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Does This Have Gluten in it?: Dieting and Individualism

July 16, 2019

Gluten, dairy, pine nuts, tree nuts, sugar, carbs, legumes, vegetables… If you had to guess how many of these food groups are “bad” for you, would you be able to? Your first thought may be sugar, and that’s most likely because it’s an easy target to villainize. But there are good sugars, like the kind in the antioxidant-filled berries, local honey that can help your allergies, and bananas packed with potassium. Let’s move on to carbs, which seems to be the ultimate no-no in today’s society. Sure, white bread and pasta shouldn’t be eaten at every meal, but did you know that carbs are in vegetables, oats, fruit and legumes? Carbs can even be found in some types of dairy! But is that a good or bad thing, because we’re suddenly realizing the “dairy” we grew up with (like American cheese) isn’t really a whole food at all. With all of these new food findings, how can we know what is good and bad? And what if the whole issue isn’t about the health side of it – what if we all just want to be individuals, and picking apart food is the easiest way to get there?

I want to take a minute to offer up my deepest condolences to those of you who actually do have a food allergy. As a passionate bread connoisseur, I can’t imagine not being able to go to a restaurant and never having to think about every menu item in depth, making sure my health won’t be compromised by a mere crumb. For those of you who have a peanut allergy – we see you and we hear you. Seriously, these allergies are not to be messed with or made fun of, and I would like to apologize to those of you who are now the brunt of a lot of “Millennial” jokes just because you actually do have a serious allergy. I think I’m still more sorry that you can’t eat bread, dairy, peanuts, etc. than I am anything else, though.

And with that apology, another quick point to make is that dieting is a socioeconomic issue. The access you have to certain food labels such as organic, non-GMO, etc. is completely based on class, and if you have financial access to eat all organic foods, consider yourself lucky. This doesn’t happen for everyone. There is a journal entry in the US National Library of Medicine that states, “One likely contributor to the socioeconomic patterning in healthy diets is the cost of food: less nutritious, energy-dense foods are often cheaper sources of calories, and higher diet quality has been associated with higher diet cost.” Many people don’t get to pick and choose what foods they can put in a negative light. If you can, that isn’t a bad thing, but it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone has that luxury.

Now that we’ve cleared those subtopics up, I want to get back to the issue at hand, which is that a lot of Millennials are claiming food allergies and/or sensitivities when they don’t actually exist. Popular Science claims, “Although one in five people surveyed reported having an allergy, only about one in 10 actually does.”

Why would anyone want to be allergic or sensitive to a food when they aren’t really?! I have a few of my own ideas for why that may be:

  1. It’s a lot easier to cut out a whole group of food than it is to pursue a holistic, healthy lifestyle.

Why else would trends like Whole30, Keto, Paleo and more be as popular as they are? The Whole30 has been attempted by many of my friends, and the few that are strong and brave actually finish it. Because honestly – it’s kind of the worst! Having a limited number of foods and beverages you can intake isn’t necessarily fun. Yet, being on the Whole30 is enticing because you know you will lose weight from it and eat healthier; all your parameters are set for you. This seems to be much easier than having an open-ended food intake and saying you’re wanting to eat healthy foods. Why not just cut out the bad ones entirely? The problem in most cases, though, is that these elimination diets are not sustainable over time.

  1. It’s trendy to have an allergy or sensitivity.

Need I say more? You know that having issues with certain food groups is very “in” right now – it’s what Regina George would do in 2019, probably with carbs and sugar, maybe even with dairy.

  1. You’ve convinced yourself the said food group is making you sicker.

And that very well may be true! This website can give you some assistance while you’re trying to figure out what’s going on in your body every time you eat pizza.

  1. You want to be set apart from everyone else…

…which is kind of the whole point of this blog post. If you’re the only one in your friend group that has a dairy sensitivity, your pals probably know that they have to be pretty creative with dessert when you’re around. It’s something that makes you set apart from everyone. It gives you a new part of your identity. This isn’t a bad thing, but it does make you think about why you’ve decided to give up meat lately.

It isn’t outlandish to use food as an identity marker – food has actually been a huge piece of our identities since we were born. Food ties cultures together in a way not much else can. If you’re not from Philadelphia, what was the first thing you knew about the city? For me, being from Florida, it was cheesesteaks. The first aspect of San Diego I knew was that it houses some amazing Mexican restaurants. Every city, state and country is comprised of restaurants that make the environment what it is. When you think about the world in that perspective, you begin to feel much more connected to those geographical spots you aren’t familiar with at all.

