Luncheon held for campus veterans

Melissa Farmer


A luncheon was held for the veterans of Volunteer State Community College on Nov. 11 [Veteran’s Day] in the Carpeted Dining Room.  The event included students, faculty, staff, and guest speakers.

Joe Shakeenab, who was a Special Forces Green Beret when he served, spoke of days when he was younger and how he always wanted to be the best he could be. He was always hungry for knowledge.

He encouraged the veterans at the luncheon to continue to “be hungry,” or to always have a goal and a mission. The Veterans enjoyed a meal that included chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and other delicious sides.

Before the event started our attention was drawn to the “POW/MIA table” which stands for “prisoner of war” and “missing in action,” for any soldiers who have not yet/did not come home.

The table was set in a specific way. The cloth was white – symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to serve.

“The single red rose reminds us of the lives of these Americans….and their loved ones and friends who keep the faith, while seeking answers. The yellow ribbon symbolizes our continued uncertainty, hope for their return and determination to account for them.”

“A slice of lemon reminds us of their bitter fate, captured and missing in a foreign land. A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears of our missing and their families – who long for answers after decades of uncertainty. The lighted candle reflects our hope for their return – alive or dead.”

The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God. The glass is inverted – to symbolize their inability to share a toast. The chairs are empty – they are missing.”

This is what is read aloud to explain the setting to anyone in the group who was unaware of what the MIA table stands for.

Later on, Ken Hanson explained that the veterans on campus could now use the downstairs room that used to be used for club meetings.  The room will have computers available. It will be an area to do homework or “just hang out” if you have some free time on campus.

Hanson expressed that he wants to help make the transition from active duty to civilian life as smooth as possible and he hopes that the Veteran area downstairs will help that happen.

 

TRIO provides support for students in need

Michaela Marcellino

TRIO Student Support Services, a helpful resource for students, is here on the campus of Volunteer State Community College.

“Our program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, designed to serve 167 Vol State students in the areas of academic support, graduation planning, 4-year college transfer planning, technology access, cultural enrichment, etc…we also have three TRIO Retention Scholarships available for eligible TRIO students who may apply after 1 year of participation. Our goal is to help students reach their goals while here at Vol State.” said Andrea Boddie, the Director of TRIO.

The TRIO brochure offers information on who is eligible, as well as a full list of services offered. These services include assisting students with setting and achieving long-term and short-term goals, Academic Advising, Tutoring/Academic Planning, individual or group Supplemental Instruction, Financial Literacy, Transfer Planning, Peer mentoring, and more.

“One of my favorite things about TRIO is when students come in here, utilize the services that we offer, and seeing what it does for them.”

“And when they’re successful at something, especially if they’ve been struggling, and taken advantage of the tutoring we offer, and come back and tell us they got a B on that test, it’s just so gratifying to hear that.”

“And it’s nice when they come in and use our computer lab, because it’s such a nice, quiet place to come and study. It’s really nice [to see them] be successful while they’re going to Vol State, and know we’re a part of that.”

“And [we] continue to help them grow and mature, and watch them succeed,” said Lacey Goodrum, TRIO’s Secretary.

TRIO’s purpose is to help students earn their Associates Degree and assist them to transfer on to a four-year school.

To apply for TRIO’s assistance, according to their brochure, first complete a TRIO SSS application from the TRIO Office [Wood Campus Center, Room 210] or complete it online at the Vol State website, www.volstate.edu/TRIO.

Then, provide a copy of previous year’s tax return and schedule initial interview. After the interview, a letter of enrollment status and the next steps will be sent.

“[We at TRIO] are here to help students be successful…we are here to provide what they need to reach their goals. I feel blessed to work with the best group of students on campus,” said Jean Colello, TRIO’s Program Coordinator.

For more information call 615-230-3732

 

International education week comes to Vol State

 

Blake Bouza

Volunteer State Community College is hosting its annual International Education Week this week.

According to Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities, there will be several different events promoting the benefits of international education.

On Monday, Nov. 16, the Student Government Association will be giving out free international coffee at their meeting in the carpeted dining room at 12:45pm. It is open for anyone to attend.

On Tuesday, Nov. 17, Around the World in a Day begins at 12:45pm in the carpeted dining room.

“This event is an opportunity for all students, faculty, and staff who have traveled overseas to show off their pictures and items as table displays,” Sherrell said.

The event is open to everyone to come and talk to those who have traveled and hear their travel experiences.

On Wednesday, Nov. 18, Asia Project will be performing spoken word in the carpeted dining room at 12:45pm.

