Home   /   Blog  /  Archive by category "SA Engages"

Category: SA Engages

A Review of Breaking Bad

April 1, 2020

I’m sure if you’re like me, you have multiple subscriptions to different streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and more. With that comes a lot of deciding on which show to choose or even stay committed to. Typically, when I can’t decide on a show, I just re-watch The Office, which I’m sure plenty of other people do as well. However, one show would always pop up on my top choices on Netflix, and I would just ignore it simply based on the “look of it.” Little did I know it would become one of my favorite TV shows of all time – Breaking Bad. Before you continue reading this article, there will be some spoilers regarding simple plot points and character development. Read at your own discretion!

Back in 2008, the hit TV show, Breaking Bad first aired on AMC. There were 5 seasons recorded spanning from 2008 to the final release in 2012. The plot follows the main character, Walter White, a nerdy high school chemistry teacher based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After finding out about some misfortunes in his life, Walt finds himself at financial risk, causing stress among his family and wondering how they are going to make ends meet. One thing leads to the next and Walt finds himself joining forces with a former student of his, Jesse Pinkman, to cook methamphetamine (meth) in order to gain money to support his family. Throughout the show, we see Walt and Jesse work to create the “purest” form of meth that anyone in the world has seen. Because of this purity, the unlikely duo is extremely sought after ranging from the Mexican cartel to Walt’s brother-in-law who happens to be on a drug task force. As the seasons progress, we see Walt and Jesse work to become a powerful name in the drug world all while keeping their secrets hidden from their loved ones.

If the plot hasn’t caught your attention, the characters for sure will. Walt, played by the famed Bryan Cranston, has some of the best character development I have ever seen in any television show. He goes from fearing his own shadow, to becoming a confident and confrontational man that is well known in the entire southwest of the United States. Aaron Paul, depicted by Jesse Pinkman, plays the complimentary character and did so well in his role that Netflix made a movie just about him called El Camino. In addition to the main characters, Breaking Bad brought together an incredible supporting cast ranging from Walt’s wife, Skylar, as well as the grungy, not-so-ethical lawyer Saul Goodman, who also got his own television series Better Call Saul because of his outstanding performance.

This may seem like a stereotypical drama show that Netflix wants to throw out there for views. Some may even discount it because it is more than five years old. However, in its five seasons, Breaking Bad has won 110 awards, including multiple Emmy’s and Golden Globes, and had over 26 million streams in the week following its release. As mentioned before, the complimentary characters had their own television series and movies because of the success of the show. So, if you ever find yourself on another night scrolling through Netflix or any other streaming service for that matter, consider watching Breaking Bad. I promise, you will not be disappointed.




Written by: Mike Tammaro

Mike 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.

How to Fill the Void of No Live Sports

March 30, 2020

2020; what a time to be alive. As everybody knows and is tired of talking about, life seems like it is on a temporary break, and one of the things that we miss the most is live sports. With this temporary loss, many people seem to have no idea how to fill this void. Here are a few fun options that will hopefully get you your sport fix for the day.

An easy first option is that ESPN is showing so many highlights and re-runs of classic games and matches. Now you can sit back and watch Game 7 of the ‘16 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors and re-live the greatest comeback in NBA history. Or, for you baseball fans, you can re-live the ‘04 American League Championship Series between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. If you don’t know what happens in either of those, then my goodness you are in for a treat. For those of you that don’t want to watch the reruns, you can grab some popcorn and snacks and play an ESPN 30 for 30. They have popular documentaries about sports, the internal drama, and everything in between. What more could you want?

The next option to fill your time may not be what pops into your head when you think of sports, but it is still a valid option, nonetheless: Esports. Online gaming has done nothing but grow during this time so I would encourage you to check out some of their tournaments and give something new a try! Now is the perfect time to grab your controller and headset, throw in some Madden, and get online and play with some friends, or even go make friends online! Maybe this will inspire you to check out your schools local Esports team or even play as your favorite team in an online sports game. This is your chance to get that elusive championship that your team might be struggling to get in real life (RIP to any chance of my Oklahoma City Thunder getting a championship).

All of these are good options to watch or do indoors, but nothing comes close to actually playing a sport. So the last thing we can do to fill the void is make good use of this time and weather and get outside (taking safety into consideration)! Practice social distancing and throw a baseball or football around with your family or a small group of friends. Find a field and kick a soccer ball around. There are plenty of tennis courts in a city, so get out with a friend and learn how to play! Maybe go for a run or do some cardio exercises outside. Now is the time to get in shape for those upcoming intramurals in August. If you want that Broomball Intramural Championship shirt, you have to put in the work now!

