Vol State becomes no-substance campus

By: Aundrea Paredes, Contributing Writer

Volunteer State Community College became a “No Smoking” campus on Jan. 1, 2016. The new policy includes all Vol State campuses.

All use of tobacco products, including smokeless products, has been restricted on campus grounds and in the parking lots. This includes: vaping, chewing tobacco, water pipes, etc.

According to the Vol State Web site, “The tobacco-vape-free policy is a part of Vol State’s commitment to creating a healthy and sustainable environment for all members of our campus community and is designed to be positive and health directed.”

The Vol State Web site also includes that any visitors to the college are subjected to abide by the Tobacco-Limited policy:

“Organizers and attendees at public events, such as conferences, meetings, public lectures, social events, cultural events, and sporting events using Vol State facilities are required to abide by the Tobacco-Limited Campus policy.”

The decisions concerning the new policy were made after a previous survey conducted by the Student Government Association, SGA, and the President’s Cabinet at Vol State.

“I agree with the collective decision to make Vol State a smoke free campus; it will better the quality of life and make Vol State a healthier college,” said Jesse Versage, president of the SGA.

The new policy encourages students to stop using tobacco products, but does not force them to quit. Help is available to those who want to stop using tobacco products. Students and visitors are also encouraged to speak up if a student, faculty, staff or visitor is caught violating the new policy.

“I personally am happy that we are making this step toward a healthier campus community,” said Tami Wallace, Director of Public Relations and Marketing.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causes many diseases and reduces the health of smokers in general. Quitting smoking lowers your risk for smoking-related diseases and can add years to your life.”

“College campuses all across the country are making this move,” said Eric Melcher, Communications Coordinator for Public Relations.

To emphasize, there are no designated smoking areas. The entire campus is tobacco, vape, water pipe, and any other substance free. Students and faculty are required to follow this policy as well as visitors.

There are off campus sources that aid any student or faculty that want to stop the use of tobacco. These services can be found on the Vol State Web site.

Vol State Unity Day speaker announced

Unity Day

By: Barbara Harmon, Assistant Editor

Fred Bailey will be speaking at Volunteer State Community College for Unity Day on Jan. 27 in the Caudill Auditorium at 12:45 p.m.

Bailey is the founder of Children Are People, Inc. (CAP), located in Gallatin.

“As one of fifteen children of sharecroppers from Gallatin, Tennessee, Fred was born without the gift of full sight,” the Children Are People website (childrenarepeopletn.org) wrote.

“Despite an intimate relationship with disadvantage, he received a Bachelor’s degree from Tennessee State University, worked at General Electric and served as a middle school and high school wrestling coach,” the website noted.

Unity Day is a Vol State event that leads up to Black History Month and encourages the unity of all people.

“It always follows after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and we host this event to bring enlightenment about Black History Month,” said Dr. Kenny Yarbrough, Director of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives.

“I hope students, faculty and staff will gain insight and enlightenment on black history as well as see a living testament of someone who is not just making black history, but history in general.

“Students will gain first-hand knowledge of the plight and accomplishments of our speaker, Mr. Fred Bailey, who is a renowned business man and motivational speaker from Gallatin,” said Yarbrough.

Bailey started CAP as an after-school program to help children succeed.

Yarbrough went on to say that students would hear about Bailey’s struggles and how he overcame them to help his community.

The office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives annually sponsors unity Day in January.

“I feel like more students should attend Unity Day,” said Kat Lambert, a sophomore at Vol State.

“I believe that it is important for students to learn all history, because it is our past and it shows how far America has come as a nation,” said Lambert.

Students wanted to encourage others to attend this event at Vol State and express its significance.

“It is important for students to show up to events like Unity Day because with politics and racial profiling issues and all the controversy of the last year.”

“It is important to remember we, as college students, are all people with the same goal of furthering our life through higher education,” said Autumn Finley, student at Vol State.

