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What we’re listening to – August 2020

August 4, 2020

With the new school year just around the corner, it’s time to breathe in these last few days of summer – and we have you covered. This playlist is full of new tracks like Caribou’s “You and I”, and beachy vibes like “Saltwater” by Geowulf. Make the most of your summer with this playlist!

SA Conversations: Tom Hayman, Owner and Roaster, Grains of Sense

July 31, 2020

We recently had the chance to sit down with Tom Hayman, the founder and roaster at Grains of Sense Coffee Roastery. Over a cup of iced coffee, Drew and Tom discuss what brought Tom to set up shop in Lynchburg, social responsibility within the coffee industry, and much more. This episode is worth checking out, and pairs well with a cup of coffee!

This podcast features Drew Snavely (Assistant Director). The episode was produced and edited by Clay Copper (Special Events Coordinator). Our jingle was created by Judd Harris.

Podcast Review: Sleep with Me – The Podcast that Puts You to Sleep

July 30, 2020

Over the years I have built a reputation for being able to sleep at any time in any location. There have even been some flights where I fall asleep before the plane takes off, only to wake up after the plane has already landed. While I often have no trouble falling asleep, I know that there are plenty of people who don’t have sleeping down to a science. Even with my strange aptitude for sleeping, I find that there are times when I can’t convince my mind that it is time to call it a night. Unfortunately, during college it is difficult to find the formula to a perfect sleep. Late nights are inevitable, and 8 hours of consistent sleep are pretty much out of the question.

Not being able to go to sleep, or to stay asleep is incredibly common in adults. Did you know that 68 percent of adults ages 18 to 29 experience symptoms of insomnia at least once a week? If you’re one of the many who struggle sleeping or falling asleep, I may have a solution for you. Oh, you say, “I’ve already tried melatonin”? Well I’ve got something better.

Sleep With Me podcast by Drew Ackerman has become as comforting to me as a light back scratch after being tucked in to bed. The podcast’s description reads, “Insomnia? Mind racing at night? Worries keeping you up? Tune in for a bedtime story that lets you forget your problems and progressively gets more boring until you fall to sleep.”

Not only do Ackerman’s segments resemble stories that of a rambling grandpa, but his clumsy storytelling somehow captures your brain just enough to distract you from tomorrow’s responsibilities while being so nonsensical that they inevitably lull you to sleep. Ackerman’s bumbling sentences are littered with filler words and you soon find that the plot you anticipated dissipates into the retelling of inordinate details.

Before you know it Sleep With Me becomes familiar and comforting like a childhood stuffed animal. Although Ackerman’s storytelling is comparable to that one friend of yours who has the ability to tell the most boring, never-ending stories, it is perfectly effective in putting you right to sleep. If your interest is not piqued yet, let me provide you with a taste of some of the episode’s titles: Bards and Big Bunnies, Goop Chase & Duck Billed Beaver, A Modicum of Sleepy Sense, and Medium Cool Tangential Water Menu.

I wish you the best of luck getting sleepy with this new tool on your nightstand, and hope that you too build a codependent relationship.

Sources

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders/insomnia


 

Written by: Kari Moye

Kari is an Assistant Director of Student Activities. She has a B.S. in Communication Studies: Advertising and PR. Kari oversees the department’s branding and the creation of marketing pieces for all events; including all print and digital advertisements as well as promotional videos. She also manages the promotional calendar for Student Activities which includes leading the graphics and video team.

Ending Fast Fashion

July 28, 2020

As fashion consumers, we are always on the lookout for new trends and items to add to our closets. Sometimes, retailers can take advantage of that opportunity of a quick turn around on fashion. That’s when the work of fast fashion comes into play. This is a term used by fashion retailers to describe clothing that is on trend and cheaply made. Businesses that are always “on top” of trends are usually guilty of producing fast fashion items. They are constantly producing to match what their client demands. You might be asking yourself “why is that so bad?”

Not only does fast fashion effect many humans around the world job wise, it also effects our environment greatly. Because of how fast retailers need to keep up with demands of trendy styles, they cut costs and corners that increases their carbon footprint. It is a key part of the “toxic system” of overproduction, making the fashion industry one of the largest contributors to pollution in the world. Did you know that it takes 2,700 liters of water to make 1 Cotton t-shirt? Fast fashion is no friend to our environment. It highly contributes to the excessive amounts of CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions that have been polluting our air for years.

