Zohra Sarwari to visit and discuss tolerance and open mindedness

by Lauren Cieler// Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College is hosting Zohra Sarwari on March 4, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. in the Rochelle Center, across from the Learning Commons in the Thigpen Building.

Sarwari is an inspirational Muslim speaker, author and consultant.

She is the author of nine books and has been on ABC News, Fox News and has been interviewed on multiple radio shows.

Sarwari said her personal journey began at age six when she came from Afghanistan to America.

She said her passion is to educate others about diversity using humor and personal experiences that she said leaves audiences transformed.

Tabitha Sherrell, coordinator of Student Activities in the Office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives (SLDI), has seen Sarwari in person.

“I liked her tone; it was not tense. She has a good conversation with the audience using humor with her knowledge,” said Sherrell.

Her speeches promote dialogue and foster tolerance towards people of all races, religions, and backgrounds.

“No, I am not a terrorist.

“My mission is to serve God by teaching others how to live effectively and productively and to benefit the communities with the gifts that they are blessed with,” said Sarwari.

“I would attend her speech to see how her stories would relate to women’s diversity of this time,” said Nathan Smith, a Vol State student.

Chinese New Year celebrated at Volunteer State

by Ann Roberts// Editor-in-Chief

On Tuesday, Feb. 24, the Chinese New Year was celebrated in the Ramer Great Hall of Volunteer State Community College from 1 ñ 2:30 p.m.

Qi Yang, Chinese instructor, led her Chinese class who performed and recited in traditional dresses from China.

They sang songs and recited greetings and poems in Chinese.

ìI think the girls did a wonderful job. Especially what made me impressed was that they could recite and read the Chinese poems, which are usually for educated Chinese careers not for people who can know a few basic things. So thatís something made me feel very much impressed,î said Yiping Cui, official director of the Confucious Institute of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU).

Cui sent Yang to Vol State to work for the Chinese language program last year.

ìThis [Chinese New Year event] was coordinated primarily through Qi Yang. . . . She coordinated it through International Education and then we had several classes that came and supported it, said Anne-Marie Ruttenbur, coordinator of International Education.

Vol State’s Chinese language program is in its second year and growing.

Another thing that made me feel so much impressed [with the presentation at Chinese New Year] is their pronunciation.

And usually a lot of non-native Chinese find this very much baffling to pronounce the Chinese because Chinese has different intonation, which is very foreign to people like you. But the girls’ pronunciation [was] so good, I can understand perfectly what they are reading, said Cui.

It’s very inspirational to me to see students at a community college have the opportunity that students at universities have to have the exposure to international activities that I’ve seen happen at other universities and it’s a big thing to have right here in Gallatin. It makes me very proud, said Ruttenbur.

At the Chinese New Year Celebration there was hot tea, dumplings and egg rolls afterward at the reception.

Ruttenbur estimated 70 people in attendance for the event.

ìIt was really nice. It was very creative. It had nice energy and good atmosphere. I loved it. It was my first time experiencing the Chinese New Year,î said Nzingha King, a Vol State freshman.

One Book, One Community discussion began with a film shown in the library

by Cynthia Hernandez// Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College and the Gallatin community have simultaneously read the book “The Other Wes Moore.”

Vol State is partnering with all Sumner County Public libraries and high schools on the “One Book, One Community” project.

The community-wide book read will be accompanied by a special lecture series aimed to reflect and relate about what is relevant in the book and in current society.

The series began Tuesday, Feb. 10, with a feature film that was shown twice in the Thigpen Library.

The documentary “American Promise” observes the lives of two young black men as they grow up in the American school system.

For those that missed the film, the library has added it to their collection.

“We’re hoping for a better turnout at our other events,” said Julie Brown, a Vol State librarian.

Dr. Kenny Yarbrough, director of the office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives, was scheduled to lead a discussion on “deadbeat dads” in the Wemyss Auditorium Monday, Feb. 16, but due to the inclement weather which closed the Gallatin campus for three days, the deadbeat dads discussion has yet to be rescheduled.

Vol State will host a panel discussion today at 12:30 p. m. in the Mary Cole Nichols Carpeted Dining Room (CDR) of the Wood Campus Center.

The panel will consist of faculty and campus police and will discuss the tense relationships between the African-American community and the police and possible solutions.

