The Alex Michael Band performs at Vol State’s annual Fall Festival

by Kailyn Fournier
Those who were at Fall Festival from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m., probably heard the music from the band playing in the Quad. That was the Alex Michael Band, a country music band from Nashville.
Volunteer State Community College got the band to perform at Fall Festival by attending the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities (APCA) Conference where the band was being bid on by a variety of schools.
The band includes the lead, Alex Michael, along with Thomas Hassell on drums, Jonathan Warren on fiddle, Dean Green on bass, and Sam Van Fossen on lead guitar. They have been a band since 2011 and, aside from Tennessee, have played in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Texas.
At Vol State they opened with a cover of Dierks Bentley’s song, 5-1-5- 0, and over the course of the hour played 15 other songs. They had some technical difficulties, causing their lead microphone to cut out during the end of one of their songs, but the band did not let that faze them and finished the song as if nothing had happened. Once they were finished, they were able to resolve the issue
After that, Michael asked if their audience was okay with them going ahead and playing what Michael called their, “Show offy song,” before playing the tune for “Devil Went Down To Georgia.” For those not familiar with the song, it is particularly notable for its fiddle solos, which likewise show-cased Warren’s ability the most, but had a part for each member to show off.
Those who like line dancing should have been at the concert because towards the end of the show the band asked if anyone knew how to line dance. As a result
of their traveling and playing up North, where it is not common for people to line dance, they took “Copperhead Red” out of their set list. A few people knew how to, so the band played the song, and the few audience members who knew how to line dance taught those who were interested. “It’s always fun when the crowd gets into it,” said Michael.
Also in their song selections were two of the band’s original songs, “That Woman” and “Carousel.” Both songs are new and have yet to be recorded. They also took requests, which were “Dixieland Delight” by Alabama and their closing song, “Chicken Fried” by the Zac Brown Band.
“I was really impressed by the lead singer,” said Natalie White, Vice President of the Student Government Association, after the performance was over.
Those interested in The Alex Michael Band should check out their Facebook and their twitter page at @AlexMichaelBand. “For those who are interested in our stuff can go to our Bandcamp page and enter the promo code: “volstate” for 10 percent off on our music and merchandise,” said Warren. They also have their album on their Facebook page under the tab “Buy our music here.”
The band wanted to thank Ben Graves and Tabitha Sherrell for making it possible for them to be here.

Assistant professor of history hosts WWII display

By: Michaela Marcellino
Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 24 and 25, Vol State students had an opportunity to see a large display of items from World War Two. Peter Johnson, assistant professor of History, brought in his personal collection, and set them up in the Rochelle Center in Thigpen Library. There were four tables worth of items, as well as music from the 1940’s being played, and a slideshow of WWII photos.
His collection covers a wide range of items, and includes everything from uniforms, to weaponry, to ration boxes, to instruments, to patches, to flags, to newspapers and more. There were also multiple photographs, and even a yellow star that would have marked a Jewish person in that time.
“These are all World War II items that I have collected for a number of years, since I was probably ten. I bring [the collection] into my American history classes every semester to show, and to give some visual background. [The students] can actually see what we are learning in history. These are all artifacts from the war, and the items are about 70 to 75 years’ old. It gives you a first-hand view of what actually took place in the war, instead of just telling everybody. I have American, German, and Japanese items,” said Johnson.
As the Rochelle Center was filled with these artifacts, Students were able to peruse the tables and take it all in. “[The display] is amazing. We are probably the last generation to be able to know someone who actually fought in World War Two, so it becomes really personal. I think it is better to see [World War Two] like this, first-hand, as opposed to seeing it in a textbook. You feel much more connected to it. We are very fortunate to have someone is as passionate about history as Professor Johnson is,” said Kelly Sleeper, a Vol State student.
“I would hope students would be able to connect what they are seeing [here at the display] with what they are learning in class. I think that the more you connect visual aids, with auditory and all those other kinds [of aids], it helps you realize what is going on around you. The one part of history that I love, is that in order not to repeat it, you must learn from it.
Without these men and women who fought during World War Two, we would not be where we are now. We would not have the society or the freedoms that we so enjoy. They really paved the way,” said Jennifer Wooden, who does supplementary instruction for Professor Johnsons’ class.
“World War Two was a pivotal point in American History. Number one, it brought us out of the greatest economic depression that we have ever faced as a nation. When the bombs dropped at Pearl Harbor, unemployment virtually disappeared in six months. These men and women who volunteered and were drafted, answered the nations’ call. When they got victory, they literally came home and changed the face of America. Tom Brokaw, who was an NBC reporter, gave them the title ‘the Greatest Generation,’ and I wholeheartedly agree…[by seeing this display] I hope the students will gain a new appreciation of what it took for our nation to fight this war, and to succeed,” said Johnson.

