Movie night to feature Marvel film

Contributing Writer Anthony Davidson


The first logical question that a student asks when they hear about Movie Night: “What is it?”

According to Tabitha Sherrell of the Student Life and Diversity Office: “It is a community event.  You do not have to be a student to come and view the movie.  It roughly starts at dusk, approximately 7:30 or whenever the sun goes down that day. You can bring your blankets and your lawn chairs, and there will be concessions available. I know one of our student clubs will be providing popcorn.”

That said, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend and enjoy the movie.  The movie is free because the college’s Student Government Association (SGA) has its own “blow-up screen.”

Movie Night allows students to bring their friends and families out to enjoy a free movie and have some fun, and non-students get the chance to watch a movie and enjoy an autumn night.  “If you are a student with your own children, this would be a perfect opportunity to bring your kids on campus and enjoy some time with them,” said Sherrell.

The next logical question: “How many students know about Movie Night?”

On a survey of students, the Settler found that 4 in 5 students asked did not know about the event. Advertisement of the event is strongly encouraged by Faculty and Staff.

This free showing takes place on the Volunteer State Community College quad, in the middle of Warf Sciences, Thigpen Library, Wood Campus Center, and the Pickle Fieldhouse.

This year’s showing will be Disney’s Avengers: Age of Ultron on Sept. 18, 2015.

For students who haven’t kept up with the series and related films, the movie stars Scarlet Johansson, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, and James Spader as the voice of the AI, Ultron.  The movie follows the storyline of the Marvel comic book series. The film is rated PG-13, due to language and thematic violence.

The  viewing is scheduled to be played on the quad, however, if the weather should not permit, it will be shown in the  carpeted dining room of Wood Campus Center.

Concessions will be sold and the proceeds from concessions will benefit the school’s clubs and programs.  The Settler does not currently have a list of specific concessions, but concessions will be available at the event.

Coffee with the Prez

By Kalynn Meeker// Staff Writer 


Volunteer State Community College invites students and faculty for a handshake and conversation with President Dr. Jerry Faulkner at Coffee with the Prez.  

The reason the event was created is to “try to get him acquainted with the students and let them see, yes, we have a President. Here he is and you can talk to him about some sort of issue, if you’re really happy with Vol State or you just want to compliment a professor or somebody on campus that’s changed your life. He is right there and is easy access for students to talk to,” said Tabitha Sherrell, the Coordinator of Student Activities, who planned the date this summer.

A table will be set with free coffee, sugar, and creamer. Other free foods will also be served such as muffins or chicken biscuits. A sign in sheet will be on the table where students are asked to sign up. In the past, there has been anywhere from 10 to 40 people at Coffee with the Prez. With this in mind, it is a first come first serve.

The event is informal, like sitting down with a friend at the local coffee shop. Faulker comes in and mingles with everyone in the dining room.

Jessie Versage, president of the Student Government Association, attended last year and plans to go this year.

Versage encourages all students to join him and ask questions “to get more insight on what the college is doing for their students.”

To give an example of what kind of questions could be asked, Taylor Matson, a student at Vol State said if he could ask the president a question it would be, “How is college paid for when it’s free for the Tennessee Promise students?”

Save the date for Wednesday, Sept. 9, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room A or what is known as the Tile Dining Room.

Three different dates are set to ensure everyone who wants attend can choose a date to better fit their schedules.

Other dates available to attend Coffee with the Prez are Tuesday, Oct. 20 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 and Thursday, Nov. 19 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Both meetings will also be in the Tile Dining Room.


Brenda Buffington’s Farewell

By: Barbara Harmon

Students and staff of Volunteer State Community College got their final hugs from Brenda Buffington, Director of Adult Learners and Evening Services, on Aug. 31st.  This was her last day at Vol State and even though there were cake and balloons around the department, there were that many more teary eyes.

Buffington was employed by Vol State over three years ago and feels she has made the most of that time.  She has enjoyed working with the student organizations, such as The National Society of Leadership and Success, overseeing many other student events and truly listening to what the students had to say.

When asked by students why she was doing all that she did, her response was, “because of you,” said Buffington.

Her work with the adult students led to her contribution to the Launch and Learn project for the upcoming year, which will offer workshops and free career assessments to the students who participate in this program said Buffington.

While reminiscing about her time at Vol State, Buffington recalled how she strove to turn the student gatherings into special events.  “We did not do it every day, but when we did—it was an event,” said Buffington.

