Monday, December 16, 2013

College Business Hours for the Next Few Weeks and Important Dates for Spring

We know that many people are getting ready for the spring semester, which starts on January 16. The college will be closed during the holidays, and so we wanted to let you know when we will be open. A reminder: you can always apply online at  Current students can register online on the My Vol State page. This can occur at any time during the holiday weeks when the Vol State campuses are closed.

Here is the holiday schedule for the college:

We are open for normal business hours every weekday through and including Friday, December 20.

The college will be closed to the public from December 21 through January 1. Offices will be back open for normal business starting January 2.

There is only one other closing date before the semester begins. The college will be closed on Thursday, January 9 for professional development.

If you need Admissions, Advising, Business Office, Records or Financial Aid help (just to name a few) please keep these hours in mind.

We want to help everyone get going for spring semester. If you need help, please don’t hesitate to ask. Visit any of our three campuses (Gallatin, Springfield or Livingston) or give us a call. The Gallatin campus can help for McGavock or other off-campus sites.

Spring fees are due on January 7, 2014.

A $25 Late Registration Fee is charged beginning January 16, 2014.

The Business Office will begin processing financial aid refunds to students on January 17, 2014.  Students must meet the attendance requirements before the excess aid is refunded.  Refunds will be issued to either the Discover debit card, by check or as direct deposit. Students that opted-out of the debit card and are not set-up for direct deposit will receive their refund check in the mail. 

The Business Office will begin processing regular student refunds for spring on February 3, 2014.

Students dropping classes beginning January 16 may be dropping in a refund period.  See chart link below.  In drop/adds Regents Online Degree Program (RODP) courses do not swap evenly with regular VSCC courses.   

Spring Refund Dates:  Refund information on the website:

Friday, December 6, 2013

Crunch Time for Finals - Tips From Students

The end of the semester is near and final exams are fast approaching. It's crunch time. Preparing for final exams can be a nightmare for students, especially when the rest of the world goes on as normal. In addition to final exams, there are other major stressors, such as  final projects and papers to add to your to-do list. We asked some students for their study tips and advice for managing time during finals week.
James Davis reviews over his notes for Philosophy.

When studying do you wait until two days before, cramming all subjects in such a small time frame? Or do you prepare weeks before, reading over notes and quizzes and joining study groups?

James Davis, a sophomore here at Vol State, relies on organization and note taking to prepare himself for exams.

"I would definitely recommend that you utilize all of your resources, get into study groups, communicate with your instructors, and take notes," said Davis. "Not every student is going to take the same notes in a lecture, so get into study groups and find out what the key points your peers heard."

Stephanie Seng relies on color coordinating her notes.
Vol State student Stephanie Seng reviews her notes that she has collected throughout the semester.

"I am a highlighter, even though I have been told not to. I color coordinate the color of my ink pen with my highlighter, and use that for each chapter, so referring to certain material is easier for me,"said Seng.

"While I am studying I chew gum and when I take the test I chew the same piece of gum. I know that it seems weird, but it helps me remember my material," said Stephanie while laughing.

So whether you use candy or gum for a memorization tactic or  use visual aids, just remember that if it works for you stick to it. Not all tips and study habits work for everyone the same.

I usually prepare a timetable of what I have to cover, taking breaks in between. With the schedule that I have outside of school, cramming seems like the only option, but I know that will only result in stress and disorganized learning. Throughout the semester I keep a binder of notes,handouts, etc. that my professor has provided me. When crunch time approaches, I take those notes out and review them.

I wish everyone luck on their exams and hope that everyone can have a great winter break.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Concert Hopes to Bring Back Favorite Memories Friday and Saturday

"Frosty the Snowman..." I can hear this song playing in the background of home videos while opening Christmas gifts as a child. Christmas songs seem to never get old. Those melodies can take you back to a special memory of the holiday season.

Vol State's Music Department is giving everyone the opportunity to walk down memory lane this weekend. Students will be performing shows on December 6 and 7, each beginning at 7:30 p.m. The concerts will be held in the Wemyss Auditorium at Caudill Hall. I met with students recently as they rehearsed for the show.

There will be a variety of music styles, including gospel, rock, country, pop, and jazz. Several Vol State performance ensembles will be showcased during the concert.

