd, Health and Safety/Environmental Coordinator, about some of the benefits of the hybrids.

“They start out running on electric, and after it reaches a certain speed, it goes to the hybrid,” said Whitaker.

Vol State now has eight hybrid vehicles, including a Ford Escape they purchased last year.

Volunteer State Community College

Monday, February 22, 2010

Fun and Games

Take a break from everyday stress with free food and games at Vol State.

“It’s part of the leadership class. Times are tough, the economy is bad. It’s just a way for people to step away from their stressors a little while. It’s a good way to meet people,” said Nancy Blomgren, Associate Professor of English.

“We want people to come in and be silly, to blow off some steam. This is a good way for people to get connected, and get involved with other clubs. We will have board games and card games such as Twister, Trivial Pursuit, and Monopoly. We are going to have free food; sandwiches, cookies, and drinks,” said student Shellie Leach.

Fun and Games will be available on Tuesday February 23, and Wednesday February 24, from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., in the Carpeted Dining Room of the Wood Campus Center.
Volunteer State Community College

Friday, February 19, 2010

Vol State's Fantasy Realm

Adventure, battle, wizardry and dragons are part of the Vol State community. The Dungeons and Dragons club, often referred to as D&D, has one of the highest enrollments for clubs across campus.

Students get together and play various fantasy and role-playing games. Chris Lee, treasurer, has been a member for a year and a half. “Our last meeting we added anime and card games such as Magic the Gathering,” said Lee.

“It helps relax me. I get stressed really easily. I’ve been a member since last semester around August or September. I play D&D, Warhammer, and Magic,” said Josh Wood.

Jamie Waide was doing sketches and she said, “I’m really not good at card games, anime is my

passion. I’m currently in the position of making a t-shirt for us.”

James Massey has been a member of D&D since last semester. “I’ve always been a nerd. My friends started playing, so I started,” he said.

Steffen Dunham said he likes to play because the games are fun. “I like to challenge people with my brain,” he said.

Students interested in getting involved with the fantasy realm can become involved with the D&D club by stopping by the Club Room in the Wood Campus Center and ask for Nick or B.J.

Volunteer State Community College

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ramer Touched Many Lives

Dr. Hal R. Ramer touched so many lives. Here are a few more stories about Dr. Ramer and the personal stories of those who knew him.

“He’s someone I’ll never forget, and strive to be more like. If I had the staff and students at this school feel the same way about me that they felt about him, I will have done a good job,” said Cyndy Atteberry, Secretary of the Advising Center.

Atteberry started here seven years ago and worked in the bookstore. “He came in there all of the time for munchies. He was so warm and kind. He just always made you feel so special, like he was just a regular Joe. My husband is disabled, and he always asked me about Dennis; how he remembered his name, I’ll never know. He took a personal interest in everyone. I wish I could be more like him,” said Atteberry.

Jim Hiett, Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs said, “In addition to being the first president (of Vol State), he helped the state of Tenn. develop the community college. It was a new idea, and he helped form the idea. He was a native Tennessean. He was always focusing on helping people to learn. He was committed to lifelong learning, and he was a giant when it came to keeping things going.”

“If he would have lived another twenty years, he would still be very involved in promoting higher education. When he retired he stayed in contact with the Tennessee Higher Education Commission,” Hiett said.

Atteberry talks about Women for Higher Education. “He was one of the first men to really back that. He backed our programs; he backed empowering women, and empowering minorities. This entire school is because of him,” she said.

“He was a healthy, self-contained person. He didn’t spend a lot on himself. He was generous and confidential. He would help pay bills, mortgages, buy a car after a car wreck; not just for students, but faculty and staff. He didn’t see people as a bunch of numbers. He was more about the individual, “said Hiett.

Associate Professor of Mathematics Vicky McVey said, “I was a student here in ’74-’76. He treated everybody like family, and he called us his Vol State family. I worked in math and science work study, and would talk to people. He wanted to know what was happening. After I came back as faculty, I remember he gave all of the women faculty and staff boxes of candy on Valentine’s Day. He was so kind hearted.”

Dr. Ramer’s funeral is today in Nashville at 3 p.m. Tomorrow there will be a memorial service at 6 p.m. in the Caudill Hall auditorium.

Volunteer State Community College

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dr. Ramer Remembered

Dr. Hal R. Ramer died this weekend at age 86. Dr. Ramer was the founding president of Vol State starting in 1970. He was a man who truly cared about his students.

