Career Fair coming to campus for students

by Kailyn Fournier

Volunteer State Community College Fall 2016 Career Fair will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 21, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Wesley Pickel Field House Gymnasium. Everyone is welcome, from the students at Vol State to the general job seeking community in the Sumner County area.

“It’s for the community at large…[and] supports the workforce development in Gallatin,” says Rick Parrent, who is one of the people in charge of organizing the Career Fair every year. After all, “Vol State Community College is a community college, it is a college for the community.”

There will be many booths there, with businesses ranging from the City of Gallatin to Tractor Supply offering jobs. The Gallatin Economic Development Agency alone will have over 80 openings, and even the Vol State Human Resources department will have a booth at the fair. As of Thursday, Sept. 8, 71 businesses had registered to be at the Career Fair.

“Many of the organizations are nonprofits, which is a great way to get… internships and work based learning,” says Parrent

Full-time, part-time, and seasonal job openings will be available. Interviews can also be scheduled at the event. “Every job fair, students get job offers and job applications,” says Parrent.

“I think if you don’t know what career you’re going into, it might be an interesting option to check out. I think I might go, because I still don’t know exactly what I want to do, even though I have an idea,” says student Hannah Hudson.

Situations like Hudson’s are fairly common. In fact, Parrent says the Career Fair is as much of an opportunity to explore the different careers available the community, as it is to get job offers.

Parrent also says that some of those students who did not know what they wanted to do for a career have been among those who have gotten job offers in the past.

There will also be an area at the event teaching soft skills to students and community members, such as how to communicate effectively, how to dress for success and how to network themselves.

This year the sponsor of the Career Fair is Steve Nichols who works at Lenny’s Sub Shop in Gallatin, Tennessee. Nichols has occasionally sponsored it, but has also had a booth and catered for the event in the past.

“When I was in college, it was difficult to know what I wanted to do,” Nichols says, “I hope that it opens some eyes to what is just around the corner.”

Though, Nichols says most of the credit should go to Parrent and the others who have worked so hard to organize it, he says, “I’m happy to be able to provide this opportunity.”

“Now is the time,” Parrent says. “Students need to make time and show up. The worst thing that could happen is that they do all this work and no one shows up.”

For more information on the Career Fair, the businesses that will be there, and the job openings that will be offered, go to www.volstate.edu/careerfair/.

Emergency drills and what to do

by Miguel Detillier

Volunteer State Community College is planning to have evacuation drills this week.

Lisa Morris, Office Supervisor of the Campus Police Department, said that the drills will be held on Sept. 13 at 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Morris also said that upon notification, all students, faculty, and staff should immediately evacuate the site in question and relocate to another area or part of the campus, and once all of them are outside, they should all proceed to a clear area keeping streets, fire lanes, hydrant areas, and walkways clear.

Morris points out that the assembly points for the evacuation are the B-lot closest to the main entrance or F-lot closest to Nashville Pike for everybody who is in the Hal Reed Ramer Administration Building, the D-lot near the Assistance Call Box for everybody who is in the Noble C. Caudill Hall or the Randy and Lois Wood Campus Center, the E-lot for everybody who is in the first floor of the Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Humanities Building, the staff lot behind the John B. Wallace Health Sciences Building South near the community garden for everybody who is in the second floor of the SRB Humanities Building, the D-lot near the Assistance Call Box or K-lot near the Assistance Call Box for everybody who is in the E.G. Mattox Business Building, the staff lot behind the John B. Wallace Health Sciences Building South or the H-lot near the Assistance Call for everybody who is in the Thigpen Library, the F-lot closest to Nashville Pike  for everybody who is in the T. Wesley Pickel Fieldhouse or the J. Howard Warf Building, the front lawn for everybody who is in the East Campus or the Betty Gibson Hall, the front lawn for everybody who is in the Joseph T. Watlington Science Field Station, and the overflow gravel parking lot for everybody who is in the J.T. Fox Maintenance Building.

“Depending on the threat or hazard, it may be necessary to evacuate of all or part of the campus buildings and grounds.

“A wide variety of emergencies may require building evacuation including but not limited to fire/alarm, gas leak/alarm, explosion, chemical spill, bomb threat, etc,” said Morris.

“I think campus evacuations are a good thing because it makes a lot of students feel safe in emergencies, and we know how to act during those situations,” said freshman Taylor Jones.

