Vol State welcomes new Assistant Vice President of Student Services

by Kailyn Fournier

As of Aug. 15, Talia Koronkiewicz, has been Volunteer State Community College’s new assistant vice president for student services. Her role oversees TRIO, the Of ce of Disability Services, and the Of ce of Student Life and Diversity.

All three departments report directly to her. Though Koronkiewicz has only been at Vol State for little over a month now, she has already made an impression on Kathy Sowell, who is the director of the disability services.

“So far it’s been very positive,” said Sowell. According to Sowell, Koronkiewicz also, “has a lot of energy…Is very task oriented… [As well as] very motivated.”

The position for assistant vice president of student services opened up for Koronkiewicz when the former assistant vice president, Emily Short, was promoted to Vice President of Student Services.

“I felt like this role was written just for me,” said Koronkiewicz.

However, for those few months before Koronkiewicz, there was no assistant vice president.

“We desperately needed that position,” said Sowell, who had to report directly to the Vice President of Student Services.

“Without a very important position, the Vice president didn’t have a lot of time,” said Sowell. There was less of an outside opinion with that dynamic. Now that the position is filled, Sowell said, “I look forward to having an outside perspective.”

“Her skills are [also] in areas we need,” said Sowell, which includes Con ict Resolution & Mediation Training, Community College Administers Training as well as organizing and implementing various student events.

Koronkiewicz’s skills also apply to the student conduct and disciplinary process which she is in charge of. If a student is ever reported, they will go to Koronkiewicz.

She says she wants to handle situations like those in a productive manner. It is her goal to teach those students how to act appropriately in a professional setting.

Before Vol State, Koronkiewicz, worked in the Student Life Department at McHenry County College, Crystal Lake, IL. It was there that Koronkiewicz “servedasthestudentconductof cer andcoordinatorofbothStudentLife and Campus Activities,” according to http://www.volstate.edu/stories/.

She was involved in educating her former college community on student rights, classroom management, and student support services. She also helped create programs such as Latino Heritage Month, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and the Student Awards Ceremony at her Governing Board at McHenry, she previous College.

“I’m absolutely committed to the community college mission,” said Koronkiewicz, “I’m very excited to be here.”

Koronkiewicz has also had experience being an advisor.

When she advised the Student increased the membership by over 300 percent. She said she hopes that she can do something similar here.

“My goal is to create a comprehensive student engagement plan… [even though] We are already doing a lot on campus to get people engaged,” said Koronkiewicz.

Also, as of this summer, Koronkiewicz has obtained a Master of Arts, Bachelor of Science and, most recently, a Doctorate of Education. In addition, Koronkiewicz was also a 2016 American Association of Women in Community Colleges 40 under 40 Recipient.

10 essentials for everyone’s backpack

by Melissa Farmer

10: Phone Charger- Guys, it is 2016, one of the worst things that can happen to us is our phone dying. You can buy a cheap phone charger to keep in your backpack so you always have one on hand at school.

9: Hand sanitizer- This is not a drill, take hand sanitizer everywhere. When cold and flu season comes around and you’re sitting next to Sniffling Sally you’ll thank yourself.

8: Headphones- There is plenty of down time where you wish you could just put some headphones in and get some “quiet” time.

7: Planner- Buy a planner at the beginning of the school year and use it. Write down your test days, what time you work, when you make plans to go to the movies. Trust me, it is much better than trying to keep it all organized in your head.

6: Chapstick- This is not just for the ladies, keeping chapstick in your bag can save you from one of the most annoying things ever: chapped lips in the winter.

5: Umbrella- Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you don’t need an umbrella to walk across campus. We don’t have the biggest campus, but it is big enough to get soaked walking from Ramer to the Library!

4: Sunglasses- Sunglasses have so many purposes. Protecting your eyes from the sun is the biggest one, but don’t forget that you can put them on while you cross campus and people won’t try to make eye contact with you.

3: Reusable water bottle- Y’all need to quit wasting your money buying a bottle of water everyday. You can get a reusable water bottle from Wal-Mart, Target or even the 5 Below store in Hendersonville, you will save money and help the environment!

