National Astronomy Day

National-Astronomy-Day

By Holly Watford

“Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.” – Plato. April 25 is National Astronomy Day and the W.A. Gayle Planetarium has big plans for the occasion. The Planetarium has partnered with the Auburn Astronomical Society; the event will take place between 5 and 10 p.m. and is free to the public.

I spoke with Rick Evans, Director of the W.A. Gayle Planetarium, about the event and what this year’s agenda will be. First, guests are welcomed to bring their personal telescopes that may be in need of repair so they can be fixed in time for the event. People who visit the Planetarium early “will be able to view the Moon and the Sun in the light of hydrogen-alpha with PST Solar Scopes and members’ scopes filtered white-light images,” Evans said.

Shortly after, Ethel Boykin from the Montgomery Botanical Gardens will be presenting in the Planetarium’s auditorium. She will be giving an overview of plans that are being made for the Botanical Gardens in Oak Park. Dr. Sterner and Dr. Patton from Montevallo University will be presenting promptly at 6 p.m. They will be discussing Montevallo’s Gentry Springs property, which features state-of-the-art telescopes and mounts, and inform guests on how it provides “ideal dark skies” and amazing views of the night sky from any point.

Evans will also be presenting around 7 p.m. He will provide an overview of the Planetarium and discuss two of the programs: “Two Pieces of Glass” and “Losing the Dark.” He will also give a “skywalk,” which is a tour of the night sky. Evans will provide an “overview of what guests will see when they walk outside.” After sunset comes the viewing experience. The Auburn Astronomical Society will assist with the telescopic viewing of Jupiter, Venus, mountains and craters on the Moon and several star systems.

Depending on the weather, this event brings a crowd from 300 to 500 people, Evans said. If you don’t own your own telescope, don’t worry. the Auburn Astronomical Society will set up telescopes for guests to use.  Go to the W.A. Gayle Planetarium and enjoy a night underneath the stars.

 

Walk for Autism: Help Solve the Puzzle

Walk for Autism Logo

By Holly Watford

For the past 10 years, the Autism Society of Alabama has been hosting the Walk for Autism in 15 cities throughout Alabama. According to the website Autism Speaks, Autism is a “serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact with others”. The mission of the ASA is to help improve diagnostic and therapeutic services to individuals through education and advocacy within the state.  ASA aims to spread awareness and acceptance for the 1 in 68 who are diagnosed. The Walk for Autism not only helps bring awareness to this disorder, but also to raise money to fund the cause and eventually solve the puzzle of autism spectrum disorders.

The Walk for Autism will be a two-mile walk held at the Ida Bell Young Park on April 25. Registration/ check-in will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the walk will begin at 9:30 a.m. This will be a noncompetitive walk where people are welcome to bring strollers and wagons for their children. Even though it is noncompetitive, the first person to finish the walk will be awarded with a medal. Lauren Reid, Fundraising and Events Manager for the ASA, said that there were approximately 2,000 people who participated statewide last year, 200 of which from Montgomery. There is a $30 fee to pre-register and a $35 fee if you sign up the day of the walk. The ASA’s Montgomery chapter was able to raise $10,000 for the walk last year.

If participating in a walk is not for you, the ASA provides a sleep-in option instead. This option includes the registration fee and a t-shirt. Reid says that people can also donate to the cause by visiting www.autism-alabama.org. After the event there will be post-walk activities that people of all ages can enjoy. There will be food vendors, resource exhibitors, and a kids’ activity corner that will include bounce houses, a bubble station and face painting.

Autism is one of the fastest growing developmental disabilities in the United States. This disability affects over 50,000 people in the state of Alabama alone. With ASA’s Walk for Autism, funds can be raised to help fight this disorder and hopefully bring it to an end. For more information, visit www.walkforautismal.com. Together we can help solve the pieces to this puzzle.