“While there are many differences between Vol State students’ races and social and economic classes and cultures, we still have a united common goal. It puts things in perspective,” Finley said.

Forming good study habits

Forming Good Habits

By Blake Bouza, Assistant Editor


At Volunteer State Community College, it can almost universally be agreed that our biggest enemy is “inclement weather.”

This has never been more illustrated than in the very first week of school this semester (no elaboration needed).

More than ever it is imperative to form good study habits now so that your schedule is not completely thrown off gear by things like the weather, car trouble, relationship trouble – just trouble, okay?

Student life in college is almost invariably 90 percent damage control and 10 percent waiting for the next crisis of the week.

Now is the time to set some safeties in place. I like to call it “preemptive damage control.” Form good habits now, so that when you pick up our end-of-the-semester edition of the paper and see the inevitable “Save Your Grades” article, you can throw your head back and cackle.

With some advice on this, I turned to the Internet and students at Vol State.

Editor-in-Chief Sara Keen had a wonderful editorial last week about procrastination (check it out on our website, seriously). In it she talked about a solid strategy she employs, setting aside a half hour to an hour each day and devote that time to one subject.

Daily reviews of notes that you have taken can be tedious. Instead, the Oklahoma Nursing Student Association website writes that we should consider weekly note reviews.

Since we mostly have Fridays free of school activity now, try and use this time for a weekly review. Be it early in the morning or during lunch, the OKNSA website writes that students should study when they are at their peak, that is, when students are most alert and awake.

I find it imperative to mention that I’ve already checked my phone three different times while writing this article. Silence the phone and put it out of reach. You’ll keep your concentration about you, I promise.

Psychcentral.com writes “how you approach something matters almost as much as what you do. Aim to think positively when you study.”

The website goes on to write that students should avoid catastrophic thinking. “Instead of, ‘I’m a mess, I’ll never have enough time to study for this exam,’ look at it like, ‘I may be a little late to study as much as I’d like, but since I’m doing it now, I’ll get most of it done.’”

We should take an objective view of our grades and ask ourselves what we can do to improve, notes Psychcentral, rather than think “I always mess things up.”

Make a schedule you can stick to. You know what you’ve got to do in a week. Make a study schedule that fits your work and home life. According to the OKSNA website, transferring notes to 3×5 cards would be an effective way to study during spare moments, or recording a lecture for later listening if your professor is particularly fast-speaking.

Holdon Guy, student at Vol State, said that he bases his studying method around the principles of prioritization, time management, breaks, and working hours.

Guy said that he makes out a list of tasks based on due dates, then allocates as much time as needed for each task.

“Doing this allows me to visualize where I need to concentrate my efforts when I study. During study time I incorporate fifteen minutes of break time into every hour,” said Guy.

Guy said that taking fifteen minutes to walk around, eat a snack, or take a bike ride keeps his mind alert and helps him to remember all the material he is studying.

“I try to only study when I feel fresh and productive,” Guy said.

While students cannot predict such things as inclement weather, we can indeed set up safeties for ourselves to ensure that our academic careers are on track by consciously making the effort to, in spite of how much snow is on the ground.

Snowfall causes Vol State closings

Vol State Shutdown

By Blake Bouza, Assistant Editor


Volunteer State Community College faced shutdowns due to inclement weather during its first week of the spring 2016 semester.

On Monday, Jan. 18, Vol State campuses were closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. On Tuesday, Jan. 19, classes began as usual before weather forced administration to close all together on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Jan. 20, the Vol State Facebook page wrote, “the Drop/Add period has been extended until the end of the day Monday, January 25. So, students will be able to do regular online registration themselves.”

The Facebook page went on to write that students would not have to take a signed drop/add form to Records (Ramer Administration Building, room 183) through Monday.

The page encouraged students with questions to visit the Advising Center.

Earlier that same day, the Facebook page advised students to double check their Vol State portal for any makeup work professors may have assigned because of the missed class time.