Joel Myers performs at Vol State

By: Lillian Lynch
At the age of 29, Meyers has been practicing magic for 23 years.
“I got started in magic because my dad showed me my first magic trick when I was six. I used to travel with him, he was a traveling salesman, and we’d go from city to city and always end up in the most touristy cities. So I would go stand out in the street in a really busy area like Santa Monica Boulevard in California, Times Square in New York City or Key West Florida right on the boardwalk. I’d say ‘Hey everybody there’s going to be a magic show.’ I was about eight or nine and my dad would leave me there and I would perform on the streets. I’d make $500 or $600 a day,” said Meyers.
The show he performed for Vol State was one of many, including his multiple appearances on television. Meyers began the show with a short introduction and an old trick of making a bottle disappear in a paper bag.
As his title of “interactive illusionist” suggests, he asked for an audience member to come up on stage.
Hannah Brindel, a student at Vol State, was first on stage. Meyers did a few card tricks with her before having Brindel hold up a lemon. She stood at the edge of the stage and held up the fruit. Meyers, across from her, was holding a knife as if he were going to throw it and hit the lemon.
Meyers joked and took the lemon. He cut it open to reveal Brindel’s previously torn up card in tact within.
“I was terrified he was going to throw that knife,” said Brindel.
Meyers then began talking about one of the most famous magicians of all time, Harry Houdini.
“Houdini could actually swallow and regurgitate things. He would often swallow a key and regurgitate it. That was how he got out of a lot of traps,” said Meyers.
With the set up of regurgitation, Meyers swallowed a very sharp and very real sewing needle. He then took a small thread and put on end of it in his mouth, swallowing part of it. As he pulled on the string the needle followed. The thread was now tied around the needle’s eye.
Continuing with Harry Houdini’s famous tricks, Meyers then pulled out a straight jacket. It was the same kind Houdini had.
“Houdini’s record was three minutes and seven seconds. Today I’m going to escape this jacket in under two minutes,” said Meyers.
He had two audience members help strap him into the jacket.
Meyers struggled as the audience cheered. He dislocated his shoulder in order to twist out of the bounds and escaped the jacket with 10 seconds to spare.
Meyers’ last trick was accompanied by a story from his childhood.
He had never seen snow, as his family would travel to his grandfather’s house in California during the holiday season. The one year he asked if they could stay so he could see the snow, there was no snow.
The next day his father woke him up and told him to look outside. Meyers saw snow for the first time.
For weeks afterward he would go around his house tearing up small pieces of paper trying to recreate the feeling he had when he first saw snow.
His father then showed him the very last trick he performed.
“Nothing is impossible,” said Meyers.
He took a Chinese fan, a single piece of tissue paper and made it “snow” in the dining room.
“I love magic. I love going to magic shows. This show was no disappointment,” said Zachary Bolt, a student at Vol State.