I hope some of these options help you. If nothing else, keep in mind that sports still exist! There is a lot to look forward to and there is still quite a bit going on with trades and team drama (ex. Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers).Take everything day by day and before you know it, we will all be back to cheering on our favorite teams to a victory!

Written by: Josiah Frisbie

Josiah enjoys writing for the blog because he believes in the power of discussing relevant topics. He wants to be challenged in his writing and research style while still growing and striving for knowledge.

Album Review: Heartbreak Weather by Niall Horan

March 27, 2020

What is the driving factor for your music choices? Is it name recognition of the artist, quality of the sound, the lyrics, or perhaps even the beat? Does theme ever matter to you in an album, or do you judge an album song by song and forget the rest? I personally did this for a long time. I would pick and choose the songs based on what sound and beat I liked the best and basically ignored the rest of the album. However, over time I’ve realized it is extremely important to listen through the entirety of an album as it allows you to understand your favorite artists more, while also picking up on key themes throughout the discography.

An album that I would encourage you to listen through fully and analyze as well is Heartbreak Weather by Niall Horan. If you’re a die-hard One Direction fan like myself, you understand how great this album is because you probably listened to it all in one night. However, if you didn’t grow up on One Direction or never followed the careers of the previous band members, this album is for sure something you are going to want to listen to. The album consists of fourteen songs with a great mix of acoustics, pop, and a slight R&B feel. Niall has had a lot of success in his single career with hit songs such as This Town, Slow Hands, and Nice to Meet Ya. With that success, people were expecting a lot from this newly released album, and he did not disappoint. The goal of this article is to dissect the album for themes, quality sounding songs, and more. My hope is that my analysis on Heartbreak Weather will allow you to explore not only Niall’s music, but other artists you love that present themes to be dissected as well.

Through different sources, song enthusiasts have determined that the main theme of the beginning of Niall’s newest album as “falling in love as explained by the weather.” We can see with his opening song, Heartbreak Weather, that he’s talking about someone he loved, by explaining that the “clouds have lifted” when he’s with this person. Continuing on, Niall’s next song, Black and White, implies that he indeed has started to fall for this person and explains their future as being “crystal clear on a star lit night.” Essentially, he sees their future as clear weather with no interruptions.

The album transitions into a lot sadder tone, followed by a momentary relapse back to upbeat, then back to the sadder tone again. The theme is almost the stages of a messy breakup. In Dear Patience, Niall is going through a stage of denial within his relationship (we can assume with the person he was referring to in his first two songs). His lyrics are clearly presenting the idea that the person he is referring to is not reciprocating the way he feels. In Dear Patience, he is talking to himself because he has that hope of retaining his significant other. In the next couple songs, Bend the Rules and Small Talk, Niall goes through the motions of coping with the breakup. He blames her for “leaving out the truth” and then continues on by seeking out other people to fill that void of heartbreak. Nice to Meet Ya is the next song and one of Niall’s most successful songs he has every recorded with over 139 million streams on Spotify. Released in November of 2019, the sound is upbeat and hopeful. As one can assume, it is about someone that Niall has met, and right in line with the albums theme, the person that he is using to cope with over his breakup.

The rest of the album is Niall realizing that he can’t fill that void by distracting himself with other people. This is emphasized especially in Arms of a Stranger and San Francisco. Niall puts it all out there: from telling how he can’t be with anyone else to very clearly asking this person back into his life. With lines like “baby, won’t you give me back what you took apart?” and “take me back, take me back to San Francisco, I know what we had would never last, but I can’t let go of you,” he is not mincing words with his intentions with this person.

The album closes with Still, a reflective yet hopefully sounding song. With the soft acoustic undertone, Niall seeks to not be so abrupt with how he feels, but rather discloses what he had with this person in an honest and reflective way. Memories he’s had with her, along with hope for a future are repeated throughout the song. When the song ends, listeners are left wondering what happens with the couple.

Overall, Heartbreak Weather, has a great variety of themes, sounds, and lyrical quality. As you listen to the album it evident that there are three themes described within his analysis of relationships: exploring the walk throughout the relationship, how he’s “weathered the storm” when breakup happens, and the in-between stages until the next relationship. His themes are not only fantastic and relatable, but the sounds distinctly help describe the mood that he is in. The album starts super happy, hopeful, and upbeat, and when the breakup occurs, the mood of his songs take a turn to somber, slow beats, and softer lyrics. While not in a relationship he’s meeting other people and gives us more upbeat tunes with catchy lyrics and beats that will make you want to move with the music. Finally, Niall comes back to the reality that he desires no one else but the person he has been singing about this whole time, allowing the album to take a more acoustic and reflective mood.

