January 22, 2021
This February, Student Activities is putting on our first ever Comedy Night! We are really excited to invite you guys to a night filled with stand-up comedy, and two performances from Cackle Hour and YouthQuest’s improv team. It seems like we always have a couple of stand-up comedy acts at our Open Mic’s, so this semester we wanted to provide a night focused solely on making you double-over laughing.
Cackle Hour is Liberty’s first ever Improv Team comprised completely of students. Founded back in 2016, the group have been making students cackle at their many improv shows they put on throughout the school year.
YouthQuest is a ministry team that puts on weekend conferences for high school and middle school students. A large part of their ministry is their hilarious improv team. They will be opening up the night with some knee-slapping skits.
Another part of comedy night is a stand-up set by everyone’s favorite Coffeehouse host, Landen Swain. Swain has been hosting Coffeehouse since 2018, working on his stand-up chops in front of thousands of LU students each semester. It’s a tough but rewarding position to be in when a joke lands. He is also published in numerous magazines, literary journals, and has several plays published by Off the Wall Plays, an online play publishing house.
If you love laughing, yummy food, and warm coffee, come to Comedy Night at 7 p.m. on February 6 in the LaHaye Event Space. We hope to see you there!
Written by: Andrew Reynolds
Andrew Reynolds is a Senior Project Management Major, and enjoys writing for the blog because of the opportunity it gives him to grow as a writer and to challenge himself to see current topics and discussions from a view point he may not have otherwise thought about.
January 21, 2021
This podcast features Drew Snavely (Assistant Director), Landen Swain (Event Staff), Andrew Reynolds (Event Supervisor), Kaitlyn Skarstein (Event Supervisor), and Mike Tammaro (Event Supervisor). The episode was produced and edited by Clay Copper (Special Events Coordinator). Our jingle was created by Judd Harris.
December 11, 2020
We are all creative beings. We were created with purpose and with our own individual qualities that make us unique, which means we are all creative in our own ways. We might express our creativity in paintings, music, photography, drawing, journaling, cooking, or dancing. However, not expressing that creativity is doing a disservice to yourself. There are endless benefits of taking time out of your day to express your creativity. Having a creative outlet helps you deal with anxiety and stress, gives you a sense of purpose, and helps make space to overcome obstacles.
We all have stress, but it’s what you do with that stress that matters. Everybody turns to something different in stress and anxiety, so what if you turned to a creative outlet in a time of stress? Creativity has proven to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Forbes states, “…Writing helps people manage their negative emotions in a productive way, and painting or drawing helps people express trauma or experiences that they find too difficult to put into words” (Stahl, 2018).
Taking time out of your day to focus on something that makes you excited and happy can completely turn around your mental health. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in your brain that determines how you feel pleasure. There is a direct relationship between creativity and dopamine. As you increase the amount of time spent creating, your brain will increase the amount of dopamine it produces. According to Forbes, “Whether or not you’re aware of your increased happiness, the hit of dopamine you get after being in flow will drive and influence you toward similar behavior” (Stahl, 2018).
Everybody is looking for a sense of purpose in their lives, because we all want to feel like we have something to strive towards. Tony Wagner says, “Imagining and creating give us a sense of purpose” (Enayati, 2012). You will fill your purpose gap in your life with something, whether it’s money, sports, or clothing, but you also have the choice to fill it with something more important. Art + Marketing states, “It [creativity] makes what we do matter, and it means the things we make matter too. When held proudly, it attracts the people with a passion for what we stand for — clients and colleagues alike — who will create with us” (Bennett, 2017).
When we think of Albert Einstein, we often think of a creative genius. Did you know Einstein is thought of having developed his theory of relativity while riding his bike (Chappel)? We can have some of the most important breakthroughs when we are partaking in a creative outlet. Sometimes it takes our brain to get completely disconnected from the problem or task to learn how to overcome it. If you learn how to actively carve out time in your day to participate in creative outlets, you never know the kind of ideas you can come up with!
It is vital to take time out of your day to indulge in creative outlets because there are so many physical, mental, and emotional benefits of it. It allows you to spend some time by yourself or with others so you can refocus. Take up photography, blogging, watercoloring, scrapbooking, graphic design, videography, or anything that makes you feel creative! Go out there and create or cultivate, rather than consume!
Written by: Kaitlyn Skarstein
Kaitlyn loves being able to write for the SA blog because she thinks it is important to share her voice. She loves being able to express her own opinions on important subjects that are relevant for students, faculty, and many others.
