Spring Fling draws close at Vol State

By: Shannon Feaganes, Web Editor

Volunteer State Community College will be hosting Spring Fling on March 30 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the Carpeted and Tiled Dining Rooms.

Students will be able to interact with 10 activity tables set up by different clubs on campus, each of which will have activities that will benefit the community in some way.

“Originally, Spring Fling was kind of like Welcome Days, where clubs would just set up their own tables with their club information, and that was it,” said Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities, “so we decided we wanted to have some community service opportunities.”  

Sherrell explained that Spring Fling is set up this way so that clubs can fulfill a requirement by Vol State, which states that all active clubs must participate in community service in order to be considered in good standing with Vol State.  

The College Republicans Club and Phi Theta Kappa will have a table where students can make dog toys out of old donated T-shirts that will be donated to the Sumner County Humane Society.

The Student Government Association Cabinet and Spectrum Club will be holding an informational table to which active clubs at Vol State can submit flyers for promotion during Spring Fling to interested students.

The Campus Ministry (AXIS) will have a table to make care packages for The Bridge Ministry, bagging items such as thermal gloves, snacks, and travel-size hygiene products.

Team Change will have a Kid Activity Bags table, at which students will be able to fill bags with items such as coloring pages, crayons, stickers, and pencils.  All activity bags will be donated to the Gallatin Day Care Center.

There will also be activities such as ping-pong and board games.   

“[I’m] getting pretty excited about it,” said Josie Ross, a psychology major.

“Anything that benefits the community and brings people together is something I would be interested in,” said Alexis Freeman, a nursing major.

In similarity with last semester’s Fall Festival, each attendee will be given a card with 10 check boxes, and for each activity table that they visit, they will receive a corresponding check.  Once a student has at least 6 of those 10 boxes checked, signifying that they have participated in at least 6 activities, they will be able to redeem the card for a free lunch.

There will also be an opportunity for students to receive a free lunch if they can find one of the six Vol State Poker chips hidden in the area.  


Spending a week without Facebook

By: Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief

Anyone who has graduated since 2010, at least, can probably say they at least know what Facebook is.  The social giant is used to “connect with friends” or as a distraction from literally everything.

On Sunday, February 21, I made the decision to quit Facebook indefinitely.  My reasons were simple, it was stressing me out and distracting me from everything I did.

The first day was pretty normal. I was a busy so it was not terribly difficult.  However, I did frequently find myself hovering over the empty space where the app once was on my phone.  I started to notice it more and more as the day progressed and thought to myself, “have I really been checking my Facebook this much?”

On day two, Monday, I had my classes.  During class it was not much of an issue, but I did notice how many other people stared intently at their own mobile devices.  It makes you feel like the odd man out of the group when everyone else seems to be on Facebook or some other social media network.

I found that it made doing my homework at least a thousand times easier.   I was not scrolling through Facebook every few minutes when I would get bored, and basically powered my way through.  I had everything finished in no time at all.

I also noticed that my headaches were not as frequent, and my attention span improved a little bit.  I could focus at least a little better on conversation, work, books, video games, and everything in general.  

The best part about not being on Facebook, though, was that I was far happier with my own life.  I was not constantly looking into the fun everyone else seemed to be having, but focusing on the fun I was having.  After noticing all of this, I did a little bit of research into how social media affects the mind.

I only did a quick search, but the best short article I found was from degreed.com.  It explains that social media can be addictive.  

It has all that someone needs: a distraction and positive reinforcement (likes, for example) for using it.  There is even a scale to the measure the addiction known as The Berge Facebook Addiction Scale.  

The website also points out that it can cause us to be unhappy by comparing ourselves to others.  If you are scrolling through the newsfeed and seeing nothing but vacation photos, engagement announcements or parties you weren’t invited to after a long and difficult day, then you will think your life is awful.  

The same could even be said for physical appearance.  How many of us see an attractive person online and think, “damn, why can’t I look like that?”  It has probably happened at least once to any social media user.

It can even cause restlessness.  This can be anything from a constant distraction to not being able to sleep because you are too busy scrolling.  Maybe something happened and you just cannot stop following it, but you really need to.

That being said, Facebook really is not entirely bad.  I did not completely delete my Facebook, although I know several people who have.  I still use messenger app to talk to some friends, and I will probably give it the occasional check or update.

It is a great way to stay in touch with the people you do not see regularly.  It simply needs to be used in moderation.  I suggest everyone try at least deleting their app, you could have different results.

Avoiding offense in modern society

By: Mackenzie Border, Layout Manager

In today’s society, it is not uncommon to see a blog post or a news story about an offensive word or piece of imagery.

Usually, the word or image is targeting a specific race or sex, but sometimes the subtext is what is offensive to people.

Whenever this happens, there are usually two main sides to this kind of issue.