"We have a so much talent in the group this year. I am excited for everyone to see what we can do," said Phillip McCoy, who sings in the Vol State Show Stoppers. "From the stage, the lighting effects, and of course, the music, it will be awesome to see the end result."

James Story, who is the Department Chair for Visual and Performing Arts, said that he hopes the performances bring back fond memories of Christmas.

"I encourage everyone to come out on Friday or Saturday night to experience the different sounds that each ensemble has to offer. They've each taken twists and turns for each arrangement, making it their own," he said.

"It's all about performing and giving new life to songs that people have loved for years,"said Jacob Young. "I hope that this year we are able to paint a picture with each song that takes people back to their favorite Christmas memories."

There will be a CD for sale that features songs performed by Vol State students.Sale proceeds from the CD on Friday will go to help fund the development of the new Humanities building.

The show is $5 for the public and $10 with a CD. It's free with a Vol State ID. For more information please contact the Office of Humanities at 615-230-3202.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Major League Baseball All-Star Returns to Vol State

When six foot four Steve Delabar walks down a hallway it’s hard not to notice, even in the Pickel Field House, where athletes come and go all day long. The Major League Baseball All-Star pitcher is back at Vol State.

“It feels like I never left, walking the halls,” Delabar said. “A lot of the staff is the same. It feels like only yesterday since I was here.”

Yesterday was actually 11 years ago, the last time Delabar pitched for the Vol State baseball team. In that time, the Toronto Blue Jays player has been in and out of surgery and in and out of the majors. His latest stint, though, is going quite well. He pitched in the seventh inning of the 2013 All-Star Game in New York.

“It was kind of a blur going there,” Delabar said. “You try to soak it up all you can and enjoy it.”

When asked what it felt like when he walked out on the field to pitch, he said it was all business.

“It felt like my job. I didn’t know who I was facing. I got in there and threw my warm up pitches.”

Delabar secured a strike out. He then went on to pitch an immaculate inning, the first in Blue Jays history, a few weeks later. An immaculate inning is nine pitches for three strike outs.

He returned to Vol State recently to speak to the young Pioneer pitchers.

“I’m just going to talk to them,” he said. “I’m sure they have a lot of questions. When it comes down to it they have their own path they need to create.

Much of the talk focused on strength, repetition and velocity. Baseball trainers look for conditioning ideas from all sorts of sports. For pitchers, that means considering what tennis players do to build strength.

And when asked about playing community college baseball, compared to big university programs Delabar says the path depends on you.

“The Vol State program was really good when I was here and there were a lot of scouts watching us.  If you play well enough here you can get picked up by a major league team.”

Friday, November 22, 2013

December and January Vol State Events


Dec. 13

Yvonne Petkus and Matt Tullis Art Exhibit,

Thigpen Gallery, 7am-9pm Monday through

Saturday, closed Sunday


Festival of Lights, Cafeteria, 12:30pm-1:30pm, Everyone invited for food, music and fellowship


Matt Tullis Art Exhibit Gallery Talk,

Rochelle Center, 1pm

6 and 7

Christmas Memories music concert and CD release, Wemyss Auditorium, Caudill Hall, 7:30pm, Suggested $5 donation for music scholarships, free with Vol State ID


Astronomy Department Star Watching Party,

Science Field Station, Sunset to 11pm


Music Students perform at the Whippoorwill on the Square in Gallatin, 6pm, No cover charge

January 8 thru Feb 21

Rachel Kirk art exhibit, Thigpen Library Gallery

January 9

Professional Development, Campus closed

January 16

January 20

January 29

Spring classes begin

MLK, Jr. holiday, Campus closed

Unity Day speaker Jewel Tankard from the TV show "Thicker than Water" 12:30pm and 7pm, Caudill Hall

Vol State Music Night at The Whippoorwill

Vol State student songwriters and music ensembles performed a great set this week at The Whippoorwill restaurant and music venue in Gallatin. Each songwriter is enrolled in Lynn Peterson's songwriting class. The students learn what it takes to put a song together. Once a student is given the steps to write a song, Lynn says they will write 10 to 12 songs a week!

"The songwriting class allows us to open up about how we feel or what is going on in our lives at that moment. We can express ourselves through music," said Andrew Spooner, who is enrolled in Peterson's songwriting course.

The show also featured students from Vol State's Bluegrass ensemble called "Bluegrass Ablaze". They performed classics by Loretta Lynn and The Carter Family.