2: A change bag- I’m not saying that you have to have an old lady change purse with you (but if you do then you rock), but even keeping a plastic bag to put your change in can save your life and stomach on days that you’re broke and need a snack from the grill!

1: Snacks- Do it. Keep a snack in your backpack. Some days are long at school and it gets really hard to focus when your stomach is growling non-stop. A snack can save your stomach and your grades. Really.

Keep calm during the roughest parts of the semester

by Hope McKinney

You have finally gotten through the first few weeks of school and it seems like you are coming to a screeching halt at a large brick wall of school work. Homework just keeps piling up and the discussion boards are never ending. Every time you turn around you have forgotten something and class time just seems to drag on. With the holidays coming up you are becoming less and less focused on school work and more on carving pumpkins and attending your favorite haunted houses.

I am here to tell you that pushing through this stressful time is totally worth it. There is absolutely no greater feeling to a college student than being completely caught up on work. Trying to catch up on everything in a couple of hours will not work nine times out of ten. This method can leave you on a completely crunched schedule and result to some pretty bad grades at the end of the week. Please remember it is okay to put the homework and jobs to the side sometimes and focus on yourself a little bit. Whether it just be for 15 minutes to go outside and walk or take a nap with your pet, spend some time relaxing.

“You” time is extremely important to your existence as a college student. Students today are stressed about way too much. In order to push through rut in the semester before midterms you must make time for everything. Create a little schedule to check daily and remind yourself about upcoming events and deadlines. This helps keep me organized and up to date with my own life that flashes by my eyes every single week. I keep a planner that has space to check off each task after I finish it. You can make your own out of a little journal from the dollar store.  I have a really bad habit of forgetting I’ve already completed an assignment and attempting to redo it. The planner helps me avoid that. While you are making your planner for the week you need to set aside time to do the actual homework. Doing homework for multiple hours at a time can really tire you out so it is important to take breaks between long study sessions.

My favorite thing to do when I need to get away from the stress of everyday life as a student is take my dogs to the park. It gives me some time to get them outside and exercising and get me some fresh air. I find it completely reenergizing to be able to go outside and get some fresh air instead of staying indoors and being cooped up. This time of year is prime opportunity to get outside and do some exploring. There are so many trails around Hendersonville and Gallatin to explore. Another way to relax outdoors this time of year is to break out the Eno. Take it to the lake with a good book and enjoy the views. If you don’t like the outdoors you can stay in and enjoy some Netflix of Hulu. However, be aware of binge watching shows. You still have work to do so finish your episode and get back to work.

If you find yourself completely overwhelmed with homework and unable to complete all of the tasks, breathe. Professors have all been there and most are more than willing to help you better understand the material, or better manage your schedule. If you are having complications in your personal life that are hindering you from doing your personal work talk to your professor. Visit them during their office hours and tell them what is going on. Most professors will work with you to help you complete the task at hand and help you better manage your time. With everything going on in student’s lives it is really hard to keep on track with everything. Always remember to take a little time to yourself and breathe. Keep track of your homework and communicate with your professor. School is stressful, but avoiding homework can make it that much more stressful. Be sure to stay on top of all of your work while enjoying some fun time.

Remembering the importance of the Constitution

by Brent West, College Republican Vice President

This Saturday, Sept. 17, is Constitution day. On this date in 1787, the United States Constitution was adopted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This document, which has remained the supreme law of the United States for over 200 years, has provided the structure of one of the most successful Constitutional Republics of the modern world, as well as safeguarded American freedom.

Despite it being written so many years ago by men who lived drastically different lives from the typical modern American, it is still relevant in the daily lives of American citizens.

So how does it affect the lives of the American people today and why should people care about it’s continuation? The answer lies in the basic principles laid out by the Founding Fathers. The great majority of the delegates were adults during the revolutionary war and had recent memories of the rule of Great Britain.

They saw the problems with a Parliamentarian government that did not represent all of its population, a King that had too much power without proper checks, and the dangers of having an established state religion with the King at its head.

What they created was not just a government, but a government with restraints, proper checks of power, and the duty to protect the inalienable rights of its citizens. They had the foresight to leave it in more general terms so that it would cause debate, lead to compromises, and to not limit its usefulness to future generations.

