Vol State to host Valentine’s concert


By Tayla Courage

Volunteer State Community College’s Associate of Fine Arts students will perform a free Valentine’s Day voice concert Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. in Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Room 151.

The concert is scheduled for the Tuesday before Valentine’s Day so as not to interfere with Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent, according to Nancy Slaughter, associate professor of music.

The performances will feature a medley of Broadway love songs selected by Slaughter and Mark Granlund, a fellow associate professor of music.

Voice students will be singing the great songs from Musical Theater [sic] of yesterday. You will be humming a familiar tune when you leave!” according to an email from Granland.

The soloists and duets, which will include a married couple, will be accompanied by Slaughter and Granlund, respectively, on the grand piano.

Slaughter said that Vol State students enrolled in a music appreciation course may use this event as a writing opportunity for one of their required concert reports for the semester.

Sophomore Livy Blizzard, one of the performing vocal students, said that she believes the concert will be “a very wonderful affair” to showcase some of Vol State’s most talented students.

“She chose really well for each of her individual singers, as well as Mr. Granlund. So, not only will there be good songs, but there are good vocalists and the songs suit them perfectly and really show the best of their abilities,” said Blizzard.

Slaughter explained that her students have only had a couple of weeks to fully memorize their music, but she acknowledged that the presence of an audience will serve as an incentive for them to give their best performances.

“It makes them want to be even more prepared when they’re going to have an audience, so it’s very supportive for everybody to come,” said Slaughter.

VSCC to repair parking lots, add sidewalks


By Presley Green

Volunteer State Community College will be repairing parking lots and adding sidewalks on the Gallatin campus in 2018.

The Parking, Road and Site Upgrade Project is to repair and resurface older parking lots. Also, sidewalks will be added to end the issues students face while walking to the further parking lots across Loop Road, the road the that wraps around campus connecting the entrances.

This project is still in the design phase, but construction is already being scheduled.

The goal of the Parking, Road and Site Upgrade Project is to repair aging parking lots and increase pedestrian safety through the construction of sidewalks on campus,” according to Will Newman, senior director of plant operations.

This upgrade project includes resurfacing Parking Lots A and B, located outside Ramer Administration Building and Caudill Hall, and repairing Lot E, by the tennis courts, and Lot Y, on the east side of campus. The project is not adding additional parking but just repairing and resurfacing current lots that are damaged or old.

A five-foot-wide sidewalk will be constructed around the southwest side of Loop Road, and another sidewalk will connect Loop Road to the center of the campus.

“This project is funded by annual capital maintenance appropriations which are provided by the state. For fiscal year 2016-2017, the state awarded VSCC nearly $1.6 million for site repairs and upgrades. The Parking, Road, and Site Upgrade is estimated to cost $644,000,” according to Newman in an email.

Even though the project is still in the design phase, the construction is estimated to start in the middle of May and is projected to last until the middle of September. The construction is scheduled to take place during the summer months to avoid disturbing students, faculty, and traffic.

Fatima Carreno, sophomore at Vol State who parks in Lot E four days a week said, “I think this upgrade project is great. I rarely walk along Loop Road, but I’m sure many students do and will appreciate the safety of a sidewalk.”

Annual Soul Food Luncheon Educates


By Presley Green

Vol State’s annual Soul Food Luncheon will be Wednesday, Feb. 7th, 12:45 p.m., in the Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room in the Wood Campus Center.

Everyone in the campus community is welcome.

There will be a dramatic reading at the luncheon, and Dr. Kenny Yarbrough, manager of diversity and inclusion, will be giving an address.

The event is sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to kick off Black History Month.

“People bond around food and most Southern people like soul food. This luncheon highlights the origin of soul food, and how it came to be,” according to Yarborough.

The lunch promotes an understanding of culture and unity around something most people appreciate, good food, according to Yarborough.

“By highlighting our similarities, we can learn to appreciate our differences,” according to Yarborough.