One side will look at the word or image and use the history of its use to determine if it is okay or not.

The other side will look at the word or image and only see it at face value to determine if it is offensive or not.

Whether or not the two sides agree on if the word or image is offensive or not is not the big question that a lot of people ask.

The real question is which side is right and which side is wrong in their judgment of the word or image.

To figure out the answer to this question, it is important to consider the pros and cons of each side of the argument.

For the side that looks at the history of the word or image, there is the advantage of knowing the possible reasons that the word or image in question would be considered offensive.

Over the course of history, there have been multiple cases of words and images that have been used in a derogatory way toward specific ethnicities around the world.

These have ranged from the use of the N-word toward African Americans to the swastika, a symbol that was originally sacred to multiple world religions but has now become a symbol of racial purity due to its incorporation into Nazi propaganda in the 1930s.

As the social attitudes toward the use of such words and images have changed with time, it has become an offense to use such things at all without the purpose of historical documentation or academic research.

People have seen a downside to this way of thinking due to the idea that the people who take this side, especially in the event of a derogatory word or image targeted at a specific sex, are considered to be overreacting to the situation and overanalyzing something that others did not find bothersome at all.

For those who take the word or image at face value to determine the possible offenses it could pose, they would only observe how the item was being used instead of looking at the potential symbolism.

The observers would look at the word or image and observe the message that is being sent through the piece of work that uses the word or image, and they would determine the offensiveness from the message rather than the word or image.

This can cause some problems for others, however, as someone could still associate the word or image with an event that took place in their personal past and become uncomfortable because of the personal connection.

Whichever way people decide to look at the topic, it is important to understand the effects that certain words or images might cause, either from personal experiences or social views, and to consider these possibilities when deciding whether or not to use them for whatever the word or image is needed for.

Letter to the Editor: Concerning ‘Art of a successful argument’

Dear Editor,

Recently I read “The art of a successful argument” in The Settler. The editorial includes this: “A prime example of a waste-of-breath argument is any argument over moral issue[s]. … because morals vary from person to person and are not easily changed through an argument. … There is no right or wrong answer in the end because the argument is … based on individual views.”

Such statements veer toward moral subjectivism, the view that each individual arbitrarily differentiates between just and unjust acts. In that case, we should be aware of that view’s implications. For instance, why should rape be punished? Well, rape is illegal! But why should it be unlawful? If we can’t rationally distinguish between just and unjust laws, how are we to decide which laws are morally binding and which aren’t? Without rational moral arguments, the only “moral” standard by default would seem to be “might makes right”—justice is whatever is in the interest of the stronger party. (See Thrasymachus in Plato’s dialogue, The Republic <http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.html>.) That position resembles social Darwinism, a now generally discredited theory.

The fact that there are moral disagreements does not imply that there are no sound moral arguments. Genuine moral disagreements presuppose objective moral realities about which people might disagree, just as people might disagree about a dress’s color. If colors aren’t real, then we can’t really disagree about a dress’s color. For the disagreement wouldn’t be about anything “out there.” One can’t be mistaken about what’s purely subjective, e.g., the subjective experience of pain.

Furthermore, if rational argumentation fails, it doesn’t follow that respectful rational arguments aren’t worth making. Better to change minds through rational argumentation than through physical force. If force is unavoidable, it should be regulated by sound reasoning, not the capricious will to power.


Dr. Peter Pagan

Professor of Philosophy


Civil Rights veterans visit Vol State

By: Preston Neal, Staff Writer


(Pictured on the left from left to right: Civil Rights veterans Leo Lillard, Matthew Walker.  Photo by Preston Neal.)

Volunteer State Community College hosted a program for Civil Rights Veterans on Feb. 25, in the Rochelle Center at 12:45 p.m.

Two veterans of the Nashville Civil Rights movement, Leo Lillard and Matthew Walker, were interviewed regarding their experiences and involvement with the movement.

The Rochelle Center was nearly full to its maximum capacity with students, faculty, and staff. The program began with a short clip from the documentary series “Ain’t Scared of Your Jails”, which can be viewed in its entirety on YouTube.

The video clip featured footage from 1960-1961, introducing the veterans as valued members of the Nashville movement.

Following the video clip, the interviewer posed the question “How old were each of you when you realized that you were living in a segregated society?”

Lillard answered with the memory of being unable to use public restrooms, and being forced to go to an alley. Walker replied with childhood memories of being forced to ride in the back of buses, or even having to stand if a white person wanted his seat.

By their late teens, Lillard and Walker had become followers of Jim Lawson, an African-American man studying at Vanderbilt University. Under his tutelage, Lillard, Walker and other young African-American men, were trained in the methods of non-violent protest.

By Feb. 1960, Lillard and Walker were performing sit-ins in downtown Nashville in large numbers.

