Category: Community

Former Marlin Chronicle editor, ’97, revered after fatal accident

Editor in Chief

Supermom. Committed. Magnificent as a person, parent and student.

With so much admiration, Jennifer Bush Lawson, class of 1997, truly was the epitome of the type of graduate Virginia Wesleyan aspires to develop.

On Feb. 24, Lawson died in Arlington from injuries sustained in a traffic accident. The legacy she left on this college and her community will continue to positively influence the lives of so many people.

“She was a beautiful person, very humble and never judgmental,” said alumni Kristen Winkler Cayton, also class of 1997. “She was genuinely kind to every person she met.”

Lawson, fondly known on campus as Jenn Bush, excelled as Editor in Chief of the Marlin Chronicle in the mid-1990s.

“We bonded while spending many hours in the old Marlin Chronicle office that was in Village I,” said Cayton, who also worked for the student-run newspaper. “We worked really hard to make the paper the very best it could be at that time, and we had fun doing it.”

A journalism major, Lawson graduated in 1997 with Summa Cum Laude honors. She began her career as a media relations specialist at the Association of American Medical Colleges. Lawson then worked for Edelman Public Relations before becoming a senior associate at Schmidt Public Affairs in Alexandria.

“Jenn was beyond an outstanding student,” said former Marlin Chronicle advisor and Professor of Journalism, Dr. William Ruehlmann. “She was an outstanding individual. She had a giving heart and a laughing spirit.”

Lawson, 39, is survived by her husband, Neal Lawson, and their three young children.

“Her examples of moral courage, unswerving citizenship, faithfulness to family and instinctive support of the underdog remain encouragements to all who knew her, and we will never, never forget her,” said Ruehlmann.

“She was a wonderful friend, more like a sister to me, and she was an incredible mom,” said Cayton. “I will cherish the time we had together, and it all started at Virginia Wesleyan.”

Rex-X experience the unexpected

Staff Writer

Everywhere around campus are colorful banners and painted window artwork that attempt to gain the attention of the campus community.
These efforts are for the Recreation Program at Virginia Wesleyan, known to students as RecX.
RecX offers a variety of activities ranging from relaxing pool movie nights to intramural sports; from camping in the surrounding forests to game tournaments.
“We had. . .a movie in the pool that we set up all day for. It was really good, we showed ‘Finding Nemo.’ I really liked it because it was something different,” said sophomore Erin Combs, a worker at the RecX office.
“It wasn’t like you sit in the Grille and watch a movie; it was relaxing. People swim around, all that stuff,” Kelly Keys, the supervisor of Recreational Sports and Activities, commented on the many activities that RecX puts on here at campus.
“Some of the biggest activities we do are intramural sports seasons, so things like flag football and volleyball are very big on campus with the student crowd. But specifically, event-wise, most recently we did Family Feud night which was a huge success. Everyone seemed to love it and they’re already asking for a round two so hopefully that will be coming up this April” said Keys.
Included in RecX’s popular venues are the fitness room, the pool, and places far from the campus’ physical view. However, there are some activities that are simply not getting enough attention.
Jason Seward, dean of freshman and director of the Jane P. Batten Student Center, explained: “I’ve tried for a number of years to get a kickball league going because I just thought that I would get no issues getting participation, but we don’t see a lot of participation in that league.”
He also said, “We would like to see a lot more use of the rock wall. The rock wall is sort of on a pendulum. When school first starts up a lot of people try it since they’ve never tried it before. They climb and after they’ve tried it once then it falls, but then it goes back up before graduation, so it’s up and down.”
On the lack of student participation, Kelly Keys also said, “Least popular, I would say, would be some of our power hours but that’s because we pick some things that people don’t know. We try to get people to play foosball because some people don’t realize we have a foosball team, or we try to get them to play Monopoly because we have all the board games in the back. We’re just like ‘Hey, just so you know, we have these things and you can use them.’”
When asked about how RecX advertises, Kelly Keys stated, “How do we not? We are trying to stay away from emails now because a lot of students just seem to immediately trash them. But we do all the posters you see, we have window paintings that we do on the first floor windows, and fliers.
The new T.V. that’s right outside the RecX office does running advertisements as well as a few of the whiteboard things that we do. And we try to do dorm raids where we go to all the dorms. We’re like ‘Hey, next week we’ve got such and such going on,’ and we try to tell students face to face ‘cause that’s when they’ll listen.”
She went on, saying that RecX can never have enough advertising. The more RecX advertises, the more obscure activities like foosball get popular. “I’m trying to push for the social media world. Trying to get more followers and more friends likes and all that, because students stay on their phones non-stop so it’s just probably the best way we can reach them. I don’t think there is ever enough advertising.”
“No, I don’t. I think a quality of standard keeps people coming back,” said Seward. “There has to be some sort of buzz built around an activity. You can’t just do what we call ‘spray and pray’ where you throw a banner up and hope somebody shows up. You gotta constantly circulate the word and be creative about the way that you advertise.”
Despite the small participation in some activities, RecX is seeing a gain in momentum for unexpected ones.
“I’m actually fine with everything we are doing now,” said Combs. “Kelly Keys is working on new stuff. We were going to have a Wii game night but that got changed. We had Family Feud this year and that was a huge success. We’ve never done that before. I feel like RecX is building up and RecX can always find new things to do especially with the staff that we have.”
“It’s just fun,” Kelly Keys says. “All of the things that we do is just to make sure that students are having a good time—it kind of brings out the kid in them. It’s nice to have a relaxing break after classes and play some football.”