Dr. Michael Torrence, assistant to the vice president of Academic Affairs, will lead a discussion on the ìEffects of Hip-Hop on Society” on Monday, March 2. at 9 a. m. in the Pickel Field House.

Various Sumner County high schools will be on campus for this event.

There will be another lecture focusing on low expectations of young African-American males on Thursday, March 19, at 12:30 p. m. Bill Ligon will lead this discussion in the CDR.

The final discussion will be on the selected book, ìThe Other Wes Moore.î

The community is invited be a part of the discussion to reflect upon the themes and learning points found in the book.

The culminating event will take place from 6 – 8 p. m. on Tuesday, March 24. in the Rochelle Center and Gallery.

The event will include discussion, spoken word artists, music, and student art exhibits said Yarbrough, the project manager.

Apart from these Vol State events, the Sumner County Public Libraries have book clubs that will discuss the book.

Host, Sally Ream, said that Gallatinís book club meets this Wednesday.

The Portland Library is offering a lunch/discussion on March 21.

The Vol State Library has several copies of the book available and offers a two-day rental. The Gallatin and Portland Libraries still have copies of the book available.

Harper Lee’s new book about grown up Scout to come out in July

by Brittney Mace// Assistant Editor

Harper Lee, a world-renowned author, has announced the release of her second novel, and sequel to her first novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

According to Harper Publishing, the novel will be titled “Go Set a Watchman” and will be released in July.

According to Associated Press, the book will be published in its original form and has already hit the top of the best-selling charts, months before its actual publication.

In a statement released by Harper Publishing, Lee describes her novel and choice to publish.

ìIn the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called “Go Set a Watchman.”

“It features the character known as Scout as an adult woman, and I thought it a pretty decent effort.

“My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, persuaded me to write a novel, what became “How to Kill a Mockingbird”, from the point of view of the young Scout.

“I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told.”

“I hadn’t realized it [the original book] had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer, Tonja Carter, discovered it.”

“After much thought and hesitation, I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication.”

“I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years,” said Lee.

Carter described the moment she discovered the novel to Washington Post, saying that she found the manuscript stapled to the manuscript of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and immediately rushed over to Lee, who then identified it as the sequel.

Because of Lee;s declining health, and her clear opinions on not publishing another book throughout the years, many have questioned whether or not she was pushed to publish and seemingly taken advantage of.

According to Slate.com, Carter said Lee is “hurt and humiliated” by these claims and that close friends say she is genuinely excited about the publishing process moving forward.

“When I read “To Kill A Mockingbird” as a high school assignment in the early 90s, I remember the teacher making the comment that Lee had only published one book and for years, even at that time, the public and the critics awaited her producing another work,” said Joshua Hite, instructor of English at Volunteer State Community College.

“Saying America has been awaiting this to occur would not be an understatement; however, we must take the entire situation into consideration.”

“The book was reportedly shelved after it was written in the 1950s, prior to “To Kill A Mockingbird” being published.

“This is strange enough, but when mixed with the reports that the manuscript was found by Lee’s lawyer, a recently new council to Lee who had used her own sister’s legal services for years, and secretive meetings occurred between Lee and the lawyer just prior to this announcement, a student of publishing and literary works must think “who has anything to gain from this?” and “why now?”

“While the circumstances are strange around the entire situation, literary scholars will be able to sift through this history once they can not only read the book itself but also view the manuscript.”

“I would not be surprised if the book will be a disappointment.

“I am not sure how it could not be since the news of this upcoming book in early February carried such weight. Finding a manuscript is different than publishing a book.

ìMany manuscripts went unpublished while the author was alive but were published after his/her death, possibly because the permission would not be granted while the writer was alive.

“Why would Lee grant permission now?

“This all seems a bit shady, but this will all be answered in about ten years when literary critics are able to analyze the text and sift through all the evidence surrounding this upcoming book,” said Hite.

“I am really looking forward to reading it. It will be interesting to step into the future of that world and see how the characters turned

Vol State reopens after three day snowbreak

by Ann Roberts// Editor-in-Chief

The Gallatin campus for Volunteer State Community College was reopened after three days of inclement weather which left most Vol Staters snow and icebound.

On Thursday Feb. 19, the campus was reopened at 9:30 a.m. and closed early at 4:30 pm.

