The Joy of Camp Ministry

May 3, 2024

As summer quickly approaches, many students will be leaving Liberty for three short months. Students will depart campus and disperse across the nation and even the world. For some, summer means spending time with family in their small hometown. Others may have an exciting internship geared towards their career or an interesting part-time job. But perhaps one of the most popular summer jobs for Liberty students is working as a camp counselor.

Camp ministry is popular on Liberty’s campus and for good reason. Who wouldn’t want to spend a summer playing fun games, spending time outdoors, and sharing the gospel with kids? Camps know this and spend almost the entire school year recruiting new hires for the summer.

Working at a Christian summer camp is a great way to spread the Gospel and live out the command Christians have to make disciples. However, the job doesn’t come without its challenges, and it truly takes a reliance on the Lord to make it through the summer.

Calleigh Wilson, a rising senior at Liberty, has some camp counseling experience under her belt. Last summer, Calleigh worked at Merriwood Christian Camp in Clemmons, North Carolina. She served as a camp counselor, and this upcoming summer she will serve as the camp photographer and social media intern. When asked what her favorite part about working at camp was Calleigh said, “My favorite part of working at camp would have to be the relationships you build. You get to create a family out of the team that you’re working with all summer and build lifelong friendships. Beyond that, you also get to build relationships with the campers each week and see them grow in their relationship with God and their relationships with each other.”

When asked what advice she would give to a future counselor Calleigh had this to say, “I’d say the best piece of advice I received would be the “upside down funnel method” which basically means on the first day you have your campers be strict with your most important rules that you are going to enforce. And then throughout the week, you won’t have to be yelling at kids for breaking rules you didn’t enforce at the beginning. Then you can loosen up and have more fun with the campers throughout the week because they know you’re not only their friend but also their counselor!”

Camp ministry is a special and unique experience many college students are able to take part in. Good luck to all of those who will be serving the Lord this summer!


Written by Mary Richey

Mary is a sophomore studying Hospitality Management. She enjoys spending time outdoors, going to coffee shops, and is always up for a road trip. Creative writing has always been one of her favorite hobbies!

All the Time We’ve Had Together

April 26, 2024

We are officially in the final stretch of the year. For most Liberty students, summer break is about a week away. A time for them to relax before Fall semester begins. For seniors, a much longer break is about a week away, something we call “post grad. life”. A phrase that can be exciting yet daunting at the same time.

Before seniors start focusing on their whole future that lies ahead, it’s important to reminisce on all the good memories they experienced during their four years at Liberty.

As students at Liberty University, we sometimes take for granted all the benefits and opportunities we have on campus. There is a certain culture here that sets us apart from other colleges such as our community, frequent events, and gatherings held every week.

After asking seniors around campus what they will miss after graduating, these were the most popular answers: Campus Community, the people here, football games, Convocation, Hiking/camping, Cole Mountain, community groups, open mic nights, and the sunsets.

Other honorable mentions: Nights at Cookout, The ROT, Snowflex, Sparky, local coffee shops, hammocking, La Carreta, Montview Starbucks, Rookies

Many seniors emphasized how much the people here have impacted their experience here at Liberty University.

“I’m probably going to miss talking to and meeting genuine people who care about you and your walk with the Lord,” – Emily Connell

“When I graduate, I’m going to miss the wonderful people I have met. Liberty University is a unique environment that fosters Christ-centered relationships along with my academic and spiritual growth. I’ve learned from my professors and hall leadership who always encourage me to love others as Christ did,” – Jordan

Before saying goodbye to the friends you made throughout the years, it’s necessary to have one last HURRAH all together! What better way to celebrate than going to After Party?!!

Mark your calendars for April 27th at 5 p.m. where you have the chance to experience a concert, carnival rides, neon mini golf, a surf simulator and so much more! There will be live performances from renowned artists Josiah Queen, Jordy Searcy, and other special guests. This is a free event for all Liberty students to attend! Don’t miss this opportunity to make lasting memories before summer begins. See you there!


Written by Madi Lewis

Madi is a junior studying Strategic communications with a focus in Social Media Management. She loves spending time with family and friends. The summertime, fashion, traveling and capturing moments on camera. Writing has always been a creative hobby of hers and she’s excited to be a part of the Student Activities blog team!