Choosing to be gluten, dairy, nut, or carb-free doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong, but we will encourage you to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need even though you’ve cut out a food group that supplies them. Do your research so that every time you sit down for a meal, you know what you’re getting out of it. And if you realize most of what’s on your plate doesn’t harbor many nutrients, maybe swap out a side in order to get what you need. Listen to your body and learn from it.

And when it comes to individualism, you are an individual regardless of your food preferences. Food can bring community, but it doesn’t have to define you (unless you’re a chef, then maybe it does a little bit). At the end of the day, food is your loyal, life-giving friend – so treat it like one.






Written by: Erin Diaz

Erin is an Assistant Director of Student Activities. She has a B.A. in English. Erin plans and oversees the execution of mid-scale events and concerts on the Student Activities calendar. She is the direct report for the event supervisors and event staff. Erin approves all content that is published and promoted from social media to the SA blog.

The Effects of Binge Watching

July 10, 2019

Today, binge-watching TV shows is so normalized by society that many people spend an entire rainy day catching up on the latest season of This Is Us without thinking twice. The question I have is, do our viewing habits have more of an impact on us than we think? In recent years, online streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video have gained popularity. According to Pew Research, 61% of young adults (ages 18-29) watch TV through a streaming service instead of cable. Forbes reported back in March that there are officially more people paying for a streaming service than people paying for cable TV services. It makes sense that streaming services would usurp cable in 2019. Our culture idolizes instant response and gratification, which these streaming services are capable of providing. This need for instant gratification has expanded from watching one or two episodes to entire seasons of shows. While binge watching can be fun in the moment, what are some of the effects that it could have on us?

To start out, binge watching can affect our sleep and energy. According to a 2017 study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, binge watching can cause poor sleep quality, increased fatigue, and even symptoms of insomnia. As college students, this is probably the last thing we need happening to us, especially when we have so many other things taking away from our sleep. Binge watching can also affect our mental health. The University of Toledo found that binge-watchers reported higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. So, why would binge watching your favorite TV show cause more harm than good? According to Dr. Renee Carr, a clinical psychologist, it’s because our body experiences similar effects to a drug-like high. When we are watching our favorite show, our body releases dopamine. Dopamine is an internal reward of pleasure that will reinforce us to do that activity over and over. But with every high, there is always a low. When you finish that show you’d been watching, we actually mourn the loss, according to Dr. John Mayer (no, not the artist), another clinical psychologist. Our bodies react in such a negative way because the lack of that source of dopamine.

How do you know if you’re binge watching too much? You have to look at the rest of your life. Just like other addictions, binge watching can pull us away from socialization and human interaction. Dr. Judy Rosenburg says, “When we substitute TV for human relations, we disconnect from our human nature and substitute for the virtual.” It’s important that we moderate our consumption of TV to maintain a healthy lifestyle. There are 3 questions you can use to help figure out how to keep a balance in your life:

1. When are you watching TV?
2. How much are you watching?
3. What else could you be doing?

These 3 questions relate back to each of the problems that binge-watching can have. If you’re watching TV late and sacrificing sleep, try giving yourself a specific time that you will stop watching at. If you’re starting to experience the high/low effect to the point you’re seeing yourself become more anxious or stressed, cut back on the number of episodes you watch. And if you are thinking about starting a string of binge watching, think through other things you could be doing instead. Binge watching occasionally can be a lot of fun, but just like other things, a surplus of any activity can have a negative effect. So next time you have the opportunity to binge watch the next season of This Is Us, challenge yourself to watch it slowly – one episode a night. Watching in moderation will help with your physical and mental health and give you time to enjoy other parts of life.









Written by: Andrew Reynolds

Andrew is a Junior 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.

Top 10 Lynchburg Summer Hot Spots

July 2, 2019

Ahhh, summer in Lynchburg! It’s the time of year residents look forward to the most because, let’s face it – less traffic, more parking, less people in Target… what more could we ask for? If you’re here in Lynchburg enjoying the sunshine with us “year-rounders”, you may want some advice from those of us who have spent many summers here. That’s why Steph and Erin are here! We’ve made you a comprehensive list of our top ten summer recommendations – check them out below.

Spend some time at David’s Place

If you’re looking for a great place cool down in the sun, you should check out David’s Place pool. Rec Centers offers summer memberships for individuals or families from May – August. There are not many public pools around Lynchburg (unless you live in a community that comes equipped with one), so it’s definitely something you’ll want to take advantage of. What we love about this membership is that they offer family passes for you, a spouse, and up to four additional family members starting at just $175 (discounts for LU spouses and alumni too!). Couple this with an all access pass to the Montview Bowling Alley or LaHaye Rec & Fit and you’ve got yourself a full range of rec activities to fill your summer!