Not On My Campus

Holly not on my campus

By Holly Watford

“One in 4 women in college today has been the victim of rape, and nearly 90 percent of them knew their rapist,” Robin Warshaw said. To hear these statistics is earthshattering. Most of us believe that the people who we consider friends would never do anything to harm us. We put our faith and trust in those we share that intimate bond with. To have that broken can be life- altering. Going to the art exhibit by AUM alumna Shay Baily, I did not know what to expect. I knew that the occasion for the event was Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In my mind, I never thought that sexual assault on campus was a common thing. Seeing it on the news is one thing. You think that never happens around here. In reality, it happens all the time.

Shay Baily was the victim of sexual assault when she was a senior in high school. She was attending a party with some friends when a male comrade brought her a drink. After Baily began to feel bad, she asked her male friend to take her home not knowing that he put something in her drink. He later sexually assaulted her. Baily’s art exhibit, “Full Exposure,” displayed the emotions that she felt when she was assaulted. It shows her anger, fear and resentment. In the end, however, it showed her moving forward with her life. The main message that Baily wanted to express in her artwork was that she was a survivor. She wanted to let others know that it is okay to talk about what happened and, ultimately, understand that it is not your fault.

For the month of April, AUM is stressing the importance of campus safety. The AUM Counseling Center is encouraging everyone to sign the pledge to join the “Not on My Campus” movement. This pledge signifies that our campus will not stand for sexual assault, and together we can make our campus a safe place. On April 22, from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., the Counseling Center will be on the quad asking people to support the pledge. They are asking that people write “Not on My Campus” on their hand, take a picture of it and post it on Facebook with the hashtag #NOMC-AUM. AUM is also providing a Rape Aggression Defense class for all women. This course will help teach women how to protect themselves. R.A.D. training is on April 20-23 and 27-30 from 4-7 p.m. in the Library Tower. On the last day of class, there will be an assault simulation so that the students can test the defense skills that they have learned.

If you would like to sign the pledge to join the Not on My Campus movement go to http://goo.gl/forms/esqkbXtCkj. To RSVP to the R.A.D. classes e-mail the Counseling Center at counselingcenter@aum.edu. Together we can make a difference and stop the assaults.

Photo courtesy of Holly Watford

 

 

Six Million Dead: Holocaust Education Program

 

 

holocaust event

By Holly Watford

Why are you here? This was the central question that Timothy Spraggins, from the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, asked during AUM’s Holocaust Education Program. Why was I here? The Holocaust was something I knew only little about. At first, I thought I was there to write an article for this publication so I could inform others who could not attend. In the end, I learned that I was there because I wanted to learn about this historic event and realize that it could happen to any of us.
The Holocaust Prevention Program is an event held by AUM’s Department of Psychology every year. This time, not only did we have faculty and student members speak, we also had the opportunity to listen to first-hand testimonies of Holocaust survivors. At the beginning of the event, SGA President Marie Reuter explained its purpose, which is to educate younger generations on the Holocaust. Reuter stressed the importance of that education. “The world needs your voice now more than ever,” Reuter said referring to standing up for others and practicing tolerance.
Soon, we were introduced to a movie Night and Fog to help us better understand the events of the Holocaust. The movie was old- produced in 1955-, and in French, but that did not diminish the effect of the images that were shown. The 30-minute video was difficult at times to watch. It showed the concentration camps and the horrifying events that occurred in them. Despite the graphic images that were shown, I do not think that those images were worse than the testimonies that the two guest speakers provided. Max Herzel and Max Steinmetz are both Holocaust survivors whose stories were different but no less traumatic. Herzel did not personally occupy any of the concentration camps, but his parents were both very affected by them. His mother attempted suicide due to the traumatic events surrounding this time and his father was sent to Auschwitz and later died. Steinmetz and his family (father, mother, brother, and sister) were all sent to Auschwitz. Unfortunately, he was the only to survive. Their tragic stories are something that none of us could easily relate to, yet they touch our most intimate source of humanity. For me, their stories gave a better picture of the Holocaust than any video or movie ever could. They lived it and they survived. That is something that no image can capture.
This event was both enlightening and horrifying all at the same time. It was something I came into hesitant but left much more informed. The purpose of this event was clear when Steinmetz stated that this could happen to any of us at any time. He told us that his family never thought that anything like the mass genocide could happen to them, and unfortunately it did. We as a society need to educate ourselves on things that have occurred in the past, so we can work towards preventing them from happening in the future.
Why was I there? To be able to become one of the educated voices of my generation in order to prevent another Holocaust.