On Pure

April 19, 2024

You know a song is going to hit hard when the title is in all lowercase.

Sorry, I don’t make the rules- but I’ll bet I know who does: Back in 2023, listeners of worship music were blessed with an album that was rich in quality lyricism and astounding authenticity- an album simply entitled “pure”, by Abbie Gamboa.

Gamboa, a worship singer known for her music stemming from vulnerability, for her beautifully unique voice, and her work with UPPERROOM, released “pure”, the album, on May 5th, 2023. It’s fourteen tracks, consisting of an intro, 12 additional songs, and an outro track for “pure”, the single, was the start of a new era for the UPPERROOM church singer. An era that would ultimately bring her to Liberty University.

“pure” is an album that allows for a moment of peace- and not the type of peace you get on a spa day, or day off from school. This peace is rooted in the Lord, as the lyrics throughout the album recognize over and over in new ways that He is the only one capable of providing rest.

“I give up controlling things

When I’m with You, I can be weak

You’re my source, my shield

The strength that carries me.”

-eyes locked on the king, Abbie Gamboa, UPPERROOM

Gamboa had worked with UPPERROOM on a single prior to any of the music on “pure”. She contributed to a live recording of So Will I in 2018 and released singles “dad song”, “eyes locked on the king”, and “too good” in 2023 leading up to the release of “pure”. These singles, like any other artist releasing singles prior to an album drop, set the tone of the album well. According to UPPERROOM, Abbie’s album was about a display of raw emotion, and a rejection of any put-together façade. “pure” is only concerned with making it known that the Lord gets us through each day- both when we desperately need him, and when we mistakenly believe we have everything under control on our own.

Perhaps that is why “pure”, the single, was selected to be the album’s title track. It is a song that reflects a desire to be raw and openly honest- with one’s divine creator, no less.

“Not for anything that I could gain

Just to honor you and bring you praise

Like a fragrance broken on the floor

May my worship be pure.”

-pure, Abbie Gamboa, UPPERROOM

That being said, “pure” is still considered to be Abbie’s debut album. If that’s true, we can only imagine what the Lord has in store for Abbie as she continues her career of worship.

Luckily, we do know where Abbie’s next stop is on her musical journey. You’ll be happy to know the Abbie is headed to Liberty for a Night of Worship on April 19th– This concert will take place in the LaHaye Event Space at 8 P.M., and tickets are going fast, so grab some while you still can here.


Luke is a sophomore studying Digital Media: Video Production. He is a Videographer with Student Activities, and has a passion for Nintendo franchises, movie soundtracks, and the digital arts.

The Motion Picture Prestige of Christopher Nolan

April 12, 2024

Allow me to introduce you to the man, the myth, and the legend—Sir Christopher Nolan himself (yes, the British director is actually receiving a knighthood).

In his career, Nolan has won over 200 awards and has been nominated for nearly 300. For more than 25 years, Nolan has pursued filmmaking with the same curiosity and enthusiasm he approached it with when he was a young boy shooting on a Super-8 camera. He has carried this strength through each film he has worked on, regardless of his role.

Nolan started taking an interest in film at a young age and used to shoot stop-motion short films for fun. During his time at University College London, Nolan studied English literature while gaining experience through the college’s film society. This gave him the skills he needed to create his first full-length film, Following (1998). The low-budget film won several film festival awards, helping Nolan gain support for his next film, Memento(2000), which was nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award. This film expertly showcased Nolan’s creative and engineering abilities, particularly in the orchestration of time throughout the storyline—a theme that has appeared in many of his films.

Nolan completed his film Insomnia in 2002 starring celebrities Al Pacino, Robin Williams, and Hilary Swank. The film was nominated for several awards and won Nolan an award at the London Critics Circle Film Awards for best British director.

After these smaller films, Nolan was approached by DC Comics to recreate the Batman film franchise, starting with Batman Begins (2005) starring Christian Bale as the beloved superhero. This movie was unique and fascinating, not only because of the nostalgia connected to such a fan-favorite figure but also because of the incredible attention to detail and large-scale production quality. The film won 15 awards and was nominated for 79. The blockbuster success was only the first step in even greater achievements to come.

