Vol State to host annual concert this spring

By: Barbara Harmon, Assistant Editor

Volunteer State Community College will be hosting its annual Spring Concert April 29-30, 7:30 p.m., in the Wemyss Auditorium in the Caudill building.

The first half of the show will include the Commercial Music Ensemble, Commercial Jazz Ensemble, and Bluegrass Ablaze.

The second half of the concert will include twelve original songs that will be featured on this year’s CD.

“What you will hear is a culmination of an entire year of studying for all these kids,” said Lynn Peterson, Director of the Commercial Music Ensemble and professor at Vol State.

“It gives us an opportunity to display their creativity because the original songs were 100 percent done here—they write the songs here, we record the songs here, we use our musicians to do them, we use our engineers, and then we even have our own equipment to make the albums.

“When it’s done, there is no one involved except Vol State,” added Peterson.

He said a lot of people have contributed to this year’s show.

“The Live Sound Class, under the recording group, will be doing sound,” said Peterson.

The concert is free to students who have a current student identification with them and everyone else can give a $5 donation at the door.

Peterson added that the show is paid for by other departments or other donations.

“But not one penny of that money [collected at the concert] goes to anything except music scholarships, so you’re not just giving your money away—you’re giving it to help a kid go to college,” said Peterson.

This concert has been an annual charitable event to raise money for the music scholarships since the early 90s.

“We don’t have the means to broadcast what we need—what we need is an audience,” added Peterson.

Students who are taking Music Appreciation or have a concert requirement can fulfill that by coming to this show.

There will also be an opportunity to purchase the album in the lobby on the nights of the concert.

Liz Hengber is the Advanced Songwriting Class’s teacher at Vol State, and some of her students will be performing in the show.

“I feel so proud. I know they are gonna shine at the show,” said Hengber.

She said she was surprised, when she came to Vol State, by the level of talent that her students had.

“They are so hungry to learn and that’s so incredibly inspiring,” added Hengber.

“I hope I’ve encouraged them to be the best they can be and to be open-minded to all kinds of music,” said Hengber.

Victoria Watson is in the Commercial Music Ensemble, Bluegrass Ablaze and the Advanced Songwriting Class.

Watson said that the ensembles have been practicing for this show since the beginning of the semester.

Students in the Commercial Music Ensemble suggested a variety of songs that the group would play, and they all narrowed it down together, she added.

“We all get along well. It is real fun to just walk in and just start doing random songs,” said Watson.

She said that she also enjoyed being in this group because everyone in it has the same admiration for music that she does.

Watson encourages everyone to come to the concert.

“It is going to be a lot of fun. Come out for not just the ensembles, but also to hear the songwriters because they have written some amazing songs,” added Watson.

“It kind of just shows what Vol State has to offer, as far as being in the music industry and being close to Nashville,” said Watson. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Congratulations, spring graduates

By: Blake Bouza, Assistant Editor

I feel grateful in my last two weeks at Vol State. To my fellow graduates, I just want to congratulate each of you. If your Vol State career has been anything like mine, you’ve maneuvered around and overcome things you never thought you would encounter.
To my Savior, Jesus Christ, I thank for being with me since my beginning and guiding me in all things, to whom I’d be nothing without.
My parents and family for their support and love always and through all things.
To those students who have suffered personal loss from the death of a father to the death of a beloved pet, thank you.
To those who have struggled with their living situation, thank you.
To those who have a full day of class starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 3:45 p.m. and still go to work that night, and do it all again the next day, thank you.
To those who have stuck with it the 2 ½ years or however long it has taken you, thanks.
To everyone who is moving on to a university or jumping right into their career, best of luck!
To the smiling ladies in the bookstore to the helpful librarian with the TARDIS on her desk, to every professor who gave us a second chance – thank you.
To my peers in the newsroom, I’ll miss our time together meeting deadlines and sharing in the woes of assignments. To Clay Scott, our faculty advisor, thank you for building us up and making the paper bleed red when it needed to.
All of you have impacted society and me, and shown that we can do this, that it is possible. Amidst life and chaos we can achieve something as fantastic and privileged as an education.
After all, we have a laminated piece of paper to show for it.

Editorial: Wishing the graduates good luck

By: Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief

As another semester closes at Volunteer State Community College, we will be saying farewell to the graduating class of 2016.

Many of us find ourselves on the verge of a new challenge, whether it is going into the workforce or beginning at a university.

