Movie night to feature Marvel film

Contributing Writer Anthony Davidson


The first logical question that a student asks when they hear about Movie Night: “What is it?”

According to Tabitha Sherrell of the Student Life and Diversity Office: “It is a community event.  You do not have to be a student to come and view the movie.  It roughly starts at dusk, approximately 7:30 or whenever the sun goes down that day. You can bring your blankets and your lawn chairs, and there will be concessions available. I know one of our student clubs will be providing popcorn.”

That said, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend and enjoy the movie.  The movie is free because the college’s Student Government Association (SGA) has its own “blow-up screen.”

Movie Night allows students to bring their friends and families out to enjoy a free movie and have some fun, and non-students get the chance to watch a movie and enjoy an autumn night.  “If you are a student with your own children, this would be a perfect opportunity to bring your kids on campus and enjoy some time with them,” said Sherrell.

The next logical question: “How many students know about Movie Night?”

On a survey of students, the Settler found that 4 in 5 students asked did not know about the event. Advertisement of the event is strongly encouraged by Faculty and Staff.

This free showing takes place on the Volunteer State Community College quad, in the middle of Warf Sciences, Thigpen Library, Wood Campus Center, and the Pickle Fieldhouse.

This year’s showing will be Disney’s Avengers: Age of Ultron on Sept. 18, 2015.

For students who haven’t kept up with the series and related films, the movie stars Scarlet Johansson, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, and James Spader as the voice of the AI, Ultron.  The movie follows the storyline of the Marvel comic book series. The film is rated PG-13, due to language and thematic violence.

The  viewing is scheduled to be played on the quad, however, if the weather should not permit, it will be shown in the  carpeted dining room of Wood Campus Center.

Concessions will be sold and the proceeds from concessions will benefit the school’s clubs and programs.  The Settler does not currently have a list of specific concessions, but concessions will be available at the event.

Brenda Buffington’s Farewell

By: Barbara Harmon

Students and staff of Volunteer State Community College got their final hugs from Brenda Buffington, Director of Adult Learners and Evening Services, on Aug. 31st.  This was her last day at Vol State and even though there were cake and balloons around the department, there were that many more teary eyes.

Buffington was employed by Vol State over three years ago and feels she has made the most of that time.  She has enjoyed working with the student organizations, such as The National Society of Leadership and Success, overseeing many other student events and truly listening to what the students had to say.

When asked by students why she was doing all that she did, her response was, “because of you,” said Buffington.

Her work with the adult students led to her contribution to the Launch and Learn project for the upcoming year, which will offer workshops and free career assessments to the students who participate in this program said Buffington.

While reminiscing about her time at Vol State, Buffington recalled how she strove to turn the student gatherings into special events.  “We did not do it every day, but when we did—it was an event,” said Buffington.

There is one last event that Buffington planned for the students at Vol State.  “I will not be here, but my final event will be here.  I planned, on Nov. 19th, which is during the week of homecoming, a Clearly You event,” said Buffington.  “It will be in the carpeted dining room from 1-7pm, and then starting at 5:30pm there will be a dinner.”

You are welcome to bring your family to this event and have your image scanned into a three dimensional cube said Buffington, and she hopes that you will attend her event.

Judy Schuelke, Coordinator for Adult Learners and Evening Services, said Buffington will be missed incredibly.

Schuelke worked with Buffington slightly more than a year.  “Hugs were her trademark.  Regardless of the kind of day you were having, students and staff would come into her office just to get a hug, because they knew it was “ok,” said Schuelke.

Having worked under the guidance of Buffington, Schuelke said Buffington was centered on helping students.  “Brenda was a very giving person, genuine and sincere,” said Schuelke.

Tracey Toy had only worked with Buffington since January, but said it was common for students to come to the office just to see Buffington, even students that had already graduated.  “She is a rarity, not just to students, but with everybody that she works with,” Toy said.

Toy said that there is going to be so many people that are disappointed that Buffington is gone.  “I am happy for her though, because wherever she goes she will be a star,” said Toy.

Celebrate Hispanic heritage with quiz bowl

By Blake Bouza// Contributing Writer


Volunteer State will be holding its annual Hispanic Heritage Quiz Bowl on Sept. 16 in the Cafeteria room at 12:45 in the afternoon.

The quiz bowl will be played Jeopardy-style and will feature three rounds.  “I would hope that it would attract, really, everybody. Spanish students and other students who speak languages other than English as a first language. Anybody that would want to know more about other cultures.” Said Michelle Vandiver-Lawrence, Vol State’s own Spanish professor and moderator of the bowl.