The Vol State blog (volunteerstatecommunitycollege.blogspot.com) explained the difference between delays and cancellations.

“A delay means that classes start at that hour. If we say delayed until 10am, that means only classes that would be meeting at 10am or later will be meeting. Classes before that are canceled,” wrote the blog.

It continued by noting this method is done because classes can begin at different times and different lengths, be it a lab or a three-hour class.

“If you have a three-hour class starting at 8am and there is a delay until 10am – your class will meet starting at 10am,” the blog wrote.

Visit the Vol State blog for up-to-date coverage of school closings, delays and events, as well as their Facebook page and Twitter account.

In reference to why northern states seem better equipped to deal with winter weather than southern states, Susannah Griffee of Gokicker.com wrote, “offensive jokes aside, the South can’t handle the snow because it’s not used to snow.”

It is not because the South is unused to extreme weather, Griffee implored, but rather it is accustomed to different types of extreme weather – such as tornadoes, hurricanes and droughts.

“If multiple tornadoes suddenly hit the Big Apple, people wouldn’t have the tools to deal with them,” wrote Griffee.

For Boston or New York, it would make more sense to base their infrastructure on salt trucks and snow plows, rather than tornado shelters.

According to Griffee, city and state governments do not have unlimited resources to prepare for every conceivable weather event.

“They prepare for the ones that are most likely,” Griffee told readers.

Luncheon held for campus veterans

Melissa Farmer

A luncheon was held for the veterans of Volunteer State Community College on Nov. 11 [Veteran’s Day] in the Carpeted Dining Room.  The event included students, faculty, staff, and guest speakers.

Joe Shakeenab, who was a Special Forces Green Beret when he served, spoke of days when he was younger and how he always wanted to be the best he could be. He was always hungry for knowledge.

He encouraged the veterans at the luncheon to continue to “be hungry,” or to always have a goal and a mission. The Veterans enjoyed a meal that included chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and other delicious sides.

Before the event started our attention was drawn to the “POW/MIA table” which stands for “prisoner of war” and “missing in action,” for any soldiers who have not yet/did not come home.

The table was set in a specific way. The cloth was white – symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to serve.

“The single red rose reminds us of the lives of these Americans….and their loved ones and friends who keep the faith, while seeking answers. The yellow ribbon symbolizes our continued uncertainty, hope for their return and determination to account for them.”

“A slice of lemon reminds us of their bitter fate, captured and missing in a foreign land. A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears of our missing and their families – who long for answers after decades of uncertainty. The lighted candle reflects our hope for their return – alive or dead.”

The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God. The glass is inverted – to symbolize their inability to share a toast. The chairs are empty – they are missing.”

This is what is read aloud to explain the setting to anyone in the group who was unaware of what the MIA table stands for.

Later on, Ken Hanson explained that the veterans on campus could now use the downstairs room that used to be used for club meetings.  The room will have computers available. It will be an area to do homework or “just hang out” if you have some free time on campus.

Hanson expressed that he wants to help make the transition from active duty to civilian life as smooth as possible and he hopes that the Veteran area downstairs will help that happen.


TRIO provides support for students in need

Michaela Marcellino

TRIO Student Support Services, a helpful resource for students, is here on the campus of Volunteer State Community College.

“Our program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, designed to serve 167 Vol State students in the areas of academic support, graduation planning, 4-year college transfer planning, technology access, cultural enrichment, etc…we also have three TRIO Retention Scholarships available for eligible TRIO students who may apply after 1 year of participation. Our goal is to help students reach their goals while here at Vol State.” said Andrea Boddie, the Director of TRIO.

The TRIO brochure offers information on who is eligible, as well as a full list of services offered. These services include assisting students with setting and achieving long-term and short-term goals, Academic Advising, Tutoring/Academic Planning, individual or group Supplemental Instruction, Financial Literacy, Transfer Planning, Peer mentoring, and more.