But First, Coffee

Recently I (Erin) was speaking to a friend who’s spending the summer working in downtown Phoenix, and she was discussing how compared to other cities she’s spent time in recently, Lynchburg’s coffee scene is one of the most expansive she’s seen. And she’s right! We have more local coffee shops here than many people realize. It would take too long for us to review each one, but we will offer up some suggestions.

Because Steph and I both live close to Wyndhurst, The Muse Coffee Co. is our favorite spot. We both usually order a double shot of espresso on ice with a dash of almond milk (and a pump of vanilla if we’re feeling crazy!), as well as avocado toast, which we can’t say enough about because it’s so good. There are other great food options at The Muse, such as the Daydream panini and the Breakfast Burrito. Their Christmas in a Cup drink is also a staple whether you order it hot, iced or blended.

Another coffee shop we like to highlight is Golf Park Coffee, and that’s because our friend Adam Shurr is the owner (this is also a plug for our podcast episode with him)! Golf Park has great coffee, whether you’re looking for a pour over, a latte or anything in between. The atmosphere is also perfect for summer; the large windows display the sunlight and make you want to stay all day.

Saturdays are for the Market

Saturday mornings in Lynchburg are always bustling on Main Street downtown. The Lynchburg Community Market is filled with local vendors selling fresh food, coffee, and even handmade clothing and jewelry. After purchasing from the vendors outside, there is an indoor area with more vendors you’ll have to check out. It’s the perfect way to get away from the heat and enjoy the brunch you’ve probably picked up from Father’s Table, Irene’s Country Cookin’ or Barb’s Dream Hut. You’ll undoubtedly run into friends at the Market; it really is a staple in our community. The Community Market itself (the indoor area) is open Tuesday through Saturday from 7 A.M. until 2 P.M., and the Farmer’s Market (the outdoor area) is open Wednesdays from 10 A.M. until 2 P.M. and Saturdays from 7 A.M. until 2 P.M.

Millie’s: grab a refreshing treat!

Millie’s Living Café is located on the side of Health Nut Nutrition in Wyndhurst, and you won’t be disappointed to try it this summer if you haven’t already. If you’re looking for a refreshing smoothie, acai bowl or snack and you have any sort of health standards, you’re going to love Millie’s. Frequenting Millie’s is natural once you’ve been there at least one time, mainly because of the extensive menu with fresh, organic ingredients. If you’re a chocolate lover but want to have a healthy, refreshing summer treat, Erin’s recommendation is the Cacao Lover’s smoothie. The coco whip is everything you want in life!

Take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway

We are so lucky to have the Blue Ridge Parkway right at our fingertips. Running from Afton, Virginia, all the way to Cherokee, North Carolina, the Parkway is a great place to drive and see the mountains, colorful trees and maybe even a bear! While the drive is definitely an adventure to go on in the fall (those oranges and reds on the trees are out of this world), the summertime views bring the mountain ranges to life. Hiking and cycling are other options for ways to get around the Parkway, but let’s face it – sometimes it’s nice to see beautiful views with a little A/C.

Dive in to Smith Mountain Lake

Located just over an hour southwest of Lynchburg, Smith Mountain Lake has fun options for when you want to take a quick day trip. The lake has a beach area that is perfect for laying out or having a picnic. There are also restaurants and shopping located close by the lake, making it an easy trip if you’re not in the mood to drive around town. There are pontoon boats for rent, which is undoubtedly a selling point for a trip to the lake. The boats aren’t very expensive when the price is split among a group of friends, and you can make a day out of it! So if you’re unsure of what to do over a weekend, round up your friends and take them to the lake!

Visit Blackwater Creek Trails (Bike Shop)

Lynchburg is home to some of the most beautiful outdoor scenery and facilities, maintained by Lynchburg Parks and Rec. I (Steph) am a big fan of all LRC has to offer and have played in one of their softball leagues that last four years. Their staff works hard to provide and maintain a friendly community of rec facilities and trails for a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts. One of the many highlights of this area is the expansive Blackwater Creek, with miles of wooded trails that provide paved paths for you walk, jog, run, or bike. You can enter the trails from many different locations, which offers a variety of views and scenery. We suggest taking advantage of Bikes Unlimited (right off Jefferson Street), where their bike rentals start at just $12/hr.