That day, Coffee with the Prez took place according to plan at 10 -11 a.m. Students, faculty and staff were able to speak with Dr. Jerry Faulkner, president of Vol State and enjoy free coffee and breakfast biscuits in the Mary Cole Nichols Tiled Dining Room (TDR).

At noon, The French class hosted a Mardi Gras celebration that was originally scheduled for the Tuesday before but because of the snow, it was rescheduled.

The French class handed out pieces of cake to people in the TDR and if anyone had a small figurine of baby Jesus in their piece, they were given a paper crown and had their picture taken.

The figurines, in Mardi Gras tradition are meant to symbolize good luck for the next year.

There were also tables for anyone to create their own mask.

Also during the noon – 1 p.m. hour, there was a Lunch and Learn in the Carpeted Dining Room (CDR).

The lecture was about the history of black theater and was given by Edmon Thomas, associate professor of communication and theater.

On Friday Feb. 20, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) recognized Vol State as a Veterans Education Transition Support (VETS) campus.

The event was in Great Hall of the Ramer Administration Building at 10:30 a.m.

Among the attendees, was William Lamberth, Tennessee state representative for Sumner County, and members of the general counsel of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) who presented the plaque to Faulkner.

“It’s really exciting for us to be the first community college in Tennessee to receive this designation and I give all the credit to Ken Hanson and our team here that work with our veterans,” said Faulkner.

“[We are] impressed with Vol State’s programs and services [that] they provide to veterans and itís just very impressive evidence what the designation acknowledges that they really have stepped up to the plate and fulfilled their responsibility to students.

“It’s obviously a team effort  you can see that a lot of work goes into making this a campus where veterans feel comfortable and feel drawn to. We’re impressed and very proud of them,” said Dr. Russ Deaton, interim executive director at THEC.

Professor Thomas lecture at Lunch and Learn for black history month

by Lauren Cieler// Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College is hosting a Lunch and Learn Thursday, Feb. 19.

The event will take place in the Mary Cole Nichols Carpeted Dining Room at 12:30-1:30 p. m.

Edmon Thomas, associate professor of communication and theater, spoke about the arts and history tied it into Black and Women’s History Month.

“Lunch and Learn was to celebrate Black History Month so I decided to talk about black theater.

“It started with the minstrel shows and how the minstrel shows started after the Civil War and continued to be popular entertaiment throughout all of America,” said Thomas.

Students, staff and faculty were invited.

People were encouraged to bring their own lunch. Dessert was provided.

The office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives (SLDI) staff said this is the second year doing this event and that last year it was called Reflections of Black/Women’s History Month.

It was changed to Lunch & Learn because it was shorter and the name clicked more.

“It is interesting because everyone comes together to take the time to learn about the diversity within Black and Women’s History Month,” said Lori Miller, secretary II of SLDI.

“It is nice that the speaker relates something about black and women’s history,” said Tabitha Sherrell, coordinator of student activities in SLDI.

Local Musician Spotlight: Wesley Winters

by Makenzie Border// Staff Writer

There are a number of students at Volunteer State Community College who have varying types of talents.

One of these students, Wesley Winters, is a musician who has been earning popularity for some time now.

“I decided to do music when I was 15. I played in a couple talent shows, and when the response was positive, it sparked.”

“Music brings joy to people in a most personal way, and that is what I love to do,” said Winters.

“I’ve been doing this part time for about 4 years. I play a new age sort of blues/rock/soul/folk. Quite a big mix.”

“I’m still trying to pinpoint what type of song I like to play best, but as of right now you can hear a lot of sounds from me.î

Regarding his current success, Winters said that it is hard to take off as a college student, but that he is still focusing on his goals.

ìThe biggest thing I’ve done is play a few shows downtown in Nashville,î said Winters.

Winters also gave mention to a few of his professors that have given him support.

ìI wouldnít say I’ve been particularly pushed by any of the professors here at Vol State, but Lynn Peterson, Ben Graves, and Professor James Story, [department chair of visual and rerforming arts], have all brought a lot of encouragement my way,î said Winters.

For those who are hoping to see Winters perform, he has a few shows coming soon this month.

“I’m playing at a place called the Slider House in the Vanderbilt area off and on,” said Winters.

Humanities Matters lectures focus on racism and transcendentalists

by Mackenzie Border// Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College’s Humanities Matters Lecture series for the spring 2015 semester will focus on the current racial tension in the United States and will take place throughout February.

