Artisan’s Alliance becomes Makerspace

By: Blake Bouza, Assistant Editor


The Artisan’s Alliance at Volunteer State Community College is undergoing a name change.

Taylor Matson, president of the club, said that with Artisan’s Alliance, “it was limited to those in the Fine Arts Programs, and without an organization outside of the SGA to align with and be guided by.”

With the rebranding of “Makerspace,” Matson said he wants to make it easier for students to express their creativity with tools students would not normally afford and accessibility students can rely on.

In addition to the club at Vol State, Matson said they are aligned with Nashville Makerspace, which will have a large space in Nashville with precise tool for engineering and creation by the end of the year.

With the Maker Movement, Matson said he hopes that the club can show Tennessee wants to get involved more and bring creativity here, since the movement is spreading rapidly from coast-to-coast.

“If a student or anybody really wants to get involved, they main thing they are gonna want to do is the workshops we have every week,” Matson said.

“No dates and times are not set in stone for anything, but at every workshop we do, it will be about learning and creating with tools you have not used before. And at the end of each semester, we will host a showcase of all the work we have done.

“Also, at the end of each year in September, we are aligned to be apart of the Nashville Mini Maker Faire’s hosted by the Adventure Science Center,” said Matson.

On the benefits of joining Makerspace, and who should join, Matson said they want to make the future.

“But we can only do it with the help of the common person. We would really love representation of more races, identities, and freshman as well,” he said.

“I think renaming Artisan’s Alliance to Makerspace will help to encourage people of all artistic pursuits to become a member of the club, as well as broaden what the club is about,” said Evan Preston, member of Makerspace.

“It’s my hope that anyone with a creative or artistic passion will see our club as a way to share their works with others like them, and with the student body of Vol State as a whole,” Preston said.

According to, “Makerspaces are creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn. In libraries they often have 3D printers, software, electronics, craft and hardware supplies and tools, and more.”

Matson said that the Maker movement workshop idea is a radical change from the Artisan’s Alliance, and that he hopes students will be interested in the projects the club puts out.

“There are so many amazing things happening in the Maker movement right now, especially the exponential expansion that we see for the coming decade. This program is really a game changer for people who get involved,” Matson said.

Students interested in joining should contact Matson at or contact faculty advisor Sue Mulcahy at


Living the full college experience

By: Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief


With the prices of rent, food, and utilities as high as they are in some places, students are reportedly choosing to stay at home with their parents during and after college.  Volunteer State Community College has a variety of students with different approaches to how they live off campus.

If you are considering moving away from your parents, it may be smart to look into the pros and cons first.  The website Simple Dollar ( provides an excellent list on deciding if you would benefit more from moving out or staying.

One very obvious reason to stay with your parents is money.  College is expensive, and so are apartments and houses.  Even the dorms at universities are not the cheapest.

If you live within a reasonable distance from campus, and you get along well with your family, it may benefit you to stay at home.  You would be able to save up some money for the future, and hold off on some of those student loans if you’re really lucky.

It also depends on how you schedule your classes.  Some students choose to only take classes two days a week to save on gas and avoid driving every day.  If you live in close proximity to campus, your schedule may not need to be so specific.

If you are set on moving out, no matter what your reasons, it is also possible to set something up with your parents to help you pay for your new place.   This could be as simple as your parents paying for your cell phone bill.

You may also have to give up some of the luxuries you are comfortable with, such as cable television.  Your money will have to go to bills, rent, food, and gas before anything else.  

Moving out also has its upside.  You get to experience the freedom of living alone.  You also get to find out why your parents are constantly exhausted.  It is a great way to grow up, make your own doctor appointments, and gain your independence.

Moving out also requires some self-restraint.  You cannot always buy that video game you want as soon as it comes out, or maybe you cannot afford going to your favorite restaurant whenever you want to.

It gives you the chance to realize all of your own annoying habits as well.  If you are a slob, then your mom’s nagging might seem a little more reasonable after a while.  If you think that eating an entire cake in one sitting is genius, you will find out why your parents said not to.  

