Squatter’s Rites looks for writer’s and artists

Every spring semester Volunteer State Community College offers the chance for student writers and artists to be published in the literary publication Squatter’s Rites.

Squatter’s Rites is an art-based publication that any Vol State student is welcome to participate.

“Squatter’s Rites is an excellent outlet for those with a passion for the arts.  People are paying attention, and your creative works can and will be recognized.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by publishing your talents in Squatter’s Rites,” said Michael Clark, art director of Squatter’s Rites.

Squatter’s Rites recognizes paintings, creative writing, photography and poetry. After members submit their art, Squatter’s Rites print booklets to show off the student creations and what the students are passionate about.

Melissa Fox, instructor of communications, said she feels expressing a person’s artistic side is important.  She also said she takes pride in the second place award from the American Scholastic Press, which the publication was awarded last year.

She said she hopes to keep the Squatter’s Rites growing and win another award this year.

Squatter’s Rites has been around since the school was established in 1971. Over the years it has gone through changes and has had different presidents, but the focus has always been the same: to keep students creative and to keep art alive.

Squatter’s Rites works closely with the art department here at Vol State.  They help Squatter’s Rites by taking photos of the student’s original art with a high-resolution camera.

Anyone who is interested in joining Squatter’s Rites can contact Fox at melissa.fox@volstate.edu.  Although they don’t have an exact date for their first meeting this year, they are accepting members and encourage anyone who is interested in art, writing, or photography to think about participating. The deadline for submitting projects is March 27.

Student Government Association Spotlight

Volunteer State Community College’s Student Government Association (SGA) is an organization that is in place to put the needs of Vol State students first.

“The SGA provides leadership opportunities and helps students discover and learn how to advocate for their passions and what they want. It’s the idea that we as student government can make a change in a student’s life no matter how small or how much it might impact them. We make our decisions based on the student’s wants and needs. Maybe not necessarily what we want, but if that’s what the students want, that’s what we’re for,” said Amanda Steele, president of SGA.

“Clubs all can come to us for a little bit of direction or maybe they need help starting up whatever projects they want to do. We’re required to have a very working knowledge of our constitution and know what clubs are or are not allowed to do,” said Steele.

Within the SGA there are six specific officer positions, two of which, attorney general and secretary of state, are currently vacant.

The attorney general of the SGA can assist the student body with campus related issues which students want legislated action on. In the hypothetical scenario of a Vol State Student receiving a ticket on campus, the student may want to challenge the ticket and ask for it to be appealed. The jury that chooses to appeal the student’s ticket or not would be made up of Vol State students and orchestrated by the attorney general.

Concerning the position of secretary of state, “one thing I think that would help Vol State a lot is maybe more implementation of technology. Currently no SGA records of previous years are available on digital format. So I’m really going to need a great secretary to help me out with that so we can set up future SGAs so that they can be a little more organized,” said Steele.

The only requirement to be a member in the SGA cabinet is that one must have a cumulative GPA of 2.75.

“At SGA meetings we usually talk about future goals, future plans. We rely heavily on the SGA rep and club leaders, student leaders in general, to really help us survey maybe students who aren’t as actively involved in campus activities. So we’re really trying to figure out how to reach out to those students and maybe what we can do that would really benefit them to help get more involved,” said Steele.

“We talk about the goals that we would like to accomplish and how can we really leave a legacy here. And I expect student leaders to come with ideas and participate in discussions. SGA meetings aren’t something that we really take lightly and I think it is important that people know how much of an impact we can make. I hope that people come to the SGA with their ideas and just know that nothing is too small, we can figure out how to tackle it appropriately,” said Steele.

Something Steele mentioned she wanted to accomplish this semester is to replace classroom chalkboards with white boards. “We’re really trying to get some smart white boards that’ll help students be able to connect to their classes on a more electronic level and in a way that really suits our millennial students here.”

Steele also said she wants to “make sure we’re doing everything we can to make our school much more LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) friendly.”

For more information about the SGA one can contact Steele at asteele7@volstate.edu or go to Wood 213.