The Vol State Jazz Ensemble played a few songs and there were performances by students in the Commercial Music Ensemble.

"We perform a mixture of rock, pop,and country. It allows us to sing different styles of music to a wide variety of people on nights like this," said Kyle Cothron, a member of Vol State's Commercial Music Ensemble.

The Whippoorwill has a lovely atmosphere for enjoying music and hearing young, talented musicians. You too can check out Vol State music off-campus at places like the Whippoorwill. Stay tuned to the Vol State Facebook page for info about upcoming performances.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Vol State Students Help Make Christmas a Little Brighter

Students pose with Santa Claus at a previous Christmas for the Kids Event.
The holiday season reminds us to be giving, selfless, and fortunate for what we have. Many of us look for ways to reach out to those who are less fortunate than us or who are simply going through a hard time financially.

The SGA (Student Government Association) along with other student organizations at Vol State will be hosting Christmas For the Kids. It's an annual event. Christmas for the Kids (CFTK) allows Vol State students, faculty and staff to make Christmas a little brighter for the children of students here on campus.

Jacob Young, SGA vice-president and CFTK chairman.
During the past few weeks, students were able to fill out applications to have their child's name placed on a Christmas tree. Those children will have gifts bought for them.

On Saturday, December 7 from 2-4 p.m. in the Cafeteria, there will be a party held for the children. The party will include crafts, games, gifts, food, and most importantly Santa Claus.

Jacob Young, Christmas For The Kids Committee Chairman, was pleased with the participation this year.

"Monday was the deadline to turn in applications. Our goal was 75 kids. We were thrilled that we exceeded our goal with 78 kids to help this year," said Jacob.

Beginning Monday November 25, you can pick an ornament off of the Christmas tree in the Cafeteria. Once you choose a name, you can sign-up in Wood 215 at the Office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives.

"We wanted it to be ready by Monday, so that if anyone was wanting to shop Black Friday they could. Possibly finding some great deals on items," said Young.

This event is only for Vol State students. There are other charities similar to this in the Sumner County area, such as Toys For Tots. This is an event that gives Vol State an opportunity to give back to our campus community.

If you have questions, contact Lori Miller in the Student Life and Diversity Initiatives office at 615-230-3461.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Celebrate Other Cultures During International Week

When I meet someone that is from a different part of the world or has a different culture than me, I am immediately interested. I love learning about different parts of the world and understanding their way of life: food, marriage, music, and even religion.

This is International Education Week here at Vol State. Throughout the week there will be events tailored around an international theme.

In the cafeteria today, I participated by trying three different international beverages, including a very interesting and strong ginger drink from Africa. I also received recipe cards so that I could make the drinks myself at home.
Jacob Young samples the international beverages.

Anne-Marie Ruttenbur, who is the coordinator of International Education at Vol State, went into great detail about the upcoming events this week.

"I think that each day will give everyone a chance to look into different cultures and learn something new," said Ruttenbur.

Anne-Marie Ruttenbur provided different beverages to sample.
"Tomorrow we will have international weddings in the Ramer Great Hall. We will have countries represented such as India,China, Ireland, and the United States.""We'll also be doing Mehendi art, which is a part of Indian culture in weddings."

During the international weddings event anyone can stop by and receive Mehendi art. Also known as henna, it's an intricate design of patterns drawn onto your hands and feet, symbolizing the deepening of bonds with your future husband.

On Wednesday, the topic is "Around the World in a Day". Everyone can stop by and see the many different countries that students and faculty have traveled to. This will be held in the Nichols Dining Room from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm, with lunch available at 12:30pm.

On Thursday, you can hear from international scholars visiting the United States as part of the Humphrey's Fellows Program at Vanderbilt. There will be speakers from countries such as Mauritania, Pakistan, and Russia from 6:00-8:00 p.m. You can also enjoy international food samples.

The grand finale of International Week will be Friday with an International Celebration in the Cafeteria.There will be different genres of music and an array of appetizers from different countries.

International Education Week could open your mind to a world more varied than you could imagine.

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Husband the Veteran and His Story

Eddy and I on our wedding day.

Many of you probably know my husband Eddy Rivera. He is extremely intelligent, funny, kind, and is my personal hero. He is my veteran. I celebrate him 365 days a year, not just one day in November.