I highly recommend listening through this album. Even if Niall’s music is typically not your style, I encourage you to look to new artists that can pique your interest. No matter what you are listening to, take the time to analyze themes, songs, lyrics and other musical elements in your favorite album. You will learn, as I have, to appreciate the work that artists put into their work and be able to connect with it on a deeper level.




Written by: Mike Tammaro

Mike 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.

Do’s and Don’ts of Dieting

March 25, 2020

With summer right around the corner, it’s important we keep those eating habits healthy and well-rounded to maintain those summer bods we have worked oh so hard on, or if you’re me, not so hard on. If you’re one of the 45 million Americans who will try to diet this year, I am right there with you. A few weeks ago, I made it my goal to try and complete the Whole30 challenge. I only lasted 14 days before finally succumbing to the desire for a spicy Chick-Fil-A sandwich. Yes, it was worth it. Over the last couple years, we’ve seen the rise in many dieting trends that have received lots of attention from people of all ages, including Whole30, Keto, Paleo, Vegan, and many more. The hard thing is that the list of diets is never ending and knowing which one to choose can feel like pulling a random number out of a hat. Not to mention, a lot of these diets are potentially harmful to stay on because of the abrupt cuts required to abide by their guidelines. So, how can we ever know what is right for each of us individually? I am by no means a dietary expert, but will use this time to simply guide you towards a better of way of living through eating in the way that’s best for you.

I mentioned that I tried the Whole30 challenge and eventually failed after just 14 long days. For those who don’t know the Whole30, it is a “reset” for your body. This is an elimination diet that is scientifically backed to detox your digestive system and cut out all the unnecessary foods. During these 30 days, you are to cut out: added sugar (real or artificial), alcohol (in cooking too), grains, most legumes, dairy, carrageenan, MSG, sulfites, baked goods, junk food, and treats with “approved” ingredients. All of it seems great, right? Well, not exactly.

So, while you may be one of the few who can cut out all the bad foods you’re eating at once, it’s not easy for most people to do and is not the best for everyone. There are a few reasons why this diet can have such negative effects on the body according to health.com. The fact of the matter is that it’s just not sustainable enough. Sure, a 30-day program can be beneficial, but the diet also cuts out some healthy foods temporarily, such as whole grains, legumes, and natural sugars. Another problem is that most people go from strict dieting right back to normal food consumption. We need to find the in-between. How can we go from cutting everything out to eating normal without all the junk? A healthy diet should not be a sprint; instead, it should be a way of life that has lasting changes to your eating habits. Lastly, this diet (and many like it) could also induce food insensitivities. This means, while a certain food group like dairy may have not upset your stomach before, it’s possible that after 30 days your stomach isn’t able to handle it.

I could sit here and talk about every diet and the harmful effects it could have on your body, but who would enjoy that. I also am not trying to bash the Whole30 either. Like I said, the 30-day challenge can be a great, life-changing month for some, but it might not be the right move for everyone. But for most of us who just don’t want to stuff our faces with carbs anymore, there’s plenty of healthy and delicious steps to having a more balanced diet.

According to Active.com, a group dedicated to promote the well-being of others through exercise, dieting, and community, there are some key things to remember while trying to change our eating habits. First, it’s important to maintain a healthy balance. This means not completely cutting out dairy or protein and just making sure it’s not the cornerstone of what we eat. It is also important to avoid artificial foods like potato chips, candy, and processed foods, and start piling on some greens. It’s also good to set healthy limits on yourself. Think of it like food budgeting. Limiting yourself to about 2,000-2,400 calories a day is a healthy amount, so make sure your day is planned out accordingly. This way you can track the food you are eating through a food journal. I know that may sound ridiculous, but if you are looking for weight loss, Active reports that people who log their food lose on average twice amount the weight of those who don’t! And lastly, make sure you are eating the right amounts. You don’t want to be famished, but you also don’t want to eat so much that your unbuckling your pants while you sit down.

Dieting can be so beneficial to our bodies. It can help us lose weight, feel more energized, and even help us sleep better. It’s important that we remember how these diets can affect our bodies. While some can be good, more often than not they can have negative side effects. Again, I am no expert on the field of dieting, but I hope that my experience can serve as a good template to taking your next steps towards healthy eating.






Written by: Andrew Reynolds

Andrew 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.

Consume, Create, and Cultivate: A Ten Week Series

March 23, 2020

If you read our announcement last week, you know we had to make the decision to postpone our events for the remainder of the semester in order to take measures of keeping our community safe and healthy. We’re in the midst of a difficult season as a nation, so how can we still engage with those around us, while creating safe environments for our communities? That’s what we hope to help you figure out (and figure out ourselves) along the way!