The following year, Nolan came out with The Prestige (2006), starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale. This film was written by Nolan and his brother Jonathan, another creative genius, and Nolan helped to direct and produce the film as well. Again, weaving a mind-bending timeline into his complex story, this film is a masterpiece in its detail.

In 2008, The Dark Knight was released, which was one of Nolan’s finest films and is one of my absolute favorite movies. From casting to cinematography to score, the film is stunning in its concept and design. Grossing over $1 billion at the box office, the movie was a massive success due to its incredibly talented creative team. Sadly, star Heath Ledger died before being able to accept one of the two Oscars it won, however, his legacy will live on through his outstanding, yet unsettling portrayal of the psychologically tormented Joker.

Nolan’s next film Inception (2010) could be described as kaleidoscopic with its complex dream-in-a-dream storyline and diverse worlds. Nolan said that he was inspired by moviemaking positions to shape the roles of the main characters. Many critics discussed this award-winning film in detail and were fascinated by its intricately designed patterns and plot. During the writing process, Nolan was said to have worked closely with Leonardo DiCaprio on the formulation of his character. With such a complex story, DiCaprio helped Nolan to make the story more understandable for the audience.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) was the last of the Batman movies Nolan worked on and was Nolan’s highest-grossing movie at the box office, bringing in over $1 billion. The movie was highly rated and added Anne Hathaway to the starring cast. It was a busy few years for Nolan as he also helped produce Man of Steel(2013) and Transcendence (2014).

Nolan started working on his next original movie during this time, Interstellar (2014), which again brought Hathaway into the starring cast. According to Hathway, this was a career-saving grace. Following her acceptance of an Oscar for Les Miserables, Hathaway was harshly ridiculed online, bringing her to an extremely low point in her career, and she greatly struggled to gain confidence in herself. Nolan offering her a role in Interstellar was largely what gave her the courage to keep moving forward in her career. Interstellar(2014) was written, directed, and produced by Nolan, getting much attention for its other-worldly effects and sets.

After going on to create a short film, Quay (2015), Nolan proceeded to create Dunkirk (2017). The film was widely recognized at the most prestigious film awards, and Nolan was nominated for an Oscar, two BAFTA awards, a Critics Choice Award, and many others. The war film featured a stunning color palette and cinematography as well as a notable cast.

Three years later in 2020, Tenet was released, which did well considering the difficult time during the pandemic. Tenet did win several big awards for its visual effects, but apart from that, was not nearly as recognized as some of Nolan’s previous films.

However, Nolan more than compensated for this slight dip in success with Oppenheimer (2023). The film was, to say the least, immaculate. The seven Oscars, seven BAFTA Awards, eight Critics Choice Awards, and over 100 more awards attest to that. It was Nolan’s third highest-grossing film at the box office, $50 million less than The Dark Knight.

The film was particularly meaningful to Nolan and those of his generation because of the real threat of nuclear war in the world he grew up in. There had been other films made about the creation of the bomb, yet Nolan stripped himself of these other influences and focused solely on his core research and recreating the story in his head to avoid creating something depicting a docudrama. Nolan discussed his writing process in an interview with the British Film Institute.

“I have to pretend that no one’s ever looked at this before,” Nolan said. “What I’ve found dealing with real material is I find a point where I have to treat it as if I’m making it up.”

Rumors are spreading like wildfire about the next Nolan film, yet he has not officially announced what it is. Some say he is going to do a more lighthearted film, others predict he will be recreating The Prisoner TV series, and others thought he was going to direct a James Bond movie (which he later denied). Regardless of the genre, it is undoubtedly going to be a masterpiece.

Sir Christopher Nolan is inarguably one of the best filmmakers of our time, dare I say, of all time. His standards and skill are nearly unmatched. His actors have the highest respect for him, and the relationship he forms with his cast is admirable to me as someone who desires to become a director. Nolan often uses the same actors for multiple starring roles, which deepens the director-actor relationship on another level. In an interview with fellow Oppenheimer cast members, Robert Downey Jr. commented on Nolan’s directing style.

“He’s kind of like a dad that you can’t have a beef with ‘cause he’s actually just a really good parent,” Downey Jr. said.