"I get bummed out on Veterans Day," Eddy said, when I interviewed him for this story. "I am appreciative of all the recognition. I sometimes feel as if the 'thank you for your service' comments are spoken to be politically correct,being no deeper than a have a nice day. I usually just say thank you and move on with my day."

"There are a lot of other guys that has it a lot harder than me, who have made more of a sacrifice. It seems that the 'thank you' belongs to someone else," he said. "I have accepted that for the guys that have died and cannot accept the gratuity. It is my responsibility to be thankful that I can."

Eddy was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.  At 17-years-old he encouraged his mother to sign release papers to join the Army. He reported to boot camp in Oklahoma and then was given his duty station of Fort Benning,Georgia. Soon after arriving, he received his orders to deploy to Iraq.

In February of 2005 Eddy was on patrol in the village of Balad. He had just switched seats from the gunner hatch to the driver's position. He was talking with his battle buddies and that's all he remembers.

The force of the explosion physically threw him from his Humvee, knocking him unconscious and killing two men inside.When he came to, his vision was blurred. Blood dripped from his ringing ears. Wounded men nearby screamed for help.

"I don't remember much about that day, it's still hazy. I will never be able to get the sounds and the smells out of my memory," Eddy said. He later found out it was an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) in the road.

After the incident, Eddy was transported to a military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, where he soon discovered that his war was just beginning. I met Eddy soon after he returned to American soil. I had no idea that there was anything wrong with him. Even today, anyone could look at him and think that he was a healthy 27-year-old man.

Fast forward nine years later. Eddy is still battling. He received severe burns in the blast after fuel from the truck ignited. He suffers from kidney disease, he coughs up blood, and he has severe headaches. He has a traumatic brain injury and even his knees were impacted. His TBI (traumatic brain injury) affects his daily activities.

Eddy looks through a small portion of his medical records.
He has problems with remembering things, induced by the combination of PTSD  (post traumatic stress disorder)  and the brain injury. That leaves him struggling to remember events, names, and words. Small surprises, crowded rooms, traffic jams, loud noises, and a change in events can trigger anxiety and anger,echoes the violence he dealt and endured.

"Never will I smell fire the same way," he said. "I will never be at ease at the sound of fireworks and storms. It is sometimes embarrassing when I get startled or uneasy at the sight of stranded cars on the side of the road."

The challenges of being a wounded soldier and now a wounded veteran never stop. Not for my husband or any other soldier that has had similar experiences.The military never escapes a veteran, the shadows of  war never stop appearing, and the scars will always be the first thing that they see when they look at themselves in a mirror,even if we cannot see them.

"Sometimes it is more painful to go to sleep than it is to go through the motions of my daily routine. It really never gets better, you just learn to cope. I struggle with fact that a lot of people will never be able to really understand me or even relate to what I have been through," Eddy said.

For the past nine years, Eddy and I have taught each other how to be more understanding, patient, loving, and how to make the best of every day. We have seen each other at our worst and best.I forget sometimes that Eddy has medical problems. Every now and then,I'll see the scars on his back and am quickly reminded of the horrible things he has faced. I have seen him completely disconnected from the world and am proud of the progress that he has made.But in those moments of disconnect,when the injuries take over, I am bluntly reminded that our lives will never be like any other couple our age.I have held him in the bathroom floor after he has coughed up blood. I have been to every doctor appointment, every procedure, waiting long hours in waiting rooms so that he knew he would not have to be alone.

Eddy has broken the stigma of what a disabled veteran looks like. He bears through his mental and physical pain, showing anyone who is watching that nothing should hold you back,no matter what is in the way.He goes beyond expectations and succeeds in everything that he does.From battlefield to honor student, my husband is what strength and courage is about.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Now You Can Change Your Own My Vol State Password

Students and staff can now change their own password if you are having problems logging onto My Vol State. This should help cut down on the reasons to call the IT Help Desk phone number. Here is how it works.

To use the new Utility click the link on the Portal Login page for ‘Change or Activate Your Password’ which is located under the Login button.  The first screen contains instructions on the utility and the password guidelines.

After clicking the ‘Continue’ button the individual will be asked enter their verification information.  Everything is required and must match Banner (which is also what should be listed on the VSCC ID card).  This entire process is on a time-limit.  The count-down clock is in red in the upper right.