One of our biggest passions at Student Activities is creating environments for students to engage in culture. We were made to consume, cultivate, and create – so together let’s find ways to use this pause as a time of opportunity. Each year, as a team, we read an article by Trevin Wax that helps align our priorities as a staff to what God has called us to do as a department, engage the Liberty students, faculty, and staff (our culture). Trevin states, “You face a choice every day, week, month, and year. To create, to cultivate, or to consume. If Christians will regularly choose the former over the latter, we’ll stand out in a world that knows only the immediate gratification of consumption. And we’ll display for the world the joy of fulfilling humanity’s purpose of cultivation, as we reflect the image of the One who made us.” This is what we want to ignite in each of you as we embark on this journey together.

Over the course of the next ten weeks, we want to provide you opportunities to do just that from where you are – consume, create, and cultivate! Beginning today, each week day you can expect some sort of interaction from us on our blog or social media accounts (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook). Just because we cannot host events right now, does not mean we will be absent; we’re going to be engaged more than ever. Our team will be pushing out content daily that follows a broad range of themes within the entertainment industry. You can expect posts that include tutorials for learning a new skill, suggestions of books to read or TV shows to watch, how to be active outdoors, delicious homemade recipes, dissecting new albums, and more. We have so many resources right in front of us, so we want to create a place for you to come and take part in something new or to further your passions in the things you love.

Let’s use this time to awaken our creativity for the sake of creating and find purpose within the spaces God has provided us. We’re in this together, friends, and I’m excited for what the future holds! Will you join us?


Written by: Steph Ward

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.

Cooking With Clay: Tom Kha Gai

March 9, 2020

If you’re anything like me, soup is the last thought when it comes to answering, “what’s for dinner?” But let’s be honest, there is nothing quite like a nice bowl of hot soup when it’s cold and wet outside. Now I know, we have one foot out the door of winter, but Lynchburg has a way of playing with our heart strings when it comes to the changing of seasons. So, while part of me is still mourning the death of our snowless winter season, the other is not so sure spring is really right around the corner. What is more appropriate a meal for such a confusing time of transition than Tom Kha Gai, or coconut chicken soup? Tom Kha Gai is a traditional Thai soup that is as simple to make as it is flavorful. While a true Tom Kha Gai would have a few ingredients that I don’t have the time or resources to get my hands on, like kaffir lime leaves and galangal root, this supermarket version is no joke.

Okay, now let’s make some soup. Start by peeling your ginger – use a spoon and the rough skin should scuff right off. Crush the ginger and lemongrass to help get some more flavor out of it. Add ginger, lemongrass, and juice from one lime to your broth and let those simmer for about 10 minutes to get all that bright flavor in the broth. There might be some foam collecting on the top of your broth, if so, just scoop it out and carry on.

While the broth is simmering, cut your chicken and mushrooms. You’ll want the chicken as thin as you can cut it. I try to cut them into 2-3 inch ribbons. Make sure you’re cutting against the grain of the meat; otherwise, you’ll end up with stringy chicken in your soup. Mushrooms should be de-stemmed and cut into similar sized ribbons. Honestly, you can cut your proteins any which way you like, but this is just how you’ll find Tom Kha Gai in most restaurants, and it’s my personal preference.

Once the broth is done simmering, remove the ginger and lemongrass stocks. Add in chicken and mushrooms to the broth and let these cook at a simmer. This should take about 20 minutes to get the mushrooms to a good consistency. If you opt for a thicker cut of chicken and mushrooms, this may take longer.

After everything is cooked through, add in coconut milk, sugar, and a dash of fish sauce. If fish sauce scares you, don’t worry! I promise it’s not as overwhelming when it’s added to bigger ingredients; it’s just there to give the dish a little more depth. Return soup to desired temperature, and you’re ready to eat. Serve with cilantro, lime wedges, and hot chili oil for those of us who like to sweat when we eat.

All said and done, this soup will take about 45 minutes to prepare and is anything but boring. It’s the perfect soup for those days when the weather just can’t make up its mind because of its bright, light, and happy flavors.  This should make enough for about 5-6 healthy servings – depending on who you’re feeding – and costs just under $20.


Ginger – 1 1/2” piece peeled

Lemongrass – 2 stalks

Cilantro – 1/4 cup (for serving)

Hot Chili Oil – to taste (for serving)

Lime – 2 (one for serving)

Coconut Milk – 1 can (13.5 oz)

Fish Sauce – to taste

Chicken Broth – 6 cups

Chicken Thighs, boneless skinless – 2lbs

Shiitake Mushrooms – One cup, de-stemmed and sliced thinly

Written by: Clay Copper

Clay is a grad student that is still trying to figure out what he is doing with his life. Sometimes he writes about relevant topics here, but mostly he writes about what he cares about and hopes you enjoy it.

