The importance of fitness and tips on wellness

by Brian Ferrell// Staff Writer

A poor diet and a lack of exercise can lead to physical and mental problems such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and possibly cancer.

A proper diet and exercise routine is very essential to a daily lifestyle.

It promotes stress relief, reduces anxiety, prevents chronic disease and heart disease, reduces fat, builds strength and endurance and overall makes you happy.

According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN); within the last 20 years there’s been a significant increase in obesity in the United States.

More and more people are becoming obese. It’s also a huge problem with our children.

About 17 percent, or 12.5 million, of children and adolescents (2-19) are obese in The United States.

Also, 33.8 percent, or 78.6 million adults, are obese.

The council also states that the cumulative effect is that children born in the year 2000 may not out live their parents and indicates that 70 percent of youth may never achieve a healthy weight and will become obese adults.

What does that tell you?

Americans are fat.

So how can we change that?

How can we get more people to realize the importance of dieting and exercising?

90 percent of losing weight is just your diet.

Make better food choices and you’ll lose weight. Nutrition and exercise not only complement each other, but they need each other.

According to, even with a perfectly balanced diet, you still need to exercise to burn the calories. states that the biggest complaint today is people not having the time to focus on a healthy diet and going to the gym.

We all feel that 24 hours is not enough time and we all wish we could have more time to do things but if you really step back and look at how people spend their day we can find time to go to the gym.

The average American watches 5 hours of television (TV) per day according to the New York daily.

So that’s 5 hours of Americans being sedentary on the couch, staring at a TV screen. The New York Daily Times reported people spending 3.8 hours a day on social media.

So out of the 24 hours that we all get each day, 8 hours of it is being spent looking at a screen.

That is time we can use to prep healthier meals and get in some exercise.

We have the time to get it done. We can all squeeze in a workout each day. Incorporating physical activity into your daily life.

At least 30 minutes for adults and 60 minutes for children according to PCFSN.

Another complaint that most people have is that they are too tired.

One of the benefits of exercising is that it actually gives you more energy.

A study published in the American Journal of psychology states that people who worked out for 30 minutes a day lost more weight than people who worked out for 60 minutes a day.

You would think that the longer you work out the more calories you will burn.

Although that is true, the study revealed that people who work out 30 minutes a day noticed their workout was easier and they had energy to do other physical activities throughout the day as oppose to those who work out 60 minutes a day, who noticed they ate more and had less energy to do other physical activity. It sounds counterintuitive.

What about moms who cannot seem to get in a workout because they have to take care of the kids?

One tip is you can find a gym that has a daycare that can watch your kids while you get in a workout.

You can also find workouts you can do at home.

There are a lot of home workouts you can do to help you meet your fitness goals.

Try waking up 30 minutes to an hour before the kids have to get up and get in a workout or do 30 minutes after you send them to bed.

Remember there’s always time to get in a workout, it is just a matter of how bad do you want it.

One of the cool things about exercising is that it releases a chemical in your brain called endorphins (the feel good medicine).

It gives you a positive feeling that will make you happy.

It is a feeling of accomplishment and it is the best drug out there.

Bucy leads discussion panel on biracial marriage

by Lauren Cieler// Staff Writer

Students, faculty and staff at Volunteer State Community College were welcome to attend a lecture on March 2.

The event took place in the Rochelle Center in the Thigpen Building at 12:20 p. m.

The speaker was Dr. Carole Bucy, professor of History.

“This lecture is to provide more awareness of the subject of marriage inequality as part of the Civil Rights movement that still contours today,” said Bucy.

The history department has a grant from the Gilder-Lehram Foundation to do a series of lectures associated with films that are about the Civil Rights movement.

Bucy had four people from Vol State come in and sit on a panel to answer questions from herself and students.

These people were; Dr. Emily Short, assistant vice-president of Student Services and her husband Cedric Short; Dr. Michael Torrence, assistant vice-president of Academic Affairs; and Amber Hughes, a nursing major.