After entering the information and clicking the ‘Verify’ button the next screen displays the username at the top and allows entry of a new password.  As before there is a time-limit and the count-down clock is displayed.  Here a new password can be entered (and confirmed).  After changing the password there should be immediate access to use it to log onto a computer on-campus or into the Portal.

If you are still having problems, by all means call the IT Help Desk ,that's what they are there for. But hopefully this will prove useful in the future.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Transferring to University - Look Up Your Tennessee Transfer Pathway

Freshmen and sophomores: If you are planning to transfer to a university you want to make sure that you are on the right path. Why? Taking the correct classes for your major will make transfer easier to university. You want to take the classes that you need and perhaps not take the classes that will not transfer to the university you choose.
How do you stay on track? The most important way is by seeing your advisor before you register each semester. That’s coming up soon, on November 11 and 12 for early registration, so it would be a good idea to see your advisor now. If you don’t know who your advisor is just visit the Division office for your major: Humanities, Math and Science, Business or Social Science and Education. Allied Health works a bit differently. Just stay on the track with your Program Director.
A great way to ensure that all of your credits transfer to university is by picking a Tennessee Transfer Pathway. The Tennessee Transfer Pathway means that community college students who want to complete a bachelor's degree have a guarantee that their credits will transfer to a public university in Tennessee, and certain private schools, if they choose one of 50 different majors offering transfer pathways. It’s never too late to take a look. Even sophomores should take a look. Talk over what you see with your advisor.
It’s easy to find out what programs are included for Vol State students and where those programs transfer, just visit the web site. We have a link to that site on this page and a video that explains how the program works:
Click on the link that lists the majors at the bottom of the page. It will show you which classes you need to take for that pathway. Underneath it will show the universities that participate in that transfer pathway. Not all universities have transfer pathways in every major area. You need to check carefully and talk it over with your advisor.
Here’s partial list of participating colleges and universities. The website is constantly updated.
Austin Peay State University
Baptist College of Health Sciences
Carson-Newman College
Christian Brothers University
Cumberland University
East Tennessee State University
Freed-Hardeman University
King College
Lane College
Lincoln Memorial University
Lipscomb University
Martin Methodist College
Maryville College
Middle Tennessee State University
Milligan College
Tennessee State University
Tennessee Tech University
Tusculum College
Union University
University of Memphis
University of Tennessee- Chattanooga
University of Tennessee- Knoxville
University of Tennessee- Martin
Watkins College of Art, Design & Film

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Vol State Honors Veterans

Veterans Day is a day of remembrance and recognition. A day when Americans honor the devotion, service, and sacrifices of those who have protected our country. We have many student veterans here on campus. A veteran can join the Vol State Student Veterans of America Club. Also known as VSVA, it is an organization on campus that connects student veterans.

"We try to volunteer with organizations outside of Vol State such as the DAV, American Legion, and the VFW, but most importantly we try to reach out to the veterans on our campus," said Amanda Steele, who is the club president as well as a Navy Veteran. "I think it is important to maintain a support system for our peers."

(Left to Right VSVA member Mark Autry, club president Amanda Steele, and club member Colby Shelton)

Also, on Thursday November 7 the Office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives will be hosting a Veterans Day Celebration. The Rep. Harold Love, Jr. will be the keynote speaker with a luncheon to follow.

"We wanted have a program that would best honor our current service members and our veterans," said Kenny Yarbrough, Director of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives. "We would not only like to honor our students that are currently serving or are veterans but our students, faculty, and staff that have family members that have served, are serving, or that have lost loved ones."

The students are collecting pictures of veterans with Vol State ties for a honor wall. It will be on display in the Nichols Dining Room. You can turn in pictures, but you need to do it soon. See the Office of Student Life in Wood 215.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Vol State's Modern Version of Servant of Two Masters

A love story mixed with energizing comedy best describes the play "Servant of Two Masters". Originally written in 1753, Vol State's Theatre Program has given the classic play a modern-day look.

"The play is going to be all over the place. It has something for everyone to enjoy.A love story, some comedy, and a little bit of mayhem," said Logan Kemp,a student who is a understudy to the character Silvio Lombardi.

I was able to get a sneak peek during a dress rehearsal and I was laughing often throughout the show.  I would say that mayhem would be a great description.

Each scene was filled with comedy and wise-cracks. There were different scenes where characters would break out into hissy fits, fake-slap each other, and take off on wacky physical/verbal acts.

Edmon Thomas,Associate Professor of Communication and Theatre is leading the production.