Morris explains that drills are the best indicator that an emergency evacuation will go smoothly and successfully and also aids in polishing the emergency preparedness plans. Morris also confirms that although drills may be considered a nuisance by some students, they are vital in emergency preparedness.

“Campus evacuations are very helpful into where we need to go in certain situations and everyone should know what to do in certain emergencies,” said sophomore Tristan Fullum.

FAFSA changes to begin for all students on October 2016

by Sara Keen

A rumor and variety of articles have been circulating the internet recently about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the financial aid application that almost every college student fills out each year.

Starting with the 2017-18 FAFSA, all students will be able to fill there forms out on Oct. 1, rather than the original Jan. 1 start date.  This is a permanent change.

Students will also be asked for the previous year’s tax information.  For example, on Oct. 1, students will submit their 2015 tax information instead of estimating for 2016.

According to studentaid.ed.gov, the official website behind FAFSA, “Because the FAFSA will ask for older income and tax information, you will already have done your taxes by the time you fill out your FAFSA, and you won’t need to estimate your tax information.”

This will allow students to finish the application immediately, rather than waiting for taxes to be finished to update the information on their FAFSA.

Studentaid does strongly suggest students use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool from now on when filling out their FAFSA.  This will allow students to fill out the tax information faster and more efficiently than before.

“Because the FAFSA is available earlier, you may feel less pressure due to having more time to explore and understand your financial aid options and apply for aid before your state’s and school’s deadlines,” added Studentaid.

Students are not guaranteed to receive offers earlier with the new deadline, however.  Even if a student files on the Oct. 1 date, they may not hear from schools until they begin their reviews.

The Pell Grant is also going to be uncertain for all students until the maximum grant is known in early 2017.

“The aim is to reduce inaccuracies and the need for verification, give institutions more time to review documents and potentially allow them to mail award letters earlier in the application cycle,” wrote Farran Powell of the U.S. News.

There is one more major change with the 2016 FAFSA changes that is likely to be less obvious to students.

Many Institutions will no longer be able to see where the students ranked them when filling out FAFSA.  However, Powell added a warning that the lists will still be available to “state agencies,” and suggested that students put state colleges at the top of their lists.

The paper version of FAFSA is also being phased out, and will only be available upon request in the Financial Aid office of any school.

There should not be any changes to the final submission deadline, despite the earlier start date.  Students will still have until July 30 to complete their FAFSA.

“I had no idea they were changing the start date,” said Courtney Southern, a Volunteer State Community College student, “but I think it will be helpful for students who need the financial aid.  It could probably take some of the anxiety off of filling out the forms and waiting.”

Southern said she looks forward to [hopefully] seeing some school offers earlier so that she can make her decision on where to go next.

Anyone who would like more information on the FAFSA changes should visit studentaid.gov/fafsa.

Get prepared for Halloween extra early

By Hope McKinney

Okay, I am one of those people who decorate for Halloween pre-maturely, dress to fit fall weather even when it’s still 80 degrees outside, and encourage everyone else to do so. Whether you are happy about fall being upon us or not, it is on its way. Here are a few things I do every year to prepare for the festivities of my favorite time of year!

1.     Buy decorations when they first hit the shelves. If you are on a budget, you can get so much for under 20$ at your local Dollar Tree. Their decorations aren’t only cheap; they are so cute!

2.     If you have children let them pick their costume early. Waiting until the very last minute can be very stressful for your whole family due to shortage of Elsa and Ninja Turtle costumes at Party City. By the time October 31 hits all those procrastinating parents will be ready to pull their hair out digging through the left over costumes praying they find something their child won’t throw a fit about. Don’t be that parent.

3.     When you order your festive holiday coffee from Starbucks, or a local shop try something new! We all know pumpkin spice is the king of all coffee at this time, but venture forth and create a new coffee trend for yourself.

4.     Have a scary movie marathon. Get all of the classics together, cuddle up with your loved ones, and see who will chicken out of watching them first! A great alternative if you have children, or you don’t like scary movies would be movies like Halloweentown or Twitches. While these are not scary movies they do the trick of getting you in the spirit.

5.     Create an original costume for yourself. Get on Pinterest and see what kind of concoctions you can come up with! Odds are you can find just what you are looking for right in your closet.

