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How Social Contagion Is Affecting Us

November 30, 2020

It is near the end of the semester and students from all over are looking forward to the day they do not have to worry about a new assignment popping up on their to-do list. Students and staff alike have felt the heaviness of a semester filled with ups and downs. Whether it was having no fall break or just struggling with a lack of focus in the transition, COVID-19 has impacted many areas of our lives.

I have noticed the impact people have on each other in their community during this pandemic, and looking back, I think of many times my parents told me to surround yourself with people you want to look like. Whether you want to admit it or not, a person will tend to look more like their friends. This effect is called social contagion. According to Psychology Today, “It refers to the tendency for people to mimic the behavior of others who are either nearby or whom they have been exposed to”.

I began to think about all the ways I have been affected and all the ways I may be affecting others. Have these encounters been positive or negative? A New York Times article states, “with happiness, the two argue that the contagion may be even more deeply subconscious: the spread of good or bad feelings, they say, might be driven partly by “mirror neurons” in the brain that automatically mimic what we see in the faces of those around us — which is why looking at photographs of smiling people can itself often lift your mood”. Thompson pointed out that happiness really is a contagious feeling and can be passed to other people by even a simple picture. This leads to the power an individual has over a person’s life and the impact one person can have on those around them. The problem is that many people have been lacking happiness for a large portion of the year.

Thompson’s article inspired me to dig deeper to see the ways in which I have impacted others. I noticed that I am always giving a smile out to others. In a world filled with people that wear masks, I had to overcome this new barrier and start greeting people with not only a smile but by using my eyes as well. This alone was not enough so I began saying “Hey!” and “have a good day” to people in passing. I realized it would leave a smile on people’s faces and they would respond positively. People would smile back, making my day a lot brighter, and I would feel happier. I did not understand that these interactions were not only impacting how other felt, but also how I felt.

A positive interaction with a person is a powerful thing that most people do not understand completely. When a person has a positive interaction, it leaves them feeling happy for the next thirty seconds. Then that next thirty seconds shifts the trajectory of their next five minutes. That five minutes then changes the person’s next ten minutes. This pattern continues on throughout that person’s day. This cycle proves that ultimately one smile can change a person’s day and possibly even their life. It is crazy to think that one act of kindness can change a person’s life, but this study clearly shows that your life has a huge impact others in a significant way.

This is just one example of a specific form of social contagion, broken down to help show the power an individual has in the lives surrounding them. Social contagion is very much a real thing and is impacting us and those around us. As we continue on in this year, and into 2021, think of some ways you can show an act of kindness to different people throughout your day. As Christians, we are called to be kind to one another. Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”. Show kindness to everyone, so that we can use this social contagion to make a difference in every season of our lives.



Thompson, Clive. “ Are Your Friends Making You Fat?” The New York Times (2009).

ESV Study Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011.


Written by Riley Anderson

Riley is a junior majoring in Christian Leadership and Church Ministry with a minor in Biblical Studies.

Games to Get You Through the Holidays

November 23, 2020

With Thanksgiving and Christmas break right around the corner, many of us are about to be spending a lot more time with our families. While it is amazing to be able to hang out with everyone, conversations can go stale after a few days if there’s not much going on around the house. Yes, reading, exercise, or binge-watching TV shows are all great ways to pass time, but in my opinion there really isn’t anything better than playing a game with my family during the holidays.

I get it. Not everyone is super competitive like I am, but games are a great way to bond with your family and to have a momentary release from the stress of real life. I know there are a lot of people out there that don’t want to commit to playing a game because there are some that are quite lengthy, but there are plenty of games that are quick and easy to play. So, before you stop reading this blog post, check out some of my suggestions below – you might find a game you actually like!