Indulge your appetite at Skyline Grill

As if the beauty of the newly renovated Virginian Hotel was not enough, it is only amplified by the addition of the Skyline Grill located on its roof. With an open patio, amazing food, and views that span all of downtown Lynchburg, the experience will surely not disappoint. Going into their second summer, the restaurant’s cozy atmosphere and variety of seating areas provide for a relaxing evening for you and your friends. The views are just a perk, because the food itself is delicious. With a variety of tapas, salads, sandwiches and pizzas, we suggest trying a few different things to share amongst the table. For an appetizer, the charcuterie board (cheeses, meats, spreads and bread) is to die for. Some of our other favorites include the Thai Shrimp Salad, chicken tenders (MMM!) or the Margherita pizza. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

You Scream, Ice Cream!

Is it really summer if you aren’t eating a cold treat at least once a week? Lynchburg has some of the best dessert locations around. Since Erin and I both live in Forest, our number one recommendation is Rookie’s. We’re not ashamed to admit that we even grab a dozen cookies to go way too often (and maybe eat them all in one sitting). We recently sat down with one of the owners, Jordan Nickerson, on our podcast (spoiler alert – to air in the next couple weeks) and we fell in love with the little truck even more! Other than the taste itself, my favorite thing about them is how often they rotate their menu and provide fresh new flavors. My (Steph) favorite combo is The Classic cookie with espresso ice cream, but anything you try will surely not disappoint. Also, if you’re looking for a treat to bring to a get together, they sell cookies by the dozen for 10 dollars too!

For those of you who enjoy venturing downtown or live in the Boonsboro area, Maylynn’s is where you’ll want to go. Their brick and mortar location on Jefferson Street offers the widest variety of sweet treats from cups and cones to milkshakes, sundaes, cookie sandwiches and rolled ice cream (which is fun to watch them make)! They also have a food truck that offers a similar variety in the Boonsboro Shopping Center. Both locations offer outdoor seating (downtown has indoor seating too) and is the perfect little place to for your friends, family, or even a great way to end a date!

Appreciate the Arts at the Academy

We love the Academy Center of the Arts and we were ecstatic for the reopening of their theater this past winter! The historic theater on Main Street downtown originally opened in 1905, but was closed in 1958. Through a wide variety of dedicated members, their board and staff, they restored the building and reopened this past December. With our passion for the entertainment industry, we were so excited for what this would mean for Lynchburg in this new space (which is nothing short of breathtaking)! We’ve been to few shows and musicals together over the last few years, so the new opportunities the theater provides is exciting. In December they ran a Christmas Movie Marathon, where we saw the classic “Christmas Vacation” (Steph’s favorite Christmas movie), and in February attended an improv performance by Second City. Their event calendar is chock-full of a variety of shows. This summer includes a weekend of Newsies performances, The Lion King Jr., An Evening with Amy Grant, and many other shows. Tickets are different for each show and scaled based on section. Check out their calendar, which is easy to use and allows you to filter by many different criteria that makes it super convenient to find what you’re looking for at the right price. It shouldn’t go unmentioned that The Academy offers much more than shows at the theater too. This includes art classes, summer camps, warehouse concert series, galas, benefits, and more!

So there you have it – our top ten summer activities. Tweet us at libertysa and let us know what you’re up to this summer in Lynchburg!

Written by: Steph Ward & Erin Diaz

Steph is the Director of Student Activities. She has a B.S. in Visual Communication Arts: Graphic Design and a M.S. in Management. Steph oversees the overall calendar and vision of the Student Activities Department from promotion to execution and analysis. She also leads the Student Activities staff, comprised of 20+ full time and student worker employees.



Erin is an Assistant Director of Student Activities. She has a B.A. in English. Erin plans and oversees the execution of mid-scale events and concerts on the Student Activities calendar. She is the direct report for the event supervisors and event staff. Erin approves all content that is published and promoted from social media to the SA blog.

Hometown Highlight: Atlanta, Georgia

June 26, 2019

Last weekend, I took a trip to The Peach State to take a weekend away from work and relax in my hometown. What I meant to be a relaxing trip turned into a busy, fun-filled weekend that helped me learn a lot about my state’s capital and some of the coolest places Atlanta has to offer. Visiting some of Atlanta’s top tourist spots, such as The Georgia Aquarium, The Hall of Fame Chick-Fil-A, and The World of Coke, was a super fun experience that I would recommend to anyone who takes a trip to Atlanta.

The first stop on the list was The Georgia Aquarium. It had been several years since I had been to the aquarium, but it was just as amazing as I remembered. The Georgia Aquarium is the biggest aquarium in the world, and it is one of only a couple aquariums that house whale sharks. The aquarium was filled with crowds excited to see dolphins, beluga whales, eels, whale sharks, sea turtles, and many more aquatic animals. The most amazing attraction is the glass tunnel. The tunnel is under a tank filled with thousands of sea creatures, which you can walk through. It truly feels like you are walking on the ocean floor with sea creatures surrounding you. My favorite part of the aquarium was when I went to the hands-on exhibit, where I was allowed to pet starfish and sea anemones. Overall, The Georgia Aquarium is an amazing place, but it was only the first stop on my list of places to visit.