Without it, there would be no basis for the government to create laws nor any restrictions on its power, subjecting the people to arbitrary rule without any representation.

The Constitution is far too important to be taken for granted, however. It must be defended actively.

As history shows, the Federal government has at times violated it in cases such as putting Japanese-American citizens in internment camps during World War II, gag acts, and the unequal treatment of people due to their religion, race, and creed.

It is the duty of United States citizens to know their rights, the limitations of its government, and to defend the guiding principles of America by any enemy. For it is not simply ink on parchment written by aging white males, but a way of life for its citizens.

Timothy Farris prepares early for upcoming solar eclipse

by Cole Miller

A once in a lifetime opportunity is coming very soon. Aug. 21, 2017, at approximately 1:27 p.m., a total solar eclipse will be occurring in the greater Gallatin area and throughout the majority of the country, the states being: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, and the moon fully or partially blocks, or occults, the Sun. This can only happen at the new moon phase of the moon phases. When the Moon and Sun are aligned, it appears as if the Sun is being blocked out, with only a ring of rays appearing.

“This is a major event, a once in a lifetime opportunity most likely. There are an estimated 100 thousand to one million people coming to Tennessee to see the eclipse. It will be visible here on campus, and it will occur for about 2 minutes,” said Tim Farris, professor of Physics and Engineering at Volunteer State Community College. Farris is assisting with the Sumner County Visitors Bureau in preparation for the solar eclipse.

If Vol State has not already begun the Fall Semester by the time the eclipse gets here, some of the cities that will be able to view the eclipse are: Nashville, Clarksville, Gallatin, Portland, Westmoreland, Springfield, Lebanon, Baxter, Sparta, Crossville, Dayton, White House, and Carthage, the full list can be found at www.eclipse2017.org.

“I would totally watch the eclipse if I am on campus,” said Mariah Adcock, student, “I’ve always wanted to see one, and now I’m finally getting a chance.”

The last time a total solar eclipse occurred in the United States was on July 11, 1991, and was only visible from Hawaii and Mexico, it lasted roughly 6 minutes and 53 seconds. The last time a total solar eclipse touched within the contiguous 48 states in the United States occurred on Feb. 26, 1979, according to the Great American Eclipse website, which can be found at www.greatamericaneclipse.com.

In order to view the eclipse without damaging your corneas, you will need a special pair of glasses to view the phenomenon. You can order them online or you can make pinhole projector. There are numerous tutorials on how to make a pinhole projector, and how to correctly use them.

You cannot view the eclipse without the glasses or pinhole, so make sure to get them before Aug. 21, 2017.

Another way to view the eclipse safely, is to point a telescope directly at the Sun, and hold a piece of paper or cardboard next to where your eye would go. Rather than looking through the telescope, you would look at the cardboard or paper, where the eclipse will also be appearing.

However, if you would rather just look up at the Sun, you will need special glasses, sunglasses will not work.

The next total solar eclipse after this one that will be visible in the United States is speculated to occur on April 8, 2024, but may not be visible in Tennessee.

Cookeville Campus breaks enrollment record for Fall 2016

by Michaela Marcellino

Volunteer State Community College’s Cookeville Campus has experienced dramatic growth for Fall 2016.

“Last fall, sixty-four students were enrolled, while this fall, over one thousand students are enrolled,” says Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs, Michael Torrence.

“The greatest contributing factor to this growth is the collaboration of the Cookeville, Livingston, and Gallatin Volunteer State campuses, coming together to support the needs of students.

“There has also been great flexibility of the faculty to come in the summer. Student Services, as well as Financial Aid, Disability Services, advisors from the Livingston Campus, and more, were all in support of the Cookeville campus.

“Another contributing factor [to the huge boost in enrollment] is the support for Vol State that we have received from the Cookeville Community.

“I want to make special mention of the Cookeville Chamber of Commerce, The Rotary Club, and our partner in education, the Putnam County School System,” said Torrence.

“We expect student growth to continue. We have a lot of dual-enrollment students this semester from Putnam County’s three High Schools.

“We also have a record number of part-time and full-time faculty this semester. We are able to offer students the programs they are asking for, and they are able to get their education close to home. Students can live in the area without having to rent an apartment.