The initial sit-ins did not attract much attention, but on Feb. 27, 1960, the third sit-in, a group of white men assaulted some of the students participating in the sit-in, causing them serious harm.

The police were notified, and the victims of the crime were arrested instead of the perpetrators.

This incident served as a catalyst, igniting the movement further and drawing in larger number of participants.

“Our nation was built on sacrifice,” said Lillard, “Sacrifice always engenders a reason for hope.” Once the Nashville movement gained momentum, it became a force to be reckoned with.

“Our mantra was ‘If not us, then who? If not now, then when?’ and once you get started, it ignites the whole city,” Lillard said.

Lillard and Walker also came into contact with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, when he visited the Nashville movement.

“Dr. King came to Nashville not to give inspiration, but to get inspiration, because the Nashville movement was so profound,” said Lillard.

Following the program, students, faculty, and staff were permitted to ask questions.

Students and staff inquired about topics such as today’s social injustices, and the various threats of violence made against the movement.

How to have a fun and safe Spring Break

By: Barbara Harmon

After all the snowy weather Volunteer State Community College has experienced, it is finally time for spring break, March 7-12.

Many of you probably have plans for road trips, and there are some important preparations you need to consider.

Do not just assume your car is capable of taking on some extra miles; instead, be safe and get it serviced.

You would not just up and run a 5K, you would make sure you were fit and ready for it.

Do the same for your vehicle, so you do not get stranded somewhere.

It could also benefit you to get a AAA membership, even if you are riding along with one of your friends.

“AAA Road Service is designed to assist you in an emergency when the vehicle you are either driving or riding in becomes disabled,” according to the AAA website.

Unless you have an unlimited spring break fund, stock up on snacks and such before you leave.

If you do not, you will be tempted to spend two times or more on them at a gas station.

Those little extra expenditures will add up, and you will not have as much to spend when you reach your destination.

Going to the beach? Take some sunblock!

“Don’t be fooled into thinking you can build up a safe tan; there’s no such thing,” according to the Bella Sante website.

“Every exposure contributes to possible damage at the cellular level.

“Spare your skin tomorrow and wear your sunscreen today,” according to bellasante.com.

Take their advice and protect your skin.

Do not do anything on spring break that you would not do around your friends back at school.

More than likely the pictures or videos will reach home before you do….

Do, however, take lots of pictures with your family and friends, so you can treasure the wonderful time you had on spring break.

Plus, if there are snow flurries when you get back to Tennessee, maybe those pictures at the beach will keep you warm.

Plan to party hard? Do not drink and drive.

“For some people alcohol triggers the overconfidence of being able to handle anything, while for some others; allowing or encouraging a drunk person to drive is sheer fun.

“Driving safety is something that just goes out of the window when under the influence,” according to TeenCentral.Net.

It is not just your life that you are endangering, it is your passengers’ and everyone’s that you share the road with.

Be smart and have a blast on your spring break!

Return home safely and get back into the swing of things. Your assignments will be waiting for you.


Vol State teams up with Merit system

By: Barbara Harmon, Assistant Editor


(Pictured: Merit Pages home page.  Photo by: Barbara Harmon.)

Volunteer State Community College has partnered with Merit, so its students can be recognized for their accomplishments.

“Your institution’s efforts to create a distinctive, comprehensive student experience are made more meaningful when Merit connects the unique story of every student with the people who care about their success,” according to the Merit website.

It is beneficial in connecting the students’ stories in different areas.

One of those areas is the students’ communities:

“By automatically sending personalized notifications to legislators about the achievements of students from their districts attending your college.

“[And] by turning student accomplishments into press releases that are sent to hometown media,” according to meritpages.com.

It also connects to the students’ high schools:

“By sending high school principals and guidance counselors stories of the success of their alumni at your institution,” according to the Merit website.

Family and friends can be connected, as well:

“By keeping family engaged with personalized success stories about their students that are easily sharable on social media,” according to meritpages.com.

Future employers can also be kept in the loop:

“By showcasing every student’s experience in a positive online presence that can be discovered in online search.

“We’re proud to partner with hundreds of colleges and universities that use Merit’s platform to make their efforts more meaningful,” according to the Merit website.

Lehigh University is one of the many universities that is partnered with Merit.

“Lehigh University partnered with Merit to engage and educate external stakeholders about what it means to have an integrated learning experience,” according to Amy Mengel, Vice President, Marketing at Merit.

“In addition, any time Lehigh uses Merit to promote student accomplishments to Merit’s network of stakeholders, each student’s personalized Merit page—a positive, public online presence discoverable by future employers—is automatically updated with branded, institutionally-verified stories of their involvement and success,” according to a case study by Merit.

Vol State’s partnering with Merit gives its students the same benefits.