His non-judgmental approach mixed with the order and flow of the production process makes the experience somewhat surreal for the actors. Nolan allows his actors to open up, creating a safe environment for them to truly express themselves. A director has a great responsibility to protect the actors while maintaining the integrity of the story. As someone who has extensive experience fulfilling on only the director role, but also the writer and producer roles, Nolan has what it takes to pull off such extraordinary productions.

Regardless of whether the film was low-budget or blockbuster, throughout the entirety of his career, Nolan has paved the way for filmmakers to engineer their dreams into existence. Test your knowledge of this esteemed director and come to Trivia: Directed by Christopher Nolan on Saturday, April 13 at 8 p.m. in the LaHaye Event Space!


Written by Faith Catanzaro

is a sophomore studying Digital Media & Journalism concentrating in Video Production, and she is also a videographer for Student Activities. She loves watching movies, cooking, blogging on Instagram, graphic design, health, and fitness!

Why There Are So Few Female Directors

April 9, 2024

You may have heard a lot about the works of directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg, and Martin Scorsese. But how much have you heard about directors like Dorothy Arzner, Alice Guy-Blaché, Charlotte Wells, Chloé Zhao, Ava Duvernay, or Jane Campion? 

Male directors have done incredible things for the film industry—there is no denying that. We have been blessed with some of the most beautiful films ever made because of these incredibly talented visionaries. 

However, the film industry does not look so kindly on women who desire to go into larger filmmaking roles like directors or producers because of the lack of them already in the business. Many studios will look at examples from the past to judge current potential, the majority of which is male. It is much harder for women to find funding to promote their work because of the minimal proof out there that they are capable of success. Simply, Hollywood is a business. What is the goal of a business? To generate a profit. History shows the greatest amount of profit has come through male directors because that is what people are used to. 

Despite the lack of representation of women in film, women have much to offer the industry. Both male and female directors are invaluable because each has a different way of looking at the world and a different approach to storytelling It has been proven that women are capable of telling a compelling story, yet they are continually treated unfairly when it comes to opportunities for growth. 

San Diego State University’s The Celluloid Ceiling has published yearly records regarding women in Hollywood since 1998. Their 2023 report stated that only 16% of the top 250 grossing films were directed by women and only 14% of the top 100. The percentage of women who hold key behind-the-scenes positions has gone down by 1-2% over the past year, but with more and more women stepping up in the industry, I predict the number will steadily rise again. 

Out of the few female directors, Greta Gerwig stood out with the release of her blockbuster movie Barbie. The film was a great accomplishment for females in the movie industry. Gerwig has an incredible talent for storytelling, as seen not only in Barbie (2023) but also in Gerwig’s other films, like Little Women (2019). Gerwig’s work has not received as much recognition as many think it deserves but is absolutely part of the foundation for future female directors to stand on. 

Fans and onlookers were especially unhappy with the results of the Oscars this year. Barbie was nominated for eight awards, and the one award it did win was for best original song, “I’m Just Ken” sung by Ryan Gosling. How Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie were not even nominated for their major roles in the film was shocking to the movie’s fanbase. However, according to an article covering the event, the Academy has been known for its more masculine taste and has not typically based its judgments on cultural popularity. A similar situation happened the year prior when Top Gun: Maverick, the biggest movie of 2022, seemingly got brushed aside by the Academy. 

Inclusion in The Director Chair addressed several possible solutions to the lack of women in film. “While the pipeline continues to fill with talented new voices,” the analysis stated, “it seems the film industry is content to ignore those who have already proven themselves capable.” Bringing on a female director for multiple bigger films would be a great step for improvement. Many of the most famous directors are so well-known today because of their list of films done in their particular style. They were given a chance to grow and become what they are now. Women would be able to achieve that same respect if they were given the opportunity and invested in. 

Judging based on experience and work is also an important area that needs improvement. The quality of a film has never been impacted by gender. Women have proven that they are capable of making incredibly moving, culturally impactful films that defy standards and hold a captive audience. 

It is not an easy thing to do in the Hollywood sphere. Change is not seen as a priority when executives can see a history of success in how things have always been done. However, the culture around us is slowly but surely becoming more aware that many have been without a voice. Because of this shift, I think the number of female filmmakers will escalate in the years to come. 