Sue Pedigo, Director of Financial Aid, knew Dr. Ramer for many years as she started working at Vol State in 1971 and is a charter member of the Vol State staff.

She has very positive memories of Dr. Ramer. “He was a fine southern gentleman, he loved students; he was very good to students. He would often find out about students’ needs and pay the tuition cost out of his own pocket. He was very generous, but he didn’t do it to get public recognition. He loved people, animals, and nature,” Pedigo said.

Leonard Assante, Associate Professor and Department of Communications Chair said that he has known Dr. Ramer for fourteen years. “He hired me at the college when I got here in ’96,” he said.

Assante remembers Dr. Ramer’s humble nature. “I remember standing in the Caudill Hall foyer for an event. I remember him going up to someone and said, ‘Hi, I’m Hal Ramer and I’m in administration.’ I thought it was telling that he didn’t say he was the president,” Assante said.

“He was a good man. I’m going to miss him. I was in a fog all day. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I found out,” Assante said about his passing.

Howard Espravnik, Associate Professor and WVCP-FM Manager said, “I came to work here August 1986. Dr. Ramer was well respected for being a good administrator to work for, and also for his dedication to Vol State and civic causes.”

“He helped me out a couple of times when I needed it in my early career at VSCC and I always appreciated it. Like our current president, he was a strong advocate of the radio station. After we got computer equipment, and were able to keep the radio station on overnight, we ran this line that said, ‘Vol State College radio, we have the guards, the dogs, and 88.5 on duty all night,’” Espravnik said.

The dogs mentioned in the old line of the WVCP radio show is in reference to the campus dogs that Dr. Ramer allowed. A lot of people remember him for the campus dogs.

“I heard that he provided the food and the care for the dogs out of his own pocket. There were three at the time,” said Espravnik. “I always liked the dogs. He fed and cared for them. They were allowed in the Wood Campus Center,” said Assante.

If you would like to contribute your thoughts and stories about Dr. Ramer visit this link.

Volunteer State Community College

A Conversation about Weather

We have had many questions about weather closings and delays lately. Let's take a moment and discuss how we deal with weather here at Vol State.

Winter weather can be a real pain, and for some a real problem. We have a big service area. Some folks live in the city and some out in the country. Road conditions can be quite different. That's why it's important you make note of the student policies regarding inclement weather.

Here is part of the policy from the Student Handbook:

"It is not necessary to inform teachers in advance of absences due to inclement weather. Even though the College is “open” in full or in part, students and college personnel should not endanger their lives or safety, by attempting to reach campus when their local road conditions prohibit safe travel. Students are on an “honor” system in observing this, but where such local hazardous conditions exist, individual students may be entitled to an excused absence (privilege of making up missed work). Keep in mind, that relative hazards may vary, within the College's 12-county service area and the decision to be opened or closed will relate to the generally prevailing conditions."

"Students will be responsible for any academic work which they missed due to absences caused by severe weather conditions, and it is the individual student’s responsibility to take the initiative to make up class work missed."

To read the rest visit:

So, how is it best to find out about campus closings and delays? The quickest and easiest method is via text alerts. You simply sign up and we send a message to you. It happens nearly as quickly as the decision is made. You can sign up by going here:

The second best method is to visit the college main website:

We have programmed the text alerts to appear on the front page. It takes about 10-15 minutes for it to appear on the front page once the text alert is sent out. You can also see the alert message via Twitter and the College Blog. They come up pretty quickly after the text alert is sent.

We also put the closings and delays on area television stations. However, this system is not very detailed. Most stations only let us say that the campus is opening a certain number of hours late. We always use an 8 a.m. start time as the assumed time. People may have 7am classes. They should still view the delayed opening as an assumed 8am start time. Three of the TV stations will not allow us to be more specific. It is their system and not ours. Channel 5 has a more specific system that allows us to pick the exact time when the campus is opening. No matter what you will have to wait for the college listing to scroll through the other hundred or more listings before it will come up. We have separate listings for the Vol State main campus and the Vol State Livingston campus for Channels 2, 4 and 5. Fox 17 has not provided us a separate listing, so Fox 17 should only be monitored for information about the main campus.

Closings and delays are reported on area radio stations, including Vol State radio WVCP 88.5 FM. WVCP may be your best bet for a radio listing, because they of course report the Vol State closing or delay more frequently than other stations.