While we are fighting for human rights, fast fashion isn’t helping the demand of equal wages or good working conditions around the globe. In fact, they are doing the complete opposite, forcing workers to work harder and longer to produce a quick turnaround of “trendy” clothes.

Ways you can spot a “Fast Fashion” brand:

  • Trendy outfits, thousands of options
    • Forever 21, one of the leading giants in fast fashion, declared their bankruptcy and reveled major flaws in the fashion world.
  • Always on top of trends, quick turn around
  • Oversea manufacturing where labor is the cheap with the use of workers with low wages
  • Low quality and cheap materials (wear it twice then throw it away)
    • Most fast fashion brands use polyester since its cheap and wrinkle free. More than 70 million barrels of oil are used to make polyester each year. Polyester isn’t biodegradable which means when you throw it away it ends up in landfills and takes over 200 years to decompose.

Many brands are starting to make it a part of their mission to approach fashion in an ethical way – both for people and our environment. Here are a few brands that are starting to make that change:

Pact: Their entire supply chain comes from the growing and harvesting of organic cotton, while trying to be as clean and responsible as possible throughout the entire time of production.

  • Fair Trade Certified, Organic Cotton, B Corp

Girlfriend Collective: An activewear brand that reuses some if its offcuts to minimize textile waste. They ensure wastewater in its supply chain is treated and discharged properly. Their products are free of all animal material and focuses on the fundamental freedom principles. “Trash looks better on you than it does polluting the planet”.

  • Fair Trade Certified collections, sustainable materials & practices, plus & petite sizes

Patagonia: Was one of the earliest defenders of environmental ethics in the activewear fashion industry, and one of the first adopters of using recycled materials and switching to organic cotton.

  • Fair Trade Certified collections, organic cotton, environmental sustainability

Levi’s: This brand touts eco-friendly and sustainable practices like recyclable denim, ethically sourced cotton, and innovations to reduce water use, in addition to giving back to their workers and community organizations alike.

  • Ethically produced, sustainable practices, give back program

Stores that realized they weren’t doing their part and are slowly starting to make a difference:

  • Allbirds
  • ASOS
  • Converse

If you are curious if what you are wearing is eco-friendly and slow fashioned, check out this link to find out! Let’s wear the change we want to see­­ and allow slow fashion to be in the main frame of the fashion industry.

Sources

https://goodonyou.eco/what-is-fast-fashion/

https://www.wellandgood.com/good-looks/slow-fashion-brands/

https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/what-is-fast-fashion

https://www.minimalismmadesimple.com/home/-fast-fashion-brands


 

Written by: Avery Watts

Avery is a Special Events Coordinator with a BA in Interior Design. She enjoys writing for the blog, because it allows her to grow in developing thoughts and opinions on the pieces of culture she consumes. When not planning events, Avery likes to thrift, cook, and watch reality TV shows.

Movie Review: Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

July 23, 2020

Back in June, Netflix released the latest outrageous comedy to come from Will Ferrell’s mind, Eurovision Song Competition: The Story of Fire Saga. The movie follows the path of Lars Erickssong (played by Ferrell) and Sigrit Ericksdottir (played wonderfully by Rachel McAdams) on their journey to the Eurovision Song Competition. For those of you who have not yet seen the film, there will be some spoilers below, so stop reading this if you don’t want any of the plot ruined!

Something I was unaware of before watching The Story of Fire Saga, was that the Eurovision Song Competition is a real contest. The competition is wildly popular worldwide with an exception in the United States. The audience size of Eurovision is estimated to be between 100 million and 600 million people and has been running every year since 1956. Each country from the European Broadcasting Union is allowed to send a group to compete which is right where The Story of Fire Saga picks up.

Lars and Sigrit have dreamed of competing at Eurovision since they were children. Now, as full-grown adults, the dream is still very much alive. There is just one problem – their band, Fire Saga, is pretty terrible. No amount of breathtaking Icelandic fjord backdrops can change that fact. It doesn’t help that Lars is constantly pushing the envelope with ridiculous costumes and musical ideas, while Sigrit, who happens to be immensely talented, goes along with all of Lars’ plans because of her love for him.

Through a series of unfortunate and terrible events, the Icelandic Eurovision committee has no choice but to select Fire Saga to represent Iceland in the competition. As the viewer can imagine, Fire Saga’s act only gets more outrageous on the big stage. After a disastrous semifinal performance, Lars doesn’t think the duo has a chance to make the finals, so he books the first flight back to Iceland leaving Sigrit all by herself at the competition. Miraculously, Fire Saga earns enough points to make it through to the finals.