"All of the students has worked hard, whether they are on stage or behind the scenes. I want all of them to enjoy themselves while they are on stage,"said Thomas.

The crew has had about three to four weeks to prepare for this production with the usual dramatic issues such as delay on  getting costumes finished, the hard work of learning lines, and getting props ready.

"It's been more difficult for some than others as far preparing for roles, especially for me with one scene in particular" said Kemp. "All in all it has not been too stressful, for me anyways."

Make sure that you catch Servant of Two Masters this weekend  and next weekend; Fridays and Saturdays November 1,2,8,and 9 starting at 7:30 pm, and Sunday matinees at 2:30 pm on November 3 and 10.The show will take place in the Wemyss auditorium in Caudill Hall.

There is a $5 recommended donation to support student scholarships. It is free for students and employees with a Vol State ID.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hudson Classic Kicks-Off Basketball Season this Weekend

Vol State is preparing for the tip-off of another great year of Pioneer Basketball. The Vestle "Pops" Hudson Classic kicks-off the regular season at home on November 1 and 2. There will be a series of games between teams from all over Kentucky and Tennessee held on both days, with games beginning at 2:00pm on November 1 and 1:00pm on November 2. The Vol State teams play at 6pm and 8pm on Friday and 5 and 7pm on Saturday. Women play first and the Men second.

"This weekend gives us a chance to get on the floor, it's really a warm-up", said Men's Basketball head coach Rusty Melvin. "Because next week November 8th and 9th we go against our conference teams which are important."

The Men's Basketball squad is a young team. Coach Melvin has only three returning players from last season. Even though the team is young, each player shows a great deal of athleticism and physical strength to get the job done on the court.

The team recently played in a big jamboree consisting of 28 other teams, along with 250 college coaches in Atlanta,Georgia. Five players have already been offered scholarships from several schools to play next year.

"We have several players that are more than qualified to play Division 1 basketball, everyone will be able to see that at our games," said Melvin.

Women's Basketball acting coach, Rafael Howard, is excited to see how his style of coaching has worked with the team.

"We've got a good group. We just got to get everything in, and make sure we are where we need to be,"said Coach Howard.

Howard says they have two key play makers to watch for throughout the season: Bre Neal and Jenise Davis. Davis recently played very well during a scrimmage, collecting 23-points.

"Over the next few days we are going to go hard to prepare for not only the Hudson Classic game but the rest of the season," Howard said. "We are just trying to make sure that we have got everything that we need to get us ready."

Come out and show your support for the Vol State Men's and Women's Basketball teams. Check out the season schedule to see when and where the Pioneers are playing throughout the season. Home games are held in the Pickel Field House and they're free with your Vol State ID.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

November Events

1, 2, 8, 9

Play: "Servant of Two Masters",
Wemyss Auditorium in Caudill Hall, 7:30pm

3 and 10

Play: "Servant of Two Masters",
Wemyss Auditorium in Caudill Hall, 2:30pm


Comedian Michael Kent, Cafeteria, 12:30pm


"Dr. Who", Laura Black, Honors Lecture Series, Thigpen Library, Rochelle Center, 12:20pm


Veterans Recognition, State Rep. Harold
Love, Jr., Nichols Dining Room, 12:30pm,
RSVP required:


Homecoming Video Game Day, Nichols Dining Room, 10:30am-1:30pm


Homecoming Board Game Day, Cafeteria, 10am-1:30pm

Nov. 12-
Dec. 13

Yvonne Petkus and Matt Tullis Art Exhibit,
Thigpen Library Gallery, 7am-9pm Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday


Homecoming Evening Board Games, Cafeteria, 5pm-6pm


Ben Job "Common Threads" book-signing,
Vol State Book Store, 1:30-3:30pm


"Advertising and Popular Culture" Clay Scott, Honors Lecture Series, Nichols Dining Room, 12:20pm


Homecoming Minute to Win It game,
Cafeteria, 12:30pm


The War on Drugs", Michael Lenz, Honors
Lecture Series, Nichols Dining Room, 12:20pm


Homecoming Day- Tailgate at Noon, Women’s basketball game 2pm and Men’s basketball game 4pm, Pickel Field House


"Pass Time with Good Company" Renaissance and Baroque period music, Vol State Singers, Good Shepherd United Methodist, 4pm