Asia Project is a multi-talented, award winning spoken word artist who has toured almost 300 colleges/universities in the last two years.

“He is a cancer survivor who has won audiences throughout the country with a spoken word show that has nothing less than an honest and genuine testimony of his life,” Sherrell said.

According to the APCA National Campus Events Planning Conference book, “the show is always inspiring, sometimes gut wrenching, and most often times comical buffoonery.”

Alexis Deere, student at Vol State, did not know about International Education Week, but wishes she would have.

“I think students should know the opportunities that they can get it while being in college and study abroad is a very good opportunity to see new things and learn in different ways,” said Deere.

Deere said that she has always dreamed of leaving the country and learning about another culture.

“I’m a very hands-on learner and I believe if I was to travel and learn, it would be so much easier for me to learn by actually being there and experiencing country,” said Deere.

“Studying abroad isn’t just about learning from the class that you’re taking, it’s also learning how to communicate and interact with other people, while learning and experiencing how they live,” Deere said.

According to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs website, “this [International Education Week] is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.”

International Education Week is to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.

Charitable Organizations Around Your Community

Barbara A. Harmon

 

Volunteer State Community College’s annual Christmas for the Kids and other local charities give everyone the opportunity to help those in need.

Lori Miller, Secretary of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives, said that Vol State has sponsored this event for at least 10 years.

The response has varied every year, but in 2011 they had the most applicants (116 children), she said.

“The Student Government Association (SGA) pays for the reception type dinner that they have that goes on, and they usually put $500 toward that,” said Miller.

She said that SLDI also keeps a budget for this event.

“We have Books are Fun, and right now we have the thing that’s going on (Jewelry is Fun),” said Miller.

“We have a week of each one in the fall and the spring, so that’s 10 percent of those proceeds going back to Christmas for the Kids,” said Miller.

She said those proceeds will then help fund any kid that is not adopted out and help pay for decorations and games.

“What I mean by adopted out is, we will have a little paper ornament that will have if the child is a boy or girl, their age, their sizes, and things they may need or want,” said Miller.

“Those are put on the tree, and then we have Vol State community people that come out the Monday before Thanksgiving, and they are able to pick those up to sign the kids out,” said Miller.

Occasionally, people from the surrounding community want to help, but it is mostly from within the Vol State community; they are eager to help out their own, she said.

“Sometimes we will have clubs that will say, us as a club are going to sponsor a child,” said Miller.

“My goal is by the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, there will be no more ornaments on the tree.

“One year we had people fighting for the last four,” said Miller.

She said that last year the 30-something ornaments were gone by the first day.

“As of right now we only have about 25 turned in for this year,” said Miller.

The children usually open their presents at the dinner, unless their parents request otherwise, she said.

“Some of the kids, you see them, and their eyes light up over the littlest things,” said Miller.

If the parents know that their child will not have any presents on Christmas, they can let her know, so their child will be given a baggie to open that night instead, she said.

“Then, mom [or dad] can go ahead and take the other stuff out to the car,” said Miller.

When Miller was a student at Vol State, Christmas for the Kids enabled her children to have gifts, she said.

“Christmas is about giving, but it’s not about how much your kids get; but literally they would have had nothing, when I was a student,” said Miller.

“Because I was a single mom, I was not working and I was in school full-time,” said Miller.

She said she can relate to these students and that is probably why she gets so involved with this event.

“It’s like I’ve come full circle,” said Miller.

“The Employee Relations Food Drive benefits the families from the Christmas for the Kids program, run by the Vol State Student Government Association each year,” according to Kate Walker, Office Coordinator of Information Technology.

According to her, there are donation boxes around campus that Employee Relations would like people to contribute non-perishable food items (excluding glass containers) and toiletries in.

“Each family that is approved and would like the food boxes will get them [at the event],” according to Walker.

“This event has been held for the last several years and will continue as long as the Employee Relations Committee votes to keep it going.

“For the last two years, we have been able to supply two overflowing boxes of food to each family,” according to Walker.

Walker thinks Vol State has always been a very contributing campus, according to her.

“I believe that anything we can do to make this campus a more amazing place to work is worth it,” according to Walker.

“Although food donations are wonderful, please realize that goods are not the only thing you can donate.

“Your time is just as valuable,” according to Walker.

Nelson Moore, former student of Vol State and former SGA President that will be playing Santa at Christmas for the Kids, said that he enjoys participating in this event because he knows what it is like to go without.