“Of course, TN promise students are also able to live at home and save money,” said Lori Richards, the director of the Cookeville Location.

In addition to record-breaking enrollment, some other exciting things are coming to the Cookeville campus.

“We are looking at establishing a Student Government Association at the Cookeville campus. With over one thousand students now, maybe we will have some students study abroad over the summer with TNCIS (Tennessee Consortium for International Studies),” said Torrence.

“[Other] contributing factors to this growth in enrollment are positive excitement, and trying to take care of the students.

“We had a great, small team that did not and would not quit, helping students navigate enrollment, classes, advising, and more. I also think it is the atmosphere that is causing students to choose the Cookeville campus.

“We helped every student we could, and gave them service they had not had before. Even through some uncertainty and instability, this faculty stepped up to the plate to serve the students. I could not see them doing a better job,” said Joshua Hite, the Academic Chair for Cookeville, and Professor of English.

“Everyone is excited, and looking forward to the opportunity to engage with students in the classroom, as well as tutoring.

“We have a great amount of academic and student support available. When needed, we are able to redirect students to where they can get what they need for an enhanced academic experience.

“We do not only want these students enrolled, but to retain them and see them through graduation,” said Torrence.

With great support from faculty, staff, and the Cookeville community, this promises to be a successful semester for Vol State students.

Career Fair coming to campus for students

by Kailyn Fournier

Volunteer State Community College Fall 2016 Career Fair will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 21, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Wesley Pickel Field House Gymnasium. Everyone is welcome, from the students at Vol State to the general job seeking community in the Sumner County area.

“It’s for the community at large…[and] supports the workforce development in Gallatin,” says Rick Parrent, who is one of the people in charge of organizing the Career Fair every year. After all, “Vol State Community College is a community college, it is a college for the community.”

There will be many booths there, with businesses ranging from the City of Gallatin to Tractor Supply offering jobs. The Gallatin Economic Development Agency alone will have over 80 openings, and even the Vol State Human Resources department will have a booth at the fair. As of Thursday, Sept. 8, 71 businesses had registered to be at the Career Fair.

“Many of the organizations are nonprofits, which is a great way to get… internships and work based learning,” says Parrent

Full-time, part-time, and seasonal job openings will be available. Interviews can also be scheduled at the event. “Every job fair, students get job offers and job applications,” says Parrent.

“I think if you don’t know what career you’re going into, it might be an interesting option to check out. I think I might go, because I still don’t know exactly what I want to do, even though I have an idea,” says student Hannah Hudson.

Situations like Hudson’s are fairly common. In fact, Parrent says the Career Fair is as much of an opportunity to explore the different careers available the community, as it is to get job offers.

Parrent also says that some of those students who did not know what they wanted to do for a career have been among those who have gotten job offers in the past.

There will also be an area at the event teaching soft skills to students and community members, such as how to communicate effectively, how to dress for success and how to network themselves.

This year the sponsor of the Career Fair is Steve Nichols who works at Lenny’s Sub Shop in Gallatin, Tennessee. Nichols has occasionally sponsored it, but has also had a booth and catered for the event in the past.

“When I was in college, it was difficult to know what I wanted to do,” Nichols says, “I hope that it opens some eyes to what is just around the corner.”

Though, Nichols says most of the credit should go to Parrent and the others who have worked so hard to organize it, he says, “I’m happy to be able to provide this opportunity.”

“Now is the time,” Parrent says. “Students need to make time and show up. The worst thing that could happen is that they do all this work and no one shows up.”

For more information on the Career Fair, the businesses that will be there, and the job openings that will be offered, go to www.volstate.edu/careerfair/.

Emergency drills and what to do

by Miguel Detillier

Volunteer State Community College is planning to have evacuation drills this week.

Lisa Morris, Office Supervisor of the Campus Police Department, said that the drills will be held on Sept. 13 at 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Morris also said that upon notification, all students, faculty, and staff should immediately evacuate the site in question and relocate to another area or part of the campus, and once all of them are outside, they should all proceed to a clear area keeping streets, fire lanes, hydrant areas, and walkways clear.