Each person told their backstory and how he or she dealt with interracial equality.

Dr. Short and Cedric have been married for nineteen years and have a daughter.

Dr. Short is from Westmorland, Tenn, a predominantly white community.

Dr. Short said she first told her friend that Cedric had proposed to her and her friend said, “You need to tell your mom.”

Although Dr. Short’s mother did know about Cedric, Dr. Short said her mother did not like the concept of a biracial marriage.

Cedric said remembered how he met his wife.

Cedric said in the mid 90s, he was a student at Vol State while Dr. Short worked in Student Services. He said he did not want to talk to her, but one day he finally had the courage to say hello.

As soon as he graduated he made his move and later on started dating.

Cedric said when he proposed to Dr. Short, he first told his younger brother, Marvin.

He said Marvin’s response was, “Did you tell dad yet? You need to tell him now.”

“My dad had a chilly response and was caught by surprise,” said Cedric.

Dr. Short’s family did not come to the wedding, which she said was a heavy rejection.

“I was preparing myself for no in-laws, but when my daughter was born everything changed,” said Cedric.

Torrence has been married for eight years and has two children.

Torrence said was in college when he first saw his wife.

“I was in my advisor’s office and I look out the window and saw red hair bouncing in the sunlight across the Quad,” said Torrence.

When the time came to propose to his wife, Torrence said he went to her brothers and they respected the decision he had made.

He said he asked her father and the father shrugged and said okay.

Torrence said both his children have had the privilege of being accepted and active in sports.

He has only dealt with one mishap of biracial inequality.

“There was a man in church that told my wife and daughter that they didn’t belong here and to get out,” said Torrence.

Amber Hughes said she has been married for 12 years and has three children.

She said when she first met the man she was going to marry, she was 17 and her husband was 23. Hughes said they had to keep their relationship as a secret because of their age difference.

Hughes and her husband met in the food court at the same mall.

His sister was Hughes’ boss.

Hughes said when she got engaged, she told her best friend who was concerned about the age difference.

Her family was not supportive, but her aunt stepped up to help with the wedding.

Hughes’ husband is African American and Hispanic and she said his parents were okay with him marrying her.

One encounter the Hughes said she had with biracial inequality was when she was looking for rent. She said when she was about to fill out the application, the clerk said that he doesn’t rent to African Americans/Hispanics. Hughes said she picked up her purse and walked away.

In the comment and question section of the lecture, Bucy proposed a question.

“What do you think can be done to promote tolerance and understanding among people in 2015? What can be done to improve racial tolerance?” said Bucy.

“To get out of his or her environment; too see something different; to meet people from different backgrounds,” answered Torrence.

Dr. Short said that what works well for her family is that they have open dialogue about racial equality and to learn about each other’s culture answered

“Parents should educate their children in biracial equality,” answered Hughes.

“I think if we learn to accept one another and live our lives everything will be better,” said Patty Powell, vice president of Student Services.

Wes Moore event discusses Hip-Hop and its effects on today’s society

by Cynthia Hernandez// Staff Writer

On Monday, March 2, Volunteer State Community College hosted a special presentation that attracted over 200 high school students from all over Sumner County.

Participating high schools included Beech, Gallatin, Hendersonville, Portland, Station Camp, and White House.

Dr. Michael Torrence, assistant vice president of Academic Affairs, lead the discussion titled “Effects of Hip-Hop on Society” in the Pickel Field Gymnasium.

The goal of the discussion was to “examine your environment with more awareness,” said Torrence.

During the presentation, he recognized five components of hip-hop: knowledge, dancing, MC-ing, DJ-ing, and graffiti.

Prizes were given to the students that participated in the discussion.

Some students showed off their dance moves and others showed their “freestyle” abilities.

“So often hip-hop music and the culture that surrounds it, are seen as negatives.