Living on your own can be an adventure, but it is one that you have to be prepared for.  If you are considering moving out, look online for tips on how to prepare for it.  You could change your mind entirely or be as prepared as possible when the time comes.  

After all, college is about making your own decisions and starting your life.  Sometimes the freedom of living on your own is worth it and sometimes it is not.  You just have to find out for yourself.


On “The art of a successful argument”

Submitted By: Brent West, Accounting Major, Senator-at-large, SGA


Dear Editor,

My name is Brent West, an Accounting Student as well as current Senator-at-large for the SGA.

“A prime example of a waste-of-breath argument is any argument over a moral issue.” I came across this quote from your editorial and I respectfully disagree.

If we are to progress as a society, we must answer moral questions. In order to answer those questions, however, we must have moral arguments that are based upon sound logical reasoning. We would fail in our duty to find objective moral truth if we simply labeled such arguments “…a waste-of-breath…”.

You state also that “…morals vary from person-to-person…” and “Typically, a person’s moral argument is based on their own opinions…” but a person’s opinions are not infallible. To suggest that people’s opinions are infallible would be to say that someone is incapable of being wrong (and if that is the case, I would need my professors to correct some grades).

We open ourselves up to accepting whatever people do if we take a laissez-faire approach to moral arguments. With technological advances giving us the ability to design human babies to our liking, track our physiological data, and create weapons that could destroy regions in an instant, it is increasingly important that we answer these morally questionable areas with sound logical reasoning.

I understand that online discourse achieve little on these issues, but this doesn’t mean we should  dismiss altogether the importance of these moral arguments. We, as students, will one day be in the workforce, moving forward and shaping the society we live in, a society that will have even more moral questions to answer in the future. The success or failure of our society rests on how we answer those questions, and that, my fellow peer, is no waste of breath!


Date Night has good food, unex’Spectre’d turnout

By: John Puryear, Contributing Writer


In a recent push to hold more family-themed events on campus beginning in September of 2015, the Volunteer State Community College Student Life Office hosted Date Night in the Rochelle Center of the Thigpen Library, providing couples with the opportunity to enjoy dinner and a movie together without having to pay for a babysitter.

“We’re doing a ‘family’ series, which started last Fall with the Avengers movie, which was family friendly, then Halloween Night, and basketball homecoming. We wanted to continue the series this Spring semester, and with February having Valentine’s Day in it, we thought it would be nice to allow people who have children to have a proper date.” said Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities.

Staff and volunteers watched over the children in a separate building while the parents were treated to an Italian dinner and dessert, catered by the Vol State Grill, and the James Bond film Spectre.

Event-goers were asked to sign in at the front of the room and fill out a short survey concerning potential interest in future family-themed events.

The seven couples attending were served in restaurant-style, with staff and volunteers waiting on tables individually and routinely refilling drinks. Dinner, consisting of breadsticks, salad and manicotti, was served promptly, followed by cheesecake.

“I think it’s great that the school is hosting events like this that are open to the public. Not many people would think to do something like this for the community. The food was good and it’s always nice to get dinner and a show!” said one woman who wished to remain anonymous.

Ben Brayn, a former student who attended the event, shared his thoughts as well: “I think they should have more events like this one, honestly. It’s really well put together and who doesn’t love free food? They’re definitely on the right track.”


Vol State screens “Selma” as pilot for future events

By: Preston Neal, Staff Writer


On Feb. 16 Volunteer State Community College screened “Selma,” a movie about the efforts of Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Alabama. The film was screened in the Rochelle Center in honor of Black History Month.

King’s goal was to win the federal right for all African American citizens to vote. This led to King leading a nonviolent march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Although violent acts were perpetrated against King and his followers, they retaliated through nonviolent protests and political negotiations.

The efforts of King and his followers led to the President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, granting suffrage to all African American citizens.

Three different showings of the film were hosted, at 1, 3, and 6.