There is one last event that Buffington planned for the students at Vol State.  “I will not be here, but my final event will be here.  I planned, on Nov. 19th, which is during the week of homecoming, a Clearly You event,” said Buffington.  “It will be in the carpeted dining room from 1-7pm, and then starting at 5:30pm there will be a dinner.”

You are welcome to bring your family to this event and have your image scanned into a three dimensional cube said Buffington, and she hopes that you will attend her event.

Judy Schuelke, Coordinator for Adult Learners and Evening Services, said Buffington will be missed incredibly.

Schuelke worked with Buffington slightly more than a year.  “Hugs were her trademark.  Regardless of the kind of day you were having, students and staff would come into her office just to get a hug, because they knew it was “ok,” said Schuelke.

Having worked under the guidance of Buffington, Schuelke said Buffington was centered on helping students.  “Brenda was a very giving person, genuine and sincere,” said Schuelke.

Tracey Toy had only worked with Buffington since January, but said it was common for students to come to the office just to see Buffington, even students that had already graduated.  “She is a rarity, not just to students, but with everybody that she works with,” Toy said.

Toy said that there is going to be so many people that are disappointed that Buffington is gone.  “I am happy for her though, because wherever she goes she will be a star,” said Toy.

Celebrate Hispanic heritage with quiz bowl

By Blake Bouza// Contributing Writer


Volunteer State will be holding its annual Hispanic Heritage Quiz Bowl on Sept. 16 in the Cafeteria room at 12:45 in the afternoon.

The quiz bowl will be played Jeopardy-style and will feature three rounds.  “I would hope that it would attract, really, everybody. Spanish students and other students who speak languages other than English as a first language. Anybody that would want to know more about other cultures.” Said Michelle Vandiver-Lawrence, Vol State’s own Spanish professor and moderator of the bowl.

Questions will range anywhere from within Hispanic culture, from geography to music. Vandiver-Lawrence hopes it will be a learning opportunity for students wanting to know more about Hispanic culture in general. “It [the questions] can cover pretty much anything relating to the culture,” she said.

Hispanic Heritage Month is Sept. 15 – Oct. 15. Vol State will be offering other events that celebrate the diversity of Hispanic culture all month. Hispanic Heritage Celebration is on Oct. 7 where students will be presenting projects and art.

The Hispanic Fall Fiesta on Oct. 17. “It’s really for the Hispanic community so you don’t even have to go to Vol State,” said Vandiver-Lawrence.

Vandiver-Lawrence urges as many students to attend as possible because the need to understand other cultures is so great. “We have to live with each other. There are subcultures we live with on a daily basis.”

“If you can only deal with the people in your subculture, how will you ever survive outside of your own community? Not even just races but also religions and all kinds of stuff that make us different from each other. If I can’t communicate with people that are different from me I won’t be able to function in society,” said Vandiver-Lawrence.  

The bowl typically lasts no more than a half hour so Michelle advises timeliness in getting to the event. “It’s amazing,” she said of the opportunities Vol State offers both to its students and the community at large. “We have so many people that are so committed.”

Blake’s Books

Blake’s Books


By Blake Bouza// Contributing Writer


Welcome back to the Settler’s book review. My name is Blake and I will be sifting through the myriad of books that are released to bring you the best of what you could be reading.


Red Rising by Pierce Brown

The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labor, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.



I am so impressed with this work of fiction. Pierce Brown never tells us more than we need to know – giving us a lean, sinewy, sledgehammer-to-the-face kind of novel that manages to both be brutal and poetic, as illustrated by the novel’s own integration of both futuristic technology that is actually plausible with barbaric living and fighting.

By cutting away the fat, so to speak, Brown immerses us in three separate yet cohesive casts of society. The low Reds underground, the hoity-toity upscale lifestyle of the Golds in their Emerald City, and the brutal landscape of the Institute where the Houses compete to be on top.

I understand the comparisons that have likened this book to a cross between The Hunger Games and A Game of Thrones. Honestly, it is what got me to pick up the book.

Red Rising does have elements of those two books, yes, but it is so uniquely its own work that the similarities are shallow at best. Here we have an epic that stands alongside with The Odyssey and The Iliad. Only this time the gods are Proctors of the Institute and the fool humans doing their bidding are the students trying to keep the reputation of their House. The book takes a number of sharp turns as we follow Darrow twist the system against the Institute.