Vol State goes green by adding solar pannels and vehicle chargers

By: Miguel Detillier
Solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations are helping to protect the environment at Volunteer State Community College.
Vol State are providing solar panels to the Randy and Lois Wood Campus Center along with the electric vehicle charging station across from John B. Wallace Health Sciences Building North near the Thigpen Library as part of a project sponsored by the Campus Sustainability Committee to help utilize campus sustainability fees and to take the resource efficiency steps needed to make the Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Humanities Building LEED Certified, according to the college blog, the Insider.
This blog also explains that the solar panels have been mounted on top of the physical plant cooling stations, and that Plant Operations will be placing a marker to show the solar panel stats to students and visitors, and that there are two power cords available for recharging electric cars and can be free to use for anyone.
The energy from the panels goes directly into the Wood Campus Center power grid and the panels cost about $6,686, according to the Insider. This blog also said that the four panels can produce 1,124 kilowatt hours a year, and is projected to save about 1.4 barrels of oil each year.
“The charging stations are up and running are open for anyone to use,” said William Newman, Senior Director of Plant Operations. “The solar panels will be wired in and operational by this week.”
“I’m excited to have the solar panels and the electric car charging stations on campus because it encourages us to think more sustainability,” said Le-Ellen Dayhuff, Assistant Professor of Mathematics. “And because I think it offsets some of the energy costs around Vol State.”
The Insider explains that the Sustainability Committee has been actively using the fee money for campus improvements, and the funds have been used to install energy-effcient LED lighting in the J.T. Fox Maintenance Building and on the Highland Crest campus. This blog also said that that the committee welcomes suggestions to help protect the environment on campus.
Besides providing solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations, Vol State also provides hydration stations to encourage people to reuse drinking containers since plastic water bottles are one of the biggest challenges to waste disposal, according to the Insider. This blog also confirms that Vol State also offers recycling bins to help students recycle plastic drinking containers and is paid for by the Committee, and that the committee members are suggesting everybody to recycle to provide a sustainable environment at Vol State.
The Insider explains that future possibilities for the Committee to help protect the environment around campus include solar umbrellas that would provide cell phone and laptop charging stations for students working outside at picnic tables.
This blog also said that students can contact Keith Bell, Associate Professor of Geography, at for suggestions to the Committee to help protect the environment at Vol State.

SGA food survey may bring changes to campus

by Kailyn Fournier
The Student Government Association (SGA) at Volunteer State Community College conducted a food survey from September 29 to October 5 in order to gather opinions from the student body regarding the food services available on campus. The purpose of the survey was to give SGA an idea of what areas needed improving on when it came to food. They were concerned with the pricing of food and the quality of food that was being offered.
“This is my second year at Vol state. So I had a year of actually being a student and listening to other students, and purchasing the food, and eating it and trying it and living here as a student. I personally didn’t like what the foods services was offering. I know I’ve heard from many students and faculty and staff it’s just not up to par with what we should have here. So I brought it up to the SGA, and they all agreed it was a problem,” Said Dillon van Rennes, who is the secretary of treasury for SGA.
There is also the issue of food insecurity on campus. For the students who don’t have the means to purchase food every day, there were a few questions that on the survey as well.
“When we see some need like this we’re going to investigate, “said Van Rennes.
For those students. The SGA hopes to use the data from the survey to go towards a food bank that they are trying to put in place. They have already gotten it approved, along with the grant to fund it. “Hopefully [this survey] will get the ball rolling,” said Van Rennes
The survey also reached out to the other campuses.
Those campuses have one building and no lunch room. They did have a food truck, but no one was utilizing it. “[Fixing] that should be one of our goals on campus,” said Brittany Davis, the SGA cabinet chair for the campus activities board.
The survey is meant to address everyone’s concerns. For those who can afford the food on a daily basis, that means improving the quality of food and the selections that are available. For those who can’t afford the food on a daily basis, that’s what the potential food bank will be for.
“I think it’s a great way for students to get their information out there,” said Crystal Sloss, who is the National Society of Leadership and Success’s representative for SGA.
There were also questions about a meal plan on the survey. If that were to be put in place later on, it could be federally funded.
The survey was a way for them to know specifically what to focus on and where there is a bigger need from a very neutral standpoint.
“We don’t have people coming in and constantly telling us what we’re doing right or wrong. That’s why I like the survey. It tells us exactly what we need to be doing,” said Natalie White, the vice president of SGA.
“We are a very passionate team. We want to make a positive change and we strive to work with administration and communicate with administration to get all of these things done. Were here to serve the student body,” said Van Rennes.
The exact date SGA will get the results back is unknown. “We are working directly with Jane McGuire, vice president of institutional effectiveness. She has not given us a solid date but we are hoping to have the results back by November 1,” said Van Rennes.
“I hope the results allow us to get a change,” said Sloss.