The number of students who attended the screening was low, however, Dr. Kenny Yarbrough, Director of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives, is hopeful that student attendance and participation will increase with future events in the coming months.

In less than two weeks Women’s History Month will begin.

Students who are interested are advised to stay alert for further announcements.

Not all students find that it is necessary for Vol State to host an event for Women’s History Month.

“There shouldn’t be any recognition of Women’s History month. It’s just not necessary,” said Chelsea Goody, a Vol State student.

For the month of April, Vol State is recognizing the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Intersex Asexual (LGBTQIA) community by hosting a rally, which will be followed by a showing of the film “Milk,” detailing the circumstances surrounding the first politician to come out publicly as a homosexual man.

Students with any questions, comments, or ideas pertaining to these upcoming events should contact the Office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives.

Blake’s Book Bag: e-Readers can be good for you

By: Blake Bouza, Assistant Editor



(Many authors are publishing their work on e-readers like the Kindle.  Picture taken by Blake Bouza.)


We’ve all been there. The daily struggle with the guilt of eating right and exercising. And you do really well – push-ups in the morning, protein shake for breakfast, and a cold glass of cucumber water to wash it all down.

Then someone brings leftover cheese danishes to class from their job at the local Starbucks. And you can’t just, you know, refuse, because you’re healthy but you’re not an animal.

So you devour that danish from hell and you think, oh, I’ll burn it off later. I’ll eat raw kale for dinner with some mulch on the side.

Or I just won’t eat for the next week. Who needs food? The calories in that danish are enough to last a hibernating bear all winter.

If this all sounds weirdly specific – it’s because I’ve been there. I’m still there. And science teaches us that for all calories consumed, to maintain weight or to lose it the calories burned in each day must be equal to or greater than to that which is consumed.

So you go to the gym. You pay for the membership so you might as well go, right? Well, goodness, look at all of these attractive, fit people here. Why are they still here? Didn’t they win? Aren’t they done? Here I am, a hulking Quasimodo waddling my way between the workout equipment.

Why are the weights in the middle of the room where everyone can see just how much of a weakling you are?

Why are those people grunting and screaming?

Is that an escalator?

The gym is a scary place, okay? But it’s there for your supposed benefit, like Congress or the NSA. And no one loves going to the gym – yes, yes, save for the modern day Greek gods walking among us. But we need to be healthy and we need to take care of ourselves, so we might as well make the system work for us.

Allow me to propose reading as a viable option to take your mind off the willful torture you’re imposing on yourself. No, not paperbacks or hardcovers.

You don’t want to look like more of an idiot than you already feel like by playing a precarious game of turn-the-page while trying to maintain pace and balance on the elliptical.

Here’s where the e-reader comes in.

Kindles, Nooks, Kobos (we’re all-inclusive here at The Settler, no e-reader bias). These often tiny, six-inch screens fit perfectly in the little nook built for phones and other devices on various cardio equipment.

Rather than having to awkwardly manage turning a page around the little lip that keeps your book against the equipment and effectively taking you out of the story, one quick swipe takes you to the next page. You remain effectively entertained and immersed and you may even prolong your workout because of it. And instead of losing your place with every jerky motion, you can adjust the text size to be large enough that you can keep your eyes focused on your place.

Some good work-out novels to read:

“Red Rising” and its sequel, “Golden Son,” by Pierce Brown. This series is a pure thrill ride – trust me, you’ll WANT to be running right alongside Darrow on Mars as he fights against the Society.

“Mistborn” by Brandon Sanderson. This book will have you so immersed in its world and magic system you’ll forget the punishment you’re giving your body.

“Ice Cold” by Tess Gerritsen. This novel is apart of the excellent Rizzoli & Isles series – but no previous knowledge of the books or characters is required to enjoy this chilly thriller that’ll make you grateful for the sweat pouring down your face.

Thanks for reading and happy sweating!