The President or another appointed member of the administration makes the call about delays or closings. Usually this occurs early in the morning. Occasionally if conditions develop early the call will be made the night before. As soon as that decision is made many people are notified and the text alert is sent and the media closing process begins. It usually takes about a half hour for the media outlets to be notified.

We hope this helps to clarify things. These decisions are never easy. I wish I could say we won't have to deal with it again this year, but given the weather patterns we may have more weather issues in the next few weeks.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sports Talk at Vol State!

Local sports talk show host George Plaster was the guest speaker at Vol State’s athletics banquet on February 11, 2010.

Plaster was broadcasting his show on 104.5 The Zone which airs from 3 to 7 p.m., from one of Vol State’s conference rooms in the Pickel building so that he could speak at the banquet.

“I’m normally in the studio. They have asked me to speak tonight, which I think is scary,” he said jokingly. Plaster added, “God put us all here and asked us all to help. I think all of us here have an obligation to pass it on.” He said when the Vol State Athletic Department asked him to speak he wanted to make an appearance for this reason.

Plaster spoke highly of Vol State’s athletic department. “I was here three weeks ago for a game. I was very impressed. The level of basketball play involved is really good; very athletic. On the community college level it is terrific!”

Plaster has eighteen years of sports talk experience. “I knew at an early age; it is my passion. When I was in college, I did two years of Nashville Sounds. I’ve got a job where on Sunday I don’t dread Monday. I wish that everyone could have a job like that,” Plaster said.

Tune in to 104.5 The Zone Monday through Friday from 3 to 7 p.m.

Volunteer State Community College

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fundraiser for Frantz Massena

Vol State is coming together once again to help one of our own.

Haitian student Franz Massena has family members in Haiti who have been directly affected by the earthquake. “My cousin died, and they have already buried him. His birthday is March 20, and I want to be with the family for his remembrance service,” said Massena.

“The VISA (Volunteer State International Student Association) club is really a chance for students to share other cultures and for International Vol State students to connect. Frantz was part of our organization beforehand. He came to us and asked for help. The Collegiate Ministry is helping out also. If we can help one of our fellow students, I think we should,” said Tonya Daniels, Spanish Instructor.

“Round trip is $1500 for me and my brother in law,” said Massena. The cafeteria was selling boxed lunches for 2.50 Wednesday February 10, 2010 with 1.50 going to the fundraising effort for Massena. “We are still talking about other possible fundraisers,” said Daniels.

“Once I get over there, I want to try to have a system coordinated to help my family on a monthly basis. I’ll be there from March 18 – 21. I really appreciate all of the help the VISA club and Collegiate Ministry has given,” Massena said.

Massena wants to do a documentary of his visit.

Volunteer State Community College

Dyson Speech Rescheduled for March 1

The Michael Eric Dyson speech, postponed due to snow, has been rescheduled. This is the new date:

Michael Eric Dyson
"Obama: One Year Later"
Monday, March 1
Auditorium in Caudill Hall

Michael Eric Dyson, named by Ebony as one of the hundred most influential black Americans, is the author of sixteen books, including Can You Hear Me Now?: The Inspiration, Wisdom, and Insight of Michael Eric Dyson, Holler if You Hear Me, Is Bill Cosby Right? and I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King Jr.

He is currently University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Jewelry Proceeds Benefit Haiti

A jewelry sale at Vol State will benefit the American Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti via the campus chapter of Phi Theta Kappa.

“We give ten percent to the school which is donated to the Haiti fund,” said Bob Hutcheson. Hutcheson and wife Rachel are entrepreneurs. “We go to different schools. We are happy to see everyone here,” he said.

Students, staff, and faculty were lining up to see the unique jewelry that the Hutchesons sell. The response was positive when word got out that ten percent of the proceeds will benefit the Haiti

relief fund. “I think it’s a great idea,” said accounting major Emily Maurer.

“I think it is good to give back ten percent of the proceeds to the Haiti relief fund, especially with the large amount of devastation,” said Jarod Moore.

Chris Vaught, Counselor for Retention Support Services said, “I think that it is really cool of them. It’s good to see an independent dealer donating part of the proceeds. You usually expect that from a larger business.”

The jewelry will be on display February 10 and February 11, 2010 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Wood Campus Center.