Questions will range anywhere from within Hispanic culture, from geography to music. Vandiver-Lawrence hopes it will be a learning opportunity for students wanting to know more about Hispanic culture in general. “It [the questions] can cover pretty much anything relating to the culture,” she said.

Hispanic Heritage Month is Sept. 15 – Oct. 15. Vol State will be offering other events that celebrate the diversity of Hispanic culture all month. Hispanic Heritage Celebration is on Oct. 7 where students will be presenting projects and art.

The Hispanic Fall Fiesta on Oct. 17. “It’s really for the Hispanic community so you don’t even have to go to Vol State,” said Vandiver-Lawrence.

Vandiver-Lawrence urges as many students to attend as possible because the need to understand other cultures is so great. “We have to live with each other. There are subcultures we live with on a daily basis.”

“If you can only deal with the people in your subculture, how will you ever survive outside of your own community? Not even just races but also religions and all kinds of stuff that make us different from each other. If I can’t communicate with people that are different from me I won’t be able to function in society,” said Vandiver-Lawrence.  

The bowl typically lasts no more than a half hour so Michelle advises timeliness in getting to the event. “It’s amazing,” she said of the opportunities Vol State offers both to its students and the community at large. “We have so many people that are so committed.”

IncludED Initiative

By Anthony Davidson 

Volunteer State Community College has introduced a new system outline for students who are both buying school textbooks and paying tuition.

IncludEd is a collaborative effort between Faculty and the Campus Bookstore and is trying to include the cost of books into the cost of tuition. Dr. George Pimentel, vice president of academic affairs, said IncludEd would simplify the process.

“[Students] pay on average 450 to 550 dollars per semester. Renting books with IncludEd would be only 193 dollars per student, on average; that’s a 59 percent savings and you would have the books on day one. It’s an attempt at a win-win, rather than waiting for tuition or waiting for the next paycheck,” said Dr. Pimentel.

Currently, the IncludEd initiative is still only under consideration, as teachers still remain undecided and divided over whether or not they wish to implement it across the board.

“The way it is set up right now, individual instructors tell the Bookstore, ‘Hey I want to use IncludEd,’ and the bookstore sends me a list of professors for spending purposes. It is a convoluted thing right now, and it is really confusing for students the way things are right now,” said Dr. Pimentel.

Dr. Pimentel said he and collaborators currently project the program would institute the online version of the material at 67 dollars per course and the hard copy (renting) version would be 48 dollars per course.

Pimentel also said the hard copy (buyout) would be, theoretically, only 10 dollars more per course and would be a paper copy.

“It may not be the fancy version with covers and stuff, but it would be a portable version that could be placed in a binder. This caters to those who want to hold on to the actual book, rather than read it online. As a parent with mid 20’s children, I can say that my kids have not complained about online as opposed to hard copy,” said Dr. Pimentel.

Dr. Pimentel said he projects that universal professorial consensus would occur by spring 2015 and approval for IncludEd by Tennessee Board of Regions (TBR) would allow for implementation of the initiative in the autumnal semester of 2016.

On an impromptu survey of five students, four out of five students said that they would rather pay for books on the front end, rather than pay for their books out of pocket on the back end; in other words, these students would rather have their books sooner and not have to pay near as much on the back end, rather than pay on average a 450-550 dollars.

Dr. Pimentel said he plans on posting a survey in the near future to help get the students’ feedback and make the movement more on-track with everyone.

Homcoming Themes

By Barbara Harmon

Volunteer State Community College has started the process of planning homecoming week, which will take place during the week of November 16 – 21.

Chastity Crabtree, president of the Association of Campus Events (ACE), said she did her research and narrowed the theme choices down to decades, nautical, or superheroes.

Students can put their vote in the box located in the front of “The Settler” newsroom, beside the cafeteria.

“The idea behind all three of these, is they all seem to be very broad, so with any one of these three options, there is a lot to choose from,” said Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities.

Crabtree said she has plans for the homecoming game and that she is contemplating having a free throw challenge, photo booth, and other theme centered activities.

Crabtree also said a great deal of thought and energy is being put into this year’s events and encourages students to get involved.

“The student leader’s have made their voices known, so now is your chance, as the student body, to vote on your choice for homecoming,” said Crabtree.

Sherrell said the division held their voting at the retreats this summer and have already gathered thirty-eight votes. They would like the students to be involved and also cast their votes.