Sigma Kappa Delta comes to Vol State

By: Sam Walker, Staff Writer


Sincerity, knowledge, and design: this is the meaning of Sigma Kappa Delta. Sigma Kappa Delta is a national honor society, which recognizes the academic achievement of two-year college students in English.

This Greek institution offers scholarships, publication opportunities, and hosts multiple extracurricular activities for students involved.

Although it is an English honor society, an English major is not needed to join.

This will be the first Sigma Kappa Delta chapter at Volunteer State Community College.

With faculty advisors Leslie LaChance, Associate Professor of English, and Laura McClister, Instructor of English, this group looks to expand and make roots for a new addition to Vol State’s roster of clubs.

If students are looking to join SKD, they will be holding an organizational meeting on Tuesday, March 1 from 4-5 p.m. in Ramer Room 170.

“We hope to finalize our initial membership at that meeting and begin the chartering process with the national organization,” said LaChance.

To pick up an application, stop by Ramer 126 or 124, the offices of the academic advisors.

At least a 3.0 GPA is required to join SKD along with a joining fee of $30.

Students will gain recognition for academic achievement, have opportunities for publishing their work in the “Hedera helix” literary journal and have access to scholarship opportunities.

Students can attend a national conference as well.

Sigma Kappa Delta is a sister organization to Sigma Tau Delta which is the same organization for four-year colleges.

“You should join because working with an organization focused on something you love is a great opportunity and can be lots of fun too. You will be surprised by how deeply affected you can be by the activities and gatherings in which you can participate, knowing you have had a part in creating those things,” stated LaChance.

“Certainly our regular classes are meaningful and valuable to us, but being part of a student-led organization helps one to grow beyond the classroom in terms of leadership ability, intellectual development, and, well, understanding how people can work together to create fulfilling experiences for themselves and for others. Sometimes, those experiences can be life-changing,” LaChance said.

Contact the advisors at and


African American poetry spotlight a success

By Jessica Peña, Staff Writer



(Pictured: Dr. Kenny Yarbrough reciting a poem for the event.  Picture taken by Jessica Peña.)


(Pictured: Dr. Melva Black giving a lecture about African American poets.  Picture taken byJessica Peña.)

To honor Black History Month, faculty members organized a lecture event for students to become more familiar with the African American culture.

It is also an hour for students to learn about the poems and poets that influence their own professors and peers.

“I taught at a high school years ago and we did something like this. So I asked if people wanted to volunteer to read and they chose their own poems to share with students,” said Cindy Chanin, Associate Professor of English.

Chanin also recited a few passages during the Soul Food Luncheon two weeks ago. She said she has a passion for the culture and loves to participate in these events.

“It’s good to hear the perspective of others. Gwendolyn Brooks is my favorite poet. Not just among African American poets, but all poets in general. The poems speak to me even though I am not African American,” said Chanin.

Chanin also said that the poems are good because they are easy to identify as humans and they share a universal appeal.

“My favorite poem would have to be ‘Mother to Son’. I love the imagery, the symbolism and the encouragement,” added Chanin.

A total of 24 students of all diversities attended the lecture.

“I really enjoyed the lecture today. Langston Hughes has been one of my favorite poets for quite some time now, and I think his ideas and the feeling he put into his poems really resonates with people even to this day,” said Victoria Smith, a nursing major at Vol State.

Smith said she describes herself as someone who loves to learn history of all cultures and that the classes and diversity-themed events on campus have helped open her mind to so much more.

“Cindy Chanin recited ‘Mother to Son’ which is a poem about a mother comforting her son and not losing faith as an African American in the 20th century. Powerful subject, for sure,” said Smith.

Gaynell Payne, an English major at Vol State, works for the school’s public relations and volunteered to organize the PowerPoint slides for the event.

“I loved volunteering for this. Being involved with media is what I do and sometimes it feels like there’s never enough time to do it all!” said Payne.

“It’s like a skill set for me and I’m always busy with it,” added Payne.

Cindy Chanin coordinated all the poem readings in collaboration with other faculty members of the English and Communications departments.

