Archive for: February 26th, 2014

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.”

Registering guests online

Staff Writer

Beep, beep, beep is the noise some students report hearing when calling the security gate to register guests. Students consistently report waiting in long lines to get on campus because of improperly registered guests. Student Government Association (SGA) is working to change the process of registering a guest on campus to avoid these delays.
The process currently requires students to call the security office, provide their name and dorm room number, and spell the name of the person they are calling in.
“Students will be allowed to use Web Advisor to put in the visitor’s information, such as their name and the student’s dorm number. This will then be seen at the gate by the officers shortly after completion,” said Director of Security Jerry Mance.
The idea to transform the registration format from phone calls to computer came from SGA junior senator Mindy Bertram. Bertram’s job is to ask students what improvements need to be made on the VWC campus. Enough students mentioned the inefficiency of the guest check-in process so that SGA conveyed the concern to Mance. Mance met with Computer Services last month to help develop an appropriate program. Together they decided to put the registration on WebAdvisor.
Other than knowing that the registration will be located on WebAdvisor, there is currently not a lot of information regarding the change in policy because it is still in the works. However, there are two things that are certain; first, the program should be ready after spring break, and second, there is a training program in place for all the officers.
“February 21st is when the training program begins and this will help make sure that all staff members are comfortable with the new program,” said SGA president Steven Bond.
The idea that change is coming seems to be exciting most of the student body, but there still are a few who are a bit skeptical about the program.
“I feel like the change is good except for the people who don’t have a smartphone, said freshman Valerie Wilburn. “It will be more difficult making a last-minute decision since you’ll need a computer or smartphone to register guests, so I wonder if they will still expect phone calls.”
“I use the phone system about twice a week and it works great for me,” said freshman Sarah Antozzi. “There’s an old saying: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ And why weren’t all students told about this change when they started working on it, instead of just now?”
According to Mance, the focus of the new program is trying to get away from the phone calls, so unless it is an emergency check-in, students should not call the security gate to confirm a guest’s registration.
“We are trying to get away from the calling. Web Advisor will specifically be made to be updated on real time to avoid any waiting at the gate,” said Mance.
Overall, the change will make it easier and more convenient for students, but at the same time, there still may be a wait at the gate because someone did not know a person’s license plate or incorrectly typed the guest’s name. Regardless of all the small mishaps that may happen, the point of the change is to streamline the process, making it more efficient for both security officers and students. Most importantly, of course, it will still maintain the safety of the student body.

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.”

Taking his passion to the next level

Advertising Editor

Not only has sophomore Irving Muniz discovered his passion, he has encountered great success pursuing it.
“It’s so easy. Being in your bedroom listening to music one minute, then becoming obsessed with writing it,” said Muniz.
Currently having over 200,000 YouTube views on his song “Transitions,” Muniz, otherwise known as “SG the Ghost,” a name that comes from the television show Space Ghosts, has always had a passion for music. While he was younger, he tried to become a dancer, but it didn’t work out.
“I was terrible and embarrassed when I danced, but rapping was a hobby that allowed me to sit down and write about something,” Muniz recalls.
Muniz grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and came from a musical background, with family members who could all rap and play musical instruments. He knows how to play the piano and guitar, and is talented with a drum pad. “I remember, growing up, my first rap name was ‘Kid Blaze’ because I was known as a kid who spit fire,” said Muniz.
Looking back, Muniz is still in shock with how far he has come since then, and he didn’t expect to be where he is now. “My goal wasn’t to be a rapper. I’m just a dude who likes to rap,” said Muniz. He began to record music in the studio professionally in October 2013, and has recorded 17 songs since then. His music has also been featured on three different radio stations, including 102.9 and 104.5. He has also had five performances so far this year.
He recalls one particular unforgettable performance at Peabody’s. “I was denied entry last year because I wasn’t wearing a belt, and a year later, I’m performing there, and making money for them.” He calls this experience a “true come-up,” which played a role when he wrote his favorite song, “We Made It,” during his freshman year here at VWC.
“It’s about me transitioning into rapping, expressing the things I’ve been through in life, and eventually overcoming those obstacles,” said Muniz.
Along his journey of transitioning into rapping, he’s been granted the opportunity to team up with Shaggy from Z104 to help promote his music, and met one of his favorite rappers, Cassidy, who is one of his inspirations.
“I was so excited when I met him, but I knew I had to remain calm and professional,” said Muniz. Cassidy isn’t the only rapper who inspired him. The Notorious B.I.G. and Drake are just a few of his other favorite rappers.
Despite his accomplishments thus far, Muniz has not forgotten where he came from or his passion to give back to the community. He has helped with a funding program called, “Funding the Future,” which raises money, clothes, toys and food for families in need during the holidays. “There’s not a better feeling than knowing that what you’ve done for a child is the reason why they’re smiling,” said Muniz.
He has given back to charities, as well as to musicians in our local community. Sophomore Kwame Harris has been to the recording studio with Muniz plenty of times, and they have recorded a few songs together.
Their next show together will be at Iguanas performing for a party on March 1 at 8 p.m. “We can’t wait! We’re so excited, and encouraging people to come out, enjoy themselves and have a good time,” said Muniz.
Through each performance, networking connection, and rap single made, Muniz continues to remain humble when it comes to his fans response. “It feels good seeing that my fans love my music, but it’s also a distraction because I’m not in it for the money or fame. I’m in it for the music,” said Muniz.
Anyone who is interested in hearing music from our very own Irving Muniz, can find it on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Sound Cloud.
Muniz says two phrases “that I want people to never forget are ‘progression’ and ‘hard work,’ because without those you will never be able to achieve your dreams.”