Game that can be lengthy and involves strategy:

Catan (previously Settlers of Catan) – A classic strategy game that involves trading, building, and stealing. Games typically last from 90 to 120 minutes. You can play with three to four players, but with the expansion pack you can have up to six. You settle on different parts of the game board to collect resources which you can then use to build or trade. The first person to ten victory points wins. It takes a practice game or two to get the hang of different strategies to win the game, but once you get a good handle of things, you won’t want to stop playing!

Once you’ve mastered the base game, check out one of their expansions like Seafarers or Cities & Knights (my personal favorite). If you’re not able to get the whole family together for the holidays, you can try out Catan online. It’s not the same as playing in person, but it certainly satisfies the craving to collect as much wheat as possible.

Game that is less lengthy and involves some strategy:

Ticket to Ride – Where Catan can be lengthy and take a little longer to understand, playing a game of Ticket to Ride, is much easier to learn and takes significantly less time (approx. 30 to 60 minutes per game). You can play with anywhere from two to five people. The object of the game is to build as many railway routes as possible while preventing your opponents from doing the same. It is an incredibly simple but fun game that I assume most people would enjoy. Ticket to Ride is also a neat geography lesson as you are building these railways across an actual map of the United States – or many other parts of the world depending on which version you play! They also have a Ticket to Ride app if you’re unable to gather enough people to play in person during Thanksgiving.

Game that is quick and involves some strategy, but a lot of it comes down to luck:

Exploding Kittens – Number 9th on the most funds raised Kickstarter list is a game that involves cats, defusing bombs, and doing everything in your power to keep the target off of your back so that you’re the last person standing. Exploding Kittens only takes a few minutes to learn, and about 15 minutes to play a game, so it’s great for anyone who’s scared of a large time commitment to other games. You can play with two to five players, but with the expansion you can play with up to ten! Exploding Kittens is arguably the most unique and entertaining card game you’ll ever play, and that’s before you add in all the different expansion cards. If your extended family isn’t getting together like they normally do, you can play with everyone online on their app too.

Game that is very quick and involves lying:

Among Us – This is the most affordable game on this list because it is completely free to download on your phone. Among Us blew up in popularity in the U.S. during the late summer/early fall season and now has 1.5 million active players worldwide. Most players in each game are Crewmates, who have to run around a spaceship and complete tasks while trying to avoid being eliminated by The Impostor (who looks just like every other Crewmate). If the Crewmates vote off The Imposter then they win, but if they don’t then they lose. Games can have four to ten players and typically last a couple minutes. It’s a great alternative to Mafia or Ultimate Werewolf if you’re unable to meet up with your favorite cousins in person during the break.

Instead of laying on the couch and watching movies all break long, you can add some excitement to your life by playing one or even all of these games. Each one is a great way to connect with your family whether you’re playing in person or playing from a couple states away. Happy playing and happy holidays!


Written by Drew Snavely

Drew is an Assistant Director at Student Activities. He has a B.A. in Business Administration: Financial Planning. Drew is responsible for maintaining analytics for event surveys, social media and website, and staff development. He deals with various event logistics for all events such as filing out work orders and securing event rentals. He also helps manage monthly budgets, event finances and receipts.

Where Are You Going? Illinois!

November 20, 2020

Spending time with family during the holidays this year may look a little different than years past—but somehow, we are still making it work. It’s a longstanding Mauck tradition for my dad’s side of the family to meet in Springfield, Illinois for a week of playing card games, eating way too much food, and taking walks in the cold. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, my family has decided to make the road trip for the first time in five years. Needless to say, I am very excited, and would like to showcase some of the places we will be visiting on the way up from Atlanta, Georgia.

I come from a family that loves good food, so our first stop will be Uncle Larry’s Restaurant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Uncle Larry’s is known for their famous fried fish, fried okra, fried green tomatoes, and pork chops. The owner, Larry Torrence was encouraged to open a restaurant by his family members in 2013 with the slogan “Fish so good it will smack you”. As a lover of all things seafood, I am excited to try the fried fish, along with some southern comfort sides.