Chanin said she hopes to have these events every year as it has helps open young minds to culture.


Vol State Soul Food Luncheon a success

By Jessica Pena


The Office of Student Life and Diversity hosted the annual Soul Food Luncheon Wednesday Feb.10, in the Mary Cole Nichols Carpeted Dining Room at Volunteer State Community College.

The Soul Food Luncheon is an hour of reflecting on history, the meaning of the soul food tradition and the culture that surrounds it.

The luncheon was decorated with balloons, wristbands, lollipops and history flashcards

and bookmarks at each table, commemorating those in African American culture in honor of Black History Month.

Attendance at the event was approximately 35-40 people, students and faculty both, filled the room.

Blake Coker, Student GovernmentAssociation Activities Chairman, welcomed the event as SGA Secretary of State Sandra Hunt introduced the main speaker.

Elizabeth Sanders, a senior at the University of Tennessee at Martin, was the keynote speaker of the event.

Sanders is a part of the Student Government Association at UT Martin as the Executive Assistant to the Vice President and was present at the luncheon to speak on role models and the chance for students to strive for more in their lives.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service to others.

“I don’t want to be a statistic. I want to be so much more and I know that I have the potential,” said Sanders on her accomplishments as an African American student.

Sanders challenged the audience to be that positive role model to influence someone’s life.

“Be that role model. You never know who is watching, even just around children.

We may not be in history books, but maybe someone you’ve influenced will be,” said Sanders.

Before lunch was served, Betty Williams spoke on the history of the Soul Food Luncheon and how these events of recognition have impacted the culture from what it used to be in the 60’s.

“The term ‘soul food’ became common in the 60’s, with the rise of the civil rights movement.

“We had so much less in the 60’s. Foods like green beans, white beans, collard greens and cornbread all became a sort of tradition to us then,” said WIlliams.

The menu for the event included soul food traditions such as corn bread, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, baked chicken, salad and cupcakes for dessert.

For the faculty readings portion, Edmon Thomas recited passages from the play “The River Niger”, written by African American playwright, Joseph A. Walker.

Accompanied by Vol State student Jacob Young on the piano, the audience rose to sing along to the poem-written song “Lift Every Voice And Sing”, an African American classic written by James Weldon Johnson.

Dr. Kenny E. Yarbrough, Director of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives, said the closing remarks for the event and the audience applauded as the event came to a close.


Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter

By Gayla Collier, Staff Writer


The debate between “Black Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter” has made headlines in the media.

Black Lives Matters is a movement that originated in the African American community where activists campaign against violence toward African American people.

There has always been a race issue in America since before slavery in the 1800’s.

However, the “Black Lives Matters” movement did not begin until 2013 when the verdict of the Trayvon Martin trial was revealed.

People on social media started using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, when George Zimmerman was acquitted for the shooting and death of Trayvon Martin during that trial.

As time has progressed from the Trayvon Martin trial, the media has put a focus on several other cases where inequality and injustice has occurred in the African American community.

Some people think that the “Black Lives Matters” movement is unfair and creates more racism because it is singling out one group of people and that it should be called “All Lives Matters.”

“All Lives Matters” is a phrase that was created in response to the “Black Lives Matters” campaign.

Activists that support the “All Lives Matters” campaign believe that you should not focus on one group of people to solve problems of inequality and injustice in America.

 By doing so, it makes those problems bigger issues.

 On the Volunteer State Community College Campus, a couple of students were asked what they felt about “Black Lives Matter” versus “All Lives Matter.”

 “I feel like ‘All Lives Matter’ is just a way to justify the inequality. ‘Black Lives Matter’ is not to make those lives seem more important, but to find that equality,” said Caleb Jones, a student at Vol State.

“What ‘Black Lives Matter’ means to me is people are trying to overcome what they have dealt with through the years,” said Leandrew Hayes, a student at Volstate.
After speaking with several different students, there were several different viewpoints on the issues concerning “Black Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter.”