Vol State Updates Website


By Tayla Courage

Volunteer State Community College sent an email announcement notifying students about its new mobile-friendly website Jan. 30.

Cindy Williams, a web designer for Vol State, described how the “clean and contemporary” appearance allows students and faculty to locate information more efficiently.

“The content has been streamlined and formatted in a way that is easier to skim through and read, both visually and by screen readers and assistive technology,” according to an email from Williams.

Harmoni Eddington and Jacob West, two students in Introduction to Electronic Media, voiced their opinions on the layout of the new website.

“It looks a lot more user-friendly,” said Eddington, a freshman.

“It’s snazzy. It looks sleek. It’s much better than the last website,” said West, a sophomore.

Visitors to the website may also notice a name change in the header of the website. Rather than saying “Volunteer State Community College,” the new header simply says “Vol State Community College.”

Market research has revealed that more students prefer the use of “Vol State” when referring to the campus, according to Jason Bugiada, web and digital media administrator.

Since our website serves as our primary online marketing piece for Vol State, we made the decision to incorporate the “Vol State Community College” logo in the top header,” wrote Bugiada.

He also made sure to point out the original “Volunteer State Community College” logo is still on the website’s footer.

Tami Wallace, director of public relations and marketing, is confident in the market research and believes the redesign will prove to be beneficial to both current and incoming students.

“Throughout the planning process of redesigning volstate.edu, our vision was to create an impactful, student-centered platform to attract incoming students as well as emulate our warm campus community in online form,” explained Wallace in an email.

Tips for navigating Vol State’s new website can be found on The Vol State Virtual Community page located at volunteerstatecommunitycollege.blogspot.com.


VSCC to Celebrate Black History Month


By Riley Holcraft

Volunteer State Community College is celebrating Black History Month with events around campus throughout February.

Vol State offers events that range from leisure game-playing to informative lectures in honor of Black History. Students are encouraged to attend events to learn about important achievements of historical African-American figures.

On February 6, the CAB Café is hosting a Black History Bingo in the Wood Campus Center’s Mary Cole Nichols Dining Hall B. The event begins at 12:45 p.m. and is open to all.

The Diversity and Inclusion office is hosting a Soul Food Luncheon Feb.7, 12:45 p.m., in Wood Campus Center Mary Cole Nichols Dining Hall B.

“The Soul Food Luncheon is a celebration of the historical facts behind ‘Soul Food’.  Come join us for delicious food, fellowship and entertainment,” the Office stated on Vol State’s website,

The History department will begin its World War I lecture series in Thigpen Library’s Rochelle Center Feb. 14, 1 p.m. The title of the lecture is “African Americans and the Great War” Grady Eades, history department chair, is the speaker.

The Great War it is often a part of American history that is overlooked, said Eades.

“We are currently in the centennial of the Great War (1914-1918). Thus, the History Department thought this would be a unique opportunity to focus on World War I and its impact. The first presentation is on African Americans and the war to line up with Black History month,” said Eades.

It is important for students to celebrate Black History Month because African-American history is part of American history, he said.

Kennedy Caruthers, student at Vol State, commented that she would be most interested in attending the history lecture event.

“Black history month is important to me, especially coming from a black family. We live in a country where we are so diverse, it is important to recognize our impact on the world,” said Caruthers.

The Diversity and Inclusion office is also hosting a read-in of pieces by African-American authors by students, faculty, and staff in the Great Hall of the Ramer Administration Building Feb. 19, 12:45 p.m.

This event is open to anyone who is interested. Students can contact the Diversity and Inclusion office at diversityandinclusion@volstate.edu if they would like to read.

Student Danielle Sharp said she is most interested in attending the Black History Read-In.

“I am familiar with many African-American writers, such as Maya Angelou. This is a great way to honor many talented writers in history,” said Sharp.

Vol State to renovate Quad area


By Presley Green

The area at Volunteer State Community College between the Warf Building and Thigpen Library, known as the Quad, will be renovated in the next five years.

