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Deep Dive: A Quiet Place Part II

September 10, 2021

In 2018, a film came out that presented a new perspective for the horror genre. Directed by John Krasinski, A Quiet Place tells the story of a family living in an apocalyptic era, where alien creatures hunt based on sound. The filmfollows your typical American family, the Abbotts, as they work desperately to survive in silence.

Perhaps one of the most unique features of A Quiet Place is its utilization of a disabled character and AmericanSign Language (ASL). Having one of the lead characters be deaf was not just a coincidence or creative choice, it was an intentional part of the film. A Quiet Place is themed around silence, so what better way to explore a silent world than through those who have already learned how to navigate the world in silence.

For John Krasinksi, who also starred in A Quiet Place, casting a deaf actress to play a deaf character was a non-negotiable. Millicent “Millie” Simmons is an actress, and she is deaf. She has acted in other movies, such asWanderlust, but she is most known today for her stunning performance in both A Quiet Place, and A Quiet Place: Part II.

It was so refreshing and encouraging to me to see a film feature a disabled actress and portray this disability so beautifully. While I myself do not have a disability, there are many people in my life that I love deeply who have a disability of some kind. Every person is made fearfully and wonderfully in the image of God. As followers of Jesus, we should treat everyone, regardless of ability or disability, with the dignity and honor that they have as image bearers. Wecome across people with many types and levels of disabilities every day, and our entertainment should reflect the same. Roughly 600,000 people in the United States alone are deaf or hard of hearing. This may seem like a small number compared to the population, but each person who was counted as a part of that number is a real person made in the image of God and they deserve representation in entertainment.

It was important to Krasinski to honor deaf culture and those in the deaf community, so looked to Millie to help him understand what it is like to live without sound. The cast and crew all learned ASL so that they could communicate,and most dialogue in the film was done in ASL. During the filming process, he would check in with Millie to make sure what he was directing was as accurate a depiction as possible of what it means to be deaf. Much of the film’s cameraand audio work was inspired by Millie’s life. As you watch both the first and second films, you will notice thatwhenever the camera is focused on Millie’s character, all sound becomes muffled, sound does not disappear, justbecomes very muted. This decision was made based off a conversation that Krasinski had with Millie’s mother. Millie is deaf, but she does not live in complete silence. She hears the world at a very low, muffled level. So, what you see Millie’s character experience withsound is truly a depiction of what Millie experiences in her real life.

Perhaps the most beautiful part of the inclusivity of American Sign Language and deaf culture in the film is the way that it is portrayed as a strength. Living with a disability is not easy and of course comes with challenges, but this absolutely does not mean that there is not value, strength, and beauty to be found within a disability. Ever since the fall,people with disabilities of any kind have had to fight to be included and valued as an asset rather than seen as adisadvantage. But, in the lives of the Abbott family, the fact that their daughter is deaf becomes their greatest advantagein this apocalyptic world. Their prior experience with sign language gave them the ability to communicate in a world where life depends on silence. I do not want to give away any spoilers for the first film, but Millie’s deafness plays a huge role in the family’s survival. What most of the world may consider a weakness, is the greatest strength that thisfamily has, other than their love for each other.

Overall, I think that this film did a great job honoring deaf culture and those in the deaf community, from thecast and crew all learning sign language, hiring a deaf actress to play a deaf character, and portraying disability as a strength. Thank you to the cast and crew of A Quiet Place for showing the world that “disabled” does not have to mean “disadvantaged”.

Resources:

https://www.thewrap.com/quiet-place-star-john-krasinski-on-learning-sign-language-for-the-filmexclusive-video/

 


 

Written by: Sarah Day

Sarah is a junior majoring in Youth Ministry. Sarah enjoys writing for the blog because she loves exploring the ways that the simplest things in our lives impact us in the most meaningful ways. She is passionate about connecting with people, talking about what truly matters and baking.

When Things Don’t Go As Planned

September 3, 2021

I want you to picture this. It’s last Spring and Student Activities is hosting an Outdoor Open Mic. We meet at Montview to start setting up, and as we try to use the elevators, we get stopped by none other than a slew of security guards. As it turned out, another event on campus was hosting princesses (how cool is that), and we were not able to have Open Mic outside because it could pose a potential security threat. So, we moved it inside. It turned out to be no big deal, (and the girls working that night ended up giving a pretty spectacular performance of “You Belong with Me” by Taylor Swift) but in the moment it felt quite stressful to have our plans turned upside down.
I’ve found myself in situations like these loads of times; you probably have too. Jobs you thought you were going to have, friendships or relationships you thought would turn out differently, plans falling through: life is full of unexpected circumstances. Sometimes the stakes are smaller, like switching the location of an Open Mic, but sometimes they’re much bigger. The unexpected isn’t all bad either, sometimes the most joyful things in life are surprises. Think of surprise parties, or new friends, or finding out you’re going to be an aunt or uncle.