International Education Week Kick-off event,
Ramer Great Hall, 12:30pm


International Education- Around the World in a Day, Nichols Dining Room, Noon-2pm


Commercial Music, songwriting students and the Bluegrass Ensemble perform, Whippoorwill in Gallatin, 6pm


"Killing Kennedy", Peter Johnson, Honors
Lecture Series, Nichols Dining Room, 12:45pm

28, 29, 30

Campus closed for Thanksgiving holiday

Vol State Students Present Italian Comedy this Weekend

 Love, death and comedy come together with a cast of Italian characters as Vol State students present the Italian renaissance theater classic “Servant of Two Masters.” The playwright Carlo Goldoni first wrote the play in the 1700’s. It has been updated through the ages, and has become popular in adaptations across the United States in recent years. The Vol State version will be set in 1920’s New York. “Servant of Two Masters” is set to be performed over two weekends in November: Fridays and Saturdays, November 1, 2, 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2:30pm on November 3 and 10. The show will take place in the Wemyss auditorium at Caudill Hall on the Vol State campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. There is a $5 suggested donation to support student scholarships. For more information call 615-230-3201.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Students Debate the New Smoking Restrictions

Don't call it a smoking ban, call it a more restrictive policy. As of January 1, 2014 Volunteer State Community College will be a tobacco-free campus with a few exceptions.The new policy will prohibit the use of tobacco products on a majority of the campus.

Products such as cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, and even smokeless electronic devices will not be allowed on campus, but may be used in designated parking lot areas. The rule is that you must be fifty feet from the building and use a proper receptacle for disposing of tobacco products.

As expected, there are a lot of opinions on campus regarding the ban, so I decided to get both sides of the issue.

Michelle Buckles, a sophomore at Vol State, likes the idea.

"I'm happy about the smoking ban on campus. I don't want to be unfair to smokers, but it is hard to avoid the smoke. Especially at entrances of buildings. Maybe it will be motivation for smokers to quit", said Michelle.

When asked if she thought that the new restrictions were a violation of rights, she replied: "If there are designated areas then I do not think that it is a violation. Non-smokers can have smoke- free paths to enter buildings, and smokers can still smoke in areas allowed."

There are plenty of people who disagree with the new restrictions.

Vol State student, Joseph Robinson, smokes and dips, and disagrees with the new bans that are being put in place.

"I feel like the system they have set-up now is effective. I do not think they should change it if it is working. I do not see cigarette butts on the ground, or people at the door smoking."

"I also do not think that dip should be included in the ban", he added.

I asked Joseph is he believes his "rights" are being denied.

"To a degree. It could be worse, I am glad that they are not banning it completely. You only have ten minutes to between class, how can you enjoy dipping in ten minutes?", said Robinson.

Many of those I talked to think that because smokeless tobacco or even the e-cigarette does not produce harmful fumes that the products should not be included in the ban. The college says e-cigarettes were included due to the current FDA debate on their safety.

I am personally not a big fan of the current smoking policy. There are some people who do not follow the rules and throw their cigarette away as they are entering a building. I think having designated areas away from entry ways to buildings will be a positive change and hopefully will promote a healthier campus.

And remember, this is not a complete ban. Smoking will be permitted only in parking lot areas 50 feet away from all buildings.

Here is a link to the new policy

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Remembering Ginny Thigpen

There have been many people who have contributed to the success of Volunteer State Community College over the years. But some of those supporters go above and beyond. That was the case with Virginia “Ginny” Thigpen. She and her family have given so much to Vol State and in so many different ways. She passed away earlier this week. People here on campus, and across the community, paused to remember her life.

“She was just amazing,” said Karen Mitchell. “She loved education and everything about education. She was one of those rare human beings who you always loved to be around.”

“I remember when I came to work at the College, Ginny was so nice to me,” said Betty Gibson. “She made everyone around her feel special.  I got to know her and her husband Walter much better through the years.  They loved Vol State and made many contributions to the College through their talents and expertise.  Even after Ginny’s retirement, she has continued to support the College through her work with the Foundation.  Walter has been missed greatly and now we will miss Ginny so much. A lovely lady.”

Where does one start? Ginny was hired by Dr. Hal R. Ramer in 1972 as an instructor of English. She was a long-time faculty member, giving 36 years of service to Vol State, as an associate professor of English and Communication Department chair. She also started the Honors Program at the College. That dedication didn’t end when she retired from full-time work in 2000. She worked as a part-time adjunct instructor for another eight years. She continued to be active in the College Foundation, both as a generous donor, a board trustee and a tireless volunteer.