“One of my favorite things about TRIO is when students come in here, utilize the services that we offer, and seeing what it does for them.”

“And when they’re successful at something, especially if they’ve been struggling, and taken advantage of the tutoring we offer, and come back and tell us they got a B on that test, it’s just so gratifying to hear that.”

“And it’s nice when they come in and use our computer lab, because it’s such a nice, quiet place to come and study. It’s really nice [to see them] be successful while they’re going to Vol State, and know we’re a part of that.”

“And [we] continue to help them grow and mature, and watch them succeed,” said Lacey Goodrum, TRIO’s Secretary.

TRIO’s purpose is to help students earn their Associates Degree and assist them to transfer on to a four-year school.

To apply for TRIO’s assistance, according to their brochure, first complete a TRIO SSS application from the TRIO Office [Wood Campus Center, Room 210] or complete it online at the Vol State website, www.volstate.edu/TRIO.

Then, provide a copy of previous year’s tax return and schedule initial interview. After the interview, a letter of enrollment status and the next steps will be sent.

“[We at TRIO] are here to help students be successful…we are here to provide what they need to reach their goals. I feel blessed to work with the best group of students on campus,” said Jean Colello, TRIO’s Program Coordinator.

For more information call 615-230-3732


International education week comes to Vol State


Blake Bouza

Volunteer State Community College is hosting its annual International Education Week this week.

According to Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities, there will be several different events promoting the benefits of international education.

On Monday, Nov. 16, the Student Government Association will be giving out free international coffee at their meeting in the carpeted dining room at 12:45pm. It is open for anyone to attend.

On Tuesday, Nov. 17, Around the World in a Day begins at 12:45pm in the carpeted dining room.

“This event is an opportunity for all students, faculty, and staff who have traveled overseas to show off their pictures and items as table displays,” Sherrell said.

The event is open to everyone to come and talk to those who have traveled and hear their travel experiences.

On Wednesday, Nov. 18, Asia Project will be performing spoken word in the carpeted dining room at 12:45pm.

Asia Project is a multi-talented, award winning spoken word artist who has toured almost 300 colleges/universities in the last two years.

“He is a cancer survivor who has won audiences throughout the country with a spoken word show that has nothing less than an honest and genuine testimony of his life,” Sherrell said.

According to the APCA National Campus Events Planning Conference book, “the show is always inspiring, sometimes gut wrenching, and most often times comical buffoonery.”

Alexis Deere, student at Vol State, did not know about International Education Week, but wishes she would have.

“I think students should know the opportunities that they can get it while being in college and study abroad is a very good opportunity to see new things and learn in different ways,” said Deere.

Deere said that she has always dreamed of leaving the country and learning about another culture.

“I’m a very hands-on learner and I believe if I was to travel and learn, it would be so much easier for me to learn by actually being there and experiencing country,” said Deere.

“Studying abroad isn’t just about learning from the class that you’re taking, it’s also learning how to communicate and interact with other people, while learning and experiencing how they live,” Deere said.

According to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs website, “this [International Education Week] is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.”

International Education Week is to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.

Charitable Organizations Around Your Community

Barbara A. Harmon


Volunteer State Community College’s annual Christmas for the Kids and other local charities give everyone the opportunity to help those in need.

Lori Miller, Secretary of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives, said that Vol State has sponsored this event for at least 10 years.

The response has varied every year, but in 2011 they had the most applicants (116 children), she said.

“The Student Government Association (SGA) pays for the reception type dinner that they have that goes on, and they usually put $500 toward that,” said Miller.

She said that SLDI also keeps a budget for this event.

“We have Books are Fun, and right now we have the thing that’s going on (Jewelry is Fun),” said Miller.

“We have a week of each one in the fall and the spring, so that’s 10 percent of those proceeds going back to Christmas for the Kids,” said Miller.

She said those proceeds will then help fund any kid that is not adopted out and help pay for decorations and games.