The winning theme will then become the inspiration for decorations of the doors, for the different divisions. Sherrell said there will also be a contest for the best decorated door, during homecoming week.

“The hope behind this is that we can get people to rally behind homecoming, and maybe they will actually want to dress up, or they will want to participate in the contest, and most importantly–that they will want to come to the game. That’s the goal,” said Sherrell.

Kat Lambert, a Vol State student, said she is already thinking about which theme she will vote for. Lambert said she missed the homecoming festivities last year because she never saw any advertisements for them.

“I’m hoping to participate more this year since I will know, ahead of time, what is going on,” Lambert said.

Lambert said she is planning to attend the homecoming game to participate in the activities there and thinks voting for themes, in advance, will stimulate interest.

“Participation will be good, and it should excite the freshmen,” said Lambert.

The Humanities Building

Mallory Burysek


The Humanities Building was blue drafted fifteen years ago in 1999 by former Dean of Humanities, Dr. Mickey Hall. He created this building because thirty-four percent of classes each semester are Humanity related, making it the largest division on campus. The Tennessee Board of Regions placed the Humanities Building sixth for funding for ten years. Once Vol State received the funding they needed to begin, they jumped right into building the three-story building. Vol State received a lot of help from the community due to donations. Volunteer State Bank pledged $100,000, David and Diane Black pledged $1 million, and The Sumner Foundation pledged $300,000. “We want Vol State to be the cultural center of Sumner County,” said Dr. Jerry Faulkner, president of Vol State. “This building is another addition to that commitment.” Before they could start the full construction they had to make a few changes to the campus. Roads had to be rerouted, the cafeteria added a service elevator in order to receive their packaged food and drinks, and more parking lots had to be created. The goal for adding this building is to make Vol State more of a walking campus for students.

The Humanities Building is slightly larger than originally planned, but this will help Vol State’s overcrowding dilemma. This building will include English, Communications, Art, Music, Theater, Philosophy, and Foreign Language departments. It is uniquely connected to the Library and Campus Center. The first floor of the Humanities Building will include Music-related classrooms. The second floor will include Communications, English, and Art Studios.  The third floor will continue with English and then extend to Foreign Language, Philosophy, and Computer classes. “This is exciting because our students need more state-of-the-art facilities in order to be more marketable in the workforce,” said Humanities Dean, Alycia Ehlert. “We’ll have many special lab spaces and collaborative areas to allow for more group work.”  Some special features include a large patio on the backside of the building where events can be held, a tear-shaped amphitheater adjacent of the building, and a walking bridge connecting to the Woods building.  Glenda Godwin said, “The furniture will be bright and reflective like the creative talents that will be housed in that building.” Any students and faculty that attended the celebration this past Tuesday signed the last beam. The exterior of the building will most likely be finished before winter, making the interior the final project. The Humanities Building is right on schedule and should be ready by fall of 2016.

Pioneering the Parking Lots

By Kalynn Meeker

Fall semester of 2015 at Volunteer State Community College is full of changes. One is an expected 20% increase of students.  No matter if you are a student or a faculty member, freshmen or upperclassmen, traffic can be a challenge.  In an interview with Angela Lawson, the Assistant Chief of Police, these changes were cleared up.

To aid the increase of traffic, there is an increase of parking spaces. The H Lot, which is convenient for anyone entering from the Greenlea Boulevard, has been extended to approximately 200 spaces. Also added on to is the largest parking lot, the E lot, by approximately 50 spaces. For anyone coming through the main entrance, this lot is most accessible. A new, real four-way stop can be used to enter into the parking lot;  however, the spaces will fill up quickly for students and staff alike. Rebecca Flentge, a freshmen but not a newcomer to the Volstate campus, said, “I think that the new parking lot and the roads make it impossible to get anywhere and it makes getting to class a longer process.”

When asked how students and staff will know where they can park, Lawson explained that there would be signage placed in the spots where students can park and staff can park. Along with the signage there will be color indications: yellow lines are for students and white for general parking. Most general parking is located in front of the Thigpen Library.

“The mornings between 7:30 and 8:30 will be the busiest. Fridays will not be so bad,” Lawson said when asked about the peak traffic times. There will be a two or three-week grace period for all students and staff when it comes to parking in designated spots and decals. Additionally, for the first two weeks there will be heavy police presence to help those in need of guidance around campus, not to give citations.

In order to avoid getting a citation, decals will need to be on cars within two to three weeks after classes begin. To make the transition smoother into the new school year, Campus Connect is supplied all new freshmen with parking decals on August 22nd, during Welcome Day.