The next stop was The Hall of Fame Chick-Fil-A. Since Georgia is home to the first Chick-Fil-A in existence, it was only appropriate that we ate there for lunch (not to mention the Spicy Chicken Sandwich was calling my name as I walked through the aquarium). The Hall of Fame Chick-Fil-A is just a few blocks from the aquarium, and is attached to the College Football Hall of Fame. We were able to see the football field through a 15-foot window while we ate, which was pretty awesome. After lunch, it was time to visit the last spot on the list.

The World of Coke is by far my favorite tourist attraction in Atlanta. The tour starts at the Coca-Cola bar, where we were offered a free Coke to take on our journey through the museum. Next, we were taken into a theater where they showed a short film about the impact a Coke can have on a community. The film depicted several different stories where Coke beautifully brought people together. The World of Coke has so many cool things to do inside, such as a Coke bottle designing station, a 4D theater, a walk-through museum, and best of all—a taste room. Inside the Taste Room, I was able to taste every Coke product in the world. The tour ends at the gift shop where I was able to purchase an old-fashioned Coke ad printed on a metal poster.

I will always recommend visiting The Georgia Aquarium, The Hall of Fame Chick-Fil-A, and The World of Coke. Each of these attractions are unique to Atlanta, and they are must-see spots if you ever take a trip down south. It doesn’t matter how old you get, each of these spots will make you feel young again—The Georgia Aquarium and The World of Coke provide a sense of curiosity and wonderment that is a very refreshing experience for a college student.

Written by: Madelyn Mauck

Madelyn is a Sophomore 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.

The Passive Consumption of Marvel Movies

June 25, 2019

Movies have always been one of the biggest reflections on culture. Characters, setting, dialogue, and other components of movies can represent cultural beliefs and norms. Some recent films that have received attention for their cultural references are Get Out, Nightcrawler, and Zootopia. Since we know movies are huge aspect of the entertainment culture, we should be thoroughly evaluating films for cultural correlation through active consumption.

There’s no question that we are in a superhero movie era. Seven of the 20 highest-grossing movies are a Marvel superhero film. According to Atom Tickets, Marvel’s Avengers Endgame has generated over $2 billion and is on track to reach $3 billion in the box office before it exits theaters. These numbers would make it the highest-grossing movie of all time. Marvel has seen unprecedented success with 20 movies coming out in the past 11 years. With all this success it makes me wonder, why are these fairly average films so successful?

I enjoyed watching Avengers: Endgame; it was packed with action and humor, and it was the ending to a story I started watching when I was just ten years old. But after I left the theater and had time to process the movie, I realized there wasn’t much to evaluate. The film did well on the action scenes, using all the heroes in an epic fight scene at the end, but the film was filled massive plot holes and poor dialogue. These mistakes were seemingly overlooked or forgiven. The movie received incredible ratings, and the directors have been giving countless interviews since Endgame’s release where they give impromptu, on the spot answers to fill plot holes.

This is the same sequence of events that has followed many of the other Marvel movies. The Atlantic addressed the issue of average superhero movies back in 2014 and stated, “Hollywood has become sensational at predicting what its audiences want to see. And, ironically, for that very reason, it’s become better at making relentlessly average movies.” It almost seems that superhero movies, specifically Marvel, have used a formula to create their movies. Action scene + witty humor = Profit. A great example of a character morphed to fit the formula is Thor. When Marvel movie directors realized Thor could be more popular if they made him less serious and more satirical and humorous like the other characters, they did just that. In the first two Thor movies, we see a very serious, brooding Thor, but in the third movie Thor: Ragnarok, Thor is no longer serious and is acting like the other superhero characters, consequentially, causing box office numbers to rise. Marvel practically changed a character’s entire personality to fit what audiences preferences are. Slash Film stated you could “barely recognize Thor” when looking at the change in the movies. After evaluating these issues with superhero films and seeing the mediocre level these movies sit on, we still have to figure out how these films have been some of the most successful.

Film Ink, one of the leading sources in film industry media, is able to give a couple reasons for people to discuss. One of the reasons discussed is escapism. These superhero movies provide a temporary escape from the evil in the world. It can be relieving to watch a movie where the superhero always wins and is taking care of threats around the world. It can even give people hope. Mark Millar, a famous comic book author, said, “Good economic times usually signal the death of superheroes, and bad economic times see a surge in their popularity.” Superhero films are feel-good stories that can take away some of the stress of having to deal with our real-world issues. Superhero movies service as a passive, easy watch because the viewer knows that the hero will still come out on top.