“What I mean by adopted out is, we will have a little paper ornament that will have if the child is a boy or girl, their age, their sizes, and things they may need or want,” said Miller.

“Those are put on the tree, and then we have Vol State community people that come out the Monday before Thanksgiving, and they are able to pick those up to sign the kids out,” said Miller.

Occasionally, people from the surrounding community want to help, but it is mostly from within the Vol State community; they are eager to help out their own, she said.

“Sometimes we will have clubs that will say, us as a club are going to sponsor a child,” said Miller.

“My goal is by the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, there will be no more ornaments on the tree.

“One year we had people fighting for the last four,” said Miller.

She said that last year the 30-something ornaments were gone by the first day.

“As of right now we only have about 25 turned in for this year,” said Miller.

The children usually open their presents at the dinner, unless their parents request otherwise, she said.

“Some of the kids, you see them, and their eyes light up over the littlest things,” said Miller.

If the parents know that their child will not have any presents on Christmas, they can let her know, so their child will be given a baggie to open that night instead, she said.

“Then, mom [or dad] can go ahead and take the other stuff out to the car,” said Miller.

When Miller was a student at Vol State, Christmas for the Kids enabled her children to have gifts, she said.

“Christmas is about giving, but it’s not about how much your kids get; but literally they would have had nothing, when I was a student,” said Miller.

“Because I was a single mom, I was not working and I was in school full-time,” said Miller.

She said she can relate to these students and that is probably why she gets so involved with this event.

“It’s like I’ve come full circle,” said Miller.

“The Employee Relations Food Drive benefits the families from the Christmas for the Kids program, run by the Vol State Student Government Association each year,” according to Kate Walker, Office Coordinator of Information Technology.

According to her, there are donation boxes around campus that Employee Relations would like people to contribute non-perishable food items (excluding glass containers) and toiletries in.

“Each family that is approved and would like the food boxes will get them [at the event],” according to Walker.

“This event has been held for the last several years and will continue as long as the Employee Relations Committee votes to keep it going.

“For the last two years, we have been able to supply two overflowing boxes of food to each family,” according to Walker.

Walker thinks Vol State has always been a very contributing campus, according to her.

“I believe that anything we can do to make this campus a more amazing place to work is worth it,” according to Walker.

“Although food donations are wonderful, please realize that goods are not the only thing you can donate.

“Your time is just as valuable,” according to Walker.

Nelson Moore, former student of Vol State and former SGA President that will be playing Santa at Christmas for the Kids, said that he enjoys participating in this event because he knows what it is like to go without.

“I never had a Christmas when I was a kid” said Moore. “My dad didn’t believe in Christmas, and we just didn’t have Christmas.”

“Other people gave us stuff, every once in a while, but we didn’t have Christmas like other people,” he said.

Moore said he has been Santa at this event before, and the children usually ask for electronics (laptops or video games), but that the presents they open that night always seem to please the children when they open them.

“It seems, no matter what they get, they are really happy about it and excited—no matter how big or small it is,” said Moore.

He said he would like to encourage students and others to participate in this event.

“They would found out that they would get more joy than the kids,” said Moore.

“Donate all they can and participate if they can; come see it and help out.

“And remember one thing,” said Moore, “HOHOHO.”

According to Allison Meyers, Vice President of SGA, “the event is beneficial for VSCC students because playing the role of full-time student and parent often comes with financial struggles, and every little bit helps.”

“Ornaments will be placed on the Christmas tree in the Mary Nichols tiled dining room, and I encourage Volunteer State students, clubs, faculty, and staff to adopt a child,” according to Meyers.

There are many organizations and charitable events that students and faculty can participate in, especially during this time of year.

Hendersonville Medical Center is a local hospital that sponsors such events.

Louise Collins, Assistant Director of Cardiopulmonary Services at HMC, said “the hospital is a sponsor for the United Way, Relay for Life (American cancer), Light the Night (Leukemia), [and the] American Heart Association.”