Tuition going up 3.4% at Volunteer State

The Tennessee Board of Regents approved increases in tuition and fees Friday that are among the lowest on average since 1996.
The increase raises tuition an average of 3.3 percent across the six TBR universities, 13 community colleges and 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology.
Students at community colleges will pay 3.4 percent more for tuition fees.

Students at Volunteer State Community College will pay $3,648 in maintenance/tuition fees, plus $277 in mandatory fees, beginning with the Fall semester, for the 2015-16 academic year.

Vol State has the second lowest tuition and mandatory fee ($3,925) among Tennessee community colleges, just $6 more than Columbia State Community College ($3,919).
In addition to maintenance fees/tuition, which are charged by the credit hour, all students pay a set of mandatory fees that are unique to each campus, like athletics fees, student activities fees, health services fees, etc.

“We are pleased that the tuition levels are the lowest they have been in decades, but we do understand that every time fees are raised, someone may be priced out of an opportunity to attend one of our institutions,” said TBR Chancellor John Morgan.

“Tennessee is fortunate to have state leaders who recognize the integral connection between an educated workforce with affordable access to post-secondary education and the economic growth of our state. Our Hope lottery scholarship, the Tennessee Promise last-dollar scholarship and the Tennessee Reconnect grant, along with other state and federal aid programs, make higher education a more realistic option for more people today than ever before, but for those who must cover the full cost of attendance, any increase is unfortunate,” he said.
“Our institutions are more efficient now than ever, and they continue to focus their resources on ways that support student success to help more complete their credentials faster and more effectively.

“We hope that in the coming years our state leaders will continue to find a way to make higher education a funding priority,” Morgan said.

How fees are calculated:

Maintenance fees
(often referred to as “tuition”) are the charges based on credit hours for in-state students. For example, a student pays a flat rate for the first 12 hours of class credits and a discounted rate for any additional hours. Only out-of-state students are required to pay tuition in addition to maintenance fees. Mandatory fees vary by institution, fund specified programs, and are paid by all students regardless of the number of hours they take.

Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Building under construction behind Wood Center

The Steinhauer, Rogan and Black Building is under construction behind the Wood Campus Center on the Vol State Gallatin campus.

The Steinhauer, Rogan and Black Building is under construction behind the Wood Campus Center on the Vol State Gallatin campus.

Volunteer State Community College’s main Gallatin campus is under construction for a new Humanities building. The building will be located between the Wood Campus Center and the Mattox Building.

The new building will be the Steinhauer, Rogan and Black Building.

It will be the largest building on campus at  88,345 square feet.

Specific criteria that is planned for the new building includes it having 23 classrooms, 18 labs, 11 collaborative study areas, 56 offices, adjunct faculty workrooms, an outdoor amphitheater, and a courtyard. It will also have a recording studio/ lab; drawing, ceramics and printmaking studios; instrumental art gallery, computer labs, and a large capacity of flexible instructional space.

“We’re really excited about the opportunity this will give to our students in the Humanities program. But it will also free up space for us to offer exciting and collaborative activities and classes for students in all programs,” said Alycia Ehlert, dean of the Humanities division.

Construction is said to be completed by the summer of 2016.

Traffic and parking changes and warnings will be e-mailed throughout the Vol State community via their student or faculty g-mail accounts.

Live streaming of the construction can be watched online at

Completion Advisors to start in July

 Starting in the Fall, Volunteer State Community College will be introducing new advising help for the student body.

Dr. George Pimentel, Vice President of Academic Affairs, said the Funding is currently pending but the school plans to hire four completion advisors.

“Each division will have one, so there will be one assigned to Humanities, one assigned to Social Science, one for Business and Technology and one for Math and Science. We already have one in Allied Health,” said Pimentel. 

Pimentel also said the completion advisors will give students guidance.

“They will have an advising load just like the other faculty do but they are going to be there for a resource, they are going to help by doing more active advising . . . they will be trained as counselors as well,” said Pimentel.

If a student’s advisor is absent or unable to see the student right away, Pimentel said the completion advisors are who the students should go to next. 

“Say, your advisors not there, instead of you having to come back another day, that persons there in the division. You can go see them and they can take notes and send them to your advisor and help out the students.

“We are really looking forward to having them on board in July. We are relatively sure we are going to move July 1, so that’s our goal. I can’t guarantee it, but I feel good about it,” said Pimentel.