After eating at Uncle Larry’s, we will definitely need some coffee, which brings us to Steadfast Coffee in Nashville, Tennessee. Steadfast is known for the creativity and thought they put into their coffee concoctions. Steadfast offers a variety of drinks including flash-chilled coffee, rested drinks, and matchless coffee soda. Their signature drink is called the Atlas, which is comprised of black coffee and a flavorful orange cream. I tend to be a pretty boring coffee drinker, so I can’t wait to try some unique and unusual drinks at Steadfast Coffee.

Once we make it to St. Louis, Missouri, we will be making a stop at The Missouri Baking Company to get some treats for the family. This company offers a wide variety of seasonal baked goods that are perfect gifts for the family. My parents plan on purchasing the Cinnamon Pull Aparts, along with some pumpkin muffins for the cousins. Although I have never been to The Missouri Baking Company, my grandma raves about this place, so I am looking forward to trying it for the first time.

Last but not least, once we make it to Springfield, the family will be dining at D’Arcy’s Pint. It’s a tradition for the uncles to eat at D’Arcy’s Pint, but I have been tagging along since I was 14-years-old. Their signature dish is the horse shoe, which is comprised of Texas Toast, topped with meat, a pile of fries, and smothered in cheese and toppings of your choice. It’s hard to explain how good this dish is, and I look forward to it every year.

It’s been a crazy year, and I am grateful for the opportunity to spend time with my family this holiday season. I think we are all in need of some quality time with our loved ones, so be safe, be careful, and don’t forget to make the most of this Thanksgiving break.







Written by Madelyn Mauck

Madelyn is a Senior studying Business Administration: Project Management. She enjoys writing for the blog, not only because it helps her develop as a creative writer, but because it gives her a chance to share her experiences through a platform she would not have without Student Activities.

How The Last Dance Saved our Quarantine

November 16, 2020

Quarantine: a period where you probably wasted too much time on TikTok, made whipped coffee every morning, and listened to Supalonley by BENEE way too much. Another quarantine activity that my family took part in was watching The Last Dance. The Last Dance is a 10-part documentary series, on ESPN, about one of the most legendary basketball players and basketball teams, of all time – Michael Jordan and the ‘98 Chicago Bulls.

This documentary series was able to give us hope, nostalgia, and something to look forward to every single Sunday night at 9PM EST from mid-April to mid-May. In additional to that, there are a few other reasons how The Last Dance single-handedly saved my family’s quarantine season.

First, this documentary gave us a glimpse of sports when the entire sports industry was shut down. It was originally scheduled for June 2nd, however the producer decided to move it up in light of the pandemic and boy were we thankful! Most of us were too young to watch the 97’-98’ Bulls, so the games during the documentary were new and exciting for us to watch.

Even though we may have known the outcomes of the games, the documentary showed the emotions of the practices leading up to them, and the post-game locker room discussions. We were reminded of the importance of positive relationships between players, managers, and coaches as well as the factors that can lead to victory. The Bulls demonstrated how a team can come together to sweep the nation by storm and win a national title.

Second, we were given a new appreciation for Michael Jordan and the 98’ Bulls. As a Chicago native, it was so cool to be able to learn about my own city’s basketball team from a different perspective. Even though I was never able to witness Jordan play myself, I was able to see MJ through a special lens in this documentary. This documentary followed the Bulls during the 1997-1998 season, while covering the other gaps of Jordan’s career and flashing back to modern-day interviews of the team.

I never realized the amount of criticism Jordan had experienced and everything he overcame during his career, including the murder of his father. The documentary clearly showed how the hard work and dedication of the team had a cost, but that cost was worth it to win.

ESPN states, “Jordan more than anyone made the Bulls champions. His tough love likely had some effect. But Jordan in a way underestimated himself. He demonstrated plenty of toughness and mettle without verbal or physical abuse. His example — his work, his play, his gutting through injury and illness — did enough talking.” (NBA Insiders, 2020).

