SGA Story

Molly Fanney

Imani West and Karalyn Schimek have been very busy this year, and just about every year of college up to now. They are very involved in the campus community, holding high positions in their sororities multiple on-campus jobs, serving on the executive board of the Student Government Association, and being members of honor societies and several other organizations. Now the female duo are the leaders of the student body and have many exciting plans for progress in the upcoming school year.
“I was definitely surprised and very nervous when we won. During the campaign I kept hearing people say ‘Oh, you’re going to be the representative of the entire student body’ and that’s a really big deal, and a huge responsibility to have,” said West. “Everyone was really excited for us, but it was like they were already relying on us before we were even elected. It was such a huge honor that the student body trusted us with leading them during the next school year and that the administration is supporting us as well. It’s not really a feeling of accomplishment, but just so very honored to be here. It is such an amazing honor.”
In fall 2014, West will be a senior and the president of the Student Government Association (SGA). She is a member of the Sigma Omicron Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and holds the position of parliamentarian and membership chairman. She works at the Batten Hub and is a Phonathon Ambassador, while somehow still finding time to be secretary for SGA and a Peace Corps Ambassador. West is also a member of a liberal arts honor society, PORTfolio.
“We kind of chose each other, actually,” said West, “Kara was my choice for a running mate because of her work ethic; she is such a strong member of SGA as treasurer, has a very positive attitude and spirit that I thought I could work well with. It’s important for the president and vice president relationship to be solid, since we are the face of this organization and the students.”
Schimek will be a junior and is a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha. During her freshman year, she was the social and standards chairman for ASA, but she then decided to take a break to focus on her executive position in SGA as a sophomore. As vice president, it will be her third year as an elected official of SGA. She was a freshman senator and then was recruited by former president Steven Bond to be treasurer this past school year. Schimek also is a part of Village Council.
The new faces of student government at Virginia Wesleyan have many plans to evolve and improve how the organization functions. Schimek heavily emphasized the importance of communication.
“Sometimes it is really hard to get solid communication between organizations, departments, and other sectors of the college, and I think improving that would be very beneficial to everyone,” said Schimek. “ It could really strengthen the relationships between all parts of the school, and currently I believe those relationships are lacking. I also think that involvement should be pushed more heavily unto students. We’ve had plenty of fundraisers and events for SGA that didn’t go as well as everyone expected, and higher involvement would have made a major difference in their success.”
The Student Government Association is an organization that contains officials elected by by student vote to represent the student body. SGA meets weekly to discuss issues brought up by students, and all students at the college are welcome to attend meetings to speak their piece. Each class has four senators that are in charge of making moves to fix problems, whether that is through meeting with administrators or department heads, or helping with fundraisers meant for purchasing more resources for students. West is very passionate about SGA and what it represents.
“The beautiful thing about SGA is that it brings so many different people together,” West said. “SGA really strives to represent every aspect of the student body at Virginia Wesleyan, from athletes to Greeks, the Outlet and the Marlin Chronicle, WAC and RecX. I think when other students can see that diversity, it really allows SGA to bring something different to the table. The more diverse group of students we have involved, the more administration will be able to have an accurate understanding of our issues.”
When selecting the new executive board, West and Schimek looked for candidates that have a real connection with the college, are able to time-manage well, and are committed and passionate. Their opponents in the presidential election, Devin Bransfield and Hanna Louk, will be members of the executive board, along will some who have never worked in student government but are involved at the college.
“At the end of the day we didn’t want students that didn’t have a strong connection with the school and weren’t involved,” said West. “They needed to have an understanding of the school environment, but also were dedicated members of whatever organizations they were a part of so that we knew they would be able to time-manage. The people we chose are really passionate about what they do, it had to be visible, the faces of their organizations. These students are always working and vouching for them with a strong positive attitude.”
“SGA is very time-consuming,” said Schimek. “From the outside looking in, you might not think that because it doesn’t show as much, but, boy, do we do a lot. We need a board who help us get a lot of things done.”
Overall, West and Schimek want to bring a new level of positive action to the campus, deviating from students’ tendency to complain without trying to make actual changes.
“If the administration sees the student body handling issues hands-on, they will be more able to do their job,” said West. “It’s really easy to just be negative and complain about all the things you don’t like about the school, but it actually makes it harder for administration to do their job because the problems aren’t being seen on a larger scale. We really want to help cut down on that practice of negativity about the college and encourage people to get involved and actually make a difference with positive action.”