President’s Ambassadors program mold student’s into leaders

The President’s Ambassadors is a full ride scholarship given to five girls and five boys at Volunteer State Community College.
In order to receive this scholarship, a student has to take 12 or more hours with a 3.0 or higher GPA. A student who is qualified for this scholarship is invited to apply.
Then, the student must fill out the application that was mailed to them and submit the application by the deadline.

Once applications are reviewed, students that are selected will be notified for their first interview. At the end of the interview process, the final ambassadors will be chosen.
This student is required to have 40 hours a semester and 20 hours of community work around Vol State, which can be accomplished over the summer.

Being in the office, having a campus tour or participating in events/ activities goes toward those hours. These students will partake as servant leaders to the president.

“Vol State needs to have a student representative to make a positive impact on the future students visiting,” said Sydny Simpson, admission specialist.
Lindsey Maxwell is a President’s Ambassador. She went through this process and was selected for this academic year.

Maxwell has maintained a 4.0 GPA and said she enjoys being an ambassador for Vol State because it enables her to be an extension and representative of the college’s mission to the local community.
She said she is passionate about encouraging prospective students by giving campus tours and working with various events on campus.

“I have definitely grown as an individual by being a part of this program,” said Maxwell. “It has given me opportunities to better not only Vol State, but the community and myself.”
Garrett Moore is a President’s Ambassador. He was selected for this academic year and has accumulated a 3.68 GPA through his journey at Vol State.
Moore said that through his many experiences he has had the best two years of his life so far.

“I love meeting new people and helping others. The Ambassador Program has definitely provided an awesome avenue to pursue,” said Moore.
Other events that the President’s Ambassadors have been involved with include: Hispanic Fiesta, TN Promise sign-ups, Sumner County College Night and career fair.

“The Ambassador Program is in its eleventh year at the college.  Students selected for the program are given the opportunity to learn more about themselves and develop leadership skills while giving back to the community and college.

“We keep in touch with many of the Ambassador alums and enjoy watching them continue to grow and succeed after they leave Vol State,” said Tim Amyx, director of Admissions and College Registrar.

The Other Wes Moore book study

For its second year, Volunteer State Community College welcomes One Book, One Community. One Book, One Community is a partnership between the Vol State Thigpen Library and the public libraries of Gallatin, Hendersonville, Portland, Westmoreland, and White House.
New York Times bestseller “The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates” written by Wes Moore is the selection of 2015.
It explores the life of young Moore and is often relatable to urban America.
It follows the life and the struggles of inner city kids, from drugs and abuse, all the way to absent parents and lack of structure.
Since being published in April of 2010, this book has become an urban American phenomenon, with Moore being placed on Ebony’s Annual Power 100 List, and now hosting Beyond Belief on Oprah’s Own Network.
Now this book is gaining popularity all over the world, and sparked an interest in Cindy Chanin, assistant professor of English, who referred Vol State to the book.
Moore’s story may have started in Maryland, but now it has reached the desks of local students and our community.
Kay Grossberg, associate professor of English, is one of eight who are teaching this book this year.
“One Book, One Community is a program made to establish a connection to reading to college students to the community,” said Grossberg.
In concurrence with the book read, Vol State will also hold a special lecture series that is free and open to the public.

The lecure series is as follows:

Feb. 10: Film: “American Promise”, two showings- noon and 5 p.m., Thigpen library.

Feb. 16: Effects and possible solutions to the issue of “deadbeat dads”, 12:30 p.m., Nichols Dining Room, Wood Campus Center.

Feb. 24: Tense relationships between the police and the African-American community and possible solutions, 12:30 p.m. Nichols Dining Room, Wood Campus Center.

March 2: The effects of Hip-Hop on Society, 9 a.m., Pickel Field House.

March 19: Fear of (or low expectations of) young African-American males and possible solutions, 12:30 p.m., Nichols Dining Room, Wood Campus.

March 24: Final discussion: Lessons learned and where do we go from here? 6 p.m., Thigpen Library.

Nunsense coming soon to Volunteer State

This semester Volunteer State Community College’s Theater program is working on a play called Nunsense.