“I never had a Christmas when I was a kid” said Moore. “My dad didn’t believe in Christmas, and we just didn’t have Christmas.”

“Other people gave us stuff, every once in a while, but we didn’t have Christmas like other people,” he said.

Moore said he has been Santa at this event before, and the children usually ask for electronics (laptops or video games), but that the presents they open that night always seem to please the children when they open them.

“It seems, no matter what they get, they are really happy about it and excited—no matter how big or small it is,” said Moore.

He said he would like to encourage students and others to participate in this event.

“They would found out that they would get more joy than the kids,” said Moore.

“Donate all they can and participate if they can; come see it and help out.

“And remember one thing,” said Moore, “HOHOHO.”

According to Allison Meyers, Vice President of SGA, “the event is beneficial for VSCC students because playing the role of full-time student and parent often comes with financial struggles, and every little bit helps.”

“Ornaments will be placed on the Christmas tree in the Mary Nichols tiled dining room, and I encourage Volunteer State students, clubs, faculty, and staff to adopt a child,” according to Meyers.

There are many organizations and charitable events that students and faculty can participate in, especially during this time of year.

Hendersonville Medical Center is a local hospital that sponsors such events.

Louise Collins, Assistant Director of Cardiopulmonary Services at HMC, said “the hospital is a sponsor for the United Way, Relay for Life (American cancer), Light the Night (Leukemia), [and the] American Heart Association.”

“At Christmas we do a Coat Drive for the United Way, Christmas for Kids, we have a choice to buy tickets to a concert (usually at Bridge Stone) and the money goes for toys,” according to Collins.

According to her, a variety of staff members from the different departments donate their time to help with these events.

“Our Christmas Angel tree will be for families from our hospital who may be in need of help at Christmas,” according to Collins.

“Each department picks a family, which has listed sizes and a list of each child’s wish list.

“You can donate to the United Way, Samaritan House, we [also] do food drives and collect can goods,” according to Collins.

Editorial on appreciating what you have

Sara Keen//Editor-in-Chief

 

We live in a time where it is easy to forget about the luxuries we live with.  We often take for granted our homes, clothes, electricity, and everything that we’ve received as a result of technology.

We forget that we live in a country where most can afford what other countries dream.  There are places where people cannot easily receive clothes, housing, food, or medical treatments.

In our society, we have gotten to a point where people fear the wrong things, such as vaccinations, because we have forgotten how bad the world was before.  There are children who are angry when they do not get a certain color of iPhone or iPad when kids in other places are overjoyed to receive a pair of socks.

Even worse, there are fits thrown to parents because they look out for their children.  Parents have a reason for everything they do, even if you do not quite understand it at the time.  They are your guardians until they are gone.

We never know how long we have left with someone.  It is vital that we enjoy every second that we are able to with them.  It could be as simple a task as getting ice cream with a grandparent, or going shopping with your mother.

Be thankful when someone is sick that they have the medicine to treat him or her.  If they cannot be cured, be thankful that there is medicine to lessen the pain.

We no longer suffer from a variety of diseases thanks to vaccines.  The number one fear for pregnancy is no longer death.  We live in a time where we can be comfortable in raising our families.  

We have a day to give thanks for everything we have each year, but with so much to be thankful for, it is not the only day that we can say thank you for what we have.

Any time you feel down, think about how great things are now in comparison to what they would be 100 years ago.  We have so much that we can say thank you for.

We have full families, a chance for education, a place for food and sleep.  We are able to come home in the winter without fearing the flu.    

When you sit around the table on Nov. 26, remember how lucky you are to live in a time with so many advancements.  Enjoy your time with your family.


Happy Thanksgiving.

Homecoming festivities come to campus

Barbara Harmon

Homecoming week at Volunteer State Community College will be Nov. 16-21, coinciding with International Education Week.

Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities for Student Life and Diversity Initiatives, said that they have divided the week up for both.

“On Tuesday the 17th, we are going to do what is called Around the World in a Day; that is part of International Ed.,” said Sherrell.

“Any of our faculty staff or students that have traveled overseas will have the opportunity to do a table setup with their pictures, any memorabilia they brought back, and then they will be sharing their story and things that they did while they were there,” said Sherrell.

She said people will be able to come into the dining area and walk from table to table.

The International Education Department is paying for the lunch, said Sherrell.

She said, on Wednesday, there will be a spoken words artist, Asia Project, at 12:45 p.m.-1:45 p.m. in the carpeted dining room.

SLDI and the student organizations attend an annual national conference (APCA) where they listen to all types of artist, said Sherrell.