Jordan was able to push himself and his teammates to greatness, despite the challenges placed in front of them, which made Jordan such an influential player in the NBA. I gained a new found respect for the 98’ Bulls, and especially Michael Jordan, through this raw, emotional, and motivating documentary.

Third, The Last Dance made us feel a lot of nostalgia, and brought us together in the midst of a global pandemic. Michael Jordan could bring the country together in such chaotic and unprecedented times, even if it was only for 2 hours. The soundtrack throughout the entire documentary was incredible and made you feel like you were living in the 90’s again. The Ringer states, “The music has been the most rewarding surprise, playing an integral role in the documentary’s reexamination of history while we live through it” (Kimble, 2020).

In addition to the music, the documentary covers the birth of Air Jordan and how it became one of the most successful shoe lines in Nike’s history. According to CBS Sports, “It’s been 22 years since Jordan suited up for the Bulls, and yet in December of 2019 his brand earned its first $1 billion quarter” (Wimbish, 2020).

Lastly, this documentary made us feel so nostalgic because it told a story. Vox states, “Pro sports are never just about watching some people compete at a sport. They also emotionally invest in a story, one that’s unfolding unpredictably as we watch. Developing an attachment to a big story produced the same thing that religion or cultural tradition gives: a sense of belonging, of having a place, of moving through time in a way that’s exciting, interesting, and grounding” (Wilkinson, 2020). The Last Dance did an incredible job painting a story that we became a part of in only 10 episodes.

The Last Dance is streaming on Netflix right now and is a perfect family activity for Thanksgiving or Christmas break. Tune into history being made and the story of the most legendary basketball player of all time… sorry Lebron.







Written by: Kaitlyn Skarstein

Kaitlyn loves being able to write for the SA blog because she thinks it is important to share her voice. She loves being able to express her own opinions on important subjects that are relevant for students, faculty, and many others.



Cooking With Clay: Tortellini Soup

November 11, 2020

With every day that goes by, the fall ushers in winter, and with that, soup season. I am a huge supporter of soups as a main course, and as such I find myself trying to make soup in every season. Now that it is finally an acceptable season to be talking about soup, I am here to share a recipe that you’ll want to keep in your back pocket.

This soup is as easy as it is affordable, and it’s incredibly versatile to substitutions if you don’t have all the ingredients on hand. As with any soup that I make, I start with the meat and veggies, and then I add in my liquids. Now that I have you on the edge of your seat, let’s get things started.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again, always prep your ingredients before you get cooking – I am mainly reiterating this because I frequently forget this step and get myself into a bind. Chop your carrots, celery, onions, and mince your garlic, then get a glass of water and wipe the onion tears from your eyes.

Heat a large stockpot over medium heat, add a few tablespoons of olive oil, and throw your sausage in. It helps if you break it up with your hands before adding it to heat to get those nice crispy browned edges, but if you have a thing about touching raw meat you can break it up with a wooden spoon.

Once you get the sausage on the heat, let it rest. We all want to stir it, but let it sit and it will get that browning we all want. The sausage shouldn’t take much longer than 7-8 minutes on the first side, then give it a stir to brown the second side. Once your sausage has browning all over it, set it aside and leave the oils for the veggies to cook in.

Add your garlic, onions, celery, and carrots to said oils. The idea here is to get these cooked just until they start feeling softer. They’ll cook more once we add liquid in and no one wants a mushy carrot. Cook these veggies until the onions are looking translucent – maybe about 10 minutes – then reintroduce your sausage.

This is where you can have a lot of fun with seasoning. I usually add a tablespoon of oregano, a couple teaspoons of rosemary, thyme, black pepper, and a lot more salt than you think you need. Let these flavors mingle for a minute or two, then add your chicken broth.