“I’m glad our students were able to learn the history and technicalities of the music they love, so that they can see all of the positives of hip-hop,” said Heather Adkins, an English teacher at Gallatin High School.

“The hip-hop event was very informative and a great avenue to bring the art form and culture of hip-hop to light.

“I believe students left with a new appreciation for the music genre and it’s correlation to the English language,” said Elizabeth Evans, choral director at Hendersonville High School.

This presentation was one in a special series of the One Book, One Community project.

The next presentation is scheduled for Thursday, March 19, at 12:30 p.m. in the Mary Cole Nichols Carpeted Dining Room (CDR) of Wood.

The discussion will focus on the low expectations of young African-American males.

The One Book, One Community culminating event will be held on Tuesday, March 24, from 6 – 8 p.m. in the Rochelle Center of Thigpen.

It is not too late to get your copy of “The Other Wes Moore” and join the discussion

Zorah Sarwari speaks on terrorism and Muslim discrimination

by Brittney Mace// Assistant Editor

Volunteer State Community College hosted Zohra Sarwari, international speaker, March 4, at 12:30 p.m., in the Carpeted Dining Room.

According to her website, Sarwari is the author of ten books, a life coach, a business coach and an entrepreneur. With her time at Vol State, she chose to discuss what it means to be a member of the Islam faith and how her fellow Muslims are targeted when discussing or referring to terrorism.

“I want you guys to think of terrorism globally, not just outside the U.S. All of us know at least one person in our life who has been terrorized through domestic violence and all these other cases,” said Sarwari.

Sarwari said that every religion has crazy people in it, but that she doesn’t believe all the members of that religion should have to pay for that one person and their mistake. She said this issue is especially common for the Muslim community.

“Why is it when a Muslim commits a crime, his religion is labeled for it, but for anybody else, they are just an evil person? . . . What [has] happened in the last few years is that our media keeps saying that ënot all Muslims are Terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim’. It’s an oxymoron,” said Sarwari.

Sarwari said that she wants society to stop focusing the backlash of terrorism on a certain group of individuals.

“Terrorism is happening all around us. There is no race to terrorism, there is no religion, there’s no age, there’s no gender. It’s an individual, making bad decisions, and taking it out on whoever is unfortunately going to suffer from their hands. . . . I want you guys to think of terrorism in that sense; globally, because truly, that’s what it really is,” said Sarwari.

As for the Vol State community, Sarwari said it was very welcoming.

“Honestly, I didn’t feel like wasn’t welcomed. Some students did look a little like ‘oh, you look out of place’ but that’s okay and that’s sometimes what they need to see [in order] to actually want to be involved in it. . . . I didn’t see any hatred or anything and if people had it, they kept it to themselves, which I think is very respectful,” said Sarwari.

Tabitha Sherrell, coordinator of student activities, attended the event.

“She did an amazing job. I’m a very structured person, so I really liked her PowerPoint. She stayed on task really well, she made it fun and not so hard and tense of a topic,” said Sherell.

Sam Hunt, a Vol State student, was also in attendance.

“The ignorance that people have, not just for [Sarwari] but for anyone, burns my butt, because nobody educates themselves on how not everybody’s like that or not everybody does that, whether it’s African-American, White, whatever. Not all of us are that person. Education is where it’s at. That’s how you stomp out ignorance,” said Hunt.

For more information on Sawari and her services, visit

Practice living in the moment for a more peaceful mind and life

by Brittney Mace// Assistant Editor

I often find myself thinking about two main things; my past and my future.

Being a college student and working towards my planned life goals, I tend to spend the majority of my time thinking about what I will do when those goals are met and I do not fully appreciate the journey I am taking in order to get there.

I often dwell on what I will be doing a year, five years, even ten years from that moment. As a result, I don’t fully enjoy the time in my life that I currently reside in.

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” said John Lennon. This is something I have been attempting to change in my life.