The event is a musical comedy play that will have singing, dancing and laughing.

There will be auditions for any Vol State student who love to sing, act and dance.

Auditions will occur on Feb. 9-11, from 6-8 p. m. and will take place in the Wemyss Auditorium in Caudill Hall.

“I’m very excited to be auditioning for Nunsense,”said Logan Kemp, a Vol State student and actor.

Edmon Thomas, professor of communication and theater, will be directing the play. He said he is looking for highly motivated people who can sing, act and dance.

He is mostly looking for female actors but there are a few male roles in the play.

This play has two lead roles and Thomas is looking for two females to play the part
of Sister Mary Regina and Sister Robert Anne.

Nunsense was created by Dan Goggin, who is an American writer, composer and lyricist.

The play was written in 1985 and since then has been translated into 21 different languages.

Nunsense is about a nun who accidently poisons and kills 52 of her sisters, and is in need of money. They start a fundraiser to raise money to bury their nun sisters who died from food poisoning.

To raise money, they put on shows in a school auditorium that is set up for the play Grease.

This musical comedy has tap dancing, ballet, singing and comedy zingers.

Vol State students with their student IDs are free.

For other attendees, tickets are five dollars.

The musical will also have a live band performance from the Vol State band.

They will be providing the background music for all the singing and dancing.

“I’m really excited for the music and theater departments coming together to put on a great show,” said William York, stage manager who will be working along side Thomas.

York will be setting up the stage and getting the cast ready for opening night in March.

Thomas, who will be overseeing the casting and rehearsal, said he is very excited about the play. “It will be a fun musical comedy that all ages from kids to adults can enjoy,” said Thomas.

Changes coming to African American Student Union

One of Volunteer State Community College student clubs, African American Student Union (AASU), is going through changes.
Zachary Ford, former vice president, stepped down and transferred authoritative power to Ashlyn Challenger.
Challenger says she is a little “nervous” but “excited” about being the new president.
She said she is looking forward to learning new things and influencing students in a positive way.
“Our goal for the semester is to … empower one another and to promote positivity,” said Challenger.
February is Black History Month and with its arrival, the Gallatin campus has events lined up each week.
This Wednesday, Feb. 4, Poet Odd Rod will perform in the Mary Cole Nichols Tiled Dining Room at 12:30 p.m.
He will share his personal story of overcoming the odds.
The annual Soul Food Luncheon, AASU’s most largely attended event, is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 11 at noon in the Carpeted Dining Room.
“This event is open to all Vol State students and the focus will be Black Literary Figures,” said Ford.
Beginning at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 19, Lunch and Learn will take place in the Carpeted Dining Room.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunches.
Drinks and desserts will be provided by the office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives (SLDI).
Directly afterward there will be a concert.
The annual Black History Recognition Luncheon is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 25, at 12:30 p.m. in the Carpeted Dining Room.
Students must RSVP prior to the event through SLDI in the Wood Campus Center, Room 215.
In addition to these on-campus events, AASU also has regular scheduled meetings each Monday at 10 a.m. and Thursday at 12:30 p.m. in the student lounge, located in first floor of the Wood Campus Center.
This is subject to change “depending on the schedule of who joins the club on Welcome Days,” said Challenger. According to Colossians 3:13 – 14, “Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely even if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. But besides all these things, clothe yourselves with love, for it is a perfect bond of union.”
AASU is currently seeking a Vice President and a Treasurer. If interested, stop by the table on Welcome Day, this Thursday, between 10 a.m. and noon or email achallenger@volstate.edu.

Groundbreaking Ceremony dedicates new building for Humanities

Volunteer State Community College had a Groundbreaking Ceremony on Jan. 16 for the soon-to-be built Humanities building.

The event was in the Mary Cole Nichols Carpeted Dining Room from 7:30-8:45 a.m. and began with a breakfast buffet.

The Vol State Jazz Ensemble, including James Story, chair of Visual and Performing Arts and Ben Graves, instructor of Music, performed in a corner of the dining room.

