Monday, July 31, 2017

Caitlyn Ellis on Studying Abroad and Being SGA President

It’s not every day that you’re able to study in a foreign country. Recently, our SGA president, Caitlyn Ellis, was given that opportunity. Caitlyn traveled to Ireland with other students to study abroad for a few weeks. Now that she’s back, I sat down with her to ask about her trip and her position as President of the SGA (Student Government Association).
“Overall, the trip was amazing. It was fascinating to see stuff from, like, the ninth century; something old. The history and culture there was really moving.” I asked Caitlyn why other students should study abroad. “You learn about a culture other than your own. We took a World Lit class in Ireland and learned about Irish authors. We would read about a place, and then we would go and see it. It was a better experience than just sitting in a classroom.”
Caitlyn will be leading the SGA. “It’s a lot of responsibility, but I’m really excited to put my spin on things. I enjoy being an advocate for students, especially those that have no one to speak for them.”  Caitlyn had this advice to share for students looking to get the most out of their Vol State experience. “Get involved. Even if you don’t know anybody, put yourself into a situation where you can get involved.”

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What was Your Favorite PG-rated Activity this Summer?

One of the interesting parts of attending Campus Connect is talking to future Vol State students and getting to know a little bit about them. Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to a few of these incoming freshmen. Although many students were busy trying to get things ready for the upcoming semester, I was happy to meet a few who were willing to sit down and chat.

What was your favorite PG-rated activity that you did over the summer?
Gary Davidson: “I did a lot of reading. I’m a major bookworm.”
Which class are you most excited for this semester? 
Gary: “I honestly don’t know (laughs).”
Which class are you least excited for this semester?
Gary: “Math classes. I’m really not looking forward to taking those.”
What was your favorite PG-rated activity that you did over the summer?
Harmony: “I went swimming. That’s about what everyone else does during the summer.”
Which class are you most excited for this semester?
Harmony: “Speech. I’ve never had anything like it, and I like to try new things.”
Which class are you least excited for this semester?
Harmony: “Math. All of them (laughs).”
What was your favorite PG-rated activity that you did over the summer?
Ashleigh Shay: “Going to Gatlinburg with my friends and family friends.”
Which class are you most excited for this semester?
Ashleigh: “Probably math, because I really like it. It’s been something that’s easy for me, being able to put 2 and 2 together and all that.”

Which class are you least excited for this semester?
Ashleigh: “Speech class because I hate talking in front of people I don’t know.”

Monday, July 24, 2017

Students, Come Watch the Eclipse with Us

How would you react to seeing the sky turn to night in the middle of the day? That’s what happens when the moon comes between the Earth and the Sun, creating a total solar eclipse. While many places across the United States will only be able to see a partial eclipse, our campus has the luck of being able to experience a total eclipse. In celebration of this event, Vol State will be hosting an eclipse viewing party on August 21st, from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

This date is a week before classes begin, so Vol State students will need to register for the event like everyone else.

The eclipse watch is free to attend, so bring your family. There will be educational activities that people of all ages can enjoy, from scientific demonstrations to arts and crafts. Personally, I’m most excited for the eclipse-themed writing and music that will be featured in the Wood Campus Center. If you’re interested in attending, we ask that you register with us here. It will give us an idea of how many people will be showing up, and will help us create a better event for you. Just a reminder that even if you are a Vol State student, you will need to register with us beforehand. Also, remember that this is an event outside of the fall semester, which begins on August 28th.

Everyone, from everywhere, is welcome to attend the Eclipse Watch event, it's not just for students or Sumner County residents. But please register.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Meet the New Faces of Vol State

Photographer Richard Suter goes to great lengths to get his shots.
Sarahi VillaseƱor
They may not be supermodels, but the President’s Ambassadors at Vol State sometimes have to work like them. These students are given the task of making Vol State look good, whether they’re giving campus tours, or attending events and photo shoots. While it might seem like an easy gig, the President’s Ambassadors have to work hard to gain the position and even harder to keep it. After all, the Ambassador program is a competitive scholarship that can pay for a student’s full tuition for the rest of their time at Vol State.

Joshua Thompson
Recently, I attended a photo shoot for these new faces. It felt surreal taking pictures of a photographer while he shots pictures of students in a classroom setting. Afterwards, I had a chance to interview a couple of these students. A point they stressed was how difficult it was to become a President’s Ambassador. “It’s very challenging,” said Sarahi VillaseƱor, “they kept saying how hard it would be and that one wrong word could take you out of it.”  It wasn’t all doom and gloom, however, as I asked them how it felt to have accomplished this goal. “I feel very blessed. Like I’ve accomplished a very big goal and I’m now one of the faces of Vol State,” said Joshua Thompson. I also asked if they had any advice for students looking to become President’s Ambassadors. “You have to be dedicated and have the heart to help and give back because they’re giving to you,” replied Joshua.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Free Math Help for Freshmen This Summer

Daniel Walker (second from the left) helps a group of Vol State students with their math assignments.
Let’s face it: math isn’t a good subject for a lot of students. That said you don’t have to struggle. The Learning Commons, located in the Thigpen Library, is open to all incoming freshmen looking for free help with their math courses before the semester begins.

The Learning Commons is an area that hosts different classes, but it also has instructional assistants that can help you improve your math skills before the semester even begins. “College readiness is an area that we shine in,” says Kay Dayton, director of the Learning Commons. If you don’t know what to brush up on, they offer a pre-assessment test that can pinpoint your weaknesses. “We give a student what that student needs. It’s a flexible program; it’s flexible to meet every student’s needs,” says Daniel Walker, one of the Learning Commons’ instructional assistants. Want to know more? You can contact the Learning Commons at 615-230-3676

Monday, July 3, 2017

A New Space for Student Veterans

For those veterans who may not know it yet, there is a place for you on campus. The Office of Veteran Affairs has recently moved into the Ramer Administration Building, Room 150. I had a chance to sit down Ken Hanson, manager of the office, and ask him about the move, what it means for the veterans, and how it feels to help them out.

Tell me a little about the move to a larger office.

It’s given us so much extra space. We’ve got room for the veterans, we’ve got room for the adults that are going to be coming in here, and we’ve got space for everyone that’s working in this office. We’re all in one location, so in that respect, it’s awesome. We’ve already gotten some good compliments from our veterans that have come in here and hung out.

What kind of new services do you offer being in this larger office?

Really, the services aren’t changing any. It’s just consolidating everything. We already work with, of course, the veterans and the GI Bill for the veterans. We have the vet center itself so they’ve got a place to work on the computers, work on their classes, and hang out if they need to. A lot of times it’s really great for building-up comradery with other veterans that are coming through here. We also have a spot where the Associate of Vietnam Veterans of America donated some food, coffee, and different things for our veterans. This is now in one spot so we can keep track of it and they can come grab a snack if they want to, grab a cup of coffee in between classes, and those sorts of things.

How does it feel to help veterans?

It’s always a great thing because a lot of times it’s a difficult transition from military to civilian. You come from an environment where everything is so structured and you’re told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Quite a few of them have been into warzones, and it’s really challenging to go from that environment to a college environment. It’s really great to be able to sit down with that veteran and say, “Hey, we’ll help you get through your education. We’ll guide you along the way. We’ve got services that can help you out, whether it’s internal to the school or external, like with the VFW or the Sumner County Vets Council.” We can find resources for these guys. It feels good when you can watch a veteran graduate after about two/two-and-a-half years because you know you’ve helped guide them along their way.