Morris points out that the assembly points for the evacuation are the B-lot closest to the main entrance or F-lot closest to Nashville Pike for everybody who is in the Hal Reed Ramer Administration Building, the D-lot near the Assistance Call Box for everybody who is in the Noble C. Caudill Hall or the Randy and Lois Wood Campus Center, the E-lot for everybody who is in the first floor of the Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Humanities Building, the staff lot behind the John B. Wallace Health Sciences Building South near the community garden for everybody who is in the second floor of the SRB Humanities Building, the D-lot near the Assistance Call Box or K-lot near the Assistance Call Box for everybody who is in the E.G. Mattox Business Building, the staff lot behind the John B. Wallace Health Sciences Building South or the H-lot near the Assistance Call for everybody who is in the Thigpen Library, the F-lot closest to Nashville Pike  for everybody who is in the T. Wesley Pickel Fieldhouse or the J. Howard Warf Building, the front lawn for everybody who is in the East Campus or the Betty Gibson Hall, the front lawn for everybody who is in the Joseph T. Watlington Science Field Station, and the overflow gravel parking lot for everybody who is in the J.T. Fox Maintenance Building.

“Depending on the threat or hazard, it may be necessary to evacuate of all or part of the campus buildings and grounds.

“A wide variety of emergencies may require building evacuation including but not limited to fire/alarm, gas leak/alarm, explosion, chemical spill, bomb threat, etc,” said Morris.

“I think campus evacuations are a good thing because it makes a lot of students feel safe in emergencies, and we know how to act during those situations,” said freshman Taylor Jones.

Morris explains that drills are the best indicator that an emergency evacuation will go smoothly and successfully and also aids in polishing the emergency preparedness plans. Morris also confirms that although drills may be considered a nuisance by some students, they are vital in emergency preparedness.

“Campus evacuations are very helpful into where we need to go in certain situations and everyone should know what to do in certain emergencies,” said sophomore Tristan Fullum.

FAFSA changes to begin for all students on October 2016

by Sara Keen

A rumor and variety of articles have been circulating the internet recently about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the financial aid application that almost every college student fills out each year.

Starting with the 2017-18 FAFSA, all students will be able to fill there forms out on Oct. 1, rather than the original Jan. 1 start date.  This is a permanent change.

Students will also be asked for the previous year’s tax information.  For example, on Oct. 1, students will submit their 2015 tax information instead of estimating for 2016.

According to studentaid.ed.gov, the official website behind FAFSA, “Because the FAFSA will ask for older income and tax information, you will already have done your taxes by the time you fill out your FAFSA, and you won’t need to estimate your tax information.”

This will allow students to finish the application immediately, rather than waiting for taxes to be finished to update the information on their FAFSA.

Studentaid does strongly suggest students use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool from now on when filling out their FAFSA.  This will allow students to fill out the tax information faster and more efficiently than before.

“Because the FAFSA is available earlier, you may feel less pressure due to having more time to explore and understand your financial aid options and apply for aid before your state’s and school’s deadlines,” added Studentaid.

Students are not guaranteed to receive offers earlier with the new deadline, however.  Even if a student files on the Oct. 1 date, they may not hear from schools until they begin their reviews.

The Pell Grant is also going to be uncertain for all students until the maximum grant is known in early 2017.

“The aim is to reduce inaccuracies and the need for verification, give institutions more time to review documents and potentially allow them to mail award letters earlier in the application cycle,” wrote Farran Powell of the U.S. News.

There is one more major change with the 2016 FAFSA changes that is likely to be less obvious to students.

Many Institutions will no longer be able to see where the students ranked them when filling out FAFSA.  However, Powell added a warning that the lists will still be available to “state agencies,” and suggested that students put state colleges at the top of their lists.

The paper version of FAFSA is also being phased out, and will only be available upon request in the Financial Aid office of any school.

There should not be any changes to the final submission deadline, despite the earlier start date.  Students will still have until July 30 to complete their FAFSA.

“I had no idea they were changing the start date,” said Courtney Southern, a Volunteer State Community College student, “but I think it will be helpful for students who need the financial aid.  It could probably take some of the anxiety off of filling out the forms and waiting.”

Southern said she looks forward to [hopefully] seeing some school offers earlier so that she can make her decision on where to go next.

Anyone who would like more information on the FAFSA changes should visit studentaid.gov/fafsa.