Pure Artistry Café Celebrates National Poetry Month

 

Tara 3

By Latara Holloway

Pure Artistry Literary Café kicked off its “Speak No Evil Weekend” event in honor of National Poetry Month Thursday night. “Lyrical Rewind,” the first of the three-day events planned, was an Apollo-styled night. Despite the rain, the artists and guests showed up for a fun night of laughs, poetry and skits. The winner of the night, JP Da Poet, entertained guests with his spoken-word pieces “Letter to an absent Father,” “Letter to My Son” and “Not Today.” while runner-up Caught Up performed a three-piece skit about speed dating.

The celebration continues tonight with “Art & Soul,” which will be dedicated to the late artists and activists Dr. Maya Angelou and Ruby Dee. Manager of event productions, Monique Dennis, says that it was important to introduce the women to this generation as more than just a poet and an actress, respectively. Souled Out will be the house band and performances of the night will serve to honor the memories of the two women. Chef Eryka Perry of Not Just Catering will also serve hors-d’oeuvres.

.Tara

The weekend wraps up with “Saturday Night Cinema, “where the audience can come together to view three short indie films. Unlike a regular night at the movie theatres, the cast and crew will be there to hold a talk back with the audience. The films include “The Pretty Brunette” by C. DeWayne Cunningham, “Jackpot” by Kalonji Gilchrist and “Tying Loose Ends” by Jamyla Philyaw and C. DeWayne Cunningham. Refreshments will be served, and the first bag of popcorn is free.

General admission is $15 on Friday and $10 on Saturday, and tickets can be bought in advance or at the door. This event is open to those 18 and older, and security will be provided for the weekend.

For more information about the event, check out Pure Artistry Literary Café’s webpage or feel free to contact them via Facebook or other social media.

“Speak No Evil” started when Monique Dennis returned to Montgomery and saw the lack of artistic events in the city and has been running for four years. The name “Speak No Evil” is symbolic of the clean entertainment provided.  Pure Artistry Café also has a web series called “An Artist’s Tribute,” which also help to celebrate National Poetry Month.

Photo courtesy of Latara Holloway

An artist tribute YouTube webseries: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkBtKBCcSxI&list=PLrQVc60D08QoD8lODCvp4uqgsZQvRE6ST&index=1

Pure Artistry Literary Café website:
http://palitcafe.com/

Buy tickets online here as well as get more information about the event:http://www.eventbrite.com/o/pure-artistry-literary-cafe-894996425?s=36167164

 

Wellness Center Additions

Wellness Center

 

By Robert Lemons

The Wellness Center is always looking for ways to make improvements and further improve the wellbeing of AUM students. Recently, several new additions have been made, including new pieces of equipment and three new classes.

Wendy Franklin, Program Manager of the Wellness Center, explained that this new equipment was there to promote functional fitness and also a means for helping those who may not feel as comfortable on the gym floor. “Some people feel intimidated using the resistance equipment, and we hope that they won’t feel as intimidated using this new equipment,” Franklin said.

Wendy also explained that an additional three classes have been added to the Wellness Center schedule. “Walking Strong” is a new class that takes place on Monday and Wednesday at 9 a.m. “The class consists of a 30-minute express walk around the indoor track where the goal is to complete a mile, Franklin said. “This also includes resistance band training where participants will do squats, rows, biceps or triceps.” This class is intended for people to be able to go at their own pace.

“Knuckle Up” is a class that incorporates Mixed Martial Arts into interval training. “There will be boxing, kickboxing, tai chi and muay thai,” Franklin said. It is a 45 minute class that is intended to engage the entire body and takes place every Monday at 3 p.m. and every Thursday at 1 p.m.

“Tear It Up” is another class that has been added. This class, which begins April 7, will consist of intervals of boxing, weight training and core exercises.  The class is at 7 p.m. to encourage more students to participate. “There will be bars and plates out on the gym floor and people will be able to add as much weight as they want and go at their own pace,” Franklin said. “Tear It Up” is promoting #IChallengeYou. This is intended for participants to able challenge their friends and make exercising more fun.