As Film Ink also points out, superhero movies and TV shows have taken over the entertainment industry. There are countless shows being created and Marvel alone has made twenty movies in just over ten years with no end in sight. Nightcrawler director, Dan Gilroy, called it a “tsunami of superhero movies.” It’s difficult for independent filmmakers and smaller film companies to be successful during a time where Disney owns Marvel and is able to provide all the resources necessary to keep these films at the top. We have to figure out a way to balance out this massive wave of superhero galore. More is needed in the entertainment culture than just superheroes. There has to be entertainment that viewers can actively engage with – entertainment that makes the audience think and challenges their perspectives. Alejandro Gonzalez, director of The Revenant, calls this superhero wave “cultural genocide” and says that audiences are being exposed to things “that don’t say anything about the experience of being human.” We need multiple movie genres to explore, not just one.

My point is not to rip apart superhero movies and tell you to never watch them again. My point is to challenge us all. Next time you are watching a movie or TV show, superhero or not, make sure you are actively engaged. Don’t let the easiness of passively looking at a screen and digesting what’s being shown to you overtake your ability to critically think about what you are watching. Challenge yourself to look for cultural references, philosophical viewpoints, and underlying messages. It is our responsibility as the audience to make sure we actively engage with these superhero movies. We have to be the ones to watch these films and critically assess them. We need to challenge superhero filmmakers to do better and to give us a film that will challenge us and cause us to think critically. There has been an abundance of superhero movies made for passive consumption but not many for viewers to actively watch. So, let’s turn off auto pilot and take control of the content we view for entertainment.








Written by: Andrew Reynolds

Andrew is a Junior 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.

LANY: An Unexpected Concert Experience

June 20, 2019

About a month ago, I purchased tickets to see LANY in concert on June 2nd in Atlanta, Georgia – my hometown. For some background information, I was not as familiar with the band as most of my peers. After getting the tickets, I downloaded the Malibu Nights album and attempted to learn all of the lyrics over the next couple of weeks for the sole purpose of being able to sing along at the concert. Naturally, I was expecting to have a relatively mediocre time considering I did not know most of LANY’s songs, but little did I know I was in for a surprise. After attending the concert, I want to share how my experience seeing LANY pleasantly surprised me, from the venue choice to the concert itself, and the die-hard fans that attended.

The concert was held at The Coca-Cola Roxy, nicknamed “The Roxy”, which is the region’s most popular concert venue. According to the venue website, it was originally opened as a movie theater in 1930, and was later renovated into a concert venue in 1990. We got in line and expected to wait a long time to get in; however, it only took 15 minutes to get inside. The venue was extremely spacious and well-designed, with plenty of standing room and huge colored chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The stage had two levels. The band members, Jake Goss, Les Priest, and their newest member were located on the top level of the stage, while lead singer Paul Klein was on the bottom level. It was a great setup because Paul Klein (the fan favorite) was able to use the entire lower level to dance and interact with the crowd. Both levels of the stage had a screen behind the band members, which was used to display the graphics during LANY’s performance. The graphics were awesome and were able to easily capture everyone’s attention.

The concert started with ROLE MODEL as the opener. ROLE MODEL is a young artist who is currently on tour with LANY, and he has released numerous singles. When LANY finally came out, the entire atmosphere of the room shifted. Everyone was cheering and jumping when the band walked onto the stage, and I could feel the roar of excitement in the room. The crowd started chanting “LANY” repeatedly and then all the lights came on at once and the music started. Hearing the music live changed my entire perception of LANY. I was experiencing their songs on a completely new level. Paul Klein gave the fans energy and he was great at interacting with the crowd. During several songs, Klein jumped off the stage to crowd surf across everyone. As I watched the performance, I realized I was familiar with many more songs than I had originally thought. In the song titled “Okay”, Paul Klein collaborated with Julia Michaels. According to Rolling Stone, “Lyrically, “Okay”, describes recent breakups that the two protagonists have gone through”. My favorite song they performed would have to be “Run”, with “ILYSB” as a close second. LANY’s performance lasted a couple hours but their captivating performance made it feel like half an hour.

The fans of LANY were excited and energetic during the entire performance. There were a few times where Paul Klein was quiet and the crowd sang the lyrics back to him, which was awesome to hear. The day after the concert, LANY featured the Atlanta fans on Twitter and captioned the photo “Magic”. Magic is the perfect word to describe the feeling I experienced as I saw how the crowd danced and sang through the entirety of the concert. It was an inspiration to see how wonderfully and artistically music can affect people.