Separating the Art from the Artist

February 24, 2020

With the ever-evolving entities of social media and culture, the entertainment landscape has seen interesting changes when pertaining to an artist and their actions outside of the field. We have seen a variety of musicians, actors, and writers’ careers take drastic turns with the ever-looming threat of social media and the media analyzing every decision made and every word they’ve ever said. In this article, I will be dissecting the dichotomy of the artist and the art that they produce. I hope to provide insight on the dilemma of seeing an artist as a conglomerate of their character and music, or just receiving their music as is and disregarding any controversy behind them.

There is a never-ending dispute on whether or not we as consumers can morally participate in receiving the music, movies, or writings of a person who has crossed a line. Many even argue that there is no line and that actions are black and white, and when a bad choice is made they are fully prepared to completely separate themselves from the art form. Constance Grady, writer for Vox.com, reflected on her love for the movie Edward Scissorhands and her disdain for the main actor, Johnny Depp. “I can’t unfeel my teenage love for Edward Scissorhands, and I can’t unfeel my disgust for the current Johnny Depp. And for me, right now, my emotional reaction to the photographs of Amber Heard’s bruised face is stronger than my emotional reaction to one good performance from nearly 30 years ago. This is not a philosophical or ethical decision on my part; it is an emotional one” (Grady, 2018).

I see this as an appropriate take on the issue. In my opinion, there is no black and white when it comes to a topic like this. It seems that the middle ground of this spectrum is to enjoy the work of these controversial figures without advertising it because there is a public penalty in doing so. However, some see things differently. Heidi Stevens, writer for the Chicago Tribune, says, “I do know, for me, I can’t listen to music that, in the case of both [Michael] Jackson and R. Kelly, lured alleged victims into a life of trauma…I don’t see it as a slippery slope toward cutting myself off from the world’s great art. I see it as refusing to ingest poison” (Stevens, 2019).

With all of that being said, it is apparent that there are such cases where the actions executed by certain people are so heinous that it cannot be separated from them; thus, accountability actions must be taken. As aforementioned, R. Kelly partook in despicable acts involving child molestation, and many feel that any participation in his music is enabling such behavior. While I agree with that stance, I have found it hard to hold that same standard for everyone, especially if there are artists that I really enjoy such as Michael Jackson, who is held in high regard by most of the general public. However, in Jackson’s case, there was much psychological trauma from his childhood that festered into his actions as an adult. This is most definitely not an excuse for his behavior, but from human to human, it makes it much easier to reconcile with it all. Ultimately, one must dissect each individual and their circumstance to decide for themselves if they should personally support the artists. It is important to have discernment in cases such as this and to also develop your own opinions when it comes to rejecting or reconciling these artists and their art.

As a Christ follower, the lens with which we should view this debate is one with grace. The Bible says, “For judgement is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgement” (James 2:13, ESV). We must love artists the same no matter what and leave the judgement to God. Their fame does not supersede His word. With this mindset it provides a little bit more moral clarity, but still doesn’t fully answer the question. To be honest, I don’t think there is an answer. It ultimately falls to the receiver’s personal convictions. As for me, I see the art as not necessarily belonging solely to the artists, but instead to my own experience with it. When I listen to Michael Jackson I don’t think about his controversy, rather I feel the memories I have attached with his tracks. Even though the songs were made by the artist, the art is ultimately mine to decide what I do with it. To me, that is what makes art truly beautiful and unique. It is a culmination of our nostalgia and experiences that decide how we interpret it.

This debate will go on forever, but I hope this article has helped you all to form your own opinions and stances. I am so interested to keep this discussion going on and hear your insights, feel free to contact me!


https://www.vox.com/culture/2018/10/11/17933686/me-too-separating-artist-art-johnny- https://www.chicagotribune.com/columns/heidi-stevens/ct-life-stevens-wednesday-when-artists-use-art-to-prey-0306-story.html


Written by: Alex Quan

Alex is a Junior Business Communications Major and enjoys writing for the blog because of the opportunity to express his thoughts and interests through the medium of a blog! It’s a healthy way to share his opinions with others and hopefully start a dialogue with them.


Worst Date Stories

February 13, 2020

Typically, when Valentine’s Day comes up, people think of a super romantic date with the stereotypical package of roses, chocolates, and expensive restaurants. On the flip side, people may think of an absolutely awful date experience they’ve had. While romantic dates have their great stories, people’s worst date stories are far more interesting to talk about, and that is exactly the direction we are taking here.