Keep this soup over medium heat and let it raise slowly to a boil. Once boiling, add your tortellini. These cook really fast, and if you cook them too long then they are prone to falling apart. It should be about 3 minutes, or until they’re all floating on the surface. Turn off your heat, and season to taste. Depending on the ingredients you use, the end product may need some tweaking with salt and black pepper. Recipes like this are so simple and can easily be a weekday meal as the whole process only takes about 45 minutes.

Serve it up and enjoy a bowl of warmth that will heat you from your head to your toes. This soup will leave you wanting to curl up with a blanket and watch a few episodes of that TV show you’ve been binging.


1 lbs – Italian Sausage (I use hot, but use mild if you don’t like the extra spice)

1 – 20oz bag frozen cheese tortellini

4 – Large carrot sticks (rough chopped)

3 – Large sweet onions (rough chopped)

4 – Celery stocks (rough chopped)

2 – 32oz chicken broth containers

1 Tbsp – Oregano (season to taste)

1 Tsp – Thyme

1 Tsp – Rosemary

Salt – To taste


Written by: Clayton Copper

Clayton is the Marketing Coordinator of Student Activities. He has a B.S. in Business Administration: Economics and an M.B.A. Clayton oversees the graphic and video team as well as assisting in various event logistics.  

Friends With My Exes

November 9, 2020

On October 9thI celebrated my 22ndbirthday and got a plethora of messages from high school and college friends, relatives, coworkers, camp friends, and even a few people I did not really know or remember (your memory gets rather hazy as you age). But at two separate times throughout the day, I had lengthy Facetime calls with girls I once dated or went out on dates with. They were not awkwardly compelled to text me just to keep up social niceties, we are in regular contact with one another. Numerous people have described this dynamic between my exes and myself as being “odd”, or “peculiar”, or even “counter-cultural”. But for me, it seems like a logical conclusion rather than an exception.

If I liked being around them enough at one point to ask them out and go on dates with them, then it should make logical sense that I would like being around them even when we are not going on dates. The old mantra of “date your best friend” reigns true, but I also believe in the mantra of “some friends are just meant to be friends”. While we each may have had fun on our dates during the time where we were trying to turn a friendship into a relationship, we also realized that some things are just not meant to be, and that’s okay. Our breaking up did not have to mean that we could no longer be in each other’s lives.

The key to being friends with your exes after a break up is to not say anything bad about them to anyone else. Hold them in high esteem in your mind and treat them with dignity. Many break ups completely torch the possibility of a friendship rising from the ashes due to one or both parties mouthing off to their friends about how much the other person sucked.

Without any ill will spread after a break up, there is basically nothing keeping you from being friends except the fear of awkwardness, which can be mended by group hangouts and little texts here and there. Awkwardness is fine to have, but we fear it with the very fiber of our beings. If we simply weathered through that storm we would likely find a new normalcy of friendship on the other side. Yes, you may not talk as much, and yes, your conversations will look significantly different, but it is better to have different communication than no communication at all.

This process of becoming just friends, after once being something more, can take time but it is possible. Of course there are situations where it is not recommended that you try to still be in contact (use discernment and know your situation), and sometimes the hurt caused by the other person can be grueling, but this is where forgiveness comes in. It can take time to forgive someone after they hurt you, and that’s okay, but your aim should be forgiveness nonetheless; a crockpot forgiveness and a microwave forgiveness are both precious.

I’m not in regular contact with everyone I have ever liked or gone on dates with, and that is fine. I am thankful for the few I stay in touch with, because they add to my life even if our relationship did not last. With the established connection we already have from when we went on dates, we each are able to be that much more honest and vulnerable with one another, providing insight into each other’s lives, and experienced critique to help each other in our future relationships. Exes are blessings if we can maturely handle a change in relationship dynamic, and still see value in people and friendships despite breaking up.


Written by: Landen Swain

Landen believes the human experience longs to be expressed; through our art, our labor, our songs, our storytelling. As a published playwright, author, and poet, he enjoys expressing his little chapter of the human experience through his writings and is thankful that the SA blog allows him to do that. He is published in numerous magazines, literary journals, and has several plays published by Off the Wall Plays, an online play publishing house.