The Wellness Center is continuing to make additions so that people are able to live a healthier life. Be sure to check out these new classes and the other ones that are also available.

Photo Courtesy of Robert Lemons

Showdown in College Town Thursday Night April 9

ctownflyer2By Haley Cotter

In efforts to combine the surrounding colleges and create memories for years to come, Leadership Montgomery, is holding its third annual Showdown in College Town.

This event will include friendly competitions and prize drawings. Some of those events include a stroll off, canvas art competition, voice competition, drum line exhibition and a spirit contest. There will also be a selfie booth, and free massages. If you go online to Showdown in College Town-Montgomery’s Facebook page you can enter to win, “fabulous door prizes including gift baskets, gift certificates and a night at the Renaissance,” Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs at AUM Dr. Janice Lyn said.

There will also be a lot of free food for everyone. Donations were made by, “Capital City Club, Central Restaurant, Dreamland BBQ, Coke products, Cupcakes by Tish, Cucos, Eat South, Johnny Ryans, Mellow Mushroom and Sazas to name a few,” Dr. Lyn said.

Colleges invited to the event include AUM, Troy University, Alabama State University, Faulkner University, South University, Huntingdon College, Tuskegee University and Trenholm State Technical College.

The event is free for all students with their ID. It will be taking place in downtown Montgomery in the Alley, 7-11 p.m.

Finding a Home Away From Home with Airbnb

 

AIRBNB logo

 

By Tiffany Pattillo 

The images evoked by the words “spring break” involve large cities, crowded parties, sunny days and sandy beaches. Often these spring break destinations come with high hotel bills. In search of a quieter spring break locale and more affordable accommodations, I planned a road trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where my sister and I visited several tourist attractions including Rock City and the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. I decided to forego booking a traditional hotel room, choosing instead to book a room using the website Airbnb, Air Bed and Breakfast, for the first time.

Airbnb is a billion-dollar company cofounded in 2008 by Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia. Airbnb allows people to rent out their entire homes, vacant rooms or couches to guests for set rates that are often cheaper than traditional hotel rooms. The company boasts over 20 million guests, with listings in approximately 34,000 cities in over 190 countries.

After hours of researching listings in Chattanooga, I reserved an available room in the home of Rachel and Kyle Niederhauser for a total of $62. Communication between the Neiderhausers and I began immediately. I explained the purpose of my trip, and we exchanged a few other questions and answers before they agreed to accept my reservation. My sister and I arrived the following evening, had a smooth check-in and settled into the room attached to the garage of the Niederhauser’s home. The room was clean and had all the accommodations of a traditional hotel room, and I was satisfied with my decision to use Airbnb.

The most worrying aspect of our spring break trip wasn’t maneuvering the eight lanes of highway traffic, constantly concerned that our car’s bumper would soon join those that lined the highway. It was deciding to stay in the home of strangers. It seems a little naïve to trust a stranger on the Internet enough to share a home with them. However, millions of people have successfully used Airbnb’s services, and I am now one of them.

Obviously, anyone who is looking to book a stay or host with Airbnb should be aware and always have safety in mind. “Naturally safety, security, and damage to our home were a concern. So we researched it thoroughly beforehand,” said Kyle Niederhauser, whose wife, Rachel, considers hosting Airbnb guests a small business venture. The Niederhausers have been hosting for about one year, and they stress the importance of prior research before booking. “We utilize Airbnb’s background check process and their review system. If we feel uncomfortable or see any red flags then we have, on occasion, declined guests.”

Airbnb has employed the Verified Identification tool since 2013. Verified ID allows Airbnb account users to link their online identity to their offline identification. “Access is built on trust, and trust is built on transparency. When you remove anonymity, it brings out the best in people,” said Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb. Users can submit their government-issued IDs and link their Airbnb account to other online profiles, such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Both guests and hosts are able to review each other within 14 days after a stay. Reviews are not visible until both the guest and host review is complete or the 14-day period expires. The reviews are then posted on each user’s detailed profile. Communication prior to a booking is also a step that can put guests and hosts at ease about each other.