Lauren Shifflett Wiese, a Studio Art major, displayed and executed her charcoal sketches of the event.

Pam Nixon and Leanne Tucker, Vol State students, presented and produced examples of their printmaking work.

There were also layout designs of the three different floors in the new building and computer generated pictures of the displayed.

Dr. Jerry Faulkner, president of Vol State, mentioned in his opening statements that the new humanities building had been a vision for the school for 12 years.

It is going to be the largest building on the Gallatin campus.

“I did not know that it was [88,345] square feet. That’s amazing. So I’m very excited to see the school really expanding we have all this wonderful campus. And I’m glad to see that the humanities will actually have a home finally,” said Weise.

Some of the features in the new Humanities building include; 23 classrooms, 56 offices, 11 collaborative study areas, an outdoor amphitheater and courtyard, computer labs, art gallery and a recording studio.

“I’m very excited that it’s going to be the biggest building on site. Finally all the arts, fine arts, music, our theater gets to be in one building. I think it’s going to be easier and better for collaboration reasons in all respects,” said Kealani Hughes, student president of Delta Psi Omega, Vol State’s theater club.

“I think it’s exciting. I think it says a lot for Vol State in terms of where we’re going as a college and there’s a lot for the community as well,” said Lauren Collier, executive assistant to the office of the president.

Tyler Dunn, a Vol State student, was the first to speak at the ceremony after Faulkner’s opening remarks. Dunn spoke about his experience as an Entertainment Media Production major and how the new building will benefit students.

“The new Humanities building has so much potential and I’m so excited for the opportunity and achievement to come … not just for me but for future students, ” said Dunn in his speech.

Other speakers at the event included Bea Thompson of Moody Nolan and Tom Lampe from Messer Construction who provided more information about the process and how the new building will improve the Vol State campus.

“It is a very good idea to have all these people to come together to collaborate and that is why it’s so beautiful. … It’s not so great that all the arts are scattered out,” said William York, a member of Delta Psi.

The completion date for the building is expected to take place in Summer 2016.

“As soon as you open the doors you’re going to be in the mood to achieve,” said Cindy Fox, a theater major.

 

Important Road Closure Information

ATTENTION ALL STUDENTS:

Due to the construction of the new humanities building, there will be multiple changes to the structure of the campus, including the entrances.

For the next few months, possibly longer, the back entrance connecting to GreenLea Avenue will be shut down.  Because of this, it is in the students best interest to take the entrance next to the Pickle Field House.

Parking will also soon become an issue, as the right turn after the entrance on Gap. Blv. will be shut down, requiring students to park towards the Fine Arts building.

As stated earlier, there is no set day as to when the traffic will die down, but it is recommended that all students attempt to alter their schedule and find the easiest way possible to get to and from school.

Keep your eyes posted on the Settler Newspaper, Website, and Social Media for all the updates regarding everything Vol State related.

Math and Science Dean Nancy Morris to retire after 35 years of service

Nancy Morris, dean of the Math and Science division, has announced her retirement from Volunteer State Community College, after 35 years of service to the school. Her official last day is July, 31 of this year.

Morris said she started at Vol State when she was recruited from teaching in Sumner County.

“I was in White House Junior High and I felt like I had more to share, in content, with students at a higher level. I came to Vol state in 1980 and I’ve always been a member of the faculty but in a series of changing roles. Coordinator of Biology and then Science department chair, and then dean,” said Morris.

Before she arrived at Vol State, Morris said that she did her undergraduate degree of chemistry at Austin Peay State University, before doing her graduate program at Vanderbilt where she became interested in teaching.

“I found the research in my graduate program of study, at Vanderbilt, so interesting that I really felt compelled to share that interest and insight with other folks,” said Morris. “Once you learn to teach yourself, then every discipline is available to you. You can become a scholar in almost any area that you choose. … We begin learning isolated skill sets and you realize, at my age, that little job or that little experience that you had way back when, in college, pays off with this kind of mind set.”

Morris said that the diversity of opportunity is what she has enjoyed the most at Vol State.