Some will remain here on campus for another semester, at least, while their friends begin a new journey. It is important to remember the people you have met and grown with on this campus.

We would like to thank all of the instructors who have worked hard to help us in our education. Those who have inspired students or even pushed them to do great things deserve our gratitude.

It is also important to remember the others who have helped your during this school year. Those such as the cafeteria staff or the bookstore staff who help us when we need help.

The library staff has helped students immensely over the course of this year, whether it was with studying, research or even creating an environment for both.

I could go on about the many people who work hard for the students of this campus, from Student Life and Diversity Initiatives to Student Services and Advising. The campus has a community that has worked to help its students throughout the year.

The people on this campus deserve to be remembered as you travel on in life, from friends to staff and faculty.

So, to those of you who are moving on after this spring semester, I wish the best of luck to you all.

All of us will continue to work hard and achieve our dreams and hopes for something better, be it a college diploma, our dream job or stability.

Vol State to use printing kiosks

By: Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief

Volunteer State Community College will be implementing a new way for students to print their necessary documents.

After a rumor spread that the library would be limiting printing, many students took to social media to express their feelings about the supposed new rule.

“I can’t believe the library is about to start limiting paper!” one student wrote on the popular anonymous app, Yik Yak.

However, the library is not implementing paper limitations on students as the rumor suggests.

Sarah Smith, Director of Library Services and Learning Resources, said, “Speaking on behalf of all our staff, Thigpen Library really cares about doing what is most beneficial for students.”

However, Kevin Blankenship, Chief Information Officer, further clarified that this rumor was not true.

“We’re not actually placing limitations,” said Blankenship, “we’re piloting a new solution for printing.”

Blankenship explained that they are not looking to enforce limits, but will be implementing a quota to see how much students are printing. The quota would be adjusted as needed.

If students pass the quota, there will be ways to add more. Two ways mentioned were to contact the I.T. desk or a possible request form online.

Blankenship added, “The solution that we’re looking at would allow [students] to print from anywhere. You can print from home or anywhere with internet access.”

Kiosks will be in place for students to enter their information or identification so that they may pick up anything they need printed on their way to class.

Part of the reason this is being implemented is for the safety of student information.

“We routinely have found tax returns lying around in the library, contract documents with people’s information. There’s all this information just laying around that people leave,” said Blankenship.

Sustainability is also a reason for this new solution, and this would keep students from overprinting.

Blankenship suggested that students be sure they are only printing what they need, print double-sided and try not to use more than necessary.

Students are urged to do their part and limit paper use. For example, students can try recycling unnecessary paper or using digital copies rather than printing everything.

More information will be available to students as the solution is implemented.

“Vol State is starting to become more tech-savvy, and it’s quite pleasant,” said Jesse Versage, President of SGA (Student Government Association).

Internet to be fixed next fall

By: Blake Bouza, Assistant Editor

Volunteer State Community College students may have noticed how slowly the internet speeds have become on campus recently.

“It’s hard to get Facebook to load, and videos don’t even play,” said Daniel Berry, Vol State student.

Throttling the bandwidth was not a financial decision, said Kevin Blankenship, Chief Information Officer.

“Wireless usage on campus has grown so exponentially that it was starting to cut into bandwidth which wasn’t available, so we had to throttle it. We’ve been trying to balance it out. We’re looking at adding an entirely separate internet connection,” Blankenship said.

This separate connection will be for students, with the old connection remaining for business usage. The new connection will be four times faster than what students are using now.

Blankenship said that the new network should be up and running by next semester.

National Library Week makes a difference

By: Jessica Peña, Staff Writer

National Library Week was from April 10-16, and Volunteer State Community College celebrated the nationwide event with a week full of activities coordinated in conjunction with the Thigpen Library.

The American Library Association (ALA) that encourages schools and communities to recognize library staff and resources for the work do to make a difference sponsored national Library Week.

Vol State coordinated events like Game Day, Open Mic Day and Secret Cinema as part of Library Week activities.

“Library Week was definitely a success for us this year. Rochelle Center was packed on Game Day with students playing ping-pong and playing games. Secret Cinema was also very popular,” said Laura Sheets, librarian and Instruction Coordinator at the Thigpen Library.

Due to a lack of participants, the Open Mic Day in the Rochelle Center was canceled midway.

“Open Mic was poorly attended, mostly because there were several other events going on that day.