Starting off we have Kaitlyn, a dear friend and fellow coworker with a date story that not many people encounter:

“It was the summer before my junior year of high school when I had a very interesting date. Leading up to this “date” I thought we were just friends grabbing dinner, but I soon realized that his intention was a little different than mine. The telltale sign was him picking me up from my front door while also persisting to meet my parents. I had told my parents I was going out with the youth group because I did not want them to think I was going on a date, but they obviously realized that wasn’t the case once he got to my front door. After he proceeded to meet my parents, I got really nervous because I realized we did not have the same intentions. We had a plan to go get a casual dinner and I was more than ready to eat because I hadn’t eaten all day. Once we got in the car, he completely switched the plan and decided to go mini golfing. My grumbling stomach had another thought in mind, but I decided to let it slide and go with the flow. As soon as we arrived at mini golfing, the clear, blue skies quickly subsided and were replaced with stormy, cloudy ones. Our plan to go mini golfing was squashed with the unrelenting rain. So, we decided to plan yet another idea. Our second-best idea was to go bowling and I was excited because I am kind of stellar at bowling. After two games of ruthlessly beating him, I decided I needed to probably let him win at least one game. During the “date”, I was texting my two best friends giving them short updates with what we were doing so I could keep their curiosity peaked.

After bowling, we quickly grabbed ice cream from McDonalds (so romantic) and then he drove me home. My best friends were constantly texting me pawning for details, but at one point they just stopped. When he dropped me off, he walked me up to my front door to say goodnight to me. As we got to my front steps, I heard what I thought was an animal in my bushes wrestling around but I ignored it. As he hugged me goodnight, I then thought I heard whispering from the same bushes, but again ignored it. Immediately after I got into my house, I got a text from my friends asking how the date was which came to a shock because they were spot-on with the timing. As I texted them back with the details of the date, they sent another text saying that we needed to go out to coffee the next morning because they had something important to tell me, which instantly made me nervous.

The next morning, I got coffee with them and they proceeded to tell me that they were hiding in the bushes waiting for me to get home on my date. In addition to that, they were driving around town trying to figure out what bowling alley and McDonalds we were at. At first, I was appalled and then I couldn’t stop laughing. The guy who I went on a date with that night still has no idea. Overall, the date wasn’t awful, but the story behind it makes me want to cringe and laugh at the same time. The moral of the story is: get yourself friends that will hide in bushes to spy on your first date with a guy.”

Our next worst date story comes from another great comrade of mine, Alex Quan:

“I will be sharing a personal worst date story that I experienced back in high school. Unfortunately, what makes this date story bad was my own actions. It was my junior year of high school and there was this girl that I was starting to talk to. We had finally agreed to go on a date and the plan was for me to pick her up so we could go out to Sonic for milkshakes then head to watch a movie together. I had gotten all ready and even threw on an extra spray of cologne before my car decided to not start. I was so embarrassed, but ended up finding the courage to ask her if she could drive instead.

Soon enough, she picked me up and we made our way to Sonic. If I wasn’t already embarrassed enough, I came to the awful realization that I had forgotten my wallet. While I fumbled to find the words to explain my foolery to her and the Sonic worker, she intervened and paid for both of our shakes. If you thought this couldn’t get any worse, you are wrong. As the worker handed me the milkshakes, I let them slip out of my hands and the milkshakes took a tragic fall and spilled all over the inside of the car. Needless to say, the vibes were completely dead, and the date ended at that point as she dropped me back off to my sad car. Yup…rough times.”

Yikes, Alex! Our final date story is one that some of you may relate to from another friend of mine, Madelyn Mauck:

“It was my freshman year of college when I decided to go home for Thanksgiving. My family was asking the usual annoying questions about whether I’m talking to someone at school and whatnot. Then, the third day of Thanksgiving break, my dad decided to share that he set up a blind date for me. I assured my entire family that I did not want to go, but my parents said I had to. When the day rolled around, I was feeling nervous and uncomfortable, but I decided to be open to it. The person my dad set me up with turned out to be a childhood friend’s brother, which was a little awkward, but I was happy to see a familiar face. He took me to Panera for dinner, and things were going pretty well. I ordered my usual broccoli cheese soup in a bread bowl, and we began to talk about college and our plans for the future. I was just thoughtfully listening to his stories while scooping some bread from the side of my bowl, when the plastic spoon snapped into several pieces and soup splattered in my hair and all over my face. I want to know who told them it was okay to give out plastic spoons??? Anyway, we had a good laugh about it and he ran to grab a new spoon and napkins for me.

Later on, during the dinner, he was telling me a very personal story. I went to take a bite of soup, and then I realized I had just scooped a piece of the plastic spoon into my mouth. At this point, I didn’t want to interrupt his story because I felt really awkward, so I kept the piece of plastic in my mouth. I was awkwardly responding to his stories, with this giant piece of plastic in the side of my cheek, which made my voice sound weird and uncomfortable. Finally, I ended up taking it out really quickly while he wasn’t looking, and the rest of the date went pretty smoothly. I never went out with him again, mainly because I couldn’t get past the awkwardness of everything, but it was a good experience.”