Yes, it is important to have goals and yes, it is important to plan the steps in order to achieve them, but one should not deem any part of their life unnecessary or less important than another.

If you find yourself in the same issue, take a deep breath and relax.

Quiet your mind of life planning and fully embrace the uncertainty that life brings.

“Life is a preparation for the future; and the best preparation of the future is to live as if there were none,” said Albert Einstein.

Both you and your plans will change, but there will only ever be one present.

The same way of thinking goes for ones’ past.

Do not become stuck on the “what ifs” of your existence.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.

You may feel like you are not on the right path, that you made too many mistakes, or that you want to go back to the past where you believe you once thrived.

I too, often have these thoughts.

Recently new to adulthood, I still catch myself wishing I was back in my childhood, a victimless child with no worries or adult responsibilities.

I remind myself to not waste any more precious time thinking about regrets or how things could have been different.

I choose instead, as should you, to focus on the person in the present.

Are you a better person as a result of your past?

Are you living your life, each day, to its full potential?

Are you taking one step at a time, to achieve this?

Do not use your incredible mind to overthink where you came from or where on this earth you will end up.

Personally, I would rather live a life of chaos that gave me unexpected pleasures, than strictly scheduled plans that I am uncertain I even want.

I constantly have to remind myself that I have the honor of living in a great country, I have the option of a great education, I have a vast amount of resources to make my life the best that it can possibly be and that I should celebrate every single day just the way it is.

I have never been much of a swimmer, but I have found bliss in the choice to go along with the waves of life instead of fighting against the current.

So whether you believe that detailed planning, fate, karma or some other higher power is the key to a happy life, I advise you to take chances.

I encourage you to try things from a new perspective and don’t hold yourself back from experiences that seem uncertain.

If all else fails; when the worry starts to set in, just remember that you are okay.

You have time.

And you are right where you are meant to be.

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly,” said Buddha.

Transfer tips from a Vol State Alumni

by Sherayah Witcher// Guest Writer 

Some of you are probably in your last semester or two here at Volunteer State Community College and have your next college already in mind.

Transferring from community college to a four-year school can be exciting, but it can be a daunting process as well.

There is enough paperwork to make you wonder if you are a signing up for school or to donate an organ.

Here are just a few tips that can make this process a bit easier.

Look for, or ask, an admissions advisor at your new school if there is a list of everything you need for your initial application and then also a list of everything you need to submit after you get in.

This is essential, so that you do not keep getting emails that you are missing another piece of paperwork.

When you have this list you can get everything together and submit it all at once.

Get multiple copies of your official transcript.

You will need to submit a final transcript to your new school and these have been known to get lost in the shuffle, so I suggest getting two or three to be on the safe side.

This also helps if you want to get into another program later.

Apply and get your paperwork in as early as possible.

Paperwork is going to take longer to process at a bigger school, so get it in early because you will want to make sure to have enough time to register for the classes that you need before they fill up.

Orientation might be the last thing you want to do, but most universities require it.

Get all that you can out of it.

It is also another incentive to get your paperwork in early so that you can choose a day that works best for you.

Use this time to talk with an advisor.

This is a few hours that your advisor has set aside to see the people specifically at orientation and it is going to be more difficult to see them later.

Either while you are at orientation or at least before you begin classes make sure to take a good look at the building that is going to house your majorís department.

For example, if you are an English major make sure that you look at the building that the English department is in and get familiar with it because you are going to be in that building for the next couple of years.

The last piece of advice I have for you is that once you get into your new school, make sure you check to see when you need upper level advising.

If you graduated from Vol State or at least accumulating a lot of credit hours you are going to need to get started on that your first or second semester at your new school.

These are just a few tips that I hope help to ease your transition from the wonderful halls of Vol State to your next endeavor.

I wish you all the best in your new adventures!

What color is this dress?

by Jim Busha// Staff Writer

Social media, news media and a lot of students here at Volunteer State Community College were all buzzing with the question, ìWhat color is the dress?

