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.”