After finally connecting with his previously disappointed father, he finds out that Fire Saga made it through to the semifinals and rushes back to the competition. With the aid of an elf and a group of traveling American college students, Lars manages to get back just in time to perform in the final. For this final performance, Lars changes things up. He has Sigrit sing a song that she wrote – finally realizing that she should be the focal point of the band. Fire Saga ends up being disqualified for changing their song, but the performance is still shockingly moving despite Lars’ vocal riffs throughout the song.

What makes this moment special is Sigrit finally being able to show the world how talented she is after years of going along with all of Lars’ ridiculous ideas that made Fire Saga the laughing stock of their town. Additionally, Lars realizing that he no longer needs to seek validation from his incredibly grumpy father (played by the brilliant Pierce Brosnan) by being the center of attention makes the moment touching as well.

Eurovision Song Competition: The Story of Fire Saga delivers throughout the entire film with plenty of moments where you’ll be gasping for breath between fits of laughter. There are also moments where you emotionally connect to the story – moments that don’t always hit in your typical comedy. The Story of Fire Saga has just enough nuance to Ferrell’s comedic algorithm to keep viewers entertained while providing a movie as fresh as the Icelandic winds.


 

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.

Solitude

July 21, 2020

In the last couple of months, we have all found ourselves spending a lot more time alone and secluded than we may be normally. As a person who thrives being around others, it has been a challenge to shift from being out and about, to figuring out how to avoid having to go out and about. During this shift, I have had the chance to learn a lot about various different things, revive my hobby of reading books, and also learn to really understand how God is also a God of solitude.

I recently took on the challenge of spending a year doing an in-depth study of the four Gospels to really try and understand the person of Jesus. The idea is to go through the Gospels in one month. Then, you repeat it two more times, so you spend three months on a single book. The idea seemed like an amazing idea. If we are to live like Jesus, we need to be constantly learning more and more how to be like Him. Through this, I have learned a lot about Jesus that I just didn’t realize or even know before.

The most surprising discovery to me was when I was reading about the solidarity of Jesus. Yes, Jesus was out and about (obviously) performing miracles, teaching thousands, and ministering to those who were lost, but He wasn’t doing that 24/7. In Matthew 14:13-21, we read about Jesus feeding the 5,000 – one of His many miracles. Before Jesus even went to teach and feed the crowds, it says in verse 13 that He “withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by Himself.” Immediately after He feeds and teaches the 5,000, Jesus dismisses the crowds and disciples. Then, in verse 23, we read “He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone.” Looking at the timeline in these verses, Jesus had two different times within a day where He withdrew to be alone.

We also read of other times where Jesus goes away to be alone with God. Now, I’m no theological expert or anything, but I’m willing to bet that if the Son of God is needing some time alone, we could use some too. In fact, solitude can be one of the greatest tools we have, and it’s free! I’ll give you some quick and easy steps to spend some time in solitude with God. Trust me, you will not find these tips anywhere else, so pay close attention! Okay, are you ready? You sure? Alright, here it is.

Step 1: Find an empty room.

Step 2: Close the door to said room.

I know, I know. You’re very thankful for me gracing you with my incredible wisdom. But all jokes aside, a time of solitude is not hard to find. For example, I’m currently at the beach, and each morning I make a cup of coffee and go sit outside to watch people play hole #2 at the course of the PGA Heritage Classic. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day. It’s quiet, and I get to see all the beauty in the nature around me. I get to watch some guys crush 300-yard drives perfectly down the middle of the fairway, and I get to watch other guys hit whopping 2-yard drives. I occasionally talk to the caddy who ventures over about how his day is going. I spend time just talking to God and enjoying the scenery He has given me. It’s some of the most enjoyable 1-2 hours of the day. It gives me the chance to focus myself and prepare for the day ahead.

Solitude doesn’t have to be a difficult task for anyone. There’s no magic trick to get started. It just requires some patience and self-control. For me, the best time for solitude is in the morning. It’s perfect because I am able to avoid the distractions of my day, and I am awake and fresh unlike after a day of work. At the end of the day, you have to find what works best for you and what fits your schedule. The important thing to remember throughout is consistency. Choose a week to have a daily time of solitude, and I promise you will notice some significant changes. So, enjoy your time alone, embrace it. It could be one of the biggest hidden blessings that you never realized you were looking for!


 

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.