December 11, 2020
This Christmas season couldn’t be here soon enough. With the semester coming to a close, things in Lynchburg begin to slow down, but this Christmas is a bit different than the past few, as I will be able to visit my family at our home in Oregon. It has been since 2017 that I last spent a Christmas at home, and I am dying to revisit some of our family traditions. Having moved to Lynchburg in 2014, I haven’t had too many opportunities to return home. This trip will include a weekend stay at the coast, meals that have been in conversation since February, and plenty of losses in cribbage to my father.
As I get older, holiday seasons can begin to feel like almost as much work as the rest of the year, especially when traveling across the country. With only a week to see all your family and friends, you have to be tactical. This year, however, I am lucky enough to bring my fiancé to my childhood home for our second Christmas together, and I specifically requested rest. This means a weekend at the Oregon coast playing card games, going on walks at the beach (in the rain I assume), eating, napping, and pretending to read a book.
If you haven’t noticed, most almost everything that I have written for the SA Blog over the past couple years has been centered around food, and I come by this honestly. Most of our time together is centered around our meals, and when we are only together for a few meals then you know they are well planned. The crown jewel of the holiday menu is the Rueben sandwich. From the home-made corned beef, to the sauerkraut, this is a meal that I quite literally dream of.
After a couple nights at the beach, we head home for more of what I can safely assume will consist of more restful activities. Having grown up in a place that regularly has white Christmases, I am holding onto hope that this year will feature the same, as this will keep us inside, avoiding any potential yard work projects my parents want finished.
My family lives in a small town along the Columbia River, which makes an incredible scene for walking our dogs and catching up on conversation. Although I have specifically requested a restful week at home, I would kick myself if we didn’t fit in at least one hike while back in the northwest, and possibly a drive up to Mt. Hood to take in the incredible view.
While things can seemingly change so abruptly and leave us in a vacuum of distance, it’s important to remember the things in life that are constant. I am blessed enough to say that my family and friends are just that, and I look forward to the time we will spend together, whether it be on the sofa, a trail, or around the dinner table.
Written by: Clayton Copper
Clayton is the Marketing Coordinator of Student Activities. He has a B.S. in Business Administration: Economics and an M.B.A. Clayton oversees the graphic and video team as well as assisting in various event logistics.
December 2, 2020
Christmas time is always my favorite time of the year. I love all of the music, food, decorations, and of course, the movies. Christmas movies help ring in the holiday season and give us time to gather with the ones we care about to have a good holiday laugh. That’s why we want to put on a Christmas movie marathon! We want to give students the chance to get into the holiday spirit while still being able to prepare to finish the semester.
The first movie we are showing is A Christmas Story. This movie is tradition in my home. We watch it every year, and it never fails to make my dad double over in laughter. The movie follows Ralphie parker, a kid trying to avoid his bully, and constantly dreaming about the well-known Red Ryder air rifle. The story includes ridiculous and hilarious events on Ralphie’s journey to acquire his precious air rifle.
The second movie being shown is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – my personal favorite. This film follow the events of the Griswold family leading up to holiday. The father, Clark, wants to have the best Christmas season ever, and works to make sure every detail is perfectly in line. As you learn quickly, Clark’s plan quickly falls apart as family show up unexpectedly, his boss pulls his holiday bonus, and many other belly-laughing scenes.
We’ll end the event with The Santa Clause which follows Scott Calvin, played by Tim Allen. Scott, a divorced dad, is with his son when they hear strange sound outside. When Scott goes to investigate, he spooks Santa Claus, who is walking on Scott’s roof, causing him fall to his unfortunate death. When Scott puts on Santa’s coat, he is transported to the North Pole where an elf explains that he must now become Santa Clause. With Christmas coming soon, Scott has a lot of work to do to learn how to deal with the duty at hand.
If you want to spend some time studying while sippin’ on hot cocoa with friends and wiping away tears of laughter, you can join us on December 9th at 12 p.m. in the Lahaye Event Space. Merry Christmas!
December 1, 2020
With the fall semester nearly behind us, we are gearing up for a cozy winter filled with good food and great company. We put together a little playlist for your holiday season that will have you dreaming of snow days and celebrating the reason for the season! Be sure to check it out!
November 30, 2020
It is near the end of the semester and students from all over are looking forward to the day they do not have to worry about a new assignment popping up on their to-do list. Students and staff alike have felt the heaviness of a semester filled with ups and downs. Whether it was having no fall break or just struggling with a lack of focus in the transition, COVID-19 has impacted many areas of our lives.
I have noticed the impact people have on each other in their community during this pandemic, and looking back, I think of many times my parents told me to surround yourself with people you want to look like. Whether you want to admit it or not, a person will tend to look more like their friends. This effect is called social contagion. According to Psychology Today, “It refers to the tendency for people to mimic the behavior of others who are either nearby or whom they have been exposed to”.