Blocker Reno

Molly Fanney

Virginia Wesleyan’s 45-­year­-old natural sciences building, Blocker Hall, will be receiving some substantial renovations over the summer, with the intent of modernizing and maximizing undergraduate research resources and classroom experience in the building, as well as getting rid of its ‘70s architectural style. The renovations were made possible by three private donations of nearly half a million dollars. Construction on the building will begin immediately after commencement and is projected to be finished before the beginning of the fall semester.
“The auditorium in Blocker is very worn­out from so many years of use. One of the main goals of this project was to refresh it,” said Suzanne Savage, associate vice president for college advancement.
Among the many improvements that will be made to the auditorium in Blocker Hall are upgraded lighting and HVAC and new seating, flooring and ceiling. The cubbies that are now at the top of the auditorium will be replaced with science display cases, along with extra seating that is elevated to allow those seated to see the podium at the front. Better lighting will be installed to take away much of the drab darkness of the room.
“We have improved lighting in many renovations around campus, and when we introduce the most modern lighting and the right amount of it, it truly makes a difference,” said Savage. Along with Bruce Vaughan, vice president of operations, Savage has been a part of managing past renovations on Blocker Hall and other buildings on campus.
Most of the flooring will be covered in charcoal carpeting. The front of the classroom will be tile to enable easy clean­ups for science presentations. The wood siding in the auditorium will be sanded and refinished. The outside of the auditorium will also get a general makeover, including some seating for those waiting for a lecture. Overall, the space will be receiving a facelift to create a more modern feel, continued from various renovations done around campus.
Notoriously not very accessible to those with handicaps, the Blocker auditorium will now contain a desk area at the top of the space where those in wheelchairs can wheel right up to their work area. The entrance to the auditorium currently consists of a small set of stairs, so a wheelchair platform lift will be installed. The north entrance of the building will also be revamped and made more handicapped­accessible. Currently it is an emergency exit, for the most part unknown and unused by students and faculty. Improved landscaping will help attract traffic through the entrance that faces Smith Drive and the parking lot outside Hofheimer Library and Godwin Hall. Those who are handicapped currently have to go to the social sciences entrance on the other side of the building if they need to enter Blocker Hall.
After $2.8 million renovations in the laboratory spaces in Blocker Hall in 2010 and 2011, natural­science students should be very pleased to know that even more lab research resources will be available to them. Blocker 103, formally being used as a storage closet, will soon become a molecular cell biology lab. This new lab will contain resources for up to three undergraduate research projects per semester. Previously a faculty office, Blocker 230 will be turned into a microtome project lab and has enough resources for two more undergraduate research projects a semester.
“This will be especially beneficial to the laboratory equipment that before had to be transported back and forth across Blocker every time it was needed,” said Vaughan. “Such expensive equipment needs to have a home and now it will. The natural science majors have grown in size tremendously in recent years and we need to adequately meet the technological needs those students require.”
Vaughan worked closely with R.D. Lambert & Son to create the master plan for renovations on the natural science building. This company also did the previous construction on the building. The design style that was used on previous renovations will be continued, such as the same cabinetry and countertops in the new labs.
Vaughan has many other projects underway to modernize the campus this summer and next school year, including rebuilding the field hockey and lacrosse practice fields, new sinks in Village I bathrooms, and a new Social Science Lab/Women’s Resource Center. The new turf field and track are additional projects, but they are still in the fundraising mode of production.

Unconventional Leadership

Molly Fanney

Everyone remembers leaders such as Gandhi, Pope Francis, and Che Guevara, but I bet most
people wouldn’t know that those people fit the description of unconventional. Virginia Wesleyan offered a new course this past spring semester in which students had to analyze diverse historical and current figureheads and argue whether they are or were unconventional leaders. Led by an instructor with an international perspective, this uncommon course will be turned into a published book containing the research of the students.
Unconventional leaders can be defined as those that primarily use persuasion tactics to gain power. This is also known as soft power in political­science lingo. They are identified by the way they use ideology, by being innovative and adaptive, and by how they use the multiplier effect, which translates to how they get people to follow them.
“The whole idea behind the course was to evaluate the behaviors and patterns of effective leaders who use unconventional methods. Unconventional leaders communicate to their followers in really particular ways. Instead of using commands, they convince people they want to follow them. You make them want to do what you want them to do,” said Dr. Aubrey Westfall, professor of political science. She pulled the short straw that got her the position as the co­instructor of the specialized course.
The course is taught by a Dr. Imre Porkolab, a Hungarian colonel and a NATO commander, who was introduced to members of the political science department at Virginia Wesleyan at a NATO event last fall. He approached the department with the desire to teach a course that evaluates the behaviors and patterns of effective leaders who use unconventional methods.
“So when we typically think of leadership, we think of traditional hierarchical leadership,” said Westfall. “Unconventional leadership is kind of a feature of this new technological age where anyone can be a leader. Now, with technology and social media, we see different kinds of leaders emerging using different kinds of tools.”
Dr. Westfall served as “a sort of high­level teaching assistant,” she says, and was responsible for grading and evaluation of the coursework. With Colonel Porkolab, the students and Dr. Westfall came up with the idea of creating a booklet containing all of the research done by the students enrolled in the class. Each student had to choose an individual whom they believed to be an unconventional leader and then argue their case in 10 to 15 pages of research.The 12 students enrolled chose a broad range of subjects, such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Che Guevara, Beyonce, Gandhi, Pope Francis and General Schwarzkopf, among others. Dr. Westfall said she would have written about Madeleine Albright if she had done the assignment herself. And those aren’t even the most interesting names that were covered.
“One student wrote about Jim Jones,” said Westfall. “After reading the paper, though, I didn’t think he was unconventional. He forced people to do stuff. I think I do understand where the student was coming from because Jones was very persuasive and used lots of ideology, but there was a lot of hierarchy in his structure, so he might be more of a hybrid leader.”
The research papers that the students produce will then be revised into shorter, four­page arguments that will make up the booklet. The Colonel will create a theoretical framework for the publication. Porkolab has ties to ebook distributors and plans on publishing the collection as an ebook, once everything is edited with Westfall’s assistance. Creating these four­page arguments is actually the class’s entire final exam. Although they don’t have any concrete dates for the project’s completion, the ebook will definitely be available at the Hofheimer Library when it is published.
The course will only be offered for one more semester, fall 2014, because Porkolab is unfortunately going back to Hungary. It fulfills a “W” requirement and is a political science elective.

“A Local’s Guide”

Elizabeth Sims

Everywhere you go, you will find places that make you smile and other places that make you wonder how they are even still in business. Being in a college town is no different, with even more hole­in­the­walls and tourist traps to visit and experience. Here are some places and things you need to visit while at Wesleyan and places that are a complete waste of time and money.

Local Gems:
1. Lynnhaven Pub: This local pub is regionally famous for its vast selection of craft beers, averaging between 100 – 130 different beers every week. They also offer no cover charge at night, however, you only can enter if you are 21 years or older. Not of the legal age? No worries. This local favorite offers its delicious food starting at 11am.

2. Charlie’s Café: Don’t let the crazy and colorful exterior fool you, this is one of the most famous diners you can visit in Norfolk, thanks in part to Tom Hanks. That’s right. Tom Hanks the movie star. He visited the café in search of biscuits and gravy, leaving such a mark on the staff and restaurant that he has his own table and a biscuits and gravy platter named after him. They serve breakfast starting at 6 a.m. and stay open until 10 p.m., and even serve their own craft beer.

3. First Landing State Park: Want to connect more with nature? This state park is the place to do it. Encompassing over 3,000 acres of land untouched by development, you can camp, hike, and take guided tours of the pristine land that looks the same as it did when first discovered. 4. Brookdale Farm: Looking for food you can prepare yourself or some fresh produce that you can feel good about snacking on? Look no further than Brookdale Farm in Virginia Beach. Offering year around home grown produce, they also offer up creative recipes for the produce you purchase. Head out there during the summer for some of the best tasting berries you can get locally.

Tourist Traps:
1. MacArthur Mall: I say mall, and you hear fun times shopping with friends, but what you don’t know is how big of a rip­off this place is. Parking can be anywhere for $1 for an hour to $10, with no discounts for local or student IDs. And many of these stores are ones you can at closer malls such as Lynnhaven Mall or Military Circle Mall. Plus, it is always crowded with people looking for a good time, and not finding. On the flip side, they have the only Harry and David store for 50 miles, and everyone needs to try Moose Munch© at least once in their life.

2. The Virginia Aquarium: You’ll hear their obnoxious jingle on the radio, but have you actually seen how little their $22 ticket price gets you? 30 minutes of walking around and maybe a good educational IMAX feature. That’s it. The focus of this aquarium is the renewal and conservation of the Chesapeake Bay. You can see otters, wolves, and quite a large number of bugs, birds, and sea critters, but only if the exhibit is actually open. Most of the time, not all of them are open, leaving you feeling empty and ripped off.

3. Nauticus: Located in the Norfolk Harbor, you can pay $15 ­ $40 dollars to look at a boat. Granted, it’s the old and well­known Battleship Wisconsin, the last ever United States Battleship to be built. This overpriced boat tour is not worth the time spent listening to a three­hour lecture. You can do that in class here.

4. Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant: This place is the most clichéd, tacky, overpriced seafood restaurant in Tidewater. The only thing that separates this seafood buffet from a place like Golden Corral, is that Captain George’s has crab legs. Tough, overcooked crab legs. Plus, you’ll be paying triple the price for hideous décor and loud patrons.

Breaking the Stereotypes

Doug Hardman

You have emptied your lockers, you have packed up your room, and you are about to say goodbye to your parents and friends. You find yourself sitting on another campus surrounded by strangers and a sense of unfamiliarity. You are in college now.
One of the biggest things about college, especially Virginia Wesleyan, is feeling like you are part of something bigger. There is definitely a community and familial sense here and it is very welcoming. But what I have seen freshmen do is try too hard to fit into a community that is already offering its welcoming hand.
Freshmen, I think, come into college with their high­school mentality still intact: we need to be popular and get in with the “cool” kids. I hate to break it to you so early, but there is no such thing as “cool” in college. At least, it doesn’t mean the same thing that is meant in high school.
I’m not trying to be rude; I’m just trying to make a point. Incoming freshmen are just out of high school, so I can understand how they might think the same way when they begin their transition into college life. But, within the first month, maybe even the first week, it is obvious that no one cares what kind of car you drive or how many Twitter and Instagram followers you have. None of that matters anymore.
Instead of trying to be popular, why not just be yourself? The minute you continue your high­school routine of trying to be popular is the minute you become a stereotype.
I came into Virginia Wesleyan thinking I knew who I was and who I was going to be. I found a group of people with similar personalities and senses of humor and I clung to them. I have always had a small group of friends that I stuck with, and I never needed more. I knew I did not need to alter who I was to fit in because the only person I have to fit in with is myself.
I pride myself in breaking stereotypes and societal norms. People look at me and when I tell them about myself, they get surprised. The most common phrase I hear out of people’s mouths about me is, “Wow, I would have never guessed that about you!” When you actually show people your real self, they will always be surprised by you. When you show the fake, popularity­seeking side of yourself, it becomes expected of you to maintain that stereotype and you’re reduced to a label. Reality is, that’s just how it goes.
In no way am I trying to be discouraging. I want you to come into Wesleyan open­minded, ready to learn, ready to grow, and ready to live. But, you are not going to have a quality college experience if you stick to your stereotypes. You are going to have to learn to be more than just who you were in high school.
If you are a nice person, know how to take a joke, and know how to balance maturity with hilarity, then you will have no problem making friends here at Virginia Wesleyan. Life is not a popularity contest, and if it was, that ended with your high­school career. Just be yourself and know that you don’t have to fit into someone’s mold to feel at home. Being a stereotype only gets you so far. Once you start breaking the stereotypes, you are as free as the minute you walked through these doors.

Fall Preview – I Believe That We Will Win

DJ Woodmore

Sweaty palms, the feeling of butterflies in the pit of your stomach, and the roars of the student section can only mean one thing: fall season is here. The 2013 fall season was filled with excitement from start to finish, capped off with an Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) championship by the men’s soccer team. But 2014 appears to be even more filled with confidence, experience, and fresh talent.
“Usually after a team wins a championship, they say next year is ‘Championship or Bust.’ Well, in our case, it really is,” said senior men’s soccer forward and two-time all-conference honoree Isaac Arrington. “We are returning a team that is far above any other team in our conference in attack, and with our coaching staff, there is no reason why we can’t repeat as champions.”
Arrington played a big role in the success of the team this past season, making six goals and six assists and contributing 18 total points to the team’s offense, which finished with an overall record of 16-5-1 (9-2 in conference play), the best season since 2007.
On the women’s soccer team, the expectations are just as high, and with a solid returning core and a talented incoming freshmen class, the Marlins plan to be at right at the top of the ODAC once again.
“We need to raise our standards as a team next season,” said Jasmine Dao, junior forward. “We didn’t quite reach our goals last season, but I fully expect us to be playing for an ODAC championship and reach the NCAA tournament next year.”
Women’s soccer finished with an overall record of 12-5-2, marking its 15th consecutive winning season, including the last 14 under head coach Jeff Bowers. VWC also posted a 9-3 mark in the ODAC competition, marking its 16th straight winning mark in the conference.
Volleyball looks to bring in lots of new talent, as this year’s freshman class will play a vital role in the success of the team. A leadership-driven returning class, with the accompaniment of a young talented group, will look to place their stamp on the conference next season.
“Next year is going to be huge for us!” said Kirstin Sessoms, junior setter and captain. “Our incoming class is going to double our team in size, which will bring great talent and competition to our gym.”
Sessoms led last year’s team in assists per set and helped the Marlins finish the 2013 season with a 16-14 record, which marked the 10th winning season in the program’s 11-year history.
Field hockey looks to “break-in” the newly added turf field with a “breakout” season in 2014. With a solid and experienced returning class, and hopeful an incoming freshmen group, the Marlins plan to make some more noise in the ODAC this season.
“We have been working hard since the end of last season in preparation for big things to happen next year,” said senior Danielle Pellerin. “I am excited the team will be going in as underdogs. The other teams will have no idea what to expect.”The team will begin its 2014 campaign under second-year head coach Christina Restivo. It finished last year’s season only one game under .500 and plans to make a deep run in the tournament next season.
Nothing kicks off a school year right like a trip to the first home game of the year, and this season looks to be one full of expectations and thrills. Last season proved to be one of the most successful fall seasons in Virginia Wesleyan history, with our teams winning 60% of all matches, games, and meets. In 2013, the Marlins of fall sports produced a total of 20 All-ODAC honorees and expect to increase that number in 2014. Virginia Wesleyan takes pride in its student-athletes, and nothing shows more pride than winning.