The next lecture, “James Baldwin’s Another Country, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Politics of Love,” will be Today, from 11:10 a.m. – 12:45 p.m., and will be hosted by Laura Black, chair of the English department.

Black was asked how she decided on the topic of her talk, saying, ìI’ve been planning this presentation since last semester, but it is really a smaller piece of a larger work that I’ve been working on for a lot longer.

“I’ve been studying the literature of James Baldwin for a few years now, specifically his civil rights literature.

“This will be my focus for my Ph.D. dissertation that I hope to complete in the next couple of years,” said Black.

“I believe Baldwin is one the most underappreciated American writer and intellectual of the 20th century. James Baldwin was a unique person in civil rights history.

“He was a talented writer, who happened to be black and gay, and whose books and published articles from the early 1960s focus on race and radical integration.

“He was interested in advancing social justice, racial equality, and civil rights for everyone, and these issues are still important today,î said Black.

Grady Eades, associate professor of History, will be holding a discussion with Nancy Blomgren, associate professor of English, called “Not an Aberration:  Race, Slavery, and American Values.”

The event was cancelled due to weather issues, and has not been rescheduled.

“Professor Nancy Blomgren and I have been tinkering with this idea for several months. “

“We began planning it in the fall term and have begun to work out details a few times since the spring term. This was definitely Professor Blomgren’s idea,î said Eades.

“For me, the idea is interesting to explore because it is potentially a little volatile and runs against conventional wisdom. We’re going to be looking at literature that supported slavery and was against equality; not exactly a walk through the tulips.”

“The point though is not to show support for these ideas, but to demonstrate how far back such ideas go and how critical they have been to American history and culture,î said Eades.

“We’ll be discussing the arguments made in favor of slavery in the decades before the American Civil War.”

“Many people who supported slavery felt that Uncle Tom’s Cabin did not give an accurate picture, so there were several novels written to answer Harriet Beecher Stowe’s arguments.”

“These became known as anti-Tom novels, and they provide some surprising insights into explaining how slavery advocates justified the ownership of other human beings.”

“Our title, “Not an Aberration,” reflects the ways slavery and racism were engrained in American ideology, not a departure from it,” said Blomgren.

“[The topic] is clearly relevant. The title of the presentation is “Not an Aberration” because we both felt that we wanted to get across the idea that racial issues in the United States are not new.

“There is a long history of African Americans being seen and treated as inferior by white Americans and we wanted to look at an often forgotten piece of that history.”

“Given the events in Ferguson, New York, and Cleveland – and that’s just the last six months – it is important to show these ideas have roots that go back a long, long time,î said Eades.

“Transcendentalist Communes in Fiction by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott” was the second lecture planned for the series. This event was also cancelled due to weather, and will be rescheduled.

Shellie Michael, professor of English, will be providing the lecture.

“Venerable American writers Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott both lived at communes in the 1840s, a time of radical reform movements much like the 1960s.”

“Since America’s inception, people have formed utopian communities for a variety of purposes. The communes at which Hawthorne and Alcott lived were attempts to apply Transcendentalist philosophies to everyday living.”

“Both writers wrote fiction about their experiences, giving us rare glimpses into life at 19th century American communes,” said Michael.

Michael discussed how she decided what to talk about and what the main point of the talk will be.

“My talk will be about the dissertation I’ve been researching and writing for the past two years. I’m a PhD student in English at MTSU, and I’m at the level called ABD: All But Dissertation.”

“This means I’ve finished all the program requirements, such as coursework and several major exams in my areas of specialization except the book-length research project, called a dissertation.

“People, especially Americans, have always experimented with communal living.”

“in my talk, I’ll discuss the history of utopianism in America as well as communes in Tennessee, some of which still exist today.

“I would also be glad for people to get a new perspective on Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott, seeing them not as stodgy, old-fashioned writers but people who lived in exciting times and had interesting experiences,” said Michael.

Being snowbound allows you time to take a break and catch up with work as well as make sure priorities are met

by Ann Roberts// Editor-in-Chief

The opportunity for seclusion can be both a blessing and a curse.

Last week all of the members of the Volunteer State Community College community experienced the occasion of having school be closed for three days and early closings on Thursday and Friday due to snow and ice.

When one is basically forced to stay at home and is unable to go to work or school, it gives them the opportunity to do some of the things they would like to do when those afore said things are in the way.

After a while though, some begin to experience cabin fever and become stir crazy.