Next year, we’ll take a closer look at the campus schedule and try to pick a better day and time,” said Sheets.

“Yes, we did have to cancel our Open Mic because of lack of participation – as was to be expected when the Student Leadership Luncheon and Speech Competition events were scheduled at the same time,” said Sara Smith, Director of Library Services and Learning Resources.

“As often happens, organizers aren’t particularly aware of other events on campus when they plan their own; and, sometimes guest speakers’ schedules force dates and times of events,” added Smith.

During the week, Thigpen Library had a whiteboard set up so students could express their feelings for the library staff and share what they appreciated most.

“Responses to our ‘Express Yourself’ whiteboard prompt revealed a great appreciation from students for the helpful library staff,” added Smith.

The library staff said they were surprised with what Smith said will go down on her list of most cherished library memories.

“Two of our students made a lovely card for us, obtained signatures from a great number of students and baked us brownies and cookies.

“I’m proud of their success, and I am honored that they felt that the library’s spaces, resources and staff contributed to it,” said Smith.

Olivia Burkeen and Hailey Averitt were those two students.

“I believe we all enjoy being appreciated. So why not let the librarians know that we really appreciate them?

“All in all, it was nothing I can take credit for. The love of Christ is the only one worthy of praise,” said Burkeen.

Averitt and Burkeen will be graduating this spring and are enrolled in nursing schools at Middle Tennessee State University and Cumberland University.

Sheets and Smith both said that was their favorite part about National Library Week and that it was successful this year at Vol State.





Art show displays student work at Vol State


(Pictured: A series of student art pieces at display in the Ramer Great Hall.  Photo by: Gayla Collier.)

By: Gayla Collier, Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College is hosting an annual Student Art Show. Student artwork is on display April 19 – May 1.

“It is an annual Juried Exhibition showcasing work of Art students at Vol State. It is free and open to the public. Over 60 original works of art will be on view at the reception and awards ceremony, April 28, 12:45 – 1:45 p.m.,” according to the Vol State Website.

“We have had an annual Student Art Show since the school art area was founded over 30 years ago,” said Sue Mulcahy, member of the art faculty.

Students that are taking training in Studio Art courses are required to submit work. They submit artworks from each of the media that they study throughout the year. This can include drawing, painting, printmaking, design, graphic design, digital photo and ceramics.

“This year we had 279 entries and 157 artworks were chosen for exhibition. The art is chosen by an outside Juror, who is always and experienced artist and educator. This year’s Juror was Britt Stadig, an established artist in the region working in printmaking calligraphy and mixed media as well as handmade art books,” said Mulcahy.

At previous student art shows the Art Department has awarded five $100 Juror’s awards of Excellence, four $25 materials awards from Plaza Art Supply and three $150 materials scholarships.

“I think it was cool for students to show off their creativity,” said Leandrew Hayes, a Vol State student.

The Juror and art faculty chose all of the award recipients based on quality and creativity of work.

“The show gives students an opportunity to share their work and experience how to prepare an exhibition. They also learn the impact of competitive exhibition and acceptance of success and rejection,” said Mulcahy.

“This show is the capstone of the art program each year,” said Mulcahy.

Early Earth Day celebration a Vol State hit


(Pictured: Earth Day chalk drawing near the Duffer Plaza.  Photo by: Shannon Feaganes.)

By: Shannon Feaganes, Web Editor

On Wednesday, April 20, Volunteer State Community College had an Earth Day event in the Duffer Plaza from 11 – 2 p.m. Team Change sponsored the event.

There were booths set up around the plaza, and at each booth attendees were given a ticket. After an attendee had collected three tickets, they could redeem them for a free lunch of pizza, punch and lemonade.

There was a sidewalk chalk booth, where attendees could draw on the plaza sidewalk. Team Change members had drawn a demonstration of various countries’ ecological footprints.

There was also an adopt-a-stream booth, which encouraged students, local businesses and organizations to adopt local streams, rivers and lakes to manage litter buildup.

Attendees mixed Hummingbird Mix Wildflower Blend with clay and fertilizer to create plant-able pods.

There were seed packets for attendees to take home, including marigolds, daisies and sunflower seeds. At the same booth was paper made from recycled notepaper and seeds. After the paper was used, it could be planted rather than thrown away.