So, if you end up getting that dream Valentine’s date, be sure to be thankful that it didn’t go as poorly as the ones just mentioned. On the flip side, if you do end up on the worst date ever, stay positive because it can only go up from there.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Student Activities!

Date stories by: Kaitlyn Skarstein, Alex Quan and Madelyn Mauck
Written and facilitated by: Mike Tammaro

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.



Alex is a Junior Business Communications Major and enjoys writing for the blog because of the opportunity to express his thoughts and interests through the medium of a blog! It’s a healthy way to share his opinions with others and hopefully start a dialogue with them.



Madelyn 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.




Mike 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.

Life as a Pastor’s Kid

February 10, 2020

A common question that is asked here at Liberty is to tell somebody your “story” or “testimony”. One of the most crucial aspects of a life story is the people that influence you through it. Although everybody has a different story and has been impacted significantly by multiple people, I would love to shape your perception of “Pastor’s Kids” and show how growing up with fathers as pastors has influenced our lives and our walks with the Lord.

Pastor’s kids, often referred to at Liberty as “PK’s”, have a much different experience growing up than anybody else, and I can personally attest to this. As a PK, the same person that we live with, who takes care of us, who we see the good and bad sides of; that person is also our pastor and the leader that we seek to learn from at church. It can be a really interesting dynamic. I have many friends in which some of their greatest role models are their pastors, but in the life of a PK, that same role model is also the parent who disciplined them the night before.

A Liberty student and fellow PK Caleb Romberger said, “My dad inspired me to walk daily with Jesus and not only did he teach me and train me as a father, he did so as my pastor too.” This is a beautiful visual of the special dynamic that pastors get to spend with their children and how they are able to teach them in two crucial settings. According to another PK, Hope Wright, “You see the highlights and the lowlights of their normal life and their spiritual life and it kind of sets the tone for what’s “expected” in a way.” Nobody is perfect, and that is made visibly clear in the life of a PK. Pastors are held in such a high standard, which is good, but in reality, they are humans like everybody else. It just so happens that their job is to teach the Word of the Lord to others. I would argue that far too often kids see their parents, especially those in the ministry, as perfect and without flaw. Kids are then left to deal with the shock when they find out that their “perfect parent” isn’t perfect anymore. Another PK, Haley Henson, said, “I think it influenced me in that I got to see that my dad wasn’t perfect from a really young age even as a pastor, which kind of made his role one that was teaching me while also trying to learn himself.” This is helpful to realize the younger you are, because from then on you get to live your life realizing your dad/pastor is learning and, quite literally, practicing what he preaches.

One of the hardest parts of being a pastor’s kid is the way that everybody treats you. Growing up, you are a normal kid until everybody finds out that your dad is the pastor and then everything changes. You are known only as the “pastor’s son” and everybody starts treating you differently than they did beforehand. Donny Betts, a pastor’s kid himself, said this about his situation, “It’s not my dad who can be the problem, it’s other people who like to make me look like a perfect kid.” This notion that pastor’s children need to be perfect and spotless is unhealthy and can have many negative effects on the kids as they grow up. There are so many weighty expectations placed over the children of pastors, and when they don’t achieve them, it can bring forth many emotional issues because the kids think that they let their dad down. Of course, that is not the case, but it is still unfair to think of pastor’s kids in such high esteem. They are just that… kids, and they should be treated as such. They should be free to live and make mistakes while still being able to be corrected.

A unique aspect of being a pastor’s kid is the day when we transition into our own relationship with the Lord. Alivia Chenoweth, a student and PK at LU, says it best, “We grew up with God in our lives and in a way, our faith was our parents’ faith.” This is a struggle for every Christian that grew up in the church, but even more so with those that are pastor’s kids. For me, having grown up in the church, it can be easy to look up at the stage and see only my dad instead of my pastor. Growing up with this, I learned to just accept the Christian life and that was all that I knew. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school and then again early in college that my faith grew apart from my parents and into my own. I will always be thankful to have an avenue where I can call one person and it fills the void for the pastor and father. Both roles should operate as spiritual leaders, but both work under different scenarios and situations.

I hope that this is insightful information for you. Be on the lookout in the future for PKs and watch their dynamic with their father. The next time you see your friend that is a PK, be sure to ask them what it was like growing up with their dad as a pastor. Treat them normally and don’t hold any unhealthy expectations over them. Their answer will give major insight to how they arrived where they are currently at. Odds are, their dad had a lot to do with it.