The unexpected can be hard though. I consider myself to be an easygoing person (most of the time), but to an extent, I think we all desire an amount of control or at least certainty in our lives. From a psychological standpoint, certainty fulfills our inherent need for safety (Siegel). Beyond that, from a Biblical standpoint, we can see that this desire actually comes from a sinful nature. We feel the need for control and safety because we lack trust in He who is able to control it all.

University of Texas professor, Raj Raghunathan argues that losing control can make people happier. He points out that the desire for control creates conflict, heightens blood pressure when that level of control is not attained, and it causes us to sacrifice other things that would bring about happiness (Raghunathan). He suggests people learn to embrace uncertainty and enjoy whatever life brings to the table. And from a Christian perspective, I would say that we should learn to trust whatever God has for us.

My English 102 professor (shoutout Dr. Muller) once said something quite profound that has really stuck with me for the past couple of years. He said something along the lines of, “Why would we try to build our own lives when we can place them in the hands of He who knows how to truly build life?” God created life. He knows how it ought to be lived in its best and most pure sense! Now, this does not always make it easy to place our lives in hands we cannot tangibly see (and it’s okay to ask why or be sad for a time), but we can choose to trust Romans 8, that God really does work all things together for the good of those who love Him and find freedom in letting go.

So, in this case, God working things out for good looked like having a smaller, but more energetic Open Mic. In other unexpected times, it’s looked like having the best Summer in a position I never would have picked for myself and sometimes, it is not knowing why God has done the things He has. So, when things don’t go as planned how great is it that we do not have to have control but can turn to Him who has a plan for all things?

References:

http://changingminds.org/explanations/needs/control.htm

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_losing_control_make_you_happier


 

Written by: Courtney Stone

Courtney is a Business Administration: Digital Marketing and Advertising major. She enjoys writing for the blog as a way to explore relevant topics and grow in written communication.

Block Party Premier Sponsors

August 24, 2021

This year, our Block Party has an awesome lineup of premier vendors that are supporting our event! We wanted to give you a rundown of who they are and what they do, so here they are:

Premier Sponsors

YES (Your Event Source) – based out of Charlotte, NC, YES has been a part of our SA events for many years now. They provide the attractions you love, like the Ferris wheel, the mechanical bull, Meltdown and more! We love working with them and having them be a part of our events, especially Block Party.

90.9 FM The Light – the Contemporary Christian Music station based in Lynchburg that you probably listen to on your drive to and from work. They play the best of the Christian music charts right now and consistently support our events by advertising for us.

Domino’s – who doesn’t love some consistently good pizza?! Domino’s is another business we work with often, especially at the beginning of the year. Bring your Flames cash – they’re one of the only food trucks that will accept it at BP.

Virginia Army National Guard – defending our freedoms since 1607, the Virginia Army National Guard recognizes the importance of education. They offer many assistance programs to help pay tuition costs so stop by their BP booth and talk to a recruiter to find out more.

Truist – formed by the merger of BB&T and SunTrust, Truist is a financial services company committed to inspiring and building better lives and communities. In an effort to do just that, Truist will be offering financial advice to students at their BP booth so make sure to stop by.

Bikes Unlimited – a premier bicycle shop in the heart of downtown Lynchburg, Bikes Unlimited is your one stop shop for bike rentals, repairs, and shopping. Get your helmets ready because this year they will be having free bike demos at their BP booth!

So there you have it! See you August 28 for some good coffee, pizza, and amazing attractions!

The World of Coca Cola

August 17, 2021

We are proud to announce that Coca-Cola is the title sponsor for Block Party once again this year! We have partnered with Coke for the past few years at Block Party and are incredibly thankful to continue our relationship with the company.

Did you know that the company was founded in 1886 in Atlanta, Georgia? Today, if you go to Atlanta you will find the World of Coca-Cola. The world of Coca-Cola opened on August 3, 1990 and has grown into a sprawling museum that has welcomed over 24 million guests and counting.