Overall, I would recommend seeing LANY to everyone. The band is a Liberty favorite, and from what I saw, I believe LANY is going to continue releasing amazing music for the next couple of years. It’s always a good idea to listen to new music not because everyone else listens to LANY, but because seeing them live is an experience you will never forget.





Written by: Madelyn Mauck

Madelyn is a Sophomore 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.

Cooking vs. Eating Out

June 18, 2019

I have recently put a lot more thought into my eating habits – specifically the choice of eating out versus cooking at home. It’s common knowledge that a home-cooked meal is cheaper than eating at a restaurant. I also have more control over my meal. I can use ingredients that keep my meal healthy, I can choose the exact portions I want, and as someone with a peanut/tree nut allergy, I can rest assured knowing the meals I cook are nut free! In my opinion, cooking your own meals is the overall better choice when it comes to deciding to cook or eat out.

Our generation is being looked at by leaders in the restaurant world. David Stillman, an accredited generation expert, says that our generation is becoming the “authority figure”, and we will mold the future of the restaurant industry. A large reason for the attention our generation receives is that we LOVE to cook. According to The Hartman Group, 53% of us enjoy cooking and 71% would love to learn how to cook. Learning to cook is the easiest it has been with so many resources online now. You can find recipes, cooking classes, and cooking shows. YouTube is filled with people cooking and sharing their methods to their viewers. Social media plays a large role in our diverse palates as well. “Food Navigator”, a leader in news and the analysis of North American food development, reports that 62% of young adults ages 18-22 are cooking international cuisines from social media.

It’s not surprising we’re so eager to get into the kitchen. We’re one of the healthiest generations and have grown up with a huge emphasis on eating healthy. Yale states that Millennials have been labeled the most “health conscious generation ever, partly due to their unprecedented access to the incredible compendium of health information now readily available online via the internet.” Also, The NPD Group, a leading global information company, reports that younger consumers have increased the annual eating per capita of fresh vegetables by 52% and frozen vegetables by 59% over the last decade.

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy going out to eat. Restaurants turn a meal into a fun and social event. Eating out also requires less effort than cooking your own meal. You can enjoy people’s company without worrying about having to cook for yourself or stress over making a meal for others. Restaurants can also help expand someone’s palate so that they can learn about new foods, flavors, and creative combinations. But let’s face the truth, we’re college students, and the cheaper route is obviously preferred. I love being able to both save money and eat healthy by cooking for myself.

Food is a huge part of our culture and understanding this aspect of culture is important to how we interact with one another. Whether homemade or at a restaurant, a meal is grounds for building and strengthening relationships. Trying new food and experimenting at home in the kitchen will turn your usual meal into something to anticipate, and even though you may fail when experimenting, that’s okay! It’s part of learning how to cook, and everyone has done something wrong when cooking. I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone the next time you and some friends are wanting to share a meal. If you always go out to eat with them, try making them a meal yourself or have everyone come and help make it! Or if you do go out to eat, try a dish different from your usual order.








Written by: Andrew Reynolds

Andrew is a Junior 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.

Podcast Review: The Dropout

June 12, 2019

“Fake it till you make it”. This expression, often used in a colloquial and matter-of-fact way, is one I’ve heard ever since I can remember. “The Dropout” is a podcast that puts this phrase on full display, showing just how much someone will fake it in order to “make it”, or seemingly make it in their own eyes. This podcast has been out for a few months now, but Elizabeth Holmes, the subject of the podcast and the founder/CEO of Theranos, has become one of the most popular household names.

I listened to “The Dropout” when it first came out, and I was hooked – I would wait for each new episode to drop (no pun intended) every week because I was so amazed by this story. From the popularity the podcast gained from the beginning of its episodes being released, it seems like Americans everywhere are hooked as well. The premise of the story is as follows (via Apple Podcasts): “The story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos is an unbelievable tale of ambition and fame gone terribly wrong. How did the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire lose it all in the blink of an eye? How did the woman once heralded as “the next Steve Jobs” find herself facing criminal charges – to which she pleaded not guilty – and up to 20 years in jail?”

From that snippet of the podcast description, you’re probably already interested if you haven’t listened. The overarching theme of the podcast, in my HUMBLE opinion, is deception. If you’ve listened, you know that Elizabeth Holmes and those working for her introduced a machine that could extract “adequate” bloodwork from a single drop of blood. Of course this sounds enticing – who wouldn’t want to have their finger pricked instead of having a needle dug into their arm? But would you rather go through that minute of pain in your arm and have correct lab results or have your finger pricked and believe your cancer had recurred? The podcast features real life examples of women and men who had their fingers pricked by a Theranos machine in Walgreens, only to have completely skewed blood results. All of this happened because one team of people faked it in order to make it in the medical world.