Vol State will be hosting annual Fall Festvial

by Michaela Marcellino
On October 19th the annual Fall Festival will be taking place at Volunteer State Community College. The activities will be on the outside on the Quad (the field outside the library), if it rains then it will be moved inside to the Pickel Field House (Gym). A free lunch will be provided for those who stop by the CAB sand art table and get Fall Festival Bucket List ticket.
They will then need to stop by eight tables in order to receive the lunch. Lunch will start at 12:30, a concert will start at 12:45 on the Quad, the concert will feature the Alex Michael Band.
There are multiple activities available at the Fall Festival “this year we will have corn hole, volleyball, a video game station with E-Sports, ping pong with College Republicans and make your own sand art with CAB”, said Coordinator of Student Activities Tabitha Sherrell.
Clubs have the opportunity to sponsor tables at the Fall Festival “Spectrum and RSO will be sponsoring the Sumner County Humane Society Dog Toys where students can visit the table and make homemade dog toys that will be donated to the humane Society” said Sherrell.
The Fall Festival offers a variety of tables that engage students with different interests “I loved the Fall Festival last year, it was fun to look at all the different tables and people.
I was surprised at how much food I got to sample. I hope there is as much this year! Other than the food, it was fun to walk around campus; I got to show my sister some of the clubs that I am in and the tables that we sponsored. I hope there is a big turn out this year”, said student Rachel Edwards.
Food Day will also be a part of the Fall Festival “We are also partnering with Kelly Ormsby who is sponsoring Food Day the same day. She will have the following tables at Fall Festival: UT extension Office, Second Harvest, USDA, Soup Sampling! Farmers Market (two tables).” Said Sherrell.
The Fall Festival is an opportunity to bring your friends and family to campus and let them see what your college is like, “I am going to the Fall Festival this year and I am hoping to join some new clubs.
I felt too frazzled at the beginning of the year to join any clubs, now that I have settled in I think it will be cool to get involved at school and make some new friends and join some student led clubs and activities.
Even if I don’t get to join any clubs at least I got to hang out with my friends and start off the fall season with a Fall Festival, right? I think it will be fun to see the turn out, hopefully the weather gets the hint and gives us some fall weather to go with the festival”, said student Mackenzie Norset about the festival.

Carlos Andres Gomez visits Vol State

by Miguel Detillier
Carlos Andres Gomez, award-winning poet, spoke at the Campus Activities Board (CAB) Coffee House in Volunteer State Community College on Oct. 4.
This lecture took place at the Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room A in the Randy and Lois Wood Campus Center from 12:45-1:45 p.m., after a student and faculty open-mic event that lasted from 12:15-12:45 p.m.
Gomez’s lecture started off with him reading a poem about dancing with a woman in a wheelchair in a nightclub called “Hector LaVoe is God.” Gomez also spoke about being in love with his partner in college which lead him to read a poem called “Everything.”
Gomez also talked about holding hands with a man in college which lead him to read a poem about homophobia and rigid gender roles called “Handstitch.”
Gomez communicated with the audience about their looks and identities like freshman Billy Trvoni who spoke about being told that he looked like George Lopez, which lead to Gomez reading a poem about stereotypes called “What does Hispanic look like?”
Gomez also spoke about dealing with the audience over specific lines and metaphors from poems that would confuse them.
And Gomez also told a story over the First Amendment Awareness Week when he asked questions to people in Kentucky about how they know the First Amendment, and also the reception that he got from asking those people about their thoughts on same-sex marriage.
Gomez also talked about dealing with his own fears and that he didn’t have to worry about his fears because of his privileges.
Gomez also communicated with students about how women are being treated like junior MaryAnn Kormoski who talked about the Pink Tax that charges money to women who buy products that are targeted towards women, which lead to him reading a poem about his daughter being gendered called “If a Princess Tries to Kidnap Your Daughter.”
And Gomez closes his lecture by reading a poem that he dedicated to his dyslexic younger sister and to those who have younger sisters called “Gifted.”
Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities, said that Gomez was planning to give away a copy of his book called “Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood” at the open-mic event, but he didn’t because the books sold out the night before his lecture at Vol State.
“I loved coming to see Gomez perform at the Coffee House when I brought my English class to this event,” said Kelly Ormsby, Assistant Professor of English.
“We have studied poetry, and I think it is a great opportunity to see a poet perform his or her original work.”
Sherrell said that the Coffee House did really well for the Campus Activities Board, and that they’ve had an English class that came to see Gomez perform, and that four students participated in the open-mic showcase.
“It was an absolute joy to perform at Vol State, and I hope I make it back in the future,” said Gomez.