The photo was originally posted to social media by Caitlin McNeill, a 21 year old singer, who lives on a Scottish island named Colonsay.

The photo of the dress was sent to McNeill by a friend who was getting married, whose mother sent it as a color idea for the wedding.

However, the bride and groom couldn’t agree on what color the dress was.

When McNeill saw how popular the photo was on her Facebook, she then added it to her Tumblr account and from there it spread throughout the Internet. did a poll on Thursday night asking, ìWhat color is the dress?

Tens of thousands of people voted.

The results of their poll were 53 percent said it is black and blue and 47 percent said it is white and gold.

The truth is that that there are different factors that affect each of us differently when it comes to our perception of colors.

Your eyes try to discount the chromatic bias of the daylight axis. People either discount the blue side, and see white and gold or they discount the gold side in which they see blue and black, said Bevel Conway, a neuroscientist at Wellesley College.

What color is the dress to you? We may never agree on what color the dress is, but there is one thing we may be able to agree on; that is one ugly dress!

Police and the African-Americans discussion for “One Book, One Community”

by Brian Ferrell// Staff Writer 

Volunteer State Community College hosted the Wes Moore Police and Black discussion in the Mary Cole Nichols Carpeted Dining Room (CDR).

The event was one in a series inspired by the book ìThe Other  Wes Moore by Wes Moore and discussed many topics on police officers in the community.

On the discussion board was Paige Brown, mayor of Gallatin; Donald W. Bandy, chief of Gallatin police for 23 years; Bill Sawyer, Gallatin police officer; and  Carl Jenkins, retired police officer after 37 years of service.

Each person commented on questions asked by Dr. Kenny Yarbrough, director of the office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives, and the audience on topics such as body cameras, relationship with the community, how to bridge the gap between police officers and people of color and how to build trust in the community.

On the option of having body cameras being placed on their uniform, Sawyer said that Gallatin Police are working on getting cameras placed on their uniforms but have yet to figure out how to properly go about using the technology in the community with protecting the citizens rights to privacy.

Bandy spoke about building relationships in the community.

I want to remove the mindset of us against them but for us to all come together making it a better place to live, said Bandy.

The officers talked about wanting to get more personal with the community, improve quality, show up to events that the community is holding and to even sponsor their own events so that they themselves can get to know the community better.

I would love for the community to have a better understanding of making the community safe for all people,î said Brown.

The Gallatin police officers talked about how even police officers are just as much a human as the next person.

They said that sometimes their emotions can take over and that is why it is important for when stopping someone for whatever reason that they should be respectful and try not to start an altercation with the police officer just because you feel wrongfully accused.

ìPolice officers are not machines, they are humans,î said Jenkins.

Bandy said Gallatin offers a 24/7 police line that people can call and file a complaint with, if they feel they were mistreated.

On March 2, there was a discussion in the Pickel Field House over the effects of Hip-Hop on society at 9 a.m.

The next Wes Moore event will be on March 19, about the fear of young African-American males and possible solutions at 12:30 p.m. in the CDR.

Black History Luncheon encourages open dialogue

by Cynthia Hernandez// Staff Writer

The Volunteer State Community College Campus invited students, faculty and staff to attend the Black History Luncheon last Wednesday, Feb. 25.

The event took place at 12:30 p.m. in the Mary Cole Nichols Carpeted Dining Room (CDR).

The event featured Dr. Joelle Carter as the keynote speaker and recognized members of the Vol State community for their excellence.

The event began with a speech by Ashlyn Challenger, president of the African American Student Union (AASU).

Carter was introduced by Heather Harper, director of Retention Support.

Dr. Carter was appointed as Western Kentucky University’s first assistant vice-president for Retention Support Services . . . (she) has received several awards and acknowledgements for her contribution to higher education and development fields,” said Harper.

Carter said she encouraged open dialogue as she explained the relevance of celebrating Black History Month at this moment in time.