They heard Asia Project at the conference, and the students that heard him proposed to the SGA that they should have him come to Vol State, she said.

“SGA actually voted to bring Asia Project here, so this is the opportunity where he now gets to come here,” said Sherrell.

SLDI and the International Education Department are dividing the cost for this, since he is the act for both homecoming and International Education week, she said.

“Then, on Thursday the 19th, the cheerleaders are going to do a pep rally in the carpeted dining room,” said Sherrell.

“This is kind of moving into the homecoming part of it.

“They are going to introduce the men’s and women’s basketball team, while they are in there,” said Sherrell.

The cheerleaders will also be giving out flyers for the homecoming games, where a GoPro camera will be given away during both the men’s and women’s halftimes, she said.

“All you have to do is come to the games to get a raffle ticket, and you have to be present to win,” said Sherrell.

They will also be giving out small megaphones and suggesting people bring them with them to the games, she said.

Sherrell said there will also be some small refreshments, in the dining room, during the pep rally.

“Then, that evening, Evening Services is going to do the Clearly You crystals, and that is going to start at 1 p.m. in the Carpeted Dining Room,” said Sherrell.

“They will go until 6 p.m. or 7 p.m., and Evening Services will provide dinner starting at 5:30 p.m.,” said Sherrell.

She said the dinner will be set up in the 217 hallway.

There will be basketball games on Friday at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and everyone is encouraged to attend, said Sherrell.

“Then, of course, Nov. 21 is the actual homecoming where the raffle for the GoPro cameras is going to take place; that’s where they will vote for the best club poster and announce the winners of the coloring contest from the Halloween Party,” said Sherrell.

“We are also doing a Spirit Lunch, and that will start at 12:30 p.m.; first come, first serve, for anybody and everybody, and when it’s gone, it’s gone,” said Sherrell.

She said admission to all these events, including home games, are free this year.

“When you come, you and your family get to walk in for free,” said Sherrell.

Chastity Crabtree, Chair of SGA, said the club with the best poster will win $100, and the second place prize will be $50.

Crabtree wanted to encourage students to participate in this week’s events, she said.

“Thursday dress up as your favorite superhero, and Saturday wear superhero attire to the games,” said Crabtree.

She said even if it is just wearing a cape or putting on face paint, students should get into the spirit.

“Come cheer our team on,” said Crabtree.

Joshua Brewster, a student a Vol State, said that if there were better notifications for these activities he would like to participate in them.

He feels that students would be more involved if there was.

He does, however, like the superhero dress up idea and may have to find something to wear for it.

NSLS holds Spirit Day at Buffalo Wild Wings

Kalynn Meeker

Volunteer State Community College’s National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) will host Spirit Day at Buffalo Wild Wings on Thursday, Nov 19, to raise money. It will be held at 1109 Nashville Pike in Gallatin, across from Chick-Fil-A.

NSLS is an organization based on “Building Leaders who make a better World”.

Renea Garrett, first semester President of NSLS, said that the Society is a club where students can and will “discover and achieve their goals”.

Garrett says there has already been two Spirit Days similar to this, but they did not turn out as well as they hoped.

Dustin Hodges, the Fundraising and Publicity Chair, decided to schedule a third and final Spirit Day on a busy day of the week at Buffalo Wild Wings to enhance the chance of having a better turn out. This day is none other than Thursday night football, where the Tennessee Titans will be playing the Jacksonville Jaguars at 8:25 p.m. Eastern Time.

Tabitha Sherrell, Student Activities Coordinator, says anyone who would like to go must first have at ticket.

Students will then show the ticket to the waiter or waitress upon time of payment, and 15% of the bill will go to funding NSLS.

“All funds earned by events and fundraising go into the club account which we use to fund Leadership training days, Super Saturdays, our induction ceremony, and give back to our community,” said Garrett.

Tickets have been passed out during NSLS speaker broadcast events, orientations, leadership training, and Student Government Association meetings.

Sherrell said there are tickets still available for anyone interested.

Speak with Sherrell in the Student Life and Diversity Initiatives Room, located in the Wood Campus Center, room 215 to receive a ticket. The tickets are required to participate in the fundraising event.

The total amount of money raised will be counted following the event.

 

Christmas for the Kids

 

On Friday, Dec. 4, the Student Government Association, under the guidance of the Office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives, will host an event titled, “Christmas for the Kids.” It will be in Mary Cole Nichols Dining Halls A and B from 6 – 8 p.m.

