TNT found on campus

By: Jim Hayes

The Tennessee Highway Patrol bomb squad removed two jars believed to contain explosive materials, Oct. 27, from Volunteer State Community College parking lot E.

According to a police report filed by Vol State officer Frank Winslow, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Materials Management Department was having its annual Household Chemical Collections event when an unidentified man deposited a box containing two, four-ounce plastic jars of a white powdery substance later identified as being trinitrotoluene otherwise known as TNT.

“We had a hazardous waste collection event at the college,” said Eric Melcher, Vol State coordinator of public relations and marketing.  

“The college was just a host for the event. TDEC actually ran the event,” said Melcher.

“At some point, someone dropped off a box of what appeared to be TNT. Organizers of the event contacted our campus police department,” said Melcher.

“Our police department then contacted the THP bomb squad who came off and collected the box,” said Melcher.


Winslow’s report says that the box was dropped off at approximately 1 p.m. Saturday and that THP actually arrived on the scene at and took possession of the package about 5:30 p.m. Saturday after being contacted at about 3 p.m.

“TDEC holds these events all over the state. We’ve had it here annually every year for many years without incident. This year they just had someone drop off something they shouldn’t have,” said Melcher.

Melcher said no campus events were disrupted as the result of the incident.

No criminal charges are being filed.

Christmas for kids

By: Riley Holcraft

The holiday season is here, and Volunteer State Community College is celebrating with an annual Christmas for the Kids event.

It is an opportunity for low-income students at Vol State to provide a Christmas celebration for their children.

For over 10 years, Christmas for the Kids has allowed Vol State students to give their children between ages 0-16 a Christmas to remember.

Campus organizations and other individuals are encouraged to sponsor a child by selecting an ornament from the Christmas tree located in Woods Campus Center in the Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room.

The ornaments with individual information on the different children will be displayed Nov. 16, and the gifts of up to $75 are due Nov. 29.

The Office of Student Engagement and Support handles the applications and houses all of the gifts. The children are able to unwrap their surprises at a Christmas party on Dec. 1.

If a family wishes to participate, applications for the children receiving gifts are due on Nov. 9. The application includes a survey that asks for information about hobbies, interests, and needs so the children can receive gifts of significant value.

Attendance for the party event is required. Light refreshments will be provided for all guests, and Christmas-themed activities and games will be set up for the children. Santa will also be attending, and families are encouraged to snap a photo with him.

This fundraiser is hosted by Vol State’s Student Government Association. These individuals are responsible for keeping track of the children and sponsors and setting up the event on Dec. 1.

Vol State students, faculty, staff, clubs, and organizations are all qualified to sponsor one or more children.

Coordinator of Student Activities, Tabitha Sherrell, is passionate about the opportunity that Christmas for the Kids provides.

“This is one of my favorite events each fall semester. It is a chance to help support our Vol State students and their families during the holiday season,” explained Sherrell.

Do you want to provide a joyful Christmas for children of Vol State students? Are you a struggling student at Vol State with a child that needs a happy holiday? Christmas for the Kids is the event for you.

Story Slam

By: Gloria Cortes

The second annual Storytelling Slam competition was hosted in the Rochelle Center of the Thigpen Library Oct. 30 from 11:10 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.

The 12 contestants were: Abigail Wilson, Jack Coomer, Jared Clubbs, Amanda Edwards, Alex Carmen, Gregory Crenshaw, Ryan Kennedy, Michael Picchietti, Nicole Black, Tracy Lily, and Casey Collins.

Jared Clubbs was not there to present his story.

After the scheduled contestants went, a few students told their stories while people voted for the winner.

“We had five student-curated to present we got commitments from them to be there five showed up to speak. We had six students sign up for the open mic portion. In all, we heard 11 stories. Then we had three to four students answer the questions and stand up to speak at the end they were not a part of the competition,” wrote communication professor Sheri Waltz in an email.

Performance artist Jon Goode was the host for the Storytelling Slam and told several stories throughout the event.

“I think that in the course of people sharing their stories, you find out that we all have so much in common, there’s a common thread that runs through all of our lives, that we’re all just a swamp in this quilt and that these stories are the narrative string that pulls it all together,” said Goode.

The winners were Ryan Kennedy and Nicole Black who were tied for first place. Kennedy’s story was about the birth of his son, and Black’s story was about a time where she severely injured her arm.

Instead of having one winner and one runner-up, Kennedy and Black were both awarded $75 for first place.

“In public speaking class, we had to do a story for our first speech, and the teacher said to do something that is really impactful on your life. My son being born was one of those major things in my life,” said Kennedy.

“I heard there was $75 for the winner… I just wanted to say something funny,” said Black.

Waltz wrote that both Story Slams had been successful, with about 100 students attending this year.

“Our goal is to provide a platform for students and faculty to connect- to take time to celebrate our similarities and differences,” wrote Waltz.

Trevor Gordon event

By: Gloria Cortes

Progressive acoustic guitarist Trevor Gordon Hall held a public clinic and performance at Volunteer State Community College Nov. 1.

The event was in room 157 of the Steinhager-Rogan-Black Humanities Building, and it took place from 1:30-3 p.m.

“A decent crowd was here, but it could have been better,” said Music Department Chair Benjamin Graves.

Hall played several pieces and answered crowd members’ questions between songs. The songs he performed were: “Pine Trees and Powerlines”, “I Will”, “A Severe Mercy”, “The Meeting at the Window”, “Kalimbatar”, and “Skylark”.

This selection included some of his original work, like “Kalimbatar”, as well as covers, like “I Will” by The Beatles, that featured the kalimba, also known as a thumb piano.

Hall shared his musical experiences and spoke about his kalimbatar project, where he has attached a kalimba to his guitar and has been arranging music that features both instruments.

“The kalimbatar project has deepened my appreciation for music for sure. Now, I’m thinking with different tones, like I can play guitar and grab an entirely different sound from a different instrument just a couple of inches away. It makes me think of melodies differently, and I hear chords differently,” said Hall.

Graves said this event was to inform people, music majors, and non-music students alike, about progressive guitar music.

“I’m always interested in trying to bring as much different culture to campus as possible. I’ve been teaching here for years and I’ve never heard anything like Trevor Hall on campus, so I thought, ‘Let’s have a different flavor of a guitar player, because this is Nashville,’ and I have a buddy who teaches at MTSU and recommended Trevor,” said Graves.

Along with guitar-specific tips, Hall gave advice for music majors at Vol State.

“There’s always going to be the pieces that you have to work on, promoting yourself as a musician, all of this stuff that will get between you and your instrument. Make sure you keep your emotional connection to the instrument alive at all costs, because everything that gets between you two is going to feel like a foreign object, and you’re going to eventually grow to hate it,” said Hall.

The audience applauded for Hall between songs and for the end of the event, and several audience members asked more questions while Hall was packing up.

“I liked Hall’s original stuff.  I thought it was really cool, really innovative. I think this was a new experience for Vol State, we’ve never had a masterclass like this before,” said Vol State sophomore Kendahl Oakley.