Both men and women have a place in the industry and can contribute differently in beautiful ways that allow a fuller harmony of voices to be heard. As a female myself whose dream is to become a film director one day, I hope to help contribute to the growth of female filmmakers and pave the way for future generations after me. It inspires me to see the need for these roles and gives me more passion to pursue this career. 

No matter who you are, if you are looking to pursue filmmaking, start with what you have. Experiment with different styles, try new creative techniques and get involved with as many projects as you can. 

If you’re looking for some inspiration for your work or just really like movies, come check out our 5-Minute Film Festival at the LaHaye Event Space featuring student-produced films! The festival runs April 8-11 from 6-9 p.m. with the awards on April 12 at 7 p.m. So come check out this spectacular event, come dressed to the nines, and enjoy the show!


Written by Faith Catanzaro

is a sophomore studying Digital Media & Journalism concentrating in Video Production, and she is also a videographer for Student Activities. She loves watching movies, cooking, blogging on Instagram, graphic design, health, and fitness!

A Brand of His Own

April 2, 2024

Lately, I have found myself playing Chris Renzema’s new release, “Narrow Road” on repeat. Something about his raw, honest lyrics has captured my attention since the day his music started filling my Spotify queue on March 13, 2020 – ironically the day of the COVID shutdown. In a world where secular artists are feeding depression and anxiety with their cynical lyrics, and Gen Z believers are growing tired of the shallow answers offered by some CCM artists, Chris Renzema somehow manages to balance faith with real human experiences. So, I wasn’t surprised to see that he made it to my top 5 on Spotify Wrapped for the fourth year in a row this past December.

Speaking of Spotify, Christ Renzema is just one example of an artist who has paved his way forward with the help of Spotify. Though now signed to Centricity Music, Renzema’s songs spoke for themselves in the early days of his self-produced albums. A Native Michigander, Renzema began discovering his passion for Christ-centered music by leading his youth worship band. Songwriting naturally flowed out of his faith and feelings, and shortly after high school graduation, he released his first EP “Age to Age” in 2014. A year later, he left music school at Taylor University and moved to Nashville. Amidst countless ambitious artists in the Music City, Renzema’s imprint might have seemed minor, and for a couple of years, it was. But he remained faithful to his craft, and through the platform Spotify provided, his 2018 album “I’ll Be the Branches” attracted the attention of Centricity Music (the same label that produces Lauren Daigle and Andrew Peterson). In 2020, he was nominated to be one of the contenders for GMA Dove Awards’ “New Artist of the Year.” Today, he boasts 1 million monthly listeners on Spotify and is featured on countless playlists, including Top Christian Contemporary, Top Christian and Gospel, and Most Favored.

Renzema’s rise to fame is unique to this era of Christian music. Historically, CCM artists gained popularity through the prominent churches or revival movements of their time. Love Song originated from Calvary Chapel’s Marantha! Music and the Jesus People Movement of the ‘70s. Across the pond, Matt Redman co-founded the Soul Survivor Movement and led worship at the ensuing church with his original songs in the ‘90s. Australian church Hillsong greatly defined and established the CCM genre in the 21st century. Cody Carnes, Kari Jobe, Brian and Jenn Johnson, Brandon Lake, Brooke Fraser, Chris Brown, Tiffany Hudson, Chris McClarney, Abbie Gamboa, you name it… all rooted in one famous megachurch or another. But Chris Renzema is his own brand.

Perhaps that is what causes him to be so characteristically authentic and down-to-earth. His songs are reminiscent of the early days of contemporary Christian music, when the musical accompaniments were simple and acoustic, the focus was on Jesus, and Scripture was forefront of the lyrics. The message and style were relevant in the ‘70s, and it remains relevant today as Gen Z is seeking something real in a digital, filtered, hurried world. The earthy, homegrown vibes of his music reflect the restoration of folk music among Gen Z. He’s even been described by one Spotify user playlist as the “Noah Kahan for Christ-followers.” But beyond the timeliness of his genre, Renzema unabashedly asks the questions other young believers have certainly wondered: “Is it true there’s no room for an anxious heart?” Wrestling with the feeling that “when [he] look[s] at [his] phone, it’s like walking through the valley of death,” he declares in response that Jesus is “the prince of peace.” He’s tackled hot topics like anxiety, deconstruction, and the everyday struggle of growing up. Songs like “Narrow Road,” “Caught in the Reeds,” and “Jacob” bridge the gap between the teachings of Scripture and the lived experiences of today’s young adults.