Recap: The Mandalorian: Season Two, Episode One

November 6, 2020

Just last week, the long-anticipated arrival of The Mandalorian season two finally came with episode one dropping on Disney+ on October 30. It has been nearly a year since we’ve last seen what our favorite intergalactic bounty hunter and his little green friend have been up to. As we delve into the start of the second season together, it should be said that there will certainly be spoilers from the first episode, and a little speculation for what’s to come. So, if you haven’t watched it yet, I suggest you do so before reading this post!

From the start of the episode, “Chapter 9: The Marshal”, it’s very clear that Mando’s objective has not waivered one bit. His goal to get Baby Yoda to his own kind is an incredibly noble cause – especially when considering the type of people that want to capture the young wielder of the force. To get The Child back to his home planet, Mando first has to track down the underground network of other Mandalorians who will be able to aid him in his quest.

A tip from the naïve gangster, Gor Koresh, leads Mando back to the most popular planet in the Star Wars galaxy, Tatooine, where there is, supposedly, another Mandalorian. I imagine a lot of fans of Star Wars gasped or maybe even screamed when we see this other Mando. Could it be? Boba Fett? Unfortunately, no, it’s just a guy named Cobb Vanth, who is known around these parts as the “marshal” and is definitely not a Mandalorian.

Before Mando could wrestle the sacred armor off of the imposter, a Krayt dragon, the deadliest creature on Tatooine, appears out of nowhere, swallowing a bantha whole. Vanth desperately needs to get rid of this Krayt dragon if the village of Mos Pelgo is to survive, so he cuts a deal with Mando – Vanth will give up his armor if Mando helps him defeat the beast.

This situation is a win-win for our newly reformed hero, who not too long ago was just a simple self-serving bounty hunter. Now Mando gets to be the hero and might get another sweet set of armor in the process.

Mando has a plan to defeat the Krayt dragon, but it involves bringing imposing parties together. They will need help from the close-by Tusken Raiders as well as the other villagers from Mos Pelgo in order to defeat the monster. There is bad blood between these two groups, considering the Tusken Raiders have been pillaging Mos Pelgo for quite some time now.

Ultimately, the threat of the Krayt dragon is far too great for these two groups to fight alone, so they join forces. This act depicts an important lesson that we all can learn – especially in our current societal and cultural climate. Finding common ground with those you don’t agree with on every issue to come to be able to come together in times of need or struggle is something this world needs more and more.

The collection of groups hatch a plan to defeat the Krayt dragon, which is basically just putting a large bomb under the ground, luring out the monster, and blowing up the bomb right underneath its stomach. All parties involved quickly find out the dragon’s skin is much tougher than they initially thought, so Mando has to take matters into his own hands.

With not many other options to choose from, Mando quickly (and selflessly) comes up with an idea. Standing next to a bantha wrapped in explosives, Mando gets the Krayt dragon to swallow himself and the weaponized bantha whole. Mando then shocks the Krayt dragon from within to escape the belly of the beast. Once outside of the creature, he detonates the bombs inside, killing it (and the bantha too, RIP).

Everyone that survives the attack is ecstatic. The Krayt dragon will no longer be bothering Mos Pelgo or the Tusken Raiders. The two groups have a peace agreement, and Mando finally gets his hands on the armor he’s been wanting all episode. Before the episode closes out, we get a shot of a man watching Mando cruise by on his speeder bike. It’s actor Temuera Morrison, who played Jango Fett, the adoptive father of Boba Fett, in Attack of the Clones.

Could it actually be Jango Fett? Definitely not, considering Jango ran into Mace Windu’s lightsaber during the Battle of Geonosis. Since Jango was the clone template for the Republic’s army, there were thousands of clones made of him, so while it might be someone we already know (like Boba Fett), it’s also entirely possible that this person is a new character. One thing I can say with fair certainty is that we will find the answer in the episodes to come.