“At Christmas we do a Coat Drive for the United Way, Christmas for Kids, we have a choice to buy tickets to a concert (usually at Bridge Stone) and the money goes for toys,” according to Collins.

According to her, a variety of staff members from the different departments donate their time to help with these events.

“Our Christmas Angel tree will be for families from our hospital who may be in need of help at Christmas,” according to Collins.

“Each department picks a family, which has listed sizes and a list of each child’s wish list.

“You can donate to the United Way, Samaritan House, we [also] do food drives and collect can goods,” according to Collins.

NSLS holds Spirit Day at Buffalo Wild Wings

Kalynn Meeker

Volunteer State Community College’s National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) will host Spirit Day at Buffalo Wild Wings on Thursday, Nov 19, to raise money. It will be held at 1109 Nashville Pike in Gallatin, across from Chick-Fil-A.

NSLS is an organization based on “Building Leaders who make a better World”.

Renea Garrett, first semester President of NSLS, said that the Society is a club where students can and will “discover and achieve their goals”.

Garrett says there has already been two Spirit Days similar to this, but they did not turn out as well as they hoped.

Dustin Hodges, the Fundraising and Publicity Chair, decided to schedule a third and final Spirit Day on a busy day of the week at Buffalo Wild Wings to enhance the chance of having a better turn out. This day is none other than Thursday night football, where the Tennessee Titans will be playing the Jacksonville Jaguars at 8:25 p.m. Eastern Time.

Tabitha Sherrell, Student Activities Coordinator, says anyone who would like to go must first have at ticket.

Students will then show the ticket to the waiter or waitress upon time of payment, and 15% of the bill will go to funding NSLS.

“All funds earned by events and fundraising go into the club account which we use to fund Leadership training days, Super Saturdays, our induction ceremony, and give back to our community,” said Garrett.

Tickets have been passed out during NSLS speaker broadcast events, orientations, leadership training, and Student Government Association meetings.

Sherrell said there are tickets still available for anyone interested.

Speak with Sherrell in the Student Life and Diversity Initiatives Room, located in the Wood Campus Center, room 215 to receive a ticket. The tickets are required to participate in the fundraising event.

The total amount of money raised will be counted following the event.


Vol State Bookstore offers price matching

Sara Keen// Editor-in-Cheif


The Bookstore at Volunteer State Community College now offers price matching for textbooks.

It can often be difficult to find an affordable textbook, especially when some can cost upwards of 150 dollars.  

Students can look forward to receiving the best deal on their textbook without having to pay for shipping or fear of being “ripped off” in the end.


Jesse Versage, SGA President, has been pressing for the bookstore to implement price-matching all semester.

“I went to a retreat with all the TBR SGA Presidents and proposed the idea of price-matching, and all the TBR students were on board,” said Versage.

He is hopeful that this will improve the bookstore’s sales, as well as help student’s with financial trouble.  

“I contacted the Vice President of Business, and Finance, then pushed the idea on administration as well as the committee,” said Versage.

He received overwhelming support from students as well as support from the majority of the faculty and staff.

“I am incredibly happy that this was finally implemented.  I put in many hours into this project; it is incredible what students can do when they come together,” said Versage.


Students will be able to save money at the bookstore buy bringing in proof of a competitor’s price.  Hardcopy textbooks will be open for price matching if a student buys or rents the book.

The bookstore will be price matching against competitors including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Chegg.  They will also be price matching against any local businesses.

If a student is renting a textbook, then the competitor’s rental period must match that of the bookstore.  

The bookstore cannot, however, price-match with any student sellers, Amazon warehouse deals, digital books, or publisher-direct prices.

Students must provide a flyer or screenshot of the competitor’s price at the time of purchase or within seven days of making the purchase.

Any refunds provided within the seven-day period will be on a store gift card.

“I think it’s great! I would definitely be more inclined to buy a book from the bookstore because I know it’s not a rip-off,” said Christian Ferguson, a first-time freshman at Vol State.