 

“This is a program to help our students with dependent children 12 years of age and under, that are in need of help during the Holiday Season. It is a fun party with a visit from Santa, craft areas for the kids, games, music a lot of activities for the whole family. At the end of the party, our goal is that each family leaves with a Food box through the help of our Volunteer State Community College Employee Relations Committee, that will have a food drive during the month of November.” said Lori Miller, Secretary with the Office of Student Life & Diversity Initiatives.

 

Students who would like to get involved with this event can do so with food drive donations and by helping to decorate the day of the party.

Also, we will need key people to be in charge of stations during the party.  On Nov. 23, everyone will be able to sponsor a child and purchase gifts for them during the party. Sponsorships will be available in the Mary Cole Nichols Dining Hall A.” said Miller.

 

Allison Meyers, Vice President of the SGA, is also involved with the event.

“Personally, I believe this is an excellent opportunity to give something special to our fellow students…Christmas for the Kids helps alleviate the financial strain of the holiday season that students with children may face.   I encourage students in need of help to apply, and if you know someone who is in need of help this Christmas, please nominate them,” said Meyers.

An ornament for each child will be placed on a giving tree in the tiled dining room, located in the Wood Campus Center.  The child’s name will remain anonymous, and the ornament will include a list of the child’s clothing sizes, needs, toy wish list, etc.  

“I encourage students, faculty, and clubs to participate and adopt a child off of the tree! The SGA also needs volunteers for the event.  If you are unable to donate financially, donate a few hours of your time!” said Meyers.

 

Those wanting to submit an application or volunteer for this special event can do so by visiting the Office of Student Life & Diversity Initiatives, Wood Campus Center, Room 215.

Vol State Bookstore offers price matching

Sara Keen// Editor-in-Cheif

 

The Bookstore at Volunteer State Community College now offers price matching for textbooks.

It can often be difficult to find an affordable textbook, especially when some can cost upwards of 150 dollars.  

Students can look forward to receiving the best deal on their textbook without having to pay for shipping or fear of being “ripped off” in the end.

 

Jesse Versage, SGA President, has been pressing for the bookstore to implement price-matching all semester.

“I went to a retreat with all the TBR SGA Presidents and proposed the idea of price-matching, and all the TBR students were on board,” said Versage.

He is hopeful that this will improve the bookstore’s sales, as well as help student’s with financial trouble.  

“I contacted the Vice President of Business, and Finance, then pushed the idea on administration as well as the committee,” said Versage.

He received overwhelming support from students as well as support from the majority of the faculty and staff.

“I am incredibly happy that this was finally implemented.  I put in many hours into this project; it is incredible what students can do when they come together,” said Versage.

 

Students will be able to save money at the bookstore buy bringing in proof of a competitor’s price.  Hardcopy textbooks will be open for price matching if a student buys or rents the book.

The bookstore will be price matching against competitors including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Chegg.  They will also be price matching against any local businesses.

If a student is renting a textbook, then the competitor’s rental period must match that of the bookstore.  

The bookstore cannot, however, price-match with any student sellers, Amazon warehouse deals, digital books, or publisher-direct prices.

Students must provide a flyer or screenshot of the competitor’s price at the time of purchase or within seven days of making the purchase.

Any refunds provided within the seven-day period will be on a store gift card.


“I think it’s great! I would definitely be more inclined to buy a book from the bookstore because I know it’s not a rip-off,” said Christian Ferguson, a first-time freshman at Vol State.

Enriching education one language at a time

Blake Bouza

 

Volunteer State Community College has four foreign language programs available to students: Chinese, Spanish, French, and also English.

“As a native English speaker, we don’t often think of English as a foreign language, but for many students it is,” said Suzanne Previte, Director of the Language Center.

“We no longer use the ESL (English as a Second Language) acronym. For many of the students here English is not their second language,” said Previte.

Previte said that for many students English may be the third or even sixth language that they are learning.

“The new acronym that I tend to use is ELL (English Language Learners),” she said.

This new acronym focuses on the fact that these students are simply learning English as another language as opposed to focusing on the fact that they are non-native speakers, Previte said.

“So often with non-native speakers in any language wherever they go, native speakers will often-times not correct or discuss the language, they will instead smile and nod and walk away,” Previte said.

“We [in the Language Center] don’t nod our heads and walk away. We help them to recognize what they are saying and say it over and over until they get it down,” said Previte.

Michelle Vandiver-Lawrence, Associate Professor of Spanish, has taught the Spanish language for 16 years at Volunteer State.