Written by Drew Snavely

Drew is an Assistant Director at Student Activities. He has a B.A. in Business Administration: Financial Planning. Drew is responsible for maintaining analytics for event surveys, social media and website, and staff development. He deals with various event logistics for all events such as filing out work orders and securing event rentals. He also helps manage monthly budgets, event finances and receipts.

Why the NBA Bubble Worked

October 26, 2020

Just over two weeks ago, the Los Angeles Lakers won their 17th NBA Championship, but under unique circumstances. The 2019-2020 season was abruptly cut off due to COVID-19, which caused the NBA to become creative to restart the season. The NBA wanted to make sure that players and personnel were safe while also putting on a good show for viewers at home.

For everyone involved, this was a tough decision because players and personnel were not allowed to leave to see their family and loved ones. Even though there was hardship involved, the bottom line is that the NBA bubble worked and should be the template that leagues should follow if necessary, for the future.

Most sports came back by August. However, the NBA was the only league that decided to proceed within a full bubble. The top 22 teams made their way to Walt Disney World in hopes of a championship. Each team had their own living arrangements in addition to extracurricular activities provided by the NBA. The league invested $150 billion dollars into this idea that some people doubted would even work.

With this bubble, there were definite concerns how it would pan out. The NBA achieved something that most people thought would be impossible. There were a couple of areas that the NBA excelled at that contributed to the success of the NBA bubble.

First, there were strict guidelines for players that broke protocol. The NBA defined boundaries of who could visit the players and where the players can go. A couple times, players broke those rules and were suspended from playing until they were deemed safe to play again.

Second, the NBA had 0 positive cases of COVID-19. The issue that many critics had going into the NBA bubble is how the league would handle positive cases. The NBA did such a great job that they did not have to deal with that scenario.

Finally, the promotion of the bubble was unprecedented. The idea of the greatest basketball players in the world all living amongst each other has never been thought of before. The NBA did a great job promoting this to viewers and thus bringing a positive view of the bubble as a whole.

Many would refute the idea that the NBA bubble was a “success.” After all, the ratings and viewership both declined with one of the least-viewed NBA Finals in decades. However, with all four major American sports playing at once, viewership was bound to decline. The NBA’s goal was not to boost their ratings or viewership, but to restart the NBA season safely but effectively.

Leagues should look at the NBA as an example if a bubble is needed in the future. The goal at the beginning of the season was to crown a champion in 2020. Even with a large break, the NBA accomplished their goal by crowning the Lakers, but also in a way that promotes the safety of every individual within the NBA framework.





Written by Mike Tammaro

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

Minimalism in a Consumer Environment

October 19, 2020

Think about the things that you own. Picture the clothes in your closet and the possessions cluttering your house. Odds are that you’re picturing a closet full of clothes that you never wear, and a house full of things that you never use.

According to Loveday Wright, “If everybody lived in the same way as the average American, we would need almost five planet Earths”. That number is shocking. The American lifestyle is full of stuff. People want to buy stuff and simply own more stuff than their peers. This can be for any reason, from trying to boost social status to taking pride in having the latest and greatest thing that somebody else does not.

I would like to propose the idea that having less is more. An idea that, in the words of Wright, “equates living more minimally with living more meaningfully”. We can live happier and healthier lives without having the added burden of so much stuff.

In addition to the individual aspect of this minimalism, it goes beyond whatever personal reasons that someone chooses to make this change. In an article by Megan Ray Nichols, she says, “According to one study, the products we consume are responsible for 60% of greenhouse gas emissions”. The decision that we make on a personal level can in turn have a global impact.

Nichols goes on, saying that “Buying less of higher quality goods can help protect the environment by reducing demand for ‘fast’ consumer products and lowering the amount of trash in landfills”. If we as Americans and as individuals make the decision to limit the products we consume, we can begin taking steps to preserve the planet that we all call home, and feel a little better while doing it.