Morris also said that she admires her fellow staff members.

“Vol State’s greatest resource here, is its human resource. This is an amazing compilation of educators and professional staff and administrators. You know we often don’t realize what we have until we lose it or we are gone, “ said Morris. “What I quickly realized is that beyond teaching content, we are really teaching human beings. You are changing someone’s life and shaping insights in the context of a given course.”

Dr. Jeffery Kent, professor of Biology, said he that thinks Morris has done an outstanding job.

“Sometimes [being a] dean is a thankless job, because nobody is going to agree entirely with what is being done, but I think she has handled the job with enthusiasm. She has relished trying to move our division forward with new initiatives to try and improve what we do, especially in sciences, as well in Math,” said Kent.

Dr. Robert Carter, Science department chair, also said he thinks Morris has done fantastic job in her role as a dean.

“She has improved the quality of the education, the motivation of the faculty, new invitations in what we do, new types of science that we do, new types of math. We’ve had a lot of challenges. Redesigning our math program, dealing with developmental studies and learning support. These are very, very, challenging types of things, particularly for a dean to juggle from all those different angles,” said Carter. “A great part of my success is due to her. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be as good of an instructor, I wouldn’t be as good of a chair, as I am. So I rely on her for basically every aspect of what I do, be it everything from encouragement to actual, her getting on the phone and making sure I get what I need.”

Morris said that education should continue to be practiced and celebrated.

“Realizing the difference that education makes in your life is sort of a review mirror realization. You don’t know how important it is until you have done it. I think we, as a public, as a society, have to do whatever it takes to support folks in their academic journey so that education is not the thing that prevents anyone from reaching their full potential and achieving all they can be and being the most productive and healthy individuals and citizens. We need to be an educated and literate society,” said Morris.

When asked what she considered her greatest achievement in her time at Vol State, Morris said it is difficult to focus on a certain one.

“I wouldn’t say that there is any great personal achievement. I would say there are many small personal contributions to the greater good. It’s been my privilege to help identify and recommend some exceptional faculty who have joined this community. It’s been my great privilege to help design new science labs that were constructed on this campus. It has been my great privilege to work with my peers in creating this phenomenal undergraduate research program [and] redesigning the math curriculum,” said Morris.

As for what she plans to do after retirement, Morris said that she plans to travel.

“I will be going to France in September and ill be going to Guatemala in January of 2016. I have some remodeling projects already scheduled in my home, and there are some opportunities that I will pursue in Kentucky, in my hometown. I have family there so I am there often.”

Dr. Kimberly Caldwell, mathematics department chair, said her thoughts on Morris, and how she thinks Morris has benefited the college.

“Dean Nancy Morris has dedicated her life’s work to VSCC in her roles as faculty member, advisor, mentor and administrator. She is a true academician.

“For 35 years, she has gone above and beyond in giving of her time, talents and energies to the college. Nancy has worked tirelessly, leading the Math and Science Division into the national spotlight.

“She has mentored students and colleagues alike, guiding them toward academic excellence. She has touched our lives in many ways both personally and professionally.

“She has been a champion on many fronts; promoting women in higher education; undergraduate research, National Science Foundation grants and programs devoted to promoting girls in math and science.

“She leaves a giant footprint at the college. Her legacy and contributions to VSCC will endure for many years to come,” said Caldwell.

A Plethora of Movie Reviews

by Madison Mathews// Contributing Writer

 

“Edge of Tomorrow,” directed by Doug Liman

Director Doug Liman’s sci-fi action flick was one of the best surprises from the summer season. Tom Cruise stars as a soldier who dies on a futuristic battlefield over and over again, reliving the same day he’s dropped into action. Emily Blunt plays the face of the military, who just so happens to hold the key to Cruise’s “Groundhog Day” scenario. With “Edge of Tomorrow,” Liman is more interested in the journey than sticking the landing. The final act is a bit of a mess, but Cruise and Blunt’s chemistry and the action make the film a must-see adventure.