The World of Coca-Cola will take you on an adventure of the five senses. You will be able to walk through Coca-Cola history and visually experience a 3-D film highlighting Coca-Cola’s secret formula. Your ears will experience the sounds of the Coca-Cola bottling plant, and your nose will experience the aromas of different ingredients as you go through Coca-Cola’s “Scent Discovery” experience. Here you will learn how Coca-Cola uses the anatomy of smell to craft their beverages. Lastly, your taste buds will be taken on a global adventure in the “Taste It” exhibit where you will be able to try the different Coca-Cola products from around the world. If you haven’t had enough, at the end of the tour, you are given the chance to take Coca-Cola home with you at their store filled with branded merchandise.

At Student Activities, we are all about crafting immersive experiences for students to remember, similar to what Coca-Cola has created through the World of Coca-Cola! So, grab your friends and join us at Block Party on Saturday, August 28 to sample some Coca-Cola products while you enjoy live music, local food vendors, rides and more!

References: https://www.worldofcoca-cola.com/

Let’s Be Friends!

August 13, 2021

Summer is almost over and it’s time to head back to school. While this is a fun transition, it can be intimidating too. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or will be stepping onto campus for the first time, everyone wants to know and be known by people. Maybe you have a super tight friend group, maybe you have some friends that you haven’t kept up with very well, or maybe you don’t know a single soul. No matter where you stand, friendship is important, so I think it’s time we all had a refresher on how to make and keep friends. 

  1. Be bold! I don’t know about you, but I am always scared to talk to strangers. Every friendship has to start somewhere though, right? Try complimenting someone you’ve never met before! Or, this may sound creepy, but eavesdrop on the people around you and hop into the conversation: it’s a great way to meet people and an easy transition into conversation. There might be some awkward moments along the way, but just keep in mind that people have short memories. No one is going to remember one weird interaction after a few weeks (maybe even a few hours).
  2. Key words: simple and random. You don’t have to plan super fun or big things to have fun times with friends. Some of my favorite memories from college thus far have been card game nights with my friends. The important thing is that you make the time quality; it doesn’t necessarily matter what you do. One of my friends and I grab one grocery store item we’ve been wanting to try and go watch the sunset every other Thursday: random is good! So invite some people to go snack shopping with you, or come to a Bingo Night, go Pokémon Go hunting, learn pickle ball! Whatever you do just make it a good time.
  3. Use technology intentionally. We live in the 21st century; I hate to say it, but technology use with friends is probably necessary. However, with so many people to keep up with, technology can be daunting and make you want to ghost just about everyone. Something that I’ve found helpful is to not have full text-conversations with people you could see face to face. If you want to talk to someone about something and they’re within a 10-mile radius, maybe use your phone to set up a time to hang out. Long distance friendships are a little harder, but if you want to keep that person in your life, it’s a good rule of thumb to at least check in every other week.
  4. Learn their language. While it would certainly be a sign of sure friendship to learn a different language for a friend who speaks one, I am talking about learning to speak people’s love languages. I know there are five popular ones, but truly everyone feels loved differently. If you want to be a good friend, learn to show love in the way people want to be shown love rather than in the way you are natural at giving it. This might take a little bit of work and learning, but this is a way to show your friends how much they mean to you.

So, while this is definitely not a complete guide to become the best friend ever or have the most friends ever, these are some helpful tips I’ve learned along the way. Community is so awesome when you find great friends, and even more so when you are a great friend. Good luck out there and happy friending!


 

Written by: Courtney Stone

Courtney is a Business Administration: Digital Marketing and Advertising major. She enjoys writing for the blog as a way to explore relevant topics and grow in written communication.

What we’re listening to: August

August 6, 2021

August’s playlist is brought to you by our supervisors Walker and Courtney! You’ll find a combination of fun upbeat summer songs mixed with a few that are more relaxing and mellow. Enjoy their selections as the summer winds down and you prepare to return to Lynchburg.

Block Party Artists

July 30, 2021

SA Preview: Block Party

Summer was fun and we have all made our memories that we will hold forever, but school is back. Now we get to come together and make new memories in this new semester. The campus is buzzing with new life and there is no better way to start off the Fall semester than with one of the campus’ biggest events: Block Party.

This semester is the start of a new year and we have over 70 events planned for this year just to help each of you feel connected and meet new friends. Whether you are a freshman coming in or a sixth-year senior, Block Party is the place to be. The event takes place on August 28th at 4 p.m., and there will be free giveaways and fun rides for everyone to enjoy. Bring your hall and bring your friends because we will have multiple food vendors, and a number of clubs representing themselves and giving out fun prizes. Just when you think it couldn’t get any better, we will be having artists perform the whole time.  There will be five artists/bands performing that day, so make sure to come see what all the hype is about. Let’s get to know the artist though:


FLAME

9 p.m. / Spotify / Instagram

FLAME is a Grammy nominated artist and will be our Headliner for the night. This Christian hip-hop artist has brought a new sound that is capturing everyone’s attention. He will be wrapping up our show and trust us when we say come ready to get hype and dance the whole night with your friends. 