One major change is replacing the current row of juniper trees with deciduous hardwood trees that provide more visibility and shade, according to Will Newman, senior director of plant operations. More hardwood trees will be planted throughout the new Quad over the next five years.

Eventually, a plaza with tables and chairs will be added, and walkways will be widened, according to Newman. A second seating area is also going to be added outside Pickel Field House.

Another improvement to the Quad will be leveling out the ground to improve drainage and grass cover so events and sports gatherings can be held there more practically, wrote Newman.

The leveling is still under review, but the seating area is considered a capital project and will be implemented over the next three to five years, according to Newman. Currently, the project is still in the logistics stage of determining how to design the new Quad with its new features.

The changes are to make the Quad a more popular place for students to study and socialize, according to a graphic provided by Newman.

Clubs exhibit for involvement fair


By Lauren Whitaker

Volunteer State Community College encouraged students to attend the Student Involvement Fair, Thursday, Jan. 25, to learn about the extracurricular options the commuter college offers.


Photo by A. Perham

The Fair’s purpose was to present an opportunity for students to learn about clubs and organizations they might enjoy on campus, according to Tabitha Sherrell, coordinator of student activities.

The clubs could bring trifle boards or laptops with a picture slideshow. They could also bring fliers and sign-up sheets, said Sherrell.

Student Government Association recruited students during the Student Involvement Fair with a table display.

The event was about getting the word out about the Vol State clubs, said Sherrell.

“We have student government. We have CAB (Campus Activity Board). We want students to get involved in some way, shape or form,” Sherrell said.

Vol State posted fliers about the Student Involvement Fair throughout campus. The electronic kiosks located in campus buildings also advertised the event.

Dillon Kruppa, a student in his fourth and final semester at Vol State, said he has never been a member of any club or organization at Vol State.

“I didn’t know Vol State held a Student Involvement Fair. If it wasn’t my last semester at Vol State, I would totally join a club,” Kruppa said. “I think campus doesn’t have enough campus space to advertise events and clubs. I didn’t know Vol State offered some of the clubs that it does.”

The Student Involvement Fair was designed to inform students about the clubs and organizations Vol State already offers but students can also make their own clubs and organizations.

If students have an idea for a new club they think would be a viable asset to Vol State, they can present the idea to Tabitha Sherrell.

The Student Involvement Fair was meant to express Vol State’s desire to increase the involvement of students in extracurricular organizations on campus.



Vol State to renovate the Warf Building


By Tayla Courage

Volunteer State Community College’s $4.6 million plan to renovate the J. Howard Warf Building on campus are expected to begin this summer.

The proposed renovations will include the addition of student enclaves, two new laboratories, and a 6,000-square-foot mechatronics wing. The building will also receive cosmetic changes and several upgrades in technology.

Dr. Thomas A. Ekman, dean of the math and science division, described mechatronics as “automated manufacturing.” This degree program is in high demand at Vol State according to the enrollment numbers from last semester.

“Let’s just say we had about 30 students enrolled, which far exceeded our initial expectation. We were kind of hoping for 18, and we ended up with about 30,” said Ekman.

“The state awarded a $1.5 million Drive to 55 Capacity Fund Grant for the Mechatronics building addition. Another grant provided more than $800,000 for training and equipment,” according to a news release from Eric Melcher, coordinator of public relations and marketing.

The Warf renovation is expected to be a multi-year project, and currently there is no set completion date, according to Melcher.

Classes currently taking place in the Warf building may be forced to relocate during the renovation. Ekman explained the loose plan in place in the event that relocation is necessary.

“We’re hoping to do renovations on half of the class laboratories, keep the other labs open, then once the renovation is complete in that half of the labs, then we basically switch,” said Ekman.

He went on to say that it is possible for the entire building to be shut down during the renovation process, in which there would be potential for more night and Friday classes to be offered.