TV Review: Community

July 16, 2020

Have you ever watched a show that left you laughing hysterically but also utterly confused at the same time? If not, then Community is for you. Featuring an all-star cast including the ultimate renaissance man Donald Glover, Alison Brie, and comedian Joel Mchale, Community is a show that will attach you to the characters almost immediately, as well as engulf you in the storyline along the way. The premise of the show is that seven random community college students meet to create a study group for their Spanish 101 class. Through that connection the seven members go on to become friends, then family, and sometimes even foes depending on the situation. Emily Vanderwerff of Vox writes in an article that the show “helped her codify many of the ways she thought about TV.” I tend to agree with statement not only because of the character development, but also because the storyline is so creative and sporadic, but also stays on the main plotline at the same time.

Probably the strongest aspect of the show is the character development. Not just the main characters, but all characters develop over time. This creates a drastically different feel within the show from season one to season six. The group could not be more diverse in terms of backgrounds. Jeff, the self-appointed leader of the group, is a failed lawyer who lied about his degree. Pierce is a 70-year-old millionaire who has been at the school for over seven years and has no plans to graduate. Abed is a freshman who only knows how to communicate to people in terms of TV shows or movies he has seen. These are just a few examples of the characters and their weird quirks but somehow producer Dan Harmon was able to bring these whacky personalities and create a show that in my opinion should be in the discussion with the likes of The Office and Parks and Recreation.

A show can have as many quirky characters in it and still be bad because of plot issues. That is not a problem in this show. The Atlantic writes “Community isn’t actually a sitcom – not any more than The Onion is an actual news-gathering organization. Community, instead, is a weekly satire of the sitcom genre, a spoof of pop culture in general, and an occasionally profound critique of how living in mass media society can mess up human relationships in the real world. It’s also funny too.” If that doesn’t make you want to watch the show solely based off the plot, I don’t know what will.

I’ll be honest, I was skeptical when people told me it could rival The Office and shows alike. Those shows are hailed as some of the greatest TV hits of all time, so how could a show that isn’t as recognized be as good? There were moments where the plot was so complicated that I was genuinely confused, but then the next episode it was extremely simple. I think that’s exactly what makes this show so well-made and worth the watch. Still not convinced? Joe and Anthony Russo, you know the Avengers: Endgame producers, direct a couple of the episodes as well as the entire sixth season of the show.

With the characters being as diverse as they are, the plot being intricately made, and the producer’s all-star group being the creative minds behind the entirety of the show, Community should be at the top of your “watch” playlist.

Sources

https://www.vox.com/culture/2019/9/20/20873299/community-comedy-netflix-hulu-nbc-yahoo-jeff-winger-annie-troy-abed-britta-shirley-pierce

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/05/the-meta-innovative-genius-of-community/238740/

https://screencrush.com/community-season-6-premiere-yahoo-joe-anthony-russo-brothers-directing/


Written by Mike Tammaro

Mike Tammaro
is a Junior double majoring in Finance and Economics and writes for the blog in order to expand my skills as a student. As a business major, the curriculum does not allow for a lot of creative writing, so being able to publish written work is freeing from my normal educational routine.

The Importance of Pregnancy Centers

July 14, 2020

Although most of my close friends know my mom works at a pregnancy center, I don’t get to have a lot of conversations with them that go deeper than that simple fact. My mom, Robin Mauck, is the executive director of Obria Medical Clinics, which is a non-profit clinic that focuses on the needs of women in the Metro Atlanta area. While interviewing my mom this week, I learned a lot about different aspects of her job. The job requires someone who is incredibly grounded, stable, and empathetic—my mom is one of those people.

The first question I asked her was “What does a regular day at the clinic look like?” My mom explained that, “Every day is different depending on the patients that arrive. Some are confident that they want to have their baby, but many are dealing with homelessness, joblessness, an abusive relationship, no support, a boyfriend or husband who has just left her, and friends and family encouraging her to have an abortion.”

There are not a lot of programs available to women without proper funding in the U.S., but Obria is one of the few clinics that takes care of their female community by offering many free services to women who are facing homelessness, joblessness, or any other factors that would contribute to them being unable to support a child. When I asked my mom whether Obria offered services outside of pregnancy check-ups and ultrasounds, she responded by saying, “Yes! Full panel STD testing and treatment, Well Woman Exams, Pregnancy Education, Life Coaching, and we plan to begin full prenatal care in the fall.” It is so important that women have access to these resources, even if they don’t have the funding that other clinics would require.