When I listen to his music, I’m reminded of the character of Jesus – the One who “always took the time to be with the lowest and the last in the line, no matter what they were like.” Needless to say, I’m looking forward to Chris Renzema’s return to Liberty. He has stopped here a few times throughout the years, headlining The Gray Havens and then performing a couple of his own shows. This spring, he’s taking on the big stage!

Join us on April 5th at 8 pm in the Vines Center as Chris Renzema encourages and challenges us with the songs of his newest album “Manna” and with some old favorites, too. Citizens will be headlining the night, and tickets start at $10 for students.


Lovin’ on Jesus: A Concise History of Contemporary Worship by Swee Hong Lim and Lester Ruth

“No Room for an Anxious Heart” by Chris Renzema

“A Four Chord Protest” by Chris Renzema


Written by Moriah Joseph

Moriah is a sophomore studying Music & Worship and TESL. She is passionate about the power of words and music in communicating the Gospel and hopes to one day use both in the mission field in Latin America. When she’s not busy in the practice rooms and library or working an SA event, she loves improvising on the piano, serving at her church, and spending intentional time with friends and family. She has always loved writing and is so grateful to be a part of the Student Activities blog team!

There’s More to Animation than Disney

March 8, 2024

I was walking to class yesterday when I overheard an interesting conversation between two guys in the hallway.

Let me preface this by saying that when you work at Student Activities, the word “Coffeehouse” doesn’t just ring a bell. It rings all the bells. Whether you’ve been painting the decorations that are carefully mapped out to be placed throughout the Vines Center, or you’ve been developing the graphics and video content that contributes to the digital aspects of the show, I think it is safe to say that “Coffeehouse” is a bit of a buzz word for the Student Activities staff. So, while I wasn’t intent on eavesdropping, I did do a double-take when I overheard the following:

“Are you going to the Coffeehouse Disney thing?”


Let me first acknowledge the insane grip Disney has on the animation industry. I could never deny it, even if I wanted to. The material Disney has produced, be it with Pixar or Walt Disney Animation Studios proper, is I’m sure what we all grew up on. Naturally, when we hear about a show that is themed around that specific medium of storytelling, we gravitate toward an understanding that Disney will be the most heavily represented.

But that grip is loosening. For whatever reason, Disney has had much less of a monopoly on Animated filmmaking since the transition to 3D animation became popularized. And since then, we’ve seen the rise of the Minions, How to Train Your Dragon, and everyone’s favorite meme sensation, Shrek. There’s also the long-standing history of international animation, including Studio Ghibli. (Although technically, Disney did have the American rights to the Studio Ghibli brand for a bit- and is still the distributor for home copies of the studio’s films.)

Can you imagine a world where the only animated movies that exist would be the Disney ones? Does the question “Ya like jazz?” mean nothing to you?

I don’t want to miscommunicate that it’s wrong to be an avid Disney fan. Feel free to do that- we love Disney around here. But don’t limit yourself to consuming just what Disney owns and has made. There is so much more out there.

Think of animation as an art form. (Because it is.) As a patron of the arts, you can’t limit yourself to just one artist. After a while, you’ll begin to see your artist’s work as the standard, and anything different will never measure up, not because it’s worse, but because it’s different. And just like anything else in life, eliminating new experiences and being uncomfortable with the unknown will only limit yourself from personal growth. That’s because animated films are powerful, just like their live-action counterparts, in how they change our minds and challenge our perspectives.

All that to say, Disney may be the leading brand for animation, but that doesn’t mean Coffeehouse: Animated is synonymous with Coffeehouse: Where Dreams Come True. (How’s that for a blast from the past?) There are so many other studios, artists, stories, soundtracks, and iconic characters that have nothing to do with the House of Mouse- so get excited to sit back and enjoy a show dedicated to all the animated media you consumed as a kid- and not just the films that could be played on the Disney Channel.

Coffeehouse: Animated takes to the Vines Center stage on March 23rd. That’s just around the corner, so grab those last-minute tickets here!