Volunteer State Community College

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pecha Kucha at Vol State

The VSCC Campus and Cultural Activities Committee implements initiatives designed to emphasize cultural awareness among College constituents. We will be hosting a Pecha Kucha event in March, with a day (3/24/10 12:15 p.m.) and evening (3/25/2010 6:30 p.m.) showing. We are currently looking for presenters. If you are interested in presenting, please contact Kenyatta Lovett at All presentations are due by March 5, 2010.

For more information about Pecha-Kucha, please visit the following links:


Pecha Kucha, usually pronounced in three syllables like "pe-chak-cha", is a presentation format in which content can be easily, efficiently and informally shown, usually at a public event designed for that purpose. Under the format, a presenter shows 20 images for 20 seconds apiece, for a total time of 6 minutes, 40 seconds.

Volunteer State Community College

Monday, February 8, 2010

College Choices Abound

Vol State students transferring to a four year university will want to be in the Ramer building on Thursday February 11, 2010 from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., as this will be a unique opportunity to meet with several colleges and universities in and around the area.

“We have about twenty colleges so far. This is an opportunity for students to get all of their questions answered,” said Heather M. Harper, Assistant Director of Admissions.

“I’ll come. I think it is a good idea because people transfer. I am looking at Austin Peay or UTC,” said student Brandon Kellam. “You want to get a feel of what the school has to offer,” said Melissa Hopgood, student and President’s Ambassador.

“It provides our students with more of a diverse range than just the state universities,” said Harper. She said that attending Transfer Day gives students the opportunity to explore their options for those who haven’t decided which school they wish to transfer to.

“You can get applications and housing information. A general advisor and someone from admissions is usually there,” said Rachael Smith, student and President’s Ambassador.

The event will take place in the great hall of the Ramer building.

The colleges and universities scheduled so far are: Aquinas College, Austin Peay State University, Bethel, Cumberland University, East Tennessee State University, Lipscomb University, Maryville College, MTSU, Murray State University, O’More College of Design, Tennessee State University, Tennessee Student Assistance Corp., Tennessee Tech, Trevecca Nazarene University, Union University, University of Memphis, UT Knoxville (1), UT Knoxville (2), UT Martin, and Western Kentucky University.

Volunteer State Community College

Friday, February 5, 2010

Financial Aid Scam Alert

You shouldn't have to pay anything to get help filling out financial aid forms, including the FAFSA. In fact, Vol State in conjunction with colleges and universities across the nation, is sponsoring extended financial aid hours and special events to help people fill out the forms for free, no matter what school they plan to attend. Scroll down this page for a complete list of what Vol State is doing. Here is a copy of a news release sent by the Tennessee Attorney General this week warning about the scams:

Feb 4, 2010
Tennessee Attorney General issues caution against college "financial aid" pitch

The state deadline for college financial aid is quickly approaching, and state officials are asking parents and students to beware of official-looking letters promising student financial aid information for a fee. Attorney General Bob Cooper and Division of Consumer Affairs Director Mary Clement are urging Tennesseans to be wary of potential financial scams designed to steal personal information and/or cash. The alert is being issued because the state has learned that students and parents of university students have been receiving letters urging them to pay $50 or more to apply for financial aid. Tennesseans can get information free from the school’s financial aid office or online.

The letters often have government-like seals, personal information about where the student attends school, and warns of quickly approaching deadlines. Moreover, these are also being sent out while schools are working with students and families in establishing aid for the following academic year. The deadline to file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form to be eligible for the Tennessee Student Assistance Award (TSAA) is Feb. 15, 2010 and the deadline for Tennessee Hope Scholarships is September 1, 2010. For more information, visit the website at

"These businesses send letters that appear as if they are affiliated with a university, when in fact they are not," Attorney General Cooper said. "Companies like these are trying to gain a student’s or parent’s trust simply to make money for a service the parent or student can obtain for free."

"We encourage students and parents to work closely with their universities’ financial aid offices and verify the source with the school before giving money or their personal information to anyone claiming to provide financial aid, funding or information about financial aid." Director Clement said. "Students should never have to pay money to get a scholarship or information about financial aid."

Consumers may call the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-342-8385 (toll-free inside Tennessee) or (615) 741-4737, or may visit if they have additional questions or want to file a complaint against a company for deceptive tactics.

College financial aid paperwork help at Vol State

Financial aid is consistently listed as one of the most important factors students consider when applying for college. Volunteer State Community College will have free financial aid help in February and March, no matter what college or university a student wants to attend.