Aaron Cole

8 p.m. / Spotify / Instagram

Everyone knows the best concerts have some of the best performers and Aaron Cole is known for his presence on the stage. He is a young new rap artist that is quickly making a name for himself having his songs used by ESPN and Netflix. Needless to say, you are not going to want to miss him once he hits the stage.   


Apollo Ltd.

7 p.m./ Spotify / Instagram

Don’t like being labeled? Well neither do these guys as they make their own sound that can be recognized anywhere. This band has a mix of alternative and pop feel with a bit of rock energy. There is no doubt that this group’s sound will bring a lively and easy-to-dance-to concert. Make sure you and your friends get here to see these guys live.


RICHLIN

6p.m./ Spotify / Instagram

 From a small town in Oregon to the big stage, RICHLIN has made a name for himself with his modern Christian pop sound that everyone loves. His heart is to make Jesus’ name known to all the nations, and he does so through his creative lyrics that gets everyone on their feet. Make sure you show up and you come ready to start hitting the download button when you fall in love with his sound.


Scout Powell

5 p.m./ Spotify / Instagram

A fellow Flame with a voice that demands the attention of her audience. Scout Powell has deep roots in the world of music, and by no means is trapped to just one genre. She is a mix of modern rock with a little bit of country. You will not want to miss it as she kicks the night off.

We cannot think of a better way to kick off this semester than with each of these artists putting on one of the most hype Block Parties yet! So, bring your friends, win free stuff, and come ready to make some unforgettable memories, because we’ll bring the fun, all you have to do is bring yourself. As we prepare for this event, we cannot wait to see the campus come back to life with all the fun events we have planned, but this has to be one of the best events we get to do. So, come ready to make memories with some of your best friends and we will see you there.


Written by Riley Anderson

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

BanAnna Bread

July 23, 2021

Eating healthy can seem like a daunting task. Most of us want to do it, but we don’t really want to eat the things deemed healthy. It can be difficult to make sure we always get the correct portion of fruits and vegetables and ensure the proper ratios of carbs and dairy… and let’s not forget about the sweets. It is typically because of that sweet tooth that healthy habits fail. Don’t worry, there is a sweet treat that satisfies the sugary cravings while still meeting that fruit quota. And it’s easy to make!
Healthier changes can easily be incorporated into a daily lifestyle. I started with fruit. I was not too thrilled about saying no to PopTarts so often, but I did what needed to be done: I bought bananas. This is one of the few fruits I will eat and enjoy. I can handle some fruits depending on their preparation, but mostly I cannot stand the texture of fruits. Bananas seem to have a controversial texture with people hating them because they are too stringy, but I surprisingly have no issue here. Bananas seemed like the best way to slowly introduce healthier eating to my life.

I try to eat one everyday but have recently been slacking. However, I got a sudden rush of motivation to be incredibly healthy the other day and took off toward the kitchen. I reached for the bunch of bananas hanging on the fruit holder, grabbed the one I wanted, and tried to break it from the bunch. Unfortunately, the one I grabbed was a tad overripe and I may have slightly squished it. In this depressing turn of events, not only did the banana I want not rip away from the bunch, all the other bananas were bumped around and ripped.

I was now staring at four bananas all detached from their tops, slowly peeling themselves as they fell. After getting myself together, I did what any reasonable adult in this situation would have done: called my mom. After following her advice of putting them in a plastic bag and into the fridge, I ate my one semi-overripe banana in sadness. Then a lightbulb went off. I had heard once that old(ish) bananas are perfect for banana bread. So I decided to make some.

After quick research, the gathering of ingredients, and an internal monologue for motivation, I began this baking endeavor. Keep in mind, the closest I have ever come to baking something is pressing play on The Great British Baking Show, so my mind was expecting disaster. The task itself was thankfully a breeze. I mixed and added and stirred everything until it surprisingly, and very fortunately, looked just like the picture before putting it in the oven and waiting. 

The waiting was by far the worst part. I distracted myself for nearly 50 minutes before the oven beeped. To my utmost shock, I took out the most beautiful bread loaf I had ever seen in my life. It was perfect. Could it taste like sand? The chances were still high. Once it had cooled enough to eat, my family and I all had a piece. I am astounded to report that the entire thing was eaten in less than 36 hours. It was absolutely delicious. Since I had such success in this spontaneous banana-saving adventure, I have decided to share the recipe so that everyone else can have a backup banana plan.