6.     Stock up on candy. Candy is expensive and if you’re anything like me and you start buying it too early, you will also start eating it before it gets to the trick-or-treaters. I like to stock up about 3 or so days before and just see how much will power I actually have before the big day.

7.     If you are trick-or-treating yourself, or with children it is ALWAYS a good idea to get a set of reflectors to stick on yourself. Especially in busy neighborhoods, cars sometimes can’t see you, or simply just don’t watch for you. Reflectors can be seen very easily at a distance and should give an alert driver more than enough time to stop before someone gets hurt.

8.     A rule of thumb when taking my sister trick-or-treating for me has always been not to accept homemade treats from people we didn’t know. What is a friendly gesture for most, can be a harmful method for many others.

9.     If you are attending a Halloween party, or any party for that matter, be cautious of what you are ingesting. Same with the trick-or-treaters there are so many creeps and spooky people other than on Halloween night that have no problems hurting others.

10. Be prepared for cold weather. In the great state of Tennessee the weather changes hour to hour. Always be prepared with a jacket incase mother nature decides its time for a cold front.     

11. HAVE FUN!!! No matter what your plans are for Halloween and the next couple of months leading up to it make it a time to remember. Carve pumpkins and go to haunted houses. Enjoy the cooler weather with family and friends who mean the most to you.

Vet Tech Program to receive new building

By Kailyn Fournier

With all of the art classes moving into the Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Humanities building, it leaves the former Fine Arts building in need of a new purpose. That new purpose could be fulfilled as early as January of next semester as the new home of the Veterinary Technology program.

“I think it is an exciting time for our program at Vol State,” Suzanne Gibson, an adjunct instructor for the Vet Tech Program, says, “as we will be moving from the Science Field Station to a state of the art 9,000 square foot building next year on main campus.”

The Vet Tech program is for students who are interested in becoming a veterinary nurses. It traditionally is a two year program, however there is a six year option for part time students. Gibson says, “Once these students graduate from the Vet Tech program, most will likely go into private practice (in a veterinary clinic) but with this degree they have numerous options and opportunities available to them.”

Every year the program accepts 24 students who have previously completed 40 hours of observing or volunteering work in a veterinary setting, or have grown up on a farm taking care of animals.

The reason they have 40 required hours of observation is so that the students are well informed of the career they’re getting into. “People think that it’s going to be playing with puppies and kittens all day but it’s not,” says Hope Wright, one of the people in charge of Vet Tech. “They’ll see blood, they’ll see surgery, but it’s fun too.”

Gibson says, “It’s important to learn the science and technical skills, but it also takes a special person to be a veterinary technician. We all love animals, but you also have to enjoy helping people as well, which takes a person that is very caring, compassionate, and dedicated.”

It is academic though, as Donna Smith, an instructor and the clinical coordinator for Vet Tech, says, “It’s a very rigorous program.” Students will complete 345 hours of hands-on learning by the time they graduate. Getting that time won’t be a challenge, though. With the relationships the program has established, Vet Tech has quite a few local farmers and approximately 30 clinical affiliates.  This is partly due to the creation of the program being, “…a true community effort,” according to Douglas Shaw, who was in charge of creating the curriculum and organizing Vet Tech at Vol state.

Shaw also says, “Our students are getting jobs….Out of 13 students in one class, all but one are already in a veterinary career.” Smith says something similar about one of the previous years, “One of the neatest things [was], we had 19 graduates. 17 of those had jobs. It’s just phenomenal.”

Smith thinks part of the success is due to the fact when it started, Vol State was the 5th school in Tennessee to have the Vet Tech program. The schools are all spread out too, so the low number of schools teaching the program makes the students very sought after, not only here but even in the states bordering Tennessee. With the new building, Smith thinks the program has a lot of potential to grow.

The program itself is very sought after by students as well, with over 50 students applying for this year. Again, only 24 students are selected per year. So, for students who are interested, or know someone who might be interested in applying for the Vet Tech program next year, more information and the application can be found at www.volstate.edu/VetTech.

Free tutoring on and off campus

By Rachel Yates

Volunteer State Community College offers free tutoring assistance to all students who wish to sit down with a learning assistant or tutor on campus, or if one is studying online assistance is available 24/7 at www.tutor.com. Tutoring is offered for all students at different levels in the Learning Center and the Language Center.