“Guardians of the Galaxy,” directed by James Gunn

Marvel Studios stepped their game up this summer with the release of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” a film about a group of outcasts who band together to take down a threat to the universe. Yes, there’s a talking raccoon and a walking tree, but don’t let that kind of weirdness keep you from seeing one of the best blockbusters to be released this decade. James Gunn’s film is full of humor, heart, and action. It’s an old fashioned adventure in the vein of the original “Star Wars.” “Guardians” is the type of film you’ll come back to time and time again, and that’s the mark of a truly great movie.

“Gone Girl,” directed by David Fincher

I never read Gillian Flynn’s novel, but based on her screenplay David Fincher was the perfect person to adapt her story of marriage. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike play the couple at the center of this pulpy story of romance, lies, and murder. Fincher is an A-list director, but his sensibilities are perfectly suited for this kind of material. It’s a dark, cynical film, but the murder mystery at the center will keep you pinned to your seat.

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” directed by Matt Reeves

The “Planet of the Apes” series is one the staples of science fiction cinema. It was given a fresh approach a few years ago with “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” With “Dawn,” the new approach went even further, taking more time to craft the world of the apes as we get to know Caesar and his community. The motion capture technology has grown so much just within the last few years, and Andy Serkis’ work as Caesar has never been better.

“Interstellar,” directed by Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan is one of the most exciting filmmakers working today. The release of a new Nolan joint has become reason for celebration. Matthew McConaughey leads an all-star cast in this tale that spans both time and space. The film might not make a lot of sense, and some of the characters might be horribly underwritten, but Nolan’s visuals are worth the entry price. There are some tremendous set pieces throughout the film, and McConaughey’s performance ties all of the loose ends together. “Interstellar” is Nolan’s most divisive film, but it’s also his most ambitious, and that’s something to praise.

“The Lego Movie,” directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller

The joy of playing with Legos comes to life in Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s latest comedic masterpiece. “The Lego Movie” is the best animated film of 2014, and one of the best animated films released in a very, very long time. On paper, the idea of a moved based on Legos sounds terrible, but Lord and Miller’s inventiveness creates a fresh and truly hilarious story that celebrates creativity. In the world of Lego, anything is possible and everything is awesome.

“Boyhood,” directed by Richard Linklater

The passage of time has long been a thematic through line in the work of Richard Linklater. In “Boyhood,” that fascination is taken literally as we watching a group of characters mature over the course of 12 years. Filmed over the same time period, Linklater captures life as it happens in one family. We see the characters grow and change both physically and emotionally. It’s an amazing cinematic achievement that something like “Boyhood” exists.

“Selma,” directed by Ava DuVernay

Biopics can be a tricky thing, but Ava DuVernay skips the paint-by-numbers approach and focuses on one singular event in the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. instead of telling us the story of his entire life. By following the march from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery, Ala., in 1965 DuVernay captures the raw emotion that was at the tipping point of the civil rights movement. David Oyelowo performance as King anchors the entire film. For a film that follows events that took place in the mid-1960s, DuVernay’s film is just as relevant today. “Selma” is required viewing.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” directed by Wes Anderson

It’s no wonder Wes Anderson has finally been nominated for an Oscar for his work directing “Grand Budapest Hotel.” It’s his crowning achievement, and that’s saying something for a guy whose entire filmography has been included in the prestigious Criterion Collection. His decades-spanning tale weaves together a quirky cast of characters in an alternate history version of Europe in between the two great wars. Anderson’s penchant for quirk over substance has gone by the wayside. If you were tired of his schtick before, give “Grand Budapest Hotel” a chance. You won’t be disappointed.

“Nightcrawler,” directed by Dan Gilroy

Dan Gilroy’s directorial debut is a throwback to the kinds of unnerving characters studies from the 1970s. It’s old fashioned in the best kind of way. Jake Gyllenhaal embodies the role of Lou Bloom, a bloodthirsty cameraman at the center of a seedy news network. Gilroy takes a page from “Network’s” Paddy Chayefsky and skews the news cycle of today’s 24 hour world. It’s a dark satire, but Gilroy balances a story that manages to be both hilarious and disgusting.