Ingredients

3 bananas (mashed)

⅓ cup melted butter

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 *small* pinch of salt

½ cup sugar

1 egg (beaten)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ cups flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and butter bread tin/pan.
  2. Mash bananas with fork, stir in melted butter.
  3. Add baking soda, salt, sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract and mix. Stir in flour.
  4. Pour batter into pan and bake for 50 minutes
  5. Use toothpick to make sure batter is cooked in middle

 

Do you see that? Basically five steps! Contrary to popular baking belief, I was not exact in any of these measurements. Just add more of whatever you think your batter needs. The amounts of sugar and bananas (and whether or not to add nuts or chocolate chips) are definitely up for interpretation. This recipe was easy to make, turned out perfect, and tasted amazing. If I can do it without any planning or experience, then I fully believe that anyone else can too. I hope this banana bread brings you a fun activity, a use for your borderline rotting fruit, and a tasty treat.


 

Written by: Anna Pender

Anna is a Senior Strategic Communications major. She is thankful to have the opportunity to write for the blog because it gives her a chance to explore and write about topics and events that she is passionate about and that are relevant to the world. She loves getting to be creative and share her personality through writing.

Home Is Not A Place

July 16, 2021

There’s no place like home. Home is where the heart is. Home sweet home. Honey, I’m home. You’ll always find your way back home. Home alone. We have heard just about every possible sentence or phrase that talks about home. I am sure there are even more phrases that come to mind for others. Most of us would say we have a home in some sense of the word, whether that is a physical structure, an emotional feeling, or the people around us. But what is “home” really?

The dictionary has many definitions of the word that range from a literal house to sports terminology. Of the seventeen meanings I came across, none of them seemed to truly encompass what I think “home” means. So I decided to combine a few and add some personal spice to create my own definition.

home /hohm/ n. a familiar environment that serves as a place of refuge and retreat where one feels most comfortable

My family is currently building a house of which the current state is a bunch of wood nailed together. That doesn’t sound like much of a home. We tried to start the affair in August of 2017, but it was not the right time. Eventually, we sold and moved out of my childhood home in May of 2020. Surprisingly, that was just a house that we said goodbye to, despite my entire two decades of existence being spent there. We moved immediately into a rental house roughly three minutes away. Contrary to my family’s feelings, I liked it there. It did the job, I liked my room and felt that we could comfortably stay there for as long as we had to.

But then… we were moving again. We spent just over a year in the first rental before we were having to move out. This should have been exciting. It was finally time to move into our brand-new forever home! Only, it is not finished yet, so we moved into a new rental. We can only hope this is our last rental before moving one last time. During the whole moving process (3 houses and counting), I was also moving in and out of college for two years. Right when I started to feel comfortable in my college environment, the pandemic shut down the school and sent us away.  

I know that six moves in two years is small compared to some military kid experiences, especially considering four of those moves were college-related. However I still think there is a relatable message for anyone who has moved around before, including some soon-to-be college kids moving into dorms for the first time. Throughout the house-jumping journey I have found myself on, I came to realize a fundamental truth of life: human beings crave a sense of belonging. I am talking about more than just the “fitting in” concept. No matter where (geographically or mentally) in life we find ourselves, we want to feel like we belong. We want to feel safe.

That feeling of safety and comfort is what makes us truly feel “at home” and it can be a hard thing to find. Finding a space where you fully enjoy just existing, while simultaneously having a sense of peace and purpose is pretty high on the list of things we all want in life. So much change can be hard, so it is important to have at least one constant. Throughout each move, I realized my constants: my family and friends. No matter where I went, I had my people. This served as a persistent reminder that these people are my home.

Ultimately, a home is a different idea for each individual person. To me it is a familiar environment that serves as a place of refuge and retreat where I feel most comfortable. A home is not a place, it’s a feeling. It is important to find that feeling wherever you go. I encourage you to ask yourself, “What is home to you?”


 

Written by: Anna Pender

Anna is a Senior Strategic Communications major. She is thankful to have the opportunity to write for the blog because it gives her a chance to explore and write about topics and events that she is passionate about and that are relevant to the world. She loves getting to be creative and share her personality through writing.

What we’re listening to: July

July 9, 2021

July’s playlist is brought to you by our supervisors Justin and Walker. Take a listen to this bright, summer playlist. Roll your windows down and turn your volume up!