Banned book week preview

By: Jim Hayes 

The Thigpen Library and Volunteer State Community College English Department will celebrate Banned Books Week with open mic readings from 12:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Sept. 26 in Steinhauer-Rogan-Black room 150.

“Any student who wishes to volunteer can read,” said Librarian Laura Sheets who is overseeing the readings.

“Students wishing to ensure that they get to read can talk to a librarian,” said Sheets

The Banned Book Week has been observed since 1982.  Each year, the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles a list of the 10 most challenged books.

“It is a time to promote awareness about intellectual freedom,” said Sheets.

“Most books are challenged by parents who are concerned about the content in those books and they are concerned about having their children exposed to things they aren’t comfortable with,” said Sheets.

First generation student experience

By: Jim Hayes 

Dr. Frank Dobson, Associate Dean of Students for Social Justice and Identity at Vanderbilt University, and faculty will discuss “The First-Generation Student Experience” from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Rochelle Center on Thursday, Sept. 27.

“He’s just going to be talking about his experience as a first generation student,” said, Jeff King.

“He will compare some of the obstacles faced by students today with what he faced. He will engage them about what issues they are having. Sometimes you had to make a choice between buying books or buying food,” said King.

“Dobson will talk about at one point living in his car before his academic career took off and he became an author. Lots of us have similar stories,” said King.

“My older siblings did not go to college, and I felt a lot of expectations on my shoulders because they sacrificed so that I could go,” said Dobson

Dobson received his bachelor of arts degree from the University at Buffalo in English, Literature, Black Studies and Education in 1973.

He earned his masters in English and literary Studies in 1976 from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

His doctoral degree was earned at Bowling Green State University in literature and writing in 1985.

Dobson’s first novel, “The Race is Not Given was published in 1999.  His second, “Rendered Invisible, was released in 2010.

He has been at Vanderbilt for 14-years.

Dr. Faulkner goes undercover

By: Nick Kieser 

Dr. Faulkner casual outside

Vol State President Dr. Jerry Faulkner

The Volunteer State Community College President, Dr. Jerry Faulkner, has made an appearance acting as a student for a day and attended classes.

Faulkner credits his idea from the San Diego State President Adela de la Torre.

He was incognito on Aug. 30, during the regular school hours and posed as a student.

“I got rid of my coat and tie. I tried to look more casual so I would not stand out. I don’t know that I did anything outstandingly different, but I did go online and complete the application form.

I wanted to see if there were any impediments,” said Faulkner.

Undergoing a full day as an undercover student is something not common for a college university president to do.

“I sent out an email only to faculty that asked for volunteers to let me sit in on their classes. The response was overwhelming, and I got dozens of invitations to be in people’s classes,” said Faulkner.

The build-up of the secret event broke when the faculty got the notification that he was looking for willing teachers.

“I announced two Fridays ago at convocation that I was going to do that. I went to four classes. I was originally signed up for five. I did all four classes continuously,” said Faulkner.


He also added that while he was walking through the Woods Campus Center that he stopped to get the free food offered since it was the same day as the campus kickoff.

“He was just hanging out and seeing what it was like. He wanted the full student experience,” said English Department Chair, Deborah Moore.

Moore had the experience of having Faulkner in her Modern World Literature class.

“I think it’s great that he put that much interest into finding out more about the students and how it feels to be a student at Vol State,” said student Hollee Mattei.

The president was viewed seriously after he had revealed himself to Moore’s class.

“None of the students had much to say at the end, and I just made announcements about SGA and Coffee with the President. I did not park differently. I confess I did use my reserved parking place,” said Faulkner.

With the attire and no parking change, Faulkner still considered himself a student that day

One of the announcements that Faulkner made was in regard to how the students of Vol State could interact with him.

That event is known as Coffee With the President.

“We started that I would say about three years ago. Kenny Yarbrough was Director of Student Life and Diversity, and it was his idea to do Coffee with the President,” said Faulkner.

The Steinhauer Rogan-Black-Building was where Coffee with the President took place, and Faulkner said that he planned on doing that again.

