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.