On the subject of incorporating culture into her class, Vandiver-Lawrence said that she draws from her own personal experiences through travel and studying abroad, as well as the interactions she has had with her native Spanish-speaking friends.

“Language without culture is math for me. Certainly it works, but without the connection to the culture, we miss the feel of the language,” said Vandiver-Lawrence.

Vandiver-Lawrence further quoted a Czech proverb, “‘Learn a new language, get a new soul.’ Language is about communication and understanding those unwritten rules.  I do my best to somehow incorporate culture in every single class.”

Qi Yang, Professor of Chinese, is originally from China. She came to Vol State last fall via the International Education Program at Vol State and the cultural program China has established at Middle Tennessee State University.

Yang said that learning another language is really all up to the person trying to learn it.

“The most famous translator in China right now is Canadian. If you were to hear him speak Mandarin, you would never think he wasn’t Chinese. No accent at all,” said Yang.

Yang went on to say that each language will have influence on other languages because, “the world is a global village and because of that we will influence each other.”

It is especially important for Americans to learn a foreign language, Yang implored.

“Americans have a very strong influence on the world. In Chinese cities, you will see Americans everywhere,” she said.

In Yang’s home city alone, there are five American-based companies, and her daughter works in public relations at an American company in Shanghai.

“For American people if you want to find a good job, you better learn. You can receive a higher salary for a job in China for the same job you would find here,” said Yang.

“I have a student here, a Hispanic girl, who is moving to Austin, Texas to take Chinese as a major at her university,” Yang said.

She advised her student this was a wise course of action.

“If you can speak Chinese, Spanish, and English: you are the job candidate of the future,” Yang said.

Susan Rockwood taught French for 30 years in high school before becoming the Associate Professor of French at Vol State this semester.

Rockwood felt that there are two important and practical reasons for learning a second language.

“You come to appreciate the country you live in and you learn more about the English language. You can improve your command of English when you compare it to a foreign language,” said Rockwood.

Rockwood has been studying French since the 7th grade and says that one of the reasons she enjoys it so much is that there is always more to learn.

“One of the reasons I like it so much, even now, is that you can’t stop learning the language,” said Rockwood.

“There is the study of the literature, the culture and the history. I love to hear the language and learn from those who know more than I do,” Rockwood said.

Rockwood said she believed learning the language itself often illuminates its culture.  

“The literature shows it and the study of history as well. The vocabulary we study evokes cultural discussions.”  

Rockwood said that the best way to experience French culture is to visit French-speaking countries.

Students at Vol state have many opportunities to do that, and study at many other countries, through the Tennessee Consortium of International Studies.

Dr. Kenny Yarbrough, Director of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives, said that one of the goals of his office is to promote diversity and inclusion not just at Vol State but for the whole community.

“By learning other cultural values and references, individuals can expand their mindset and understanding. This, in-turn, leads to a greater appreciation of differences and understanding values,” Yarbrough said.

Yarbrough said that if Vol State as a community continues to forge pathways to educate and enlighten the community, then the campus is providing individuals with the means to understand and value the importance of differences.

Unity Day, the Hispanic Fiesta, International Education Week, and Around the World in a Day, are just a few cultural events on-campus that highlight and showcase diverse cultures that the entire community has the opportunity to attend, Yarbrough said.

Numerous resources are offered on-campus to help students learning a foreign language.

“There is a Chinese language collection in the main lobby in addition to databases in the Tennessee Electronics Library, a program called Power Speak,” said Laura Sheets, Instruction Coordinator at the Thigpen Library.

“This is available to all Tennesseans, not just at Vol State,” Sheets said.

Rosetta Stone is offered in the Language Center free for all the foreign languages offered at Vol State.

The importance of learning a second language cannot be understated for Vandiver-Lawrence, whose friend’s husband had a stroke in his early 20s.

“Both speak Spanish as a first language. The stroke affected the man’s ability to speak his first language but not his second. His wife even had to translate for him and his parents who did not know English,” said Vandiver-Lawrence.

The man eventually recovered his first language.

Hannah Batchelder, student at Vol State, encouraged students to take a foreign language.

“If you don’t try it you won’t know how much you like it. So many people in Spanish 2 are only taking it because they like it so much,” said Batchelder, who is in her third semester of studying the Spanish language.

Batchelder said that almost everything she knows now about the Spanish language and culture has come from her Spanish class.

“Just try it. I didn’t want to take Spanish, and I’m really glad I did. I had so much fun with it that I decided to take it as my elective,” Batchelder said.