The next booth encouraged students to take the sustainability pledge, which required the completion of at least four activities which reduce energy consumption, including turning off the light when the last person in the room leaves and unplugging/turning off electrical devices when not in use.

“We had more people than last year, and I think it’s because we were actually outside,” said Le-Ellen Dayhuff, Professor of Mathematics, “Over 100 people took the [sustainability] pledge this year.”

Campus police featured a cardboard box labeled “Drug Take Back.” Drug Take Back encouraged students to donate their unused and expired prescription medication to the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office in Gallatin for incineration.

“We get 30 pounds of pills per month,” said Sergeant Keith Bean of the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office. “We incinerate them to keep them from contaminating the water supply and air.”

At 1p.m. the event featured speaker Jeff Barri from the Tennessee Environmental Council, who spoke about sustainability and the Council’s efforts to protect the environment, including the planting of 50,000 trees in Tennessee back in February.

“Sustainability goes hand-in-hand with technology,” said Barri, “We install coir logs, which are a form of biotechnology made from organic material that we install along the banks of rivers where it’s eroding. Most people don’t realize that erosion is actually a large contributor to water pollution.”

Towards the end of the event, Team Change provided over 100 free, small trees to students, including dogwood, redwood, pine, and oak.

Middle College students to graduate this semester

By: Barbara Harmon, Assistant Editor

Eleven Middle College High School students will graduate from Volunteer State Community College before they graduate from high school.

“They will graduate on May 7 from Vol State with associate degrees, and then they will graduate from high school on May 21,” said Betsy Hunter, a principal of MCHS.

This program started two years ago, so this is the first time for this to happen at Vol State.

“These are students that came to us as juniors in high school.

“They’ve taken everything on campus for the last four semesters like a regular college student,” said Hunter.

Sumner County has funded this program for these students.

“To be successful in the Middle College Program, students have to be self-starters.

“They have to be motivated to turn something in. We expect them to be in class every day,” added Hunter.

The Board of Education will be acknowledging these students on May 17 for their accomplishments, said Hunter.

“They are great kids. They’ve worked hard,” included Hunter.

Handicap access at Vol State

By: Shannon Feaganes, Web Editor

If you are not a handicapped student or do not have a family member or friend that is, you probably would not think twice as to whether a college campus has enough handicapped access.

If you park in parking lot N, adjacent to Caudill Hall and the Wood Campus Center at Volunteer State Community College, you might notice that there is no ramp in that parking lot whatsoever. In fact, there aren’t many ramps at Vol State in general.

Imagine that you are the assistant of someone bound to a wheelchair, and you park in that area. There is literally no way to get into Caudill or Wood from that parking lot because there is no ramp. You would have to walk all the way around to the front entrance.

And even if you had the foresight to try to park in the handicapped spots at the front entrance where a ramp is, you have to hope that they are not already taken by other handicapped students, due to a seemingly constant shortage of handicapped parking, and even just parking in general.

I heard that the parking area behind Thigpen Library is to be converted into a green space, so I contacted Will Newman, Senior Director of Plant Operations for Vol State.

“The Tennessee Board of Regents elected to turn the parking area north of the library into a green space to support a pedestrian friendly ‘walking campus,’” said Newman.

Newman assured me that the handicapped spots will be relocated to the north of the Pickel Field House, but my concern is that handicapped students or handicapped guests will have to walk even farther to enter the library from that side – and actually, so will other, able-bodied students.

A “walking campus” might be fine for an able-bodied student, but for students or guests who have trouble with mobility, getting around is very difficult. Being able to complete daily activities such as walking can quickly become a privilege that is out of reach for some of the physically disabled.

I have been told that Vol State is supposed to be making preparations to improve handicapped access in the future, but not in the way that I had hoped.

“As campus grows we plan to add more automatic doors as well as possibly a front ramp access for Ramer,” said Newman.

“Also, as the Master Planning Project takes shape, Plant Operations intends on ensuring accessible sidewalks and parking is addressed.”

“Our office typically gets about two or three accessibility complaints or concerns each year,” said Star Boe, Accommodation and Adaptive Technology Specialist at Vol State.

“We work to address the concern and remediate the issues. Additionally, the Disability Services staff works to proactively identify and address accessibility issues on campus.”

My question is, how would more automated doors and a ramp to the Ramer building remedy the issue with Thigpen parking? What does it do for students who need to park in parking lot N? Or near the library?

At this point, only time will tell if Vol State will become more handicapped-accessible.