I began to think about all the ways I have been affected and all the ways I may be affecting others. Have these encounters been positive or negative? A New York Times article states, “with happiness, the two argue that the contagion may be even more deeply subconscious: the spread of good or bad feelings, they say, might be driven partly by “mirror neurons” in the brain that automatically mimic what we see in the faces of those around us — which is why looking at photographs of smiling people can itself often lift your mood”. Thompson pointed out that happiness really is a contagious feeling and can be passed to other people by even a simple picture. This leads to the power an individual has over a person’s life and the impact one person can have on those around them. The problem is that many people have been lacking happiness for a large portion of the year.
Thompson’s article inspired me to dig deeper to see the ways in which I have impacted others. I noticed that I am always giving a smile out to others. In a world filled with people that wear masks, I had to overcome this new barrier and start greeting people with not only a smile but by using my eyes as well. This alone was not enough so I began saying “Hey!” and “have a good day” to people in passing. I realized it would leave a smile on people’s faces and they would respond positively. People would smile back, making my day a lot brighter, and I would feel happier. I did not understand that these interactions were not only impacting how other felt, but also how I felt.
A positive interaction with a person is a powerful thing that most people do not understand completely. When a person has a positive interaction, it leaves them feeling happy for the next thirty seconds. Then that next thirty seconds shifts the trajectory of their next five minutes. That five minutes then changes the person’s next ten minutes. This pattern continues on throughout that person’s day. This cycle proves that ultimately one smile can change a person’s day and possibly even their life. It is crazy to think that one act of kindness can change a person’s life, but this study clearly shows that your life has a huge impact others in a significant way.
This is just one example of a specific form of social contagion, broken down to help show the power an individual has in the lives surrounding them. Social contagion is very much a real thing and is impacting us and those around us. As we continue on in this year, and into 2021, think of some ways you can show an act of kindness to different people throughout your day. As Christians, we are called to be kind to one another. Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”. Show kindness to everyone, so that we can use this social contagion to make a difference in every season of our lives.
Thompson, Clive. “ Are Your Friends Making You Fat?” The New York Times (2009).
ESV Study Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011.
Written by Riley Anderson
Riley is a junior majoring in Christian Leadership and Church Ministry with a minor in Biblical Studies.
November 25, 2020
On this episode of the podcast, we sit down with Josh and Becky Kirk, owners of MayLynn’s Creamery here in Lynchburg. They lend insight to the journey that made them small business owners, and how they connect with the community through their creamery. We learned a lot about one of our favorite local businesses on this podcast. Be sure to check it out!
This podcast features Steph Ward (Director of SA), Drew Snavely (Assistant Director). The episode was produced and edited by Clay Copper (Special Events Coordinator). Our jingle was created by Judd Harris.
November 23, 2020
With Thanksgiving and Christmas break right around the corner, many of us are about to be spending a lot more time with our families. While it is amazing to be able to hang out with everyone, conversations can go stale after a few days if there’s not much going on around the house. Yes, reading, exercise, or binge-watching TV shows are all great ways to pass time, but in my opinion there really isn’t anything better than playing a game with my family during the holidays.
I get it. Not everyone is super competitive like I am, but games are a great way to bond with your family and to have a momentary release from the stress of real life. I know there are a lot of people out there that don’t want to commit to playing a game because there are some that are quite lengthy, but there are plenty of games that are quick and easy to play. So, before you stop reading this blog post, check out some of my suggestions below – you might find a game you actually like!
Game that can be lengthy and involves strategy:
Catan (previously Settlers of Catan) – A classic strategy game that involves trading, building, and stealing. Games typically last from 90 to 120 minutes. You can play with three to four players, but with the expansion pack you can have up to six. You settle on different parts of the game board to collect resources which you can then use to build or trade. The first person to ten victory points wins. It takes a practice game or two to get the hang of different strategies to win the game, but once you get a good handle of things, you won’t want to stop playing!
Once you’ve mastered the base game, check out one of their expansions like Seafarers or Cities & Knights (my personal favorite). If you’re not able to get the whole family together for the holidays, you can try out Catan online. It’s not the same as playing in person, but it certainly satisfies the craving to collect as much wheat as possible.
Game that is less lengthy and involves some strategy:
Ticket to Ride – Where Catan can be lengthy and take a little longer to understand, playing a game of Ticket to Ride, is much easier to learn and takes significantly less time (approx. 30 to 60 minutes per game). You can play with anywhere from two to five people. The object of the game is to build as many railway routes as possible while preventing your opponents from doing the same. It is an incredibly simple but fun game that I assume most people would enjoy. Ticket to Ride is also a neat geography lesson as you are building these railways across an actual map of the United States – or many other parts of the world depending on which version you play! They also have a Ticket to Ride app if you’re unable to gather enough people to play in person during Thanksgiving.