Those fortunate enough to not have had their electricity and wifi go out were able to keep warm; have full function of their refrigerators, ovens and televisions; and keep in contact with their friends and family.

The situation of having multiple snow days gave everyone an early spring break of sorts.

Classes could still communicate via the eLearn site and most instructors were accessible through e-mail.

Most, if not all, of the Vol State community could take a break and enjoy spending time with their family and friends.

Many students, who may have felt like they were falling behind with their homework, had the opportunity to catch up with their studies.

The sooner I fall behind, the more time I have to catch up, said Author Unknown.

One could catch up on their latest viewing pleasures or reading material, spend time with their family, catch up on house chores and get ready for the hectic-ness of life when the snow and ice have detained us no more.

“Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isnít the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment,” said Robert Benchley, American humorist and newspaper columnist.

One thing that is always welcome from the regular bustling of everyday activities is a breather.

But one must know when the breather has become an excuse to not do oneís duties.

“Nobody’s life is ever all balanced. It’s a conscious decision to choose your priorities every day,” said Elizabeth Hasselbeck, American television personality.

It is hard to do schoolwork, housework and work-from-home work when all of your loves ones are also there and restless.

“Every duty which is bidden to wait returns with seven fresh duties at its back,” said

Charles Kingsley, English clergyman and historian.

It is much easier to goof off and push off one’s responsibilities for another time when there are not so many people around who want to have fun and enjoy your company.

“Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work,” said H. L. Hunt, American political activist and entrepreneur.

Unfortunately, too often we procrastinate too much and regret our decisions later.

Too many things are due at too much of the same time and it”s difficult to try and accomplish anything when you feel rushed and lost for time.

Time management is an oxymoron. Time is beyond our control, and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we lead our lives.

“Priority management is the answer to maximizing the time we have,” said John C. Maxwell, American author and speaker.

One can balance between the fun of a snow day and taking a chunk of time here and there to make sure you are on top of your responsibilities.

ìSuccess is only another form of failure if we forget what our priorities should be,î said Harry Lloyd, English actor.

Please take the time to get your priorities strait.

It is tricky sometimes to always know what is more important when some deadlines conflict with other plans and engagements.

There will be time for fun and games and there are times when working is a necessity.

ìWise are those who learn that the bottom line doesn’t always have to be their top priority,î said William Arthur Ward, American author.

I have severe problems with procrastination and prioritizing what I do and when I do it.

But I have resolved to change my ways and make an effort to get my act together and keep up with my workload.

Thrift Tips

by Gabrielle Staton// Staff Writer

Ever wondered how some people bag great finds at thrift shops?

Here’s a guide that will equip you with the skills you need to succeed!

Step 1 is to be prepared. Before heading out to thrift, be sure to plan.

Evaluate what items would count as a total score before leaving the store.

Three tools you need before you leave are a limit list, a budget, and a bonus buy.

A limit list is the same as a shopping list, but is limited to the thrift trip necessities.

A great cap for beginner thrift shoppers is between $20-$50, and if you receive every item on your limit list, and haven’t reached your budget, you can have a bonus buy. This would be something that doesn’t take you over budget once the limit list is secured.

Without going into any store with some sort of plan, it’s easy to leave with more than what you came for, and none of what you need!

The goal is to gain valuable items at an affordable price.

Step 2 is to stay informed. Even thrift stores have sales! Thrift stores, like Goodwill, host sales often.

Sometimes there are even top name brand items for less than $1.

Step 3 is to stay ahead. Upon entering the store, head to department with the items that lead the limit list.

Bring headphones to help stay in the zone.

Thrift shopping is a task. A little entertainment wouldn’t hurt.

Make a playlist that helps with focus. Remember you are in a store. Be careful not to get carried away when your favorite tune plays, wouldn’t want you having a free concert in Goodwill.

Step 4 is to stick to the list. In a store with such variety, it is easy to get sidetracked.

Stores such as Goodwill and Plato’s Closet receive clothing on a daily basis.

Don’t beat yourself up if you bypass a top find. There will be better items in the thrifting future!

If done properly, thrift shopping can be very rewarding and therapeutic.

Be sure to check future issues for the key to the 99 cents item and a few different looks for under $5.

Remember to shop responsibly. If you or someone you know has a hoarding problem, get help by calling 1-800-HOARDERS or 1-800-462-7337.