“College Goal Sunday” will be held on February 14. The Vol State Financial Aid Office will have a special session in the Caudill Hall auditorium from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. College financial aid offices across the nation will be open to help students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The application is used to apply for federal student grants, work-study aid, loans, state, and some private aid. There are some important documents students will need, before starting the application, including 2009 tax forms and W-2 forms. High school students are advised to bring a parent, if possible, along with their tax documents. The FAFSA form also requires common information, such as social security and driver’s license numbers. Students are advised to go online and apply for a FAFSA online PIN number, before they visit the Financial Aid Office for help. The PIN number can be obtained on the website

Vol State will also have extended Financial Aid Office hours from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on February 25 and March 2. The office will be open on Saturday, March 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointments for are not required, but are encouraged.

Vol State is located at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. The Financial Aid Office is on the bottom floor of the Wood Campus Center. For more information about “College Goal Sunday” visit the website or call 615-230-3456.

Fitness Revamp!

The Vol State fitness center has not only undergone a facelift, but now offers personal trainers.

The personal trainers are JoAnna Blauw and Jessica McKissick. “I am a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. I am adjunct faculty. My main goal in here is to be of service any way that folks who come in here need. For example, I went over some basic yoga stretches with the female softball players,” said Blauw.

Students can get in a workout for free. “The students can get free personal fitness training when the trainers are scheduled to be in the fitness center," said Ron Timberlake, Associate Professor of Health and Physical Education.

Classes are offered on Wednesday nights from 4:45 p.m. until 5:45 p.m. “The classes are predominantly for faculty and staff because we offer the same classes for the students,” said Bobby Hudson, Director of Athletics.

The updated fitness center has gotten positive reviews so far. “I’m glad they did it because it was really crowded before,” said student A.J. Snider. "I like the new facilities a great deal. I like the new elliptical and weight machines," said Associate Professor of History, Grady Eades.

Personal trainer Jessica McKissick is available on Mondays from 3 p.m. - 4 p.m., and Tuesdays from 4:45 pm. - 5:45 p.m.

Trainer JoAnna Blauw is available on Wednesdays from 1:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., and teaches the class from 4:45 p.m. – 5:45p.m. She is also available on Thursday from 11:30 a.m. until 1p.m.

The fitness center is located in Pickel 105

Volunteer State Community College

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Overcoming Cultural Barriers

Many students change majors throughout college. For Vol State student Aaron Doyka, this change came after a well thought out research paper. Doyka is a Foreign Language major with a concentration is Spanish.

“I started as a Psychology major, but changed it so that I would have a better chance of studying abroad. I’m studying Spanish,” said Doyka.

“When I had to do my ten page research paper for English, the subject I chose to research was secondary language education in the U.S. public schools. I found it was pretty inadequate both in teaching students who speak another language to speak English, as well as students whose primary language is English to speak a second language,” said Doyka.

Doyka’s passion for learning Spanish goes beyond finding a better paying job. “I’m passionate about it because I want to interact with the Hispanic community and be able to communicate with Spanish speaking people,” he said.

“One of the first things that sparked my interest in foreign language was when I was working in a kitchen. I was the only English speaker, and that made me aware of what it felt like to be a minority. None of the Spanish training so far has given me fluency. I’m going to Spain in May as part of the TNCIS (The Tennessee Consortium of International Studies) program to study Intermediate Spanish 2,” Doyka said.

Doyka said he feels that there is a lack of interest in learning a foreign language. “Since there is a lack of interest in developing foreign language at Vol State, the Spanish 2010 class has been cancelled for many semesters. It is only offered online right now. It seems like the students aren’t interested, and the school doesn’t encourage it,” he said.

Doyka is passionate about the learning of foreign language for two main reasons. “The first reason is basically for the unity of our country because the Spanish speaking population continues to grow and the language barrier is causing division. The second reason is because learning about language is learning about the culture that uses that language,” he said. Doyka also stated that this is the case for any foreign language, but his concentration right now is on Spanish.

Doyka is very active in Vol State activities. He is the Secretary of Treasury with the Student Government Association, active in Phi Theta Kappa, and in the honors program working towards and honors degree. “I’m involved as a student volunteer with S.E.E.K. (Solutions in Enriched Experiences and Knowledge), and I play guitar and like to hike,” he said.

Doyka plans to graduate in fall 2010.

Volunteer State Community College

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Change in Date for Dyson Speech

We have new information regarding an upcoming speaking engagement at Vol State. The Michael Eric Dyson event has a new date of February 8 at 12:15pm.