The podcast is titled “The Dropout” because Elizabeth Holmes is a college dropout. Sure, there have been many stories of college dropouts who have gone on to create success stories. This is not one of those success stories – it is instead a story about what happens when deception takes over your life. It is quite sad to hear about how much Elizabeth Holmes affected people negatively, especially in the workplace. The way her employees were treated and the nepotism behind it is difficult to listen to because you wish so badly that someone had caught Theranos and the “higher-ups” earlier. The podcast is a great reminder to not always believe what you hear – sometimes it’s best to learn everything you can about a product or business before you become too involved.

“The Dropout” is definitely a recommendation for your summer road trips. Let us know what you think about it!

SA Conversations: Judd Harris

June 6, 2019

Judd is one of our favorite friends and our go-to for any concert availabilities we have. His amazing hair and contagious laugh have nothing on his outstanding character. You probably know him because he’s a student here at Liberty and he’s also a part of the Liberty Worship Collective, BUT did you know he’s been crowned the King of Lynchburg? Tune in to our latest SA Conversations episode to hear us chat with Judd about how he became the King, his experience at Liberty, his hometown of Okeechobee, Florida, his passion for making music, and of course, why he thinks Applebee’s is amazing.


This podcast features Erin Cleveland (Assistant Director of Programming) and Marissa Kusayanagi (Event Supervisor). The episode was produced and edited by Clay Copper (Event Supervisor). Our jingle was created by Judd Harris.

My Trip to Arkansas

June 6, 2019

Last week, I spent my time in Arkansas catching up with old friends and preparing to celebrate two of my friends’ wedding. Before we got caught up in all the wedding festivities, we spent the first four days exploring some of the state. At first, I thought I would be spending the week sitting in a house on a farm binge-watching Netflix and saying, “Yes, I am still watching” way too many times. But to my surprise, Arkansas has so much to offer if you ever get the chance to go! After spending a week visiting and meeting many people from The Diamond State, I want to share some things you probably wouldn’t think of when thinking of Arkansas.

Each of our days started how every day should – with coffee. The first place we went to get coffee from was a drive-thru called Coffee Container. Similar to Joe Beans, Coffee Container was a small building with a drive-thru window on each side. Unlike Joe Beans, Coffee Container’s “building” is an old shipping container that local couple, Alex and Jolene Wallace, turned into a coffee drive-thru. They don’t want to stay just a single drive-thru shipping container; their goal is to purchase three more shipping containers and transform Coffee Container into a quaint coffee shop. The next day we went to another coffee shop named Onyx. When I walked in, it felt like nothing you would expect to be in Arkansas with such a modern style. Filled with college students studying, business associates talking about work, and friends catching up, Onyx made for a perfect stop for anyone. The latte I got was one of the best I have had. It was made with their house made vanilla syrup and beans from a local coffee roaster.

We also had the chance to go to a local brunch restaurant called Pressroom. Pressroom’s relaxed and casual atmosphere made it a great spot to eat before our flight to leave. They also offer both gluten-free and vegan dishes as well as a wide selection of specialty coffee drinks which can be customized with their house-made syrups. They also serve one of the biggest pieces of avocado toast served with a mountain of eggs on top and some fresh greens on the side.

Tucked away in the forests of Bentonville is the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. This art museum is filled with beautiful art inside of the museum and outside on the trails. The inside of the museum is filled with American Art of all styles. “Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection spans five centuries of American masterworks ranging from the colonial era to the current day.” You can go outside on the eight different nature trails filled with artwork, springs, flowers, and other beautiful sites. The museum also boasts two beautiful pieces of architecture: Fly’s Eye Dome by Buckminster Fuller and the Bachman-Wilson House by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The second half of the week was mostly spent helping prepare for my friends’ wedding. While most of this time was spent helping set up and make sure everything was ready to go, I also got to meet a lot of amazing people. Most of these people I met came from a very different background and upbringing. They grew up in small towns where you knew everyone else that lived there, and you didn’t have much else than those people. After getting to talk to some of them, it reminded me just how important the relationships in our lives are. In college, relationships are constantly recycled. We are balancing so many relationships, and we sometimes miss out on the opportunities to grow those relationships we have. So just as a small town in Arkansas encouraged me, I want to encourage people to spend time investing in the relationships they have. Spend time pouring into those relationships you have because fellowship is one of the many beautiful gifts God has given us to grow as Christians and grow closer to Him.

Written by: Andrew Reynolds

Andrew is a Junior 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.