Go to Batten for the action

Staff Writer

They are everywhere, little people running around in the convocation center, the CMAC, and the dance studio. Batten looks like an elementary-school playground during weeknights, and the community wants answers.
Many of the areas in Batten are used by sports teams in unfavorable weather. This cuts back on the space non-athlete students can use for recreation.
The Batten Center allows different organizations and churches to use its facilities. A local church uses the dance studio at least once a week to have praise-dance rehearsal. However, VWC has a dance team who also needs the dance studio.
Avriana Chavez, a member of the dance team, said: “The praise-dance rehearsals put us to a disadvantage because our practice time gets cut and then we have to go into overtime and sometimes that makes us have more practices for even longer.”
Randy Lott, a member of the men’s track and field team, said: “I don’t like having to find a new workout space when my team already has a set spot and time at the indoor track. In my opinion, I don’t like having to share our school with a lot of outside organizations.”
“I usually work out in the Fitness Center but when that area is over-occupied by people with nowhere else to go, I work out in my dorm room” said freshman Kennisha Mason.
Lott said, “I think that the school should have organizations come to campus on Saturday and Sunday instead of Monday through Friday, to cut back on students losing their facilities.”

All work and no play?

Staff Writer

Students balance demanding schedules between work and school

Part-time jobs are usually associated with high-school students earning spending money during the summer. However, in today’s tough economy, college students are searching high and low for an extra bit of change through part-time jobs, while being full-time students.
Some students even work multiple jobs on campus in order to help pay for tuition or to simply earn some spending money. Working multiple jobs and being a full-time student can be a lot to handle, but the rewards are worth the effort.
Sophomore Brooke Totzeck works as a Wesleyan Ambassador in the admissions office and also has a work-study job in the admissions office. As an ambassador, Totzeck gives tours to future Marlins and is an active member in the recruiting process at VWC.
A common misconception among students is that having a job can make scheduling classes difficult and can conflict with other aspects of their lives.
Totzeck said, “I was able to get into a routine with my work and class schedule, and I only missed work once for a class-related reason.”
Sophomore Sarah Pybus-Elmore is an active member in the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority and participates in numerous activities within the sorority on top of her two jobs and classes.
“It is difficult to balance; I am not only balancing work and school, I am balancing work, school, a social life and the sorority,” said Pybus-Elmore.
Time-management is a real challenge for students who balance work and school. It becomes difficult to keep track of one’s daily activities.
Sophomore Toni Owens said, “It is impossible to balance because it is time consuming. If I did not have a calendar I would be lost.”
Totzeck believes that on-campus jobs for students are, overall, a very important and beneficial aspect of college. In addition to being able to make money to help pay for tuition and other aspects of college life, such as those late-night food runs or a trip to the grocery store for toiletries, Totzeck said that having a job has helped her become a better-rounded individual.
“My time management skills have improved,” said Totzeck, “and I work in a professional setting that has given me office skills that could be useful in the future.”
So, contrary to the common misconception that having a job makes students unable to enjoy the college life, Totzeck, Pybus-Elmore and Owens have proven that students can still enjoy their college careers while working multiple jobs and the jobs can even make the experience a little better.