The people that knew her and loved her understood that she was involved in the community. But it seems that whenever you thought you knew her activities, you would find another stack of accomplishments. Ginny was involved in organizations and efforts across Sumner County. A few years ago former colleague and state Representative Mike McDonald honored her birthday with a resolution in the Tennessee Legislature. This covers just some of her involvement:

“WHEREAS, a dedicated civic leader, Ginny Thigpen has compiled an impressive record of community service, including being elected in 1978 as Sumner County’s first female County Commissioner, serving on the Sumner County Election Commission, and standing as President of the Tennessee Women’s Political Caucus; and WHEREAS, she also served as the President of the Gallatin Arts Council; the President of the Board of the Cumberland Mental Health Association; a charter member of the Junior Service League of Gallatin; a member of the Sumner County Ad Hoc Economic Strategy Committee; a member of the Health, Education, and Housing Facilities Board, a member of the Community Chorus, PEO, and Delta Kappa Gamma; a member of the Board of Trustees of the Volunteer State Community College Foundation; and a member of the board of Sumner Academy; and WHEREAS, no stranger to awards and accolades, Ginny Thigpen was named as the 2000 Tennessee Educator of the Year and was honored, along with her late husband, at the unveiling of the Thigpen Library at Volunteer State Community College.”

Ginny was married to long-time librarian Walter Thigpen. He died in 1997. The Thigpen Library, named in his honor, will always be a testament to their love of the institution. Their portrait hangs in the main entrance to the first floor. The Thigpens will be watching over students for many years to come.

“During her many years of service as a member of the English faculty, Mrs. Thigpen dedicated herself to the college and to the success of her students,” said Dr. Faulkner. “Even after her retirement from the college she continued to be an ardent Vol State supporter and benefactor.  She was very active with the Volunteer State Foundation serving as a trustee and on committees supporting many of the foundation events.  It was my great pleasure to get to know her since arriving at Vol State and I know she will be greatly missed by us all.”

Ginny was a global traveler. She enjoyed exploring other cultures and meeting new people. She began that love as a student at the University of Tennessee Knoxville and traveled to countries across the globe with her husband and then with friends and family. While her heart and home were in Sumner County, she was a true citizen of the world.
Do you have a story about Ginny you would like to share? Consider adding it to the comments section here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Vol State Singer Crosses Genres with Edgy, Blues Sound

Carly Koehn is a 19-year-old Vol State student who has already accomplished what many only dream about. She has released an album, which you may like if you enjoy music from Adele or Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. She has also made an appearance as an extra on an episode of ABC's "Nashville."

Her self-titled debut EP was released last summer. The sound ranges from blues/rock, pop/soul to edgy roots. Her smoky voice can move easily to fit any mood. I went to Vol State's book store and I purchased her album. I wanted to know who I was interviewing. I found something different on each track. One of my favorites is "Midnight Carnival". It gives a sexy tone, that could make a woman feel as if the world is her personal catwalk.

I asked Carly if she could compare her sound to any other musicians' style.

"I like to think that my music does not sound specifically like anyone, I think that it is unique," she said. "Some of it sounds almost Appalachian, while the rest of it has a vintage vibe making it more timeless than a lot of other things that are put out right now."

Carly performed in Nashville at the popular bar Third and Lindsley 

Carly's music definitely appeals to listeners that vary from her own age to even her parents.She say she "digs" the fact that her parents and grandparents listen to her music and come to her shows.

When asked what inspires her to write songs, she simply replied "growing up". Her themes range from that first heart break to finding one's way through life.

 "It is focused around that part of life that you are trying to figure out," said Carly.

I asked her if there was a particular musical style she was going for.

"As far as artists inspiring my music, I think what has inspired me is not any particular band but being southern without being country. I think it sounds like Nashville. It embodies this sound of Nashville that is kind of like Creedence Clearwater Revival. They are southern but not country".

"I love 80's rock anthems, I have been known to belt out the "Promise" by When in Rome".

Carly proved her words to be true because just as she finished her statement, she belted out a verse from the

Carly is an amazing talent, but don't take my word for it. You can see for yourself here.

To find out about performances and future song releases visit: