What we're listening to

November 16, 2018

Thanksgiving break is finally here! The turkey and mashed potatoes will make the countless hours of studying and writing almost worth it. For your ride home, the SA team put together some of our favorite road tripping songs to accompany you along the way. We hope you enjoy this playlist and enjoy your break! Happy Thanksgiving!

Where are you going?

November 16, 2018

Written By: Naomi Bower 

In just a few days I will be off to my favorite place in the world - home. I am very happy that I chose to attend school on the east coast, but it’s one of the strangest feelings having so few friends who know or understand where I am from. While Arizona makes up the collection of our 50 states, I have only met a handful of students who are from or have visited my state.

So here’s what I want you to know. 

The weather in Arizona is excellent. While everyone will be enjoying their Thanksgiving dinner with the potential of snow in the forecast, my family and I will be eating our meal outside in what I believe is the most ideal weather. What’s better than a little Thanksgiving picnic? 

On top of that, there are so many things to do in this weather – one of them obviously being our mountains.  There are so many places to hike, from the White Tanks (located just a few miles west of my home) to the famous Grand Canyon. My personal favorite place, however, is Sedona. This is a view you won’t find anywhere on the east coast. Sedona is fascinating not only for the incredible red rock structures, but for the town itself. Just a few miles short of the hiking trails you are greeted by a variety of unique shops and restaurants. One of my favorite finds is a little hole in the wall called Tamaliza. I have had quite a few tamales in my day, but I would drive back to Arizona tomorrow just to have another one from this shop. 

But what else do you do? Great question. Phoenix is our capital for a reason. Not only is there great coffee from places like Press Coffee Roasters, but there are so many great places to eat. My ideal day in Phoenix would most likely include brunch at The Henry followed by a trip to Roosevelt Row. Roosevelt Row is the heart and soul of all the fascinating art that Phoenix has to offer. This is by far one of my favorite things about Arizona because the culture is not only diverse, but everything is altogether progressive. You never know what you will find.

I am often surprised to discover how unaware people on the east coast are of our culture in Arizona. I feel honored to live in a place where I can experience a culture much different than my own on a day to day basis. Roughly one third of Arizona is Hispanic and it’s evident in the simplest of things from the authentic Mexican food to bargaining at the Public Market. This is a privilege I am happy to experience. 

I recognize I am a little biased as anyone would be with their home, but I hope that in reading this you find your way out west even just for a short while.

Preview: Christmas in Lights

November 9, 2018

Written By: Drew Snavely

The nights are getting colder and the days are getting shorter. The leaves are littering the ground and time is running out to save that COMS 101 grade. The trees along University Boulevard are draped with excessive amounts of LED lights and giant artificial trees are seemingly put up overnight. This can only mean one thing: Christmas is coming.

For the last eight years, Christmas in Lights has been the staple event to bring in the holiday season here on Liberty’s campus. Being surrounded by thousands of students gathering together for the lighting of the DeMoss Christmas tree and University Boulevard is an experience you never forget. I went to my first Christmas in Lights six years ago, but I still remember it like it was yesterday (truthfully, a big reason for that is probably because of the ridiculous holiday turtleneck that I wore to the event – there are some things you can’t unsee). Student Activities has come a long way since we started putting on Christmas in Lights nearly a decade ago, and each year it gets better. This year we decided to go bigger.

Many students have seen the 30-foot tree that stands in front of DeMoss every holiday season and know it is the centerpiece for every Christmas in Lights we have previously done. This year we are changing things up a little bit. Christmas in Lights will be taking place in front of the Montview steps on the Academic Lawn. “Why move the event further away from University Blvd.?” you may ask. The answer is: because we have a 50 foot Christmas tree that fits perfectly in front of the Montview steps. That’s why. Not only will we have a bigger tree, we will also have a live Santa Claus for the first time ever. You can finally ask him for that Red Ryder BB Gun you’ve been wanting. In addition to that, we will have Dawn & Dusk Donuts, Nomad Coffee, free hot chocolate and cookies, Christmas caroling from the LU choir and live music from Judd Harris! We will also be partnering with Lynchburg Daily Bread and Urban Mountain Adventures. Both organizations will be taking food and winter clothes donations throughout the night. Check out our Christmas in Lights page for more event details!

We are so excited to bring such a special event to the student body and cannot wait to celebrate Christmas with you! See you there!

Freedom 4/24

November 8, 2018

Written By: Kaitlyn Skarstein

The start of slavery in 1619 tore America to shreds and redefined our future as a country. As we look back on those horrible times today in our history classes, we often think to ourselves, “Why did no one stand up or do anything?” Yet, a lot of times the same people who ask that question today are the ones who are allowing human trafficking to happen right in front of their own eyes by not doing anything to help fight this injustice.

Human trafficking is defined as modern-day slavery that involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.[1] Human trafficking is broken up into three groups: sex trafficking, sex and labor trafficking, and labor trafficking. According to the FBI, “Human trafficking, believed to be the third-largest criminal activity in the world, is a form of human slavery which must be addressed at the interagency level”.[2] Human trafficking is not just a global issue, it is something that is happening right here in Virginia. In 2018, the National Human Trafficking Hotline reported 98 cases of human trafficking and have received 191 calls about it just in Virginia this year.[3] Since 2007, there have been 4,248 calls and 1,025 cases in Virginia, but a large majority of people are still naïve and uninformed of the epidemic that is going on.[3] 

In Lynchburg there is an organization called Freedom 4/24 whose mission is to “bring freedom and justice to victims and survivors of sexual exploitation and human trafficking through raising awareness and education and providing financial support for frontline organizations working to end these forms of modern-day slavery”.[4] Freedom 4/24 was started by a college-aged student, just like most of us, who was passionate about making a difference in the world after seeing the red light district in Bangkok, Thailand.

I was given the opportunity to volunteer for this incredible nonprofit organization last year and it changed my perspective on human trafficking. I was able to fight against and bring awareness to this issue through working the Run 4 Their Lives race right here on Liberty’s campus. This is an event where people from the community come out and run a 5K in support of the women and children enslaved, while becoming more educated. I think the coolest thing about this event is that each person writes a girl’s name on their arm to represent who they are running this race for. For example, I wrote Fa’s name on my arm. Fa is from Samut Sakhorn, which is southwest of Bangkok, and she was working in the red light district to be able to support her family financially after her father left. Her friend told her about Home of New Beginnings, which is a “holistic relational ministry in Bangkok and Pattaya, Thailand, that seeks to address the spiritual, emotional, physical, and educational needs of women and children who desire to leave the sex trade. It is a place of safety and hope that builds trust and community around faith-centered healing and education”[5], and ever since then her life was changed because she left the sex slavery business.

Freedom 4/24 puts on the Run 4 Their Lives race every single year in a few different locations, including Lynchburg! The race will be in April and I encourage you to be a part of making a difference in fighting against human trafficking by participating in this race, whether you walk or run. Another way you can support this mission is by donating $24 each month to this organization. Freedom 4/24 has its name because you can bring freedom to women and child being trafficked for just $24 per month. By giving $24 per month you can provide 1 week of education, 2 weeks of counseling, 3 weeks of housing, and 4 weeks of food.[6] Freedom 4/24 is an inspiring organization that does so much for the fight against human trafficking and I urge you to get involved with this organization or another one like it. 

We get to decide what our country looks like in the next few years because we are the future. Do you want your children to read about human trafficking in their textbooks and wonder why you did not fight for children their age being sexually and physically exploited? I encourage you to step out and stand up for women and men enslaved in human trafficking. You can do this by spreading awareness of this crisis or getting involved in an anti-human trafficking organization such as Freedom 4/24.









Mindful Mixtape

November 7, 2018

Written By: Gabi Cormier & Josiah Frisbie

In Romans 12:2, Paul instructs us not to be conformed by the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewal of our mind. We want to explore this concept in music and recognize the influence that music can have on us and our minds, and how we can listen to a song and understand the gospel in a new way. We believe God created music; therefore, we should be able to enjoy that gift as a whole.

Thankfully, there is a genre of music for everyone to enjoy. Whether your genre of choice is gospel, country, classic rock, rap, indie, etc. Music is truly a gift from God, and if you are anything like us, then you love all types of music, from The Beatles to Drake, from Disney classics to party hits, from old Taylor Swift hits to Queen… we love a playlist that is filled with variety.

There are many upsides to different types of music. From a Christian perspective, knowing music that is not necessarily by a Christian artist can create common ground for everyone, and it can also impact our walk with the Lord. God has given us music and we desire to enjoy that gift as a whole. Sometimes a mainstream love song can still be sung to God, even though it was written for another person. A great song can be utilized to bring God glory, whether it was written to be a worship song or not. Some of the best beats, melodies, and lyrics come from mainstream music. As Christians, we can listen to today’s top hits and think critically about how it compares to Christian music and how it affects our beliefs. We want to encourage you to listen to what all of your favorite songs are saying and ask yourself, “Do these lyrics bring glory to God, or are they hurting my walk with the Lord?”

What Paul is saying in Romans 12:2 is to not continue living our lives the way that we did before we were Christians, but to live a life reflecting who Jesus is and what He did for us (Romans 12:2, NLT). How does this relate to music? As we’ve stated, our duty as Christians is to be mindful of the lyrics that we are singing and listening to while also recognizing that we can utilize music of all types to bring glory to God, because we are called to live a life of worship.

Our goal in this blog post is not to persuade you to stop listening to the music you love, but to understand the impact that music can have on you. Mainstream music is not a bad thing to listen to, we just need to take the content that we put into our minds seriously.

We wanted to add some of our favorite songs from the SA Staff in a playlist for you all to check out. Enjoy! Mindful Mixtape