Erin Bloom, instructor of biology, expressed her appreciation for the historical aspect of Warf as one of Vol State’s original buildings but recognized the need for improvement of the building’s labs.

“What we would really love to see is more students involved in the classes but also outside of the classes with undergraduate research, and we really don’t have a great space for that right now,” said Bloom.

A meeting with Jeff Holmes, founder of J. Holmes Architecture, will take place Jan. 19 to further discuss building plans.


Snow days may affect spring break


By Ashley Perham

Tuesday, Jan. 16, marked the first time Volunteer State Community College was ever closed on the first day of the semester, said Dr. Jerry Faulkner, president of the college.

All campuses were closed Tuesday and Wednesday and had a delayed opening Thursday morning due to snow and ice.

If the college misses more days this semester, a discussion about how to ensure that faculty have sufficient time to cover their material may be necessary, said Faulkner.

One year, the college missed four days in February due to an ice storm, he said.

“That year that we missed four days, we did agree that if we missed any more days, we would convene a meeting and try to understand how we could make those days up,” he said.

Possible ideas of how to make up the classes included shortening or eliminating spring break or compressing the final exam schedule, he said.

The decision to open or close the campuses falls solely on Faulkner.

“My first consideration certainly is the safety of our students, staff, and faculty,” he said.

He gets weather reports from a variety of sources and even drives around himself to experience the road conditions, he said.

“I consult with our chief of police because our service area is quite large, and I’m here on almost the western edge of it, and we have lots of counties on the eastern edge where the weather is very different,” Faulkner said.

The chief of police has contacts with other law enforcement agencies in other counties in the service area, he said. Faulkner also talks with employees in Livingston and Cookeville who observe the road conditions there.

Although he texts with some of the directors of the local public school systems, the decision to open or close campus is made independently of these systems, Faulkner said. The public schools have to take into account that they have school busses on the roads while Vol State does not.

The physical plant team at Vol State is responsible for the roads and sidewalks on the Gallatin campus, Fualkner said. The plant team also travels to Springfield to help de-ice the roads on that campus.

Members of the team actually came to campus while it was closed and prepared the sidewalks and parking lots for the eventual opening on Thursday, said Faulkner.

“They did an outstanding job,” he said.

The City of Livingston helps clear roads at the Livingston campus, and the college has a contract with a company that helps clear roads at the Cookeville campus.

Vol State does have equipment such as snowplows to help clear the campus roads.

The decision to finally open Vol State on Thursday was met with some negative reactions on social media.

“No one will make it! People are risking their lives,” commented Sami Madanat on Facebook.

Some commented that the conditions in their area were too dangerous for them to drive.

“I live in Murfreesboro and my car has no power steering and on 2 spares.. it’s super dangerous for me to even think about driving out there today,” wrote Mercedes Leigh.

“My car slid off the road, this is really disappointing. I’m going to miss my very first class, ever,” said Lacey Broadway.

Students have the right to use their discretion when deciding whether to drive to campus in unsafe conditions, according to the Vol State snow policy and social media posts.

Vol State to celebrate Unity Day


By Presley Green

Vol State will be celebrating its annual Unity Day, Wednesday, Jan. 31, with a viewing of the movie “I Am Not Your Negro” at the Wemyss Auditorium in Caudill Hall at 5 p.m.

Diversity bracelets will be handed out in Thigpen Library, the Wood Campus Center, the Ramer Building, and the SRB Humanities Building, according to a flyer about the event.

The viewing will be followed by a reception and panel discussion about life during the civil rights movement in Gallatin, Tennessee in the 1960s, according to Carpe Diem, a website about Nashville events.

The event is free and open to the public.

“Unity Day is a celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is also the precursor and kick off to Black History Month. It is a day to celebrate our similarities and not our differences,” according to Dr. Kenny Yarbrough.

 Unity Day is sponsored by Communities in Motion and The Office of Diversity and Inclusion. For more information, students can call 615-230-3461.