Kay Dayton explains, “Tutoring is available to all Volunteer State Community College students in the Learning Commons located in Thigpen Library. We are opened Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and on Saturday’s 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.”

The Learning Commons is located on the first floor of the Thigpen Library.

The Learning Commons has tutors who can help in subjects from math to physics. In addition, they also work to help students in the co-requisite classes if they need help with their reading or writing.

Suzanne Previte, director of the Language Center, tends to pick up when the Learning Center is unavailable. “The Language Center offers students assistance in all forms of communication – written, oral, visual, academic, professional, and personal – and we can work with students in disciplines at any stage of the writing/presenting process,” said Previte.

Beginning Sep. 6, the Language Center will be open Monday’s and Thursday’s 9:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., and Friday’s 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Prior to Sep. 6, the Language Center will be open the week of Aug. 29, and will be open that week Monday – Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Friday 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. One can find the Language Center located in the Steinhaur-Rogan-Black Humanities building room 205. Previte added, “Students use the Language Center quite often; in fact, over the past 6 years on average more than one thousand students use the Language Center each semester.”

The Language Center also offers physical consultants with whom the students can work with. If the class meets online, or at an alternate location, the professors are given the opportunity to have a Language Center consultant embedded in their eLearn class shells.

Students who are finding classwork challenging always have tutoring assistance available at their fingertips. Whether having coffee at their favorite coffee shop, or sitting in their living room, all they need to do is access the internet and type in www.tutor.com for free online help.

Kenia Alderson, freshman, states, “I feel great knowing that tutoring is offered. I think it’s a really good thing to have because sometimes you need that extra help in some places and tutoring can do that and be useful for us.” VSCC tutoring offers insurance that students can learn and complete homework to meet their deadlines.

Whether it is online tutoring, in the Learning Commons, or in the Language Center students are given many opportunities to successfully get that extra help that one may need.

“If a student comes with a need we try to help them and link it out,” said Dayton. VSCC will have the tutoring schedule available Aug. 29.

Fitness Center available to students

By Kailyn Fournier

Students enjoying the Fitness Center

Students enjoying the Fitness Center

Volunteer State Community College has a fitness center located in the Wesley Pickel Field House building open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m.—9 p.m. It has a variety of equipment for students and faculty to use.

The room has treadmills, exercise bikes and cross trainers, as well as various weights. It also has stations for biceps, abdominal crunches, seated leg curls, leg extensions, biangular shoulder presses, seated leg presses, and tricep extensions among others. On each of these stations are instructions on how to set up the equipment, how to enter the equipment and how to actually do the exercise.

In addition to the equipment, on the walls of the room, there are posters with various warm up and workout information. There are also three T.V.s mounted on the walls.

The rules for the fitness center can be found on a sign near the desk, and on the wall in front of the treadmills. They are general rules apply mostly to using the equipment, such as taking care of the equipment and keeping the room clean.

However, no food and drink are allowed unless it is water, and since there is heavy equipment involved, parents are not allowed to bring their children into the room for the child’s own safety. The fitness center is also closed to others whenever a class is in session.

It should also be mentioned that the rules specifically state that the fitness center is for working out only, no socializing or loitering.

The fitness center is a public place, and though it is a workout room, proper attire is required. Shirts and shoes are necessary. Also, profanity, and screaming or grunting loudly is not appropriate or allowed.

Justin McKinney is an adjunct athletic trainer at Vol State and teaches a weight training class that takes place in the fitness center Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:10 to 11:05.

He says that the room is always fairly open. “Our athletes here at Vol State utilize the facility as well,” He says, “but the best time to come and work out is the afternoon, because they’re practicing.”

According to McKinney, the desk in the Fitness center is used whenever the Athletic Department has work studies. Occasionally there is someone at the desk who is just there to help and observe and there are routine checks of the room to make sure everything is fine.

If no one is there it still fine to use the workout equipment, but it is one’s own responsibility to make sure they are using the equipment safely.

Abby Hall and Melanie Wells are two of McKinney’s weight training students and thought they would be the only two girls in his class. They realized that the class was much more diverse and have a decent number of both men and women.

Though neither of the girls are involved in any sports at Vol State, they do coach basketball at Madison Church of Christ in Madison, TN. Hall says she specifically joined the class to use the room to help with a problem she has in her knee.

Featured equipment from the Fitness Center

Featured equipment from the Fitness Center