One fish, two fish, maybe more fish?

Staff Writer

The fish tank located in the Batten Student Center has been around for the building’s lifetime. In recent years, the tank has been strangely empty. But, this semester a duo of silver friends have made an appearance.
Glenn Johnson, a one-year alumnus, commented on the fish tank’s history, “I’ve been on this campus on and off since before they built [the Batten Student Center] and that fish tank used to be full of black pacu. There was an incident that occurred when they were cleaning the tank and the fish got sick. I was the building supervisor in that time frame.”
Dean of freshmen and director of the Jane P. Batten Student Activities Center, Jason Seward, explained the incident in detail, “In the summer of 2012, we experienced a major pipe burst which caused our tank to drain completely. Because of this, we had to refill the tank. Several of our old fish were injured when the tank drained.” Ever since then, the tank has been undergoing either repairs or preparation for more fish to be included in the tank.
There have been some drawbacks to a rather empty and deserted tank. “It kind of looks bland,” said freshmen Dillon Rudiger. “They could change up the scenery a bit.”
In fact, there hasn’t been much too look at for a while, so perhaps the addition of the two new fish is a sign of improvement.
“I mean, it’s eye-catching and it attracts attention so maybe it’ll make people want to come here?” said Rudiger. “I know the first time I came here that was the first thing I saw so it’s definitely eye-catching.”
“Over the coming months, we will be adding additional fish and tank decorations,” said Seward.
Exactly what type of fish or sort of decorations is unknown; however, we can expect the fish tank to undergo much-needed renovations, whether small or large in scale.
The Batten Student Center has become the unintended first impression of the culture of VWC. The fish tank, while sometimes overlooked, is included in this first impression. “I’d like to see them get more variety. I know that they’re working on that,” Glenn Johnson commented, describing his input. “[The fish tank] actually does offer a lot,” he continued. “It gives a good focal point when we have guests come on campus. This facility is used for so many outside events. The first thing I see guests do when they’re walking through is stop and look at that fish tank. So, it’s something the guests will remember the campus by, which is always a good thing when you’re trying to recruit people in.”
Those walking through the campus would be convinced almost immediately, with a tank full of fish, that Virginia Wesleyan is a school with curiosity and wonder, a school to eventually explore. Hopefully, the fish tank will eventually return to its former glory, with colorful fish of many shapes and sizes, a variety of fish just as distinct and unique as each one of the students on campus.
There is one fact that is almost absolutely certain. There won’t be any marlins in the fish tank any time soon. Marlins, being on average almost thirty feet in length while also having an extraordinary swimming speed, would not be spatially comfortable in our fish tank. Unless the Batten Student Center also became an aquarium, the marlin will simply remain the ever-present mascot of VWC.

Boy Scouts open to all

Steven bond
Staff Writer

Changing history, openly gay Boy Scouts of America are now allowed within the organization. There have been a number of advancements in regards to gay rights in the past couple of years. And with the start of 2014, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) continued this advancement.
In May 2013, the BSA National Council voted and passed the policy change allowing openly gay members, which took effect January 1, 2014.With policy changes aside, BSA is a youth development organization which provides programs that build character, and trains in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness.
“At first, I became a boy scout because I had a friend that had convinced me, but the more time I spent with the troop, the more I loved it. I stayed in the Scouts because I love working with my hands, camping, hiking, I enjoyed the responsibilities given to me, it gave me a sense of unconditional belonging and brotherhood,” said Steven Sims, sophomore Elizabeth Sims’ brother.
Sims hasn’t been in the Boy Scouts for two years, but he was a gay member of the Boy Scouts while it was not openly accepted.
Many gay members of the BSA considered their removal from the organization to be the worst case scenario. However for some cases there were troops that allowed openly gay members before the BSA National Council changed the policy.
“I knew I would have never been kept out or booted for my preference [sexual orientation], and maybe that was just my troop, but I knew many boys that were openly gay in the Scouts long before this decision,” said Sims.
However, since the policy change took effect, members of the Boy Scouts are allowed to publicly classify themselves as gay without fearing removal from the program.
This change makes it easier for boys to feel comfortable joining an organization where some members identify as gay.
Previous Boy Scout sophomore Glenn Rose said, “I don’t know anyone who was gay and wanted to be in Scouts but I do know plenty of gay people who were mad about being excluded, so I’m sure this will change the attitude of people towards the organization.”
Even though this decision will hopefully draw more people to joining Boy Scouts, the decision has also pushed people away.
Ever since the decision, the Boy Scouts has lost close to 6% of its members. Though it is not explicitly stated that the loss of membership is because of the policy change, the loss of members came at the same time of the change.
While members of the BSA are still grasping the new policy change, Girl Scouts of the USA already deny discrimination and don’t allow personal matters, like sexual orientation, to determine membership.
Girl Scout Rayven Davis said, “All types of people are accepted by the Girl Scouts regardless of their religious background, race or, to my knowledge, sexual orientation.”
The Girl Scouts seem to be in a better place when it comes to the acceptance of members compared to the BSA, because, even though the BSA policy change is considered a victory for gay rights, there are still some negatives.
“The Scouts still don’t allow gay scoutmasters because they’re worried about them being attracted to children. So the attitude toward the gay community hasn’t changed enough for me to be too happy about this but we’re getting there,” said Rose.
The policy change does not fix everything, but it is considered a good start for the BSA. Rose is appreciative of what the Boy Scouts did for him and hopes others can have great experiences as well. Rose said, “I’m glad to see the organization that gave me so much is opening its doors.”