Carter said the purpose of celebrating black leaders, athletes and actors during this month is because “these people were a lot of the firsts; groundbreakers… how we make meaning of what they did, means for us, is the reflection and conversation,î said Carter.

It does symbolize a history of freedom, equality, and just, is denied. It happened. It happened and guess what? That’s ok. How do we grow? What’s the next step?”

Carter said what it came down to was, “strong lessons of leadership, community and love… that love, that respect, that humility, of just, a person. Good grief.

Who am I to say that you’re not beautiful, and you don’t deserve to be respected, and that I should look at you some kind of way or treat you in some… I mean, it is not my place,” said Carter.

Awards were given to Carter and Vol State’s “homegrown heroes” which included Dr. Carole Bucy, professor of history; Mary Malone, Retention Support Services; and James Story, chair of the department of performing and visual arts.

Bucy was awarded by Jasmine Cook, a Vol State student.

Cook said Bucy has been a professor of history at Vol State for many years.

[Bucy] is a speaker, writer, researcher and philanthropist and has been active in promoting African American heritage throughout the region,î said Cook.

Malone was awarded by Andrea Boddie, director of Student Support Services (SSS).

Boddie said Malone is currently a Trio SSS Counselor, was born and raised in Sumner County and graduated from Union High School, Sumner County’s first African American high school.

Boddie also said Malone has worked in the Sumner County school system as a counselor and a teacher for 31 years and co-authored two books; Generations and African-American Life in Sumner County.

Story, the final recipient, was awarded by Pedro Martinez, Vol State advisor/counselor.

Martinez said that Story is a professor of music and department chair of visual and performing arts, directs the choir at First United Methodist Church, presents at international conferences, and has taught music in the Sumner County school system since 1977.

Martinez also said that Story and has also produced over 100 stage productions throughout his career and was recently nominated for the Music Educator Award presented by the Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation, of which he received ninth place.

Honestly, I liked the whole thing, especially the speaker. I like when she talked about what we can do to interact with each other throughout the year,î said sophomore Tamara Thrower.

ìMy favorite part was the speaker Öshe really does have a dynamic personality, said Matteen Mansoori, Vol State student.

“Those of us that continue to engage in these conversations will be the individuals that conduct the action to make change. It’s not about the month. It’s about the competencies we possess to make this place better than it was, when we were here,” said Carter.

“Getting to know you” presentations hosted by VISA

by Ann Roberts// Editor-in-Chief

On Tuesday, Feb. 24, at Volunteer State Community College in the Rochelle Center  at 2:30 p.m., Vol State International Students Association (VISA) club hosted an event called ìGetting To Know You.

Margarita Perez Torres, president of VISA, spoke about her native country of Peru; the landscape, cuisine, culture, and agriculture.

Some of our teachers they really enjoyed it. And they didn’t know so many things about our countries like for some about the variety of potatoes in my country,î said Torres.

Amanda De La Paz, vice president of VISA club, talked about Michoacan, Mexico.

She moved to Tennessee from there when she was 11.

Michoacan means place of the fisherman.

It is the same size as Belgium.

Twenty million Monarch Butterflies migrate there from North America every year.

Selena Cortez, secretary of VISA club, was born in Gallatin but talked about Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico.

The most produced product in town is their ceramics.

I thought it was amazing. I liked it when my big sister Selena talked about our dad î  Yesvenia Cortez, Selena Cortez’s eight year old sister who attended.

Oky Arguello, advisor, was born on the plane to Costa Rica.

The money goes toward improving the education of their populace.

Costa Rica is considered one of the most literate countries in the world.

It also has two of the best hospitals in the continent.

Pedro Martinez, advisor and counselor,  is from Puerto Rico.

The American dollar is used there and the country is the size of Connecticut.

I feel happy that everybody enjoyed it,î said Torres.

There were cookies and lemonade provided.