The inauguration of President Barack Obama was a milestone in the racial history of America. But what has happened in the year since history was made? Volunteer State Community College has two speakers scheduled who will examine the issue. Michael Eric Dyson is the author of 16 books, and a professor at Georgetown University. He will speak on Monday, February 8 at 12:15 p.m. in the auditorium at Caudill Hall.

Tim Wise is an author and public speaker. He will speak on Wednesday, February 10 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at Caudill Hall. Both events are free and open to the public. Vol State is located at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. For more information call 615-230-3443.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Lee Mun Wah Gives a Fresh Look Into Diversity

The subject of race is touchy, and Lee Mun Wah brings a fresh perspective to a centuries old issue.

Upon meeting Mun Wah, I felt immediately at ease due to his calm demeanor. He put forth a plethora of wisdom when speaking.

Mun Wah is Chinese American, and gives seminars about diversity issues. He began his seminar at Vol State by telling a story about when he was a child.

He begins by referring to the shape of his eyes in a tone that produces laughter from the audience. At second glance, you see he isn’t laughing. “I spoke beautiful Cantonese, but I have no accent because of my first day of school.” Mun Wah continues telling the story. “I had a beautiful lunch box with amazing food; rice and fresh vegetables but the kids said that something smelled. I pretended it wasn’t my food, and after that I threw my beautiful lunch box in the trash.” This was a story of when he started school in America.

Vol State student Valerie Robb tells her story. “My family’s attorney takes advantage of my grandmother. He’s Caucasian, and I think he sees our family as ignorant.” Robb is African American.

Mun Wah asked the audience about different racial stereotypes. The stereotypes for Asians could be heard throughout the audience, “Smart,” “Can’t drive,” and “They all play video games.” Indian stereotypes were, “Vegetarians,” “Telemarketers,” and “They drive cabs.”

Next, Mun Wah asked the audience if there are any questions about certain races that they have always wanted to ask. It felt like a safe environment for dispelling myths, and getting certain questions answered. Vol State student Aaron Doyka said, “I’ve wanted to ask many groups questions. I’ve wanted to ask if drinking Tequila and getting high is just an American stereotype for Mexicans.”

Mun Wah then asked the audience if there were any people with Hispanic ethnicity that would like to come up and answer that question. A student named Maggie stepped up and said, “My mother is Hispanic, and my father is white. In a panicked

state my mother stopped speaking Spanish to me, and there were times I hid the fact that I was Hispanic.” She went on to say that this was because of the stereotypes that people have. She said that this is a myth and not all Hispanics sit around and drink all day. They are very hard workers.

Mun Wah brought up another young man. He was an African American man named Antoine and was about 6’4” tall. Most audience members assumed he played basketball. “Yes, I play basketball. My favorite subject is computers though,” he said. Antoine was asked if he had ever been approached by a gang. “I’ve been approached, but never been in one.” He said that in high school, “If something happened in the class, they automatically assumed that I did it. It made me feel unwanted. I guess I figured that’s how it’s supposed to be.” Antoine said, “I don’t want people to overlook my skin color. I want to be accepted as a human being.”

After taking different comments and questions, Mun Wah then asked everyone to stand up, form a circle, and join hands. A lot of people don’t know how to deal with the issue of racism, and feel that ignoring it is best. Mun Wah explained that asking questions and becoming knowledgeable is one of the best ways to combat diversity issues.

4-Inch Blizzard!

The four inch snow storm of middle Tennessee has caused numerous school closings throughout the state. Vol State decided to open its doors at 10 a.m. and students have differing opinions about this.

“I didn’t care either way. My dad drives me. I like snowball fights,” said Mark Wakefield.

Logan Frey said, “I live way out near the back roads of Hendersonville. No one has salted my

roads, so it was like a death trap.”

A few students were happy to have classes in session again. “I was kind of glad to come back, but on the way here I almost wrecked three times,” said Hannah King. Randall Ladd agrees and said, “I’m actually glad because I get to come up here and hang with my friends. Friends are a good foundation of your life.”

Another concern was that the parking lot wasn’t cleared for students. “The parking lot should have been cleared. There is no reason it should have been so bad,” said Katelyn Rickards.

Aside from the safety concerns, students seem to be fairing well in the snow with an old fashioned snow ball fight.

Volunteer State Community College