Game that is quick and involves some strategy, but a lot of it comes down to luck:
Exploding Kittens – Number 9th on the most funds raised Kickstarter list is a game that involves cats, defusing bombs, and doing everything in your power to keep the target off of your back so that you’re the last person standing. Exploding Kittens only takes a few minutes to learn, and about 15 minutes to play a game, so it’s great for anyone who’s scared of a large time commitment to other games. You can play with two to five players, but with the expansion you can play with up to ten! Exploding Kittens is arguably the most unique and entertaining card game you’ll ever play, and that’s before you add in all the different expansion cards. If your extended family isn’t getting together like they normally do, you can play with everyone online on their app too.
Game that is very quick and involves lying:
Among Us – This is the most affordable game on this list because it is completely free to download on your phone. Among Us blew up in popularity in the U.S. during the late summer/early fall season and now has 1.5 million active players worldwide. Most players in each game are Crewmates, who have to run around a spaceship and complete tasks while trying to avoid being eliminated by The Impostor (who looks just like every other Crewmate). If the Crewmates vote off The Imposter then they win, but if they don’t then they lose. Games can have four to ten players and typically last a couple minutes. It’s a great alternative to Mafia or Ultimate Werewolf if you’re unable to meet up with your favorite cousins in person during the break.
Instead of laying on the couch and watching movies all break long, you can add some excitement to your life by playing one or even all of these games. Each one is a great way to connect with your family whether you’re playing in person or playing from a couple states away. Happy playing and happy holidays!
Written by Drew Snavely
Drew is an Assistant Director at Student Activities. He has a B.A. in Business Administration: Financial Planning. Drew is responsible for maintaining analytics for event surveys, social media and website, and staff development. He deals with various event logistics for all events such as filing out work orders and securing event rentals. He also helps manage monthly budgets, event finances and receipts.
November 20, 2020
Spending time with family during the holidays this year may look a little different than years past—but somehow, we are still making it work. It’s a longstanding Mauck tradition for my dad’s side of the family to meet in Springfield, Illinois for a week of playing card games, eating way too much food, and taking walks in the cold. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, my family has decided to make the road trip for the first time in five years. Needless to say, I am very excited, and would like to showcase some of the places we will be visiting on the way up from Atlanta, Georgia.
I come from a family that loves good food, so our first stop will be Uncle Larry’s Restaurant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Uncle Larry’s is known for their famous fried fish, fried okra, fried green tomatoes, and pork chops. The owner, Larry Torrence was encouraged to open a restaurant by his family members in 2013 with the slogan “Fish so good it will smack you”. As a lover of all things seafood, I am excited to try the fried fish, along with some southern comfort sides.
After eating at Uncle Larry’s, we will definitely need some coffee, which brings us to Steadfast Coffee in Nashville, Tennessee. Steadfast is known for the creativity and thought they put into their coffee concoctions. Steadfast offers a variety of drinks including flash-chilled coffee, rested drinks, and matchless coffee soda. Their signature drink is called the Atlas, which is comprised of black coffee and a flavorful orange cream. I tend to be a pretty boring coffee drinker, so I can’t wait to try some unique and unusual drinks at Steadfast Coffee.
Once we make it to St. Louis, Missouri, we will be making a stop at The Missouri Baking Company to get some treats for the family. This company offers a wide variety of seasonal baked goods that are perfect gifts for the family. My parents plan on purchasing the Cinnamon Pull Aparts, along with some pumpkin muffins for the cousins. Although I have never been to The Missouri Baking Company, my grandma raves about this place, so I am looking forward to trying it for the first time.
Last but not least, once we make it to Springfield, the family will be dining at D’Arcy’s Pint. It’s a tradition for the uncles to eat at D’Arcy’s Pint, but I have been tagging along since I was 14-years-old. Their signature dish is the horse shoe, which is comprised of Texas Toast, topped with meat, a pile of fries, and smothered in cheese and toppings of your choice. It’s hard to explain how good this dish is, and I look forward to it every year.
It’s been a crazy year, and I am grateful for the opportunity to spend time with my family this holiday season. I think we are all in need of some quality time with our loved ones, so be safe, be careful, and don’t forget to make the most of this Thanksgiving break.
Written by Madelyn Mauck
Madelyn is a Senior studying Business Administration: Project Management. She enjoys writing for the blog, not only because it helps her develop as a creative writer, but because it gives her a chance to share her experiences through a platform she would not have without Student Activities.