Luke is a sophomore studying Digital Media: Video Production. He is a Videographer with Student Activities, and has a passion for Nintendo franchises, movie soundtracks, and the digital arts.

The State of Music

March 1, 2024

It’s 2024, Noah Khan has cemented the folk music comeback, Dua Lipa is single-handedly carrying the pop genre on her back, and TikTok has created a music time machine. Olivia Roderigo’s rise to fame opened the door for the pop-rock sub-genre in Indie music that we all needed and Mckenna Grace came out of nowhere to take hold of that sub-genre with her fantastic debut album Bittersweet 16. All of this and more is contributing to the state of music today.

The mid-2000s and early 2010s were dominated by indie folk music, greats such as Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers, The Avett Brothers, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros rose to fame and created a large and dedicated Indie Folk fan base. To the disappointment of many this genre disappeared from relevance. Others attempted to bring back the indie folk genre but no did so quite like our favorite sad boi, Noah Kahan. Kahan released his debut album Busyhead in 2019 and his single “False Confidence” saw a lot of popularity but none of his albums gained the traction or popularity that Stick Season received. Some might argue that Kahan is standing on the shoulders of giants and not doing anything new. I believe he has a distinct style that mixes superior songwriting with inventive musicianship. He might not be doing anything new, but he is changing the game. At this point, the sky is the limit for Noah Kahan, and I am excited to see where he goes.

When you think of pop music, obviously the king and queen of pop come to mind. (that is Michael Jackson and Madonna if you didn’t know) Some would even throw in the names of Britney Spears and Lady Gaga, which I will allow. Dua Lipa is making a strong argument for her name to be considered among the greats right now. Her first album was self-titled and released in 2018. It was popular but did not move the needle to be considered anything great. She even faced criticism of her performances, saying her vocals were not strong and her dancing was bad. So, to prove her haters wrong she released Future Nostalgia, the greatest pop album of all the 2000s so far. (fight me) The album is perfect, and I am excited to see what Dua Lipa has in store next since her new single just dropped on February 15th.

TikTok is popular (obviously) but it is also a music time machine unlike anything I have seen before. For proof, here are the top five most popular songs on TikTok today and when they were released, according to the TikTok Billboard Top 50. Number one: What You Won’t Do for Love by Bobby Caldwell, released in 1978. Number two: Dance You Otta My Head by Cat Janice, released in 2024. Number three: Yeah! By Usher, released in 2004. Number four: ONE CALL by Rich Amiri released in 2023. Number five: I Wouldn’t’ Mind by He is We, released in 2017. TikTok takes songs from all different genres and all different generations and brings them back into relevance. Even if it is short-lived. This is a special aspect of TikTok you can mention the next time your aunt yells at you for being on TikTok because it is ruining your generation.

I would be remiss to talk about music today and not mention Olivia Rodrigo. Olivia stormed onto the music scene with her hit single, Drivers License, in early 2022. Now, Avid Olivia followers would argue that she was famous in music before this with her Disney music career but none of her Disney songs got over 2 billion streams so let’s agree to disagree. Now we could say a lot about Olivia Rodrigo but I am interested in the door her success opened for Mckenna Grace. You would most likely recognize Mckenna Grace from her childhood acting career but in March of 2023 she released her debut album, Bittersweet 16, and it is good. This pop-rock album perfectly encapsulates the angst of being a teenager and I am all for feeling angsty again. Grace uses her songwriting to perfectly craft stories of teenage heartbreak but also the complexities of coming to your identity. While Olivia Rodrigo is firmly at the top of this genre, Mckenna Grace is an underrated driving force in pop-rock, and you need to check her out.

 People gravitate to certain artists or genres. Music is beautiful because it encapsulates so much culture and emotion. That is the fun of exploring different genres, you get to experience so much life in three to four minutes. Lots of artists in all different genres have music that features genuine authenticity but as Christians, we should have no reason to hide our burdens or struggles but use them to help those who are hurting. I see this in Chris Renzema’s music and lucky for us, he is going to be releasing a new album in the coming weeks. Not only does he have an authenticity to his music but he pairs that with his fantastic songwriting. The music is good for an average person listening and for a musician listening. You can get the full experience of his music when he comes to campus on April 5th. Visit the Student Activities website to get your tickets. The state of music is always changing but this is a little taste of what it looks like today.