I asked my mom why she wanted to work at a pregnancy clinic, and she responded, “Back in 2016, I was a homeschool mom and my world was very Christian oriented.  I wanted to get out and serve in the community where I came in contact with lost people. I’ve always loved babies (had 6 of my own) and it was just a good fit for me to be in a position to help women keep their babies, and show them the love of Christ”.  It was important for my mom to break out of the Christian bubble she was living in, in order to bring true help and love to her community. I believe her doing so, has helped countless lives over the last several years.

My mom communicated to me how common it is to have an unplanned pregnancy, and how it effects most families. For women who feel they don’t have the resources to have their baby, because they didn’t plan to get pregnant, Obria is a great resource that will walk with them, and provide care that those women would not be able to get at another clinic.

Lastly, my mom feels that her job is rewarding, not only because it has kingdom significance, but also because they are saving and changing lives every day. With that said, I would like to encourage you to volunteer at a pregnancy center, learn about the struggles women in the U.S. face every day, and how pregnancy centers help aid in their journey to becoming a mother.


Written by Madelyn Mauck

Madelyn Mauck is a Junior 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.

Book Review: You Are What You Love by James K.A. Smith

July 9, 2020

I am always jealous of people who seemingly get lost between the words on the page of a good book. I have never been much of a leisurely reader; it has always felt like work. Even when diving into something easily digestible, I find my mind running with concepts my eyes are unpacking from the page. All this is to say that I rarely read books, and frequently use the excuse of not having enough time, or simply not wanting to read or challenge my mind, as I have been in school for nearly the past 20 years. Well, I am officially done with schooling, and have found that I have more time on my hands than I can fill with mindful and intentional activities. So, in the spirit of continual learning, spiritual growth, and simply creating more healthy ways to spend the weekend, rather than watching the newest binge-worthy TV show, I picked up a book I received as a birthday present two years ago: “You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit” by James K.A. Smith.

Smith, a professor of philosophy at Calvin College, has been writing his philosophical and theological observations on human “creaturehood” and Christ in culture for many years. His work ranges from textbook style examinations of worship, liturgical practices, and the religious nature of politics, to a more digestible version of these works in “You Are What You Love”.

“You Are What You Love” is an in depth look at human nature; our nature to love things and to continue to change what we love, as well as the importance of examining and understanding your loves to ensure that your life is worshipful to our Creator. In a world where mankind is continually pushed to learn and grow in intelligence, Smith argues that it is not the intellectual knowledge that defines a person, but rather what and how they love. Smith poses the question, which defies what most philosophers pursue, “What if, instead of starting from the assumption that human beings are thinking things, we start from the conviction that human beings are first and foremost lovers? What if the center and seat of the human person is found not in the heady regions of the intellect but in the guy-level regions of the heart?”.

Throughout the remainder of the book, Smith addresses human tendencies in life, worship, and engaging in culture. He challenges the reader to review where their desires lay, and how it is likely that the truest worship they are expressing is not to God on Sunday mornings, but rather in their daily life to the objects, goals, and ideals that they love.

When taking this in, I was immediately made aware of the areas in my life where I channel more energy, time, and care in than my discipleship to Christ. This book is a great tool for reevaluating not only the way that you look at worship and its place in your daily life, but also the things that you may have been worshiping without even knowing. But don’t worry, the book doesn’t end there. Smith dives into liturgical practices like prayer, song, confession, and baptism, and how these are not just things we do, but rather vessels of worship that are gifts from God for our lives here on Earth.

Simply put, Smith addresses the seemingly uniform fashion in which the church views worship, challenging the reader to search “worship” on google images. While that can be a holy form of worship, Smith argues that man is propelled by love. Love of something, whether it be your new gadget, car, food, gym time, or baking that next loaf of sourdough, where you spend the most time and energy are likely the things you love most. After reading through “You Are What You Love”, readers are left with lots to siphon through as well as some internal processes and habits to think through. So, if you’re in the market for a book that’s easy to digest, and has big thoughts on worship and habits, check out James K.A. Smith’s “You Are What You Love”.

Sources

Smith, J. K. (2016). You are what you love: The spiritual power of habit. Grand Rapids, MI, MI: Brazos Press, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


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.  

What we’re listening to – July 2020

July 7, 2020

Summer is heating up and we are back with more music for you to enjoy while soaking in the longer days, and shorter nights. From Jordy Searcy to Childish Gambino, we put together a fun mix just for you! Happy summer!