Student government hosts forum

by Michaela Marcellino
The Student Government Association (SGA)of Volunteer State Community College had their SGA Presidential Forum Monday, Oct. 2. This was an opportunity for the SGA to present questions from students about a wide range of topics relevant to Volunteer State. Presidential forums happen once a semester.
Those on the panel for the Fall 2016 forum included Vol State president, Jerry Faulkner, as well as coordinator of communications and public relations Eric Melcher, assistant vice president of student services Talia Koronkiewicz, assistant vice president of academic affairs George Pimentel, chief information officer Kevin Blankenship, assistant vice president of business and technology Renee Austin, and director of plant operations, William Newman.
The SGA Forum covered many different topics, from on-campus child care, to Wi-Fi issues, to future landscaping plans. Questions were also asked about if Vol State will ever have a health clinic, if students will be able to receive a text if a class is cancelled, and much more.
The panel provided answers. On the Wi-Fi issue, it is being worked on, and should be fixed soon. About text alerts, there are two types: One for emergencies such as evacuations and the like, and the other is for important campus information in general.
As of right now, the technology to separate text alerts by class does not exist. However, if a class gets cancelled completely, the division over that class will personally call each student to let them know. Students are encouraged to make sure their phone number in their online student account is correct. On the issues of a Vol State health clinic and on-campus child care, there are no immediate plans for either. Many more issues were discussed as well.
“[The faculty] responded well [at the forum]. I think some of the initiatives are actually being addressed, being sent to where they need to be sent, and getting to where they need to get to.
These are actual student concerns that are being addressed. The questions on our question list that did not get asked will be getting written responses. I think that is a really good thing, I think [the forum] is opening up some dialog that has been a long time coming,” said Sandra Hunt, the president of the SGA. The SGA posed questions, and then afterward opened the floor to give any student present the opportunity to ask the panel a question.
“What could have been done better, is that I wish we would have had more live student questions. The student questions that were posed by the SGA were gathered from our student organization. I wish we would have had more students here, live in the environment asking questions,” said Kenny Yabrough, director of student life and diversity initiatives.
“This is the eight or ninth SGA forum I have been a part of. This happens once a semester, and I have been here a little over four and a half years. This always a good opportunity to meet with students, answer their questions, and hear back from the students as well. So I think this is typically a really good opportunity,” said Faulkner. “This is the third college that I have worked at, and the first time I have ever been a part of an SGA open forum. I’m thrilled to see that the SGA is taking the initiative to even have an event like this, and that the administration is so willing to be involved in it. This is a wonderful way to have transparent communication, and to answer the questions students have,” said Koronkiewicz.
Students not involved in the SGA were also in attendance, listening to the forum. “I think if the café changes its menu, they’ll lose business, because if they start the calorie count, pretty soon it’ll be an all healthy food, and students will just go to McDonalds,” said Vol State student Oressa Jackson. “I think the forum went well, but I think there should be more student interaction,” said another Vol State student Clara West.
“I think its really good that they give us the opportunity to ask questions. It shows that they really care about their students,” said another student, Vincenza Colavolpe.