Written by Jordan Kreitzinger

Jordan is the Assistant Director of Student Activities.

We The Kingdom Deep Dive

February 23, 2024

The Kingdom of God is here among us. That is the message We The Kingdom hopes to exemplify through their uplifting and soulful music. We The Kingdom is a multi-generational family band led by Ed Cash. The group consists of members from five generations including Ed’s own kids Franni and Scott, as well as Martin Cash, and Andrew Bergthold.

We the Kingdom’s music is a blend of contemporary Christian music and country-folk. In an article by KLOVE, the group’s sound is described as, “A seamless collision of diverse sonic tastes spanning five decades of music. Yet, from Ed and Scott’s seasoned experience to Andrew’s experimental sensibilities to Franni and Martin’s youthful energy, We The Kingdom works simply because all of its members bring something distinct to the table, culminating in a multi-colored spectrum of sound.” The band has played at iconic locations such as Red Rocks Amphitheater and Ryman Auditorium. In addition, their rise in popularity has led them to perform and partner with artists such as Chris Tomlin and Zach Williams.

We The Kingdom bridges contemporary Christian music with the country-folk genre. We see this rise in indie and folk music in the popularity of artists such as Zach Bryan and Noah Kahn. Artists like these combine powerful and deeply meaningful lyrics with a more acoustic and rustic sound. Perhaps the recent popularity of this music reflects our culture’s desire for authenticity. Listeners not only care about musicality, but the deeper message behind the lyrics.

We The Kingdom accomplishes this while simultaneously glorifying Christ. Song lyrics can have a tremendous impact on the listener’s life, and as Christians it is important to fill one’s mind and spirit with things that point towards Christ. Some of the band’s most popular songs include “Holy Water” and “God So Loved”. These songs emphasize the forgiveness and love that God gives freely to His people, providing an encouraging message of hope.

If We The Kingdom seems right up your musical ally, come out to the Vines Center on Friday, February 23 and hear the band for yourself. LU Praise will kick off the concert at 8:00pm. You can purchase tickets here!


 K-LOVE COVER STORY: Multigenerational Family Band We The Kingdom is Redefining Christian Music | Positive Encouraging K-LOVE (


Written by Mary Richey

Mary is a sophomore studying Hospitality Management. She enjoys spending time outdoors, going to coffee shops, and is always up for a road trip. Creative writing has always been one of her favorite hobbies!

Rooting for the Villain

February 16, 2024

Of course, we all love a superhero success story! But if we’re being honest, we’ve caught ourselves rooting for the villain at least once… or felt a little bad for them.


We’ve seen it in countless movies including Joker, Maleficent, Cruella, and even Sandman in Spider-Man 3.


What do these movies all have in common? They humanize the villain. They show a storyline where you can’t help but empathize with them and their rough upbringings. The moments that highlight the trauma they’ve endured. It’s when you see the look on their face after being betrayed by their best friend. When you see them vulnerable and just broken inside. And you say… “ohhh, so that’s why they act like that”.


President Snow is no exception in the new Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, which takes a deeper look into President Snow’s life filled with a series of unfortunate events.


In the previous four Hunger Games movies, President Snow rules the dystopian society through fear, lies, and force. Snow has complete authority over the Capitol as a ruthless, cold-hearted, and selfish leader. While these traits remain true, new descriptions can be added to Snow’s character in The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes; words like caring, loving, and thoughtful. Imagine that!


In the New Hunger Games, you can see a different side of President Snow. You see a human that viewers can empathize with. Not an old and bitter ruler with spiky eyebrows, but a young man who is navigating his life. Without giving too much away, The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes will unlock new personality traits for Snow that you wouldn’t expect. Dare I say you might even feel bad for him at times?


With that being said, you can form your own opinion about President Snow on February 16th! Come out to watch the Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes at 8:00 p.m. in the Vines Center!



Written by Madi Lewis

I’m a junior studying Strategic communications with a focus in Social Media Management. I love spending time with my family and friends. The summertime, fashion, traveling and capturing moments on camera. Writing has always been a creative hobby of mine and I’m excited to be a part of the Student Activities blog team!