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.

Hunger Games to benefit The Feed


By Riley Holcraft

The Feed, Volunteer State Community College’s food pantry, has announced a food drive from Jan. 29 – Feb. 8 that includes a friendly competition between two teams.

The Hunger Games is a battle between two districts, Red and Blue. At orientation, students and faculty were divided into the teams to compete to end the Hunger Games. Students and faculty are encouraged to bring non-perishable foods such as peanut butter, condiments, macaroni, or canned soup to help their team.

At the Vol State basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 10, the winner will be revealed. Dr. Jerry Faulkner, president of Vol State, will appear at halftime wearing a red or blue shirt to represent the winning team.

Students are encouraged to compete with their friends and to wear their team’s color at the game.

Twenty-five percent of community college students have food insecurities, according to the National Student Campaign against Hunger and Homelessness. Vol State is working to eliminate this problem on their campus.

Lori Miller, administrative assistant in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, has been an instrumental part in establishing the food drive.

“We are only one semester in, but we’ve seen over 4,000 units distributed out of the Feed and over 200 students have visited,” said Miller.

“It makes a big difference for the students that visit. Not having to worry about a meal allows them to focus better and do what they need to do as students,” said new volunteer Jennifer McMillion, an English professor at Vol State.

The Feed is located in Ramer 151. If students or faculty are interested in participating in any way at The Feed, they can contact Lori Miller at lori.miller@volstate.edu.

Vol State hosts first art exhibit of 2018


By Katie Doll

Volunteer State Community College is hosting an art exhibit of graphic designer Lisa Lorek Quine until Feb. 19, in the SRB Humanities Building.


Courtesy of Lisa Lorek Quine

The display includes lettering design featuring quotes and song lyrics designed to create a nostalgic aesthetic. The quotes come from a variety of sources such as Mark Twain and the musicians Geto Boys.

The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Quine will visit Vol State Feb. 19, from 11:30-12:30 to answer questions about her artwork.

Based in Cleveland, Ohio, Quine graduated from the University of Dayton with a BFA in Visual Communication Design.

Although she originally started her career in advertising, Quine turned a new leaf and began to focus on her passion in lettering, according to Quine’s description of her exhibit.

“Lettering has opened the door to a variety of visual styles and unique projects,” said Quine.


Courtesy of Lisa Lorek Quine

Art nouveau, an international style of art taking influence from the natural world, is one of Quine’s inspirations for her style to create detailed illustrations.

A notebook is set out in the gallery for students and faculty to express their opinions of the artist’s display of hand-lettering and illustrations. One visitor acknowledged the use of the color and its impact on the quotes.


Courtesy of Lisa Lorek Quine

“Love the use of gold,” wrote the visitor, who signed with the initials “HH”. “Very subtle, but brings a bit of youth and vibrancy to something that people believe to be lived out or not relevant.”

Quine was a student of Nathaniel Smyth, assistant professor of art at Vol State, about a decade ago. Smyth helped in bringing in Quine’s artwork to give students an opportunity to see art that they can possibly feel more of a connection too.

“We have a whole lot of students here that are interested in graphic design,” said Smyth. “I think this is good for them to be able to see like ‘Oh hey, look the design and the art, they can kind of mix.”

SGA hosts open house

By Tayla Courage

Volunteer State Community College’s Student Government Association hosted an open house Wednesday, Jan. 24, outside the Wood Campus Center Club Room 213.

“SGA really wants to get their name out there on campus so that students know what SGA stands for and hopefully they want to get involved,” wrote Tabitha Sherrell, coordinator of student activities.

SGA President Caitlyn Ellis acknowledged the tendency for students to shy away from joining organizations that are heavily-involved on campus.

We have learned that a lot of students say they are intimidated by the meetings because they are so formal. We wanted the open house to be very informal, but still informative about what SGA has to offer,” wrote Ellis.

Matt Gillette, SGA attorney general, and Hayley Brazel, SGA secretary, gave out free popcorn and soda while taking questions from prospective members passing by.

“SGA is an organization that helps with student involvement, and it looks really good on a college application,” said Brazel.

She admitted that this was her initial reason for joining SGA but explained that over time she found a passion for getting others involved on campus.

Ellis, like Brazel, believes that being involved in college can set students apart and present greater opportunities when applying to future schools and jobs.

“It has been a huge factor in my college success because I always have someone to turn to to ask questions or a shoulder to lean on when I’m having a bad day. SGA fosters amazing relationships. If I were thinking of joining, my deciding factors would be the friendships I could build and the experiences I would have to put on my resume,” wrote Ellis.

The next SGA meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 5, at 12:45 p.m. in the Rochelle Center of Thigpen Library.

Deadline to apply for graduation approaches


By Lauren Whitaker

The graduation application deadline for students completing their degrees at Volunteer State Community College this semester is Feb. 1, by 4:30 p.m.

Students must follow certain steps in order to apply for graduation.

Students must call their assigned advisor to schedule an appointment to apply for graduation.

A graduation packet can be found on the Vol State website or emailed to the student by their advisor, said Becky Adair, a completion advisor at Vol State.

Students who intend on graduating must meet with an advisor.

“An advisor’s signature is required on graduation applications,” Adair said.

Together, the advisor and student fill out Section A of the graduation plan, according to the Vol State website.

There is a Section B to the application the student’s advisor will fill out.

Advisors help coach students on which courses need to be completed before graduation.

“Overall, it was easy to apply for graduation. I simply met with an advisor and filled out the needed information,” said Gareth Laffely, a Vol State student graduating this semester.

Laffely found Vol State to be helpful in applying for graduation, and he was assigned an advisor he could easily schedule a time with.

“Vol State is very good about sending updates,” Laffely said.

A prospective graduation checklist is located on the Vol State website for to help potential graduates to begin the graduation process.

Before a graduation application is filled out, it is important to make sure a student’s required courses will be fulfilled in the current semester. Advisors can help potential graduates confirm the graduation checklist.

In order to graduate, students must apply for graduation by the graduation deadline. Applications received after the final deadline will be filed for the following term, according to the Vol State website.