Written by: Josiah Frisbie

Josiah enjoys writing for the blog because he believes in the power of discussing relevant topics. He wants to be challenged in his writing and research style while still growing and striving for knowledge.

Seeing Spotlights, Not Stars (Part 2/2)

February 6, 2020

Recently on the blog, we shared an opinion piece about the NBA All-Star rankings. In the post, one of our staff writers, Swain, passionately denotes statistics and historical data to support his thesis, which is that putting the power into the hands of fans to make decisions about who the best in the league is can be detrimental. He goes on to say fans often look at popularity and name recognition in lieu of looking at what should matter most, which in the case of the NBA is how great of a player they’re voting for. If you want to read more about this theory, hop on over to the blog post “Seeing Spotlights, Not Stars” part one. This blog post is part two, and it will focus more on the upcoming Oscar nominees. This year, just like every year, the Oscar nominees are never unanimously praised. In recent years, many issues like race for nominees overall, gender of director nominees, and snubs for Best Picture have come to light, raising the question each year of “who is this Academy made up of anyway?”. And should they be making decisions year after year for the greatest award a film or individual could win?

Here’s a little background information for you – the Academy Awards (aka, the Oscars) are decided upon by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. There are approximately 8,000+ men and women who “recognize and uphold excellence in the motion picture arts and sciences”, according to Oscars.org. There are many different branches in the Academy, ranging from Actors to Costume Directors to Production Design and so much more. Requirements for even just being eligible to be considered a part of the Academy is to have “achieved unique distinction, earned special merit, been nominated for an Academy Award”, etc. They don’t just let anybody in!

You may be thinking what I’m thinking – how do we know anything about the 8,000+ people who are involved in the Academy decisions? Unfortunately, there isn’t a list of every person in the Academy, but from this article published on January 22, 2018, the average Academy voter in 2014 was “on average 63 years old, with 76% of the members being male and 94% of the members being white”. Of course, that was six years ago, making it difficult to know if those numbers have changed much at all.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the most nominated films for the 2020 Oscars. The top spot is taken with 11 nominations by Joker, followed closely by Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, The Irishman and 1917 with 10 nominations. Here are some snubs everyone has been talking about:

  • Greta Gerwig (Little Women) for Best Director
  • Uncut Gems as a whole
  • The Farewell as a whole
  • Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers) for Best Supporting Actress
  • Lupita Nyong’o (Us) for Best Actress
  • Dolemite Is My Name as a whole
  • Frozen 2 for Best Animated Feature Film
  • “Spirit” (from The Lion King) as Best Original Song

There are more snubs, of course, but these are the ones that are being discussed the most. Many commentaries have been released after the Oscars nominations came out on January 13, and many of them have caused movie fans to question – should the Academy have this much power? Are they making the right decisions when it comes to awarding the people who deserve it? Or are they looking through biased lens, especially when the top four movies that are nominated are, in my opinion, a bit more interesting to males? I mean come on – Joker is about a criminal mastermind, 1917 is a war movie, The Irishman is a post-war movie about organized crime, making Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood the most “sentimental” of the top four movies (and it still includes action and violence). Sure, films that may seem to appeal to women more such as Little Women and Marriage Story each have six nominations, but the odds for a Best Picture win aren’t necessarily in their favor. To me, this is because the Academy is a group of people that are dominantly male and, as aforementioned, in the age range of the 60s.

This is the question that can be posed: does the Academy just see spotlights, not true stars? This isn’t to say that anyone nominated shouldn’t have been; instead, there are many people and films that should have been. But what does the Academy make this all about – true talent, or their own bias and subjectivity? And finally, is it even possible to choose films that should win categories without a little bit of bias?

Don’t get me wrong, there has to be a group of educated, qualified people who make the decisions for the Academy Awards. Can you imagine if fans were the voters? That sounds like an absolute disaster, and I can say pretty positively most people would agree with me on that one. Therefore, my best suggestion (which is idyllic and will come off quite naïve, but oh well) is one I believe many people would suggest themselves – to push the Academy towards including more diverse members when it comes to race, gender and age. This is something that seems to be actively happening, but with any change in a group of 8,000+, the steps we will take to get there will expectantly be slow.

At the end of the day, we’re silly to think we don’t see spotlights instead of stars. Our celebrity-obsessed culture makes it difficult to recognize true talent, whether it manifests itself in NBA stars or Oscar nominees. And when you’re not one of the people who make the big decisions, it can feel like your opinion doesn’t matter anyway. But there are ways we can show support to the true stars we care about. Purchase tickets to the movie you want to win Best Picture – go see it multiple times! Support starts from us, and we can show it in small ways effectively.

What do you think about the Oscar nominees? What is your favorite Best Picture nominee?







Written by: Erin Cleveland

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.