“We have had hundreds of guests and a very favorable experience overall. We are fortunate to not have any horror stories,” Kyle Niederhauser said.

The most substantial advice I can offer to someone looking to use Airbnb is to put a significant effort into research. Read the listing’s profile entirely. View the pictures. Read the reviews. View the host’s profile and reviews. Ensure that the host’s identity is verified. Research the neighborhood. Message the host before requesting a reservation; this will verify that the room is available and give you the opportunity to ask questions. Airbnb is meant to be a community experience that adds to one’s travels. Put work into picking a room and enjoy your stay.

Photo Courtesy of the AIRBNB website.

Dr. Seuss Day at AUM

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By Haley Cotter

One known fact about children in elementary school is that they love Dr. Seuss and his spectacular books. Another is that these children look up to anyone who plays a sport that they love.

Recently at AUM, students from Halcyon Elementary School and Garrett Elementary School were invited to come hang out and enjoy fun games with student-athletes while celebrating Dr. Seuss. “The initial reason was to create excitement for reading,” AUM Cross Country runner Sharlie Brooks said. The student-athletes know the importance of reading and wanted these children to know it too.

On March 2, a number of student-athletes went to Halcyon and Garrett to read to the students in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. The athletes chose a book of their liking and were assigned to a classroom to read. Many students were thrilled to see these athletes come and spend a short time of their day with them. “You kind of forget that these kids look up to you, and it’s a great feeling knowing that you made their day,” Brooks said.

Student-athletes left a ticket for each child inviting them to Dr. Seuss Day at AUM. The following Saturday, March 7, children had a fun-filled day as they watched AUM Baseball, AUM Tennis and other games. Students also took photos with Curtiss. Both the Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams, along with Men’s Soccer and others volunteered to help with the games and give-a-ways.

Approximately 20 to 25 children showed up for this day. This was the first year of Dr. Seuss Day at AUM, and the Student Athlete Advisory Committee is expecting to do many more. Next year, Brooks suggested that lunch and a bouncy house be provided with a more strategic marketing plan so that many more children will attend.

Photo Courtesy of Haley Cotter

 

 

SROW Hard or SROW Home?

Brianna Pic credit to Joel Hughes

By Brianna Goodman

Every year, dozens of college orientation leader teams from nine different states meet up for a Southern Regional Orientation Workshop. This year the event was held at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky, and nearly 2,000 students were in attendance. The 3-day workshop is full of school pride, networking opportunities, and the chance to see how differently the same job can be done from team to team.
As a new member of AUM’s S.W.O.T. Team (Successful Warhawks Orientation and Transitions Team) I had no idea what to expect. The first day was kicked off with Roll Call and teams performed a quick cheer that introduced them to the other schools. The real fun, however, started after dinner; every team also performed a song, dance or skit that represented who they were and what they did. The S.W.O.T. Team’s song was a mash-up of “Eye of the Tiger” and “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You,” with changed lyrics that showed a student fighting off home sickness, finding their classes and making friends along the way.
The second day was spent going to different educational classes that were taught by Orientation Leaders from the many different schools. The subjects varied from learning how to use social media effectively, to how to be activists on our campuses, and even how to “shake it off” and deal with students that may not want to be at their orientation session for whatever reason. All of these classes were designed by the leaders for the leaders, to share information on how to provide the best orientation possible.
That night, after classes and dinner were finished, the party started. There were inflatable slides, photo booths, Segway’s and a Silent Disco. Everyone came together and had a blast. New friendships were made, old friendships were strengthened and memories were made.
I knew that I had just experienced something incredible, and the next day when it came time for the closing ceremonies I was sad that it was already over. I knew I wasn’t alone as I looked around and saw my fellow teammates feeling the same way. “It was a great experience. I love being a part of the orientation team, and it was neat seeing the other college orientation teams coming together,” said Marlee Damrel, a fellow new S.W.O.T. Team member. “I learned many things on how to become a better orientation leader over the weekend. This was a fun few days spent with some amazing people.”

 

Photo Courtesy of Joel Hughes