Students bring awareness to eating disorders

Community Editor

Body drawings, info tables, fun activities, oh my! Feb. 24-28 marks National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.
Students educated on the importance of eating disorders have decided to help bring awareness to our campus community. The Psychology of Eating Disorders winter session course prompted Assistant Professor of Psychology Taryn Myers and her students to plan a week full of events dedicated to providing information to the students, faculty, and staff.
“Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of mental illnesses, which makes them extremely important. Even more important, they tend to be quite common among college students,” said Myers.
Throughout the week, students will have the opportunity to participate in activities that will open their eyes to the importance of disordered eating habits.
“I hope people take away that eating disorders can affect anyone, male or female,” said sophomore Morgan McKenzie.
Another hope is for the participants to learn facts which they may have not known prior to the week.
“I volunteered to help throughout the week because there is valuable information people don’t know and they need to become more aware,” said senior Kamil Inmon.
Many people fear openly discussing this topic, yet talking about these issues allows for revelations within people’s lives.
“After taking this class, I realized I was becoming a product of my society, and my household, and I didn’t even realize it. As much as everyone would like to think they don’t care about the standards society has set for women and men, no one is completely exempt,” said junior Sarah Nwokorie. “I think it’s easier to go against the grain when you know exactly what you’re coming against.”
As students head into the final activities, there is an underlying message that Myers and her students want the campus community to carry with them every day.
“I would love for students to take away a better understanding of eating disorders, but more importantly, I would like them to take away the message to love their own bodies. The week of activities we have set up really emphasizes appreciating what your body can do for you and loving yourself as you are. I hope this week leaves students with this sense of positivity,” said Myers.
There will be various activities throughout the week promoting self-confidence and positive body image.
“One of my favorite activities planned for the week is Operation Beautiful. Everyone can participate by writing positive messages and posting them around campus,” said McKenzie.
During the week, students can also attend a panel to become better informed about eating disorders and their bodies in general.
“I’m also going to be a part of the panel to be of assistance to spread more information. I’ll actually be discussing the project that I created while I was in Dr. Myers’s Psychology of Eating Disorders class,” said Nwokorie.
At the end of the week, the combined efforts of Myers and her students will prove to be worth it.
“I just hope that seeing these tables and attending these activities will make people aware of how unreasonable cultural standards of thinness are and how dangerous engaging in disordered eating patterns could be. I also hope that folks learn to love themselves just a little bit more,” said Myers. “Having seen people struggle, if we can help just one person not to engage in these behaviors, this week will be successful.”

Not so easy to read, college edition

Community Editor

Series No. 1, A look at the difficulty of buying books for college students

It’s a joy to peel back the pages of a book and smell the new-book smell. But the experience loses some of its fun when you just paid for it using your minimum wage check from the last break from school. Every semester, students spend a chunk of money to purchase the books they need for their upcoming classes.
These books, however, do not just haunt our nightmares; they linger in the mind of Bookstore Manager Kimberly Brown.
Brown spends her time preparing for each semester and ensuring that the books will be available for students in the Scribner Bookstore when they arrive ready to learn.
The first step is as simple as getting the list of registered students from the Registrar and planning on ordering books according to those numbers.
“I order as many used books as I can for students; I use two different used-book companies,” said Brown.
“I send the master list of required textbooks for the semester out to the first company and they report back what books they have. Then, whatever is left I send to the second used book company and then they report back. And whatever they can’t fill I get from the familiar companies such as McGraw-Hill, Pearson, etc.”
As a student, Brown understands that book prices are a hot topic for students because they are one of the biggest expenses students have.
“Last semester I spent about $200 for a biology textbook. But, this semester I spent about $200 in total for my books,” says sophomore Sandra Leidl. “I realized I didn’t need to buy some textbooks and that helped.”
Many students have decided it is best to wait to purchase books.
“Waiting until the actual class can help” junior Jules Whitehurst says, “but the professor can schedule homework on the first day and if you don’t have your book yet it’s a problem.”
Many book distributors have begun attempting different forms of their books to encourage students to purchase them.
One form is the “loose leaf” text, which has pages that resemble loose-leaf paper and are able to be inserted into binders; this is virtually a copy of a hardback book, minus the hard cover.
“This affects the ‘Buy Back’ price at the end of the semester because you pretty much are getting that money off the top with your savings,” said Brown.
The ‘Buy Back’ price depends on the amount of use of the text throughout institutions, the condition of the text, and the edition.
“The edition of a book is a big deal because sometimes professors really encourage the newest edition and when you go to sell an older edition you don’t get the money back because it’s an outdated text,” said Brown.
“Buy Back representatives are always thinking ahead and what books they want vary depending on what books are really being utilized by professors and which are just sitting in a warehouse somewhere.”
Used books are sent back from the bookstore about 90 days after classes start and a few weeks later ‘Buy Back’ representatives are on campus.
“I didn’t do buy-back last semester because it really doesn’t give you a portion of the money you spend,” said Liedl.
Whitehurst said: “I think there should be more communication about the books. If we aren’t going to use the books for class then say that. Or if we aren’t going to use the entire book maybe offer the books in PDF form.”
Many professors differed in the way that they required their class materials, such as coursepacks, textbooks and complementary texts, to be formatted.
“I paid $80 for eight books and I used all of them; this semester I paid $300 for two books and I haven’t used them,” said freshman Jordana Costa. “Teachers should not allow you to buy books they won’t be using, and find more cost-effective books to teach with.”