Definitely a trilogy you should begin. The second book, Golden Son, came out earlier this year and is even better than the first in my opinion. The third book, Morning Star (religious symbolism anyone?), comes out this January. Now is the perfect time to pick this one up.

5/5 Stars

Upcoming Book Adaptations to Check Out

By Blake Bouza// Contributing Writer 


This year (and the last five) has seemed completely saturated with book-to-screen adaptations. They’ve either fallen short of the original source material (HELLO ENDER’S GAME) or fully taken on a life of their own. (The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones stand out – maybe the secret is having the word “game” in the title).

So to save yourself further disappointment, let’s start with some upcoming adaptations that’ll totally be worth your time both on the page and in the broken theater chair. You can trust me on this because, well, this is in the paper. (And I read all these.)


#1: The Martian by Andy Weir

If you’re a two semester remedial math student like me, you may be put off by the amount of math in the first chapter. Don’t let that stop you. This book is tremendous in its scope and its pacing, dealing with an astronaut stranded on Mars and Earth’s efforts to rescue him. The entire time reading I felt like I was sitting at home glued to my TV, waiting to see if Mark Watney could be brought back alive. I don’t think we’ll have to worry about this one flopping. With a cast consisting of Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain and the picture being directed/produced by Ridley Scott, we have a lot to look forward to on October 2nd.


#2: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Blake, you say, how ridiculous. Why ever would you put a Hunger Games book on this list? Who hasn’t read these books or seen these movies? Well, you’re out there. The good thing about the Hunger Games movie franchise is that they adapt the books shockingly well – no need to pick up the first two books if you’ve seen the movies. If you can’t wait until November to find out what happens with Katniss and Peeta – you’ll blow through this in a day.


#3 In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick

So this book is based on the true story that inspired Moby Dick. You never knew you could be so interested in whaling, but this book invests you in the hole craft of hunting whales. This is nonfiction that reads like a fast-paced novel, and that’s just how I like it. Trigger warning: CANNIBALISM. It’s a graphic book, both emotionally and physically, but amazing in its telling the story of these men and their battle for survival. Absolutely remarkable. The movie stars Chris Hemsworth and comes out December 11th!

So there you go – give these ones a try, and if you like them, maybe we’ll talk more books sometime soon.

IncludED Initiative

By Anthony Davidson 

Volunteer State Community College has introduced a new system outline for students who are both buying school textbooks and paying tuition.

IncludEd is a collaborative effort between Faculty and the Campus Bookstore and is trying to include the cost of books into the cost of tuition. Dr. George Pimentel, vice president of academic affairs, said IncludEd would simplify the process.

“[Students] pay on average 450 to 550 dollars per semester. Renting books with IncludEd would be only 193 dollars per student, on average; that’s a 59 percent savings and you would have the books on day one. It’s an attempt at a win-win, rather than waiting for tuition or waiting for the next paycheck,” said Dr. Pimentel.

Currently, the IncludEd initiative is still only under consideration, as teachers still remain undecided and divided over whether or not they wish to implement it across the board.

“The way it is set up right now, individual instructors tell the Bookstore, ‘Hey I want to use IncludEd,’ and the bookstore sends me a list of professors for spending purposes. It is a convoluted thing right now, and it is really confusing for students the way things are right now,” said Dr. Pimentel.

Dr. Pimentel said he and collaborators currently project the program would institute the online version of the material at 67 dollars per course and the hard copy (renting) version would be 48 dollars per course.

Pimentel also said the hard copy (buyout) would be, theoretically, only 10 dollars more per course and would be a paper copy.

“It may not be the fancy version with covers and stuff, but it would be a portable version that could be placed in a binder. This caters to those who want to hold on to the actual book, rather than read it online. As a parent with mid 20’s children, I can say that my kids have not complained about online as opposed to hard copy,” said Dr. Pimentel.

Dr. Pimentel said he projects that universal professorial consensus would occur by spring 2015 and approval for IncludEd by Tennessee Board of Regions (TBR) would allow for implementation of the initiative in the autumnal semester of 2016.

On an impromptu survey of five students, four out of five students said that they would rather pay for books on the front end, rather than pay for their books out of pocket on the back end; in other words, these students would rather have their books sooner and not have to pay near as much on the back end, rather than pay on average a 450-550 dollars.

Dr. Pimentel said he plans on posting a survey in the near future to help get the students’ feedback and make the movement more on-track with everyone.