“I certainly hope that this will result in more students feeling like they can approach me and talk with me about the things they have on their mind,” said Faulkner.

 

Vol State Garden

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Professor Jeff Kent in Vol States garden

By: Gloria Cortes 

Beside the Wallace Health Sciences Complex building’s parking lot lies the Volunteer State College Community Garden.

Master Gardeners maintain the garden with the help of professors Jeff Kent and Kelly Ormsby.

This community garden is open to all Vol State students and faculty, whether they would like to pick fresh produce or to take a break between classes.

“There’s something about seeing a plant grow that’s really nice, that’s really unique… . It’s just something about seeing something grow, and seeing fruit on raspberry vines or blackberry vines, and being able to pick it and eat it.” said biology professor Dr. Kent.

After the destructive tornado that struck Vol State in 2006, it was created to help the campus have a more peaceful place to go to.

“To promote something positive on campus, we started that community garden,” said Kent.

While the garden is a place for rest and relaxation, it is also a product of Master Gardeners and other Vol State gardeners’ work.

Students are also encouraged to plant in the garden, but they must contact Master Gardener Joanne Brown first.

“Students are welcome to participate but need to do so through the Master Gardeners who manage the project (a Hold Harmless waiver is required). Joanne Brown is the project leader. She is on campus every Monday morning (usually beginning at 7 a.m.). Volunteer Days are the third Saturday of each month from 7:30-11:30 a.m.,” wrote Kelly Ormsby in an email.

Ormsby is also involved with the campus garden.

Volunteer gardening can help fulfill students’ Tennessee Promise volunteer requirements since students would be providing a service to the campus community.

Through Ormsby’s Adopt-A-Bed program, groups can adopt a raised garden bed, and some produce from the garden will go to The Feed.

“Groups/clubs, classes, offices/departments can complete an application outlining their project idea through Sept. 28. Applications will be available at the garden gate, where they will also be collected. Applicants will: select a bed from the garden map provided (both empty and pre-planted beds are available), create a design (this may include a theme, information for visitors, additional plants, etc.), and complete the project submission form (outlining the idea, who will assist with maintenance, including weeding in and around the bed, helping to harvest as applicable for the Feed, our VSCC student food bank).” wrote Ormsby.

The garden was created as a communal place of peace and productivity.  Students are always welcome.

“I think the garden will help kids who don’t have the sufficient funds or the availability of food at home.  I think it’s very compassionate that Vol State has provided children that can’t eat at home with food. I think it’s also because student hunger and poverty levels being at such a high rate in America today and because of lack of resources and lower-income families that the garden offers kids that live in those situations food away from home.” said student Chelsei Copeland

“I know I would use the garden… . I am living in my own apartments, so there are times where I have to choose between gas or food. So, it’s definitely something I think I’d use as a young adult trying to live on their own, having to budget money in different ways,” said Copeland

The Vol State Community Garden provides positivity and fresh produce to those in need of it, and it encourages students to participate in the campus community.

 

SGA Voter Registration

By: Jim Hayes 

The Volunteer State Community College Student Government Association will host a variety of events to encourage students to register to vote during Sept.

Voter registration tables will be available in the tiled dining room of the Woods Campus Center on Sept. 11-13, and 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m..

Other events also taking place in the Woods Campus Center is SGA Meet-n-Greet With A Treat and CAB Cafe: The Arcade on Sept. 25 from 12:45 p.m. until 1:45 p.m.

This event will consist of games, prizes, floats and the opportunity to register to vote.

Vol State is also in a social media contest with other schools in the state, according to SGA Student President Haly Brazel.

“We have partnered with the board of regents and the other colleges to do a social media contest where we have to use hashtags whenever you register,” said Brazel.

“There is a statewide hashtag, #GovoteTn, and the Vol State hashtag is #pioneerpoll,” she said.

The SGA Meet -n-Greet With A Treat came about because, “we have all these people who play card games and we want to do something for them,” said Brazel.