Hispanic Heritage Quiz Bowl a success

by Lillian Lynch
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 – Oct. 15, the Volunteer State Community College Campus Activity Board held a Hispanic Heritage Quiz Bowl.
On Sept. 28 the ceiling of the Mary Nichols Dining Room had decorations hanging from it in preparation for the Bowl. It started at 12:45 p.m. with the host of the Bowl, Michelle Vandiver-Lawrence, Associate Professor of Spanish, introducing herself and asking for four contestants to volunteer.
The Quiz Bowl was made up of six rounds, the last one being the final round. Each round had four contestants, aside from the final one that had the winners of each previous round competing against each other.
The very first question of the bowl asked who the first female Hispanic astronaut was. The answer, Ellen Ochoa, was on the same screen as the question and the contestants had to be turned away from the screen so that they would not cheat.
The rest of the round consisted of questions of dance, the Day of the Dead and Hispanic culture.
The questions were on geography, the dance of the Salsa and holidays such as Cinco de Mayo and the Running of the Bulls.
The third round consisted of four more contestants lined in the same chairs faced away from the screen. Some of their questions asked how most people travel in Spain (on foot), what the Volkswagen Beetle was and is still used for in Mexico (taxis) and where El Rastro, a large flea market, is located (Madrid). Other questions had to do with geography, punctuation, and famous Latinos.
For round four another group of four contestants volunteered. Just three questions in, before Vandiver-Lawrence could utter the words “Hips Don’t Lie,” each contestant’s hand was up. The answer was Shakira.
There was another question of dance, this time Tango, and other questions asked about flag colors and when Mexican Independence Day was (Sept. 16, 1810).
The fifth round began with a question on the Spanish language. Other questions were asked about culture, where the term Hispanic came from (the United States Census Bureau created it for the census), national flowers and how many Spanish-speaking countries there are today (20).
In the final round each winner of the five previous rounds took a seat to compete for the grand prize: a Vol State pull-string bag and a Vol State hoodie.
Their questions were cultural for the most part.
They were asked about the Festival Internacional de Poesia (the International Poetry Festival held in Medellin, Puerto Rico), whether or not Puerto Ricans are U.S. Citizens (they are) and what the first Latin production was to hit broadway (“West Side Story”).
The overall winner of the Bowl was student Brittany Jackson.
“I didn’t even prepare for this, I just new that my class was coming to it,” said Jackson.
Even without preparing, it is possible to win a Quiz Bowl.

Carlos Andres comes to Vol State

by Miguel Detillier
Volunteer State Community College is planning to have spoken word artist Carlos Andres Gomez as a guest speaker this week.
Gomez will be speaking at the Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room A in the Randy and Lois Wood Campus Center on Tuesday, Oct. 4 from 12:45-1:45 p.m., after a student, faculty and staff open mic event that will last from 12:15-12:45 p.m. as part of the first Campus Activities Board (CAB) Coffee House of the fall semester.
Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities, said that the Campus Activity Board (CAB) will be looking for faculty, staff and students who are interested in reading poetry or singing a song at the first Coffee House of this semester, and also that they will offer free coffee to students, faculty and staff in this event.
Sherrell also said that Gomez will be looking for a stand-out faculty, staff, or student performance during this event, and the winner of the showcase will win a copy of Gomez’s book called Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood.
According to the website,, Gomez is an award-winning poet, actor, speaker and writer from New York City, and some of his accomplishments that he made in his career was winning the 2016 Best Diversity Award by Campus Activities Magazines, the 2015 Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, the 2015 Makeda Bilqis Literary Award and even Artist of the Year at the 2009 Promoting Outsiders Writers Awards.
This website also acknowledges him for going viral online in May of 2016 with his poem called “What does Hispanic look like,” that reached over a million views in less than a month, and for co-starring with Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster and Clive Owen in “Inside Man” directed by Spike Lee, and for appearing in the sixth season of HBO’s “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry” and in the third season of TV One’s “Verses and Poems.”
Gomez has been featured on a wide range of media outlets and platforms like NPR, TEDx, the New York Times, and even most recently as a performer in a special event at the White House, according to
This website also said that Gomez has also headlined festivals all over the world including the U.K, South Africa, Australia, Ireland, Indonesia, and as Guest of Honor at the Berlin International Literature Festival in Germany, and also has lectured and performed at more than 400 colleges and universities, and even has delivered many keynotes and commencement addresses.
“I saw him perform at the APCA conference and he did an outstanding job with his performance there, and he was also really personable,” said Sherrell. “I think he is willing to give away a copy of his book to anyone who wins the showcase at the Coffee House this week.”
“I think that any chance that students would have to see a poet like Carlos Andres Gomez has the potential to be very inspiring,” said Leslie LaChance, Associate Professor of English.