Try consolidating the possessions you own by taking small steps. Clean out that closet of clothes that you never wear, or go through that old junk drawer and sort out the things you never use and no longer need. The saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” has never been more accurate. There are more ways now than ever to make some money back on items you can live without. You can list your old clothes online and try to make some money, or you could even take some things to goodwill and bless some other people in your area who might be in need.

1 Timothy 6:7-8 says, “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” This is a solid reminder that the things of this world matter not. At the end of the day, who we are on the inside speaks louder and clearer than the things we seem to have and project on the outside.





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.

SA Reviews: Tenet

October 15, 2020

When examining the zeitgeist of 21st century filmmaking, there are few directors with more influence than Christopher Nolan. Blending cultural significance with critical acclaim, Nolan is responsible for era-defining movies such as The Dark Knight, Inception, and Dunkirk. His style is well-known to the point of parody: tortured hero complexes, high-concept twists, and primarily original stories that are so visually dynamic that they practically beg to be seen in theaters. Simply put, Christopher Nolan aspires to make movies that blend critical acclaim with widespread popularity, inciting more thought and analysis than the average superhero sequel. Because of this unique blend, Nolan’s movies consistently dominate the box office, impacting the filmmaking world and even culture as a whole.

In the midst of a global pandemic that resulted in entire industries and economies shutting down, the entertainment world was starved for content. After multiple delays, Warner Bros. finally released Tenet in the United States on September 3, 2020, albeit to mixed reviews. Whether or not it was a good or bad movie seemed unimportant. It was an important movie because it had a platform to revitalize movie theaters across the country. That didn’t happen. 

What went wrong? Tenet looked great, featured movie stars, and released during a time of limited ulterior entertainment options. Obviously, normalcy shouldn’t be expected in the middle of arguably the weirdest summer in which to premiere a movie ever. A gigantic part of the issue is that the United States just wasn’t (and isn’t) ready for big films to return. However, I think Tenet had a few serious flaws that led to a lack of capitalization on a blockbuster movie market with little to no competition. More qualified critics have spoken to these issues much more thoroughly, but there are a few things I noticed that I’ll share.

First is the plot. While Nolan enjoys making audiences think, this story and premise seemed overcomplicated and unnecessary. There is an air of self-importance which implies that only truly devoted fans will ever fully understand Tenet, which I believe had the reverse intended effect.

Cryptic exposition about inverted time is actually made less coherent by my biggest beef with Tenet: its sound mixing. I couldn’t hear a thing! Plot-critical discussions were made utterly inaudible thanks to their delivery through a combination of masks, walkie talkies, booming orchestras, and shoot-outs. Within the first half hour, I had missed storylines that proved to be vital when I didn’t know where characters were or why.

Finally, hot take: are we sure John David Washington is a good actor?

With Tenet, Christopher Nolan continues to show that he is concerned more about the scope and grandeur of a movie’s concept than he is about its actual cohesion. While that can be frustrating as a viewer, understanding his priorities can help when watching one of his movies that doesn’t seem to make actual sense when scrutinized (Hello, Interstellar!). Every once in a while, Nolan strikes gold and hits on an ideal mix of story, cast, themes, dialogue, and score. Other times, he makes a popcorn movie that looks really cool.

While I personally was remarkably detached from the convoluted plot and one-dimensional characters of Tenet, I was enthralled by its blending of visual and practical effects. Compared to other Nolan projects, I didn’t love it at all. As a film, I considered it detached, pretentious, and too demanding for the average moviegoer. Nevertheless, Tenet gave the film industry “An Event” again, which I’m grateful for. When watching Tenet for the first time, take the advice of the inversion scientist explaining the rules in the first act, “Don’t try to understand it, just feel it.”


Written by: Preston Glisson

Preston is a junior accounting major from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He is grateful for the opportunity to write about things that fascinate him – such as entertainment, sports, sociology, and the modern church.